Roomies 4: Part Ten
Jesc ran as fast as her little feet could carry her.
The air faerie dodged the other faeries in the hall, weaving frantically between them as she darted towards the courtyard door. Her stomach flipped when she noticed that most of her young classmates were decked out in battle gear: Ancient shields that hadn’t seen the light of day in a hundred years were strapped to their wrists, colorful yet lethal potions dangled from belts clinging to their waists, and their hands gripped their wands tightly, threatening to snap the wooden rods in half.
I need to stop this battle, Jesc thought, horrified. Her blue eyes focused on the doorway ahead of her, the stone archway drawing nearer. A wooden door had been erected over the opening while she had been asleep, probably to stop curious faeries from sneaking out and getting caught by Mrs. Pierce. Coming to a halt, she reached out her hand and twisted the knob.
It was locked.
Jesc pulled out her wand and muttered an unlocking spell frantically under her breath, her hair falling over her face. But nothing happened. It was shut tight.
Suddenly, she sensed someone hovering behind her. Jesc turned around, her wand extended, and found herself face-to-face with Jhudora. The dark faerie loomed above her, her sharp face set in a scowl. “Jesc, you need to stop.”
Jesc shook her head, frustration setting in as she tried to stop her eyes from watering. “I can’t, Jhudy. If I don’t go out there and at least try to talk to her, the entire Academy is going to be destroyed.” She gestured to the other faeries in the hall who were watching her warily. “Not to mention everyone else.”
“Jesc, if you go out there, you’ll be destroyed!” Jhudora shouted, her eyes livid. “Do you really think Mrs. Pierce will care about what you have to say? Do you really think so?”
“I don’t know, but I have to at least try,” Jesc muttered. She glanced up, her blue eyes clear latching onto Jhudora. “I didn’t go into your mind for nothing. Please, Jhudora. Let me go.”
The dark faerie stared down at her, balling her hands into angry fists. Jhudora hated to admit it, but she had grown attached to Jesc more than she could ever say in the past year. And even while the air faerie had been unconscious, the bond had only grown stronger. Just letting her go to her doom was not an option.
So she compromised.
“Fine. But I’m coming with you.”
Jhudora expected Jesc to protest, but the air faerie just look relieved, a huge smile expanding on her face. “Thanks, Jhudy—Jhudora,” she corrected with a nod. “Now,” she turned towards the door, “how are we going to get in? The door’s locked. And I think Mr. Sully and Mrs. Sre are on their way to stop us.”
“Easy. Now out of my way,” Jhudora said, shoving Jesc to the side. Extending her wand, she muttered one syllable and with a loud boom the door was suddenly reduced to a pile of ashen smithereens. Jesc’s eyes widened, but then she obediently stepped over the rubble into the courtyard with Jhudora on her tail.
“Whoa,” Jesc murmured quietly, her eyes wide. “This is so not vo.”
The courtyard, once filled with vibrancy and color, was now lifeless and dim. The grass had faded to a sick brown, the flowers had been trampled to death on the ground, and cracks ran on the walls like deep undersea fissures. And arching above them, vile and sputtering, was the green magical bubble.
Jesc turned towards Jhudora, trying to steel herself before she stepped farther into the courtyard. The sun was directly overhead, passing through the force field in ugly green streaks. It was noon.
“Come on,” Jesc muttered impatiently, looking towards the sky. “Where are you?”
But she needn’t have wasted her breath. Suddenly, the force field began to crackle. Streams of lightning raced down the bubble, snapping and popping, glowing white and purple as if they were trapped inside of a dome-shaped lightning rod.
“Giving yourselves up?” a raspy voice boomed through the air. “It’s about time.”
And then she appeared. She flew high above the bubble as before, her fiery wings spread out before her. Her hair was wild, her thin lips were set into a joyful smirk, and her eyes were crimson, glowing behind her pointed glasses.
Jhudora glared upwards. “Mrs. Pierce,” she growled, reaching for her wand, but Jesc stopped her with her pale hand. Instead, the air faerie slipped her blonde hair behind her ears and looked upwards.
Mrs. Pierce smiled, her teeth white and pointy. She waved her claw-like hand and suddenly the force-field wavered and a large hole formed at the top, allowing true sunlight to filter through for the first time. Jesc felt the warmth on her face as Jhudora turned towards her.
“Do you know what you’re doing?” the dark faerie asked. Jhudora was fiddling with the choker around her throat nervously as she glanced upwards at an impatient Mrs. Pierce.
Jesc nodded her head slightly. “I think so.” And with her resolve strengthened, she started flying upwards. Her blue wings extended, flapping evenly in the warm spring air. It felt heavenly to be up and about again, as free as a Weewoo in the sky. Unfortunately, she wasn’t about to embark on a carefree joy ride.
She rose into the air, flying higher and higher as Jhudora followed her, two blotches of color in the clear sky. Finally, when they were several hundred feet above the courtyard, they paused, hovering besides Mrs. Pierce.
Mrs. Pierce smiled victoriously. “So what made you two decide to give yourselves up? Some strange sense of loyalty to the school?” The fire faerie peered downwards into the courtyard where curious faeries were now gathering, glancing upwards with fright. “How cute. It seems as if some faeries wish to witness your downfalls.”
“We’re not giving in,” Jesc said firmly.
“Oh?” Mrs. Pierce inquired, her voice dry. She snapped her fingers and a small tongue of flame appeared at the tips. A flick later and the fireball went spiraling to the courtyard below, flaring up in a terrifying blaze until an intuitive faerie doused it with a gush of water.
Mrs. Pierce gave a half-hearted smile and glanced towards Jhudora. “How nice. It seems at least someone knows how to properly put out a fire.”
Jhudora’s nostrils flared. “That’s it!” she hissed, lunging forward, but Jesc caught her by the wrist, wrangling her backwards. However this only made Mrs. Pierce laugh, her voice booming throughout the air.
“This is getting too funny. The great, independent Jhudora being reigned in by a mere air faerie? How the incompetent have fallen.”
“INCOMPETENT?” Jhudora bristled, her hands clenched in fists.
“Stop it!” Jesc cried. The air faerie looked between them desperately, at all of the hared that had built up over the years between them. Would it ever end? She closed her eyes for a moment. Please work, she prayed, and then she took a deep breath.
“Mrs. Pierce,” she said slowly. “Can I ask you a question?”
“Well, why not?” the fire faerie mused. “You don’t have much time left, though, so make it snappy.”
“Well,” Jesc said, wringing her hands. “I just want to know why. Why do you hate us so much?”
Mrs. Pierce’s eyes darkened, the crimson hue deepening to the color of blood. “You really dare to ask such an impertinent question? Because of what you did! Because of the laughingstock you two made of me. You destroyed my job, my reputation, my life—”
“But before that!” Jesc interrupted impatiently, knowing that time was running out for them. Her blue eyes searched the face before her, looking for a response.
And she wasn’t disappointed. Her ex-teacher paused in the air, and a look crossed over her face: confusion. “I... I don’t know what you mean.”
“Exactly!” Jesc said with a hint of exasperation. “Mrs. Pierce, while everyone else down there has been preparing for a battle, I spent the last week in Jhudora’s mind. And the whole reason you hate her... it was an accident. It was one prank gone wrong that messed with everyone’s minds!”
“Impossible!” Mrs. Pierce commanded angrily. “This feud is more complicated, runs deeper than just a simple ‘prank gone wrong.’”
“No, it doesn’t! You’re the one who’s made such a big deal of it!” Jesc was near tears now as the wind whipped her blonde hair crazily like a wrathful angel. “You’re the one who burned down Jhudora’s cloud. You’re the one who got yourself fired, and you’re the one who got yourself arrested! Not us. YOU! Because you made this entire thing such a big deal.”
Mrs. Pierce froze, her eyes wide. “It can’t be,” she muttered. She seemed at a loss for words.
“Well, it is,” Jhudora growled under her breath. “And frankly it’s getting old.”
“Mrs. Pierce,” Jesc said carefully. “Please. Just let this all go. Salvage whatever you can of the rest of your life and move on. We all need to move on.”
“Move on?” Mrs. Pierce repeated, glancing down at her shaking hands. “How can I move on from all of this?”
“Please,” Jesc pleaded. “You can move on. You can get over th—”
Suddenly, a loud voice interrupted her, echoing throughout the courtyard and magically magnified so that everyone could hear it. “VERMILLION PIERCE! COME DOWN NOW BY ORDER OF THE FAERIE QUEEN!”
Mrs. Pierce’s eyes widened as the voice clicked into place. “Fyora,” she muttered, turning towards Jesc. Her eyes narrowed, rage filling her soul. “You called her, didn’t you? You managed to contact her!”
Jesc shook her head frantically, completely confused. “No I didn’t! How could I? I’ve been unconscious this whole week!”
But Mrs. Pierce didn’t buy it. “Liar!” she shouted, darting her wand out like a serpent. A moment later, there was a loud bang, a flash of red light... and then Jesc was falling. Her wings went limp, her face looked vacant, and she dropped quickly, falling like a stone until she crumpled like a ragdoll in the grassy yard.
“JESC!” Jhudora yelled down, but the air faerie didn’t move. She lay completely still, and from the air, Jhudora had no clue if she was even breathing.
This can’t be happening, Jhudora thought, gazing down at Jesc’s motionless body, her stomach dropping with each second. Everything they had gone through together, the strange bond that had formed... It was all fading fast.
And it was all because of Mrs. Pierce.
“That’s it!” Jhudora shouted wildly, turning towards Vermillion. She fired off a spell and Mrs. Pierce’s wand suddenly went spiraling out of her hand, flying through the air until it landed on faraway ground. Jhudora then aimed the black tip of her own wand at Mrs. Pierce’s chest, her violet eyes feral.
“I know you hate me,” the dark faerie hissed. “And I know the reason now. But Jesc? She has never done a single thing to you! All she has done is been nice and caring, and yet you still hate her! So why? WHY?”
“I didn’t mean to,” Mrs. Pierce blathered, her eyes widening behind her glasses as she glanced downwards, realizing what she had done. “I didn’t me—”
“WHY?” Jhudora barked, drawing nearer to the faerie so that her wand prodded Mrs. Pierce’s skin, leaving small scorched marks on her flesh. “WHY?!”
“Because!” Mrs. Pierce wailed desperately. “Because there’s something about her that’s like you, Jhudora! As much as you try to deny it, as much as you two are different, it’s still there!”
Jhudora’s eyes narrowed. The answer had taken her by surprise, but she didn’t show it. Instead, she merely muttered a spell, and Mrs. Pierce was thrown backwards, falling down just like Jesc had mere moments ago.
Jhudora angled her body into a steep dive, trying to get to the ground as soon as possible, and she almost crash landed at the spot where Jesc laid crumpled in the front yard. The air faerie was still on the ground, her dirty blonde hair splayed around her head like a halo. Her arm and one of her legs were bent in impossible angles, and her face, usually so lively and bright, was pale. Worst of all, Jhudora still couldn’t tell if she was breathing or not, and when she gripped the air faerie’s wrist, it was difficult to make out a pulse.
“Come on, Jesc,” Jhudora muttered under her breath. “Hang in there.” She slid her hands beneath the faerie until she was cradled in her arms, and then stood up, shaking her great leathery wings. A moment later, she was flying towards the castle entrance.
The dark faerie turned her head in midflight, spotting another faerie approaching her: Fyora. The Queen looked radiant despite the situation, with a perfect complexion, long flowing hair dotted with a silver crown, and wise lavender eyes. Cradled in her arms was Mrs. Pierce, the fire faerie unconscious and still.
Jhudora scowled. “What are you doing with her? Hasn’t she caused enough trouble?”
“She’s hurt,” Fyora said calmly, using her magic to open the Academy’s front doors. The bubble had disintegrated when Mrs. Pierce had fallen, restoring the castle to its former glory and allowing them entry once again. “It’s my duty as Queen to make sure she’s alright.”
“And what about Jesc?” Jhudora choked out, soaring down the crowded hallways. The faeries beneath her cheered when they spotted her and the vanquished Mrs. Pierce, but they all went silent at the sight of the limp Jesc in her arms.
“Her injuries are indeed worse,” the Queen agreed, her gentle features contorted in a frown. “Don’t worry. I’ll see to her myself. Just quickly, let us get to the hospital wing. I don’t think we have much time.”
For once, Jhudora didn’t disagree with her, and the two faeries flew the rest of the way in silence.
Come on, Jesc, the dark faerie thought, glancing down at the young girl in her arms as she drew near the ward. Just hold on for a bit longer. Please.
To be continued...