. Author Note: Okay guys, here's my first Lazy Town fanfiction! Be kind to me! Please don't flame me just because I may have missed a comma here or there, it happens to the best of us! In the first episode it mentioned number nine had been the previous hero of Lazytown so I thought I'd write a fanfic explaining a bit about him. Have fun, enjoy :D
Villains and Soccer Balls
Energerio looked down at his blinking crystal centred within his number nine emblem, and instantly sensed something was wrong with his son. His brows came down in concern as he rubbed the crystal wondering what the matter could be. His son had been on his own as a hero for more than a year now and this was the first time his crystal had reacted. He knew it had to be serious for his crystal to go off from so far away and he instantly steered his airship in the direction of his sons little town.
"Sportacus..." he said, his eyes focussing on the empty blue sky ahead. "Be safe, I'll be there soon, Pabbi is on his way."
Robbie stared down at the comatose Sportacus and rubbed his hands in delight. He pocketed the bottle of liquid sugar cane and gave a smirk.
"I can't believe the dumb blue elf fell for the same trick twice! If a little frosting knocked him out for a while, this should keep him out of my hair all day! Maybe I'll do this every day then I'll never have to deal with him again!"
Robbie gave a laugh then straightened up. He glanced around the stark, silvery-grey airship and crinkled his nose in distaste at the sports equipment left laying out and the elf's lunch which still sat on the table.
"Ugh," Robbie stated, inspecting the lunch. "There's grass in his sandwich, I always knew Sportakook was weird. I should get the kids to get a load of this sandwich, one look at this and they'll be inside for the rest of their lives!"
He turned away giving an overly dramatic shudder and looked down at Sportacus, crossing his arms as he did so. He hesitated as he stared down at him. Was Sportacus always so pale? The elf's normally rosy cheeks were grey and his skin seemed to have a slight sheen to it like he had a fever.
Robbie snorted and turned away. "Big oaf is probably just sweaty. All that flipping and bouncing will do that to a person."
He turned away, his mind already coming up with his next plot to trick the children into becoming lazy and into eating unhealthy. He stepped very carefully over the small white buttons which lined the ships floor, terrified to think of what horrors he might release. (Being pummelled by broccoli or some sort of ball didn't especially appeal to him.) As he crawled down the airship ladder, he had already forgotten about Sportacus, not realizing his rival was not doing very well at all. All that was on Robbie's mind was playing tricks and getting his way, he didn't realize something much more serious was happening and that number nine's crystal had been alerted to the trouble.
When he reached the ground, he hurried across town to his lair, snickering to himself that he had thought to take Sportacus out of the picture before his scheme for once. He reached the pipe to his lair, and opened the hatch with a large groan of effort then slide inside.
Once inside his dark, dreary lair, of metal pipes and steel grating Robbie let out a breath of relief. It was good to be back in the quiet of his home away from the sunshine and healthiness above. Various inventions had been left out from the previous night as he hadn't bothered to put them away so spare parts and tools were everywhere. They were still in the works but hey all had the potential for his latest scheme. Running a hand through his black gelled hair, Robbie stared around his lair trying to come up with a good plan.
He approached his costume tubes trying for a bit of inspiration and stared at the contents critically. The first contained a brown bunny suit.
"Too cute!" he commented, moving on.
The second contained a mime suit.
"Too mute!" he stated, frowning a bit, rubbing his chin.
The third contained an exact likeness of Miss Busybody. Robbie visibly recoiled and backed up several steps.
"Too Coot!" he cried quickly moving on to the fourth tube.
The fourth tube contained a green and white soccer uniform. As soon as his eyes fell on it, a plan had already formed in his mind.
He hit the large red button to his left and instantly the costume in the tube swirled away as the machine made the clothes switch. Only seconds later, Robbie stood fully dressed in the soccer uniform feeling confident as his plan began taking a more clear shape in his mind.
"I am a genius!" Robbie stated, rubbing his hands together with a grin. "By the time I'm done, Lazy Town will be lazy FOREVER! I can't lose this time!"
Stephanie laughed and twirled around, her arms in the air as the water of the sprinklers came her way. It was a broiling hot day and all the children were enjoying themselves in the land of make-believe. They were pretending they were explorers in a far away land lost in a dense, dangerous jungle and right now they had to jump through small waterfalls to safety beyond craggy rocks. If they fell then the one eyed monsters with sharp fangs would get them. They would jump through the sprinklers and if they made it without touching any part of the hose or metal than they were safe. So far they had only lost Sportacus (who had gone inside for lunch) to the beasts, a pretty good stake all things considering.
"I made it!" Stephanie cried, looking back at the others triumphantly.
"Oh, no, it's my turn!" Ziggy gasped. "I've already lost a leg and both my arms, how am I going to jump over without dying?"
Pixel waggled a finger at the pudgy boy who was standing there staring at the sprinklers uncertainly. "Remember, explorer Ziggy, you only have one leg so you have to hop!"
Ziggy's bottom lip protruded into an obvious pout. "Not fair."
"Don't be such a wimp, Ziggy! Just do it!" Trixie said impatiently. "If you don't take your turn I'll throw you through. It's hot out here, and I want to go next."
Ziggy put his hands on his hips and gave the best disapproving look a five year old could muster. Crinkling his face up in determination, Ziggy lifted one of his feet and tried to keep his balance as he stared at the sprinklers.
"You don't have arms either! Remember they were ripped off by my giant squid? You have to hold them behind your back while you hop!" Stingy pointed out, clearly enjoying the other boys predicament.
Ziggy's pout became even more prominent as his brow lowered but he didn't say a word. Taking a deep breath, he folded both his arms behind his back and then he began hopping very awkwardly towards the sprinklers.
"Look, Stephanie! Look!" he cried. "I'm doing it"
"That's great!" the pink haired girl encouraged. "Keep hopping, watch where you're going, okay?"
"Yup!" Ziggy yelled happily as he reached the stream of water. Just as he went to hop over, the water cut off without warning, startling him and making him lose his concentration. He fell flat on his face and looked at the sprinklers which were now just trickling a few drops of water.
Looking up he saw Robbie standing on the hose in his full soccer gear regarding him with an odd expression.
"Who are you, Mister?" Ziggy asked, slowly pulling himself up. "Are you a soccer player?"
Robbie gave a chuckle as the rest of the children gathered around him. "Am I a soccer player, now that's a funny question. Of course, I'm a soccer player, I wouldn't be wearing these little shorts if I wasn't. In fact I'm a world famous soccer player. Don't you recognize me?"
The children all shook their heads.
"No, I'm sorry." said Stephanie.
"My name's Rob RottenBurg. You must know nothing about soccer if you've never heard of me! EVERYONE knows me, it's a great honour for you to meet me."
The children exchanged looks then gave a few shrugs.
"Sportacus has been teaching us a little bit about soccer." Pixel said. "He's been going over the rules and basics with us."
Robbie gave a condescending snort. "Basics, bah. And what, pray tell, is a Sportacus? He's no soccer star like me."
"He's a star at every sport!" Stephanie defended.
"Sure, whatever you say, pink little boy."
"I'm a girl."
"Oh, oh dear, how unfortunate." Robbie said with a sad look. "No matter, I Rob RottenBurg shall teach all of you children the proper way to play soccer. You'll learn all of my secrets and be the envy of everyone around you!"
Stephanie was staring at him with crossed arms, looking rather sulky but the other children were clearly very excited.
"Wow!" Stingy cried. "You'll show me how to play just like the pros?"
"This is so neat!" Pixel exclaimed. "I'm going to have to blog about this later, no one will believe that the REAL Rob RottenBurg is in Lazy Town!"
"Maybe I'll finally be able to kick the ball!" Ziggy said excitedly.
"Naw, that would take a miracle." Trixie snickered.
Robbie straightened and then dramatically pointed towards the larger playing field where the children usually went to play ball and then said. "Right then, follow me, young soccer fans! I have much to teach you and much to unteach you!"
The children didn't move.
Robbie still had his hand thrown out dramatically so when no one moved he gave them an impatient look, his arm wavering slightly. "Well, pip-squeaks? What's the hold up? Do you want to play soccer or not?"
Stephanie gave him a flat look and then gestured down at her bathing suit and bare feet.
Robbie hesitated. "Oh...right. Well, go home and get changed THEN we'll play soccer, ok?"
"Ok, we'll be back in just a few minutes!" Ziggy yelled, bounding off, not even looking back once as he made a beeline for his house.
As the others hurried off, Robbie chuckled at his own brilliance and stepped off the hose accidentally soaking himself.
"I meant to do that." he stated to his non-existent audience.
Now dripping wet, he shook his head, aware that most of his hair gel had just run down the back of his shirt. Not wanting to look greasy, he stepped back into the sprinkler a moment to wash off his shirt then quickly stepped back to ring out his soaked clothes. Knowing it would only take a few minutes to dry in the summer air, Robbie rung out as much water as he could then sat down against the wall to wait for the children. Thirty seconds later he was snoring.
Energerio sat in his pilots seat, his hands clenching the armrests so tightly, his knuckles were white. His steely blue eyes were focussed on nothing but the sky ahead, his worry growing with every second as his crystal blinked faster and faster. He knew Sportacus was in real trouble and hoped it wasn't from any kind of fall, as his son wasn't exactly the look-before-you-leap type of person.
Energerio's mouth settled into a grim line as he considered that possibility. He pulled off his cap and ran his fingers through his grey hair, only feeling his worry rise more. He glanced at the old picture sitting on the dash and turned it more towards himself. It showed a small five year-old Sportacus sitting proudly on his fathers shoulders wearing the heros cap which was much too big for him. The child's cap drooped down over one of his eyes but the small boy was clearly proud as can be as he had the biggest grin that stretched from ear to ear.
Energerio rubbed a finger over the glass fondly, clearly remembering that day. Sportacus had missed him terribly while he was away on a long dangerous mission and the child had thrown himself at him the minute he stepped foot on ground. It wasn't long after that when Sportacus began apprenticing to become a hero and lived on the airship with him.
Energerio sighed and turned his eyes back to the sky ahead as he broke through a wall of thick cloud. He veered around some tall mountain peeks knowing he was close now. Lazy Town was just over the mountains and with his airship he would get there within minutes. He knew the way well to the small, sleepy town as he had been there before, a long time ago. He had been it's protector and hero more than 2 decades ago and had been secretly pleased when Sportacus told him which town he had chosen as his first solo mission. Now that Sportacus was in his prime, his aging would slow dramatically like his fathers as elves lived for many human generations. He would learn on his own what it meant to be a great hero.
"Sportacus, don't end your journey yet." Energerio whispered. "Never give up."
As he said this, his hand was on his crystal, and he knew his son would be able to feel his emotions even though he couldn't hear the words.
The airship burst through another mass of clouds and when it came out on the other side, Energerio could see the tiny speck of Lazy Town ahead. Pressing the ship faster, it barrelled forwards, straight towards the town. As he got closer, he saw his sons ship hovering above the town and aimed directly for it, instinctively knowing that's where his boy was. It only took him a few minutes to reach Lazy Town and he stopped his ship directly above Sportacus'.
Wasting no time, he jumped out of his pilot seat and yelled
A small floor panel opened right below his feet, lowering a platform outside about seven feet. He glanced down at the large blue ship below him then did a quick calculation in his mind. Confident and in a hurry, he jumped. As he fell he spread his arms to reduce wind resistance a bit then gave another shout.
"10 ship, open door!"
Obediently, Sportacus' ship opened the door, its small platform at the ready. Energerio, then twisted his body and did a flip in mid air to further slow himself down. When he hit the platform he expertly curled his body inwardly and rolled knowing how to take a fall having done many sports tricks over the years. He rolled right into the ship and was back onto his feet again before he could hit the other side of the wall.
Slightly dizzy, he shook his head and gave a long blink but quickly pushed it aside, his mind all business. He could hardly breath he was so worried and he gave a quick glance but didn't immediately see his son anywhere.
"Sportacus?" he called., his eyes scanning the grey ship quickly.
There was no answer.
Energerio stepped further into the ship and his breath caught in his throat. There was Sportacus laying on the floor of the ship unconscious, his skin grey and his body limp. He ran to his boy and threw himself down, his hands instantly checking for a pulse. He found one, although weak as it was. He quickly checked Sportacus over but saw no signs of injury as he originally suspected so that left him with the possibility of poisoning.
Energerio glanced over and saw a half-eaten lunch on the table right above the collapsed elf. He frowned, and picked up the sandwich. He sniffed at it, then opened it to look at it but it was fine. He turned his attention to the water bottle and picked it up. He screwed off the top and gave it a sniff. It was water but there did seem to be a strange smell to it, very faint but it was there.
He dipped his finger in, and allowed almost all of it to drip off all except for less than one drop which he sniffed at more closely. When he tasted it, he instantly knew there was sugar in the water and not just any sugar, pure cane juice. Energerio knew he had to act fast to save Sportacus. He opened his 9 emblem and removed his crystal and then without hesitating, hit it against the edge of the table. A tiny shard broke off and Energerio was quick to pick it up and place it on the table then grab up one of Sportacus' melon knives. He ground the shard into a fine powder until there were no sharp pieces then mixed it in with a bit of fresh juice he made himself.
Once the mixture was made, he knelt down next to Sportacus and pulled him slightly into his lap so he was held upright. The cup was placed against his lips as his head was tilted back and the juice was slowly and carefully poured in. He half-expected Sportacus to choke on it and for most of it to come back up but it didn't and for this he was glad. Now that he done what he what he could, all he could do was wait.
Settling himself comfortably, Energerio, laid Sportacus' head in his lap and vowed he would seriously hurt the person who had tried to kill his son. Whoever that man was he would wish he was dead. No one touched his boy.
A bit of colour was returning to Sportacus' cheeks and Energerio felt the first bit of hope rise. That was a very good sign and he was sure he got to him in time. He placed a hand on his sons forehead and noticed the fever wasn't quite as high as before.
Only a minute or two later, Sportacus groaned and shifted slightly in his fathers arms. Energerio let out a relieved sigh, knowing his son would be all right. Finally, the uncomfortable pain he'd been feeling in his chest relaxed and went back to normal.
Sportacus' head was throbbing pain. He opened bleary blue eyes and looked up at his father trying to focus his gaze. When he did, surprise filled his expression.
"Yes, Pabbi's here." Energerio said with a small smile.
Sportacus blinked heavily trying to figure out why he was so stiff and lying on the floor.
"What happened?" he asked. "Why are you here?"
Energerio helped him sit up carefully then replied. "Someone put sugar cane juice in your water. You almost died, son. You're going to be okay now, I'm here."
Sportacus let out a tired and annoyed sigh. "He did it again. I can't believe he gave me a sugar meltdown twice."
"Who?" Energerio demanded, instantly bristling.
"The town villain." Sportacus explained. "He already got me once already, he wants me to leave Lazy Town you see."
Energerio placed an apple in Sportacus' hand then said.
"I wasn't aware Lazy Town had a villain, it's such a small town. There were a few disturbances when I was hero but never a true villain."
Around mouthfuls of his apple, Sportacus said. "Nothing, I can't handle, Pabbi."
The old hero regarded his son in all seriousness. "If I hadn't come you would have died. Will you be so lucky next time? You need to be more careful next time, check your food before eating it."
Sportacus had been told that before and felt thoroughly ashamed as his father was right.
Sportacus ran his fingers through his blond hair and looked down. "I will be more careful."
Energerio handed him a banana then nodded with a bit of a smile. "You're going to be the end of me one of these days, boy. You scared me half to death."
Sportacus gave his father a small smile. "I'm stiff. I haven't moved in hours."
"Wait until you get a bit more strength back or you'll hurt yourself." Energerio ordered.
Sportacus had already eaten half the banana and gave a nod. "I'm already feeling a lot stronger. The sportscandy is working fast."
"Do you think you can stand?"
Without a word, Sportacus, sprang out of his fathers arms and flipped upright. He wavered slightly and almost lost his balance but remained upright.
"Sportacus!" Energerio scolded. "I said stand, not jump, not flip or anything else for that matter! You're over-stressing yourself."
"Pabbi, I'm fine, I need to stretch."
Energerio looked highly disapproving but his son was an adult and if he said he was fine he was inclined to believe him for now. As Sportacus stretched and did small exercises to loosen his muscles, Energerio approached the doorway and stepped out.
He gazed down at the town below seeing many changes since the time he was a hero but it still looked very pleasant. He couldn't imagine such a place having murder within it. It still seemed like the inactive, sleepy place he remembered it to be as he didn't really see anyone on the streets. He saw a slight movement below and focussed his gaze on it curiously. In an open playing field he saw a young man dressed as a soccer player standing in front of a turned over soccer net talking and gesturing very avidly. Inside the net five children were trapped all under the age of ten.
Energerio observed the situation below with a growing anger. He had been a hero for many decades so he knew a disguise when he saw one and couldn't be fooled so easily, he was much too paranoid for that. This dark-haired man was obviously the villain his son spoke of and wondered what his motives were. Harming children was just evil and he wouldn't allow it!
Sportacus leaned over his shoulder to peer at the scene as well. When he saw Robbie, the disguise instantly fooled him like it always did to everyone and he became excited. "Oh, wow! A professional soccer player! He's here teaching the kids to play soccer, I wonder what he's teaching them?"
Energerio shook his head patiently. "No son, look closely. That is no soccer player, you're being deceived. That is your villain."
Sportacus' blue eyes widened in surprise then he frowned as he then saw through the disguise. "Robbie Rotten." he stated in a scolding tone. "I should have known."
"Rotten?" Energerio asked. "Is that his name? That's a pretty fitting villain name. He looks like a sneaky one."
"You have no idea." Sportacus laughed. "He's been playing tricks on us almost every day I think, except for rainy days. He's pretty persistent."
Energerio stiffened and turned to face his son sharply. "Everyday? What do you mean everyday? How long has this villain been in Lazy Town and why do you allow this to continue?" he demanded, his tone not to be reckoned with.
Sportacus cocked his head somewhat, a slight smile touching his lips. The trick with his father was to convince him of your point of view in a calm disarming way. "He was here before I arrived...why?"
Energerio was silent all of five seconds as he digested that. "Let me understand this. You have allowed this villain to remain in Lazy Town where he's endangering the people and small children.?!" the older elf demanded, his voice rising. "He could destroy their livelihood, their homes or hurt their children and yet you let him remain here! I thought I had trained you better than this!"
"Pabbi, Robbie is different, he's not dangerous, he just gets himself into a lot of mischief!" Sportacus defended.
"He tried to kill you, son, I can't ignore that!" Energerio said, his voice cold as ice. "And now look at him! He's hurting the children!"
Sportacus doubted both of these accusations very much but did glance down to see what Robbie was doing. He was holding some sort of device gesturing wildly to the still entrapped kids. They didn't look very happy about something but Robbie certainly looked pleased with himself. Sportacus rolled his eyes at the scene. Robbie was bullying the children a bit but he definitely wasn't harming them. He noted that Robbie's hair-style was a bit different than usual so he'd actually gone all out on this disguise.
"They're not hurt, Pabbi." Sportacus said, trying to calm his father as the older elf clenched his fists. "They're not even very upset or afraid yet, my crystal isn't beeping."
Energerio glanced at Sportacus' crystal but wasn't convinced. He had been a hero for most of his life and had fought horrible monsters and villains, so when someone threatened his own family he took it very personally.
"You should not have let that villain run wild! Imagine picking on children!" Energerio scolded. "It doesn't do him any good or anyone else! I will show this villain exactly what happens when you cross one of us! He will regret what he's done and won't dare step foot in Lazy Town again."
"Robbie isn't so bad, really, Pabbi, and besides he was here first."
"Stop calling that villain by his first name, Sportacus. You don't familiarize yourself with the enemy enough to be on first name basis! You call friends and neighbours by their names, not villains. Rotten is no friend, he is your enemy and belongs in jail or out of town."
Sportacus knew his father was used to fighting real threats every day so he felt a little concerned for Robbie. His father wouldn't really hurt him, would he? He knew there was no way for the other elf to understand the unique situation the hero and villain were in as neither had once raised blows to one another before. The closest had been was when Robbie had tried to sabotage the airship a few times. Was it possible Robbie had really tried to kill him this time like his father had said? He had a hard time believing it and would have to see the proof of this himself first as he didn't like to assume.
"Come Sportacus, let's take him down before he does too much damage to the town or children. He has to be stopped."
Energerio cracked his knuckles, readying himself for a fight. He grabbed a hold of the ladder then began his descent, only pausing to make sure Sportacus was alright on the ladder.
"Take it slowly." he ordered. "You're still not back up to full strength. I want you to be careful."
Sportacus gave him a grin. " I don't do anything slowly!"
Energerio frowned at him. "This time you will." he stated, his tone boding no room for discussion.
Sportacus knew that tone well and gave his father another dopey grin to ease the mans worry. Energerio obviously didn't trust his son not to flip down the ladder like a maniac so he himself took the ladder carefully so Sportacus was forced to do the same.
When they reached the bottom, both elves glanced around making sure they weren't seen then ran across to hide in the bushes near the children. There they waited to see what Robbie was going to do.
The children ran back to the playground dressed, dry and ready to play soccer. They were laughing and joking with each other as they hurried along, incredibly excited that someone other than Sportacus was going to train them. They were a bit disconcerted, however, to find their new soccer coach unconscious under a tree.
"Is he dead?" Stingy asked, approaching to poke him with one of his shoes cautiously.
He looked very uncertain and shifted slightly, not really wanting to touch him.
Ziggy leaned in really, really close to inspect Robbie and squinted his eyes thoughtfully. "Nope, just sleeping." he confirmed, when he saw the gentle rise and fall of Robbie's chest.
The children exchanged a look.
"Why is he sleeping? I thought he was going to play with us?" Trixie whined, giving him a kick in the shin.
Robbie gave a grunt of protest at the abuse and shifted slightly.
"Hmm," Pixel stated thoughtfully. "Well, professional athletes are extremely active and they play long hours with very little sleep. He probably just wanted to catch a small nap so he'd be ready to give us his all. He'll probably be completely rejuvenated now and be able to run circles around all of us."
"Great!" Stephanie said eagerly even though she was still quite annoyed over the boy comment. (she was pink for a reason you know!)
Ziggy had consumed as much candy as he could while at home and it was already beginning to show. He was twirling and bouncing all around the others and immediately spoke up when he heard this. "Let's wake him up!" he cried, pouncing on top of the unsuspecting Robbie.
On a major sugar rush he needed no help from the others and easily knocked the man flat to the ground. He began bouncing on him and tugging at his shirt.
"Wake up, wake up, wake up, Mr. RottenBurg! Wake up! Wake up!"
The noise and from being shaken violently caused Robbie to wake with a start and he let out a strange gargled 'gah!' of surprise. Annoyed stormy grey eyes focussed on wide innocent blue eyes and Ziggy gave him a smile. Robbie scowled in return. Now fully awake, he observed the now calm five year old sitting on his stomach.
"Hi." said Ziggy.
Robbie gave him a look of death. "What do you think you're doing, Twiggy?"
"Whatever." Robbie said pushing the child out of his lap. "Don't you know sleep is the most important part of the day? And you disturbed it!"
"Day?" Trixie questioned. "Don't you mean night?"
Stephanie crossed her arms impatiently. "Well, I thought you were going to teach us to play soccer?"
"I am!" Robbie defended.
"Say," Stingy said thoughtfully. "Why are you all wet? Were you playing in my sprinklers while we were gone?"
Robbie puffed himself up indignantly. "I most certainly was not."
"Those sprinklers are my private property."
Pixel who was the smartest out of the children, observed the situation and different possibilities for a moment then said.
"He probably got wet when he stepped off the hose."
The children all snickered at the image of that and Robbie was annoyed. "Oh, ha ha." he snapped, as they quieted down.
The children smiled at him but Robbie scowled at having been found out. He crossed his arms petulantly, stomped his foot angrily and turned his face away nose in the air.
"Maybe I don't want to play with you anymore." he stated.
Stephanie crossed her arms as the others gasped out their dismay. She gave him a long look then tossed her work-out towel over his head then ordered.
"Don't be so dramatic! Dry off, then you'll teach us your soccer tricks."
Put out that his tantrum didn't have an effect on the small girl, he removed the towel and glared at her. She glared right back.
"Well?" she demanded, raising an eyebrow.
"Annoying pink little troll." he muttered without malice, rubbing the towel over his hair. "You're lucky I'm in a good mood and am going to humour you."
"Good mood?!" Stingy whispered to the others. "To me it seems like he could have used the nap!"
Ignoring him, Robbie ran the towel over his shirt to see if that would dry it any. The children were giggling at him and when he looked up it didn't stop. His shirt was still damp and would have to air dry and he threw Stephanie back her towel. The giggling persisted.
"What?" he demanded.
"Heee, your hair looks funny, Mr. RottenBurg." Ziggy said, pointing.
Both of Robbie's eyebrow's rose in surprise and his hands instantly shot up to touch his hair. To his horror, he realized all his hair-gel and glue had come out in the water and he was left with regular hair. What was even worse however was that when he'd run the towel over his head it had made his hair stand up every which way like he had bed-head. It was a fashion disaster.
"Oh, for Pete's sake!" Robbie muttered. "Any of you brats have hair-gel?"
He received all head-shakes and 'no's.
"Who's Pete?" Ziggy asked, tugging on Robbie's shirt.
"Probably a relative of mine." Stingy replied.
"Stupidity is a relative of yours." Robbie muttered, stretching his arms slightly. There were several loud cracking and popping sounds and the children grimaced and exchanged looks.
"Well," Robbie said, clapping his hands together. "I think we've wasted enough time. The great RottenBurg cannot stay in Lazy Town FOREVER, so shall we get started?"
The kids all gave a loud cheer which caused Robbie to cover his ears and wince.
"Not so loud!" he said with a snip to the tone. "Cheer for me quietly, I have a headache."
"You're a little strange." Stephanie commented, following him to the large playing field.
Robbie didn't know how much time he had before Sportacus woke up but he had to make sure the children hated sportscandy and all outdoor activity before he did. He knew refined sugarcane juice was much more powerful than regular sugar so he figured he had a while yet.
When they entered the gate, the children, the children immediately ran over to set up the nets while Robbie approached the large wicker equipment chest. Whistling jauntily to himself he opened it and began rummaging inside, looking for a soccer ball. There was so much sports equipment shoved in there he had a difficult time locating one but was proud when he finally seized his prize.
The children were back from setting up the nets when he turned around and held up the soccer ball to Stephanie.
"There you go, you take the ball."
"Er...Mr. RottenBurg Sir?" Ziggy spoke up, tugging at the bottom of his shirt.
"What?" Robbie demanded impatiently.
"That's a basketball."
Robbie stared at the large red-ish ball blankly for a moment then was all confidence again.
"Of course it's a basketball! I was seeing if you knew! I was testing to see if I had to start all the way from scratch with you munchkins."
Robbie glanced back at the chest which was overflowing with different types of balls and equipment and hesitated.
"Whatever, how about if you get the ball?"
"Okay, it will be my pleasure!" the boy declared, scampering off.
Robbie had been working on a virtual realty soccer commission for a gaming company for the past several months (that's why he'd sewn the soccer uniform in the first place so he could see and try one on for himself to get in the mind set) and the company had requested he make the ball a bright red in colour. He had assumed that was the real colour of a soccer ball since they had insisted he make the game-play as realistic as possible. He'd had to actually memorize boring game manuals to make sure everything was right so it was strange for them to make it a red ball if that was incorrect.
He'd already made nine games for this company Cyberland, and he assumed they themselves were probably avid gamers so perhaps they didn't know the colour of a soccer ball either? The books he read were all text with no pictures or diagrams so he had no idea what the ball looked like. They gave him the information he needed for his virtual soccer game such as standard field dimensions, net information, standard size and weight of the ball but it never mentioned the colour.
Robbie frowned. Tech-geeks were real sticklers for these types of things; they seemed to look for any flaw they could find then whine about it. He should know, Pixel had bought every one of his games not that he knew Robbie made them) and had managed to find a small glitch in every one of them. Not anything that affected the game play of course (Robbie was meticulous about his games) but still something he could gloat about on the internet. Not everyone could find a problem with the great Glanni Glæpur's work after all. (All of Robbie's work was released under an alias as he rather liked his privacy and only took work that suited him. He got many offers as Glanni Glæpur was famous for his games and software but only chose the jobs which interested him)
Stingy returned carrying the soccer ball and Robbie stared at the ball, it being nothing like the ball in his game. This ball had octagonal sections whereas this ball was smooth, a very obvious difference.
"What is it, Mr. RottenBurg? Anything wrong?" Pixel asked.
Robbie shook his head. "No, it's fine. Nothing I won't fix later." Robbie said still frowning. He knew that he probably would have caught the mistake before it was released but the mere thought that it could have happened unsettled him. It would have been a lot harder to fix later after he'd already encrypted it.
"Okay, pip-squeaks, I'm going to go over some of the game rules."
"We know the game rules." Stephanie spoke up. "We've played before."
Robbie held up a finger to silence her. "You think you know the game rules, Pepto, but you've been playing the official BABY version. Are YOU a baby?"
"I'm not a baby!" Ziggy commented. "I'm five, I'm big now!"
The others nodded their agreements.
"Well, then take a seat and shut your traps."
The children sat down on the grass in a little group as Robbie quickly thought up what to say.
"Soccer is a very laid back past time." he began. "It's very much like a modelling career."
The kids didn't say a word but they looked at one another in question.
"Every game the players walk very slowly onto the field and the crowds cheer for them very quietly since in professional soccer there's a noise restriction and they show off all their new soccer uniforms. They usually have slight variations of last years uniforms to change it up a bit but of course always the same colours.
All the fans and reporters take photos and these end up in the sports magazines and on the internet. Sometimes the two teams do a choreographed show for the audience in many different poses to excite them, then when it is all over the winning team will sign autographs. My team has won many trophies and awards so I can show you lots of dramatic poses and walks so you can be a star!"
Every child was speechless for several seconds as they stared blankly at him.
Trixie wrinkled her nose. "You've got to be kidding me."
"Of course not." Robbie insisted. "This is real soccer, only babies play that other nonsense. You win trophies playing professional soccer, you get sweat from playing yours!"
"I like trophies!" Stingy piped up.
"I thought you might." Robbie said dryly.
Pixel pulled out his smart phone and began pushing a few buttons as Robbie continued.
"I'll show you some of the moves." he said, walking behind the children.
Without another word, he flipped the soccer net overtop of them, trapping them underneath, the open end of the net leaning against the wall.
"Hey!" Stephanie yelled at him. "What are you doing!"
"Some of my more advanced moved might put you in danger so it's for your own protection. I wouldn't want you to get hit in the face with a cleat, now would I?"
Stephanie could have easily pushed the net over herself and gave him an unconvinced look. "I don't think you're a soccer player at all!" she accused.
Robbie gave a gasp. "How dare you!" he said indignantly. "And here I took time out of my busy day to play with you and you're insulting me!"
"Aha!" Pixel said suddenly. "I knew you were wrong, I just looked it up! There are tons of pictures and videos of soccer stars actually performing the sport, like running and kicking! They're not just models!"
Robbie paused for a moment.
"Here, take a look!" Pixel said, handing the phone through the net. "It's the new Raspberry 8000, top of the line."
Robbie took the phone and glanced at the screen and was met with the sight of a soccer player in mid-run. He hit the button to the next picture and it showed player scoring a goal, covered in mud, sweat his face in growl of determination. The third picture showed a soccer player jumping up to hit the ball off his forehead, one that made Robbie wince in sympathy.
Robbie lowered the phone then smiled dastardly. "Poor, poor, Poodle."
"Whatever. Don't you recognize a photo-shoot when you see one? All of these soccer players are posing dramatically for the camera. I've done hundreds myself, the fans love it. They buy great big blow up posters for their walls of these sort of things."
His virtual realty soccer game made the player move in real life in order to move in the game to keep everything as realistic as possible so he had seen these moves often from his virtual team-mates so he knew how to imitate the poses he saw. He stood and positioned his feet, hands and elbows just so it looked like he was in the act of running very hard and thrust up his chin to make it look like he was straining from the effort of a very long run.
"Add a bit of water and mud to me and I'd look like I'd played an entire game. Easy as pie."
Pixel deflated slightly, but he wasn't quite ready to give up yet. "But what about the videos? I've seen sports videos!"
Robbie smiled encouragingly and nodded. "Videos sell better than even the pictures. Every soccer team makes a little video here and there to pose and look good. All they have to do is give the ball one good kick now and then and the fans are happy for weeks afterwards. There's no real effort, you can be lazy and still look good!"
Pixel felt defeated as he had no argument for this. Stephanie, however, was starting to suspect this indeed was not a soccer player at all. Sportacus had taught about soccer and he wouldn't lie to them, she was sure this RottenBurg was wrong.
"So you're a soccer star, right? The best there is?" she questioned.
Robbie puffed himself up. "Of course I am. World famous."
"Okay, then you should be able to kick the soccer ball like they do in the videos." she stated.
Robbie's eyes widened. Completely off-guard, his hands fumbled and he dropped the cell phone he was holding which hit a rock and bounced in the mud.
Pixel let out a strangled cry as Robbie stooped to pick up the dripping phone.
Pixel started to hyperventilate as the others tried to console him and Robbie wiped the phone on his shorts trying to see if he dry it off a bit. Wondering if it still worked, he hit the menu button, and a high pitched whirring noise filled the air. As he stared at the phone, the soccer ball sitting by Stingy's feet proceeded to deflate with a 'pop'.
"Hey my ball!" Stingy cried.
Robbie stared from the ball to the phone then back again which had been pointing in that general direction. "What was that?"
Pixel groaned and covered his face with both hands in pure stress. "All my modifications are running together! It appears that if aimed at a ball it causes it to go flat! This is terrible!"
Robbie paused for a moment as he continued staring at the phone. "Huh."
"You owe me a new Raspberry 8000." Pixel stated grouchily.
Not paying attention, Robbie pointed the phone at the sports chest and smiled wickedly as he pressed the button. Loud hissing could be heard as every ball deflated completely. A huge grin spread across his face when he saw the chest was no longer overflowing.
All the children were instantly yelling at him angrily, shaking at the net and Robbie snickered at their expressions.
"What did you do that for?!" Trixie yelled, shaking in rage.
"Yeah, those were mine!"
Ziggy looked up at him, blue eyes wide with tears. "All our balls are gone, Mr. RottenBurg!"
Robbie waved them all off dismissively. "You don't need them, they were bad for you. They give you leg cramps and sweaty bodies, nobody wants that, I did you a favour."
"But how will you kick a flat ball?" Ziggy asked. "You were going to show us your super-duper professional soccer star kick!"
"Oh!" Robbie said, feigning surprise and innocense. "I guess I won't be able to do it. Shoot and here I was so looking forward to it."
"That's okay." Stephanie said. "You can use my ball."
With that, she pulled out a bright pink soccer ball from behind her back. Robbie stared at the ball like it was some sort of dead rotted animal.
"Now you can show us your special soccer kick." she said..
"Where did you get that from?" Robbie asked, confused.
She gave him a smile, her eyes holding a challenging look to them and pushed the ball towards the netting.
"No seriously, where did it come from?! Where were you possibly keeping it?"
"I had it with me the entire time." Stephanie answered with a roll of her eyes. "Didn't you notice I was holding it?"
Robbie squinted at her. Everything about the girl was pink from head to toe so he supposed it was a possibility it had blended in with her and he had overlooked it. He lifted up the phone towards the ball and Stephanie's eyes narrowed.
"Don't you dare!" she hissed. "This ball is special to me! My parents gave it to me!"
Robbie stopped. "I wasn't going to." he lied, lifting the net high enough to get the ball. "I was just...joking."
"Right." Stephanie said skeptically.
Robbie had no desire to actually play soccer and kicking a ball seemed suspiciously like exercise to him so he wasn't very keen on it. He supposed he could handle one small kick just to shut them up and hoped he could manage to kick it further than a foot. He regretted saying anything about kicking in the first place, but he wasn't thinking at the time and got carried away.
Nose in the air, he said "I hope you know I'm not giving you a full show. I'll only give it a small kick just to demonstrate a bit. I only go all out when in the stadium, you're not paying customers after all."
"I have money." said Stingy holding up his piggy bank. "I want to see a big kick!"
Robbie gave a snort. "I don't take money from Pip-squeaks."
"Well, Sportacus can kick it really far!" Stingy persisted, clearly not impressed.
"No more comments from yellow parasites." Robbie stated, dropping the ball to the ground.
He pocketed the cell phone for future use then stared down at the round pink object before him. He glanced out across the small playing field knowing he would have to kick the ball at least to the middle, about thirty feet or so to qualify as a kick.
His clothes and hair were now dry and so he felt the full force of the summer heat beating down on him and it made him uncomfortable, especially under everyone's gaze. He was pale and not used to much light and wished he was still wet because he was sure he would start to burn soon. A slight rustling caught his attention and made him glance over towards the bushes near the children.
"Did you hear something?" he demanded. "What was that?"
"Stop stalling!" Stephanie ordered. "Get on with it! There's nothing there."
Robbie scowled. "Insufferable brat. Fine, I will kick the stupid ball, but it won't go far because now I'm annoyed with you."
Looking again at the hated round pink object of his doom, Robbie backed up several steps then took a deep breath. Setting his mouth into a grim line of determination he focussed his eyes only on the ball then went for it. He ran one step, two steps three steps then kicked the ball as hard as he could. It was a strange sensation to kick the ball, he felt a slight give to the leather as his foot connected solidly with it then to his utter amazement it shot straight across the field over the far wall. He saw it continue into the next field and roll into the corn-rows out of sight.
Robbie stood there dumbstruck as the children gave an impressed cheer.
He simply continued standing, mouth slightly agape in disbelief. "How in the world did I do that?" he wondered quietly to himself. "I've never kicked a ball before..."
"That was almost as far as Sportacus, Mr. RottenBurg!" Ziggy exclaimed. "You're amazing!"
Robbie stared blankly at the child still trying to figure this out. Robbie had tried his hand at quite a few different sports while scheming and sucked at them all so why was this different? There was a pause as he looked very confused for a moment then a thought occurred to him. His game. He had worked on that thing continuously for months, could that have anything to do with this? The game did make the user use motion to move in the game so is that where he learned this from?!
Robbie shook his head. Nope. He refused to believe a video game was responsible for making him able to kick, let alone a game he made. It was impossible. He was lazy and wanted to remain that way. Video games were good, sports were bad, that was life.
"My soccer ball is in the corn field." Stephanie stated, looking up at Robbie expectantly.
"Well, you kicked it there!"
"It'll be fine, we don't need it anymore."
"You kicked it, you get it, that's the way it works!" Stephanie said, crossing her arms. Her big brown eyes were staring at him challengingly. "It's important to me and I don't want it to get lost!"
Robbie crossed his arms right back. He was tired of being ordered around by an eight-year old so he decided to give her a bit of a scare later. For now, however, he gave her a fake smile.
"I'll go get it, be right back."
Once his back was turned, he smiled deviously.
Sportacus and Energerio reached the bushes directly beside the children and peered out to see what Robbie was doing. He was picking up the device he'd been holding just a moment before off the ground and Pixel let out a cry of distress at the sight of it. Both elves had a hand over their crystals to quiet them as the tech geek was obviously was very upset and they could only assume he recognized what the device was and saw it was dangerous.
"See, son. He's going to shoot the children!" Energerio said very lowly.
"I don't think Robbie would do something like that, Pabbi." Sportacus whispered back.
A pop and hissing sound drew their attention back and they saw Robbie had deflated the soccer ball sitting beside Stingy. Sportacus stared for a moment with highly disapproving eyes as he would have to pump that up later and looked over at his father. He was shocked to see an almost murderous look on his face.
"He could have hit the child with that blast!" he snarled. "That monster has to be stopped!"
They couldn't hear anything that was being said between Robbie and the children as they were a bit too far away but watched as he aimed the device at the sports-chest and flattened all the children's balls as they yelled out their protests. Both elves had to cover their crystals again.
"That's just plain petty." Energerio said angrily. "A grown man picking on little children! He has no conscience at all!"
"Robbie is different is all." Sportacus tried to explain. "He does do a lot of naughty things but he doesn't mean any real harm, I don't think. I'll have a talk with him after."
"I told you not to call that villain by his first name! He's poisoning this town and if you won't teach him a proper lesson then I will. It appears you need to be shown how to handle a villain."
They looked back out and saw Robbie now stood in front of a pink soccer ball, the voices of the children encouraging.
Sportacus smiled. "Robbie's going to kick the soccer ball! I've never been able to get him to play any games with me! I have to get closer to see."
He started to crawl a bit through the bush but his father pounced on him, knocking him flat to the ground, causing the whole bush to rattle.
"Stay out of sight!" Energerio warned, as Robbie turned to stare at the bush suspiciously.
Both elves held their breath as he stared directly at their hiding spot for a moment or two but then he turned back to the ball. He backed up from it and Sportacus watched transfixed, never having seen Robbie willingly perform a sport before. All of a sudden Robbie went for it and he was shocked at what he saw. Robbie's expression was one of fierce determination, his eyes only on the ball and as he went to kick, Sportacus was further surprised to see Robbie used the proper form and position for kicking a ball. Sportacus' jaw dropped when Robbie kicked the ball solidly it went clear across the field and over the wall.
Unable to stop himself, Sportacus jumped to his feet to get a better look and was in clear view as he stared across the field as the ball finally came to a rest in a cornfield . He didn't think Robbie had it in him and was about to run across to congratulate him when his father dragged him out of view again. No one had seen him as they too were staring across the field but Energerio was still angry. He gave him a light swat upside the back of the head.
"He could have blasted you with that device!"
Sportacus squirmed uncomfortably. "But, Pabbi, didn't you see what Robbie just did? He's never done anything like that before! I have to encourage him or he might never do it again!"
Energerio gave a heavy sigh. "You don't have to encourage the villain to eat healthy and exercise because they will be leaving town or going to jail anyway so there's no point."
Sportacus pushed aside some of his blond hair. "Everyone should be healthy."
Energerio stared at his son a moment. "You are young and don't understand that sometimes the villain doesn't wish to be saved. That is their choice and why we the heroes have to stop them, no matter the cost."
Sportacus knew his father had been a hero longer than he'd been alive but in Robbie's circumstance it didn't feel right. Robbie wasn't some big, evil super-villain bent on world domination, he was just an overly lazy, grouchy individual whose maturity was on par with most of the children in the town.
"Pabbi, I think you should let me talk to Robbie, I'll find out what happened, I don't think you should be the one to do it..."
Energerio gave his son a 'look'. "He tried to kill you, he's been wreaking havoc in this town, now he's torturing and frightening the children! I'll be the one to deal with him, not you as I want you to see how he needs to be dealt with!"
They looked back out and saw Robbie walking away across the field in the direction of the soccer ball.
"Okay, now let's release the children before he returns." Energerio said, standing.
Sportacus stood as well and the two elves instantly drew the attention of the children.
"Sportacus!" Ziggy yelled happily.
"Took you long enough!" Stingy said. "I thought you said you were just going inside for lunch!"
"Yeah, where were you?" Trixie demanded. "And who's the geezer?"
"You were gone so long!" Stephanie said worriedly.
Sportacus tilted his head slightly and gave them a smile. "I know, I'm sorry, I was gone so long. I had another sugar melt-down. I didn't mean to worry you all."
The children all let out a gasp. They remembered the last time Sportacus had a meltdown and it was horrible.
"This is my father, he's number nine Energerio, he was the one who trained me to be a hero. He used to be the hero of lazy town many years ago. He came to help when I was in trouble."
"Hello, children" Energerio said with a very kind smile. "How are you?"
"You're Sportacus' daddy?" Ziggy asked, a bit shy of the old elf.
Energerio yellow striped uniform almost seemed to shine in the sun as he knelt down to Ziggy's level. "Yes, and I used to be the town hero here in Lazy Town a very long time ago. I hope we can become good friends just like you are with my son."
"Are you staying?" Pixel asked.
"I'll be staying for a few days for a visit then I have to get back."
"Will you play with us like Sportacus does?" Trixie asked. "Cause you're kinda old..." She was staring at his grey hair and mustache uncertainly.
Energerio did a backflip much to the children's delight and he gave them a smile. "This old man still has some tricks up his sleeves so don't give up on me that easily!"
The kids gave a laugh already liking the older elf but something was still bothering Pixel.
"Are you okay, Sportacus?" Pixel asked in concern. "Your last melt-down wasn't so long..."
Sportacus bounced up and down on the balls of his feet and gave the boy a grin to ease the worry. "I'm perfectly fine now. How are you kids doing?"
"We've been receiving soccer lessons from a famous soccer pro!" Ziggy said as Energerio lifted the net off of them and threw it to the side.
"Can you tell me quickly what's been going on, children?" Energerio asked, again kneeling down to their level.
As the kids recounted everything that had happened thus far, Sportacus and Energerio exchanged looks. It seemed Robbie was trying his usual plans of getting the kids to be inactive and went all out this time with elaborate stories and lies. By the children's excited looks it even looked like he's succeeded in making them believing him.
"What are his motives in doing this?" Energerio whispered to Sportacus. "Is he just playing mind games with them or is he experimenting on them somehow?"
"No, Pabbi, it's exactly what it looks it."
Energerio frowned, trying to find out what the evil purpose for Robbie's strange complicated plan was.
When the children had finished, a figure could be seen trudging his way back across the field, ball in hand.
"Look, here comes Mr. RottenBurg now!" Ziggy exclaimed, excitedly. "You'll have to meet him Sportacus, he can kick almost as far as you!"
Sportacus shook his head at him. "That is no soccer star, children, soccer is running and kicking the ball into the net like I showed you, not just modelling clothes like you were told. That's Robbie who was playing with you, he was tricking you."
The children all let out shocked and angry gasps and placed their hands on hips indignantly.
"Robbie Rotten!" they all cried in annoyance and exasperation.
Robbie was only a few yards away and looked up when he heard his name and froze when he saw Sportacus and Energerio as well as the angry looks from the children. Realizing he was somehow caught, he dropped the soccer ball and started to back away.
"Um...hi. I was just playing soccer with the kids." he said with the air of innocense to Sportacus. "So, I guess I'll be off then..."
He went to skedaddle off but before he could, a large muscled arm reached out and grabbed the back of his shirt and yanked him back harshly. Robbie looked back in confusion to see Energerio with a firm hold on his shirt with a murderous look on his face. How had he gotten to him so fast? Robbie's eyes widened as he recognized the old elf and he struggled to pull away.
"You are going to pay for what you've done to my boy and these fine townspeople! Your reign of terror ends here and I'm going to leave such an impression on you that you'll never forget it! You tried to murder him and that I cannot forgive!"
Robbie just stared at him as he was pulled closer. "Egh?" he questioned.
Energerio shoved Robbie hard to the ground and before Robbie could crawl out of the way, he delivered a solid kick to his side. The children let out a gasp, instantly losing all anger towards the villain as he tried to scramble away in pure terror. Energerio grabbed a hold of him again and pulled him halfway up and raised his fist about to punch him as hard as he could. Robbie's eye's were desperate and terrified, as no one had ever attacked him before in earnest and he could only stare up at the other mans hard lined face which was masked in hate.
"Nooooo!" came a loud cry from Ziggy.
Energerio paused fist just inches from Robbie's face as every child ran over to cling to Robbie protectively. Their faces were buried into his clothing, arms around him, trying desperately to cover as much of him as they could.
"Leave Robbie alone!" Stephanie begged. "Don't hurt him, he's not so bad!"
"He doesn't deserve this!" Pixel cried.
"He's our play-mate!" Ziggy put in.
"I'm not!" Robbie protested, although he still looked scared out of his wits.
"Pabbi you're putting Robbie in danger, my crystal is going off for him." Sportacus stated evenly.
This caused Energerio to look up. He stared at Sportacus' furiously blinking crystal then at Robbie in confusion.
"Why would your crystal blink for him?!" he asked. "Crystals only blink for regular citizens not those with evil in their hearts, this doesn't make sense."
"That's what I've been trying to tell you!" Sportacus said desperately. "Robbie's not evil, he's a regular citizen that gets into a lot of trouble!"
"But he almost killed you son, that's no act of a simple citizen!"
Robbie's eyes widened. "He almost died?" he gasped.
Energerio looked down at him and narrowed his eyes. "You didn't mean to almost kill Sportacus? That wasn't your intent?"
Robbie's grey eyes were filled with guilt and fear as he averted his gaze and dug the toe of one shoe in the dirt rather self-consciously.
"No, I didn't want to actually hurt him..." Robbie said in a small voice. "I just wanted to him sleep a while, I didn't know this would happen."
He looked back up at Energerio for a moment and the elf was struck by how much Robbie looked like a small child caught with his hand in the cookie jar rather than an adult in the midst of a malicious act. His reactions and expression at the current situation were that of a guilty child not a villain and Energerio knew he would have to deal with this situation differently as it appeared he couldn't just pummel this one. He was too child-like for his conscience to allow it. He also couldn't get the strange inkling that he recognized Robbie from somewhere but for the life of him he couldn't think of where.
"Right then." he said, dragging Robbie up to his feet and away from the children.
Without a word, he yanked him over to the soccer bench and forced him to sit down then stood towering over him threateningly.
"I'm going to ask you some questions and you're going to answer them, is this clear? You give me one ounce of trouble and I'll plow you one."
Robbie took one look at the angry eyes and large muscles even bigger than Sportacus' and gave a nervous nod.
"Right then, are you the one who put sugar cane juice in Sportacus' water bottle?"
Unbelievably nervous, Robbie gave a noncommital shrug.
"YES or NO?" boomed Energerio.
Robbie shook his head as he averted his eyes to the ground.
Energerio's eyes flashed. "What was that?!"
Instantly, Energerio was leaning over Robbie, his expression stern and not impressed at all. "You will not lie to me is this understood? I am not in a very good mood today so I would not push it if I were you as you are on very thin ice as it is. Now, admit it."
Again, Robbie shook his head.
"You've already admitted you've done it!" Energerio stated evenly. "You said so yourself, earlier, so I want to hear you say it now!"
Robbie paused as he wrung his hands uneasily, then he slumped visibly. "I put sugar in Sportacus' water." he admitted.
Energerio nodded and crossed his arms. "Why?" he demanded.
Another uneasy shift. "I didn't want him to interfere in my plans and I knew sugar made him sleepy so I gave him enough to knock him out for the afternoon."
"Is that so?" Energerio asked lightly and thoughtfully. "Is. That. So." he chuckled humourlessly in a way that made Robbie a bit nervous.
Energerio leaned over Robbie so they were practically nose to nose then asked. "Do you know why our kind do not or can not eat sugar?"
Robbie leaned back almost falling off the bench. "Because it's unhealthy?" he guessed, gulping nervously.
Energerio stared hard into Robbie's eyes looking for any sign of deceit. The eyes were showing signs of fear and childish guilt but he saw no signs of downright deception.
"Sugar is like a poison to elves, it pollutes our bodies and can do serious and permanent damage!" Energerio snarled angrily, slamming both hands down on the bench hard. "I don't understand why you would ever do such a thing! Would you trick a diabetic into eating sugar as well?! Do you really sink that low?"
"I...I didn't know!" Robbie said, his expression desperate and increasingly upset.
Energerio wanted to really impress on Robbie the seriousness of the situation so he persisted, despite the obvious shine that Robbie's eyes were beginning to take.
"Do you have any idea what it was like for me to find my son lying on the floor in a coma? I thought he was dead!"
"I didn't know it would hurt him, it was an accident!" Robbie insisted, glancing over at Sportacus who was watching him with a look of extreme compassion, not a trace of anger in his blue eyes. He even offered Robbie a small smile of encouragement. This being too much, Robbie felt a tear slide down his cheek and he swiped at it irritably. "I didn't want to actually hurt him." he repeated.
"Well you did, and for what purpose may I ask? What 'plan' was so important that you had to almost kill my son to accomplish it?"
Robbie didn't answer.
Energerio waited a moment then gave him a nudge on the knee. "Well?"
Robbie swiped at his eyes again then mumbled something unintelligible.
Energerio cocked his head to the side and raised an eyebrow. "What was that?"
"I wanted the kids to be lazy." he replied a bit louder.
There was silence for a good several seconds as Energerio just stared at him then he said but one word in a fierce tone. "Explain."
Sportacus saw how upset Robbie was getting as his crystal had been beeping since the lecture began so he decided to see what he could to help. Although he knew Robbie did technically deserve a bit of a talking to he knew his father could be a bit frightening if you weren't used to him. Throwing on a small, disarming smile, he sat down beside Robbie and looked up at his father.
"Robbie doesn't like loud noise, Pabbi, he's very lazy and sleeps all the time so when the children play outside it bothers him. I've been encouraging them to eat healthy and stay active and healthy so Robbie has been trying get them to do the opposite and eat unhealthy and be very lazy and stay indoors so the town is quiet. That's what all of his traps and schemes are about, making lazy town lazy."
"You have got to be joking me." Energerio stated, rubbing his forehead in exasperation. "Your entire villain schtick is based around a goal that a five year old could have come up with? This is almost unbelievable. If my own son didn't tell me I would said it was a lie!"
Robbie was highly offended at this as his mission in life was a high and noble one but under the stern glare of the elf he felt very small and didn't say a word. He simply wiped at his eyes again and stared at the ground.
"Now all the lies you told the children! You must have told them twenty different lies today to pull them into your web of deceit! You should know lying is wrong, you're old enough to know better! You're an adult!"
Robbie stayed silent and didn't look up, instead scuffing at the ground with one cleat.
"You flattened all the children's balls they had in the sport's chest without any reason at all! Now that was just plain petty and mean! At that point you were bullying them just as you were when you were calling them names! And don't think I didn't notice that pink ball you brought back had half the air let out, you did THAT just to be cruel! You knew that ball was special!"
At that, Stephanie let out a gasp and ran over to her pink ball which Robbie had dropped on the ground earlier and picked it up. Sure enough, it was partially flat, just enough so it wouldn't be able to be kicked properly.
"Robbie!" Stephanie cried out, distraught. "My parents gave this to me! It was special!"
Her brown eyes were filling with tears and never did Robbie feel so much like a heal. He had reacted out of annoyance at the time, not really thinking very far ahead.
Energerio crossed his arms, clearly not impressed. "Why would you ruin her ball after she told you it was something she treasured?" he demanded.
"I was angry at her." Robbie admitted. "She was bossing me around and complaining a lot. I...I just wanted to get even."
Sportacus placed a hand on Robbie's knee. "That's not how you tell people you are unhappy with them." he said gently. "You have to talk to them, not hurt them or their feelings."
Energerio would have worded it a bit more strongly than that as he was quite annoyed, but he nodded all the same at his sons explanation.
"You really are a child." Energerio stated with obvious annoyance. "I see why my son is trying so hard to include you in the group. You seem to have the social skills of a five year old. You ruined a gift from her parents which can never be replaced as it has emotional and sentimental value. The least you can do now is apologize to her."
Robbie couldn't stop the tears, no matter how hard he tried to hold them back. He looked over at Stephanie and felt his lip tremble slightly. He'd never been lectured like this before and didn't like the uncomfortable feeling it gave him and the guilty feelings it made him have. This wasn't the way it was supposed to be.
"I'm sorry Stephanie." he said in a very small but sincere voice. "I'm sorry for ruining it for you."
Stephanie could not bring herself to hate him considering the tears and miserable look he gave her. Robbie stood to his feet, refusing to meet anyone's eyes and turned away. He gave a loud sniff and was silent a moment then said.
"I'm going home."
As he started walking away, Sportacus stood in concern and looked at his father who simply watched solemnly. Sportacus felt terrible. Robbie was upset, he couldn't just let him leave like this!
"Robbie, wait!" Sportacus called loudly, jogging after him. "Wait up!"
Robbie immediately took off in a run, surprising Sportacus. He obviously wanted to distance himself as far away from everyone as possible and Sportacus stopped after only taking a few steps.
A hand was set on his shoulder and he looked up to see his father smiling at him. "Let him go son, he'll be fine. Give him time to calm down then he'll be out and about again but hopefully a bit more wise."
"But, pabbi, he's very upset..."
"Of course he is, I just scolded him, that's to be expected. Don't you remember how it felt to be on the receiving end of a scolding? That certainly takes you down a peg or two."
Sportacus certainly did remember. "Robbie isn't used to it though...maybe I should go talk to him..."
"Leave him be, son, take my advice. He'll get over it after he has a good sulk."
Their conversation was interrupted when all five of the children all rushed up to hug Sportacus. They squeezed him tightly as if their lives depended on it as they missed him and much had taken place and Ziggy grinned up at him.
"You're okay now right, Sportacus?" he asked.
"Yes, I'm very good, Ziggy." Sportacus assured the small boy
"You were sick?" he asked.
"Only for a little while, but now I'm all better and ready to play again!"
The small blond boy nodded, seemingly satisfied.
"So Robbie really crossed the line this time?" Pixel questioned.
"Well, with me it was an accident that could have been serious, that's why we wanted him to know that he couldn't do things like that again. If any of you ever do anything dangerous to yourselves or anyone else you'll get a similar lecture, so keep that in mind."
The children exchanged looks, definitely not expecting this.
Stephanie gave him a smile. "I'm glad you're okay."
Sportacus returned her smile.
Energerio gave the children a wide grin. "So, kids, what games would you like to play? You'll have to introduce this old man to all of your 'hip' new activities."
Stephanie's eyes lit up as she instantly knew what to introduce him to. Running to the sidewall where the stereo sat she hit the on button and a very familiar tune began to play. As all the children cheered and began to dance Stephanie beckoned to Energerio.
"What's this then?" he asked, eyes twinkling.
"Bing bang?" he questioned.
Stephanie grabbed a hold of his callused hands in hers and pulled him over with the others. "Come on, I'll show you! Sportacus usually does it with me but you can try!"
Energerio gave the excited girl a smile and nodded as she showed him the dance moves and Sportacus who was watching realized no one was paying him the slightest bit of attention any longer. He glanced one direction, then the other then ran in the direction of Robbie's billboard before anyone would notice he was missing. He just couldn't leave anyone feeling so upset, he had to help. His crystal had been beeping constantly so he knew his father had to be mistaken that Robbie was alright.
Robbie was curled into a small ball of misery on his orange chair, sobbing wretchedly feeling very sorry for himself. This was the worst day ever in the history of bad days and he hoped he never had to face number nine again. He felt humiliated and degraded and just wanted to drown his pains in junk food, preferably chocolate.
He heard the clunk as someone opened the hatchway door of his aboveground entrance and then the whoosh as said person slid down the pipe. Too miserable to even move, he instead buried his head under a pillow and hoped whoever it was would go away. There was silence for about ten seconds then he felt a hand on his back.
Robbie scowled. Should have known. "Gway." came the muffled response.
Sportacus could see how hard Robbie was crying and sat down on the edge of the chair beside him and gently pulled away the pillow.
"I know you're upset, but you'll be all right in a little while."
"No I won't."
Much against Robbie's will, Sportacus pulled him into a tight hug. "A scolding hurts your feelings but it's for your own good."
Robbie tried to struggle away but Sportacus' hold was like steel. "Let go Sportakook!" he snarled. "Quit mauling me!"
"No, Robbie." Sportacus said, shaking his head. "I think you need a hug as much as you needed the scolding."
"I don't!" Robbie yelled, breaking into fresh sobs. "Go away!"
Sportacus pulled Robbie more tightly against himself with a simple 'shh' and Robbie at this point seemed to give up and go limp in Sportacus' arms sobbing hard against the others mans chest.
"I'm your friend, I'll always be here to help you, Robbie. That's a promise."
"I'm..sniff.. not your friend." Robbie managed to get out between sobs and sniffles.
"I may not be your friend but you'll always be mine. I like you Robbie, I wish you would join in our games more often."
Robbie was silent. Sportacus had just offered a one way friendship where Robbie could keep hurting him over and over and Sportacus would take it because he was his friend. Robbie never realized the dumb blue elf actually thought of him as one of his friends, he always assumed he was just another citizen to him. It made him feel a little strange.
Neither said anything for a long time as Robbie cried until finally the sobs eased off and only the occasional sniffle was heard. He had been embarrassed more than anything during the scolding but also he felt guilt which usually wasn't an emotion in his repertoire. Robbie was surprised the bouncing maniac was able to sit still so long and cautioned a look up at him. He got a bright, cheery smile in return.
"Feeling better now?" Sportacus asked still smiling.
"I'm sorry." Robbie stated.
Sportacus cocked his head. "Hmm? Sorry for what?"
Robbie rolled his eyes. "Stupid elf. "I'm sorry for almost killing you. Would you like me to put it on the inside of a Hallmark card for you?"
"It's okay, Robbie, it was an accident. I'm not angry. I hope you understand how dangerous sugar is and are more careful now. No one's truly angry at you, even my father. I know he comes across hard at first but it's for your own good really, he's very good-hearted and kind. He takes a bit of getting used to but you'll learn to love him just like everyone else."
Robbie looked away. "I won't." he stated stubbornly. "That elf can't be trusted."
Sportacus gave a laugh, his eyes crinkling slightly. "Robbie! That's not very nice!"
Robbie said nothing more, he simply stared at the floor, his eyes clouded. After a minute or two he pulled away from Sportacus and sat up straight in the chair.
"Stephanie isn't up there cursing my name and planning revenge is she?" he questioned.
Sportacus shook his head. "She was singing Bing Bang when I left, she's fine."
He then looked up at Sportacus and asked hopefully. "Can you fix it? Can you fix her ball?"
Sportacus smiled and nodded. "You just let out the air, I can pump it back up, Robbie."
Robbie then stood to his feet and seemed very much like his old self, cat-like and arrogant.
"Nothing changes." he stated. "I still want you out of town and I will get Lazy Town back to the way it was. My next plan won't be foiled so easily!"
Sportacus jumped to his feet with a flip. "Of course Robbie, but I think you would like it a lot better if you joined us instead. You're not as inactive as you think, you know, that was quite the soccer kick and fast run you did earlier. I was impressed."
Robbie retracted like he'd been stuck with a pin. "I don't know what you're talking about! I think you'd better leave, Sportaquack! This is private property and you are trespassing!"
"Okay, Robbie." Sportacus said, clearly amused. "I'll see you later."
"Go on, scat!"
Sportacus reached the pipe and just before he went up it he gave Robbie a cheeky grin. "Nice hair," he commented. "I like it."
And with that he jumped up the pipe and was gone. Robbie's hands instantly shot up to his gel-less hair and scowled after the elf.
"Stupid elf, just you wait. You won't be able to stop me. My next plan will be my greatest yet and I'll make sure Lazy Town stays lazy FOREVER!"
Robbie then winced and placed a hand on his back. "Ow, blasted soccer kicks."
He sunk down into his orange fuzzy chair where he proceeded to fall asleep within seconds.