Author: VampireNaomi PM
Mechanikles' family turns up for a surprise visit, there is a little problem in the dungeons of Agrabah, and Aladdin makes a new friend. Before you know it, all this creates a nice mess.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Adventure/Family - Mechanikles - Chapters: 5 - Words: 30,836 - Reviews: 11 - Favs: 6 - Updated: 04-04-06 - Published: 03-31-06 - Status: Complete - id: 2869157
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disney owns everything associated with Aladdin and so on. No money is being made either.
This was originally supposed to be a simple one-shot, but it got longer and longer until I realised that the only way to post it was to take it apart. The rest will be added soon.
Note: I'm aware that medieval Arabia and ancient Greece didn't exist at the same time, and therefore some of the references seem out of place. However, I have decided to regard the Hercules/Aladdin crossover episode (in which the two heroes meet) as canon, which explains why these two historical times co-exist in this story. It works better for my story this way, and I don't see why I should be historically accurate about this fact since people at Disney weren't.
Originally, I had Mechanikles and his family come from Athens, but I changed that to the island of Crete after reading some great theories about that at Deviantart. The credit for this idea goes to PrecosiousChild. I made up the city of Ikanos so that there wouldn't be research fail about any real Cretan cities.
Being on your schedule was always tough work. It was especially so to Mechanikles who never ran out of things to do. When he wasn't busy cleaning up his workshop, organizing his items or building new bugs to kill Aladdin or to otherwise satisfy his villainous desires, he was most likely trying to get sand out of his previous inventions. It was frustrating work, as sand had the habit of never running out on a desert. When he got something properly cleaned, the next machine was already demanding his attention.
Therefore, it wasn't a surprise that he wasn't feeling very happy on that particular day. His new invention, a slender brown earwig that could travel underground, was complete safe for several finishing touches on the control system. That, however, did nothing to improve his horrible mood. He had been working on that machine for over a month and there were still problems he hadn't quite managed to solve. Somehow sand kept finding its way into the machinery and got everything out of order. On top of that the continued work on the insect had interrupted his pace of life.
That particular day had always been the day when he did his laundry, and now he hadn't had the time to do that yet. If there was something Mechanikles loathed with passion - other than dirt, disorder and Aladdin, of course - it was being behind schedule.
"Oh, I don't believe it!" he cursed and kicked a wrench in his frustration. "How am I supposed to make this beauty dive underground when it stops working with only a handful of sand inside it?"
He closed his eyes for a moment.
It had been a while since he had last time tried to have his revenge on Aladdin. His plan had failed, as usual, but this time he was sure he'd make it. Soon that annoying pest with hair too thick for his own good would be out of his life forever.
If I could just get this to work the way I want it to, he thought and glared at the earwig. It was rather long with six tiny feet. It wasn't the kind he could control from the inside. He had decided that in order to beat Aladdin, he needed something fast and agile, and you just couldn't have anything like that if you had to build an inner control room. No, this little beauty was the perfect assassin on its own.
He pulled out his scroll and examined it critically. "This won't do! I should have done the laundry two hours ago. How infuriating!" He quickly wrote down 'finish earwig later' and put the scroll back again. He'd have to do the laundry now or he'd have an even greater mess to sort out before he noticed it.
"Scooter, come here, will you?" he cooed to the mechanical beetle that he still kept around, even though the design wasn't one of his best. Far too easy to defeat, as experience had shown him.
The beetle flew to him with an empty bucket. There was an oasis nearby where Mechanikles got all the water he needed. He sent the beetle to get him some and started preparing the laundry.
"About time I get something done about these. Stains have to be removed as soon as possible or they'll never come off properly," he talked to himself as he organized the pile of dirty clothes. Or rather, clothes that would have been clean in anyone else's eyes but were horrendously filthy to him.
Doing housework chores, while a necessary evil, always helped him organize his thoughts. He kept thinking about the earwig and what he could possibly have overlooked. Sand didn't usually prove to be such a problem. If he covered even the tiniest holes, the machine would become clumsier. The only way to get around the problem was to use small metal plates that fit into each other perfectly without limiting the bug's movements, but that would require at least a few days more work.
"Why does it have to be like this?" he complained to himself. "Getting rid of that meddlesome nuisance should be easy, but something always comes up and ruins my plans!" The mere thought of Aladdin was enough to make his day miserable, so he forced the young man out of his mind.
"Perfectly organized!" He clasped his hands together and admired his work. All his dirty tunics folded identically into a pile that stood straight. That little piece of order improved his mood a little and he settled down to wait for Scooter's arrival.
The beetle returned a few minutes later, carrying the bucket full of water. However, it didn't come alone, and that destroyed whatever optimism Mechanikles had started to feel.
"I wasn't expecting guests," he muttered to himself in annoyance. Guests were another nuisance, though a lot rarer one than Aladdin. Still, both had the incredible ability to make him boil and destroy whatever work he had got or was about to get done.
He marched to the entrance, ready to tell the intruders that he had nothing they might want and if they didn't leave as soon as possible, he'd send his bugs after them. When he got closer, he froze. His jaw almost fell to the floor. He knew these people!
The first one to catch his attention was a tall, muscular man. He had covered himself with light armour and looked very out of place in Mechanikles' workshop. His dark hair was a little curly and he had a beard.
Mechanikles barely had the time to wonder what the heck this man was doing there when he noticed the woman by his side. She, too, was tall and very slim. Not in the slender and nicely filled way, but the way that made one wonder if she was a woman at all. Her most dominating features were her long, black hair and a nose that was a little too long for her face. She looked a lot older than the last time Mechanikles had seen her, but there could be no mistake. It was his sister, Aspasia. The soldier he had noted earlier was, unfortunately, her husband.
It took him a few seconds to recognise the third and last person, however. He couldn't remember ever seeing him before, though he wore familiar features. Only after he had fully registered the thin frame, the black hair and vacant look in the small eyes did he realise that he was staring at Pamphilos, his nephew.
"So, you haven't completely wasted your time during these years," Simonides, his brother-in-law remarked. He pointed at the various mechanical bugs that stood in straight lines around the workshop.
The all too familiar, mocking tone woke Mechanikles up from his trance. "What exactly are you doing here?" he asked. Or shrieked, actually. Whether it was out of fury or surprise, he didn't know.
"We saw this machine and knew it had to be yours. So we just followed it here," Aspasia replied. She knelt to give Scooter a pat. "It's beautiful, you know."
"But what were you doing in the desert? You're supposed to be back in Ikanos!" Mechanikles could feel a headache coming. He rubbed his temples to soothe the pounding inside his skull and closed his eyes for a moment, hoping that he was merely having a bad dream. The ugly truth was still there when he opened his eyes.
Aspasia frowned angrily. "Is that all you have to say? It's been fifteen years since you left. Why do you act like you aren't even the slightest bit happy to see us?" she asked. She had her arms crossed on her chest and that annoying questioning expression in her eyes. Mechanikles hated it.
"Because I'm not! I don't like surprises like this, and you still haven't told me why you're here," Mechanikles said. He grabbed a small hand-held bee from his desk and entertained himself with the thought of sending it after his guests, like his original plan had been. If nobody else, after Simonides at least.
"You can't be serious. You're just shocked, that's all. We probably interrupted your work with some of the inventions, right? I remember what you and Metrophanes used to be like with all those -" Aspasia said.
"I'm still waiting," Mechanikles interrupted in frustration.
Aspasia sighed. "It was father's idea to come, actually," she admitted in defeat.
"So, he's still alive?" Mechanikles had to admit he was surprised. He had thought the old man would have got himself killed already. If something fortunate didn't happen soon, his father would probably outlive him.
"Oh, yes. He got himself a place in the council, as well. He's too old to go to battles anymore, but... You aren't interested, are you?" Aspasia asked dryly.
"No, not really."
"I would have liked to come and find you sooner, but father wouldn't let me travel. He's still mad about the accident, which is rather stupid of him, I know," his sister explained. Mechanikles couldn't remember if she had always liked to babble that much. There were people who said it ran in the family, but he never paid any attention to them.
"Considering that this accident got almost thirty people, many of them members of very important families, killed, I don't think I can blame him," Simonides pointed out. He received an angry glare from Mechanikles in return.
"Oh!" Aspasia almost jumped into the air as she suddenly remembered something. She put her hands on the shoulders of the young man beside her. "Do you remember Pamphilos? He was only five when you last saw him. Hasn't he grown? And what a striking image of Metrophanes he has become!"
"Yes, I can see the resemblance," Mechanikles remarked. True enough; the young man looked a lot like his late brother.
"Stop it! You're making me embarrassed," Pamphilos muttered and pushed his aunt's hands away.
Everyone else seemed to be in a relatively good mood, but Mechanikles didn't feel like returning their smiles. A happy family gathering was something he hadn't been planning on doing any time soon and he could already tell he'd have to delay his plans of killing Aladdin for some time.
"So, you came to see me," he announced in frustration and spread his arms. "Now you've seen that I'm still alive and well and you can return home, am I correct?"
Aspasia looked disappointed. "Don't be like that. We haven't seen each other in such a long time. I have so much to tell you! And besides, I want to take a look at the local girls for Pamphilos. There just aren't any suitable potential wives in Athens at the moment," she said with a disapproving click of her tongue.
"Well, I tried to tell you that leaving unwanted female infants to die in the hills won't do much good to the population, but did anyone listen to me?" Mechanikles pointed out.
"Modern rubbish," Simonides muttered.
"What is he doing here anyway?" Mechanikles eyed the muscular soldier in suspicion. He had never liked Simonides. Not only because he considered the man simple, stupid and annoying, but also because he was the man his little sister had married. He would have much preferred if she had married someone with an IQ higher than a donkey's.
Simonides didn't look pleased. "I don't like it here either," he said roughly. "However, I'm not going to let Aspasia travel alone in her condition."
Mechanikles turned to look at his sister. "Condition? Are you sick?" he asked.
Aspasia chuckled and put her hand on her stomach. "Don't be silly. I'm with child," she said.
"What? You?" Mechanikles knew he was gawking at her, but he didn't particularly care. His sister? Pregnant? She sure didn't look like it.
"Yes," Aspasia remarked dryly. "If you came out of your technology-filled fantasy world for a while, you might notice what goes on in real life. Besides, it's my third child. We tried to send you messages, but you were probably too busy to even notice the carrier pigeons."
Or I used them as target practise for my beetles, Mechanikles thought. Still, his mind was having hard time adjusting to the fact that his sister was currently a mother of two and would eventually have a third child. When had she had time to do that? He glanced at the bee in his hands and started examining it to hide his confusion, some of his previous anger forgotten.
"I'm not hearing the sound of tiny steps," he remarked. If the little buggers even looked at his babies the wrong way, he'd...
"We left them home. They're too young to travel this far and we know how much you dislike children," Simonides said. The look in his pale eyes was stern and Mechanikles suspected that if it was up to the soldier, he would never see his nephews or nieces - he realised he didn't even know which.
"Hush, you," Aspasia said to her husband and elbowed him. "They are called Hesiod and Sostrate. Twelve and five years of age," she said proudly.
"Quite young to be left on their own," Mechanikles pointed out, but didn't look up from his work. He could remember how attached his sister could get sometimes. There had been a time when she would follow him and his brother around no matter where they went.
"The slaves are taking care of them."
"And you're certain they'll still be alive when you get back?" Mechanikles asked absent-mindedly.
Aspasia sighed. "This didn't start too well, but that's to be expected. Is there something you'd like to hear about home?" she asked.
"When are you going back?" Mechanikles put the bee down and leaned against the desk. His irritation was slowly creeping back and his patience with his relatives was growing thinner. Well, with Pamphilos probably being the exception. The young man had been wise enough to remain silent during the entire exchange.
His sister's shoulders slumped. "So, you really don't want us here?" she asked with a sad frown.
Mechanikles' first thought was to tell her the truth and say that nothing (with the possible exception of Aladdin's head being served to him on a very polished and disinfected platter) would have pleased him more than if they hadn't arrived. He knew, however, that he wouldn't have gained anything by it. No matter how much he desired the opposite, he couldn't just send the travellers back yet. They needed to rest and supply themselves for the return trip.
"At the moment, no. I'm in the middle of finishing my newest invention and don't need any interruptions," he said and crossed his arms.
"Unfortunately for you, we aren't leaving yet," Simonides announced in a stern voice.
"Technically, you are. I have no room for guests here, so you have to find yourself another place for the night," Mechanikles replied.
"We came all this way here to meet you just because Aspasia wanted to see you again. You could at least pretend to be happy for her sake," the soldier said. His wife nodded with an angry frown on her face.
"Oh, fine," Mechanikles snapped. "But there are rules that you must follow. Don't touch any of my inventions, no matter the situation. Whatever you do, clean after yourself. Lastly, stay out of my way when I'm working!"
He hated the smug look in Aspasia's eyes. Why did she have to be so stubborn and never listen to reason? He sighed angrily to himself and went back to working on his earwig. The laundry was still waiting for its turn, but right now he was feeling so annoyed that working on machines was the only thing that could soothe him.
"He just left us like that," Pamphilos mused.
"Don't mind him. He loves his inventions more than anything else in the world. He was always like that," Aspasia said. Pamphilos noted that his aunt wasn't looking much happier now that they had been allowed to stay.
"Was father like that as well?" he asked. His mother had told him how much technology had meant to him, but he couldn't imagine anyone being that strange over anything. He wondered briefly if it was in the blood. He didn't fancy becoming like that in his later years.
"He was worse," Simonides remarked. "That's what got him killed."
"I doubt he did it on purpose," Pamphilos pointed out. He wasn't really feeling offended. He couldn't remember much of his father and was used to the way Simonides treated everyone who wasn't a soldier. Especially if they degraded themselves by actually working on something.
He had to wonder what they'd do now. They had travelled thinking that surely Mechanikles would have had enough sense to get himself a decent house in fifteen years. The inventor had been right about there not being room for them, unless they wanted to sleep on the floor. Pamphilos didn't really like that idea.
"Of course he didn't," Aspasia told him gently. "As I said, it was an accident." She smiled at him reassuringly and he felt a little annoyed despite himself. Ever since he had turned old enough to think for himself, he had got the feeling that his aunt regarded him as substitute for the brothers she had lost.
"So, what will we do now? Sleep on the floor?" he asked.
"No," Simonides decided for them. "We will set up a camp outside. I'm not sleeping under the roof of someone who doesn't want me or my wife to his place. Once you have settled your business with him, we'll return home."
"But he doesn't mean it like that! I'll talk to him and make him understand," Aspasia said in annoyance. Her husband frowned at her for a moment before he sighed.
"Do you really realise it's been fifteen years? He isn't what he used to be and neither are we. We are older and much has happened. How do you know what he has been through here? Did you think that he would be exactly like back then? People change, like it or not," he said. He didn't give his wife a chance to object, but turned around and returned outside.
Pamphilos drew a deep breath and tried to avoid his aunt's disappointed eyes. Somehow he had the feeling that the next following days wouldn't be the happiest or easiest of his life.
Mechanikles eyed the earwig with a frown. "Hmm. It looks like I'll have to do it the hard way after all," he decided. This little baby had to be perfect if he wanted it to work, and covering it in tight metal plates seemed like the only option to him. Fortunately, he had exactly what he needed in his workshop so he didn't have to make a tiresome trip to buy supplies in Agrabah.
He patted the head of his invention and smiled at it. At least some things were finally going according to his plan. He estimated that if he worked hard and let the dishes and laundry remain unwashed for the time being, he might get the earwig finished in a few days.
"What are you building?" He froze when he heard Aspasia's voice behind him.
"Didn't I tell you I want no interruptions when I'm working?" he asked. He was pleased to notice that she had come alone. The last thing he wanted was that patronizing Simonides to tag along.
"I'm sorry, but I wanted to talk to you. You seem so strange. As if you no longer care about me. I understand that we shouldn't have stormed here like that, but please don't tell me that you didn't want us to come at all," Aspasia pleaded. She looked so worried that Mechanikles couldn't help feeling a little sorry for her. That annoyed him even more.
"I have everything here. I don't need you to make my life more complicated than it already is," he replied.
Aspasia put her hands on her hips. "I only wanted to see you. That's hardly making things more complicated."
"To me it is," Mechanikles pointed out. "But say, now that you're here, what do you think of this?"
His sister blinked and turned her attention to the machine. Her eyes widened and a surprised smile spread on her lips. "It's magnificent!" She ran her hands on the surface and admired the bug. "What does it do?"
Mechanikles smiled smugly, pleased to receive compliments for a change. "Watch," he said and pressed a hidden button near the bug's head. A long sword flew out the thing's mouth and got stuck into the wall. "Of course, once it's activated it can do that and more on its own without my help."
"It's a weapon?" Aspasia asked carefully. Her glee had died and she was looking doubtful again.
"Yes, it is," Mechanikles said happily. He went to pull out the sword - took quite a lot of effort, that one - and put it back to its place.
"Why are you building weapons? You didn't do that before," Aspasia pointed out.
"No, but that was what I and Metrophanes were going to do in any case. The other inventions were just to test if the basic systems work," Mechanikles replied. Could his sister really be naive enough to be surprised at this? He had to shake his head to himself. Women and their inferior minds...
"I didn't know that."
A long silence followed. "So, something else you want?" Mechanikles asked.
"You to stop acting like an idiot."
"What?" Mechanikles could hardly believe his ears. His sister actually had the nerve to order him around after she had caused the entire problem by arriving uninvited?
"You heard me. If I had known you would become such a selfish, old man I wouldn't have spent all these years worrying about how you're doing!" Aspasia snapped.
"Well, who asked you to do that? As I said, I'm fine on my own!"
"Why do you think this is all about you? Just because you've decided to be miserable for the rest of your life doesn't mean that you should try to spread it around. It's not just me who wanted to see you. No one knew Metrophanes better than you, so we thought it might be a good idea to bring Pamphilos along. He doesn't remember him at all." An angry flush had spread on Aspasia's face and she kept glaring at her brother.
Mechanikles sighed and rubbed his neck. He was getting tired of this. "I'm sure the boy has heard enough stories by his mother," he replied. "Besides, I'm not interested in talking about Metrophanes."
Aspasia frowned. "Why not?" she asked and Mechanikles felt like throttling her. Hadn't she matured at all? She still reminded him of the spoiled little girl who had thought the world revolved around her and that everyone's main priority was to make her wishes come true.
He crossed his arms. "Because it's unproductive. I don't have time for that kind of nonsense."
"You're impossible!" Aspasia snapped. "I've missed you and you can't even welcome me to your home! It's like you've forgotten that I exist."
"Well, at moments like this I wish you didn't!" Mechanikles said back. "Is it so hard to understand that I'm having a project and couldn't care less about anything else?"
Aspasia bit her lip. "Are you saying you don't care about me anymore?" she asked.
"I know it must be a surprise to have us barge here after such a long time. I wish I could have come sooner, but father wouldn't allow it." Aspasia stopped to ponder what she exactly wanted to say. "Look, I know you don't like being sentimental. Just… don't be such a stranger."
"I'm getting a headache," Mechanikles moaned and rubbed his face. Then he suddenly realised something that he should have noticed at once. "You said it was father's idea for you to come. Why? What does he have in mind?" he asked.
"I don't know. He wouldn't tell me when I asked him. I think he's interested in how you're doing. You're his only son now and nobody can hate someone forever," Aspasia replied uncertainly.
"I can. He can. I'm sure he has some hidden motive," Mechanikles said in suspicion and rubbed his chin. He knew his father well enough to realise that there had to be something he wanted. Also, knowing how the old man's mind worked, he had most likely sent Aspasia to get it. She probably had no idea she was being used like that. Mechanikles decided to keep a careful eye on her, just in case.
"Don't be stupid. He must have realised that he's not going to live forever. Maybe he wants to make peace with you?" his sister suggested.
Mechanikles laughed at that. "After I and Metrophanes disgraced the entire family? I don't think so!"
Aspasia looked away all of sudden. "You know... There is something I've wanted to ask you ever since, well..." she started, but she was interrupted before she could finish her sentence.
"Aunt Aspasia, Simonides sent me to say that... um, is this a bad time?" Pamphilos said. His confident tone withered as he came to the conclusion that he had probably disturbed something important.
"Not at all, boy! Your aunt here is just finished with what she was doing," Mechanikles said and pushed Aspasia away to their nephew. She looked bewildered, but didn't object for once.
"We have to let him think," Mechanikles heard her whisper to answer Pamphilos' confused expression. He quite liked that idea and was happy to be left alone again.
Meanwhile, in Agrabah, our heroes were facing a problem of their own.
"Rasoul, I am very disappointed in you," the Sultan said. His voice was a little high and difficult to understand due to the fact that he was pinching his nose. In fact, that was what everyone was doing at the moment.
"But Your Highness, we didn't find it necessary to look into such a matter. There are far more important problems in Agrabah," the Captain of the Guards defended him and his men.
The Sultan didn't look pleased. "But it is the guards' responsibility to keep the dungeons in shape. This place," he pointed at the subject at hand, "is a disgrace. We could never lock up anyone in there!"
"With all due respect, I don't think that would even be necessary. Lately the harshest punishments have been fines or community service. We haven't imprisoned anyone after the princess made her improvements on some of the laws," Rasoul pointed out. From his voice it was obvious what he thought about said changes.
"That's because most thefts are committed by those in need. We have to help them, not leave them to rot in our dungeons," Jasmine said.
"There are still real thieves and murderers in the streets of Agrabah," Rasoul said.
"Then do something about this place, so that we can lock them up without killing them before their trial!" Jasmine snapped. Her dark eyes flashed angrily at the head guard's stubbornness.
"Now, now, let's not argue about this. But Rasoul, I expect something to be done to these dungeons as soon as possible. No human being could survive in the middle of all that filth," the Sultan said in order to stop the fight that would soon follow if nobody stopped Jasmine and Rasoul.
"He did," Rasoul said and pointed at Aladdin. Everyone understood the meaning behind the guard's words, and Aladdin frowned in annoyance.
"Well, if a little work is too much for you to handle, I can always take the burden off your shoulders," he said and pulled out Genie's lamp. "Genie, we need you to clean up this place."
Genie came out of the lamp with a puff and instantly transformed into a maid with high heels and a feather duster. "Don't worry, Al. I'll have it done within seconds!" he promised enthusiastically. Then he took once sniff at the stench flowing from the dungeons and melted into a puddle of blue goo.
One hand with a raised forefinger rose from the puddle. "On second thought..."
Aladdin sighed to himself. "Now what do we do?"
"It's too much for even the magic freak to handle, but tell me again, why do we care? It's not your responsibility, and take it from me, never do anything that you absolutely don't have to," was Iago's input on the situation.
"That's true, Aladdin," Jasmine said. "Normally, I wouldn't object to helping, but Rasoul has brought this situation upon himself. He has neglected his duties, so it should be him to work this out." She shot a glare at the guard.
"I guess you're right," Aladdin said and grinned at the guard. Rasoul was looking like the least happy person in the world. He had his arms crossed on his chest and only the presence of the Sultan and Jasmine stopped him from giving Aladdin a piece of his mind.
"Did he kick you out?" Simonides asked his wife as she and Pamphilos came outside.
"Don't be silly," Aspasia said. "Oh, you got the camp ready. It looks lovely."
"Never mind that any decent host would have got us a place inside," Simonides pointed out. He simply didn't understand what his wife saw in her brother. To him Mechanikles had never been anything but a weak, deranged fool with ideas too big for him. Sure, the man knew how to build machines, but that was it. He had no other skills.
"I think this might be better in the long run. This is a charming place," Pamphilos said and pointed at the several cypress trees that grew on the grassy hill. "It's just like home."
"Yes, I noticed that too. He must miss Ikanos," Aspasia sighed. Simonides was more interested in how the freak had managed to make the trees grow in the desert. However, saying that out loud would have resulted in another argument, so he remained silent about it.
"Perhaps we should take him back, then," he suggested instead.
"Why do you say that?" Aspasia eyed him suspiciously and suddenly the soldier wished he hadn't said anything at all. "You know quite well he can never go back," his wife continued.
"That's only as long as certain people are in power," Simonides remarked. "But you're right, of course. It was stupid of me to speak of it."
Aspasia smiled. "Not at all. I know you don't like him but I appreciate the attempt to make me feel better," she said.
"So, what did he say to you?" Simonides asked, happy to be able to change the subject.
"I think he's letting us stay for the time being. You know, no matter how irritated he seems to be, I think a part of him is happy to have us here," Aspasia said.
"You, perhaps," Simonides said. He had no illusions about what the relationship between him and his brother-in-law was. The heated arguments he had had with the inventor back in Ikanos were still clear in his mind. Whether the subject had been how boys should be schooled or what they'd have for dinner, they had always disagreed.
Aspasia didn't say anything to that. Instead, she turned to Pamphilos. "How much food do we still have left? It would be rude to ask for anything to be prepared this late."
"Your brother wouldn't serve us anything in any case," Simonides said. Everyone ignored him.
"There's enough for this evening, but tomorrow we either need to rely on Mechanikles or go to buy something in the nearest town," Pamphilos said. Both options sounded good to Simonides. Aspasia was good at keeping the household in order, but she was a horrendous cook. During their long journey there had been times when he had almost been ready to swallow his pride and do women's work in order to have something edible in his hands.
"I doubt we need to worry. I heard there is a city called Agrabah nearby," Aspasia said. "Maybe Mechanikles would like to show us around later? I heard these desert kingdoms are fascinating."
To be continued…