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Illusen's Own Quest


by pepperpix

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Illusen had just finished a great questing day and began to walk away from her glade to go visit her friend, the Battle Faerie. She was hosting a party, and Illusen had just received the flashy invitation this afternoon. The note said it was being held in the Haunted Woods, which was odd, because none of the faeries that Illusen knew of lived in the dark, mysterious place. She had no sooner arrived with a party dish (a plate of Illusen's Cream Cookies, of course!) when a musty sack was thrown over her head and she was being dragged away, far, far away.

      It seemed like hours before the sack was opened and Illusen looked around. Standing before her were three Darigan Skeiths, and they all looked tired and angry.

     "Where are we?" she asked.

     "Headquarters," grunted one. It had dark purple eyes. All three Skeiths snickered. The fattest one, Illusen noticed, had a very high-pitched voice, and the other had a rather reddish tint to its skin.

      "Look around you, faerie! Surely you have seen this place before!" said the one with the high-pitched voice.

     Illusen obeyed. As she looked around at her surroundings, she gasped.

     "Are we in the Hidden Tower?" Illusen asked breathlessly.

     "Nothing gets past you, does it?" the reddish one said sarcastically. The two Skeiths snickered.

     "Silence!" the third bellowed. "We have a job to do, and we will do it now."

     Illusen grew uneasy. What are these horrid Neopets planning on doing to me?

     In a panic, she tried to fly away, only to hover a few feet into the air, and sink back down to the ground.

     "Who are you?" she cried. "What have you done to me?"

     But all she got in response was a high-pitched fit of laughter.

     "The fact is, Illusen," said the one with the high-pitched voice. "We know what you did in the past. We know what you did to become an Earth Faerie."

     Illusen gasped. How could they have known? How could they have possibly known?

     "And," continued the reddish one, "We're going to make sure you get back to where you belong."

     "Where I belong? What do you mean? I belong in Meridell!" declared Illusen, who was turning rather red.

     "Oh, there's no doubt about that," said the one with the odd eyes, "but we're going to make you remember how you used to be."

     "I've always been an Earth Faerie!" Illusen cried. The Skeiths all cackled.

     "Sure, " the reddish one said. "Sure."

     The dark-eyed one tossed her a bottle of a foul-smelling red liquid.

     "Drink," it said, "and remember."

     With one last victorious cackle, the Skeiths all flew to the entrance of the tower, and left.

     And Illusen was left pathetically lying on the cold concrete floor of the Hidden Tower, held captive in walls she had once called a second home, with a bottle of red liquid and the horrible memories she had tried so hard to forget.

      Four hours later, Illusen was seriously considering drinking the red liquid. She couldn't help herself. The heat was unbearable, and her mouth was alarmingly dry from calling for help all night long. Illusen couldn't help but think about her poor questers. They would come, expecting to be given a quest, but she would not be there to assign them. Not to mention Fyora, who would be furious when troubled Neopets began coming to her, crying because there were no Illusen's quests.

     Illusen was also thinking about the mysterious Skeiths. She didn't think that they were acting alone, because who ever heard of Neopets wanting to get revenge on a faerie? They were probably acting on their owner's orders, or possibly Jhudora's. But, Illusen couldn't see how the self-absorbed dark faerie could possibly care enough about someone else to find out their deepest, darkest, secret.

     It all changed with one sip of the red liquid.

     Suddenly, Illusen was overwhelmed by this amazing calmness. Her mind was cleared of all thoughts, and she could only hear the sound of the breaking bottle distantly, like she was in a dream.

     Or, should I say, a nightmare.

     When Illusen's head cleared, she found herself watching over Meridell, like a ghost. However, there were crucial changes. The Darigan Citadel was gone from the skies and there was no shiny wood sign pointing to Brightvale.

     And, Illusen noticed with a sinking heart, there was no Illusen's Glade.

     This must be the past, Illusen thought. I'm in my own memory, from ten years ago.

     Sure enough, Illusen saw herself, bright and cheerful, skipping away from her Meridell Neohome. She had green fur, and a short, fluffy tail. She saw herself as an Ixi. And, Illusen knew where she was headed.

     "No," she cried, reaching out to herself from the past. "Don't do it!"

     But the Ixi paid no mind to the floating faerie and, after taking one last sneaky look around, vanished.

     Ironically, Illusen was headed for Faerieland. The present (or, future) Illusen moaned and buried her face in her hands. It soon became apparent why.

     As the Ixi innocently stepped towards the Wheel of Excitement, she snuck past the Neopoints collector and spun the wheel. It landed on 10,000, just as she knew it would.

     Then, she headed towards a dark cloud-a dark purple cloud.

     It wasn't long before both Illusens heard the bellowing voice, and the words they knew all too well.

     "Welcome to my home..."

          

     When the Ixi-Illusen returned to her Meridell Neohome, her owner was greedily awaiting.

     "Well?" he shouted. "What have you got for me?"

     Illusen solemnly handed him 5,000 Neopoints and a Purple Blob potion.

     "Ahh..." he said, his eyes lighting up. "I see Jhudora has blessed us today."

     Illusen saw herself scowl. Even back then, she had never been fond of Jhudora. The green Ixi was then sent to bed with a rotten Ummagine and a sinking heart.

     The next morning, she was woken up by a sharp poke delivered by her brother, a large Grarrl.

     "Get up," he said. "We're going to the Lab Ray."

     Illusen was terrified. She had always hated the Lab Ray, even though she had never been zapped. It was because she had watched helplessly as her siblings stepped in front of the mad scientist's ray, and were changed forever. The present Illusen watched from above as she and her three siblings were taken to the horrible Ray.

     "I have a new experiment to try out," the scientist rasped. "I'll try it out on one of your pets, if you would like. It should turn them into the most powerful pet in Neopia!"

     "Go ahead!" said Illusen's power-hungry owner. "Take your pick."

     Illusen clenched her jaw as the scientist studied all four Neopets carefully. Then, he pointed to her.

     "She!" he proclaimed, "will be the first of many fabulous, all-powerful pets!" Laughing maniacally, her owner pushed Illusen in front of the terrifying ray.

     One zap was all it took. Illusen felt her insides turning inside out, and the present Illusen shuddered, watching the transformation all over again. Slowly, the Ixi sprouted wings, and became taller. The present Illusen watched her former owner's shocked expression when he looked at her after the transformation.

     The mad scientist had succeeded. Just in a different way. He didn't make the most powerful pet. He created what was supposed to be impossible.

     The crazy scientist turned the poor green Ixi into a tall green faerie.

     To say the least, Illusen's owner was a little mad. His face turned purple and he bellowed at Illusen, "Get out of my sight! I have no use for a faerie around!"

     And so, the petrified faerie took off to the only place she could think of.

     Illusen went to Faerieland.

     As Illusen watched herself transition into the powerful Earth Faerie she is-or, now, was-time began to speed up. She realized that the potion was staring to wear out.

     Illusen saw herself meeting Fyora.

     Zip.

     Illusen saw herself getting trained by the Battle Faerie.

     Zip.

     Illusen was herself opening up her Glade in Meridell.

     Zip.

     Illusen saw blurry images of herself attending banquets, giving quests, and helping Neopians, as her head began to spin again and the sound of a breaking bottle became more apparent.

     Illusen once again saw the Hidden Tower, now with broken bottle pieces and red liquid drops littering the ground. They were still wet. No time had passed since the breaking of the bottle. Illusen was glad. She still had time to think of an escape.

     The Battle Faerie had always told her, "When they take away your greatest strength, fight back with your greatest weakness."

     My greatest strength, Illusen decided, was flying. And they took that away. And so, I must fight back with... my Earth faerie abilities.

     For days, Illusen would try to remember her teachings from the Earth Faerie, and ponder about the mysterious Skeiths. They hadn't come back to check on her. They probably assumed she had gone insane, like Prisoner Number Five in Cellblock.

     But Illusen stayed perfectly sane, working towards her goal of getting out of the tower. She could now call the vines through the high window, and she was braiding a long rope from its thick leaves.

     Then, something amazing happened. The Skeiths returned.

     "How's it going, Illusen? Have you remembered yet?" the one with the high-pitched voice asked rather eagerly.

     "Patience!" the dark-eyed one shouted. "We're almost out of time."

     Illusen couldn't help but notice small changes in their appearance take place right in front of her. The three Skeiths were all turning taller, their wings transforming, becoming thinner. Long hair sprouted out of their heads as their large ears began to disappear.

     They weren't Darigan Skeiths.

     It was the Air Faerie, the Fire Faerie, and the Dark Faerie.

     And then Illusen realized that the battle was far from over.

     

    "But... why?" Illusen asked. "Why did you do such a terrible thing to me?"

     The three faeries had been very embarrassed ever since changing back to their true form.

     "We were jealous!" the Air Faerie piped up.

     "Jealous!" Illusen exclaimed. "Why?"

     "Because instead of waiting eagerly for one of our nice, random quests, they all flock around you for their daily quests and rewards!" said the Fire Faerie.

     "But Jhudora does the same thing!" Illusen protested.

     "Honestly, Illusen. Do you think that we could kidnap Jhudora?" the Dark Faerie asked.

     Illusen had to admit that they had a point. All the faeries steered clear of Jhudora's massive cloud. She subtly began fashioning the vines into something that looked like an ear trumpet.

     "Well, now what?" she asked. "Are you going to let me go now?"

     The three faeries laughed.

     "Now Illusen," said the Dark Faerie, "You know we can't do that now."

     "Why not?" Illusen asked indignantly. She casually pointed the ear trumpet towards the three faeries.

     "Because," continued the Fire Faerie, "We all know you'll run to Fyora as soon as we release you."

     "Speaking of Fyora, how did you use the hidden tower without her knowing?" Illusen asked, still keeping the ear trumpet pointed at them.

     "Fyora is gone," said the Air Faerie, "On business in Meridell."

     Illusen gulped. Did that business involve her?

     "Everybody's hoping that beautiful, kind Illusen will return to her glade," continued the Dark Faerie, "especially with the million Neopoint reward for your safe return lingering."

     Suddenly, the Fire Faerie's eyes flashed. "Girls, a word!" she shouted.

     While the three faeries huddled, Illusen snatched her opportunity. Speaking into the ear trumpet she whispered, "Did you get that?"

     "Loud and clear," the Earth Faerie responded. "We'll send backup ASAP."

     Illusen backed away from the ear trumpet as the faeries approached her once more.

     "Good news, Illusen," said the Dark Faerie. "We've decided to let you go?"

     "Really?" Illusen asked. It sounded too good to be true.

     "Certainly," said the Air Faerie. "With us. Then you can return to your silly glade, and the girls and I will use the reward money to make a questing service of our own."

     "And," the Fire Faerie added, "We'll be the heroes of Neopia!"

     "No heroic person could do something like this," Illusen said, stalling for time. Where is my backup? she wondered nervously. "And, I bet Fyora won't think you're too heroic once she hears about this."

     "She'll never hear about it," the Dark Faerie said, "because nobody's going to tell her. Right?" she asked Illusen menacingly.

     "Right," Illusen said with a sigh.

     Suddenly, there was a big explosion at the top of the tower. It's my rescuers! Illusen thought joyously as she stood up.

     "Game over, girls," she said. "I recorded your conversation and sent it to the Faerie Quest cottage, via the vine trumpet, and now they're coming, to take you away."

     The faeries began to panic, apologizing to Illusen and begging for her to change her mind. But Illusen would hear none of it.

     As a tall, winged figure flew in the tower window through all the rubble, it was hard to say who was the most surprised when the dust cleared.

     A rescuer had come. It was Jhudora.

     Jhudora wasted no time scooping up Illusen and turning around to fly out, but not before she turned her wand on the faeries that had captured her.

     "Stop!" the three faeries cried. "Please, stop!"

     "Jhudora, stop." Illusen said. "They're not worth it."

     And so Jhudora sighed, but obeyed, scooping up Illusen once more and flying out the open window, leaving the disheveled faeries to watch them fly away, like a caged bird that had always longed to be free.

     

    When Illusen awoke, she was in her small bed in her glade. In a daze, as soon as she opened her door, excited Neopets came in to receive quests. Illusen wondered if she had dreamed it all. But she had not.

     After flying away from the Hidden Tower, Jhudora returned Illusen safely to her bed, gave her a potion to revive her, and then returned to her cloud. She would not talk about the situation and denied rescuing Illusen. Jhudora said that she had escaped on her own. Nobody argued with that. She would not accept the reward for Illusen's safe return, but insisted that it be donated to the Soup Kitchen. It was.

     The three faeries were truly sorry and ashamed of the way they acted, so Fyora put them on probation, and then set to work on fixing the Hidden Tower. In her haste to get in, Jhudora "accidentally" blew out the north wall.

     Illusen forgave the three faeries, and soon fell back into her old routine. But one day, about a month after the situation, a package and letter was delivered to her home.

     Dear Illusen,

     We would just like to formally apologize for trying to sabotage your Glade. We were upset that our "business" was being taken away by your quests. Jealousy is a nasty emotion, and we dealt with it in a nasty way.

     We are also sorry about making you relive your terrible past. You might be wondering how we knew about it. You see, when you joined the Board of Faeries, Fyora told all of us faeries the truth. She also told us to watch over you, and to make sure that no harm came your way. I'm afraid to say that we probably did the opposite.

     Last month, we behaved very immaturely, and we also apologize for that. We hope that you know the Battle Faerie had no involvement. We simply used her name on the invitation to ensure your attendance. We hope that there are no ill feelings between the two of you.

     Thank you for forgiving us for our gigantic mistake.

     Signed,

     The Darigan Skeiths

     Illusen smiled. Opening the package, she gasped. Inside was a platter of Illusen's cream cookies and a small note.

     P.S.-We didn't steal these, we asked for them in our quests. :)

     Illusen sat transfixed for a moment as she watched a green Ixi run by, laughing.

     Then the moment ended, and when the Ixi disappeared from view, Illusen closed the window, and went to the front of her cottage to wait for the next quester, still thinking about her own quest she had completed.

The End

 
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