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The Veil - Chapter 26

by megsug


Qui’in walked at a leisurely pace, arms swinging relaxed at her sides. “The idea is that Nidi and Velodian comes from the same roots. While you won’t master it in a week and a half, you can have a pretty good grasp on the basic vernacular.” She glanced at Lekan, and he smiled back smoothly, chuckling at her raised eyebrow.

“You wouldn’t happen to have a contact with someone who could teach… me Velodian, would you?” “You” morphed into a groan as she grabbed his wrist, shaking her head.

“That pause was such a tell. You should be ashamed of yourself.”

Sliding his hands into his pockets, he looked up at the dark sky. “It’s harder than it looks.”

“It could be handy over there. Sometimes spies double as thieves.”

They walked in silence, along a sidewalk in a fairly good part of town where the doctors and merchants lived. There was plenty of activity, but they were left alone. Qui’in had been running him through various skills that could come in handy. He was mostly mediocre in all of them. He didn’t show any dazzling capability, but he also wasn’t dismal.

Qui knew that the only thing that would really make him proficient was time. He didn’t have that, so she didn’t mention that fact. She just goaded him into practicing, while trying to train him in etiquette and conversation skills at the same time.

She watched him as he studied the sky, not bothering to look where he was going. She sighed inwardly. She didn’t know how she hadn’t been more hopeless before now. Really, it would be best if…

She blinked.

If she hired someone to do the dirty work... Obviously, Lekan needed to be the face of whatever silly quest the monarchy was going to send him on, but surely if there was someone subtle, someone already skilled at the scuzzier part of life.

Her mind whizzed, clicking ideas into place as a smile twitched at her lips before becoming a full out grin.

She should keep Lekan occupied as he was. It would be best if he didn’t have to lie more than he was already expected to, and a secret weapon could come in handy even if it was secret from the person who could benefit. That being said, Lekan would still probably have to carry out some espionage, so she should make sure he was as talented as he could be.

She would have to stretch her feelers into the underworld to see if she could find someone low profile enough and stupid or greedy enough to embark on this damned quest with Lekan.

Jerking her conscious out of plotting, she tried to focus on Lekan who had obviously been talking for a while now.

“I’m just concerned that I won’t pull off whatever I’m going to have to pull off if I don’t know Velodian. I mean, an ambassador would know Velodian…”

She let air hiss through her teeth. Was he still caught up on that? “I told you that you’d know and then when you’re actually there,” she snapped harshly. “I’m telling you to focus on other very important skills you need to build up, and here you are still blabbering about speaking the language. Speaking the language won’t count for anything if you fail at any real spying.” She glared at him when he looked down at her.

His face was sullen when he looked away to kick at a clump of brush. “Espionage won’t matter if I can’t make the Velodians believe I’m really what I say I am.”

As she always seemed to do with this boy, she softened. She now looked up at the stars, the pinpricks of white light hazy through her veil. “You’ll fool them, Lekan. It’ll be okay. I’ll teach you everything you need to know.” Her voice was very soft, almost apologetic.

He didn’t immediately lighten up like she had hoped he would. She thought that was why she had liked him so quickly and so powerfully: his attitude. As silly and ridiculous as the boy was, she thought, maybe knew, he was good. Irresponsible and enough Velodian to get on by the time you had to leave. Do you not believe me? Do you think I’d lie? I’ll find someone to help you. You’ll learn what you learn, then you’ll keep learning on your journey there naïve, but good all the same.

She recognized true goodness – which differed from it’s cousins righteousness and nobility – as what it was: a rarity that should be protected. Lekan for all his mistakes, should be protected to live until his innocent, untrained goodness matured into something useful.

She shook her head. Perhaps she was romanticizing him too much.

“I think that’s enough for today, Lekan,” she murmured and let him walk her back to her hotel. When he leaned forward a little at the road in front of the hotel, obviously hoping for a kiss, she turned away completely, knowing he would be hurt by the too obvious rebuff. She wanted to stop him (maybe herself?) from getting anymore attached. She also didn’t know how to tell him that she could never see anything between him and herself that didn’t mimic a familial bond. “Be safe heading home,” she called smoothly over her shoulder. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”


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Sun Mar 29, 2015 1:40 am
Deanie wrote a review...



Hi Megsug!

Happy review day (this is happening in every review, you know ;) )

As always, another good chapter. We can see Qui trying her best to teach him an array of skills in a short amount of time, and I am pretty sure she is realizing how difficult and hopeless the idea of this is going to be. And even though Lekan is starting to see it as well he is trying his best to stay optimistic. I can certainly admire him for that. I also really love the way we're getting into Qui's thoughts of him, and seeing that she is finding a soft spot for Lekan as well. He is rubbing off on her, and I seriously do hope a romance ends up happening between those two. I definitely do ship this. :D

As many have said before me, I am also not sure about the pause. I felt like I was left confused about what had really happened for a bit too long for my liking. I would've wanted a bit more of an explanation sooner. I think you could clean things up by when Qui grabs his wrist and is shaking his head, you tell us what he was reaching for in the first place. I mean by saying 'grabbing his wrist to stop if from reaching her purse as she shook her head.' That way the reader gets to understand that he was attempting to steal much earlier on, and that leaves them with less time of confusion. It clears things right up for me, and then I wouldn't see the pause as a problem anymore.

After the attempted steal Lekan seems like the kind of person who would think over all the tips and tricks he had been taught when it comes to stealing as he tried to comprehend where he went wrong. I felt like that should be mentioned somewhere, somehow, to give him credit. You could have Qui see that in his distant look that he was glossing over all the tips he had been learned. That way we get to see that he is really trying his best, despite how much he isn't completely succeeding at anything in particular. This is just a suggestion though.

You wouldn’t happen to have a contact with someone who could teach


No need for the 'a' in this sentence.

“I told you that you’d know and then when you’re actually there,”


This sentence was a bit confusing on it's own. I rephrased it, so it hopefully still matches what you meant it to. But as it is I wasn't able to understand what was meant to be said. 'I told you that you'd know the basics, and then when you're actually there you'll pick up more.'

ridiculous as the boy was, she thought, maybe knew, he was good


I love, loved this part of the story. I feel like we could use some other punctuation than the comma though. I would make the second and third commas instead, (meaning - that thing), and then I would add the word 'even' between maybe and knew, just to add some more to the sentence. I feel like it is small tweaks could improve the affect of the sentence.

Irresponsible and enough Velodian to get on by the time you had to leave. Do you not believe me? Do you think I’d lie? I’ll find someone to help you. You’ll learn what you learn, then you’ll keep learning on your journey there naïve, but good all the same.


I don't really understand what was going on here. I didn't understand what the first sentence was supposed to mean at all, and I get the impression that it wasn't a full sentence anyway? And then I wondered if the rest of the paragraph was supposed to be speech that was missing the speech marks, but I don't think it was meant to be. Maybe it's her thoughts? If that is the case, then I would put the words into italics. If it's supposed to be something else than I also think that needs to be cleared up a bit more.

I'm tried now, so I am going to sleep. But I will be back to review more in the morning!

Deanie x




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Sun Feb 22, 2015 10:39 pm
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Noelle wrote a review...



Hi there! Noelle back again.

Qui’in walked at a leisurely pace, arms swinging relaxed at her sides.

Saying that her arms swung relaxed by her side seems a bit contradictory. Either her arms are relaxed or she's swinging her arms.

Ah, Velodian is the language. You probably mentioned it before and I just forgot. I have to admit, I was a bit confused as to what Lekan was asking Qui at the end of chapter 24.

I've always been wondering how Qui feels about Lekan. She's been hired to teach him these things and she's been doing her job. However, there are always those little clues here and there that makes me think that she might actually care for him. Not anything romantic, but like a friend. She might actually feel bad for him, that he has to go on this mission and he doesn't have the skills that she thinks he needs. Not yet at least. I see those little clues here as well, how she decides to find someone else to help him as well. She doesn't have to do that, it's not part of her job. Yet it seems like she really wants him to succeed so she'll so what she needs to. And then she actually admits it in this chapter.

I feel like this chapter is the real start of Lekan's training. Sure Qui has been teaching him things all along, but she's talking about the "real" stuff now. She's basically promising him that she'll teach him how to stay alive and be the best spy, something that she hasn't done before. She's still in control of everything, but she's softening a bit and making sure that Lekan understands every little thing she's telling him.

Looking forward to the next chapter!

Keep writing!
**Noelle**




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Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:20 pm
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Kale wrote a review...



Hello, megsug! I'm here to rescue this from the Green Room on this fine Review Day, though I haven't read any of the previous chapters.

The idea is that Nidi and Velodian comes from the same roots.

"Comes" should be "come" since you're talking about more than one thing.

“You wouldn’t happen to have a contact with someone who could teach… me Velodian, would you?” “You” morphed into a groan as she grabbed his wrist, shaking her head.

“That pause was such a tell. You should be ashamed of yourself.”

That pause was so awkward, I was wondering why it was there. Good thing it was justified right after. I still think the pause itself could be handled a bit less awkwardly and more obviously. Inserting a dialogue tag to describe the pause I think would be the best. Something like "'[...] who could teach--" The pause was slight but noticeable. "--me [...]" would read more smoothly.

They walked in silence, along a sidewalk

Comma splice here.

Qui knew that the only thing that would really make him proficient was time.

Up until this point, the narration referred to her as Qui'in, so this sudden change is a bit odd. Characters should be referred to consistently in the narration to help keep things, well, consistent.

She didn’t know how she hadn’t been more hopeless before now.

This sentence doesn't make much sense. I'd recommend restructuring it.

Jerking her conscious out of plotting,

Generally your conscious is the one responsible for telling you to stop plotting. I think you meant "consciousness", but that doesn't make much sense either in-context. "Attention", "focus", or something similar would work better.

I told you that you’d know and then when you’re actually there,

Another sentence that doesn't make sense.

Irresponsible and enough Velodian to get on by the time you had to leave. Do you not believe me? Do you think I’d lie? I’ll find someone to help you. You’ll learn what you learn, then you’ll keep learning on your journey there naïve, but good all the same.

The first sentence doesn't make a lot of sense, and then the rest suddenly changes to second person while the rest of the narration was in third. I'm guessing that the last few sentences are Quin's thoughts, and if that's the case, they need to be set off somehow to prevent them from blending into the narration. Italics are usually used for thoughts, and I think that would be the simplest fix.

from getting anymore attached

Should be "any more".

There were a lot of confusing sentences in here which made things difficult to follow. I pointed out most of them, and fixing them up will make this much smoother to read.

Since I haven't read the earlier chapters, I don't have much to say about the characters, except that I'm wondering how old Lekan is since he acts childish but is old enough to have romantic feelings. I'm also wondering how sheltered he is that he can act like that.

/is totally unhelpful




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Sun Feb 22, 2015 5:57 pm
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Lauren2010 wrote a review...



Hi megsug!

So, I haven't read *any* of the previous chapters which makes me feel super unfair reviewing the 26th chapter. But I'd hate to see it sit around in the Green Room any longer, so here I am! I'll do my best to comment on this chapter internally, which I think can be just as helpful! Sometimes it's easy to miss the movement of a chapter that's a part of a larger piece we're already familiar with. ;)

Qui’in had been running him through various skills that could come in handy. He was mostly mediocre in all of them. He didn’t show any dazzling capability, but he also wasn’t dismal.

This is a good opportunity to take a moment and show Lekan struggling. You may have done this in previous chapters, but the way this is written doesn't make it sound that way. So if you haven't, this would be a great scene. It might be a smoother way to carry out Qui'in's contemplating on Lekan's abilities (when she decides to recruit another spy to help). It would give this chapter a better sense of something happening, which I think it lacks (but more on that later).

When he leaned forward a little at the road in front of the hotel, obviously hoping for a kiss, she turned away completely, knowing he would be hurt by the too obvious rebuff. She wanted to stop him (maybe herself?) from getting anymore attached.

This was really interesting to me. Clearly it's something that has been transpiring over the course of the novel, this relationship conflict between Qui'in and Lekan. Maybe this part of the conflict has been fully explored already, but I'd really like to see in this moment the way that Qui'in and Lekan are physically reacting and moving in the scene. We see Qui'in turn away and Lekan lean in, but I want a close up. I want to see Lekan's face react, I want to see his disappointment or his resignation. I want to see if the way Qui'in reacts physically matches the way she reacts mentally. This is a third person narration, and so you have access to these things. Make use of them! :D

Those were the only two specific points I pulled out of this chapter, but I think overall I have a bit of an issue with the movement of it. By movement, I mean the arch of plot, the action that occurs in this chapter to make it a reasonable standalone piece. I think it's easy to end a chapter when it "feels right", but I think it's also important that our chapters are accomplishing something. Maybe it's that there's not much scene in this chapter? Narration/"telling" is effective, but I'm not sure it's effective for an entire chapter. Consider taking some of these moments of narration and interspersing them in larger, more involved scenes. Don't be afraid to move your characters around a bit!

I also don't know what happens in the next chapter, yet, but this chapter might be an appropriate point for Qui'in to begin to make contact with whoever she has in mind for Lekan's backup spy? That might open up an opportunity for Lekan to begin to catch on, and create more conflict for this chapter (maybe that's it, really, that there's not any conflict in this chapter; there's not really any raising of stakes for any character. Yeah, Qui'in has decided to go behind Lekan's back but there's not really any sense it was a difficult decision for her or that Lekan is ever really going to notice. In a novel, every chapter should serve to raise the stakes in some way until it all leads up to the climax!).

Overall, I really did enjoy this chapter though I don't know much of what is going on in the larger story. xD Your writing is truly lovely and if I had more disposable time in my life I'd most certainly jump back to chapter one and follow this novel all the way through.

Keep writing, and thanks so much for sharing!

-Lauren-




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Sun Feb 22, 2015 5:33 pm
ehobby wrote a review...



Hello Hello!
I'm Emily and I will be reviewing your chapter. (As an initial disclaimer, I haven't read the entirety of your novel, but I will do the best I can.)

Since I dob't know the story, I'll mainly be critquing grammar and sentence structure. Overall, from what I've read, the story is interesting and moves quickly, which is impressive seeing as you have written 27 chapters.

"The idea is that Nidi and Velodian comes from the same roots". It should be "come from the same roots" or "comes from the same root". One should be plural, not both.

"He was mostly mediocre in all of them.". There's nothing wrong with this fragment grammar-wise, it just sounds kinda funny. Consider revising, but its your choice.

“I told you that you’d know and then when you’re actually there". This one is just confusing. It seems more like a fragment than a complete thought, add some more information or clarification to help it along.

Overall, great story! I look forward to starting from the beginning when I can find the time.
Keep writing, good job and good luck.




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Mon Feb 09, 2015 7:08 pm
minimonkey701 says...



Breath taking. This is so amazing. The way you describe emotions and thoughts. This is truly a work of art keep it up!!! I feel like im there in the situation when you are describing the emotions. i feel like its a cliff hanger. lol cant wait till the next chapter!!!





Get ready to laugh: because my main critique is that you need to put a meter on this.
— Lumi