The Beauty Within: Part Three
Daria left the farm early the next morning, waving goodbye
to Alton, Lydia, and their three children. The newly-made beauty walked through
Meridell, relishing the awed gazes she attracted. And to think, she thought
happily to herself, I used to be a monster lurking in the shadows of the Citadel.
Now look at me! I'm so pretty!
Her thoughts were interrupted, however, when
she ran face-first into the green nose of the Turmaculus and was knocked off-balance.
She winced, bracing herself for the flood of laughter that she felt certain
would arrive. Instead, she heard a girl's voice that was tinged with concern
say, "Oh my goodness, are you OK?"
Daria looked up. Standing over her was a teenage
girl, with long blonde hair and sparkly blue eyes. "Oh… yeah, I'm fine," Daria
said, getting to her feet.
"Are you sure?" the girl asked worriedly.
"Yeah. I'm fine." Daria smiled at the girl,
and she smiled back, showing perfect white teeth.
"My name's Mirabel," said the girl, brushing
a nonexistent speck of dust from her fashionable leather jacket. "What's yours?"
"Daria," the Uni replied.
"Daria… that's pretty. What does it mean?"
Daria was confused. "Does it have to mean something?"
Mirabel laughed, a bright, tinkling sound that
seemed to Daria to be quite cold and condescending. "Why, of course it does,
silly! My name means 'of uncommon beauty', which is quite OBVIOUSLY accurate!"
she said, flipping her hair over her shoulder.
"Oh…" Daria said, and thought for a moment.
"I think someone once told me that my name meant 'wealthy'."
"Well, you certainly don't LOOK it," Mirabel
said. "After all, you're not wearing any makeup, and you don't look like you've
Daria looked down. "I don't have an owner,"
she said quietly. "I'm sorry."
Mirabel gasped, putting a hand to her chest.
"Oh my, you poor thing!" she cooed. "Well, of COURSE you'll come with me then!"
"Really?" Daria asked, looking up with hope
and gratitude in her blue eyes.
"Of course. Let me just abandon one of my pets,
and I'll take you in immediately!" Mirabel said. "Ooh, this is going to be so
Daria felt a twinge of guilt as she watched
Mirabel run over to a green Aisha and speak to it for a few minutes. When she
turned away from it to go back over to Daria, the Aisha was crying.
"OK, it's all settled!" Mirabel chirped happily.
"Come on, let's go." She strode off purposefully, and Daria slunk behind.
Would you have done that if I wasn't pretty?
the Uni thought.
* * *
Soon the two arrived at a massive, silver Neohome
in Faerieland. "Welcome home, Daria!" Mirabel said cheerfully, opening the door.
Daria stepped in cautiously, looking around.
The front hallway alone was huge, with a giant
towering ceiling and a skylight sending golden rays of light down on the two.
"Wow," Daria said, and an echo called the word back to her.
"I know, isn't it?" Mirabel said, walking up
to the spiralled staircase. "Princess! Fluffy! Damian!" she called up, and the
Footsteps thundered above, and soon three Neopets
came down the staircase. One was a handsome Rainbow Eyrie, who stopped at the
foot of the stairs and stretched his sky-blue wings. After him came a Faerie
Ixi, tripping down the stairs lightly on delicate hooves. Lastly there was a
Royal Usul, whose pink ermine robes floated around her diminutive frame.
Mirabel went over to the staircase and stood
beside her pets. "This is Damian, that's Fluffy, and that's Princess," she said,
pointing at the Eyrie, the Ixi, and the Usul each in turn.
"Who's that?" Princess asked, straightening
her pointed hat.
Mirabel laughed. "Oh, dear me, I almost forgot!
This is Daria! Isn't she beautiful??"
Fluffy fluttered her wings. "Not as beautiful
as me!" she said pompously.
"Me neither!" Princess said loudly.
"Oh, shut UP," Damian said in irritation, flapping
over to Daria, who stood aloof. "Don't mind them," he said to her kindly. "They're
"MirAAAA, he called us STUUUUPID!" the girls
squealed in unison.
"Damian, be nice to your sisters!" Mirabel said,
her perfect smile slipping slightly. Before Daria could register the slip, the
smile was back on at maximum intensity. "Now DARIA, let's get you to your room!"
Daria was led up the stairs and shown into a
magnificent bedroom made of marble. She looked around at the walls and saw several
Nightsteed posters put up. Mirabel let out a small shriek. "Oh my goodness,
I forgot that she put those up! I will of course take them down immediately!"
"No, don't!" Daria said, running in front of
Mirabel. "I like them."
"You… LIKE these things?" Mirabel asked in disbelief.
"Well…" Daria said, hastily trying to cover
her slip, "they are UNIS, after all."
Mirabel considered, then nodded. "OK," she said
briskly. "Now, I realise that the furniture may not be QUITE what you're used
to, but it's a start."
Daria looked around. There was a Zen Desk in
the corner with a rolling chair, a Zen Sofa that served as a bed, and a Zen
Rug in the middle of the room. "It's very, um… Zen," she said.
Mirabel scoffed. "Yeah, it's hideous, isn't
it?" she said distastefully.
"I like it, actually," Daria said, smiling.
"It's a lot better than what I'm used to."
"Oh, no, you're entirely wrong," Mirabel said
airily, waving her hand. "The colours totally clash with your coat."
"Black and white go with everything," Daria
Mirabel turned around and glared at Daria. "Look,
do you WANT to look fabulous or not?"
Daria blinked. "Um…"
"That's what I thought," Mirabel said, ignoring
Daria and sweeping out of the room. "I'm going to be downstairs. If you need
anything, Damian will help you out." And just like that, she was gone.
Daria stood in the black and white room, feeling
slightly dazed. She went over and lay on the sofa, looking up at the ceiling.
"I miss Spike," she said to herself.
"Who's Spike?" asked a voice. Daria sat up sharply
and saw Damian in the doorway.
"Spike is - was - my petpet," Daria said, sitting
"Really?" Damian asked, coming in and sitting
"Yeah. He was a Drackonack, and he was really
"Wow!" Damian said, smiling. "That's cool. Where
is he now?"
Daria sighed. "He ran away in Meridell. I think
he was afraid of me."
"Why?" Damian asked.
"He was used to seeing an ugly Uni, and when
I got pretty, he ran away down the Symol hole," Daria said, then gasped, realising
what she'd said.
"When were you ever ugly?" Damian asked.
"Umm… my old owner…" Daria sighed. "My father
is Lord Darigan."
Damian fell silent, digesting this. "So… you
were a Darigan pet?" Daria nodded. "That's so cool!"
"No it wasn't!" Daria said, turning to Damian
with a shocked look. "I was really, REALLY ugly!"
"I doubt it," Damian said. "Darigan pets look
Daria began to reply, but before she could get
a word out the lights went out, and the house grew cold. Damian stood up. "What's
going on?" he asked.
Daria jumped up and ran to the top of the stairs,
staring down at the door. Sure enough, a second later a heavy knock sounded
three times. Mirabel went to the door and pulled it open.
There in the doorway, his tattered wings unfurled,
stood Lord Darigan. He swept in, pushing Mirabel to the side. "Where is she?"
he asked in a low, threatening voice.
"Who?" Mirabel asked, her voice trembling.
"My daughter." Darigan turned to the girl, and
Daria saw the eerie white glow of his skull-like mask. "Daria."
Mirabel brightened up. "I know where she is!"
Daria ran down the stairs. "I'm not going with
you!" she shouted. She was aware of Damian running after her, but at the moment
she didn't care. "I don't care what you say or what you do, I am NOT going with
Darigan looked confused. "Who are you?" he asked.
"You do not matter to me. I'm looking for Daria."
"That is Daria!" Mirabel cried, pointing.
"Mira, no!" Damian said. "Don't you understand?
That's Darigan! He wants to take Daria away and make her ugly again!"
Darigan looked at the Eyrie with an expression
of boredom on his face. "He's right, you know. When I find Daria, I am going
to take her back to where she belongs." He turned his icy gaze to the defiant
Uni standing before him. "Of course, if you are who you say you are, then this
little spell should work wonders." He raised his arms, his black cloak billowing
around him, and hissed some words that chilled Daria to the core.
Lightning flashed outside the Neohome and all
the windows in the entire castle flew open simultaneously. A cold gale began
howling, swirling around Daria's body. Daria looked down and saw her beautiful
spots melting away, revealing an ugly dark blue colour in their place. "No,"
she whispered, as her creamy mane thickened and darkened to grey. Her horn lengthened
and twisted, falling limply behind her. She looked back and saw the feathers
falling away from her wings to reveal those of a dragon. The wind died down,
leaving a hideous Darigan Uni in the place of a beautiful Spotted pet.
"Ah…" Darigan said softly, and Daria saw the
smile on his face, barely hidden by his mask. "So we meet again, my dear."
"What is THAT?" Mirabel screeched in disgust.
"Ugh, get it AWAY!"
"Daria," Damian said softly. Daria looked up
at him with tears in her eyes.
"Come now, Daria," Darigan said, and Daria walked
slowly towards him, her hooves thudding dully on the silver floors. Darigan
laid an icy hand on her shoulder and she felt his cloak swirl around her. "Time
to go home," he said, and they were gone.
To be continued...
Author's note: Phew! I wonder how this will end up! Well, you'll have to
wait until next week before you find out. It's all going to be fine, though.