Caution: Quills may be sharp Circulation: 98,662,396 Issue: 167 | 19th day of Storing, Y6
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Vira's Mirror: Part Two


by thegreenmooseofdoom

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Dinner that night was forced and awkward. Voltaire kept trying to impress Starseek and would often give little ridiculous winks at her at random intervals during the meal. Nibbles wouldn't talk to Starseek, despite Starseek's numerous attempts to apologize, and pretty much everyone could sense the raw tension in the room. Only Voltaire didn't pay any mind to the bad vibes, and kept talking loudly about some philosophy book he's reading, and how he's teaching his petpet to read, and all sorts of other braggart topics. Jhonen C would occasionally pipe in with a comment or a "that's cool, Voltaire!" but the rest of the room was mostly silent, except the occasional grunt to pass a dish across the table.

After the meal, Starseek tried to work things out with Nibbles again, but every time she approached, Nibbles would turn away and pretend to be busy doing something. Soon afterwards, Voltaire left, much to Starseek's relief. She lay awake on her bed pondering all that had happened that day, from passing out on the drive to the weird cuts on her paw, to her sudden and vicious outburst at Nibbles.

"I'm not myself today… I feel absolutely awful about yelling at Nibbles like that. I just wish she'd forgive me." Starseek paced around her room. Growlithe watched her sleepily from his petpet bed. She stopped pacing.

"Auugh, I can't stand this anymore. I need some air." Starseek left the room and slipped out the back door into the cool, crisp night.

* * *

Over the next few weeks, things took a turn towards the worse. Starseek's outbursts grew more frequent and subsequently more vicious each time. She started to apologize less and less and would spend hours locked in her room, staring into a mirror. Any shred of humanity Starseek seemed to have was gone. There was a nervous, anxious air in the house that kept everyone quiet and on edge. Even the petpets seemed less chipper than usual.

Finally, one day, Moose had enough. She walked over to Starseek's closed door and looked at the large "Go Away" sign taped to the front. She reached out a paw and knocked on the door.

After a long pause, a bored voice answered. "Who is it?"

"It's me, Greeney. Can I come in?" Moose pressed her face against the door. After another uncomfortable pause, Moose heard several locks being undone. She wondered since when Starseek had owned locks. The door opened with a rusty squeak.

Moose walked in and looked around. To her great surprise, the room was dark, lit only by a couple of candles. Thick piles of dust coated every surface. The curtains over the window were shut, and she could have sworn that she saw several long claw marks running down it. The whole room was in a state of disarray and neglect, and fragments of a broken lamp lay in a dark unused corner. It was shocking to see the transformation.

And even more shocking yet was the appearance of her Lupe, who sat slumped over in a tattered armchair. Her once glossy blue fur was now dirty and dull, and her whole body seemed lifeless, except for her two blazing eyes that glared at Moose in the candlelight as she sat down next to Starseek.

Moose thought for a second, cleared her throat and began.

"What's going on, Starseek?"

No response. Only those two glowing red eyes glaring at her hatefully.

Moose continued. "You're not yourself anymore. You've only been coming out of your room to eat, and now you've stopped even doing that. It's not healthy. Even your appearance has changed. What's wrong, Starseek? You can tell me."

Starseek bared her teeth. She didn't need this tripe.

"Of course I've changed," Starseek finally spoke. "I've become fair and beautiful. Stop pretending like you care… You're just jealous! You always have been! The first time something GOOD happens to me, you just try to take it away! That's so like you, you grubby little nit!" she snarled with rage.

Moose looked hurt. Tears began to swell in her brown eyes.

"Starseek…"

"You don't know anything! You'll never know true power because you're too weak and stupid to seek it! That's why you'll never be happy-- you're constantly in fear of seeking it! You're just a stupid little fool and you always will be!"

"This isn't the Starseek I know. What's… what's happened to you?" Moose looked into Starseek's eyes solemnly, feeling her gut wrench.

"Then maybe you never knew me at all!" Starseek snapped and stormed out of the room, leaving Moose hurt and confused.

Jhonen was waiting for Starseek outside in the hall.

"Hey Star, c'mere a second," he said calmly.

"What do you want?" Starseek asked sourly.

THWAP! THWAP! Jhonen suddenly slapped Starseek with unsuspecting force.

"What in Faerieland was that for, you idiot?!?" Starseek roared, rubbing her cheeks.

"Look at yourself, Starseek." Jhonen quietly held up a handheld mirror. Starseek looked, growling and muttering under her breath.

"I'm more beautiful than ever!" Starseek grinned vainly as she admired her reflection.

"No, Starseek. Look harder," Jhonen said, unmoving.

"What do you expect me to see? I'm the most divine creature there ever was!" All the same, Starseek stared closer at the mirror.

To her horror, the image began to shift and melt, revealing Starseek's true form underneath. Her fur was dingy and coming out in clumps, her ears were bent and ragged, and hard skinless bumps speckled her face like lizard scales. Her whole face was gaunt and thin, and the flesh sagged from her bones pitifully.

"N-no!" Starseek wrenched out a sob. "No! It can't be! I was beautiful, you saw me!"

Jhonen shook his head. "No. It's all been a lie. You're under a spell of some sort, an evil spell."

"It can't be… you're lying! You're trying to trick me, make me weak." Starseek grew exceedingly hostile. "It's THIS that is the lie!" She screamed and threw the mirror to the ground, where it smashed into a thousand sparkling splinters. She looked down at the shards and saw one thousand tiny hideous Lupes staring back at her.

"LIES!!!" she screamed as she ran away.

Starseek stormed out of the house in a blind rage, slashing at the walls and slamming doors as she went. Growlithe ran away at her approach, terrified of his owner's transformation. Starseek walked by the mailbox and kicked it, feeling satisfaction as it fell over with a thud. Her foot was throbbing, but she didn't care. She marched out into the woods, not really going anywhere in particular. She loosed her claws on the trees she walked past, leaving a conspicuous trail of destruction.

As she raged on, her mind raced. How could this have happened? How could she be so hideous? She didn't want to believe Jhonen, but that image of herself, so horribly ugly was burned into the back of her brain.

Her kicking and clawing woke up a large Bearog from its resting place under a bush. Grumpily, it stood up and roared, all three heads baring rows of sharp pointed teeth. Starseek turned around and growled at it.

The Bearog swiped a paw at Starseek, who jumped out of the way and head butted the feral petpet in the belly. The Bearog fell over backwards, yelping. It slowly got to its feet and studied Starseek for a moment. Then it turned tail and ran away through the underbrush.

Starseek stood proud for a moment. There was no creature in the forest that could stand up against her. In her gloating, she didn't notice a black shape materialize behind her.

"I bet you're feeling pretty tough right now, eh Starry?"

Starseek whirled around to face Vira, who had seemingly appeared out of nowhere.

"Who are you? And how do you know my name?" Starseek barked, ready to attack this new creature.

"Tch, for shame. You don't remember old Vira? The one who gave you your beauty?" Vira grinned.

Suddenly, the memories began to flood back. The mysterious orb, chasing the shimmering Lupe into the forest, meeting Vira, the mirror, signing the contract, waking up back on the driveway… it all became clear again. Starseek's eyes grew wide and she began backing away from Vira, horror in her eyes.

"Now she remembers," Vira chuckled.

"You-you… It… you…" Starseek gasped, backing away more. Then another flood of remembrance hit her. Everything always comes in two waves. She remembered all the pain and grief she had inflicted on her family and friends… How she made Nibbles and Moose cry, how concerned everyone seemed about her, and how she just lashed back and became a hermit in her room… poring into a mirror for hours, stroking her reflection, hearing faint whispers in her ears about glory and beauty and power… a broken mirror on the floor, her true form shining in the pieces…

"It was me… it was me…" Starseek sat down and began crying. "I did all those things. It hurt those I care for the most… I… I hate myself…" she began to cry even harder.

Vira looked very pleased to hear this. "Yes, it was all you. You're a rotten, ugly Neopet. How dare you pretend that you can be beautiful when true beauty cannot be matched. I am the most beautiful creature on Neopia, you were but a fool for thinking you could even come close to my glory."

Starseek stopped her crying and looked up at Vira with red-rimmed eyes.

"You. YOU MADE ME DO THOSE THINGS!" Starseek lunged at Vira, taking her quite by surprise. She was knocked onto the dirt, pinned under Starseek's large paws.

Vira hissed and vanished. Starseek fell to the ground.

"NO ONE," Vira appeared behind Starseek, shrieking, "DOES THAT TO ME!" Vira waved her clawed paws, and a glowing orb appeared in her hands. She threw it at Starseek. It wrapped around her like glowing ropes, binding her. Starseek slowly levitated off the ground, struggling fruitlessly to get out of the bands. She yelled for help, knowing it was useless.

"Shush." Vira waved her paws again and Starseek blacked out instantly.

To be continued..

 
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Other Episodes


» Vira's Mirror: Part One
» Vira's Mirror: Part Three



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