Chapter fourteen- A Friendship

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Chapter fourteen- A Friendship

"So you lived with your mother and were rather poor, -but happy-, until she died of illness, then you moved in with your wealthy father? I understand now..." Kougyoku nodded thoughtfully, hands folded around a small teacup. She wasn't tired or dizzy anymore, although she could hear a slight ringing in her ears that wouldn't go away.

"Yeah..." Alibaba scratched the back of his neck. "I haven't seen Cassim since we were kids, I was really surprised to run into him here in Fuyuki..."

"Mmm... To be honest, I grew up in a similar situation myself," Kougyoku looked down at her cup with a far-off look. "My mother and I were extremely poor, we could barely afford to feed ourselves. I didn't know my father for the longest time. He had an affair with my mother, and when I was born he practically disowned me. But when my mother died he became my legal guardian and I've lived with him since. I've never really felt like I belonged in my family... Kouen's such a powerful mage now... I could never measure up to him..."

"Oh...I see..." Alibaba wasn't sure how else to respond.

"So you and I are pretty much the same!" Kougyoku suddenly smiled.

"I suppose we are, huh?"

"Then we really should be friends," Kougyoku decided. "I've never had a real friend before...but I'm sure you and I could be friends."

"If you want to be, sure."

Kougyoku frowned, "Do you not want to be friends with me, Alibaba?"

"I do! I do!" Alibaba assured, panicked at her getting upset.

"Then act like you're excited!"

"I-I'm happy to make your acquaintance, then!" Was he doing this right yet?

"Isn't that a standoffish thing to say to a friend?!" Kougyoku exclaimed, growing frustrated.

Alibaba panicked for a moment before he realized, "Oh, I see." He stood and offered a hand to Kougyoku, who still sat on the floor. Smiling, he said, "Hey, Kougyoku, let's be friends."

Kougyoku beamed, and placed her hand in his, "Alright, Alibaba-chan!"

~

"So, have you made up your mind, Alibaba?" Cassim stood in his apartment doorway, one arm holding the door open. He wore a dark colored hoodie and baggy sweatpants; his golden eyes narrowed with interest at his friend.

"Well... I'm not sure yet." Alibaba stuck his hands into his tan jean's pockets. "Can I come in?"

Cassim glanced over his shoulder and shrugged, "Sure, come on." He backed into his home and stepped to the side to allow Alibaba entrance, closing the door behind him.

Looking around it was clear to see the place wasn't that great. The wallpaper was peeling, the ceiling had several wet spots, and the floorboards creaked under the weight of the pair's footsteps. Not like this was too much of a surprise; the entire complex was poorly taken care of. Grime covered every wall, and the bricks on the outside of the building were being overtaken by plants. Alibaba wasn't sure if Cassim was actually renting this apartment, or if he was just squatting there.

"Who's your friend, Cassim?" A woman with dark dreadlocks like Cassim's entered the room from what looked to be the kitchen. Her expression was serious, and she looked at Alibaba with judgeful brown eyes.

"We have company?" Another person entered the room, this time a male who also had dreadlocks and dark skin. He wore a bandage over one eye, that seemed to be covering a scar.

Alibaba grew uneasy. Who were these people? What had Cassim been getting into over the years they hadn't seen each other?

"This is Alibaba. He's an old friend." Cassim explained, and the pair relaxed. "He's going to help us." He turned to Alibaba, "This is Zaynab and Hassan, some friends of mine."

"Hi." Alibaba smiled a bit at the pair. Turning back to Cassim he asked, "What exactly am I helping you with?"

"We're going to take back Balbadd. Haven't you seen how corrupted it is? All these wealthy men can afford three meals a day, while kids like Mariam can't even afford one meal," Cassim spoke, anger edging into his tone. He walked over to a window on the opposite wall of the living room they were in, gazing out it as he continued to speak, "With the help of that Grail you were talking about, we can do anything." Cassim turned around to gesture to Alibaba, "Go on and show them your servant, Alibaba."

"Cassim, I..." Alibaba paused. He could feel the same anger burning inside of him. The same desire to save the poor side of his hometown in England- Balbadd. He and Cassim had the same goal, so why not agree? Some more help winning the Grail wouldn't be too bad either. "Alright. Saber, come out."

"Showing me off, are you?" The blond haired Saber appeared, smirk on his face.

Cassim, along with his friends, all looked at Saber with wide eyes, amazed that a man could appear out of thin air. "Cassim, what is this?!" Zaynab asked in shock.

"This is what's going to win us the Holy Grail," Cassim smiled, taking a step closer to Saber.

Saber's smirk faded into a frown, and he looked to Alibaba, "What are you doing, kid," He cast a glance around the room, "in such a filthy place?"

Alibaba looked around again, then explained, "I'm here because Cassim is going to help me achieve my wish."

"Your wish?" This piqued the servant's interest. He'd wanted to know his master's reason for fighting for a while now. "What is it?"

"To destroy Balbadd's government and take back what's ours," Cassim answered for his blond friend.

Saber's brow furrowed. "Wouldn't that mean destroying all of England? That's rather ambitious..."

"Well, not all of England...Right, Cassim?" Alibaba looked to his tan skinned friend.

"Just the wealthy assholes in Balbadd," Cassim confirmed.

"So this is what you wanted all along, kid?" Saber looked down at his master.

"The people there need help... They can barely afford to feed themselves, never mind clothing or a house." Alibaba spoke, his tone sad. "We were just like them as kids. My mom was a prostitute, and worked as a maid a lot, but we still couldn't afford much."

"Now that we have power, it's our duty to fight for them. To fight with them." Cassim added. Zaynab and Hassan nodded in determined agreement.

Saber nodded, "Yeah, alright. But we need to focus on winning the Grail first. I'm only here to win the Grail."

"Of course. We can't do anything else until we get the Grail," Alibaba agreed.

Cassim nodded, "Right. So what do we have to do first?"

"Well..." Alibaba thought for a while. "I don't know, really. All the masters are still alive, and there hasn't really been much conflict."

"Do you know who the other masters are?"

"A few of them, yeah. There was a big party like I mentioned the other day; all of us were there." Alibaba thought over who he knew. "They're all strong too... I don't think there's any that outrank the others."

"Hey, what about me?" Saber pouted. "I'm clearly the strongest servant!"

Alibaba smiled, "Yeah, you are. But the others are strong too. Remember your fight with Rider?"

"And Berserker at the party," Saber added, becoming serious again. "He's a serious threat. I don't understand what he is. If only we knew his real name..."

"What's so important about his name?" Zaynab asked, arms crossed over her chest.

"All servants are heroes from some point in time, so their real name could tell us who they are and what their weaknesses are," Alibaba began, then sighed, "It's a lot to explain. I'll tell you all about it before we get started on a plan."

"Good, cause this seems kinda complicated," Hassan laughed lightly.

~

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