Flying High: Part Seven
Bugsy felt as though the bottom had dropped out of her stomach. She and Fyora turned slowly around to see who they’d encountered. And sure enough, it was Jhudora standing there, at the top of the stairs. She was holding what was clearly Fyora’s staff of power, only it was Jhudora’s now. Instead of it being sky-blue with a pink gem, it was an evil shade of dark purple with a green gem.
Jhudora smiled evilly. “Well, well, well, Fyora,” she cackled, “it seems not all of your followers were placed under lock and key.”
“Jhudora!” Bugsy shouted, drawing her sword.
Jhudora gave a high-pitched, evil laugh and took off into the air, landing just in front of Bugsy.
“And who might you be?” Jhudora sneered.
Bugsy calmly took her hat out of her pocket and placed it on her head. It took Jhudora just a few seconds to realise who she was looking at. Her face twisted into a look of anger.
“You survived?!” Jhudora screeched. “How?!”
Bugsy was just about to respond when Jhudora interrupted. “Not that it matters to me very much anyway,” she said, “since I’m going to do away with your precious queen right now and start gathering my forces to take over all of Neopia itself!”
“Over my dead body!!” yelled Bugsy, pointing her sword at Jhudora with both hands and moving in front of Fyora to shield her.
“Hee-hee-hee!” laughed Jhudora, “Only a fool would bring a sword to a magic duel!”
“And only a big cheater would bring magic to a sword fight!”
Another look of anger spread over Jhudora’s face. “I don’t need to cheat or use magic to defeat a puny human like you!” she snapped, “I can do it on my own!” And she swung her staff in a great arc. The air around it was suddenly lit with green sparkles and the staff transformed into a sword. The hilt was black with a green gem embedded in it and the blade was the same shade of dark purple. Jhudora raised her sword above her head, preparing for attack.
“Better get out of the way, your highness,” said Bugsy, glancing over her shoulder towards Fyora. “This is going to be tough.”
“LOOK OUT!” shouted Fyora suddenly, pointing at something behind Bugsy. Bugsy looked back around just in time to see Jhudora lunging at her, about to attack! Bugsy jumped out of the way and Jhudora’s sword struck the stone floor instead.
Angry like a bull, Jhudora raised her sword up again and made a wild sweep which Bugsy caught with her own sword; and the two of them starting hacking away at each other, parrying and blocking each other’s blows while Fyora was left to crawl away into a corner. She watched as the two fighters struggled on, each desperate to gain some ground on the other’s side. It was impossible to tell who was winning. In actual fact, neither was! They were too evenly matched!
Bugsy leapt upwards, did a sort of half-somersault in mid-air and made a great sweep at Jhudora. Jhudora dodged it and made her own big sweep, finally getting Bugsy at last! Her blade cut right down Bugsy’s left forearm, ripping right through her clothes and creating a deep gash all the way down from the elbow to the wrist.
Bugsy yelled out in pain, lost her timing and crashed to the floor! Her sword flew out of her hand and slid far out of her reach. She tried to crawl over to it but Jhudora was too quick! She picked Bugsy up by the leg and threw her across the room where she crashed into the wall and fell to the floor.
Bugsy lay still on her back, filled to the brim with pain and completely exhausted, but by no means defeated! Desperately, she tried to think of a plan, but she was too tired. Nothing would come to her!
Jhudora marched over to Bugsy and pointed her sword right at her chest, ready to deliver the final blow. “You disappoint me, captain,” she said, brandishing the sword, “I expected you to be a lot more of a challenge than you have currently been this night. And just for that, I’m going to finish you off nice... and... slow, for maximum agony! Say goodbye, Captain Buggy!”
Suddenly, there was a great “SQUAWK!”, a flash of blue feathers and something hit Jhudora with such force that she was knocked hard to one side for a moment.
Bugsy uncovered her eyes and saw Buckbeak flying just away from Jhudora. ZoshiDevil was riding on his back, waving a sword. “It’s you...” Bugsy whispered, not much breath left in her.
Jhudora straightened up and ran straight at Buckbeak, chasing him. ZoshiDevil roared at Jhudora, sticking his long tongue out a lot.
Suddenly there was a great lick of flame and Shadow appeared, also carrying a sword and roaring at Jhudora. He dived right at her, his mouth opened and a great jet of fire flew out, missing her by centimetres! Shadow swooped upwards and joined Buckbeak and ZoshiDevil, all three of them flying in circles around Jhudora.
There was a sudden cry of “Oi, wither-wings!” and everyone looked up, but there was nobody there. Then suddenly, Jhudora flew about three metres into the air and came slamming down again. A few seconds later, Nikolikan appeared, her hands made into fists. “Did know my own strength,” she remarked, a smile etched on her face.
Now that the party was complete, all four Neopets flew in circles around Jhudora, taking it in turns to dive at her. Bugsy, meanwhile, had regained enough strength to stand up; her friends’ appearances giving her new hope. Forgetting about the pain in her arm, she retrieved her sword, rushed over to Fyora and started pulling her to her feet.
“Come on,” she shouted. “Run! Run!”
Fyora got up and the two of them started sprinting over to the great wooden doors, heading for the handles. But Jhudora saw them!
“This ends now!” she yelled and she swung her sword again, transforming it back into a staff of power. She pointed it straight upwards and a small ball of black lightning appeared at the end of it. The ball grew and grew in size until suddenly... it exploded! Four gigantic black lightning bolts shot out of the end of the staff, striking the four pets and sending them crashing to the ground.
Bugsy and Fyora saw none of this, though. They were still running, hand in hand, towards the door. Jhudora splayed her free hand in their direction and they both suddenly fell forwards as though pushed really hard. Fyora and Bugsy then rolled over onto their backs to see what had happened, and they didn’t like what they saw.
Gripping her staff tightly, Jhudora marched angrily towards them. She pointed the tip of the staff right at them, first Bugsy and then Fyora, then back to Bugsy.
“This will end now,” said Jhudora slowly, “and this time, there shall be no escape. The last one to die will see her precious crew and faerie queen go before her! So....you first, your majesty,” she sneered at Fyora, pointing the staff at her. “Say goodbye to your life, your kingdom and your ex-rescuer, Bugsypal-“
Suddenly, the great wooden front doors began to swing inwards. Standing alone in the doorway was a small, colourful, faerie Pteri, holding a sword. Everyone looked up and stared at it, even Jhudora. For a minute or two, they were all frozen in their positions until the Pteri spoke up.
“Did I miss the big attack?” it asked.
For a moment, Bugsy was completely puzzled, and then she remembered. “Pteri?!” she gasped, “What are you doing.... how did you –“
“I had a slight change of heart,” replied Pteri. “No sooner had I reached Krawk Island than it occurred to me that the thing I should have done was what I’d just refused to do. So I decided to come back... bringing a few friends of mine with me!”
At these words, a whole crowd of Neopets came marching up behind Pteri and stopped when the first row reached him. Bugsy recognised them all as the pirates they’d fought on Krawk Island, but oh so different! Instead of them all being Pirate colour, all those that could were Faerie colour! All the species that currently couldn’t be Faerie colour were all Striped or Starry.
“So what are we waiting for?” said Pteri dramatically. “Let’s get this thing started!”
“TRAITORS!!!” yelled Jhudora, raising her staff. “HOW DARE YOU TURN AGAINST ME!”
“The deal’s off, witch!” yelled Pteri in response. “From now on, our allegiance lies with Captain Bugsypal9 and her crew!”
Jhudora had a face like a volcano about to erupt. Her fists clenched so much, they started to shake. “I’ve had enough of this!” she said, still shaking with fury. Then all of a sudden, she burst out, “Guards! Guards! To the entrance hall! Attaaaack!”
There was the sound of stampeding inside the walls as Jhudora’s army flew up the corridors and burst into the entrance hall. For a few moments they all stood in the various doorways, and then charged into the hall, roaring loudly with weapons at the ready.
“CHARGE!!” yelled Bugsy, and Pteri’s followers rushed into the room to meet the guards.
For the next few minutes, the room was filled with duelling neopets. Faeries v.s. Soldiers. Shadow even found himself fighting alongside the Hissi that had advanced on him on Krawk Island, as though they were the best of friends.
Although there weren’t as many Faerie pets as Jhudora’s ones, they were clearly doing their job and doing it well. The guards’ armour was really heavy and so it weighed them down just enough for the Faeries to land a few hits on them. In just a few minutes, not one armoured guard was still fit to battle! They were all tied up with rope or lying comatose on the floor, with only one or two Faerie pets in the same condition.
‘We’ve got you now, Jhudora,’ Bugsy thought as Pteri’s remaining followers formed a circle around Jhudora, all pointing their weapons at her. Bugsy stepped forward, her sword also at the ready. She was still very much exhausted from all the fighting but her confidence was at an all-time high now that the end was in sight.
“Surrender, Jhudora!” warned Bugsy. “Admit it, you’ve lost!”
“I’ll never give up!” yelled Jhudora. “I will always find a way to take this world and claim it as my own, permanently!
“Yeah right!” said Bugsy. “As if that’s ever going to happen!”
“Indeed,” said Fyora, speaking up for the first time since the battle had begun. She moved from her position from the side of the hall into the circle, standing just to the right of Bugsy. “It is time we made sure this never happens again. Jhudora, you’re under arrest for high treason to the crown of Faerieland!”
Pteri’s followers closed in on Jhudora slightly, a few of them growling. Jhudora growled too. She stared at Bugsy, and then at all her crew, and back to Bugsy again.
“This isn’t over, human! Mark my words, I will return someday!” she shouted.
“Threaten me all you like, witch,” replied Bugsy. “It won’t work anymore.”
Jhudora growled at Bugsy again. “I’ll always find a way to make you suffer!” she suddenly yelled. Then she looked over at Fyora... and smiled evilly!
“No!” yelled Bugsy suddenly. “No! Don’t you dare!”
“Yes!” yelled Jhudora in response, turning her head to face Bugsy. “Yes! I will dare!”
And before anyone could stop her, Jhudora raised her staff of power high in the air and brought it swishing down again, pointing it at Fyora. “TO DUST WITH YOU!” she yelled as she did this. A purple beam shot out of the end of the staff, heading right for Fyora!
“NO!!!” yelled Bugsy, rushing as though in slow motion right in front of Fyora, bringing her sword up – just in time! The purple beam hit the flat part of Bugsy’s sword and started reflecting off it, shooting straight back at Jhudora! Bugsy pushed at the beam with her sword as hard as she could. It was taking all the strength she had just to keep it in position.
The beam flew through the air and hit Jhudora right in the chest, disappearing instantly! For a few seconds, nothing happened. Then Jhudora suddenly doubled up, clutching herself and shrieking in pain. She straightened up again and the shriek turned into a scream!
There was a gigantic burst of purple and green light... and Jhudora was gone. In her place was a small, slightly smoking pile of dark purple dust. The staff of power clattered to the floor; and suddenly, all the darkness and shadows seemed to melt away out of it, leaving it just as it had been before Jhudora had invaded, sky-blue and pink.
Bugsy was breathing heavily, amazed at what she’d just done. Nevertheless, she kept her guard up as she slowly approached the pile of dust and poked it with her sword. Nothing happened.
“Hmph! Good riddance!” Bugsy snapped. She bent down and picked up the staff. “Are you alright, your highness?” she asked as she handed the staff back to Fyora.
“....You’ve just saved my life,” Fyora replied, hesitantly.
“Yes, I...” said Bugsy, She glanced down at the sword in her hand. “I... guess I did.”
Everyone looked at Bugsy with looks of admiration and amazement. Pteri’s followers broke their circle formation and formed one long line, waiting for whatever might happen next.
Suddenly there was a noise like a great gust of wind! All the darkness and shadow in the entrance hall was suddenly replaced by colour and light, and all the torches on the walls lit up, their flames dancing merrily. The palace was returning back to normal!
There was the sudden sound of lots of people talking all at once, and a great crowd of faeries suddenly came up from the corridor leading down into the dungeon. They were all looking around and talking together as though confused about what was going on.
“...You’ve broken all of Jhudora’s evil enchantments and freed my subjects!” said Fyora to Bugsy, getting happier by the second. Bugsy wanted to respond but she couldn’t think of what to say. All of a sudden, Fyora was on her, hugging her tightly around the shoulders.
“Oh, Captain Bugsy! How can I ever repay you?!”
“Uh... no thanks, your majesty,” replied Bugsy, taking a few steps back and smiling, “I’m just here to help – ARGGGGHHH!”
Bugsy suddenly let out a great yelp of pain. She staggered away from Fyora slightly, clutching her wounded arm. Almost at once, Nikolikan came fluttering over.
“Captain! What’s wrong? Are you hurt!?” she asked.
Still clutching her arm in pain, Bugsy rolled up her torn sleeve and showed Nikolikan and Fyora the cut. It had opened up quite a lot during the battle without Bugsy noticing, and parts of it had turned a nasty shade of green!
“Ooh, that’s a nasty one. And it’s already gotten infected!” gasped Nikolikan.
“Oh my...” groaned Bugsy, going pale in the face.
Quick as a flash, Nikolikan put her bag down on the floor and started rummaging desperately through it. “Oh no...” she cried as she held up the empty bag. “I left all my healing potions back on the ship! Even if I hurry and get them, it might be too late by then!”
“Allow me,” said Fyora, calmly. She took Bugsy’s bad arm gently in her hand, rested the tip of her staff on the wound itself and said some very strange words Bugsy couldn’t understand. All at once, a slight tickling sensation started at Bugsy’s wrist. It stayed there for a few seconds then made it’s way up.
Bugsy didn’t dare look in case it wasn’t pleasant, but her forearm now felt as though it was quite literally being stitched back together. It didn’t hurt exactly; it just didn’t feel very good. Bugsy kept her eyes tight shut and after a few more seconds, the feeling stopped.
“There you go, captain. Your arm is back in fully-working order now,” said Fyora. Bugsy opened her eyes and saw that her arm was now exactly how it had been before Jhudora had cut it open! There wasn’t even a scar or anything to show the place! Bugsy tried wiggling it, just to make sure. It responded perfectly.
“Why... thank you,” said Bugsy.
“And thank you for saving me and my kingdom,” replied Fyora.
For a slight moment, the two of them merely looked at each other, not saying a word or moving a muscle, until Bugsy turned away.
“O.K. people, let’s move it on out of here!” she said. Buckbeak and the rest of Bugsy’s crew began to pack up and move towards the still open giant front doors.
“Wai- Aren’t you staying?!” asked Fyora.
“I’m afraid not, your majesty,” replied Bugsy. “We’re off to see what other adventures are waiting for us here in Neopia. Besides, there’s a... particular place I’d like to return to, now the long trip’s over. ”
Fyora smiled. “Very well,” she said, “you and your crew may leave. You will always be remembered for what you have done here tonight. And should you ever want or need to return here again, just remember that you will always be welcome in my realm.”
“Thank you very much, your highness. And if you ever need help in the future, just call,” replied Bugsy. She turned to Pteri and his gang. “You coming with us, Pteri?” she asked.
“Nah!” said Pteri. “I think I’ll stay with these guys for a while. Then maybe I’ll leave and get a job at Cap’n Threelegs’ Academy or something.”
“Oh, good luck with that!” said Bugsy, with a smile. “And farewell to you.” She tipped her hat to Pteri, which he then returned with a bow. Bugsy smiled again and turned to Fyora.
“And farewell to you too, your highness,” said Bugsy, bowing her head to Fyora. “May we meet again very soon.”
Fyora bowed her own head to Bugsy in response. For a few seconds, the three leaders looked at each other, and then Bugsy picked up her bag and ran to the door where Buckbeak and the others were waiting.
Fyora and Pteri watched as the five of them walked down the stone steps towards the place where they’d hidden the flying lifeboat they used to get up to the cloud surface.
“Quite a unique captain, that one,” said Pteri, he and Fyora still watching the door, “Never really encountered a ship captain like her in all my life. Values life to the max, respectful to all individuals, most likely would die for her crewmembers and/or friends if she had to.”
“Not to mention strong, brave, courageous and also unafraid to fight for justice when the need arises,” replied Fyora. “A true captain, no doubt about it!”
Bugsy sighed as she folded up her captain’s jacket and placed it in her trunk in a corner of the room. Fyora’s healing spell hadn’t mended the giant tear in the left sleeve from when Jhudora had slashed at it, so Bugsy had made a mental note to try and do it herself a bit later on.
Bugsy’s pets were outside, waiting for her. After they’d left Faerieland, Bugsy and her crew had decided to fly back to Neopia Central for a while, just to take a little break from all that hero business. Bugsy was planning to return to Earth for a few days. It had been a long, incredible journey and she just wanted to get home now that she had the chance.
Bugsy finished putting away her clothes and possessions (leaving her hat and sword on the floor), closed the trunk and locked it, putting the key in her pocket. She got up, picked up her hat and sword, put on her coat and headed outside. There they all stood waiting. Bugsy sighed and walked over.
“Must you really go?” asked Nikolikan, a tear forming in her eye.
“I have to,” replied Bugsy. “Too long have I waited. For too many nights have I lain awake, longing for my family. I can’t pass up this chance.”
“We’re going to miss you,” said ZoshiDevil as Bugsy came near.
“I know. So will I,” replied Bugsy. She put on her Earth-Neopia Wrist Portal Projector and began to enter some co-ordinates into it. The projector began to shudder and hum as it began to charge up. Bugsy turned away from the pets, took a few steps forward and pressed the green button.
Suddenly, a beam of light shot out of the projector and hit the ground, creating a shimmering whirlpool of pink and blue light where it had hit. There it stood, up on its side, straight and tall.
Bugsy stared right into it for a moment then turned to Buckbeak. “Here,” she said, taking off her hat and holding it out to him with her sword. “Watch over these things for me while I’m gone, OK?”
A look of great surprise spread over Buckbeak’s face. “No... captain,” he stammered, “I... I can’t really take your hat or your sword. It... it just... I... I just can’t-”
“I want you to,” said Bugsy. “It’ll be impossible for me to carry around big things like these everywhere I go. Besides, somehow I doubt I will be allowed to keep them once I’m back on Earth. It’ll be your job to look after them, and to lead the team safely until I return. I’m counting on you... Commander.”
“Commander...” said Buckbeak as he took the sword and hat. Bugsy nodded and turned to Nikolikan.
“Niko,” she said, “be sure to look after your crewmates and provide both medical attention and emotional support whenever needed, Lieutenant and Matron.”
Nikolikan didn’t say anything. She just smiled and nodded.
“Next up,” continued Bugsy, as she went over to Shadow and ZoshiDevil. “Shadow, there are still some good food supplies left over from the voyage. Make sure everyone receives their fair ration every day.”
“Yes sir, captain!” replied Shadow, saluting.
“And Zoshi,” continued Bugsy, “be sure to keep the team going in the right direction while I’m away. Keep these duties in mind at all times, further Lieutenants.”
ZoshiDevil smiled and started hugging Bugsy, who chuckled and hugged him back before breaking away. She took a few steps back and looked at them all.
“It’s been an honour and a real pleasure serving with you all. Farewell,” said Bugsy, one last time. She turned, stepped into the portal and disappeared in a whirl of pink and blue light. The portal disappeared along with her, leaving the four neopets all alone by the house. Altogether, they stared at the place where the portal had been, as though it might come back any second, but it didn’t.
“She will come back some time, won’t she? Shadow?” asked Nikolikan.
“I’m sure she will, some day, Niko,” replied Shadow, “and when that day comes, we’ll all be, as we have done these past few days, flying high, wherever we go.”