Author's Note: Sorry for being away from this section for so long, CCS fans. It's hard to keep up my rigorous schedule, but now that my school year's finally over, I should have more time for writing. And that's always a good thing.

Summary: After sealing cards, facing magic, finding love, and hunting crystals, things in Reedington have been quiet. In fact, it's a little TOO quiet. And nobody's noticed that more than little Kero. But what can a little guardian beast do to create some excitement in his Mistress's life?

Who Is That Masked Cherry Blossom?: Prologue

It was just another quiet day in Reedington. Nothing's seemed to describe life in recent Reedington more than the word 'quiet'. Not many people minded. Sakura Avalon welcomed it. She had gone through a lot of excitement in her lifetime, most recently getting taken into another world known as The Dark Ocean.* Li Showron didn't seem to mind, either. He cherished any alone time he had with Sakura without having to worry about strange situations and magic.

Of course, not everybody appreciated how quiet things were getting. Kero was once again sitting up in Sakura's room, bored beyond belief. He had just finished playing Zylon Warriors all the way through for about the millionth time. There was nothing to do. After so many adventures, life had gotten boring.

Kero sighed deeply and took to the air. He slowly flew out of Sakura's room and headed downstairs. Hiding no longer mattered since just about Sakura's entire family was aware of her secret. Kero flew over to the kitchen to look for something to eat. He opened the refrigerator and looked for something to eat. It didn't take him long to find a pudding cup. Without hesitation, Kero grabbed the pudding cup and headed back upstairs.

The house was empty on this day. Sakura was out with Li yet again. Tori was out working yet another new job. And Sakura's father was out on yet another trip for the university. Kero had the house all to himself…and was bored out of his skull. With nothing else to do, Kero reached over into his desk drawer and pulled out one of his new comic books.

One of the things Kero was starting to enjoy recently was this discovery of comic books. It was quickly becoming one of his favorite recreational activities. At least it would be until the next Zylon Warriors game was released.

Kero couldn't help but be fascinated about certain crime fighters. Sure, there were some with outrageous powers that came from other planets that couldn't have possibly existed. Then there were the more realistic heroes. The types like Batman who were mere mortals with uncanny ingenuity. Those were the ones who caught the eye of the little guardian beast.

Just as Kero was about to crack open another Batman comic, someone knocked on the door. He didn't make too much of it, since there was no one around. But a few seconds later, the person gave up on the door and went over towards the side of the yard.

"Sakura? Are you here?"

It was eighteen-year-old Madison Taylor, Sakura's best friend, wearing a blue dress and holding up her video camera. She looked up and waited for someone to answer and Kero wasn't one to disappoint. He flew over and looked down.

"She's not here, Madison. She's out with the brat…again. I thought you'd know that by now."

Madison shook her head. "Just because Li lives in my guesthouse doesn't mean I know when he leaves. Can I at least come in and wait for her?"

"I thought you had a key," Kero thought.

"I left it at Eriol's house. Can you get the front door for me?"

Kero grumbled as he flew freely down the stairs. One of the upsides of Sakura's family knowing her secret was that he could fly around the house at will and only had to put on his stuffed animal act for visitors. He reached the front door and unlocked it. Almost immediately, the door opened up and Madison walked in.

"I guess we can wait until Sakura comes back," Kero said. "After all, how long can the brat possibly have her out?"

"I think we both know the answer to that," Madison replied. "But I'll wait for a few hours, anyway."

Madison took a seat on the couch and Kero sat right beside her. He looked around and just sighed.

"Something wrong?" Madison asked.

Kero nodded. "Madison…I'm actually glad you're here. I got sick of talking to myself after a while. Does it feel like life has gotten…I don't know…what's the word I'm looking for?"

"I don't know. What are you trying to say?"

"I'm trying to say that…life around here has gotten……………boring."

Madison slowly turned her head to face Kero. "What do you mean?"

"I remember things used to be so exciting," Kero explained. "We were out capturing cards of all kinds, facing all kinds of magic, getting stuck in a pyramid, and even finding ancient crystals. That all seems like ancient history now. What have we done lately? I feel like we haven't done ANYTHING! I'm just…BORED!"

After hearing Kero's words, Madison nodded. "So you've noticed it, too?"

Kero blinked. "I'm not the only one?"

Madison sighed. "Every time something exciting happened, I'd get the chance to make beautiful costumes for Sakura. She'd look SO cute! But now, things have gotten so quiet. There hasn't been an occasion. In fact, I was coming over today to ask Sakura if I could just make her a costume for no reason at all. I want something to do, Kero. Things just haven't been the same without the excitement."

"Before, I used to play Zylon Warriors to pass the time," Kero continued. "And after that, I used to play all the Zylon Warriors sequels. But after going through every game so many times, over and over and over, the thrill from that was gone. So I went out to find a new hobby."

"Is that why you've been reading so many comic books lately?" Madison asked.

"I can't believe I haven't discovered these sooner," Kero replied. "I haven't gotten my imagination working like this in…well…a really long time. And some of these stories are really captivating. The story of a young boy avenging his parents through fighting crime or the story of a young nerd getting bitten by a radioactive spider just hits you deep. The life of a crime-fighter must be really exciting…especially a MASKED crime-fighter! That sense of mystery is just awe-inspiring. I wish we had a life like that.

"I mean, think about it! Fighting evil and righting the wrongs of the world through superhuman feats and tremendous acts of heroism. Fighting for truth and justice. And using whatever power you may have to defend the innocent. And let's not forget the fame that such a life brings. I wish we had it that good. It's too bad that we don't have any extraordinary…"

Kero paused and thought about what he was saying. He began to remember just who his mistress was. She was a brave, young heroine who wielded the power of 53 magical cards. She was a powerful girl with more power than most, if not all, of the comic book heroes he had read. And that's when it him. That's when a smirk widened across his face.

"Kero? Why do you have that look on your face?"

Kero flew up in front of Madison. "Maybe we CAN have that life! Silly me! I forgot that Sakura's the Card Mistress! She has powers that mere mortals could only DREAM OF!"

"Kero, Sakura IS a mortal," Madison pointed out.

Kero sweatdropped. "Oh…right." Then he shrugged that thought off. "But Batman's a mortal, too. And just look at him! Imagine living that kind of lifestyle."

"So what exactly are you suggesting?" Madison asked.

"I'm suggesting…Sakura become the world's greatest masked crime-fighter!" Kero exclaimed cheerfully.

"You think Sakura can fight crime?" Madison muttered skeptically. "Kero, I believe in Sakura more than anybody, but…I don't know about this one…"

"Come on, Madison. We've both seen what Sakura's capable of. She's saved this town a few times. I'm sure she can handle this. If I didn't think she could, I wouldn't be suggesting this. I can see it now! Sakura strikes fear into the hearts of criminals and evildoers everywhere! We can bring order to this city through use of the Sakura Cards…and some of our new superhero's sidekicks."

Madison blinked. "Sidekicks?"

"We'll get to that," Kero grinned. "But imagine the opportunity, not just for Sakura, not just for me, but for YOU!"

"What do I get out of this?" Madison asked curiously.

"YOU get to design Sakura's costume. You've got real talent, Madison. You can make Batman's ultra-cool costume look like fashion disasters by comparison! This'll really be your opportunity to show your stuff! You can design the costume, the mask, the belt to hold the cards, and whatever other little trinkets you want to add. And did I forget to mention? As Sakura's sidekick, you'll get to fight by her side on each and every one of our adventures!"

Madison's eyes sparkled. "I like the sound of that! You know, I'm starting to think this whole idea isn't so farfetched, after all!

The little guardian beast's eyes sparkled also. "It's great, isn't it?! I can't believe I never thought of this before!"

"So when do we start?" Madison squealed.

Kero frowned. "Uh…first, we'd have to actually tell Sakura. And she might not be cool with this idea at first, so we have until the time she gets back to work on our sales pitch. We need to think about how we're going to propose this."

With that, Kero and Madison both sat on the couch with their chins leaning on their hands. They were both deep in thought and waiting for Sakura to come home.

The clock almost struck five o'clock. It felt too soon for eighteen-year-old Sakura Avalon to just end the day, yet she was already at her doorstep. Of course, the day wouldn't actually end until she told her longtime love, Li Showron, to go home. And with both Tori and her father out, she wouldn't be doing that anytime soon.

Life was finally starting to calm down for Sakura. After having magic revolve around her life for so long and being wrapped up in so many adventures, all she wanted was for life to settle down. She couldn't have asked for anything else. She was thankful that she wouldn't have to worry about anything anymore.

Sakura reached for her key and inserted it in the lock before turning to Li. "Wanna come in?"

Li smirked. "Do you even have to ask?"

Sakura turned the key and pushed the door open. What she didn't expect to see was a stampede head towards her. A stampede in the form of little Kero and her best friend, Madison. And they looked awfully happy about something.

"Sakura, we've been waiting forever for you to get home!" Madison said happily.

Sakura blinked. "You have?"

Kero dragged Sakura over to the couch. "Have a seat, Sakura. Wait until you hear this!"

Next Time: Kero and Madison pitch the new idea to Sakura. How does she take it? But it's not just her. How does Li take it? And how does a certain reincarnation take it?

*- See "Keeping Secrets"

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