A/N: Heaven would be a place where repairmen show up on time and with the correct parts.
…On a lighter note, Cassim probably hates me.
“Going to go fight with Cassim again?” Aden gave him a dark look. “Don’t think we don’t know, lad. They keep upping the odds when you fight.”
“Good,” Alibaba shot back. Though no, it wasn’t good, he hated fighting Cassim. Hated seeing the calculation in his brother’s eyes, as Cassim judged just how close he could get to flames before Alibaba flinched. “I need someone to fight me, Aden. I need them to be serious. Because there’s someone in the Empire with a Djinn, someone who’s trained for over ten years, and if I have to face them….”
The captain grimaced. “No word from Sindria, then?”
“Nothing definite,” Alibaba sighed. “I think maybe I should have taken Jahan’s advice.”
“You usually do,” Aden said warily. “Which bit was this?”
Alibaba tried not to blush. “Um… find a lovely lady, wrap her in silks, and write the message to Sinbad on her… well….”
Aden’s fist thumped the center of the wheel, as the man cackled like a desert hyena.
“It’s not funny,” Alibaba muttered, feeling his cheeks flame. “It’s not… he’s a hero….” Oh, he was so not going to win this one.
“Ah, one of these days we’ll have to drag you into a tavern, lad.” Aden reached out to pat him with a rough hand. “Go help with the rigging; we’ll want to catch every scrap of breeze to put into port before the fog lifts. The sooner we have these blackguards off my ship, the better.” A toothy grin. “I’m sure Cassim will be glad to see a fresh catch of slaving pirates!”
“When he’s been wrestling with account ledgers?” Alibaba sighed. “I’m going to owe him a good fight, just for that….”
“I’m going to kill him,” Cassim growled, tapping his quill pen against the account ledger like a cat’s irritated tail. “I’m going to mangle him. I’m going to chase him and his damn fire around and around until his head spins and he falls over without me even touching him. Goes off chasing pirates and leaves me with-!”
Behind him, somebody snickered.
Cassim swore the steam ought to be rising off him like a tea kettle. “What was that?”
“Nothing, Boss,” Hassan said lightly.
Sure it was. Damn it, why had he ever let Anis teach them to read? Nothing but trouble. And numbers. Lots and lots of annoying head-breaky numbers, and you couldn’t even stab them.