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A Tale of the Grundo Thief


by mangodan

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The Grundo pulled his ears in frustration. Didn't these foremen know that today was Sloth's inspection of the Freaky Factory? The toys, as always, were in awful clashing colours and pathetically stitched. Every time they came out on the production line, he tried to pick them up and improve them, but he was always slapped away by those pesky “helpful” users or paint bombed before he had a chance to explain.

     And those silly foremen kept forgetting that he was actually a worker in the factory! If they didn’t jeer at him, they tried to get him out of the factory. Every time he tried to explain, they waved it away.

     The main reason he was stuck out here was because the Great and Glorious Almighty Sloth, Ruler of the Universe and All The Stuff Beyond, had commanded him to. And another smaller reason was that he got to wear a cute, little, furry, black domed hat and a vest.

     Okay, well, maybe not a small reason. Half of the reason.

     Oh, all right, it was mostly because he got to wear the cool clothes. Anyway, let’s get back to the story.

     The Grundo checked his watch. He realised that there was only three hours before Sloth’s spaceship was due to arrive! He grasped at his hat and yanked it down in despair. He had to get this place cleaned up in time! If not, the Great and Glorious Almighty Sloth, Ruler of the Universe and All The Stuff Beyond, might take away this wonderful job from him!

     And... he might even lose his black furry knitted outfit!

     Whirling around, he tried even harder than usual to whisk the toys off the conveyor belt and sponge off the paint spattered vats. At once, he was slapped by several users.

     “I AM A WORTHY MINION OF SLOTH! I WORK HERE! I – ”. He had been suddenly cut off by a particular user who had a rather good eye for aiming paint.

     “Yeuch,” the Grundo groaned, spitting bits of paint out of his mouth. He sighed and slumped down, then jumped up again in horror. His clothes were completely ruined! Hurriedly, he scooted around, then, finding a bottle of water that a user had set down before starting to play, he drenched himself in it and started scrubbing furiously.

     To his relief, after two hours of intense scrubbing, the stain had all but gone, and his clothes were dry. He put them on again.

     “There. Now I am all clean and presentable.” He smiled to himself, and started walking over to the conveyor belt again. Then a nagging thought stopped him in his tracks.

     “Presentable? Why would I need to be presentable?” he mused to no one in particular. Then, “Oh, asparagus and faeries above, Sloth is coming in, what, half an hour!”

     Panicking, he mindlessly rushed over to the conveyor belt. Then realising that what he was risking his clothes again, he escaped to a desolate corner of the factory and looked over his attire. Hmmm. All seemed to be good.

     Then he had a good idea. He crept over to the boiler room, looking around so to evade the dumb foremen or any inquisitive users. Seeing that the coast was clear, he dashed inside and spun the clock hands forward. He then rushed out again. It was pandemonium. The users, who were pretty sure that only ten seconds had passed, were only left with five seconds and they were confusedly milling around. There were some hardcore gamers who were still clicking determinedly on each paint blob, so the Grundo evaded those. He crept closer and closer to a conveyor belt, almost within reach of those elusive plushies. Then he heard a shout.

     “Look over there! The Grundo Thief!” His head swivelled around, and his eyes bugged out to see a mob of users charging towards him, armed with soap, paint bombs, and other items which he did not want to be splattered over his immaculate form.

     “You can’t get me! I work here! I need to get the place all neat and tidy for Sloth’s monthly inspection!” the Grundo cried. But no one seemed to stop chasing him, except for a little pink object, which suddenly stopped and raced off in the other direction. He looked around, desperate for some hiding place, as the mob got closer and closer. He dived into a pile of material, only to get dragged out immediately by a foreman.

     “Do not mess with the material, young one. Now, be off with you!” The foreman shook the purple Grundo hard, before tossing him into the direction of the door.

     Now, this would have been a good means for the Grundo to escape, except for the tiny fact that the mob were coming from the door.

     Uh oh. The Grundo scanned the faces. He really didn’t think these people had come to shower him with love and adoration for trying to rescue the factory, or to admire his clothes.

     Then the war began. The users had gotten to paint bombing distance, and they took advantage of this fact. They started pelting paint, rotten tomatoes, stinky old shoes, rancid sandwiches, anything they could get their hands on at him. He ran in the opposite direction, and then he felt five light strokes across his back in rapid succession. He looked back frantically, and saw a giggling meepit racing across the battlefield. Diving into an empty paint barrel, he frowned as the meepit whispered something in the ear of a blue Lupe. The Lupe started to grin and spoke to the person next to him. Pretty soon too, they started to laugh.

     After two minutes, the mob had stopped charging at him and were grinning maniacally at each other. They pointed and whispered, then slowly filed out of the factory.

     Peace at last, the Grundo sighed to himself, then looking at his watch again, realised he only had fifteen minutes to clean up all the mess!

     Oh bother, he grumbled. Then, yet again, he got a good idea. Grabbing a ladder, he scrambled up it and fiddled around with the gigantic fans overhead. He repeated this three more times with the other fans, then raced into the boiler room. He flicked some switches, and at once, water began to spurt out of the fans. The Grundo knew that the water would come out at such force that the paint would be swept away into the dark corners, as well as anything else. Or at least, he hoped so.

     After five minutes of this, he decided it was enough, and flicked the switches off. He swept out, expecting to see neat piles of rubbish in each corner. But then he stopped in horror, gazing around him in dismay and shock. Instead of the tidy and unobtrusive piles he had expected, paint and other rubbish was spattered all across the room and the wall. He crept gingerly across the room, looking around. A large red blob plopped onto his head, followed by several smaller green plops. This made him look like he was wearing a strawberry.

     Oh, what ever was he going to do? He stood in the middle of the factory in despair, hardly taking in the conveyor belts and rubbish strewn around him.

     He was just thinking this couldn’t be any worse, when a loud noise outside disagreed with him. With a sense of dread, he realised it was the sound of the engine of a space ship! And in particular, Sloth’s spaceship.

     “Morning, thing,” Sloth said as he swept in.

     “Oh, hail to you, Glorious and Great Almighty Sloth, Ruler of the Universe and – ” the Grundo mumbled quickly, his eyes glued to the ground.

     “It is Great and Glorious Almighty Sloth, not Glorious and Great Almighty Sloth! Get it right! Though I guess I should have expected this from a creature of such low intellect that does not even deserve proper punctuation and grammar when I speak to it. Now, what has happened to these walls?” Sloth let his eyes rove around suspiciously, before resting reluctantly on the trembling Grundo.

     “Hehe, uhhh... the interior designers we called in got a bit carried away.” The Grundo tripped over his words, laughing nervously.

     “Interior designers...” Sloth squinted doubtfully at the cowering Neopet. “I don’t remember ordering you to call them in, but that must of course be due to my busy and extremely productive schedule, unlike you, scum.”

     The Grundo bobbed his head uneasily, trying to appear to believe completely in what Sloth was saying.

     “I guess that should be it for this inspection. No. I know this is it for this inspection. The Great and Glorious Almighty Sloth, Ruler of the Universe and All The Stuff Beyond, does not guess, and I have much more important matters to attend to than the likes of you disgusting things. Now go sweep the floor or something.” Sloth dismissed the Grundo with a flick of his head, who then turned to scurry off.

     “Stop! What does that... that... PROFANE piece of paper on your back say!” Sloth roared, grabbing hold of the Grundo’s shirt, tearing it in the process. While the Grundo was sobbing disbelievingly at the large hole in the back of his precious sweater, Sloth read out the contents of the note in a soft, menacing tone.

     “The Space Faerie rules!”

     He then slowly swiveled his head to face the terrified Grundo. What came out of his mouth was a gigantic surprise. “How did you figure out my secret plan?” Sloth screamed. “HOW DID YOU KNOW I WAS IN LEAGUE WITH THE SPACE FAERIE TO GAIN ATTENTION FOR PLOTS??? AND HOW DID YOU KNOW THAT SHE IS ACTUALLY ASPIRING TO RULE NEOPIA INSTEAD OF ME?! NO ONE CAN EVER KNOW THIS, OR ELSE I SHALL LOSE ALL THE PRESS COVERAGE!”

     The Grundo with wide-open eyes, shook with fear under the heavy assault of words and spit, until he realised what Sloth had said. He made an attempt to dash out of the factory, but Sloth reached out and grabbed him, zapping him with a complicated machine that looked like a dented ball.

     “When you wake up, you will be the Grundo Thief. You will steal plushies. You will not remember any events of the past hour. At all.”

     Sloth swept off, chuckling, assured that his secret identity and alliance with the Space Faerie was safe.

     Little did he notice the little Meepit hiding behind one of the discarded mounds of rubbish...

The End

 
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