Tyla finally gave in to letting Sicho take care of the newly-named
Kacha. She still couldn't believe how he had the nonsense in his mind making him
think that they had the means to care for her, but her brother and the Kacha loved
each other so much it would be a lot easier to stretch what little they had even
thinner than to see the two part.
The three pets walked down the short hallway
and made their way into a tiny room that most Neopians would call a hole in
the ground, but they called it a kitchen. Kacha must have seen it as a palace.
She acted like she hadn't been inside ever; or at least for a long time, and
Sicho had a feeling this was true.
"Good morning," said Phara, in her old, weak,
yet musical voice. She smiled, sitting down a lump of what used to be a chair,
but was now cracked and broken. They had gotten it for a bargain. At the cold
stone table there were three Sutek muffins, cold and hard and rather unappetizing,
sitting alone without plates. Tyla sat down across from Phara, smiling.
Sicho brought a small chair in from the front
room, a chair in just as bad condition as any of their belongings. He pulled
it up right next to his chair at the table and helped Kacha climb into it. He
then sat down himself, tore his muffin in half, sand flying everywhere, and
gave the other piece to the very grateful Kacha. She immediately started chomping
down huge chunks, quite remarkable considering the small size of her mouth.
Halfway through her muffin she started nibbling, savoring the sandy flavor.
The whole time the other three Neopets stared at her. "Who is she?" asked Phara,
"Kacha," Sicho smiled. "I found her this morning
when I was walking. She doesn't have a home. She didn't even have a name until
I brought her here." Kacha was now finished, and was picking up some of the
crumbs. Phara half-smiled, half-frowned.
"It's nice that you found her and brought her
here, but we can't take care of her..."
"Exactly what I said," Tyla interrupted, staring
at Kacha. "She deserves better. But I don't know if we can tear them apart."
Phara sighed. "Alright, she can stay... for
now. But I think you'll find soon enough, Sicho, that it is more work than you
bargained for. If you had the money you'd be fine, but you don't. And since
you have this sense of responsibility, why don't you go check the stocks?" Sicho
smiled, the first time he has ever smiled at such a task.
"I'm on it," he gulped his breakfast down whole,
patted Kacha on the head, got his hat and coat on, and set out into the bright
morning. He had a lot more confidence than when he usually left to look at the
Neodaq. The three remaining Neopets looked at each other happily.
"Here," said Tyla, tearing off a small portion
of her untouched muffin. "I'm not that hungry." But the young Acara shook her
"You lie. You're hungry, and you deserve to
eat. You worked for it, I didn't. I could never take that from you."
"Please," said Phara, tearing off a slightly
larger portion of her muffin. "It would be our pleasure. Eat." With much hesitation,
Kacha finally took the pieces of muffin. She ate them quickly and smiled brightly.
"Thank you," she said softly. The other two
Neopets grinned as they ate the rest of their breakfast, carefully picking up
"I'm going to go shop for some food,"said Tyla,
picking up a bag that had only enough Neopoints inside to jingle a light, but
very miserable and unhappy tune. She put on her own pathetic-looking coat and
left. Phara was now left with the young neopet who smiled at her nervously.
"Well..." the Gelert began, staring into the
bright blue eyes before her. "What shall we do now?"
"Sicho said you could teach me," the words came
out quickly in excitement. "Please do. I've never been to school before."
Phara chuckled heartily. "Yes, I will teach
you. All young Neopets need a good education." The old neopet sat down in her
stone chair. Kacha dragged her chair in from the kitchen and pulled up right
next to Phara. She looked very happy and was ready to get started. Phara chuckled
again and picked up an old, scraggly sketchbook at her side. She took a pencil,
wrote a letter down, looked up at the young, enthusiastic neopet beside her,
and said: "See this? This letter is an A."
"A..." said Kacha, already smarter than she
had ever been before.
A few hours later, Tyla returned home. She was exhausted, but she had some
good food with her. She was able to get a good deal on some old bread and a
third of an omelette. She smiled at Kacha and Phara who were sitting in the
front room. The young Acara had already learned all of the letters (capital
and lower case) and all of their sounds, and was now learning how to write them.
She was a very fast learner.
"Where's Sicho?" Tyla asked, looking around.
"He's been out for a while..." The other two looked around as well.
"He should be back soon," Phara said, grinning.
She looked down at the sketchbook again, showing Kacha the proper way to form
The young Acara giggled and drew the letter.
"How am I..." She was about to say "doing", but she was interrupted as the front
door burst open. Sicho, happier than he must have ever been in his life, ran
into the room, literally jumping for joy.
"YES! YES!" He spun around, hugged his sister,
and started running around some more.
"YOU WOULDN'T BELIEVE IT..."
"What? Stocks went up?" Tyla asked exuberantly.
Sicho nodded his head so much Tyla was surprised it didn't fall right off his
"And not JUST that..." he said, his voice getting
suddenly quiet. "They went up five hundred percent!" The three Neopets around
the room had their jaws at the floor.
"F-f-five hundred percent?" Phara couldn't believe
it. Her hand was at her chest; it was as close as she would ever come to a heart
attack. Her face lit up.
"How much do we have, now?" Tyla asked. Something
inside her said they would no longer have to live in a hole in the ground.
"Well, stocks were at fifteen for the longest
time..." he began, giddy as he tried to keep back a secret. "They are now at
ninety..." He jumped again.
"NINETY?" Tyla's eyes were wide. "That's...
that's..." she started doing the math in her head. "Well, minus twenty for commissions
per stock, that's seventy... we had... twenty-five stocks, right? That's 1750
"Great, isn't it?" said Sicho. "But it's even
better to know that we had one hundred twenty-five stocks..."
"ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE?" she cheered. "That's...
that's... that's... 8750 Neopoints! Sicho, this is WONDERFUL!" The brother and
sister danced in happiness. Kacha and Phara just stared into space with open
mouths of gratitude.
"Oh, and to make things even better..." here
the silver Shoyru pulled something out of his coat pocket, "I found this on
my way here. Just lying there, in the street, perfectly mint condition." He
handed it to Kacha, who stared at it. It was a book, a thick, heavy book. She
flipped through the many pages of small tight print. Page after page after page...
the young Acara jumped up and hugged Sicho.
"And soon enough I'll be able to read it..."
she smiled at Phara.
"Well, I am going to go put this in the bank.
We should save it for an emergency... we shouldn't go wasting it on stuff right
away," Sicho headed out the door again, still happier than ever before.
The next two weeks went by in a breeze. Since Sicho had sold all of their
stocks, the only reason he had of going outside was to collect the interest
at the bank. He always came back in a hurry to help Phara teach Kacha. She was
progressing nicely, and could go several sentences in her new book without stopping
to ask what a word was. It was a wonderful feeling.
One day, when Sicho got home from his trip to
the bank, he didn't see Phara and Kacha reading the book in the front room as
usual. He walked down the hallway. The door to Phara's room was open, and Kacha
was lying in her bead. The brown Gelert had pulled her chair up to the bed and
was talking to her softly. She looked up as Sicho came in.
"She's sick..." said Phara, shaking her head.
"With fuzzy fungus."
"I might turn purple soon..." said Kacha. "We
went to the doctor. I'm gonna turn into a fungus ball if we don't do something."
Phara saw the sadness in Sicho's face.
"Don't worry, there is a cure," she didn't look
happy, though. "Honey Blossom Extract. Costs about 8,800 Neopoints at its cheapest."Kacha
"Okay... I can go get it. We may have just that,"
he sighed sadly, turned around, and walked out into the day. He seemed as miserable
as he ever was. Not only did he have to spend all of his money, but also Kacha,
who had grown to be part of the family, was sick. And all he could imagine was
her turning into a purple fungus ball.
He made his way to the bank, withdrew all of
that lovely money, and started walking to the pharmacy.
"Hey, you, come here," he heard someone whisper
behind him. Turning around, he saw a shadow Uni looking around a corner. She
nodded her head, and Sicho went towards it into the alley. "I have a game where
you can make double your money. All you have to do is flip this coin, and if
it lands on heads, you get twice your cash. If it lands on tails, it's all mine."
Sicho hesitated. If he won, then he would be
able to the Honey Blossom Extract, AND still have some money-a lot of money-left
over. But if he lost, well, he would be coming home to a ball of purple fungus
every night. He decided he would try it, but only with one Neopoint.
The Uni smiled, took out a coin, and gave it
to the silver Shoyru. He flipped it, and sure enough, it landed on heads. He
smiled as the Uni gave him back his original Neopoint plus another.
"Ready for another go-round, maybe with a little
more Neopoints this time?" Sicho hesitated again, but nodded. All of his responsibility
was being thrown out the window.
To be continued...