Tranis the red Kyrii glanced up from his spot on the
production line. He stopped in mid-waddling, laying the plushie he had been
stuffing down on the production line and turning to leave. Work was finally
The Kyrii couldn't have told you what species
or color the plushie he had been stuffing was, he never paid attention to that.
They all seemed the same to him; stuffing one plushie after another, giving
his blood and sweat to make others rich.
The plushie factory was hot and stuffy as ventilation
was extremely poor. That showed, he soon reasoned, how much they cared about
their workers. Tranis figured the managers probably had nice, comfy, air-conditioned
The Kyrii walked over and opened up his locker,
taking from it a case. It had a large neck and was circular at the opposite
end. Grabbing it firmly by the handle, ensuring he had a good grip, so as not
to drop it. This equipment meant everything to him.
"See ya tomorrow, Tran," called out Mandus, a
yellow Techo. The pet, in Tranis' opinion was far too happy with his job. "Whatever,"
"Tran" muttered back; no desire to talk in him. If he didn't hurry, time was
sure to make the Kyrii late.
Out of the factory doors and down a gravel road
the pet walked, carrying the heavy case all along. Tran didn't mind lugging
the case; it was more than important enough. He walked up the road, and as he
did so, looking out over the hill. Down far below him, sat a neighborhood. It
was full of beautiful mansions; grand in their scale, dwarfing any others nearby;
they were lived in by only the best.
"Oh well," sighed Tranis, longingly. "Someday..."
Not to far from the factory, an old warehouse stood, mildewey and swimming
of a musty odor none could identify. Three pets, a blue Zafara, a blue Lupe
by the name of Bey, and another, much younger, red Lupe, sister of the older
one and going by the name of Sparta sat inside.
The younger of the two Lupes sat at her ratty
excuse for a drum set, which was old and collapsing on it's hinges, spinning
the drumsticks in her paws like batons. She wore a rather bored expression on
her otherwise pretty face.
The older of the two Lupes sat in a corner, polishing
the bell on his saxophone which, like the drum-set across the room, was in less-than
pristine condition, put lightly. In a mild, annoyed frustration, he threw the
rag to the ground, finally having given up on trying to clean the bell.
Zaines sat in the corner, listening to a damaged
CUP receiver. It was connected (illegally, of course) into a CUP wire line that
ran underneath the warehouse. The CUP (Cylinder Underground Pulse) system was
a system of wires set up that ran all across Neopia, from the tops of Terror
Mountain, to the shores of Mystery Island. Music was transmitted from large
stations that played various types of music, depending on the station's preference.
Any pet who wanted to listen to music via it simply had to buy (or in the Zafara's
case, find and repair) a receiver and connect into the system. One had to normally
pay a fee to be tapped into the system, but the band, being "special" (which
is to say, thieves) had discovered how to tap into the system without paying.
It was the only way they would ever be able to hope to listen to music.
All three pets sat around listening to the crackling
of stolen music that came through the black box. Zaines leaned back in his chair,
content. "I'm so glad we're able to finally listen to music," he chimed happily,
"Are you sure that contraption's hooked up properly?"
Bey asked, eyeing the box carefully, as if it might jump up and attack them
all. "And further more, should you really be leaning back in that chair? Especially
considering there's no grips on the legs…"
No sooner had he pointed out the safety feature
than the chair jumped out from under the Zafara, sending him falling back to
The drummer just rolled her eyes. "If Tranis
doesn't get here soon I'm gonna…"
At that moment, the rusty doors near the back
swung open and in walked none other than the pet whose name had just been mentioned
not five seconds before.
"Sorry I'm late," he apologized. "Let's get practicing."
Tranis bent down, carefully placing the case
down and opening it. He removed from it, a red electric guitar. Twisting a few
of the knobs at the top of the neck in an effort to bring the instrument into
tune, he strummed a few strings. It hummed perfectly, obviously in the best
of condition out of the four.
As he did this, the Zafara, wincing a little
as he moved, trotted over and lifted up a heavy bass guitar. The guitar was
a big as the Zafara himself, and it appeared a miracle he could even handle
it, considering he had no strap.
Bey gave up polishing his 'phone and took his
place on Tranis' left side; Zaines taking his spot on the right.
Tranis counted them off. "One… two… one, two,
As they began to play, the small, black receive
was the only one who could hear.
Inside a CUP transmission station not too far from where the Kyrii and his
garage band were playing, a light went on above, signaling that they were "on
the air," so to speak, to Neopians abroad.
"This is Chill Pill the Chia, speaking to you
all out there in listening land. We have some more cool tones for you all coming
up. Right now, we have the new Sticks N' Stones hit, 'Bangin' on my Heart'."
His voice came out smooth and cool as ice; one
might have expected the words to freeze in mid air. Anyone who had listened
to Chill Pill for the first time had gotten chills down their spine at hearing
Looking up, the blue Chia could see his technician,
a fellow Chia painted in red and not looking nearly as cool and hip staring
back at him through the glass in the technician's booth. As he sat back, listening
placidly to the music playing in his headset, a large red Grarrl walked into
the booth carrying a CD in his claw. He wore a sly smirk on his face, though
one could easily see it was but a sarcastic smile. He was plainly not happy.
"Yes?" Chill Pill asked, looking up at the Grarrl.
He smiled and dropped the disc onto the table.
"Is there a word that could more-powerfully describe
this band demo other than 'horrid'?"
The blue Chia thought for a moment. "No," he
replied finally, "I don't think so."
"Then I'm gonna go with horrid."
The Chia looked back, unperturbed. "What's wrong
with them? That was the best band I could find!"
The Grarrl just shook his head sadly. "They were
terrible. You're gonna have to do better than that if we're going to find the
next big band."
He turned and walked out, leaving Chill Pill
the Chia feeling all that much less cool. As this all took place, the technician
had been standing, watching and listening to it through the glass.
"Ha ha," the red Chia finally spoke up. "You
got chewed out by the boss!"
Chill Pill shot an annoyed look to the Chia and
replied in an equally snotty and mocking tone. "Ha ha, I get paid twice as much
as you and do half the work."
The technician turned back to the sound control
panel, somewhat hurt by the DJ's reply. Chill Pill went back to listening to
the song, but realized immediately something was up.
The music coming through wasn't the loud, throbbing
sound customary to the Sticks N' Stones. It had a far more smooth, almost
jazzy, sound to it. Definitely not the sound of the Sticks N' Stones.
This was actually good.
"What's going on with the music?" Chill Pill
asked through the microphone to the technician in the booth.
The technician looked down at the board, then
back up at Chill Pill. "It's the receiver," he answered. "Hold on."
"No, wait," DJ tried to halt him, but it was
too late. The Sticks N' Stones were back, and the strange mystery band
gone, disappeared into the underground wires of Neopia.
As Tranis stepped into his apartment, he was
hit by the familiar scent of moldy carpet and smoke. The mold came from the
constantly wet carpet and damp furniture (what little there was); no one was
sure where the smoke came from.
"Good evening, Tran!" called out a cheery voice
of his owner. Shamus sat on what was left of a tattered sofa, doing a crossword
puzzle from a recent issue of The Neopian Times.
"Hey," the red Kyrii greeted, placing his guitar
next to the sofa. Bending down, Tran knelt down to the level of a small blue
Aisha who was quietly scribbling away on a piece of paper with a red crayon.
Lily looked up at her older brother, who made
a goofy face. She giggled and went back to her drawing.
"I suppose I'll go get dinner ready, since you're
home," said their owner, getting up to walk to the kitchen.
"What's this?" asked Tranis, making to grab the
drawing from Lily; but she was faster. She grabbed it and stowed it away behind
her back, ensuring that no one could see it.
"Sorry, sorry," the Kyrii replied, throwing up
his hands in submission. The Aisha still didn't trust him, scowling at him.
Tranis had forgotten about his sister's main
rule; she would never let anyone see her pictures. Ever. She very rarely said
anything, but was always drawing.
In fact, Tranis couldn't even imagine a time
in which he had come home from working and hadn't seen Lily scribbling on a
notepad or piece of paper or something.
"Dinner!" The two pets rushed to the kitchen,
hungry and raring to eat. The kitchen was small, containing only a table with
three stools to sit on, a small fridge, a microwave, and an oven, which they
never used; it had been left by the past tenants and they weren't sure whether
it was safe or not.
As the three sat down to a 'feast' of beans,
salad, and cool tap water, Shamus bent to say grace when at just that moment,
there came a knock on the door.
"Hold on," Shamus said, rising from the table.
"I'll be right back."
From where he sat, Tranis could hear his owner
answer the door and loud, booming, rather unhappy voice coming from the hallway.
"Oh, hello Mister Rondan. What can I do for you
this evening?" his owner spoke. The Kyrii knew all too well who Mister Rondan
was; he was their landlord who owned the apartment building. And he made frequent
trips to their apartment door. Though he couldn't see it, Tranis knew exactly
what was going on.
"I'll tell you what you can do for me!" shouted
the landlord, menacingly. "You can pay up the bills you owe me! You're behind
three months, now!"
"Yes Mister Rondan, well, you see… funds have
been tight and we don't really have the money right now."
As this conversation was taking place, Lily sat
at the table quietly drawing some mysterious picture on her pad, patiently waiting
her owner's return, apparently with no recollection of what was now occurring
just s room away.
"Don't have the money now, do you?" Mr. Rondan
was apparently very unpleased with this answer. "Well, you had better find a
way to get that money soon. I'm tired of constantly having you pay last of all
the tenants. Pay up or get out!" With this final warning, the sound of a door
closing ended the argument. But Tranis had no appetite.
Frustratingly pushing his plate and utensils
away from him, the Kyrii got up and marched off to his room. The only one who
remained at the table now was a young Aisha, still scribbling on her notepad
a picture none knew of what.
To be continued...