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So What

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Aladdin watches as the strange person gulps down their water as if he has been stuck in the desert for a long time and only just come out. Once he is done, the person thanks them and introduces himself as Sin, a travelling entertainer.

Aladdin had just been talking to Morgiana, about what they were going to do whey they finally found Alibaba, when the fluttering of the rukh drew Aladdin’s attention to a nearby bush.

The bush rustled. There was a moan. Then a gaunt face covered with blood suddenly came out.

Needless to say, neither Aladdin nor Morgiana reacted well to the sight.

“You two are real lifesavers,” Sin says. “Some bandits took all my stuff, and I was left with this massive headache to deal with.”

“You were bleeding quite a lot,” Aladdin comments.

He doesn’t think ‘headache’ is quite the right word for it though.

“Ah, this?” Sin fingers the bandages around his forehead. “Don’t worry about it. It looks worse than it really is. I actually got this from falling down a tree.”

Aladdin blinks. It is Morgiana that asks, “What where you doing in a tree?”

“Honestly?” Sin shrugs. “I don’t know. Some old habits are hard to kick, I guess. I just can’t believe I forgot to take my stuff up with me.

“It certainly didn’t help though.” Sin sighs. “My head was already hurting from drinking last night. To add insult to injury, those bandits took all my water and remedies when they stole my stuff… It really is a good thing that you two showed up!”

Sin smiles at them brightly at that last statement. Neither Aladdin nor Morgiana know how to respond. It certainly cements Aladdin’s impression that Sin is a strange person.

“By the way,” Sin says, bright smile still in place, “I never even got my saviors’ names!”

Aladdin and Morgiana introduce themselves. Sin offers his home when he learns they are on their way to Balbdadd. He says it’s the least he can do for their helping him out. He even offers them a tour of the city when he learns they have never been to Balbadd before.

Aladdin looks to Morgiana after Sin makes his offer. Aladdin has already decided Sin is a strange person. He doesn’t think Sin is a bad one either.

Both Aladdin and Morgiana have saved a decent amount of money, but that still doesn’t mean they actually have a lot.

Morgiana nods, and they both happily agree.

Aladdin knows there is still much for him to learn. He honestly didn’t think a travelling entertainer could earn so much money though. His mouth hangs open when they finally arrive at Sin’s home.

“I’m also an investor,” Sin says with a grin. “Balbadd is one of the trading capitals of the world after all.”

Sin saunters forward towards the giant house. He is hardly near the door when a man suddenly barrels into him.

“Where have you been?!” the man cries as he latches onto Sin. “You left without a word, and you didn’t return this morning! Yamraiha’s magic tool wasn’t working either, so we couldn’t even get in contact with you!

“And what’s this?” The man suddenly notices the bandages around Sin’s head. “You got injured too?!”

Another man approaches the group at this time. He mutters something that sounds suspiciously like “No shame.” Aladdin can’t help but notice the second man looks a lot like Morgiana.

“Shut up!” the first man snaps. Then he immediately goes back to fussing over Sin.

The second man just looks indifferent at the response.

Sin shakes himself free from the first man and looks somewhere between exasperated and fond.

“Don’t worry about it,” he says. “It’s just a small bump. I’ll be fine. I only got a little careless, and my things got stolen.

“Ah,” Sin continues before the other man can say anything. “These two are Aladdin and Morgiana. They helped me after I got robbed. I’ve decided to let them stay with us while they’re visiting the city.”

It is only then that the man realizes Sin did not come back alone. His face reddens, and he immediately straightens himself up.

He coughs. Then he holds out a hand and tries to introduce himself coolly as Sharrkan.

A lady who is Sin’s housekeeper shows Aladdin and Morgiana to their room. She drops the linens she’s carrying when Aladdin asks her if she’s heard of Alibaba. What the lady says worries Aladdin, and he hopes Alibaba is okay. It seems they will be staying in Balbdadd for awhile. Morgiana can’t leave for the Dark continent either because of the Fog Troop.

The next day, Sin treats them to lunch, and Aladdin’s mouth waters at the sight. The restaurant Sin takes them is supposed to serve Balbdadd’s finest foods. Aladdin is quick to stuff his face from every plate. Sin asks about their plans once they’ve eaten their fill.

Morgiana tells him they are looking for a friend. She also brings up their worries about the Fog Troop.

“What about you Sin?” Aladdin asks, concerned. “Aren’t you worried that you’ll be robbed too?”

Sin leans back into his seat as he considers Aladdin’s words.

“Now there’s an idea,” Sin says. “The Fog Troop is causing me a bit of trouble as well. It would be convenient if they can just come to me instead.”

Neither of Sin’s two… Bodyguards? …Subordinates? …Aladdin isn’t quite sure what Sharrkan and Masrur’s relationship to Sin is. Sin just grinned and introduced them as his kids. Aladdin’s pretty sure both Sharrkan and Masrur are older than Sin by a few years.

Anyway, both looked unimpressed by Sin’s idea.

“I doubt they’ll come,” Sin eventually decides. “If they haven’t attacked my place before, they’ll hardly do so now. Their targets have also been quite political. I’m just a simple businessman and performer. I’m hardly their ideal target.”

Both Sharrkan and Masrur give Sin sideway looks. Aladdin thinks he is missing something.

“The point is,” Sharrkan says, turning to Aladdin and Morgiana, “you don’t have to worry. If anything goes wrong, Masrur and I will take care of it right away.”

“It’s alright!” Aladdin immediately says. “We’re not afraid. Morgiana is tough, and I have Ugo with me!”

Aladdin proceeds to show them his friend. Ugo comes out, and it earns him stunned looks. Aladdin is used to the reaction by now. What he does not expect is for some one to identify him by it.

“You’re a Magi!” Sharrkan exclaims.

“Mister, you know what Magi are?” Aladdin asks, surprised. “I just learned it recently, and I’m still trying to understand it myself.”

“You don’t know?” Sharrkan looks stunned. “Sin—”

“I’ve met Magi before on my travels,” Sin cuts in. “the priestess of Reim is one of them. I met her at a party I performed at in the past.”

“Really?” Aladdin hadn’t known there were other Magi like him.

Sin tells Aladdin about the special connection between the Magi and the Rukh, and how Magi are able to use the rukh’s power. Aladdin is fascinated by the new information. He also finds Sin to be an even more mysterious and worldly person. Sin seems to be really famous too, if he met someone with such an important sounding title as the Priestess of Reim.

Sin later asks them what Alibaba looks like and promises to keep an eye out for him. Sin also promises Aladdin and Morgiana are welcome to stay at his home for as long as they need.

Morgiana later decides they cannot just sit around. She suggests they go out and look for the Fog Troop. They will question Alibaba if he really is their leader. If he’s not with them, they will take down the thieves and use the good will of the authorities to help them find Alibaba.

They wait until nightfall since that is when the thieves usually make their move. They also don’t want to worry Sin and the others, so they need to sneak out of the house.

Sharrkan waves at them while leaning by the gate.

“Sin knew you wouldn’t stay put,” Sharrkan says. “Come on, we already figured out the most likely places they’re targeting tonight. Sin and Masrur have already gone ahead to one of them. I’ll take you to the other.”

Sharrkan turns to leave. He stops. He turns to look back.

“Well?” he asks, “Aren’t you two coming?”

Aladdin and Morgiana shake themselves out of their stupor. They quickly follow after the man.

Aladdin thinks Sin is turning out to be an even more mysterious person. He asks Sharrkan who Sin really is while they wait. Sharrkan says Sin really is who he says he is.

“It’s just not the only thing,” Sharrkan admits. “But he says it’s better for you to figure it out for yourself.”

Aladdin doesn’t get to ponder the mystery for long because that’s when the Fog Troop finally attack. They learn Alibaba really is the leader of the Troop.

Morgiana doesn’t take Alibaba’s rejection so well. The next day, she tracks him down… and tosses him straight through the window into their room. They learn why Alibaba is leading the Fog Troop, and Aladdin promises they will help so Alibaba doesn’t have to save Balbdadd alone.

Then the Fog Troop attack to take back Alibaba. Aladdin realizes too late that they’ve brought danger into Sin’s home. Everything is chaotic. A side of the house is blown out. Aladdin thinks that was Masrur.

Everyone ends up outside in the yard. Sharrkan and Masrur stand guard in fronts of Sin. They don’t let anyone who attacks them anywhere near him.

Alibaba’s friend tries to pin Sharrkan down. He curses when his black fog dissipates under Sharrkan’s hands.

“Dammit!” He shouts at Sin, “How long are you just going to hide behind your men? You think you’re too good to deal with us by yourself?!”

“I can understand you wanting to take your leader back.” Sin asks, “But what reason do you have to attack me personally? If it’s simply for my home’s wealth you could have attacked this place long before I came back.”

“Don’t play me for a fool.” Cassim sneers. “We know exactly who you are, and you know exactly why we’re here!”

What Cassim says next makes everything click into place.

“You’re Sinbad of the Seven Seas Alliance!” he shouts. “And I’m not going to let some magician who sucks up to kings interfere in Balbdadd and get in the Fog Troop’s way!”

Oh, Aladdin thinks. He should have realized it sooner.