Kattevo sat back in his chair at the breakfast table, sighing contentedly. He glanced at his sister, who was daintily finishing her Purple Bruce Cereal. She wrinkled her nose.
"I think it's a little stale," she informed him of the cereal's taste. He smiled indulgently at her - Tetchla's sense for things of lesser quality appealed to the whole family. He stood, then glanced at her with a look in his eyes that could only have meant one thing. What he said only confirmed Tetchla's suspicions. Her stomach twisted.
"Telly, it's time to go. He called us a little while ago."
This comment would have seemed cryptic to all but Tetchla, who got up slowly and began the walk to their father's room on the other end of their manor. It was a long path at a run, but the pair's leisurely pace dragged it out to nearly half an hour.
"Children," the portly Royal Wocky boomed upon their entrance to his enormous study. They both inwardly sighed. They had made it on time. "Your aunt Mildred's puppyblew's birthday is tomorrow at her new vacation home in Altador. I expect both of you to be presentable and ready to go completely - buy gifts today, I heard the creature collects Luxury Castle Petpet Beds - and you'll be set. Tetchla, buy a new dress. The one you got yesterday is not suitable for this occasion. Kattevo, your suit is not the correct color for the scheme. You will need a new one as well. Let your sister choose it. Now go," he finished, and the young Wockies turned.
Once they were outside the thick gold doors, Tetchla turned to her older brother. Her face crumpled in frustration and sorrow.
"Katte, this is awful!" she moaned. "How am I supposed to find a dress at this late notice?"
Kattevo, who had planned on agreeing that Aunt Mildred smelled like dry rot and her puppyblew ran into walls when on a six-inch leash, only nodded. Then he took her hand and went out.
When they emerged from Uni's Clothing hours later after purchasing Tetchla's new Lacy Blue Wocky Dress (it was in high demand now, the shopkeeper had told them after slapping an extra zero onto the price tag) they were tired and laden with bags. A passing green Kacheek eyed them with disgust. He seemed about to make a comment when Tetchla, true to her nature, stuck out her foot and tripped him.
"Ow!" he complained, getting up. Whatever biting remark he had planned on making was gone now, his surprise at being tripped so abruptly making him forget what he had surely been about to say. The desert Wocky smirked behind her bags while Kattevo gave her a look comprised of equal parts pride and irritation. Although he didn't like her being so blatant, he was always relieved she at least didn't associate with commoners. The Kacheek glared. "Why'dja do that?" he snapped. Both of them winced at his sloppy manner of speaking. The Kacheek, however, didn't notice. Instead he happened to catch a glimpse of the Silver Neopet Heart Charm dangling around Tetchla's neck. It had been a gift from Kattevo for her last birthday and he had admitted that even by their standards it wasn't cheap. The Kacheek sniffed.
"Oh, that type. You guys are jerks. Go home to your mansion! I hate you rich snobs. No worth at all. Leave me alone, you little brat!" he snapped at Tetchla in a sudden burst of passion. She almost shrank back under his yells, but Kattevo squeezed her hand. The Kacheek, who seemed shocked himself, ran off. Kattevo stood tall and together they walked home, both of them silent and deep in thought. Tetchla, especially, seemed subdued.
Kattevo sat wrapping the petpet castle in his room when Tetchla knocked on his door. He mumbled in response and slowly she opened it. Her face was a little blotchy and her paws dragged on the floor.
"Am I worthless?" she asked him squeakily. Her eyes were bright, but Kattevo looked at her head on, willing her not to cry. He hated it when she showed so much emotion. He could never find anything to say.
"No," he snarled, thinking of the stupid Kacheek. "Telly," he said, softening his tone. "Some people out there are jealous of you. That doesn't make you worse, it makes them worse. You're better than they are by a lot," he reassured. She smiled, trusting him.
"Okay, Katte. Thanks." She sat down beside him and helped him with the tape he was struggling with. Together they finished the wrapping job on the two castles and carefully placed them beside their new clothes. Tetchla fell asleep in Kattevo's bed that night, but he didn't mind. Wrapping his rust-colored paws around his little sister, he realized how lonely he got on the grand mattress sometimes.
Tetchla and Kattevo went shopping again the following morning with express orders from their father to buy Kattevo's suit in a more burgundy shade of red. After doing so (and adding a few new pairs of shoes to the pile for Tetchla) they strolled into the sunshine and met the green Kacheek once more. Kattevo's face contorted into a glare and Tetchla looked pointedly away. The Kacheek, however, stopped.
"I am very, very sorry," he said to Tetchla. Her nose scrunched.
"No, you aren't," she contradicted. "Your owner probably made you say that."
"Tetchla!" Kattevo snapped. He didn't like the Kacheek, it was true, but hated it when Tetchla embarrassed him with her occasional rudeness. Tetchla glared at both of them.
"I accept your apology," she said through gritted teeth, and Kattevo nodded at her. The Kacheek smiled shyly.
"Wanna... wanna come help out at the Soup Kitchen with me?" he asked. Tetchla's forehead wrinkled in disgust, but this time Katte couldn't blame her. His own mouth twisted. Then he looked up into the sky as the Kacheek blathered about Neopia's less fortunate, completely oblivious to their less-than-appreciative response. Then Kattevo's eyes drifted to the sun.
"Tetchla!" he suddenly shouted, not even caring that he was embarrassing himself. "We're so late!" He couldn't believe Tetchla's shoe shopping had taken so long.
Gasping, they sprinted home, wiggled into their clothes, picked up their presents, and dashed to their father's room. He admitted them in immediately and their owner sped them to Mildred's house in Altador. The evening passed quickly for once, but the two Wockies could think of nothing but the look of terrible irritation on their father's face.
Mildred, picking up on none of the tension that soon became obvious to the entire party, cooed over the 112 new Luxury Castle Petpet Beds the the puppyblew had received. She then instructed everyone to watch as they were set upon the thousand or so others that were forming one huge castle. Then she turned on the children.
She babied each of them, squishing and strangling and laying large lipstick-y kisses on all, but upon sighting Tetchla and Kattevo she just went nuts. She lauded their excellent clothing, their thoughtful gifts, and their beautiful manners. Their father, the pair noted, was beaming. The moment Mildred turned to scrutinize a cousin's outfit, however, he shot them a fierce warning glance - they certainly weren't off the hook.
After a good ten more minutes of Mildred's love, they escaped to socialize with the others, most of them irritated by Mildred's obvious favoritism of Tetchla and Kattevo.
They were all Wockies, after all. The siblings didn't really take it personally.
Too soon the party was over and they were taken home. Their father turned toward them when they again arrived in his room, so impeccably decorated one could not help but to look at the Wocky before them, to which all the decorations were centered around. Their father opened his mouth, showing clean, sharp white teeth.
"Children, that was unacceptable. I gave you fair notice; the errand I sent you out on was simple. Imagine the shame on this part of the family if we had been late. Your allowances as well as your current bank accounts are terminated immediately and until you can show me that you can uphold the family name properly. Go to your rooms," he told them, the fury apparent on his face. Slowly, they again turned to leave.
Once again they stood outside the huge doors. "Hey," Tetchla said, bumping his shoulder. For once she looked like the young Wocky she was. "Wanna volunteer at the Soup Kitchen tomorrow?"
"No," he told her, walking away.
He knew he would end up doing it, though. She was his sister, after all. They really didn't have much else.
Tetchla and Kattevo both belong to me, but the rest of the family is completely imaginary. Charming, aren't they?