The sunbeams bowed away to make room for the lightning streak springing across the clouds of Faerieland. The yellow Kougra ignored the scenery as he bounded through the sky, his powerful hind legs propelling him from cloud to cloud, never staying in one place long enough to sink through the gases. Mides smirked; who had said that movement training was useless? This was just as good as having wings.
He thought back with a swell of pride on the one who’d given him the task that brought him to Faerieland. Her Majesty Fyora must have known that there could be no better suited pet in all of Neopia for the difficult quest she’d assigned him. Most pets would have turned her down flat if she’d asked them to bring her Jhudora’s crystal ball.
Mides was no such coward. To prove that, he was going to go straight to the source; there would be no dull Trading Post haggling for him. He’d take the crystal ball right from under Jhudora’s crooked nose. Fyora’s rewards would be well worth the effort; his intensive Battledome training by now cost a small fortune. It was all worth it, though, to be able to do things like this. He wasn’t worried about Jhudora in the least; after all, he was a powerful, fit young Kougra and she was... a faerie. In Mides’ experience, faeries were usually groveling and tripping over themselves trying to bless him for freeing them; how difficult to handle could they be, if they could be bottled?
* * * * *
Jhudora concentrated on the orb clutched between her pointed nails, staring down through the swirling pale green and purple mists. She watched the yellow Kougra leaping from cloud to cloud, looking so self-assured and confident. She snarled; that attitude would have to be beat out of him. He would be punished for that, and more.
Still she could not believe what her crystal ball was showing her. “Again,” she hissed into the colored smoke. “Show me what this Kougra is going to do.”
The picture within the crystal ball changed to show the purple gases of Jhudora’s Cloud. The image focused on the very crystal ball through which Jhudora was viewing the future. Before the Dark Faerie’s incredulous eyes, the yellow Kougra darted into the scene, snatched the crystal ball, and was gone in the blink of an eye. The green and purple mists closed in over this last image, swirling into each other and filling the ball with murky fog.
Jhudora shook the crystal ball, gnashing her teeth. “It’s impossible! He can’t possibly get away with it! I won’t let him! I’ll turn him into a Cooty and make him live on a Mootix-infested Kadoatie with insomnia!”
Jhudora slammed the crystal ball down hard on the armrest of her throne and whirled to see who had interrupted her. The Dark Faerie standing before her smirked. “I came at a bad time, huh? Well, you can blame little miss Fyora for that; she insisted that you come to the meeting they’re having up at the palace about some sort of privacy rights issue involving justified use of crystal balls. She seems to think you might be breaking one of the laws about that. You think?” The Dark Faerie snickered.
“Tell that little brat that if that spoiled queen can sit on a cushion in her castle in the sky all day and spy on my so-called illegal activities with her crystal ball, I’m within my rights for using mine any way I want. Go on, tell her! Get out of here!”
Jhudora watched the other Dark Faerie fly away. She turned back to look at the place where she had left her crystal ball. It was empty.
A scream of rage followed the departing Dark Faerie through the sky.
* * * * *
Mides was beside himself with triumphant glee as he streaked away through the clouds, holding Jhudora’s crystal ball firmly under his arm. And that was the supposedly terrifying Dark Faerie that hundreds of pets feared? The Kougra laughed to himself. His success just showed what could be done with some willpower and a small fortune in Codestones.
Mides glanced down at the ball, smirking at the murky colors churning inside it. If this was really how Jhudora got her information, no wonder it had been so easy to steal from her. Wondering aloud, Mides said, “Now where’s Fyora?”
The crystal ball shuddered and the purple and green fog melted into a sludge that began to bubble angrily. Startled, Mides stopped in his tracks and stared at the ball. The sludge erupted, splashing the sides of the ball and fading into wisps of dark purple smoke. As it cleared, a picture appeared, clear as the crystal that contained it.
It showed Fyora sitting on a velvet cushion beside a window of the Hidden Tower, staring lazily out into the sky. She cast a casual glance at a pink crystal ball resting on the windowsill. In the small pink crystal ball was an image of Jhudora tearing around her cloud in a fit of rage. Fyora laughed; the sound warbled through the warped crystal of Jhudora’s ball and sent chills down Mides’s spine. “Jhudora should be glad I didn’t confiscate her crystal ball myself. But it’s so much more amusing to watch a pet do it, and they’re always ever so willing to help a good faerie like me.” Fyora’s voice resounded mocking and cold through the crystal.
The mist clouded the crystal ball again, but Mides’s eyes remained riveted on it. His mind was racing. Fyora was using him to do her dirty work... for amusement? What an insult! And Fyora had the gall to label herself good? Mides had never cared for Faerieland politics, but he had a warrior’s pride and he wouldn’t stand to let himself be tricked.
Mides was so absorbed in the crystal ball that, without thinking how strange it was to be talking to such a thing, he commanded it, “Show me Jhudora.”
Two jets of purple smoke exploded within the ball, fading to reveal a Dark Faerie standing tall against a dark sky. Her smirk was one of self-assured confidence, the same one that Mides had worn earlier. Her hands were ringed with the glow of magic, a power that no amount of Codestones could buy and no mere mortal pet could master.
Smoke engulfed the image and it vanished, leaving only swirling mists once again. Mides was impressed despite himself. Lowering his face over the crystal ball, he asked, “What will Jhudora do if I return this crystal ball to her?”
The mists drifted slowly apart to reveal an image of Mides basking in a pile of wealth.
That was all Mides needed to see. The yellow Kougra was soon a streak in the sky, darting back towards Jhudora’s Cloud.
* * * * *
“My crystal ball!” Jhudora snatched the magical orb from the paws of the yellow Kougra who had just brazenly walked onto her cloud. She clutched the crystal ball to her chest, stroking it with bony fingers as if to comfort it after its ordeal. “You insolent little thief, how dare you!”
The Kougra appeared unfazed. “I was working for your enemy Fyora, I admit,” he said evenly. “I have since had a change of heart and am returning this to you as proof that I will have nothing more to do with her. I would even be willing to work on your side, though I would like to know what you would offer me in exchange.”
Jhudora snarled. “What use do I have for a miserable little traitor?”
A blast of light shot from her hand, swallowing Mides. His ears were full of Jhudora’s laughter as he felt himself shrinking.
“I hope you like Cooties.”