Ten Acts Of Kindness, A Techo Story: Part Six
The Sixth Act Of Kindness
“They want to record MY words?” asked the Techo Master in astonishment. “Why me? There are plenty of instructors here at the Training School who would be better suited to give platitudes and proverbs. My lessons, on the whole, are quite silly and they’re meant to engage the students, not be recorded for countless generations of Neopets to contemplate.”
“We love your words of wisdom,” insisted the reporter, who had been a former student of the Mystery Island Training School. “We just want to write them down where others can read and enjoy them. You’ll even have your own page of sayings at http://www.neopets.com/island/training.phtml?type=wisdom. It’s a part of the Mystery Island Training School website.”
“Newfangled things,” muttered the Techo Master. “I never did learn how to navigate the internet. Well, if you’re still insistent on writing down everything I say, start with these:
“Never test depth of water with both feet.”
“Man who falls in vat of molten glass makes spectacle of himself.”
“The superior man acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to his action.”
“Wax on. Wax off.”
“'Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”
The reporter scribbled furiously in his notepad for a moment, and said, “Good. Now we need a photo. Say Cheeseroller!”
“What?” said the startled Techo, dropping his mug of coffee. “Hi-yah!” he screamed, leaping into the air. The camera snapped, and the reporter scurried off to develop the picture of the Techo Master’s obliging front kick.
Just another strange day at the Training School, thought the Techo as he straightened his robes and walked off to teach his next class.
The classroom today was packed with students preparing themselves for the Return of Dr. Sloth plot. There was going to be a war, whispered many, and people would do well by training and leveling up as much as they could before the battle started. The Neopets chatted amongst themselves, grasping their most durable and expensive weapons and clutching checklists of their species abilities. Codestones passed from hand to hand, with those Neopets in short supply trading what Codestones they had for the proper ones they needed. The school was simply buzzing with excited and nervous Neopets eager to prove their worth in the upcoming plot.
One saucy-looking Zafara swung around an impressive sword, an Astral Blade of The Space Station. The hilt shone with a metallic blue glow, and an assortment of glittering red rubies was inset into the handle. The sleek steel blade flashed and gleamed with every turn. “My sword cost 400,000 Neopoints,” she declared, “more than all the rest of your weapons combined.” She swung the blade again, taking as much advantage of the light as she could.
“Pride goes before a fall,” said the Techo Master, stepping into the room. “You would do well to put your sword away until the time comes for physical training. You don’t want to run the risk of damaging or losing your sword before you start training.”
“Sure, why not; it’s only a matter of time before I beat you all,” said the Zafara. The other students groaned and rolled their eyes. Their own weapons were not very expensive, it was true, but they had all been supplied with love by their owners and by the instructors at the Training School, and they wielded them with pride.
“Breathe deeply, and clear your mind,” said the Techo, as the class sat down to begin their session. “For strength is nothing without the clarity and the intelligence with which to wield it effectively. Endurance is key towards achieving fortitude in the face of immeasurable opposition, and courage is the truest mark of valor one can possess.”
The class followed his instructions, and concentrated for several hours. Then, the lesson over, they got up to attend their physical training sessions in another part of the Mystery Island Training School.
The day went on much like the days before it. But near the middle of the afternoon there was a sudden disturbance in one of the classrooms, and the Zafara who had been wielding the Astral Blade of The Space Station earlier was screaming her head off in a fit of rage.
“WHO STOLE MY SWORD?” she howled. “I left it hanging on the wall, and now it’s gone!”
“Calm down,” said the Techo Master, who hated to see anyone in distress. “Take a calm breath, and tell me exactly what happened.”
“I hung my sword up on the wall exactly where the other students were leaving theirs,” sobbed the Zafara, “and I went to practice my physical training in one of the classes being held outside in the courtyard. When I came back to get the sword, it was gone! Someone stole my sword, and it was one of you thieves!” She pointed an accusing finger at the crowd of students gathered around her. They backed away from her.
“There’s no need to accuse them of stealing,” said the Techo. “Perhaps you left the sword in one of the classrooms, or perhaps one of the students mistook your sword as one of the generic weapons given freely to anyone who is a student here. We stock our own weaponry, you see, and it’s easy for someone to have mistaken your sword as a weapon supplied by the Training School.”
The Zafara stomped her foot. “That sword cost my owner 400,000 Neopoints, and it was really expensive, and really beautiful, and I just KNOW it was stolen! It wasn’t borrowed, or misplaced, or accidentally taken. It was stolen, and I just know you were all jealous of me and my beautiful weapon!”
The Techo, displeased with her arrogant and pompous attitude, did not handle accusations made against his students lightly. “The weapon is indeed missing, but perhaps there is another explanation for its disappearance. I suggest that you continue your training sessions for the rest of the day, and when you’re finished, we’ll assemble a group of Neopets to help you search for and locate your missing weapon.”
The Zafara, still sobbing, allowed herself to be led away to her next lesson.
The Techo Master sat quietly at his desk, rubbing his eyes in tired contemplation. What could have happened to the Zafara’s sword? There were no thieves at the Training School, of this he was certain. He trusted the students with his life. They were good people, all of them, down to the smallest JubJub. The only explanation for her missing sword seemed to be that someone had borrowed it, not realizing that it belonged to someone else. Or was it?
Near evening, there was a knock on his door, and a Pteri walked slowly into the room.
“Techo Master, I’ve come to confess,” said the Pteri, bowing her head in humility. “I stole the Zafara’s sword. I hid it in the bushes behind the front gate, and covered it with dirt so that no one could find it. I’m sorry.”
The Techo groaned in dismay. “Why would you do such a thing, young Pteri? For deception and theft are not attributes I expect of my students, and you’ve disappointed me greatly.”
“I wanted to put an end to her bragging,” said the Pteri, her head still bowed. “I wanted her to feel as worthless as she tried to make the rest of us feel. A few of us were starting to feel embarrassed because we didn’t have expensive weapons or defense items to show off. And that annoying Zafara continued to boast about her sword, rubbing her ownership of it in everyone’s faces, no matter how poor they were. It hurt me to watch it, Techo Master. But I’m sorry for having stolen the sword, and for having deceived the whole school. It was wrong of me, I know.”
“You owe her an apology,” said the Techo. “You owe her a public apology in front of the entire Training School, and you need to do it right this instant. Just tell her what you’ve just explained to me, and everything will be fine. I’ll be standing behind you all the way.”
The Pteri returned the sword, and the Zafara forgave her. The Pteri’s humble and heartfelt apology won over the Zafara, who learned that her pride had cost her more than a sword -- it had cost her the respect and admiration of her fellow students. The Zafara learned to keep her pride in check, and together, the Pteri and the Zafara became steadfast friends.
One day, the Zafara stopped by the Techo Master’s classroom. “Master, I have something I need to get off my chest,” said the Zafara, quietly. The Techo raised his head and prepared to listen.
“I have always been ashamed of my actions my first day here,” said the Zafara. “I was prideful and boasted of my wealth and assets in front of people who outclassed me in both soul and sensitivity. I have never forgiven myself for my terrible pride, and I have always been ashamed to remember how eager I was to denigrate those who were less fortunate than myself. I never want to remember the way I once was. And so I bring this, an offering.”
The Zafara held up the glowing Astral Blade of The Space Station. “I wish to donate this sword to the Mystery Island Training School, Techo Master. I understand that the instructors here are sometimes hard pressed to provide all the weapons necessary to train the students, and that the funds for weaponry sometimes come up short. I would like to donate this sword to the school’s collection of weaponry so that future generations of Neopets can come here to train and to learn the valuable lessons that I’ve already learned here. I give this sword with the full blessing and understanding of my owner.”
The Techo Master smiled proudly. “You have grown much in understanding and wisdom since you first came here, young Zafara. I will place your sword on the wall for all to use and behold, and I will make sure that everyone knows the lesson that you learned here today. For generosity is its own reward, and charity is testament to the loving nature of the giver’s heart.”
The Zafara bowed, her eyes glistening, and left the room.
The Techo Master hung the sword on his classroom wall, admiring it for a second before leaving the room to consult with another instructor about the best time to start endurance training classes.
Someone was watching the Techo Master, however, and she had marveled at the grace and skill with which he had taught the Zafara the highest lesson one can learn -- that kindness and goodwill were essential to a full and happy life, and that charity was its own reward.
When the Astral Blade of The Space Station disappeared from the wall two weeks later, no one thought to ask where it had gone to. Everybody assumed that someone had merely borrowed it to complete his or her training at the Battledome. No one paid any close attention to the scrap of leaf on the floor underneath where the sword had hung...
To be continued...