Vira's Dagger: Part Four
Vira gestured with one paw. A mirror sprang into being. She blinked at it for a moment, evaluating her beauty. Then, holding it by her side, Vira walked purposefully towards the faerie Lupe.
It squealed, taking to the air as she approached.
“Wait!” Vira called, gliding after it. “I won’t hurt you! Come back!”
“Leave me alone!” the Lupe shouted fearfully.
It tried to dodge away, but over the last few days Vira had grown exceptionally good at flying. She followed it with ease.
“I won’t hurt you!” Vira repeated, moving up next to the Lupe.
It flung a paw at her desperately. Vira winced as claws raked her wing, but after a moment she was flying steadily again.
“Look,” she pleaded, holding up the mirror, which until then had been tightly clutched to her chest.
The frightened Lupe risked a glance. Her wings almost missed a beat. A small gasp escaped her fragile lips.
“Me?” she squeaked.
Vira nodded, guiltily hoping that what the Lupe saw was hideous. Its fear had hurt her inside, evoking anger and sadness.
“Land here and I’ll explain,” she said.
They descended, landing in another of the Uni Meadows. The Lupe’s awestruck gaze was glued to the mirror.
“I’m beautiful,” she murmured.
Vira’s heart skipped a beat. “What?”
“I mean, I was gorgeous before. But now... is that faerie really me?”
Vira’s heart sank. The Lupe was still seeing beauty.
“It is you,” she began sadly. “This mirror is supposed to reflect your inner beauty. So, I suppose, it’s what your soul looks like.”
She handed the mirror to the Lupe. It looked up at her questioningly as it received it.
“Don’t you want to keep it?” the faerie asked.
Vira shook her head.
“No. It doesn’t work for me.”
“That’s awful!” the Lupe exclaimed. “You must hate looking into mirrors!”
There was a moment of silence as Vira digested this comment.
“I’m not ugly,” she said at last, eyes burning with anger.
The Lupe backed away nervously, took to the air. Vira turned her back on it and flew off in the opposite direction. Why had the mirror shown the Lupe to be stunning, when it clearly lacked inner beauty?
I’ll ask the mirror, she decided. It will know.
As she soared, Vira scanned the land below, searching for the place where she had left it. It wasn’t long before she saw a flash of black amongst the vibrant meadow colours. Vira adjusted the angle of her flight, swooping down to land beside the mirror.
“Welcome back, Vira,” it said.
She sat down in the grass, crossing her legs. Gently, Vira lifted the mirror into her lap.
“Hello,” she responded.
I have to ask. I need to know why the Lupe looked so good
“You have a question?” the mirror asked, startling Vira out of this thought.
“Y... yes,” she stammered. “I met this faerie Lupe. She had a horrible personality. And yet... she saw beauty in her mirror.”
There was no reply for a moment, almost as though the mirror was making up an answer. Vira shook herself mentally. Why would it do that?
“Child,” the mirror began at last. “This is... complicated. A dark faerie cursed you, but left you beautiful. Then you started having dreams about yourself. Now, a beauty that is not. I can not say for certain what this means.”
“Maybe the Lupe was good,” Vira said miserably. “Perhaps I’m evil.”
“Vira! Do not think such things! You are a good Neopian with honest intentions. What more could be asked of you?”
“I suppose,” Vira sighed half heartedly. “You’re a good friend, mirror.”
There was a brilliant blue flower growing beside her. With two red claws, she plucked it from its place. For a moment, Vira regarded it with a feeling of longing. Its shimmering, blue petals were the same colour as the fur of the handsome Acara that had given her a chance. The Acara that had believed she could be good despite her horns, despite her claws and her twisted beauty.
But the semi happy feeling disappeared when she remembered something else. It was also the same shade of blue as the flower she had picked that other day. The one she had made the wish to, the wish that the mirror had heard, before making her beautiful. That hadn’t lasted long, though. The dark faerie had made sure of that.
Hate. It was a powerful emotion that Vira had rarely felt. But now it was swamping her. She was surprised and a little scared, but it was there. She hated that faerie. It had destroyed her life. Taken her beauty and distorted it.
She kissed the flower gently, but her blood was boiling with this sudden rush of hate. When she looked at it again, the bloom had turned a sickly green colour.
A mere kiss had turned it to poison.
“...kissing the flowers, making them poisonous to the touch...”
-Gallery of evil, Vira.
She lurched back, letting the tainted flower fall from her taloned grasp. Vira watched it land amongst the others, her eyes widened in shock and horror. The flower had been poisoned. Her kiss had made it poison.
“So it’s true!” she cried. “I am evil! I was meant to be evil!”
She was already running the other way, her heart breaking with this new knowledge. She wanted to be good! To do what was right! How, with this power?
Just like when she had fled her house in the dead of the night, terrible emotions were threatening to overcome her. But this time, rather than self pity and loss, they were hopelessness and despair.
She had poisoned the flower.
But maybe her other power could help! Maybe she could still be good after all... That glimmer of hope soon faded when she heard the voice.
“Vira,” it said softly, sadly. “How could you?”
She turned, confused, expecting to see the blue Acara. But the sight that met her haunted eyes made her heart race in a different way.
A grotesque creature stood before her, hunched over slightly. Huge, jagged teeth protruded from its drooling mouth, and its bulbous yellow eyes were fierce and bloodshot. Clumps of blue fur clung to its misshapen body. But when it spoke, the monster’s voice was gentle and familiar.
“Vira,” it said softly. “I truly believed that you were good. I felt sorry for you.”
“Are you who I think you are?”
She was scared now. This couldn’t be true. This was a terrible, fearsome creature. But it had the voice of the blue Acara!
She heard a noise behind her and turned again. Another twisted creature, vaguely resembling a Grarrl, had lumbered up. She knew who both of the creatures were; however, her mind was refusing to accept the how.
“Arryn?” she squeaked, staring at the green monster. He growled at her and snapped his teeth, a sword no longer his weapon of choice.
Vira backed away fearfully until she could see both creatures at once. Their awful eyes followed her progress. They were at least as frightening as Vira, though lacking her beauty.
For a moment the group just watched each other. Finally, Vira managed to force words past the lump of fear that was lodged in her chest.
“What happened?” she squeaked.
The blue creature curled its shrivelled tail around its paws and looked to the green beast beside it. When Arryn said nothing, it sighed, returning its bloodshot gaze to Vira.
“You know,” he said. “Because you did this with your mirror,”
There was a moment of shocked silence. Vira’s ears quivered, her tail twitched. Then,
“No,” she whispered, a dark, lisping edge to her voice for a moment.
“I didn’t!” she cried, louder, stepping back and shaking her head. It couldn’t be true. She was a good Neopian with honest intentions. How could she have done something this wrong?
“Yes, you did. You gave us the mirror, and it manipulated our appearances, until we were unrecognisable as our former selves. Rosa’s too ashamed to even come and confront you.”
“But the mirrors aren’t supposed to do that!” Vira cried pitifully. “They’re supposed to show you your inner beauty!”
Suddenly, Vira could see. She knew what had happened. She knew who was responsible.
“How was I so blind?” she howled, interrupting the blue monster, who had been speaking again.
It was the mirror. The mirror had been manipulating her. It had made her hand out those other mirrors by pretending that they were something they weren’t. It had twisted her beauty. There had been no dark faerie involved. She felt as though she were dying. The last few days of her life had been ruled by lies. With difficulty, Vira forced her pain filled eyes to focus on the blue creature.
“I can fix this,” she said, voice anguished. “Wait and see. I’ll fix this.”
Vira tried to tell him with her eyes how sorry she was, and how evil she wasn’t. Then, with the twisted blue and green creatures watching, Vira sprang into the air. Her wings beat furiously, her whole body shaking uncontrollably, as she flew back in search of the mirror.
I’m not evil, she thought angrily. I was your puppet.
“Even if I do look frightening.”
Alani curled up beside her parents on the sofa.
“Vira doesn’t hate me,” she said, frowning. “So why won’t she come back?”
Her mother stroked her head, and the baby Acara half closed her blue eyes sleepily.
“Remember what the Ixi from the D.O.N said,” she whispered. “Vira doesn’t want to come back. She thinks she’s too scary.”
Alani shook her head. She sat up and climbed over onto her father’s knee.
“Vira’s not scary,” she said, looking back at her mother.
“It was dark when you saw her, honey.”
Alani shook her head again, not noticing the distraught expression on her mother’s face.
“She’s still not scary,” she insisted. “I could see her face. She had horns and really big ears, but she still wasn’t scary.”
“Why not?” asked her father, making Alani turn to look at him.
“Because she’s Vira,” she said simply, and behind Alani her mother began to weep.
It wasn’t long before she sighted the mirror in the meadow below. Vira descended quickly, landing gently a few metres away.
“Vira...” it began, but the look on her face silenced it immediately.
“Why?” Vira asked, struggling to maintain her composure.
“What’s wrong, Vira?”
“Why did you do this?” she exploded, its innocently concerned tone managing to get to her. “Why me? Why did you make me so frightening, so evil? I thought you were good! I thought I was good...!”
She cut herself off, realising that she could rant for ages, and waited for the mirror to reply. For a moment it didn’t. The mirror lay there in the grass, its rose and thorn decorations, which had once seemed so beautiful, now looking sinister and awful.
“Evil is just one way of looking at it.” There was a new edge to its voice now, one that Vira had never before heard.
“Listen, girl. Those neopets you see out there every day walk around with silly thoughts in their silly heads. They are vain, you see, preoccupied with their appearances and dreams. I made you the way you are so that you can teach them about true, inner beauty. Because when the outside has shrivelled into ugliness, they must look within themselves to find it. As they must look past your fearsome outer shell to find the good heart inside.”
For a moment, Vira was almost convinced.
Then she remembered the flower, and her expression hardened again.
“What about that flower?” she asked. “How come I poisoned that by kissing it?”
Again, the mirror hesitated.
“Vira. I have something that will make you see.”
She raised an eyebrow in an almost sceptical way.
“I doubt you can change my mind. I’d rather you just told me how to fix all this right now.”
“We’ll see. Just reach into that rose bush. Tell me what you find.”
Vira turned to see the same rose bush that she had found the mirror in. For a moment, she was undecided. The mirror was clearly evil. What if it was a trap?
“Look, Vira Loughton,” the mirror whispered, and with a jolt Vira realised that it was speaking with the same voice she’d so often heard in her dreams.
Now I know that it’s evil, she told herself. And I’m stronger now. Whatever’s under that bush, I can take it!
She reached out for the plant...
The dagger. The weapon she both loved and loathed.
It was made of iron, but the poison that made it so deadly was brewed from purest hatred. Even a scratch from its beautiful, elegant blade was enough to cause severe pain and a strong hatred of those around you. But it had no effect on Vira whatsoever. She was immune to her own poison.
She loved it, for it had saved her life on many occasions and assisted in her numerous acts of revenge. She loathed it, for it was a gift from The Mirror itself. And even now, after many years of wielding this most dangerous of weapons, Vira couldn’t help feeling that it had been given to her for some dark, cunning reason.
It was a dagger.
The blade was jet black, like Vira’s horns. The slender hilt, graced with a pair of elegant wings, fitted perfectly in her hand.
Vira looked at it, eyes glittering. “It’s beautiful.”
“Yes,” replied the mirror.
Suddenly a wave of images swamped Vira. The faerie Lupe fleeing from her. She saw mirrors; dozens of them. The blue Acara, twisted and deformed. That poisoned flower, sickly and green. And with these images came an emotion, stronger than any she had ever felt. Hatred gripped her mind like a vice. Hatred of the world, hatred of the pictures that flickered before her eyes.
Vira tried to fight it. She tried to escape its grip by remembering those that she loved. But now she hated them too. All she could think about was how the world had betrayed her. Neopians feared her just because of how she looked. Her parents hadn’t even come to look for her themselves, instead sending the D.O.N.
Then one face did break the hateful haze: Alani’s. It was impossible to think badly of her. Suddenly, Vira’s hatred became more particular. She’d hit Alani, hurt her. And then Vira had just run away. She was a horrible older sister.
She may have apologised, but that didn’t make it any better. Vira had still betrayed Alani’s trust.
But no. It wasn’t my fault, was it? The mirror was manipulating me, even then. Her hatred swiftly changed focuses, as she realised that the mirror was the thing she loathed.
Slowly, eyes blazing, Vira lifted the dagger to her lips. And she kissed it.
The awful green poison ran down the blade, but halted before it reached the hilt. Vira spun, her tail whipping past her. The mirror still lay there, incapable as it was of movement. Vira wanted to smash it right then and there. But something held her back, a feeling of great passion welling up inside her.
“I was happy in my old life. But you had to come and ruin it. I can see now that I’m not evil. Never was. Never will be.”
“No!” That dark lisping had entered her voice. “I was asked, a few days ago, what I was. I was manipulated. I was tricked, and made to do things that I would never do normally. I was once an Acara. But now, I am Vira! I am feared, maybe even hated. I am poison. Am I happy? No. And I never will be.”
With the conclusion of this soliloquy, Vira’s hands tightened around the dagger’s hilt. She raised it high above her head. The mirror began to speak, but it was too late. The dagger’s blade glinted in the light of the setting sun as it came down, hard and with meaning behind the attack. Its point hit the mirror dead centre, sending hundreds of reflective shards exploding outwards.
Immediately, the hatred clouding Vira’s mind lessened. Any trace of the dramatic bravado that had allowed her to defeat the mirror was gone.
She sank to her knees, the dagger falling from her grasp. Her eyes were wide with horror and shock.
As the mirror had broken, and the shards scattered across the ground around her, she had seen her refection. She had seen her reflection smashed apart as the mirror was, and somehow, she knew that a part of her had broken with it.
So distracted was she that she didn’t see the white smoke rise from the shattered glass and broken frame. It gathered around the dagger, to be absorbed slowly into it.
It was well after nightfall when at last Vira stirred. She got to her feet, picking up her dagger in one paw. With eyes that were now wide open, she surveyed the meadow where it lay beneath the twinkling stars. Vira knew that now she, Arryn, the blue Acara, and the mirror’s other victims would be trapped in their twisted forms forever.
But at least now no-one else would have to suffer as they had.
A brief yet complicated gesture and Vira was holding a round, black mirror in her free hand. She glanced at it shakily, assuring herself that physically she was alright. What had happened that day would scar her mind forever.
Never again, she vowed. Never again will I hand out these mirrors. Never again will I kiss the flowers. I want to be good.
So I’ll live here, deep in the Uni Meadows. It might be hard, but I’ll manage. And maybe, someday, I’ll even be able to go back to my family again. Maybe one day, when Alani’s older, she’ll be able to cope with me looking like this.
With this hope in mind, Vira took to the air.
For the rest of her life she would be alone.
Despite her original intentions, Vira never did go home. Her vanity prevented her from doing so, for her large ears and horns were always ugly and frightening to her, even if the rest of her face was beautiful. So she grew lonely.
No-one ever visited the Uni Meadows, and no-one came to look for Vira there, except for her parents. They came a few times, but she hid from them, and eventually they stopped coming. Although Vira didn’t find this out until much later, soon after that they moved to Meridell. She just assumed that they’d given up on her.
Perhaps it was her loneliness and vanity that compelled her, or maybe some darker force was at work. Either way, Vira began to hand out the mirrors again, venturing by night to locations both near and far. By day, she continued to wander the meadows like some green wraith, kissing the flowers and watching the poison drip from their delicate petals. Those who have heard her speak say that her voice is dark and rich, yet lisping. Those who have seen her say that now, she wears clothes that are as dark as the night.
Everyone fears her by default these days, for her inner beauty faded long ago.
Now only her evil, outer beauty remains.