Illusen's First Quest: Part One
A mysterious figure traipsed through the streets of Faerieland, shrouded in a dark cloak to hide from prying eyes. Neopets and Faeries alike gave the figure a wide berth as it made its way with purpose through the streets. Everyone watched in wonderment; to see such darkness walking through the streets of Faerieland was very uncommon. Certainly such a shady figure would be heading to Jhudora's Cloud, but surprisingly, it made its way deeper into Faerieland and knocked on none other than Illusen's door.
The young earth faerie popped her head out from behind her door and asked, "Yes?" She was not used to visitors, preferring to spend her time in seclusion enjoying peace and quiet. When she saw the mysterious being before her she gasped, taken aback, but quickly opened the door and allowed the visitor inside her home. She shut the door behind her, closing out the prying eyes of everyone in Faerieland.
Once inside, the figure took off the dark cloak. Underneath it was none other than Fyora, the Faerie Queen. Illusen could tell she had just come a great distance and that Fyora had gone to great lengths to hide her identity. As the Queen sat down at Illusen's kitchen table, the earth faerie went to put on some tea.
"What's wrong, my queen?" Illusen asked politely as a knot formed in her stomach. The Queen was obviously here to send her on a quest, and it would probably be a monumental one.
"My dear Illusen," Fyora said soothingly, taking the cup and saucer Illusen offered and sipping the tea. "Faerieland will soon be under attack."
Fyora said this so calmly and matter-of-factly that it made Illusen pause for a moment in shock. The Queen waited patiently for Illusen to digest what she had just said. The earth faerie needed to take a seat she was so stunned, still wondering why Fyora would choose to visit her when their land was soon to be invaded.
"W...what's going on?" Illusen stammered.
"I just came from a secret meeting with Mira the Space Faerie. She has knowledge that none other than Doctor Sloth wishes to vanquish Faerieland. His motives are unclear, but Mira assures me the threat is very real. The two of us travelled to the Haunted Woods and met with a fortuneteller. She too predicted this threat without either of us saying a word, but she had more to offer. The seer predicted that a powerful earth faerie could forge a weapon strong enough to stop Sloth in his tracks."
Illusen just blinked, still stunned. "You mean to say you think I'm a powerful earth faerie?"
Fyora just nodded, a thin smile appearing on her face. Illusen was flattered to the point of astonishment. This was such a high honor, especially to hear it from the Faerie Queen herself, but with the honor came a terrible responsibility. Illusen, as skilled a faerie as she may be, was never one to make waves. Her happiness was found in the pages of books and making earth potions and cream cookies. Sure, the other faeries loved her when she had made a fresh batch, but other than that it was almost as if she didn't exist. How had the Faerie Queen known so much about her to come knocking on her door and asking a favor like this?!
"Surely there is a better faerie for the job, your highness," Illusen said politely.
The Queen shook her head adamantly. "No, the seer actually predicted it would be you," she insisted, "and I know you have it in you."
"Just what do I need to do exactly?" Illusen asked with a gulp.
Fyora shrugged her shoulders. "I have no clue! That, my dear, is up to you, but I'm sure you'll think of something." She got up and made her way over to the door. "Don't be lazy, though. We don't have long until Sloth will be upon us."
The Queen said no more before simply showing herself out, shutting the door and leaving Illusen alone. The faerie ran her fingers through her hair in frustration, ready to pull out the green and brunette locks in agony. A thousand thoughts raced through her head, but she managed to focus herself enough to take on the task at hand. The Faerie Queen was depending on her, and she was determined not to let her and her home of Faerieland down.
Intuitively, Illusen snapped her fingers, causing the door to her home to lock and the windows shut. Sure enough, soon after, a nosy faerie was knocking on the door to snoop around and see what had transpired with Fyora. Illusen ignored the knocking, choosing instead to head to her library. Her home looked small and quaint on the outside, but inside the library was the grandest and most exquisite in all of Neopia. She made her way through aisle after aisle of books trying to find one that would help her.
There were books about adventure, misfortune, spells and evil. Why couldn't she think of one about defeating Sloth? She sighed, running her fingers along the spines of the books as she scanned them, realizing that Sloth was rarely beat. Illusen's Blade caught her eye, and she had half a mind to make her way to the Haunted Woods and find the seer that had gotten her in this mess. That's when the idea hit her: she needed to travel.
Illusen loved her home among the faeries because they were her own kind and it was peaceful. She really felt at home, though, in the woods. This was where she could be herself and think most freely. She grabbed an old charm book from its place on the bookshelf and grabbed her blade.
She snuck out the back door of her home and made her way through the backstreets of Faerieland to avoid suspicion. Illusen knew exactly where she was headed: to see King Skarl. At this time in Neopian history, Skarl was just developing the land of Meridell, and the majority of it was still forestland. Illusen came upon the land one day when a festival was going on that made it particularly noisy in Faerieland. She situated herself in the silence of the forest, reading peacefully until Skarl came through and nearly scared her to death. The two laughed about their unlikely meeting and had been friends ever since.
Skarl's kingdom wasn't far from Faerieland, and with a strong wind blowing, Illusen's wings got her there in no time. She made her way to the castle, breezing past Skarl's guards and waving to him as she entered the dining hall. The earth faerie knew she would find the Skeith here; he loved eating and was seldom found elsewhere. Sure enough, there he sat in all his royal glory, shoving food down his throat.
"Hi Illusen!" he said unintelligibly through bites, causing his guards to give him a quizzical look. Illusen, however, had grown accustomed to her friend's habits and understood him perfectly.
"Skarl," she said, getting down to business. "I need your help. The Faerie Queen has told me our homeland will soon be under attack. Dr. Sloth is coming, and a fortuneteller in the Haunted Woods has predicted that I am the only hope the faeries have of stopping him. Do you mind if I go out into the forest for a while to think?"
King Skarl gasped, nearly choking on a chicken bone. "Of course!" he said, coughing. "Stay here as long as you like. There's always room for you in Meridell, whenever and wherever you want it."
"Thank you, Skarl!" Illusen said with a smile, bounding out of the castle and racing towards the trees ahead of her. Just running through the trees brought her a feeling of delight, and it soothed her nerves. She made her way to her usual spot and sat down in the dirt, propping her back up against a particularly sturdy tree.
This was her favorite part of the forest because the trees cleared off just enough to allow sunlight to shine down. She could read her books here in seclusion without needing to light a candle. She pulled out the charm book and opened it up, flipping through its pages with purpose.
Most of the charms and spells had been written for typical, everyday things. There was a spell to make a Neopet stronger, and another that concocted a potion capable of restoring the drinker to full health. While these spells were very useful, they were inadequate to Illusen now. She racked her brain for something that could work, remembering all the days she spent in school learning how to be the best earth faerie she could, and came up blank.
Illusen feared she would soon have to take Skarl up on his offer of living in Meridell if Faerieland was destroyed. Tears began to well up, and she could hold them back no longer. They streamed down her face, and one made its way down to the ground, landing on a twig. Illusen kept crying, not noticing the twig had magically begun to glow...
To be continued...