Magic, Cake, and Wind Chimes
A recent poll in Neopian Times showed that 78% of Neopians love Jhudora Day. The remaining 22% who despise this holiday consist of questers who failed to retrieve their designated item on Level 50, all of the members of the Petpet Protection League, a decent number of bitter faeries...
...and surprisingly, Jhudora herself.
On the 4th day in the Month of Awakening, the dark faerie sat in her throne, her long green nails clenching the elaborate gold arm rests. One-by-one, neopets strolled through the wide open door into her lair. But they weren’t there to do quests. Oh no.
Tourists, she thought to herself with a shiver, glaring at a Kacheek who was oohing and ahhing at the gloomy interior that she had spent years to perfect.
I hate this stupid day! All she ever wanted to do was spend her own special day alone in her lair. Maybe curl up by the fire with her favorite book. Perhaps sip some Purblare Tea while perusing the Neopian Times. Possibly turn a few annoying neopets into Purple Mortogs--it was her favorite color after all, and she got sick of the green ones after a while.
But no. Queen Fyora for some odd unknown reason had decreed her birthday a national holiday. And instead of getting the day off, she got an inflow of infuriating neopets to ruin it each and every year!
Some neopets walked in and out of her lair rather quickly, intimidated by the high ceilings, dim lights, and the ominous smell of brimstone. But the braver ones lingered, and it was getting stifling full... and Jhudora hated crowds. Neopets chatted with each other amicably, examining the scorched floors. A few even gazed up at Jhudora in awe, their hands twitching at the Virtu-Cameras that hung from lanyards around their necks, tempted to take a picture.
“Does she dust in here?” a nasal-clogged Mynci asked, sniffing the air. “I think my allergies are acting up.”
“It’s so chilly!” a Uni complained. She looked at Jhudora plaintively “Can’t you turn up the heat?”
“Oooh! Lookie here!” exclaimed a Moehog next to a large cabinet filled knickknacks. His grubby paw picked up a glass orb pulsing with magic. “I wonder what this is?”
“Oh Fyora!” a Draik said, looking at the dark faerie with wide eyes. “She’s even uglier in pers--!”
“THAT’S IT!” Jhudora screamed, finally losing her temper. She jumped to her feet. “OUT!” she bellowed, pointing towards the front door. Everyone in the room froze, and their eyes widened in fear at the manic dark faerie. “OUT! OUT! OUT! ALL OF YOU! I DON’T CARE IF IT’S JHUDORA DAY! GET OUT BEFORE I TURN YOU ALL INTO WORTHLESS PIECES OF WEARABLE DUNG! OUUUUTTTT!”
There was a stampede as everyone flooded out of the lair and into the snowy winter weather. Then, with a blast of magic from her wand, the door slammed shut.
Jhudora collapsed in her chair, her spirit deflated like an old wrinkly birthday balloon. “I hate Jhudora day.”
She cringed at the doorbell. Another neopet, most likely. “Go away!” she called half-heartedly. “No more tourists!”
“No more quests either!” she yelled in desperation.
Ding-dong. Ding-dong. Ding-dong.
Jhudora groaned and dragged herself to her feet. She twirled her wand, going over the Purple Mortog incantation in her head, and then opened the door.
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JHUDY!” came a familiar voice.
She looked down. Standing in the doorway was an air faerie. She was wearing a light blue snow hat with pompoms dangling down on either side of her face, and her long blonde hair poked out from beneath it. Her eyes were sparkling and bright, her cheeks were rouged from the cold, and in her arms was a pink present with a large red bow.
Jhudora was in a state of shock. “Jesc...?”
“Hi, Jhudora!” the air faerie greeted her. There was a gust of wind and she shivered. “Brrr, it’s so cold out here! It reminds me of the day we first met, when you burned your house down—or rather, Mrs. Pierce did—and it was freezing and you had to stay with me at the Faerie Academy. Good times. But now it’s a whole two years later! And it’s your birthday! Wow, I can’t believe how fast time has passed, almost like—”
“Come in, Jesc,” Jhudora said, gesturing for her to step inside. If she left Jesc on the stoop, she knew she would never shut up. And the walls to her lair weren’t sound proof.
The air faerie stepped over the threshold and took off her winter jacket. “I love what you’ve done to the place!” she said, looking around with a grin. She pointed to the throne. “Is that new?”
“Newly refurbished. It was a gift from Jim.” She thought of the frightened yellow Aisha from the Neohome Planning Committee and laughed. “Most likely out of pure terror.”
“Oooh!” Jesc said with a nod. “That’s nice. What else did you get on your birthday?”
Jhudora snorted, leading Jesc farther into the house, down a hallway and into the kitchen that no one knew existed—most people thought she spent her entire life sitting on the throne in the entrance hall entertaining neopets. “You’re funny, Jesc. No one ever remembers it’s my birthday. Whenever neopets hear of Jhudora day, all they think about is, ‘Yay! Free cake!’ I did happen to get a lot of birthday hate mail, though.” She gestured to the kitchen table piled high with white envelopes. “I like to use them for kindling.”
Jesc frowned, her delicate features crinkling. “That’s no fair. On my birthday, my friends threw me a huge party.”
“What friends do I have, Jesc?” Jhudora asked bitterly, sitting down and folding her giant purple wings around her like a protective casing.
“I’m your friend,” the air faerie said chipperly, sitting across from her at the table.
Jhudora rolled her eyes. “You’re everyone’s friend,” she said.
Jesc shook her head. “I’m nice to everyone. That doesn’t mean I’m friends with everyone. But enough of that.” She extended her arms, holding out the present. “Here you go, Jhudora. Happy Birthday. I worked really hard on this, and I hope you like it!”
Jhudora eyed the box warily. She and Jesc didn’t exactly share the same tastes. Carefully, she ripped off the bright pink paper. After taking off the lid and delving through a sea of lavender tissue paper, she uncovered a small birthday card and her gift: a plain old wind chime. The top of it was carved from a lightly-colored wood, and dangling off of it was a spiral of metal chimes in various lengths.
“Er... thanks Jesc,” she muttered unenthusiastically. She didn’t particularly like wind chimes. She knew Jesc had her own collection proudly displayed back in her dorm room, but to Jhudora they were just annoying.
“You’re welcome!” Jesc gushed, completely oblivious. “I thought you could hang it up outside!”
“Yeah, yeah, sure, Jesc...” Jhudora mentally reminded herself to throw the chimes away once the air faerie left.
“So,” Jesc said, grinning from ear to ear, “what do you want to do today?”
“It’s your birthday, silly! What do you want to do?”
Jhudora stared at her blankly. “I don’t do anything for my birthday. I sit here and deal with questers.”
Jesc looked around the kitchen, eyeing the wooden cabinets, dark countertops, and a cookie jar filled with Non-Poisonous Lollipops. “I don’t see any questers here.”
The dark faerie froze. “You’re right...” Suddenly she felt as if a weight had been lifted off of her. Jhudora was free, free to do whatever she wanted on her birthday.
She stood up from the table, giddy with possibilities, and brandished her wand above her head like a sword. “Let’s blow something up!”
“Jhudora...” Jesc chided, sending her a look.
“Fine,” she groaned, sitting back down and crossing her arms over her chest. “Ruin my birthday fun.”
“We can do other things, though!” Jesc said quickly, her eyes alight with the possibilities. “We can bake a cake. Or even sing the Faerie Birthday song—I’ve always wanted to try it in a round, or maybe I’ll sing soprano while you take on the alto harmony. Oh and party games! Like I Spy, and Pin the Tail on the Gallion!”
Jhudora rolled her violet eyes, “Jesc, I don’t really feel like doing any of that tod—”
The two faeries stood up immediately. “What was that?” Jesc asked.
“It’s the front door,” Jhudora realized. She grabbed her wand and rushed to the front of the house as another bang ensued, shaking the foundation slightly. Shoving the luxurious purple curtains to the side, she glanced out the window and cursed.
Outside of her lair was a swarm of neopets of all ages, sizes, and colors. Apparently her earlier outburst hadn’t sent them all away. Their eyes looked wild and they were shouting out threats in unison. They held up signs that read “WE WANT JHUDORA!” and a few zealous Neopians were charging at the door, hoping to break it down and make their way inside.
“Aww, isn’t that nice!” Jesc smiled, waving at the crowd behind the pane of glass. “They love you, Jhudy!”
“No, they don’t love me!” Jhudora barked angrily, kicking the wall. “This is why I hate my birthday! All they want to do is gawk at me, as if I’m some stupid carnival attraction. I’m so sick of stupid annoying neopets!” She aimed her wand at the crowd through the window, and the ground rumbled with power. “I’m gonna blast them all into Piles of Soot!”
“Jhudora!” Jesc exclaimed quickly, placing her hand desperately on the faerie’s arm. “You can’t do that!”
“Why not?” she growled evilly, her eyes dark.
“Because then you’ll be in trouble with the Queen. And then you’ll have ruined your own birthday.”
Jesc had hit a nerve. Jhudora lowered her wand as her heart sank. She was right. An angry visit from Fyora would just about ruin her day entirely. She leaned against the wall, defeated, and closed her eyes. “I just want to be alone. That’s all I want for my birthday. But I guess that’ll never happen.”
But Jesc surprised her with a mysterious smile. “I wouldn’t say that...” With a determined air, the faerie ran off towards the kitchen, her feet slapping gently on the floor. Jhudora frowned and waited impatiently, wincing whenever the neopets outside charged at the door. Thank Fyora it’s reinforced, she thought. When Jesc finally returned, the blonde air faerie was carrying the wind chime in her hand.
“A wind chime is going to scare them all away?” Jhudora asked incredulously.
Jesc didn’t answer. Instead, with her head held high, she strolled out the front door, into the swarm of neopets. Jhudora’s jaw dropped. What is she doing?! she thought frantically, staring out the window.
As calmly as possible, while ignoring the incessant shouts of the neopets around her, Jesc hung the wind chime up right beside the front door. A breeze made the chimes tinkle, filling the air with a sweet, musical sound as the mob slowly advanced towards her. But Jesc didn’t pay them any heed. Instead, as they drew uncomfortably close, she just clapped her hands and the chimes started glowing bright blue.
The mob stared at the chimes curiously for a moment, and a second later each and every neopet was flung backwards, as if some invisible person had yanked them all from behind. They landed on their bums, stunned, but quickly regained their footing. However, when they tried to advance onwards towards Jhudora’s lair, it was impossible. Some invisible force field held them all at bay.
Her task completed, Jesc waved at the crowd. “Sorry!” she called out apologetically, and then strolled back inside the cloud.
Jhudora stared at her in shock. “What—How did you do that?” she stammered. “It’s a blasted wind chime for Fyora’s sake!”
“It’s not a normal wind chime, Jhudora! I magicked it so that it can create an impenetrable barrier at will. Didn’t you read my card?”
“Er...” The dark faerie rouged slightly, looking away as she fixed her hair. “Never mind that.” She glanced outside at the dazed neopets trying to make their way through the invisible barrier unsuccessfully. “How long will this last?”
“Only a day. I’m not skilled enough to make long lasting magical objects, but I thought it’d last long enough for your birthday.” She looked at the dark faerie sheepishly. “Do you like it?”
“Actually, Jesc,” Jhudora said, cracking a rare smile, “I really do.”
Jesc’s face lit up and she wrapped her arms around Jhudora in a giant hug. The dark faerie groaned, but she let her hold on for a good three seconds before shoving her off with a flick of her wings. “Don’t push it, Jesc.”
“Happy Birthday, Jhudora!” Jesc exclaimed.
“Thanks, Jesc,” Jhudora said, turning away from the frantic neopets outside with a strange sense of satisfaction. “Now come on. Let’s blow something up!”
“Fine,” she conceded with a sigh, heading towards the kitchen. “I guess we can just bake a cake.”