Thank you for waiting. Here's chapter 7, I believe. Pictures of Comrade and Boss are in my profile, message me or review to tell me what you think about them or if you have any better suggestions or if you have any suggestions for the other characters. I'm all ears.

Invitations

Tris waited as David read over the paper, watching for his reaction. The boy's expression didn't change in the slightest, but when he looked up his blue eyes had widened a little.

"No, absolutely not. Take someone else." He said, tossing the paper on the desk. The sharp creases caused it to fold back up in a tent shape. Tris looked at David pointedly, not saying anything. He didn't have to.

"Tristam, in no way am I going to that court. You can't make me. I don't care if it's the prince's birthday or even the King's personal invitation; take someone else." David crossed his arms stubbornly and leaned back in his chair.

"I don't want to take someone else. This will be a good experience for you, David." Tris told him

"Sure, it's also a chance to show me off at court." David replied.

Tris' eyes darkened with hurt and a little bit of anger but he hid his feelings quickly. "That's not true. You would be acting as my personal servant the whole time, which is no different than your responsibilities here."

"But—"

"No, David, it's my decision and you're going." Tris said firmly. "Rosa will look after the manor and my affairs while we're gone. You can say good-bye to your friends before we leave in two days."

David sighed, knowing full well that Tris wasn't going to change his mind. "I'll go pack."

Tris smiled slightly. "Thank you, David."

David sighed and shoved another tunic into his bag. Comrade was stretched out in the middle of his bed, head resting on his paws.

The young thief's mind was in turmoil. He was going to attend the prince's birthday! He didn't want to, he really didn't, but he was going. He was going to stay in a palace for two weeks, around the richest people in the kingdom. It was a thief's dream and David's nightmare.

Maybe that was Boss's plan all along. Tris was obligated to go to a royal birthday and would most likely bring a slave. So all of this was so David could make the biggest steal of his life. He wondered what Boss would want him to nab.

It was a palace, so necklaces and jewelry couldn't be the only things up for profit, maybe an old crown or the royal sapphire of Efratis. That would definitely be missed and the thief that stole it would be set for life.

He sighed and sat on the bed. He would need to see Boss before he left for his orders. He might even ask Wolf to come along. David could take the invitation to be copied with it being addressed to a Duke's heir named Allion Wolf and then he would have a friend to work with. That was better than being alone on a job; if it was a job after all.

The next morning David left Rosa a note on his pillow and slipped out of the manor through the servants entrance. Comrade was still sleeping soundly on the thief's bed.

It would still be dawn outside of the mountains, so his breath clouded in the air as he walked through the Rich side.

When he got to the safe-house Belinda answered the door. She looked at him through the slot, then opened the door. Bel gave him a quick hug, then pulled back to look him over.

"What are you doing here, David?" she asked curiously.

David gave her a mock hurt look "I can't come and visit my friends anymore?"

She smiled. "I wasn't expecting you again this week, so stop being a baby."

"I didn't expect to be back, but I'm going to be gone for two weeks and wanted to talk to Boss."

"Boss?" her voice and eyes showed her obvious confusion.

David shrugged. "We have a few things to discuss before I leave."

She looked at him sharply. "Is it a job?"

Again he shrugged. "I don't know, that is why I need to talk to her."

"Talk to who?" Wolf asked from behind them, making them both jump.

"Boss." David said for what felt like the hundredth time. "I just need to talk to Boss."

Wolf looked at him for a long moment, then: "She's in her room."

David was halfway up the ware-house's stairs when Wolf called to him. "Hey Lapis, where's Comrade?"

"At the manor sleeping." the thief replied before hurrying up the rest of the stairs.

Boss's bedroom, office, and training room were the only accessible rooms on the second floor of the safe-house. The other rooms were off limits due to rotten floorboards and holes in the floor.

David paused in front of the second door, Boss's bedroom, before going inside. Boss was asleep, or so it seemed, on her bed. As he reached her side she smiled slightly, eyes still closed.

"Hello Lapis." she said, stifling a yawn as she sat up. "What brings you here?"

She grabbed his wrist and pulled his down onto the bed so that he was sitting at her side.

"I'm leaving for a while." David answered her as she unraveled his braid.

"The prince's birthday." she said knowingly. After untangling his hair with her fingers she started to brush it with a silver plaited brush from her night table.

"Do you want me to work." he asked although he already knew the answer deep down.

"Of course." Boss plaited his hair back up quickly in a braid that almost reached his waist. Never cut your hair, she had always told him. To her, his hair was one of a kind, a deep golden color that a lot of people envied.

"Any special request?" he asked, standing up.

"The prince's inauguration ring and the queen's engagement ring." She reached into the top drawer of the night table and pulled out a couple pieces of paper.

David took them and looked them over. The inauguration ring was a simple, thick silver band with a small sapphire stone in the middle. The engagement ring, on the other hand, was stunning. A royal blue diamond surrounded by pure white diamonds and held by a band of thin, braided silver wire.

The thief committed the rings to memory then looked at the other paper, which was a map of the palace that the birthday party would be held at.

He gave the sketches back and tucked the map away for later reference. He would need to memorize the map in the two days before he left so he could get rid of the paper, Boss would burn the other papers to erase any evidence if the theft was connected to her.

"You have something else to ask." Boss stated. David had been in her care for a long time, so she knew him well.

"Can Wolf come with me?" David asked.

Boss cocked her head to the side. "I don't see why not. Go ahead and ask him. He'll need an invite."

The thief smiled slightly. "I know just where to get one."

David was starting to regret leaving Comrade at the manor as he made his way through the Maze. He was looking for Raven, but so far hadn't seen the black-haired boy anywhere.

Raven could make a counterfeit invitation easily; he even had a copy of the king's seal. Actually, he had a copy of very seal in Efratis, even some from the other nations as well.

The jet haired boy had been one of the first people David had met when he came to Taloren at eight summers old. Raven had introduced him to Belinda and she in turn had introduced him to Boss. Boss trained him to be the perfect thief for her and gave him a place to call home. He stole for her and she provided for him. That was their deal and after five years he had developed an odd sense of loyalty toward the woman.

Slipping into an alley, he went into a tavern by the side door. One of the serving girls smiled and waved at him. He smiled back and looked through the curtain of smoke to a table around which a small crowd was gathered.

He walked over to the table and placed a silver coin on the table top. Raven slipped the coin into the inside pocket of his sleeve, his eyes never leaving the other card player. They were playing a game of Thieves' Jewels.

"What can I do for you, Lapis?" Raven asked. He looked down at his cards with a worried expression. "Never bet all in, unless you're confident that you'll win." he told David.

"I need two copies of an invitation." The blonde said, answering Raven's previous question.

"Hmm, what kind?"

The blonde smiled. I Raven wasn't going to make the copies he would have just said no.

"The prince's birthday."

Raven looked up at him. While the boys attention was divided the other card player slipped a card out of his sleeve and into his deck.

"I'll need the original invitation and time." The jet haired boy told him.

"I leave in two days; that should be enough time."

Raven smiled. "Quite." He placed his cards on the table. Three new moons and a lightning strike—a perfect hand.

"It was fun playing with you. The young con-artist said to the other player as he collected the coins and ring with a deep blue gemstone off the table. "We'll have to play again sometime. Just remember to keep your sticky fingers out of your sleeves since it's obviously not helping."

With a quick smile and a patronizing bow, Raven grabbed David's arm and left the tavern, pulling the blonde behind him.

"So, you're going to crash the prince's royal birthday party and his inauguration to boot. No wonder you need an invitation." Raven said as they made their way through the streets.

David smiled. "Something like that. The invitations are for Rat and Wolf, not me."

The dark haired boy kicked a rock. "Boss isn't sending you?"

"No—I mean yes. I'm going, but I'm Going with Lord Tristam."

Raven stopped walking and looked at him. Then he started walking again. "That's an accomplishment."

"Yeah, becoming a slave is really something to be proud of." The thief scoffed.

"I didn't mean it like that and you know it." the other boy said.

They had reached a cleft in the northern wall of the mountain. It lead to an underground clearing that Raven had staked as he and his sister's. Since his sister had died last winter, he was alone there.

"I can get you the invitations before you leave. It'll be a silver each plus another silver since it's short notice. So names, I need names." Raven said snapping his fingers.

"Allion and Marcus Wolf." David told him. "I have another favor to ask though."

Raven sat down on the bank of the small spring. "It'll cost you extra."

David looked down at his tattoos. "I know."