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The Moon Needs Her Night Chapter 9

by inktopus


Warning: This work has been rated 16+.

Asha was awakened to Yuni hurriedly shaking her. She cracked an eye open, groaning when she could barely see the sun peeking above the horizon. One lone songbird was chirping in the tree overhead. A pang of guilt seized her as she gazed up into the blackened branches. Sometimes she wondered if the price she paid for magic was too steep.

"The birds are barely up," Asha complained, sitting upright.

Yuni's face was stone: solemn and serious. "We must begin travel again," Yuni said. "Your town isn't going to be the last."

Clearing the murky waters of sleep from her mind, Asha nodded. "We need to warn other villages."

Yuni nodded and pulled Asha upright. "I have prepared everything. We are travel ready."

------

Asha didn't think that she could loathe walking more than she already did. It turned out that she was dead wrong.

At first, it was quiet between them. Not the festering sore it used to be, but friendlier; companionable. As they began to fall into a groove, the silence began to fill.

"Tell me about Yamuko," Asha requested one day.

There was a pause. "I do not want to speak on the matter," Yuni replied finally. "I do not want you to think differently of me."

"Why would I think differently of you, Yuni?" Asha asked.

Yuni turned to look at Asha. Her face was flushed with sunburn and shiny with sweat. "I grew up in a palace," she said in a measured tone. She gazed at Asha, and it seemed that she was begging her to understand what she meant. Asha wasn't sure that she did understand, but she dropped the matter anyway.

"Tell me about learning magic, Asha."

Asha chuckled. "You'll be in for a long ride."

"It is a long journey," Yuni retorted.

"I was perhaps three years old," Asha began, "and our mtuwachi, the village mage, was testing all of the children for magical ability. When it was my turn, he sat me down in a patch of grass and told me to focus. I managed to draw in the energy from the grass, but I also took the energy from one of the goats that wandered through the village. I was so scared when I felt all of that energy inside of me. Khari told me what to do, and I managed to release the energy."

Asha cried for hours after she realized that she had killed the goat. It took Khari weeks to convince her to try it again.

In the weeks after Khari had began training her, Asha was still wary of her newfound skill. Finally, Khari took her to the fields where the field workers were plowing. Khari had commanded her to turn over the soil in a tiny corner of the field. All of the people staring at her had made young Asha nervous, so Khari made them all leave for her.

Welling up all of the concentration she had, she sapped the energy from the grass and gathered it inside of herself. Giving the biggest push she could, she expelled the energy. Asha had opened her eyes to see the soil sifting itself before her very eyes.

Only then did she realize that magic didn't hurt people. It helped them.

"Khari was like a father to you, wasn't he?" Yuni mused, breaking Asha out of her reverie.

"He was," Asha answered

"Did you not know your true father?" Yuni asked.

"My parents died when I was very young. My aunt Ebele raised me until I became Khari's student. Then, I went to live with him. I hope-" Asha choked on a lump in her throat in the middle of her sentence.

"They will be well," Yuni soothed. "If they are anything like you, they are strong. They can survive until you can rescue them."

Asha nodded wordlessly, the lump blocking anything she could try to say.

Yuni gave Asha a big smile, her eyes crinkling and shining warmly. She turned away and impatiently scanned the horizon. "It has been two days already. Another village should not be that far away, correct?"

"I don't remember going away from home all that often," Asha admitted. "Sometimes Khari would leave, but he rarely took me along. I don't remember traveling that far when we did leave though."

Yuni nodded absently. For several minutes the only sounds were that of them wading through tall, dry grass. Then, Yuni finally snapped the silence like a broken violin string. "Look!" she cried. "I see a building."

Asha's eyes roved the horizon until she spotted a small black silhouette rising from the ground. "I see it," she replied. "I'm going to teleport there, hold my arm."

The moment Yuni's hand grasped her arm, she let her eyes close. She breathed in holding it as her chest began to feel full and thrum with energy. Yuni let out a choked breath as the grass around them began to blacken and die. Though Asha closed her eyes to perform the magic, she knew very well what was happening around her.

She breathed out.

Crrrack! The world distorted and weaved itself around them. As the sensation of movement began to wane, Asha and Yuni leaned on each other.

"You were right," Yuni mumbled. "One never does become used to this sensation."

Asha garbled out an affirmative response and wished her head would stop spinning.

Vertigo finally quelled, Asha opened her eyes, staggering a little as she stepped forward. Yuni's hand dropped from Asha's arm and they stood side by side. Shoulder to shoulder if they were the same height, but Yuni was nearly a head taller than Asha.

"Let's go," Asha said, frowning at the big black shadow the hut was creating by facing the setting sun. "I want to get there before dark."

Yuni nodded, and they walked forward in between the rows of grain and yams. Once they were out of the fields, the houses began to get closer together, and it became stranger and stranger that no one was out and about.

Asha and Yuni glanced at each other. "Hello?" Asha called in her native language.

Nobody answered.


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Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:47 am
ShadowVyper wrote a review...



Hey ink,

Shady back with another review! I'm running out of ways to open these reviews, so I'm going to err on the side of fatalism and simply accept the fact that I'm not creative and jump straight to the helpful bit of the review ;)

Sometimes she wondered if the price she paid for magic was too steep.


I'm not clear on how this sentence goes with the paragraph it's in. I mean don't get me wrong, it's a good sentence -- but it doesn't really make sense where it is. How does the bird and her guilt relate to her magic? I'm not understanding the connection. I think this would benefit if you took another few sentences to explain the emotion behind this thought, so readers understand a bit more what's going on in her mind.

"Tell me about Yamuko," Asha requested one day.


Whoa, one day? As in a time lapse? I'm not sure I'm loving that. As I mentioned in the previous chapter, I'd like to see some of the thoughts Asha is having. Surely she's not forgiven the High Mage for murdering her village, and surely she hasn't already forgotten about it. It feels a bit unrealistic to have such gut-wrenching angst in the previous chapter and then jump straight into a casual conversation here.

I recommend making that transition a bit softer, specifically by having Asha work through processing the fate of her village. At least, have a bit about her willfully not thinking about it. This seems a bit too sudden.

"It is a long journey," Yuni retorted.


Hmm. Brace yourself, another anal-nitpick incoming. "Retorted" carries connotations with it that I don't think really work here. Google says retorted means to: "say something in answer to a remark or accusation, typically in a sharp, angry, or wittily incisive manner."

"You're kinda lazy," person one said.
"You're one to talk!" person two retorted.

You know? A bit of a hotter-tone than I'm getting from this scene. I'd recommend looking for a softer word choice, or even just a "replied" or "said."

~ ~ ~

I really liked this chapter! It was some solid characterization going on, and I love the relationship growing between the girls. Nice to see some of Asha's backstory, and see the friendship blossoming. Great job on the cliffhanger, as well!

I'm kind of tired so I can't think of anything else I want to say about this chapter, but overall I really enjoyed it. Great job!

Keep writing!

~Shady 8)




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Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:23 pm
liehart wrote a review...



That's a really good cliffhanger! I really like the pace of the story, and how exposition is woven in with plot points and how it moves fast without feeling like the characters can't ever rest. I like how this chapter brought in some of the world building as well, and of course Asha's backstory as well as how mysterious Yuni is. I'm now really invested to find out what's happened with her also.

I think, as I have said before, the flashback in italics could be worked into the present tense and that may make the story feel more consistent. Taking the reader out of the present to years ago is more disruptive than just having a character remember something.

And again, I love the final sentence here.




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Sun Oct 29, 2017 5:27 pm
CaptainJack wrote a review...



I have become distracted from the green room once again in my pursuit of points and rising up the review rankings. I will win.

Anyways. This is now a story that I am genuinely enjoying and that's actually making it really easy for me to review, rather than before when I had to drag myself through. And there's also the further information and explanation that I've been looking for, so I'm not going to complain, even though it was a tiny bit misshapen. It didn't roll together all that well with me because the entrance into it didn't seem as natural but the exit path was good, bringing her back into the present time pretty smoothly.

I can see the change now to where the story line is getting darker and that only interests me more, as it reaches the point I like. I know that I have been rather nitpicky about some things in the past but I guess that is just in my nature of reviewing. There are some parts here that I still question, like teleporting when she is already so weak. That just sort of screams bad idea to me and it's just litte things like this along the way that have been bothering me a bit.

Outside of that, I look forward to the next chapter. Not to be too morbid but I'm still kind of expecting there to be more deaths in this village. Either that or it could the incredibly opposite way and be all along the lines of "you have allies now in this battle." So I'm thinking that a confrontation with the palace guards will be happening soon.




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Sat Sep 02, 2017 4:27 am
PastelSlushie wrote a review...



Hello again, Stormcloud, PastelSlushie here for review two for #RevMo ! Let's get right into it!

Ah, it seems chapter nine has been recovered. I'm confused now, haha, rip.

This review will be a bit shorter than the others, my apologies in advance!

I really enjoy how parts of Asha's backstory were introduced with Yuni asking her about it, and not just a, dumps it in one whole chapter, kind of thing. Gaps are slowly being filled in with Asha's past, and I love it to death. However, I feel adding Khari a little earlier into the chapter, and maybe knowing a bit more about him, would help me feel more connected to him and more worried about him.

The equivalency (oh gosh big word hope I don't hurt myself) of dialogue and action in this chapter leans more towards dialogue, and my suggestion would be to, obviously, to cut down the talking a tiny bit. My other suggestion would be to add a tiny bit more detail on the area Yuni and Asha are in at the moment.

Feel free to send me a message if you have any questions, disagree with anything in my review, or anything else! Best of luck in your future pieces.

Pastel




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Sun Jul 30, 2017 3:33 pm
Kaylaa wrote a review...



This is Nikayla here dropping in for a review on Review Day as promised!

I remember reviewing a couple of these chapters before, though I admit that I haven't in awhile. I also remember the characters Asha and...maybe even Yuni? I won't worry too much about that or attempt to piece the novel together--I'll review what I can. With that being said, I'm reviewing what I can by saying that the first sentence after the first paragraph is awkwardly worded particularly in the dialogue. 'The birds are barely up' felt off to me. Maybe put 'awake' instead of 'up'? Just a small nitpick. Yuni's character is a little robotic. From what I can tell about tones in dialogue, this is a character that's somehow more knowledgeable than the main character or from another culture.

Just a trope that I've noticed over time with characters that are seen as intelligent or characters that talk intelligent aren't usually human or from the same culture. A random rant for the most part--I want to see an informal or chill character that comes from a different origin or a different world. Chiller than a human--maybe even sillier in humor. I have to say that your writing is a little bare-bone when it comes to description? Of course, I believe I've told you this before, but I have trouble imagining what's going on.

That's easily the weakest part of this chapter while the strongest is actually the dialogue despite the little tangent that I went on earlier. Work on describing the surroundings a little better. Not the most interesting chapter that I've read? Then again, I'm never a fan of traveling in novels--the only part that comes out of traveling is the events that happen along the way but at points there aren't any events and instead there's only a destination to go to. Of course, the shining part then is the characters which can make the journey more captivating for the reader with dialogue and character development. Overall, not too shabby and solid enough.

If you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask! I hope I helped and have a great day.

Image

Image




inktopus says...


Yeah, Yuni's from another culture, and it's not that she's more intelligent than Asha (Asha's probably smarter) it's just that she's not speaking her native language so she's using the perfect grammar that a lot of people learn when they are taught a second language. For some reason, Starfire from Teen Titans came to mind when I was figuring out her speech patterns. So the way she talks isn't really supposed to be a reflection on her personality, but on her background, if that makes any sense.



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Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:15 pm
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ExOmelas wrote a review...



Heyo,

Nit-picks:

groaning when she could barely see the sun peeking above the horizon

"when" is a bit clunky here.

"It is a long journey," Yuni retorted.

"I was perhaps three years old," Asha began

A description of Asha's reaction here might be nice. Like a shrug or a chuckle or something.

Overall:

Character: I like the way that we see Asha's backstory through Yuni asking for it. It first of all doesn't feel info-dump-y which is awesome, but it also characterises Yuni and shows that she is concerned about Asha. With what I know you have planned this is a really good foundation.

I think maybe mentioning Khari earlier on would have been good so that I could feel strongly attached to him and want him to be safe.

Setting: Maybe something about the type of land they're travelling over. Not a big thing, just safeguards you from talking-head-ness.

Plot: I really like the feeling of going out on a quest we've got going here. It feels really big and dramatic and important and I'm looking forward to seeing how Asha and Yuni go about trying to save Asha's people.

Hope this helps,
Biscuits :)





If a million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.
— Anatole France