Jhudora's Journal: Part Three
The dark faerie shut the secret entrance as we tumbled out. She smiled at me. “That was a close one,” she panted, leaning against the wardrobe’s back door. “I’m glad I got you out in time.”
“What was that all about?” I demanded.
Her smile faded a bit. “What do you mean? I heard a noise, found a handle, and pulled you out. You should be thanking me.”
“Fine then, thank you. But how did you know about the wardrobe?”
“How did you get into the palace?” the faerie retorted. “You answer me first. We don’t exactly let anyone just wander inside and rush into Fyora’s bedroom. In fact, I think it’s illegal... ”
I gulped. “I snuck in through the window. Long story, but for a good cause, trust me. Now, it’s your turn to answer,” I said.
“Well,” she replied, “I truly didn’t, until now. I was just making Bailey’s bed, and then I heard a knock on the wall, which I guess was caused by you running into it. I parted a drapery, found the door, and pulled you out. Just in time, too; I don’t know what would have happened to you if I didn’t. And you know, I think you owe me ‘thank you’. Do you not?” She tried to scowl, but her grape colored eyes twinkled mischievously.
“I think I do. Thanks. But I’m trying to, erm... really, I have no clue, but it’s important. Do you know where the library is?”
She frowned. “Library? I’ve never heard of a library... you really should arrange a meeting with Fyora. But don’t rush into it... she has a major headache, and she would have her suspicions.”
“Can you tell me anything about this Bailey I’ve heard of?”
“Well... she’s Fyora’s advisor, even though she tries to take care of her a lot. But even though the queen likes her, she’s very mysterious and never seems to be around. Every time I ask her where she’s going, all she says is ‘That’s something you shouldn’t concern yourself with.’ and walks off. Truthfully, I don’t favor her, but it’s my job to be polite or else that’s the end of my salary.” She laughed, not wickedly like I thought she would; instead, her laugh was bubbly and happy, like Terri’s. I was surprised. Aren’t dark faeries supposed to be evil and all that?
She continued to talk as she stripped the advisor’s bed of the white silk sheets and gold colored blankets. “You can recognize Bailey anywhere. She has a really strange flame pattern on her wings, and the prettiest orange hair in Faerieland. Well, besides her niece, whose name I can’t remember right now... ” The dark faerie tapped her chin and shrugged. “Oh, well. Anyway, I’d best be going... I have some chores to do, and lots of them. I’ll see you around, ok?” She flashed me a quick smile before walking out of the door, carrying an armload of sheets.
I sighed. Great, I thought, How am I going to find the library in time? She’ll have already left by the time I even ask Fyora about it! I slipped out of the room and began searching the halls frantically, walking up and down the wide passages. Finally, even though my legs were so tired they wobbled, the same pearly door from before loomed in front of me. I opened it quietly and stumbled inside, shutting it behind me. Jhudora was sitting in the armchair again, mumbling angrily about how she couldn’t find the book. Then she looked up and scowled dangerously at me.
I looked down so she couldn’t see my face, but it was so dark she couldn’t see anything but a silhouette, anyway. Suddenly, she smiled.
“Well, Bailey, I guess you’re done serving her Highness,” she said mockingly. I nodded. If I spoke, I’d definitely give it away that I wasn’t this ‘Bailey’.
“Good. Now I have to ask you to do a favor, and I’ll give you something in return. Well, you see, I have to go to that stupid ‘Clean Up Faerieland’ thing, which really irks me because apparently I have nothing better to do than to clean up irresponsible tourists’ trash.” I nodded again. “While I’m there, I need you to... ”
I prepared for the top-secret plan she was about to tell me.
“... hand out quests for some Neopets. I’ll give you a list and you can throw in a few items you want.”
Well, that’s disappointing, I thought. I nodded for the third time.
Jhudora frowned. “Why can’t you talk? What’s wrong?”
“Uh... sore throat,” I rasped, trying my best to sound hoarse.
“Ok, then. Let me write the list tonight and I’ll send it to you, ok?”
“Sure.” She may be intimidating, but she’s not as smart as I thought she’d be. Once I have her address, it’ll be a whole lot easier. “What’s the plan?” I asked faintly.
She shook her head. “I can’t tell you--not in this place. We already reviewed it, remember? We were going to tie Fyora down and ship her off to Kreludor or something... then I’ll be the queen of Faerieland and I can have the annoying dark faerie punished for her stupidity.” Her voice was dreamy, as if that was all she ever wanted; excuse me, it was all she ever wanted, still is, and probably will be to the end of her days--which will be a long time. Jhudora giggled slightly. “Oops, I guess I already did it.”
I went pale. “Bailey?” she said, concern in her voice, “Are you ok? Oh, you’re probably cold. Here, come take my cloak. It’ll keep you warm.”
I bent my head down and walked forward. She held out a green and purple cloak to me. I took it with trembling hands and put it on, flicking the hood up to conceal my face and tucking my hair behind my ears so it wouldn’t show.
“That’s better. I’m glad you’re able to--Wait a moment... what is that?!” She reached over and grabbed a loose strand of dark hair that had fallen out of place. She glared and yanked my hood off.
I looked at her in horror. She looked at me with distaste.
“You... You don’t even want to know what will happen once I get my hands on you!”Jhudora roared angrily. She hopped up from the armchair and grabbed my wrist, her nails digging into my flesh.
“First of all, I’m an air faerie. Secondly, let go of me!” I answered icily, pushing her in the shoulder so forcefully she nearly fell over. I bolted out of the door, not caring about anything than getting away from her.
“I’ll get you,” I heard her screech from the library, “And once I do, you’ll be sorry! I swear it!”
“I don’t doubt that a single bit,” I mumbled to myself. “Why else would I be running as fast as my legs can carry me?”
I sprinted all the way to the library and tumbled inside. Terri was in the small, soundproof room in the very back, where we always met. She frowned once she saw me. “Dira, you look like you’ve been chased by Balthazar! Sweet Fyora, are you alright?” she exclaimed, seeing my flushed and panting face.
I slammed the door and locked us in the room. “I am, but I’m afraid Fyora won’t be once Jhudora gets her hands on her.”
“What do you mean?”
I told her what had happened, breathlessly speaking as quickly as I could. “... So we have to do something!” I finished, gasping for air.
Terri shook her head. “We can’t, now that Jhudora knows that you figured out her plan. She’ll make up a new one with that Bailey you spoke of.”
“BAILEY!” I muttered, slapping my forehead. “She’s Fyora’s advisor! I should have known. Then she can get close to the queen and do whatever she wants to; Fyora trusts her. She shouldn’t, though, and man, this is all my fault!” I slammed my face on the desk at which I sat in front of and groaned. Headdesk.
The light faerie put a finger to her chin. “Well,” she said thoughtfully, “Bailey is like Jhudora’s spy. So what we need is a spy, too.”
I lifted up my head and wiped my eyes with the back of my hand. “Well, there is this one girl I met at the palace. She’s a dark faerie--” I ignored Terri’s irritated glare “--but she’s friendly and is also a servant. She’d be useful.”
“But she’s a dark faerie!” Terri protested. “Those good-for-nothing troublemakers cause me grief.”
I stared coldly at her. “So? At least meet her before you start talking trash like that. Come on. Let’s put on a disguise and get in there. The maids wore periwinkle dresses and slippers, and a crisp white apron. That should be enough to fool them.”
Hesitantly, she smiled. “Let’s go to my house and sew some costumes, then.”
Terri always was, and is, great at sewing. If you can tell her what you want, she’ll make it perfectly. Whenever I have a crazy plan that involved disguises, she’s my go-to-seamstress.
When we arrived at her Neohome, she immediately pulled out some light purple fabric, a pair of sharp scissors, and a needle with thread. Within twenty minutes, we had slipped into our maid disguises and marched into the palace. An earth faerie secretary greeted us from behind a counter. “Can I help you?” she asked dryly.
I scratched my itchy blond wig and smiled at her. “Yes,” I replied meekly, “We used to work here a few weeks ago, but the queen said we could have a vacation. Since we’re back, my friend and I would like to talk to one of our fellow maids to see what chores we have to do.” I wrung my wrists and fluttered my fake blue wings, pretending to be nervous.
The secretary adjusted her blue glasses and pulled out a quill. “Names?”
Terri stared at me. “Uh... Jessica and Michelle.”
She scribbled the fake names onto a paper. “Okay. Do as you please--but don’t disturb Queen Fyora, alright? She’s not feeling too well at the moment.”
I nodded. “Thank you, ma’am.” I pulled Terri down through the halls until we were out of the secretary’s ear shot. “Well, that was easy. Nice job on the costumes,” I said.
“Thanks.” She beamed proudly. “Now, where exactly is Fyora’s room?”
“Who knows? All I know is that we need to find that dark faerie I talked to earlier.”
Terri wrinkled her nose in disgust, earning her a cold glare. “Fine. But make it quick, ok?”
I reassured her that I would and continued down the passages until I spied Bailey’s room. Of course, she wasn’t in there; she was probably misleading Fyora.
The dark faerie was in there, scrubbing furiously at a small scratch mark on the pearly tile floor. She looked up when she saw us and smiled. “Well, new recruits! How are you?”
I took off my wig and fake wings, throwing them in a corner. “It’s me. I need to talk to you.”
She stared at me with recognition and got to her feet. “Oh, the girl from the wardrobe!” she gasped, “What do you need? Well, first of all, what are your names?”
I heard a small groan emit from Terri’s lips as I responded, “Dira the air faerie and Terri the light faerie, at your service; or, as the secretary will tell you, Jessica and Michelle. And yours?”
“Cora. You’re an air faerie? I thought you were a dark faerie like me.”
“Nope, she’s an air faerie,” Terri replied, slightly irritated. She hates it when people think I’m a dark faerie almost as much as I do.
“Oh, well. What do you want to talk to me about?” Cora asked.
I took a deep breath. “Ok, I was snooping around for that library and finally found it, but when I got in Jhudora was there. She thought I was that Bailey and told me her whole plan. She was going to kidnap Fyora, become ruler, and get rid of me. I mean, she’s probably changing her plan and now I need to go talk to Fyora or else Faerieland will be in danger (again, because of Xandra) and then I’d probably be turned into a Mortog and you’d get in trouble for helping me and Bailey would become Jhudora’s advisor because she’d be queen and... and... and...” I was talking faster than usual, as I always do when I’m hyped.
Cora shook her head in disbelief. “Slow down, Dira. The first thing we have to do is make a plan.”
“There’s no time for a plan,” Terri snapped impatiently, “It’s time for action! Where’s the Faerie Queen?”
“In her room, right through there.” She pointed to the wardrobe. “Just walk in through the door and talk to her.”
Terri nodded her thanks and flung the door open, strode to the other side of the wardrobe, and entered Fyora’s room. Cora and I followed her reluctantly, unsure if the queen was even there.
She was, with Bailey right beside her. The advisor glared at us with her fiery orange eyes.
“No visitors while the queen is sick, especially one without an appointment,” she hissed, dismissing our entrance from the wardrobe. “Please leave immediately.”
“No, no, Bailey, it’s alright. I’ve... been expecting them for a while,” Fyora lied. “You may leave.”
Bailey left the room, mumbling something I couldn’t hear, but didn’t particularly want to hear, either.
Fyora crossed her legs and stared at us intently. “Well?” she asked after a pause, “If there’s something so important that you burst out of my dresser to tell me, then tell me. I believe two of you were at the council meeting earlier... Dira and Terri. And Cora, of course; I forgot to tell you that I was giving you a bonus.”
Cora grinned happily, but I interrupted her moment of glory.
“I’ll try to explain as short as I can, Queen Fyora. Jhudora is... well, was... no, maybe is... I don’t know, but she plans, or planned or whatever, to kidnap you, get rid of you, become queen, and then get rid of me. She’s probably making another plan right now, but that was the one that she accidentally told me.”
Fyora stood up. “Well, really, I was partially expecting this, but I didn’t think she would do it so... soon. Faerieland was rebuilt not that long ago, so she must have been planning it for a long time, before we turned to stone.”
I was glad to see that she was going to take action, but I’d forgotten one little detail – luckily, Terri filled in for me. “Queen Fyora,” she announced, trying to sound braver than she felt, “You might not want to hear it, but Bailey is Jhudora’s spy.”
The Faerie Queen shook her head vigorously. “No, that is where you’d be mistaken. Bailey has no intention to harm me-”
“Yes, she does! The room next to yours is Bailey’s. Did you realize that we burst out of the wardrobe that’s by her wall? There’s a secret door that leads to your room,” Terri continued.
“It does sound suspicious, but it-”
“Fyora,” she interrupted again, “Bailey is close to you! You trust her, and that’s what she wants! She needs your trust or else Jhudora wouldn’t be able to carry out her plan! If we don’t stop her, you’ll find yourself turned to stone and dropped in the ruins of Maraqua, right alongside The Darkest Faerie. And you know what will happen after that?” Her voice was rising, and it was clear she was trying to make a point. “Jhudora will take up your crown and have Bailey as her advisor. Dira would most likely be turned into a pile of ash and sprinkled into a volcano, no one would be happy, and who knows what in the world would happen to Illusen!” She had said it all in but two breaths, and she leaned against the wall to pant.
I couldn’t help but stare at her in admiration. I’d never heard her give a speech like that before, let alone ever give a speech. Either way, I was shocked. I stifled the urge to applaud her.
Fyora looked down at her slippers. Then she sighed shakily, like she was about to faint.
“Queen Fyora?” Cora asked, rushing to her side. “Are you alright?”
The Faerie Queen lifted her head to reveal the sparkling tears sliding down her pale cheek, but she spoke anyway. “You’re right, Terri. How could I be so oblivious to the situation? I need to take action, not to avoid it.” She brought herself to her feet. “Bailey is to be fired immediately and kept in the prison so I can keep an eye on her for a while. Jhudora will not be permitted in my palace. And Cora will get a permanent raise.” She wiped her cheeks dry.
“What about us?” Terri asked hesitantly.
Fyora turned to her. “If you and your friend can find out what Jhudora is doing and put an end to it, then I’ll think of something. But you’d better hurry; I fear Jhudora will come up with a new plan, this one more complex.”
Terri sat on the opposite side of the small, round table from Cora as I fetched some food; an Earth Faerie Sundae for Terri, some Fruity Faerie Fingers for Cora, and a delicious Jhudora’s Cupcake (I know, ironic, isn’t it?!) for me. After all, no one ever said we couldn’t enjoy some good food while we worried our heads off.
I licked some of the grey icing off of my cupcake. “Okay, there’s truly not much we can do. Cora, you just keep being a maid or whatever, and tell us if there’s anything wrong with Fyora or Bailey.”
“What’s our job?” the light faerie asked, spooning ice cream into her mouth.
I looked at her apologetically. “I’m sorry, Terri,” I muttered with a grim smile, “You’ll have to quit the Clean Up Faerieland event to keep an eye on Fyora.”
“WHAT?! NO!” She jabbed her utensil into the mint sauce, as if it would make me change my mind. “I’ve been waiting for months!”
“Yeah, well, if you don’t agree with my plan, Fyora might as well kiss her crown goodbye. Besides, you’ve always wanted to be a bodyguard for someone important.”
She glared at me dangerously, like she wanted to hit me repeatedly with her spoon. “Fine, but you’d better do double the work to make up for all the litter I would’ve picked up.”
I recalled Lilac, which constantly led to a train of thought: Lilac sat beside Terri at the meeting, and another fire faerie also took a seat by her. That fire faerie had a strange flame pattern on her wings that reminded me vaguely of Bailey’s. And then I randomly thought of Crazy Crisp Tacos. I mentally slapped myself and ordered myself to snap to attention. I did, sooner or later. “Cora,” I said suddenly, “who’s Bailey’s niece?”
“I haven’t seen much of her, but her name is Beck. She was called earlier today for a council meeting. I think it had something to do with you, Dira.”
“AHA!” Terri beat me to it by half a breath. “So I sat next to a traitor’s niece.” The bitter contempt in her voice was so obvious I cringed.
“What can you tell us about her? Is she as evil as her aunt?” I asked.
“Um, not exactly,” Cora answered, stirring the raspberry jam with a bread stick, “But I don’t see her much. She’s very secretive, and from what I can tell from our occasional meetings, kind of snobby and stuck up. Never mind, big mistake; VERY snobby and stuck up. She thinks just because she’s Fyora’s advisor’s niece she can get whatever she wants and do whatever she wants at whatever time she wants... She acts like she’s a queen, even though she never will be.” It was clear she was getting upset, so I changed the subject.
“Okey-dokey, then, what are we going to do about Jhudora?”
Terri finished off her sundae hungrily. “Well, she has to keep her plans somewhere. With all those quests she gives every waking moment, she can’t possibly remember them.”
“And she keeps it somewhere in her house, correct?”
“Yeah, probably.” Then she turned to me, fear written on her face. “What are you suggesting? Wait, never mind, I don’t want to know, I don’t want to know...”
“Yup, Terri. We’re breaking in.”
To be continued...