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The Young Protectors: Engaging The Enemy Chapter Three—Page 65

361 Comments on The Young Protectors: Engaging The Enemy Chapter Three—Page 65

And… SCENE!

Speaking of scenes, I was pleased to discover that folks have been updating The Young Protectors TV Tropes Character Page with little tidbits they learned from this latest scene. It’s actually a ton of fun for me to see what tropes get evoked for readers. And frankly, I think reading TV Tropes is just a fun thing to do in general. Be sure to check that out!

Also, readers are chiming in the comments to let me know that they are going to be seeing me at Nijicon in PA in just a few weeks. And then for those West Coasters, I’m going to be attending BENT-CON 2014 in L.A. in November. These are both fun Cons celebrating the same-sex loving so if you can at all make it, please do! 😀

We had our sixty-third bonus page in a row on Wednesday and then y’all turned around and yet again tipped over the donation bar below! That means that, thanks to your generous donations and in addition to our regular Saturday updates, and bonus pages on Wednesday, October 1st (page 66!), Wednesday, October 8th (page 68!), Wednesday, October 15th (page 70!), Wednesday, October 22nd (page 72!), Wednesday, October 29th (page 74!) and Wednesday, November 5th (page 76!), there will now be an additional bonus page (page 78!) on Wednesday, November 12th! And look below! We’re already at $100 towards the bonus page after that!

Special thanks go out to long-time supporter Saxon B. (who makes their 116th generous donation to The Young Protectors!) for their generous donation over the last few days!

Big hugs go out to long-time friend of The Young Protectors Robert B. for their super-generous $25 donation! And this makes Robert’s eighty-sixth super-generous donation to this comic!

And ZOMG!, super-big hugs and grateful, head-to-the-floors bows go out to new mega-friend Daria H. and also to long-time mega-friend Christopher D. for their stunningly generous $100 donations! And this makes Christopher’s 106th stunningly generous donation to this comic! Daria and Christopher, you are total SUPER-HEROES! THANK YOU!

Thank you all so much for your generous support!

So! We now know what’s in the big, crystal box. And it’s people! O_O Gosh, I hope they’ll be OK…

I’d say tune in this Wednesday to find out, but on the very next page, we’re going to leave our super-villains behind and return to our heroes! I wonder what they’ve been up to? How are things going exploring the “potential ritual sites”? And are they going to be able to catch up to this terrible twosome in time?

Tune in this Wednesday to find out! Hope to see you there! 😀

If you particularly enjoy any of these pages and use Facebook, please click the Like button on that page. It’s useful to know what’s working and it helps me get the word out!
  • Jakk Anthony Guzman

    Yay!

    • stickfigurefairytales

      Way to go, Jakk!

      • Jakk Anthony Guzman

        Thanks, Sticky! 🙂

      • See, I said some pages ago that we needed to keep a better eye on the little chihuahua. He slips right through those cracks 😉

        • Jakk Anthony Guzman

          😀

  • Où sont les volants minuscules porcs robots ninja? Oh oh où où peuvent-ils être?

    • DC

      They wisely flew far away. The sacrificial goats didn’t work last time so they have gone to humans. those pigs may have been beneficial so they got out of there quickly 🙂

      • Klaus

        The ninjas bravely flew away.

    • I only got the mention of robot ninjas. That alone is cause enough for an upvote 😉

    • Sapfo

      I do not know where the little flying ninja pigs have gone. I have put up flyers in my area to find them.

      “Missing ninja pig. NB can fly!”

  • OMG PEOPLE.. of everything I did NOT expect people to be in there.

    Evil, evil plot! XD

    • LimpBiskit

      Yeah.. Sorry you two, but nobody’s really been able to pull off the whole ‘Needs of the many’ thing since Star Trek…

      • stickfigurefairytales

        Also, there’s the basic math to consider. There’s at least 10 people in that box and several billion in the world, which is significantly greater than Duncan + Sircea (=2).

  • stickfigurefairytales

    OH SHIT

    • That’s putting it mildly.

      • SofiaT

        It’s not like we didn’t know people would have to be sacrificed one way or another for this plan to succeed… But seeing it, seeing them, is not quite the same, is it?

        • Not at all. I was thinking it was just when the demons came through that the populace would be in trouble. I didn’t expect an outright sacrificial offering.

          • SofiaT

            Yep, me neither.

            Logically, considering everything, that should hardly make a difference. But it does.

            C’mon, YP, where the hell are you??

          • Well it’s like Eddie Izzard said. A large number you kinda think well done, but smaller numbers…

            We need the YP signal. Someone turn on the YP signal. It works for Batman.

          • SofiaT

            I told ya, Eddie knows his shit.

          • Yes, yes he does.

          • Steven K.

            !!! (Ditto that.)

  • ……… well, ain’t that a kick in the chest.

    • Steven K.

      Exactly so.

    • Caffienated

      I’d say a kick in the teeth =p
      By the looks of some of their clothes, they look like they’ve been living on the streets before they got picked up as a human sacrifice.

  • stickfigurefairytales

    My best guess at the reading on that countdown clock (in the upper right of the last panel) is 9 hours, 26 minutes, and 4 seconds, so it looks like we know how fast the Young Protectors need to be.

    • Jakk Anthony Guzman

      Yes, assuming that it’s around 9 in the morning then the ritual will take place around sunset.

      • That greatly depends on the time of year. Winter sunsets would be around 4-5 PM, spring and fall 6-7 PM, and summer 8-9 PM. If it were to be a sunset it would have to be currently around 10:36-11:36 AM in the summer, 8:36-9:36 AM in the spring or fall, or 6:36-7:36 AM in the winter..roughly.

        • Jakk Anthony Guzman

          Yes, I agree. It also makes a difference how close or distant you are from the Equator. The closer the less difference there is.
          The people in the box look like they are dressed for late spring or summer.

          We also don’t know if it’s a countdown clock or just a regular clock. If it’s a countdown clock, then we know exactly when it’s going to happen.

          • What kind of worries me is why it is on the inside of the glass cage.

          • Jakk Anthony Guzman

            Yes, I noticed that too. It’s not a good sign.

  • SofiaT

    Damn.
    And Sircea has been wondering why he’s been brooding? I’d break his knees if he didn’t feel at least a hint of remorse and hesitation.

    And I say this with all the love I have for Duncan.

  • silibub

    Holding hands and surveying their sacrificial victims, isn’t that sweet.

  • mogoskier

    GOD DAMN IT

  • stickfigurefairytales

    You’d think that the people would be able to take the tape off their mouths, given that their hands are tied in front of them. But maybe they were threatened with unpleasant consequences if they did.

    • SofiaT

      If they scream, will anyone listen? 🙁

      • stickfigurefairytales

        They could sing really annoying songs? That way, they might still die but the songs would get stuck in Duncan and Sircea’s heads for ages to come.

        • The wheels on the bus go round and round… 😐

          • Jakk Anthony Guzman

            all through the town…

        • stickfigurefairytales

          Also, I would seriously consider trying to breathe on the glass to fog it up and write “Fuck you” on it with my finger. Backwards, so that Duncan and Sircea could read it.

          • stickfigurefairytales

            It’s probably for the best that I’m not a prisoner. I think I would get myself killed rather quickly.

          • SofiaT

            I’m pretty confrontational and I hate being forced to do anything so I’d probably headbutt Sircea… and live to regret it.

        • EXACTLY

        • Librarican

          I work with children…. I have an endless repertoire.
          This is the song that never ends…
          John Jacob jingle heimerschmidt
          Let it Go from Frozen (oh wait….)

          • Steven K.

            Wheels on the Bus, Hokey Pokey

          • Or if they really want to be obnoxious, “I love you, you love me.”….they could even either do it in rounds, or as chain…

            Could you just imagine the looks of horror on PP and Anni’s faces if their sacrifices started singing THIS song? Especially if they were smiling and hugging and pecking on the check for those parts of the song?

          • Librarican

            I think PP would enjoy more the parody version that talks about killing Barney.

        • Titan4Ever

          Tom’s Diner remix by Suzanne Vega?

        • D. Garrett

          or they could at least attempt plotting escape.

  • LimpBiskit

    Oh. Oh, dear.

  • silibub

    This is chilling, and the fact that they’ve literally been looking at their victims the whole time they’ve been arguing this out adds a new layer of horror to the scenario, but I wonder — can the people in the box hear what’s going on out there? Clearly they can see, but it seems a little undignified for Duncan and Sircea to have had their whole spat in “public,” as it were. Although imagining the desperate hope they would have felt at Duncan’s expressions of doubt, and the awful realization that he’s going through with it after all…call Emeril, someone just kicked the villainy up a notch.

    • There are air holes at the top. Unless Sircea put some sort of spell to stop sound.

  • So they have taped mouths. To prevent them from screaming now or later?

    Duncan did say that Kyle was safer around Laampros in hell since he couldn’t speak. Same goes for these poor people?

    They can take it off, but might have been told that was a veeery bad idea.

    • stickfigurefairytales

      I get the feeling that there isn’t really a “safe” option for them here.

      • They might not know that!

        • stickfigurefairytales

          That’s true.

      • mogoskier

        There can be a “less painful” option though.

    • SofiaT

      I think that keeping these poor people safer is not part of the plan…

      • Right .. well, I kinda hope they haven’t been told that truth up front. It’s already one thing to have been kidnapped.

        • SofiaT

          I take it that both Sircea and The Annihilator are rather infamous. So it’s not just that they’ve been kidnapped, they’ve been kidnapped by the world’s most fearsome super-villains.

          I think their stress levels must be through the roof.

  • I just…. I just… I am just without words for this. Well, pleasant words. I need to sit on this for a bit.

    • DC

      Yeah, I can’t repeat what I said when first seeing those people.

  • Jakk Anthony Guzman

    I see ten people there. Could there be 12 or 13?
    6 males and 4 females. If there are two more and they are females then the sexes would be even…just wondering if it makes a difference.

    • SofiaT

      Seven boys and seven girls, an offer to the minotaur :0/

      • mogoskier

        To restart the matrix.

  • silibub

    Is it weird to say that, in a way, I’m glad it’s people in the box? It brings the reality of what they’re sacrificing into sharper relief, since now we can actually see some of the victims. It’s easier to rationalize the notion of harming billions when you don’t have to look at any of them while you think about it.

    • SofiaT

      This comic never ceases to test our emotions.
      Just when you think you got them under check, bam! There’s another shock to your system. Just to keep you on your moral toes.

    • Jakk Anthony Guzman

      Very good observation, Silibub.

    • Klaus

      As was said in another, real world, context: one death is a tragedy, one houndred deaths is a national disaster, six million deaths is statistics.

  • Hours

    Oh my.

    O_O

  • Dave Nguyen

    Please tell me these people are just here for the gay romance and they’re crying because their OTPs aren’t canon.

    • SofiaT

      And their tears are for Duncan’s and Sircea’s joined hands!

  • Precious

    ಠ_ಠ And I hate him again Dx -Cries-

  • Dennis Grace

    In-laws who’ve overstayed their welcome?

  • Now I really, really want to know what the primary appetite of Laampros’ demons is, since that’s what most likely will keep most of them alive. Will these first people be so lucky to STAY part of the alive group? .. what ever alive will mean in this case.

    PP want’s her immortalilty back, to be powerfull and worshipped once again.. og and of course repair the walls and save the earth. There has to be some left to rule over later.
    Anni wants to repair the walls and in the process it’s nice to get a few benefits like immortality and youth back (it has to pay off, right).. and sacrificing a few billions are worth it. But save the world!
    For both, in the end some survive, the world will be saved with all means necessary. (And they get what they want too. Nothing could possibly be wrong with that?)

    I love this comic for the possible debates on heros vs. anti-heroes vs. actual villains .. or someone who might just be a little too power sick (*CoughBonkersCough*) by our current society.
    If someone is ready to do unspeakable things in the name of saving the earth, and personal benefits, is that person truly a villain.. or an anti-hero?
    In this case, does the line split somewhere between Duncan and Sircei, did they both cross the line.. or have neither completely crossed it yet?

    Now there’s a question I’m sure people have different answers to 😉

  • You know.. this current scene must have been really creepy from the view of those in the box (more than for the rest of us).

    Duncan was sitting and staring at them, all broody (even though he might not really have ‘seen’ them in his thinkings), and then their talk happens with Sircei having a great theatrical act, leaning against the box and laughing – all while they probably sat in a panic watching it.
    Now both Duncan and Sircei actually have the focus on them (this is the first time we see Duncan touch the box) – and I’m not sure the people in the box find that one bit more likable.

  • Klaus

    Now that Alex has shown us these people, I don’t believe that he will allow themk to be sacrificed. Our heroes will get here in time, and they will stop the ritual.

  • I wonder if that clock in the box is a count down, or shows the actual time (9.28am) and it’s counting until it reaches a certain time.
    One of those little details that’s interesting from reader perspective.

  • SofiaT

    Ar these… loudspeakers/woofers next to the clock?
    If they are, what on earth for?

    Or maybe this whole metal structure -poles, wires and all- is a bomb? The bomb goes boom and the simultaneous death of these people produces the metaphysical energy necessary to break the walls between the realms -energy that the glass case keeps compacted and contained till it’s needed? That would be like how Lord Asriel needed to sacrifice a child and use the power released by his death to build a bridge between universes His Dark Materials trilogy… (Of course, to save said universes, why else?)

    I had commented before on how much Duncan reminds me of Asriel but damn these two could be twins!

    • Jakk Anthony Guzman

      Interesting idea. I was wondering too what all the metal poles and wires were for. And why have a clock or a countdown clock in there.

    • Acintyabedhabedhadasa

      That looks like a scoreboard clock, like for a basketball game.

  • oh well…actually, not to be rude Alex, this is something that pisseds me the fuck off as stupid fucking “humans” trash the planet, destroy the oceans, and deforest massive amounts of the rain forest…

    so that just pisses me the fuck off as it feels like we are constantly living w/a bullshit moral code rammed down our throats by Christianity/Catholicisim that basically says, “It’s okay to destory the environment, but not okay to hurt fellow people”

    la la la

    in other news…

    • D. Garrett

      seems to me the damage being done to the planet is done by all religions and nations albeit in various degrees.

    • Falconfly

      Dear, many other religions also spout the whole “humans are superior” thing, including religious seen as “pagan” such as greek polytheism (hint: all the cases o the gods transforming people into animals are punitive for a reason) and egyptian mythology (where Set’s injustices are actually used to justify mistreating animals and nature, his domains).

      • not really not exactly:

        The cultural structures contained and powered by the minds etc of those on Earth or wherever are specifically established and maintained via-

        “God” (uh…Christian/Catholic/Israeli)

        [maybe Islam too…I just don’t know anything about them at all and I’m fucking done with religious bullshit]

        “God” is in that specific word form precisely and exactly of those few religions.

        Furthermore,

        “Jesus” then utterly worsens the matter and that is again totally just Christians/Catholics–

        Their shit has infected the collective consciousness of this entire planet and it’s destroying everything.

  • Acintyabedhabedhadasa

    Okay, so I was wrong to expect an angel in the box.

    Let’s see…we know (or at least have been told by Duncan) that the villains don’t touch under-18-year-olds. All of these people could be around that age, except for the one obviously older guy. Are they sacrificing virgins?

  • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild

    Hey, does anyone think Purple Shirt looks a bit like Jeff from Artifice?

    • SofiaT

      I think Purple Shirt is a woman.

      • Jakk Anthony Guzman

        Seems that way to me too.

    • Steven K.

      A little maybe. Though, unlike Sofia and Jakk below, my impression wasn’t that it was a woman, Actually, to me, the only one that really looks female to me is the one in green in the foreground, and possibly the one in grey just behind (from our perspective).

      • Klaus

        Left to right, they look to me to be 4 males, don’t know, female, don’t know, propably female, 2 males.

  • Terri Sutton

    Those don’t look like a key.

    • SofiaT

      Maybe not, but it looks like their sacrifice is key to the gates opening?

      • Terri Sutton

        Damn you metaphors! Damn you!

        When I first heard about the keys, I was honestly expecting these giant ornate keys. I thought that the giant ring they were building was a keyhole. Whenever they talk about keys opening dimensional doorways, the keys are always a metaphor. Just once, I would like to see a picture of a giant key. Perhaps the picture being the villain being very tiny compared to the key as they try to lift it.

        • SofiaT

          I still think the second key is an object but it’s likely to be an object that will be used in the sacrifice. Maybe it’s in that glass case as well -we hardly have a full view of it.

          It would be hilarious seeing the minions trying to fit a huge ornate key into that ring, lifting like mules, straining under the weight while Sircea gives directions: “A bit more to the left… Not that left, the other left, you incompetent fools!”

          • Terri Sutton

            The image I saw in my mind was Dr. Doom trying to lift a key slightly larger than himself saying; “When I heard that it was an actual key this time I thought it would be easy.”

          • Klaus

            One of the mosty ridiculous things in Superman is the key to the Fortress of Solitude. It is disguised as a pointer of the way for air planes. Now, why do those pilots not notice that it is missing when Superman is using it? It is even shown hanging from two pegs on a wall in the fortress, so it is missing all the time he spends there. And in one story, long after it has been established that the door is impregnable and that only Superman can lift the key, an intruder enters through the keyhole. A possibilty the superhumanly intelligent Superman overlooked when designing his impregnable door.

          • Terri Sutton

            If the giant key to the dimensional doorways has a giant keyhole that is always there, then perhaps people walking through it is how individuals can cross the trans-dimensional barriers.

          • i know…his fucking key was so fucking ridiculous…

          • Steven K.

            I don’t think Doom would have had a problem. I also would like to see the P.P. try to verbally or intellectually spar with him. He’s said to be as brilliant as Reed Richards, and was also a sorcerer himself, combining magic and technology. He would have had that dimensional portal constructed by the time he was out of his teens, Hmmm…I think he actually did have any number of those since his early history and subsequently.

          • I volunteer as a minion, then. I’ll never learn that left/right-thing….

        • Klaus

          Or a key ring.

          There is another key: http://webcomics.yaoi911.com/archive/ete-ch2-page-40/

          But activating it is no simple thing, as we already know: http://webcomics.yaoi911.com/archive/ete-ch3pt1-page-21/

          • Terri Sutton

            But this page has me questioning everything. Was that key a real key or was it merely a visual manifestation of a metaphor. I have so many questions and not enough large ornate keys being lifted by villains.

        • Cydney Sabin

          Pull the lever, Kronk!

    • Garnasha

      Oh god, that put me in mind of a ritual/riddle… Quoting a small part to prevent walls of text (googling it should give you the full version):

      At the first twilight, you shall lift up as sacrifice the six chosen by the key.
      At the second twilight, those who remain shall tear apart the two who are close.
      At the third twilight, you shall praise my honourable name on high.

      Then it describes a further 5 sacrifices (in a specific order, with specific instructions how to kill them), after which “the witch shall be revived and none shall be left alive” and then promises that if you make it past that step, everyone and everything shall be revived/restored, it’ll rain gold and the witch will be put to sleep forever.

      So yeah. Calling it now: the first six sacrifices shall be chosen by the key. The rest of the riddle also isn’t too hard to fit in here.

  • Jeldenil

    Oh dear, are those our heroes’ family members?

    • Klaus

      I don’t see Kyle’s dad in there.

      • Jakk Anthony Guzman

        Nope, not in there. He’s the guest of honor. 😉

      • Steven K.

        Yet. Those are the bait.

  • Steven K.

    Jeez – looks like we are going back into very dark territory again – visually overtly – being ripped apart emotionally again – yeah – was looking forward to that. And why would Duncan be SURPRISED that he enjoyed being with Kyle. There aren’t a lot of 58yo gay men (or those of any age) who wouldn’t just about sell their soul to have a romantic experience with a barely-18, built, buff, nice, decent, cute, hot, handsome, virgin boy. Why would it be surprising that one could actually enjoy something or someone like that. C’mon now,

    • Jakk Anthony Guzman

      Steven, you can’t trust anything they say to each other and most of the time to anyone else either. Each one may have his/her own agenda and may be planning on screwing over the other in the end.

      Edit: It’s been too calm. I’m ready to be ripped apart emotionally again. 😉

      • Steven K.

        The first part of what you said – of course that is the case, but my comment didn’t have anything to do with that. And as to the other, I’m just ready for some good or positive emotions for a change – in reality or fantasy when they don’t come in reality. There has been much more darkness and heaviness here than light so far. But I suppose seeing a prison crammed full of innocent people about to be sacrificed is nothing compared to the deaths of millions – unless you happen to be one of those people or someone close to them. Death is all around us and happening to us by the millions all the time, and we don’t think a lot of it – it’s only wen it strikes close to home that we get addled. Not sure what point I’m trying to make there, other than hoping that a little (or a lot) more horror in the story might be avoided – so thus I also hope for a timely arrival of the heroes.

    • Jakk Anthony Guzman

      To add to what I said below, I think he’s telling her what she wants to hear. I don’t trust a single word that comes out of their mouths.

    • Nate

      Because there’s a difference between making love and BEING in love.

      The question is… is he being sincere? And if so, to whom? Did he just “enjoy” being with Kyle, or does he actually care about him? If the latter, then he may have just succeeded in lying to Sircea’s face.

      • Steven K.

        Um…people do enjoy “making love” (I think you mean simply having sex); and on the other hand, being in love can often be totally unenjoyable and downright torture, especially if the feeling isn’t reciprocated.

        • Klaus

          “Nothing takes the taste out of tea quite like unrequited love.” Charlie Brown.

    • john Johnson

      He’s surprised because he’s come to think of himself as the hard hearted pragmatic villain. And he thought he was simply acting out of necessity in seducing our young Prince of hell. Or was Laampros twisting the truth there?

  • Pikinanou

    *falls down her chair* OMG I wasn’t expecting that!

  • Annannd

    Well shit.

  • timemonkey

    Oh no, the bad people are about to do something bad, the shock and horror! Seriously, why are so many people surprised by this? They were just casually discussing the torture and deaths of millions.

    • Klaus

      Duncan has never killed anyone on purpose, remember?

      • timemonkey

        Says who?

      • Steven K.

        Although…..is there any reason why we should believe anything that Duncan told Kyle? He lied to him in various ways – that could have been one as well.

        • Klaus

          Kyle researched the Annihilator before their latest date. At the start of chapter 2, he tells Duncan some of what he found. Duncan has not commited any crimes for 6 years. At least none that have got mentioned in the papers. That Duncan never killed anyone on pupose, must come from this research also. Duncan makes no such claim, and if he had Kyle would no longer have believed him by chapter 3.

    • Falconfly

      I guess the whole “for the greater good” thing they had going made the people used to binary morality assume they fell on the good side of the fence.

  • john Johnson

    So why don’t the captives pull the tape off?

    • Jakk Anthony Guzman

      I’m sure if they could have, they would have. Maybe they tried and it won’t come off? Maybe some magic is involved and they are powerless to remove it.

      • larry

        It’s spello tape!

      • Tahir Raines

        Or they have been punished severely whenever they did so. Or the ones who did so were punished so severely that they no longer are alive.

      • Pikinanou

        Sircea would be tapping the glass and scolding them, if they did: “Hey you, put it back. Don’t make me come in here!” 😛

  • Jose O. Gonzalez Lopez

    I love you

    • KauaiJ

      Awwww… thanks!

  • Jose O. Gonzalez Lopez

    What the Frick just happened. Where did those ugly people come from. Why does the clock say 3 hours 38 minutes and 4 seconds?

    • First, I wouldn’t call them ugly. It’s just scared people. 2nd the clock say 09:28:04.

  • Inuhime

    I don’t know what I was expecting would be in the cube, but the first time I saw people I went *GASP*, but then my mind kicked in and went ‘yeah of course it’s people’. LOL I shouldn’t have been surprised.

  • Garnasha

    Hmm, does that fourth figure from the right look kind of familiar to anyone else? Not completely, but just enough to remind me of someone… Where’s our friendly gay terminator?

    • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild

      Ha! I knew Purple Shirt was very Jeff-like!

    • John

      Well spotted! I didn’t see that until you pointed it out (maybe I should change my avatar out of shame)

  • Acintyabedhabedhadasa

    Notice also that none of the victims are fat. This is statistically unlikely, unless perhaps they’ve been in there for a really long time (and then how are they going to the bathroom?). A clue, or just an artistic oversight?

    • Garnasha

      Ehm, wow. I never realized how huge the difference between the continents is. This group looks perfectly normal to me. But then, I live in Europe (Netherlands, Nijmegen, but it’s the same in all cities here). If it seems unlikely to have 8 non-obese Americans in a random sample, I really want to know what you guys put in your food.

      On that note, I do know someone who went there, gained some weight (even correcting for growth), came back, lost it again, was told by a doctor (unintended weight loss being suspicious) that this was perfectly normal(!) if you visited the USA and came back.

      From then on, I started suspecting that either (a) food quality in the USA sucks, requiring you to eat a lot to feel full and get enough nutrients or (b) the meat’s laced with growth hormones, improperly regulated, which, importantly, also act on humans.

      Either way, it (among other things) makes me glad I don’t live there, which I’m given to understand is an alien concept to most Americans.

      By the way, by my standards, numbers 2 and 3 from the left, as well as the second from the right, look rather heavy to me. Not obese, but could lose a few pounds unless they got that shape from a physically demanding job.

      • fujoshifanatic

        Unfortunately you are right on both counts. The processed foods in the U.S. are of very poor quality, and are specifically designed to make people crave and eat more of it than they should–for very little nutritional benefit–and most of our meat is pumped full of growth hormones, such to the point where we have to pay exorbitant prices to buy meat that is raised on actual, natural food. :-

        • Garnasha

          Blech. I’m not sure what to count as processed food, but I do think I’m starting to understand why some people around here seem paranoid about mainstream food. They’re listening to facts about the American food industry and thinking those apply to our own food.

          As far as I know, in Europe, you pay a premium for reducing the ethical problems with food production (animal suffering, human exploitation, pollution), but whatever you pay, the food is always safe and nourishing (and usually filling). That’s a benefit of strong regulations, nowadays mostly to norms set by the EU.

          Funny thing is, I disagree with quite a few things in the EU (expansionism, fundamental economic liberalism, anti-Keynesian agreements), which puts me in the EU-sceptic camp, but I’m still glad for a lot of the rules they impose. (I also don’t worry about EULAs anymore. Either they’re reasonable, or they’re illegal under EU law)

          • John

            The EU needs reform, quite clearly, but it is, on the whole, a good thing.

            But unless ‘Brussels’ learns to A) Share power and B) be accountible the EU won’t last.

      • Patrick Parker

        in a sense you’re right but where i live in the US (California) my area has a lot of obese people to california standard. In this picture most california people look like that. BUT we are also one of the healthier states. I eat a lot but i also do work out a lot. Seriously according to my doctors im not taking in enough calories. So to me this picture wasn’t a surprise at all.

      • Corn syrup. But basically what Fujoshifanatic said. We do pay a premium for food without additives. Plus, most people don’t seem to actually look at freaking labels.

      • Acintyabedhabedhadasa

        Identifying so many adult virgins would be a challenge as well, especially if we are ruling out (how shall I put this?) those who do not fit prevailing standards of beauty and fitness. I figure the victims are from West Coast Baptist College, or somewhere like that. The old guy is their bus driver.

      • Sarah314159

        You’re talking about the country that brought MacDonalds to the world…

    • Aza

      they’re villains. they have the power to grab anyone they like – why would they bother with people who will be a problem to even transport to the ritual site (aka, be moved into the glass box)? besides, a healthy specimen probably has more life-force to be used up in the evil ritual. There’s still enough not-obese people in the US or wherever they grabbed them tho easily get ahold of 10-50. who will be able to run when they’re told an not die of a heart attack before the ritual is done…

      I personally like how it’s male characters who are seen crying. as it’s still such a taboo in many cultures, I like this more realistic depiction. this ia terrifyingly stressful situation for the kidnapped people – and crying is a common and normal reaction if you’re in that situation.

    • JozefAL

      Since they all seem to be male, I’d suppose that the victims were selected by Duncan and/or Sircea based specifically on their physical appeal (as opposed to the character played by ScarJo in “Under the Skin”–where the victims were picked based on how likely they would be to be missed).

      Then again, a basic principle of any sacrifice is to offer the “finest” or “best”–rather than whatever’s available. That’s why Cain’s offering was presumably rejected (because he just gathered some grain/vegetables at random) whereas Abel’s is accepted (the Scripture clearly states that Abel selected his FINEST lamb).

      And, of course, serial killers (and, given their plans, Duncan and Sircea most certainly qualify as “serial killers”) do tend to be pretty picky about their victims. Serial killings are almost always planned out with a specific “type” of victim; it may take the police some investigating to determine what that particular “type” is but invariably there IS some link between the victims (the most obvious being physical appearance). In this case, of course, the victims aren’t *yet* dead (marking the major difference between D&S and standard serial killers) but that’s a little nitpicky.

      • Klaus

        What makes you think they are all male? The woman in green looks female to me.

        • Aidan

          bisexual Duncan hmm go figure

        • Timothy Carpenter

          Yeah, looks female to me, too – as well as the one behind her, facing our evil pair…

      • Acintyabedhabedhadasa

        So you’re saying that Duncan and Sircea are lookist as well as megalomaniacal!

        • Sarah314159

          Duncan and Sircea are both pretty pretty people who like to flaunt what they’ve got, so I could see them choosing their victims by the same standards. Or maybe they just happened to snag these folks off of a jogging trail ’cause it was a good place to set a trap.

    • D. Garrett

      fat people are harder to drag/lift into the vehicle the minions used. the minions just made their jobs easier.

    • Falconfly

      Fat privilige, the landwhale illuminati ensures no fat people are ever used for utopian “for the greater good” designs.

    • too funny!

  • Justin

    Sad.

    • Thanks for this one-word post. A perfect word to describe an emotionally evocative, challenging and hard image. I agree. It makes me feel ‘sad’ also. It’s hard, on pages like this, to be stuck in serial storytelling… especially when I very much want to turn the page NOW.

      Even though the characters are fictional, the idea of their pain and sorrow is difficult and “sad”. Tears aren’t easy for me when a group of character are robbed of agency like this. I can’t help but feel the touches of Godwin’s law in much of this discussion regarding the “greater good.”

      I found Kyle’s emotional ‘rape’ and the journey to hell also very “sad”. So, I understand your post and this word all too well.

      I’m just hoping that even though Alex occasionally surprises us with these very hard ideas and images, that he’ll also have some surprises soon that will uplift us, bringing some emotional relief and joy. I’m hanging in with lots of hope. Good luck to you also.

      Best,
      ChrisD

      • Justin

        Thank you for putting into words what I couldn’t. Sad was the first thing I typed, then I spent the next few minutes writing and deleting how I felt, because that one word really is stronger and more accurate than anything else.

  • Shi

    Hory Shite

  • fujoshifanatic

    Unholy hell…well, as usual, I didn’t see that coming. Those poor people! I hope Kyle and the gang are really close to pinpointing this site soon. Now that Duncan and Sircea have made up and the minions are back to work from their break, I don’t think one of the “sacrifices” that he’s talking about involves letting these people go. :-

    Awesome page as usual; the looks of confusion and terror on those prisoners’ faces in the last panel are fantastic, although I think the fellow on the far right who is crying is missing some color on his eyebrows. Just thought I’d point that out..

    *Runs off to spend time on TV Tropes while bandaging the knuckles that were gnawed on after reading this page*

  • Shi

    So so so speechless. Did NOT see that coming

  • John

    So. Life-force eh?

    Still not sure why Duncan is needed though.

    • Jakk Anthony Guzman

      He’s the one that made the deal, and the one that bears the mark of Laampros on his arm. He is needed to complete the deal.

      I’m wondering though, what is going to happen to that mark on his arm? Is it going to disappear once the deal is completed or is it permanent?

      • John

        It’s a good question.

        You’re probably right about him needing to be there to seal the deal (and presumably bear the consequences of failure should this all go pear-shaped) but I’m still trying to reconcile his requests with mending the viel. Does Princess intend to wield the power of a demon in order to do so? Kyle’s new-found pappi perhaps?

        THAT would be a frightening thought; that she could do that.

      • Wayne Lunkwitz

        One would not “trust” that the demon of Hell would be honest…because you just don’t get to Hell by being honest.

        • Acintyabedhabedhadasa

          What a prejudiced thing to say!

        • Tahir Raines

          Tbf, I assume Laampros was born in Hell so his moral alignment would have nothing to do with his current home.

    • Frater Gymnos

      Because Sircea is going to betray him too. I think she’ll use him as a shield against the full power of Lampros, imho.

  • Frater Gymnos

    What a powerful end to a delightfully rich and informative sequence!

  • D. Garrett

    i just feel so sad for those people. ;_;

  • Tuolu

    This is simply awesome. : D I think for some reason I should have guessed at this, but I didn’t. Kind of makes it even more comical that Sircea was dramatically laying against the box a bit ago.

  • Wayne Lunkwitz

    Looks like a lot more than 7 virgins to get into this “Heaven” they are about to bring to Earth.

    • Acintyabedhabedhadasa

      If the idea is to sacrifice virgins, then the victims can escape just by having sex with each other. Or even just thingie-smushing, since it has already been established that non-penetrative sex counts.

      • Steven K.

        Wow – that would be a welcome change – the victims/captives save themselves from the horrors to come by breaking into an orgy-behind-glass for all of us to see. Good idea. Unless that is what they are supposed to do to provide various exudates necessary for the ritual – like Kyle’s fire-gasm. Semen has been used as a powerful substance in ritual magic for many hundreds of years.

      • hilarious!

  • Dakejev

    I wonder if that clock in the sacrificial pen is a countdown or current time? It seems to be 09:26:04 – so either it’s about half past nine in the morning, or there’s 9 and a half something (would presume hours instead of minutes, based on how construction is still unfinished) left until… well, until the end of the world.

  • Niggle

    Wow, that reveal actually made me gasp a little. o.0 Obviously I hadn’t been thinking enough about the glass box.

  • SSF

    Holy crap. My heart jumped and my jaw dropped. I feel like I just watched the end of a fast paced episode of a thriller or something. Wow.

  • Shinashi

    Nope. Wasn’t expecting something like this. Not even a little bit. I was actually sort of confused why they were making a big fuss over making some sort of gate or portal. Buuuuuut now I see

    • Klaus

      A portal that would let in “considerable” forces of demons, who would dominate most of the earth. For years in the best case, forever if something goes wrong.

  • Sarah314159

    Wow. What an *amazingly* shocking twist of art and writing. Pages of touchy-feely talky stuff, and then WHAM. I literally felt it in my gut when I saw that last panel. I’m in awe of how well-done this was.

  • Rae Goldberg

    O.o People gun Die…

  • bronakopdin

    holy…

    I mean I knew there was something horrible hidden behind thas glass cage… but people!? and so MANY!?!?!

    seriously, and the Sircea is asking why he has second thoughts?

    You really see which of them is still human and which is not :/

    (given that Sircea is actually human ^^ who knows?)

    oh those plot twists… now it’s really just about the “lesser evil” … sacrificing a lot of people… to save “most” of the others… now if there really is NO OTHER WAY as Sircea claims it to be (!) then this sure seems to be the better option…

    but our young protectors don’t even know about any catastrophe to come so they sure will intervene if they arrive in time!

    there will be no time to explain and seriously… if some proved criminals that just betrayed me/my friend claims it’s a must to kill a bunch of people to do sth good… I wouldn’t believe it one bit… so the question is what will happen?!?!?

    will our heroes come in time and save the people?
    Will they be in time but NOT able to save them?
    Will they not even BE in time?
    In either of those two will there be some time THEN to explain?
    Will even anyone be willing to listen to any of that?
    or what is my biggest concern right now: is it a good idea to really believe there is NO OTHER WAY?!?!?
    it might be just the best possible option for whatever Sircea is planning…
    holy too many options right now…

    • Derkins

      will duncan die if TYP’s save the human sacrifices, because they won’t be able to go through with everything? this could get messy.

      • bronakopdin

        there is so much that could actually happen… which is driving me crazy right now xD

      • Jakk Anthony Guzman

        He will die if he doesn’t complete the ritual.

        If the TYP can find another way to prevent the walls from collapsing, Kyle may be able to help Duncan in some way if Duncan helps them to stop the collapse using another way.

        The one demon that Duncan made a bargain with turns out to be Kyles’ father. Hmmm? Could there be something there? Could Kyle do something on his own or convince his dad not to kill Duncan?

        • Steven K.

          Or, on the other hand, is Kyle going to say, at last, “Slit his unworthy throat, Pops!” I don’t think Kyle is quite that much out for blood or quite as vengeful to that degree, but you never know – A.W. likes to deal out the unexpected.

          • Jakk Anthony Guzman

            If Duncan is crucial in helping them repair the walls and save humanity, then I can see Kyle forgiving him. Whether they can ever have a relationship is another matter. I don’t see Kyle as the vengeful, bloodthirsty type.

  • DoktorNauk

    I feel like a lot of people want to believe the worst of Sircea and the best of Duncan. I hope it will end up being less black and white then that.

    • For me I wouldn’t say that it’s as much as believing in the worst of Sircei and best of Duncan, but more that so far Sircei hasn’t given that much reason/signs to something where I COULD believe in the best of her.

      Duncan HAS shown some mixed emotions about it all, but to expect the best.. nope, I’m not there yet. That mix of emotions also makes him highly unpredicatable. He’s a wild card. I can hope he’ll switch over to follow his conscience and good sides, but I don’t expect him to turn all goody two shoes again. It’s too late for that.

      Sircei, now she has been very forward about her wishes and has shown no doubt in what she’s doing, and the belief that she’s right. Oki, she DOES want to restore the walls and save the world, so I guess that leaves a bit of hope, but it’s hard to say wether that comes first or if her personal desires do. Right now it looks a lot like the latter. She’s shown no mercy in her path to get what she wants. She’s scary in her ruthlessness.
      Until she shows anything that can make me believe in a better Sircei, I can only expect she’ll continue to be the same as now – and that’s bad.

  • Evoru

    What makes a hero, I wonder? If Kyle wasn’t presented to us as a hero, would we think him anything more than a naive young man (who may ultimately be evil, as he is about the best example of “the spawn of Satan” I’ve seen since The Omen)? A naive young man who may end up dooming us all when he blunders into the middle of things trying to “save the day” by freeing the sacrifices?

    If we’d been following their story, might not Sircea and Duncan play out as the tragic heroes, “hell-bent” on saving the world, or however much they could of it, by any means possible? The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few…if they had more time, they might have even found people willing to sacrifice themselves in a ritual to save the world. Our ancestors sacrificed themselves in order to keep the crops growing and the sun rising, after all.

    We don’t know how much longer the walls between the worlds are going to hold, after all. Long enough for a coffee break? Next Tuesday? Next year? A decade from now? Sircea has a solution now. Throwing that solution away because it doesn’t fit into today’s definition of “good” doesn’t make sense when there’s no backup plan ready to go.

    • Jakk Anthony Guzman

      Don’t forget that we only have Sircea’s word for all of that. How much of it is it really true?

      Are the walls really about to collapse any time soon? We don’t really know, that’s what she says.

      Is there or are there other ways if indeed the walls are about to collapse? Sircea won’t tell you because any alternative don’t lead to her acquiring more power.
      We are hearing only one side of the story here.

      She says that the greyworking weakened her, did it really? Could she have been up to something and it backfired on her? Perhaps she is responsible for the walls weakening in the first place.

      Without other points of view, we really don’t know. And Sircea is not a trustful character.

    • This comment would co-excist pretty well (as a reply) with one I made shortly after the page was up 🙂
      Questioning the whole moral debate in heroes vs. anti-heroes vs. villains. How Alex is opening the story for a lot of debate about where the line is between each ‘title’.

    • Meh..fuck it (sorry) :

      Presently, I like to think of it as the Pratchett supposition:

      “justice” / “goodness” / “love” / “morality” / “ethics”

      These ideas are as much a lie as Santa Claus or The Tooth Fairy; and thus, in order to “believe” in the “big lies” like “justice” we must “believe” in the “little lies” and he articulates this very well in “The Hogfather”__

      To me, most everyone on Earth have only themselves to blame for the utter erosion of whatever etc etc__

      As so many people on this planet have systematically, whether consciously or not, undermined and destroyed key elements so seemingly insignificant as mythologies and legends…

      …amongst other things…

  • Acintyabedhabedhadasa

    So, who wants to see them rescued, and who wants to see them forced to watch, while still conscious, their collective guts being smeared into a giant pentagram?

    • Madock345

      I plead the fifth.

    • GUTS!

    • Terri Sutton

      Well there hasn’t been any character development for them so I feel overly attached to these “goats”.

    • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild

      Ahem, entrails and disemboweling didn’t happen when Kyle was “sacrificed” to open the gate the first time.

      • Acintyabedhabedhadasa

        Alas, no–he wasn’t even boweled.

  • Sapfo

    I been trying to come up with somethine to write about this page since it came up. What can I say?

    Duncan have to do a real grand gesture, like letting all these people go, trip up the big plane, apologize to Kyle, and also most likely drop a piano on Lamproos if he is to make up for all this.
    What did Duncan do to thouse goates? Why are there people here?

    And what does 09:28:04 mean. Is this the big clock counting down to zero?

    Oki Heros! Stop bickering and get your asses here now….and please if you can….save the car 😉

    • Garnasha

      Hmm, given that they started at 06:37 with the heroes getting into the plane, and a lot of discussion happening since then, could it be 3 hours have passed and the clock is actually a clock, telling us it’s half past nine?

      • Sapfo

        Subject: Re: New comment posted on The Young Protectors: Engaging The Enemy Chapter Three—Page 65

      • Klaus

        We do not know how long time passed while we were reading the bonus comic. They may also be in a different time zone.

  • Klaus

    I just found a picture of Kyle’s birth family. This must be when he was so young that he no longer remembers: http://heltnormalt.dk/dagsson/2014/09/25

    The text says: “Come on, tell the truth.”

  • AliceVenturi

    Well. Color me chagrined. I feel like I should have expected this, but I totally, completely, utterly didn’t. Nice work, Alex! The art leading up to this moment was perfect; just tantalizing glimpses of the glass case/box/whatever. Then the final reveal: not a machine or device or arcane artifact, but people! Very cinematic, actually. The first two thoughts in my head were “Soylent Green is people!” and It’s a cookbook! Great job, Alex, Veronica, and Adam! Soooooo nicely done!

    Duncan is being…interesting. How much of what he said did he actually mean? Clearly, he truly meant some of it; he is a villain, after all. Yet, I get the impression that he’s saying exactly what Sircea needs to hear from him. It seems too calculated, rather than authentic, if you see what I mean. How much of that is what he really feels and how much of it is just placating the walking barrel of dynamite that is Sircea? I would NOT want to be anywhere in the vicinity when the wrong spark ignited her temper.

  • Sapfo

    Do I dare to say that the new Buying time page is up…it is getting kind of hot 😉

    http://buyingtime.the-comic.org/comics/77

  • Crymsm

    Oh snap!

  • Shella_Bluey

    The longer I watch those people in the box (and I looked at this page a lot), the more I don’t want them to die. I wonder who they are. Are they a group of friends? Classmates? Is the older man on the right maybe their professor? Maybe they don’t even know each other. They all wear very casual clothes, just simple shirts. Why? What were they doing before they got kidnaped? Where they chosen for a specific reason, a characteristic they share?

    And why is there a clock/countdown IN the box and not outside? Maybe they told those people: “Look random people, when this countdown gets to zero, you will all die, but don’t despair, your sacrifice will be for the greater good. And now enjoy your stay as long as you can.”

    I wonder what watching those people make our two villains really feel? Entertainment (It’s fun to see people quiver in fear, isn’t it?), indifference (Oh well, they are just nameless people.), some guilt (It’s a really shitty thing to do, yes, but …), disgust with oneself (Darn, it is really hard to look at them, see this horror on their young faces, They are nameless people, but they aren’t faceless any more.).

    And there are many many more questions on my “TYP list of questions”. But I stop now and just say how much I enjoyed this scene. I’m looking forward to see Kyle and the others again soon.

  • PFG9000

    Art question… plot hole…. whateves. Those people’s hands are tied in the front. Their hands are free to take the duct tape from their mouths. Are their mouths magically sealed? I wish this was known or their hands were tied behind their backs otherwise it’s kind of hard to believe they’d just sit there with the tape on their mouths.

    • Klaus

      Would you? Those who placed that tape obviously wants it to stay. Would you dare remove it?

      • PFG9000

        yes I would remove it…i’m defiant like that.

  • SofiaT

    The last panel is like a slap. We’ve all been here for some pages now, munching peanuts and getting completely absorbed in the soap opera that is Sircea and Duncan (“The Very Old & The Restless”), talking about theoretical sacrifices, mind games and debating the philosophical concepts of good/evil. We had gotten a bit too comfortable and a bit heartless as well, I may add. When we talk about billions of people dying as if it’s an abstract thought –although, granted, this is a comic and these people non-existent; but that never stopped us from caring before…– are we really that much different from the villains?

    The last panel brings us back to our humanity with a sudden and well-deserved slap on the face.

    Speaking of slaps, Duncan doesn’t do himself any favors, does he? When it comes to self-flogging, he has to do it properly, perfectionist that he is.
    When he sat there, brooding, he wasn’t just having a moment of doubt, he was forcing himself to contemplate his actions while staring at the tearing, desperate eyes of his future victims. He could have chosen any other place in that clearing to scowl and think deep thoughts, but he chose to do it in front of them, witnessing their fear and despair.
    We know that he’s not without empathy, nor does he enjoy seeing innocents suffer, so that action doesn’t signify indifference or callousness but rather a conscious choice of a man who takes full responsibility of the bad things he’s done and plans on doing.

    Call him what you want, but Duncan is no coward.

    • Baby Buddha on a Biscuit it’s a slap. A really really hard slap.

    • A very interesting and thoughtful analysis, Sofia.

      And I love “The Very Old & The Restless”…

      • SofiaT

        Isn’t it great how I always manage to present Duncan as the tormented Byronic hero? 😀

        • He would have it no other way. 🙂

          • SofiaT

            He should seriously consider me for his PR agent.
            I’m practically doing the job already, for free!

            Can you put in a good word to him for me?

          • Oh, don’t worry. He knows all about you and he appreciates your efforts. In fact, just the other day, he said he wanted me to get you a plane ticket to North America. I asked to what city and he said it didn’t particularly matter, just the soonest flight. I wonder what that was about?

            Weird, huh?

          • SofiaT

            *Sofia tosses random clothes into a suitcase and frantically tries to find her passport*

    • Terri Sutton

      May I change the title to; “The Very Old and Mildly Restless”.

      Excellent point, something I wasn’t really thinking about, why was Duncan staring into the faces of his soon to be victims?

      • SofiaT

        “The Very Old and The Still-going-with-the-plan Restless” 😛

        • “The Very Old and the Restlessly Brooding”

        • Terri Sutton

          “The Extremely Old and Dubiously Restless”. 😉

        • HA!

    • Adam Black

      This doesnt seem any worse, ( and actually a few steps less evil ) then burning down an apartment building full of people in order to get a date.

      I called him a sociopath at that reveal , and I stand by it.

      I’m only surprised this isnt filled with kittens, also.

      I see Betrayal in his heart. But I think he likes to be provoked so he can self-justify his actions. I think the PP has done quite a lot of provoking.

      You called him correctly long ago in the Scorpion Parable. You were right then, and you are still right.

      Team Pitchfork doesnt forgive, and we dont forget!
      Still with me @Chris Dangerfield: disqus ?

      When he stabs the Poor Platinum Priestess in the back, ( and threatens the whole universe ? ) it isnt a return to being Good. Its just Duncan being Duncan.

      I mean seriously, with an Ego that large does she think she can show that much contempt for his feelings ? How well does she know gay men? He knows how to act ( she accused him of rehearsing ) and I think he has a backup plan. .

      Maybe it wasnt rehearsing. Maybe it was the main performance.

      • Indeed. I had gone a little numb over time on their joint diabolism, but a clear tank full of crying people waiting to be eaten has kinda revved me up again. I’m still with you. Indeed, burning down buildings for a date… I never even thought to try when I was dating. Maybe that’s why some of my early dates were kinda lousy. Good point, Adam.

        • Adam Black

          ive had a few dates i should have burned down.

        • Adam Black

          You know , Duncan is going to send a handful of Demonkind on a touristsa vacation of Australia for a little while. What could go wrong?
          Look, as long as America is saved , its probably for the best.

          Besides England sent their Hardest criminals there, and they built a fine society. Who are we to judge? Who are we to say that that a handful of demions will be worse than the Brittish were to the Aborigines. They will probably be better!! a little Illegal Immigration is a small price to save the world. They ve been in hell so long, maybe they will prefer somehwere cool, like Antarctica.

          Ive never been to Europe, but Ive read Histoy. Europe,( and Asia ) have been in constant warfare most of History.

          PostWW2 has been the exception. So Its doubtful a few extra demoins will be anyworse than Europeans are usually to themselves anyways.

          Maybe if they give in quickly Laampros will rule wisely, and Justly.

          Do Demons even have immunity to earth microbes?
          As soon as they get to Africa this game is over.

          Malaria. ebola, HIV, west Nile virus, TB , Sleeping sickness. SUffocating lakes geyser… Somebody need to warn Laampros .

          Its painfully obvious Laampros has no idea about Gonorrhea and Syphilis either. He is so confused he thinks this is “paradise” . he si going to be for a looong painful surprise.

      • SofiaT

        Sociopaths feel entitled to grab what it is they want, with no guilt, remorse or trace of empathy.

        There is a sociopath on this page but it’s not Duncan.

        • Adam Black

          Newer research shows its selective. Can be turned off. and back on selctively. Thats what FMRIS show.

          So PP’s rehearsing line is apt. Most sociopaths are not full-on Dexters.

          and Even Dexter showed quite a range when his wife was killed, including guilt ( because he could have prevented it ) .

          I’m comfortable label Duncan a sociopath for burning
          down a tenement full of people, children even babies, just to get a date. Thats classic sociopathy hasnt shown remorse, guilt or empathy for that. There were more people in that Tenement than are in that cage.

          Plus he isnt fully getting what he wants, is he?

          This is the regret of someome who buys an expensive sportscar but is sorry he cant also send his child to college . Before he signs for the car. No, thats just stickershock.

          If he is showing regret or remorse at all its because of what he admitted. He sees something he wants also , and he regrets not being able to have it. Regetting what your bad deeds prevent you from having isnt real remorse. If it doesnt stop you from doing what you want anyway, its insincere .

  • davefragments

    This page now brings the scene into focus. Back on Page 47 when we first see Sircea, Duncan, and the circular device. This is after TYP’s discussion in their plane about what they could or would do if and when they found the dynamic duo.
    Duncan is sitting on a crate staring at the glass box that we now know is filled with victims. Human sacrifices that will enable the “keys to the kingdom” to open a portal between dimensions.
    Sircea opens the dialog with “Penny for your second thoughts” and Duncan proceeds to tell her on the following pages.
    All of his doubts and “second thoughts” and her exposition are presented in 18/19 pages that reveal the extent of her plan.
    HOWEVER,
    Return to the original page (number 47, chapter 3, part 2)
    Why is/was Duncan so pensive?
    We think he’s just having second thoughts about opening the portal. But now we know that Duncan is staring into the box of people to be sacrificed. They are what triggered his pensive mood.
    It wasn’t a doubt at the survivability of several years of hell-domain domination. That’s what it seemed.
    It was the sight of helpless bound and gagged sacrificial victims that bothered him and sent him into his malaise or funk or MEH mood.
    Duncan says (back on page 5 chapter 2) that “at this point in my life, I take no pleasure in hurting people” . . .
    Sircea doesn’t care. She’s 6000 years old and has seen it all. She wants to be a goddess, she will be a goddess, her destiny is to be a goddess and that means some lesser mortals will be sacrificed.
    Duncan might do bad things but he still has a conscience.
    Sircea does not.
    To bring this around from the first page of the scene to the last page that we see above:
    Duncan wasn’t having a good hard think about doubting Sircea’s plan, he was having a good hard think wondering if there was an alternate to sacrificing a cage of humans because he was staring at the (soon to be) dead sacrificial victims.
    That places the entire scene (p47 to p65) in a different light than if the glass box merely held a device or the “keys” or a cannon to blow Laampros back to hell. Duncan wasn’t considering not going through with the plan. He was only looking for a way to soothe his rather badly mangled conscience.
    He still wants to convince himself that he’s not really bad anymore.
    Rationalizations, you shouldn’t live with them but you can’t live without them. Rationalizations are just “little white lies” – unless they are sitting in front of you bound and gagged.

    • Nicely put, Dave!

      • davefragments

        Thanks

    • And a very nice analysis here too, Dave. 🙂

      I’ve been swamped with Kickstarter stuff, but I’ve loved reading the thoughtful reactions y’all have been having to this page. Very gratifying.

      • davefragments

        This scene between the two villains had been nagging at me and the box of victims is why. Good reveal at the end.

    • Klaus

      Shouldn’t that be “demonic duo”?

      • davefragments

        Duncan thinks of them as equals like Huntley and Brinkley or the Wonder Twins or Burt and Earnie.
        Sircea thinks of them as Batman and Robin (he’s the very young one) or Itchy and Scratchy (whack, whack) or Crusoe and Friday.
        The TYP’s as a group think of them as Bonnie and Clyde (or as Mad Magazine once characterized them – Bunny and Claude) or Stalin and Trotsky or Buffy and Willow. Perhaps those pairs are too old. I can think of several political duos but I don’t want to descend into political discussions.

        I personally think of them as Xena and Gabrielle (which makes me chuckle all day)

        Laampros and Kyle are the most likely prospects for Dynamic Duo – Father and Son – (Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker are an imperfect comparison because the Emperor)

    • Oh well said, Dave. Thanks.

  • Jac

    OH.

  • Marko

    Heeeeeey :3 anybody know other comics (not necesarily yaoi) that have this same page by page weekly release, funded by the fan’s donations (sort of kickstarter-ish) system. I’m investigating this form of publishing for a college project. We have to drill a similar system.

    Any info will be gratefuly recieved (thanks in advance)

    • Sethron A Bowman

      Go search around on Patreon.com for webcomics? X3 You’ll find some good examples. Gunnerkrigg Court does it, too.

      • Keneu

        I’m reading one called Ava’s Demon, but it’s released in pannels (around 10 per update, updated twice a week, unless the creator makes a video).

        I’m also reading Korean webcomics posted in Korean search portals (the equivalent of yahoo and such), but they are too many to mention. 🙂 Some of these Korean webtoons (that’s what they call it) are now being released officially in English and Chinese in a mobile app and recently they set up a web page for computer reading too. It’s this one:

  • Thanatopia

    Ah. You know, Ani might be thinking a bit TOO far outside the box this time around. Just sayin’.

    Suspending the awful/obvious pun, I love the way that the box has been build up as a prop without us really focusing on it much. And lo and behold, here we are! …I suppose you have to bait the hook good and proper to catch a big fish. Kyle was a decent lure, but maybe Laampros wants a proper meal.

    • Klaus

      Why do you call yourself Place of Death?

      • SofiaT

        It could also mean “The Visage of Death”. The second part of the word coming from “-opia” (vision) rather than “topos”.

        The Visage of Death sounds infinitely cool.

        • Klaus

          Still rather morbid.

          • Thanatopia

            Haha, thanks for asking! It’s heavily mangled Latin under any circumstances, don’t get me wrong. I chose the name because a.) I’m a total nerd for morbid stuff and b.) it’s a reference/in-joke (from myself TO myself) about a project I’m working on that’ll start proper once I get to be a better artist. 🙂

  • Sterling Ericsson

    So I suppose this is one of those morality questions in the vein of “Would you kill 10 people to save 6 billion?”

    • Evoru

      The world asks itself that question every day, and every day we respond “Yes”. It’s why a handful of firemen die to try to save building full of people…why soldiers are shot trying to end world wars…why people decide to submit themselves to experiments in the hopes of finding a cure…

      Sacrifice for the greater good isn’t evil.

      • SofiaT

        All the examples you provide are of people who’ve volunteered to sacrifice themselves though for the greater good.

        Sacrificing yourself is one thing, sacrificing others is another story entirely.

        • Terri Sutton

          The budding villain in me wants to say; “Potato, potahto”.

          • Klaus

            Sacrificing potatoes would be acceptable, given a sufficiently good purpose.

          • As long as the examples you provide are of potatoes who’ve volunteered to sacrifice themselves for the greater good though.

          • ‘Budding’ villain and potato… there’s a pun in there somewhere about it being time to clean out the villain vegetable drawer.

          • Librarican

            This is what came to mind, although it works better with artichokes….
            Budding villainy will sprout and take root in any heart, whether human or vegetable.

        • Evoru

          My dear, the end result is the same. Surely that’s all that matters?

          • Oh my dear… it’s not clear to me that Sircea’s speech patterns are as contagious as her ethical philosophy.

          • SofiaT

            …Sircea?? Is that you?!

            P.S: ;D

          • Evoru

            Sadly, “immortal” isn’t on my resume. Yet. ;D

        • Well said. I totally agree.

          On the small scale though, I suppose it’s true that Kyle ‘sorta’ agreed before hand to a certain type of personal sacrifice… at least as he imagined it…

          It seems clear though in 20/20 hindsight that he didn’t read the fine print and thus the wrong things got sacrificed. I’m sure he’ll be more specific if he agrees to try the ‘sacrifice’ thing again in the future.

          It’s also possible he may give up ‘love’ as a bad idea and become an old guy living with 20 cats… we’ll have to see. I suppose we’ll have to warn him about Byronic cats.

      • All those people make at least minimum wage. Clearly they are well compensated for their sacrifices.

        • davefragments

          LOL

    • Klaus

      If those 10 people are far away out sight, and they will die because you use time or some other resource that could have saved them on saving the 6 billion in stead, then the choice is clear. If you need to strangle them with your own hands, not so clear.

      • Phyre Storm

        I’d say it’s still pretty clear, just highly unpleasant. Gah, now I’m wondering if I’m physically strong enough to strangle an adult.

    • Acintyabedhabedhadasa

      We’re actually up to 7 billion, so if 6 billion of us die, the human population will have dropped to potentially sustainable levels. Also, think of the beneficial effect on non-human life.

      In this story, we also have the welfare of demons to consider. Presumably they have some good reason for needing the resources of our world, human and otherwise.

      Of course, concepts of “right” and “wrong” are human psychological projections. As Blake says, what is “right” for the tiger?

  • Klaus

    If Alex really fulfills the promises he makes in the notes to this page, Wednesday’s page is going to be packed indeed.

    • Hope hope hope…

      I’m being too silly, which means I should shadddup and stop being such a bummer. I can admit that I’m ready for a hero injection just about now (“that’s what Kyle said” –boomtish–) and some cheering up.

      Maybe someone will “oooops” trip and break the big glass sacrifice tank and we’ll get Sirea some nice guppies to take care of in the future. Sooooooooorrrrry dahling…. HA!

      • Evoru

        Big GLASS sacrifice, huh? I wonder why they would choose to use glass?

        Even assuming it’s a super thick, super strong type of glass that’s not easily broken in order to keep the sacrifices from leaving, why glass? Why not a big metal box?

        Could it be because glass doesn’t conduct electricity very well, it insulates it? And look at all those wires wrapped around the poles, leading into the very conspicuous box that the sacrifices get to look at…

        I think this is the plan: everyone is tied with hands in front because they were forced to tie one another up as part of the ritual (much like Kyle had to trust the Silver Fox as HIS part). They’re being forced to participate. The clock is there so they can see how much time they have left, heightening their terror. At the appointed hour, maybe everyone is going to be electrocuted to death.

        Maybe it’s a big glass box, too, so that Sircea and Duncan can watch.

        • Jakk Anthony Guzman

          Interesting speculation Evoru. I’ve been trying to decide if they are to be sacrificed as part of the ritual or as a gift to Laampros. I’m thinking that they are part of the ritual because of all the wires as well as the clock being INSIDE the glass box.

          Why glass indeed. Usually the purpose of using glass is to be able to look out, or to look in. It may serve other purposes as well.

          Maybe there is no meaning, maybe Alex just wanted to have a bigger impact on the readers by allowing them to see the people through the glass. That wouldn’t have worked as well if they were inside a metal or wood box.

        • Oh well stated. Why would you do this in a clear container unless you wanted to watch the suffering. I know Duncan is touching the glass in that last panel, but it almost looks like a mocking wave. The first time I saw the page I was left hoping something would remove that hand… painfully.

          One of my most contested opinions about this entire journey… that Duncan and Sircea have embarked on is the seemingly excessive emotional cruelty that it seems to describe. Your post expresses that so well.

          The hell-date felt so excessively cruel to Kyle (specifically) to me — how to crush a new gay boy — how to crush a nascent super hero — how to simply break someone, emotionally.

          A glass box full of people, clearly in fear of their lives and in fear of the possible pain to come makes perfect sense in that context.

          These all seem like activities designed by a ‘King of Hell’ to maximize misery and terror… not just death. So are Sircea and/or Duncan demonic? Or just sociopathic? Killing a goats to breach the walls of blood and pain, seems like child’s play… but Sircea did just say that…

          However, crushing Kyle’s spirit (or trying to) and then doing worse to these (normal?) people (in a glass box so you can enjoy their misery) seems demonic much more than ‘just’ villainous… I wonder if Laampros is rubbing his hands with glee thinking, “I wish I had thought of this?”

          My current worry is that Duncan and Sircea have picked sacrificial victims who have relationships to the the YPs to maximize the misery.

          I would no longer put it past either of them.

          As Jakk well said in his post, it’s hard to know if the “glass” box is a specific character driven choice, or simply an author driven one, designed to evoke a response in readers. That’s a question I don’t think we can answer.

          Except that, either way, it’s successful.

        • Steven K.

          And maybe they are there to be turned into one of those human centipedes for Laampros’ amusement.

  • Duncan HAD to get total trust for his ‘sacrifice’ of Kyle to work. Looking at this sad image for the 100th time I don’t think any of these people got a date in Hong Kong, no Montrachet, no rose petals… nope this doesn’t look like a group that has been wined and dined.

    I think this is the group that is allowed to be unhappy about being demon chow and sacrificing their lives to open the sphincter of power.

    Just a distinction I suppose.

    I like Sophia’s term. This page was a slap. A needed one. A hard one.

    Sad too.

    I did as DaveF suggested and re-read this scene knowing what they’re looking at. Good, Evil, Villainous or whatever terms you want to apply… as different as they are, I have say, those are two share a couple of very cold hearts.

    I couldn’t have that conversation on any level looking at that. That image is beautifully done fiction and evokes very strong emotion to me. I knew Duncan was cold after the hell-date, but this scene puts him in the deep freeze. I supposes I should be happy he has any doubts at all. He’s so close to the edge.

    Thank you Alex, Adam and Veronica. I can’t make myself ‘like’ what this page says, but it’s beautifully executed and ups the level of the entire scene by about 100 points. I should be used to your surprises, but… nope. They still keep coming. Looking forward to the future.

    • Thank you, Chris. 😉

    • davefragments

      “a couple of cold cold hearts”
      Quite possibly very near absolute zero.

  • Dark_Otter

    Aaaaaand moral event horizon crossed.

    • Phyre Storm

      It wasn’t already?

      • Adam Black

        I think it was crossed at the fire, and never looked back

  • Jakk Anthony Guzman

    The numbers are now more prominent on the clock in the new page, and the older guy’s eyebrow is now darker and more prominent too. Lots of small changes.

  • Adam Black

    @alexwoolfson:disqus I have a question about the meaning of recent reveals
    ( and I understand if you cant answer it, if it gives away a plot point )
    But maybe you can reveal what PP means here, without revealing any wider plot implications

    I’m confused about the whole revert to a Circle-of-hell thing. How Big? Earth the Planet? whole galaxy? whole Universe?

    The size of the disaster dramatically changes whether Sircea is hero or villain. I initially thought it was wide-scale, but Duncan has been moaning like its just Earth , and PP didnt even point out how irrational he is acting for not doing anything possible to save the whole universe.

    So maybe its just earth?

    • Klaus

      If it is the whole universe, the sitiation is highly unstable. How many teams of aliens are doing Grey Workings right now, megaparsecs from each other and from Earth, without being aware of each other’s existence? Defending the walls would be a hopeless task.

      Or would it? Maybe a team of ritualists in the Sagatarius Dwarf are right now finishing the mending of the walls. Hoo nose?

      • Adam Black

        Maybe Not if Earth was where the walls were damaged.

        • Klaus

          If damage to the walls anywhere can turn the whole universe into a circle of Hell, and damage can only be repaired locally, it can only end with a collapse of the walls.

          • Adam Black

            I’m suggesting your premise cant be true for that reason you suggest. Hell-mouth scenario?

            Earth is special? maybe Grey-working couldnt happen other places.

            Thats the entire basis of the Wheel -of-Time series

    • stickfigurefairytales

      I’m thinking that it’s just Earth, myself.

  • *pitches tent* So I can’t camp yet, but hopefully I will be able to tonight. I’ve got a huge project to finish first.
    Save some marshmallows for me. Q_Q

    • You can do eeet! 😀 Fingers crossed.

    • stickfigurefairytales

      Good luck! We’ll be here.

  • jreed3842

    My goodness! It’s been quite some time since I camped! I’m a little early to the party… but it’s nice to be back and camping with you fine people!

    • Hey there stranger! I am not sure if i will be camping or not tonight, not feeling all that great. 🙁 But it is good to see you!

      • jreed3842

        Aww! I hope you get to feeling better!

        • Heh, it might be partially willing myself sick (or Karma, because I was so going to lie so I wouldn’t have to go with her) so I wouldn’t have to get in the car with my grandmother today. I cannot decide if she is trying to get me killed via an accident or kill me via heart attack. Seriously, the last time I was in a car with her, she almost got rear ended TWICE. As I was in the back seat because the front passenger side doesn’t have a seat-belt….and my mother looks at me funny when I say I need a drink or five after being in the car with her. “Surely it isn’t that bad…” “Surely you are exaggerating…”

          • stickfigurefairytales

            Oh jeez! That sounds terrifying.

          • Yeah, anything that is going to send me to drinking a six pack (if I had one) by myself to unwind qualifies as terrifying..

          • Phyre Storm

            Wow. You really shouldn’t let her drive you. (Actually, it doesn’t sound like she should be driving at all, but you probably can’t do anything about that.)

            You wouldn’t get in the car of a drunk person, would you? So how does it make any more sense to get in the car of someone who drives like she’s drunk?

          • She doesn’t really drive like she is drunk, but that she is the only one on the road, and if she got hit it would be the other person’s fault.

          • Phyre Storm

            My grandmother used to be a terror behind the wheel too. She scared the crap out of me and my mom on separate occasions. My dad did the same “You must be exaggerating” thing your mom is doing until he went for a ride with her himself, at which point he changed his tune to “Mom, what the HELL! D:”
            Long story short, it turned out she was in denial about being half blind. Double cataract surgery later, she started driving like a sane person.
            Maybe someone should kindly but firmly encourage your grandma to get her eyes tested?

          • …..she has, earlier this year -_-

          • Phyre Storm

            Well, shit, Lady Deimos. I don’t have any other brilliant ideas, but maybe just hearing “No, I’m not getting in your car because you drive like a lunatic” (or, you know, something polite to that effect) would be a wakeup call.

          • ….that hasn’t really worked either…. -_-

          • Phyre Storm

            Crapcakes. I guess all you can do is not let her get you killed. And maybe have your mom go on a mother-daughter outing with granny driving and see if she comes up with anything.

          • Well it isn’t nearly as nerve-wracking when I am in the front with her. Having to sit in the back is what adds to the stress, and it is a lot harder to be another set of eyes for her as the line of sight is different. I also cannot just reach over and grab the wheel if I need to.

          • Phyre Storm

            No. Stop. I know she’s your grandma and you love her, but this is a situation where rationalizing and trying to be “nice” could kill your ass dead.
            Use your brain, Myshonok. 😉

      • stickfigurefairytales

        I hope you feel better soon, Doki!

    • Welcome back.

  • silibub

    I’m starting to feel bad that I don’t feel worse for the people in the box. I think the reveal is a great narrative move and a terrific way of refocusing on the actual suffering people are going to experience because of Duncan and Sircea’s actions, but I’m appreciating that more intellectually than really feeling it like a gut-punch. I don’t know, it’s a good time to switch back to Team Adorabadass and get a dose of unambiguous morality.

    Anyway…I notice they all look scraped up and freshly traumatized, so I guess they’ve been kidnapped pretty recently? It makes more sense than trying to contain a bunch of victims for several days on end. I also figure Duncan and Sircea didn’t snag them personally, but had their minions do it. (Not that any of this is super important, I just wonder how long they’ve known the nature of the situation and why they’ve been taken — if they were able to overhear Duncan and Sircea’s conversation, they’ll have worked it out by now.)

    If Laampros is “hardly bestial” and doesn’t get his kicks from casual murder, I wonder if this is more of a symbolic offering or if they really need to die to open the gate. I mean, it’s not going to be pleasant even if they aren’t actually killed as part of the sacrifice — Laampros will probably drain their spirits or torment them or whatever it is he considers pleasurable — but there are other ways this could go besides a bloodbath. I’m just curious about the particulars, although I hope the Protectors get there in time to stop it.

    • stickfigurefairytales

      My personal guess is that opening the gate will require their deaths somehow, whether it’s as a blood sacrifice or by draining all their life force. I hope the team can rescue them in time!

    • stickfigurefairytales

      Also, “Team Adorabadass” made me giggle.

    • Adam Black

      TV tropes suggest … Well hes not called Big Red for nothing

  • Terri Sutton

    Hello everybody. Just came back from the dentist and is ready to camp.

    • silibub

      I went to the dentist today, too — hope your visit was relatively painless.

      • SofiaT

        My teeth are in a good confition thankfully, so I’ve never had to endure painful operations and probing in my mouth -but in my experience no dentist visit is pain-free. It hurts to say goodbye to all that $$.

        • silibub

          True, I’m lucky I never had to deal with more than a short stint with braces, but damn if it isn’t expensive.

          • I had braces twice. The second time was because my lower jaw grew forward. Arg.

          • silibub

            Ahh, that’s terrible! And when you thought you were done with them, too.

          • Yup. But I was lucky, that it they didn’t poke out too much. Most folks didn’t know I had them.

    • davefragments

      I avoided the dentist again today. It was a good day.
      😉

      • Terri Sutton

        When you’re happy to go to the dentist you know you need to go and I needed to go.

        • stickfigurefairytales

          Glad you went, then!

    • Hello!

  • Saxon_Brenton

    We’re camping? Okay. Yesterday I cooked some pastry mushrooms (small pastries with a dollop of jam in the bottom, covered with a bit of cream and a sprinkling of nutmeg). In real life this is because one of the people at work will be retiring later this week. But the rest of you get to share in the virtual samples for camping. The ones with the round bottoms are raspberry, the ones with the serrated edges are backberry.

    • stickfigurefairytales

      Ooh, those sound delicious! I’ll try one of each.

  • stickfigurefairytales

    Hi everybody! My mom had hip replacement surgery today, and everything went successfully. She’s probably going to be in the hospital for a few days, but then she’ll be home again.

    • silibub

      Glad to hear it went well! My dad had one last year, and as long as she does the requisite exercises/physical therapy everything should heal and work really smoothly.

      • stickfigurefairytales

        Thanks! My mom’s been really good about doing her exercises to get ready for the surgery, so I think she will work hard at the post-surgery physical therapy as well.

        • silibub

          That’s great! I hope she’s at 100% really soon!

    • SofiaT

      Yay! Wishing her a quick recovery!

      • stickfigurefairytales

        Thank you! 🙂

    • Indeed glad to hear it went well! Surgery can be scary.

      Edit: And of course a swift recovery!

      • stickfigurefairytales

        Yeah, I was really worried pretty much all day.

        • ((Hug))

          My dad had surgery last year, that wait was very nerve wracking. Of course, not anything like a hip replacement, but I think when our parents our in such a situation, it adds a extra layer of worry.

          • stickfigurefairytales

            I definitely agree.

          • I hope her recovery is swift and without issue!

          • stickfigurefairytales

            Thank you so much!

    • Sapfo

      Hope everything will go alright. Most people feel much better after a hip replacement.

      • stickfigurefairytales

        Thank you! Yes, I think this will help a lot. She will still need a knee replacement after this (on the other leg), but it will be a big improvement.

  • Camping! It was really hard getting out of bed this morning, and I’m going back as soon as the page is up, but I wanted to be here when the page was uploaded.
    Back to our young protectors. They have been missed even with the highly intense scene we have gotten lately.

  • Sapfo

    Mornig People!
    Have not yet have my tea, but I will try and be civilized

  • Sapfo
  • Rashel Izro

    one thought:”HOLY SHIZZ”

  • Keneu

    I don’t know if others already pointed it out, but there’s a clock inside the box. Currently in the story it’s 9:26:04 am.

    • Ant-Man

      It doesn’t indicate AM… it could be a count down timer or count up timer

      • Keneu

        True, I hadn’t thought of that. I just assumed it because the plane scene and this one happen more or less at the same time (in page 47 it says “meanwhile”).

  • kamishiro

    But he is still gonna go through 🙁
    Like someone commented, everyday we are trading other’s people life for ours. Everyday we kill those people. Duncan is a reflection of our actual society, no, our humanity. We don’t want to harm anyone but if it’s for either them or we …

  • SpookyDomme

    Holy…*jaw drop*

  • Joya

    Now wait a minute….

  • Kabbalist

    Buh…buh… Oy vey.

  • Mrs. Morpheus
  • I have to confess that this scene elicits no condemnation or outrage from me because if she is correct in her projections, then as disturbing as the last panel may be, that would pale in terms of the alternative…assuming she is being honest.