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Jhudaberry Soup: Part Two


by sky___phoenix

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"Alright, now put your front paws on my shoulders, and your back legs above the lowest spike, yeah, that one," Merielfy instructed, crouched a few metres from the edge of the cloud. Skylark positioned herself on Merielfy nervously, trying hard not to hurt her new friend. "Ready?" the Zafara asked. "Oh - and take off my cap, please. Just leave it on the ground. OK - hold on tight!" she added with grim humour, and lurched forward, sprinting towards the edge of Faerieland.

     Skylark squeezed her eyes tightly shut, and held on. Suddenly her insides plummeted, and she felt air whooshing past her like a vacuum. After what seemed like an eternity later, she felt Merielfy's feathered wings beat down with a soft whoomph, then lift her up again. Slowly, tentatively, Skylark's insides settled back in their normal positions, and she opened her eyes.

     They were passing a huge purple cloud. Wisps of green and purple smoke circled lazily around its dark middle. Soon Merielfy panted between the beats of her wings, "That's funny. Every other time I've flew past here, there's been a mini-vortex whirling around in that cloud."

     "That's Jhudora's Cloud," supplied Skylark loudly into Merielfy's ear, in case the Zafara couldn't hear her. "Maybe she's out celebrating today." She tried to look back at the cloud, but they had already left it behind.

     "Don't speak so loud!" the Zafara protested. "We're out of Faerieland now, so I'm going to dive for a while."

     "Dive?" Skylark began to wail, as Merielfy straightened her tail and folded her wings. Abruptly they plummeted down towards the glittering blue sea, which seemed to Skylark to be getting closer and more alarming by the second.

      Soon they sped passed the brown Islands below them, and Skylark fervently hoped that her friend knew what she was doing, and they weren't both hurtling towards a freezing, watery plunge. There was nothing she could do except hold on for her life.

     After around ten terrifying minutes, Merielfy gradually began to spread her wings, slowing their descent little by little, until the Christmas Zafara's wings were fully outstretched and they were gliding at top speed over the green landmass Skylark had seen from Faerie City.

     It was huge, Skylark realized.

      "I've never seen so much green in my life," she commented to her friend, her voice quavering a little after the dive.

     "Where are you going in Neopia Central?" Merielfy asked, as she flapped her wings to keep herself heading in the right direction.

     "The Soup Kitchen," the small Lupe replied proudly. "It's open to everybody today, 'cause of the Faerie Festival."

     "May I come?" Merielfy appealed wistfully. "I'm starting to get really hungry. Carrying a passenger is a lot of work," she hinted firmly.

     "Of course you can," Skylark answered, feeling a little guilty. "How long till we get there?"

     "Look, you can see Neopia Central over there. Luckily for us, it's close to the coast. See that Rainbow? Part of the Rainbow Pool," replied Merielfy shortly. "We'll be there in, oh, five to ten minutes. Don't talk to me now, I'm getting out of breath."

     Skylark watched in silent awe as they flew over a Neopian farm and some paddocks, then over hundreds of neat, red-roofed houses. To her disappointment Merielfy did not fly through the shimmering Rainbow, instead veering to its left. The Zafara closed her wings slightly, and they began to descend again, though this time at a much more leisurely speed.

     Now they were close enough for Skylark to see the heads of individual Neopets going about their shopping. She watched a yellow Blumaroo skipping towards the Rainbow Pool, and glanced at blue Kacheek hurrying into a black building just below them. What looked like an Kau policeman was past a nearby shop.

     She glanced behind her; she couldn't see Faerieland at all. A bubble of excitement rose through her - she was really, truly in the center city of Neopia! Wouldn't Alleron be impressed when he found out!

     Suddenly Merielfy landed on top of the round, black building with an ungraceful thump, and Skylark rolled off her back at last, hastily grabbing at the roof edge with paws stiff from clutching Merielfy's shoulders.

     Merielfy lay on the flat, black, circular roof, panting. "Ow… my back is killing me," she groaned.

     "Sorry," Skylark murmured, unsure of what to say. She lifted her left paw to look at her watch - it was ten past eight.

     "Hey, the Soup Kitchen is about to open!" she said to the Zafara excitedly.

     "But Merielfy, where is it?" she asked, looking around, a little confused.

     Merielfy sat up slowly, grinning broadly. "Why, we're sitting on it, of course!"

     Skylark felt very confused. "But - why didn't you land on the ground, then? We could have been in there by now if you had landed on the ground."

     Merielfy shook her head, still smiling. "This is the best way to get in," she said complacently. "Look, all you have to do -" she stood up carefully and walked over to the center of the roof, where there was a large, round, black hump. It suddenly dawned on Skylark that the roof was in the shape of a lid to a soup pot.

     " - is lift this," the Zafara continued, demonstrating, "and jump through the hole. You land in middle of the Soup Faerie's storeroom. I used to do it everyday," she sighed, remembering.

     "Let's do it!" Skylark said eagerly, and walked over to Merielfy.

     "Okay, you better hop on my back again," the Christmas Zafara explained. "You never know what sharp objects someone might leave on the floor for you to land on." She shuddered as if in remembrance. "Lucky it's not a long way down, I'm exhausted."

     Skylark climbed back on to Merielfy, and the Zafara quietly fluttered down into the Soup Faerie's small storeroom. It was nearly bursting with crates, crates and more crates, all labeled in thin, cursive writing. Many were empty. A wooden door stood slightly ajar at one end, and as Skylark jumped happily onto the floor, she heard a harsh voice command,

     "Kacheek! Fetch me some more of those Jhudaberries, and hurry! Those sniveling little Neopets will be here any minute."

     "Sniveling little Neopets!" Skylark muttered angrily, looking at Merielfy.

     "Quick," Merielfy replied, panicking as she heard feet pattering their way. "Behind a crate!"

     They both jumped behind a crate labeled 'Purple Shrooms' and crouched down low, just as a little blue Kacheek pushed the door open. "Yes, Jhudora," he said in an avid voice.

     "Don't call me Jhudora!" the voice hissed back. "Call me 'Soup Faerie,' idiot.'

     "Yes, Soup Faerie, idiot," said the Kacheek happily, picking up the crate to the left of the two hiding Neopets and skipping out of the room, closing the door behind him.

     Skylark and Merielfy stared at one another, aghast.

     "There is something very wrong going around here," Skylark whispered carefully.

     "That wasn't the Soup Faerie's voice!" Merielfy whispered back, worried. She pointed to the crates around them, reading the labels out loud in a soft voice. "Dark Shrooms, Purple Shrooms, Jhudaberries? I've never heard of them, but they sound like things Jhudora would use."

     Skylark nodded in agreement. "But why on Neopia is Jhudora in the Soup Kitchen?" She paused, wrinkling her forehead a little as she thought.

     "She couldn't be here just to help the Soup Faerie," Merielfy murmured. "Oh - Jhudora said for the Kacheek to call her 'Soup Faerie!' So where's the real Soup Faerie?" she exclaimed. She started clambering over the crates in the storeroom. "We should get out of here while we can. I think there used to be a back door around here, but there are so many crates, I can't -" the Zafara tripped over a crate at the back of the storeroom and fell flat on her face with a loud thump.

     "Quiet!" Skylark growled, worried that Jhudora might hear the noise they were making. "I think we should stay to find out what's really going on. Anyway, we can fly out through the r . . ." Skylark continued, her voice dying away as she heard Merielfy give a loud gasp.

     "Skylark, it's the Soup Faerie! She's all tied up, and there's this purple fog around her!" Merielfy cried, her voice becoming louder in distress. "Help me, we've got to free her, she looks really awful."

     Suddenly Skylark jumped as she heard an irritable voice shout "You stupid Kacheek! Those weren't Jhudaberries! They were Dark Shrooms! You numbskull! Do I have to do everything myself?" and they both listened in horror to the quick clump of footsteps growing louder by the millisecond.

     Skylark only had time to duck into an empty crate of Jhudaberries and shut herself in, hoping desperately her friend was doing the same, before the storeroom door slammed open again.

     "That idiot Kacheek! Now he tells me he can't even read. Huh!" the harsh voice muttered. "Never mind," the voice hissed to herself, chuckling a little. "I'll have more than enough slaves to take his place once this day is done!"

     Skylark heard Merielfy whimper softly, and she tensed with dread, waiting for the Faerie to find them, but she stepped right over Skylark's crate, her eyes on the back of the room where the Soup Faerie was imprisoned.

     Skylark peered through the cracks in the crate at the Faerie. From what she could see the faerie was wearing blue pants, a pink top and a blue apron; definitely not the sort of thing Jhudora would wear, Skylark thought, confused.

     "Hmm, I really have get a wig before my…" the faerie sniggered. "-guests arrive."

     What? A WIG? Then Skylark noticed the Faerie's purple wings, and green and purple hair. Great. It's Jhudora all right.

     Jhudora gave a sharp gasp. "Vira's mirror, the ropes have been loosened!" she cursed. She froze, and scanned the small storeroom, her purple eyes gleaming menacingly. She examined every crack and crate for movement, but found nothing.

     Unsatisfied, she glanced at the roof, surveying the hole the two pets had entered through with growing frustration, then suddenly an evil smile curved on her purple lips.

     "KACHEEK!" she bellowed. Almost immediately the blue Kacheek scampered eagerly into the room, wearing a foolish grin.

     "There is an intruder in this room," she told him imperiously, flicking her bright green and purple hair off her shoulders with a twitch of her huge, Barbat-like wings.

     "That's wonderful, your evil Soupiness!" the Kacheek beamed. "I beg you, tell your lowly subject how your superior knowledge worked it out, oh please!"

     Jhudora toyed with a lock of green hair as she spoke. "Somebody entered through the roof trapdoor and loosened the Soup Faerie's bonds," she purred evilly. "They did not close the trapdoor again, so they must be still in this room!" she hissed triumphantly, while Skylark cringed in horror inside her crate.

     "Oh, that's wonderful, your radiant Faerieness," the Kacheek cried, skipping up to the faerie adoringly.

     "Stop that!" Jhudora snapped, suddenly sickened by the Kacheek's consistent fawning. "I shouldn't have put so many happiness Neggs in," she muttered to herself irritably, then realized that the neopet was still waiting for directions. "What are you waiting for? Take that crate," she ordered, pointing to the one Skylark was in, "into the kitchen. I shall deal with the intruder personally."

    "Yes, Jhudora," the Kacheek murmured obediently, his black eyes glazing over as he hurried to do as he was bid.

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» Jhudaberry Soup: Part One
» Jhudaberry Soup: Part Three
» Jhudaberry Soup: Part Four



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