Starrbel the Uni took one last approving glance at her
reflection in the mirror. Her make-up was immaculate, her mane was silky and
tangle free, and her hooves were shiny and manicured. Long black eyelashes framed
the blue eyes that were blinking back at her. There was no doubt about it; Starrbel,
although she wasn't painted, was definitely the prettiest Uni in the whole of
As well as pretty, Starrbel was popular, queen
of the in-crowd. Wherever she went, a band of adoring followers worshipped the
ground she walked on, and praised everything she did. If Starrbel didn't like
someone, their life would be made a misery by her collection of friends. Nothing
was cool unless Starrbel wore it, said it or liked it. Even if she had come
into school wearing a lime green raincoat and pink dungarees, within a day all
her admirers would be doing the same. No matter how outrageous, her friends
would copy her every move.
Starrbel loved that. Of course, being pretty,
popular and spoilt, she was also vain. Selfish, self-obsessed and self-pitying
were her main characteristics, but her adoring fans couldn't seem to see through
the metaphorical cover-up she wore.
Yes, she thought conceitedly, as she
picked up her pink satchel and shimmied out of the Neohome, I really am the
most beautiful Uni ever! Too bad my HORRIBLE owner won't pay for me to be even
"Have a nice day at school, sweetheart!" her owner, Infinite_Jewel cooed after
the slammed door. Starrbel wriggled down to the garden gate. Four of her followers
were waiting to walk her to school.
"Hello, June," she said to her best friend, a blue Acara called JuneEmily.
She ignored the other three who were eagerly pushing forward to talk to her.
"Any luck with the morphing potion?" piped up an Usul named Saedie_Sweet.
"No," replied Starrbel. "My horrible owner is
SO selfish! She said that I should pay for a Pink Uni Morphing Potion out of
my own Neopoints! Doesn't she realise how important it is? I need to
be pink! I mean, I'm so ugly!" She put a fake pained expression on... this was
the bit she revelled in the most.
"You're not ugly!" protested Saedie.
"Starrbel, you're beautiful!" chipped in June.
"You're WAY prettier than us!" declared Nymphadina.
"You're the prettiest Uni in the whole of Neoschool!" announced Carlii.
Starrbel smiled modestly. Just as she was about to deny it all, and make them
flatter her all over again, a voice cut in from behind them.
"Hello," the voice said. "I'm new to Neoschool."
Starrbel whisked around.
It was a pink Uni.
If Starrbel was beautiful, this Uni was breathtaking.
She was perfect. Her clothes were identical to the outfit Starrbel had seen
in a catwalk just the night before. Her features were exquisite, even without
cosmetics. Her beauty was natural, and she made Starrbel look just as she was;
cheap-looking and fake. But it wasn't just her looks that filled Starrbel with
loathing. It was her colour, as well. Pink.
"Who're you?" spat Starrbel, glaring.
"My name is Mia," she replied, smiling a dazzlingly
"I'm SO pleased to meet you!" gushed June suddenly. And to Starrbel's surprise
and horror, June slipped her arm through Mia's and they began to chat away like
old friends. Following June's lead, Carlii, Nymphadina and Saedie tagged along
after the new friends who were strolling down the road together, towards Neoschool.
Starrbel was left gawping on the pavement.
She turned away, fuming. How dare that
- that PINK Uni steal her popularity? What did her friends see in that UGLY
Mia, anyway? Behind her, a group of male Lupes, Kougras and Gelerts were walking
up. Starrbel smiled the smile that usually made the boys go totally gooey, and
start showing off. But today, the boys were gawping at someone else.
"Who...who's that?" gaped Hobbes_272, her favourite of the boys. He pointed
at Mia, who was still walking up ahead with June. "What's her name, Starrbel?"
"Oh, her!" Starrbel sniffed. "Her name's Mia... and she's really ugly
and spoilt, by the way. She just walked up to me and insulted me for NO reason...
and now she's turning my friends against me!" she lied.
The boys took no notice of her . "She's beautiful!" breathed Narolos, a handsome
"Actually," Starrbel insisted. "She's really ugly. You can't see her properly
from here, and that's why you think - "
"D'you have her Neomail address?"
Things got worse and worse for Starrbel as the
day trudged on. At the beginning of every class, there would be a wild dash
to the seat next to Mia. Hardly anyone spoke to her, and her friends acted as
though they'd never known her. At break, she'd hung around in the toilets so
she wouldn't have to go outside alone. The boys, instead of gawping at Starrbel,
now spent all the lesson staring at Mia, jaws dropped. At lunchtime, she'd had
to buy her own lunch for a change, without one of her grovelling followers buying
it for her. She hadn't been called pretty since the terrible journey to school,
and her selfish pride was injured. In one day, her whole social life had been
When the terrible day finally ended, Starrbel stomped home, fuming. It was
the first time she had ever walked home alone. She barely noticed Jewel relenting,
saying that she'd pay for the Pink Uni Morphing Potion. She didn't even check
her reflection when she stormed into her bedroom, and that was a first, too.
She flung herself on her bed and sobbed her heart out into the pretty pink pillows.
But they were tears of anger and self-pity, and as she cried, smudging her make-up,
a plan crept into her mind... a plan of all-to-sweet revenge...
"Jewel," began Starrbel, the next morning, trying to sound innocent. "Can
I go shopping?"
"OK, sweetheart. But I thought we were going
to get you that morphing potion today," Jewel replied.
"I'll get that on the way to school on Monday.
I'm, erm... meeting some friends down town today," she lied.
"Suit yourself, honey, shrugged Jewel.
Starrbel could have skipped with happiness. Her plan was going perfectly. She
rushed up to her room and slipped into her (designer) clothes. Then she took
out her (designer) purse and stuffed in 6000 NP inside it. She dropped the purse
into her (designer) handbag, took one last approving glance at her reflection
and shimmied down to The Marketplace in the best of moods.
"Welcome to my Bazaar of wondrous items!" Kauvara's voice floated through the
shelves stacked with glass bottles. "How may I be of service to you, young Uni?"
Starrbel glanced over her shoulder, to check
no-one she knew was there. They weren't. "Erm, I need a Pink Uni Morphing Potion
and a Moehog Transmogrification Potion," she said.
"I haven't got either in stock presently, I'm afraid," sighed Kauvara. "But
they'll be ready by Monday morning. Could you come and collect them then?"
"Sure!" smiled Starrbel. Things were going so smoothly!
"I hope you're not planning on turning yourself into a Mutant Moehog," Kauvara
"Oh no!" vowed Starrbel. "The morphing potion's
for me -- and the transmogrification potion's for... erm, a friend."
Starrbel arrived home all smiles and sunbeams. Despite the fact that the previous
day had ruined her, she just couldn't wait to get back to Neoschool on Monday.
Her plan was going to work! It just had to work! She had it all mapped
The plan seemed ingenious to Starrbel, but in fact it was selfish and spite
that had caused her "intelligence". She grinned evilly to herself. It would
all be so easy! After Games on Monday, they would all drink their healing potions.
Starrbel was going to pour the Moehog Transmogrification Potion into Mia's glass,
and the Pink Uni Morphing Potion into hers. Then, when that horrible
Mia had turned into a revolting mutant, she, Starrbel, could parade in front
of the boys and her ex-friends, more beautiful than ever before. And she would
With those pleasant thoughts chasing round her
mind, Starrbel settled down for an early night; she needed her beauty sleep,
of course. She smiled -- tomorrow would be Sunday, and then it would be Monday!
(She almost hugged herself with glee.) And then on Monday... sweet, sweet revenge!
Sunday passed in a haze of anticipation. Starrbel was vaguely aware of life
continuing as usual, but inside her head she was predicting her moment of triumph...
her friends crowding around her, the boys shooting Mia-the-Moehog revolted looks
as she sprawled, ugly and mutated, in a corner of a the room... oh, why were
the seconds as long as hours? But somehow, the day dragged past, the night crawled
on and the sun rose as the next day broke. It was Monday.
Starrbel had set her alarm for 6:30 am, at least an hour before she usually
awoke. She got up, and dressed in a dream, but she was not quite dreamy enough
to forget to match her make-up with her future colour. She skipped downstairs
to find Jewel up to her elbows in last night's washing up.
"Starrbel!" Jewel exclaimed. "You're up early, sweetheart!"
"Yeah," agreed Starrbel, vaguely. "Remember?
I've got to get those -- I mean, the morphing potion." She blushed.
"Then you'll be wanting the 90,000 NP for it, right?"
"Yeah," repeated Starrbel. Then she frowned. "Jewel, are you sure you can afford
this? Isn't 90,000 about the whole contents of your bank account?"
"Not any more!" beamed Jewel, triumphantly. "I
was going to keep it as surprise, but I can't bear not telling you! We've won
the lottery -- I'm a millionaire!"
"Jewel!" gasped Starrbel, lost for words. "Jewel, that's wonderful! Oh, Jewel,
I'm so glad!" She hugged her owner, carefully avoiding the soap suds.
"I'm glad too, Starrbel," smiled Jewel. "But look at the time! If you're taking
a detour to the Magic Shop, you better have your breakfast now. It's nearly
half seven already!"
"OK... but Jewel, I'm so pleased!" Starrbel replied. Could the day get any
Starrbel poured out her cereal and sat deep in thought. The lottery had almost
distracted her from her plan!
"You know, Starrbel," interrupted Jewel, nibbling a piece of toast. "I could
easily afford a paint brush for you now. Wouldn't you rather be starry, or rainbow,
Starrbel snorted. Be multicoloured? Be covered in little yellow shapes? Her
plan would be wrecked without the pink! "No WAY, Jewel. Believe me, pink means
everything to me."
And for once in her life, Starrbel was telling the truth.
"Here you are..." smiled Kauvara. "One Moehog Transmogrification Potion and
one Pink Uni Morphing Potion. That'll be 96,000 total, please."
Starrbel almost threw the money at Kauvara. Come on, you stupid Kau!
she thought angrily as Kauvara slowly put the money in her till. For Neopia's
SAKE! I want to get on with my plan!
Eventually, Kauvara handed over the two potions. It was all Starrbel could
do to restrain herself from picking up the morphing potion and tipping it down
her throat, there and then. But if I drink it now, people might think I'm
JEALOUS of that Mia... but when she's a mutant no-one could ever think I was
envious of her colour!
Starrbel took out her designer bag and slipped
the potions into it. Smiling, she shimmied along the road to Neoschool. Going
in through the door was Mia, surrounded by Starrbel's ex-friends, and half the
boys in the year. June was burbling something about how pretty Mia looked with
that make-up on... Starrbel snorted -- Mia wasn't even wearing make-up,
and in a few hours everything about Mia would be negative. She would be an ugly,
Games was to be the second lesson of the day, so Starrbel didn't have to wait
too long. She was distracted all through Maths, and Dr. Ballard frowned constantly
at her, because she wasn't paying any attention (not that it was unusual), and
because her homework was all wrong (she hadn't been able to get one of the boys
to do it for her). But eventually, the torture of algebra ceased, and Class
7B filed into the gym to begin their Games lesson...
"Now, class," smiled Miss Stryke. "What must we always do at the end of a Games
"Warm up!" Starrbel blurted out, eager for the
lesson to end.
"Well done, Starrbel," said Miss Stryke. "Now everyone, jog up and down the
While the rest of the class jogged, Starrbel sprinted. She was tingling with
suspense and anticipation as, at last, the biggest, slowest Grarrl finished
"Right," said Miss Stryke. "Who wants to go and get the healing potions?"
"ME!" bubbled Starrbel, jumping up and down. "Me, Miss! I will!"
Miss Stryke raised one eyebrow, surprised that
"that spoilt Uni" was actually trying to be helpful! "Well, OK Starrbel,"
she said unsurely. "Erm -- are you feeling alright today?"
"Oh, I'm FINE!" replied Starrbel.
"So I see -- well, bring the healing potions
into the dining room and hand them out," said Miss Stryke, frowning.
Starrbel practically skipped out of the gym,
to the cafeteria. Her heart was in her mouth as she took the potions out of
her bag, and poured one into two cups. The two "special" potions were slightly
darker than the others -- she would have to keep her eye on them, or she might
give them to the wrong people.
Carefully, she took the tray of thirty potions and pasted an ever-so-fake smile
on her pink lips as she handed them out, saying; "One for Hobbes... one for
Narolos..." until she got to the very last neopet; "One for Mia... and one for
Holding her breath, she sat down at Mia's table, and took the potion in her
She took one small sip, and lifted the cup to her lips again, when she saw,
to her horror, that one of her hooves was slowly turning grey! She almost dropped
the potion - she spat out her mouthful, and seized June's potion and begun to
vigourously wash her mouth out. Then she grabbed Mia's glass, just as Mia was
about to sip it...
"I'm afraid there's been some mistake!" Starrbel faltered. "Th-this potion's
meant for me, not you... this is your potion, Mia."
Saedie narrowed her eyes. "What does it matter who drinks which potion? They're
only healing potions!"
Nymphadina sniffed the transmogrification potion. "This one isn't!" she spat.
"Don't drink it, Mia!"
"What's the matter with you guys?" shrugged Mia. "Of course it's just a healing
potion!" And she lifted it to her lips.
Whatever June and the others meant to do, they never did, because Starrbel
got there first.
"MIA!" she shrieked, knocking the potion out of her hand. It smashed. "DON'T!"
Mia raised her eyebrows.
"It - it was a Moehog Transmogrification Potion,"
sniffed Starrbel, miserably. She suddenly was aware of thirty pairs of eyes
staring at her. "Mia," she continued. "I owe you an explanation -- come with
Mia nodded, and began to get up, but the girls held her back.
"Don't, Mia!" hissed Carlii. "You don't need an explanation!"
"Yeah!" chipped in Saedie. "That piece of filth ought to be expelled!" But
Mia shook them off, and, picking up the morphing potion, followed Starrbel out
of the dining room.
Starrbel gulped. She wished she'd never had the
inspiration of the Great Potion Plot. She wished she'd never met Mia, that Jewel
had refused to give her the Neopoints, that Kauvara hadn't had the potions in
stock. Anything but having to admit to Mia what she had tried to do.
Starrbel took a deep breath. "I only did it because
I was so jealous," she began.
Mia looked shocked. "Jealous? Of me?"
"Yes, you. You're so perfect!"
"Yes," said Starrbel, bitterly. "You are. And
because I was so jealous, I was going to turn you into a mutant Moehog, with
a Moehog Transmogrification Potion, and drink my Pink Uni Morphing Potion at
the same time. But I didn't let you drink it -- June stopped you -"
"No, she didn't!" interrupted Mia. "You stopped
me, Starrbel," she said softly.
"Well," said Starrbel awkwardly. "I suppose I did. But that doesn't make what
I did acceptable! All because I wanted to be pink, because I wanted to be like
"What?" said Mia. "You really wanted to be like me? Why?"
"Like I said, you're perfect. You're a natural
beauty -- and you're really popular. I've just realised what a horrible person
I am. I'm a complete fake."
Mia turned to her fellow-Uni, concern brimming over in her deep blue eyes.
"Starrbel, you're not fake! If you were, then you wouldn't have knocked that
potion out of my hands. Besides, being me isn't that great!" she sighed. "I
wanted to be like you!"
It was Starrbel's turn to look shocked. "Why me?" she stuttered.
"Because of your make-up, your clothes, your style! I'm not even allowed to
wear make-up!" confessed Mia.
Starrbel was going to smile, but she decided not to.
"And your owner must be really nice," continued Mia. "Buying you that Morphing
Starrbel smiled. "We better go back in there," she suggested, gesturing to
the dining room.
"Yeah. I hope Miss Stryke won't give you a hard time," said Mia, frowning a
"Oh, she won't," assured Starrbel. "She doesn't mind arguments, as long as
they're sorted out."
The two Unis shimmied back into the dining room.
"Hey! Hey, Mia!" called Nymphadina, as Starrbel and Mia sat down at a table
of their own. "Don't you want to sit with us?"
"Yeah!" called Saedie. "Why are you with her?"
"Starrbel," replied Mia, "is my friend!"
Starrbel smiled at her, and Mia smiled back.
"So," said Mia, "are you going to drink that morphing potion now?"
"No," said Starrbel decidedly. "I feel a bit mean costing my owner all that
money - I'll give it back to her, and we can sell it or something. Besides,
I don't want to be pink any more."
"You don't?" said her best friend, Mia.
"No, I don't," replied Starrbel. "Being pink isn't all it's cracked up to be."
And, sharing a smile and turning away, the two Unis linked arms and walked
to their next lesson, basking in the glory of new-found friendship.