The Roomies Ruin: Part Seven
The ocean surrounding Mystery Island was beautiful: crystal clear blue water with gentle waves and white sea foam dotting the edges. But Jesc would have given anything to be looking at the bleak grey skies of Faerieland instead. The body switching potion had worn off, and she was back in her stone body, trapped on an island while most everyone she held dear was stuck on a rapidly sinking cloud in the sky.
Jesc, you’re back! Jhuidah cried; the island faerie’s voice sounded fairly relieved. For the longest time all I could hear was Scotchmel chirping, and goodness did that get old quickly—
I don’t know if they’re safe, Jesc said, her eyes locked on the sky, trying to catch a glimpse of Faerieland to no avail. Despite being petrified, her eyes were watering. Jhuidah, I couldn’t get them off Faerieland, any of them. Nicholas didn’t want to evacuate at first and then he knocked out Jim and Liam with this awful potion, and when I finally convinced him to evacuate everything started shaking, and Jhudora can’t do anything since she’s trapped as stone, and I... I... She couldn’t continue.
Jhuidah frowned. And you feel helpless, she finished. Oh dear. If I could move, I’d give you a hug right now, Jesc. But you have to realize that there’s nothing more you can do, and you can’t beat yourself up about that. You did your best. You helped as much as you could in the situation. Now it’s up to them.
Jesc sniffled. I know, the air faerie said, her thoughts nearly choked with sobs, I just can’t imagine a world without them. I keep thinking about Scotchmel chirping back in my dorm room last year, and Jim teaching me at the Neohome Planning Committee, and Jhudora who was my first and only roomie... The tears flowed freely now, leaving dark stains on her stone skin.
Jhuidah frowned, wishing she could hold the poor faerie at her side. Instead she just said, I know dear. I know.
* * *
They waited in a silence only punctuated by the sound of the wind rustling the long beach grasses. Jesc’s eyes flitted every so often to the sky, and then to the beach, and then towards the looming Mount Techo in the distance, hoping that against all odds they would show up. Once she thought a young Mynci was Liam scampering towards them, and her heart clenched when she realized it wasn’t so.
The day slowly crept on until the sun began to set. The sky was no longer blue, but streaked with pinks and purples and orange. But Jesc kept her eyes trained on the sky. She didn’t want to think of the dreadful possibility that something had happened to them... yet every so often the thought crept into her head and made her stomach ache painfully and her eyes water and her chest contract with suppressed sobs.
She closed her eyes tight. I’m so sorry, she thought. How could I have just left them? I’m so sorry...
Geesh Jesc, stop apologizing, a sharp voice suddenly resounded through her head. You’re sounding a bit like a broken record.
Jesc’s eyes sprang open and she saw four specks slowly growing larger on the horizon: a yellow Aisha with a white Weewoo perched on his shoulder, a blue Lupe, and finally a shadow Kacheek carrying a tall grey statue.
Jesc’s heart soared. You’re alive! she cried, but then stifled a gasp as they drew nearer.
Scotchmel’s right wing was crumpled, folded oddly against his slight body as he leaned against Jim’s neck chirping weakly. Jim and Liam both had numerous cuts on their faces and paws, Liam’s slightly deeper, although they were both patched up with makeshift bandages. Nicholas for the most part looked okay, as did Jhudora, although Jesc noticed that Liam was holding something in his paw, something stone and slender and slightly pointed at the end.
Jhudora, is that... your finger?
Yeah, it came off, Jhudora said, her thoughts grumpy as Nick set her down near the cooking pot. Things got really hectic after you and Scotchmel switched back. Nick moved me outside first, and when he went back inside to revive Jim and Liam with the potion antidote, a shingle fell off the roof and sliced off my pointer.
Oh my, Jhuidah piped up. Are you okay?
It doesn’t hurt, if that’s what you mean. Though I do miss the fact that it used to be attached to me.
Fingers should be easy to reattach, though, Jesc said quickly, remembering a passage from one of the healing books she had read back in school. Things start getting complicated with whole hands.
Well, that’s reassuring, I guess, Jhudora grumbled. I’m just glad I’m off that stupid cloud. She directed a glare at Nick, who quivered under his gaze and began spewing apologies.
What about everyone else? Jesc asked. How did everyone else get hurt?
“Things were falling everywhere,” Jim explained. He looked odd without his glasses; his eyes were squinty and small. “Liam and I got a few cuts from passing out, and then some more from flying debris. It was a miracle we made it to the Healing Spring at all. Of course, the healing waters there don’t work any more, but there were a few volunteers passing out bandages and ointment and all that.” The yellow Aisha smiled wearily. “We may not all be in one piece, but at least we made it.”
Jesc smiled, her eyes tearing up again. Thank Fyora.
* * *
Jim, Liam, and Scotchmel took a trip to the Neohospital to make sure they weren’t seriously hurt from their injuries. Liam got a few stitches and Scotchmel’s wing was put in a tiny petpet wing splint, but other than that they were perfectly fine. As for Jhudora’s finger, Nicholas reattached it with super glue and hoped that it would work for the time being.
All six of them ending up staying in Jim’s house for the next few weeks. Liam wrote a letter to his parents to let them know he was okay and that he would be staying at Jim’s, and they were perfectly fine with it; they said they would rather him not travel until the whole Faerieland situation was under control.
Yet the situation didn’t look like it would be under control anytime soon. The day Faerieland crashed, all six of them gathered on the front lawn. The blue sky was a dark purple, and although they couldn’t see Faerieland as it plummeted, it was documented well enough in nearly every newspaper with pictures and eyewitness accounts.
Jim and Liam naturally felt upset, but it was Jesc, Jhudora, and Nicholas who were affected the most. Jim’s neohome that day was nearly silent save for the sound of Scotchmel flapping his broken wing, trying to fly. They thought about Faerieland before everyone had been turned to stone, a place filled with the most wonderful people and places all doused with a hint of magic. They thought of their possessions, all of them no doubt completely destroyed now, lying as rubble in the streets or as smoking piles of ash. They thought about everything that made Faerieland their home: the Wheel of Excitement and the endless clicking sounds that radiated from it as it spun; the beautiful cobblestone streets lined with flowers planted by earth faeries and lamp posts bewitched to glow different colors depending on the night; the blue skies daubed with white clouds; Fyora’s palace, grand and beautiful and a local tourist attraction; the Hidden Tower bewitched with thousand year old magic that hid it from plain view; the Faerie Academy, the most prestigious school for faeries and the place where Jesc and Jhudora first met... all of that was gone in an instant.
The day was filled with sadness, loss, and worry. And yet, as time passed, things slowly got better. Their wounds, both physical and emotional, began to heal. Jim, Liam, and Nick eventually went back to work, leaving Jesc, Jhudora, and Scotchmel to pass each of the days in a different room in Jim’s house. Jhudora became pretty good at “I Spy” after Jesc spent an entire afternoon begging her to play with her, and one day they even found a deck of magical floating playing cards in a drawer and Jhudora taught Jesc her favorite card game which she hadn’t played since she had been a student at the Faerie Academy. Some days, when Jhudora’s temper was extremely thin, she would snap at Jesc for being annoying, but Jesc never minded; to her, it was like the old days. Almost.
And then one day, as Jim was making waffles and Liam and Nick were chatting at the kitchen table how business at the Neohome Planning Committee was booming since so many people wanted to relocate to different parts of Neopia, it happened. There was no violet light this time, nothing substantial or noticeable. One second Jhudora was complaining loudly that it wasn’t fair that she couldn’t eat waffles anymore, and the next second, she felt her skin loosen up and she could move again.
Jhudora blinked, looking down at her hands. “Uh, Jesc?” she said, waggling her fingers; there was small scar around her pointer finger where they had reattached it with glue, but beyond that, she was perfectly fine.
“What Jhudora?” Jesc asked, turning to face her... and then she gasped. “Oh my goodness! We can move again!” The air faerie looked down at her dress, no longer grey and stiff but yellow and soft. She spun in a circle, her dress flaring out like the petals of a daffodil.
Jhudora immediately slipped her hand into her pocket and withdrew her wand. Without a word, she pointed it at the waffles steaming on the kitchen table. A second later, the plate of waffles was in her hand along with a fork and knife. She reached for some whipped cream, chocolate chips, and maple syrup, poured them all over her waffles, and grinned triumphantly. “We can eat again!” she said, taking a big bite. Her violet eyes widened in pure glee.
“Something must have happened,” Jim said in awe, fiddling with his new glasses. “Nick, pass me News in Space!” After going through so many issues of the Faerieland Gazette each day, they had decided it would be cheaper to buy a single issue of the News in Space, a newspaper produced by Virtupets; the single copy was fairly expensive since it was made of circuits and hardware as opposed to paper and ink, but it automatically updated with the latest news and was a good investment in the long run.
The shadow Kacheek grabbed it off the table and passed it to Jim. The yellow Aisha scanned it from behind his brand new glasses.
“What does it say?” Jhudora asked impatiently, and then, setting down her plate of waffles, flicked her wand so that the issue flew into her hands instead. She laughed. “I missed using magic.”
Jesc leaned over her shoulder and scanned the print. “Hanso used an artifact to turn everyone back. And now Xandra is stone.”
“Serves her right,” Jhudora smirked. “Stupid Xweetok—hey look at the bottom! It says that people can head back to Faerieland starting tomorrow at noon.”
“That’s great!” Liam said. “Everything is almost back to normal.” He rubbed the side of his face where a new scar nestled into his blue fur. “Almost.”
“Almost is good enough for me,” Jhudora said, shaking her massive wings and heading out of the kitchen. “I’m going to pack my things. Look out, Neopia—Jhudora’s back!”
Jesc laughed and followed her. “Who said you ever left?”
* * *
Two Weeks Later
Jhudora gripped a shopping list tightly in her hand, walking along the cracked streets in the direction of Faerie Foods. Normally she had questers get her groceries for her, but she had missed having the ability to move. She figured that within a week or so she’d be content to have Neopians do her bidding again, but for now the dark faerie decided to take one of her rare walks through Faerieland.
As she crossed a newly erected bridge over a pond to get into Faerie City, she blinked. “Jesc?”
The air faerie coming from the opposite direction smiled and waved with her free hand; the other gripped a bright pink shopping bag. “Hey, Jhudy!”
Jhudora groaned. “Please don’t call me that. Please. What are you doing here? I figured you’d be one of the uber faerie volunteers asking for quest items.” Faerieland had taken a rough beating from the crash. Not so much that it would be unsalvageable, but it would take some time to be restored to its former glory. In the meantime, Queen Fyora was asking Neopets to go on quests to bring back needed materials in exchange for strength and the like. Jhudora hadn’t offered her services; she was still getting used to the new trees, rocks, and streams everywhere. And frankly she was more concerned about fixing up her lair which had crashed into a bluff. Gone were the plumes of purple smoke and puffs of cloud. It had all been replaced by tall trees and rocks. As she had predicted, most of her items had been destroyed in the crash, but a fairly large number of items had survived, including her cauldron and throne. But she still had a lot of redecorating to do.
“I’m helping out at Healing Springs,” Jesc explained, slipping a piece of blonde hair behind her ear. “My sister is one of the earth faeries giving out quests, though; she’s been using some of the extra supplies to work on our home. Can you believe most of my wind chimes survived the crash?” The air faerie beamed, swinging the shopping bag in her hand happily. “They just got a little tangled; a simple spell fixed that.”
“Lucky you,” Jhudora said, thinking about how she wouldn’t have minded never hearing the incessant tinkling of Jesc’s wind chimes. She glanced at her shopping bag. “What’s in there? A new wind chime for your extensive collection?”
Jesc blushed. “Actually it’s a present for Marina—you know, the Healing Springs Faerie.”
“I thought you said her birthday was in July?”
“It is, but I figured she’d appreciate one all the same. After all, she has to deal with me every day.” She laughed and opened the bag so that Jhudora could peer inside. “I bought her a pair of wings from the NC Mall. It took me the absolute longest time to pick out which type. I mean, I wanted her to have the vo-est pair ever! In the end I decided on the Adventure Map Wings. I figured that since she was evacuated to the Space Station for so long—yeah, I know, I can’t believe she was evacuated there!—I figured a pair of wings that showed all of Neopia would be the best, and so I hope she likes them!” She grinned.
“Oh Jesc.” Jhudora shook her head. “I’m going to get groceries.” She paused, looking out over Faerieland from the wooden bridge. Water rippled sluggishly beneath them, and flowers that never would have grown in the high altitude of old Faerieland poked through the grass. “It’s unbelievable at times. Everything is so different.”
Jesc smiled and hefted her shopping bag over her shoulder. Her blue eyes were both bright and sincere as they latched onto Jhudora’s. “But some things are exactly the same.” She crossed in front of Jhudora and started walking in the direction of Healing Springs. Glancing over her shoulder, she added, “Just think of it as an adventure! This whole thing is just one new adventure.”
Jhudora snorted as Jesc waved goodbye and hurried away. But even when the air faerie had disappeared from sight, Jhudora was still on the bridge, staring at the cracked wood. The bridge was fairly rickety; it would no doubt collapse if a few too many Neopians stood on it at once. She pulled out her wand and tapped the wooden siding. The words “Jhudora was here” burned into the railing in fluid script, the letters dark and crisp and smoking slightly with the smell of burnt wood. But Jhudora waved her wand one more time and the words vanished. But her spell also fixed up the bridge, making the old wood new again, sturdier. A better version of its old self.
Jhudora pocketed her wand and, with her grocery list still held tightly in her hand, headed towards Faerie Foods. “An adventure,” she murmured to herself, glaring at a Neopet to her left who immediately tensed up and ran away at the sight of her. The dark faerie smiled. “Yeah, I guess it will be.”