- SNEAK PREVIEW -
THE ART OF GETTING YOURS
An ancient prophecy. A divine screw-up. A race against time to impregnate a damsel. A War Manual chuck-full of unintended romance tips. Saving the world has never been so awkward.
The Saga Continues ... Sequel to 'A Matter of Honor'.
Chapter I – The Blunder
In the beginning there was nothing, and [then] it exploded.
In the beginning the Jade Emperor created the heavens and the earth.
and he moved upon the face of the waters,
and he created the Gods and the Demons, and the light and the darkness,
and all creatures that breathe out of clay,
and he saw that it was good,
and he wanted ... EVERYTHING.
Twenty-one years ago, somewhere in the Universe ...
Fortuna, née Fortunata the Fair, Goddess of Destiny and Chance, famous for living and loving life to the fullest, was bored. The problem was Eternity. Perpetuity. Infinity. The certainty of Time without End, which can get heavy after a while, particularly when it comes with all those memories. Gods are not like mortals, they do not have the solace of forgetfulness. Being a Goddess meant that Fortuna (Fate to her friends, and Doom to her enemies) was cursed with all the actions from her past and all the events from her future. No escape, no relief, no succor.
"No rest for the wicked" she shrugged, and blew some smoke in the air. She needed a distraction, some entertainment. Fate smiled suddenly. An idea bobbed in her head. "Playing the odds," she mumbled, "nothing like playing the odds."
The Goddess of Providence put out her cigarette, and moved her fingers in dullness, and shuffled the little specks that looked like stars to the mortals, but that were the secret kanjis of their destinies. The speck she moved was supposed to be the destiny of a sweet maiden from the hidden mountains in the northern part of the Earth Kingdom. The destiny of a shepherdess who was not destined to greatness but who was, nonetheless, fated to save the world in anonymity. Fate removed the speck but left the other gifts the maiden was supposed to have: the sweet character, her kindness, the happy life albeit humble, the certainty of finding and keeping her true love. Fate took out just the tiny bit that would have made her different.
"I'm doing you a favor," she told the little soul of the baby about to be born that was dancing among the stars, "you don't want this responsibility on you." Fate then turned her blind eyes upon the souls that were spiraling towards earth on their way to fill those babies about to be born, waiting for the first cry of life to crash into the tiny bodies. "There!" Fate said smiling, "You feel like the right one!" and she threw the speck upon a spiraling laughing soul, but before she heard the usual bells that signaled a new destiny upon an essence, she heard "THUD!"
Fortuna stopped on her tracks; she moved her fingers again, trying to figure out what happened. She then felt it: another baby soul, a ravenous one, had gotten hold of the speck.
"Crap!" the Goddess of Destiny swore, "come back here you little thief!"
She dove among the baby souls, trying to get hold of the spirit that was running away with the destiny. The soul was fast, dashing towards earth in a flash, laughing too, but Fate was an old deity and she knew just by instinct that the crystalline sound was a wicked laugh.
"By myself, what did I do!" she mumbled, frantically racing following the blue trail left by the baby and extending her blind fingers in the darkness trying to catch the star that was the most perilous destiny to lose of all of those in her books. She redoubled her speed when she sensed the spiraling soul entering into the tunnel towards earth, she extended her hand and she could feel it, the borders of the soul grazing her fingers, "Gotcha!" she said closing her grasp at the same time that light and noise crashed into her with a "Bang!" throwing her backwards, and there she was a nanosecond later, sitting in the floor of a birthing room hearing a baby cry.
Fate stood up, rubbing her forehead. The birthing room was full of women and courtiers, and she heard the voice of an old mortal woman, with white hair piled up in a topknot.
"The baby is healthy, Lady Ursa."
"Darn," Fate mumbled, upon looking at the blaring naked baby, "At least this time is a girl."
The ladies in waiting rushed to bundle the baby in deep crimson blankets. The tired mother extended her arms to hold the tiny baby that kept screaming like a tortured soul, but when her fingers grazed the bundle, a jolt of electricity sparked, tiny blue flames almost singing the hand of the mother.
Fate heard the squeals of excitement.
"A prodigy!" the woman who had handed the baby to the mother said.
"Call the Prince!" Another voice, identical to that of the woman that had just spoken, ordered, "this is a good omen! Call the astrologers!"
The room burst into activity and Fortunata the Fair stepped back into the shadows cursing herself from the heavens all the way to hell.
"Crap, crap, crap!!" she kept saying before retreating back to space.
Present Day, Somewhere in the Pantheon of the Gods
Long Dragon, his elegant fingers tapping rhythmically the scroll in his hands, surveyed the room full of assorted deities. He knew her well; she was an expert at avoiding meetings that will put any kind of new responsibility on her shoulders.
"Tlatli," Long Dragon turned to a gorgeous Goddess to his left, who was dressed with strands of strategically placed beads and nothing else. "Where's Fate?" ...
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