The Beauty Within: Part One
Darigan has many servants, warriors, and minions, but did
you know that at one time, Darigan had a daughter? Yes, a long time ago… before
the truce, before the war, before everything. Before Darigan was good, and before
he saved Meridell. Darigan's daughter was a Uni, named Daria. She was a very depressed
Neopet, and she always felt as though she was meant to be somewhere else. This
is her story. Learn from it what you will…
* * *
Daria awoke to - surprise, surprise - ANOTHER
gloomy, persistently dark day. She got out of bed and walked to the window,
gazing out at the clouds that surrounded the Citadel where she lived. Through
the smoky haze, she could just make out the sunrise over Meridell. Daria sighed
heavily and began brushing her grey, tangled mane and tail. After she looked
at least a LITTLE better than before, she left her room to wander the halls
alone… as usual.
The Uni walked around for a bit before going
through a door and finding herself in the middle of a Cellblock Tournament.
She lingered by the door, watching the players ponder their next move. Master
Vex, who was one of the players, noticed her. His eyes grew wide and in his
distraction he made a really STUPID move that cost him the tournament. He stood
up and left the dungeons in a fury. Daria giggled softly and slipped out.
A sudden scream wrenched through the air. There
was a sound of pounding footsteps and another scream. Daria quickly hid behind
a door as shadows danced in the flickering candlelight. She couldn't see what
was screaming, but she knew that there was something terrible happening to it.
Rough voices suddenly came from the shadows.
"Where do you think you're going?" asked one
Another joined it. "Yeah, you stay where you
are, or I'll run you through!"
Daria gasped in horror. Surely these weren't
the Citadel guards! Then another voice floated towards her, so faint that Daria
had to strain to hear.
"Please, just let me go," it pleaded. "I have
a wife, and three children-"
"Well bully for you, then," the first voice
snapped. "Looks like you're going to be home a bit LATE tonight!"
The second guard laughed cruelly. "Yeah! And
the children will cry, boo hoo!" He mimicked the faint, pleading voice.
Daria couldn't stand it. She leapt out from
her hiding place and lunged at the guards (a Krawk and a Techo). They shouted
in surprise and anger, but she was too quick for them. She darted around them
and led them on a chase throughout the Citadel, ending in the Petpet Arena.
As the Angelpi and Kookiths attacked the helpless guards, Daria ran back to
the corridor she was in, to find the owner of the faint voice.
It was a Kacheek, and a trembling one at that.
Daria approached him cautiously, and he gasped and backed against the wall.
"Please, don't hurt me!" he whimpered.
Daria was surprised. She took another step closer.
"Why do you think I'd hurt you?" she asked in confusion.
The Kacheek looked at her with complete fear
in his mild blue eyes. "Just leave me alone…"
Daria sighed. "Of course. Because anything as
hideous as me MUST be dangerous, right?" The Kacheek kept looking at her, but
he didn't deny it. "FINE!" Daria snapped. "You want me to be dangerous? FINE,
I'm dangerous!" She made to run at him. He screamed again and fled. Daria didn't
follow him; she just went back to her chamber.
She flopped on her bed with a gusty sigh. Her
Drackonack, Spike, was already asleep and snoring… loudly. She looked at him,
smiling wryly. "You're not dangerous, are you, Spike?" she asked, stroking his
back thoughtfully. "You just look like it." Daria stamped her hoof on the floor.
"I HATE the Citadel!" she yelled suddenly, and Spike awoke with a jolt. "I HATE
the Citadel, I HATE the clouds, and I hate, I hate, I HATE Darigan!!!!" She
lashed out suddenly and tore the mirror off the wall, slamming it to the floor
with such force that it shattered.
All the anger seemed to go out of her at that
moment. She sank back onto the bed and Spike looked at her, as if to say, "What
did you do that for?" Daria lay back and glared at the ceiling, grinding her
"Spike, I don't want to live here anymore,"
she said to the ceiling, feeling the Drackonack crawling on top of her. "I want
to go to Meridell. I want to be normal." She looked down at her dark blue body,
felt the twisted horn that sprouted from her forehead. "I could be pretty,"
she said. "It's just this stupid shadowy place that never, EVER sees the sun.
It's made me a monster." She gave a snort of mirthless laughter. "It's made
EVERYONE a monster."
Spike sighed and began to snore again. Daria
looked down at her sleeping petpet and smiled. "Well, at least YOU like me,"
she said, gently lifting him onto a pillow. He curled up tighter and growled
softly. Daria stroked him again and rolled over, gazing out at Meridell through
the thick clouds. It was in that position she fell asleep.
* * *
The next morning Daria woke up feeling more lonely
and depressed than ever before. She spent most of the day staring moodily out
the window and looking down at the shards of glass from the mirror. Even Spike
seemed listless… but then again, he slept most of the time anyway.
Daria eventually left her room and trudged through
the corridors. Every so often a guard would go by, including the two guards
that attacked the Kacheek yesterday. They both gave her very dirty looks, but
Daria hardly noticed… nor did she care. Though she was merely staring at her
feet, nobody bumped into the Uni - they just brushed by her, as if she were
invisible. "I wish I WAS invisible," she thought bitterly. "Then no one would
see how ugly I am, and how 'terrifying'."
Something swooped through the corridor like
a shadow. All the other creatures in the corridor pressed themselves against
the wall to avoid being touched. All except Daria. She just kept on walking,
and the swooping something tripped over her and fell. She lifted her head and
saw LORD DARIGAN himself getting up from the floor. He rose to his feet, his
red eyes flashing in utter rage.
"You," he hissed. "How dare you trip up a superior?
And not just any superior, ME! Lord Darigan! The one to whom you owe your very
Something inside Daria snapped. "Yeah, and some
life, isn't it!! I'm a MONSTER, and it's all your fault!!" She stood tall and
proud, and her voice echoed in the barren halls. "You're nothing but a meagre,
undernourished Korbat with tattered wings! I don't even think you can fly!"
Everyone else froze in mingled terror and agreement.
No one had ever dared to insult Darigan before. This was treason in its highest
form. Daria continued, all the hate and rage that she'd been bottling up for
years and years was spilling out at this very moment. "You're evil, foul, and
repulsive!" Daria shouted. "I hate you and I hate this place!! I wish nothing
but terror and sorrow on you, you horrible monster!"
Her voice died out, leaving a ringing silence.
Then there was a slow hiss. "Get out," said Darigan in a voice that was pure
Daria was momentarily surprised. "What?" she
"GET OUT!!" Darigan shrieked. Daria turned and
ran, with his yells still echoing behind her. She burst into her room and grabbed
Spike, who was yowling in fear.
"Hold on tight, buddy," she said as she opened
the window. She got up on the sill, unfurled her draconic wings, and jumped.
She flew low over the Citadel city, and headed through the clouds towards Meridell,
as Darigan's screams still echoed in the Citadel castle.
Spike squeaked in terror and hid his face. "It's
OK, Spike," Daria called to her petpet. "We're heading down!" The wind whipped
her mane back and caused her eyes to water. She closed her eyes and kept flying
down. At last a squeal from Spike caused Daria to open her eyes… and scream.
They were heading FAST towards the ground and Daria hastily swooped upwards.
She soared over King Skarl's castle to the startled screeches of the Crokabeks
that roosted there.
Daria finally landed just beside the Turmaculus,
who mumbled something that sounded like "breakfast" and rolled over. Spike climbed
onto Daria's back and growled faintly. Daria shivered, and was glad it was nighttime
so that she wouldn't be seen. She ran towards Meri Acres Farm, and decided to
hide among the hay that night. Maybe she'd be found in the morning.
Slipping into the cornfield, Daria let Spike
down to rest on the soft ground. "It'll be OK, Spike," she said, lying next
to the Drackonack. "We're free now."
Spike nipped her affectionately and snuggled
closer to her. "Yeah, I know," Daria said. "You miss having a bed, right? Well,
we will. Someone will adopt us, once I'm pretty again." Spike gave a snore in
reply, and Daria giggled. "All right. 'Night, boy." She laid her head on the
ground and slowly slipped into sleep, dreaming of the day she'd be pretty again.
To be continued...
Author's note: Well, if you're reading this, it means I got into the NT
- AGAIN! This is a new series, just for those who hadn't caught on before. I
hope you like it. I got the idea randomly on one of my many long and lonely
walks home from school. Enjoy!