Dr. Wilbur's Fantastic and Grand Illusen Day Adventure
Once again, dear fan, I have picked up my priceless gilded quill to regale you with another tale of courage and selflessness. Luckily I shall not have to suffer the insubordinate and outrageous behavior of Melissande the Light Faerie (see NT issues 396 & 467) , who seems to have taken it upon herself to help me on occasion. No, no my dears, there shall be no use of ill-appropriated words to describe my person, there shall be no false faerie heroism and there shall be no know-it-all whispers in my ear. I am glad to announce Melissande is currently away from Brightvale as she has been called to help Queen Fyora rebuilding Faerieland. Huzzah!
It was the 16th day of the month of March. A particularly joyful and overzealous white Weewoo woke me at sunrise with its enchanting morning screeching. The little rascal had been performing the same routine every morning for a week, yet carefully shifting branch of tree, so my red satin slippers failed to hit him each time. This joyful chirping could only mean one thing, apart from an obvious lack of sleep on my part; spring was most definitely and defiantly in the air. Oh joy! Flowers blooming, Neopets, Petpets and Petpetpets joyfully playing outside and occupying the forests between Brightvale and Meridell. Being a Brightvalian myself, and most proud of it by the by, I adore strolling into the forest for a good brisk walk. After all, to maintain an outstanding athletic figure such as my own, one cannot be expected to sit at a desk all day, writing up his own biography. No, no, dear fans, even your Dr. Wilbur needs a good old bowl of fresh air from time to time.
After breakfast, some heavenly buttered toast – which reminds me, I was considering writing a cook book; Taste à la Wilbur sound any good? – eh, ah, yes: buttered toast. A simple but hearty breakfast for a sportsman such as myself. I took my green and pink spring coat, a white and yellow spotted scarf, my walking stick – made from a branch given to me by Illusen the fair faerie herself – and of course my new purple bowler hat!
Thus being the most handsome and elegant Wocky of the whole of Neopia, I stepped outside and let the gentle sunrays light up my heavenly features. Ah, the smell of spring is incomparable. Fresh grass, all kinds of fruits, the scent of sun on your fur... Inebriated by nature, I decided to venture into the forest, maybe pick up a chat with a friendly faerie or a good-natured Mortog.
That very day, however, I seemed to have some trouble with my internal compass, probably due to the White Weewoo screeching I had been enduring for several days. Thus I found myself on some rather unknown and unfamiliar trails and paths in the forest. It seemed as if the trees had moved and shifted to recreate another forest. Nevertheless, bold and courageous as I am, I walked on, my head held high and my cane swinging from my hand.
After walking for several hours and getting no nearer to any point of recognition or noticeable end of said forest, I stumbled upon a small clearing. The canopy of leaves should have it made hard to see even the tip of my very nose, as they formed a vast entangled unity, blocking the sky from view, yet the clearing was ablaze with sunlight. This could only be an enchanted place, the site of Faerie magic, maybe the weekend-cottage of Fyora herself!
“Wilbur, my dear boy,” I said to myself, “no Neopet has ever stumbled upon Faeries by chance.” Of course, dear reader, don’t you see? This is why I couldn’t find my way back to Brightvale and why all the trees had changed. I was called by the Faeries, no doubt they had heard of my exceptional detective work and intended to use my services for a most valuable and important Quest!
Now, Faeries are of a most reserved and secretive nature, well, some of them are at least. So I carefully trod forward, my senses sharpened, my ears pointed for the tiny flutter of wings or the enchanting notes of Faerie’s song. Instead, I heard the most indistinct yet loud tantrum-screech and was hit square in the face by an Asparagus Chia Plushie. Me! Dr. Augustus Filibert Wilbur, hero of Brightvale and beyond, notorious asparagus-hater. Having recovered from this cowardly attack, I scrambled to my feet and ducked as another item came whizzing just over my head (a Grarrl Frisbee).
Shocked by the oncoming stream of flying items, I followed their source. I crossed the clearing, and followed a path flanked and overgrown by rose bushes. Eventually I could distinctly see the largest tree trunk I had ever witnessed in my entire life, and a door opening in the very middle of it. As a Sloth Yoyo came rolling over the threshold I could hear an angry and despaired voice.
“Where, oh where did I put it?” cried the voice. “I put it in the chest. I remember. I remember. This is a disaster. Oh dear. ”
I gallantly rapped at the door, coughed and stepped over the threshold. “Have no fear, Dr. Wilbur is here!” I cried triumphantly into the room. The figure that was until then bent over a chest and throwing out its contents swerved with a face contorted in pure rage. Yes, rage, not gratitude of happiness!
“How dare you enter my home!” yelled Illusen. Yes, dear reader, Illusen, the great Illusen was talking with yours truly, well, talking, that is to say...
“My dear lady. At your service.” I bowed graciously and removed my bowler hat. When I looked up again, it was to see the great Illusen’s green eyes staring at me suspiciously, her mouth hanging slightly open, her arms limply held by her side. After a few seconds she regained her senses, no doubt dazzled by my charming appearance. She ran her hands through her gorgeously long and wavy red hair and glanced at me again, obviously checking whether she was hallucinating or not.
“My dear lady Illusen, I have answered your call for help. If I say so myself, an excellent choice, since I am Brightvale’s most brilliant detective.” I coughed slightly, waiting for her to welcome me, yet she resumed staring at me in an uncanny fashion.
“Is this a joke?” she finally managed to ask. “Fyora sent you, didn’t she? Are you the jester she hired for Illusen Day?” She flipped a braid out of her eyes and bent toward me. “Tell the Faerie Queen she made a great choice. But now leave. My mind is not set for jokes. You may go.”
“Milady,” I choked, “I assure you, I am not joking. The honor of seeing Queen Fyora has not befallen me yet. I have come to help you find that which you have lost.” I squared my shoulders and raised my head proudly.
“You did mean for me to come upon your home?”
Illusen’s soft features instantly darkened. “Leave. Now,” she hissed at me. Hardly befitting of an Earth Faerie, hissing, according to me.
“Do you know what happened to the last spy Jhudora tried to plant on me?” She smiled malevolently and absently cracked her knuckles.
“Upon my honor,” I said and threw myself at her feet. “I am no spy of Jhudora. O fair Illusen, I am your humble servant. I beg you, let me help you.” Naturally I was flattering her ego. Wilburs do not beg. Ever.
The Faerie crossed her arms and raised a suspicious eyebrow. “Yes, you don’t seem Jhudora’s kind. She prefers them more evil-looking and with brains. Very well. Off you go. And you would do well to never come back.”
I opened my mouth to protest; surely she was deprived of her senses to talk such offensive nonsense to Brightvale’s greatest detective and brain. Illusen held up a hand and with a flick of her wrist I was sent flying out of her home. I landed in the middle of the clearing and saw her slam the door shut.
Utterly flabbergasted, I got to my feet, removed the dust and leaves from my clothes and snorted in derision. I usually do not snort, dear fan, but who wouldn’t on such an occasion. I tightened my cloak around my shoulders, turned my heels and stepped back into the thick forest.
Just when I was about to address my inner compass, I heard a faint rustling of leaves and the creaking of twigs. I turned around and squinted to get a good look at the clearing. A figure was stepping onto the clearing, wearing a red cloak, a bow and a quiver. The figure moved swiftly across the green toward Illusen’s home. The whole spectacle seeming quite dramatic and potentially dangerous, I took it upon myself to protect the haughty Earth Faerie and carefully tiptoed toward the enchanting tree house and glanced through one of the windows.
A red Ixi was standing in the middle of the room. She had lowered her hood and was listening intently to Illusen’s explanation.
“I cannot have mislaid this item. I believe it was stolen,” Illusen said, frowning and running her hand through her hair again, apparently a nervous trait of hers.
“Stolen. You are sure?” asked the Ixi with deep consternation. “There are only two Faeries capable of this.” The Ixi was passing her bow from one paw to the other, carefully balancing it, as if weighing a decision. Her hair was quite similar to Illusen: red, long, wavy. The signs of inconstant and changing minds, if you’re asking my opinion.
“Find it, Naithea. If she has it, Neopia is in deep trouble.” The Ixi nodded gravely, pulled the hood over her head and stormed out, as there seemed to be no time to lose. By this time night had covered the skies and I had no choice but to follow the mysterious Ixi from a distance. Surely a girl could not be of any assistance to the great Illusen.
The Ixi known as Naithea may just have been a tiny Neopet, yet she moved with the speed of light and with unseen stealth skills. Not a single branch creaked and no leaf rustled as she brushed past. I only knew one person, aside from Faeries of course, with those skills. Myself, naturally. Just as this brilliant thought occurred to me, a most unfriendly and mutinous tree root decided to trip me. I hadn’t the time to blink before the Ixi had vanished from sight to leave me lying in a most unfortunately located mud-pool.
As I turned around and blinked the mud out of my dashing eyes, I noticed I was staring straight at the point of an arrow. Naithea was standing above me, bow at the ready.
“Who are you?” she said in a low voice.
“My, my, such an aggressive nature you nurture, young lady. I believe I cannot dignify that question with an answer as long as you are pointing that thing in my face.” I indicated the most unfriendly arrow now very close to my athletic chest. “You ought to know I can overpower you in the blink of an eye, being a highly trained and respectable Brightvale detective,” I added subtly.
“Who are you?” she hissed, prodding the arrow into my chest.
Thinking it safe not to unnecessarily cross the red Ixi, I told her my name and status in society.
“You have been following me for hours. Why? What is your business?”
“My dear Naithea, my business is my own. And that of Illusen.” I quirked my eyebrow at her; I have been congratulated before on the exceptional flexibility of my eyebrows.
“Illusen? Hah! Illusen wouldn’t send you to fetch her a loaf of bread, let alone what I am looking for. However, I cannot let you go. I need to keep an eye on you until my mission is completed. Spies are everywhere.” She looked around and sniffed the air. “We have lingered too long here. On your feet.” She helped me get up, grabbed my arm and started pulling me further into the trees.
“Really, I must protest, I-”
“Be quiet,” she snapped. I did not know what she seemed to be worrying about since there wasn’t a living thing to be seen, smelled or heard for miles around. We crouched behind trees for at least an hour until finally I could hear a faint rustling of leaves and twigs accompanied by strange scratchy and screechy sounds. Suddenly a few yards further I could see an eye. Just one big creepy eye, blinking once in a while. Then the creature moved and in the middle of the muddy path stood a Meepit, rearing itself and sniffing the air. It wasn’t any ordinary Meepit, though – as far as they can be considered ordinary – no, this Meepit had a green and purple colored Mohawk on its head.
I most certainly never had seen such a thing in my entire life. I glanced sideways at Naithea, who did not seem the least bit troubled, when more of these mohawked Meepits crawled from under bushes, huddled together as if protecting and hiding something in their midst. They moved quickly between the trees and Naithea signaled me to follow her.
“What are those?” I whispered to her as we moved quietly, keeping our distances but never letting the huddle of Meepits out of our sights.
“They are Jhudora’s private Meepit Squad. They obtain rare and powerful items for her spells. I believe they have Illusen’s amulet.”
“Amulet, what amulet?” I exclaimed maybe a little too loudly. We froze as two Meepits turned their heads toward us, no doubt having heard my sweet and honey voice. From that moment on, I thought it wise to be quiet and hope Naithea had a good plan.
“Oh dear,” Naithea whispered. “Look, dawn is coming. We must get the amulet quickly. Don’t you understand?” she added to answer my puzzled look. “Today is Illusen Day. If the Meepits bring the Forest Ixi Amulet to Jhudora... I expect the Meepits will stop soon to rest and feed. I’ve been tracking them all night. Their short legs don’t allow them to travel very fast, but they have a vicious temper. We need to plan our attack carefully.”
As the sun climbed higher and higher, we came upon a small clearing with a pond in the middle of it. Exactly as Naithea had predicted, most of the Meepits went for a dive in the cool water, while three stayed behind, their backs to the amulet and their creepy overlarge eyes alert.
“Here, take this.” She handed me a small dagger. “Now, Meepits are attracted by anything shiny. Wave the dagger around in the sunlight to create a diversion, and if we’re lucky at least one of the guards will come and see. I can overpower two Meepits with my slingshot.” Naithea extracted an Earth Faerie Slingshot from a pocket in her green dress. “Once we grab the amulet, all the Meepits will most likely chase us to get the amulet back at any cost.” She paused to swallow. “Even Meepits forget their selfish indulgences when the wrath of Jhudora hangs over their heads.” She looked at me suspiciously.
I must admit the task of waving a dagger hidden in some nearby tree did not inspire me greatly, yet I chose to not cross the young heroine.
“Oh, one more thing,” she said. “Neopets can only touch this amulet enchanted by Illusen if they desire no harm or gain from it. Obviously, this does not seem to extend to Petpets. A loop in Illusen’s spell work, if you ask me.”
Before I knew it, I was hanging on for dear life to a tree branch with one arm, the dagger in my other hand, reaching to catch the sunlight and reflect it in the Meepits’ eyes. Sure enough, one of them raised its head toward the tree I was hiding in, hypnotized by the promise of something shiny and potentially valuable. He hesitantly came forward, his purple and green Mohawk bobbing with every step. From the corner of my eye I could see Naithea throwing the first stone and knocking out one of the Meepits. It lay rather stupidly with its tongue hanging out, like some ridiculous plushie. The second Meepit, however, had noticed and started putting the amulet around his neck, threw back its head and let out a long “eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee,” to alert its companions.
Naithea, however, knocked him out with a second swing and pulled the amulet off him.
At this point I heroically jumped out of the tree, while she started running toward the forest. I landed next to her and sprained my ankle in the process (darned tree roots). Hopping and bopping, myself supported by Naithea, we literally ran for our lives as the horde of devilish Meepits followed us emitting guttural sounds of anger. If I had not been so cowardly wounded in battle, we wouldn’t have feared for our lives as the Meepits were approaching rapidly, splitting up to come at us from different sides. Even with Naithea’s word of encouragement (“Come on, you useless lump!”), my strength left me and I collapsed on the ground, though not in a pool of mud this time, hah!
“No, no, please, just a little more, they’ll catch us!” cried the young Ixi, who obviously does not understand the conditions of an athletic yet matured body. And no sooner had she finished screaming at me than the Meepits formed a circle around us, bearing their teeth menacingly. One even started greedily nibbling one of my leather boots.
“Back, back!” Naithea shouted as she held her bow drawn and tried to get a clear shot on all Meepits, an impossible task. The Meepits crept closer and closer. I feared all to be lost when a Meepit did a back flip and knocked the bow out of the red Ixi’s grip. Several Meepits had now decided to climb me as if I were a mountain and were testing their teeth on my tailor made clothes.
I blacked out.
“Yes, he fainted. Nothing to worry about, he’ll be just fine,” said a voice in the darkness of my brain.
“Are you sure? I mean, are his eyes supposed to be hanging half open and both staring in opposite directions?” asked another voice.
As I opened my eyes I could see two figures bending over me. Naithea smiled at me and handed me a cup of tea. “Here, it’s Illusen's special tea. Fix you right up.”
“I hardly need fixing,” I protested courageously, yet accepted the tea in order not to offend Illusen.
“Sure you don’t,” the Ixi said as she turned to Illusen and they both started laughing, clutching their sides. Naithea coughed and straightened. “After you fainted, I put on the amulet as a last desperate attempt. It immediately started glowing red and green, terrifying the Meepits as Illusen’s protection fell over us.”
I took a sip of tea.
“My dear Dr. Wilbur,” Illusen said to me, “for rendered services, you may choose any item from that chest in the corner, as a token of my gratitude and as a promise you shall never interfere in my business again.”
I bowed graciously to the lady and felt great honor as I rummaged in the junk chest of the greatest Earth Faerie in the world, great even though she was snorting behind her hand.
And so, dear fan, Dr. Augustus Filibert Wilbur has saved the day once more!
P.S. I know you’re all dying to know which item I picked as a reward. Well, my curious little children, I may tell you on another occasion.