Chibi-Robo scrubbed the tiled kitchen floor with his Drake Redcrest toothbrush. It was just like any normal Friday afternoon, and the little robot was collecting Happy points. Picking up garbage, scrubbing stains until the surface sparkled...after all, he was just going to have to do it all over again the following day.
But that was fine. He enjoyed cleaning up, and it made folks happy, so why not do it again and again?
When he was almost done with all the stains in the kitchen, Chibi-Robo heard an odd beeping sound. It was signaling that the day was almost over, and afternoon was about to roll over into evening. Any minute, Telly would jump out and take him back to the Chibi-House for some well-deserved rest.
Sure enough, the bell sounded right as Chibi finished his work.
"Nicely done, Chibi-Robo!" came the voice of Telly, Chibi-Robo's guide and best friend, "Let's go back! Maybe we'll even catch the sunset on our way?"
Chibi-Robo obediently followed his friend back to the house. They missed the sunset, but Chibi was beaming on the inside. He was happy that his main design function was something so helpful! He couldn't smile, since he didn't have a mouth, but Telly could tell, just like every other day, Chibi was happy. Almost like Chibi-Robo himself would spout Happy points.
"Good work out there!" Telly chimed in his little computerized voice, "You sure know how to make people happy!"
Well, how could he not? He was ranked number one in the Chibi-Ranking, as he had been for almost a year now. The Sanderson's were just so messy that every single time Chibi entered a room, there would be more to clean. It was a good thing too, considering cleaning made everyone so happy.
But he began to notice something...odd. Usually when enough stains were cleaned up, Mrs. Sanderson would give him a cleaning bonus. It wasn't large, but it let Chibi know he was appreciated. However, he had cleaned up every day as he usually did, and no cleaning bonus had come in a long time. He tilted his head to get Telly's attention.
"Hm? What's wrong, Chibi-Robo? You still like making people happy, don't you?"
Chibi opened his head, which acted as a storage compartment, flipping open the sign that read, Yes! Of course he still liked making people happy, that wasn't the issue. Chibi then proceeded to get out his toothbrush, point at it, and shrug with one shoulder.
"Oh! Your cleaning bonus!" Telly looked sheepish, "Well...um...it's, kind of odd, really...Mrs. Sanderson hasn't given me one in a long time..."
Just as he feared. His cleaning bonuses had stopped coming. Mrs. Sanderson had never missed his cleaning bonus. Ever.
"Uhhh..." Telly covered his anxiety with a cheery voice, "Well, nevermind that! Let's see what's going on...huh?"
Chibi watched the little number above the screen in the Chibi-House. His ranking was...readjusting?
"W-What's going on!?" Telly stammered, "I-If you're at number one, and it's readjusting..."
Chibi felt a sense of dread.
The number stopped adjusting, finally settling on the number 2.
"Y-Your ranking went down!? That can't be!" Telly's alarm raised even more when he dropped his eyes to the screen, "What!? We only collected fifty Happy points!? For the whole day!?"
Chibi was feeling worse by the second. It wasn't like he had stopped working! If anything he was working harder than ever! Why did he suddenly have less happiness going around when...
A sudden thought struck Chibi just then.
Before the Chibi-Robos hit the market, Giga-Robos were very popular, however they needed a lot of power to run. This led to the Sanderson's Giga-Robo letting himself run out of power so that he wouldn't be raising the electrical bill so high. Now though, he was back, ever since he made his wish to the aliens who owed him their lives.
Now that he was back, was he possibly taking all the attention of the household?
"Oh!" Telly exclaimed in his usual way, "Chibi-Robo, what are you thinking about?"
Chibi pointed outside before grabbing his plug and pulling it from the outlet. He peeked outside before hopping down the stairs. There was Giga-Robo, in his favorite spot on the couch. Sure enough, most if not all the toys were gathered around, ecstatic that their friend was back from so long in the basement. It made Chibi-Robo feel something he didn't recognize at first, because he'd never felt it before.
He was feeling lonely.
"Chibi-Robo?" Telly asked, "What's wrong? He's always like that."
Of course he was. That was the problem. Everyone was so focused on their old buddy that they forgot who brought him back in the first place! Chibi-Robo was the one who spent 10,000 Moolah on charging his battery! He was also the one who got the code to open the case where Giga's missing leg was, and the one who got it back from evil thieving robots! And he risked his life multiple times in the process!
So why was he suddenly feeling so unappreciated?
Chibi-Robo then did something very out of character for him. He turned around and went right back inside the Chibi-House.
Chibi sat down on the floor of the house and crossed his arms. He wasn't that upset, but it's hard to keep working when it feels like it does nothing! The Happy points were his motivation! What did he have to work for if his work was making no one happy?
"Um...listen, I know how you feel, but you can't just stop!" Telly tried to reason, "These people need you! If you leave then they'll-!"
Before Telly was even done speaking, Chibi-Robo had flipped open his No! sign. Usually, he wasn't one to interrupt, but he was feeling a little annoyed, so common curtsy wasn't high on his list of important things.
Chibi realized what he had done and put the sign away, scolding himself for being so rash.
"Chibi-Robo! You can't just give up! You just can't!" Telly began to panic, "Um...confetti!" Telly always seemed to have confetti poppers with him. He shot confetti into the air, "Yay! Confetti!"
Chibi would have rolled his eyes if his camera-lens were capable of that. Yes, he usually loved the confetti, but it was always thrown when something cool happened, like when he ranked up in the Chibi-Ranking. Now though, it just felt like a sorry way to try and cheer him up. Sorry because it wasn't working. Chibi turned away from his friend.
Telly's voice began to shake, "Chibi-Robo?"
Chibi wanted him to go away, but he also didn't want to see his friend cry, so he turned his head to look at him.
"You usually love the confetti..." Telly was trying to keep his voice even, but if there was one thing he hated more than anything, it was sadness, "You're still in there, right? The same Chibi-Robo I was paired with at Citrusoft?"
Chibi inwardly sighed, Yes!
Telly's tear-glands were threatening to overflow, "It doesn't seem like it..."
Chibi-Robo got to his feet, laying on hand on Telly's tiny shoulder. It wasn't overly-depressing when Telly cried, but back when Chibi had a regular battery, he would see tears literally pour from his eyes like waterfalls if it ran out of power. It even made a running-faucet sound. Really, when happiness is such a motivator for you, then sadness feels all the more sad.
"Chibi-Robo...you're going to keep making the Sanderson's happy...aren't you?"
Chibi thought about that. He knew his friend was only concerned for him, but he also didn't want to lie. Did he still have the motivation needed to keep doing that?
Not wanting to see Telly more upset than he already was, Chibi-Robo answered, Yes! Then he tugged on Telly's tiny arm as if to say, Come with me.
"Alright. Like a true friend, I shall accompany you!" which really didn't sound very noble coming from Telly.
Though, Chibi appreciated the sentiment anyway.