Ugo let his little creatures help prop him up as he limped across the sanctuary. Pulling himself together this time wasn’t taking nearly so long as it had after Judar’s attack all those millennia ago. Then again, this time he might not have a few spare centuries to draw his scattered rukh back into one form. Aladdin was out there, possibly still in the hands of enemies. Amon had not returned. And the few messages he’d gotten from Baal’s dungeon had been terse and confusing-
Shimmering rukh-birds scattered, as if blown by a sudden wind.
Ugo frowned, watching light bloom into a shining circle. Whatever that was, wasn’t made by his power. If that was Callimachus again, the enemy was about to find out the hard way how far a Djinn out-powered a magician-
His heart melted. Ugo cupped a hand around one edge of that mirror-light from elsewhere, seeing it shimmer into familiar faces. “Aladdin.” Well, and whole, and smiling at him in pure relief. With a familiar fierce redhead on one side, a blond with Amon’s aura on the other, and looking over all their shoulders…. “The men behind you look very familiar, young magi.”
“Simon Cavins, in this life, sir.” That familiar soul smiled at him, Baal’s aura a faint crackle of sparks in his own. “With your permission, I’d like to stand as Aladdin’s guardian until he’s eighteen. The country we’re in tends to get a bit touchy about teenagers wandering around without a supposedly sane adult to be held accountable.”
“He’s okay, Ugo.” Aladdin’s blue eyes were bright with joy. “We’re all okay.” Reaching out, he hugged his friends. “They’re okay, and I know what you did for them, and thank you.”