Sulawesi the Eagle
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Basit held the eagle upside down by his legs and gave it a shake.
“Squawk, skreak, urk!”
The genie shook the eagle one more time. The eagle turned a beady eye upward. “All right. Just put me down, you big lummox.”
Basit inverted the eagle and set it gently on the ground. The eagle ruffled its wings and preened the right one a couple of strokes before turning its attention back to Basit. “You caught me fair and square, I guess. I suppose I can’t complain.”
“So, eagle, why are you following my friends?” Basit asked.
“If you must know,” the eagle replied, glancing around at the group, “I’m supposed to be watching out for Hasib. So far, he hasn’t landed into any bad scrapes, so I just watch. If he gets into trouble, then I will help him get out.”
“And you’re doing this why?” Basit asked with suspicion in his voice.
“The Great Vizier sent me, of course, balloon face. He doesn’t want to see his investment harmed.”
Hasib snorted. “What do you mean investment? The Great Vizier hasn’t paid much attention to my welfare in the past.”
“Not that Great Vizier, jackass, the vizier who created your bloodline.”
“Isn’t he long dead? That was hundreds of years ago,” Hasib exclaimed.
“Oh, viziers come and go, but they seldom really die. They have to move on after so many years with a sultan, or people begin to wonder about them–whether or not they are immortal. Well, they’d be close to right. Only a few viziers exist, and they go to a different sultanate every thirty or so years to keep up appearances.”
“That’s a relief!” exclaimed Hasib. “I thought you were an agent of the thieves attempting to stop me from looking for Habiba.”
“Even so, why would the vizier care about Hasib?” Basit asked.
“Because of his talents, of course. The vizier still hopes that Hasib, the last of his line, will be able to control the fire breathing and flying. The Great One does not give up easily.