“Not yet.” Cassim’s teeth flashed, one predator to another. “No, not yet. We’ve taken out his guards. We’re going in there. And then… we’ll ask him some questions.” Fox eyes glinted in the lingering red mist. “Because if he sold one soundings map, what else did he sell?”
Masrur nodded, approving. The man might be a bloodthirsty robber and shameless thief, but he was thinking.
“What else indeed.” And that was the hard tone Sinbad so rarely brought out; even enemies of Sindria usually saw the laughing rogue until the very last. The tone that said, there is a threat to my people, it ends now. “Pirates are every sailor’s enemy. If there’s a danger to Sindria, I want to know about it.” His lips curved; just a trace of charm. “Ask. Really.”
Cassim raised an odd dark blade; like his subordinates’, but glimmering black. “If you’ve got a better suggestion, I’m listening. For the next two minutes.”
“We could both ask.” Sinbad smiled. “I’m not just a merchant.”
“No?” Fox eyes widened in mock surprise. “I thought all merchants hung around waiting for thieves.”
“I suppose I should say, we’re not just simple merchants.” Sinbad let a little more charm into his smile, pointing a thumb Masrur’s way. “My quiet friend here is one of Sinbad’s Generals.”
Masrur inclined his head, all too used to the whispers that swept through even a crowd of bandits at that name.
“To keep it short – Sinbad authorized us to act as necessary to deal with the pirate problem and get trade going again,” Sinbad went on. “We have a common problem. I wouldn’t mind being part of the solution.” He waved a hand at the mansion gates. “Shall we?”
Cassim didn’t take his eyes off Sinbad. Smart thief. “Hassan.”
A hefty one-eyed robber stalked forward, brassy blade at the ready. Hassan judged the gates, and the likely spot of the bar inside, and slashed a diagonal down.
Masrur’s nose wrinkled at the scent of acid, as gates crumbled and dissolved away.
“Well, that’s going to be obvious,” Sinbad said cheerfully, following Cassim through the opening. “I take it you plan to leave a message about cooperating with pirates.”
“Is that going to be a problem?”
“Not at all,” Sinbad grinned. “After all, our delegation spoke to King Abhmad earlier today, and would you believe it? He demanded we deal with the Fog Troupe. And here we are. Making a deal. Shame he wasn’t specific….”