Caution: Quills may be sharp Circulation: 190,777,808 Issue: 583 | 22nd day of Awakening, Y15
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Jewel's Journal: Summer - Part Four

by gelert548


Art by gelert548

Dear Journal,

      I AM SO GLAD, and at the same time, I AM NOT SO GLAD.

      You can obviously tell what I am SO GLAD ABOUT and what I am NOT SO GLAD ABOUT. But first, I'm sorry that I haven't bothered to lavish my attention upon you with my ridiculous stories and the even more ridiculous people that make the stories happen. I was kind of like Trot when she ignored me for about half a month. The entire fortnight was a nightmare, pulling me into a tornado inside the bottomless pit of pain and torture. One thing I'm SO GLAD ABOUT is that I never have to repeat this again.

      After Silva came back, I didn't need to ask Trot to accompany me with figuring out the logistics of an event, so my chances of being physically obliterated by her clumsiness was reduced to a very tiny fraction, while my chances of being spiritually so increased to incredibly insane heights because of well, SILVA.

      During those two weeks, while my foot soldiers and I arranged the pots (3 in a row, 100 pots, an extra 1 pot I unfortunately miscounted, and since I didn't want to rearrange the pots to make it 4 in a row (because it was my job too), we left it awkwardly at the end), I had to contend witnessing Silva's sponsors coming up to her and showering her with praise. It was as if she hasn't had enough at Neoschool, that greedy witch! The athletes, the super-populars, and all kinds of people from Level 1 to Level 5 of Trot's Scientifically Accurate (Most Likely) Popularity Scale worship her presence. Neopian Central Neoschool is practically a shrine dedicated to her beauty. And now, businessmen and the elite were congratulating her presumed 'kindness, dedication and responsibility'.


      I wanted to roll the singular, awkward pot over at Silva's direction, but if that happened, I had to clean out whatever of her that remained on the surface of the pot, and my karma points won't even get me out of touching that unnatural, disgusting angelic beauty of hers. Her shampoo, the evidence of my potential crime to her, would be in my feathers forever.

      The only good thing that came out of watching Silva revel in the angelic choir of praise towards her is that she remained terribly honest. I appreciate her honesty; it makes it easier to confirm that inherently, she is a manipulative, evil villain. She enjoyed the hailstorm (wish it was a real hailstorm) of undeserved praise, but she pretty much acknowledged my contribution to making her look good, which hopefully increased my karma points so much that not only will I be the owner of a thousand Dandans, but I will become immortal and insanely rich.

      So, I've done enough to claim my new title as Cool Chick with Tons of Inner Beauty. I'm irresistible now! If anyone turned me inside out, they would immediately fall in love at how gorgeous and stunning and sparkly my muscles and internal organs are. Right now I only have to focus on my Outer Beauty...

      The New Soup Kitchen Menu Contest was a marketing success, a lot of thanks in part to me and my selection of good artists (I'm just glowing as brightly as Silva's impossible smile at how proud I am!). Adrien really got those brochures and poster going; he printed so many copies that, well, what else do we do with them but give every single Neopian a forceful paper-shower of visual bombardment? It's a very pretty visual assault anyway. I'm SO GLAD that I only had to pay Adrien with my charm and (inner) beauty. For that kind of effort, he would scrape off the bank account of the principal with a spoon, if we ever did this for school (who wants to do anything in school for free? Asking us to attend is more than enough already).

      So far, admittedly, in the deepest darkest layer of my two-week nightmare, things were... okay. It wasn't like there was anything enormously catastrophic; it was mostly my reaction to it. Haha, funny; but I would never have bought you, Journal, if it wasn't for my over-reaction and dramatisation of things. There's no other way to write a biography of my life that hypnotises people into reading it.

      Speaking of hypnotisation, you have NO IDEA how crazy things got the closer the student body of NCN were to the date of the concert. I think the craziness was more evident in Trot, who upgraded from 'plain crazy' to 'plain crazy with a sprinkle of insanity', and that always makes a huge difference, and that never means very well. For the three weeks that she abandoned me, she made it up with two weeks of suffocating clinginess. I never had so much saliva unintentionally spattered onto my face while watching Trot's mouth move at a thousand words per picosecond.

      "I can't wait, I can't wait!" Trot chanted, like a Mynci monk on a Shenkuu mountain. And between the mantra would be her piercing rendition of one of Voltage's songs. Voltage has three albums, with 15 tracks each, and elsewhere on Neovision he has covered 10 other songs, so in total I sat through 55 earwax-cleaning renditions of his tunes.

      My painful tears washed off the unintentional 'salivafication' of my face.

      Everyone else acted extremely normal in comparison. I found out that Trot's sisters, Daila and Roxanne were, seriously, unable to make it. Jewel 2.0 was still going, of course. She didn't need a ticket; she's just me, only with stuffing and cardboard and none of the extremely gorgeous inner organs, and that gave her free admission. Besides, Xavvy and I have grown attached to her, like strange parents.


      But enough of that! The whole point of me sitting on my bed with an unreasonably unhealthy bag of chips (DELICIOUS!) is to talk about YESTERDAY. As in, Sunday; as in, the day the New Soup Kitchen Menu Contest happened; as in, the night of the Voltage concert.

      The morning started out innocent enough, like all days that go wrong often do. Breakfast was alphabet soup, which I thought was pretty cheesy, but I made that up by trying to form 'Silva is evil (or some undesirable adjective)' with the alphabets that I had in the bowl. Unfortunately, the remaining letters that were supposed to form 'evil' spelled 'great', so I ate 'ge' and I had 'rat'. Silva is rat.

      Close enough.

      Mum transported all of us to the Marketplace with some kind of functioning prototype of a teleportation device. Normally I would be very wary of this (Mum is Queen of Drawing Ambitious but Unsuccessful Prototypes), but the only thing the device failed at doing was scrambling my limbs and beautiful inner organs the same way the letters in the alphabet soup were.

      The turnout was amazing! Next time I try advertising for something, like how Silva is evil, I will paper-shower them with posters with incriminating evidence. The only problem is hiring an artist... (And getting those photos, without being creepy)

      And who else was there to greet me with a blinding smile that burned my eyes?

      "Jewel!" said Silva with the voice of a dozen singing angels playing the song of demons. As expected of a mega-popular, supernaturally beautiful Neopet like her, she dressed like she was a supermodel, or a megamodel, at the Neopian Fashion Week, and every angle of her was her best side. Typical feather grooming, but with more shine and high-definition, and a nice expensive dress that allowed her leggings-clad mile long legs (she is, funnily enough, shorter than me) for Head-Organisery kind of movement.

      Not that I wasn't dressed prettily for the event (Adrien, and most of NCN were there, and they had to know me as the Cool Chick with Tons of Inner Beauty looking my best, oozing with too much karma!), but maybe compared to Silva, I was a supermodel for the Yearly Hobo Fashions, which pretty much was also everyone when compared to Silva, so fortunately I was average.

      Silva dragged me unwillingly to the judge's table, where the Soup Faerie sat; wearing the same old thing she wore since I was a child.

      She congratulated Silva and I for the amazing (of course it was amazing; I was Assistant!) job we did for the contest. Since the Soup Faerie is practically Karma Queen, that totally shot up my karma points!!! My inner organs were diamonds and crystals now!

      Silva, obviously, glowed in the limelight. What is her thing for blinding the heck out of people's eyes?? That's so extremely rude and inconsiderate of her; knowing full well that in order for people to gawk and dribble at the sight of her inconsiderate beauty, they had to use their poor foolish eyes, ideally and properly intact to their skull.

      But well, anyway, that wasn't the worst of things. That's something I will reveal to you later as I go over the protocol of story progression.

      Once Silva abandoned me to go entertain other people more worthy of her attention, I scuttled around to find Trot. Knowing Trot, she wouldn't attend because, as she once told me before: "It requires, like, several hours to prepare oneself for Voltage."

      A miracle of miracles: there she was, 'preparing herself for Voltage', at the refreshments counter. If her big mouth had any benefit, it's that she could fit several edible items into her oesophagus in one go.

      "Hi, Jewel!!" shrieked Trot (Trot doesn't speak; she squeals), in the middle of consuming a shrimp. "Nine hours left!!! AAAA!! I can't believe it, ohmigosh, I can't believe we are going! EEEEEEK!!!!"

      How she never choked on her shrimp, I will never know.

      "You got the tickets with you, Trotty?"

      "What, forget our TICKETS TO MEGA-POPULARITY?!" She procured the tickets from the pocket of her Voltage Y9 Album sweater. "I so can't wait to get back to school! Everyone will be so jealous of us! And, and, ALSO, guess what?!!"

      Up until now I never saw the tickets (according to Trot, I 'jinx things'), but she didn't need to make a point of it by shoving them right into my sclera.

      We were VIPs.

      That meant we could see Voltage personally! Hah! I totally recommend the person who (dumbly) reads my journal to up their karma points sometime. Trot was right; we will be popular after all!

      I didn't have to worry about Adrien anymore! All the handsome athletes will be flocking to me (if they are into sparkly organs made of old rocks).

      Safey surprised me again though; he's really good at the emceeing thing! All this time we thought Safey was a simpleton prankster and class clown, because he always bring home awful grades almost as naturally as he breathes air, and hey, for the almost-two months that we have been in summer, he's been spending everyday trying to break the Neopian record for pranking the most people. We thought we knew him. I'm really confused now; who abducted my brother and transformed him into someone else?

      Because of him, everyone kept laughing and actually... genuinely enjoyed being here torturing themselves under the hot summer heat. This could be the greatest prank in the history of greatest pranks – making people enjoy things people normally wouldn't – but I don't know my brother anymore. So that's that.

      The next 5 hours went by normally. In intervals, Silva would come and ruin the moment with her giggly giggleness and her ability to Not Look Horrible despite 5 hours under the sun, the smell of soup (some good, some excellent, some... unmentionable), the humidity from the soup and the bodies of hundreds of unpleasant smelling Neopians, and the lack of oxygen.

      I was so glad I had the three hours before the concert.




      In the final hour as the contest came to a close, the winners were announced. We didn't get 100 participants (shame!), and I'm not upset about it not because we wouldn't get enough donations (thanks to Silva's evil mind-bending skills we earned enough Neopoints to construct a Soup Planet), but because I didn't get to see more of the horrible faces the Soup Faerie and the other judges were making when they drunk some awful soup. I have never seen so many different kinds of shock, horror and disgust before; I probably made all those faces when I think about or see Silva without even realising it.

      And you wouldn't believe this, but the Soup Faerie suddenly held the microphone in her hands, and said the most unbelievable thing ever:

      "Just before we go, I would like to give my special, heartfelt thanks to Silva Higgs, and Jeweliana Skipler, for organising the most successful charity in the history of Neopia! Let's give them a round of applause! Come on up, gals!"

      Best day of my life!! Everyone in NCN definitely, for sure, absolutely knows me as the Cool Chick with Tons of Inner Beauty now! It's undeniable! Not only that, but pretty much a ton of people in Neopia Central and wherever else they come from. I was bursting so full with inner beauty!!!

      You know that phrase "What goes up must come down"? I should have suspected the strange case of overloading karma.

      Simply because Silva and I are now officially 'inner beauties', we had to go in the Kitchen for an after-party of sorts, and I contaminated my feathers shaking the paws of many distinguished Neopians. That took longer than necessary; I blame Silva's beauty for holding everyone back (staring and gawking waste time!). There should be a law illegalising her, seriously.

      Here's some more about Trot: she's impatient. She's also crazy. When it comes to Voltage, these two distinctive traits of hers magnify to incredible proportions. I swear; it's times like this that you should never go near her, and unfortunately, as we walked through the door, we headed straight for Trot, an hour and a half late.

      She practically screamed like a banshee. This was not the normal Trot-style shrieking either, it's 'not only your ears burst, but so do your remaining senses' kind of angry, white-noise shrieking.

      Mind you, she did all this in witness of Silva's mega-popular friends, and my brothers (though they should be used to her by now).

      And just, I don't know, she just flew straight at us, hopefully going for Silva first before me. Between the prey and predator were our neatly-organised pots, some still full with soup (the awful ones), and the foot soldiers cleaning and sorting things out. Trot blasted through them as if they were made of paper and sticks.

      If I was watching this from a very safe distance (by safe, I mean, on the peak of Terror Mountain), I would be laughing at the confetti of falling volunteers and Anthony the Green Chia, bouncing and ricocheting onto the mega-populars and my brothers as they swept away in the Awful Soup Deluge.

      I wasn't at a very safe distance, so I was screaming in my head in blind horror at the catastrophe. I didn't want to scream with my mouth open just in case some awful soup drizzled down forcefully into my throat. I also squeezed my eyes shut for the same reason.

      When I opened them again, the mega-populars were mega-soaked, and my brothers were saved from most of the disaster by Safey's ability to fly. Even Silva was affected by the deluge, and boy, her hair flew into strange angles (I never knew perfect hair could do that?), and though she looked okay, she busied herself patting it down before her friends could see.

      Only Trot was untouched, still levitating, and so red that the shade of her blushing was darker than the rest of her coat colour. She finally gained consciousness enough to realise how stupid she acted.

      There went our chance for popularity.

      And then, a more unbelievable thing happened.

      Silva, being mega-popular, knows the secret code of the popular. Meaning that, if something like this happens, she can destroy our reputation and bring us down to Level 1 of the Popularity Scale forever, or she can cover us up; which she did.

      She apologised to her friends so profusely, that they actually forgave us and totally walked away. Luckily this set of mega-populars is some of the less materialistic in the Neoschool (thanks karma points). They probably will change their clothes and drown themselves in a pool full of expensive perfume, or a room full of Angelpi, or whatever else popular kids use to cover up their stink.

      "Are you ok?!" asked Xavvy as he pulled me right out of the bushes. I looked not cute and not dreamy at all in my 'leafy feathers'.

      Duh, I wasn't.

      The entire place looked awful. It would take centuries to clean up this mess. I imagined my grave to look grassier and better smelling than this vomit of soup and soaked volunteers all over the stone tiles.

      The Soup Faerie thought the same as well, because when she dashed out from the Kitchen, she made the most horrified face that not even awful soup earlier can induce. "Oh Donna, what happened here?!??!"

      Everyone else looked at Trot.

      The Soup Faerie tried very hard to keep calm, but I could see that she was about ready to hurt Trot with a thousand types of ladles. She remained cool, though, and asked the impossible: "Now how are we going to clean this up before tomorrow?"

      Nobody wanted to stay overtime to clean up that mess.

      Then I did something I wouldn't have done in another situation. I volunteered.

      Pursuing inner beauty should come with a warning sign: It may backfire on you. It changes you into somebody different. It makes you do silly stuff, like stretch yourself across a broken bridge so that overweight Neopets can get to safety from the river of hungry, Lenny-loving Nurannas down below.

      Silva suddenly appeared out of nowhere, next to me, with her hand raised. I thought she went off with her friends to bathe in expensive Altadorian spring water?! I must have missed her in the crowd (in which case I have to go get my eyesight checked). With her ruined dress and worst hair, she looked like one of the hobos. "I volunteer too."

      I learnt the power of peer pressure. As if by magic, Anthony the Green Chia's hand was raised, then someone else's, and another person's, until everyone's hands were up in the air. Even Trot held her hoof up reluctantly, because I know that she is least resistant to pressure, especially with a mega-popular like Silva around.

      We got to cleaning immediately. Normally I would try to avoid Silva (I do, but she always finds me!), but the evening was getting so strange; I may as well entertain my strange behaviour. I tapped her on the shoulder.

      "Er, why did you stay, even if you could just, like, you know, run off?" I know that I would, pre-Inner Beauty.

      She smiled at me, not an obnoxious blinding smile this time, but a small, genuine close-beaked one. "I'm still Head Organiser."

      "B-but, Silva, don't you have to attend the concert tonight? Didn't you promise your friends earlier that you would go?"

      "Nah, I gave my ticket away," said Silva, shrugging her shoulders and scrubbing the floor like the ticket was nothing. "I don't mind; I can sacrifice it. I told you before; I am only ok with Voltage. No big deal."

      She was right: the concert was no big deal. At least, to me as well, but it meant a big deal for some people. I had to do the right thing.

      I went to my brothers first. U5nit and Xavvy and Safey were doing something ridiculous with each other to make the work finish itself faster (three sponges on U5nit's horn, and each for his hooves, really? I love my brothers too much).

      "Guys, hey, guys, you better go now to the concert, or you will be late."

      As expected, they hounded me for saying such a thing. I convinced them that I was ok, I didn't have to go. Besides, they had Jewel 2.0, which was a good replica, and the Functioning Teleporting Prototype, so they couldn't use the excuse that they would be too late either.

      "Wait a minute, though."

      Trot looked like a puddle of misery on the sidewalk. Who wouldn't? She threw away three weeks of losing to competitions, and the chance of a lifetime to see Voltage in person, because she was being her dumb Trotty self.

      "Trotty, my bros are waiting. You should catch them before they run off."

      Trot's eyes grew so large that they almost took up her entire face. "Jewel, why? What about you?!" she squealed, half-excited and half-disbelieved.

      "Don't worry about me! I'm already popular enough from standing next to Silva for so long. Just go!"

      "What do you want me to do with your ticket?"

      I was intoxicated with too much Inner Beauty, so the answer came easily. "Give it to Roxanne! She told me she really wanted to go to the concert!"

      And that was that.

      Jewel 2.0 is leaning on a chair across me now. She really had fun last night. From what I heard, everybody who attended the concert did. I am wrong; Voltage probably sings ok, even if he doesn't hold concerts often enough. Trot called me this morning to scream and yell at me about how AMAZING AND MAGICAL AND OH MY GOSH VOLTAGE WAS SO HANDSOME the night was.

      I won't be seeing Silva for quite a long time, not until I am forced back to Neoschool again. Anyway, it's always much better that the last time I saw her would be herself looking perfectly awful and ugly, and actually feeling ok with it.

      I guess it doesn't really matter whether or not you are ugly or beautiful, inside or out, as long as you are ok with it. And even if things go wrong for you, things will also find a way to fix it up, even if sometimes it's you who has to do the fixing.

      I almost forgot what it is like to have a journal. I think this will be a permanent thing from now on (especially in my last year of Neoschool. URGH, you definitely will want to hear that out).

      Thanks for being the most reliable confidante around, Journal. See you when Neoschool starts.


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Other Episodes

» Jewel's Journal: Summer - Part One
» Jewel's Journal: Summer - Part Two
» Jewel's Journal: Summer - Part Three

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