She was standing on a ledge, her eyes gazing up at the Tokyo Tower as all around her cards rained from the sky. They were like no cards she’d ever seen before. A pink cape billowed out behind her, a staff in her hands clutched tight. The lights of the city illuminated the sky and the large pale moon behind the tower, but that brightness was nothing compared to the sliver which streaked across the sky, a white tail creating a rift in the night.
She tried to speak, but found she had no voice. She looked down at her hands, finding the staff was gone and replaced with an ornate red book, but she could not make out clearly what the image on the front was-as though it were covered by a blurry film.
The rift glowed brightly, and she gazed back up into the sky, watching as dozens of tiny orbs of light floated out from it. She tried to focus on one, but like the book she found she could not, and do nothing but watch as the orbs collided with the cards around her. They each melded together seamlessly, and she raised her hand to catch one, the large red card bordered with purple. A regal red face adorned the top of the card, while at the bottom of the image was a sharp purple one.
Slowly, the image on the center began to clear, an outline appearing against a plain backdrop and when it was finally revealed- it was a robot.
The card slipped through her fingers, and she gasped when she saw behind the tower was a great shadow, a looming dark form. Two bright red slanted rectangles, looking so much like eyes, stared piercing at her. A cold dread welled up inside of her, fear rising as she held its stare.
Kinomoto Sakura sat up in her bed, clock in hand as she tried to figure out where the sound was coming from before sleepily staring down at the device. She shook the cobwebs from her brain, the remnants of her dream fading away as she turned the alarm off.
She hopped out of bed, her thoughts straying even further from the dream and tiredness as excitement for starting the new day began bubbling up in her chest. She zipped through her morning routine, tying her hair up after getting into her school uniform, and zipping down the steps to the kitchen where her father was behind the counter at the stove, and her brother was already seated at the table. “Good morning!”
“Good morning.” Her father called back.
Touya looked up at the ceiling before smirking down at Sakura. “I’m surprised you got up so early. You sounded like a monster thrashing around up there.” He grinned as Sakura tried to reached for him, her face angry and vengeful, but he placed his mug on her head and kept her at bay as she flailed her arms. “Then again, monsters aren’t short, are they?”
Sakura growled in frustration and ducked back, panting heavily from exhaustion. ‘One day I’ll be taller than you, and squash you flat!’ she could already imagine herself growing up to Kaiju size and crushing her brother underfoot. Sakura clenched her fist determinedly; then Touya would have to stop teasing her!
She slid into her seat, her eyes wandering to the picture on the table nestled against a flower vase. Her mother’s smiling face peered out, and Sakura smiled sweetly back. “Good morning, Mom.” She said softly.
Her father set a plate in front of Sakura, and held out a box wrapped in a light cloth to Touya. “Your lunch.”
“Thanks, Dad.” Touya replied. “I have to get going, I have soccer practice.”
Sakura stiffened; if her brother had practice, then that meant she could… With no further thought, Sakura began quickly eating, practically inhaling her food. She needed to finish so badly, and washed it down, holding her mouth while trying to keep from hacking it back up.
Fujitaka smiled gently at her. “Are you sure it’s enough?” Sakura nodded and her father held out her lunch box to her.
She dizzily hurried to the front foyer, taking off her slippers and rushed to get on her rollerblades and safety pads and gloves. Sakura gasped as she heard her father saying goodbye to Touya and quickly got to her feet. ‘Oh no, he already left?’ she rolled out the door, skating by Fujitaka as he stood by the gate in front of the house.
“Do you have club duties?” he called after her.
“Yeah!” Sakura yelled back, waving as she glided along the street. ‘Where did big brother go? He couldn’t have gotten that far. I just hope he’s going to be…’ her thoughts trailed off as she came across the cherry trees, their blossoms falling all around the streets. She’d always been in awe of them, growing so big through the years and still going strong.
When she caught up with Touya, he looked down at her while keeping one eye on the street as he kept peddling his bike. “You could have taken your time.”
Sakura glared up at Touya, but what caught her attention was a high-school boy in the same year as her brother. She blushed as she looked at him, her mind swirling as a bubbly feeling curled in her stomach. Yukito had been her brother’s best friend for what felt like forever, and she’d had a crush on him for just as long. “Good morning, Yukito-san.” She said, slowing to a halt as Touya hit the brakes on his bike.
“Good morning, Sakura-san.” Yukito replied politely. “Have club duties this morning?”
Sakura nodded and twiddled her thumbs together. “Yes.” She mumbled.
“Could hardly wait to get up,” Touya said teasingly, “she sounded like a monster stomping around-” Sakura kicked him in the shin, and Touya’s body froze up.
She noticed Yukito watching, and blushed as she sweetly.
School was bustling as students began to arrive, and Sakura was brought out of her momentary sadness that this was her stop while Touya and Yukito kept going. She looked up when Yukito called her name, and held out her hands just in time to catch a candy he’d tossed to her. Sakura looked down at the wrapped sweet and blushed. ‘Yukito-san…’ She turned, but reeled back as someone had sneaked up on her. “T-Tomoyo-chan! You scared me!”
“I’m sorry, Sakura-chan, but you looked just so cute while lost in thought.” Tomoyo said dreamily.
Sakura faltered at that, her expression baffled. Tomoyo could be strange sometimes, but she had just learned to ignore it for the most part; she was pretty harmless. She blinked when at their lockers, Tomoyo mentioned a new video camera.
“And I can use it to record all of your cute moments!” she finished, her expression determined as her fist clenched.
Sakura chuckled nervously. “Wouldn’t there be something more interesting than me to film?”
Tomoyo whirled around, clasping Sakura’s hands. “You’re very interesting, and this will show you, you’ll see!” she said firmly.
Sakura sighed. There was no changing Tomoyo’s mind once it was made, and if it made her happy, then it couldn’t be as bad as it sounded. Still, her, interesting? It was wishful thinking. “I’ll see you in class.”
Tomoyo nodded and waved. “See you, Sakura-chan.”
Sakura changed into her school shoes, and before she could put her bag inside, she stared into the darkness of the cramped space. Her mind flashed back to two menacing glowing eyes. She shook her head and shoved her bag inside. ‘It was just a dream.’ She told herself.
Still, even throughout the day, trying not to think about that fleeting dream she’d had wouldn’t stop niggling at the back of her mind. Sakura would have fallen flat on her face if Tomoyo hadn’t been there to help her with little reminders here and there.
Cheerleading practice however was something Tomoyo didn’t have, and Sakura was doing baton twirling drills with the rest of the squad when out of the blue, her baton seemed to have turned into the pink staff from her dream. She stared up at it, and froze when the end of the baton smacked her on the head. “Hoooeee!” she cried, rubbing her head. ‘Not again!’
When was she going to stop seeing her dream everywhere? It was starting to become a hazard to her health!
“I’m home!” Sakura called, but when no reply came, she checked the message/chore board on the wall of the kitchen. ‘Dad’s going to be working until nine, and I think Touya has work too.’ She perked up though when looked in the fridge, and found a pudding desert for later. ‘That is going to be so good.’ She looked up abruptly, her gaze landing on the door to the basement that doubled as her father’s office.
A strange noise rang out, like a laser she’d seen demonstrated on the TV. She grabbed her baton and hid against the wall, her fingers tightening around the pole as worry flowed through her. ‘Did Dad put a TV down there? Is someone trying to break in? Why is this happening when Dad and Touya aren’t home?!’ She gathered her resolve; she’d check just to make sure, and if she heard anything else she’d call the police.
Nodding to herself, Sakura cautiously open the door and made her way down the steps. She paused as the laser sound faded away, but there was no other noise coming from the basement. Sakura didn’t let her guard down though, and kept searching through the book shelves. She found no signs of broken glass from the window. And when she turned on the desk lamp, there was nothing on her father’s desk missing or out of place.
A glow caught her attention, and she gasped as behind her there was a soft yellow light emitting from a book on the shelf. Curiosity overrode fear, and she picked up the book when the glow died down. Sakura’s eyes widened in shock, an image of the same red book from her dream springing to mind; the cover though was strange. In her dream, the face on the front was blurry, but now she could remember it with crystal clarity; it was a fierce lion-like creature with wings, while on this book the image resembled an oddly robotic face with a mask and antennae. There was a sun at the top of the book, and at the bottom was a crescent moon.
The gold lock broke open, and Sakura pulled back. “Hoe!” she held it like it was a ticking bomb, but when nothing else happened, she tentatively opened the book. Inside it was like nothing she’d been expecting. On the back of the cover was a letter, but the more interesting part was the fact there weren’t actual pages. The book had been hollowed out, and on top was a red card lined with purple.
Her mind flashed back to the same card in her dream, and her eyes widened as unlike the dream book, this card had the same red and purple faces on the top and bottom. Much of the card was in muted beige tones, but the image on the face was crisp and clear. Like the center image had been added later.
And it was a robot. A blue and white robot standing at attention, with a gray mask over the lower portion of its face, and a red band covered the space where its eyes would be. On its chest was the same purple face as on the bottom, where underneath that was a gold banner that held a name.
Sakura furrowed her brow as she found the words on the top were written in Chinese characters, but the ones at the bottom were in English. She turned on her heel, getting closer to the lamp to see better. “So-und-wa-ve,” she said slowly and pronounced it clearly, unaware that wisps of yellow began kicking up at her feet, “of-the-W-Wind.”
The red band suddenly flashed.
Sakura reeled back. “Hoe!” she shouted, and barely had time to process the fact before a gale force wind picked up and she felt the card slip from her fingers as she covered her face. When she dared to peer out, her mouth opened in surprise as all the cards from the book were swept up in the wind. They sliced through the walls without making a sound or causing a crack.
When the last card had slipped out through the wall, the wind stopped.
Sakura was left dumbfounded, her eyes wide and incredulous. ‘Did…did that really just happen?’ The book started glowing again, and Sakura threw it to the ground.
She watched as the false page glowed, and a golden orb of light rose from it. Sakura’s eyes widened once again as she saw inside the orb was a plush robot toy. It resembled a chibi, with stubby arms and legs, a wide torso, and two little antennae on the side of its head. It stayed afloat by the feathery wings on its back, which seemed oddly out of place on a mecha, and the white wings clashed greatly with the red and blue colors on the rest of the chibi save for the gray face.
It had a mask over its mouth, and two black eye sockets suddenly sparked bright blue. Sakura jerked back, never breaking its stare as it gazed at her. When it did speak, Sakura tensed up.
“Greetings, human.” It said with a high-pitched tone. That was shocking enough, as the formal words sounded as though they belonged to a much deeper voice. “I am Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots; and you have just unleashed a great catastrophe upon this planet.”