It had been a quiet night in Goldenrod City. This was something that Pandora knew well, as she had sat through all of it. Perched atop a rooftop air conditioner unit, the sableye stared across the street at the famous Goldenrod Radio Tower, which she had hoped would be the scene of her latest heist.
According to her contact, a local sableye named Cyber, one of the radio stations that broadcast from the tower had teamed up with a local, high-end jewelry store called Diamond City to give away a very valuable prize to a one of their listeners. It was a necklace that had no less than ten sapphires, each surrounded by four diamonds, on a platinum band. Since her trainer would be in the area—visiting a friend in the Johto region—while this took place, her aid was requested in securing it, in exchange for half of the loot. While the gems would most likely be small, Pandora figured the sheer quantity would more than make up for their size, and so she gladly accepted.
But looking up into the sky, she started to wonder if she would be getting the gems at all. Dawn was just around the corner and Cyber’s brother, the one she would supposedly have been aiding, had still not shown up. Normally, she would have broken into the tower and stolen it for herself by this point, but Cyber was a good contact to have and she didn’t want to risk souring relations. As it was, it seemed as though the heist was a bust.
Suddenly, Pandora noticed something else in the twilight sky. Three bird Pokémon were approaching fast, headed directly for her position. She quickly jumped down and hid behind the air conditioning unit, just out of sight. With her back to the unit, she quietly crept up to the corner to sneak a peek.
Sure enough, the three birds landed on the roof. Two of them were hoothoots, but the one in the middle was a noctowl. A shiny one at that, if she was not mistaken. She noticed something moving on its back, and after a moment, a sableye, also shiny, jumped down off of the bird.
Finally, she thought. She turned the corner and walked towards the newcomer, swaying her hips as she did.
“Excuse me, sir,” she started, but was cut off when two other sableyes leapt out of the shadows, each grabbing an arm, holding her in place. She was so shocked by this that she didn’t even notice the shiny sableye had made his way up to her, and he now held a glowing claw up to her chin.
“Did you really think we didn’t see you up there?” he asked.
Pandora looked the sableye up and down, and noticed that his body was bare of any gemstones, save for his eyes. She quickly realized who she was dealing with. “Well, Cyber certainly spoke highly of his brother, but he never mentioned that I would be working with the naked sableye himself. Midas, isn’t it?”
The shiny sableye chuckled. “I see my reputation precedes me.”
Pandora grinned. “I have heard many wonderful tales of your wealth and prowess, but I must say, I never realized you’d be so handsome as well.”
Midas started to blush at this, and so she decided to continue before he could respond.
“It’s a shame about your gems, though. Sableye chest gems are already so valuable, but to be a shiny sableye and have yours taken from you like that?” She looked down, sticking her chest out. “I can’t imagine being forced to part with mine, so I can’t even begin to imagine how you feel.”
Midas looked down at where his own chest gem used to be, and then looked at hers.
“My eyes are up here, mister.” Midas looked back up. “And speaking of eyes,” Pandora said, dreamily, staring into his green eye gems, “has anyone ever told you just how beautiful yours are? I’ve never seen another sableye with eyes like those.”
Midas lowered his hand. “You can cut the sweet talk,” he said. “So, you’re my brother’s friend? Fedora, was it?”
“Well, Pandy, I must say I’m more than a little disappointed in what I’ve seen so far.”
“You’re not a very good liar,” Pandora said, chuckling.
Midas, his face now burning red, turned around and crossed his arms. “You are very beautiful, yes, but for this job I will need somebody who is more than just a nice piece of eye candy. Considering how easily my brothers were able to ambush you just now, I’m just not sure you’re the right sableye for the job.”
“Please. I could get out of this easily.”
Midas turned back around. “How?”
“Isn’t it obvious? You’ve restrained my arms, but you didn’t think to restrain my legs.” Pandora slid one leg out in front of her, making it seem as long as possible. Midas watched intently as she did this. “Or maybe you are thinking about it?” The golden sableye was starting to sweat, and she knew she had him. “Go on. Then I won’t be able to go anywhere.”
Midas’s face was now glowing. “Let her go!” he snapped, and the two sableyes released her arms.
“See? Easy,” Pandora winked, and held up her hands, holding a number of rough rubies and sapphires between her fingers, which she then let fall to the floor.
The two sableyes reached around and touched their backs, and then looked at their brother with shock on their faces.
Midas grinned, a small bit of respect for Pandora emerging where there was only appetition before. “Impressive. But you can’t seduce your way out of every situation,” he said, as his brothers quickly picked their back gems up off of the roof.
“Well, when I find one that I can’t, I’ll let you know,” Pandora said, before remembering the task at hand. Her expression quickly turned sour. “You’re late.”
“I’m not late. You’re just early.”
“It’s almost morning! How exactly do you plan on getting into the radio tower with such little nighttime left? Wait much longer, and we’ll be seen for sure.”
“We’re not going into the radio tower.”
Pandora scratched her head. “But that’s where the necklace is.”
“For now, yes.” Midas raised an eyebrow. “Surely, Cyber explained the plan to you.”
“No. He just said to meet you here.”
“Well then, listen close,” Midas said, putting an arm around Pandora’s shoulder. “At nine AM today, one very lucky listener’s name will be drawn. That listener has until the end of the day to come in and pick up the necklace. So what we’re going to do is wait for the winner to claim the prize and follow them home, and wait until they go to sleep. Now this is where you come in. See, my trainer adopted my only decent lock picker out last week, but Cyber tells me you’re some kind of wizard with this kind of thing, so you’re going to get us in there. We will lift the necklace, and split the gems fifty-fifty.” He gestured towards his brothers. “Weedle-dee and weedle-dum over there can fight over the chain. What do you think?”
Pandora removed Midas’s arm from her shoulder. “Honestly? I think this sounds like a huge waste of my time. I waited out here all night thinking I was going to help you break into the Goldenrod Radio Tower, not jam a hairpin into a deadbolt.”
Midas frowned. “Well, I am sorry if this seems like a waste of your… impeccable talents, but you know that great wealth of mine you’ve heard about? Take a look at my noctowl’s talons.”
Pandora, who had almost forgotten the birds were even there, looked over at the fierce owl’s talons. Each one was adorned with a number of colorful, gem-encrusted rings. Pandora tried to hide the fact that her mouth was starting to water. “What about them?”
Midas rested his hands on Pandora’s shoulders. “Each one of those rings represents payment for a single job, and that’s not even all of the ones he has. I can afford to pay a group of wild birds to fly me and my brothers around whenever I want, and I don’t lose any sleep over it. I didn’t amass that much stuff by NOT taking the easy way. So don’t think of this as a waste of time. Think of it as the easiest payday you’ve ever had.”
Pandora considered this for a moment, and eventually conceded. “You make a compelling argument, but there is still the issue of this being an all-day job. Our trainers are going to notice that we’re missing. That could be problematic.”
Midas smiled, and snapped his fingers. His brothers, who were helping each other replace their gems, ran up to him. “Get the bag,” Midas said, and they went towards the birds. “Now, my trainer has far too many Pokémon to notice three sableyes missing, even if one of them is me. And if he ever does get curious, I’ve got some mons there on a payroll to keep him too distracted to do anything about it. As for you…”
The two sableyes returned with an old, beat up trainer bag. They unzipped it and started rummaging through its contents.
“Each of my siblings is particularly skilled at one very specific task… and only one, really, ranging from things like back-scratching to long division. For this particular job, I brought along my makeup artist.”
“Why would you ever need a makeup artist? Need to feel pretty sometimes?”
Midas glared at Pandora. “I’m already pretty,” he spat.
Pandora was taken aback. “Well, alright then.”
One of the sableyes, who Pandora assumed to be the makeup artist, pulled out an elaborate makeup kit that was almost as big as he was, while the other sableye went and stood by her.
“What are they doing?”
“It’s simple. My brother here is going to pretend to be you. Just tell his hoothoot where to take him so he can be there when your trainer wakes up.”
“Are you sure about this?”
“Trust me, he’s a FANTASTIC actor.” Midas rubbed his chin while he looked at Pandora and his brother. “She’s a bit darker purple than he is,” he said to the makeup artist. “Make sure you’re thorough.”
His brother simply nodded.
Midas turned towards Pandora and the actor. “Now you just sit there and look pretty, you two. I’m going to make some preparations.”
Midas brought the bag over to the edge of the roof and started reaching inside of it, while Pandora sat there in awkward silence as the makeup artist applied a dark purple to his brother’s skin, being careful not to get any on his gems. When she held her hand in front of the makeup, she was pretty impressed to find that it was a near-perfect match.
“He likes you,” said the actor.
Pandora’s eyes widened. “So, you can talk?”
“Yeah, but he shouldn’t while I’m working,” said the makeup artist, and the actor closed his mouth so that his brother could do his face.
Pandora smirked. “I kind of figured that talking would have been the designated task of one sableye.”
“Well, if it is, then that sableye is Midas. He tells us to just leave the talking to him, and that’s just what we do. He’s really good at getting everyone to do what he wants, and convincing them that it’s in their best interests. He barely ever has to raise a claw to do anything himself.”
“He thinks you’re cute,” the actor said as the makeup artist applied more purple to his brush.
“Lots of guys do,” Pandora remarked, and the actor blushed a little under his makeup. “This one seems a bit…”
“Simpler?” the makeup artist finished for her.
“That’s a nicer way of putting it, I suppose.”
“Well, besides Cyber, I probably spend more time with Midas than anybody else does. I guess some of his vocabulary rubbed off on me because the guy does NOT stop talking. As for everyone else, they’ve really only learned enough to follow their orders and respond with ‘yes, sir.’ This one’s actually above average, if you can imagine that. Most of the others probably don’t even know the word ‘cute.’”
Pandora looked up and caught a glimpse of Midas pulling some electrical equipment out of the bag.
“So tell me, are the rumors about his wealth really true?”
“Anything you’ve heard probably doesn’t even do it justice. If he hadn’t found that cave underneath his trainer’s ranch, he wouldn’t have enough room to store it all. He sleeps on a pile of gold and a pillow of silver, and flosses his teeth—or, rather, has his tooth flosser floss his teeth for him with a chain of platinum, and he swims in a pool of gems.”
Pandora started looking the golden imp up and down as he messed with a pair of headphones. “What kinds of gems?”
“All kinds. Rubies, sapphires, emeralds, diamonds. Even some pearls and crystals.”
“Do you like him?” the actor asked.
“I think I’m starting to.”
“Well,” the makeup artist sighed, “I would be careful going down that road. Even when it’s somebody he likes, he doesn’t like it when others touch his things. Or, things he considers his.”
“Is that so?”
“He told us to let go of you once you successfully seduced him, didn’t he?”
“Hm. I guess he did.”
After a moment of silence, the makeup artist said, “Hold on, I’ve just got to apply some blush for the cheeks.” He put on his finishing touches, and messed with the actor’s ears a little bit.
Pandora looked at him critically. “I guess you’ve got the colors, but I don’t think that will be enough to convince anybody.”
“Just wait,” the makeup artist smiled. “Okay. Do your thing.”
The actor closed his eyes and inhaled. He sat in tranquil silence for a moment before suddenly snapping into a pose. He pushed his chest forward and his waist back, his arms resting on his hips and his chin up. “How about now, handsome?”
Pandora almost had a heart attack. “What in Arceus’s name-!?”
“He’s good, right?”
“He’s perfect! That’s creepy.”
The makeup artist smiled. “Great. Come on, let’s go show Midas.” He motioned for his brother to follow him, but as he turned around, Pandora stopped the actor.
“Actually, you wait here. I want to try something.” She walked towards Midas with the makeup artist, who presented her with a wide, but once again silent, gesture, and she struck a pose.
“By Tornadus’s mustache, you’ve done it again. Almost as hot as the real thing.” Midas looked over their shoulders at what he thought was Pandora, but who was actually, of course, his brother, who waved at him. “Tell me honestly, you guys. Do you think I have a shot with her?” Midas waved back and the actor, pretending to be embarrassed, turned away.
Midas’s brother gave an enthusiastic, silent nod, while Pandora simply shrugged.
“What does that mean?” Midas asked, and Pandora shrugged again. “You don’t know? I could probably buy that girl her own island, and give her so much jewelry from my own collection that I’d have to buy her ANOTHER island just to hold all of it… And you don’t know if I have a shot?”
Pandora tried hard to hold suppress an excited chuckle, but in the end it slipped out just a little bit.
Midas scowled. “Oh, what do you know?” He turned to one of the two hoothoots and gestured for it to follow him. “Come on. She’s got to give featherbrains here some directions.”
When they reached the actor, he was still turned around. “Alright, Pandy, we’re all set. You just need to tell the hoothoot where your master is staying.” Midas walked up behind his brother, who then let out a startled squeak. Midas looked down at his hand and saw that it was covered in purple makeup. “What the-“
The real Pandora practically fell over from laughing so hard. Midas, realizing what he had just done, smacked his face with his palm, apparently forgetting about the makeup, and turning his face purple as well. This only made Pandora laugh even harder, and the two brothers only shifted nervously.
“Forget your brother,” Pandora said when she was finally able to breath. “Maybe you can go as me yourself.”
“Just tell the darn bird where to go.”
Wiping a tear from her eye, Pandora made her way over to the hoothoot and began giving him directions. Meanwhile, Midas walked over towards the makeup artist.
“Why didn’t you say anything?”
“Because I’m just the makeup artist. Talking is your job.”
Midas glared at his brother. “I’d hit you for that, but the guy I have hit people for me isn’t here.”
The actor hopped on the back of the hoothoot. “You know what you have to do?” asked Midas, and his brother nodded. “Alright. Don’t you disappoint me. Oh, and sorry about… that.”
The hoothoot took off into the morning sky, now orange with the sunset.
“He was pretty convincing, I’ll give him that,” said Pandora. “But he doesn’t know the first thing about anyone else in my group. How well do you think he can improvise?”
Midas shrugged. “Eh. He really only has to convince your trainer. And it’s not like they can understand what we’re saying anyways.”
“Well, my trainer does kind of have an alakazam that speaks the human language.”
There was a brief moment of silence as the three sableyes watched the hoothoot fly away. “Well, I’m sure he’ll be fine,” said Midas, finally. “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”