Chapter Seventy-One – New in Command
We’re now back with King Apollyon, who’s pacing around, worried because Abbadon is gone. Apparently, he can hear Abbadon screaming, but when he concentrates hard all he can see is water and stones.
Prince Plouton rushed to his father’s side and tried to calm King Apollyon down.
“Father please… do not worry!”
“How can I not worry? This is madness!” (page 691)
Or, possibly, could it be Sparta?
Apollyon screams and tears at his hair and finally orders Plouton to go find Abaddon. Plouton says that he already did, and he has news. This sudden abrupt shift doesn’t surprise anyone. Plouton pulls out an emblem of the Empire of Evil, which features a trident.
And apparently Plouton has black press-on nails.
Plouton explains that he and Abbadon were trying to recover the Key to the Underworld, so they went and got on a boat and took off for the Rock of Mukane. Apparently this rock is pretty close to Tyronia, so they were seeing if there was a way they could slip over to Tyronia and whack Joey and recover the Key. Turns out that Tyronia never watches the coastline, because the Powers of Evil hate the ocean and are afraid of voyages and never travel by sea.
Odd that this has never come up before in the previous 1500 pages of text. You’d think that something this important might possibly be something the good guys would exploit, but I guess not.
Blah blah, Plouton explains that dragons showed up, there was a huge flash of light, and when he went to where Abbadon had been there was nothing but the chain and a big black spot, which means that obviously the culprit is….
“The one who has murdered my brother Abbadon is nobody else but… King Joey of Tyronia!”
“King Joey of Tyronia!?”
“Yes, Father, King Joey of Tyronia!” (page 695)
Wait, you mean King Joey of Tyronia is responsible?
It gets better:
“This is a declaration of war!” (page 695)
Uh…I kind’ve thought they already were at war? I guess technically it was more like Maradonia was at war while the Tyronians were chilling out on their island…then again, there really haven’t been any battles recently, ever since the powers of evil abruptly decided to pack things in and go home in the last book.
So cool. Declaration of war. Plouton asks daddy dearest to make him his successor and heir and he’ll destroy Tyronia.
“Very well! But, I am still not convinced! I feel that something is wrong! Only if my son Abbadon is really gone, you shall be my successor. Gather the troops together. We will finish the job which went unfinished in the last war against Tyronia and we will concentrate on the Battle for the Key.” (page 695)
Okay. So first he says that he’s not convinced, and Plouton only gets to be heir if Abbadon is really gone. And then he switches in mid-sentence to assuming that Abbadon is really gone and Plouton gets to be heir and lead their troops into battle. That makes sense.
Chapter Seventy-Two – Without a Trace
This is where they call in the FBI.
The party is in full swing. Queen Brunhilda is dancing with Balthazar, picking him up, throwing him up into the air, and catching him again. Wow. She must either be ridiculously strong, a giant, or both.
The guards bring Maya the basket of fruit and explain that Joey is talking to a mermaid.
Maya thinks nothing of it, but after awhile she sees Princess Krimhilda pouting and decides that Joey would never have left a party for a long period of time to talk to mermaids. I have to disagree, that sounds exactly like something the little pyromaniac would do.
They dispatch a couple guards to the shore who return a while later with Joey’s robe and sandals. Maya is horrified, but feels certain that Joey is alive, and isn’t too worried about assassination because she knows Joey is indestructible. Then again, they could just feed him poison. Worked on Genarius.
Maya talks to the captains, who describe the mermaids, and Maya guesses that it may have been Morgana who was talking to Joey. She sends out the dragons to fly sweeps and keep searching for him.
Chapter Seventy-Three – Heavenly Orchestras
Joey wakes up and finds some delicious food waiting for him. He eats it and has some deep thoughts about gold.
“The circumstances of my life teaches me the lesson that riches are not everything in life.” (page 705)
You know, if I tried really, really hard, I could probably write a worse sentence than that, but it would be difficult.
Joey thinks some more and then suddenly an image of Princess Krimhilda appears in his head as an angel.
And suddenly… he felt very lightheaded. The heavy burden of sadness and helplessness had left him and he even started dancing in the white sand in front of the Gold of Ophir (page 705).
I’m pretty sure he just snapped.
Joey feels awesome and enjoys the sun and then Morgana shows up and Joey greets her warmly and they hug and kiss passionately. Actually, it turns out that the food was drugged.
Chapter Seventy-Four – The Kayatonga Roots
So Morgana had met up with a medicine woman who told her about some Kayatonga roots. If you feed them to a human for three days, on the third day that human will turn into a mermaid. Or merman. However, it’s a temporary change, lasting only a week – unless you keep feeding them the roots for every day of that week, in which case the change is permanent.
In exchange for this information, Morgana agrees to give the medicine woman her and Joey’s firstborn child. And…if this turns out to be a major plot-point because Morgana rapes Joey while he’s drug-addled and gets knocked up…well, I’d actually find that hilarious.
On the third day Joey wakes up and feels terrible and then realizes he’s covered in scales and his legs have grown together from his hips to his knees. He finally puts two and two together and realizes that it’s the food Morgana has been bringing him. He decides that he’ll pretend to eat it but actually he’ll bury in in the sand, which is a completely foolproof plan unless Morgana decides to watch him eat it.
Morgana shows up a bit later and Joey makes nice and tells her he needs food. She gives him a couple roots and then takes off to go find some more, because her stock is running low. Joey then takes the roots and buries them.
Okay. So the roots are supposed to work after three days. It’s been three days. They’re only partially effective. Why? No idea.
This also reveals a rather large flaw in Morgana’s plan, which revolves around keeping Joey trapped on a deserted island. Except she’s changing him into a merman. You know the one thing merpeople are really fucking good at? Swimming.
Chapter Seventy-Five – The Transformation
Everyone has been looking for Joey for three days now, but they’ve found nothing. Maya decides to check in with the mermaids and the dolphins to see if they can help.
You mean she hasn’t checked with them yet?
Seriously, Maya? Let’s review the facts: your brother disappeared from the ocean shore, leaving behind his robe and sandals, which immediately suggests that he went into the ocean. He was last seen talking to a mermaid. Don’t you think that maybe, just maybe, you might start your investigation by talking to the mermaids?
She gets on a dragon and flies to the Dolphins Gate, and pulls out her Magical SCUBA gear, otherwise known as her seashell, and walks into the water, weighing herself down with stones.
Maya meats up with Magenta, leader of the dolphins, who knows that Morgana has been obsessed with Joey for awhile. Also, Morgana acted weird after Magenta told her about all the cases of gold that he found. Yeah, turns out the dolphins knew exactly where the gold was. Maya is shocked by this, but hey, the cases of gold are missing and shipwrecks were suspected. If you haven’t asked the two races of sentient undersea creatures about it, it’s your own damn fault.
Magenta tells Maya about some places she can try looking for Joey, and Maya heads back to shore. Upon arriving, she hops back onto the dragons and they start flying around some of the caves and volcanoes. And they find Joey, who’s half merman, half human. They put him on the back of a dragon and take off. Well, that was anticlimactic.
Chapter Seventy-Six – Cluster of Five Scales
Maya figures it’s best not to let anyone know what happened to Joey, so she covers him up with blankets and whisks him inside to her private chambers. It takes three days before the scales fall off and his legs get back to normal, except five scales on the back of his neck don’t disappear. Well, I’m pretty sure you can just scrape those off with a knife. After all, they are just scales. Barring that, some plastic surgery when you get back to Oceanside and your parents ask you why fish scales are growing out of the back of your neck?
While Joey is recovering, Maya sends General Goran on a secret mission to recover all the gold. He does, and apparently nobody notices several large ships going out into the lake and dropping anchor and retrieving thousands and thousands of pounds of gold.
Chapter Seventy-Seven – Gold Rules
We get some backstory about General Felipe and the traitors who are working with him. They decide it’s time to fetch the Gold of Ophir because they know that Gold Rules, and once they have gold, they can buy off everyone else in the Senate. Which is not really a bad plan. I really just don’t know why they haven’t had the Gold of Ophir all along. I mean, it’s not like they’re being closely scrutinized or Genarius had even a basic grasp of the situation.
Turns out Maya has been keeping herself very well informed by spying via Tarnkappe and by having Libertine and the doves report back to her. Whenever they catch traitors, she sends her guards in and has them arrested. Wow. That actually sounds like something that might be interesting to actually read, rather than have it all happen offscreen and then have the narrator relate what has already happened.
However, it’s very difficult to catch Felipe and the other leads with their hands dirty.
But Queen Maya had a very smart plan! She knew that Felipe was ready to retrieve the Gold of Ophir (page 728).
What has changed? Why is Felipe suddenly ready to get the gold when he’s been sitting on it for months now? What makes her suspect he’s going to go get the gold now, of all times? We don’t know. But Maya, being omniscient, knows this, so she sends a few hundred soldiers to Dolphins Gate.
So, six ships come out, drop anchor, and a bunch of divers jump in. They come up and report all of the gold they carefully lowered to the ocean floor is now missing. Felipe is horrified, because everyone knows that there is no safer place to hide treasure than the ocean floor. He demands they go down and look again.
Meanwhile, Maya heads over with a fleet of twelve war ships, loaded with elite soldiers. Tesch’s words, not mine.
Queen Maya stood on the commando bridge in full armor with Titus in her hand (page 731).
What’s a commando bridge? Why is she wearing armor when she’s indestructible? And why is she holding a sword in her hand before they’re even close to the conflict?
Maya and Joey talk. Joey asks if she remembers during their last journey when they passed by and saw some fishermen lowering boats and Joey thought it looked suspicious. Well yes, actually, I do. Here’s what I wrote:
They see some fisherman and Tesch mentions that Joey happens to be a superb fisherman. Well of course he is. Anyway, they watch the fishermen and they aren’t using nets…instead they’re lowering boxes into the water. This makes Joey suspicious, but Maya says they’re just putting down lobster boxes. In a freshwater lake. But they move on. Plot point!
They surround General Felipe and the trap is sprung.
Felipe looked pretty devastated (page 732).
I can imagine. However, he’s not worried, because he figures that he still has plenty of friends.
Maya sails up and says they’re all under arrest for treason, rebellion, and crimes against Maradonia and the royal family. Felipe doesn’t think much of this:
“Royal family!? Ha-hah! Excuse me please, who here is the royal family? You and baby Michael? Be serious Maya… You do not represent a royal family… You represent a kindergarten and a teenaged army as security guards. Ha-ha-ha…” (page 733)
As much as this amuses me, you’re kind of a dumbass, Felipe. It’s really not a good idea to insult someone who holds all of the cards.
One of Felipe’s officers pulls out his sword and attacks Maya. How he does this when he’s on one ship and Maya is on another ship, I don’t know. Anyway:
Queen Maya parried the strong strike, and cut with one slice the officer’s head off, which rolled like a marble over the planks of the ship… (page 733)
There’s a pleasantly gruesome image for all the kids.
Felipe is still defiant and confident, but Maya orders her guards to move in. They arrest Felipe and all of his compatriots, handcuff them (they have handcuffs?) and cart them off to prison. But they let all of the fishermen and divers go. Without bothering to question them and find out who were duped into helping Felipe and who the traitors are. That might be important to figure out. After all, the disappearance of the gold has been kind of a big deal, and the divers all knew exactly what they were hiding.