Aladdin, curled up on his left, flying turban clutched close to the magi’s chest. The unexpected warmth at the foot of the bed was Morgiana, curled under a sheet like a napping kitten.
They’re here. They’re real.
They could wind up in so much trouble if this goes wrong….
A chill seemed to clench inside him, as Alibaba remembered things had already gone wrong. According to Aladdin, Sinbad was here. In Balbadd. Without his Djinns.
And Alibaba had to grip his forehead with both hands and just hold it, as if he were holding his own skull together. Because this was absolutely insane.
He lost his Metal Vessels – that’s what Aladdin says my knife is now, Amon’s Vessel. Alibaba had to breathe out, shaken. Forget the whole Djinn thing. He lost seven people he knows to robbers. People like Ugo. Like Amon. People who agreed to help him. Why isn’t he tearing Balbadd apart?!?
Well, lucky for all of them, Alibaba knew a pretty good robber. If he could get descriptions of the Djinns’ Vessels, Cassim could make a stab at getting them back.
Though that’s going to be tricky, Alibaba reflected; sitting up carefully, so he didn’t disturb Aladdin just yet. If I tell Cassim exactly what they are – there’s no way he wouldn’t try to use them for leverage.
But he didn’t want to lie to his brother. And whether Cassim believed it or not, they were brothers; more than Abhmad and Sabhmad had ever been. So what could he say?
Well – the truth could work, Alibaba thought. They’re Magic Tools, only Sinbad can use them, and we need help to save Balbadd.
After all, the important thing was to find the Djinns. Once they knew who had Sinbad’s Metal Vessels… then Sinbad could make his own arguments. Possibly including a hefty bribe-
Red eyes were looking at him.
Alibaba gulped. “Good morning?”
Morgiana sat up, sheet still wrapped around her, eyes dark with determination. “You are not giving up on Balbadd.”
“I’m not!” Alibaba said defensively. “I never would. It’s just – the Kou Empire is so big, and they have armies and magic and….” His voice died; he had to swallow hard. But at least he could say this to Morgiana. She wasn’t a smuggler. She wasn’t a thief. She wasn’t part of Balbadd at all. He didn’t have to fake being brave. Not for her. “I’m scared.”
“We’ll find out who to hit,” Morgiana said calmly. “And then we’ll hit them. As many times as it takes.”