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I tried to remember what Memory had said about the Interface. Something like mortals getting a very limited version? And that she mainly hoped we could… chat through it. Oh no. I eyed the quest notification with trepidation. Seemed like we wouldn’t get private messaging then?

Let’s see, what she wants first. Just thinking that made another message appear with a small ‘ding’ sound I could barely make out over the noise of the rain.

[Divine Quest: Fire-Scalamander

Hi, Sweetie! Remember me? How are you doing down there? It looked like you had lots of fun playing hide-and-seek and catch while growing up. But life is not all play and no work, right? So be a dear and do this little task for me, yeah?

Your species already has incorporated a bit of elemental energy. Sadly it is mostly water and a bit of earth, which won’t help much once the climate cools down enough to kill most amphibians… again. I’d be honestly surprised if it wouldn’t this time. ‘It’s a big part of evolution, Memory.’ ‘We really need to change up the Meta now and then, Memory.’ ‘Stop your whining, Memory!’ Stuck-up murder-hobos, the whole lot!

Aaanyways, I need you to find some fire or heat attuned proto-spirits before you reach sexual maturity and procreate. And incorporate a big bunch of their essence in your offspring. You’re smart. I’ll trust you to figure it out. You have a few years to find some. I believe in you, Sweetie!

Love, Memory.

P.S. I’ll give you a new Quest, once you’re done with this one. So don’t dawdle around too much. Have fun!]

That was… something? Running and hiding for my life looked like fun to her, huh? That certainly is one way to interpret it. Now she wanted me to become her own personal little breeding experiment? What would I get out of it? Shouldn’t there at least be some kind of reward for something called a ‘Quest’? And what were those instructions supposed to be? ‘Go find some spirits somewhere!’ ‘You’ll figure it out somehow.’ ‘You’re smart.’ Of course, I was smart. I was a damn genius! But where should I even begin with that kind of crappy directions?

And how could I be considered an adult of my species if I was years away from ‘sexual maturity’? That didn’t make much sense to me. Was it just because of the metamorphosis? It was probably futile to try and guess at the reasoning of gods. Maybe I’d come back to that once I had more data in future lives.

Well, let’s take a look at that ‘profile’ while we were already at it. What were the chances that it could help me with this Quest? Yeah. Who was I kidding? But I had to admit, I was kind of interested what it would say about me. Again, with just a thought, the text appeared in front of me.

 

Species: Scalamander (pending, affirmation required)
  Breed: n/a
  Sex: female
  Age: 82 days

Designation: none
  Aliases: Sweetie, Pesky Rascal
  Titles: none

Occupation: none

Blessings: Champion of Memory

Traits: none

Affinities: Water (weak)
    Earth (traces)

Proficiencies: Swimming (basic)

Quests: Fire-Scalamander

Notes: empty

 

I had to admit, I was a bit proud that ‘Scalamander’ was in the System now but the name of my Quest already told me that.

And I was supposedly born a whopping 82 days ago. I really must have missed some of those. It definitely felt way shorter to me. Did that take into account the time in my egg?

I had no name yet because nobody gave me one, but who the heck called me a ‘pesky rascal’? The Bastard? That bitch better not have. I mean, it’s not like I called her something demeaning after she tried to eat me, did I? I didn’t know who else could have been smart enough to call me anything at all.

Where were we? Ah… Titles, Blessings, Traits, ... There we go. Apparently, I had affinities for water and earth. I guess that meant magic? Memory said something similar in her message, so I’d go with that for now. And if I did complete her ‘little task’, my offspring would have fire or heat in there? I wondered how that was supposed to work exactly. Did I have to mate with a spirit? That sounded kind of eww.

Well, I’d never find out if I didn’t leave this pond. As I was about to do before this sudden reminder of the deeper nature of my reality. I huffed to myself and finally ascended to the surface.

There the downpour was still going on and it didn’t look like it would let up any time soon. It was the middle of the night, but my vision should have been able to handle that if it weren’t for all the rain. I just hoped that this would also mean that I’d be better hidden from predators.

I took a look around to see if I could spot any sign of the Newtagator. As far as I could make out, he wasn’t here at the moment. I’d never seen anything else his size and everything smaller - that I knew of - at least couldn’t swallow me with a single bite. So maybe I had a fighting chance?

Carefully, I approached the edge of the water at the point furthest away from his usual spot. There was a pretty steep embankment on this side so I doubted he would lurk around there, waiting for a snack to leave the water. It also meant I had a bit of a workout ahead of me. The rain didn’t help. At all.

The way up took way longer than I ever expected in the worst predictions I made in anticipation for this day. Yes, I did a lot of those. I mean, what else was I supposed to do while sluggishly lazing around, waiting for my body to stop morphing? How could I ever have predicted this torrent after a whole life of nothing?

I made it up the hill after sliding back down not one or two but seven times! Seven! Not embarrassing at all. At least nobody saw me, I hoped.

When I finally was up there I just felt exhausted. And dirty. Thankfully the rain was still going strong and, while I was resting, was washing away most of the mud I was absolutely caked in.

My legs really weren’t used to walking. I started to doubt that I could run away from anything that really tried to catch me. Or hunt something that could run away, for that matter. I guess I had to stick with my old and tried hiding-in-ambush-strategy. Or I could try to find slow stuff like maggots or earthworms? There had to be some that were edible, right?

I hadn’t had much luck with the plants in the water and I doubted it would be any different out here. And trying out new foods always reminded me of the rhinosnail incident. But the trees were my best bet to find some slow bugs for now.

I started to regret not having gorged myself before leaving my pool. I really didn’t want a repeat of that humiliating crawl up the embankment though.

The vegetation was as interesting close up as it had been when I saw it for the first time. Ferns and mosses were the only things I could name, but there were countless other types I’ve never seen before.

There were these long thorny vines with thin sharp leaves, ranking all over the ground, looking a bit like a never-ending green millipede.

Or these short round and fluffy ones that felt like sponges when rubbing against them.

But my favourites were all the different coloured mushrooms. I knew they were technically not plants, but why would I care? Wait a minute. If they weren’t plants, should I try to eat some? I could just taste them a bit first, right? Better not risk that on an empty stomach though. So where were those yummy little bugs hiding in this cloudburst?

I chose one of the giant palm-like fern trees with the scaly trunks and slowly made my way over. I couldn’t decide if I was walking or swimming through the mud at this point, but it wasn’t very far.

Once I reached there I started to climb it up a bit and was absolutely astonished by the awesomeness of my not-so-shiny-anymore claws. Pulling myself out of the dirt was easy as pie and going up only took a bit of reorientation and trust in my instincts.

Damn it! Now I really wanted to eat some pie. Let’s see… no fruits, no grass, so no grain either. Yeah, I supposed I should forget about that for at least a few lifetimes. That was just sad. Maybe I could ask Memory for a pie if I completed that experiment of hers?

I climbed to the dry side of the trunk to get out of the rain when I suddenly felt something move under the bark I just sunk my right front claws in. I promptly tried to pry the scale off the tree. It took longer than I care to admit and involved both front legs, my teeth and nearly falling off the tree a few times.

But I did it in the end, so the way I did it didn’t matter. I got my prize. A fat white larva of some insect or another that didn’t manage to eat through enough wood in time to escape. Obviously, I gobbled it down right away.

It was absolutely delicious!

Sadly it also wasn’t enough. I was still pretty hungry after this little snack. But now I knew where to find more and continued on around the trunk, testing every new bark scale I came across. With the tree being nearly double my length in diameter, that was quite a bit of surface to cover. I got lucky a few more times but after the fifth juicy grub, my legs got so tired that the next one escaped before I could get to it. Seemed like I needed a break.

The scale trees didn’t have any branches. Hanging from the side like this was not exactly what I’d call taxing, but if I wanted to rest I better moved back down to the ground. I only felt a little peckish by now anyways. Maybe I should just wait out the rain? I was reasonably sure that I’d find enough tasty crawlies once it let up a bit and they came out of all their little hidey-holes again.

So I found a dry spot covered in a thick carpet of some soft kind of moss after I reached the ground again. It was fairly comfortable. And the steady drippy drumming of raindrops sounded honestly quite relaxing if you got used to it and weren’t under water. Once I settled down a bit, I could hear the distant rumble of thunder now and then.

Everything smelled more alive somehow. As if the land was drenched in fresh energy. And that curious new flavour I couldn’t pin down before was getting stronger. It obviously was something in the water, but why wasn’t I able to identify it? That meant it had to be something non-chemical, right? I closed my eyes and just listened to the rain while thinking.

Lazily I inhaled deeply and took longer breaths, trying to catch more of that strange taste. Then the most peculiar thing happened. The calmer and deeper I breathed in, the more energized I felt. It was kind of exhilarating. Energy… from the rainwater…

It couldn’t be, could it? Memory had used the words ‘Energy’ and ‘Magic’ almost interchangeably. Did I taste the magic in the water?

I opened my Profile again. There it was. ‘Affinities - Water (weak)’. That had to be it. What else could it be? I was so excited. I distractedly noticed that I must have started to wiggle again. That was huge! Now I just needed to find out how to use it. How hard could that be? I was a genius after all!

 

When the rain finally stopped, I had to admit that it was pretty hard. At first, I had tried to feel the magic with other senses. That didn’t work. At all. Maybe it would have been possible if I could’ve turned my taste buds off for a while, but I couldn’t and so it wasn’t.

I still continued my breathing exercise - could this be called meditating? - throughout the whole process and so my next experiment was to try to follow the flow of the energy in my body. That was confusing as heck because it flooded absolutely everywhere in ever finer streams. I noticed some knots of higher concentration though. Those were in the area where I expected my lungs, and heart to be, the back of my tongue and the boney crest of the neck frill my gills had turned into.

It was quite amazing.

Were these body parts more magical than others? I couldn’t be sure and so I just continued to feel and try to influence the energy without any noticeable success until sunrise. Shortly after the rain let up and with it, the flow of magic turned down to a tickle.

Disappointed, I got up and scoured the forest for any little treats I could find. There were a lot. Spiders, millipedes, bugs with strange horn-like protrusions and bugs without them, earthworms and maggots of all kinds. If it was not too large to fit into my mouth, I devoured it. I may or may not have been a bit grumpy. Some people eat when they’re frustrated. I wasn’t denying that I saw the appeal. Well, it had the positive side effect that I wasn’t hungry anymore. So I wouldn’t justify myself.

It wasn’t all Land-of-Milk-and-Honey though. There were other hunter’s like me and I encountered one of them. It was a spider nearly the size of me. It was a light grey-brown, awfully hairy and didn’t look delicious at all. It already had a prey that looked suspiciously like a smaller version of my own species. The colouration was way off, but the body shape was similar. It looked a bit eaten... and very dead.

When the spider noticed me it took on a very aggressive looking defensive posture with four legs in the air, fangs exposed and ready to pounce. I absolutely wanted nothing to do with that, so I just retreated slowly backwards and left it to its meal.

The encounter did remind me to be way more careful though. Just because I was upset that magic turned out to be a bit more difficult than I thought, it didn’t excuse the lax awareness of my surroundings. What would I have done if I ran across the ‘Thing’ or something similar? Or worse, a more stealthy predator lurking around in the underbrush?

I had to be a lot more vigilant. I didn’t know my surroundings as I did every little pebble in my pond, even though I was still just a short walk away. For a while, I considered staying. The downpour helped a lot to fill it back up. But if I did that, I didn’t know if I would ever work up the nerve to leave again. Anyways, I had to look for those fire spirits. And I somehow doubted that I’d find them anywhere near here.

My departure determined I tried to come up with a travel plan next. I could find food pretty much anywhere as long as I stayed somewhere warm and humid.

Of course, moving quietly and unseen would be preferable. It was a bit inconvenient that my scales shone as red as embers in the sun. They still looked amazing of course, but they were not exactly what you would call stealthy. Maybe I could hide them with mud?

I also had to find a solution for sleeping arrangements and shelter, but I couldn’t do anything about that without knowing the conditions of where I stopped on each respective day.

Finally, there was the question of which direction to pick. The best I could come up with was to find a place high up and look for landmarks. Sceptically I eyed the scale trees. They were rather tall. But when I imagined myself climbing all the way up there, swaying back and forth, I firmly decided against that particular activity.

That left finding some high ground, I guess? A large hill or a mountain. I heard hiking was supposed to be healthy. So it couldn’t be too strenuous, right?

All decisions I could think of made, I took one last long look down at the pond I was born in, that had been my whole world until now, and then purposefully turned to leave up the steepest hill.

 

The track up the slope was a reminder that I wasn’t really used to walking yet. The still drenched muddy earth didn’t make it any easier. And maybe I should have been more careful with overexerting myself with prying off bark from living trees the night before.

Honestly, there was so much dead wood lying around that I really had to wonder why I didn’t just look for prey in some of those rotting logs in the first place. At least there was food crawling basically everywhere now. I indulged myself whenever I came across an opportune snack but didn’t go out of my way to search for anything specific.

In the late afternoon, it started raining again. Not the violent downpour from the night before, but still enough to reduce visibility by a lot again. I still hadn’t reached a hilltop and the slope only seemed to get steeper the farther I made it. On top of that, it didn’t feel like I got very far at all. But I was up since the previous evening, so maybe I’ve just got too tired to notice. When little rivulets of rainwater began to pour down on me from uphill, I finally decided to call it quits for the day and searched for shelter.

When dusk set in, I already lay half-buried beneath a dead, broken off trunk of one of those bottle-brush trees, facing downhill. I just had to hope that nothing would sneak up on me while I slept.

Since the rain was back, I tried to manipulate that magic energy again. But calming down and breathing exercises only caused me to fall asleep almost on the spot.

 

I woke up with a start. I’d dreamed of a giant spider finding me during the night, dragging me out of my hidey-hole, wrapping me up and slowly eating me over days while I was still alive. Hastily I checked if I still had all of my limbs.

Left? Check.

Right? Check.

Tail? I tried to bring it up to my field of view but must have gotten it caught in some crack in the wood. That caused a sudden tug and sent me into another panic attack.

Only for a moment of course. I was awake, I was hale. The outside might have been scarier than I thought, but I would not succumb to some stupid nightmares. Not one bit! It didn’t even make sense. The spider I met the day before neither wrapped the little newt up in silk nor did it keep it alive. That must have been the influence of the stupid memories of previous me. I seemed to have had some kind of irrational fear of those kinds of creepy crawlies back then.

Current me didn’t need that. Now, spiders were breakfast! At that thought, I finally calmed down. My stomach made itself known. I squinted at the sun glimmering through the canopy. Hmm, I really could go for some brunch right now.

Well, brunch turned into lunch ‘to go’... or was it ‘while walking’? I just gobbled down every crawler that crossed my path as I did the day before. A seemingly never-ending buffet. I wondered idly if I’d ever get sick of it.

Relatively soon the slope got gradually more gentle until I suddenly realized that I didn’t notice an incline at all anymore. And the ground was so littered with fallen trees and dead plants that I didn’t have to worry about sinking into mud anymore, because there simply was none of it exposed. Of course, that made navigating even more difficult and I wasn’t sure which direction I should go next.

There was no obvious hill to climb anymore, no matter where I looked. It seemed like I really did have no choice but to scramble up one of those giant trees. I didn’t look forward to that. But I thought it was better than just randomly wandering around and getting completely lost in the process.

I chose the scale tree with the widest trunk in the vicinity, expecting it to be the tallest, and very cautiously, very slowly crawled up to the top. The higher I got, the more it swayed in the light breeze. More than once I desperately clawed into the bark to hold on. When it suddenly moved backwards I felt like I would fall off at any moment.

I was scared shitless, so I searched previous me’s memories for helpful insights and started to recite random phrases that jumped into my head.

‘I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer.’

Right, absolutely no reason to be afraid.

‘It is not the strength of the body, but the strength of the spirit.’

Mind over… matter?

‘Do. Or do not. There is no try.’

I’m on it!

‘There is no spoon.’

I shook my head. This wasn’t very helpful. That last one confused me for long enough that I nearly slipped right off! When I finally made it to the top, the sun was already setting.

If that was west then… A very large lake or sea spanned across the horizon to the north. There was a mountain chain to the southwest. I wasn’t sure if it was smoke or fog I could make out, rising up from there. I wasn’t really up high enough to get an unimpeded view and everything that far away got very blurry and a little bit distorted. Still. Those mountains had to be my best option for a first destination. From there I’d at least be able to find a new target, I mused. And everywhere else I could see was just an endless expanse of the same swampy forest.

Then I noticed the dark clouds coming in rapidly from the east. Another rain front? And I was still up in that enormous tree.

It’d be fine. Surely…

I just needed to stay calm and climb down again before it got here. Just one claw at a time.

The wind picked up a bit.

I could do it. I was a genius! Just had to have calm thoughts.

‘All that goes up must come down again.’

I winced.

‘Pride comes before a fall.’

That was such a stupid idea! If I’d been meant to be up this high, I’d been given wings! Or a parachute! Definitely a parachute. Memo to self: If you survive this, invent rope!

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A note from carebear90

I'd like to point out that this story won't be a 'real' LitRPG. There won't be any attributes, levels or experience points, the protagonist would have access to, if they existed.

'Reality' may be a game for gods, but for mortals it is well... reality... now with a few extra features. ;)

I'm open to suggestions for additions or changes to the quotes at the end of this chapter. 

Thank you again, for reading. Chapter '1.3 - Journey' should be up tomorrow evening. (CET)


About the author

carebear90

  • CET... but my sleeping schedule is messed up anyways
  • Fledgeling Writer

Bio: I wanted to pick up writing again after years of stagnation. And this time I'd really like actual feedback.
So I switched to English, since I barely even read in a different language for fun during the last decade, and I hoped to reach more people with a modern lingua franca.
Anyways, I hope to receive honest and diverse criticism. This site seemed rather civil compared to others in that aspect.
So I'm here.

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Comments(43)
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Acerbic ago

No litRPG... sad. :( Oh well, you can't get everything all the time.

    carebear90 ago

    I didn't want to mislead anyone. That is why I didn't tag it as such. Should I have made that more clear in the prologue? I hope, you aren't too disappointed.

      Acerbic ago

      Not much. The book is still establishing itself, I wasn't settled in expecting anything specific.
      Gender-bender, however... I don't know. Its not playing any role yet, but his quest is to fertilize eggs, and fertilization involves... >__<

      carebear90 ago

      What made you think, the protagonist was a man? I honestly tried to leave that a bit ambiguous. That is why I really would have to change that, if I missed any qualifiers in the prologue. If it is just the tag, I could remove it until she gets to live as a male?
      But yes, the biological sex can change from life to life. Since every life will start with a similar scrambled memories situation as this one, until she finds a solution for that though... It's more like remembering old lives bit by bit than getting used to a new one every time.
      A case of gender dysphoria should not have anything to do with "changing bodies", if it ever comes up.

      I'm very grateful for the feedback by the way. :)

      Felix Helixihare ago

      When you think about it, Female is the class with the most bonuses ever in the natural world.

      Acerbic ago

      @carebear90
      MC having a dead wife, while her(?) brother having a "life partner"? Sorta inconsistent terminology here.

      Acerbic ago

      @Felix Helixihare
      Usually not true. Depends on the life order - for lesser animals, like fish, insects or other massive egg-laying species, it is often that male is either discarded right after insemenation or outrighted eaten by the female (praying mantis). Female higher body mass is related to the having to produce a massive clad of eggs - if its a "bonus" is questionable at best.

      Among live birth animals it is almost a rule that male is bigger and stronger (spotted hyenas is a notable exception) and generally more battle-capable (yes, it includes intelligence). This is because while bearing a progeny and caring for young the female is slow and vulnerable and needs to be protected and provided for by the male, so during the most crucial part of the life cycle the major share responsibilities is on the male partner.

      carebear90 ago

      @Acerbic
      I see. Seems like I have to go over that again, once I give the prologue another edit. Probably next week? I really wanted to finish chapter 1.6 this weekend and hopefully get a good start on 1.7, so that I have a chapter a day until Wednesday before I run out of buffer. ^^

      @Felix Helixhare
      Unless you want to make the argument that this was true for the majority of time that sexual reproduction existed, I wouldn't necessarily agree with that. But it was probably still true back in the carboniferous era, the current life of "Sweetie" is based on.
      In most insects, arthropods, fish and amphibians females are larger and stonger than males. That isn't true for most modern reptiles though and of course mammals developped their sexual dimorphism in the complete opposite direction.
      So yeah. I guess, it depends on the scale you are using to messure "ever" with. ^^

      carebear90 ago

      You don't "have" children if you're in a homosexual relationship... you adopt. Saying 'have' implies reproduction.

      Very interesting... and helpful! I wasn't aware of that (not native speaker). Is there a more neutral word that encompasses both?

      Well, aside from the very distinct masculine 'vibe' he gives off?

      Yeah, I honestly was afraid of something like that. Anything specific here? I can't really work on 'vibes'. ^^

      But that's probablly because the author is male.

      Do you mean that you knew that I'm male and that is why everything felt masculine or do you mean that I'm simply unable to write anything but 'masculine' because of my sex? (genuine question, I'm slightly confused)

      Thank you very much for the feedback!

      Acerbic ago

      > Yeah, I honestly was afraid of something like that. Anything specific here? I can't really work on 'vibes'. ^^

      Stubborn perseverance in spite of all odds, while keeping collected and detached attitude is something we naturally consider manly. The first chapter is told with a retrospective, analytical and matter-of-factly exposition. A bit overly dry even, considering the end of Humankind. Doesn't evoke "feminine" feeling.

      > Do you mean that you knew that I'm male and that is why everything felt masculine or do you mean that I'm simply unable to write anything but 'masculine' because of my sex? (genuine question, I'm slightly confused).

      Can't say for Sadara, but in my opinion writing convincingly other-gender characters is exceptionally hard. When male authors try to write women they often turn them into amazons, tom-boys and battle maidens. Not that women like that don't exist, but they are exceptions, not the rule. (This would be a justified archetype for the apocalypse survivor anyway, of course). Female authors on the other hand tend to make their male protagonists overly sensitive, flamboyantly gay, or comically brutal and edgy.

      In general, men and women are different in their perspectives, reactions to stress and problem solving strategies, which is a biological fact we all instinctively know, though lately saying this outloud is politically incorrect. ;D

      carebear90 ago

      Stubborn perseverance in spite of all odds, while keeping collected and detached attitude is something we naturally consider manly. The first chapter is told with a retrospective, analytical and matter-of-factly exposition. A bit overly dry even, considering the end of Humankind. Doesn't evoke "feminine" feeling.

      Ah, yes, I can see that. Well, that would be something I can't really change then. For the prologue, I tried to go with 'neutral', beaten down and resigned, not masculine nor feminine. So it isn't really a loss even if the MC comes across as 'distinctly male'. I just wanted to avoid anything undeniably identifying.

      When male authors try to write women they often turn them into amazons, tom-boys and battle maidens.

      Yeah, I was aware of that. And I really hope that this isn't the case for Sweetie. I mean, she is a 'monster' but I still tried to make her more emotionally driven than MC in the prologue. Since this is only chapter 1.2, I don't think it would be a good idea to go into detail here. ^^

      In general, men and women are different in their perspectives, reactions to stress and problem solving strategies, which is a biological fact we all instinctively know, though lately saying this outloud is politically incorrect. ;D

      That's true. As I said, I tried to show a shift in character between life#0 and #1. So the 'distinctly male vibes' for Sweetie would be a bit more of an issue. Not a 'game-breaker', but not really the desired result.

      Thank you for the feedback. ;)

Nysta ago

Pretty sure it's hale (healthy) and not hail (icy rain). Thanks for writing :)

MrHrulgin ago

What's the purpose of the status screen, if there's nothing else LitRPG about the story? It seems like if there's not anything else about the system for the protagonist to hook into, then the need for a specific quest and status feature is fairly low. What benefit does it have over Memory just talking to her directly?

    carebear90 ago

    Mainly information. Especially later down the line when there are ways to view the profile of others. I don't want to go into too much detail here since that would be kinda spoilery?

    The profile is not just a way to communicate with a patron. Every mortal has one. It shows their potential and 'recognized' experience in certain occupations and skills. But as I said, at this point in time it is less useful than it will be in later lives.

Elaborate ago

So don’t daddle around -> dawdle

pry the scale of the tree. -> off

HamsterDesTodes ago

Welcome to trending!

I wondered how that was supposed to word exactly. -> I wondered how that was supposed to work exactly.

The vegetation was as interesting closeup as it had -> The vegetation was as interesting close up / in closeup(?) as it had

FIEND ago

24 comments, ur story is more popular than i thought. How come i never saw this story before

Thank god you avoided the irritating blue boxes, for that alone ill give u a 5

Also also, pls think of a different cover for the story, to make it more eye candy like for new readers

    carebear90 ago

    I have absolutely no experience with any kind of graphic design. ^^

    Two days ago someone told me, they found the story because they liked the cover.
    Let's say I was a tiny bit surprised by that. 😅

    24 comments, ur story is more popular than i thought. How come i never saw this story before

    Well, I did hit trending last Thursday. So since then, I had a whole lot of traffic here. ;)

PyreFiend99 ago

Imagine the societal implications of always knowing when someone gives you a demeaning nickname via the system.

    carebear90 ago

    I actually wanted to address that in a future life, but I suppose it isn't really a spoiler:

    'Aliases' are how others think of you if they aren't aware of your chosen designation.
    The 'Designation' is simply an alias that the individual has accepted as their name on a subconscious level.

    So if you want to avoid getting a whole bunch of aliases, better introduce yourself to new people you meet. ^^

    The problem here is that there isn't really a convenient way to do that yet. 😉

ArthurScott ago

And I was supposedly born a whooping 82 days ago. I really must have missed some of those. It definitely felt way shorter to me. Did that take into account the time in my egg?

*whopping

So I found a dry spot covered in a thick carpet of some soft kind of moss after I reached the ground again. It was fairly comfortable. And the steady drippy drumming of raindrops sounded honestly quite relaxing if you got used to it and weren’t underwater. Once I settled down a bit, I heard the distant rumble of thunder now and then.

*under water

I think using phrases like "I heard" weakens the experience, since we already know this is from the perspective of the MC.

Maybe: "I settled down for a bit. Thunder rumbled in the distance." (something like this)

Everything smelled more alive somehow. As if the land was drenched in fresh energy. And that curious new flavour I couldn’t pin down before was getting stronger.

*flavor

You're using American spelling, correct? I say this because in earlier chapters you use American spelling, particularly for words that take the letter 'z'.

The track up the slope was a reminder that I wasn’t really used to walking yet. The still drenched muddy earth didn’t make it any easier. And maybe I should have been more careful with overexerting myself with prying off bark from living trees the night before.

I don't think you need 'living', unless you mean that they are able to communicate? :0

In the late afternoon, it started to rain again.

Try avoiding the use of active verbs in passive sentences. "It started to rain again."

*it started raining again/ it rained again/ a heavy downpour drummed on the ground, etc..

That was such a stupid idea! If I’d been meant to be up this high, I’d been given wings! Or a parachute! Definitely a parachute. Memo to self: If you survive this, invent rope!

Nice ending to a chapter again!

I found this chapter a little confusing at times, and I think I know why. You tend to conform to the idea that each step or movement must be shown, each scenario must be cinematic, and there can be no details skipped over.

Were these body parts more magical than others? I couldn’t be sure and so I just continued to feel and try to influence the energy without any noticeable success until sunrise. Shortly after the rain let up and with it, the flow of magic turned down to a tickle.

Disappointed, I got up and scoured the forest for any little treats I could find. There were a lot. Spiders, millipedes, bugs with strange horn-like protrusions and bugs without them, earthworms and maggots of all kinds. If it was not too large to fit into my mouth, I devoured it. I may or may not have been a bit grumpy. Some people eat when they’re frustrated. I wasn’t denying that I saw the appeal. Well, it had the positive side effect that I wasn’t hungry anymore. So I wouldn’t justify myself.

It wasn’t all Land-of-Milk-and-Honey though. There were other hunter’s like me and I encountered one of them. It was a spider nearly the size of me. It was a light grey-brown, awfully hairy and didn’t look delicious at all. It already had a prey that looked suspiciously like a smaller version of my own species. The colouration was way off, but the body shape was similar. It looked a bit eaten... and very dead.

I don't know if this is a part of the genre, but this is all shown, even though it doesn't seem to bear significance. So it ends up dragging on when it could be shortened into one paragraph (it is possible to shorten these three paragraphs into one and have less words than the middle paragraph). That is done through telling the background as opposed to showing the journey as it unfolds. It would also make more sense to do so since we know this is a documentation of events that had already occurred. It would also shorten the wordcount of each chapter! Knowing when the show and when to tell is difficult in itself, and people (usually beginners) will point out if you're telling something, even when it is perfectly okay -- in fact, it is probably best -- to do so.

I have a rule for this: "Show the significant events, the characterisation, the interactions of characters, the plot; tell everything else." There are occasions where you can even go beyond this and tell things that should probably be shown, but that's if you truly intend to follow through on what you tell.

For example: Stephen King's IT tells the reader from the beginning that William (Bill) Denbrough has a terrible stutter, and then goes on to show that throughout the novel. This works because it bears significance to the ending when he we are shown that he faces Pennywise fearlessly without a stutter, connecting the beginning to the end.

You'll probably realise that a lot of published novels do this also!

    carebear90 ago

    *under water

    hmm... Grammarly wanted me to write those together, but I trust you.

    I think using phrases like "I heard" weakens the experience, since we already know this is from the perspective of the MC.

    You're right. I actually wanted to say here that she only could hear the distant thunder after she settled down.

    You're using American spelling, correct? I say this because in earlier chapters you use American spelling, particularly for words that take the letter 'z'.

    That's a bit strange. I actually set my two spell-check programs to British.

    I don't think you need 'living', unless you mean that they are able to communicate? :0

    'living' in contrast to all the dead rotting wood that is lying around.

     

    I was still setting the world she lives in here. In how this carboniferous swamp forest is different from what we or she are used to. I hadn't introduced much fauna at that point yet, I think? I think I do this less and less as time goes on, unless she encounters something new. At least I hope so? 😧

    Edit: Although, the orange part was mainly about her 'stress eating'. 😅

    It is true though that I'm always afraid of telling too much and showing too little. ^^

     

    Awesome comment again!

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