Come dance with the gypsies... Circulation: 112,409,164 Issue: 224 | 20th day of Sleeping, Y8
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Sleeping Beauty: Part Three

by ruff_zette


At the moment, I am sitting at a table at Kelp, drinking fancy cocktail drinks (when you are as beautiful as I am, you often get invited to formal get-togethers). The restaurant is thick with people wanting my autograph.

      A shadow Lupe is watching me, and shaking his head. I ignore him. Tomorrow, I am entering (and winning!) a Beauty Contest. If I stress about this Lupe I will not look my best and I might lose! And I never lose…

      * * * * *


      I woke up and saw Sparkle standing in the doorway, panting. It must have been tiring for her to string all those words together and get them out of her mouth so quickly. "Yeah, I'm coming," I mumbled. She left and I wandered over and examined myself in the mirror.

      Where were we going? Suddenly I was wide awake. We were going to Neopia Central! I practically sprinted across the corridor into the bathroom. I had a shower and washed my hair, then got straight out.

      "MUM!" I yelled. "How long 'til we're leaving?"

      "SOON!" Mum screamed back.

      I decided that I didn't have long. I ran to my room and scooped all the cosmetics on my table into my backpack. I looked at myself in the mirror again. Was I ugly because I was purple? I didn't have time to contemplate that.

      I grabbed my bag and ran downstairs. I poured a bowel of Neocrunch (the ordinary kind) and sat down next to Sparkle to eat.

      "You look really happy today," said the royal Gelert, eying me suspiciously. "Are you sick?"

      I sniffed. "I have a right to be happy if I want to. You're allowed to and so am I."

      "Yeah…" said Sparkle slowly, "but you're never happy. Ever. Why today? I mean, I know Unis are suppose to be happy and lively all the time, but…"

      "Unis are supposed to be pretty too!" I snapped. "Now stop bugging me." I put my bowl in the kitchen and grabbed my bag. "Come on, Sparkle, we're going!" I grabbed my bag and ran out the front door to where Honey was already waiting.

      Mum and Sparkle came out and Mum shut the door. "Time to go!" she sang cheerfully. "Let's head off to Neopia Central!" And so we did (more walking).

      It took us a while to get there. But when we did, I was alarmed. I hadn't been there in a while, but I was sure it hadn't been that crowded last time! Pets rushed in every direction. Owners streamed out of shops. Wow!

      I was suddenly knocked to the ground (pretty hard too) by a Zafara. "Sorry," he said (and he meant it too - I could tell). "I got shoved by some Usuls and- Hey, where are you going?"

      I had started running away. I had this horrible image of him seeing my face and screaming in horror. I was not going to let that happen.

      I finally caught up with Mum (she didn't even notice I was gone!) and grabbed onto her arm. "Mum, how about we split up now?" I suggested. "And get all our individual stuff out of the way? I think we should."

      "Okay," Mum smiled. "I will meet you all at the Food Shop in 2 hours - don't forget!"

      I stood and watched them walk away before I turned around and ran off in the other direction. I had a clear idea of where I was going, but I couldn't let anybody (I repeat - ANYBODY) find out.

      * * * * *

      I sat in the waiting room. I watched lots of pets wander in. Crippled, injured, sick - but none ugly. A beautiful pink Uni came in, with her leg in a cast. How can anybody look that beautiful when they've got a broken leg?

      "Umm… Remind me why you're here again?" the yellow Aisha secretary raised her eyebrows. "You don't have an appointment, this isn't an emergency… Actually, you don't seem to be sick at all!"

      "I need to see the doctor," I insisted. "It's important."

      She looked at her clipboard."He's with a patient right now," she said sourly, "but you can go in and see him in half an hour."

      "Half an hour! But I've already been here for 20 minutes!" I protested. "Couldn't you get me in a bit sooner?"

      "No," she snapped. "Half an hour." And she turned and walked over to the pink Uni and started making notes and getting the Uni to fill out forms.

      So for the next 30 minutes I flipped through 6-month-old issues of the Neopian Times, read those strange signs on the notice boards ("Stay Smart, Stay Alive!" What is that supposed to mean?) and asked the secretary every 2 seconds if I was allowed in yet.

      "Yes!" she screamed in frustration, after about the 100th time I'd asked. "Go in! Just leave me alone!" She buried her head in her paws.

      And so off I went.

      * * * * *

      "Hmmmmmm…" The blue Gelert doctor examined my ears, and then sat backwards and read the papers the secretary had given him. "Why, may I ask, does it say 'uncertain' under 'Disease, Illness or Injury'? It seems to me, that there is nothing wrong with you at all!"

      "Yes there is," I said quietly. I could feel tears welling up behind my eyes. "Unis are supposed to be beautiful and I'm ugly!" I burst into tears. "It's not fair! The Uni in the waiting room had a broken leg and she was still beautiful! I want to look like that!"

      The doctor patted me on the back. "Everybody is beautiful in their own way," he said gently.

      "Not me! I'm the ugliest pet in Neopia!" I wailed. "I always dream that I'm beautiful but I'm not!"

      The Gelert sighed. "Wanting to be better looking than you already are is not something you speak to doctors about. It's not a medical injury. Why don't you talk to your family or friends about it?"

      "My family doesn't care and I don't have friends. I'm too ugly. Everybody hates me." I wasn't sure whether he knew I was lying or not. But I think he might've.

      "Maybe you're not giving them the chance."

      I leapt to my feet. "You're a terrible doctor!" I shouted. "Why can't you help me?" I turned and ran crying out of the room, out of the hospital. I ran all the way to the Food Shop. Mum wouldn't be there for another 40 minutes, but I could wait.

      And I did. I waited and waited. Pets avoided me. I think some of them might have recognised me from Mystery Island, and were wondering why I cried so much. They probably thought I had no reason, but I did.

      "Er… Beauty, what are you doing here?"

      I was about to inform Mum that this WAS our meeting place, when I realised something - it wasn't Mum. It was Battle_Galactic.

      I stood up. "I have every right to be here!" I said indignantly. I set my jaw and glared at him, trying to intimidate him.

      He laughed. "No, I don't mean here in Neopia Central. I mean here, on the ground, out the front of the Food Shop…" he paused. "…crying."

      I flicked my mane. "Who says I'm crying?"

      "I just saw you!"

      "Well you must have pretty bad eyesight," I sneered, "because I was NOT crying. Understand? And not at Mystery Island either."

      "Now, come on," he insisted, "you can't deny that. Everybody saw you! You ran up the beach in tears! And you were crying on the ferry, too!"

      "How would you know?" I hissed. "You weren't there."

      "I was too! And say thanks to your Mum for getting the captain to take us straight to the Lost Desert. It made my day a lot easier." He hesitated, and his face softened. "Why were you crying anyway?"

      "Because of you actually! Because you think I'm… You think I'm…" I lowered my voice. "You think I'm ugly." I turned my head away from him. "Now leave me alone."

      When I looked back up he was gone. Good. I didn't want to talk to him anyway. Ever. He probably didn't want to talk to me either. Me - ugly Beauty_Queen571… How did he know my name? I'd never told him (and I didn't intend to) so how did he know? It just didn't make sense.


      Honey was rushing towards me, mane billowing out behind her. She came to a rather abrupt but graceful halt. "Mum is at the bank," she informed me. "Sparkle is with her too. She wants us to meet her there instead."

      I nodded. "Uh huh. You go ahead, I'll catch up in a minute." She turned and galloped off to the bank. I sat for a minute, thinking, then got up and followed her.

      * * * * *

      "It's good to be home," Mum sighed as she pushed open the door. "I am so tired…" She collapsed into a kitchen chair and fell asleep instantly. (How she managed, I don't know.)

      Honey nodded in agreement and wandered (gracefully) into the kitchen to make herself a cup of tea. Sparkle seemed full of energy. She bounced around and threw her new plushies (she bought a Uni plushie - how weird!) and her old ones all up in the air, until the loungeroom looked like a garbage dump.

      I dragged myself upstairs and sat down at my vanity desk (habit, by now). I still looked as ugly as I usually did (or maybe even more, because I was tired). I was glad that neither the Zafara or Battle_Galactic had had a good look at me. I didn't want them to know what I looked like.

      "Ummm… Beauty?" I saw Honey standing in the doorway. "Neoschool is on tomorrow. I just thought you'd like to know." She turned and left.

      "I'm not going," I muttered. "Battle_Galactic will be there and I don't want to see him. Never, ever, ever…"

      I lay down on my bed and thought. There had to be a way to get out of Neoschool. Before the holidays I wouldn't have minded, but now that I'd met someone that actually wanted to talk to me…

      I must have been as tired as Mum because (even though I hadn't eaten) it wasn't long before I drifted off…

To be continued...

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Other Episodes

» Sleeping Beauty: Part One
» Sleeping Beauty: Part Two
» Sleeping Beauty

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