Whispers of Fire ficbit- Street Deals

Need at least one more item to make a good show. And I think I’ve just about got a line on where to get it.

Yep, there was a little scritch of movement, a shadow just about to-

“Hi there,” Alibaba smiled.

The little urchin holding the knife looked totally nonplussed.

“You’re holding that wrong, you know,” Alibaba went on. “The way you’re gripping it, if you try to cut me, you’ll cut up your fingers, too. And that makes robbing people a lot harder. If you live through the fever from getting all this dirt in your fingers.” He nodded toward the nearest roof. “And what’s going to happen to the little ones following you if you’re out of your head with a fever for days, huh? Won’t be good, especially with that crowd of toughs two streets south just itching to take more turf.” He shrugged. “Why start up a mess like that, when we could make a deal instead?”

That had an interested rustling around him. But the dark-eyed leader wasn’t convinced. “Nobody makes a deal with us.”

“That’ll make things tricky, for you and your gang,” Alibaba said plainly. “Did you hear about the pass being closed? Maybe it’ll be clear in a month. Maybe it won’t. Until it is, a lot of caravan guards are going to be stacking up here. I’m a driver; I know those guys. On the road they’re sober, they’re mostly okay. In town they get drunk. And when they get drunk, they get mean. And there’ll be a lot of them.” He gave the kid – maybe ten, maybe just a hungry twelve – an obvious measuring look. “Life around here is going to get a lot harder. But if you had a deal with people who wanted to trade with you….”

Louder whispers. Just a trace of uncertainty in the leader’s eyes. “Trade? We’re not merchants. We don’t have anything to trade.”

“You do right now,” Alibaba shrugged. “I’ve got a business proposal. You back down, I back down. You tell me where there’s a place to eat that doesn’t try to poison travelers, and maybe answer a few questions, and all of us get a bite to eat.”

Oh yeah. He definitely had the attention of all the others. He could catch glimpses of them peeking out of the shadows.

The knife lowered, just a little. “There might be a lot of us.”

“Even better.” Alibaba grinned. “I might have a lot of questions.”


22 thoughts on “Whispers of Fire ficbit- Street Deals

  1. And it starts! Alibaba starts gathering his own set of urchins, and he is *totally sincere* in his desire for information. He needs information, and no one notices akasenko. And those little toughs are *everywhere.* (And Alibaba is also an akasenko. He knows to watch the shadows for tiny figures as well as big.)

    Bring on the turmoil!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Eh, he has to start somewhere. And who knows, if he has to pass this way again, this wouldn’t be a bad place to do so. And these are the ideal people to learn with. A threat to pocket, life, and limb if he’s not careful with them, but he could take them even without Amon if he had to, but he won’t if he gets this right. Oh, good grief, the street kids just morphed into less lethal Ja’fars in my head, but at least *they* won’t follow Alibaba home.

        Though, that would be an awesome ficbit/oneshot: Alibaba and the Forty Thousand Street Rats Who Are Determined to Make Whatever Bothers Him Disappear. Without Attracting Alibaba’s “I’m Disappointed In You” Face. Wow… Bed is looking very attractive right now.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. *Snrk* And now the bunnies are wondering what would happen in an AU where Ja’far found a young Alibaba. Before Sinbad did. And impressed upon him how dangerous kings are, you gotta watch them all the time or they end up thrown off cliffs by bird-riding women….

        Liked by 3 people

      1. He’s still young and he does have world-ending crazies and an Evil Empire to defeat. Okay Evil might be a little harsh but I doubt they are going to go down quietly.

        Or suddenly just see the error of their ways. People in shounen series only do the AFTER the hero beats them up.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, good grief, the street kids just morphed into less lethal Ja’fars in my head, but at least *they* won’t follow Alibaba home.

    They won’t? *innocent blink*

    Well, there is always the next band of street-tough kids he talks into following him.

    And I love the image of a mini-version of Ja’far attaching himself to Alibaba.
    Especially when people who know about Ja’far’s original profession keep looking between Sinbad and his assassin and Alibaba and his . . . many of them have a “bring me my brown pants! They are replicating now!” expressions on their faces.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. So…. the Leverage crew wasn’t actually the first people to do that?
        Bet Simon and Ja’far used to watch it every Monday night when it was on – with critiques.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh…. Oh, /damn/. What Comes Around running into Person of Interest. Wouldn’t have to warp realities much at all. Allan’s dad is a lawyer, lawyers do travel to interesting places like New York, lawyer dads do want to get in some father/son bonding time away from man eating monsters…

        Then again, Allan’s very King-ness might break The Machine… Probabilities don’t work that way!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hmmmm . . . having some street urchin background is coming in handy. He not only knows that it is not just the big toughs you have to look out for. And he knows exactly where those kids are coming from. And knows a lot of them aren’t bad to be bad, they are just hungry.

    Maybe that’s how Alibaba will attract his merry band of followers and beyond. Sinbad was crazy awesome. Alibaba feeds them.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Meanwhile Amon is curling up in the corner with a sulky grumble.

    His King’s very first retinue and what’s selected? A bunch of unwashed street urchins.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. This…. is reminding me very strongly of Sherlock Holmes and his Irregulars…

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but is Alibaba giving them the foundations on how to trade?!

    *blinks* Suddenly I have the image of an underground trade education that grows until there is a little underground cult like school that takes in street kids, teaches them trade and practically worships Alibaba.

    Then the kids grow up, take over all trade in the Kingdoms and that is how Alibaba ends up ruling the world…

    Crack bunnies are on crack

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes he is. *G* After all, Alibaba’s been where they are and he knows they’re going to be in trouble until that pass is cleared. A month is a long time for a street kid.

      Maybe he can’t hang around and give them a whole education, but if he can give them something to think about, a solid meal to remember it, and a potential way to make a little steady money….

      You’ve likely seen the anime or manga bits where Al-Thamen is looking at the little gold butterfly rukh spreading wherever Alibaba is, and saying he’s got to die. I figure he didn’t just start that in Balbadd!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. >Want to steal a country?<

    I am having Leverage flashbacks. Only Nate would say, "Let's go steal a country." Which they technically do at the end of season 3.

    What Comes Around crew meets the Leverage team. Dear sweet God, oh the chaos.

    Liked by 1 person

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