• Published 8th Mar 2016
  • 3,882 Views, 589 Comments

Crime Pays - chillbook1

Twilight Sparkle, master thief and adrenaline junkie, leads the Mythos Crew in search of the next big score.

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Cooling Off

“Who are you?”

“A friend.”

“I don’t have any of those.”

“Your sister would disagree.”

I was not happy with the situation. If Dash only knew what she was doing… She still probably would’ve done something to jeopardize the job, frankly. She was directly responsible for thirteen deaths, and now we were no better off. Although, to be fair, it could be argued that I was the one responsible for those men dying. My only rebuttal to that is—until Dash got huffy—I had everything under control. Thunderlane would pay us, set up the scapegoats, and I’d send the crew back home while I “interrogate” our employer. Then, I would’ve had Rift drop the girl off at a building some place nearby. From there, I would’ve called Dash and had her come “discover” the girl, completely safe. In that scenario, everyone wins.

But things didn’t go according to plan. Not this time.

“I don’t have a sister,” said Scootaloo stubbornly. She squirmed quietly in the back of the van, obviously searching for some form of escape. Even though I assured her that I meant her no harm, she was determined to bust out and make her daring escape.

“Don’t let Dash hear you say that,” I said flatly. “She’d be crushed.” She did not react in the way that I expected. Apparently, I was on a losing streak of some sort.

“Don’t you fucking talk about Rainbow!” She kicked and thrashed violently, so much so that it seemed that she was trying to attack me. “What did you do to her?! If you hurt her, I’m gonna kill you!”

“Dirty mouth, hot head, and serious loyalty. I wonder where you get that,” I said dryly. I stopped the van outside of the laundromat. “Listen, kid, this is our stop. I'm going to cut those cable ties on your wrists and ankles. If you want to see Rainbow, alive and unharmed, I would suggest that you follow me into the laundromat.” I pulled a pair of scissors from my breast pocket (always prepared), then hopped to the back and freed my captive.

As soon as she was free, she punched me directly in the eye. And it hurt. A lot.

“Alright, ya little twerp,” I snarled, leaping onto the thrashing, fighting, deceptively strong teen. After a bit of struggling, I secured her in a headlock. “If I wanted to hurt you, I'd have done it while you were drugged!” I tightened my hold. “If I wanted to hurt you, I could snap your neck right now!” She sputtered, gasping for breath, which I took as my cue to let her loose. She tumbled onto the floor, choking breath back into her lungs.

“Why did you kidnap me?” She huffed. I rolled my eyes.

“I didn’t. I'm the rescue team, kid,” I said. “Now let's go, if you don't mind.”

I grabbed my duffel bag and slid open the door, gesturing for Scootaloo to exit. I followed her out and shepherded her into the laundromat, directing her towards the dryer. I pulled my key from my pocket, unlocked the machine, and threw it onto its side. Scootaloo watched in wonder for just a moment before I nudged her and got her going down the ladder.

“What is this place?” she asked quietly. I ignored her and remained silent until we reached the end of the hallway and pushed open the door to the Planning Room.

“You’re not telling me anything,” groaned Dash. She had taken my spot on the couch and was playing chess with Spike (poorly, I might add).

“Twilight is dealing with things,” promised Spike. “That's all you need to worry about, is that Twi is dealing with it.”

“Twi dealt with it,” I said. “Past tense.” They both spun to face me, relief on Spike’s face and pure joy on Dash’s.

“Squirt!” Dash hopped out of her seat, ran, and scooped the girl up. “For fuck’s sake, I didn't know if I'd see you again! Are you okay? Did they hurt you? What happened? Fuck, I'm so glad you're alright, I—”

“I'm fine, Rainbow, I'm fine!” laughed Scootaloo. “Forget about me, what about you? Is this where you go when you say you’re at work?” She looked around to the War Map, the computers, and the phone lines. “This is way cooler.”

“Hey, it’s still work,” said Dash with a grin. “But, yeah, it is kinda badass, isn’t it? I’ll tell you about it, we—”

“Twenty,” I said. Dash seemed to only then realize I was also in the room. She, as well as Spike and the girl, looked at me in a stunned silence for a moment.

“Uh…” Dash scratched her head awkwardly. “What?”

“Oh, nothing.” I crossed the room and took my seat back, resetting the table angrily. “I’m just calling it out. You know, for those keeping score at home.” I moved my pawn forward. “That’s how many men are dead because of you, Ms. Dash.”

“Look, I—”

“Shut the hell up, please and thanks,” I said. “I’m not done. More so than that, you forced me to kill a gang leader, a well-established gang leader. That’s a big no-no in business. I’m a dead mare walking because of you! What do you have to say to that? Now that I have a whole syndicate gunning for me?”

“I… I wasn’t thinking,” she said, almost breathlessly. “I didn’t know they’d go for you, I figured they’d be on me.”

“That’s not how these things work,” said Spike, responding to my move on the board. “You thought the business was dangerous? Well, the politics are killer. Whether you intended to or not, you just declared war in Mythos’ name.”

“And now, I have to clean up your mess,” I said. I zipped open my duffel bag. “You owe me a lot, Dash. You owe me money, the cost to clean the bodies. You owe me a way to deal with Shining, without killing him. You owe me an apology.”

“Boss, I’m—”

“But you know what you owe me the most?” I asked. She froze, too stunned and terrified to react. I reached into my bag and pulled out a bottle of whiskey. “You owe me a drink.”

“So, how’d you guys meet?” asked Scootaloo. I chuckled, draining off my drink. Even though it wasn’t that long ago, I truly cherished the memory.

“Friday afternoon, around 5 PM, near the bank or an ATM,” I said. “That’s the best time and place, in my experience, to pick pockets. And, this particular Friday at 5, I was preparing to do just that, when out of the corner of my eye, I see this thug who thinks she’s being sneaky.” Rainbow laughed nervously. She was still embarrassed.

“Right, and I see her jacket. It’s a nice coat, and we were in a nice part of the city, so I figure she has some dough,” said Dash. “I start to follow her, when she goes down this alley to smoke. I’m thinking it’s an easy mark, right? So I pull my toast and I’m like ‘run it, bitch’, and she looks me dead in the eyes, calm as can fucking be, and she says…”

“Oh? Are you robbing me?” I supplied. As a group, the four of us laughed, especially the girl. Dash had given her some of the whiskey, which initially made Spike and myself nervous. Then, we noticed that she was heavily diluting the drink when the girl wasn’t looking. Dash was strangely responsible, in a highly irresponsible way.

“So, I’m sitting there with my gun literally against her nose,” said Dash. “And all I can think to say is ‘Uh,duh’. And she just kinda shrugged, and she reaches into her pocket… and she gives me her wallet.”

“What?” asked Scootaloo. “She just gave you her wallet.” She turned to face me. “For real?” I smiled, nodding to confirm.

“But Dash made a mistake, and she got close to me when she grabbed the wallet,” I explained. “Which, of course, I knew she would.” This was where Dash and I tended to argue about the story.

“You did not!” Dash interjected, right on cue. “You got lucky, and I was stupid.”

“So you'd rather be stupid than admit that Twi saw you coming?” asked Spike.

“In any case, I pressed the wallet into Dash’s hand. As soon as she gripped it, I hit her in the throat,” I said, grinning. “Then I shot her with her own gun.”

“You shot at me, and only grazed me,” Dash reminded me.

“Again, just like I planned.”

“Bullshit!” This time, Dash was actually correct. I didn’t intend to hit her at all.

“After I wrapped her up, I picked her pocket, found out her name, and started teasing her,” I continued. “And that’s when I saw her ambition, her desire to learn. So, I took her under my wing. We trained her up, gave her the Gryphon, and she's been heisting with us ever since.”

“Wow! That’s so cool,” said Scootaloo. “So you guys rob banks?”

“Well, sometimes,” said Spike. “Actually, since Dash has joined the Crew, we’ve only hit one bank. And it didn’t go great.”

“Well, considering I walked out with north of three mil, I say it went pretty well,” said Dash. Scootaloo dropped her glass, no doubt shocked. “Don’t get too excited, Squirt, I don’t have any of it now. I gotta pay Twi back. But… Y’know, if she’ll have me, I’ll be able to make some more cash for us.” I rose from my seat and pulled a cigarette from my pocket. I stuck it in my mouth, crossed the room, and took a lighter from Dash’s pocket.

“Dash, you and the girl better lay low here for a while. I don’t want Thunderlane’s guys coming after you,” I said. “I’m gonna smoke and clear my head. When I get back, we need to talk about how we’re going to deal with this moving on.”

I left the room, strolled down the hall, and climbed up the ladder. I ended up in front of the laundromat, where I lit my cigarette and took a puff.

That could’ve been worse. Sure, I was up to my ears in trouble, but that was okay. I never really managed to learn how to avoid trouble, so I'd gotten quite good at surviving it. I was no further from Shining catching me than before, but I could live with that for now.

“If she finds out, she's going to kill you.”

I pretended that I didn't hear him, but Spike saw through it easily. He strolled to my right, pulled out a cigarette of his own, and began to smoke.

“And I don’t mean she's going to be pissed,” Spike continued. “I don’t mean she's going to quit, or she's going to fight you, or she's going to turn you in. If she finds out what you did, she's going to look you dead in the eyes and put a bullet in your brain.”

I tapped my cigarette, knocking ash down to my feet. I turned and locked eyes with Spike, prepared for the worst. To my surprise, he wasn’t angry. He was hurt.

“Then let's make sure she doesn't find out,” I said. Spike’s expression intensified slightly.

“Is that really how you think of me? You think you have to tell me that?” he asked. “We're a team, Twi. I'm always going to have your back, but you need to tell me everything. And I mean everything: the good, the bad, and the fucking horrific. I can't protect your secrets if you're keeping them from me, too.”

I said nothing, which Spike correctly interpreted as an apology. He was right, of course. I should've been more open with him. In fact, if he was in on my plan, the whole thing might’ve gone off without a hitch.

“How'd you know?” I asked, more to cover my bases than anything.

“You never used her name while we were talking. I could smell your guilt.” There was another short bout of silence. “Twi, can I give you some advice?”

“Go for it.”

“Tread carefully. You're expecting people to trust you when you don't trust them, and that’s dangerous.” Spike tossed his cigarette onto the ground. “You're making risky plays. These sorts of things always catch up with you. Only problem is that you don't realize you should be running.”

“You quoting yourself there?” I asked. He shook his head.

The Nexus Dragon Anthology. It's a collection of myths and legends,” said Spike. “The myth that's from is about a chief god who deceives his fellow deities. The gods and goddesses who were willing to die for him ended up betraying him and sending him to hell.”

“If I didn’t know better, I'd say that sounded like a threat,” I said, raising an eyebrow. Spike turned back for the laundromat, gently punching me in the shoulder on his way.

“Good thing you know better,” he said. “I'll start putting together the next job. I have my eye on some Eastern artifacts. It'll be like the rifles, except we're cutting out some of the middleman.”

“Sounds good,” I said, even though I knew he was walking out of earshot. “Sounds good.”

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