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Controversy Undermines New Beauty Queen's Coronation

Capitolia, Pleasant Kingdoms - The Annual Pleasant Kingdoms Beauty Pageant turned ugly last night as the final results quickly devolved into accusations and threats. Moments after Lady Noelle Blanche was awarded her first Fairest of Them All Title, opponents were already decrying the vote.

"Just how fair was this so-called win?" demands seven-time defending champion, Lady Poisanna Pomelle, who finished second. "On a scale of one to ten, I would say... zero! I have already filed an appeal with the Royal Commission for the Superficial Evaluation of Attractiveness!"

The controversy centres on last night's final talent show. Lady Blanche came onstage with an apple, intending to demonstrate her talent for daintily slicing and eating tree fruit. However, after just one bite, she collapsed and remained motionless until attendants revived her by dislodging a piece of apple from her throat.

The demonstration wowed all three judges, who praised Lady Blanche's "elegant and swan-like swoon, performed with a graceful embrace of gravity."

"In other words, she fell on her face," fumes Lady Pomelle. "The last time I checked, that's not a talent! And it's not even what she planned to do!"

Yet, buoyed by the judge's comments--and strong support from the dwarf demographic--audience members overwhelmingly chose Lady Blanche in the final tally.

"It's just sour grapes on Pomelle's part," insists Earnest Hunter, a member of the official Lady Blanche fan club. "Or sour apples, more like! What was in that fruit anyway? Some sort of poison? I'd bet my bow and arrows Pomelle put it in there!"

The controversial finale caps a topsy-turvy pageant campaign that saw novice Lady Blanche breeze through the early rounds on the strength of her impressive birdsong impersonations, flower-crown braiding, and household chores. Yet some commentators felt her title hopes ought to have evaporated last week during a disastrous fashion show. "Well, she was practically panting for breath in that over-tight bodice," notes Clarabelle Sprite, last year's guest judge. "And she kept scratching at her scalp. That pearl comb fell right out and completely ruined her hairstyle. I don't know how she was still leading the vote after that."

This year's pageant was the first decided by such audience votes. Previous pageant winners were chosen by the Royal Magic Mirror. In the wake of such a disputed result, many will undoubtedly call for a return to the old format. Although the Magic Mirror has made no official comment on returning from retirement, sources say it is "reflecting on the matter."

One thing is crystal clear: this result has everyone talking, even at the highest levels of state. Just before press time, your correspondent received an official memo from Crown Prince Dasher at Pleasantimes Palace: "For me, this whole situation has confirmed, once and for all, what a bad idea democracy is. If voting causes this much trouble in the Beauty Pageant, imagine what a ruckus it would cause if people voted on something like the royal succession! I've said it for years, and that's my final word."

Based on the Brothers Grimm's version of Snow White.

Stay tuned for more news from the front lines of fairy tale, coming next Tuesday

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Stay tuned for more news from the front lines of fairy tale, coming next Tuesday...

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