"Explain to me why we're here again?" Sakura grumbled, glaring at the busty blonde who was bodily dragging her along the crowded streets of Konoha's annual Shinobi Alley festival.

Her friend ignored her glare, neatly sidestepping a sticky-fingered little girl attacking an enormous dango stick with single-minded focus. "Because I haven't seen my best friend in months since she's a soulless workaholic?" she retorted. "Besides, we come here every year. It's basically tradition."

Sakura sighed.

For one day, every spring, the main streets of Konoha would turn into winding bazaar of art, music and culture, as vendors from far and wide poured into the City Hidden in the Leaves to ply their wares. Part flea market, part food festival, the Shinobi Alley was a melting pot of weird, wonderful, and – if Lady Luck was on your side – valuable baubles. Usually, Sakura loved it. This year, she was a little preoccupied.

As if sensing her thoughts, Ino's expertly manicured nails clamped tighter around her forearm, stalling her attempts to slink away. "I'll have you know, I passed on a hot date to go shopping with you today. You should be grateful, Forehead."

"My OSCE's tomorrow, Ino-pig! I should be studying. If I fail—"

"You're not going to fail." Blue eyes widened as Ino caught sight of a nearby stall decked out in a pastiche of pastel and sparkles. "Oh my god, are those cupcake soaps?!" she squealed.

Sakura sighed again. It was going to be a long day.