“I’m actually surprised Fortune gave in, considering how protective she is of you.” Chance tried for some small talk, noticing how tense Destiny was. He wanted to hold her, to comfort her, to make it all better. But he knew how Des was, she wouldn’t be relaxed until Felix and Liliana were back to normal.
“Just train me. Don’t hold back, I need to be prepared. Help me get my friends back, I’m not ready to lose them yet.”
Chance sighed, he knew she was only using this as a distraction so she wouldn’t have time to worry about the humans. Then again, hadn’t they all done the same? All the Infinities had left their jobs in Ineôcâ to train, and had worked vigorously sense Creator’s day. They had all thrown themselves into practicing, thinking they could worry about cleaning up the human dimension after Divine Day was over with. It was the first of July, they only had a little over a month to get ready.
He gave Destiny all he had, which was actually a lot. Karma had always claimed to be surprised when they sparred and goofed around because Chance could hold his own despite him being pacifist.
Destiny failed a bit at first, apparently what he was doing with her was quite different than what Luck was. Luck always did like to ease into things. Chance didn’t want Destiny to be hurt, but he also knew that what they were doing here was good for her. She needed a partner who wouldn’t go easy on her because that wouldn’t happen on the battlefield. She needed to be prepared for the worst. Give her the hard stuff for homework and the test will seem easy, that was a strategy Chance had used when he decided to be a high school biology teacher for a decade.
He watched her dodge left, step back, duck,step right. Destiny was doing a decent job avoiding all Chance’s attacks. She just worked purely defensively, Chance wasn’t giving Destiny enough time to throw attacks of her own and he knew it. It was for her own good, this is the kind of thing the would be up against.
He was wearing himself out though, with how vigorously he was throwing his attacks. Through all their hours Destiny never lost that determination in her eyes, no matter how many times she lost. It wasn’t until their fourth day that Destiny was able to knock Chance over with a plank of wood that had splintered up from the floor.
“Chance! Oh are you okay? I’m so—”
Quick as lightning Chance tackled Des and grabbed a part of rope, tying her hands together and tossing the rope on the ceiling fan to hold her arms up. Chance laughed. “I win. You can’t apologize every time you start winning Des, or this’ll just continue to happen.”
“I hurt you.” Destiny pulled at the rope, trying to get closer to inspect the wound. Chance looked to his shoulder, where the plank had hit him a splinter of wood must have snagged on his shirt. It wasn’t that bad really, just a scratch. Just a few drops of blood.
Chance shrugged and switched to his Abbaxa and back, healing the wound instantly. “All good now, no need to worry.”
“So can you untie me now?”
“Nah, I think I’ll let you figure it out.” Chance turned to leave but almost instantly came back. The bewildered look on Destiny’s face was priceless. “I’m only joking, relax. Stop struggling so much, your only making them tighter.”
The rope Chance had used to tie up Destiny was the same rope that held up the bridges and ladders around his house. Golden twine made in Òrìṣà, able to be tied or untied but not broken.
“That was a good round, I think.” Destiny rubbed her wrists as they were freed and stepped to the side of the room, inspecting the damage they had caused. The curtains had been ripped from their rods and torn to shreds. The window had a Destiny sized hole and shattered glass scattered about the nearby bridge. There were places in the ceiling and walls where boards had been cracked to splinters. And to top it all off the front door was hanging on it’s hinges. It would take Òrìṣà ages to repair all of this. “Think Karma will be mad?”
“Nah,” Chance shook his head. Karma had offered them room 34—his special thinking room—for training today. “Worse things have happened to some of these houses. My brother will be allright.”
“Oh my Kouva. What in Òrìṣà happened here?” Karma poked his head around the crooked door with a flabbergasted look. “Did someone get defenestrated?”
Chance glanced away from his brother, still feeling guilty. Sure Destiny had healed her cuts instantly after being thrown out of the window, but he still had not wanted to harm her. “Yeah, but she got her payback.”
Karma grinned and enveloped the Fate in a hug. “Good girl Dessie, give my brother a hard time.”
“Plan on it.” Destiny laughed and stepped outside the house, looking at all the Infinities below. “They look like ants from way up here. Why do you guys have to live so high up?”
Karma shrugged and came to squat by Chance, who had seated himself on the edge and was dangling his legs off the bridge. “Because down there we just felt too grounded. Up here is way more fun.”
Destiny rolled her eyes. “Whatever you say.”
Chance smiled at a distant memory of the first treehouse that had been built. It was in a normal tree, one from the forest, only a few feet above the ground. Luck and Karma had built it as a fortress. Chance remembered returning back home that day from work, his brothers tossing balloons filled with grape juice every time he got close. Such a waste of juice. “As I remember Kar, it was your suggestion to live purely in treehouses.”
“Best decision I ever made.”
Destiny laughed. “What brings you up here Karma? Shouldn’t you be training with the others?”
“Have you seen your sisters lately?” Karma bragged, jumping to his feet and grabbing Destiny’s wrist, pulling her along behind him. Chance followed and made sure to make the steps in the tree disappear behind them, knowing that’s what Luck would have wanted. “They are quite the leaders, they don’t need me.”
When they got to the ground, which took a bit longer than it should have—running down a steep incline was scary, especially knowing Destiny’s clumsy habits—Chance saw that his brother was indeed right.
“Nice one Forest! Don’t hold back, keep going!” Fortune yelled at an Infinity with dyed green hair and a camouflage jacket, circling a group of partners practicing some drill.
Demise had a different approach. Where Fortune was all about praising others for what they did well, Demise wasn’t shy to point out what they needed to improve on. “Wrath, stop letting your feelings impair your judgement. Think with your head, not your heart. You will be up against friends in this war, and you will need to hurt them.”
Chance, Karma, and Destiny came up to the other Fates when they stepped to the background, coaching from the sidelines. Demise smirked at her little sister, amusement dancing in her eyes. “So you finally decided to stop rolling around with the Coincidences long enough to play catch up with the rest of us.”
Fortune shot her sister a glare for the innuendo, but Chance could have sworn she was trying to hide a blush as well. “No one is ‘rolling around’ with anyone. We are all just trying to improve the best we can.”
“Yeah, that doesn’t sound like you are trying to cover up anything at all.” Karma sent Fortune a look that was part knowing, part glare.
“I’m not if you’re not.” She countered.
“I have nothing to hide.” Karma’s green eyes flashed with something, but it was gone too quickly for Chance to determine what it was.
“Either way,” Fortune turned her attention back to Demise. “I know it’s in your nature to have no filter, but you need to stop saying such provocative things in front of our little sister.”
“Awe common,” Karma protested, his eyes lighting up with his usual playfulness. “I think it’s about time we teach Dessie the wonders of the world. She is a thousand years old after all.”
“Karma. No.” Fortune warned, her blue eyes colder than usual.
“Karma yes.” He put his arm around Destiny and started off in his storyteller voice. “You see Dessie, sometimes when two beings love each other very much they—”
“That’s enough brother.” Chance knew his brother was just teasing, seeing how far he could go before someone stopped him. Chane also knew that Karma was prone to listening to him because he usually only got involved before things could go too far. “We have an audience.”
The group of Infinities that Demise and Fortune had been teaching had fallen silent, dropping what they were doing to watch things play out. Several were holding their hand over their mouths, trying to hide their chuckles.
Fortune sighed in relief. “Thank you. My sister’s savior.”
That was going a bit far, but Chance chose not to comment on that right then. Destiny, though seemingly confused and still trying to figure out the other meaning behind the words, smiled and shook Karma’s arm off her. “Thanks Chance, but I had it under control.”
Demise snorted. “See that? My lil sis don’t need a knight in shining armor to save her. She can take care of herself.”
“No need to look so put out brother,” Karma laughed. Chance frowned, he hadn’t realized he had made a face at Demise’s comment. “You can be your own hero. It’s easy, just watch.”
“This otta be good.” Demise’s voice rang through Chance’s head, and probably Fortune’s and Destiny’s as well. “I love watching that doof make an idiot of himself.”
Karma cleared his throat, preparing for his one man act. A member of the audience swooned, must have been one of Karma’s fans. He lowered his voice, put a hand over his heart, and wailed. “Oh how sad and lonely I am! I shall never win the heart of the maiden most fair! Woe is me!”
“Maybe it’s because you talk about her like she is something to be won.” Fortune commented under her breath.
Karma ignored her, jumping to the left and putting on a different voice. “Well that simply is not true! I am Myself, and I have heard all about you, Me. And my heart belongs to you, may we be happy together.”
He jumped back to the right and using his deep voice to finish the skit. “Well, I certainly do love Me!”
Other than the Infinity who had swooned in the beginning and was now clapping furiously, there was only a few hesitant clapps from the bystanders. Karma seemed to give Demise some fort of signal, because while everyone was distracted by watching Demise had managed to set up a net that she now dropped on everyone, forcing their faces into the dirt. “Rule number thirteen, never let yourself be distracted in battle. Always stay focused, even after you’re positive you have won.”
Chance allowed himself a smile as the others untangled themselves from the net. He briefly wondered what the other twelve rules could be that were more important than that one.”
Fortune was shaking her head, weather it was at Karma or Demise Chance wasn’t sure. “That’s all we are teaching you for today class. Good job everyone.”
Once the five were left alone, Demise turned to Chance with a stern look on her face. What else was new? “How’s the private training coming along? Will you both be ready?”
Chance sighed and pushed a hand through his hair, that was a loaded question. Realizing the others were all waiting for an answer. He looked to Destiny as he spoke, knowing she needed the most reassurance. “She has improved a great deal. Even Luck had good things to say about their sessions. Don’t worry Des, we will get Felix and Liliana back for you. You might even be ready to go against Karma now.”
“I don’t know if I’d go that far…” Her face was nearly as red as her hair.
“Yeah you can.” Fortune gave her sister a quick hug. “Besides, I know Karma would never hurt my little sister.”
Karma put a hand over his heart, feigning hurt at the mere implication that he would hurt a friend. “Never ever! This little gumdrop needs to be protected at all costs.”
If only it were that easy. Chance wanted what they all did, to be able to protect each other and get his friends out safe. But this was war, and wars never ended well.