The Fugly Girl Incident: Chapter One
Chapter One: The Incident
The great hall of Adhara Academy was filled with the din of conversation and the clutter of plates as the student body congregated for lunch. Moonstone “Bishop” Jong was sitting at the second table from the dais with the members of his band, Foundation, and his acolytes when he felt a tap on his shoulder and looking around saw a girl standing demurely behind him.
“Yes?” Bishop asked, expertly hiding his annoyance. He had been voted into the Student Council more than a year earlier and thus it was his duty to help students whenever they required it. Bishop probably would not have minded, except an unreasonably large percentage of the students seemed to approach him in comparison to any of the eleven other council members. Bishop wished that for once he might be allowed to eat his lunch in peace, but apparently this was too much to ask. He supposed constantly being harassed must be the curse of persistent popularity. “How can I be of service?” he asked politely.
The girl looked down shyly and fumbled with her clothes. Her name was Primrose, and she was a Ptahian-Duatian hybrid. If Bishop’s memory served him right, Primrose was a maternal cousin to Voodoo-Lily one of Bishop’s fellow council members. “I wondered if you could possibly help me to come up with something my friend can say when she asks her crush to the Cupid’s Day Dance,” Primrose said stepping aside and indicating another girl who had been standing obscured behind her.
The second girl was Branwen Spinks a Duatian whose uncle was the current King of the Sanguinarians, another of Primrose’s cousins. Bishop shrugged, “Why can’t she just say whatever you said when you asked your crush out?” he asked, looking blankly at the two girls, and wondering why his lunch had been ruined for this. Although Bishop had been voted the most handsome young man at the school and was one of the most popular boys on or off campus, he had never really dated anyone and was now betrothed thanks to an arranged marriage. Primrose and Branwen would have been better off seeking out one of the more experienced boys.
Primrose chuckled mirthlessly, “Oh, I haven’t asked anyone to the dance. No one would want to go with an ugly girl like me,” she said, looking at Bishop anxiously. When Bishop, who was in the midst of chewing made no response, Primrose said a little louder, “I’m ugly, aren’t I?”
“Yes, you are,” Bishop agreed.
A hush came over the table at which Bishop was sitting and the table directly next to it where the rest of the student council were seated, but the clatter in the rest of the great hall continued. Few people had heard Bishop’s response to Primrose’s question, but she had. The girl’s pretty face was going pink with rage.
“Oh my I-Am! Did you just call me ugly?” she hissed wanting to shout, but trying to keep her voice low so that fewer people would overhear. “No?” Bishop replied with some confusion as he put down his fork. “You said that you were ugly, and I agreed with you.”
“I can’t believe this,” Primrose raged looking at Branwen for support. “Did you hear Bishop call me ugly?” Branwen looked terrified but she lowered her head and dutifully nodded her agreement. Primrose turned back to Bishop with satisfaction, “See! You did call me ugly!” she whispered. “You pretend to be friendly and nice, but you’re mean!”
“Hey, don’t speak to Bishop like that!” Tristan said standing up from his seat and glaring at Primrose. “You’re the one who called yourself ugly and you are. So, what if Bishop agreed with you? He was being honest and considering that you didn’t even apologise for interrupting his lunch, I think he was nice.” At 15 Tristan was the oldest of Bishop’s acolytes and the most outspoken. Despite being from a different planet, Tristan had even styled his snow-white hair similarly to Bishop’s in order to look more like his hero.
Primrose snorted, “You would say that though wouldn’t you, you damned little fan boy! Look at your crappy hair. It’s embarrassing how delusional you are if you think ou look anything like your precious “Bish”,” she mocked.
Quick as a flash Bishop was out of his seat, towering over Primrose. “How dare you speak to my friend like that?” he demanded. The entire hall flooded with silence as every eye turned to see what was happening.
From her position Primrose’s back was to the majority of the student body, so most onlookers could only see the angry and menacing expression that was so out of place on Bishop’s face. Using this to her advantage Primrose took a step backwards and flinched on though expecting to be struck. “I’m sorry Bishop. I didn’t mean to interrupt your lunch. Please don’t hit me,” she cried loudly in tones that implied abject terror.
“That’s enough,” a voice said from behind Bishop and his friend and bandmate Sa-Ankh Devall stood up. Sa-Ankh’s father was the emperor of Duat, Primrose and Branwen’s home world but Sa-Ankh and his siblings never used their status at school against the family members of lesser Duatian kings. This is the first occasion on which Sa-Ankh had done this and it shocked the other students to the core. A murmur went through the hall as students whispered to their friends, asking amongst themselves if anyone had heard what had come before but other than those at Bishop’s table and the table directly next to it, no-one knew.
“Remove yourselves from my presence at once!” Sa-Ankh ordered, his hypnotic eyes blazing.
Apparently stunned by the unusual display from their imperial prince, Primrose and Branwen bowed and rushed out of the hall.
“You know that won’t end there don’t you?” Bishop’s best friend Arata warned as Tristan and Sa-Ankh took their seats.
“Arata’s right,” Tiger-Lily another member of Foundation stated. “She was obviously fishing from compliments. You should have disagreed with her.”
“Why Bishop asked nonchalantly, as he indicated his older brother Duke who was sitting on the opposite side of the table. “Our grandmother told us never to disagree with a lady in regard to her looks. Primrose said she was ugly, so who am I to disagree?”
Duke sighed heavily, “And now because you took năinai’s advice literally, we’re all going to have to pay. You know what the girls at this school are like, especially after what happened with Ella and Panilla.” Bishop shrugged and continued to eat his lunch as the din of conversation in the great hall reached fever pitch.