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The Switch


by maraqua_berry

--------

Today was a glorious day.

     The sky was dark and overcast, hanging ominously over the citizens of Faerieland as if to say, "Don't push me. I have had a very difficult day and I lost my favourite plushie and I just spilled juice on myself, so don't push me because I will rain on you."

     The sun was nowhere in sight, having been shoved aside by the grumpy clouds, and Jhudora was rather happy about this. She was more than happy, she was ecstatic, she was elated, she was... there were no words.

     In fact, the dark faerie was in such high spirits that she felt today would be a good day to play a spectacular trick on that goody-two-shoes, Illusen.

     Feeling utterly inspired by this excellent idea, Jhudora leapt into action, narrowly avoided tripping over her staff, and headed for her special 'I'm going to give you a quest and you will complete it, impossible or not' seat.

     It didn't take long for someone to show up. Jhudora was sitting in her seat, feeling that she looked rather ominous and impressive and generally dark-faerieish when a green Kyrii marched through the door, fluffing up his mane and trying to look intimidating.

     "Get me a Sludgy," the faerie ordered without preamble.

     The Kyrii looked rather alarmed. "A Sludgy? Don't you usually ask for... grapes, or something?"

     He received a staff in the face for his troubles. "Don't make me hit you again!" snapped Jhudora. "Get moving, pretty-boy."

     The Kyrii bolted off, looking terrified and as Jhudora settled back in her chair she thought that this was, indeed, shaping up to be a glorious day.

     ***

     Today was a simply foul day.

     The sky was grey and nasty, and the sun, which had been shining so beautifully just yesterday in a way that Illusen knew Jhudora would hate, was nowhere to be found.

     Illusen was not at all happy about this.

     She was about as far from happy as it was possible to be. She was absolutely miserable, gloomy, wallowing in a deep fit of utmost despair, she was... there were no words.

     Illusen couldn't help but feel as though today was the kind of day that was doomed right from the start. Her thoughts were only confirmed when her first quester of the day turned out to be a swamp gas Techo who came up right close and personal as he asked for his quest. Hurriedly, Illusen sent him off to buy a bar of soap.

     Maybe she'd let him keep it.

     ***

     It only took an hour for Jhudora to gather a roomful of Sludgies, all of them brought to her by utterly baffled and terrified questers who were much too frightened of her to question the motives behind gathering so many of the unattractive petpets.

     The dark faerie grinned to herself in a very dark sort of manner.

     "Oh, sister," she muttered to herself, stroking one of the Sludgies absent-mindedly and then grimacing once she realised what she had done, "This is going to be just marvellous."

     With another of her dark grins, Jhudora rose from her seat in what she hoped was a majestic, evil manner and hung a 'Go away or I'll vaporise your head' sign outside of her bluff.

     Then she set to work, humming to herself as she only did when nobody else was around.

     ***

     Illusen grimaced.

     Several irritating questers had already gotten on her nerves today, and Illusen considered herself a very patient faerie - at least compared to Jhudora, although that was perhaps not the best comparison.

     She had so far accumulated five chocolate bars, three spiral notebooks and one bar of soap (the Techo had politely declined her insistent offer that he keep it for himself).

     It would be so much easier if she could remember why she needed these things. All Illusen knew was that she had written down a list of what she needed one day (and sweet Fyora, had that taken a long time) but neglected to mention, why, exactly, she needed them.

     So for now she was just collecting random objects and trying to remain mysterious and cryptic when people asked why she wanted such mundane items.

     Her day only got worse from there, though, because when she turned from waving another quester out of her glade she discovered something rather unpleasant indeed.

     The entire room was filled with Sludgies.

     The earth faerie stared in astonishment for a full minute before she managed to comprehend the situation.

     Her glade. Was filled with Sludgies.

     There was only one explanation for this. "JHUDORA!" she screeched, immense frustration emanating from her tone. Then, realising that Jhudora could not, in fact, hear her, Illusen set about sending a very angry neomail to her indescribable sister (well, she was certainly describable, but Illusen didn't think some of the words she would use were quite appropriate for a faerie of her standing).

     ***

     Jhudora stretched and yawned.

     Sending all of those Sludgies to Illusen's glade had taken a powerful spell, and it had taken quite a bit out of the dark faerie. It would be worth it, though, to see that prissy earth faerie's face.

     ...Not that she'd actually see Illusen's face. She'd have to imagine it, then. Picturing Illusen's horrified face in her mind cheered Jhudora up considerably and she felt rather more awake as a mail-Pteri came soaring into the room, looking frightened but determined.

     "There's a letter here for Jhudora the dark faerie," announced the Pteri, as though Jhudora wasn't both infamous and the only other person in the room.

     Raising a single eyebrow, Jhudora replied, "That's me."

     "Ah," said the Pteri briskly, puffing out his chest in an important sort of way. He fluttered over, dropped a yellow envelope into Jhudora's lap, and flew out of the room trying desperately to not look like he was scared of being turned into a pile of sludge.

     Jhudora snorted in amusement before sliding a claw-like nail under the edge of the envelope and pulling it open.

     JHUDORA, it read in Illusen's large, angry - yet still meticulously neat - handwriting.

     Sludgies? Really? That's very childish of you, Sister. I thought we had outgrown this kind of thing and that we could at least enjoy our well-established enmity in peace. Apparently not.

     Just remember, you started it.

     From Illusen

     "Well," announced Jhudora to nobody. "That sounds threatening." She laughed scornfully and crumpled the letter up, tossing it into the corner. She thought no more of it.

     ***

     "This is it. It's war." Illusen was pacing. She liked to think that pacing made her look as though she was thinking important, faerie-like thoughts that were vital to Meridell's survival.

     In actuality, when questers came into the glade only to find Illusen doing an odd Mallard-esque walk with her arms tightly twisted behind her back, snorting like the Monocerous after a JubJub gets away, they wisely backed off and pretended they had never been there in the first place.

     Illusen, of course, noticed none of this. She was still ranting to herself. "She has dug her last grave," growled the earth faerie. It had taken a long time to get rid of the Sludgies, and an even longer amount of time to remove the sludge from all of her somehow-important possessions.

     Of course, it had never occurred to her to simply use a spell. That would be an abuse of her powers as a faerie. Or something.

     Now, she just needed something spectacular to throw back at her dark-hearted sister.

     Slowly, a smirk spread over the usually-friendly faerie's face. Jhudora was going down.

     ***

     Many neomails, well-placed water balloons, exploding Mortogs and super-glue with feathers later, Jhudora and Illusen were standing before Fyora, heads bowed a little.

     Illusen was at least trying to look contrite, whereas Jhudora was smirking unabashedly and looking rather proud of herself. Illusen did have feathers glued to every inch of her, after all.

     "Jhudora," Fyora said gravely, "Illusen."

     Two faces lifted to look at the Queen, one looking slightly ashamed, the other delighted.

     "I am very disappointed. I trust all faeries to take care of one another, to help protect Neopia. I do not expect for them to be playing petty pranks on each other!"

     "Oh, please," snapped Jhudora. "You're not my mother. I vaporised her a long time ago."

     "She started it, anyway," Illusen interjected, looking indignant now as opposed to shamefaced.

     Fyora narrowed her violet eyes. "I see." Suddenly, she smiled, predator-like. "Well then," she said, "I suppose you'd both better be leaving."

     Earth faerie and dark faerie exchanged baffled looks, before turning and leaving the throne room, trying not to look as though they were rushing away too fast.

     Jhudora grinned. That, she thought to herself, went rather well. She ought to prank Illusen more often, if that was how Fyora was going to react.

     ***

     The next day did not go nearly so well.

     For starters, Jhudora woke up only to discover that she was not, actually, in her bluff. She was somewhere green. Green, of all colours.

     Now, green in moderation was fine. Jhudora could appreciate a little green. But slapping it all over the place was just distasteful. Wrinkling her nose, Jhudora sat up in her not-bed.

     This was most certainly not her bluff. Illusen had not cast some feeble spell to turn it all green. She was somewhere else entirely.

     This was most displeasing. Jhudora decided that she ought to get a better look at the situation and so she stood up, hair swinging, only to catch a glimpse of chestnut brown from the corner of her eye.

     Brown, amidst all of this green, was rather unusual. Where had the brown come from? Jhudora whirled around to look, only to see it again. It disappeared just as quickly as the first time. Jhudora frowned and started to walk slowly around the nasty green room. She was missing the comforting purple of her bluff already.

     It was then that she caught sight of her reflection in a particularly ugly mirror. Usually, Jhudora would have stopped to preen. Today, she stopped for an entirely different reason.

     Her face was not her own.

     ***

     Illusen was not feeling quite herself today.

     This was probably because she was not herself today. She was Jhudora. Needless to say, it had been quite a shock for the earth faerie to wake up, stretch, and peer into a nasty purple mirror that seemed to have claws only to find that she was currently wearing Jhudora's face.

     The faerie groaned, her sister's face buried in her hands. "Oh, Fyora," she muttered to herself. "I'm going to be on Neopia's Worst Dressed list, for sure."

     This had to be Fyora's doing. It just had to be. There was no way Jhudora would have willingly given up her body so that her sister could reside in it. That was ridiculous.

     Suddenly, a horrible thought occurred to her. If she was in Jhudora's body, surely that meant that Jhudora was in her body.

     With a terrified squeak, Illusen swung her feet over the side of the bed and slipped her feet into a particularly grotesque pair of shoes before soaring out of the nearby window, still dressed in Jhudora's horrible nightgown.

     ***

     This was a catastrophe. A catastrophe of the worst degree. A catastrophe of the worst degree, including that time when she had accidentally given one of her questers her real staff instead of one of those cheap fake ones.

     She was in Illusen's body. Illusen's. Her irritating, goody-goody sister's body, as opposed to her own majestic dark faerie form.

     She couldn't do anything in this body.

     Jhudora froze suddenly, and then a smile curved her sister's lips into a vicious smile that certainly didn't suit her.

     She could do everything in this body.

     Think of the mischief she could cause, in Illusen's body! Illusen, who everyone trusted! Illusen, who nobody would suspect of ever causing trouble.

     "Oh Fyora." Jhudora grinned. "You really have done me a tremendous favour here." And with that, she set off to greet the first of the days questers.

     ***

     It was still early, the morning sky streaked a pale orange and pink, as Illusen flew into the Queen's throne room, landing with an ungraceful thud in her haste to question Fyora.

     "Ah," greeted the Queen. "Good morning, Jhudora."

     "It's Illusen, and you know it!" shrieked Illusen, a tad hysterically. Somewhere in the depths of her mind, a voice screamed at her not to shout at the all-powerful faerie queen, but it was ignored. Illusen was much too indignant to pay any attention to it.

     Fyora looked at the earth-turned-dark-faerie contemplatively. "Is it, now?" she murmured. "How interesting." Her lips twitched into a smile that had Illusen screeching with frustration.

     "So that's how you want to play this, hm?" Illusen returned in a carefully controlled voice. "Well, that's just fine." Gritting her teeth, she spun on her heel and stalked out of the throne room before she remembered that, yes, she could still fly, and took off across Faerieland using her sister's leathery wings.

     ***

     Jhudora cackled.

     It wasn't as effective as her usual cackle – Illusen's voice wasn't nearly silky and evil and generally awesome enough – but it would do for now.

     Several potential questers had already been chased away by the huge sign reading 'GO AWAY UNLESS YOU HAVE CAKE OR SOMETHING. IF YOU DON'T HAVE CAKE, JUST LEAVE. THAT MEANS YOU, WHOEVER YOU ARE' which was perhaps rather long-winded but it got the point across wonderfully.

     Jhudora was too busy for questers, currently inside her sister's glade concocting a masterful plan to wreak havoc on whatever tickled her fancy. Probably the whole of Meridell, then. Jhudora had never liked Meridellians. All they did was kiss Mortogs and roll cheese and whine about all their hardships.

     Looking around for inspiration, maybe a brilliant spell she could use, Jhudora caught a glimpse of Meridell Castle from one of the glade's makeshift windows. Another smirk crossed her sister's lips. "Perfect," breathed Jhudora, and she began to chant an incantation.

     ***

     King Skarl's manservant had hit a little hitch in his otherwise perfect day.

     He had to explain to the king why, exactly, his castle was currently purple with an enormous flag – also purple – flying from the tallest tower. It wouldn't be quite so bad, perhaps, if the flag hadn't had Jhudora's face emblazoned upon it, with the words 'You're all nasty little people who dig up potatoes all day' written underneath.

     "WHY," rumbled King Skarl, "IS MY CASTLE PURPLE?"

     "I- I'm not quite sure, My Lord," stuttered his manservant, a green Kacheek. "Perhaps, My Lord, we could ask Illusen," he continued, debating the wisdom behind tacking another 'My Lord' onto his suggestion, just for good measure.

     It turned out that wasn't quite necessary. "YES," agreed King Skarl, still shouting although his manservant thought (and perhaps this was just blind optimism) that it was a little quieter. "WE'LL DO THAT."

     ***

     And that was how King Skarl and a green Kacheek found themselves standing outside Illusen's glade, staring at the rather rude sign in bewilderment. King Skarl huffed, ignored it and strode into the glade. "ILLUSEN!" he bellowed.

     The earth faerie looked up from a large cauldron that King Skarl could not recall seeing before. "What do you want, peasants?" she snapped.

     King Skarl snarled, puffed himself up a little. A peasant, now, was he? "I AM THE KING-" he began, only to be cut off by Illusen.

     "Yes, yes, and I'm a faerie who could vaporise your head. Now run along, I'm busy."

     The Skeith's mouth opened and closed several times before he turned and stormed out of the glade, throwing his parting words over his shoulder. "FYORA WILL BE HEARING ABOUT THIS!"

     ***

     It was far easier than it should have been to contact the faerie queen, and Fyora found herself wondering, as she sifted through yet another heap of neomails, if it might be a good idea to move to Mystery Island and become a hermit instead.

     Just then, she caught sight of a neomail that looked rather interesting. It bore the seal of Meridell, and Fyora picked it up with an intrigued smile. Perhaps it contained news of Jhudora (or Illusen, as the king thought).

     Fyora, read the letter. You should do a better job of controlling your faeries. Illusen just threatened to vaporise my head. Sort it out, or I shall send my army to Faerieland and there will be a war. A big one. Don't think I won't.

     From King Skarl.

     "Ah," said Fyora. Thoughtfully, she glanced out of her window. Illusen – in Jhudora's body, naturally – was currently spiralling through Faerieland ringing a large bell and shrieking about how the queen was an evil tyrant who needed to be disposed of immediately. "Perhaps," Fyora murmured to herself, "I have gone a little too far."

     ***

     The next day, the two sisters had been placed back into their own bodies on the strict conditions that there were to be no more fights between them, prank-wars or just general pain-inducing ones. The two faeries had hurriedly agreed, eager to be back in their own bodies, and Fyora felt that she had definitely fixed the issue this time.

     The truce lasted all of a week before both faeries were back in her throne room, covered in paint and sticky tape and smelling like swamp gas. Fyora pinched the bridge of her nose and decided that, yes, she was definitely moving to Mystery Island.

The End

 
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