Whispers of Fire Ch14 Ficbit – An Honest Merchant

Abhmad was red-faced and fuming. “You… killed…. Sinbad! Is this how you treat the nation that once gave you sanctuary?”

“If your father Rashid had ever heard of such dark magic worked in Sindria, I would have wanted him to interfere.” Sinbad folded his arms. “But as it stands, I wasn’t much more than a witness. Merhdad uncovered the Banker’s plots and moved to end them.” He paused, sweeping the assembled crowds with his gaze. “As any merchant who loved Balbadd would.”

Why had the ambassador from Reim started at that? And now the Reimish man was looking at Merhdad, as if he couldn’t quite believe his eyes.

The smuggler felt it too; she saw a tiny, uncomfortable twitch of his shoulders. “Princess Kougyoku. We offer you repayment of Balbadd’s debts, and our sincere apology for the disgraceful, unlawful, behavior of our king.”

“You what?” Abhmad bellowed.

“But if that is not enough,” Merhdad soldiered on, iron-faced, “if the princess truly feels her honor is besmirched by our honest efforts to repay a debt, then I will offer her a duel.” He laid his scroll across both palms, offering it as proudly as a sword. “After the debt is registered and witnessed as repaid, and Balbadd is safe.”

“You wouldn’t dare!”

“Eldest Brother, shut up.”

Kougyoku snapped her attention to the palace balcony, where General Barkakk was oh-so-politely and firmly between Balbadd’s two royals.

“S-she’s a Dungeon Conqueror,” Sabhmad got out, voice shaking. “He’s offering his life for our country. Can’t you understand that?”

“He has no right!”

“Yes.” The general’s voice carried, as if this were already a battlefield. “He does.”

Kougyoku’s pulse quickened. She wasn’t brilliant like Elder Brother Koumei, but this feeling in the air. The tiny hints of things not being said. The way Judar was grinning, as if a fight could break out any moment. The way Cassim was actually smiling, not vicious but rueful; as if yes, Merhdad really was real, not some desert mirage…. “Who are you?”

Merhdad shrugged, smiling again; scroll barely rocking on his outstretched palms. “An honest merchant, Princess. Nothing else matters.”

The ambassador from Reim blinked, and buried his face in his hands.


A/N: Ambassador: Oh Solomon, Harun had a kid….

22 thoughts on “Whispers of Fire Ch14 Ficbit – An Honest Merchant

  1. PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT! (copied as requested from Kryal)

    I have been asked to pass this on: Vathara is currently busy with hurricane cleanup, which includes having no internet at the moment. She has a workaround, but it doesn’t allow access to WordPress. She doesn’t know when internet will be up and running, so there will be a delay in comment replies. In addition, there may be a pause in new posts if the internet outage outlasts the posts that were prepared before the storm hit (starting Sunday if things continue).

    Everyone is okay, power and water are shaky but available, annoyance abounds.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. oh no! I hope things get up and running again soon for you guys, no power and having to clean up is rough.

    everyone is like “a prince is here! the legal king!” and alibaba is like “NO I’M JUST A MERCHANT. NO THANK YOU.” *shuffles off to try and escape*

    it’s more like, “oh no, harun had a son that /took after him/,” since, you know, the other two. but this is so funny. people who knew his dad are like “ah. It’s Him.”

    thank you for the ficbit!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I hope things are starting to normalize over in Florida (and if we could have some prayers for Beta to stay away from the coast that’d be nice).

    Interesting that Abhmad thinks they killed the Banker, given that he was just driving a remote puppet. He was letting Kou and Al-Thamen handle _all_ the mental heavy lifting, apparently.

    -Albert

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Anyone else getting The Princess Bride flashbacks?

    Inigo Montoya: Who are you?
    The Man in Black: No one of consequence.
    Inigo: I must know.
    The MiB: Get used to appointment
    Inigo: Okay.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. The ambassador from Reim blinked, and buried his face in his hands.

    Well, someone has connected the dots.

    And is probably wondering if it is too late to run . . .

    Alibaba is going to have to do some . . . interesting . . . maneuvers to avoid (a) being king and (b) getting engaged to Kougyoku or something . . .

    Think he knows about the first danger but not the second one . . . guess it would depend on how the marriage contract between the Empire and Balbadd regarding Kougyoku is worded . . . especially given the by some standards Abhmad is NOT the King of Balbadd (through by certain people’s measuring sticks, he is most definitely the king . . . tricky if we are trying to avoid both civil war and Balbadd becoming part of the Kou Empire . . . and potentially very ugly if Abhmad really does believe that Alibaba purposefully led Cassim to the treasury or had something to do with Rashid’s sudden death).

    Not sure what Judar is aiming for on that front but I have the feeling not everyone is going to like it.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Alibaba is indeed trying to avoid getting married to her.

        I wish him the best of luck . . .

        Kougyoku is a lovely girl and a good person but . . . she and Alibaba might be a literally explosive combination. And that’s not considering what a certain Red Lioness might make of it considering she clearly has her eye on our favorite Fire Prince.

        Of course, Kougyoku being to engaged to someone from the Royal Family of Balbadd probably isn’t something that can be avoided entirely . . .

        They have already expressed a desire to avoid said wedding being with the Eldest Brother . . . she would eat the Second Brother alive (not intentionally but Kougyoku is a very forceful personality and Alibaba’s brother is . . . not.) . . . .

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Is that in anyway helped along by the fact that if you turn your head and squint a little while deeply drunk it’s possible to make an argument that Cassim is related to Alibaba and so is available for that marriage? Because there is probably some really good booze laying around in preparation for the wedding.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I strongly prefer the Ali and Morg ship, so I’m rooting for Alibaba to wriggle his way out of the marriage.

        I assume that he’s going to try to make Balbadd a Republic, like in canon, so that the treaties between King of Balbadd and the Kou Emperor are invalid by there no longer being a king.

        -Albert

        Liked by 2 people

      4. /I assume that he’s going to try to make Balbadd a Republic, like in canon, so that the treaties between King of Balbadd and the Kou Emperor are invalid by there no longer being a king./
        He’s just got to get around that little problem of Kou saying ‘**** it’ and invading anyway (which they more or less did in canon).

        Sure as a result no nation will ever deal with the Kou again but they were going to be conquered one by one anyway. The result will be the same, just bloodier. It’s all for the Greater Good after all.

        End result I suspect no matter what happens in this chapter, Alibaba is going to have to set loose his emergency ‘break the Kou Empire’ plan that has been mentioned previously in order to get them to back off.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Sure, it’s not going to work, but Ali was reasoning from incomplete information: He didn’t realize that the Kou royals are economically illiterate barbarian warlords.

        On the other hand, it’s sure going to be difficult to Djinn Warrior people after the Kou Djinn start objecting to lending their powers to Al-Thamen’s patsies.

        -Albert

        Liked by 2 people

      6. Yeah, the Djinn being able to talk to their kings and such is really going to put the cat among the pigeons.

        The best part? I doubt Al-Thamen is going see that one coming.

        Re: Balbadd as a Republic.
        I’ve always wondered where, exactly, Alibaba has seen a democracy and more importantly, seen one that was working more or less. Because I can’t remember them mentioning this information . . . and it seems like every country we see has either a king or similar in charge of it.

        And it’s not enough to say they are a republic . . . they have to get other nations to acknowledge the Republic as the legitimate government of Balbadd . . . which is not a guarantee. Especially since a number of those other nations are absolute monarchies . . . historically, absolute monarchies tended to be leery of republics since that whole get-rid-of-your-king-thing might be something their own subjects might decide to try out.

        Just saying they are also going to need some way to prevent Kou from doing a “friendly invasion” to put down this “rebellion” . . . not unlike how Austria was invading France after the French Revolution deposed the king – the ruler of Austria did not acknowledge as the revolutionary government as the legitimate government of France, vowed to restore the King and viewed the whole thing as rebellion against the rightful rulers of France. . . And Austria weren’t the only ones in Europe who didn’t acknowledge the new government as legitimate, rather than just rebels.

        There is a reason why it was big deal that France supported the Americans during the Revolutionary War . . . it effectively acknowledged the Colonial government as its own legitimate government separate from the British government . . . (yes, France had other reasons to support the Colonies instead of British – not everyone was happy with the outcome of the Seven Years War).

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Of course in regards to the ‘Balbadd as a Republic’ thing, Alibaba doesn’t have the authority to do that here. After all Merhdad is simply an honest merchant of Balbadd, nothing more.

    Though every ambassador present is mentally calling bull**** on him ‘just ‘ being a merchant.

    What I can see happening is that is that they pull out some ancient laws pertaining to ‘So the king has done a whole raft of illegal things’ (or they just make stuff up on the spot) and Sabhmad, Barkakk, Alibaba along with some others set up a regency council to A: keep Balbadd running and B: clean up the mess.

    So yeah, sorry about that princess. We’re not going to have a proper king for you to marry until all this gets straightened out. And we can’t really give you a time for when we’ll have one again since we’re going to need to review a LOT of documents. No, no; your offer of help is kind but this is something we need to deal with internally to maintain proper sovereignty.

    Liked by 2 people

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