Kindness Is What Matters Most
A red Pteri with glasses upon her nose stared out at the class room. She eyed everyone to make sure that they were doing the grammar assignment that she had given them. Mrs. Owen turned her back on the students, using her “eyes in the back of her head” to survey them. “Jayson, pick up that wrapper you just threw on the floor. There is no candy during class,” she said, without even turning around. Jayson, a blue Lupe, sadly picked up the wrapper and discarded it.
I’m not like Jayson. My name is Tanyah, and I’m a white Zafara. I usually do what I am told. “Class, you will have to finish the paragraph on your wishes and goals for homework.” Everyone moaned and groaned, but was instantly silenced when Mrs. Owen glared out at them. “And you will all have a project due tomorrow, too. You’ll do this project with a partner of my choosing.” The class and I watched as Mrs. Owen paired up neopets to work on the projects together.
I got partnered with Melanee, a blue JubJub. She’s a really quiet neopet, and she only talks when she absolutely has to. Mrs. Owen took the time to explain to us that we had to create a small story, and then create a nice little book out of it with illustrations. They had to find a way to meet each other outside of Neoschool.
“We can’t go to my Neohome. Sorry. My mom wants to clean the place and, well, you know how picky some Chias can be,” I said, hoping that she would understand that we would end up having to go to her house.
“Er... we could meet at Neopia Central to work on the project.”
I shook my head sadly. “In the Neopian Times it said that today would be really windy. All of our papers would fly away.” She gulped. I really didn’t notice at the time that she was acting so jumpy and nervous, but now that I think about it, she really was acting strange on that day.
“No, let’s go to Tyrannia. We can do our homework there,” she suggested. I wanted to know exactly what was going on in her mind at that moment. Tyrannia was so far away, and there were wild Tyrannian Chias that walked around with spears and tried to get some neopoints out of you.
“It’s too far away and too dangerous,” I pointed out. She gulped again, and finally suggested her Neohome. I had been waiting for that very moment so that we could stop arguing and start working. The end of school bell rang a few minutes later, and we all walked to our Neohomes. “Four o’clock NST?” I asked her. She nodded without saying anything and headed in the other direction.
I peacefully entered my Neohome. Now, don’t get me wrong here, because I’m not the richest Neopian in the world. I just happen to have a lot of neopoints that mom likes to spend on furniture and other items. Our neohome is a truly grand place – and a place where many Neopians have mistaken me for some rich fellow. I do have a lot more neopoints than some of my friends – about 500,000 – and I don’t like to spend them.
They’re hard-earned neopoints that I deserve to keep. Anyways, our Neohome looks really great and each room has a different theme. I walked into my mom’s funky-themed bedroom and sat down on a table. “How was Neoschool today, Tanyah?” Ah, the daily question that each Neopian has to hear at least once a day and then summarize what happened.
“Not much. Mrs. Owen seemed a little stricter than usual, if that counts,” I muttered. The green Chia smiled at me until I had to look away. She was kind of scary in a funny way.
“So, did you get any homework?” Daily question #2, the easy one to answer.
“Yeah, I got a little bit of homework. Oh, yeah, and Mother, I have to go over to Melanee’s house so that we can finish the project we were assigned.” My mother nodded. I took this as a sign that I could leave, and I closed the door as quietly as possible, for I understand that my mother enjoys taking naps at 3:15 PM NST every day.
Using my tail, I slid down a flight of stairs and onto the first floor. I quickly grabbed a snack. Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. I left to answer it. A Chia was standing there, holding a letter in his hands. “Neomail for Miss Tanyah.” I accepted the neomail from the yellow Chia, and then I carefully pulled open the envelope that the letter was concealed in.
I took it out and read a Neomail in ambiguous handwriting:
Don’t forget. 4 o’clock is in about 15 minutes.
I knew instantly that the letter was from Melanee. Was it 3:45 already? It was probably time for me to get some of the items we would need ready, at least. I hurried and fetched some paper and coloring supplies from my inventory, and then set off to find Melanee’s neohome. The address was on the Neomail in a very small print at the bottom.
I walked across tons of large Neopian houses until I found out the area of Neopia in which she lived. Now, I must point out that most of Neopia really is rich. Many neopets that live in Neopia Central would say so, anyways. I was crossing into the portion of Neopia where the less wealthy neopets lived. I had no idea that she lived on this side of Neopia Central.
Only really rich neopets went to Neoschool, and I had assumed that Melanee was a wealthy neopet. Boy, was I wrong. I walked up to a small Neohome with hardly anything on the outside of it and knocked on the door. Melanee answered. I instantly secretly surveyed the Neohome without looking suspicious or snobby. The only lights in the whole Neohome consisted of candles. The floors were rugged with rusty nails sticking out of some of the floorboards. I could have commented on it, but I didn’t.
We got to work right away, and she told me that she had to go to the bathroom. While she left, I looked through her backpack. I probably shouldn’t have, but I wanted to know what Neopia looked like from the eyes of a poor neopet. I needed desperately to see what she had written down as the goals and wishes paragraph we were assigned for homework. I finally found a sheet of paper with Melanee’s ambiguous writing on it. Without a second thought, I scanned the whole thing.
Some day, I would like to earn a million neopoints. As a goal that will involve saving a lot of neopoints, I’ll try to earn about 5,000 neopoints per day.
I took my eyes off of the paper for a second, thinking about what had just been written. What kind of Neopian only earned 5,000 neopoints a day? I shook myself instantly. Melanee would be back from the bathroom any minute, and I wanted to continue reading.
To add to my list of goals, I would like to be painted with a striped paint brush. It has always been my dream to be a striped JubJub. Also, I wouldn’t mind getting a present on my birthday every few years, which is tomorrow...
I put the homework back in her backpack, considerably guiltier than when I had taken it out. This was too much. I got presents at least once a week from my mother, or even the Money Tree, and this girl didn’t even get them on her birthday? She couldn’t afford a paint brush? I needed to help this neopet, and with her birthday tomorrow, there was nothing that could stop me from doing a good deed.
We stared at the book in my hands. Yes, it was cheesy and phony and very fake-looking, but nevertheless, it was the assignment that the teacher had asked us to complete. I picked up a red crayon and wrote the title at the top, “Kindness is what Matters the Most”. It was a title that I had thought of since it was so related to what was happening to us. It was about a neopet who did something nice for the other, and, well... it at least sounded professional.
I let Melanee take it to class and left her neohome. Suddenly, I tripped. I groaned and got up, trying to find out what I had tripped on. I looked around to find that there was a sack of neopoints that someone had left on the floor. Examining the amount of neopoints closely, I realized that there were millions. With a large grin on my face, I picked up the neopoints and headed towards the marketplace...
The next day at Neoschool, we turned in our project at school. Mrs. Owen showed it to the entire class and told us all how great it was – she said that it was the best one that she had ever seen. And it truly did take much effort and time to create it. I slowly turned in my seat and pulled a purple package out from underneath my desk. I turned around to face Melanee, who sat right behind me. Carefully, I set down the package on her desk. “Happy Birthday,” I whispered. Her eyes shone as she picked up the box and shook it, trying to guess what was inside. She slowly grabbed the ribbon and pulled the box apart, holding the items in her hands. It was a Striped Paint Brush. For the very first time in what might have been her whole life, she smiled.