It was morning in the Haunted Woods (though it didn't look like it), and one little (not so seemingly innocent) Acara was just going about her everyday routine. As many girls did, she checked her reflection in the mirror every day, a lot, and as often as possible. Except instead of seeing beauty (or a 6am version of beauty), she only saw pure hideousness and self-hatred. Plus, the mirror talked. Well, whispered, really.
It seemed as if it was only yesterday (it really was, too) that Vira was playing in the meadows, fancifully weaving flowers and beautiful things into her fur. Now, the horned Acara wandered the halls of an abandoned manor rotting apart at the seams. Furthermore, the Neohome's furniture was either teething, gaping, or had one too many watchful eyeballs. When Vira discovered her ability to curse objects, she'd worked out some of her anger by gleefully in turning the dusty furniture into dark, twisted versions of themselves.
Vira peered closer at the violet hand mirror she held in her paw. The rims of the surface on the mirror swirled with faint veils of purple whenever it sensed her presence. The mirror made a soft chuckling noise, quiet and alluring. It sounded A LOT like that shadowy, fateful voice she had heard among the flowers, otherwise known as- That Voice That Had Ruined Her Life. "My dear, you are the most beautiful Neopet ever... this the manor has seen."
The voice laughed with harsh glee as Vira seriously thought about sending the mirror to its well-deserved fate against a nearby wall.
"No Neopet is uglier than you," it continued to taunt. Vira disrespectfully disagreed.
"Curses," the once-pretty and still-Acara muttered. She had just bought some dark ruby nail polish yesterday, and she was really hoping it went with her crimson spiked collar. She gave up the nail polish idea. Talking mirrors always spoke the truth, after all. And if no Neopet was uglier than her, than perhaps some ought to be...
Vira had heard about Edna the Witch from Shady Sid, another colorful local character. Apparently, Edna was the go-to witch for any nasty stuff you wanted brewed. As a result, her business was really doing well.
After taking off from her new not-humble abode, Vira glided through the air to Edna's Tower. She flitted down, landing on the witch's doorstep. She made her presence known with the clawed doorknocker (which liked her fingers a bit too much- she didn't want to break a nail, here!- and tried to grasp at her paw) The door swung open to reveal a squat, green Zafara witch, dressed in a simple pointy black hat and robe. The outfit was SO out of fashion in Neopets Central, but she supposed standards were nonexistent in a land of tentacles, Spyders and zombie stalkers.
"Hey, I'm Vira," the Acara said. "I'm the newest villainess in these parts. It's TRAGIC how it happened, but I don't want to talk about it." Translation: she did. She was dying for a group of girlfriends to divulge with, dearly missing gossiping and the always fun trash-talking. Vira continued to critically eye Edna up and down, stifling a laugh at her horribly horned back, warts, and the disaster that was her cauldron. (The cauldron didn't match!) Even in her faerie Acara days (again, yesterday), she knew not to look like THAT. Femininity was all about beautiful hair and flowers and stuff. At least Vira had a matching outfit and dark boots that really completed the look.
"It's always tragic, girlie. Welcome to the dark side, where we are doomed to plot to take over Neopia, fail time and time again, and endlessly annoy the League with paperwork from our battles," the Zafara cackled. "I'm Edna. What can I do for you today?"
"Well, it's really simple. I'd like lots of uglifying potions, so that pretty much every single pet in Neopia can't be prettier than me."
Edna eyed the Acara skeptically. "Sounds like a tall order. How about I give you a recipe and the supplies to make it? I'm too busy with orders right now to take on brewing about a few hundred thousand potions. The next round of the Beauty Contest starts soon... you know how competitive Neopets can get."
"Suuuure," Vira agreed doubtfully. A Beauty Contest in the Haunted Woods? She momentarily contemplated which was prettier- warts or fangs? "What's the recipe?"
"All you really need is loads of pickled eyeball juice, squeezed fresh. It's practically essential to making evil potions." Edna disappeared from the doorway for a second before returning with a pickle jar. She popped off the lid and scooped up an eyeball in the palm of her paw, then clenched her grip. "Squeeze the eyeballs like this. Now let me see you try." She dropped her squeezed eyeball into the jar and handed a fresh one to Vira.
Immediately, the eyeball blackened and melted into goo in Vira's paw.
"Ugh!" the Acara scoffed. "Picked eyeballs are too ugly to even look at, anyway."
"You have the power to poison by touch? Well, why didn't you just say so!" Edna grinned. "I'll just give you a jar of bits of every Neopet species I have- a piece of fur, a claw. Just add water and dip your paw in for one uglification potion. Now, that'll be fifty thousand Neopoints for the lot."
That's when Vira knew that Edna was really evil, after all.
Still, the Acara's dark mood brightened considerably when she thought of all the other ugly, green, horned Neopets that would be slobbering over Neopia the next morning. She studiously set about to making the potions, finishing the batch in one night. Now, her mirror could NEVER call her the ugliest Neopet in Neopia again. Mwahahahaha!
She figured out the problem of distribution by visiting Kauvara, Neopia Central's savvy potionmaker. And personally, she approved of the Kau's wizarding look. It was so much more chic.
"Hello there, Kauvara," Vira began. "I have a business proposition for you...." She grinned maliciously.
"Vira! Is that you? Oh, I heard all about it in the Neopian Times. And you were so pretty, too..." the Kau began sympathetically, in a simpering tone.
"Yep. Long story short, I'm evil now."
"How about a Faerie Acara morphing potion, only four hundred thousand neopoints- three hundred thousand for you, my dear." You could practically see the Neopoint signs in the Kau's eyes.
"But magic doesn't work on me, Kauvara. I was cursed by Faerie's magic. But that's not what I came here for. I just made some potions that will give Neopets the most UNIQUE look ever." Okay, Vira was slightly lying. Sloth was green already, and he had a pretty cool trenchcoat to go with it.
"Oh? Do tell...."
And that was how the first batch of Transmogrification Potions were released. Vira was pleased to see some Neopets hunchbacked, three-eyed and covered in drool the next day. Still, she was shocked that some Neopets actually LIKED the look. She supposed she couldn't repulse everybody.
The next day, Vira began her daily battle of wits (but really more like wills) with her handy dandy mirror of insults.
"What do you have to say to my potions, Mirror, hmm? I'm NOT the ugliest Neopet in Neopia anymore!" she challenged.
The mirror simply cackled knowingly. "Indeed, my darling," it purred. "But you are still the ugliest Acara in Neopia. Your green skin and bloodshot eyes are no match for the sleek scarlet wraiths your potions turn Acaras into."
Vira snarled in frustration. She answered the mirror by smashing it against a wall, then leapt into the air to angrily storm about her manor. Maybe the answer wasn't rising in beauty on a purely relative and controlled scale among a certain insignificant 3% of the population who liked her look (she was lying if she said it wasn't a little flattering). Maybe she need to break the curse itself, and she'd stop at no cost to do so. It was time to visit a light Faerie. It was time to consult Balthazar... (and she supposed she should bring a mutated muffin basket along for the visit).