I have decided, after receiving the following review in response to my story, that this fic could indeed use a good thorough editing*cough*REWRITE*cough*. I don't hold much love for my older fictions, but after the attitude I received in this review, I have decided to do this for one reason only: so I don't delete the story. I know there are people out there who like this fic, even though I despise it, but if it's going to remain on the site then the level of writing must be elevated to prevent such negativity in the future.
I do have to thank this author, however, for not making this an Anonymous review, as that's just a chicken shit way to go.
I love, love, love the plot and the basic idea you have here but the terrible execution of it makes me wince. Why all the quote marks around words as random as village slaves? Why the extreme overuse of the parenthesis? Many of the fragments you put inside of them could simply be another sentence or added with commas. It makes for a very irritating read. Also, you don't have to explain and mention every single mundane detail of the characters! It's tedious and takes away from the more significant details. You're writing a story full of action, drama, and suspense, not someone's diary!
If you even do ONE of these things I've suggested, your writing will be much cleaner and focused. I do like the amount of attention and detail you put into this; it's very obvious, but a lot of the impact is lost when you mention random, minor characters (like the mercenary in the cell) that we will never see again so it's not even foreshadowing. It might help you slow down parts of your character development too. Has your English teacher ever mentioned "show, not tell"? Rather than SAYING Sesshoumaru despises Hikune, give us some concrete examples, a bit more of Hikune's negative characteristics. Though why someone as powerful and cold as Sesshoumaru would have a problem of killing him and getting a new general is unclear... Plot hole you might want to clear up if Hikune proves to be a significant villain?
Wow... I'm sorry this review turned into a rant. I'm just really disappointed to have to forge through this un-proofed writing just so I can find out what happens. XD Seeing as you're finished with this already, I hope you'll at least keep my suggestions in mind when writing in the future!
Well, I have to say I was a little taken aback by your review. If you think my writing requires so much work, I suggest you take a look at my more /recent/ work. That story is close to 4 years old. The only reason it's still posted, as I don't like it myself, is that some people would be angry at me if I removed it. And if you don't like a story, please don't force yourself to trudge through it just so you can take out your disappointment when you reach the end.
Some of your advice is very good, and stuff that I have learned through years of experience and Authors Conferences, where I have had the opportunity to have my original work critiqued by published writers. I suggest next time you wish to provide input to a budding writer, don't use words such as 'terrible' and 'wince'. We're all learning here, and an attitude such as the one found in this review will not help /anybody/ learn, and creates negative feelings all around.
On with the revision:
Kurama, Sesshoumaru's General: Rewrite
The first thing Kurama saw when he opened his eyes was an orange blur. He blinked his bleary eyes and tried to focus his mind on his surroundings. With his eyes nearly useless, he fell on his sense of smell. Humans. Quite a few of them, and none had bathed recently. He crinkled his delicate nose and tried to ignore the cloying urine and body odour that sent his vision spinning.
Breathing through his mouth to lesson the scents overwhelming his senses, he accidently inhaled some dirt. Coughing, his body curled into a ball in confusion in an attempt to protect itself from its unknown assailant. As he moved, his cheek scraped against the dirt he was laying on.
Moving his body also brought to his attention aching muscles and joints. He'd been in a battle recently, and the level of stiffness was likely from healing while not being allowed to move. How long had he been unconscious?
He tried slowly opening his eyes again to assess his surroundings, not wanting to make the same mistake as he had made with his nose. He could see blurs of orange and brown, and a large blue above that was likely the sky. Blinking rapidly, his vision slowly came into focus.
He could see the humans now. A few were watching him warily with tired black eyes. The dark shadows under them, and the gaunt lines of their faces spoke of trying times and little food.
Suppressing a groan as he shifted his sore muscles, he slowly moved himself into an upright position. His head swam a little at the movement, but as he forced himself to wait patiently the world began to come into clarity.
He was in a cage.
Blinking furiously, his eyes darted around the small enclosure, looking for an escape from the metal bars. He found a door, but no obvious means of breaking free. Biting his lip in pain, he began to shift himself towards an empty side of the cage in order to lean against it but paused. Looking towards the humans, he saw that they had huddled themselves in the center of the cage, away from the bars.
He desperately wanted to lean against something for support, but he couldn't deny that there was probably a very good reason none of the humans had done so. Suppressing another groan of pain, he lowered himself back to the ground and tried to get comfortable. He needed to rest to increase his energy, and he was incredibly thirsty, but from the looks of the unhealthy humans some feet from him, his captors didn't care for the health of their prisoners.
So, he waited and observed.
He located two guards outside the cage. They smelled of demon. Alarm sent adrenaline flowing into his bloodstream. What were demons doing in the human realm? Or were they in the demon realm? The clear blue sky, however, would make him conclude that they were in the human realm. Which brought him full circle – what were demons doing in the human realm?
He forced himself to relax again. Getting 'freaked out', as Yusuke would say, would not help him solve this situation, and would in fact prevent him from recovering his strength. So he kept his eyes on the demons and the humans who were still watching him warily.
The sun was high in the sky when he heard it. Feet, voices, whips cracking, what sounded like creaking wood and sobbing cries. They slowly grew closer, and Kurama watched for the next hour or so as the empty clearing they had been sitting in slowly turned into what he could only call a bazaar. Stands were set up, and various products were put on display – from food to humans to animals. Or maybe all the demons saw was food, food, and food. He had no idea. What he did know was that he had enough energy stored from his rest to transform his rose and perhaps escape. If he was lucky. He would need to wait for a more opportune moment, however.
The bazaar came to life as evening approached, but the demons who guarded the cage Kurama found himself in seemed content to either leave their 'merchandise' inside, or wait until later for the 'unveiling'. Kurama felt a deep loathing knot his stomach as he watched the other stands where humans and coin traded hands. Some demons didn't even wait to be clear of the bazaar before feasting on their purchases. He had only been human for 18 years, but even as a demon he had had no particular interest in humans for their flesh or sex. He hadn't seen feasting and raping like this for so long… he wished he didn't have to see it again.
It was only when the sun was an hour from setting that the demons watching their cage finally moved.
"Get up! All of you!" one of them growled, a vicious smirk on his face. Kurama watched him with hidden distaste as he cracked the whip for no more reason than to intimidate. Not that he needed to. The only human in the cage who wasn't completely terrified was Kurama. And Kurama was a normal human by no means.
The human with the soul of a fox demon watched as the humans of his cage were slowly herded out of their enclosure and cuffed with metal chains. Soon, Kurama was the last in the cage. The demon glared at him, motioning him forward, but Kurama just stood there. Before he could react, the demon was in his face, clawed hand wrapped around his neck.
"If you don't obey, human," he growled, and Kurama could smell the human blood on his breath, "then I will find more pleasure in eating you alive than selling you. Your hands."
Kurama suppressed the growl he wanted to voice at the audacity of the demon before him. He could sense the demon's strength, and while he was strong for the job he carried out, Kurama could have killed him in seconds had he been in better condition. These feelings of frustration and anger kept him company as the demon bound his hands together and roughly pushed him out of the cage, attaching him to the line of other humans.
He watched with narrowed eyes as the humans attached to his line were slowly sold off, one by one. He watched as time after time, a demon would name a price for his own person and be rejected by two demons selling him. It was only his highly attuned hearing that informed him the amounts that were being offered, which were more than twice what the other humans were being sold for, were not enough. Which then brought up the dreadful question: why was he worth so much.
It wasn't until later that evening he got his answer.
Sesshoumaru walked gracefully down the aisles of the bazaar, a look of supreme disinterest on his face. He was here, once again, to buy humans for the gladiator matches he held in contempt. Why the other demon lords enjoyed the senseless carnage of humans killing one another or being killed by lesser demons he would never understand. He found the entire experience a waste of his time, but as the Lord of the Western Lands he was obligated to attend and contribute some 'gladiators' of his own.
Humans were such disgusting creatures.
Why Hikume, one of his generals who was accompanying him on this venture, enjoyed taking part in the matches was beyond his ken. But he would never stoop to the other demon's level in order to understand that primitive reasoning.
He gave the fox demon one of his bags of coin and watched as the demon happily disappeared into the crowd of the bazaar to find humans fit for fighting. Sesshoumaru wished he were able to just send Hikume alone on this errand, but the last time he had done so all the humans had died before they'd made it to the arena.
And so he found himself wandering in disinterest among the stalls, ignoring most of the merchants and their merchandise after giving it a cursory glance.
His attention was caught, however, when he spotted a flash of blood red in the crowd. Thinking that a demon was bleeding a human for entertainment, he slowly made his way towards the source of the colour. He was surprised, however, when he discovered the source of the red was a human with red hair.
Approaching the human, he watched as green eyes examined the surroundings with clarity and a lack of fear that surprised Sesshoumaru, though he would never admit it. When those eyes settled on him, they widened slightly, and he felt the corner of his lips twitch upwards slightly in a smirk. Even a human as rare in appearance as this one paled in comparison to Seshoumaru.
Kurama watched the dog demon watching him with careful eyes. This demon was far more powerful than any he had seen so far in this strange world where demons and humans seemed to live side by side. He was so intent on his assessment, that he flinched backwards when the demon disappeared from nearly 20 feet away and reappeared a foot from his face. He couldn't help but take a step back, but strong fingers on his chin held him in place.
He inwardly balked as the demon pushed his head side to side to examine him.
"What do you think, my lord? He's quite the pretty face, and from what we saw when we examined the goods, quite appeasing to the eye."
Kurama felt blood rush to his face. The demons had undressed him? What was he supposed to be, a sex slave?
He glared at the demon trying to sell him. A sharp pressure on his chin, however, turned his attention back to the tall white demon. As Kurama examined him more closely, he realized exactly how much he looked like Youko. Silver hair, gold eyes, tall… was that a tail or a decoration?
"Can you fight, human?"
Kurama blinked. Fight? Why would the demon want to know if he could fight? Examining him with calculating eyes, Kurama came to a decision. "Yes."
Gold Eyes nodded and tossed a pouch of gold at the demon standing nearby. "That will be enough."
The demon opened the pouch before opening his mouth, and Kurama could deduce from the widening of his eyes that it was indeed plenty enough.
"Thank you for your business, my lord. Would you like the human bound?"
Kurama wanted to look away from them both in disgust, but new doing so could make him miss something important. Something that could increase or decrease the chances of his survival. Why a demon would ask a human if he knew how to fight, Kurama didn't know, but he was sure he didn't want to find out.
Somehow, it didn't seem that ignorance would be an option.
They had been walking for days. Of the two demons leading the long string of humans through the woods, it was the subordinate, not Gold Eyes, who watched the slaves and made sure they were fed and watered enough to move. They had latrine stops twice a day, and Kurama found himself glad that these 'masters' didn't feel the need for pointless harassment.
And although they got little rest each night, Kurama found his energy slowly returning with each meal he consumed. It was little more than bread and water, but his body had been close to shutting down upon his awakening, and he was grateful for it. Only because it increased his chance to escape.
He found himself meditating during their travel, keeping his spirit energy suppressed to the point where the demon would not detect it. He had been managing to pass as human so far only because he was currently so weak. Now that his powers were coming back, he had to be careful, for he was unsure whether revealing himself as more or less a demon would inspire his captors to free him or kill him.
It was on the fifth day that they finally reached their destination. From the stadium towering over the terrified humans, Kurama could only come to the conclusion that they were intended to fight inside it. He took a slow, calming breath. He couldn't save all these humans. He wasn't sure he could save one, in fact, and that tore at the human half of his soul. Youko would not have cared, but Kurama balked at the idea of letting all these humans die. However, the more reasonable part of his mind reminded him that he wasn't in terribly good condition, and he doubted that even at full power he'd be able to defeat all the demons he could sense in the stadium.
Letting out a small sigh, he let the chain pull him forward.
I got more into this fandom again after watching some episodes online, but this rewrite isn't something I'm doing because I absolutely love this fic. *shudders* It's because the old version was too atrocious for words.
Anyway, I hope you like the new and improved version! Posts may be slow, as well, because BS and LDBP are taking up most of my writing time.