Give My Regards to the Ixi of Doom: Part Four
Zarrelian sat in his room, thoughtfully examining the large
collection of plans and diagrams that he had laid out before him. Rehearsals had
continued over the past two weeks; Kybalt was still swaggering around as though
he owned the stage, while Zarrelian was demoted to "prop" under the list of materials
for the play. The Halloween Ixi ground his teeth. He was still angry about that
one. Zarrelian brightened up again. He had a plan, oh yes! A brilliantly terrible
plan to put Kybalt out of commission and land himself the leading role. After
all, he was the Zafara's understudy, and, in the words of Alstaf Poogle, "the
show must always go on, no matter what idiot we have to put on the stage." It
was Zarrelian's turn to be the idiot on stage. At least, it would be. First he
had to figure out how to get Kybalt out of the way.
Zarrelian leaned back in his chair, twirling
his pencil between the knuckles of his hoof and staring up at the ceiling. He
furrowed his brow in concentration.
"How am I going to get rid of Kybalt?" he asked
aloud. The Ixi snapped his head up. "I know! I'll release a wild Reptillior
into his desk! Then he'll get Reptillioritus! Ha!" Zarrelian quickly sobered
again. "Ah, that won't work. The Reptillior would just bite me first." He sighed,
slumping over onto his desk as he surveyed his many scratched out graphs and
diagrams. The Ixi began to idly doodle a picture of Kybalt on a spare scrap
of paper. It was actually very good, for Zarrelian wasn't a bad artist. Of course,
the Ixi's violent tendencies overcame his artistic sensitivity and he furiously
scribbled all over his drawing of the Zafara, forever marring the beauty of
his piece. Zarrelian snarled.
"Stupid Zafara! He thinks he's so awesome, just
because he's had actual acting experience and he's a big star like his
hero, Roland Lombard..." The Ixi gasped with realization. "Of course!
Kybalt's hero, Roland Lombard! He's the key!" Cackling maniacally, Zarrelian
hunched over a fresh sheet of paper and hastily sketched out a new plan, certain
that this one would go on without a hitch.
It was the day of the big performance. Mr. Bronston
flitted anxiously about backstage, gnawing his claws down to the bone as he
oversaw the final touchups for sets, costumes and lighting cues. The Draik paused
in front of a skittish looking Acara and he glared down meaningfully at the
"So, Zaveeni," he began. "Tell me that you've
finished the musical score." The Acara broke out into a nervous smile.
"Ah, yes, well, I've just finished it, you see.
And I-- well, I'm rather proud of it, myself," he stammered. Mr. Bronston waved
his hand impatiently.
"Yes, yes, that's all fine and dandy. Just play
it for me, would you?" he demanded. Zaveeni nodded and swiftly whipped out his
violin. He began to play a the first few notes of the opening aria, but quailed
under his teacher's icy stare. The Acara gulped.
"Uh, what do you, um, think, sir?" he asked anxiously.
Mr. Bronston snorted.
"I think it's the kind of thing that Alstaf Poogle
would've written if he had been a horrible person who hated music and people,"
he replied. Zaveeni blinked. Mr. Bronston continued.
"But it's all we've got, so we'll have to use
it. After all, the show must go on!" The Draik glanced down as he felt a sudden
tug at his shirtsleeve, and found himself looking into the snout of a very concerned
"Oh, sir," Terracota (the Moehog in question)
wailed. "It's terrible! I can't find Kybalt anywhere!" Mr. Bronston's jaw dropped.
"What? That's insane! The show starts in twenty
minutes; where could he have possibly gone?"
Kybalt was, at the moment, locked in a supply
closet. He was unconscious, and therefore unable to cry for help. No prizes
for guessing who put him in there. Yeah, it was Zarrelian. But since some of
you may be mildly interested in exactly how the Ixi carried out his little plan,
I will now relate it to you in full, third person narrative.
Kybalt was standing in front of his mirror, primping
himself and brushing his fiery fur so that the flames looked their hottest,
when Zarrelian came scurrying up to him.
"Kybalt!" the Ixi panted breathlessly. Kybalt
"What is it, Ixi?" he asked peevishly. Zarrelian
"It's Roland Lombard, Kybalt! He decided to come
and see the show, and he really wants to meet you so that you two can discuss
that one ad thingy that you did so many years ago," he replied. Kybalt gasped,
throwing his paws to his face.
"Sweet mother of Juppie! He must want to negotiate
that contract that I proposed to him!"
Zarrelian nodded eagerly. "Uh huh. Follow me;
I'll show you where he is!" Kybalt willingly complied, and soon, the two of
them were dashing down the hallways of the school. Zarrelian skidded to a stop
in front of the school's supply closet. Kybalt glanced at the Ixi expectantly.
"Well? Where is he?" he asked. Zarrelian grinned,
gesturing towards the closet with his hooves.
"Why, he's in the supply closet!" he replied.
Kybalt shot him a death glare.
"That is the most blatantly obvious attempt to
get me out the way that I have ever encountered. Do you honestly expect me to
believe that Roland Lombard is standing in the school's janitorial alcove?"
he demanded, waving his paws around in the air at the sheer idiocy of it all.
Zarrelian rolled his eyes.
"Oh, to Sloth with this!" he said, and then whacked
Kybalt sharply on the head with his rock-hard hoof. The Zafara blinked once
and then fell to the floor, landing with a resounding thump. Zarrelian giggled
as he kicked open the door to the closet and shoved Kybalt inside.
"Sayonara, star!" he cackled, shutting the door
and locking it in place with a broom handle that he snagged from the supply
store located in said closet. The Ixi laughed.
"YES! Now it's MY show!"
So that's how it happened. Anyway, we will now
return to Mr. Bronston, who was, at the present moment, pacing agitatedly around
the backstage area.
"Oh no," he muttered. "Kybalt's gone! I don't
believe this; I'm going to have to put Zarrelian onstage!"
Right on cue, Zarrelian appeared by his teacher's
side, already suited up in Kybalt's much less cumbersome costume. It wasn't
really a costume so much as it was a hat, but it was still a symbol of how the
Ixi had managed to usurp the Zafara's stardom. At least, in Zarrelian's eyes,
that's what it was.
"I'm ready, sir!" he chirped. Mr. Bronston sighed,
rolling his eyes skyward. For a moment, it looked as though he was about to
start crying, but he quickly snapped his head down and smiled.
"Alright, Zarrelian. You're Kybalt's understudy,
now go out there and wow them!"
You have to admire the Draik for acting as optimistic
as he possibly could. Mr. Bronston, to his credit, wasn't really that bad of
an actor himself. Zarrelian's eyes widened and he bit his lip, as though he
had just thought of something very important. He glanced up at his teacher.
"Er, that whole 'learning lines' bit, that was
just a suggestion, right?" he asked hopefully. Mr. Bronston gaped at him.
"You haven't memorized Kybalt's lines?" he asked
frantically. The Ixi giggled nervously.
"Okay, look, it's no problem! I'll improvise!
I'll go up there, tell some jokes, do a bit of ad-libbing, maybe do a little
dance..." Mr. Bronston cut him off, grabbing Zarrelian by the shoulders and
shaking him furiously.
"Not for what they paid to get in here, you won't!"
he roared, gesturing to the already seated audience. The Draik flicked his gaze
back to his student, eyes blazing. "You can't act, you can't improvise, and
you CAN'T be a star in my play!" he snarled. Zarrelian stared at him incredulously.
"But you said that we could be anything if we
set our mind to it!" he insisted.
"That applied to everyone but you!"
The Ixi squeaked as Mr. Bronston shoved him to
the side, grabbing the hat from Zarrelian's head as he did. The Draik cradled
the fedora lovingly in his hands, holding it as though it was his firstborn
son. (To be fair, that hat ended up having a better career than Mr. Bronston's
actual firstborn son did). Zarrelian whimpered.
"So I don't get to be the star?" he asked. Mr.
Bronston shot him the most venom-filled of glares.
"No, you don't! I'M the director, and I'LL star
in this play!" He jammed the hat onto his head, adjusting it slightly so that
the brim didn't cut quite so painfully into his ears. The Draik chuckled.
"Really, I ought to just play everyone myself."
Mr. Bronston pushed Zarrelian aside as he stalked towards the stage. Before
parting the curtains and stepping out into the limelight, the Draik glanced
back over his shoulder and jerked his head at the Ixi.
"You're still the oak tree, by the way, so go
and put on your costume and be ready to go on stage when your cue comes." With
that, Mr. Bronston threw open the curtains and strode regally onto the stage,
booming the first few notes of the opening number in his deep baritone. Zarrelian
sighed resignedly as he wriggled into his tree costume. He had to admit, Mr.
Bronston did have a pretty decent singing voice.
The Ixi staggered in his pseudo-tree outfit towards
the stage to await his cue. He stood backstage, clinging to the soft fabric
of the curtain. Zarrelian frowned. Fame was certainly a fickle creature. "Oh
well," he said aloud to himself. "At least I still get to play the title role!"
Cackling gleefully, the Ixi shoved his leaf bonnet on his head and dashed out
onto into the spotlight, ready to make his debut as the leading tree.
You might be interested to hear about how the
play went. It can either be summed up in one word, or compared to the sinking
of a large ship. The word would be "terrible" and the ship would be, well...
The biggest ship in Neopia that has ever sank, I suppose. No matter how you
say it, Mr. Bronston's pride and joy wasn't a success. Most of the critics panned
it, though quite a few highlighted Zarrelian's take as the "troubled oak tree"
to be very fresh and original.
Mr. Bronston wound up having his salary severely
cut, seeing as how he went so fantastically over budget on the production of
his play and didn't make very much of a profit from ticket sales at all. (Principal
Kraemer was also royally miffed at the Draik after learning that he denied Zarrelian
the right to play the farmer. Seeds of discontent regarding self-esteem lowering
Kybalt regained consciousness about three-quarters
of the way through the play, and spent the evening screaming himself hoarse
while calling for "help". Eventually, the school's janitor let him out of the
supply closet, just before the Zafara resorted to gnawing through a bottle of
dish detergent for food.
So, to wrap everything up, Zarrelian had another
magical adventure without learning anything, Mr. Bronston once again had a comical
misadventure resulting in a loss of money, and the quirky supporting character
got what they deserved... sort of. Anyway, that's all the loose ends tied up,
so there's really not much else for me to say.