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Annunciation, Arguments, and Airspray


by silent_snow

--------

The suspense in the room was enough to kill. That was partially why Cyan made her first mistake. The other part was simply because she was half insane.

     If anyone had noted the first mistake, they would have considered its importance to be small. It was just one wrong ingredient, one tiny mistake. A Tonu's hair instead of a Kyrii's. Same color, same weight, wrong species. A small, seemingly unimportant mistake- but from the second it hit the bubbling orange broth of the potion, everything went horribly, despicably wrong.

     Not that anyone would notice. They would not know until it was far too late.

     "Blast it, Cyan, will you just get on with it? We all have other things to do."

     Cyan, more commonly known as the Negg Faerie, sniffed her annoyance. "It's called dramatic effect, Aethia. And I'll have you know that the instructions clearly state that one must add in a dramatic pause between the Kyrii's hair and the Golden Juppie soup. It won't work properly, otherwise."

     The Soup Faerie approached the cauldron at which Cyan was working, eagerly reaching for the parchment on which the instructions had been written. Her eyes had already lit up in excitement. "Does it really? Because I've always argued the case of timing during the making of potions, and this would be a tremendous help-"

     The Negg Faerie quickly grabbed the paper and stuffed it into one of her back pockets, looking around nervously. "Ah, you can take my word for it."

     The various faeries around the main room of the Neggery demonstrated their assorted methods of showing disbelief, which resulted in a great deal of eye-rolling. For the room was quite full of faeries, faeries of all different kinds. And though they all demonstrated their annoyance and disbelief clearly, each and every one of them knew the truth- that if this potion was a success, it would change the common Neopian lifestyle forever.

     As Cyan carefully poured the soup into her cauldron with a ladle, many heads were craned forward in order to see better. Cyan, noting the impatient interest of the other faeries, allowed herself a tiny smirk before lifting up her hands and drawing in a deep breath. Only one part was left for the making of the potion- the spell.

     "Magic of water and magic of earth,

     Help now this potion to grow to full worth,

     Magic of fire and magic of air,

     Take potion's strength, and dissolve it in hair!"

     With the last word, Cyan brought her hands down and clapped.

     And then, everything went visibly wrong.

     A great purple fog came billowing out of the cauldron, surrounding all of the faeries in the blink of an eye. The faeries coughed, gasped, and complained at the top of their lungs that the fog smelled of rotten Starberries. Then, one faerie screamed.

     "NO! Not the air!"

     Naturally, everyone was quite confused about by this odd comment. But then a burst of magic swept through the room, forcing the purple fog out of the room, and all could see the faerie who had screamed. It was an air faerie, and a relatively new one at that. Her name was Ventrela, and she was staring in shock at her disheveled, frizzy, mangled, tangled, and utterly messed up hairdo.

     "My 'air! Look, you see what 'appened to it? 'old on, why are you lot givin' me such 'eated looks, eh?"

     The Happiness Faerie (who had snuck in when no one was looking) snorted in disgust. "Alright, girly, what's wit' that bloody accent you're usin'? 'ave you lost your mind?"

     In another part of the room, Taelia frowned. "'old on, 'appiness Faerie- you've got one too."

     "'ey, so do I!"

     The entire room dissolved into frantic chatter as the assorted faeries ranted on various topics including their hair, the potion, their hair, Cyan, and their hair. For it was not only Ventrela who had a ruined hairdo. Every faerie's haircut had been utterly ruined, every lock of hair was frizzy and limp. Finally, one faerie with mussed purple hair stepped forward, her voice echoing over the mob.

     "Now 'old on!" Fyora shouted. "This is no way to act! We cannot let this tragedy separate us! We must act toge'er!"

     "Why should we listen to you?" Various faeries standing near the Happiness Faerie elbowed her for her impudence.

     "Because I 'ave much experience in the realm of 'airspray," Fyora stated grandly, "not that I use it. Now, do we all know what we 'ave to do first?"

     "Mob Cyan!"

     "No, we can't 'old 'er responsible," Fyora stated with a heavy air. "After all, she's clinically insane."

     "It's not my fault!" Cyan crossed her arms moodily. "I mean, why 'Cyan'? I'm not that colour at all! I'm 'unter green, isn't it obvious? It's bad enough that I don't 'ave a flowin' dress like the rest of you, but when your name doesn't match your 'airdo, much less your outlook on life..."

     "Aw, stop ramblin', Cyan," one of the other faeries muttered. "Come on, Fyora, can't we at least ban 'er from our coffee club?"

     "No." Fyora sighed. "We're gettin' off the point. Now, what we need to do next is ga'er the antidote. Which one of you is goin' to volunteer?"

     "I will."

     The faeries in the room all turned to the young air faerie who had just spoken, the same faerie that had earlier screamed about her hair. The faerie sniffed a bit and squared her shoulders, her eyes meeting Fyora's. "I'll do it. I'd do any'in' to fix my 'air."

     "Now, Ventrela," Fyora smiled, "it won't be all that 'ard. All you 'ave to do is give some Neopet a quest, and ask them for 'Fyoras Magic Airspray'. Just don't let them find out what we're doing."

     Ventrela started to smile, only to let it drop at one point. "But- what do I do about my 'air?"

     Fyora smiled mysteriously. "Don't worry, dear. We can 'andle that problem..."

     *****

     The citizens of Neopia Central had never seen a stranger faerie.

     Mothers protectively drew their children close as the strange faerie flew by, while eyes strove for closer looks at the spectacle. Never had anyone seen a faerie that wore a hooded black cloak that covered up the faerie's entire body, and especially never had a faerie gone about the city begging for a citizen to accept her quest. It simply wasn't done.

     The hooded faerie turned around and blinked at the staring citizens. "What? What are you lot lookin' at? 'aven't you ever seen an air faerie before?"

     A young Xweetok looked out from behind his owner, his mouth trembling as he glanced up at the teenage girl. "Jenny? Why does that faerie have such a weird accent?"

     The girl gently pushed the young pet back behind her, her suspicious eyes still locked on the hooded figure. "Don't look at her, Chip, she's probably evil in some way."

     Ventrela groaned and threw her hands up in the air, wondering how the other faeries had convinced her to wear such a suspiciously-evil-looking black cloak. At least it hid her hair- she was grateful for small blessings. "'onestly, what is wron' wit' you all? I just want to give out one blinkin' quest!"

     "Excuse me, miss, may I help you?"

     Ventrela looked down, relieved to find that the red Kyrii who was now standing in front of her hadn't run away screaming yet. He had an exceptionally annoying, high-pitched voice, but beggars couldn't be choosers. "You. I've got a quest. Will you take it?"

     The Kyrii crossed his arms over his chest. "Why should I accept a quest from you? You'll only increase my agility, and I'm not a battler. You might even give the movement points to one of my siblings instead, which would be a great waste of Neopoints on my part, especially when you consider the probability of the points being high enough to-"

     Ventrela sighed, trying to block the Kyrii's annoying voice from her ears. "Alright, you, now just listen, you 'ear? Brin' me my Fyoras Magic Airspray."

     "Wait, wait- you're saying Fyora uses hairspray?" A devilish grin grew on the pet's face, all thoughts of statistics gone.

     Ventrela blinked, then scowled down at the Neopet. "No, you airhead, I said airspray."

     "Hairhead? That's a dumb insult... and there's nothing wrong with my hair. Right?"

     "I didn't- that's not the point. Just get the airspray."

     Now the Kyrii was rubbing his hands together, chuckling quietly to himself. "But you said it was Fyora's... oh, wait 'till everyone hears about this!"

     Ventrela closed her eyes for a moment, summoning a puff of air to blow her stray blonde hairs away from her face. Though most of her hair was secured under the hood, those few blonde bangs kept tickling her nose, distracting her from the important quest she was supposed to give. "They won't 'ear any'in', there's no'in' to tell. It's just airspray."

     "Just hairspray?"

     "Not 'airspray, airspray!" Ventrela then blinked, realizing just how strange that statement had sounded.

     "You aren't making any sense." The Kyrii shook his head and brushed past her, making his way down the street. For a few seconds Ventrela simply stood there, dumbfounded.

     "But I- I- wait, don't go away! It's for the good of Neopia! You'd be a 'ero, and do famous stuff, like... like... what do famous Neopets do, anyway? Oh, right, that isn't the point. Come back! Oh, you 'orrible Neopets..."

     *****

     "I play one eight."

     "Alright, then, I put down... 'ow about... five sevens?"

     Fyora put a hand over her face and emitted a tremendous sigh. "Ae'ia, you are 'orrible at this game. You're cheatin'."

     "Blast." The Battle Faerie scowled as she scooped up the pile of cards, quickly sorting them out in her hand. "'ow can you lot always tell?"

     "Ae'ia, there are only four cards of each number. Puttin' down five would be impossible, as we all know." Fyora leaned back in her chair, letting her eyes wander to the ceiling. Maybe it hadn't been the best of ideas to play Cheat while waiting for Ventrela to get back, but they had all gotten bored after two minutes of discussing the situation. So they had started a Cheat tournament instead. How Aethia had gotten into the semi-finals was a mystery to them all.

     Jhudora shook her head, her purple fingers hesitating over her fan of cards. "Really, Fyora, it 'as been a good eight and a 'alf minutes since that girl left. What's takin' so lon'?" She deftly grabbed two of her cards and slid them onto the table face-down. "Two queens."

     Illusen glanced from her cards to Jhudora. "You're cheatin'!"

     "Nope. Take them."

     Illusen scowled and scooped up the two cards, turning to Fyora. "She's got a point. Why don't we just go and get the airspray ourselves?"

     "Because," Fyora gently withdrew four cards from her hand- the only cards she had left- "the airspray isn't the only factor. We must also 'ave an undisturbed amount of the potion used previously on 'and, or the antidote spell won't work. Besides, it's more fun to watch Ventrela try and get it the 'ard way. Four kings."

     Aethia, Illusen, and Jhudora each looked at their hands, then at each other, amazement clear on their faces. "Blimey, 'ow does she do that?" Jhudora questioned, letting her handful of cards drop on the table.

     Aethia blinked haphazardly. "I think I'll go wit' Evavu, then!"

     "Wron' game, dear."

     *****

     "Those blasted faeries will pay... yes! They shall pay for what they've done!"

     Dr. Sloth tapped his foot impatiently as he stood in front of his bathroom door. It was a very high-tech kind of door, top of its class, right down to the voice-pattern enabled security system that insured that only he, Dr. Sloth, could get inside. Only the best for his hygiene. With a smirk, Sloth walked up to the door and talked slowly into the tiny box located right next to it.

     "Doctor Frank Slot', 'ead of Virtupets Incorporated."

     Voice Pattern: Incorrect.

     Dr. Sloth frowned. Obviously, there was some miniscule mechanical problem with the programming on his security system. Luckily, he knew exactly how to fix it.

     He poked the box sharply. "Oi, ya dumb toaster, this is your master speakin'!"

     Voice Pattern: Incorrect.

     "What'cha talkin' 'bout? Work already, ya rotten piece of asparagus!"

     Voice Pattern: Incorrect. Security measures initiated.

     Dr. Sloth paled visibly, well aware what his system meant by 'security measures'. Seconds later, the esteemed doctor was running down the hallway, screaming at the top of his lungs in a most girlish (and strangely accented) voice. Behind him, twelve gleaming robots zoomed down the hallway, each aiming their own Meepapault at Sloth.

     "No! Wait," Dr. Sloth shouted frantically, "you can't do this to me! I'm Doctor Slot'!"

     One of the robots clicked menacingly. "Dr. Slot does not register as an approved entity by Dr. Sloth. Destruction of said Dr. Slot to take place in three, two, one-"

     Dr. Sloth dove into a conveniently placed side hallway just before an assault of twelve Meepits went flying through the hallways to his right. The evil genius immediately slunk up to the metal wall and waited anxiously as one of the robots ran a wide beam of light over the hallway he was hiding in. The light ran over the outline of his body, and Dr. Sloth closed his eyes, waiting for the deadly assault of Meepits to fall upon him.

     "No threat detected. Preparing to scan next outlet..."

     The twelve robots rolled down the hallway, leaving Dr. Sloth to breathe a sigh of relief. A second later, however, a scowl formed upon his face.

     "Wait just a minute... what was that supposed to mean? I am too a threat! Bloody robots... need to reprogram 'em..."

     Nevertheless, Dr. Sloth inched his way down the hallway. Obviously, he could next gain access to his bathroom- therefore, his problem could not be solved at the space station. There was only one other group of people he knew who could help him with his problem, embarrassing as the fact was.

     Dr. Sloth narrowed his eyes maliciously. Those blasted faeries were going to help him, whether they wanted to or not.

     *****

     "My queen, I 'ave failed you."

     Ventrela stood in front of Fyora, her head bowed, a tear dropping melodramatically from her left eye. On the other side of the room, a few dark faeries snickered among themselves.

     "I was not able to obtain the potion requested. The citizens of Neopia were not able to provide the item, but the fault lies in me. I give you my deepest apologies."

     The dark faeries began giggling even more loudly, and Fyora flicked a glare at them before returning her gaze to the air faerie standing desolately in front of her. "My child, your apology is accepted. I 'ave known from the start that you would not succeed in your quest. You were merely sent to make up for extra time."

     A flash of annoyance crossed Ventrela's eyes, but the emotion quickly disappeared as the air faerie put back on her mask of (mostly) true regret. "Then, my queen, what is your next task for me?"

     Fyora smiled rather mysteriously, and Ventrela's tear-filled eyes quickly dried up as she was overcome by a much more sincere bout of insecurity. "Well, it's ra'er complicated, but 'ere's what you must do..."

     *****

     A mere twenty minutes and three Cheat tournaments later, the front door of the Neggery was eaten in an extremely short period of time by a ravenous Meepit.

     Dr. Sloth stood in the now empty doorway, a fully loaded Meepapault resting in his hands. He threw back his head and laughed most evilly, causing the Sloth Cap that rested on his head to almost fall off. A few of the faeries in the room turned to stare, though most stayed engrossed in the semi-final Cheat game between Fyora, the Darkest Faerie, Cyan, and Baelia.

     "BWAHAHAHAHA! You stand no chance against me now, wretched faeries! Once I show all of Neopia your disheveled 'air, you'll never be able to show your faces outside again!"

     Many of the faeries blinked. One of the younger dark faeries yawned widely.

     Dr. Sloth looked around for a moment, the evil smirk on his face slowly fading away. "But- I'm serious! I'm goin' to steal your 'airspray! Aren't you lot scared?"

     The dark faerie from before shot him a pitying glance. "You're wearin' a ridiculous 'at that's presently bein' chewed on by a Meepit. No, we are not scared."

     Dr. Sloth automatically looked down at his Meepapault. The Meepit that had rested there before was gone. He then put a hand on the top of his head to check that his hat was alright, and promptly had it bitten by the Meepit.

     As Dr. Sloth ran screaming in circles, trying to shake the Meepit off of his hand, Taelia glanced away from the Cheat game and frowned. Nudging the earth faerie next to her to get her attention, she pointed to Dr. Sloth's head. "'ey, look at that. 'is 'air looks all frizzy!"

     Indeed, Dr. Sloth's usual smooth (and greasy) three spikes of hair were quite frizzy, limp, and not half as evil-looking as was customary. Many of the faeries, hearing Taelia's words, turned to stare at Dr. Sloth's head incredulously. Dr. Sloth himself, noticing these unusual attentions, managed to finally shake the Meepit off of his hand and grabbed his Sloth cap from the floor, jamming it onto his head. One of his three spikes of hair stuck out of a bite mark in the cap. "Well," Dr. Sloth yelled furiously, "what are you lot lookin' at?"

     All of the faeries quickly turned their attention back on the Cheat game.

     Fyora, having just won the game by putting down five sixes (the other three faeries playing were still debating on how that move was possible), smoothly stood up and strolled over to where Dr. Sloth was standing. She delicately placed her hands on her hips and gave Dr. Sloth's hat an ominous look before saying, "You might as well leave now."

     Dr. Sloth thrust his chin out stubbornly, already glaring at Fyora with great suspicion. "I don't 'ave to! I'm 'ere to blackmail you lot, and I'm goin' to do so right now!"

     Fyora simply smiled and, without saying a word, beckoned at the doorway behind Dr. Sloth. From outside the Neggery came Ventrela, holding a long blue can in her hands. Across the can were letters in bright blue which spelled out the word 'Hairspray'.

     Dr. Sloth gasped in horror upon seeing this sight, his eyes (almost) filling up with tears at the image of the can of his precious hairspray, clutched in the hands of some meddlesome faerie. "You fiends! 'ow could you sink so low?"

     Fyora rolled her eyes. "You were about to do the same thin'."

     "Oh. Right."

     Now Dr. Sloth let his Meepapault drop down onto Neggery's floor and hung his head, a perfect image of defeat. "Fine. You win. I won't tell anyone about your 'air- just give back my 'airspray!"

     Fyora smiled again and nodded sharply at Ventrela. The faerie tossed the blue can over to Dr. Sloth, who caught it with a relieved smile. A split second later, the smile was replaced by a look of horror. "But- but- there's none left. You used all my 'airspray!"

          "Well, yes," Ventrela confessed, a mischievous smile on her face, "I did end up usin' some of it. There were some very frazzled Meepits in the Space Station who needed their fur straightened out..."

     "So, obviously," Fyora interrupted, "you'll need to stay 'ere until we get the airspray. If you ever want to lose that atrocious accent and regain your usual slimy 'air, that is."

     Dr. Sloth heaved a dramatic sigh and sat down against the wall, shooting malevolent glares at a few of the light faeries every so often. In the meantime, Fyora wandered back over to where the next semi-final Cheat game was being sent off. Within a few moments, Taelia cleared her throat.

     "Ah, Fyora. Ow much longer must we wait for that airspray? Cause, you know, my 'air's gettin' all limp..."

     Fyora smiled consolingly and patted Taelia's shoulder. "Don't worry, I sent the Battle Faerie to get some. She's a great bargain 'unter."

     Seconds later, a space in the wall directly next to the already-open doorway was broken down. Aethia stood proudly in the rubble, holding up a glittering purple bottle. "Behold," she shouted gleefully, "Fyoras Magic Airspray! And I got it for a 'ardly expensive 8,279 Neopoints!"

     The faeries ooh-ed and Dr. Sloth boo-ed in appreciation. Fyora ran forward and snagged the potion out of Aethia's hands, then held it up for everyone to see...

     ... everyone stared in awe as it sparkled...

     ... and Fyora squeezed the pump.

     A glittering purple cloud rushed out of the bottle to fill the room. Everyone started coughing helplessly as the cloud got down their throats. Then, in the midst of the confusion, came the sarcastic voice of Dr. Sloth.

     "So, Fyora... this tastes just like hairspray. Why call it airspray?"

     "It isn't hairspray!" Fyora's voice rang out angrily with no trace of an accent. "It's airspray, and it's very different, thank you. Hairspray is... basic, honestly. I'd never use it."

     A great wind blew through the room, thoughtfully supplied by various air faeries, and pushed the purple cloud out through the open doorway (and the hole in the wall beside it). A large group of faeries with very shiny, smooth, immaculate hair were revealed. Each faerie (and Dr. Sloth) paused for a moment to admire their hair.

     "So," Cyan said after a few moments, "who's up for some coffee?"

     And they all instantaneously agreed.

The End

 
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