"Really? Didn't expect to see him pop up again."
Sly looked at Bentley bemusedly as he recalled the original heist right before this whole mess started. It felt like ages ago to the raccoon.
"Don't think it's gonna be as easy as last time, Sly. As I've said before, he has the artifact under lock and key tonight, and he's bound to have stepped up the security."
"Hasn't stopped me before." said Sly, giving Bentley a confident smile.
Bentley simply sighed.
"It's getting late. We should probably head to bed. It's gonna be a long day tomorrow."
Both Sly and Murray agreed with Bentley's sentiments, and the three of them headed upstairs.
The sun rose on another beautiful day in the Italian countryside. Sly, surprisingly, was the first one in the room to wake up, or at least he initially thought so.
As he looked around the room while still waking up, he found Murray still fast asleep, but Bentley wasn't in his bed.
Curious, he got out of his bed and snuck across the room, not wanting to wake Murray. When he reached the door, he found that it was already partly open, most likely thanks to Bentley. Silently thanking the turtle for keeping the door open, Sly slipped through the crack and shut the door behind him, making his way downstairs.
Once he was finally out of earshot of the sleeping hippo, he made his way over to the kitchen to find Bentley hard at work on his laptop, facing away from the opening to the living room.
Deciding to have a little fun, Sly crept his way over to the unaware turtle and leaned over his shoulder just enough so that their two heads were next to each other.
Bentley nearly jumped out of his shell in surprise. Clutching his chest, he turned around in his chair and found Sly failing to cover his giggling fit.
"Don't do that, Sly! You nearly gave me a heart attack!"
After a few more seconds, Sly finally managed to calm himself down.
"Sorry, pal. So anyway, what are you up to?"
Although Bentley still wasn't very happy about the scare, he decided to let it go for now, turning back towards his laptop.
"I've just been studying some of the blueprints for the building we're looking at for the heist tonight."
"So, did you find anything to help us out?" asked Sly, curious.
"Not really, to be honest. The building's full of air vents, but unfortunately most of them are in plain sight of the main ballroom, so we don't really have a whole lot of options."
"What about going in from above?"
Bentley paused as he studied the blueprints again, trying to see if Sly's suggestion would work.
"That could work. There's some smaller skylights off to the side of the main one, which I believe go into separate smaller rooms within the building. There's only one problem, though."
Sly gave Bentley a look, intrigued.
"And what would that be?"
"With my connection, I was only able to download the blueprints for the first floor and roof, as you can see. So, I honestly would have no idea what kind of rooms the skylights would go down into."
Sly immediately understood what Bentley was getting at.
"So, I'm assuming this means you want me to get some recon photos of the second floor of the building?"
"Exactly. We need to get an idea of which rooms are which, so we don't end up running straight into Henri like we almost did last time."
Sly gave an involuntary shiver as he remembered barely managing to escape the hulking tiger.
"So, you want me to head out now?"
"Not right now, Sly. As I'm sure you remember, we're pretty far from the city, so it might take you a while to get there on foot. Let's wait until Murray gets up and we can eat breakfast. Then we'll head out."
Sly made his way outside to the van, returning a few minutes later with a couple of containers of some of their remaining food. The two of them opened theirs up, preparing to dig in when Murray appeared in the doorway.
Sly simply returned a "morning" of his own.
"Ah Murray, you're just in time. We were just about to have breakfast."
Murray timidly sat down at the table with them, quickly glancing over at Bentley as he remembered the incident from last night. When the turtle said nothing, the nervous feeling in Murray's chest dissipated slightly, and he began to eat his breakfast as well.
When the gang was finally finished with their food, Sly turned towards Bentley.
"So, do you want to fill Murray in on what we're planning, or should I?"
Bentley paused for a second before replying.
"Oh, I suppose I will."
He turned towards Murray, clearing his throat before speaking.
"Sly and I were planning on heading out to the city to get some recon photos of the second floor of the building before the heist tonight."
"Why only the second floor? Shouldn't we get some photos of the entire building?"
"I already downloaded blueprints of the rest of the building. My connection went down before I could get the second floor, though."
"Oh, well that's a shame. What about the van, though? Weren't we gonna repaint it?"
Sly completely forgot about that fact, and from the look on Bentley's face, he did too.
"How about once we get back, we'll do that while Bentley's dealing with the photos? How's that sound?"
"Sounds good to me. You ready to go?"
Both Sly and Bentley nodded, and the gang headed outside, packing up the van with the necessary equipment before heading off towards the city.
Once they finally managed to reach the city, they found that the sidewalks were packed with people filing along each side of the road.
"Wonder what this is all about?" Sly asked as he stared at the sea of people.
Thankfully, Bentley was already on the case, as he had his laptop open.
"Oh, it looks like we've arrived just in time for the Festa della Reppublica."
Bentley gave Sly a look before answering his question.
"Festa della Reppublica, or Republic Day as it's known in English. This day is a celebration of the first time Italians were able to vote after the end of World War II."
Sly didn't quite grasp the significance, but he decided just to let it go, returning his focus to the crowds outside.
"Sure are a lot of people, though. Might make it pretty tough to get around."
"Well sure, but-"
Bentley's eyes suddenly widened. As Sly looked at Bentley curiously, the turtle quickly typed something out on his laptop before closing it.
"So, what? Do you have a plan or something, Bentley?"
"I do, but this depends on how the crowds are tonight. I'll share it with you guys once I've put our plan together."
Although Sly was slightly put off at not being clued in on Bentley's ideas, he knew it would be a better idea to focus on getting the pictures, so he kept his mouth shut, facing the front of the van just as Murray pulled into an alleyway and shut off the van's engine.
Sly got out of his seat, intending to start making his way to the roof of the building the ball was supposed to be in, but before he could open the door, Bentley cleared his throat.
"Come over here for a minute, Sly. I need to show you what I need pictures of."
Sly paused for a moment before heading over to Bentley's seat, looking over the turtle's shoulder at the blueprints of the building's roof.
"As you can see, there are ten different skylights that are scattered around the main skylight that goes down into the main ballroom. All I need you to do is to make sure to get the best angle you can when shooting. I don't need the whole room. Just get enough of the room to where I can get an idea of what goes on in them."
Thinking that Bentley was done, Sly once again attempted to exit the van only to be stopped in his tracks.
"One more thing, Sly. I imagine one of the rooms on the second floor is probably gonna be a headquarters of sorts for the guards, so there's probably a good chance that they would have some sort of patrol route schedule. See if you can get your hands on it, or at least get a picture of it if you can."
Sly paused, unsure if Bentley was going to call him back again.
"Come on, Sly, we're burning daylight here! Let's go!"
Having gotten his answer, Sly quickly hopped out of the van and closed the door behind him, making his way up a light pole near him. When he reached the top, he pulled out his binocucom and zoomed in, taking a look at the roof of the building.
Unfortunately, he could see the telltale shapes of guards on the roof. Lowering his binocucom, he reached towards his ear.
"Bentley, there's some guards up on the roof."
"I had a feeling Henri wasn't going to make it as easy as before. See what you can do about them."
Sly raised his binocucom again and pointed it towards the roof, quickly counting how many guards there were.
"Three guards. Shouldn't be too much of a hassle."
Unfortunately, Sly didn't have a clear path to get to the roof from where he was standing, so he was forced to head back down to the ground, slowly making his way through the crowd before climbing up another light pole near the building and hopping on to the roof.
Sly barely broke a sweat as he made his way to each of the guards, whacking them in the back of the head with his cane and knocking them out. Once he was certain they were all down, he began making his way around the roof, taking the pictures as quickly as he could before they woke up again.
Somehow, Bentley was satisfied with the slightly rushed looking pictures, so after breathing a sigh of relief, Sly made his way over to the skylight over the room Bentley identified as the security room and lifted the fixture up, slipping through it and dropping into the room.
After taking a quick look around the room to make sure no one was around, Sly went to work, searching through the filing cabinets littered around the room.
"These guys really need to organize once in a while." he said to himself as he continued to flip through files.
Finally, he found what he was looking for, but just as he pulled the patrol route documents out of the folder, he heard voices coming from outside the room.
Not wanting to risk wasting any more time, Sly decided to just take the document. He quickly slipped the folder back into the filing cabinet and carefully closed it. He thankfully managed to hop up to the skylight and slip through just as one of the guards entered the room.
After a few nerve-wracking minutes where Sly was hoping that he wasn't seen, he finally returned to the van, opening the door and hopping in to find Bentley and Murray in the same spots they were when he left.
"So? I was getting a little worried when I didn't see a picture of the patrol routes."
Once Sly managed to sit down, he handed the plans over to Bentley.
"I didn't really have any time to take pictures of them. There were some guards headed my way."
"Well, at least you managed to get them. This should help us out."
As Murray pulled out of the alleyway to head back to the safe house, Sly couldn't help but ask Bentley about something that was going through his mind.
"So, do you think we might be able to pull this off?"
Bentley paused before answering Sly's question.
"I hope so, Sly, for all our sakes."