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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 11th day of Eating, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 108 > Short Stories > The Darkest Paint Brush

The Darkest Paint Brush

by shimmering_aurora

"They say she’s a witch."

     "May I ask who they are?"

     "My sister and her friends."

     "They were just trying to scare you."

     "Well, my brother told me she is so ugly that mirrors break when she gazes into them. That’s why she always sends her Halloween Doglefox out on errands instead of just going herself. She doesn’t want anyone to lay eyes on her."

     "You two are being ridiculous," proclaimed Lily, a checkered Ixi, as she glared at her companions. Just because someone tells you something doesn’t mean it’s true. I’ll bet the Kougra who lives in that house is just as sweet as can be."

     "How do you know she is even a Kougra? Come to think of it, how do you even know she’s a she? Just because someone tells you something doesn’t mean it’s true," retorted Sylvia, a fire Eyrie. "Isn’t that right, Anne?"

     The starry Lenny nodded her head in agreement. "Yep. You’ve never seen her, Lily. None of us have. What my brother and her sister said could be right."

     The hot, Mystery Island sun beat down on the three pets as they talked at the foot of a hill. The object of their discussion lived at the top in an old house, its paint peeling, and shutters just barely hanging on their hinges. It lay just on the outskirts of the companions’ hometown, and rumors hovered around it like mist on a lake.

     "You shouldn’t judge her before you get to know her," Lily vehemently insisted.

     "We’re not judging her," countered Sylvia. "We’re simply telling you what we’ve heard. If you want to talk to her, go ahead. Anne and I won’t stop you, but we won’t go with you neither."

     "Fine," the Ixi snarled before marching up the hill and to the rickety structure at its summit.

     "You’re insane, Lily!"

     Lily heard her friend’s cry, but the Ixi’s temper had been lit, and even Sylvia’s coat dulled in comparison to the flame. It wasn’t until after she had already swung the knocker that she felt a stab of doubt.

     It was too late to run, however. The door flew open, instantly followed by Lily’s mouth. Anne’s brother was wrong, thought Lily as she stared at the pet standing before her. The Faerie Kougra’s fur was the most vibrant shades of purple and glistened in the harsh sun. She was fairly young and seemed to glow with bountiful energy.

     "He-hello miss," Lily finally managed to spit out.

     The Kougra smiled sweetly. "A visitor, how nice! I don’t seem to get very many these days. Care to come in?" She motioned Lily towards the doorway.

     Unsure of what decision to make, Lily looked down at her friends, hoping they would tell her to go with the Kougra.

     Anne merely shrugged her shoulder, a look of one who could care less what Lily did. Sylvia, however, met her friend’s eye and silently begged her not to enter the home. It was this unheard plea that pushed Lily through the door. Sylvia should just give the poor Kougra a chance

     "So, your name is…"

     "You can call me Nancy. And you are?"

     "My name is Lily.

     "Well, Lily, shall we step into my parlor and have a bite to eat?"

***

"…and then they said you were a witch."

     Peals of laughter erupted from the Faerie Kougra as she pet the Halloween Doglefox that sat on her lap. "Go on! What else did your friends say about me?"

     "Then Anne said that she heard you were so ugly that…" Lily trailed of in mid-sentence, frightened by the new look on Nancy’s face. "Are you okay? I didn’t mean you were really ugly; I was just telling you what they said."

     Nancy’s purple eyes glittered dangerously. "I am ugly. I’m the ugliest creature I have ever seen."

     Lily found herself somewhat disturbed by this proclamation. "Why do you say that? I think you’re gorgeous."

     "Maybe you do, but I hate being Faerie. Being painted Halloween has always been a dream for me."

     "Couldn’t you just save up the Neopoints to buy a paint brush?"

     "I have enough Neopoints to buy ten Halloween paint brushes. The problem is I can’t actually paint myself."

     "What do you mean?" asked the confused Ixi.

     "Whenever I try to paint my self, nothing happens. I can’t change my color. Because of that Acara, I shall forever be stuck in the body of a hideous beast…"

***

Nancy, a red Kougra, dashed in and out of the sparkling blue waves. She giggled as one caught her, knocking her down onto the sand.

     "Come on, Denise. The water feels great!"

     Sitting in the jungle shade at the top of the beach, the yellow Cybunny peered over her sunglasses. "Get my fur all wet and salty? I think not. I’ll just stay right here, thank you."

     "No you won’t." The Kougra raced up the beach and began to playfully shove her friend towards the water.

     "Stop it, Nancy!"

     "Water is good for you."

     "No it… what was that?"

     A dark figure had just flown over the two, temporarily blotting out the sun, before continuing towards the jungle.

     "Well, from the ears I’d say an Acara, but the wings and horns…Vira! Let’s follow her." Nancy raced into the jungle, followed closely by Denise.

     "What do you think you’re doing?"

     "I’m trying to find her."

     "Why?"

     "I want to see her up close. She looks so cool in pictures."

     "I think she looks horrible."

     "The prissy colored pets look horrible."

     "You’re crazy! I’d do just about anything to be Faerie."

     "There she is!"

     Standing in a clearing, Vira gazed coolly at the two pets. Tension filled the air like a heavy fog. Then, with a flap of her Korbat-like wings, the Acara flew off into the jungle and out of sight.

     "She’s gone," moaned Nancy, crumbling to the ground in defeat. "I was hoping I could talk to her."

     "What’s that?"

     "What’s what?"

     "That," Denise pointed to where the Acara had once stood. "See that shiny thing in the grass?"

     Nancy prodded the object with her paw. "I think it’s a mirror." She moved to pick it up, but Denise stopped her.

     "That could be one of Vira’s mirrors -- one of the mirrors that turns pets ugly. Don’t touch it."

     "You mean it could make me look like Vira?"

     "Yeah, or maybe even worse."

     "Well, I want to look like Vira."

     Nancy picked up the mirror and turn it over. The sterling silver weighed heavily in her hand, and her eyes moved slowly up the flower-engraved handle to the glass. She only caught a single glimpse of a winged Kougra with horns before Denise knocked the mirror out of her hands and onto the soft grass.

     "What do you think you’re… you’re changing…"

     Nancy grinned at her friend. She could feel tingling up her spine as wings sprouted from her back. Her fur shimmered as it changed color. The Kougra looked at the Cybunny to see her reaction. Denise’s eyes widened as she watched the transformation. Then she too smiled.

     "You look beautiful!"

     Caught off guard, Nancy looked down at her paw, only to be absolutely mortified. Instead of the greyish-brown she had expected, her fur was several shades of purple.

     "How could I be a Faerie Kougra? I supposed to look like Vira. The mirror was supposed to make me look like her. That’s what all the books say."

     "Well, I guess the books were wrong. If you don’t like it so much, you can just paint over it. Anyhow, let me see that mirror."

     Denise snatched it up and looked straight at her reflection. She felt a rush of delight as a purple and blue Cybunny gazed back at her. Then, the purple turned to grey, and the blue changed to black. The hearts that lined the ruff of fur around her neck changed to white skulls and crossbones, and her teeth began to move out of her mouth.

     "I’m… a mutant. No! I can’t be a mutant. I can’t be. I was supposed to be a Faerie. Why aren’t I Faerie?

     A cold laugh sounded through the glade, and standing in the shade of a tree was Vira herself. "Because you wanted to be Faerie. You see, my mirrors are the darkest of paint brushes. Rather than change you to a specific color, it searches deep within you and transforms you to what you would hate most to be. That way, no matter what anybody else thinks of you, no matter what anyone says about you, when you look in the mirror, you will always see a hideous beast." And then once again she was gone.

***

"We tried everything, Denise and I. We used numerous paint brushes and potions, some made especially for us by Kauvara herself. We even paid a visit to the Faerie queen. Nothing worked. As time went by, we became jealous of each other. Each of us was a perfect image of what the other wanted to be. It got to the point where we couldn’t stand to look at each other, so we stopped. I don’t know where Denise is now; I don’t really care. I grew tired of her telling me how beautiful I was when I would have rather looked like her."

     "I don’t get it. Why did Vira give you the mirror?"

     "Because by making us feel ugly, she feels pretty. It lifts her spirits to know there is someone just as miserable as she is. It may not be glamorous, but it is the truth. Anyhow, I do believe it is time for you to leave."

     "Yeah, my friends are probably waiting for me. I’ll come back and visit you sometime."

     The Kougra gave her a half smile. "That’s what they all say, but they never do. However, I shall give you a token of our friendship. Here, take this mirror…"

     A single glimpse is all it takes into a paint brush that cannot be taken. It must be given, for it is not laced with magic but with spite. She will shine once again, even if it means painting the rest of the world darker.

The End

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