Sunday, 15 March 2009

8: Didn't You Learn Never to Speak to Strangers?

"Genie? Is that you?" called the King. He was standing on the palace walkway, before the main gate, with a tiger prowling around his ankles, growling defensively.

"Yes, my dear friend! Please, allow us in!"

The King signalled to the guards to let the guests in, and the large iron barriers swung open. The genie and the King exchanged hugs and claps, but Stephanie was left standing in front of the palace, her mouth open in amazement. She looked down at her dress, she had been wearing it for 3 days straight, it only looked looked presentable when she was standing beside a street beggar. She didn't feel fit to set foot onto the King's premises.

"Who's your friend, hmmmm?" the King asked, eyeing Stephanie from head to toe, stroking his tangled beard. Stephanie shuddered at the sight of his fat belly hanging over his pants.
"This is the lovely Stephanie White. She's my new master," genie explained
"Lovely indeed... she could be the master of me, alright."

Stephanie clutched her arms around her, trying to fend off the King's disturbing stares.

"Stephanie, this is my dear friend and former master, Achladin"
"Pleased to meet you, Achla-"
"-Please. Call me your majesty."
"Fine. Your Majesty"

The men started reminiscing about their time together, not wanting to intrude, Stephanie walked to the edge of the balcony and watched the town from above. It looked like a pile of rubble on top of another, she couldn't understand how such a wealthy king could leave his city like that and live in such wealth by himself. She saw the little children playing their imaginative games in the alleys, the teenaged girls hanging laundry and making pots, their fathers probably in some common room smoking pipes and watching performances of young ladies dressed in bells, chiming with every step they took. The wives selling the goods they spent all night making. Even far away, she could still see the bright colours of the items on display along the roads. The sight made her hungry for a bright red, juicy apple.

"Genie, your majesty, I would like to go buy an apple. Would you like to accompany me?"
The genie nodded and looked to Achladin, who waved his hands away and walked back into his throne room with an exotic lady by his side, one of the many who pampered him and kept him busy throughout the day.


On the dusty road, Stephanie eyed the fruits. They looked so tempting, layed out on their wooden stands, shining brightly in the afternoon sun. The only problem was that the merchants had increased their prices as soon as they saw a possible buyer who was not of tan skin. Stephanie sighed, and turned to walk away.

"Is it an apple, you desire, miss?"

A lady walked up to Stephanie, she was hunched over and her face was hidden beneath a blue cloak. Under her arm was a basket with the reddest, plumpest apples Stephanie had ever seen, each one calling her name, begging her to take a bite. Her mouth watered at the sight of them, she nodded.

Genie pulled her away, "Stephanie, remember that this is Agraba. You trust no one."
Stephanie walked back to the woman and asked her, "how much?"
"No charge. Consider as a gift, from me." she smiled,

"Stephanie, now you really know it's a scam. There's no such thing as free in Agraba."

Stephanie eyed the apple greedily, and took one into her hands, she looked at genie, then turned around to thank the lady, but she was gone.

No comments: