Chapter Fifty-Seven – The Journey to Duanes Gate
Maya and Joey get the report back from Libertine, so they head in to Genarius’ headquarter. Not headquarters. Headquarter. Although I think this a typo rather than Tesch not knowing what the word means. Normally this would make a slight difference, because it would mean that Tesch’s editor was incompetent, rather than Tesch being incompetent, but this was self-published and it’s pretty obvious that the only person who edited this was Gloria Tesch herself. And by ‘edit’ I mean ‘Oh, I bet this sentence would look better in italics and with some quotation marks around it’!
Genarius thinks that he has a plan to liberate the mermaids and the unicorns. His plan is…interesting. He wants Maya and Joey to take six unicorns and a couple captains, cross the river, and sneak along until they get to a place called Duanes Gate. Then they’re going to put on their Invisibility Cloak – sorry, ‘Tarnkappe’ – and
“move in ‘Mile Steppes’ uphill to the ‘Mountain Peak Glacier Castle’.” (page 441).
Yeah. The mile-long jumps have been named ‘Mile Steppes’. Randomly. None of the characters told Joey that it was called that. He just gave it that moronic name and decided to capitalize it. I’m guessing that Tesch doesn’t know that a steppe is a plain.
Genarius continues and says that Maya and Joey should sneak inside the secret door and take the mermaids through the door into the cave where the unicorns are kept. How they will move the mermaids I’m not sure, because they’ll kind’ve be like a fish out of water. Pun intended. Then, they should load the mermaids onto the backs of the unicorns – how they will stay on, I don’t know – and then have the unicorns gallop downhill and use their horns as weapons.
“The guards will flee because they are too afraid to kill a single unicorn because of the punishment from Apollyon” (page 442).
I think Apollyon will be slightly more pissed off if the guards let ALL the unicorns escape than if they killed a few but kept the rest under control. Might just be me though.
Anyway, once they arrive back at Duanes Gate they’ll meet up with the captains and head back to the lagoon.
“It sounds pretty easy but Apollyon is always alert and his agents are very intelligent.” (page 443)
It sounds like a fucking suicide mission. You’re going to send a couple of the dumbest kids the literary world has ever seen into the lair of the big baddie? Aren’t these idiots supposed to be your saviors, the Chosen Ones, who will defeat Voldemort, bring balance to the Force, end the hundred-year winter, and cast the Ring into the fires of Mt. Doom? And you’re sending them on a mission to rescue a bunch of mermaids and unicorns…why, precisely? I mean, they aren’t even that vital to the cause. It’s not like the mermaids have some sort of vital information that will prove crucial to defeating Apollyon, or if they do, Tesch certainly hasn’t revealed it.
Despite the fact that they have unGodly Sue-like powers, Maya and Joey are essentially worthless in any kind of fight, despite Joey’s ability to wield a kitchen knife like a lightsaber. Yes, they’ll be invisible, and yes, they’ll be able to take a leap that lasts a mile. But they still are thoroughly incompetent and naïve nincompoops. The only possible way they could succeed at this is if the Bad Guys are even more incompetent than they are.
Yeah, they’re going to succeed.
Joey says that AstroJesus said their Tarnkappes will hide them from human eyes, but will it also hide them from the powers of darkness?
“No, they cannot see you either but they can sense your presence and you have to hide ‘even invisible’ behind stones or any massive obstacle because then they cannot sense you any more.” (page 443)
File this one under ‘obvious foreshadowing’. Although it doesn’t make any sense. If you can sense someone’s presence it doesn’t necessarily mean that if they step behind a rock you won’t be able to sense them any more.
Genarius calls in the captains and explains the mission. The captains think the idea is moronic and dangerous but agree to go along with it anyway because they trust the General. The captain do all the hard work, like feeding the unicorns, packing the equipment, and organizing all the supplies for themselves and everyone else who might be helping. While they take care of all the real work, Maya and Joey…reorganize their backpacks. I’m not exaggerating at all.
Eventually they take off. They don’t tell AstroJesus what they’re doing or where they’re going. Why? I don’t know. As they journey, they chat with Captain Armstrong and he talks about his family and Maya once again mentions her parents and her little brother Benji. Oh look, Tesch remembered them again!
“I tell you the truth.” Captain Armstrong replied, ‘I realize and I know what you have done in the past for our country and I admire you and everything what you have done for our land but this…this is lunacy! This is absolute lunacy!” (page 446)
[Note: to the creative types, I’d love a .gif of that]
Captain Armstrong launches into a page and a half speech about nothing in particular. Eventually he tells them that he loves them and wants them to visit his hometown, where
even the fish jump out of the water direct into your fishing nets (page 447)
Suicidal fish? Pass.
“Please….come with me and live…. instead of continuing this mission of certain disasters which can only end in a ‘suicide or kamikaze mission’ (page 448).
I’m adding kamikaze to my list of words that I am going to email to Tesch with a link to dictionary.com.
Joey speaks up then and points out that they’re not on a mercy mission. Yeah, they want to free the mermaids and unicorns, but the main goal is to teach Apollyon a lesson. That despite all of his powers, a couple of teenagers were able to waltz into his stronghold and steal his post prized possessions. And I have to hand it to Tesch. That would actually deal Apollyon a crippling psychological blow and probably provide a rallying point for the people of Maradonia. In fact, the only possible way that it could go wrong is if they’re caught as they are sneaking in and are flayed alive in front of a large audience and then their corpses are displayed for all to see. And the loss of their Chosen Ones crushes the spirit of the free people of Maradonia and Apollyon destroys the last of the resistance and establishes his new regime of Pure Evil.
Captain Goran pipes up and says that he agrees, so Maya is forced to intervene and share her wisdom at dealing with the fears of the troops:
“We thank you for your honest concern but ‘please… shut up’ and bring us to ‘Duanes Gate’.” (page 450)
Things get quiet. Go figure. Eventually they arrive at a little camp and stop for a quick rest. Maya and Joey get together and decide that they should go forward by themselves. For some reason. Even though they aren’t at Duanes Gate. No. It’s not explained.
Maya asks Armstrong – sorry, I can’t get over this guy’s name. Armstrong? Really? You have Genarius, Goran, and…Armstrong? Seriously?
Anyway. Maya asks Armstrong about where Duanes Gate is and he spends a page explaining in detail how to get there. A few minutes later Joey spots seven black specks flying in the sky. He pulls Maya behind a rock and says that this is a sign that they need to leave on their own.
“We know the way now and as usual… we depend on ourselves.” (page 453).
HAHAHAHAHAHAH. Except for all the times you have deliberately sat there and depended on supernatural powers to come and bail you out, right?
Anyway. Joey puts on his Tarnkappe and grabs Maya’s hand and they both disappear.
Maya and Joey start leaping along over entire fields. So Joey wearing the Tarnkappe gives Maya the ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound too, huh?
Tesch describes the scenery and it sounds like a wilderness paradise. In a short period of time the see deer, boar, foxes, rabbits, and several other unknown animals, along with bears and a wolf/panther hybrid. They stop to pet the bear cubs because they’re invisible, so why not? I think that even if they’re invisible, these animals would be able to…smell them? Hear them coming? A lot of animals don’t have great eyesight. They make up for it with their other senses.
We skip over to a couple of Apollyon’s ravens talking about how they sense something unusual, and we learn that one of the ravens is named Big Bertha. Wait. Sorry. ‘Big Bertha’. Yeah. Not making that up.
Anyway, they keep walking for awhile and eventually arrive at the land of Terra Mili.
Cool, maybe something’s about to happen!