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Usuki Singing Stars #22: Grade School Rivals

by downrightdude


"Good afternoon, everyone," a magma Koi said with a smile. "My name is Ms. Una, and I will be your first grade teacher. I hope all of you are eager to begin your very first class in the NSOD!"

     Sparkles nodded in agreement. And this time, I'll make sure to work harder! the pink Bruce thought. She felt a twinge in her chest as she remembered the first time she had set foot in the Neopian School of Design, which had been just last week. Unfortunately, Sparkles wasn't able to pass the first grade alongside her classmates because she had failed her final customization. Now she was determined to make it to the second grade without any obstacles!

     As she spoke to her pupils, Ms. Una swayed in a pale pink dress with a skirt that flowed underneath her. Sparkles was amazed that her teacher could wear such a beautiful gown without scorching it! She was also in awe at the bright pink hat the teacher wore, which was decorated with a yellow ribbon and a bunch of white daisies.

     Just as Ms. Una was finishing up her lecture on the importance of colour coordination, a purple Bruce entered the classroom and said, "Is this Ms. Una's room?"

     Ms. Una smiled and nodded. "Yes. And who might you be, Ms...?"

     Sparkles stared at the Bruce and gasped, "Scary?? What are you doing here!?!"

     "I'm here because I was placed here," Scary explained. "You see, Sparkles, I too have decided to join the NSOD, though I wanted to be in a different classroom."

     "But... why? You always said the NSOD was nothing more than a scam school!!" Sparkles insisted. She could feel her heartbeat increase as her sister took a seat right beside her.

     "It was because of that stupid 'examination outfit' you were trying to make last week," Scary explained. "As soon as you left my room, I looked over all of my outfits and realized that I had more than enough to make a stylish outfit that would surely impress this Koi you call a teacher. So I persuaded Snaw to sign me up as well. Besides, it's not like I need to be taught anything new here, anyways."

     Ms. Una nodded. "Just make sure you arrive on time tomorrow, okay?"

     "You're not the boss of me," Scary sneered.

     Sparkles gave her sister a quick glare as Ms. Una continued the day's lesson. I really hope Scary doesn't embarrass me this week, she said silently. And I do hope she learns to take the NSOD more seriously, too.


     By Thursday night, Sparkles was still making last minute switches for her final customization outfit. She knew that in order to pass onto the second grade, she would need to create an outfit that was eye-appealing and following the main rules of customization that Ms. Una taught throughout the week. "Now if only I can find the right shoes," Sparkles mumbled as she held up a light blue dress with one hand and a pair of black shoes in the other. Feeling frazzled, she set the shoes onto her bed and looked over the various pairs of shoes she took out of her closet and placed all around her.

     "Are you still planning out your outfit, Sparkles?" asked Scary from the bedroom's doorway. "Also, you should re-paint your room to a better color since pink is so tacky!"

     "Ha-ha," said Sparkles, "and I suppose you're going to procrastinate until tomorrow morning to make your outfit?"

     Scary shook her head. "I finished my outfit after our first day of classes."

     Sparkles scowled as she watched her sister leave and close her bedroom door. "Oh, she's probably just being boastful," she insisted aloud. "After all, how amazing can an outfit made in a short amount of time be?"

     On Friday, Sparkles received her answer when she noticed that all of her classmates at the NSOD had approached Scary to compliment her final customization outfit. She just got lucky! Sparkles thought as a blue Aisha admired the dark purple dress her sister had paired with a black shrug.

     At the end of class, Ms. Una handed each student a piece of paper that showed their final evaluations. "You were all very successful with your choice of outfits," the teacher said with a smile. She clapped her hands. "Congratulations, all of you! On Monday, you shall be transferred to the second grade!"

     Everyone erupted in cheers and enthusiastic clapping. Sparkles felt her eyes dampen at the thought of being transferred to the second grade. She looked down at her evaluation slip and smiled at the eighty percent she received. "I was finally able to make it to the second grade!" she cheered to Scary.

     "Eh," Scary replied. She handed Sparkles her slip and said, "If you ask me, I think that Koi needs her eyes checked if she needed to give me such a stupid mark."

     Sparkles gasped at Scary's mark. "You got ninety five percent?"

     "But I deserved a higher mark!" Scary insisted. "My outfit was surely worth more than a crummy ninety five."

     Well then, mine must have been worth more than eighty percent, Sparkles thought with frustration. She looked over Scary's outfit again and felt a twinge of jealousy in her chest. How could Scary's outfit be better than mine? Will she still do better than me when we're in the second grade? The thought of Scary doing better than her made Sparkles shiver and a tab bit angry.


     The following week went by in a blur. Everyday, Sparkles found herself looking over Scary's outfits during and after classes at the NSOD, silently wondering whether or not her sister had received any compliments from others. She didn't mind that her second grade teacher, a Halloween Kacheek named Ms. Tinny, would wear plain black dresses that matched her long, straight hair. Hopefully I can somehow outdo Scary at this week's final customization, Sparkles thought every time she and Scary walked home together.

     When Friday finally came, Sparkles woke up with a flash of panic. Today was her and Scary's last day in the second grade! "It's a good thing I planned my outfit in advance," she said with relief as she looked over the ensemble she created. After Neoschool had ended and she ran back to her neohome to change, Sparkles ran towards the NSOD without a stop to see what outfit Scary had come up with. I'll just avoid looking at her until we both get our evaluations, Sparkles thought, feeling a bit guilty that she was not escorting her sister to the customization school.

     Once she had arrived at the NSOD, Sparkles made her way to the girl's bathroom to check on her outfit. Her satin pink dress was still perfect, and she felt relieved that her crimson slippers weren't as snug as the shoes she wore when she first failed the first grade two weeks ago. "Everything is finally ready for the evaluation," Sparkles decreed as she wiped sweat off her forehead.

     "Great, it's ruined!" a voice shrieked as it entered the bathroom.

     Sparkles turned around and gasped when she saw Scary and the dress that she was wearing: it was a Darkest Faerie dress with a long rip through the waistline! "Scary, what happened to your dress?" Sparkles asked, quickly looking over her sister's outfit and the black wig she paired it with.

     Scary groaned. "This stupid school made me trip and ripped my dress! Now how am I going to look better than those unfashionable pets in our class?"

     "It'll be okay, Scare," Sparkles insisted. She looked over the ripped area again and sighed. "I'm afraid you would need a safety pin, or two, to fix your dress."

     "Then I know exactly what to do," said Scary. After rummaging through the red satin purse she'd brought with her, she pulled out a faux sapphire encrusted broach and pinned it on her dress's ripped hem. "I was going to put this broach on my dress," Scary explained, "but then I decided to use this instead, to bring a pop of colour to my outfit." The broach wasn't big enough to hide the space between Scary's bodice and skirt, but it was able to slightly decrease the size of the rip.

     "Maybe it was your shoes that made you trip," Sparkles suggested. "You are wearing high heels, after all."

     Scary waved a hand at her. "Let's go before our Gothic-wannabe teacher yells at us for being tardy. Then I can get my one hundred percent and pass on to whatever grade comes next!"

     "Well, I'm certain everybody on our class would love your outfit, Scare," Sparkles insisted. "And I'm sure the teacher would give you a higher mark again, too."

     Scary narrowed her eyes. "What's that supposed to mean?" she demanded. "Are you being sarcastic?"

     Sparkles shook her head. "No, I was saying that everyone will love your outfit more than mine. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if you go on to the third grade while I stay behind for another week."

     "So that was your problem all along," Scary said after a brief moment of silence. "Is this another one of your 'self conscious' issues you have, Sparkles? Did you honestly think your... whatever you call your ensemble isn't good enough for the next grade?"

     Sparkles shrugged her shoulders. "I don't know. Last week Ms. Una gave you a higher mark than anyone else in the class, and all of our classmates adored your final customization! What if it happens again this week?"

     "Do you honestly believe those fashionably-challenged losers have better opinions in customization than you?" asked Scary. She rolled her eyes at the thought of her sister feeling insecure. "The main reason those wimps are even here at the NSOD is because they have issues with making their own outfits, hence why they needed to come to a place that's painted in the ugliest shade of red I've ever seen! Seriously, were they painting a customization school or the lair for the Defenders of Neopia?"

     Sparkles laughed. "I suppose I should have only been listening to the teachers rather than our peers."

     "Whatever, now let's go to class!" said Scary. She grabbed Sparkles' arm and ran towards classroom 2B. As soon as they entered, Scary was greeted with compliments from the other students while Sparkles went to her desk.

     At the end of class, everyone received their evaluations, and Sparkles gasped at the mark she had received. "I got an eighty nine! Hooray!" she cheered. "I'm going to the third grade!"

     "I got a seventy eight!?!?" Scary exclaimed. "This is ridiculous! I should have received at least a ninety five! Oh, I can't wait for next week to end so I can crush those pathetic losers I call classmates!"

     Sparkles smiled. We'll beat everyone else next week for sure, she assured herself.

The End

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