Another Day with Jhudora
“Do you have it yet?” Jhudora demanded, her violet eyes flashing.
“No,” I said cautiously.
“Well, what’s taking so long? It’s not as if I’m asking you to go sing a lullaby to the Snowager! You petty little Neopets are so annoying sometimes.” She shot another nasty look at me and stormed off, her wings buzzing in irritation. Used to the routine, I followed her through the purple fluffy tunnels of her lair in Faerieland, careful to avoid stepping on the back of her gown. When at last she reached her favorite room, the Gloomy Chamber (also the potions room), she began to rummage through a pile of old dusty scrolls atop a slab of volcanic rock. “Of course it's not here, as nothing ever is. Grenalt,” she snapped at a checkered Quiggle who seemed to materialize out of the wall. “Fire the Pteri who keeps track of my records, and find someone else who can do a better job. Well, Zoe, have you got the Bomberry Slushie yet?”
“Hurry up! I need it for my potion!” Massaging her temples, she sank onto her jagged throne, muttering incantations to herself. After a while, she got up, went over to her ingredients table and began to chop up peppers with a vengeance. “I never have enough peppers,” she said disgustedly, abandoning the innocent vegetables to glare out of the smoky window. “I already have a daylight headache, and its not even noon yet! Uh, too much sunshine, and not enough night. When I’m queen of the faeries,” she began, as a dreamy look appeared on her face, “and of all Neopia too,” she added as an afterthought, “I will make it night all the time! And there will be purple stars spelling ‘Jhudora is the Greatest’ in the sky, so that all know of my power. Yes,” she said to her staff, caressing it, “And I will have posters of myself put up all over Neopia, so all know who I am...”
“Of course, your Darkness,” I said, bowing.
“Hmph. I just need a few more rare items, and then...” She walked over to her great, bubbling cauldron, and touched it lovingly. “Zoe!” whispered a voice behind me. Turning around (Jhudora was busy smiling at her pot of slime), I saw my Bori, Mab, looking uncertainly at me.
“Do you have it?” I asked.
“Yes, here.” She tossed the Bomberry Slushie at me, gave one terrified glance at Jhudora and fled from the room.
“Purple,” said Jhudora said suddenly, “is such an enlightening color. It’s a channel for evil. I find that purple is like evil... dark, vibrant, alluring, timeless. It’s a pity that Fyora wears that ninny lavender color... true purple is the dark one. Like mine.” Lovely. Another rendition of how Jhudora finds purple liberating to her evilness. I put on an attentive expression and prepared myself for an hour of Jhudora’s lecture on purple.
When she had finished, I brandished the slushie, hoping to stop her from contemplating lime green while still retaining all my body parts. “Finally! I’ve been waiting for that slushie for hours. But because I’m feeling unusually gracious today, I’ll let you off the hook.”
“Thank you, Lady Jhudora,” I said, and backed away from her cauldron as she tossed the slushie into the gooey potion. A few red sparks shot up in the air and the cauldron burped loudly.
“Yes, sweetheart, we’re almost ready,” Jhudora said to her cauldron, appropriately named ‘The Cauldron of Wickedness’, which was spelled in curling silver letters along the side. “Just a while longer until I am queen of all Neopia, and Fyora is banished forever. Oh, that will be the day,” she said, relishing the thought. “Zoe! I want you to go get a Glamorous Negg for me.”
“Why?” I said, astonished.
“Because,” she said, aggravated, “I’ve run out. And I need one in case I have a good hair day. It’s not that hard to figure out.” She took out a Purple nail polish from a hidden pocket and began to paint her nails. “Oh, and paint that Floud Fyora dotes on mutant. It’ll give her a shock. But don’t connect it to me.”
“Of course, your Greatness. I will see that your wish is fulfilled.”
“Good. Now go get me some Poogle Sushi. I’m hungry.”
“Your wish is my command.”
“Correct. And get me some parchment while you’re at it.” I set off for the kitchen, and sent one of the Buzz guards off to get more parchment.
As usual, Jhudora’s Chia cook looked like he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. “More celery! MORE CELERY! And get some honey, pumpkin and radish sauce. What do you want?”
“Jhudora wants some Poogle Sushi.”
“Oh, of course. One Poogle Sushi on the way.”
“How are you?” I asked, sympathetic for the little Chia.
“I’m fine, just aging faster than the average Chia because of what that obsessive boss of mine demands every 5 seconds.”
“Bertie, we need more poisonous lollypops for Jhudora’s Quest winners,” called an Usul chef.
“Fine, fine. The venom is in the storeroom and the purple dye is on the top shelf,” he shouted back to her. “I don’t even know why Neopians do her quests,” he said, frazzled, as he sliced up the sushi. “They don’t realize that it’s a whole conspiracy. Isn’t it obvious that that thing that demands items is a total Jhudora knock-off? Well, it’s their problem,” Bertie said dismissively as he poured some Cucumber Nectar into a lime-green goblet and shoved the tray with the nectar and sushi into my hands. “Now go before Jhudora sets us both on fire because you’re late.”
“Thanks Bertie,” I said and sprinted back to the Gloomy Chamber as fast as I could. “Yum,” said Jhudora as she sank her sharp teeth into the sushi. “Poogle Sushi is good. And Cucumber Nectar adds the perfect acid-y taste, ruining the whole effect!” After she finished the Shenkuu dish, she handed me the parchment and a purple quill. “I want you to describe me for my next newsletter to my faithful followers. My public has to know how evil I look, so they don’t leave me for that bubble-brained Illusen. Make sure to note my new purple nails. I’ve developed a new purple nail polish called ‘Jhudora in the Afternoon’.”
“Brilliant,” I said as I looked at her nails, which resembled the most disgusting murky color I’d ever seen. I scribbled down complimentary (and evil, of course) notes on her appearance. I handed her my description and she grinned.
“Perfectly dark and powerful. Good work.” She snapped her fingers and a purple Negg fell into my hands. “A reward for your services,” she said, and vanished in a puff of smoke which smelled of rotten eggs. Thankful that I could finally go home, I made my way through the fluffy halls, surrounded by large portraits of Jhudora giving her evil eye in a variety of settings. A loud CRACK made me leap up in the air as Jhudora materialized in front of me. “Where do you think you’re going?”
“Home?” I said nervously.
“Ahem. No. Today, as you’ve obviously forgotten, is my monthly croquet match. You’re coming, if you fancy not smelling like a dung heap.” She smiled, her claw-like hands clenching my arm. “You can escort me to the Slime Garden.”
“I’d be honored,” I said, and thought longingly of Brightvale as Jhudora dragged me along the bright purple corridor. If only I hadn’t agreed to work for a purple-obsessed faerie.