The Useless Apprentice
Thedia entered the dark, ominous cloud with tears streaking down her purple face. It wasn’t fair! It wasn’t fair! Why did the goodies ALWAYS win?
Partly blinded by tears, the dark faerie entered a shabby door with many holes in it that lay on the floor of the cloud. The basement was her room. It was all grey. She jumped on her rock hard bed and cried into her pillow (which was falling apart in her hands).
Thedia could only think of what Jhudora would say when she found out she failed. Again. She had tried so hard so many times to fulfill Jhudora’s quest, but she had always ended in failure.
And now Thedia had failed to receive a book from the Hidden Tower. Jhudora had seemed very interested in the spell book, and now she would come to her cloud only to find nothing.
When Thedia had finally finished crying, she stood in front of her vanity. Half of the drawers were hanging out on their hinges, while the other half was just empty. The mirror was shattered from when Jhudora had thrown her brush at Thedia after she had failed to bring her a grey petpet paint brush.
But at least Thedia could use Jhudora’s brush in her long, black hair. The truth was her hair was purple with a green braid, but she had lived with the ashes in the basement so long that they had completely covered her hair.
Thedia did her best to brush her hair, but it was still very tangled from restless nights of attempting to sleep. She stopped and stared at herself in the cracked reflection. What an amazing apprentice she was. Humph.
She looked at the green Lupe plushie resting on her bed. It was the only colorful thing in the room. And it was more precious to her than anything. When she hugged it, she felt like she really owned a neopet. She felt like she really had a friend.
The dark faerie apprentice turned towards the grey stairs leading up to the surface of the cloud. She started to walk up them, when suddenly she froze. Voices were talking. Jhudora might have returned already and was giving out quests. Thedia peered through one of the many holes in the door. Two neopets were talking.
After a closer look, Thedia decided they were Meercas. One was measuring a part of the cloud while the other was looking around Jhudora’s throne.
“How we gonna find Jhudora’s secret stash?”
“How hard could it be? We’re on a cloud!”
“Easy for you to say. All you gotta do is find a way for us to get in.”
The Meercas went on arguing as Thedia put both her hands over her mouth to keep from gasping. She glanced behind her. There was a door in her room that had a big purple lock on it. That’s where Jhudora got rewards for who worked for her. That’s what they were looking for.
The dark apprentice knew she had to do something. If Jhudora came home to find Meercas scanning her cloud, she would be even angrier. Just as she started thinking of a plan, she heard a new person enter the room.
A simultaneous, “Wuh oh!” and then a voice undoubtedly belonging to Jhudora, “THEDIAAAAAAA!!!!!!” Thedia cringed and shied into the corner of the basement.
Not a moment too soon, either, because a purple ball of light blasted the door to small pieces. Jhudora floated down into the room, her face boiling mad. She glanced around until she spotted her apprentice.
“Thedia! How could you let the Meerca Brothers even set paw into MY CLOUD!” Thedia backed farther into the corner. So those were the Meerca Brothers. Humph. She should have guessed.
“Thedia, I’m sick of you always failing me! Meanwhile, Illusen’s apprentice is getting her every item she wants! And here you are, crawling back to me every day with your hands empty! Thedia, you will be punished!” Thedia’s eyes widened as a purple and green ball appeared in Jhudora’s hands. She looked around for something to destroy it with, when she saw the little green lupe plushie.
Thedia violently shook her head ‘no’. But it was too late. Jhudora aimed, she fired....
A burst of green felt fell around the room. Tears streamed down Thedia’s cheeks. She ran over to where a button eye was left on her pillow. She buried her face in her hands and cried until she heard the steady footsteps of Jhudora leaving. There was a slight hesitation, more footsteps, and then the room became darker.
Thedia turned to see that Jhudora had replaced her door with a new oak one. But she could care less. The one light in her life, gone. Thedia eventually dried her tears, but the wound could still easily be felt in her heart. She shakily stood up and walked over to the vanity.
She stared back at the dark faerie looking at her in the mirror. She imagined Jhudora yelling at her and ruining the Lupe plush. Would she ever please Jhudora? Would she ever be a true dark faerie apprentice?
Suddenly she smiled. A brilliant plan formed in her mind. She would finally please her master.
- - - - -
Thedia woke up very early the next morning. At first she thought it would be another failed day, when she remembered her plan. She hurried into a long sleeved, purple shirt, a short green skirt, and violet boots.
Thedia flew up the stairs and into Jhudora’s small kitchen hidden in another door on the floor. She decided to make Jhudora’s favorite: a Dark Shroom with a Caustic Potion.
After a half hour of working on breakfast and another half hour of cleaning the kitchen till it was spotless, Thedia heard the unmistakable sound of Jhudora coming down the stairs. As she entered the room, she looked very surprised to see her apprentice with a wide grin and a breakfast tray on the purple table.
“Morning!” Thedia said brightly.
“Yes...” Jhudora said slowly as she walked over to her chair next to the table.
“I was wondering if I could join you for breakfast today?”
“Hmm? Oh, yes, fine...” Jhudora was looking curiously at the goblet with the Caustic Potion inside. Thedia took a plate of pancakes and sat down. The room was silent for a while. Eventually Jhudora began to eat.
Thedia saw her chance.
“Um, Jhudora? I wanted to talk to you about how I always fail....” Jhudora hesitated, but eventually nodded.
“Well, since I’m not very good at receiving things and you usually have to do it yourself...How about I change to... a secretary?”
Jhudora put down her goblet.
“A secretary! I could hand out quests, handle lists of customers, organize the rewards, time the neopets who work for you, and count stock!” Thedia had been rehearsing this in front of her vanity for about fifteen minutes that morning till she finally thought she memorized it. Jhudora looked thoughtful for moment.
Finally she let out a deep sigh.
“Alright, I’ll let you try it today. I’ll go on the quest I would normally assign you. If it works well, we MIGHT do it again. But don’t get your hopes up!”
Thedia nodded happily. Finally, something she would be good at!
- - - - -
“Let me see....Yes, thank you! She did request the Stone Paddleball Game from you. Congrats, you have completed Quest 14! Here’s your prize,” Thedia said as she handed the yellow Kacheek a Gnome Shroom. The Kacheek’s eyes lit up as it happily accepted the prize.
“Goodbye!” Thedia said as it left. She crossed its name off a long list and stopped her timer. “Wow, 4,472 customers in one day! A new record!”
Just as she was writing this down, Jhudora swooped down from the sky and landed in front of Thedia’s desk.
“Jhudora, you're back!”
The Dark Faerie nodded in reply.
“How did it go?”
“A success!” Jhudora said as she proudly held up a very old looking book. “And with you?”
“4,472 customers!” Thedia said happily. Jhudora’s eyebrows went up in surprise.
- - - - -
Three months later Thedia had her purple hair back along with a small green braid that always dangled in front of her face. Her room was tidy and was colored purple and green instead of the gloomy grey. She had several outfits in a fresh closet, and her vanity was replaced by a new mahogany one.
She had finally earned something from Jhudora. The dark apprentice was finally useful. Thedia enjoyed making breakfast for Jhudora and herself every morning and updating her on what had happened in her last shift.
But more than anything, she and Jhudora were FINALLY getting along. Illusen even seemed to become jealous of them. Jhudora had begun teaching Thedia magic to help her with the chores around the cloud.
Everything seemed to be going perfect, till one morning Jhudora told Thedia she was allowed to have the day off. As evening crept closer, Jhudora took Thedia in her Cloud Racer. She said they were just driving it for a few minutes.
Eventually the Racer came to a stop, but it wasn’t at Jhudora’s Cloud. It was at Pet Central. Jhudora took Thedia into the Adoption Center.
Thedia asked Jhudora several times what they were doing there, but Jhudora wouldn’t say anything. Eventually Thedia had looked at the several cages and pets inside, until she came to a green Lupe. It looked just like her plushie from a few months ago....
The Lupe looked so brave, but so lonely.... Suddenly a yellow Chia came to it and unlocked its cage. The Lupe jumped out and licked Thedia’s face. She stroked its beautiful fur as she looked back and forth from the Chia to Jhudora.
“What’s going on?” she asked curiously. Jhudora handed the Chia a small bag of Neopoints.
“Congratulations, Thedia. He’s yours,” Jhudora said happily. Thedia’s mouth gaped as the Lupe started to sniff around her. Slowly her gaping mouth turned into a smile.
“Oh, Jhudora, thank you! Thank you so, so much!”
“Well, what’s his name?” Jhudora asked, holding Neopet adoption papers.
After a minute, Thedia replied, “Gift. I never realized I had the gift of being a great secretary till I tried. His name is Gift.”