"So let me get this straight," said Sakura, class rep of 2-B, as she asked the high school treasurer. "We regularly go on spontaneous holidays at this school?"
Eriol smirked as the two rounded the school hallway and headed out the door into a courtyard. "CLAMP School is known for its parties," he shrugged. "Whenever the Chairwoman feels like it, like tomorrow in honor of the museum donation… so it's our job as representatives to inform the masses."
"Well," Sakura grinned as she motioned with the pink-colored flyers in her hands. "The museum field trip sounds like a fun event." At that moment, Sakura looked across the gardens and noticed a white figure standing at the entrance of the Catholic Church. "Um, Hiiragizawa, I'll see you later, 'kay?"
She ran up to Rika, who was waiting in a nun-in-training habit. "Lost lamb?" she asked, breathless.
Rika nodded and pulled her friend into the church's confessional. "You've heard about the mermaid statue being donated to the school museum, right?"
"Yeah, it's a school holiday tomorrow because of the Maiden."
"On the Maiden's forehead is a legendary jewel called the Star Gem," whispered Rika seriously. "For security purposes, the owner had a fake gem made. Unfortunately, the wrong copy was given to the police for safekeeping." Sakura gaped speechlessly.
"This is a job for Saint Star, ne?"
Meanwhile, Eriol caught up with Syaoran the high school VP, who was grumbling to himself. "Detective troubles again?"
"Tonight, at 8 pm, the Night Magician will steal the Star Gem from CLAMP School Museum," recited Syaoran. He exhaled loudly. "The president excused me from the preparations, because the Chairwoman put me on duty tonight."
"Maybe the Magician's trying to liven up your evening," grinned Eriol. Syaoran glared at him.
Then the two stopped short. "Night's apparently not the only entertainment this evening," Eriol said dryly.
On the school's large billboard it said: "At 8:00pm, I will retrieve the Star Gem at CLAMP School Museum. –Saint Star."
"And Mokona-chan is back! This just in: the Maiden with its Star Gem-studded forehead will be donated to CLAMP School. That means holiday, everyone! Intel also reports that the Gem is on the hit list of… wait for it… both of our thieves! That's right, minna! Saint Star and Night Magician are both coming after the same item. Who do you think will succeed? Star? Night? Or is it a partnership after all? Call in, listeners!"
Forgive me Lord, for the tricks I have up my sleeves, Sakura prayed from the shadows of a tree. Reaching up to secure her mask, she whispered, "Showtime!"
In another tree, balancing on another branch, Eriol glanced at the second hand of his pocket watch and put his black top hat on. "One… two… three!" With a snap of his gloved fingers, the lights of the museum shut down.
"Right on time," smirked the Saint as she steadied herself on the window's ledge. Pulling out a lock pick, she started working on the window's bolt. "Don't know why you're such a showoff-" She blinked when the lights flickered back on.
"Backup electricity," noted the Magician with a smile as he descended the emergency stairwell. "You're improving, Detective Li."
Everything was going according to plan, observed Syaoran from his vantage point. "Stay in position," he ordered into the receiver. Then behind him came a distinct purr. Whirring around, Syaoran glared, "You!"
Sitting on the bordering wall was the orange-colored tomcat. On reflex the detective stroked his already healed cheek. With its little beady eyes the cat regarded him idly, the tail lazily flicking back and forth. Ever so carefully, the little eyes shifted focus to the boy's blue school jacket that was strewn aside.
The commander glanced back at the animal and recognition struck. As he reached for the jacket, Kero moved faster and grabbed the jewel pouch lightning fast. "Get back here!" Syaoran shouted after Kero running off with the quarry.
Star, who was waiting by the window ledge, grinned as Kero appeared. "Wonderful job, oh mighty Cerberus," she praised as replaced the velvet purse with a takoyaki ball. She took out the Gem and smiled, then returned it to the pouch. "Now all we have to do is switch them, and the owner won't get in trouble for making a mistake."
As Kero devoured the treat, Star grinned. "Keep the window open for me, 'kay Kero-chan?"
Meanwhile, the Magician carefully pried the Star Gem off the ice statue's forehead. "I'm sorry," he murmured. "But I'll return the real one soon enough."
At that moment a lithe figure moved in the darkness of the Hiiragizawa secret room. Silent feet moved across the floor without a sound, stepping quickly and quietly. All the other glass cases were bypassed, except for one. The genuine Star Gem had been left uncovered and open in its display case. Open and ready for the taking.
And so the Gem was taken, the thief disappearing into the shadow of the night.
Then all hell went loose.
"Now!" Detective Li snapped into his phone, commanding an officer to implement the next the step. Inside the Museum, safety bells went off and the inner gates started to close. One vault door in particular locked a marble statue in.
Shoot, Night thought as he hit the heavy door to no avail. Glancing to the thermostat, he grabbed the end of the cape as watched the degrees drop lower.
Shoot, thought Star as she stood on the other side. She pulled out an electronic device and placed on the security lock. 0… the first of the five-digit password appeared as the device attempted to decode the lock.
7… She tapped her foot anxiously as she contemplated her rival. He must have stolen the gem by now. 7… How would she switch the gem now? Did he leave? Was he still in there? 3… Come on, she pleaded, waiting for the last number to come up. But there came a noise in the distance and hastily she discharged the equipment, hiding.
"Alright," Syaoran said as he punched in the password in the keypad. From behind the corner, Sakura frowned. Again, what was the Vice President doing here? "We have a thief in there. Be on guard, everyone," he told his troop.
Opening the door slowly, darkness spilled out. Syaoran cursed at the magic trick. "Lights," he spoke into the receiver as they warily walked in. Something went past him and he grabbed only air. "Lights!" he repeated angrily.
Immediately the electricity came back on and the white police uniforms were bathed in the glow. "My mistake," deadpanned the solitary blue-clad officer.
"The Magician!" shouted Syaoran. "Get him!"
The policemen grabbed the man in the blue uniform, but Night was too much of a gentleman to put up a struggle. He simply smiled at the detective in charge as they cuffed his hands. Triumph in his glare, Syaoran removed the gem from the breast pocket.
Discreetly Night waved his hands.
"Ow!" A long and skinny red and blue ribbon out of nowhere slapped Syaoran on the wrist.
"I'll take that, thank you," Star grinned as slid across the floor to grab the falling gem. Rolling into a crouching position she pulled out her gymnastic ribbon again, this time whipping it upwards. When it had secured on a bar above, she jumped, using the momentum to escape out of a ceiling window.
"After her!" ordered Syaoran. He turned around to the group that detained Night. He frowned. "Where's the Magician?"
Breaking out of their stunned wonder of the Saint's escape, the officers stared at the remaining handcuffs. How-?
Running silently across the corridor, the red and blue dressed thief headed to the second floor window where a tomcat was waiting. Then Star realized- she looked down at her hands where one gem was in the left and another in her right. She groaned: she forgot to switch them!
When she looked up, she didn't notice the simultaneous flash coming from both jewels. 60… 59… 58…
Turning around to go back, the Saint stopped. Before her was an endless hall; she turned around again and the passage continued further. An endless corridor. "What?" She whispered to herself. Wasn't there a corner somewhere? Stubbornly she plowed ahead.
From the shadows a flock of doves flew directly at her, surprising Star. Something bumped against her and she let out a yelp. As the wings and feathers cleared, a clear view of a black cape could be seen.
37… 36… 35…
"No!" Night heard right before a ribbon grasped his ankle and tripped him. Flipping onto his back he aimed his cards at her.
Letting go of his foot, Star twirled the ribbon in a circle as a shield from the deck. Catching sight of the other thief running away, she pocketed the ribbon and ran after him. Gaining enough force the talented girl pushed off the balls of her feet, tucking her knees into her chest. Completing a triple front flip, she landed in front of Night.
Green and blue glanced at each other cautiously from behind their masks. Tentatively they noticed the gem in the other thief's hands. Which one was the real one?
3… 2… 1!
"It's best you stop now."
"Because this gem is a fake."
"Both gems are fake," and the two thieves stared at their respective gems emitting the mechanical voice. Then the two stared at the other gem.
"I have the authentic Star Gem," spoke Night's jewel.
"You might as well stop," said Star's jewel.
"Since I know who you are:"
"and Sakura Kinomoto."
Cerulean and emerald met once again in disbelief.
A/N: Thank you so much to NailBunnyDeadBunny, Lily887787, epobbp, tearfalldownmycheeks, Nadja100, black anime fan, StarAngel02, Yukimura-san, LadyCrazyMonkey, Y.C.A.T, chikis, Thimble, and iloveapplejuicefor reviewing! I'll never give up this story because of you guys!
Yukimura-san: Yup, Tomoyo-chan is up to something. More in the next chapter.
Chikis: Unfortunately, it's just Syaoran's twin sister Fanren playing matchmaker (for now). Tomoyo & Rika are concerned with the thieves.
Thimble: Yay for happy!Clamp buttons! (:
iloveapplejuice: *grin* I too am a fan of Saint Tail!
Lily887787, tearsfalldownmycheeks, black anime fan, Y.C.A.T.: My goodness, everyone wants E/S. We'll see. Don't lose hope yet!