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(LMSVI) The Ruptured Shadow, Chapter 3.3

by KateHardy


With that bomb successfully dropped, Anna was gone faster than she’d arrived, and Sally was left to stand there trying to look like she had the faintest idea of what to do next.

Anna of course had managed to completely forget to whisper any part of that conversation so of course Sally now had to deal with the fact that whoever wasn’t getting picked was probably going to end up hating her.

This was not the sort of decision one needed to be making without proper sleep and the bare minimum requirement of caffeine. Sally let out a sigh. Well, if the trainees here didn’t get used to people making tough calls early in the process, they were going to have trouble later on anyway, so it was probably for the best that she had to do this. It’d teach them something. At any rate, that’s how she was going to avoid feeling horrible about this.

Well, who was she kidding, she was going to feel horrible about this no matter how she did it. She sighed. If Anna said something was urgent and felt the need to personally come over, that meant she shouldn’t waste a full hour making this decision, so she went with instinct.

People were definitely going to call her crazy for this, but before she could change her mind, she pointed at the two newbies. “Safi. Serafina. You’re coming with me. You two. Hold down the fort.” Before she could get a glimpse of two fresh new looks of sadness, she marched out, stepping through the door before she glanced back to see that the other two were following.

Serafina was right behind her. The girl still looked exactly like she had during the handshake. Sally would confidently bet that this girl could outstare Medusa herself. Behind Serafina, Safi looked like she was being escorted to the principal’s office. Serafina still didn’t know what to make of that. Was that whole thing some sort of act to make people underestimate her in which case it could be dangerous to see how effortlessly she used in a situation this serious, or the much worse alternative where that’s just how she normally acted.

Sally tried to not dwell on those things too much as she marched down the corridors and towards the room that Anna had indicated they should get to. As much as she always had that inbuilt desire to try and analyze every single trainee put in front of her to death, this was not the time for it even if it definitely was the place for it.

It didn’t take them long to reach the required door. Sally smiled at the familiar metal. The blank slates they had for doors the higher you went up the situation room tiers never failed to make her smile. It was ridiculous. She knew the blank slates were only this blank because the spells on these had such high specifications that any decoration could ruin the balance and cost the agency a little bit too much per door. And yet she couldn’t help but think it was the perfect symbol to greet a trainee when they stepped into a more advanced training room for the first time.

Before her sleep addled mind could come up with more poetic thoughts about random doors, the door swung open to reveal a smiling Anna, well more like an oversized sweatshirt. She had to look up to see the smiling Anna.

“You came,” announced Anna, completely unnecessarily in Sally’s opinion but she definitely wasn’t about to bring that up at the moment.

“I did,” said Sally, stepping off to the side. “And I brought these two.” She pointed to the two following behind her. Anna took a second to quickly size them up before she nodded.

“Good choices.” Without offering up any more explanation, she proceeded to step away from the doorway. “Come in. We’ve got to get to work quick here. We’re not the first line or anything, but even the back rows have to be efficient if you want to win from a situation like this one.”

I did my best not to roll my eyes at that particular statement, gesturing for Safi and Serafina to walk in before more. I wasn’t even surprised this time when Serafina walked in like she’d been doing it all her life. Safi was a little bit more jittery as she followed suit.

Sally followed after the two of them, turning around almost out of instinct as Anna shut the door behind them. She raised her eyebrows.

“I told y’all to come over here so that I can tell you what to do. Have a little bit more patience Sally. “With that Anna walked away towards the front of the room leaving Sally spluttering a little. She’d been working in this place for far too long. Literally everyone read her like a book.

Trying not to show her surprise, she whirled around to walk down into the room. It was a relatively simple one. This was just about two tiers above the very basic after all. The layout was pretty much the exact same. The layouts really didn’t change much until the very tippy top of the class scale.

The tech being used though was much more complicated. She was confident the two newbies would have no trouble using any of it, it was mostly the same software that ran everything else. Detection tech had to be just as effective across all the tiers after all, they just dialed down intensity in the lower tiers. The only parts of these workstations that were going to be majorly different was the sheer size of everything.

The decor really was the part that would stand out, and as things tended to go, that was about the least useful thing in one of these rooms.

“Sally are you planning on joining us anytime this weekend?” asked Anna, and Sally nearly jumped a full foot in the air.


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153 Reviews


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Sun Dec 18, 2022 12:17 am
Spearmint wrote a review...



Hiya, mint here with another review! ^-^ Just one more chapter part and hopefully we get to switch to Safi again... Anyways, I'm anticipating the power overload that will surely come when all four of these super S-name characters are in the same room together. =P

I feel like this chapter was written in a rush, which is understandable for LMS, lol. There's a slip-up into first-person in one section, and it seems like some paragraphs are just random thoughts strung together. I'll point out one section later! But I know you'll probably come back to this and revise it, so I won't say much more about it for now.

Specifics:

Anna of course had managed to completely forget to whisper any part of that conversation so of course Sally now had to deal with the fact that whoever wasn’t getting picked was probably going to end up hating her.

Ohh! So it's just one alert, but Sally has to choose two recruits... Is there a reason for that? Will Stacey and Jake have different tasks? Or do they usually only have small groups of recruits, so it's a matter of there not being enough space for all four of them?

Before she could get a glimpse of two fresh new looks of sadness, she marched out, stepping through the door before she glanced back to see that the other two were following.

Judging by their expressions from last chapter, I don't think Stacey and Jake will be too disappointed, hopefully... >.>

As much as she always had that inbuilt desire to try and analyze every single trainee put in front of her to death, this was not the time for it even if it definitely was the place for it.

So, this is the part I thought felt a little rushed! While I really do like the little joke about this being the place for it, I feel like it needs some punctuation to be properly emphasized. Perhaps parentheses or a dash would work? ("this was not the time for it (even if it definitely was the place for it)." or "this was not the time for it-- even if it definitely was the place for it.") The sentence right before this one feels a little run-on too, so that would be good to look over later. :]

She knew the blank slates were only this blank because the spells on these had such high specifications that any decoration could ruin the balance and cost the agency a little bit too much per door.

Ooh, so the lack of decorations really was for a purpose. And oho! There's magic in this world! Now I can't help but wonder exactly what kinds of spells were used... :3

“I told y’all to come over here so that I can tell you what to do. Have a little bit more patience Sally. “With that Anna walked away towards the front of the room leaving Sally spluttering a little. She’d been working in this place for far too long. Literally everyone read her like a book.

Hm, I'm not sure how Anna got the part about having more patience? To me, it just seems like Sally was raising her eyebrows as if asking why Anna shut the door, lol. If raising her eyebrows was meant to actually prompt Anna to share more info, maybe you clarify it with a piece of dialogue or something?

The decor really was the part that would stand out, and as things tended to go, that was about the least useful thing in one of these rooms.

I wanna know what this decor looks like. :eyes:

“Sally are you planning on joining us anytime this weekend?” asked Anna, and Sally nearly jumped a full foot in the air.

XD Why is Sally so on-edge? She seems like a professional (or at least, experienced). Or is the coffee making her jittery?

It looks like we're all set up for the new recruits to get to work! I'm looking forward to the next chapter part. Keep writing, and I hope you have a fantastic day/night! =D




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Thu Dec 15, 2022 1:04 pm
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Liminality wrote a review...



Hi there Harry! Lim here with a short review.

First Impressions

The atmosphere of this one is that of a ‘preparatory’ chapter to me. Sally’s tone is very vivid and lively though, with changing emotions as she encounters different situations.

“Good choices.” Without offering up any more explanation, she proceeded to step away from the doorway.

I’m curious as to why Anna said that ^
I wonder if she knows something we don’t <.<

Characters

Sally seems a lot less confident now that there’s been this sudden change of plans. At least, she’s having doubts about some of her decision making.
Sally would confidently bet that this girl could outstare Medusa herself. Behind Serafina, Safi looked like she was being escorted to the principal’s office.

I like this moment of characterisation, because it does a lot for all three characters mentioned. It shows the contrast between Serafina and Safi, and also shows Sally really loves to analyse people as she says later on.
Behind Serafina, Safi looked like she was being escorted to the principal’s office. Serafina still didn’t know what to make of that. Was that whole thing some sort of act to make people underestimate her in which case it could be dangerous to see how effortlessly she used in a situation this serious, or the much worse alternative where that’s just how she normally acted.

I wonder where the story is headed with all these moments of people thinking Safi is some kind of secret puppeteer/ actor <.< Maybe Safi’s ‘true’ thoughts/ feelings are going to come out at a crucial time and change how people view her? Or are the other characters actually showing us another side of Safi that even Safi’s own POV is unaware of?

Some continuity nitpicks

I noticed a sudden switch to the first person here:
We’re not the first line or anything, but even the back rows have to be efficient if you want to win from a situation like this one.”
I did my best not to roll my eyes at that particular statement, gesturing for Safi and Serafina to walk in before more. I wasn’t even surprised this time when Serafina walked in like she’d been doing it all her life.

Was it intentional, or am I missing something?
This next one is a *really* small thing, but I did notice it on the first read, so might be worth looking into.
In 3.2, Sally says:
Thankfully the caffeine was already working its magic. All she needed was a cold splash of water from the nearest water fountain and she’d be as good as new.

This implied Sally already *had* enough coffee, so I was a bit confused with this comment:
This was not the sort of decision one needed to be making without proper sleep and the bare minimum requirement of caffeine.


Humour

I think you do a good job here of keeping up the natural-sounding dialogue as I mentioned last chapter. There are also a lot of witty, entertaining turns of phrase. I liked the imagery of Serafina having a “Medusa” stare while Safi looks like “she was being escorted to the principal’s office” – that one made me chuckle. I also liked the running gag about Anna being much taller than Sally:
the door swung open to reveal a smiling Anna, well more like an oversized sweatshirt. She had to look up to see the smiling Anna.

That was a fun moment to break up the tension, and it also helps me visualise how tall they are relative to each other.

Overall

The characterization and the moments of humour work well in this chapter part and help keep it entertaining even as the characters are gearing up for the action bit to happen. I’m eager to see how the situation room will play out and how the characters will respond to a crisis.

Hope this helps and keep writing!
-Lim




KateHardy says...


Thank youu for the review!!




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