Spoiler:- #FFFriday:

    Spoiler:- JoiningFFFriday:

The moonlight glittered greedily over the sculpted marble, making the statue seem to glow in the near-darkness. The proud, stone man towered over a collection of fine art, priceless antiquities, and technological marvels the likes of which few people had ever seen. The carved, dead eyes surveyed the collection, seeing the work of lifetimes collected for private viewings.

And the wraith that slipped casually along the ranks of exhibitions, intent on relieving the gallery's burden of wealth.

The black-clad figure moved gracefully, muttering under its breath occasionally as it moved in a rhythm that seemed all its own. An opaque mask that seemed enough to obscure all vision proved to have no deleterious effects, as she slipped ghost-like in an oddly fluid motion. Now walking casually, now spinning, now a cartwheel for seemingly no reason, the intruder made steady progress along the rows of display cases. Now and then she stopped, her gaze fixed on an item inside a case, before moving along, seemingly without a care.

She paused for a moment beneath the massive marble statue, a frown the only visible emotion on her face. She growled out a venomous epithet, and moved on, otherwise undeterred, behind the statue.

She paused, staring down a long avenue of statuary. Men, beasts, and creatures beyond description stood guard over a red carpet. There, atop a velvet cushion, lay her prize, seemingly unguarded but for the moon beams gently caressing the coveted sphere. The stuff of legends. The big score.


The thief licked her lips in anticipation as a shiver rolled down her slender frame.

She took a hesitant step forward, and then another. The statues on either side of the carpet glared down at her, but she ignored them, and advanced towards her prize. From one side a canid figure seemed about ready to leap off of its pedestal, and devour her in fire and fury. On the other, a rounded, rocky figure with rocky projections and short, stubby arms reaching out with all the threaten that their small length provided.

And then she was there, staring down at the cause of all this trouble. Reverently, she reached out and plucked the metal ball from its nest. She paused, the ball lifted only slightly from where it had been sleeping, as if waiting for something to happen.

A moment passed, and the building creaked as it shifted slightly in the night. Then another moment passed. And another. She let out a breath and took a step backwards, mentally going over her egress route as she secured the ball in a pouch at her waist.

The house moaned again,as old houses tended to do. Except, it wasn't the gentle creaking of an old mansion made with too much money.

A stone slammed into her shoulder, throwing her off balance and staggering several steps before she could recover. A second stone flew out of the darkness, but the thief was prepared. She took a step to one side and flattened her body beside a statue of a massive canine.

She chanced a peek around the edge of the pedestal and was rewarded with a glimpse of her assailant. Leaping down from a pedestal that was near the mirror image of her cover was what looked for all the world like a giant, granite boulder. The silent guardian had let her pass, and had almost landed a coup de grace before she had even become aware of the danger.

A pair of beady eyes, reflecting in the dim light, glared at her, the creature's mouth twisted into a bestial snarl. A pair of stumpy legs slammed down onto the ground in an impact that rattled displays hundreds of yards away. The creature's hands grabbed at its body, ripping away rocky protrusions, and another pair of stones whistled past the thief's ear.

The ground shook as the Graveller plodded inexorably onward. The thief thought for a moment, then smiled. She brought up her left arm, and deftly typed several commands onto her black uniform's keypad.

Then, her mind made up, the thief darted along the rows of statues, managing to pass several of them by before the thrown projectiles forced her back into cover. From a back pouch, she produced a pair of spheres. There was no way to avoid the alarm being raised. If her opponent were in motion, then her unwitting hosts were already aware of her presence. Which meant that the time for subtlety had gone right out the window.

She moved back to the side of the statue from which she had already come, just enough to catch her foe's attention, then threw herself backwards. Her back impacted againsthe next pillar in line, and she had a clear view of the rock creature. With casual grace, she threw first one of the balls she held in her hand, and then the other. Then she turned and ran.

The Pokemon saw the incoming orbs, and stopped, waiting for them to come to rest. But its usual expectations were foiled. The first of the balls slammed into the creature and shattered. The impact was not enough to even make it flinch, it nevertheless spurred it into action. With speed that seemed almost impossible for a creature of its size and makeup, it effortlessly broke off yet another piece of bony rock and hurled it at the incoming sphere with perfect accuracy.

The plain, metal ball exploded outwards in an icy mist, obscuring visions for several dozen feet. For several moments, there was silence as the mist quickly cleared, revealing the rock creature frozen in thick ice.

A low, grating sound slowly grew in intensity, and suddenly the ice shattered. With a grating roar, the Graveller sprang off after the intruder. In the distance, a pair of high-pitched howls joined the rocky Pokemon's battle cry.

“Okay, So not that way,” Alora yelped as she dove back through the doorway, pausing only long enough to kick the door closed. A pair of impacts made the door tremble behind her, before she heard one set of feet thump thump thumping its way into the distance. Whoever had trained those poochesthings had done a good job. One of them was watching the door, preventing her from simply retracing her steps, while the other took a circuitous route through the mansion. Fortunately, they didn't have hands and couldn't open the door. That gave her a few moments.

She tapped several keys on her keypad, adjusting the Silph Scope to take into her new situation and trying to ignore the howling coming from the other side of the door. The Graveller's tracking device still shone brightly, despite having been flash-frozen. It was less than a minute from the doorway. The rock golem did have hands, and once it reached the door it would simply open it as a matter of course. And then matters would be worse.

She ran.

From throughout the house, seemingly all around her, other voices took up the howl, and then others, and then others. The interloper shivered. Singly the pooches wouldn't be a problem. It was the fact that they were pack animals that really scared her. Especially if she ran into a particularly mighty pooch. If they managed to corner her, she was screwed. “Main plan is screwed, but I still have the merch.” she informed the air as she punched up the schematics of the building she had memorized. The building plans appeared on her mask on the right side of her heads up display.

“Take the rear stairwell. I'm still in their security system,” a soothing voice came through her earpiece. A red dot hovered over the staircase, and a green line running from the dot to her location appeared. We're working on your egress strategy.”

She wanted to panic. She wanted to throw herself into a closet and scream until she couldn't scream anymore. To find a place to hide and hide there for a week. But she was a professional. Even if she had never played on a field anywhere near this big before. “Egress plan C,” she said quietly, trusting the microphone built into her collar to pick it up as easily as ever. She checked the schematics in one corner of her heads up display, and started running for the service stairway. If she was fast enough, she would be able to make it to the top before the pooches caught her.

“I thought you hated Plan C,” the voice retorted.

“It's not like we have many options!” the thief snapped back. From behind her, Alora could hear pawed scrambling after her. “Popping the socks!” she reported as she reached into a belt pouch and tossed the stink bomb behind her. The canister exploded, and a thick, green mist that smelled exactly like a men's locker room billowed out through the hallway.

Hopefully that would foul up her pursuer's senses long enough for her to make her escape. She ducked through a door that led to a service corridor, and ran as fast as her legs could take her for the rear staircase.

She was halfway up the staircase when a yip from below alerted her that the dogs were not far behind. Whether these were from the same batch as before or completely new pursuers she had no idea and didn't want to take the time to find out. She slowed at the edge of the stairs to look down, before continuing to hurry up the stairs. Two pooches, only two floors below and closing fast.

But this time she wasn't caught off guard. She took quick stock of her options, and decided on a course of action. The Graveller was now hopelessly far behind. It could move when it wanted to, but its kind were generally better at shorter distances that the chase had taken.

Also their stubby little legs couldn't handle stairs well.

But the pooches had no such handicap, and they were sure to have backup on the way. Like, say, their handlers and their many, many relatives.

“Do we have eyes on incoming?” she demanded, feeling sweat trickle down her neck as she rounded yet another landing and launched herself upwards. A quick glance down showed that the dogs were now only barely a floor behind her.

“That's a neg. Their internal security trackers show that the handlers are closing in on you, though. They have all the exits covered.” The voice in her ear replied almost instantly. “I'm showing a team of flyers scrambling from their roost on from the far side of the compound. Probably the night flyer on duty and his team.” Her legs were starting to burn as she slowed to a stop and turned to face the dogs as they made the landing.

Seeing her stop, her pursuers mirrored her. The gray-furred canines regarded her with intense scrutiny as their tails slowly waved back and forth, their teeth bared in a feral growl. Poochyena were as vicious as they were tiny. But for all their ferocity, they were both extremely attentive and fanatically loyal to their masters. Which was probably why they made such good watchdogs. The Masters of this particular estate had a pack whose numbers ranged into the multiple dozens, and allowed them free reign over the mansion and grounds.

Their main threat, the thief thought smugly, was in their numbers. Individually, they weren't terribly impressive. In groups of a half dozen or more, they would be deadly. For now, their numbers worked in her favor. So if she didn't do anything threatening, like breathe, they'd wait for more of them before they rushed her. If she twitched, they'd charge.

Of course, it would only take mistake for one of them to get lucky. One of the Poochyena, slightly larger than the other, its left ear half ripped away, took a step forward and snarled. That pooch in particular looked like it had survived many, many fights. The moonlight from the massive window behind it gave it a washed-out look. At least its eyes weren't glowing. That would be terrifying.

Fortunately, she had planned for just this contingency.

She raised both arms, one pointing at each of the creatures, and flexed her fists several times. A series of darts flung themselves through the air, impaling themselves into the pooches and the thick carpeting that surrounded them. The dogs leapt forward, roaring in rage, but only made a few steps before they collapsed from the tranquilizers.

“Good poochies,” Alora said. She turned on her heel and let the sleeping dogs lie.

“You're cut off from the roof,” the voice in her ear informed her as she kept running up the stairs. “They've got a shadow squad waiting at the top of the stairs, and several heavies at every roof exit.”

Alora stopped, running through her options. The skylight over the kitchen where she'd come in was out. Any of the main entrances on the grand floor were out. Now she was cut off from her backup backup exit. “Flyers will be there in ninety seconds,” the voice reminded her. “Once they're in place, they can bottle you up and take you at their leisure. You'll never make it out across the grounds now.”

“Thanks,” Alora growled sarcastically. “I didn't realize that.” She took a deep breath, and looked around for inspiration.

“Crap.” she said, feeling her heart sink as she saw the only way out. She powered off and pulled the Silph Scope mask from her eyes, blinking slightly at the natural light, and let her red hair run down over her shoulders. She braced herself. “Egress on west side, sixth story,” she whispered. Then she ran back down the stairs before her courage could fail.

“On its way, but I'm not seeing any exits there.” the voice in her ear said as she tucked the Silph Scope into a pouch on her belt. “You sure about this? How far are out from the exit are you?”

“About five seconds!” Alora replied as she leapt up onto the landing's railing and threw herself at the window. At the very last second, she realized that if the glass was reinforced and she bounced off she would feel incredibly stupid. She ducked her head down and covered it with her arms, praying for the best.

She hit the glass, and it shattered into millions of bitty pieces. Alora forced herself not to scream as she began her free fall. She thought she heard a bird cry over the tinkling of the glass, but she kept her eyes screwed shut as she and the glass dove for the concrete she knew was directly below her.

She let out an involuntary whimper as a sharp pain started screaming at the abrupt wrenching of her entire body over which hurt more. And then she was moving upwards, through the blizzard of glass. She flinched as the last of the pointy storm vented its fury on her, and then there was just the feeling of the wind on her face.

She opened her eyes, and saw the Master's estate falling away behind her. She looked up to see a pair of massive, coffee brown wings beating against the air, carrying them further up and further out with every powerful motion. A pair of sharp eyes peeked down at her from above a raptor's beak, assessing her as a trail of ribbon-like feathers blew in the wind from the back of its head.

The Pidgeot turned back to its flying, apparently deciding that she wasn't worth more than a cursory look. Its talons lessened their death grip, and let her breathe. Alora reached up and ruffled the massive bird's downy underfeathers. A ripple of pleasure roiled through the avian's tan body.

Without warning, the Pidgeot jerked upwards, arresting its own momentum, but at the same time releasing Alora from its grasp. She found her breath caught in her throat as she her upward velocity slowing.

There was one brief moment where it felt like she was flying by herself—nobody and nothing else in her field of vision up here all alone high above the clouds.

Then her stomach fell into her throat, and for the second time that night she was in a freefall. Looking back towards the estate, she could make out more than a dozen shapes that were quickly approaching, not content to let her get away so easily.

The massive falcon suddenly appeared beneath her, matching her descent. With a smooth, practiced motion, Alora reached out and snagged the edge of the flying saddle. It was the work of a moment to pull herself into the saddle, and another three to strap herself in. After a quick check to ensure she still held her objective, she reached into a pouch on her belt, pulled out her pair of flying goggles, and pulled them over her eyes.

One more check to make sure she was secure, and she gently patted the enormous bird's neck. She had just enough time to glance over her shoulder at the specks of approaching flyers before the Pidgeot lurched downwards, wings tucked tight into its body.

Alora grinned, making sure to keep her mouth closed. Nothing the Master had could catch her now. She leaned into the big bird's neck, and stroked the brown feathers affectionately. If she had thought that her Pokemon could hear her, she would be cooing praise into its ears.

Good girl, Egress, she thought just before they broke the sound barrier. Good girl.