Ten Acts Of Kindness, A Techo Story: Part Ten
The Last Act Of Kindness
The old Techo Master warmed himself in a great chair by the fireplace. He was old now, quite old, but he still held classes twice a week and trained young Neopets in the art of weaponless combat.
Now and then, an old fear would strike him. He had always been afraid that he had been negligent by teaching purely hand-to-hand combat rather than teaching the students how to fight with advanced weaponry. Even now, at the height of his success and good fortune, our kind old Techo thought of nothing but the welfare of his students. Would it be a good idea to resume the old ways, to train Neopets in the ways of arms? Was it too late to start training his students in the art of weaponry?
And what exactly would he teach them with? His whole life, he had been penniless as a pauper. Anything he had owned, he had given away. He had no funds with which to supply his classroom in this late day and age. He didn’t regret his generous acts, indeed he still lived to see the smiles on people’s faces whenever he bestowed them with presents and gifts, but the students should have benefited from his generosity, too...
His old friend, the Mynci Master, had retired some years ago. He still missed her dreadfully. He could still hear her kind and gentle voice, and how it used to comfort him in times of stress and doubt.
“My dear Techo,” she used to say, her eyes shining, “we’ve become quite a pair of old fogies, haven’t we?” And with this she’d utter a laugh. “I always knew you had it in you to become something great. Techo Master, indeed. And to think that these fifty years ago, you had nothing to your name but a Plastic Butter Knife and a kind heart. Now you’re the most famous instructor we’ve ever had at the Mystery Island Training School, and because of you, registration has increased by 1200 percent.”
“I learned from the best,” the Techo would say reverently. He had never quite overcome his awe of the Master Mynci and her boundless wisdom. But his awe had developed into something deeper over the years, something borne of mutual love and respect. The Techo Master honored and trusted the Master Mynci more than anyone he knew, and he saw her as the only mother figure he had ever known.
So it had crushed him when she had left the school. He began to cry as he remembered their good times together, the laughter they had shared, and the closeness of their bond. That was another thing he had learned to do over the years: cry. Long forgotten was the cruel owner who had abandoned him to the Neopian Pound so many years ago. Now he had accomplished so much, grown so much in his experience and knowledge, that he was not ashamed to break down when words failed him. And words failed him now.
There was one thing he thought about now and again. The Mynci Master had summoned him to her room one day, and thanked him for training her son, an eager but headstrong young Mynci who had a tendency to break the rules. One day, the young Mynci had come to school with a Brain Tree Knife and dared people to fight him. The Techo, trying to avert danger before any mischief occurred, had taken the young Mynci into another room and kindly, but firmly explained the difference between reckless brawling and the superior art of combat. And the Mynci had listened, giving the knife up to the wise old Techo.
“You governed him with a strong and gentle hand, and for this I thank you,” the Mynci Master had said, gratefully. “I know that my son never liked to listen to authority, but you understood the passions of his heart and trained him into a fine warrior, one of the best warriors ever to come out of the Training School. He turned out to be a greater success than I could have ever hoped for. Thank you, my dear Techo, for this last act of kindness.”
“I did it for you,” the Techo had said. “I did it because you had always looked out for me, and I wanted to do something wonderful for you in return. I was glad I was able to look out for your son, young whippersnapper though he was. He was a complete joy in the classroom, and I’m glad to have taught him.”
The Mynci Master had smiled and hugged the gracious Techo. “I am always looking out for you, my dear Techo. Remember that. Long after I’m gone, I will always be looking out for you and taking care of you.”
The old Techo thought of these words as he sat preoccupied by the fire. It was a beautiful thought, that she would always be looking out for him, but he still missed her terribly.
Suddenly the door opened, and a student poked her head in through the door. “The party is starting, Techo Master!” called the young Blumaroo. “Come join your birthday celebration! We’re all ready for you!”
The old Techo Master smiled, and got up slowly from his chair. He wasn’t too fond of the rowdy parties his students threw for him every year on his birthday, but he knew they loved him and wanted to do something fun for him on his special day. So on his birthdays, he always indulged them by going along with the celebration and enjoying himself as much as he could, no matter how much his creaking old bones complained.
He walked down the hallway of the Training School, and stepped out into the garden, where the school’s celebrations were usually held. The space was truly beautiful this morning. The grass was glistening with dew from the rain last night, and sparkling rainbow streamers hung from the trees and bushes all around. Everyone from the Training School, the students, the instructors, everyone, was decked out in their most colorful attire and wearing silver party hats on their heads. “HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TECHO MASTER!” screamed the crowd, as he stepped onto the grassy plot.
“Thank you, everyone, this looks wonderful!” exclaimed the Techo.
“There’s a special surprise for you, Techo Master! Turn around!” bellowed an enormous Jetsam. The Techo turned around, and gasped.
The beloved Faerie choir that performed during all the special holidays of Neopia, the ones that floated through the streets singing songs of joy and rapture and exultation, was assembled there in rank and form, fluttering their wings in the cool autumn breeze. They glowed and glittered with delight.
And most stunning of all, Illusen herself was standing there in front of them. She was smiling benevolently, and laughed when the bewildered Techo gazed in amazement at the gorgeous scene. “Happy birthday!” said the beautiful, ageless Faerie. “I hope this day is a special one. I’ve been watching you for quite some time, Techo Master, and I have to say, you’re one of the most unique Neopets I’ve ever had the pleasure of observing!”
The Faerie choir raised its clarion voice in joy and love for all to hear.
“Of all the creatures great and small,
Your acts of grace set you apart.
Where others toiled to suit their greed,
Your mercy was a work of art.
“You ventured forth where none would go.
You spread your kindness and goodwill.
When others stumbled in their steps,
You held them up. You hold them still.
“We thank you now for knowing that
The highest call for anyone
Is helping others out of love.
Now see, your work has just begun!”
With a flourish, Illusen held up a beautiful, glossy rod of wood. It hummed and glowed with inner power, a majestic staff worthy of the name “Illusen’s Staff.” Scored in the radiant wood were 10 cuts of varying lengths and widths, the “Marks of Love.” One was small, the scratch of a Battle Quill on hardened wood. One was scorched, the blackened mark of a Fire Sword. One was long, the swipe of a Brain Tree Knife.
And one was very, very faint, the mark of a Plastic Butter Knife. Seeing this, the old Techo began to cry.
The Faerie choir burst into its highest key. The crowd of Neopets around him yelled and cheered. Some of them, seeing the old Techo break down, began to shed tears of their own.
“Without a single Neopoint,
You gave up all you had and owned.
What love you gave to others is
Now captured here in Faerie form.
“With love Illusen crafted it.
With love its power grows.
Please, take this gift and teach your class,
For teaching’s all you know!”
Illusen, grasping the staff in one hand, bent down and wiped the old Techo’s tears away with the other. Her eyes were sparkling with compassionate tears.
“The Mynci Master is my friend, too,” Illusen said. “You are never alone, Techo Master. The love you so willingly gave to others will be with you forever, in your heart and in your generous soul. And your friends will exist in your memories forever.”
The Techo, recovering himself, gratefully accepted the staff and gazed lovingly at it. It was beautiful. The most beautiful weapon he’d ever seen.
For anything made with love and given with love is precious to the receiver, and for once, the Techo was on the receiving end of love. And that is how this story ends -- a crowd of cheering Neopets, a smiling and joyful Faerie, and one very old, very thankful Techo.
This is the power of love, my friends! It grows and expands in the exchange, blessing all who receive it, until only the power of a magical Faerie can capture it and infuse it into a magical item. And a strong love it is, indeed, that can imbue plain wood with the power of matchless battle, defense, and healing!
I hope you enjoyed the Techo’s tale, my dear readers! May all of your acts of love be so powerful, and may all your kindnesses be rewarded ever after!