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Illusen's Treasures


by maddie_bangz

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Where is my Air Faerie Doll?”

     The cowering Neopian’s eyes widened at Illusen’s request. She could see them already mentally preparing for the number of Neopoints they would have to drop on her latest quest item.

     “Y-yes of course Illusen… I’ll be right back!” They scurried away, no doubt running straight to the Shop Wizard to see if the requested item would be within their budget. Illusen sighed.

     “You only have 13 minutes and 43 seconds left!” She called after the retreating figure. Her voice echoed throughout the trees of her peaceful glade, creating an eerie cacophony of sounds with her mocking tone. Illusen didn’t mean to be cranky to the Neopians trying to help her, but she just couldn’t help it. The disappointment of an empty-handed Neopian returning to her Glade was just all too familiar to her. She couldn’t stand the sight of it anymore.

     She impatiently paced back and forth in her glade, admiring the rich foliage surrounding her. The trees were bursting with vibrant greenery that soothed her to her very core. This Glade had become her new home when she found Faerieland to be too overwhelming for her to find comfort in. Not to mention, her worst enemy is constantly harassing her there…

     Illusen shook her head in protest. She would not think about Jhudora while she was already stressed about the current quest she had given. She flopped onto a nearby tree stump and rested her chin in her palm. She prepared to be disappointed… again.

      Oh well. No use in sitting here sulking, she thought. Besides, there was less than five minutes left. There was no way they would find that doll in time, so might as well just move on now. Illusen felt a small tapping on her ankle and looked down to see a little Turtum peering up at her. Its eyes were wide and curious as it gently nuzzled against her. She smiled.

     “Hello there little one!” She scooped him up onto her lap and scratched softly on its head. It cozied up onto her lap happily, clearly enjoying the attention. After a few minutes of this, she heard a small thumping sound in the otherwise quiet forest. Her ears perked up in anticipation.

     They couldn’t have… could they?

     “Illusen, where are you? Illusen!”

     She sat forward abruptly, the little Turtum tumbling from her lap in surprise. It quickly shook itself off and tutted away back into the brush. The voice calling Illusen’s name was steadily getting louder, though she still couldn’t see anyone in the distance.

     “Over here!” She yelled at the voice, turning in circles to try to pinpoint where it was coming from. Suddenly, the clearly sweating and panting Neopian burst through the foliage into the clearing. They collapsed to the ground, gasping for breath and curling over their body into a protective ball.

     There was something in their hands.

     Illusen started to shake. She could feel her heart racing in anticipation. She had to keep herself from pouncing on this poor Neopian and prying the mystery item from them.

     “Is that my…?”

     “Yes!” They jumped to their feet and proudly held out the item. They’d done it.

     It was the Air Faerie Doll, still in pristine condition. Its wings shimmered in the sunlight, casting an ethereal halo around the still panting Neopian.

     Illusen couldn’t help it, she let out a squeal and nearly yanked the doll out of their hands. She clasped them behind her back instead to keep herself from completely breaking her composure.

     “You have 17 seconds left.” She whispered, her voice carrying dreamily across the glade, making all of the normally quiet Petpets in the forest stir from their rest.

     “Here you go…” The Neopian slowly approached her and waited as Illusen held out her cupped hands. They gently gave her the doll, handling this precious piece of art as if it were hot to the touch. Illusen felt tears in her eyes.

     It had been so long since someone had completed their 50th quest. She beamed down at this precious prize and stroked its pale golden hair fondly. Finally, she’d been given a new treasure for her collection.

     “Thanks a lot!” She beamed at the Neopian. She couldn’t even fathom how much they’d had to spend to obtain this beautiful gift. “Wait here and I’ll be back with your prize, okay?”

     They nodded quickly, averting their gaze shyly. But she could see the subtle fidgeting, giving away their excitement at this accomplishment. Illusen turned back to her new doll, absentmindedly stroking its hair as she stepped back into the thick of the forest, away from the golden sunbeams that brightened the center of the glade.

     Illusen followed the familiar dirt path, winding through the trees and past the small creatures that admired her from a distance. Her pulse was still racing with delight. This part of the forest was covered by a thick canopy of trees, making the path dark and difficult to follow. This was just as Illusen designed it. Luckily, she knew the way well. She wouldn’t want anyone accidentally stumbling back here and discovering her secret hiding place.

     She approached the ancient tree at the end of the path, whose wide branches enveloped the trees around it, creating an almost braid-like pattern in the sky. She’d always felt safest here, which was why this had to be her spot. So no other Faerie, especially certain Dark Faeries, could find it.

     She felt along the tree’s bark until she found the small knob, slightly smoother around the edges but otherwise impossible to find unless you knew where to look for it. She gave it a slight tug and watched as the tree trunk began to separate. The door within this tree was so well hidden that even Illusen was amazed at her handiwork. She laid her palm on the bark appreciatively, silently thanking the tree for providing her this safe place.

     Illusen entered the secret passage within the tree and walked down the dirt spiral staircase until she found herself facing the giant cavernous space. Her treasure trove. The place where she stored all of her quest items from Neopians around the world. The room was ginormous, lit by magic torches that cast an ethereal glow on the items. Dolls, toys, books, stamps, all stacked to the ceiling in neat piles. She felt the warm glow of the gifts, each one holding onto the spirit of the Neopian that gifted it to her. She spotted the section of dolls on the other side of the room and quickly made her way over. All of the dolls were neatly lined up next to each other, each doll resting on its own pedestal. One pedestal was noticeably empty, and Illusen eagerly placed the Air Faerie Doll on top. She smoothed down its hair one more time and took a step back to admire her collection. The beauty of all the dolls together took her breath away.

     But, she wasn’t done.

     Illusen continued through the room until she found a small section of chests against the dirt wall, all perfectly lined up and filled with her special gifts. These weren’t the items gifted to her, but the ones that she would give to the Neopian as a thank you. The chest on the very end was significantly dustier than the rest, with cobwebs draped along the corners. She so rarely got to gift this item, so she couldn’t remember the last time she’d opened this chest.

     She carefully pulled the top up, jumping at the squeaking sound that echoed throughout the room. She slowly pulled out the item, tracing her finger along the beautiful carvings etched into it. Pulled from the Earth and blessed by her own hand. A weapon that could only be used by the most dedicated of Neopians, the most deserving of friends. It had been so long since she’d been able to give one away.

     Illusen held the Staff to her chest and ran back to the clearing, back to her friend. It was time for her to reward them for their work.

     The End.

 
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