Once a generation emerges a mastermind that can execute the perfect crime and create a legacy in the criminal underworld. Though his real identity is unknown, to the police, the media and the common people, he is known by one alias, Kaitou Magician, the mysterious phantom thief. An international top 10-wanted criminal that has stolen from crown jewels to priceless paintings, the notorious Thief of the Night has taken the media by storm with his dynamic and charismatic style. He is a gentleman and a magician, an anti-hero and criminal, a free-spirit that no police can capture and no human knows the face of. But in daytime, he is simply Mizuki Kai, a reckless delinquent with no family, no friends and no conscience. But who was Mizuki Kai before he became the notorious Kaitou Magician? The thief who steals not for wealth, power nor fame…What motivates the Thief of the Night? How did one bright boy end up falling into the world of darkness? And what brought this waylaid thief to cross paths with our beloved Card Captor Sakura?

Now, let the story of the mysterious Kaitou Magician's origins unfold…

*WARNING* Spoilers for those who haven't read beyond New Trials Chapter 59

Kaitou Magician Origins Part One: Prince of Light

Prologue: Tanaka Mikai

"And at that perilous moment, the just and beautiful Princess Veritas held up the Mirror of Truth for the Earl of darkness to see. A blast of blazing white light flooded the palace. The Earl of darkness screamed in pain and misery as he caught his reflection in the mirror and collapsed onto his knees."

"Then what happens, 'nii-chan?" a little girl with large gray eyes and glossy auburn hair plaited into two thick braids demanded. She tugged on her older brother's sleeve. "Tell me."

It was a mild summer day, the third of June and the girl's sixth birthday. The two siblings were seated on a wicker bench in the grassy garden of their spacious white Victorian-style house.

"I've told you this story a hundred times, Miho-hime. You already know what's going to happen next," the boy with similar gray eyes, mixed with a dreamy shade of sky blue, replied. The boy, around eight or so had a pleasant ambiance which made people feel comfortable when with him. A quiet sort of maturity as well as gentleness settled on him as he fondly gazed over his younger sister. There was no doubt that the boy pampered his little sister and treated her like an absolute little princess, though at the same time he retained a sort of quiet authority: the little girl looked up at her brother with utmost adoration.

"I forgot. Tell me again!" Tanaka Miho replied, crawling on top of her brother's lap.

Tanaka Mikai laughed and petted his little sister's auburn head. Soon, he continued to tell her the tale of the fantastic adventure of beautiful, kind-hearted and noble Princess Veritas, who with her valiant guardian prince of light, defeated and the evil magician, Earl of darkness; it was a time-old tale of how "good" was victorious over "dark," the pre-written principle rule of the universe.

"Mikai, Miho, gather for the cake," their mother, Tanaka Miara, called out, bringing out a lemon-white frosted, two layer cake with six candles. She set the cake on the wooden picnic table set up on the back garden, between the fruit punch and sliced watermelon.

Tanaka Keisuke, her husband and six years her elder, asked, "Miara, did you bake the cake?"

"Yes, I did," Miara replied, tying back her long, wavy auburn hair in a loose bun at the nape of her neck. "I envy Nadeshiko, though. Her husband is really good at cooking."

Dipping his finger into the icing, Keisuke tasted it and cringed. "Oh dear," he murmured.

Hands on hips, Miara demanded, "What does that mean, Keisuke-san?"

"Happy birthday to Miho-chan," Keisuke began to sing, off-tune as always. Mikai and his exasperated mother joined in, in tune.

After the song, Miho, standing on the chair, blew out the candles in one puff. "I wish okaa-san, outo-san, and onii-chan, and I can always, always be happy like this," she said out loud. "Forever and ever."

Slices of the cake were passed around. Their father made a big fuss about taking the piece with the least frosting. Hesitantly, Mikai took a bite of the malformed cake. It was true that cooking was not his mother's strongest point, as terrific of a writer and journalist she was. Yet, the pungent, acidic lemon taste suited him.

"Well, how is it, Mikai?" asked his mother eagerly.

"It's is delicious, Mother," he replied, smiling.

"See? Mikai said it's good," Miara told her husband.

Taking another bite of the cake, Keisuke said, wrinkling his nose, "I guess it could be worse. But it's too sour. Bleh."

"Mikai, Miho, and I all like sour things," Miara replied, tasting the cake. "Mmm… I baked it, but I say this time it's pretty good. Well, open your present, Miho-chan!"

Opening the small silver box, Miho took out a white-gold oval locket with an intricate engraving leading to a blood red ruby in the center of it. It was quite large, almost the size of her palm, and hung on a silver chain. "Wow, it's the locket that okaa-san always wore!" When she was younger, Miho always wanted to play with the family heirloom. Her mother had promised Miho to give it to her one day. "Thank you, thank you!"

Carefully, Mikai hung it around her neck, and Miho stared down at it in rapture.

Their father, whose hobby was photography and painting, was actually the president of the technology and computer software division of the Kinhoshi Enterprise. He called out as he set up the tripod, "Everyone, gather for a picture. Hurry, hurry, I'm setting the timer!"

Quickly, Miara gathered her two children on each side of her. After setting the timer, Keisuke ran up to his family.

"Outo-san, lift me up!" Miho exclaimed, jumping up into her father's arms.

"Whoa!" Caught off guard, Keisuke collapsed under the weight of his daughter, just as the camera flash went off.

They all groaned.

******

The Tanaka family was a close-knit one, living a comfortable upper-class lifestyle in a fairytale-like Victorian mansion with a spacious garden in the elite Eitoukou, the town adjacent to Tomoeda. Tanaka Keisuke, five years older than his wife Mizuki Miara, was a respectable businessman, though not as keen on money-making as his older brother of the Tanaka Enterprise. A mild, moderate man, he preferred to spend time with his family, taking photos and sketching them in charcoal or pastel in his spare time rather than pouring over market demand charts and the Tokyo Stock Exchange graphs.

To make up for her husband's patient and laid-back nature, Miara, who had always been short-tempered since her youth, was ever impulsive and driven. Rather than staying home tied down by domestic affairs, Miara had taken Keisuke's advice to continue to pursue her career as a reputable freelance journalist. She had a knack for maneuvering words cleverly with her pen, and editorial columns grew to appreciate her direct, opinionated views. Unfortunately, Keisuke was often the most direct target for her biting tongue. But he was used to it, since they had been long-time friends; Keisuke had been an exchange student at Seijou University during her junior high school days. For many years he had waited for her to succumb to him, for she had always been too spirited to admit that she felt anything for him. They spent a few years apart, each pursuing their respective dreams, he as an artist and she as a writer. By the time Miara had graduated from university in Japan, Keisuke had already finished his doctorate in Paris and was an established businessman, following his father and older brother's footsteps.

"After all, I've got to support us," Tanaka Keisuke reasoned. "The C.E.O. of the Kinhoshi Enterprise is a good friend and business partner with my father. And he offered me a position that I cannot refuse."

"Who said you have to support me?" Miara retorted, gray eyes flashing in frustration. "I can support myself, thank you."

Yet a few months of freelance journalism proved to Miara that the world wasn't such an easy place to succeed in, especially for modernistic, liberal-minded young women in the conservative Japanese society.

"Say, Miara, you know that this is inevitable. You love me, don't you? Won't you stop being so stubborn and marry me now?" Keisuke asked her when he returned from abroad. It was a romantic moonlit night, where the sakura blossoms glistened like silver.

"I'm not ready yet, Keisuke-san," she replied as always. She couldn't be like her close friend Nadeshiko who married at age sixteen. "There's so much more I have to see, so much more I have to accomplish. I have to establish my name as a writer before I am bound down by some man."

"But who says you can't achieve your goals with me by your side? We can see the world together and accomplish our dreams together. Together, we can be even stronger and greater—can't you see that?" he insisted.

"Why are you so pushy? I want to run away when you say things like this," Miara replied. "It suffocates me! Maybe you can abandon your dreams like that and take the easy road out through your father's connections, but I can't. I have my own aspirations."

Any other person would have been offended, but Keisuke knew Miara too well, that she unintentionally uttered cruel words out of her temper. "I've been waiting for almost ten years now. How much longer will you keep me waiting, Miara? I love you. I even love this obstinate side of you. But I can't wait forever. Father expects me to produce a fiancée soon, or else he'll engage me off to some horrid executive's cow of a daughter."

"Do you think I care? Why do you always plague me? I'm not feminine or nice or pretty; definitely not a suitable wife for a high-class society man such as you," Miara said in exasperation. "Keisuke-senpai, tell me, why me?"

"You haven't called me senpai since your schoolgirl days," Keisuke chuckled. "One day, you decided to turn from a whiny, selfish school girl into a charming woman. And you started calling me by my first name, just like that. Then I realized how much you had grown, and how much I love you though you always run from me."

"Didn't you have an infatuation for Nade-chan?" Miara demanded, rolling her eyes but blushing all the same.

"I did, I did; she is the most gorgeous girl that I have ever set my eyes on, damn her husband; excuse my language. My artistic heart cannot help seeing her as a muse." Now, Keisuke's eyes were full of gentleness. "But admiration does not equal love."

"True." Miara as a writer understood this very well. Like how Ryuuren was the type of man she would dream about sweeping her off feet, but at the end of the day, she would like to marry a more dependable and steady man, one who would stay by her side till the end of her days.

Keisuke stared off into the distance. "Strange how we all drifted apart over the years. Her health's not been too good lately has it? Poor Nadeshiko—she always had a weak body. We were such good friends, and now we're all separated."

"Spend some time away from me, and you'll drift apart from me too," Miara commented bitterly. "You'll find someone much more suitable."

"I've already tried, dear Miara," Keisuke replied, eyes crinkling in the corners. "And either something must be wrong with my eyes or I must love you very much if I find you more attractive than all the gorgeous, voluptuous Parisian mademoiselles and seductive Spanish senoritas out there."

At this, Miara was speechless.

Keisuke's persistence in the long-drawn courtship paid off. Soon after, they had a traditional wedding at the Mizuki temple, blessed by their relieved friends and family, and after a cozy honeymoon in Paris, they settled down in the elite neighborhood of Eitoukou in a brand new house Keisuke had built just for Miara. Those first several years were so blissful and nothing could take them away from the happy newlyweds. Their firstborn son was named Mikai. When Miara saw the bright blue-gray eyes stare up at her for the first time, she felt a maternal love that she had never felt before. Mikai was a strange infant that never cried but just stared out at the world with his wide eyes full of wonder and curiosity. Two years later, Miara gave birth to her second child. By then Mikai was probably the most alert two-year-old ever seen—he managed to jump out of his crib or end up on tabletops or high cabinets when most babies should barely be able to waddle around. While most infants played with stuffed animals and rattles, he had an affinity for shiny things and liked to poke into his mother's jewelry box or tangle himself in his father's fancy photography equipment.

The first time toddler Mikai saw his little sister, he had stood on tip-toes to see the tiny, rosy-cheeked infant bundled up in a pale yellow blanket and cradled in her mother's arms.

"See, this is your little sister, Mikai," Miara said, bending over so that Mikai could see the baby's face.

Two-year-old Mikai blinked his blue-grey eyes and peered at his newborn little sister."

"Her name is Miho," Miara pronounced.

"Mi-ho?" Mikai repeated, tilting his head. He reached out with his chubby little hands to stroke the baby's peach-soft cheeks. "Miho!"

The baby girl giggled gleefully.

"So pwetty!" Mikai exclaimed.

"Isn't she?" Miara laughed, delighted. "Take good care of her from now on, Mikai-onii-chan!"

******

"What a beautiful girl," Nadeshiko said, gently cradling an infant Miho in her arms. "I think she will grow to resemble you a lot."

"Mikai adores her already," Miara replied, smiling, gazing at her three-year-old son, whose bright auburn hair glistened in the sun as he drew pictures with crayons for Nadeshiko's two-year-old daughter, Kinomoto Sakura. Little emerald eyed Sakura had already been drawn into Mikai's toddler charm and followed him around almost as in awe of him as of her own older brother. Nadeshiko's son, Touya, was at school, already in the fourth grade since his mother had married ridiculously early.

Looking a little pale, Nadeshiko handed the baby back to Miara, who rocked her tiny, fragile child back and fro in her arms. Turning her head away, Nadeshiko began coughing.

"Are you okay?" Miara asked, concerned. "I thought your health has been improving recently."

Fumbling for her handkerchief, Nadeshiko continued to cough, her emerald eyes dark and bloodshot. Miara drew a quick breath, not having realized how her close friend's health had been deteriorating while she had been obliviously lost in matrimony and the birth of her second child. And for the first time Miara realized how far they had come since the battle against the Dark Ones.

A little less than a year later, Nadeshiko passed away, leaving her three-year-old daughter and ten-year-old son in the care of her husband, Professor Kinomoto Fujitaka. He was a good man and one of the kindest Miara had ever met, the one person who in every way deserved such a wonderful woman as Amamiya Nadeshiko.

Though she had meant to keep an eye on her close friend's children, Miara found that contact with old acquaintances were hard to keep, especially since she became occupied with raising her own children, overlooking their education, participating in her husband's corporate events and fundraisers, and pursuing her journalist career. For the first couple years of motherhood, Miara mainly wrote at home as to tend to her children's upraising. Yet, once they entered school, she found she had more free time at hand and was able to work fulltime. She had never been much of a domestic person, so she left household chores to their housekeeper and cook. Their chauffeur drove Mikai and Miho to and back from school when she and Keisuke left for work; Miara always made sure the family at least ate dinner together, so that the children never felt neglected from having both parents working. Not that they minded, since they had each other.

The fact that Mikai was so responsible and dependable reassured Miara greatly. Ever since his little sister was born, he had learned on his own to tend to Miho and keep an eye on her. He always acted a lot older than his age, impressing his parents with his superb grades, the numerous awards he brought home from school and the compliments they received from random people on how well they brought up their son. In fact, they hadn't done anything at all.

Mikai had taken up archery at age five, barely old enough to bend a bow, after watching his cousin in a high school archery competition and deciding that it was a worthy pursuit. His parents had to custom-order a tiny bow with matching arrows for him. Within a year, he was already participating in elementary school competitions, and within a couple years, junior high level competitions. Nobody ever pressured him to excel in school, yet he was recommended to take advanced courses. An excited elementary school principal called home once, stating that Mikai had scored perfectly on an IQ test and that their son was undoubtedly a genius. Though his father figured that Mikai may have inherited his mother's ambition, Mikai also had his father's selfless, generous personality. The kindness and care he showed his younger sister always was a relief to their parents.

"My brother certainly was not so nice to me," Keisuke recalled. "And we two fight all the time still—wonder where he gets such a deep heart from, smart little boy." He stroked his sleeping son's auburn head.

Since both their parents were busy with work, Mikai from an early age learned how to look after his sister. Since most days, Miara was rushing off to her office or to a press conference, it was Mikai who brushed Miho's hair in the morning and braided it for her into two neat pigtails. In fact, he was much better at it than Miara was; she was too impatient to comb out all the tangles in her daughter's hair and usually ended up snaring the comb in her hair. Before leaving for school, Mikai always remembered to pick up the two lunchboxes that the cook prepared for them. At school, he always kept an eye on Miho to makes sure she wasn't bullied or pushed around since she was prone to be weak-willed and had difficulty standing up to some of her over-domineering peers. It was Mikai who tucked Miho into bed at night and told her bedtime stories, and woke her up in the morning and made sure she was washed and ate breakfast.

"I really do wonder who he takes after," Keisuke commented demurely to his wife as they watched their son receive his first gold medal in the national elementary school archery competition. While Mikai was not a competitive boy, he undoubtedly liked to win. "Definitely not his mother, who still hasn't reached maturity in her old age."

"Don't insult my age, Kei-san; remember you'll always be older," Miara replied nudging her husband's side. "Well, having two very immature parents must have had such an effect on him. With a deep, throaty chuckled, Keisuke brushed her forehead with a gentle kiss.

So Miho and Mikai grew up to be a tight pair of siblings, inseparable for a day. And the Tanaka family dwelt in so much happiness that would soon be shattered, for such bliss rarely can last.

*******