I.

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- Drew -

THE CROWDED STREETS OF Evrehaven, Elithriel's capital, were loud and chaotic. And they made Andrew Duval's job a whole lot easier. Nobody noticed the cloaked figure slipping through the throng of bustling citizens and lively merchants. Everyone was too caught up in their own business and let Elithriel's most wanted criminal slip right under their noses. Again.

The crowd thinned as Drew made his way towards the manor of Lord Spencer, Duke of Aldren. He had been alternating between Lord Spencer's summer estate in Evrehaven and Lord Derrick's villa in Linolais to reduce the risk of getting caught. Only a fool would return to the same place multiple times in a row.

He didn't want to steal, but his family was in desperate need of money for their basic needs. The people he was stealing from had more money than they would ever need anyway. The nobles and the Royal Family were ignorant of the poverty in the kingdom. Unknown to them, resentment among the peasants was rising quickly.

The high iron-wrought gates surrounding the estate coupled with the multiple guards patrolling the edges of the property would prove quite a challenge to an amateur. However, Drew was an experienced thief and Lord Spencer was not expecting him to return again so soon.

He walked inside the estate confidently as if he belonged there. Nobody would question him if he kept up the confident facade. It was surprising how easily tricked people could be.

He was able to trace his route in his mind up to the second room to the left on the third floor. That was Lord Spencer's study and also the place where he kept his personal safe. Fortunately for Drew, Lord Spencer was on a business visit at the Iviranì Palace, home of the Royal Family, in Lythia, a small city an hour away from Evrehaven.

Drew checked to see if the hallways were completely empty before entering the room. Books lay scattered everywhere. The bookshelves were crammed full and the rest of the books lay in piles on the floor. If Drew had time, he would've loved to sort through the collection and pick out a few of the interesting ones. 

He removed one of the books (The Complete Guide to Elithrielian Politics: Volume II) from the shelf and stepped back as it slid back to reveal Lord Spencer's safe. The lock combination had been changed since the last time Drew had been there, but it didn't matter. He was able to pick it in a matter of seconds.

"He really should get a new lock," he mused as he filled his burlap satchel with as many gold coins as it could fit.

Once he was satisfied with his work, he closed the safe and pushed the bookshelf back to its original position. Then he grabbed a piece of blank parchment and scribbled a note to Lord Spencer.

Dear Lord Spencer,

I have kindly taken the privilege to borrow approximately one-hundred gold coins from your personal safe. But don't worry, I'll make sure they're put to good use.

Sincerely,
The Peregrine

Once his note was finished, he grabbed a metal letter opener and pinned it to the wall where it was clearly visible. Then he left the room without a sound.

He made it back downstairs without a problem. One of the servants even nodded to him and bade him a good day. As he left, he purposefully knocked over a porcelain vase as he left hoping to catch the guards' attention. He always enjoyed a good chase because he knew he would always win. Always.

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