The Roomies Ruin: Part Six
It took a lot of convincing and a bit of bribing on Jim’s part, but the yellow Aisha finally procured an Eyrie Cab to fly him, Liam, and Jesc to Faerieland.
“You know,” the green Eyrie driver said as they flew low over the ocean, “most of Farieland has been evacuated by now. Nasty place is it now; there’s purple stuff everywhere, and the sky’s all dark. Not a pretty place to visit. If I were you, I’d have just stayed on Mystery Island. Nice weather, no freaky supernatural problems. What else could you want?”
“We’re going to save a friend,” Jesc explained as clearly as she could... which was quite a feat considering she had switched bodies with Scotchmel and was now a Weewoo. She had never thought that speaking with a beak would be so difficult.
“Well, I wish you luck with that,” the cab driver said, speeding onwards towards the hulking dark cloud in the distance.
They alighted near the Wheel of Excitement. The light faerie who normally watched over the wheel had vanished, most likely carried off by evacuation volunteers. Jim paid the Eyrie Cab driver and the Aisha, Lupe, and air-faerie-turned-petpet stepped onto the dark Faerieland soil. Jesc was in awe at the transformation. The cobblestone streets were cracked with brown weeds growing up between the stones. The sky was a dingy grey purple, like dirty dishwater, and the entire cloud was completely deserted. Usually the streets were filled with Neopets and faeries going about their day to day activities, but it had all come to a halt. The only living thing in sight was a tiny black and purple creature that Jesc guessed was some sort of petpet; it glared at her and with a little hiss it scampered off.
Jim pointed to a poster stapled to a tree. In bright red letters it read “EVACUATION ORDER IN EFFECT NOW!” The yellow Aisha peered at it carefully, reading the smaller print beneath it through his large spectacles. “Evacuation transportation is being managed at healing springs. Once we get Jhudora back, we can head there to leave.”
“Sounds good,” Liam said, reading the address on the envelope in his hand one more time. “11511 Stem Street. That’s not too far from here, right?”
“Nope,” Jesc crowed. “It’s just a street over!” She flapped her wings and took to the air. “I’ll lead the way!”
They followed Jesc through the deserted streets, each one eerier than the next, until they reached Stem Street, a fairly main road that housed a small bookstore and a shop that sold plants and packets of seeds. Number 11511 was a skinny brick house nestled right between its neighbors with a purple door and a brass knocker in the shape of a Cyodrake.
“This is it,” Liam confirmed, walking up to the door with Jim close behind him. Jesc had perched on Jim’s shoulder and leaned forward anxiously, hoping that Jhudora was all right.
Liam grasped the knocker with a blue paw and rapped on the door. The heavy sound resounded for a second, and then a bright voice from within cried, “The door’s open! Come in!”
Exchanging a look with his boss, Liam reached for the knob and carefully opened the door... and they all were shocked by what they saw.
The entire interior of the house was an explosion of purple. The walls were plastered with plum-colored wallpaper punctuated by golden fleur-de-lis. The wooden floor was a deep chocolate brown, leading down a narrow hallway to what appeared to be a sitting room. There was a purple rug on the floor, a purple couch, a dark wooden coffee table with purple inlay, purple picture frames, and even a few purple candles in gold sconces on the walls. There also were a few tall cabinets and a book shelf filled with tomes, their spines glinting gold.
But even more astounding that the amount of purple in the house was the sight of Jhudora. She was still in her statue form, but she stood in the center of the room with a purple blanket draped around her shoulders like a cape. She looked as if she was the Queen of Faeries herself.
Hey, took you guys long enough to find me, the dark faerie said, her voice as cynical as usual but fairly upbeat. Yeah, I know the Kacheek went a little overboard with the purple, but I have to admit the service here isn’t that shabby.
The shadow Kacheek, who was currently dusting the coffee table with a pink feather duster, turned to look at the three arrivals.
Simultaneously, Liam and Jim’s jaws dropped and their eyes widened in recognition. “Nicholas?” they asked.
Jesc glanced from Jim to Liam. “You two know him?”
Wait, Jhudora called out from across the room. Jesc is a bird now? When in Neopia did that happen?
“He’s my other intern at the Neohome Planning Committee Headquarters,” Jim explained, blinking his eyes a few times to make sure he was seeing properly. “Nicholas,” he addressed, pointing to the statue of Jhudora, “d-do you know who that is?”
“Know?” Nicholas replied, looking shocked. “Of course I know! It’s Jhudora. She only happens to be the most infamous faerie in all of Neopia!”
Not to mention the most attractive faerie in all of Neopia, Jhudora added.
“Nick,” Liam said quickly as he rushed forward, “I made a huge mistake selling you her. I thought she was evil, and well...” He held out the bag of neopoints. “We need her back. Here’s your money back. I’m really sorry.”
Nicholas looked confused. He put down the feather duster and frowned. “I’m sorry, but you agreed to the trade, Liam; I have no legal obligation to give her back to you.”
Liam was silent, and Jim looked taken aback as well. Jesc ruffled her white wings uncomfortably. “But you must understand that she’s a faerie,” she said. “Faeries can’t be bought and sold like property! ...Well, unless they’re in bottles, but that’s a different story—there are contracts and regulations and things like that.” She shook her head. “But Jhudora is a faerie, not your property. You have to give her back to us.”
The shadow Kacheek shook his head. “Jhudora seems to be enjoying her stay here; I give her anything she wants. And I’m her biggest fan. I wouldn’t do anything to harm her.” He took a few steps towards them. “Now if you three could excuse us, I was going to make some finger sandwiches. I know Jhudora can’t eat as a statue, but I believe I may have a potion that could allow her to taste things at least.” He started walking towards the kitchen, a room that looked as if it was dominated by dark purple cabinets.
Jesc looked to Jhudora for guidance, immensely concerned. She flew off Jim’s shoulder and alighted on top of a shelf. “Jhudy, you can’t be agreeing to this.”
Don’t worry about me, Jesc, Jhudora said, sounding fairly unconcerned. The Neopet will get sick of me soon enough; I might as well enjoy the servitude while it lasts. She laughed. Besides, Faerieland is being evacuated as we speak. We’ll have to leave sometime tomorrow if not later today, and in the midst of all of the shuffling around and evacuation process, he’ll hand me back to you guys. No big deal.
“What?” Nicholas said, looking back at them from the archway to the kitchen. He shook his head and hurried back into the sitting room, wringing his hands. “Oh no, we’re not leaving here today. We’re not leaving here ever.”
Wait--what? Jhudora asked, all of her lightheartedness vanishing in an instant. What do you mean “we’re not leaving ever?” Faerieland is on a one way crash course collision with the Haunted Woods!
The shadow Kacheek seemed unaffected by Jhudora’s tirade. He just shook his head again. “I have everything I could ever wish for here in my home, and I have no intentions of leaving.” He gestured his arm across the room. “Each piece was hand made to my specific likings. The couches, the shelves. Even the wallpaper was designed for me!” He strolled to a large cabinet with a glass front. Behind the panes were vials of potions and glittering objects that looked exceedingly expensive. “The evacuation calls for minimal objects to be taken, only enough to fill a suitcase.” His black eyes looked tormented. “A single suitcase to house all of my treasures, all of my collection! I can’t do that, I just can’t.”
“Your own evacuation is your own choice,” Jim said, trying to keep his voice level as he took a step forward, “but Jhudora is her own person. You can’t keep her—your idol—here if it means risking her safety!”
And I care about my personal safety a lot, thank you very much! Jhudora yelled out.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t do that. I just can’t.” The Kacheek reached into the cabinet and pulled out two small vials; one contained a green liquid, and the other, red. “Now I’m going to ask you three to leave. I do not wish to have you in my home anymore. If you aren’t out by the count of three, I will drop this green flask. The potion will knock any Neopet out cold with a single inhale, and only I have the antidote.” He shook the red vial with his paw.
“Nick, you’re being ridiculous! We just want to help,” Liam said, taking a step forward to talk some sense into his coworker. But his movement was too much for Nicholas. Forgoing the countdown, the shadow Kacheek smashed the flask on the ground. Plumes of green smoke rose from the wooden floors, making the air thick with the potion. Nick immediately took a sip of the red antidote, unharmed, but the same couldn’t be said for Jim and Liam. With only a single inhale of the acrid smoke, the Aisha and Lupe fell to the ground, Jim’s glasses smashing into tiny pieces near the welcome mat.
“Jim! Liam!” Jesc called, flying over to their crumpled bodies. They were still breathing, but clearly unconscious.
You stupid cretin of a Neopet! Jhudora yelled, her voice loud and painful in Nicholas’ skull. What did you just do? How will I ever get off this blasted cloud now?!
Nicholas stared at her. “I told you, Jhudora, we’re not leaving. That wou---AGH!” As he had spoke, something small and white had darted towards his head, poking at his skin. “AGH! Get off me!”
Jesc pecked at him with her beak and then hovered over his head, just out of reach of his frantic grabs. “How could you do that?” she cried, nearly hysterical. “How could you use that potion on Jim and Liam? They’re your coworkers! All they wanted to do was help you! And how can you do this to Jhudora? If Faerieland crashes, in the state she’s in, she’ll shatter into a million pieces, and no amount of magic will be able to fix her!”
“Faerieland is not going to crash, though.”
How can you believe that? Jhudora yelled. It’s sinking lower and lower every second!
“Someone will stop it,” Nicholas protested, shaking his head.
“Who?” Jesc asked, alighting on top of his cabinet. “All the faeries are stone. Hanso and Brynn and them are doing all they can, but even that may not be enough.”
“I still have faith,” Nicholas said solidly. He waved his hand. “Now will you please get off that cabinet? I keep some very valuable items in there, items that I do not intend on seeing destroyed either by you or through the ridiculous notion of Faerieland colliding with Neopia.”
Jesc didn’t budge. “Nicholas,” she said, “what will you do if Faerieland does crash?”
“What if it does? All of your things will be gone, there’s no way around that. But what about you? What about Jhudora?” She glanced down at Liam and Jim still unconscious on the floor. “And what about them? How can you doom them all just so you can keep watch over all of your things?”
“But, but...” Nicholas looked torn. “You don’t understand! Everything I’ve worked so hard to get is all here in my house. My whole life is amassed under this one roof!”
And all my things are inside my lair! Jhudora added angrily. Don’t think you’re the only one who is going to have to sacrifice things, buddy. Some of the things I own are heirlooms, totally irreplaceable. But there are things that are more important than objects.
“She’s right,” Jesc said, fluttering down so that she was face to face with the Kacheek. “I live in a small neohome with my sister. If Faerieland crashes, everything in that house will be destroyed: my wind chimes, my extensive collection of plushies, all of the flowers we meticulously planted along the side of the house in the spring.” Her eyes watered. She wished she could wipe the tears away, but as a Weewoo all she could do was hover. “But what gets me through the idea of losing all those things is to focus on what I know I’ll still have afterwards. On my sister who will have evacuated safely because of all the volunteers, and my friends scattered throughout Neopia. But I was also focusing on Jhudora and Jim and everyone else being safe as well, and now I can’t.” A tear fell to the ground. “Because of you, they are in even more danger than ever. More than anything Mrs. Pierce threw at us. Please Nicholas. You need to evacuate. Not just for yourself, but for them.”
The shadow Kacheek stared at her defiantly, and for a moment Jesc thought he was going to yell at her, but instead his eyes welled with tears. “Oh Fyora, you’re right!” he said, turning away. “I’m so selfish! How could I doom not only myself, but Jhudora and the others as well?” He fell to his knees in front of the dark faerie statue, his face pressed into Jhudora’s stone feet. “Please, Jhudora, please forgive me!”
As much as I enjoy groveling, this isn’t the time, Jhudora said brusquely. How about this: I’ll spare your pathetic life if you can get all of us off this blasted cloud.
“Yes, yes, I’ll try my best! I’ll do whatever I—” He was abruptly cut off when the ground beneath them rumbled violently. The floorboards quaked and rolled, the dark wood splintering with the sound of cracking ice. Nicholas leapt from his spot and grabbed Jhudora by the shoulders before she could topple over.
“What’s going on?” Jesc asked in panic as a picture frame fell from the wall and shattered on the ground.
Faerieland is falling faster, Jhudora said, her voice thick with panic. The cloud supporting it is no longer stable. We need to leave now.
“Can’t I just fill a suitcase quickly?” Nicholas begged, but Jesc didn’t respond because she felt her skin starting to get very warm, her stomach rolling uncomfortably, and her vision starting to blur.
“Oh no,” she cried over the sounds of splintering wood and breaking glass. “Not now! Not when everyone is still in danger!”
But her cries were futile. Amidst the chaos of Jhudora yelling at Nicholas, and Jim and Liam lying helplessly on the floor, everything went dark; the body-switching potion was wearing off. A moment after losing her vision, Jesc felt like she was being sucked through a small tube as she was transported back into her stone body.
A second later, Jesc opened her eyes and was greeted with bright sunlight and the sound of laughter coming from the beach. Long grass tickled her feet and Jhuidah stared at her inquisitively from beside her pot. She was safe on Mystery Island.
But she couldn’t say the same about Jhudora, Jim, Liam, Scotchmel, and Nicholas, all of whom were still trapped on Faerieland.
To be continued...