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12+ Violence

The True Monster

by JuliasSneezer


     Eloise drew a deep, shaky breath. She was standing in front of an unknown cave carved into the side of the German mountain. Mount Verwüstung. Slight wisps of dark smoke crawled away  from a great cloud of smoke looming near the top of the cave, and escaped out the mouth of the cave, rising, eventually evaporating into the clear blue sky. Eloise stiffened her reserve.

     She adjusted her shining plumed helmet, and reluctantly delved into the darkness of the cave. The light dimmed as she stepped further. The only sounds in the cave were small drops of water dripping onto the stone floor of the chamber, and the tinny steps of her iron boots echoing on the stone walls and ceiling. The inside of the cave smelled of rotting flesh and wood smoke. When Eloise could no longer see, she leaned her sword against the cave wall and withdrew a wooden torch and flint and steel from a leather pouch hanging off a strap around her waist.

     She struck the flint and steel across each other twice. A spark eventually caught the cotton on the torch aflame. The fire lit the area surrounding Eloise. Great stalactites clung to the ceiling, and stelagmites taller than Eloise herself protruded out of the ground. Ignoring her surroundings, Eloise hiked further into the cave. Soon, the thunderous snoring of what sounded like a large beast sounded nearer. Her sword slipped in her hand from cold sweat, and her heart beat a furious tattoo against her ribcage. Nonetheless, she walked on.

     Finally, the reason for her journey came into view. A dragon the color of a red sunset was curled around a handsome young man in armor not unlike Eloise’s. Both were snoring. Eloise glared vehemently at the beast. She was ready for a fight. Using all her strength, she beat the blunt side of her sword into the cave wall. If she was going to win the fight, she may as well win when the monster was awake. Both knight and the dragon jolted awake. When the dragon saw Eloise, he let out a triumphant roar. Eloise disregarded him, and sent the knight a seething expression.

     The knight gave Eloise a humoring smile. “Ah. Come to claim your prize, have you?”

     Eloise’s eyes flickered to the dragon, then back at the knight. Her former lover. “He’s not a prize. He’s a living, breathing animal.”

     The knight nodded. “I know. A worthy prize for those willing to buy it.”

     “But he’s defenseless.” Eloise said. “You won’t get any money if he has no fire.”

     “This?” The knight taunted as he reached into his breastplate. He drew out what looked like a small test tube filled with a bright purple flame held by a thin gold chain.

     Eloise’s glare dropped off her face, replaced by shock. “How did you-?”

     The knight laughed. “It was simple. Just a spell.”

     “A spell?”

     “Yes, the ingredients were difficult to find. Most difficult of all was the love of someone who could see past looks.” The knight drawled. “That, of course, was you. You love this dragon.”

     “But how could you do that?”

     “Simple. You were sleeping, I snuck into your room, and plucked a hair from your pretty, empty head.” The knight explained.

     Eloise snarled. “That’s not what I meant.”

     “You didn’t think I really loved you, did you?” The knight let out a humorous laugh. “You must be even more stupid than I thought.”

     Eloise remained silent, but all she wanted to say could be seen within her. Even the dragon’s fire dangling from that golden chain was cold compared to the fire in her eyes. She dropped her torch.

     “But no matter, the auction will be held at the bottom of this mountain by sundown. I will just kill you, and all this can be put to rest.” The knight said.

     With a yell, Eloise surged forward, her sword raised.

     The knight shot a ball of pure blue flame in her direction. It barely missed Eloise. She could feel some stray hairs searing off her head. She took off her battle helmet and flung it at the knight. The knight raised his hand, and it froze mid-air, dropping with a metallic clang onto the stone ground.

     “You’ll have to try harder.” He drawled.

     Eloise irritably flicked her mahogany braid over her shoulder, and ran forward. She was only several yards away, about to stab the knight, when he lifted a hand and held it in the direction of the sword. He flicked his hand over to the side, sending the blade flying from Eloise’s hand. It clattered pathetically on the ground. Eloise was left without defense. She desperately ran to the knight to steal his own blade.

     The knight kicked her onto her back. The air was knocked out of Eloise’s chest when she hit the ground. As she was wheezing, the knight pressed his foot against her chestplate. “Cute.”

     Eloise tried to reply, but everything came out as a dry squeak. Over to Eloise’s right, the dragon stood, but all four of his legs and his wings were shackled to the ground. He just settled for a desperate roar.

     “It was entertaining, watching you try and defeat me. But I have run out of patience for this. The king decided, conjuring a ball of flame in his hand. He interestedly observed the fire with his head cocked to the side like a curious child. He began to say something else, but it sounded like a far away rumble in Eloise's mind.

     Her eyes flashed to the small ball of purple flames flickering inside the glass. An idea rushed into her brain. “Not… quite…” She managed. The knight only had time for a look of confusion to appear on his face before Eloise reached up, and pulled on the chain. The knight could only make retching noises. Harder, and harder Eloise pulled, until the oxygen was choked out of the knight’s throat. The knight crumpled onto Eloise’s chest.

     “Cute, huh?” Eloise croaked as pushed him off and stood. “I wasn’t even trying.” She snapped the gold chain off of the knight’s neck. She smirked with satisfaction at the red line around the knight’s neck from where she choked him. She cast aside the gold chain, keeping the glass vial in her hands. She reached forward and stroked the dragon on the leg. “Bottoms up, big guy.”

     The dragon opened his wide pink maw. Eloise tossed the vial into his mouth. With a triumphant roar, the dragon belched a wide pillar of violet flame. With a renewed strength, he ripped the iron chains out of the ground. Eloise climbed up the dark spikes going up the dragon’s legs. She swung her legs over his back.

     “Come on, big guy,” Eloise said, patting the dragon on the side. “You want to go for a ride?”

     The dragon roared again, shooting a column of fire. His footfalls shook the cave as he barreled through it. He leapt out of the mouth of the cave, spreading wings the size of circus tents, and carried him and Eloise into the fresh wind, where they belonged. As for the knight, his corpse rotted in the cave with a chain of gold. He died with what he loved.


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8 Reviews


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Sun Jul 31, 2016 2:04 pm
WannabeWriter112 wrote a review...



This story was interesting and I really like the idea of a female knight. It's a rather unique idea. However, the story had a couple grammar flaws and I have some comments on how to better your story.
1."When Eloise could no longer see, she leaned her sword against the cave wall and withdrew a wooden torch and flint and steel from a leather pouch hanging off a strap around her waist."
Rather than putting multiple ands between the objects she pulled out of her pouch, use commas. The word and can be used between the words flint and steel. Put a comma between wooden torch and flint.
2."Slight wisps of dark smoke crawled away from a great cloud of smoke looming near the top of the cave, and escaped out the mouth of the cave, rising, eventually evaporating into the clear blue sky."
Be careful about making your sentences too long. Of course, we're all guilty of that. :) Also, be careful of where you put commas. The comma doesn't need to be added between cave and. This is because the part after the comma you added isn't a full sentence.
3. I felt like the story moved too fast at times and that you blew off some description and adventures she could have had.

Now for the good!
1. Like I said, I really like the idea of a female knight.
2. The moral of the story was a good one, and I feel like it could teach many people a lesson on what you should value.

Keep writing!
~WannabeWriter112




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Sun Jul 24, 2016 5:21 am
intrastellars wrote a review...



Hiya! So I found this short story really intriguing. The main character is a female knight, which I absolutely love. But unfortunately, that's all readers really know about her. Maybe you could throw in some sentences that describe her thoughts and feelings? How does she feel, after seeing the man she loved betray her? Does she feel desperation when she's fighting him, knowing that she can't lose? It'd be great to go more in-depth with your characters and really delve into their motives. Anyways, great story! Keep writing :)




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Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:08 am
Holysocks wrote a review...



Hey there! How about a review?

I found this quite interesting and easy to follow, so it was nice! Although I didn't get to know your MC an awful lot it was pretty obvious that she had some awesome morals from what the Knight had said and from the way she treats the dragon. Also she's pretty awesome in general- I kind of love that you had a female knight.

One thing I thought was a little odd was that we never learned the knight's name. Eloise used to be romantically involved with him, and yet he's referred to as "the knight" throughout the story. It gets a bit tedious- why not just use his name?

Soon, the thunderous snoring of what sounded like a large beast sounded nearer.


We just got alerted that some sort of beast is snoring and in the same line, suddenly it's nearer. It doesn't quite work in my mind! Maybe "nearby" is closer to what you're trying to say?

she may as well win when the monster was awake.


When I first read this, I was pretty surprised... because I thought she was going to fight the dragon, and so it seemed like the worst idea ever to wake the dragon up to fight him- even in the name of honour it's a bit ridiculous. I can kind of see it since it turned out it was the knight she was going to fight. I did like that twist though- I thought she was there to rescue the knight, not the dragon, and it made the tale very endearing. C:

The knight let out a humorous laugh.


I'm pretty sure laughter is humour-esque to begin with, so it really isn't necessary to describe it as such- UNLESS there's something the MC finds humorous about his laughter, in which case you might want to explain why she thinks that, otherwise it's kind of there.

She took off her battle helmet and flung it at the knight.


I'm a little concerned for the MC at this point- you don't just take off your helmet in a fight! That's really a bad idea- it's there to protect you, it's not a weapon! I mean, if she didn't have a sword, I could see her doing that as a last resort... but this is at the very beginning of the battle! I'm sure even the bravest of knights wouldn't want to part with their helmets.

She desperately ran to the knight to steal his own blade.


She doesn't have a helmet because she threw it, her sword is gone- and now she's running TOWARDS the guy with the sword? I just don't think that's a good idea. It's not that easy to just grab someone's sword and come away with both hands, and your life. Plus, why not run for her own blade? How far away did it get flung and even if it was super far away, wouldn't it be a better option than the guy that's trying to kill her?

Harder, and harder Eloise pulled, until the oxygen was choked out of the knight’s throat.


Doesn't he still have a sword? Or arms, at least? Why isn't he fighting back? People that can't breathe are known for being super strong because they panic- so it would be even MORE likely for him to be clawing her eyes out/trying to kill her.

Another thing that I noticed was that this story didn't really feel like a stand-alone. It felt like the end of a long series of stories (or tv series) because there was so much that was implied and noted as previously covered knowledge. One way to fix that is by making the story longer! c: Another way is to explain more, I think. But maybe it's not even a problem, it's really up to you.

I really liked this; it's pretty cool and rather sweet. Keep it up! ^_^

-Socks






Thank you so much! I'm going to have to edit this later on. Sorry for the late reply, by the way, I've been inactive.



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Thu Jul 21, 2016 8:51 am
Panikos wrote a review...



Hi, CupcakesForRealMen! I'm Pan, and I'll be frying up a review for you today.

First of all, I love the concept of this story. I'm a big sucker for dragons and an even bigger sucker for benevolent dragons, so this was totally up my street. I especially loved the moment where you revealed that Eloise had come to slay the man. Even though I had a suspicion that a twist like that was coming, I still smiled when it did.

Most of my pointers are going to be focused on bettering the flow and atmosphere of your writing, as the plot itself is fine. I'll break it down into three areas:

1) You could do with freeing up your description a little, because it feels a little restrained at the minute. You're good at working with the senses - I like that you used smell and sound to give the setting tangibility - but there isn't really any imagery in this story that made me stop and think 'wow, I'd never have thought to describe something like that!'. Of course, not every writer uses flowery description and not every writer needs to, but a story like this feels like it could do with some powerful imagery to build the atmosphere up even more.

So how would you do this? Well, it's not something you can correct in an hour. A lot of getting better at description comes from reading and practising. However, one thing I would suggest is that you don't underestimate the power of verbs when it comes to describing. People tend to focus on adjectives, but verbs are crucial to creating an image and tend to be subtler at doing so. Let's take a look at your opening paragraph.

Eloise drew a deep, shaky breath. She was standing in front of an unknown cave carved into the side of the German mountain. Mount Verwüstung. Slight wisps of dark smoke detached themselves from a great cloud of smoke hovering near the top of the cave, and escaped out the mouth of the cave, rising, eventually evaporating into the clear blue sky. Eloise stiffened her reserve.


For me, you've used quite a lot of practical verbs here. 'Detached' and 'hovering' are the best examples - they create a reasonable enough image, but not a particularly unique or evocative one. They do what they say on the tin. However, if you talked about wisps of dark smoke peeling away from the swollen cloud at the peak of the cave, or about the cloud looming over the mountain, you'd inject a bit more specificity and personification into the things you were describing, and you wouldn't even need to add any more words.

Just don't go nuts. Like everything with description, less is more. Don't scour the synonyms of a word for one that people won't have heard of. Just use the ones that fit.

2) It's somewhat linked to the last point, but there are some areas of this piece where you have been almost too specific, slipping into telling writing where you should be showing.

Soon, the loud snoring of what sounded like a large beast sounded nearer. Fear mounting, she ignored her protesting mind and continued her journey.


This stood out to me the most. See, I think you missed an excellent opportunity for a simile here. Instead of saying 'of what sounded like a large beast', you could've talked about how it sounded like rolls of thunder or mud bubbling down a drain (they aren't the best examples, but you get the idea). These similes are a bit more relatable - whilst it's up to interpretation exactly what a snoring beast would sound like, the reader can probably picture the sound of rolling thunder without much difficulty. So it just creates a fuller image without the need to tell the reader exactly what is making the noise.

I also think that, instead of spelling out that Eloise's fear is mounting, you could show it instead. Say that her heart is thudding in her throat, or that all of the moisture has gone from her mouth, or that her palms are damp and that the sword keeps slipping around in her hand. Show us that she's afraid but pushing through the cave regardless.

3) I'd also recommend that you don't overdo the knight's dialogue. I get that you want to make him taunting and sadistic, and most of the time you capture that, but occasionally you push him into slightly cheesy territory. This bit's the culprit, I think:

“It was entertaining, watching you try and defeat me. But I have run out of patience for this. It is time for you to end.” The king decided, conjuring a ball of flame in his hand. “It’s quite funny,” he said in a casual way, interestedly observing the fire with his head cocked to the side like a curious child. “You are about to be destroyed by the very thing you were trying to gain back.”


There's good things here - I like the comparison to a curious child, particularly. But the dialogue feels too placed and prepared, like it's trying too hard to be threatening. Maybe make it a bit briefer, and I'd definitely suggest cutting 'it is time for you to end' line. Just look at it with fresh eyes, read it aloud, and play around with it a bit. I know from writing taunting characters that their dialogue is an absolute nightmare to get right, so it's completely understandable that it needs ironing out.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this. I love the idea and the narrative is solid, and once you've injected a little more pizzazz (that's the best word I can think of) into the writing then it'll be a great piece. No punctuation problems that I could see, either, which is always a plus.

Hope I helped! PM me if you have any questions, because I know I don't always make sense.

Keep writing! :D
~Pan






First of all, I love your opening line. That's awesome.

Second, (and more to the point,) thank you so much for this super helpful review! I never really thought of the descriptions and such this way, and can't wait to implement it into my writing. An extra thank you for the knight's dialogue. If you hadn't commented on that, the knight would have turned out to be THAT bad guy.





Is this a little better, @DarkPandemonium?



Panikos says...


Definitely. The passage with the knight reads much better now :)





Thank goodness!




They laugh at me because I'm different; I laugh at them because they're all the same.
— Kurt Cobain