Cinder crept through her open window and landed delicately on her floor. Tonight's work had been quite rewarding, even if the financial benefits were slim. She began to shed her layers of clothes on the ground, leaving a trail behind her as she moved towards the back of the house.
She had attempted to lie low for a time after the fiasco in the castle, but ultimately the waiting period felt too short. In the end, the lure of the heist mixed with the financial rewards had ended up outweighing the potential risks in her mind, so she decided to plan something small, just to get her feet wet once again. It was almost disappointingly easy in the end. Not one person in the household or the staff had realized that she wasn't supposed to be there, and no one questioned her as she played her part to perfection.
Compared to the rush she received from the heist she had almost failed at the castle, the feelings offered here were negligible. Despite the near failure, or perhaps because of it, the entire endeavor was one of the most exciting experiences she had come across in a long time. She might have been addicted to the feelings of adrenaline produced by the process of stealing, but how was she supposed to stop now?
Removing her wig as she went, Cinder moved to her bathroom to remove the makeup and prosthetics she had attached. Out of a sense of self-preservation, it had seemed only reasonable to change her original appearance as much as possible; the one thing she hadn't counted on was how hot the outfit could become. It was a relief to take it all off and return to herself.
Taking off her wig and dampening a washcloth, she started the long process of removing the thick layers of makeup she had applied for the heist. Out of a sense of self-preservation, she made sure to lighten her skin by several shades to give the base a pasty white look, with a layer of ruddy red so that she appeared to be overexerting herself to an unhealthy extent. There was an art to making one's self look simultaneously nondescript and distinctive, but by this point, Cinder admitted she had mastered the process.
She had been far more thorough today in disguising herself than she had been at her last heist in the palace, another mistake she made. Her main changes to her appearance at that time were a long brown wig, tall shoes to increase her height, and customized lenses purchased specifically to change her eye color. It was slight enough that she worried that the prince she had conversed with to maintain her cover could theoretically identify her; however, their chances of meeting again were slim. Perhaps one day she would disguise herself more thoroughly and seek him out, just to prove to herself that he would never be able to identify her properly. But in the meantime, prudence seemed wise.
Task completed, she gave herself a judging look in the mirror and pulled at her face. She pulled a missed prosthetic from her cheekbone and sighed in satisfaction. Her hair was rumpled from the wig, but the short style she kept it in allowing it to remain comfortable even when in disrepair. Still, she decided to carefully brush it to keep it relatively neat, pulling it away from her face with a cloth band once completed.
She washed her hair of all traces of makeup one last time, stood, and walked to her bed. Sitting on the edge, she reached over and grabbed the one memento she had ever kept from a heist- that damn prince's pocket watch. She wasn't sure why she kept it, but it felt wrong to simply melt something like it down or risk selling it for some pocket change. Financially, it simply wasn't worth much. Besides, she could almost feel the years of memories contained in it, and something told her that it was far more precious than money could express.
She justified keeping it by telling herself it was wise to keep something to remind herself of the one time she had quite nearly been caught. It was dangerous to get distracted and could be deadly to get emotionally invested. She argued it was important to ensure that such a failure never occurred again.
With a sigh, she set the watch down on her bedside table and prepared to sleep. At least she could lie with confidence that she would sleep well in the afterglow of the day's success. She would make a plan for her next heist later...
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