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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 1st day of Celebrating, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 116 > Short Stories > Beauty Within

Beauty Within

by ieva_kasku

Lightning streaked across the black sky, and torrential rains fell upon the dense forest. A particularly bright flash illuminated a solitary figure that crawled along the ground. It was obviously hurt very badly, and the icy rain and hail weren't helping matters any. Doggedly, the figure crawled onwards, until it finally collapsed from exhaustion on the outskirts of Neopia Central.

***

The next day dawned cold and wet, with a semi-heavy drizzle that was just wet enough to be annoying. The figure shook with cold and hurt; it had drifted in and out of consciousness all night. Through its hazy vision, it saw flashes of silver that bobbed up and down while coming closer all the time. When its eyes finally focused, it saw a pair of concerned sapphire eyes that belonged to a young blue Draik. The silver flashes had come from the silver raindrop marking on her forehead and the shimmering wing membranes. The creature tried to bare its teeth and growl in a menacing way, but wound up in a spasm of coughing.

     "Oh, you're hurt," said the Draik. "Come with me to my home; you'll get fixed up in no time." Then without waiting for an answer, the Draik picked up the injured creature and took flight towards Neopia Central.

     "Stupid pet… don't you know… who I am?" the figure said, and then blacked out.

***

Rayne the blue Draik carried the unconscious creature into the house. She didn't know who or what it was, but she knew it needed help. She saw her three sisters sitting down in the living room: Ari the desert Aisha, Flower the silver Shoyru, and Ripgirl the striped Krawk. They looked over to Rayne, and almost simultaneously gasped and began yelling.

     "Rayne! Don't you know who that is?"

     "Why is she with you?"

"What in the name of sporks possessed you to bring Vira into this house?!"

     Now Rayne was confused. She didn't know what was wrong with helping another, and said so, "Why shouldn't I help her? She was hurt and all alone in the rain. What's wrong with her?"

     "She's Vira!"

     "She's in the Gallery of Evil!"

     "She gives out magic mirrors that make you horribly ugly if you look at them!"

     The yelling continued until Ieva came in from her shopping trip. The suddenly bewildered owner looked around from the three older sisters hiding behind the couch, across to Rayne, and down to the comatose Vira. She blinked a few times before being bombarded with shouts.

     "Ieva, Rayne brought Vira in here!"

     "She was hurt!"

"So? She's evil!"

"EVERYONE CALM DOWN!" Ieva took a few deep breaths with her eyes closed, "All right, I'm going to figure out what the spork is going on here before we go any further. Rayne, you brought her in, so you start explaining."

     "I was walking over near the forest when I saw something moving. I went over and found her lying on the ground. She was hurt really badly and barely conscious, so I brought her back here. Then they started yelling at me, and then you came in. Did I do something wrong?"

      "Weeeeell… not technically wrong… she is hurt, and you wouldn't know about things like Vira and the Gallery of Evil yet. Here, give her to me and I'll see what I can do about her injuries. Ooooh, this looks bad. Ari, run and get some Healing Potions out of the inventory, quickly!"

     Ari looked like she was about to refuse, but then thought better of it and sullenly ran off for some Healing Potions. Ieva carried Vira into the spare bedroom and laid her on the bed. When Ari came back with an armload of potions, Ieva gave them all, one by one, to the unconscious Acara. She spluttered a little, and then slowly opened her eyes. Everything was fuzzy for a few seconds, but then her eyes focused fully. She gave a hiss of surprise and crouched in a defensive position.

     "Where am I? Who are you?"

      "I'm Ieva, and this is my NeoHome. These are my pets Flower, Ripgirl, Ari, and Rayne. She's the one who brought you in out of the storm. What happened to you, by the way?"

     "Feh, it's none of your business. I'm leaving."

     "No, you're not. You've got a wrenched wing that the Healing Potions didn't fix. You are staying right here until it's healed," said Ieva adamantly, "Rayne, you found her, so you get to take care of her, got that?"

     "Yes, Ieva!" the Draik turned happily to Vira, "Don't worry, I'll take care of you."

     Vira rolled her eyes and mumbled to herself, "Great. I'm trapped in house full of loonies."

***

A week had passed, and Vira's wing was nearly healed. Ari had taken to wearing a Rainbow Gun around the house; she had fought Vira a couple of times in the Battledome, and she sure wasn't taking any chances that the Acara might seek revenge. Rayne, however, seemed determined to befriend Vira. Kindness was her very nature, and any creature in her care was almost certainly going to become friends. But Vira resisted, as was her nature.

     "Do you want to go outside?"

     "No."

     "Do you want to read?"

     "No!"

     "Do you want to play?"

     "NO!"

     "What do you want to do?"

     "I want to sit here and I want you to leave me alone!"

     And so it went for another week. Rayne continued to attempt friendship and Vira continued to reject it. It was beginning to annoy everyone. Seriously annoy everyone.

     "For the love of sporks, Rayne, just leave her alone will you! This is getting ridiculous!"

     "You told me to take care of her! You said it was my job."

     "You're taking it a little too far, dear. Just relax a bit, why don't you?"

     "Fine," Rayne sighed. Why wouldn't the Acara be friends?

***

It was storming again; it had been a wet season. Vira would be leaving the next morning. She would have left that day, but for the storm. Perhaps it was lucky for her that she decided to stay for one more night, or things would have happened far differently.

     Ieva and the three older girls had gone out for dinner. Rayne had declined; she was not feeling too well. Nothing serious, just a cold. The Draik was lying in her room when she heard the front door creak open. Curious, she slid out of her bed and began to tiptoe through the house. To get there, she would have to go through Vira's room. Thinking that the Acara was asleep, she was very quiet about opening the door, and she was halfway across the room when Vira spoke.

     "Don't. Move."

     "Why?"

     "Sssh… get over behind that chair."

     "Okay," said Rayne as she wedged herself between the chair and the wall. She heard soft footsteps that did not belong to either her or Vira walk down the hall and stop at the door. The door slowly creaked open, and a figure scurried along the floor and rose up just in front of the bed.

     "So, Vira, we meet again. You won't get away this time. I'll eliminate you once and for all," the figure raised what Rayne could identify as a Wand of Dark Nova. Without thinking she raced over and stood between the figure and Vira. She saw that the attacker was a grossly mutated Zafara. It's sickly green fur was patched with mottled bluish skin, and sharp fangs protruded from it's elongated mouth. Curled horns and tattered wings completed the horrible creature. Rayne was afraid, but she continued to protect Vira.

     "Get out of my way, Draik! This creature will be destroyed for what it did to me!"

     "NO! Vira's my friend, and you won't hurt her!"

     "I said MOVE!" the Zafara swept Rayne aside with one sweep of its clawed hand; she hit the wall and crumpled to the floor, unmoving.

     Something in Vira's mind clicked. Someone had defended her. This little Draik whom she had been cruel to had stood up for her and had been hurt because of her. This she would not allow. With more fury and power than she would ever have been able to muster otherwise, she attacked the Zafara. Although she had lost before, now she was fighting for someone; she had another creature to defend. It was a short fight, she won quickly. The Zafara was immobile on the floor, and she was raising her claws for the final blow. Then a feeble voice said from the floor, "Don't… you've beaten her already. Is there need for any more hurt?"

     Vira pulled her arm back, the Draik was right. With some of the magic she had picked up over the years, she teleported the Zafara away. Then she turned to Rayne, "Thank you," she said, "You are a true friend."

     Rayne smiled, "Look, the rain stopped." It was true, the storm had cleared, and the moon shone through the clouds and sparkled in the night air. Vira knew that she should leave now. She opened the window and flapped her wing experimentally a few times. Healed. She was about to fly away when Rayne spoke again.

     "Remember, Vira, beauty comes from within."

     Vira gave her a cocky smile and took flight. She would remember.

The End


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