Still thwarting Sloth's mind control... Circulation: 181,914,076 Issue: 458 | 27th day of Hiding, Y12
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Stolen Spotlight: Part One


by wigglyfish

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Special thanks to Acepuma, for allowing me to use her pet NihgtWind as a member of the Thieves Guild, and Wickednova, for letting me use Furrurenu and Thunraswen, and thanks to Pinksword for letting me use Bunikio.

Normally Neopians quickened their pace as they hurried past the Thieves Guild, but today, all eyes were on the dark, ominous building, wondering what was making the place so happening. Lights were erupting from the windows. Laughter erupted from within. The sound of smoothie glasses clinking together practically overpowered the loud, raucous music.

     “Can we go home now?” a Lenny whined to his owner. “It’s getting cold and dark outside, and this isn’t a safe place to be right now, and I don’t want to get attacked because I have a big Battledome match tomorrow—”

     “We’ll go home in a minute,” his owner assured him. “I just want to see what’s going on here. Normally the Thieves Guild is so quiet, and I can’t help but be worried.” The Lenny looked as if he was about to complain again, but he was quickly silenced as his owner pulled out a copy of Secret Lenny Book. With an excited chirp, the Lenny started reading, as his owner continued to stare at the noisy building up ahead.

     “Here’s to the greatest thief of all time!” a voice called out from inside. “Please give it up for the one, the only, the fantastic Pant Devil!” If the building was loud before, now it was positively deafening as the thieves saluted the Pant Devil. Through the windows, pairs of pants could be seen flying across the room as the tiny blue devil approached the front of the room.

     “Hello, my fellow pillagers!” he called out. The thieves roared their approval. “Thank you all for appointing me Thief of the Year. I’ve been receiving this award so much, I’ve lost count of the years! Then, with a clever smirk on his face, he sneezed, a sneeze that sounded suspiciously like the word “seven.” If the thieves were offended, they didn’t show it. They all cracked up, applauding the wit of their unofficial leader.

     “Silence!” the Pant Devil yelled. The building suddenly became eerily quiet, as it normally was. “Now that we’ve appointed our leader, it’s time for the one, the only, Thief Challenge!” The thieves all clapped delightedly. “I’m a very busy person, with Battledome challenges and avoiding those pesky defenders, I simply can’t do all of the thieving around here. So, to elect my co-thieves, we will be having our yearly Thief Challenge! Are you guys ready to be my co-thieves?” The room erupted. “Great! Now, before I turn you loose on Neopia, let me just point out that no one is safe. Friends? Family? It doesn’t matter if you know them; if you want to be my co-thief, you steal from anyone and everyone! Now, who’s ready to ravage Neopia?”

     As the building erupted once again, the Neopian stared at her Lenny with a startled expression. “We need to get out of here.” The Lenny tucked his book securely under his wing and followed his owner, to the safety of their Neohome.

     -:-

     As his lowly assistants frantically darted through dark alleys, the Pant Devil sat back, his sneer even larger than usual. “Don’t forget the pants!” he yelled. “Those are the best to take!”

     A Lupe hurried over to him, a pair of Kauboy Pants in his mouth. “Are these all right, Leader?”

     The Pant Devil stared at him like he was asking if Doctor Sloth had ever belly-danced. Well, he had once, on a dare from Vira, but this lowly pickpocket didn’t need to know that. “I’m going to need more than one pair of pants,” he said slowly. “Now hustle or I will see to it that your Chia Treat supply is much lower!” With a whimper, the Lupe darted back to the Neohomes at speeds that the Pant Devil had only seen on the hills of Meridell, as he played CheeseRoller with the cheese that some idiot had thought he would appreciate.

     A Kougra walked over to him, with several pairs of shorts draped across her back. “I found someone with a total shrine to you,” she told him, looking extremely pleased with herself. “Their room was full of Pant Devil toys, and I found all of these pants in the closet.” She shook the shorts off her back, waiting for his response.

     “Take the toys, too,” the Pant Devil replied without missing a beat. “I’ve always wanted to see how I look on a lunch box.” The Kougra prepared to run off. “Oh, and Night?” Night, the Kougra, turned around. “Good work.” Night smirked and ran back to the Neohome, the Pant Devil’s compliment giving her an extra spring in her step.

     As Neopets continued to dart through Neohomes, occasionally returning to drop off some loot, the Pant Devil watched them with a smile. It was good to be on top.

     -:-

     It was far too late for the Pant Devil to still be awake. But here he was, sitting in his Neohome, at his pilfered Rolltop Desk, going over his fellow thieves’ performances. So far, he had only approved Night.

     “This is ridiculous,” he sighed. “None of those ‘thieves’ knew a good pair of pants if they went missing.” The Pant Devil chuckled to himself for a moment before realizing that that made no sense whatsoever. “Okay, that does it! I am not supposed to be awake right now!”

     A Neomessage appeared on his desk. “Oh, great. I suppose it’s one of those crazy thieves, telling me about how they ‘want this so badly.’ Doesn’t anyone care about what I want?” With an angry grunt, he popped open the envelope.

     “Hey Devil,

      I know you’re probably busy being a big bad thief and all, but I need some serious help, blue boy. I was challenged in the Battledome today and I was all set to squirt them with my Chia Clown Flower and it was missing. My weapons do not go missing, kiddo. If you took it I will lay some serious hurt on you. Don’t forget I still have my Chia Clown Car.

     Your bestest evil villain friend in Neopia,

     Chia Clown”

     The Pant Devil stared at the Neomessage. “Oh, for the love of Smokey the Gnorbu,” he grumbled.

     “Hey Clown,

      Okay, first of all, my bestest evil villain friend in Neopia is the Ghost Lupe, not you, you crazy loon. Second of all, what in the name of Sloth would I want with your stupid flower? If you were an actual member of the Gallery of Evil, you’d know that I’m a good enough fighter without your squirting flower. It was probably the Jelly Chia; he’s a weird dude.

     And don’t try to talk to me. I have to figure out who’s on my council of thieves.

     -Pant Devil.”

     “What a crazy Chia,” the Pant Devil sighed. “Okay, now let’s get on with this so I can go dream about all of the pants I want.”

     -:-

     The Pant Devil’s beautiful dream about the day it rained pants was cruelly interrupted by a knock on his door.

     “If this is the Chia Clown, I am not going to get your stupid flower back!” he barked.

     “Umm... Neopian Times delivery for the Pant Devil?” a timid voice called back.

     “Got any pants on you?” the Pant Devil snarled as he opened the door. The terrified Moehog jumped behind the bushes. “Oh, never mind. Just give me my newspaper.” Those Neopets were just far too sensitive lately. None of them could take a joke. “Thanks, kid,” he said, tucking the newspaper under his arm. Maybe he should give the Moehog a tip or something. His eyes fell on the Super Fashion Playmate Handbook that some ignorant thief had given him (most likely expecting a reward), not knowing that he’d already read it. “Here, take this book off my hands while you’re at it.”

     The Moehog stared at the book, as if he wasn’t sure of what to do with it. “Thank you, Mr. Pant Devil,” he gasped. As soon as the Pant Devil turned his back, he darted away, thankful to have returned without any injuries.

     “Those crazy pets,” the Pant Devil sighed as he sat down at his table with a cup of Borovan. “Now, am I in this newspaper, or should I crumple it up and toss it?” As he scanned the headlines, his eyes widened. “’Pant Devil Challenged’? What in the name of Ruki Scientist Pants is this?” He turned to the appropriate page, staring at the words in disbelief.

     We’ve all lived in fear of the Pant Devil, locking our Draik Archer Pants and Yellow Flower Print Shorts in our Safety Deposit Boxes to ensure that they will not be snatched up when we are unaware.

     “Okay, I don’t know who this crazy Neopian thinks they are, but everyone knows that I prefer Sinister Krawk Neovian Pants, not those lousy ones they mentioned.” But he continued to read.

     However, there is something bigger and worse out there than having our pants snatched right now.

     “That’s impossible,” the Pant Devil snapped. “Would you rather walk around with a bare behind or would you rather have a toy missing?”

     This thief has many names. Some call him the Night Stalker. Some call him the Challenger. Some call him the Battledome Master. But we all call him dangerous.

     “How on Neopia did this article manage to get published?”

     His attack time is never the same, but his booty is always the same. This unknown thief is known to sneak into the Battledome in between battles and take weapons from unsuspecting Neopets waiting to battle. The thief also sneaks into Neohomes, and has even been thought to have stolen weapons from shops. When asked, the owner of Neopia Bazaar’s Battle Magic stated, “I’ve never seen anything like it. I was helping a customer decide between a Rainbow Gun and a Lightning Gun, and when I turned to show them, both stocks of those weapons were gone. No one else in the store had seen anything, and they hadn’t stolen them.

     “Why in the name of Meuka’s Snot Trail would anyone want to steal those useless weapons?”

     “You always know when the Pant Devil strikes,” an anonymous Neopian stated. “And if you can’t stop him, you can at least challenge him in the Battledome and win your honor. But with this mystery thief, you not only never know when he’ll strike, but you have no idea who he is!” Another source said, “It doesn’t matter if your pants go missing. But when your only means of defense are gone, you’re completely at the mercy of the evildoers of Neopia.” If you have any information on this new thief, please contact the Defenders of Neopia—

     “What is wrong with the world?” the Pant Devil roared, crumpling up the newspaper and hurling it at the wall. “I don’t know what kind of crazies are in Neopia, but if they’d rather have no pants than no Battledome items, then that’s fine with me. I’ll take all of their pants!”

     A Neomessage appeared on his table.

     “Pant-Man,

     Did you see that insane article in the Times? Everyone’s over you! What are you going to do?

     -Ghost Lupe.”

     The Pant Devil stared at the message for a moment before writing back.

     “Lupe,

     What can I do?”

To be continued....

 
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