Cherry’s Skills

“CHERRY!!” Honey yelled through the crowd. It was a Saturday morning at the derby park with the golden sun hanging in the deep blue sky. A teenager in a blood-red hoodie turned around and waved at Honey as the young girl got closer. Honey noticed a girl, closer to Cherry’s age than her own, standing nervously next to Cherry. The girl had a bulging green canvas backpack with several colorful pouches clipped to its various zippers for more storage.

“Honey, meet Cassie,” Cherry introduced the girls once Honey was close enough. She shook Cassie’s hand. “What’s up?” Cherry asked after their greeting.

“Did you pick a class yet? The Luchadoras asked us if the Honeybees wanted to set up a practice match; I said yes.”

“I was just talking to Cassie about that,” Cherry nodded and grinned. “I think I’ve settled on Dancer.”

“Dancer?” Honey tilted her head. She hadn’t known Cherry for very long, but Honey felt she had a decent sense about her. “You know that’s kind of an active class, right?” she asked with a giggle. Cherry tended to have a laid back approach to life; it was hard for Honey to imagine her being as energetic as Dancers needed to be.

“It’s only as active as you want to make it,” Cherry said. “The only thing I have to do is touch the markers, right?” she asked.

“Yeah, but that’s kind of the point,” Honey said. “They’re all over the track.”

“You want to see something awesome?” Cherry asked suddenly. “I brought Cassie here to show her but you’re here too.”

“Sure, okay,” Honey was distracted by the new question. She felt she still had time to talk to Cherry about her class choice.

“Now, watch.” Cherry held both hands up at chest height with her palms outward. She raised both hands toward the sky and aligned her palms to face each other. From Honey’s perspective, it looked like Cherry held the sun in her hands. Then, Cherry clapped her hands together hard. Instead of dropping her hands she continued to hold them up with the sun ‘caught’ between her palms. Honey realized Cherry was counting.

“…3…4…5!” She said ‘five’ with volume then pulled her hands apart.

“What am I watching?” Honey asked, she heard Cassie giggle and assumed that she knew at least.

“Give it a moment,” Cherry said. “In the meantime, when’s this practice match?”

“Saturday,” Honey replied, then she turned her attention to Cassie. “Are you on a derby team? The Honeybees still have room,” she said.

“Thank you,” Cassie said. “but, I’m already in Star Brigade.”

“No way! That’s so cool, you guys should come practice too!”

“R..really? Can we?” Cassie asked. “Sure! The Honeybees formally invite Star Brigade to practice with us. You and anyone on your team.”

“Thanks! I know they’ll be excited,” Cassie replied. “I’m a Merchant, what class are you?” she asked Honey.

“Monk. And I guess Cherry’s going to be a Dancer,” Honey giggled. “Though, I can’t imagine it.”

“I’m pretty sure there’s no rule that says I have to embarrass myself skating up and down the track trying to touch all the markers.”

“But, that IS the rule! You need to touch the markers or we don’t get buffed.”

“Right,” Cherry smiled. “The only rule is I have to touch them, it doesn’t say how.”

“Huh?” Honey couldn’t see what Cherry was thinking. Cherry raised her right hand and wiggled her fingers to get Honey’s attention. Once she had it she slowly dropped her hand and slid it into the front pocket of her red hoodie.

“I don’t need to skate anywhere when I can just do this,” Cherry said. As she spoke a small black portal opened in front of Honey’s face. In an instant Cherry’s hand shot out, flicked Honey’s nose, then withdrew and the portal disappeared.

“Owww,” Honey rubbed her nose. It didn’t actually hurt, but the action gave her a moment to recover from the sudden surprise. Cherry and Cassie giggled.

“Okay, I see,” Honey said. “But can you keep it up for the whole game?” She didn’t know much about Estrellas like Cherry. She vaguely remembered hearing random Estrellas complain that portals take a lot of energy out of them.

“Cherry can swallow the sun! The game is nothing compared to that.”

“What?” Honey chuckled. “What do you mean ‘swallow the sun’?”

“Remember when I asked you if you wanted to see something cool?” Cherry asked. Honey nodded.

“It takes a bit over eight minutes for sunlight to reach the Earth. I think I asked you that about eight minutes ago, right?”

As Honey considered the question, the sun flickered out of existence. The sudden darkness made Honey realize what Cassie said was almost literal. Then, she heard Cherry counting over the growing mumbles of the crowd.

“…3…4…5!” On five, Cherry clapped once and the sun came back on. The other park-goers cheered momentarily then continued about their business.

“Whooaaa..,” Honey said in awe. She always knew Cherry was competent, but she had no idea how powerful she was. “You really did that. Wow,” Honey looked around the park. She knew most of the crowd were NPCs, but not all of them. She giggled.

“Wow, the sun disappeared for five seconds… and none of them will ever know why it happened.”

“You think that’s wild,” Cassie giggled. “Somewhere out there an Earth had two suns for five seconds.”

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