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  #1    
Old September 11th, 2013 (05:30 AM).
shishiou
Purple Fanfic Writer
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Nature: Serious
Hi community,

I registered because I wanted to crosspost my story. Hope it's ok! It's kind of a crossover with Monster Hunter, and, as such, has violent depictions of Pokémon being hunted. Sorry.

It's somewhat "literary" with unironically purple, melodic prose, and resulted angstier than I had intended. I'm planning about 6 chapters, and 2 are finished.

Chapter 1: A heart so true

The icy air of the northeastern Kalos tundras shears through my skin with the cruelty of beastly claws. I make a mental note of this pain, name it, wrap it up in a little ball, and put it away. I've been sitting still in this spot for five days. I could stand fifty more, if need be. I'm no stranger to cold weather, and I've learned long ago that, when there's something you must do, you must pull through. Gaze lifted in an unfocused way, I keep conscious of everything, of the azure sky already starting to darken, of the ominous frozen mountains far away, of the low grass withering noiselessly. The thin shrubbery that gives my shelter a semblance of camouflage smells good, earthy with a trace of mint, but I eye it suspiciously as if it could at any moment grow living vines and strangle me senseless. It's not like me, being paranoid like this. After what happened, there shouldn't be any more of that… right? I shiver and, as if to mock my resolve, a sudden, persistent blast of the infamous cavewinds pierces every part of my body not sheltered in my Ninetales furcoat. I reach my warm canteen and take a sip of the "Hot Drink"—a permanently bubbling ooze extracted from the embergall glands of unevolved Magbys, currently being (carefully) farmed for this purpose—and decide that I must increase my fur coverage later. It took more than twenty months to gather all this gear—and, well, more than twenty years to learn how to use all this gear—but there's always something to improve… It's too late to worry now. I relax deliberately in order to save psychic energy, and let the inner warmth of the queer intoxicating liquid burn through my veins. I snap my attention to focus and stay still, ten seconds, thirty, one minute, five, ten, sixty, each one of them passing without hurry, without past or future, with only the wide clear sky for company.

Then all sounds suddenly go quiet and an undefinable shimmer spreads over the air like thin iridescent dust, and I know it's here.

It's magnificent. Each of the eight branches of its antlers glitters in luminous colours, red and cyan and violet, and it moves with the grace and poise of the unicorns of myth, as if all Stantlers were just clumsy imitations made by some jealous, incompetent god. I've seen a few legendary beasts in my time, but looking at Xerneas right now, I think it's the most beautiful of all monsters—the most beautiful living thing in this world. According to my investigations, this one's must be the last of the species, too.

I don't take my eyes of it for a moment. Quietly, quietly, I draw my strop (a strip of rough Sharpedo hide, decorated with geometric patterns), lift an arrow from the floor, and give the tip a last-minute polish. I know I'll only get one chance, so the point must be absolutely sharp; it's crafted from the cold-steel fangs of a Mawile that I myself murdered (that thing bit right through my heavy Steelix armour; I ended up strangling it with my own hands before it could chew me like so many berries; when I close my eyes I can still picture the expression on his face—) and coated in the most toxic of Garbodor sludges. I raise the bow: sturdy mega-Ampharos hairstring, flexible Kangaskhan composite bone-and-sinew traced with unholy unown runes, and a couple curse charms carved from the fearstones of Mismagii and the hollow eyes of Shedinjas. Always come prepared. Avoiding the (Staraptor) fletching, I nock the arrow on the string and pull it back all the way, charging a direct shot. Just as I raise the tip, the monster, with supernatural intuition, looks right at me with its clear eyes. There's an undefinable, timeless moment in the cold as we acknowledge each other, and—I release the shot. The arrow flies with dreadful speed and pierces right through the X of its pupils, as if they were a target in some game. The beast's shrill cry of pain and fear hurts my eardrums before I'm attacked with a terrible magic blast—but I was prepared for that too, and withstand the impact safely behind the cold metal of a large Shieldon plate. I'm nonetheless thrown to the ground as the beast gallops away.

That was part of the plan, too. It predictably heads northward for the safest crevice on the barren mountainscape, and I cover my ears: a few moments later the ground trembles under the blast of the gunpowder and poison bombs I had planted on its probable path. I run towards it noisily, making sure to be seen, and shoot a rain of the steelfanged arrows. The Xerneas stops and looks back unsurely and a cold shiver grips my spine and knots my stomach, but then it finally grows too startled and scared and runs away limping. I finally managed to bring it from fight to flight.

I head back, stash the bow, and take the greatsword.
This thing doesn't deserve to be called a sword. It's more of a huge slab of raw metal.
I wouldn't even be able to move it from the ground if it wasn't built from uncanny living steel.
Its once-proud square spikes and blue gemshards still adorn and protect it even in this decayed shape.
I strap the abomination to my back. I can't run like this, but I can walk.
I suppress a sigh and set out into the night.

When a Xerneas moves, it touches the ground so lightly that it won't leave hoofprints, not even on snow. It will, however, leave a blood trail—if you put an iron arrow through its skull and blow half a dozen barrels of gunpowder under its legs. Tracking this one is trivial. I spot the monster as a bunch of lonesome, colourful rods topping some dark mass on the ground, glowing a soft blue aura wherever touched by the moonlight. It has failed to find proper shelter, though as I approach it I notice that small flowers are already sprouting from the unnaturally red blood, and what was once a random stretch of lifeless ground is already starting to feel like a holy grove.

The beast is asleep in its exhaustion. I circle it cautiously so that I'm able to look it in the face; I owe it as much. It has an expression of perfect peace, like a sleeping saint. I draw the greatsword, slide my left hand to the steel pommel, grip the ivory handle lightly with the right just below the guard and raise the blade over my head, holding it up there full of promises. I see all the stars there is to see and notice there are no clouds and, for a tenth of a second, wonder how come my cheeks seem to be wet—and I bring the blade down in a wide cutting motion, slashing cleanly through Xerneas' neck, splashing the snow broadly with a blood that shines red even in the dark of the night.

I thrust the greatsword in the ground and lean on it and breathe and stay there listening to the silence of the starry skies.

Then I draw a huntersknife and start hacking the horns loose.

My name is Red, and I am a Pokémon Hunter.
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  #2    
Old September 11th, 2013 (05:35 AM).
shishiou
Purple Fanfic Writer
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Nature: Serious
Chapter 2: A world we must defend

On the dirt of the village ground, framed by the creeping claws of half-withered, thorny weeds, two small snotty children were playing Pocket Monsters.

The game was like this. Each child carried with them some kind of critter, typically a horned beetle, which they cared for and tried to "train" in a childish, haphazard way. They didn't keep them literally in pockets—their crude Rattata-skin vests seldom had pockets at all—but rather used little cages they themselves built, tying together small sticks. Those bugs who survived the "training" were pitted against each other in a kind of arthropodic cockfighting. A small circle was drawn on the dirt, and whichever creature was first pushed outside, flipped over, or murdered, was the loser.

No one knew when and how did the children learn this sport. The sullen, silent adults seemed to be somehow bothered by it, but never said anything.

In that day's fight both bugs were common horned beetles, but they didn't seem very combative. They just stood there thinking their empty insect thoughts. Gold, sitting on a treestump, watched the battle with an indefinable melancholic expression, eyes vacant. He didn't even notice when the stranger started approaching, despite the fact that the man should, by all counts, stand out from the villagers like a Vivillon in the snow (when have I last seen Vivillons?). The stranger was, evidently, a hunter. He wasn't that older than Gold, perhaps three or four years, but somehow he felt old as the mountains. Perhaps it was his sheer size; legs thick as pillars, arms twice the girth of Gold's, and a body so solid that even the absurdly large backpack didn't seem heavy on him; and all that mass was built from the broad, unstated, scarred muscles of someone who actually uses them, not the showy, anatomical muscles of a Bodybuilder (what was a Bodybuilder again?). Of course, all this deduction was beside the point—only a hunter would walk around in such expensive monsters' fur, with such an array of potions and herbs and strange hollow stones and thingamajigs hanging from belts and pockets and hooks, with that many amulets and charms and animal decorations and fangs and feathers and disturbing figures sculpted in ivorybone. He likely had an entire armoury packed in a box somewhere nearby, and probably spent most of his time gathering better materials and crafting better weapons, so that he could gather even better materials—that is, kill bigger beasts. Hunters, with their smell of sweat and gunpowder and tanned hide and dead things, made Gold sick. Sure, you had to fight the creatures to protect the village, and if you spotted one wandering nearby, you'd go after it, because it would attack the people sooner or later, and some of them were terrifyingly powerful, some of them preyed on children and dreams and souls, and when those were around, hired hunters were very welcome—but even then, the very idea of humans going out to attack monsters felt repulsive, villainous… inhuman.

As the large figure moved closer, Gold was taken by some old, deep fear, and wondered whether doing what monsters do—hunting—doesn't make you the same as them.

The man stopped by the battle-ring and stepped on both bettles at once, in a casual way, with a heavy lined Bouffalant-leather boot (how do I know that?). There was no way the bugs could have survived. The scrawny children—it was hard to decide whether they were boys or girls—froze in place, then grimaced and started crying all at once, staring accusingly at the stranger. The man returned the look, pointed toward his foot , lifted it, and kept pointing at the crushed bugslime and the battle-ring. The children went quiet and looked down in supressed silence, whimpering from time to time.

It was more than Gold could handle. "Who do you think you are", he snapped, "and why are you doing this to the kids? Get out of our village! You're not wanted here!" The man just looked at him saying nothing, and in that moment of cold and quiet, looking up at his bearded face, something that had been stirring in Gold's mind surfaced with such a shock that he felt dizzy. "I—I know who you are. I know you. You're… you're Red, right?"

The man kept looking, without any sign of reaction.

"That's right, you never said anything. Please, Red, please, talk to me." Gold was surprised at his own quavering voice but went on—"I've been sick, Red, many years sick, I woke up here after… what happened, and no one knows what it was, and I think of the old cities and of the monsters and I ask myself every day and I have to know. I know how hard it is for you but talk to me, Red."

The children watched attentively, forgetting about the beetles entirely. Red said nothing. It was rather hard to explain but he could somehow answer with silence, pressuring you into talking more.

"You always kept to yourself, always did everything alone, right? Look at you, all bloody and messy." Gold had the need to say hurtful things, but some back part of his mind noted that, even if a bit gruffy, Red was quite clean, and all his little bags and contraptions were distributed over his body in a careful, utilitarian layout. Gold made an effort to ignore this part of his mind. "Are you that afraid of people, that after all those years you'd leave an old friend in the dark only to cater to the fear?" No reaction. Gold sat back down, the fight in him fizzing out fast. He sighted. "The only one you would ever talk to was… Green, right?", he half-whispered, but now there was a reaction, though Red didn't look angry or sad as Gold expected, just weary. Red turned his back and started walking, slow and steady. He was the first sign Gold ever found of his old life, and he really, really wanted to go after him, but he didn't.


But after sunset, in the moonless night, when Gold lied sleeplessly on the straw mats and Piloswine blankets of his hut, he was suddenly aware of someone to his side, and somehow he wasn't afraid, and only after many minutes did Gold realize that he already knew who it was. Red slept so quietly that he could be dead, except life radiated from him like heatwaves. Gold didn't even think of waking him to ask questions but just stayed still, gaze lost on the bamboo ceiling, going again and again through the memories of his childhood, now much clearer than in the last years of dirt and snow and battling every day to survive.


When Gold woke up, the cloudy sky was already lit—at least, as lit as it ever got in these parts. Red had disappeared, but Gold found some objects left on his only table. There was what looked like a Shuckle shell, but on a closer look, had been fashioned into a handshield, the holes barred with some kind of bony plate that Gold couldn't identify. There was a short curved saber, which Gold recognized as a crafted Scythersblade, with a wooden grip and dark-green metal pommel. And there was some sort of loose-leaf notebook, with one of the leaves laid over the battered brown chamois cover.

He took the note. It read:

Gold, you are strong, but your body has become too thin.
Read this. I'll come back for it in two full moons.
Before that, copy it. Memorize it. Learn it, and learn to handle a sword,
and protect these people, and other people too. I have something I must do.

Red

He looked at the notebook. The cover read:

Hunter's Notes.

Almost like an afterthought on the note, just below the signature, Red had added:

I must kill God.
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  #3    
Old September 12th, 2013 (01:45 AM).
Nolafus's Avatar
Nolafus
Aspiring Writer, or something...
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Lost in thought... again
Age: 19
Gender: Male
Nature: Calm
Okay, since I will be reviewing more than one chapter, I will be taking my review one chapter at a time.

Quote:
Gaze lifted in an unfocused way, I keep conscious of everything,
When you say "Gaze", since it's the first word, it makes it sound like Gaze is a name or something. I would recommend putting "My" in front of it, if it is, in fact, talking about the direction of the main character's stare.

Quote:
and let the inner warmth of the queer intoxicating liquid burn through my veins.
You need a comma in between "queer" and "intoxicating", since they are two adjectives in a row being used to describe the same noun.

Quote:
I head back, stash the bow, and take the greatsword.
This thing doesn't deserve to be called a sword. It's more of a huge slab of raw metal.
I wouldn't even be able to move it from the ground if it wasn't built from uncanny living steel.
Its once-proud square spikes and blue gemshards still adorn and protect it even in this decayed shape.
I strap the abomination to my back. I can't run like this, but I can walk.
I suppress a sigh and set out into the night.
I'm not sure why you started a new line after each sentence, I would change it to form a paragraph.

I like this introduction. We learn a lot about Red, and what he does. Why he wants to kill the LAST Xerneas, I don't know, but I expect to find out. It's well written and I especially like the last sentence. It closes out the introduction very nicely.

The legendary pokemon, I feel, was shown very nicely, and with a lot of power. Even if the reader doesn't know much about Xerneas, we can pick up from the various clues, that whatever it is, it's powerful. Altogether, a nice opening to what should be an interesting story.

Quote:
In that day's fight both bugs were common horned beetles,
You need a comma after "fight".

Quote:
(when have I last seen Vivillons?)
Quote:
(what was a Bodybuilder again?)
Quote:
(how do I know that?)
I'm not too sure about these little fillers. I feel like you could get away with the first one, but I would drop the second and third one as I feel like it doesn't add to the story.

Quote:
But after sunset, in the moonless night,
I don't think you should start off the paragraph with "But". Since you have those three little starts that I don't know how to do separating the paragraphs, the connection between them is severed and you start off with a new idea. Leaving no reason for the "But" to be there.

We learn more about Red's past, but the chapter leaves more questions than answers. Which is fine, but the answers better come later on. We learn that Red is a bit of a jerk. Stomping on those innocent beetles and all. He doesn't talk much, and he has some sort of past with this Gold character. Oh, and who could forget that Red is apparently going after Arceus.

Overall, we have an interesting story about a topic that's not too popular to write about, humans killing pokemon. I like the directions the story has taken so far, but I do have some concerns about later chapters. I'm concerned that Red might too much of a "godly" character where everything goes almost perfect and he isn't faced with a challenge that really pushes him. I mean, he did just kill a legendary pokemon without any backlash whatsoever. I would be wary of that happening, just putting the idea out there. I really like this story and I look forward to future updates and how the story progresses.
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  #4    
Old September 13th, 2013 (08:53 AM). Edited September 13th, 2013 by shishiou.
shishiou
Purple Fanfic Writer
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Nature: Serious
First of all, thank you Slayr231 for your detailed criticism. It's very appreciated.

I'm afraid several of the points you raise are conscious stylistic choices (like the supression of commas for a flowing, stream-of-consciousness effect, or the use of line breaks to suggest a slow, deliberate pace; think James Joyce or William S. Burroughs). I'm not a native English speaker, and am very far from a skilled literary writer, so I can see why these techniques could be grating; but for now I'd like to experiment with the narration style, and leave them there.

I do agree that some parts are just clumsy, like the "Gaze unfocused", and will rewrite them presently.

What I was trying to do with the small digressions in Gold's thought process was to help establishing a link to the "old" Pokémon world ("Bodybuilder" with a capital "B" was a trainer class in Pokémon Colosseum) and to show that, though Gold doesn't remember that world very well, it keeps coming back to him in bits and pieces. I'm not sure if I suceeded though…

If you look closely, both characters tend to use metaphors and similes based on elements of the Pokémon world ("I put my pain in a little ball…") There are several little nods to the "Monster Hunter" games too!

I agree that Red looks too OP so far; thanks for reminding me to make him suffer a bit more in the next chapters
The way I see it is, Red was the League Champion and the destroyer of Team Rocket and the compiler of the Pokédex and the "Master" and the "Living Legend" at friggin' 11 years of age. And then apparently he survived alone on the top of an ice peak for three years or more. I also see him as obviously the best strategical mind in his world (just play Pokémon Red: apparently the rest of the world thinks that single-type teams are great, not to mention the guys whose teams consist of two Metapods…) Judging from his behavior in the games, Red has a deep knowledge of Pokémon abilities and weaknesses and movesets and whatnot. So how badass would this guy be like after 30, and apparently after surviving some sort of apókelypse?

Nonetheless I do have some challenges in store for him, including, naturally, Blue/Green and one of Red's original Pokémon… But perhaps his greatest challenge is precisely his power; he knows everything about Pokémon, therefore he can kill them efficiently; but he was raised to think Pokémon are friends and companions, and will never feel at peace after hunting them; that's why he keeps having those flashbacks…
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  #5    
Old September 13th, 2013 (12:49 PM).
Nolafus's Avatar
Nolafus
Aspiring Writer, or something...
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Lost in thought... again
Age: 19
Gender: Male
Nature: Calm
Quote:
I'm afraid several of the points you raise are conscious stylistic choices
Alright then, I'll be sure to lay off the style critiques.

Quote:
("Bodybuilder" with a capital "B" was a trainer class in Pokémon Colosseum)
Ah, I never played Colosseum, so I didn't pick up on that. I haven't played Monster Hunter either, so I'll probably miss those links.

I'm glad you thought some of my edits were helpful. Each one is more of a suggestion, so I understand you wanting to keep some things the same. To be honest, I would have never guessed that English wasn't your first language. Don't worry, you're doing fine.
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  #6    
Old September 17th, 2013 (02:54 AM).
Cutlerine
Gone. May or may not return.
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
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A composite Pokémon and Monster Hunter fic? Now that I could get into. I am a lover of monsters and fictional beasts in general (I have never written a story that did not include some kind of monster), so I'm a big fan of both franchises. Let me start, then, by bouncing up and down excitedly, because I'm really looking forward to seeing more of this.

There is one big issue I have with it, though, and that is how purple it is. There's nothing inherently wrong with flowery prose - I often wax purple myself in the name of description - but at times, it actually becomes difficult to read. You cited Joyce as a precedent, and yes, he is a user of the stream-of-consciousness form of prose, but he also constructs that prose in a manner that renders it highly readable. (With the possible exception of Finnegan's Wake.) In this story, virtually every noun is modified with one or more adjectives, and reading the sentences can become a little bit like wading knee-deep through a bog. You wouldn't lose atmosphere or stylistic power by cutting out a few adjectives here and there - it'd be easier to read, and it wouldn't lose its power at all.

I guess the overall point is that you should by all means experiment, as you say - but the nature of experimentation is such that the outcome is not entirely certain, and if that outcome happens to have a flaw or two in it then the experimenter might want to consider ways of polishing those flaws out. Ultimately, of course, it's up to you; it's your story.

Anyway, that's sort of related to this next point I want to raise, which is to do with the amount of information you pack into each sentence. Take this, for instance:

Quote:
sturdy mega-Ampharos hairstring, flexible Kangaskhan composite bone-and-sinew traced with unholy unown runes, and a couple curse charms carved from the fearstones of Mismagii and the hollow eyes of Shedinjas
That's about a paragraph's worth of description and information forced into one sentence, and getting through that is actually pretty difficult. It's a shame, because this is such an interesting story and it's well-written elsewhere - but solid lumps of information like that should probably be avoided, for the readers' sake at least. You're cultivating a specific style, I can see that, and I like that style, but unless you want to go full-on Finnegan's Wake on us, I think you do also have to make a concession or two in the name of readability. There's plenty of space in the story for you to mention the elements of the bow more naturally and fluidly, as you do the greatsword.

Those are my two main issues with the story. That aside? I really am loving it. Hints of past disaster, a bleakly beautiful world, a budding original style - it holds my interest and keeps me excited, which is honestly not particularly common. I do have a few more things to point out, but they're relatively minor issues, easily corrected.

Quote:
According to my investigations, this one's must be the last of the species, too.
You don't need the bolded apostrophe and S.

Quote:
Tracking this one is trivial.
'Trivial' means 'of little significance or value', not, as is implied here, 'not posing any difficulty'. It's similar, but not quite what you meant, I think. I can see you're going for alliteration there, but to make proper sense it probably ought to be changed.

Quote:
Then I draw a huntersknife and start hacking the horns loose.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm fairly certain that in Monster Hunter, 'hunter's knife' is written as two words, as it is elsewhere. I hesitate to class this one as an error, because it seems like it could be referencing something, but I can't see what, so I'm pointing it out anyway.

Quote:
the very idea of humans going out to attack monsters felt repulsive, villainous… inhuman.
Why? Hopefully we'll be given more information about this, but at the time of reading, it does strike a reader as odd. Usually, when someone makes a statement like that, they qualify it; it feels a bit strange to not find out the reasoning behind it.

Quote:
"Who do you think you are", he snapped, "and why are you doing this to the kids? Get out of our village! You're not wanted here!"
Quote:
"Are you that afraid of people, that after all those years you'd leave an old friend in the dark only to cater to the fear?"
The dialogue could use a little work. The two examples I've selected here are prime examples of its two main failings: the first is way too abrupt, moving from point A to point B in one gigantic leap so that it doesn't sound much like something anyone would actually say, and the second is oddly phrased - I don't know about you, but I've never used the phrase 'only to cater to the fear' in my life. You talked about Joyce; Joyce's dialogue is highly naturalistic, to the point where he uses nonstandard notation and punctuation to better represent it as part of his narrative. The rest of the story is so vivid, the description and the world and the delicious pacing, that the short, jerky bursts of dialogue seem to let it down a little. It isn't terrible, but it isn't as good as the rest of the story, and it shows.

Quote:
and he really, really wanted to go after him, but he didn't.
After the consciously literary style you've held throughout the story so far, this line comes across as pretty weak. It's a massive break in style, and very jarring. Perhaps you intended it to be so - I can think of reasons why you would - but even if you did, I'd argue it doesn't quite work the way you meant it to. It just deflates, as if the balloon that has so far been inflating has suddenly burst. It kind of trivialises Gold's desire to follow Red, and I don't think that's what you meant.

Quote:
when Gold lied sleeplessly
The past tense of 'lie' as in 'to tell untruths' is 'lied'; the past tense of 'lie as in 'to lie down' is 'lay'. So in this case, I think you want 'lay', rather than 'lied'. Unless Gold is staying up all night telling lies, which, while an entertaining idea, is probably not what you meant.

Quote:
I reach my warm canteen
I think you might be missing a 'for' between 'reach' and 'my'. Otherwise, it implies that Red has just arrived at the place where the canteen is, which doesn't quite make sense.

I also have minor reservations about Xerneas being such a pushover; it might have been a bit much to start with. I know this is a very different and much more visceral version of Pokémon than normal, but I see Xerneas as at least a High Rank quest monster, to put it in Monster Hunter terms. It is a legendary, after all, even if confronted by Red; there's a limit to how much stronger one can become, and how long it takes. (For instance, you improve much more in the first few years of learning a skill than you do in any of the next few; people do not exponentially gain skill, but master the basics and spend a long time refining the specifics.)

But it's not really much of a problem for me - if all your Pokémon in this story are just pseudo-scientifically-superpowered animals, as they are in Monster Hunter, then keep on chopping up those legendaries and don't mind a word I say.

I've listed a lot of potential mistakes here, but really, I don't think they detract from the story that much at all. It's a great piece of work, fresh and different and Monster Hunter, which is awesome, and I very much look forward to seeing more of it.
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  #7    
Old October 2nd, 2013 (07:47 PM).
tanledesigner
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Gender: Male
But after sunset, in the moonless night, when Gold lied sleeplessly on the straw mats and Piloswine blankets of his hut, he was suddenly aware of someone to his side, and somehow he wasn't afraid, and only after many minutes did Gold realize that he already knew who it was. Red slept so quietly that he could be dead, except life radiated from him like heatwaves. Gold didn't even think of waking him to ask questions but just stayed still, gaze lost on the bamboo ceiling, going again and again through the memories of his childhood, now much clearer than in the last years of dirt and snow and battling every day to survive. ? After the moon
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