A lot can happen between adventures.
Yaska, Jan, the Starman, and Chloe stood just inside the desert village, near Yaska’s house.
“This is the Starman,” Yaska said.
Chloe considered him. She looked at his face, and his form. The face looked similar to Jan’s, but less cheerful.
She said, “you know, Yaska, I doubted your letter, but… I can tell that something with this Starman is off. I need to prove it to myself.”
“What do you mean by off?” Jan asked.
“Yaska, can you get me one of your shirts? No, not the one you’re wearing right now.”
Yaska shrugged. Shortly after, she returned from her small stone hut with a shirt. Chloe took the shirt and offered it to the Starman, who put it on.
Chloe asked, “does it fit?”
“It fits exactly,” he said.
Yaska’s eyes widened, but Jan remained confused.
He asked, “what’s this about?”
Chloe addressed the Starman, “You look like a man, but you’re not, are you. You just copied what’s around you in order to give yourself shape.”
“I’m still lost.” Jan said.
Yaska looked at the Starman. Her shirt fit the creature far better than Jan’s did.
“Well, I am not lost,” Yaska said, “when he landed, the first person he met was me. He was just a ball of light, and then he took on my shape. Jan, do you remember when he first came to the village?”
“It had no face…”
Jan’s expression became passive. Chloe and Yaska both noticed that, without Jan’s constant grin, they really did look identical.
Yaska’s face became stern. She said, “it came from the sky and imitated my body. It came to the village and imitated Jan’s face. Then, it came to our campfire and imitated our language. What does it want, blending in with us so?”
She accusingly pointed a clawed finger at the Starman, “is getting home truly your only goal?”
Silence overcame the group. The Starman stared, searching his limited vocabulary for words with to explain himself.
Chloe’s mumbling eventually broke in, “…imitation, returning to the sky… he truly is a star, isn’t he? I didn’t think that the legend was true.”
Jan said, “what legend?”
The Starman said, “tell us, please.”
Some of the villagers had gathered around Jan’s fire, anticipating the story from the outsider, Chloe.
“My father told me it was long ago, I always assumed two or three thousand years. A star fell from the sky. It was unlike a dead shooting star. It was alive, and it landed on the planet. The ancient people encountered it, and came to fear it.
“The first person to find it was a great hero. The star took the shape of the hero. It was uncanny for the people, to see this false form of the hero. The accused it of being a demon, and captured it out of fear.
“The hero feared for the star. The star had done nothing wrong, but would likely be charged will all forms of frivolity, and the ancient people would decide to kill it. Standing around the star’s cage, and surrounded by his people, the hero decided to take a risk to save the star.
“The hero gave a great laugh, and then pointed to the cage, ‘you fools, you have captured the wrong person, for I am the star, and he is the true hero!’
“The star was cunning. It said, ‘I am indeed your noble hero, please free me!’
“The hero gave the star a secret smile, and then ran. Half the ancient people pursued, and the other half hastened to free the person they thought was their hero. The star was yet still cunning, it said, ‘I will chase down the imposter! Leave it to me!’ And it gave chase. The two heroes ran about the city, each claiming to be chasing the other.
“The hero, that is, the true hero, stopped at his house to rest. He hid, and watched through his doorway. The city calmed. The star was still wandering about, but he assured everyone that he had chased the imposter out of the city. In truth, he was still searching, but without frenzy. He walked around, fearful at the civilization before him, fearful of getting caught.
“Finally, the star noticed the hero in his doorway, beckoning. The star approached, and the hero pulled him inside. The hero fed the star, and told him to journey out of the city and return to his home. The star told him, ‘I need energy,’ so the hero fed him, and gave him drink.
“The star left the city, under the guise of the hero, and returned to the skies. They say that the star still looks down on the hero in thanks, and that the hero still looks up as well.
“Supposedly, it’s the hero that passed this story down to his children, and to the next generation.” Chloe finished.
Yaska, usually stoic, had become quite surprised.
Jan said, “are you the same star?!”
“No.” The Starman said.
Chloe grinned, “so, if the legend is true, and my father says it is, all we have to do is feed the star!”
Yaska shook her head, “I apologize, but we already tried. It did not work, he said that our food was not star food.”
Chloe looked from Yaska to the Starman. She considered Yaska’s words for a long time. Their food is not star food. The hero’s food was. Did that mean that the problem was that Plainkind food specifically was not star food? What was different about what the Plainkind ate, compared to what the hero ate? And then Chloe remembered the odd quirk in Plainkind diet the separated them from nearly every other race.
“I know what it is!”
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