Sanity is forbidden Circulation: 91,831,644 Issue: 177 | 11th day of Awakening, Y7
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The Valentine


by mad_as_sin

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"Huh, Valentine's Day!" Jhudora sneered, hurling a dart at the dart board that was hanging from her office wall. Usually a photo of Illusen's sweet smiling face was taped to its surface - Jhudora tended to relieve her daily anger by giving the benevolent faerie some new freckles now and then - but today it was decorated with a large pink heart trimmed with frilly white lace that had been tacked on over the photo. One of her not-so-bright underlings had thought it would be cute to decorate the whole Dark Faerie Headquarters in spirit of the approaching holiday, but it had clearly been a mistake. Jhudora had resolved to find whichever Neopet was responsible, and she had originally intended on sending him down the way of Sloth's Lab Ray. However, on second thought, Jhudora decided to assign the culprit to toilets duty for all of eternity.

     Jhudora positively loathed Valentine's Day. It was bad enough that Jhudora was always being beaten out by that sugary-sweet brat Illusen, and that Jhudora Day was so close to Valentine's Day, but that wasn't all. The holiday was all about red and white and pink. They were all colors she despised. It was a silly, frivolous, stupid holiday full of chocolates and sugar and sappy puppy love and all manner of idiotic notions. Just thinking about it set to boil the large pot of rage within Jhudora. Given the chance, she would have gladly eradicated the entire holiday without a second thought. But there was another reason that Jhudora was so bitter...a secret that Jhudora kept locked away, however childishly.

     Jhudora had never received a valentine.

     Not a single one in all her life. Not when she was a little faerie girl, not when she was at the Faerie Academy, and certainly not once since she had begun enlisting Neopets as her evil underlings and conducting evil quests had she ever found a single valentine in her dank, dusty mailbox just outside her office. But now...now she didn't even care anymore. Now she just wanted to eliminate all traces of the cloud-forsaken holiday.

     "Stupid bloody mushy sugary holiday," Jhudora snarled, yanking the dart from the board with unnecessary force. The big decorated pink heart came loose and began to float towards the ground. Jhudora snatched it out of the air and furiously tore it to itty-bitty shreds with her long-nailed fingers. A hundred pink shreds fell to the floor like mocking confetti, and with an infuriated shriek, Jhudora stormed out of her office and slammed the door.

     The secretary office just outside her own was completely empty. Jhudora glanced at the black and purple clock on the wall and saw that it was twenty-three past twelve; it was lunch break. Jhudora started for the door with an angry sigh when something vivid and red caught her eye.

     Jhudora walked slowly to her mailbox and pulled out the bright red envelope; her name was embossed on the front in fancy, gorgeous script. Hands shaking with rage, Jhudora tore the envelope open and removed the big, pink, heart-shaped card inside. Barely containing her fury, Jhudora opened the card.

      'Happy Valentine's Day, Jhudora! Tee-hee!

      Thought you could use a little cheering up from a friend.

      I'm your secret Valentine friend this year!

      Need a clue? It's - '

     Jhudora didn't even bother to finish reading the valentine. With another irate scream, she tore down the halls at a breakneck pace.

     ~

     "WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS?!" Jhudora roared, blasting the double doors of the lunchroom away with a burst of dark faerie magic. All chatter in the room ceased immediately, and the head of every Neopet present slowly turned in her direction. Jhudora was standing in the doorway wreckage, her face red and her hair mussed, and clutching her valentine in her hand. When no one answered, she held the bright pink card and its envelope high above her head. "I know one of you imbeciles is responsible for this!" she shrieked, waving the card and envelope furiously. "Which one of you thought that it would be funny to send me a bloody Valentine?! Answer me!"

     And still not a word was uttered. Jhudora continued shaking her valentine at them violently, screaming at her silent, good-for-naught subordinates until something small and green slid out of the bright red envelope and fluttered to the lunchroom floor. Jhudora's shrieks subsided shortly, ad she bent down to pick it up.

     It was a leaf.

     "EEEUUAAAAUUUUGHHHH!" she screamed at the top of her lungs, so loudly that it tore at her throat, and her fury rent the air like a sonic boom. And then in a puff of purple smoke and rage, the infuriated dark faerie disappeared.

     ~

     Jhudora reappeared curtly with another cloud of purple smog in the middle of Meridell. A hapless Blumaroo who had been standing too close by accidentally inhaled the smog and began coughing uncontrollably. "Move out of the way," Jhudora growled, and shoved him aside. The unfortunate little Blumaroo scampered away in fright.

     Everyone in Meridell was preparing for the coming holiday with sickening enthusiasm. Even the poorest of its residents were decorating their homes and shops with pink, red and white streamers and cut-out hearts. A little red Shoyru decked in a circlet made of pink flowers was skipping around and handing out valentines and carnations to passersby. Jhudora curled her lips in distaste. The whole scene made her nauseous. Still clutching the valentine and the leaf in her hand, Jhudora stormed off towards the glade.

     "Hi, ma'am! Would you like a valentine?" The little red Shoyru was holding out a white valentine in the shape of a pair of faerie wings, giggling. Jhudora's eye twitched, and she knocked the valentine out of her hand.

     "Get away from me, you little twit," Jhudora snarled. Her disposition was souring by the second. Tears welled up in the little Shoyru's eyes, and she began to cry loudly. Jhudora hurried away and disappeared into the forest, stomping towards the glade.

     "Illusen!" she roared. "Illusen, you insufferable, miserable excuse for a Faerie! Show yourself now!"

     Illusen looked up from her place on the bed of leaves spread over the forest floor, raising her eyebrow. Jhudora mocked her inwardly. She was a grand Earth Faerie, and she chose to sit on the filthy, disgusting ground? How little self-respect she possessed!

     "Hello, Jhudora." The usual icy edge was gone from Illusen's voice. It was just a normal, everyday greeting. "What brings you to my handsome glade?"

     "Don't flatter yourself, freckle-face," Jhudora snapped. "This dirt hole you call a handsome glade is nothing more than a filthy, bug-infested greenhouse!"

     "All right, Jhudora, whatever you say." There was a patient, infuriating calmness to her voice, unlike when the two usually spoke to one another. Illusen rose to her feet, the leaves falling away from her. Those leaves were exactly like the one Jhudora had found in her envelope. "Why did you come here?"

     "Explain the meaning of this!" Jhudora thrust the valentine into Illusen's face angrily. Illusen glanced at it for a second, blinked once, and smiled.

     "Oh, you got it." Illusen sounded nothing other than...pleased.

     "Yes, I got it, twit," Jhudora said crossly. What was Illusen playing at here? "Now tell me what it means!"

     "What it means?" Illusen gave a sweet little laugh. "Well, I thought that much would be clear."

     "Ha ha, very funny joke, Illusen," Jhudora spat.

     "Joke?" Illusen looked puzzled for a moment. "It's not a joke."

     "Really," the Dark Faerie drawled. "Well, it certainly looks like one. 'I'm your secret Valentine friend this year'? Give me a break!"

     "But it's not a joke," Illusen insisted. "It was meant sincerely!"

     Jhudora studied Illusen's face, a trace of bitterness in her own expression. "Why..." Jhudora said slowly, "would you send me a sincere valentine on Valentine's Day?"

     Illusen shrugged.

     "We hate each other," Jhudora continued. "Everyone knows it. We've always hated each other and we always will. Jhudora and Illusen don't mix. It's a known fact! So why?"

     "Let's just say it's a white flag, just for this holiday." Illusen gave her one of those cute freckle-faced smiles. "It's in a couple of days. Let's just call it a truce for a few days, right? No one else has to know. What do you say?"

     Jhudora didn't answer, turning this over in her mind. A...truce? With Illusen?

     It couldn't be all that bad.

     Jhudora turned her head, refusing to look at Illusen. "Fine," she said, a slightly surly edge to her voice. "Just for this holiday. And only for this holiday!" Jhudora turned on Illusen, shaking her finger in the Earth Faerie's face. Illusen laughed a little and nodded.

     "Of course."

     "Right." Jhudora turned to leave, but then she stopped, and turned back. "Oh, and if you tell anyone, let it be clear that I will personally make the next Illusen Day the worst experience of your life!"

     Illusen grinned at her. "Sure thing, Jhudora. Happy Valentine's Day!"

     "Huh, Valentine's Day!" And Jhudora disappeared in a puff of purple smoke, but this time, it wasn't so angry. Illusen chuckled to herself and sat back down in the bed of leaves.

     "I just can't wait till next year!"

The End

Author's Note: If this gets accepted, then, Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! This is my first short story submission to the Neopian Times, and I hope you enjoy it. Please feel free to Neomail me at any time, and have a good holiday!

 
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