Destiny had grabbed Luck first, he was standing closest one to her. A second later they were in the Fate’s parlor. It was finely furnished with a Victorian theme. A large chandelier hung above, casting light around the room. Plum colored wallpaper with amber designs decorated the walls. Thin Mauve curtains hung over the windows, tied up on each side to give a view of the garden. Lamps with enticing shades stood on lilac doilies over the mahogany table tops. Rose colored furniture with calico flowers printed all over them provided ample sitting room. It was Fortune’s favorite room in the mansion, besides perhaps her room. Destiny found it a little over the top.
Destiny dropped the blonde Coincidences hand almost immediately after arriving. She uncomfortably shifted her weight from foot to foot, she had never been alone with this one before. Of course he was better than he had been during their first meeting. His forest green eyes shone much brighter without the dark circles under them. His hair, rather than being unwashed and tangled, was now neatly gelling into a comb over style. And it was a major plus that he no longer reeked like his drink of choice.
“So… I hear you haven’t had a drink in the last eleven days.”
He nodded and shuffled his feet, staring down at the elaborate carpet. “Yeah, well I figure I’m not much use to anybody as a drunk.”
Destiny nodded, thinking back to Chance’s words about her sisters. “Well I’m proud of you. And I’m sure Demise is as well.”
Luck nodded, trying to act like he couldn’t care one way or another. Though the Fate could tell he was trying to hold back a smile.
Destiny bit her lip and began to make her escape. She didn’t really have an issue with Luck, she just didn’t know him well enough. “I’m going to check on my sister really quick before I grab your other brothers. Make yourself at home I guess.”
She turned and was almost out of the room before Luck’s quiet voice reached her ears. “What happened to her back there?”
The Fate hesitated, it wasn’t really for her to say. This was Demise’s story; she didn’t know if her sister would be okay with him knowing. But the amount of concern in his voice was touching. “Something horrible happened during her Test of Classification. She still has post-traumatic stress disorder from it, the cold dark water must have been a trigger for her.”
Luck nodded slowly, knowing better than to ask if she was okay. He knew what it was like to have to recover from something. Even years later the past can still haunt you. Destiny nodded back and left upstairs to check on Demise.
Her door was cracked open, Destiny knocked and pushed it the rest of the way open. Demise was back in her Rouhk, curled up with a cup of steaming hot chocolate in a pair of Fortune’s fluffy pink pajamas. Fortune sat on the edge of the bed, staring at Demise with an unsure expression. Fortune was always out doing her job when Demise had her panic attacks, she didn’t know how to deal with this.
“Hey Demi, you’re home now, you’re safe.” Destiny spoke in a soothing tender tone as she took a seat on the other side of the bed. Her sister merely nodded and took a long drink from her mug.
“You don’t have to stay. Go get the other boys and bring them here. I’ll stay here awhile.”
Fortune gave Destiny a relieved smile and stood up, gently kissing Demise’s temple before leaving. “Thank you.”
As soon as the door closed behind the eldest Fate Demise put her mug down on her bedside table and curled into Destiny, laying her head on her stomach. She clung to the side of Chance’s coat, Destiny still had it from their visit with Urania, sobbing quietly as Destiny held her.
“This isn’t fair. You shouldn’t have to see me like this. I’m older than you. I should be comforting you, not the other way around.”
Destiny couldn’t help but agree, it wasn’t fair. She shouldn’t have to watch her sister in this state. But only because Demise should have never had to go through anything that made her act like this. “And it’s not fair that you have to be haunted and reminded of your past. It’s not fair what The Divine Provenance did to you. But don’t you ever think that you have to apologize to me about this. Don’t apologize for a reaction that you can’t control. In fact, props to you for surviving this long.”
Demise nodded against her sister’s stomach, bringing a hand up to wipe away her tears. “Thank you Lil’ Bit. For always being there for me.”
The youngest Fate shrugged. It was her job, Demise was her sister and she loved her. “Of course. I’ll always be there for you just like you for me. You are part of my Concept, I love you sis.”
Demise sat up and reached for her mug, draining the rest in a gulp. “I think I’d like to rest now, if that’s okay. I need to calm down before we meet any more Creators.”
“Okay. Just call out to me or Fortune mentally if you need us. We are here for you.” Destiny repeated Fortune’s actions from earlier and kissed her sisters’ temple before leaving the room and closing the door behind her. She knew Demise wasn’t going to sleep, they had all slept just a few days ago. And Demise was in no mental state to deal with the nightmares just yet. But Destiny respected that everyone needed personal space so she let her sister be alone for now until she was ready to face the world again.
She went back down to the parlor slower than she had arrived. She could hear voices from halfway down the hall. Sounded like Fortune had succeeded in bringing everyone over. Not like she would have failed in a job though, that was not like her at all. Unfortunately judging by the sounds of the voices, they were not happy.
“Oh, don’t you even try playing the pity card!” Fortune screeched. “You’re the one who gave us the coordinates, so yes this is completely your fault. My sister is having a breakdown because of you!”
Luck defended himself, a slight whine in his voice. “I didn’t know! I was just trying to do what you preach, get the job done.”
“Hey, lay off him would ya? It was an honest mistake.” Chance cared about defending his brother, but he was more worried about trying to put an end to the fighting.
“I miss when everyone was happy.” Karma made an offhand remark.
Fortune huffed and collapsed into a chair, her hair balled into her fists. “Don’t you two get involved in this too! Just let me have the last word and don’t get in my way.”
Destiny walked in slowly, feeling everyone’s eyes on her.
“Des!” Chance jumped up and ran over to her, giving her a light hug. He leaned in close and whispered so only she could hear. “Please save me, say something good before they rip each other’s throats out.”
Destiny was shocked by the hug; Chance didn’t seem like the touchy feely type. She had only just put her arms up to hug back as he was pulling away. She cleared her throat, uncomfortable with being put on the spot like that. “Demise is resting, she needed some time to herself. So we can take a break from the mission for a few hours.”
Chance nodded and started speaking, taking some of the attention off the Fate. “And it’s nobody’s fault. Luck was just doing what was expected, he feels horrible, but nothing is his fault. Can we all stop fighting now?”
Fortune sighed and crossed her arms, sinking further into the chair. “Fine, I overreacted. But my sister is hurting and someone needs to pay.”
Karma nodded and leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. “I agree completely. I’m all for making others pay for what they have done. Just make sure you are punishing the right one.”
Fortune nodded dully, a murderous gleam slowly growing in her big sapphire eyes. “Like I said before, Ziarre did this. And I will kill her.”
Karma’s face turned stony, showing no emotion. “And like I said before, make sure you are doing this for the right reasons. Don’t just get in this for revenge.”
“I know exactly why I am doing this, and I have every right. She deserves everything she gets.” Fortune glared around the room, daring anyone to defy her.
Nobody spoke up. She was right after all. Everyone would be better off with the threat of a black hole eliminated. The only reason Karma had said anything in the first place was because he didn’t want Fortune to destroy herself from the inside. He didn’t want her to turn into a monster.
“Do we even have to do this? Can’t we find another way?” Chance knew there wasn’t but he had to make sure. He never was big on conflict and he would try most anything to not have to fight and kill.
Luck sighed and patted his brother’s back, knowing how uneasy he was with this whole situation. “When a dog goes rabid you put it down. The Divine Provenance is about to go on a killing spree, and we have the power to put an end to her.”
Karma took out a permanent marker and drew a face on his hand with his pointer finger and thumb. Moving the thumb, he made his hand speak. “It’s the only way brother. But cheer up, we can still have LOADS OF FUN!”
Nobody was shocked by the hand puppet, but they were stumped by where he got the marker from. His dark jeans were too tight and his red shirt didn’t have any noticeable pockets. Maybe he had it tucked in his boot?
Chance shook his head, still in denial of the hard truth. “I don’t buy that. Just because we have a weapon that can kill her and are the only ones who can use it, doesn’t mean we should. We could have at least tried to help her instead of immediately jumping to murder.”
Silence fell as guilt drifted through the room, touching each of them individually. None of them had even tried to find a peaceful alternative. Chance was right, they had jumped right into murder.
Several minutes passed with breathing and feet shuffling as the only audible sound. But in all honesty there probably wasn’t a way to calm down the Creator of sky and order without a disastrous ending. Destiny spoke quietly, but due to the silence it was rather loud indeed. “How many times are we going to doubt this plan? We know what we have to do, all we are doing now is prolonging the inevitable.”
The Fates showed the Coincidences to some spare rooms in uncomfortable silence. Was he right? If they did this, did they become monsters? But they were Fates, they did what had to be done to keep order. Weather that be good or bad, easy or hard, they were created to make sure the endgame is met.
Destiny walked Fortune all the way to her room on the furthest side of the mansion. They departed silently, with fake reassuring smiles to each other. Destiny headed back to her room, making a stop at Demise’s first. She had promised to come back later and a promise said was a promise kept.
She stopped outside the door, frozen in shock. A noise was coming from her sister’s room, something she had never heard before. Demise was laughing. Not a cruel malicious laugh, this one was full of pure joy. Then she heard Luck’s voice. Destiny creeped closer to the door, watching through the crack.
Demise and Luck were sitting on the bed facing each other, legs crisscrossed. Demise was still in Fortune’s girly sleepwear and Luck’s green shirt had been untucked for comfort. He reached forward and pushed a strand of raven dark hair behind her ears. “Common, don’t start hiding your face again. Show the world what they have been missing out on.”
Demise giggled again. It was a nice sound, calming in a way. It was the kind of laugh that made you want to laugh along. “You are telling me not to hide? What exactly have you been doing the past several years?”
The blonde smiled and put his hands up in mock surrender, a smile on both of their faces as they teased one another. Destiny slowly crept away before she could be noticed. It was nice to see her sister like this, after ages of moping, a laugh was a delightful change. Luck was good for her. She walked back to her own room, nearly screaming in fright from what she saw. She had expected her room to be as empty as usual. Instead she found Chance lounging in her bed, surrounded by a nest of pillows, a half read book propped open in his lap.
“Hope you don’t mind I borrowed it. I’ll give it back before we leave tomorrow.”
Destiny crossed her arms and glared at the Coincidence, waiting for him to notice her stern expression. “What are you doing in my room? We gave you a guest room so you could stay in the guest room!”
He looked taken aback, not expecting to be greeted with such a harsh tone. his golden eyes shone with regret, he didn’t want a potential friend to be angry with him. He jumped up out of his pillow nest and landed on his knees in front of the Fate, taking her hand as he begged. “My apologies Miss Fate, I swear I shall make it up to you. I did not intend for any harm to come from this. I humbly beg for your forgiveness. Please, let us start over and quarrel no more.”
Destiny raised an eyebrow as she looked down on him. “Quarrel? Really? No need to sound so sophisticated on my account.”
“Ey, yo, mah numba uno broski, how’s it hangin fool? Man, you oughta seen —”
“Okay okay, point taken. What are you doing here though?” Destiny rolled her eyes and took a seat on her bed, hugging one of her pillows close.
“I don’t want to fight but —” He paused and took a breath before it all came spilling out. “I think Karma had a point. You Fates are in this for the revenge. Out of the three of you Demise seems to be keeping the clearest head. But Fortune, she is a window. Throw a pebble at her and she will scratch. Throw a rock and she will crack. Throw a brick and she will break. And after a window breaks, it can’t be fixed, not completely.”
Chance had a point, but what good was arguing about it now? The Azarze had chosen them all, they couldn’t go back on that now. There were rules that needed to be followed, plain and simple. “If we don’t do this everything will die due to a black hole. Is that what you want?”
Chance groaned and started pacing she wasn’t seeing his point! “Fate is not the only Concept she made. What happens when the other Infinities find out, you don’t think they will want to start a fight? A war, is that what you want?”
Destiny glared at him, though she knew he had a point. And stubbornness would get her nowhere. “Hopefully they will understand it is the only way.”
Chance shook his head, obviously doubting this plan. “So you are just going to go up to a group of Concepts who share the same Creator and tell them we are going to kill her?”
Destiny sighed and bit her lip. She unconsciously hugged her pillow closer to her body. She mumbled weakly, defeated. “Better to ask forgiveness than permission? I don’t want to start any problems either.”
And then all at once everything caught up to her as the reality of the situation sunk in. All the stress and confusion from the beginning of the month was hitting her ruthlessly. How had everything gone wrong so quickly? All she had wanted was to be a good Fate, to pass her Test of Classification and get a job. Become an Infinity that her sisters could be proud of. Have her Creator love her like how a mother should. All Destiny’s existence she had heard the stories of The Divine Provenance. Creator of the sky and everything beyond whose principle was order. Destiny had spent centuries imagining her, creating this imaginary perfect mother figure. But as soon as they met and she didn’t reach that fairytale status, all the Fate’s had been more than happy to jump aboard the Creator killing train.
It was too much, all the emotions, the cold. The Crëwr Ice was growing fast; she didn’t have much time left. Destiny hardly realized when her Rouhk melted away, leaving her purple Abbaxa behind.
Chance’s eyes softened, he seemed to realize he had struck a sore spot. He immediately came over to the bad and sat down on her right, gently taking her dainty hands in his large ones, coaxing her out of the death grip on the pillow. “Des please, talk to me. What are you thinking?”
She didn’t want to tell him what she was thinking. But at the same time she wanted to want to tell him. She wanted to trust him, wanted to be his friend. But she had only known him for a few weeks, not nearly long enough for this kind of heart to heart. Even through her Abbaxa her voice was scratchy and painful, Destiny didn’t like it one bit. “I miss Liliana and Felix.”
Chance rubbed soothing circles into the back of her hands with his thumbs. “Right, of course you do. Then let’s go visit them.”
Destiny’s eyes widened in shock, she hadn’t expected him to say that. It was only the early hours of the morning, there was no way the siblings were awake yet. The Fate shook her head; she wasn’t going to watch her friends sleep when they didn’t know she was there. That was creepy, borderline stalkerish even.
“Right, well aren’t you fantastic at making decisions?”
Destiny threw a pillow at his face. “Like you are any better.”
“I suppose you are right.” He tossed the pillow aside, laughing.
Destiny was able to hide her laugh, but not her smile. Here she was smiling with Chance while Demise was smiling with Luck. “Do you think Karma and Fortune are hanging out with each other now?”
Chance stroked his perfectly shaped jaw, his fingers running over the stubble. “I bet my brother wishes, he genuinely likes her, at least I think so. But she is out of his league, it’s not going to happen.”
“Wanna bet?” Destiny raised a challenging eyebrow at the Coincidence. Karma was attractive enough to be with Fortune, if a bit fun loving that could be seen as immaturity. But Fortune didn’t like anything easy, she was all about the competition. If there was nothing to work for and win, then it was pointless. And Karma seemed to challenge her just the right amount, they could work.
Chance smiled and shook his head, standing up and heading for the door. “I should get going. Big day tomorrow and all.”
Destiny didn’t like the idea of him leaving. She wanted him to stay all night, for them to keep talking and getting to know each other. It could be like Luck and Demise, just talking and making each other smile. But it was too soon for that. And they had a job to get done. He walked out, offering the Fate a small smile as he went.
Destiny left her room a few minutes later, wandering down to the basement. Now, unlike Liliana’s basement which was finished and furnished if slightly chilly, the basement in Fate Mansion was a library. And endless maze of books with countless high ceilinged halls and various rooms. Every book ever made, even ones destroyed in the Library of Alexandria, were neatly filed away in their own order. The Muses would be jealous if they knew, seeing as the rights of those books technically belonged to them. She wandered through them for hours, just being comforted by the presence of so many books. She ran her fingers along the aged spine and opened a few, inhaling the scent of old parchment and ink. But eventually she had to go back upstairs and rejoin the group, it was about time to get on with their job after all.
She passed by Karma and Fortune in the kitchen, sitting across from each other at the table and hunched over maps of various deserts. Luck had probably headed back to his room unless he had spent the night with Demise, but that seemed unlikely. Destiny would find him next; Demise’s room was closer.
Destiny knocked on her sister’s door and slowly pushed it open when she heard no answer. For once the bed was made all nice and neat, fresh sheets and everything. But the most peculiar thing was the bathroom door was closed, and thin streams of mist were escaping through the cracks. This was probably the first time that shower was used in forever.
After a few minutes the shower turned off and Demise entered her room in a towel, searching through her dresser for a clean outfit. She nodded a hello to her sister and walked back into her bathroom to change. A month ago Fortune and Destiny weren’t even sure Demise knew what soap was. Two weeks ago Demise wore her hair in a tangled mess that completely covered her face. But Demise caring about her own hygiene was a welcomed change. What made it all the better was that she did it for herself, she had begun brushing her hair the day after Destiny’s Test of Classification. She wasn’t going through all this trouble for some boy named Luck.
“Make me pretty?” The voice was so soft and shy Destiny hardly recognized it as her sister.
Destiny bit her lip and turned around, facing Demise who was holding several brushes and pencils and other things. Destiny didn’t know the first thing about makeup, that’s what Fortune was for. But Demise had likely borrowed these from Fortune, so she couldn’t exactly go to her. The youngest Fate stared at all the products, finally deciding on a pencil type thing. Was all of this really necessary for Fortune’s daily routine? “Okay, close your eyes. I think.”
“What are you waiting for? Let’s begin, shall we?” Demise hardly flinched as the point of the eyeliner was accidentally roughly jammed into her eye several times. “I don’t think I can do this.”
Destiny sighed in relief, her makeup skills were horrible anyways. “That’s fine, we can just wipe off what I have so far.”
The raven haired Fate shook her head and opened her big dark eyes. “I mean today, facing The Compelling Annihilator. His name means powerful destroyer for a reason ya know. What if he gets mad at our intensions and uses his power to destroy us?”
Destiny tried to resist the urge to sigh. Why did everyone have to choose now to voice their doubts? Couldn’t they have done it before they agreed on a course of action? She tried not to get angry, the last thing she wanted was to start a fight with her sister. “Of course if anyone has any better suggestions I’m all ears. But this is the best we have for now.”
Demise sighed, knowing her sister was right. There was no other way. Ziarre was going crazy, and it was either she goes down or all the dimensions go down. She closed her eyes and let Destiny continue her work. after a while of attempting to learn which brush was for what, she thought she had a general idea. “You’re done, you look good. Well, as good as I can make you anyways.”
Demise jumped up and looked at herself in the mirror, smiling. “Well goodness gracious great balls of fire, you did good little sibling of mine. Now let’s round up the group, I’ll grab Luck.”
“Of course. And I’ll track down Chance. Karma and Fortune are already down in the kitchen.” They exited the room and went their separate ways.
By now Destiny knew Chance well enough to know he wouldn’t be in the room they had given him. It didn’t take her too long to find him standing in the center of the ballroom. Large and circular with ceiling to floor windows, light seeped in easily and reflected off the golden floor, drenching the room in a warm glow. Destiny walked over to him, standing on his left. “What are you thinking about?”
He turned to the Fate, looking down on her with a sparkle in his eye. “When this is all said and done we should throw a party, put this room to use. Bring in all the other Infinities, maybe even a Creator or two.”
Destiny raised an eyebrow at him, thoroughly confused. “Just a few hours ago you were saying how this could start a war. Now you want to romanticize the idea of killing a Creator by throwing a ball?”
Chance shrugged and turned away, leading them out of the ballroom and down the hall where he began to follow Destiny to the kitchen. “I’m not trying to make light of murder. I just think it would be a good way to explain everything to the other Infinities. Put this all behind us and move on, let them know it had to be done. Hopefully then there is less chance of them ganging up on us.”
Ah Chance, ever the peace loving anti-war logical one. Destiny admired that about him, but she hated him for it as well, if only slightly. His intentions were always so good and pure, and Destiny was jealous that she couldn’t have that kind or morality.
They were the last to arrive in the kitchen, Demise having dragged Luck in a few minutes prior. Karma jumped up upon seeing them, pulling Chance and Destiny into a hug. “Dessie! I missed you!”
Destiny rolled her eyes and hugged back before pushing away. “You saw me yesterday. Find anything interesting, any leads?”
“Sloth suggested the Kalahari Desert, we have been communicating.” Karma tapped a finger to the side of his head. “Let’s begin, shall we?”