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The Power of One


by dan4884

--------

Also by orginalcliche

This morning, at around six o'clock, I witnessed something. It was so interesting that I'm still dwelling on it now, hours later. What I saw doesn't happen very often anymore. What I saw was a good deed. It's true, you know. Good deeds just aren't being done very often. People are only in it for the betterment of themselves, and that's why this deed I witnessed before was so out of the ordinary.

     What I saw was a Kacheek helping another. Now, as you know, Kacheeks aren't the biggest Neopet around. So what I couldn't (and still can't) understand was why this minute Kacheek would put herself in danger to help out another pet. I might as well tell you the story from the beginning.

     ***

     He was, I noticed immediately, very large, and also very angry. With a chapped and muted gold hide and tiny but sharp claws, he was one of the more ferocious Grarrls I have seen. But had he been wearing a kindlier expression I might have been a bit more at ease. However, he wasn't; in fact all of his teeth were showing in a ferocious grin that seemed to at once mask the anger the Grarrl was feeling and display it, like perfume at a department store.

     "I would like two light fleeted Lenny boots please," I asked, not even bothering to barter.

     He handed the polished red boots grimly over slamming them against the desk angrily. I wanted to say something, but it felt as if my beak was glued shut.

     "Why a pet like you needs Battledome gear I'll never know," he said and gave a weary sigh. I tried to stop the anger coursing through me like liquid fire.

     I clenched my teeth and left the store, gripping my newly purchased boots closely. Why did he have to be so rude? I could be just as good as any other aspiring Battledomer. What did he have against me?

     I made my way from the shopping plaza to my home nearby. Setting my boots down carefully, I noticed what a beautiful sunset there was outside. The colors flowed together as if someone was painting the sky with splashes of reds, pinks, oranges, and yellows. It was astonishing. I rushed outside to find a place to watch the sight.

     I reentered the plaza to find a commotion. In the center of the square came earsplitting roars. As I neared the sounds, I realized it was the same golden Grarrl that insulted me earlier, his scales glinting in the sunlight. He roared again and stomped around in a circle. I noticed his right leg had a slight limp.

     I held back, wary of what damage he could cause. I looked around and noticed I wasn't the only one to do that. Many other Neopets had gathered around the Grarrl, but from a safe distance. Meanwhile, the Grarrl stamped his feet continuously, his face wincing with every step. I looked to each pet in the crowd. All were frowning, yet none of them stepped forward to help. Then again, neither did I.

     Unexpectedly, a small Kacheek with a light pink fur burst through the lingering crowd. She was short from my point of view, with a small tuft of fur sticking up between her ears. The Kacheek stepped forward confidently, doing more than anybody else in the plaza.

     She neared the Grarrl and amazingly enough he stopped charging. He looked down curiously at the small bundle of fur that was braver than even him. The Kacheek began to speak to him. Still gazing at the courageous girl, he replied. They were too far away for me to hear what they were saying, but I could tell she wanted to help by her gestures and worried look.

     After a moment of conversing, the Kacheek bent down and pulled what looked like a large splinter of wood from between the Grarrl's toes. She stood up straight and showed the Grarrl what she had pulled from his foot. He grinned in relief. The two parted ways, the Kacheek pushing her way through the crowd once again, leaving a circle of Neopets staring at an empty plaza, stunned at what had just happened.

     ***

      I returned home, replaying the event over and over again. The Kacheek was so brave, especially when everyone else wasn't. No one had been willing to risk his or her life to help another.

     And that's what bothered me. How could so many people be so heartless? Is this what the world had come to? Were we really put here to ignore others when they were in need? All these questions left me with a stomach-ache. I felt sick. I reentered my home, head spinning. I wasn't very hungry for dinner, I found. My appetite seemed to have disappeared when the stomach-ache appeared.

     Another thing that bugged me was what I did. Or rather what I didn't do. Why couldn't I do anything to help the Grarrl? It was as if I were rooted to the spot, unable to do anything. Or maybe I didn't want to do anything? After all, he had insulted me earlier. Maybe some part of me wanted to see the Grarrl hurt. The thought brought painful lurches in my stomach.

     The sun had completely set now. I went to bed early, for my pains hadn't subsided.

     "Maybe a good night's sleep will help my stomach," I said to myself. I changed into my pajamas, slipped between the covers, and closed my eyes.

     ***

     I didn't sleep a wink. Throughout the night, all I could think of was the Kacheek. For some reason, I could not get past this seemingly insignificant act of kindness. At around three in the morning, I realized I had to do something about it, or I'd never be able to sleep again.

     I waited for dawn impatiently, and as soon as the sun shone through my window, I jumped up and dressed rapidly. I dashed out the door, only stopping to grab a small snack. I sped down the street, my Lenny feet carrying me to the plaza. For some reason, I was anxious to get to the bottom of this. I really wanted to put my heart at ease.

     When I arrived there, I stopped and glanced around. I wanted to find the Kacheek, but I realized I had no idea how I'd locate her. I cursed myself for my lapse in judgment. I stood in the center of the plaza, completely clueless on what to do next.

     My eyes settled on the Battledome shop. I decided it was as good a place as any to start my search. I strode towards the large building, catching my breath on the way. To my surprise, I found the Grarrl humming when I entered the shop. He looked up expectantly when he heard the bell attached to the door jingle.

     "Hello," I said, "I'm looking for the Kacheek that helped you out last night. Do you know where I can find her?"

     The shopkeeper smiled. "Nah, I don't," the Grarrl stated, "but I wish I did. I really wanted to give her a proper thank you."

     "That was a nice thing she did, wasn't it?" I asked in agreement.

     "Aye, it was. I don't know what I would've done without her. I couldn't reach it myself, and since no one else was helping, I figured I'd always have that splinter between my toes. It just goes to show there still are a few good souls around here."

     "I have a confession to make," I told him. "I was part of the group that didn't help you. I watched the whole thing, but I didn't do a thing about it."

     The Grarrl looked at me with a small frown. "Why not?"

     "I don't know! I think part of it was because I was afraid of what might happen to me if I got close to you. And you know what? I think another part was that I didn't want to help you. You were rude to me earlier, and I kind of wanted to spite you. I feel so guilty about it now, but it's true. Part of me wanted to see you in pain."

     He looked at me grimly. His eyes were dull, which contrasted to the sheen of his skin. It pained me to see how sad he looked.

     "Do you feel this way now?" he asked.

     "No! I couldn't sleep all night. I was so bothered about the whole scene, I felt sick afterwards. It really got to me," I confessed.

     "Then your conscience has worked its magic on you. I feel no anger towards you. Everyone has ill feelings, like I did yesterday and you did when I was in need. So we're even. Thank you for coming to me," he said.

     "That's it? You aren't mad at me?" I asked.

     "How can I be? I know what you went through. Everyone does. It's a natural feeling."

     "Are you mad at anyone in the crowd?"

     "Nah, none of them were just brave enough to help another in their time of need. I'm more sad than mad that that's what its come to."

     I nodded my head sadly in agreement. "If that's what this world has come to, then I want to change it. But how?"

     "There's only one way. Help others in their time of need."

     I thought about it. Maybe if I helped them, one of them would go home and go through the same ordeal I went through. They might be conflicted the same way I was, and in turn they would perform a good deed for someone else. I was beginning to see a cycle.

     I smiled. "That's probably the best advice I've ever received. Thank you!"

     "No problem."

     I left the shop, and set off to change the world.

The End

 
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