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Blackberry Bun's Journal: Chapter 28
Quote:Chapter 28: Competition

Just two days after reviving the mermaids, someone came to my house while I was in the middle of making a new device. I opened the door and it turned out that the guest was Strawberry.

"Oh, hi Strawberry," I greeted, going down the ladder. "What's up?"

"Hi, Blackberry. Would you come to the Annual Nearly Twice A Yearly Strawberryland Pet Show tomorrow?" she asked.

"Umm, what...? Annual Nearly Twice A Yearly Strawberryland what...?" I asked, confused by the long name of the event.

"Pet show," she replied. "There will be berry much fun there!"

"But Strawberry, you know that I can't come. I don't have a pet," I said.

"You don't need to have one to come. Everyone's invited!" she said.

"Oh, what things will happen in this pet show?" I asked.

"Well, many things! Just come and join the fun!" she said in excitement.

"If you say so, I will be there with pleasure," I said.

"Great! See you tomorrow, then!" she said. "I'm going to invite other frinds."

"Okay, see you tomorrow," I said, and she left my place.

After she had left, I went back to my working table and continued my work. While working I kept thinking about the same event which had happened one year before. That event hadn't gone smoothly because of Peppermint's cheating spree on all other pets. However, I was sure that Peppermint had learned the lesson and hoped that this next event would be better than before. Then again, I thought about myself not being able to participate because of one simple reason. Other kids somehow had their pets without remembering how they had first met, with the exception of Strawberry's Pupcake. On the other hand, I didn't have any pet at all since the beginning. While all the questions were occupying my head, suddenly I heard something entering one window of my house.

"Huh? Who's there?" I asked, looking towards the window. I could see a shadow of a bird there.

"It's me, kid. Don't you remember me?" a voice asked back.

"Raven? It's been quite long. How do you do?" I said as he approached me.

"I'm all fine. Although, lately I feel kind of lonely. Everywhere I turn only fillies and nothing else!" he replied. "That's why I decided to come here and give a visit to one or two kids. Or maybe ten, but whatever."

"You miss your boss?" I asked out of curiosity.

"No way! He never cared about me! I remember nothing good about him! There's no way I will miss him ever!" he replied.

"I see," I said.

"By the way, you look troubled, kid. What's the matter?" he asked.

"Oh, so you noticed it," I said, then I told him about the pet show.

"I see. Okay, I will be your pet then," he said.

"Huh? Are my ears playing tricks to me?" I said, not believing what I had just heard.

"No, kid. I mean it," he said. "But only for that one day. After that, it's all over."

"Thanks! You have my gratitude!" I said. "But, what will you do there?"

"It doesn't matter, right? The show is only for fun anyway," he answered.

"Yeah, but we can't come with nothing at all to show," I said. "Do you have any special thing you can do?"

"Hmm..." he said, thinking. "I think I know something."

"What is it?" I asked.

"Just wait and see, kid. But don't expect much," he said, starting to fly away out of the window he had entered. "See you tomorrow!"

"Okay, I'll be waiting!" I shouted at him from the window.

After he had gone away, I continued my work and later I finished the new device. It was not really a new device, though. What I had just done was modifying my watch so it could function as a flashlight as well. After trying it for a while in my house, I decided to call it a day for making devices and went out to walk around. My first visit was Raspberry's house, and when I arrived she was playing ball on her own. Without noticing me coming, she kicked the ball high upwards and then she jumped to attempt an overhead kick. However, her kick didn't hit the ball perfectly, resulting the ball flying slowly towards me. I caught the ball easily as she landed on the ground.

"Nice try, Raspberry," I said, approaching her.

"Oh, hi Blackberry," she greeted. "No, it's not nice. I missed."

"I won't be able to do something like that. It's a nice try if you ask me," I complimented.

"Don't flatter me. I know someone who can do much better," she said. "She can jump on a fence, do the same thing as I just did, and land on the same fence."

"Wow, who is this amazing one?" I asked, wondering.

"Orange Blossom," she replied, which was quite surprising for me. "Oh, and she can do a handstand with one hand, on a fence."

"Okay, that's... surprising," I said. "By the way, are you coming to the Annual Yearly Nearly... wait, what was it?" I said, forgetting the event's name.

"That pet show, right? I sure will," she said. "I will come with my Rhubarb."

"What will your raccoon do there if I may ask?" I asked.

"Just wait and see," she replied.

Later, I visited some other friends and their answers were pretty much the same with Raspberry. I could feel that the pet show would be much merrier because the amount of participants would be much more than the year before. I hoped that Raven would do something at least good enough not to lose shamefully.

At the next day, everybody were gathered at the center outfield of Strawberryland. The stage of the pet show had been prepared similar to the previous year, and every pet owner were sitting on the audience seats in excitement for the pet show to begin. I was among them, sitting between Peppermint and Apricot. Raven was still yet to come, making me anxious. A few minutes later, Honey Pie Pony came out to the stage.

"Ladies and gentlekids, welcome to the second ever Annual Nearly Twice A Yearly Strawberryland Pet Show! I'm Honey Pie Pony who will be the judge. And because I will be the judge..." she announced, which kept going without anyone listening much.

"Last year I just stopped her long speech, but I guess I will let it by this time," Peppermint whispered to me.

"Is this a pet show, or an oration?" Apricot whispered to me.

"...and then, how should I continue? Hmm..." Honey Pie Pony asked herself.

"If I may suggest, why don't you continue by starting the show?" a voice said from above the stage. Everyone looked towards the stage's top and realized that it was Raven.

"My oh my, isn't it our friend Raven? It's been berry berry long, am I right?" Ginger said.

"Indeed quite long, kid. Anyway, I want to ask if I'm allowed to... participate," he said.

"Why not? The more the berry merrier!" Strawberry said.

"But who's gonna be the owner?" Angel asked. "I mean, this is a pet show. There must be an owner for every pet."

"I came here for that kid, so he will be the one," Raven said, looking at me. He then flew to the back of the stage.

"Well, it looks like we have a new participant. Can someone handle the registration, or we don't need any? Anyway, let's start with Custard and Pupcake!" Honey Pie Pony announced and moved aside. Soon, Strawberry's two pets came out to the stage and performed what seemed like a folk dance, which seemed quite weird to me. But because everyone applauded when they finished I followed what the crowd was doing. Later, other pets also performed on stage.

Vanilla Icing played a trumpet.

Marmalade played a harp.

Chocolate Chipmunk moved around the stage riding a monocycle.

Shoofly Frog jumped through obstacles which had been put around the stage for his performance.

Cola performed a hide and seek game for the audiences. They were told to try to find him several times while he was hiding disguised in the background of the stage.

Cheesecake were given math questions randomly asked by the audiences, and he gave the right answer for each question by writing on a whiteboard.

Triple Ripple sang with rhytm, similar to how people do a beatboxing.

Rhubarb Raccoon performed similar to Chocolate Chipmunk, although the monocycle was replaced by a beach ball.

Sourball Skunk got nervous on stage that she accidentally let her nature as a skunk manifested, causing some pets to faint. Even some kids almost fainted because of the stench. Luckily, Ginger had a device she had named The Amazing Odor Removing Machine, which she immediately took from her house and used to clear the air from the stench.

Hopsalot Bunny and Apple Ducklin' didn't perform much other than moving around the stage.

As the pets performed their part, I got more and more anxious because Raven's turn were getting closer and closer. Although I knew that the pet show was all just for fun, I could feel that deep down in my heart I wanted to win. I really hoped that Raven would perform something impressive, but remembering his last sentence at the previous day made me feel pessimistic.

"Alright then, now we are on to the last contestant. The one and only, Raven the crow!" Honey Pie Pony announced, and then she moved aside. Raven then came out to the stage.

"Hi, kids!" Raven shouted.

"Hi, Raven!" everyone greeted back.

"Do you like stories?" he asked.

"Yes, Raven!" everyone answered.

"Good, then I will tell you a story," he said, clearing his throat. "Once upon a time, there was a pirate captain. People called him Captain Cocoberry, and he was feared by everyone!"

"Everyone?" Lemon asked.

"Yes, everyone and everywhere. On oceans, seas, rivers, lakes, swamps, even water puddles!" he said, and everyone laughed.

"He's funny!" Peppermint commented, still giggling.

"One day, while he was walking to get onboard his ship, he tripped off and fell into the water," Raven said while acting to fall down. Everyone laughed. " ''HELP! I can't swim! Someone throw a life ring!'' he yelled in panic," Raven continued, acting like a drowning person, and everyone laughed.

"A pirate captain... can't swim? Yeah right," Peppermint said, still giggling.

" ``We don't have life rings! Do you want a swimsuit?'' one sailor asked," Raven said, and everyone laughed again. The story kept going for the next few minutes with unstoppable laughing from all audiences. I hadn't ever realized that Raven was such a good story teller, especially when it came to funny stories like the one he had just told.

After Raven had done telling, everyone were given a piece of paper and pencil. Each was instructed to secretly vote on two pets that were not his/her own pet. I personally liked Cola's performance the best so I voted on him, followed by Cheesecake's performance. After everyone had done voting, Honey Pie Pony started counting secretly behind the stage. Everyone waited in excitement, except me who was waiting in anxiety. Later Honey Pie Pony came out to the stage and began speaking.

"Alright then. Now that the counting is finished, it is time to announce the winner!" she announced. "The winner is..."

There was a silence for the next seconds which felt like forever to me. Everyone waited in excitement while I could feel my heartbeat increasing. I really expected to hear Raven's name coming out from Honey Pie Pony's mouth.

"Cola Chameleon with his Hide And Seek game!" she announced. Everyone then applauded on Peppermint, gave her a handshake, and some even hugged her. However, I sat still like a statue because the fact that I hadn't won had shocked me like a huge lightning bolt.

"Thanks, everyone. And I can assure you all that this time I didn't cheat," Peppermint said.

"Then, at the second place..." Honey Pie Pony announced. "Cheesecake with his mathematic performance!"

Everyone then did the same to Blueberry as what they had done to Peppermint. The announcement felt like a second lightning bolt to me, and I still didn't move at all from my place.

"Finally, the third place..." Honey Pie Pony announced. "Kinda unbelievable, but it's Sourball Skunk! With her... unforgettable performance if I might say,"

Lemon then received the same patronage from everyone, while I still didn't move at all from my place. I couldn't believe how making a stinky air pollution could be better than a good story telling everyone had loved. I tried to convince myself that it didn't matter because the event was all just for fun, but my inner heart still refused to accept.

"Here is the list of votes!" Honey Pie Pony announced, and then Cheesecake put a piece of paper on the stage's wall. Some of the kids, including me, went to the piece of paper to see who got how many votes.

Custard and Pupcake: 1

Vanilla Icing: 1

Marmalade: 0

Chocolate Chipmunk: 2

Shoofly Frog: 1

Cola Chameleon: 6

Cheesecake: 5

Tripple Ripple Toucan: 1

Sourball Skunk: 4

Rhubarb Raccoon: 2

Hopsalot Bunny: 0

Apple Ducklin': 0

Raven The Crow: 3

"Congratulations for the winner, and for those who didn't win, better luck next time!" Honey Pie Pony announced.

"Fourth place..." I said.

"Like I said, kid. Don't expect much," Raven said.

"It's fine. Thanks for your help," I said, even though my inner heart said otherwise. And so, the day ended with me trying to hide my sorrows.

One week later, Strawberry came to my house again. This time she told me about another event named Nearly Once A Yearly Strawberryland Games. I knew some things about the event because I watched the event the year before with Eagle Eye. Like the pet show, the games didn't run smoothly because of Peppermint's cheating on all games.

"Strawberry, you know better than me that I'm not into sports," I said. "I will just lose in every games."

"It doesn't matter who wins or who loses. It's all about going out there and putting your heart into it. That's the really fun part!" she said.

"Well, to be honest... it matters for me," I said, lowering my head and leaning on the tree of my house.

"Why?" she asked.

"I don't know why, but it seems I have a hard time trying to be a good sport," I said. "No matter how hard I try, something from the inside wants me to win."

"That's why you should come," she said. "You can try again, and you will become one eventually."

"Are you sure? It's easier said than done for me," I said.

"Berry sure!" she said.

"You sure have confidence. Okay, I'll come and see what will happen there," I said.

"Great! See you tomorrow, then!" she said, and she left the place.

After she had left, I thought about what would happen on the next day. I could imagine myself facing humiliations for losing every single game, and once again my inner heart told me to do something to win. I didn't know why I had done what I did next, but it really happened. I made a badge-shaped device I named Superiority. The shape of the badge was like a thunder, and whenever I wore the badge it would stimulate my body, resulting an increase in my physical abilities. After making it, I doubted on using it because I would be just the same like Peppermint in the previous year if I did.

At the next day, I came to the center outfield where the event would be held, already wearing Superiority on my shirt. When I arrived most of every other kids were already there, and with their pets as well. I joined the crowd and waited for the event to start.

Shortly after, everyone have arrived so it was time to start the event. Once again, Honey Pie Pony was the judge but she didn't begin with a long speech like in the pet show. Instead, she immediately began the event after a short speech. The first game was a skateboard race, and because there were twelve contestants the game was divided into two waves, and then two winners from each wave would compete in the third wave. I got the second wave so I watched the first wave first. The participants in the first wave were Strawberry, Huck, Orange, Apricot, Blueberry, and Lemon.

"On your mark, get set... and go!" Honey Pie Pony shouted, and the race began.

"Who do you think will win?" I asked Raspberry.

"If you ask me, I bet Huck will be the first," she answered. "But I'm not sure about the second. Probably either Orange or Strawberry."

Raspberry was right. Huck left the other racers far ahead while Strawberry and Orange followed with the former slightly ahead of the latter. The rest fell behind by a lot of distance. Later Huck came out as the winner while Strawberry came out as the runner up. Orange was behind her by only a split second.

"Nice one, Huck!" I said as he came back to the crowd.

"Thanks! By the way, I haven't seen that badge before," he said, looking at Superiority.

"Oh, this is just something to lift my spirit up," I lied.

Soon, the second wave began with me having to race against Raspberry, Ginger, Angel, Rainbow, and Peppermint. I doubted, but in the end I decided to keep wearing Superiority. In my thinking even with the badge on I would still lose because I didn't know how to skate, so with it on at least I would not lose shamefully.

"On your mark, get set... and go!" Honey Pie Pony shouted, and the second wave began.

Superiority turned out to be quite better than I had thought. I could skate on the track with relative ease, and I soon got in the third position with Raspberry quite far ahead and Rainbow right in front of me. Peppermint was close behind and the rest fell behind quite far. Later Raspberry came out as the winner while I crossed the finish line side-by-side with Rainbow. There was a small debate on who got the second place.

"Well, who got the second place?" I asked.

"Well, I don't really know," Rainbow replied. "But I think it was you."

"No, I think it was you, Rainbow," I said.

"Nah, it was you, matey," she said.

"You," I said.

"No, you!" she said.

"Alright, alright. Debate's over!" Honey Pie Pony interrupted. "As the judge, I decide that..." she continued, pausing for a moment. "Both of you got the second place, so all of you will be on the third wave."

Later, the third wave had five contestants. I knew that there was no way for me to win even with Superiority because of the presence of two tough opponents, so I decided to keep wearing it and see how far I could get.

"On your mark, get set... and go!" Honey Pie Pony shouted, and the third wave began.

It was just as I had thought. Huck was far ahead with Raspberry and Strawberry following behind him. Rainbow and I fell behind quite far away, but something I hadn't been expecting happened. Raspberry and Strawberry tried to overtake Huck, but all three of them bumped to each other. As the result, Huck and Raspberry fell off from the course while Strawberry got slowed down significantly. Both I and Rainbow noticed the chance so we overtook Strawberry and once again the race between us happened. I completely forgot that I was actually cheating and gave eveything I got. I didn't look anywhere else other than front. Right before crossing the finish line I suddenly lost my balance and fell down to the ground, seeing Rainbow to overtake me. I didn't realize what had happened when I stood up, but I saw that everybody were cheering over me.

"Huh? What happened?" I asked.

"You won, that's what," Peppermint said.

"Huh? Wasn't it Rainbow?" I asked again. "I fell down, right?"

"You fell down right on the finish line, just a split second before Rainbow crossed it," Honey Pie Pony said. "And that qualified you as the winner."

"Really? It's kinda... unbelievable for me," I said, not believing.

"Yeah, you got the first place! Congratulations!" Strawberry said. I was very happy for a moment, but then I realized something.

"Thanks, everyone. But, I have to say this..." I said, lowering my head and pausing for a moment. "I don't deserve to win."

"Huh? Why not?" Angel asked.

"This badge," I said, pointing at Superiority. "It's not just for lifting my spirit up like I had said. It actually increases my abilities. I cheated..."

"What? Why did you do that?" Raspberry asked. Everyone else also seemed surprised.

"I can't do any games, I feared that I would lose shamefully in every games. So I made this just so at least I wouldn't look like a fool," I said. "But I ended up winning because of this, and that didn't feel right," I continued. There was a silence for the next few seconds. Then we heard Honey Pie Pony clearing her throat.

"Okay, according to the rulebook page 235 paragraph 4, stimulants in any kind of form are not allowed. So, as the judge I have no other choice than disqu..." she said before interrupted.

"Hold on a second!" Huck said, coming to me. "May I try that badge?"

"Huh? Well, okay..." I said, taking Superiority off from my shirt and giving it to Huck. He then put it on his vest and tried skating around. Then he attempted a few stunts on it and did them all successfully. After that, he came back to the crowd.

"Nice moves, Huck!" Orange said.

"Yeah, totally cool!" Ginger said.

"Took the words right out of my mouth," Apricot said.

"Was it because of the badge?" Raspberry asked.

"Hmm, I don't think so. I usually can do those by myself, and I didn't feel any change," Huck said, taking Superiority from his vest. "I don't think this badge works if you ask me. Someone else wants to try?" He offered.

"I will," Lemon said, taking Superiority and putting it on her clothes. Then she attempted some skating moves and failed in every attempt. She then returned to the crowd. "I didn't feel any change at all."

"Hold on, stand out, let me see!" Ginger said, taking Superiority from Lemon's hand and observed it. "There it is. This is why, am I right?"

"What is it?" Strawberry asked.

"You see, this badge has a tiny little switch to turn it on and off. And now its position is off, am I right?" Ginger said.

"Oh, you're berry right!" Strawberry said, noticing the switch on the back side of the badge.

"So I have forgotten to turn it on all this time?" I said. "And that means..."

"That means you won by yourself, fair and square," Raspberry said. "Congratulations!" she continued, and everyone else applauded me as well.

"Okay, now shall we begin the next game?" Honey Pie Pony asked.

"Yes, of course," I said, putting Superiority back on my shirt without touching the switch. "This will always be my spirit lifter," I continued, and then once again the fun wonderful time began.

I still wondered though. Had I really forgotten to turn it on...? While still wondering about that, I looked at Huck and he gave me a wink.

--End of Chapter 28--
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