A Toothy Dilemma
Harriet hummed happily as she idly swished her mop along the marble corridors of Fyora's Palace. She paused for a second to peer inside one of the many rooms to see a group of Faeries dropping their mouths in awe as a young Fire Faerie created a fire statue of herself using a potent spell. When the spell dissipated they all began clapping eagerly and crowded around the Faerie.
Harriet felt incredibly lucky as she moved on. Lucky to have been able to see that magic, lucky to be working in Fyora's palace! It was only a menial job for after school, but thanks to the next door neighbour Water Faerie she had been able to snag a job... lucky, lucky, lucky, she chanted, for not many young Xweetoks got such an amazing opportunity...
Suddenly Harriet was knocked over and her bucket of water splashed all over the floor, and her good mood instantly evaporated.
"Hey, watch where you're going! Be careful!" she told the offender sternly.
A yellow Blumaroo with think glasses lay stunned on the floor a pile of paper clung tightly to his chest. Harriet immediately recognized him, and gave a sigh.
"Oliver, what are you doing here?" she said exasperated as she pulled him up to his feet.
"Visiting you, of course," he said, and gave her a wide grin.
"But you're not supposed to be in here!" Harriet picked up the mop and began to sop up the water.
"Yes, but I couldn't wait for you to finish; you're almost over anyway and I didn't feel like waiting outside."
"Well, you're supposed to," she told him sternly. "The only real reason you get in is because you tell the desk clerk every time that it's a family emergency, or that's somebody's sick. She must think my whole family has no immune system by now!"
"Well, it works, doesn't it? Oh by the way, Harriet, I was hoping you could drop these off in the Ice Battle Arena on your way home when you go," he said as he pushed half of the intimidating bundle of papers into her hands.
"Ollie, I live in Mystery Island. There's no way I'm going all the way up to Terror Mountain; it's too far out of my way! What are these anyways?" She quickly scanned through the sheaf, then a look of weariness crossed her face. "Ollie, how many times do I have to tell you? In a Battle Arena people are supposed to fight. You can't stick up posters saying 'No more fighting; let's all live in peace.' Anyways, what happened to your campaign of saving the Smugglers on Krawk Island from a life of dishonesty?"
"I don't see why not!" he replied huffily, "And as for the whole Smugglers thing, I was told to stop that..."
"By the Smugglers, right?" she said with a grin as she began to push her mop and bucket back up the corridor.
"Possibly..." Oliver said evasively, not meeting her gaze.
Harriet chuckled, her good humour returning as she put her mop and bucket in the broom closet while Oliver stuck up some of his posters. "OK, Ollie, let’s go get ourselves slushies and take a trip on the Merry-Go-Round on Roo Island, OK?"
Oliver's face lit up, seeing that she was no longer disgruntled, but then his face fell and he mumbled, "And about the posters? Because, you see, they have to go in the Ice Arena; I already did all the rest..."
"ALRIGHT," she said, giving him a playful poke, "I'll do it!"
They turned towards the exit when suddenly an indistinguishable faerie hurtled past them, throwing herself into a nearby lounge and sobbing ferociously. Harriet was astonished, but still planned to leave, but before she knew it Oliver had run into the lounge, glasses askew and posters leaving a trail behind him.
"What's wrong?!" he cried almost as anguished as the faerie himself, and he disappeared into the room.
Harriet sighed and followed him into the room. As she went in she was filled with the now usual awe at the splendour of the palace. The room was large and roomy, and was clearly some sort of a lounge for light faeries. All the furniture was light faerie furniture and the room gleamed with the light of it. Huge windows that reached to a high ceiling gave a breathtaking panoramic view of Faerie City, and she could even see a glimpse of the Wheel of Excitement. Reluctantly turning away from it, she caught sight of a tooth faerie that had thrown herself over a light faerie sofa, and Oliver sitting next to the sobbing mass, reassuringly patting her back. Harriet gave a weary sigh. She knew Oliver would not leave until somebody solved the problem. Having this in mind, she pulled up a Light Faerie chair close to the sofa.
"There, there, it'll be alright," she said softly. "Tell us what's wrong..."
The faerie suddenly looked up and hissed venomously at Harriet, "Don't 'there, there' me! My life is ruined, there's nothing that can be done!"
She cried dramatically and with a fresh wave of tears slumped on the sofa again. Harriet had the distinct feeling she was dealing with a drama queen, and was prepared to leave her to wallow in her misery. However, the look on Oliver’s face told her that was not going to happen. Harriet steeled herself; she’d deal properly with this Faerie...
“OK, listen here! We can’t help you solve your problem unless you tell us what’s wrong!” At this the Faerie looked up, astonished; she’d clearly never been talked to like this. “Come on!” Harriet urged impatiently.
“Well, it’s kind of a long story...”
“We’ve got time!” said Oliver eagerly, as Harriet groaned.
The Faerie brightened up considerably. “Well, in that case, let’s have a pot of tea, and I think those light faeries have secreted some muffins around here!” She bounced up, quite a different person, and began searching in the shelves. She instructed Oliver to bring over a fancy blue teapot filled with tea. Oliver brought the tea and some Altador chalices, while the Tooth Faerie brought over a tray of Fyora Day Muffins. Harriet drooled; one of those could fund her goal for a Faellie... She quickly snapped out of her day dream and the Tooth Faerie sat down and promptly introduced herself as Anilia. After all the introductions were made and the tea poured and the muffins devoured, her story began...
“Well, you see, I’m not a licensed Tooth Faerie yet,” she began, “and to be one I need to finish my apprenticeship. Well, I’m almost done, and yesterday for my last task (I need to complete this in order to get my license) I needed to collect a tooth from the... Shadow Usul!”
Oliver gasped and promptly dropped his chalice, which thankfully was empty. Harriet rolled her eyes.
“Well, needless to say it was a long and arduous task but in the end I got the tooth! You know, I really think I got the hardest task. I think it’s quite unfair!”
Harriet decided to end what looked like the beginning of a long story of injustice by saying, “I bet the faerie that got Balthazar didn’t feel that way.”
Anilia clamped her mouth shut and glared at Harriet. “Well, anyways,” she said pointedly, “I had it. It was really a ghastly thing so I put it quickly in my room before handing it in because I knew that Ella and Oneida were having a celebration in the downstairs dining room, and I simply couldn’t miss it! But when I went back to my room it was gone! Yes, GONE! And all there was left was a little note saying ‘Thanks for the tooth, Anilia; I really needed it for my potion. Jhudora.’ And I HAVE to get it back by tomorrow morning, or I’ll fail and be sent down to store and polish the collected teeth for the rest of my life!”
“I know what we should do!” said Oliver brightly before Harriet could stop him. “We should get it back from her!”
“Would you, would you really?” said Anilia clinging to Oliver with desperation in her eyes.
“Well, if we did, you’d be coming with us,” Harriet said sharply.
Anilia’s eyes widened. “I simply couldn’t! Jhudora will be able to sense if there’s another Faerie in the vicinity! However, you two can pass by unnoticed...”
“I see,” said Harriet, “so you want us to endanger ourselves for the sake of you not having to work a desk job? We could lose everything, you know.”
“But you wouldn’t! 'Cause you’re so brave and smart.” She turned to Oliver. “Please, I beg of you.”
“We have to do it, Har; we can’t leave her like this!”
“Fine then. If we’re going to, let’s get this over with,” Harriet said grumpily.
All three over them stood outside Jhudora’s gates, staring inside apprehensively.
“OK, so here’s the plan,” Anilia said excitedly, “Oliver goes in and distracts Jhudora, then Harriet throws a net over her. You then promptly take away her wand, then hide it two floors down where she can’t get it. Then you have to find the tooth, so I suggest a grid search-”
“OR we could just ask her nicely,” retorted Harriet, cutting Anilia short.
“It’s your decision,” she said huffily.
“Stop bickering, you two. Come on, Harriet, let’s go in.”
They took a deep breath and entered the cloud.
They saw Jhudora sitting on her throne smiling cruelly as swathes of deadly looking purple and green smoke floated around her. Then she said, “Welcome to my home... I see you have been helping my sisters out... and for what? A pathetic handful of Neopoints, or maybe a level or two. It's not worth your time... I have what you REALLY need... magical artifacts of ultimate power! So how about it-”
“Err,” said Harriet, “we really haven’t got time for that.”
Jhudora looked stunned to be cut short in her well practiced speech. She had been using her cruelest voice, and thought she’d been really rather intimidating.
“Well, what is it then?” she snapped, irritated. “Spit it out!”
“Well, we need something from you,” Oliver piped up bravely.
Jhudora let loose a loud menacing laugh that echoed off the walls and caused Anilia to shiver in fear outside.
“YOU need something from ME?! It’s really supposed to be the other way around, my dears! You young neopets these days! You really do manage to get a laugh out of me! Few do it, you know...” She wiped a tear from her eye with a grin.
“Well, since we amuse you so much maybe you can oblige us,” Harriet said stoutly.
“Oh my, you really are serious, you two!” Jhudora cackled. “Unfortunately, I say no... but wait... I’m in the mood for more laughs...”
Oliver looked eagerly at Harriet, and she knew he was planning on bringing out his book of Cybunny jokes, but she gave him a warning look.
“So listen up, dears. I will give you ANYTHING you want if you can survive my little game. The game begins there.” She pointed to a dark opening,
Harriet and Oliver looked at each other, took a deep breath and walked towards the opening with the sound of Jhudora’s laugh once more ringing in their ears...
Harriet could not see a THING! It was pitch black! Suddenly in the distance she saw a little gleam of yellow. It grew bigger and bigger until sitting at her feet was a little yellow Faellie. Harriet gasped and picked him up and cuddled him forgetting where she was; this was EXACTLY what she wanted. Suddenly she was sitting in a huge mansion filled with luxurious items rivaling even Fyora’s Palace. She looked down, and her old blue colour was gone, and she was a Faerie Xweetok! She leapt up in glee and zoomed around the room with her Faellie. Suddenly out the window she saw Oliver sitting on the street outside. His clothes were old and ragged, and he looked longingly at her. A voice said in her head, ‘Which do you choose, ALL THIS, or that silly Blumaroo with his absurd ideas?”
Harriet looked around and didn’t want to give it all up, and she was about to turn on Oliver, when she realized what she was doing. With a cry she leapt up, dropping the Faellie, and ran towards him to hug him fiercely. Instead of Oliver, however, she closed her arms around air...
Harriet blinked, her eyes were filled with a blinding light. Slowly the light faded and she found herself back in front of Jhudora standing next to Oliver. She quickly glanced at Oliver to see if he had just been what she had been through. His face looked pale and wan and she felt pangs of guilt about her moment of weakness. Jhudora looked decidedly less amused.
“Turns out you two are those kinds of loyal neopets.” She made a noise of disgust. “I hate that kind. But a deal’s a deal. Choose what you want. Everlasting apple? Hmmm, what shall it be?”
“I want the tooth of the Shadow Usul,” Harriet said, and Oliver nodded.
“How would you know about tha-” Jhudora frowned. “That Anilia sent you here, didn’t she?”
“So what if she did?” replied Oliver. “Give it to us.”
The tooth appeared in Harriet’s hand and the two fled the cloud.
Anilia flooded them with a thousand thanks and tears, promised them her everlasting devotion and a lifetime of servitude. Harriet escaped from her clinging arms after about ten minutes, but Oliver was not so lucky, and had to remain in her grasp for five minutes more.
After an age it seemed Oliver and Harriet were walking home on Mystery Island. They could hear the lapping of the waves on the shore as the sunset painted a brilliant picture on the sky. They reached a cozy bamboo house where a little Baby Bori was playing in the yard.
“This is me,” Harriet said hugging Oliver with all her might.
“Enough of that!” he cried. “Anilia was bad enough!”
Harriet grinned and began to walk up to the door when Oliver called out her name.
“Remember Har, those posters, first thing in the morning!”