The Greatest Story Never Told: Part Eight
Nothing happened! The dial twisted all the way around, and Will pressed all the buttons he could find, but — nothing!
“What’s wrong with it, why won't it work?” Jaycee cried in panic, looking up where Sloth was standing, looking over the edge for them. When he saw them huddled at the cabinet, he grinned evilly.
“There they are! Stop them! Guards!”
There was nothing they could do! He knew where they were, the time warp couldn’t hide them now. It was only a matter of time... it was a trap, it had always been a trap...
A second later Sloth and his Droids were standing in front of Sebastian, Jaycee and Will. He held out his hand, looking triumphant.
“Give me the Time Machine. It won't work for you. It’s programmed for my use only.”
“You are trying my patience! Hand it over! NOW!”
“No. Why would we hand over a time machine to a villain who wants to destroy the worlds? How thick do you think we are?”
“I’m not even going to answer that.”
“If we can't use it, then the least we can do it break it so you can't use it!” Sebastian snarled, clenching his fists.
“And leave the Defenders frozen in time for all eternity? I don’t think you are willing to do that.” Sloth smiled, showing his pointed teeth. “The worlds would simply collapse with out them. Villains left, right and center! You would be dooming your world. Now hand it over.”
Will was still examining the gun, turning it over and fiddling with the buttons.
“Even if we can't work it as a time machine, we can still use it as a ray gun,” he said finally. “We’ll sludge you.”
“You wouldn’t have the guts to!” Sloth said with a smirk, but he didn’t look quite so confident now. He glanced at his Guards, weighing them up against the blunt power of sludge.
“You. Sludged. Our. Paintbrush,” Jaycee said through gritted teeth. “We owe you.”
“Tell you what, Slothy boy. You get us a Grey paintbrush. No, two actually. Consider it interest. One for me, one for Jaycee, and whatever one Will wants. So three all together. Then you tell us how to unfreeze the Defenders. Then they arrest you, whatever, everything’s fine and dandy.” Sebastian waved his hand airily. “If you don’t, we’ll sludge you. Don’t think we won't. We’ve come this far. So what's it to be?”
Sloth narrowed his eyes, contemplating this. He stood for a moment, mulling it over, obviously looking for a way out. Finally he sighed and closed his eyes.
“I’ll get you your stupid paintbrushes,” he said in a voice of pure venom. “But why would I help you aid my captors? No. The Defenders stay. They can be ornaments for my lab; I accidentally sludged my last statue.”
“No deal.” Jaycee shook her head. “We’re not leaving without them. Neopia needs them more than you do.”
“Alright, fine. I’ll compromise.” Sloth sighed again. “I shall unfreeze them, but not here. Not where they can arrest me; how stupid do you think I am? And don’t you dare answer that,” he added as Sebastian opened his mouth. He closed it with a loud snap, grinning. “I’ll teleport you back to Neopia. Then you will most likely tell them where I live, so I’ll have to move, again. You know, this is getting to be quite a hassle.”
He waved his hand and at once two Grey paintbrushes were handing in the air in front of him.
“And what one do you want?” he asked, plainly resisting the urge to attack them, and turning to Will.
“Umm... Royal. No! Maraquan. No... Plushie? That one’s worth heaps...”
“Just pick one! Before I come to my senses and wipe those smirks off your puny little faces!” Sloth bellowed.
“Ooh, cranky pants. Fine. Pirate.”
And it appeared next to him.
“Done. Now, give me back my ray gun.”
“How do we know you won't just sludge them again? Or freeze us?” Jaycee asked, suspicious.
Sloth smiled infuriatingly.
“Because, you idiots, don’t you see what will happen? You will go and tell the Defenders how I froze time, took them hostage, et cetera, et cetera, how close I came to destroying the world — they will fear me! More than ever before. I will be regarded as the most evil villain in the history of all the evil villains!” He was beside himself with excitement. “Everywhere people will speak my name, terrified. Ha! Gone will be the memory of Jhudora, or Meuka, no, I shall be the Lord of Evil. Darigan will tremble at the mere mention of my name. I shall rule the world!”
“No, we’ll tell them how you gave in to our insistent nagging in the end and gave us three whole new paintbrushes. Oh, the Neopian Times is gonna love us!” Sebastian said, drooling over the mental image of himself in a bath of Neopoints. “It’s so controversial!”
“You wouldn’t! After what I’ve just done for you...”
“Oh, we would. We’ll be richer than the Defenders could ever dream of being!” Jaycee now had stars in her eyes as well.
“You’ll ruin me!” Sloth wailed, seeing his reputation going down the drain.
“So? You’ve ruined so many lives. This is payback on behalf of all the worlds,” Sebastian said cruelly. “And we get money for it! Score!”
“Then I won't tell you how to work the time machine. The Defenders shall stay here as my prisoners until the end of days.” Sloth pouted.
“I’ve got it!” Will bellowed suddenly, making them all jump. “I’ve figured out what you did, to make it work only for you! And if I just... hang on, that button, that lever, turn the dial to ten... bingo! Now I have control of the time machine.” And without hesitation, he pointed the gun at the group of Defenders and pulled the trigger. Instantly the swirling lights around their ankles faded into nothing, and the Defenders blinked and looked around in surprise.
“Nooooo!” Sloth screamed, lunging at them. They dodged him and he went head-first into the glassless cabinet, promptly knocking himself out.
Will now turned the gun on the Guards (who Sebastian had totally forgotten about) and froze them on the spot.
The Defenders slowly waddled up to them, still seeing stars and rubbing their heads.
“What happened? Where are we?”
Sebastian looked at his two best friends.
“Well, sir, that’s quite a long story...”
* * * * *
Dr. Frank Sloth leaned back on his throne, snuggling against the soft, red drape. Ahh, this was perfection at its best..
“Droid! Get me something to eat. And I want something devoid of vegetables — ick!” He surveyed his wonderful new home, thoroughly pleased with himself.
Yes, those pesky Bandits had thought they were so very clever, capturing him single handedly and handing him over to the Defenders. They held him in their prison for... what was it, three minutes? How stupid were those stupidheads, not even considering that the amazing, marvelous, wonderfully evil Dr Sloth was ready for any situation. The old ‘teleporting boots’ trick never fails! And now here he was, living on Mystery Island. It really was one of the nicest locations in Neopia; the beach was just lovely!
And no beach vacation was complete without a little light reading. He smiled as he ran his hand over the front page. It was dreadfully written, almost entirely inaccurate. After all that, the least they could have done was to remind everyone of just how powerful Dr Sloth was.
His Droid came marching back into the room with his refreshments. He waved it away with his hand, before turning back to the pile of papers on his lap.
“What?! Can't you see I’m busy? What are you, blind?”
“New information, Sir.”
“The Bandits, my Lord.”
“Oh? What is it?”
“They have re-written the story, your Evilness.”
Sloth jumped to his feet, sending papers flying in every direction.
“WHAT?!” he bellowed, making the Robot take a step back in alarm. “How could they have written it again?”
“Inside source says they have been working on it for months, your Highness. It is ready to go to print. Tomorrow.”
“No! This cannot happen! Will not happen! Stop them! Get that story back at any cost. Ambush their house! Buy them out with paint brushes! I don’t care what you do — just DO SOMETHING!” Sloth raged, kicking his throne and stomping on the papers in anger.
“Of course, my Lord.” The Droid practically ran from the room.
“Why would they write it again?” Sloth asked the empty room, throwing himself back onto this throne, landing rather painfully.
Massaging his sore back, he sighed and forced himself to calm down. He picked up a page and glared at it.
The Greatest Story Ever Told,
By Sebastian and Jaycee.
Illustrations by Will
Snarling, he crunched it up in his hand and threw it across the room.
If he had anything to say about it— that story would never be told...