Gottschalk’s jaw dropped.
Not only was most of the audience now on their feet, but Ramzeus and Laurissa Austral had joined in too. They stood by the dark-haired young woman and the blond-bearded man, who continued to challenge the zombie Public Lords McBrain, All Dyin, Twitch McCorpsal, and Living Groanham for their failure to do as they promised and protect this land from invaders.
“And what about our healing?” yelled the dark-haired woman. “You said you would fix it and not force us to give all our coin to the Hospitalia, like the Demoncrats had arranged!”
At that, the zombie Public Lords groaned with laughter, showing the great work necessary in keeping their decrepit forms together. A nurse even came out and made sure their jaws could close after all the exertion. She lit a brazier nearby, since McBrain’s had fallen out again and needed to be welded back on.
Even worse, Gorm was approaching them too. And, because of all the commotion, no one noticed that he had his great axe in hand. He spit out the remains of the McBrain poster that he had been chewing and maneuvered himself behind the stage. Barbarians had their own form of political debate and Gorm was nearly ready to begin.
Gottschalk moved to intervene, but was stunned again. Hoplites had entered the room. He hadn’t seen any guards before and assumed at first they were coming to apprehend the barbarian, but then remembered that this was Monjaksen: it wasn’t Olympian, not like Caelum Mount...
And low and behold, who entered the room next, but none other than Captain Salpinx and his entourage! Gottschalk’s heart rose. As his name would suggest, the man had trumpeted the slogan of Making Caelum Mount Great Again for over a year now. And even though he had shown some wavering, he had remained an inspiration to patriots throughout the Vale- those who cared about maintaining the sovereignty of the West. In fact, some claimed that he might even become Emperor.
Ramzeus, Laurissa, and the others’ spirits rose too. Even Gorm cheered, holding his axe high. They had begun to have their doubts about him earlier, since Caelum Mount had fallen and he wanted to invade West by Golly (in Part XXV), but maybe he was going to stand up to these zombies on stage now? They hoped that finally, he would live up to his promises and be a leader who cared enough about his own people to save them.
Salpinx smiled and removed his trademark red Olympian helm to the cheers of many assembled. The zombie Public Lords stared at him expectantly. Gottschalk remembered then how they had said that he ‘seems to be coming around’... Why would that be?
“I’ve come with great news! We’ve decided to allow any and all offspring who were brought into our lands by their parents to remain here as our new citizens! Isn’t that wonderful? We can Make Monjaksen Great Again, just like we did with Caelum Mount!”
The zombie Public Lords clapped their macabre hands together at that, though not too hard since some had fallen off earlier and might do so again.
Shocked, Ramzeus shook his head. “What do you mean, ‘offspring’? Does that include goblin rapist-pillagers?”
“Of course!” replied Salpinx. “Some of them have grown to become very successful and even serve as hoplites! I just made a great deal with the Demoncrats!”
Gottschalk’s jaw dropped again.
Many who had supported Salpinx looked aghast too. Was he mad? How would he possibly save the West by allowing in more of those who would destroy it... or by working with Demoncrats?
Laurissa Austral recovered from the shock first. “But their ‘parents’ invaded our lands! It is wrong! You’ll ruin us all!”
Salpinx waved his finger at her condescendingly. “We can’t punish the offspring for something their parents did!”
“But you’ll only get more goblins coming in then! What else will you get when you reward bad behavior?” replied Ramzeus.
“Yesss....” interrupted Living Groanham who had shuffled out of his seat with the other Zombie lords. “More goblins make us a better land. More Diverse... better braaains....”
Ramzeus pulled his head away from Groanham’s grasping hands. “So when will we have allowed enough goblins in? When will we know that we’re Diverse enough?”
The zombie Lords stared at each other for a moment, nodded, and then groaned in unison. Of course, there was no answer: there would be no end to the invasion. Goblins and other inhumans would keep pouring in, crowding out, driving or even killing off the local population, leading to only one outcome: Human Genocide. Then ‘Diversity’ would be complete. Admitting it in front of all these humans wouldn’t be such a good idea though, so they threatened Ramzeus instead.
“Sounds like we just might have a HUMAN SUPREMACIST here!” said Twitch McCorpsal.
Laurissa turned to Salpinx. “Come on! You were supposed to save us! Goblins clamor to get into our lands and once they do, then they claim our lands for themselves! They already have their own lands- why can’t we have ours?”
Salpinx didn’t answer, but a strange woman standing next to him, small and vampiric-looking, whispered in his ear. She then turned and glared at Ramzeus and Laurissa, but also the zombie Lords. Gottschalk guessed that she must be one of the Demoncrats, since she hated everyone else.
Suddenly, others revealed themselves from Salpinx’s entourage too. These were the Patrons, leaders of the cultists that they had encountered in Caelum Mount (in Part XXI). They seemed to have a particular dislike for Ramzeus and Laurissa.
“By the great Ghul-Ghul,” began one, “In the name of Acceptance, I hereby declare that you are DEMON-ITIZED!”
The others waved their hands as they cast their fell spell. Laurissa and then Ramzeus immediately dropped to the ground, it was almost as if gags had formed about their mouths and bonds around their bodies, since they could no longer move or speak.
The Patrons smiled, the Demoncrat woman cheered, and the zombie Public Lords broke into applause again. This time though, one of Groanham’s hands fell off. The nurse had just welded McBrain’s jaw back on, so she began to work with that on the brazier now.
The hoplites advanced, shields lowered at the audience, and began to force them out. Gottschalk didn’t know what to do. In the confusion, he bumped into the dark-haired woman. She grabbed him by the arm and led him from the room. She began to speak, her voice pleasant, but foreign, though they both turned back towards the crowd.
Gorm had advanced on Salpinx’s entourage. One of his eyes sunk deep into his head while the other bulged greatly. His face turned bright red and saliva dripped copiously down his chin.
He didn’t look pleased.
His barbaric rage now at full force, he grabbed Salpinx’s helm and tossed it on the brazier.
Next week: The Hacks of Gorm, Part XXX!