The Earth faerie and guardian of Meridell, Illusen, was in her elaborate tree house, pacing across the wooden bridges that connected from one tree room to the next. Something – or someONE – was on her mind: Jhudora – naturally!
“I know that Dark faerie is up to no good, always asking cute, innocent neopets to gather ingredients for her EVIL inventions. I-I mean, something is up when she asks for a Toy Rod of Supernova!” Illusen plopped down on a leaf-cushioned bench. “A situation like this calls for action! And I know JUST what to do...”
Iyana's Tree Top Nook, somewhere overlooking Shenkuu...
Iyana, a rather reclusive earth faerie, poked her head out of her twig-entwined window to see a messenger Weewoo. “Hm? Mail? I haven't gotten mail in a long time. Gasp! It's from Illusen!” She quickly read the letter: 'Dear Iyana, being a fellow Earth faerie as myself, I felt that I could turn to you in my hour of need. I have sensed, for a long time, that Jhudora has been planning something nefarious; and I think it is about time we nip that Dark faerie's plans in the bud. I need for you to bring some of your enchanted wood bark to the Healing Springs in Faerieland. Will you help me?'
“Of course I will help!” Iyana said.
The Gormball Competition, in Mystery Island...
“Heh, heh... Catch THIS, Ember!” an Usul yelled, flinging a sphere of magically-contained water at the Fire faerie Ember.
The object of the game was to catch the ball of water, then throw it at another player in hopes the magic sphere would explode in THEIR hands and NOT yours. Ember was one of the champions in Gormball; she had winning the competition in the bag!
“Easy peasy, Ursula!” Ember said to the Usul. She caught the sphere, and was about to fling it at another player, when a Weewoo landed on her head. Ember looked up, staring at the petpet. Suddenly the sphere exploded and the Fire faerie was soaked to the wing tips.
The game's referee called Ember out of the competition just like that.
Before flying off, the Weewoo dropped a letter in Ember's hands.
Still rather stunned, Ember opened the letter and read: 'Dear Ember, I hope I didn't catch you at a bad time. I need your help in putting some fire under Jhudora's evil schemes; or is it OVER her plans? Anyway, please meet me at the Healing Springs in Faerieland. Oh, yes, I also need some scissors, I lost mine... Sincerely yours, Illusen.'
Ember sighed. “Well, I have nothing better to do.”
Terror Mountain, deep in the cold Ice Caves...
Kari, the Negg Faerie, was busy painting a new set of neggs to sell at her Negg Shop when a Weewoo stumbled-flew in. Its wings frozen, the poor petpet crash-landed into a pile of newly-painted neggs. Kari was quickly covered in gooey, broken neggs.
Moaning, the Negg Faerie cleaned herself off and fetched the carrier Weewoo. She pried the letter from its little frozen legs and sent it on its way. “Whoever sent me this is in a WORLD of trouble... 'Dear Kari, I am in need of your assistance. Jhudora is up to no good – I mean, worse than normal – and it's about time we show her that her tricky deeds do not go unchecked. She thinks she's safe being under the eyes of Queen Fyora, ha! That Jhudora is hiding something that even the fair Faerie Queen cannot see, and it may be Fyora's undoing! Kari, bring your paints to the Healing Springs and meet me in Faerieland! Your Friend, Illusen.'
“ILLUSEN sent this? Hmm, well, I guess I'll have to see what that Earth faerie wants before I hand down my punishment on her.” Kari mournfully glanced over the ruined piles of neggs she had so carefully crafted.
Lutari Island, in an abode hidden by the mists...
Briana, an Air faerie, was at home arranging her collection of talismans; dream-catchers full of colorful beads. She was placing one in a window when she heard a petpet's cry. It was a strange cry, not only because it sounded lost, but because it was from a petpet that was not from around Lutari Island.
Briana flew out to her front porch and peered into the fog. “Oh, my! A Weewoo, and it has a letter!” She called out to it and the petpet was happy to finally find its target. Briana unfurled the letter and read: 'Dear Briana, this is me, Illusen. It's been quite a while since we last spoke; you're so elusive. Anyway, I am in dire need of those wonderful feathers that were once widely used on your home island. I am on a mission to stop Jhudora in her evil tracks. Could you bring some to the Healing Springs in Faerieland?'
“Of course! It was about time someone got in the mind to put that Dark faerie under lock and key.”
The Healing Springs, way up high in the floating city of Faerieland...
“Oh, I'm sorry, Arpheo; that was the best I could do,” said Marina, the Water faerie who took care of the Healing Springs. “My magic isn't strong enough, yet, to cure you of Reptillioritus.”
“Sigh... it's okay, Marina,” said a Xweetok, the neopet that the Water faerie had spoken to.
“Maybe you should stop playing that Qasalan Expellibox game,” Marina suggested.
“Maybe I SHOULD...” The Xweetok slouched off; while an Earth faerie approached.
“Marina! I need your aid,” Illusen said, gracefully landing next to the Water faerie.
“Hello, Illusen. What do you need? You look a bit frazzled; perhaps you should take a relaxing dip in my Springs.”
“Definitely later, but not now. I need your magic waters for something else,” Illusen told Marina. She quickly told her doubts about Jhudora, and the Dark faerie's EVIL plans involving a Toy Rod of Supernova.
“Oh, my Altadorian stars!” exclaimed Marina. “She could be crafting a Rod of Dark Nova!”
“Exactly!” Illusen nodded.
“Well, then, I am here for you, Illusen,” Marina said.
“We ALL are,” came Iyana's voice.
Illusen looked up. “Iyana! And Kari, Ember, Briana! You all got my letters.”
Both Ember and Kari crossed their arms and said as one: “We certainly DID.”
“Great!” Illusen clapped her hands. “Let's get down to business.”
All the faeries gathered together.
“So, when do you need my fire, Illusen?” Ember asked, tossing a fireball from one hand to the other, like it was a gormball.
“Not now,” Illusen said. “First I need Iyana's wood bark, Briana's feathers, Marina's water, Kari's paint cans, and those scissors I asked of you, Ember. You DID bring some, right?”
“Oh, yeah...” She took out a pair of fire Faerie Scissors. They safely burn through just about anything, without setting it on actual fire; and leave a nice, crisp black edging.
Illusen went right to work: cutting a shape out of the wood bark with the scissors; using the paint for SOMETHING; and dipping the feathers in Marina's water every so often. “My plan is underway,” the Earth faerie finally announced. “It's time to pay Jhudora's Cloud a visit. Ready, girls?” She kept what she had made hidden, and led the way.
“So, what exactly have you planned?” Briana inquired.
“Yes, shouldn't you be filling us in on the details?” Iyana said.
“When does my fire come in?” Ember asked.
“Did I even have to come?” Marina wondered; she hated being away from her Springs too long.
Kari was too busy spying around corners, to make sure no Dark faeries were around, to ask Illusen anything.
“Be patient,” was all Illusen said.
The six faeries entered Jhudora's main quarters, which was her throne room awash in dark purples and emerald greens. No one was in sight; the room was empty of even petpetpets.
“This is perfect,” Illusen said.
“All right! Let's do this,” Ember said, “whatever it is that we're doing.” Her hands glowed with fire.
“I see the Toy Rod of Supernova,” Kari said.
“Never mind that,” Illusen said. “THIS is why we're here!” She revealed the item that she made with the things her faerie friends had brought. She plopped it down in front of the throne and admired it.
Briana, Iyana, Marina, Kari, and Ember stared at the thing, then at Illusen.
“THAT was the reason you needed my enchanted wood bark?” Iyana said. “To make a cutout of Jhudora?”
Illusen laughed. “It's pretty impressive, isn't it? Happy Illusen Day, JHUDORA!”
“Don't you usually send Jhudora cute little petpets her way on your special day?” Marina said.
Normally it was JHUDORA who pranked Illusen, on Jhudora Day, with a cardboard cutout. This time, Illusen decided to do the same – only BETTER. The magic wood bark gave her Jhudora cutout an almost life-like look – that is, if the Dark faerie had warts all over her face and her hair was a frizzy mess.
“Really, Illusen, I'm disappointed in you,” Briana remarked. “I thought this was something serious.”
Kari shrugged. “It IS rather funny. But I have to go, Illusen, I have plenty of work to do for this year's Negg Festival.”
Marina left with Briana.
“And so, I guess my fire magic wasn't needed, after all,” Ember said.
“What are you talking about? Those Fire Faerie Scissors you brought worked wonderfully,” Illusen said. “The burnt edges give Jhudora that disgustingly VILE look she has.”
“Arg!” Ember flew off in a huff; along with Iyana.
By herself now, Illusen gazed at her prank. It was the best trick she had done yet; but, it really was not her style. “Maybe I SHOULD have sent cute, fluffy petpets over instead...”
“Lady Jhudora, are you in today?” a voice came from the entrance.
“Ah! It's a loyal neopet, coming to do one of Jhudora's quests; yuck. I gotta hide!” Illusen hid behind her cutout. She peeked out as the neopet approached. “The poor, misguided Draik... I'll have to show him the right path – one that travels FAR from HERE.”
“Uh, Jhudora?” the Draik said. “Are you okay? You don't look so well.”
Illusen cleared her throat and replied, “Oh, I'm doing just fine. Are you here for one of my QUESTS?”
“Er... y-yes. Are you sure you're not suffering from a cold? You're voice usually isn't so raspy.”
“Huh? Wha'cha talk'n about? My voice is always this raspy. Just as much as I'm always this hideously ugly; and that I never bring library books back when they're due; and I don't know how to dress myself; AND that I'm always sending silly neopets – like yourself – on ridiculously difficult quests – so I can take over Neopia!”
The Draik slowly backed away. “O-ka-y...” He spun around and fled.
Illusen came out of hiding, a big grin on her face. “Well! I believe my work here is done.” It was back to her shady glade in Meridell.
Thirty minutes later Jhudora, back from a mysterious – and most likely dark – quest of her own, walked into her throne room and stopped short. She stared at the cutout of herself, with its warts and frizzy hair. “Illusen...” she spoke the Earth faerie's name like it was poison. “You couldn't find any fuzzy-wuzzy petpets willing to spend the day with me, hm?” Jhudora stared and stared at Illusen's handiwork. She was absolutely boiling mad. Then it dawned on her: the cutout was the perfect replacement for her; she could go off and rest all day and have the silly cutout look after the place – it was so ugly that nobody would want to mess with it.
So, shrugging the prank off, Jhudora flew off again.