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Illusen's Cake


by shadowcristal

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The cooking book was innocently lying on the table, attracting and reflecting the white light that poured into the room. With the shiny cover and the red print, it practically screamed, "Open me! Read me! Cook something!"

     The legendary earth faerie looked away from the book for the fifteenth time, hearing a knock at her door. She opened it and gave another quest to the eager duo of pet and owner who were dying at getting the 'Ain't I a doll?' avatar.

     After giving the quest and setting the timer to 16 minutes and a random amount of seconds, between one and sixty, Illusen took another look at the book.

     She sighed wistfully. The earth faerie was well aware of her own skills, and she knew that cooking wasn't one of them. Running her thin, graceful fingers through her soft brown hair (and the two green streaks), Illusen looked at the cookbook.

     Her fingers itched to open the cover, but she knew that she shouldn't. Last time she had tried baking a triple-layered cake and it had blown up for some odd, obscure reason right into Jhudora's face. The dark faerie's revenge was a horrible fruit, probably from Gadgadsbogen, that gave Illusen a horrible stomachache for a whole week.

     The faerie grimaced at the thought, and blinked. Unconsciously she had closed in on the book and her hand was already opening it. Sighing melodramatically, Illusen gave up her mental battle.

     Secretly pleased, she flipped through the pages and her fingers found themselves to the page. 'Chocolate Cake' was written right on top of the white sheet. The earth faerie smiled. She was very fond of chocolate, and she knew that chocolate cakes weren't that hard to make.

     Well, why not at least attempt to try and make a cake? Illusen read the list and took out the necessary ingredients. She also took out a glass bowl that she had received on last year's Illusen Day.

     Sticking her tongue to the side of her face, the earth faerie was all set on making a cake. She knew that she probably looked like a stupid pet trying to figure out good lines to a poem, but she didn't care. When doing the art of cooking, one would definitely end up looking stupid somehow, especially if 'one' was Illusen.

     That pessimistic voice inside her told Illusen that she shouldn't make a cake. What if it her home a sploded? Turning a deaf ear to that voice, the Earth Faerie began humming a little tune as she looked for her ultra-cool, wood and metal-made hand mixer.

     She found it under a pile of books and happily put it beside the bowl. The faerie hummed the second verse of that song as she looked at the book again and measured the ingredients precisely, making sure that absolutely nothing went wrong.

     Illusen knew what they all said. A bunch of ingredients measured exactly made a good cake, but a little touch of love was the most important ingredient. The faerie wondered if she didn't love cakes and chocolate enough... She knew for sure that she definitely did not love cooking. Who could love cooking when the result was blackened, inedible piles of something that remotely looked like food?

     Noticing that she had already finished dumping all the ingredients of the first stage into the bowl, Illusen grabbed her mixer and started to mix. She grinned childishly as she turned the mixer around wildly; making drops of the mixture splash everywhere in the glade.

     When she looked at the mirror again, on the way to get a spoon and put the cake into a baking form, she noticed the spots of the mixture on her face. Illusen smiled at herself, wiping some of the spots away and tasted them. It didn't taste so bad...

     A knock on the door made Illusen drop her spoon. She had been so wrapped up in baking the cake, and the knock had brought her back to reality. The earth faerie picked up her spoon and opened the door.

     The owner and the pet that had been going on the quest returned. Illusen looked at her timer and saw that it was 5 seconds left. Normally she would be very picky about time limits, but baking the cake had put her into a good mood, so she decided to accept the item and the 'Something has happened!' message popped up.

     As the two Neopians walked away, another knock made Illusen turn around. She saw Jhudora in the middle of her room and groaned mentally.

     Why, oh why, did her annoying archenemy have to appear on her day, right in her kitchen and stand dangerously close to the mixture in the glass bowl?

     "Hello Granny Illusen," the dark faerie said with an evil grin on her face. She looked around and noticed the bowl almost immediately. "Oh, you're baking a..."

     Jhudora was interrupted by the earth faerie's attempt to zap her as she took a step backwards, still close enough to harm poor Illusen's mixture.

     "But Granny..." Jhudora said teasingly, "as far as I recall, you don't have a talent for coo-" Another few zapping noises made the dark faerie skip around. She threw a quick glance at the innocent bowl and grinned evilly.

     That evil grin ticked off Illusen royally. She started to zap Jhudora for all she was worth, aware of the possible horror that the Dark Faerie would cause.

     Jhudora, on the other hand, was conjuring a shield and waving her free arm around. After a moment the shield disappeared, and she dropped down to her knees, appearing to look for something.

     "Did you lose something, old hag?" Illusen asked.

     "Nothing," Jhudora said submissively. "I'll be leaving now."

     "You'd better leave," the earth faerie snarled. She waved her wand, and a bunch of vines appeared at the door and shooed the villain out. Satisfied, Illusen waved her wand and the door closed magically. She returned to pouring the mixture into the baking form.

     Outside, Jhudora was cackling evilly. As she walked away from Illusen's home, she proceeded to cackle insanely.

     "A cake, eh?" she muttered to herself. Then the dark faerie started to hum a little bit, and then she mumbled, "Cake rhymes with stomachache... Stomachache rhymes with cake... cake... stomachache..."

     With a last cackle, Jhudora waved her wand and disappeared.

     Fortunately Illusen didn't catch that monologue, busy baking her cake. She had heard Jhudora cackle evilly, all right, but she wasn't too worried. Jhudora had lost something, and Illusen gloated over the revelation that perhaps the dark faerie wasn't so organized as she claimed to be.

     She spread the mixture evenly in the form using her spoon. Then the earth faerie read the page again, making sure that she had gotten all the facts of preparing a fire oven. Illusen looked at her inside fire with one eye closed, and decided that it would be good enough. She quickly made a stand and put the form on the stand above the fire.

     It was perfect. The confident, positive side of Illusen said that there was no way this would go wrong. She set her timer to twenty minutes, and started unwrapping the gifts that she had gotten for this year's Illusen day.

     Ding! Illusen's Chocolate Cake was done! Excited, Illusen ran towards her own homemade oven and took the form off before she realized that she had burned her hand. Panicking a little, the Earth Faerie dropped the form on the kitchen counter and squeezed open a water balloon (yet another Illusen Day gift, courtesy of the Chia Clown) to soothe her beautiful but burned hands.

     Then she realized that she had her magic! Illusen smiled, back to her old self. She whispered the magical, secret words that would heal her wounds and soon her hands weren't hurting at all.

     The earth faerie picked up her book again, knowing that the cake and the form needed time to cool down. Even though she had the power, she refused to risk her hands again.

     A knock at the door brought Illusen back to reality. Wistfully she read another sentence in the wonderful book before she put it on the table.

     What was with Neopians these days? Didn't they know that a celebrity like her also needed some down time, some time to relax? Why did they all bother her when just when she was doing something for herself?

     Grumpy, Illusen opened the door. The visitor looked at her, and the earth faerie stiffened, letting her hands fall down.

     "20% tax to support villain extraordinaire, Doctor Frank Sloth's invasion, please," the villain said, brushing the faerie aside. He stepped right into her room at the exact same spot where Jhudora had stood earlier.

     "Umm..." Illusen said, unsure of what to do. "I don't happen to have any Neopoints with me right now..."

     "Good," Sloth said coldly, "Then we'll go to National Neopian and you can give me 20% of all the NP in your bank."

     "What?" the faerie cried out. "No way! Umm... I'll give you something else instead!" Desperately Illusen scanned the room for items to give, and saw her precious cake. It had cooled down just enough. The light brown fluffiness on top of the chocolate cake made the Earth Faerie's mood so much better.

     She ran to the counter, grabbed the cake and returned with a knife in the other hand. Dr. Sloth looked at her, mystified. He didn't like weird actions that faeries seemed to do now and then, and all he wanted was to get his 20%.

     Illusen sliced the cake with the knife, praying that her special chocolate cake wouldn't a splode right into Sloth's face. She opened her eyes and saw that she had cut exactly 20% of the cake. The earth faerie smiled and handed the piece to Sloth.

     Surprised, Sloth ate the cake since he wasn't paying intense attention. The first bite tasted sweet, but... The villain's eyes almost popped out when he tasted a very spicy Mystery Island fruit in the middle of the piece.

     "Well, there you go," Illusen said as she watched Sloth try her newest and best cake creation up to now. "20% of the cake."

     Villain extraordinaire was felt like choking and gagging, but refused to show his weakness. He pondered over how he could settle this matter peacefully so he could leave. If that earth faerie earned NP as badly as she cooked, then it'd be too much trouble to demand tax.

     "You know," he begun, but Illusen interrupted.

     "20%," she said. "There, you have your lovely 20%. Now please get out of my house, mister uninvited villain." The Earth Faerie shooed Sloth out of her house, just as she had done with Jhudora.

     Content, Illusen sat down at the table and cut out a piece of chocolate cake for herself. She savored the sweet, fluffy flavor as she watched Sloth walk down the path that led to Meridell.

     "I did it!" she said joyfully. "I did it! Finally it doesn't taste so bad..."

     Just after the earth faerie had pronounced the last word, the fluffy cake sunk, looking more like a small pile of dung than a chocolate cake.

     "I guess..." Illusen said, disappointed. "But it wasn't that bad, was it?" The earth faerie shook her head and put another cooking experiment away, blaming herself for feeling up and now getting disappointed. The annoying voice inside her head told her that she knew it would end up like this somehow.

     The legendary faerie shuddered when she heard a loud yell. She opened the door quickly and poked her head outside, wondering what in Neopia had a sploded. Then she saw Dr. Sloth, lying on the road and twitching crazier than the beats of a Beekadoodle's wings.

     Illusen ran towards Sloth, feeling quite curious. The earth faerie wondered what had caused him to scream so horribly as she bent down and listened to his heartbeat. He was all right, but something must've given him a shock...

     Well, there was nothing wrong with his physical self. Feeling as if she had performed her duty, the earth faerie started walking back. But she never got to take more than five steps. Sloth whispered two words that made Illusen freeze.

     "Cake... stomachache..."

The End

 
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