“The Eyrie has landed!” announced Carrie, a blonde-haired human girl. She smacked a large tower of papers onto the kitchen table right in front of me.
“The Eyrie?” I asked.
She rolled her eyes and said, “I mean I have the solution to all our problems! ...Well, one problem, anyway.”
“Oh? And, what problem is that?”
Carrie pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose. “You know how you’ve been searching for a hobby for a long time, Ribbons?”
“Yeah.” I was a little confused. I swished my tail in impatience.
“Well, I’ve been entering your personality into tests that tell me the hobby most suited for you and the test results have proven that your ideal hobby would be... hold on, drum roll please.”
I pounded my paws on the table.
“Your hobby would be... karate!” Cassie threw her hands up in the air as she said ‘karate’, making her braid wave.
Karate classes? For a lonely Blue Kougra such as I? This can’t be! I can’t take karate classes! I can barely saw a virtual wooden board, let alone chop a real board in half!
I played it cool and said, “You’re joking, right? You meant origami, obviously.”
“Nope!” exclaimed Cassie, slightly blushing with joy. She blushed for everything. “I’ve already signed you up for karate classes with a pro! Lessons start tomorrow on Mystery Island!”
Nooooooooo! I silently wailed. I raced to my room and locked the door behind me. Life couldn’t get much worse. I whipped out my Sadness Jar and dropped a pebble in. I pulled out my Happiness Jar and compared the two. The Sadness Jar obviously had more pebbles in it. The numbers in my Sadness Jar had been increasing rapidly ever since I had been separated from my brother, who was in the Pound. I sighed and placed them back on the shelf, wishing that tomorrow would never come.
* * *
“Now, class, show me what you can do!” shouted my instructor, a Purple Mynci. “Either punch or kick the pillow in my hand, and that will show me your strength.”
There were three others in my class, a male Darigan Lupe, a male Island Lutari, and, you guessed it, a male Glowing Kougra, leaving me as the only female in the entire classroom. I sighed and purposely walked to the end of the line. I watched the other students either punch or kick the pillow until I was up.
“Alright, which will it be?” asked the Mynci, meaning my attack.
“Um... I’ll kick,” I announced. The Mynci readied his pillow and assumed a still posture.
I got into a stance and judged the distance from my paw to the pillow. I then yelled out and kicked it.
The Mynci stepped back to retain his balance. He had a surprised look on his face.
“Have you had any classes before this?” he asked.
“N-no,” I stuttered.
“Hmmm...” thought the Mynci.
The rest of the class consisted of learning how to block attacks. I had nearly perfected it before class was over.
When I got home, Cassie ran up to me and gave me a big hug. “How did class go?”
“Great!” I exclaimed. “I learned how to block attacks!”
“Excellent! I just finished dinner, too! Come to the table.”
I happily chewed on my Deviled Steak while Cassie told me how her day had gone. She had won a robe, shorts, and a White Belt at the new Top Chop game in the Games Room. I tried them on and they fit perfectly!
“Thank you, Cassie!” I exclaimed. “I’ll wear these tomorrow!”
After I brushed my teeth and took a bath, I headed straight to my room. I brought out my two jars and picked up a rock. I placed it into my Happiness Jar and climbed into my bed. I dreamed about flying through the clouds in my new Karate Clothes.
* * *
“Now, class,” announced my instructor, the Purple Mynci, “today I shall teach you how to chop a board.”
I gasped quietly to myself, which was only breathing deeply through my nose.
“It won’t be very hard, I promise,” continued the Mynci. “With hard work, determination, and concentration, you will be able to chop a wooden board in half.” He motioned us to a platform where a wooden board lay.
“Now, watch my actions as I prepare to chop.” He closed his eyes, concentrating hard. He focused until—
He cried out and his paw swept upward, then straight down. The board snapped in half. All the students, including myself, clapped and cheered. He bowed to the broken board in respect and turned to face us.
“The key is good self discipline and focused strength,” explained the instructor. I nodded and tried to keep that in my head. Good discipline and focused strength...
“Now, I would like for all of you to set up a block of wood on some cinder blocks, and I will come around and help you.”
The crowd of students dispersed and struggled to set up their cinder blocks. I did the same. The blocks were heavy and cold, and I was afraid of dropping them on my toes. Once my station was set up, I concentrated hard on my strength and poised myself in a position that felt comfortable and ready to strike the board.
With a confident cry of “Hai-yahh!”, I struck the board with my paw. It didn’t break, but it cracked, and that was the least of my worries.
“Yeow!” I yelped as I held my paw in pain. There was fire spreading through the veins in my fingers, and I hopped around like an idiot. Everyone in the classroom stopped what they were doing and stared. The instructor rushed over and helped me out the door and to the nearest hut. They called a doctor from Neopia Central to check on my hand.
“It’s nothing serious,” said the doctor, a green Gelert in a long white doctor’s coat. “She just needs to rest her paw until the pain waves away.”
Well, there goes karate.
Later, Cassie handed me a Lemon Slushie and pulled a book out from the bookshelf in my room.
“Before I read this to you,” she started, “I would like to make an announcement.”
“Fire away,” I shivered as the first gulp of lemony coldness slid down my throat.
“Your instructor told me that you were able to break the board in class.”
“That’s still an accomplishment,” insisted Cassie. She set the book down on my covers, right next to my hind legs. “The instructor said that was a great feat that you did; it takes practice to crack a board, and you did it on your first try.”
“I have to admit, that’s pretty cool.”
“Mm-hmm. You get a Green Belt.”
“Really? That fast?”
“I guess so.”
A long, awkward pause occupied the time.
“Yeah... Listen, about the whole hobbies thing...”
“I... have a... confession... to make...” Cassie blushed.
“The whole hobbies thing was a lie,” she admitted.
“I did it to make you confident! You were always shy: around me, at school, in the Marketplace! I-I didn’t know what to do! I needed you to get a boost of self esteem!”
I rested my head on my pillow. All a lie? That didn’t seem right.
“I don’t think it was an accident, though...” I slowly pronounced. “Even though I was a beginner, I still managed to crack a wooden board. That’s no accident. I think... it was meant to be... I think I was too shy to realize my talent, and you helped me find it.”
Cassie stared at me. It looked as if she were trying to find something in my face. Then, slowly at first, then faster, her face broke into a wide-spreading grin.
“Hooray!” Cassie exclaimed. “I found your talent on accident!”
I smiled back. “Serendipity,” I replied. “Happy accident.”
And, I told myself, it really was a happy accident. After the book disappeared in a cloud of purple smoke, and Cassie had kissed my forehead and said “Good-night”, I pulled out my two jars and compared the two. Right now, the jars were throwing how I really felt out of perspective. I emptied them both and added three new pebbles to the Happiness Jar before I fell asleep. I dreamed of performing karate in the clouds.
Hooray! First submission! I hope you all liked it, and I'll try to write more! Feel free to Neomail!