This chapter is dedicated to my very tolerant and magnificently beautiful best friend, Samlovesham. ^_^ Actually, this one's for all the One Direction fans out there, too. (THAT MEANS YOU TUBA AND FUDGE!)

NOTE: This chapter puts a huge emphasis on friendship. It is the theme, if you will. Also, I apologize in advance for the extremely disturbing image I create in the beginning. >:)


Chapter 8: What Makes One Beautiful?

After last night’s episode, Isabel realized that she needed to de-stress. This was her fantasy world; a place where she was supposed to feel safe and relaxed.

There’s no reason for me to feel alone here. She thought. Sydney and the rest of my Cartoon Pals and Wiki Buddies will take care of me.

Isabel then began to talk aloud, “Okay Izzy, there is nothing to worry about. Yesterday didn’t even happen! There was no scary portal, no Aronica, there isn’t even a closet!” She let out a hearty, psychotic laugh as she walked down the hallway to greet her friends.

“Hey, guys!” she hailed the clutch while attempting to counterfeit a smile.

“Hey, Toon,” everyone replied.

Just then, Yoshi came walking into the scene wearing only his tighty whiteys.

“Oh, hey Toon!” Yoshi greeted with a wiggle of his fingers.

At the sight of this disturbing, unexpected prospect, Isabel’s eyes widened in repugnance.

“Wow, good to know you guys are getting so comfortable here…” she pointed out with a nervy chuckle.

Yoshi then grabbed PurpleJerk and started making out with her as they enclosed into the closet.

The expression that followed could only be described with a lower-case O, an underscore and an uppercase O.

“Oh, god; my fantasy world has been tainted…” Isabel contritely said in a distraught tone.

Ignoring all the commotion, Becky went straight to where Alica was standing.

“Hey, can we talk..?” she asked.

“Um, sure but let’s go somewhere more private…” Alica suggested.

The two of them quietly tip-toed into the banquet room as Becky gently shut the door.

“Okay, first, I just want to say I’m sorry about yesterday…it was all Toon’s fault, anyway…” she started.

“No, it was mostly my fault; I wanted to talk to you, but I was also kind of avoiding it…” Alica shamefully admitted. “The truth is I want to fix things just as much as you do…”

“I do too, but I don’t even know where to begin…” Becky said emotionally.

Alica paused and thought for a moment, “Well, I don’t usually do this, but why don’t we start here…”

A warm, tender, affectionate hug ensued.

Suddenly, Alica spotted Ar0n and they made brief eye contact.

Walking on the other side of the cottage was none other than Tash and Lucy. After a few minutes, Lucy stopped abruptly in the middle of the hallway and pulled Tash outside towards the balcony.

“Tash, on a scale of 1-10, how much would you say you like me…?” Lucy asked in sudden desperation.

“Well, a ten obviously,” Tash replied matter-of-factly.

Lucy’s entire face brightened, “…Really? You mean that?”

“Of course,” Tash said. “We’re best friends…”

“Oh, right…” Lucy chuckled nervously. “…Well, am I your prettiest friend..?”

Tash became very uneasy as he chewed on that thought, but was not given much time to think it over when PurpleJerk popped up all of a sudden and offered to suck Tash’s neck to cater to her blood cravings.

Later that day, Isabel went searching for her creation through the many ins and outs of the cottage. When she finally found her, she was sitting quietly in the corner, deep in thought.

“Sydney, have you seen Tuba? I want to talk to her…” Isabel inquired.

“Who…?” Sydney questioned in confusion.

“Samlovesham,” Isabel clarified.

Why…?” Sydney asked.

“You do realize I haven’t been able to spend any quality time with her since I’ve gotten here…”

“Oh, come on, yes you have…” Sydney countered.

“No, because you started dragging me right in the middle of my heartfelt speech…” Isabel reminded her. “Anyway, I’m going to need you to keep everyone company and keep an eye on all of them while I’m gone…”

Sydney suddenly got up in alarm, “What? No! Why!?”

“This is a great opportunity for you to bond with them. You’re good at entertaining people so this should be fun and easy…”

“Fun? Easy!? You’re basically just making me babysit these punks and besides, there are way too many of them to look after…”

“You can always use magic to ease the burden in some way…come on,” Isabel began dragging Sydney to a group of users that was hanging out in the game room.

“Ugh, why are you making me do this..?” Sydney groaned.

“Come on Sydney, just be your sweet self and everyone will love you…” Isabel encouraged.

Sydney rolled her eyes, “Do I have to!?”

“Just for a few hours; I’ll be back before you know it…”

“Ugh, seriously, I have nothing in common with these losers!”

Isabel awkwardly turned to the crowd of users who were listening, “She’s cool once you get past the psycho…”

Sydney casually flashed Isabel a death stare.

Isabel’s mind was already set as she grinned and winked back at her, “Okay, be good Sydney and try to behave…”

“No promises,” Sydney flatly responded as she crossed her arms.

At that, she left Sydney with her Wiki Buddies as she began to search for Samlovesham. As she attentively looked around, she decided to ask some of her other friends where she might be.

“xx, have you seen Tuba anywhere…?” she asked tentatively.

“Tubby? No, not lately…” xx replied as she thought it over.

“Choo?” Isabel turned to Churchpants.

“Sorry, Loony. Haven’t seen her…” she replied with a frown.

Finally, she recognized her best friend’s appearance far out in the distance walking down the trail. Frantically, she ran over to her and tried to get her attention.

“TUBA!!!” she cried.

Samlovesham turned around with a delighted expression, “CARTOON!”

Out of breath, Isabel at last made it to where she was.

“Hi,” she simply greeted.

“Hi,” Samlovesham feebly smiled back.

“Do you want to go get something to eat?” Isabel suggested.

“Okay,” Samlovesham granted.

They didn’t have to hunt far because just up ahead was a conveniently placed Johnny Rockets. With a quick, excited glance at each other, they went inside. The two girls were quick to hop on the shiny, red stools and order.

“Man, I can’t decide between the burger and the sourdough grilled cheese…” Isabel said with a chuckle as she scanned over the menu.

“Just get both; maybe we could split it.” Samlovesham proposed.

“Good idea,” Isabel said as she pointed admiringly to her face.

Isabel devoured her meal as she made a number of satisfied moans. Samlovesham rolled her eyes and smiled affectionately.

When they finished eating, they decided to go outside for a sunset walk down the trails of the attractive park. After a few minutes of silent awe, Samlovesham began a curious tête-à-tête.

“So, um, who is this Sydney character? I’m a little confused on why she’s here…” she started.

Isabel smirked lovingly, “I created her when I was 11…she was my alter-ego. I would constantly be creating stories and situations for her based on my experiences. Then, later, I created more characters which became her friends…”

Samlovesham eyes glowed with fascination, “That’s so nice…and cool…”

“I guess,” Isabel responded as she sneered slightly.

“So, I guess she’s like a part of you, right…?” Samlovesham inquisitively raised an eyebrow.

Isabel nodded and sighed softly as she chewed on this idea, “Yeah,”

All of a sudden, Samlovesham stopped in the middle of the trail and gave Isabel a frightened look.

“I’m scared,” she said.

“You don’t think I’m scared, too..?” Isabel began to get emotional as she saw the fear in her best friend’s eyes. “…I don’t know what’s going to happen to us…I actually thought it would be okay for me to live here, but now that you guys are here, I have to get all of you back home; y’all have friends and families to get back to. It has become a moral obligation to seek us a way out of here…”

“Well, do you honestly think we ever will…?” Samlovesham asked worriedly.

Isabel dreadfully pondered this inkling, “…I certainly hope so…”

As she looked up at her online colleague, the infamous One Direction song came to mind. Samlovesham didn’t know she was beautiful; she wasn’t aware of her own beauty. Even though Isabel had bathed in the Fountain of Youth and had basked in its benefits, she knew she could never match Samlovesham’s inner beauty. Her eyes flickered over at her nails; they had grown back already. Yep, the Fountain was hard at work on her.

“We should go back,” Samlovesham abruptly ended Isabel’s daze, “it’s getting late.”

“Oh…right,” Isabel was distracted.

On that note, they hugged each other tightly and went their separate ways.

Though her thoughts were still elsewhere, she decided to check on Sydney and the rest of her Wiki Buddies.

Out of nowhere, a disturbed Sydney appeared in front of her.

“I CAN’T STAND YOUR FRIENDS…” she screamed.

Isabel laughed diffidently, “What..?”

“SFG won’t stop talking about ‘happiness’ and ‘positivity’—drives me nuts! Seddia insists on walking around topless, Slappy keeps asking me to poof up more pie, and Yishy…”

“Yoshi,” Isabel corrected.

“Whatever!” Sydney retorted. “He keeps hitting on me and won’t give the sex talk a rest! How do you put up with this!?”

Isabel shrugged as she smirked, “I just do…”

“Well, all I know is that I hate them…” Sydney righteously declared.

“Oh, come on Sydney, I thought we were all making progress here; are you already regressing…?”

Sydney sighed and put her hand to her head in exhaustion, “Look, they’ve been asking about you all day. Why don’t you hang out with them..?”

Isabel nodded and smiled to herself, “You know what? I just might…”

Isabel then invited everyone to join her in the bounce house, where they all bounced joyfully for a couple hours until their legs couldn’t carry their weight anymore. Then, later, everyone met up at the pool for even more amusement.

A user named AllYouNeedIsSeddie randomly announced what she had just been told about Ar0n and Alica’s closet adventure.

“They totally made out in the closet!” she confirmed.

“WHAT!?” Tara became so outraged she pushed Yoshi into the pool. Everyone heard a chilling, deep voice yelling for his life, and then a loud splash. Cringes and winces filled the entire awkward silence until his head appeared from under the fizzing water.

“You know, it’s a good thing he was holding that pool noodle, or he may have drowned,” Samlovesham giggled.

Afterward, everyone grabbed a quick bite to eat. Tara, who was still outraged, stole Ar0n’s food.

Meanwhile, Tash, who had opted out of all the festivities, was walking through the hallways by himself, feeling tense and mildly stressed. Up ahead, he saw Alica walking out of the banquet room and decided to confront her.

“Alica, do you know where Toon is?” he asked her as he cautiously bit his lip.

“Um, I think she might still be eating…why?”

“Did you know she bites her nails?” Tash revealed, half-aware of what he had just said.

“…Um, yeah, I think she may have mentioned it on chat once….what does that have to do with anything…?” Alica asked as she narrowed her eyes in misunderstanding.

Tash paused for a moment as his eyes widened, “…Never mind, I’m going to bed…”

Alica blinked vacantly, “Um…okay…”

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