Chapter Four: The Competition
"I still don't believe you did this to me."
Sadie cast Nancy a scowl as the two girls helped to set up the last of Jewel's equipment. "You could have warned me! Now we're thousands of miles away with no alternative song to play...do you want us to win?"
"Yes, and that's why I thought this song was the one to do." Nancy hissed back. "Listen, Sadie, do you wanna be a Jewel or do you want to spend your life hiding under the table where it's safe, and where noone notices you? You can write, and your song is good. Okay? Get it into your thick skull! We're playing your song...and if you thought that I'd just push it away and forget about it, you really don't know me that well!"
"You said you'd fix it up, but it's barely changed from my original." Sadie protested. "This is a contest! We don't need an amateur sound!"
"We won't have one. Sadie, your song is exactly the kind of fresh sound we need to stand a chance in this contest!" Nancy clipped the guitar cables into her amplifier, scooping up her instrument. "Now, stop whining, huh? We have to get this track down."
"Who's going to sing?" Copper asked, twirling a drumstick as she checked her snare.
"Don't even think about it." Sadie held up her hands. "Bad enough I wrote it. I'm not singing it too!"
"I'll sing." Sylva shrugged. "Saves me learning a part."
"We don't have enough people for you to just jack in your keys, Syl!" Nancy protested. "The song has a keyboard line!"
"Well, you play it. We only have a couple of days to learn this, and if Sadie already knows the guitar part, she might as well take that, right?"
"What about the bass, smart alec?" Sadie demanded.
"Can be played on the keyboard, I suppose." Nancy pursed her lips. "I see what you mean about time...I already know the song, and so does Sadie. If Syl wants to take the vocal, we know she has the ego to make a go of it on stage...wow the audience. I guess it would work. Sadie, would you mind?"
"Oh, so now I get a say?" Sadie groaned. "Do what you want."
"Aw, don't be like that, Sadie." Copper put in beseechingly. "We believe in you. And Jetta would never have given the all clear for the track if it wasn't good...so don't worry. Syl is a good singer and performer, and we all know Nancy can handle a keyboard. I think it'll be fine."
"Then it's decided?" Sylva scooped up the microphone. "And for your information, Nancy, I do not have an ego! I just like to make a big deal of being on stage. Okay?"
"Whatever." Nancy dismissed her bandmate's words with a careless gesture, moving across the dais to the keyboard and checking it's plugs. "Guitar's all yours, Sadie. Let's give it a rough run through - see how it goes with Copper's drum."
"Fine." Sadie sighed, picking up the guitar resignedly. "I'm outvoted, so fine, I'll play."
"That's the spirit. Kind of." Sylva dimpled at her. "And I promise to try and do the vocal line justice, Sadie. We're gonna give this contest a real shot!"
"Okay then." Copper squinted at her manuscript, sitting herself down behind her kit and making a final check on the snare's tuning. "Shall we give it a go? From the top...one, two, three, four!"
"Well, look what the cat dragged up."
The group had just finished their runthrough of the song when a familiar voice cut through the music, her clipped English tones full of scorn. "I heard a rumour that Jewel were going to be in Morvania. I thought that California was your home turf."
"And I thought Hell was yours." Sylva shot back, casting the stranger a glare. "Jesta, don't tell me you're in this contest?"
"Of course." Jesta, or Jessica Talley winked. "Mr Whatson saw to it especially. The Teenangels are otherwise engaged at present, and there was no opposition to my coming...so here I am. I intend to win, you know."
"Who is this?" Sadie cast the newcomer a confused glance. "You're English, like me...how do you know Jewel?"
"Same way as everyone else, sweetie." Jesta told her with a shrug. "Read about them in the press so much that it about makes you ready to vomit."
"Well, if you hate us that much, get off our stage." Nancy said bluntly. "Go caterwaul some of your own music and leave us be. This is a fair contest, Jesta, and you don't have your partner in crime here to plot and scheme with. We won't trouble you, so get lost."
"I have no intention of damaging my reputation by hanging around you rejects." Jesta informed her sweetly. "America shouldn't have bothered. You don't stand a chance."
With that she was gone, long tails of hair swinging. Sylva muttered an unpleasant epithet under her breath.
"What contest in their right mind would let that idiot perform?" She demanded.
"But who is she?" Sadie demanded. "I know her face, but why does she hate you so much?"
"Her name is Jesta. I forget her real name, if I ever cared enough to know it." Nancy said. "And we met her for the first time last summer, when we hosted the wedding at the Starlight Mansion. Jesta is a big rival of the Teenangel Outsiders, and because of that, she's also our rival. She and Stefana, that Diablo bitch teamed up to try and break up Violet's wedding."
"Not only that, Jesta was responsible for the horrible way Zoe's sexuality hit the Los Angeles press." Sylva's blue eyes sparked with anger. "And they made it look like it was me who'd betrayed her too. Jewel almost lost Zoe's friendship, and I will never forgive either Jesta or Stefana for that little bit of manipulative evil. They're scum, the pair of them."
"And we've got to sing against her." Sadie rolled her eyes. "Goodie."
"We might as well have invited Stefana to come along." Nancy groaned. "Trouble follows Jesta like a moth to a flame. Morvania just got a lot less peaceful, Sadie. Believe me."
"That's the thing I hate about this big business stardom." Sadie pursed her lips. "The blood rivalries it seems to generate. First Stefana, now Jesta...how many more rivals do Jewel have?"
"None that I know of." Copper said with a smile. "It's not so bad as that, Sadie. We didn't ask for Stefana's hate, or Jesta's, either. But when you are successful, it's sometimes a price you have to pay. On balance, we've met so many good people, and made a lot of friends...I don't think the odd negative vibe is that bad, really. Stefana is troublesome, and Jesta isn't that nice, but we've met Zoe, Dean, and lots of other people who we value as friends."
"Not to mention each other." Sylva nodded.
"True." Sadie admitted. "Okay. I guess when you put it into perspective, it doesn't look so grim."
"Well, I'm guessing that Jesta must be representing the United Kingdom." Nancy gazed out across the melee of bands, musical instruments and other equipment. "Which is just lovely for them. I don't recognise anyone else, though."
"You must be the American band, I think?"
Another voice interrupted them at this point, and the quartette turned to see a tall, slim girl, with long black hair in a thick braid down her back. With her was a young man who was enough like her to proclaim them brother and sister, and a petite girl with sandy blond hair and big hazel eyes. "You are Jewel?"
"Yep, that's us." Sylva cast her a grin. "I'm Sylva, and these are Copper, Sadie and Nancy. Are you one of the other competitors?"
"Yes, I suppose we are." The first girl's smile broadened. "My name is Nadia Kastano - this is my brother Mischa and my friend Semela. We are very nervous to be taking part...since we are to compete in front of the home crowd!"
"You're the Morvanian band?" Sadie asked. Semela nodded shyly.
"We won the vote to compete." She agreed in soft tones. "Our band is named Atom...our manager thought an English name would help us to break the English market, but we have never been to your America."
"Well, America's strange territory to me too." Sadie grinned. "I was born in England, but I live in Los Angeles now."
"You speak very good English." Copper observed. Nadia smiled.
"We learn it from seven years." She responded. "And as Semela says, we use the English language in our performances a lot. Most of our songs are sung in English. We hope very much to perform out of Morvania in the future."
"Well, it's nice to meet you all." Sylva said warmly. "We've never been to your country before, but my mother came here in 1986, and she told me it was a beautiful place to visit...so far what I've seen of that is true."
"Many people visit Morvania for it's landscape and pretty buildings." Nadia agreed. She dimpled. "We were going to get some food - would you like to join us? There are no plans for this afternoon here, since the technicians have so much to do...maybe we could introduce you to Morvania a little? It would be sad for you to come so far and not see our land. Laviana is one of the prettiest cities in Europe."
"We'd love to." Copper nodded. "We can practice our song back at the hotel, after all."
Nancy cast the tall, dark Mischa a thoughtful look.
"Do you all speak English?" She asked. Nadia looked confused.
"Of course." She agreed. "Why?"
"Your brother's kinda quiet."
"Mischa is a man of few words." Nadia grinned. She cast him a wink, and Mischa grinned back at her. "We are twins, he and I, but I am the elder by ten minutes. I will never stop talking...he has to be nudged into conversation."
"Wow, you're a twin too?" Sylva's blue eyes widened. "So cool! I have a twin sister, back in America. She's in her final year of university there."
"You are lucky." Nadia observed. "There is no bond closer than that."
"Absolutely." Sylva dimpled. "Anna and I are identical, too."
"Nadia, where are we going to take them?" Semela cast her big hazel eyes on the older girl, who was obviously the band leader. Nadia looked thoughtful.
"I think, we take them to lunch at La Piaza and then maybe to see the old cathedral?" She suggested at length. "Most people like to visit it. Then we could show them the royal palace." Her eyes twinkled. "After all, that is something America does not have!"
"We caught a glimpse of the palace yesterday, coming from the airport." Copper remembered, as the group secured their equipment, following their new acquaintances outside into the Morvania sunshine. It was only February, but already buds were appearing on the trees, and the wind that whipped through them no longer had it's winter chill. Birds chattered in the trees and children played in the streets, calling to each other in a strange tongue. They stopped, wide-eyed to observe the group of musicians as they passed, and a few of the children called out to them in the same unfamiliar tongue. Nadia, evidently amused, called back to them in the same, and the children giggled, running off in excitement.
"Your fan club?" Nancy asked. Nadia nodded.
"The children of Morvania are proud that we play here in Laviana." She agreed. "We are well known here...but they wonder about you. Maybe soon you will also be well known in this country?"
"Well, if it ever comes up on our tour sheet, I won't complain." Sylva decided. "It's so laid back and beautiful here. Mom was right. Morvania is something else."
"Your mother was here a very long time ago." Semela observed in her soft tones. "Much has probably changed since 1986."
"I s'pect it has." Sylva agreed. "She was a musician too - do you guys know of a group called the Misfits at all? They played here in 1986, along with a band called Jem and the Holograms. I think it was the last time a group from California came to Morvanian soil...the local press in LA made a big deal about us following in their footsteps."
"We do not know the Misfits." Mischa said gruffly, turning to stare out across the mountains. "We do not listen to American music much here."
"We are neglected, perhaps." Nadia sounded amused. "But what Mischa says is true. I have not heard of your mother's group...but then, Mischa and I were born in 1989."
"The year before the Crown Prince." Semela observed absently. "Queen Adreana is to come to meet all the competitors tomorrow."
"The Queen of Morvania? We're gonna get to meet her?" Sadie's eyes opened wide. "Heck, I haven't even met the Royal Family of my own country! I had no idea that we'd meet Queen Adreana whilst we were here."
"The Queen takes very seriously this musical competition." Nadia said gravely. "Music is very important to the royal blood of Morvania, and Adreana has chosen to take an active role in the proceedings. The victorious group will be invited to a banquet at the palace."
"It is a great honour." Semela added.
"What is she like?" Sylva looked curious. "The Queen, I mean. Does she look like a Queen?"
"How do you look like a Queen, Syl? I doubt she wears her crown all the time." Nancy rolled her eyes.
"Adreana is very pretty." Semela said slowly. "She has red hair, and blue eyes...and she is well loved by her people. She likes to be involved in everything she can be, and Morvania has been at peace since she was crowned Queen. I think she is a good ruler."
"Well, if we're going to meet her, I'm gonna need to find something decent to wear." Sylva decided. "Hey, does Laviana have any decent clothes shops?"
"Sylva, we didn't fly half way around the world just so that you could spend a fortune on some tacky dress!" Nancy scolded. "You brought plenty of new stuff with you, anyhow. I'm sure you have something suitable in your case. The clothes you brought with you sure as hell cost enough!"
"Maybe." Sylva looked doubtful. "But you know, she's a Queen. I want to be sure. We have to make a good impression."
"Don't mind Syl. She's clothes mad." Sadie cast Nadia a grin, seeing the bemused expression on their guide's face. "Where is this restaurant you mentioned? Is it close?"
"Just down the next street." Nadia agreed. "We will introduce you to our cuisine!"
"I'm game." Sylva grinned. "I'm starving!"
"There's something new." Sadie winked at her bandmate in amusement. "Syl's hungry."
"Oh, shut up, you." Sylva laughed, swiping her companion playfully. "Nothing wrong with a good appetite."
"So, what kind of music do you guys do?"
As they sat in the restaurant, waiting for their orders, Copper turned the topic of conversation to music. "You probably heard a little of what we play, but we don't know what kind of music you do."
"Much the same vein as your own. Rock, Morvanian style." Nadia responded. "I did not hear you sing, though. I am the singer for Atom...I also play keyboard. Semela plays guitar, and Mischa the drums."
"We were getting the feel of the piece, but Syl will sing it, when we have it all fixed up." Nancy responded. "We tend to split the vocals, and this time we're swapping instruments a little, too. See, we recently changed our lineup - one of our number left to have a baby, and we enlisted Sadie in her place. It's changed our sound and our flexibility a little."
"Sadie wrote our song." Copper added. Sadie blushed.
"I'd rather the world didn't know that, in case it bombs." She said darkly.
"But it's good to write music!" Semela told her. "I write for Atom. I love to write music...don't you?"
"Yes, very much, but I'm still learning a lot about how to make a decent song." Sadie replied. "I'm more of an artist than a musician, anyhow. Nancy's the musical genius."
"Hardly." Nancy shook her head.
"Semela is very talented." Nadia looked thoughtful. "She has written many songs for us."
"Was your mother also a rock musician?" Semela cast Sylva a curious look. Sylva nodded.
"Yes." She agreed. "She wrote all the music for the Misfits. They were a huge hit back home in the States - it's a shame their music didn't spread more here."
"Like mother, like daughter, yes?" Nadia asked.
"Right." Copper grinned. "My mother played with Jem and the Holograms, and Nancy's mother Jetta played with the Misfits - though neither of them came to Morvania. They joined the groups later. And our business manager - Phyllis Gabor - she sang for the Misfits back in the eighties. It's a very family orientated business."
"I see." Nadia pursed her lips. "That must make it a great burden on you, to follow in your family's footsteps."
"Yeah, it can be. But we also have the benefit of their experience and advice." Nancy responded. "So I think it works both ways."
"And here comes the food." Sylva observes. "Well, everyone...bon appetit!"
Prologue: Morvania, 1987
Chapter One: Los Angeles, 2014
Chapter Two: At The Airport
Chapter Three: Laviana
Chapter Four: The Competition
Chapter Five: The Queen
Chapter Six: Ransacked!
Chapter Seven: Anatole
Chapter Eight: Nerysa
Chapter Nine: A Frightening Realisation
Chapter Ten: Betrayal
Chapter Eleven: The Truth
Chapter Twelve: Heartfelt
Chapter Thirteen: Home
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE NOTE
Copper, Nancy, Sylva, Anna, Blade, Raesha, Sirena, Topaz, Aaron, Sophie, Justin, Elliot, Rosita, Luis and any other characters in this fiction which do not appear in the animated Jem series are copyrighted to me (E.A Woolley) as of January 2002 <unless otherwise specified> and are not to be reproduced without permission ANYWHERE. Jetta, Pizzazz, Stormer, Roxy, Raya and all other original Jem characters are the copyright of Hasbro Inc, Sunbow, Christy Marx and the other writers of the Jem series. The future world of Pizzazz, Raya, Jetta, Roxy, Stormer, Clash, Synergy, the fate of Jem and her memorial are all copyrighted to me. The future world of Kimber and Shana is copyrighted jointly to myself and Gemma Dawn.
The concept of 'Jewel' is entirely my own, and any apparent link with any fictional or actual person or persons of this name is entirely coincidental. Equally the characters in this fiction are not based on any real life individual.
The concept behind the future world of Danse, Aja and Craig, the idea behind Jerrica's futureworld and the split of the Holograms is copyrighted to Gemma Dawn, whose Teenangel Outsiders fiction is directly twinned with Just a Dream. The character Sammi and any of the other Teenangel Outsider characters mentioned in this fiction are entirely copyright to Gemma Dawn and appear here only with her permission.
Pay her page a visit!