The next night, Cherry Jubilee was nice enough to provide a hot meal, but she did say I'd need to start making an income soon. Income, that's all it was to me, a job, a way of living, make ends meet. There were those times where I had to, I needed to act on impulse. I was a thief and I would proudly strut that in the empty hallways of the houses I quietly entered.
Here I was, at the meeting spot, the jousting arena. It was close to the city so I could escape if need be, but open enough so I could have some trust of the single pony meant to meet me. And here she came.
Out here, I'm the King of the Night.
Of course it was an alicorn, who else would come? I made it quite thorough that I pulled the strings and I could flee in a moments notice with the elements. I sat in the announcing booth, a little up off the ground while I saw this darkened alicorn make its way to the center of the arena like I instructed. I jumped down from the window of the booth and snuck my way, unseen, unheard, and undetected.
They can at least follow directions, that's a first.
"You made it," I spoke with my mask on, spooking the ruler, "I'm glad you know how to follow directions."
I lit the candle I placed earlier with a match, "I'm Garrett, and you are?"
"Cadence, I-," I was the one speaking here. She was visibly scared, she must have heard the stories of me and exaggerated rumors.
"I'd like to keep this to business only. I'm here for two things. The first is a portal back to my time and world. The second is to return the Elements of Harmony."
"Then you do have them! Give the-."
"Quiet!" I ridiculed in a harsh voice, "silence is the music of the night and breaking it brings consequences."
"Sorry, just hand the Elements to me and we'll talk about your first demand," her voice turned soft and believable.
A snake in the tongue is just as deadly as one in the shoe.
"I don't have them on me, I will give you a drop location for where you can pick them up. I want you to check with the other rulers and any magic presence and leave a note at the same drop location. Also, I demand you draft a contract to put in the drop location tomorrow night along with the note you leave for me. I want two copies of it, one for you and one for me," I was spouting my demands. I felt like a dirty robber or bandit, either of those would never amount to me.
"And what do you want in the contract?"
"To no longer be pursued for theft of the Elements of Harmony and no cruel punishments to ever come my way."
"That can be done easily, but you are a thief, aren't you?"
"I have stolen nothing from your palace. The drop location will be in the mailbox of the Rarity's Boutique Warehouse. Get there at 1AM and no earlier. Our meeting is concluded," I blew out the candle, "I expect that contract and note to be at the drop site by then, you are not to linger. Pick the elements up at 4AM."
I sprinted away.
"Garrett!" Cadence called after.
It was done, now I only need to wait.
"Did you see my bracelet?" I overheard a noble pony inside their dwelling. The night was still young and nobles were still awake.
"No, I haven't. Why do you insist on keeping it? It's supposed to bring bad luck, just like the other seven," this mare's husband gave me quite the insight.
Is this one part of the same set as the one in Canterlot?
I made my way to the roof of the building and while the guards were gone and no heads near windows, I dropped and gripped the window sill ledge to let myself in.
I'd like to see this bracelet myself.
"That's just a rumor! It's an oddity, and as one of the oldest and richest families in the Crystal Empire, we must keep things to show off at our parties!"
I wouldn't mind seeing all these oddities either.
My feet guided me silently around an empty bedroom that left the door open. I flew about the room quickly, making a little more noise, but my hands were important.
Jewelry, coins, candlesticks, letters, anything that looked useful now or later. Hoofsteps soon came to the door just after my fingers delicately closed the last drawer of their second dresser of three. I slid under the bed while they turned on the light.
"You can find it in the morning, it's probably in the storage room, you just misplaced it."
"I guess you're right, just turn off the light then, I'm headed right to bed since we have that brunch early at 11am."
Immediate darkness and two rustling of fabrics above me told me they were in bed and likely with their eyes closed. My signal. I slipped out from the bed and opened the door slightly to walk out. Darkness. The servant here must have also gone home for the night, these rich ponies were just like the nobles in my world. Spoiled.
It didn't take me long to start going through their mansion and begin taking all their valuables and even munching on some of their food items. And the second to last room is when I found it, their storage room. The first thing there was a wooden pedestal about the size of a plate, like some small viewing platform.
I see where it's supposed to go.
There were some nice pieces of jewelry there, but I didn't come for them, they were only a bonus. I came across a small box, behind a sheet covered piece of furniture.
Hello there, glad to find you.
I opened it to find a thick gold bracelet divided into three bands that linked together, a snake head at each end with a large emerald in its mouth, on both ends. I gently flipped it around in my hand to admire it before I stuck it close to the elements inside the inner pockets of my armor.
And I was out back on the roof with the help of the claw and the third story window.
I see this city has much to offer
I returned home while the sun was rising and slipped through the warehouse sunroofs, seeing Cherry Jubilee waiting on me.
"Cutting it close, Garrett? I thought you were the best thief in Equestria."
I pulled my face mask down and turned my pockets out, handing her expensive item after expensive item until I was finished and brushed the bracelet in my chest pocket. It was known as a death coil.
"I apologize, you brought the haul that my regulars would bring after a few days, together," she smirked, "take the entire sack of bits behind me, I'll be getting some of those specialty arrows from my good friend who sent you here."
"Ask him for whatever he's made and tell him I'm going to need a lot more flashbangs and smoke bombs, he'll know what I'm talking about."
"I also cleared out a crate and made a hidden door in it at the back of the warehouse with an escape exit just in case. It's got a bed and all the simple living things for you. You owe me," Cherry Jubilee pointed her hoof at a giant crate at the back that has a specific shipping date that was very far in the future, "some of the wineries request to have cherries just before they start to rot and ferment, it helps them charge more for some of their wines for the nobles. There's also a hot meal for you in the crate."
"Nobles never change. Warn your other business partners that guards may be out in much larger numbers tomorrow night," I left after the gate began to open, the real workers arriving to do work in the warehouse.
"After what you brought, I wouldn't be surprised."
I let my hands drift over the face of the crate and felt it jiggle slightly, a simple pull to the left and a small square hole opened up to reveal the room with a lit candle. A bed, a table, and a chest; my necessities. I stored the death coil in the chest and began to smell something delicious, next to the candle a stir fry of vegetables was sitting along with a fresh apple. An unveiled vent cover revealed the escape exit to me, directly to the street, a short tunnel out.
Perfect, this'll make a good home.
I dug into my food, consuming rapidly before I quickly went to sleep to recover for the next night.
Midnight, that's when I left, the clock inside the warehouse helped a lot to keep track of time. I made my way out and across the industrial district of the Crystal Empire and to the correct warehouse that I spotted from miles away. It would seem Rarity was good at making her presence in places be known and a taste for noble fashion. I leaped down off a roof of a warehouse across the street and made my way to the mailbox, opening it to find the note and the contract that was already signed with her name, a quill and ink pot inside just for me to do the same.
It did confirm my earlier suspicions.
Of course, no way home. This world suits me well enough and I can certainly make my living here.
I took the contract out and signed it atop the mailbox, both copies, and stuck one back inside. I pulled the bag that contained the Elements of Harmony and gently placed them inside the mailbox before shutting it and taking off to the rooftops and heading into the noble district to make some coin lifting things from houses, but much more sparsely.
There were definitely a lot more guards out, posted at street corners, patrolling in pairs, but mostly close to the palace.
At 4AM, like I desired, Cadence made the pickup and couldn't see me atop the warehouse in the darkness of the night. She did it alone like I had asked.
"What? Where are the elements?" I heard her say to herself, that's when I heard soft booms all about Cadence and on the top of the warehouse with me. Guards, Canterlot guards, this Rarity probably had some silent alarm set up and I must have tripped it when I made the dropoff for the elements.
There were two guards to my left and three to my right, unicorns with bows in their magic grip. This does not bode well for me. I crouched as still as I could while they trained their eyes on Cadence along with the guards on the ground with their spears. That's when I saw my doom, those pesky six that chased me from my original home showed up, scattered to search for whoever made the dropoff with the elements.
"Cadence, what are you-," the white furred unicorn with an elegantly curled purple mane began to ask, must ahve been the owner of this warehouse.
"He's up here!" I knew that voice, it was Twilight's.
And it was behind me.
"Sorry, but I don't have time for an audience to my adventures tonight," I stood and ran towards Twilight.
My right hand reached into my pocket and shoved a smoke bomb thoroughly into her face before it exploded, leaving her confused, blinded, and with irritated eyes.
"Halt!" I heard the guards behind me. They always insisted on demanding respect to their authority.
I went to jump off the warehouse, but slid before I fell into the trap, just barely staying up on the rooftops. Multiple flashes filled the air around me and the ground below me with guards and the pesky six. Cadence was even among them as was the two rulers of Canterlot.
I suppose this is one game of chess I wasn't supposed to win
My mind went frantic again. A way out, there had to be a way out.
I drew my bow and pulled back a sawtooth arrow, aiming at a guard. I hated hurting people, but sometimes I had to in order to get out of sticky situations or create openings.
It was silent until the white pegasus-unicorn thing from Canterlot spoke up.
"Garrett! For your thievery of the Elements of Harmony, you are und-," my ears hated that word.
I think you've talked long enough.
My fingers loosed the arrow and it hit directly into the talking white ruler, all ponies there broke into panic and rush to her side to ignore me.
My hands dug into my pouches and pulled the four flashbangs I had, I set them off, chucking three out at the flying and grounded forces while the last covered my spot, I ran and I knew I couldn't stay in the city, they'd be searching non stop for me.
My heart was loud, very loud. I drew out fire arrows and began to shoot them at anything flammable in the areas I sprinted through, I needed them to be distracted. I kept one for later, just in case. My feet carried me a good distance away before the rainbow pegasus caught up to me.
"I advise you stop chasing me," my thief honor prevented me from getting caught for one moment to explain what I was doing.
"Hah, like I ever would!" She was gaining on me.
I pulled a noxious arrow back and flipped around, making contact on her forehead. My feet carried me away from choking sounds.
I reached the outskirts of the city and noted the lack of green. Snow was falling thickly in a perfect circular edge around the city. It would explain why the night travel here was so cold. It looked like the wings were harsh, a blizzard.
"We have you now, murderer!" That was Twilight. I turned around with some anger, thankfully I could control myself quite well.
I took a hushed breath in, "I am no murderer! I only steal and hurt when I have to, don't compare me to such thuggish brutes."
"Regardless, creature. We have captured you now," the blue pegasus-unicorn landed next to Twilight and soon, all the guards and ponies made there way to that side.
I peeked behind me back to the snowy wasteland. I could perhaps lose them in the blizzard and return to the city.
"You've committed many crimes," the white counterpart to the dark blue appeared in a flash, a small red spot on her fur.
"I returned the elements, what more would you want from me? I have a contract signed, dammit," I put away my bow in a show of good faith.
I pulled the folded paper from within my leathers and showed it, the paper floating over in a yellow glow.
"Cadence, did you...did you really sign this?"
"I did, he was supposed to give me the elements back," Cadence confirmed.
"I did my job, I placed them into the drop site, if someone stole them, it's your problem now, jailing me won't solve the issue," I refused to back down, controlling them with words was my only craft now.
"You're right, so why not a counter offer?" Twilight spoke now, I didn't take her to be much of a leader.
"You have my attention."
"What if we paid you to retrieve it?"
A job? A job, one that would pay handsomely most likely, and something to suit my skills, maybe even something that could broadcast my thieving skills.
"Twilight! How-," the white ruler immediately protested.
"That might work...I am held to the contract and we can recover the Elements of Harmony."
"How much would you pay?" I asked.
"Name your price," The white spoke up again with a smirk.
That smug grin won't stay long and neither will their confidence. I knew the objects of my desires since I laid my eyes on it.
"I want all three of your crowns."
All of them stopped smiling and silence once again fell.
"We would never give thou our-," the midnight started.
"Fine, if that's what it takes," the white interrupted again.
"Good, because if you're going to track a thief, you'll need a thief. You had no other choice here," I walked towards the group, the guards with their weapons still raised, "I need your names."
"Celestia," the white was first.
"Luna," the blue next.
"I know you, I only asked for your rulers' names," I turned back around once I was past them.
"To track these thieves, you need to ask questions. Where could they move the material off to? These aren't the best of the best, aren't the ones that take pride in stealing like I do. Who could they sell the Elements to? Who would have the motivation to keep them away from you?"
"Discord," Twilight quickly answered.
"And where is Discord?"
"In his own dimension, but he sometimes visits Fluttershy's cottage," Twilight answered again.
"Then the thieves will have to take a ride out of the Crystal Empire. I recommend shutting down all trade routes, trains, and exits out of the city until I can properly track these thieves down," I turned back away and began to run, climbing up whatever I could to reach the rooftops. I would start my search tomorrow night and start at Rarity's warehouse.
"Garrett!" Cadence called after me again, but none of them gave chase.