A/N Finally the mystery DP AU is revealed! Sorry for the punny name, but if they ever made a DP episode that was centered around this kind of thing, you know that it would be called Arabian Flights. As I have it planned out, it is eighteen LONG chapters, including prologue and epilogue.
Disclaimer: Neither Danny Phantom nor Aladdin belong to me. This story does, though, so plagarize and have your pants sued off.
Diamond in the Rough
A cloaked figure waited impatiently in the dark of night, the piercing glow of his eyes barely concealed. The wind kicked up the sand in all directions, whipping it around fast enough to leave any unfortunate passerby with a dangerous burn or blindness, but the man in the cloak felt nothing. He chose not to, so he didn't. He could see the edge of the desert from where he floated, scanning for any signs of activity, for anyone coming his way. No one yet.
He licked his lips slowly in anticipation, his tongue gliding smoothly over his fangs as he continued to watch the horizon. The sandstorm would have made seeing anything difficult, but he had ways around it. In the distance, he spotted the rough outline of a short, squat man, quickly flying out into the storm. He smiled crookedly; this was the man he had been waiting for.
The buffoonish lackey (for that is what he was) flew up beside the cloaked man, a seemingly expensive box in his hands; gold leaflet surrounded the body of the box and its lid held an emerald clasp, as big as a horse's eye. The buffoon's red eyes scanned the area for his emplyer, but to no avail; the cloaked one smirked as he once again became visible. "I assume," he drawled, "that it is in that box?"
"The box ghost, controller of all things square and cubical, has indeed acquired that which you ask of!" the buffoon shouted over the now raging sandstorm. His voice contained a hint of idiocy that allowed the man in the cloak to grin wider; this poor fool really had no idea of what he was being asked to do. But then he would simply be doing the rest of the world a favor. The box ghost was a constant annoyance to everyone who had ever met him.
The ghost carefully opened the box, almost in reverence, to reveal a thick lining of plush red velvet. But nothing else. "You fool!" the cloaked man yelled in rage, his eyes nearly bugging out of their sockets. "Where is it? Where?"
"Do not yell! It was merely a precaution," the dimwitted ghost replied. The cloaked one raised an eyebrow; perhaps this ghost was smarter than he had let on. The box ghost quickly lifted the invisibility around the object, half of a pocketwatch. The numbers lining the rim of the watch were written in glowing green and the hands were a bloody red. The smooth contours of the gold were sharply interrupted by the jagged lines from where the other half had been torn away. The man in the cloak reached into one of his pockets, withdrawing a similar object that was only slightly smaller than the one held before him in the ornate box.
"Well done." He reached his hand out for the other half, the half that he had been waiting decades to finally attain, before the box ghost ripped the box away from the cloaked man's reach.
"My payment?" The cloaked figure scowled and reached into his other pocket. He pulled out a glowing emerald, one that nearly eclipsed the brightness of the half-moon above them. Giving this precious jewel to the buffoon, he snatched away the other half before the ghost could do anything about it, roughly pushing the halves together.
The cloaked man and the box ghost both watched, entranced, as the pocketwatch began to glow. It hovered about three inches above the cloaked man's hands before shooting off deeper into the desert. He stood stock still for a single moment before he zoomed off towards it, calling to the box ghost behind him. "Follow it, fool!"
It zipped across the sands with the two men following close behind it. The storm continued to rage, but neither felt anything; both were so absorbed in the race that they were oblivious to the exact direction in which they were flying. The chase finally ended at a large sand dune where the pocketwatch dove into the sand, much to the chagrin of the box ghost.
"BEWARE THE WRATH OF THE BOX GHOST!" he bellowed. "We race across the desert for THIS?"
"Patience," snapped the cloaked man as he eyed the dune. He knew what would happen; he had been expecting it. His eyes widened slightly as the two halves resurfaced on opposite sides of the dune. The earth shook as a giant circle arose from the sand; roman numerals, twelve of them, were strategically placed around the circle so as to resemble a clock. Where a large VI should have been was a doorway, an entrance. The cloaked man smirked crookedly. This was it.
He glanced over at the slackjawed box ghost. "The Sands of Time," he whispered, watching the ghost's expression change to one of more confusion than usual.
"That is a legend," the ghost replied, obviously not believing his own words. He merely gazed at the giant clock, his mouth still open and his eyes wider than usual.
"After all my years of searching," the cloaked man hoarsely whispered to himself, low enough that the buffoon could not hear his words. "I've finally found it." Turning to the box ghost, he said, "Remember what you are here to do. You know what I require; the rest is yours."
The box ghost nodded and hesitantly floated forward toward the entrance of the giant clock. He peered into the entrance, seeing a golden reflection. Probably from all of the boxed treasures, he thought greedily.
As he floated his head in through the entranceway, it began to move, seeming rather like a large mouth. "Who dares enter the Sands of Time?" it boomed, the II and the X on its face glowing like two jaded emerald eyes.
The box ghost simply trembled for a moment before regaining his senses. "I am the BOX GHOST!" he bellowed, sounding like the fool he was. "Master of all things square and cubical!" In truth, he was acting much braver than he felt. The ghost had never felt at ease with something so round; he had never admitted this to anyone, but he was actually afraid of inanimate objects that were not square. Especially when they became inexplicably animate.
Two and ten glared at the ghost, narrowing before the clock spoke again. "Know this. Only one may enter here, a specter whose worth lies within his kindhearted soul. He knows no malevolence; instead, he seeks to help others. A true diamond in the rough."
The box ghost glanced worriedly back at his employer, who merely hissed, "What are you waiting for, fool?" The ghost gulped and ventured towards the gaping doorway. He made no sound as he glided across the sand, the storm finally having quieted down. The specter paused at the entryway, looking down to see a stairway forming in the sand. Then it is me! he thought gleefully as he floated happily into the clock.
An earsplitting shriek filled the air as the clock collapsed upon itself, taking the box ghost with it. The cloaked man could see the green aura around the dissolving clock; the box ghost was now little more than a pile of ashes. The sand settled into a dune once more, the halves once more broken on either side of it; the cloaked man simply grinned a twisted smile. "Well that takes care of one problem."
Obviously, he couldn't enter it himself; the cloaked figure knew that he was far too malevolent to ever be considered worthy enough to enter the Sands of Time. "Only one may enter here," he mused quietly, not noticing the sandstorm kicking up again. "A diamond in the rough."