Only Human: Part Two
Last time in Only Human, Rogue, an average Neopian who had been waiting for years for a meeting with Fyora, had her only request denied to her by the faerie queen.
Rogue tromped resignedly through the streets of Faerie City, quickly passing through the gates and on to the bridge, crossing the stream that flowed across Faerieland. Lolly walked along in quiet sympathy beside her owner, rubbing her tail along the girl's leg. Faeries flying about cast piteous looks to the moping girl on the ground. It wasn't until they were on the outskirts of town did a voice disturb her quiet.
Rogue jumped up, and Lolly bared her teeth and began to growl.
"What? Let your sorrow distract you? Pity." Jhudora stepped out of the shadows, her smile twinkling in the sun. "You'll need a bit more practice if you're to serve me."
"What do you want?" Rogue answered, her voice containing an edge. The rejection of her dreams was still fresh, and she wasn't exactly keen on waiting on another.
"Touchy, touchy. I've heard you're in need of a little magic?" Rogue's eyes locked with Jhudora's, glaring at her like she was the darkest faerie. "Oh, don't bother with the act. News travels fast around here. I've heard my dear queen denied request after, what, three years?"
"Four," Rogue spat, though she stayed where she was.
"Four then. I've been waiting for a girl like you, Rogue. I've been waiting for a very long time. My proposition to you it that I'll grant you your wish. I'll allow you to join me among the ranks of the dark faeries, and grant you immortality. But in exchange, you'll have to be my assistant, and all that entails."
The possibilities flashed in front Rogue's eyes, the temptations endless. She could finally fly with Jude and Lolly. She could put on magic shows for Mel. Why, she could do almost anything as a faerie. And especially compared to all the other owners, she would be amazing. Lolly stepped gently on her foot, breaking Rogue's attention from the daydream.
"Don't do it. This isn't what you want." But in her hurt state, Rogue wasn't inclined to listen to logic.
"I'm human, aren't I? And as a human, it's my job to make mistakes."
Jhudora smiled deviously. This was exactly what she needed the girl to say. She offered her hand, and Rogue shook it firmly. At once, green clouds appeared like smoke, and Jhudora's cackle filled the air. Rogue jerked with the transformation, as her skin began to turn slightly purple, and her curved wings began to form, with claws as black as the midnight sky protruding from the ends. Rogue's ears began to curve and point, and her clothes spun around her figure. What pleased Jhudora and frightened Lolly most of all was Rogue's red eyes.
Jhudora's smile exploded into a grin of triumph as she passed a Meowclops Mirror over to Rogue's hand. Rogue fingered her tight black top that had replaced her simple T-shirt. She spun around, her flowing skirt twisting around her.
"Oh thank you!" Rogue exclaimed, gently flapping her wings in the wind. The gently blowing wind called to Rogue, and she ran to jump off Jhudora's Bluff without a second thought on the matter. Rogue flapped her wings and flew for one, two, and three seconds. She began to flap her wings hard, but couldn't get aloft.
Moments before Rogue slammed in to the ground, Lolly dove down and grabbed the back Rogue's shirt. Lolly began to flap her wings as Rogue flailed, and the Lupe dragged her owner back up in to the air. The pair crashed into the ground as Jhudora glared.
"You're very lucky you have such a pet," Jhudora said, her voice cold and uncaring. "Now, would you mind coming with me?" Lolly grabbed the hem of Rogue's skirt, her eyes looking at her pleadingly. Please don't do this, the Lupe's eyes said, but Rogue freed her skirt. She had made a deal, and she intended to honor it.
"Go home, Lolly. Really, I'll be fine. Go," Lolly cast one more pleading glance, but turned away and ran towards the cliff. She leapt off, her silky faerie wings flapped delicately up, up, and away towards their Terror Mountain home. Rogue turned back to face Jhudora after watching her pet leave.
"Now, what can I do for you?"
Lolly skidded in to the house, snow flying in behind her. She shook off her paws in the hall, and passed in to the kitchen. She put a pot of hot chocolate on to heat up and turned around, exiting the kitchen and passing through the hall and living room, before turning in to Rhathra and C's Room.
"Take that!" C yelled as he tackled Rhathra, the pair of them slamming in to the wall. Lolly plastered herself against the door, jumping out the Kougras 'war path. The blur of Rhathra's creamy chocolate brown fur mixed with C's silvery Christmas coat. Lolly only allowed them to fight for another moment before calling out 'Stop!'
Both Kougras looked up, disentangling themselves to listen to Lolly. "Meeting in the kitchen, now. C, go get Mel. Rhathra, get Dae and Wrath. I'll get Jude. Five minutes. Go!" Rhathra and C blasted past Lolly, taking the mission very seriously. Lolly turned on a point and exited the room, crossing through the living room and playroom to enter Jude's room.
Jude was asleep on her bed, with a pair of headphones on. "Jude," Lolly said, trying to wake her Darigan Eyrie sibling. Lolly put her paw on her shoulder, shaking her gently. "Jude," Lolly repeated, shaking her a little harder. "JHUDRESS!" Jude rolled off her bed, with Lolly jumping back to avoid getting her feet landed on.
"For Fyora's sake, Lolly! Couldn't you have just let me sleep?" Jude shuffled to her feet, shaking out her mane. Her red eyes glared at Lolly, causing her to shiver. Her mind flashed back Rogue's red eyes as she walked away with Jhudora. Dear Fyora, what is she doing now?
"Hellooooo? Neopia to Lolly? Lolly!" Lolly's attention snapped back to Jude, remembering her purpose at hand.
"We're having a meeting in the kitchen, now." Jude rolled her eyes, but followed Lolly through the procession of rooms. Rhathra had already poured hot chocolate for everyone, who turned to look at Lolly. Mel, Rogue's tiny baby Gelert, sat in C's lap. Wrath and Dae, the magma Bori and blue Peophin, sat on opposite sides of the table to avoid injuring each other. The room sat in wait, anxious to hear what the cause of this meeting was.
Lolly took a deep breath, and began. "Mom's become a faerie." Cheering chorused throughout the room. Finally, the thing she had been waiting for years! But the grave look didn't leave Lolly's face, so Jude stopped the cheering.
"Lolly, what else?" Jude's clear voice cut through the chorus of cheers. It was so rare to hear her voice, so when she spoke, everyone listened. "Lolly, what else happened?" Lolly swallowed the lump in her throat so she could continue talking.
"She didn't receive it from Fyora, though. Fyora refused; on the way back here, we ran into Jhudora." The tension radiated throughout the room. Even the tiny little Mel knew what was coming next. "Jhudora offered her the transformation in exchange for her servitude. Mom was hurt, and not thinking. She took the offer. I came back to tell you."
Disbelief murmured throughout the room. It wasn't exactly unknown that Rogue had a deep respect for the dark faerie. Jude had been named for her, though it seemed her Eyrie had curbed her love for the faerie. Now it seemed, with this deal, she would never be free of her. Rhathra slammed her paw on the table.
"She didn't!" Lolly glared at Rhathra. She had startled Mel, and the baby Gelert was now sniffling quietly. "She said she would help me write my short story for the Neopian Times!" Lolly glared at Rhathra. Of course, she would think about that at a moment like this! Lolly walked over and scooped up Mel in her arms. C willingly let Lolly take the crying baby Gelert out of his hands.
She knew this would be hardest for Mel. In her eyes, Rogue was perfect. She ran a successful shop, made money in the arcade, and waited patiently for her meeting with Fyora. The little baby Gelert couldn't believe her owner had just given in like that, she just couldn't!
As Rogue's other pets sat in shock, Jude stood up from the table and left the room. If anyone could get Rogue out of this situation, it would be her. Sure, she had her complaints about her owner. Her name often got her screamed at by Illusen groupies, and her expensive coat often isolated her, making people think she was a snob. But, faults or not, Rogue was her owner. She had made sure to keep Jude safe, and now it was time for her to return the favor.
Jude crossed in to the hall and through the front door. The fierce wind nearly knocked her off her feet but she trudged forward bit by bit until she was at a cliff where the wind was behind her. She stretched out her wings, the force almost dragging her off the cliff. A gust of wind hit her on the back, and she leapt off the cliff, climbing high in the sky, where the cold mountain winds wouldn't hit her.
She coasted for a while, enjoying the breeze as the air began to heat up. Rogue owned a small home in Faerieland, so this journey was familiar to Jude. It wasn't long before the green grass of Faerieland came in to sight. Jude landed, claws digging in to the ground, on the outskirts of it. She could see Jhudora's bluff from where she stood. Jude took her first tentative step forward.
She would save her owner.
To be continued...