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Deception This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

The day of the execution had arrived. Robin stood on the wooden platform, the noose of rope in front of her. Her green eyes narrowed as she scanned the cheering sea of citizens surrounding the platform. They were all cheering for the guild’s blood. For her blood. She turned her head to see a few of her fellow thieves standing beside her, their wrists also bound in rope. The rest of the guild must be in jail cells, planned to be killed later during the festival. Robin wasn’t sure how many of the guild members had been captured, but she knew for certain that one man in particular had made it out alive. Shadra. The one who had ratted them out.
It had been a quiet evening in the thieves guild’s hideout, when suddenly, a thief on guard started to raise the alarm. The young teen had come running into the dining hall, saying something about intruders, right before he was run through with a sword.
A sword which belonged to a city guardsman. In the blink of an eye the whole base was swarming with guards. Many thieves were killed in the struggle to fight back, but most were captured. Robin had only seen a few figures fleeing through the windows. Later, when the guild was being hauled to the prisons in a cart, is when they had found out about Shadra. He had never been very reliable, but he had great skills regarding thievery. Apparently, he had been caught, but then was offered to go free if he gave the guards info on the thieve’s guild.
When the Prince of Orleas had been informed of the massive capture, he decided to throw a festival for the execution. He stood on the front of the platform, his blonde curls shining in the sunlight and his navy blue cape twisting in the breeze, as he spoke to the crowd.
“What a glorious day this is indeed!”
With a flourish of his hand, he gestured to the lined up thieves, “We have captured these criminals, these scum, the scourge of Orleas! And no longer will you have to worry about your belongings being taken from you, for they will all be executed as a price for their treachery!”
With this, there was a thunderous applause from the crowd.
“And now, the gallant hero who made this achievement possible, Shadra Cavalette!” he called, as the man stepped up onto the platform.
Shadra’s black hair was slicked back into a short ponytail, and he seemed to have slight bags under his amber eyes. The man had always seemed to have a tired look about him, with the exception of his eyes, which were always alert, immediately scanning a room for valuables, and escape routes. His outfit seemed to look royal, with a white and gold coat. His gaze met Robin’s, and he gave a taunting smirk before he turned to face the crowd.
“Ladies and gentlemen!
It is an honour to stand here before you!” he said, giving the crowd a sweeping bow.
They cheered him on and he gave them a charming smile. He always was very persuasive, and Robin hated it. 
“Here, I stand beside those who I would have called comrades,” he said gazing at the thieves with a fake look of sorrow.
“At the time, I wouldn’t have thought anything of it, but then I met our beloved Prince Allaire, and he showed me the error of my ways!”
With this, the crowd erupted in applause and cheers. Traitor, Robin thought, scowling. “I righted my wrongs and helped our Prince in the battle to clear out these rats who plagued the streets of our fantastic city, Orleas!”
As the crowd cheered once again, a voice rang out above the noise.
“LIAR!” the voice shouted.
It was another thief standing beside Robin. She remembered him to be Gabriel. The ginger shouted again, taking a step forward,
“ You only ‘helped’ them, to save your OWN hide! You betrayed us in an instant because YOU were scared for your own life!”
A guard stepped forward and held the tip of their sword against his throat. Gabriel spat on the guards shoes and growled, causing the crowd to boo at him.
The Prince stepped forward, raising a brow, “ Why I think that this man is wanting to be the first to die today! What do you all think?”
The mass started to shout in approval.
“KILL ‘EM!” someone shouted near the front. The guard took a hold of Gabriel’s arm and dragged him over to the noose. As he tried to get the rope around his neck, Gabriel bit down on his gloved hand..
“OI, you little rat!” he shouted, giving a signal to another guard, standing by a nearby lever. The second guard nodded and pulled the lever, causing a section beneath Gabriel's feet to drop, leaving him to dangle in the air. Robin closed her eyes in attempt to avoid seeing the gruesome scene. She was glad that the cheering of the crowd was drowning out the noise of his struggles. Suddenly, she felt a hand under her chin and her eyes opened to see Shadra in front of her.
“What’s wrong, love? You don’t fancy executions?” he gave a small chuckle.
Robin jerked her head away from his hand and growled, “You wouldn’t be either if it was your head on the chopping block.”
He casually stuffed his hands into his pockets and smiled, “Well, you can obviously see that isn’t the case.” He leaned forward, “And it never will be, sweetheart.”
She glared at him with stone cold eyes, “Atleast I won’t die a traitor.” The smirk on his face faltered momentarily, before he quickly turned back to the Prince.
The Prince turned to face Shadra, “So, Mister Cavalette, would you like the honour of choosing the next person to be executed?”
Shadra grinned, “Oh, why it would be my pleasure, sir.”
He turned and paced in front of the prisoners, pretending to make a hard decision, yet the whole time his eye was trained on Robin. Just try it you piece of scum, Robin thought, holding his gaze. He finally stood in front of her, glancing over at the Prince, “I think she should be the next to die.”
“Interesting decision. Very well then!” the Prince said, still smiling. Before the guard could grab her, Robin stepped up to the rope and maneuvered it around her own neck. The audience was silent with confusion, and even the Prince was slightly perplexed.
“Eager to die, Miss Gale?” Shadra asked, smirking.
“Not necessarily, I’m just not afraid to die for my own cause, unlike you,” she said, loud enough for the crowd to hear. “Just know, that I will always be twice the person that you are, Cavalette,”she said, flashing him a grim smile. Shadra dropped his smirk, and scowled, his fist subtly clenching.
He stalked over to the lever and quickly pulled on it, “Goodbye Miss Gale,” he said bluntly. He couldn’t even bother to keep up his stage act, Robin thought, a smirk of triumph tugging at the corner of her lips. She then felt the platform drop from beneath her feet, and the rope scratching against her neck. She gritted her teeth, looking for a way out.
The wind had started to pick up, and a cloud drifted in front of the sun, the street square shrouded in shadow. At that moment, something whizzed across the square. Arrow, Robin thought as the object came right towards her. It flew over her head, severing the rope and embedding itself on the wooden post behind her. Robin dropped to the ground on her knees, her head spun as she gasped for breath. All around her there was more commotion, more arrows flying at the platform. Robin quickly stood and grabbed an arrow from behind her, and used its sharp tip to cut the ropes binding her wrists. As she moved back, one of the guards from the platform above her fell off, an arrow planted in his chest. He knelt down and took his coin purse, as well as his short sword and dagger.
“You won’t be needing these anymore, buddy,” Robin muttered. She held the sword in her right hand and started to run from the platform. She ran across the pavement and hurtled over a small fence, landing on grass. She saw the large brick wall ahead, and jumped onto a box, then used it to jump onto another larger box. From there she was able to quickly scale to the top of the wall and pause on the top.
She turned and faced the square to see hooded figures attacking the platform, and civilians running away in fear. That must’ve been an attack from the guild members who escaped! Her gaze fell upon the white and gold coat belonging to Shadra. He was on the back edge of the platform, his cutlass held in front of him. He was surveying the fight, when he started whipping his head back and forth, seeming to scan the crowd intensely. He suddenly stopped, and turned around, to face Robin’s direction. Their gazes met, and Shadra jumped off the platform and started to run towards her. Robin turned and launched herself from the wall, sprinting away.
Robin didn’t turn around until she knew she was safe. She had scaled a ladder leaning against a building, and was now laying on her stomach on the roof. She watched the street carefully, waiting for any sign of Shadra. She could still hear the shouts and screams from the street square. Suddenly, she saw the flash of the white and gold coat, as Shadra neared, looking around. He stopped running and stood, panting and looking for any sign of Robin. She looked around and grabbed a nearby rock on the roof, and threw it as far as she could. It clanked down a side alley and Shadra’s head jerked up, and looked in the direction of the noise. He burst into a sprint and ran off down the alley, disappearing from view.
Robin let out a sigh and pressed her forehead against the concrete of the roof. She pondered what to do about her predicament. She couldn’t survive on the streets for that long by herself, because of all of the guards. They would be on high alert after that attack on the pavilion as well. Robin sat up and growled, running a hand through her hair. This was all Shadra’s fault! If it weren’t for him, the guild would be together, the festival wouldn’t have happened, and the guards wouldn’t be checking everywhere for thieves.
If Shadra wasn’t here, all the problems would be fixed.
“That’s it!” Robin murmured. Her hands balled into fists, “I have to kill Shadra.” She stood, now having a purpose, and sprinted across the roof, jumping to the next building. Maybe the guild hall would be safe from the guards. It was worth a shot. She badly needed her weapons, and she didn’t know any other place in the city that would be safe.
As Robin neared the edge of the city, she saw the abandoned factory that served as the guild’s hideout. She peered over the roof she was on, looking for any signs of guards, but there were none. She climbed down and landed on the ground silently. She observed the street, and when she saw no one, she sprinted across the street and over to the building. She climbed the wall, using the subtle built in footholds to climb up to an open window which was a common entrance for returning thieves. She peered inside and found the place to be empty. The city guard must’ve figured no one was left, and that no one would try to return here. Robin climbed through the window and dropped down onto a table inside. This was the main guild hall, where they used to hold meetings, have meals, and hone their skills by training. Now, everything was scattered. Papers were sprawled across the floor, the tables were knocked over, and there was a couple patches of blood smears. Robin narrowed her eyes, drawing her sword and dagger cautiously. She moved silently through the hall and walked over to the room where she used to bunk. She located the trunk at the foot of her bed, opened it and equipped her set of twin daggers, some throwing knives, and black leather armor. She pulled up her hood and sat on the edge of her bed, wondering about the situation. Then it hit her.
In one of the guild? chambers, there was an heirloom mask that used to belong to the most notorious thieves in history. It was worth a lot to thieves, but to the royal crown, they might see it as a trophy, or a means of profit. Robin stood and quickly snuck through the winding corridors, until she reached the large wooden door. She grabbed the door handle, and it opened with a tiny creak.
¨Wait…”she whispered, ¨This door is supposed to be locked.¨ Only the guild master and her right hand had the two keys to unlock the door. If Shadra had told them about the armor, and the door was unlocked… ¨Oh gods, no-¨ Robin murmured as she peered down the stairs that led into the room. In the back of the musty room stood the glass display case.
It was empty. No armor. Nothing. But there were guards. Robin’s eyes widened and she slowly tried backing away, but then one of the guards turned and glanced behind him, and he immediately saw her. WHY DID YOU HAVE TO TURN AROUND NOW OF ALL TIMES! she thought angrily.
“Wait, what- Hey! It’s one of the thieves!” he shouted. As Robin tried to scramble away, she heard the many footsteps starting to give chase behind her.
She sprinted back out into the guild’s main hall, and collided straight into someone else. Robin fell to the floor, and the person stumbled back. Robin quickly jumped to her feet and drew her daggers, facing the stranger. The face who looked back up at her was startled, and also belonged to Shadra. They stared at each other in bewilderment, before Robin leapt at him with a roar of fury. Shadra let out a strangled shout of surprise as Robin pressed a dagger into his throat, quickly slashing the other one across his chest in a blind rage.
As Shadra struggled to fight back, a guard roughly pulled her off of him. She stumbled, whirling around and slicing the guard enough that they fell to the ground injured. Another guardsman lept at Robin, and she turned, kicking them in the gut, sending him stumbling quickly backwards into the wall, knocking themselves unconscious. She turned, and noticed a guard running toward the exit. She grabbed a throwing knife from her belt and hurled it across the room at him. He ducked, the knife barely missing his head as he retreated. She went to grab for another knife when Shadra grabbed her wrists and pinned her against a wall, trying to wrestle the daggers out of her grip. Robin brought up her foot and tried kicking him in the stomach to get him off, but he didn’t budge. With a growl, she slammed her head against his, pain bursting throughout her skull. Shouting in surprise, Shadra grabbed his forehead and staggered away. Robin whipped her foot around, connecting with the back of his leg, knocking him onto the ground. She pressed a foot against his throat and pointed the dagger at his face.
“Make another attempt at stopping me and I will cut you open, Cavalette.” She growled in a threatening tone.
He panted and replied in a husky voice,“Like you haven’t tried already.”
“Why are you back in the guild hall, Shadra? Feeling nostalgic?” Robin scoffed.
Shadra opened his mouth to reply, when another voice spoke before him, “Yes, Mister Cavalette, why are you here? I certainly didn’t order you to be here.” Robin turned, and saw none other than Prince Allaire standing by the entrance, his hands held behind his back. She glanced down at Shadra, who had a dismayed expression.
So this isn’t his fault this time? Robin asked herself. She glanced from the Prince, back to Shadra again.
“I wouldn’t have known where to find you if it weren’t for one of your bribed bodyguards. He came running in, telling me of your…” Allaire paused, glancing at Robin, “...predicament.”
Robin gritted her teeth and tightened the grip on her daggers. I could’ve stopped that guard from escaping. I should’ve been quicker! Shadra’s face paled slightly, and she wondered if it was because she was cutting off his oxygen. Good, he can choke for all I care, she thought angrily.
“So, Shadra, I can only think of one thing you would come here for. Is this it?” the Prince pulled out something from behind his back. It was the heirloom set of armour. Beneath her foot, she could feel Shadra’s intake of breath, and Robin came to the realisation that her hand was shaking. She forced herself to stop, and focus on the situation. She could try and hurl a throwing knife at him, but something in her gut told her that wouldn’t work.
Seeing Shadra’s bewilderment, he grinned,”Oh yes, I came back for this beauty after this filthy place was cleaned out. It will be quite the addition to my treasury…” Robin gritted her teeth and stepped off of Shadra’s throat, approaching the Prince slowly. He narrowed his eyes and snapped his fingers, causing multiple guards, armed with crossbows to fill in behind him, “Try and lay a finger on me, and I can promise you that you’ll not be walking away from here alive.”
Robin stood only a foot away from him and the guards raised their weapons warily. “I have been pronounced as dead my whole life, and yet I’m still here in front of you. What makes you think that your threats will make any difference?” She growled, pointing the dagger at him. Allaire was silent, unable to come up with an answer.
Instead, he turned to his guards and simply said, “Fire at will.” The guards took aim and Robin jumped away and took off blindly. She sprang onto the table by the wall, multiple bolts whizzing past her and bouncing off the stone wall. She launched herself up to the windowsill and glanced back briefly, seeing Shadra trying to follow her lead. Ugh, he can go save himself, Robin thought. She hopped down into the street and ran into a side alley, sprinting around many corners until she saw a rusty ladder leaning against the side of a building. She hastily climbed to the roof, and quickly moved to the edge to watch for people following.
She flinched hearing footsteps on the ladder behind her. She walked over, putting a foot on the top rung and looking over the edge. A couple rungs down was Shadra, who paused when he saw her at the top.
“Give me one reason I shouldn’t push this ladder down and kill you right now,” Robin hissed at him.
“Because you need my help,” he said.
Robin frowned and raised a brow, “Are you sure about that?” She shook the ladder a little bit. She smirked as Shadra’s knuckles turned white gripping the ladder, while his eyes widened.
A look of desperation crossed his features as he growled, “I-I mean, it would be beneficial for you if you had a hand in taking back that armour.” Robin paused for a moment, then took her foot off the ladder and stood back. She heard the audible sigh of relief as Shadra pulled himself onto the roof. When Shadra stood up, Robin realized how much damage she had actually caused him. He had a small cut on his neck, and his shirt had a large gash in it, and a large cut on his chest that was staining his white shirt with blood.
She held up her dagger threateningly, “You’d better start talking fast, scumbag.”
He rolled his eyes, “Alright, alright, I get it, you like waving your daggers around, geez. Anyways, I was going to explain that I was trying stay in the Prince’s pocket, where it would be safer for me to reclaim the armour. But, as you saw…” he sighed and looked away, “he obviously got there first.”
“It seems to me that you only tried to get that armour back for your own personal gain. You couldn’t exactly give it back to the guild...that you sabotaged,” Robin said accusingly.
“Hey, I didn’t expect a full on raid, attacking the guild hall!” He said, putting his hands up in a defensive manner.
“Yeah, well you expected wrong! What, did you think that they would just do nothing with that information, that they would forget about it?!” She shouted.
Shadra gripped her by the shoulders, “Hey, shh.”
She used her free hand to slap him in the face, “Don’t you DARE lay a hand on me, you idiot!”
He backed away, putting a hand over the red mark on his cheek, “Alright, fine, just shut up would you? We don’t know if there are still guards around, looking for us.”
Robin growled at him and looked around warily, “So...what’s the plan now? It better not be something stupid.”
“How about we get that armour back? The Prince is sure to be leaving the Guild Hall soon, I mean, there’s not much left there-” at this, Robin glared at him as if to say, That was your fault. He faltered for a moment before continuing, “S-so Allaire will be traveling out on one of the streets, most likely one of the less populated side streets. That is when we ambush him. He probably won’t be expecting us to make a comeback, so we’ll have the element of surprise.”
Robin thought it over, drumming her fingers on the side of her leg. It was a long shot, but it might just work. Though if they got through it, what would it gain them besides an important set of armour? Dignity? Pride? And what would they do after that? Well, they’d have to worry about that later.
She sighed, “Sure. But we’d better hurry, we don’t know if the Prince has left yet.” Shadra nodded and they turned in the direction of the Guild Hall.
When they got over to the top of the roof across from the Guild Hall, they had to wait awhile before they saw the Prince emerge, followed by around eight guards. They kept their heads low, and followed the escort along the rooftops. The group was about to come to an intersection, when Robin and Shadra stopped.
“Alright, so the plan is, we get in, and get out with the armour. We shouldn’t try going after the Prince, because that would be more trouble than it’s worth. So, I’ll grab the armour, and you provide a distraction-” Shadra started off.
“Ohhhh, no,” Robin interrupted him. “I am NOT trusting you with that armour. And in any case, I can run much faster than you.”
Shadra rolled his eyes, “Fine, fine. As long as we get back the armour.”
“Okay, we go on one,” Robin murmured. “Three, two...one!”
On one, they both launched off the roof and landed in the middle of the group. There were shouts of confusion as Shadra attacked the guards, drawing their attention. Robin jumped in front of the Prince and lunged for a satchel which held the armour. The Prince had drawn a sword and blocked her. As they fought, Shadra was soon becoming overwhelmed with the amount of guards. Robin bit her lip nervously, trying even harder to get the satchel. Allaire smirked with confidence and she growled. Robin feinted, then saw her opening. When she kicked the Prince between the legs, he let out a choked cry of pain. Robin quickly grabbed the satchel and pushed him over.
“Th-that’s not good form,” Allaire wheezed.
“Blast good form!” Robin shouted. She let out a sharp whistle, then ran down the street. As she got further down the street,she heard shouts from some of the guards, “THEY’RE GETTING AWAY!” She knew that Shadra was behind her, and ran faster. Shadra soon came up next to her, and they ran side by side, away from the horde of guards.
They had been running through the city for a couple of minutes before they were finally able to stop. They were both gasping for breath as they stopped in a side alley.
Shadra gave a breathy laugh, “It- It actually worked! Ahaha!” Robin pressed her back against the wall, and slid to the ground, exhausted. There was silence between the two before Shadra asked, “What now?”
Robin paused for a moment, “ Well, we rebuild the Guild. Find the survivors, a new hideout maybe. We might even have to move the Guild to another city.” her gaze hardened as she looked over at Shadra, “And when we find the others, we’ll decide your punishment for betrayal. You’d be lucky to even be exiled, because you wouldn’t be dead”
“ Look, Sweetheart, at this point, I don’t even care,” he said simply, looking at his boots.
Robin sighed. It was going to be a long process to restore the Guild...especially if she was going to be working with Shadra. It’s not like there was anything she could do about it.
Robin braced herself for the long path that was set ahead of her and gritted her teeth.
If all else failed...she would make sure that she would prevail.






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