Chapter Twenty – A Great Disappointment
Joey rolls in to the Senate Chamber with Queen Dido, looking very impressive. Tesch informs us that he made a “remarkable” impression on all the Senators, but not whether it’s in a good or a bad way.
Dido gets up and introduces Joey, explaining that she thinks it’s in the best interests in Karthago to have an alliance. All the Senators bow respectfully to Joey, but they don’t clap. So. Not really fans, but they’re bowing…to a foreign king. Okay.
Joey stands up and he’s very tall and grim. I don’t think it’s possible for a fifteen-year-old boy to be tall and grim. Maybe if his genetics are right, he can manage tall, but grim? Really?
“I am King Joey of Tyronia,” he declared, “and I am your new military commander in the war against the Empire of Evil.” (page 151)
Even though I typically never do this, I went Google-searching for a meme picture that could possibly try to sum up my reaction to this statement. After fifteen minutes or so, I gave up for two reasons:
1. Putting meme pictures in sporkings is overrated.
2. There is no picture that would do this justice.
So let’s get into this. First, let’s assume that Tyronia and Karthago are all buddy-buddy, they had a treaty and a military alliance. It would be incredibly arrogant and presumptuous for Joey to get up in front of a group and even ask to be their military commander. Why? Because Karthago doesn’t need an external fucking military commander, they have their own! If countries are in alliances together, each side has their own military commanders, and they certainly sit down and strategize together to work well together, but that’s pretty much it. And, on the off chance that the countries in this alliance did decide, for some reason, to appoint a supreme military commander who would oversee the fight against the Powers of Evil (who believe in Teamwork), you can bet your ass they wouldn’t appoint a complete fuckwit like Joey, who, in addition to be being FIFTEEN and having absolutely no training in military tactics and leadership, is a moron and a total sociopath.
But let’s set that aside, since everyone in this story basically thinks Maya and Joey are the greatest thing since sliced bread. Let’s assume that these people might make the mistake of putting Joey in charge. This is still an incredibly arrogant thing to do, to just show up and suggest that you should be in put in charge of everything.
Of course…let’s not forget…Joey isn’t asking. He’s telling. He’s showing up, in their Senate-room, and TELLING everyone, “I AM YOUR NEW MILITARY COMMANDER.”
As if that wasn’t enough… these two countries don’t even have a fucking treaty between them yet.
I’m almost at a loss for words. Obviously I’m not, because I just wrote a lot of words about this, but…I have absolutely no idea how someone would think this was a good idea. This is a new low, both for Joey and for Gloria Tesch.
I wonder if this is all going to work out okay with no negative repercussions? Let’s find out!
The Senators are pissed. People shout and are angry. Joey waits. Apparently he knew that announcing this was a dangerous move. No shit, Sherlock? People think you want to rule their country. Good luck getting out of the Senate room without getting Julius Caesar’d.
Turns out UrbanDictionary didn’t have a definition already for Julius Caesar’d, so I stopped writing this sporking to submit one. [Update: they do now!]
A corpulent senator gets up and asks Joey why he thinks he’s the one who can lead them. A few other senators say the same thing, so Joey gazes at them sternly.
King Joey gazed sternly at his questioner (page 151).
He’s fifteen. Fifteen year olds can’t look stern. It’s not physically possible. They try, and then an adult chuckles because they’re so adorable, ruffles their hair, and sends them outside to mow the lawn.
Joey explains that the deity chose him to be an encourager and stuff. A senator points out that he hasn’t answered their question. Joey says he has Defender, the powerful supernatural weapon that allowed him to defeat the Rawken army. Okay…so Joey would be a good guy to put on the front lines to fight the war. Not a guy you want standing around making decisions.
The senators quiet down and Joey launches into a speech about how they need to build a strong alliance to defeat the bad guys and they all have to be marching in the same direction.
“Let me ask you a question, ‘Can two wings of the same bird fly at the same time in two different directions?’ The answer is No!” (page 152)
I think everyone knows that, Joey. Also, that’s a very stupid metaphor.
Joey goes on in this vein and then brings up the island that he’s offering Karthago, and the senators start applauding and getting interesting, because when you’re entering a war that could bankrupt your country, and might end up with your entire country being utterly destroyed or enslaved to the Dark Lord, getting a free island is awesome.
Joey draws his sword, because drawing your sword in a foreign senate building is such a good idea. Plus it looks dramatic. And also really stupid. He asks everyone if they’re willing to join the free kingdoms. It gets quiet. Nobody says anything. Finally Queen Dido says they’ll put it to a vote and asks everyone who wants to join the alliance to raise their hands. Thirteen senators raise their hands. Out of seventy.
Then the speaker of the senate gets up and says that obviously they’re not ready to join the alliance. Yeah, that, or maybe they don’t want to join the alliance.
The speaker points out that Karthago’s location makes them pretty secure and they should be neutral and stay out of it, which are fair points. Finally the speaker says that if they can identify the traitors and find this magician who wants to murder the royal family, the situation might change and they may support the alliance.
Which is actually pretty clever, for Tesch. I assume that when she was writing this she realized there weren’t any rational arguments for why Joey should get to be in charge of the entire alliance. So, she had Joey raise the argument, then quickly changed the subject, and now she’ll have Maya and Joey find the traitors, expose the conspiracy, Karthago will join the alliance, and Joey will assume command despite no one actually agreeing to him assuming command and this problem will never be raised again.
Let’s see if I’m right.
Chapter Twenty-One – Aftershocks
Maya wakes up and thinks about what she heard from Queen Dido’s report of what happened. Wait. Maya wasn’t even there? Why the fuck not? She’s the goddamn Queen of Maradonia, a country that is both larger and more powerful than Tyronia, as I recall. Why wouldn’t she be there?
It’s really rather odd, especially since there’s every indication that Maya is based on Gloria herself, but I really think Tesch is rather sexist.
Anyway. Maya and Joey need to find these traitors and this mysterious magician in order to seal the deal with Karthago, but that’s going to be problematic because they’re in a foreign city, they don’t know anyone, and they don’t even have the slightest idea where to start looking.
“Emoogie and Tarakann told me they had watched three mysterious men talking in a hidden corner of the city wall. They might fit the description of Queen Dido’s dream.” (page 157)
Oh. Well that was really fucking easy. You know, Tesch, it’s okay to make things difficult for our heroes. They don’t have to have every mystery solved for them by someone else within two pages of the problem coming up. What’s next?
“Maya, our baby brother Benji has cancer!”
“Oh no, what are we going to – hey look, is that some of that amazing new cancer medication in the gutter?”
Or maybe during the climax of the series:
bq, “Maya, Apollyon is too strong! We’ll never defeat him!”
“Joey, I’m afraid!”
“If we only had the famous Lost Dagger of AstroJesus, And’uril, maybe we could penetrate his magical shield.”
“There’s no hope of that, it’s been lost for a millennia. By the way, do you find this sofa as uncomfortable as I do? There’s a really hard lump inside this cushion, what could it be?”
Anyway. Maya and Joey decide they’ll head out on a walk to look around and maybe stumble across some traitors, so Joey leaves and Maya gets ready. As she’s heading out, she runs into Princess Adele and Queen Miranda. I’m not sure why Miranda is a queen when Dido is the Queen, but maybe they have a Narnia thing going on. They give Maya three dresses as a gift. Maya is delighted.
She walks outside and sees Prince Rasmos sparring on the field. He’s very muscular and sweaty and when he sees Maya he immediately wonders if he’s dreaming and he just saw an angel, which is a pretty typical reaction, especially since Maya didn’t even spruce herself up, she just threw her hair into a ponytail, looked at herself in the mirror, didn’t think she looked good, but went out anyway. So either Rasmos is nuts or Maya is transcendently beautiful.
Maya challenges Rasmos to a duel. Rasmos accepts, so Maya picks up one of the wooden practice swords and walks out onto the field. Suddenly she charges him and whacks him in the chest as hard as she can, knocking him down and leaving a huge bruise. You know, Maya, I’m not sure you understand the concept of sparring.
Rasmos is tough, though, so he gets up to fight again. I’m not sure why. After all, he’s been practicing the sword for pretty much every day of his entire life, and Maya has only been practicing for a few weeks now, but she’s a Heroine, and she got Special Training, so she’s essentially undefeatable.
They clash. Rasmos is an incredible fighter but Maya is way better so she knocks him down again and he gives up. Maya starts to walk off, but Rasmos runs after her and wants to know where she’s going. Maya’s heart seizes.
Rasmos stood with his puppy eyes (page 162).
They talk flirtatiously and Maya thinks about General Henry and then he walks towards her and Maya backs up and suddenly she bumps into a wall and Rasmos leans in and they lock lips.
She didn’t do anything to stop him and even laid her arms around his shoulders and her hands grabbed his thick hair (page 163).
We cut over to Joey who is impatiently waiting and talking out loud.
“Oh man, where could Maya be? I gave her more than enough time to do her girls stuff, but she’s not even here yet. Hmmpff.” (page 164)
I admit, that legitimately made me laugh.
Joey wanders around for a bit and finally sees Maya and Rasmos necking. Maya disengages herself and walks to Joey, smirking, and asks him what’s up. Joey is furious. He points out that Henry is waiting for her in Maradonia…and how maybe Queen Dido will get pissed off and they won’t be able to get the treaty they want. All of these are valid complaints, although Joey really doesn’t have a leg to stand on. The fact that they need an alliance with Gorgonia didn’t stop him from making out with Krimmy. Also, back in the day he was getting friendly with the mermaid Morgana, and then he switched to being interested in Krimhilda and never even told Morgana he had moved on.
Of course, Maya doesn’t say any of this. Instead, she tells Joey to chill out, because Rasmos is heir to the throne, and he’ll be crowned soon (apparently) and if he’s on their side, maybe he could convince Dido to sign the treaty. Wow. Maya. That’s cold.
Joey rolled his eyes, “That’s the stupidest excuse I have ever heard… covering your kissy…kissy…time with Rasmos.” (page 165)
Joey gets mad and says he’s going to go meet with his advisors because Maya clearly doesn’t care about anything they need to do and stalks off. Maya walks back to where Rasmos is waiting and asks him to be her guide. Rasmos agrees, and they both go to change. Maya puts on one of the new dresses, and walks out of her quarters by closing the door. That’s not a typo. Well. It is a typo, but it’s Tesch’s, not mine. You can’t walk out by closing the door. You can walk out and close a door.
They walk outside and Rasmos fetches his horse, Ciscoe. Maybe Tesch is a fan of gardening.
Maya and Rasmos climb aboard and take off at a gallop and after a bit Ciscoe shifts to ludicrous speed. Rasmos explains that there are no other horses like him, that he’s sometimes called Speedy Galvin, and that he’s immortal and can basically outrun anything. I see. Shadowfax. Got it.
Eventually, they arrive in an orchard and Rasmos gets down and Maya jumps down into his arms and he kisses her forehead and puts her down. And…chapter.