Illusen the Grey Faerie: Part One
Jhudora gave a contented sigh as she closed down her cloud. “Ah, another productive day,” she exclaimed. “Now off to Illusen’s we go!” She hung a sign reading “Closed. Leave or forever vanish” on her door. How she hated that sign. But she had a reputation to maintain. Turning around, she spread her large, powerful wings and took off.
She flew through Faerieland and above the ocean, leaving a faint, dark purple streak behind her. It was a beautiful sunny day, and she paused to enjoy the wonderful view of Neopia, basking in the day’s warmth and joy. A contented smile spread on her face, which she quickly replaced with a scowl. She was not eager to see the reaction of any passer-by to a Jhudora enjoying a golden, bright afternoon.
A few minutes later, she touched down right outside of Illusen’s glade. Quickly she turned herself invisible before anyone had any time to wonder why Jhudora was lurking outside of Illusen’s home. Ignoring the “Closed” sign on Illusen’s door, she gave it a few vigorous knocks.
The door opened, and Illusen’s head poked out. She looked around, and seeing no one there, tentatively asked, “Jhudora? Is that you?”
Jhudora promptly made herself visible. “I hope I find you in good health, sister.” They stepped inside the glade together.
“You always find me in good health, my twin.” Illusen gave Jhudora a gentle hug and then busied herself setting a small table with snacks. “Why did you want to see me this time?”
“I’m getting tired of having to be evil and nasty all day,” Jhudora replied as she sat down and eagerly bit into a cream cookie. “I’d like to be nice for just one day. And knowing you, you would enjoy acting evil for a day.”
“I see where you’re going with this.” Illusen grinned mischievously. But then her face turned serious. “But you’re absolutely dismal at earth spells, and I couldn’t cast darkness spells if my life depended on it.”
“You can borrow my collar,” Jhudora said, after a moment’s consideration. “Do you have anything you can lend to me to help with my earth magic?”
“Actually, yes.” Illusen disappeared into the deeper reaches of her home and then reappeared with a small chain. Hanging on it was a small faceted, dark green stone with a long, sharp tip. Behind the stone were intricately carved wings in soft, leafy green streaked with a gentle orange. “I finished making this a few days ago. Some of my earth magic is stored in here.”
Jhudora turned the pendant over in her hands, admiring the handiwork. “You always were the artistic one, Illusen.”
Illusen grinned. “But you were always the creative one.”
“Which is why you always ‘borrow’ my ideas, like with your staff, right?”
“Um... well, are we switching appearances or not?”
Jhudora grinned. “I got you there, didn’t I? Here, you shift your form first.” She unclasped her collar and handed it to Illusen. Soon, two identical looking dark faeries were standing in the glade.
Illusen the dark faerie turned to Jhudora. “Your turn.”
Jhudora clasped Illusen’s charm around her neck as she closed her eyes and concentrated. As she called for her earthen half to engulf her darkness appearance, her leathery bat wings turned into leafy green ones. The purple streaks in her hair turned amber, and her skin paled. Her clothes also turned into attire more fitting for an earth faerie. She opened her eyes.
“Nice job! Now I should probably fly off to your cloud before the sun finishes setting.”
“You do that.” Jhudora grinned. “I think I’ll go figure out where you keep your leaf tacos.”
“Remember to leave some for the questers tomorrow, because I’m not about to make more for you.” With that, Illusen stepped out of the glade and flew towards Faerieland.
As night fell, excitement and nervousness built up in Jhudora. What if she slipped and put on her evil, bitter dark faerie act as she gave out quests?
[Say that Jhudora played a particularly nasty trick on you and you’re just having a bad day.]
Jhudora grimaced. [Sure, blame it all on me. I keep forgetting that we can hear each other’s thoughts.]
[I didn’t ask to be your twin.]
[I didn’t ask to be yours, either.]
[This conversation is getting nowhere. I’m going to sleep.]
[Sound advice.] Jhudora sent the thought at Illusen, but her mind was closed to comments. She was presumably already asleep.
Sighing, Jhudora figured out where Illusen kept the items her questers brought her and where she kept her prizes. Then she too went to sleep.
The next morning, Jhudora got up early, long before the first questers arrived. She needed to figure out which items to ask for, so she searched through the glade until she found Illusen’s spells.
She sighed as she read the spellbook that was conveniently placed next to Illusen’s work. The magic that Illusen was working on was far beyond her grasp. All she could do was to ask for certain items that Illusen would need.
A knock on the door sounded, signaling the first of the questers. Jhudora sighed again and started to hand out quests. She had never liked the task.
[Remind me why we’re doing these quests again?]
[Because of Fyora. You know as well as I do that she’s after both of us; we just don’t know when she’ll strike.]
[Couldn’t we do it through some way other than quests?]
[How many times must I tell you this? We’re finding who our most loyal allies are this way, and getting a lot of spell ingredients in the process. And it’s a good way to get the stuff we need in order to cast defense spells and make our artifacts.]
Jhudora fingered the charm around her neck. [I don’t see why you couldn’t just buy all the ingredients. You’re an earth faerie, after all. It’s not that uncommon or disconcerting for shopkeepers to see an earth faerie shopping.]
[Where would I get the neopoints? Our inheritance from our mother is limited. And we’re still breaking into it much more than I like.]
[Oh wonderful. Don’t you turn into an accountant on me.]
[Out of retorts already? That’s not like you, Jhudora.]
Jhudora’s retort was cut off by an abrupt knock on the door as the first of the questers, a small blue Poogle, arrived back with a wooden blocking shield. Jhudora smiled sweetly and handed him his prize of cream cookies.
Slowly, the day inched onwards, as both faeries handed out quests. At noon, Jhudora decided to take a lunch break. She hung a sign on Illusen’s door and accepted the last few quest items that were being brought in. Then, for a few moments, she just sat in a chair, enjoying the peace and silence.
That peace was abruptly shattered, however, when a sudden pain spiked through her back, along her wings. Jhudora screamed and fell off her chair, temporarily immobilized. Then, as suddenly as it came, the pain subsided. For a moment, Jhudora felt utterly powerless, unable to access her magic.
When she recovered, she gingerly felt along her back, making sure her wings were still intact. She found nothing wrong, except for a slight tear at the base of her right wing where a small trickle of purple-green blood oozed. Instinctively, she knew that something had tried to cut off her wings.
She was fine - but that meant something horrible must have happened to Illusen. With a sinking feeling in her stomach, she called out, [Illusen! Are you alright!]
There was no response. Suddenly extremely afraid, Jhudora tried again.
[Illusen!] There still was no response. Desperate, she called her twin with all her force. [ILLUSEN! ARE YOU ALRIGHT?!?!]
[Jhudora... help me... please... ]
Illusen’s voice was alarmingly faint through their mental connection. Jhudora immediately bolted out of the glade, ignoring the stares of several Meridellans wondering why Illusen was in such a hurry. She was up in the air in no time, despite being unused to her leafy earth faerie wings. [Illusen, I’m coming!]
Back on the ground, a small shadow slipped under the door to the glade. Jennumara, the Darkest Faerie, called out aloud, “There. I’m in the glade now. Are you happy, Fyora?”
In her chamber in the Faerie Castle, Fyora stared into a pink crystal ball, watching every moment around Illusen’s glade. “You’re not done yet, Jenny my dear. Jhudora may not have her wings anymore, but there’s still Illusen to take out when she gets back from the cloud.”
“And why should I listen to you?” Jennumara threw herself onto the ground, sobbing. “I’m not really evil, you know.”
“Of course you are, dear. You just need a little guidance, is all.” Putting away her crystal, Fyora’s face twisted into a smile. “Just a little longer... just a little longer, and those two pesky faeries will be out of my way forever.” A gust of cold wind suddenly flooded the chamber along with Fyora’s laughter.
To be continued...