|Jhudora paced relentlessly. Her footsteps thundered across the Bluff, sending clumps of dirt cascading onto unsuspecting citizens of Faerieland who were brave enough to approach the city from within its shadow.
She watched the sun sink low behind pillars of the Rainbow Pool, all the way on the other side of Faerieland. Darkness settled over the sparkling lakes and gushing waterfalls, over the twinkling violet towers of Fyora's palace, and even over the thick-canopied forest of Jhudora's own domain.
"Foolish Neopian!" she shouted. Her voice echoed. "You're out of time!"
She could only hope that the Kacheek heard her, wherever he had gone. He probably couldn't, and Jhudora could never tell him, or anyone else, why her quests were so important, so essential, to the well-being of all Neopia.
With a sigh, she retreated from the edge of the Bluff, calling green and purple clouds around her to protect her from the lesser denizens of her shadowy domain.
A cauldron sizzled in the heart of the Bluff, but the potion within was spoiled: it had been on the fire for too long. The dark faerie glared down at the bubbling, dirt brown surface. It was supposed to be red, vibrant, glistening crimson.
She heard footsteps through the trees, and she knew she was in trouble. Before her visitor could reach the clearing, she knocked the cauldron off its legs and spilled its content over the ground, where the grass had stopped growing long ago.
She watched the liquid seep into the earth, then she straightened, set her face into an expressionless mask, and turned to greet the approaching figure...
Date: Dec 7th
... "Fiona." She inclined her head politely to the visiting Dark Faerie.
Jhudora knew the disappearing legend of Fiona and how she disgraced the first Battle Faerie, Valeane, by defeating her in battle. Her first appearance at the bluff ended with Jhudora being doused with the potion she was concocting, and the antidote was given under the condition to never reveal Fiona's existence to any sentient being.
"And it's very nice to see you too, sister." Her lip curled when she saw the upturned cauldron. "I take it that you did not finish the potion? Pathetic, the abilities of faeries these days."
She smirked at how Fiona assumed that the potions was hers, and how it was meant for an entirely different purpose.
Fiona bent down to inspect the ground around it, and Jhudora felt the irresistable urge to kick her...
Date: Dec 8th
..."Don't even think about it," Fiona growled without turning her head.
Jhudora chuckled. "Think about what, dearest Fiona?"
Fiona straightened her back, turning on her heel so that her face was inches away from Jhudora. "I know what you are like, Jhudora. You disgrace the title of Dark Faerie with your cowardice."
"I think Illusen would disagree."
The other faerie laughed cruelly. "You really expect me to believe that silly rumor?"
"It's just as much of a rumor as your victory over Valeane, is it not?"
Fiona's face stiffened for a second, but then relaxed back into an arrogant smirk. "Is that a challenge, sister?"
Jhudora met Fiona's gaze, fists clenched. "I...
Date: Dec 8th
Jhudora, fists unclenching slightly, faltered for a second before continuing. "Actually it was a question. Though one could see why you would struggle with that concept. Never were one to fight with words were you?"
Fiona raised an eyebrow which settled back into a teasing grin. She clicked her tongue and lowered her voice dangerously.
"Why bother when it's so much easier to destroy your enemy?"
With a flick of her wrist a pointed to a nearby flower. As she did it burst into flame, petals wilting and stalk shrivelling under the great heat. Jhudora viewed all this with a bored expression, looked pointedly at Fiona and yawned. Fiona just smiled at her challengingly.
"Temper, temper sister dearest... Wouldn’t want you to waste precious energy..."
Fiona frowned at this then sneered. "I see… Once a coward always a coward..."
Date: Dec 9th
...Jhudora shook her head quickly. She knew if she kept goading Fiona like this, she would lose. She only really had one choice: to finally make her potion work. And for that, she needed two things, time, and to convince Fiona to play out their rivalry on her terms.
"If you're so intent on proving yourself, why don't we do it the old-fashioned way," Jhudora suggested.
"You want me to show you how I defeated Valeane? Because I'd love to." Fiona cracked her knuckles and started to raise her hand toward the tree branch over Jhudora's head.
A sly smile spread over Jhudora's bright purple lips. "No. The Dark Faerie way. You and me," she pointed to the upturned cauldron, "and old magic."
She knew that it was a challenge Fiona couldn't refuse, and she also knew that Fiona had years more knowledge and experience than she did. But, Jhudora had something Fiona didn't: an experimental formula that would put an end to Fiona's menacing powers for good....
Date: Dec 9th
"A magic fight?" Fiona actually started to laugh. "Dear sister, do you realize how easily I would crush you at one of those? I think you're starting to lose your mind as you're getting older, as well as your looks."
Jhudora could feel her blood boiling at that comment, but that was just what Fiona wanted. She needed to keep calm if she was going to finally shut her up.
"Oh, but while you've been busy just smashing everything and wasting your energy, I've been fighting much smarter." Jhudora retorted, "In fact, I'd say it's you who's lost their edge. After all, the Fiona I used to know would have jumped at any challenge, yet you take the time out to try and mock me like a weakling."
Now it was Fiona's turn to grit her teeth and glare.
"Oh, is that the way it is?" She said, "Fine, I accept. Name the time and place and I'll show you once and for all. And when I win, I think I'll turn you into a Spardel for a few centuries so you can think about what you've said."
"Fine." Jhudora replied, already planning out how she was going to win this. "The time is twenty-four hours from now. The place is the foot of my bluff. And when I win, I'm taking every bit of magic you have."
"Agreed." Fiona replied, "See you tomorrow, loser."
With that said, the other faerie poofed into a cloud of magic smoke, leaving Jhudora twenty-four hours to finish her potion...
Date: Dec 10th
...Beads of sweat dotted Jhudora's forehead, clinging to purple strands of hair and gliding gently down her face before dropping into the bubbling cauldron below. It had been 23 hours and fifty-two minutes since her encounter with Fiona, enough time for her to manage turning the muddy brown concoction into a much preferred crimson.
"Who else could take an expired potion and turn it into a masterpiece in 24 hours?" Jhudora mused, ladling her prized mixture into a vial. "I hope Fiona likes the surprise I have for her."
They faced each other, teeth bared, nostrils flaring, eyes locked. Before either could say a word, Jhudora uncorked the vial and thrust it into the air. Sparks burst from the vial into the sky before exploding into a dazzling purple and green display. Fiona silently observed, stricken with awe, as words began to form in the clouds.
"Happy...birthday...Fiona.... you heartless hag." Fiona read aloud. "I can't believe you did this!"
Jhudora grinned mischievously. "You're the only faerie I know who would pick a fight with me on your own birthday. I would've made you a cake, but you'd have thrown it at me."
Fiona cackled. "I would have! In fact, I think Illusen could use a little cake in that stuck-up face of hers. Why don't we whip one up and take turns?"
Maniacal laughter echoed as the two vanished in wisps of purple smoke.
Date: Dec 11th