Stolen Spotlight: Part Three
After a few days of recuperating, the Pant Devil was ready to go back into action. He’d put on his best pair of pants, he’d thrown out the lousy issues of the Neopian Times, and he had picked out a great council of thieves. Night was on it, naturally. It had been difficult, but he had managed to find four other thieves that he wouldn’t be ashamed to be associated with. He had picked out Furrurenu, the Lupe who had stolen the pants earlier. He was a bit dopey, but he was very focused on thievery, and the Pant Devil felt that that was very important for a member of his council of thieves. He’d also picked out Thunraswen, who was a very quiet Eyrie, along with two Cybunnies, Bunikio and Cyperess.
“Now, what have you got for me?” he asked, feeling very excited. Stealing some pants would be just the thing he needed to perk himself up after that disaster with the article. He wouldn’t be replaced. After this stealing spree, he’d be up top once more, and the Chia Clown would be accusing him of stealing his weapons once more.
“I think we should hit the Tyrannian Neohomes first,” Night announced. “Their security is clanking cans. I think we can take that any day.”
They agreed, and headed down Fiery Crescent. The Cybunnies crept beneath the cans that had been hung from the doorframe and managed to untie them, setting them quietly on the ground. The Pant Devil, feeling delighted, crept through rooms. He found one with a locked door. “This must be where they keep all of their pants!” he said delightedly. He stuck a claw in the lock and worked it open. He swung the door open, greedily anticipating the mounds of pants that would surely be waiting for him. “Guys, I think I found the pants,” he called out quietly. His council hurried over, buzzing with excitement. “Let’s take them!” He headed into the room, seeing...
...a mound of Battledome items. “What in the name of Jhudora is all this?” the Pant Devil demanded. “No one cares if I take the clothes off their backs, but they need to keep their Battle Ducks safe?”
“I found some pants!” Cyperess yelled. The Pant Devil hurried over. Maybe the pants had two locks, and that’s why it had taken Cyperess so long to find them.
“They don’t care about their pants, do they?” Bunikio remarked. The pants were lying in a wrinkled heap on the floor of a jelly room. The pants were stained and had clearly seen better days.
“I can’t believe this,” the Pant Devil wailed. “I might cry! Everyone’s polishing and locking up their Cobrall Daggers, but no one cares about their Kauboy Pants?”
“Maybe they’re stained and wrinkled so no one will want to steal them,” Thunraswen offered, looking upset.
“No, it’s about that pesky Darling,” the Pant Devil complained. “Let’s just take the pants and go to Mystery Island.”
However, Mystery Island proved to be even more lax about security than Tyrannia. The Battledome weapons were still locked up, but no one even bothered guarding their pants. It was enough to make the Pant Devil want to cry for real.
“I’m sick of Neohomes,” Night complained. “Let’s go rob some stores or something. Maybe they’ll put up more of a fight.”
So they agreed. They walked into the marketplace and, sure enough, were immediately jumped by security. The Pant Devil licked his lips, anxiously awaiting the battle and thrills that were to come.
“Oh, it’s okay, he doesn’t fit the profile of the Gallery of Evil thief,” the shopkeeper called out. “You can let him browse.”
The Pant Devil hurled his sack of pants across the shop. “Do you know who I am?” he bellowed.
The shopkeeper looked at him with amusement. “A very angry little guy?” She patted him on the head. “Hey, you’re really sweet. I’ve never seen a pet like you before. Are you a new species?”
“No, I am not a new species!” he bellowed.
“Are you a petpet or something?” she asked, still looking confused. “What’s your name?”
“I’m the Pant Devil!” he finally screamed. “Does that ring any bells?”
The shopkeeper stared at him thoughtfully. “Huh... the Pant Devil... I don’t think that sounds familiar to me.” Then, her eyes widened. Recognition at last. “Oh! Are you one of the Snow Wars opponents?”
The Pant Devil ran into a wall.
“Oh, I suppose that’s not it,” the shopkeeper said worriedly. “Oh, I know this! You’re that one in the Haunted Woods that asks for knowledge!” The Pant Devil stared at her, wondering how on Neopia someone could be so dense. “Oh, I give up,” she complained. “Can you tell me?”
“I am the lead thief in the Gallery of Evil,” the Pant Devil said, ominously floating through the shop. “I am the leader of the Guild of Thieves.”
The shopkeeper gasped. Yes. “No... you’re Darling!” She ran over and started to pull on the Pant Devil’s face. “Take that sheet off!” she shouted, yanking at him. “Leave my shop and never come back!”
“No, I’m not that ridiculous Scorchio, I’m the Pant Devil, and I don’t want your Battledome weapons!” It was a little difficult to talk with someone pulling at his cheeks, but the Pant Devil managed. The shopkeeper relaxed.
“But you said that you were the lead thief in the Gallery of Evil,” she said, looking confused. “That’s Darling!”
The Pant Devil sighed. “No, you don’t understand,” he said. “Darling is not the lead thief. I am.” The shopkeeper looked as if she was about to cry. “But I don’t want your pesky Battledome weapons. I only want... pants!” And with that, he snatched up a pair of Space Trooper Leggings and darted out of the store, cackling the whole way.
“Enjoy your purchase!” the shopkeeper called after him. “What a funny guy,” she remarked to the security. “I guess he just wanted to be feared like Darling. Oh, well, thank Faerieland that Darling’s the only respectable thief around here.”
The Pant Devil, lurking outside the shop, dropped the leggings on the ground. “What does she mean, ‘only respectable thief?’” he demanded to his council. “I’m the head thief in Neopia, right?” His council was silent. “Right?”
“Yeah, you’re such a swell guy!” Bunikio said enthusiastically.
“Yeah, you’re really fun to hang out with!” Cyperess added, looking delighted.
“Yeah, that Darling guy is really intimidating,” Thunraswen put in.
Night, looking the most thoughtful, added, “Everyone’s so terrified of Darling. But you, you’re like a man of the people. Really approachable.”
“At first I was afraid of you, but then I realized what a nice guy you really are!” Furrurenu said, patting the Pant Devil with one of his paws.
The Pant Devil was silent for a moment.
“I think he’s speechless,” Bunikio whispered to the rest of the council.
The Pant Devil stared at them. “You think I’m a nice guy?” His council nodded. “I’m the lead thief in the Gallery of Evil, and that makes me approachable?” They still nodded. “The leader of the Thieves Guild is a fun, sweet, approachable guy?” His council brightly nodded.
“Yeah, stealing is more fun when it’s easy, and you don’t have to work at it,” Cyperess said.
“Adrenaline is scary,” Thunraswen added.
“Yeah, close calls are horrible!” Bunikio added.
The Pant Devil couldn’t decide whether he wanted to laugh at his council’s ignorance or hurl his sack of pants at them.
“Hey, where are you going?” Night asked.
“Back to the Gallery of Evil,” the Pant Devil called out.
Hopefully he’d find some real evil there.
“I am so sick of those Thieves Guild members!” the Pant Devil yelled as soon as he walked in. “They think that I’m a nice guy. Can you believe it?” He hurled his pants across the room.
“Can you not?” the Shadow Usul complained from her perch beneath the staircase. “I finally find a good spot to sleep and you come in screaming about pants.”
Balthazar padded over. “You can be nice and still evil,” he pointed out. The villains stared at him. “It’s true!” he protested. “I capture faeries in bottles but then I donate them!”
“You’re not helping,” the Pant Devil complained. “Isn’t anyone in this Gallery of ‘Evil’ actually evil?”
Meuka slithered over. Normally the sight of Meuka made the Pant Devil want to run off and blow his nose lest he end up like that poor Meerca, but today he welcomed the sight. Meuka was probably the most despicable villain out there. If anyone could get him out of this jam, it was Meuka.
“I’m evil,” he grunted. Sloth appeared behind him, his head back in its messy, foul-smelling condition, leaving the Pant Devil to wonder if true villains were stinky. It did intimidate some people, but then again, Darling was impeccable.
The Jelly Chia oozed over, followed by Vira and the Shadow Usul, who had apparently given up on her nap.
“I’m going to need some help getting rid of the so-called ‘Darling,’” the Pant Devil said. “I only want help from those who are truly evil. Do you think you can handle this?”
One by one, the evildoers nodded. The Pant Devil felt a rush of excitement. Darling might have been devious. But what good could he stand against six of Neopia’s worst villains?
To be continued....