The Witch and the Mortog: Part Four
Vira gazed longingly into the mirror. Nothing looked different about her reflection, though. Then something invisible enwrapped her, and she suddenly felt engulfed by icy coldness, as if winter suddenly befell Neopia Central. "What—what is happening?" she gasped.
"You are beautiful now," the mirror answered.
The lush green grass around her turned limp and lifeless. Vira noticed her paw was shaking violently. Her beautiful golden-yellow fur turned into a nasty shade of beige. Her flowing hair turned black and wiry. She quickly dropped the mirror, but the damage was already done.
"What did you do?" she cried as her perfectly manicured nails turned into claws.
"Silly girl, you gave your life to me," the mirror replied unfeelingly. "I reflect what you are, and the only thing you know about in life is vanity. You brought this upon yourself."
"No!" Vira grabbed the square mirror and raced across Neopia Central for help.
The Neopets on the streets stared at Vira as she passed. Vira didn't bother looking at her reflection; she knew she must have looked awful since the transformation. She dashed inside the Hospital, but after hours of examinations, none of the doctors could figure out how to fix the source of the problem. A wise Elephante suggested that Vira seek the help of Kauvara, a skilled magician. Vira headed down the streets again, holding her head low as she walked, not wanting anyone to see her in such an ugly state.
Kauvara's Magic Shop was unfortunately crowded when Vira walked in. She could feel the pairs of eyes on her as she passed the whispers and murmurs.
"Sorry, we are out of stock right now," the Starry Kau at the back of the shop was telling an angry Techo. She smiled at Vira from behind the counter and called, "How can I help you, little lady?"
"I—I need your help," mumbled Vira, keeping her head low. "I—I was cursed."
Kauvara motioned for Vira to follow her to the back room. They sat in Kauvara's office, amidst papers, cauldrons, potions, and bags of neopoints.
"Ignore the mess," chuckled the Kau. "Now, what is this about a curse?"
Vira handed over the mirror.
"I see you deal with magic, old Kau," the mirror hissed.
Kauvara blinked in surprise. "Oh my, this is one intelligent mirror," she said. "Where did you get it?"
"I—I don't know. It was my mirror... from the Haunted Woods..." Vira began to sob. "Look at me! The mirror cursed me! I used to be beautiful, and now..."
"Definitely dark magic," Kauvara agreed, examining the mirror from side to side. "Fortunately, I have several potions that can morph you back into your original state. Unfortunately, I don't give away stuff. They cost quite a few pieces of eight, as the pirates say."
"I cannot afford them," sobbed Vira. "Please, I just want to be beautiful again."
The Kau shook her head sadly. "Sorry, kid, I have to make a living too, you know!" she said apologetically. After studying Vira's sadness for a few moments, Kauvara said, "How about you work for me as a helper? Unpaid, of course, but you get significant employee discounts. I need someone to shelve this mess back here. It gets hectic in my shop, you know."
Okay, let us recap the story in case you feel confused. Edna and Balthazar were outcasts, Vira was extremely pretty and vain, Vira becomes attached to a mirror, Vira insults Edna and Balthazar in the Fairgrounds, Edna runs away and meets Count von Roo, Count von Roo helps Edna get started at a witch school, Edna revisits the Deserted Fairgrounds and mends the broken mirror, the spell goes wrong, the mirror comes alive, and finally, through a humorous twist of events, the mirror finds Vira and acts almost like a transmogrification potion...
You are scratching your head and practically screaming, SO WHAT IS THE POINT OF THE MORTOG IN THE TITLE? Yes, yes, I understand: the Mortog seems to have no role other than releasing the mirror out of the hotel room, correct? Well, not all stories have good titles, I admit.
Just kidding. The Mortog actually has a much greater role in the end. Wait till you hear it.
Now, do you want to hear the ending or not?
Within a few months of working for Kauvara, Vira became furious. She hated how she no longer possessed her beauty. She hated dusting the shelves and being treated like Dirt Motes. So one day, when Kauvara was away collecting Novas, Vira stole a spellbook and ran away.
She hid beside a dark alley, took out the spellbook, and looked for the darkest spell she could find. When she found one, she took out the cursed mirror from her pocket. It was still a perfect square piece of glass, beautiful and deadly. Vira muttered the spell over the mirror. The mirror echoed her, and the two voices whispered together down the dark alleyway:
"Mirror, bring despair and din
To the Neopet that sees himself within
Your glass of darkness and evil light,
A light unmatched by wit or might..."
The mirror glowed ghostly white. Wisps of smoke seeped from its edges. Vira glanced into her reflection and smirked.
At that moment, a young blue Shoyru passed the alleyway. Vira seized the opportunity to test her new wicked mirror. She approached the Shoyru and greeted in a low voice, "Hello, my pretty, you look dazzling today."
"Uh, thank you stranger," said the Shoyru, looking a bit taken aback. He tried to continue on his way, but Vira blocked him, holding out the square mirror as if it was a gift.
"Just take a look at yourself, handsome one," Vira insisted.
The Shoyru shrugged and glanced into the mirror. His eyes widened as he saw a beautified version of himself.
"That's—that's me?" he stammered. A wide grin appeared on the young Shoyru's face. "Wow, I had no idea how—how handsome I'd become!" He scratched his head and continued to study his reflection, mesmerized. "Wow!"
Then, swiftly, his reflection distorted. The young Shoyru shrieked as he watched his reflection morph into a hideous mutant. He glanced down at his real body, but it was still normal like before.
"What—what is happening?" he gasped, looking wildly from the mirror to Vira. "Is this mirror showing me what I'll look like in the future?"
"Your beauty is about to fade forever," Vira answered in a low voice. "There is only one way to prevent it, however..."
Vira placed the mirror in the young Shoyru's shaking paws. "Take it home and follow its directions, every word," she whispered, an evil smile on her face. "Otherwise, you might end up... like me."
The Shoyru nodded fearfully and dashed off with the mirror under his arm. Vira cackled, delighted that someone else, too, will lose their beauty like she did.
That was not the only mirror Vira gave away. She duplicated many more, each with a horrible spell. As you may have figured out, Vira's mirrors trick the viewer into seeing a distorted version of themselves. After they became vulnerable and devoid of self-confidence, the mirror then takes over completely, sapping their beauty and strength like they did to Vira.
Soon, Vira's notoriety became famous. That is how she managed to score a page in the Gallery of Evil. "Never accept Vira's mirror," parents teach their youngsters. "Stay far away from evil-looking Acaras at night."
Some of Vira's mirrors were known to be responsible for turning beautiful Neopets into Mortogs. That is where the game Kiss the Mortog came from. (See, I told you Mortogs are an important role in the story! Well, kind of...)
As for Edna and Balthazar, neither truly knew the impact they had made on Vira. Edna lives in an old tower in the Haunted Woods now, brewing potions and still searching for that one potion that beautifies people. Balthazar catches hundreds of faeries daily and sells them for magnificent profits.
So what is the moral of the story? It is up to you. You decide. Is it the message that kindness gets you far? Is it the cliché that beauty is skin deep? Is it a warning about never venturing into the Haunted Woods, because creatures there are unpredictable and only cause trouble?
Whatever happened to Edna's beloved Mortog, you ask? Nobody knows. Explorers, researchers, and librarians have dedicated their lives to finding out where Edna's petpet disappeared to. Some claim it sits in the booth of Kiss the Mortog down in Meridell. Some say it went to the Ice Caves for search of the legendary Snowager. Some say it returned to Edna one night and helps her with potions.
Wait, what? You're disappointed? Okay, look, I don't know why they named this classic tale The Witch and the Mortog either. Yes, they should have called it Vira's Mirror, or Edna vs Vira, or even Beauty is Mirror Deep. Who knows?
Now, for real, I have to complete one of Edna's Quests, so goodbye for now!