Chapitre 1
Castle of Oblivion
(PREVIEW CHAPTER)


"Ahead lies something you need…
But to claim it,
you must lose something
that is dear to you."


"Here we are, everyone! Welcome to a new dimension!"

Syaoran winced slightly as he detached himself from his other traveling companions—the dark brooding ninja Kurogane and the seemingly cheery magician Fai D. Flourite—after being thrown mercilessly out of Mokona's mouth on the hard, cold ground in a tangled heap.

"You stupid white pork bun!" Kurogane growled and squashed Mokona between his palms furiously. "Can you ever land properly?"

"Now, now, Kuro-tan," Fai plucked the little fluffy creature from Kurogane's murderous hands. "There's no need to be so worked up, right? Just be glad that we didn't… oh, fell into a pit of hellfire, for example."

"You—!"

Syaoran smiled weakly at the usual argument sparked off among his comrades. They just never change, I guess? He then ignored them and began to study the environment they had arrived at.

They were standing along a narrow pathway that led to a huge, gold castle against the sky obscured with greenish-gray clouds. Many little aquamarine-colored turrets struck out of the building at odd angles; faint lights could be seen from some of the fancy windows, and Syaoran thought he caught a shadow flickered across one of them. There was something foreboding about this castle that sent shivers down his spine. He shuddered.

Kurogane obviously didn't like what he saw, either. He grabbed for Mokona's long ears. "What kind of bloody place is this?"

"Mokona doesn't know!"

Fai let out a low whistle and glanced at Mokona casually. "Hyuu… We might as well poke around a bit, hmm?" Syaoran knew that he was actually staring at Mokona's earring, which would glow whenever it was the time for them to move on to the next world. "Besides, we can't go anywhere else for now."

Syaoran opened his mouth to say something, but closed it quickly—he went into a defensive stand when a hooded figure materialized suddenly before the gang; the others tensed up too at the sight of the newcomer.

"Ahead lies something you need…" the figure spoke to them in a strange, low voice. "But to claim it, you must lose something that is dear to you." With that, it faded into nothingness.

Syaoran remained rooted to the spot, stunned. He felt as if his head was on fire after hearing the figure's speech—the painful memories of his past crashed within his mind. He bit his lower lip, trying hard not to show the pain on his face. He was glad that his companions did not question him and left him to force down the inner torment himself.

After a long silence, Kurogane spat with irritation, "What was that supposed to mean?"

"I don't know." Fai shrugged. "We might really have to find the answers…" He pointed to the large door that set before the gloomy castle. "…In there." He then turned to look at Syaoran expectantly.

"…We'll go." Syaoran nodded, his face set in determination. "Maybe… maybe it has some clues to what I've been searching for."


The door creaked open slowly as the group approached to the entrance, as if to welcome them. Kurogane frowned and reached for his katana, but Fai strolled past him into a gleaming white hall happily with Mokona on his shoulder. The ninja gritted his teeth in annoyance and followed the mage, with Syaoran bringing up the rear. Once all of them had passed through the entrance, the door shut behind them with a low rumble.

"Uh, should we just barge in like this—" Syaoran began, but stopped himself abruptly. He felt that he had just dropped something…

"Syaoran-kun?" Fai turned around and asked, concerned. "What's wrong?"

"…Nothing," he replied, somewhat distracted. "It's just… I thought I've dropped something—"

"Welcome to our castle."

Syaoran whirled around, his eyes widened—it was the hooded figure they met earlier. "You're…" The figure showed no sign of recognition. "What you have just dropped is… your 'memory'."

"Enough with this joke," Kurogane shot at it in a dangerously low voice. Before Syaoran could stop him, he had unsheathed his sword.

"…"

"Kurogane…san?" Syaoran asked softly.

The dark-haired man shook off Syaoran's concern and raised the katana once more.

"…"

"Hyuu~ Kuro-sama is trying to act cool," Fai commented cheerily. Mokona echoed after him, "Puu~ Kuro-pon is trying to act cool."

"Impossible…" Kurogane was oblivious to the smiling duo and brought the katana to his eyes, trembling slightly. "Impossible…"

What's going on here? Syaoran was getting more and more confused—this strange dimension they were now in made him feel insecure.

"I think it should be obvious," the figure spoke again. "The moment you set foot in this castle, you will begin to forget. You will eventually forget all the abilities you knew." It glided closer towards them. "But the forgetting does not end here. In this place, to find is to lose, and to lose is to find."

"Sounds like what the Dimension Witch would say, hmm, Moko-chan?" Fai patted on Mokona's head with a big grin, but his blue eyes were filled with caution.

The figure ignored the magician's comment. "That is the way… of Castle Oblivion."


- TO BE CONTINUED -