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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 20th day of Eating, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 142 > Short Stories > A Gift For Honesty

A Gift For Honesty

by whyte_tiger

Author's Note: Heh. I wish, but I'm not this lucky. Don't bother asking, this story is no more true than my first story. Oh yeah, and don't forget to read my first story to learn about Kiara's past.)

Grimly, Stasheff, a Desert Kougra looking a bit worse for wear, and Kiara1896, a Shadow Kougra with splotches of dark brown mud on her paws and legs, got out of their beds to face the morning light. Things had gone on a terrible downhill slope since Kiara had joined the family. What had started as "well off" had plummeted to "barely making it" in the Neopian World.

     Kiara still hated to be touched and often either ran away or got into some very brutal fights. The Pant Devil and several Ghosts had seemed to take a malicious liking to the family and their NP and good items had steadily dwindled to nothing, leaving them depending on games and whatever the Giant Omelette and the Tombola furnished them with. Whatever was inedible was sold or auctioned off to make more NP, which would quickly get stolen or spent on food to feed their family.

     Kiara, a pessimist by nature had taken to muttering darkly about her presence to them being a curse and that she should go back to the wild so her family could live and prosper once again. Stasheff and Whyte_tiger had been so shocked and outraged by the very suggestion that they both shook her and told her to never think of such a thing again.

     "Sis, you're a part of this family now, and no family member is ever left to the Lupes. You're with us forever and we aren't going to let you go just because we're in a slump. Doggone it, you're my sister, not a shoe to be thrown out!" Stasheff had hugged Kiara fiercely and she had been too startled to protest the contact.

     Today, Stasheff and Kiara mumbled into their morning Sausage Omelette before scampering out to prowl the Donation Tree for whatever they could snatch. Their owner, Whyte_tiger, wearily took the little items they had and took it to their shop in hopes of a sale.

     As Stasheff prowled at the fringes of the crowd he caught sight of a handsome golden Uni parading by. He paused and gazed at her enviously, remembering how it had been to be well off. Then, the Uni's wings gave a twitch and a sack full of Neopoints, which had been tied to her saddlebags, fell with a clink and rolled to a stop next to Stasheff.

     He picked it up and gasped softly at the solid weight of it. Stasheff froze, working his jaws. This NP could feed the family for a week if they could hold onto it. But… Stasheff shook his head fiercely until his ears snapped. NO! It wasn't his! There was a cackle and Stasheff looked up to see the Pant Devil diving toward him, clawed hands stretched out to seize the NP out of Stasheff's paws.

     Kiara exploded out of nowhere and took the Pant Devil down in a flying tackle. "Stasheff, whatever you're gonna do with that NP do it in a hurry! I'll hold him, just go!" And with that the two began fighting savagely. The pant devil pulled out a rainbow gun but Kiara jerked it out of his clawed hand and turned it on the little goblin. "Dag nabbit, go!"

     Stasheff tore off after the Uni. NP was precious to the family but no matter what, it was wrong to steal. He caught up with the Uni, panting heavily and sweating from his desperate scramble through the crowds.

     "H-here," he panted, holding out the NP sack in a shaking paw, "Miss, you dropped this back at the tree."

     The Uni stared at him and then back at her saddlebags. Abruptly she smiled kindly at him and clopped her hoof on the cobblestone path twice. Her hooves produced an odd ringing noise, like a bell in a clock tower.

     He blinked in amazement as purple smoke swirled around them as the ringing sound of the hoof faded.

     The pant devil shouted, "Curses! Foiled again!" and fled from Kiara, who joined Stasheff after a moment.

     The smell of Lilacs filled their noses and when the smoke cleared, Fyora was standing before them with a kind smile on her face.

     Stasheff blinked and looked down, remembering how he had been standing before her a few months ago, proud and well groomed in his Desert attire as they had looked for the perfect sister. Now his fur was grubby from rooting through trash and his garments soiled from scrounging everywhere for anything they could sell. Kiara stared at her in shock and then bowed her head, avoiding eye contact, her own eyes taking in her soiled black fur.

     Fyora smiled at the Uni, "Thank you BrightMorning, I'll take it from here."

     The Uni smiled back and trotted off.

     "Wait!" Stasheff called. "Your NP!"

     His only answer was a merry laugh from the Uni before she broke into a gallop and leaped into the air, flying off into the clouds above.

     "I'm very proud of you both, you know," Fyora said, turning back to the Kougras and lifting their chins with gentle hands. "You both proved yourselves through the greatest tests we put you through. Kiara, you learned to love your family, thinking about them at all times and even being willing to leave them if only it would make life better for them. And you were willing to support your brother, no matter what he planned to do with that sack of Neopoints."

     Kiara blushed and lowered her eyes, scuffing her paws in the dirt.

     "And you Stasheff, you've stood up for your sister, refused to lose her, and though you are facing very hard times, you did the right thing. We do keep an eye on you Neopets, and those who prove themselves worthy are blessed with a special gift."

     Abruptly Fyora kissed both of their foreheads and stood tall. "And now I bestow upon you a special blessing. I reward you and your owner infinite Neopoints, to spend as you wish. The only restraint you have is that for everything you buy for a selfish reason, you must do an equally selfless act to repay it. Keep it balanced, and you will never want for anything again. Also, keep an eye out for those special people and pets like you, who are honest and good. Should you find them, snap twice to summon me, and they will be rewarded as you have been. The more you refer, the less power your restraint will have upon you. Keep in mind that your selfless acts must be done to someone who is truly in need, or they will not work."

     The two dazed Kougras bowed to Fyora, their thoughts whirling about this tremendous gift. In a small huff of lavender scented smoke, Fyora was gone once again.

     Silently the two Kougras stared at the sack of NP left nearly forgotten at their paws.

     "If we really do have endless NP..." Kiara started, then stopped.

     "…Then we don't really need this sack before us…" Stasheff continued, his thoughts along the same lines as his sister.

     "…So why don't we start our new found gift on a positive paw?" Kiara finished, slowly picking up the heavy sack.

     The world seemed to fall silent around them, as though listening. The Pteri stopped chirping, the Lupes stopped barking, and the general crowd sounds seemed to fade away. Even the sun's warmth seemed to fade just a little.

     "Why not..." Kiara whispered her plan in Stasheff's ear and his eyes widened and he nodded vigorously in agreement.

     As though the world had heard, everything returned to normal. Pteri squawked with laughter, throwing a water balloon back and forth to see who would catch it and who would get soaked. Lupes barked joyously and chased after Frisbees. A small crowd cheered nearby as a marketplace store restocked their supply of fresh fruits.

     "I take it the Faeries approve," Stasheff murmured as they made their way through the Market. With their NP firmly in paw, they slipped into a large store and bought as many turkey dinners as their sack could afford and gave the remainder to a helpful Grarrl who offered to help them carry the dinners to the Donation tree.

     From there, Stasheff slipped into the crowd, checking faces and attires. He found a young Bruce and her owner who seemed to be faring the worst and led them to where Kiara was guarding the dinners.

     With a kind smile Kiara bowed to the owner and put the huge feast into his startled hands. "A gift for you and your pet sir," Kiara said as the owner stammered in shock and hastily adjusted the massive meal in his arms.

     "No," Stasheff said firmly, holding up a paw as the human groped for his mostly empty sack of NP at his belt, "We want no payment good sir. We offer this to you freely, for we have been poor as well. Now we are just passing the kindness forward.

     The owner thanked them profusely, and the little Bruce hugged both Kougras tightly about the neck before skipping off after her elated owner. The two Kougras spent the afternoon handing out free meals to the needy, then happily made their way home.

     It took a moment to recover however, when they got home and found the house in a state of total chaos; construction workers were swarming over the Neohome. The place was being expanded into a mansion.

     Whyte_tiger raced into the yard, crying and hugging them both tightly. "I'm so proud of you two," she managed to gasp when she finally calmed down, "I raised you both right. Fyora told me all about what you did this morning and what you were doing this afternoon."

     Stasheff blushed again, "Uhm, well, we're going to have a lot of Neopoints to pay out after our home is finished," Stasheff said, looking the progress over.

     "Yeah, we will, but I'm getting the plans for that worked out, too." Whyte_tiger said, sitting down next to her two pets, "There are a lot of ingredients we can buy for the Soup Faerie, to enhance her free soups. The good items we find on the ground can be used as things we can pretend to buy from poorer shops. We can learn to "spill" Neopoints near poorer Neopians. There's a lot we can do to give it away."

     "The Adoption Center," Kiara said abruptly.

     When everyone looked at her she ducked her head a little, "I-I saw a flyer in the Main lobby when I was thinking about going away to make life easier for you two. They're trying to get money through donations to totally reconstruct it. They want to make it bigger, and better and nicer looking so that it won't be quite so bad for the Neopets that are to be abandoned."

     Whyte_tiger's eyes widened and she nodded immediately, "Perfect! I was kind of wondering who could need such a massive amount of Neopoints all at once." She pulled out sheets of paper and passed them to the pets. "I drew up maps of the furniture we're going to need for each room. You two can decorate your rooms any way you want to though. Talk to the Eyrie standing by that delivery cart." A pair of Unis were hitched together, looking both strong and swift. As they watched, the Eyrie gave them a quick drink of water for the job ahead. Whyte_tiger continued, "He's agreed to drive you two anywhere to get the furniture you want and bring it back here. Write down what you spend on each item on the paper so we can total it up."

     As the day came to a close, the Eyrie cart driver, the Unis and the two Kougras pulled back up to the house looking tired but pleased. Everyone came together to total out the Neopoints and they sat back and whistled. Roughly six million was going into the house, all things included.

     Stasheff and Kiara loaded the carriage with one last load, all the Neopoints they would be giving out. It was hard work; shoveling the heavy coins into sacks and carrying them into the abomination of a building known as the pound.

     "I don't think Dr_Death really knows how to dance, but it sure looks like he's trying," Kiara murmured to Stasheff with a soft giggle as Dr_Death and Rose pranced about, directing the placement of the Neopoints.

     The Pound got the brunt of the NP, though hundreds of thousands more were doled out to the Soup Kitchen for a makeover as well. The kitchen was rebuilt and new recipes were added, purchased from the most famous chefs in Neopia. Soon the rich scent of thick, steaming soup wafted for miles around, drawing in the needy like a beacon in a dark night.

     Although Stasheff and Kiara were rich far beyond the limit that the Soup Faerie normally allowed, she gave them and the carriage driver large bowls of soup each to eat for all their help. A huge thermos of soup was also portioned out for White_tiger when they got home.

     Months later, the family sat back in their new home and breathed satisfied sighs. The home was rebuilt, their debt of selflessness paid off, and their luck had changed completely. The pant devil avoided them, as did the ghosts. Their store flourished, and every once in a while they hosted delicious feasts for poor families who needed the help.

     Stasheff and Kiara were working on decorating one of the bedrooms one afternoon when a thought struck him.

     "You know," he said, "I think this room is missing something."

     Kiara looked down at him as she finished hanging a picture on the wall, "Missing what?"

     "Oh, something like a brother…or a sister maybe. Say... laying on the bed, reading a good book. Or maybe making some weird project to take over the world." Kiara smiled, gesturing to where the imagined sibling might be.

     Stasheff grinned and nodded, "Let's go see if we can't rouse mom for a check of the message boards. Maybe someone's up for adoption."

     The siblings shared a rare warm smile and cleaned up, then headed downstairs to talk to Whyte_tiger.

The End

(Special thanks to hippiesoul for the wonderful story she wrote about the Neopian pound, its reconstruction, and her note to all of us, giving permission to use her story as basis for our own.)

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