Chapter Ten: Dialogue (Or the villains complain about their lack of screen time)
So, whats it been, five chapters since weve been heard from? Dejwin asked lazily as he looked over the kitchen table at the minions who were currently playing with his daughter.
Nine chapters, thirty seven thousand, one hundred and two words, One of the minions replied bleakly.
No, thats not quite true, Another interjected, There was a brief cameo in chapter four about seven thousand words after our last mention.
Seven thousand, one hundred and fifty five years, the first one corrected with a sigh, Which means its only been seven chapters and twenty nine thousand, nine hundred forty seven words since the last time we got to be in the novel.
This is ridiculous! Dejwin exploded, There should be a rule or something that you have to check in with the bad guys every other chapter or so! I mean really, I know that the main characters have an exciting plot going and all, but you have to cut away from it some time or the readers are going to forget about the real conflict of the story.
Real conflict? A minion who was playing cards with Cana asked, looking up, Theres some kind of a conflict in this book?
Of course there is! Dejwin moaned, holding his head in his hand, Were holding the chosen ones captive in a magical sleep that the replacements who are gearing up to fight us may or may not be able to awaken them from. In addition to this there have been several unexplained loose ends in the story that the observant reader is sure to have picked up on, and that our author is sure to exploit to their fullest.(1) He received several blank stares in way of reply. Look, WE are what those replacements have been preparing for, and yet we havent been in the book for..well for far too long! What if we had been up to some sort of evil plot to take over the world or something in the mean time? The readers would have no idea what was going on and would be totally caught off guard by the progression of the plot on our side!
We havent been plotting anything, though, The minion playing cards reminded him, Weve been sitting around here moping because no one is paying any attention to us.
I havent been moping! Dejwin protested, Ive been working hard to make sure that this place isnt going to fall down on top of us! I mean, really, dad might have been the best evil warlord in fifty years, but he didnt believe in maintenance.
There was an awkward silence that followed this statement, broken only by a light, but slightly scary chuckle from Cana. Dejwin watched as his daughter started looking through the top of the deck of cards before picking out a card a ways down and putting the other cards back on top.
The minions who were playing with her groaned. Listen girly, we dont mind of you cheat. In fact, we do it ourselves, but please, could you try to be a little less obvious about it when you do it?
Why? The little girl asked innocently.
Because..because its part of the challenge of the game, One of the minions sputtered, To see if you can cheat and not get caught.
But I see you guys doing it all the time, Cana replied, Youve got an ace and two kings up your sleeve. You, She said turning to the next one, Are hiding an extra card in your hand. And you are sitting on at least three cards and have drawn twice at least two times. How come I cant get a card I want when you guys are doing all of that? She asked three now very red faced minions.
Just..never mind. The minions shook their heads in unison, once again arousing Dejwins suspicions that they practiced stuff like that in their off time.
Thats okay, Cana replied cheerfully, That was the card I needed to win anyways. She proceeded to lay down a royal flush.
Cana, thats the fifth time! The minion to her left exclaimed, Even with everything youve done, you have to be one of the luckiest little girl around!
Cana just giggled. You sillies, Im not lucky.
Youre not? Then what do you call that? The minion asked, motioning to the hand shed spread out on the table.
Cheating, She smiled in a slightly frightening way, You dont think Im going to let you see every time I cheat, do you?
There was another, slightly more guarded round of moaning. They were saved from having to play another losing game, though, by the buzzing of the oven announcing that the bread baking inside was done. Cana jumped up and bustled over to where a minion was just taking the fresh loaf out of the oven.
Oh bread, bread, I love fresh bread, She chirruped in a little sing song voice. The minion handling the bread would have set it aside to cool a little if it hadnt been for the glare Cana shot at him. Instead he knocked it out of the pan and got a knife to slice it up. Ive tried a new recipe, she announced with glee, And I want everyone to try it and tell me what they think. There was a sudden rush for the door, but unfortunately it wasnt wide enough for them all to get through at once. There were at least three people jammed in it, and more shoving to get through, but it was no use, the three were stuck tightly and not moving anywhere. Back at the table, Cana was not happy with their reaction. I said, Her voice was much more dangerous this time, I want you all to try my new recipe. The glare she tacked onto the end of this statement sent the minions (except for the three stuck in the doorway) scuttling back to their respective seats. After the doorway three had been pried out and firmly set down with the other, Cana smiled. I hope you all like this. I got it from an old recipe book and decided it would be a good way to save money since Daddy is always saying we cant get uranium because its too expensive.
The minions glared at Dejwin, not sure which would actually be worse, eating whatever it was that Cana had created, or telling the little girl that there was in fact a supply of uranium far beneath the fortress in the impenetrable and unknown vaults (which means of course that Cotten and his group had successfully visited and raided them on a number of occasions.)(2)
Um..what exactly makes this bread so economic, Miss Cana? One of the minions finally worked up the courage to ask.
Oh, well I decided to use a substitute for the baking soda, She replied cheerfully, I found something that we have a lot of around here and just used it instead.
Baking soda? Well, that didnt sound too dangerous. Still wary they approached the pan, ready to run at the first sign of danger. The bread was sliced and pieces handed out. Dejwin, who had stayed near the end of the line had seen that his daughter hadnt taken a piece of the bread, and so wisely decided that it was probably better if he didnt take any himself. Instead he watched closely as one by one the minions tried the concoction Cana had created. After a moment of hesitation, most of them continued eating. The few that didnt just stood there with a puzzled frown on their faces.
So, how is it? Cana asked, What do you all think of my bread?
Well, its different, One of the minions replied slowly, I dont think it tastes bad, just different.
Oh, goody, She said with a giggle, clapping her hands in glee. I was hoping that the difference wouldnt be a bad one. Daddy, can we get that uranium now?
Dejwin froze. He didnt want to tell his daughter that she was too young to play with the uranium, that he had been at least four years older that she was now before his father had let him go play with the radio active materials. He also didnt want to tell her that she was already more evil than he had ever been at any age, much to his fathers dismay. He knew that he couldnt just let her go willy nilly with those things, though. She hadnt had any kind of the training it took not to blow yourself up while making the bombs you were going to use to destroy entire civilizations. What he needed was a clever ruse.
Cana, what did you use instead of the baking soda? It seemed like a fairly innocuous question. After all, she wouldnt do anything to actively poison the minions. Not after how much trouble shed gotten into the last time hed found her doing so.(3) He was sure she remembered the sentences hed made her write: Minions are a vital resource of every super villain. I will not poison things I might need later for my own amusement now.
Oh, I read this old book that said that if you let pee sit out for a while you can mix that into the bread to make it rise. It also said that most of it bakes away.(4)
There was another run on the door, and Dejwin was starting to realize that with his daughter, there really was no such thing as an innocent question. He watched several minions be sick on the floor, and others trying to desperately do the same, anything to rid their stomachs of what they had just eaten. Maybe hed have been better off letting her play with the uranium after all
(1)I would like to take the time to point this out as yet another example of Dejwin not really being as slow as he seems to be in the first chapter or so of the novel. That really is just an act he has adopted whenever hes near his father to make sure that the old codger didnt try and pass off his regime too soon. Unfortunately, as we can see, that plan didnt work too well. Still, it was enough to secure Sekts blessing for bestowing the title of Evil Warlord on Cana the first time she asked for it.
(2)Actually it is a rather fascinating story of the vaults under the Fortress of Doom (or whatever it is being called at this point; Cana has a tendency to change the name of the fortress on a whim) and how said vaults came to be. See once, a LONG, long time ago, back when your parents were still in diapers the Evil Warlord, one Mortzin the Lame, of the time decided that his stronghold wasnt meeting his current needs and so he decided to move to a more easily accessed location by the sea (no he wasnt lame like he had a limp, he was really lame! He used to tell the most horrible jokes and then expect people to actually laugh at them! Well, I suppose its only of the perks of being an evil warlord, but still. I mean really he could have learned some better jokes or at least some new ones). Unfortunately there was already someone living in the spot that he had decided to build his fortress upon. Or well, really he might have picked that particular spot BECAUSE it was the only inhabited bit of land within a twenty mile radius, and even though there were actually a couple of cliff sides better suited for evil castle building, this particular cliff was home to an orphanage, and really he couldnt pass up an opportunity like that. I mean it was almost like they were begging him to come and kick them out, really it was. Anyways, so it turns out that the kids at the orphanage were happy to get out of that regime and helped Morty kick out their teachers. In fact, they became his first minions at the new castle (the old ones were sold with the other place to a mild wicked wizard who moved into the place and subsequently retired to a life of golf and cruises.) Anyways, back when the orphanage had still been an orphanage, the minions, who had then been orphans, had been digging tunnels out of their rooms. And, in typical Peter Pan style, theyd managed to make the place they dug to inhabitable. Or at the very least, so that the people upstairs couldnt find and/or get down to them. Of course Old Morty improved upon and added to these tunnels, but thats an entirely different story.(5)
(3)Actually, in Canas defense she wasnt poisoning them on purpose. That is to say, she wasnt poisoning them just for the sake of poisoning them. She was trying out different types of poisonous herbs in her tea collection. Also in her defense, she had plenty of wennariss on hand to counter all of the poisons that she used. On a slightly more accusatory note, though, this was also how she found out that wennariss could be used as a controlling agent against people. Once again in her defense, though, she did wake up the minion that had been sent to sleep. That was, however, three weeks after she put him to sleep in the first place. When Dejwin asked why shed left him asleep for three weeks she said she figured after two weeks he couldnt wake up on his own. The extra week tacked on there was an accident on her part; she forgot about the poor guy.
(4)Disgusting as this might seem, this is an actual recipe. Try it out if you dont believe me.
(5)It was only shortly after the construction of the original Fortress o Doom that the Mortzin the Lame acquired the first artifact that required a constant guard, lest the chosen ones of the time steal it from him and use it to utterly annihilate him and all evil in the land too. While Morty wasnt especially worried about all the other evil in the land, he didnt have any particular wish to be annihilated, and so he moved the artifact down into the tunnels under the fortress. Of course it didnt take too long for word to leak out that he had the artifact. Not too long after that the Chosen Ones showed up on his doorstep with a map and a fruit basket (Chosen Ones were much nicer in those days, and really there are certain conventions that had to be observed, the ceremonial giving of the fruit basket before the looting of the castle was just one of many that have fallen by the wayside). Incidentally it was also Mortzen that coined the phrase, I'm tired of getting my ugly hairy butt kicked!