A/N: You’re getting a bunch of fic fragments lately because RL has been… busy. Hoping to have some energy to come up with something else interesting tomorrow. 😉
Aladdin saw people paler than Alibaba, and darker than anyone who’d been in Sahsa’s caravan. Silks, and cotton, and exotic furs; a dozen different accents laughing, and arguing, and trading….
Well, they should have been trading, Aladdin thought, as the three of them passed through yet another near-empty marketplace. But there weren’t that many people buying and selling-
He caught Morgiana’s open-mouthed sniff, and slowed down. “What is it?”
“Fish. Dyed cloth. And – everything else you’d find in a market.” She took a deeper sniff. “It was here. But not during the daylight.”
“So the markets are running when no one’s looking,” Sin said quietly. “That’s interesting.”
Something about the way Sin said interesting made the back of Aladdin’s neck prickle. Or maybe that was the sight of a new trio of guards headed their way, a gold-decked noble in the lead.
“You there!” The noble huffed, turban bleached white as clouds. “State your business.”
Morgiana blinked at him. “We’re travelers.”
Baba’s staff through his belt, Aladdin tried to look very well-traveled.
“A likely story.” The noble turned his nose up. “Disreputable strangers, hanging around the marketplaces, with no trade permits? You’re affiliated with those accursed smugglers. Take them!”
“Smugglers?” Sin chuckled before anyone could move. “I don’t see how we could be smuggling anything. Of course, if the noble gentleman would care to properly inspect me for contraband….” He reached for the knot of his improvised garments.
Aladdin tried not to giggle at the sudden squawk from noble lips. Even Morgiana’s eyes were dancing.
“Rude – uncouth – that’s not necessary-!”
A few tangled moments of outraged squeaks, and they were free.
“Whew!” Sin whistled as they finally slowed down near a canal, leaning on a wall with red-painted markings. “Ja’far wouldn’t have let me live it down if I ended up in jail before we even made it to the hotel… eh?”
Morgiana squinted at the slashed characters, then glanced at Aladdin. “What does it say?”
“Down with the monarchy.” Aladdin frowned at the odd rectangle of red-inked paper someone had nailed to the wall. “What’s that?”
“Something I don’t think any of us should touch,” Sin said quietly. “It was left as a message. Let’s not make it one for us.”