I Am Vira
They say that I am evil, but I know them. I know their thoughts, their hopes and dreams. I know why they say such things. They fear me. They fear the power that came with my transformation. They fear that I will take it upon myself to ruin their pretty faces. They are vain, as I used to be. I am vain no longer.
They would claim that I still am, but they do not know. Do not know how hard it is to look at my face in the mirror, to see where my beauty has been razed away. No one knows....
Vira sat on the lawn of her crumbling mansion, gazing up at the stars. Her fingers idly skimmed the top of the grass as she enjoyed a moment of solitude for once. Without realizing what she was doing, she began to braid a daisy chain, as she had done so many times in the past. She smiled wryly. Indulging in another moment of daydreaming, Vira brought the chain up to her lips to kiss it, as she had done when she was small, when she pretended that she was Fyora, blessing every flower. The flowers withered and turned black.
Vira curled her lip in disgust, then threw the chain away. It was poisoned now, diseased. Just like everything she touched. Just like her.
She sighed, and then resumed gazing at the stars, but she could not quite concentrate on them as she had before. She drifted off into a daydream...
The little Acara skipped through the fields, daisy chains braided in her long blond hair. She was pretty, but it didn’t show very much because of the tattered rags the child wore. She hummed a little tune to herself. Her owner was poor, and she had not eaten for two days, but here, none of this bothered her. Here, she was free.
Vira laughed and spun dizzily, taking in the bright flowers and the bright sun. She sang to the tune she had been humming earlier, “Everything is so beautiful, the flowers and the skies,” the little Acara sang in a clear, high voice. She stopped singing and laughed, remarking to herself, “It is so beautiful. Beautiful flowers, beautiful sky.” She paused. “The only thing that doesn’t fit is me. I’m not beautiful. I’m just a plain yellow Acara.”
She sighed, her earlier mood dampened. She sat down on the grass. “I wish I had wings. Faerie pets don’t have to worry about anything. But me? I’m just plain old Vira. I’m not beautiful at all.”
Vira lay down and sighed. “I wish I was the most beautiful Acara in Neopia.” She closed her eyes and lay there for a moment.
Vira sat bolt upright. “Who-who is that?” she asked in a trembling voice.
“Hello, Vira.” Suddenly, a beautiful faerie appeared out of nowhere. Vira was so mesmerized by the faerie’s beauty that she forgot her fear and walked toward the air faerie. The faerie laughed and smoothed Vira’s hair back from her face.
“I heard your wishes, Vira. And I have decided to grant both of them. We faeries have the power to do that, you know.”
Vira gasped. This was better than she could have ever hoped. She was going to be able to fly!
“Indeed,” continued the faerie. “You are pretty, but only I can make you beautiful.” She held up a little hand mirror in front of Vira’s face. “Look, Vira. It is already done.”
Vira gasped again. The face in the mirror- it was gorgeous! Peering into the mirror, she could see the glimmer of pink faerie wings against her back. She smiled, and the face in the mirror smiled back. Suddenly, the faerie Acara in the mirror began to melt away, showing a hideous face with sickly gray-green fur. Vira, startled, looked up at the faerie, only to see that she was changing, too.
The air faerie’s kind features melted away to reveal the twisted, malicious face of a dark faerie. As the illusion the faerie had woven fell away around her, Vira began to run away, only to be caught by a spell from the dark faerie. As she fell to her knees, clutching her stomach, she saw the sickly grey-green fur on her paws. She felt leathery wings twitching on her back.
“What have you done to me?” Vira asked, trembling. The faerie laughed.
“I gave you what you asked for, little Neopet. You have wings, and you are beautiful.” The faerie laughed again. “At least in my eyes, Vira!”
“No,” whispered Vira.
“Vain ones like you are the easiest to manipulate. They are so eager to be beautiful that they don’t think twice about caution. Well, goodbye, little Vira, and next time, look before you leap!” With that, the faerie was gone.
Vira scrambled to her feet and began examining herself. She had the same grey-green fur all over, even on her paws and ears. She felt something swishing behind her, and spun around, shrieking as she discovered that she had a tail. Her soft yellow horns had turned hard and black and stuck up crookedly from her head. She gingerly reached up and felt the wings on her back. They were the shape of a dark faerie’s, and the sickly grey-green color. She fell to her knees again, her head reeling. This was impossible. There were no such things as mutant Acaras.
“Well,” she thought bitterly, “now there are.” She sighed, and made her way home...
Vira shook her head to clear the memory from it. She didn’t think about that day anymore. She sighed and stood up quietly, heading back to her mansion. As she walked, two Neopets went by on the main road. One of them, a Uni, shrieked.
“AHH! It’s Vira! Run before she makes you look in one of her evil mirrors!” The Uni ran as fast as she could, streaking past Vira’s home. Vira sighed. She got that a lot, even though she had never made a Neopet mutant. The other Neopet, a Quiggle, looked nervously at her as she glanced at him. She sighed, annoyed.
“Go home,” she said. “If you’ve come to gaze at the freak show, visiting hours are over.” The Quiggle blushed red and ran after the Uni.
Vira turned back to her house, but someone tapped her on the shoulder. She looked up into the face of a human girl, about thirteen. The girl grinned at her. “Lyke hi!11 Do u make ppl’s pets culored? Lyke I want!” The girl pulled on the arm of a small red Xweetok, who was obviously her pet. He stared at Vira, frightened.
The girl grinned at Vira again. “Lyke give me the mutant pb!11” Vira stared at the girl, confused.
“Uh, no,” said Vira. “I don’t ‘color people’s pets’ or whatever. And even if I did, there’s no way that I’d make a mutant pet. I don’t need to add more ugliness to the world. And mutant paint brushes don’t exist.”
The girl scowled at Vira. “Lyke OMG! U r so meen! Im rporting u to TNT!” The girl stomped away, dragging the Xweetok behind her, who gave Vira a look of gratitude before he was gone.
Vira rolled her eyes and walked back into her Neohome.
The next week, Vira sat on one of the heavy leather chairs in her Neohome, reading a book. She snickered occasionally as she read it, even though it was not meant to be a funny book. She rolled her eyes as the author tried pathetically to create a “possible story” as to why Vira had a “twisted hatred of everything beautiful”. It wasn’t worth the neopoints she had spent on it. She threw the book to one side, and then sighed as it disappeared in a puff of smoke. She was so bored.
“There’s only one way to stop your boredom, Vira,” hissed a voice inside her head.
Vira growled in irritation. “Oh, stow it. I’m not going to do your dirty work for you, Anora. If you want to have twisted minions, make them yourself.” Ever since the day in the fields, Anora, the faerie who had mutated her, would pop into her head at random times, urging her to perform acts of evil. Although she hated Anora, she knew that deep down she enjoyed Anora speaking to her. It gave her someone to talk to.
“Isn’t that the epitome of pathetic?” Vira asked no one in particular. “I’m glad of the company of my mortal enemy, because it keeps me from having to talk to myself. Like I’m doing right now.”
The doorbell rang. Vira, startled, jumped up to answer it. Smoothing the black dress she wore and running a paw through her fur, she wondered who it could be. No one had come to call since back in Year Three, when she had moved into this house and a neighbor had come to bring a house-warming gift. Upon catching sight of Vira’s face, the woman had fled, and never came back.
Vira opened the door. It was the Xweetok from the week before. She stared at him, wondering why he was here.
Her confusion must have been obvious on her face, because he said quickly, “Um, I just wanted to thank you for, you know, not making me a mutant pet or anything. It isn’t really my color.”
She stared at him for half a minute until she realized he was making a joke. “Oh.” She shrugged. “Well, your owner didn’t seem too happy about it.”
He shrugged, too. “Actually, she’s not my owner anymore.”
All of Vira’s discomfort vanished. “Why?” she asked, genuinely concerned. “What happened?”
“She pounded me.” The Xweetok seemed unconcerned, even relieved, about having been dumped by his owner.
“There was no reason for her to do that,” said Vira fiercely. She had always hated people who pounded their pets, like pets were just the property of their owners, to be dumped when they were tired of them.
The Xweetok shrugged again. “She wasn’t really owner material. She forgot to feed me and spent all her time on the boards annoying other people. Anyways, I got adopted by a proper owner, so now I’m much happier.”
Vira half-smiled. “Well, it was, um, nice to see you, but I bet you have to go now, um, don’t you?” She moved to close the door, but the Xweetok put out his hand to stop her.
“Actually, I told my owner I’d be here for an hour or so. I hoped we could... talk?” he asked hopefully.
Vira swallowed. She had no idea why this Xweetok wanted to spend so much time with her, when most people took one look and went running for the hills. On the other hand, most people just ran because she was Vira, and, therefore, supposed to be evil. This Xweetok would probably be too young to have heard the stories about her yet.
“A fresh target, Vira!” hissed Anora inside her head. Since it would have looked crazy to tell thin air to shut up, she simply thought it.
The Xweetok was still watching her expectantly. “Well, I should at least be nice to him,” she thought. She attempted a smile. “Sure, come in.”
Vira led the Xweetok to her sitting room, feeling suddenly self-conscious about the piles of books and random objects sitting around the room.
“So, um...” Vira’s voice trailed off. It had been so long since she had had an actual conversation with anyone that her skills were rusty. Her mind searched futilely for something to say, then seized upon Yooyuball.
“What’s your Yooyuball team?” she asked feebly. She thought the Altador Cup was soon... or was it? She was pretty sure that this was the Month of Hunting, which would make the Cup next month.
“Ugh,” she thought. “I really need to keep up with the times.”
“Um, I don’t have one,” said the Xweetok.
“What?” said Vira, startled.
“A Yooyuball team. I don’t have one.”
“Oh.” Vira blushed. She had completely forgotten asking him the question. “Well, my team’s... well, it used to be Meridell, but... that was a long time ago, before they started the official Cup. So I guess I don’t have a team, really.” She swallowed a lump in her throat, remembering watching her sister leap through the air, so nimble, so graceful, flinging the Yooyuball back toward the other team. Vira had always wanted to be just like her.
Her hands clenched into fists, and her breathing quickened. Her wishes had never gotten her anywhere. They had all ended in ruin. A broken dream of being pretty. A broken dream of staying with her loving family forever.
“Are- are you all right?” asked the Xweetok, concerned.
Vira saw it all flash before her eyes. Her failed wish. Her owner dragging her to the pound, shrieking that ‘this ugly thing’ could not be her Vira. Her sister’s sad eyes as she was led away. Escaping on leathery wings, flying through the darkness to a place she could call her own. All of the terrified faces, all of the people and pets who had shrank from her, recoiled from her.
Tears streaked down Vira’s face, and she choked back sobs. She put her head in her hands, hiding her face.
But the Xweetok didn’t back away, didn’t leave. He hugged her firmly, letting her tears run their course.
Slowly, Vira’s tears ceased to flow. Her muffled sobs stopped. She raised red, sore eyes to the Xweetok, who gave her one last squeeze and let go. And Vira knew that sitting next to her was one person who would always accept her, no matter how she looked.
Suddenly, the Xweetok gasped and pointed to her arm, and Vira stared. The sickly gray-green color was receding, replaced with soft yellow fur. Vira’s horns turned soft and yellow again, and her wings and tail began to fade, like Anora’s illusion had.
“No!” hissed Anora, startling Vira. She could almost feel claw-like hands gripping into her arms. Her fur began to change back, and her wings and tail looked more solid. “You cannot escape me! You are mine!”
A wave of determination flooded Vira. “I am not yours,” she said in a low but strong voice. “I am Vira. I am mine.”
With a final hiss, Anora’s protests faded away. Vira looked at her yellow-again fur in elated disbelief.
Anora’s spell over her had no more power. She was free.
She looked up at the Xweetok, who smiled shyly at her.
“Are you all right?” he asked again.
Vira smiled. “Definitely.” She realized something. “You know, I’ve never asked your name.”
“It’s Samuriel3334. What’s yours?”
“I’m Vira.” She smiled and added one thing. “And I'm not the prettiest Acara in Neopia.”