Ten Acts Of Kindness, A Techo Story: Part Two
The Second Act Of Kindness
The Techo looked at himself in the mirror. He had just been certified a Techo Master, and he wore his new robes with pride. The glossy brown silk was quite becoming to his green skin, and the robe at his waist was cinched shut with a beautifully woven purple belt.
There was only one problem. As a Techo Master, he was expected to supply weapons with which to equip his students, for they had to practice with weapons in order to level up in their training. But he had nothing to his name, nothing except the shiny new robes on his back. He had to think of something, some way to quickly earn Neopoints to fund his classroom. The Mystery Island Training School was a strict place, and as a newly minted instructor there, the Techo was expected to follow all the rules, including the provision of the aforementioned weapons.
What should he do? He frowned at himself in the mirror. He had always been poor, and had always given away his items freely to those who needed them more, but this was the first time he regretted those actions. Now he stood here, Techo Master, dirt poor and without any hope of attracting new students. For what was an instructor who couldn’t instruct anyone in the proper use of weaponry?
There was always the option of opening up a shop and learning how to restock. There were also some games in Neopia Central he had been meaning to check out, knowing that playing games was a quick and satisfying way of earning Neopoints for those who had the skill and patience to attempt them. He could also invest in the Neopets Stock Market, but it would take weeks and months of research before he could figure out which companies to invest in! He simply didn’t have a year in which to wait for the returns on stocks.
He decided on a combination of shopkeeping and playing games.
“There must be an easier way to earn money,” grumbled the Techo as he struggled to put a cluster of mewling Petpets into a display case. The Petpets scrabbled at the clear glass sides and whined and cried. One of them spit mucus at his face. He wiped his mouth with a wrathful hand.
“That’s the last time I restock Spooky Petpets,” he muttered, slamming the display case shut. The Petpets continued to whine and whimper. “It’s bad enough that they hack phlegm at you, but these carnivorous ones... they’re enough to make a person scream. I still haven’t located my last restock of Petpets, and these Spooky Petpets here haven’t been needing any food for the past week and a half. Makes a person wonder, it does...”
The Techo wiped his sweaty forehead with a damp cloth and finished pricing his items. Then, breathing a sigh of relief, he locked his shop door and headed for Neopia Central to play some games.
The Games Room was buzzing this fine spring afternoon, and players from all over Neopia were challenging each other to games, racing each other to get into the high score tables, and having an all around exciting time. “I challenge you to Destruct-O-Match II!” screamed one bespectacled player. “Not if I challenge you first!” screamed another player with a shock of pink hair. “Shenkuu Warrior pwns Destruct-O-Match any day!” declared a third player covered in tattoos, “and no way any of you can beat me!” At this, everyone in the Games Room started rapidly clicking their computer mice in an effort to challenge the tattooed kid.
“This is nerve wracking,” said the Techo. “I think I’ll stick to dependable games like Adver-Video and Faerie Bubbles. I always make some good Neopoints off of them.” He sat down at a computer terminal to play some games. By now his Favourites list had grown to encompass twelve games he felt reasonably confident about playing. He wasn’t a gaming master, to be sure, but he was already a Techo Master, and that was good enough to him. He was only playing for the Neopoints, after all.
It had taken him weeks to save up enough money to buy a complete set of Leaf Shields for his classroom, costing more money than he had ever spent before in his life. He had also purchased a Sword of the Dead, the priciest item in his weapons collection, because he felt that his students deserved at least one superlatively excellent sword with which to practice their fencing. The amount of money that had passed through his hands was mind-boggling, but it was worth it, he told himself. For the students, anything would be worth it.
He finished clicking “Submit” on his last game and stood up to stretch. It had been a long, long day of restocking and playing games. He had barely gotten in any meditation and martial arts time. As he turned to leave the Games Room, he was suddenly puzzled by the sound of weeping.
“What on earth? Nobody ever cries in the Games Room. This place is too much fun.” He cocked his ear and listened closer. No wonder! The sound wasn’t coming from the Games Room. It was coming from the hallway, where the Neoboards were posted. He turned off his computer, hoisted his winnings onto his shoulder, and went to investigate.
“Hello?” he called into the hallway. There was no response. There were people here, all right, pinning notices to the boards and posting new board topics for people to respond to. But not one of them was crying. Maybe he was hearing things? He made a last-ditch effort to locate the sound of weeping.
“Is anybody here depressed?” he called. “Anybody here sick, or tired, or sad, or anything? Hello?” He stumbled onto someone lying prostrate on the floor. He hadn’t been paying attention to the floor, of all places.
“Are you all right?” he asked.
“No, I’m most certainly NOT all right,” cried the Elephante on the floor. He covered his eyes with his trunk and started to bawl. “I’m on an Illusen quest, and she needs a Sword of the Dead, and I don’t have enough Neopoints to buy one. Even if I did, there’s none on the Shop Wizard that I can buy, and no one at the Trading Post who actually DOES have one is around to accept my puny offer. I’m doomed! It’s not fair! I was so close to completing my Illusen quest goal!”
The Techo pursed his lips in thought. It would be a great, great deed to give his Sword of the Dead to this sobbing Elephante. Perhaps the greatest thing he would ever do for another living soul, to date. But it had taken months to save up for that sword! How could he so blithely give it away? Did the Elephante look like he deserved it? He didn’t look poor, by any means. He was painted Camouflage, which was a pretty pricey Paint Brush, and he looked well-fed and content. Could the Techo really give away his precious training sword to someone who wasn’t worthy of owning it?
“Why do you need such an expensive item for the Illusen quest? And why did you undertake such a quest knowing that the item would be rare and difficult to buy?” the Techo asked.
“I’m new, and I’ve only been going to Illusen for the past month or so,” sobbed the Elephante. “I didn’t really know that her items were getting rarer and more expensive with each quest. I just thought I kept getting bad luck. But now I’m stuck with this hopeless quest, with no hope of finishing it, and I’m going to have to fail it and get reset back to my first Illusen quest. This is the most miserable day of my life!” The Elephante continued to sob.
That clinched it. The Techo, pricked by his own greed, cast aside all thought of keeping the precious Sword of the Dead for himself and cast a sympathetic eye on the Elephante.
“I have such a sword in my Training School. You’re welcome to it.” The Techo struggled with himself for a minute. “No need to pay me back. I know you can’t afford it right now, and it would take you a while to pay me back. I don’t believe in debt. I just ask that you accept this gift from me and I wish you many happy returns on your quest completion.”
The Elephante gave an astonished snort. “You have a Sword of the Dead, and you want to just GIVE it to me? Just like that? What’s the catch?”
“No catch,” said the Techo kindly, getting used to the idea. “I just hate the idea of you getting reset back to your first quest. You worked hard at Illusen’s Glade, and it’s a shame that you’d have to go back to the very first quest just because of a few thousand Neopoints. You can walk with me back to my Training School, if you’d like. It’s only a quick boat ride over to Mystery Island, and then a quick boat ride back. Barely 10 minutes. Come on!”
And with this he yanked the Elephante to his feet.
The Elephante completed his quest, with time to spare. With this experience he learned to save up enough Neopoints before starting another one of Illusen’s quests, although thanks to the Techo, he had no sorrowful memories to look back on. Due to the Techo’s kindness, the Elephante would go on to complete many more Illusen quests, finally completing his ultimate goal of winning a beautiful Honey Potion on Level 35. He would never forget our Techo Master’s act of kindness.
The Techo, meanwhile, abandoned his weapons search and petitioned to become the first instructor at the Mystery Island Training School to teach his students without weapons. He successfully trained many students through mind, meditation, and hand-to-hand combat exercises without having them feel the grasp of a single sword. The Training School, for the first time in its history, decided to grant the Techo’s wish of training without weaponry.
Because long ago, someone had told the Techo that “you need to have the heart and the intelligence to train,” and that training should be for “those who show that they have the heart, discipline and willpower to follow through with rigorous practice.” Weaponry was nonessential. The Techo knew this in his heart, and it made him a better Master, in the end.
This is not the end of our Techo’s story, however. Little did he know that his actions had piqued the interest of a very powerful being, and that he was being watched and judged...
To be continued...