z
  • Home

Young Writers Society


18+ Language

The Witch of the Rotten Borough, Chapter Seven, Part Two

by Horisun


Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language.

Author's Note: This chapter took me an eon to write, but behold! The latter half of it is fresh out my noggin, so please forgive any obvious spelling/grammatical mistakes. Hopefully now that I'm past this bit, I'll pick up the pace a little, lol. 

-

She pulls Amy Rose out of the way, just as a bugbird plummets into the ground where she was standing. It rears onto its hindquarters, unsheathing rows of glittering teeth, glaring at them with dozens of beady black eyes.

Amy Rose screams.

A gunshot, a spray of scarlet blood, and the creature folds onto the floor. Oscar grips his gun with quivering hands.

Static fills the air. Snapping to attention, Angelique commands, “Take cover!” 

-

There is none of that to be found. The trees- tall, thin stakes impaling the ground- are almost barren. The cliff face is a vertical wall preventing their escape. There’s a chorus of earth tremors, like the beating of drums, as a half dozen bugbird’s plummet into the dirt around them, their bear-like faces pinned back into unsettling, hungry grins. They are trapped.

Jo’s heart twinges, exhaustion hitting her like a sledgehammer. Her legs wobble, unstable pillars trembling beneath her weight.

From her left, Angelique shouts. Her voice carries, but is strangely calm, a lilting chorus of profanities, “…get back, you nasty bugs, you bastards, ugly, hideous creatures, fuckwits…”

Good lord, Jo thinks, now reeling with a mild aggravation as her head pounds, what does she hope to accomplish?

Then, Amy Rose takes a lumbering step forward. Voice hoarse from screaming, she now shouts; “…hey, bug! Hey bug! Hey bug!” while clapping her calloused hands, a disharmonic cacophony.

And, as though rehearsed, the Monsbury choir joins in: “Hey bug! Hey bug! Hey bug!” The creatively inclined mix in homebrew vulgarities; bring their hands together in splitting thunderclaps; bash their swords against their walking sticks. The sound reverberates, shaking the trees. Loud enough to tempt an avalanche

The bugbirds rear back, alarmed. Some stacked three times as tall as Angelique, casting massive shadows across the riled party.

There, they waver, like the needle-thin trees that surround them. The wind ruffling their fur, the sound drowned out by the cacophony. Unceremoniously, the bears- one by one- drop back to all fours, turn their behinds towards the party, and bumble away.

All but one. A snarling, grotesque beast remains- the Great Grandma of monstrosities- her hulking mass of muscle and claws and fangs tower over the clearing, over even the trees. She drops to all fours, but does not turn to flee, her low snarl less like a hive of buzzing bees, and closer to an actual bear, as she pads near.

“Get back, all of you.” Angelique places herself, and her gun, between her crew and the hungry bear. For a moment, she seems almost as intimidating. Her mouth splits into a scowl, like a gaping wound. Her eyes are burning coals. Her gun is less likely to fire, then to be wielded as a bludgeoning weapon by her hands.

Then, the bear charges.

Angelique fires her gun once, but the thing is a paint-smear of brown fur. Just a second later, and it’s got Angelique pinned to the ground, showering her in saliva.

A barrage of gunfire perforates the air, but the bullets only ricochet off it’s thick hide. It raises it’s head to release an ear-shattering shriek.

Jo’s hands grope at her pockets, crumpling slips of paper and lint before wrapping around her tablet. She snatches her stylus from behind her ear. In shaky writing, she carves the beginnings of a rune- not one that is helpful in any meaningful way, but also the only one she can think of.

She spots Oscar as he levels his Fotia at the bear. She tries to shout a warning-

The thing fires like a rocket, with a crack of thunder. The bullet shoots clear through the skull of the bugbird, a scarlet comet trail following close behind as the monsters head explodes into flames.

Unlike the wyrm, there are no cries of pain, or ensuing death throes; the bear drops, complete deadweight, towards the ground.

Jo thinks Angelique rolls out of the way in time- until she hears the sickening crunch of a leg caught between craggy rock, and five hundred pounds of bear. She, justifiably, screams.

The bears body is burning up fast, leaving charred remains as it races towards where Angelique is trapped. As Amy Rose and the rest of the Monsbury folk bolt forward to push the once-bear-now-pyre aside, Jo wipes her wax slate clean.

She steps forward as the bears carcass rolls away, observing the damage.

Amy Rose clutches Angelique’s hand in her own, as the wounded woman gasps in agony. The Monsbury party stands around them in a half circle, heads bowed. Jo nudges one of them aside and squeezes close. She’s never been the squeamish sort- but her stomach churns at the sight of the afflicted leg. Completely caved in, bone entirely shattered, thick blood quickly pooling on the hard ground.

Through a frenzy of pain, Angelique spots her.

“Save my sister,” she manages, her chest heaving, like it’s about to cave in, too. “Save Susie. I beg you, please. Please.”

Her hand goes limp. Her eyes come to a close. Amy Rose is weeping, now.

But Angelique still breathes.

“Oscar,” Jo shouts, throat hoarse, “Oscar, where’s my pack?”

Oscar’s face is wet, too- but he snaps to attention, and deftly rescues her pack from its place on the ground.

“I need Novik and Kaner, quickly!” Jo snaps, dropping to her knees beside Angelique. Oscar obliges, butting through the small crowd with two thick tombs in tow. He sets them reverently next to Jo.

Novik was a rare antebellum witch who practiced healing spells in the city-that-would-become-Sol. Though not a Noble Practitioner of Her Majesties, his studies laid the groundwork for what would become the basis of all medical magic within the kingdom. His spells were intricate, convoluted, and so very far from concise- but the ailments they cured were hardly cake walks, either.

Jules Kaner was a good colleague, before she was unfortunately devoured by cannibalistic elves. Jo is still very often saddened by her passing. She was a great practitioner, one of the best. Given time, she would have revolutionized the practice of medical magic.

She flips through the dense pages of these great minds life works; runes written with printing blocks. She pours over these complex spells, and- with an uneven breath- begins to trace her own configuration.

This process takes upwards of ten minutes. All the while, she feels the Monsbury parties eyes boring into her neck, and she is painfully aware of each rattling breath Angelique takes. Each one could be her last.

By the end, the wax tablet is almost illegible. But it has to do. Jo stuffs her stylus back into her pocket, rises to unsteady feet, and begins to read.

For the first few runes, nothing happens. But, slowly, the flesh begins to thread back together. A bone snaps back into place. Like fingers interlacing, the wound closes over itself, a mouth pressing shut.

Next, to deal with the blood loss, Jo incorporated Doctor Kaner’s theorem. It wasn’t perfect, but it was genius. Only a few minutes into the spell, and the color begins to return to Angelique’s face.

Eight more runes to go, and the whole world shutters. Jo stumbles back, even as her lips continue to move. Amy Rose catches her by the shoulders in time to prevent a nasty tumble.

Her nails dig crescents into Jo’s shoulders, hard enough she’s sure it’ll bruise. But the world is spinning so bad, it’s hard to care. She grits her teeth and powers through.

“Vitalis, adoria, awake!”

Angeliques eyes, bloodshot, fly open. Just as Jo’s, already half shuttered, fall close.


Is this a review?


  

Comments



User avatar
109 Reviews

Points: 12392
Reviews: 109

Donate
Mon Jun 03, 2024 3:16 pm
View Likes
goodolnoah wrote a review...



Image

Hello there, one of King Koopa’s loyal henchmen, here!

Hello again! ~ Writing Commentary

There is none of that to be found. The trees- tall, thin stakes impaling the ground- are almost barren. The cliff face is a vertical wall preventing their escape. There’s a chorus of earth tremors, like the beating of drums, as a half dozen bugbird’s plummet into the dirt around them, their bear-like faces pinned back into unsettling, hungry grins. They are trapped.


The beginning of this chapter is one of your favorite openings! A brief reminder of where we were, followed by the immediate realization that our group is trapped, unable to avoid a confrontation with the bugbirds. I love the thought of earth tremors brimming in the background, creating a jungle-like beating of drums for this battle against beasts!

“Get back, all of you.” Angelique places herself, and her gun, between her crew and the hungry bear. For a moment, she seems almost as intimidating. Her mouth splits into a scowl, like a gaping wound. Her eyes are burning coals. Her gun is less likely to fire, then to be wielded as a bludgeoning weapon by her hands.


The ensuing battle against the bugbird “bear”. (I like how you use the word “bear” to describe this one, because it makes it a wholly unique creature, despite being just another bugbird. Even though it is simple, it makes it seem more threatening.) Angelique here is pretty awesome. She’s beginning to become one of my favorite parts about this novel. Her determination to save her sister is insurmountable, and her stoic attitude helps her stand out.

The thing fires like a rocket, with a crack of thunder. The bullet shoots clear through the skull of the bugbird, a scarlet comet trail following close behind as the monsters head explodes into flames.


The defeat of the bugbird and work that comes after to help Angelique is quite suspenseful, as well!

I actually wanted to take a quick minute to say how much I love your fight scenes! I love how they are both fast-paced, and to the point. They are not overwritten at all, and you use creative means to defeat or put opponents on the backfoot. I used to have a big overwriting problem when it came to fight scenes, so the way you write them really helps me going forward!

Should’ve drawn an anti-bugbird circle… ~ Closer

What an awesome chapter!




Horisun says...


Thank you so much for the review! "Should've drawn an anti-bugbird circle," made me laugh aloud. I'm glad you enjoyed this chapter :D



User avatar
369 Reviews

Points: 75415
Reviews: 369

Donate
Tue May 07, 2024 11:00 pm
RavenAkuma wrote a review...



Hello Again, My Friend!

It's me, Raven, and I'd like to review the next chapter in this great story using my Familiar method! Let's dive in, shall we? Heh heh heh...

What The Black Eyes See...

Yay, I was very excited to see this book get an update! And this was an incredible conclusion to the fight! The atmosphere is perfect and the stakes are high, from the initial strike of the bugbird to the rush to save Angelique's life, and another brilliant cliffhanger leaves us excited for more (not to pressure you lol)! Let's get into the details though.

Where The Dagger Points...

Not much to put here! This chapter had several great elements, and the writing quality was really good for being described as "rushed" in that author's note! There were just two things I caught, and they're both very minor.

Her gun is less likely to fire, then to be wielded as a bludgeoning weapon by her hands.


I think "then" here may read a bit better as "than."

A barrage of gunfire perforates the air, but the bullets only ricochet off it’s thick hide. It raises it’s head to release an ear-shattering shriek.


Since specifically "it's" is used in place of "it is," I don't think you need the apostrophe in them here.

Again, both minor, and this is just my opinion! On top of that, I am not a professional, so please always take my advice with a grain of salt. The point is that you did a great writing job and I thoroughly enjoyed the chapter ~

Why The Grin Widened...

Ah, where to begin? I could post the whole chapter in this part, haha!

Okay, first of all, the beginning. Amazing work setting the scene; that little recap of where we left off in the last chapter in italics, before cutting to a whole different scene, immediately captured the chaos and confusion of the attack. Loved that!

The action was incredibly narrated, as well! And when the bear charged Angelique and pinned her, oof- that immediately sent the chapter on an incline of tension and shock! Reading as they scramble to help, with Angelique right in the line of fire from both ends, was enough to elicit goosebumps! Especially when you reveal the severity of her injuries...

She’s never been the squeamish sort- but her stomach churns at the sight of the afflicted leg. Completely caved in, bone entirely shattered, thick blood quickly pooling on the hard ground.


Oooou, the gore-hungry writer in me loved this description, heh heh heh ~

*ahem* sorry about that...Anyway, the dramatic expressions of pain, and Angelique's desperate plea for someone to save her sister in her stead, immediately had me wondering if this was the end of her character (glad it's not!). And that just made the scramble to save her with these painstakingly long, complex runes even more tense.

[Angelique's] eyes, bloodshot, fly open. Just as Jo’s, already half shuttered, fall closed.


And that is yet another brilliant cliffhanger to end on, and was a great way to remind the reader of the risks associated with Jo using her magic. The buildup to this dragon fight is as anxiety-inducing as it is exciting, lol.

Our Mad Thoughts...

Overall, I thought that chapter was awesome, nicely done! :D

Image





Wist is Ley's mind, confirmed
— WeepingWisteria