Roomies 4: Part One
“Name and describe the three different elixirs that are most commonly associated with sleeping draughts. Then list the main ingredients in each and explain in your own words how each one plays an integral role in the success rate of the potion.”
Jesc glanced down at the piece of paper imprinted with her homework. The words danced before her eyes as her mind whirled with calculations. A moment later she set to work answering the questions, her flowy script erupting over the parchment complete with hearted “i”s and curlicues.
The air faerie slipped a stray strand of dirty blonde hair behind her ear, turning her head to glance out the tall arched windows. Bright sunlight filtered through, illuminating everything in the library in a golden glow, and the spotless panes revealed a breathtaking view of the Faerie Academy lawn: crisp green grass split by a stone pathway and dotted with small white daisies.
Jesc smiled, her slender legs swinging beneath her and her translucent blue wings glittering in the light. It’s quite a pretty day for my birthday.
But of course, as a third-year student at the Academy, even birthdays were marred with the task of doing homework. But Jesc honestly didn’t mind. In fact, considering the good mood she was in, she was quite certain that nothing, not even a second lengthy assignment on the many uses of Mint Jelly, could ruin her special day.
The air faerie bounced in the lilac velvet-padded chair for a second, her blue eyes as bright as the sunlight that stained her skin a golden hue. “I wonder why I don’t come here more often?” she wondered aloud. The Faerie Academy library, besides being the fourth largest in all of Neopia, was an architectural beauty with high arched ceilings, windows, and stone walls lined with thousands of books. Normally Jesc did her homework back in her own dorm room, but Jan, a neighboring air faerie, had asked to use the room for a bit of choir practice. Jesc had stayed only long enough to hear the first few sour notes before gathering her schoolwork and making the trek down to the library.
Jan really is quite nice, considering everything that happened, Jesc thought to herself, finishing up her homework having described all sixty-five uses of Mint Jelly. Back in the fall, Jan’s mind had been altered by Mrs. Pierce, the psychotic ex-Proper Uses of Magical Abilities teacher, in an attempt to have Jhudora, the infamous dark faerie, imprisoned for a crime she hadn’t committed.
Jesc frowned, slipping her stuff into her school bag. Mrs. Pierce had tormented her back when she was a teacher, and it had only been when Jhudora stepped in had Jesc finally gotten her revenge. But since the initial incident, Mrs. Pierce seemed to only get more and more deranged. First she was suspended for her actions, then fired from the Academy altogether.
Her latest scheme had involved blackmail, kidnapping, and improper usage of magic among other things, and after getting caught in the act, Mrs. Pierce was supposed to appear at a Faerieland hearing.
The only problem was that the manic fire faerie had somehow escaped from the dungeon imprisoning her, leaving a blazing warning behind. Jesc and Jhudora: I will be back. The flaming letters had given Jesc nightmares for a week straight, and even now she could see them when she closed her eyes, the letters mocking her in the darkness.
But that was six months ago, Jesc reassured herself, giving the faerie librarian a wave as she left. And besides, even if she does come back, I’m sure we can handle it. We always do.
The school’s main hallway was one big circular corridor dotted with multiple classrooms and six tall towers, one for each of the six different types of faeries. On such a beautiful day, most of the faeries in the hall seemed to be heading in the direction of the courtyard to revel in the warm weather. Jesc was itching to join them, so she picked up her pace, deciding that once she dropped off her stuff in her dorm, she would grab Scotchmel, her white Weewoo, and head outside.
She reached the base of the air faerie tower in record speed, skipping up the spiral staircase two at a time. The ascent to room 458 was dizzying, but Jesc reached her dorm completely unfazed, accustomed to practicing spiral maneuvers in gym. The door, however, was locked.
Jesc frowned for a moment and then shrugged, searching through the mess in her bag for her wand. I guess Jan is a bit paranoid about her singing... Once she had her wand in her hand, the smooth wood fitting nicely in her grip, she pointed it at the silver lock. There was a light metallic click, and the door slowly swung open...
Jesc jumped back, almost tripping and falling down the tower steps. Thankfully, her wings had reacted in time, propelling her staggering figure into the room before she toppled over.
“W-wow,” she breathed, her blue eyes lighting up.
Her dorm had been completely decked out for her birthday. Golden streamers hung from the walls, purple enchanted balloons each bearing either the letter “J” “E” “S” or “C” steered their way across the ceiling, and rainbow confetti permanently floated through the air, suspended magically like colorful stars. Her bed, besides being coated with her many plushies, was heaped with presents wrapped in sparkling paper, and in the small kitchen in the back, the counters overflowed with food.
But what was even more exciting were all the faeries in the room. A mixed assortment of water, fire, earth, air, light, and even dark were milling about, their hands gripping noisemakers and party hats plastered atop their heads.
An air faerie made her way to Jesc timidly, her white-blonde hair cut in a short pixie cut, and her blue eyes seeking approval. “Were you surprised, Jesc?”
Jesc was still in shock. “How did you... Jan, did you do this?”
Jan nodded. “After what happened in the fall, I wanted to make it up to you. And when I found out today was your birthday, I decided to plan you a surprise party. I had to get you out of the room, and send invitations, and get food, and decorate...” She gestured and smiled weakly. “Tada.”
Jesc lost it. With a sudden squeal, she gave Jan a hug, her wings fluttering as she forced most of the air out of her friend’s lungs. “Thank you so much! This is absolutely wonderful and I have no idea how you managed to pull this off. I mean, I had totally no clue this was going to happen at all, especially since it seemed like no one knew today was my birthday, and with all the planning, and decorating, and inviting I’m surprised I didn’t catch on, and you went above and beyond making up for what happened last year, which really wasn’t your fault by the way, and I’m so thankful and...”
“Oh Fyora,” piped up a sarcastic voice. “Jesc, you’re strangling her. Not to say that I have a problem with that...”
Jesc released Jan once she heard the voice, the smile on her face widening as she wheeled around. “Jhudora!”
The dark faerie was leaning against the far wall, a bored expression on her angled face. Violet waves of hair fell past her shoulders, her leathery indigo wings were folded behind her, around her throat was a jade amulet that glittered in the sunlight, and her nails were filed to sharp points.
Jesc lunged at her, her arms opened wide for a hug, but as she drew closer, she felt the air quickly harden around her and suddenly she was rebounded backwards as if she had run face first into an elastic bubble.
Jhudora’s violet eyes had an amused glimmer in them. “Sorry about that,” she said, not sounding too apologetic. “Standard shield spell. I was trying to ward off them.”
Jesc followed her gesture and noticed a few dark faeries gawking at the Jhudora from a few feet away, their eyes wide and awe-filled. The strange thing was, they didn’t appear to be moving...
Jhudora smirked at Jesc’s confused glance. “Normally I don’t mind the hero-worship, but they were going a bit too far. And then when the ugly one touched my dress, they’d crossed the line. Freezing spell.” She smiled. “They’ll make nice garden gnomes, don’t you think?”
Jesc appraised them, taking in their appearance with a critical eye. “You know, you’re probably right. A bit on the gaudy side, but not too horrible.” She grinned. “Too bad freezing spells wear off.”
“Ehh. There’s a downside to everything.”
Jesc smiled. It was good to see Jhudora again after so long. The sarcasm, tricks, attitude... it all was a refreshing change from everyday life at the Academy. Conscious of the shield spell that prevented her from getting anywhere near the dark faerie, Jesc outstretched her slender arms and gave her an air hug. “Oh Jhudora, I’m so glad you came! Did Jan invite you?”
“Invite?” she scoffed, her face sour as she reached into the folds of her dress. “More like threatened!” In her hand, held carefully as if it might explode, was a white invitation, the edges trimmed in gold lace and the front covered in immaculate script. “She threatened me with a horde of Weewoos. Weewoos!” She shivered and then tossed the invitation in the air, pointing at it with a manicured finger and blasting it into smithereens. “Much better.”
“Speaking of Weewoos,” Jesc wondered aloud, watching as the ashy remains of the invite settled to the ground, “where’s Scotchmel?”
Jhudora eyes narrowed, realizing where this was going. “No, Jesc. Don’t you dare—”
But it was too late. Jesc had already whistled, the shrill note cutting over the din of the stereo blasting M*YNCI’s latest single, and a moment later a white Weewoo had appeared overhead. He attempted to nest on top of Jhudora’s head, but was failing miserably; the shield spell repelled the poor feathered petpet farther and farther with every attempted landing.
“Ha! Take that, stupid bird!” Jhudora crowed triumphantly, drawing a few curious stares from the surrounding guests.
“Aw, poor Scotchmel!” Jesc cooed, outstretching a finger so that he could perch there instead. “Don’t worry about Jhudora,” she murmured. “She’s just being a bit of a grumpy-kin.”
“How can you stand that thing?” the dark faerie asked, a sick expression on her face. “He’s so... feathery and cute.”
“He helped save us, Jhudora,” the air faerie reminded, petting Scotchmel’s head fondly. The Weewoo whistled contentedly.
“So?” Jhudora scoffed, crossing her slender arms over her chest. “I bet that despite everything we went through last year, Jim’s still scared of him.”
“Jim...” Jesc repeated thoughtfully, twirling a piece of blonde hair around her finger as she thought of the yellow Aisha. “He’s not here, is he?”
“He couldn’t come,” Jan answered, the air faerie suddenly appearing by her side with a bowl of chips cradled in her arms. “He blamed Neohomes 2.0; apparently he’s swamped at work. He did send over a gift, though; it’s the big yellow one on the bed. And speaking of gifts...” She glanced at her watch. “...I think right about now’s the perfect time to have some cake.”
“Cake?” Jesc repeated excitedly, her eyes lighting up.
“Cake. Yippee,” Jhudora muttered sarcastically, rolling her eyes as Jan pulled out her wand and carefully levitated a cake from the kitchen towards Jesc. The air faerie gasped, her hand fluttering up to her mouth in shock as it floated in front of her. It was a beautiful creation: rosy pink, it had three tiers lined with golden icing ribbons and was speckled with purple lilies. Seventeen silver candles guarded the circumference, while the golden faerie wishing candle was stationed dead center on top. It was absolutely stunning, and smelled delicious as well.
Someone turned down the lights and switched off the stereo while one of the light faeries waggled her fingers, lighting the tips of the candles with golden sparks. Then, as if practiced, everyone began to sing, striking up the famous Faerie Birthday Song:
“Today is Jesc’s birthday, a faerie we all adore,
She’s full of wit and laughter, and so very much more
We hope her day is special, full of gifts and cake and mirth
As we dance and celebrate the seventeen years from her birth
So everybody gather round, grab a fork and dish
Prepare to eat some cake once she makes her birthday wish!”
Jesc looked up at the faeries around her, a grin on her face as they held the last note. Even Jhudora had grudgingly joined in, glaring at her to get a move on and make her wish so she could stop singing. Jesc nodded and glanced downward, the candles lighting her face in a golden cast as she drew in her breath.
The ground rumbled, a deep throaty sound emerging from the earth’s core, before suddenly, everything began to shake. Deep fissures formed in the stone walls, and dust and rubble began to permeate the air, mixing in with the confetti. The colorfully-wrapped presents tumbled down from their perch on the bed, papers fluttered off their messy piles on Jesc’s desk, and food tumbled off the counter, smashing into mere crumbs on the floor.
Everyone started to panic, grabbing onto whatever they could for support as the world seemed to crumble around them. Jesc reached for a curtain with one hand and cradled Scotchmel to her chest with her other, the frightened Weewoo digging his talons into her arm. Jhudora meanwhile stood her ground but whipped out her slender black wand, her shield spell protecting her from most of the damage.
“It’s an earthquake!” one petrified light faerie yelled, clinging desperately to a bedpost as her golden eyes widened in fear.
But it was fairly obvious it wasn’t a mere earthquake once the candles on the cake began to blaze brighter, the tongues of flame growing at an alarming pace. Startled, Jan released her magical hold on the cake, the confection collapsing into pink mush on the ground, and a frightened water faerie flung as much water she could muster onto it. But the fire wouldn’t be put out. Instead, the flames ripped themselves away from the candle wicks and flew into the air uninhibited, forming a sinister message that lit up the room in a hellish red cast:
EVERYONE IS TO ASSEMBLE IN THE COURTYARD IMMEDIATELY FOR A MANDATORY MEETING. NO IFS, ANDS, OR BUTS!
But it wasn’t the message that caused Jesc and Jhudora to exchange hasty looks from across the room. Instead, it was the all too familiar signature at the bottom of the message, written in slashed lines that glowed with an evil intensity.
To be continued...