The Void Cow: The Epilogue
I throw the dagger, aiming straight for the left eye of the witch. That’s the lucky eye.
Bullseye! The witch cries out in anguish. “My eye! My lucky eye!”
“Good throw,” Queen Brandy says with a nod of admiration. The guards nod along with her.
“Ahh! How’d you know that throwing that dagger straight into my lucky eye would break the curse contract with no consequences on your end?!”
My expression opens up in delight. “Really?”
The witch pulls the dagger out of her socket and flings her severed looker at me. The optic sticks to my cheek like a wet meatball wrapped in spaghetti.
“No, stupid,” the witch says. She then mutters something under her breath and flutters her hand in front of her eyehole. Her blood pulls itself back in the wound and a new eye forms. “Now,” she continues, pointing at me with the ornate dagger, “you’ve got one last chance. Are we gonna do this thing for real or what?”
I ponder for a moment. On the one hand, if I don’t do this my family will be killed in front of me. That sucks Buttcrack Trail. On the other hand, if I do this I’ll die and those blue little birds will totally take over the planet and would probably kill my family anyway. Hmm…this is really a pickle. It’d be great if some Deux Ex Machina type of situation presented itself.
The sounds of blades clashing and people dying seeps in from just outside the throne chamber.
“Damnit, really?” Queen Brandy throws her arms up. “This better not be one of those Deus Ex Machina type of deals. Guards, go check it out.”
Just as the guards attempt to open the doors, they’re flung open, knocking the large men back. Dark ashen smoke permeates through the entry way.
“Yes!” I say as I fist pump. “I’m saved!”
A figure blurs through the air through the smoke. Their blades spin and cut through the guard’s head like a hot knife through butter. Before the other guard can react, the figure’s blades slice right through them and the door itself. The mysterious figure stands at-ease. It’s Captain Rancid.
“No!” I say as I bite my fist. “I’m still dead.”
Rancid wipes the blood from her blades. “No you’re not. I’m here to rescue you, you idiot.”
“See! Total Deus Ex,” Brandy states.
“No it isn’t—Rancid had a lot of character development in the first ten or so episodes,” I squeak in rebuttal.
“Well I wasn’t there for any of that. Also, I’m Queen and if I say it’s a Deus Ex, it’s a godsdamn Deus Ex; so there!”
Rancid thrusts a sword in the air toward the Queen. “Queen Brandy, the time has come for you to pay for your sins in blood. You’ve gone too far! You’ve turned your own people into abominations. Even now, you’re trying to force a lovable goof to kill themself just so you can suckle the inter-dimensional teat for a stronger army.” The fog consolidates into several people. Soldiers. One of them looks like me.
“You! You’re the fog-person who looks like me and tried to kill me!”
“That’s because I am you. Queen Brandy used a bit of your blood and a smattering of Void Milk to create me. I was slated to be standing right where you are right now. Rancid and her rag-tag crew of people tired of all the dark magic bullshit rescued and freed me before they could go through with it though.”
“So that’s why you tried to kill me huh? Couldn’t stand being a shadow of the genuine article.”
“I can’t believe I’m made from your blood. No—you ignoramus—I wanted to put a stop to all this black magic fuckery, too. Seal the birds and the Void Cow in their own dimension for good. This court wizard—“
“Witch,” I correct.
“—is pretty much the only person with all the knowledge of this ritual. If I eliminated them and you, then offed myself afterward, there’d be no one left to perform it.”
“Woah, that’s heavy,” I add.
“Yeah, but luckily, we found a way to seal them in for good and it doesn’t involve killing anyone. We’ve just got to destroy the Void Dagger.”
“Oh okay, cool cool,” I say and then click my tongue on the roof of my mouth a few times. “Well, the witch has it over there, so I’ll just let you do your thing and get out of your way.”
“What a hero,” Rancid says.
Brandy nods to the witch. “Time for Plan B.”
The witch chants something and her eye, now on the floor, straightens and turns into a sharpened piece of metal that quickly cuts the back of my hand.
“Owwie!” I scream.
Rancid’s eyes widen. “She’s trying to make another clone. Stop her.”
A jar of Void Milk appears from behind the throne and levitates over the witch’s head. The dark purple liquid beautifully streaks out from the jar and combines with my blood. Queen Brandy flips over me and chants her own spell. The recently deceased guards spring to life and engage in combat with Rancid’s forces. Wounds seem to not affect these reanimated corpses. They take down members of the rebellion that can’t transform into a gaseous state.
Fine, I’ll be a hero. I grab the Void Dagger, which was sort of forgotten by everyone else in all the commotion, and strike it through the distracted witch’s heart.
“What the fuck. Not cool,” the witch says before dissolving into ash.
Queen Brandy ceases her spell casting and puts her hands up. “Fine, I surrender. You dopes are just going to let Uruk walk all over us now,” she says.
Rancid looks the Queen up and down with a smirk. “I’ll take that over turning us all into nether-spirit super soldiers. Like, who the fuck even does that and then turns around and is all like ‘I was doing it so we wouldn’t get stomped by that King who has a free growing and prosperous country. That’s what I want right there. I want a country built on using people as resources. That’s totally a better idea than feeding and educating my subjects. Yup. Let’s do that.’”
“Oh shut up. You’ve got your nose so far up Uruk’s ass I doubt you can see any of the ‘freedom’ and ‘prosperity’ their king supposedly has. It’s all propaganda. The whole reason I had to go through with all this grotesque bullshit is that the King of Uruk kept one-upping me and gaining favor of the Void Cow.”
“You’re lying. Our sources didn’t find any evidence of that.”
“Oh yeah, did you bother to check your sources? Or are your sources ‘really swell pals’ from Uruk that you can totally trust.”
“No, we also read all of your correspondence with the King.”
“Oh the ones that just say ‘your queendom sucks.’ That’s because he writes most of his letters in invisible ink, genius. It’s activated by lemons. He specifically does that because—“
“He knows we have a lemon shortage,” Rancid finishes. “Oh farts. Are we the baddies?”
“What do we do?”
“Well, I can try to complete the ritual, although I’m not as versed in it as my court wizard that this dingus just killed.”
“Way to go, dingus,” Rancid says. Members of the rebellion-turned-peanut-gallery echo Rancid’s sentiment.
“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me! I’m the stupid jerk for not wanting to die?!”
“Yes!” the group shouts in unison.
“Fuck my life.”
“Exactly,” Brandy says, “now you’re getting it. We kill you, please the Void Cow, get tons of that magic milk—bingo bango, we can bring Uruk to its knees. Nations from all over the world will wait in line for hours just to give us all high fives.”
“Really, Uruk is that bad?”
“Yeah man, that King is a bunch of dick cheddar. The moment he falls,” the Queen continues, “we can help elect a new leader for Uruk with a treaty. We’re talking an armistice, we’re talking a ban on all this Void Magic, we’re talking free trade. Really cool stuff. We’ve just gotta kill one privileged little dummy and everything from here on out will be smooth. I’m talking smooooooth.”
“Makes sense. Sorry dummy. Let’s do this.”
“I am not going to kill myself!”
Rancid pulls out a small box. She opens the box and grabs a neon green worm. “Hold them down.”
Fog consolidates around me into people who restrain me. I try to break free but I’m no match for them.
“This is madness!” I shout. “This is pure evil!”
Rancid slips the worm into my ear. I feel floaty.
“I feel floaty!”
“That’s right. You just want to do everything I tell you, don’t you?”
“I sure do!” I say through giggles. “What, Miss Captain Rancid, can I do for you, sir?”
“Take that dagger.”
“Uh huh.” I grip the small blade in hand.
“Angle it low.”
“You got it.”
“Now slit Queen Brandy’s throat with it.”
“You got it.” I spin around and slice across the Queen’s neck faster than she can pull back.
“Sorry Queeny,” Rancid says. “We’ve got a little ritual of our own to perform. Get everything ready. We’re going to break that curse contract binding you, friend. I just need you to be fully compliant with me so you don’t screw it up.”
Rancid instructs me on what to do. I listen in lock step with every command. It’s like a newfound wave of thought has penetrated my brain. Who would’ve thought this little worm would make me so damn smart—
“I would think that,” Rancid interrupts. “I’m controlling you through this worm in your brain. That means I can read your thoughts. Well, thought. Not much going on up there.”
I snicker. “I’m so dumb.”
“You’re my special little goof,” Rancid says and boops my nose.