The Royal Reputation: Part One
I looked blankly and tiredly at the ground below. My eyelids brushed my rosy cheeks, and my paws tapped slowly on the grey-rock windowsill. I swear from up here I could see every little blade of grass waving, every small wave lapping in the tiny lake, every grain of whitish-yellow sand blowing across the calming shore, every small Koi swimming beneath the azure waters of the lake, and every single peach-pink leaf rustling on the large cherry tree.
I sighed slightly and brushed a small strand of auburn hair out of my face. Another strand fell in my face, and after that was pushed away, another fell. After my fifth attempt, about ten strands fell down, covering my eyes. I pushed them slightly out of the way so I could see and gave up.
I heard my doorknob twist and turn behind me, and I whirled my head around. A small banging occurred on the pink-swirl painted wood. "Hello?" a small voice squeaked from behind the door.
I walked over to my desk and grabbed the small feather key chain lying on my notebook. I went over to the door and placed the key in, twisting and turning it. A click sounded from inside the door, and I turned the knob.
My little sister nearly fell over onto me as the door creaked open. The little Kacheek waved her arms and jumped upright, her smile returning. Her blue fur was everywhere, as she probably hadn't brushed it this morning. "Aluendi," she piped up, "Jakuliani wants you and me to come with him to the Lost Desert. He says he finally made 100,000 Neopoints and he wants to spin the Wheel of Extravagance in Qasala. He says if we win a paintbrush, we can sell it for a lot and be rich!"
"Alright, Noliona, tell him I'll be down in a few minutes. I need to get ready."
The Kacheek nodded, and I slammed the door in her face. I walked to my desk and grabbed my brush to start brushing my hair.
We already were rich, and my family was royal. We ruled a small town near Neopia Central, where there were two kinds of people. The royal, who were rich and snobby, and then there were the peasants. They were poor and filthy, working hard each and every day to put bread on the table.
Once my hair was glossy, I straightened my small golden crown and gingerly touched the bright red ruby in the middle of the crown. I then fingered the small letter "A" engraved in the gold underneath the ruby, praying that my siblings wouldn't be too bothersome this trip.
I walked out the door, stuffing the key in the pocket of my lavender sweatshirt after locking the door. I smoothed out the wrinkles in my sweatpants and brushed a smooth strand of hair out of my eyes. I stuffed my hands in my pockets and walked into the narrow stone hallway, my feet sliding along the bright crimson rug. I fingered the key in my pocket and nearly ran into Jakuliani.
I skidded to a stop before I hit him, the rug bunching under my paws. The red Lupe looked as surprised as I felt, his tail swishing against the ground. He was younger than me but older than Noliona, and he was a bit too adventurous for my taste.
"Hey, Aluendi," he said in a rushed voice. "Are you ready to go yet? I really want to spend these Neopoints now!"
I sighed. "Yeah, yeah. Let's go blow your hard-earned Neopoints on the chances of winning nothing. Sure, I'm ready."
He frowned at me, his eyes watering. He shoved past, his muscular Lupe body nearly knocking me against the wall. I walked slowly after him, hoping that he wouldn't go rat me out to Mom and Dad. They would destroy me if he told them, they think because I'm the oldest I need to be perfect and nice and help my little siblings out with everything, and that includes supervising them when they go somewhere.
Noliona popped her head out of her room, her paws resting on the doorframe. "Are you ready now? Jakuliani says he's excited."
I was about to yell at her, too, but a commotion downstairs stopped me. This was followed by yelling. "ALUENDI, GET DOWN HERE RIGHT NOW YOUNG LADY!"
I grumbled and wrung my hands together. I stomped down the hall, a black cloud hanging over my head. Noliona stared at me in shock, her tail swinging back and forth.
Figures that Jakuliani would tell Mom and Dad. The little shrimp, he starts out all strong and tough but turns to mush when the problem is turned to him. The thing I can't stand is tattletales.
The wooden stairs of the castle creaked under my feet, splintering slightly where my heels stepped with rage. I reached the bottom and walked over to my fuming parents; my head held down so they wouldn't see my eyes literally shooting flames.
Immediately when I reached the bottom of the stairs, Mom and Dad started ranting at me. Their words jumbled together, blasting my eardrums with one big mess of sounds. I couldn't understand any of it.
"Guys," I said, breaking their rant. "I can't understand you. Either talk one at a time, or stop yelling at me."
They stopped and stared at me in shock for a moment, their faces gradually turning to anger and disappointment.
"Young lady," my mom started. "I'm so disappointed in you right now, words cannot describe it."
Disappointment. Yeah, I already knew that.
My mom continued. "So, after your brother spins the wheel, you yourself are going to take 100,000 of your Neopoints to spin it too."
It took a moment for this to register in my brain. It finally clicked, and I started to flip out. "But MOM, I've been saving up my Neopoints for a really long time so I can buy a Maraquan Paint Brush!"
"Kind of did her a favor," my dad whispered to Mom.
But my mom glared at me angrily, and I finally, reluctantly, went upstairs to get some Neopoints.
So off we went, my purse jingling with 100,000 Neopoints. Of course, Noliona didn't have to bring any Neopoints. She could barely save up 10,000.
The desert sands were boiling under my feet as we made the long walk home. Jakuliani and I had wasted our Neopoints on the stupid wheel, and now we were stopping by Sakhmet to play fruit machine.
Jakuliani, the little brat, had of course won a Maraquan Paintbrush and rubbed it in my face. Not literally, because if he did, I would be a beautiful aquamarine instead of boring old white.
What had I won? I won the stupid Wheel of Extravagance avatar. Big whoop, I don't even collect avatars.
I trudged into Sakhmet after my energetic siblings, sweat pouring out of my face. My ears drooped behind me.
Jakuliani ran over to Fruit Machine, with Noliona close after him. I staggered along after them, heat penetrating my fur and making it extremely uncomfortable.
When I finally made it to Fruit Machine, the deafening sound of the three card holders yelling 'winner' was almost too much to bear. Noliona ran up to me, her curls bouncing despite the heat. She jumped up and down, and started dragging me towards the card holders.
Jakuliani was just being handed an Eventide Paintbrush and 20,000 Neopoints from the Aisha. I grumbled.
Noliona tried next, and won 1,000 Neopoints. She begged me to try, and I finally decided to go. What have I got to lose?
Turns out a lot. I got up and spun. Then the Bug Brothers decided to pay me a visit, and stole 50 Neopoints, leaving me in the negative. The fruits on the cards were all different, so I didn't get anything.
Technically, I won a mugging. Lucky me.
We then had to visit every shop in Sakhmet, because Jakuliani wanted to spend every last Neopoint he won on some useless junk.
He bought a petpet, even though he already has one. He said they could be 'friends'. Then we bought all kinds of food, most of which none of us will eat and we'll just leave it to rot at the Money Tree later.
Then his petpet just randomly finds a Mootix, giving him an avatar. And best of all was that he won the jackpot from a scratchcard.
What did I get on this trip? An avatar I won't use and some stolen Neopoints.
I gasped as I stepped into our castle, my feet burning red from the hot sand. The cool air radiating from the stones was refreshing.
After a few moments, I started up to my room. I heard my mom calling me, but I grumbled and ignored it. I was not in the mood to have her yelling at me again, or telling me how 'wonderful' my new avatar was and to be happy. I had had enough of that for one day.
The stairs creaked under my feet, and felt unsteady. I continued walking. On the tenth step up, about halfway, (it's a really tall castle,) the step cracked in half and split under my feet. I fell through with a scream.
Although, when I stopped screaming, I realized I only fell through about halfway. After my dramatic moment, I struggled and twisted, rambled and cursed. But I couldn't get out of the splintery wood.
I flailed my arms until Jakuliani came around the corner and saw me. I figured he had just finished telling Mom about how 'amazing' and 'incredible' our trip was. Yeah, right.
His eyes went wide when he saw me, and then he started cracking up. He fell over, and rolled on the plush red carpet. Mom came around the corner, saw Jakuliani, and smiled. Then her gaze fell on me, and her jaw nearly dropped to the floor. She covered her mouth with her hands, muffling her laughter.
Real queenly, Mom.
"Sweetie, what happened?" she said through giggles.
I glared at her. "Gee, I don't know, Mom, it's just that the step cracked under my feet and I fell through. Can you help me out now?"
Mom started up the steps, her Kacheek feet padding softly on the wood. She reached me and gingerly helped me out, then brushed off my sweatshirt. "Augh, Mom, I'm not three years old; don't treat me like Noliona. You don't need to brush off my clothing, it's just dust."
Mom looked at me with hurt eyes, and walked back down the steps. She picked up Jakuliani and walked over to the kitchen. Jakuliani put his head over her shoulder and stuck his tongue out at me. I stuck my tongue out at him and stormed to my room.
I made it to my room and slammed the door behind me, locking it quickly. I threw the keys on my desk, and they landed with a thunk.
I flopped on my bed, enjoying the peace and quiet. After going to the loud, busy markets of Sakhmet, it was nice to be able to finally relax.
A knock on my door interrupted my daydreaming, followed by the twist and turn of the knob. I growled, got up off my bed and grabbed the key. I turned it in the keyhole, and something in the door clicked. Noliona threw the door open, smiling and unperturbed about my fall through the steps and the fact that I looked like I hadn't slept in days.
"Hi, Aluendi," the Kacheek said hurriedly. "Mom said you need lunch. So I brought you some food we got from Sakhmet!"
Noliona took some bread and lettuce made of sand from behind her back. "I brought you stuff to make a sand-wich." She paused, waiting for me to get the joke. "Get it?" she asked. "A SAND-wich! Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!"
I grabbed the food from her and shut the door in her face, and locked it again. I threw the keys on the table again, not wanting to open that door for the rest of the day.
I walked over to my window. My elbows leaning on the windowsill, I flipped the plate over. The bread and lettuce fell apart; the sand falling to the ground about fifty feet below.
I leaned back against the wall, crossing my arms and shutting my eyes.
"What the- AUGH!!"
A commotion from outside my window broke my daydream about the wonders of peace and quiet because I didn't have a brother and sister. My dream crushed, I walked over to the window and peered out. Far down below, an elderly-looking Ogrin was arguing with a Cybunny.
They were arguing, but I couldn't hear any of it. My eyes were glued on the Cybunny. He would be very handsome if it weren't for the scratches and dirt spots coating his fur. He was wearing an old brown tunic, which was probably older than the Ogrin he was arguing with.
I finally listened to the argument after the Ogrin nearly screamed.
"Now listen here, you blundering buffoon. I am a wealthy old Ogrin, who always minds his own business and never snoops, ever. It would be an insult to say I'm anything less than perfect. But then you, knucklehead, come along and drop sand all over me. All over! Just piles of sand, covering my once-handsome head. You should be ashamed, servant-boy, disrespecting your elders and those richer than you."
"Sir," the Cybunny said, rushed. "I-I'm telling you I didn't do it. I swear, it seemed to fall out of the sky. M-Maybe it was a random event?"
The Ogrin growled and took a threatening step forward. Although the Cybunny was muscular, powerful, and a whole lot stronger than the Ogrin, he quailed backwards.
The Ogrin gripped his cane and smashed it over the Cybunny's head, leaving a large bump in the middle of his hair.
The Cybunny looked to the point of tears, his body trembling. He touched his head in a gingerly way that reminded me of Mom.
And then he took off running, his long ears flopping wildly against the strong wind.
It made me sad, made me want to help him. I continued watching as a few Neopets came over to help the Ogrin, seeing as he 'broke' his cane.
I grabbed my feather keys and unlocked my door fast, almost breaking the keys in the process. I stuffed them in my pocket and slammed the door behind me, my feet thumping on the padded red rug.
I ran down the stairs, narrowly dodging the broken one. I jumped over the last few steps, landing on the ground and nearly falling over on my face because my long grey yoga pants had caught on a loose nail.
I found my mom in the living room, slouching on the arm of our pink couch. It looked as though Jakuliani had already left, which meant the coast was clear.
"Mom!" I screamed as I ran over and jumped on the couch. The pink cushions flopped over lifelessly and Mom was catapulted several inches into the air. She looked at me and sighed, rubbing her head like she had a headache.
"Mom," I said again. I told her what happened, (with some white lies sprinkled in here and there,) and asked if she saw it.
"No, sweetie, I didn't," she said. "But it sounds like that poor Ogrin was treated horribly, that nasty, poor farm boy shouldn't have dropped all that sand on his head."
I frowned at her. Didn't she understand that the Ogrin was supposed to be the bad guy?
Sighing, I answered myself. Probably not, considering I conveniently left out that I had dropped the sand out my window.
I got off the couch and moped up the stairs to my room, yet again avoiding the broken one. I shut the door behind me when I got to my room, and locked it. I put on my pajamas, and threw my sweatshirt in a corner of my room. I then threw my other clothes in a basket.
I turned off the Crystal Leaf Lamp and hopped onto my bed, flopping down in a mound of pillows. I dragged a blanket over me, and huddled under the soft, plush polka-dot fabric. It wasn't long before I fell asleep, probably around supper time, my mind stuck on the farm-boy Cybunny.
To be continued...