The Return of Sloth: The Musical! - Part Four
[Lights up on the Kreludor set. The characters have maintained their positions – Gorix and Cylara are surrounded by hostile orange Grundos with Xarthab downstage center.]
Xarthab: Stay there, you two! We must know
If you are friend or you are foe.
So tell us where your loyalties lie;
You can’t escape, so do not try.
Were you sent here by my brother?
Or, perhaps, by yet another?
Are you two loyal to Sloth?
Or maybe you’re working for both!
It would be just like Zorlix to join with my rival;
My feud with him’s a matter of survival!
So tell us, Grundo, whom you serve
And we’ll treat you accordingly, as you deserve.
Gorix: We serve neither Sloth nor Zorlix,
And we won’t stand for any of your tricks.
We’re here to help, to save the day.
So set us free; what do you say?
Xarthab: Forgive me if I’m less than trusting,
But I’ve spent all my life adjusting
To deal with my brother’s dirty ways.
So say just what you will convey.
And yet be warned: this tolerance
Is the first step in a delicate dance.
Give your information, and then I’ll weigh it
And decide your fate. So go on, say it!
Gorix: We think that Sloth’s been encouraging your strife;
To get what he wants, he’s twisting the knife.
He’s fueling your feud with the help of a traitor
In order to make himself a dictator.
While you fight with your brother, he abuses your mine.
This civil war’s by his design.
His ultimate goal is to conquer your land,
And you’re letting him do it, just as he planned.
He plots to use your Kreludite
To mutate all Neopian life.
The only way to save your race
Is to meet with your brother face-to-face.
[Xarthab considers this for a few moments, then comes to a decision.]
Xarthab: I’m not sure why, but I believe you.
I’m sorry that we misperceived you.
For the moment, I’ll put aside our quibbling
And have a meeting with my sibling.
[Parlax steps up to Xarthab. He is a small Grundo, with a wily glint in his eye. The right side of his body is covered in a mask and bandages. He has two prominent scars that form an X on his face (or, at least, the half that we can see). He sings in a slick, forcefully sweet voice.]
Parlax: Sir, I don’t think that action’s wise;
This could be a trap disguised.
Zorlix is known to stoop to such depths –
A meeting now could mean our deaths.
Xarthab: My brother will respect a truce;
I’d do so, were I in his shoes.
Parlax: That’s just the problem, think it through:
Your brother’s less noble than you.
He’d break a truce and not think twice.
I beg you, listen to my advice.
For have I ever led you wrong?
I’ve kept you safe, and kept you strong
By showing you the path that’s true
And giving guidance that’s –
Gorix [interrupting, in sudden recognition]: It’s you!
[Gorix tackles Parlax to the ground. The orange Grundos immediately draw their blasters. Cylara is in shock; Xarthab is outraged.]
Xarthab: What’s the meaning of this aggression?
It shows a great lack of discretion!
To attack my advisor, my consultant?!
Punishment will be resultant!
Gorix: Listen to me, he’s a traitor!
Trust me, I’ll explain it later.
Parlax: Xarthab, help, get him away!
I’m sure he’s trying to betray
The both of us and cause us trouble;
Execute him, on the double!
[Xarthab’s Grundos pull Gorix off of Parlax. Gorix struggles, but is unable to escape.]
Xarthab: You’re lucky I don’t shoot you now.
Did you think I would allow
Such disrespect towards my advisor?
I’ve never met a pet who’s wiser.
He’s always helped me see the way,
And more than once has saved the day.
He’s been with me for several years,
Is always there to assuage my fears.
He’s served me well, risked life and limb.
Why should I trust you over him?
Gorix: Just allow me to spin a yarn;
It will prove that he means harm.
His name is Parlax; we were chums.
It’s sad to see what he’s become.
I knew him when he fought with me –
The bravest soldier you’d ever see.
We served together, side by side,
And on each other we relied.
His only flaw was his ambition.
One day we were on a mission;
But it very quickly failed,
For, you see, we were assailed
By some members of Sloth’s clan.
Someone had revealed our plan.
I was captured, Parlax too.
I escaped, but never knew
What happened to my closest friend
Nor who it was who tipped our hand.
I never would have stood the claim
That the traitor and Parlax were one and the same.
But now it seems that is the case;
Parlax, you are a disgrace!
I put my faith and trust in you,
But you just used me, the Resistance too.
What did Sloth promise that made you defect?
Some money and gold that you could collect?
Fame and renown, a place in his ranks?
Well, my friend, you have my thanks:
I now know where to direct my hate;
The path’s now clear, it must be fate.
My goal is now to get retribution.
And so I make this resolution:
I’ll hunt you ‘til my days are through.
Beware, I’m coming after you.
You betrayed me and the entire squad,
But now you’re hoist by your petard.
For now your double-crossing’s through;
It’s finally caught up to you.
Curse you, Parlax, vile thief!
All you bring is harm and grief!
Parlax: Xarthab, do not pay him heed!
He’s just trying to mislead.
I am not who he claims I am.
Do not fall for his clever scam!
Xarthab: Parlax, you still have my trust.
So it now seems clear I must
Eliminate this lying pet,
As he seems to prove a threat.
[Xarthab aims his blaster at Zorlix. Cylara shrieks. Parlax grins broadly, then quickly hides it. But seconds before Xarthab fires, chaos breaks out. Dozens of purple Grundos crowd onto the stage, with Zorlix in the lead.]
Zorlix: Brother, this is a new low.
Capturing my advisor? Say it’s not so!
But what’s this? My advisor is purple.
Who is this, some sort of double?
Xarthab: He’s my advisor, I’ll set you straight.
I don’t know why you think... wait.
[Xarthab and Zorlix realize the truth simultaneously.]
Xarthab and Zorlix [shouted together]: Seize him!
[Parlax is grabbed, an orange Grundo holding one arm and a purple Grundo holding the other. Parlax snarls, his ingratiating manner dropped.]
Cylara: I’m confused, what’s taking place?
Gorix: I’ll show you; I’ll expose his face.
[Gorix tears the mask and bandages off of Parlax, revealing him to be split. Xarthab and Zorlix gasp. Parlax struggles defiantly.]
Gorix: Don’t you see? He’s painted split.
You both were fooled. How does that sit?
Xarthab: Brother, I have been a fool.
This twist of fate is certainly cruel.
We have been mislead and tricked
Into this terrible conflict.
Zorlix: We were both manipulated,
Being too infatuated
With the lies that Grundo told.
We have been deceived twofold.
Xarthab: Where do you think we go from here?
Zorlix: Our conflict won’t just disappear,
But I think now that it might ease,
And we’ll grow closer by degrees.
Xarthab: Yes, for now let’s stop our fight
And temporarily unite.
For Sloth, it seems, is the greater threat.
Zorlix: Let us forgive and forget.
[The two brothers shake hands. There is a visible easing of the tension between the orange and purple Grundos. Xarthab and Zorlix walk downstage and sing a duet.]
Xarthab: We’ve been rivals since we were born.
Zorlix: I know, you’d always steal my toys.
Xarthab: Our common bonds in twain were torn.
Zorlix: It’s like they say, boys will be boys.
Xarthab: And as we aged, we grew more distant.
Zorlix: We were in a tough position.
Xarthab: Affection ‘tween us was nonexistent.
Zorlix: Always locked in competition.
Xarthab: When the mine passed to us, things only got worse.
Zorlix: (I still don’t think you’re running it well.)
Xarthab: Our relationship became more than terse.
Zorlix: We retreated further into our shells.
Xarthab: Then faction lines were quickly drawn.
Zorlix: We split according to our hue.
Xarthab: All traces of cordiality, gone.
Zorlix: You fought ‘gainst me, I fought ‘gainst you.
Xarthab and Zorlix: But now we’ll put aside our strife
And work together against Sloth.
Xarthab: I swear I’ll be loyal, on my life.
Zorlix: And so will I, you have my oath.
Xarthab and Zorlix: Purple, orange; one and the same.
It took a disaster to show us the truth.
And now we both are filled with shame
At our behavior: so uncouth.
But now it seems we’re reunited.
(At least for the moment, but hopefully longer.)
After so long, we’re both excited
To see our relationship grow stronger.
Now for our sins we must atone:
We’ll unite ‘till Sloth’s overthrown!
[Xarthab and Zorlix return to their places. The Grundos applaud.]
Cylara: This is really great and all,
Seeing you two stop your brawl.
But we’ve got bigger problems to face!
Sloth will soon attack from space.
Shouldn’t you prepare and stuff?
I think you’ve forgiven each other enough.
Xarthab: She’s right, there’s no time to relax.
But first, to take care of Parlax.
Zorlix [to the Grundos holding Parlax]: To the prison with this traitor!
We’ll deal with his treachery later.
Gorix [viciously]: Do you see now, Parlax? A turncoat like you
Will never win when the day is through!
You’ve betrayed someone for the last time,
And you’ll be punished for your crimes!
Parlax [smirking, as he’s dragged away]: You really think that this is done?
My friend, I’ve only just begun!
We’ll meet again, you can be sure.
You think that you’re so brave and pure;
All lies, I tell you! You’re just the same
As what I am, what I became.
We’re no different, you and I.
And so, for now, I’ll say goodbye,
But do not think that we are through;
This isn’t the last I’ll see of you!
[Parlax’s final lines are shouted from offstage. There is a short pause, then Zorlix sings.]
Zorlix: Now that we’ve come to our senses,
Let us ready our defenses.
[Lights down; end of Act IV.]