Still thwarting Sloth's mind control... Circulation: 189,010,903 Issue: 546 | 25th day of Hunting, Y14
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Transmogrification: Part One


by emma_manatee

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"Mommy! It's time for the story you promised!" cried Zoe. Zoe was a tiny Baby Aisha, but a more impatient creature you could not find anywhere else in Neopia. Her mother had only tucked her into bed moments earlier when she immediately demanded a bottle; and the second that was done a story was in order.

      "Yes, dear," her mother sighed, handing Zoe her baby Aisha plushie, as was routine. "Which one tonight?"

      After pondering this question for a moment, her face lit up. "Make a new one!"

      Her mother's brown face lit up as well. "I was hoping you'd say that. I have a good one I've been meaning to tell you..."

      Once upon a time, in a faraway land, there was an Aisha. She-

      "Was she a princess?" Zoe asked. "I want her to be a princess!"

      "Yes, dear, she was a princess. Now please don't interrupt--let the story tell itself. As I was saying..."

      Once upon a time, in a faraway land, there was an Aisha princess. She was the daughter of the highest nobility, and a more spoiled princess you couldn't find anywhere. Her every whim was catered to, any desire immediately fulfilled. Simple, menial tasks were left to her plethora of servants--the tasks like dressing and bathing herself. All she had to do all day was command the Neopets that seemed to live for her biding. It seemed almost as if she didn't even need to think. Her name was-

      "Analeigh!" cried Zoe, forgetting she was supposed to just listen to the story.

      "Yes, her name was Analeigh, just like me. Please don't interrupt, Zoe, or you'll have to go to bed before we finish." Zoe promptly put on a look of utmost seriousness.

      Analeigh had everything a girl could ask for, or so it seemed. She had no responsibilities, and power, not to mention a group of girls who would do anything she asked, almost like more servants. She had no siblings to be annoyed by, intense beauty that would turn any normal peasant green with envy, a wealth of money and jewels and, most importantly for our story, anything she wanted that said money could buy.

      One day, Analeigh was walking through her castle garden with some friends. They were discussing dress plans for the ball coming up, and since Analeigh was the prettiest and had the most wealth, she naturally had nothing to wear.

      "And I only hope my seamstress can finish the dress in time, we just ran out of that gorgeous midnight blue fabric the would look perfect with my shoes, we had to get it sent in from out of the country... If it doesn't come in time I will have nothing to wear..." This was, of course, untrue, for Analeigh had hundreds of dresses in her closet she had never even looked at.

      "What are you prattling on about now, Analeigh?" The giggling group of girls whipped around to see a lone, Royal Aisha prince they all recognized.

      "Only the dress I'll be wearing to your family's ball, prince Joseph. I had to-"

      "Yes, yes, I heard about your silly fabric," he said, waving the matter aside with his paw. "I need to know where your father is; I was sent with an urgent message and he isn't in the throne room, where he ought to be."

      Analeigh shrugged. "It is no matter of mine what my father does away from me. Perhaps he is in the kitchen, preparing for the feast tomorrow?"

      Joseph slowly nodded his head. "Perhaps. Good day, ladies." He bowed elegantly with his plumed hat and headed for the kitchens.

      Analeigh's best friend, a giggling Royal Kyrii, sighed. "Isn't he a dream?" The rest of the group giggled in agreement.

      "Whatever," Analeigh said, though she wanted him to like her most of all.

     ***

      Prince Joseph snuck through the kitchens and, once hearing the king would be with the most talented potion brewer, headed that way.

      "Madam Fairtune? King Japeth? Are you here?" No answer. He poked his head through the layers of beads and thick curtains to see that the room was empty. With a mischievous look on his face, the young prince snuck into the room he was always forbidden, and for good reason-the potion brewery.

      "Now this... This is perfect...," he muttered with relish, selecting a steaming bottle from the shelf. Why their resident potion-brewer had this vile-smelling concoction just sitting on a shelf, he didn't know. Nor did he care.

      Just as he tucked the little bottle into his coat pocket, the potion-brewer-he didn't really have a name, so everyone called him the Wizard-opened the door and walked in. His soft footsteps stopped abruptly when he saw Joseph.

      "My Lord? What are you doing here unattended?"

      "I was, um, looking for King Japeth. I was told he was with you, so I looked here." He looked at his brown boots, trying not to betray the slight bulge in his pocket.

      The white Ruki stared the young prince down, knowing that something was amiss but unable to put his finger on it. "He wanted some painkillers that I brew especially." He tilted his head, thinking of where the king could be. "If I remember correctly, he went back to his chamber to rest."

      "Thank you, Wizard." Joseph escorted himself out of the room, trying to look unhurried and failing only slightly.

     ***

      Elsewhere, Princess Analeigh was in front of her full-length mirror, brushing her curly, orange locks. Actually, a servant was brushing her hair, but that was beside the point.

      "Are you excited for the ball tonight?" Analeigh asked the servant, a plain Kacheek with soft, brown fur. "I certainly am, my new silk dress just came in and I can't wait to try it on," she prattled, not waiting for an answer. "It's such a lovely blue."

      "I'm sure it will look even lovelier on you, my lady," the Kacheek mumbled, her sarcasm going undetected as she tugged at a particularly tough knot.

      "Of course it will, what else would you expect?" The Kacheek opened her mouth to respond-likely another sarcastic remark-when a fist pounded a sharp knock on the door, startling them both. "Go see who that is, will you?" she yawned, twisting her hair in different styles.

      The Kacheek opened the door, scowling, though that melted when the lithe form of Joseph was presented to her. "My Lord? Do you need something?"

      "Actually," he stage-whispered, "I have a present for the lady Analeigh." The young Kacheek's eyes widened.

      "Oh, really? What is it?" He silently handed her a small, clear cup of water. He also handed her a smaller, nondescript bottle. She started to pop its cork, assuming it was perfume, but he reached out and quickly stopped her.

      "I, ah, wouldn't do that if I were you. It's a potion that should enhance her 'beauty', but it smells something nasty. Just pour about five drops into the water and have Analeigh drink it right before she leaves for the ball. Do I make myself clear?" Though he smiled, his eyes betrayed a sense of urgency about him.

      "Of course, Sir. I'll make sure to follow your directions exactly." She hesitated as he turned to leave. "Should I tell her who it's from?"

      Joseph tipped his hat, smiling wider. "I want you to make sure she knows exactly who it is from." And on that odd note, he left the servant girl holding to bottles, unsure what he could mean.

     ***

      "I was right! This dress is just gorgeous." Analeigh ran her paws over the gently shimmering, silky fabric. Even her servant, who never bothered wanting things she would never have, couldn't help but stare at beautiful, midnight blue dress. Then she remembered Joseph's present.

      "Lady Analeigh, I almost forgot. You need to drink this now." She meticulously poured exactly five steaming, vile drops into the water, turning it a dark, murky brown. Princess Analeigh curled her nose at the smell.

      "Why would I possibly want to drink that? Who told you to give it to me?"

      "It's apparently a potion to enhance your, er, beauty. A gift from the Prince Joseph." Analeigh's eyes brightened at the thought of Joseph giving her a gift... And to make her more beautiful, no less!

      "Then what are you waiting for? Give it to me!" Analeigh grabbed the bottle and gulped it down, ignoring her servant's feeble protests. She sat herself in front of the mirror. "I'm not leaving this room until I'm sure it worked!" She looked positively aglow with excitement.

      As the Kacheek squinted, though, she realized that Analeigh was literally glowing. It wasn't a healthy, golden glow either. It was more of a sick green, sort of like vomit or a lighter shade of the potion she had inhaled only a moment ago. She turned to clean up the mess Analeigh had made, thinking it was just a trick of the light.

      After she cleaned it up, she turned and let out a loud gasp of surprise, the cup and bottle clattering back to the floor. Now Analeigh wasn't just glowing. She was... Morphing was the best word for it. Her hair--her treasured, long locks of bright orange hair--were falling out of her scalp. Her ears were elongating, as was almost every other limb on her body. Tufts of blue fur were peeking out among the pink, and soon dominated the original colour. Fleshy, pink spike-like things ripped through her dress, the beautiful, new silk dress. The broken, irreparable pieces scattered across the stone floor.

      Analeigh shrieked, the sound made louder because it was being issued from three pairs of mouths, two from her ears and one from her now heavily fanged mouth; it was accompanied by her servant's own shriek.

      Amid all the screaming, they failed to hear the knock at the door.

To be continued...

 
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