Morals and Quandaries

Chapter 14

After finally getting out of the city, it thankfully didn't take them too long to get back to the safe house due to the crowds finally getting thinner.

Once the gang finally pulled up to the house, both Sly and Murray jumped out of the van. As they headed inside, Bentley called out to them.

"Make sure not to forget anything! We're not gonna be able to come back!"

Thankfully, they didn't have all that much stored inside the safe house, so once Sly and Murray grabbed everything, they headed outside and loaded it into the van, hopping inside with it once they were done.

"Alright, where do you think we should head?" asked Murray as he looked at Sly and Bentley, his hand hovering over the gear shift.

Neither of them answered immediately, realizing that they hadn't really thought that far ahead. Unfortunately, they didn't really have enough time to plan out where they should go, so Sly was the first to make a suggestion.

"I think that we need to get out of Europe. What do you guys think?"

"Well, it can work, but wouldn't he just be able to drive after us? It wouldn't exactly slow him down." said Bentley.

Sly paused for a moment, unsure of what Bentley was talking about.

"I'm not talking about Asia, Bent. I'm talking about something like Africa, or heck, maybe we might head for the US."

"America sounds like a good place to go. One problem, though. What about the van? I doubt that there are a lot of barges that would be willing to transport this hunk of metal across the Atlantic."

"I'm sure we'll find one somewhere. I imagine there's got to be a ton of boats along the coastline." said Sly.

Bentley didn't reply, so Sly took it as a sign to go ahead with his plan.

"Alright, let's head west, Murray."

Shrugging, Murray pulled away from the house and the gang began their journey towards the coastline.

The first few hours of traveling went pretty smoothly, as the gang continued to make their way west along the winding roads of the European countryside. There were barely any cars around, so they took it as a sign that they could finally relax for now.

"Man, this is actually pretty nice. I wish we could stick around and check out this view." said Sly as he stared out the window.

"Agreed. Unfortunately, this is one of the downsides of being in this line of work, Sly. You don't get a whole lot of free time."

Sly sighed for a moment before realizing that they didn't really have to follow this kind of downside.

"Well, it is true that evil never really sleeps, but that doesn't mean we can't take some time off."

Right after finishing that last sentence, Sly paused, as he had suddenly gotten an idea.

"Hey, how about once this business with Anton blows over, we take some time off? You know, check out the countryside and all that?"

"That actually doesn't sound like that bad of an idea, Sly." said Bentley.

"Yeah, that sounds like fun!" said Murray.

"Great! Then it's settled."

Smiling, Sly returned to staring out the window and zoning out, when he was pulled out of his thoughts by Murray, who was looking at him through the rear view mirror.

"Hey Sly, what happened to your hat?"

Sly looked at Murray's reflection in confusion.

"What do you mean? It's on my head, like always."

"No, it's not! Take a look!"

Sly reached one of his hands up and placed it on his head. He was surprised to find that he could only feel his own fur on the top of his head. His other hand immediately went up to his head to make sure that he was feeling what he thought he was feeling.

Panicking, he looked around the van, hoping to find it lying around somewhere.

"Oh no, my hat's gone!"

Sly was nearly hyperventilating at this point, so Bentley was forced to turn around in his seat and try to defuse the situation.

"Calm down, Sly, it's just a hat. We can get you a new one."

To Bentley's surprise, Sly shook his head.

"It's not gonna be the same, pal. My dad gave that hat to me. I don't know what I'm gonna do without it."

Leaning back in his seat, Sly pressed the palms of his hands into his face and rubbed his eyes in exasperation.

"I must have forgotten it when I was getting out of the ballroom."

"Well, why did you even take it off? You wouldn't have lost it if you kept it on." said Bentley.

"Blending in, mostly. I didn't want to risk Armaund recognizing me from last time."

"I thought you said that you knocked him out!"

"I don't really know for sure if he did see me. He was facing me when I hit him, but he might've only gotten a glimpse, if that."

Bentley sighed.

"Oh well, nothing we can really do about it now. You think you can manage without the hat for a while?"

Sly nodded, even though he really wanted to go back to Italy and get his hat back. He knew it would be extremely unlikely that it would be in the same place, though, so he decided that it wasn't worth it to try.

A few days have passed, surprisingly without any sign of Anton following them. While the Cooper Gang was slightly relieved that they didn't have to worry so much about running, all of them knew that they couldn't let down their guards, especially after what happened in Switzerland and Italy.

After what felt like forever, the gang found themselves in Lisbon, Portugal, which they found after some research was one of the largest container ports along the Atlantic coast of Europe.

"See? I told you we would find a way to get the van across the Atlantic." said Sly, smiling as they headed towards said port.

"Yeah, the only problem is convincing them to let us and the van on one of their boats. Does anyone know Portuguese?" asked Bentley.

Nobody answered, which lead to Bentley sighing in defeat.

"Alright, not much we can do about it. Hopefully there's a store somewhere that has a Portuguese to English dictionary."

"Well, what about your computer? Isn't there something you can use on there?" asked Sly, pointing towards Bentley's laptop.

"There could be, but that would require an Internet connection, which as of now I don't have."

Sly paused, surprised that even a city like Lisbon wouldn't have more widespread Internet.

"To think, even in this day and age, some countries still aren't embracing the future."

"That's the kind of world we live in, Sly." said Bentley before returning to face the front.

After some searching, the gang finally managed to find a store that seemed like it could stock what they were looking for, and once Murray parked the van in a parking spot, Bentley turned towards him.

"I think you'd better be the one to go in, Murray."

Murray looked back at Bentley in confusion.

"Wait, why me? Why not Sly?"

"Because Sly's an international criminal, and I believe that you'd be the most likely not to get recognized as one of the gang. At least, once you take your mask off."

Although Murray was reluctant to follow through with the plan, he acquiesced and took off his mask, handing it over to Bentley, who gave him some of the money that they still had left from selling the painting from Switzerland.

"Now, don't worry about trying to talk to anyone unless you have to. Just look for a Portuguese to English dictionary, buy it and get back here as soon as you can. Got that?"

Murray nodded, before hopping out of the van and heading towards the front door of the store.

Thankfully, he managed to get the dictionary without any real issue, so after handing the book to Bentley and pulling his mask back on, he pulled the van out of its parking spot and they began heading to the port.

"So, how'd it go?" asked Sly.

"Pretty good, actually. I had a bit of trouble finding it, since I couldn't really tell what the words on some of the stuff were."

"That's understandable. I can't imagine too much of this stuff would be in English." commented Bentley.

"Anyway, I did manage to find the book eventually, and I went over and the cashier guy wasn't even really paying attention to me. He just looked at the book, rang it up, and I paid."

"Well, that was a heck of a lot easier than I thought it would be. Maybe I should have just went in." said Sly.

"Maybe next time, Sly. Come on, let's head for the port. I'd really like to get out of here as soon as possible."

Unfortunately, the traffic in the city was pretty thick that day, so the gang was falling a bit behind in their quest to get to the port.

Eventually, though, they were able to get in, and they drove by a few of the large boats before finding one that they believed would take them where they needed to go.

Murray pulled up next to said boat and the three of them got out and began making their way towards it.

"So, what do you guys think? Would this work out for getting us to the US?" said Sly.

"Seems like it. All we have to do is find the guy who captains this boat and convince him to let us and the van on."

However, before they could begin searching, a leopard walked up to them and began speaking.

"Can I help you, gentlemen?"

Bentley pulled open the dictionary, intending to try and talk his way out of the situation, before he suddenly realized that the leopard was speaking English.

"Wait, you can speak English?"

The leopard gave Bentley a weird look.

"Yeah, I can. What's your point?"

Bentley paused, slightly annoyed that buying the dictionary turned out to be completely pointless.

"Listen, we need to get to the US, but unfortunately we need to transport that van over there as well, so we can't really fly. We were hoping that whoever captains a ship that is going to the US would give us and our van a lift over."

Bentley and the rest of the gang looked at the leopard expectantly as he considered Bentley's question.

"Alright, but it's gonna cost you."

"How much?" asked Bentley.

"200 coins."

Although the gang traded looks between each other, they willingly paid the leopard, and he pointed towards the ship in front of them.

"I'm the captain of that ship over there. We're just about to take off in about ten minutes, so you might want to get your van on board."

"How do we do that?" asked Sly.

"There should be a ramp off to the side. It's metal, so you should be able to drive it up there."

"Thanks a bunch." said Sly, shaking the leopard's hand before he and the gang hopped back into the van and drove it over to the ramp.

Thankfully, the ramp held firm as they drove up it, so it wasn't a huge issue getting the van on the boat. It was just in time, too, as the captain came up the ramp after them.

"Alright, we're heading out!"

And so, as the ship pulled out of the port, Sly and the gang looked out at sea. They were all happy to at least get some breathing room between them and Anton, but they couldn't help but hope that the Atlantic Ocean would at least slow him down.

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