Roomies 4: Part Eight
The next few weeks dragged by with Jesc feeling more alone and confused than ever. Following Jhudora around was no longer fun in the slightest; instead, the dark faerie had become some sort of recluse. Whenever she wasn’t in classes, she was locked up in her room by herself reading the musty spell book she had gotten from her aunt; somehow, despite Illusen dropping it in the flaming tower, it had magically appeared on her bed once she had gotten back to her dorm.
Illusen, meanwhile, didn’t seem to be taking the hit too hard. The earth faerie had easily rebounded out of spite, joining up with a group of new friends. They laughed whenever Jhudora passed by, giggling and rolling their eyes, but the dark faerie had her own tricks up her sleeves. Pranks were frivolous things to her now, but revenge wasn’t, and it wasn’t uncommon to see her send some sort of spell Illusen’s way whenever she saw her in the hall.
But the most drastic change was in Mrs. Pierce. Jesc had known it would happen eventually—after all, she had been sent back to witness Mrs. Pierce’s fall—but it was so gradual and potent that it was almost unbelievable.
The first day back in class, Illusen sat in her normal seat. She had a small bandage on her head covering a dark bruise from fainting on the staircase, but other than that, she looked fine. Jhudora meanwhile stalked her way to the back, settling in the corner and flipping her wand between her fingers. She didn’t even spare Illusen a casual glance.
“Good morning,” Mrs. Pierce greeted, smiling at her class despite the obvious tension in the air; everyone was seated as far away as possible from the quarreling faeries in an attempt to save their lives. “Today’s topic is etiquette, especially when attending faerie council meetings, balls, or foreign lands...”
The fire faerie turned towards the board and reached for a piece of chalk, beginning to write up the lesson. However, a quick mutter from Jhudora and Mrs. Pierce dropped the chalk with a shriek; it had turned into a slimy pale pink worm.
Laughter echoed throughout the room, but instead of an inevitable shouting match, Mrs. Pierce just laughed along with everyone. “Wow,” she smiled, “I guess this must have escaped from the gardening class. I better tell Mrs. Lee to buy some better dirt.”
But over the next few days, the small “incidents” kept coming back, increasing in their effect. One day Mrs. Pierce slipped in a mysterious puddle of water, and the next day her lesson plan went missing, and even once there was a hex on the doorway so no one could get inside. Mrs. Pierce usually tried to play it off as some stroke of bad luck even though she knew who the true culprit was, while each day Jhudora got surlier and surlier, waiting for Mrs. Pierce to finally crack.
In the end it wasn’t exactly a “crack,” but more a deterioration. As the days turned to weeks, Mrs. Pierce began looking exhausted, no doubt due to the insomnia potion Jhudora had slipped into her morning tea. Her eyes were growing heavy and red, and her skin lost its healthy glow. Every few seconds she would glance to the back of the room, as if expecting Jhudora to throw something her way. Her hair was getting neglected, flopping in front of her face like a limp rag, and she finally gave up and started pulling it back into a tight bun to save herself the frustration.
Jesc watched everything unfolding with wide eyes. It was tragic the way Mrs. Pierce was falling apart and it was all because of the one spell that had messed up Jhudora’s mind. One prank had gone wrong, and now everyone was paying for it.
“Jhudora,” Mrs. Pierce begged one day as the class filed out, “stay for a minute please.”
Jhudora gave her teacher a loathing look but remained behind. “What?” she growled. Her own eyes were darkened, blackness lurking under her lids like heady shadows.
The fire faerie frowned, tucking a stray piece of hair back into her bun. “Jhudora, things can’t go on like this. If you keep disrupting my class, I’ll have to give you a detention, which is something I really don’t want to do, especially over something so trivial.”
“Trivial?” Jhudora growled. “I don’t find trying to set a bunch of faeries on fire ‘trivial.’”
“I didn’t do that!” Mrs. Pierce exclaimed exasperatedly. She rubbed her face wearily. “I can’t even remember it that well.”
“Well, good for you,” Jhudora growled, turning on her heels and heading towards the door.
“Jhudora!” Mrs. Pierce barked, her voice coming out hoarse as she extended her hand. “I didn’t give you permission to leave!”
“And I didn’t give you permission to order me around,” Jhudora retorted angrily, slamming the door hard so that the plaque positioned on it that read “Our Favorite Teacher” dropped to the floor, cracking into little ceramic pieces.
After this incident, Mrs. Pierce’s spiral downward increased its intensity. Jhudora continued her antics out of a new sense of enmity rather than the initial incident, and Mrs. Pierce fought back. Whenever something befell Mrs. Pierce, almost immediately after something would happen to Jhudora in turn. And soon the hatred between the two faeries was began completely palpable, spreading out to the others at the academy until everyone had a shared dislike of the vengeful fire faerie teacher and the rebellious dark faerie student.
And then, near the end of October, with Halloween quickly approaching, there was an incident. Someone had set up an explosion in the potions lab, sending shards of glass across the room, blowing out the windows, and soaking everything with a dangerous layer of magical residue. Potion classes were cancelled for the rest of the week, and all students were directed to find an alternate way to their classes instead of heading down the contaminated hallway.
The explosion was a hot topic the next day; no one could take more than five steps without someone mentioning it. Even Jesc, a mere memory who felt out of place in this different time, was interested in the ordeal, wondering who had done it.
However, it didn’t take long for suspicions to fall on the reclusive dark faerie. That night, Jhudora was up in her dorm, the cracked window letting in the brisk night air. She was hungrily reading her Aunt Kryta’s book, marking the margins with scribbles, while Jesc tossed Mr. Snuggles up and down in her arms, trying to relieve her chronic boredom.
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. Jesc turn her head, clutching the Red Ixi Plushie to her side, but Jhudora didn’t give it even a casual glance.
A moment later, the knock repeated itself, and when Jhudora refused to answer, something magically slid in through the crack under the door, zipping over to Jhudora in a creamy blur.
It buzzed around Jhudora’s head, and she swatted at it as if it were merely some annoying gnat. However, the object wouldn’t be deterred. It flew in front of her face, blocking her line of sight, and it was only then that the dark faerie even gave it a glance.
Jesc frowned, scooting over towards Jhudora to get a better look at the foreign object. But in all actuality, it wasn’t that unfamiliar: it was merely an enchanted scroll.
Jhudora frowned, plucking the paper out of midair and unraveling it. A minute later her face crumpled. “What?!” she shouted. “This can’t be right!”
Apparently the scroll didn’t like her outburst, because suddenly it began to glow. Jhudora gasped, throwing the scroll to the ground, but it was too late. The spell had already spread to her, and was covering her in a yellowish aura. Then, with a yank of magic, Jhudora was lifted to her feet.
Jesc gasped. “What’s going on?” she asked, but there was no answer. Instead, Jhudora was now jerkily walking towards the door, her legs shaking as if they weren’t entirely stable. The spell was controlling her, and she was helpless, swept up in the magic.
Jesc felt a tug on her stomach, reminding her that she was bound to Jhudora and that it was her duty to follow her. However, before the air faerie got up, she first peered down at the discarded scroll and read the first line: “Jhudora, you have been summoned to the headmistress’ office.”
The Headmistress? Jesc thought to herself, dragging Mr. Snuggles along as she left room 689, following Jhudora’s erratic magic-controlled descent down the spiral stairs. The dark faerie looked surly, thrashing against the spell but failing miserably, and her eyes were livid violet pools.
A few moments later, they had reached the base of the tower. The halls were nearly deserted: Door-lock curfew was in a couple of minutes, and no one liked to sleep out on the cold metal spiral staircase steps.
Finally, after a few minutes of stumbling about, a glowing Jhudora reached the Headmistress’ office. The door flew open for her and she staggered inside against her will. Jesc followed obediently.
The office honestly wasn’t as scary as Jesc had imagined. The walls were a pale pink, there was an intricately carved white desk in front piled with stacks of paper and glass paper weights, and orbs of light floated around the room as if small light faeries were trapped in the baubles. But it was the faerie seated behind the desk that made Jesc’s stomach flip: Queen Fyora.
The Queen usually had business to attend to back at her castle, but she was the Headmistress of the Academy at the same time; it was a rare occurrence for her to actually be in her office. Which meant that either something wonderful had just happened, or something really dreadful.
“Jhudora, please have a seat,” the Queen said firmly, and Jhudora felt herself magically lowered into a chair opposite the desk. And no matter how much she tried to struggle against the spell, she couldn’t move a muscle.
“Why am I here?” Jhudora bit, her eyes dark.
“Jhudora,” the Queen said softly, her lilac eyes kind but pleading, “it’s only been two months into the school year and your track record isn’t very promising. Mrs. Pierce has confided in me that you’ve been disrupting her class for the past month, along with tormenting a certain earth faerie—”
“Well, Illusen deserves it,” Jhudora interrupted with a growl. “As does Mrs. Pierce, that witch.”
Fyora shot her a look and adjusted the white gold crown that sat atop her head, her pale face framed by magenta locks. “Jhudora, I really believe that you are a talented young faerie. In fact, had you not pulled this latest prank, I was going to simply give you a warning...”
“Latest prank?” Jhudora repeated blankly. “What are you talking about?”
Fyora sighed. “The potion lab incident.”
“WHAT?! You think that was me?!”
“I don’t think, Miss Jhudora. I know. You have a record for sneaking out late at night and playing practical jokes along with Illusen—”
“Then why isn’t she in here too?!” Jhudora demanded, her voice rising.
“Because she had a confirmed alibi,” the Queen said calmly. “She was in the library late, working on a report for Miss Winowna. You, on the other hand, were spotted entering and exiting the potion lab late last night.”
“That’s impossible!” Jhudora exclaimed, and Jesc had to silently agree; last night she had been bored out of her wits, watching as Jhudora continued to sift through the old spell book in her room.
“Jhudora,” Fyora said sternly, “Are you trying to tell me that Mrs. Pierce would lie about something like this?”
The dark faerie’s jaw dropped. “Mrs. Pierce? She was the one who told you this? Well, of course she would lie! She hates me! Did no one realize that she tried killing me in that fire last month?!”
“Enough!” The Queen shouted, placing her fist firmly on her desk as her eyes turned to steel. “You will disrespect the teachers here no longer, Jhudora. I’m sorry to say this, but you have hereby been expelled from the Faerie Academy.”
Jesc watched as Jhudora’s eyes widened and a flicker of hurt swept over her pale face. But a moment later it was gone, replaced with utter loathing as she set out her jaw in a scowl.
“Fine,” she spat, rising to her feet as she felt the spell release her. She glared at the Queen for a moment, her hands balled into fists as if she was about to smash each of the glass ornaments on her desk, but then she turned away and stormed out, slamming the door behind her.
Jesc followed frantically, reaching Jhudora just as the dark faerie stumbled over something on the ground: her suitcase. Apparently the ratty leather bag had already packed itself and was waiting for her outside of the Headmistress’s office.
Plopped on top of it was Aunt Kryta’s spell book.
Jesc stared at it, at the ugly brown cover and the bloated pages, and sensed the evil aura flaring around it. It taunted the air faerie. It was all the book’s fault that Jhudora was even in this situation. And more than ever, she wanted to reach out and rip the pages to dusty shreds. But she couldn’t. She was helpless, she wasn’t real, and she wanted to cry.
Jhudora bent down and picked up the suitcase, nestling the hated book to her chest. Her face was grim and sharp, but determined; she was looking to the future now. She was alone, she was friendless, but she would get by. And that mantra played in her head as she made her way out the Academy’s large double doors, not even bothering to look back as she was swallowed by the dark night.
Jesc stood in her spot, refusing to move out of the entrance hall. Her eyes stung, and everything around her went blurry. “Poor Jhudy,” she whispered to Mr. Snuggles, wiping away her tears with a slender hand. However, when she pulled her hand away, the surrounding castle was no longer there. Instead, she was surrounded by complete and utter darkness as if the world had simply been wiped away.
The Rememorandum Potion was wearing off.
For a minute, relief washed over Jesc. Finally, she thought, I’m going back home.
But then a stray voice, a piece of her past, came floating through her head: There is a chance for things to go wrong, such as two people being trapped inside the same body... forever...
Jesc eye’s widened, the blackness in front of her absolute and terrifying. She had never been afraid of the dark before, but now she felt so alone, and she didn’t know if she could bear it.
Please, Mr. Sully, she prayed. Be wrong for once. Just let me get home. Please.
To be continued...