Caution: Quills may be sharp Circulation: 114,248,913 Issue: 228 | 17th day of Awakening, Y8
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Beauty is Only Fur Deep


by tamarashannonhall

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It was picture day at the Neopian School House and my owner, Tamara, who is normally quite down to earth, was now striking fear into my poor adorable Cybunny heart. Where she'd gotten all of those ribbons and curlers is anybody's guess. But she certainly had a supply comparable to Techo Mountain.

     I examined the pile with anxious uncertainty as she sorted through it, looking for a color scheme that would strike her fancy.

     "Perhaps a little fluffing and an Air Faerie clip will do?" I suggested hopefully.

     "You wear a clip every other day," she complained. "Let's try something new for your pictures. You're supposed to dress up you know."

     "Not necessarily," I replied fruitlessly.

     "Don't worry, Foofie. You'll look fabulous when I'm done," my owner promised as she selected a rainbow array of ribbons and clip on jewels.

     I moaned, dreading what was to come. My owner was a very smart and kind person. She always helped those and need, and when she was in school, she made straights A's and went on to do great things. However, her decorating skills left much to be desired. Have you ever heard the phrase, "less is more?" Well, my owner hadn't.

     The evidence was everywhere, from her Neohome (that looked like a Faerie Festival threw up on it) to her gaudy attire. Tamara did not know when to quit. And that, my friends, is why I fought back a shudder as she smoothed out her abundant amount of tangled ribbons that she intended to decorate me with. If I was lucky, I would only leave looking like a walking Christmas tree. IF I was lucky…

     I held completely still as she went to work on my delicate fur with her curling iron and combs, but not because I wanted to prevent her from messing up. I was frozen with terror at what I might find when she was finished. Would I even recognize myself? Would I be able to show my face at school?

     With her tongue sticking out, my owner curled here and tucked there, appearing to be in deep concentration. She moved from one side to other, tying ribbons and attaching jewels. She looked as though she was designing a sculpture and I wondered if she even remembered I was a living being. Finally she pulled her tongue back into her mouth and moved away to examine me.

     I observed her, waiting for any indication she might suddenly change her mind about this whole unnecessary process. Hey, better late than never, right?

     She stepped to the right. Then she stepped to the left.

     At last a huge smile spread across her face, showing her dimple on her left cheek. She seemed to be quite pleased with herself. That meant that whatever she'd done, was there to stay. I had almost lost all hope, but there was still the chance that I would look miraculously decent. Perhaps my owner did in fact create a masterpiece. Perhaps she'd made me up to be the prettiest Neopet in the entire school. Then again, perhaps not.

     My owner handed me the blue daisy mirror from inside the dresser drawer and waited for my reaction. As I slowly lifted the mirror to capture my face I held my breath.

     A terrible feeling consumed me as I glimpsed my appearance. Tamara had been true to herself. She had completely gone overboard.

     It looked like Neopia was celebrating its 100th birthday in my fur! Three mismatched ribbons were secured to each of my long ears. Eight more hung below my chin, and a plethora of jewels spotted my entire coat and would mostly likely cause the school nurse to send me home with a suspected case of the Hoochie Coochies. And to top it all off, my owner had fluffed my fur so much that I looked like a babaa that shoved its hoof into a light socket. No, this was no good at all. I couldn't go to school like this! I would never live it down. Even my best friends would have a comment or two when they got a load of me. I stifled a grimace.

     My owner grinned and clapped wildly. "Do you like it? Oh, Foofie, you look so lovely! I can't wait to see the pictures!"

     I glanced at my owner's excited reflection as a battle raged on inside me. I looked ridiculous, and everyone would surely call me names and make fun of me.

     But then I remembered when my owner adopted me from the pound when no one wanted me and took me into her Neohome, showering me with clothes, food, toys and anything I ever wanted. I remembered all of the times she cared for me when I was sick and always bought my medicine right away, no matter the cost, instead of waiting for the water faerie to heal me. I recalled when she bought me a Cloud Paint Brush for Christmas simply because it was my favorite, and she relentlessly read as many books as she could to me so that I could enjoy the knowledge that most Neopets only dream of having.

     I looked at my owner's happy face and sighed. I hated my new look… but I loved my owner. I would not hurt her feelings.

     "It's beautiful," I told her as I forced a smile. "Thank you."

     She clapped again and hugged my decorated fur. "I'm so glad you like it! I can't wait to hear what your friends think about it."

     "Neither can I," I replied sarcastically and got down from the Disco Print Stool. It was time for me to go.

     "I set your backpack by the door, and there is a Crunchy Carrot Burger tucked away inside just for you, Foofie." My owner pointed to the front door.

     Crunchy Carrot Burgers were my favorite. That almost made up for what I was about to endure. I hugged my owner good-bye and promised to have a good day at school before trudging off.

     Five minutes later, as the school loomed into view, I began to get nervous. You see, there was a boy in my class that would most certainly make me feel the worst of all. His name was Jester Jetsam, and he always had a joke or witty comment about everything. If you weren't the target, he could make you roll on the floor laughing. However, if you were the object of his teasing, he was your worst waking nightmare.

     I could hear my friends chuckling a mile away as I unwillingly forced myself into the school yard. I shot them a dirty look that said "just wait until your turn comes around."

     They tried to contain themselves as they attempted to console me. They patted me on the back and promised I didn't look that bad. But I knew better. I had seen a mirror that morning.

     All eyes were on me as I entered the classroom with my friends. The bell rang as we were taking our seats. I could hear the tittering of my peers as they whispered their comments and pointed. But I wasn't too concerned with them. Most of them were my friends and would probably crack a joke or two before giving it a rest.

     Then suddenly, I met gazes with the one individual I feared and was despaired to learn that he was staring right back at me. I gulped and bit my lip. Here it comes, I thought. He's about to let loose and have the entire class roaring at my expense. I'll be mortified out of my mind and will be forced to pack up and move to Sakhmet to preserve my sanity.

     I watched him in silence expectantly as my paws fidgeted in my lap, but Jester Jetsam didn't say a word and he didn't make a sound. He simply offered me a wide sympathetic smile that revealed a brand new shiny set of metal braces adorning the top and bottom of his many pointed teeth.

     That is when I realized that things aren't always as bad as they seem.

The End

 
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