Since the filly had met the earth pony mare her life had been an emotional rollercoaster fluctuating between dread and exhilaration. Originally Free n’ Clear had attempted to pick Heartbreaker’s pocket, and for a short while the filly thought she’d succeeded. It was only when she attempted to count her new ill gained wealth that Free n’ Clear discovered that Heartbreaker had tracked her down.
Free n’ Clear had read in various stories and tales of characters having their life flash before their eyes when in a dangerous, desperate situation. She’d experienced that with Heartbreaker. The mare had made some not so subtle declarations that she was contemplating turning the filly over to the constabulary or worse disposing of her. Free n’ Clear might only be 11 years old but even she could figure out what disposing meant.
However at the same time Heartbreaker had taken an odd interest in her. As a result Free n’ Clear found herself in this strange, ongoing relationship with the mare. With the mare threatening to go to her parents and unveil her past deeds. As a result Free n’ Clear was now compelled to be Heartbreaker’s part-time assistant and servant. This meant she was obliged to routinely show up at the mare’s bungalow for what Heartbreaker referred to as confessions and instructions.
The first couple of visits had resulted in nothing more than the mare giving the filly various cleaning chores around her bungalow while mare sat back and supervised the filly’s work. At the same time the earth pony had carefully begun to extract from the filly what her many nefarious deeds had been up to this point. Undoubtedly this could be excellent blackmail material for the mare in the future.
But as the visits had progressed they’d become more instructional in nature. Much to Free n’ Clear’s surprise Heartbreaker was a veritable cornucopia knowledge related to subterfuge and shenanigans. More important, in Free n’ Clear’s mind, the mare had started instructed her on these matters, and by her 4th visit the filly had to admit she found herself looking forward to her next scheduled meeting.
Today’s visit was not one of those scheduled visits. Free n’ Clear didn’t have her mother’s interest or passion for cooking and the kitchen, but this morning the filly taken the time after breakfast to make up a batch of spice nut cookies to give Heartbreaker. Now she was on her way to deliver them. Merrily she trotted up to the front door of her teacher’s bungalow and pulled the cord of doorbell and waited. After about 10 seconds she yanked on the cord again. Still nothing. The filly’s face scrunched up and she rapped on the door several times with a front hoof. This was very annoying. Heartbreaker was always up by this time when she’d shown up for her meetings. So the filly had assumed that the mare would be up and about. the unicorn tried the door handle only to find it locked.
In nervous frustration the filly tapped a back hoof on the ground. This was a nice neighborhood, and technically she could just leave the basket on the doorstep and they’d be there when Heartbreaker woke up. Oooorrrr, she could do something else. Heartbreaker had learned much about Free n’ Clear knowledge and skills, but the mare hadn’t learned everything. Now the filly decided she was going to impress her teacher with a surprise.
Free n’ Clear’s favorite grandfather had been a locksmith and handyman, and while her mother hoped the filly would follow in her hoof steps and become s house mare, but Free n’ Clear found that dull and boring. The filly wanted to do more. Talking to her grandfather and watching him work the filly had been learning the fundamentals of to how to pick locks. After his death she’d succeeded in quietly getting possession of his pocket set of picking tools. Looking around and seeing nopony the filly set the basket down and levitated the tool set from a pocket in her vest.
She’d never picked this type of lock before, but her late grandfather had explained that most locks could be sorted into several categories. Then it was simply a matter of having the right tools for the job. Removing a tensioning tool and a selection of picks the filly went to work. For the next minute or so she was focused on the task in front of her, but finally she heard and felt through the pick the satisfying click as the lock opened. She was about to work the handle again when the door suddenly seemed to swing open of its own will. Free n’ Clear looked up and then froze in place.
Emerging in the morning light was the silent towering form of Princess Celestia. The alicorn was devoid of the trappings of her office, and her mane and tail were a wild, tousled mass of pastel colors. She silently looked down at the frozen filly.