|“So, what did you get this week?”
“Oh you know. A bit of a mixed bag really. Your usual assortment of random food. Some gullible fools also brought me some stamps. I ended up having to throw together another one of those wands for one of them. It’s honestly quite sickening how happy they look when I hand it over.”
“Anything you want to trade? I’ve got a few potions you might like.”
Polly the Xweetok froze on the edges of the glade in Meridell, clutching the plushie she’d purchased for Illusen closely to her chest. She slunk back into the bushes, peering around the leaves to see the bizarre scene unfolding in front of her.
As expected, Illusen was in her glade. But what was certainly a surprise, was the dark faerie perched on a log across from her.
Date: Mar 29th
"A few potions I might like? Oh, Jhudora, you know me well enough. Hand them over, I will give you the usual fee..."
Polly watched as Jhudora unveiled from under her wings a pack of a dark-purple, evil-looking substance encapsulated in bright green flasks. Why would Illusen want anything near those?
"How's your little plan coming along?", Jhudora asked. "I wonder how long until your secret is-".
"Don't you worry about that", interrupted Illusen with a grin on her face. "When you’ve waited so long for something as I have, time itself becomes of little importance”, she stated while taking one of the green flasks and opening it to better examine its contents. “But to answer you, soon enough. This last batch might just do the trick, actually”.
As Polly stood petrified trying to make sense of what she had heard, the vapours released from the potion that Illusen was still holding up close to her eyes slowly filled the air in the whole glade, until finally reaching the frightened Xweetok in her hiding spot. The smell was just so disgusting she couldn’t refrain her reflexes from pulling both hands up to her nose. As a result, the plushie she was carrying fell straight in the bushes near her feet, making just enough a rustling noise as to attract the attention of the two faeries.
Date: Mar 30th
Polly froze, wide-eyed with fear. She considered bolting, but feared for the faeries' retribution against someone spying on such an intimate conversation between...friends? She shuddered at the idea of being transformed into a mortog. No, the Xweetok thought, the safest thing would be to show herself, albeit in a way that would avoid suspicion. Polly gingerly picked up the plushie and cleared her throat.
"Hullo? Is anyone there? I've gotten the item Illusen has asked for, but seem to have lost my way in this large glade."
"Oh thank you! Yes, I'm right here." A warm voice -seemingly Illusen's- had responded.
At this point, Polly stepped out of her hiding spot while she held up her offering, its blank face staring off into the distance. As soon as she did so, she nearly dropped it again out of surprise.
Jhudora had vanished.
Date: Mar 31st
“That’s perfect,” Illusen said, a gentle smile on her face. Polly tried her hardest not to wrinkle her nose: the disgusting smell was even worse here in the glade. “Thank you, little Xweetok. Here, I have something to give you in return.”
Polly crossed her fingers, hoping for good luck, but also trying to busy her hands so that she wouldn’t hold her nose. Illusen stood up and turned her back on Polly, heading into her hut. Surreptitiously Polly looked around, though she supposed it would be futile to try and spot Jhudora. If she didn’t want to be seen, then she wouldn’t see her.
What were the two Faeries hiding?
Polly’s wonderings were interrupted by a loud clattering from inside Illusen’s hut. To her horror, dark purple smoke seemed to be drifting out of the doorway. The smell was so strong that even the plants in Illusen’s glade were wilting.
“Hello?” Polly asked, inching forward. The clattering from inside was getting louder, and the smoke thicker. “Um… Miss Illusen? Is everything alright in there?”
The only reply was a muffled gasp. Finally giving in to the urge to pinch her nose shut, Polly stepped forward to peek inside the hut.
There were piles of empty potion bottles all around. Big ones, little ones, round ones, square ones. In the middle of the hut was a large cauldron, metallic purple-gold liquid bubbling slowly inside. Behind it, Illusen was standing completely stock still, her eyes wide.
A figure made out of purple smoke was gliding towards her.
How will this story end?
Date: Apr 1st
Polly screamed with sheer terror, but Illusen didn’t even seem to acknowledge her, completely taken by a trance. What to do? The purple smoke figure was getting closer by the second, coming inches from Illusen’s face. Polly finally mustered up enough courage for a heroic act and started towards Illusen, hoping to push the faerie away from the ominous smoke monster.
But it was just too late. The smoke figure reached Illusen before Polly could do anything, dissolving in a dense purple fog around her. Immediately, all of Illusen’s clothes dried up, turning from a bright green colour to a dark brown: it was like the faerie was withering herself in the midst of the purple fog!
If possible, Polly was even more terrified, flashes of the Wraith Resurgence passing through her head. “Illusen!”, she screamed again, at the top of her lungs, trying to get the faerie out of her trance. “ILLUSEN!”.
Illusen began to blink and to slowly look around her. She took a long time examining the conditions her clothes were left in. When at long last she seemed to have returned to her senses, she let out a big smile:
“It WORKED! I cannot believe it actually worked! I’m so happy!”
“What are you talking about?”, Polly asked baffled. “What are you talking about? Are you hurt, did Jhudora tricked you?”
As if summoned by those very words, Jhudora appeared at the hut at that same instant. Polly, with her faint-hearted nature, was prepared to scream again, but Illusen took the Xweetok in her arms and reassured her.
Jhudora ignored Polly’s frightened eyes directed at her and instead concentrated her attention on the state of Illusen’s dress. “I see you finally did it. After years of trying to perfect a weed killer potion to help those neopenniless Meridell farmers, you got it. My congratulations, I suppose”, she said with a snobbish tone of voice. “It’s infuriating, even when using my dark potions, you just have to make something good out of it. Argh, it makes me sick”, she concluded. “But, well, as long as you’re paying for it…”
Polly finally understood what had happened since her arrival at the glade. She laughed heartily. “Well, here’s a lesson on jumping to conclusions too early”.
Date: Apr 2nd