Not Your Average Heist
There was a thundering knock on the rickety, old box one Halloween Blumaroo called home.
“Oy! What do you want?” the Blumaroo demanded, lifting the creaky lid of his confinement, the warm sun burning his eyes as he tried to focus on the presence standing before him.
“What do you think I want?” the figure snarled. “I don’t make social calls.”
“Oh, miss Jhudora,” the Blumaroo exclaimed sheepishly. “I hadn’t been expecting you so soon.”
“We have no time to waste. Get ready and meet me in Meridell this evening,” Jhudora whispered fiercely.
“Right, right, I’ll be there, keep your wig on.” The Blumaroo sighed.
“GAH!” Jhudora slammed the old, wooden lid shut and cloud of dust puffed up from the now silent crate. Jhudora spread her dark, shimmering wings and flew back to Faerieland. She needed to go over every detail of their plan to ensure success.
Count Von Roo was a simple Blumaroo. He lived in a simple wooden coffin on the simple Island of Roo. He spent most of his time sleeping, but at night he enjoyed a full hour of guessing games. He didn’t get out much and was happy with his relatively uneventful life. Until Jhudora came along, that is.
It was a crisp fall morning that Von Roo was working on updates for his coffin when a letter slipped through the cracks of his roof and lightly bumped him on the head. Von Roo never received mail, and this letter looked especially important. It was neon green and dark purple, and smelled something like a cross between the sweetest faerie fruit you have ever tasted and the most rotten vegetable to ever be fished from the Rubbish Dump. Von Roo stared at the letter in his hands. It seemed to pulse with life, and he could only imagine the wonders that were contained inside. He carefully unwrapped the letter, feeling unusually giddy upon receiving such an item... and what he found inside would change his life forever.
Meet me at the slushie shop. It’s always quiet there. Wear a disguise.
-J Dark Faerie
So Von Roo went to that little slushie shop nestled in the bustling area of Terror Mountain and chose a small table in the corner. Jhudora had been right; the shop was empty. Or maybe she had done something to make it empty. Von Roo didn’t want to think of that possibility.
“You came. I was worried you would be too weak,” a silky voice whispered from behind Von Roo and he startled in his chair.
“Ahhm. Yes, I came,” Von Roo said, trying to keep a calm composure. “What can I do for you?”
“No, no, no,” Jhudora purred. “It’s what I can do for you; ultimate Neopian riches. I can promise you that, if you’ll help with a teeny, tiny little favor.”
Von Roo’s eyes grew wide. His little coffin had grown shabby over the years, and the thought of riches beyond measure provided by a faerie was enough to make him salivate.
“What is it you want help with?” Von Roo questioned.
“A heist,” Jhudora replied matter-of-factly as she took the seat opposite him.
“A he-h-heist?” Von Roo squeaked. He wasn’t stuttering from fear, but from excitement. He had never thought he would get to be involved in something so dangerous!
“Yes.” Jhudora smiled wickedly. “There is a very rare petpet, one of a kind actually, and I want to own him.”
Von Roo chased around his thoughts trying to think of the rarest petpets in Neopia, but Jhudora didn’t waste time letting him figure it out.
“The great Turmaculus,” she said with glee.
“Turmy!” Von Roo exclaimed, mouth slightly agape in shock.
“Shush!” Jhudora glared at him. “Maybe you can’t handle this after all.”
“No, I can handle it.” Von Roo flashed his fangs at her in a snarl. “I was just surprised. What would you want with Turmaculus?”
“Neopoints, obviously,” Jhudora said as though explaining this concept to a child. “Turmaculus is the rarest petpet around. Sure, there are Turmacs, but none the size and voracity of the Turmaculus residing in Meridell. Not only would his capture produce an incomprehensible ransom, but if we kept him, we could keep all the petpets that come to visit him! Krawks, Candychans, Meepits, whatever came his way would be ours!” Jhudora was growing feverish with excitement as she chatted on about the never ending pool of Neopoints they would have.
Von Roo finally interrupted her. “Okay, so why do you need my help and how do I know I will ever see these riches? You are a dark faerie, after all.”
“Have you seen Turmaculus?” Jhudora smiled lightheartedly. “He is not a one person heist, not even for a faerie. Besides, you will know where we are keeping him, so if I cheat you out of the profits, you can always turn me in. Plus, you are a pretty popular guy; I couldn’t off you without Neopia noticing.” She ended her explanation with a wink.
“Uh, yeah... right,” Von Roo agreed, not feeling entirely convinced.
Jhudora was not one for conversational lapses. “Time is short. I will be in contact.” And with that she left the little shop, as quietly as she had come.
This is how Von Roo found himself crouching in the tough, green grass on the outskirts of Meridell in the dead of night.
“Psst!” a hissing voice came from behind a nearby bush.
“Yes?” Von Roo asked. He did not feel like getting up.
Jhudora huffed and removed herself from the cover of the leaves.
”Are you ready?” she questioned with a malicious grin.
“Always.” Von Roo smiled back.
“Good. You had better not mess this up, or I will nail that coffin of yours shut!” She glowered down at him.
So much for her nicer mood, Von Roo thought and shrugged up at her.
The two villainous companions snuck through the entry pathway of Meridell and quickly made their way past the petpet and food shop, where late night restockers were camping out in hopes of a lucky break.
“Fools,” Jhudora scoffed. “A Draik egg here, a Vullard there; they’ll never know endless riches trying to earn that way!”
“Not everyone can be a criminal,” Von Roo whispered.
“I prefer the term opportunist,” Jhudora chided.
The light bickering stopped when the two “opportunists” stumbled upon their opportunity. There he was. It was the biggest creature Von Roo had ever seen. A slumbering, snoring mass of green, purple and yellow. His skin had an almost scaly appearance as it shifted and rippled with each breath.
“Wow...” was all Von Roo could manage to say.
“Yeah, yeah, he has a weight problem, stop staring and get to work!” Jhudora snapped. She seemed unaffected by the giant petpet's stature and Von Roo couldn’t believe she wasn’t just standing and staring as he was. Even amidst his amazement, Von Roo could feel Jhudora's angry eyes burning holes in his back, and he quickly snapped back into action. Von Roo began to size up the beast, and was figuring out the best way to rope him when out of nowhere Jhudora seemed to produce a large, brown rucksack. It was moving and squeaking, Von Roo tipped his head at it, and then looked at Jhudora in question.
“Someone has to keep Turmy busy if he wakes up. I heard he likes Snorkles.” Jhudora explained.
“Oh.” Von Roo frowned. He really didn’t want to hang around listening to Turmaculus devour helpless petpets. “Just help me fasten the ropes; we can be out of here before Turmy notices,” he said, turning away from the bag.
Jhudora looked put out, and Von Roo had a feeling she had wanted to feed the petpets to Turmy.
The ropes were carefully secured around Turmaculus’s enormous stomach; it had only taken a few quick shoves from Jhudora to get him to roll over. Von Roo stepped back to admire the still sleeping boulder of a petpet, and he grinned ear to ear, barely able to contain a growl of joy. This creature was going to be theirs! He was already planning out an extensive renovation for his coffin and thinking of all the rare items he would buy; maybe he would even start a gallery.
Jhudora woke him from his thoughts with a fierce whisper “I’ll be flying Turmy to the Haunted Woods. Make sure you are there waiting, with the gates to our hideout open,” she instructed.
Von Roo nodded, Jhudora had sent him a detailed map to their hideout location weeks ago, and he had been nosey enough to scope it out. The place was a large enough. Jhudora had found a dark and deserted cave on the edge of the woods; she had added little to the spot, except for a gleaming set of bright green entrance gates. This is where he was to meet her, and where their new prize would be kept.
Jhudora collected the excess rope slack in her hands and took off into the air. For the briefest moment she strained against the weight of Turmaculus, but with one hard lurch Turmy was lifted off the ground. She took off slowly toward the protection of the covered woods. Von Roo set out at dead run in the same direction. Even though Jhudora was flying at a Slorg's pace compared to her usual flight speed, Von Roo knew he would have to run fast to beat her to the hideout and have the gates open.
Von Roo had passed Jhudora and was huffing his hardest when a snarl, a snap, a scream and a whoosh stopped him dead in his tracks. Von Roo spun around to see Turmy falling in a whirlwind toward the ground and Jhudora in a nose dive to catch him. He watched in horror as Turmy dropped faster and faster toward the unforgiving earth, creating more distance between him and Jhudora. Suddenly, Turmy’s eyes shot open and he looked around wildly, trying to place his feet on the ground only to discover he was midair, with a terrified looking faerie chasing after him as he fell.
At the same time as Turmy’s unfortunate accident, a green, warty Zafara had been taking an evening stroll on the outskirts of the Haunted Woods. This Zafara spent most of her time locked away in her castle, sending Neopets curious enough to approach her on quests for her spells. On some nights, she would grow tired of staring into the faces of the bewildered pets and she would take longs walks on the edge of the woods. Tonight she would be getting a surprise.
Jhudora saw the Zafara from the corner of her eye and shouted. “EDNA!”
Edna looked up annoyingly at whoever had disturbed her peaceful silence. Her eyes grew to the size of saucers when she saw a giant ball of, well, she wasn’t exactly sure what it was, but it was going to land right on top of her! Edna raised her creaky, old hands into the air and shouted at the falling beast. A deep red mist surrounded the air, and Turmaculus stopped his free-fall, and instead he gently floated the last few feet to the ground. Jhudora, still going full speed, slammed her feet into the ground a second later, leaving a decent sized crater. Turmaculus was shaking, trying to find his feet to run, but with another wave of her hand, Edna released a soft, much lighter mist, and it rocked Turmaculus into a peaceful sleep.
“What...” Edna croaked, “exactly is going on here?” She pointed her bony finger at the now sleeping Turmaculus, and then at Jhudora.
“None of your business, you old Kau!” Jhudora snapped. She was embarrassed and flustered.
Edna made a strange snorting sound and grinned at Jhudora with missing teeth. “I may be old, but I’m not stupid. I see you over there too, Roo!” Edna called over to the tree Von Roo was hiding behind.
Von Roo thought about running, but it was no use. Jhudora and Edna knew that he was there. He slowly stepped out from behind his safe haven and wobbled over the old witch and furious faerie.
“Thanks for saving Turmy; you’re uh, very powerful.” He tried to sound casual.
Edna waved her finger again. “No, no. No one is getting out this with a free pass. Flattery doesn’t work on me.”
Jhudora folded her arms and stood in front of Edna like a spoiled child.
“Poor Turmaculus. You two scared the little baby.” Edna looked over to Turmy with a soft affection. “You are going to put him right back!” she continued.
“No!” Jhudora shrieked. “We got him! He’s ours! Do you have any idea how much work it took to capture him?!”
“And he would be a pancake if I hadn’t saved your tails,” Edna countered.
Jhudora's lips were pursed, and Von Roo was afraid she might attack Edna.
“Listen, we’ve all had a hard night. Maybe everyone needs to get some rest,” Von Roo suggested. Von Roo was tired. He spent most of his time sleeping, and now he had been up half the night trying to wrestle ropes around a giant petpet, and he had run full speed toward the Haunted Woods and almost passed out from fright while watching the previously mentioned giant petpet fall to the earth. If this is what it took to gain ultimate Neopian riches, he would rather go without, but Jhudora’s hand found the back of his head. “No one is going to bed!” she wailed.
By now Edna was unraveling the ropes tied around Turmaculus’ hefty stomach and singing to herself in low, cackling tones.
“What are you doing?” Jhudora demanded. “You tell us we have to put him back, then you take the ropes off!”
“You’re supposed to be a faerie child; do you know nothing of magic?” Edna quipped in her rusty tone.
Edna massaged the great beast's back and began to sing again, the high cackles stinging Von Roo’s ears.
“Turmaculus is under a spell.” Edna glowered at them with her oversized green eye and once again started pointing her rubbery, old fingers at them. “He can go nowhere but Meridell, back to his exact spot, but he needs an escort. I’m old and have no plans to travel that far.
“You will go.” Edna eyed Von Roo.
“I’m busy! I have other things to do! This was a terrible idea!” Von Roo yelled.
“Jhudora cannot go, as I am sending off a letter to the Faerie Queen, who will wish to speak to her immediately. My Meowclops is a quick runner; she will be to Faerieland before you can blink,” Edna said, cutting off Jhudora before she could protest.
Jhudora was growling now. Von Roo had never heard a faerie growl, and he never wished to hear one growl again for as long as he lived. Edna turned around slowly, her bones creaking with every move and Von Roo wondered how such an ancient Zafara could harness so much power. He also decided that night that he never wanted to visit her castle.
Turmy lifted quietly up into the air and began to drift back toward Meridell. Jhudora leapt in front of him and tried to push him back toward the Haunted Woods. A loud crackling erupted as her immense strength fought against Edna’s spell, but after a few heavy pushes, and the ground dug in underneath Jhudora’s feat, she gave in. It was useless, especially if the Faerie Queen was going to get wind of her antics.
She spread her wings and with one giant flap, she shot into the air, little rocks from her takeoff hitting Von Roo in the legs. She didn’t even look back at him, not even to snarl.
Von Roo shrugged and quietly followed the floating Turmaculus back to his home, absentmindedly picking at his fangs with blades of cool, night grass. It was during this walk that Von Roo decided his life back on Roo Island was that of joy. In his coffin, the only rules were his own, he could rest all he wanted, hours on end without another bothersome Neopet hanging around, and he got to engage in his favorite game of dice each night. While some may call his life simple, he thought it amazing.
As soon as Turmaculus was placed safely back in his resting spot, Von Roo patted the creature's giant side, and headed home, where he planned to go back to disregarding the world and have a nap.