Arin the Genie Chapter 7 Carnival Part 2
Arin opened her eyes to see the bright day. She stretched a bit feeling stiff and lightheaded from being a plush cushion. They were in an alley, and she could hear the low roar of a celebration not too far from where they stood. She stuck her head out to see a crowded main street with lively music filling the air. This must be Cologne. The buildings all seemed relatively post-modern than she expected with a few exceptions like the old cathedral and an archway that a parade passed through. Before she could investigate further, she heard moaning behind her. The genie turned to see Max rising from behind a dumpster. He rubbed his head. “Ow… she dropped me on the dumpster on purpose? She teleported us so quick.”
“You okay?” Arin asked helping him up.
She noticed Max was snickering. She put her hand on her hip, “What’s funny? Is there something wrong with my face?”
Max poofed a mirror for her to see herself, Arin got a good look at herself and her face flushed fiercely. Her usual genie clothes were replaced by thicker, wool clothes styled after the cushion she was before. She poofed her genie clothes back to normal her face flushed with embarrassment that she didn’t notice until now, “Quiet you.”
“Of course,” He said, “It wasn’t that funny.”
Arin’s scowl changed into a smile. “So what’s our next move?”
Max winked, "We dress up. I vote cowboy.”
Arin crossed her arms confused and wondering if she should be offended, “Why cowboy?”
“So what, I like cowboys. It’s a popular costume in Germany, and did you really expect me to suggest something like lederhosen?” Max explained.
Arin was not convinced, “Well isn’t wearing a cowboy outfit for me like you wearing lederhosen? Stereotypical and such like that.”
“Just trust me on this.” Max replied confidently. “I follow your lead at your home, and you follow mine at mine. Sprichst du Deutsch?”
“Um… no… Cowboys it is then!” Arin acknowledged his point, “Eh, what the hell I haven’t dressed up like a Cowgirl since like my fifth birthday!”
Both genies then poofed clothes on themselves that fit their idea of cowboys. Romanization aside they both looked great! Max went for a dark brown Stetson, a duster, blue jeans and a leather vest. He did a mock Clint Eastwood steely stare and nailed it. Arin blinked herself into a long leather skirt a white, shoulderfree blouse and a leather vest. Of course, she wore a Stetson hat too. Both let their ears show but the costumes made them more excusable.
“Let's paint faces. It's custom for German carnival.” Max proposed and he magically summoned a paint brush, “This brush changes color to whatever the holder wants.” He painted Arin’s cheeks with a red flames, then passed it to her so she could paint his face. Since Arin remembered Max was a fan of the Borussia Dortmund soccer club, she painted a BVB logo on one cheek and a bee on the other; then, they stepped out into the street with the other partiers.
The big carnival parade was going on. A group of Funkenmariechen majorettes, who reminded Arin of Cheerleaders, marched down the street somersaulting and tossing each other into the air. They were followed by marching bands and by many colorful floats. Some of them were silly and others political satire. Costumed people threw candy from other floats,. To Arin, this was a whole new experience and she liked it. It reminded her of Halloween.
"Wanna have a Kräbbel?" Max asked.
"What's a Kräbbel?" Ari asked.
Max grinned, "It's a tasty pastry, a bit like your donuts. But filled with jam."
"Sounds delicious! I'll try one."
Max blinked and two Kräbble appeared in his hands. He passed one to Arin. It tasted great. She gazed across the crowd amazed at the colorful costumes. There was one that was like an old hag with a wooden mask that scared her!
“That’s a Hexen costume,” Max explained pulling her away, “from Alemannische Fasnet in south Germany.”
“You know this place well?” Arin inquired putting her arm in his.
He kept up his cool cowboy persona. “I came here a lot when I was younger. I’m from the Ruhr district, where we are now.”
Arin took the part of a fun seeking cowgirl, “You know of any fun places to go?”
Max winked locking arms with her, “Sure!
Max took her towards a nightclub.“I barely recognize this place! It’s fun though. We shouldn’t forget our mission. Maybe our target is in here?”
Arin nodded. “We can start here and work our way through the city. We can poof around if we have to.”
A DJ played a mix of current pop songs, like Bruno Mars or Katy Perry and more modernized versions of German carnival songs, like "Die Karawane zieht weiter, der Sultan hat Durst."
She leaned close to shout into his ear “I can’t believe we are like secret agents or something!”
Max smiled and leaned close to whisper into hers, “Wanna dance?”
She nodded and they ventured out onto the dance floor and danced to the upbeat songs. Arin cannot remember the last time she had this much fun dancing like this! After losing themselves on the dance floor, they went aside to take a break. Max volunteered to get them water. While Arin stood against the wall alone she saw some suspicious characters pass her.
At the lead was an Arabian man with a slick suit and cane, he carried a gentlemanly demeanor. Following behind him were two women both petite and lithe. The first looked like she was dressed as a veiled Oryental dancer for carnival but Arin noted the manacles around her wrists, possibly marking her as a bound genie. Her long raven hair covered the tell tale sign of her pointed ears.
There was another with a cloth Columbina mask and stage white make up covering her face. The lavender clad harlequin woman moved with the grace of an acrobat. Arin suspected she was a bound genie as well as evidenced by the gold bangles she wore. Suit wearing body guards flanked the elaborately dressed women. They reached the curved stairs to the VIP lounge. The leader showed his pass and the employee let him in. The Arabian cast a glance to Arin and the genie diverted her gaze trying to look less suspicious.
Arin lead Max over to the side where the music blared less. “I think that’s our guy, Abdullah Al'Hazred.”
Max caught a glimpse before he went upstairs, “You sure?”
Arin nodded, “About 99%. I think those girls with him are genies.”
Max tugged down on the brim of his hat, “Alright, well how can we get in there? Do we teleport or do we sneak in? We could-”
Suddenly, the Oryantal dancer returned and glanced to Arin her face covered by a veil, but her eyes full of desperation. “Please, you must help me! Another genie and me are being held by an evil man who wants to capture genies and sells them.”
Max comforted Afet. “There’s your 1%”
The dancer grasped Max's arms desperately. “Please help me, my name is Afet and I want to be free of him.”
Max gave her the steely stare of a movie cowboy like he wanted to his whole life. "Lead the way."
Arin did not jump so eagerly to the damsel’s side. “Wait, how are you here telling us this? I doubt if he was as controlling as you claim that he would allow you off on your own.”
Afet bowed her head. “I made a clone from shadow and slipped away. I know you have to be drifter genies so please help your fellow djinn.”
Arin smiled with vindication that her trick had some use. The two drifters followed the bound genie. However, questions still rang in Arin’s mind. So, she extended her magic into her shadow but kept it on the ground for now. She took them upstairs. When the guard for the stairs saw her, he let the group pass. "Okay so what's the plan?"
"He's been drinking.” Afet explained, “That's how I got away so easily. We'll sneak in and take him down. The room is soundproof so we can get away with it."
They opened the door into the room ready to go. The circular soundproof room was large enough to fit all of them comfortably and had a fan to keep it from heating up. However, Abdullah Al'Hazred sat with a smirk without a single drink near him. His harlequin genie stood behind him massaging his shoulders. His guards flanked him holding He had a briefcase beside his chair. Al'Hazred clapped, “Good work Afet, now capture them.”
The dancer Afet surprised Max and pushed him into the wall with practiced speed. He slammed into it face first grunting in pain. The dancer pinned his arm behind him. However, Max changed into smoke and reformed behind her. He pinned her arm behind her. A yellow glow emanated around him with as he used his powers to keep hers contained.One of the guards clenched his fists in anger seeing Afet caught but he remained at his boss’s side as Arin gathered her hands together and formed a ball of genie magic.
Arin fired it at the jester, but she just tilted and avoided it. She then fired her own. Arin strafed and fired again. The jester leaned back to avoid it and countered with her own. Arin rolled out of the way and managed to rise up readjusting her hat. She fired another blast. The Harlequin flipped aside while the blast flew past her and hit one of the guards. The guard compressed as his body became redder until he plopped down a plush pillow onto the ground. Arin sighed in relief at one less obstacle between her and her goal. He was just in the way. However, she recalled memories of her time in his position and felt remorseful. Al'Hazred and the other guard balked. The jester laughed, “Ha! Nice.”
Arin fired another magical blasted at Al'Hazred now that she had a bigger opening. The last body guard dove aside afraid of the fate of standing in the way like his now plush colleague. Just before the magic hit him, Al'Hazred held out his fist with a shiny ring and that dissipated the magic when it hit. The ring countered genie magic! The guard got up relieved.
The harlequin leaped over Al'Hazred and somersaulted to Arin before the cowgirl could charge another blast. The harlequin delivered a powerful kick knocking Arin down. Arin barely managed to hold onto her hat as she fell to the floor. Arin fired another blast of magic up at the jester above her, but the jester leaned back to avoid it and countered with her own. Arin rolled out of the way and managed to rise up readjusting her hat. She fired another blast. The Harlequin flipped aside while the blast flew past her and hit the ceiling.
The other guard charged Max when he saw the opening and events were turning against them. Max directed his aura at the guard making him fall into a deep sleep. That split second allowed Afet to poof into smoke and slip out of Max’s aura. She reappeared and tossed a ball of magic at the Rheinlander genie point blank. Max’s outfit changed to his out harem outfit plus a veil and Afet returned the favor by locking Max in her aura. He was forced to copy her pose, and when she danced Max was forced to follow her movements like a puppet. Music magically filled the air. It drowned out Max’s grunts muffled by the veil.
“Good work Afet,” Alhazred said, “Now, just one more to deal with!”
With everyone else fighting incapacitated save for herself, the jester, and Al'Hazred who watched the struggles like a Roman emperor.
Arin panted, tired from the fight but she maintained her focus on her opponent. The harlequin mimed yawning. She was mocking the red headed genie! Arin’s rage boiled her hair rising like flames. Sparks crackled around her. The Jester stared curiously. Arin held out her hands separately and changed magic in each, “I’m done playing games!”
The Harlequin balanced on one leg and leaned forward. She winked at Arin, “I’m not!”
Arin threw each ball of magic at her opponent! The harlequin somersaulted behind the Arabian’s chair. The jester holds her panicking master firmly keeping him still. She reached down to his hand and swiped his ring before he could react. Arin saw this and let loose her magic focusing it at Alhazred.
Without his ring, the magic engulfed the Arabian man. The jester pushing him out of the chair giving him room as his body changed. Fur covered his body. His form grew longer and thinner as his clothes vanished revealing a fluffy tail. His face stretched forward into a muzzle his ears growing longer and his nose into a wet canine one. Arin changed him into a Saluki dog! The new dog howled and cowered tail between its legs and its paws over its face trying to hide. The Harlequin poofed a playing card suite decorated leash around his neck, “Nice!”
As soon as Alhazred became a dog, Afet changed into smoke and floated into the suitcase. This freed Max from her aura and he ripped off the veil understandably angry. He snapped restoring his cowboy attire. Arin remained ready to fight. However, the jester held up a hand then gave Alhazred’s leash to Arin, “I did not think of making him a dog. I am done fighting. Thanks for getting him. Trust me, I have no love for him.”
The jester genie twirled the anti-magic ring in her fingers genie and went over to the guard turned pillow. “Same with him. Well, guess he’s yours now.” She tossed the pillow to Arin who caught it with her free hand and cradled him in her arm. Now that this affair was over, she should restore him. She was too drained to do it now though. Next chance she got, she would turn him back to normal. Max stormed over to the suitcase and opened it revealing an incense bottle and a Venetian wine bottle. He took out the wine bottle and held it out to the jester. “Yours I presume.”
She nodded and took it, “Thank you! These bracelets are a fashion statement, I am a drifter as well but I needed to fool Alhazred.”
“Huh, Clever.” Arin commented.
Max held up the incense bottle, “What do we do with her?”
The jester took it as well and waltzed over to the sleeping guard. “I don’t know if you noticed, but I know these two are having a cute connection. Shall we leave them to it?”
Arin hesitated then nodded, “Yes, give them a chance to work without someone baring over them.”
Max sighed a bit sad to see Afet go unpunished after what she did, “Fine, do it. Whom am I to get in the way of that. She didn’t seem to like Alhzared really she just had to follow orders.
The jester giggled, “This could be fun!”
The harlequin then turned to the other genies again. They looked to the harlequin nervous and she giggled before speaking with a flourishing bow, “Lucrezia at your service.”
Max looked to her suspiciously, “Like Lucrezia Borgia?”
“Just kidding!” She chortled, “Antonietta is my name! Who sent you here?”
“We sent ourselves.” Arin replied coolly, “Who wants to know?”
Antonietta giggled and poofed some balls to juggle. “Oh, don’t worry silly I won’t tell no one. I promise.”
Arin nodded, “We are drifters as well, Alhazred pissed off the wrong people. How about you let us take our dog and we’ll let you be on your way.”
The harlequin nodded as she stood up on him merging all of the balls into one and bowed. “Go ahead, I’ll clean up around here.”
Arin shrugged, “Sure. We won’t tell anyone we saw you here.”
“I like you!” The jester genie giggled as she poofed a card into her gloved hand and tossed it to the two. It drifted lazily to Max who easily caught it.. Arin glanced to see the Joker card had her likeness on it. It looked like a pass she used to pass to the genie realm, or maybe it would take her to this Antonietta?
“My card, for free” She said her mask seeming to grin wider than before, “I hope we meet again.”
Arin tugged on Alhazred’s leash gently prompting it the dog stand and moved the guard cushion under her arm, “I say we go somewhere quiet.”
Max gave an exhausted smile, “I know the perfect place.”
He had one last teleport in him and brought them to the Rheinwiesen, a meadow on the banks of Rhine River. The cowboy genie laid down exhausted, “I’ve had enough of dancing for the rest of my life.”
Arin sat up on the cushion one knee folded against herself and the other knee against the ground. She petted the whining Saluki dog between his ears. The dog calmed down and its tail wagged with increasing speed. She removed his leash but then closed her fist forming a red collar around his neck and in her fist sat a matching bar. An unseen tether tied the collar to the bar. Alhzared the dog discovered that he could go as he pleased but he felt any pull from Arin like a fish on a hook.
She let the dog run around nearby. “I don’t blame you.”
Max folded his arms behind him and relaxed. “You have an affinity for transformation.”
Arin sighed, “Seems like I do.”
Max glanced over to her, “It’s nothing to be ashamed of.”
Arin shrugged, “I suppose I was tired of life being unchangeable as a human. As a genie, I can determine my fate. An obstacle comes into my way? I can make it disappear. Life as a human was defined by limits. As a genie, I can break them. Or, in our case, change them for the better.”
Max nodded, “I understand. It’s easy to get lost in your own power. Just don’t forget what they say about absolute power.”
Arin nodded laying down too resting her head on the pillow, “Arin sighed, “Yes. Well, I suppose we will go to Genie Realm and deliver Alhazred?”
Max twisted over facing her and when the dog came back to them laying down between them. He pet the dog’s neck, “There’s nothing I want more right now."