1359: Legaia Nara and the SimSeru – Chapter TwoPosted: March 16, 2016
Jeez, that title. I keep wanting to add list commas to it. Then again, I could just redistribute from within the fic and no-one would be the wiser.
So, recap! Last time our “heroine,” Nara, trespassed on federal property that had been condemned by the king. Apparently he also serves as the head of the Department of Building Regulations or something. Anyway, they sneak around the area with all the stealth of a forty-Sousaphone marching band and eventually fall down a hole. They aren’t able to climb out due to the lack of walls in the chamber, so instead opt to wander around aimlessly in the caves until they get lost. After they succeed in that venture, they bed down for the night. Meanwhile a dark figure, which totally isn’t the SimSeru in the title, twirls its mustache rather than just coming to the point and attacking them. Because BLUE.
Meanwhile, in chapter two.
II – A Parent’s Worst Nightmare
Suddently coming to the realization that your three-year-old isn’t in the room and that you’re not sure how long it’s been quiet.
Noa saluted her last student and headed home to her house near the beach.
Well, yeah, you live in a coastal town. Could you narrow it down just a little?
She was accompanied by Gala, who was spending a few days in the region to check her martial arts school.
Which Nara and Thoram aren’t attending because CYAN.
The cave at the village’s entrance had become a sort of branch of Biron, though with less restrictive rules.
There’s indeed a cave near the village’s entrance. The problem is, author, is that it’s the Cave of Memory. If Noa is holding class there, I’m not sure she’s smart enough to know how to breathe.
Such a spacious training ground.
Noa, there’s a lot of open space in town. Pick a lea somewhere, or even just train in the village center near the tree! Or train on the beach! Don’t pick the smallest possible enclosed space to hold training!
WHY ARE YOU SO ILLOGICAL ALL THE TIME!?
Noa’s teaching was renowned far and wide and had become a source of pride in Rim Elm.
Even though she could only have two students at a time given the space constraints.
Maybe that’s why she didn’t enroll Nara and Thoram, there wasn’t any room.
Noa wasn’t the girl who had come out of the Snowdrift Cave so many years ago anymore.
We can rebuild her. We can make her better…
Now, just in case any of you were wondering if Noa was still a Sue, well…
The passing of time and motherhood had made her blossom into a remarkable young woman, but she had retained that spark of life that set her apart from most folk. If anything she was stronger and faster than before, and coupled to experience it made her a formidable opponent. Even her close friends were still in awe at her liquid grace and feline agility.
So, she went from being a Sue, to being an egregious Sue.
An egregious Sue who really sucks at watching her own kid or making sure somebody is around to watch the kid. Of course nobody calls Noa on her shit parenting, which is itself another Sue trait.
Nene was cradling Lyra, Noa’s youngest daughter, on the front steps of the house. Upon seeing her fiends she greeted, “Noa, Gala, you’re back early.”
Ahh, so she does have a babysitter. You’d think if Nene had continually proven herself so incompetent at watching a five-year-old, Noa would have found somebody who could actually do the job. Or started taking Nara with her to learn some of that martial arts discipline.
Noa, you are extremely not good at parent.
“Yes Nene,” Said the red-haired woman as she took her daughter in her arms, “The last class was cancelled due to the festival’s preparations.”
What festival, and why are there classes!? This is a Japanese take on the Middle Ages, not a modern high school. When you’re in martial arts, it’s a way of life, not a set of classes. You don’t have periods, or lunch hour, or study hall or anything we associate with modern schools. That’s why Gala lived at the monastery! Because his training was his way of life, as it is the way of life for all the monks! As a martial artist, you have training. Constant, hard, vigorous, throb- um…
Swenia has been such a bad influence on me.
“Say, isn’t Nara with you?” Inquired the teenager, “I saw her and Thoram head towards the village’s entrance, and I assumed that they were going to your school.”
Given her history of mischief, why would you trust anything she has to say!? I mean, sure, if this was the first time it’d happened, I could let it go, but with what we saw in chapter one, there’s a very rich history of misbehaving. Nene, you get an F- in babysitting.
“No, I haven’t seen her all day,” Answered Noa, “Do you mind going to Mei’s? I’ll fix dinner meanwhile.”
So I guess Nara wandering off is just something everyone is used to. Which, if Nene is your babysitter, is probably a fair expectation.
Really, Noa may have just adopted the “if nothing’s on fire, that’s good enough for me” outlook by this point.
Nene acquiesced, “Yes, I have to talk to Trevor about fixing my door anyway, and I already prepared something, it’s in the oven.”
It’s a bun!
“You’re an angel,” said the young woman, “Some day you’ll make a man very happy.”
Look, author, if you’re going to be so anachronistic with things like Noa’s school, you may as well drop the cultural sexism. It doesn’t really add anything to your fic.
Noa gently rocked Lyra, “Born of Fire and Wind my little cherub, mommy is so happy to see you.” She playfully whispered to the baby and thought about how good her life was.
What the crap does the first half of that sentence have to do with the second? And why are you reminding your babby of her parents’ elemental alignments? Oh right, the author is trying to be deep again by pointing out the obvious.
Also, literary sickness bags are under your chairs if you need them.
Vahn was quiet and not very demonstrative, and thus many people wondered how a lively woman like her could be happy with him.
Put down the fucking thesaurus, author! Though I will give you credit for actually using demonstrative correctly, it’s too big a word to just toss out there like that. It just screams of trying to look smart.
They didn’t know how gentle, caring, loving, and loyal he really was.
Because figuring out those kinds of things in a small town is super hard.
But she did, and her fine honed instincts sensed his deep feelings for her.
That’s not painting a great picture of their relationship if she only thinks he cares for her due to her instincts.
Not to mention that sentence directly contradicts the one right before it. Is he actually affectionate, or is the only indication that he cares her instincts? Those are diametrically opposed.
See, I can use big words, too!
He had built their house with Mei’s husband’s help. It was near the ocean as he had promised her, and the soothing sound of the waves reached the mother and her child.
They live in Rim Elm. A coastal village. Why is the house’s location near the beach being constantly brought up as something special!? That’s like somebody bragging that their house in eastern Montana is near farmland.
They lived happily with their two daughters and had many good friends.
Many good friends who apparently can’t tell that Vahn is actually a caring person despite being outwardly stoic.
Do you even read what you write, author?
Noa couldn’t ask for more and she didn’t want more, for what they had contented her completely.
So what, not even a chocolate cupcake? She doesn’t appear to be eating one right now, and in my experience, there is no situation that cannot be improved by a chocolate cupcake. Even a chocolate cupcake can be improved upon by adding another chocolate cupcake.
Of course Vahn’s responsibilities forced him to stay at Drake Castle from time to time.
He’s the fucking advisor to the king as well as the supreme knight or whatever the title was! You two should be living at the castle full time so he can oversee the operations of the military! Now, if Vahn had been granted lands and standing of a noble, yeah, I could see him living in Rim Elm and phoning it in, but that’s not the story the author is going with. You were a hair’s breadth away from plausibility here, author, and you screwed it up.
Noa hated when he was away for she missed him bitterly, even if she knew that it was only for a few days.
This is not a healthy relationship. The more the author talks about it, the more this looks like a case of co-dependency. Not nearly as bad as Raptor and I, but bad enough that I worry about the author.
Her spirits were high at that moment because her beloved was coming back to her this evening, after a weeklong absence training new recruits.
Two things: First, if he were really the leader of the knights, then training new recruits would be beneath his position. He would have officers in charge of things like that. Second, if he WAS overseeing the training of new recruits, it would take far, far longer than a week to do that job.
Nene and Gala returned shortly accompanied by Mei, her daughter, Candela, and her husband, Trevor.
While all those commas are used correctly, I can’t but feel that there is a less Shatner way of presenting that information. Especially since some of that information was previously established.
The four grown-ups had a look that told Noa that something wasn’t right, not right at all.
Something doesn’t really feel right about the way that sentence is phrased. Adults don’t really think of each other in terms of being a grown-up, that’s more a child’s outlook, so this being in Noa’s viewpoint while using the term “grown-ups” to differentiate her friends from Candela feels really odd.
Mei greeted her, “Noa, the good evening to you, I fear that our offspring has gotten into mischief.”
Sweet crap, author! Who the hell talks like that!? Even King Drake, who has a very formal and sometimes odd way of speaking, wouldn’t say something nearly so awkward and forced-sounding!
“What has Nara done this time?” said the red-haired woman, rolling her eyes.
Keep those eyes front and center, missy.
Candela answered, “They wanted to explore the Bio-Castle, but I didn’t go because Noa wanted to be you, Auntie Noa, Thoram was going to be Uncle Gala, and they wanted me to be Uncle Vahn and I didn’t want to be a man.”
Once again, this is not even remotely close to how a child of Candela’s age, four, talks. Simple sentences that are typically very self-centric and leave out context:
“Nara went to the scary-place! I didn’t go. I’m a girl not a boy!”
And that’s still rather articulate for a four-year-old. But if you take it all the way down to four, some stuff starts to get a little incomprehensible unless you’re familiar with the child’s particular way of talking.
Dark premonitions crossed Noa’s mind,
Wait, doesn’t a premonition usually imply that-
Dammit all! Somebody put Jiwe in that tiny panda costume and get him out there!
“Candela, tell me, do you know where they have gone exactly?”
Finally, somebody is confused at the term “Bio-Castle.” By all rights, none of them should know what that means.
If they did know, they would expect that Nara is in town somewhere.
“To that place, near the mountains.” Answered the girl.
That’s a bit closer to four; it’s still a bit too articulate, but now we’re in the ballpark at least.
“What?” exclaimed Noa, “Isn’t that region guarded?”
Per exposition, yes, by what we’ve been shown, it’s only watched by guards who spend their shift watching Netflix with noise-canceling headphones.
I’m also still looking for a good explanation of why the place needs guarding in the first place. Unfortunately I think the only reason we’re likely to get from the fic is: “It’s creepy.”
“I guess that we should go and have a look,” stated Gala in his usual no-nonsense tone, “It’s getting dark and there are still monsters around there.”
Oh, so it’s dangerous there. That’s finally something. It’s an explanation unequal to the situation, but it’s better than what we’ve had so far.
Still, I’m not entirely sure how the monsters survive there given that the mist is completely gone. But, I suppose mist monsters weren’t established as absolutely requiring mist to survive, only the mist-crazed seru were mentioned in the game as dying once removed from the mist’s influence. So I guess it’s feasible that the monsters could make a go of it without the mist. Why they would feel the need to retreat into some random caves and leave the rest of the region alone is beyond me.
“I’m going too.” Said Trevor.
Gala almost dismissed the big man, for he might be more of a hindrance than anything else should they encounter trouble.
It’s important to establish Trevor’s character a bit better so we know whether he can actually fight. That information changes whether Gala is being reasonable here, or a douchebag.
The reason this is important is that Gala’s history in these fics lends a lot more credence to the douchebag option.
But he understood Trevor’s concern for it reflected his own.
GAH! Stop using “for” that way!
Also, in this universe apparently concern equals competence.
Not for the first time, he thought that the teachings of Biron should encompass more down-to-earth matters, like being a friend or an uncle.
Because being a good person is definitely something you can’t learn from the discipline and balance of martial arts training.
Granted, if you’re determined not to learn something, you won’t, but that’s not really the fault of the training. That’s just the student being a dense asshole.
Speaking of dense assholes:
“Very well,” Said the Monk, “You’ll need a weapon though.”
“I have just the thing.” Announced Noa and she then entered her house. She came out a few minutes later, wearing her fighter’s gear and carrying a mean-looking battle-axe.
Yeah, let’s give the guy with no apparent fighting training one of the more awkward and physically demanding weapons to use in combat. May as well coat him down with bacon grease while you’re at it.
Trevor accepted it, lifting the heavy weapon with ease, “Isn’t this Vahn’s? Won’t he object at me using it?”
No, it fucking isn’t. Vahn exclusively uses daggers and short swords as his weapons. They’re perfect for the kind of close range fighting he was trained for.
If he has an axe, it would be strictly decorative and/or ceremonial.
The red haired woman dismissed her friend’s concerns, “He would insist, knowing that it’s to help the kids.
No, he would insist on giving this guy a spear or club, something easy to use that likely won’t end with him hurting himself or one of you.
Actually, if Vahn were here, he’d probably insist on leaving this guy behind.
They’re only bringing Trevor so he can die or get injured, aren’t they? Because otherwise one of the core cast would have to get hurt so that there could be false tension/melodrama, and we can’t have that.
Let’s go before it gets too dark. Mei, Nene, would you take care of Lyra, please?”
How dark can it be? You got off early from work and Nene walked like maybe a hundred feet to another house and came back. Since Nene was on the front steps of the house when you got back, it’s probably Summerish, which means it’s going to get dark fairly late.
Likely they would have several hours of light left in the day.
Granted, some setting here would really help. Any setting at all, honestly.
It wasn’t a long walk, but Trevor was hard put to keep up with the two martial artists.
Man, Trevor must be really out of shape. Which definitely makes sense for a fucking carpenter in the Middle Ages.
Author, stop deep throating the martial artists and give these other people some credit. And do some godsdamned research! There would be few people you could find who would be in better shape than a carpenter, and most of those would also be artisans, such as masons and smiths.
And, author, before you say, “Well, he would’t have used his legs much,” go watch what it takes to run a medieval lathe and imagine doing that for a few hours.
They met a patrol and explanations were given.
Except to the audience. Because they don’t need to know what’s going on.
The soldiers had not seen the children, but since they were dealing with two respected heroes they let trio pass by and joined the search.
I’m rather surprised that the guards didn’t invite them to the Smash Brothers tournament and pancake dinner.
Dusk was upon them, making the whole landscape take a grayish hue. Noa’s keen eyes soon found traces of the two small explorers.
Shouldn’t have been too hard to find, they thrashed around pretty wildly the whole time they were on the page.
“Here,” She announced, “They went that way first, then Thoram carried Nara for a while and headed back towards the village.”
Tracker Sue is the lesser known budget version of the show Trapper John.
Trevor could hardly see anything in the dust and scarce grass, “How do you know that he was carrying her?” He inquired.
Oh right, I forgot, we need to stop everything and admire how smart the Sue is and how great a tracker she is.
Brace for stupid.
“Two things,” Answered Noa, as if it was obviously plain, “His traces show that he was carrying a weight, and there’s only his footsteps coming back. From this point here they both ran towards the pits, it’s quite clear.”
His “traces”? You want to unpack that, Noa? Actually, let me: Seeing as this is on the landward side of a coastal “mountain,” it’s likely very dry. There would be little, if any, tracks. You would instead need to be looking for displaced or impacted stones, sand compressions, grass shines (grass that has been overturned by walking on it in the afternoon), and compressed leaves on the ground. None of these would give you much indication that a load was carried, only that something passed there. And without shoe prints, it would be hard to come to the conclusion that they weren’t just walking single-file. Heck, you’d be hard pressed to identify it as a person without a mud print or some kind of discarded artifact.
Alternatively, they could be in a coastal rain-forest if the pressure system pushes rain up from the south around the “mountain.” In which case, ground mosses and saturated earth would probably show tracks, but it would be difficult to tell if they were loaded or not because the ground would yield easily to any step, extra weight or not.
Really, without any kind of setting at all, it’s hard to know how much bullshit to call on that “quite clear” explanation. But it’s bullshit nonetheless. And not only because the author chose not to describe these “traces” Thoram left.
Beyond that, they’re only a year apart and the elder of the two is six. Assuming one of them is carrying the other is, at best, a leap only a profoundly stupid person would make.
It wasn’t clear at all to the giant, but he trusted his friend’s judgment.
Big dum carpandr trust Sue. Sue gud.
Gala was also a good tracker, but he lacked Noa’s night-vision and so let her lead the way.
Of course he is because that’s one of those skills you just happen to pick up while spending your entire life training in a monastery.
Your characters are allowed to not be good at things, author. Just saying.
Also, why does Noa have night-vision? Because she was raised by a wolf?
They soon reached the boulders, and the young woman soon discovered the hole through which their children had fallen.
Ahh! Some setting! I can picture this area now!
It’s like I’m really there!
“Oh, don’t tell me that they went into the pits!” Exclaimed the Monk.
Okay, we won’t tell you.
The guards couldn’t help them there, as they were under orders to never enter the pits themselves.
Or to go near the pits, or to patrol the area in a way that would alert them to intruders. Basically, they’re supposed pretend they aren’t even here.
Noa and Gala preferred to be a small group at any rate, so they dismissed the men with instructions to carry news to the village.
See, even the fic doesn’t want to acknowledge the guards’ presence. Just that there may or may not be an amorphous group of men who guard things. Important things. Ineptly.
Luckily, now they’re off doing something that isn’t guarding the area, so we can safely forget they even existed in the first place. Not that they were really guarding the area in the first place.
As Noa prepared herself to jump down, a familiar voice, slightly out of breath, announced, “Well, guys, you were going to go back in there without me?”
Vahn, what the crap are you doing here? How did you manage to get to the village, learn that your wife posse’d up with Gala and Trevor, run over here, track them, and then find them all in the same time that they took to get to the same spot?
Oh right, the plot left you coordinates for your GPS. Silly me.
“Vahn, I’m so glad you’re here!” exclaimed Noa with gratitude.
Jiwe! Play with your giant beach ball!
*The sound of an aww-splosion rocks the bunker*
Puberty is gonna be a rude awakening for that boy.
“Well,” Interrupted Gala, “I guess we should go now.”
Or you could stand around and catch up. OF COURSE YOU NEED TO GO NOW! Stop having your characters state the obvious!
And with that, the four adults jumped down into darkness.
Yeah, because that’s a good idea. Our kids probably fell down this hole. We don’t know anything about the hole, so let’s just jump down after them!
How do any of these idiots remember to breathe on a regular basis?
End chapter 02
Look, author, we know that you think we’re idiots. We get it. Maybe, instead of being a patronizing asshole, you could you try to trust us to recognize the end of a chapter by the words stopping. I know, it’s a stretch, but give it a shot sometime.
Anyway, I’ll see you all next week, patrons!