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Week 358
You are on Week 359
Week 360

Every week we will be starting a new Story Telling competition - with great prizes! The current prize is 2000 NP, plus a rare item!!! This is how it works...

We start a story and you have to write the next few paragraphs. We will select the best submissions every day and put it on the site, and then you have to write the next one, all the way until the story finishes. Got it? Well, submit your paragraphs below!

Story Three Hundred Fifty Nine Ends March 7

Allwen stared at her reflection in the mirror and let out a sigh. After months of using the best grooming products she could find, her hair still looked like a mess. Why couldn't she be a Uni like her sister Tati and have a long, flowing mane? But no, she had been born a Krawk, with wayward spikes of hair that were almost uncontrollable.

The young starry Krawk ran the tips of her claws lightly along her face, still gazing at herself in the mirror. She didn't have pretty smooth skin like her Nimmo friend Nyobi, or even soft fur like a Cybunny. Instead, she had a bunch of rough-feeling scales.

"I'll never win the Beauty Contest," she said to herself. "Nobody thinks Krawks are pretty. I'd give anything to look like Tati."

Large red eyes seemed to appear in the mirror as Allwen gazed wistfully into it. The Krawk blinked with surprise, but when she looked again, the eyes were gone. In their place was her reflection, boring, plain Allwen. But something was different... her hair suddenly looked more shiny and lustrous, and fell smoothly down her back instead of awkwardly sticking up. Her scales glittered blue and gold; even her large golden-brown eyes seemed brighter.

Allwen leaned in closer to admire herself. "Maybe all my hard work is finally starting to pay off!" she murmured happily. "I just might make it to the Beauty Contest after all!"

The Krawk was about to run off to find her sister and share her good news when the mirror's reflection changed again. "What’s happening?!" Allwen cried, watching in horror as her skin dulled to a muddy blue and her hair became lank and colourless.

"No! Please!" she whimpered, tears beginning to roll down her cheeks.

As Allwen sobbed, the two red eyes appeared in the mirror once more, clearer than before, and a strange, dark voice floated into her ears. "There's only one way to get your beauty back..."

Author: Mirror, Mirror
Date: Mar 3rd
The voice sent chills down Allwen's spine, and the Krawk had a nagging feeling that she should not look up. But she did, straight into the burning, scarlet eyes that glared at her from beyond her mirror. Every instinct in her body screamed at her in protest, but she was so desperate... so desperate... "How?" Allwen breathed, voice barely a whisper.

Her only answer was a cold, cruel laugh. The red eyes had disappeared. But in the last few seconds she saw them, Allwen could've sworn they were smirking at her.

The Krawk dropped her head onto her desk and sobbed. She suddenly felt extremely cold and couldn't help shivering. There were a lot of questions racing around her head, most of them unanswered. But one remained clear.

She had just encountered Vira. For years, Allwen never believed in the stories of the cursed Acara. She always thought they were just... stories. Nothing more than that. Just simple faerie tales told to children at night so they wouldn't run off and do something foolish. But as it turned out, they weren't just stories. Vira was as real as life itself. Allwen's current state was proof.

The Krawk sobbed again and buried her face deeper into her arms. Her skin felt slimy and flaky against her face, but she didn't care.

What would Tati say when she saw her like this? Or Nyobi? Or anyone for that matter?

Would they still be able to recognise her, or would they see her as nothing more than a monster?

Allwen felt frightened all of a sudden. What if her sudden ugliness caused something drastic? What if she were taken away? Or hunted down?

In a deep corner of her mind, Allwen knew she was being dramatic. But she couldn't help feeling slightly terrified.

Questions raced along her head like a violent hurricane. Why was this happening? How could she fix this?

"There's only one way to get your beauty back..."

That's what Vira said. Those had been her famous last words. But they did nothing but succeed in confusing Allwen even more. Vira had told her nothing. Absolutely nothing. How was she supposed to change back when she didn't even know how--

It was then that Allwen realised her arms were uncomfortably crisscrossed across an object. Before, the table had been littered with nothing but makeup bottles and hair gel. And this didn't feel anything like either of those...

Allwen cautiously raised her head and looked down. She let out a small gasp and nearly fell out of her seat. Why hadn't she noticed this before?

It turned out the Vira didn't need to tell her anything. It took a single glance at the object lying on the table for Allwen to discover what she needed to do.

There, lying on top of scattered bottles of hairspray and mascara was...

Author: reveirie
Date: Mar 3rd
...a mirror. It was a small portable mirror, its handle carved with intricate designs that would have taken years to create. Allwen picked it up tentatively, admiring it. She flinched when she saw her reflection and set it down on her table again.

The Krawk felt tears prickle at the corner of her eyes again, and her throat began to tighten.

Why did Vira have to pick me? Why couldn't she have picked someone else? Someone who didn't care about her looks? Her own thoughts answered her. Because there wouldn't be a point in destroying someone's looks if they didn't care.

She let her tears run freely down her cheeks again. She picked up the mirror and peered into the reflective surface for many minutes, as if staring at it would make her pretty or at least normal again.

A teardrop rolled off the tip of her nose and landed on the mirror. Her sobs stopped as she watched in amazement as the teardrop glowed red -- the same red as Vira's eyes -- and began to slide. It left a trail of glowing red behind it, not unlike a Slorg. It curled and looped, forming letters in neat cursive.

"If I can't be beautiful, no one can," Allwen read aloud.

"What was that, Allwen?" Allwen jumped at the sound of her sister's voice.

"Oh, um, nothing Tati," Allwen replied without turning around.

She could feel her sister scrutinising her and felt an unexplained rage swell up inside her.

"Right," the Uni said sceptically. "Are you okay? You look slightly more bedraggled than you normally do."

"If you don't mind, Tati," Allwen said, uttering her sister's name venomously, "I'd like to be alone right now."

The words on the mirror imprinted themselves into her brain as she stared at them.

If I can't be beautiful, no one can... no one can... no one can...

"Oh, okay," the Uni said, her voice sounding hurt. "I-I'll see you later then, I suppose." Allwen heard her sister leave. She waited a few moments before she turned around and shut the door to her room.

"The mirror's right," she muttered to no one in particular. "Vira's right. If I can't be beautiful, no one should be beautiful. And that means Tati shouldn't be beautiful either..."

Author: xsoulweaverx
Date: Mar 4th
All of a sudden, the mirror clutched so tightly in her claw began to shake vigorously. Allwen gasped, wondering what had caused the spontaneous trembling. Maybe Vira had heard the jealous wish, the envious words that had somehow escaped the Krawk's mouth.

And then she realised it was her own claw vibrating so furiously. Maybe she was that angry; maybe that same jealousy that had brought those very words from her throat was the one that fueled her uncontrollable shivering. "That's right," she said, hoping that Vira would hear her this time. "No one can be beautiful. Especially not Tati."

As warm tears formed in Allwen's eyes, she could see, even through her blurry vision, that Vira's new message was spiralling out of the glass pane inside the mirror. The words swirled gracefully, with an unknown beauty, painting their message effortlessly. Do you agree with me, dear? Do you agree that if we can't be beautiful, no one can?

Allwen clenched her other fist and then nodded. "No one."

And all of a sudden, the Krawk's jaw went slack and her shoulders relaxed. She wasn't paralysed but felt no need to move, no need to blink or sigh. All she did was breathe as she could feel this new, invigorating hatred flow through her veins. And then she did the last thing she ever expected. Without thinking, she let the handle of the mirror slip out of her claw.

It shattered.

Oh, dear, you have made the right decision. You will never regret this. Never. I assure you that, my dear Allwen. With each word that formed itself, Vira seemed more and more correct. There was no way to argue with her.

And then, as Allwen glanced down at the broken mirror, she could see crimson swirls seeping out of the broken frame. They climbed up into the air; they crawled up walls and laced through the silence. As they elegantly twisted and turned, the Krawk could feel a new strength flowing through her. It was the strength of knowing that no one would be beautiful, that everyone would be equally ugly.

And we will rule this ugly world. We will not allow perfect skin, nor shall we tolerate flawless hair. We will rule this ugly world.

Allwen closed her eyes, imagining what it would be like, that ugly world. She saw sepia skies holding grey clouds, and Neopians walking down bleak, cobbled streets. There was no colour, no beauty. The Krawk smiled.

When she opened her eyes, a familiar Acara was standing before her...

Author: psychopsam
Date: Mar 4th
A strange elation thrilled through Allwen's veins as her dull gold eyes raked over the Acara before her, the Acara she'd seen so many times in stories. That slender, lithe form, face adorned with twisted ebony horns and swirling, crimson eyes, her Korbat-like wings flanking her frame. She was a demented mix of beauty and evil.

"Vira..." Allwen whispered reverently.

The villain's bloodless lips twisted into a truly evil smirk, but to Allwen's revenge-clouded mind, it only sent another thrum of excitement through her.

"Of course," Vira replied, her voice many times silkier in person. "And at last you, my dear, have come..."

"What can I do?" The question escaped Allwen's lips before she could think. She couldn't think. Her mind was dancing with visions of Neopia, a Neopia where even the sun was dull and the trees were grey, where everyone was hideous, where she'd never be scorned for her looks again.

Vira's smirk grew even wider. "It is already done."

And then Allwen heard a sound from downstairs, something far more beautiful to her than any music.

***

Tati tilted her head, confused, as Allwen stormed into her room. Allwen had always been a bit touchy about her looks, and maybe she shouldn't have mentioned anything. But the sheer hatred in Allwen's eyes and the venom in her voice was bewildering her. Why had her sister been so furious?

Tati sighed. Maybe it would be a good idea to tell Allwen that she was actually saving up for a morphing potion for her for her birthday.

Better wait until she calms down, the Uni decided, retreating into her own room.

The Uni trotted over to her intricate, gold-framed wall mirror, examining herself and trying to figure out what had made Allwen so angry at her.

Tati flicked her head, watching her reflection's silky lavender mane flutter in front of her.

Hmmm, the Uni thought. It's actually looking a little dull today. I thought I'd put glitter in. Perhaps Allwen thought I was mocking her?

Tati looked back up, and her eyes flew wide in alarm. Her periwinkle fur had faded into a dull steel blue, and her hooves were grimy, dripping with muck and slime.

The Uni shrieked as her reflection began to distort...

Author: dianacat777
Date: Mar 5th
"Yes," Allwen whispered, a grin twisting her features. "Oh, thank you, Vira, thank you!" She slid forward, her knees giving way until she was in a strange combination of a kneel and a bow at the Acara's feet. Tears of joy slid freely. At last, she would be out of the shadow Tati's radiance had cast over her.

"But -- you -- you're -- you're happy," Vira choked, sounding bewildered, maybe even frightened. "Why are you... how could you be... happy? I don't get it," she added.

The Krawk shook her head. What was there to get? She was free, finally. She and Tati were equals now. It was the greatest thing ever to happen to her. Her smile broadened, her eyes glistened with pure joy.

Vira whimpered in pain. Why was this not working? She was supposed to bring sadness and fear and agony. Not happiness. Happiness was so bright and colourful and... and... and just so pretty...

A younger Vira, a prettier Vira, smiling, gently caressing each flower petal. The wind, cool on her face. A vibrant field of green, dotted with little jewels of colour, red and blue and white, waving under the golden heat of the sun.

Nimble fingers, covered in the latest craze (sparkly nail varnish), braided stems and vines together to create crowns. Laughing as she admired her reflection, then frowning as she realised it wasn't perfect.

"I wish," she murmured, each word soft, "I wish I were the most beautiful Acara in all of Neopia."

A cloud, passing over the sun. Darkness. The colours dimming around her, fading into smudges of grey, until all that was left was the mirror in her hands, and the reflection on its silvery surface. Vira watched in dismay as even that began to darken and twist.

"No," she wailed, throwing the mirror down. It shattered into a million bright, sparkling pieces. And from each piece, two cold eyes stared out at her.

"There's only one way to get your beauty back..."

She felt the tears sting at her eyes. "I'll do it. Anything, oh please!"

A cold presence wrapped itself around her. Laughing evilly, it squeezed, tighter and tighter. Vira closed her eyes, gasped for breath. The shadow seemed to squeeze harder, began flowing into her. A strange desire, an overpowering urge to crush all beauty overcame her.

And then it was over. Closed eyes flew open, darkening, changing colour to a deep crimson. Allwen's mouth had dropped open into a surprised O as the presence of Vanity left Vira for a newer, vainer host...

Author: mithril_mithrandir
Date: Mar 5th
Vira's back arched as a purple, smoke-like substance swirled out of her mouth, which was open in a silent scream. Allwen closed her own gaping mouth and took a step back, suddenly fearful. She retreated another step as the smoke curled through the air toward her. The last of the smoke left Vira, and she collapsed to her knees, eyes staring blankly at the floor and her chest heaving.

"Vira wha--" Allwen began, but as soon as she opened her mouth, the purple smoke darted through, quick as a Cobrall.

The Krawk stumbled backward, clutching her throat and making half-sobbing sounds. Vira could see Allwen couldn't breathe, but she felt too weak to move to her aid. Allwen tripped over something and fell to the floor, where she continued to writhe for what seemed like an eternity. Then suddenly she stopped. Red glowed in her irises, increasing in brightness before it died away again. Her eyelids fluttered, trying to hold onto consciousness without success. They closed, and she slipped into darkness.

Vira stared at the still body for a few moments and then forced herself to stand. She leaned against the wall for support, trembling before she sensed another presence in the room. The Acara whirled around to see a Uni, dull and furious.

"Ah," Vira sighed. "You must be Tati."

Speech returned to the Uni. "Vira!" she hissed. Her eyes narrowed and flicked to her sister. "What have you done to Allwen?"

"I didn't do anything."

"Liar!" Tati snarled.

Vira sighed again and turned to the unconscious Krawk. "I know you can hear me, Vanity," Vira said. "Explain to the girl and, while you're at it, explain to me."

Allwen or, rather, Vanity opened her eyes and sat up, a smirk spreading on her face. "What's there to say, my dear?" The dark faerie examined her new body before she burst out in cruel laughter that sent chills down both Vira's and Tati's spines. "I say, it's strange to be a Krawk after being an Acara for so long."

"W-What are you talking about Allwen?" Tati stammered.

Vanity fixed Tati with her fierce red gaze. "Allwen is no longer, girl. I am Vanity." Vanity pushed her new body gracefully to its feet and swung around to face Vira. "It's hard to believe, I know, dear, but Allwen was much vainer than you. You know as well as I do that the stronger the vanity, the stronger Vanity is!"

Vira began to say something, but Vanity cut her off. "Shush, dear. You should have nothing left to say. And if you don't mind, I must be off now. I have things to do, Neopets to see..." She grinned maliciously. "And dreams to crush..."

Author: xsoulweaverx
Date: Mar 6th
Vira shook her head slowly, eyes wide in silent horror. Tati looked fearfully at her former sister. "A-Allwen?" she asked again.

"Haven't I explained anything to you?" Vanity snapped. "Your little sister is no more. She was foolish and greedy, and made herself weak and vulnerable in her quest for beauty."

"Beauty..." Tati repeated in a whisper, looking down at herself. Her once shining coat was now greasy and mottled, her mane lying lank and unkempt in lifeless strands around her face. Her eyes were a muddy shade of brown and dull-looking, but as she gazed at the Krawk, they filled with hatred. "What have you done with my sister?" she snarled, launching herself forward.

A bang went off and a puff of smoke filled the room, engulfing Vira, Vanity, and Tati. When it cleared, the Uni was lying on the ground, Vanity standing over her with an uncaring look on her face. "You're a waste of my time," she said dismissively and turned to leave the Neopet struggling to get up. "I don't understand why you still care about that little brat of a sister. She never cared about you. You never mattered to her."

"She's my sister!" Tati screamed furiously. "She's my sister, no matter how vain or how weak, and I still love her as my sibling, whether she likes me or not!"

The Krawk seemed to shrink back from Tati's retort. Her eyes flashed, but she made no remark and turned to leave.

Vira, who had been standing still the whole time, advanced toward Vanity's retreating back. She felt as though she were waking from a deep sleep; the dark faerie had eft her at last. She felt free from the evil bonds that had held her for all these years; she no longer cared if she was ugly or beautiful. She had finally realised what she had failed to see as a child: beauty really was only skin-deep.

"You can't leave, Vanity," the Acara said with a soft semi-smile.

The Krawk turned around, a sneer on her face. "Says who?" she jeered.

"Me," Vira replied calmly. "I'm not letting you hurt anyone else now."

Vanity laughed, a cold, humourless laugh that sent shivers down Tati's spine. Vira just stood, still wearing her peaceful expression.

"You wish to take me on?" Vanity taunted. "You wish to hurt me, now that I am so strong? You cannot win against me, my dear! Me, a dark faerie! You are as foolish as you were when I first possessed you."

"Ah," Vira said, moving forward so that she was close to the Krawk. "But that's where you're wrong..."

Author: zylp
Date: Mar 6th
Vanity smirked. "You speak so condescendingly, when you've been completely under my thrall for so many years? Foolish girl. You've never triumphed against me."

Vira raised an eyebrow. "And yet, you left me."

"Because Allwen was far more powerful than you," chuckled the faerie. "I left of my own free will."

The Acara advanced another step further. "But that's where I think you're wrong."

"I'm glad to hear you're egocentric," Vanity replied dryly, "but if you don't mind, I have a world to corrupt."

Vira continued on as if the faerie hadn't said anything. "Allwen certainly was vain," she agreed, "but no more than I. No, you left because you couldn't stand her happiness. You needed a means to end it. And so you left me, knowing that I was unlikely to ever feel happiness again, knowing what I let you do for all this time."

Vanity said nothing, only narrowed her eyes.

"It seems that some of my shrewdness has rubbed off on you, dear Acara," she growled eventually. "But what does it matter? The spell is already cast. I don't need you any longer."

"Perhaps," Vira allowed, "but you're still weakened by her joy, and that's all that matters."

A flicker of crimson anger gleamed in Vanity's dull gold eyes. "Weak, hmmm? We'll see about that!"

A bolt of grey light flared from both of her hands, solidifying into ropes around Vira's body. The Acara struggled violently at first, her thrashing weakening as a dull despair seeped through her veins.

With a cackle, Vanity whirled around to face the wall mirror. She could restore her strength and complete Neopia's curse in one fell swoop. All she needed to do was enter that expanse of shining glass, no, only touch it...

Tati sucked in a deep breath. This was it. If Vanity escaped into the mirror, she'd never see the real Allwen again.

Allwen, she mentally promised, no matter what you thought of me, I'll get you out of this.

With a whinny, the Uni...

Author: dianacat777
Date: Mar 7th
...leapt forward and harshly pushed Vanity to the ground. She saw surprise reflected in the eyes that had once belonged to her sister and felt a surge of rage. Allwen didn't deserve this. She had to free her sister.

Vanity's power shattered for the moment and the twisting, silver ropes that encircled Vira's body melted away. The Acara slumped to the ground, unable to stand.

Vanity snarled and struggled beneath Tati's body, but the Uni refused to even think about loosening her grip. Even though Vanity was powerful, she was still unused to Allwen's body. Her hands were pinned beneath her, so she couldn't resort to magic without injuring herself. All she could do was thrash and attempt to escape.

Tati gazed wildly around until her eyes met Vira's. "Please," her voice was a hiss. "You know her better than anyone, how do I defeat her?"

Vira looked at her for a moment but then shook her head. "I'm sorry... but I don't know." She looked exhausted, crestfallen. For years, she had dreamed of the day she would be freed. She never imagined it would be like this. She suspected she should've been relieved from being released from Vanity's grip at last, but all she felt was guilt and sorrow. Her crimson eyes gazed at Allwen sadly. It was her fault the Krawk was like this... all her fault. The Acara's eyes were closing; she couldn't hold on any longer. Vira slumped to the floor, unconscious. And Tati was all alone...

Vanity was laughing wildly, her eyes flashing. "You see? There's no hope for you. You are as powerful as you are pretty." She cackled. "You're useless. Ugly. Weak... you are nothing!" Her eyes gleamed with the dark promise of the future. "And soon all of Neopia will be just like you! And I will be the fairest of them all!" Her laughter was like daggers, cutting at Tati violently.

Tati shook her head. "No! Never!" She glared at Vanity. "You are the one who's weak, making others do your work for you. I swear, I will free my sister if it's the last thing I do! And you will be the the useless one."

This only made her laugh harder. It hurt Tati, hearing this insane, malicious laughter coming from her sister's mouth. She had to remind herself over and over again. This was not Allwen... this was not Allwen... it was Vanity.

The dark faerie was speaking again, leering at Tati with oh-so-familiar eyes. "You're so foolish, Tati, trying to save your sister, even though she's the reason you're like this."

Tati blinked back tears. "No. Y-you're wrong. It wasn't A-Allwen who did this to me. I-It was y-you." As much as she tried to believe those words, she couldn't help stammering.

Vanity smirked. "Ah, it may have been my power, but it was Allwen's will that finished the spell. She was the one who wanted you to be ugly, just like her. She was the one who made you this way."

Tati shook her head. "No, no, no..." She repeated those words over and over again. But they didn't seem to make a difference.

Her grip on Vanity was weakening. Soon she would break free and escape into the mirror. And there was nothing Tati could do to stop her.

The Uni looked around blindly, searching for something -- anything -- that could help her. She was slowly losing hope. There had to be something that could help her. Her eyes passed over Vira, sprawled out on the floor like a rag doll, over the shattered pieces of a mirror, to the window, where rain was pelting against the glass in big, ugly droplets. But she found nothing that could help her. Nothing.

And then she looked out the doorway of her sister's room into the hallway. She saw she had left the door of her own room ajar, and through it she could see a shelf where numerous Beauty Contest trophies shone proudly, their surfaces polished and pristine.

Her eyes clouded with recollection.

"Someday, I wish I could be as pretty as you," a younger Allwen was saying, gazing longingly at her sister, who was brushing her hair in front of an elaborate mirror.

Tati stared at her former self, urging her to say the right thing.

The past Tati snorted and ran a comb through her silky locks. "Who knows? Maybe you can." Although the Uni simply stared at her reflection, Tati noticed the disappointed look in her sister's eyes and felt terrible.

A tear slid down her cheek and she mumbled, "How could I have been so cold? She just wanted to be like me..."

Vanity, sensing weakness, threw her off easily. Tati rolled to the floor. She was in an almost trance-like state, only staring blankly at the Krawk combination of her sister and the dark faerie, not even bothering to stop her as she stood up.

Her mind was reeling as she recalled her first Beauty Contest. She had been so amazed by the perfection, so transfixed by all the pretty faces. Back then, she had been so foolish, so naive... but now she knew.

"That wasn't beauty," Tati mumbled. She finally knew what she had to do.

Vanity was walking toward the mirror, her hand outstretched, her fingers inches from the glass...

Tati stared, and then she did the only thing she could do. She leapt forward again, tackling Vanity. Things didn't work out as smoothly as they had the first time -- the faerie had already entered the mirror world. But this time, she had taken Tati with her.

She couldn't see anything. Shapes and sounds whizzed by her, moving too quickly for Tati to register what they were. Vanity struggled beneath her grip, fighting for her freedom. "Let me go!" she screeched. Her voice echoed through Tati's mind and screamed in her ears. It was everywhere, fighting against her with its dark sound. But Tati refused to let go. A little voice was telling her not to.

Tati closed her eyes and ignored Vanity's screeches. She had to concentrate. It her last hope. Allwen's last hope. And Vira's as well...

How ironic that beauty, the one thing Vanity fought so hard to destroy, would be the thing that would defeat her.

Just not in the way she expected.

Before, when Tati heard the word "beautiful," she thought of silky hair, stylish clothes, and a face with flawless makeup. But that wasn't beauty.

Beauty was a sunset, melting into the ocean as stars slowly appeared above.

Beauty was ice cream on a hot summer day.

Beauty was seeing the miracle of snow falling for the first time.

Beauty was a mother and her child, holding hands and searching for shapes in the clouds.

Beauty was the way the world seemed brighter after a long rainfall.

Beauty was stars and sunlight and friends and family. Beauty was things that seemed like nothing, but were in fact so precious.

Beauty was Allwen...

A tear tumbled from Tati's tightly closed eyes. The droplet trickled down her cheek and fell onto Vanity. The Krawk screamed and screamed, as if the tear were acid.

Beauty was Vira...

Another tear fell from Tati's eye. Vanity's eyes snapped shut as it touched her.

Beauty was life...

More tears spilled from Tati's eyes as she cried. For everything. For Allwen and Vira. For herself and all things beautiful. She also cried for Vanity, knowing that the faerie would never be able to understand what true beauty was.

With each teardrop that found its way to Vanity, the faerie screamed louder. Every drop made her weaker. With every tear, the faerie slipped further and further away.

Finally, Tati found she could cry no more. The Krawk's body had grown limp under her grip, but it was stirring now...

Allwen let out a small gasp as the darkness left her and she opened her eyes. "Tati?"

Instantly, the connection seemed to be broken. The strange world of mirrors that Vanity had entered melted away. They were falling... falling... They hit the ground and slumped to the floor, back in Allwen's room. Home once more.

Tati opened one eye. "Welcome back."

They stared at each other for a while, small smiles creeping uncertainly onto their faces. And then their exhaustion caught up with them and they fell to the floor.

Rain pounded against the window and lightning streaked across the sky as a storm raged outside.

* * * * *

When Allwen awoke, she was almost afraid to open her eyes. Her mind was spinning with all that happened. Had it just been a dream? It had seemed so real...

Slowly, she cracked an eye open. No, it was real. She saw pieces of glass littered across the floor; the mirror had shattered. In front of her lay Tati. The Uni's chest was slowly heaving up and down with the deep breathing of sleep. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a dark shape that could be no one but Vira.

Slowly, she stood up. Relief flooded through her. They were back! They truly were back! She no longer felt cold... Vanity had left her. She was free. Free!

There was a groan, and Allwen looked down to see her sister slowly waking up. Her grin faltered a bit as she remembered. How could she have thought such cruel things about Tati? Her sister had always been there for her... if it weren't for Tati, she would've still been Vanity's puppet. And it was her fault her sister was like this too.

She sunk to the floor and stared at Tati sadly. Her sister's eyes were closed, but she must have felt Allwen's gaze for she opened them quickly.

"Tati..." Allwen began, but her sister interrupted her.

"Don't. It's all right. I... haven't been the ideal sister myself." She forced a smile and Allwen couldn't help but smile back. Her sister's grin had a way of doing that. It was so pretty it made you want to...

Wait... pretty...

Allwen stared. Her sister... her sister was back. Allwen's eyes sparkled like sunlight on water. Her blue coat had a healthy shimmer to it as she moved to brush away a strand of her hair, silky once more. She was back to the way she was and perhaps even more beautiful than she had been before.

Eagerly, Allwen glanced around for a mirror to see if she too had changed. But all the mirrors had mysteriously broken. She felt disappointed, but relieved somewhat... she wasn't all that eager to see herself. What if she hadn't changed back?

Allwen gazed at the floor. Her reflection caught her eye, dancing on the shattered pieces of glass like a ghost. Her skin had returned to its usual shade of blue and gold; her eyes had reverted back to the honey brown colour. Her hair was still a mess, but she didn't care. In her eyes, at that moment, she had never seen herself look prettier.

Allwen grinned. She now knew that beauty wasn't everything, something she should've realised a long time ago. But still... it was nice to be back.

She felt as if she would burst with glee. Vanity's curse was truly gone! They were normal again. She wasn't beautiful, but she was herself. Tati had regained her usual gorgeous appearance. And Vira...

Vira...

Allwen turned her head to look at the Acara, and she felt as if someone had snatched a handful of her happiness away.

Vira was still the same. Her fur was still knotted and tangled; her hair retained its muddy shade. Her shredded clothes hung limply around her body. She looked small and weak, with her head hanging down and her eyes staring at the ground.

"Vira..." Allwen felt terrible. Out of everyone, Vira was the one who had suffered most. She, out of anyone in the world, should deserve to be pretty again.

But... she wasn't.

"It's okay..." Vira whispered. She was staring at her hands, avoiding eye contact. "I've been suffering under Vanity's curse for too long. I don't think it'll go away. I'll be fine, though," she added, as if sensing Allwen's concerned look. She forced a weak smile and looked into Allwen's eyes. "I'm used to being ugly."

Allwen could hardly hear the Acara's last words, though. She was staring, transfixed. "But Vira, you're beautiful."

True, the Acara still had her frightening appearance, but one thing had changed. Her eyes -- the blood red was long gone. It was as if it had melted away and been replaced by something much better.

Vira's eyes were green. Greener than anything Allwen had ever seen in her life. They were the colour of leaves and grass and flower stems and so much more... and they were sparkling, shining more brightly than even Tati's eyes. And they were lovely... oh, so lovely...

She saw the Acara's eyes widen, and Vira snatched a jagged piece of glass from the ground. She stared at her reflection for a while, eyes disbelieving, and then she broke into a smile, her first real one for who knew how long. Her eyes... they reminded her of a time when things were different, when she hadn't been victim to this horrid curse. She knew she would never be as pretty as she had been back then, but she was fine with that. For her, this was enough.

Tati smiled, observing Allwen and Vira with mild interest. They must have been through so much, both of them being manipulated by Vanity like that. She sighed happily and leaned back. The faerie was gone now. She wouldn't bother them again. Everything was normal. They were free.

At that moment, she was strangely reminded of the morphing potion she had planned to get Allwen as a birthday gift. But she knew know she didn't need it.

She sighed again. Everything was going to be okay.

She gazed around sleepily until her eyes caught something. "Allwen, look."

Both Allwen and Vira turned and followed her gaze, looking out the window.

The grey clouds and rain had disappeared. The world seemed much brighter. The grass and leaves were a vibrant green, as bright as Vira's eyes. The sky was cloudless, painted a deep blue. Raindrops clung to the glass, sparkling as the sun shown upon them. In the distance, a majestic rainbow was spiralling into the horizon.

Allwen looked at Tati and Vira. She smiled. The world had never seemed more beautiful.

The End.

Author: reveirie
Date: Mar 7th



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