Jhudora's Journal: Part Four
The next day I headed off to the ‘Clean Up Faerieland’ event and spied Jhudora stabbing a wrapper with a pointy stick and dropping it in a garbage back. “Dumb tourists...” she muttered angrily, unaware of me sneaking past her.
I looked around for Lilac, walkie-talkies in hand. The earth faerie was leaning against the wall, munching on a Raspberry Faerie Crepe. By the looks of the bulging garbage bag beside her, she deserved a break. She smiled when she saw me. “Hi, Dira. You’re finally here,” she greeted me.
I held out a walkie-talkie. “I need you to do me a favor, please,” I said briefly.
“Um... okay. What’s this for?”
“Tell me if Jhudora goes back to her bluff, all right? I’d really appreciate it.” With that, I left a confused Lilac behind and took off to find a certain Neopet.
I found him taking the personality quiz. “Water faerie... again,” he mumbled. He groaned when he looked at me approaching him. “Nooo, not the trash can lady!”
“Relax, dude,” I said, grinning, “I just need you to do something for me.”
Xavier stood against the door. “Don’t worry, I’m great at stalling,” he reassured me, with a nod of his red Kacheek head.
Terri slipped in through an open window and ushered me inside. “Now, it’s got to be here somewhere,” she declared. “Check anywhere that might have a secret compartment; floorboards, stairs, beds, walls, anywhere, okay?”
I nodded curtly and immediately went on my hands and knees, feeling the floor. I must have looked dumb, because my friend started to giggle. I silenced her with an icy glare and continued to work as she felt along the sides of a bookcase.
It took a long time, but I finally bothered to check the side of a staircase. I noticed a small square etched in the middle, and an invisible latch (which, of course, I didn’t see, but felt). “Terri!” I called. “I found something.”
“Great,” she sighed with relief, coming towards me. She dragged her hand across the square. “The latch is invisible... how would we know how to open it?”
Five minutes passed and I heard Lilac’s voice on the walkie-talkie. “Dira,” the muffled voice warned urgently, “Jhudora is heading back to the bluff. It’s not going to take long to fight the crowd. Wait! She’s taking to the air... you’d better hurry. Over and out.”
I pressed the red ‘talk’ button and put my mouth up to it. “Roger that. We’re on our way.”
“Who’s Roger?” Terri asked.
“Never mind that. Let’s keep working,” I ordered, shaking my head.
The next alert we got was Xavier’s voice. “Oh, hi, Jhudora. I want a quest. You see, Illusen is so dumb and smart-alecky so I wanted one of your quests.”
“Sorry, kid,” the faerie growled, “I need a break.”
“Ooorrrr, we could discuss how much we hate Illusen? How about that?”
“Ooorrrr, you could shut up and get out of my way before I turn you to a pile of soot?”
“Hmm, tempting, but I’d rather have a quest instead.”
“I already told you-”
“Just think, there’s something you really need...”
“Hmm, well, there is probably one thing but give me a sec to remember...”
Aha! The latch came up and the drawer slid out, revealing a dark purple book. I took a look at the cover, entitled Jhudora’s Journal – Don’t Touch This.
We did anyway, and snaked out of the window to escape, taking the short way to Terri’s house.
“Dira? Are you safe?” the voice from the walkie-talkie asked.
“Affirmative, my friend. Affirmative.”
I flipped to the last page she’d written in. It’s got to be here... I thought, scanning the page with my periwinkle eyes. There it was; her plan, the new one. It read:
Some day of some month that I’m too weary to write down
I’m tired. I’m hungry. I’m frustrated. Mostly frustrated. That dumb air faerie figured out my original plan, so to speak. I organized a meeting with Bailey and we made a new one. We’re going to break into the palace, get Fyora, and hold her hostage. Of course, the ransom will be the crown, and then the Faerie Queen will be free to go – but she won’t be allowed in Faerieland. All of her supporters won’t, either. And especially that Dira person, and her little friends. Bailey would be my advisor, and I’d be queen of Faerieland. Simple, but not simple at the same time. Bailey was fired, and we’ll need some distractions and extra time in order to kidnap Fyora. We’re going tonight, at midnight.
I looked at the clock. It said 11:59.
I threw the journal in my stove (which was turned off) and pressed the button on my walkie-talkie. “Terri! I don’t care if you’re awake or not, but get over to Fyora’s room at this moment or I’ll... you don’t even want to know what would happen. Just get over there, okay?”
I had to run past the secretary in order to get in, but it didn’t take me long until I met Terri, tired, at the door. “DON’T JUST STAND THERE, OPEN THE DOOR AND SEE IF SHE’S THERE!!!” I yelped. I was really hyped up, and afraid. What if we were too late?
I burst into the room to see the messed up bed sheets, the window open, and a note lying on the pillow saying the queen ‘is imprisoned at the bluff’. I threw myself at the wall and pounded on it. “GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR STUPID JHUDORA!!!!” I wasn’t exactly in the mood for her games.
They were getting too difficult, too complex. I was just a pawn in the whole thing. But I realized something. I could wipe her out in one move, but not by playing by the rules. I needed to cheat.
I grabbed Terri’s wrist and led her out of the palace to go to my house, then Jhudora’s Bluff. Let the cheating begin.
I stood, journal in hand, in front of her window. Fyora was tied to a chair, with Jhudora and Bailey cackling beside her. I brandished my wand and sent out a flash of blue light, up to the sky; my signal for Cora to burst through the door, Terri to drop in from the ceiling, and me to crash through the window.
They never even saw it coming, for at that moment, I jumped through the glass and startled them. Then Jhudora laughed. “Oh, it’s the puny little Dira. She thinks she can stop me, the little lone wolf. Well, she won’t be alone when she joins Fyora, will she?” she hissed. She took out her wand and pointed it at me, as I was at her.
A small ball of darkness hit Jhudora’s hand, sending the wand spiraling out of reach. Cora ran down the hall. “She never was alone in the first place,” she growled.
Bailey got out her own weapon and looked around warily just as Terri dropped in. We all circled the duo. “Oh, it’s the puny little Jhudora,” I mocked with a smile, “She thinks she can stop me, the little schemer. Well, she won’t be alone at the dungeon, will she?”
She just glared in response.
I made my way to Fyora and cut the robe binding her hands. Then I untied her gag so she could speak, though all she could do was gasp for air and thank me repeatedly.
All was still and quiet.
Until Beck walked into the room. “Auntie, are you alright?” she asked hurriedly. Without warning, she pulled out her wand and aimed a fireball at Cora. She was hit full force and crashed into a wall.
“Hey, look over here!” I yelled viciously, catching her in a flying tackle. We wrestled on the ground (well, I wrestled. Beck, on the other hand, was clawing at me and pulling my hair, which hurt immensely). I ended up sitting on top of her as she struggled to break free. “TERRI! CORA! TAKE FYORA AND GO!” I knew we couldn’t win a fight against Jhudora, and Fyora was too weak to be of any help.
Terri pulled the servant out of the window, but hesitated, staring back at me hopelessly. She was pleading to either stay or for me to come with.
Beck rolled on top of me and held me there. “JUST GO!” I yelped at my friend again. She turned away and climbed out of the window, tugging the queen behind her.
Jhudora and Bailey came over to help Beck, right as I had broken away and pulled the journal out from under my arm. I held it up over my head; the trio instantly froze.
I half panted, half laughed. “Looking for this? Well, I figured you would.” I took out my wand from my boot and pointed it at the journal. “If you touch any of my friends, I’ll incinerate this.”
Jhudora snarled, “You can’t do that! You’re an air faerie! The least you can do is throw a gust of wind at it!”
She stopped in cold horror as I pulled out her own wand, which I had picked up during the skirmish with Beck. “Well, now I can send this to total darkness if you don’t do what I say. So get against the wall, NOW.”
They all backed up against the wall as I had ordered them to do. I turned to bolt out the door before realizing my mistake; Jhudora was next to a bookcase. She picked up the thickest novel and hurled it at me. That was the last thing I remember before slipping into darkness.
Beck jolted me awake and handed me a bowl of thick porridge. “Eat it if you’re hungry,” she said dryly, an evil smile passing on her lips. I was quite famished, though I wasn’t exactly jumping with excitement at the thought of eating something that Jhudora had made.
I glared at her and (politely) took it. “What are you going to do with me?” I hissed.
She shrugged. “Who knows? We could do anything. Especially after Jhudora gets the crown.”
“Ha! She never will. Fyora will outdo her. My friends will outdo her. We’ll outdo her together, and there will be nothing you will be able to do about it. Good wins against evil, light against darkness, the ones who fight for what they believe in against the ones who try in vain to gain power, and us against you.” Then I gasped. “No, this little speech frenzy is like an epidemic!!!”
She rolled her eyes. “You’re pathetic. We all know we win, you lose. Duh.”
I sat up. “I can’t wait to hear you say that once you’re thrown in the dungeon,” I mumbled under my breath, so quietly she couldn’t hear. I picked up the spoon and shoveled the porridge into my mouth.
The door creaked slightly as Jhudora entered the room. “Beck, you can go now. I’d like to talk with our prisoner privately.” She smirked.
Once again, I wasn’t jumping with excitement.
“What do you want?” I glowered at her before she could even sit down.
“Oh, nothing,” she half-sang, half-said innocently. She took a seat by the bed.
“Just spit it out,” I barked. I ate a bit of my porridge.
“Well, I suppose I could tell you. I read a book on dark magic spells and found an interesting one. It drains a faerie’s powers for an extended amount of time, and makes her incapable of flying.” Jhudora smiled evilly. “I decided I might experiment on you.”
I felt a low, vicious growl emit from the back of my throat. “You don’t want to do that,” I warned.
She paid no heed to my warning and pulled out her wand, claiming she’d already memorized the spell.
That’s when I made my move.
I took the journal that was on the nightstand, leapt out of the bed, and aimed a spell at the window, which shattered upon my will. I tumbled out of it, avoiding the broken shards of glass, when I felt a blast of magic hit me in the back. I figured it was just to knock me down, so I kept running.
But I knew something was wrong when I jumped into the air to take to the wing but fell down back on my feet.
Curses! I thought angrily, gritting my teeth in frustration. She did the darn spell! That meant I’d have to run the whole way.
I did, and I ran fast.
Okay, okay, so I tumbled down half the bluff, but that still counts as ‘ESCAPING JHUDORA’S FURIOUS WRATH’, right?
I heard Jhudora’s voice in the distance, telling me that she wasn’t too far behind. I took drastic measures (wouldn’t you if you were being chased by a psycho dark faerie about to turn you into a Slorg?) and sprinted in the opposite direction of her bluff. To the left of Faerieland.
And into the Haunted Woods.
The eerie silence only disturbed by the wind howling through the dead trees was unnerving. Every now and then I’d stifle a shriek. This was my first visit at the Haunted Woods, and I didn’t intend to go there again. Really, who forgot to put ‘You may get eaten by Werelupes’ on the brochure?!
Still, I ran on as fast as my feet could carry me, holding Jhudora’s journal to my chest.
Finally, I reached the Gypsy’s Camp. A shadow Aisha with glossy white curls sat perched on a wagon. Her purple velvet vest, puffy white shirt, and plum skirt added to her mysterious look. She looked at me. “Ah, a visitor,” she said with an accent that I couldn’t place my finger on. “What is it you seek?”
“Refuge,” I answered, “Which direction is Neovia, madam?”
The Aisha hopped down from her seat on the wagon and approached me. “I will only tell you where in exchange for a story.” She reached in a crate by the wagon and pulled out a jetty quill and parchment. She stared at me intently with violet eyes, her face almost expressionless.
“I can tell you many stories, but what would you like to hear? One about my trip to Geraptiku?”
“A humorous one, if you please. I like those,” she said sheepishly. “And if your story is good, then you might get a surprise.”
And so I began my tale.
It was about the time I was twelve, about five years ago. A couple of popular faeries had convinced me to steal a Miamouse from the petpet shop for the leader of the clique. Well, being practically an outcast at school, I was desperate to fit in and make friends (I hadn’t met Terri yet) and did it. I got in, distracted the shopkeeper by yelling that a Meekins was picking a fight with a Cirrus, grabbed a Miamouse, and ran. I was behind the shop when the Miamouse looked up at me sadly, as if saying he was disappointed in me for doing such a thing. That’s when I broke. I wept and sobbed, tears streaming from my eyes like a waterfall, and walked back into the shop. I handed the Miamouse to the shop keeper, who was confused, as she didn’t know what had gone on (though we haven’t been on good terms since). When I returned to the popular faeries, I told them what had happened. They merely scowled at me and told me I’d never be one of them, and flew off spitefully. I sarcastically waved good-bye and stared at the sky.
The gypsy was laughing softly when I was done, scribbling the story down on the parchment. “It is good that you did the right thing,” she praised. “I like that story. Here is your reward.” She handed me a purple choker with a round, deep eggplant gem in the middle. It had some sort of magical effect, because it seemed as if smoke was swirling around inside. Every now and then you could see the faint outline of an ‘A’, so it was either belonging to an Aisha or it was someone’s name, or both.
“Th-thank you,” I choked, staring at it. It was beautiful, even prettier than those I’d seen on other faeries. “It’s lovely.”
She beamed. “You are most welcome. Neovia is just up this road. Take care, Dira.”
I stared at her incredulously. “How do you know my name?”
The gypsy smiled mysteriously at me. A gust of wind blew, and she disappeared instantly, like ashes being blown off in the breeze, or something of the sort.
I shuddered and continued my walk, tying my reward around my neck with fondness.
I arrived at the somber town quietly, the pale moon reflecting off the cobblestone streets I walked down. A green Gnorbu beckoned for me to come to his apple bobbing stand. Bored, I sauntered over.
“Hello, madam,” Apple Bobbing Bart greeted me with a tip of the hat. “Would you like to try your luck at apple bobbing?”
I accepted with a smile, pulled my hair back, and dunked my head in. Suddenly, I felt something slip out of my pocket and plop into the water. I lifted my head back up, gasping, “What was that?”
“Sorry, some Neopoints of yours fell in,” he answered, trying unsuccessfully to hide his satisfaction. “Three hundred, at least. Oh well, you can try again tomorrow.”
I folded my arms. “Well, what do I do now? I’m broke, I’m being hunted, and I have nowhere to go.” I suppose I must have looked pitiful, for he frowned.
Bart tapped his foot. “There’s a hotel nearby called the White Flame. Check in and you’ll have a place to stay for the night, for free.”
I stared at his hat atop his green head. “Nice hat,” I remarked, “Where’d you get it?”
His face became stern. “I’m sorry, it’s none of your business.”
I pleaded again. The Gnorbu glared at me. “No. I’m sorry, but I must be asking you to leave.”
I returned the look. “Listen, pal,” I reasoned with narrowed eyes, “I’ve been through a lot today. I’ve been Jhudora’s captive, met a gypsy, and saw a ghost Meepit on my way here. The least you could do is tell me a story. I won’t tell anyone, cross my heart.”
Bart stroked his chin and sighed. “Fine, I suppose. It all started on a sunny day...”
Oh, you were expecting the tale of Apple Bobbing Bart’s Hat? Well, I made a promise not to tell anyone, so you’re out of luck. Sorry about that.
To be continued...