"Oh these are lovely, thank you!" Illusen cheerily said as she received a basket of starberries from a visiting Meridell patron. At least it was reasonable to believe he lived in Meridell based off of his attire. In the doorway to her glade stood a tall, proud Lupe dressed in large, thigh-high work boots, an all black surcoat (that looked more to her like a long robe one would wear after a bath), baggy tan pants, and thick leather gloves that gave a small squeak when he moved his hands as he excitedly spoke to her.
"I'm so glad you enjoy them!" He beamed back. "They come all the way from Mystery Island! First of the harvest I've been told! When I checked my calendar earlier this month, and remembered March 17th was coming up, I put in an order just for you. I've heard they're your favorite after all! I got them in just in time to bring them here!"
"They are my favorite! That's so thoughtful of you!" Illusen responded, hoping to match the young man's enthusiasm. March 17th was a day she never needed help remembering, it was her holiday after all. Yes, Illusen Day had come yet again. It was the day set aside by Queen Fyora, and thus all of Neopia, to give honor, thanks and all those other things to Illusen that she felt weren't entirely necessary. She did love the people of Neopia, and she most definitely appreciated the gifts people brought or sent to her, but all of the organized theatrics just weren't really her. She would be the last faerie to do things just for recognition. That could be made evident from her choice to live in a modest, treebound home secluded in the forests north of Meridell as opposed to a lush castle in Faerieland. But Fyora insisted many decades ago that all faeries have their own day. And her mind was made up so there was no changing it. March 17th had been Illusen Day ever since.
"Please, would you tell me your name so that I may thank you properly?" Illusen asked for possibly well over the hundredth time today. She didn't mind though. She never did.
"O-of course! It's Roger, y-your excellency!" He gave a bow as he stammered his answer to her.
"Oh there's no need for that. And you can call me 'Illusen'" She kindly spoke to him as she moved the wicker basket of starberries under one arm so that she could put a hand on his shoulder with the other. When he raised himself to look at her again, she continued.
"Thank you, Roger. This was very thoughtful" Illusen said with a motherly smile.
"Thank you for accepting them your ex-, um, Illusen!" He almost started to bow again but caught himself. "I hope you enjoy the rest of your evening! Good night!"
"You too, Roger" She responded cordially.
Roger's grin didn't leave his face as he turned to head down the stairs of her abode leading back to ground level. He gave one final wave once he reached the bottom before heading out of the forest. Illusen waved back, closed the door, and leaned her back against it.
"Whew! 8 o' clock! Made it through another one. My goodness, that might have been more people than last year. Wouldn't you say, Helena?" She beckoned to the small, red Crokabek sniffing at all the fruits that were gifted for the day. Helena nodded at her and chirped in agreement. To many, Crokabeks were off-putting. Their portly, crow-like figures, coupled with their heavy brows that always seemed to be furrowed in disapproval, were typically seen as intimidating. Illusen, however, found them to be quite cute. Although it'd be challenging to find a creature she didn't find cute. She was the Earth faerie afterall.
"If you want, you can have a pick at these. They smell very fresh! Just keep away from the Chokatos. I'm planning on making some pies with them". Illusen set down the basket in front of Helena and petted the top of her head. Helena stretched her neck to meet Illusen's hand as she let out a satisfied, soft, coo. She then proceeded to have at the ripest starberry of the pack.
"I'll be writing in my scroll and then probably going to bed if you need me"
Helena gave an affirming caw through an excited beakful. Illusen chuckled at her feathered friend before retiring upstairs to her bedroom.
Illusen sat cross-legged in her dark green sheeted bed as she wrote. Her sizable room was as cozy as one would expect a forest dwelling faerie's home to be. Dim strings of yellow lights ran along the area where the walls met the ceiling. Plants of various shapes and colors adorned the corners and windowsills. Her shelves were filled with all kinds of worldly trinkets, many of which were crafted by her own hands. There were complex tapestries hanging next to serene paintings that were gifted to her throughout the years by friends and admirers. Every piece had a story attached. And every one of those stories could be found in the "scroll" she was currently adding to. To call it a "scroll" was more of a formality than anything. By this point it was truly several scrolls, and a few books when she felt like switching up the medium. They were all stored in the infinity bag given to her by Taelia the Snow Faerie from when she decided to start this project.
"And there we go" Illusen quietly yawned to herself as she dotted the last period of her entry. "Another Illusen Day recorded. Hmm…" She paused to consider something. I wonder how similar this entry might be to the others. She thought to herself. Now that I think about it, I wonder how similar a lot of my entries might be. I can't be doing different things every day. Maybe I'll have a look at a past adventure to check. Don't want these getting boring and repetitive.
With that idea, she rested her current scroll on her night stand and pulled open the drawer holding her infinity bag. She stuck a blind hand into the bag and spoke the magic words to call any randomized object within it to her.
"Aha! Got one!" She excitedly reacted as she felt something make contact with her palm. Illusen leaned back on the bed's headboard and sprawled the scroll out on her lap. "Ooo this is an old one, I can tell by the paper. Alright let's see here" She began reading through it.
The spell was a complete success! I was so happy. I'll be honest, I was a little nervous because there was a bit of a crowd watching to see if I could really bring Jhuidah's flowers back to life. I was very doubtful that I was ready to perform this level of magic, but Jhuidah needed those ingredients then and there. If not, it'd take another 40 years to grow a new batch! But it worked. I can't believe it worked. The invested group cheered as the wilted petals took their form again. I barely noticed because I myself was overcome with joy. But I did notice Jhudora was cheering the loudest of a-
"Oh...Hmm. Jhudora..." Illusen was stopped in her tracks by the name of her former...whatever they were. She contemplated if she wanted to keep reading. She couldn't recall the last time she'd seen Jhudora. How long it had been since she was frozen in stone by Fyora after trying to take over Altador. However long it was, it wasn't enough to stop her from still feeling small ounces of anger, pain, and a blend of other emotions she couldn't entirely label. How could someone she thought she knew so well go so wrong so suddenly? Regardless of everything, when Illusen heard Jhudora's statue went missing, she still felt...happy? She hated it, but she couldn't deny it. The smallest part of her secretly thought Jhudora might contact her one of these days. Or that she'd just show up at her door and say " Illusen, I'm so sorry. I'm sorry I betrayed our friendship. You were right, Altador was too far. I should have told you I was leaving. I should have -"
"Hmph. No" She halted her train of thought. "That's not who she is anymore. You saw it yourself" She opened her night stand's drawer as if she was ready to throw the scroll back in the bag again. But she didn't. With a large sigh, she once again unraveled it in front of her, found her place, and read a little more.
Jhudora was cheering the loudest of all. She ran up to me and engulfed me in a hug in front of everyone. "We're going to Faerie Foods right now to celebrate. My treat!" she said. I knew there was no point in protesting. She pulled back and looked at me. "Illusen you...you're going to keep doing such impossible things. I know it. And I hope I get to see it". I've never seen someone say something with such genuine heart before. "Of course" I replied.
"..." Illusen couldn't find anything to say. She just rolled the scroll up again and stowed it away. There she sat in unintended silence for some unknown amount of seconds. "Get it together, Illusen" She finally managed to say as she started laying down and getting comfortable. She flicked a switch on the wall by her bedside that cut off the lights around her. In the now established darkness, she whispered one last thing before closing her eyes: "There's no point. Even if she's out there, you know she's not thinking of you anyway"
You know she's going to be there. If you wait any longer it might be too late. It doesn't matter if she hates you now. You have to go. You have to try. You know she'll be at Faerie Foods tomorrow.
"Oh curse it all" Jhudora said to herself as she paced the floors of her clifftop dwelling. "You're going. That's the end of it"
As if it matters. She probably hasn't thought of you in years anyway.