Sportacus was sitting on his bed, flipping through a thick book about rare plants, vegetables and fruits. He liked reading and learning. When he looked at the colorful pictures, he imagined how they would taste. He loved red ones; they always tasted sweet and were sparkling with energy. The green ones were refreshing and the yellow ones a bit sour. He realized that he was hungry and that he really needed to eat something.
Suddenly his crystal came to life, and started to beep. "Someone's in trouble," he said, tossing the book aside. Jumping to his feet, he ordered the door to open and ran to the platform. Skillfully, he climbed down the ladder. His crystal told him that it was Stingy, who was about to bump into a wall, driving his car.
"Stingy and his car," he thought, while flipping to the boy, who was humming happily. Stingy liked to be on his own. With his things. Suddenly, Stingy screamed, as his car became faster and he raced down the hill. Before Stingy crashed into the stone wall, Sportacus had reached him. He grasped the car and stopped it. "Thank you, Sportacus," Stingy whispered. The boy was pale and had grabbed the steering wheel so hard, his knuckles had turned white. "There's no spot on my car, is there?"
Letting out the breath he had been holding, Sportacus grinned: "No, I hope not. And you're welcome, Stingy. Try to be more careful the next time." Stingy, however, didn't listen to him, because he was looking for spots and scratches on his newly polished car. Sportacus' stomach was growling. Slowly jogging, he went back to his airship.
"Mister! Hey, Mister!", a voice called. Sportacus spun round and saw an old lady, sitting in a rocking chair. There were baskets and boxes full of fruits and vegetables next to her. Sportacus stopped and flipped back to her. "I wonder," the old woman said hoarsely, "if you liked some fruits? I bet you've never seen them before."
Now, Sportacus was interested. What a coincidence! He stepped closer and looked into the baskets. Indeed, there were things, he had never seen before. There were dark drown ones, pink and blue ones. Fruits with long fur that looked like fluffy balls. Some were covered with stripes and dots. And they smelled really good.
"This is fantastic!", Sportacus exclaimed. "I love fruits and vegetables. They're sportscandy."
The old woman chuckled. "Sportscandy? That's a funny name. Who are you anyway? Why are you wearing this costume?"
"I'm, " Sportacus paused, trying to find the right words, "I'm Sportacus. I help the people here in LazyTown."
"So you're a superhero?", the woman asked, clapping her hands with glee. "Well..I'm a slightly above average hero – so to say," Sportacus replied.
"Oh my…you know what? I want to give you one fruit for free. Just take one!"
Sportacus blushed slightly. "I can't accept that."
"You're such a decent man. Let me pick one for you."
The lady only glanced quickly into her containers; then she grasped a red fruit with yellow spots. It looked like a large strawberry. "Take it. You'll like it."
"Thank you very much. Bye!"
"Wait, take a bite and tell me what you think."
"Of course!" Sportacus did as the old lady said. The fruit was the best thing, he had ever eaten. It was sweet, but not too sweet. It was refreshing and filling. He licked his lips. "That's delicious!"
"I thought so," the woman said, nodding. "Bye, Sportacus. And if you want to you can come back."
Carefully holding the fruit, Sportacus flipped away. If he had turned back, he would have seen the mean smirk that was turning the woman's face into a grimace. A few seconds later, she and her goods were gone.
Sportacus came back to his airship. He was looking forward to a nice, healthy sandwich and the rest of the fruit for dessert. Suddenly, he felt an agonizing pain in his stomach, and he fell to his knees, clutching his belly. His insides were burning. He began to retch and heave, crouching on all fours. He threw up his breakfast and the water, he had drunk, but the pain remained, making him weak and sick again. "What's that?", Sportacus thought, trying to stand up. "It can't be another meltdown, can it? No…I've never felt like this after I have eaten sugar. Something…must be wrong." Sportacus grabbed the rope-ladder that swung in front of his nose and leant heavily on it. He had never been ill before. Of course he had hurt himself while jumping around He had had scratches and bruises, but he never caught a flu or had a cold. Not even a headache or a sore throat. "I must get back to the airship and rest," he told himself. Using both hands, he tried to pull himself up. It was exhausting, and he was sweating and wheezing, when he finally crawled through his door. He was so tired. Trembling, he opened his vest. Then he slipped out of his trousers and let them drop to the floor. He even got rid of his cap. "Bed," he said hoarsely, and as soon as it had slid out, he climbed into it and fell asleep.
The next morning, Stephanie practiced balancing on a beam. Ever since she had told the others about her fear of heights, she worked hard on overcoming that fear. She thought about Sportacus, who never seemed to be afraid. She really wanted to be like him. Secretly, she admired the muscular, friendly hero. "Maybe he can show me some tricks on the beam," Stephanie thought and smiled. She put down her right foot, and slipped. Flailing her arms, she shouted for help, but nothing happened. She fell off the beam and landed on the ground with a thud, scraping her knees. "Ouch," she cried, "that hurt."
Ziggy and Trixie, who had heard her screams ran towards her. "What happened to you, Pinkie?", Trixie wanted to know. "Are you all right?", Ziggy added.
"Yes…it's only a scratch. I fell off that beam," Stephanie explained, favoring her knee, which was bleeding slightly. "And why hasn't Sportacus caught you?" Trixie crossed her arms in front of her chest and smirked. "I don't know…I haven't seen him since the day before yesterday."
"Stingy said that he had saved him yesterday," Ziggy said. "Maybe," Trixie laughed, "he doesn't like you anymore."
"That's not funny, Trixie," Stephanie shouted and stood up, dusting her clothes off. "Perhaps he's in trouble."
"Robbie Rotten's over there. Let's ask him," Trixie suggested. Robbie was lying on a canvas chair, enjoying a large bowl of ice cream. The kids walked over to him, wondering if he looked so satisfied, because he had gotten rid of Sportacus. "Hey, Robbie. We want to talk to you," Trixie called out. Robbie flinched and dropped the ice cream.
"What do you want, Tickle?", he asked, glaring at them.
"What have you done to Sportacus?", Stephanie said, trying not to look as frightened as she was.
"Sportakook? I haven't done anything to him."
"Then why isn't he here?", Trixie snorted.
"I don't know? Maybe he has left the town, because he can't stand you anymore," Robbie suggested. Wait. Did the kids just say that Sportacus was gone? Finally! He grinned.
"You know that's not true. He would never leave us. Besides, his airship's still here, you fool." Trixie pointed to the sky, where Sportacus' airship was floating peacefully. Shit. Robbie hadn't seen it.
"Listen, I don't care what Sportakook does. As long as he doesn't disturb me."
"But you always want to get rid of him." Stephanie was close to tears by now. "Of course. He's annoying. But since he doesn't jump in front of my nose, I don't have to do anything."
"Maybe he's sick," Ziggy silently said, chewing on his lollipop. "Sportakook? No way…" Robbie firmly shook his head.
"I think something is wrong. Either, he's hurt…or…I don't know."
Once more, Robbie looked up to the airship. Suddenly, he felt a pang of guilt. He remembered all the times, he had gotten himself into trouble. Sportacus had always been there for him. Sportacus saved him. He remembered all the times, he felt lonely or tired. Sportacus had always been there for him.
And now Sportacus might need his help. Maybe Sportacus was in danger...
"I don't care," Robbie said more to himself, but it wasn't very convincing. "Robbie…", Stephanie began. She wasn't sure if this was a good idea, but he was the only one, who could help them. Somehow Stephanie knew, Robbie cared. And Robbie hadn't lied to them. He hadn't done anything to Sportacus. She believed him.
"Could you…could you climb up the ladder to Sportacus' airship and see if he's there?"
Robbie's eyes widened and his mouth fell open.
"You're joking!",, shouted Trixie.
But Stephanie wasn't paying attention to her. "Please, Robbie. We can't climb up that ladder."
"And I won't. I'm scared of heights."
"Robbie, it's Sportacus. You know what he has done for you. And I know that you are a nice guy and a big softie."
"Stop it, will you?", Robbie growled, because Trixie and Ziggy giggled.
"Robbie, please." Stephanie tried again.
"All right. I climb up and take a look around. But I want a chocolate chip cake with cream chocolate and silence for the rest of the week as a reward."
"Don't you dare…", Trixie began, before Stephanie nudged her. "We make that cake right away and we'll be quiet, if you find Sportacus."
"What? No…I'm not his nanny. If he isn't in his airship, I won't run around and search for him."
"Just…", Stephanie said so miserably that it almost broke Robbie's heart, "make sure that he's ok."
The kids left him and Robbie cursed silently that he had agreed to climb up that shaking rope-ladder. "I am a big softie," he whined, before he grasped the rope and pulled himself up. This was definitely the stupidest thing he had ever done. Soon, he was out of breath and his arms hurt. "I could sit on my chair, eating my ice cream," he scolded. When he finally reached the airship, he collapsed on the ramp. After he had caught his breath, Robbie crawled towards the door, trying not to look down. Carefully, he knocked. There was no answer. He tried again, harder this time. Still no response. "Sportakook! Are you in there?", Robbie yelled. He searched for some sort of door handle or a button, but he found none. "Sportakook, open that damn door!"
And suddenly, the door slid open. Robbie nearly fell through it. With a little effort he managed to get back to his feet. The airship was clean and bright. Robbie didn't like it at all. Taking one step forward, he looked around. He spotted the clothes on the dust-free floor. Then he saw the bed, in which someone was laying.
"Sportacus?" It would be unusual and strange to see that hyperactive hero lying so still.
Slowly, Robbie crept closer to the bed. It was indeed Sportacus. He was lying on his side, curled up into an almost fetal position. Sportacus was pale; a thin layer of sweat covered his forehead, damping the blonde curls. For a moment Robbie considered stealing the crystal, setting off the airship and leave. But he couldn't bring himself to do it. Sportacus wasn't sleeping. He was sick.
"Why me?", Robbie thought, sighing. Aloud, he said: "All right, Sportasleepy, let's get you to a doctor."