Chapter 151:

A Beauideal Challenge

The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)

Dia slowly opened the door to greet who was knocking. It moved only enough to create a small gap from which she could peer out while Sabia made her way into a locker to hide. Her yellow eyes immediately focused on Fiona before she noticed the other three that stood there.

“So, you followed me all the way to Nun?” The green beauideal asked in a casual tone. She kept her tone neutral, but from behind the door, she readied her arm, and the white Needaimus, X, bonded to it.

“Dia, dear, we would like a chat!” Kitten said in a sing-song voice. Though her voice and face were sweet, she didn’t waste any time forcing her way into Dia’s room. The others followed suit, and the door was quickly shut. Dia made a confident smile as she gestured to the couches in the room.

“Why don’t we have a seat?”

All in the room, at least as far as the new visitors were aware, sat on the seats with Dia and began their discussion. The four guests crammed onto the couch and sat opposite Dia, who sat in an enormous, comfortable armchair.

“We have you now! These girls are firsthand witnesses to your murder!” Kitten wasted no time breaking character and yelling at Dia.

Dia chuckled.

“And? The Nun authorities are not obliged to punish me for crimes in a foreign nation. The public can be easily swayed to believe whatever I like, and even the four of you don’t have the power to overtake me and drag me back to Quenth.” Dia fluttered her wings as if to intimidate the other girls. She moved her metalized arm into their line of sight, similar to how one would brandish a gun.

Kitten gritted her teeth in frustration. In her haste to confront the green Aqueenian, neither she nor Scarlet picked up their Needaimus. She discovered a fatal error many mortals made when the Needaimus was primarily thought of as something for a job over combat. Without knowing the abilities of Harlan or Fiona, the pointy-eared beauideal did not plan to take a chance.

“What is your aim? Whose pawn are you?” Harlan asked softly. Dia let out an honest laugh.

“What a silly question,” was all she answered with.

“Do you work for Array?” the Zenotote scientist pressed.

Dia laughed again but couldn’t hide a small fidget at her surprise from hearing the organization’s name. The reaction was lost on the other three, but Harlan picked up on it. Still, the Zenotote scientist wished someone else could do the interrogating.

“What is Array’s next move?” Harlan pressed.

Dia sighed and leaned back in her chair. She looked up to the ceiling for a moment, then around the room as if to loosen her neck.

“This conversation bores me. Don’t you have something more interesting to say? Or perhaps we should just duke it out now? Though I warn you, the guards will swoop in if they get the slightest hint of a conflict.”

Dia smiled smugly at the crowd on the couch. As far as she was concerned, she had the others in check. It was apparent to the group that they would have to be careful with their actions, or at least, it was apparent to three members.

Fiona leaped up from the couch and rolled her shoulders to loosen them. She put up her fists as if she was ready to fight.

“Alright! All this talk was boring anyway. Let’s beat her up and go do something fun!” she declared. Kitten’s eyes lit up at Fiona’s declaration, and she hopped up next to the princess. Scarlet stared in shock, looking back and forth between the two. Harlan put a scaly palm to her face and shook her head. Dia, for her part, was equally shocked. It was unclear to any of the others if Fiona was aware of the potential consequences and didn’t care or was willfully oblivious to anything that was said prior. Each had their own theory.

Dia reacted by pointing a finger at Kitten. A sudden blast of energy emitted from the tip, and the Netzian beauideal fell backward. She was quickly caught by Scarlet.

“Magic… no fair… Biaskylo…” Kitten weakly muttered as her legs failed her.

“I forgot about that….” Fiona muttered as Dia turned her finger to Fiona. The blue princess quickly disappeared in a flash of light as the spell was released. The energy sailed toward Harlan, but the green Zenotote simply leaned to the side so that the spell hit the couch. A small burn was made where it hit.

“That’s a designer couch!” Dia lamented. At the same time, Fiona reappeared behind the green beauideal. She tried to kick Dia in the head, but the winged Aqueenian ducked under the princess's leg.

“Fiona.” Harlan shook her head as she stood up.

Dia hopped up from her chair and turned to inspect it while Fiona tried to punch her. The green Aqueenian quickly deflected the punch with her metal wing even as her attention was on the chair.

“Wait!” Dia cried out. Fiona froze, and Harlan stood in wait. The beauideal opponent took a moment to clear her throat before continuing, “You’re going to tear my dressing room apart!”

“Wha?” Fiona said. Kitten tried to mutter something, but the weakness spell Dia had hit her with prevented the words from being coherent. Scarlet turned away from the group and softly explained in Kitten’s place.

“You see, a beauideal’s dressing room is largely funded by the fan base support. Fan’s chip in to buy the star clothes and furniture for their favorite to use….”

“Exactly! You dishonor the thoughts and feelings of all my wonderful fans by damaging the place!” Dia added.

Kitten grunted, ‘who cares about your stupid fans,’ but her words were too unclear for the others to make out.

“How about this,” Dia began, “We will make this an official match!”

“Huh?” the rest of the room said in unison, including Sabia, who had been hidden during the whole exchange. Fortunately, her voice was masked by the surprise of the others.

“You all must have no sense for entertainment! Think of it, two special guests facing off with the number one beauideal early in the tournament! It will catch so much attention! And all those eyes will be on me!”

“Why don’t we just smash your stuff instead?” Fiona asked.

Dia’s gaze became a sudden cold stare.

“If you do anything to disrespect the love of my fans, I will make you hurt in ways you can’t imagine,” she hissed.

The surprise displayed on the other parties was not to be understated; Dia rarely ever broke character. The green beauideal quickly reverted back to her happy persona.

“How about this, if you win, and let’s be honest about how silly that thought is, I will tell you everything I know about Array, their plans, and my involvement!”

Fiona turned to Harlan. The princess was ready to continue the fight, but the Zenotote scientist shook her head when their eyes met.

“We accept those terms,” Harlan said. Fiona was surprised, and Scarlet let out a sigh of relief. Kitten was only able to weakly grunt. Dia, for her part, let her shoulders relax once a fight in her dressing room was taken off the table.

Harlan had figured that fighting in such a small space was not ideal for either her or Fiona. She was confident Dia could keep her promise, the testimony to fans from Scarlet and Kitten would be enough to pressure her after the fact, and she knew Dia wouldn’t use magic in a public match as the quick takedown would detract from the showmanship. In her concern for the dressing room, she felt Dia had mistakenly given them an advantage that was best to be taken.

If pressed, Harlan would have to also admit to feeding a slight desire to stand on a beauideal arena-stage at least once in her life. Additionally, Rheba would be very jealous when she found out.