Aladdin and his Magic Lamp

by N Fourbois

"Oh heavens, mother, is there no end to all this washing today?"

"Aladdin, love, you don't have to tell me what hard work it is. I'm doing it as well."

"I know, Mum. It was just…"

"It's always 'it was just…' with you."

"It was just that I was hoping to go down to the City Square this evening. You know I'm looking for a nice boy and if I'm doing laundry all my waking hours, what chance have I got of meeting someone and living happily ever after? And look at my hands."

"Well, son, we were lucky to get that contract from the Imperial palace."

"Yeah, I know, but they're not exactly quick payers. I wonder if it's worth all the trouble."

"Of course it's worth all the trouble. We can put up the Imperial warrant and that will attract all sorts of new business."

"And less time to enjoy the money," continued Aladdin. "And that's another thing, Mum. The Emperor and his family are parading through the Square tonight. It's the Emperor's official birthday and I wanted to see the sort of things we're going to launder."

"And that Prince Phat Lon-Dik I wouldn't be surprised. All those pictures you've got of him on your bedroom wall."

"I know. Isn't he just gorgeous?"

"Okay, you can go as long as you do this first," said Widow Wan-Kee, handing him a bag of soiled laundry tied with a lavender ribbon and embroidered with the Imperial cipher.

"Oh, thank you, Mummy. You're gorgeous too. What is it?"

"Look for heaven's sake, boy. It's his personal kit."


"The Crown Prince's, dummy, his personal stuff, his smalls."

"You don't mean?"

"Yes! And furthermore you can wash your own smalls tomorrow."


"It's all right, son. I know what sixteen year olds get up to and don't forget to put on your Marigolds. I'm sure young men these days don't like chapped hands any more than girls did in my day."

Aladdin got on doing the smalls while Widow Wan-Kee went through into the boiler room to get on with the larger stuff. Aladdin undid the ribbon on his Highness's laundry bag, put in his hand and pulled out a pair of Calvin Klein briefs, then he tipped the rest of it out onto the draining board. "There's plenty of it here, Mum," he shouted "and it hardly looks as if it's been worn."

"Well, you know what these Royals are like. Wear it once and off into the linen basket and they change their clothes several times a day. Still, all good money for us, and you are using the gentle non-bio liquid detergent, aren't you? And don't forget the fabric conditioner in the last rinse."

"Yes, Mum. I mean no, Mum."

Aladdin was supposed to be picking out the different fabrics, especially silk. He was subconsciously licking his lips as he went through the Prince's undies and it made him chub up at the thought of the Prince wearing them. 'Must be a big boy,' he thought, looking at the way they were stretched at the front. In the end they were all cotton and, surprisingly, no boxers. "Come on, Aladdin," said Widow Wan-Kee as she passed through the scullery to fetch some more washing soda. "You'll never be finished in time if you just stand there staring at them. Seen one pair of undies, you've seen the whole lot."

" Au contraire , Mama," he replied as he leapt out of his trance. 'Oops,' he thought, 'shouldn't have said that. The old girl is still a bit touchy about me coming out.' He continued to rummage through the clothes. 'Mmm, several pairs of tights, as worn by the best pantomime princes, of course, same number of dance belts – that follows – jockstraps with a corresponding number of running and tennis shorts, three thongs and the rest are white cotton briefs. Okay, better get on with them. Only the best, I notice. CKs, 2( x )1 st , Homs, AussieBums. Oh, so that's how they do it. There's a little piece of cloth in the crotch that forms a separate pouch for your bits and pieces and then pushes them forward and supports at the same time. With all their marsupials I suppose the Ozzies ought to know a thing or two about pouches.' He continued rummaging through the pile and picked up one of the jockstraps and put it to his nose. 'Aah, sheer nectar. You know what? I'm going to wear this one this evening. Mmm, a size too big maybe, but I'll cope. I can soon rinse it through when I get home and it will be dry by the morning and I can put it back with the rest.'

With such resolve Aladdin got on with his work and it was not long before he had the Prince's laundry hanging up and drying in the boiler room. "Mum, can I go now?"

"Have you finished those knick-knacks, Aladdin?

"Yes, Mum. They're drying."

"Did you double rinse them?"

"Of course, Mum."

"Okay, off you go and have a good time, but you'll have to get up early in the morning to iron them."

"But we don't iron knick-knacks."

"Royal ones we do. Do you want anything to eat before you go?"

"It's all right, thanks, Mum. I'm so excited at seeing the Prince I couldn't eat a thing. Could you leave me something in the larder for when I get back?"

"Okay, dear. Have a good time."

Aladdin went to change. He put on his best red silk tunic with gold piping and black trousers, both hand-me-downs from his late father, not forgetting to put on the Prince's jockstrap from the soiled laundry first, then slipped on his sandals and finally his coolie hat, allowing his pigtail to hang down to the small of his back. He disappeared down the street towards Peking's main City Square. Striding along the crowded street he discovered that he was somehow feeling different – more confident, no longer bowed over by work. He had ever since the moment he had put the Prince's jockstrap on. It was as if it had a royal presence of its own, a magic which was now taking its effect on Aladdin. He rubbed his finger over his top lip and felt his moustache. It seemed thicker, a rare sign of maturity, for full facial hair was uncommon among Chinamen and often taken as a sign of nobility and certainly not found on a sixteen year old. The jockstrap was particularly comfortable, but Aladdin felt it was fuller than his normal undergear. He surreptitiously slipped his hand under his tunic and it was true. His dick felt longer and thicker, his balls heavier and lower as if they had expanded to fill the pouch of the jock.

He was carried along with the crowd. With the thrill of wearing his late father's best clothes he had forgotten until that moment that his other mission was to look for a boyfriend, but with everyone walking in the same direction, boywatching was all but impossible.

The square was already full. The Imperial Guard was formed up to provide an avenue through the people for the parade. Aladdin managed to find a spare lamppost which he climbed and sat on the crossbar, waving the Imperial Chinese flag he had kept furled in his tunic. The Emperor of China and his family were very popular and the crowds were cheering and fervently waving their flags. Under his rule China had been opened up to the rest of the world. It had imported technology from the great American empire and used it to manufacture goods which it sold back to the Americans. It made his Empire rich, threatening to make it richer than the great empire across the ocean itself, and he made sure that the riches were used to cut taxes among his peoples for he as Emperor was already so rich that he had little left to spend his private wealth on.

The noise in the square suddenly hushed and then a great cheer went up. The procession was approaching. The first to be seen were the six horsemen of the Imperial Bodyguard followed by the Imperial horse drawn coach, an open coach in which the Emperor and Empress were seated, surrounded by a dozen of the Imperial Bodyguard on foot. The Emperor and Empress had five daughters, but only one son, the fourteen year old Crown Prince Phat Lon-Dik. This should have brought happiness to any family, except for a secret known to many, but spoken of by few, for the penalty for divulging it was severe, short of execution, but for all that severe , for the Emperor feared for his lineage through the male line and if it continued through the distaff side that would be seen as bringing shame on the Imperial family. However, under a modern and outwards looking Emperor times were changing.

The procession continued at a marching pace through the huge square, the Imperial coach being followed by one with the five daughters, then the honoured guests from the Emperor's birthday banquet, towards the Imperial palace, Chinese nobility, royalty and representatives from overseas, including those from the mighty republic across the ocean, and finally, resplendent in a short tunic in Imperial colours and tights, the Crown Prince himself, who despite the dark secret that shall not be mentioned, was as popular as the Emperor and Empress themselves. He was standing alone in his coach, waving to the cheering crowds, but that was only one activity. He was scanning the crowd out of curiosity and, dare one say it concerning a fourteen year old, lust. He was the last of the nobility to enter the square for behind his coach were only six horsemen of the Imperial Bodyguard and marching beside the Crown Prince's coach twelve members of the Imperial Corps of Eunuchs.

Suddenly he called out "Captain of the Guard, stop the coach!" The horses and the coach came to a grinding halt. "Guardsman, that boy up there on the lamppost, bring him to me."

"Certainly, your Royal Highness. What shall I say?"

"That the Crown Prince wishes to speak to him. Immediately."

What reason shall I give, sir?"

"Use your initiative, man. You will think of something."

The Imperial Guardsman marched across to the lamppost and shouted "Hey, you boy, come down at once. His Royal Highness the Crown Prince wishes to speak to you."

"What, me?" squeaked Aladdin, suddenly filled with dread. "What have I done?"

"You are flying the Imperial flag upside down."

"Oh my goodness, no. I didn't mean to, sir, honest."

"I am not a 'sir'. I'm a Guardsman."

"Sorry, Guardsman," said Aladdin as he slid down from his perch on the street lamp. The guardsman put his hand on the boy's shoulder and marched him towards the Prince's coach.

"Climb up here, boy," commanded the Prince. Aladdin hesitated, but was straightaway helped by the guardsman.

"Captain of the Guard, forward." The procession continued.

"I didn't mean to fly the Imperial flag upside down."

"Piffle. Sit down boy. What's your name?"

"Aladdin, sir."

"Wave to the crowd, Aladdin, and smile."

"Where are we going?"

"Back to the Royal Palace, of course. There's nothing to be afraid of. We no longer execute people for flying the Imperial flag the wrong way up." In his astonishment Aladdin had dropped his flag on the pavement and so he couldn't check. He was beginning to calm down. He was thinking of the two reasons he had come to the square and he had fulfilled one of them – to see his hero and pin-up, the Crown Prince – and now he was so close to him he was not disappointed. He tried to wave to the crowds and smile, but his concentration slipped as he looked at the prince standing up in the coach. His gaze started on his face, slowly slid down the slim torso to this tights, stopped momentarily to admire the royal package and continued down the shapely legs. The Crown Prince was fully aware of what was happening, but chose to ignore it as he acknowledged the adoring public.

The prince's carriage had caught up with the rest of the parade and the procession wound in through the gates of the Imperial palace, coming to a halt in the courtyard. Everybody stood as the Emperor and Empress alighted from the front of the procession, the Crown Prince from the rear and then the princesses in that order.

"Come along, Aladdin. Follow me. All the time you are with me no harm can come to you. Take my hand." The prince raised his left hand breast high and Aladdin rested his right upon it. The pair veered away from the Emperor and Empress's train. They mounted the large staircase to the right which led to the Prince's apartments. The guards' uniforms changed from the red of the Imperial Bodyguard to the purple of the Imperial Corps of Eunuchs with the gold embroidered pictograms on their black epaulettes.

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Outside the door leading to the Prince's apartments stood two more soldiers in purple uniforms, purple, the colour of royalty and immaturity. "I don't want to be disturbed until the morning except for the delivery of food," commanded the Prince. The order was acknowledged.

Aladdin followed the Prince into the first room. The splendour and richness of it he could only have imagined after living in the washhouse all his life. However, it was the Prince he could not keep his eyes off. Was he dreaming? After lusting over those pictures cut from newspapers and magazines and stuck to the wall over his bed he now had the real person in front of him and he was a thousand times more beautiful. "Okay," said the Prince "let's get a good look at you." He stood Aladdin in front of a full length mirror to enable him to observe both back and front at the same time. The Prince removed his tunic which left his upper body bare. Aladdin turned and looked in to glass and was amazed to see his pecs and abdomen had tightened and he sported a sixpack which he himself fell in love with on the spot. "Now your trousers." Aladdin could not believe that he was undressing in front of the Crown Prince that he so lusted over in his masturbation fantasies. Aladdin was about to drop his trousers when he remembered he was wearing the Prince's jockstrap. 'What if he recognises it?' he thought while hesitating to carry out the Prince's command. "Come along. If, as I surmise, you have nothing to be ashamed of. Quite the opposite I suspect." Aladdin fumbled with the sash that held them up. He was all fingers and thumbs. Then the black silk trousers fell to the ground and he was standing in front of his future monarch in nothing but the Prince's own jockstrap. He remembered how loose the jock was when he first out it on, but now it seemed a perfect fit, waist, pouch and backstraps. The Prince stepped back and admired him. "You have a fantastic body. How did I manage to pick you out of the crowd?" Then he suddenly went silent and was staring, at Aladdin's genitals packed neatly in the royal jockstrap, but it was not the pouch he was looking at. It was the label above the pouch. "Where did you get that from?" the Prince demanded sternly.

"I… I…" stammered Aladdin and finally the story came out. Aladdin told the Prince who he was and how he had discovered the jock among the Prince's dirty linen and had experienced a completely uncontrollable desire to wear it and how he had felt so good since putting it on.

The Prince, despite his tender years, had a wise head on his shoulders, inherited from his father, the Emperor himself. He didn't lose his temper. He exploited the situation to his psychological advantage. "Aladdin, I recognised it immediately. It's a Litesome. Litesome make the best jockstraps in the world, or rather made them until they went bust. My father saved them for me. He paid their debts and in return took their stock and so the Imperial Palace is now the only source of new Litesomes in the world. Now, you know what happens to people who steal, don't you?"

"I didn't steal it," protested Aladdin. "I only borrowed it. I was going to put it through the wash when I got home tonight and put it back with the rest of your laundry."

"And you do know that misuse of any Imperial property is also treason? And those guilty of treason are executed, beheaded."

"I didn't know, sir. Honest."

"Except that we are a little more enlightened these days. We still sentence those guilty of treason to be executed, but we wait until they have eaten their final meal in the condemned cell, then inform them that their death sentence has been commuted to lifelong service in the Imperial Corps of Eunuchs and they are taken off to be castrated." Aladdin shuddered. "But you, Aladdin, are subject to a different fate. Take off my jockstrap and hand it to me." The Prince took his jock and, after sniffing it, laid it on a blue cushion. While he was doing that Aladdin caught sight of himself in the full length mirror. He was amazed, but it partly explained one mystery. He could not help but admire his own genitals. His cock had thickened, his hairless balls had grown and instead of being enclosed in what looked like a single sac, were now two separate entities either side of his cock, framing it and displaying it with the foreskin covering ninety percent of the glans to its best advantage. His pubic hair was, as with so many Chinese, short, straight and cleaving in a semi-circle of some two inches radius to the skin above his dick. The rest of his body was hairless. Aladdin could not understand what had happened, but he was overjoyed with the result.

The Prince strutted round Aladdin, inspecting and admiring the washerwoman's son in front of him. Aladdin meanwhile could not keep his eyes from the bulge in the Prince's tights and without support or protection he was unable to disguise his admiration of the royal package. Finally the Prince spoke. "I take it you are gay?" The evidence before him was too compelling. "And I assume you are a virgin." Open mouthed Aladdin nodded. "I thought so. My magic Litesome is extremely reliable in the boys he brings me." Aladdin tried to utter 'Magic Litesome?', but he could only mouth it for his voice would not respond. What had happened to him? "You will lose both of your cherries. Tonight you will lose your back cherry as I take my pleasure and before sunrise you will lose your front cherry as I enjoy the reciprocal pleasure of feeling you inside me."

"But my mother is expecting me home tonight. She's left me a meal."

"Your mother will have other things to occupy her mind," replied the Prince enigmatically "and they will not be concerned with the royal laundry." Instead of calming Aladdin down, it had the opposite effect. "However, there are things to be done first. The trouble with these Chinese banquets is that you have one and an hour later you want another. I'll send out for a takeaway. We'll eat English tonight. Do you like English food?"

"I don't know. I've never eaten it."

"Oh, you must. Cooked properly it is delicious. I shall order for both of us." He summoned his valet, who appeared, also dressed in the purple uniform of the Imperial Corps of Eunuchs. "Wong, I desire an English takeaway for two. Now what shall we have? I'd like to some sausage, and some tongue. What else? Order two portions of 69 as the main. I think you'll like that, Aladdin. Spotted dick and custard for pudding. Lots of cream, Wong. Don't forget that. Then tea to finish."

"Green China tea, sir?"

"No, no, no. Proper English tea with milk and don't forget knives, forks and spoons. You can't eat proper English with chopsticks. Off you go. Chop chop." Aladdin was flabbergasted.

"Now, while we're waiting for that, there are things to be done. You need to be prepared and I need to get out of these clothes. Much as I like wearing tights on Imperial occasions, they become uncomfortable after a time, especially when I have an attractive young man in my private parts… oops! I mean private apartments." The Prince went to the outer door, slid back a panel and ordered "Send me the Eunuch of the Bedchamber and the Eunuch of the Bath." A muffled 'sir' came from outside and five minutes later and after a knock at the door two eunuchs in their purple uniforms were admitted. "Eunuch of the Bedchamber, you will get me ready for a private night with our guest and Eunuch of the Bath, you will take our guest to the Imperial Guests' Bathroom and prepare him for the night."

"Sir," they both acknowledged.

"Don't be frightened of the eunuchs, Aladdin. They have a routine set to certain Imperial standards which it is their duty to perform, but no harm will come to you."

The Eunuch of the Bath covered Aladdin in a silken bathrobe he had brought with him and escorted Aladdin out of the Prince's quarters to the Imperial Guests' Bathroom where other members of the Imperial Corps of Eunuchs were waiting, stripped to the waist, wearing towels and sandals. He was impressed that everything was being carried out with such dignity, starting when the Eunuch of the Bath entered the Prince's chambers to find Aladdin naked, to going through what was obviously a familiar routine, to prepare Aladdin for certain activities, with which they were thoroughly acquainted and yet knew that in their private lives they would never be able to participate.

"We carry out the worst part first," explained the Eunuch of the Bath, removing the silken bathrobe. He took Aladdin to the lavatory area of the huge bathroom, bade him lie on his side on the medical couch there. He jumped as he felt some cold jelly applied to the crack of his butt, then inside his hole. The next thing he felt was a lubricated tube being inserted. Then he felt himself being filled with tepid water. It was slightly uncomfortable, but not painful, almost pleasurable, he thought. "Hold that in as long as you can, warn us, then expel it down the lavatory pan. While Aladdin was doing his best to hold in the enema, the eunuch started unpicking his pigtail.

"I've got to go," shouted Aladdin and leapt off the couch and sat on the lavatory seat.

"Well done," said the eunuch. "You won't know it, but the Prince is receiving exactly the same treatment in his private bathroom." Now came the next part as Aladdin descended into the huge, warm bubble bath, the tub being the size of one found in a rugby club dressing room, but that much more luxurious. The attendants were in the tub with him, washing his hair and soaping his body until he was thoroughly clean. Aladdin climbed out of the bathtub and into a cotton towelling bathrobe, again pale blue, the official colour of the heir to the Imperial throne. He shuddered, but said nothing, as he saw the naked eunuch attendants who had been washing him climb out of the bath. "We shall shave you next," announced the Eunuch of the Bath.

"No, not my moustache," protested Aladdin. "It took me months to grow and it spares me grief if I want to go to a gay club."

"His Royal Highness likes his boys to be smooth faced and anyway it will soon grow back and be bristlier and longer. Moustaches should be regularly shaved at you age. By the way, how old are you?"


"Oh, it says fourteen on your notes. I would say fourteen from your appearance." Aladdin was nonplussed at first, but then he realised odd things had happened to his body since he donned the 'magic' Litesome and he soon stopped worrying and looked forward to what might happen later that evening and night. To lose one's front and back cherries to a prince, nay the Prince, was beyond his dreams. He sat patiently while his black silky hair was being dried and trimmed, and his pigtail was plaited.

"Do you do this often for the Prince's guests?" Aladdin asked the uniformed escort.

"We are not allowed to discuss our work. It is classified as a state secret and so it would be treason to divulge anything and since we haven't much left to be cut off, it would probably be our heads next." The eunuch gave a wry laugh; Aladdin laughed along nervously.

Once he was ready Aladdin had the cotton bathrobe removed and replaced by a silk dressing gown of the same colour and a matching pair of slippers for his feet. "Your own clothes will be laundered and returned to you by the Imperial Laundry," he was informed. 'That will astonish mother,' he thought, but chose to say nothing.

On his return to the Prince's apartments he found the Prince similarly attired and a splendid English repast laid out for two. Aladdin was starving. He hadn't eaten anything since a bowl of rice at lunchtime. He did not know what time it was now, except that through the window he could see that it had grown dark in the streets of Old Peking. They tucked into their meal. No 69 turned out to be steak and kidney pudding. The portions of everything were small, but as the Prince explained, he did not want either of them to fall asleep from the effects of a large meal. They had more important things to do.

While they were eating, the atmosphere became less formal and the conversation easier. Aladdin asked "Your Royal Highness, how old are you?"

"In the privacy of my apartments you are to call me Lon-Dik. I am fourteen years old. I think I told you."

"You did. How old am I?"


"But I was sixteen when I left home to go and see the parade."

"That's right, but remember you were wearing my Litesome jockstrap. Earlier I called it 'my magic Litesome' or 'magic jockstrap' and so it is. The magic is a gift from my godfather, the Imperial Wizard. You have already noticed that your body has undergone certain changes. I hope you like them. They were caused by the magic of the jockstrap you were wearing. It also reduced your age by two years. You are now the same age as me."

"And are you really fourteen?"

"Of course. In the same way that you are really fourteen, because of the Litesome."

"Why fourteen?"

"Because that is the age when a boy for a few weeks, months if he's lucky, is at his most beautiful. It is very small window of time in a male's life where boy and man collide. A boy is a boy for only a very brief space. He has to be old enough for a sexual response, but not yet old enough to shave. Fourteen is the interface between boy and man when he possesses the best qualities of each including sexual desire and sexual attractiveness, more so if gay and so I choose through my magic Litesome to be fourteen and when you wore it, as it was still under my command you became fourteen again. When the time comes to succeed my father as Emperor I shall naturally have to reconsider my age, but then there will many things to consider such as how do I, a gay man, secure the blood line of the Imperial family. I will need a son. It'll mean the AI man and a surrogate mother of noble birth."

The Prince's valet cleared away and was told he was no longer required until it was time to serve a late breakfast and that he should go off to the servants' quarters.

"And now my dear, new friend, it is time to retire to my boudoir or the night will be gone and our passion not spent." The Prince put his arm around Aladdin's waist and guided him through his apartment and into his bedroom. The centrepiece was a king-size waterbed. The subdued lighting came from branches on the wall. Above the bed the ceiling was formed of a mirror, as was one wall, but that was partially covered by a curtain. The floor was covered by a thick carpet and furniture kept to a minimum. "This is my guest room. When alone I sleep in a much smaller and personalised bedroom. Now, you said, Aladdin, that you are a virgin, but I take it this not your first experience with another boy." Aladdin blushed, in so far as it was possible for a Chinaman to blush, and nodded his head.

"Jerk offs and blowjobs. That's all."

"So you will know how to kiss?"

"Kissing? Boys don't do kissing."

"I hope by the end of the night you will think differently."

The Prince pulled him in and their lips met, but surprisingly for the boys who had never snogged together before instinct took over and Aladdin was the first to push his tongue into the other's mouth. He felt himself growing hard and his rampant cock pushed through the gap in his dressing gown. He let it fall off his shoulders and into the floor and then slid the Prince's over his shoulders and let it fall there too. Both boys were erect. They admired each other and turned to admire themselves in the mirror. After the effect of the magic of the Prince's Litesome Aladdin was amazed at himself after the first glimpse of his new equipment ready for action.

"Are you ready, Aladdin?"

"I can't wait."

"I'd like to call this making love, but as it's your first time it will be a bit of a mechanical fuck. However, I'll do my best. You are not the first virgin I've taken. Kneel on the bed. Remember, you might experience five seconds of pain followed by what I hope will be long minutes of pleasure." The Prince lubed Aladdin's crack then worked the gel into his hole. "I see the eunuchs shaved your arse."

"No, only my moustache. Apart from my pubes I have no body hair."

"Do me a favour and roll this over my dick."

"What? You use rubbers?"

"Always. When I came out, my father made me promise to use them until I married my life partner and so you see, it's a kind of Imperial command." Aladdin, having completed the task, resumed the position. He felt the royal prick lined up along his crack, then the glans probing his rosebud, then slightly inside. Aladdin let out a yell, but as promised, the pain lasted no more than five seconds and then he experienced such physical pleasure as he had never experienced before.

Satisfied the naked couple snuggled up together with the occasional kiss until the exertions of the evening overcame them and they fell asleep. During the night they might wake, caress and kiss. The Prince found it difficult to keep his hands off Aladdin's balls. With their being newly grown in size Aladdin underwent more pleasure than he had ever done when anyone had played with them before, hanging loose and separate rather than tight and together.

At dawn the rising sun woke the pair. They looked into each other's eyes and smiled. Aladdin had never been happier in his life. "Your turn now," said the Prince. "I can't wait to get that cock of yours piercing my sphincter."

"I must do something first." Aladdin got out of bed and went into the bathroom. While he was waiting for his morning wood to go down, he looked around and espied some mouthwash. He took a swig to rid himself of morning piss breath. He did what he had to do and returned to the Prince's bed. The Prince got up and went into the bathroom. When he returned, they cuddled and kissed. Aladdin had learnt a lot in one night and he was able to rouse the Prince with just his tongue. Finally they felt ready. The Prince knelt on the bed while Aladdin lubed him up.

"Okay, Aladdin, this is going to be different. Just follow my instructions and you'll be okay. I've had lots of practice and so I'm easy to penetrate. You won't hurt me. First of all let's get this over your dick." The Prince produced a condom, a black one this time, offered it to Aladdin's glans and rolled it down his shaft, making sure he had squeezed the air out of the teat. The Prince lay down on the bed on his back. "Come and kneel between my legs. That's right. I'm going to rest them on your shoulders. Come forward slowly until you're lying on top of me. That's it. Now if I lift my balls out of the way, your dick should be able to probe its way until you find my hole." The Prince took Aladdin's cock in his hand and guided it home. "That's great. Just push in gradually until you can push in no more. Are you sure you have never done this before? Now kiss me."

From then everything happened naturally. Aladdin enjoyed the hot feeling of the royal prick hard on his stomach. He pumped, slowly at first and then more quickly as nature took over. Suddenly he felt something hot and sticky oozing over his lower abdomen, but he was too far gone to stop and find out what it was. He needed his own orgasm which duly came depositing all his boy juices, as it should, in the black condom. "Don't pull out yet," said the Prince. "Just let it go limp and slip out on its own. Now kiss my nipples. Can you reach them all right?"

Neither youth knew how long they were lying there, but eventually they got up, showered and dressed. Aladdin put on the clothes the Eunuch of the Bath had set out for him with his coolie hat on his head. There was a knock at the door and breakfast had arrived, brought by Wong, the Prince's personal eunuch valet. Aladdin had several questions to ask over breakfast. "Why are all your staff eunuchs?"

"Apart from the women servants whom you wouldn't see when I'm having a 'private' evening, they are all eunuchs for the same reason that you have eunuchs in charge of the harem. So that no harm, especially harm of a sexual nature, happens to me. Some were gay, some were not. Whatever they were like before they were castrated, they are just not interested now. They're fed and watered and looked after for life providing they toe the palace line."

"Are they all men who were going to be executed? Not all. A lot of them. There is nothing like sparing a man's life for making him grateful and loyal. You can live without balls, but you can't live without your head. My personal staff are hand picked. There aren't any desperados or hardened criminals among the ones that work inside the palace."

"I must go home and face a row with my mother now," said Aladdin.

"Don't worry. I have organised the Imperial rickshaw and rickshaw coolie to take you home. If that doesn't convince your mother, I don't know what will. Before you go, I want you take my magic Litesome as a gift in appreciation. You were so fantastic last night."

"Won't you need it?"

"As I said, I have a supply and the Imperial Wizard on hand if I need to convert one. A warning. Take care about washing it. Strong lye might wash the magic away and although I am presenting it to you as a gift, it cannot be given away and it will eventually return to me, perhaps bringing you with it. It shouldn't have been put into the laundry, but I knew that eventually it would come back to me, perhaps bringing a beautiful boy with it. And it didn't fail in its duty."

The pair kissed, the Prince summoned his guard and ordered him to take Aladdin to the Imperial rickshaw. Aladdin bowed before his Royal Highness the Crown Prince of Imperial China, turned and followed the guard.

When the Imperial rickshaw halted before Widow Wan-Kee's laundry with the Imperial warrant over the door, she rushed out to see what all the fuss was. All the way home Aladdin had a great feeling of apprehension. Not only had he been missing from home all night without his mother's knowing where he was, but there was the extra work she had to do, the checks would have revealed the missing royal jockstrap and a meal from last night would have been wasted. But it was utter relief with which Aladdin was greeted. "There you are, Aladdin, my boy," cried Widow Wan-Kee as she threw her arms round her lost son. "People were telling me that you had been arrested and taken off by the Imperial Bodyguard."

"In a way that is true, Mum, but I was spotted in the crowd by the Crown Prince himself and he ordered his guards to bring me to him. From there I had to sit in his open carriage while he took me back to the palace. I didn't know what was going to happen to me or how I could get in touch with you. The guard told me I was being apprehended for waving the Imperial flag upside down, but I don't think I was." He started to tell his mother the whole story… well, not the whole story for that would have been treason and he knew the fate of those who committed treason.

"You can tell me your story in a minute. I have someone who wants to meet you. It's your Uncle Abanazar."

"Uncle Abanazar? I didn't know I had an Uncle Abanazar."

"You wouldn't. He's your late father's long lost brother who disappeared many years ago before you were born."

Aladdin went into the laundry with his mother and there sitting at the kitchen table was a strange man dressed from head to toe in black. His turban appeared several sizes too large for him. 'He doesn't look a bit like Dad from what I can remember of him,' he thought. Aladdin took an immediate dislike to him. His face was tallow coloured and wizened. He had a big hooked nose and dark evil eyes. He didn't even look Chinese, but as if he had come from the west, perhaps the Arabian Peninsula. "So you're Aladdin," he roared. "Come here and greet your Uncle Abanazar." He held out his arms to embrace the boy, but Aladdin just stood there rooted to the spot. "No matter. Sit down, boy." Aladdin sat down at the kitchen table as far away as possible from Abanazar. "Your mother and I have been discussing your future. Now, how old are you?"

"Sixteen, uncle," Aladdin replied timidly.

"Fourteen, Aladdin," corrected his mother. 'What in heaven's name is happening to me,' thought Aladdin. 'Now my own mother is saying that I'm fourteen and I suppose she should know.'

"I have a job for you, employment. It's about time that you learnt to be independent and so you will be coming away with me. You will be paid well when the job is complete."

"What is it?"

"Everything will be explained as we go along."

"How are you going to cope with the laundry without me, mama?"

"Your Uncle Abanazar has given me some money, enough to employ some help until you return."

"Aladdin, we leave at dawn tomorrow. You have the rest of the day to get your things together and say goodbye to your friends."

"So I've got to go, Mother?"

"I'm afraid so, son. We really do need the money you'll earn." He ran to his mother, put his arms around her and said

"I'll do it for you."

At dawn the next morning the two set out heading westward, Abanazar on a donkey, Aladdin walking alongside his pack complete with bedroll on his back. Aladdin was sorely treated with a bowl of rice morning and night, sleeping on his bedroll in the stable with the donkey at night while Abanazar took a room. Fortunately Aladdin had remembered to wear the jockstrap given to him by the Prince and found that it and a pin up of the boy he had grown to love, gave him the inner strength to keep going. Their journey left the cities behind, then the farms and the forests until seven days later they reached the desert. In the desert there were no inns and they had to sleep in the open. The desert, hot by day, was cold by night. Under a canopy of stars they lay together to conserve warmth. Aladdin awoke to find a hand inside his sleeping bag feeling its way down to his groin. Now wide awake he sat up and smacked his fist into Abanazar's face. From that moment Aladdin had won himself an eternal enemy, not that it affected Abanazar's nefarious plans. "Your mother said you were gay, boy."

"I am, but I am not a slut, nor am I some sort of rentboy to be abused by any Jonnycomelately." Prior to this there had been scarcely any conversation between uncle and nephew. Now it was reduced to basic orders.

"We shall reach our destination at noon." At dawn they rose to continue their journey. That morning there was no breakfast. Aladdin looked at into his uncle's face and silently rejoiced over the large black eye.

Back in the ancient City of Old Peking life went on, but it could hardly be described as smoothly as before. Widow Wan-Kee had found a new washer boy called Wishee Washee, but he was next to useless. The time she spent attempting to train him to do the simplest of tasks she couldn't spend doing her own work and so she fell behind. Then two days of rain meant that she had to dry the clothes indoors. Then, as if that was not enough, she received a visit from the Peking Criminal Police. Did she know an Abanazar? They showed he a photograph. She recognised him immediately. "That's my late husband's brother."

"I'm afraid not," said the sergeant. "We are looking for him in connection with identity theft. He got hold of your deceased brother-in-law's papers and has been masquerading as Abanazar. Any fortune your brother-in-law may have had at the time of his death has been embezzled by this imposter. So if you know where he is, perhaps you can help us with out enquiries."

At that point Widow Wan-Kee collapsed in floods of tears, mainly for her own stupidity at being taken in, but also for entrusting her dear son to his care and now wondering whether she would ever see him again. After composing herself she told the sergeant and his assistant all that had happened and all she knew. Unfortunately she did not know where he had taken Aladdin, just that it was a far place in the mountains of the desert where he had work for him to do.

Things were no better at the palace where a sombre mood reigned. The Crown Prince realised how much he missed Aladdin. He had had boys in his private apartments many a time and oft; he had enjoyed them, but once breakfast had been served and eaten they would be released into the populace and never thought or heard of again. He could go out disguised as a workman and pull a different boy each day. Aladdin, however, was different. It came to the Prince in a flash. He had fallen in love with him, but he could never marry a poor washerwoman's son. He thought of the power of the magic Litesome and wondered whether that could help.

However, first he and his valet donned their working clothes and coolie hats and disappeared out of the staff entrance. They could mingle with the crowds freely without the Prince being recognised. The valet stopped a passer by and asked for directions to Widow Wan-Kee's laundry. They were told that once they took the right street off the main City Square it would not be far. After a quarter of an hour they found it tucked between the Old Peking Tourist Information Centre and the Chinese Dragon Protection League charity shop. As they marched through the front door they were confronted by Wishee Washee as he was attempting to separate the coloureds from the whites in the incoming laundry baskets. The valet showed his palace ID, said that they were there to inspect the Imperial laundry and that they would like to speak to Widow Wan-Kee. Looking around the Prince saw his own portrait hanging in the shop and next to it one of Aladdin looking particularly beautiful, and dare one say it, hot. That did nothing to improve the Prince's humour. Trying to get Wishee Washee to stop sorting and to go and fetch Widow Wan-Kee was like swimming in treacle. "She won't come, mate. She's busy."

"She won't be too busy to see us and please don't call me 'mate'."

"Nah, she never comes when she's pegging out the clothes, guv. She's busy." The valet looked at the Prince and rolled his eyes.

"Do you realise that we represent one of her biggest customers?"

"Nah, guv. She still won't come when she's busy."

"Could you try, please?"

"Nah, mate. More than my job's worth." Patience exhausted, the Prince and his valet walked through the only door. "'ey, you can't go through there. It's private."

They arrived in what looked like the kitchen. "That boy should be recruited into the Imperial Corps of Eunuchs," said the Prince.

"He hasn't got the brains to commit treason or murder," replied his valet.

"No, but it would prevent him from breeding." They went farther through the scullery and the washhouse and found themselves in the back yard where indeed was Widow Wan-Kee, busy pegging out the washing. She gave a little squeal when she saw the two strangers.

"You could have warned me. You frightened me to death. What on earth is that washer boy doing?"

"Certainly no good for customer relations," answered the valet. He showed her his ID and the Prince removed his coolie hat. Widow Wan-Kee recognised him immediately and curtsied.

"Your Royal Highness, if it's about the missing Litesome, I just can't explain it. We checked it in and I have searched everywhere, but I just can't find it. It was before I took on Wishee Washee and so I can't even blame him. We will of course make an adjustment on the account…"

"Widow Wan-Kee, that's not why we have come. The missing Litesome has indeed been found and I have made a gift of it to your son Aladdin. You are to worry no more." Widow Wan-Kee gave a huge sigh of relief. "In fact it is about Aladdin himself we are here. After he left the palace some seven days ago, nothing has been seen or heard of him and we wondered whether you could help."

At that she dissolved into tears again. "Come into the kitchen, Widow Wan-Kee, and we'll make a dish of green China tea and you can tell us all about it." Once settled she told the Prince and his valet everything from the disappearance of Aladdin and the arrival of Abanazar, through their setting off on their journey to the west to the visit from the police concerning identity theft. "I don't know for the moment what we can do to help, but with all the resources of the Palace staff we will do what we can. It is in all our interests to see Aladdin safely back among us here in Peking." The Prince pondered a little more. "There is one thing we can do to help. Before you close tonight, let that useless boy in the shop go and tomorrow morning before you open, I shall second one of our best domestics to help you in the laundry until Aladdin returns and it will not cost you a penny. Thank you, Widow Wan-Kee, for the tea." He pushed his coolie hat deep over his face and left, giving a knowing smile towards Wishee Washee as he continued to struggle with separating the coloureds from the whites.

The Prince and his valet took the scenic route back to the palace. He loved the rare opportunities he had to wander among the people incognito. He would gain a feeling of what the people were thinking and sometimes heard some interesting gossip, and today was no different. They decided to take another dish of green China tea at a pavement café in the Imperial Square of Old Peking. At an adjacent table were sitting a couple of elderly widows. "Were you at the Imperial birthday parade the other week, Mrs Shui?"

"No, Mrs Feng, my arthritic knee wouldn't allow me to stand for all that time."

"I was and do you know what? The Prince spotted this boy sitting at the top of a lamppost. He stopped the procession and got his guard to fetch him down and bring him to him to his carriage and get in. The Prince gave him such a dressing down."

"It's good to know that there is still some discipline in the Empire, Mrs Feng." The Prince pulled his coolie hat deeper over his face and had a quiet giggle to himself.

Back at the palace it was time for action. First the Prince sought an audience with his father, the Emperor, to fill him in on what was going on and obtain his approval. "Why are you doing this?" asked the Emperor.

"For the boy's sake," he answered, "for Aladdin."

"But he is just a poor washerwoman's son."

"He is one of your loyal subjects, Father."

"Was he the boy you halted the procession on my birthday for?"

"That's the one, Father."

"But you've had so many boys."

"Aladdin is different. Father, I think I have fallen in love with him."

"Heavens! What is the Empress going to say about that?"

"What is the Empress going to say about what?" said the Prince's mother as she sashayed into the room.

"Our son has fallen in love with a boy."

"That's no surprise, is it?"

"But it's not just a boy, it's a poor washerwoman's son and now he's gone missing."

"This is becoming more and more interesting," said the Empress. "It would increase the Imperial gene pool. This is what our Imperial and royal cousins in England are doing at the mo… Then perhaps it won't," she corrected herself after having thought.

"There, Father, you know what Mother thinks."

"All right, son. You have at your disposal all the palace resources you need. Keep me up to date. I think your best starting point is to consult your godfather, the Imperial High Wizard."

The Prince moved around the Palace until he reached the Imperial High Wizard's quarters. Fortunately his godfather was at home. "My dear Lon-Dik, what brings you to visit your ancient godfather? Boy trouble, I dare say."

"How did you know?"

"It's all part of a wizard's job description to know what is going to happen. You should know that. You'd better tell me what has happened in your own words in case I've got something wrong." The Prince told his story yet again and the wizard listened attentively. At the end he said "Well, the old tried and tested methods are always the best. Come into my study and be very quiet while I do this. Just check one point. You think he will be wearing the magic Litesome you gave him. If he is, that'll be very helpful. It'll act like a homing beacon." The wizard drew the curtains leaving one pair slightly apart so that the chink gave just enough light to illuminate the room. He opened a cupboard and carefully carried across his crystal ball and placed it on the round table. He took a black cloth with which he covered both his head and the crystal ball. Then addressed it in a language that the Prince was unable to comprehend. After five minutes he said "Lon-Dik, come closer." He spread the black cloth so that it covered the Prince's head as well. "Now look and say nothing. This is happening in real time."

"Right, Aladdin, we have arrived. Now the work begins. Follow my instructions very carefully." Aladdin reluctantly agreed. "Look carefully at that rock face. In the centre is a boulder. Got it? It will take the two of us to move it as it's uphill and then it will reveal a hole, the entrance to a cavern. The hole is only large enough for you to pass through. I would never fit. Inside the cave there are some steep steps down to the floor. When you reach the floor, look round for a lamp. It's just an ordinary brass lamp that you fill with oil and it lights up the room, but that is what I want. Nothing else."

Aladdin wondered why Abanazar should want an ordinary lamp that you could buy new in any market place for a few yuan. It must be important. Perhaps it's really made of gold. He was now more afraid of his uncle than he had ever been. 'He could snatch it from me, push me back into the cave and seal it. He could just leave me in the wilderness. Without food and water I would never find my way home. I would end up as food for the vultures.' "How am I to see down there, uncle?"

"Put this ring on your finger. In the dark you will find that it glows enough for you to be able to see. And make sure I get it back, you thieving little brat." Aladdin was shocked at the last sentence. He had never stolen anything in his life, not even the Prince's Litesome which he had fully intended to put back. He was beginning to believe that the jockstrap was inextricably tied up with his fate. It had made him meet the Prince, it had made Abanazar, he was sure, pick him out for this ordeal and when the going got hard and the rations were halved, it had given him the stamina and fortitude to go on.

The boulder was easier to move than Abanazar had predicted. Aladdin prepared himself to crawl through the tunnel backwards until his feet met the stone steps that led down to the cave floor. At first the only source of light was the little daylight that penetrated through the short tunnel, but as he reached the floor of the cave the glow from the jewel in the centre of the ring increased into a beam and finally illuminated the whole cave. He stared around in utter astonishment for the cave was a repository of gems of all kinds, diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds, of gold and silver too, bars, coins and jewellery. All this wealth and yet Abanazar only wanted a dirty, antiquated lamp. There must be a reason. "Come along, boy. The lamp, the lamp! You must have found it by now," he heard in the distance above him. Then he saw it ensconced in a niche in corner of the cave.

"I've found it, uncle."

"Then hurry up, boy. We must get going before sunset."

Aladdin looked around and stuffed his pockets full of as many gems and gold coins as he could. He wished he had his backpack with him, but he would never have got it in through the cave entrance, let alone out again. Finally he climbed up and took the lamp and he shouted out "Uncle, I've got it. I'm coming out."

Aladdin tied the lamp to his belt so that he had both hands free to climb out of the cave. In the fading light of the ring he felt his way forward up the stone steps and reaching the top he could see the light at the end of the tunnel. As he neared the exit he heard his uncle demand "Nephew, give me the lamp and I will help you out." Seven days of arduous travel had wised up the youth to the character of this stranger he was supposed to respect as his uncle. He had had time to think. The little he remembered of his father was that he was a gentle and kind man. How could this demanding slave master be of the same stock and why, when the family had always followed the peaceful path of the Buddha, was he dressed in the black robe and turban of the Muzzelmen of the West?

"No, uncle. Get me out of here and I'll give you the lamp."

"Do you not trust your uncle?" Aladdin refused to answer the question on the grounds that it might make a bad situation worse. "Give me the lamp, you dog of a nephew, or I'll beat you within an inch of your life." Aladdin froze. He could neither speak nor move. "You will stay there until you change your obstinate mind." At that Abanazar rolled the boulder across the entrance with sufficient gap for Aladdin to see some light and hear him mount the donkey, beating it to try and make it gallop off.

"I have seen enough," cried the Prince, the tears visible in his eyes. "I shall ask my father to send out the Imperial Special Services to rescue him and arrest the evil Abanazar as soon as possible. Can we find out where that cave is, Godfather?" The Imperial High Wizard, who was still under the cloth, replied

"I'm working on it, Lon-Dik. I've got it. In the Gobi Desert beyond the Great Wall. Their last stop would have been Dunhuang on the Silk Road in Gansu Province. From there they would have left the road and gone up into the mountains. Seven days by donkey sounds right. The ISS on their fast steeds five days, maybe four. We'll both go to your father and tell him what has happened and the need for urgent action."

Aladdin's morale sank, but suddenly he could feel strength streaming though his body towards his head from the Prince's Litesome. He went back down the steps, sat on a ledge and started thinking. 'Now, the first thing is to explore to see if there is another way out. He climbed all the ledges, but could discover neither light nor passages to other galleries. He stood in the near dark and listened. He could hear the trickle of water and then he could see where it was coming from, but it was a crack in the sandstone, no more. He drank. At least it filled his stomach; it also rehydrated him. He sat on the ledge again to think. He noticed that the light from the ring Abanazar had lent him was growing dimmer. He rubbed the gemstone to see if he could make it shine brighter. Suddenly there was a puff of white smoke and sound of a squib and before him stood the image of a man in white turban, loose sleeveless jacket, silk trousers and a scimitar at his side. Aladdin jumped out of his skin. "Greetings, oh master. I am the Genie of the Ring. You summoned me. I can grant you three wishes." Aladdin did not have to think of the first one.

"Take me home to my mother. Tell his Royal Highness Crown Prince Phat Lon-Dik that I am safe and I'll keep the third wish until I need it." Another flash of light and the cave disappeared and Aladdin found himself sitting on a carpet outside the barricaded cavern in the setting sun. The Genie had disappeared. A steady wind blew up from the East, the carpet rose a few inches off the ground, turned into the wind and took course for the ancient Imperial City of Peking.

As the sun set in the west the full moon rose in the east to illuminate Aladdin's flight path home. He was still hungry and was tempted to summon the Genie of the Ring to bring him something to eat, but decided that he had gone without food this long, it would be frivolous to expend a wish on food when he would soon be home re-united with his mother, and maybe, if he was still enjoying good fortune with his beloved Prince, and if the worst came to the worst he would use his last wish from the Genie of the Ring to gain an audience with him. The full moon crossed the sky and as it was about to dip below the horizon, the sun lit up the glorious east, the magic carpet wove its way though the wakening streets of Peking and smoothly landed outside washerwoman Widow Wan-Kee's laundry with its the Imperial Warrant above the door.

Widow Wan-Kee had heard something and went out into the street to see what was going on. Her help from the Palace was diligently dealing with the ironing. He really was a treasure. When she saw her son, she ran up to him and wrapped her arms around him in an embrace. "Aladdin, we all thought you were dead. Mr Wong, that nice valet from the palace, called several times, either to find out what had happened to you or, like yesterday, to tell us that they had received news that you were trapped underground and that it was unlikely that the troops from the ISS would be able to get there in time to rescue. The police were also here looking for Abanazar wanting to arrest him. Evidently he is not your father's brother, but an imposter guilty of identity theft and when they catch him he will be executed."

"Mother, what you say is true and part of a long story, but I am tired and hungry and I desperately need something to eat and drink. What I would like more than anything is a bowl of your homemade birds' nest soup."

"You're in luck. I have some fresh birds' nests in the larder. While I'm preparing it, go into the boiler house and get yourself a hot bath. My new help can come in here and do some starching and ironing while you're in there. He's been loaned to me by the Prince to help me until your safe return, but he'll have to go back on Monday."

"I must make sure the Prince knows I'm back, but the Genie of the Ring should have told him by now."

"The Genie of the what?" retorted Widow Wan-Kee.

"It's a long story, but shall explain everything. Now how am I going to tell the Prince? They won't allow an urchin like me into the palace. I could leave a note in the Prince's laundry, I suppose."

"Better still, give it to Mr Wa-Shin Po-Da to take home with him. As part of the Imperial household he has quarters in the palace."

An hour later Aladdin, Widow Wan-Kee and Mr Wa-Shin Po-Da were all seated round the table in the kitchen enjoying birds' nest soup. It was declared a day of celebration in the family and so the laundry was closed for the rest of the day. Aladdin was telling the story of his adventures which Mr Wa-Shin could then relate to the Prince. "But I still don't know how I could have been taken in by that wicked Abanazar," complained Aladdin's mother.

"Don't worry. It's all over now. It took me several days to realise. I first suspected when I saw the shameful way he treated his donkey and that started me thinking, but I haven't told you the best news yet. Wait a minute." A couple of minutes later Aladdin returned with his linen basket where he had put his dirty clothes before his bath. First of all he fished out the lamp which was still attached to his belt. "This is the famous lamp that Abanazar was so keen to get his hands on. Why? Who knows? It's battered and dented and could do with a good polish, but it's mine now. I've earned it. Now look at this. He started by emptying his trouser pockets, then his shirt and jacket pockets of all gold and silver pieces and gems. Mr Wa-Shin, here are two gold pieces for the help you have given my mother." He accepted gratefully as this was the equivalent of several months' wages. Aladdin took two more for himself. "And all the rest, Mother, are for you. The ring on my finger won't come off. Otherwise I would give you that as well."

"I don't know what I'm going to do with all this," said Widow Wan-Kee.

"Get it to the bank as soon as you can." Rumours spread quickly in this Imperial City and there are plenty more like Abanazar about."

The party broke up. Mr Wa-Shin returned to the palace to continue his duties there and present the Prince with Aladdin's note. Widow Wan-Kee shut up shop and put a notice on the door apologising for any inconvenience to her customers and Aladdin accompanied her to the bank.

At first the manager was too busy to see them, but by the power of the royal Litesome that he was still wearing, Aladdin changed to twenty-one years of age while the assistant was gone, then insisted he saw them and when he afterwards saw what was deposited on his desk he was glad he had. The adult Aladdin took over from his mother and gave instructions that the treasure was to be sold, the overdraft cleared and the balance to be put on deposit for his mother's use. He changed his two gold coins into yuan notes and the pair left an astonished bank functionary staring at several piles of gems and coins.

Meanwhile the Imperial household was all a flurry. After obtaining his father's permission, his Royal Highness Crown Prince Phat Lon-Dik, likewise grown to twenty-one years, took command and dispatched the Imperial Special Services to seek out the cave, and if possible capture Abanazar and bring him back dead or alive. On twenty-four hour standby they left immediately. The Prince now just had to be patient. However, his patience was assisted when his valet announce that Mr Wa-Shin had returned from the laundry with an important message, but before he could enter the presence there was a puff of smoke and the sound of a firecracker and the Genie of the Ring appeared. "What on earth…"

"I am the Genie of the Ring and am commanded, sire, to impart the following message. My master, Aladdin, has returned from the west where he was imprisoned in a cave and is now well and in good spirits." There was immediate rejoicing and in the midst of this Mr Wa-Shin entered the presence to present the note from Aladdin. Amidst all the celebrations the Prince suddenly remembered the Imperial Special Services. Their journey would be in vain. He summoned the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, but confirmed that nothing could done and we had to await the return of the ISS in some ten days' time.

Aladdin had to be patient before he could expect a response from the Prince, if any. With money in his pocket he went out to buy clothes suitable to meet royalty, two sets, one for a fourteen year old and one for a more mature young man. Then he and his mother went into the city for a celebration dinner and finally they went home. Despite being so tired from his ordeal he could not get to sleep and so he took the battered old lamp out of his cupboard found a duster and some Brasso and started to clean it. As soon as he started to rub it there was a flash of light and a stranger was standing before him. "I am the Genie of the Lamp. I am here to serve you, oh master." Although taken aback, Aladdin immediately regained his wits.

"Have I three wishes?"

"Oh, no, master. The Genie of the Lamp is far more powerful than the Genie of the Ring. I have the power to grant the holder of the lamp whatever he desires whenever he desires it."

"I must think, Genie of the Lamp. I had not expected such a thing." Aladdin pondered over what he wanted more than anything else in the world. "I want to marry the Crown Prince Phat Lon-Dik, Genie. Give me the means to do it and return in the morning to say that it is done."

"It shall be so, oh master." The Genie disappeared in a puff of white smoke and the room was as it was before.

The following morning it was back to normal. In fact, Aladdin thought it had all been a dream, though he dared not rub the lamp 'in case the Genie was busy,' he rationalised. He got up and rinsed his face, then dressed ready for work in the laundry. "Good morning, Aladdin. You're up early."

"I know. I had a funny dream, that I was going to marry the Prince."

"Tut tut, I suppose that means more washing. Go and bring me your bed sheets. They were only put on clean last night. We only make money from other people's washing, not our own."

"Mother! What do you think I am?"

"A normal average teenager and let's face it I get enough bed linen from normal average teenagers to wash."

"But that's all over now."

"No, it isn't, son. Just because we have a little money in the bank, as they say on the Imperial Lottery, it's not going to change us. We have a business to run. Go and get your breakfast, then help me put this bedding through the mangle."

It was a couple of hours later that the Imperial carriage drew up outside the laundry. Out of the corner of his eye Aladdin saw four people sitting in it. The Prince alighted first and ran into the shop to hug his long lost Aladdin. He was followed by the Wong, the Prince's valet, then Mr Wa-Shin and finally, Aladdin didn't recognise him to begin with in court dress, the Genie of the Lamp. The Genie took control. "I have brought Mr Wa-Shin to do your work today, oh master, while I escort the Prince, you and the royal valet to your new palace."

"New palace?"

"Yes, master. The one you commanded last night."

"Of course. I remember now, but did I mention a palace?"

"You commanded the means to marry a prince. A palace is essential in such cases, master."

"Of course. How silly of me, but I thought it was all a dream. Mother, I've got go out with the Prince now to inspect a new palace. Mr Wa-Shin's here to do my work for me."

"Yes, okay, dear. Will you be back for lunch or shall I save it for teatime?"

"Teatime, I think."

"Okay, luv, have a good time." The four of them climbed into the carriage and were off. Widow Wan-Kee stopped her work, thought for a moment and realised what Aladdin had said. She rushed into the shop to find Mr Wa-Shin on his own.

The Imperial carriage made its way through the centre of Old Peking towards the outskirts. As the carriage stopped in the crowded street, they could hear the gossip in the pavement cafés. 'There he is again with that young man.' 'They make a lovely couple.' 'I wonder if there's a royal wedding in the offing.' Eventually they reached the palace newly built into a cliff face of rock. The Genie spoke. "There, master, is your new home. It is built on the windward side of the city so that you have fresh air while the cliff protects you and the gardens from those winds as you sit in the sun. The genie gave them a lightning tour of the interior. Windows on three sides, the servants' quarters at the back where there was no natural light or ventilation.

"But they must have light and ventilation."

"Your wish is my command, oh master," and at a flick of his fingers the whole palace moved forward and along the wall of the cliff there appeared in bright colours a mural of a country scene stretching to the horizon.

"Is there a granny flat? I must think of my mother."

"Already done, master. Master, I must have a private word." The Prince and the valet were left admire the décor and they had to admit to themselves that it might be more beautiful than the Imperial Palace.

"I have arranged an Imperial audience for next week. The Prince doesn't know it yet, but he is going to invite you to spend the weekend in his private apartments. During your stay he will ask for your hand in marriage and naturally you will accept. At the audience next week he will formally ask his father, the Emperor, permission to marry you and you will seek permission to marry the Prince. As no commoner is permitted to marry into the Imperial family, the Emperor will first ennoble you, then give his answer. Is that all understood, master?"

"I think so," replied Aladdin overawed. They rejoined the Prince and his valet.

"Master, I have business to attend to. Permit me to leave you. You know how to contact me, should you require further assistance. The three climbed into the Imperial coach which drove to Widow Wan-Kee's laundry.

As they were drawing up, the Prince said to his valet "Wong, will you inform Widow Wan-Kee of our return. By the time she has brewed a dish of green China tea we shall come in and join her.

With the valet safely inside and the coachman too far forward to be able to hear, the Prince turned to Aladdin and said "Aladdin, I should be honoured if you would spend the weekend with me in my private apartments."

"And I should be honoured to accept." They sealed it with a chaste kiss.

"The carriage will be outside the laundry on Friday after closing time and will bring you back Monday morning before opening time." The Prince climbed out of the carriage and gave Aladdin his hand as he alighted. Over tea he asked his mother's permission to go away for the weekend, which she readily gave, knowing that Mr Wa-Shin would be seconded to work for her over the weekend. With the overdraft paid off and no Aladdin at home, she might close on Saturday and Sunday, just this one week, with Mr Wa-Shin staying to look after her. The Prince and his valet took their leave and returned to the palace. The Prince had a weekend to plan. On his return he went straight to see his godfather.

On arriving at his godfathers' quarters, the Prince watched as the door opened automatically and a voice from within said "Lon-Dik, come in, my boy. I was just drawing up your horoscope for the coming week."

"Godfather, how did you know that was what I was coming to ask for?"

"My dear boy, I am after all the Imperial High Wizard. Seeing into the future is after all part of my remit. I just need to know your age. You people who change their ages so frequently make it difficult to be accurate."

"I'm eighteen today."

"Goodness, have I missed your birthday. Many happy returns, godson."

"No, Godfather! Today I have assumed the age of eighteen." The Imperial High Wizard fiddled with the charts on his desk.

"Ah, here it comes."

"Over the weekend I am going to be fourteen."

"Oh, yes, so I see. You will be entertaining a guest privately. Will he be fourteen as well?

"Most certainly."

"Don't let your father know. He gets terribly upset."

"If I have a guest?"

"No, if you're going to do what the chart says you are going to at the age of fourteen. Strictly speaking you are underage and he finds that a little embarrassing because as Emperor he has to uphold the law and knowing it's being broken in his own household makes him feel awkward. Looking ahead in your horoscope you need to keep your father onside."

"Okay, thanks for the advice. I'll make sure we're sixteen or eighteen when we meet him."

"Now let's look at your chart. Three planets have an important part to play next week. First of all warlike Mars passes from the sting of Scorpio into the balance of Libra. The ISS will return with their mission unfulfilled, but balanced by other events. Also, you will enter a more balanced phase of your life governed by serene Saturn, but the most interesting part is the love zone on your chart which will be dominated by Uranus. Uranus has left the constellation of Virgo under which you were born and appears in Gemini which suggests a pairing, a doubling or a completion of yourself. Unfortunately Mercury, the messenger and your personal planet, is in its occluded phase and therefore annoyingly uncommunicative for a messenger. Otherwise I might be able to tell you more about the activities of the ISS. So don't reckon on a routine week. There will be plenty of action in both your personal and public life and it will alter everything. I expect you would like me to draw the horoscope of another young person, but I need him here and I need his co-operation. Lon-Dik, be wise, be strong, be loving, be generous of heart and spirit and you will prosper, though unfortunately I can't guarantee that it will last throughout your life. I'm away this weekend. The Imperial Magic Circle is meeting and the Imperial High Wizard has to chair it, but enjoy it. I know you will."

The Prince left his godfather's chambers with a spring in his step. He had much to do over the next few days, most important of which was to have a filial chat, not with the Emperor, but with his father and later with his mother, for which he would be aged twenty-one. He would need to send for the Royal Barber. He was fighting an inner conflict. He would dearly have loved one of those western hairstyles sported by the wealthier youth on the street, have his hair short, maybe dyed, but then he thought of two arguments against: Aladdin had kept his pigtail and was proud of it, and it was not only the youth that wore its hair short, but the small, but vocal group of republicans in the Empire, topped by those blue cloth caps with a peak instead of the coolie hat. What was it they call them? Mao caps. Don't know why. The Prince decided to keep his pigtail. Then he decided he needed some new clothes and had a brilliant idea. Aladdin is my size. I'll order two of everything and we can wear the same things. Corporate identity. "Wong, I need your advice, not only on some new clothes, but also on what Aladdin likes. Could you enquire, please? And while you're at it, my father may summon Aladdin. Would you ensure that he has the correct court dress? If not, he must go and see my tailor. By the way, I would like you to take next weekend off. Completely free from four o'clock on Friday until Monday eight o'clock. Arrange for one of the footmen to be on duty, but I hope not to need any assistance. A prince needs his freedom too occasionally. Feel free to use an Imperial rickshaw or a horse drawn trap if you wish."

"Thank you, your Royal Highness. I hope to return within two hours."

"Oh, Wong, I have just thought of something. At the gym I see people dressed in what they tell me is called lycra."

"Oh, sir, one must be very careful if and when one wears lycra. The word on the street is 'lycra is a privilege, not a right.' If Your Royal Highness were to visit Asda, heaven forbid, you would see immediately see what I mean."


"Some call it Walmart, but it is the firm, one of these new supermarkets where the less wealthy purchase their needs. What you see there would be a good reason for your Imperial father to issue an edict licensing the wearing of lycra to those who have the physique."

"Have I got this physique?"

"Certainly, sir. Shall I add two sets of lycra to your list?"

'Yes, I'll risk it. If they're not right, we shall have to send them to the Imperial Heart Foundation charity shop."

Friday took a long time coming for all those who had something special planned. At four o'clock an unmarked coach from the Imperial stables was standing outside Widow Wan-Kee's laundry. Mr Wa-Shin was putting up the shutters before his and Widow Wan-Kee's long weekend together. Aladdin had arranged for them to stay together in his new palace on the edge of the City of Old Peking. The Genie of the Lamp had been instructed to look after their every need and want. Meanwhile the magic lamp had been placed into a small wooden crate and deposited in the safe of the Imperial Bank, which was dealing with the family's new found wealth.

Called by Mr Wa-Shin, Aladdin came out wheeling a weekend case, kissed his mother goodbye on the cheek, climbed into the coach and gave the Prince a kiss on the lips. The carriage took off for the Imperial palace. By the time they had reached it the couple were fourteen years old again and giggling like a pair of schoolboys.

To begin with it was settling in time. The Prince showed Aladdin the new clothes he had acquired for him and he was well impressed as before his adventure he would never have aspired, either financially or culturally, to such attire, and since gaining his new wealth he had not had time to think about such things. He was particularly taken by the lycra garments, but they would have plenty of time on the morrow to try them out. The Prince told of his valet's warning on wearing the material and that one had to be careful putting it on finding the right medium between showing off the body and inelegance.

In the evening the boys underwent the same preparations for bedtime as they had previously, except they shared one bathroom and one bathtub. They finally retired, the Prince giving orders that they were not to be disturbed until the sun was high in the sky. This time it was easier to make love and over the weekend they would experiment, but still strictly obeying the Emperor's decree to use protection. The Prince said that they would try out the four basic love-making positions and things in between.

On Saturday afternoon the Prince and Aladdin were lying naked on the divan together, both savouring a post-coïtal glow when there was an insistent bang on the apartment's outer door. "Oh, what now?" exclaimed the Prince. "I gave strict instructions that we shouldn't be disturbed. It must be something pretty urgent for the guard even to dare to knock.

"Your Royal Highness," gasped the guard from the Imperial Corps of Eunuchs, "beg pardon, sir for disturbing you, but the detachment of Imperial Special Services has returned and are due to have an audience in a quarter of an hour with his Imperial Majesty and you and your guest are summoned to be there."

"Thank you, Guardsman. Inform the Lord High Chamberlain that we shall be there." The Prince closed the door. "Did you hear that, Aladdin? I said it must be something pretty important. Get dressed."

"In what?"

"It doesn't matter. This is Saturday afternoon outside court hours and it's an emergency session anyway. Let's just wear the same thing."

The Prince and Aladdin reached the Imperial Throne Room in time for the opening of the session. Aladdin was formally presented to the Emperor as the object of the operation, although informally he knew who Aladdin was and his relationship with his son. The Prince took his seat to right of the Emperor and Aladdin to his right. The session was opened and before the captain of the detachment of the Imperial Special Services was invited to give his report, it was explained that Aladdin had been freed and brought back by the Genie of the Ring. The captain commenced his report:

"Your Imperial Majesty, it took us three days to reach the city of Dunhuang. We had to rest the horses. We made enquiries there and news of a man on a donkey and a boy on foot reached us and that they had been seen going up into the mountains. The locals told of a legend of great treasure being hidden in a cavern in a mountainside. They knew of only one such cave, guarded by a fire-eating dragon, and so nobody dared to go there. Following the directions we were given we rode up into the mountains, leaving civilisation behind, and found on the path which indeed showed the tracks of a donkey and a human being. Taking a chance we followed these until we reached a lake. As it was sunset, we rested the horses again and camped for the night. At dawn we resumed our searches, following the tracks, and at midday came upon a cliff as described, except there was no dragon, but a boulder which had obviously been moved aside from the entrance, too small for a man to crawl through. We shouted through the aperture, but received no reply. Fearing that the boy might be unconscious, if not dead, we used gunpowder to enlarge the aperture. My sergeant tied a lifeline round his waist and crawled feet first through the hole, but soon found he could stand. We passed through a flaming torch and he could see that steps carved into the sandstone led down to the floor of a cavern. Marks in the loose sand on the floor showed that someone had recently been there and a clear footprint matched those we had been following. My sergeant made diligent search, but there was no sign of life. However, concealed in the cave was untold wealth in the form of gold and silver coins and valuable gemstones. We brought back as much as we could and it is deposited with the Imperial High Treasurer, but there is much more to bring back."

"Your narrative bears every semblance of truth," said the Emperor, "but what say you, Aladdin?"

"Sire, it is just as I found it except that the boulder was covering the entrance fully, both when we arrived and when Abanazar left."

"It sounds as if he came back, expecting to find you there, and a little more contrite and co-operative." The Emperor considered for a few moments and called the Imperial High Treasurer over to the Imperial Throne. He spoke. "Captain, you and your men have done well. As a reward for your efforts you may keep the treasure trove you brought back and divide it equitably among your detachment. With your assistance we shall recover what remains in the cave for the Imperial Treasury."

"Sire," announced Aladdin, rising to his feet, "I may be able to assist in the transportation."

"Thank you, Aladdin. Your offer has been noted and will be discussed next week. Emergency session closed." The assembled company rose while the Emperor and Empress left the Imperial Throne Room. The Prince and Aladdin went across to talk to the captain and thank him personally for the efforts of the ISS.

They returned to the Prince's apartments. With the door closed behind them and the guards from the Imperial Corps of Eunuchs posted outside Aladdin said "You know, Lon-Dik, I'm ready to go again."

"So am I and let's hope we don't get disturbed. I'm on top this time."

And so the weekend passed with much physical passion expended, and undisturbed to boot. On the Sunday evening during ablutions, a mini-banquet was set up for the couple. It consisted of all that was good in Old Pekingese cuisine, even to a small glass of rice wine. The meal was finished with a dish of green China tea and both boys were in a convivial mood. The Prince rose, walked round the table, took hold of Aladdin's hand and bade him rise. "Aladdin, now that you are no longer a pauper I can ask you this." He knelt on one knee before Aladdin and, still holding his hand, he said "Will you marry me?" Aladdin was utterly surprised, but pleasantly so, and without hesitation answered

"I will," and uncertain of the etiquette of a proposal for gay marriage, Aladdin raised the Prince off his knee and in turn knelt before him, saying "Lon-Dik, will you do me the honour of marrying me?" The answer this time was just a formality.

"I will." The boys sealed their engagement with a kiss. "You know this will require the permission of my father?"

"I do, but with what has happened and the dowry I shall be transporting from the cave, I don't think there is going to be a problem."

"I don't think so, either." At that the Prince took Aladdin's hand and walked him towards the bedroom. "We'll seal this engagement in the only proper manner," but the Prince still insisted on their using condoms until they were married.

The coming week just whizzed past. Aladdin was brought back to the laundry by Imperial rickshaw. A paparazzo just managed to snap him as he alighted, but he thought no more about it. He ran into the laundry and put his arms around his mother. "Mummy, I have some great news to tell you."

"And I've some great news for you too. Mr Wa-Shin has asked for my hand in marriage."

"And the Prince has asked for mine."

"Oh, congratulations, Aladdin, after all you've been through."

"And congratulations to you. I hope you'll be very happy with him."

"And you with the Prince. A double wedding maybe?"

"It's not official yet," said Aladdin. "We have to be given the permission of the Emperor first. You mustn't tell anybody."

"Son, we have a laundry to run. What with being closed over the weekend we're behind with the orders."

"You get started. I must make a quick dash to the bank."

Widow Wan-Kee and Aladdin were now honoured clients of the bank with so much wealth deposited there. Aladdin had no difficulty being allowed into the vault with the personal safe deposit boxes. He took the crate with the lamp in it and asked if he could use a private room. Seated at a desk he took out the lamp and rubbed it. In a flash the Genie of the Lamp was standing before him. "What is your wish, oh master?"

"You know the treasure trove left behind in the mountain cave. I want you to transport it all into the Emperor's treasury, clearly marked where it came from. Then destroy the cave completely so that no one else can be trapped in it or drawn towards it out of greed."

"You wish is my command, oh master. It shall be done."

"And before you go, I should like an engagement ring fit for a Prince… and while you're at it a wedding ring for him, just a simple gold band."

"You shall find them in the safe deposit box when you return the lamp." The genie disappeared in a puff of white smoke.

When he replaced the wooden crate, he found two jewel boxes there. He opened them and found what he had ordered, but much finer.

Later that day an Imperial rickshaw drew up outside the laundry. The Prince's valet climbed out, but he didn't notice the paparazzo hidden behind a tree taking photographs. He handed over two large envelopes, one to Aladdin and one to Widow Wan-Kee. "I am to await a reply," announced the valet. They each opened their envelopes. They were both summoned to appear at the next Imperial Audience on Thursday afternoon when the Prince would seek formal permission to marry Aladdin, and Mr Wa-Shin, as an Imperial employee resident in the Imperial palace would formally seek permission to marry. Mother and son quickly filled in the proforma accompanying the summons, acknowledging it. They gave it to the valet to return to the Imperial Lord High Chamberlain. Aladdin's envelope also contained a note from the Imperial Lord High Treasurer acknowledging receipt of so many thousands of gemstones (various) and likewise so many thousands of yuan in gold and silver coins.

"That's another day's work lost," sighed Widow Wan-Kee after the valet had left.

"No worries, Mama. The Genie of the Lamp will look after that for the day and he'll even deliver." Aladdin looked in his envelope and saw a note from the Prince, saying that he would have Aladdin and his mother brought to Imperial palace in the morning when they could be briefed, have lunch and plenty of time to get themselves ready.

On Thursday morning an unmarked coach from the Imperial stables arrived to take mother and son to the palace, duly photographed by the paparazzo. On their arrival they were accompanied to their separate destinations, Widow Wan-Kee to the domestics' quarters and Aladdin to the Prince's. The door closed behind them, the Prince and Aladdin hugged. They hardened up as with hands on each other's butt they drew each other in. The Prince explained the format for the afternoon, how they must dress and behave in the formal atmosphere of court. "You will see that it's different from Saturday's emergency session." Briefing over, the Prince announced "I think we might have time before lunch for quickie."

"Or perhaps something a little longer than a quickie," countered Aladdin as he manœuvred his as yet unofficial fiancé against the wall and buried his tongue down Lon-Dik's throat.

The Prince and Aladdin, now aged twenty-one, arrived at the Imperial Throne Room five minutes before the Imperial audience was due to open. They were conducted to their seats, the Prince to the small throne next to the Imperial Throne and Aladdin to one next to his mother. A gong sounded, everybody stood and the Emperor and Empress paraded in, turned in front of their thrones, when those in the auditorium bowed in response, and took their seats. The business was dealt with slickly under the Imperial Lord High Chamberlain's aegis. Soon came the item of business under the heading of Petitions . Mr Wa-Shin rose, took Widow Wan-Kee's hand and they approached the Throne. They bowed and Mr Wa-Shin said "Your Imperial Majesty, as a member of your Imperial staff, I, Wa-Shin Po-Da, formally seek your permission to marry Widow Wan-Kee." The Emperor banged his gavel and said

"Granted." Next the Crown Prince rose, walked across the room, took Aladdin by the hand and stood in front of the Throne. After they had bowed, he said

"Your Imperial Majesty and beloved Father, I, Phat Lon-Dik, Imperial Crown Prince of the Sun Throne, seek your permission to marry Aladdin, only son of Widow Wan-Kee." Then it was Aladdin's turn.

"Your Imperial Majesty, I, Aladdin, son of Widow Wan-Kee, request your permission to marry your only son, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Phat Lon-Dik, successor to the Sun Throne."

"Aladdin," said the Emperor "you realise that it is impossible for a commoner to marry into the Imperial Family of the Sun Throne?" Aladdin was floored by this question. He had not been prepared for it. Never before had he such urgent need of the Genie of the Lamp. It was as if all life had been sucked from him.

"Yes, sir," he stuttered. "I mean no, sir."

"In recognition of your service to the Empire, as witnessed by the Imperial High Treasurer I hereby appoint you Duke of Dunhuang and your mother Widow Wan-Kee the Dowager Duchess of Dunhuang. Permission to marry granted." The Emperor banged his gavel.

Aladdin and his fiancé had to sit through the rest of the audience, but it lasted no more than an hour from beginning to end. Immediately they returned to the Prince's quarters and once the door was safely closed behind them, they exchanged rings. Did the Genie of the Lamp know something? For the ring given to the Prince was in white gold as was the one given to Aladdin. The designs were identical with the diamonds, unlike a fiancée's ring, set into the band. "Aladdin, I think this need celebrating."

"Lon-Dik, I fully agree." The couple stripped their clothes off and reverted to fourteen year olds. The Crown Prince still insisted on using protection.

When he arrived at the laundry early that evening, Aladdin found a crowd of press photographers outside, but they were too late for a scoop. A special edition of the celebrity magazine Ha-Lo had already hit the newsstands. The police cleared a path to the door. Engaged into the Imperial family meant Aladdin now had a personal uniformed bodyguard assigned to him from the Imperial Corps of Eunuchs and an official conveyance as required. His bodyguard helped him through the door and remained outside.

He was pleased his mother was at home. Over a dish of delicious green China tea the duke and the dowager duchess discussed their experiences of the day. "Well, at least there's no laundry to be done until someone brings some dirty washing in. The Genie done well. He cleared the lot, delivered it to customers and the money's in the till."

The wedding, or rather weddings, for Widow Wan-Kee's was scheduled in the morning with the Prince's and Aladdin's in the afternoon, were set for the end of the month. In the meantime the Imperial palace had much to do in preparation. The day finally came. At ten o'clock Mr Wa-Shin Po-Da married Widow Wan-Kee, dowager Duchess of Dunhuang, witnessed and supported by her son Aladdin and the Crown Prince of the Imperial Sun Throne, in the City Hall of Old Peking in a private ceremony. They retired to the Imperial palace to prepare for the Royal Wedding in the afternoon. Since this was the first gay wedding in the Imperial family, the books of protocol had to be rewritten.

They left the Imperial palace in an open carriage from the Imperial stables. It was drawn by six white horses and attended by troops the Imperial Bodyguard. Aladdin and the Prince were uniformly dressed in pale blue silk tights and a short tunic in red with gold braid and piping. They paraded through the streets. Aladdin even spotted a street urchin who had climbed up a street lamp to gain a better view. "Lon-Dik, does that remind you of anything?" said Aladdin, pointing it out. The Prince smiled.

"That lad may have a great future in front of him. You never know."

Outside the City Hall the couple climbed out of the carriage and with the Prince as senior on the right the pair processed into the Hall, holding hands at shoulder height. Once they reached the waiting officiant the Emperor joined his son and the dowager duchess hers as their witnesses and supporters. The bridegrooms were warned that marriage was an institution that should not be entered lightly, nor should they recede from it hastily, but pursue it steadfastly. Vows were taken followed by the exchange of identical rings. The ceremony completed, the married couple led the procession out of the City Hall, his Royal Highness the Crown Prince of the Imperial Sun Throne and his Royal Highness Prince Aladdin, Prince Consort. The Emperor escorted the dowager duchess while the Empress was escorted by Mr Wa-Shin.

They climbed into the waiting carriages and drove through the streets past cheering crowds. The Crown Prince pointed out the same urchin perched on his lamppost. Once the Imperial family and their guests had entered the Imperial palace, the celebrations began with a great banquet. The toasts and speeches over, the bridegrooms bowed and took their leave. A waiting carriage would take them to Aladdin's residence on the edge of the city, where they would spend the night before being whisked, unknown by the Crown Prince, by the Genie of the Lamp to a tropical island in the South China Sea for their honeymoon. The twenty-one year olds immediately retired to their boudoir and with the door guarded by members of the Imperial Corps of Eunuchs, they reverted to their fourteen year old selves and lustily consummated their marriage, this time completely without the use of condoms.

This is the point in the story where the couple should have lived happily ever after, but it was not to be. Life went on. The pair produced by artificial insemination three sons. The same surrogate mother was a noble member of the Imperial Seraglio, a largely redundant institution. The Princes selected her by imagining which concubine would make the best boy. For the first baby she was inseminated with the XY sperm of the Crown Prince to ensure the continuation of the line, for the second with the Prince Consort's and for the third in vitro conception their seed was mixed. The Emperor lived long enough to see his eldest grandson and successor to the Imperial Sun Throne, but died soon after. The Crown Prince was crowned as His Imperial Majesty Emperor Phat Lon-Dik, Prince Aladdin as the Prince Consort to the Emperor.

Emperor Phat Lon-Dik ruled as wisely as his father had and after the coronation he and his Consort were taken to the hearts of the people. Life appeared idyllic. The Stonewall of China was always there to encourage the gay community in their support of the Imperial Family. However, there were black clouds on the horizon.

After the debacle with Aladdin and the magic lamp Abanazar exiled himself from the territory of the Chinese Empire. He thought it advisable to put himself beyond the long arm of the Chinese law. He continued to eke out a living with petty fraud and exploitation of young people, but his failure to 'get the big one' rankled with him and he became more and more determined to go for it. It pained him to pass the news kiosks and see the papers and magazines extolling the good fortune of Aladdin, the Prince from the Washhouse. Finally Abanazar had summoned sufficient strength of body, will and malevolence to gain his revenge. He had formed a plan.

He undertook the long and arduous journey to the Ancient and Imperial Capital, Old Peking. After five years the Imperial Police would have forgotten about him and closed his file. It was winter when he arrived and he knew the winters could be bitter in that part of China. It was only too easy to gain information about the Imperial family. The newspapers and magazines here were also full of royal stories and one only had to strike up a conversation in a café if one wanted to learn more. And learn more he did. Aladdin and his Imperial beloved were living out the winter in the new palace on the edge of the city. It lay above the unhealthy mists and fogs that bedevilled Old Peking. Now Abanazar had to box clever, but he had had plenty of time to think. Then he would act quickly.

He went to the market place and bought three oil lamps and a black cloth bag to keep them in. Armed with these he made his way to the rickshaw rank and ordered it to take him to the palace on the edge of the city. Half a mile away he stopped the coolie and said he would walk the rest of the way. He even gave him a tip. 'What does it matter? By the end of the day I shall be the richest man in the world.' He worked his way along the road with the black bag slung over his shoulder and a lamp in his hand. "New lamps for old," he cried as he made his way towards the main door.

As it happened, the Emperor was looking out of the window, awaiting the return of his husband when he saw the old pedlar approaching. 'Ah, I know. There's that old lamp that Aladdin keeps on the shelf in our bedroom. We never use it. It probably doesn't even work any more. I'll give it to the old man. I'm sure Aladdin will be pleased to see a shining, brand new one in its place.'

For some reason Aladdin had never spoken to his husband about the lamp and the young Emperor simply thought that Aladdin's wealth was what he brought back from the cave. The Emperor fetched the old lamp from bedroom and gave it to one of his bodyguards to give to the old man. He watched the transaction from the balcony and there was Aladdin just arriving home in the Imperial rickshaw. Aladdin recognised the old pedlar as Abanazar immediately. He saw the bodyguard with the lamp in his hand and realised what was going to happen. "No, Guardsman, don't do it. It's a trick." But it was too late. Once Abanazar had his hand of the lamp, he rubbed it. With a roll of thunder the Genie of the Lamp appeared. The sky had grown black.

"What is your will, oh master?"

"Send Aladdin and the Emperor to opposite ends of the earth. Give me their wealth and install me as Emperor of all China."

"Your wish is my command, oh master." Lightning flashed and a great gale blew and the Emperor and Aladdin could be seen flying through the air in opposite directions.

The Empire of the Sun Throne was now in the control of the evil Abanazar. "Ha, ha," laughed Abanazar. "Death is too good for that wretched Aladdin and where he is, he will trouble me no longer."

Aladdin found himself in the freezing dark. Even the clothes for a Chinese winter were insufficient for the place he found himself now. He thought he saw some light in the distance. He picked himself up off the ground and called out for Lon-Dik, but the only reply he got was the howling of the wolves. He reached the source of the light, knocked on the shack door and just in time as a blizzard was blowing up. He was welcomed by an old man and his wife. They sat him at their table and provided him with black bread, broth and dried fish. Never had they tasted better. The couple prepared a place for him to sleep by the hearth.

They woke him in the morning and it was still dark. "It never gets light here at this time of year," said the old man.

"And where am I?" asked Aladdin.

"Our country is called Greenland," answered the wife. "In winter it is oppressive and bleak, but in summer we are rewarded by having the sun all day and the ice melts and the flowers blossom."

The old man and his wife looked after Aladdin until the days equalled the nights, when he decided it was time to get back to his own country. He had no money. He would have to work his passage. "I have no other way to reward your hospitality," at which he pulled off the engagement ring Lon-Dik had given him."

"We require no payment," protested the wife "and what would we do with the ring? We have no need of money. The countryside gives us everything we need." Aladdin took his farewell, carrying a pack of provisions with him.

He was sad, yet pleased to be going. Whether it was feasible or not he had a great yearning to regain his own country. He had never given up hope of seeing his beloved husband again. Again he had mixed feelings about the ring he offered the couple. He felt a need to repay them, and yet, it was his engagement ring. That and his wedding ring were all he had as mementos of his beloved Phat Lon-Dik. If they could be reunited, it wouldn't matter if they had lost their material wealth. They were each other's wealth. He thought about the rings and the word 'ring' kept ringing in his ears. Of course. There was a third ring and it should have been obvious for there it was on the third finger of his right hand and in a flashback to his imprisonment in the cave he remembered he had only used two wishes. There was a third wish!

He sat on a fallen tree stump by a lake and pondered. One wish. He must use it wisely to be reunited with his loved ones and to gain his revenge on Abanazar, but that was two wishes. To be sure of regaining my Lon-Dik I need to defeat Abanazar and get back the lamp. Then everything else will follow. 'Okay, I know what to do.'

He rubbed the magic ring against his trousers. With a crack and puff of white smoke the Genie of the Ring appeared. "Master, what is your wish?"

"For you to rid the Empire of China of Abanazar and restore it to right."

"That, oh master, I must humbly decline for the Genie of the Ring has no power over the Genie of the Lamp and cannot reverse his spells." Aladdin had to rethink his strategy.

Then can you get me into Abanazar's presence so that I can take back what is rightfully mine?"

"That is within my power, but may I respectfully remind my master that that is the third and last wish I may grant." Another flash and a puff of smoke and Aladdin found himself on the road to his palace outside the City of Old Peking.

He looked at his palace. It had the appearance of something between a prison and a fortress. A squad of Imperial Bodyguards came marching along the road. Aladdin pulled his coolie hat down over his face. Then he recognised that the sergeant in charge was one of his old guards who watched over the nursery. As the squad marched past Aladdin whispered his name, but the sergeant completely ignored him. A hundred yards down the road the sergeant bawled out "Squad, halt. Fall out. Take five, lads, and keep behind this rock so that you can't be seen from the castle. You know I'm supposed to keep you standing at attention while I'm talking to this ruffian." He marched back to where Aladdin was standing. "Hey, you, stand fast!" He halted in front of Aladdin. "Your Royal Highness, where have you been?"

"It's a long story, but I am back to face Abanazar and claim what is rightly mine."

"Emperor Abanazar. Your Royal Highness, things have taken a bad turn since you and the Old Emperor disappeared. The Republican Movement has grown and we are under orders to stop all strangers."

"Sergeant, can you help me to get inside the palace?"

"I can't help you now, but meet me where the men are just after sunset. Many of the staff know you and will only be too willing to help. NEXT TIME," bawled the sergeant, "have your ID ready or you'll be for the high jump." He turned about and marched towards his men. "Fall in! Come on, look lively."

It was a long time until the sun finally dipped below the horizon. Aladdin made sure he kept hidden behind a rock. The reliable sergeant came, halted and saluted. "Now, your Royal Highness, you have a lot of friends inside the castle. I am going to arrest you and put you in the cells. There's no one else there. Just keep your hat on. If you don't recognise the staff, don't trust them. The ones you do will be loyal servants of the Old Emperor." The sergeant marched him off and into a side entrance near the back and he was duly placed in a cell. An hour later the sergeant came to interview him. "Have you got a plan, your Royal Highness?"

"I don't want to kill Abanazar unless I have to. He tried to murder me, but I want him to face justice. There's an old lamp that used to belong to me. I need to get hold of that. Do you know how I can get to it?"

"That's both easy and difficult, easy because it goes with him wherever he goes, hung from his belt."

"I need to get to his presence when he's alone. In bed perhaps."

"He even wears it when he's in bed. I'll return, your Royal Highness. Don't go away."

"Sergeant! I'm not likely to. I'm in a prison cell. Can you get me a sharp knife?"

A quarter of an hour later the sergeant returned. "Hide this in your clothing, sir. Now this is the plan. Abanazar always retires early and he is a sound sleeper. He has two guards outside his room for the night. Imperial Special Services. Only the best. Cook always takes them a dish of green China tea. Tonight it will contain a sleeping draught. When Cook takes the dishes away, she will report that guards are asleep. I shall have to put them on a charge in the morning for sleeping on guard duty, but we'll worry about that then. It may not come to that if we're successful with this little operation. When Cook comes back, you and me and two trusty men from your old guard will do the rounds. I'll get you a uniform. We take it from there."

"His first reaction will be to grab the lamp. He mustn't touch it, sergeant. That is important."

Aladdin was released from the cell and he changed into uniform. Cook came down to the mess room and announced that the duty guards were fast asleep. The sergeant, Aladdin and the two trusty guards men formed up in a detail of four and marched off through the castle on the late night tour of inspection. Before they reached the Imperial Bedchamber they broke step and trod silently. The guards were asleep. The snoring was enough to wake Abanazar, despite the fact that Special Services were trained not to snore as in action it could cost them their lives. The sergeant quietly opened the door. There was one lamp burning. The four did not hesitate, but rushed the sleeping Abanazar before he could rub the lamp. Abanazar opened his eyes and shouted "Treachery", but it was too late. The men had pinned his arms, the sergeant his legs and Aladdin cut the lamp from his belt and was already rubbing it against his uniform. With a flash and a bang the Genie of the Lamp was standing before Aladdin.

"Your wish is my command, oh, master." The sergeant suddenly understood everything.

"First take Abanazar, put him in chains and lock him in the cells." Abanazar was taken away as he shouted a string of invective mainly concerning Aladdin's conception and birth. In five seconds the Genie was back. "Now bring me my husband and sons." Within a minute the Old Emperor and their three sons had materialised in the Imperial Bedchamber. Aladdin rushed to hug his husband. They both had tears in their eyes. They kissed their children. Evidently Emperor Phat Lon-Dik had been separated from them as well. It suddenly occurred to Aladdin that they could so easily have been murdered like the Princes in the Tower. "Now, Genie, restore the Emperor to his rightful place on the Imperial Sun Throne and restore everything to the state it was in before Abanazar purloined your lamp."

" Your lamp, oh, master."

"Abanazar must remain chained in the cells."

There was a rushing of wind as the Genie made no attempt to make physical changes, but wound back time itself to the fateful day when Abanazar had attempted to exchange old lamps for new and was arrested for trespass on Imperial property and held in the cells until the police could take him away. It was then that they discovered the string of crimes he was alleged to have committed.

The people of the Imperial City of Old Peking awoke to a fresh feeling in the air, as did the other people of the Empire of the Sun Throne. It was as if they were waking from a bad dream, but as they went about their business, read the papers and placards on the newsstands they realised that the nightmare was over with Abanazar in the custody of the Imperial Police Force. Even the Republican Movement had shrunk to its former small numbers.

His Imperial Majesty Emperor Phat Lon-Dik set about taking up the reins of state again by ordering that the next day should be a National Day of Rest and Recuperation and the following one a National Day of Celebration for the Restoration of the Rightful Emperor. It was left to Aladdin to bring together the family again, but the important thing for Aladdin and Lon-Dik was that they should re-affirm their love. The Imperial Bedchamber in the castle, now reverted to a palace, had been besmirched by the usurper, and so they returned to the Imperial Palace in the city, giving instructions that they were not to be disturbed for the rest of the National Day of Rest and Recuperation and all food and refreshment should be left outside their boudoir. After all no one should see their adult rulers as fourteen year olds.

Abanazar was put through the Imperial Courts of Justice and tried for his many and manifold crimes. He was found not guilty of usurping the Imperial Sun Throne on a technicality for by the action of the Genie of the Lamp turning time back and despite everyone remembering the dire days under his rule, Abanazar had consequently not committed the crime. However, he was found guilty of all other crimes and sentenced to be executed.

His crimes were so heinous that on the day of his public execution, although he was allowed to order his last meal, it was left just outside the reach of his shackles. His lawyers had placed the customary petition with the Emperor, although he was not to know that, and the Emperor decided that beheading was too easy a way out for such an evil man. He commuted his execution to life with certain strictures. He was taken from the condemned cell to the preparation room where he was strapped to an X frame. His turban was forcibly removed, a great humiliation in itself. His head was shaved, another humiliation, then all his body hair, yes, all his body hair. Then he was castrated and as a further humiliation circumcised. He was left to recover and when fit he was found to be dressed in the mauve uniform of a cadet of the Imperial Corps of Eunuchs and made to serve the Emperor, although it was laid down that he was never to be permitted to be in the same building as the Emperor, the Prince Consort or their children.

Now that peace had returned to the Imperial House and to the peoples of the Empire the Imperial family, including the Dowager Duchess and Mr, now Viscount Wa-Shin Po-Da could now live happily ever after. The laundry had been sold to a Mr Tim-Son who was looking to expand his cobblers business. And if you're wondering what happened to those Magic Litesomes after years of daily wear, it didn't come to that. Firstly the magic was not washed away when they were laundered and the Imperial High Wizard was charged with ensuring that the supply continued. With experience their love-making expanded, always raw, to cream pies and an oral sharing of the Imperial and Royal seed, but it remained a closely guarded state secret that the Emperor and the Prince Consort kept the carnal side of their love alive and an adventure of discovery by still making love as fourteen year olds.

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