As the bright Meridellian sun stretched its rays far into the horizon, a young brown Acara struggled against the weight of the can's overflowing water, which she clutched in her jaw. The day had just begun, and yet Chei felt more than ready to head back to bed. Taking a break, she let out a long yawn, and squinted over the rows of sunflowers back towards the main house.

There, her brothers and sisters poured out of the door, laughing with bellies full of breakfast that Chei had ate long ago. Chei was always the first to rise and the last to fall asleep. She was the runt of the litter, much smaller and weaker than her siblings. She tried to make up for these weaknesses by working diligently, but she was still teased relentlessly. Her siblings ran towards her, trampling the new seedlings she had planted the day before.

C'mon Chei, you can't even pick up a watering can without breaking a sweat?" Her eldest brother, a brawny and fearless Blue Acara, nudged her out of the way and effortlessly sweeped the can away from her reach.

Give it back, I can do it all by myself!" Chei wasn't in the mood to play games. She rushed toward him, a little too quickly, stumbling over her own paws.

Fine, but only if you can catch me first!" He and their siblings chuckled, and ran off into the distance, their strides too long and fast for tiny Chei to match by any feat. The leaves of the sunflowers brushed against her fur and blocked her vision. Tired and out of breath, she collapsed onto the damp soil. Tears began to well in Chei's delicate amber eyes, and she began to sob. Why couldn't she be as strong and agile as the rest of her family?

She looked up at the cheery, yellow flowers, which failed to raise her spirits as they usually did. Since she was too small and weak to do the usual farm work, her mom allowed her to grow her own garden. When Chei was unsure of what flowers to plant, her mother suggested sunflowers, which would always tower towards the sky. "Just like these sunflowers Chei, you have to keep looking towards a new horizon, no matter how hard it gets," she had said as they sowed the first seed. Chei was too young at the time to understand what she had meant, but now the words echoed in her ears.

But what if I can't see that horizon?" she muttered to herself, burying her tear-stained face in her paws. The leaves rustled beside her. It's just the wind, she thought. Just the wind. She wouldn't let her fearful and timid mind win.

Chei began to doze off, the warmth of the autumn air calming her senses and sending her into a dreamlike state. Suddenly, her nose began to itch – and as she lazily opened her eyes, a bright and widened pair met her gaze. Startled, she tumbled backwards, beginning to take in what had just happened. A little spotted Meekins held a sunflower petal in its hand and began to giggle.

Wha-what are you doing?!" Chei rubbed her eyes, still stinging from the tears.

I'm sorry, did I frighten you? I was just making sure you were okay!" The Meekins' voice was barely audible, like a windchime swaying in a light breeze. He seemed to be genuinely concerned. "I see you work very hard out here everyday, I was sad to see how your friends treated you. Did you get your watering can back?"

Chei was surprised to hear anyone noticed her endeavors. She blushed. "No...I didn't. My best stalk is starting to wilt, I don't know what I'll do if I can't water it. Anyways, what's your name?"

Hiru," he said, his teensy brow furrowed, "and I have an idea!" Hiru scurried off with surprising speed, and returned a few moments later, dragging a leaf in his teeth.

What's that?" Chei crept closer toward the Meekins, examining what he had found. A few drops of water accumulated on the leaf. "I don't think that will do much, the flower needs much more than that..."

Hiru smiled, beaming up at her. "Even the smallest things can make a difference. Kinda like you, huh?" He pushed the leaf towards her.

Chei's heart swelled up, and this time, happy tears fell down her cheek. "I think you're right, Hiru."




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