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Morals and Quandaries

By Zach

Drama / Thriller

Chapter 1

It was a bustling night in the city of Paris. There were many people lining the streets, enjoying the night life. Our focus, though, is on a large building near the outskirts of the city. This building was actually a large mansion, and it was currently playing host to a lavish party put together by a large tiger named Henri Armaund. As his guests were busy milling about and socializing with each other, Armaund was spending his time inside his office, checking out the jewels that he has amassed inside his safe.

"Ah, my little beauties. I wish that I would be able to get some money from you, but unfortunately I cannot. That would involve getting into contact with a fence, and that would blow my cover. So it looks like you and I are going to be spending some more time together."

Armaund then shut the safe and spun the lock before heading out the door to join the party. Unfortunately for him, it turns out that he wasn't the only one in the vicinity of the room. A gloved hand suddenly appeared outside the window, slowly reaching down and opening the window, before the rest of the figure slipped through the opening, revealing the master thief Sly Cooper.

After shutting the window, Sly took a look around the room and smiled, not seeing any security cameras or alarms around the room.

"Man, this guy's asking to get his stuff stolen." he said to himself as he made his way over to the safe.

"Bentley, can you hear me?"

"Loud and clear, Sly." said a nasally voice from the other end of Sly's earpiece.

"I've made it into Armaund's office. There are no cameras or anything around, so I think we should be in the clear."

"Good work, Sly. We've already got the combination from the recon, so get those jewels and get out of there!"

Sly was about ready to crack open the safe, when he noticed a painting leaning up against the wall just below the safe. He decided to tell Bentley about it, just to be safe.

"Hey Bentley, don't most people usually keep their safes behind paintings?"

"What are you getting at, Sly?"

"Well, I just noticed a painting below the safe, which I'm assuming is probably meant to be that kind of painting."

"Oh no." said Bentley, realizing what was going on.

"What? What's wrong?" asked Sly, confused.

"You'd better move fast, Sly. Armaund probably forgot to put the painting back in front of the safe, so there's no telling if he's going to come back into the room to do it."

Unfortunately, he couldn't finish unlocking the safe in time, as the door handle suddenly started to move, implying that someone was opening the door.

Sly immediately reacted, shooting away from the safe and into the closest dark corner he could get to in time.

It turns out that Bentley was correct in his prediction, as Armaund came back into the room intending to replace the painting. But before he could do it, he noticed that the rug next to the safe had been kicked up a bit, piquing his interest.

Sly silently swore, noticing the rug and realizing that Armaund now knew there probably was someone else in the room. As Armaund began looking around the room for the intruder, he quickly ran through his options in his head.

Sly knew that he couldn't take Armaund on one-on-one, as the tiger was a former French Foreign Legion soldier, as well as a former bodybuilder, so that was out.

The dark corner that Sly was hiding in was also too far from the window, so he most likely would end up getting caught trying to sneak out.

So, the only things that he could think to do was either wait until he leaves, or try and knock him out with the cane. The look on Armaund's face probably meant that he wouldn't be leaving until he found the intruder, so Sly was forced to go with Plan B.

"Sly, do you read? What's going on?" fretted Bentley on the other end of the line.

Sly obviously didn't answer. His focus was entirely on Armaund, as he spun his cane around in his hand.

Eventually, Armaund did in fact make his way over to Sly's hiding spot, having exhausted all of the other possibilities in the room. Sly immediately readied himself, crouching down and brandishing his cane in his hand.

Once Armaund was close enough, Sly sprung out of his hiding place, swinging his cane up high above his head. Armaund was unprepared for the sudden appearance of his intruder, so he froze as Sly brought the cane down as hard as he could on to Armaund's head.

After Sly landed on the floor, he immediately got into a fighting stance, expecting to have to defend himself, but Armaund began to fall forward, forcing Sly to backflip out of the way so as to avoid being stuck under 300 pounds of unconscious tiger.

A few seconds later, Sly let out a breath he didn't know he was holding in, finally confident that the tiger wouldn't bother him. But before dealing with the jewels, he decided to call Bentley, who was currently freaking out in his ear.

"I'm okay, Bentley. I ran into Armaund, but I managed to knock him out."

Sly could hear an audible sigh coming from Bentley's end. He then made his way over to the safe and cracked it, grabbing the jewels and leaving his calling card.

"I'm on my way back to the safe house. Don't start the card game without me."

"Ha-ha, Sly." said Bentley sarcastically.

After Sly made his way out of the mansion and back on to the rooftops, he began crossing from rooftop to rooftop, making his way back towards the safe house. Once he reached the city itself, he decided to take a little break, thinking that he deserved it after pulling off a heist like that.

So, he made sure to check that there were no guards around before sitting down on the edge of the roof he was on and setting the bag of jewels next to him.

As he took in the sights of the nighttime skyline of Paris, his thoughts drifted to Carmelita. He wanted more than anything to be able to be together with her, but the fact that they were on two different sides of the law was the one thing that prevented him from finally making his move.

As he considered the possibility of maybe hanging up his cane, he failed to notice a red dot that was slowly making his way up his body until it reached right between his eyes. But what he did see was a flash of red light in the distance.

He didn't think. He just reacted, falling backwards as a shot rang out, just missing the raccoon by a few inches. He sat back up a few seconds later, breathing heavily as he registered what just happened.

"Was that Carmelita? When did she start using actual bullets?" he said to himself.

But then he realized that Carmelita wasn't so desperate to catch them that she needed to resort to lethal force.

Sly didn't have any more time to think about it, as another shot rang out, which went right through his hat. He immediately jumped to his feet and began running, leaving the bag of jewels behind as he realized that they would just slow him down.

"Man, Bentley's not going to be happy about this." Sly thought to himself.

Sly quickly made his way across the rooftops, constantly moving around and ducking every so often so that he made a difficult target for the shooter.

Eventually, he came up to where the safe house was, but at this point he was starting to get tired. So he gave one last push of energy, leaping off of the building next to the safe house and bounding his way inside the door, shutting it behind him.

As Sly sat down on the floor in front of the door catching his breath, Bentley and Murray were staring at him curiously from the table in the room.

"You okay there, buddy? You look like you've seen a ghost." said Murray.

Sly was indeed as pale as a sheet. However, he was able to get up from the floor and walk over to the table before collapsing into one of the chairs and shivering.

Worried, Bentley wheeled over to Sly and placed a hand on his shoulder.

"Did something happen out there, Sly? You can tell us."

Sly finally sat up and began speaking.

"I was on my way back from the mansion, when I suddenly started to get shot at by a sniper. I came this close to getting my head blown off."

Sly held two fingers a few inches apart to simulate exactly how close he came to getting killed. He was then about to put his head down, when he noticed the looks on Bentley and Murray's faces.

"What? You don't believe me?"

"Well, admittedly, yeah. Carmelita's never used actual bullets when chasing you." said Murray.

Sly once again sat up, exasperated.

"Look, it wasn't Carmelita. I know that for sure. And if you guys don't believe me, take a look at this."

Sly took off his hat and showed the bullet hole to Bentley and Murray. Both of them adopted looks of shock on their faces.

"Oh my god. I can't believe someone would actually want you dead so badly that they would resort to shooting you in the middle of the city. Frankly, I'm surprised there isn't panic in the streets right now."

"Believe me, Bentley. I'm just as surprised as you are."

"So do you have any idea who was shooting at you?" asked Murray.

Sly shook his head.

"I was too busy trying not to get shot to see who was shooting. Besides, they were using a sniper rifle, so they were most likely too far away for me to see them anyway."

The room soon fell silent as the weight of what Sly has just went through hit the three of them. Bentley then decided to break the silence.

"Look, I think that we should probably stay inside for the night. There's no telling if the shooter is probably still looking for Sly."

"Can't argue with that." said Sly as he returned his head to the table.

Bentley turned around and began heading towards his room when he suddenly stopped, having just remembered about their original job before all the craziness happened.

"Hey Sly, where are the jewels that you got from Armaund?"

"On a roof somewhere in the city. I had to leave them behind because they would slow me down while I was dealing with the sniper."

Bentley sighed. He knew he should have been disappointed in the loss of money for them, but he was at least thankful that Sly was okay.

"Alright, tomorrow morning you can head back out and see if those jewels are still there."

Sly saluted before once again collapsing on the table.

After Bentley went into his room, Murray decided to head to bed as well, so he stood up and was about to head to room before deciding to give one last vote of confidence for Sly. So he walked around the table and placed a hand on Sly's shoulder before beginning to speak.

"Don't worry, buddy. We'll find this guy and take him down."

Sly looked up and smiled.

"Thanks, pal."

Murray then headed off to his room, Sly doing the same a few minutes later.

here ...
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