Only Human: PartThree
Previously in Only Human, Rogue had her request for Fyora to turn her in to a dark faerie refused. After leaving the castle, Jhudora offered to grant Rogue's request in exchange for her servitude. To her pet's horror, she accepted. Her Lupe, Lolly, returned home to tell her owner's other pets. Rogue's Darigan Eyrie Jude took off for Faerieland to attempt to save her owner from the clutches of the dark faerie.
Jude's steps echoed, the bright grass crunching beneath her. The once fearless Eyrie was now having trouble putting one foot in front of the other, so much was her terror. It was true; she had a deep respect both for her owner and Jhudora. But where was her owner's respect was founded on a sense of love, her relationship to Jhudora was one of sheer terror.
"Jhudora?" Jude called out softly in to the cave on the edge of the bluff. She knew what had to happen to end the ordeal. She would have to take her owner's place. And though it wasn't exactly something she was keen to do, she knew she would be much better at escaping than Rogue would. She took another tentative step forward.
Why did her owner have to do stupid things like this? How did the dark faerie have such a knack for finding people at their worst? Were the rumors she had heard about them moving to the Haunted Woods on the flight in been true? Oh, poor little Mel. Taelia would probably take in her family until Lolly could sort the mess out, but still. The only upside was that it was that at least the month of Relaxing, and it would be the nicest it would be all year.
"Jhudora?" Footsteps echoed around the walls, but they were nimble and light, like someone who was unused to walking on the stone floor. The footsteps echoed around the room, bouncing off the stone walls. Moss clung to the cave walls, giving the place an eerie feel. A noise rung around the cave, sounding eerily similar to Jude's owner's footsteps.
"Rogue?" Jude called out, a dash of hope entering her voice. She hastened her pace, taking a step further into the darkness. She walked quicker, anxious to get to her owner, before breaking in to a full on sprint. Just as she began to pick up speed, a gentle lilac fabric smacked her.
"Dear Borovan child, stop!" Jude slid to a halt, a wide O forming on her mouth. What was Fyora, the queen of the faeries, doing in Jhudora's cave? Fyora smiled at the shocked neopet. "Now dearest, why are you here?" The motherly attitude broke Jude out of her stupor. She hated when Rogue tried to use it on her, and her reaction to it was no different when the queen tried to use it on her.
"I'm here for my owner," Jude said curtly. "And maybe a quest. What's it to you?"
"Are you looking for Rogue?" Jude locked eyes with Fyora, the silence deafening. It felt like less time than she had to spare dragged on and on before Fyora spoke again. "Are you her pet?" Jude shook out her mane as she had this morning when Lolly woke her.
"More or less," Jude said. "I've come to pick her up. We're in a bit of a family situation at the moment, so if you wouldn't mind-"
"Could I come with you?" Jude looked at her like she was two headed Gruslen.
"Because this is all my fault." Jude continued to look at Fyora as if she was an alien Zafara, so she continued. "I denied her wish! I started this spiral! Fyora's Day is in three days. How am I supposed to be worthy of my own day if I can't even help a simple Neopian?" Fyora began to sniffle.
"There, there," Jude said awkwardly, brushing the tip of her tail against the faerie's wings. Lolly was always the one who did all the comforting. It felt unusual to try and be the one soothing others. "She can't have done anything that bad yet, right?" Fyora handed her a newspaper.
SPECIAL EDITION! DARK FAERIE SEEN ROBBING NATIONAL NEOPIAN!
Just this morning, a dark faerie was seen hastily leaving the Nation Neopian with bags full of money. It seemed she had faced unknown consequences in trying to escape, and her flying was awkward and slow. Perhaps a brave guard had tried to hinder her? The Nation Neopian is currently refusing to divulge the amount of money stolen, or the fact that it was stolen at all.
This dark faerie could not have been working on her own, not with the amount of news coverage being given. I mean, come on, if we're bothering to publish a special edition, it's got to be important right? That's what the editor said, and the editor is always right! Anyway, we will follow with more details as soon as we receive them. This has been your faithful Neopian Times Reporter, signing off.
Jude scanned the article, but Fyora continued rambling on the contents of the paper. "It hinted the Jhudora might be behind the crime, and I have to admit it does often, but I just know! A queen's intuition, if you will. I think Jhudora's forced her in to this, with her transformation. Oh, what am I going to do?"
Jude wrapped her tail around Fyora's hand. "First, you're going to calm down." Why did Jude always have to be level headed one? She wanted to be the whiny moody girl, not the mother! That was Rogue and Lolly's job! And yet here she was, calming the queen of Faerieland down. "They were at the National Neopian Last, right? So where would they go after that?"
Fyora began to regain her calm demeanor, and her mind began spinning. She started drawing in the air, appearing to create a map in the wind itself. Small clouds circled the faerie queen's hands as Neopia and then Faerieland began to appear in the air. Jude watched in fascination. Her owner always did that when she was planning the day. Well, her owner didn't produce clouds, but the process was the same. Perhaps her owner hadn't been crazy; maybe she had actually been meant to be a faerie.
Shock played across Fyora's face. "They're going to the Hidden Tower!" Confusion played across Jude's face, but Fyora paid her no mind and dragged her off the cliff. Jude began flapping her wings to keep up with the faerie queen. "It's the next spot for an ideal heist, with me out looking for them. At first, I figured she'd go somewhere less risky, but they'd all have guards."
"But why not just ambush someone?" Jude asked, dodging a cloud to avoid getting soaked. "Wouldn't it be simpler?" Fyora shook her head.
"She's made her presence known. People will be expecting her now. The only way she'd get anything is to get there with no one there." Jude nodded, barely avoiding slamming into the Hidden Tower as Fyora veered sharply the right. The walls appeared in a shimmer of light as they landed.
"They took it," Fyora whispered. She stepped forward slowly, up to an empty case. A cushion where a faerie paint brush had once been laid empty, with only a single neopoint sitting on the pillow to replace it.
At once Fyora stiffened. "Don't move!" she called out to Jude who had been walking in her direction, but the movement had already alerted her guest. A dark figure rippled out of the shadows.
"Hello, my dear queen," whispered Jhudora, a malevolent smile gracing her lips. "Missing something?"
"Where is she, Jhudora?" Fyora questioned, all traces of pleasantry gone from her voice. It frightened Jude. "This young girl has no place in your schemes. Bring her forth!" Jhudora smiled coyly.
"What child? I couldn't possibly know what you're talking about," Jhudora purred. "I haven't done anything."
"I know you had her do your dirty work, and that you've relocated them to the Haunted Woods. Where is she now?" Jude cast a sad look up to Fyora. 'Had Jhudora really gotten her to move?' asked Jude's eyes. Fyora gave a subtle head nod. Jude blinked her red eyes fiercely. She couldn't show weakness in front this dark faerie, especially not if she intended to recover her owner.
"I promise you, the young dark faerie who just happened to move to the Haunted Woods has nothing to do with me. Besides shouldn't you be searching for your precious royal paint brush?" Jude's mane bristled.
As she glared at the dark faerie, a shape began to take form in the shadows. It was just a silhouette at first; but gradually it began to evolve, with dark wings and shoulder length hair becoming clear in the darkness. Jude leaped without hesitation.
"Rogue!" Jude scrambled around in the smoke, not paying a single speck of attention to the arguing faeries behind her. When she finally came upon the spot where she thought she had seen her owner, she jumped, intending to tackle her owner, and tell her about she could fix everything.
Instead, Jude crashed on to the floor, slamming her beak on to the cold hard floor. Her owner was nowhere to be found, and there was nothing she could do about it. Jhudora let out a small quiet cackle that rung around the room and resonated within Rogue's desperate pet.
To be continued...