“Hi, I'm Jhudora,” an air faerie mocked, mimicking the dark faerie's voice. “Nice to meet you.”
Her companion, a fire faerie, laughed shrilly. “Good one, Aims. Now it's my turn.” She cleared her throat. “Why can't anyone like me? I've tried so hard to please them. If only- if only someone can understand me. It's not easy being a dark faerie...”
Clap, clap, clap.
An earth faerie named Judith applauded. “You're a shoo-in to win this round, Lily.”
“It doesn't feel right,” a light faerie, Cindy, murmured.
Judith, seeing guilt flash across her friend's face, tried to console her, “Don't worry, Cindy, she's used to that. And believe me, she doesn't care what we say about her. She said so herself.”
Jhudora, hearing the cruel words of her former best friend, glared at her, and looked at her straight in the eyes.
You don't know how much I miss our times together- our laughter, our memories.
We don't talk much, and when we do, it would always be you making fun of me.
For one little embarrassment, you left me.
For one little act, you blamed me.
For one little deed, you betrayed me.
Before, I wished that I could turn back time and prevent it from happening.
Before, I wished that we could go back to the way things were.
Before, I wished that you'd listen to my explanation, and be my best friend again.
Now, I know that whatever happens, whatever I do or say, our friendship before would just be regarded as a mistake on your part, and a deception on mine.
Now I know what makes one a true friend.
Now I know that being famous and having many friends does not make one lucky.
Because those kinds of friends would leave you the moment something not to their liking happens.
Because fame won't give you genuine friends who'll stand by you.
Because these so-called friends would leave you without a single thought.
No matter how popular you were, one telling them their mistake will only alienate them from you.
Jhudora sighed, staring out the window in her room, watching her mother's precious puppyblews playing with one another.
What was I supposed to do? Was I just supposed to stand there as if nothing was happening? Was I supposed to join them? Was I supposed to back them up- I did before, and when I thought about the times when I supported them, I am ashamed of myself. I am disgusted with the way we acted. With the way I acted.
Not anymore, she promised herself.
She was spoiled, being the only child, was often indulged, like her former friends. Anything could be forgiven with an apology, though it was often repeated. Anything was given freely. Her every whim granted.
And they always wanted more. She wanted more. After all, they were the elite group in their class. They were the trendsetters.
What an embarrassment it would be if another not from their group wore the latest clothes, had the latest toys.
They are the best, and thus, in their pampered minds, deserved the best. No one is allowed to embarrass them, to point out their mistakes. They are flawless.
It was time everyone knew the truth.
She didn't want it to come to this.
Everyone deserved a chance. However, what could she do if they didn't listen to her? She was figuratively a leper, an outcast.
No one wanted to be seen with her, lest they face ridicule. Also, some had not forgiven her, when she publicly humiliated them.
I can't blame them, though, she thought. Grudges are hard to break. It's hard to forgive others, especially when one's pride was the one wounded.
I just wished that they would realize that I'm not throwing stones in their direction. In fact, I'm with them now. That for all the stone-throwing we've done, my former friends and I are just like the rest. We're not infallible, though they didn't seem to realize it yet.
That those living in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
She confronted them in Judith’s home, a week after The Incident, hoping for them to see the error of their ways, like she did.
She approached them cautiously, timidly, not knowing when they would lash out at her. All she wanted was a chance for them to hear her out.
Maybe, maybe they would see the error of their ways.
“Hi,” Jhudora greeted. The others merely stared at her.
She didn't realize until now that she was holding her breath. She exhaled. “We need to talk.”
Judith raised an eyebrow, “About what?”
“About last week,” Jhudora replied, imploring them to listen to her point of view.
No such luck.
“Look,” Aims said. “Why don't you just leave us? You made it clear last week that you wouldn’t tolerate this kind of behavior.” She sneered, “You didn't act like that before. Why the sudden conscience?”
“It's not right bullying others just because you feel like it,” Jhudora blurted out. Maybe, if she said it aloud, they would see the error of their ways.
Judith laughed. “They admire us. They want to be like us. You were part of our group. You liked it, the power you have over those lower than us. Over those beneath us. Over those who would never be like us.”
“Yes,” Jhudora agreed, “I will admit that. I admit that I loved it before, of what I say having an effect on others. But we failed to think of their feeling. We only thought of ourselves. Of the laughs we had on their expense. Everything they do, you will comment on. Every wish, every desire, you would laugh at. What of their self-esteem? We wanted them to be like us, when they should develop themselves, when they could do something they like. When they fail, and because of their goal, kept on improving to succeed.”
Aims clapped. “Bravo, Jhudora, bravo! What a speech. Do you think, if you tell that to the teachers, that they would listen to you? There is only one of you, and many of us. Who would back you up, when everyone knows of the consequences? Who would believe you, when the teachers know that everyone looks up to us? They would just think that you wanted to retaliate, of getting your petty revenge by spreading lies about us, your former friends.”
“Cindy?” Jhudora called, imploring her closest friend from the group. The air faerie shook her head sadly, and refused to meet her eye.
The refusal to even talk to her stung, since Cindy confided to her before about not agreeing with the group’s bullying tactics. However, Cindy chose being with the group, though it conflicted with her morals.
Just like she did now.
She tried not to let her disappointment show; after all, the faeries would simply laugh at her for trying to divide the group.
Lily scowled, looking her in the eye. “What are you still doing here? We know where you stand, and vice versa. Don’t you have other things to do?”
“Like what?” Jhudora asked sweetly, knowing that her being happy, or at least acting happy, would get on the fire faerie’s nerves.
Lily glared. “I don’t know, and I don’t care. Just get out of here. We have better things to do than to talk to you.” She shooed her away.
The dark faerie laughed. “Isn’t this just like old times? Only you’re the ‘superior’ one, and I’m the ‘inferior one’,” she said, making a quoting gesture, knowing that it would madden her further.
Judith stepped between the two before the argument could go further, crossing her arms over her chest. “Don’t talk to her any more, Lily. She just wants to make you angry. Besides,” she added worriedly, “I don’t want my mother to hear us arguing- her friends are here,” she said.
Judith’s mother, together with her friends, made up almost half of the most powerful members of Faerieland. Anything one of them said or did had an impact on all its occupants.
Well, almost all.
The others smiled sheepishly, mumbling their apologies, while Jhudora merely smirked.
Inside her head, she began to think of a plan.
“Will your plan work?” Terra, Judith’s mother asked, once Judith told her about what her daughter and her friends were doing, and Jhudora’s plan to try to stop them.
Jhudora nodded. “I think so. After all, she looks up to you, and whatever she says, they’ll follow.”
Terra sighed. “I’ve always had a feeling that they have been doing that, but never confronted her about that. I’ve believed that she would try to set a good example, since as my daughter, she is usually in the spotlight.”
“Judith and her friends can still change, as long as there is someone guiding them,” Jhudora commented, and then immediately made a correction. “As long as there is someone giving them no choice but to make them listen- or something similar to that.”
“I doubt that she’ll change her beliefs overnight,” Terra began, “but I know, sooner or later, that she’ll realize that what they did was wrong.”
“Are you ready?” Jhudora asked.
Judith didn’t think that what they were doing was wrong, but stopped doing it, albeit grudgingly, after her mother told her that once what they were doing to others was made known to the adults of their society, the Neopian society would have a field day, with possible agendas such as ruining their family and their business.
Pleading with them, after all, wouldn’t work, so they made sure to stick them where it hurts.
Maybe next time they would see the error of their ways.
For now, the bottom line is that they have quit bullying others.
That’s all that matters, for now.
I’m still not on speaking terms with Judith and the others, but slowly, have been gaining friends of my own.
Friends who like me for who I am, not because of my status.
They have not forgotten what I have done to them, or what I have not prevented before, but they have forgiven me.
I didn’t expect them to forgive me that easily, since I would still be holding a grudge if I were in their shoes. That made them better, at least in my eyes.