Whispers of Fire Ch7 bit – Warning

Ja’far leaned back, studying the young prince. “Your kingdom is in danger of being swallowed up. And your first words to me are not to ask for help, but to warn my own king away from here?”

“Yes.” The word sounded like it’d been dragged out of Alibaba with iron tongs. “The Seven Seas Alliance might be able to stop the Empire, if they’ve got Sinbad. And they have to be stopped.”

Ja’far folded his hands in his sleeves. “Why?”

“I want to know, too,” Aladdin said somberly. “I met Princess Hakuei. She was trying to save lives by getting the Kouga Tribe to join the Empire. What’s so bad about that?”

Alibaba blinked at him, and winced. “Did she tell you what happens to people after they join the Empire?”

“They… go along with everyone else?” Aladdin guessed.

“Not exactly.”

Oh. Oh no, Alibaba looked sad, and angry. And his friend Jahan looked even angrier. “What… what happens to them, then?” Aladdin asked.

Alibaba took a deep breath. “I haven’t been there. We’re getting this second and third-hand, from merchants who have. The ones who have gotten away with their own minds.” He folded one hand over the other, as if he were trying not to reach for his knife. “First – people who join the Empire, don’t get a say. In anything. The Kou are on top. They decide who gets to live, who gets to work, what people get to do for a living. Doesn’t matter what they want to do. And any job that takes thinking – like, say, being a tutor, or a merchant, or an officer in the army – only the Kou get to do those jobs. Everybody else has to let the Kou tell them what to do.”

Aladdin felt like he’d been punched in the gut. “But – Princess Hakuei was trying to save people….”

“Saving people isn’t just keeping them alive,” Alibaba said grimly.

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38 thoughts on “Whispers of Fire Ch7 bit – Warning

      1. Yeah. In canon he apparently ran away from it back to Magnostadt to learn more magic, leaving Alibaba to deal with the mess of Balbadd under Kou control. Not cool.

        Definetly not cool . . . jeez what is with the Magi and abandoning their chosen Kings?

        Okay to be fair to Aladdin, he is much younger than the other Magi. And he did need to learn more about magic . . . still not cool. Could you not have waited until your friend and king didn’t really, really need a friend?

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Yes, keeping someone alive is survival. Living is different.

    It requires hope. And nothing destroys hope and your will to live faster than feeling powerless, helpless, and like nothing that you do matters. That system means if you aren’t Kou than you are useless because the stuff they will let you do doesn’t need you, it just needs a moving body.

    And to Ja’far, that description probably all but shouts “They are involved in this somewhere.”

    And Aladdin, in addition to the difference between saving and living, one of the disadvantages of having that royal title is you are often given a cleaned up, prettified, everything is rosy version of things. Or the people who could really tell you something either cannot get to you to speak about it or they feel like they can’t because you are royal. That slanted reporting and treatment is one of the reasons why both Rashid and Sinbad do the I’m just the merchant Harun of Balbadd / Sin of Sindria.

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      1. Amendment: Hope is having two plans. Smiting Murphy is having two dozen, and the (literal) firepower to back it up.

        To paraphrase how Terry Prachet put it: “Evil always wins. Unless good is very, very sneaky.”

        Liked by 4 people

      2. And ooo yes. Hakuei we know was sheltered by her brother from a lot of what was going on!

        Doesn’t surprise. She probably isn’t the only one either (hi Kyougoku . . . sp?) because neither of them give the impression of being that callus. They are good candidates for some sense being talked into them – through they might need cold, hard reality to smack them in the face . . .

        Kouen and Koumei on the other hand *glares*
        They are going likely need the full shonen defeat for the stupidity of this to fully penetrate past their hair.

        Kouha I think knows more than his sister and cousin but as mentioned before, his love for his brothers makes him recluntant to go against the plan . . . maybe someone can talk some sense into him too.

        (Okay maybe the bunnies just think it’s funny if listening to Alibaba talk was a Ren’s greatest weakness . . . .)

        The bunnies are also hoping that Aladdin can make Alibaba’s communication with his Djinn plan contagious . . . . just because they think that will at least make things interesting for anyone involved with a Djinn.

        Plus Sinbad gets a king-inflicted headache for a change because while improved communication can only be of the good, Sinbad has seven of them so likely it will give him a headache until the eight of them figure out the kinks . . .. the irony in that should amuse Ja’far.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. >The bunnies are also hoping that Aladdin can make Alibaba’s communication with his Djinn plan contagious . . . .

        *EG* You have to admit, the Djinn being able to tell Kouen he’s completely wrong about different cultures being why the old world collapsed would take a lot of the wind out of his sails!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. *EG* You have to admit, the Djinn being able to tell Kouen he’s completely wrong about different cultures being why the old world collapsed would take a lot of the wind out of his sails!

        Oh aye . . . .

        Might take a bit to actually through . . .

        “May I remind you my King that we were there and you were not.”

        But better than nothing . . .

        Also might make saving the world from the bad guys a little easier because we do need every Metal Vessel User to do that and it’d be nice if that could be done without getting the bad taste in our mouths from having to help Kou continue to conquer and enslave people just to save the world . . .

        Liked by 1 person

  2. In a way, Kou is a lot like the Roman Empire in that the conquered peoples would be turned into laborers/slaves and the lands given to the people of Kou.

    Main difference here is that the Kou don’t seem to be suffering the slowly growing unrest caused by all the low/middle class citizens getting pushed out of their homes etc by the wealthy ones that want the land to convert into slave farms etc.

    Of course by this point I can see almost all of the native Kou having become middle class or above (army soldiers, bureaucrats, merchants, high level craftsmen etc) and none are farmers, miners and so on. Because all those labor-intensive roles have been allocated to the conquered people/slaves. Might cause some interesting issues for Kou if/when somebody manages to get the lower castes to revolt. After all the Kou citizenry wouldn’t like having to do what’s supposed to be ‘slave work’.

    However the biggest thing with the Kou seems to be their military. The Empire is built around maintaining and using said giant steel fist. However with such an insane army they have to keep conquering territory in order to bring in the required resources to support said behemoth. And as more territory is added, more armies are needed to maintain control. It’s a vicious spiral.

    And if through their actions, Alibaba, Sinbad and the other 7 Kingdoms manage to make Kou’s expansion grind to a halt, things are going to get dicey. Because with no new supply sources coming in they won’t be able to support all the armies they’re raising etc. With the armies not being supported properly, the newly conquered regions might be try to rebel which results in more resources lost even if they manage to reconquer.

    And sending in the Djinn users won’t help as said individuals aren’t always the most precise and killing the entire city to put down a mass rebellion just means you lost all that workforce you needed to work in the fields, work the mines etc.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. As bad as the death spiral might end up being, I think it’d probably be better to happen sooner then later. After all, the longer it gets put off the worse it’ll be.

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    2. The Kou Empire has been around a lot less time than Rome; they simply haven’t had the number of years necessary for that kind of internal pressure to develop. But yes, it would eventually. Which is why I’m sure Al-Thamen is behind it all. Yow.

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      1. >The Kou Empire has been around a lot less time than Rome; they simply haven’t had the number of years necessary for that kind of internal pressure to develop. But yes, it would eventually. Which is why I’m sure Al-Thamen is behind it all. Yow.>
        Though I’m pretty sure they’ve also taken a lot more territory than Rome as well in said shorter period of time. Which means they are overextended as they are only willing to use Kou natives for the higher positions.

        Even with magic you can only expand so much, so fast before you run into problems. Which again probably is to Al-Thamen’s benifit.

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  3. Kouen’s reincarnation: You should never talk to yourself, you might just find out you’re a huge jerk. And since I already knew that, I don’t see the point in wasting my breath. *Shrugs*
    Kouen:…
    Kouen’s reincarnation: Astaroth agrees with me.
    Kouen: !

    ;D

    Yeah, sorry Aladdin, but you had to learn that lesson eventually, and better now than in the middle of a dramatic battle where it causes you to freeze up. *Nods* I’m starting to get curious about Alibaba’s plan to talk to Amon, so I hope that’s elaborated on. It sounds interesting! 🙂 I’m of the firm opinion that listening to Alibaba is the Ren’s major weakness (thanks for that head canon).

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  4. “Your kingdom is in danger of being swallowed up. And your first words to me are not to ask for help, but to warn my own king away from here?”

    And that right there, especially when you said “yes” when it is obvious that you want to ask for the help very badly is why Ja’far and Sindria will be willing to help for more than just the memory of King Rashid and their need for strong allies.

    Side thought, if Balbadd and Sindria are allies, why doesn’t Balbadd seem to be in the list of countries in the Seven Seas Alliance? Because they actually were and no one told us because they most talked about the Alliance after the mess in Balbadd? Because they are just trade allies and the Seven Seas is more involved than that? Or they hadn’t finished hacking out an agreement before Rashid died? Because the author thought the name Seven Seas meant Sinbad could only have seven allies in it (must not be familiar with the Seven Years War so named because it lasted nine years)?

    Again, so many questions . . .

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      1. Huh. We don’t actually know… although apparently at one point Sinbad asked Rashid for some of Balbadd to create Sindria. Rashid said no!

        There is a difference between not wanting give up some of your own territory to an emerging foreign power and not willing to be allies with them. Especially since that probably stepped uncomfortablely close to selling his people and we all know how the people of Balbadd feel about that.

        Plus countries are very seldom truly neutral – i.e. treating every foreign power exactly the same. ‘Cause they don’t. Because of past history, current events, exact trade needs of you and foreign power, who has the bigger army and is willing to engage in bigger army diplomacy, geography of said country and it’s neighbors and their relationships, etc, etc.

        Also that Balbadd being independent probably benefits its neighors because besides someone to trade with. Let say for example that Reim and Parvathia were arguing over Balbadd. Neither of them wants those trade routes in the hands of the other . . . so they can either keep playing king of the mountain with each other passing it back and forth OR Balbadd can be a independant nation with trade agreements with both Parvathia and Reim. They both get they want (access to those trade routes) and they don’t have to spend all of their resources fighting over it with each other and with the natives.

        Granted that is a political dance that the King of Balbadd has had to dance regularly.

        Just saying we don’t know exactly what is in most of those treaties (trade, seven seas, or otherwise) between any of the nations. Even the ones in the Seven Seas Alliance probably aren’t identical to each other – since each country doesn’t have the exact same resources, etc.

        Probably that is boring political stuff instead of exciting action scenes!

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      2. Hmm. Most of what we know about the Seven Seas Alliance is that Sinbad got to trade with all of them, and that their motto is they will neither conquer nor be conquered.

        …Which isn’t much to go on. I swear, if the author wanted to play with kingdoms, they should have realized politics would be big!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve tossed ideas with more than one fanwriter who suspects that he was a lot more harmlessly charming before he absorbed that Black Rukh. Oof.

        Point . . .

        Hopefully the problem of the Black Rukh can be resolved in an entirely non-canon way since it is tied in with my least favorite plot twist in Magi . . .

        Guess the lesson here is do not spend an entire spin-off series making a character be heroic and awesome just to ruin it by turning them into generic super shounen bad guy who becomes evil for dumb/contrived reasons #9000 in front of me . . .

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      2. Hmm. No specific ideas for handling that yet, but given the twist on the outcome the bunnies are planning for this story, is quite possible Alibaba and his bunch might figure out that nastiness attached to Sinbad well before canon!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hmm. No specific ideas for handling that yet, but given the twist on the outcome the bunnies are planning for this story, is quite possible Alibaba and his bunch might figure out that nastiness attached to Sinbad well before canon!

    Goody.

    🙂

    Like

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