“Look, Pearl, the Literary Works of Neopia is holding
a writing competition for young, accomplished writers like you!” she exclaimed
excitedly as she brandished today’s newspaper in the air.
“Really?” this caught my attention immediately.
Just call me a Faerie Usul who has a passion for writing! Besides, the Literary
Works of Neopia was my favourite literary magazine! “Let me take a look at it…”
I grabbed the newspaper from Trisha’s quivering
hands and right there, in the front page in big bold letters, proclaimed that
there was going to be a creative writing competition held for both pets and
“And the first prize winner will get to take
home 10000 NP, a trophy and a privileged two-weeks internship at the Literary
Works of Neopia! Second prize is 5000 NP and a trophy and the third prize is
2500 NP and a trophy. The winning stories will also be published in the Literary
Works of Neopia! The deadline is 25th of May. Just post your story to this address
…” my voice trailed off as I hurriedly snatched a pen that was lying on the
oak coffee table and started jotting down the address.
“Oh, Pearl, wouldn’t it be great? The results
will be held outside the magazine’s building itself and there’ll be refreshments
after that! Oh my gosh, and the prize money is no small sum too!” Trisha gushed
“I’m going to the beach today to get some inspiration
and maybe I can think of a great story!” I announced happily as I placed down
the pen and pinned the piece of paper on the refrigerator before scurrying into
After a quick survey around, I hurriedly grabbed
my leather-bound scrapbook, a Purple Pencil Case that was crammed with every
piece of stationery imaginable. Then, stuffing all these items into my small,
caramel-coloured leather backpack, I headed outside, high in spirits.
The walk to the Neopia Central beach was rather
short, fortunately, and it was not long before my feet were on the layers of
the soft, white sand of the beach. I settled myself in a comfortable spot on
the sand, flipped open to a clean, fresh page of my scrapbook and stared at
the blank page, all the while thinking of what topic I should write about.
I sighed in frustration as I ran a paw through
my fur restlessly after at least 1 hour of hard thinking. ( It was extremely
taxing on my brain! ) It didn’t help especially when my eyes kept straying towards
the rather distracting crystal clear water of the sea that seemed to be beckoning
to me to go and have a relaxing swim.
“Argh! Why should I be wasting my time here when
I can actually go and swim and relax?” I muttered to myself as I got up.
So, joyfully plunging into the icy-cool water,
I swam into the depths of the sea, looking at the scores of Peophins and Kikos
that glided smoothly past me. I paddled lazily around in the water for a few
more minutes before I decided to get out and see if I could get any ideas after
So after plopping myself on the hot sand and
shaking my fur vigorously to get rid of the water, I picked up my scrapbook
from the sand, dusted off all the particles of sand on it, flipped over to the
same blank page I was staring at just now and started going into ‘thinking of
Just then, an idea… not exactly a really good
one, though… came to my mind when I was gazing out at the frolicking Peophins
and a passing cruise ship… I wasn’t really sure of what was going to be the
outcome of the story but when I started writing the first line, I didn’t stop
until the sun started to set and darkness rapidly fell. It was only then when
I hurriedly got up, stuffed my scrapbook and pencil into my backpack and headed
“So how’s your story getting on, Pearl?” Trisha asked placidly, sitting down
on my bed when she came up to say goodnight to me.
“Not bad! See, it’s about these three pets and
their owner. This story takes place mainly on this cruise ship that they boarded
during the summer holidays. However, things get rather exciting… in fact, too
exciting when a series of murders and robbery of very rich people starts to
happen on board and these three pets were determined to find out who was the
culprit. However, their owner was against the idea and told them that they were
going to leave the ship the next country it stops at! In the end, these three
pets managed to defy their owner’s orders and caught the murderer red-handed!
I call this story, ‘The Killer Cruise’!” I said, beaming proudly as I got up
to show Trisha my nearly finished story.
“Your story isn’t all that bad you know, I’m
sure it’d get first!” Trisha declared as she scanned through all the 5 pages
that I’d managed to write.
“Gee, thanks, I really hope so…” I murmured as
I gazed at my story doubtfully … …
At Evelyn, the Gold Wocky’s mansion
“Hey Gomez, there’s going to be a major writing competition …” Evelyn began
but Gomez finished her sentence.
“And you want to win it?”
“Yeah! I’m very sure Pearl will join in this
competition and I want to win it so that I can spite her!”
“But why do you hate her so much?” Gomez inquired,
looking at his pet with mild amusement.
“Because she’s always better than me in everything!
Looks, brains … even, I’m afraid, popularity! She’s has always been in the limelight
ever since she came to Neopia Central Junior High!” Evelyn burst out, her voice
full of jealousy and rage.
“The fact is, you are jealous,” Gomez stated
simply as he gazed at Evelyn coolly. He was not one to beat around the bush
and didn’t like people to do so either.
“I am no … okay, so maybe I am a little jealous
of her,” Evelyn admitted reluctantly as she looked at Gomez hopefully. “ But
are you going to help me or not?”
“Of course, I am…” Gomez replied as he broke
into an evil smile, “ …nobody outshines my pet and gets away with it… and I
know just how to do it!”
One day later…
I peered down into the dark void of the mailbox
in which I had just dropped my completed story that was carefully typed out
on Trisha’s computer and then placed inside a manilla envelope, wondering if
I’d been too hasty in my decision to submit it.
I knew I was probably overreacting or something
… but I couldn’t help it as this was the first competition I had ever entered
in and I was really anxious about it … …
2 weeks later at 7.35pm …
“Sheesh! This is it… the big day… the one I’ve
been waiting for!” I said fervently, sitting and gripping the sides of my chair
tightly as I faced a set-up stage with great anxiety. Trisha was busy gazing
at some of the richly clothed Neopian people that were streaming in with envy
and didn’t hear me muttering.
I turned to look around me wildly; trying to
guess what were my chances of winning when suddenly I spotted Evelyn, a Golden
Wocky who was also my enemy at school, sitting two rows in front of me. I rubbed
my eyes, praying silently that it wasn’t her. However, even when I’d pinched
myself, she was still there.
Just then, Evelyn somehow noticed that someone
was staring at her from the back and upon turning around, her roving stare fell
on me almost instantly.
I started to squirm rather uncomfortably in my
seat as she continued to stare at me with those cold grey eyes of hers, her
lips slowly curving into a malicious and triumphant smirk.
“What’s she doing here anyway? I don’t think
she’s really that good in writing! I mean … it’s like her essays are always
nearly the last in class!” I thought frantically, a creeping fear starting to
fall over me.
Trisha saw my worried look on my face and took
it to be because I was frightened of the outcome of the results.
So she patted me comfortingly on the shoulder and said in a soothing voice,
“ Don’t worry, Pearl! I’m sure your story will come out first!”
“I have a feeling that Evelyn is up to something!”
I muttered, beads of sweat starting to appear on my forehead.
“Hey, take it easy, Pearl! This is only a writing
competition and I would never blame you even if you didn’t get anything! Besides,
who cares about that Evelyn? She’s probably not even half as good as you!” Trisha
was now looking at me with veiled scepticism as she tried to calm me down by
her logical speaking.
Still, tension hung in the atmosphere and after
a few more minutes, everybody had already arrived and there were even people
from all sorts of magazines and newspapers arriving at the scene. I glanced
at my watch with utmost anxiety and saw that it was almost time for the judges
to announce the results.
The trophies were already there, all placed out
neatly on a table with each cheque of money leaning against each gleaming trophy.
Just then, a stout blue Lupe who had thin brushed-back hair that gleamed with
oil slowly walked up to the stage with a rather terrified but dignified grace.
His eyes, which were magnified by thick-lensed glasses, blinked nervously as
he cleared his throat awkwardly.
“Er… my name is Wilfred and tonight, I’ll be
giving you tonight’s results for the writing competition held by the Literary
Works of Neopia… um… okay, let’s see,” Wilfred stuttered in a deep voice, reading
from a piece of paper he held in his trembling paw. “ Ahem… okay… in third place,
we have… Elena Rockton, the checkered Gelert! Her story is about a street pet
Eyrie who found life meaningless but managed to find what was missing in his
life... love. Although we don't really encourage cliché ideas, it has
extremely beautiful vocabulary! Elena, would you please come up here now! ”
A polite applause came from the now anxious audience
as they waited eagerly to hear who was to be the big winner. As Wilfred read
out the next name for the second prize and handed the trophy and cheque to a
rather teary Blue Acara, everybody applauded slightly louder. Some were already
leaning far out of their seats; so eager were they in hearing who was going
to be in first place.
“And the first place goes to… none other than…
Evelyn Croton, the Gold Wocky!” Wilfred announced, his voice sounding rather
relieved since his ordeal was coming to an end soon. " Her story of a Kougra
wandering in the wilderness is extremely well-written and worthy of first prize!
May Evelyn please come up here now to receive her prize!"
A loud roar of applause erupted from the audience
as I watched with utter shock and horror at a rather smug Evelyn who was now
getting up to receive her trophy and cheque of 10 000 NP.
Before I knew it, a few tears of disappointment
and sadness slid down my face as my vision started to get blurry from my tears.
I had put in so much effort into my story and yet I didn’t win anything! Fiercely
wiping them away, I managed to plaster a big smile on my face when Evelyn came
up to me, looking as smug as ever.
“Well, if it isn’t Pearl, the big LOSER!” she
sneered, purposely leaning her golden trophy nearer to me.
“Hey, watch your words, young Wocky!” Trisha
shot back in defense of me. She had jumped up and was now glaring at Evelyn
“But Pearl didn’t win anything!” Evelyn stated,
emphasizing specially on the last word.
“It is true that she didn’t, but that doesn’t
give you the right to mock her!” Trisha bellowed furiously, taking a step nearer
Getting rather apprehensive of what Trisha was
going to do next, Evelyn mumbled a few words before hurriedly walking off. I
sighed dejectedly and stared at the ground, feeling like an utter failure.
“I lost,” I said simply, before tears soon started
pouring down and I couldn’t stop them.
“Oh Pearl… don’t act all discouraged and sad…
I mean, you did try your best, didn’t you?” Trisha murmured, pulling me close
to her and gave me a comforting hug.
“It’s no use, the results are already out,” I
said automatically in a monotonous voice as I continued to stare at the ground.
“I think that there’s something fishy going around
here,” Trisha declared angrily. “ And I’m going to find out! There’s no way
your story couldn’t have gotten even a third prize! Come on, we are going to
take a look at Evelyn’s story now!”
To be continued …