February 06, 2021

Hills of Silver Ruins (2/2)

I've posted chapter 2 (book 2) of Hills of Silver Ruins, a Pitch Black Moon.

Taiki's recollection of his first encounter with Gyousou brought to mind the line from Macbeth (more recently popularized in the novel by Ray Bradbury), "By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes."

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# posted by Blogger Magi
2/17/2021 6:20 PM   
Another chapter, another piece of joy! Thank you!

Asen, you little-! A small cut on the arm would've been enough!

I have questions. Why didn't Asen make Taiki Kneel??!?! I mean, it is not common knowledge, for sure, so Asen may not have known that a kirin can only kneel before its emperor, and that is also why Taiki wanted to avoid it in case he lied, but if he did, wouldn't it be much more undeniable and assure the likes of Chou'un if the kirin of Tai knelt before Asen and gave him the Mandate of Heaven and everything? Instead of relying on a third party (the Shirei, whom he cannot even see) and injuring Taiki, the whole affair could've been solved with a simple, harmless gesture from him while also destroying any chance of deception.

Heaven, if Asen really wanted to inflict harm or wasn't aware of the fact that kirin can only kneel before their master, he could've used the fact that kirin cannot disobey a command from their master to order him to cut Kouryou or something else that Taiki wouldn't do under normal circumstances. Now, maybe, just maybe, both of those facts weren't known to him or anyone else, something which I find unlikely but possible. However, other than that I don't see any reason why Asen would mess up like this.

Going back to the time where the ministers tried to confirm Taiki's Identity, as much as I remember, there was no indication that they knew he lost his powers, yet instead of asking him to transform into his beast form, they went around trying to find someone who knew Taiki years ago, an unreliable and overcomplicated method at best. Now I understand that they may have been afraid of offending him because of his high rank and all, but couldn't they just apologize to him afterward?

The scene with Asen doesn't even have that. if Asen is the emperor, he has the full right to tell Taiki to do whatever he wants him to do with no regard to rank, so unless Asen and everyone in his court didn't know the two facts about kirin mentioned above, there is no reason whatsoever that he would've to resort to such a cruel test. (and let's be real, Asen not knowing them after serving two kings in a row as a high-ranking general doesn't seem likely, even if they didn't share that information, at least to me.)

I hope we will get some explanation for this strange behavior and the behavior of the ministers regarding the past issue of Taiki's Identity because right now this seems like two big cases of stupidy. Am I missing something?
Now, regarding mistakes, here is a curious one: " a figure clothed in imperial vestments." and "the traitor wore the pretend robes of a pretender." so which one is it? Because I am confused. Is Asen wearing robes that pretenders wear? (I know it is a ridiculous thought but I am slightly confused. ) or are the robes "pretend robes" because a pretender wears them? Is "pretend robes" even a correct phrase? I tried to search for it but found nothing. And wouldn't it be obvious that the one who wears the pretend robes is a pretender, or do they have many of those? (The last one is nitpicking and I may be wrong, so feel free to leave that bit if you feel there is no good way to change it.)

Thank you for your hard work! It is really appreciated! (there are a few other mistakes that I will post in another comment because this one got too long.)
# posted by Blogger Magi
2/17/2021 6:21 PM   
Mistakes second part:
Also, "Taiki went onto explain in plainly-stated terms that he could not clearly say whether that aura existed or even where it might be found." he already said that he couldn't detect Gyousou's aura and the emperor's aura before, why say it again?

"and rested her chin on one hand" you may have forgotten a full stop at the end, but I may be wrong since Rousan says something right afterward.
"And that makes you, who drove him from the throne and stole if from him," it, not if.
"his face flush with rage" I am very unsure with this one, but shouldn't it be "flushed", not "flush"?

"but Taiki’s gaze did not faulter in the slightest." I think it should be "falter" or something similar.
"When I returned to Taiki from Hourai, I sensed the emperor’s aura nowhere. That is how weak it was." I think it was supposed to be "Twelve kingdoms" instead of "Taiki". Also, shouldn't it be "how weak I was" instead of "it"? If he didn't sense the aura then it wasn't weak, it was completely gone, isn't it? I am unsure about the last one.

"The total lack of action only heightened Kouryou’s suspicions, and were raising his hackles as well" I think it should be "was", not "were", as it refers to "lack of action" not "suspicions", though I may be wrong.

Also, I have issues with this: "little more than a common criminal.” In my understanding, common criminals do not commit high treason and attempted murder of the Taiho. Am I misunderstanding the sentence?

# posted by Blogger Eugene
2/19/2021 8:53 AM   
Thanks. I've edited and updated the text.

The feudal order stifles the flow of information in a society, which is why the printing press kicked the Renaissance into high gear by creating the first mass medium. Even a high-ranking officer like Kouryou admits to understanding little about the kirin or imperial accession. Few question authority. Youko issued an imperial rescript to eliminate kowtowing and that alone was a radical move.

For example, does the kirin choose not to kneel to anyone but the emperor or is the kirin incapable of kneeling to anyone but the emperor? Do even the kirin know for certain? And why would anybody else?

Perhaps more importantly, Rousan cannot be considered a reliable narrator at this point. She set up the confrontation. She clearly has an agenda and maneuvered herself into a position where she could orchestrate a planned outcome. To what end we don't know yet. But I think she told Asen what Asen wanted to hear and provided him with the course of action she wanted him to take.

Not to mention that Asen is probably not in his right mind, the way he reacts (or doesn't) to Rousan, to start with.