Illusen's Bad Hair Day: Part One
The sun’s rays leaked through her window and warmed her gentle skin, causing a smile to appear on her face. Slowly, she made her way out of her bed and wandered down a flight of stairs, leading to the main room. Illusen was always fond of breakfast, and the earlier she started her day, the more things she could accomplish. Once she finished her daily helping of enchanting strawberry cereal, she was completely awake.
A mirror was mounted on the wood in the front room. It was quite hard for her to ignore, since it took up the entire wall, but today, she wished the mirror could have been moved to another room. The second her face made contact with her reflection, she screamed. Recently, she had made the mirror indestructible, so her scream had no effect, but for once, she wished it would have. The only thing she could notice in the mirror was her hair. It was ugly—no, worse than that—it was hideous. If she had given the mirror any less attention when she walked in the room, she might have mistaken herself for a monster, uglier than Jhudora without makeup.
She zoomed up to her room to find a small, well-woven, green basket on her chestnut-colored dresser. It was empty.
The earth faerie gasped, and without thought, pulled all of her drawers open with her magic. Her stuff flew in every direction, from key chains to nail polish, but there was not a bottle of shampoo in sight. She wouldn’t worry—she couldn’t; she was too busy as it was—so she comforted herself by telling herself nothing else would go wrong. It helped for a few minutes, but she couldn’t get the picture of herself out of her head.
But this is a bad hair day, Illusen thought. She had once thought up a mental image of Jhudora with her hair puffed up like a JubJub in a sandstorm and thought it was hilarious, but now she was having second thoughts.
Everyone gets bad hair days, she told herself, and hopefully mine won’t last too long.
After all, she wasn’t Illusen the Earth Faerie for nothing.
At that moment, someone knocked on her door.
She franticly looked around and panicked. To her luck, she grabbed a green blanket with a rim of golden fabric and wrapped it around her hair. Then, she glided over to the doorway. When she opened the door to her glade, she was surprised to find a small red Kacheek waiting at the doorstep. His eager face gaped into Illusen’s glossy emerald eyes.
“Hello, young Neopet, what would you like?” she asked him, trying to sound as calm as possible.
“A quest! A quest!” he happily chanted. “Please! Please!”
Suddenly, Illusen had an idea. She had no clue why she didn’t think of it before, but she thought it was brilliant. The Kacheek could not have come at a better time.
“I’m going to give you a very special quest; would you like that?” Illusen smiled sweetly, knowing in less than a few minutes, her troubles would be over.
The Kacheek jumped with his response. “Yes, I definitely would like that!”
Illusen spoke sternly to the Kacheek, hoping she would add to his excitement. “Are you certain you won’t fail my quest, no matter what?”
“You bet I won’t! I accept your quest!” he cheerfully shouted.
Illusen asked, “What is your name?”
“Trevor!” he replied.
“Trevor, could you please bring me Herbal Shampoo? You only have 16 minutes and 40 seconds left!” Illusen said with a beaming smile.
“I’m off!” Trevor began to run, but stopped in his tracks. “I won’t fail you, I promise!”
Illusen waved back. “I know you won’t!”
The earth faerie watched as the red Kacheek faded into the forest by her glade. “16 minutes,” Illusen mumbled to herself, “and this bad hair day will all be over.”
* * * * *
Illusen stood in front of her glade, filled with worry. The Kacheek only had a minute left and there wasn’t the slightest sign of him. Surely someone with his amount of enthusiasm would have been back at least five minutes ago. Her shampoo was commonly distributed and sold throughout Meridell, so it should not be too hard to find. Before Illusen could drift off into her worries even more, she heard the Kacheek’s voice getting louder by the second, but instantly she knew something was wrong. Maybe it was because of her faerie instincts, or maybe because she was used to giving pets difficult quests each day. Either way, the happiness in the Kacheek’s young voice was gone.
“Illusen!” he called as he emerged from behind two bushes. “The item you told me to get is not sold in Meridell at all!”
“What? I’m sure it is! I’ve personally seen it in the marketplace! Did you make sure you double checked?” Illusen asked.
“I quadruple checked! The shopkeeper said he’d never heard of the shampoo in his entire life! I’m not lying!” Trevor exclaimed.
Illusen knew it was unlikely that the Kacheek was lying, but she had heard many strange excuses since she first moved to Meridell. As much as she didn’t want to, the only way she would feel better was to go with the Kacheek to the marketplace.
Illusen cleared her throat of her sour mood and asked, “How would you like to like to go on a little trip with me?”
The bouncy mood returned to the Kacheek before Illusen finished speaking. “I would love to!”
* * * * *
Illusen held her hood close to her ear as her thick cloak dragged behind her. Every step she took was painful to her. All she asked was a small bottle of Herbal Shampoo; was it really too much for her to ask for?
“There it is!” The Kacheek pointed at a shabby wooden stall where a blue Kyrii stood. The stall was covered with tiny bottles of nail polish, eyeliner, conditioners, and other cosmetics, but not what they were looking for.
“Excuse me,” Illusen approached the shopkeeper, “but do you happen to have any Herbal Shampoo I could buy?”
“Herbal Shampoo?” The Kyrii raised his right eyebrow and pointed his index finger at Trevor. “I already told that young Kacheek there that we never had any! I’ve never even heard of this ‘Herbal Shampoo!’”
“You lie!” Illusen accused. “I’ve seen you sell them here two weeks ago!”
He shouted back, “And what proof do you have of that, Lady?”
Unfortunately, Illusen had made a big mistake. She had left all of her handy potions and magic items back at the glade. There was no time to go back; she was growing more impatient by the second. Whatever was to happen next would have to happen by force.
“Move.” Illusen shoved the stubborn Kyrii aside and went behind the booth.
There were stashes of every type of shampoo imaginable—including a dung shampoo—but not one bottle of Herbal Shampoo.
“GUARDS,” the Kyrii yelled and instantly two large brown Skeiths came to his assistance.
One of the Skeiths picked up Illusen, and the other picked up Trevor.
“Do you even know who I am?” Illusen asked in displeasure.
She could have easily stopped them with her magic, but she decided she needed to keep her cover.
The burly Skeiths tossed them a fair distance away from the stands. Some of the passing shoppers watched, and some giggled before they continued browsing the long line of stands. What did she—being one of Neopia’s most honored faeries—ever do to deserve this? Sure she failed quite a few pets on difficult quests, but it was part of her job, so that couldn’t be the reason. Perhaps, if she tried hard enough, she could turn her day around.
“That’s it; time for plan B.”
* * * * *
“It’s a good thing you came early,” she said to Trevor, “or we would have had many more problems trying to find the shampoo.”
“It’s Illusen Day after all; I could never miss out on being to first to do a quest!”
Illusen paused, horrified. “Please tell me you’re not serious.”
“I’m not serious?”
“Really, you aren’t?” Illusen’s face brightened.
“No, Illusen Day is definitely today! I’ve been counting down every day since the beginning of the year!” Trevor beamed proudly.
Illusen slapped her forehead with her hand. Why hadn’t she checked her calendar?
“Now, you wait right here,” Illusen told him. “I have to go make sure no one will wait for a quest while we’re gone.”
Trevor nodded and watched Illusen float deeper into the lively forest.
When Illusen got to her glade, she locked her doors, grabbed a few potions and accessories, and placed a ‘closed’ sign on her door. In addition, she added a candy bowl filled with colorful treats at her doorstep. A ‘take one’ sign was placed in front of the bowl, and in case anyone decided to take more than their share, she enchanted the bowl to teach them an unforgettable lesson.
Illusen met up with the red Kacheek in the same spot she left him. The earth faerie instructed him to ride inside a brown bag when they were to fly, and together they took off into the sky.
To be continued...