Inside her secret underground base that was not on the moon, the evil space witch Rita Repulsa stirred in her sleep, then awoke. Something was wrong. A slight feeling of exertion hung about her, as if she had just cast a spell. But she had been asleep. Frowning, Rita waited a few moments to see if anything else happened. When nothing did, the space witch rolled over and attempted to return to sleep, only for it to happen again a few minutes later. Sitting up, Rita rose from her bed. Gathering her magic wand, Rita headed over to her crystal ball.
Chapter 40: The Return of Tora
A few minutes earlier...
Sakura gasped as a familiar brown cat slipped out of the bushes. "Tora?"
The cat immediately looked up at her, then paused. "You..." it said, extinguishing any hopes Sakura might have had that Rita's magic had just worn off over time. "You look familiar."
"You must be imagining things," Sakura replied behind a calm facade as she slowly reached for her morpher.
"No, I'm pretty sure I've tried to eat you before," said Tora, as his fur began to blacken and he suddenly expanded to the size of a large horse. "Yes, I remember now. You're the pink one that left her teammates behind to get away when I first got my power. I think I would very much like to eat you this time."
Screw subtle! thought Sakura, whipping out her morpher. "Tyranno-" Sakura cut off as a massive paw slapped her morpher away. Staggering back a step, Sakura reached for a kunai only to be interrupted once again by a slap from Tora's massive paws. Strangely, the gigantic cat was keeping its claws retracted. That didn't stop the second hit from sending her flying into a tree. Quickly, the massive cat pinned her down with its forelegs. And then, it let go of her and backed off.
"Speaking of your teammates, are they here? I think I'd like to eat them too." The monstrous feline came to a stop several feet from her, but remained poised to lunge at her.
"Uugh..." moaned Sakura from the base of the tree she'd been slammed into. Maybe I shouldn't screw subtle. Sakura glanced back at Tora, only to spot her morpher a few feet from where she'd landed. Tora followed her gaze, also spotting the morpher.
"Oh," said the cat, just before whipping its left foreleg out and snagging the device. "What's this?" he asked, looking back at Sakura. The girl's eyes had widened in surprise, and the monster cat grinned. "Oh dear, is this yours?" Sakura sneered but didn't respond, simply rising to her feet as the cat rose from its crouch and began circling her. "I'll take that as a yes. Here, you can have it back." With a flick of its paw, Tora tossed the morpher to Sakura. A look of surprise crossed her face, and she immediately leapt for it. However, before she could reach the morpher, Tora swatted the device away with his tail, and Sakura crashed to the ground empty-handed. "Oh, that's precious! You really thought I was giving it back!"
Damn it, thought Sakura. He's toying with me like he would a mouse. Sakura glared at Tora, then turned to look back in the direction her morpher had gone. As she did so, she slipped an arm into her tool pouch, careful to keep the action concealed from the cat behind the rest of her body.
"Oh? Thinking about getting that back instead of just running, eh? Think you could beat me to it? Maybe I'll even give you a head start."
Sakura glared at the cat. Suddenly, the girl turned as if to make a run for the device, only to throw down a flash bomb. Tora yowled as its eyes were assaulted by an overwhelmingly bright light, and Sakura dove behind a nearby tree. Before she even landed, she started running through handseals, and before Tora could recover from the flash, Sakura sent a single clone running in the direction he'd launched her morpher.
"Oh no you don't!" cried the cat, taking off after the clone.
Sakura let out a sigh of relief and rose to her feet. I'd better let Zordon know I found Tora. Sakura reached for her communicator to do just that when another noise from the bushes caused her to stiffen in fright. However, instead of a monster cat, Naruto shoved his way out of them. "Hey Sakura, have you seen Ne-OH CRAP IT'S TORA!"
Sakura froze, then spun around. Sure enough, Naruto had been loud enough to catch Tora's attention, and the monster cat was on its way back, growing yet again.
"NARUTO, YOU IDIOT!" Sakura screamed as she started running.
As Sakura crashed through the bushes into the clearing, a house-sized Tora hot on her heels, Naruto announced Tora's presence to the world. Not that Tora really needed much announcing. It's hard to miss a two story tall cat crashing through the tops of trees.
Despite this, numerous Naruto clones spread throughout the clearing looked absolutely shocked by Tora's presence. If Sakura had time to think, she might have made a biting comment about Naruto's observation skills. But she was too busy running an screaming, so no comment was made.
Suddenly, Sakura felt something wrap around her waist, and her whole world shifted to a blur. SHIT! HE CAUGHT ME! thought Sakura, though her only outward reaction was to scream louder. And then she was dropped to the ground.
A second voice screaming from right next to her drew her attention to her right, where Naruto sat screaming. Confusion managed to break its way through her fear, and Sakura looked around. She wasn't dead. Naruto wasn't dead. They weren't in the clearing anymore. Ryouga was standing between them. Tora was off quite some distance away and seemed to be attacking something. Multiple screams that sounded the same pitch as Naruto's could be heard from the distance.
Before Sakura could piece this information into something coherent, Ryouga bent down and started gently shaking Naruto by the shoulder. "Naruto! Snap out of it!"
Naruto stopped screaming for a second, only to abruptly start back up again. This prompted a more violent shake from Ryouga, which seemed to do the job. "Sensei? What's going on? How'd we get-" Naruto suddenly started screaming again, prompting Ryouga to shake him again.
"Focus! Naruto, where's Negi!"
"I don't know! I found him, but we moved, and-" A higher pitched screaming suddenly started coming from near the area where Tora was at, and the gigantic house cat suddenly changed directions. "There he is!" concluded Naruto, with a helpful point of a finger.
"Right," replied Ryouga, letting go of Naruto's shoulders. "Stay here. I'll be right back." Ryouga then turned and ran in the wrong direction.
"Sensei, wait!" said Naruto, taking off after him, but Ryouga quickly vanished into the distance. And then they were alone.
Sakura's first instinct was to rush to Negi's aid, and she was about to do so when Inner Sakura brought forth a counter argument. There's two problems with that idea, genius. 1. Right now, you have no morpher. And you did so well against him last time, despite being morphed. If you fight him now, you'll just get yourself killed. 2. Negi is probably a traitor. Do you really even want to try to save him? At least this way we don't have to kill him ourself. Or would you prefer to die trying to save a traitor? For a long, horrible moment, Sakura considered doing just that. But before she could decide either way, Naruto grabbed her by the hand and started yanking her towards Negi's location, presumably so they could die trying to save the traitor together. Naruto's next words all but confirmed this.
"Come on! If we don't do something, Negi's toast!"