We emerged on Jhudora's Cloud.
"Hello, my young Ridergirl," the Dark Faerie
said smoothly to me. "I've been expecting you."
No matter how unattractive she seems from the
other side of a computer screen, she is a thousand times more hideous face-to-face.
Greasy, dull purple and green hair glowed repulsively in the semi-darkness.
It almost looked radioactive. Her skin was a lackluster lavender color, and
her expression was one of loathing and disgust. Shiny, lime-green lips seemed
to remain motionless even while their owner was speaking. Her clothes smelled
revolting, as if they hadn't been washed in a month.
But the thing that scared me most was her eyes.
Ruthless, power-hungry eyes that seemed to drill a hole right through you. Eyes
that held no pity, no humanity, no morals in their depths. Bloodthirsty eyes.
And yet, despite her ugliness, I felt foreign
warmth wrap itself around me, giving me strength and courage.
Apprehensively, I approached the Faerie. "Ma'am,
may we pass? We need to see Dr. Sloth."
"Ah, Sloth. So tyrannical, so evil. Such a useful
character to have around. He seemed to be the root of all malevolence. No one
would ever suspect me."
"But why did you choose us?" Ruby asked angrily.
"I saw this little brat," Jhudora gestured towards
me with a disgustingly purple hand. "Doing quests for that goody-two-shoes Illusen.
So, I placed a tracker bug on her and planted this little beauty," she held
up a CD-ROM. "In her computer, thus weakening it. She visited her little friend
and I figured, 'Why not infect her PC too?'"
"Where did you get this sort of knowledge?"
I asked. I was in shock. How could a Faerie have done all of this damage?
"I may have… borrowed a few things from that
lazy Sloth. The fact is; he has to get a better security system that his stuffed
teddy bear." She laughed at her own joke. It was a sinister laugh, a laugh of
triumph that seemed to pierce right through me. "I placed an e-gate near his
lair, in order to divert suspicion. That is the gate the foolish Space Faerie
is wasting her magic on. My gate grows more slowly than the other gate, but
it will have to do."
"Why did you do this?" Comet asked.
Those frightening, merciless eyes of Jhudora's
flashed dangerously. "What's with the third degree? The answers won't matter
to you anyway! You'll all be dead! I can't have Neopets spilling my secrets
to the general public!"
"Neopets can't die!" Emerald said, shocked.
"Neopets can't die, my Scorchio," Jhudora cackled
evilly. "But you are something unique. I made sure that when you went through
the portal, you each left something behind. A tail hair maybe, fur, or scales.
Whatever. The point is; you all have links to the other world. Your genetic
code is etched in the soul of the planet. The core, you could call it. The essence.
You are bonded to the world of death. You are tainted with death. And you will
be the first owned NeoPets ever to experience death."
One of her lumpy, oily hands reached towards
Indigo's throat. Sharp, claw-like nails were almost screaming for blood. All
it would take is one swipe, and those claws would kill the Gelert. Knives couldn't
do a better job.
"NO!" Comet yelled. He intercepted the hand
with the skill and strength of a football player. The Lupe bit down… hard. Jhudora
screeched in pain, and took to flight on dark, bat-like wings.
When she was in the sky, she cackled. She laughed
and laughed and no one could see what was so funny. "Fools!" the evil Quest
Faerie screeched. "You made a fatal error! I am of the land of Neopia! Like
all Neopians, I am immortal! You couldn't kill me, ever!" Then, like a falcon
of death, she swooped from the sky.
And aimed right at me.
Somehow, when I wasn't looking, Jhudora had taken
the section of cloud I was standing on, and moved it far away from the others.
My winged pets wouldn't make it in time. It was too far for anyone to jump.
No help was coming. I was on my own. But at least
I wouldn't go cowering in fear. I raised my head towards the sky, and looked
Jhudora straight in her evil, violet eyes. Like black holes, they tried to suck
me in, but I used all of my willpower to resist them.
Just as Jhudora was inches away from me, she
screeched, "Die fools!"
Suddenly, a golden blur knocked the wicked Faerie
out of her dive.
A wand of the Light Faerie appeared in my hand.
But this was no ordinary wand. It seemed to glow with a golden radiance that
came from the very roots of Goodness. I pointed it at the Faerie, although my
mind was spinning in a daze. What was happening here?
A luminous beam erupted from the globe atop the
wand. It was a blinding brilliance, yet I couldn't close my eyes. I stared at
the dark figure, Jhudora, who was shielding her eyes from the light. Finally,
the evil Faerie disappeared in a puff of purple smoke.
As if from a great distance, Jhudora's voice
sounded. "I'll come back! And when I do, you'll pay, missy!"
To be continued...