Mr. Jonathon Chambers
A large, solitary white building towered in the center of the Neovian square. The structure was decorated intricately with gold and silver. The steps leading to the entrance were crafted of marble, and the door looked as though it could be porcelain. The beautiful building contrasted with its dull grey surroundings, like white on black. It captured the eye of every passer-by; it surely had to be the most extravagant place in Neovia.
The place was truly a work of art; the architect who'd designed it must have been the best in Neopia; who else could have created such an incredible masterpiece?
The thief stared hungrily at the structure, his gaze filled with pure greed. He'd had his eyes set on this place for months, and now was finally the perfect time to snag the ultimate prize that he knew lay within.
It was late afternoon. The thief had been watching the owner of this incredible gallery long enough to know that today was the day she would be least attentive to her collection. The thief had been inside many times, disguised, and knew all of the corridors and pathways quite well. The gallery contained thousands of rare, valuable items that few Neopians have ever even laid eyes upon; however there was only one object inside that this thief was currently after.
Despite the vast number of valuables this building contained, nobody had ever managed to steal a single artifact from the gallery. The security system was one of the strongest and most protective in Neopia. The building was equipped with advanced technology from the Virtupets Space Station, and it was nearly impossible to get through the barriers, especially at night when it was completely locked down.
But that was because no thief had ever done the job correctly. They did not know how to steal properly, the thief knew. He had familiarized himself with the inner workings of this building, he had acquainted himself with the gallery owner, and he had prepared the perfect plan in his highly advanced brain. He would be the first to finally succeed.
This thief was not like others of his kind; he was certainly unique, and it was something he was proud of. He thought himself above other thieves; they did not know the proper way to steal. There was more to it than simply being silent and quick; professional thieves were intelligent and organized. He held no respect for those that simply ran about, swiping what they pleased with no strategy or formality to it. Thievery was an art to him, and art must be structured a certain way for it to be perfect, after all.
Straightening his posture, the Acara began to walk towards the gallery. He was dressed in the finest attire; an expensive black tuxedo, designer glasses, and a beautiful red bouquet in his gloved paws. He made sure his steps were slow and shaky, and as he approached the stairway, a young blue Lenny dressed in a suit and holding a clipboard approached him.
"Good evening, sir; are you on the list?" he asked.
"I am indeed. Jonathon Chambers," he responded.
The Lenny scanned the clipboard for only a moment.
"Ah, yes, there you are. May I assist you to the entrance, Mr. Chambers?"
Jonathon grinned, his eyes filled with malice; though he knew his expression would go unnoticed by the Lenny.
"Why, certainly! Thank you, young man," he replied.
The Lenny took the Elderly Acara's arm, and Jonathon took slow, wobbly steps up the six marble stairs that led to the gallery's entrance. As they approached the door, Jonathon stopped to give the Lenny a small tip for his assistance that in reality he hadn't needed at all, and bid him good day as he turned to enter through the double doors.
Despite Jonathon's shaky walk, his large round glasses and his wrinkled face, the Acara was not nearly as old as he looked. His appearance was only due to a rather expensive paint job. The Acara was only in his twenties; however he did not reveal this fact to anyone. When Jonathon had learned of the new paint color that made any neopet appear old and frail- and also innocent- he had known that his career as a world-class thief was about to improve even more.
As Jonathon made his way to the dining area, he couldn't help but notice the display of incredible rare artifacts all around him. He had been in this gallery many times, but the value that this place held never ceased to amaze him. He passed all kinds of paint brushes, battledome equipment, potions, tomes, scrolls, and much more; each object rarer and more expensive than the last. And it was all for the Neopian elite to simply stare at and admire.
Jonathon was welcomed warmly by the large group of wealthy Neovians that crowded the dining hall. There were several lines of tables that held incredible servings of exquisite gourmet food, and all the guests were dressed in the most expensive clothing neopoints could purchase.
He spent some time socializing with the party guests and sampling expensive foods. The owner of the gallery, a middle-aged Royalgirl Eyrie, was actually quite friendly and pleasant to converse with. Knowing and talking to her almost made Jonathon feel guilty for planning to steal one of her most cherished artifacts; but not quite.
Finally, once all of the guests had finally arrived and were distracted by the food and events, Jonathon excused himself to use the restroom and slipped out of the dining area. He knew these hallways inside and out now, and he knew of a particular corridor where the security cameras had bad visual. There were a set of restrooms right below one of the cameras, and it could not capture the door as it opened and closed, or the walls on either side of the bathroom.
The Elderly Acara casually made his way to the restroom on the opposite side of the building, and once inside, he immediately got to work. He changed out of his tuxedo into a black jumpsuit that concealed his identity. He put his clothes into a small bag that slung over his shoulder. It would be light and easy to carry, and he would need them again later on.
Jonathon slipped out the door, making sure nobody was around, and he slunk down the wall of the hallway, avoiding the alarm sensors until he reached the end. From there, he made his way to the very back of the building, where he knew his prize waited for him. Avoiding the small cameras and sensors was easy enough, security would never know he was coming; it was entering this next room that was going to be the real challenge.
He quietly opened the door that lead into the room and slipped inside soundlessly. As he faced the large room before him, his large blue eyes widened as they settled on the artifact on the opposite wall.
Thyoras Tear; words could not describe its beauty. The aquamarine crystal glowed softly, beckoning him from the pedestal it rested on. He knew what to do now. One half-step forward and alarms would blare, signaling the Defenders of Neopia, and a four inch thick wall of steel would crash down from the ceiling in seconds, protecting the amulet. It was impossible to disable the security, as only the gallery owner could do so without it automatically signaling for the Defenders. No, the only way for Jonathon to be successful would be to dart across the room and snatch the jewel before the security system could lock down the area.
With one deep breath, the Acara sprang forward, and with incredible speed that none would ever imagine an Elderly neopet capable of, he raced across the floor, exposing himself to the security system, and with one swoop, the glass barrier protecting Thyoras Tear was shattered, and the amulet was swiped from its display and into his pocket. Alarms shrieked around him; they'd gone off the moment his feet had touched the floor's surface. He heard the mechanisms in the ceiling above him; he would be trapped here if he wasn't quick enough.
Without thought or hesitation, he sprinted back towards the entrance, the sound of metal crashing several times behind him. He barely made it out of the room, but he didn't stop. He turned right, and swiftly made his way through the winding corridors that had led to the protective room. He knew eventually the entire building would go under a lockdown, and nobody would get out. He didn't need to, though; he just needed to make it to an area with little surveillance.
Unfortunately, as he turned another corner, a metal wall crashed down in front of him, and he knew he was trapped. He thought quickly, however, and instead of trying to escape, he smashed the camera above him, and changed back into Jonathon Chambers, the rich Elderly Acara who'd simply needed to use the restroom. He was close enough to the bathrooms that hopefully suspicion would not be heavy on him.
His thieving clothes were shoved into his bag, which, when he turned it inside-out, looked like a simple briefcase.
Confident that he would be safe, Jonathon waited patiently for the Defenders to appear. He knew that they would first contact the owner of the gallery, and then they would search the security system to identify the thief, but all they would pick up is a shadowy blur. Even advanced Virtupets technology would not reveal him. Then they would search the building, assuming the thief could not have escaped, yet become baffled when they fail to find a figure clad entirely in black.
When the Defenders, along with the Eyrie host, made their way to Jonathon's location, they began to question him, and he put on the best act he'd ever managed.
"You know, these hallways really are an incredible labyrinth. I was in the restroom, minding my own business, and on my way back I must have taken a wrong turn somewhere, because I was became lost walking around. The next thing I knew, I heard a deafening blare, and these crashing noises. I was quite startled, and tried to move faster, but these old legs aren't what they used to be, you know. So I just stayed put when these walls appeared, I assumed you folks would get things figured out," he said to Judge Hog.
The large muscular Moehog nodded, obviously fooled by the thief's act.
"I see; I'm very sorry for the trouble, sir. I'm sure we'll find this thief somewhere. I do have a few more questions, however. The security camera in this room apparently was destroyed shortly before you arrived here; did you see who or what caused this? Unfortunately the feed from the camera is no longer visible, but I suspect it was this thief," he said.
"I have no idea how that happened, sir; I never noticed it there. It must have been him, though. I certainly wish I had seen him."
"Alright, and one more thing: that bag of yours, what does it contain?" Judge Hog asked, raising an eyebrow.
Jonathon did not falter in his act.
"What, this? Why, I'm an old man! We old folks need to ensure we have all we need when we leave our neohomes. I don't go anywhere without my little briefcase here; you never know what you'll end up needing, an emergency could happen at any time," Jonathon explained.
"For instance, I have my emergency dental floss, as well as some toothpaste, vitamins, my second pair of glasses..."
As he trailed off, pretending to rummage through his briefcase, Judge Hog nodded, unsurely. He was prepared to ask the old man what else the bag specifically contained, but eventually decided there was no useful evidence that could possibly dwell in the old man's briefcase.
"Well, alright then; I'm sure we will get this mystery figured out. No thief has ever escaped this security system, and I doubt one ever will. You have a good day, Mr. Chambers. And be careful in the dark on your way home, just in case. A thief that can manage to steal Thyoras Tear from a place like this surely must be highly skilled and dangerous," he warned.
Jonathon smiled to himself only slightly, but nodded and bid the Defender good night.
Judge Hog had released Jonathon Chambers from his list of suspects. Despite how odd the Elderly Acara may be, there was no way he could have stolen Thyoras Tear and escaped the gallery's security system. After all, he was just a frail old man.
As Jonathon made his way down the cobblestone road and away from the gallery, he clasped his fingers around Thyoras Tear, nestled safely beneath his tuxedo jacket, and grinned. Indeed, he truly must be the best thief that ever walked Neopia.
Job well done, he commended himself, his dull blue eyes sharpening in the moonlight as he casually made his way home.