Hey guys, got a story for you all that's full of intrigue, action, adventure, suspense, danger, sweet cars and explosions.
This story is centered around Twisted Fate, being recruited by the League of Legends' secret military intelligence network, LSMI6 to protect the world from falling prey to the plans of a madman.
Basically, it's a LoL fanfic written directly in the vein of the classic 007 series, and my story (hopefully stories in the future) will all be set in the same universe as my friend WaddleBuff's stories. We've been collaborating to bring these two series' together, and I hope you guys will enjoy them.
(NOTE: No Time For Countin' is rated T, for some violence, suggestive themes and language, but there is no explicit sexual content in it.)
So, leave a comment here, make sure to give me feedback, tell me what you like, what you don't like, and anything else you'd like to add. I'll provide a link to the FF page here.
No Time For Countin'
Chapter 1: The Tides Of Fate
The young boy sat in the forest with his head in his hands, tears falling from his cheeks as he thought about the decision he had just made. He couldn't stand another moment in that camp; the squalor, the pain... The boy looked up, his eyes puffy and red. No more. He wanted more from his life, that much he knew. Where he would go, what he would do, he didn't know. But he chose to make his own destiny, and it started here.
Suddenly, from the trees there came a soft rustling, followed by an ominously low growl. The boy stood up immediately, wiping his face of the tears to look for the source of the noise. He noticed them a moment later, a pack of wolves slowly approaching him. He was frozen in fear, watching the animals creep closer and closer. The boy, terrified, turned around and ran through the forest, not daring to look back at the fierce creatures chasing after him, not daring to look into the face of his untimely death.
Twisted Fate rounded the corner hastily, searching everywhere for a hiding place, somewhere he could evade his pursuers. The alley he had entered was almost barren; not even so much as a trash can to hide in. He thought quickly, sprinting down the length of the alley as he heard the footsteps of the men chasing him close behind.
"He's over there! Get 'im!"
Fate didn't look back; he didn't need to see them to know how close they were. Exiting the alley, he took off down the street looking for a place to duck into. The shops were all closed, it being so late in the night. He was breathing heavily, his throat burning due to the cold air of the night. He started to despair, hearing the men behind him coming up, but suddenly a store light turned on and the door swung open. He didn't hesitate for a moment to run inside and close the door as quietly as possible, leaning against the door with his heart pounding to listen for footsteps outside. They passed by quickly, and Fate could hear them shouting to eachother about where they thought he could have been headed.
Twisted Fate breathed a heavy sigh of relief, leaning back against the door and sliding down to the floor. Seeing that there was no one in the store, he sat there for a few minutes, panting and coughing. After he had caught his breath, he leaned his head back against the door and closed his eyes. Just another day at the office for Twisted Fate; another angry mob of gamblers looking for blood after being cheated by the infamous Card Master. Nothing out of the ordinary, really. If he wasn't being chased by a mob, it was by a scorned woman, or some old enemy. He usually thought nothing more of it.
But tonight, he was aware of a strange feeling in his heart. A feeling of failure. It wasn't that he felt that he was unsuccessful in what he did- he was the best at what he did. What he felt was that something was... missing. All his life, the only thing Twisted Fate could remember was cheating and lying and stealing. It was what he was born and bred to do. He was born to a family of poor gypsy parents, who stole from passing travellers to earn enough money for food every night. That was what Twisted Fate had learned, and he honed his talent to an art form. He could never recall feeling sorry for it, since he had no other choice. He was no noble, he had no special skill in craftsmanship or war. He was just a poor gypsy kid living on the street.
Just a poor gypsy kid. That was what was bothering him that night. Twisted Fate knew that his life was going nowhere. He suddenly desired more of his life than to steal from idiots in underground gambling halls. He wanted to do something great, something he could be truly proud of. He shook his head. He knew damn well there was no way that would happen.
Twisted Fate's head fell back against the door, leaving his eyes staring up at the wooden ceiling above him, his thoughts running back into his past, a place he made a point not to return to. His mind brought him back to the first time anyone had ever shown him compassion in his life, the first time he'd ever witnessed something different than the daily reality he'd grown accustomed to, living only for oneself. He would always remember that day.
The boy panted heavily. He felt like he couldn't run anymore, but his body propelled him onward, desperately clinging onto the desire to live. He could hear the wolves behind him, the rustling of the foliage as they chased after him. With every fiber of his being, the boy prayed for salvation.
His prayers went unanswered as he tripped on a fallen branch and landed face down in the leaves. Immediately, he sprang up and backed away from the wolves, now circling around him. The boy closed his eyes, thinking that this would be the last thing he would ever experience: lost in a dark forest, eaten alive by ravenous creatures without his family, friends or anyone knowing he was there. Alone.
Suddenly, a blinding flash of light illuminated everything, blinding the boy. He turned his head away and shielded his eyes from the bright light. When he finally opened his eyes, the wolves were laying on the ground, lifeless. The boy was astonished, and looked around to find out what had been his savior. A man stood along the wooded path, wearing a long black coat and hat that covered his eyes. The boy said nothing, too amazed by what had just happened.
The man looked down at the boy and smiled.
"This ain't the place for a kid. Come with me."
He was in an antiques shop, an old store probably owned by a family for many generations. Piltover was full of these little places. However, the only things hanging from the walls or displaying on the shelves were clocks. Hundreds of them, in all shapes and sizes, all ticking away, hands approaching midnight.
Twisted Fate sighed. "Man, this place gives me the creeps..." he muttered under his breath. He really didn't want to stay here, but he was curious as to why this shop was suddenly opened just when he needed it. There was something about this place that bothered him.
"Hello? Anyone here?" he called out.
There was no response.
Twisted Fate turned around to look outside again, but saw no one in the street. He took a deep breath and stepped deeper into the shop, looking around at all the clocks, body and nerves tensing up. As he walked down the aisle toward the counter in the back of the store, though, one of the clocks caught his eye. It was a large grandfather clock, made of a dark brown colored wood, expertly made by a trained artisan. The pendulum in the center rocked back and forth slowly and deliberately, mesmerizing Twisted Fate more and more with each swing.
The movement was hypnotizing. Fate's eyes followed it, going back and forth, losing himself again in his thoughts.
Time. The word flashed across his mind then disappeared. To think, what seemed like ages ago, he was once a young boy, scared and alone, wandering these very streets, taking in the sights and the sounds and the lessons of his mentor. He remembered them vividly, his formative years, learning how to fend for himself all over again in the seedy underbelly of the city.
The boy followed the cloaked man down the path through the forest, grateful, but also confused. Why had the man come here in the first place? the boy wondered. And, he also thought, just who is he? The boy said nothing, though, afraid that his questions would anger the man and leave him stranded once more.
The two travelled through the night, the boy right on the heels of the stranger, terrified of leaving his side. When they finally emerged from the forest, they looked out upon a marvelous, sprawling city that the stranger told him was called Piltover. The boy was amazed; he had never seen any place like it before. It was a grand city, shining and pristinely white, visible even in the dark night. However, the amazement wore off as the stranger led the boy not to the grand skyscrapers and marvelous buildings, but to the outskirts of the city, a hovel where the buildings were gloomy, the storefronts were mostly in disrepair, in stark contrast to the splendor of the rest of the city
The stranger led the boy to a tall, gloomy-looking building deep in the heart of the slum. The two went around, not through the front door, but around back through a dark alley. The man opened the door at the back and ushered the boy inside quickly, slamming the door shut behind him.
The boy stood by the door, still shaking with fear. He didn't know this man, but he had saved him from certain death, so he chose to trust him for the time being. The man paced forward into the room, then turned around and leaned against the wall facing the boy.
"So," he began, "what exactly were you doin' out there in the forest by yourself?"
The boy gulped, trying to calm his nerves so his voice wouldn't shake.
"I... I was running away from... home," he said after a few moments.
The man said nothing, simply staring at the kid in front of him. They stood in silence for a long time until he finally spoke.
"Alright, look, kid. I wanna get something straight here. I ain't no good Samaritan. Normally, under any other circumstance, I'dda left you there in that forest and went on my way." He looked away from the boy and shook his head. "But I didn't. There's something special about you, kid. You got the same thing in you that I do. We're really a lot alike, I can tell."
The man pushed himself off the wall and walked slowly to the boy, who was still confused and scared, standing nervously in the corner of the room. The man knelt down next to him and put a hand on his shoulder. "So, what can I call you then, kid?"
The boy remained silent.
"Alright, then, I'll give you a name. Let's see..." He stood up now, walking slowly away from the boy with his hand on his chin.
"You need something mysterious, something that'll stick in people's heads." He stood in thought for a moment, but suddenly he had a burst of inspiration, turning to the boy with a roguish grin.
"I've got it. You tempted fate back in those woods, kid. You went against million to one odds, but you came out alive. Destiny's got nothing on you. From now on, you're name's gonna be-" he made a flourish with his hands- "Twisted Fate!"
Twisted Fate smiled. "Wow! That's really cool!" he said, to which the man removed his hat and bowed down. "Showmanship is a specialty of mine."
Fate thought about the name, imagining people far and wide muttering it in awe. One day, he thought. One day everyone'll know that name.
But the boy was brought out of his thoughts after a moment. "What's your name?" he asked the man.
"Oh, I forgot to introduce myself, didn't I? Well, I'm sorry kid, I can't tell you my real name. But I can give you my stage name." He stood up tall, stretching out his arms in a grand gesture.
"The Ace of Hearts!" he boomed, showing a toothy grin. "But you can call me Ace."
Fate smiled to himself in the dimly lit store.
"Crazy ol' *******," he muttered under his breath.
He could still remember the days being taught by his mentor, the man who showed him the art of deception. Ace was a magician, a performer in the slums of Piltover, doing shows anywhere he could find someone willing to pay. Life was difficult. He barely scraped by, despite his tremendous magical talent, and often had to resort to more underhanded methods to make ends meet, performing magic on the very streets: people's wallets simply disappeared.
Twisted Fate learned everything he knew about being a conman from Ace: from playing suckers in cards to playing the daughters of noblemen to scam them out of a nice chunk of their father's money. It may not have been easy street, but the two got by for a long time, hustling and surviving, trusting no one but eachother.
But the good times wouldn't last forever. One night, after the usual scam, the two were being chased through the streets after a particularly high stakes game, when they got caught by the goons of one of the most prominent mob bosses in the city. The two were cornered in an alleyway, being backed against the wall by the thugs when Ace suddenly turned to look into Twisted Fate's eyes.
"You have to go, kid! I have enough mana to get you out of here, but promise me that you'll survive!" he shouted. "I've taught you enough about that." Despite the situation, he smiled darkly before his eyes and hands began to glow brightly golden.
Fate did not have time react before he felt himself be raised up, teleported, to a place he'd never seen. He was in the middle of a field, just outside of Piltover, looking out at the huge white towers on the skyline. As he sat there, unable to speak or think, a tear fell out of his eye, running down his face until it fell down to the wet grass.
He stayed there, sitting in that field, alone with this thoughts for what felt like hours before he finally decided what to do. He stood up from the grass wiped his pants of the dew that had accumulated there. As he turned to begin his journey south, he noticed on the ground a black hat. The same as that of his mentor. Wiping his face, the young man picked up the hat, looking at it in his hands. Closing his eyes for a moment, he gripped the rim tightly. Then, after a moment, he opened his eyes and lifted the hat onto his head.
With a stoic look in his jaded eyes, Twisted Fate set off into the distance to find a new home.
Twisted Fate sighed. Those were hard times. Ace was the first person he had ever felt a connection to, and he was gone now. But, even though they'd lied and cheated and stole, Ace always told Fate that someday, he had to make something of himself. He knew this was not the way to live, but he had no other choice. Fate promised that day to do something great.
Yeah, he thought. Somethin' great. Like what?
A voice took him forcibly out of his reverie, coming from behind him:
"Hello, Mr. Fate. I've been expecting you."
Twisted Fate turned around immediately, backing up and bumping into the great clock behind him. He slipped the card he held in his sleeve out and enchanted it, holding it ready to throw. "Who the hell are you?!" he asked hoarsely.
The man smiled, revealing a set of perfectly white teeth. His eyes were a clear green, and they seemed to pierce through whatever they looked at. The man wore a tailor-made power suit- black with a red tie. His appearance was one that could be forgotten a minute after meeting him. He spoke now, with a slight Demacian accent.
"My name is Maximillian Whitemane. I am one of the chairmen of the League of Summoners Military Intelligence Section Six, or LSMI6."
Twisted Fate frowned in confusion. "What are you talking about? Military Intelligence?" he asked.
Max nodded his head. "Yes, Mr. Fate. I brought you here through a meticulously planned operation to ask you a simple question."
The Card Master eyed the man carefully. "And what's that?"
Max took a few steps towards a silver-lined clock laying on a shelf. He raised a hand to gently touch the face of the clock, then turned back to look at Twisted Fate.
"Tell me, Mr. Fate, are you content with your life as it is?" he asked, his voice even and measured.
Fate's eyes narrowed. "What the hell kinda question is that? What do you mean?"
Max smiled. "So you mean to tell me that you're perfectly content living in the shadows of shady streets, cheating at poker games and living in notoriety everywhere you go? Does this satisfy you?"
Twisted Fate couldn't respond. He wanted to spit something back at him, but he was at a loss for words. The man was saying exactly what he was thinking a few minutes ago. Fate stayed silent, but let on nothing of what he was feeling.
"Don't you desire more from your life? You have extraordinary talents, limitless potential. You can do great things, Mr. Fate. And my organization can help you."
"Oh yeah? What exactly can you do to 'help' me?" Fate asked harshly.
Max smiled again.
"You know better than anyone that Valoran can be a very dangerous place, Mr. Fate. It is filled with hate, violence, and corruption. The fragile peace we have is threatened every day by those who wish to further their own goals through war and anarchy. Many years ago, when the Rune Wars finally came to an end, the peace forged between the city-states of Valoran was under constant threat of being completely shattered. My organization was founded to protect this world from ever falling into such a state of conflict again. LSMI6 is a league of summoners and heroes that fight every day, hidden under a veil of secrecy and shadows to protect the people of Runeterra."
Fate shook his head. "That's great, but what's this got to do with me, old man? In case you hadn't noticed, I ain't no hero."
Max stepped closer, his voice growing more insistent. "Mr. Fate, you have a chance to become something greater than you are. You have the chance to fight for all of Runeterra, for yourself, your fellow man. We need an operative like you: cold and confident, used to being under the radar. Think about it, Mr. Fate."
The Card Master shook his head. "No way, partner. I ain't risking my tail for a bunch of people who've made my life hell. What do the people of Runeterra care about me? All my life, everyone's had it out for me. This world ain't for heroes. It's a crazy, messed up place where you fight for yourself and no one else. Y'all can have fun playin' secret agent, but count me out."
Fate began walking to the door to leave, but was stopped by Max's voice suddenly ringing out behind him. "Twisted Fate, you are the only hope for the world. Forgive me for being so blunt, but it's true. You have to do this. If not for others, then for yourself."
This stopped him in his tracks. Fate thought about what he had just heard. It sounded ridiculous.
"What are you talkin' about now, old man?"
Max sighed, stepping forward slowly.
"My agents are being compromised all over Valoran. We believe there has been a security breach at LSMI6 headquarters, and we can no longer rely on our field agents to carry out assignments. You are the best candidate we have. No one would suspect you to be working for any organization at all. You would be completely hidden from suspicion. Please, Twisted Fate. You are our only hope."
Fate couldn't believe what he was hearing. It all seemed to crazy to be true, but the more he thought about it, the more he realized that it was in his best interest to help these people. After all, if the world ended, that would mean he would end as well. Fate turned around to face Maximillian, his face carved out of stone. This might have been the first honorable thing Twisted Fate ever did, so he steeled himself for what he was about to say.
"What's it pay?"
Old habits die hard.
Max smiled. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you."
Twisted Fate considered it for a moment. "Alright. I'll help you. But one thing first: I want my record cleared all over Valoran. I don't wanna get hassled by any authorities ever again," he said finally.
Max nodded his head. "Consider it done. Now follow me, if you will, Mr. Fate. The head would like a word with you before your briefing." The man turned around and walked deeper into the store.
Twisted Fate let out a long, drawn out sigh. He closed his eyes for a moment to think about what exactly he was getting into before following Max to the back room of the store.
Of course, he had no idea that he was about to enter a world of impossible danger, unspeakable evil, and adventures that would change his and the lives of all of Runeterra forever.
*cue Bond theme*
Now then, for all of you people that have read When Looks Can Kill (which is probably a number less than ten), go read PangusMan's story. It's exciting, full of danger, girls, explosions, girls, and lots of other stuff you would expect to find in a Bond film.
I am very excited about this collaboration we've got going, and we hope that all of you out there will be so kind as to read it and support us!
And Pangus, it's nice to finally see you on the field. The desk job back at headquarters never really suited you.
Here's the next chapter for you guys.
Chapter 2: The Rabbit Hole
Twisted Fate sat on the bench outside of the office of the head of LSMI6, absently twirling a card in his hand. Max had led him here through a complicated series of underground tunnels with a high-tech tram system. It was clear that they were not playing around about this whole situation.
MI6 was a powerful sight. When he first entered, he was taken aback by the bright white walls, the efficient design, the sight of agents milling about, others doing their work energetically. He was shocked at the scene, disbelieving. Max took him through the brightly lit halls, greeting some of the agents he passed, some eyeing Fate cautiously. He recalled being uncomfortable there.
Finally, Max had brought him in front of the door to the office of M, the head of LSMI6. The two approached the receptionist's desk, where Ahri sat back in her chair, legs lifted and reading. When she saw them, a grin played across her face.
"Hello, boys. Here to see her?" she asked sweetly.
"Yes, thank you," Max replied.
Ahri picked up the phone, while at the same time eyeing Twisted Fate closely. She was intrigued as to why he of all people was here.
"Yes?" came the voice on the other side of the line.
"M, there's two boys here to see you. Should I let them in?" she asked, twirling the cord absently.
"Who are they?" asked M.
"It's Max and... Twisted Fate," Ahri replied, chuckling lightly.
"Send them in." The order came out and Ahri put the phone down. She leaned forward onto the desk, propping herself up on her elbows and looking up at the two. "You two can go on in. I'm glad to see you here, handsome," she added with a wink.
Fate grinned. "Yeah. You know, I might come to like this job after all," he said, flashing Ahri one of his wild grins.
He followed Maximillian into M's office, and he was impressed by the austerity of the room: a fully stocked bookshelf behind a finely crafted wooden desk, two expensive-looking leather chairs lying in front of it, complete with a small table in between them. The woman sitting there was perusing a file, which lay open on her desk. When she noticed them come in, she put down a paper she was reading, setting it back onto the file.
"Twisted Fate. It's good that you're here." M was an older woman, wrinkles throughout her face, but her features retaining a sharp look of experience and alertness. She stood up from her chair and took a good look at Twisted Fate, scanning every detail of his appearance, sizing him up.
"Yeah, heard y'all needed my help. So I'm here to find out what you want from me," Fate replied, stepping forward towards the desk.
M gestured to a seat and sat down herself, pulling the chair forward to be sitting upright facing the two sitting opposite her.
"Now, before we begin, I'd like to mention that if there were literally any other option, I would never in my right mind have thought of contacting you. Do I make this clear?" She said bluntly, with a harsh look in her eye. "You are notorious for being a shifty conman, and I would never willingly associate myself with the likes of you." M looked down, then back up into his eyes. "But there was no other choice."
Twisted Fate grinned, leaning back in his chair and tipping his hat down. "So then why'd you come after me?" he asked, crossing his arms.
M ruffled through a few papers on her desk. "I'm sure you've been made aware of the problem we've been faced with." She put them down. "Our agents are being compromised. Their cover is being blown all over the map, all of our moles being captured and drawing more suspicion. And to top it all off, there's a tremendous issue that we have no available bodies to investigate. We need someone who no one would suspect of being in line with us. Someone like you."
The Card Master shook his head. "I can't believe this. It's like this is a movie or somethin'." He let out a small chuckle. "Well, what can I do to help, then?"
The head nodded. "You will be given further briefing shortly. But before you go, I want you to hear something."
Her face grew darkly threatening. "I don't trust you. If you do anything at all to damage this organization, I will have you hunted down and executed. I will not hesitate to use every available resource to find you. Do you understand?"
Twisted Fate sighed. "Yeah, yeah, I hear you."
M frowned, then reached into a drawer on her desk, pulling out a pair of keys. She put them on the desk in front of her and leaned back in the chair. "These are the keys for your vehicle. We can't have you simply walking the streets. I hope you have a fine taste in cars," she said, gesturing for him to pick them up.
Fate reached out to do so and eyed the insignia on the key: Bastion Martin XIII. He couldn't hold back a grin. This job really might be what it seems like after all, huh?
M picked the file back up. "Now that that's done, you're to report to debriefing to be instructed on your assignment. Go quickly: we're fighting against the clock."
Twisted Fate nodded. "Yes ma'am. You can count on me."
As he left, the woman rubbed her temples, muttering under her breath to Maximillian. "I'm afraid of that."
A few minutes later, he was walking down the hall towards the debriefing room when a man with a cocky demeanor stopped him.
"Well, this is quite the surprise. Twisted Fate, secret agent?" the man said, crossing his arms. "I can't believe what I'm seeing."
Fate rolled his eyes. "Yeah, what about it? Who are you, anyway? he retorted.
The man chuckled. "I'm Agent 007, or the Summoner if you prefer," he introduced. "I'm the best agent we have, but we've had a break-in and now it's too dangerous for me to go out into the field. Is that why you're here?"
Twisted Fate tipped his hat downwards with a scowl. "That ain't none of your business. Go bother someone else."
The Summoner furrowed his brow. "I only wanted to get to know you, Fate. I guess you want to go lone wolf, then. We'll see if you end up being worth it," he spat, walking off down the hall proudly.
Fate angrily barged into the debriefing room, where there was a chair and a table in front of a man standing up by the back wall.
"Ah, Agent Fate. Now that you're here, we can begin."
The man was tall and thin, with jet black hair that was slicked back very professionally. He had a no-nonsense look about him, and he always seemed to be looking down at whoever he was addressing. Twisted Fate slumped into the seat on the far wall and looked up with a surly expression.
"Good evening, Agent Fate. I am Agent K, and I will be debreifing you on your assignment. I'm sure all of this is quite a shock to you, but we have full confidence that you'll be capable of handling it," the man began.
Twisted Fate sighed. "Yeah, yeah, get on with it."
Agent K narrowed his eyes, somewhat taken aback by his rudeness. He cleared his throat and went on. "Very well then. We'll begin." He clicked a button on a small remote in his hand and a projector displayed what appeared to be blueprints of some sort Techmaturgical generator.
"Three days ago, LSMI6 intelligence picked up a distress signal from a top-secret Bandle City research facility that specialized in Techmaturgical energy weapons. Apparently, whoever was responsible for the break-in stole a very volatile device that can supposedly create energy. Needless to say, the researchers of this device are very worried about what it can do in the wrong hands, and unfortunately, we have no leads as to who it was that might have stolen it."
Fate chuckled to himself. "So what the hell am I here for? Shouldn't we know who we're going after first?"
Agent K frowned. "Well, that is why you're here, Mr. Fate. Our prime suspect in the thefts is ORDER, an organization founded on, paradoxically, ruining the order that we have worked so hard to establish. It would only make sense that they would try to use technology like this, most likely to pin some catastrophe on one of the major city-states and reignite another Rune War to plunge Valoran into chaos."
Twisted Fate nodded. "Alright, alright, but where do I fit in to all this?"
The man pressed another button on the remote and the projector displayed a dossier file on the board. "This, as I'm sure you're aware, is Sarah Fortune. She is a known operative of ORDER, and likely the best chance we have of getting to the bottom of this."
Fate's eyebrows rose up in surprise. "Miss Fortune? Really?" He was taken aback, and despite his attempts at staying aloof, he sat up a little in his chair.
Agent K ignored this. "Before the breach in security here at LSMI6, we managed to get wind of a rendezvous between Agent Fortune and one of her contacts from ORDER at the Grand Bazaar of Shurima. You are to find her before she reaches this contact and extract whatever information about the thefts as you can from her. Use any means necessary," he added with a dark tone.
Twisted Fate crossed his arms, trying to go back to his normal demeanor. "And what if she doesn't wanna talk to me about her super secret plans?" he asked.
The man's expression did not change. "Any means necessary."
Fate smirked at the man in front of him. "Well, what if I don't wanna talk to her?" he challenged.
Agent K frowned. "It's not up to you."
He turned off the projector and stepped forward. "Now, I know that you haven't been trained properly, but we have little choice but to send you out into the field. You are not to draw any unnecessary attention to yourself. Absolutely no civilian casualties. And most importantly: if you're captured, you are not to reveal anything about our organization. Do you understand?"
Twisted Fate sighed, looking away from him. "Yeah, yeah. When do I go?"
Agent K narrowed his eyes. "Immediately. The car is parked on Sublevel C."
Fate stood up and began to leave before Agent K stopped him to say one word.
"Before you leave, Agent Fate," he started, with concern, "I do hope that you have no personal stake in this mission, for the good of all of us."
Fate looked back with a wry smile.
"Keep on hopin'."
The blazing Shurima sun beat down on the Grand Bazaar, and harsh winds of desert sand blew through the streets where vendors and customers milled about, haggling, arguing, buying and selling. There was a commotion in every corner of the bazaar, a crowd that anyone could hide in.
Twisted Fate stepped out of the Bastion Martin XIII and into the oppressive heat of the desert. He knew right away that he hated this place. The heat was unbearable to him, and he could feel sweat forming rapidly almost as soon as he left the car.
"Gods damn it," he muttered under his breath, tipping his hat up to wipe the sweat from his brow. "I can't believe I'm here in this hellhole just to find... her."
His hand balled up into a fist and his chest tightened for a moment at the thought of her. After a moment, he sighed and the tension left him. Those powerful memories came flooding back to him of the past, of Sarah. Maybe it was the heat, reminding him of the stifling cargo hold of her ship, or maybe the sand of the beach where they said their hasty goodbyes. He wanted only to forget, put it out of his mind.
Only one thing to do about that, he thought, looking up to the busy streets of the Bazaar. "Now where's the bar around here?"
Fate pushed his way through the crowd, in between loud desert dwellers and armed peacekeepers. He thought nothing of them, he seemed to look right through them, searching for the nearest tavern to get a drink. His mouth was completely dry, his throat scratchy, and every time he opened his mouth, sand filled it immediately.
But just then, looking up tiredly among the dense crowd, he saw her. She was wearing a beautiful dark blue dress, her hair flowing in the scalding desert wind. Fate was taken aback at the sight of her after so long. The last time he saw her, she was in her captain's uniform, barking orders at her crew. Now here she was, working for a secret intelligence organization trying to ignite another Rune War.
Miss Fortune was looking around through the crowd, apparently trying to find someone. Fate ducked behind a merchant's booth and tipped his hat down over his eyes as she scanned over where he was. He leaned back against the wall of the structure and took a breath, then turned the corner to see her walking away through the crowd.
Fate followed her, pushing through the people to keep her in his sight. She moved quickly, as if she didn't want to be out in the open for long. Suddenly, she raised a hand to her ear, stopping in her tracks. Fate couldn't hear what she was saying, but he could guess who she was talking to. As quickly as she had begun talking, she moved purposefully to a tavern named The Desert Rose, striding inside.
Fate slipped in after her and saw her take a seat at the bar, looking around with what seemed like a troubled expression. He leaned against the wall, watching her for a few minutes before finally mustering the courage to step off the wall towards the bar.
"This seat taken?"
Sarah turned around immediately, gasping when she saw him.
"T-Twisted-" she tried to compose herself, and lowered her voice- "Fate."
The agent smiled roguishly and sat down next to her, calling the bartender over.
"Can I help you sir?" the man asked.
"Get me a whiskey, and whatever the lady wants." He looked over to her with a smirk.
She sighed. "Socardi Seabreeze," she muttered.
"Dack Janiels and a Socardi, very good."
The barman walked off, leaving the two alone for the moment. As soon as he was gone, Sarah turned to glare at Twisted Fate.
"What are you doing here, Fate? I thought you said we were never supposed to see each other again," she hissed.
Fate grinned. "Aw, come on, now, darlin', don't tell me you ain't happy to see me again. Whatchu doin' in this musty old place anyway?"
"What are you doing here? Why would you ever even be in Shurima, anyway? Don't you have card games to cheat at?" she retorted.
The barman returned with the drinks, and Twisted Fate picked up the glass, looking at the dark liquid silently for a moment before taking a big sip. Feeling the warmth trickle down his throat and heat up his stomach, he turned to face Sarah, this time without a smile.
"I ain't here to catch up, Sarah," he began, his tone becoming much more serious. "I was sent here after you."
She blinked, trying to fit it all together. "Wait a minute... You were sent here? Who sent you?"
Before Fate could respond, however, a man in a dark suit came up to the bar with them. He was pale white, with matching hair, and a scar running the whole side of his face. The man was smiling, as if about to meet up with old friends.
"Hello, darling," he said in a very polite tone, putting a hand on Sarah's back, who went from her stare of disbelief into a sudden attempt to return to her normal posture. "How are you, dear? Having a drink, then? Very good."
The man then turned to face Twisted Fate, and being able to see his face more clearly, he could see that his left eye was quite noticeably fake. It shined much brighter than the other, and it gazed coldly at him.
"And who's this? Ah... The infamous Twisted Fate, I see! Quite the company for a lady such as yourself to keep."
Fate's eyes narrowed at the man. He knew right away who this was, and for some reason, his body tensed up.
"Yeah, pleased to meet ya," he responded, taking up his glass. "How you two know each other?"
The man smiled even more broadly. "Business associates. In fact, I was just going to ask the lady to come with me for a meeting. You don't mind, do you?"
Fate downed the rest of his glass, wiping his lips and putting it forcefully down on the table.
"Yeah, I mind."
He stood up now, kicking his stool back and grabbing Sarah's arm. The man burst into movement, grabbing Fate's wrist and throwing him across the room, sending him stumbling backwards into two other men, who forced him to turn around to face them. Their faces were masks of unbridled aggression, both about a head taller and half a foot wider than he was.
Fate turned around to see the man taking Sarah out the door with him, pulling her by the arm.
However, there were bigger problems at hand right now. He turned now to face the thugs, who were beginning to bear down on him. Out of the corner of his eyes he could also see other patrons beginning to rise and draw out their weapons.
Fate rolled his eyes.
"Alright, then. Let's get this over with," he said, letting the ace up his sleeve fall out into his hand.
Hey guys, new chapter is finally out! Please leave any feed back you guys have, any review is appreciated.
Chapter 3: Through Hell at High Noon
Throughout his entire life, Twisted Fate had always lived with the fear of being attacked by any one of his many enemies. These constant threats had honed his instincts, his reflexes, and most importantly his mind to a state where he no longer felt the fear he had as a boy, but rather a dogged determination to survive at all costs.
The first thug charged at him like a raging bull, only to be stopped in his tracks by an enchanted card that stopped him in his tracks, flung out in what seemed like the blink of an eye. The man next to him growled, winding up a punch and lunging forward at Fate, who quickly grabbed his arm and, with a mighty pull, used his momentum to send the man stumbling behind him long enough for Fate to unleash a barrage of enchanted cards at the other assailants who were just beginning to take aim with their hextech pistols.
Suddenly, Fate was grabbed by the thug behind him, who trapped his hands behind Fate's head, locking his arms out so he could no longer move. Despite his fierce struggles, Fate could not break free. Then, right on cue, the stunned thug came to his senses, realizing where he was and what he was doing before his mind went blank. He blinked a few times, but quickly understood what was happening, as he threw a wild punch right into Fate's stomach.
Fate yelled out in pain, struggling even harder against the man who had him locked up, to no avail. Another powerful punch knocked the wind out of the Card Master, who now turned his head towards the door of the saloon with a curse.
She's getting away! he thought, his mind racing as he braced himself for another blow.
The thug in front of him grinned maliciously as he threw another punch at Fate's jaw, connecting with a violent thud.
"Ha! What's wrong, Fate? Out of tricks already?" he taunted, winding up another punch.
Fate looked up, bloody and furious. "Go to hell," he spat.
The thug laughed loudly, and the others in the saloon who were incapacitated came to and began approaching him as well, ready to get some payback of their own. One of them handed him one of their revolvers. The thug took it and took his time inspecting it, making a big show of checking to see if it was loaded while Fate closed his eyes tightly.
The man's smile faded as he raised the weapon, pointing it directly at Fate's heart.
"Any last words, Twisted Fate?"
Fate opened his eyes, which glowed brightly gold in the dim light of the saloon.
"Sorry boys, but the house don't always win."
And just like that, in a blinding flash of light, he had vanished.
Meanwhile, in an alley near the center of the bazaar, Sarah Fortune and the mysterious man slowed down to a stop, looking behind them to make sure they weren't followed.
Sarah was breathing heavily from the run, but the man's face was expressionless as he patted his suit to clear off some sand that had collected on it. He now turned to face Sarah, and the smile he had had previously returned, but in his eyes lay the anger that the rest of his body hid.
"Well, now, Sarah, you have quite a bit of explaining to do," he began, managing to keep his voice calm and leveled.
Sarah caught her breath and stood up to face him, a little apprehensive to look him directly in the eye.
"I... I have no idea why he was there," she tried to explain. "Honestly, he was the last person I would have expected to see."
The man's smile dimmed as his patience grew thinner. "Was he sent after you? What did he tell you?"
Sarah looked away from him, turning to look at the end of the alley where they had come in from the street, the harsh desert wind causing her hair to cover her face from the man.
"I don't know," she said flatly. "He was just... there."
Suddenly the man reached out and forcefully grabbed her arm, squeezing tightly enough to make Sarah gasp and attempt to break free.
"I don't believe you for a second. You're going to tell me exactly what he was doing in there or I swear you will be dead before nightfall. Do you hear me, Sarah?!" he hissed, his voice a hoarse whisper, thick with fury.
"I'm telling you, I don't know! Let me go!" she shouted, trying to escape the man's vice-like hold. She felt terrified of the man before her. His scarred face and piercing gaze sent a chill down her spine. He may have been her handler, but she wanted nothing more than to run as far as possible away from him.
"If you don't tell me, dammit, I'll beat it out of you!" he shouted.
The man clenched his fist tightly, raising it with a furious flame in his eye. Sarah closed her eyes and turned away, attempting to cover her face from the blow, when suddenly there came a sound from deeper in the alley that made both of them stop what they were doing to listen.
The man narrowed his eyes for a moment, lowering his fist, listening intently.
"What was that?" he muttered. The man looked up towards the source of the noise. It sounded faintly like...
Sarah gasped in sudden realization, making one mighty struggle to break free and then falling to the ground as the ace of spades flew like a bullet, landing squarely between the eyes of the ORDER agent, looking on in pure shock as he fell back on the floor. His eyes remained hauntingly open, looking up into the desert sky as he died facing up at the cruel Shurima sun that beat down on them.
Sarah sat in astonishment, staring at the body in front of her. She was frozen in place, her pulse racing, trying to understand what had just happened.
The sound of his voice brought Sarah back to her senses long enough for her to know who's voice it was. She stood up immediately and turned around to see Twisted Fate walking slowly towards her, the glow in his eyes just now beginning to fade away.
"Gimme your guns," he said coldly, holding another card at the ready in case of any sudden movements. Sarah shakily reached for her weapons, sheathed underneath her dress, and handed them over. Fate tucked the guns into his jacket pockets and put his card back into the deck.
"B-But... H-How did you..." Her voice trailed off as he reached the body. Fate knelt down next to the body of the dead man and simply looked at it for a few moments with a blank expression.
Sarah was still, composing herself once more and waiting for her racing heart to slow down. After what felt like ages she finally spoke again.
"I... Thank you, Fate," she began, hesitantly at first, but more determined with every word. "You saved me."
Fate took a deep breath before standing up and turning to face her. He took a step closer and looked her squarely in the eyes, taking a moment to peer deeply into them, as if he was looking right through into her soul.
"I wasn't gonna let him hurt you," he said hoarsely, just loud enough to hear over the bustle in the streets a short distance away.
Sarah bit her lip and looked away from him, thinking deeply about what she wanted to tell him. It had been so long, and there were so many things she wanted to say, but they were buried deep in her mind, in a place she had hoped to leave alone forever, to let the memories fade away and never emerge again. But yet, here he was, standing before her, bringing back to the surface all the feelings she had sought to repress. From the moment she laid eyes on him in that saloon for the first time in years, these feelings had come back in full force. They boiled up like magma inside of her, and in a quick, involuntary motion, she reached out to him...
And slapped him across the face with all her might.
Then, a moment later, she began to cry.
"You bastard," she muttered, almost to herself. "I hoped I would never see you again." She trailed off, wiping her eyes quickly of sand and tears.
"Why? Why did you come here?"
As Fate put a hand to his cheek to feel his face still stinging from the slap, he couldn't suppress a grin.
"Damn. You ain't changed a bit, girl."
Sarah stood fuming in the arid heat, staring daggers at the man in front of her.
"Why? Why you?" she repeated, louder now.
Fate looked away from her, shifting his gaze down the alley. He didn't know what to say to her. It'd been so long since they last met, and there were so many things he had wanted to tell her, but couldn't. But now that he had the opportunity, he couldn't say anything. He looked back at her and exhaled deeply.
"Sarah," he began, slowly and uncertainly. He opened his mouth to continue, but he was interrupted by the sound of a man's voice.
"Agent Fate, status report. Do you have the target?" said the voice, speaking through a telepathic link to Twisted Fate's mind. Fate narrowed his eyes, putting a hand on his temple confusedly.
"Wait, what the..." he muttered, looking around for the source of the sound. "Who the hell is this?"
"This is Agent K," the voice responded. "We have a telepathic uplink to your mind from our headquarters so we can contact you out in the field. Don't worry, you'll get used to it in time. But nevermind that; do you have the target?"
Fate looked back at Sarah, who stared back at him with eyes full of pain and fury. He nodded slowly.
"Yeah, I got her. What do I do now?" Fate said, a little shaken by the unsettling voice in his head.
"Ask her what she knows about the thefts, Fate. Get as much information out of her as you can."
He sighed, shifting his hat up to wipe the sweat from his forehead. He didn't really know how to begin, considering their shared past. On the one hand, there was a million things he wanted to say, to try and make the situation right again. She deserved an explanation.
But on the other hand, he had a job to do.
"Sarah," he said gruffly to the woman standing with her arms crossed over her chest across from him.
She said nothing, continuing to give him the same cold stare.
Fate clenched his fist and decided to just come out with what he had to say.
"Listen, Sarah. I've been sent here to get some information, and I know you've got it. There's no runnin' anymore. What does ORDER want with all those stolen machines they got?"
Sarah's face suddenly softened to one of genuine surprise. Her arms slowly uncrossed and fell to her sides while she looked incredulously at him.
"W-What did you just say?"
Fate sighed in frustration.
"Come on, girl, don't play stupid with me. ORDER's goin' around nabbin' these hextech machines and doin' gods-know-what with 'em. That's why you were with this guy, right?" he asked, pointing down at where the body lay in the sand. "What're they plannin'?"
Sarah furrowed his brow, obviously confused.
"N-No, Fate, that's not right. You thought it was ORDER taking those devices?" She ran a hand quickly across her face to get rid of any more tears that had fallen and swallowed the lump that had formed in her throat.
She continued to speak slowly so she could monitor her own voice. "I- ORDER had nothing to do with those thefts. In fact, that's what they hired me for in the first place. My handler-" she looked down at the body and then back up at him-"called me here to meet with me. It might have been about this."
Fate shook his head, utterly lost. "Wait, wait a minute. If it ain't ORDER, and it ain't us, then... who the hell is it?"
"Fate, what's she saying?" Agent K said tensely through the uplink.
Fate put a hand over his eyes. "Just gimme a freakin' minute here," he spat back at the man speaking through his mind.
He pointed to the body lying beneath them. "What was he gonna meet up with you for?" he demanded.
Sarah reached into her pocket and revealed a small manilla envelope, still sealed.
"He gave me this before you came in. He said it was related to the mission he was going to assign me. I haven't had time to open it," she said, holding it out for him to take. She figured it would probably be best if she cooperated, seeing as she did owe him something, at least.
Fate reached out and took the envelope from her, looking it over carefully.
On the front side of it was a simple red stamp mark that read, "Classified." Fate assumed that whatever was inside was what he was sent to look for, so he turned it around to find the clasp to open it.
Suddenly, however, before Fate could open up the envelope, he heard a loud voice that broke the silence of the alley.
"There he is! The girl, too! Oh, ****, they killed the boss! Come on, let's get 'em!"
Fate cursed under his breath and looked over at Sarah, who looked frightened.
"Fate, we have to get out of here!" she shouted.
Fate didn't hesitate for a second, reaching out to grab her hand and taking off in a dead sprint down the alley away from the two thugs running after them from the other side.
But as they were approaching the exit of the alley, three more men turned the corner to check on what their companions had found and, after a second of realization, began running towards Fate and Sarah as well.
The two stopped in their tracks, stuck in the middle of the alley between the men, who were now closing in on them.
"****, we're trapped!" Fate exclaimed, looking behind them and then back at the thugs approaching from the front. Frantically, he looked around to see if there was any way out, any door they could run inside of to try and evade their pursuers, but the alley was barren. There was nowhere to go.
"Hold on, I'll get us outta here!" he yelled, pulling Sarah in close to him quickly. He focused all his energy, trying to channel it into another teleportation. He concentrated completely on building up his strength, but he felt weak, and couldn't muster up enough.
"Damn it, I'm outta mana. We gotta just fight our way through," he said quickly to Sarah, who's body tensed up immediately.
"Fate, give me my guns," she said, watching the two thugs in front of her carefully.
Fate reached into his jacket pocket immediately, but was interrupted by the battle cry of one of the thugs, who charged forward at the two and was followed by the rest of them. Twisted Fate pushed Sarah out of the way and quickly got a handful of cards ready, throwing them out with amazing speed at his aggressors, cutting and slicing their arms and faces.
When they got too close, Fate dodged out of the way to avoid their tackle, and Sarah, realizing what was happening behind her, whipped her body around to deliver a strong spinning kick right to the face of one of the goons.
Fate quickly reached into his pockets again and threw the guns over the body of the man she'd knocked down, and a moment later ducked under a wild punch thrown by one of the thugs next to him.
Meanwhile, the thug on the ground came to his senses just as another began to rush forward at Sarah, who quickly and ruthlessly fired a shot right through his heart and raised her weapon to shoot at Fate's assailant when she felt her arm being grabbed forcefully by the man rising from the floor, shoving her arm up in the air and causing the bullet fired to shoot directly into the air above them.
Fate dodged another punch from his attacker before sending a fierce kick into the man's gut and watching him stagger backwards. Seeing Sarah in trouble, he reared back to throw a barrage of cards at the man grabbing her arms. The thug cried out in pain and shock when he felt one of the cards lodge itself like a knife into his arm, and he let go of Sarah long enough for her to prepare a shot for him, which rang out through the alley along with the screams of passersby who overheard from the street.
The last two thugs watched furiously as the two began to sprint away, now having cleared a path out of the alley. They pursued Fate and Sarah, who took off into the frenzied crowd towards the place where the Bastion Martin XIII that Fate had brought was parked. Sarah followed him wordlessly, understanding right away that any time spent arguing was a luxury they couldn't afford.
"After 'em! Over here, they're getting away!" the thugs behind the shouted, as Fate and Sarah sprinted through the bazaar between the frenzied, fleeing civilians. Twisted Fate kept a keen eye out for any place they could get out of sight, as it might have been easier to lose them in the crowd. He could see in the edge of the plaza they were running through a small cellar door, opened wide.
"There! Follow me!" he shouted to Sarah, who followed him as they weaved in and out of the crowd, disorienting their pursuers long enough for them to slip into the cellar.
Fate took a deep breath, now feeling like he'd had enough time to regain his mana and concentrated once more. This time, his eyes shined brightly as they did before and he reached out for Sarah's hand, which she gingerly took and closed her own eyes tightly.
When she had opened them, they were at what seemed like the outskirts of the bazaar, looking out on the expanse of buildings in front of them and also the desolate sands beyond it in every direction.
They both tried to catch their breath after a long sigh of relief, and Fate turned around to look back at the Bastion Martin XIII that was parked behind them.
"Jeez, that was close," he muttered under his breath, leaning against the car for support. "Man, they're doin' all this for a damned file?"
He pulled the envelope out of his jacket and looked it over again, almost as if there were something new added to it since the last time he'd seen it. What was in this that had those thugs chase after them so intently?
"What's in this thing?" Fate said, more to himself than to Sarah, who leaned over to see what was inside as well. As he undid the clasp, he wondered whether this information would even change anything at all.
Inside were a handful of documents outlining possible suspects for the thefts, among them various secret organizations that Twisted Fate had ever heard of. However, as he read on, he found that the evidence left at the crime scenes fit a different description, one of a reckless lone wolf with no regard for playing it quiet.
"Says here all the labs were broken into by... explosives? No, it says it must have been a pretty big weapon, like a modified shotgun. Who the hell is this guy?" he asked, looking up at Sarah.
"I don't know. Does it say who the suspect is?" she asked, now feeling her heart rate fall back to normal.
"Yeah, there's a picture her-" Fate said, but stopped dead in his tracks, staring with mouth agape at the image he saw.
His other arm fell limply at his side and he could only stand in silence staring at the picture he held in his hand. Sarah, confused, leaned over to see who it was and gasped immediately.
"Son of a *****," Fate muttered, swallowing a lump that had built up in his throat. "There's no way... You..."
He couldn't find words. For so long, he thought he'd never see this face again, but yet, here he was, looking right at the man whose life he had destroyed so many years ago.
As he looked on in horror, the image burned into his mind was that of a man who had sworn brutal vengeance at all costs, the face of a desperate man seeking only what he was due after a lifetime of suffering. The face of none other than Twisted Fate's old partner in crime, Malcolm Graves.
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