Nailed Down

You may have heard of the Purple Paw Thievery? Small, brightly colored rabbits that live in Autumn’s Lost Wood, a magical forest just outside the tiny, haunted village, Peyroux.

By way of introduction: the Paws love to steal. They love. To. Steal. And will steal pretty much anything.

They can steal a shadow from a paladin standing at attention in front of a shrine, and if you look away long enough, they’ll steal the shrine too.

One of their greatest capers came after locating a hardware store owned by a part time super hero. A group of the Paws walked through the front door, stacked together in a trench coat (stolen). A hat completed the odd ensemble, and despite the fact they were the size of three or four rabbits and not that of a human being, they felt it to be a convincing disguise.

It was not.

A PILE OF RABBITS in a stolen trench coat creatING a distraction.

Nor was it lost to the store owner that the “customer’s” wallet was a shaped like a head of cabbage and the money smelled strongly of cilantro. The fact that a paw, and not a hand, slid the money across the counter was not suspicious, but that is largely because there are all manner of monsters that need home repair supplies. Some folk have hands, others paws, still others tentacles.

So while there was a pile of Paws paying for pins, nails, screws, and other fasteners, the rest of the guild set about robbing the store. Half or so built various distracting machines to keep the shop owner and other customers from noticing the other half digging tunnels and securing the store’s inventory. Hardware stores, it should be noted, are valuable targets because you can use your purloined products to secure even larger pieces. It was in this way that the core group of Paws cleaned out the inventory while the trench coat crew asked questions about drywall, spackle, the difference between screwdriver shapes, and how keys were made.

“W-wait a second!” the shopkeep shouted, at long last, as he looked up from his key cutting machine. He recognized, a bit too late, that he was duplicating his own house key. And that his shop was gone.

“Wh-what the?!” The reader will forgive, please, an absent minded hero. Though we are on opposite sides of the alignment bridge, I cannot fault him for falling for the adorable methods the Paws use to elude attention. They are masters at deception, illusion, and fuzziness.

The shop owner stared, awestruck, into the neighborhood. His entire shop had been stolen. A final standing wall fell, leaving nothing but a closed door, leading to and from nowhere. The shelves were gone, all of the tools and accouterments were taken, most of the floor was nowhere to be found.

The official police report read, accurately, “Not a single nail was spared, not a screw could be located. Had our station not utilized many of the services at Hero Hardware, we would not be able to accurately say a store had ever existed on this spot.”

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