I, Sloth, King of Meridell...: Part Three
Also by sytra
We were escorted out into the courtyard. Beakadoodles were chirping pleasantly, buzzing from flower to flower.
“It’s hotter out here than it was earlier,” Sloth said to me as the Ixi servant led us through the garden. “I just might have to take off my shirt.”
“Please don’t.” I groaned, squinting in the sunlight. I wasn’t used to the brightness of Meridell.
“Oh, but it could benefit us greatly,” Sloth said with certainty. “I mean, it would be a chance for Skarl to notice how manly I am. What’s the use of having these babies—” he flexed his arms, his eyebrows wiggling up and down, “—if nobody sees them?”
I didn’t want to admit it, but he did have a point. After our last downfall he had spent weeks and weeks in his personal gym with his Cybunny trainers, and I knew how hard he had worked to achieve the perfect body the perfect villain just had to have.
We stopped in front of an extremely long table covered with potatoes. Sloth raised a brow, and Perry, who had been coming along behind us, halted beside me.
A few feet beyond, we saw King Skarl situated on a very high chair. He was kicking his foot back and forth in boredom.
“Your Highness,” Sloth said, kneeling before him, “I do hope you enjoyed your lunch break. I would like to take this time to express my utmost gratitude toward your lovely service here and the divine room you have provided for myself and my child.”
“Why thank you. How very kind.” Skarl adjusted his plump self in his seat, happily looking down at Sloth.
“No, thank YOU for being such a wonderful host.”
Perry glared at Sloth out of the corner of his eye, and folded his arms across his chest grumpily. “I would just like to say, oh great King, that your Ixi servant was the kindest pet I have ever met. I was very pleased with the service she gave us. Yeah.” The pink Draik bowed deeply.
Sloth rolled his eyes.
“So!” Skarl leaned forward on his elevated platform, pointing down to the potatoes. “Thanks to a very kind donation from the Potato Counter man, we have... lots of potatoes!”
“I love potatoes,” Sloth said, licking his lips. “Just the greatest food on Neopia.”
This, of course, was a lie. Potatoes were Sloth’s least favorite food on the entire planet. In fact, once in a restaurant in Tyrannia, he got sick and passed out on his plate. It wasn’t very pretty.
“Yes. I’m glad you think so.” Skarl cleared his throat, thankfully not detecting my overlord’s lie. “In this first test, we will see which of you can eat the potatoes the fastest. Yes, every single one of them. No rules... though I don’t recommend swallowing the potatoes whole. And don’t cheat. Cheaters will be sent to the dungeon. As will impolite competitors.” His eyes flashed toward Perry, who frowned sourly.
Sloth’s eye twitched. He looked down at me, shaking his head, his eyes wide. “Oh, no. No, no, no. You know I can’t eat potatoes.”
“Well, I guess you’re going to have to, Father,” I said, pushing him toward the table. I could hear him gulp from where he was standing.
His fists clenched, Sloth looked up at King Skarl. “Your Highness?” he asked.
Skarl looked down at Sloth with a smile, obviously favoring him over Perry at the moment. “Yes, Mister Fluffins?”
“Well,” Sloth stuttered, “while I adore potatoes, my son, Charles, hates them. However, to show you how dedicated he is to this cause, he would like to volunteer himself to eat his least favorite food in place of his potato-loving father!”
“What a trooper!” cried Skarl in delight. “You are a very noble boy, Charles. I commend you. Now, Charles, Perry, take your places at the table.”
I stared up at Sloth, a look of disbelief on my face. I would go to the ends of Neopia to help my overlord, but I never thought the ends of Neopia would include eating more potatoes than I had ever seen in my life. However, before I could protest, Sloth had pushed me down onto a fancy chair in front of the shiny wooden table.
“I know you will not disappoint me, Charlie!” he said with a grin.
Perry, who had already sat down beside me in another fancy chair, took a deep breath. I could tell he was not happy that Skarl had allowed me to eat the potatoes in lieu of Sloth, but he did not complain. Rather, he said to the elderly king, “I’m ready whenever Charles is.”
Skarl nodded. “Are you ready, young Charles?”
I gulped, staring at the heap of unpeeled potatoes before me. As Sloth placed a confident hand on my shoulder, I nodded and said, “Yes, Your Highness.”
“All right then,” said Skarl. “As you two will see, there is a yellow line in the middle of the table. As Charles is sitting on the right, he must consume every potato to the right of the line. As Perry is sitting on the left, all the potatoes on the left are his. Whoever finishes first wins the first match. However, do not fret if you lose; there are still two more matches left today, so if you win those two, this round will not matter. Any more questions?”
Both Perry and I nodded our heads, and Perry muttered a weak, “No.”
“Good!” said Skarl. “Begin!”
Now, I’m not sure if you’ve ever had to eat a table full of potatoes, but if you have, you’ll know that it’s true when I say it is not pleasant. The first potato was fine. The second one was less fine, but I still was going strong. However, by the third vegetable, I just about had it. I looked up at Sloth, who was still standing with one hand on my shoulder, and shook my head.
“Father -” I began.
However, Sloth interrupted me with a sharp, “Shhh!” Then he discreetly pointed his chin forward toward the potatoes and, further on, Skarl.
That was when I noticed Skarl was sleeping. Beside me, Perry hadn’t even raised his head; he was still shoveling potatoes down his throat at light speed. As if not wanting to slow himself down, he hadn’t looked up when I first began to talk to my ‘father’.
Therefore, he hadn’t noticed Skarl’s state.
And, when Sloth began to push some of my potatoes over to Perry’s side of the table, Skarl did not believe him when the Draik screamed out that we were cheating.
The king’s eyes flew open and he said sharply, “What?”
“They cheated!” Perry cried. “Mister Fluffins put his son’s potatoes on my side of the table!”
“Hogwash!” said Skarl. “Mister Fluffins and Charles would never cheat!”
"The great King speaks the truth," Sloth said to Perry, grinning devilishly at the pink Draik.
Perry opened his mouth to speak, but when he glanced over at Skarl, who was giving him the most disgusted look I have ever seen, he closed it tightly.
"Fine... Your Highness," he hissed, stuffing another potato into his mouth.
"Very well. Continue." Skarl slumped down in his golden chair and his eyelids began to droop. I grabbed another potato and watched Perry intently. The Draik glared back at me, chewing with fury. He wasn't going to take his eyes off me this time.
"Hurry, Charlie!" Sloth cheered, bouncing up and down. I nodded angrily, clutching a potato in each hand as I chewed as fast as I could.
I only had three potatoes left, and Perry had five. He was a faster eater than I was, but hopefully I would be able to pull through.
I saw Sloth unbuttoning his shirt out of the corner of my eye and I instantly knew we were about to put some sort of plan into action. He threw his purple shirt to the ground, and gave me a firm nod.
“Oh my! What in Fyora’s name is THAT?!” my overlord shouted in a mock excited tone, pointing dramatically at the roof of the castle. Perry quickly turned his head around, looking for whatever Sloth was referring to.
Nothing was there, of course. I tossed the two potatoes I had been holding over to Sloth, and he caught them quietly; he then slipped them under his shirt on the ground. He also watched Skarl to make sure he was still asleep.
Fortunately, when Perry turned back around, he didn’t seem to notice that there was only one potato left on my side of the table. He still had four. I smirked at him, chewing as fast as I could, though my tired jaw was begging me to stop.
Almost there, I told myself.
When I had stuffed the last bit of the vegetable into my mouth, Sloth threw his arms up in excitement.
“Your Highness! Your Highness! Charles has won! He’s eaten all of the potatoes!”
Skarl’s eyes shot open, and he surveyed the scene before him. Perry was whining as he spit out the potato he had been chewing. His stomach was bulging, and he collapsed on top of his remaining potatoes.
“They cheated, I tell you,” he breathed.
“Nonsense,” Sloth sputtered, turning back to Skarl.
“Very well,” the Skeith said. “Mister Fluffins has won the first contest! Now we will have a break. Please return to your rooms. The next contest will begin in an hour’s time.”
I nodded, holding my stomach in pain. Perry rolled off of the table, groaning miserably.
Sloth snickered as we followed the servant Ixi back to our room. “So far, so good.”
“Whatever happened to doing things the honest way?” I asked, though I was grateful I hadn’t had to eat every single one of those potatoes.
Sloth sighed, running his hand through his black wig. “The honest way wasn’t working! Besides, being evil is just too much fun.”
To be continued...