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BEAUTY’S CURSE

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Dr Cornelius Hue’s white bushy brows knit in the middle as he glares about the rows of students seated or flying briefly in the tiered rows of the Blueprint Swirl. His protective coat splashed with vivid colour as at odds with his grey skin tone and white hair as the lilac bow tie at his neck, or opalescent wings at his back. His stern countenance justified by the topic – Pixies – the gathered students meet his gaze with hungry interest. Whispers about the dangers of self-painting rustle through the school each year as Dr Hue conducts his lecture on the subject but to finally be of age and ability to attend is something keenly anticipated within the student body.

Cornelius flits to an iridescent pool at the centre of the swirl and images flicker, change and take shape. First, a handsome Fairy preening and polishing their wings. Students mutter appreciatively as the Fairy turns, showing off a buddleia knot and daffodil chaps. The ripple of delighted applause turns to shouts of horror as that same Fairy twitches and convulses. His handsome face distorted in pain, the pride of petals falling from his clothes as, with an agonised cry, his wings shrivel and come away from his body altogether. The Blueprint Swirl rustles with consternation as students take to the air or whisper to one another in horror at the thought of losing their ability to fly, or of becoming something so terrible as a Pixie.

Dr Cornelius Hue watches in satisfaction, nodding as he catches snippets of appalled debate. Allowing it to continue a while before gesturing to waiting Splat Teachers to get control of the horrified students. Taking to the air at once, several Teachers fly amongst the student body with strict determination, quickly returning order to chaos.

‘Beauty, the Fairy’s curse.’ says Hue gently, focussing on students with hair styled like flowers or plants, then flicks to others, meticulously dressed in the season’s petals and leaves. ‘We see it, we are drawn to it, and yet to touch it ourselves is to lose everything.’ Students huddle together, comforting one another as the gravity of Cornelius’ words wash over them.

Outside the classroom, laughter and joviality gets louder and closer. Hue immediately jabs a hand towards the sound and a couple of Splat Teachers take flight to find out what is happening. Cornelius, determined to continue, waves his hand across the rippling pool just as a loud bang rings through the entryway and the Splat Teachers who had gone to investigate tumble through the air and back into the Blueprint Swirl. One, a female Fairy with the same thin tie as her male counterparts, falls to the ground. Hue, unable to stop them, finds himself engulfed in a tumult of Fairy wings as students and faculty alike gather around the prone Teacher.

A collective sigh of relief and some giggling ripples through them as they see a colourful bubble – or Fleebee – pop out of her ear. ‘I want those responsible found,’ Hue says as he pushes wings from his face, ‘but perhaps we could take a break to watch.’ With an uncharacteristic grin, Cornelius flits above the students to watch his subordinate’s dream as it plays out across the shimmering orb.

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