Farewell to Arms
It was a hot, dry, miserable day in the Lost
Desert, and Indiana Jub was raining down sweat under his Kaudora hat. Digger,
his loyal Doglefox panted by his side, and both hero and sidekick sagged like
wet paper bags in the oppressive sun. Neither had the words to express just
how MUCH their current situation womped.
"What idiot told you there was a beach
resort here?" Digger asked between pants.
"I think it was you," the famous Neoarchaeologist
"Oh." For a moment Digger felt more like
a Baaba than a Doglefox, but went on gamely. "I guess it makes sense though...all
this sand, you'd think they would have a beach around here some-"
Just then, a familiar tune rang out from
Jubby's handy dandy NeoWatch. Of course, the fact that Jubby didn't have any
arms didn't bother him any. He had a perfectly good pair of ankles to choose
from! He carefully wiggled his fur, and managed to somehow press the complicated
set of buttons that would answer the call.
"Queen Fyora! What can I do for you?"
Jubby asked. Digger looked closely at the small screen, and began drooling at
the beauty that filled his view.
"We have an emergency, Jubby," the
melodic voice of the Faerie Queen said, made only slightly less melodious by
the horrible static.
"Can't someone else take care of it?
The Chiropteric Poogle maybe? Judge Hog?" Jubby asked plaintively. "I mean,
I'd love to help, but...."
"No-one else is qualified for this, Jubby.
It must be you."
"But...but...I'm on vacation! Can't whatever
artifact you want me to swipe for the Hidden Tower...um...procure for the Faerieland
"Vacation? Jubby this place is so hot
you're smelling like a pie!" Digger protested. Of course, even if they'd been
at the AstroVilla Digger would have tried to find SOME reason for them to go
and see Fyora for briefing...and even if he hadn't, Digger could never miss
an opportunity to tease Jubby about his ill-fated encounter with a strawberry
fields forever paintbrush!
Jubby shot his smitten sidekick a dirty
look, and sighed before looking back to the Queen. "Ok your Queen-ness. We'll
be there on the next flight up," he said reluctantly.
"No need. There is a cloud waiting for
you at Sakhmet Palace," the Queen said with a smile.
Jubby looked over to his sidekick with
a scowl after the Queen's call was over. "You always melt like a Jelly Chia
in the microwave when you see her, don't you?"
"Lies! It's all lies! I...just like making
people happy!" Digger protested.
Jubby rolled his huge eyes, and sighed.
"Never mind. We've got to get to Sakhmet Palace before the locals notice that
"Why should they notice a cloud?" Digger
"Oh, no reason..." Jubby replied as he
trotted off. "Just that it hasn't rained here since Year One!"
With a blink of surprise, Digger ran after
the jogging Jubby. It was a torturous five-minute run for our hero and his panting,
perspiring petpet, but they pressed on, and were rewarded by a huge cloud giving
shade to Sakhmet and its remodeled palace. They stopped in the shadow of the
cloud, heaving for breath and wishing for a Slushie.
The cloud opened, letting a beam of blinding
sunlight fall on hero and sidekick. "Fine time not to have arms..." Jubby muttered
as the horrible glare filled his view. Even with his eyes closed, the light
was still painfully bright. But the light coalesced into a shimmering form with
wings, a sparkly dress, and gentle blue eyes. Digger's little doglefox jaw dropped
to the ground, and Jubby blinked in stunned silence.
"Light Faerie..." he said after a moment
and a deep breath. "We're honoured."
"Think nothing of it, Indiana Jub, and
Digger Doglefox," she said in her soft voice, different but no less melodious
than Fyora's. "The Wheel of Excitement was getting very boring."
With a smooth gesture of her slender arms,
the Light Faerie invited them up into her cloud. Within moments they were seated
in unbelievably cushy chairs, and surrounded by the whitest white interior décor
ever envisioned by Pet or Faerie. Both watched in amazement as the Light Faerie
did something that looked more like the Vogue than a magic incantation...and
raised the cloud up to the sky.
"At least it's cool in here..." Jubby
muttered. If he had been looking for a response from his loyal Doglefox, he
was sadly disappointed. Digger was standing on his hind legs, his little head
stuck out the window, tongue waving like a red flag.
"Hey!" Jubby called. "If you get sucked
out into the atmosphere, you know I can't pull you back!"
But before Digger could give a response,
there was a slight bump...and they had arrived.
Faerieland was a spectacular sight even
from the level of the cloud-strewn streets, but from the pinnacle of Fyora's
Castle, where the cloud had docked, it was beyond description. The Wheel of
Excitement shimmered like a round rainbow in the sunlight and the poogles moved
like really fast pink and yellow ants along the raceway. Each and every delicate
building, every tower and minaret, shone like jewels, glowing as the ever-present
light hit them. Even Jhudora's dark cloud looked strangely beautiful when seen
from this precipice.
Jubby and his delirious Doglefox were
interrupted from their sightseeing by a delicate "ahem" from Fyora, who had
apparently come to meet them. "Hello Jubby, hello Digger," she said, her
voice like the tinkling of a thousand harmonious little bells.
Digger turned from the view of the city,
and his eyes widened, full of nothing but the purple-haired vision that stood
before him. He barked excitedly, and jumped all around in his joy. Fyora laughed,
and cradled the joyful little Doglefox to her shoulder. Jubby only sighed, knowing
that Fyora would never believe him if he tried to tell her that Digger only
put on the "innocent petpet" act so she'd pick him up.
"How else am I going to get picked up
by the Faerie Queen?" Digger had once asked pragmatically. "It's not like Neopia
has a singles club."
Once Digger was in his favorite accustomed
place, Fyora gestured for Jubby to follow her inside. Together they walked in
silence down the unearthly halls of her palace. Jubby had been there many times,
but somehow it never failed to dazzle him. After far too short a journey for
Digger's liking, they reached Fyora's Office. The regal faerie put him down
in a basket by her desk, and took a seat. Jubby took one opposite, and tried
hard not to smirk as Digger pouted in his basket.
"Thank you for agreeing to come, Jubby,"
she said. "You've been more help to me than I can say. In fact, you're responsible
for half the artifacts in the Tower, without which I could never make the replicas
I sell to Battledome contestants. And as you know, without those revenues, we'd
be forced to levy a cruel and oppressive tax on every Neohome owner here."
"Of course, Fyora," Jubby replied with
a modest nod. "It was my pleasure."
"This time," she continued, her serene
face darkening, "the article I need is more than just a new artifact. It is
a source of unbelievable power, a power that even now dark forces are conspiring
"What's Jhudora up to this time?" Jubby
asked, unfazed by the urgency in Fyora's voice.
"I don't believe Jhudora is behind this,"
Fyora admitted. "Even she doesn't have ambitions this high."
"So what is this article of ultimate
power?" Jubby inqured, crossing his ankles and leaning back in the chair, still
not the least bit disturbed by the queen, her tone, or the ominous music building
in the background.
"Long ago, it was created by a powerful
sorceress...some say the great, great, great, great, great, great, great" she
paused for a breath" great grandmother of Edna the Witch. It was the source
of all her power, the legends say. She used it to make all her most potent potions,
catastrophic charms and superb spells. It is a power that can do good or evil,
depending on what is in the heart of the person who uses it."
"So what IS it?" Jubby asked. He knew
that Fyora was a queen and a faerie, and had to milk a scene for all the drama
it had...but the rising music was getting on his nerves.
"It is..." Fyora said, her voice hushed.
She paused, and the music held one long, quivering note. "THE WOODEN SPOON!"
To be continued...