Roomies 4: Part Six
“Ugh, I can’t take this anymore!”
Jhudora slammed her fist on the bed, and then winced as pain shot through her head. The dark faerie touched her temple tenderly, a scowl on her face. “Stupid Remember-whatever Potion.”
She glanced over to her left. Jesc’s body was deep in slumber, the air faerie’s eyes closed as she breathed in and out evenly.
She’s probably enjoying herself, Jhudora thought bitterly. It had been two days since they had downed the potion, and while everyone else in the castle was out and about preparing for the battle ahead, Jhudora was trapped in the creepy healing wing with a massive headache and only a sleeping air faerie for company.
“Wake up soon, Jesc,” Jhudora mumbled, massaging her head with her fingers. “I don’t know how much more of this I can take.”
Suddenly, the doors to the wing swung open and in strolled Jan. Jhudora hadn’t seen the air faerie since Jesc’s interrupted birthday party just a few days earlier.
“What are you doing here?” Jhudora bit sharply; she wasn’t a huge fan of the air faerie.
Jan’s hands were pale white as she gripped a blue tray dotted with food; she obviously wasn’t comfortable around the dark faerie. “Mr. Sully sent me here to bring you lunch.”
“Give me that,” Jhudora growled, grabbing the tray out of her hands and staring at the contents. There was a little bit of everything: a bowl of soup with a piece of bread, a plate of asparagus bordering a Meat Feast Omelette, and a small container filled to the brim with Lime Trifle.
But despite all of the food, Jhudora wasn’t hungry. She plopped the tray on the side table and crossed her arms over her chest, glaring up at Jan. When a few moments passed and the air faerie still hadn’t left, she sighed. “What are you still doing here?”
“Me? I... well, I’m supposed to keep you entertained.” She fiddled with a strand of her short blonde hair nervously. “Mr. Sully thought you’d’ve gotten lonely cooped up in here all by yourself. Um... so what do you want to do? Mr. Sully said he has a board of Kacheekers somewhere in his room. Or if you want to be alone, I can get you a book from the library to read.”
“What I really want,” Jhudora said loudly, anger slipping into her voice as she lied back down, “is to get out of this stupid room and stretch my wings a bit. But because of Mrs. Pierce’s blasted bubble, this stupid headache I have from Jesc bouncing around in my skull for the past two days, and the fact that everyone in the Academy wants to sacrifice me for the cause, that’s obviously not going to happen. So just leave me alone before I have to pull out my wand and turn you into something. And I don’t know what exactly, but I guarantee it’ll be unpleasant.”
Jan stifled a yelp and turned on her heels; she didn’t need to be told twice. Her blue shoes clacked on the floors as she hurriedly made her way to the door.
“Oh,” Jhudora called after her, her arm raised in an afterthought, “but I like your shoes!”
Jan stopped suddenly in her tracks, her body freezing. Cautiously, she turned around. “Wh-what did you say?”
Jhudora frowned at her, confused. “That I like your—” Suddenly her eyes widened. “OH FYORA!” Quicker than humanly possible, Jhudora jumped to her feet and stormed to the other bed, shaking Jesc’s sleeping figure. “JESC!” she bellowed, “JESC! GET OUT OF ME RIGHT NOW!”
“Stop!” Jan cried helplessly, rushing over to the dark faerie in an attempt to pull her off of Jesc, but Jhudora easily shoved her away. For a moment, Jan just stood there stunned, until she finally remembered her wand. A puff of smoke later, Jhudora had been magically levitated back to her own bed, and the sheets had snapped to life, clinging to her body tightly and holding her in place.
“Jan, if you knew what was good for you, you’d let me go!” she shouted, thrashing against the linen restraints.
“N-no,” the air faerie said, giving Jesc a quick examination to make sure she hadn’t been harmed. “Y-you can’t just go around and at-attack Jesc like that! She could have gotten hurt!”
“Jesc, Jesc, Jesc! Well what about me?” Jhudora complained. “Her being inside my mind... it’s making me act like her!” She shivered. “What if by the end of this I’m n-nice?”
“I highly doubt that,” Jan mumbled. She glanced down at the dark faerie, who for the most part had stopped struggling, and flicked her wand, cutting off her spell.
“Thanks,” Jhudora murmured, rubbing her sore arms as she lied back down. “Now just leave. Let me wallow in my insanity by myself.”
Jan frowned, feeling slight sympathy for the dark faerie. “Well... why don’t I at least bring down Jesc’s birthday presents to open? Ripping into the paper could, I don’t know, relieve tension or something? You can pretend it’s Jesc.”
Jhudora sighed. “All right.”
Jan turned to leave for the second time, however, before she could reach the door, Jhudora called after her once more. “Hey Jan?”
“Do you think you could bring down a few... er, plushies? And maybe a wind chime?” Jhudora turned her head away, a slight blush creeping up on her pale cheeks.
Jan stifled a broad grin. “Sure, Jhudora. Whatever you want.”
The day had come.
The past month had come and gone, with Jesc merely following like some lovesick Puppyblew as Jhudora and Illusen went about their lives: doing homework, attending classes...
...and planning the prank that would top them all.
And now, after weeks of preparation, of sneaking in and out of Mr. Sully’s room to brew the potion, of scouting out the light faerie tower at night, it was time.
“I’m so excited!” Illusen gushed, sitting atop of Jhudora’s bed in her fuzzy pink slippers. Jesc had learned early on that whenever the two faeries pulled a practical joke, there always was a pre-prank slumber party in Jhudora’s room. Miayn didn’t mind; in fact, the dark faerie wasn’t even Jhudora’s roommate anymore, all thanks to a little joke they had played on her the second week back.
Jhudora was dressed in her pair of Evil Fuzzle pajamas and held a pink bag of Faerie Chips in her hands, chowing down on the salty creations. Jesc itched to eat some, but as a mere memory herself, she never got hungry. Not to mention the fact that no matter how hard she tried to grab a chip, she couldn’t even touch the bag.
“What time is it?” Jhudora asked between mouthfuls as she glanced out the window. The night sky was a deep black speckled with thousands of silver pinpricks, but devoid of the usual moon.
“11:37 NST,” Illusen stated, her internal clock accurate to the second as she swung herself off the bed. “We better get ready then. Got the potion?”
“Right here.” Jhudora put down her bag of chips and pulled out a small glass vial containing a seething bruise-colored potion. The contents swirled amongst one another in a slinky dance, the blue and blacks mixing in with the hints of deep green and sickly yellow.
“And I have the book.” She grinned, picking up the heavy tome and cradling it in her arms. “We’re all set. Ready to put Operation Mad Fire into effect?”
“You bet.” Jhudora grinned, standing up. “Let’s go.”
The dark faerie went over to the large window and unlatched it, the glass panes swinging outwards and letting in night air that still held a trace of summer. Jesc moved over to the window with a knowing smile on her face; Jhudora had once mentioned to her that she liked taking nighttime flights out through the windows since the dorm rooms were locked after dark. Apparently she used the open windows to pull pranks as well.
“Here we go,” Jhudora announced, perching herself on the ledge and then leaping outwards. Her wings spread open, catching the breeze, and with practiced grace she started soaring, a triumphant grin on her face. Illusen was next, her green wings reminding Jesc of healthy summer leaves, while the air faerie invisibly covered the rear.
Illusen and Jhudora took a few minutes to take a joy flight, performing dazzling spirals, death-defying dives, and carefree loop-de-loops in the starlight. But when Illusen almost dropped the book in a cluster of trees far below, they decided that enough was enough and that it was finally prank time.
The three faeries circled around the school, weaving between the parapets and poking the waving purple flags perched on top until they reached the light faerie tower. A single arched window, left slightly ajar from Illusen’s mission earlier in the day, awaited them, and it didn’t take long for the three of them to squeeze inside.
Unlike all of the other towers, the light faerie tower glowed at night, an effect of residual magic that had sunk into the stone walls. So it was quite easy for all three faeries to see that they were right dab in the center of the tower, perched on the landing outside room 550.
“All right,” Illusen whispered, withdrawing her wooden wand from a pocket in her pajama shirt. “First we have to unlock all of the doors so that when the ‘fire’ starts, everyone comes rushing out.” She glanced towards Jhudora. “I’ll start from the bottom and make my way up, and you can start at the top.”
Jhudora nodded and the two faeries split up, muttering opening spells at each door and hearing the gentle click of unlocking locks. It took only minutes for them to finally meet up outside room 550, and although they were slightly out of breath, their eyes sparkled in the dim light.
Illusen grinned, her freckles standing out on her face, and she wordlessly opened the book in her arms to page bookmarked with a pink ribbon. Her jade eyes scanned the print briefly before looking up to Jhudora who held the potion in her hands. “Ready?”
“Ready,” Jhudora agreed, and with that, Illusen started reading.
Even as a memory, Jesc could feel the tension in the air as Illusen spoke, her voice low but laced with magic. The air around them grew heavy, suffocating almost, and the words wove their way into her ears and slipped under the cracked doorways to the sleeping light faeries. The magic was beautiful in its own way... yet creepy in another. Dark, and damp, and almost dreadful. Jesc reached for Mr. Snuggles and held the Red Ixi plushie to her chest, clinging to him as the spell continued.
Illusen’s voice started picking up, the words slipping out of her voice faster and faster in a torrent of magic. Finally, as she said the final words, Jhudora raised the vial and threw it to the ground. The glass shattered at her feet, the shards sparkling like diamonds in the light, and the potion lay there in a muddy puddle, the contents seeping into the stone.
Illusen shut the book and frowned, looking around. “Is that it? Did it work?”
“I don’t know,” Jhudora murmured, prodding the puddle of potion with her purple socked toe. “You’d think there’d have been something, like a puff of smoke, or an explosion, or...”
Suddenly, a scream pierced the air. All three faeries turned around, and a second later, doors started slamming open. A hundred light faeries, clothed in only pajamas, frantically spilled out into the spiral staircase, their golden eyes wide with fright.
“FIRE!” they screamed shrilly, fighting one another to get to the bottom as Jhudora and Illusen hid their snickers. It had worked! Their prank was a success.
Jhudora gave her friend a high five as she pressed herself against the wall, watching a light faerie dart past here. “Nice job, Illusen. Prank of the century.”
The earth faerie smiled, her teeth bright. “Totally. Now we just have to...” She trailed off, her eyes squinting up the flight of stairs.
Jhudora frowned and looked upwards, and Jesc followed suit. High above them, flickering with an intense glow, was their fire.
“Wow,” Jhudora mumbled, flinching as a faerie jammed her elbow into her side, “that fire looks really... real.”
“It... it must be a pretty good illusion spell,” Illusen said tentatively. She reached at her collar, tugging it off her neck. “Umm.... Jhudora. Is it just me, or is this tower really warm?”
“A bit,” Jhudora admitted carefully, sweat beading her brow. “And the air smells of... of burning.”
Illusen’s eyes widened, her face falling into an expression of worry. “Oh no,” she wailed, her eyes glossing over. “Oh Fyora, please don’t tell me we actually... I mean,” she glanced down at the book in her arms as if it had stung her, “it said it was just an illusion spe--”
“Come on,” Jhudora said sharply, grabbing the faerie’s arm and yanking Illusen towards her. “I don’t care what that stupid book says. We have to get out of here. And now.”
Illusen nodded dumbly, wiping at her stinging eyes and following Jhudora obediently down the steps. But they only took a few paces before they stopped abruptly, their bodies plastered beside panicked faeries.
There was a high wall of fire in front of them, blood red flames licking the staircase hungrily and sparks flying outwards to nip at the trapped faeries.
“Oh Fyora!” Illusen cried. “Jhudora, what are we going to do? What did we do?”
But Jhudora could only stare at the flames emptily, her violet eyes reflecting the flickering flames and her heart pounding erratically in her chest.
Jesc stood beside them dumbly, her delicate wings roughly pressed to the stone wall as she clung desperately to her plushie. She could feel the raw heat of the fire on her face, plastering loose strands of blonde hair to her skin, and the sound of the fire hissing and spluttering like an enraged Meowclops echoed in her ears.
And as she stood there, faeries pressing all around but unaware of her presence, Jesc wondered with horror if Jhudora’s memory could simply overtake her right there and then, snuffing her out as easily a candle and trapping her between the cold wall and the greedy flames forever.
To be continued...