A Pickpocket's Penalty -Now OPEN!

Nicolaus Copernicus had made a mistake. A big mistake. He had picked one too many pockets… And this would probably be his last pocket he picked. So Nick thought as he ran for his life through Mossflower Woods.

FLASHBACK

Sneaking through Mossflower minding his own business. Well… not really minding his own business. Nick was plodding along wondering if anything nice to nab would turn up. Then he saw a mouse. A filthy rich, wimpy, and seemingly unarmed mouse. Nick laughed out loud with triumph. Not too loud of course.

Nick went at a slow pace through the forest, walking towards the mouse. He had his head down and whistled pretending to be oblivious to all around him. He got right in the mouse's path. All of a sudden he collided with the mouse by "accident." -While this was going on he had swiftly reached into a bag at the mouse's belt and snatched the rich mouse's wallet right away from him.

"Oh, ah'm so sorry! I shur' didn't mean ta do that. I s'pose ah'll be on me way mate. Right then, later man!" He waved and walked away slightly faster than he had walked to the mouse. He had his head down again and was searching through the wallet. Yay... GOLD! He was rich nowww... so rich! He had to contain himself from doing a victory dance right then and there.

End of flashback.

Nick rued the day he had ever bothered the rotten mouse. Apparently the little bugger had his “bodyguard” somewhere nearby. Awful rich folks! –groans- I should have remembered thy ALWAYS have backup…Always. So, the mouse realizes he’s been tricked, he calls his bodyguard (whom just happens to be an ENOURMOUS wolverine), and now Nick’s life is at stake. THUMP, THUMP, THUMP! “Footsteps…GIANT footsteps,” panted Nick. “how perfectly lovely… I’m…SO…dead.” Being chased by a GIANT, STUPID, ANGRY, WOLVERINE, was NOT on Nick top list of things to do.

Nick dodged hopped and ran through the woods, hoping to loose this monstrosity. It was like something out of a nightmare, only worse. CRASH!!! Nick bumped right into another large figure. Ugh… what? I feel like a dwarf today… Maybe I was shrunk in my sleep. Me and that mouse… Nick looked up with wide eyes. “err… hai?” he said, looking straight into the face of a giant otter. “I’m innocent!!!… I mean how do you do…? Err…” THUMP, THUMP, THUMP!!! “RUNNNNN!!!!!!!!”

It was a beautiful sunny day as Li stood fishing along the river moss. It was a sparse catch if it be considered any at all: one slim, slimy, rotten minnow! "Rotten luck!" the big otter grumbled.

Soon he started hearing crashing sounds. "Hmmm…." he said. "Seems theres a storm a coming. I'd better get 'ome now!"

"Wait! Whats that? Sounds like someones yellin? Hopefully someone aint in the storm!" he said turning around and slowly stepped forward.

All at once he got the wind knocked out of him... slightly! His great sized prevented some of it. But, all the same it was rather frightening. He looked down and saw the "thing" that had bumped into his was a Pine Martin!

"Ho, ho, ho!" he laughed. "Doncha worry 'bout em' storm ya cute lil' piney! I'll take ya home with me!" And so he slung his big hand-and-a-half sword over his shoulder and walked along dragging the Pine Martin ignoring it's yelps of "RUNNN!!" and pushes.

_Flashback

Batholomew Bartlebee had been going for a very ordinary and uneventful walk in the woods. No other beast was there to bother him. Even Vinch, who usually went everywhere with Bartholomew, was about a hundred feet behind him. Everything was quite, at least, until the pine marten came.

Bartholomew was walking slowly forward, looking at the sky. He looked at the clouds rolling slowly past and not where he was walking.

"Oh, ah'm so sorry! I shur' didn't mean ta do that. I s'pose ah'll be on me way mate. Right then, later man!"

"Stupid woodlanders," Bartholomew grumbled as the pine marten walked away, "never watch where their going." Of course, neither was he, but he would never take blame for anything. Suddenly, Bartholomew remembered a trick his father had once told him about. Every pickpocket knew it he had said. Bump into the beast, and snatch his wallet. Could the pine marten have done the same?

A quick search through his pockets confirmed Bartholomew's suspicions.  He was after Nick in a flash, waving his cane and shouting, "stop you dirty thief!" Vinch, hearing Bartholomew yell, started after the pine marten as well. With his long legs, he easily overtook the mouse and thundered after Nick.

_End Of Flashback

Vinch came to a halt at the bank of the river Moss. He hoped that the pine marten had not decided to swim across the river. He didn't feel like getting wet this morning. To his surprise, he saw a giant otter grab the "little" pine marten and start dragging it away. Turning to Bartholomew, who was running up behind him, he said, "the pine marten just got carried away by a giant otter, should I keep chasing 'em?"

"Of course you should," Bartholomew growled, "I do not care if he got carried away by a winged monitor lizard in a tutu! That marten has my wallet!"

"Ok boss!" Vinch said and continued to chase the unlucky pair. As he ran he muttered to himself, "poor Barth, he must be goin' crazy! I said a giant otter, not a what-cha-ma-call-it in a tutu! Oh well, I better just do my job." __

"Ho, ho, ho![…]Doncha worry 'bout em' storm ya cute lil' piney! I'll take ya home with me!"

"Ooh yew thick 'ead!" Nick squealed as a giant hand reached for him, "It's no' a storm yer up agains'"

"Urk!" He gargled as the giant drug him along by the scruff of his neck.

"Lemme go ya big lummox!" growled Nick, as soon as he found his voice again. He kicked and struggled. "Put me downnn! I'm no' a 'cute liddle piney!'"

THUMP "ohaha… (nervous laugh) we're in for it now mate. Lemme down so I can fight!" THUMP "You don't know what you're dealing with… ok, if we must do this then... RUN FASTERRRRRR!!!!!!!!" THUMP "By the way mate, did I tell you we are being chased by a GIANT WOLVERINE!… I guess not."

"Er… um?" Li grumbled. "So yer saying ya have more buddies? And thier wolvies too? Well theres plenty more of a ride for them!" He said shaking nervesly.

"Um... is there any chance yer friend is mad right now? Or is he that fat when he walks!" He said grinning sheepishly. And after geting through what all the pine martin just told him he finaly relized what just went on. "RUNNNN!!!!!!!!" He sceamed and flung the pine martin on his shoulders while runing as fast as he could!

"Hey! Otter!" Vinch yelled as he caught sight of his quarry, "Drop that pine marten and I'll let you live!" He unslung the giant battle axe from his back and held ready to swing as he ran. The ground pounded as his massive feet struck it again and again. Vinch couldn't let that pine marten escape! He must not fail his master!

Meanwhile, Bartholomew was a taking a short cut through the woods to the banks of the River Moss. He hoped to cut off Li and stop him. Soon, the sparkling water of the river was in sight. "I got you now pine head," Bartholomew hissed to himself.

"Er… um?[…]So yer saying ya have more buddies? And thier wolvies too? Well theres plenty more of a ride for them!"

Nick rolled his eyes.

"Um… is there any chance yer friend is mad right now? Or is he that fat when he walks!"

Nick shook his head.

"RUNNNN!!!!!!!!"

Nick was about to make some smart alecky comment about that being the first sensible word he had heard from the otter all day, but he was yanked up so fast and hard that the wind was knocked straight out of him. "Did I.. break…. a rib...?" was all he could gasp out as he rode piggy back on the giant.

"Drop that pine marten and I'll let you live!"

"Drop me! Drop Me!!!" squealed Nick as the wolverine came up. At least I have a better chance on my own two legs!!! he thought.

"Ho, ho, ho!" The giant otter laughed. "I'll let yer down ta fight but mind ya don't hurt yerself!" He said sounding like a pestering mother. And with that said he swiftly swung the pine martin down and whipped his sword off his back.

Turning to the mouse aristocrat, Bartholomew, he said "So you think yer likkle snobby mouse hide can stop me! Bring it on rich guy!" as he towered over the mouse millionare grinning nastily!

Vinch grinned as Li tossed Nick from his back. The little pine marten didn't look like much of a threat to the giant wolverine. "Die!" Vinch yelled as he drew back his axe over his head and swung it down at Nick, hoping to slice him from head to toe.

Bartholomew gulped nervously as the giant otter faced him. He was a fair swordsbeast, but he had never face an opponent this much bigger than him. "Our fight is not with you," Bartholomew said to Li, "you have given us the pine marten, that is all we need." He hoped the otter was not a friend of Nick's, or he would have a fight on his paws.

Not too far downstream, Zerstoren stood in the shallows with a makeshift fishing spear he had carved. The weasel was rather hungry, and decided it would be best to stop and get something to eat. He had managed to gather some fruits, berries, and other edibles and was now trying to get something to serve as a main course, so to speak. Zerstoren waited…and waited...and...Just as he was about to throw the spear, he heard someone shout not too far away from where he was, causing him to miss the fish by a mile. The weasel growled in annoyance, treading out of the water. After listening for a bit, he managed to locate where the commotion was coming from, and his curiosity got the best of him.

"Die!"

"Ha! We'll see about that! All bark and NO bite, I'll bet!" Nick yelled. Secretly, the little martin was scared to death. But he kept his cool… After all panicking wouldn't get him anywhere. The wolverine swung the axe.

"Agghhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Noo!!!" Nick screamed, jumping to the side as if his life depended upon it, which it did.

Okay NOT good. thought the martin to himself. In the distance Nick spotted a weasel. Hmm… a weasel might provide some help. After all, Nick was neither good nor bad, so he could ask help from either, right? "Hey Weasel!!!!" He shouted. "Wanna join me?" He took out his cutlass and looked at the wolverine. Despite attempts to act brave, he gulped visibly. He hoped that big crazy otter was doing better.

"Hmmm." Li said leaning on the hilt of his sword thinking as if nothing just happend "Ya havin' trouble there piney? No reason why I couldn't helps ya! Come along ya weasley thing elp' us! Well less talk and more chopping, Lets go!" He rushed  at the wolverine and with agility of of cat and the speed of a tiger he lept into the air a furiously sword his big blade horizontally at the huge beast. "WEEEEE!!!!"…

Bartholomew, seeing Zerstoren come upon the scene, ran immediately to his side. "Please good sir," Bartholomew begged him, "do not help these vagabonds! The pine marten stole my wallet and the otter helped him get away! Though the wolverine is nasty looking, he is only my bodyguard. Please help me, not these commen theaves!"

******
Vinch let out a earthshaking roar as the giant otter's blade hit him in the left arm. With a twist of his limb Vinch freed the sword. "I've never tasted a giant otter," Vinch growled, "I hope you taste just as good as the smaller ones!" The drawing back his axe, Vinch swung it horizontally in a huge arc, hoping to slice Li and Nick in one go.

Zerstoren sighed, thinking to himself ~I lost my fish over a bag of near worthless coins…?~ He looked for a moment, then made his choice. "Perhaps....but they aren't the ones going to chop their quarry to pieces and then....eat them....over a bag of coins." The weasel suddenly shrieked, screaming at the top of his lungs as he lept for the wolverine's head.

Dawn Stormbreeze had been watching the encounter between the pickpocket and his would be victim from the thickets. Though she did not care for thieves, she felt that Bartholomew and his carnivorous bodyguard were in the wrong. Even though it was three against one, Dawn doubted that Vinch could be beaten. Drawing her broadsword from her back, Dawn emerged from the brush behind Bartholomew. She lowered her sword until it touched his back, not hard enough to hurt, but hard enough to let Bartholomew know she was there.

"Hello Bartholomew," Dawn said with a smile, "I've heard of you. The filthy rich aristocrat that takes advantage of innocent woodlanders. I'm sure that bag of money is only a grain of sand compared to the wealth you have at home." She felt no threat from Bartholomew. After all, he was just a mouse in a suit with a cane.

"Aye great!" shouted Nick. "Two new beasties on mah side! Wonderfull! Give it to 'em lads and lasses!"

Nick retreated to where Bartholomew was and waved the wallet in front of him. Then he jumped back to continue his attacks on Vinch. That just went to show that he was still a little stinker and was not sorry for stealing the wallet. "Keep 'em there missy!" He yelled to Dawn. Then he swept his little cutlass at Vinch's legs and retreated a few steps.

(Sorry it was short!)

"AGGGHHH!!" The giant otter moaned. He had drawn blood from a beast! He was a redwaller and no madder how bad the situation was he vowed on to try not to kill a beast! But he had no time to think a giant great axe was swung in a huge ark he swung his body back at full force. He whipped his head back it time but not his body! He was hit and blood spouted from the huge gash it his side.
  His sight went dim as he fell in his own blood. His head was hot and blurry and he thought he could see the form of Nick still carrying on the fight. He moaned loudly and his vision vanished…

Leathian was walking across the shore, suddenly he saw foot prints, then he
heard voices. He followed the foot prints. Finely he found Bartholomew and the rest of them.

Leathian hated redwallers no matter what. He hid behind some bushes. Then he charged foreword and swung his ax at the mouse then at the pine-martin in an attempt to kill them.

Vinch gave a roar of triumph as Li fell to the ground. But, it turned to a roar of anger as Nick's cutlass slashed across his legs and Zerstoren hit him in the face. Vinch swatted the weasel away like a bug and tried a vertical slash at Nick.

******

Bartholomew was surprised by the sudden appearance of yet another "good" beast. He whirled around as he heard the voice behind him. Though Dawn was only a mouse-maid, the sword in her paws made her look a lot more threatening. "Just because its not much doesn't justify stealing it," Bartholomew said, but he knew that this situation was beyond words. As he spoke, he pressed the button to release the blade from his sword cane.  Then, quick as flash, he pulled the blade from the cane and slashed it upward at Dawn.

Zerstoren grunted as he was smacked, losing his grip on the wolverine and landing with a thud against a tree. Shaking his head a bit to clear it of purple sparrows, the weasel drew his swords, finally catching his breath after having the wind knocked out of him. He began to slowly circle Vinch, waiting. ~Going to have to get that otter out of here before he bleeds to death…~

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