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Based on characters and situations created by Robert Taupert and Sam Raimi.

Copyright 1998 by John Dorsey

Xena: Warrior Princess and all characters are the sole property of Universal. No copyright infringement is intended through the writing of this fan fiction.

A Day In The Life... Of A Thief
By John Dorsey

Hello there, my good friend.

I hope you donít mind me saying, but youíre looking a bit under the weather. And I, of course, am my usual stunning self. But where are my manners? Let me introduce myself... On second thought, why not take a guess?

No, Iím not a soldier, although I do enjoy a good fight.

No, Iím not a trader, although I always get the best bargain.

And, no, Iím not a baker, although I do love to stir up trouble.

You give up? Believe it or not, my good fellow, I am none other than a king. Yes, I can imagine what you must be thinking. Sure, he moves like a king, he talks like a king, he even eats cherries like a king. But that clothing... Well, Iíll be the first to admit that my royal garb doesnít look all that royal, but looks can be deceiving. There are a lot of kings out there, but rest assured there is no other king like me. I am truly one of a kind.

For I am Autolycus. The King of Thieves.

And itís a darn shame that one my royal status has to be sneaking around everywhere I go, but thatís just the way it is. Now, youíd probably take one look at me and say, "A thief! What a despicable human being!" But, hey, I only rob the rich. You know why? Because the rich are dirty! The rich are snobs! And, of course, because the rich are pretty much the only people who have anything worth robbing, but thatís really irrelevant now, isnít it?

Rich and poor. Iím not ashamed to say that Iíll take rich any day. One must realize that there is a distinct difference between the rich and the poor. When youíre rich, the food is better, your robes are softer, and the people you hang with have bathed much more recently.

Whatís this I hear? That great big grandfather clock in the center of the city of Penan is tolling. And that tells me itís time to make my move. No offense, my friend, but scram. Iíve got important business to attend to.

I sprint down the dark alley. My sleek form dances through the shadows as I make my way towards the wall of the royal palace. Guards come walking in my direction, but I duck. As they move on, I make a romantic dash forward for the wall. Looking up, I notice the balcony near the top. I throw my trusted rope and hook with my usual magnificent aim. The hook lands on the edge of the balcony, and stays there. I give the line a tug. Itís on tight.

Holding onto the rope, I slowly scale up the wall, which has to at least five stories high. Inside the palace, there must be at least eight or nine dozen guards. Not to mention, the specific area I want to get into is secured by at least five hephaesteus metal locks.

If only I could find something challenging...

I hate it when my job is too easy. Iíd much rather be taking a nice warm bath right now. As I climb over the edge of the balcony, I realize that a bath is something Iím probably going to need. Canít kings keep their castles clean anymore? The least they could do is show intruders like me some consideration.

Anyway, here I go. Curtains cover the doorway. I slowly pull the curtain away and peek inside. A week ago, Xena casually mentioned the story about whatís up with this dive. This kingdom, Penan, is said to have a great treasure inside its palace. Many years ago, the king, old geezer that he was, decided to lock the entire royal treasury inside some kind of safe room to keep it protected. And this treasury consisted of none other than the largest and finest collection of diamonds in all of Greece. Not just any diamonds, mind you. But these supposedly are magical diamonds that helped insure prosperity for all of Penan. So thatís why they were hidden away. But somehow, something went wrong, and the magic of the diamonds came to an end. Not to mention, the treasure could not be retrieved, even though itís said to still be there. No one knows why, but the current king has never revealed to anyone what the deal is, and no oneís ever been inside that safe room for the last thirty years.

But, as youíre probably guessing, thatís all about to change.

To make a long story short, I conveniently ditched the warrior princess (not that I wouldnít mind having her on me.. I mean, with me) and headed straight for Ďol Penan. In passing through, I noticed that almost the entire kingdom is in bad shape. The people are poor, the economy collapsed ever since the treasury became untouchable. But, hey, thatís no concern of mine.

I edge into the bedroom. The princessí bedroom. Looking inside, I see the princess. Voom va va voom... Next, I hear the princess scream. Startled by my dashing good looks, no doubt. Well, no point in foreplay, now.

I burst into the room and say "Hello, princess. Donít worry, I wonít hurt you. Iím just here to... er... borrow some rocks."

Next thing I know, the door to her bedroom comes flying open and this low-grade swordsmen runs in. He stops right in front of me. So I do what any gentlemen would do. I hold up my a finger of my left hand and say, "See this?" The guy looks at my finger, and I zap him with a quick jab from my right hand. He falls to the floor.

"Boy, I tell you," I say to the princess, "if castles donít start hiring better help, I may just wind up retiring out of sheer boredom. Now, would it be too much to ask you not to tell anyone else Iím here?"

The princess starts wailing again. I shrug.

"I guess it might."

Thereís not much else to do at this point, so I dash through the door into a massive hallway. Fortunately, I had the good fortune to bribe... er, have a friend who knew something about the layout of this dive. So I have nothing to worry about. As I run down the hall and turn the corner, I know exactly what Iím in for.

Four palace guards suddenly appear out of nowhere.

Okay, maybe not exactly.

I donít like the looks of these guys. Theyíve got bad attitudes, bad tailors, and... Phew! ...not to mention bad hygiene. I flip into the air and come down on them with both feet first. Two go sprawling backwards. I clobber the other two with my fists. And at the end of the hall I see my destination.

I approach a large steel door that leads to the eastern tower. And inside are the goodies Iíve been looking for. This door is at least an inch thick and, as I figured, there are five hephaesteus metal locks on the bolt. Pulling out my trusty lock picker, I quickly unlock each one. As I do so, I can almost taste those diamonds. I see women throwing themselves at me like Iím a god. I see my own personal castle residing by the ocean. I see three dozen guards running straight toward me... Uh-oh.

Time to do what any man of my great courage would do. Hide!

Removing the last lock, I open the steel door and quickly shut it. I look for an inside lock that I can use to keep them out, but thereís nothing. I brace myself, waiting for them to come in after me. But, strangely enough, they donít. Edging up to the door, I can hear some of the guards laughing.

If thereís one thing Iíve learned in all my years, itís that when your enemies laugh at you it is seldom a good thing.

Well, thereís only one direction to go now. The hallway in front of me is pitch black. Grabbing a torch, I quickly light it and slowly begin to walk, sounds of mice scurrying around my feet. Judging from all the cobwebs everywhere, no oneís been in this place for thirty years.

After about 70 or so yards, the hallway ends and I enter this large room. Judging from the rich tapestry hanging everywhere, it must have been real nice when they first set it up. But now thereís tons of dust and cobwebs and... Be still my heart!

Iíve found the diamonds.

There is a golden throne in the center of the room, and sitting in that throne is a... thing made up of the diamonds. The king must have had the diamonds molded into a dummy. It sort of looks like a person... a very white, shiny, gleaming, expensive person. Only about twice the size. But, hey, who cares? Iíve found the diamonds!

Uh, actually, itís looking more like the diamonds have found me. That... monstrosity just stood up and is heading right over here. Oh, boy... Better duck.

I do just that and that thing barely misses me. It doesnít miss the wall, though. Part of it smashed in from that swing. That was almost my face.

As Iím frantically thinking about what to do, I think Iíve finally figured out what the deal has been here for all these years. Hereís my theory: The king, in trying to protect the diamonds, puts them down here and casts a spell molding them together into a living being. As a result, the diamonds guard themselves. Very clever. Except, unfortunately, casting that spell must have negated the magic of the diamonds which was keeping the kingdom under such great prosperity. Thatís why no oneís been down here in thirty years, because no oneís been able to beat that thing or reverse the spell that was cast. And now here we are today.

Somehow, I can still hear those guards laughing.

The thing comes at me again. I swing the torch at it, but it doesnít flinch. It swings at me again, and I flip into the air, landing on top of a huge chandelier which is just as large as I am. The thing jumps up and down trying to grab me. I almost feel sorry for it. Olí Whitey isnít going to be touching me up here. Ha, ha.

Then I notice a cracking sound. Looking at the chain that holds the chandelier to the ceiling, I see one of the links break. Uh-oh.

Before I have a chance to react, the chain breaks completely, and the chandelier, with me on it, crashes down on top of Whitey. I lay there for a moment, hoping that heís finished off. Out of the blue, he shoves both the chandelier and me off, and rather easily I might add.

Thereís a stairway in the room that leads up to the balcony of the northeast tower. If I can get there, I know I can escape. Outsmarting this lump of rock shouldnít be too difficult. So I run down the dark hallway from whence I came, and my treasure isnít far behind me. When Iím in the part of the hallway thatís pitch black, I throw my hook into the ceiling, and pull myself up. And, wouldnít you know it, that thing goes running right past me towards the metal door.

So now I jump back down and head in the opposite direction for the window. Autolycus, my boy, you are brilliant if I do say so myself. And I always do.

I see the window and smile. As I head up the stairs, I realize Iíve got all five of the hephaesteus metal locks in my pocket. The ones that kept that thing locked in here. The ones that kept that thing from hurting anyone. And if that thing did hurt anyone, it would be all my fault.

I stop not far from the window... and frown. I want to leave. I really, really want to leave. I mean I really, really, really want to leave.

So, of course, I turn around and go back.

Autolycus, this is so dumb! Stupid! Idiotic! I keep telling myself this as I run towards the metal door. I find the door torn off its hinges. Inside the main hallway, thereís palace guards getting walloped left and right.

"Hey, Sparkletone!" I yell. Whitey turns around and faces me. "Whatís the matter? Not enough karat in your diet?"

Okay, bad joke, so sue me. And Whitey must agree, because heís charging towards me again. I dive to the right just in the nick of time, and he smashes a good portion of the wall. I sprint back through the vault doorway and down the hall. And, of course, the treasure of my life is right behind me.

Itís times like these I wonder why I always complain when a jobís too easy.

Entering the great room again, I dash up the stairways for the door to the balcony. I grab the handle, but itís locked. Itíll only take a few seconds for me to pick the lock. But as I notice a massive shadow descending upon me, I realize itís a few seconds that I donít have. I wait as long as I can, then dive to the left with every ounce of agility I can muster. And wouldnít you know it, our friendly neighborhood castle-smasher connects with the door and crashes right through it.

Nowís my chance.

I run onto the balcony as my treasure trove turns around. All I have to do is get near the edge of the balcony and get him to charge at me. Iíll dive out of the way, and heíll fall off, smash into a million pieces on the ground, and go to that great big jewelry store in the sky. Piece of cake.

I gracefully flip over the head of olí Whitey and land on the edge of the balcony. But the maids must have been polishing the rocks or something, because my right foot slips and I fall over the edge, barely grabbing a foothold on the balcony.

Oh, boy...

So now Iím dangling off the edge of a balcony four stories high in the air, about to be pummeled by my own financial retirement fund. Whitey looms over me. Iíve heard of being destroyed by money, but this is ridiculous. He raises his arms into the air, and I know whatís going to come next.

With my one free hand, I whip out my trusted rope and hook, and toss it at the far end of the balcony just as his hands connect with the stone. I swing to the side as the floor he stands on shatters, and he falls right through. I watch him plummet to the ground. All thatís left are pieces. Nice, shiny pieces. So, slowly, I lower myself to the ground.

Taking out a large bag I had planted in the back of my shirt, I quickly pick up diamonds. Theyíre all incredibly light now. Despite all the bulk, I have no trouble carrying them. Dashing through the alleys and shadows once again, I make my way towards freedom. Nothing can stop me now. As I turn around a corner, I bump into someone.

"Hello, Autolycus."

My eyebrows raise. And I smile innocently. "Uh, hello, Xena. Gee, fancy meeting you here."

Sheís got that wicked devilish grin which I hate... yet enjoy so much.

"I notice youíve recovered the magical diamonds of Penan... just as I figured you would."

"Yes, well, I was just about to deliver them to some needy orphans."

Xena grabs the bag from my hands. "Actually, Iíve got a better idea. Iím going to return these to the king... so their magic powers can once again restore prosperity to all of Penan. Congratulations, Autolycus. Youíre a real hero. See ya."

"Yeah," I say to myself as I watch Xena take off with my stash. "A real hero. Lucky me."

As I stand here, I realize that the King of Thieves has just been had. Iím telling you, sometimes crime just doesnít pay.

Well, maybe every now and then...

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