Forsira shivered and broke the gaze.
Something seems vaguely off about the way this is worded to me - broke the eye contact, maybe? Though that sounds clunky. :/
But there was no need to wonder – she’d always known the answer.
At least lovestruck Forsira is starting to realize how lovestruck she is.
Just how high is the canopy in this forest where they live? Because it always seems to take really, really
long for them to clear the canopy. o_O Or is it just that Archopy aren't good enough fliers to be able to ascend otherwise than extremely slowly? Still, with the whole added power of lighting the wing leaves, I'd have expected it to be at least a bit
faster than it is if they could take off at all before. (I suppose part of it might be the upwards slope thing, but I still have a hard time visualizing how long it always takes.)
“’Course They have. Told you I could lose Them.” He stopped beating his wings so fast to chuckle reflectively.
Because in Tefirenlogic, anything that is must have always been inevitably so.
...I am now trying to think of a way to model Tefirenlogic as modal logic. :D[/computer science student]
“Don’t stop flapping!” she said desperately.
The sound of his wing-beats had already sped up to even faster than before. “Who stops flapping?” Tefiren said quickly. “I haven’t stopped flapping. Have you
stopped flapping, Sira?”
There are no words for how much I adore this.
Looking helplessly down at them, this time she noticed something else in their faces behind the determination. They were afraid
of her and Tefiren.
The "of her and Tefiren" feels unnecessary here - my mind wants to just end that sentence at "They were afraid". Might just be me, though.
It's fun how he keeps going "Hey! This justifies your presence!" at everything. Very possibly a sign that he's starting to enjoy having her around.
*** at Tefiren avoiding eye contact when he realized he may just have been fatally poisoned. :3
Tefiren suddenly lifted his head to stare at her like she was mad. “You can’t,” he said as if it were obvious. “They might still be out there. You’d be going exactly where They wanted. That’s…”
something for somebody else?! That's just ilTefirenlogical! >:/
She saw something that could have been surprise, or wonder, or even condescension in his eyes.
Surprise: "She doesn't want me to die?"
Wonder: "...she doesn't want me to die."
Condescension: "But that's ridiculous! She's making a choice that makes no sense because of something silly like caring
would certainly never do that!"
...or something very like that.
She dropped the berry in front of him the moment she’d landed. Tefiren grabbed it instantly and took a huge bite, his body already beginning to relax.
Is that desperation to live I see? :o
“Thanks, Sira,” he said, chuckling. “You know, you really are going out of your way to prove you were right about me needing you.”
Because careful Tefirenlogical evaluation has revealed that really she just did that to prove a point, because unlike the caring thing, that
He paused for a moment, giving her that strangely puzzled look of his, before shaking his head. “No, I guess it wasn’t,” he said.
Is he starting to get that she cares about him and what significance that has? :o ...Or maybe he's just realizing her mind works in mysterious ways and giving up trying to understand her.
So, about that poisoning detour feeling pointless, as I mentioned on MSN. I've written and rewritten the bit on this about a dozen times by now trying to pinpoint what the problem is, and ultimately I think it's that it feels
like the overarching "question" in this scene is "Will Tefiren be healed?", and the answer to that question is a rather dull, simple "Yes." Or, in other words, it feels like this scene is about Forsira's quest to find a Pecha Berry to heal Tefiren, except she knows about a nearby Pecha tree from the beginning and finds it without problems, so we never properly feel any tension about it.
Now, what is really
going on in this scene is character development: Tefiren realizing for the first time in his life that he's just made a fatal mistake, Forsira saving his life, and his attempts to understand why. However, this doesn't feel
like a character scene, because the writing doesn't seem to be focused around that; the writing is focused around the poisoning being potentially fatal and Forsira's urgency in finding a cure for it. She vaguely brings up that it seems almost like Tefiren is afraid, but then she just drops the thought, and outside of that the scene is mostly dialogue with subtle
hints of what's going on in Tefiren's head and then Forsira running to get the berry. And because the definition of subtle is that it's kind of discreet and in the background, it's Forsira running to get the berry that ends up feeling like the purpose of the scene, even though really that's
the background detail. The reader, however, isn't seeing a whole new side of Tefiren, just one that doesn't look Forsira in the eye; it doesn't grab your attention as an Important Thing.
I see two main ways of remedying this. First, you could keep Tefiren's development subtle in the background but give Forsira the main focus: for instance, you could make her not sure about the Pecha tree and spend a bit seriously worrying and thinking about what she would do if she lost him, which I think would be quite interesting in itself in addition to making the scene feel more purposeful (it would then feel like it's about
Forsira confronting the fact she might lose Tefiren one day). Alternatively, you could give the focus directly to what's going on with Tefiren by paying more attention to how unlike himself he's being, the signs of his fear that Forsira notices and her concern about him - because at the moment, these things are so subtle as to be barely noticeable; I was actually surprised to find Forsira had noticed he seemed afraid at all, because from my vantage point he seemed to be doing a pretty great job of hiding it from anyone who's not itching to overanalyze everything he does.
Anyway, that was long-winded and rambly, but I hope it made some sense.
He looked up into the eyes of the older Sceptile, Brack – Zathern could never remember his rather long full name, but all his friends called him by the shortened version anyway – and saw a triumphant grin on his face.
For some reason my mind has decided Brack's name is Brachiosaurus. Which doesn't make any
sense whatsoever, but I can't stop thinking it.
He caught Karsa’s eye – she’d been standing on the sidelines, watching the battle. She raised an eyebrow at him. “Still the new guy, eh?” she teased.
“There’s been a bunch more new guys since I joined,” he muttered, before brightening.
I'm... not sure I get this. How can he be "still the new guy" if more new guys have joined after him? Is she just teasing him about not being experienced enough? But does battling ability actually have any real correlation to being the "new guy"?
It's fun seeing how Zathern is pushing things out of his mind now. "Certain feelings" and all.
“I know, but still. You’re good for your age.” Tharann’s grin grew a little wider. “You obviously take after me.”
Zathern wasn’t sure what to say to that
His mother. Zathern froze, desperately trying to shove painful thoughts and memories that had just sprung up firmly to the back of his mind.
Zathern could feel himself beginning to tremble under the weight of the emotions that were emerging from where he’d hidden them inside him. His mother and Forsira. Something was going to…
Hm, this feels a little repetitive here. We already know there are painful emotions emerging from where he'd hidden them and that they're talking about his mother and Forsira; I think we'd get the point fine if you cut that latter paragraph down to just "Zathern could feel himsmelf beginning to tremble. Something was going to...", really.
Anyway, so Germane switched sides. Not quite
my theory, but I wasn't too far off. :3
Zathern twitched, but mostly managed to rein in the flickers of doubt and not think too hard about his mother.
Here again it seems you're spelling things out a little too much. The "...and not think too hard about his mother" bit feels unnecessary and a little counterproductive compared to earlier when you were successfully conveying the way he pushes those emotions away specifically by not
mentioning them directly. It feels more effective when you let us draw our own conclusions about why he's twitching.
What he said summed it up, really. Zathern wasn’t going to die; he wasn’t the same as the Archopy at all. And if Germane, who was closer to an Archopy than he was, had nonetheless still switched sides, then there couldn’t have been anything wrong with the fact that he’d done so too.
Hmm. This logic feels a bit off to me; I think it's the fact he's jumping from necessity to morality in a way that seems stretched, especially since the reason he's staying there isn't that he thinks it's the right thing to do
but that he's merely decided the Archopy are going to die with or without him. Why not simply have him think "Surely, if even Germane, who is almost
an Archopy, thought it was a lost enough cause to switch sides, I was right in thinking they can't be helped"?
“Never mind me, though – I bet I can guess what got you to switch sides, Zathy boy,” Germane said. That smirk was back on his face; before Zathern could respond, he continued. “Bribery, persuasion, and the sudden discovery of your long-lost father.” His last few words had a mockingly-sweet tone to them.
Zathern began to nod – it had been something like that, after all – but then…
“Wait,” he said. The way Germane put it, it almost sounded like he’d always known about Zathern’s father, even long before he’d switched sides. “How did you…?”
“Whoops!” Germane said, leaping up towards another tree branch. “Gotta dash! See you around, ‘Zath’!” And with that, he darted away, disappearing through the trees.
Damn it. I want more Azma! D:
Turning to where he’d come from, Zathern headed back towards Karsa. He’d left her waiting for him, after all.
I don't really like the "He'd left her..." part; it seems to be weirdly implying he abandoned her somehow. I think this would work better as just "She was waiting for him, after all."
Forsira flapped her wings indignantly. The sea had been peaceful and serene, a welcome distraction from the constant glowing and flickering of Tefiren’s wing leaves next to her, which even the most patient Archopy wouldn’t have been able to tolerate for long until it drove them crazy.
Hm. I can't help also drawing a parallel to when she was staring out at the sea with Draern.
She folded her wings and began to drop speedily through the sky after Tefiren, mimicking his favourite landing technique of falling as fast as possible then spreading his wings at the last moment to break his fall. She crashed messily through the branches, skidding across the forest floor, not having quite figured out how Tefiren ever managed to do this neatly
Tefiren smirked. “You’ll have to hide better than that,” he muttered under his breath before shooting upwards and slicing a blade in the general area of the zigzag. With a strangled wailing noise, the Kecleon fell from the tree, its body becoming visible as the camouflage on its skin drained a sickly white in terror. It gazed pleadingly up at Tefiren as it struggled feebly under his claws. He simply shrugged and shook his head before drawing his blade across its throat.
Forsira took a step backwards. This wasn’t the first time she’d seen Tefiren hunt. Each time he had, he hadn’t bothered to call upon the inner predator before he made the kill. He was still himself. It was almost more unnerving than the cold gaze that she’d become used to by now.
! This is really
interesting, and makes perfect sense - with his detachment from other people and the way he normally doesn't think of others as having feelings of their own, he really wouldn't need the inner predator to hunt and kill. Gems like this make it really easy to see why the other Archopy find him such a creep.
What's even more interesting is the fact that They
draw on the inner predator when they kill Archopy, and Forsira knows it even as she says it's possibly even more unsettling that Tefiren kills without it - it's hard not to muse on the implicit comparison being drawn. Moreover, this draws a sick little parallel to Tharann, because we readers know him as the one other character who doesn't need the monster inside to kill.
Really, this moment was generally awesome - I actually went "Oh, wow" aloud when I read that. There is so much fascinating information implied in something like that and so many interesting comparisons to be drawn.
Tefiren frowned. “My inner what…? Oh, you mean the monster inside.”
The more you bring this up, the more I become convinced that the fact Azma seems to be the one person not to call it the monster inside is a hint towards something vitally significant about her. More Azma, damn you! ;_;
“Nah,” Tefiren said, apparently not quite getting the gravity of the question. “I just… don’t like letting it out much. I prefer to be me.”
Hmm. The fact he has an actual aversion
to the inner predator is interesting, as opposed to just not needing it. Perhaps the loss of control
associated with it unnerves him?
He shrugged, still seeming confused. “Well, yeah.”
His Tefirenlogic is impeccable.
Forsira sighed and settled down to eat the carcass, pushing those doubts out of her mind. It wasn’t as if Tefiren was doing something utterly taboo like breaking a promise of only battling. This wasn’t so bad, precisely; he clearly just had a different way of doing things.
Yeah, keep telling yourself this doesn't mean anything, lovestruck Forsira.
He looked puzzled. “That’s me.”
wants to talk to him
? Positively confounding
Hmm. I don't feel like you've really set up Forsira's change in attitude towards the death of other Archopy, so it feels kind of sudden and out of nowhere when Arkesra tells her about Draern's death and she doesn't really feel anything. The last we saw of her thinking about other Archopy dying was when she felt guilty after They failed to notice her and Tefiren in the tree in the last part, and you haven't really done anything to make it feel like she's changed in any substantial way since then; we don't get the impression she's gotten detached like Tefiren at all, and thus it just comes as a bizarre surprise when she suddenly says she doesn't feel anything. Heck, she was literally just
finding Tefiren's detachment unsettling - in relation to prey rather than Archopy, but still. It would have been nice to get a proper transition or at least give the impression that her attitude is changing somehow before this happens; as it was it didn't really have the impact I expected.
Forsira froze in horror, staring at the dead Archopy and then at her killer, seeing the Sceptile’s eyes lock onto hers. She would have been next if Tefiren hadn’t suddenly snapped her out of it with a frantic cry of “Sira, move!”
She moved, turning and forcing her legs into action as fast as she could, knowing the Sceptile couldn’t be far from her tail.
...yeah, I'm not sure I buy this. If she was close enough to Arkesra to be talking to her and
froze for a second and
was facing towards the Sceptile so she had to turn around and
has a long tail and
was noticed right off the bat... how can she possibly still
get away? You should probably make Tefiren fire an Air Slash at Verdan right away, or do something else to delay him, in order to make this feel more believable.
him?” Tefiren stared down at her with the most astonished look she’d ever seen him use. “Are you insane
?” He gave another flap of his wings, shooting forwards away from her. “She wants to fight him,” she heard him mutter to himself. “She’s insane.”
Ha. Tefirenlogic has no room for facing danger head-on! You're just supposed to be evading and escaping them! (Also, that line is delightful, much like the "I haven't stopped flapping! Have you
stopped flapping?" thing.)
The space between them seemed to be getting wider, more open; in fact, yes, she remembered this place from when Zathern had –
- evolved, presumably. Nice touch.
Again with the canopy thing - how can they be high enough to attack a herd of Tropius from above (aren't they reasonably big?), yet low enough for Verdan to still be a threat? o_O
Spotting it, Tefiren’s eyes widened in glee. “Oh, it’s you!” he exclaimed. “It is
you, isn’t it?” He grinned at the massive Pokémon. “But I said I wasn’t battling. No rematch for you. Go away.”
“You’re not hunting, though, are you?” the Tropius replied through what might have been gritted teeth.
“Maybe I am, maybe I’m not,” Tefiren said. “But I’m still not battling.” He waved an arm dismissively at it. “Go on. Wing it.”
He is so adorably, obliviously obnoxious. Also love the fact you brought this Tropius back.
Forsira had been pleased with her idea before, but she couldn’t feel quite so enthusiastic about it the other way around. “They thought you wanted to kill them,” she said. “Even though you didn’t.” She knew first-hand the terror of running for her life – while Tefiren managed to make it exciting, it wouldn’t have been that way for these Tropius. It seemed a little cruel.
Very nice thought here, as well - though if Forsira has stopped caring about Archopy who die, why does she care so much about some random Tropius being scared? Again, we really don't feel like Forsira has become Tefiren's type of detached at all.
Forsira sighed, feeling a little uneasy. “That Archopy that was killed just now,” she began. “Arkesra.”
Tefiren looked at her with that curious gaze of his. “What about her?”
Tefirenlogic simply cannot comprehend why she would be relevant to anything.
For some reason it struck Forsira that she didn’t want to pursue this any further.
Poor Forsira. I think she's afraid of what she might find if she digs too deep into Tefiren's mind.
He was unable to stifle a yelp as Tharann reached up to grab the branch he was on, dragging it down to his eye level. “Don’t **** with us, Grovyle,” he hissed, his face glaring into Germane from an uncomfortably short distance. “You know exactly what he meant.”
Yay for Precision F Strikes. (Glaring into Germane, though? Shouldn't it be into Germane's eyes, or Germane's (face), or something? Can you actually say his face
glared, as opposed to his eyes? [/nitpicky ramble])
He let go of the branch, giving Germane time to compose himself again while it swung up and down before it fell still. “Yes, sorry, of course,” he said hurriedly. “I do believe there are less than you now, if I’m not very much mistaken about just how many recruits you have these days.”
Nice detail - Germane doesn't actually know that much about Them, even after supposedly switching sides.
“Ready? Wait, what does this have to do with the Azma plan?” Germane asked. “I thought you couldn’t find Forsira…”
Azmaaa. D: Please tell me there's Azma in the next part?
Something jerked horribly inside Germane. “No,” he said instantly. He choked out a laugh. “No, you’ve got to be kidding. You are, right?”
The fact something jerks inside Germane immediately tells all here: he never stopped being afraid of them and never stopped fearing deep down that something like this would happen, so when they threaten him with death his first thought really is that they mean it, with his surface confidence only taking over to deny it afterwards. :3 [/OVERANALYSIS TIME]
Germane shuddered, moving to a branch further back. “You don’t know that, though!” he suddenly exclaimed, his voice high and shaking. “You don’t know that I’m one of that lot because unless I evolve you can’t tell what I’m going to evolve into! You can’t kill me!” He grinned wildly, giving a brief, desperate chuckle.
Oh, God, he is adorable.
“Oh, but we do know,” Skorrhen said silkily. “We can tell from the parents, can’t we? We know every child on this island who will evolve into an Archopy. What did you think Verdan and the others were doing on the sunset side if they never took part in any of the killings? They’ve been watching the children.”
Ha. Nice one. Didn't think of that but it makes perfect sense, just how plot twists should be. (One-way trapdoor function twist! 8D)
...I want to quote the whole rest of the scene, but that would just take up too much space. GERMAAAANE I FANGIRL YOU NOW. D:
“None of them ever do
, Germane,” Skorrhen said simply. “You’re not special. You’re just a coward who thought he could prevent the inevitable.”
I will quote this, though, because Germane has been living his whole adult life
fancying himself special and Skorrhen is here cutting down into his very core. He's good at that and it's very chilling.
The last thing he saw was the twisted gleam in Tharann’s eyes.
And again, that twisted gleam that's decidedly not the cold indifference of the inner predator.
It did strike me as odd that Germane didn't attempt to defend himself on the basis that he was useful to them, nor did Tharann or Skorrhen make any derisive comments about his uselessness - it was noticeable in the earlier Zathern scene how little Tharann thought of Germane's intel and in retrospect it would have made sense to bring that up again, especially since presumably the reason they're killing him now
is that he's given them the final piece of information they need (that there are more of Them than the Archopy now) and has therefore become useless to them.