A Very Hairy Faerie Day
Ah, faeries, those most graceful, magical, and dignified denizens of the world of Neopia. Their very lifeblood is the raw elemental power that runs through the planet. Their every action is carefully planned and flawlessly performed. At times, their decisions can seem incomprehensible to mere, mortal Neopets, who possess but a narrow view of time, but the ageless faeries must always keep an eye on the repercussions of their acts, both now and in the distant future. Theirs is the power to create and to destroy; theirs is the power to shape the very fabric of reality itself. Their power is unimaginable, and so is the responsibility they carry. Yet they carry it well, as they have done since the beginning of Neopia itself. Truly, they are as near to perfection as it is possible for any living being to be...
Or so they'd like you to think.
In reality, a faerie is less of a mystical avatar of magic itself and more like what you would be like if you were suddenly granted immortality and incredible amounts of raw power.
Faeries are people, just like any mortal, with all the flaws and virtues that entails.
So really, it's not at all surprising what happened on one fateful day when things got a bit hairy...
Illusen was not at all a morning person.
She was one of those people who, while they might be able to shuffle around a bit and even grunt out single-word answers, are not fully conscious until they've had at least two cups of their morning stimulant of choice.
Illusen's happened to be Black Cherry Tea.
After the first cup, she became vaguely aware that all was not right.
After pouring the second cup, she realized that there was something on her face.
She reached up to brush whatever-it-was off, only to discover that it absolutely would not brush off.
"What in the name of all things green...?" She got up, shuffled to the bathroom, and looked in the mirror.
The ensuing scream served not only to wake Illusen herself all the way up, but also every single Neopet, Petpet, and Petpetpet within miles.
Jhudora was not at all a morning person.
She was one of those people who, while they might be able to shuffle around a bit and even grunt out single-word answers, are not fully conscious until they've utterly destroyed at least two inanimate objects of their choice.
Jhudora went through a lot of glassware and furniture. Fortunately, she had questers to ensure she had a steady supply.
After she'd shattered a Pink Usul Mug with a very-satisfying blast of magic, she became aware of a nagging sensation at the back of her mind, like something was a bit off...
After she'd thoroughly obliterated a Gothic Chair, she felt a tickling sensation beneath her nose, and reached up to scratch it, only to discover that, somehow, hair had sprouted overnight on her upper lip.
She got up and checked her reflection in the bathroom mirror.
The ensuing screams of rage and sounds of exploding objects served to wake Jhudora the rest of the way up. Anyone else who ever lived within vicinity of Jhudora's Cloud had either learned to become a very heavy sleeper or moved away.
Fyora was definitely a morning person.
She was also an afternoon person, an evening person, and occasionally even a middle-of-the-night person. It was a handy skill for the ruler of all faeriekind, who might be called upon at any hour to guide the faeries through any crisis that arose.
Yet even Fyora was not sure how to deal with the terrible blight that had descended upon the faeries.
For it seemed that, without exception, every last one of them had grown a mustache, including Fyora herself.
She stared at herself in the mirror, studying the new addition to her face.
It was the same shade of fuschia as the rest of her hair, long and droopy, hanging a bit past her lower lip. It was not entirely unattractive, or at least Fyora could imagine worse mustaches to have.
Still. It was a mustache. On her face.
She was the Faerie Queen. A certain regality of appearance was expected. She ought to look perfectly immaculate at all times.
Fyora really had no idea what one was supposed to do with a mustache. Should it be combed? Was there any special kind of shampoo one used? Ought she to trim it up a bit before going out to face her panicking subjects?
After a few moments of thought, she decided Yes, She could worry about that later, and Why bother?
Sighing, she grabbed her comb and set to work.
Other than the sudden arrival of facial hair, it was business as usual for the Rainbow Fountain Faerie.
"Is the fountain working?" asked a wide-eyed Yellow Kacheek.
"How about now?"
"Hey! You didn't even let me finish!"
"The answer is still no."
"Well, you know what I think? I think you're just a big, mean... hey, wait, is that a mustache?"
Sadly enough, this was the first time all day anyone had actually noticed it.
"N--yes, actually, it is a mustache," said the faerie, feeling mildly pleased at being able to answer a non-fountain related question.
"Oh." The Kacheek was blessedly rendered speechless for a few moments. "How did you grow a mustache?"
The Rainbow Fountain Faerie briefly considered the truth--"I have no idea what in the name of all things shiny is going on"--but only briefly.
"I fell into the fountain," she said, straight-faced. "They were testing out a new Mustache Paint Brush."
"Oh." The Kacheek blinked a few times, then gave the Fountain Faerie's mustache an appraising glance. "So... is the fountain working now?"
Illusen had by now discovered, to her great dismay, that her mustache was resistant to any attempts to remove it, magically or otherwise.
She was in no condition, she felt, to be receiving questers, and so she'd put up a "Closed" sign on her door and settled down into her favorite chair for some quality moping.
It simply wasn't fair. How could something like this possibly have happened? She'd certainly had no tendencies towards abnormal hair growth before?
Something was definitely off about this. No doubt Jhudora was responsible.
If only Illusen weren't cursed with highly-visible facial hair, she would head right up to the dark faerie's cloud to let her know exactly how Illusen felt.
Invasive, rapidly-growing, property-destroying vines, Illusen had found, were a highly effective communicator.
But if she wanted to deliver said vines, Illusen would have to leave her house and risk being seen in her current mustached state.
No. It wasn't quite worth that.
For now, she'd just have to settle for thinking very uncharitable thoughts towards her erstwhile foe.
"Can I have a, er, um..." The Shoyru's voice trailed off. "Um..."
"Is it that hard to say 'quest'?" Jhudora snapped.
"No, it's just that, I, ah, you..."
When Jhudora had been a mere apprentice, she had been instructed in the ancient dark faerie art of the Death Glare.
The Death Glare is a nuanced thing, with many subtle variations, and Jhudora had learned them all well.
The version of the Glare she now used said something to the effect of "Go ahead. Mention the mustache. Make my day."
The Shoyru gave a frightened squeak, turned, and fled as fast as he could run.
Jhudora sighed. Maybe she'd gone a bit too high on the voltage, there...
Altador was not quite sure how to best put it tactfully.
"Yes?" the light faerie had responded, a bit shortly.
"Ah, well... while I admit, at times facial hair can add a bit of gravitas to one's face... I do hope you don't take this the wrong way, but the fact remains that not everyone can quite pull the look off."
"And while I'd understand if you were a bit... jealous of my ability to wear a mustache, I'd venture that you really had no need-- that is, you looked lovely without one..."
"I'm not jealous!"
"I didn't mean to imply that you were, necessarily, simply that, well..."
"I wasn't trying to grow a mustache! I do not want a mustache! I've been trying all morning to get rid of this mustache!" She tugged at the end of one of the up-curling sides. "I assure you, your Majesty, I have no desire to challenge you in that particular area."
"Um. I see."
"If you don't mind, then, I'll be taking my leave. I have other business to attend to." Siyana rose, brushed off her dress, and stalked gracefully out of the Hall of Heroes.
Altador watched as she went and heaved a sigh, reaching up to stroke his own beard and mustache.
She'd managed to grow such an impressive mustache, and she hadn't even been trying?
Some faeries had all the luck...
No one was paying any attention to the Darkest Faerie.
No one really needed to. She was currently a statue decorating the Faerie Queen's garden, and as such she couldn't exactly cause too much trouble.
This was not for lack of trying. If looks had been able to kill, there would be nothing left alive within the Darkest Faerie's field of vision.
Fortunately, the Dark Faerie Death Glare does not actually cause death, though if one is on the receiving end, one may well not have long to live.
Still, the sheer perseverance of the Darkest Faerie in trying to turn the Death Glare literal is something to be, if not commended, at least given an impressed nod.
Her current target was the newly-grown tuft of hair.
Oddly enough, the mustache was not gray and stony like the rest of her. The mustache was actually black streaked with dark blue, and hung in silky curls almost to the tip of her chin.
Die, you... you impudent mustache! Burn!
If only she had known that every other faerie in Neopia had also spontaneously developed facial hair, she might have felt somewhat better.
But no one saw fit to tell her, and so she continued with her unsuccessful attempts at discovering a literal Death Glare technique until she became quite cross-eyed.
Ember was perhaps the only faerie to be thrilled by this hairy turn of events.
She hadn't lost a game of Gormball all day!
With a practiced toss, she threw the Gormball to Zargrold, who tossed it lightly from hand to hand for three seconds before tossing the ball to Ursula.
The Usul caught it easily, and made as though to toss it immediately...
Ember twitched her mustache, and, with a murmured spell, set it on fire.
Ursula stared at the faerie for a few moments, utterly dumbfounded, before gathering up her wits enough to toss the ball to Kevin...
...but she wasn't quite fast enough.
The Gormball exploded in her paws.
Glaring at Ember, the dripping Usul stalked off the field.
Ember extinguished her mustache and smiled.
Stellaxis was not a faerie.
She was a Grundo, and proud of it, even if she sported the Faerie coloration (and looked quite good in it, as she'd gladly tell you).
She was somewhat less proud of her current employment as a minion of Doctor Frank Sloth.
To be honest, she was considering striking it out on her own. Given the current competition in the villainy field, she doubted she'd have too much trouble.
But for now, she would just have to keep her mouth shut and listen to the good Doctor blather on about his latest plot to bring Neopia to its knees.
"The Magitechnogical Mustache-Generation Field 6000 is functioning perfectly!" he crowed, spreading his arms in a dramatic, supervillainesque gesture. "Every faerie in Neopia has been inflicted with a freshly-grown mustache, and soon the world will beg for mercy!"
Stellaxis was careful to strike the proper, incredibly-awed-and-humbly-curious tone with her employer. "How will giving the faeries mustaches aid with your undoubtedly-successful plan to take over Neopia?"
"Why, isn't it obvious! Even a dim-witted Grundo like you should be able to realize the full ramifications of giving faeries mustaches!"
She really couldn't, but since he was clearly going to enlighten her either way, she remained silent.
"What is the single most recognizable trait of evil twins?"
"And what is a goatee?"
"And what else is facial hair?"
"Ah, I see you're now coming to appreciate the true genius of my plan! With all the faeries in Neopia having sprouted mustaches, the hapless Neopians will surely come to believe that the faeries have been replaced by evil twins! The Neopets will turn against them, and faeries and Neopets alike will be weakened by the ensuing war. Then, when the fighting has settled down, I shall sweep into the wreckage of Neopian society and set up the Empire of Sloth! No one will be able to put up any resistance! It's brilliant!"
"I certainly never would have thought of it myself," said Stellaxis.
"Of course you wouldn't. You're nothing but a lowly minion. Speaking of which, what are you doing standing around like that? Get back to work!" The doctor glared at her imperiously before turning his back and stalking off.
Stellaxis had been working until Sloth had so rudely interrupted her with his gloating villainous monologue.
But she just gave a mental shrug and turned back to her graph paper, where she was working on a new weapons design...
She felt a faint tickling on her lip, and reached up to touch her face.
No... it couldn't be...
It was only supposed to work on faeries...
But it seemed it was enough to be a Faerie Neopet.
Stellaxis had no desire for any sort of facial hair... or hair at all, for that matter. Such inconvenient stuff, with all the brushing and the shampooing and the conditioning and the styling...
The Grundo got up and looked around her. No one else was in sight.
She picked up a wrench from a nearby worktable, opened a hatch in the Mustache-Generation Field, tossed the tool in, and closed the hatch.
Smoke began to rise from the machine, and Stellaxis smiled as she formulated an escape plan.
Goodbye mustache, goodbye Sloth, and hello new career!
The next day, the mustaches were gone, just as mysteriously as they'd appeared.
The whole affair had been quite embarrassing, and the general consensus was to avoid mentioning it at all.
Ask any faerie about the Day of the Mustache, and they'll shrug and give you an odd look. But they'll know exactly what you're talking about.
I know it happened. You know it happened. They know it happened.
Even if they'd rather forget all about it.
Shortly after the Great Mustache Incident, Faerieland was beset by invasive, rapidly-growing, property-destroying vines which seemed to be centered on Jhudora's Cloud.
Shortly after that, Illusen discovered that she had regrown not only a mustache, but a thick, wavy beard.
And shortly after that... well, let's just say everything was pretty much what passed for normal in Neopia.