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Working with the Enemy

by Banana25


Jayce stuck out his hand. Gracie looked warily at it, weighing her options. It didn’t matter, there was only one decision to be made. Trust Jayce or not. Reluctantly, Gracie shook his hand.

“Alrighty then, let’s get to work,” He said with a mischievous smile.

Too late to turn back now, Gracie thought.

Still in the cover of the trees, Gracie pulled out her map of the fortress. She slid her fingers over the inky walls surrounding the massive structure. Through the leaves, they could just see the sentries, eyes glazed, as the looked out into the woods.

“The sentries rotate every four minutes. It takes approximately thirty seconds to get to the next station. That gives us thirty seconds to scale the wall and get all the way over without being seen.” Gracie said gesturing to the walls as she talked.

Jayce looked at her, impressed. “You’ve really got this down to a point.”

“Yeah,” Gracie nodded. “All we need is someone who can get up the wall. Matthew was the obvious choice but since you rebels shot him in the arm, he is in no condition to climb.”

You rebels,” Jayce mimicked. “Like you’re any better. You are just doing the king’s dirty work.

At that, Gracie huffed and turned red. She turned her focus back to the map. “Once we’re inside, we have to pass twenty heavily armed guards at the doors, then eight guarding the entrance to the safe.”

“Piece of cake,” Jayce smirked. “So here’s the plan; I will climb the wall, and take out the guard so you can take your sweet time coming up. Then you’ll make a diversion for those twenty some guards while I take out the eight by the safe.”

“Since when are you calling the shots?” Gracie asked, but she had to admit, it was a decent idea. She sighed and made up her mind. “I have decided to trust you.”

“A horrible decision.”

“I know. But I’m out of options.” Gracie pulled off the string around her neck, and held the key out to Jayce. “Here.”

His eyes brightened as he grabbed the bronze key. Jayce stood and Gracie rolled up the map and stuffed it in her bag. She pulled her red hair up into a ponytail and repositioned her quiver of arrows.

“Ready?” Jayce asked.

Gracie nodded and started counting as the guards started their rotation. Jayce took off toward the stone wall, Gracie at his heels. The wall was old and provided nice hand and foot holds. Within in seconds, Jayce had reached the wall and was halfway up it.

18, 19, 20, 21. Gracie counted silently as she started up the wall. Sure enough, at 30, a thud came from on top of the wall. She hoped it was the guard and not Jayce. Reaching the top, Gracie swung her leg over the edge. Jayce was low to the ground, watching until she got all the way over. Jayce stood on the opposite ledge and started to lower himself down until he only his hands were seen. Gracie followed suit after she saw Jayce land in the courtyard.

She landed not to gracefully and stumbled backwards. A pair of strong hands caught her. She stood, coming face to face with Jayce. She had never noticed his eyes until now. Green with little gold flecks in them. But there was something else. They looked gentle. Not the harsh criticizing eyes she had seen earlier. These were just the eyes of a boy, dragged into this fight, same as she was.

Gracie stepped back, her eyes still lingering on his. He cleared his throat and Gracie nodded.

“Thanks.” She whispered. “Okay, I’ll go this way, to distract the guards. You go retrieve Stormbreaker.”

“Alright,” Jayce turned, then hesitated. “Gracie? Be careful, okay?”

At that, Gracie smiled. “Good luck, Jayce.”

She turned, heading toward the guards.

Maybe the rebels aren't so bad, Gracie thought, Maybe there’s hope for this fight.


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57 Reviews


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Mon Oct 01, 2018 1:26 am
1nspire wrote a review...



This is a really good short story. As a few others have said, I would've liked a little more clarification in certain places, just to help the reader see the world from the perspective of the characters. I really liked the concept though, and I think this would be a great start if you wanted to expand upon this and write a longer story.

The one thing that I liked most about this story was the ending. I liked that in an intense moment, the protagonist sees her ally in a different light, because oftentimes, people overlook their similarities with someone, and it takes a moment like the one you showed to really understand another person. I would've liked a little more of a setup for this ending though, maybe by giving the characters a slightly longer background that the protagonist's distrust could stem from. I think a little bickering among the two towards the beginning could also illustrate this well.

Overall amazing work! I hope that you choose to add to this piece, as it was very well written and fun to read.




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Fri May 18, 2018 4:14 pm
Elinor wrote a review...



Hey Banana25! Welcome to YWS! I'm Elinor, and I wanted to stop by and give you a quick review on this short story. So far, I think the strongest thing about it is how you write action. You do a really good job of bringing the reader into the time and place, and we feel like we're in Gracie's position as she fights off the guards.

I wanted to echo what Cadi mentioned about this feeling somewhat incomplete. There's lots of questions I have, like what is Stormbreaker, who Gracie and Jayce are working for, what kind of world this is, and why it's Gracie that's going after Stormbreaker. There are questions you can answer even if this is just a short story. Shorts are a lot of fun to write because unlike novels, they're usually more narrow in their focus. I like that everything is contained to the battle, so that isn't something you would necessarily need to change. I just feel like there's a lot of information that's missing.

Overall, I don't have too much else to say. You writing is really strong. I hope this helps, and please let me know if you have any questions. :)

Best,
Elinor




Banana25 says...


Thanks for the suggestions Ellinor!



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Wed May 16, 2018 9:40 am
Cadi wrote a review...



Hi, Banana! Before I get going, I see you're quite new to YWS, so I just wanna say, welcome! I hope you're enjoying the site so far!

I have to say, I'm intrigued by this - is it part of something longer? It definitely feels like it is, so I wonder if we'll be seeing more of this duo in the future! And also, we might find out more about this mysterious "Stormbreaker"?

This seems like quite a key scene for Gracie - not just in terms of achieving her aim of getting into the fortress, but also in terms of character development, realising the human face of "the rebels", who I assume she hasn't previously thought very kindly of. I think you wove in that moment of realisation, after Jayce catches her in the courtyard, very nicely.

One thing which confuses me:

“The sentries rotate every four minutes. It takes approximately thirty seconds to get to the next station. That gives us thirty seconds to scale the wall and get all the way over without being seen.”


The numbers here don't seem to add up - four minutes minus thirty seconds definitely isn't thirty seconds! I'm not sure if I'm just reading this wrong, but either way, this bit needs a little clarifying, otherwise your reader will do what I did, and spend way too long staring at this line trying to work it out, rather than getting on with the story!

Overall, I think this is a good scene. I would say, if this is part of something longer, you will probably want to cut out some of the bits where you drop info for the reader (like where Gracie explains that Matthew was shot, and Jayce tells us that Gracie works for the king), because they'll be clear from context. If this isn't part of something longer, I actually think you need to give us more context - as a standalone piece, I'd want it to tell me what this "Stormbreaker" thing is, and why exactly Gracie is breaking in to get it (I'm not entirely clear whose fortress this is, for example - is it the king's? But Gracie works for the king?)

I hope this review is helpful! Keep up the good work, and I hope we'll see more writing from you on YWS in the future!

Cadi x




Banana25 says...


Thank you Cadi! This is very helpful! I might expand on it but for now, it's just a short story.




What praise is more valuable than the praise of an intelligent servant?
— Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice