Doctor Fate and the Scarab were now alone in the desert, and the Scarab found himself wondering why the good Doctor’s form was suddenly feminine, then started to became masculine, then shifted back again.
“Uh, hello. I’m the Scarab, but my real name is Jared — Jared Stevens.”
“I can see that you are the one to thank. Your pure heart and mystic sense saved us.” Fate’s form rippled, then split into a blond-haired man and a lovely redhead.
“I’m Kent Nelson, and this is my wife, Inza.”
“This is unusual for me, too!” laughed Inza. “Kent’s used to being merged. Funny, I never thought I’d see humor in that.” She smiled at both men.
The Scarab and the Nelsons learned a lot about each other for a while. They invited him to step into Fate’s Tower. Apparently, it would take them to Carter Hall in a hurry, and he could learn a bit more about the world’s magic situation. It felt right, somehow, like he’d been supposed to stumble into the mess when he had.
Kent told Inza something about visiting a couple named Occult and Psychic, and that they would be able to relate as they walked toward the tower. An ankh-shaped portal appeared. Out of the corner of Jared’s eye he saw a flicker of movement. He glanced back and gaped. A girl with bleach-white skin all in black and a fellow in a robe were watching him. The robed one faded away, and the girl smiled and gave him a thumb’s-up, then faded, too. He felt something big pass in their wake. It felt endless.
“Better not pursue that,” he muttered. “This day’s been complicated enough.”
Barter was in torment. He had failed to keep a deal, and he had to be punished by those who had named him Barter all that time ago. When they had their price, Barter would return to his shop in agony and now with no payment from the Lords of Order to look forward to. Barter was mad. He thought of Fate, thought of the blasted Scarab; they both would feel his wrath ’til after the stars die. This was one deal Barter would keep.