A day with Kanrik, leader of the Thieves Guild
Veifira, a royal Draik, was wandering Mystery Island’s Trading Post in search of some good deals. She had just fought with her sister for the umpteenth time about Veifira not wanting to wear a fancy gown to Princess Amira’s Lost Desert annual ball. It was hard to be agile while wearing a dress and, for someone who would rather live the life of a thief, Veifira preferred to be nimble. She sighed, wanting to find the perfect apology gift for her sister. She walked by stalls and stalls of items, stopping in front of a table with a Super Attack Pea.
No one could afford that, Veifira thought to herself with a chuckle. She was about to walk away when she heard someone say, "how much?"
She whipped her head back to see who had inquired, coming face to face with Kanrik, who she recognized from the news. After all, he was one of the leaders of the factions – the Thieves Guild – in the War for the Obelisk. Veifira watched with wide eyes as the stall owner and Kanrik bartered in hushed tones. Finally, Kanrik handed over a large bag of goods and Neopoints and the seller passed over the tiny Super Attack Pea.
"Thank you for the trade," Kanrik said with a nod, bowing while he stepped away from the booth. He looked cautiously to the side, finally noticing Veifira.
Veifira flushed, realizing that she had been gawking this whole time. "Uh, hi," she said, giving an awkward wave.
"Hello," Kanrik said, raising his eyebrows under his dark cloak. He turned to leave.
"W-wait!" Veifira calling out, trailing after him. "You’re, like, my biggest hero. I’ve kept up with you since you overthrew Galem Darkhand, and I was rooting for you the whole time during the Obelisk War."
Kanrik nodded stiffly. "Always nice to meet a fan," he said, trying to keep a few paces in front of Veifira.
"I’m not just a fan," Veifira implored, quickening her steps. "I’m also an aspiring," she paused, lowering her voice. "Thief."
Kanrik sighed and finally stopped walking. The two were already near the docks of Mystery Island. He looked Veifira up and down, noticing her silken robes and glimmering Lost Desert pin – a sign of aristocracy. "Forgive me if I’m mistaken," he said, his voice laced with sarcasm. "But I am to believe you are royalty, unless you’re to tell me you stole your garments?"
"Well… yes, I am," Veifira admitted, "but am I not allowed to choose a different path then the one I was born into?"
Her voice suddenly reminded Kanrik of that of an old friend’s – Hannah’s voice. It was innocent but well-intentioned and Kanrik felt his cold exterior melting away a little. Although he and Hannah had since reconciled since his betrayal, they were never as close as they once were.
"I suppose," Kanrik said haughty. "So, what do you want from me?"
Veifira was taken aback, unprepared for that question. She wanted to be him, the master thief that he was. She wanted to develop all of his cunning and skill. "I want to train under you, I want to be your apprentice," Veifira said, trying to keep her voice steady.
Kanrik shook his head. "No," he said simply. "No way. I can make millions of Neopoints out of thin air but I cannot train someone of your… stature." He gestured to her appearance, implying that he could not transform the royalty in front of him into an anonymous thief.
Veifira was unwavering, though. "Just one day," she said. "I want to see what one day in the life of Kanrik, master thief, looks like."
He pondered her request, her resemblance to Hannah softening him. "Okay," he said at last. "If you can put aside everything you think you know about thievery, you may come with me."
Off the shores of Mystery Island, there is a harbour. Veifira always saw the docks as a wholesome goodbye place, for the inhabitants of Mystery Island to wave goodbye to their visitors. As she and Kanrik walked towards the harbour, though, the sweet natives of the island scurried away, making a path for the leader of the Thieves Guild to walk through. Veifira stayed close to Kanrik, trying to mirror his light footsteps. He stopped in front of a massive ship.
Although Veifira had always imagined thieves’ ships to be vast and intimidating, Kanrik’s ship was extremely ordinary. In fact, there was nothing to discriminate Kanrik’s ship from the other ships moored on the dock.
"Surprised?" Kanrik asked after seeing Veifira’s wide eyes. "As I said, to understand what it truly means to be a thief, you must let go of all your preconceptions. You must realize that the last thing we would want is to be known."
Veifira struggled to understand. "But… how about your cannons, your weapons? Surely, your ship would need armor as well."
Kanrik chuckled. "You must be thinking of pirates."
"What’s the difference?" Veifira asked.
"Pirates are… less skilled, if I may say," Kanrik answered. "See, most of their strength comes from striking fear into their victims. It comes from waving a skull and crossbones flag, from cannons sticking out of the sides, from an armoured hull. They gain an advantage from making the enemy think they are more prepared than they are."
Veifira considered this. "But wouldn’t you want that advantage, too?"
Kanrik scoffed. "We don’t need to use backhanded tactics to gain the upper hand. We have a more refined skillset that doesn’t require empty threats."
"What kind of skills?" Veifira asked, her curiosity piqued. She had always wanted to be a thief, and her desire was only growing the more she learned.
"Well, of course we have the strength and fighting ability. But we also have knowledge; we have eyes and ears everywhere. Instead of feigning preparedness, we actually are ready. Instead of wasting resources we don’t have to, we do analyses on the enemy before we fight, and we use more effective, more efficient ways to win battles." While speaking, Kanrik boarded his vessel, retrieving the anchor and preparing to depart.
Veifira nodded eagerly, following him onto the ship. "Wow, I respect that," she said. "But, I’m curious why you traded for that Super Attack Pea earlier instead of just finding one to steal."
At that, Kanrik laughed heartily. "What do you think I used to trade with? Now, if you’ll excuse me for a bit, my crew is back in the hideout, so I’ll have to navigate this ship myself."
After traveling for a few hours, Veifira and Kanrik arrived at the Haunted Woods. After arriving to shore, a few underlings came out of the dark woods to greet Kanrik.
"Master, welcome back," one of the petty pilferers said.
"Allow us to secure the ship for you, sir," another one offered.
Kanrik nodded at them as he continued to walk past. Veifira followed him into the woods. They went through the main part of the Haunted Woods and past the Gypsy Camp.
"Neovia?" Veifira asked, after traveling in silence for some time.
"Yes," Kanrik answered. "Where do you think the Always Abandoned Attic gets all its stock?" Without waiting for an answer, he rapped a specific sequence on the door on the side of the house. Knock knock, knock, knock knock knock.
"Hidden in plain sight…" Veifira whispered. No wonder no one could find the Thieves Guild hideout, no one would suspect it was also operating as a store. For the most elusive faction in Neopia, the Thieves Guild actually operated above ground.
The door swung open, and the midnight smuggler on the other side immediately bowed to Kanrik. "The master graces us with his presence."
Kanrik nodded at him to stand up. "I have a guest, so I require you to tell the others to keep their hoods up, to protect their identities."
"Of course, master," he said, scurrying off after.
Veifira was busy looking around. The first room looked like a meeting room, with rows and rows of seating and a second-floor area for more viewing. There was a podium in the front, which was clearly Kanrik’s spot, but she could not help but imagine standing there herself.
Kanrik noticed Veifira looking around and said, "We hardly use this place, as it is difficult to get everyone together for meetings. Most members live normal lives away from work."
Although Veifira didn’t know that, she wasn’t surprised anymore. She was beginning to learn that the best way to keep the Thieves Guild secret was to pretend like there was no secret to keep.
"This way," Kanrik said, gesturing to a long hallway. "This way to my office."
Veifira followed him down a dark hallway, the other thieves at the hideout stealing furtive glances at her. She tried to ignore them and focused on her surroundings instead. The doors to the rooms lining the hallway were mostly closed, but the ones that were open were clearly sleeping residencies.
"Some people live here?" she asked.
Kanrik nodded. "Well, of course. Not all members have lives separate from the guild."
The two walked into his office, the last room in the hallway. It was heavily decorated with Kanrik’s thieving achievements. He retrieved the Super Attack Pea from his pockets and placed it on the mantle. Veifira noticed that he had a Hannah Plushie on his desk.
"So, you know what I said about preparedness separating the Thieves Guild from other groups?" Kanrik asked, moving towards a tall filing cabinet.
"Mhm…" Veifira answered, tearing her eyes away from the valuables that peppered the room.
Kanrik pulled out a drawer from the cabinet. "Newspapers, we keep up with the news," he said seriously. "Would you like to see?"
Veifira tried to stifle a yawn but was unsuccessful. "I – um, sorry about that."
Kanrik chucked. "Looks like the day’s up. I’ll walk you out."
Veifira stepped outside the hideout into the darkness of the night. As she and Kanrik walked out, the door closed silently.
Behind her, Kanrik tapped his chin thoughtfully. "Oh, I never got to ask, what is your name?"
"It’s Veifira, sir."
"Veifira, huh? I look forward to seeing you in the Thieves Guild in the future."
"Thank you, I look forward to –" she turned around to face him as she spoke,
but he was already gone.