ACT 9

The Narrator:

Meanwhile, Emperor Alphonse wasn't too pleased about the progress of his siege upon the forest.

(Alphonse stands at the throne room window, telescope drawn and jaw on the floor.)

Alphonse:

I can't believe it! Where did all of these animals come from?!

Ophelia:

(packing her bags)

The forest— where do you think?

Alphonse:

But… but they're just animals. There's no reason for so many of my miraculous robot soldiers to fall at the hands of.. of..

(looks at his telescope)

… a herd of rabbits!

Ophelia:

Well whatever the case, I'm getting out of here!

(she makes a run for the door)

Alphonse:

No! Nobody leaves!

Robot servants, stop her!

(Richard and the Empress spring from their ridged positions as tea servers, blocking Ophelia's escape. They continue to jerk against the robot armor covering their arms and legs.)

Richard:

You underestimated the strength of the forest, Alphonse.

Just give it up.

The Empress:

Yeah! You leave those cute little animals alone!

I never signed up for this type of war.

It's so tacky!

(They unwillingly usher Ophelia back to Alphonse when the throne room doors burst open. The rightful Emperor and the Nightingale run in, weapons drawn. Everyone in the room gasps.)

Alphonse:

YOU! And what's this?

You have your little bird friend with you.

Well isn't this rich?

The Nightingale:

(to the Emperor, readying her sword)

I'm going to kill him.

The Emperor:

(to the Nightingale)

Wait.

(steps forward to address Alphonse)

Give me back that crown, Alphonse, and this can all stop.

Alphonse:

Oh, but we're just getting started.

Behold, my most glorious secret weapon:

The Apocalyptic Battlebot 3000!

(Alphonse pushes a red button on a remote, signaling the castle walls to open up. They watch from the tower as a robot, massive and dangerous rolls onto the battlefield. It has knives sticking out of every possible surface on its chrome body and a large, deadly cannon that is charging up to fire upon the animals on the battlefield.)

Alphonse:

You were fools to come here.

With you two out of the way, there will be no one left to stop my Battlebot from obliterating your army.

Robot Guards!

(Richard and the Empress squirm, standing at attention.)

Alphonse:

Put an end to these intruders.

(The Empress leaps upon the Nightingale, wrestling her to the ground beneath the weight of the robotic suit.)

(Richard tackles the Emperor, pinning him as well.)

The Empress:

I'm very sorry! I don't want to hurt you.

Well maybe a little.

But not like this!

(she squeaks when the Nightingale flips her. The two continue to grapple)

The Emperor:

(choking beneath Richard's grasp)

Richard, I'm sorry.

Richard:

(stops struggling long enough to ask)

What did you say?

The Emperor:

I'm so sorry I didn't remember you.

After all you've done for me.

After all the great adventures we had.

Losing you as a friend will always be my…

(chokes)

…greatest regret.

Richard:

Donovan.

(Alphonse and Ophelia cackle while their robot servants continue to overpower the Emperor and the Nightingale. Outside, the Apocalyptic Battlebot 3000's cannon is nearly charged and poised to decimate the forest.)

(With a monumental amount of effort, Richard's hands release the Emperor's neck. With shuddering arms, and a newfound hope-propelled strength, the woodsman grips the sides of his helmet and rips the device off his head.)

Richard:

(panting, holds his hand out to the Emperor)

You never lost my friendship, buddy.

The Emperor:

(takes it and stands)

(Together, they run over to the Empress and rip the helmet off her head. She screams at the sudden jolt of electricity and stumbles back.)

(Richard has to hold the Nightingale back from attacking her.)

The Emperor:

It's over, Alphonse. Hand over the crown!

(Richard, The Nightingale, and The Empress stand behind him— fists and robot knuckles at the ready.)

Ophelia:

(cowers behind the throne)

Alphonse:

It's not over till it's over Donnie! And your time's up!

(he points out the window to the Apocalyptic Battlebot 3000, which is moments away from firing upon the forest)

You've lost! You've lost it all! You simpletons and your petty emotional problems will stand in my way no longer!

Welcome to the new era!

Welcome to my glorious victory!

(Outside on the battlefield, the Raven approaches the Apocalyptic Battlebot 3000 and punches it in one swift fatal blow. The robot crumples to the ground and its lights extinguish with a simpering sizzle.)

(The Raven gives a thumbs up to those observing from the throne room tower.)

The Nightingale:

Good job, honey!

Alphonse:

(falls to his knees)

OKAY! OKAY!

Don't hurt me.

It was never my idea in the first place.

It was her!

(points to Ophelia)

She is the mastermind!

Ophelia:

(incredulously)

Excuse me?

The Emperor:

(removes the crown from Alphonse's head and places it on his own)

I command everyone to stop this fighting now!

(Outside, the robot soldiers freeze in their tracks and collapse to the ground. The animals waste no time in standing over them and cheering uproariously. The townspeople who were mistakenly netted shake loose from the robot captors and join in.)

(The Emperor, The Empress, Richard, and The Nightingale stand on the tower and greet the kingdom.)

The Emperor:

My dearest subjects…

Human and animal alike.

Please accept my most sincere apologies.

I have not been a good Emperor for a long time, just like I haven't been a very good husband.

(he takes the Empress' hand)

Or friend.

(he takes Richard's hand)

Or neighbor.

(he turns to look at the Nightingale)

But all of that changes today.

From now on, ours will be a peaceful kingdom. It will be a considerate one where we live alongside each other in freedom, harmony, and healthy coping mechanisms!

(The animals and the townspeople cheer.)

The Emperor:

I promise to do better for you.

(he looks to his friends)

And for myself.

(The Empress, Richard, and The Nightingale smile, their expressions falling slightly as Alphonse and Ophelia attempt to creep out of the throne room. The second they open the large gold doors, they are greeted by the Raven, whose looming form and dark shadow quickly swallows the room.)

(He scoops them up by their collars, walking to join the others at the balcony.)

The Narrator:

That night, the Emperor decided to throw one last impromptu party.

The Lamplighter:

Oh mercy me.

The Narrator:

It was more like a clean-up party. But there was dancing. And plenty of food. The animals that were being held captive in the palace were released. Elks and foxes and bears enjoyed swimming in the numerous royal pools. Townspeople were invited to explore the forest and experience its magic as enthusiastic spectators. Meanwhile, The Emperor and his court helped clear the remaining robot debris.

(Beneath the glow of twinkling lights, every inhabitant of the kingdom— whether they are two or four legged— dances with joy.)

The Narrator:

The Emperor, who had thrown countless proper ragers in his lifetime, had never felt a joy so pure as being among his friends and subjects that night.

(The Emperor and Empress twirl around the dance floor, breaking off to do-si-do with their subjects. When the Emperor passes Richard, they high-five. When he passes the Nightingale, he gives her a little twirl before noticing the Raven and promptly putting his hands in the air.)

(Alphonse and Ophelia stand nearby, trays full of drinks at the ready. The royal entourage members work nearby to haul away robot parts.)

The Narrator:

For the first time in a long time, all was right in the kingdom.

And so, dancing beneath the stars and upon the trampled trash that used to be death bots, they all lived happily ever after.

END