Stolen Spotlight: Part Four
“Frank, are you sure that you can do this?”
“Devil, I’m the wickedest villain in all of Neopia. I think I might be able to attack one measly little Scorchio.”
The Pant Devil was satisfied with that answer. The six of them were all lurking at different Battledome stores all across Neopia. If one of them spotted Darling, they were to immediately notify the others, who would hurry across Neopia to team up on them.
The Pant Devil stared at the entrance to Haunted Weaponry. He couldn’t imagine what the rich, stuck-up Darling would want with a measly Enchanted Cobweb, but Darling was (it pained him to say this) unpredictable.
A Neomessage appeared in front of the Pant Devil’s face. “Already?” he asked, popping open the message.
“Hurry up and come to the Ice Caves.”
The Shadow Usul had seen Darling. The Pant Devil hurriedly floated away from the Haunted Woods. If only he had the Chia Clown’s Chia Clown Car. That could have taken him up the mountain much more quickly.
“I’m here!” the Pant Devil called out, hurrying to the entrance of the Ice Crystal Shop. “Where’s Darling?”
“He’s still climbing up the mountain,” a voice said from a crevice. “It’ll be ages until he’s here.” The Pant Devil was pleased. That would give them plenty of time to prepare for their plan.
The plan that they had come up with was foolproof. First, Sloth would fire his sludge gun. If he couldn’t turn Darling into a stinking pile of sludge, they could at least shake him up a bit. Then, Meuka would come in and start blowing his snot all over Darling. The Pant Devil was sure that the little prince wouldn’t be able to stand having so much snot oozing on his fancy robe. The Jelly Chia would assist in this step by oozing jelly onto Darling. Then, Vira and the Shadow Usul would assist in cornering the rascal. Once Darling was completely at their mercy, the Pant Devil would take back what was rightfully his and toss him to the Defenders of Neopia. Turning in a fellow villain was such an underhanded thing that they would be sure to become the most despicable villains in all of Neopia. The plan was foolproof.
“He’s coming,” the Shadow Usul hissed, pulling the villains into the shadows. Sure enough, Darling was casually walking towards the shop, wrapped in a coat, looking like a normal pet out for a day of shopping. But the Pant Devil knew better.
“Frank, get out there.”
Looking confident, Sloth pulled a gun out of his robe. “Say goodbye to that cute robe,” he cackled, pulling the trigger.
Flowers flew out of the gun, dusting the snow with rose petals.
“Are flowers supposed to hurt him?” Vira asked scornfully. Sloth’s green cheeks turned red, making him look quite similar to the Christmas decorations that decorated the shops.
“It’s that blasted article that was in the Times,” he complained. “It told Neopians to tamper with my guns, and those rapscallions did it!”
“Looks like I’m going to have to do the work,” Meuka sighed, oozing towards the Scorchio. As he came up behind Darling, intent on covering him with snot, the Scorchio suddenly turned around and hurled something at Meuka’s face. The Pant Devil was worried. Was it a bomb, or a snowball?
“Get this away from me!” Meuka wailed, batting frantically at his face. All the Pant Devil could see was a piece of paper.
“What is it?” he asked.
“Neopkins!” Meuka screamed. “Hurry, my snot is getting soaked up!” Worried, the Pant Devil yanked the Neopkin off of Meuka’s face, tossing it in the direction of the Snowager’s cave. “Oh my Jhudora!” Meuka stumbled off. “I need some germs, stat!” Meuka oozed away, snot dripping off of him. It was even more repulsive than usual.
“You are all useless,” hissed the Jelly Chia. “Clearly I’m the only evil one around here.” He quickly melted into the snow, oozing towards Darling.
“He’s so stealthy,” Sloth marveled as he tampered with his gun.
“Because no one notices a sticky blue puddle oozing towards them,” the Shadow Usul muttered.
The Pant Devil watched, crossing his fingers, as the Jelly Chia crept behind Darling.
“Oh, can’t you do better than that?” Darling asked, turning back around and slamming something onto the puddle. “Really, sending a puddle of jam after me?”
“It’s jelly,” the Shadow Usul pointed out, because that was how the Shadow Usul was.
“It doesn’t matter,” Darling said with a shrug. “Both of them go great with Breadfish.” Indeed, the doughy fish was soaking up the stealthy blue puddle, which was screaming for the other villains to stop admiring the view and do something. “Hmmm, I’m getting hungry from my trek up the mountain. Maybe I’ll eat this?”
Fortunately, Darling was not able to eat the Jelly Chia Sandwich due to Vira fluttering behind him and shoving a Snotty Vira Onion down the back of his coat. Judging by the way Darling screamed, one would think that he’d just had all of his pants stolen right out of his Safety Deposit Box. Anyway, the sandwich flew out of his hands and was caught by Sloth, who abandoned his gun to help his fellow villain.
“This is a disaster,” the Pant Devil moaned, thinking of all the pants that he would never want to steal because everyone was too busy trying to take care of their Battledome weapons to even care about those pants. It was enough to break his heart.
“Indeed, it is,” Darling said. The Pant Devil didn’t even notice that he was speaking to him. “Why don’t you just head on home and take a nap in your pile of pants?”
The Pant Devil was too distraught to notice Darling’s very clear sarcasm. “That sounds like a great idea,” he said, perking up a little. “Thanks for looking out for me.” He picked up some snow and fashioned it into a snowball. “Here’s a new Battledome weapon. On me.” Darling stared at the snowball with confusion.
“Are you all right?”
“I just need a nap.”
As the Pant Devil finally reached his Neohome, he was bombarded with a heap of Neomessages. Most of them were from his fellow villains, consisting of insults against Darling and complaints about rebellious Neopians (from Sloth, naturally). The Pant Devil wanted it all to be over. With a sigh, he hurried into a room off to the side of his Neohome, one that visitors often overlooked. That was the point. This room would be his safe haven. No matter what kind of day he was having, he could always return to this room at the end, and everything would be all right, and he would emerge the next day better than ever. It was more than just a room. It was everything.
And what was so special about this room? Well, in this room, the Pant Devil kept his prize stash of pants. The room was positively overflowing with pants that he had pilfered in the past. If the Pant Devil felt like it, he could go swimming in this room. But he was more likely to curl up amidst his prizes and fall asleep. Sleeping amongst the pants wasn’t an ordinary event. When the Pant Devil slept in this pant pile, his dreams were always sweeter than honey and much less sticky. His dreams propelled him forwards, serving as messages to tell him what to do next. These dreams only came along when they were needed most. The Pant Devil had tried sleeping here on normal occasions, on days that he did not need help from beyond, but nothing had happened. It was like his pants stash knew when he needed help.
The Pant Devil opened the door slowly. It was a tradition of his. He would always open the door as slowly as possible, to build up his excitement at the prospect of sleeping in his precious pants pile (it was also an amazing tongue twister). Then, when he couldn’t stand the excitement any longer, he would fling the door open, launching himself into the sleek silver room that held his stash. It was an amazing moment for him, being able to dive into those beautiful trousers. And right now, after the week he’d been having, it was what the Pant Devil needed most.
As he continued to twist the knob, his excitement built up. Who knew what the pants would have in store for him today? Who knew what he would be told to do? What he loved most about this was the unpredictability of his dreams. The quests were always a surprise, and no matter how outlandish they sounded, they would always end up helping him in the end. This was the truly magical thing about pants, and this was why the Pant Devil had devoted his life to snatching as many pairs as possible.
Unable to take the suspense, the Pant Devil flung open the door and launched himself into the air. As he flew downwards, he clenched his fists together, delighted with the prospect of falling into a deep slumber within his soft pants.
Ouch. Those pants were a little hard. Maybe he should turn up the heat a little more in this room.
Those weren’t stiff pants at all, were they?
The Pant Devil felt the ground. His worst fears had come true.
His stash of pants was gone.
To be continued....