The rookie trio, besides training, had done many different chores, such as mucking stalls, polishing weapons, and the like.
Best sentence ever. Give it up for the guy who came up with this stunning prose! (If it's this bad already . . . we are in for a doozy.)
"Why were you spying on me at the archery grounds the other day?"
Xander reddened. "Well, I was--"
"Seeing if Michelle and I had something going?"
Now Xander's face was radiating. "Um, maybe," he replied.
How juvenile. Is Xander an adult solider, or is he a teen trapped in a man's body, like every other character in this story? Well, not every character, but you know what I mean. There was literally no reason for him and Nathan to snoop on Marchelle, except for comedic purposes.
The three soldiers started to chortle. "You look like a tomato," Warren joked.
"Hi, Bob," David added.
Uh, why is David referencing VeggieTales, especially in a story where people's hearts are stepped on and grown-ups act like children and girls giggle and daintily pick flowers? EXPLAIN ALL THAT, PLEASE.
"What made you such an expert on love?" Mark retorted.
"I'm just a chick magnet, that's all," Warren said. "Check out these muscular arms and the dashing face."
"More like the flabby limbs and a face that could give a female nightmares for years," commented David.
"Really? You wanna go, punk? You wanna see these flabby arms in action?" Warren snarled.
There was a brief moment of stillness. Then all four howled crazily with laughter. Mark slipped off his seat, adding to the mirth.
Oh, we're back to this, are we? Rarely, and I do mean rarely, does everyone laugh at the same joke in real life. This isn't just cringey; it's also illogical!
"Hey," a voice called. Nathan set foot in the room. "This is supposed to be a classroom, not a circus. You're acting like a bunch of giddy schoolgirls."
Yeah, you guys didn't know this because I didn't include it, but they are sitting in a classroom because they're supposed to learn stuff, but instead they're just joking around. Nathan does indeed have some good points.
"Then being a schoolgirl sure is fun," Mark barely managed to say.
Aaaaand Mark officially took it into the Weird Zone.
They started with history. Apparently, since the Flood, people have randomly went through the portal to end up in Adiryulle. They developed homes and were saved by Revier. Some abandoned the faith and were called rebels.
Eesh. This faith stuff is cringey even for me, a Christian. That's definitely not a good sign.
Then there was science. As the world modernized, the "Eradorians" found ways to also have some of these comforts. They had a group of people, who were blessed by the ability to see the portal, bring supplies such as lightbulbs to this world. Also, special plants from a continent called Nirackels had interesting properties that were put to use.
Blessed "with," not blessed "by." English, man, English! I'm also incredibly bored by these classes thus far. It's just an excuse to info dump instead of weaving the necessary facts in naturally.
Geography was next. They learned about the six Erador continents: Kalansif, the mountainous region; Nirackels, a lush jungle; Ghrumet, a scorching desert; Zracs, the icy land; Darava, a volcanic area; and Adiryulle, the forest vicinity.
Nintendo world, much?
Finally, language was up at bat. Xander showed them Toreth and how to read it. That took some time, but with practice, they would be able to interpret it with ease.
These were amazing classes and all, but--actually, scratch that. They weren't amazing in the slightest. How long were they sitting there? I would've forgotten all the history stuff by the time I got to the languages. I suppose it's an info dump for them too. And I guess they'll learn Toreth just as easily as they learned swordplay, huh?
Ghrumet: a place that spoke of nothing but despair. Ferocious tornadoes of sand swept over the dunes that stretched for miles. Moaning and screaming of wild beasts sounded shrilly across the land. Dry skeletons lay half buried under the weight of many grains.
Not a half-bad description, if I say so myself. Except for the "many grains" part. That feels a little clunky, and unnecessarily so.
In a darkened room, a massive being dozed, drinking the shadows with delight. He sensed an approaching presence and opened eyes that were completely flooded with orange. The only exception was his pupils that resembled narrow black ovals standing upright. He was the spirit. He was Leviathan.
So far, this new chapter has had the weirdest POV ever. Actually, this whole story has done a lot of head-jumping, so this random floating POV isn't really all that new. And even if we are now in Leviathan's head, why would he acknowledge both his eyes and the fact that he's the spirit? I don't know about you guys, but I don't randomly think to myself, I am a male human. I am Josiah.
A knock sounded on the doors. "Sir," a voice said. It was one of the sentries, who seemed to store some desert sand in his lungs. "He has arrived."
Again, a pretty decent description, rather than outright saying that the sentry's voice is scratchy or rough or raspy or whatever.
A moment late, the traitor walked in, boots squeaking on the tile floor. He wore grim armor and a hooded cloak. His face was skinny with a slight moustache and hair pulled back into a low ponytail.
"Ah, Alex," greeted Leviathan. "What news do you bring?"
Of course. What an amazing plot twist. You remember Alex from way back at the beginning of the story, right? The crazy "secular" character? It makes sense for him to be the traitor, doesn't it? Because logic, right? Well, I think that train of thought should've been derailed a long time ago. There isn't even any build-up to this, aside from a brief mention of there being a traitor! This reveal feels very ill-planned.
Also, if Leviathan has met Alex before, there is no need to go over his physical description again, not unless something's changed since the last time they met. So this is an unnatural insertion of Alex's appearance.
"I have found out who they are," Alex affirmed.
Leviathan furrowed his brow. "Don't speak in riddles, human. Who who are?"
"The Chosen Ones."
I'm starting to think Leviathan is actually a bit of a dumb villain. Would he not have assigned Alex to the task of discovering the identity of the Chosen Ones? Is he really that forgetful? Maybe I should've made him an elephant instead of a dragon, because an elephant never forgets. And they can be pretty ferocious. And there's no way this story could get any more cringey than it already is . . . right?
"And they are?"
Alex checked the room and leaned a respectful distance toward the general, who tilted an ear toward him. He whispered the answer.
How convenient that we are now out anyone's POV so that we don't hear the answer. It's probably--no, it is extremely obvious that Mark, David, and Warren are the Chosen Ones. But are these names really going to mean anything to Leviathan? If he's smart, he'll put two and two together and figure out that they're the three soldiers who went through the portal, according to Tarquin's earlier report. But honestly, at this point, they'll just be three random names to Leviathan, which I don't think I like.
"Hmmm," Leviathan said. "You found this out yourself?"
"No, I have an informant."
"Can they be trusted to keep this secret?"
Alex scoffed. "Ian wouldn't dare think of it, lest he wants to die."
Remember Ian? The guy who had one brief scene not long ago? The guard who's stationed by the room where the translators are working on the tablet? Yeah, that dude. Also no build-up, so no real surprise. *shakes my head* How was my writing this terrible?!
A claw whipped across the traitor's face. He let out a yelp and jumped back, holding a hand over the wound. Leviathan snarled, "Do not ever talk like that to me again, fool. I am not one to be toyed with."
"Of course not, general," Alex whimpered. "Forgive me of my stupidity."
Leviathan's throat rumbled. "Do you think I am the merciful type, one that easily forgives and forgets? Do you think my heart is soft, willing to pardon? Do you think I'm still HUMAN?!" roared Leviathan. "I could burn you where you stand if I desired to."
"No, no, I didn't say I fancied that. Please, let me make it up to you," Alex pleaded desperately.
What can we learn from this wonderful *cough cough* exchange? Leviathan has anger management issues, because I don't think what Alex said should really have ticked him off so bad, and Alex is a sniveling coward, which I think is contrary to what a soldier should be.
"You had better," the dragon said, nostrils flaring. "Now, can this Ian translate Toreth expertly?"
"Yes, very well indeed."
"Wonderful. I will amass an army, and they shall sail to the rebel side of Adiryulle. Your people better let them in." Leviathan barred his teeth. "Or else."
You're putting your trust in one man to convince all of the rebels that they should let the enemy in their side of the continent? This seems very unlikely. Yes, the rebels turned Revier over to Lurkum way-back-when, but that doesn't they're all evil now. Also, you're believing that a guy you've never met can translate Toreth well enough to merit you sending an army right into the homeland of your foes? My opinion of Leviathan as a villain is dropping dramatically. Plus, he used the ambiguous "or else" threat, so he loses credit just because of that.
"Your wish is my command, general." Alex bowed and turned to leave.
"One more thing. Is my castle ready?"
"It is, sir. Construction finished yesterday, and those faithful to, uh, Him," Alex made sure he didn't say His name, "do not suspect a thing."
Right, because randomly building a castle (probably a second one that has a menacing appearance to boot) isn't suspicious at all. Who's making it, anyway? The rebels? Is there a faction of rebels of serve Lurkum, and the rest are just not interested in either side? WHY IS THIS SO CONFUSING? WHERE IS THE LOGIC? DID THIRTEEN-YEAR-OLD ME REPLACE IT WITH CRINGE? WHY AM I STILL USING CAPS LOCK?
Leviathan nodded. "Dismissed."
Alex swiftly abandoned the dark lair and touched his new scar. Someday, when that old idiot dragon wasn't expecting it, Alex would kill him.
And he would show who is boss.
Oh, so now Alex wants to dispose of his general? I hear that doesn't always work too well, especially when said general breathes fire. Alex also has some magical healing abilities, because what should still be a fresh wound is now a scar. And that last sentence feels awkward, due to some odd wording. What a splendid way to end off the chapter!
Now, I know this isn't as long as some of my other Humble Beginnings posts, but the next chapter has a proper battle scene in it, so I feel there's going to be a lot to make fun of in there. I hope that's okay!
Thank you all for reading! What're your thoughts on my oh-so-great plot twists and these villains who definitely aren't one-dimensional in the slightest bit? What would you do if your classes were likes the one the heroes attended? And also, should I make one of these posts as a vlog, where I read a whole chapter or two (depending how long they are) and insert my commentary along the way?