Wish Upon A Star
I decided to do an epilogue, thanks to all my lovely reviewers! I especially have to thank fay208 for telling me the holes in the story. Thanks for reading, fay208! I'm glad you wanted to know, and forgive me for forgetting to stitch everything together. Here it is, and I hope it answers all your questions! tomoyo-amethyst, jess r 94, there's a bit of fluff in the end that I'm sure you'd like to read. HappyHam, I hope you'd also get to appreciate the epilogue. I put all my heart into writing this ending.
Well, with no further ado, here it is!
"Tell me the truth, Adolf," a cold knife was laid on his throat; shiny silver against dull olive. "Tell me, why did you plan on killing Tomoyo, and why did you kill her parents?"
It was inside one of the most heavily guarded cells in the Li castle, a boxed room made of thick stone, a small bunk bed on the far left, a table beside it which contained a pen and paper and a small white candle on a rusting candleholder, which poorly lit the small room. A small cubicle was at the far right, with a small faucet, a toilet, and a shower. On the walls of the room were graffiti of every kind; it was the only pastime the prisoners have, despite the fact that they had nothing else to do. The only way inside the room was a heavy metal door, which needed three or more soldiers for it to open. Multiple bolts were fastened onto the door, which took the soldiers ten minutes to lock and unlock each time. A small flap was below, about the length of a fist, where a tray of food was put in thrice a day. This tiny flap was heavily guarded, for any sign of skin showing outside the cell meant that the prisoner was trying to escape. Guards, of course, cannot allow that.
In the end of the room was a small window guarded by thick metal bars. One would not even have enough height to even reach the window, since it was ten feet high. But if ever anyone had tried it, jagged stones were poised at windowsill.
Tonight, a full moon was visible through the window. There were neither clouds nor stars. But of course, the window was too small for one to see the whole sky. It was the only window of the prisoner had to the outside world. All else was enshrouded in darkness.
Any prisoner would go mad if kept here for a few months. And it was nearly a year that Adolf was inside this cell. He was as thin as a stick, the olive skin of his face sagging like he had aged 20 years. His mouth, smirking even if held with a knife, showed blackened teeth, two of which had fallen out. He was wearing a dark green shirt with holes, and threadbare black trousers.
"I will not tell you even if I die," his voice was coarse, his throat dry.
"Yes, you will, Adolf," Eriol growled, "because you can become free if you tell me the truth."
"Free? Free?" Adolf was laughing like a madman, his papery voice echoing creepily through the room. "Do you think that I'll ever be free? I've been locked in this damned cell – and I'm going out of my mind! Free, you say? You wouldn't even think of it."
"If I kill you, then," Eriol muttered through gritted teeth, "it will be fine for you?"
"I'm dying anyway," Adolf cackled again, his voice rising an octave higher. "Save me the theatrics. I will tell you the truth. Let me sit down first."
And Eriol let the sick man go, letting him sit on his bunk bed. He pulled a gun from his pocket and aimed it at him for safety measures.
"You can put the darned gun down," he said, "I don't have the strength to hurt you anymore."
Eriol hesitated, but put it down anyway, keeping his finger at the trigger. Adolf began to speak.
"Tomoyo's mother, Sonomi, was one of the most beautiful women in the world – no, the most beautiful, actually, and my master was madly in love with her. He wanted to marry her, and he did everything he could to have her – he lost his own fortune trying to buy her all the riches in the world any woman would want. But Sonomi still didn't want my master, even after all that! He was kind, rich, handsome. What else could she want? Her rejection made him go mad, after all, he had lost all the money he had worked hard for, and yet, he didn't have the girl he wanted. What shocked him more was that a boy who was so poor- a peasant without a penny- was the one she decided to marry! He killed himself – and boy, was I there! I tried to stop him, but no, no one can stop a man when he's decided on something. His last wish was for me to kill their child. I loved my master with all my heart, because he had saved me from dying when I was young. My parents were dead, you see, and a gang of men wanted me to steal, and I did. But one day, I was nearly caught, and they wanted to punish me because the whole neighbourhood knew I was the thief – and then my master saved me and took care of me. He was the only good man in the world. When he killed himself, when my only master was dead, I had begun to hate the wretched woman as well!"
There were tears in his dull eyes as he laughed, but no one could really know if it were of grief, for stamped on his lips was maniacal smile. It was his trademark smile, but it was more ghostly and creepy than before. It did not scream of killing, rather, it screamed of death.
"That damned woman destroyed his life – and destroyed my life as well! I tried to work, but people still knew I was a thief when I was young, and they didn't want such a filthy person near their kids! I had nowhere to go, nothing to do. His wish was the only thing that kept me living, and so I searched for their daughter. But I failed. My master would be mad if I hadn't done his dying request - and when we meet in the afterlife, I would use all of it just to have his forgiveness."
Eriol's gun was no longer at the trigger; he replaced it back in his pocket. Adolf was roaring in laughter.
"Adolf, I think your master will forgive you," he said reassuringly, and he smiled. When he left the cell, Adolf's wheezy laughter still echoed inside the dungeon.
A few days later, Adolf was dead. One of the soldiers reported him screaming "Master, master!" in a loud, joyous voice, and then he wept bitterly, asking for forgiveness to this master who wasn't even in the room. Maybe he could see him, and maybe he was finally taking him home, for he was screaming "I am saved!" as his last breath left his lungs.
Epilogue: The Beginning
It was another meeting of the men, and they were all complete inside Syaoran's study. The room was dark, and the only light hung from the candle in the middle of a round white table where they were all seated. The yellow light illuminated all their grave faces. The room was silent; the doors were locked, and nobody was allowed inside. The new King, Syaoran Li, was the first one to speak up.
"Adolf's case is over. We only have two enemies left." His voice was stern and it commanded attention, but it very much unlike his father's. His voice had a ring of justice with a tinge of gentleness.
"Why was your father after us?" It was Fujitaka who spoke next, who was still unable to believe that a father could hurt his only son, being a father himself. Syaoran's jaw tightened as he spoke and he felt the same anger he had felt all these years fire up angrily in his chest. Eriol, noticing this, spoke in a low voice.
"King Li-"he started, but Syaoran held out his hand to stop him.
"I'll ask him." His voice was now grave. His handsome face now seemed ghastly against the yellow light. "I have to deal with my own-"he stopped, unable to say the word, "-father."
Silence filled the room.
"Let's move on to The Mistress," Fujitaka was clearly trying to change the topic, for he had seen the anguish in Syaoran's eyes, even in the candlelight. Being the one who opened the topic, he felt guilty arousing such emotions in the young king's heart.
"We can't coax a word out of her, the prison has already made her worse than dead. Even a madman could speak, but she is worse. I cannot even bear to look at her."
Fujitaka stopped, unable to speak any longer. A look of horror flashed in his fatherly dark eyes.
"When Dad and I visited her,"Touya's anger toward the woman was evident in his voice, as he continued in place of his gentle father, "her mouth was wide open, and her drool was spilling out. She ate nothing, said nothing, she didn't even move."
He slapped an angry fist at the table. "We thought we could find an explanation as to how he lured my mother into giving her Sakura... But she is even more useless than the dead, with her eyes staring at one direction, but only looking at nothingness." Touya's voice was rising in anger. "She could have been a madwoman, and she could have been screaming! But no, she wasn't. She is dead in spirit, and her body is decaying as she breathes. How can we ask anything from her, when a mute person can say something more than she could?"
"I have researched about this mysterious Mistress," Mike suddenly spoke. Everyone adjusted in their seats, anxious to hear what the other prince would report. Mike also arranged himself on his set before he spoke, his pale face contorted into the face of death by the candlelight.
"The Mistress, like Adolf, is taking revenge, but not for her master. She has no master. She was once a princess, the eldest of all three princesses. It was a kingdom far away. They were plagued with illness and they had gone extremely poor. Being the eldest, she was ordered by her father to marry someone rich to save their kingdom. The Mistress, was vain, strict, and ugly. No one wanted her. But still, she had had a good heart, and she loved her family more than anything else. She would do anything for them. So she left the kingdom to find a prince. She travelled everywhere, and only came back with empty hands. No king wanted his son to be married to a princess who was poor and ugly – and whose kingdom was dying. When she returned, everyone in her family was dead because the plague had spread to the royal family. In anguish, she took all the money that was left in the kingdom and made herself rich. No one knows how or why, but she became rich. Even I couldn't find it. It wasn't in her diary."
"In her... diary?" Syaoran repeated, his eyes narrowing in disbelief.
"This," he smirked, and pulled out a small brown book from his coat pocket. It was old; the ends of the pages were shrivelling up. The pages were yellowing and easily crumbled as they flipped from page to page. "I found this in her study, as I looked for evidence in their mansion."
He handed them the artifact, and each one passed it so that everyone can study the said evidence.
"It's a bother to read it, seriously," he continued, "wait- be careful! It rips easily. Anyway, her handwriting is blurred and cramped, she must've been crying as she wrote each time."
Mike paused, taking a look at everyone's ghostly faces. "About Sakura and Tomoyo, she trained them in the hopes of letting them marry someone rich – and she was planning to kill them in the end, so as to make others feel what she felt. She never succeeded, though."
"Let me see," Eriol spoke, and Syaoran handed him the diary. He flipped it to one of the pages, reading aloud, "It will be easy to marry off these two orphans, because they are beautiful, thanks to me. When I have made them all married and pampered and happy by their useless husbands, I will kill them all by my own hands, and I will only allow their husbands to live, because I want them to feel all the pain and anguish I felt. But, even if I do this, their pain might not be even compared to mine."
They all shivered at her words, even if she was dying in prison. Eriol's hairs stood on end, and Syaoran's blood ran cold. It seemed that her pain and rage, transcribed into words, were now felt by everyone in the room, especially the prince and the king involved.
But there was a voice, a king's voice that asked something else. Clearly, he wanted to escap the topic as soon as possible. After all, it was over. The Mistress could not hurt them with her state.
"Fuji-Fa-father," he stumbled through his words, "would you mind telling me about Sakura's mother?"
All the color in Fujitaka's face disappeared, and under the yellowish light, he looked like a ghost. There were dark circles under his pained eyes, and his pale, chapped lips were in a thin line. He sighed as he adjusted his glasses and looked far away, outside the dark window. He was deep in thought.
"Nadeshiko," he finally said, still looking outside. "My wife, hid with Sakura. There was a war in our village, and Touya, Yukito and I were busy preparing for the war with the other men. "
He put his trembling hand on his forehead and raked his brown hair. "She was killed in the war because the warriors came for the women and children first..." his voice wavered and crumbled, and he buried his face in his hands.
"I-I'm sorry, Father," Syaoran whispered, "I'm so sorry for bringing this up."
"No, it's OK," he assured, trying to smile, but it ended up as a bleak movement of his lips. "I think you should know."
Syaoran nodded gravely, and Fujitaka continued with his story.
"We, we tried to find her, we did," his voice was hollow and hard to understand, "but no matter how we tried, we couldn't find her, nor Sakura. We thought they were both dead! That's why it came to us as a surprise that she was right in front of us... we did not try to make you notice, though, because... we were just so glad..."
And he was sobbing uncontrollably, his feelings welling up that only a husband and father would know. Touya, who had tears in his eyes, rubbed his father's back gently, trying to soothe the pain they both felt.
"It's best Sakura doesn't know this," he whispered through his tears, "Please, Syaoran.
"But, Father," he answered respectfully, "I think she has an idea about that already, since she already noticed you were not with her."
"I know," Fujitaka's voice was draped with grief, "but I don't want her to cry, Syaoran. She'll blame herself for being the only one who survived. You know that."
Syaoran gulped. It was hard to keep secrets from her, especially when he remembered how her eyes twinkled when she showed him Nadeshiko's letter. She was tracing her handwriting, a tender smile set on her angelic face. How could he lie to her about something so important?
"Promise me, Syaoran," Fujitaka begged, now looking up at him with a pained expression. "Please."
Syaoran bit his lip, but nodded.
"Yes, I promise, Father."
With the help of the guards, Syaoran was inside his very own father's cell. It took him hours of silence to meditate for this, with Eriol prodding him the encouraging words when he was close to giving up. After all, he was his father, he said. It was natural that he should face him. Those words were, at first, enough to bring him down, but now that he was here, with the guards now closing the door behind him, he had to fight the urge to just run away and hide, and leave all truth to die.
But truth, no matter how painful, is important, Eriol's voice echoed in his ears. He was right, of course, and he cursed under his breath, making a mental note to hit him after this was over.
He wished he was over, but it had just started. The room was dark, and his footsteps echoed creepily as he walked.
"I knew you were going to come," King Li's voice was still the same; as cold as steel and as hard as rock. But somehow, it had changed, it had grown weaker - and Syaoran, being under that voice for years, had noticed the subtle change.
Syaoran carefully neared him, his hand at his back, clutching his knife for safety. Sitting on the bed was the figure of his father, slightly hunched. It was dark, and the candlelight was too dim that he could not even catch a glimpse of his face.
Then, a thin, bony hand reached out for him and he jumped in fright. Its fingernails were covered with black dirt. The hand was yellowing, with black spots everywhere. King Li laughed, his steel voice cutting through the silence of the cell.
"You want to hear a story?" his voice mocked his son, "I have heard Adolf's from the other cell, and trust me, this isn't any better, my coward son."
"I don't care," he retorted through gritted teeth, "just tell me."
"So now you're trying not be scared, eh?" Syaoran did not see if he was smiling or frowning because he could not see his face in the darkness. "It's as simple as this. We are all born into the Li clan, and everyone else in my family is like this as well. Your ancestors, Syaoran, are even worse than I am. It was just that they were stupid enough to choose a weak wife – that's why your head was brainwashed."
"She did not brain—" Syaoran tried to fight back, but his father stopped him.
"Tut-tut- I am not yet done, Syaoran! Is this what your peasant queen is teaching you?"
Syaoran's fists were clenched, ready to strike, but he halted, for he knew hurting him would not make him spout the truth any faster.
"Syaoran, I had to be like this, because I was once like you. My mother is like my bastard wife! He brainwashed my head as well, until my father both beat us up, until she died, and I knew the truth. Even you, Syaoran, would know that tarnishing the Li name would disgust the whole clan, and so - I had to kill anyone trying to ruin it, or in this case, trying to run away."
"I had to kill your peasant wife as well, but here we are," he laughed again, "it seems like the line of Lis will die, because of your softness."
"Softness is not weakness!" Syaoran bellowed, not able to take it any longer. "You are heartless!"
"I already know that," he answered, and Syaoran felt him smirking, "but let me be, Syaoran. A man knows when to give up."
Syaoran was dumbfounded. His father, his very own father, who would have the gall to kill his own son, now, giving up? Just what drug does the cell have to change people?
He laughed again, as if he could read Syaoran's thoughts. "I loved your mother, Syaoran, and when I killed him because of the elder's orders, my conscience died as well."
Syaoran opened his mouth to speak, but closed it again. He had no words to say to his old man. How could he even believe someone with eyes colder than ice, with the heart harder than any stone, love someone he called weak?
"You may not believe me, but when your mother gets killed, and when you kill the only person you love – your judgement will be blurry. It will just be all about killing."
"But you were harsh even before you killed her!" he bellowed, tears springing from his fierce eyes. "You beat her up!"
"Under the elders orders', remember, Syaoran?"
"You could have done something!" he roared angrily, "how could you let her die?"
"I was... weak." Syaoran was surprised because his father's voice had lost all its anger and pride. It was like the voice of someone lonely; someone who was... lost.
"I'm dying, Syaoran," he continued, "I can see her now. She has forgiven me. She – the person I killed – has-has-" he voice trailed off, and Syaoan could swear he heard his voice shudder.
The silence was long.
He knew now exactly what to say, because in the end, he was still his father, and he was his son. The relationship was always more important than the fight, as his mother told him before. He had forgotten about it, since his eyes were clouded by hate for his father, but now, her spirit seemed to linger stronger than ever. He could even believe she was beside them both.
Finally, they were a family. Maybe not physically, but in spirit. A family is measured not by the number of smiles of hugs, but of the feeling of home and the understanding everyone possesses for each other.
"I forgive you, Father," he whispered, "the same way mother has."
"Then come close, son," it was the first time he had called him his son, and he ran to his side like a child called by his father for the first time. And truly, it was the first time. His heart could not have been more contented.
"Look at your mother. She's prettier as an angel, don't you think?"
Tears sprung from Syaoran's eyes, and without knowing it, the knife dropped to the floor with a shrill sound. Both seemed to ignore it.
"I'm sorry, Syaoran," he whispered, "without the elder's hands, I can now understand. Forgive me."
"I already have, Father," he now saw his father's face, which was gaunt and bony. The gait of order and command it possessed was now gone – he looked years younger, but his body was thinner and frailer than ever. His lips weren't in a thin line that he always had; it was now neither a frown nor a smile. He was...
"Don't die, please," he pleaded silently. He reached out his hand to him but King Li shook his head.
"Leave me now, son," he said, his voice softer, "I have done too much, and it's best if I leave you."
"But... Father, I just got you!"
"Please, son," Syaoran was astounded at how gentle his voice was, "please."
It took all of his power not to turn his back to him, but he had to. It was his father's dying wish. How many wishes did he have to fulfil that were against his will?
"Congratulations on your wedding, son," King Li smiled his last smile, and his breath expired.
King Li was laid in a white coffin, and buried in silence. Syaoran was crying, not with tears of anger and rage, but of tears of understanding and love.
"Tomoyo, easy, please," Sakura warned, as Tomoyo tried to stand up, "please don't force yourself. The doctor said you should take it slow!"
But under the wonderful morning light, with the wonderful flowers surrounding them, Tomoyo could not fight the urge to try.
"Tomoyo!" Sakura held her arm and supported her arm, "since Eriol is out, I advise you to stay safe. You know how he could get—"
"I know! That's why I'm trying while he's away!" she cut her off, gripping the wheelchair for support as her foot touched the grass, "Ahhh... the grass is so soft and cool!"
"Now, Tomoyo, please, take it slow!"
Tomoyo giggled. "I'll be fine, Sakura! It's all in my head, remember? It was just a trauma."
Sakura frowned. "I can't believe you just belittling your past situation, when we were all dying of worry. And the doctor said your trauma was weird, because you couldn't even move. The usual traumas would make people have nightmares, or would make them go mad, but..."
"I know," she smiled sadly, "I could hear everything you said, and I could feel you touch me, but... I didn't know what was with me. I couldn't move nor speak. I couldn't really do anything. I guess my mind just shut down because of everything. It was like a coma. But now, I'm awake! That's the important thing, right?"
"I'm just glad you're back to normal," Sakura said, smiling, "Eriol... Eriol... was in a lot of pain."
"This is my surprise for Eriol, okay?" she said, trying to hide her pained expression. "So help me, please, Sakura?"
Tomoyo sucked in a huge breath, taking in all the scents of the flowers that surrounded them – it was enough to jumpstart her day.
"Ok, Tomoyo, 3-2-1-"
Tomoyo closed her eyes and pushed her body forward. Please, please, please, she prayed, this is for Eriol. She felt nothing but the cold grass under her feet and the warmth of the sun. Because of months of not moving her body, her muscles were a bit painful as she tried to move them, but it was alright. This pain could not compare to what Eriol felt.
Her eyes shot open when she heard Sakura cry in happiness, and she saw her face at the same level as hers, her eyes gushing with tears of joy.
"You did it, Tomoyo!" she cried happily, kissing Tomoyo in delight.
Tomoyo screamed, and without knowing it, she jumped along with her bestfriend. They both fell down as they laughed, their backs on the soft grass. They felt like they were ten years younger – the kids whom them were – who could now play instead of being ordered to be a woman at such a young age.
"I'm so happy, Tomoyo," Sakura cried, "I'm so happy..."
The two bestfriends hugged tight, laughing and giggling like little kids who had finally found something fun to do. It was Sakura who broke their laughs, her eyes shining as she whispered:
"I'm pregnant, Tomoyo. You're the first one to know!"
It was still like a dream, and Eriol could still not believe it. He was skipping as he walked, laughing by himself. It had been a week since Tomoyo had finally woken up from her slumber, and yet, to him, it still felt like a dream.
"Eriol, Eriol," it was the angelic voice that roused him after crying himself to sleep, "I love you."
He shouted in the empty street, unable to contain the joy that was inside him. He had just left her for a few hours, but it felt like years to him. He put his hand in his pocket from the umpteenth time and felt the velvet box.
He had thought that when she woke up, she would scream and pry him off her, but her words blew him away. He could not help but cry as he repeated his confession to her, tears falling down his cheeks.
"I love you, Tomoyo, I love you, I love you, I-" his hands were on her cheeks, staring at her eyes, which were now warm amethyst. It wasn't dull anymore. Her cheeks were now pink, and he cried harder.
"I love you..." he repeated, still unable to believe the sight in front of him.
He kissed her.
The kiss warmed the cold depths of his broken heart, building a fire inside him. All his tears, his worries, his fears, his loneliness, were melted by the fire that Tomoyo lit, and his heart was nothing more than a pool of contentment and joy.
She kissed him back like there was no tomorrow, their lips making up for all the lost time...
He was now in front of the Li castle, and had run through the garden in joy. In front of the door was the maiden he loved, standing up, her arms wide open.
"Tomoyo?" he could not believe his eyes, "You can-"
And he sprinted as fast as he could, and carried her in his arms.
"You're perfect," he said, kissing her lips, "I love you."
"I love you more," she answered, kissing him back. "Aren't you glad I was able to stand up now?"
"Glad? I'm overjoyed, Tomoyo." he carried her to the garden, and laid her on the grass. He was on top of her, kissing her like it was their first time. He fumbled with the box in his pocket and pulled away. Tomoyo looked confused, but then he grinned and took her hand.
He kissed it tenderly as he knelt in front of her, and opened the box. "Tomoyo, will you marry me?"
There was no moment of hesitation. "Yes!" Tomoyo answered, her eyes filled with tears.
And laughing happily, she kissed him and Eriol wrapped his arms around her.
This was more than heaven, for now, she was in his arms forever.
And it was just the beginning.