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The Rise of Little Ann Chapter 4

This series traces the life of Ann, a little girl who has a a big dream of being a singing star, and targets an audience of preteens.

The tale so far....

The little heroine's fate seemed very much sealed. Her presence had caused the ultimate offence and grated on the great Naomi's nerves for the last time. There didn't seem much that anyone could do to stop Naomi the bulldozer or to prevent Ann from being voiceless.....

Naomi didn't know if she could sing. She didn't really care. All she knew is that no one could claim success but her. She would do anything to ensure that no mouse would block her path to fame.

As planned, the villainess and her sidekicks attended the music lesson as usual, exchanging surreptitious looks throughout. Naomi kept shifting her feet, waiting for the tedious crooning of vocal scales to come to an end. Her eyes kept drifting to little Ann, the hatred contained within them making the tiny girl wither.

Naomi took a casual walk near Ms Ingtune's drawer as the proceedings came to a close, trying not to make her intention to get her hands on the trophy obvious.

She didn't do nearly enough to escape Ms. Ingtune's notice, though. "Anything I can help you with, Naomi?" the music teacher raised her eyebrows.

"No, miss. Sorry to stumble about like that," Naomi nearly cursed at the missed opportunity. She had to think of another way to get near the drawer, and quickly.

A sudden gleam of mental brilliance shone in her. She dipped low to tie her shoelaces. Miss Ingtune, who had to leave the room to teach another class, delivered quiet instructions. "Close the door on your way out, Naomi" The prolific but sometimes forgetful music teacher had also forgotten to lock her drawer.

And it presented our criminal-in-the-making with the perfect opportunity. She drew the drawer open the minute everyone left the room, grabbing the trophy that she treated as her most prized possession of the moment.

"Let's see the mouse sing better than I can now," she thought, tucking the cup deep within her coat pocket.

Concerted but Wasted Effort

The excitement was palpable, and it clearly coursed through Ann's veins. Her regime consisted mainly of drinking saltwater (the concoction supposedly benefited the throat) and the arduous crooning of musical scales. The ultimate realisation of her dream made the effort well worth the while.

Vocal chord injuries became the norm. Speechless days often followed days of training. Visualizing herself finally being recognized for who she was propelled her forward.

After weeks of being Naomi's hapless victim and enduring shattered vocal cords, the minute singer finally felt ready.

"World, get ready for Ann," she thought to herself.

Will the effort bear fruit?

Sadly, the effort was not to bear fruit. Miss Ingtune had such a sad countenance that all the students in the class looked up at once.

"The idol trophy's missing."Miss Ingtune's voice broke and nearly went, well, missing.

"Why not get a new one engraved, then?" Fran, one of the other contenders for the trophy suggested.

"Unfortunately, there's no time for that. The contest is tomorrow," Miss Ingtune shook her head with resigned finality.

"Guess we have to cancel it until we have the time to get a new cup ready," Naomi spoke up with beguiling innocence. But her demeanour didn't fool Miss Ingtune.

"And you won't know where it is, by any chance?"Miss Ingtune asked her, raising a quizzical eyebrow. It was almost too coincidental a day before the event.

"No, Miss Ingtune, why would I?" Naomi's pseudo innocence grated on Ann's nerves. For the first time, the little mouse spoke up.

'Don't think that a missing trophy means the end of the competition," her voice resonated with a clear warning. "It merely delays it, and Miss Ingtune can have a new one engraved. Everyone who's worked hard will get to sing," She gestured to the rest of the class meaningfully, moving toward Naomi with purposeful strides, taking the ungracious bully aback.

"No one gets their way all the time," Ann stood over Naomi, who looked a little nonplussed. She wasn't used to being challenged. "And that includes you." Ann turned to the rest of the class. "We're willing to wait a bit while Miss Ingtune engraves a new cup, aren't we?"

Ann's voice bore such fervour that the class couldn't help but answer with a chorus of assured "yeses." Miss Ingtune nodded. "I'll engrave a new one." She looked meaningfully at Naomi."I'm not sure who took the trophy, but I do know one thing. Theft by anyone is punishable. And it means expulsion if it's by a student."

The warning was assured and left Naomi stunned for a short moment. Then, the beast within her finally rebelled. "You can't prove that I took it. And how can we have a competition tomorrow, even if we could get a new one engraved? It will take time."

"Time enough for all of us to compete fairly and squarely."Ann intoned resolutely.

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