Be Careful What You Wish For
The young Blumaroo sighed loudly, swung his legs out from his bed, and pushed the blanket off him. He moved quietly as so not to wake his siblings and walked outside. It was dark; the odd lamp lit up in the small village by the sea on Roo Island. He stretched and smelt the sea air as his eyes grew used to the night. He had never been able to sleep much, a few hours here, a few hours there. He'd go to bed late and wake up early, and he'd never felt tired in his life. This would be a blessing, if it had not been for the fact he had never dreamt. His friends often talked about their adventures, fighting Draiks, befriending beautiful Cybunnies and winning millions of np. He had never had an adventure in his life, and certainly not in his sleep. He often spent the early hours of the morning training; he enjoyed challenging himself and becoming stronger. While his friends slept, he improved his level and strength. He imagined how wonderful it would be to explore the rest of Roo Island, a strong explorer having fun while discovering new places! He couldn't dream, but he liked to imagine that if he could, that's what he would dream about.
He was standing on the small hill by his house and it was when he turned towards the sea that he saw her. She was standing near the embers of a dying fire, the pale orange light casting a long shadow across the ground. He shivered in the cold as a strange mixture of excitement and nervousness flooded through him, and he felt the palms of his hands dampen. He moved quickly and stealthily. The mud streets of Roo Island were quiet, and the young Blumaroo imagined he could hear the scurrying sounds of the miamice around him. He thought about calling out to the mysterious woman, but thought better of it. He turned a corner and he hurried soundlessly after her. It seemed to him, from this distance at least, that her long strides never quite connected with the ground. He bounded toward an old bridge that he had often played near as a child. Suddenly, he saw her shape disappear near the base of the bridge. He neared the pass and saw a set of stairs that he never knew existed. He could hear the sea lapping against the rocks underneath the bridge and for a moment he considered turning around and going home. But curiosity urged him onward.
He found himself descending down a spiral staircase. Creaky wooden slats groaned as he moved downwards. There was nothing to hang onto but the stairs he passed. There were painted scenes that seemed strange and alien in the darkness; the young Blumaroo couldn't quite make out what they meant as they were so faded with age and water damage. He stayed close to the damp wall as he moved downwards. It was dark and smelt awful; he held his breath as he rounded the corner to the foot of the stairs. The Blumaroo froze in his tracks, and looked up at the woman before him; she stood at the top of a new narrow set of stairs, leaning nonchalantly against the wall. Her eyes met his and the Blumaroo breathed out heavily, his head pounding from the lack of oxygen. She smiled at him, lips drawing back to show a set of menacing white teeth, and suddenly she was gone. He blinked, shocked at the speed that she had moved at, and he thundered up the new stairs after her, no longer afraid of scaring off the woman.
"Hey!" he called out, his voice felt strangely quiet, lost in the silence of the staircase. "Hey, wait!"
His feet moved quickly up the steep stairs as his mind attempted to assimilate what he had seen. The woman had been beautiful, lilac skin iridescent in the low lamp light of the stairwell. Deep purple eyes that had appeared to stare right into him, and beautiful lips a wonderful, poisonous green. But most of all he remembered her wings, folded neatly behind her back. He imagined she must be a faerie, a creature that, as far as he knew, existed in only in faerietales. A small smile crept onto the lips of the young Blumaroo as he imagined what he would tell his friends when he returned. Their dreams couldn't live up to this real life adventure! His legs grew weary as he made the climb up the stairs; he could almost feel his level increasing as he moved up and up. As soon as he began to slow he turned a corner to find a door, and scrawled on it was a simple yet terrifying message,
The young Blumaroo liked a gamble, and he had come too far to turn away now. His hand hovered over the ancient square door knob which looked, strangely, like a die. Swallowing nervously the young Blumaroo turned the handle and the door creaked open slowly. He stood there, nerves flooding through his body as he quivered with mix of fear and excitement. He was in some kind of stone temple, with large windows that looked out on his small village. It was beautiful; flowers intertwined with the brickwork, beautiful intricate carvings covered the columns. The Blumaroo's mouth fell open; this place had certainly not existed this afternoon when he had walked down by the beach with his friends. How had it appeared now, was it this strange faerie? And what did it mean? His mouth dried up, and before he could ask the myriad of questions swarming in his mind, she spoke.
"Young Blumaroo," she said softly. Her voice was exotic and mysterious, but there was an edge to it that made him uncomfortable.
"You have followed me here, why?"
"I-I could not sleep." His voice cracked and he felt a blush rise up his neck and flood his cheeks. He straightened up and drew back his shoulders.
"I could not sleep; I went for a walk and then I saw you and followed you here."
"Is it in your nature to follow faeries wherever they tread?" she replied coolly, her deep purple hair swirling around her despite the lack of a breeze in the tower. Again, the young Blumaroo felt himself blush.
"So you are a faerie then?"
"I..." She smiled wanly. "I am Jhudora."
The low lamps in the temple flickered as she said her name and the Blumaroo felt the urge to run, yet he stood his ground.
"Jhudora is a beautiful name," he said slowly, "yet I have not heard of you before."
The violet eyes flashed, and for a moment he could have sworn they had glowed green, but in an instant she was smiling again, and it was the most beautiful smile the young Blumaroo had ever seen.
"I grant wishes." She moved towards him. "Three to be precise, no more, no less."
The Blumaroo went to open his mouth to reply but before he could she interrupted him.
"And no asking for more wishes."
He promptly shut his mouth.
"So, boy," she asked, her face moving towards his, "what is it you wish for?"
The Blumaroo's brown eyes stared into her purple ones, his mind flooded with a thousand wishes, millions of np, a wonderful petpet, a lifetime supply of cheese! She drew back from him and retreated to the back of the room, she stared up at the sky through one of the windows and asked,
"It is past midnight; are you always up this late?"
He stopped thinking for a moment and stared at her.
"Always, I wake up when the moon is at its highest." And it was in that moment that the Blumaroo thought of his first wish.
"I know what I want to wish for!" he exclaimed excitedly.
"And what is that?"
"I want to dream... when I sleep, that is! I want to sleep, and when I sleep I want to dream!"
Jhudora looked at him, her head cocked to one side as she smiled slowly.
"Consider it granted, young Blumaroo."
He grinned widely and suddenly his second wish came to him.
"Also, I – I..." he stumbled, wondering if his wish would sound foolish, "I want to be strong!"
With a lazy wave of her hand, she granted his wish.
"This wish shall be your last," she stated. The Blumaroo looked at her, and it seemed to him that she did not seem as pretty as he had once thought. The Blumaroo moved around the temple. He looked out at his small village and tried to think what would make him happy; he had dreams and strength to look forward to for the rest of his life, but then, how long would that be? And it was with that thought that he made his final wish;
"I want to live forever!"
He imagined the adventures he would have; by living forever he could do so many things, and become so strong! Pleased with himself, he turned from the window to see the faerie, no longer beautiful, her face contorted with a malevolent grin. Suddenly all he could think of was to run, far away from this temple and this terrible faerie. He spun on his heel and made for the door, but before he could reach it, it slammed in his face. There was a carving on this side as well, and what was written there made his stomach turn;
"I TOLD YOU TO RUN!"
He spun around and she was in front of him, her face close to his, a smile playing on her lips.
"Foolish boy, you dared not know me? I, Jhudora, most feared and terrible faerie in all of Neopia!" Her voice filled the temple, loud and unsettling it crashed against his ears as he felt his knees tremble.
"Please, please I did not know, I am sorry!" he wailed, cowering beneath her.
"This is your punishment!" she cried, her eyes flashing a dangerous green, her wings expanding majestically.
"No! Please don't hurt me." The Blumaroo's eyes were squeezed shut, and his arms rose defensively above his head, he stayed this way for a few moments when he heard a low cackle.
"Your wishes are your punishment, boy!" He opened his eyes to find the temple was no longer beautiful. It was dark and dank, and the flowers had rotted or turned to weed. There was no sign of the intricate patterns that had lined the columns; only mould decorated it now. And in the centre of the room was a coffin, plain and ominous. It was lined with bedding.
"W-what?" he stuttered, as his eyes attempted to take in the changes around him. Suddenly his eyes grew heavy, and his legs seemed too weak to support him.
"What is happening to me?" he moaned as he felt his body droop.
"Your wishes, young sir," the faerie replied cruelly. "You wished to dream, but to dream you must sleep. You will sleep for 23 hours in the day, but you will still wake at midnight, although only for an hour."
"NO!" cried the Blumaroo, he willed himself to open his eyes, but instead his feet began to move towards the coffin.
"Your second wish was to be strong, and you will have that chance. I will give you some dice," and as she said that the Blumaroo felt something in his hand. He looked down and saw a pair of dice cushioned in his palm.
"Please!" he pleaded woefully, "Please, I do not want these wishes, I just want to go home." But his cries went unanswered as he felt himself move towards the coffin. His free hand gripped the side and, despite his mind crying for his body to stop, he clambered in.
"People will visit you, and when they do you will play dice. If they win, you lose a level, if you win, you win a level, see how much fun you will have?" She cackled again, throwing her head back joyously.
"I'm sorry, I did not mean to offend you, Jhudora, please!" He yawned, desperately trying to stay awake, wondering if this is what it felt like to be tired.
"And your final wish, the most terrible wish, the one you inflicted upon yourself," she jeered as she leant over him, the lid of the coffin in her clawed hands. "To live forever."
He fell asleep before he could scream.
The young Blumaroo slept for centuries before anyone found him, and when they did, and they asked him his name, he could not remember.
As the years rolled by, he stopped believing that he would ever be saved.
Sadness consumed him, and soon playing dice was the only way he could stay sane when he woke.
But Jhudora had overlooked one part of his wish; he had asked to dream and dream he did.
And it is in dreaming that Count Von Roo finds his solace.