"I can tell you what he is NOT," said The Sorceress of Grayskull from her throne. "He is NOT a sorcerer."
"How do you know this?" Teela asked. She was standing before the Throne of Grayskull's massive pedestal.
"If he WAS a sorcerer, what need would he have to rob anyone?" The Sorceress asked. "If he wished to surround himself with riches, would it not be easier to conjure them?"
The Sorceress knitted her eyebrows in puzzlement. "It makes no sense."
"The people I deal with aren't exactly known for using common sense," said Teela. "Why he's doing this, I couldn't tell you." Teela paused. "Kicks? Thrills?"
"He's clearly deriving some sort of … financial gain … from these robberies," said The Sorceress. "Why else would he be seeking out … and carting away … the victims' valuables?" The Sorceress paused. "What all do you have on this person? I'm curious…"
"All we have is what I've told you," said Teela. "His M.O. … and the footprints. He wears a man's Size 7 boot."
"Based upon the evidence you have presented to me, I believe this person might be more accurately termed … a 'mutant'," said The Sorceress. "At this time, his powers appear to be limited to teleportation and materialization-dematerialization of objects."
Teela looked at The Sorceress quizzically. " 'Materialization-dematerialization'? " she asked. "I'm not following you…"
"How else could he have gotten the stolen goods out of the house?" The Sorceress asked. "Something else … I've noticed the victims are all wealthy."
"He's going where he can take the biggest haul," said Teela.
"It may also serve as a means of assuaging any guilt he may be feeling over the robberies," said The Sorceress. "He's targeting people whom he perceives … have plenty to spare."
"A mutant, huh?" said Teela. "There's still the possibility that we're dealing with a sorcerer…"
"True … the possibility is there," said The Sorceress with a smile. "…But highly unlikely."
"Thank you, Sorceress," said Teela.
The next morning, Teela found herself called to the house of Orban the Merchant. The same mysterious thief who had robbed Raanan the Merchant earlier had robbed Orban and his wife. Once more, sets of footprints -- each a Size 7 man's boot -- were found in the kitchen, the study, and the bedroom ... and no trail connecting them.
Three mysterious burglaries in two weeks, Teela thought as she stood with Orban in the study. I'm seeing a definite pattern here. Before her, a rug lay pulled back, revealing a safe embedded in the floor. In each house, he zeroed in on the study and bedroom. This is someone who knows what he wants … and where to find it.
"Mercifully, the fiend couldn't open the safe," said Orban smugly. "I guess my security was too much for him."
Teela, said The Sorceress telepathically. Open the safe.
Teela glanced around nervously. "The safe is locked," Teela replied through clenched teeth in a stage whisper.
This is no ordinary thief, said The Sorceress. He entered the study for a reason. I can't see him giving up so easily.
"The thief must not have been able to get into the safe," said Teela. "The door is snapped shut."
"Who're you talking to?" Orban asked Teela, wondering why the Captain of the Guard was suddenly having a conversation with herself.
"Umm, uhhh … Radio," Teela muttered, pressing her fingers against her ear -- as if using a radio -- and fumbling for a graceful exit. "Excuse me," she said as she turned away from Orban and ducked into a corner of the study.
Open the safe, said The Sorceress telepathically.
"You getting something?" Teela asked The Sorceress in a stage whisper.
"Most thieves don't bother with the safe," said Teela. "Fumbling with the combination takes too much time."
As I said earlier … this is no ordinary thief.
Teela sighed and walked back over to Orban. I have the sickening feeling something is about to happen, she thought.
"What was THAT all about?" Orban asked as Teela returned to his side.
"Umm … would you mind opening the safe, please?" Teela asked.
"What for?" Orban inquired, puzzled. "The door is snapped shut."
"Standard procedure," Teela lied.
Orban sighed, kneeled down, pressed a series of buttons on the door, and opened the safe. He blanched and let out a yelp as he saw the inside of the safe, now having been emptied of its contents.
"My safe!" Orban moaned. "He cleaned me out!"
Teela looked inside the empty safe. "He sure did," she said, agreeing with Orban.
"How is this possible?" Orban wondered. "He couldn't have known the combination."
"We're dealing with a thief who possesses the power to pass through solid objects," Teela explained. "The simplest explanation would seem to be that he reached in through the locked door, felt around for whatever valuables were inside, grabbed and dematerialized whatever he could carry, and pulled them out through the door."
Orban crouched before the safe, his face a mask of shock. How could this HAPPEN?
Teela looked back towards the empty safe. I hate it when she's right, she thought.