Posts Tagged ‘Crossover AU’

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Hawaii Pt. 10

September 4, 2021

In the morning, something happened that had not happened in days. Jumba came out of the underground lab. He was carrying Maui’s hook and he carefully set it down on the table as Maui, Moana, and Adam were having breakfast. Maui instantly snatched it up, obviously happy to have it back in his sights.

“Not a scratch on it,” Jumba said. The alien looked tired and Moana watched him some concern at first but knew that Jumba would not have accepted her fretting over him. Jumba had similar bravado to Maui. It was easy to spot but not exactly easy to deal with.

“Of course not,” Moana said. “It’s fine.” She put a little force into her voice to try and convince Maui to not worry so much. For all of his bravado, Moana knew that her friend could be very insecure. Out of every mortal creature in her whole world, Moana actually knew the demigod the best. The bond they had formed was strong.

“Uh huh,” Maui said with some doubt in his eyes. He was looking over the hook in minute detail, determined to find any slight bit of damage. He got up from the table and started using the hook to transform into various animals. Each transformation was very sudden and startling and Adam tried to keep calm watching it. Moana seemed to be used to it and ignored it. Adam tried to do the same.

“Did the hook help you figure anything out?” Adam asked, getting to the real topic at hand.

Jumba’s face brightened a bit from its usual stoic expression. “Yes!” he said excitedly. “I discovered many things. This object has opened many doors in my studies.”

Maui transformed back into his musclebound humanoid self and managed to tear his eyes away from his hook. “Anything specific to what we’re dealing with?” he asked. He sat back down at the table. He seemed to be back on mission once he was sure that the hook was intact.

“Oh yes,” Jumba said and put a small disc-shaped object down on the table. He smiled slightly and looked at the three sitting at the table. They looked at the device and then they all looked back at Jumba. They stared at each other for a few beats.

“What is it?” Adam asked, looking dubious. He leaned over momentarily to get a closer look. If he was still The Beast, he might have sniffed it. Since his arrival, he had seen a lot of strange so-called technology. It was all still very new to him. Magic had seemed much simpler in his world but somehow more wondrous. Moana seemed to be better adapted to it all but Adam looked at her and she was just as clueless.

“It is a tracker for the source of the transformation magic,” Jumba said. He pressed a button in the center of the device and a blinking arrow appeared and then started pointing in a direction away from the city. “Magic is over there. Apparently.” He stepped back and looked proud.

“That’s great, Jumba!” Moana said. “Now we can hunt down whoever or whatever is doing this and maybe fix things around here. Maybe we can even get everybody back to where they belong.” She took a deep breath. “One step at a time. Let’s finish eating and then we’ll get out there.” She started to eat her breakfast again. She was excited to solve the mystery and save the day but she knew that she had to take care of herself.

“We’re going to make somebody hurt,” Maui said. “Fuel up for beast mode, Adam.” He punched Adam’s shoulder playfully. Adam tried to smile. He was still not completely at ease with his inner beast especially when it became his outer beast. He was not sure if he knew how to control the transformation.

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Agrabah Pt. 7

July 31, 2021

With the help of Genie and Elsa, the locks on the cells opened much more easily. Jasmine let them do the opening and was one of the people who comforted and helped the prisoners adjust to being conscious again. There was no way of telling how long people had been left in suspension in these cells. She woke up a young woman named Namaari who raged desperately until she was reunited with her girlfriend. There were two little boys named Luca and Alberto who looked like fish one moment and then like humans the next. An impossibly muscular man in armor named Hercules. There were five fairies of various sizes. Three were dressed in blue, one in green, one in red, and one who was tiny enough that it was hard to see her clearly when she lit up. They were assembling a small army

Jasmine found a box nearby and climbed up onto it to get her head above the crowd. “Everybody, please listen!” she called out. Nobody turned toward her.

Genie turned his thumb into a whistle and blew into it, letting the shrill sound echo through the cavernous space.

“Thank you,” Jasmine said, her ears ringing a bit. “I’m glad that you are all free. We will figure out some way to get you all to where you belong. For now, you are in the middle of a desert outside of my home, Agrabah. I am Jasmine. We need to clear out this facility and stop these people. I recommend that we apprehend and not kill these people. Please. Those who can fight, scour the building. Those who can’t, please find someplace out of the way. Everybody keep an eye out for some sort of magic to get us home.”

Everybody started to move in a more orderly manner. Jasmine hopped down from her box and picked a direction to head in herself.

“Jasmine,” Genie said, floating beside her. “Don’t you think you should rest? Leave the heavy lifting to the rest of us. You’ve earned it.”

“Thank you, Genie,” Jasmine said. “but I won’t rest until I get Aladdin back.”

“Al’s missing?” Genie asked. “Say no more. We’ll find him together.”

Jasmine walked down a hallway while Genie floated. They turned a corner and there was a very angry hooded woman standing there.

“You!” the woman yelled. “You’re one of the people who ruined things here.”

Jasmine’s eyes narrowed. “And who might you be?” she asked. “The warden of this prison perhaps?”

“My name is Mother Gothel,” the woman said. “All prisoners belong in their cells. We’ll see if we can find you one.”

“That will not happen,” Jasmine said. “No more cages and I will not be taken prisoner again.”

“Then you will die,” Gothel said and produced a knife.

“Genie,” Jasmine said with a calm smile forming on her lips. “Apprehend her.”

Genie smirked and cracked his knuckles but before he could act, Gothel pointed at him and he evaporated. Jasmine was stunned but was forced to get over it quickly as Gothel lunged with the knife. Jasmine had brought her sword and raised it to block the slash. She then thrust her shoulder into the older woman to push her back and took two big steps backward to create distance. The two circled each other. Jasmine could sense that Gothel was not a practiced fighter when it came to a straight-up physical fight. She was a magician and judging by her anger she was used to being in control. Being caught off guard had made Gothel unbalanced and unpredictable.

Gothel lashed out again and again. Suddenly, Jasmine lost her footing and tumbled to the stone floor. She lost her grip on the sword, sending it sliding out of reach. This was a painful reminder that Jasmine was also not really a seasoned fighter although she was quickly learning. Gothel approached rapidly, a decidedly evil laugh starting to echo through the room. Jasmine raised her hand as if to ask for mercy she knew that would not come. With a flash, a blue sword formed in her hand and she blocked Gothel’s shot, much to both of their surprise. The sword dissolved and the blue stretched up Jasmine’s arm, making it enormous and muscular. She punched Gothel and the villain was out like a light.

Jasmine’s arm returned to normal and the blue smoke stretched and grew into Genie’s form.

“Sorry,” Genie said. “it took me a bit to pull myself back together but you did great, kid.”

“Thank you for the assist, Genie,” Jasmine said. “It looks like there are some scattered papers and journals here. Let’s gather them up and bring them back to the others. There may be some clue to the magic for traveling beyond our world.”

“I’ll carry, you lead the way,” Genie said, starting to scoop everything up carefully.

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Hawaii Pt. 8

June 5, 2021

Adam hesitated when Maui asked him for his story point blank but part of changing for the better was confronting the past straight on. He took a deep breath.

“I was a wealthy prince in the countryside of France,” he said. “I was arrogant, I was pushy, and I was practically begging for karma. Finally, it showed up in the form of an enchantress. She appeared in the form of a beggar so I had my servants turn her away. She repaid me by cursing me to live forever in that beast form that you saw earlier. She also cursed all of my servants to become all of the furniture and objects in the castle. If I did not find true love, we would all remain in our cursed forms forever.”

“What happened?” Moana asked. “Obviously, you broke the curse. Well, sort of.”

Adam nodded. Here came the worst part. “I took a woman hostage and kept her in my castle. I’m not proud of it. It was a horrible thing to do and no explanation could excuse my behavior. I bullied her, I raged at her, and I treated her horribly while my servants were courteous and kind. Her kindness and compassion softened my heart especially since I did not deserve it. She broke the spell and freed me and I’ve been trying since to make it up to her and be a better person.”

“Except you can still turn into that beast,” Maui said. “What’s that about?” It was a good question. It definitely gave Adam pause. He spent a lot of time in his own head but he easily recognized that he was not very wise. He rarely had the answer. He paid people to have the answer.

“I don’t know,” Adam said with a sigh. “Magic never really made any sense to me. Maybe I still need the Beast for now. Maybe this time the Beast will get me back to Belle.”

“Maybe,” Moana said. “or maybe once we fix things, you’ll go back to normal. That happened on my adventure.” She thought of how a little bit of compassion

“Our adventure,” Maui said, feeling a compulsion to correct her.

“Yeah, I guess you did some things too,” Moana said, gently teasing the demigod. “and now we’re a trio. We’re going to solve this thing and get things back to normal. Well, as normal as they ever are.”

“All those people out there are cursed like I was,” Adam said. “Turned into animals. We need to reverse the curse and set them free. I know how they must feel.”

“Too bad they can’t just turn back like I can,” Maui said, raising his hook for a moment. Moana caught sight of the hook and her eyes widened with a sudden realization. That look made Maui as nervous as it did from the beginning. He had learned not to underestimate her.

“Maybe they can,” Moana said. “but you’re going to have to let Pleakley and Jumba study your hook.”

“My hook!?” Maui yelled. “You must be crazy.”

“She’s right,” Adam said. “If that thing lets you change into animals and back then maybe it can help all of those people.” He shrugged. It seemed as good an idea as any.

“This ‘thing’ is a gift from the Gods,” Maui said indignantly. “It’s not a toy. It’s mine. I went through a lot to get it back.” He looked at Moana and crossed his arms. “We went through a lot to get it back.” It meant a lot that Maui was sharing credit. It almost never happened.

“We’ll make sure they’re careful with it,” Moana said. “It won’t be damaged again.”

Maui sighed. “If it will help, they can study it,” he said. “But I will watch their every movie.”

“Deal,” Moana said with a little laugh. “Thank you.” That thank you was genuine and heartfelt. Maui was close to her heart even if he could be a total goof and a selfish pig sometimes.

“You’re welcome,” Maui said gruffly before rolling his eyes and smiling. “Maui to the rescue again.”

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Atlantica Pt. 8

May 29, 2021

Belle pointed excitedly at a page in the book she had been reading. “Come and look at this, Ariel,” she said. “It’s like Milo said from one of his interviews. There are all sorts of things in here about Hades.” It had been days but the two women had continued to study with the support of Milo and the Professor. Tiana had brought meals directly to the library eventually. It had been a long road but finally, there was a glimmer of hope in the book sitting on the table in front of Belle.

“Hades?” Ariel asked, walking over to look at the page Belle was pointing at. “The God of the Underworld that a few of our guests mentioned terrorizing that place called Greece?”

“Exactly,” Belle said. “I actually remember reading about him back in my world as well. He presides over all of those who have passed away. It’s his job to keep them forever.” She had read every book in her village and every book in the library that Adam had gifted her. So many fantastic tales that felt much less fantastic now.

“It seems he let Ursula slip by on his watch,” Ariel said. “and whoever Ursula is working with as well.” They knew at least one of her cohorts. Maleficent, the fairy that had tormented Aurora. There were probably others. Not to mention the new tricks that Ursula had picked up, like that hideous shadow she had tortured Sebastian with.

Belle pointed at the page. “I think they could have done it with this,” she said. “The Ring of Hades. It can open up the gates of the Underworld. After that, they would just need to walk back to the land of the living. I think.”

“It seems like a good enough theory to me,” Ariel said. “If we can zero in on that ring, maybe we can find whoever is responsible for all of this.”

“That makes sense,” Belle said. “We’re not going to get much farther in this siege that Ursula has the castle under. Right?”

“Right,” Ariel said. “Our forces are tired and outmatched. We need a new path.”

“So we invoke the ring and we go wherever it leads us,” Belle said. “The problem is that I have no idea how to do that. I’ve been reading about magic but I have no talent for it myself.”

“I’ve practiced some,” Ariel said. “I studied under my father and I researched Ursula’s things when she was dead. I wanted to make sure I was ready if it ever happened again. The magic I learned is the only thing keeping this castle fortified against Ursula’s magic and the Unfortunate clamoring at the gates.”

“I’m thankful that you learned then,” Belle said. “Magic was nothing but trouble in my world but I suppose if the Enchantress had used her power more positively and less spitefully, we would have been better off.”

“Who is the Enchantress?” Ariel asked, curiosity shining in those big blue eyes.

“Oh!” Belle said with some surprise. “I got a little lost for a moment. The Enchantress was a woman who cursed my husband before I met him. I never met her but she had to be very powerful.” She had transformed an entire household with a single curse, she must have been impressive.

“I wish she was on our side,” Ariel said. “We could use her right about now.”

“I’m more than confident relying on you,” Belle said. “No more wild cards. Please.”

“I guess I can’t disagree with you there,” Ariel said. “So, maybe I can conjure up some sort of path or gateway out of here.”

“Using the ring as a focus maybe,” Belle said. “and we can get to the heart of the matter before things go any further.”

“We’ll assemble a group in case we actually manage to succeed in leaving this world,” Ariel said. “Aurora and Esmerelda will suffice, I think.”

“Agreed,” Belle said. “I’m not much for fighting and those two seem to be much better in a physical fight.”

“Then we’ll make an attempt tomorrow after lunch,” Ariel said. “In the meantime, we need to design the ritual and get the research completed.”

“You had me at research,” Belle said. “I’m at your service.”

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Agrabah Pt. 6

March 20, 2021

Jasmine, Naveen, and Kuzco stepped back with Jasmine and Kuzco hugging their arms close to their bodies against the sudden gust of cold in the space. Naveen nervously ran a hand through his hair. Mattias stepped forward, seemingly unafraid, and reached to help Queen Elsa to her feet. He helped her up gently but authoritatively, a man of service for sure.

“Your majesty,” Mattias said. “You have been held captive. Are you alright?” He was protective, almost instinctively keeping his body between Elsa and the others standing outside of the cell.

“I’m fine,” Elsa said politely and Mattias instantly withdrew his support and Elsa stood steady. “Is my sister here?”

“Not to my knowledge, your majesty,” Mattias said. “We have both been transported magically to a foreign land. One that I had never heard of. Apparently, they thought you dangerous enough to actually imprison you.”

“That was a smart choice,” Elsa said with a sarcastic smirk. “Who did this?”

Mattias shook his head. “We haven’t really figured out who they are yet,” he said. “We fought them but they have not identified themselves yet. They are clearly not friendly, though”

“They will be held accountable whoever they are,” Jasmine said. “I promise that, your majesty.” Jasmine stood as tall and as regal as she could considering she was an inexperienced warrior who had just been through the wringer. She did have a lifetime of experience standing with her father and she could strike a pose with the best of them.

“Mattias, why haven’t you introduced us?” Elsa asked with a slight smile. She stood a little straighter, drawing on her own royal training.

“My apologies,” Mattias said. “Queen Elsa, this is Jasmine, the ruler of this desert kingdom Agrabah. Behind her is Prince Naveen of New Orleans and Emperor Kuzco of Inca.”

“It’s actually ‘former queen’ but let’s dispense with the honorifics for a while until we’re out of this,” Elsa said. “Do we have a deal?”

“I like you already,” Jasmine said. “Are you sure you feel alright?”

“I’m sure,” Elsa said with a smile. “It’s nice to meet all of you and I’m grateful for the rescue. Agrabah, New Orleans, Inca. I have never heard of these places but let’s set that aside. If these people are threatening Northuldra and Arendelle, they will answer to me. To us.”

“Agreed,” Jasmine said. “Nobody invades Agrabah.”

“Yes, I agree as well,” Naveen said. His face was kind but his voice was stern, something nobody was used to in the short time that they had known Naveen. He almost always had a joke. To hear him being this serious was jarring.

“What about all these other cells?” Kuzco asked. “Shouldn’t we free them too?” He gestured around, master of the shortcut at work.

“Yes!” Elsa said. “Fortunately, I know what happens when locks freeze. We’ll free them all.” She suddenly looked much stronger than she had looked after standing up earlier.

“I assume that we will find only allies in these cells,” Mattias said. “At least, I hope so.” He seemed less than completely sure but he trusted Elsa with his life and she obviously felt the same. Besides, it was a logical assumption to make. If these people would imprison Elsa and held malicious designs for Agrabah, the other prisoners would at least be more likely to fight their captors than their liberators.

“We’ll have to take our chances,” Jasmine said. “We can’t handle them on our own. We have to rescue our loved ones.”

“I agree,” Elsa said. “Anna is out there somewhere and there will be no mercy for anybody who gets between us.”

An involuntary shiver ran through everybody but Elsa. She slowly walked past them all and into the hallway of cells.

“I checked,” Kuzco said. “This is only one hallway. There’s a lot of them.”

Elsa seethed with anger for a moment and her footsteps were outlined in ice for a moment. “Let’s open that big one on the end first, shall we?” she asked through clenched teeth. She pointed her palm toward the door at the end of the hallway and ice flew from her hand and slammed into the rough metal. The door shuddered and then large cracks started to form in the metal. Finally, the doors expanded, shuddered, and fell apart. The hallway briefly filled with mist.

Suddenly, a blue blur moved through the mist and enveloped Jasmine. Everybody drew their weapon but Jasmine waved a free hand even as she floated off the ground.

“It’s alright!” she yelled out, tears of happiness flowing down her cheeks. “It’s just my friend Genie.”

The blue man turned to look at everyone else. “Hey everybody,” he said. “Are we having a party?”

“More like a fight, Genie,” Jasmine said. “I’m so glad we found you. We need your help.”

“You name your wish,” Genie said. “I’ll make it come true.”

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Agrabah Pt. 5

March 13, 2021

Jasmine, Mattias, and Naveen walked slowly and carefully down the hallway of the mysterious building. Jasmine had a scimitar, Mattias had his short sword and shield, and Naveen had opted for a wooden staff. Naveen had never really seen combat, at least not in his normal human form. Jasmine had been caught off guard before so she had received some training from her husband Aladdin and the palace guard but she had no experience. Mattias had both training and experience so he led the way. He insisted it be that way and Jasmine and Naveen had not argued.

It was not long before they were tested. They came upon some dark-armored ruffians and the combat was hot and heavy. Mattias set them up and left it to Naveen and Jasmine to finish the job. Mattias’ shield saw a lot of action and it was standing against the punishment very well. To his credit, Kuzco actually caught up to them and tried to fight a bit too although the effect was somewhat comical. Whether he was motivated by fear of being left alone or had suddenly found his courage, it did not really matter. The other three were great to have at least one more person. They slowly fought their way through the hallways but it became clear that their enemy would soon bring the full weight of their force against them. That is when Kuzco told them about the air ducts in the place.

They snuck into one of these ducts and ended up in a small storage room. They caught their breath for a bit. Jasmine tied her hair back into place. They all breathed hard.

“We need a plan,” Jasmine said. “We’re doing great but we can’t last.”

“Agreed,” Mattias said. “but we still don’t know the layout of this place.”

“The solution is simple,” Naveen said. “What they don’t want us to see is what they are guarding the most. Predictably, this is the center of the building.”

“Very smart,” Mattias said. “We’ll have to sneak as much as we can.”

“Allow me,” Kuzco said. “If there’s an easier way of doing things, I’m the one who will find it.”

“Lead the way, Emperor,” Jasmine said with a smile. “We’ll follow your lead.”

They went back at it, sliding through ducts, darting across hallways, and climbing up and down stairs. They kept to the shadows and only clashed with guards when necessary. They almost felt refreshed compared to the earlier tiring combat. Kuzco was doing a great job of leading them on the path of least resistance. He was actually a bit inspiring in his cowardice.

It seemed to take forever but they slowly made their way through the maze-like structure. They finally slipped past a large contingent of guards and stumbled into an entirely new section deep in the building. It looked like there were what looked like prison cells. Jasmine had fought to reduce such cells in her own kingdom because of the inhumane treatment witnessed by Aladdin. They got closer and none of them recognized the first few people they looked in on. The people in the cells looked like they were asleep and when Jasmine banged her scimitar against the bars, they did not wake up.

“These people,” Jasmine said. “Most of them don’t look like they are from Agrabah. They look foreign.”

“Who knows how many worlds were affected by this,” Naveen said. “We need to wake them up.”

From down the hall, they heard Mattias cry out. “Queen Elsa!” he nearly screamed, sending the rest rushing toward him. “This is Queen Elsa. We need to get her out. If we get her out, she could get everyone else out. Trust me.”

“Of course we trust you,” Jasmine said.

The four of them scrambled around until Kuzco found a strange crystal embedded in the wall next to Elsa’s cell. They tried to figure out how the crystal worked. Finally, Mattias plunged his sword into it and there was some sort of magical discharge. The cell shook and then jerked open and they rushed in. Slowly, the white-haired queen started to wake up and Jasmine suddenly noticed that she could see her breath. Elsa’s eyes glowed bright blue and Jasmine was very afraid. They all backed off. Elsa rose to her feet, shaking with anger.

“What happened?” she asked, voice still and tense.

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Agrabah Pt. 4

March 6, 2021

Kuzco had been in the basket for what felt forever. He had felt the strangers pick the thing up, load him onto the wagon and he had tumbled end over end. He had landed in a very uncomfortable position but because of the produce around him, he could not easily move. The basket had been still for a long time and no light was seeping into the basket. He wiggled and squirmed and somehow reached up to the edge of the basket and used it to right himself. He burst out of the basket, sending the lid flying and then he looked around. It was very dark with a single torch lighting the room and everything was very silent. This would be the best moment to make his move. Somebody would eventually come back to distribute or organize the food and supplies, right?

He wiggled his legs, trying to find firm ground to push off of as he leaned to reach to hold the handle on the side for leverage. This only led to him tumbling out of the basket, barely avoiding tipping the basket over. Instead, he flopped hard to the stone floor below and tried to groan as quietly as possible. A melon bounced on the floor next to him and he reached out to grab it. As he stood up, his knees wobbling, he clutched the melon close as if he would use it as a weapon should anybody burst in on him. He moved toward the door and pressed himself against the wall next to the door and cracked it open. The coast seemed to be clear or at least he thought it was. He walked timidly into the hallway and started to stumble down it.

He had tried to do what Naveen had suggested and tried to guess how many turns they had made and when but he was upside down and he had no idea. He thought he might have fallen asleep at one point due to all of the blood rushing to his head. He felt a little dizzy at that moment and he could not see perfectly straight. He had had more fun as a llama. He tried to figure out which way the door might be but it was hard to tell. He moved down the corridor, pressed to the wall. He was in luck that the lighting was so dim but he worried about what sorts of people could exist in this low-lit place. Maybe they were not human.

Somebody or something came around the corner and Kuzco tried in vain to push himself through the wall. However, he did find some sort of chute that he promptly fell down headfirst. He did not hear any astonished cries so he hoped he had at least avoided detection. He landed in what appeared to be a pile of mud. He briefly considered just staying there. He felt the mud soak into his clothes. He then considered that it might be mud and then he was worried that it was not mud. He pushed himself to his feet and tried not to breathe in through his nose. Then he worried about breathing through his mouth. Then he figured he should start moving again.

It felt like hours while he stumbled around the building, avoiding patrols and dodging obstacles. The whole time he still clutched that melon as if it would save his life. He finally came upon a lever that looked promising and he tried to pull it. It did not budge. He jumped up and pulled on the lever and it did not budge. Finally, he crawled up onto the lever and finally it began to sink. The wall next to the lever started to slowly slide open and it was so loud. Kuzco looked wildly around, hoping nobody heard. He fell back to the floor and then stumbled into the opening. Thankfully, he saw the desert and a few moments later three camels carrying Jasmine, Naveen, and Mattias. Kuzco fell to the ground.

“Kuzco!” Jasmine called out. “Are you alright?”

“I’m just gonna lie down for a bit,” Kuzco said, cradling the melon to his chest.

“What’s with the melon?” Naveen asked. “Did you need a snack?”

“Melon weapon,” Kuzco muttered. He had a thousand-yard stare.

“Uh,” Mattias said as he looked at the others. “Is he alright?”

“Seems our friend has had a time,” Naveen said. “You did a good job, Kuzco.”

“You rest here, Kuzco,” Jasmine said. “Come join us when you’re ready. It’s time to fight.”

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Agrabah Pt. 3

February 20, 2021

Naveen pulled Kuzco along as they stuck to the shadows on market day. The two of them were on their own as Jasmine, Mattias, and the guards would not dare watch over them in case their observation drew the attention of the strangers. Naveen was trying to keep Kuzco in a good mood, nobody wanted the Emperor to lose his nerve and force them to delay and rethink their plan. The two moved quickly with Naveen making sure that Kuzco did not have time to be reluctant. He had dressed Kuzco in a dark cloak even though the Emperor had complained that it was not his style. He was more of a red and gold kind of guy. Naveen had told him that actually appearances really don’t matter.

“Relax, Kuzco,” Naveen said with an easy smile. “I did this once to get a free ride on a steamer ship and the plan succeeded flawlessly.”

“What’s a steamer ship?” Kuzco asked. “and if it’s so easy for you, why aren’t you doing it?”

“Forget the steamer ship,” Naveen said and waved his hand as if he was shooing the idea from their conversation. “You’re the man for the job, I promise you. All you need to is hide and then open a door. Piece of cake, right?”

“I’m not sure,” Kuzco said. “I usually have somebody do these kinds of things for me. I mean, I had an adventure once but I kind of hated it.”

“That’s the spirit,” Naveen said with heavy sarcasm. “You’re going to do a great job.”

“The old me would have had you tortured for speaking to me like that,” Kuzco said. “I guess I need to do this. The sooner I do it, the sooner I get back on my throne and somebody’s feeding me and somebody else is fanning me.”

“There’s more to life than that,” Naveen said. “Believe me, Kuzco, I used to have it all. I had women hanging all over me and servants and everything.” He thought in particular about his servant Lawrence with a mixture of anger and regret. He knew that he had been a brat and it had come back around to punish him.

“Used to?” Kuzco asked. “What happened? Did you get turned into a llama too?” People rarely seemed to believe in Kuzco’s adventure as a llama.

“A frog, actually,” Naveen said. “but before that I had it all taken away by my parents, the king and queen of my country.” Of course, Naveen was barely fazed by talk of magical transformations. He had his own wild adventure in the swamps of Louisiana as a little frog.

“That’s terrible!” Kuzco said. “Did you win it back?” He had been miserable when his unfortunate transformation and banishment had kept him from his own life of luxury. Everything had been pure torture but then again he thought of his friendship with Pacha, the one pure friend he had ever made.

Naveen smiled and shook his head. “I let it go with the help of my wife,” he said. “When I let it go, it lost its power over me. Now we have enough to be happy and comfortable.” Naveen smiled to himself, thinking of Tiana wherever she was. He and Tiana had really helped each other adjust the course of their life along with Ray and Louis. He enjoyed helping Tiana with her dream restaurant and he could work on his music on the side. It was a good life, one he desperately wanted to get back to.

“Well,” Kuzco said with started with some reluctance. “There is this one girl I have my eye on.”

“There you go!” Naveen said excitedly but quietly as they were still sneaking. “If you help out, you can get back to her and tell her this story. She’ll see how selfless you were. She’ll be very impressed.”

“She’s very smart,” Kuzco said. “I think it would take a lot to impress her.”

“We’ll work on it,” Naveen said. “You’ll charm her when you get back. Look! Here we are!”

Naveen shoved Kuzco into a basket before he could say anything else. He secured the basket lid and then moved away as casually and quickly as he could. He really hoped this plan would work. The boy was not exactly a hero but, then again, neither was Naveen.

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Agrabah Pt. 2

February 13, 2021

Jasmine sat in her seat and took a deep breath. “I propose that we cannot wait any longer,” she said. “The longer we wait, the more likely it is for the Obsidian Tower to take over this town. I will not lose Agrabah to these people. I also strongly suspect that they know what has happened to our worlds and our friends. They may be counting on us and I will not fail them by delaying. Taking a leap of faith changed my life for the better once upon a time and that is my position now.”

Mattias coughed politely. “You know that my position is to exercise caution until we know more about our situation,” he said. “Our forces are dwindling and we don’t have the operational intelligence to ensure that we will be victorious.”

“I tend to agree with Jasmine,” Naveen said. “My wife is a planner but even she would admit that sometimes sharp wits and dumb luck mean more than all the knowledge in the world. We should make our move before time runs out. I don’t want to end up regretting leaving things too long.”

“Dumb luck has always worked for me but I’m awesome,” Kuzco said between shoveling food into his mouth. None of the other three knew how Kuzco managed to lead his country. He came off as an arrogant doofus but there was something else there behind it all. He complained but they all noticed that he had never walked away from these meetings and actually did listen.

“It appears that I am outvoted,” Mattias said with a slight smile. “That’s alright. I’m used to playing things by ear when I have to. I suppose I even have a plan.”

“Very resourceful,” Jasmine said. “I am very excited to hear it.” She knew that Mattias had a keen mind and was unquestionably loyal. This was something that Jasmine was still getting used to.

“As Naveen has no doubt noticed when the strangers come to market they use large baskets which they load onto their wagons,” Mattias said.

Naveen nodded. “I’ve definitely noticed,” he said. “I regularly play music down in the market when they arrive to keep eyes on them.”

“I watch from a hidden place,” Mattias said. “I suggest that one of us climb into one of those baskets and open a door for the other two in the dead of night.”

“Other four,” Jasmine said. “Rajah and I will be coming along as well.”

“I’d advise against it,” Mattias said. “You’re the ruler here and if something happens, and something is likely to happen, Agrabah may be completely lost.”

“If we do not succeed, Agrabah may well fall anyway,” Jasmine said. “I’m going. I know how to handle myself in a fight and I will never sit idly by and be the damsel in distress ever again. Tell me, would you be able to keep your Queen from entering the fray?”

Mattias sighed. “I would not be able to hold back either Queen from doing anything,” he said. “They’re both very headstrong. I think they would like you very much.”

“I apologize for causing your upcoming headaches but I will not budge on this,” Jasmine said. “Maybe I can meet your Queens when this is all over.”

“If I can make it happen, I will make it happen,” Mattias said. “I’m sure Anna especially would like to meet all of you and your loved ones.”

“My Tiana will cook us all a good good meal,” Naveen said. “We’ll have a big old party.”

“I look forward to it,” Jasmine said. “Now who will be the one to sneak into a basket?” She looked around at the three men, ready to volunteer herself. It would not be the first time that she went undercover.

“I think it should be Kuzco, actually,” Mattias said. There was a stunned silence following this bold statement.

“Me!?” Kuzco squeaked. “I don’t think so.”

“He does have a sort of harmless manner that might keep him safe,” Naveen said. “If he’s caught he would be alright.”

“I could be caught?” Kuzco asked nervously. He glanced at the door for a moment but he did not run. He was no adventurer but he was also no stranger to adventure.

“There’s something to that,” Jasmine said. “Are you ready to test your ‘dumb luck’?”

Poor Unfortunate Souls: China Pt. 7

November 28, 2020

Anna and Aladdin hurried across open ground toward what was deemed the most likely place to find fireworks. They had opted to go on this mission since most everyone else was occupied or too valuable to be risked. Anna had gotten a taste for adventure after helping to save her kingdom twice, she was enjoying the thrill far too much. Aladdin was used to sneaking around but he was glad to be doing something proactive. He was glad to have a plan instead of winging it and holding out until somebody thought of something. Both of them wished Mulan could have come along but nobody wanted to risk the most competent soldier China had left on a mission. They had backup not far away but Aladdin had insisted on a two-person team because it was stealthier.

When they reached the wall, they both pressed against it and looked up at a nearby cliff. Merrida was up there with her bow ready to go if need be for cover fire. If one knew what to look for, they could spot a tuft of red hair blowing a bit in the wind. There was also a small group of soldiers at the base of the cliff that would be signaled when Aladdin and Anna found the fireworks. Anna pulled out a rope with a hook and tossed it up the wall and pulled it so it would latch onto the top of the wall. It was something that Rapunzel had briefly tutored her in and something she would find more exciting if they were not in mortal danger. The two of them started to climb and slipped easily over the top of the wall.

Inside the wall was a group of warehouses and Anna half expected to spot the fireworks out in the open. Unfortunately, this was not the case and everything was very tidy. While their mission was not simply achieved, the place did look and feel deserted. Hopefully, this was a little pocket of the land that the army of monsters had ignored. Fireworks sounded like magic and maybe they could turn the tide in this fight. For the first time it gave everybody hope again and this mission was worth it if only for that. Aladdin walked to the first door and started to pick the lock.

“Wow,” Anna said, clearly impressed and not a bit judgemental. “Where did you learn to do that?”

“Once a thief, always a thief,” Aladdin said. “I did a lot to survive before Jasmine made an honest man out of me.”

“I can’t imagine you were all that bad,” Anna said. “You seem like you have a good heart. Believe me, I have become a good judge of character from horrible experiences.” The lock opened and the two of them slipped carefully inside.

“I did what I had to in order to survive and that’s it,” Aladdin said. “All I did was not starve.” He was not ashamed of his past. Agrabah was changing under Jasmine’s leadership and the theft he had committed would not be something future generations would be forced to do.

“You kind of remind me of my husband, Kristoff,” Anna said. “It sounds like you two might get along. He grew up in the wilderness and talks to a reindeer.”

Aladdin was about to be offended when he thought of something. “I guess I do talk to a monkey,” he said. “It’s actually a fair comparison.”

“It’s fun to be strange,” Anna said. “My best friend is a snowman named Olaf. Of course, he can actually speak my language.” She was teasing a little but Aladdin already knew that their little makeshift group was full of strange people. Normal people do not end up on adventures.

They slipped in among the boxes of the various warehouses, searching for the fireworks based on the drawings that they had been provided. They were very careful but fortunately the place was quiet. The monster army had no use for the things in these warehouses. Anna and Aladdin did each pick up a sword. Anna grabbed up a wooden pot lid.

“To use as a shield,” Anna said with a smile and a shrug. “Mattias has been teaching me combat lately back home and I have gotten used to using a shield.”

“I’m no great sword fighter,” Aladdin said. “I’ll just have to wing it.”

Anna gasped. “Wait,” she almost yelled. “Are these the fireworks?” she asked. She looked excitedly at Aladdin who hurried over.

Inside the box were long red cylinders with pointy tops with little strings poking out of the other end. “That matches the drawing,” Aladdin said. “I think I’ve actually seen these things in action before. Didn’t know the name. This should be really exciting.”

“Let’s signal the others,” Anna said. “We can’t carry all of these boxes by ourselves.”

“Yeah let’s do it,” Aladdin agreed.


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