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					Matthew                                  The legend of the twenty                        Threads of Fate:
Chan                                      million platinum man!                        The Golden Thread




As much as she wanted to stand up and announce to the Fate-illiterate masses how she was the hero of
the day, Ella instead exercised some restraint. She quickly gathered all her scattered tarot cards and her
still-bewildered partner, then ducked into the nearest pub – a joint called Gracey’s. The inside was
larger than its exterior suggested but modest in its décor, consisting of little more than a collection of
warm brown tables and worn padded chairs in various states of disrepair. The only striking features
were a player piano in the far corner, belting outdated tunes slightly off-key, and a large moose head
hung directly over the bar – imported, no doubt, as Ella had failed to notice any moose around the
desert.
The bottom of their shoes smacked on the sticky wood floors as Noal and Ella entered, drawing the
attention of a line of men sitting at the bar. They ranged from skinny and sickly to grossly overweight,
and brandished unappreciative raised eyebrows. Regulars sizing up the new guys, Ella thought. The
bartender, on the other hand, wore a welcoming smile but he wasn’t exactly winning any awards either;
Ella could’ve sworn she saw something move from within his beard. It was hardly what one would call a
five-star establishment, but on the other hand they’d wandered the Fringe for so long that she hardly
remembered what a five-star establishment even looked like anymore.
        “Phew. Well, that was exciting. How are you feeling?” Ella asked as she and Noal sat down in
the nearest open booth.
Noal didn’t answer. His gaze was unflinchingly fixated on a group of teens sitting in the corner. They
were elaborately dressed, particularly for the relative poverty of the Fringe – most Fringe-folk barely
scrounged enough platinum pieces to pay for basic necessities let alone the gaudy baubles these ones
had on. The boys lounged in their chairs, stretched out cocky and sure like they owned the place. The
women all sat cross legged, pretending to chat nicely, but making sure to arch forward with each laugh,
flaunting their ample bosoms in competition. The sickly sweet smell of their overused perfume stung
Ella’s nose even from all the way across the room.
       “Noal!” Ella shouted, snapping her fingers in front of her distracted partner’s face. “I asked you
how you were feeling!”
         “How do you think I’m feeling!?” he seethed, turning to her. “It’s getting stronger. I mean,
usually I have some sense of when it’s coming, but this time there was no warning. I think we should
just find out why the golden thread led us here and get out, before anything else bad happens.”
Ella leaned over the table, pulling up Noal’s cloak before he even had a chance to flinch.

                                                    10
Matthew                                  The legend of the twenty                         Threads of Fate:
Chan                                      million platinum man!                         The Golden Thread



       “Hey relax! Look, see it’s closed again,” she said, pointing at the Providence Eye tattoo on his
exposed left arm, which was indeed asleep once again. “No need to worry, Mr. Hu…”
        Noal reached over the table and put his hand over her mouth. “Are you crazy!? Don’t’ say it!
Unless you want even more trouble, that is,” he hissed as he pulled his cloak back down.
       Ella pulled his hand off. “All I’m saying is, don’t worry so much! The greatest fortune teller in
the western hemisphere’s got your back, remember? Before we go rushing back into the desert again,
what say we at least get some food in us first?”
For once Noal had no retort, instead picking up his menu and bowing to her good sense. They both sat
for a precious few quiet moments, perusing the specials: minced sand kiwi - twenty-four platinum
pieces, fried griffon-bird egg – thirty platinum pieces, armored lizard stew with desert radishes – forty-
five platinum pieces. Yet even as she sat there, something even more salivating was already knocking at
the back of her mind.
At first she thought she was just hearing things: a choir of cheers and laughter quickly silenced, then
ringing bells and shuffling cards. She looked up from her menu to find Noal’s eyes wide with terror, and
when she turned she instantly understood why. Behind her, a waiter was moving back and forth
through a swinging door, which led to a casino on the other side! Slot machines, game tables, high
rollers, and big spenders, she caught all of it in the blink of an eye. The door glowed like a portal, a
dingy, dark-stained portal to prosperity. She was already salivating, but it was no longer from the
thought of food.
        “Absolutely not,” Noal said, out of the blue.
        “Excuse me?”
        “Ella, tell me, do you even have any money left to gamble away?”
She frantically fingered through her pockets and pouches, predictably coming up with only two copper
pieces.
       “Just a few plats! A couple of notes! Copper pieces even!” she pleaded, going into full begging
mode. “I’ll double it in fifteen minutes!”
        “Oh really? You’ll double it will you? Just like you did at that horse race in Gram City?”
        “I was getting forty-to-one odds!”
        “Ella, your horse DIED before reaching the finish line!”
        “Hey that’s not my fault. He was a spry thirty-year-old in the prime of his career! A sure bet!”
        Noal frowned. “Ella, horses only live to be twenty-five.”
        She opened her mouth to rebuttal, but then just shrugged. “Okay, I may have slightly misread
Fate on that one.”


                                                    11
Matthew                                    The legend of the twenty                      Threads of Fate:
Chan                                        million platinum man!                      The Golden Thread



          “Then there was that little card game with the Sundance Society. How much did you lose there
again?”
          “Hey, that wasn’t my fault. They were cheating!”
          “YOU were cheating!”
          Ella recalled. “Oh yeah,” she said, with a crooked grin. “Almost got away with that one.”
        Noal just put his head in his hands. “Look, don’t go getting your threads in a knot just because I
can control my spending. For once can we please just sit here and have a nice quiet meal? I’ll even buy
you a fresh lentil salad, how’s that?”
       Ella looked at the two measly copper pieces in front of her and deadpanned. “My, you’re so
generous.”
          Noal rolled his eyes. “Look, let’s not forget the real reason we’re here.”
        Ella’s eyes instinctually darted to Noal’s right arm. “Ah yes, the cure.” Ella leaned across the
table, her expression turning deadly serious. “About that. Noal, are you sure you won’t reconsider? I
mean, this whole quest of yours to get rid of your… unique ability. Are you sure that’s for the best?
Your power is unlike anyone’s ever seen. You and I, we could be pioneers...”
         “Ella, we’ve been over this. Yes, you were able to save the day today, but what about next time,
or the time after that? You aren’t always going to be there every hour of every day, and you know full-
well that what happened out there was only a small fraction of what this thing’s truly capable of.”
        Ella’s stare weakened for just a second, as if searching inside her head for a retort. She found
none. “Okay, but then what about our agreement? I mean, if you just gave it a little more time, you
could probably learn to…”
         Noal’s stare didn’t falter. “No Ella. I’ve given it enough time. I’m tired of all of this. Do you
know how hard it is to make friends when Fate is constantly trying to smash them under boulders or
drown them in lakes? Do you know how hard it is to get a girlfriend when it starts to rain every time you
hold hands? I’d give anything just to remember what it’s like to be normal.” This time Noal’s gaze
flicked to the chatting teens in the corner, then back to his partner. “Look Ella, I’ll still honor our
business arrangement. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to sit idly by if there’s any chance I can get rid
of this thing, once and for all.”
          “But…”
          “No buts. Not this time.”
Ella shook her head disapprovingly, then stood up from the booth, grabbed her two copper coins, and
headed for the back room.
          “Hey, where do you think you’re going?”



                                                      12
Matthew                                   The legend of the twenty                         Threads of Fate:
Chan                                       million platinum man!                         The Golden Thread



         “Ah ah ah,” Ella chided, pointing to a sign on the wall. “No one under eighteen allowed on the
casino floor – I’m afraid it doesn’t specify normal or not. Anyway, it’s obvious that if I leave it up to you
I’ll never make it big, so I guess I’ll just have to do it myself.”
                                                    ***
A part of him felt bad as he watched her walk off, though not too bad since it saved him from buying an
extra salad. Still, guilt tugged at his conscience. Just what would’ve happened to that little boy if Ella
hadn’t been there today? What would’ve happened to that entire market, for that matter, if she hadn’t
stymied The Power right then and there? How far out of control would it have spiraled? If the peeling
wallpaper and stained floors of Gracey’s was any indication, Noal very much doubted that even the
ironically-named Fortune Town had much spare platinum to rebuild an entire city.
These were familiar surroundings for Noal, at least as of late. He and Ella had spent months travelling
between towns in the area known as the Fringe, a plot of land the size of a small country located smack
between the much larger nations of Luppita and Terra. For some reason or another, neither had yet laid
claim to this neutral territory. Perhaps they thought such an act of aggression toward the other might
incite another war? Or perhaps they were simply uninterested in the barren deserts, empty plains, and
murky marshes that dominated the majority of the Fringe’s landscape. Either way, the disinterest of the
greater nations kept the Fringe open, free, and, to be quite honest, savage. It was difficult to make
platinum out here, and even harder to hold onto it.
Noal’s heart sank into his stomach as his thoughts returned to that little boy in the street. No, if Ella
hadn’t been there, there was no way Fortune Town could’ve afforded to rebuild. Why couldn’t the
golden thread ever lead them to a town of jerks or lowlifes who deserved to be destroyed? Noal
immediately shook that idea from his mind; that was no way to be thinking! Ella’s protests aside, The
Power was a curse and it needed to go. Besides, what did he really owe her? In the end, she was
getting what she really wanted after all…
        “Got your eye on that one, eh? She’s got a lot of spunk, that’s for sure.”
A voice from the bar interrupted his train of thought. Noal looked over and found the bartender leaning
across it, staring intently at him, the last of his patrons putting down some loose change and stumbling
off to the doors.
        “My eye— on her? Ha. She’s more trouble that she’s worth.”
        “Trouble’s what makes-em worth it,” the bartender responded with a sly grin and a lick of his
lips.
Noal shuddered involuntarily. He stench of the man’s breathe wafted all the way to the booth – a
rotten combination of bad olives and whisky. He wore a pressed black vest and bowtie, yet somehow
was still absolutely filthy. His thick black beard looked as if it were painted onto his face, which itself
was a cracked wasteland of wrinkle valleys and oily lakes with one mountainous black wart anchoring it



                                                     13
Matthew                                    The legend of the twenty                           Threads of Fate:
Chan                                        million platinum man!                           The Golden Thread



all on his left cheek. He must have been at least thirty years her senior, but that didn’t stop him from
ogling Ella and licking his lips.
        “Trust me,” Noal said. “We’re travelling together and I’m telling you now, whatever you’re
thinking, she’s not worth it.”
         “Heh, a travel companion like that, eh? What she cost you?”
         “Oh I got a real bargain. All she cost me was my dignity.”
Noal returned his attention to the menu, hoping the bartender would get bored and go away. His
choking musk was overpowering even the smell of food the next booth over.
        “So what’s yer story kid?” he asked, still looking at Ella. “Runaway? Con artist? Refugee?” He
leaned in and leered. “Convict?”
         “W-What makes you say that?” Noal squeaked.
          “Dunno kid, you look tense. Only two kinds of people come to Fortune Town. Those lookin’ to
get rich, and those lookin’ to get away. And, well, if you’d made it rich, you wouldn’t be sittin’ in a dump
like this, would’ya?”
Noal had dealt with enough bounty hunters in his time to know that grin. Discreetly, he grabbed the
butter knife from the table. The bartender bellowed a deep laugh that shook him.
        “Haha, don’t worry kid. Whatever you’re worth, it can’t even be close to what I’m worth!” he
laughed, spitting into a glass and giving it a shine with his washcloth. “I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’m
wanted in every nation on this planet. I’m a horrible man who done horrible things. I caused so much
chaos they got a real special name for me. The Human Hurricane.”
        Noal lowered the menu and gave the bartender a sideways glance. “The Human Hurricane?
Right.” He rolled his eyes, dipped the knife in a package of butter, and started spreading it over a piece
of bread.
       “What? Ain’t you ever heard of the Human Hurricane? I’m the scourge of the seven nations!
The Great Destroyer himself! I’m the most wanted man in the world!”
         “The Human Hurricane is just a myth,” Noal said, not even looking up. “You aren’t him.”
        The bartender grunted. “A myth!? Would the nations be offerin’ a joint twenty-million
platinum reward for a myth!? They want me ‘cause of all the stuff I done: bustin’ up whole cities, puttin’
whole droves of their people in the hospital!”
         “Right, and I’m sure that was all you.”
         “You better believe it was! You really ought t’be afraid o’me. I even wiped out my entire home
town!”
Noal suddenly stopped dead, his mocking expression turning gravely serious.


                                                       14
Matthew                                  The legend of the twenty                       Threads of Fate:
Chan                                      million platinum man!                       The Golden Thread



       “I remember it like it was yesterday… sittin’ around in that boring fart of a town. How can I start
my legacy, I thought to myself one day.”
Like a wild animal, Noal suddenly leapt the distance between the booth and the bar, grabbing the
bartender’s collar and pulling him face-to-face.
        “That’s not how it happened!”
The stench at this range did everything it could to push Noal away, but he bore it. The bartender,
stunned by the sudden outburst, stammered stupidly for a few seconds before finally comporting
himself with a raised eyebrow.
        “Really? What would you know o’that?”
Oh how he’d like to show him, Noal thought, but infuriating as this man was, even he didn’t deserve
that. At least, this was what Noal thought until his eyes stumbled upon the black streaks on the
bartender’s forearm. Noal tilted his head and his whole body froze.
        “Where… where did you get that tattoo!?” Noal stammered.
        “My tattoo? What’s it to you?”
The sight of those black marks made all Noal’s reservations forfeit. For the first time in a long time, he
purposely rolled up his cloak and held up his left arm, revealing a cage of belts and buckles encased
around a jet-black tattoo of sinister tendrils surrounding a single, sleeping eye. The bartender’s
complexion turned pale; his own eyes grew wide with fear.
        “Now, like I said before, where did you get your tattoo!?” Noal demanded.
        “You little cheater!” an unfamiliar voice shouted from the casino floor.
Noal’s expression melted into utter horror. The bearded bartender just smiled.
        “Well would you listen to that? Guess you were right. Your friend really is more trouble than
she’s worth.”
                                                  ***
        “You little cheater! There’s no way anyone gets that lucky!”
Glasses seethed, enraged that Ella had taken almost every platinum piece from him, but being accused
of cheating lit a similar fire under Ella herself.
        “You’re kidding me right? You guys were pulling the oldest scam in the book! I mean seriously,
who even does the Double Under anymore!? And a vanilla Double Under to boot! You know you
could’ve at least tried to tweak the formula!”
        “How d-dare you!” protested Glasses. “I’m s-sure I have no idea what you’re talking about!”




                                                   15
Matthew                                   The legend of the twenty                         Threads of Fate:
Chan                                       million platinum man!                         The Golden Thread



       “Oh p-please, that’s the kind of stuff I pulled with my little sister on my aunts and uncles, when I
was eight.” Glasses remained silent, his eyes wandering. Ella was already aware of the hand creeping
up behind her. “Okay seriously!”
She slapped the velvet table and grabbed Baldie’s arm, which had been hovering over her chips since
the argument started. Forcibly pulling back his sleeve, she exposed a small accordion-like device with
the Ace of Swords attached to the end.
        “How hard is it for you to choke up!?” she asked, yanking the device further up Baldie’s arm
before covering it again with his sleeve. He could only stare stupidly in response.
        “Th-That doesn’t prove anything!” Glasses stammered, turning threateningly toward the dealer.
The dealer, intimidated as he was, of course shook his head no. Ella half-expected a dozen burly
bouncers to appear at any moment, but so far there was nothing. Weren’t places like this supposed to
have the good sense to employ security? She shuddered at the prospect of newbies like this regularly
getting away with these awful cons.
       “This is ridiculous. Look, you guys are really flattering yourselves if you think I had to cheat to
beat you.”
Ella flipped her nose into the air and was about to collect her earnings when a sharp pain suddenly stung
the side of her face and knocked her to the ground. Through her ringing ears she could hear Glasses’
muffled voice.
        “Why you insolent little turd, I’ll show you!”
                                                   ***
The sight of that man slapping Ella across the face was enough for Noal to begrudgingly throw himself
off the bartender and explode onto the casino floor. He shouted for the tattooed man to stay where he
was, but there was little chance of that. Ella really did have the absolute worst timing.
Noal leapt from table to table over hordes of screaming people, knocking over stacks of chips, sending
the patrons and dealers diving to the floor in a frenzy. Ella had fallen out of sight now, but her assailants
were moving in. Noal was disappointed in her; Ella could’ve easily dodged a cheap shot like that, but as
usual her wide mouth and bloated ego obstructed her view.
He pushed extra hard off the last table, sailing into the air and hanging over the heads of the two bullies
like an eagle over its prey. The assailants turned to notice him just as Noal delivered a swift kick to the
bald man’s jaw. His victim crashed to the ground, catching the edge of the table with his chin and
catapulting the chips on top into a spectacular rainbow of color.
        “What do you think you’re doing!?” the man in glasses yelled, as he backed off. “Do you have
any idea who I am!?”
        “Do you have any idea who he is!?” Ella shouted, furiously gathering up chips from the ground.


                                                     16
Matthew                                  The legend of the twenty                     Threads of Fate:
Chan                                      million platinum man!                     The Golden Thread



        “Ella, I don’t think you need to—.”
Noal never got to finish that sentence as something suddenly wrapped around his leg and flipped his
world upside down. He looked up (or was that down?) and saw the bald man again, suspending him
with a single arm, grinning through his gap-toothed mouth.
        “Ouch kid, that stung a bit.”
The great ogre waddled over to his partner holding Noal up like a fresh cut of beef. The man in glasses
bent over, looked him in the face, and chuckled.
        “Friend of yours?” he asked Ella, who’d stopped gathering chips and swallowed nervously.
“Nice try kid. But like I said, you really don’t know who you’re messin’ with.”
He turned to the mass of people on the casino floor, put his fingers in his mouth and blew an ear-
piercing whistle. Bystanders shrieked as a dozen men from every corner of the room stood up and
pulled out rifles from their briefcases and petty coats.
        “Everybody relax!” the man in the glasses continued. “Name’s Pellegri, and we ain’t here to
cause trouble. We’re just looking for someone. You may have heard of him. He goes by the name of
the Human Hurricane.” Pellegri and his goons waited but the crowd remained nervously quiet. His face
scrunched and soured. “Human Hurricane! We know you’re back there! Don’t make me tear this place
apart!”
Ella shot Noal a confused look, mouthing the words Human Hurricane to him. He answered with just a
subtle head tilt towards the kitchen. Meanwhile, a stout mustached man in a shirt and vest ran up to
Pellegri.
        “Please sir! You said if I cooperated you’d leave my bar alone!”
        “Hey!” Pellegri interrupted. “I said if you got him to cooperate. Seems that was too much to
ask. Daryn, Mal, check the kitchen. The captain would prefer him alive. Personally, I don’t much care
either way.”
        “What should I do with these two?” the bald giant bellowed.
Pellegri thought it over for a moment.
        “Hmm. Take’em out back. Teach’em the consequences of talking down to us.”
The bald man nodded, throwing Noal into the arms of one of the other lackeys and snatching up Ella
himself. They started a slow march of doom towards the back doors.
        “Well that’s just great!” Ella groaned. “I was up! UP! Now look, all my chips are everywhere! I
can’t believe you let this big ugly brute catch you by surprise,” Ella grumbled.
        “You’re one to talk!”




                                                   17
Matthew                                     The legend of the twenty                   Threads of Fate:
Chan                                         million platinum man!                   The Golden Thread



        “Look, forget whose fault this is for a second. What are we gonna do about this? Can’t you use
your ‘you-know-what’ to get us out of this mess?”
        “Are you nuts? Have you already forgotten what just happened outside!? It’s just gonna make
things worse!”
         “You ain’t getting’ away,” the bald giant growled through the gaps in his teeth. “I’m gonna
grind up your bones into salt for my steaks.”
        “Noal!” Ella muttered, her eyes widening. “I don’t think things can get much worse!”
He reservedly put a hand on the brace encompassing his entire left arm, pleading with Ella one last time
with his eyes. She only returned her patented what are you waiting for expression. There was no going
back from this.
        “Alright fine! You asked for it!”
Taking a deep breath, Noal unbuckled his cloak, exposing his left arm for everyone to see. He pulled one
of the lashes of his brace and the entire lower portion unfurled, dropping to the floor. At first nothing
happened; Pellegri’s goons just shot him raised eyebrows like he was crazy. Then suddenly, the tattoo
on his arm jumped to life. Its tendrils, free from their bonds, clawed their way around his entire
forearm, spreading like a disease until the dark pattern encompassed it fully. Noal winced as the
markings burned and onlookers gasped in horror. From the center of the pattern a single, serpentine
eye opened and stared back at them. There was no stopping it now; The Power was awake, and this
time Noal was the one who provoked it.




                                                    ***


                                                     18
Matthew                                   The legend of the twenty                         Threads of Fate:
Chan                                       million platinum man!                         The Golden Thread



The Power wasted no time once uncaged and even though she couldn’t see it yet, Ella could already feel
the change in the air. High above Baldie’s head, Fate threads snapped and reconfigured just like they
had outside. It wasn’t long before a chandelier high above them began to creak and moan. Baldie took
notice and, in his split second of distraction, Ella broke free. The giant let out a roar that chilled her to
the bone and charged at her like a wild rhino. In one move, Ella threw herself into Noal’s captor,
grabbed Noal, and rolled the two of them away just as Baldie was upon them. The giant tripped over
his ally just seconds before the chandelier broke free of its tether and shattered atop of the two of them
with a deafening crash, burying them both in a heap of broken glass.
When the commotion finally settled, the Noal and Ella emerged lightly brushing themselves off, while
Pellegri’s two lackeys groaned under the rubble.
       “How did you—?” uttered Pellegri, wide-eyed at the cracked roof and the fallen chandelier.
“That could only be… Fate manipulation? But that would mean… fortune tellers!? Here!? That’s
impossible! Y-You’re nothing but a couple of kids!”
Ella smiled widely.
        “Just a kid? I’ll have you know I am Ella Gant, the most powerful fortune teller…!”
        “Uh, Ella,” Noal interrupted. “We’ve got a situation!”
Noal had turned ghostly pale and it didn’t take Ella long to realize why. The roof, where the chandelier
had pried itself free, was continuing to splinter. The crack spread quickly before stopping near the edge
of the wall and releasing a small pebble that hit one of the gunmen on the head.
        “Ow, what the—.”
Without warning, the floor boards underneath him suddenly gave way. Screaming in panic, he opened
fire as the ground swallowed him whole. His line of fire wandered randomly up the side of the wall,
catching another gunman in the arm before cutting a path of holes across the wooden stairwell leading
upstairs. The stairs creaked and cracked before imploding, sucking another assailant down with them.
Mass panic gripped the room and the rest of Glasses’ lackeys opened fire in a symphony of chaos. The
Power was in full swing.
Now the entire balcony was starting to come down. Below it, about twenty people cowered, trapped
between the collapsing building and the hail of bullets. Ella acted quickly, gathering the threads of
numerous gambling tables nearby. She gave each table a swift kick and, with pin-point precision,
manipulated their Fate threads so that each one arranged themselves neatly next to the previous one,
forming a shield over the panicked innocents. The balcony collapsed barely a second later, shattering
atop the improvised barrier. Ella quickly slid over to them.
        “Is everyone okay!?” They nodded despite eyes wide with fear. “Come on then! Let’s go!”
                                                   ***



                                                     19
Matthew                                     The legend of the twenty                       Threads of Fate:
Chan                                         million platinum man!                       The Golden Thread



           “Come on! Let go!” Pellegri shouted.
As he wrestled for Pellegri’s weapon, Noal heard a click and turned to find one of the bounty hunters
pointing a rifle straight at him. The man smiled despicably until a shoe came out of nowhere and
knocked him out cold. Noal looked over to see Ella giving him the thumbs up, the unconscious soldier
next to her missing his boot and a stream of civilians making their way out the door behind her. Her
expression suddenly turned grave and she pointed past him. Noal turned just in time to see a dislodged
steam pipe swing towards them.
           “Look out!”
Noal pushed Pellegri to safety and then leapt out of the way himself. The pipe swung past and smashed
into a support pillar on the opposite side. Steam billowed endlessly from the opening until Ella grabbed
a Fate thread attached to its valve and spun it closed. Noal breathed a sigh of relief, until a spray of
machine gun fire sent him diving for cover behind the bar. Bottles and glasses shattered above him,
spilling their contents down into the crevice. Noal pressed up against the bar, lowered his head, and
squeezed his eyes shut. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the rattling fell silent.
           “C-Come out with your hands up!” he heard.
Noal had to wait for his body to stop quivering before he could even open his eyes again. His ears rang
furiously. He turned and peeked over the bar. There was Pellegri, breathing deeply, excited. His
unsteady hand was holding a pistol up to one of the teenage girls from before.
           “Stand up! Slowly!”
Noal put his arms up and slowly rose out of his hiding place. Broken glass crinkled under his boot. Only
now could he see just how shredded his cover had become. It was a miracle he’d escaped without a few
extra orifices.
           “Don’t move!” Pellegri yelled desperately.
Finally, with the chaos seemingly subsided, he had a moment to survey the room, or at least what was
left; it was as though a bomb had gone off. Moaning and groaning permeated the gunpowder cloud
from every corner of the room. The air was chokingly thick with the aroma of lead.
           “Look at this place. You’re not just any old fortune teller are you?” Pellegri wondered aloud.
           “Whoa, easy there. You don’t want to hurt any of these people do you?” Noal said, calmingly.
           “SHUTUP! I could care less about these filthy neutrals, especially not when I have you in my
sights!”
           Noal swallowed nervously. “Who me? I’m not anything…”
        “Oh come off it. Do you think I’m stupid? There’s no doubt about it, especially not after… well
this. That despicable omen on his arm! Only one person can cause this kind of complete and utter
chaos. The great destroyer, the twenty million platinum man, you’re the Human Hurricane!”

                                                        20
Matthew                                     The legend of the twenty                      Threads of Fate:
Chan                                         million platinum man!                      The Golden Thread



          “Him!? But he’s just a kid!” one of his subordinates piped up. “How could he have done all
this!?”
         “Tch, fortune tellers and their magic tricks, I assure you,” Pellegri explained. His hand was
stabilizing now, and he seemed to be brimming with confidence. The teen girl found no solace in this
though, as Noal could tell from her quivering lip and streaming tears that stained her mascara. “Well, no
matter. How does it feel knowing that your reign of terror is going to end here, at the hands of us
regular folk!? Go get him boys!”
Mumbles broke out throughout the bounty hunters, but not one of them took a step forward.
          “Didn’t you hear what I said?” Pellegri shouted angrily. “Go arrest him!”
       One man with a bloody face stepped forward. “It’s just that— Well I’m sure you’ve heard that
he once defeated an entire regiment of Ouranos soldiers by himself, didn’t you?”
         Another soldier piped up. “I-I heard he’s really a monster in disguise. That human form is just a
shell to lure in his victims…”
          “You know spontaneous combustion? I heard it’s all him!” another one shouted.
The remaining bounty hunters muttered in shaky voices as they slowly retreated.
         “Cowards!” Pellegri shouted angrily. “We came here looking for him! Now you’re all going to
tell me you’re suddenly scared of him!?”
          “That was before we saw any of this. You told us all those stories were exaggerations!”
        Pellegri was furious now, squeezing his pistol a little too tightly for Noal’s comfort. “Fine! I’ll
take him myself! But don’t expect any of the bounty.”
Pellegri took a few awkward steps forward and glanced at his subordinates again, all of whom had sunk
well back. After a moment of self-reflection, he pulled his hostage further in front of him – her legs
nearly gave way underneath her.
         “On second thought, get down on the ground and put those on!” he ordered from behind his
shield, tossing a pair of shackles onto the floor. “No funny stuff!”
          “Alright, but I really think you should listen to them,” Noal cautioned as he bent down.
          “Shut up and put on the cuffs!”
Noal shrugged and did as he was told, but his attention was already elsewhere. Fate was shifting again.
He could feel it, even if he couldn’t see it. He looked over at Ella, who subtly motioned up to the roof,
where the pipe she had closed earlier was starting to buckle under its pressure.
          “Hey! Eyes over here!” Pellegri yelled. “You can’t afford to be looking at her! Now do as I say!”
          “Uh, if I could just…”



                                                     21
Matthew                                      The legend of the twenty                     Threads of Fate:
Chan                                          million platinum man!                     The Golden Thread



           “Silence!”
           Noal shrugged. “Suit yourself.”
No sooner had the words rolled off his tongue when the pipe ruptured, sending the broken valve flying
across the room like a bullet. In that moment of distraction, Ella tugged on a thread causing his young
hostage to fall and slide across the floor. Noal half expected the valve to hit Pellegri square in the head,
but his opponent, surprisingly nimble, dodged out of the way.
           “Ha! Nice try!” Pellegri laughed arrogantly.
The bounty hunter took aim with his pistol, but was interrupted by a strange whirring noise that grew
louder by the second.
           “What is…”
He looked up, suddenly realizing that the ceiling fan, which was directly powered by the steam in that
pipe, was picking up speed, winding up a fallen cable caught up in its blades. The cable ran down to the
floor, right around Pellegri’s feet. He looked at Noal and swore a half-second before the cord snatched
his ankles from under him and flipped him upside down. The fan swung him in circles like a carnival ride
before tossing him through the air and careening into a pile of chairs on the far side of the room.
Silence.
Those lackeys of Pellegri still conscious enough to witness their leader’s misfortune were quick to vacate
the building in a panicked huddle. With the madness finally over, Ella collapsed onto her butt, and
exhaled a well deserved sigh of relief. Meanwhile, Noal walked over to the shivering teen and offered
her a hand.
           “Hey, you okay—?”
           “Get away!” she screamed.
She stumbled to her feet and ran for the back door, yelling nonsensically. He sighed and retrieved his
brace, snapping it back into place, the Providence Eye tattoo already having returned to its slumber.
Meanwhile, Ella bent down over Pellegri, who now lay passed out in a heap of broken wood and
gambling chips. She snatched a chip from under his nose.
           “Still breathing,” she scathed, with just a hint of disappointment.
Noal let out a sigh of relief.
           “Well, that went well,” she smiled, picking up chips from the floor.
*Click*
A cold hard cylinder pressed up against the back of Noal’s head. He put his hands up slowly.
           “So, you’re the real Human Hurricane, eh? Well it’s nice to make your acquaintance.”



                                                       22

				
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