Eighth Time Lucky; A Tale of Diligence

Eighth Time Lucky; A Tale of Diligence

I’ve done two rounds of Seven Deadly Sins prompts, mostly because I have such a large pool of characters to draw from. While flipping through other prompt suggestions, I happened to find a list of the Seven Heavenly Virtues (which seem to get a lot less press). In case you’ve never heard of them, they are: Chastity, Temperance, Charity, Diligence, Patience, Kindness and Humility. So now that we’ve seen the darker sides of my characters, why don’t we take a peek at their virtues? This week features Silkfoot, who is ever the diligent thief.
. . .

Diligence; constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken; persistent exertion of body or mind.
. . .

“Have you heard that they’re planning to move the Mirror of Enthdrada again?” Silkfoot Lightvolt placed one hand on the edge of his first mate’s newspaper, drawing it down until he could see the other man’s face. At the same time, one of his cream-colored eyebrows drifted upward and a characteristic mischievous grin split his lips. He wasn’t even daunted by the slight frown that took up residence on Kestrel’s face at the interruption.

“You mean the no-longer-very-lost mirror from ancient Imuntat? Said to belong to the great lady Laghess? The one that can slightly bend the properties of reality based on a small amount of input from the user?”

“The very one,” Silkfoot agreed, obviously pleased that he hadn’t had to explain himself. “It’s only on display for another three days. That should be ample time to plan a heist, don’t you think?”

Kestrel gently extracted the newspaper from his captain’s grip and flipped through the rest of the pages, folds of consternation cleaving steadily deeper into his brow. “Where did you hear that?”

“Museum website,” Silkfoot beamed, flashing his phone in Kestrel’s direction. The screen was just large enough that Kestrel would be able to make out the exhibit details from across the table. The phone disappeared back into Silkfoot’s pocket and the captain’s face once more replaced it in Kestrel’s field of view. “No one relies on print anymore, my friend. Faenet prides itself on providing the most up to date details as they occur. That’s why the damn faeries charge so much.”

Kestrel grunted as he folded the slightly tattered newspaper and set it aside. “The least we can do is glance at it. They deliver it to the door every morning.”

“And by then it’s already out of date!” Silkfoot snorted as he swept to his feet. “Besides, you’ve gotten distracted from the important details here. How are we going to steal the Mirror of Enthdrada?”

“You mean the same mirror that you’ve failed to steal seven times already?” Kestrel arched a single midnight eyebrow, mirth dancing across his lips to enhance his teasing tone.

“Yes,” Silkfoot replied, his tone dry. “The same.”

“Wasn’t seven tries enough, Captain? Surely you’ve already given this one your best try.”

“No I haven’t!” Silkfoot slapped the table. “I don’t do ‘tries,’ Kestrel. I don’t allow security systems to best me, let alone upstart artifacts with delusions of grandeur!”

Kestrel couldn’t quite conceal a chuckle, despite the acid glare it earned him. “But how do you steal something that has just enough awareness to stave you off? How are they going to move it anyway? It’s been ensconced in the museum of antiquities for more than a decade now so it must like it there.”

“Yes, it hasn’t hypnotized any grounds keepers to take it back to its previous installment like it did during its brief stint at the art museum.” Silkfoot chuckled. “They plan to move it to the capital as part of an exhibit on queens throughout history. Anything with half a brain wants to be in the capital. It’s where most of the excitement happens. Hell, if I was an ancient magical artifact, I would want to be housed in the capital. They’ve probably built it a spectacular display. It can read minds well enough that it probably projected exactly what it wanted into the minds of the architects when they came for their survey.”

“Does it count as manipulation if it reflects what you want to see?”

“It adds its own spin, don’t forget,” Silkfoot chided, waggling one finger as if he were disciplining a child. “That’s how it convinced me to take it back to its housing the first time. Cheeky little thing.” Once, it had shown him successfully making off with his prize and he hadn’t realized until he woke up the next morning that he had never even touched it.

“And what’s going to keep it from doing that again? Unless you think it will trick you into taking it all the way to the capital?”

“I’m tempted to offer,” Silkfoot muttered. But he clapped his hands together, rubbing them eagerly for a moment before he pulled his phone from his pocket. He had been keeping notes about this particular heist since the last time he attempted to steal the mirror, almost six years ago now.

“What makes this particular opportunity so appealing is that they’re going to have to pack the mirror to transport it. I’m fairly certain it can’t work its mind magic on someone if they can’t see it.”

“Didn’t you already try stealing it while it was in a box?” Kestrel tapped one finger against his chin. “I could have sworn I was around for that one.”

“Yes, well, it was quite a bit heavier than I anticipated. But when I broke the crate open, it recognized me.”

“You’re exaggerating!”

“No. For once, I’m not.”

Kestrel threw his head backwards and laughed uproariously. Had he been anyone else, Silkfoot would have promised him a lifetime of blackmail in exchange for his mockery – and probably would have been prepared to deliver on it too. But while the man was busy laughing himself to tears, Silkfoot leaned his chin against one hand and smiled fondly at the shaking of the big man’s shoulders. He was too stoic for his own good, sometimes.

“Are you finished?” He asked primly after a couple of minutes, pretending to be put off by the interruption.

Kestrel drew deep breaths in between the last few stray laughs and nodded. “So you’re prepared for the weight this time.”

“Yes. So after I’ve disabled the security system, you’ll help me move it into the proper truck. If the crate gets broken or damaged this time, make sure you’re the one holding it. I’m hoping your talent for mental resistance will extend this far.”

Kestrel shrugged. “We’ve worked the museum of antiquities before. We just need to check for any changes in the floor plan.”

“And security upgrades,” Silkfoot agreed, tapping his phone screen as he checked off the pieces of the plan they had already discussed. “We cannot be too careful with this particular job, Kestrel. Overconfidence has kept me from this particular victory before.”

“Well, you’re nothing if not diligent, Captain,” Kestrel replied and, rather than mocking, his grin was fond. “If you’ve been working on this one for six years, I’m sure you have a lot of backup plans.”

“Believe me, Kestrel, my contingency plans have contingency plans. And if all else fails, I’ll just try to bribe the damn thing.”

“Bribe it, Captain?”

“Why not?” Silkfoot shrugged. “I’ve got a ship that can travel both air and sea. I’ll show it the world and then it can go wherever it wants. I get a little bit of gold for my trouble and the sweet sense of victory. I just want to steal the magic mirror. I don’t need to keep it.”

“Well, it’s always good to have your priorities straight. Let’s start the same way we always do; with the basics.”

Pleased, Silkfoot tilted the screen of his phone so that Kestrel could see the considerable length of the list detailing preparations for this particular heist. Now that he was keen, he intended to add a few more pages of precautions, just for good measure. No half-baked magical artifact was going to get the better of him eight times in a row.

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