Sinbad focused on the boy who might be more dangerous than all his Generals put together. “Aladdin. You’re a magi too?”
Because the only thing worse than the boy knowing how dangerous he could be, was not knowing. There was no way even Sindria could protect a magi from the whole world. Better, far better, to get Aladdin prepared to protect himself.
Morgiana gave him a dark-lashed look, wary as a jungle cat. Even Aladdin looked startled. “Too? Mister Sin, do you know another magi?”
“I do,” Sinbad admitted, reaching out to touch the odd warmth of solidified rukh. Solid. Real as Baal had been, that day he’d faced down the entire Partevian army camped around the fallen Dungeon. “Although Yunan and I aren’t exactly close….” There. Give the boy a name to look for, in case everything went wrong and he was separated from Sindria after all. “But yes. I’ve seen a little of what a magi can do.” Often from the wrong end of Judar’s lightning bolts. Ouch.
“Who are you?” Morgiana asked quietly. “You’re not just a merchant.”
“Well, I have been,” Sinbad objected, oddly hurt. She wasn’t charmed. How could she not be charmed? Granted, Fanalis, they tended to coo more over things with obvious teeth – but it was a horrible, horrible blow. “But you’re right that I’m not just a merchant. I,” he swept a hand grandly toward himself, with a jaunty little bow, “am Sinbad.”
Behind him, Sinbad swore he heard Ja’far muffle a snicker.
“Um… you’re who?” Aladdin wondered.
This was just not happening. “Sinbad,” a very frustrated king said again. “You know, the Legend of Sinbad? The Sailor of the Seven Seas?”
“Playboy of the Seven Seas,” Masrur murmured.
Damn it, Morgiana would have heard that. Not fair. “Capturer of seven Dungeons! The man who built Sindria with his own hands – and loyal friends to help,” he added quickly, feeling Ja’far’s pointy glare. “You know, Sinbad!”
“Oh!” Aladdin jumped in place, eyes alight with recognition. “Like in the book Alibaba had!”
A caravan driver had a book. A caravan driver who could read, and who’d spent some of whatever little funds he had on a book. About the legends of dungeons.
Thank Solomon we found Aladdin first, Sinbad thought, not sure if he should laugh or cry. If he’d started spreading that tidbit around Balbadd, no one could doubt who he was looking for.