Sanity is forbidden Circulation: 196,421,491 Issue: 913 | 18th day of Gathering, Y22
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Touring Troubles

by cinnamontea


After a run of successful shows in Kiko Lake, Neopia Central, and Meridell, the band that we’re following, A Lot Like Pteris, ran into a bit of trouble in Brightvale. Their Robin Hood type lyrics of redistributing wealth did not go over with the wealthy. They caught their first whiff of opposition from the crowds but were undeterred after finding a passionate fan. They followed up the show with a successful night in Darigan Citadel. We are joining them again on their day off, before they play a show in Faerieland.

      Wow, what a tour it’s been!” Noah FX was scarfing down a sandwich that he purchased from a cloud-side shop in Faerieland’s main district. “We’re killing it guys.”

      The other two are also eating their lunches, but Sergio has been typing away on his laptop, organizing spreadsheets.

      “So far we’re still in the green for shows played, no doubt we’ll be able to make some extra money from this tour and head right back into the studio for a new album,” Sergio said happily. “We’ve just got to keep the momentum going.”

      “After we do another album,” Roonimal pondered, “We’ll get to do a whole new tour, right boys?”

      “That’s the plan,” responded Noah with a chipper tone. “And another one, another one, and then more and more after that.”

      They spent the rest of the day sightseeing all around Faerieland, taking in the serene area before they dive back into the touring life. A quick trip to the healing springs left them feeling rejuvenated and with that, it was just about time for their next show.

      The neoBoards have been going wild about A Lot Like Pteris, with fans from all the previous shows posting their experiences.

      “Noah sings just as passionately live as he does on the album, it’s incredible!”

      “Roonimal is an animal behind the drums, I don’t know how he finds the energy to rock those songs every night!”

      “Sergio slaps around the bass so quick and with such precision…I see how he earned the name Sergio Six Fingers. He’s a BEAST!”

      “The whole band has a chemistry with each other that allows them to move flawlessly around the stage. Their presence is a force to be reckoned with. Go see them when they come to you!”

      Because of this, they were bumped up to an even bigger venue in Faerieland. They were originally scheduled to play in the basement of the famous Bottle, but they were upgraded to the main stage to accommodate even more fans. On top of that, the bigger show sold out too!

      The band was unstoppable, and selling out every show. Mystery Island was a success, Maraqua went nuts for them, and before they knew it they were about to walk out on stage at the Tyrannian Concert Hall.

      “This is going to be the biggest show on the tour,” said Sergio. Double-checking his list, showing that 5,000 people had purchased tickets for that night. A completely sold-out show, an extremely rare occasion at the concert hall.

      “We’re joining a very elite group of musicians here,” Noah commented. “Not many people have made it to this level in their entire careers, let alone on their first tour. Unprecedented.”

      “Dr. Sloth is going to be livid,” chuckled Roonimal.

      The three chanted…


      And they walked out onto the stage. The lights came down on them and the crowd went wild. They were screaming so loud the band members’ ears were ringing. It was like nothing they had ever heard before. The whole hall was vibrating with the sound of their screaming. Absolutely surreal.

      Hold on a minute….not only was the concert hall vibrating, it was quaking. And the screaming sounded different, it didn’t sound like cheers. It sounded…like terror…The crowd was screaming in terror.

      “Guys…” Sergio said pointing up towards the sky.

      Up above was a round disc hovering above the stadium, green lights were illuminating the bottom of the unidentified flying object.

      “This isn’t good,” said Roonimal.

      The craft got lower and lower, causing everything to quake even more than it had been. This was now very clearly a spacecraft. And it was landing on the stage.

      “Oh no,” Noah was near speechless.

      The spacecraft touched down on the stage, it was a lot smaller than it had looked up in the sky. A hatch flipped open and a green tuft of…something…hair maybe?...poked out of the top. The figure moved up and stepped out. It was Dr. Sloth.

      “So, you’re the ragtag team of musicians that I’ve been hearing about,” said Sloth, standing across the stage from A Lot Like Pteris. The audience had fallen silent, they were watching in horror and completely frozen in place. “I’ve heard a few of your songs. Catchy, if you don’t mind me saying so. But…banal, bland, boring at the same time. And the lyrical content? Ha, it makes me laugh.”

      Dr. Sloth let out a deep chuckle.

      “What are you doing here,” Roonimal barked at the evil doctor.

      “Obviously I had to come and put an end to this nonsense,” retorted Dr. Sloth. “You really thought I’d let you run around spreading this garbage about me?”

      “WE HATE YOU SLOTH!!” A voice from the crowd rang out.

      “Silence!” Dr. Sloth fired a laser beam blindly into the crowd, almost cooking a Cybunny to a crisp but narrowly missing.

      “So what are you going to do, vaporize us,” questioned Sergio.

      “No, no, that’s no fun. I want you to entertain me a bit, a battle of the bands if you will.” Dr. Sloth pulled out a few boxes from his spacecraft. “Let’s make a game out of it, shall we?”

      Dr. Sloth started unpacking the boxes, setting up rows and rows of malfunctioning clockwork Grundo robots. All set to explode at any moment.

      “I’ve programmed these little guys to function on sound waves. Have you ever played that silly little game Typing Terror? Imagine that, but with music notes. You’ll have to play quickly if you want to defeat them, but I wouldn’t count on it. Play too slow, or a miss a note, and they’ll explode and take you with them,” said Dr. Sloth with a smirk. There were now hundreds of robots all lined up, pointed directly at the band.

      “What are we going to do guys,” Sergio said, turning to Roonimal and Noah.

      “I think we don’t have any option at this point except to play his game,” replied Noah.

      “Well, we can start with that plan,” said Roonimal. “But I have an idea of how we can turn this in our favour.”

      “Let’s play,” said Dr. Sloth through a laugh.


      And the battle began. The slowest clockwork Grundos were on the front lines, while the others waited patiently behind. They trickled across the stage, easily popping before reaching the band. Leaving little burn marks across the stage. The crowd was enraptured, watching with their breath held and bodies still. Different notes flashed up on the stomachs of the clockwork Grundos, different drum patterns, some easier than others. They knew this was the first wave and that it would be relatively easy. The worst was yet to come.

      The battle continued to rage on, with the waves getting not only larger in number but faster in speed. The sequences of notes on each Grundo got longer and longer. Honestly, the music coming out of this whole situation sounded awful, it was very clear that Dr. Sloth isn’t any type of incredible composer. But it also seemed to help his cause because it would occasionally throw the band off. The troops were getting closer and closer, and the rare spark would fly up and singe the members of the band. They were starting to enter dangerous territory.

      “We have to come up with a plan,” shouted Noah over the awful music they were playing. The crowd was still tense, and they were acting almost as if they could not hear the awful sounds blasting from the stage. They were too busy hoping that the band wasn’t destroyed by their enemy.

      This is the first real awakening the Neopian people had on the evils of Dr. Sloth in many years, and this is exactly what Sloth was trying to stop from happening. He had been waiting for the people to become complacent so he could walk right in and take over Neopia. And it was looking at this point like he might succeed in taking out his opposition.

      “There has to be something, but I can’t think, I’m too focused on trying to blow these little annoyances up,” Sergio was sweating at this point. “Before they blow us up.”

      And this is where we are going to leave our heroes. You’ll have to come and check out the next edition of the Neopian Times to read our final chapter. Is it the final chapter because they defeat Dr. Sloth once and for all? Or is it the final chapter because Dr Sloth defeats the band we’ve all been following” You’ll have to come back and find out!

To be continued…

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