Roomies 3: Part Seven
“Vermillion, what have you to say for yourself?” Fyora demanded, her lilac eyes sharp and directed on the fire faerie standing defiantly before her. “Perjury, blackmail, kidnap, slumber spells, memory alterations... Despite all of the moral wrongdoings, it’s all a very tricky business! Jhudora, Jesc, Jan, Jim... Any one of them could have been permanently harmed if a single syllable of an incantation was muttered incorrectly, if a single wand movement was off...”
Mrs. Pierce scoffed, her façade completely shattered. “Please. Like I care what happens to them? Jhudora and Jesc have done nothing except make my life a living nightmare!” She looked straight up into the Queen’s flawless face, her eyes red and dark, resembling some ferocious being caged behind the glass lenses. “Tell me, Fyora, honestly tell me what you have done if someone made a complete and utter mockery of you?”
The Queen seemed startled at the question, backing up involuntarily into her throne, but was saved from answering.
“Please,” Jhudora interrupted, standing up from her chair with a smirk. Her violet eyes were mocking and filled with triumph. “Don’t flatter us, Mrs. Pierce. Making a mockery? Ha! You did that all by yourself.”
“That’s it, Jhudora!” Mrs. Pierce screamed, her eyes wild with madness. “You’ll regret those words!” She immediately pulled out her wand.
“Vermillion!” Fyora shouted appalled, “how dare you threaten someone in my—” But before she could say another word, Vermillion had turned her wand on the Queen and a flash of bright red light sent her spiraling to the ground.
Shouts and cries suddenly erupted in the courtroom as Neopets scrambled up from their seats to flee, chairs falling over in the process. But Mrs. Pierce wasn’t done. She spun around, aiming at anyone within ten feet of her, encasing Neopets and faeries alike in blocks of ice, freezing them in time, or just knocking them unconscious. Amidst the confusion, Jhudora was fumbling in her dress for her wand... which, she realized belatedly, had been taken from her by Mrs. Pierce back out on the streets of Faerieland. “Blasted!” she cursed, but a silver shimmer caught her attention out of the corner of her eye.
She turned her head, spotting the Queen, unconscious on the ground, her hair splayed around her head like violet threads and her tiara shining from where it had fallen to the Queen’s left... But she looked past all that and saw Fyora’s slender hand which was still clenching her wand! Jhudora made a beeline towards it, yanking the scepter out of the Queen’s grasp and twirling it in her fingers. It wasn’t her own wand, so it wouldn’t work quite as well, but for now it would have to do.
“We meet again,” a voice from behind her hissed, but this time Jhudora was ready. She reeled around and sent up a shield between her and the curse Mrs. Pierce had sent her way.
“You’re not winning that easily,” Jhudora goaded, sending her own volley of spells towards the fire faerie, but she could tell they weren’t strong enough; Mrs. Pierce easily batted them away with a flick of her wand.
“Stealing the Queen of Faeries’ wand?” Mrs. Pierce observed as she sent over another spell, this one a flash of blue light. By now they were in full battle mode, spell after spell firing at the other, incantations and counter-curses being muttered with every free breath. “They say Queen Fyora is the only one who can wield its true power.”
Jhudora grimaced, but continued dueling without a word. She was starting to see that what Mrs. Pierce had said was true; it was as if the wand knew she wasn’t the Queen and was rebelling against her. The rod seemed to grow heavier and heavier in her hand, and it took a lot more energy than usual to cast even the simplest of attack spells.
Mrs. Pierce watched Jhudora struggle against the Queen’s rod and, seeing her opening widen, sent multiple hexes in rapid succession towards her. Some went nowhere near the dark faerie and instead crashed against the trial room walls causing pieces of stone to crumble and cascade downwards like snow on an iceberg. One purple curse even shattered a window, sending sparkling pieces of glass onto the floor like solidified tears, but the confusion was great enough that Jhudora finally slipped up and one spell sent the wand spiraling out of her hand and halfway across the room, too far away to retrieve.
Vermillion smiled savagely in triumph as Jhudora turned to her, realizing how close she was to losing. “It’s all over now,” Mrs. Pierce breathed, her wand extended straight at Jhudora’s chest. It was in perfect alignment with her heart, and at this distance, she knew she wouldn’t miss. “I win,” she raved wildly. “Now say goodbye, Jhudora...”
A flash of bright white light shot across the room, lighting up the faces of everyone still trapped inside with fiery brilliance... and a startled Mrs. Pierce collapsed onto the ground. Jhudora blinked, not knowing what had just happened... and then caught sight of Jesc standing off to the side with her wand clenched in her hand. She was breathing heavily and pieces of hair were plastered with sweat across her face, but other than that, she appeared completely unharmed. “Are you okay?” she gasped. “Did I get her in time? Mrs. Pierce didn’t hit you with that spell, did she?”
Jhudora had never felt happier to see the young air faerie in her life. “Thank Fyora! Did you finally realize it was Mrs. Pierce who did all this? Are your finally memories back? Is that how you knew it wasn’t me?” she asked instead, ignoring her questions.
Jesc shook her head, her blond hair moving behind her. “No, not really. Everything’s still a bit off, my minds still fuzzy, but...” She looked up at Jhudora, who almost jumped back in surprise. Her eyes were bright once again. “... I just had a feeling you were innocent.”
“Speaking of Fyora...” Jim interrupted, suddenly appearing at Jhudora’s right from his spot hidden behind Fyora’s throne. The yellow Aisha had a few bruises from his brush-in with the guards and his glasses were still destroyed from earlier, but he seemed okay. Scotchmel was perched on his shoulder.
“Oh right,” Jesc nodded. “I’ll go see what I can do for her.” She placed her wand behind her ear, pulled a pink ribbon out of her pocket, tied her messy hair up, and then went over to attend the fallen Queen.
Jhudora raised an eyebrow as Jesc bent down over Fyora and started murmuring healing spells. “Since when did you become a doctor?”
“Next week I’m supposed to help out at the Neohospital, so I thought I should brush up on some healing spells.”
Jhudora grinned. “And I thought the only thing air faeries could brush was their hair.”
Jesc beamed, continuing her work. “Well, just because we like to help people doesn’t mean we can’t look good at the same time...”
It was as she said it that the Queen’s eyelids slowly fluttered open, revealing slightly dazed lilac eyes. “Wh-what happened?”
“You were hit by a spell, Queen Fyora,” Jesc explained, helping her up. “But don’t worry; we stopped Mrs. Pierce.”
Fyora looked around the room until she spotted the fire faerie lying crumpled on the ground. Her face contorted in distaste. “We must have her locked up immediately; no one’s safe until she’s secured in the dungeon. Gyth?”
“Y-yes, my Queen?” It was the orange guard Grarrl who answered her, coming out from his hiding spot beneath one of the pink chairs, his face flushed with embarrassment.
“Take Vermillion to Dungeon 13. I’ll be down shortly to place any necessary spells on the locks.”
“Yes, your majesty.” Gyth tried to keep as much of his dwindling dignity by giving a salute, but the attempt was somewhat ruined by the fact that he was trembling. He then went over to the limp body, slung Mrs. Pierce over his shoulder, and marched out of the room.
“How long will she stay in the dungeon?” Jesc asked curiously. For everything that had happened, she hoped it was a long time.
“I’m not sure, but tomorrow we’ll have to hold another trial. That’s when her fate will truly be decided. And I think it would be best if you three attended.”
Jhudora groaned. “Another one? Whatever ever happened to the days when prisoners were just left to rot in the dungeons? It made things so much simpler...”
“Must I remind you, Jhudora, that had it not been for a trial, you’d still be locked up in a dungeon right now?”
“Umm... I’d hate to break up such a lovely discussion on dungeons and trials and such,” Jim interrupted hesitantly, fiddling with the frames of his destroyed glasses and looking around the room nervously, “but there are quite a number of Neopians in here who haven’t moved for the past half-hour...”
“Right,” Fyora agreed, looking around. “I suppose it’s my duty make sure everyone is back to normal. My, my, the Neohospital is sure to be filled tonight...” She glanced over at Jesc. “And I have your memory to fix as well, correct?”
“Please and thank you!” Jesc chirped happily, and then added, “Oh! And Jan’s too!”
“Ah yes, Jan,” Fyora said with a sad smile. She turned her head. “Where is the poor darling?”
“Weeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” Scotchmel chirped, lifting off Jim’s shoulder to hover above an ice sculpture that resembled an air faerie: Jan.
“Ahh! There she is!” Fyora shook her head. “Vermillion really got out of hand today.” She looked at Jesc and Jhudora. “I could really use your help to get everyone back to normal...”
“Sure!” Jesc exclaimed with a smile, and rushed off to start freeing Jan from the block of ice.
“Do I have to?” Jhudora griped as Fyora handed her back her wand. “What’s wrong with a few ice sculptures? I think the look of pure horror on their faces would compliment my neogarden perfectly... and the quiet is nice for a change...”
Fyora narrowed her eyes.
“Kidding, kidding!” Jhudora backed off with a grin, turning away from the Queen and heading over to nearest fallen Neopet. “Apparently some people just don’t have a sense of humor...”
In the end, only a few Neopets had to be sent to the Neohospital; the rest were either easily mended with a round of simple spells or sent off to Healing Springs. Even the trial room, which had taken a rather harsh beating after all the spells carelessly thrown around, was pristine once more: the crumbled pieces of wall had been repaired easily and the glass window had been put back together in seconds.
And Jan and Jesc were feeling much better now that they had all their memories back.
“I’m so, so, so sorry!” Jan apologized for the fiftieth time as they finished rearranging all the chairs that had been knocked over.
“It’s fine,” Jesc answered merrily, waving her wand and setting all the chairs upright. Scotchmel agreed, chirping happily from his spot on her shoulder.
“Um... Queen Fyora?” Jim asked hesitantly as he finished adjusting the ribbons lining the juror stand with a perfectionist’s touch. “Do you think it would be okay for me to return to the Neohome Planning Committee Headquarters now? Really... I’m afraid that the place has gone to ruins in my absence.”
Jhudora smirked. “What? Too much excitement for you?”
“Actually, yes,” Jim admitted sheepishly, polishing his newly repaired glasses.
“Of course you may go,” Fyora answered. “As may the rest of you. The past few days must have really worn you out and you deserve some rest.”
“Yes, your Majesty,” Jan said with a low bow. “I need to get back to the Academy and see if I can reschedule a few of my lendings.”
“And I have hate mail to open,” Jhudora said with a grimace. “So much fun.”
“Awww,” Jesc sighed as Scotchmel chirped on her shoulder. “If it makes you feel any better, I’d never send you hate mail!”
Jhudora scowled at her. “I know. Instead you’d probably send me a wind chime or a plushie or another blasted Weewoo to scare everyone away...”
“Speaking of which, you seem rather fond of that petpet, Jesc,” Fyora remarked before Jhudora could continue her rant. “If the teaching staff doesn’t mind, I think it’d be okay for you to take him back to the Academy with you.”
“Really?” Jesc’s eyes sparkled. “Because that would be great! I’ve always wanted a petpet and I just love Scotchmel! We’ve already been through so much with him helping to rescue us and save Jhudora, and now we could go to classes together, and do homework together --though I’m not sure how that would work out since he can’t exactly write--, and play together, and study together, and go on lendings together, and visit Jhudora together...”
“I feel a headache coming on,” Jhudora announced loudly, “and that’s my cue to leave.”
“All right,” Fyora nodded. “Head on home, all of you, and I hope to see you tomorrow at the trial. If we really want Mrs. Pierce locked up for good, your testimonies would be greatly appreciated.”
“Yes, yes, we’ll be there,” Jhudora said, turning away from the Queen and giving an impatient wave with her right hand, “which unfortunately means that I’ll have to see you all again. Yippee.”
“Don’t worry, Jhudora,” Jesc said with a smile as the four of them stepped out through the large arched doorway. “We’ll all be glad to see you too.”
Mrs. Pierce woke up to the sound of receding footsteps. Slowly, she opened her eyes...
She instantly jolted up and looked around frantically. The darkness was complete, smothering her in its malignant grip. It didn’t take her long to make a tiny tongue of fire appear, casting long shadows across the room. Four cold stone walls surrounded her and there was no door in sight. “Shoot,” she cursed. She immediately knew where she was: Dungeon 13.
Vermillion put her slight hand on one of walls. She could feel ashy indentations: ancient ensnarement spells burned into the stone. She was aware of the slight crackle of old magic thrumming through the grooves, but it was feeble and sluggish. The spells needed to be replenished, but were weak enough at the moment that a strong blast of magic would render them useless.
“If only I had my wand!” Mrs. Pierce growled, but as she said it, she felt her hand unclench, the bony knuckles revealing her wand still tightly in her grip.
Her eyes lit up, the dimming embers flaring brightly. “Fools,” she muttered, bracing herself against the wall as she got to her feet. They had never confiscated her wand: a novice’s error.
She twirled it in her long fingers and turned to the south-facing wall. Immediately she brought up mental picture of Jesc and Jhudora. The wand tip glowed for a split second and then the entire wall exploded, instantaneously reduced to rubble as the outside world was exposed.
It was midday, but the sun was obscured by clouds and the brisk autumn wind made it almost feel like winter. But Mrs. Pierce stepped into the cold, overjoyed.
The sky called to her, and her wings ached to be unfurled, but for a brief second she held back. There was one more thing she had to do...
When Queen Fyora finally returned to Dungeon 13 to renew the containment spells, she was greeted with an empty room, a gaping hole in the wall, and a sinister burning message smoldering on the floor:
Jesc and Jhudora: I will be back.