School Traditions and Catching Up
Part 2

Staring at the Mad Hatter was like staring at a deep, open wound; you want the pain to be over with, at least with a band-aid or something. I thought about ignoring the Mad Hatter and just walking away, but since he was in such close proximity of me, I couldn't bring myself to do that. I wanted to turn around quickly and punch him, just a real good punch in the face so he'd give me all my points back, but I couldn't bring myself to do that, either.

Oh wait, I think I could! With a wicked smile on my face I found myself spinning back, hand ready, only to find the Mad Hatter not there. I looked around, confused, then looked up at the nearest tree; he stood on top of a tree branch, sipping his tea. Always with the tea!Did it never run out?

"You haven't changed; always running headfirst into trouble," he said leisurely, his eyes scanning the area above me. But I didn't care; I was as angry as I was a week ago when I last saw him.

"I want my points back, Hatter!" I yelled up at him, taking a few steps forward as I raised Tsubasa.

"What has been taken can be returned, but only after it's earned," Mad Hatter riddled, though it sounded like stupid gibberish to me. Like the fancy words lawyers tell you when they actually mean to say, No, we can't help you but we'll take your money, anyway.

I raised Tsubasa up, showing the screen; it was past 50 already. "I have the same number you stole from me," I yelled back. "I earned them again!"

"That's not how you earn your points back," Mad Hatter said, and he disappeared from the tree into the darkness. I turned around and he was across the street from me. "You earn the points by not losing again."

My eyes widened. "You mean-?" The Mad Hatter nodded and looked down the street. I followed his gaze as I saw the dark creature on top of a car that Mad Hatter was talking about; the ghoul.

I clutched Tsubasa tightly. "I won't lose twice," I replied cooly. Mad Hatter was unfazed, his eyes still watching the dark creature.

I took a deep breath, remembering the blows the last ghoul gave me. It's okay, I can do this. I walked to the ghoul, raising my staff as I prepared to fight. "I am Cherry Supreme, the protector of peace and love in Konoha. I'm here to eradicate you, for everyone's sake."I didn't stutter, and my voice didn't crack from the fear. My thoughts were all the same: All I had to do was...destroy it, right?

The ghoul jumped suddenly and I raised Tsubasa up just as his arm clashes with Tsubasa's rod, the metal clash sounding in the air. I pushed Tsubasa forward and swung, but the ghoul thrashed forward too fast and smashed its body right into me. I flew into the air, but I landed on my feet and jumped back in case the ghoul struck again. My enemy, however, was exactly where I had been, still thrashing in the air as it fought an invisible adversary. This ghoul was a monster indeed, a monster who clearly lived to fight regardless of who or what it was, just as long as it could punch and kick something. All of a sudden, I didn't want to fight anymore, and I found myself stepping back until I felt something behind me; I looked back to see it was the car the ghoul had been on.

"Already giving up, I see," Mad Hatter commented, and I looked around until I found him standing next to a tree over on my right. His little teacup wasn't in sight. "Not to say I'm not surprised. Well, you know the magic words."

"This is hopeless," I whined, and then something unexpected happened. The car window behind me rolled down and I, surprised, jumped away to look at it, keeping a close eye on the thrashing ghoul using my peripheral vision. Blonde hair popped out from the window and I saw it belonged to a boy, a blue-eyed spiky-haired excited blond boy who was gaping up at me.

"YOU'RE CHERRY SUPREME!" he shouted suddenly as he pointed up to me in glee. I was a little taken aback by his enthusiasm, but I couldn't help smiling a little bit. "OH MY GOD I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S REALLY YOU! YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME, I ACTUALLY MET THE REAL YOU!" He proceeded to then try to pull himself out of the vehicle through the window but, because he was too giddy, he couldn't really pull himself out of there.

I was flattered, I really was, when something told me to look back and I saw the ghoul rushing towards me. With no time to think, I swung Tsubasa like a bat and, by a stroke of luck, I caught the ghoul off guard and swung him off to the far left. I turned back to the boy, who was watching the whole ordeal like it was a television show.

"You've got to get out of here right now," I urged him. "It's dangerous here."

The boy smirked. "There's no danger with you here, Cherry Supreme," he said, and for a second he looked really cool...if you ignored half of his torso was still in the car. I sighed in disbelief, realizing there was no way to get him out of here.

The ghoul struck again while I wasn't looking, smacking me with it into a tree and then back down on the floor. It fell on me and started clawing at me, but I kicked it off of me and jumped back on my feet. It hurt to be knocked onto a tree, though, so I thought I'd try to rub it better but, before I knew it, the ghoul was coming at me again.

"How long are you going to play the silent game, idiot genie?" Mad Hatter's voice rang out. "Are you willing to lose another partner?"

Mad Hatter's interference distracted me, and again I was hit by a direct attack from the ghoul and knocked down. I fell back on grass and the ghoul went rushing past me, in some idiotic frenzy, but I found myself instead staring at my staff. "Tsubasa!" I shouted. "Tsubasa, you're really there?"

"Watch out!" Tsubasa's voice rang out and I rolled to the side just as the ghoul went rushing by, barely avoiding his body slam that suddenly was combo'd with a roll over.

I smiled as I looked at my staff. "Nice to have you back, buddy," I murmured to it. "It's okay, Tsubasa; I won't lose this time!"

"You will," Tsubasa urged suddenly, and I frowned at his lack of faith in me. "He's too strong for you, but I've got an idea. You've just got to trust me."

"GO, CHERRY SUPREME!" The voice of the blond boy could be heard all the way from where I was lying on the floor. "YOU CAN DO IT, YOU ALWAYS WIN!" I felt a little power boost from those words, despite being horribly embarrassed.

"Alright," I said, determined, and I stood back up, firm as ever. "What should I do?"

"Throw me."

With the ghoul rushing towards me again, now was the best time, if any, to employ Tsubasa's plan. I twirled him around a bit first as I tried to calm down, and just as the ghoul came forward, I batted him away. He flew a few feet, far less than that ghoul made me fly, but I took that opportunity to throw Tsubasa, just as he asked, right at the ghoul. The minute the two collided, my twirling staff with a black ghoulish creature, a big, bright bang sounded out and a giant flash of light blinded me. After it finally faded away, the ghoul was gone.

"I KNEW YOU COULD DO IT!" The blond boy shouted as he ran out of the car and came to give me a big hug. "NOBODY CAN BEAT CHERRY SUPREME! Man, I'm going to be just like you one day!"

I was surprised to find myself shorter in his grasp, but eventually snapped out of it. "Thank you citizen," I said as I pushed myself out of his arms. "Now that Konoha is safe once more, I bid you adieu." I nodded my head as a goodbye, and then ran towards the area where I had thrown Tsubasa. A little ways away, I found him amidst a shrub. I knelt down to pick him up gently, the marks of abuse very obvious on the rod.

"I see he's not as selfish as he was back then," Mad Hatter's voice commented, and I found him right behind me. It had come as such a surprise, though, that I accidentally fell forwards on my knees and had to lean my head back to check if he was still there. But he had already started walking down the road, probably all the way home. "Don't worry too much about that brat; he'll heal himself rather quickly."

"Tsubasa, you okay?" I asked the wand anyway, afraid I'd broken him. I heard a groan and a mutter in response. "It's okay, buddy; we can relax from now on and I won't throw you anymore, okay? Thanks for the save, though. Really; you were great out there." As I said my last words, I transformed out of Cherry Supreme to old Sakura again, and then quickly headed home.

The next day, I found Kiba waiting for me outside my house, Akamaru trailing behind him. A little confused and suddenly self-conscious about my uniform, I walked out of the front door and slowly asked, "Did I miss something?"

"Yep," he said plainly as he led the way to school. "You missed the stupid ball the principal threw." Whoops, completely slipped my mind with all the superhero saving and all! "But don't feel too bad; someone else was missing, too. That stupid Ice King. And you know, without all of us there, we really can't get rid of the Evil Witch."

"Evil Witch?" I asked. "Wow, I totally missed out on the name-calling contest for the principal, didn't I?"

"You've missed out on a lot of things while you were in Fantasyland," Kiba said matter-of-factly, and I was taken aback. He grinned. "You can't fool me, Faint. I know when you're paying attention and when you're not, cos I never pay attention. I know the signs."

"I guess even you have something to brag about," I murmured with a smile.

"Laugh all you want," Kiba retorted. "But hey, I've got some juicy info for ya. There's a new transfer student coming in today."

My ears perked for this slight piece of information. "Oh really? What's he like?"

"Oh, just some dumb blond boy with spiky hair. Look, there he is over there!"