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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 16th day of Sleeping, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 128 > Continuing Series > The Path to the Stars: Part Five

The Path to the Stars: Part Five

by buddy33774

It had been about two weeks since the performance. As word spread, The Conundrums were quickly becoming a hot commodity. They were no longer going to stations and asking - begging - to have their music played. The stations were coming to them. Their music was picking up heat, becoming very popular with pets and humans alike. But Basen continued to stress that that alone just wasn't enough.

     "If you want to be huge," he explained, "you need more than just lots of publicity. You need exposure."

     Everyone wanted to know about these strange, unknowns and where they had come from. And their manager insured that everyone found out. That's why they now sat in the waiting room of some CUP station (they'd been to so many, Tranis had lost track of which one's were which and didn't bother to try to keep it).

     Zaines, the band's blue Zafara bassist, was munching thoughtfully on a candy bar. Bey, was over trifling around with a coffee machine, while his sister, a red lupress Sparta, the drummer of the band, was thumping some strange beat by tapping on different within paw-reach, like her legs, the coffee table, and the beige carpet, playing the rhythm in time to the ticking clock on the wall. All were simply trying to break the monotony and boredom that came with waiting for something.

     At last, The Conundrums were led out into the hallway. As the four pets left the room, Tranis heard a loud-pitched scream come from the end of the hallway. Turning, he caught sight of three young female pets rampaging towards them. Tranis barely had time to throw up his paws to protect his face as the groupies reached him - and pushed right past.

     Tranis, who turned away, barely noticing the pet, had to do a double-take. "No!" he murmured to himself, staring ahead. "It's can't be…" But, indeed, it was! Standing before him was the ever-famous Alistar!

     For those few souls who have been living under a stone for the past many years, Alistar was the greatest rock-and-roller ever. Period. No comparison. He had every attribute that would make a rock star a rock star.

     He had a beautiful, melodic voice, could rock-out on a guitar better than anyone who had ever even touched the thing, he wrote his own songs, and had looks that made pet of both genders swoon; girls wanted him, guys wanted to be him.

     The girls rushed the green Kyrii, screaming hysterically. Alistar handled it so charmingly, Agent Moehog would be put to shame. Signing autographs for the three, he smiled and waved goodbye smoothly, as they were dragged out kicking and screaming, like a young boy being dragged away from his puppy.

     Tranis just had to talk to him. He just HAD to get an autograph, a "hello," anything! This guy was like a god to him! Tranis could recall listening to Alistar for years - Alistar was the one who had caused Tranis to find an old, dilapidated guitar, fix it up, and start plucking chords on it.

     This Kyrii was Tranis' hero. He was a hero to all whom had set hand, paw, wing, or claw on a guitar. And, unlike days before, when he'd only be able to listen to Alistar on the radio and imagine he was there, he was now standing not ten feet from him. This could be his only chance.

     His mouth dry as burnt toast (with breath that probably smelled as bad), Tranis stumbled up to him. The green Kyrii before him really wasn't all that much taller. In fact, the two looked pretty much similar, given Alistar was a little bit better groomed and, of course, painted green; one might have even been able to mistake them as brothers.

     Alistar turned to walk away. As he did so, Tranis stopped - or at least he tried. His feet stopped, though his upper-half was still moving. He fell forward, head-over-heels into his idol. Alistar wasn't hurt in the least, he simply turned back around, all cool like (when you're as loved as this Kyrii, even reading the newspaper is considered "cool"), and reached down a helping paw to Tranis, smiling profusely.

     "You okay?" he asked, helping the Kyrii opposite him to his feet and dusting him off lightly, as if it had been his fault.

     "Yeah," the red Kyrii mumbled ashamedly. "I'm really… sorry."

     "Hey," the green one cried out in realization, "you're Tranis!"

     Tranis looked back gaping, mainly from shock, as he tried to stutter out a response. "You…know me?"

     Alistar continued smiling. "Well, I've heard of a new band that made a pretty big impression a few weeks ago. But I'd never know he'd fall for me, eh?"

     The green Kyrii let out a big hardy laugh, slapping Tranis on the back as if they had been friends for years. The red one was far too lost to laugh, now; he only managed a weak smile. The rest of The Conundrums could only stare on with astonishment.

     "Hey, you know, we should really get together for dinner some time? How about tonight?"

     Tranis couldn't answer. But he felt that weak-yet-full feeling of not to long ago returning.

     "That's great!" Alistar answered himself, giving his "new friend" another whack on the back. The rock god turned back, only to be quickly hurried into the studio for the interview by his brown Lenny manager, leaving a poor, confused Tranis standing in the hallway with his equally confused band mates behind him.

     "That sounds great," he finally replied after Alistar had already left.

***

Basen was ecstatic to hear of the dinner. "This will be a great chance for publicity," he explained. "Seeing you with a big rock star like Alistar will really get you noticed." But Tranis wasn't so sure.

     Who would dare give up the chance to meet their hero? The red Kyrii had dreamed about this for quite a long time. But part of him didn't feel up to it. After all, this pet was a god to him! This was more than worry about offending a boss at a lunch meeting - this was more along of the lines of a like or death thing, as if his entire existent hung in the balance of this one pet, whom he'd met but once, liking him.

     Tranis felt for the first time in over his little, furry, Kyrii head. There were so many things that could go wrong! This pet was a cultured, artistic, famous, ball of greatness. How could a little, pathetic Kyrii from the slums possibly stand to be in the same room, let alone have a meal with, a pet of such caliber?

     Yet, he seemed unable to tell anyone around him what he was feeling. Tranis wasn't much of a pet with words. He might have been able to put together a song about it, but to be able to express to another, what he was feeling into writing, to speak it in a conversation - impossible.

     So, still unable to guess how this night would turn out, Tranis left the hotel not long after sunset. He climbed into a limo just outside; Alistar was already in it.

     "How are ya, play?" he greeted, giving Tranis a familiar slap on the back. Alistar's mane of green hair which ran down his back had beads tied in it in punk-rock style, and the earring of almost pure gold that hang from his left ear was surpassed in bling-ness only by his pearly whites.

     Tranis grinned sheepishly, still not knowing what to say. He feared coming off too friendly, but he feared coming off equally quiet and ungrateful. "Umm… fine, I guess."

     Alistar kept smiling, taking no noticing Tranis' tension and discomfort. "Great, man! Great! Hey, maybe after dinner, we can stop and pick up some chicks! Huh? Huh? Heh, don't that sound like good fun!"

     Tranis, not really sure what he was going on about, only smiled and agreed. "Sure. That's great."

     They pulled up to the restaurant about twenty minutes later. Soon, the two were seated in some of the best seats in the house, the best servers waiting on the two hand-and-foot, and eating off the best dishes.

     A waiter, a young, pimple-ridden, Quiggle came to take their orders. Tranis opened his menu, Alistar simply flipped through his, not really taking notice of any meal, and handed it back to the waiter. "I'll have the most expensive thing on the menu."

     Tranis looked up at Alistar, who immediately snatched the menu from him. "And my buddy here'll have the same."

     As they sat sipping on soft drinks, a familiar song came on over the speakers.

     "Don't give me your lovin'

     'cause it's too tough.

     I'm leaving' you now,

     'Cause I've had enough…"

     Alistar looked up at the ceiling, tapping his toes to the familiar beat and sound of his own voice. Tranis simply listened, enjoying the song (it was one of his favorites). When it came time for the bridge, Tranis turned to the green Kyrii across from him.

     "That's a G chord, isn't it?"

     Alistar looked back at him, falling out of his own thoughts. "Heh, if you say so, kid," he shrugged.

     Tranis looked at the guitarist, bewildered by the response. "Well, you would know, wouldn't you? I mean, you wrote it!"

     Alistar smirked, then took another huge gulp of his soda, not bothering to use a straw, simply picking up the glass and guzzling deeply, as if it were water. "Pal, I have no idea what you're going on about," he replied, slamming his glass on the table loudly with a cracking sound; it sounded like he had almost carelessly broken the glass. "I WISH I had written that song! I know that whoever did is swimming, and I mean SWIMMING, in cash right now!"

     The red Kyrii, astonished, could only stared at the Kyrii, as he pulled (literally) a waiter aside and demanded to know where the food was.

     "Well, wait," wondered the red Kyrii aloud, "wouldn't you know which notes you're playing? I mean, you would have to know what the chords are in order to play the music…"

     Alistar sat, starring at Tranis, a grin of pleasure spread upon his green face. It was the kind of grin one gets when they know a special secret about the person before them, the kind young girls get when they whisper to one another about a cute guy or when spreading rumors.

     "Pal, I couldn't tell a chord from a telephone wire. I really have no idea what you're going on about."

     "So… so, you don't even play the guitar? Those flawless guitar solos, those weren't you?"

     Still grinning. "Oh, heck no! I'm lucky if I can figure out how to hold one up properly! And I'll let you in on another little secret - that," he pointed to the ceiling, through which another Alistar hit was playing, "isn't even my voice! I have less singing talent than him," he motioned towards their Quiggle waiter, who was now over serving another group of pets.

     At that moment, a brick could have shown more emotion than Tranis. All kinds of words flashed through his mind:

     Hoax.

     Sham.

     Phony.

     Just then, their waiter appeared with some kind of weird, Mystery Island delight for the two of them. Tranis' mouth was already open, though not from the food. Alistar dug into his food without a second thought.

     Tranis had gotten served with far more than expensive island cuisine even before the food hit the table.

***

During the ride home, the red Kyrii barely paid attention to the green one sitting next to him. At one point, Tranis thought he heard Alistar ask him if he was up for going out to a night club. The Kyrii offered to get Tranis "hooked up." Tranis politely refused.

     Was this right? Was if fair? Was it even legal? Tranis pondered over these questions as he got out of the limo at the hotel, walked across the lobby, and took the elevator up to the suite Basen had rented for them.

     He entered the room; it was dark with some late-night talk show host saying his monologue on the radio, the volume of which had been turned down low. The snores of the various other band members were the only other things audible in the room.

     Not even bothering to change his clothes, Tranis ran a toothbrush through his teeth and climbed silently into bed.

     "How was it?"

     Tranis looked over to see Bey; he was the only one awake. Tranis knew he was stupid for assuming that Bey wouldn't wait up for him. He would probably want to hear every little specific in its most ridged of detail.

     "Fine," was his only response. The Kyrii rolled over, showing that he wasn't up for talking tonight.

     But to Tranis, it wasn't fine. He couldn't quite put his finger on it, but something just didn't quite feel right about it. He had gotten to meet his hero, he had gotten to eat the best food in town for free, he had gotten to ride in a limo (which was a first for him, considering he had only ridden in a vehicle no more than a handful of times in his life), -- and he had gotten to learn the truth about the one pet he emulated more than anyone.

     But it didn't feel like that. As he fell into sleep, one word continued to pass through the Kyrii's thoughts:

     Fraud.

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

The Path to the Stars: Part One

The Path to the Stars: Part Two

The Path to the Stars: Part Three

The Path to the Stars: Part Four

The Path to the Stars: Part Six

The Path to the Stars: Part Seven

The Path to the Stars: Part E


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