The Tale of a Petty Thief: Part Two
As time went on, I learned many more things, practical things.
Astralis taught me how to cook food and collect berries in the wild, the Moehog
supervisor taught me how to fish and hunt and I began to associate with other
members of the Thieves' Guild.
When I arrived, I had followed Astralis blindly.
Now I got to know some of the other people who were living on this little camping
place. Some of them had the most innocent faces, but they would easily sell
you for a small bag of neopoints. Some of them were rat-faced, but inside they
were really kind. By experience and Astralis' words, I learned to trust some
of them. The naive little pet that had once been was now tucked away deep in
my heart. I had to be tough among the tough.
I made progress slowly, only climbing in the
ranks now and then. Contrary to my partner, I was quite content with the position
that I was in. As for Astralis... Well, she got to the highest position of one
of our time in a couple years.
Sometimes Astralis would yell at me for being
inattentive. Now that I had gone through the rigorous training, I had more spare
time. Nice days were spent outside on a hillside, with a grass blade in my mouth.
Rainy days were spent in the library. My partner would always complain about
me not using my time well, but I'd just shrug it off.
It was a nice, sunny day when we were both off
our jobs. Astralis sat on the hillside, letting the wind blow through her fur.
I was pondering about the mysteries of life, as usual.
"Why do people steal?" I suddenly asked. Astralis
twitched and turned around slowly, inspecting me with her sapphire eyes. Finally
she opened her mouth.
"Some people steal for fun. That's just not right.
Thieving is an art, like any other." Here, Astralis' voice took a dramatic turn.
"It's just like painting or dancing..."
"But those people... Those that we steal of?"
I asked. The first question had been unintentional, but I couldn't resist testing
"Well, they steal of other people too. Think
of it like this: A shopkeeper buys from the general shops, sells it for their
shop for a higher price. Don't they swindle from people, who can buy from the
general store cheaper than from a user shop?"
I thought about it. "Yeah, I guess you're right."
Suddenly Astralis' eyes turned dark and a cloud
covered the sun. She looked at me for a moment, her face serious. When she spoke,
it was not the normal, cheerful voice.
"I am a thief. I steal to live. And live to steal.
That's the thief's moral."
"Really?" I asked, for this was something new
to me. "Really... Steal to live, that's right... And live to steal..." I realized
that I had gotten sight of what a thief really is.
"Think about that," she said.
The conversation ended there, on that bright,
breezy sunny day which had turned a little bit cold. But when I look back at
it, I think that it was a very important thing - understanding the thief. I
understood that it was exciting and fun and all that, but underneath it was
a seriousness and a pride that could match the pride of any other occupation.
The true thief steals to live. And he dedicates his whole life to steal.
One day, Astralis came with a sudden notion about
hitting the big one. I thought it was just one of her usual fancies, but she
didn't drop the idea for long. Curious, I questioned her.
"What's the 'big one'?" I asked the bright-eyed
Zafara sitting beside me.
"You know pirates?" Astralis asked me.
"Of course. Our cousins of the sea."
"Well, pirates, they dig up a buried treasure.
There's probably a legend of the biggest treasure that hasn't been dug up and
it's every pirate's dream to get it. That's what the 'big one' is."
"Well, what is the 'big one' for thieves?" I
asked, noting the sudden change of subject.
Suddenly Astralis looked somewhat shy and confused.
"I don't know," she admitted. "But I'll definitely find... I mean, steal it
"And there are others who believe in that?" I
"Yeah. We all do, like the way pirates believe
in that treasure."
I realized that it was something special, that
belief. From that day on, I started to believe too. After all, I was a thief,
and a pretty good one at that.
The thief's life is filled with excitement and
fun. Nights consisted of missions, ordeals, games (if one was on break). Days
were filled with training, sleep and other interesting things.
When I saw a determined Astralis walk up to the
leader on one of those normal, routine days, I realized that something was different.
I saw her talking, and heard fleeting words such
as 'break', 'permission', 'adventure' and more. Suddenly I realized what Astralis
was doing! I jumped up and checked my tent. I was right! My bag was packed and
ready to go...
Someone tapped my shoulder. I turned around and
saw Astralis, holding her knapsack and grinning like an idiot.
"I did it!" she said, grasping my hand with excitement.
"We get to go adventuring to find the big one!"
Filled with happiness, we left the camp. Astralis
thought that the big one was somewhere in Meridell. Why else would Skarl and
Darigan fight so obsessively with each other, and twice on top of that?
The first days were rough. There were no campfires
to sing songs around, no other souls and no jobs. We had to get our own food,
sometimes from small villages along the way.
But the sights were worth it. It was wonderful
to wake up in a forest, with my fur damp and wet. The glittering dewdrops and
the birds greeted me every morning. Sometimes I would even see a waterfall or
another wonder of nature.
During the long trip, our feet got sore, but
they healed quickly. I was training my condition in a way that I hadn't before,
not even in the thieves' camp. Astralis always managed to find just enough food
to still our hunger.
Soon, we reached the fair land of Meridell. We
had to search for a few days before we found it - the big one.
It was Astralis who found it first. I was drinking
from a little river when she nudged me and pointed up. What my partner had seen
was a big, gray castle with a single black tower. There were no flags, and the
stone looked torn and aged. Plants ran across the walls, covering most of the
"There must be something valuable in there,"
she whispered. She was right. The castle was very well hidden, among the crowns
of tall trees and vines. If it had not been for the tower, we might've ignored
it and gone on.
"That has to be the big one," I replied as I
This time, I was better. I was a good thief now.
I did no longer make beginner mistakes like stepping on a branch or ramming
into stones. We slowly snuck to the castle. The big iron doors were locked,
"Let's climb up," Astralis suggested. I nodded.
It was the best thing to do.
As I clung to the vines, fearing for my life,
we heard some noises.
"There's someone inside. Of course... It is the
big one, after all," Astralis muttered for herself.
I only dared to look down once, and it took all
of my willpower to not scream. When we finally got on the castle and off the
vines, I felt my beating heart slow down. The few past days' boredom had not
prepared me for such a heart-racing thing such as this.
We moved along the wall to the tower, but had
to stop and hide twice because of guards. The whole castle was bigger than it
"Do not walk in the light, but wander in darkness,"
Astralis murmured, quoting 'Thieves' Guild Survival Guide'.
She dove into an underground tunnel. I followed
her reluctantly, not being able to see well. The damp air made me want to throw
up, but we continued. Soon we were at the underground door of the tower.
"What do you know, it actually worked!" my partner
said as she used her tool to open the lock. It was child's play for her, and
soon we were inside the tower.
All this time, I had this sensation of someone
watching us... "Isn't this too easy?" I asked Astralis, hoping that this was
Astralis nodded. "But we can't stop now for that..."
She didn't get to finish as two ice guardians appeared out of nowhere and blocked
"We'll have to fight," I commented. "Too bad
knives won't work." Astralis, ever so quickly, took out a Honey Potion and threw
it at the guardians. The two guards melted to honey as we continued.
One step. Two more. Two steps. Four more. Soon
Astralis grew bored of throwing items and opening doors.
"I thought that the big one would be more exciting,"
she said as we reached the last stair.
This was it. We played rock, paper, scissors
and I won. I got to be the lab rat for whatever that was waiting. Each step
up the last stair was painful. One step, a burning sensation in my feet. Another
step, like walking through syrup. It was obvious that it was magic, and no tricks
would help here. I heard some noises of discomfort as Astralis left the last
step, which was an icy blizzard.
The door to the top of the tower was not locked.
I pushed it gently and the old oak door opened easily. Inside was a black book
on a table. Around the book was a wall of shimmering light.
"Just great. More magic." Astralis groaned quietly.
"I hate magic stuff like this."
I decided to give it a try, even though it probably
wouldn't work. I was just about to stick my hand into that colorful wall when
a cold wind blew through the room and we both froze to ice. A loud voice boomed.
"Think you can steal my spellbook, eh?" It called
out. The voice was deep and powerful, with an undertone of the howls of Werelupes
in it. "Sure, it may be the big one, but it's not time for you youngsters yet."
"Who are you?" Astralis called out.
There was an evil laugh, and then a regular one
followed. The voice said, "That you don't need to know. But what you shall know
is that it is not time yet. You still have duties and things to do before hauling
the big one in. Let's end this now and call it a draw."
"No way!" my partner protested, somewhat disappointed.
We had both anticipated of getting the big one, but now it was slipping out
of our hands like a wriggly fish. I had expected there to be some great thing
behind the last door, but a voice?
"We're not on a goose chase here," I said. "We're
here for the real deal."
"Well, you won't get it," the voice boomed. It
sounded annoyed. Somehow I knew that this wasn't the time. The easiness, the
lifeless minions... I realized that it was all a game, and that the voice was
moving all the chess pieces.
"You're both formidable opponents, but let time
run before getting it. It has been fun, so why don't you go home?" The voice
didn't wait any longer, and immediately a tornado whipped us away. Then it all
I woke up days later, and remembered the adventure
instantly. I looked at the sleeping Zafara beside me. Her face wore a frown
of disappointment, but she held a page in her hand. I looked at my hand and
saw a page of a book in there too. I realized that it was from the spellbook.
I smiled. All of our efforts hadn't failed at
all, and I had learned yet another lesson of thieving - don't take everything
for granted, the tables could turn anywhere, anytime.
"I'm very disappointed," Astralis said. She was
"Well, I guess it wasn't time. But at least now
we're guaranteed another haul at the big one."
"And I thought I knew enough already," she said,
the disappointment showing in her voice.
"I don't think we can ever learn enough..." I
Silence. After a moment, my partner spoke.
"Do you know what the most exciting thing was?
It wasn't the book, or even the big one. It was just the excitement running
through your body, going through the last door and knowing that you did a good
job... That was the best of it, thieving itself."
"And that's the meaning with thieving," I said
wisely, teasing her.
"Yeah. The way of the thief..." Astralis smiled,
frowned and then added, "But I'm still quite disappointed."
"There will be another time," I said.
"I guess that makes it all right!"
And that concludes my tale. I have done many
other great deeds, but the most memorable was my hunt for the big one. Any thief,
big or small, should believe in their own abilities and try their best. Many
thieves will follow, and they'll find their own great 'big one'.
Thieving is like other things. It's a thing that
a proud thief should enjoy. Steal to live. And live to steal.