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Pathfinder and the City of the Griffons (Phil the Time Wizard and SteelEagle)

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Gilda sat loitering at the fringe of an all but empty Talonopolis marketplace late one evening, peering out across the Raptorclaw Canyon. It had been a while since she returned home. Actually, she wasn't sure home was the right word. She didn't feel any real sort of attachment to this place. She didn't have many friends here, her family had lost touch with her, and she didn't have a job or a home in the city anywhere. Really, it was just another city. She had just known it longer than the others.

Which was good, she supposed. The lay out of the town wasn't very typical. It was a griffon city in the truest sense, with everything built up vertically into the canyon walls. You got places by flying. No thought or care had been put into making things accessible to those who couldn't fly. Why should there be? Talonopolis was a griffon city. Whether they had wings or not, non-griffons weren't exactly welcome there.

That was Gilda's favorite part of the town. It wasn't her idea of beauty, what with it's rocky, craggy appearance, the architecture mostly dictated by the shape of the rock formations. The griffons there weren't an entirely pleasant lot, and a good percentage of them were tougher than Gilda (though she was faster). The thing this town had going for it was that it was pretty much the only civilized place on the continent she could be free of all those lame ponies.

Gilda hated ponies. She was brought up not to particularly care for them. As a young chick she went to Flight Camp and Cloudsdale and met some. She learned there, mostly from one particular filly, that maybe some ponies weren't bad. That friendship had ended recently. Badly. When it did, it left Gilda with a sense of bitterness and resentment. It had been a while since then now, but even still it lingered with her.

That's why it was good to return to this city. It was kind of boring. She doubted she'd be able to find any real fun, or any other interesting opportunities so long as she stayed here. However, all that said, at the very least she had the upmost confidence that here in Talonopolis she wouldn't be seeing any ponies any time soon.

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When a pony attempts to infiltrate a city so unfriendly to her kind, there are many things she must place in their proper order. The motivation must be clear, the plan slick and efficient, her mind and body prepared, and her equipment must be appropriate. Without any of those things, a true adventurer was doomed to failure and Pathfinder was determined to be more than another statistic.

Her motivation was one of the things she could check off. For many years the ponies of Equestria had been searching for relics of eras gone by, and one of the pivotal figures of their ancient, pre-Equestrian history was Commander Hurricane. One of the greatest military minds in history and perhaps the greatest Pegasus leader, as well as one of the founders of the modern nation of Equestria, his influence was sharp and deep across time. Yet, for all of his greatness, he left scant few things behind. So few, in fact, that some considered him myth.

Pathfinder loved her myths and loved even more than myth the chance to make myth fact. She believed he was real and had spent quite a few bits- more than enough to break her bank account- trying to track anything she could. She had greased more than a few hooves and, finally, a few claws as she tried to track down the Helm of Hurricane, and believed she had found it in the capital of the Griffon, Talonopolis. Why did they have it? She had no clue, nor did she care. It's location only added to the great mystery, and that led to adventure. That was the second part of her great motivation, adventure, and this would prove to be a wonderful chance to test herself. To find the Helm, she would have to break into the city of the griffon, hide and duck for days as she searched, retrieve it from some highly-secured area, and then make her escape. She would do it for all Ponykind, yes, but mostly for her own sense of adventure, and that was more than enough motivation for her.

Her plan was solid enough, at least for plans thought up while one flew the length of Equestria to get to a city rife with Anti-Pony laws. She knew she wasn't allowed to enter, which disallowed her seeking any aid from official or unofficial sources. Bits weren't the currency in the land of the Griffon, so she couldn't bribe anyone. What she did have were maps, both tourist maps and maps drawn by Griffons in Equestria, maps intricately detailed in street and sewer layouts as well as ones that gave a general overview of the city and her attractions. The plan grew from this. Griffons loved to fly and while they had plenty of activity on the ground, it was vertical rather than horizontal that they lived their lives. Pathfinder could very easily hide in the sewer or in unpopulated alley ways during the day, moving silently when needed to avoid detection, than move freely during the night on the ground. She had marked ten buildings, each a museum complex, that could house the helm. She would fly up to them- Griffon buildings were called 'skyscrapers' in Equestria, for they were all quite tall and housed many different businesses in each one- break in, and commence a search. Each one was different and some may require multiple days of research before she could ably break in, but she had her time.

Her mind and body were always prepared for an adventure, so she had checked that off at the start. Nothing in this world could compete with the sheer excitement and joy she felt during an adventure. And this time, she wouldn't just be doing a faux Daring Do impersonation. No, she had quill and ink and planned on writing her own Daring Do novel- Daring Do and the Helm of the Hurricane. It would be released when she got back to Equestria, just as she gave the Helm to Princess Celestia. She would be more than famous- she would be Daring Do. All across Equestria, fillies and colts would look at their books, look at Pathfinder's exploits and photograph, and feel the same rush of excitement and love that she had felt when she first read Daring Do. The fact that the Helm would fetch such a price as to completely erase her debts was purely secondary to her emotional desire to finally do for Equestria what daring Do had done for her.

Of course, that would be impossible if she didn't have the right equipment. Rope? Check. Bungee cord? Check. Smoke pellets? Check. Battle saddle complete with two repeating crossbows, armed with magically formulated shock bolts for non-lethal striking power? Check. Rope-bolts? Check. Maps? Check. Stalliongrad Army Knife, complete with over a dozen tools? Check. Food pelets? Check. Canteen? Check. Parchment, quill, ink? Check. Daring Do Survival Guide, Special signed first edition? Check. There were other items as well, but she had a hard time reaching them in her saddle bag.

She had flown across Equestria, traversed the mountains slowly, and infiltrated the city by night. Burying herself deep in a dark alleyway full of the assorted thrown away belongings of dozens of Griffon families, she had slept soundlessly during the day in the darkest recess of the pile. She woke up much later in the day, as the sun started to die down as did the activity of the Griffon city around her. She slowly poked her way out of the assorted rubble and gave a look around to make sure the coast was clear. Donned in a pitch-black body suit whose only blemish was the dark-brown saddle bag, she slowly worked her way out of the city and, sticking by the shadows, moved deeper into the city...

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Gilda continued to peer outward from atop the canyon wall when suddenly she thought she saw something. It was a flash of movement. Just a blur of black at nearer ground level, amongst the buildings built up in the canyon interior. It emerged from a dark alley and moved quickly. From her perch atop the wall, she could hardly make the blur out but it was definitely there.

Curious, Gilda decided to swoop down to investigate. If it was some strange, awesome creature, she wanted to know. Heck, if it was some griffon criminal, she wanted to know. Either way it could prove interesting. Her eyes followed it closely as she flew down into the canyon. Then, eventually, she landed right in front of it, cutting it off. She wasn't prepared when she recognized the shape.

It was a pony. It was dressed in all black, blending into the darkness, but the shape was definitely a pony. A pegasus pony no less. Gilda's eyes narrowed. She had come back to this city to get away from these lame creatures and yet here one was. She could never just win, could she?

"So what's a pony think it's doing in Talonopolis?" she sneered, stepping toward the pony in black. "Don't you know you're not welcome here in this city?"

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Pathfinder had made peace with the fact that at some point, she would be confronted by a griffon. This was, after all, the capital of the nation of the Griffon and expecting anything less was just silly. What she hadn't expected was to be seen so fast and from such a distance- a fact which she would later use to adapt her plans. Griffons could see exceptionally well, meaning Pathfinder would have to move only in the pitch black.

The griffon that crashed Pathfinder's party looked like a very good example of her kind, powerful wings over a well-framed body. The look in her eyes was suitably fierce and the snarl in her voice was something Pathfinder imagines most griffons had.

"So what's a pony think it's doing in Talonopolis?" the griffon sneered, stepping towards Pathfinder "Don't you know you're not welcome here in this city?"

Pathfinder knew, but that was part of the fun. She gave a grin and charged towards the Griffon as the Griffon stepped forward, flaring her wings out wide as if ready for a fight. Of course, she had no intention of doing so because she knew that in any fight between Griffon and Pony, the Griffon was liable to win. But there was a griffonhole to the sewer below in between them, and she had a smoke pellet. The solution was obvious.

As she drew close, she started flapping her wings as if preparing to fly. She gave a toss of a smoke pellet with her mouth and it impacted just beyond the griffonhole. It started to produce prodigious amounts of smoke with great speed, obscuring the path for a few seconds. Before she was completely obscured by the smoke, she took off-

-And once obscured, she dived straight through the griffon hole, flipping the stone covering up into the air for a few seconds. As it came down, she slowed her movement and shot a hoof up, catching it before it hit and with the smoke still pillowing around the covering. She lowered it slowly so as to not make a sound. Hopefully, that griffon would think she had flown away.

She allowed herself to hover down into the sewer, taking in a deep breath and almost immediately regretting it.

"Well, Griffon, score one for all of Ponykind." She whispered to herself as she hovered down the sewer line.

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Gilda coughed as suddenly a smoke pellet was deployed. Black bodysuit, smoke pellets? Gilda had to admit, that as ponies went that was at least kind of cool. As she tried to keep smoke out of her eyes and lungs, praise for the pony wasn't exactly on her mind however. She let out some curses between coughs as she backed up. As the smoke grew, she thought she saw the pony take off into the sky.

Escaping the smoke as it dissipated, she gave a sigh. The pony was gone. Gilda had to say she was disappointed. Even if this was a pony, it was at least interesting. Could have been something to take her mind off the boredom, but eh, now the pony had escaped her. She had no clue where the pony had gone either. She couldn't see her in the sky anywhere at least. Shrugging, she just started to walk ahead slowly, not entirely sure what to do now.

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Traversing the sewer system of the Griffon capital wasn't exactly Pathfinder's idea of a good time, but at least she had maps which would help her best find her way to her first target.

The Talonopolis Museum of History, the rather obvious first target for her search, was only a few blocks away from her engagement with the griffon above. She had doubts as to whether or not the griffons would keep such a highly-sought after piece, and she was sure she would have seen at least one photo of it, but alas, it was close and one of the few places she could think of that could hold it.

So she made her way through the dank and dark sewer, hovering above the ground that she had no intention of touching. Following her map, she eventually found the griffonhole in the alley next to the building and entered the alley.

That was one tall building. All Griffon buildings were, but only when you stood next to one you planned on ascending did it strike you. Shrugging- after all, she had no problem going this far underground and it had to smell better than the sewer- she pulled out a map. Looked like it was in the middle, around twenty-five 'stories' up. Putting the map away, she flew up towards where she assumed the museum was.

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After a few minutes, Gilda had all but forgotten about her encounter with the pony in black. She had at the very least pushed it to the back of her mind. It was a momentary diversion, something kind of exciting to shake of the boredom that hung over this city, but it had evaporated in that puff of smoke. She wouldn't be seeing that mysterious pony again, so why even bother thinking about it?

Gilda decided she should probably just go and try and get some sleep. She didn't have a residence in the city. She was far too proud to seek out and return to her family home too. No, for the length of her Talonopolis stay, which was just to be a few days, she had used the last bit of money she had to her name to secure a room at a certain cheap hotel.

Approaching the structure, which was one of the free standing buildings in the canyon, not built into the rocky walls themselves, she peered upward. She had become accustomed to pony architecture recently. It was kind of weird returning here where everything was built so high up. It was kind of funny really. Businesses were just stacked up in these buildings one after another. Her hotel had everything from the branch office of a machine parts manufacturer to a history museum built on top of it. The placement of things was all based on altitude. To a pony, the layout would be pretty weird, Gilda figured.

As she approached the building something caught her eye in the nearby alley. It was that pony! The one in black. Gilda hadn't expected to see her again. She wasn't the least bit tired though, and this could prove interesting. Sure, ponies were almost always lame, but this one was dressed in black and had smoke pellets. That had to be worth at least something, didn't it?

The pony took off suddenly, heading up the tower, toward one of the middle floors. The museum, maybe? Gilda didn't give it much thought. She decided she was gonna follow that pony up. Spreading her wings, she darted up after the pony. Quickly she caught up to her.

"Hi again," she said, smirking as she flew alongside the other. "You know, I'm not too keen about having smoke thrown in my face."

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Pathfinder's consistent if not strong jaunt to the museum had been uneventful for the most part. She hadn't been shot at, which she half-expected, and she hadn't flown into the traps she had trained for. No look-outs, no scouts, no awesome airships to deal with. It was uneventful.

Except for that griffon.

"Hi again," the griffon cooed with a smirk as she appeared alongside Pathfinder "You know, I'm not too keen about having smoke thrown in my face."

"GAHH!" Pathfinder responded in a screaming fashion, as was becoming a shocked pony. Who was this griffon and why was she following Pathfinder?!

Not wasting a moment further, Pathfinder shot up faster towards the museuem, her wings beating tenaciously towards her goal. Reaching the balcony where she assumed the museum could be found, she landed and turned around.

"Who might you be?! Aquellian Intelligence?! Griffon Bounty Hunters?! Talonopolis Secret Police?! No matter! You've kept the Helm for far too long, Griffon, and I will retrieve it for ALL Ponykind! For Celestia! For Equestria!" She bellowed forth, thinking that may be the perfect forward for the book she would write about this.

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The pony came to a stop on the museum's balcony. She looked back at Gilda and shouted.

"Who might you be?! Aquellian Intelligence?! Griffon Bounty Hunters?! Talonopolis Secret Police?! No matter! You've kept the Helm for far too long, Griffon, and I will retrieve it for ALL Ponykind! For Celestis! For Equestria!"

As Gilda came to a perch at the very edge of the balcony, her stare turned inquisitive. What was this crazy pony talking about? She hadn't the faintest idea. Wasn't making any sense to Gilda at the very least.

"You really think I'm a cop or something?" Gilda sneered at the very idea. "This griffon is far too cool to work for the law, or respect it for that matter." She didn't have any real loyalty to Aquelia. She broke this country's laws regularly. Had to. Wasn't enough money to be made as a freelance trick flier. Petty thievery was a necessity for her way of life. Didn't matter whether she was in griffon or pony country either. It was all the same as far as she was concerned.

"I don't know or really care about whatever lame-o pony things your blathering about," she continued. "I just wasn't a fan of your greeting skills earlier. Even for a pony, immediately going for the smoke pellets seems pretty low."

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"You really think I'm a cop or something?" the griffon sneered as she landed on her perch. "This griffon is far too cool to work for the law, or respect it for that matter."

Pathfinder wasn't buying it, slowly backing away from the griffon in her combat position, wings outstretched in as intimidating a form as she could muster.

"I don't know or really care about whatever lame-o pony things your blathering about," the griffon continued, seemingly unconcerned with Pathfinder's stance. "I just wasn't a fan of your greeting skills earlier. Even for a pony, immediately going for the smoke pellets seems pretty low."

As Pathfinder found herself calming down, the realization that this was no enemy agent dawned on her slowly. Accompanying it was a sense of sorrow; she had never meant to be so rude, but she had been startled by a griffon in a city unkind to the presence of ponies. The response had been natural, but this griffon's persistence not being followed by violence gave her words some power. Villains didn't act this way.

"...I'm sorry. I was startled. I'm here on a very important mission for Equestria and all of a sudden, a griffon jumps down in front of me. I can't afford to fail, and I've come equipped. I'm sorry if I hurt you. So now that you know that..." Pathfinder said sweetly and softly, as if comforting a friend. She then leaped back and struck out her wings in spectacular fashion, hoof high in the air as she boomed out the following:

"What I seek is NOT lame! It is the Helm of Commander Hurricane, one of the great ponies from long ago who led my kind to Equestria! It's value is measured not only in bits- which the Helm is worth untold millions of- but in the hopes and dreams of all ponykind! It is a symbol that I, Pathfinder, adventurer elite, shall retrieve for the good of all ponykind! Equestria will reward me for an eternity, my exploits known forever, and I'll become super famous- AND COOL!" She roared, turning her back dramatically to Gilda and then charging into the museum wings first.

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Gilda listened to the pony as she flew up and started shouting, at first hoping she'd just shut up. She didn't care anything about this pony's mission, or so she thought. She was just after some kicks, and had thought the pony might provide them. Eventually some words the pony said did start to reach her though, and she was forced to reassess her interest.

Commander Hurricane? Wait, Gilda knew that name. She'd spent a few winters in pony country before, she knew the Heart's Warming Eve Story. It was a lame, sickeningly saccharine dweeb pony story; probably the most gag-worthy lame-o pony story she had ever had the misfortune of hearing. But if there was one part of that abundantly lame story that was even the slightest bit cool it was Commander Hurricane. Fierce, unyielding, battle hardened, and just undeniably cool; that was a pony that even griffons could respect.

And her helmet was in Talonopolis? Really? Something that cool was in this boring city? And it was worth money? A supposed "untold millions" of bits? Gilda's eyes lit up. Her idiot griffon brethren were just sitting on something like that? Suddenly apathy was replaced by a deep greed. She didn't know if she wanted the wicked cool helmet or the money she could get for it more, all she knew is suddenly she wanted it.

"You don't say?" she said, not trying to let on her interest immediately as she followed the pony into the museum casually. "So let me get this straight then..." She gave a laugh. "That helmet's supposed to be in this museum?"

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Pathfinder ran into the museum, eyes scanning the displays. Most were little more than relics and symbols of Griffon history. As interesting as they were, they were not what Pathfinder was here for. They had to have relics of Pony history, and more importantly, a vault or secure area of some kind to store the really important pieces. She fully expected to find the Helm behind one of these. She also wondered why she hadn't triggered some kind of security system, or at least seen one.

What she didn't expect, again, was to find that the griffon was still talking- and following.

"You don't say?" the griffon said as she followed Pathfinder into the museum casually. "So let me get this straight then..." the griffon laughed. "That helmet's supposed to be in this museum?"

Pathfinder gave a shrug as she vaulted over some old Aquellian banner behind a display case, hovering above it to take a peak around.

"It could be! There are many museums and secret holds here in Talonopolis, and I'm going to hit each and every one and then scour the city until I find it!" Pathfinder said excitedly, scanning the museum as she did so.

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Gilda smirked. She gave a nod. This pony both seemed to know what she was doing and be not entirely sure of where she was going. Regardless, she definitely had a plan. It seemed like Gilda might be able to take advantage of that somehow.

"Oh? How interesting. You know, you ain't bad for a pony. Sure got a lot of guts pulling something like this at the very least," Gilda said, giving a laugh. "The name's Gilda, by the way. I'm not like most of the griffons you'll find in this city. I don't owe my loyalties to Aquelia, this city, or anyone for that matter, and I happen to be after some thrills."

She nodded once and continued. "You may know your stuff, but it remains that if you get cornered by a couple of my kind, that nice brown coat of yours is going to find out just how sharp our claws can be."

She stared at the pony, just sort of smirking. "You see what I'm getting at?" she asked.

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The griffon named Gilda made clear her loyalty, or lack thereof. While it certainly soothed Pathfinder a little bit at least, it also started to ring some alarm bells. A creature loyal to nothing but herself wasn't likely to have any sense of morality.

"You may know your stuff, but it remains that if you get cornered by a couple of my kind, that nice brown coat of yours is going to find out just how sharp our claws can be."

Pathfinder nodded in accordance with that, falling back down to the ground and then starting a nice canter around the place. Sure, she had picked this one because it had the weakest security, but she had seen nothing yet. It was odd. And it was true what this Gilda said- a pony like her would get the worse of the wear in any close combat situation against a griffon. They had claws and stories of Griffons tearing apart a pegasi's wings had some basis in fact.

"You see what I'm getting at?" Gilda asked with a smirk, Pathfinder slowing down and then meeting Gilda's smirk with a friendly, knowing smile.

"Yeah, I think I catch your drift. It isn't that I mind a few cuts and bruises-" As if to prove that fact, she opened her left wing, where a large, nasty looking scar resided, the result of an arrow trap inside of an ancient ruin, "-but I may need help to navigate these halls. Here's the deal; we find the Helm, we split the bits sixty-forty as long as I get it back to Equestria. Deal?" She asked, shooting her hoof out to seal it.

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Gilda stared at the wicked wing scar. This pony really was some kind of hardcore. Cool. Gilda almost felt bad about her intention to ultimately betray her and take everything for herself.

"Sounds like a fair deal to me," Gilda replied with a nod, not letting on her nefarious intent. "I'm in! I'll help you navigate, and fight off any other griffons that might get in our way. In fact, this is sounding like it's gonna to be fun."

She gave a steady nod. She really was really starting to look forward to this.

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Pathfinder's eyes lit up, and she embraced Gilda in a warm embrace with her right wing and hoof.

"All right then! We'll be the two best adventurers this side of the mountain! You can be Gilda, the tough, brutish warrior with a heart of gold and I can be Pathfinder, awesome adventurer with a trusting, almost naive nature!" Pathfinder screamed out excitedly, reaching into her saddlebag and writing down Gilda's character for her inclusion in the book she would write. This took several minutes of intense squealing and lip-licking, but it was done and she hovered back up.

"Okay, first order of business. We need to find where this place keeps their 'secure' items. Something of this value wouldn't be kept out for the public, or it would be stolen. I have a hard time with the griffon language, so you can lead the way, Gilda." Pathfinder said, flying behind her super-best adventure buddy(of the moment, there had been others) and assuming a defensive position so as to best guard her.

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Gilda listened without blinking to the titles the strange mare gave them. Okay, maybe this pony wasn't as cool as she had assumed. One thing was for sure, "naïve" was definitely a proper descriptor she was giving herself if she was going to immediately act all buddy-buddy with Gilda, no questions asked. "Heart of gold", eh? Maybe in the sense that in her heart Gilda wanted some gold.

"Who you calling brutish?" Gilda protested with a bit of a scowl. "That makes it sound like your calling me stupid... This griffon is all about speed and cunning, not brute force."

Gilda gave a shrug, and continued deep into the museum. "Well... if I were to guess, something like that would be on the top museum floor," she said. "That's how it works with griffons. The more important something is, the higher it should be. It's a general rule. My guess is that if this thing is even here, it will be on the top floor, probably locked up real tight."

Gilda lead the way to the flight shaft that was used to access different floors of the building. Outside of it, there was a museum map. She studied this. "This museum seems to occupy a good three floors.... but four floors up is used for museum private storage. That might be the place to start."

The griffon took to her wings and flew up the flight shaft, until she was in front of the private storage floor. She was met with a closed door, which to her frustration, was tightly locked.

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Gilda's offense at being called a brute was only slightly unusual. It didn't mean to Pathfinder what it meant to Gilda it seemed, but it didn't really matter. Changing a few words around wouldn't hurt book sales later.

"Oh, I'm sorry! How about, "tough, cunning warrior"? I like it even better, because it makes you sound all tactical and stuff." Pathfinder said cheerfully as she trotted behind Gilda for a little bit.

"Well... if I were to guess, something like that would be on the top museum floor. That's how it works with griffons. The more important something is, the higher it should be. It's a general rule. My guess is that if this thing is even here, it will be on the top floor, probably locked up real tight."

It made sense when one took a look at the architecture and it certainly worked for Pathfinder. Theory fits the evidence, as it were. She continued following Gilda, taking note how Griffon claws looked pre-naturally sharp, as if they were born to kill. That thought chilled Pathfinder; what creature could be both sapient and made for blood-letting? It never made sense to a pony mind so accustomed to the teachings of love and tolerance.

"This museum seems to occupy a good three floors.... but four floors up is used for museum private storage. That might be the place to start." Gilda said as she flew up the flight shaft, Pathfinder close behind. She had grown accustomed to such things in her Cloudsdale youth, and lost some of that joy of basic flying in your day to day when on the ground across Equestria. No reason to fly when all the entrances were on the ground.

It was likely very true, especially when one considered the Griffons as a species. Height meant importance, so obviously the most important items would be in the top, right? Pathfinder could follow Griffon logic rather well, it seemed, or maybe this Gilda was a super-smart Griffon capable of bridging that infamous Griffon-Pony gap. She certainly was a unique specimen, it seemed. Most Griffons, while capable fliers, were noted as rather slow in comparison to Pegasi. This was due to the great girth they usually had on them, which made them more physically imposing. Gilda was a little different, her wings slightly beefier than other Griffons and her body also smaller than most others. She was still an imposing physical force, especially with her glinting claws, but the ease with which her wings operated told Pathfinder from her vantage on the bottom that she was, at the very least, as fast as Pathfinder.

An excellent ally, to be sure.

They reached the fourth floor, and again Pathfinder could see no overt security measures as they stood in the doorway. This time, however, Pathfinder could hear the click-click-click of talons against the floor and knew that there were security guards up here.

"Okay, so here's wha-" Pathfinder started in a whisper, looking towards Gilda as she took the lead and landed on the floor.

Bad move.

Within a moment, a loud screeching alarm was sent across the entire building, red and green lights emanating from the walls.

"Ahaa! Darn ir, okay, good trap there. Griffons fly, no one should touch the floor and if they do, they're not a griffon. Good system, good system. WELL Gilda, ready to see if we can find the Helm with all of this security on us?" Pathfinder said, tipping her hat forward and giving an amused, nearly cracking-crazy smile.

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Gilda whispered some curses as she tripped the security system. She hated griffon technology sometimes. It could just be so stupidly annoying and lame. As the alarm blared and her pony companion started to freak out, she gave a bit of a growl. This probably wasn't good. What should they do?

Maybe they'd be able to take them? There were two of them after all. Pathfinder seemed agile and quick thinking if the smoke pellet incident from before was an indicator. Gilda didn't know how well she could do in direct combat though. Probably not very against a griffon. Heck, if these guys were buff enough, she might have trouble taking on more than one. She hated being lame. She was all about being bold and awesome. She hated getting caught more than anything else though. For that reason, there was only one solution.

"Let's fly," she suggested in a irritated voice, turning back. "We can't take them, so let's lose them instead and double back later."

With that, Gilda entered the flight shaft, prepared to go up to whatever was above the museum. She looked back to make sure Pathfinder was following her.

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Pathfinder followed Gilda as fast as her tinier wings would allow, cutting up through the air shaft with great agility but less speed.

"GOOD PLAN! WE'LL GET ON TOP OF THEM, GO TO THE OTHER SIDE, AND COME IN THROUGH THERE! GOOD PLAN!" Pathfinder yelled out in excitement, her heart racing and lips quaking with pure adrenaline. This was one smart griffon! If they could get cut across whatever building was on top of the museum and come out the other side, they could perhaps avoid detection and slip in through the other side. That would allow her to save her bolts for more important, heavily defended areas, like the city's main treasury building which was fifth on her list of likely hiding places.

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Gilda stared at the pony, now a little confused. Was this pony an expert, or a total amateur? Here she was shouting at the top of her lungs in the middle of a flight shaft. Didn't she realize it was bound to echo and that ever griffon above or below them was bound to hear?

"Hey! Not so loud, pony! Do you want whoever is chasing us to hear?" Gilda said harshly but in a whispered voice as she continued to speed upward.

Still, they had to act quickly, and cutting across the building seemed like the best plan. As she reached the building built on top of the museum, which happened to be an office building for a machine parts manufacturer, she flew into it.

"Hurry! We don't want to get caught," she called back to the pony, as she started to fly through the office building.

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"Hey! Not so loud, pony! Do you want whoever is chasing us to hear?" Gilda growled barely above a whisper as they made their way up the shaft, the sounds of security below starting to form to above a slight murmur.

They flew in the office building, the stillness of their surroundings adding to their sense of speed as Pathfinder gazed at them. It seemed so silly to have an office building and keep it separate from a factory but, then again, griffons were pretty silly creatures.

"Well DUH. Of course we want them to hear that! Otherwise, how else would we trick them? And my name is Pathfinder, not pony." Pathfinder said, slowing to a stop and fluttering to the ground, taking cover inside a cubicle.

"So...do you think we're right above the museum still?" Pathfinder asked, tapping her hooves gently on the floor, lightly enough to be noiseless yet hard enough to tell her what she needed as she started pacing.

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Gilda was surprised by the pony's words. She had wanted them to hear? Okay, maybe she was selling this pony short. That was actually pretty solid quick thinking.

"Not bad, pony. And here for a moment I thought you were stupid," Gilda said with a shrug.

She looked around and then down at where the pony was tapping her hooves. "And yeah, we should be sitting right on top of the museum storage."

Gilda was kind of excited to see what the pony had in mind. Nodding, she added. "Why? You got some way to drop in from above?"

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Pathfinder tapped her hooves several more times in a circle around the cubicle, ignoring the stupid comment. The day she took offense at the words of a griffon would be the first time she took offense at anything, ever.

"Good, good, right on top, right on top...yeah, I have a way, it doesn't seem like the floor is very hard, so...yeah...THAT would work!" Pathfinder said, eyes glowing with excitement as she propped open the saddlebag, putting away her dirty daring do hat and placing a steel, spiked helmet on. She hovered up to the ceiling.

"Okay, here's the plan, Gil-Gil. I'm going to fly head first into the floor, cutting it open with this helmet. You fly down and wake me up- I'll probably be unconscious- with these smelling salts." Pathfinder said, fishing out the item in question and tossing it at the Griffon.

"On the count of three, got it?" She whispered, her wings starting to flap like mad. Each beating would have increased her speed, but the counter action of her straining body muscles kept her in place.

"One." Pathfinder muttered, the papers in the room starting to be tossed in any given direction.

"Two." She continued, her body vibrating in place as her wings beat with the swiftness of the hummingbird.

"Thr-" She finished, not able to get it out in time as her body was launched at extreme speed towards the floor like a screaming missile, head first.

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Gilda listened to the plan attentively. Breaking through the floor did seem like it would be a good plan. They just needed some sort of explosive or-- wait, had the pony just said she was going to crash through with her head? more importantly, what in all Tartarus was a "Gil-Gil"? Did this pony really think to give a griffon as cool as Gilda such a lame, cutesy pony nickname like that? It was just so wrong.

She mulled over those thoughts, intent to give the pony an ear full, even as she was tossed the smelling salts. To her shock, the pony started her countdown right then and there, forcing her back to a focus before she could voice any complaints.

"Wait, er..." Gilda started, taken aback. As she realized this silly pony was indeed seconds away from throwing herself head first at a solid floor, she just stepped back and didn't say anymore. She gave a weak laugh as she just stared. Pathfinder finished her countdown and collided powerfully with the floor. Something was going to break from the impact, Gilda just wasn't sure if it was going to be the floor or the pony.

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