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Blackberry Bun's Journal: Chapter 8
Quote:Chapter 8: Cake Contest

"Time flies," I thought, looking at the falling yellow leaves outside the window. Fall season had come, and that meant my house would become visible again since the leaves which had been covering my house would all fall down. That was good since it meant my friends will have easier time finding my house. It did not matter much though, since I had put a mail box in front of my house a few days after the adventure on Dream Fairy Fields, just for a ``Blackberry's house is here`` sign. I was sure that there would be no mail coming.

I was sure of that until one day I saw the little flag pointing up, which meant a letter had come. I opened the mail box and saw that there was indeed a letter inside. I opened and read it, and realized that the letter was from Strawberry. It was an invitation for a camping trip, and that made me had a mixed feelings. I'd love to have an activity together with them, but at the same time I was not an outdoor boy. I couldn't even properly fill a backpack, let alone setting a tent up. Knowing that the D-day was the next day confused me even more, because that meant there was not much time to think.

While I was still confused, someone rang my doorbell. I went out and saw that it was Raspberry who rang the bell, and Lemon was with her as well.

"Hey, Blackberry. Did you receive the letter?" Raspberry asked.

"The camping invitation from Strawberry?" I asked.

"Yeah," she replied.

"Yes, I received it. How about you two?" I asked back.

"We received it as well, but probably both of us won't come," Raspberry replied.

"Oh, how come?" I asked again.

"Actually, both of us had planned to go to Chocolate Town tomorrow," Lemon answered.

"Chocolate Town?" I said, wondering.

"Haven't been outdoor much, have you? Chocolate Town is a place where everything is made of chocolate. Roads, buildings, fences, furnitures, literally everything," Raspberry said.

"Yeah... Okay... So what are you two going to do there?" I asked while trying to imagine what Raspberry had said.

"In two days there will be a cake contest in Upper Hat Rack. We're going to participate there, but we ran out of chocolate for one of the ingredients so tomorrow we will go there to get some," Raspberry answered.

"Although, now there is one more problem," Lemon addressed.

"Yeah, the rules say we need a group of three to participate. We intended to ask Angel Cake since she is good at this, but... Hey, how about YOU?!" Raspberry continued.

"Huh? Me? No way, I can't even cook anything," I replied.

"What you have been eating? Only plain berries? In any case, it does not matter. The two of us will do all the work, and you can just watch," Raspberry said.

Raspberry was right in her first part. I had been only eating blackberries I had picked right from the bushes and nothing else, which was pretty embarassing if I thought about it. Although I didn't know if Huck could cook or not since plain huckleberries had been all the food he had given to me so far.

"Well okay if you say so. Then we have to inform Strawberry that we won't be in her camping event, otherwise she'll be left wondering," I said.

"That's what we're going to do," Raspberry replied, and then the three of us went towards Strawberry's house.

In the middle of the trip, I saw Huck passing by on his skateboard. Because I wanted to talk a little with him, I told Raspberry and Lemon to go on ahead, and I approached Huck.

"Hey, Blackberry," Huck greeted. "Are you going with us tomorrow?"

"You can't expect someone who cannot properly fill his backpack and set up his tent to come along, can you?" I replied with a little giggle.

"No worries about that. I can't do well in either as well," Huck answered, which surprised me. "Being together is all that matters. So, are you coming tomorrow?"

I explained about my plan with Raspberry and Lemon. He understood and wished me luck in the contest, which I didn't really need anyway since I wouldn't be the one cooking. After that I went to Strawberry's house, in which Raspberry and Lemon were there already.

"Hi, Blackberry," Strawberry greeted. "I have heard about your absence tomorrow from Raspberry and Lemon. I wish all three of you luck for the contest,"

"Thank you, Strawberry," The three of us answered at the same time, and then from the inside we heard Apple's voice.

"Strawberry, continue the story," Apple said from inside the house. Strawberry said goodbye to us and went back into the house.

"Okay. Now that it's settled, let's start collecting the ingredients," Raspberry said as we walk.

"What are you going to make for the contest by the way?" I asked.

"Do you think I have my name for nothing?" Raspberry asked back. "I'm going to make a torte,"

"Torte...? What is that?" I asked with confused face.

"Just wait and see it in the D-Day. In any case, today we will get sugar and flour and tomorrow we will go for the chocolate and colorings. The rest is already in my house," Raspberry replied.

"Why taking so long for collecting them? I thought we can get them all in one day," I asked.

Raspberry sighed and said, "Lemon, answer that for me. I'm out of breath..."

"We can get all in one day from one place, but what we need is the best of each kind. The best chocolate is from Chocolate Town, the best flour is from Upper Truffle, the best sugar is from Lower Lollipop, the best..." Lemon said.

"I see, I see. That means we need to go quite a distance right?" I interrupted.

"Yeah, you see. From here it will take hours to go to Lower Lollipop, and then Upper Truffle is located on the opposite side of Strawberryland..." Raspberry said.

"Hey... did you two forget THIS?" I interrupted with a smile, showing them a remote I had been keeping inside my pocket. The two girls stared at the remote for some seconds until they showed me a happily surprised face. I noticed that, pressed one button, and a few seconds later Falcon came landing besides us.

"All aboard," I said, and the two girls went inside. I followed them and sat on the pilot seat.

"Where are we going first?" I asked.

"Lower Lollipop, please," Lemon answered.

"Next stop, Lower Lollipop. Fasten your seatbelts and we're ready to go," I said, and then we arrived at Lower Lollipop... three hours later. As we stood in front of the Lower Lollipop's gate, Raspberry seemed upset.

"Why didn't you tell us first that you didn't know where Lower Lollipop was?" She grumbled. "You have wasted time bringing us all the way to Tangerine Bosque and back here again,"

I blushed and said, "Well, sorry. I thought flying southwards would have done the job,"

"Now the time it took to get us here is the same as if we had walked..." Raspberry said with a little facepalm, and giggled afterwards. "Quite silly, don't you think?" She said, and all of us laughed.

It didn't take long for us to get the sugar we needed. In just less than ten minutes later all of us were already inside Falcon again.

"Next is Upper Truffle, right?" I asked.

"Yes, it is north of here," Lemon answered.

"But don't take us all the way to Holidayland this time. It's empty now anyway because now is not winter yet," Raspberry warned, and then we flew northwards slower than when we had flown towards Lower Lollipop.

"By the way, for someone who hasn't been living here for that long, you two know quite alot about Strawberryland," I said.

"It does not take years to know those. You only need to go out more," Raspberry answered, which struck me directly.

We arrived safely and got the flour we needed without any trouble. However, the day started to get dark so we had no choice but to call it a day and continue the collecting at the next day.

"In the end, this flying vehicle didn't help us to collect the ingredients faster," Raspberry said.

"At least we didn't have to walk," Lemon said. "For that we thank you, Blackberry,"

We landed behind my house and then each of the two girls went away to her home. I spent the rest of the day attempting to invent new devices, and finally went to sleep at bed time.

At the next day, we collected the chocolate we needed from Chocolate Town without any trouble because a kind brown bunny helped us by pointing the way to a pot at the end of a rainbow, which contained an infinite amount of chocolate coins.

"Take as many as you like, just like how the girl in fuschia usually does," The bunny said.

"That must be Ginger Snap," I addressed as we all took some of the coins.

The colorings didn't gave us any trouble as well. We simply just squeezed some of the sponge cakes which grew from sponge cake trees in the Sponge Cake Forest.

"All right. Now that we have all the ingredients, it's time to practice," Raspberry said as we walked away from Sponge Cake Forest. "Your house has a kitchen, right Blackberry?"

"Umm, yes. Why is that?" I asked.

"If you don't mind we want to use your kitchen for practising. Especially that your house is the closest from here," Raspberry said.

"I don't mind. It has never been used anyway," I answered.

Nothing special happened afterwards. All of us spent the rest of the day practising, including me even though I wouldn't have to make anything at the next day, but just in case they taught me to bake my own blackberry tart. I also got the better part of the deal because that night I became the one in charge for tasting what both the girl had made.

"Great! Even if we don't win, this will not be an embarassment for sure!" I said after tasting Raspberry's torte and Lemon's meringue pie.

"And your blackberry tart isn't that bad. Still needs some things but this is already fair enough," Raspberry commented.

"You need more practice, but it is already late and we have to spare the remaining ingredients for tomorrow," Lemon added, and later the two girls went home.

At bedtime, before I fell asleep I thought about a conversation that happened during the practice we had done...

Blackberry : I actually wonder why you want to participate in this contest?
Raspberry : Umm.. Well...
Blackberry : It's fine if you don't want to tell.
Raspberry : No, I'll tell you. Do you know the details of my adventure in Land of Dreams with Strawberry?
Blackberry : Well, no actually.
Raspberry : There was one occassion where the situation was near hopeless, and Strawberry fell into a state of despair.
Lemon : And she sang a sad song about how silly it was to be a dreamer.
Blackberry : Oh...
Lemon : Everyone cheered her up to make her regain her spirit.
Raspberry : Everyone... except me.
Blackberry : Oh, how come?
Raspberry : I was as desperate as her at that time. Maybe even more. I wanted to cheer her up as well but... I was out of words.
Blackberry : I see...
Raspberry : I want to apologize to her for that, but I feel that words alone will not do
Lemon : So Raspberry came with an idea of "Cake of Apology"
Raspberry : Strawberry is very good at making cakes, and I'm sure she will win if she participates in this contest.
Blackberry : Let me guess. If you win this contest then you can be sure that your cake is worth giving to Strawberry. Am I right?
Raspberry : That's right.

I thought that her method was not wrong, but I felt that she didn't have to do that. I knew that Strawberry didn't need that much of doing for apologizing. I didn't even think that Raspberry needed to apologize at all. But of course I couldn't stop a good intention so I let it by and went to sleep.

At the next day, which was the D-Day, we went to the contest and participated in it. All of us, me included because I wanted it, made the best cake we could make. It all went well, and then later the winner announcement began. All of us waited with quite an anxiety until the judges announced the winner.

Later, we were on the way home. Our feelings were quite mixed.

"And so... We didn't win after all," Raspberry said.

"At least our team got the second place," I said, trying to cheer her up. "But yeah, I'm sorry about that,"

"It was me who didn't read the regulations well," Raspberry said. "I didn't realize that the final score is the average of all the team's cakes if the team make more than one,"

"But still, it was because my cake was not good enough. I shouldn't have made that cake," I said.

"It's fine. *Sigh* I also didn't notice that the regulations actually require each participant to be a team UP TO three. No wonder some other teams consisted of only one or two persons,"

"The winner was a single-member team. She must be very good at it," Lemon said.

"Ah, the girl in blue with blueberry ornament on her hat," I remembered. "I have a feeling this won't be the last time we see her,"

"And hear more of her absoloo-ootely talk? I'll pass on that," Raspberry commented.

"By the way, what was the prize for the winner?" I asked.

"Books. Lots of them. Not for me obviously," Raspberry answered.

"Not for me either," Lemon added.

"And not for me as well," I said. "Let's just hope that girl is quite a wormbook so she won't throw them away,"

All of us gigled after my last line, and then I remembered about Raspberry's "Cake of Apology" so I asked her a question.

"By the way, will you give Strawberry that ``Cake of Apology``?" I asked.

"Nah, screw it. I didn't win after all," She answered.

"But..." I said before Raspberry interrupted.

"Yeah I know what you are going to say. However, that is not the real reason," She said, knocking fences with a branch. "Last night I thought about what will happen if I give her that cake. From her attitude she will probably say that she does not need such thing for an apology, and she will also say that I don't need to apologize at all. You have known her for longer than me, Blackberry, so I suppose we have the same thinking. Thus, I think I will just bring that cake when Strawberry has an event going,"

"You hit me on the spot," I replied agreeing with her, and so our day ended.

At the next day, I thought about Raspberry's words of me having to go out more. I thought that she was right so for that day I decided to have a walk around Strawberryland, testing my new device as well in the process. I went out of my house and walked towards the back side of Blackberry Bushes instead of Huckleberry Briar which I had been usually doing before.The device I named Swallow's Flight worked out really well. With it attached to my shirt like a badge, my body became much lighter that I could run very fast and jump very high.

While I was having fun with my lighter body, I noticed something at a distance. It was an old abandoned house on top of a small hill. The shape of the house was a little bit similar to a muffin, if only it was much cleaner. I landed right in front of the house and observed it for a moment until someone greeted me from behind.

"Hi there," The voice said. I looked behind and saw that the voice came from the girl who won the cake contest.

"Hi, you are... the contest winner," I said.

"The name is Blueberry Muffin. Nice to meet you," She said.

"I'm Blackberry Bun," I said, offering a handshake which she accepted.
"What are you doing here?"

"I just loooove old houses and I see this one looking sad and abandoned so now I'm asking myself if I can make this place look great," She replied with joy.

"And have you gotten the answer?" I asked.

"Absoloo-ootely yes!" She answered. "I'm going to fix this house and live here,"

"Where have you been living before?" I asked.

"Upper Hat Rack, in a small room I have been renting. My stuffs are still there and I'm going to move them here as well," She answered.

"I will help you," I offered, and she seemed happy to hear that.

So, for the next few hours both of us were busy moving Blueberry's stuffs from her old place to the soon-to-be her new house, and I got to know her pet mouse Cheesecake as well. We finally managed to move all the stuffs when it was already dark. Blueberry lit a candle so we still could see inside the house. We worked on the house some more until some light entered the house from a window.

"What was that light?" Blueberry asked, still walking around moving some stuffs.

"I have no idea," I answered, checking outside a window and saw nothing at all at the source of the light because of some fog. But then, the light went off and I heard a scream, which slowly faded away.

"Now what was that scream...? Sounds like a scream of fear," I remarked, and both of us went outside to check.

"I see nothing weird," Blueberry said, and both of us went back inside.

Later, I realized that I had to go home because of bedtime so I wished her goodbye and said that I would come tomorrow to help her again. She agreed and I went home.

On the way home, I noticed that I still had Swallow's Flight on my shirt but I didn't feel any effect from it. At first I thought that it broke down or ran out of energy, but then a bad feeling came to me.

When I was finally inside my house, I lied down on my bed preparing my mind for the worst case, and took the badge off my shirt. My bad feeling came out to be true. My body suddenly felt so heavy that I could barely move. It was caused by the body adapting to the badge, and ended up becoming dependant on it. I had no other choice besides going to sleep and hoping that my body would re-adapt when I woke up.

At the next day, I woke up quite late that the sun was already high. My body had mostly readapted but still felt quite heavy. I decided to go to Blueberry's place anyway because I promised, and when I got there I saw that the house had been cleaned up.

"Did Blueberry do this herself?" I wondered and went to the front door. When I opened the door I saw not only Blueberry but also Strawberry, Orange, Angel, Ginger, and Huck. They were eating muffins together.

"Hi, Blackberry!" Strawberry greeted me.

"Oh... Hi," I replied.

"This morning these absoloo-ootely nice friends came and helped me in the works. I am very grateful," Blueberry said.

"You're berry welcome, Blueberry. Come and join us, Blackberry. We could use one more slot," Strawberry said.

I agreed and joined the crowd. We had a nice conversation with each other and in the end all of us had a toast.

"To new friends!" Strawberry said.

"New friends!" All of us cheered.

--End of Chapter 8--
[Image: TheGrapesChildrenSig.png]
I remember your asking about the names of locations.

This was interesting. It was thoughtful, rather long, and particularly in-character for Blueberry at the end and not just because of her favorite word. The shift from first-person narrative to third-person script format in the dream was somewhat strange, though.
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