A Human Among Animal Thieves @jumbochamploon
The Gauntlet of Master Thieves

Chapter 47

After Penelope handled the radio towers, then it was up to me and Sly in our planes to take out the different missile launchers. And when all of them were destroyed, we then landed our planes at the area with the elevator and we then went up to the vault, me deciding that I'd do the honors this time with my cane, it entering the slot and the lock opening to reveal the elevator that would lead to the inside of the island.

"Hey, Bentley?" Sly asked into his binocucom.

"Yeah?" I heard Bentley say with a smile.

"I'm about to head into the vault, but I don't want you, Murray, or Henriette to miss out. We're a family, so let's go in there together," Sly said.

"Thanks, bud. We're coming up right now," Bentley said as Murray then drove the van to a different point and the Panda King put fireworks on the tires, me seeing it from a distance with my Binocucom.

"Oh yeah! The Panda King's going to use his fireworks on the van to launch us up there! Hang tight, Bentley and girls, we're about to get awesome!" Murray said, me wondering about the plural of girls. "YAAAHHOOOO!" Murray yelled as Sly and I got out of the way and the van landed onto our platform with a clang after doing 2 flips!

"I am NEVER doing that again!" I heard Carmelita say from inside the van, me surprised at that as was Sly, but we didn't say anything until we got into the elevator and got down to the lower levels of the island. And when we did, Henriette breathed in deeply and exhaled afterwards.

"Ah, the sweet smell of the Cooper Vault... this place is home to the fortunes of all past Coopers. The wealth in this area is virtually untold. It's priceless," Henriette smiled widely.

"It's gotta be at least a hundred years old!" Murray gawked.

"More like over 12 thousand years old. This place was first started by Slytunkhamen II from Ancient Egypt, back in 10 thousand BC," Henriette smiled.

"Okay, time to ask some very important questions," I frowned at everyone. "First off, how did the Cooper Vault respond to me and say I was a Cooper? Because it unlocked from my cane being used in it and from my DNA... And second, when did you decide to come into the vault with us, Carmelita?" I asked her with a smile.

"To answer the first question, mate, it may be because ye have Sly's kids in yer belly. It must've responded to the next Cooper kids," Henriette smiled, me only then gawking at that. She was right!

"And to answer the second question, Ella, I wanted to join you for two reasons. One, I wanted to see what the big deal is for this vault and why Doctor M would want to get at its contents so badly. Depending on the wealth within, I may hold him for the rest of his life or just until he's too old to move," Carmelita frowned. "And the other reason... I wanted to tell Sly something... as well as you, Ella," Carmelita said, me smiling at that.

"Alright then. Murray and Bentley? It looks like there isn't going to be any way for you to join us across this rope, so I think we should get Ruby up here to use her levitation powers," I said with a smile, Bentley smirking at that.

"Thanks, Ella," Bentley smiled as I got in my mind and spoke to Ruby.

"I heard ya, I'm coming up there," Ruby smiled as we waited for about a minute until Ruby came down the elevator with her powers.

"Let's go in there, now. Time for us to see just how wealthy we're about to become," I smiled as we went into the vault and, upon entry, we saw the first bit already in front of us. Slytunkhamen II, but also with a second picture for Slytunkhamen III!

"This vault was started by Slytunkhamen II. The year he made his contributions... 10,430 BC!" Sly gawked.

"So what did you want to talk about, Carma?" I smiled at her, the foxy Interpol officer swishing her tail at the nickname.

"Well... it's something that's been on my mind since that incident in the Outback. After I learned that you guys were the ones who saved me from that horrible mask... I started to have those nightmares again. And when I saw them, I was very scared. It was nothing but trauma of seeing Sly and Ella getting killed numerous times while I was completely helpless. One of them even had me killing both of you against my will... it's been on my mind ever since then and I didn't want to accept it... but I have to. I'm in love with both you and Sly," Carmelita said, me stopping in place just as we reached the next section, that being a combination of Sir Galleth Cooper, Old Sally Cooper, and Old Drake Cooper.

"You... love both me AND Sly?" I asked her in surprise.

"I could understand being in love with me, but you like Ella too?" Sly asked.

"Yes, I do... I wanted to know... could I marry both of you in secrecy when your wedding with Neyla happens? I want to work alongside you as both a double agent and as a married quartet," Carmelita smiled, me looking at the fox with a smile.

"What do you think, Sly? Want to finally cement your relationship? I promise the next kids will be raccoons," I smiled at him.

"My answer is gonna take awhile... Yes! And just to emphasize, YES!" Sly said, Carmelita giggling at that as did I.

"Well, then I guess it's settled. In three weeks time, we're having a triple wedding," Bentley smiled.

"Oh yeah! That sounds awesome! I'll be the flower girl!" Ruby smiled widely.

"Aye! I'll be the one to uncork the champaign, captain!" Henriette smiled.

"And I'll be the one to host and destroy the hot dog eating contest!" Murray smirked widely.

"Trust me, Murray, with me feeding two mouths in my tummy plus myself, you're gonna eat those words while I eat not only all of my hot dogs, but all of yours too," I smiled at him.

"It's a deal then... by the way, I've noticed that there isn't much loot that we've come across so far. What's up with that?" Sly asked.

"Just you wait, grand kid of my grand kids... and maybe more, I dunno, but once we get to Salim's section, you'll see the beauty of all of our glorious loot," Henriette smirked, us going in that direction and, once we got there? We gawked at the sights. Jewels, priceless artifacts, gold everywhere! There was even tons of silver, and there was even a hunk of a type of metal next to Salim's photograph that Bentley gawked at.

"Oh my god! This is the extremely rare metal known as Krakonium! It's the very metal that Clockwerk was made out of," Bentley gawked at it, me seeing that it was very black in color, me then looking at Sly's cane and smiling.

"Not only Clockwerk, mate. That's also been the type of metal used by every Cooper ever since Salim's days of old. My cane and cutlass had it, as did Sly's and Captain Ella's canes, and even the likes of Tennesse, Bruce O' Coop, Rioichi, and grandpappy Reid had that metal for our canes! We should definitely plunder this and any other of this metal we can find. We gotta get some new canes to give the new little Coopers when they come out," Henriette smirked, me smiling at her.

"That sounds great," I smiled at her as we then moved more into the place and found even more loot as we started to enter Slaigh MacCooper's area, where he was joined by the photos of Colonel Reid Cooper and Karin Coopergiwa.

"Ah, grandpappy Reid... you looked so buff when ye were younger. An' yer technique saved mine and the captain's asses many times... here," Henriette smiled as she placed something at his photo that I smiled at. It was a music box that she had got during our break from China that she said she was going to give to her grandpappy. She then opened it and I smiled at the tunes it played. It was an old tune that I loved even back in my world. The music of Frere Jacques. "Ye always loved that tune. I remember ye sung that to me back when I was a wee babe... sorry... he was the best grandpappy ever," Henriette smiled with tears coming out of her eyes, me smiling and petting her head at that.

"He'd be proud of his granddaughter for getting as big a loot haul as you did and adding onto it even to this day," I smiled at her.

"Yeah, yer right, captain... let's move forward. Be careful on this next part, mates. Slaigh's gauntlet is all about the wall edge sneak and avoidin' 'is giant mallets of stone," Henriette said as we got to that area and we saw that the mallets were still slamming in overtime. We got past all of them with our own moves and Ruby helping the non-Cooper members across it as we then got to Rioichi's area, where we saw that he actually had a small picture on his pedestal along with his two wooden canes. It was a small photo of Henriette and him when she was just a 6 year old girl. And what was she wearing? Well, it was a kimono and Henriette blushed at it.

"Oh, pappy... ye knew that I hated them things, yet ye always liked me dressed in them when I was in public. Ye were an amazing ninja, though, an' yer fish was the best in the world. I'm glad that ye allowed me to go off to greener seas when I came of age... I love ye, pappy Rioichi," Henriette smiled as she kissed her hand and placed it on the etching of Rioichi on the portrait made from a Japanese scroll. We then moved through the gauntlet of all the swords, Ruby actually needing to be careful with Bentley, Murray, and Carmelita when we went through she they didn't get cut on the points. And the next area we got to? It was Henriette's, but she also had photos of her kids, me smirking at how she actually had 4 children in a small photo gallery around her and how each was actually a Cooper in the Thievius Raccoonus. One was of Thaddeus Winslow Cooper I, then there was Huckleberry Cooper, Sir Augustine of Cooper, and even Suzanne Cooper.

"You sure had a lot of kids, Henriette," I smiled at her.

"Yeah, I did. An' I loved every one of them... shame that they all had to leave the nest, but they all stayed close to each other and added to the book all at the same time. They had a special way of letting each other know what to write down in the book. The way they did it is that they'd switch their locations every two years. That was what I told them just in case Clockwerk may get reassembled again, which is exactly what happened in me older years. Huckleberry stayed in Southern Africa and stole from the rich folks trying to enslave the African people. Thaddeus stayed in London and made his family life there, Augustine went over to India and made a living stealing from the rich nobles. An' Suzanne was the only one that stuck to being the pirate lass of the waters, takin' up me mantel and being the ferry woman for the other three. If she hadn't have learned the water safety technique, she'd have been dead meat. She wasn't a tough cookie, but she sure knew how to make an escape if need be," Henriette smiled at the four kids she took care of as I saw that her section was so far the first to have any kind of modern tech.

"By the way, how do you have this kind of tech in your part of the vault?" I asked her.

"That ain't electric security, mate. Them skulls are cursed skulls. If ye get in the yellow light they emit, ye'll feel the burn in and out of yer body, primarily in yer bowels. When I made this section, I made it so that it'd challenge me young an' all other Coopers. If ye can't get the guts to turn invisible or hide under them boats, ye can't get further to the Inner Sanctum," Henriette smiled. She then grabbed her cutlass and her cane and put them on her back with a smile. "Now I'm gonna use these to continue me line of work as the best damn pirate thief in the world," Henriette smiled.

"Cool!... But the Murray may not be able to fit under those boats," Murray said.

"Then I'll just shrink you and myself down and we'll get carried by Ruby," Bentley said, him bringing out the size destabilizer and shrinking himself and Murray. Ruby smiled and put them in her small purse and we then proceeded to make our way under the boats and avoiding the lights of the skulls as they continuously made their course. And once everyone made it to the other side, Bentley pushed a button and he and Murray then grew to normal size.

"Okay, now that that's done, time to go to the next on the list," I smiled as we then went to the next area and saw that it was none other than Tennessee Kid Cooper. And he was joined by BF Cooper, Thaddeus Winslow Cooper II, Sir Andrew Cooper, and Dev Cooperinda, inventor of the slow jump technique.

"This has to be our most heavily influential page in the Thievius Raccoonus right here. I think we've used Tennessee's move the most during our adventures," I smiled.

"You're actually right about that, Ella. Ever since I learned his move, we've been using ropes and vines as our personal playgrounds ever since. Thanks, Tennessee," Sly smiled at the wanted poster of the kid Cooper and we then moved to the next area, which was filled with more rails and more tight jumps until we eventually made it to the next one, where we saw that it was Thaddeus Winslow Cooper III. And he was joined by the portraits of Chris Cooper, Rob McCooper, and Kelle McCooper. And there was also a small picture next to Thaddeus's cane that was of him and two children. One of them was Matthew De Le Coopeur and the other was of an unknown Cooper named Harriet Coop.

"According to what Thaddeus Winslow III's photo here says, he married four times and was the kindest man as well as the most noble and gentlemanly of all the Cooper clan. Even his three wives loved him and each other because of how kind he was. In fact, he says he never once felt anger for anyone other than the Cooper nemesis. We already know what he's talking about and we took care of it," I smiled as we then moved forward more into the vault and then we came to Otto Van Cooper's area, where his portrait had him with a young kid that looked almost like Sly, except that he had a black fur color with orange stripes on his tail.

"That's my dad when he was a kid! That means Otto must've been my grandfather!" Sly gawked at that.

"And over here is Bruce O Coop. Apparently, his info says he's had to contend with Clockwerk a total of fifteen times and each time he was successful in keeping him at bay. But he knew he couldn't get away for long, so he decided to try to hack the mainframe of Clockwerk in one final attempt. To his surprise, Clockwerk actually got turned off for a good thirty years thanks to his hacking, but he came back to life shortly after Bruce died of natural causes," Ruby said as she read his placard. "Let's move on, if I'm right, there should be one more Cooper after this and we know him all too well. The one that made the Master Thief, Sly Cooper. Conner Cooper," I smiled, leading our gang through the next area, which was filled with hooks and plane motifs all around as well as rotating fans on the floor that came on in intervals. We then finally made it to Conner Cooper and we gawked as we turned on his defenses and we saw something that made everyone surprised.

"So... he expects us to run along this laser beam?" Henriette asked.

"I think so... hmm... let's try it," I said as I then tried it out and I gasped as I slid along the lasers like it was a sick grind rail!

"Come on, guys! Follow me! Whoo!" I said happily as I slid through the lasers until I got to the very end of them, the others joining me shortly with Sly carrying Carmelita and Henriette carrying Bentley and Murray in shrunken form with Ruby simply gliding through the place.

"Sweet seagulls and gravy! We've got to the Inner Sanctum! All of our most precious loot is kept right in this room," Henriette said as we opened the door and the shine that emitted from the room we were now in? It made my hypnotic anger kick in, but I quickly slapped myself at the thought of it.

"Come on, Ella. This ain't somethin' to be mad at. It's something to cry about... so beautiful!" I gawked at everything in this final room of the vault. There were glowing crystals all over the place that lit the room up like it was of royalty, the loot piles had the biggest pieces of art and loot all stored up atop one another, and there was even a special placard on the ground in the center of the room.

"Congratulations, young Coopers. You have made it to the Inner Sanctum of the Cooper Vault. This is the area we add only our most valued treasures in. Remember that Coopers are honorable and that you should never steal from an innocent person unless it is required to get at a master criminal. Carry on the Cooper legacy," the placard said... but then there was an extra bit carved out underneath it. "And Sly... my pride and joy... if I do not make it in the final battle of my life, I hope you are able to reach this spot and do a better job at being a gang leader than I could've been. Love, always... Conner and Winnie Cooper..." I read that last bit out as I saw Sly start to produce tears and he fell to the ground and finally started to cry for the first time ever.

"Father... I did it... I carried on your legacy... I ended the threat of Clockwerk forever... and though I am not the leader of the Cooper gang, we are a family forever..." Sly said with a smile.

"I agree. We're one big family... a family of misfits and wackos, but a family nonetheless," I smiled, Henriette whacking me with her cane lightly on the back of the head, me smirking at that.

"Ye deserved that one, captain," Henriette smirked.

"Fine, I did. But we're finally here... now the big question. How to get out?" I asked... but it was then that I saw something at the end of the area. A special elevator. And it was still operational! Let's see where this leads us," I smiled as I went up the elevator and was surprised at how, when I got to the top, it was actually at the area we first started our trek to the Cooper Vault! It was right underneath a giant boulder! The rock door slid open and I started to laugh out loud at how there was a special button on the rock right there! But it was so well camouflaged, not even Doctor M would be able to know it was there!

"I can't believe it... this whole time, we could've used this rock to go down to the Inner Sanctum... I'll give the designers of the Cooper Vault credit, they sure know how to make a shortcut as well as a very well-hidden secret door!" I smiled as I then called the others and told them to come up. When they did, they were just as shocked as I was!

"This rock... the whole entire time, this rock would've led us to the Inner Sanctum? Doctor M may have tried the wrong method of entry, huh?" Bentley smiled.

"Heh, this is just too good. And after seeing all that wealth in there, guys? Doctor M is not only going to stay in jail for the rest of his life, but we may just end up giving him the chair treatment for all the security and the murders he committed keeping people away from this island," Carmelita said.

"Okay... remember, three weeks and then the wedding of a lifetime. It's going to be set in secrecy. A break-in to a church at midnight to make it official," I smiled at her.

"Yeah... where is the church at?" Carmelita asked.

"The nearest church to your office in Paris. Le Christian Church of Brotherly Love," I smiled.

"Heh, that's where I used to go for church back when I was a kid. Okay, deal," Carmelita smiled as we then made our way back to our ship while we saw that Carmelita was calling for an aerial extraction for her escape.

Once we returned to the ship, everyone looked at us with sheer glee on their faces.

"How was it? Was it amazing?!" Penelope asked in excitement.

"A groovy smoovy?" Dimitri smirked.

"Riches beyond imagination?" Meg smirked.

"When's Carmelita marrying you and Sly again?" Neyla asked, me smirking at her question and how she changed the subject completely just for a laugh.

"Let me tell ya guys, the amount of wealth in that place, especially in the Inner Sanctum?... It's riches are so off the rails insane and so old and ancient, that trying to put a price tag on anything in there would require at least 24 zeros! That's how plentiful the riches are in there!" I smirked widely.

"24?! Why, that's... upwards of One sextillion dollars! And that's just the rough estimate?!" Penelope asked with wide eyes of glee.

"It's an ancient treasure that not even the King name could ever hold a candle to. I am honored to have been by your side to help in reclaiming this sacred island and the treasure belonging to the Cooper clan," Panda King smiled.

"Thanks, Panda King. I think that we're going to take frequent trips back here from now on to add onto the loot in that vault. And we'll only take stuff out of it when we need to," I smiled.

"Agreed," Bentley smiled.

"We're jib jab perfecto with that line of thinking!" Dimitri smiled.

"The amount of money in that vault... it's going to be going to every one of us... right?" Penelope asked with a smile.

"It belongs to each and everyone of us who wants a share of the wealth. We couldn't have gotten this far without any of you. Ella for being our amazing leader. Penelope and Meg with their genius intellect. Ruby and the Guru, with their mystical powers. Dimitri, Neyla, and Panda King, past rivals that have become some of our best friends. Henriette with her amazing knowledge of both the older days and the modern era. Carmelita... the love of my life, the one who puts the criminals in jail that we steal from... and last but not least by a long shot, Murray and Bentley," Sly said, the turtle and hippo looking at Sly with smiles on both of their faces.

"Bentley, your smarts and your heart are the biggest of anyone I know. You went from someone terrified of going out into the field to one of the smartest, most bravest person I've ever known in my entire life. And even though you lost your ability to walk, you still have the courage to get into the thick of the action no matter what it may be," Sly smiled as he then looked at Murray.

"Murray, back in the old days, you were an excellent driver and helped us get out of many scrapes in the past when dealing with the Fiendish Five. And then The Murray showed up and came into his own, taking out thugs left and right like they were measly toothpicks! And through all the turmoils we've faced, you shine atop the pile of bruised bodies with the most willpower and the kindest heart I'd ever known," Sly smiled, me smirking at that as I looked at all of us with a smile. No matter what way you looked at it, we were all one big goofy gang of misfits. But we were a family and nothing would ever change that.

"You know what? I say this is the perfect opportunity for a photo! And just in time! The sun's coming up from the east and the clouds have parted!" I smiled as I placed my Binocucom on tripod mode and then put the camera on timer mode and pushed the button and getting in a pose with the others.

"Three, two, CHEESE!" I said with a smirk as we all did our best poses and the picture was taken. And when the film came out, it was the best photo I'd ever seen.

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