"What?" Kyra exclaimed. Her blue eyes flickered severely
as she looked from Meo to her brother. "This can't be happening."
"I'm sorry, honey." Meo patted Kyra's paw. "But
if we don't pay up in three days, we're going to have to sell the house."
"Isn't there something we could do?" Kyra exchanged
her gaze to look at the speaker, her brother. "I mean, can't we sell some stuff,
"Kalan, I told you," Meo looked sadly at the
brown Gelert, "We can't sell all our furniture. Somehow, in three days, we're
going to have to turn up with thirty thousand neopoints."
Kyra turned to leave the kitchen, her head buzzing
with distress and unhappy thoughts. What would they eat? Where would they have
to live? Not thinking where she was going, the purple Gelert headed out the
front door and onto the sidewalk.
The pretty Gelert sighed and took a minute to
look around at all the scenery of her wonderful neighborhood. In this new district,
she had a fantastic school, great friends, and the most comfortable Neohome
she had ever lived in. No, she wouldn't give this place up for--
--THUD! Kyra fell to the ground, rubbing the
aching bruise that was rooted on her forehead. From the position she was on
the cement, she gazed up at the long, wooden pole that had caused her to fall
so unexpectedly. But, wait-what was that? That piece of paper, just stapled
to that pole? Kyra pulled herself up to get a closer look at it. This is what
Burb Bruce is holding his once-a-year Gallery
spotlight! Yes, that's right, this is the biggest contest of them all! All you
have to do is mail your name, your shop name, your shop address, and your gallery
theme to 1129, Guild Street, Neopia Central. The prize money is 30k and a rare
Sincerely, Burb Bruce.
Kyra stared at the paper, and read it over and
over until she took in every single word of it. This contest could save her
family from moving! Vocabulary could not explain the happiness that came over
the young Gelert that moment. Seizing the paper off the pole, she sprinted home
as fast as her legs would carry her.
"Kalan! Kal, look!" Her brother was sitting
on the front steps of her house, looking very glum. Kyra shoved the worn piece
of paper under his nose, and immediately he began to read. When the brown gelert
was finished, he looked as depressed as ever.
"We seem to be missing something - a gallery,"
he said sourly. Kyra simply smiled back at her brother.
"Mom still has her old shop from a few years
ago… we could use that!" she exclaimed cheerfully. Kalan just looked at her
with a glum look.
"In case you haven't heard, we're broke. How
are we gonna get the items to fill up the shop?" He scowled at his sister.
And, for once in a few minutes, Kyra's face
fell. Kalan was right. What was she going to about the theme?
- - -
It was a few hours after Kyra discovered the
Gallery Competition, yet the paper lay crumpled in the trash.
The Gelert lay on her nova bed, tired limbs
all stretched out. How could she have been so stupid? Her family didn't have
money to spend on things to fill a gallery, yet pay their taxes.
Kyra took a long, distressing look at her room.
"This is probably the last time I'll be able to look at it," she mumbled to
herself. She loved every inch of her room dearly, from her dazzling pink wallpaper,
to all of her plushies, each and every one lined up on her shelf…
Wait a minute…
Kyra sat bolt upright, and stared straight across
the room at her plushies. Lupes, Poogles, Blumaroos… She had them all. Suddenly,
a smile spread across her purple face. Jumping off her bed, she headed across
the room to have a better look at her collection.
This was it! She could fill her gallery with
plushies! Grabbing the crumpled paper out of the wastebasket to the side of
her, Kyra smoothed it out as best she could.
"I've still got time…"
The happy Gelert bounded down the stairs as
fast as she could, and headed for the door. Meo was sitting at the kitchen table,
leaning over the latest issue of the Neopian Times. As the sound of Kyra's paws
skidded on the linoleum, her owner's head perked up in surprise; Kyra hadn't
been downstairs for a few hours.
Meo opened her mouth to speak, but it was too
late - the speedy Gelert had already sped out the door.
Kalan was now in the front yard, practicing
some Neo-Fu moves. As he saw Kyra sprint down the sidewalk out of the corner
of his eye, he stopped kicking at open air and turned to look.
"Ky, what're you - oh… oh, no… Ky, I thought
we were over this!" Kalan yelled irritatedly, trying to keep up with his sister,
who was running at lightning speed now.
Kyra didn't look back or slow down. The resolute
Gelert called over her shoulder, "I've still got time, Kal! I'll explain later!"
- - -
"So, are you sure this is going to work?"
"Positive. Trust me, 'Ledra."
It was three days since Kyra had entered in
the gallery competition, and she was definitely ready. With a little help from
her friend, Poledra, a shadow Gelert and a fellow plushie collector, and support
from her brother, she was able to transform her owner's dusty, neglected shop,
into a nice-looking, orderly gallery.
It had taken her and her strong-minded friends
all of their three days to come up with it, but in the end, each one of them
was as determined as the other to win the prize. There were plushies of every
species and color, on display in every inch of the appealing gallery. The three
friends were spread out, all around the room, checking every inch of the small
shop for dust or grime. Poledra and Kyra were holding a quiet conversation among
themselves, while dusting a display of kougra plushies together.
"I mean, there's other ways of making that sort
of money-" Kyra cut Poledra short.
"This is the last day we have to turn up with
the money," Kyra said seriously, "How else are we going to get thirty thousand?
This contest is the only chance we've got."
Poledra nodded grimly as she turned away to tend
to a content-looking chia plushie.
"Hey, I think they're here!" Kalan was gazing
out the front window with greatest concern. As quickly as they could, the trio
tried to look busy while glancing nervously at the door every so-often.
Finally, the front door burst open. The three
Gelerts turned around to see a small, squat, pudgy-looking, blue Bruce waddle
in, carrying a clipboard.
"Why, 'ello!" The kindly Bruce reached out to
shake each of their paws, "I'm Burb Bruce, but y'all can just call me Burb!"
When he reached out to shake Kyra's paw, he stopped to look up at her contented
features. "Oh, you must be 'yra! Pleased to meet you." Kyra smiled.
"Now, if you young chaps will excuse me, and
sit outside, I'll be able to start evaluatin' this 'ere gallery." The Gelerts
nodded and obediently left the room.
Kyra sat down on the paved cement in front of
her gallery, in between her two friends. A moment ago she had seemed so confident,
but now - now, awful, horrible thoughts filled her mind. What if her gallery
wasn't good enough? What if everything was about to be ok, but then, Burb found
a flaw that was irreversible? Kyra looked to one side of her, at her brother.
The same thing seemed to be happening to him, for he was rocking back and forth,
eyes glued to the ground. Poledra looked equally distressed.
After what seemed like hours, Burb finally emerged
from the shop, and, to Kyra's relief, had a look of satisfaction on his pudgy
face. The three friends stood up as the homely Bruce started the evaluation.
"It was very good, nice layout and everything,"
He winked at them, "But it wasn't the best that I've seen today." At this remark,
the friends exchanged concerned glances.
"The first one I saw was a paintbrush gallery.
Very expensive, and very well-thought out, except, I must admit, the owner was
a bit… dodgy… anyhow," Burb paused, for a dramatic effect.
"And the next one I saw was a seafood gallery.
Very nice seafood on display there… but the wallpaper was chipped, and the floor
was dusty and worn. Yours was the only one I've seen today with satisfactory
items on display, a nice layout, and… well, everything else. That's why I think
you three deserve to be the winners of this year's contest."
Kyra could hardly believe what she was hearing!
She, a Gelert who had just put together a plushie gallery in three days, had
won the 30k prize! A smile of pure bliss was upon her joyful face as Burb handed
her a check for thirty thousand neopoints, and a codestone.
- - -
"I still can't believe it!" The two siblings
were walking home, both happier than they had ever been in their entire lives.
Kyra shook her head in agreement, "Me neither."
As they walked in the front door of their Neohome,
they saw Meo, surrounded by boxes of all sizes.
"Hey guys," Meo said gloomily, "I got all your
stuff packed up, we should move out in -"
"Mom," Kalan took a step forward, hiding the
codestone and the check behind his back, "We've got something to tell you…"