Last Time: It should have been just another simple night of crime-fighting. But things quickly got hairy when the mighty Cherry Blossom met up with…Skeletor? Her awesome power of…er…superdialogue wasn't enough to subdue the fiend and now a fierce battle rages on.

Who Is That Masked Cherry Blossom: Part 5

Sakura was ready to faint. She thought the Power Card had helped her win this impromptu battle, but it only succeeded in enraging an already hostile Skeletor. The villain raised his staff and the sky grew dark. The ram head of his staff then began to glow brightly. Whatever was coming, Sakura knew it wasn't good. She had to act fast.

"Shield Card!"

Lightning shot out of the staff but only hit the protective barrier of the Shield Card. Skeletor pounded his staff on the ground. The ground began to open up behind Sakura and her friends. Out of the crags emerged many ghoulish spirits. While they weren't able to penetrate the barrier of the Shield Card, they were enough to scare Sakura out of her wits.

"Oh great," Li muttered. "They found her Kryptonite."

Sakura felt her knees shaking. If there was one thing she was deathly afraid of, it was ghosts. She never bargained for any of this when she decided to take this job.

Eriol looked on as more ghouls began to emerge from the cracks in the ground. Skeletor must have been using his mastery of the dark arts to call them.

"Neat!" Eriol grinned. "I'll have to try that sometime."

"I don't think you're THAT kind of sorcerer, master," Ruby Moon noted.

"Don't tell me what kind of sorcerer I am," Eriol sighed.

"Uh, master?" Spinner Sun began. "How long are you going to continue this exhibition?"

"Just until the fun stops," Eriol answered. "And I don't think that time will come anytime soon."

The ghouls continued to come out and more began pounding against the Shield Card. Eriol knew better than anybody how strong the Shield Card could be. This could take a while, but just seeing Sakura squirm was enough to entertain him in the meantime.

Sakura would be flat on her back if it wasn't for Madison. Sakura's best friend had her in her arms and tried fanning her. The ghosts wouldn't stop coming out and their mere presence was getting to be too much for the wannabe superhero.

"Calm down, Cherry Blossom," Madison said nervously. "You'll be alright. They can't get through. They won't get to you."

Yue calmly turned to Keroberos. "You see what you've gotten us into? This is your fault, you know."

Keroberos sighed. "How was I supposed to know we'd be attacked by a fictional character? Ok, if you want to place all the blame on me, then I'll help make things right again. Observe as the Golden Lion exorcises these phantoms!"

Keroberos stepped out of the safety of the Shield Card and breathed out an inferno of fire. The ghosts were all hit, but none of them were eradicated. In fact, they were only covered in flames. They still remained undaunted and continued pounding away at Shield.

The guardian beast flew into the air. "It didn't work!"

"That's because you can't kill what's already dead," Skeletor explained. "It's common sense. And the dead certainly feel no pain."

Sakura kept shivering. "Enough already! Call them off! What do you want?!"

"I want the location of Castle Grayskull! Tell me where it is!"

Sakura groaned. "But I don't know where…!!"

Then she stopped herself in her tracks. If she couldn't beat Skeletor with any of her powers, she'd try more unorthodox methods. Not all superheroes relied on brawn. Some of them were able to outthink their villainous foes. The Cherry Blossom was about to do the same.

Sakura bravely stood up. "Ok, I'll tell you…on one condition."

Madison looked baffled. "Sakura?"

Skeletor chuckled. "I knew you'd see it my way." With a wave of his staff, the ground opened up again and the ghosts returned to the underworld. "There. Now tell me where Castle Grayskull is!"

"On one condition," Sakura reemphasized. "I saw you have a sword in your holster. I want to face you in a sword fight. And if I win, you leave this place forever and promise to stop your path of destruction."

Li's eyes widened. He inched closer to his girlfriend. "Uh…Sakura? Skeletor's one of the best fighters in the universe. You sure you know what you're doing?"

"The boy's right, you know," Skeletor noted. "This WOULD be an unfair advantage. I'll tell you what. Why don't I make this sporting for you? I'll let the boy fight at your side."

Sakura shrugged. "Alright, but you'll be sorry." For this task, she took out the card she needed. "Sword Card! Release and dispel!"

Sakura's wand extended out into the sharp blade of the Sword Card. Li took out his own sword. Both allies stood side-by-side as Skeletor took his sword out of his holster. After a brief standoff, both Cardcaptors charged forward with their swords drawn.

Ruby Moon scratched her chin. "Why does this look familiar to me?"

Eriol didn't have this in mind at all. While things were getting entertaining, he knew no good could come out of a sword fight with one of the mightiest warriors in the universe. It was just about time to step in.

"Should we intervene?" Spinner Sun asked.

Eriol stood up…but sat back down. "Not…just…yet…"

Sakura led off with a swing of her sword, which clashed with the metal of Skeletor's sword. The villain ran right past her and swung at Li, who met his swing with a swing of his own. Skeletor ran past them and stopped once the two sides were at a distance. He pulled another sword out of his holster and connected the two sword handles. The hooded villain had created a double-edged sword.

Madison grimaced. "Hope there aren't any lawyers watching."

Sakura charged again with Li right behind her. Both swung their respective swords, but were met with parries and missed thrusts from Skeletor's double-edged sword. Sakura swung sideways, but Skeletor skillfully jumped aside and spun towards Li. The villain tried to swipe at him, but Li countered by holding his sword up to meet the oncoming blade. Skeletor then kicked Li in the stomach once he was off-guard.

Skeletor swung his double-edged sword sideways, trying to decapitate Li, but Li knew how to defend himself. He tumbled out of the way and he found himself side-by-side with Sakura again. Both Cardcaptors briefly regrouped before charging in again. They tried to attack Skeletor from both sides, but Skeletor met each of their swings with parries and evasive maneuvers. He then leaped up in the air and spun with a furious kick, knocking both Li and Sakura back. While they recovered, Skeletor twirled his sword skillfully over his head.

Again, Sakura and Li rushed forward. They weren't getting any better this time around. Sakura tried swiping down with her sword, but only hit one of the blades of Skeletor's sword. While the two blades were against each other, Li tried to come in from the side, but before he could swing, his face met the back of Skeletor's fist. Once Li was knocked back, Skeletor kicked Sakura in the stomach. Skeletor turned around to see Li running towards him. As the villain swung his sword forward, Li jumped over the swing and dramatically rolled towards Sakura.

"Uh…Sakura…doesn't any of this look familiar to you?"

Sakura groaned. "Li, I think we all get that this is one big 'Star Wars' reference."

"But that's just it. If this is an homage to the Episode One climax, then shouldn't one of us be dying right about…AAAH!!"

As if on cue, Sakura looked on in horror to see one side of Skeletor's double-edged sword get lodged into Li's side. He pulled the blade out and Li fell to the ground.

Sakura gasped. "LI!! NO!!"

Li held his side, which was bleeding profusely, as Sakura knelt down to his side. Skeletor simply crossed his arms impatiently.

"That's one. Next?"

Sakura snarled and grew enraged. There were very few things in this world, or even this universe, more dangerous than an angry Sakura Avalon. Sakura was about to show this villain just what a mistake he had made.

Sakura charged forward once more and started swiping and swinging her sword wildly. Skeletor, the more composed of the two fighters, simply parried and blocked each blow. Sakura wanted to avenge Li more than anything. And she wouldn't let this fiend get away with what he did.

In hopes of getting ahead, Sakura just kept swinging wildly.

Madison inched closer to Li, who was still bleeding and losing vitality fast. There seemed to be nothing she could do. In her excitement and delusions of grandeur, she didn't think it would ever come to this. She couldn't believe her friend was dying.

The young girl solemnly closed her eyes, but didn't see someone else walk up to the scene.

"Can't have anybody dying. That's not part of the game."

Madison opened her eyes to see Eriol kneeling down beside Li and using his magic to heal him. She couldn't believe her luck. And in a matter of moments, Li sat up. His wound was completely healed.

"You have a great sense of timing," Yue said, echoing Madison's thoughts.

Keroberos flew down to the scene. "What do you mean 'not part of the game'?"

"I mean just what I said," Eriol answered. "Now if you'll excuse me, I believe it's time to end this little exhibition."

Madison didn't know what to make of this. Eriol's sudden appearance was a little too coincidental.

She was starting to smell a huge rat.

Sakura couldn't seem to land a single blow. She kept swinging her sword, but didn't even come close to connecting. Skeletor continued his dazzling array of evasive maneuvers until he caught Sakura by surprise with a leg sweep. Sakura fell on her back and the tip of Skeletor's double-edged sword was right at her neck.

"I believe it is all over," Skeletor said ominously.

"You got that right."

A light started to surround Skeletor. Before Skeletor could deliver any kind of killing blow, the villain started to shrink. Sakura sat up…and found herself looking down at a fallen action figure. And then she noticed she was at the feet of one Eriol Eli Moon.

"Are you ok?" Eriol asked.

Sakura blinked. "What…happened?"

"I believe my work is done," Eriol grinned. "Perhaps I should explain…"

Back in front of Madison's gate, Sakura and her friends stood angrily with their arms crossed (including Kero, who had reverted to his false form) as they stood in front of Eriol and his two guardians.

"I trust this has taught you all a valuable lesson," Eriol nagged. "I didn't want to have to do that, but I had to show you that crime-fighting is a dangerous idea and is NOT how you should be spending your nights." He smugly held up the Skeletor action figure. "You never know WHO you might run into."

"Did you have to have him KILL ME to prove your point?!" Li shouted.

"Nonetheless, my point was proven," Eriol countered. "Am I right, Sakura?"

Sakura didn't know what to think anymore. She had seen a lot tonight. She was nearly scared to death by the onslaught of ghosts that appeared out of the ground, she nearly lost Li, and she herself was almost killed at the hands of Skeletor. This was a huge eye-opener. There was nothing glorious about this line of work.

Sakura shook her head furiously. "I don't want to do this anymore! I think it's time for the Cherry Blossom to call it quits. And that goes for the rest of my team."

Kero snapped his fingers. "This was such a cool idea! I can't believe it has to end like this."

Eriol sighed. "Kero, there's something you've failed to realize. The life of a superhero is not always glamorous. How many times have you seen Spiderman always talking about hanging up his costume? How many times have you seen Batman regretting his own existence? How many times have you seen every other superhero beg to trade in their powers for a chance to be normal?"

Kero thought about that. "You know…you're right. Hey, how'd you know about all that?"

Eriol scoffed. "Just because I'm a sorcerer doesn't mean I don't enjoy the occasional comic book."

Sakura just waved her arm. "This has been a long night. Can we go home?"

"Yeah, we're tired," Madison yawned. "I'll kill you some other time."

"Me too," Li added.

Eriol nodded. "Yes, yes. Let's put all of this behind us."

Sakura bid her friends goodbye and gave Li a goodbye kiss before walking off. She was glad this was all over, but there was one thing still bothering her.

"Yue…if Kero or Madison ever try to get me into something like this again, promise you'll keep my head on straight."

"Yes, Mistress."

"Sakura, wait up!"

Sakura and her guardians stopped in their tracks as Madison caught up to them with her video camera in her hand.

"Since you're…retiring, can I…?"

Madison whispered the rest into Sakura's ear. Sakura sweatdropped.

"You've GOT to be kidding."

"Please, Sakura?"

Sakura sighed. "I can't say no to you, Madison."

Sakura and her guardians struck a pose as Madison taped them…while adding narration.

"And once again, the day is saved…thanks to the Cherry Blossom!"


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