The Kuos I: Vibrant Damage - Chapter II
The Little Intro to The Kuos II: Vibrant Damage
This concerns these two
Ruby Amera & Jenny Fair-blue
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It was a place bigger than what she had in mind; it had lots of people and markets, but most importantly was the atmosphere; it was dusky, starry and lovely. Ruby kept looking around for as long as she was walking, catching a glimpse of every eye candy that she would come upon at each second.
Another girl was walking next to her. She had long, smooth and light blue hair; her name was Jenny Fair-blue. Ruby's hair was messy, short and auburn. They were straying far away from a place called The Great Leaf, a place where immigrants coming to Flora had to be tested in morals and expertise through magic, as per the requests of the royal court. And to get jobs that satisfied the capital’s needs and its citizens.
“Why are you so happy?” Jenny asked Ruby.
When she turned, Jenny added, “Oh! I didn't know your eyes were very orange. I thought they were brown.”
“Must’ve been the darkness back at the greeting hall,” Ruby said and then added with a huff. “I thought yours were gray, but I guess blue fits you better.”
Jenny nodded with a smile, “Back to my question ... Why are you very surprised to be here? Haven’t you ever been to a city before?”
It was a moment of silence when Ruby did not stop glaring at the swarms of people laughing and going about their lives, but then she replied, “No. Never. This is very different than what I got used to!”
Jenny halted and realized that Ruby was still walking ahead, “Ruby?!”
“Sorry! I thought you were—”
“Look we're not here to shop or walk around. We have to find the caravans so we can get to Florae!”
“You mean Florea?” Ruby snapped.
“Isn't it Florae? Like ae?”
“Not exactly—” Ruby began but a man who tapped her right shoulder took her attention.
“Where're you two going?” He said with a deep and raspy voice. He was an old feline with too much of a beard covering the lower half of his furry face.
“OH! Mister?” Ruby said, excitement filling up on her face. She tried to remember him but failed to recall anything.
“Fractures,” he said with a cold expression.
Jenny had a doleful look on her face as she noticed how Ruby tried to make him smile. Poor thing, she thought.
“Um ... We were looking for the caravans,” Ruby said with her arms crossed.
He looked around, examined the place for a moment and then started walking.
“Follow me,” he said.
“Wait!” Jenny started as her hand fell around Ruby’s shoulder, “We barely even know this person. Shouldn't we—”
“You can trust him. I know this cat,” Ruby said.
Jenny pursed her lips in disapproval, “I don't know. Are you sure? Where did you meet him?”
“Hey! You coming?” Fractures called as he neared the western gate of Valine.
Ruby sighed, “I'll tell you once we get done with this journey. It's a long tale. So, remember to ask me to serve you a cup of coffee beforehand.”
Jenny gave the hint of a smile as she continued by Ruby's side toward Fractures. When they were outside, they saw that he had already stopped a small, white colored carriage big enough for them; it had no horse nor driver, and even the wealthy passers coming from the western roads of Flora stopped around the carriage to gaze at and admire its beauty.
“The Queen is here?!” Said a girl to her friend.
“Hardly think so. It's probably— Oh,” her friend replied but turned away as soon as he saw the person inside; it was the feline Fractures.
“Come on!” The man said as he pulled his friend away with him, and soon after, everyone ran away from the carriage.
What’s wrong?! Jenny thought as she paused in bafflement. This cat is scaring everyone away for some reason. Something isn't right ...
“Ruby!” Jenny whispered. “Come here. I've got something to show you before we go.”
Just as Ruby was in her reach, Jenny tugged her back and explained, “Ruby, as much as I like you— I mean, I just met you not even two hours ago. But as much as you may be friendly, I can't trust this cat!”
“But I know this feline personally. I can't just shut him out! Look, even the wagon he got is good!” Ruby was smiling, her teeth brightening up the town and making Jenny question herself.
“I know stuff—”
“I’m about to drive away and leave you both to follow on foot!” Fractures said.
Ruby got irritated and took Jenny by her hand, pulling her like a mother pulls her daughter.
“Ruby, I swear if you get me in trouble, I will end your existence,” Jenny said in frustration.
But Ruby laughed it off as she put her right foot on the wagon's footboard.
“Get in! I haven't the luxury of time,” Fractures said.
He wasn't driving and Ruby wondered about it. There wasn't even a driver seat. The carriage felt like a wide capsule, but it didn't seem as big from the outside.
“No one is driving?” Ruby asked, looking around to see nothing but the white interior, the fine red seats and a small window next to Fractures – the only window.
He smiled for the first time and pointed forth, “Sit.”
Ruby let go of Jenny's hand and got in, sitting to face Fractures. Jenny followed and sat next to her. When their legs were properly inside, the oval door shut itself without warning.
“What is going on?!” Jenny almost screamed for help.
The carriage started to shake around and move; it felt like something was trying to blow up from the ground below it.
“This cart drives on its own. Rest easy.”
“Do you even know where we're going?!” Jenny asked as she wondered why she hadn’t told him beforehand.
“Farm Zone 22,” he said.
“How do you know?” Ruby asked, stumped by his intellect.
“I saw you at The Great Leaf and had heard about your results.”
“I thought the results were only visible to us and the government.”
“It is, but it's also visible to that who manages the job itself.”
A moment of silence took hold as Jenny felt sorry for her earlier behavior.
“You ... are the manager at the zone?” Jenny questioned.
“The Sunshine Breeze, as I would prefer to call it. And it's a long road from here. Sit back and relax.”
Jenny and Ruby looked at each other in surprise, and they tittered in relief. The wagon started to move, and only seconds later became faster.
It was near midnight and the moonlight was casting its soft blues through the window of the wagon. The sounds of the rocky roads being driven upon came in soothing, putting Ruby in a drowsy mood.
“Shh! Your friend is sleeping. Don't wake her up,” Fractures said to Jenny in a whisper, and then rested back on the leathery cushion of the seat.
Jenny licked her lips and gazed out the window trying to figure out where she was.
Hmm ... Where could we be? Perhaps near The Vanguard of Mother Nature, Jenny thought. (The Vanguard houses the people who guard the royal castle, Mother Nature. And it is near Farm Zone 22.)
Fractures was soundless and asleep when Jenny had turned back to see him. She huffed. She wanted to sleep as well but being in a wagon driven by magic made her jumpy.
It’s not normal! She thought.
A sudden knock on the wagon woke Fractures and he bolted upright.
“We're here,” he said and then proceeded to open the door just as the wagon came to a halt.
“Ruby, hey. Wake up,” Jenny said and then noticed something reflective sliding down Ruby’s cheek; it was tears.
Jenny was stunned, goose bumps forming on her light skin. She shook Ruby up and then she rose.
“Jenny ... I'm sorry,” Ruby said, weakly, and still in faint hibernation. “I couldn't do anything.” Her voice broke.
“Ruby!” Jenny called. “Get up.”
“Huh? What?” Ruby opened her eyes wide. They were wet and still producing tears.
“You're crying. Why?” Jenny asked.
Ruby rubbed her face and her hands came back soaking, reflecting the moonlight. Jenny wanted to ask Fractures what could make someone cry in their sleep, but he was watching them in bitter patience, waiting for them to finish and get off.
“Crap— I mean ... okay,” Jenny said and took Ruby by hand, leading her outside.
Ruby was drying up her hand on her jeans which were too dark to be stained vibrantly. She avoided touching her green t-shirt that, in opposition, was way cleaner, tidier and vibrant; it brought upon positive vibes.
Fractures got off the wagon after the two girls did, and meeting them outside was an elven woman dressed in elegant clothing; she seemed like security.
“Names?” The woman said, her hands hidden behind. And then she gestured her head at Fractures.
“This is Ruby Amera and Jenny Fair-blue,” Fractures said, pointing at each of them. “They should be listed on the entry wall.”
“Why is she in cries?” The woman asked, hinting at Ruby.
Ruby looked down, her hair falling over to cover the discomfiture, “I was remembering things ... sorry.”
“No need to apologize. We all cry,” the woman said with a smile. She traded looks with the three of them and then began speaking, “Welcome to Florea! This is the southern area. Master Fractures, you'll have to go on on foot as automatic wagons are prohibited in the city.”
“Since when?” He said with his whiskers tensed.
“Apparently, someone was driving in the city when his auto cart failed to notice that a group of children were walking by and so ...”—the woman shrugged—”you know how it is.”
“Hmm, that's bad. Well, no matter. We'll walk,” Fractures said after a thought, this won't be that long of a walk anyway.
“Walk straight in.” The women pressed a small button next to the metal gate and it started to rise up, somewhat thrashing about between its holders.
“You should fix it. Florea isn't known for being this shabby,” Fractures stated.
“This gate is a back door. Only you and a few other people walk through here.”
“Still, you should maintain the gate's stableness. All the gates. They should be firm and secure, so no one can break them down.”
Fractures walked in after the woman nodded to him. Ruby and Jenny were behind, maintaining silence through the whole time.
What an interesting place! Jenny thought after seeing the first view for Florea. She was concerned about it being gloomy when she saw its buildings from outside the gate, but it all became magical and brighter as soon as they walked in. There were few, small, orange orbs hanging in the air across the first road they saw; the orbs emitted a warm and welcoming color. And the road, surrounded by old, wooden houses, was leading further into the city.
“The orbs?!” Ruby said.
“They're lanterns for Florea. It is said they only appear when light is gone,” Jenny said, and then Ruby turned to her, astonished.
“They signify the beauty of this city, and this isn't just it, mind you,” Fractures said.
Jenny noticed that the place was deserted and all the market stands were covered by velvet.
“Where're the people?” She asked.
“Asleep in their houses or, and this might frighten you, strolling the streets looking for their next pocket to steal,” Fractures said as his eyes rolled to examine the tight pathways in between the houses.
“Uh ... what?” Ruby said, her face twisted. She looked at Jenny, longing for a relieving fact from the smartest person she had met.
“Haha. I'm only joking. But seriously, stay close. There could be a few thieves lurking about,” Fractures said in a smile then suddenly broke it into a watchful expression.
“Why would there be thieves here? And I thought Florea was secure—”
“Florae—” Jenny interrupted.
“Florea!” Ruby corrected, a growl in her voice.
“OK! Florea. It is too big for all-good people. Even when it's a city, you have no clue how far it extends across Flora.”
“Behind me as you speak,” Fractures said as he walked ahead on the road, the orbs' lights illustrating his furry physique. Jenny and Emerald continued to chat as they ran after him.
The city was quiet and serene. Its fresh night air filled the three's lungs as they gingerly took a deep breath with each step. Jenny was ahead of Ruby, talking with Fractures about Farm Zone 22. She saw Jenny's expressions changing rapidly, showing excitement about the place.
I look up to the moon which was oddly lightly green, and it almost appeared to be transparent. Jenny is talking to Fractures, I wonder what it is they are saying about the Farm Zone, Ruby thought as she hid her arms behind her back.
Next to her, and only when she noticed it did she smile, was a field of green grass. Across this field were a few lofts, their warm lights shining through their small windows.
“See that, Ruby? That's Farm Zone 21. The only farm in Florea,” Fractures said as he pointed his barbed finger at the field Ruby was staring at.
In her head, she was excited to visit her own farm zone. A place that would look as beautiful as that. A place where she can lead a joyful life.
She sighed, If only …
“Ruby, comon catch up!” Jenny called.
When Ruby got parallel to them, Fractures stopped. He crossed his arms, turned to look at Farm Zone 21 and then said, “We're here.”
We're ... here? Jenny thought.
“How? I don't see the field,” Ruby said.
“Just follow me, okay?” Fractures said.
When Ruby observed the place, she sensed something odd about the road that they were on. Behind them was the exit from Florea's east side, and ahead at the very end of the dirty road was nothing; it was just the ocean which could not be seen unless they climbed the large, rocky wall that stood tall before it. The moonlight rendered it white.
The entire road is just this? Ruby asked herself.
“I want you two to trust me. Zone 21 is here. It's underground—”
“No. No. I can't trust this man anymore, Ruby. I'm getting back to the city—”
“Jenny! Have you even read about the Farm Zones and their locations? What do you know about Farm Zone 21? Go on,” Fractures furiously said.
Jenny froze, unable to reply. And Ruby continued to look around, curious as to how Zone 21 was underground, and even more curious about its entrance.
“Yep. You know nothing.”
Jenny crossed her arms, a lour wearing on her face. She wanted to apologize, but being an elf, she has to never be regretful. Even if she was wrong in every sense.
“What do you see here?” Fractures pointed to the left side of the road which had a mossy, long, brick wall.
There was a dent on the front, clearly visible when looked at from the sides. Jenny got closer to feel it, and immediately, she felt an engraving hidden between a dense collection of leaves and flowers. She wondered how only this side of the wall had that, as the rest of it was drowned in moss.
“There's something here?” She said, and then Ruby leaned in her head to check.
When Jenny moved the obstacles away, she saw that there was a small emblem of an orb crossed by two daggers.
“What's this?” Ruby asked Fractures.
“Press it,” he said.
The button was light and it slid inside briskly, and that's when Ruby felt something stinging on her skin. So did Jenny. When they looked at their arms and shoulders, they saw that there were a few black darts stuck on the surfaces of their skins; they had triggered a dart-shooting mechanism.
Fractures was far behind them as he spoke, “Sorry, girls. This is the lot you can see for now.”
Ruby turned, a sign of drowsiness in her eyes. And Jenny fell to the dirt as soon as she let the button go.
“Wha ... Wh ...” Ruby tried to utter a last word but eventually collapsed.
Her face was about to hit the solid ground but Fractures got to her in time, “There you go. You'll be fine,” Fractures said.
He fixed her back on his right knee and took out a syringe filled with red liquid. Her arms dropped as she went to deep hibernation, then he injected the needle to her neck. After that, he did the same thing to Jenny, who was already snoring.
Thank the gods. Only two girls. Way easier to drag, and lighter, Fractures thought as he stood up and stretched. Can't wait to drink a warm coffee for the night.
He smiled, his tail swaying in joy.
"A part of The Kuos series of fantasy (click for official website/blog)"
Hello AHAKuo, I saw this text on ProjectComment and decided to write a few thoughts on it ^^
Generic grammar stuff:
1. Pretty good grammar throughout and fine use of punctuation. I find many people who just have no idea how to use a comma or a semi-colon so the fact you know your grammar made for a smooth read.
2. I feel like you could go through and simplify the text here and there. In general I hear it’s good to have sentences as to-the-point as possible (except when you need a poetic feel)… a few examples:
“Ruby kept looking around for as long as she was walking, catching a glimpse of every eye candy that she would come upon at each second.”
Could be shortened and simplified to something along the lines of
“Ruby kept looking around as she was walking, catching a glimpse of every eye candy she came upon.”
“Jenny gave the hint of a smile as she continued by Ruby's side toward Fractures.
When they were outside, they saw that he had already stopped a small, white colored carriage big enough for them; it had no horse nor driver, and even the wealthy passers coming from the western roads of Flora stopped around the carriage to gaze at and admire its beauty.”
Wherever a word is not needed, it’s good to cut it; it helps engage the reader and keep them interested with a very slightly faster pace.
3. You can also cut back on the “Jenny said (…)” “Ruby added (…)” whenever the reader can guess who’s speaking. It was mostly in the beginning though, I noticed it much less later in the text.
+Very magical feel throughout
+I thought the part with the cart had a good buildup which made it very intriguing, especially having Jenny so hesitant to go along
+A very good buildup for Farm Zone 22 (or is it 21?) as well, and good cliffhanger ending, leaves the reader curious about what the cat's plans are.
-But I had a hard time getting a grasp of the characters of Ruby and Jenny, in the sense that I felt a lot of the time they spoke similarly and reacted similarly. You could either add more description to set them apart, or give them a different way of speaking (ex. one is more polite than the other) or something to show their personality more.
Overall a very good intro to the world your story is set in. It gives an idea of the different areas, characters and hints at plot points. The fact it is well-written made it easy to read and understand, which honestly is the number one most important thing!
Thank you so much for this review, and I will take all what you said into account; especially the part about shortening the descriptive story telling. I can understand the inconvenience, but I guess that's what happens when you try to build a very big world.
Thank you again! <3