|Reviews for Fortunae Gauntlet|
| HatethePlayer-NevertheGame chapter 14 . 6/11
This was epic...
First of all, most if not all of your writing has a pretty accurate take on the canon characterisation of the straw-hats and I will particularly congratulate you on how much I enjoy your portrayal of Zoro, he is one of my favourites in this. I never really understood why none of their enemy are killed and besides Robin and Zoro it is implied that none of the crew had killed anyone, Sanji I can see killing only out of necessity and revenge and I doubt he could kill anyone in cold blood like the aforementioned two, Luffy would kill in rage and maybe pity I think, but even only if his nakama are endangered or killed, Chopper would probably never kill anyone unless it was a mercy kill and Usopp is pretty cowardly and dwells on death out self preservation and thus would only kill out primal desperation and even then he would never forget it or forgive it and Nami? I don't think, despite her selfish and survivalist persona, could kill as she is very kind hearted, like the incident with Hachi, but it is interesting because it is true that the only people it seems dies in one piece was Ace (still totally unfair btw!) and I seriously hope Oda kills of Akainu for that. Never the less the few critisms I have are Choppers lack of preparation, doesn't he have an multi purpose med kit on him at all times not to mention his sense of smell, dear have very high sense smell and can usually scent anything within their range (not too sure what that is for Reindear though), then I would mention that Usopp has excellent vision and wouldn't have been so off guard and Robin can attack anything within her sight and could have attacked when Luffy and Zoro rushed out, but this was still awesome and I don't write, just have the account to read and comment so I can't really talk
| Mithril Lace chapter 14 . 6/9
That sure was a wild ride. I loved how in character everyone was, and I loved how this played out much like an actual arc in the series would (albeit for an older audience). It's one of the more well-written fanfics I've encountered, and it was certainly well thought out and executed. You managed to capture the essence of each character so well that several of them made me tear up. Usopp made me outright cry.
One of my favorite things about this story is that it also stayed in character to the character during the timeline of the story. You see stories post timeskip where Robin isn't using first names, or stories pre-Skypeia where Zoro has no problems with Robin being in the crew, etc. Your portrayal of the characters in their current setting fit really well, especially because perspective allowed future canon elements to leak in and influence them. That's not something I find very often in fanfiction, and I'm really happy I got to read such a good story :) I've been meaning to for a while (I had it open in one of my tabs, and it was later recommended by a really good friend) and I hope it doesn't take me that long to get to your other story(stories, perhaps).
| Wordlet chapter 14 . 5/25
Yeah! Great story, I like the originality, in each of your OC villains and the overall plot, the whole asteral plain was very intriguing, but AH CHOPPER! I'm a Chopper lover and you really killed me there :(:(:( But yeah, GO LUFFY, BE EPIC AND CUT IT CLOSE, but not that close next time, your scaring me...I think you did good job predicting reacions to crewmates dying, Luffy in particular is tricky, I know, and all things considered I think its a relatively accurate representation:) But really, poor Luffy, thy're dropping like flies and he can't do a thing...
| Guest chapter 14 . 4/12
Omg this story was amazing. I found Chopper and Zoro's deaths so sad - I love them both so much! Please keep writing stories, you obviously have the talent. Thanks for writing, and again, this story was amazing!
| CosmicSynopsis chapter 14 . 1/19
I love your stories and this last chapter was cute.
| BlatantBookworm chapter 14 . 1/4
Ahh. Final chapter.
It started off painful, and then quickly morphed into surprisingly lighthearted. Reading about their reunion was almost worth reading about them sobbing each other's deaths (which in itself had been it's own reward).
For a bonus death-scare, Zoro's part was remarkably cheerful. He probably was incredibly annoyed at Sanji - after all, the last coherent thing he remembered was dying, before he was kicked again. Although Nami's part suggested they were at least somewhat aware of time passing. And I liked Sanji's accusation that Zoro got lost coming back to life - and especially liked his horror at the idea of one of his nakama starving to death.
I like the subtlety of their responses to the ordeal. Everyone is trying to be calm about it, but knowing that they can't ask what happened. I especially enjoyed the showing-not-telling of Nami backing down from asking Zoro when Sanji told her not to, just from the fact it was Sanji who said it. You left it to the audience to realise why Sanji giving those instructions would be more telling than his words, and I for one think that was well written. Them all being in close quarters from sheer missing-the-others was also enjoyable to read.
It was especially sweet to see them all camping out together. They had to discuss it at some point, if not in detail, and it was beautifully done. Plus, you implied that they did specify more on what had happened, even if you didn't show the exact dialogue; for the audience as well as the crew, it seemed reassuring and safe to hear their voices (if only on a screen) discussing something that needed to be said.
And then it all became surprisingly fluffy for something that was effectively a death fic. Luffy's cheerful reaction was the best, especially since it was clearly contagious. The Straw Hats wouldn't have gotten over it easily, which you acknowledged when you wrote it, but you allowed them to reach a situation in which the challenge would get put in the past eventually, and then it would be left there.
As a final note for the end of this wonderful fic, I would like to just say one thing: thank you for writing 'Fortunae Gauntlet'. It has been a pleasure to read it.
| BlatantBookworm chapter 13 . 1/4
I think that the quick recap in the beginning of the chapter was good. Personally, I've always had a good head for remembering events and things, but it was still nice to have a quick refresh. Even better, it provided a chance to read it from Luffy's view - to see how Straw Hat Luffy, the man famous for his loyalty to his nakama, reacted when he had to watch them die. It was also interesting to see his momentary fury at the hat's destruction, before that was dissolved into pure rage and horror as the last of his crew died in front of him.
Not that that rage stopped him from assuring the sniper that he did a good job. Because Luffy is just that good of a captain, and you are showing his character perfectly.
You did a good job of portraying the absolute desperation and power in Luffy's final battle. And I like how with sheer willpower alone, Luffy forced the poison not to affect him (I know, I know, he did it with Magellan, but that doesn't make me like it any less).
Also, Luffy's frantic squeeze... that was pure beauty.
| BlatantBookworm chapter 12 . 1/4
Luffy and Usopp always make rather impressive entrances, don't they?
It was also really touching to see the lengths that Luffy went to protect Usopp, until they reached the point where Usopp had no choice but to join the battle.
Usopp's battle in itself was poetry. I loved how he finally used the Impact Dial properly as a weapon.
Then, just as he managed to prove himself properly, he was killed.
It was a short chapter, but also quite gorgeous. I loved it.
| BlatantBookworm chapter 11 . 1/4
Reading Usopp's beginning was painful. It felt wrenching to read about how Usopp knew that something was wrong, but Luffy shouted him down. Normally their utter faith in one another is a beautiful thing, but this time it wasn't. Especially when one considers that Usopp reflected they were only minutes too late to find him - if they'd gone when he'd first woken Luffy, they would have saved him. And it wouldn't even have ruined Sanji's plan, since Moult was already out in the open and already being defeated by the smoke.
Sanji's subtle quips about cigarettes was also good. "Those are bad for you, you know." "So sue me." and "people always told me secondhand smoke was bad for others, but right about now I'm glad for it."
Not to mention, I loved the line in which Sanji reflected that, ironically, the thing he'd been told countless times was going to kill him was also what was keeping him alive.
Sanji merging into a killer was gorgeous. I loved how you described him as 'Red-Leg Sanji', not as he was thinking it to himself, but as a name. And I was also impressed with how, despite already being dead, Moult still managed to kill the cook.
Luffy carefully putting Sanji's corpse against the trees was also a stunning scene. I felt sympathy for them, and making readers feel emotions is the mark of a good author.
| BlatantBookworm chapter 10 . 1/4
Zoro's death scene continued after the death was splendid here. I liked how after he watched his nakama die, Sanji stopped calling him 'marimo' and reverted to using Zoro's name.
The sword-burying scene was also beautiful. I can so see Luffy wanting a marker, but Sanji methodically shooting down that suggestion by pointing out all it would do is alert the Scorpions.
For that matter, the reminder of Nami's potential massacre was also a nice paragraph. It made perfect sense for them to hide, afraid of what they might find if they reached her astral-grave.
I like Sanji's plan for killing Moult. It might be the first time Sanji ever (successfully) used a weapon, if you can count a cigarette as a weapon.
| BlatantBookworm chapter 9 . 1/4
A healing doctor would be a dangerous opponent - of course, no match for Luffy. But I can see why Usopp decided to take him out.
When I first read it, I was certain that Usopp was dead (as mentioned before). Then Zoro stepped in and threw me for a loop. But I loved the power that the scene radiated, of Zoro with a fatal injury not faltering for a split second. For that matter, I also loved Usopp using the impact dial as a shield. I was somewhat disappointed it didn't get a chance as a weapon, but this scene was perfect as it was and would have been ruined if he had. And the unsportsmanlike kick by Sasori? I don't know why but it impressed me - not by the character but by the writer, proving again and again what lowlifes the antagonists were.
I also liked Sanji's fight. His assumption that it was mantra seemed accurate, and I enjoyed reading about Moult's confusion: "Mantra? Is that food?" And his power seems alarmingly dangerous once he describes it. A little like being rubber - one might think it was a stupid ability, until they nearly got killed by it. Smelling really good - to the point of being able to tell that Zoro had killed multiple times, long ago - is a terrifying ability.
Zoro's death scene was my favourite. I don't know why. Maybe because he was the only one who really got a chance to talk and understood what was happening (Robin came close but she lost her ability to talk rather soon. Also, it just feels stronger in Zoro's scene, watching him try to defend his nakama even when he knows he's dead). Zoro's death seemed the most final.
I liked watching Usopp lie and then give up almost immediately, acknowledging that Zoro was dying when the swordsman did. Of course, he was hysterical about it, which also seemed well in character. Watching Luffy have to hit him to calm him down was beautiful.
I also liked how Luffy took his bandana off for him, revealing just how well they could communicate without words. That was also made clear by their conversation, in which Luffy quietly reassured him that Zoro hadn't broken his promise.
Sanji's reaction was similarly beautiful. Even as Zoro bled out, they were still arguing - but you explained it perfectly, that they weren't being petty, that Zoro was taunting the cook to make him calm down. Sanji's misdirected anger at Zoro also seemed natural, exactly like how he would react. He was sort of blaming himself, because he'd probably resigned himself to dying next, and was shocked by the realisation it would have to be Zoro who left.
Not to mention, Sanji clearly understands Zoro, shown by the scene with the swords. It makes sense to me that Zoro's priority in death would be to have his swords safe from the filthy hands that killed him, especially since he knows the man who dealt the blow was the one who would use them. Watching Zoro deteriorate as he asked his last request was a pleasure to read, if also heart-wrenching and painful.
And then he just... 'faded'. And that was beautiful.
You ended the chapter brilliantly.
| BlatantBookworm chapter 8 . 1/4
It's rather impressive, isn't it, that this is pretty much the first time they've slept throughout the whole story. After all, after their first long walk, Nami's death, their ambush (which if not even Zoro slept during, everyone would have been tense throughout those hours), and then after bandaging they went straight after the Scorpions. No wonder they're all exhausted.
I like how Zoro has to make Luffy promise to let him take Sasori. Luffy's protest makes sense - it's tradition, after all - but Zoro's is stronger. Tradition should never outweigh logic, which even the slightly idiotic captain (Luffy is dumb, but he's not stupid) can realise. It's made even more special by the fact Zoro doesn't even have to explain it entirely. Luffy knows how to protect his nakama, and it only took one sentence to convince him.
It's rather cool how at the moment all three of the monster trio are still there. One would assume they're the ones who lasted longest. Of course, with hindsight I know that's not the case, but I like how you set it up for that. I can't say that I thought Usopp would be the next to die when I first read this part (I just wasn't thinking about that, I just wanted to read it), but if I'd considered it that might have been my conclusion. Or I could have recognised that a great author such as yourself is unlikely to go the obvious. (I'll admit that in the next chapter I believed that Usopp was dead at the POV switch, but that was I believe intentional on your part.)
For the first time, though, I have a question from something I didn't understand. Usopp described the battle on the cliff as 'three on two', and Sanji added that it might go to 'four on two'. I don't quite understand that. Did Sanji mean that Moult might return to the battle up there? But that wouldn't make sense, and also doesn't account for Sanji's prediction Zoro would take someone else out with him - which in turn would imply that if they killed Zoro but Zoro killed someone else, the statistics would be 'three on two' again.
Did you mean that if the Scorpions won, the battle would become 'three on one' instead of 'four on two'?
| BlatantBookworm chapter 7 . 1/4
Zoro losing his earrings? Perfect! He doesn't seem affected by it at this point, only annoyed, but then in the last chapter it's made clear that it unsettled him more than he showed. I like how it's portrayed that it COULD be funny, but the situation refuses to let it be. I also think it's rather telling how you (or Usopp) refer to him as "less pirate-y and more like a funny-haired teenager with a few swords". Calling him a teenager really brings home just how young all the Straw Hats are; no matter how strong they are and what they've done, their opponents are still probably at least a decade older.
I think the Scorpion's plan of attack also seems very deadly. And while Usopp described it as Robin having a way with words, I think you the author should get the credit for the beautiful line.
"...the rest of us will be easier to kill when we are starving, sick and injured."
It's nice to see the subtleties of some of their interactions. For example, Sanji insisting he took point, even though it was a dangerous job. Luffy and Zoro would indeed get them lost, and it's mentioned he wouldn't allow Robin to do it, but that still left Usopp. With Sanji being the next target, it would have been possible for Usopp to be left in the most dangerous position, but Sanji refused to allow it, knowing that the sniper was one of the least powerful fighters on the crew. I don't know. I just thought it was cool. Likewise, I thought the red lighting was a good effect - making them look like they were drenched in blood was a great idea.
Robin saving Sanji's life at the cost of her own also showed how much she loves her nakama. It's especially splendid when considered that shortly after this they reach Water Seven and Robin runs into CP9 and their subsequent threats.
The Straw Hat teamwork in the kill was also amazing. The amount of self control Sanji must have had in order to leave Tanzan alive (even with the knowledge it was Luffy who would kill him in a moment) would have been staggering. After all, a few hours earlier he'd been hearing about Tanzan cannibalising Nami's eyes. And it was nice to see Usopp musing about how Sanji and Zoro had a point where they gave up on their rivalry and instead became a team, working together perfectly.
Robin's death was horrible. Congratulations on writing that scene; it was morbidly gorgeous.
| BlatantBookworm chapter 6 . 1/4
This is wonderful.
Zoro is exactly the type of guy who wouldn't even look as someone tried to eat them, not if doing so would get him or his friends killed. Tanzan's shock was understandable.
I also love how Sanji just stares blankly as Jovis was killed. It does make perfect sense that Sanji, as strong as he is, has never actually killed before. He's seen death before, been in plenty of battles, but maybe hasn't ever caused one, and especially not this brutal (as you describe in a later chapter, he's 'Black Leg' not 'Red Leg'). He might have given fatal injuries that caused an opponent to die later, but that would probably be several days afterward. He probably wouldn't even know his own death count. But Zoro... Zoro has definitely killed before. And I have no problem imagining him doing it again in order to save his nakama. The idea of him decapitating someone from afar is an interesting vision.
It's a gory chapter, but good gory.
Also, I liked when it switched to Robin's perspective. Robin's one of my favourites. Her perspective also makes it quite clear that it's really and truly from their eyes, as she describes everyone by their title (instead of 'Luffy said' she thinks 'Captain-san said', etc). Sanji and Nami had that too, to a smaller degree, but Robin was the most noticeable. It's also shown exactly how calm she can be under pressure; you don't deny that she's horrified and scared, but you also portray Robin as able to work past that. In fact, you actively mention that she's forcibly working through this nightmare to save the rest of them.
The mourning sequence for Chopper was heart-wrenching. I think you did a good job in portraying how they would grieve for the poor little reindeer. Zoro's reaction was especially heartbreaking, as you mentioned that they'd had a brotherly relationship. It was also interesting how Luffy was portrayed as clearly aware of the situation, just refusing to accept it. And Robin's own part was breathtaking - mentioning what she believes is her curse as she saw nakama die? That was perfect writing.
| BlatantBookworm chapter 5 . 1/4
This is wonderful. I love the subtle hints Tanzan begins with ("the cat gets to eat them!"), before finally explaining exactly what he wanted to say. Whether true or not, it was a well designed manipulation to tell Sanji - especially since those who've already read it know that Sanji was one of the three the Scorpions were specially aiming for. It's especially well done in that at the moment they have no idea their cook is one of their major fighters - on the other hand, Sanji muses that they may have done their research when they first attacked Usopp in the real world, knowing who their enemies may be.
I love the line "Sanji had yet to figure out how he spoke at all, with [his sword] jammed between his teeth." It feels so natural to have them all wonder about Zoro's apparent ventriloquy skills.
Reading about Sanji's growing anger was a delight.