Jhudora's Journal: Part Five
I arrived at the White Flame, wet and cold. A rainstorm had interrupted my walk to the inn, and I was soaking wet. A plump Tuskaninny gave me the key to my room once I had checked in, cheerfully reminding me that breakfast was served each morning.
I had crawled in bed and was drifting off to sleep when a wind blew. I opened my eyes and studied the window. But it was closed.
I sat up. What was going on?
The wind stopped and a cold feeling went up my spine as I saw a ghostly figure of a little Grarrl boy, playing with a transparent Spardel. The Grarrl looked at me and shook his head. “Well,” I heard him say, “It looks like someone was reading the Haunted Woods Reader out loud.” Then he vanished along with his petpet, leaving me to squeak, “Eep!” and throw myself under the covers.
The next day, I was ready to face Jhudora. I was still powerless, but I’d been fine walking. It allowed me to burn off the calories that I’d obtained while eating some yummy Berry Tarts.
I walked to Faerieland uneasily, walking through the Gypsy Camp as quickly as I could. A red Wocky shrugged as I ran by, muttering, “Eh, newcomers. They’re always so suspicious.”
I finally entered the bubbly, happy land with a smile. I was glad to be out of the Haunted Woods, and the laughter and magic everywhere filled my heart with warmth. Then I saw Jhudora’s Bluff, as uninviting as ever. I glared at it and walked over to Terri’s house.
I rapped on the door three times and waited patiently. Well, at least she’ll know I’m still alive, I thought. But no one answered.
I knocked a second time, though the result was the same.
I pounded on the door again with my fists and received silence.
I gritted my teeth and shoved open the door to be met with Terri and Cora tied to chairs, gagged, in the center of her living room. Cora was asleep, but the light faerie’s eyes were filled with fear, as if saying “Watch out!”
“Terri?” I called, taking a step toward her. The next sound was my shrill scream as someone slapped her hand over my mouth and aimed a spell at me. Then, I was met with darkness, and nothing other than that.
I woke up on Jhudora’s couch this time, stiff and groggy. The dark faerie was sitting in her armchair, reading the Neopian Times quietly as she sipped her Mint Tea. It was kind of odd at first, because the way I thought she started her mornings was to drop-kick a Spardel into a river, but I suppose innocence can find its way into anybody at times. I stirred a bit, drawing her attention.
“Well, I see that you’re up.” She grinned. “How was your sleep?”
I rubbed my throbbing head. “Horrible. You need to work on your tranquilizer spells. They have painful side effects.” Then I mentally slapped myself. Don’t be social, just get your job done! I thought. “Where are Terri and Cora?”
“In the guest bedrooms,” she answered simply. “You’ll see them soon, but not outside of this place. I’m making sure you don’t escape this time, you little rat. After all, you’re a lot more work than I’d have hoped for, considering your mo – never mind.” She blushed a little bit.
“What? What in the name of Fyora is a mo?” I asked, curious.
“I meant mother, but never mind that.”
“What? I have a MOM?” I was so startled, I jumped and rolled off the couch with a thud and a yelp. I quickly got back on.
Jhudora looked away. “You never knew? Yes, you have one. The Battle Faerie... you’re her daughter.”
Suddenly, the world stopped as realization sank into me. The wings. The eyes. The determination and strength. It all fit into place, like a pieces of a puzzle. I may not have the same hair colour, and the pattern on my wings is that of an air faerie, but everything made sense. And I’d never known about it until now. I paled.
“Why didn’t anyone tell me?” I snapped. “Don’t I have a right to know?”
Jhudora looked at me again, her face holding a hint of sympathy, something I didn’t know she possessed. She shook her head. “Life isn’t fair, Dira. It almost never is.”
“But life isn’t unfair, either!” I demanded. “So why was it a secret?”
The dark faerie didn’t answer, but frowned and just stared at the newspaper.
That morning she allowed me to visit the weapon shop to give my ‘mother’ a piece of my mind. Apparently, she loved a good catfight, so she accompanied me to it. I walked inside the shop; if it were a cartoon, steam would be coming out of my ears.
Usually, I’m polite, but if you were told you were an orphan but figured out your parent was one of the most famous Neopians alive that you see almost every day... well, you get the point.
The Battle Faerie looked up at me, and I saw a sparkle in her eyes. She smiled and began her usual introduction: “No one knows weapons better than I! All the weapons in my shop-”
“I’m not a customer, Mom,” I hissed, already feeling hot tears in my eyes. “I just want to know why.”
Her excited grin turned into a gloomy frown. “I... I’m sorry, Dira.”
“Why?” I repeated angrily. “Why didn’t anyone tell me this? Why was this a big secret?”
The Battle Faerie’s green eyes became shiny with held back tears. “It was for your own good,” she answered, “When you were just a baby, there was a big battle between the Darkest Faerie and my army.”
“WHAT? I’M THAT OLD?!”
She smiled sadly. “No, don’t worry, you’re seventeen. The amulet on the faerie’s neck had floated off, and she regained her flesh form instead of being stone. I managed to put the amulet back on in the midst of the battle and send her back to Maraqua, but she had already figured out I had a daughter.” The look of pain and sorrow came back to her face. “I had to disclaim you, Dira, but only to keep you safe. She can come back anytime if someone removes the amulet, and if she knew it was you...”
I glared at her. “I can take care of myself, Mom,” I snapped, “But what bugs me is that you never came back. You just left me with Illusen, and off you went on your merry little way. I never knew I even had a parent; I was told I was an orphan, that my mom was killed in the war for Maraqua. And yet here you are, basking in all your fame in glory, while your own daughter is held captive by a dark faerie.” My voice was rising dramatically. “But you never came back.”
A tear slid down my mom’s cheek. “Dira, please, you have to understand-”
“No, Mom,” I said quietly, venom leaking from my words, “I don’t have to understand anything. It’s you who does. I just wanted you to know that.” I whirled around and stomped out of the weapon shop, Jhudora in tow.
“Wow. That was pretty tense,” Jhudora snorted.
I glared at her. “Just be quiet and take me to the bluff. I’d rather be there than with that witch any day.” I kept walking, looking back only once with remorse and anger
She scowled. “I can tell myself what to do, you little freak,” she claimed. But her face softened. “Come on,” she suggested gently, “Let’s get some ice cream. I’m hungry.”
We were back at the bluff after Jhudora had made me swear not to tell anyone that she’d done something nice for me, even though she got me the tiniest size possible, which was about half the size of my fist. The taste of chocolate still lingered delightfully on my tongue even after we stepped in the door. Cora’s mouth was agape in protest and she looked as she was about to move, and Terri was lying on the couch with an expression of angry surprise written on her face; they were both as still as granite. Bailey and Beck sprawled on each of the arm chairs, tired.
“We’re back,” Jhudora declared.
Bailey’s head snapped toward our direction. “Good. These... these brats have been trying to escape all day! They’ve been driving me nuts!”
“Yeah,” Beck said smugly, “So nuts I had to cast the Stone spell.”
No wonder Cora and Terri weren’t moving the slightest bit. I stared at them.
“So,” the older fire faerie continued, “What happened? Took the prisoner out, eh?”
Jhudora rolled her eyes. “She had business to tend to, alright? I thought she deserved to know about her mom.” She ignored the hurt, pained expression on my face and marched upstairs with Bailey on her heels.
Beck smiled nastily. “Oh, right. How you were told to be an orphan? Dropped off at the earth faerie Illusen as a baby, small, innocent, hopeless. Your mom didn’t even care the slightest bit; she just decided to write her name all over history without giving you a chance to even leave a mark.”
“Shut up,” I growled dangerously.
She continued, “Of course, maybe if you hadn’t been disowned, you wouldn’t be such a troublemaker. She must not be proud of you like she would have been if you knew you were her daughter. Imagine her living in a mansion. And what do you live in? A tiny Neohome painted lavender with a deep grape roof, filled with small belongings and a bed.”
“I’m quite content with my Neohome, which is painted ‘Magical Periwinkle’ and ‘Dark Faerie Orb’, by the way,” I barked. “And she’ll be quite proud of me once I’m through with you, Becky.”
“Don’t call me Becky.”
“Oooohhhh, I’m sooo sorry. Am I getting on Becky-Wecky’s wittle nerves?” I said mockingly. “Well, good. Then drop the matter and close your mouth before I turn you into a pile of sludge.”
She rolled her eyes and shot a spell at me.
“What was that?”
“Slow-effect tranquilizer spell,” she replied simply, smugly.
GAH! I thought angrily. AGAIN?! I moaned and flopped down on the couch, right beside Terri’s frozen figure. Sighing, I grabbed her hand and gave it a squeeze.
The light faerie suddenly came alive, gasping and looking around. “Whoa,” she exclaimed, “What just happened?” She stared at my choker. “Ooh, I like the necklace.”
Beck stared at me in horror. “How--how did you do that?”
“What do you mean?” I asked, placing a hand on Terri’s shoulder.
“The Stone spell,” she explained incredulously, “It can only be deactivated by the one who cast it, which would be me.”
I shrugged. “You probably just did the spell wrong, Becky,” I reasoned, yawning drowsily.
But the way my choker was glowing with pure magic, I was beginning to think differently.
That night Cora, Terri and I were kept in the dungeon that Jhudora kept under her house, hidden deep in the bluff. Rats scuttled around, squeaking annoyingly, but Cora managed to cast a Repel spell on our cells so they couldn’t come in.
Terri sighed as she stretched. “My muscles are so cramped... stupid spell,” she mumbled, rubbing her shoulder. “Thanks for setting us free of it.”’
“Speaking of which, how did you do that?” Cora asked in admiration, sprawling out on the hard wooden bench. Her dinner bowl lay untouched on the floor, since she didn’t like the looks of it. “I used to practice magic all the time--now I’m just a maid. Or, I should say, was. Who knows what will happen once Jhudora’s finished thinking of what to do with us.”
“I’m betting that she’s going to turn us into piles of wearable dung.” Terri grasped a section of her golden hair and began to braid it. “What about you, Cora?”
“That seems too subtle for Jhudora,” she argued, “I think she’ll let the Drenched deal with us after she trades us to some pirates for dubloons.”
“My thoughts exactly,” I moaned, turning over on the bench. An eerie silence settled over the dungeon, only disturbed by the rats’ irritating squeals as they thumped against the invisible force field set on the cell walls. Finally, I spoke. “While I was away at the Haunted Woods, I met some gypsy-ghost who gave me this choker. I... I think that’s what undid the Stone spell. I think that it has some sort of magic in it.”
“Let me see,” Cora suggested with a shrug. “As I’ve said, I’m quite experienced in magic. You should have seen me at the Academy.”
I untied the choker, threw it across Terri’s cell, and watched as she examined it. Finally, after touching the stone for a few seconds, her face went pale. “I... I feel cold,” she said faintly, “The room is so cold, and the walls are--” Her voice faltered as the dark faerie crumpled into a heap on the floor, unconscious.
Suddenly, a voice in my head drowned out Terri’s confused calls for Cora to wake up. The Bead works for no one but the one to whom it was given...
The Bead? What in the name of Fyora is The Bead?
The voice rang out again, this time so clear I could make out the unidentified but pretty and enchanting accent:
The Bead, strung on purple thread,
A symbol of darkness and light gather together,
Chooses its bearer with caution,
And protects it with the brimming power it holds in its smoky glass.
I snapped back to attention, puzzled. Okay, once again, WHAT DID THAT MEAN?
Cora struggled up, throwing the choker into my cell. “Never mind, how about you keep it?” she said. “I don’t think I want it anymore.”
I picked it up and put it back on. “Now what?” Terri groaned.
“We wait,” I answered, “That’s all we can do. Wait.”
Terri shook her head, a smile creeping onto her face. “There’s no time for waiting. It’s time for action. Cora, you said you were good with magic.”
“Do you recall a spell that destroys, I don’t know, BRICK PRISON WALLS?”
“In fact, I do. Move to the far right side of your cell, ladies, or who knows what might happen to you.” As soon as we’d obeyed, she closed her eyes and shoved her hand out in front of her, facing toward the wall. Her palms glowed white for a second as they shot out a small sliver of silver light at the wall. The small needle grew into what looked like a huge tidal wave about to crash ashore and hit the wall.
Well, until two seconds later.
The walls shook and rattled for a moment, then tumbled as they collapsed at the bottom of the cells, revealing the slope of the bluff it was tunneled under. Clear sunlight shone through, giving me a clear view of the beautiful Faerieland below.
I resisted the urge to clap, and I saw Terri looking at Cora in admiration. It was nice to know they were getting along nicely.
“Okay, I say we go give Jhudora a taste of her own medicine,” I announced, flying out into the light. “All in favor say ‘Aye’.”
“Even it if means being hit with a hundred fireballs, I’ll do anything to get back at her,” Cora said, “Aye.”
“I’m in,” Terri agreed. “Aye.”
I smiled. “Aye.”
And with that, we flew down into Faerie City to devise our plan.
We went back before sundown to carry it out. Cora easily repaired the wall with a simple spell. As soon as we had settled down, Beck came in with a tray of green sandwiches. “Dinner, prisoners,” she said mockingly.
“No thank you,” Terri snapped immediately, eyeing the food. “I’m not too hungry.”
“Whoa.,” Cora grimaced. “Is that mold?”
The fire faerie glowered at her, the green key on the chain around her neck glinting. “I made this myself, alright? Now eat up.”
“OH,” the maid continued. “Well, that explains a lot.”
“Be quiet and just eat it. It’s good... I think.”
“You know, I think I’d be better off eating at Edna’s. See ya.”
As the bitter conversation continued on, I waited for Cora’s signal.
“If I’m supposed to eat that, you’d might as well drop me in a pit of rabid Meepits.”
The signal! I aimed a gust of wind at Beck’s skirt. Her hands flew to keep it down as it billowed like a sail.
“Um, that’s unexpected,” she admitted, mortified.
“There are some clothes pins in the closet,” Terri suggested. “Maybe you can tighten the bottom up.”
“Thanks,” she mumbled in embarrassment. As soon as she opened the door, Xavier the red Kacheek jumped up and tackled her, yelling, ‘HI-YAH!!” He took out his Slumberberry Potion and poured it into her mouth. She immediately nodded off, snoring lightly.
He dragged her into the closet, removed the necklace, and locked her in.
I smiled slightly at him. “Good job,” I praised. “Now get us out, please.”
He pushed the skeleton key into my cell’s lock and turned, allowing me to the open the door, then did the same to Terri and Cora’s. “I’d better get that Platinum Dubloon you promised me,” he mumbled half-heartedly.
“I’ll get it, don’t worry,” I replied with a wink. “Now come on, ladies. Xavier, stay here and guard the closet. We don’t want her troubling us.”
Terri, Cora and I marched upstairs and into the upper level, intending to take on Jhudora. Bailey was in a guest bedroom, snoozing away. Jhudora’s room was open, to our dismay. She looked up from the book she was reading and gasped. “YOU ESCAPED!” she roared, jumping to her feet. “HOW DARE YOU?”
“Now!” I shouted. Terri shot a blast of light in Jhudora’s eyes, blinding her momentarily. I dove to retrieve the journal that had fallen and grasped it in my hands, at the same time being hit with the Disable spell (you know, the one that makes me unable to use magic for a while or fly?). I looked up just in time to see a ball of dark magic spiraling at me. With a yelp, I shot through the glass window and out of the house. I found myself unable to fly.
And I was heading right off the bluff.
As I was falling, the voice rang out in my head. The Bead, you don’t know what it is. But yet you wear it around your neck. I was struck with realization.
Seconds passed until I was met with solid ground, pain shooting all throughout my body. I felt dizzy and about to pass out as I tried to bury my face in my hands, but it was hurting too much for me to do that. I couldn’t take it anymore; every part of me was smarting so badly I felt as if I couldn’t move. I grimaced in horror despite me saying to myself that it wasn’t that bad. I held the journal closer to me.
Jhudora flew down in triumph. “You shouldn’t meddle in the affairs of a dark faerie,” she hissed. “Shouldn’t you have learned that a long time ago?” Her voice was half-hearted, though, as I saw a pang of sympathy reflected in her eyes for a moment. Then she went back to normal, as if forcing herself to continue.
The choker around my neck glowed blue and my wings were able to flutter. I carried myself up, my feet dangling uselessly below me.
“You may have survived that fall,” she said, “But you’ll never survive to restrain me from getting the crown.” She raised her wand, which was glowing all too dangerously. “That journal holds my secrets, every spell or plan I’ve learned. Everything dangerous to you and your precious queen. Hand it over.”
I glared at her through my tears, which were now from anger and pain. “Ha!” I shouted, knowing humor always makes me feel a bit better. “That’s the third window I’ve broken so far!”
The Bead glowed in all different colours imaginable, as if a rainbow had sprung from it. The entire world around me was enveloped in blinding white light. The journal, which I had been clutching earlier, escaped my grasp and floated above me. The Bead shook furiously, like a desert pet in Terror Mountain.
And the journal shattered into millions of pieces of tiny glass, reflecting the colours like a prism.
Jhudora’s sharp cry of defeat came right before the white light was replaced with abysmal darkness.
To be continued...