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The Beauty Within: Part Four

by queen_aingeal


Darigan and Daria arrived back at the Citadel instantaneously. "Now, go to your chamber immediately. Everything's just as you left it," the Korbat said mockingly. Daria began to walk towards her tower, but Darigan called her name. She turned and saw him smiling. "I wonder where that little Drackonack of yours is?" he said.

      "I don't know," Daria said. Which wasn't quite a lie, as he could be anywhere by now.

      "Very well," Darigan said. "Go on now, don't bother me." Daria turned and walked away. Suddenly she heard a soft voice whisper something.

      "What?" she asked aloud. Darigan turned to look at her.

      The voice whispered again. This time Daria could hear it saying, "Spell…"

      Daria looked at Darigan, and remembered the spell she wore around her neck. She took it out of the bag, and Darigan laughed. "An empty bottle won't help you now, my dear!" he cackled.

      Daria said nothing. She merely reached up and popped the cork. Illusen's voice filled the room, saying those words that didn't sound like words at all. A rush of green smoke surged into the room and formed into an enormous Uni stallion. Darigan staggered back as the smoke Uni reared up and neighed, his horn stabbing the air. He plunged forward, lowering his head, and his horn pointed directly at Darigan. Darigan let out a shriek as the Uni began to drive him out the door.

      "Call him off!" Darigan screamed pleadingly.

      "Get out of here and maybe I'll consider it!" Daria called back, her face bright and happy.

      Darigan whirled and was gone with a flutter of tattered wings. The smoke Uni turned back and walked towards Daria, now perfectly calm. He bent his head and looked kindly down at the young Uni. "You are beautiful, my girl," he said in a voice that sounded like the tolling of a great bell. "Do not forget that." And then he was gone with a puff of smoke and the faint scent of cinnamon.

      "What was that?" Damian asked, coming up behind Daria. Daria jumped and whirled.

      "Damian!" she said happily. "What are you doing here?"

      "I followed you," the Rainbow Eyrie said with a shrug. "But what was that thing that chased Darigan away?"

     "That was… my father. My real one." Daria remembered it all now. "He was killed by Darigan many years ago. I had forgotten… Darigan told me he was my father. But…" Daria's head was spinning. "I must see Illusen." She ran a short way and took off with a jump.

     * * *

     "So you're back, then?" Illusen said when she saw Daria standing at the entrance to her glade. "I thought you would be." She took a look at her. "And I see that beauty didn't last too long now, did it?"

      "No, it didn't. But that's not the issue right now," Daria said. "How did you know who my father was?"

      Illusen smiled. "Come in, won't you?" she said politely, stepping to the side and letting Daria in.

      "You're not answering my question," Daria said. "How did you know who my father was?"

      Illusen sat down and stretched her arms above her head. "I didn't. I just assumed that since you're a Uni and Darigan is a Korbat, it wouldn't be possible for you to be his biological daughter. And since I highly doubt Darigan would ever adopt a pet of his own, I can only assume you were stolen. But your parents would undoubtedly fight for you, and Darigan would kill them. Not for any personal reason, of course, but just because they annoyed him. So I created a spell that would bring back the ghost of someone who would fight for you - someone who loved you no matter what you looked like."

      "Fair enough," Daria said, "but why did you bring back Father instead of Mother?"

      "Truthfully?" Illusen said. "Your mother… is not dead."

      "What?" Daria said softly. "She's alive? How?"

      "She gave you up without a fight." Illusen's smile was gone, and in its place was an expression of real dislike. "I remember three Unis going with Darigan to the Citadel that night, one of them a child… and only one returned. The female. Your mother, Daria."

      "So… what are you saying? My mother didn't love me?" Daria asked.

      "Of course she loved you!" Illusen said quickly. "She was just afraid of Darigan! She was afraid he'd kill her!"

      "So she just left me?" Daria shouted, standing up. "She left me AND my father? Left us to die?"

      "Daria, try to understand," Illusen said, but Daria cut her off.

      "It's not fair!" she cried. "She should have fought with my father! She could have at least tried!"

      "Maybe she did!" Illusen argued. "Maybe she DID try!"

      "Where is she? You must know where she is, you know everything!" Daria said. "Find her!"

      Illusen sighed. "I can't."

      "Why not?" Daria persisted.

      "Because I can't find those who don't want to be found. Your mother has another life now. She's happy." Illusen came and knelt by Daria's side. "Don't ruin that for her. Give her a chance at life."

      "Why should I? She didn't for me." Daria was starting to cry.

      "That may be, but…" Illusen sighed again. "You can't do anything about that now. Forget her. Live your life."

      Daria wiped her eyes and shook her head, as if trying to shake away the terrible things that had been said. "All right. Fine."

      "That's my girl," Illusen said, brushing Daria's mane out of her face. "Now then, do you need anything more from me?"

      Daria thought for a moment. "Well," she said, "I do need an owner."

      "Don't you already have one? That Mirabel girl?"

      Daria scoffed. "Mirabel didn't even try to protect me. No way am I going back to her. I need someone who'll like me the way I am."

      Illusen smiled and stood up. "Really? Warts and all?"

      Daria smiled back. "Yup. Warts and all."

      "Well then, best of luck to you!" the faerie said. "Why don't you head into town, see what you can find."

      "OK," Daria said, brushing herself off. She suddenly remembered something. "Oh! Your bottle," she said, handing it to Illusen.

      "Thank you," Illusen said, taking it and tucking it away in her pocket. "Perhaps it will come in handy again someday."

      Daria smiled and left the Glade. Illusen watched the Uni walk away. She was so much different than when she'd come for the first time. Being beautiful had been good for her, it would seem. She'd learned to be more confident, and happier. Illusen smiled at the Uni's retreating back and went back into her glade.

     * * *

     Daria wandered around Meridell for quite some time, getting more and more discouraged as time wore on. At last she lay down for a while beside the petpet shop. She sighed and laid her head down on the ground, closing her eyes.

      Her rest was disturbed, however, by a familiar squeal of joy. She looked up and saw a Drackonack scurrying towards her, running as fast as he could. "Spike?" she called, and the Drackonack squealed again. "Spike!" Daria cried out, jumping up and catching her petpet as he took a flying leap and sailed through the air towards her. "Oh, Spike, I'm so happy to see you!"

      "Hey!" shouted a voice. Daria looked up and saw the pink Ixi who owned the shop running towards her. "You're going to have to pay for that Drackonack!"

      Daria was lost for words, but Spike apparently wasn't. He turned and snarled viciously at the Ixi, his teeth bared. Clearly, he knew it was his choice whether or not he would be paid for.

      The Ixi froze in her tracks. "Okay, okay, you can have him. Just… don't come around here any more, or there'll be trouble."

      Daria turned and ran off, not wanting to bother the Ixi any more. When she was a good distance away, she sat down and hugged Spike hard. "I missed you so much, Spike!" she sighed, closing her eyes. "Don't ever scare me like that again."

      Spike growled affectionately, nuzzling close to her as if to say, "Don't worry." Daria smiled and hugged him some more.

      "Nice Drackonack," said a voice. Daria looked up and saw a girl standing over her, smiling.

      "Thanks," Daria said.

      "What's his name?"

      Daria looked down at her petpet. "Spike," she said.

      The girl crouched down and reached out a hand towards Spike. "Hi there," she said softly. Spike sniffed her hand cautiously, then allowed her to run her fingers over his purple scales. "He's cute," the girl giggled.

      "I wouldn't say that exactly," Daria said.

      The girl laughed. "I'm Allison. What's your name?"

      "Daria," said the Uni.

      "Nice to meet you, Daria," Allison said. "Do you have an owner?"

      Daria shook her head. "Nope. No one wants me, to be honest."

      "That's ridiculous," Allison said promptly. "You're Darigan! I don't know a Neopian alive who doesn't love Darigan pets!"

      "Do you?" Daria asked. "Love Darigan pets, I mean."

      "Heck yes!" Allison said. "In fact… would you mind if I become your owner?"

      Daria looked at her. She had long brown hair, currently braided over her shoulder. Her eyes were green and vibrant, and she was wearing an Eyrie sweater and plain jeans. "I wouldn't mind at all," she said happily. "However, I would like one favour from you."

      "Name it," Allison said.

      "Do you have room for one more pet?" Daria asked, looking over her shoulder at a Rainbow Eyrie that she'd heard following her since she left Illusen's Glade.

      Allison smiled, instantly understanding. "Yup," she said, "I surely do."

      Daria and Damian went back with Allison to her home in Neopia Central. Daria made a lot of friends, and a fair amount of enemies. But life was good, and Daria never again wished to be anything but what she was. Because really, who could ask for more?

The End

Author's note: I am really, REALLY sorry for the corniness of the moral, but I hope you enjoyed it anyways. And I hope it actually got in. If it did, then discard that previous statement. Anyway, I will probably be writing more about Daria, since I love her a LOT. Fan mail, or hate mail, or any sort of mail, is always appreciated. Love you lots, see you on the flip side. Adios!

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Other Episodes

» The Beauty Within: Part One
» The Beauty Within: Part Two
» The Beauty Within: Part Three

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