Dr. Augustus F. Wilbur and the Witch's Pustules
Another glorious and riveting tale by dr. Augustus Filibert Wilbur:
Having had my gold painted letterbox flooded with fan mail and doting letters after having published my first story (I kindly refer you to issue 396), I have decided that it is incumbent upon me to write another adventure. I cannot deny to the Neopian population these stories, these words that are as oxygen to the trees that grow in the Brightvalian forest.
For the record: I will be dictating this story with my illustrious voice to my assistant Melissande, who shall then pen it down with her diligent and delicate fairy fingers, on the most expensive parchment I had made especially for you, my dearest reader. You are now allowed to express your infinite gratitude.
It all started on one dreary and sullen evening when I was a guest of honor at Mrs. Patracleo’s “Brightvalian heroes of today and tomorrow”- party. The gentle lady, an exquisitely beautiful Aisha with distant and vague Lost Desert roots, had remained enraptured by my oratory capacities at Mrs. Mollycake’s tea party last month, and thus plucked up all her courage and breathlessly asked me if I would be so kind and magnanimous to attend her party. Being the most selfless Wocky in Neopia, I accepted, quelling my natural urge to demonstrate modesty and altruism at all times. Thus I found myself in Mrs. Patracleo’s mansion, a grand house filled with antiquities of various Neopian Lands and the most exquisite woodwork carved by Earth Faeries on a Christmas Eve (or so the lady would like us to believe). That very evening, as I was dabbing my anxious pre-speech brow with an embroidered handkerchief, a gift of an admirer, a screech of pure terror coming from a nearby alley caused ladies to faint, lords to drop their glasses and me to drop my handkerchief on the perfectly polished mahogany floorboards. But it did not end at the one screech; the guests were forced to cover their ears as screech upon screech was inevitably followed by the most horrid cackling, yes, cackling, my sensible ears had ever had the displeasure to perceive.
I pirouetted quickly to look out of the glass-stained window and barely saw a flash of red hair disappearing around the corner of the mansion, accompanied by a fragment of dirty brown cloth. I immediately ordered all servants to lock the doors and secure the windows for I had a foreboding about who or what might be producing those horrid noises. I had actually encountered this person before she turned into what she has become, and my sensitive heart winces at the memory of the former lady. Actually, in all honestly the person in question already had a vile and sneaky character, but one day she took it a step too far, in my opinion, and consorted with a renowned group of dark faeries, thus not only altering her physical appearance but her character in a most definitive manner. I choose to never speak ill of a lady, but when a lady is no longer a lady... and has become a witch, I believe that particular rule of the etiquette no longer applies.
While I was musing over these ethical questions, a round hard object was thrown through the window, from outside, and hit me in the head, causing me to fall on Lady Patracleo’s crystal punchbowl and thus smashing it into a million pieces, while the dungbomb (the object that so unceremoniously hit me in the back of the head) diffused a most unpleasant smell amongst the guests. You may try to imagine Lady Patracleo’s shame and despair as her guest of honor lay sprawled amongst the remnants of her most beloved antique crystal punch-bowl, covered in dung. A use of this substance, I guarantee you most certainly will not find in Not-So-Disgusting Dung Uses, otherwise a fascinating book.
However, I quickly composed myself with the help of the servants and was offered to take a warm bath in Mrs. Patracleo’s private milk bath, while the finest tailored clothes would be fetched for me. As I lay resting in the massive golden bath, it came to mind that I should be inserted in the newest edition of Tales of Bravery and I took it upon myself to write a recommendation letter to the authors of the book as soon as I would be home. After having been given a burgundy silk shirt and some other fine clothes, I decided to venture outside in the dead of the night, my courage being without limitations and boundaries. I opened the front door, or rather the servants opened it for me – what a delightful house the lady lives in- and I stepped out, a cold autumn wind attacked my cheeks and hands, and ruffled my new and exquisite shirt, yet I bravely decided to give my leave to the lady, and I was off!
A few weeks later, just a day before Halloween, Lady Patracleo had the astute idea of organizing a picnic in the Brightvalian valley, complete with waterfall, idyllic green setting and fluttering faeries. It may seem strange to you having a picnic in the middle of autumn, the wind, the rain, etc., but strangely enough outside it felt like spring. Neopia’s finest meteorologists couldn’t even explain this abnormality. Having heard nothing from the Witch’s menace, we assumed Brightvale was now safe of her tyranny (I refer you to the dung & punch bowl – incident) and all decided to benefit from this strange week of moderate weather. What would have been a low-key picnic to common simpletons, became a grand feast and parade as Brightvale’s most illustrious took part. Carriages carrying princes and lords, faeries and other magic folk fluttering about the party and, last but not least, defenders and heroes of Neopia, such as myself, of course. I daresay I even caught a glimpse of the great Lady Illusen at one point throughout the party, but of course there was such enchanting music and so many people, I may have been mistaken (we hardly think so, though).
All were relaxing, networking and having tastes and wafts of the most delicious food in Neopia when, to everyone’s great horror, a pumpkin pie – yes pumpkin – hit me (me) in the back of the head. Ladies cried out as I rolled chivalrously over the grass in an attempt to shake off the horrible – I must use a distasteful yet adequate word now – goo. I jumped to my noble feet, which were closely snuggled in knee-high velvet boots, in order to glare at the lowly and cowardly culprit who attacked my person. At first I could not see, as the sky had turned pitch-black and the guests were screaming and running in various directions, generally moving away from the enormous bolt of fire coming towards the clearing. After my eyes had adjusted, I am renowned for my extraordinary night vision, I noticed that the ball of orange fire was actually a witch soaring towards us on her broom. The wretched creature landed only a few feet away from me and subsequently stopped glowing orange, yet a nearby party-lantern illuminated her face and I must confess I jumped backwards at the horror. This horror I can barely describe without my stomach clenching, but I shall sacrifice my appetite for you, dearest and most loyal fan.
The particular witch I am about to describe to you more or less answers to the name Morella. When pronounced by me, her name may sound like music due only to the fact of the harmonious and melodious tones of my voice. Pronounced by any other or herself, it is the gruffest of names, sounding more like a grunt than a combination of vocals and vowels, I assure you. She is a Zafara of a pale complexion, but not the noble pale of a faerie, but a dirty yellowish white covered in orange freckles. Her nose looks like a deformed potato, behind her horn-rimmed spectacles lie two pale, transparent and malicious eyes. Her hair is an untamed tangle of orange hair alternated by patches of bald which she covers with a brown witch’s hat. But all of this is nothing, nothing, compared to the purple puss-filled boils her entire face is covered with.
Before I could overcome the instant nausea I had experienced at the instant sight of her, Morella grabbed Lady Patracleo’s delicate arm and both vanished in a puff of smoke, leaving behind only a faint odor of rotten eggs and unwashed socks.
Being of a most intelligent nature I quickly discovered the witch’s lair and – OUCH, stop prodding me with that quill, Melissande – all right, so maybe I had some help of my faerie assistant – OUCH- all right, it was Melissande, queen of the universe, who discovered the witch’s hiding place – happy now?
*cough* As I was saying, after we discovered a dark and humid cave smelling of rotten eggs somewhere up in the Haunted Woods, it would only be a matter of time before we freed Lady Patracleo from the wart infested clutches of Morella. Melissande and I entered the cave, she shedding some of her natural faerie glow into the dark and slimy passages of the witch’s lair. Before long we could hear cackling and jeering accompanied by the increasing odor of the unwashed socks. I halted near an opening in the cave wall, when the glowing of candles and a bonfire were perceivable. Peeking heroically around the corner, I could see Lady Patracleo manacled to the wall on my far left, while the witch jumped around with glee around a rusty cauldron, a battered potions book in her gnarled hands, as she read aloud instructions for some obscure concoction. The cauldron puffed loudly, alternating purple and green clouds of vapor.
“I shall be the fairest one, I shall be the fairest one,” she chanted as she dashed from shelf to shelf, retrieving ingredients. I noticed, to my stomach’s dismay, that with every step she took – she walked like a duck, by the way - one of the purple boils on her face exploded and released a rather large amount of orange puss; yet this did not stop the boils from growing back instantly to explode again only moments later. From what I could gather, the poor creature wanted to extract Lady Patracleo’s beauty and use it in the foul potion she was brewing, in order to become “the fairest one”.
“Then you shall be the ugly one, my pretty,” she cackled, pinching Lady Patracleo’s cheeks as a boil burst on her nose, and the poor Lady could only close her eyes to prevent herself from fainting. I turned around and noticed Melissande had vanished, light faeries are most unstable creatures, I can tell you – OUCH! Being alone, I thus dashed forward and cried: “Halt, wretched creature, how dare you lay your warty hands on the fairest face I have ever beheld.”
The witch turned with a puzzled look, hesitated, and started laughing. Yes, laughing, at me, me, the hero of Neopia. It then became quite obvious to me that Morella was not only evil, but most probably insane and deranged (I mean laughing at me, when she should have trembled with fear). While the foolish creature was holding her stomach from laughing, I used this opportunity to jump forward in an attempt to flatten her with my supple body. I however landed a little bit too far too the right and thus knocked over the cauldron, vaguely sizzling the hem of my coat in the process.
“FOOL!” she cried. “I spent ten years working on that potion.” She spat on the floor, raised both hands and directed a bolt of fire at my person. I handsomely rolled aside and knocked into a potions shelf which had the distasteful idea of disintegrating itself and thus spilling its contents upon me, causing me to end up with a Mortog’s head on my fair shoulders. Anyone would have shrieked in horror and ran away at this disfiguration, but I stood my ground and bravely gurgled at the witch, having lost my ability of speech and the use of my limbs really, which caused me to topple over and remain floored. I only remember the witch’s pustules staring at me and bursting before there was only infinite darkness.
When I woke up I was still lying on the cave’s floor - how very rude – the witch was tied with magical faerie rope, containing her powers and Melissande was fluttering about Lady Patracleo’s head while she was talking to some Brightvalian Knights, come to imprison Morella. With relief I felt my face and recognized my own handsome features instead of those horrible Mortog warts. I got to my feet and quickly joined Lady Patracleo’s side, to help explain my heroic interventions to the benefit of the wench’s capture. The Lady however merely seemed to grunt after I had told my story. I expect she was tired after the day’s adventures, not being used to such a life as I am.
So, children, all is well that end’s well, and Dr. Wilbur saved Neopia from the witch’s menace.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to move away from this desk and the quill that has been constantly prodding and poking me for the last hours.
Good evening and good night.
Dr. A.F. Wilbur
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