Come dance with the Wanderers... Circulation: 100,597,592 Issue: 199 | 14th day of Swimming, Y7
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In The Spotlight

by nut862


I woke up that morning feeling happy. I jumped out of my Fresh Bamboo Bed and chirped to my Yellow Slugawoo who was swimming in his bowl, "Good morning, Bugaboo!" I hopped out of my room, eager to begin the day. Today was one of the special pet days that line each month's calendar; Jubjub Day, to be exact, and I was glad it was here. Even though I'm a Rainbow Quiggle, I still enjoy Jubjub Day. I also enjoy Yurble Day and Koi Day and Moehog Day, and pretty much every pet day, as well as the normal days in between. That's just how I am. I'm an extremely happy Quiggle, and I love just about everything!

I went into the kitchen, where my owner, Nut862, was getting some jelly out of the refrigerator. She smiled when she saw me. "Good morning, Quiggler."

"Hi! Good morning!" I greeted her, grinning. "Ooh, jelly! May I have the glowing kind?"

"Oh, sorry, but I gave the last Glowing Jelly to Lulu," Nut said. "You can have Lime Jelly instead." She rolled her eyes. "You know Lulu; she absolutely refuses to eat Lime, and that's the only other flavor besides Glowing that I have."

"Okay!" I nodded, grinning. I went over to our dining table and sat down. Lulu, a Striped Kiko, was already sitting there. She was eating her Glowing Jelly while her Blue Slorg sat on the table, taking bites from the jelly every time she set it down on her plate. Lulu was giggling at her Slorg's antics. "Oh, Slugger, you silly! Are you hungry? Here, have some more…" She broke off a bit of jelly and held it out to Slugger, who turned his head away from it. Lulu shrugged and put the jelly in her own mouth, while her Slorg bent down and took a bite from the jelly on her plate. Lulu giggled.

I winced as I watched Slugger leaving a trail of blue slime all over her place at the table. Slime is the one thing that I can't stand. I don't even like to look at it.

Sparkler, a blue Shoyru, was sitting at the table, talking to my other sister, Floater, a blue Flotsam. Sparkler was telling her about a battle that she had won recently. Sparkler loves the Battledome. "…So in the last move, I had 5 hit points left, and none of my limited-use items. My Purple Sticky Hand grabbed the Ice Scimitar from him, which I used against him. That took out his last bit of health, and I won!"

"Uh-huh," Floater was saying. "Congratulations on yet another victory."

"Yeah, but I need some one-use items. I wish Nut would buy some for me. She thinks it's a waste of money to buy something that can only be used once," Sparkler complained.

"Hey, hold on. I told you I'm thinking about it," Nut's voice came as she walked into the dining room with three plates of Lime Jelly balanced in her arms. "Hey, Lulu, did I tell you to wait for everyone else before you started eating?"

"Slugger was hungry," Lulu protested.

Nut shook her head as she distributed the jelly. "Please take your Slorg off the table. I don't like having to wipe off the slime after each meal."

Lulu sighed, picked up her Slorg, and put him in her lap instead. Good for Nut, I thought. Grinning, I said, "Hey, everyone, Happy Jubjub Day!"

Lulu smiled. "Happy Jubjub Day, Quiggler." She knows how I love every holiday.

Sparkler barely paid attention to what I'd said. "Jelly again? Why can't we have juppies for breakfast? I love juppies."

"I know, Sparkler," Nut said. "But I think you know me better than that. I mean, me, spend 400 NP per pet for a meal?"

I grinned. Nut is something of a cheapskate, but we all like her anyway. Besides, I don't really mind having jelly for every meal. I like it.

Sparkler took a bite of her jelly, saying, "Fine, but I'm going to Mystery Island after this, and I'm going to stop at the Tropical Food Shop and buy a juppie. I haven't had one in a long time."

"Okay," Nut gave her permission. Our owner turned to me. "You know, Quiggler, the next holiday after Jubjub Day is Quiggle Day."

I grinned. "I know. It's only a week away."

Floater giggled. "Soon you'll actually have a reason to wake up and yell out how happy you are because of what day it is!"

Nut went on, "Quiggler, today there was a reminder in the news that anyone who wants to send in Quiggle-themed pictures, poems, stories, or spotlights should do it soon." She put emphasis on the word "spotlight." I could guess what she was going to say next.

I grinned. "I'll enter the Pet Spotlight for Quiggle Day!"

"Exactly what I was going to ask you about," Nut said, smiling. "I've always wanted a Pet Spotlight trophy for one of you guys, or maybe even all of you guys. This is a perfect place to start. We all know that a Quiggle, and only a Quiggle, is going to win the Quiggle Day spotlight. This could be Quiggler's best chance to win."

"Okay!" I said excitedly. "I'll write it up right after breakfast!"

Nut smiled. "Great. I know we shouldn't expect him to win, but it's worth a try, right? I know you're going to make it really good," she told me. "And tell you what. Just so you won't feel like you're alone in this contest thing, I'll enter some of my art in the Picture Contest for Quiggle Day. Okay?"

"Okay," I grinned. Nut loves to draw, and to be honest, it surprised me that she had waited this long to submit something to the Picture Competition. I was all for it.

Lulu gave me an eager smile. "Oh, Quiggler, this'll be so exciting! I would love to see you up there on the Pet Spotlight! I hope you win!"

"What will you write about?" Sparkler asked. Nut has talked her into writing Pet Spotlight entries before, but she never finished them. She doesn't really care much about winning contests. "I always found it difficult to find enough to say about me."

"I know exactly what I'm going to write about," I said with a grin. "What thing about me sets me apart from other Quiggles?"

Lulu glanced at Slugger. "You don't like slime," she said thoughtfully.

"Besides that," I said. "What's the one thing that makes me unique?"

"Well, you're happy all the time," Sparkler said.

"That's it!" I exclaimed. "That's what I'm going to write about. I'm going to tell everyone about how happy I am! I want everyone who reads it to know how I love just about everything!"

"That's a good idea," Lulu told me. "I really hope you win, Quiggler! Good luck!"

After I'd finished my Lime Jelly, I went into my room and lay down on the fuzzy Rainbow Rug to write my Pet Spotlight entry. I wanted it to be really good, something that pets would enjoy reading. I wanted it to inspire other pets to be happy, too. I didn't want to stray from my main focus, either, which was of course happiness. I tapped my pencil against my multicolored cheek, and then put it down against the sheet of lined paper in front of me and began to write.

Writing my entry didn't take as long as I expected. The words for it came to me more easily than I could have imagined. I just pretended I was up on the stage, talking, and then I could think of all sorts of things to say. It surprised me that there were so many things to write about my happiness, but when I finished, I had a nice three pages worth of my blocky handwriting. I reread it a couple of times to be sure that I liked it, and then I walked out of my room and went to find Nut.

She was in her room, typing on the computer. She was working on one of her Neopian Times stories again. She makes many more stories in a week than she could ever get published in the same amount of time. I walked up to her and said, "I finished my entry."

Nut looked surprised. "Wow, Quiggler, already? May I read it?"

"Sure." I grinned and handed the papers to her.

Nut read what I had written. "This is good, Quiggler. I think you'll have a good chance with this." She gave the papers back to me and said, "As soon as I'm done with this story, I'll open up my art program and make a nice little picture of you to go with this entry."

I grinned. "Okay."

I spent the day watching the Jubjub Day celebrations with Lulu. I was excited about my Pet Spotlight entry. I thought it was pretty good.

"May I read your entry, Quiggler?" Lulu asked me as we were returning home that night.

"I want you to see it when it's up there on the spotlight," I replied without thinking.

"But how do you know it'll win?" Lulu asked.

"I think it will," I said, grinning. I didn't know why I felt like my entry was going to be picked, but I did. I had a feeling that in seven days, the pet under the spotlight was going to be me.

Nut didn't get to make the picture of me that day, so I had to wait until the next to enter the Pet Spotlight. She worked a little bit on her entry for the Picture Contest in the meantime.

The next morning, I read my spotlight entry over again. It occurred to me that it sounded a little clumsy in places. I erased those parts and rewrote them so that it read smoothly. It was shorter than before, but still a good 801 words when Nut ran the word count. I was satisfied with my work. I waited eagerly through the day for Nut to make my picture so that we could submit my entry.

It wasn't until the next night, two days after Jubjub Day, that Nut and I went down to the Deep Catacombs to enter in the contests. Nut submitted her colored pencil drawing to the Picture Contest first. Then we went to the Pet Spotlight contest area to submit my entry. I was bouncing up and down and grinning as Nut sent in her drawing and my story. I was so happy and excited, in fact, that I think Nut got a little worried.

"Quiggler, don't get your hopes up," Nut told me as we were leaving. "You might not win. There are going to be hundreds of other Quiggles who want the Pet Spotlight trophy just as much as we do. Your entry is good, but it might not be chosen. It might be a good idea to just forget that you even entered until Quiggle Day."

"Why? Do you think I'll be disappointed if I lose?" I asked, grinning. Nut knows me better than that. Losing the contest would just make me happy!

Nut cracked a smile. "I was sort of talking to myself, Quiggler. I know you'd be happy no matter what happens with the contests."

"Well, I have a feeling that we're going to win a nice trophy for Quiggle Day," I grinned. It was strange; I'd never had a feeling like this before, but I really was convinced that I was going to win the Pet Spotlight soon.

* * * * * * * * *

A few days later, Nut came home to find a Fire, Fire, Your Pants Are On Fire Paint Brush sitting on the kitchen counter, along with a bag containing 10,000 NP. She looked at me quickly. "Where'd we get this stuff?"

"The Picture Contest committee dropped it off here today," I said, grinning. I handed her a shiny gold Picture Contest trophy. "Your art got put in the gallery for Quiggle Day."

Nut gasped. "It DID?" A smile spread across her face. She stared at the trophy and at the Paint Brush, and exclaimed, "Quiggler, you were right! We DID win a nice trophy for Quiggle Day! Oh, I'm so excited!"

I grinned at her, happy that she was in such high spirits. As I accompanied her down to the Deep Catacombs to look at her picture in the Art Gallery, though, I couldn't help thinking that the best trophy was yet to come.

* * * * * * * * *

I was awakened on Quiggle Day by Nut, standing by my bed. "Get up, Quiggler," she said, smiling. "You have to go to the Academy today for the free training."

I rolled out of bed, wearing my usual grin, and had breakfast with my siblings. "Happy Quiggle Day!" we said to each other.

"Do you know if I won the Pet Spotlight?" I asked Nut.

"No, they haven't put the news out yet," Nut said. "Hurry and finish your Strawberry Jelly, or we'll be late for the Academy."

After I'd eaten, Nut brought me to Krawk Island and enrolled me in an Endurance course with Cap'n Threelegs. I am not a Battledomer like Sparkler is, but I do get into the Battledome on occasion, and Nut just can't resist free training. I worked happily at the training courses, taking my health points up little by little with each hour.

Four hours later, Nut returned and enrolled me in another Endurance course. I saw her briefly before Cap'n Threelegs led me away to the training room, and I took the opportunity to ask, "Did I win the Pet Spotlight?"

"I don't know," Nut said. "I'm going to check the news in a moment. I have to deal with all these Neofriend requests first. I don't know why I'm getting so many all of a sudden, but I think it's because of my picture in the Art Gallery."

I thought of the Pet Spotlight as I went through the training. I knew my entry was pretty unusual. I thought it was well written, too. That was all it took to win the contest, right? Well, I would see the results later. I grinned happily.

When my second course of the day was completed, I sat down to wait for Nut to come back and enroll me in a third course. She was later than usual.

When my owner finally did arrive, Nut fairly bounced into the Academy, looking incredibly excited. She had a huge smile on her face. One look at her told me that my feeling had been correct all along. I jumped out of my seat and ran up to her, grinning. "I won the Pet Spotlight!" I exclaimed.

"Quiggler, I can't believe it!" Nut cried. "I can't believe it! I didn't dare to believe you when you said you would win…but you were right! You won! Look!" She thrust a sheet of paper in front of my face. It was the news for that day. Nut pointed to the bottom of the piece of paper, her finger trembling with excitement.

There, at the base of the page, printed in black and white, were the words, "Congratulations Quiggler4268, your rather colourful self has just won the latest Pet Spotlight award!"

My already huge grin widened. I was thrilled! "I won! I won!" I said, jumping up and down. "Now everyone knows how happy I am!"

"Yes! Is this great or what? I'm so excited!" Nut told me unnecessarily, since I could clearly see that she was practically dancing for the thrill of it.

We couldn't cheer about it for long, though, because I had to get back to my training. Still, that didn't dampen my happiness a bit (not that anything short of slime could, anyway). I spent the day happily training.

The next day found me at home again. Lulu was showering me with congratulations, as were Sparkler and Floater. They were all so happy for me. Nut was, too, though she didn't get to talk about it with me because she was too busy answering floods of Neomails that congratulated me on my Pet Spotlight award. People that we didn't even know sent us lovely gifts, and one person even gave Sparkler a juppie. When I went out to the Neopia Central shops, pets on the street pointed to me and exclaimed, "That's the one who won Pet Spotlight on Quiggle Day!" I grinned, enjoying the attention. I love attention just as much as I love having no attention at all. I am definitely an unusual Quiggle, and Nut told me that I deserved to win the Pet Spotlight that Quiggle Day.

Four days after my sudden fame, it was Kau Day, and a Kau took my place in the spotlight. I was happy to allow another pet the honor, though Nut was a little sad to see my picture taken down so soon. The attention and Neomails began to die down, though pets still looked at my entry and occasionally sent Nut messages about it.

Now, the excitement of winning the Pet Spotlight seemed to have all happened a long time ago. My place in the history of the spotlight has been saved forever. I haven't changed for the experience, though, and I am still the same extremely happy, happy, HAPPY Quiggle!!

The End

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