Disclaimer: I don’t own Aladdin or its characters. Only the nameless boy at the end is mine. I got inspiration for this story from the series episode “The Lost Ones” which, by the way, happens to be one of my favorites. Besides, Mirage is my second favorite villain with Mozenrath being my first favorite. Anyway, enjoy.
Chapter One- The Seed is Sown
Mirage sulked on her throne, even as a scene of utter destruction played out in her crystal. Although her eyes were in the crystal’s direction, she wasn’t seeing it. She was planning how to get revenge on Aladdin. That meddlesome fool has ruined her plans too often for her taste. Every single plan was ruined by him.
‘Wait,’ she thought. ‘There was one that had been abandoned, not ruined.’ The one where she had created the El Katib. Although she could only use them once every seven years, she enjoyed finding humans that had the “seed of evil”, as she called it, in them.
‘I could start over. I’ll search every corner of the world and create a large group of them. But first, I need to get revenge on Aladdin.’
Mirage stroked her chin. She needed to plan very carefully. Planning when and how to do her revenge had to be done that way. A pity she couldn’t make him an El Katib. It would be a perfect way to get revenge and re-start her shadow walker minions.
Or could she? She learned from that young kid that Aladdin was a thief before becoming a hero. Never mind that he only stole food. Thievery can go two ways, but a seed is inside the heart of every thief. If she could manipulate that “seed”, so that Aladdin would be compelled to do evil, she would be able to invoke his transformation.
Aladdin leaned against the stall, bored, while Jasmine gazed at its wares. Earlier, the couple had separated, browsing on his or her own. Aladdin had finished before Jasmine and was following her around, giving his opinion whenever asked.
Jasmine rummaged through her pouch, a frown of concentration on her face. “I thought I had enough,” she muttered.
“What’s wrong?” he asked, coming up to her.
“I’m a couple of coins short.” She gestured to a beautiful bracelet in front of her.
Aladdin rummaged through his pockets, even though he knew he didn’t have any… A jingle in a pocket reached his ears. Curious, he reached in and pulled out a small handful of coins.
‘How did those get there?’ he wondered.
“Oh, Aladdin, thank you,” Jasmine said, plucking two coins from the pile. As the merchant counted the money, she turned to her boyfriend. “You must have helped someone earlier and got paid for your help.”
“Yeah, I guess so.” Aladdin didn’t remember helping anyone, but he decided to go with the idea.
Mirage smirked as she watched the couple in her crystal. It was a brilliant idea to put some money in his pocket. She had also put a spell on the coins. As soon as Aladdin touched them, his dormant seed would be revived and slowly begin to grow and thrive. All she could do for now was sit and watch.
Chapter Two- Back to Stealing
Aladdin pondered on the mysterious coins as he and his girlfriend headed back to the palace. He didn’t recall helping anyone that morning. Perhaps, someone saw his clothes, felt pity for him, and somehow slipped the money into his pocket.
His hand slid into said pocket and fingered the coins. Their sound and weight delighted him and made him want more. Money was power after all and power sounded good to him.
He mentally shook himself. He never cared about money or power before. Why did he care now? It was strange. Strange that he never cared before. He cared about money now and he wanted more. The only way to do that was to steal it.
‘I haven’t stolen in a long time. I need to start small with food first. Once I’ve gotten good at it, I’ll start swiping money.’
‘Wait!’ he thought. ‘Jasmine has money enough for both of us. I don’t need to steal any; I want to steal some.’ Aladdin was feeling confused. He knew stealing was wrong and that he didn’t need to do it anymore, but he couldn’t ignore the part of him that said that he must steal in order to gain wealth and power. He was walking a fine line between right and wrong, moral and immoral. He proceeded to weigh these values all night and well into the next day.
He thought of the reasons why he shouldn’t steal and compared them to why he should. He mulled over this as he bit into an apple.
Wait. Where did the apple come from? He left the palace empty-handed. He didn’t stop to purchase it. That meant he stole it! Without even realizing it, he had swiped the fruit so smoothly, no one noticed it was gone.
He stared at the half-eaten fruit. He couldn’t believe he stole it and yet it pleased him. He hadn’t lost his touch. ‘Once a thief, always a thief,’ he guessed. No point in fighting or ignoring it any longer. He had to steal and keep his skills sharp. Start small and work his way up. He would be stealing money in no time.
Three Days Later
“Stop, thief!” the call rang out over the streets. A hooded figure dashed through the streets and over rooftops with a quartet of guards behind him. His golden-brown eyes glittered with excitement over being chased.
Keeping his face concealed, he scaled down the side of a building and whipped down an alley, only to find it was a dead-end! Hissing to himself, he pressed himself up against a wall hidden in shadows. He pulled his cloak around him to cover his skin and squeezed his eyes shut as he willed himself to keep still and try to blend in with the darkness.
He heard the guards stop at the alley’s entrance, and then heard Razoul’s command to follow him. The footsteps faded away, allowing the man to breathe a sigh of relief. Pushing back his hood, Aladdin smirked as he headed back the way he came, towards his home. When he reached it, he removed a necklace from his robes, and twirled it around one finger.
The necklace was a beautiful piece and small enough to hide. He hadn’t really counted on the guards spotting him taking it. It was fortunate he decided to conceal his face, otherwise he would have been thrown in the dungeon as soon as he entered the palace.
Opening one of his chipped jars, he placed his prize inside. Stealing the necklace was brilliant. If someone found it, he would claim it was a gift for Jasmine. It was a perfect claim because it matched the bracelet the princess just bought.
‘Let’s see. I’ve stolen food until yesterday afternoon. Then, I moved on to utensils and now jewelry. I’m just about ready to steal money. Another couple of days should do it.’
Mirage smiled as she watched Aladdin. Over the last five days, she watched as the young man reverted to his thieving ways. She was especially pleased over the physical changes that had come over him. His brown eyes were now yellow and were spreading to the whites of his eyes. His teeth were becoming sharp and it looked as if the bottom fangs would soon protrude. He was slowly becoming a fine El Katib. He has not noticed his changes or fully accepted his evil nature. Once he noticed his changes, she would show up and try to get him to accept the El Katib’s gift of power and immortality. She suspected that he would try to fight it and she knew that she could simply force the complete change on him, if necessary.
“It shouldn’t take much longer before he’s my slave,” she purred.
Chapter Three- Elevated Misdeeds
A week has passed since Aladdin stole his apple and he had acquired a decent-sized wealth. No one was aware that Aladdin was back to being a thief. Only now, he was much worse than he used to be. His friends nor Jasmine had noticed that he was behaving strangely or of the changes that had come over him, which made sense since he hadn’t noticed them either.
He spent most of his time perfecting his skills and making the perfect getaway each time. He noticed that he could hide in the shadows to avoid detection and used it to its full potential. He was starting to steal at night. He found it much easier to rob people at night.
Yet, despite his improved skills, he was bored. It was too easy to steal and get away. He needed a challenge. Some kind of prize that would be heavily protected. A prize like that would be a sweet reward when he successfully took it. There was only one place that had that kind of challenge: The Royal Treasure Room.
His eyes raked the room greedily. There was so much wealth in the room. No one would notice a pocketful or two missing. He would have to settle for that because there was no great prize for him to take.
No one questioned his presence because Jasmine invited him to watch over the latest gold shipment coming into the Treasure Room. When two guards carried in the chest and sacks, Aladdin licked his lips. It was a vast amount, one he’d love to have. But he would settle for a little bit of money.
Keeping his hands behind him, he discreetly fingered coins and jewels into his pockets. He made sure not to grab too much at once or draw attention to himself. His movements were flawless. No one spotted him stuffing his pockets. He was a little richer when he left the Treasure Room with Jasmine.
Aladdin dashed to his home with his full pockets and began opening jars, looking for some that weren’t quite full. He found a couple and added his recent theft to them. He made a mental note to swipe some more jars before leaning back on some pillows and observing his place.
He had more jars than he did before reverting to his old ways. Stolen utensils and wares were stored in the larger jars. His old, hole-torn curtain had been replaced with a thick, gorgeous red velvet curtain, which gave the place a warm feeling.
He sighed. The place was filled with his stolen treasures and it gave him a feeling of immense satisfaction. The desire for a challenging steal still burned and he told himself to be patient. Sooner or later, a fine prize would arrive at the palace. He absentmindedly scratched along his spine as he fantasized taking this mystery prize.
One Week Later
Aladdin once again found himself in the Treasure Room. But this time he was watching the guards install traps as was Jasmine. The reason for installing traps laid on a pedestal set up against the wall furthest from the entrance. It was a solid gold scepter that was encrusted with large jewels along its handle. It was a beautiful object and it sparked Aladdin’s interest. He wanted it and he would get it by observing the traps so he could avoid them.
He watched as Razoul set up a couple of crossbows. A simple trap that would deter a regular thief. But Aladdin was an expert and saw the crossbows as a joke.
“Razoul,” Jasmine called. “One of the swords over there is loose.” She pointed to a trap that would send swords flying across the room when a wire was tripped.
“Yes, princess.” Razoul strode over to the sword and pushed it securely into place.
Aladdin then spied an axe that was suspended by a worn, fraying rope. It wouldn’t do to have the trap sprung prematurely, especially if he’s making a getaway.
“Hey, Razoul,” he called. “That rope over there’s not very sturdy.”
“I was just getting to it, Street Rat,” the burly guard snapped. He stalked over to the trap, complaining about smart-aleck Street Rats under his breath.
While Razoul busied himself with the axe, Aladdin observed the traps, taking note of the tripwires’ places and how to avoid them. In order to succeed, he needed to plan very carefully.
The Treasure Room’s double doors swung open silently. Aladdin slinked in, blending with the shadows of the room. He zigzagged from one side of the room to the other, occasionally ducking behind piles of treasure. When he cleared the last tripwire, he slipped right up to the pedestal.
The scepter glittered from the light that shined above it. A double image of it was reflected in his yellow eyes. He spied the trap that would release the spear barrier around the pedestal should the scepter be removed.
Glancing around, he caught sight of a statue that would keep the pressure pad from being tripped. Hefting it, he slid it from behind the scepter which fell from its place and into his hand.
A wicked grin came to his face as he gazed at his prize. He did it! A trap-protected item and he stole it! He was so pleased with himself that he failed to avoid the tripwire in his path.
A whistling sound came from above and Aladdin stepped back just as the axe came down mere inches from his concealed face. Silently swearing, he stashed the scepter in his robe and made a fast but careful dash for the door. He came to a halt when he saw the guards blocking his exit.
“Well, well,” Razoul drawled. “If it isn’t our master thief. After two weeks, we finally caught you. Let’s have a look at your face, shall we?” Using his sword’s tip, Razoul moved the cover aside.
“So, it’s you, Street Rat! It’s the dungeon for you. Princess Jasmine won’t want to marry you now.”
“Razoul, did you catch a thief?” Jasmine’s voice called.
“Oh, yes Princess. See for yourself.” Razoul moved aside to reveal Jasmine behind him.
“Aladdin?” she gasped. “It can’t be!”
“It’s true,” Razoul told her. “He’s dressed just like the slick thief we’ve been chasing for two weeks.”
“It’s not me,” Aladdin protested.
“Then, explain this.” Razoul reached inside Aladdin’s robe and removed the scepter.
“I caught the real thief taking it. We triggered one of the traps in our struggle. He must have slipped the scepter into my robe, hoping to frame me.”
“A likely story,” Razoul sneered. “I caught you red-handed.”
“It’s the truth,” Aladdin insisted.
“Hold everything,” a new voice said. A second later, Genie appeared in a puff of blue smoke.
“I can clear up everything. I have a security tape. This will show the real thief.”
Conjuring a TV/VCR combo, Genie pushed the tape in and hit play. “Any minute, we’ll see…”
An image of Genie singing opera, dressed as a Viking woman appeared. Genie blushed, hit stop, and then eject. “Oops. Wrong tape.”
Removing another tape from his belt, he pushed it in, and an image of the Treasure Room appeared. “Here we go. Soon we’ll have our culprit and it’s…whoaaa…” Genie trailed off when Aladdin’s image appeared and proceeded to steal the scepter.
“I don’t believe it,” Genie gasped, freezing the scene and gaping in shock.
“Believe it,” Razoul said. “All right, Street Rat, down to the…Where’d he go?” Razoul scanned the room, but Aladdin had vanished.
Chapter Four- The Shadow’s Evil
Aladdin leaped from the shadowy portal and into his home. That had been a close one. He would be in the dungeon by now if he hadn’t opened that portal. Wait. Since when could he do that? Did he somehow obtain magic powers when he became a master thief? Possibly. But, he didn’t have time to dwell on it. The guards would be after him and they would come to his home after they determined that he’s not in the palace.
‘I’ll have to move to a new home. I’ll pack everything up and move out tonight. I have no doubt the guards will come here in the morning to arrest me.’
Decision made, he grabbed up a couple of empty sacks he had salvaged and began putting his belongings in them. He saved his curtain for last and as he pulled it down, his friends minus Jasmine were behind it.
“Al! What were you thinking robbing the Treasure Room like that?” Genie exclaimed.
Aladdin stuffed his curtain into a sack and tied both of them closed. “I was thinking it would be easy.”
“Al, what’s wrong with you? You said you’ve given up stealing.”
Aladdin whirled around to face his blue friend, stabbing a finger at him. “That’s what’s wrong. I shouldn’t have stopped. I now have wealth as well as power.”
“Stop it! Look, just come back to the palace and plead insanity. I’m sure they’ll show mercy on that…”
“Mercy?” Aladdin spat. “I don’t need or want mercy. All I want is power and to be the greatest thief in the world.”
“Leave me alone! I don’t need any of you.” Aladdin reached into his vest, pulled out Genie’s lamp, and threw it to its owner. Hefting his sacks, he opened another shadowy portal and vanished through it.
“Perfect,” Mirage purred. “Aladdin has expressed a desire for power. That should speed the transformation up a bit. I think I’ll be visiting him sometime tomorrow.”
Aladdin yawned as he woke up in his new home. He had found a deserted home on the outskirts of the city. It was a lucky break. He wasted no time in decorating his room with his hoarded wealth.
As he arched his back, he tilted his head back, and saw a forked, dark green tail arcing above him. ‘What?’ he thought. Standing up straight, he craned his neck, and saw that the tail was connected to him!
‘How can I have a tail? Although, I can think of a few uses for it.’ As he stretched out his arms, he got another shock. He only had three fingers and a thumb on each hand and they sported long, sharp claws. His forearms were also bigger than the upper arms.
“What the-,” he started to say when he felt something brush against his lips. Aladdin fumbled for a mirror. He brought it up and stared at his reflection. His eyes had gone yellow with black slits for pupils and he had fangs protruding from his lower lip.
“What is happening to me?” he exclaimed in horror.
A flash of green light distracted him from his looks. He turned to see a female humanoid cat dressed in Egyptian-style clothes. “Mirage,” he hissed.
The cat woman ignored his greeting. Instead she floated around him closely inspecting his changes. Finally, she commented, “Nice. Very nice. A fine specimen of El Katib.”
El Katib! So, that’s what was happening. He was becoming a shadow walker and the one responsible was right in front of him. Wait. How can he be changing? Mirage had said he was too pure of heart to be El Katib.
“How are you doing this, Mirage?” he demanded, pointing at his altered features.
Me? I’m not entirely responsible. You’re just as guilty.”
“It’s simple. I awakened your dormant seed of evil and let you decide your path. You could have resisted the desire to steal and do evil. I’m pleased that you didn’t.”
“And because I didn’t, I’m changing.”
‘Exactly. Now, I can help you complete the transformation.”
“Who said I want to finish changing?”
“So…you’re saying you didn’t enjoy stealing and being an accomplished thief?”
Aladdin didn’t answer. Actually, he did enjoy robbing people and polishing his skills. He was on his way to becoming the greatest thief in the world. The only problem was eventually he would die and someone else would claim the title. The thought of dying scared him. He didn’t want to die and he wanted to hold on to his title forever.
“I don’t want to die,” he murmured more to himself than to Mirage. “I want to be the world’s greatest thief forever.”
“Is that so?” Mirage asked. “If you fully become an El Katib, you’ll have your immortality.”
“I would, wouldn’t I?”
“Yes, of course.”
“But, I would be serving you.”
“Is that really such a bad thing considering you would have power and immortality?”
Aladdin answered without hesitation. “Not really.”
“Then, enter the Shadow Realm, Aladdin, and let your transformation be complete.” Mirage waved a hand to conjure a portal larger than the ones Aladdin made.
Aladdin licked his lips. He knew that if he went in, he would be there for seven years. But, what was seven years compared to eternity? It was nothing. Nothing, but loneliness.
“Why the hesitation? You want to live forever.”
“I just realized that I’ll be lonely.”
“Actually, you won’t.”
“It’s too soon to recruit kids here, but in another city, now is the time to look for fresh blood.”
“So, you would want me to lure them to the Shadow Realm?”
“Yes. But only for two nights.”
“I remember.” Smiling, Aladdin stepped forward and into the portal. All around him was darkness. A darkness that felt like it was seeping into his body and his heart, causing the evil within him to grow stronger.
As he welcomed this oddly warm feeling, his skin turned dark green and leathery. His legs bent slightly while his feet grew bigger and longer with sharp claws on three toes and on the heels. His vest ripped apart as he grew bigger, revealing a ridged spine that caused him to hunch over and use his knuckles to keep from falling over. His hair vanished as his ears fanned out and his nose and mouth fused together into a snout with two pairs of fangs protruding from them. Aladdin snarled and growled in a deeper voice. He was officially an El Katib.
“I’ll make something of myself someday. Then, I’ll show them all,” a boy grumbled angrily.
“Why wait?” a deep, sly voice called to the orphan boy.
“W-w-who’s there?” The boy looked around with large, scared eyes.
“Don’t be afraid. I’m someone who can offer you power and immortality. Just step through the portal and these gifts are yours.”
A black, shadowy portal opened up a few feet in front of the boy. He stared at it as a dark green arm came through and beckoned him with a long, sharp claw before vanishing into the blackness.
“Power and immortality? Sounds good to me.” Grinning, the boy leaped into the portal, which closed behind him, leaving no trace that something evil and sinister had even taken place.