Caution: Quills may be sharp Circulation: 106,486,787 Issue: 212 | 14th day of Collecting, Y7
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Gallery Blues

by falcon970


"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, or something?"

      "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 it said:


     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 item!

     Good luck,

     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…"

The End

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