Usace Modeling Agency
Tiira_Misu the red Usul stared in awe at the
garment before her. Rainbow-dyed feathers silently fell from a boa wrapped around
a vibrant, green ball gown with sequins. One orange slipper and a red sandal
lay beneath the hanger where her costume dangled. A box packed with flashy jewelry
sat on the floor beside them.
"You can't be serious," the Usul assumed, turning
away from the gaudy mass of fabric with disgust. "If you think for one second
I'll walk out there in front of thousands of people--AND columnists--wearing
THAT this Saturday, you're insane!"
"What do you mean?" asked the striped Usul behind
her. "Tiira, you know this is only for a little while!"
"A little while?!" Tiira_Misu fumed. "That was
what you said when I joined the agency--FIVE MONTHS AGO!"
"Five months is a little while in the fashion
world." The Usul eyed Tiira_Misu idly. "You're going to give yourself frown
lines like that, y'know."
"Look, Bob," Tiira_Misu continued with a sigh.
"I'm really getting fed up with having to wear your 'experimental fashions.'
This Saturday is going to mark the fashion event of the year, and I'm certainly
not going to show up on the runway wearing anything like this."
"First of all," replied the Usul, "don't call
me Bob. Have you ever once thought I would name this organisation the 'Bob Modeling
"No, sir. That's why you changed your name to
Usace, (ooh-SAH-chee), sir."
"Right. Secondly, I've told you time and time
again that since you're new to the modeling business--"
"I've been modeling for ten years, sir."
"Since you're new to MY modeling business, I
feel it's necessary to make sure that you're accustomed to the way things work."
Usace paused, pointing to the sequinned monstrosity hanging from his office
door. "I've told you that this is my latest fashion. I want to...well...get
a reaction from people--to see how the public will like it. You're my--"
"Tiira, you AREN'T a guinea pig! You're just
my--experimental fashion wearer. You wear my experimental fashions. All of the
other models wear them when they first start off!"
"Well then, when do I stop 'starting off'?"
The Usul sighed. "I've been wearing--THOSE since I started professionally modeling
here! First you dressed me up as a chicken with rhinestone galoshes, and then
you made me wear that AWFUL hula-hoop getup, and NOW I'm dressing as--WHO WEARS
THIS STUFF ANYWAY?! I've got enough incentive to QUIT!"
"You wouldn't want to quit--there's nothing
else out there for you! You're just a pretty face hiding a head full of air!"
"I ought to see you in COURT!"
"AND DON'T COME BACK!" Usace and Tiira_Misu
both knew, however, that she would be back. Tiira and Usace got into scuffles
like this almost every day she turned up for work, but Tiira_Misu knew that
someday she would become a famous model.
Modeling was the Usul's life. Half of it, anyway.
Tiira_Misu's House, 33991 Aisha Avenue
Esmerelda the Cobrall winced as her fuming Usul
owner slammed the door shut behind her. "The NERVE of that guy!" she exclaimed.
"An AIRHEAD! Can you BELIEVE that?!" Esmerelda only hissed and nodded. That
was the safest thing to do in times like these. She knew that. Everyone who
lived with Tiira_Misu knew that.
"Esmerelda," The Usul continued. "I'm going
to the laboratory, okay? You just stay here, and if the phone rings, pick it
up and SLAM IT AGAINST THE WALL!" Esmerelda winced as Tiira_Misu marched away.
Tiira_Misu the red Usul was anything but an
airhead. In fact, she was quite the contrary, to say the least. Aside from her
life of modeling, she worked as a part-time technician of the Neopian Private
Investigation Agency. Her work dealt mainly with a few of the more renowned
spies at the agency, but lately she hadn't had very much work to do.
In the meantime, she had started a project of
studying the effects of carrots on all Faerieland petpets besides the Floud.
Her hypothesis that all other petpets were slightly affected by carrots was
nearly disproved, due to the fact that the only petpet affected was the Cirrus,
and the only thing it said was 'Cooooooooo Tiira_Misu'. The very last petpet
to be fed a carrot was to be Snuggles the Harris.
"Snuggles, will you HOLD STILL?!" Tiira_Misu
shouted as the fuzzy petpet attempted to squirm out of her grasp. She managed
to hold him down long enough to attempt to pry his mouth open and feed him the
carrot. Tiira_Misu couldn't quite understand why Snuggles was trying to flee.
Carrots tasted good to her, at least.
Meanwhile, in the Living Room
Esmerelda rolled up into a ball on the couch,
flinching at the sound of Tiira_Misu screaming from the laboratory. The little
Cobrall sometimes wondered why she wasn't taken up into a more peaceful household,
with an owner who would love nothing more than to curl up by the fireplace with
a book, and occasionally give their beloved petpet a pat on the head at the
--But no. She had to be taken up by the part-time-model-part-time-technician-part-time-faerie-petpet-biologist
psychopath. Sometimes it was too much for Esmerelda to bear, really.
Suddenly, the doorbell rang. Esmerelda, knowing
that she couldn't open the door on her own, remained seated in her spot on the
couch. Snuggles abruptly burst from the laboratory and ran down the hallway,
Tiira_Misu scrambling after him.
"Snug-GLES! Come back here!" Tiira screamed.
The doorbell rang again. "Oh, Esmerelda, you didn't tell me we had visitors."
Esmerelda rolled her eyes as Tiira_Misu opened the door. A disco Aisha and her
Kadoatie stood in the doorway.
"Oh--good afternoon," the Aisha greeted. "I'm
Magnolia, from the Neopian Private Investigation Agency. I came to give you
a notice that five of our spaceports are--er--defective at the moment."
"Oh, dear--no one's using them, are they?" Tiira_Misu
Somewhere out in Space
"That's funny--we can't come in contact with
"What do you mean? We just launched five minutes
"Some error keeps coming onscr--wait a minute--what's
the matter with the ship? Hey! Who turned out the lights?!"
Back at Tiira_Misu's House
"Well, that's lovely," Tiira_Misu said with
a groan. "I thought I fixed that thing yesterday!"
"I suppose it's broken again," replied Magnolia.
"Wait a minute--don't I know you?"
"Uh..." the Usul began.
"Tiira_Misu! Right--you were that Usul I met
in that rainforest tent!" Magnolia continued. "I haven't seen you since that
time we went to Usukicon about two months ago! You're a technician?"
"Of course! On top of that, I work in your unit,
Magnolia; I don't know why I've never seen you around the agency before." Suddenly,
Snuggles burst into the scene, knocking Sys-op the pink Kadoatie off of Magnolia's
shoulder. "Oh--SNUGGLES! BAD SNUGGLES! BAD, BAD, BAD SNUGGLES!"
"AUUUUUUUUGH!" Sys-op screamed. "GET IT OFF!
GET IT OFF!"
Soon enough, Magnolia and Tiira_Misu were able
to pry their brawling petpets off of each other. "I'm so sorry, Magnolia--this
is Snuggles. Bad Snuggles. He's my latest Carrot-Faerie Petpet Study subject.
Only problem is, I can't pry his mouth open long enough to get him to eat the
carrot." Tiira_Misu sighed. "I think I'm going to need to find a new Harris.
But anyway, I'll start work on that malfunction as soon as possible."
"Okay, then. I'd better be going. Come on, Sys."
"Mommy, where's the disinfectant?" the dazed
"Err--you watch that Harris of yours, okay,
"How could I not?" The Usul stared down at Snuggles
sternly. "Dear Faerie Queen, what am I going to do with you?"
That Saturday Night, Neopia Central Convention Centre
A large crowd of spectators gathered around
the tall transparashield buildings that made up the convention centre. A large,
stylish banner was draped across one building, reading:
Usace Autumn Fashions
- Neopia Central Convention Centre Don't Miss
Neopia's Fashion Event of the Year on the 19th Day of Collecting, Y4
Among the crowd were a Disco Aisha and her pink
Kadoatie, a yellow Chia, a blue Aisha and a yellow Aisha with red hair. Noelle
the yellow Aisha had picked her favourite dress to wear to 'Neopia's Fashion
Event of the Year' that night, and had her eyes glued to the floor.
"What are you looking for?" Magnolia asked,
noticing Noelle's stare.
"I'm not about to get another article of clothing
ruined by tripping over anything," she replied.
"You just have a way of dragging me to the worst
places, Magnolia," Taro murmured. "I'm not interested in the world of fashion
in the least--just like I wasn't interested in that Usuki convention you dragged
"Oh, come on! Live a little!" Natalie replied,
nudging the Chia playfully. "Anyway, I'm sure you'll like it--really."
"That's EXACTLY what you said at the convention!"
"And did you like it?"
"No. Not one bit."
"You did invite Tiira to go with us, didn't
you?" Natalie asked Magnolia.
"Well, I called her, but she wasn't at home.
I wonder if it was about that whole spaceport thing," Magnolia replied.
"I heard that two agents launched to the space
station yesterday," Taro added.
"You mean while the control centre was malfunctioning?
Goodness, I hope they're all right!" Noelle exclaimed. "Ah, there's the runway.
I didn't know this would be outside."
"I am NOT wearing that thing!" Tiira_Misu
squealed, pointing to her sequinned ball gown. "Everyone who's anyone is out
"Oh, don't worry about it!" Usace told her.
"Yeah, you look ravishing," a Poogle model said
"YOU be quiet."
Suddenly, an announcer walked past Usace and
Tiira_Misu. "W--They're starting right NOW? Usace--you didn't--"
"It's fine, Tiira. Just go out there and show
those people how good a model you are! Besides, no one really knows you as a
model yet," Usace told her. "It won't make that big a difference."
"I KNOW!" Tiira exclaimed. "That's just the
thing! They'll know me for wearing your experimental fashions!"
On-stage, a short introduction was made, and
a music track began to play. A Kyrii at the white curtain called out names in
the order the models were to walk on the runway. "Daisy, uh-huh, Dolly, uh-huh,
Tracy, uh-huh, Macy, uh-huh, Stacey, uh-huh, Tiira_Misu...Tiira_Misu? Tiira_MISU!"
"Wha--oh, I'm sorry." The petrified Usul scrambled
over to the curtain. "W-well, here goes nothing--I guess."
"You'll be fine, Tiira_Misu, honest," Usace
Soon enough, Stacey the blue Cybunny came back
through the curtain. "All right, Tiira, it's all you," the Kyrii told her.
Somewhere in the Audience
"See, I told you this wouldn't be too bad,"
Natalie told her brother with a pat on the shoulder. "Is this so bad?"
"Yes, actually, it is bad."
"Oh, never mind," she turned back to the stage.
"Wait a minute, who's that?" Magnolia questioned,
pointing to a red Usul clad in a vibrant green ball gown with a rainbow feather
boa. She wore an orange slipper and a red sandal, and numerous pieces of gaudy
jewelry. The crowd of photographers and designers gasped and murmured as she
"You mean in that cute white blouse?" Sys-op
"No--that Usul in the...green...Oh, my WORD--that's
TIIRA_MISU!" Magnolia cried.
"I hope they don't let these models pick their
own clothes." Noelle muttered.
"Tiira_Misu is a model?" Taro asked. "I thought
she was a technician."
"Part-time, I guess," Sys-op murmured. "Wait--isn't
she a faerie petpet biologist, too?"
"Right, she is!" Magnolia replied.
"I don't quite know this Tiira_Misu," Noelle
said. "You're going to need to introduce us, Magnolia."
"I will, soon enough." Magnolia answered. "As soon as she gets rid of that
dress of hers...yeech."
Somewhere Else in the Audience
"Look at her," said a pink Kacheek to a blue
"Ugh--in that ball gown? Why?" the Kiko replied.
"No--not the ball gown--HER," Donna told him.
"She's just what we need for the agency, Robert!"
"What makes her so special?" Robert asked.
"WHAT makes her so special? Robert, MUST you
ASK? If she's got enough courage to actually walk out in front of millions of
people dressed like THAT, she's got to be special! And she doesn't look half
"She's offstage now," Robert replied. "Perhaps
we can talk to her about a contract there--that is, if she doesn't LIKE modeling
"Oh, that's a given. With a model like her,
Donna Kacheek's spring fashion show will be a complete success!" She sighed.
"I can imagine it now--"
"--Well, before you go daydreaming, let's get
backstage before she walks out again."
"Did you SEE all of the STARES I got out there?!"
"They loved you, Tiira!" Usace told her, heading
towards his office. "Now go get dressed again."
Before Tiira_Misu could leave, however, a pink
Kacheek and blue Kiko came behind the set. "Uh--wait, miss," Donna called.
"Me?" Tiira asked, turning around.
"Yes. Er--I'm Donna. I currently head the Donna
Kacheek modeling agency--just north of here, actually--but that's beside the
point. This is my associate, Robert." The Kiko waved. "We noticed your...er...unusual
dress out on the runway."
"No surprise. Working with Usace has been a
disaster. These are his experimental fashions."
"Well, that's perfect!" Robert commented. "We
were planning on offering you an occupation as a model at our agency."
Tiira_Misu stared with disbelief. "Really? You
mean--you're taking me up? I'd love to! Er--just let me talk with Bob for a
"Well, frankly, Bob, I think that as a model,
I've been abused here. I'm sick and tired of wearing your experimental fashions,
and since Donna and Robert offered me a contract, I'm willing to leave."
"L-LEAVE?" Usace cried. "In the middle of a
show? But--you've still got five more outfits to wear! They can't take you away!
You can't quit NOW! Who'll wear my experimental fashions?"
"How about you use one of your newer models?"
Tiira_Misu asked, turning to leave. "Like you said, 'all the other models wear
them when they first start off.'"
Usace stared in awe. Tiira_Misu was gone, and
this time, she wasn't coming back.
"You were a model all this time?" Magnolia
asked, once backstage.
"Yeah--I guess I never told you, Magnolia,"
Tiira_Misu replied. "Donna Kacheek offered me a contract, though. I'll be working
with them as soon as possible. No more experimental fashions."
"Ah--Tiira_Misu," Noelle said. "I DO remember
you. You were a technologist in my unit before I was captured!"
"Oh, right. I still work in your unit. I just
haven't had much work lately."
"Don't get used to that," Noelle added with
And so, as it turns out, Tiira_Misu was able
to find a designer who didn't abuse the right of deciding what she wore. Noelle
and Tiira_Misu are great friends, it seems, and Tiira is starting work with
Magnolia as well. As for that spaceport...er...