Sheala looked over the contraption more fully than she had up until now. Its complexity led her to a conclusion that she was sure was right. “It’s impossible,” she proclaimed. “It cannot be done.” Every wire attached to every trigger was so sensitive that there was no doubt in her mind of that statement.
She looked at Arias for approval. He pointed at the dummy. “It is a good lesson to learn,” he said, “that sometimes some prizes are not attainable. A good thief knows this and how to recognize that a risk is greater than the reward before getting caught. But, this is not an impossible task.” Arias stepped around her, pushing her gently to one side. With his hand he smoothly removed the purse without a single trap being sprung. “See?”
He put the pouch back onto the hooks as Sheala started to ask, “But how?”
“Practice. Now, you will try this again and you will keep trying again until you get it right. And just incase you feel that the risk is greater than the reward – ” Arias again retrieved the purse from the hooks without setting them off. He dumped the contents into his hand. Six Gold Imperials that fell out. “Get it off, without springing a single trap and you can keep these.” He returned the money to the pouch and placed it back into the mechanism.
Six Gold Imperials? That was more than a month’s pay for even a full member of the guild. And it was certainly more money than Sheala had ever seen at one time. Sheala immediately decided that she definitely wanted those coins. She collected herself and tried again. She tried to be careful, lifting the pouch slightly up and to the left, then a little more and then a little more still without any of the traps triggering. She had this she thought. It was a piece of cake as long as she paid attention. But with her next move one of the trips was set loose. Her confidence caught up with her as the metal strip cracked off her arm.
Arias was unfazed as Sheala screamed in pain, her arm hanging limply at her side. He just reset the dummy one more time and again told her the same as before, “Again.”
Sheala could not protest. She tried again. Again she set off the trigger that sent the metal whip into her leg for the second time.
“Again.” Arias set the device back to the ready.
Sheala went again for the trophy. Her fingers were light, lighter than they had been on her previous attempts. But they moved faster than before too. In a second she was holding the liberated purse in her hand and stopped. Stunned she anticipated the strength of the blow she had expected from a trap she felt certainly she should had sprung. But there was none. She had done it. Pleased with herself she quickly opened the bag and poured the contents into her hands.
But instead of six Gold Imperials there were just six simple, steel bits. Worthless. She looked up as Arias was heading out the door of the storeroom and back out into the hallway. He stopped and gave her an admonition. “And that child is your second lesson. Never, ever, trust a thief.”
Sheala was just too stunned to answer. Arias left the room.
Time: 36 minutes 13 seconds