Illusen the Grey Faerie: Part Two
Jhudora flew through the air, cursing her earth faerie form for the delicate leafy wings. Frantically, she dodged winged pets, faeries, and other obstacles as she rushed towards her cloud. She finally arrived and touched down. The flight had exhausted her, but she didn’t have time to waste on such trivial matters as rest. Illusen had been de-winged, and she had to help! She burst into her house, not sure what to expect.
The sight that greeted her eyes shocked her. Lollipops lay scattered across the floor, and potion bottles and their contents were strewn all around. Normally she would have been more than a little upset about the mess and all the work she would have to redo, but she only cared about the limp grey figure that lay on the floor in front of her throne.
“Illusen!” Jhudora grabbed her twin and shook her gently. “Illusen, wake up! It’s me, Jhudora!”
The grey faerie’s eyes fluttered open. “Jhudora? Jhudora, what are we going to do?”
“We’re going to keep you alive, that’s what. And then I’m going to have to finish the day at the glade before I can come back to help you further. Here.” Jhudora grabbed Illusen’s ashy hands and forced all the earth magic she could call up into her. “Did you see what attacked you?”
Illusen nodded. Jhudora could tell she was trying not to cry at her helplessness. “It was the Darkest Faerie,” she choked out. “She laughed as she cut off my wings. But she seemed to be struggling against her actions. She kept on throwing her spells towards the shelves instead of at me.”
Jhudora frowned. “Jenny used to be such a kind faerie. That was one of the reasons Altador accepted her to be one of the protectors. I’ll bet that Fyora is controlling her in some way. In any case, you should have enough magic for now if she comes back. But I’ll bet she’ll be trying to de-wing me next.”
Illusen nodded. “You’ll need to get back to the glade then.” She attempted to sound unworried, but her face obviously stated otherwise, not to mention the subtle wave of feelings that Jhudora sensed through their connection.
“Don’t worry. I’ll pull through. I have to. I’ll use my darkness magic if I need to. Call me if you need help.”
“Good luck.” Illusen’s words floated to Jhudora as she took off for Meridell once again. The skies over Meridell had gone from clear to stormy. Fitting, thought Jhudora as she marched into the glade, then blinked. Was it just her imagination, or were the shadows off a bit?
It wasn’t just her, she realized, when the shadows rearranged themselves into the form of the darkest faerie. Her eyes glowed a deep red laced with lilac. Fire dripped from her outstretched hands. With a sinking feeling, Jhudora realized that Fyora had full control of Jennumara this time. The faerie queen was not about to risk failure, not when her goal was this close.
“So, we meet again,” Jhudora hissed coldly. “What do you want this time, Jenny?”
“I’m very sorry to disturb you, Illusen.” Jhudora gave a start, realizing she was still in her earth faerie form. “I know you have a busy schedule and all, so I will only take a moment. I propose giving you a rest.” The Darkest Faerie’s voice was sweet and silky, which could only mean she was up to no good.
“Oh? And how will you do that?” Jhudora acted interested, but she had no doubt as to what the answer would be.
“All I need to do is to cut off your wings!” Jennumara’s last four words twisted into a snarl, and she lunged at Jhudora.
Jhudora dodged. So this was how it was going to be. She had always been better at dueling than Illusen was, she reflected. She pulled out Illusen’s staff. Huge green vines shot out of the tip, reaching eagerly for Jennumara.
The Darkest Faerie spun frantically out of the way, incinerating the vines as she went. Then she clasped her fiery hands above her head, shooting fireballs at Jhudora. Jhudora dodged, wincing as parts of the glade blackened and burned. It would take Illusen ages to clean up after this fight.
Grimly, Jhudora attacked and dodged, dodged and attacked. But she was starting to tire. She didn’t have nearly enough earth magic left, not after giving most of it to Illusen. She found herself more and more often on the defensive. She couldn’t keep it up much longer. Soon, she would make a mistake, and then both she and Illusen would be doomed.
Desperately, she sent thorns whizzing at Jennumara, quick tiny darts that inexorably headed towards their mark, no matter how she dodged and turned. Jennumara screeched, flying backwards and using her leathery wings to deflect them. Wildly, she swung her hands around, sending streams of fire flying at Jhudora. Without thinking, Jhudora dodged and conjured a raven to attack Jennumara.
The Darkest Faerie was completely unprepared for a darkness attack. She stared in horror as the feathery shadow flew at her, just barely burning it in time. She stared at Jhudora as if seeing her for the first time.
It was still and silent for a long moment. Then Jennumara sneered. “I see,” she said. “You and Illusen switched places. No wonder it was so easy to de-wing that faerie. Your twin is so weak.” Jhudora opened her mouth, prepared with an angry retort, but was cut off by Jennumara. “This will be harder than I thought. But that just means more fun.” Then she flooded the area around them with fire.
Jhudora wrapped herself in a protective bubble of darkness. Then she called on all the shadows in the room to come to her. She wove them together into a cloth and pushed the flames back with brute force using the dark cloth, somewhat amazed at the magnitude of what she was doing. Gritting her teeth, she fought the flames, locked in a bitter struggle of wills with the Darkest Faerie. Jennumara had Fyora’s force behind her, but Jhudora was determined to win, for Illusen’s sake and her own. And she could feel Jennumara was still struggling against Fyora, however faintly.
There was an audible snap, and suddenly the flames reeled towards Jennumara, who fell backwards. The orange and yellow motes of fire flickered halfheartedly around her.
Panting, Jhudora approached the limp form of the Darkest Faerie. She started to make a shadow rope, then stopped. It would be too easy for the Darkest Faerie to break free from such a simple bond. She used her earth magic to create a separate rope and bound it with her shadow rope. Then she spun the flame motes around Jennumara and added those to the rope too. She stooped to tie Jennumara up.
As Jhudora worked to bind Jennumara, she glanced into the Darkest Faerie’s face, wondering what expression she would see. That was a mistake. Jennumara’s expressionless face broke out into a grin as Jhudora looked at her eye. Instantly, Jhudora’s gaze was trapped. She felt the rope slip from her hands, as she fought to break free. She struggled wildly, but her muscles seemed suddenly paralyzed, unable to move. She cursed silently for being so careless.
“Not so strong now, are you?” Jennumara’s voice cut cruelly through Jhudora’s mind, like needles of fire. She tried to scream and failed.
“Look at my eye. See how your sister suffered.” Jhudora had no choice but to watch in fascinated horror as the red depths of the eye formed pictures. Jhudora watched helplessly as Illusen disguised as her struggled with Jennumara, hating herself for being unable to help. She screamed, or tried to, as she watched Illusen disappearing behind a sheet of flames. But even through her despair, Jhudora felt a wave of satisfaction as she saw how skilled Illusen was at finding creative ways to wield darkness as a harmful weapon.
The charm at her neck, forgotten until now, heated slightly, and Jhudora found herself able to move, just a little. She carefully drew strength from the charm, freeing her limbs slowly as to not alert Jennumara to what she was doing.
Jhudora’s eyes were still caught by Jennumara’s glare, however, and she was forced to watch as Jennumara sheared off Illusen’s wings. The delicate, pretty leaves crumbled to nothing as they left Illusen. The magic would now be released into the air, to fuel the life in Neopia and perhaps form another faerie.
Then Jhudora almost gasped, as she saw Illusen’s magic rise up in a stream, through an open window, directly to the Faerie Castle. Fyora was stealing Illusen’s magic! Slowly, the scene started to shift into Fyora’s chamber. But Jhudora realized what she had to do. She subtly repositioned herself, ready for action. The picture in the eye finally settled on Fyora, holding a bright green crystal to store Illusen’s magic. Anger welled up in Jhudora. She waited as Fyora finished with the crystal and walked up. Jhudora immediately realized that she was on the other end of Fyora’s crystal ball.
As Fyora smirked, triumphantly holding the green crystal before her. Jhudora tensed, calculating when to move.
To be continued...