The Usuki Singing Stars #8: The True Beauty
“Here I am,” Sparkles gulped as she stared at the building in front of her. The pink Bruce couldn’t believe what she was going to do next; she was actually going to enter the Beauty Contest Hall! The hall was made out of pure crystal glass, and Sparkles liked how every little square of glass on the walls were like windows that she could look into. She was standing in front of two glass doors that were adorned with gold lining. A “BC” that was also made out of gold was displayed on the door, right beside the golden square doorknobs.
Sparkles was too nervous to even blink! She was still surprised that she was even accepted in the BC. After taking a few nervous breaths, Sparkles opened the hall door and gasped at the sparkling lobby in front of her, which was very bright from the sunlight. As she stood by the entrance, Sparkles looked around at everyone who were either primping their hair or eyeing their compact mirrors. Feeling like she should blend into the scenery, Sparkles pulled out her compact mirror from her purse and opened it. As soon as she saw her reflection, she smiled. She was confident that she would win a first place trophy in the Bruce division. After all; how hard could the competition be?
“Welcome, loser,” a voice scoffed.
After a quick smile, Sparkles turned around and gasped at a red-headed brown Aisha that was posing behind her. “Aubri,” said Sparkles, “what are you doing here?”
“I should ask the same thing,” Aubri said as she opened her compact mirror. “Because last time I checked, this is the Beauty Contest, not the Deserted Fairgrounds.” After a quick make-up check, Aubri asked, “So what are you doing here? You’re not seriously going to enter the Beauty Contest, are you?”
Sparkles nodded. “Yep,” she grinned. “I’m confident that my inner beauty will shine during this competition, and I’m also confident that my fellow competitors will-”
“Crush you in the dirt while you lose?” Aubri wondered. She cocked an eyebrow at Sparkles, as if she knew something that Sparkles didn’t know. “You obviously have no idea how these contests work, do you?” she wondered. “But don’t worry, because I already know how oblivious and stupid you are when it comes to beauty competitions.”
“And what do you know?” Sparkles demanded, upset that Aubri was also going to be in the contest. “How many times have you won the BC?”
“Oh... I don’t know... um, twenty four times,” Aubri said thoughtfully. Sparkles was flabbergasted by Aubri’s response. How in Neopia did AUBRI win the Beauty Contest twenty four times!?!?
“Can you tell me how you won?” asked Sparkles, not believing that she was actually asking Aubri for help. “I’ll really appreciate it if you can give me some... um... pointers and stuff.”
Aubri just rolled her eyes at her. But after thinking about it, Aubri sighed and said, “Oh all right. I’ll show you how things work around here, but only if you do something for me.”
Sparkles nodded and said, “Sure, but what do you want me to do for you?” Aubri smiled at Sparkles with a sinister grin, and Sparkles was beginning to regret asking Aubri for help.
“All you have to do is help me get a few extra votes,” Aubri insisted. “Since the Aisha division is always so full of competitors, I was hoping that you could help me get a few extra votes. And don’t worry about a thing. I’m confident that you can carry out my commands, okay?”
Feeling a bit unsure about her decision, Sparkles just gulped and nodded. “Okay,” she sighed. “Now, when should we meet the other competitors?”
“Meet the competitors?” asked Aubri. After Sparkles nodded, Aubri just smiled and began to laugh very loudly. Sparkles was sure that Aubri was actually crackling like a witch. “Oh, you poor thing,” Aubri giggled. After she was done laughing, she glared at Sparkles and said, “Listen, you. We competitors don’t just go around and introduce ourselves. In fact, we don’t even talk to each other, since this is a competition and not a friendship party.”
“What about good sportsmanship?” Sparkles wondered. “Whatever happened to wishing people luck and happiness?”
“Oh, please,” Aubri snarled. “Nobody cares about those things anymore. Now come on. We have some touring to do before the contest begins.” Feeling confident about everything, Aubri led Sparkles to a narrow hallway that had many different labeled doors.
“Ooh, the Bruce division,” Sparkles said as she stared at the golden star labeled ‘Bruce Division’ that was pasted on a dressing room door. “Is this where all the Bruces get ready?” Sparkles wondered.
“No, that’s where they serve the soft pretzels,” Aubri said sarcastically. “What do you think? It’s called a dressing room for a reason, King Altador.”
“Oh,” said Sparkles, feeling a bit foolish that she had asked a stupid question. “Well, are all the Bruces inside, then?”
Aubri shrugged her shoulders. “Don’t know. Don’t care,” she said. As she was leading Sparkles to the end of the hallway, Aubri suddenly gasped and said, “You know what? I had completely forgotten to show you where we beautiful Neopians apply our make-up.”
“Don’t we do that in the dressing rooms?” Sparkles wondered.
“Duh, no,” said Aubri. “We like to use the vanity tables. They’re right by the-”
“Hi, Aubri.” A biscuit Kougra was grinning at Aubri as he spoke. “Are you excited about today’s competition?”
“Milo,” Aubri mumbled. She then pointed her thumb behind her and said, “This is a newbie. I’m showing her around the place.”
“What do you know about the BC?” Milo wondered. “And besides, I thought you were still upset that the NSOD kicked you out for failing the 3rd Grade. It’s good that you got over it, though.”
“Oh, please,” Aubri scoffed. “Like I’d ever associate myself with that crud shack you call a school. They don’t even understand their own basics of style. And for your information, Milo, I wasn’t kicked out of that place. I left.”
“Sure.” Milo rolled his eyes in disbelief. “Blame the people who are actually trying to help you. Real mature, Aubri.” After a quick snicker, Milo extended a paw at Sparkles. “Sorry about that. I’m Milo, by the way.”
Sparkles shook his paw and said, “Hi. I’m Sparkles, and Aubri is going to show me the vanities.”
“Yeah, whatever,” said Aubri. While following Aubri, Sparkles asked Milo what the NSOD was and how she could apply to it.
“It’s the ‘Neopian School of Design’,” Milo said proudly. “It’s that new white building in the Neopian Plaza. You know, the one by the Second Hand Shoppe. And you shouldn’t worry about applying. Just talk to Jam and he’ll hook you up with an application in no time.”
“Really,” Sparkles gasped, not believing that she could actually apply. “Wow, that sounds so-”
“And here we are,” Aubri interrupted. Sparkles stopped what she was saying to marvel at the two lit-up vanity tables that were in front of her. Both vanities were pink and heavily piled with different make-up products. Two prissy Usuls were too busying applying blush to their faces to even notice anybody was behind them.
“Okay, show’s over,” Aubri announced. After a quick make-up check, Aubri said, “So now that the tour is done, Sparkles, you can now help me win the Aisha division and, hopefully, the whole Beauty Contest!” Before Sparkles could say anything, Aubri shoved a piece of paper into her hands.
Sparkles looked at the paper and said, “This is the prettiest Aisha in the world! She looks like a Faerie princess.”
“I know,” Aubri said with a sly smile. “Now shred it.”
“Shred it? What are you talking about?” Sparkles demanded, holding the BC entry close to her chest. “Why do you want me to shred this up?”
“Because I want to win,” Aubri stated. “And if you really want to win here, then the only thing you can do is sabotage your competition. It’s the only way.”
“No, it’s not!” Milo insisted. “Why do you always think that cheating solves everything, Aubri? Is that how you won your other trophies?”
“Perhaps...” said Aubri. “But believe me when I say that I’m not the only one who does it. Sabotage happens here on a weekly basic, and the judges don’t even care if it happens or not.”
“But... but,” Sparkles stammered, trying hard not to show she was crying. “I was hoping that I could befriend all of my competitors. And after we were all friends, I was thinking that we could give each other manicures and gossip about clothes and Usuki dolls. But I was wrong. Terribly wrong.”
“Are you done?” Aubri asked coolly. “You were talking for so long that I had completely lost track of your blabbering.” After a quick glance at a nearby wall clock, Aubri said, “Well, it’s show time! And you two losers have to get ready. The BC is going to start in five minutes, and for your sakes, Miss Prissy, I recommend a completely new facelift if you want to even see a bronze paperweight.” Sparkles snarled as Aubri strutted towards the stage.
I’ll show her, Sparkles thought. I’ll show everybody how skin deep beauty really is, and then those cheaters will learn a lesson in honesty and competition! I know there is some humane decency here. Not every competition needs cheating.
“Wow, I can’t believe you won second place, Sparkles!” Lola exclaimed. The yellow Cybunny was holding Sparkles’s second place trophy while Sparkles packed her grooming products into her purse. She was still surprised how long the week went, and the fact that she won second place in the Bruce division! Her trophy had a little silver Bruce on it, which made Sparkles smile a little.
“Tah tah.” Aubri smirked. As she was walking by Lola and Sparkles, Lola kept her gaze locked at Aubri’s giant cup that she won for being the overall winner. The gold trophy she received for being first in the Aisha division was carelessly tossed in the cup, and Sparkles had a feeling that Aubri didn’t even care about her other award.
“Hey,” Milo huffed as he ran towards the girls. “I just wanted to congratulate you for coming in second. That’s a great achievement for a newbie- I mean, a first time contestant.”
“Thanks,” Sparkles sighed, “and congrats for winning first in the Kougra Division. It’s a shame that you came in 10th place overall.”
Milo shrugged his shoulders. “So? At least I made it in the top ten.”
“And you didn’t cheat,” Lola added. “Right, Sparkles?”
“Yeah,” Sparkles gasped in realization. “You didn’t cheat, and neither than I!” But suddenly she felt a knot in her stomach. If she and Milo didn’t cheat... would Aubri?
“It’s a good thing that you stopped Aubri from shredding that picture,” said Milo. “But it is a shame that she went to those two Usuls we met and splashed water on their entries. Anyways, I got to go. See you at the NSOD!” Sparkles and Lola waved goodbye as he ran away.
See you there, Sparkles thought. And may the more stylish pet graduate!