Bella the Beautiful Dancer
Once upon a time, there was a beautiful and young Aisha named Bella. Bella loved to dance - dancing was her whole life. She would go to lessons every day, and even mastered playing the tambourine, which was harder than it looked.
"Look, Mother!" she had exclaimed one day, running home from class. "I got a pretty tambourine!"
Her mother, Morguss, was hunched over an old book. She didn't take her eyes off of it. "Pretty? It's just plain brown pieces of paper with some bells attached on."
"Go to your room and clean up, Bella! I don't have any time for useless instruments or dancing."
Bella sighed and quickly retreated up the stairs. Her mother wasn't the norm - every day, she would read that same old book, hours upon hours. She was always mixing together spices and potions of some sort, and once, Bella even saw a boiling cauldron filled with green liquid on the fireplace.
Bella arrived at her room, and picked up the latest issue of Neo-news Magazine, which had all the latest news and hottest trends. She flipped through the pages and stopped when she found an elegant silhouette of a dancing Draik.
"Wow, Lillian Blossom has another article about her. But that doesn't surprise me, because she's probably the best ballerina there is." Bella sighed, wishing to be just like her someday. She knew that she would be the one on the extravagant stage, twirling and jumping in a pink tutu, sparkling tights, and a lacy shirt. She dreamed of her wavy hair being adorned with ribbons, and also being able to wear earrings and lipstick, just for once.
But then, it was such a small possibility. Her mother frowned upon anything related to dancing - she was lucky enough to allow Bella to go to lessons.
"That old Moehog..." Bella said, abruptly throwing the magazine down. "Always bent over that book! Always mixing strange stuff in that big cauldron! And always talking about how great of a leader Kass is."
Bella went over to the window and stared out at Darigan Citadel. It was such an ugly and drab place, and she wished she could move.
"Maybe Faerieland. It's so beautiful there! The pink clouds, elegant faeries, and sparkling rainbows..." Bella leaned against the windowsill, daydreaming once more.
"Bella, are you there?" yelled Morguss, snapping her back to reality. "It's dinnertime!"
Bella didn't know how starved and exhausted she was until now, and quickly ran down the stairs. Rushing over to the dinner table, she found a small and measly sandwich. It had green goop in it.
"Um... I think I'll just have some jelly," Bella said, pulling it out of the cabinet. It was orange, sweet, and something that actually tasted good.
"Fine. I'll eat the sandwich for you," Morguss replied, gobbling it up in one bite. "Why can't you be more grateful, Bella? The sandwiches aren't that bad, and you know we have to put most of our funds towards Lord Kass' plans."
Bella sighed. Of course, Lord Kass was brought up, again.
"Mother, why do we have to go to war against Meridell? Can't we speak in peace?"
Morguss turned around and scoffed. "Bella, I've told you before. Meridell doesn't want peace - they want to fight with us! They want to be victorious so that they will look powerful and amazing. But Darigan Citadel isn't taking any of that."
"No more buts, Bella. Brush your teeth and go to sleep."
Bella groaned. It was like this every day - some homeschooling, dance lessons, arguments, and then bedtime. She looked at herself in the mirror, brushing her teeth with a dark, purple toothbrush. Surely something had gotten to Kass' mind - now, he made everyone use the most ridiculous things - Darigan-styled toothbrushes, wallpapers, and even utensils.
Bella lay in her bed under the fluffy, pink blanket. She stared at the starry ceiling and eventually fell asleep, no dreams in sight. But of course, this was Darigan Citadel - all beautiful dreams were banished.
"See you, Mother," Bella called, heading out to dance lessons. As usual, Morguss hadn't heard, as she was reading the old book again. Bella sighed and kept up a quick pace - she went to dancing school at Meridell, and the walk actually took quite a while. As soon as she stepped through the front door, she felt parched and tired.
"You know, Bella, we can always pick you up," her teacher, Mrs. Nybri, said.
"No, that's alright." Bella replied, stretching her arms. "Walking is good exercise, and will help with my legs. Plus, a war is probably going to break out soon."
"Oh, Bella," Mrs. Nybri replied, staring at her with piteous eyes. She hated that. "Of all kids, you had to be the one in Darigan Citadel."
"Forget it," Bella said, swiping her hand away. Mrs. Nybri was kind, but frankly, annoying.
They began their lessons, and Bella danced as best as she could, always keeping her back straight and always balancing on the tip of her toes. When they took breaks, Bella always lingered on the outside, with everyone chatting away. She knew that she didn't belong here - just because she was from Darigan Citadel, everyone gave her bad looks.
"Class is over!" announced Mrs. Nybri, smiling and waving at everyone.
Bella was relieved to exit the busy day, but as soon as she stepped out, the sun's rays hit her. Even though it was evening, it felt like the burning afternoon heat, and Bella grimaced under her long, thick hair.
"Haha, that's what a Darigan Aisha deserves," taunted one of her classmates, Emily. "Burning into a crisp in the evening rays!"
"I'm a desert Aisha, not a Darigan one..." Bella muttered, wiping the sweat off of her forehead with her sleeve. She was still in her ballerina outfit. "What makes me so different besides the place I live in?"
"Talking back is rude! I guess you guys don't have manners either," Emily replied, smirking. "Let's go, Lindsay."
Both Draiks tottered off into the direction of Meridell, and long after that, Bella arrived at her home.
"M-mother... I'm home," she announced, slumping at the door. She needed water.
Morguss didn't seem to notice. Bella immediately glanced up at her, and she didn't have the book in her hand.
"Oh, Bella, I have some great news!" Morguss said, clasping her hands together. It was a very strange sight.
"Uh... what's the news?"
"You can be the best dancer in all of Neopia... without lessons!"
"Oh, right. You've got to be kidding me," replied Bella, blowing a tuft of hair from her eyes. Maybe it was just another joke.
"Remember what I taught you - don't be rude to your mother," Morguss said, a stern look on her face. "But I'll let it slide, since I think this will change both of our lives..."
She pulled out a tube from her pocket, and in it was beautiful, cerulean-colored liquid. "Behold! My perfected potion."
"Huh? What's that?" asked Bella, taking a closer look. It was still and seemed to sparkle.
"I've spent many months working on this for you, Bella, so... drink up!" Morguss put the tube in her face.
Bella stepped back, dazed. This was so strange - her mother rarely ever helped her, and she absolutely hated dancing. But... if she was telling the truth, all of Bella's dreams would finally come true, in just a few seconds.
"Mother... why are you doing this?" Bella asked, ears drooping down. She was prepared for the worst.
"Bella... you know how much I've neglected you. Working on all of those potions, reading that old book every day, and not spending time with you." Morguss gazed thoughtfully at the ceiling. "But I think this is the perfect solution."
"Well, Lord Kass is done with all of his preparations, and I'll finally be able to dance with you!" Morguss said, smiling with joy. "Didn't I tell you that I used to be the master ballerina? The only reason I hated dancing was so I wouldn't be tempted to stray from my job."
Bella hesitated. This was all too strange...
Morguss pulled off the cork. "Come on!"
Bella immediately nodded and gulped down the potion, not wanting to disobey her mother. She felt tingly - her hair transformed into beautiful, orange locks, and golden earrings appeared on her ears. She grew taller, and her outfit was replaced by a long, elegant dress. In her hand was a tambourine made of pure bronze and gold.
"Mother... I'm beautiful!" She ran over and hugged Morguss. "Oh, thank you so much! How can I ever repay you?"
Morguss pulled her off and looked straight into her eyes. "Go to Meridell Castle right now, and show off your newfound skills. All of those girls will be jealous, and maybe even the king himself will bow down to you."
Bella laughed. "No way."
"You don't believe me? Try for yourself." Morguss gave her daughter a slight wink.
"Will do!" replied Bella, gracefully sliding out of the house, jingling her tambourine on the way. Morguss watched from her window, seeing her daughter prance with joy. An enchanting aura seemed to surround her.
"So, she's already under my influence. The spell worked. Lord Kass, the great Court Dancer will put everyone in a deep spell with her pirouettes, and Darigan Citadel will win!"
And that was how an innocent dancer became an evil one. Be careful, and don't be greedy, as one small thing can change your life and dreams forever.