Chapter Thirteen – A Touch of Humility
We then go back to Abercrombie and Bitch, who are living in a sumptuous dollhouse that the king had built for them. Except it’s a PRISON. Every day lots of people come and stare at them.
The prince grabs Bitch, squeezing too hard. Abercrombie leaps to her rescue, biting the prince’s hand. He lets Bitch go and knocks Abercrombie down, but the woman who takes care of them intervenes.
They eat dinner. Bitch talks about how she used to have a horrible temper and hit people, rather like the prince just hit him. Abercrombie kisses her hand and tells her that she’s not that kind of girl anymore. This pleases Bitch. Awww.
The woman who watches them falls asleep. Abercrombie tells Bitch stories of his childhood. Suddenly they hear a noise. It’s the rest of the Sociopaths! Josh and Jake open the door, and there’s a joyous reunion.
I know what you’re thinking. How, exactly, did the Sociopaths figure out how to get into the palace, get inside, make their way from room to room, find out where Abercrombie and Bitch were being kept, climb up to their cage, release them, and get all the way back outside the palace again without being caught? Well…
[Bitch] knew that getting out of the palace was fairly dangerous, and not until they were back into the woods could Josh tell the full story of how they managed to find the apartment and finally set them free.
“Well,” Josh said as he ended his story (page 133).
Yup. That’s it. It all takes place offscreen.
The struggles that the [Sociopaths], [Bitch], and [Abercrombie] endured getting back to the sea would take long to relate. They traveled mostly by night, keeping a close watch out for marauding owls. They did not manage to catch a ride on a wagon again, so it was a long journey before they finally stood on the shore and looked out over the ocean (page 135).
You know what I love? I love it when authors spend pages describing trivial things like taking baths or riding a chicken around, and summarize things that would actually be interest to read about, albeit slightly more difficult to write. That’s just awesome.
Dave points out that they don’t know how to build a ship. Abercrombie doesn’t care. They’re going to build something, and get the hell – heck – out of there. Wow. You mean…they could have just done this to begin with and skipped everything to do with the giants, and the only reason they didn’t do this was because we wouldn’t have an extremely pathetic and boring story?
They make a home in a cave, and raid a nearby farmhouse for some sharp metallic objects. There’s a few smatterings of romance between Abercrombie and Bitch, and then Token finds a giant-sized rowboat. It’s thirty-five feet long and twelve wide. Abercrombie thinks for a bit, and decides that they’ll fit the boat out and use it for their ship. Everyone cheers. Josh asks Sarah what she thinks.
“I think Captain [Abercrombie] will get us all home. He’s so big and strong and handsome” (page 139).
Right. I don’t have anything to add to that.
We then cut forward to the boat being finished. They put up a mast and some dagger boards and a crow’s nest and stole some material to make a sail and packed plenty of provisions. They climb aboard and the Dolphin II takes off down the creek to the ocean. Hooray! They’re on their way home!
Chapter Fifteen – Long Voyage
We jump forward two weeks. It’s very hot. They can see nothing but water in every direction. They’re rationing water.
Bitch comes to talk to Abercrombie. He talks to her about stars, and points out one that’s called Sirius. Now, they’re in an entirely new world here. Nothing has been passed on. People don’t speak the same language and no one has any idea of what an engine, television, or hot chocolate are. And yet, for some reason, they happen to have exactly the same name for a particular star. Interesting.
Everyone feels sick and dehydrated. Reb stands on the prow, visions of Camelot filling his brain. We get a nice, heartwarming quote:
Even more than for Texas, he longed for the world of Camelot (page 147).
Man, it sure would be nice to be home again…get to see my dog, my horse, my parents, relatives, all my friends…but screw them, I’d rather be in Camelot anyway!
A moment later, he spots land. Everyone cheers. Bitch looks at Abercrombie, tears fill her eyes, and she whispers about how he saved them. Well…technically he did, I suppose, but that’s only because he’s the only sailor among them. And since it was Abercrombie’s fault they crashed in the first place, I’m not going to be handing out any medals.
Chapter Sixteen – A Husband For Dawn
They go ashore and drink lots of water. Yay water!
To everyone’s amazement, a fisherman informed [Abercrombie] that they were on an island next to the one where [Bitch’s] future husband was king (page 149).
They stock up on water and take off. Josh wonders why Bitch doesn’t seem happy about going to become queen. Sarah is disgusted that he’s blind as a bat. I have to agree with her.
Later, Abbey talks to Abercrombie and asks him questions about Bitch. The line of questioning goes nowhere and accomplishes nothing and is really only there to make Abercrombie uncomfortable when everything about this is entirely Bitch’s decision and there’s nothing he can do to change that.
They land on the island. The natives lead them up to the king. They’re dressed in loincloths and the houses are mud huts and everyone appears to be a savage. And then they meet King Fazor. He’s sixty years old, a rack of bones, has lost most of his teeth, and his lips are stained with tobacco juice. He pinches Bitch’s arm and laughs and tells her that she’s going to work hard to make up for the gold he gave her father. He introduces them to his seventeen wives, and tells Bitch that she gets to wait on the number one wife.
Everyone settles down for the bridal feast, Bitch in muted horror and the Sociopaths slightly astonished. They eat roasted monkey and the natives all drink themselves into a stupor with extremely potent wine. Finally the king gets up and says it’s time to marry his new wife. Bitch tells him to piss off, turns to Abercrombie, and asks him to take her home. Abercrombie agrees. And fortunately, King Fazor and all his men are too drunk to do anything about it. Wow. That was anticlimactic.
They spend that night at sea. Abercrombie leaves for awhile, and comes back sailing an actual ship. The Sociopaths are astonished and ask him where he got the money to buy it. Abercrombie replies that he used his payment from King Fazor, since he fulfilled his side of the bargain, even though Bitch decided not to stay. Which strikes me as slightly dishonest, but who really cares. And the new ship is to be named Bitch, after Bitch. Okay, it’ll be named Dawn.
Reb and Token relax. See, Abercrombie has hired an actual crew so now the Sociopaths get to kick back and be ballast. They talk to Dave about how they’ll never be able to go back to Oldworld. Abercrombie pops in and tells them that they’re having a formal dinner tonight and he wants them to look their best.
They eat dinner. It’s delicious. Afterwards, Abercrombie gets up and starts to lie:
“I’ve sailed with many crews,” he began, “but none as fine as this one…” (page 159).
Ahehehehheheheh. Sure. Anyway. He proposes a toast to Goel for taking care of them, and then a toast to the bride. Josh is confused, because he’s stupid. And then Bitch gets up and proposes a toast to her husband-to-be, Captain Abercrombie. Well, who would have guessed? It seems that Abercrombie and Bitch will be joined together for all eternity.
Later, Josh and Sarah stand on deck. She looks hot. Josh feels awkward. Finally he kisses her and then feels guilty. Sarah tells him that he did a pretty lousy job, and if he’s going to kiss a girl, he should do it properly. In what’s probably the only decent written bit of dialogue in the book, Josh points out that he hasn’t had much practice, and if he tries it again, he’ll probably get the hang of it. So they make out for a bit. It’s very romantic. And then…
His voice came out slightly husky. “Well, Sarah,” he said, “I guess we’re growing up” (page 160).
If you know what I mean.