The first story in My Shadowy Secrets Trilogy
This fan-fiction is set as though the second movie never happened. Li and Meilin are still in Hong Kong, but all is not well – and with Yelan out of town it's up to them to find out what the magical power Li's sensing is.
Back home in Readington, Sakura dreams an upsetting dream, then receives a disturbing phone call from Meilin. Did her dream come true?
Darkness is never as far away as you think…
Chapter One; A Friend Indeed
Li and Meilin crept along the alleys by Bird Street, taking great care not be seen by any nosy passers by who might question what they were doing. But as soon as they were out of sight, they broke into a rapid jog, speeding up as they approached their destination…the Old Well.
Meilin shivered slightly as she looked around the area. It hadn't been that long ago that that crazy chick Su Young had captured them all. And here they were, back in her old territory. Sure, the psycho was meant to have moved on, but what if she hadn't? She turned plaintively to Li, her normally powerful voice a small whisper.
"Li? Do we have to do this? I mean…" Li turned around, and Meilin flinched at his expression. Far from reproachful, his eyes were full of his own fears.
"Meilin, you know I sensed something magical around here. And with Mother out of town, it's up to us to check it out."
"No buts! What if it's an evil magician? What if it's a renegade Clow Card? There are such things you know! Just because Sakura captured the known ones, it doesn't mean that there couldn't be more!" And with these words, Li stepped up to the well with hi sword drawn.
Meilin screamed as a dark…something whirled inside of Li. He was lifted into the air, his head thrown back in agony as the presence touched him, invaded him. In an instant, the thing knew all of his private thoughts, his darkest imaginings, his deepest desires. Then with a gut-wrenching final twist, the power seemed to fade away, and Li dropped limply to the floor.
"Li!" Meilin ran to him, tears streaming down her distressed face. She turned his head to hers, and gave a sob of relief as he blinked dazedly at her. For a second she thought there was something darker in those eyes, but that was impossible, wasn't it? Oh well, it was gone now anyway.
She helped the dizzy boy up, but he pushed her off him, preferring to stand on his own two feet.
"Li! Are you alright? What was that? Are you ok?" Li smiled slightly at his worried friend.
"It's ok, Meilin, I'm fine. And I'm not sure what that thing was. Maybe it was nothing at all." As he put his hand to his head and winced, Meilin stepped back, confused at his nonchalant reaction.
"But it looked so evil and bad…are you sure you're ok? You look as those you've got a headache…" Li looked up, his expression unreadable, the smile now gone.
"It's just a headache. I'm fine Meilin."
"Look, I'm alright! Why don't you just leave it? Leave me alone!"
Meilin looked at him in alarm, as his normally calm face broke into a furious glare.
"I only wanted to…" SMACK! Meilin fell back in shock as Li hit her hard on her right cheek.
"Just leave me alone Meilin – or you'll regret it!" And with that he strode away, leaving his old friend crying on the floor.
"Li! No!" Sakura bolted awake, her emerald eyes wide and horrified. Slowly she sat up, her nightie plastered to her trembling body with sweat. That dream…it had seemed so vivid, so real…but Li wouldn't do that, would her? No matter how annoying Meilin was, he loved her like a sister. He'd never hurt her on purpose. But still…
"Kero! Are you awake?" Grumbling, an annoyed Kero turned to look at Sakura.
"Well I am now." he said sourly. "What's the problem?"
"I just had a dream, Kero. A really strange one. Li and Meilin were in Hong Kong at the Old Well, and something whirled inside of Li. When Meilin asked him if he was alright, he just hit her!"
Kero gazed thoughtfully at her for a little while, before shrugging.
"My advice is, don't read too much into it. Not every dream has a hidden meaning you know, no matter how powerful you are."
"But it seemed so vivid…" She hugged her knees and shivered – she could still hear the sound of Li's hand smacking Meilin.
"Well, just think about it. Li wouldn't do a thing like that, would he?" Sakura looked up in shock as Kero voiced her own thoughts aloud.
"I guess not. Maybe I was freaked out over nothing then…"
"Personally, I can't believe you woke me up just to talk about that Brat!"
Brrring! The phone downstairs rang, jerking Sakura out of her thoughts about Li, and Kero out of his thoughts about food.
"Hey, squirt! There's someone on the phone for you! Or are you too busy talking to your imaginary friends?" Tori's voice drifted up the stairs. Grinding her teeth, and thinking of all the ways she could torture her older brother if she was bigger, Sakura walked over to the extension in her room and picked up the receiver.
"Hello?" At first the other end was so quiet, Sakura was afraid that she's cut them off, but then a tiny voice spoke in a whisper;
"Meilin!" Sakura felt giddy as she realized who was speaking. Finally, after all this time!
"Meilin! It's so great to hear from you again! How are you? I…"
"Sakura, please, just shut up! I need your help." Sakura fell silent as she heard the serious tone in her friend's voice. Before she could stop herself, flashes of her dream sped into her worried mind.
"God, what's wrong? Meilin?" Meilin was silent for a while, before carrying on. She sounded like she was trying to keep herself from crying.
"Oh Sakura! It's Li! He's just acting weird, and, and…look just come over, right! You can even bring Kero! Just please, help me!" There was the sound of a slamming door at Meilin's end, and Sakura heard the girl gasp.
"Please! I have to go!" And with that, the phone went dead.
Sakura looked out of the plane window, not really seeing anything. What was wrong with Meilin? Had that dream been real? With a frustrated sigh, she leant back in her seat.
"Sakura? Don't worry we'll be there soon. And when we find it was all a big joke, I can video-tape your expression!" Madison smiled, but her sweet face was lined with concern. Sakura was grateful that Madison had said she would come. She would have hated to be alone. Sure there was Kero, but there were things she couldn't share with him…like certain feelings she had for a certain Chinese 'brat'.
There was a faint sound of munching, and she turned in her seat to look at the person behind her. Julian sat there, gulping down his aeroplane dinner at world record speed. He was such a good friend….
"Go to Hong Kong? Alone?" Aiden Avalon looked uncomfortable with the idea of his only daughter on her own, and turned to Tori.
"Couldn't you go with her again?" Tori shook his head.
"No. It'd be great to see the city again, but I have an important test at the summer school coming up. If I want the extra credit, I have to get more than 96 right…so, study." Sakura could almost sense that she was losing the battle, and began to get desperate.
"But Madison will be there as well! Please!" Tori looked at her.
"So? Last time you just went running off without her. What if that happens again? Then you'll both be alone. And last time you came back with…" His voice trailed off, and his eyes narrowed. >Oh oh…> thought Sakura.
"Say, you wouldn't be going to see that Brat, would you? The one who lives over there?" Sakura could have cried. She felt like screaming.
"Please! This is really important!" She turned from Aiden to Tori, searching for any sign or them relenting. But…nothing. Then….
"I'll take her." They all looked at Julian in surprise. The grey-haired teen had stayed for dinner, and had stayed silent throughout the debate…until now.
"Are you sure, Julian?" Tori asked uncertainly.
"Sure!" Julian tipped Sakura wink, and she smiled in gratitude.
"Unlike some over-achievers, I don't have summer school and about ten jobs, so I'd be happy to take her. I love that place."
"Thanks, Julian. That's good enough for me." smiled Aiden.
Sakura was glad that Julian had come along. Not just because she wouldn't have been allowed to go otherwise, or that he was a good friend. But because she felt a growing ball of nerves in her stomach. She had an idea that they just might need Yue…
As they strode through Hong Kong, memories of the Su Young incident flittered through their heads, with the exception of Julian, who, as he'd been captured, didn't really remember anything. They all knew that Hong Kong was more than what it seemed – like the heartbroken Su Young had been.
It was nearly dark before they got to the Showron residence. They'd all forgotten how big this place was. Madison, who was used to large mansions since she lived in one, rang the doorbell, then stood back. The door immediately opened soundlessly to reveal a cautious Meilin. But…
"Sakura!" To Sakura's surprise, the black haired girl threw herself into her arms, and gave her a huge hug,
"Meilin! I'm so glad to see you! I brought Kero, Madison and Julian too! I…" Sakura's words died into silence as she noticed something on Meilin's right cheek.
A dark bruise, almost like a handprint.