It was just your average day on Mystery Island. There was not a single breath of wind nor breeze to dampen the intense heat. A certain female blue Hissi, Tegema, was the only one scuttling along the Marketplace, clutching a piece of paper in her right wing, a plain brown cloth bag jingling with her Neopoints in her left. She stopped in front of a small, grubby shop, looked up at the sign that hung askew, and then looked down at her piece of paper.
"Hmm..." she muttered, once again studying the sign that was almost illegible. "'D-dark Faerie Quest Items.' I hope they have Spicy Geraptiku Tea..."
Nervously, she dug around in her bag and drew out a slightly battered stopwatch. It was counting down and there remained exactly twelve minutes. Taking a deep breath, Tegema shoved it back into her bag, pushed open the shop door, and slithered inside the welcoming air conditioned shop. A small bell tinkled merrily as she snaked her way across the threshold. The inside of the shop was as grubby as the outside. There was a battered grey counter to Tegema's left which held an old-fashioned cash register. Several rows of looming, greyish brown shelves led away into the gloom of the back of the shop. The shopkeeper, a small Gothic Usul barely taller than Tegema's thirty-four centimeter height, lounged, bored, behind the counter. He snapped to attention when Tegema slithered in. The tag on the counter, which was supposed to inform shoppers of his name, was so covered with dust and filth, Tegema could only make out that it started with a 'J'.
"Can I help you?" snapped the Usul.
"Erm, I think so..." faltered Tegema, glancing at her piece of paper again. "Do you carry Spicy Geraptiku Tea? I need it for -"
"Yes, yes," the Usul cut her off impatiently with a wave of his paw. "You need it for a quest. Wait here. Don't touch anything."
The Usul disappeared down the far right row of shelves. Tegema peered down the row, but winced and drew back when she caught sight of a Bone Chair and a Pile of Bones. She didn't particularly favor things made out of bones. She contented herself with fretting over the time ticking slowly away on her stopwatch. By the time she heard the Usul returning with the item, there only remained eight minutes. Hastily shoving the stopwatch back into her bag, she looked back up as the shopkeeper dragged the Spicy Geraptiku Tea into her view. It was a blue and orange jug with a blue handle and its neck was decorated with a gold chain holding a ring of red feathers in place. It was full to the brim with a reddish brown liquid.
"That will be 1,400 Neopoints," the Usul said as he dragged it behind the battered counter.
He looked at her expectantly, tapping his paw against the counter as he waited for her payment. Tegema opened her bag and pulled out the correct amount. She shoved the Neopoints onto the counter, practically hopping up and down in her impatience for the Usul to give her the Tea. He slowly, ever so slowly, counted out the Neopoints and put them in the cash register. Then he placed the Tea on top of the counter.
"It's all yours," he said, staring at her as if willing her to disappear already.
"Yes, thank you," Tegema murmured ungraciously.
She grabbed her purchase and slithered out the door. Once outside, she blinked in the bright sunlight and, once her eyes adjusted, she glanced at her stopwatch. It was counting down from five minutes. Her eyes bugged out slightly and she shoved the stopwatch back into her bag along with her piece of paper. She looped the back around her right wing and wrapped her tail around the Spicy Geraptiku Tea. She took off, turning to keep the cloud of Faerieland in front of her, and carefully making sure not to spill a drop of the Tea.
"Great...This is just excellent... I have to get this to Jhudora in five minutes! This is going to be impossible... I hope the rumors of her petrifying failed questers aren't true... Ugh... What is with these winds? It's like they're trying to blow me off course..." Tegema muttered, battling the strange, conflicting winds battering her. After several tense moments where she almost dropped her precious cargo, Tegema managed to shake free the winds and flew on to Faerieland and, more specifically, the poisonous purple and green cloud floating on the outskirts.
Some time later...
Breathlessly, Tegema landed on Jhudora's doorstep, using her left wing to beat on the door, her right to hold her ribs, which had decided it was a good time to cramp up in the middle of her frantic flight. Or at least the muscles around her ribs had. The door was pulled open almost immediately, and there was Jhudora, grinning evilly down on the small Hissi, who didn't even come halfway up to Jhudora's knees.
"Ah, Tegema," she said in a tone that reminded Tegema of a Lupe hunting a fruit Chia, and teasing it before eating the horrified Chia. "Come in. Do you have my Tea? Good. Very good..."
Jhudora stood aside and Tegema, the Tea still in the wraps of her tail (and barely spilled), warily slithered inside. Jhudora shut the door with a snap! and then strolled over and reclined on her throne. Tegema nervously pulled the Tea toward her, wincing when she picked it up and examined it.
"Yes." Jhudora smiled. "Perfect. Well, Tegema, you got me the correct item." She placed the jug carefully upon the old weathered table next to her. "However-" Tegema began to tremble, which caused Jhudora to grin; a grin like a predator. "-you are exactly one minute and thirty-seven seconds past my deadline."
She snapped her fingers (with fingernails like claws, Tegema noticed) and noxious green smoke surrounded Tegema, who desperately tried to slither to the door. The last thing the poor Hissi remembered was Jhudora's evil cackling, which was another forceful reminder of a Lupe hunting a fruit Chia, and her final thought;
'I guess the rumors are true. She does petrify failed questers...'
Jhudora stood up from her throne and stooped to pick up the small stone Hissi, its face frozen in a look of pure terror, its blue and yellow scales now faded to grey, its mouth set as if in grim determination, and its bright green eyes dulled and unseeing. Straightening, she strolled over to an Esophagor Shelf Unit against the wall across from her throne, which held her collection of petrified Neopets, the larger ones arranged next to it. She carefully shifted the occupants of the crowded shelves and placed Tegema in the front of the top shelf and moved a slightly larger frozen Kacheek to the front of the bottom shelf. Other pets occupied the space beneath the two shelves.
"One minute and thirty-seven seconds. Congratulations, Tegema. That's a new record." She cackled and leered at the frozen Hissi. Then she returned to her throne to await the next foolish quester to pound on her door hoping for some magical reward, sipping her Spicy Geraptiku Tea...