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The Forgotten Child: Tepics Beautification School

  “Hmmm,”  Tepic considered the problem that Myrtil presented carefully.  He rubbed his chin and had a serious look upon his face as he examined Beryl.  “Yer come to the right bloke ter give yer the inside word on how ter act.  I’s often down the Blue Sparrow, deliverin stuff an such.”  

   Myrtil seemed satisfied with that response, and gestured over to Beryl, “That’s why we came to you.  What do we need to get Beryl to be like one of them?”

  “Right, let’s be seein yer.”  Tepic stood and approached Beryl, who rose at the foxes insistence.  The lad had noticed their friends strange growth spurt in the few months up North, though it hadn’t surprised them.  There was something in the water up ther for sure.  Still this would take some work.  Yer covered in fur, now that’s good, cus the lasses are always wantin’ a little bit of fur fer somethin, parently their Gentlemen likes a bit o’ fur.”

  “They do?”  Beryl sat back down.  They were surprised as the attitude towards Moreau had seemed much less friendly to them. Perhaps it was simply how Beryl presented themselves?

  “Makes sense!  Who wouldn’t want to pet a giant kitty?”  Myrtil giggled at this revelation, while Tepic noted that Beryl’s fur needed some serious work before it was ready.  “Reckon yer needs ter be a bit more….” Tepic thought about his phrasing carefully.  He didn’t want to say clean though the lasses certaintlyput too much importance on that.  “Soft an fluffy… a good hour in the Steam Baths then stand over one of the hot air vents down by the Iron Smelter, that should do it…”

  “The Smelter?!”  Beryl imagined the intense heat permeating from the machine.

  “It’s the hot air yer see, it gets between the fur an makes it stor of stand up an stick out,”  Tepic gestured to his own lovely tail for an example.  “Yer’ll be like one of them posh kittens the toff ladies has, nuffin but eyes an fur.  They goes all gooey and doe eyes after kittens like that, ye’ll look cuter than… than… errrr…. why yer lookin at me like that?”

  “No reason at all, Tepic,” Strifeclaw’s tone made it clear that route was not an option.  They reached for the vole milk Tepic had offered and lapped at it.  

  “Err, and yer can’t be goin’ around drinking like that mate!  Women like that drinks dainty like, tea, with their little finger stickin out and takin nips from their flasks ter keep the chill out!”

  The feline stopped in the middle of their drink, tongue out and staring at Tepic.  Without proper lips they were not quite sure how to drink out of a cup. They doubted that extending the littlest finger aided in this task.  “Are you sure I didn’t die in the north?  Is this Perdition in disguise?”

   Tepic shrugged.  “Errr, pretty sure there’d be more fire than soot if’n it were.”

  “Let’s just get to the Steam Baths,” Beryl said as they put down the cup. They gestured down to the torn clothes they wore during exercises.  “But I don’t have anything to wear after.  Don’t I need a dress first?”

 “Oh yes!”  Tepic said as he tried to think of the appropriate attire.  “Yer need one of them long gown things.  Against black fur…err…hmmm…white maybe…or red…with a slit up the side so yer can show off yer leg.  Dunno why them lasses all have ‘em.  Unless yer perfer one of them lacy house coats and lieel bits of silk they wear?”

  Beryl supposed they meant lingerie or a corset, but did not quite feel ready for those yet, “We’ll start with a long gown, red.  Without the slit for now.”

  Tepic knew a few places he might ‘borrow’ one of those. He wondered if Miss Solano had a red gown. If Beryl could sew, “How’s yer needlework? Cus they says they’s all good seamstresses, so it must be important.”

  Myrtil looked confused, but Beryl was not too concerned, “I can sew, I’ve had to mend clothes before, but I’m not very good at it.”

  “Well yer needs ter practice, but not all them girls is brilliant at it either. Yer sewing kit better have a couple of decent thimbles in it.  Don’t think most of em have thimbles cus theys always goin on about the little pricks they keeps gettin… funny though,.. Thought it would hurt, but they’s always laughing an joking bout it…”

  Beryl and Myrtil shrugged with straight faces, and the three friends made their way towards the baths.  Tepic assured them he would have the perfect dress prepared as they discussed several more details along the way.

  “After the bath, the lasses use loads o’ that smelly stuff,”  He rummaged around in his bag for the scent bombs he’d prepared before.  “Hang on, I got some here left over from the Bear Gang caper, they gives me loads fer that, an this here I mixed up from lots of bottles, should be perfect! Just splash it all over!”

  “Not all of them together Tepic!”  Beryl cringed slightly.  They remembered the pungent odor that had taken a week to wash out the last time Tepic had thrown one near the asylum.  As unpleasant as that memory was, “I will need perfume later.  In their original bottles.”

  “Nother thing is yer not quite as… round as most of the lasses…” Tepic said worried they would offend their friend.  “I got a couple o’ half coconuts here as might help, yer just put em over yer… oh…err how many of those does a cat have again?”  

  “I wouldn’t worry about that,” Beryl said trying to cut off the foxes train of thought, but the boy was already moving on.

  “Err, another thing is yer can’t be walkin around on all fours like yerself,” Tepic looked down at their friend who paused their gait. “The lasses at the Sparrow walk upright, though a bit funny sometimes.  Swayin’ like they’s wishin they had a tail.”

  Beryl sighed and stood up slowly.  “Anything else?”

  This unleashed a small litany of advice.  Tepic failed to notice Beryl’s incredulous stare, “Yer gotta talk lots an giggle at stuff too, reckon yer work in the hospital should be useful, cus they’s always talking bout how blokes slouch around.  Say they’s can’t stand ter attention proper, dunno why, ain’t difficult, but them as visit the Sparrow must be a weak kneed lot…”

  “An we’ll need ter get yer a big pot o’ stew.  The lasses is always goin on bout how the Gentlemen love a nice plump set o’ dumplins.  An I knows the cookin down the Sparrow is very good, so yer gonna have ter compete with that..”

   Beryl turned to Myrtil, who was trying not to giggle at Tepic’s growing list, “Are you sure we can’t just let Fly kill Nicholas?  It would save a lot of time.”

  “Oh an we’s gonna have ter shave yer legs.. The lasses is always shaving their legs in the kitchen when i drops by, they all does it… now… where we gonna get a dozen razors and a gallon of shaving soap..?”

   Beryl let out a shrill hiss, “No one is shaving this pussy cat!”  The reaction was more vicious than they had intended, but it got Tepic and Myrtil’s attention.  “We’ll start with a bath, the dress, perfume, and then….we’ll see after that.”

 Tepic scratched at his head after Beryl passed and whispered to Myrtil, “So guess they ain’t gonna want ter talk about the snakes yet?  All them girls has got these feathered boas hidden somewhere…”

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