The Roomies Ruin: Part One
Jhudora never would admit it out loud, but she was somewhat excited for the Faerie Festival.
The notorious dark faerie was usually sickened by excessive mirth, but there was something about the Faerie Festival that transcended that. Faeries put aside their differences on this one day and socialized with each other without too much bickering. Jhudora personally enjoyed swapping potion recipes with other faeries and hearing about newly discovered spells. And she knew if things got too tame, there was always the option of setting the clearing on fire and laughing as some nervous water faeries tried to put it out.
But the dark faerie wasn’t at the festival yet. She was still in her kitchen, a room lined with purple wooden cabinets with rod iron handles, a stove, a steel sink, and a table where she ate breakfast each morning. Jhudora’s violet eyes were latched onto the clock and she was tapping her foot impatiently.
It was always strongly encouraged to bring some sort of food item to the Faerie Festival, but Jhudora normally showed up without anything. Unfortunately for her, this time around, Fyora had sent her a letter not so subtly threatening her to bring something or else she’d be barred from the gathering. Grudgingly, Jhudora had whipped out her favorite Poisonous Lollipops recipe. She was waiting for the hot purple sugar to cool on the counter, but it was taking much too long and she was getting impatient.
“I’ve waited long enough,” she decided, pulling her slender wand out of her pocket and aiming directly at the lollipops. A flash of light later, the sugary confections were perfectly cooled, although a few had cracked in the rapid drying process.
“Well, I never claimed to be a pastry chef,” Jhudora grumbled, taking the candies out of their molds with her pointed indigo nails; after wearing green nail polish for so long, she had decided it was time for a change.
Jhudora wheeled around at the voice, a lollipop trained on the intruder standing at the doorway to her kitchen. However, the air faerie in front of her was instantly recognizable. She had long blonde hair that waved just a bit, bright blue eyes and a dazzling white smile. She was wearing a sunny yellow dress that was cut just above her knees and perched on her shoulder was a white Weewoo that was pecking at her gold necklace with its small orange beak.
“Jesc,” Jhudora growled, taking a step towards her. She glanced down at the lollipop she was wielding, realized it wasn’t her wand, and tossed it onto the table. “How did you get inside?”
“The door was unlocked,” the air faerie said, her voice chipper. “I didn’t think you’d mind if I just came in. After all, we’re walking to the festival together.”
Jhudora blinked. “When was this decided?”
“When I sent you a letter last month!” Jesc said. When Jhudora still looked bewildered, she looked at her pointedly. “Did you not read it?”
“Jesc, how many times have I told you I never read my neomail!” Jhudora groaned. “It’s so full of hate-mail that I just use all of it to fuel my fireplace.”
“Ooooooh,” Jesc said, looking a little sheepish. “Sorry.”
“Weeeeee-wooooo!” the petpet on her shoulder cooed.
Jhudora closed her eyes. “And what is that thing doing here? Today is the Faerie Festival, not the Faerie-Plus-Annoying-White-Flying-Petpet Festival! Or did I burn that neomail too?”
“Scotchmel missed his Aunt Jhudy,” Jesc purred, patting the top of her Weewoo’s head lovingly with her one hand. “He hasn’t seen you in so long, since the incident back at the Faerie Academy with Mrs. Pierce...”
“I’m trying not to remember that horrific week, Jesc,” Jhudora said with a shudder, faintly remembering acquiring the air faerie’s bubbly personality. The dark faerie sighed. “Well, since you’re here, I guess it’s okay for both of us to walk to the festival together—”
“Yay!” Jesc cheered, her eyes lighting up, sparkling in the dimly lit kitchen. “I’ve been so excited for today! Look, I even baked a cake!” She lifted up a brown paper bag that Jhudora hadn’t noticed she had been carrying. Inside she could see pink frosting and rainbow sprinkles. “I heard that this one faerie made a ton of pies!” Jesc continued with a bright smile, setting the bag on the table. “I love pies, but I can never decide which one is my favorite. Apple is a good classic, but sometimes I like more exotic pies, like ones with tchea and tigerfruit. And there’s always pumpkin pie, which in my opinion doesn’t truly feel like a pie...”
Jhudora could feel the beginning of a headache. “Jesc, will you be quiet!” she shouted. However, as soon as the words were out of her mouth, it happened. There was a flash of bright violet light that flooded the whole kitchen, forcing her eyes shut. A second later, the light had dissipated.
What was that? Jhudora tried to say, but she realized with a start that she couldn’t speak. She didn’t seem able to open her mouth, or even move.
Her eyes—which seemed to have some sort of limited movement at least—flitted towards Jesc. The air faerie, from her skin to her bright yellow dress, was now an ashen grey color, and she wasn’t moving. In fact, she looked as still and as bland as stone.
Oh no, Jhudora thought with horror. We’ve been petrified!
Hello, Jhudora! Jesc’s voice suddenly floated through her head. The Jesc faerie statue hadn’t moved a muscle, but her words were almost as clear as if she had spoken them aloud. Scotchmel meanwhile was confusedly flying around Jesc’s head, wondering why his perch had suddenly turned from flesh to stone.
Jesc, Jhudora said, trying to remain calm, although it was taking an enormous effort. I didn’t accidentally cast a spell when I was yelling at you, did I?
Not that I know of, Jesc replied, sounding fairly unconcerned. The light seemed to come from the window. Someone must have cast a spell outside.
Jesc, not just anyone could have cast this! This is a powerful spell, or did they not teach that to you at that stupid Academy? Jhudora snapped. Queen Fyora had turned the Darkest Faerie to stone as a punishment. Surely the Queen didn’t have a qualm against her and Jesc? After all, together they had saved the Faerie Academy from a full-blown war against a psychotic teacher.
Fyora wouldn’t have done this, Jesc said, butting into Jhudora’s thoughts.
The dark faerie would have scowled if she still had control over her facial muscles. Stop intruding on my personal thoughts! she scolded. I’m not doing that to you!
Sorry, Jesc apologized, sounding a little sheepish. But you think to yourself so loudly! No wonder you get headaches so often.
This is no time to comment on my migraines, Jhudora replied, but was interrupted when she noticed that Scotchmel was flying over her head. Oh no, she groaned as the white Weewoo perched on her grey hair. Get this blasted bird off me!
I can’t move either, remember? Jesc said with a bit of a laugh; Jhudora hadn’t even realized it was possible to laugh in your head. But then Jesc’s thoughts turned thoughtful. So if Fyora didn’t turn us to stone, and you didn’t do it, then who did? And more importantly, why?
I don’t know, but we can’t stay like this forever, Jhudora moaned silently, feeling Scotchmel pecking on her skull. The front door is open. We can’t have stupid Neopets running in here and ransacking the place. And what if they think we’re just statues? What if I end up in someone’s neogarden?
Hmm, that is an issue, Jesc said, but her eyes fell on Scotchmel and she said, I think I have an idea.
* * *
Jim was sitting at his desk in his office in the Neohome Planning Committee Headquarters building in Neopia Central. The yellow Aisha adjusted his round spectacles as he read through some forms, trying to decide which item to convert to Neohomes 2.0 next. The restrictions of only being able to buy one Neohome 2.0 house had caused a considerable slump in business, so the Neohome Planning Committee was teaming up with furniture stores all across Neopia in an attempt to reinvigorate business with enticing new furniture options.
As he was perusing the forms, the door to his office slammed open and in ran a young blue Lupe, breathing heavily.
“Liam,” Jim said, staring at the intern confusedly. The boy was excitable at times—though nowhere near as odd as his other intern, a shadow Kacheek who wore only purple and whose ambition in life was to create his own potion company—but he had never run into his office like this. “What’s going on?”
“The faeries!” Liam said, his eyes wide. “They’ve all turned to stone!”
Jim stared at him, unsure if it was an elaborate joke. However, a moment later an office memo flew into the room through the open door. Usually urgent mail was carried by Weewoos, but since Jim had a childhood fear of them, the company had hired a magic apprentice to bewitch important documents to fly when they needed to get to him quickly.
The piece of paper landed on his desk. The crisp black typewriter ink read “As of 2:37 NST, all the faeries of Neopia have been petrified. Healing Springs, the Wheel of Excitement, and other faerie-run businesses have been shut down for the time being. More news to come shortly. The Neopian Times is coming out with a Breaking News edition as we speak.”
“Well,” Jim said, looking back up at Liam, unsure what to say. “This is certainly... interesting news.”
“Just wanted to let you know, sir!” Liam said, his eyes wide at the realization that he had told his boss the news first. “Just wanted to let you know!” And without another word, he ran out of the office.
With the blue Lupe gone, Jim looked down at the memo one more time. The yellow Aisha felt a mix of contradictory emotions. On one hand, he was a little frightened. The faeries were powerful, and it was known that they helped Faerieland run smoothly. Without them, it was very possible that Neopia could turn to chaos. On the other, Jim had meddled with magic before and knew that sometimes it caused more harm than help. He was almost positive that eventually whatever had happened to the faeries would wear off, but in the meantime, he couldn’t help but think that maybe it would be good if Neopia had a little less magic and a little more normalcy. At least now that the Fountain Faerie had been turned to stone he would stop being harassed by a few of his co-workers to buy an expensive paintbrush and shed his basic yellow color.
But suddenly, with a cry of “Weewoo!” something white and feathery flew through his office door.
“Oh no!” Jim cried, his eyes widening in terror as the Weewoo darted near his ceiling. With a yelp, he frantically got up off his chair and darted towards the door... but the petpet was in his way.
“No, no, no!” he shrieked, ducking under his large wooden desk. He covered his head with his arms, shaking, waiting for the bird to jab at him with its sharp beak.
However, the Weewoo merely perched on top of his rolling chair and whistled softly, as if trying to get his attention.
Jim glanced upwards. At a second look, he realized the Weewoo wasn’t just any Weewoo: it was one he had actually met before. Its name was Scotchmel and it belonged to Jesc, a faerie who had once been involved in the Neohome Planning Committee’s “Hosting for Relocating Neopians Project.” She lived in the Faerie Academy—at least she had. Jim had just gone to her graduation a few months earlier.
“But what are you doing here?” Jim murmured, creeping out from beneath his desk. Scotchmel blinked his black eyes meaningfully and jumped off the chair and onto the desk. He pecked at an eraser, an old crusty grey thing that looked more like a rock than something used to correct math errors.
Then it hit Jim.
“Oh goodness!” he gasped, his round glasses nearly falling off his face. “Jesc is a faerie! She must have been turned to stone!”
“Weewoo!” Scotchmel chirped, seemingly relieved.
Jim looked up at the clock ticking away at his wall. The workday wasn’t over yet, but he was sure his employees wouldn’t mind if he took the rest of the day off, especially if it was to make sure Jesc was okay. “Liam!” he called.
Barely a second passed before the young Lupe scampered in. He was never far from him; Jim actually found it a bit creepy.
“Yes sir?” Liam asked eagerly, his hand drawn in a salute.
“Liam, could you spread the word that I’m leaving early?”
“Of course sir.” The Lupe nodded frantically, bouncing on his heels. “Where are you off to?” He suddenly noticed Scotchmel on the desk. “Is that a Weewoo? I thought you were afraid of them?”
Jim rouged. “Just a mild phobia,” he lied, cringing as Scotchmel took to the air. “But anyway Liam, I must go. Please notify the others.”
“Yes sir, most definitely!” Liam nodded before stepping out.
As the Lupe vanished, Scotchmel whistled impatiently and flew out the door.
Jim sighed and followed him. “Here we go again.”
To be continued...