The Fog Dissipates

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"How unexpected..." Sinbad remarked as they surveyed the damage from the other groups' fight against the Fog Troupe as dawn crept over Balbadd. Ja'far had just finished relaying his account of the event to him. "That there would be a dungeon capturer in the Fog Troupe..."

"Yes. I've also confirmed that their side has several magical items, and among them is a Metal Vessel," Ja'far replied. "Fortunately, there were no deaths... It's said that 'Wonder Man Alibaba' always uses this tactic to get away. The military is also at its wit's end."

"What's more unexpected, though..." Sinbad continued seriously. "Is that he is the friend Aladdin and the twins were looking for."

"Yes, I can't imagine a magi's friend being reduced to a thief..." Ja'far agreed as they glanced over at Aladdin, who was staring dejectedly off into space while the twins tried to comfort him. Alibaba's alliance with the thieves and his subsequent rejection of their promise with each other appeared to have been a huge shock.

"That jerk..." Faith grumbled darkly, clenching her fist in anger, while Morgiana began to sniff around. How dare Alibaba do that to their little Aladdin! "When I get my hands on him...!!"

"Calm down. The last thing we need is you flying off in a murderous rage. You'll feel better once you've had some rest and eaten," Hope told her. "You, too, Aladdin... You look tired," she said gently, placing a hand on his shoulder.

"..." Aladdin didn't say anything, but he let the twins steer him back to the hotel.

"In the end, though, what kind of person is 'Wonder Man Alibaba' anyway?" Sinbad asked.

"According to the residents... he became active in the Fog Troupe around half a year ago," Ja'far replied. "Every time the Fog Troupe distributes the stolen goods to the residents, they are bound to call out his name, thus he is being seen as a hero by them."

"Hmph... Calling a thief a hero... how absurd," Sinbad said jadedly. "But this also reflects how chaotic this country is..." he added, furrowing his brow when he heard a distant scream from the rundown streets behind them.

"No—someone save me—!" a young woman screamed as a two men held her down and ripped her clothes.

"Hihihi! No one will come 'cause all of the military has been ordered to guard the nobles," one of the men leered at her. "Uwaa!?" he cried out in alarm when L Nando suddenly grabbed him, picking him up by the head with one hand. "Ugrh!" he grunted in pain, coughing up bile when M Nando delivered a harsh kick to his stomach.

"Wh-Who are you guys!?" the other man demanded incredulously, panicking, as their older brother charged at him.

'S Nando body blow!' S Nando thought as he delivered a powerful blow to his opponent's abdomen, knocking him out cold. "Hmph, only daring to snatch a girl's chastity... If you want to steal something, then go for something that has more worth!" he lectured the would-be rapists with disdain. "Hey, woman, go now!" he said, shooing her away. The woman nodded gratefully and thanked them as she quickly gathered up her clothes and hurried away.

"We have actually been reduced to mugging for survival..." M said, sweat-dropping, as they began stripping their victims of any and all valuables they might have on them. They used to target whole caravans. "Why not just sell those accessories we stole from that napping guy, onii-san?"

"We can't sell these babies yet..." S said, patting their precious loot.

"Why is that?"

"The reason lies with this 'huang'," S replied, holding up the paper money he had just taken from one of their victims.

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