The Music Master
The sky was putting on an especially fantastic show that evening. The heavens were streaked with purple, orange, pink and red, the colors unattainably vivid. And yet, few souls in the Neopian Plaza were able to enjoy this art display. Indeed, the few Neopians to be found were intent on hurrying home before it grew dark. Only one pair of eyes was watching the sunset, the ones belonging to a red Kyrii.
The Kyrii known to most as only the 'Music Master' stood at the shop window, his green eyes almost as vibrant as the colors above. His paws clasped behind his back, he was completely still save for the occasional shift of his eyes to take in a new part of the sky.
Slowly, but surely, the sun descended behind the hills, taking its colors with it. Not until the sunlight was completely gone that the Kyrii turned away from his window and gazed at the crowded Music Shop.
However, it was not crowded with Neopians, but rather with instruments. Like old friends the instruments lay arranged in the shop. A display of drums sat at the entrance, and behind those a fine selection of wooden washboards. On the makeshift shelves sat piles of harmonicas, triangles, piccolos, tambourines, kazoos, clackers, and a few stray maracas. If one were to delve further into the shop, they would find several cellos exhibited next to a whole collection of different types of pianos. Finally, violins, violas, trumpets, tubas, flutes, keyboards, and an absolutely enormous double bass lay scattered about the shop with no rhyme or reason.
The office in the back was even worse. Teetering stacks of music lay piled on the desk, in boxes, on the floor, and anywhere else one could stuff paper. A few broken instruments that needed to be repaired could also be found if one was willing to dig a little, and in a bookshelf on the far wall several textbooks on music theory were crammed together.
But the Music Master did not mind any of this mess; indeed he wouldn't have it any other way. Rather, he sat serenely on a piano bench, watching the last few Neopians run past his shop.
Suddenly, a large grandfather clock in the back boomed out the hour. The Kyrii waited until eight chimes passed before walking over to the door. Opening it slightly, he reached outside and flipped the "Open" sign so it said "Closed." He then shut the door and locked it firmly. He was just about to head to the stairs leading to his apartment above the shop when a loud knocking alerted him to a yellow Zafara standing at the door.
The Zafara looked to be fairly young, and in his paw he clutched a shiny new violin. As slowly and surely as the setting sun, a smile spread across the Kyrii's face, for he had seen a similar image too many times to count. Quickly, he unlocked and opened the door and peered out at the young Neopet.
"Ah, a visitor! I remember you! Yes, yes, you bought that violin from me just this morning, no?"
The Zafara looked a bit bewildered. "Well, yes, sir. I just wanted to ask you-"
"Wait right there, young one," the Music Master interrupted. "We can't converse properly like this. Do come in." He opened the door wide open and bowed elegantly. "My shop is your shop." Cautiously, the Zafara entered the unorganized store, still keeping a firm hold on his instrument.
"Please make yourself comfortable," the Kyrii said as he headed to his office. "I'll get us something to drink." The Zafara looked around the Music Shop, wondering if the Music Master noticed that there was practically no clear spot to sit. Any chairs to be seen were being used to display merchandise. Finally, he settled himself on a piano bench near the back. From this perch, he could see the Kyrii busily bustling about the office, moving crates and checking in drawers.
"I thought I put the borovan in here somewhere," the Zafara could hear him mutter. "I ought to clean up here sometime." However, the Music Master must have eventually found his quarry, because he soon approached the Zafara with two steaming mugs of borovan and a platter of small cookies. He nodded in approval at the Zafara's seating choice.
"Very appropriate," he said. "I always did prefer piano benches to chairs. Much more comfortable." As the Kyrii pulled up another bench to use as a table, the Zafara decided not to point out that there was nowhere else to sit besides the floor, and even that was crowded. Once the two Neopets had sipped some of their drinks and had a nibble of the cookies, the Kyrii set his mug down.
"Now, let's get down to business. First of all, I'll have to know your name. Wait! Don't tell me! It's Otto, isn't it?"
"Yeah," Otto answered, surprised at the Kyrii's memory.
"And I can only assume you have returned to my humble shop with a recently bought violin because there is a problem, correct?"
"Yeah," the Zafara repeated.
"Well? What's this problem? Is it out of tune? Did a string snap?"
"Well, actually," the young Neopet hesitated, "I think it's broken. The whole violin I mean." The Music Master raised an eyebrow.
"Listen." Otto awkwardly put the instrument under his chin and shakily pulled the bow across the string. A sound resembling a Devilpuss being given a bath suddenly filled the shop, and The Music Master tried not to wince too noticeably. Otto put his violin down and heaved a sad sigh.
"I practiced all day, as soon as I got home. But no matter what I tried I just couldn't get my playing to sound good," he lamented.
"May I see it?" The Kyrii asked. Otto handed him the instrument and watched as the Music Master examined it. Very carefully, he ran his paws over the wood, plucked at the strings a bit, and scrutinized the tuners. Finally, he put it on his shoulder and began to play.
Suddenly, Otto knew exactly why this Kyrii was dubbed the Music Master.
Sweet sounds, completely opposite from the Zafara's screeching, wafted into the air. As Otto listened, the music seemed to come in a huge wave, swelling over him and carrying him far, far away from everything he knew. It was as if the whole store was leaning towards the Music Master, drinking in the melody that the Kyrii was deftly weaving together.
Finally, after what might have been forever or a few minutes (Otto wasn't sure), the music faded away. The Kyrii gave a satisfied smile and the young Zafara remained speechless.
"It sounds alright to me," the Music Master said. Otto shook his head, his ears flapping.
"How in Neopia did you learn to play like that?" he asked bewilderedly.
"A whole slew of talented and devoted teachers as well as too many hours of practice to count," the old Neopet answered as he handed back the violin. Otto stared at it, suddenly feeling completely overwhelmed.
"What's the point?" he muttered to himself.
"There's no way I can play that well. It's impossible."
A sudden change came over the Music Master. "Now look here, young 'un! What kind of attitude is that?" the Kyrii cried in with a strange new tone in his voice. "Why, if everyone had that outlook, we'd still be sitting around a primitive campfire in some dingy cave grunting at each other!"
"That's what they do in Tyrannia," Otto pointed out.
"Completely besides the point!" The Music Master abruptly stood up and began pacing back and forth in front of the piano bench, waving his arms about for emphasis. "For Fyora's sake, how can you give up when you've barely started? I'll tell you, I sense something special in you, young 'un. You will learn to play that violin or I'm not a Kyrii!" Otto watched with wide eyes as the Kyrii fumed. Then, just as suddenly as the rant had started it stopped. The Music Master heaved a sigh and shook his head in apology.
"Terribly sorry, Otto. You struck a nerve in me." He gave a sheepish smile. "I'm not usually one to rave, but when it comes to quitting, well, let's just say I feel very strongly against it."
The Zafara nodded. "Do you still mean it?" he asked.
"Mean what?" The Kyrii had sat back down and was now sipping his cold borovan.
"That you'll teach me."
"Well of course I do. Shall we start right now?"
"Yeah!" Otto replied eagerly.
"Right. Now, I suppose it's best to start from square one. How well do you know the parts of the violin...?"
Grandly, the clock in the back boomed out nine chimes. However, it fell on deaf ears, for there was music to be taught.
Author's Note: Please send any kind of feedback, and thanks for reading!