It was three years later. Jafar had turned Agrabah around. The City Watch had taken on several more recruits, some of them unusual, but all of them dedicated to the city and shaping up to be good peacekeepers. Jafar's own reputation had changed significantly. Though the people still thought he was conniving and shifty, they realized that his obsession with ruling the city (something the people had always seen was there, even though the Sultan didn't) had faded somewhat. In fact, if he ever was going to take over the city, it seemed as if he had postponed it until the city was better. People even came to Jafar for help. Their opinion seemed to be that he was a snake, but he was their snake.
The Thieves' Guild prospered in Agrabah under the leadership of Kassim and Aladdin. In fact, the Thieves' Guild had gotten a reputation not only as a novel idea to decrease crime in the city, but as dashing adventurers who could steal anything. And so it was that Aladdin and Kassim set out to steal the genie lamp that Jafar had once been so interested in.
But as they were leaving the city, Aladdin and Kassim heard a fanfare.
"Make way! Make way! The Princess is on her way to the baths! None may see her!"
"Hide behind that pillar, son," said Kassim. Kassim managed to hide behind a pillar but Aladdin didn't. Instead, he ducked down to the ground, hoping the guards would not notice him or would at least think he was not looking at the Princess.
Instead, the Princess looked at him. She had opened the curtain of the chair slightly so that she could see out. Rumor had it that the Princess longed to get out of the palace and see the city for herself, but all she could ever manage was to sneak a peek out of her chair when being carried to the baths.
"Guards, who is that?" she asked.
"I believe it's Aladdin, one of the Thieves' Guild leaders."
"Thief! Where are you going, that you do not obey our heralds?"
"I am so very sorry, Princess," said Aladdin. "My father and I were on our way out of the city to search for the genie's lamp in the Cave of Wonders. I could not find anything to hide behind, so I ducked in hopes you would not notice me."
"Do you think I will punish you?" the Princess asked.
"…I am slightly afraid of that, yes," said Aladdin.
"Do not be. I will be on my way, and you can be off to steal the lamp." She winked at him and continued on her way.
"What just happened?" asked Aladdin.
"I think the Princess just flirted with you," said Kassim. "Come on, let's go get that lamp."
While they were searching for the lamp, the Princess returned to the palace.
"How are you, Princess?" asked Jafar when she entered the throne room.
"Well, thank you," she said. "I met Aladdin, of the Thieves' Guild. He said he was looking for a genie lamp."
"I have discussed the lamp with his father Kassim. Including the fact that it would be quite unintelligent to actually look for it."
"You have to send them a message and tell them not to do it!"
"I am considering that. The city would be worse off for the loss of those two Thieves." Jafar went over to his parrot's perch and told it, "Find Kassim and tell him not to go looking for the lamp."
Three days later, to the shock of everyone, Kassim and Aladdin returned to Agrabah and showed up in the palace the day Jafar was holding court (usually, he accompanied the Sultan, but on this day the Sultan was ill). Aladdin was holding the lamp.
"When I told my name to the Cave of Wonders, it let me in!" exclaimed Aladdin.
"Your parrot did find me and tell me not to look for the lamp," said Kassim, "but by the time it reached me, Aladdin was already in the Cave of Wonders."
"I only warned you away because I believed it would be too dangerous, and the city cannot afford to lose you. Incidentally, Princess Jasmine seems quite taken with you, Aladdin. We would be prepared to accept you as a suitor for her hand."
"But…only a Prince can marry a Princess," said Aladdin.
"You are the Prince of Thieves," said Jafar.
"Oh, come on! What kind of convenient loophole is this?" asked Aladdin.
"Of course, if you do not want to court the Princess, I will gladly remove your title."
"I had always thought you were trying to court her," said Kassim.
"She has made it quite clear that she will have me exiled if I try. Powerful though I am, I cannot go against the Sultan."
He clapped his hands and a woman servant rushed over. "Fetch me the Princess."
When the Princess entered the throne room with a light blue scarf over her hair, the first person she noticed was Aladdin.
"Hello again, brave young thief," she said. "Did you find the magic lamp?"
"Yes. I believe it will bring great prosperity to Agrabah." He was right. He used two wishes and freed the Genie, but even though the Genie was free, the lamp remained on display in a special chamber of the palace and people from near and far traveled to see it and hear the story, bringing fame to Agrabah and adding money to its thriving economy.
"Your father is still very worried about you, your Highness," Jafar told the princess. He had, of course, talked the Sultan into removing the time limit for the Princess to be married, after the girl had run away some time ago, but the Sultan was still determined to see his daughter marry a Prince before he died. Well, Jafar thought, he's about to have his wish come true.
"Oh, not that again! I have not liked any prince who came to Agrabah, and he knows that!"
"May I present…the prince of Thieves?" Jafar said, gesturing to Aladdin.
"I do believe Aladdin is an intelligent young man and good for the city," said the Princess, "and I would certainly not mind his courting me, but you have to convince Father."
"That I will."
Jafar was genuinely surprised by the Princess; she had grown from a rebellious, reckless girl into a young woman whose strong will was tempered by reason. She had decided to learn what she could about ruling the city, even though she could not leave the Palace. He would do all in his power to make sure the Prince of Thieves would be allowed to court her. After all, was the Thieves' Guild not Jafar's crowning achievement? He had lifted Kassim and Aladdin from the status of outlaws to that of civic leaders and heroes, and now, he would go one better. He would make them royalty. Having a Prince who was grateful to him, who knew exactly what could happen if the Grand Vizier were ever displeased with him…oh, yes, that was ideal. Especially alongside a Princess who had learned everything she knew about ruling the city from him.
A few days later, the courtship of Aladdin and Jasmine was announced to the whole city. As Jafar sat in the balcony with Sultan Hamed, he remembered the strange otherworldly journey that had, in a way, made all this possible. Over three years, he had learned it was far better to be vizier of a working city than sultan of a non-working one.
Although, he thought, I could always try being sultan of a working city.