They were alive, they were machines, metal and oil and steam and lightning, but they were alive. Jasmine knew. Ever since her confrontation with the Midnight Algorithm and her time in Pandemonium, Jasmine could feel ‘love’ the substance and matter which the magic and strangeness of Akkadia was derived from. Mechaniclese’s machines -which anywhere else were just well built puppets- here, had will and thought and intention. They had intention. As she hurtled, dove and cascaded through Polis Machina, they fired at her with spectacular cannons which exploded in rhapsodies of iridescence and fantastic violence. They soared and hurtled after her among the fortress’ towers and structures as she cut away at their violence itself with her broken sword, until she forced her way into the steel coliseum at the centre of this incredible place.
There he stood, the thin, wizened man who was master of steam and oil and lightning. Were he anyone else, he would have been thought a worker of wonders. Behind him erected an engine of some form, from which fumed iridescence and star dust, whilst above it, chained in mid air was what could have been an airborne whale, had it not been for its great tusks and long, stained glass tail which coiled through the air and into the bizarre battery below. The Caliginous Solution.
“Look at you.” Coughed Mechaniclese. “Hardly the helpless, privileged girl I remember.” Jasmine said nothing. The inventor sighs. “You want answers, but the problem is that I hate you. I hate you and that street rat and your geanie and rug so much, that I can imagine that I was born simply for the purpose of killing you.”
“And it’s because that’s all you feel, that you’ll always lose.” Jasmine says without malice.
“My hate makes me powerful! You see that’s the difference between me and Jafahr; you see, he loved you, that’s why he’s dead-”
“Jafahr loved no one and nothing!”
“Not true, he love Aghraba, by trying to elevate himself to Sultan and steal the geanie away from your precious street rat, he was trying acquire a pivotal military strength for your… quant city state- But you see, even that wasn’t enough to grant him victory! Mozehnwrath was no different, he didn’t hate you, he didn’t hate Aghraba, he simply didn’t trust you with a geanie! One of the most destructive powers in the unknown universe! You may have seen him as an enemy from where you were standing, but he was merely trying to secure Akkadia’s future!”
“At the expense of ours!”
“That’s why you have so many enemies! Don’t you see! That’s why! Your sense of entitlement! This assumption of yours that you can have the whole cosmos, that you’re entitled to it as long as you and that boy are infatuated with each other!” Mechaniclese cries out in frustration and desperation. “You think you’re the heroes- but, you’re villains! YOU ARE! You’re an invader! That’s what the people- even the ghosts of this country call you- invader! I can imagine what happened, your sacred Aladdin disappeared and you beseeched your kingdom to go search for him, but when they refused- because they were relieved to be free of that aberration to society and order; you armed yourself with a sword, shield and henna and set out on your terrible quest.”
“I’ve heard enough.” Jasmine takes a step forward.
“NO! No you haven’t! Do you know what he did to him? What Aladdin did to Mozehnwrath? He threw into a Midnight Algorithm!”
“He’s done far worse, all in the name of your bizarre, obsidian love! Stealing people’s dreams at night while they sleep, reading people’s thoughts and banishing them into the darkness!” Mechaniclese hissed and Jasmine was speechless. Thoughtless. She didn’t understand, at least she didn’t want to; perhaps she’d always known. Perhaps it was always that obvious. “I know you know, it’s him! The Adversary, the new geanie king-”
“-is Aladdin! Do you really think Mozehnwrath- do you really think anyone could have abducted him with that geanie around his waist? Aladdin invaded Akkadia with his geanie and carpet and laid waste! The people- the spirits, the monsters- nothing stood a chance against him! Armed with the magical abundance of the black sands, Aladdin’s geanie could grant unlimited wishes, perform terrible feat after terrible feat! Mohzenwrath had tasked me with developing a battery that could create geanies, so as to challenge him- I continue that task to this day… So, what do you have to say for yourself? For Aghraba? For your Aladdin? For your love, which has destroyed worlds?!” With that, the inventor’s arm rips and morphs into a rifle which discharges- Jasmine barely shifts her weight aside in time as the shot rips her arm clear off her body. She collapses. Mechaniclese approaches. “This time… I’m the hero!” Yet, before he can deliver the final shot, the oud tied to the invader’s back begins to play, without command or reason and as it does, in hymn of colour and rhyme, Jasmine’s limb reforms and she is able to stand.
“You- you were the Midnight Algorithm…” She whispers to the force that had saved her. Mechaniclese steps backward, shaking his head and gasping for air.
“A geanie…You possess a geanie!” He falls to his knees as Jasmine merely walks past him towards the battery chaining the wonder of the Caliginous Solution. “W-what are you doing?”
“You thought you could harness a geanie with all your hate. But I understand now, more than ever, what brings them into the world, is love.” The battery falls apart at her touch and the magnificent entity it has kept prisoner meets her eyes, where it takes refuge and is given a name. Her irises become iridescent and the henna which blooms across her skin, illuminates like the stars above them.
“So… two geanies… well princess Jasmine, what are you going to do with all that power? Join Aladdin and help your lover end the world?!” The brilliant, but broken inventor gasps as a pair of machines rush to his aid. To her eyes and to her oud, Jasmine places a wish.
“Take me to Babylon.” She says.
Series concludes this week! Look out for it here and on facebook #welcometoakkadia #heistories