Defaulting Wrote: A greater smile could not be seen throughout
the nine realmsThe Nine Realms at this moment. Beaming brightly, jubilant at histhe circumstances, was none other than Demon Lord Asura. Lightly clapping his hands, he announced [ consider moving this dialogue attribution to after the dialogue it attributes ], “Scribe! Record this monumental occasion down!”
Defaulting Wrote: A small imp scampered forth, pen and paper already in hand,
exclaimingand exclaimed, “At once, your Lord [ this would more likely be "my Lord" ]! WhatHow would you like this entry titled?”
Defaulting Wrote: Immediately, the horrifying smile that would [ see consideration below ] terrify nations downturned into an equally horrific frown. Now in a pensive mood, the Demon Lord pondered. What would most exemplify and deify me? He snapped his fingers, ordering again, “Advisor! Give me your most appropriate thoughts on the matter!”
Defaulting Wrote: This time, the tall, wiry figure of an aged demon strode forth. “Milord, I presume to imagine that only the most grandiose and awe-inspiring of titles would suffice?”
Defaulting Wrote: A thin smile graced the Advisor’s face. “In that case, your Lordship, I humbly offer up the
titlesuggestion of 'The Great Demon Lord Asura obtains the supreme treasure, the Golden Lotus!'”
Defaulting Wrote: “Certainly, your Lordship!” a simpering voice cried out.
Defaulting Wrote: Once more, a grand, malevolent smile adorned the Demon Lord’s face. Future generations would surely sing the praises of the greatest Demon Lord to have conquered this land and acquired the fabled Golden Lotus. With this in mind, Asura turned his attention to the vaunted object itself.
Defaulting Wrote: Nestled
betweenwithin a mass of unassuming lily pads, the Golden Lotus would have remained nearly inconspicuous were it not for its vibrant golden glow. Clearly unnatural amongst its roster of lotuspeers, the Golden Lotus seemed inordinately beautiful in the lake. Perhaps even more special about it still [ this is excessively leading; see below ] was the aura it radiated. Even as an immensely powerful Demon Lord at the peak of the world [ unusual collocation ], Asura still felt a special resonance deep within his soul. He was almost certain this was truly the mythical Golden Lotus.
Defaulting Wrote: “Of course, your Demonship!” the imp promptly responded, picking out a tablet from within his spatial storage bag. “Where should I begin?”
Defaulting Wrote: “I don’t need to hear it all,” Asura waved impatiently. “Just summarize it.”
Defaulting Wrote: The imp furiously nodded, “Certainly! Your Lordship is wise!
Then letLet me begin!”
Defaulting Wrote: “What
?!” the Demon Lord yelled. “What am I looking at right now, then? And what beast? Scribe, I will wring your brains out if you have misled me this entire time.”
Defaulting Wrote: “N-no, no, no! I deeply apologize, your Demonship, I’ve read from the wrong tablet!” The imp profusely kowtowed
, kneeling for forgiveness.
Defaulting Wrote: “Perhaps that would be for the best,” Asura derided with a cold snort.
Defaulting Wrote: “You are both courting death!” The Demon Lord screamed, snatching the tablets from both Scribe and Advisor. “Let me see what you’re even reading.”
Defaulting Wrote: The chilly reception of their stories startled both demons as they exchanged anxious glances. Asura was
stony-facedstony faced as he parsed the text. In neither story was there any mention of a Golden Lotus to begin with. In fact, one would be hard-pressedhard pressed to find a tenable connection at all [ vague ]. Turning back to look at his subordinates, he snarled. [ keep next paragraph here ]
Defaulting Wrote: Although it was indeed better to be safe than sorry, it was also the early bird that got the worm. Asura had not traveled leagues just to have his objective plucked out from underneath his eyes [ odd collocation; consider "before his eyes" ]. It was still unbelievable that such a treasure remained unmolested in this rural, backwater country. Perhaps that was precisely why. No expert would go out of their way to this empty land bereft of qi or value.
Defaulting Wrote: “Very well then,”
Hehe decided. “Even if I cannot discern your origins, you are now mine, little lotus.”
Defaulting Wrote: The Demon Lord swept his hand, easily moving the precious plant into his innate spatial storage. However, he still felt unsure of himself. He resolved himself [ inelegant repetition of "himself" ] to thoroughly examine the curious object once he returned to his cave abode.
Defaulting Wrote: “Fine, then.
letLet us go,” Hehe muttered, ripping open the nearby space and stepping through.
Defaulting Wrote: “As your Lordship commands!” the imp squeaked out, scurrying past the Advisor to follow
himhis master through.
Defaulting Wrote: Said Advisor furrowed his brow as he promptly followed suit. The imp had beat him to the punch [ unusual collocation ].
Defaulting Wrote: “The air split in twain, sundered by the awesome power of Demon Lord Asura!” chirped a small demon. “Welcome back, your Demonship!”
Defaulting Wrote: “Yes, thank you, Herald.
youYou can stop blowing the horn now,” Asura responded.
Defaulting Wrote: The Herald hurriedly nodded, scampering forward to bow before the Demon Lord. [ keep next paragraph with this one ]
Defaulting Wrote: Asura absentmindedly patted the small demon’s head, ruffling its hair. At least some of his servants seemed to be of use. [ keep next paragraph as well ]
Defaulting Wrote: “Go have someone prepare my study. I will need it shortly. Other than that, do not slack off in your cultivation!”
Hehe ordered. “I have hope for you forming your Demon Core in the next coming decades.”
Defaulting Wrote: As he watched the small figure disappear behind the turn of a corridor,
AsuaAsura sighed, turning [ inelegant repetition of "turn" ] to the two disappointments behind him.
Defaulting Wrote: “You two are quite lucky. Herald brightened my mood. Now, get out of my sight before you become even more of an eyesore,”
Defaulting Wrote: He had never encountered a treasure that showed such initiative. Even if he picked up the most basic flying sword off the markets and intended to make it his own, he still had to put in a token effort to refine it. To have a treasure that refined itself, for lack of
better termsa better term, was unheard of. The Demon Lord felt that he could take this unprecedented situation to mean one of two things: this was a characteristic unique to a world-shaking treasure, or that this was hardly a treasure at all.
Defaulting Wrote: An optimistic man would hope for the former, but Demon Lord Asura was neither optimistic, nor man.
Defaulting Wrote: “Yes, Master.
yourYour study has been prepared as necessary,” a mechanical intonation responded from thin air.
Defaulting Wrote: “Good.
takeTake me there now.”
Defaulting Wrote: Instantly, Asura felt spatial warping as he allowed himself to be teleported by the Cave Spirit. A mere moment later, his surroundings instantly swapped from that of an extravagantly decorated hallway to
that ofa study of even more superiorelaborate decor. Casually taking a seat behind his massive desk, he propped his hand up to look at the still gleamingstill-gleaming Lotus.
Defaulting Wrote: “Cave Spirit, activate all restrictions in this room and let everyone know that I am not to be disturbed,” he muttered.
Defaulting Wrote: “Master, it’s done,” the
samemechanical voice said.
Defaulting Wrote: “Great,” he mumbled, entranced by the undulations and changes emitting from the lotus. “I’m going to crack the secrets of this thing.”
Defaulting Wrote: In his other, unoccupied hand, he began forming a razor-sharp scalpel of the purest demonic energy. It was time to conduct a few tests. A moment later, he resolutely stabbed at the lotus, intent at literally prying
openthe thing open.
Alexander Wrote: I would avoid mentioning something like qi, which sounds like it might form a part of the story, in such an offhand way. If it's just a detail of this particular description, I would suggest it sounds too much like Chekhov's gun atop the mantle—readers might expect its return.
Given the genre I am writing in, Xianxia (which is essentially Eastern fantasy), qi commonly features heavily in the setting and as a force certain characters can wield. In this particular instance, the lack of qi is a shorthand way to elaborate on how devoid of value the region is.
Alexander Wrote: To kowtow is perhaps a little alien for some speakers, but it works. I would suggest it implies the kneeling enough that you could delete it, as above.
Given the literary space I am operating in, I thought it would be appropriate to use "kowtow", a term with almost uniquely eastern association, and then elaborate further for any readers outside of the loop.
Alexander Wrote: Regarding the speech tags, you use a great variety of them. Some argue they should be kept simple, and others the opposite. I subscribe to simplicity myself, but consider if this forms part of your own style. If so, keep them as is. If not, perhaps only said, asked, and answered. This is more a personal choice than an editorial one.
As you've noticed, I am very fond of using a large number of speech tags and will probably continue to employ that many in the near future. However, thank you for the consideration.
Alexander Wrote: I might consider utilising the senses a little more—describe what can be seen and heard—to set the scene. In some parts, it can feel a little like talking heads, although I would like to stress this is not a particularly serious or comprehension-impairing feeling.
This is an issue I've noticed when rereading my own work, and I plan on working on this.
Alexander Wrote: Keep it up!
Thank you again!
Defaulting Wrote: Given the genre I am writing in, Xianxia (which is essentially Eastern fantasy), qi commonly features heavily in the setting and as a force certain characters can wield. In this particular instance, the lack of qi is a shorthand way to elaborate on how devoid of value the region is.
If this is the case, and your readers are already familiar with the concept, then disregard my suggestion.
Defaulting Wrote: Given the literary space I am operating in, I thought it would be appropriate to use "kowtow", a term with almost uniquely eastern association, and then elaborate further for any readers outside of the loop.
This is an equally fair justification.