Chapter Thirty-Nine – Tyronia
Maya and Joey fly along on the backs of the dragons. It reminds them of flying on Sagitta’s back. I’m reminded, once again, of how much I dislike it when a narrator tells us that they remember something. Maya and Joey are not the same person and they don’t share brainwaves.
Apparently, it’s an unusual flight for everyone, because it’s windy and very cold. I’m not sure how that is unusual for Maya, Joey, because they’ve never ridden on dragons before.
As they get closer to Tyronia, they are surrounded by hundreds of thousands [!!] of seagulls, because seagulls flock around enormous, fire-breathing, meat-eating dragons that are just looking for a tasty feathered morsel. Later, hundreds of dragons show up and fly with them. Eventually they reach Tyronia and head towards a mountain, where there’s a huge plateau and a couple enormous castles. There are dragons everyone. I’m really wondering what all these dragons eat. I imagine their primary diet is meat, and given Tesch’s description, there must be well over a thousand dragons just in this general area.
I’m guessing Tesch never bothered to consider this.
Many people were promenading, floating over the white marble plateau (page 367).
Uh. Promenading? Okay, I’ll accept that word, since technically it’s being used correctly, even though it’s rather out of place with this book’s subject matter and intended audience. But… floating? Maybe Tesch will explain further…nope, she won’t.
Everyone is watching them, a gong sounds, and people walk out welcoming King Joey of Tyronia to Abilantis, which I assume is the name of the city. Uh… King Joey?
Danny thinks everyone is confused, but Goran is pensive. Maya, however, is more interested in what everything looks like. It reminds her of a deserted plateau city in the mountains of Peru, South America, which means Tesch was looking at a picture of Machu Picchu and thought “Fuck it, I’ll throw it in!”
The creativity of Gloria Tesch.
Suddenly a group of men carry out a beautiful gondola and ask King Joey and Princess Maya to step inside because the King is waiting for them. Uh…Tesch, that’s a litter. Not a gondola.
Joey asks Maya to pinch him, because he thinks he’s dreaming, so Maya socks him.
They get inside and are carried up towards the throne, with Goran, Edmund, Henry, and Danny following behind them. The throne hall is pretty pimped out with statues and an enormous purple canapé, which makes me think of toast and caviar, but I think Tesch is referring to a sofa or something.
King Pergamon gets up and everyone bows, including Maya and Joey. Joey starts whispering about how totally AWESOME this all is, displaying he still doesn’t have any manners whatsoever, but Maya shuts him up. Pergamon is old and coughs and starts talking about how young and beautiful Maya and Joey are. He then looks around at all the old, decrepit people in the room and says that all of them used to be young and beautiful, but now they’re just beautiful. Okay, credit where it’s due, that’s actually a pretty funny line.
Pergamon gets down to business. Tyronia’s power is diminishing, his sons are dead and he has no heir. And so, after careful consideration, he has decided that the only person in all of Tyronia or Maradonia or the free world who can save his country and who is fit to be his heir and King after him is…Joey. He does mention that Joey does have the only weapon that can stop Apollyon, so I guess that’s almost a reason, but let’s be honest here. Joey is already fighting Apollyon. Elect your own king, preferably one who isn’t a fucking idiot, and make nice to Joey and get him to fight Apollyon for you. You accomplish the exact same thing without dooming your kingdom to be ruled by an adolescent pyromaniac.
Pergamon asks Joey to take a day and think it over before giving him an answer. And then he leaves. Maya wishes that Libertine was there, because every time they really need her help or advice, they’re alone. Yeah. Except for the entirety of the first book, and several crucial moments in this book.
Chapter Forty – The Four Diamond Crystals
I’m just happy that Tesch is spelling it Forty, instead of Fourty.
Joey is thinking about the offer. He thinks about that how the King of Tyronia will have a lot of obligations and responsibilities, and how he might not be the right person for the job, which is probably the smartest thing ever to kick around that skull of his.
Maya and Joey attend a banquet with the governors who tell them a bunch of history. Joey asks about the dragons and one of the elders talks about Emoogie, the ancient high priest, and their tabernacle that houses four crystals. Apparently, the crystals used to be brilliantly white but they’re growing dim and only one of them still shines at all, and it’s turning grey. Great. That’s all this story needed, some Silmarils. Anyway, when the last crystal goes out, apparently the dragons will go extinct or something. According to legend, that will happen right after the Blood Red Moon appears.
Maya pops up and mentions the old woman she met on the island who gave her snake antivenin, also randomly prophesied that the Blood Red Moon was going to appear soon. Holy shit! I don’t care!
Later that night Joey walks around thinking. Eventually he finds his way inside the tabernacle and finds the crystals, which spontaneously start flickering. Joey thinks and draws the conclusion that it’s because the Key is in his backpack, and the Key is supernaturally powerful, which apparently could restart the crystals. Joey decides that he’ll try it tomorrow and channel the sunshine into the crystals using the Key.
Chapter Forty-One – The Seed of the Whisperer
Joey is heading back in when he overhears people talking so he immediately starts trying to eavesdrop. Turns out it’s Henry confessing his feelings to Maya! Apparently he likes her a lot. Maya then confesses that she likes him as well, but she can’t return his feelings, because, you know, she’s fifteen. And she’s from a different world. And they have a job to do.
The conversation then switches to Joey’s proffered kingship. Henry says he thinks Joey should take the job because he’ll be able to build a strong alliance between Tyronia and Maradonia. The conversation turns to the kingdom of Gorgonia, which doesn’t have any male heirs, but it does have two princess – Brunhilda, who is a giant, and can throw a warrior in full armor thirty feet through the air, and Krimhilda, who is super mega awesome foxy hot.
After four pretty bland and uninteresting pages of Gorgonian history, the conversation wraps up. Joey heads back to bed but he can’t get the image of Krimhilda with her long golden hair out of his head.
Little did he know that the contact with Princess Krimhilda would one day illuminate and change his whole life! (page 393).
Goddamnit, Tesch. DON’T DO THAT. Stop spoiling your own story!
Chapter Forty-Two – The Smile of King Pergamon
Joey wakes up late with a headache. He eats breakfast alone, because everyone else is done, and heads outside where he finds a pool. It’s all sunny, so he whips out the Key and it starts glowing. Maya tells him to jump in because the water’s so warm – after all, it’s not like they’re on top of a mountain or anything. Joey excuses himself because he has something to do, and Maya sees a shimmer of ultra violet. Whatever that means. Anyway, she thinks:
‘Joey loaded and ignited Defender. We have to build a powerful support network around him. I don’t know what he has in mind and what he is doing but I trust that he will do well and support this wonderful country with the power of his actions.’ (page 396)
Right. She trusts him. Because the last time Joey wandered off to do something with the Key he ended up starting a fucking forest fire.
Joey rolls into the temple. Some dragons asks them to leave, but Joey pulls rank and then asks them to move aside so he can fire up the crystals. He pulls out the Key and the crystals start flickering but that’s it. He counts his way around the crystals and figures hey, seven is a magic number, there were seven ‘bridges’, maybe it’ll take seven times. So he finishes the seventh trip around, then touches the crystals seven times, and there’s an explosion which takes off the entire roof. Ah, that Joey. Setting forest fires, destroying religious tabernacles…what can’t he do?
Of course, the crystals start glowing and everyone flips their shit and starts raving about the miracle that just happened and what a magician Joey is. Because he has a magical artifact that he didn’t create, doesn’t understand, and can’t control.
Joey sneaks off before most of the crowd shows up, changes clothes, and jumps in the pool with Maya. Maya asks him about the explosion and wants to know if Joey had anything to do with it, which is a pretty reasonable guess when we’re talking about Joey. Joey, however, busts out this nugget of wisdom:
“Maya, every person has two sets of ears. One set is for the outer man and the other set is for the inner man. Did you hear the sound with the ears of the outer man or with the ears of the inner man?” (page 400)
Instead of bitch-slapping Joey, or (preferably) holding him underwater until he decided to talk, Maya just sits around and tries to figure out what Joey has been smoking. Before she can, a messenger shows up to report that King Pergamon is very weak. They change and head to the throne room. The King asks Joey about the Key.
Joey was about to ask how he knew about Defender but then he stopped himself as he remembered that almost everyone knew that fact (page 402).
That’s not the way real life works, Tesch. People don’t stop themselves from asking inane questions because they remember things that are obvious and they know. Here’s an example:
Felicia was about to ask how he knew Avatar was a combination of Pocahontas and Dances With Wolves, but then she stopped herself as she remembered that almost everyone knew that fact.
Or how about this one?
Brian was about to ask how he knew that the world was round but then he stopped himself as he remembered that almost everyone knew that fact.
As a random aside, we have just hit the halfway point for this book, and I don’t know what the plot is.
Pergamon launches into a story about how Apollyon used the Key to fight them and destroyed their armies and murdered his sons. However, when it seemed that all hope was lost, the King of Light showed up and reassured Pergamon that things would turn out okay and he was going to protect Tyronia because Apollyon had used the Key against Tyronia without permission. Also, one day the Key would come to Tyronia and be used to protect its people.
Okay. I realize that it’s close to pointless to try and make sense of the decisions of the gods, but this is one that really, really doesn’t make any fucking sense. As you might not recall, there’s a rule that people aren’t allowed to use supernatural powers against each other, because then the King of Light will show up and smack them down. Except that both sides use supernatural powers against each other ALL THE TIME. Remember the time when the fairies started sending up sheets of fire and burned the soldiers who weren’t smart enough to dunk themselves in the pool of magic blood? Oh yeah, and all the times that Joey used the key to murder birds, start forest fires, and fry spaceships?
Also…without permission? The implication here is that if Apollyon had asked the King of Light for permission to use his magical flamethrower to barbecue the Forces of Good, the King of Light might have said yes, which has all sorts of unfortunate implications.
Also…the rules say you use supernatural magic, the King of Light steps in. And occasionally, that rule is almost sorta followed. Sagitta and her friend showed up to bail Maya and Joey out a couple times and I think the implication was supposed to be that it was because the Club of Evil broke the rules. So why didn’t the King of Light step in on this occasion? Instead, he just let Apollyon slaughter Tyronia’s forces and then promised that someday the tables would be turned?
Anyway. Joey accepts the offer to become the next king of Tyronia, because of course he does.
Chapter Forty-Three – King of Tyronia
Pergamon calls people in and announces that Joey has accepted the offer. There’s a short ceremony, Joey recites some words and pledges to protect everyone, and that’s that. Pergamon kisses him, gives Joey his crown and his scepter…uh, wait, is Pergamon abdicating the throne? I thought he was going to remain king until he popped off and THEN Joey was going to take over. Apparently not.
The dragons are present, and Emoogie says that the dragon community is giving Joey the Xtra Speshul L337 crown which means he’s even more awesome. Joey basks and everyone is pleased as punch and throws themselves to the ground, flat on their bellies. However, Maya and her group only kneel down. Pergamon pops up and asks them to respect their traditions for honoring Joey. Now, I know I’ve said a great deal about these characters being appropriate and honoring and respecting people, but at the same time, what I would really, really like in this scene is for Maya to say “Fuck no, I’m not groveling in front of my younger brother.”
She doesn’t. Instead, she, Danny, Henry, and Goran all lower themselves to their bellies and recite with everyone:
“Blessings, Glory and Honor belong to the King!” (page 410)
I’m going to be sick.
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