He ran as far away as he could.
But, no matter how far he ran he couldn't run away from the betrayal burning in his chest. Every time he closed his eyes he could see those cold, uncaring eyes. Every time he took a breathe he could taste the smoke. With every step he took further and further away from Balbadd, his home, he could feel the heat of the flames that had licked at his skin and the faint ache of the injury that knocked him blissfully unconscious for the rest of that horrific evening.
(Why would Kassim do this to him? They were friends. Brothers in all but blood. Did Alibaba truly mean so little to him that he would betray his trust in such a way?)
The world around him was a blur.
He didn't know where he was going.
All he knew was that he had to keep moving.
(Perhaps if he got far enough away the pain would stop, and the tears no longer fall.)
He considers briefly stopping in the desert. The Cart Driver had taken a shine to him and offered him a job, but he refused, unable to shake the apathetic haze that had seemed to separate himself from the rest of the world like a thin veil.
Alibaba kept running.
As far as his little pouch of coins, a parting gift from Sahbmad shoved into his protesting hands, would take him.
(It was all he was good at. He was just fooling himself in the palace. Learning all those silly things, trying to earn the respect of those around him. The respect of that distant, unreachable King who called himself his father. In the end, he was just a scared street rat. The only thing he truly knew how to do was run.)
He traveled the plains. He saw the world through hazy eyes. Distant from everyone. Scared to reach out. Scared to care. In fear of being burned again.
(Kassim's eyes were so, so cold. Empty of the warmth and brotherhood Alibaba thought they shared.)
Of course eventually his frantic running was forced to a stop as his carefully managed coins finally ran out.
With a soft sigh he deposited the last of his money into the cart drivers hand. Finally, he turn his full attention outwards and shook off that veil of apathy with slight regret at the loss of his protection. The world he found awaiting him was unfamiliar and strange.
He paused and glanced at the cart driver.
"Um, where exactly am I?"
He received a strange look in return.
"Kou. You're in the Kou Empire."
What is this? I honestly don't know. Where is this going? Also have no idea. My fingers just wandered for a bit. But, basically I had an interesting thought about Alibaba going all the way to Kou after he ran away from Balbadd when Kassim broke into the palace and the king died. I dunno I just thought it'd be interesting to see him navigate and deal with Kou, specifically the royal family, while still being a nobody at this point.