The flower withered into a dark, shriveled shape. Vira threw it to the ground and stomped on it, crushing what was left of the stem and petals. She sighed and sat down behind a bush, wistfully staring at the sky. It had been years after she left her family, and no one loved her ever since. Of course - she was beyond ugly. Ever since that dreaded dark faerie showed up and offered her the best thing in the world, immense beauty, her life was ruined. It turned out that the faerie and Vira didn't have the same taste in beauty.
It was another summer day for any normal Neopian, but to Vira, it was her birthday - birthdays are something to be celebrated, but not for her. To her, birthdays just mark another year of a terrible life, one she needed to embrace forever.
"Seventeen years and counting," Vira said to herself. "It's supposed to get more special every year, but that's not happening. Perhaps I should buy myself a present this year, to make it better. Maybe a horde of Faerie Paint Brushes!"
Ever since Vira turned ugly, she had been trying in vain to turn herself back into her previous color - faerie. It was the best color in the world, she thought. The faerie Acara had graceful wings that made them feel skybound, with light, pink paws to match. The skin was a beautiful yellow color, more beautiful than even the yellowest daffodil. Even the purple-blue eyes were something to marvel about!
Vira pushed aside the thorny walls and emerged in Brightvale. After running away, she had decided to settle in the meadow between Brightvale and Meridell. It was a deserted place, but was absolutely gorgeous - at the time, spring was in full bloom. The grass was a light green, and the blue sky was completely cloudless. There were flowers of all kinds everywhere - daisies, poppies, and even peonies. Vira had gasped at the beauty and picked them all up, bundling them into a bouquet. But to her horror, the flowers wilted and drooped, poison dripping from their petals. The grass below her feet turned into an ugly, muddy color, and even the sun seemed to get dim. Ever since, she had built thorny walls to keep visitors out, and trapped herself in - no one needed to see the mess she made.
Vira stopped walking and looked up to see a giant tree with bags of neopoints all around it - the Money Tree. One good thing about her curse was that she gained a few powers not possible to normal neopets - apparently, speed walking was one of them.
Vira bent down at the Rainbow Pool, the rocks slippery and wet. She saw a Faerie Paint Brush at the edge and hastily picked it up - foolish people were always leaving their stuff near the rocks. Jumping into the colorful pool while holding the paint brush, Vira hoped and hoped that it would work - after all, the fiftieth time was the charm, right?
The paint brush dissolved into pink colors, and Vira sank into the water, closing her eyes. She let the paint run over her, absorbing into her bland fur. She hoped that it would get rid of her useless horns and dark, red nails, hoped that it would get rid of her evil eyes.
But most of all, she wanted her beautiful wings back. The wings that allowed her to be one with the sky and clouds, the ones that allowed her to dance and flutter freely.
The water wasn't pink anymore, and Vira broke through the surface, gasping for air. She wasn't surprised to see the same, ugly reflection from just a few seconds ago. It never worked, even if she jumped into the pool with five Faerie Paint Brushes at once. At least her fur was clean again - it rarely ever rained in the meadow she lived in, and her fur was always matted and dirty from the environment she lived in.
"Hey! Where'd my brush go?" asked a Chomby, frantically running around the pool. She was worried, and checking in the most ridiculous places. "I left it right here!"
Vira climbed out of the pool, trying to get away silently. But stealth was not one of her new superpowers - she made many splashing sounds, and the Chomby quickly swiveled her head towards Vira.
"You! It was you, wasn't it? I saw you in the Gallery of Evil." The Chomby pranced closer. "Vira, isn't it?"
"Yes. So, what are you gonna do now? Call the Defenders of Neopia on me?" Vira crossed her arms and waited for an answer.
"No. It actually wasn't my brush - it was for my sister. But my owner is rich, anyway - she won't be happy, but she can buy a new one anytime."
Vira was surprised, and locked eyes with the Chomby. "You just have money to throw away like that? You don't care that I just stole your paint brush - not at all?"
The Chomby shrugged. "I'm pretty annoyed, but not that much. Besides, a faerie Kacheek is basically just a yellow Kacheek with wings, but my sister won't listen to me! She wants the real deal, not some silly Sparkling Carmariller Wings she can just put on."
There was an awkward silence.
"Well... I guess it was nice meeting you, Vira. Well, I'm not entirely sure what to say - after all, I've never been face-to-face with a villain before. I thought it'd be scarier." the Chomby shrugged. "Anyway, I have to go now."
"Wait - what is your name?"
"My full name?" the Chomby asked, scratching her head. "Well, it's a little long, but my owner likes to call me Miranda."
Miranda ran away, heading to the plaza. Vira's eyes followed her, surprised that she enjoyed the chat. It was the first civilized one she had in years - usually, people just spat insults at her or ran away. And Miranda was such a catchy name!
She went back the way she came, but instead of heading to Brightvale, Vira kept going straight. Soon after, she saw sparkling waterfalls and pink and purple colors everywhere - Faerieland. As soon as she stepped foot into it, many faeries turned to look at her - they gasped in horror.
"Don't worry, I'll use the path." Vira glared back. "You won't have to worry about getting your unimportant grass even more filthy."
Vira was now in Faerie City, and there was no one to be seen. All of the shops were closed, and there weren't even any Faellies roaming the street. Vira knew that faeries loved to gossip, so perhaps they were hiding from her visit.
Vira shivered, wishing she had a jacket, but all she had was just a little, black dress. Maybe the air faeries were playing tricks on her.
She emerged at Fyora's castle and looked up. It was invisible, but she knew the Hidden Tower was there. She knocked on the door, and a faerie Tonu answered - the same one from all of the visits before. Even though the Tonu was snarky, Vira still thought she looked lovely. Her eyes were transfixed on the Tonu's pink colors and elegant way of walking. She blinked and shook her head as the Tonu narrowed her eyes.
"I'd like to see Fyora, please."
"Isn't this your fourth time this month? You should just stop."
"I want to see Fyora!" Vira said, growling. The Tonu seemed startled and led her inside the castle. She quickly left and let Vira stand in the great halls all alone, but that was alright - she knew the way to Fyora's room, because of all of the countless visits.
Vira walked up the smooth stairs and emerged at her destination. She held her fist in midair, afraid to knock. But why? She had done this confidently so many times before. Maybe this would make her look weak - maybe Fyora has finally defeated her, after all.
She was saved by a startling light. Peeking through her fingers, she saw that it was Fyora herself. She was ageless as usual, with not a single wrinkle on her skin, even though she was hundreds of years old. Fyora invited Vira in, and she stood in the center of the room.
"Fyora," Vira began, as the Faerie Queen sat herself down with a cup of tea. "I just came to the conclusion that... I don't need your help anymore. I'm done with begging, because I know you won't answer my wishes anyway. I know you don't care about me, and that you'll use your other powers to help better people."
Fyora simply just cocked her head to one side. "Is that all?"
"Yes." Vira began to exit the room, but Fyora beckoned her back.
"Vira, I know what happened today. You stole a paint brush again," Fyora said, her voice stern. Vira opened her mouth to protest, but Fyora held her hand up to silence her. "But you made a friend, didn't you? Miranda."
"Not really. We just talked for a while."
"Vira, don't you see? Beauty isn't everything." Fyora ignored what she just said and walked to the window, gazing out at Faerie City. It was quiet and peaceful, filled with serenity. "There are so many more important things out there. Friends, family, kindness, and caring are a few things I can name."
"So, what's the point of this conversation?"
"You made your very first friend, Vira." Fyora placed a hand on her and smiled. "Isn't that wonderful?"
Bright light emerged from the spot where Fyora touched her, and Vira screamed, batting at her glowing fur. She was submerged in the light, but stopped thrashing - perhaps this was Fyora's way of punishing her. She closed her eyes, embracing whatever was coming for her. Was this the end?
Vira opened her eyes, still alive. She was confused and looked at Fyora, who shrugged in turn. Vira took a step forward, and saw that there was a paw on the ground, not a boot. She looked at her hands, which were now pink paws - her feet were the same. She saw the beautiful yellow fur, and thought that this couldn't be happening.
Vira fluttered her wings, floating into the air. With each forward flap, she saw that they were pink wings - her wings!
"This is amazing!" Vira was practically squealing in awe. "But you're right, Fyora. I feel beautiful, but my heart... it's empty. Do you know where Miranda is?"
"I'm right here."
Vira swiveled around to see Miranda, and crashed right into her. They stood up, giggling, and hugged each other.
"What are you doing here?" asked Vira, tears in her eyes. "I thought you were going home!"
"This is home," Miranda replied, smiling. "I told you my owner was rich."
"I didn't think you meant Fyora!"
The girls laughed, exiting the room. Fyora beamed at them - finally, after years, Vira found out the truth.
"Her very best friend indeed," Fyora said, taking a sip of her tea.
All was well - Vira's happily ever after finally came true.