Chapter 4:

Prescience and Preparation


Content Warning: Slavery, child abuse, gore


A white vaulted hall decorated in Islamic mosaics of various colors was host to an indoor bazaar. Each stall and shop at the sides of the corridor sold goods so pricey that an average person’s salary collected across their whole life couldn’t pay for a single item. Sparkling jewelry, flamboyant dresses, engrossingly detailed carpets, enchanting opioids, abstract art pieces, and more could be found in this garden of riches.

And yet this was considered a market for merely the moderately wealthy in Alf-Laylah wa-Laylah.

The smell of cooking meat and spices wafted through the bazaar. It made the corridor feel alive, like a place that was truly lived in. It was hard not to crave falafels or shawarma.

Shops were manned by a mix of people and robots. Some of the machines were humanoid, some were multi-legged and limbed, and some were drones that traveled through the air.

Between two shops stood a group of musicians playing a song that echoed throughout the bazaar. The main performer did not touch his instrument, instead manipulating it with Alchemy. He was controlling one or two of the elements composing the brass that made his floating briar of horns. Holes formed and disappeared, valves opened and closed, tubes curved and straightened, and even became longer and shorter. The music Alchemist’s tool continually transformed to create whatever sounds he wished, making him capable of being a one man band.

But he wasn’t alone. Many more performers stood at his sides. They had cybernetic hands with dozens of digits that could shift to interact with things from several angles. These enhancements allowed them to to play instruments resembling mizmar flutes, tanbūra lyres, buzuq lutes, daf drums, qanun zithers, finger cymbals and more, but all of them were far more complex than their counterparts from my old universe.

Music with so many more layers than anything from Earth graced my ears. Despite the complexity, it was still easy to parse, and harmonious in how every facet of every sound came together to create a greater whole. It was happy and calm, like a cool breeze on a warm day.

Belly dancers moved perfectly in time to the music, as if they were the visual personification of the sounds. They danced with precision and a range of movement that was only made possible due to their own cybernetic enhancements. Prehensile skeletons let their bodies flow like water as they shifted their hips and torsos around.

This over the top performance was only for three people. The entire bazaar had been rented out by my family for a day.

I walked hand-in-hand with my sister, bodyguards in thawbs at our sides. Dunyazade usually had a blank expression, but she would still display a sense of awareness. Right now her eyes were unfocused and her month hung open.

It had not been long since the spar between Dunyazade and Shahryar.

Behind us were Zumurrud and Tawaddud, as well as a procession of other, older maids who were carrying various purchases.

In front of us was a woman with bodyguards at her sides and front. She was in a sleeveless mermaid dress decorated in golden embroidery and beads. Around her arms was a shawl, her face was caked in makeup like lipstick and eyeshadow, and she was decked out in jewelry of various kinds. Her green hair was in a tall beehive, and her drooping eyes were cyan.

This was Parizade, Dunyazade and I’s mother.

“Ah, I love quaint little bazaars like this. It really lets you get in touch with the simpler sides of life.” There was an airiness to Parizade’s way of speaking. She turned to look back at her daughters. “Right, girls?”

I silently nodded.

Dunyazade didn’t even look at Parizade.

“Is Dunyazade still glum from the spar?” Parizade touched her chin.

My sister froze up for a second, her grip on my hand becoming tight enough to hurt.

“I don’t think you should mention that right now,” I said.

“Oops! I’m sorry, sweetie. I didn’t think of that. I’m glad I have you around Scheherazade, you’re so observant!” Parizade smiled. I’d have disagreed with her about me being observant. “How about we buy something extra special for Dunyazade! Is there anything you want? It can be anything!”

Dunyazade stayed quiet.

“Buying stuff might not be the way to go,” I rubbed the back of Dunyazade’s hand with my thumb.

“I never know what to do in situations like these. Shopping always cheers me up, so I always assume it’s the same for you two since you're my daughters. Life’s so complicated.” Parizade pouted in a way that reminded me of Dunyazade.

“Hey, how about we play hide-and-seek when we get home?” I stepped in front of Dunyazade to look her in the eye while giving her my biggest smile. “Tawaddud and Zumurrud can play too. You two’ll join us, right?”

“Yes, my lady.” Zumurrud bowed her head.

“Of course!” Tawaddud put her hand on Dunyazade’s shoulder from behind. My sister turned her head to look back at her maid’s bright face. “It’ll be fun!”

“Okay.” The word drifted out of Dunyazade’s mouth.

Hearing Dunyazade agree to play made me gain an extra bounce to my steps. Tawaddud and I had been trying to get Dunyazade to play with us for days to cheer her up.

Speaking of days, Underworld ran on the exact same calendar as Earth, with the same months, weeks, days, etc. You might ask how that would be possible when Earth’s calendar revolved around the motions of the Sun and Moon in the sky. Considering the only objects that could be used to track time on Underworld were the seven planets, shouldn’t there be an entirely different calendar system?

The answer was that the author of Al-Kimiya didn’t want to bother creating an entirely new timekeeping system. This fun fact was not relevant to anything important. I mention it here only because it really annoys me.

“That's what I was waiting for!” Parizade chirped as she pointed towards a short platform between some stalls, atop of which was a line of people in rags who all had some variant of a facial tattoo.

Our procession went over to the structure, a man in a flamboyant suit appearing to greet us in front of the platform’s steps.

“It is an honor to have you in our presence, great Sultana Consort Parizade, Princess Scheherazade, Princess Dunyazade.” The man, all the workers at the platform, including the robots, and the people standing in a line all got on the ground to prostrate themselves.

“You all may rise.” Everyone stood back up at Parizade’s words. “I’m here to peruse your merchandise and see if any are to my liking.”

“Of course, Sultana Consort. Follow me and you’ll see some of the best slaves in Alf-Laylah wa-Laylah.” The man led Parizade and her bodyguards up the steps. My sister and I, along with Zumurrud, Tawaddud, and our guards stayed on ground level.

I watched as the man talked about the line of people and all their qualities, all the things that would make them great servants.

You’d think a world with advanced robots would have no need for slaves, but many people, especially among the nobility, found that some things required a human touch to be done well, or a ‘near human’ touch as the nobles would see it.

Parizade was looking a tall and muscular man up and down. He had no chains. None of the slaves did. Similar to the implants many people had that acted as brain interfacing phones, cameras, and computers, slaves were given implants that allowed their owners to track their location, and kill them by frying their brains if they stepped out of line.

The contents of my stomach churned as I watched Parizade purchase all the slaves on display.

Even as we continued through the bazaar, Parizade kept buying up all the slaves from every stall selling them that we passed.

By the time we were done with our shopping spree, we nearly had a small army of slaves to bring back home. The purchased people walked in a line up a ramp and into our airship.

Said ship was a sphere with a diameter of over five hundred meters that was hovering in the air, its surface covered in windows and complex designs embossed in the metal. There was no need for traditional jet or rocket engines, because the ship used a gravity manipulating engine that enabled it to move freely in three-dimensional space, and allowed its interior to have twisting halls that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.

The ship was parked on a dock atop a skyscraper. Many spectators were watching my family from throughout the city we were in, which was made easy due to the upward curve of Underworld’s inner surface that allowed for a clear view of any distant object not directly obscured by other things.

Buildings of reflective glass and sleek white material made up most of the metropolis. Some were square, some were rectangular, some had high towers and domes, some had hypostyle halls, some had docks for airships to land, and some were swirling skyscrapers.

Vegetation was everywhere, from giant gardens that the walkways between buildings weaved through, to plants hanging from countless windows, to ivy and moss that failed to stain the white walls they stuck to, to forests on bridges between skyscrapers.

Panels atop buildings absorbed the light of the Nucleus to create power. Meanwhile, wind turbines took advantage of the wind created by the slow motions of the planets. On days like today, where the atmosphere in the city was rather still, Alchemists manipulated gaseous elements to create artificial gusts to make the turbines spin.

Elsewhere, I saw a group of Alchemists on a bridge form sculptures from solids and liquids, with some being abstract pieces made of titanium, and others being hyper-realistic sculptures of people made of mercury.

Yet another group of Alchemists was helping with the construction of a new building by telekinetically moving dozens of steel I-beams and the bolts needed to secure them in place, allowing the frame of the structure to be built in a matter of minutes. This group all had facial tattoos of various kinds. When someone became enslaved or was born into slavery, their first owner would give them a facial tattoo, specifically a design that only that master would give, that signified that the person was a slave and who their first owner was.

I watched as people went about their days in the city, most of them dressed in fashionable outfits and gorgeous robes. They traveled in airships between buildings, said airships being far smaller than the one my family was currently getting into. Robots and slaves attended to the free folk’s every whim.

Upon entering my family’s airship, I looked out a large window and saw as the city below us became more distant, enough so that I could see beyond the stark white buildings clothed in vegetation.

The further out you went from the heart of the city, the less majestic the buildings became. They grew shorter, older, and less spotless. There were fewer plants and airships. Instead, people drove regular automobiles through crowded streets. Citizens pushed through each other as they crossed congested walkways, their clothes less striking.

Beyond that were buildings of stone and desert streets. Garbage was piled high in random spots, and people traveled on foot, or with public transport if they were relatively more affluent. Their clothes were coming apart at the seams and homeless people were everywhere.

Even further out were bundles of shacks made of wood and sheet metal. There were literal villages made of trash. People were lucky if they even had clothes. Corpses were everywhere.

This was Alf-Laylah wa-Laylah, a sultanate where there was more than enough of everything for everyone, but the nobles and wealthy hoarded resources for themselves so they could live in as much luxury as possible.

Every time I saw the true face of this nation, the more my resolve to take down Shahryar grew and solidified.

It took less than a minute to return to Bulukiya. We docked on the landing pad within the bounds of the royal palace’s walls.

My family and our entourage filtered out of the ship, the slaves exiting from a different door.

“That was fun!” Parizade pulled Dunyazade and I into a hug. “I have to go get the new slaves settled in! See you at dinner! Have fun playing tag!”

“Hide-and-seek,” I said.

“Hide-and-seek! Right!” Parizade sauntered off with the slaves and her bodyguards. “I love you, sweeties!”

I began to think about what those poor slaves would soon face, but decided to push those thoughts away for the time being. There was nothing I could do for them anyway. All I could do was make sure that they would be the last batch to enter this accursed palace.

Taking a deep breath, I switched mental gears.

“Anywho, let’s get to playing!” I wrapped my arm around Dunyazade. “Let’s have two hiders and two seekers at a time. Zumurrud, Tawaddud, you’ll be seekers first. Dunyazade and I will hide.”

“Okay, but let’s make a rule against using Alchemy since Zumurrud and I can’t use it,” Tawaddud said.

“That’s a perfectly reasonable request. You don’t want Dunyazade and I to have an unfair advantage.” I nodded.

“So we’ll ban Alchemy?”


I grabbed my sister’s hand and lifted the two of us into the air with a gust of oxygen and hydrogen. We zoomed through the air and to the other side of the castle at a speed faster than light itself.

“Scheherazaaaaaaaaade!” I could hear Tawaddud’s cry reverberate throughout the palace as if it were a giant tuning fork.

While I was flying my sister and I between the numerous towers of our home, I heard a peculiar sound.

A giggle.

I turned my head just enough to get a look at Dunyazade’s face in my peripheral vision. She had the tiniest hint of a smile forming between her cheeks.

Just that one hint that Dunyazade was perking up made me form a toothy grin.

“Where should we hide? Let’s make it really hard for Zumurrud and Tawaddud to find us. It’ll be funny,” I said.

“I know somewhere.” Dunyazade’s voice was barely a whisper, but then it became a little louder. “Can I lead?”

“After you.”

It was now Dunyazade’s gaseous nitrogen that carried us as she took point. We went through a window and into the palace’s interior, our bodies zipping through halls and past various members of staff. Some of the people we passed got knocked over by the wind we were leaving in our wake due to our velocity.

When we exited out another window, we ended up right back at the landing pad where the airship we just exited was. Zumurrud and Tawaddud were nowhere to be found; they had already left to hunt us down.

“They’d never think we would go back to where we started.” Dunyazade took us right up to a door into the airship. When a panel opened to reveal a keypad, Dunyazade entered a thirty-four digit code that opened the door right up.

“How’d you know the code?”

“We see staff enter it every time we use the ship, how could I not learn it eventually?”

“Well I feel stupid when you put it that way.”

Dunyazade carried us into the airship and closed the door behind us, before taking us all the way to our personal room and dropping us onto one of the two beds. The space was full of dozens of gaming consoles, chests full of toys, and everything else that a child could dream of having in their bedroom.

“Now we can relax here until Tawaddud and Zumurrud give up.” Dunyazade stood up on the bed and began jumping up and down.

“You’re a genius.” I laid back, letting my body bounce every time Dunyazade hit the bed. “I’ve got the best sister in all of Underworld.”

“Thank you.” Dunyazade spoke flatly. I could see her suppressing a smile.

“You’re smart, you’re clever, you’re funny, you’re strong, you’re creative, you’re adorable. Like, it’s so crazy how amazing you are. I don’t even know what to say to make it clear how you’re just, like, the most awesome ever.” As I kept on talking, Dunyazade’s face grew ever more red, to the point that it was releasing steam. “I don’t get what father’s problem is.”

And that last sentence was where I fucked up.

Dunyazade dropped onto her butt. She wasn’t facing me. Not a sound came from her.

I wanted to punch myself in the face so hard my skull would cave in. Why did I say something that would remind Dunyazade of what she just managed to forget? Was I simply incapable of being anything other than incompetent for more than five minutes?

My mouth opened and closed, awaiting words to rise from the throat, but nothing came. At this point, I assumed anything I tried to say would only make Dunyazade feel worse. All I was good for was making things shittier.

“Sissy,” Dunyazade said.

“What’s up?”

“Did father burn me because he’s bad, or because I’m bad.”

My whole body became tight and any hesitancy to speak was lost.

“Father’s bad! He’s a jackass and a monster!” I grabbed Dunyazade by the shoulder. “You did nothing wrong!”

“You’re not supposed to talk about father that way!” Dunyazade turned her head to look at me, her eyes wide and mouth twitching. “If he finds out you said that-”

“Just listen to me!” I put my hands on Dunyazade’s cheeks. “You aren’t bad! No matter what father says, you’re great! Believe me! Believe your sister!”

“But I always fail to meet father’s expectations. I’m a bad Alchemist, I’m dumb, I-”

“No you’re not!”


“No, you’re not! You’re awesome! Even if you weren’t, you don’t deserve what Shahryar did to you! Do you think it’s okay to hurt your kids if they aren’t perfect? Do you?”

“I, uh…” Dunyazade froze up.

“Dunyazade, our father’s evil. You know that, don’t you? You’ve seen the slums. Is it okay that people live like that? It’s because of father and the nobles that people have to live in those places. It’s because of them that there are so many people who don’t have homes. They’re keeping all the money and stuff for themselves. Is that okay?”

My barrage of questions left Dunyazade stuck in place, breathing and doing nothing more.

“I’m sorry. I just said a lot really fast. But I’m serious about all of it.” I tilted my head to the side. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay.” Dunyazade exhaled slowly.

“Dunyazade, you’re still young, and I know I am too, but…please believe that you’re okay. You’ve done nothing wrong. You’re not bad for being who you are. If you won’t believe it for yourself, then believe it for me.” My hands slid down from Dunyazade’s cheeks to her shoulders.

“But I’m a bad Alchemist and stuff.”

“Only father cares about that. All that really matters is that you’re a good person, and you are. You don’t do things to make people’s lives worse. The fact that you care about meeting people’s expectations shows you don’t want them to be sad. You care about people.”

“How do you know that?”

“Just trust your sister, and love yourself. Can you do that?”

“I dunno.” Dunyazade shrugged.

“Can you try?”

There was silence for at least a minute. The fact that loving herself was something Dunyazade wasn’t immediately sure she could do was heartbreaking. She coped with her suffering by blaming herself rather than Shahryar.

“I’ll try,” Dunyazade said.

“You will? You’ll try to love yourself?”

“I’ll try.” Dunyazade nodded.

“Good.” I smiled and pulled my sister into a hug, and she embraced me back. “You just have to accept yourself. As for everything else you’re worried about, I’ll protect you from them.”

“Even father?”


“You promise?”

“I promise.” I squeezed my sister tighter.

At that moment, I promised not only to Dunyazade, but to myself that I’d keep my sister safe. I refused to allow my sister to experience another trauma like what Shahryar had brought upon her.

I let go of Dunyazade.

“Alrighty, that’s enough serious stuff! What do you wanna do while we wait to be found?”

“Video games.” Dunayzad ran off the bed and over to the game consoles, picking up two visors.

My sister and I put on the headsets, entering full sensory virtual reality. The simulated reality was a version of Underworld that was at war. Monsters tore apart the inner surface and the planets.

This fictional setting was inspired by the true history of Underworld. Two thousand years ago in Underworld, all of the land was beset by djinn, mindlessly destructive monsters made of an element from outside the bounds of reality and physics. Their leader, the being the game’s main antagonist was based on, was a human who became a djinn referred to as Sulaiman the Djinn King. He wielded Falak, a sword created with Alchemy.

The role of the player in the game was based on the individual who defeated the Djinn King and slaughtered the djinn hordes, Sinbad the Hero, the Savior of Seven Planets and wielder of the Alchemic sword, Bahamut.

On a planet whose surface had been reduced to a burning hellscape, Dunyazade and I, swords in hand, carved djinn to pieces. Giants with horns or fangs or tendrils were felled by our every swing.

Dunyazade danced around the battlefield, wildly swinging her blade without an ounce of technique, but that didn’t matter as our swords had very generous hitboxes that were obscured by colorful visual effects. My sister was engrossed in the fight, a smile occasionally manifesting on her face.

I was just goofing around, wagging my sword back and forth while I watched the early game enemies run into my attacks before bursting into grains of light.

My sister and I were sucked into the game. Well, I wasn’t that interested in the game itself, I was focused on the joy I saw on Dunyazade’s face as we played.

Then the virtual world was ripped away and I was back in the airship. Dunyazade was dazed next to me, her headset gone just like mine was. We turned around to see Tawaddud, her eyelids drooping, our visors in her hands. Zumurrud was next to her, her face as blank as ever.

“Found you,” Tawaddud said.

“How’d you know we were here?” My ahoge shaped into a question mark.

“I know how Dunyazade thinks, I’m her maid after all. Hiding in the ship is her style.” Tawaddud put a hand on Dunyazade’s head.

“‘Kay, but how’d you know I wouldn’t pick the hiding spot, or that we wouldn’t split up?”

“Because you are doing all this to make Dunyazade happy, so you want to be with her, as well as have her be an active participant in the game.” Zumurrud droned.

“You two really know us well, huh?” My index finger poked my cheek.

“Since we won, even with you two using Alchemy, how about we have a round without Alchemy?” I could see an anime angry vein symbol appear on Tawaddud’s head as she grinned. “That sound good?”

“Sounds great to me, right sis?” I looked at Dunyazade who rapidly nodded while grunting. Anime sweat drops appeared on our heads.

“Good.” Tawaddud sighed. “Zumurrud, let’s go hide.”

“Ah, actually let’s switch up the teams!” I raised a finger. “It’d be boring if we stayed in the same pairs the whole time.”

“Fair enough, I guess.”

“Cool. How about me and Zumurrud be finders this time? Are you fine with that?” I scooted over to Zumurrud.

“If that is what you wish, my lady.” Zumurrud bowed.

“Dunyazade and I are hiders then.” Tawaddud took Dunyazade’s hand.

My sister nodded.

I set a timer with my brain implant since I didn’t feel like counting down to when Zumurrud and I could start hunting.


“Let’s go.” Dunyazade and Tawaddud began to run off.

“By the way, looping back to the airship again is banned this time,” I said as I started the timer.

Dunyazade tripped and nearly hit the floor when I said that.

“O-Obviously.” Dunyazade got back to running. Tawaddud hit her forehead with her palm.

My sister and her maid disappeared into the airship's halls.

Now I was alone with Zumurrud who just stood in place.

The reason I wanted to change up the teams was to specifically have some alone time with Zumurrud. As for why, it had to do with her backstory.

In the original anime, Zumurrud was Scheherazade’s maid and best friend, acting generally stoic while occasionally being snarky or mischievous. It was eventually revealed that Zumurrud was working for a major antagonist. She was a secret member of Ghoul, a terrorist organization led by Shahzaman, the younger brother of Shahryar who banished Shahzaman so he could never attempt to steal the throne of Alf-Laylah wa-Laylah.

Zumurrud was Shahzaman’s adoptive daughter who he raised to be a weapon given she had a lot of natural talent for combat Alchemy. She was the child of some servants of his, and he offered them a lot of money to buy her. Zumurrud’s birth parents agreed, as they cared more about being rich than their child’s wellbeing. After being raised to be a tool, she was meant to infiltrate the royal palace as a maid, keep her ability to use Alchemy a secret, spy on the Sultan’s family, and eventually assassinate them once Ghoul was ready to make its move to take over Alf-Laylah wa-Laylah.

In the anime, Zumurrud thought she had to do what Shahzaman told her because she was just a tool, with her arc being about her learning, thanks to the protagonist and Scheherazade, that she was a person who could make her own choices. In the end, she betrayed Ghoul and joined the main character’s harem.

As you can imagine, I wanted to make Zumurrud go through that revelation in this timeline too, but far earlier.

“I set a long timer since it might take a bit for Dunyazade and Tawaddud to get out of the ship.” I went over to one of the short couches and sat down. “Let’s talk to pass the time. Sit with me.”

“If that is what you wish, my lady.” Zumurrud took a seat next to me, her back straight and her hands in her lap. “What do you wish to speak about?”

“Well, what do you wanna talk about?”

“Whatever you wish to.”

“Aight.” Another anime sweatdrop appeared on my head. “I wanna talk about your interests. What do you like to do in your free time?”

“I abstain from having free time in exchange for being able to spend all day attending to you or taking care of my assigned sections of the palace.”

“You don’t have any hobbies? Not even, like, knitting or something?”

“I do not.”

“That’s, uh…” My ahoge drooped down before shooting straight up like a spike. “But you could say then that your hobby is your job! You like your job, right?”

“My work gives me purpose.”

“So you like it?”

“I suppose so.”

“Why do you like it?” I scooted closer to Zumurrud.

“Because it gives me purpose.”

“Why do you like having purpose?”

“Because without purpose, I am worthless.”

“That’s not true.” I waved my hand. “Everyone has value no matter what.”

“Of course, my lady.”

“And, y’know, if you, like, don’t do what you’re told to do, like at this job I mean, then that’s okay. You still have value for simply being yourself.” I gesticulated as I spoke. “I’d even say there’s special value in living your life doing what you personally want to do. If you ever disagree with me, or anyone else, it’s okay to make that clear, and even disobey, okay?”

“Of course, my lady.”

“So you’ll disobey if someone tells you to do something you disagree with?”

“My duty as a maid is to do as I am instructed for the betterment of my masters’ wellbeing.”

“But it’s also important to think for yourself.”

“Only insomuch as is necessary for me to assess how to most effectively carry out my orders and do what is best for my betters.”

I was running face first into a brick wall. There was no way I could directly confront Zumurrud about her connection to Shahzaman without likely triggering her to attack or run away, so I had to use a roundabout method to push her to open up.

An issue was that, while Scheherazade reached Zumurrud’s heart in the anime, that was after having spent many more years together than what Zumurrud and I had spent together so far. The events of the anime happened when Scheherazade was eighteen and Zumurrud was twenty-one, and currently I was only seven while Zumurrud was ten. I was eleven years too early in our relationship to try and have some emotional breakthrough moment.

Plus, Scheherazade and Zumururd spent all their time together in the anime, as Scheherazade had no friends, but I’m also close to Dunyazade and even Tawaddud in this timeline, so Zumurrurd and I didn’t have as exclusive or intense a bond as what existed in the anime.

But I couldn’t give up. It wasn’t only because of what Zumurrud was involved in and what could be gained from having her betray Ghoul. I also wanted her to be in a better place mentally.

“Zumurrud, you say you have to do whatever I order you to do, right?” My voice hardened. I moved my face up close to Zumurrud’s.

“That is correct, my lady.”

“Then I order you to think more for yourself. Don’t blindly do what others tell you to, take at least a couple seconds to think about if what they say is right.”

“My job isn’t to think about what is right or wrong.”

“It is now, because I ordered you to.”

“I can’t accept commands that conflict with my greater mission.”

“By mission, you mean as a maid? Not anything else?” I got even closer to Zumurrud.

“That is correct, my lady.”

“Thinking for yourself shouldn’t get in the way. All you have to do is think for a sec about what you’re told. How much of a hindrance is that?”

“It is still a hindrance.”

“I’m still telling you to accept it.” My tone softened. “Zumurrud, you're not just my maid, you’re my friend. I’m…forget me telling you that you have to think for yourself. I’m asking you to do it. I want what’s best for you. At least consider it.”

“I…” For the first time, Zumurrud didn’t answer immediately, but she was still stone faced. “will try in that case. You are my lady, and so I am obligated to at least attempt to have your wishes met.”

“Thank you, Zumurrud. You have no idea how much this means to me.” I smiled.

A ringing sound played in my mind. The timer had gone off.

“It’s time to head out.” I stood up, as did Zumurrud. “Let’s split up. We’ve got a lot of palace to cover.”

“As you wish, my lady.”

Zumurrud and I exited the airship and went in separate directions. I would handle the inside of the palace and Zumurrud would search outside.

My true purpose in splitting up was because I needed to see something alone.

I entered a storage room for many of the autonomous machines that existed to take care of the palace. It was spacious, dark, and full of various robots of differing shapes and sizes. I moved past them all and up to a stack of boxes covered with and surrounded by dust. They were filled with extra machine parts that hadn’t been needed in years.

As I pushed the boxes over while being careful not to leave any scratches or other marks on the ground, I revealed a hole in the wall the size of a large coin and deep enough that it went for several feet. It led into the next room over. I spent weeks slowly making this hole by caving away at the wall with an invisible drill of gas. The reason I made it so slowly was because I wanted to make sure every step of the way that I left no evidence and that nobody would find the hole.

I used Alchemy to create multiple lenses of water that filled the hole, allowing me to see clearly what was on the other side like a door peephole mixed with a telescope. With this hole I could spy on what was happening in the other room. As I looked through it, I turned on the recording function of my brain implant which would make a video out of everything I saw.

The other side of this hole was hidden under a table. In the neighboring room were various machines, and there were people connected to or inside them.

Strapped to a table with limbs outstretched, one of the slaves Parizade purchased had dozens of needles stabbed into her body that pierced into the ends of her nerves, injecting them with electricity. The woman’s body spasmed violently and her face was frozen mid shout.

Another slave was being pressed between two panels, his orifices leaking blood. As his body started to flatten, a muzzle with a tube forced the man to drink a thick liquid. The panels would pull back as the man’s body regenerated, merely to repeat the process again.

Yet another poor soul had a muzzle and tube of her own, but she was imbibing water without end. The liquid continuously rushed down her throat, her body bloating. She would vomit, but the machine would force it back down. The redness in the tube every time she regurgitated made it clear her organs were tearing apart from the pressure.

The woman suddenly stopped moving. Her insides had hit their limit.

I felt my eyes trying to moisten with tears at the nightmare they were gazing upon, but I forced my vision to stay clear for the sake of the video’s clarity.

No matter what any of those people had done in their lives, even if they committed numerous twisted sins, they did not deserve such cruel fates.

Despite most of the people being tortured visibly wailing so harshly that some were coughing up blood, there wasn’t a sound to be heard. A barrier of oscillating oxygen was generating counter vibrations that canceled out all sounds within before they could escape the room. The creator of the soundproofing was a woman who was licking her lips and blushing as she peeled strips of skin from a man’s body.

That woman, the individual partaking in and running this abattoir, was Parizade.

Despite appearing at first blush to be far more reasonable and kind than Shahryar, Parizade was by far the crueler and more twisted of Scheherazade and Dunyazade’s parents.

Just like Shahryar, Parizade had to pay for her crimes, even if her actions weren’t legally crimes since a slave owner could do whatever they wished to their ‘property’.

Once I got a sufficiently long recording, and I reached my limit for how much torture I could stomach, I stopped looking through the hole, returning the boxes to their original position. I used my control of oxygen and hydrogen to precisely move around the dust on the floor so it was like how it was before I moved the boxes. When I left the room, I moved the dust I displaced with my footprints back to where it was originally as well.

After that I returned to the game of hide-and-seek. As I searched leisurely for my sister and her maid, I edited the video I just took. I mentally removed the facial tattoos from all the individuals being tortured. It was a simple edit, so it wasn’t difficult to do, just tedious given I had to remove the tattoos in every frame of the recording.

The reason for my edits was simple and sad. I needed this video to make people angry, to spur them to action. Most of Alf-Laylah wa-Laylah’s middle class and wealthy citizens, the people with the most means to enact change combined with an inclination to do so, wouldn’t take action if it was ‘merely’ slaves being tortured. The citizenry needed to see those of their own level being tormented by their Sultana.

I had a plan to take down Shahryar and Parizade, as well as the corrupt government as a whole. A significant part of the anime’s plot revolved around a group of underground revolutionaries who wanted to overthrow the Sultan and nobles. It was made up of mostly common citizens and some disgruntled nobles. Even though I was still eight years away from the point in which the anime’s plot would begin, the Revolutionary Army already existed. The only thing stopping it from taking action was there wasn’t enough public support. If they took action now, they’d be stomped out. They needed the citizens to rise up and join the Revolutionary Army.

It wouldn’t take a whole lot to incense people. Most of the country's population was impoverished. The issue was that instead of getting mad, most were depressed and full of despair. They needed a fire lit under them.

That’s why I had been spending years gathering evidence of all my parents’ crimes and injustices, as well as those of the nobility. I’d send it to the Revolutionary Army anonymously, as I assumed the revolutionaries would be suspicious of anything sent to them by the daughter of their biggest enemies.

Once the revolutionaries had all the dirt they needed on the royal family and the nobles, they’d reveal it all to the public through various channels and whip them into a frenzy. No matter the resources and military power the government possessed, they wouldn’t be able to defeat nearly the entire population of their own country, especially as many members of the government would side with the revolution either due to their morals or their desire to escape punishment.

As for gathering enough evidence, that last video of Parizade was the last bit I needed. Honestly, I already had enough legal documents and records downloaded to get the revolution going, but a video of a member of the country’s royal family torturing its citizens would make sure the populace was full of unyielding righteous fury.

One might worry that the evidence would be dismissed as forgeries and AI generated deep fakes. These concerns had long since been overcome thanks to the creation of what were essentially digital stamps on files that people believed couldn’t be faked, and that proved the files were made in a certain way. They would say that an unedited recording was an unedited recording, and if you tampered with the video, the stamp would change to reflect that.

In actuality, the stamps could be faked, but it was a complicated process that required being an extremely skilled hacker, or being someone rich enough to afford a program one of those hackers made to change the stamp. I was one of the latter, and I used it when editing the face tattoos so nobody would be able to tell the video was changed. The existence of these programs and hackers was not known to the majority of Alf-Laylah wa-Laylah’s populace, as the highest nobility kept them secret so they could fake things without scrutiny from the common folk or even the lower nobles. That was going to bite them in the ass now.

I had everything gathered together in a series of folders in my head, now I just needed to send it to the Revolutionary Army. It had to be done in a way that was covert. The Sultan made sure that a majority of the communications in the country were monitored, so he’d catch my dirt on him if I wasn’t careful.

Thankfully, the anime showed that the Revolutionary Army had a special method of covert communication, and that meant I knew about it and how to utilize it.

Accessing the internet with my implant, I went to a social media site. The page I pulled up was a discussion board where people talked about why they hated birds. In an old post where someone went on a rant about why they thought doves were annoying, a single letter in a single word was secretly a link. It led to an error message saying that the link was broken, but in truth there was another hidden link.

I went down a rabbit hole of obscured hyperlinks, all of them guarded by numerous digital barriers that made them near impossible to find in any of the web pages' source codes, and that caused there to be no history recorded on any browsers used.

Eventually, I had to start inputting passwords, and said passwords were thankfully revealed in the anime for the sake of a dumb gag.






The passwords were all like this.

You may be asking how I could have memorized all these dumb passwords. How many times did I watch the anime?

Too many times. Hatred could make you act unwise.

Back to the point, I arrived at the Revolutionary Army’s website, which was bare bones in its design. It was a mostly black page with some links to chat rooms, message boards, and various documents.

I didn’t have an account on the site and couldn’t make one without giving away my true identity, so I used a program to bypass the need for signing in to make posts or upload files. The program was a present I asked Parizade for on one of my birthdays. The fake reason I gave for why I wanted the program was that I wished to access video streaming sites without needing to make accounts for them because I thought making accounts was tedious.

Thanks to the program, all I had to do was find a dropbox for documents meant to be shared with all members of the Revolutionary Army. I uploaded all the evidence I gathered and left the website.

That was it. Now all I had to do was wait for the gears I set up to turn, and for the fall of the Sultanate to arrive.

Satisfaction filled my chest. I couldn’t help but smile as wide as I physically could.

My previous life consisted of me bringing constant sadness to people I cared about. I was proud to know I would be taking sadness away by making Shahryar and Parizade pay for what they had done, along with the rest of the nobility.

Those cocksuckers had no idea what was coming.

And neither did I.

Skipping along as I actually started focusing on finding Dunyazade and Tawaddud, I felt sure that I had just brought an end to my sister’s suffering.