MrTibbles gazed into the mirror and sighed despondently at the fuzzy little petpet who gazed back at him. As far as Tyrannian Meepits went MrTibbles knew he was entirely average. Not especially big or small; fur no more luxuriant than the millions of others who looked just like him; big eyes no more or less unblinking than any other Meepit in Neopia. He wished there was something special about him - something that made him stand out from the crowd, but there wasn't anything that he could see. He sighed again.
His head whipped around - his owner Yadkin was calling for him! MrTibbles hurried to the kitchen, which was where the cry had emanated from. He poked his head through the door, and his eyes widened in surprise as he stared at his owner. The Island Poogle stood elbows deep in a bowl of flour, a puff of powder in the air around his head and a helpless expression on his face. As soon as he saw MrTibbles staring at him Yadkin smiled in relief.
"Milk!" cried Yadkin. MrTibbles frowned slightly in confusion, and scratched his head with his right paw.
"I am making a loaf of Peachbread," Yadkin elaborated, gesturing at the bowl in front of him with a thrust of his chin and wiping a smear of flour off his cheek with the back of his left paw (unknowingly leaving a new smear of flour in its place) "and I just realized I am out of milk. I can't finish the recipe without it! Please take some neopoints out of the petty cash jar and run to the Neopian Grocery for me. I need one carton of Kau Kau Farm milk. You can take enough extra neopoints to buy yourself something from the chocolate shop as a reward, but be quick about it. I don't want my dough to dry out!"
MrTibbles nodded, sketched a small salute in the air, and hurried to the cash jar which sat on a low bookshelf in the living room. He took 400 neopoints and tucked it carefully in the tiny money belt he wore around his waist. Trotting outside he gently closed the door behind him. It was a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky and a warm sun overhead. He hied quickly down the path from his house to the stores in Neopia Central, about a ten minute walk away. Presently he espied the Food Shop straight ahead, and made for the front door. Once inside he located the dairy freezer which stood along the left wall, and grabbed a small carton of Kau Kau Farm milk. He clambered up on the petpet stool located by the main counter (provided for the benefit of small petpets who could not otherwise see over the counter) and paid 250 neopoints for his item, which was cheerfully bagged for him by the Chia shopkeeper. MrTibbles put the change in his money belt and climbed off the stool, waving a polite farewell to the shopkeeper as he left. The Chia waved back to him with a grin.
As he exited the store MrTibbles instinctively turned right, in the direction of the Chocolate shop. Suddenly, he paused; in front of the food shop stood the money tree, imposing and yet inviting at the same time. It's broad arms seemed to beckon him, and it's base was surrounded by all manner of items - clothing, books, toys, medicinal items, odds and ends and a scattering of neopoints. Several neopets were rummaging through the donations; occasionally one would caw in delight, and hold something up in the air before happily scampering away with the item tightly grasped in one hand. MrTibbles gazed at the small pile of neopoints clutched in his tiny paw and thought deeply for a moment. After a brief consideration and with a small nod he made up his mind. Instead of continuing in the direction of the Chocolate shop he instead walked up to the money tree, and tossed a 150 neopoint donation on the ground. The Money Tree smiled at him benevolently. MrTibbles smiled back, his heart suddenly feeling a lighter and yet fuller at the same time. Turning in the direction of home he started trotting down the path.
After walking for only a couple of minutes MrTibbles gradually began to hear a curious noise. It sounded like a small child crying piteously. Presently he saw the source the noise. A small pink Elephante was crouched by the path in the dirt, sobbing disconsolately and rubbing his eyes. The reason for his distress was obvious. A plump blue balloon was caught in the tree high above him, its string wrapped loosely around a couple of small branches. MrTibbles patted the child lightly on the knee to get his attention, and gestured upwards. The child's sobs subsided and he looked at MrTibbles hopefully. MrTibbles placed his shopping bag carefully on the ground, and clambered efficiently up the trunk of the tree. Reaching the offending branch he untangled the balloon string and placed it carefully between his teeth, then climbed back down the tree with balloon in tow. The little Elephante squealed happily when MrTibbles handed him the treasured balloon, and gave MrTibbles a huge hug before skipping away with his balloon bobbing merrily above his head. MrTibbles smiled again in satisfaction, and the day seemed a little brighter. He picked up his shopping and headed towards home. He had a loaf to save!
As soon as he reached his house MrTibbles hurried into the kitchen with the milk. Yadkin cheered when he saw his petpet, and beckoned him over with a floury paw.
"Quickly, MrTibbles! Pour one half cup of milk into the bowl for me! Time is of the essence!"
MrTibbles did as instructed, carefully measuring out a half cup and then pouring the milk into the bowl. Yadkin sighed in relief, and began kneading the contents rhythmically.
"Well done, MrTibbles - I do believe you have saved my Peachbread! We'll discover when it comes out of the oven whether or not it was worth the effort, but I couldn't have done it without you." Yadkin chuckled, his good humor restored. MrTibbles nodded, and returned to his room.
Once again, he stood and gazed into his mirror. Gazing back at him was the same Meepit who had looked back at him earlier. However, MrTibbles now knew something he hadn't realized when he had gotten up this morning. He saw now that looking unique was not really important in the grand scheme of life. After all, anyone could stick a bow on their head or dye their fur some weird color; that didn't make them special. Looking different wasn't what made someone special. What made someone special was making a difference - helping others and doing good deeds. He thought back over the events of the last hour or so and recognized that in so many small ways he had positively affected someone's day. As he stood gazing at himself with a slightly more charitable eye the inviting smell of baking Peachbread wafted into his room, and he sniffed the air appreciatively. Mouth watering, he thought to himself "No good deed goes unrewarded", and smacked his lips.
He hoped his reward would taste extra good with a generous slathering of butter!