Hiya! So here's chapter 2 for all of you who are bothering to read this. Also, my thanks to the two people that left a review—much appreciated. Just so you know, I got very sick while writing this chapter, so you better enjoy it! *stern expression* (: Just kidding. No, seriously, I really did get a stomach bug while typing this up and it was awful. But, I've always been able to bounce back from stuff like that fairly quickly, so I just curled up with my ginger ale and kept typing cuz I'm boss like that.
Disclaimer: I don't own Sly Cooper. All characters within belong to Sanzaru, with the exception of my OC's. A'ight then, read on!
Chapter 2: I'm Seeing Blue
I'm not sure how long I was stuck in that barrel, but it was long enough for my hands and feet to go numb with how tight the ropes were. Whoever had done this could tie a mean knot. I was doing my best to try and pick them apart with my claws when the relative calm was rudely interrupted.
A concussive THUD like the mother of all shock waves made my barrel jump a few inches. My heart pounded in my ears as I tried to figure out what could have caused it. I could hear Dimitri making a lot of distressed noises somewhere in the printing room, but I couldn't work up the drive to really care what he did. Moments later, an impressive crash came from nearby, followed by the sound of crumbling rock.
Over the sound of the printing press, I heard running footsteps. I wonder who's coming?
I got an answer when Dimitri suddenly exclaimed, "Gah! So, Raccoonus Doodus!" Aha! So, it is the raccoon who'd been giving Dimitri trouble! I felt my hopes soar out of the pit. "You're like totally bumming my house up and bringing me down. So very uncool. Why can't you let birds and bees be free, bro?"
He's one to talk! I vividly pictured giving Dimitri a roundhouse kick to the stomach to shut him up.
Then a new voice started speaking, "Listen, Dimitri. You have no idea what you're playing with. It'll bring more than your house down." That must have been the raccoon.
"Look, bro," Dimitri said. "I see that you are a tough cowboy…a man with taste…style…vision…a connoisseur of finer things. Like me." I snorted rather loudly at that. "Look, I'm sure that two cats in a bag like us can work something out, yeah? We smoooove, yeah? Look!" Dimitri's voice tried to become hypnotic. "See the money? You like the money? You can take all you want! I can-"
"No deal," the raccoon interrupted. I silently applauded him. "You and the rest of the Klaww Gang have to be stopped. Clockwerk will never again see the light of day." He sounded so determined, I couldn't help but believe him. "Just hand over the Tail Feathers and we can-"
"What is this with clocks, bro?" Dimitri suddenly shouted. "Have you no vision? Are you hearing what I beam to you? You think you have juice? Don't show me a little mind when talking about such big things. You think you can swing the bat? Show your bling and let me shine you!"
I had no idea what that nutball was saying.
"I have no idea what you're saying," said the raccoon, then there was pause. "And your suit sucks."
Dimitri screeched at the same time I laughed. But, I went silent as soon as the iguana yelled, "Let's dance!"
And dance—or rather, fight—they did, if the resulting tumult was anything to go by. I got jumpy when I heard Dimitri shooting rounds from his shock-bolt weapon, but it must have been shorting out because, after a few shots, I would hear a fizzling pop followed by what sounded like Dimitri getting his tail rearranged. This went on for a few minutes before there was a pause, then a painful smack made its way to my ears. That was followed by an awful mechanical clunking and screeching intermixed with Dimitri's incoherent yelling and some metallic clangs. The noise stopped altogether after that, and I knew that the printing press had been destroyed.
I heard Dimitri again, but now he sounded like he had just gone a few rounds with an angry bear. "You take Clockwerk Feathers and my counterfeiting operation, it's past-tense!" he gasped out between heaving breaths.
"I'm doing you a favor," the raccoon said emphatically. Wow, he sounded like he barely broke a sweat! "What kind of thief prints money? There's no honor in that."
Wait, the raccoon said what? That last sentence rang a small bell in my head, but I wasn't sure why.
"You… cracker-box!" Dimitri spat, then I guess he finally passed out.
There was few seconds of shuffling noises before the raccoon started talking again. "Bentley, I have the Clockwerk Tail Feathers. Send Murray in so he can help me carry them out." Apparently, the raccoon had brought along a team to obtain the Clockwerk Feathers.
I figured that now was my best chance to be rescued. Since I couldn't effectively scream or use my hands or feet, I went with the next best thing: banging my head against the side of the barrel.
"What was that?" another deeper voice asked. I banged my head three more times.
"I'm not sure, Murray. I think it came from over here." When I heard footsteps getting closer, I banged my head repeatedly and tried yelling as loud as I could through the duct tape still on my mouth.
"There's someone in that barrel!" the raccoon exclaimed.
Well, the good news was that I got their attention. The bad news was that I was probably in for a headache tomorrow.
But the second I heard that wonderful voice proclaim, "Hang on, I'm getting you out of there," I would have gladly traded all the aspirin in the world.
The lid of the barrel came off, leaving me blinking in the artificial light until the raccoon's blue-clad form provided some cover. Strong hands gripped me gently and lifted me out of my cylindrical prison. The raccoon set me down on a nearby crate and put one hand up to his ear. It was only then that I noticed the earpiece he wore. "Bentley," he said, "you're never gonna guess what I just found." The raccoon sounded very surprised and amused, like this was funny to him. I suppose it might have been to someone who hadn't just been stuffed in a metal drum.
"Who is she, Sly?" I looked to my right and saw a giant pink hippo in a T-shirt and racing gloves holding the Clockwerk Tail Feathers. Behind him, I saw Dimitri had somehow gotten stuffed in a barrel himself. I grinned as smugly as I could under the duct tape. What goes around comes around.
Sly smirked at the hippo before he looked back at me and answered, "Someone in a bit of a bind." I rolled my eyes at the pun, but I still managed a smirk. Then he pulled out what looked to me like some tricked-out binoculars and pointed them at me. I raised an eyebrow at this until I heard the click of a camera.
I couldn't believe it! Why was he taking a picture of me? I gave the raccoon the most outraged glare I could muster. This was embarrassing enough without it being immortalized on film. There was a moment of silence before Sly said, "I took a picture because you never would have believed me otherwise." Bentley said something that made the raccoon roll his eyes and reply, "I don't know, Bentley. It's not like she came with a note."
Oh, wait a minute. That reminded me of the note that Bernard had asked me to give Dimitri. I mumbled behind the tape and looked over my shoulder as I tried to reach my back pocket. I had to lean forward because I was tied in such a way that my elbows were pretty much locked, but I managed to get my fingers around the folded piece of paper and wiggle it partway out. Sly saw what I was doing and took the note himself to read it. "Wait, I stand corrected," he said, raising an eyebrow. "It turns out our new friend did come with a note." As Sly's eyes skimmed over the note, whatever it said wiped the remainder of his smirk away. He held up his weird binoculars to the note. "Bentley, are you reading this?" There was a pause as he listened to whatever Bentley said in response, then turned to me. His expression was a mix of confusion and suspicion.
I had a bad feeling about what was coming. My stomach was doing flip-flops as the raccoon's chocolate-brown eyes studied me intently.
Sly opened his mouth to say something but stopped when a crackling noise emitted from his earpiece. The amused smile made a dramatic comeback as he murmured, "Never misses a trick, that Carmelita. We're on our way out, Bentley."
Before I could react, I was swept up in the raccoon's arms. "Sorry about this, but you're gonna have to come with us for a little while," he apologized. I was flummoxed, and I'm sure it showed on my face, but there wasn't a thing I could do about it except grumble indignantly around the duct tape. Whatever had been on that note must have been big if it made these guys want to kidnap the poor, unwitting messenger—namely, me.
Sly ran with me in his arms as he called out, "Come on, Murray, we've gotta book it! Interpol is on their way!"
"Okay, chum!" The hippo was being awfully chipper. I was still reeling from the fact that Interpol was after this guy.
We jumped back up through the crater they made of the fountain just as something crashed into the printing room and a lady with a Spanish accent yelled, "Interpol, freeze!"
Sly didn't even break stride as he and Murray ran down the street where a conspicuous blue van was parked with the engine running. As we got closer, my eyes were able to pick out the symbol on the back doors.
I probably should have connected the dots sooner, but I can claim temporary brain damage from the shock-bolt Dimitri shot at me. Anyway, when I recognized that symbol, everything clicked into place.
It finally dawned on me that I was being rescued/kidnapped by the famous Cooper gang. These guys were legendary for stealing priceless treasures from corrupt individuals that abused their ill-gotten wealth, earning them quite the divided reputation. Rich people saw Sly Cooper as a kind of Bogeyman, while the rest of us saw him as a modern day Robin Hood minus the bow.
Though, honestly, I might have been more flattered if Sly had bothered to untie me first.
As soon as Murray had deposited the Clockwerk Tail Feathers in the back of the van, he ran around to the driver's side while Sly hopped in the back with me and slammed the doors shut.
"Pedal to the metal, Murray!" Sly shouted.
Murray didn't respond. He just obeyed.
As an added bonus, I found out that it is in fact possible to be slammed into the back of an accelerating vehicle and stick there for a second before sliding down to the floor. It felt just like a cartoon, stars around my head included.
Murray didn't stop driving like a crazy person until we were a good distance away from the club. Once Sly unlatched himself from the back of the passenger seat (I have no idea how he held on with just his fingers), he came over to where I was laying on the floor of the van. I had landed there after the last ninety-degree turn and just hadn't bothered to move.
After helping me to sit up, Sly looked at me and said, "Let's get you out of that mess, shall we?" Then he reached for the duct tape and started to slowly peel it off, obviously trying to be gentle about it.
I waited until the adhesive strip was fully off before saying, "Thanks."
"No problem," he said with an easy smile. "What's your name?"
I saw no problem with giving these guys my name since it would probably show up on the news soon, anyway. "Aurora Seville," I told him.
"Sorry about this," he apologized. The raccoon almost looked sheepish, but he was still smirking so I couldn't be sure.
"Sorry about leaving me tied this long? Or are you apologizing for the whole situation in general?" I asked blandly.
Sly's smile stayed in place, but his eyebrow rose up in response. "The whole situation in general wasn't ideal for us, either, but I can understand why you'd be a little miffed." His response was as casual as could be, but that must have been his way of testing the waters.
I looked off to the side for a second to reel myself in. I was more than a little miffed at being so easily captured and hauled around like the latest haute couture purse, but I knew I was so much better off here than where I was before. Despite the bruises I had acquired in it, the Cooper gang's van was exponentially safer than my barrel. Pushing my wounded ego aside, I looked back at Sly and gave him a contrite look.
"I guess everyone is having a rough day," I sighed. "If someone had told me earlier that I would get kidnapped twice tonight, I would have just gone to bed."
"And miss out on all the excitement?" he joked as he began to untie my feet.
I smirked and replied drily, "Right, because there's no better way to start your weekend than getting your nose caught in an illegal activity."
The raccoon chuckled at that. "That's how I start most of my weekends," he quipped before looking in my eyes and giving me a bright smile. "It hasn't failed yet."
I chuckled lightly as Sly turned back to his task. I took the time to study the raccoon. I have to admit, Sly Cooper hadn't been what I was expecting. He couldn't have been much older than me, but there was a confidence in his movements that most people lacked. A blue sweater with half-sleeves covered his slim build and hid his muscles, but when he first picked me up I had noticed right away that this raccoon was ripped. I couldn't help but think about how much I'd like to test him out for myself in the ring. He was very handsome, but when he smiled it showed a vitality and an energy about him that I found myself drawn to. Yes, he has a wonderful smile, I thought.
Sly interrupted my silent evaluation when he asked me, "So, how exactly did you wind up tied up in a barrel under Dimitri's club?"
After giving myself a mental shake, I groaned. "Oh, come on! Do I have to answer that? My pride is wounded enough as it is!"
"I could always stop untying you," he suggested nonchalantly.
I narrowed my eyes and growled softly. "Fine," I grumbled. Despite how he had said it, I couldn't be sure that Sly was kidding. I gave him a summary of the events leading up to my imprisonment. "But I forgot about the note in my pocket until you came along and never thought to read it," I admitted once I finished.
By now, Sly had untied the last of my bonds and was sitting cross-legged in front of me. He looked like he was trying not to laugh when he asked me, "I don't suppose the phrase 'Curiosity killed the cat' went through your head at any point before then, did it?"
I leveled my stare at him as I rubbed my wrists to get the circulation going again. "Too soon, raccoon," I told him evenly as my tail thumped in annoyance.
Sly shrugged, slightly abashed, and turned towards the front seats. "What do you think, Bentley? You've been awfully quiet."
A small, green turtle wearing glasses and a pith helmet appeared around the side of the passenger seat and replied in a nasally voice, "That's because I've been listening, Sly." The turtle, Bentley, pushed his glasses further up his nose and continued, "I feel safe in saying that our guest's story checks out. However…" When I heard that word, I inwardly groaned. "I've been sifting through the police chatter, and they've noticed that she's gone missing under mysterious circumstances." The turtle turned to me next and informed me, "Because of this, you've been listed as a person of interest. They went to look into your apartment where they found evidence of a break in." I gasped when I heard that. My thoughts immediately went to Vivienne, who could barely stand to take down a spider with a vacuum hose. Bentley interpreted my reaction and beat me to my question. "Don't worry. Your roommate wasn't there at the time," he said quickly, and I breathed a sigh of relief. "But, when she arrived back, she was unable to confirm if anything had been stolen since the place was tossed. Judging by the facts, I believe we can infer that someone suspects you of being more knowledgeable than you really are."
An ugly thought wormed its way into my head. My ears lowered as I hesitantly followed the turtle's train of thought. "So, I can't go to the police because I can't prove that I'm innocent, and I'm still in danger from the Klaww Gang because I'm the proverbial monkey wrench in whatever they're planning." I suddenly felt very tired, and I slouched down.
Murray spoke up for the first time since entering the van. "That sounds like an awful lot of trouble to be in," he said. Normally, I would have said something sarcastic about being captain of the obvious, but the genuine concern in the hippo's voice reduced my reply to an affirmative grunt.
Bentley nodded and gave me a sympathetic look. "If it's any consolation, the note you had been asked to deliver wouldn't have given you any leverage," he said, trying to make me feel better.
It worked, although not in the way he intended. I sat up straight and looked directly at Bentley. "What exactly did that note say?" I asked curiously.
Both Bentley and Sly looked kind of taken aback at my abrupt change in mood, but Sly answered, "The note was extremely vague. It said, 'Increase expected. Prepare to accelerate. Inside path is clear.'"
I frowned and admitted, "You weren't exaggerating about it being vague."
The raccoon leaned forward and put his hands on his knees. "Well, that's part of the reason we brought you along."
It took me a second, but I saw what he meant. "Oh, I get it," I said. "You thought I might know what the note meant since I had it with me when I was tied up."
When I looked at Sly, he was nodding. Reaching out a hand, he gestured at me and explained, "It's just like asking the mail-carrier if she's got a spare key to the mansion. The odds vary, but you only need to get lucky once."
I raised an eyebrow at the analogy and briefly wondered if that actually worked until Bentley said, "You have to admit, it was an odd occurrence for us to find you the way we did with a cryptic note to a counterfeiter in your pocket."
I rolled my eyes as my lips twitched up in a ghost of a smile. Okay, I had to give him that one. "Be that as it may, the last…" I paused to check my watch, "19 hours have been anything but lucky for me until you guys showed up." Suddenly, I couldn't meet their eyes, so I stared at the floor. I wasn't sure if I was feeling remorse, uselessness, or if I was just that tired. My adrenaline had long since worn off, and the pain in my zapped shoulder had made it past my mental block.
As I let myself slump against the back door of the van, I saw Sly look over his shoulder at Bentley for a moment of silent communication. When the raccoon turned back to me, his gaze had softened and he asked, "Would you mind if we talk this over for a minute?"
I know he didn't really need to ask my permission, but the courtesy wasn't lost on me. I gave them a tired smile and answered, "Go ahead."
Sly seemed to search my face for a second before nodding and getting up to lean between the front seats. I shut my eyes and let the sound of their hushed voices merge with the sounds of the van so that it all became white noise. It was only fair that they have a chance to discuss what to do about me without me listening. After that, it was a simple matter to lean my head back and succumb to the exhaustion.
Sleep claimed me quickly and easily, as it almost always did. I am a cat, after all.
Okay, I think that's enough sugar for today. So, once again, reviews and critiques are welcome. I do, in fact, want to make this even better as it progresses. But, I can't do that if people don't tell me what they think! I am not a digital psychic…although, that would be pretty cool.
Aaaanyways, stay tuned for the next chapter! You'll be seeing a little change in perspective, if you know what I mean. *hint-hint-wink-wink* Alright, I'll shut up now and let you review, or not review, or try to send me your brainwaves. Whatever floats your boat. Bye!