Another Shade of Green: Part One
The rain beat on the ground in synchronization with the small faerie's heartbeat. It was the stereotypically dark and rainy day. In Meridell, a group of faeries were sleeping in their cribs. Every faerie but one was asleep; that one was Illusen. Her green eyes were huge and filled to the brim with tears. Although the room itself was bland, there was a single window that revealed the world outside of the nursery. As soon as she saw the world beyond the walls, Illusen adored that world. Not even the annoying dark faerie that had just woken up and was crying could distract Illusen from the beauty beyond the glass wall. Thunder drowned out the faerie's cry as the lightning illuminated her face.
A few minutes later, an aged light faerie walked into the room and started taking the faeries out one by one. Illusen was the last to be taken. When she was taken out, Illusen discovered that it was to a nearly identical room, except that beyond the window was a blue sky instead of the greenery that abounded on Meridellian land.
The aged faerie shut the door to the nursery and spoke to herself. "Oh, Illusen. You are just so different. I've never seen any other faerie quite like you."
Illusen looked around the room and frowned. There was no greenery to be found behind the window; it was simply a pale blue sky. Aside from one dark faerie snoring, all in the nursery was silent.
When Illusen was ten, she finally realized just how different she was. She was in fifth grade at the Faerie Academy, a school for the brightest faeries that showed the greatest promise, but it was also the worst school if you were easily bullied. It was every faerie for herself and you had to be a master to avoid the mocking of classmates. Despite being one of the smartest faeries at the school, Illusen was easy prey to one particularly cruel dark faerie named Jhudora.
After one large test, Illusen sighed and wondered out loud, "Why couldn't they let me stay at Earth Faerie Elementary?"
Abandoning her hiding place behind some lockers, Jhudora snickered and said, "Duh. It's because they thought that you were smart. I just want to know how you cheated so that they'd think that you actually had a brain. Are you leaving to go find one? Of course, Fyora herself probably couldn't make you any smarter, even if you did have a brain."
Jhudora continued to mock and taunt Illusen as the young earth faerie fled through the halls to her room.
When Illusen arrived at her room, she slammed her door shut and looked around at the garden that she called her room. Everything was a beautiful green with a little bit of brown thrown in. Illusen took in the sweet aroma with gratitude. Even on her toughest days at the school, she knew that she could run to the safety of her room and everything would be okay. The plants each had a unique and wonderful scent. The colors in her room, despite all green and brown, seemed to transform into never before seen magical colors that could make even Illusen's worst day bearable.
There were other earth faeries, but they only cared about Faerieland's greenery. Illusen had only seen Neopian greenery once, but she yearned to see it again.
She had never forgotten that one moment when she looked through the single glass wall and saw the beauty that was Meridell. Illusen had taken all available extra courses about Neopia, but there weren't many available at the elementary portion of the Faerie Academy.
Even some of the light faeries mocked Illusen because of her unusual thoughts and clothing. Instead of the usual earth faerie outfits, Illusen wore handmade gloves that didn't quite cover her fingers and rather unique dresses. She always wore a belt that she made out of tree bark and her feet were adorned with handcrafted boots. Her hair was a beautiful dark green and tree bark brown, always with a single braid that ran down her shoulder. Her wings were green and accented on the edges with the same shade of dark green as her hair; and the lighter shade of green was the same as her huge, expressive eyes.
The loudspeakers throughout the halls started up simultaneously. "Attention, students. One week from today, we will all be going on a field trip to Neopia. Your itinerary will be given to you by your first period teachers. Don't forget; it's one week from today."
"Did you hear that? I bet we're going somewhere totally cool!"
"I'd probably be willing to take that bet. You know that the teachers would never take us anywhere cool, even on a field trip."
"I heard that the light faeries are going to get to stay here in Faerieland."
"Well, I heard that the dark faeries have to visit the Haunted Woods. They'll be spending their whole time trying to avoid Balthazar."
"Class! That's enough!"
Jhudora said a muffled, "Sorry, Ms. Lame."
The fire faerie appeared next to Jhudora's desk. "What did you say?"
Jhudora opened her eyes widely and spoke innocently, "I said: 'Sorry, Ms. Flame'."
The fire faerie crossed her arms and glared at Jhudora. "In that case, Jhudora, I suppose that you've heard that any faeries who misbehave will not attend the field trip. The school board is staying behind to look after any troublemakers. You don't want to be a troublemaker this week, do you?"
Jhudora cringed. "No, Ms Flame."
Ms. Flame smiled. "That's what I thought."
"Now, class. I'm sure you're all excited to know where you're going. However, I won't tell you until class ends, and I won't tell everybody today. You must behave to be told. Jhudora will already have to wait at least one day to find out. Now I'll bet that you're thinking that you can go tell your friends, but you can't. Even if you tried to tell someone else, you couldn't. Now, can I have a volunteer?"
Illusen raised her hand. Once she was chosen, Jhudora muttered, "Teacher's pet."
"Make that two days for Jhudora. Now, Illusen, I'm going to tell you where the earth faeries are visiting, so please come here."
Illusen walked up to Ms. Flame's desk and Ms Flame bent down to whisper into her ear. "Ok, Illusen. Earth faeries will be going to Meridell. Go try to tell someone, please. How about... Xuxa. Please go tell her."
Illusen walked across the room and spoke, "Hey, Xuxa. Earth faeries are going to --."
Suddenly, Illusen couldn't speak the words. "Sorry, we're going to --."
Once again, the words wouldn't come.
"Thank you, Illusen, that will be all. You may return to your seat. As you've seen, class, you won't be able to discuss it amongst yourselves. Now, on with today's lesson."
"Illusen, I'd like to speak to you for a moment as soon as class is over, which should be in just a few seconds."
"Yes, Ms. Flame."
Jhudora spoke before she could stop herself. "Oooohh, someone's in trouble."
Ms. Flame sighed. "Four days, Jhudora. You've only got one left before you aren't going at all."
Jhudora, with great difficulty, held her tongue until the bell rang and the class was dismissed. Illusen dutifully stayed behind and approached the fire faerie. "You wanted to see me, Ms. Flame?"
"Yes. I'm worried about you, Illusen. You haven't been doing well in class. You aren't concentrating and your grades are slipping. What's wrong?"
Illusen looked down shamefully. "I'm sorry, Ms. Flame. I'm just so excited. I've always wanted to go to Meridell. For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to go there."
"Why are you so obsessed with Meridell?"
"When I was just a baby, I was in a nursery in Meridell. I remember looking out the single window in the room. Everything else was bare, but it was a beautiful green beyond the window, despite the rain, lightening, and thunder."
"Why were you there?"
"I don't know, but I was with a bunch of other faeries. I remember how one dark faerie was snoring."
A strange look crossed Ms. Flame's face before she waved a hand, dismissing Illusen. "That's unusual. Only the... oh my. I'm sorry, Illusen, but you can't go on the field trip. I need to go now. Just go to your room and relax. I need to speak with some faeries. In fact, just take the rest of the day off."
"But Ms. Flame! Why can't I go?"
"I'm sorry, Illusen, but I must go now. Just take the day off, I'll speak with your other teachers about it if I have to."
"What do you mean she's here? I thought that she was sent to some island or something. Didn't we strip her of her wings?"
The fire faerie shrugged. "Apparently not. She remembers Meridell and her sister. Now I wonder if her sister is here too. They must have been mixed in with the other faeries somehow."
"I bet I know how. Do you remember that one light faerie?"
"The treasonous one?"
"Yes. Now we could all be doomed. The two of them were destined to be un-stoppable. And now, they're being taught by the greatest faerie minds!"
To be continued...