Aoi Namida
an SxS alterfic by Ekai Ungson

DISCLAIMER: I do not own CLAMP or Card Captor Sakura. Characters used without permission.

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Prologue:

Once in time, longa ago, two kingdoms fought over a great magical stone called the Aoi Hoshi. Lazen, in the east, and Ashtora, from the west.

This stone had immense magical power sought after by every major sorcerer, leader, and ruler of the world. It could grant ANY wish with only a word from the person who holds it. It can grant riches beyond any man's dreams. It can bring forth immortality. It could also bring forth the Apocalypse, if commanded so.

It was a time of universal turmoil and despair, but, in these events, two individuals were born, whose destinies were very different indeed, but had only one purpose.

To stop the conflicts.

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He had been born in the heat of the summer sun.

He was the only male born to his mother, rendering him with enormous responsibility to his clan and to his kingdom, Lazen.

He was given the name "Syaoran", which meant small wolf, and was put under intense training to lead his people to victory and win the ultimate prize for his country-- the stone they called Aoi Hoshi.

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"Raitei Shourai!"

A blast of lightning struck the intended target with deadly accuracy.

At the same time, a young man with mussed brown hair and glinting amber eyes landed on the ground in a battle stance, his breathing ragged, wiping sweat from his brow.

"That was very good, your Majesty," a butler from the shade said.

"Thank you, Wei," the young man replied.

The butler bowed. "Your mother wants to see you, my prince."

He nodded wordlessly and walked off into the castle.

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He went in to see his mother later.

The large doors opened to reveal a long hall.

"Mother?" he asked uncertainly.

His mother turned to him with a smile. "Xiao Lang. Come forth."

He stepped forward.

"I assume your training is progressing smoothly?" the queen asked. He nodded. "That is very good, my son. You must win the war for us. We must gain the Aoi Hoshi. I will not last long--" his mother's voice wavered.

He rushed to her side. "Mother. Do not talk like that."

The queen looked up at him. "My son, win the war. Obtain the blue stone. And rule this country."

He nodded.

Duties. As the First Prince of the Li clan in the kingdom of Lazen, his first and only priority was to defeat the forces of the enemy kingdom, Ashtora. That was the way it was, the only way it would be.

Their victory had to be assured.

Even if he had to exchange his life for it.

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She had been born in the light of the new moon of spring.

She was the second child of the King and Queen of the kingdom Ashtora. The people rejoiced. A princess was born!

Her elder brother was the one put in charge of the military activities to win the magical blue stone she'd heard in her father's stories. She was raised in the ways of her gentle mother, kind, caring.

But in her heart was a steely courage and a fiery determination she had inherited from her father, the king.

She was named Sakura, after the cherry blossoms that bloomed on the night she was born.

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"Hime-sama... Himesama-Sakura!"

The young woman picking flowers looked up. "Over here."

The maidservant rushed toward her. "Oh, Hime-sama. You know very well that you musn't stray out of the castle! There might be Lazen forces--"

"No one can harm me here, Alene," the princess replied. "What is it you want?"

"Hime-sama, your father wishes to see you at once."

Her eyes narrowed. "Whatever for?"

"I believe it's about your engagement--"

Sakura sighed. "Again? I haven't said yes to anyone. I doubt if I ever will."

"I think, Hime-sama, that is exactly why his Highness wants to talk to you."

The princess stood up. "Very well."

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"She's a little too young to be engaged to anybody!"

"Now, now, Touya. You know that it is policy. Sakura-chan is seventeen. We must find her a husband."

"But you're the King of Ashtora, 'tou-sama! Surely we can rig the law--"

"Otou-sama...?"

Three pairs of eyes looked up.

"Sakura-chan! There you are," the king, Fujitaka, said. "Come here."

Sakura stepped forward uncertainly. "Alene said you wanted to talk to me about something."

"Yes, child," Queen Nadeshiko said. "It's time to discuss your engagement."

Touya's frown deepened. Sakura fought the incredible urge to hide behind her elder brother.

"But... okaa-sama, I haven't said yes to anyone just yet," Sakura reasoned.

"What about that man from Lotori?" the king asked.

Sakura glanced disbelievingly up at her father. "Otou-sama, he's old enough to be my grandfather," she replied.

"Or that boy from Chai, that Takaite duke," Nadeshiko tried.

"No WAY is my sister going to marry a man from Lazen!" Touya cried.

"It would NOT matter whether he was from Lazen or not, onii-chan," Sakura said. "I say no to him, too. He's brutish and chauvinistic and I don't like him."

"You musn't be picky, Sakura-chan," Fujitaka cautioned.

"Why shouldn't she be picky with the man she's going to marry, for crying out loud?" Touya countered.

"I agree with Touya-kun, my king," Nadeshiko said. "Marriage is something we should never force."

Sakura breathed a sigh of relief. Touya smiled.

Outnumbered, Fujitaka sighed. "Very well. We shall put off Sakura's engagement 'til she finds a suitable man to marry." He then turned to his daughter. "But, for the gods, Sakura-chan. Hurry up. I won't live forever to take care of you."

"In time, my love," Nadeshiko said. "In time."

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AN: Okay. First installment of Aoi Namida accomplished. This should be tons of fun. Now I have to go. I have my senior prom in hours!

visit Ekai's weblog at http://starcast.pitas.com