Roomies 3: Part Three
The first thing that Jhudora realized when she started to reawaken was that everything around her was extremely dim; wherever she was, there was hardly any light at all and it was nearly impossible to see, which was saying something as she was a dark faerie. The second thing she noticed was how uncomfortable she was: she was lying on something flat, hard, and cold, not the lavish bed back at her lair that she was accustomed to. And third, even in the darkness she could tell that she was not alone; on the contrary, there were two other vaguely-familiar people in the room with her: an unconscious yellow Aisha with broken glasses who was motionless on the ground to her left, and an air faerie who was standing and examining a small window on the opposite side of the room covered with iron bars.
Jhudora immediately sat up... but regretted it instantly. Her head started pounding fiercely, making the room – correction, dungeon – slip into and out of focus wildly. “I’m going to get Mrs. Pierce for casting that spell on us,” she growled quietly once she could see correctly again.
Jesc turned away from the window to face her, a slight frown on her young face. “We’re trapped in here; there’s no way out.”
“Brilliant deduction, Lisha,” Jhudora mocked angrily. She reached for her pocket, but as she guessed, her wand was nowhere to be found. “Great. She took our wands, too. She wasn’t leaving anything to chance this time.”
“Where am I...?” came a sleepy mumble; Jim had finally started waking up. Sitting up slowly, the Aisha rubbed his eyes wearily... and then paled once he caught a glimpse of the gloomy place they were trapped in. “Oh dear, this isn’t good.”
“Tell me about it,” Jhudora grumbled moodily as Jesc rejoined them all sitting on the dusty floor. “So Mr. Neohome Expert, have any idea where we are?”
“Un-unfortunately yes,” Jim stuttered, looking around for confirmation and placing a paw on one of the stone walls. “Um... if it’s as it appears, I believe we’re trapped in an oubliette.”
“In a language I can understand, if you will,” the dark faerie added irritably. She wasn’t in the mood for a vocabulary lesson.
Jim fumbled for his broken glasses, grimacing as he gazed through the shattered lenses to get a better look of the place. “An oubliette is a like dungeon with a hidden trapdoor, usually on the ceiling or such. They’re quite uncommon here in Faerieland and are usually found in old Meridellian castles, which is exactly what I told Vermillion when she wanted to have this extension done...”
Jhudora immediately turned on Jim, her eyes cold with fury. “It was you who helped Mrs. Pierce build this place?!”
“I... I didn’t know she was the Mrs. Pierce you two always talked about!” Jim pleaded pathetically, cowering from Jhudora’s wrath. “And the entire time she just used the name ‘Vermillion’...”
“THAT’S HER FIRST NAME!”
Jim blanched. “I-I’m sorry! I didn’t know at the time! B-but I do know where we are right now: the oubliette was built under her neohome, er... I think it was 316614 Fire Faerie Crescent. On the outskirts of Faerieland, I believe.”
“And how is that going to help us?”
“I-I also know a way to get out of here. Th-the trapdoor: it’s located right above the south-east wall. It opens up into her living room. Scary place that is...” He shivered, remembering the Meepit Lamp he had almost knocked over when he had come to construct the oubliette in the first place and how it had given him nightmares for a week.
But Jhudora wasn’t listening anymore. Instead, she had scrambled to her feet and was scanning the ceiling for the faint outline of a trapdoor... and she found it quite easily, despite the fact that it was covered with a thin layer of grime and vacated Spyder webs. There was only one problem: there was no handle.
“It only opens from inside the living room, I’m afraid,” Jim answered the unasked question sheepishly, “but I thought that since you two are faeries, maybe you could blast it open somehow...”
“With what?” Jhudora ridiculed. “Our heads? She took our wands, Jim. Without it, unless you want me to levitate a pencil or cause the lights to flicker for your entertainment, I’m useless.”
“Don’t worry,” Jesc suddenly piped up brightly, gaining a couple of annoyed stares. “If we just stay calm, I’m sure everything’ll be fine.”
“Fine?” Jhudora said skeptically, reaching her breaking point and squishing a Spyder scuttling past with her foot angrily. “You call this ‘fine’? I was your roomie back at the Faerie Academy where Mrs. Pierce was tormenting us, I was stuck with you again at my neohome this past summer where Mrs. Pierce chased us halfway around Neopia, and now that I’m trapped with you in an oubli-whatever with a yellow Aisha whose only talent is a large vocabulary and his knowledge of trapdoors, and you think that it’s FINE?! You know, this wasn’t what I signed up for when my neohome was burned down last winter!”
Jesc raised an eyebrow and shrugged. “Well, all that has happened in the past and now we just have to make the best of our present situation! Anyone up for a round of charades?” However, when all she got as a response was an evil glare from Jhudora, the air faerie just shrugged and started whistling to pass the time.
Jhudora clapped her hands over her ears angrily at the screeching sound emanating from Jesc’s lips. Even Jim couldn’t help but flinch. “And will you stop doing that?!”
Jesc stopped with a slight frown on her face. “Sorry.” But no sooner did her whistling cease than the three heard the sound of fluttering wings and a soft cry of, “Weewoo!”
“Oh no...” Jhudora muttered, turning around. “Not...”
“Scotchmel!” Jesc exclaimed happily, hopping up from her spot on the stone dungeon floor to rush over to the miniscule barred window. Outside, right beyond the iron shafts sitting on the dewed grass in the pale moonlight, was a white Weewoo clenching a copy of the Neopian Times in its talon, its beady eyes intelligently staring into the oubliette and at its three occupants.
“What’s that thing doing here?” Jhudora had honestly had her fill of the blasted petpet.
“He must have heard my whistle!” Jesc said merrily, her blue eyes sparkling. “That’s how I called to him back at Fyora’s palace; he must’ve remembered!”
“Right,” Jhudora muttered skeptically, glancing at Jim who was crouched in the opposite corner eying Scotchmel warily. “What’s with you?”
“Bad childhood Weewoo incident...” Jim whimpered quietly. “Afraid ever since...”
Jhudora rolled her eyes. “How did I ever end up with you two?” she asked aloud to nobody in particular, glancing at Scotchmel angrily. However, the Weewoo just stared back curiously and then held up its talon, offering her the newspaper.
“How sweet!” Jesc said smiling, clasping her hands together. “He wants to give you the issue, Jhudora! He must remember you, too!”
“Yes, how sweet indeed...” Jhudora slipped her long fingers through the barred window, snatching the newspaper from the Weewoo and pulling it inside the oubliette, thinking that if worse came to worst she could use it as some sort of weapon, when she caught sight of the headline on the front page paired with a picture of a dark faerie that she recognized immediately: herself.
“What the...” she voiced, reading the headline. “Jhudora Kidnaps Air Faerie from Faerie Academy.”
“You did what?” Jesc asked, her face wrinkling in confusion.
“I did nothing of the sort!” Jhudora snapped, straightening the paper and reading the article aloud. “Yesterday morning, Faerieland’s resident dark faerie most commonly known for her noxious abode on the edge of the city and ridiculously hard quests, Jhudora, headed into Neopian Planning Committee headquarters, clearly in a bad mood. ‘She was furious,’ remarks a young pink Cybunny shopping in Neopia Central that day. ‘I was walking by, and she looked extremely annoyed; everything around her was shaking.’ Little did anyone know that Jhudora was about to kidnap a young air faerie named Jesc, a hardworking student at the Faerie Academy. Jesc had left the school yesterday for her weekly ‘lending,’ a Faerie Academy requirement for third years to help them figure out their future careers, and was spending that very day working at none other than the Neopian Planning Committee’s headquarters. Coincidence? Apparently not. According to Jan, another air faerie resident at the Academy whose dorm room is right across from Jesc’s, the whole thing was Jhudora’s fault. ‘She blackmailed me with a horrid letter that she sent to my dorm room,’ a hysterical Jan cried when one of our reporters interviewed her. ‘Jhudora then made me switch my schedule with Jesc so that she would be at the headquarters that day specifically, or else she would destroy my neohome. I had no choice and I don’t know why she did it; she and Jesc were great friends! But I do know that she needs to be found and now.’ Currently, Jhudora’s and Jesc’s whereabouts are unknown, but if anyone has any information on their location, please neomail the Neopian Times and/or Queen Fyora. Until then, all we can do is hope that this nightmare will end with Jhudora locked up for good.”
Jhudora scowled as she finished reading and crumpled the newspaper up into a tight little ball. “What rubbish is this? I did no such thing!” she said furiously, throwing the paper to the ground.
“I don’t understand. Jan would never lie like that,” Jesc murmured to herself softly. “She’s always been a stickler for the rules; she hates doing anything even remotely wrong. I bet you that Mrs. Pierce got to her first and did something to her... a memory spell or something...”
“But why?” Jim put in, emerging from his corner cautiously. “Why kidnap us?”
“To make me look bad,” Jhudora spat bitterly, clenching her hands into fists. “Right now, it’s Friday night; these new issues of the Neopian Times won’t be read until tomorrow morning, and once they are, Mrs. Pierce is going to swoop in like some sort of hero with me in tow.”
“But I’ll just tell them the truth!” Jesc exclaimed quickly. “I’ll tell Fyora how it wasn’t you who kidnapped me at all!”
Jhudora glared at her. “If Mrs. Pierce was able to make Jan lie to the newspaper, what makes you think she won’t force you to lie too?”
Jesc frowned, thinking. “Then we need to find a way out and get to the palace before she does.”
“Are you sure you can’t magic us out?” Jim asked once more.
“Not without our wands,” Jhudora repeated, Scotchmel hooting quietly from his spot outside the window.
Jhudora’s eyes widened. “That’s it!” she said, turning towards the Weewoo, glad for the first time that the annoying petpet was present. She didn’t know why she hadn’t thought of it sooner; the idea was brilliant. “Scotchmel can swoop inside through the front and get our wands back. Then we can blast ourselves out of here!”
“Perfect!” Jesc said excited, turning towards Scotchmel. “Okay, Scotchmel, I have a huge favor to ask and I’d be really grateful if you’d be able to do it, because it would help me and Jhudora and Jim so much.... So I was wondering if you could find your way inside the house through the front and try to find out wands. You know, the long stick things that make stuff happen? Please?”
The Weewoo stared at her for a moment, and then turned tail and flew away.
“I think he understood!” Jesc exclaimed.
“Or you just scared him off,” Jhudora said crossly.
“How do you two even know the wands are inside in the first place?” Jim voiced, but all that did was earn him a glare from Jhudora and he immediately quieted back down.
He had a point, though. So many things could go wrong with their plan: the wands wouldn’t be there, Mrs. Pierce could be home... and it all hinged on a single white Weewoo and a ton of luck.
Jhudora’s “brilliant” plan suddenly didn’t seem so brilliant.
Not that she would admit that, of course.
“It’ll work,” she growled, hoping that her first-time attempt at optimism would pay off; after all, it seemed to be Jesc’s own personal motto and was it really so bad to be a tad bit like Jesc?
Jhudora shook her head quickly, expelling any “nice” thoughts that could have been floating around. However, all that did was make her head start to throb again. “Shoot,” she muttered to herself.
And then to top it all off, she heard whistling.
“Not now, Jesc,” she bit sharply, massaging her face with her hands, hoping to knead the pain away.
“It’s not me,” Jesc protested, slipping a stray piece of dirty blond hair behind her ear as she turned towards the window. And there, whistling softly from his spot behind the bars with two slender wands clenched in his talons was Scotchmel.
“Thank Fyora!” Jhudora exclaimed desperately, immediately snatching her wand back from the bird and giving it a wave that produced a flare of fire. It felt good to have it back in her grasp.
“Thanks, Scotchmel,” Jesc said serenely, carefully taking her own wand as the Weewoo hooted happily.
“Now can we get please out of here?” Jim begged, backing away from Scotchmel carefully until his back was to the opposite wall. “I don’t think I can take this anymore.”
“Fine, fine.” Jhudora whipped her wand out, aimed it towards the trapdoor above, and with a clear smile on her face, she blasted it into smithereens, causing rubble to rain down on all of them.
“Ah!” Jim gasped, closing his eyes as dust permeated the oubliette, but Jhudora just laughed.
“Come on,” she said, flying up through the opening she had made as Jesc helped Jim climb up. “Let’s get out of here.”
To be continued...