Chapter Thirty-Four – The Karthagian Marines
I wish Tesch would make up her mind between Karthagian and Karthaginian.
And…we’re back in America! The Swansons are sitting on the porch. Maya and Joey’s little brother Benjamin is talking to his cousin Andy. Benji says that he’s overheard Maya and Joey talking about evil empires and ugly fairies and stuff that makes them invisible.
His mother comes over to put him to bed and exposits that she’d really like to talk to Maya and Joey but their telephone is not working.
“No wonder my dear… the telephone bill is not paid!” Mr. Swanson said cynically (page 282).
I’m not sure Tesch understands what the word ‘cynically’ means, but setting that aside, why doesn’t he just…pay it? I mean, they are both underage, it does make sense that they’d want to call them occasionally to see how they’re getting on, considering that when they left, Maya was in the hospital.
Tesch rambles about the eldritch realm and the world between worlds and how it’s not predictable. Which to some extent is true. I could never have predicted half the stuff Tesch has come up with because it’s batshit insane.
We rejoin Joey. An armada of 50-60 ships is currently heading for Tyronia, and so he and twenty dragon riders are flying to investigate. They find the ships but the Rawkens are accompanying them so they decide to take shelter. Joey says he’ll go to Dragon Island to get the Karthagian Marines to take off and intercept Geek’s pirate ships before they can land on Tyronia.
Joey lands on the stern of the command ship and sees Maya dueling a few Marines. Joey greets her with a hug and a kiss [!] on the forehead and they make a few cracks about Maya keeping up with her swordswomanship.
They meet up with Prince Rasmos and the admirals and Joey explains everything and also about the Rawkens. The admirals discuss their plans and finally give orders to raise anchor and take off. Joey notices that they don’t seem overly concerned, which would make sense, because Karthagian ships outnumber the pirate ships four to one. Joey tries to convince Rasmos that the Rawkens are a pretty big threat, but Rasmos says their Marines are heavily armored and well protected from flying pit bulls. Then Maya pops up to brag about how Maradonia has the greatest spy network in the entire world.
“Why am I not surprised?” Prince Rasmos answered angrily. “Messengers of the deity constantly provide you with information! I don’t know why but it is not a secret that you and your brother have the ability to disappear directly in front of our eyes. I was thinking several times about both of you and I understand why Apollyon hates you.” (page 286-287)
You and me both, Rasmos.
Maya, naturally, deflects this by completely changing the subject:
“Rasmos, please…the people think that we are giants but look at us! Are we giants?” (page 287)
Nobody thinks they are giants. Nobody has ever called them giants.
Rasmos, of course, has to verbally cunnilingue Maya and talks about how she’s a genius leader, a slick swordfighter, and practically unbeatable. It’s like she’s a Mary Sue!
Rasmos demands to know why Joey doesn’t just use Defender to mow the Rawkens down, so Maya trots out the bullshit excuse that if they do, the Empire gets to bust out their own supernatural weapons to fuck Tyronia up. Rasmos then bitch-slaps Maya, Joey, and Gloria Tesch herself by pointing that Joey already used the fucking Key against the Empire. Which means the Empire already has the right to bust out the Cold Light Waves and nuke the shit out of them.
And how does Gloria wiggle out of this one?
Well, Joey explains that it’s different. See, last time, they attempted to fight the Rawkens with normal means and failed, so they used supernatural means because they had no choice. But here…they have a choice? So I guess the supreme command of King Roach, GOD HIMSELF, to not use supernatural weapons, can be completely ignored if you kind’ve really need to use them.
….that makes sense.
Prince Rasmos gives in and they take off. Maya’s hair flutters in the breeze. Rasmos asks her to put on a helmet as protection against the Rawkens, but Maya declines, because Heroes never wear helmets during battle scenes, so they’re easily identifiable to movie audiences. And they’re Badass.
It turns out that all the Karthago ships have long metal prongs in front of their ships that are beneath the surface of the water and they ram their ships into their enemies, which tears a hole in the hull and (hopefully) sinks the ship. Some quick Googling tells me that Greeks and Romans used this method, so, okay.
Pretty soon they intercept the pirates, who freak out. The Karthagians start ramming into the pirates and slaughtering them without mercy, because they’ve decided to take no prisoners.
Meanwhile, Big Bertha and her sisters spot what’s going on. Bertha sends her sisters to fetch the Rawken army which has landed on a nearby mountain side, and she flies in to find Plouton and Geek’s ship.
We cut over to Geek. He is not terribly pleased, because he suddenly realized why Plouton and his fairies didn’t come with them. Plouton knew Karthago was going to intercept the pirates and destroy them. Why Plouton didn’t come out with a plan to try and outmaneuver Karthago and save 50 ships and 20,000 pirates is beyond me, but okay.
Geek frets about this:
“Plouton has robbed me! I thought he would make me King of Tyronia and now I am nothing but another pirate without ships, people, money, a base and a future.” (page 294)
And that, kids, is why you don’t make deals with the Powers of Darkness who are known as ‘the father of all lies’.
Geek manages to save himself and another ship and they take off, leaving the rest of their armada to be turned into fish food.
Bertha heads back to see the Rawken army attack. However, the Marines are pretty well armed with bows and arrows and start turning the Rawkens into pincushions, so Bertha calls off the attack and they take off, leaving Maya, Joey, Rasmos, and the Marines to watch as the sharks start showing up to chow down on pirate booty. It’s a total victory and Maya and Joey didn’t even need to raise a finger. Hooray!
Chapter Thirty-Five – Count Argo Navis
A rider shows up at Joey’s palace with a message for Joey personally. The guards stop him and say Joey’s sleeping, so if he wants to personally deliver it, he’ll need to wait until tomorrow. Cut forward to the next morning. So, that scene was completely pointless.
The rider, who is Count Argo Navis, rolls in to meet Joey and explains he has a letter from a Princess Krimhilda. Joey grabs it and reads it. In it, after professing her love, Krimmy explains what’s happened and exactly where she’s being taken, because apparently her captors have told her where they’re taking her. And then she signs her note with a little drawn heart after her name, which is just adorable.
Joey tears up and asks Navis what happened. Navis explains, in great detail. Finally Joey sends him off to get some food and rest and busies himself with signing a purchase order for some new warships.
Meanwhile, the Rawken commander known as Tough Robby shows up with a message that he drops. The guards bring it in and give it to Joey:
We have Princess Krimhilda in our possession. If you don’t deliver our property, which you have stolen from us… within the next seven twilights, we will kill her immediately, so not even her ashes will be found.
Plouton. (page 300)
There isn’t a heart at the end.
Joey starts shaking and he slumps down in shock. Everyone leaves. Maya sends for a doctor, who quickly prescribes Joey a cardio tonic. You know, I’m not sure that’s a real drink. Anyway, Joey drinks it, recovers, and he and Maya head down to the pool to talk things over.
Maya points out that if Joey gives the Key back, the first thing Apollyon will do is kill Joey and Krimmy. And then:
“Cover each and every free citizen in the seven kingdoms with blankets of dark power!” (page 303)
Kinda reminds me of a quote from Lord of the Rings:
“Sauron needs only this ring to cover all the lands with a second darkness!”
Probably just a coincidence though. A Ring you can’t use because it will fuck you over. A Key you can’t use because it’ll fuck you over. Totally different.
Joey isn’t listening to sense, however, he’s tweaking out and mumbling to himself about needing to rescue Krimmy. Maya gets pissed off, so she shoves Joey into the pool.
Karma’s a bitch, isn’t it, Joey?
Maya, however, does Joey one better. She picks up a pole that’s sitting around by the pool, waits until Joey surfaces, coughing and spitting up water, and tries to climb out of the pool.
Then she swung the pole, that was normally used as a skimmer and hit the pole on Joey’s head yelling, “Wake up Joey! You are acting like an elementary student who just lost his toy!” (page 304)
Okay. First, I really don’t feel bad for Joey. He’s a little shit. But still, he did just find out that his mortal enemy has his girlfriend and they’re going to kill her. I can support knocking him into the drink, best served cold and all that, plus it’ll help shock some sense into him, but bashing him over the head when he’s trying to climb out?
Plus, being worried about your girlfriend being murdered is NOT the same thing as losing a toy.
Joey’s bodyguards run up, grab the pole away, and help Joey out. He’s not terribly pleased and screams at Maya to not tell him what to do. Maya sarcastically asks exactly what he will do, so Joey says he’s going to suit up, grab the Key, and head off to where Krimmy is being held and torch the entire place. I assume he’s planning on rescuing Krimmy first, but maybe not. Maya gets passive aggressive, and then asks him if he’s planning on scraping up the ashes of Krimmy and putting them in a bowl in his room so he can gaze at them and apologize for loving her so much that he burned her alive. So maybe Joey isn’t planning on rescuing her?
I’m honestly kinda torn here. On the one hand, Maya just handed Joey his ass on a plate with all the trimmings, but on the other hand, she’s being a condescending, passive-aggressive bitch about it. I’m going to hedge my bets and say that I still hate them both.
Joey storms out and Maya picks up her drink.
Maya took another sip from her strawberry juice, enjoying the exploding taste (page 305).
Right. I don’t have anything to add to that.
After awhile Joey gets back, slightly calmed down. He’s still a bit peeved but he tells Maya that she’s right and thanks her for knocking him into the pool and then bashing him over the head with a stick because it brought him back to reality. Anyway, he wants to chat with Count Argo Navis because he believes they might be able to sneak into the place where Krimmy is being held and rescue her. But he wants Maya’s opinion because she’s more objective. Maya explains that she can’t really be objective because she’s caught between two men: Henry and Rasmos. The two guys that Maya is both stringing along. It makes her a slutty cocktease [I don’t think that having multiple partners is necessarily slutty, but stringing a couple guys along while lying to both of them is pretty slutty] but I don’t see how it’s relevant in this instance.
Maya finishes off the strawberry juice. I don’t know if it explodes in her mouth, but I presume so, because it makes her cough. Joey decides to go talk to the Count, and Maya will talk to Dominatio and Libertine, and they’ll come up with a plan of action.