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View Full Version : VoD R2: Kyra vs BoomerangReturns



Jessepinwheel
09-05-2014, 12:05 AM
Rykosar (Kyra): Metal skeleton, robotic hand (right), and robotic leg (right).
Sirius Nightshade (BoomerangReturns): Sociopathic, shadow manipulation, magically enhanced knife, half-demon.

This round's condition involved switching powers.

The stories below are posted in the order that they were submitted and may not be the order in the title or of the character blurbs above. When giving feedback (and you should), please keep the authors of the respective stories anonymous even if you know which one it is.

A strong gust of wind blew through the rocky terrain, causing the leafless branches of thin and fragile trees to sway back and forth. There was virtually no life on this canyon. Plant, or mammal. The only area that wasn’t void with life was the very base, where a ring of water wrapped around a tall mountain of rock in the center. Various algae and bushes were around the water’s edges. Surprisingly, the water was deep, and clean enough to drink out of if necessary. At the edges of the circular lake were more rocky mountains that spanned for miles.

Just by the lake, hidden in the lush green bushes, was a male. He was crouched down, and looking up towards the very top of the center-most tower of desert rock. His short bright red hair was accompanied by his green eyes, similar in color to the lake he was only inches away from. The male had binoculars to his face, staring intently towards two figures who were laid out at the top.

“Yes,” He said in a hushed whisper, “Yes, I have visual on the men. It’s a bit difficult to see any definitive features, but I’m sure our target is up there somewhere.”

Upon closer inspection, a device similar to a Bluetooth was wrapped around his ear, the low sound of a booming voice coming from it. The male, his eyes still locked with the two figures at the mountaintop, nodded vigorously. “Yes sir. Yes. I’ll try and find a better vantage point, and get a good view for you.”

The male quickly pushed his binoculars into the green bag at his back, and held his finger to his ear a devilish smile on his face. “Yes sir. We’ll get him this time. There isn’t anywhere for him to run. Yes. Connor out.”

With that, the unknown male began to move through the brush, before placing his hands on any indents in the rock. He began to climb.

***

Eyelids separated to reveal pitch black hues.

Sirius awoke from what felt like an eternal slumber, as he looked up to the clear, blue sky the afternoon had brought. The bright sun shined down on him, heat resonating from his body due to the black clothes he was wearing. A strong wind blew against his face, the breeze becoming something to cherish. Sirius began to contemplate where he was, his head turning to the side. It was in that moment that he realized that he was on a flat surface, but not on the ground. A large rift separated one canyon he rested upon from another, while the drop had to be at least a thousand feet.

How did he even get here in the first place? Why was he here? Many questions ran through his mind that would go unanswered for the time being.

He craned his neck as he heard the sound of a miniscule twig being broken. He looked in front of him and saw a tall, aging male slowly getting to his feet. As he stood upright, Sirius took notice to the many scars on his face, tearing what probably was a handsome face into a monstrosity. The male seemed as confused as Sirius was, looking at his two hands and walking around aimlessly. It looked as though something was taken from him.

Sirius moved his body in an attempt sit up, but he soon realized that it was much more difficult to do so than ever before. He could barely move his own arm, let alone sit his entire body up. It was like there were anvils taped to his chest, to his bones. A giant weight on his whole person, and he had no idea why.

Eventually, he managed to sit himself up with all of his strength. He would have to get used to this invisible weight on him, somehow. Simultaneously, the aging male turned his head towards Sirius, this seemingly being the first time he had noticed him. He walked up to Sirius, his lips contorting into a friendly smile as he stood above him, his hand out. Another scarred piece of skin. “Would you like some help?”

For a split second, Sirius looked from his smiling face to his hand, tongue in cheek as he tried to analyze his expression. Such a scarred man, physically and probably mentally, and yet he still finds a way to be friendly. Even with them both on a perilous mountaintop with no clue as to how they ended up there, and yet this aging male isn’t hardened to the core.

Sirius couldn’t believe it.

He lifted his left hand and smacked the other male’s gesture away from him, “I can get up myself, vermin.” He snarled, venom oozing from his gruff voice as he forced himself to stand upright. It was much more of a struggle than he could have predicted, as his knees buckled numerous times before he eventually stood upright.

The male in front of him, still making the vain attempt at being friendly, cleared his throat, “Erm, my name is Rykosar. Or, you could call me Ryko, for short.”

Sirius didn’t even respond with his name, but with another question entirely, “Do you know how we got here,” He put up quotation marks, “’Ryko’?”

Ryko let out a sigh. This was certainly going to be a long day. “No,” He replied, craning his neck to look at the beautiful mountaintops and scenery once more, before turning back to the male in front of him, his face twisting into a slight frown, “Frankly, I don’t really remember much before I woke up either. I just remember waking and feeling less weight than I ever have before.”

Out of pure annoyance, Sirius sucked his teeth and his glance fell to the ground. This old fuck didn’t know anything either. What were they doing here? More importantly, what had happened to him? The fact that they were both on this secluded canyon must have been no coincidence.

Suddenly, it hit him.

‘Weightless’.

He shot his glance forward, towards the aging male. “You said you feel less weight than usual?”

Ryko nodded feverishly, “Yes, and there’s also this,” He replied solemnly, and suddenly the shadows underneath them transformed into physical matter, bursting towards the male and swirling around him, “For some reason I can turn this into physical matter…but I can’t control it at all.”

His eyes widened as Sirius watched the darkness go to this old, scarred fuck rather than himself. Not only had he lost a lot of his weight, which had now gone to Sirius, but he had gotten Sirius’ powers. “For some reason or another, our abilities have been swapped,” Sirius mused, his pitch black hues glowering with resentment, “And I don’t know why.”

****

In the background, closer to the edge of the mountain-top, was the top half of a figure. One hand was pressed against his ear, as the other hung idly about. He had not yet been noticed, his bright green orbs continuously looking between each male.

“-I’m telling you,” He continued, “The guy with the shadow manipulation does NOT fit the description I was given.”

He continued to look at the seductive tendrils of the dark matter, wrapped around the aging man. How could this be? The description in the contacts noted him to be young and frail. The only one that looked remotely like Sirius was the other male in this equation, but he was not acquitted with shadow manipulation. There was just no way.

“What am I to do then, sir?” He asked now looking down at the ground, “Take in the one that doesn’t even look like him? If anything, we should just apprehend the both of them.”

Connor let out a deep sigh and frowned, nodding, “Yes sir. I will see you shortly.”

As the Bluetooth in his ear went to static, the spy ran his pale fingers through his bright red hair, grasping tufts of it. While it would be the logical thing to just grab both men and question them, instead the bullheaded commander didn’t want to have to deal with such childish things. He just wanted the reward for capturing the shadow manipulator, he cared not for the appearance.

Connor lifted his head up to look at the sky, but was instead met with a sadistic smile from ear to ear, and pitch black eyes that looked as though they were small black holes, sucking his life force out chunk by proverbial chunk. The rest of his face was shadowed, his body blocking the boring sun. He couldn’t even hope to utter a word before the pale, bony hand of this malevolent being wrapped around the neck of the spy.

Sirius lifted Connor to his feet, his hand crushing his trachea, with the force no average human could ever hope to achieve. As Sirius Nightshade spoke, it was soft, and at the sound of a whisper. However, the venom in his tone was evident. “What are you doing…Watching us?,” He cocked his head to the side, almost amused at how Connor was flailing in his death grip, “Do you have some…wish to meet your beloved God?”

The life was slowly beginning to fade from Connor. His body was not taking nearly enough air, and he was slowly suffocating in the grasp of this sadistic human being. He noticed the figure of the aging male behind Sirius, his shadows swerving around as if he had no real control over them. The look in the man’s eyes was not of anger, resentment, or sadistic intentions. They were of pity, and sorrow.

Sirius decidedly relaxed his grip, allowing quick and gasping breathes to fill the spy’s lungs. He was relieved, however he also knew that the fact that he was allowed to breath, meant one thing.

He had to talk.

“Who are you working for?” Sirius asked, leaning forward so his face was only inches from Connors. His eyes were like windows into the devil, and his smile was cold and calculating, but Connor could tell he was struggling. His knees were shaking, as if he was taking on more weight than he could handle, “What is it that you intend to do?”

He knew that if he did not speak now, that Connor would be thrown off of the mountain to his death at a moment’s notice. He had to speak or be inevitably destroyed, mentally and physically. He opened his mouth to speak, but out of the corner of his eye, he could see the growing shape of a chopper. That was it. His reinforcements.

A smirk crossed his face, and he chuckled. “I intend to have you both apprehended.”

Sirius slowly came to the realization as to what he was talking about, as the sounds of the blades at the top of the helicopter filled the group’s eardrums. His face twisted into one of pure anger, his pitch black hues finally flickering with something other than lifelessness; fury. Connor kicked the knee of Sirius, forcing him to drop the spy as he turned immediately towards Ryko, who didn’t seem to be panicking at all, oddly enough. Sirius looked as though he knew he was cornered, and was prepared to fight off the squadron that had planted their feet on the canyon’s roof. However, something he didn’t expect happened.

They all ran towards Rykosar.

He didn’t even expect it, nor could he really do anything about it. The entire squadron tackled Rykosar to the ground, paying practically no mind to the other male in the equation. Seeing as Ryko had absolutely no idea how to use the shadows, he could do nothing to stop them, nor did it seem he wanted to. The kind morals in his heart wouldn’t allow him to kill or bodily harm any of the men arresting him. Handcuffs were strung across his wrists, and he was lifted on his feet. He was told that if he even made any sudden movements, he would be killed on the spot. All the while, Sirius only stood there, watching with a combination of surprise and amusement.

And then suddenly, he fell to his knees, laughing to himself in mass hysteria. He looked towards the squadron, as Connor snuck out from his view. “Yes! He’s been a very very bad boy!,” Sirius screamed in utter laughter, “Hurry! Get him in that jail cell before he does something evil!”

As Connor quickly got into the door of the chopper with the rest of the squadron, he was consistently praised for finding and taking down the shadow manipulator that had been envoking havoc onto the city. He would get awards, medals, any honor he could think of or want. He was a hero.

But as the hired spy looked down at the canyon that was slowly fading away from view, he still noticed Sirius. On his knees. His hands spread outward. His laughter could still, somehow be heard. It was the type of laughter of a child constantly being tickled; except Sirius didn’t want it to stop. As Connor continued to look between the aging man with a smile on his face, and the other male on the canyon, he already knew that they had the wrong guy.

He had gotten away.
“Well, this is a new obstacle.”

A set of old azure eyes fluttered open at a startlingly curt voice, a soft light leaking into the room as he attempted to focus. His neck was hung low as his body was being supported by rope binds, seated in a steel chair. Hands were tied behind him and his ankles were tied to the legs of the chair. He hardly had to struggle to shift his weight with the absence of metal in his bones. He could hear the scratching of metal on concrete as a result, it looked like the chair wasn’t bolted to the floor of the facility. Though this place seemed more like a large warehouse from the appearance, thin metal walls, stone floor, and an almost thick tarp for the roof.

The uneasy silence that followed his motion forced him to lift his head up, nearly flinching in a start at the two figures who appeared to be facing each other in body but had their heads turned directly at him just a few feet away. He could see a woman with cutting lime green eyes, as well as a man with a softer auburn color.

The woman spun on her heel, taking two steps forward to look straight down at Rykosar, eyes narrowed and one brow lifted in an aggressive display of curiosity. “We’ve never had a spy before.”

“We haven’t.” The man noted in agreement, still remaining back. “I suppose we should have assumed that we could and would attract this kind of attention.”

“Well, you are building a large machine out in the middle of almost nowhere.” Rykosar would chirp, attempting a smirk. “Guess there’s no harm in telling you the people that sent me think it’s a weapon. People are paranoid.”

“Paranoid is one of the many things you can describe people as, but it’s definitely not their best or worst quality.” The woman’s words chipped away at Rykosar’s ears like an icepick before she pulled herself back and moved to the young man. Her dark features dimmed into a warm neutrality as she was pulled into his gaze. “Everything will be fine, regardless.”

Looking back at Rykosar, the look was stone again. “Don’t let him move. I’ll get everything ready.”

The young man gave her a curt nod, offering her a smile before she turned away and made for a door along the left side of the warehouse. As she opened the door, light poured in from the outside, the color gave away that it was near dusk before she shut the door behind her.

Rykosar glanced back at the young man left with him and offered a smile, observing he seemed like the nicer and probably more merciful of the two. Though the man didn’t seem as keen on returning the gesture, brows furrowed before he turned away as if Rykosar’s gaze had some unknown power. Though, as the old gladiator was doing this, his eyes narrowed partially in focus. Rykosar could feel a cold shadow formed by his chair slithering up, it took up a blade-like sharpness before it started cutting the rope binds on his hands.

He’d attempt to strike up conversation as a distraction, to prevent the younger man from picking up the sound of slicing. “So, is it a weapon?”

“No.”

The man sounded honest enough, Rykosar gave a slow nod despite only being able to see the young man’s back. “I’m guessing it’d be stupid of me to ask what it really is then, mm?”

The pressure around his wrists faded and the chill of the warehouse alleviated some of the chafing as the rope was finally cut. He quickly flinched, the shadow blade forming a small hook to pick up the rope before it fell to the ground, trying to appear like he was still tied up as another tendril slithered towards Rykosar’s ankles and began on the leg binds.

Don’t look back. Don’t look back, boy.

“Yes. It would be a waste of air.” It sounded like he was trying to imitate the woman’s blunt tone in attempts to get Rykosar to submit.

“Though if it isn’t a weapon and you have me tied up, why is it a danger or waste to not tell me? Perhaps I’ll understand your cause better.” His pant legs loosened around his ankles as the last of the bindings were finally cut. Though there was a momentary freeze in Rykosar’s movements, he didn’t have much of a plan after doing this.

“You won’t understand, though you might soon. It’s a tool.”

“And why did you build it on the opposite end of the canyon as a small town?”

Rykosar’s blood ran cold in the time he saw the young man’s heels swerved, he had turned to face the old man who had a small circle of cut rope surrounding his chair. “We’re going to show them somet-HEY!”

The old man leaped up quickly, the metal chair falling over and scratching the concrete floor. His movements were quick, lacking his metal leg as he moved to grab the young man before he could reach for something in his pocket. Though with the lack of iron grip he normally had from his metal hand, the young man quickly pried free of the old man’s weak hold, making a break for the door the woman had exited out of.

Rykosar chased him from behind, momentarily perturbed as the light from outside caused him to see dark spots. By the time Rykosar was able to blink them away, the young man was at the woman’s side. She handed him something which, as he flicked his arm outward, extended into what looked to be a throwing tomahawk.

Now, Rykosar was the one being charged at. Quickly sidestepping the first swing from the axe-like weapon, he attempted a swift elbow to the young man’s back. He staggered but didn’t quite fall, whirling around and jumping up to wrap his arms around Rykosar’s neck in a faulty choke hold. Both toppled, as Rykosar had forgotten that without his metal bones, he did not have the stability he used to.

Once they hit the dirt ground, Rykosar felt the arms wrapped over him loosen and he rolled off. He was able to stand quickly, giving a fleeting glance towards the young woman in the few spare seconds he had. The machine was almost spire shaped and appeared to be charging, the center piece exposed by a few ventilation holes showed a pulsating core glowing brighter with each flash. Then those green eyes caught into his, burning bright as she scowled.

“If you don’t even know what the machine is, why are you still trying to destroy it?” She stood her ground speaking through her teeth as the last obstacle between him and the machine, until the recall of the man behind Rykosar forced him to whirl around, just then being struck across the face with the blade. The old man groaned as a spectacle of scarlet shot out from his cut face and began to dribble down his lips and chin.

Rykosar threw his arms up high in the air, the large shadow casted by the warehouse rushed forward and between the two men. It began to circle and wrap itself around the younger man, despite his protests by cutting at the black substance with his weapon, Rykosar simply commanded the shadow to regenerate itself to keep him at bay.

At that point however, it was too late. The completed device at the woman’s feet sparked, and a bright line arced up and across the canyon from the machine to touch the town’s peak. At the heart of the machine, the glowing core shivered and hummed. High above, the town’s outline started to go indistinct.

Out from the black cocoon surrounding the younger man, he cut a hole just large enough to throw the tomahawk out of. It clattered against the ground and the woman’s eyes flicked to it, making her moves quick towards it before Rykosar could process what had happened. He was too winded to give replies to the question asked, as well as the one that followed.

“And what do you think you’re going to accomplish in all of this?!” She shouted, briskly advancing as she slashed towards Rykosar’s arms with her tomahawk. “Yes. You’ll destroy the big bad machine. You’ll make your lovely company happy. You’ll be the conqueror of a –fraction- of a –speck- in the world. Oh yes, -congratulations-!”

Rykosar was forced to let his arms fall at his sides from the pain of her slashes. His sleeves were stained crimson with blood. He opened his mouth, but nothing came out. She took that as a means to keep going.

“-Nothing- you do on this planet will matter. Nothing that any of us will do, will really matter. This planet is a grain of salt in the shaker, a piece of sand on the beach, but you all think, that you’re so important and entitled. Yet you hardly take up any influence on the planet you’re on. Let alone the others. Let alone our cluster. Or even our dimension!”

She pulled back for a few seconds, but lunged out to throw the tomahawk at Rykosar. “I’m going to show everyone what is outside of their pathetic superior complexes. -This- is what matters. It’s the only thing that will have mattered in any of our lives. And now everyone is conspiring to –destroy- it!”

In her anger, the tomahawk missed Rykosar completely. However, the old man was still dazed from the blood that was still spilling from his other wounds. His arms were numb, but he was able to lift them enough to feel control over the shadows underneath the young duo’s feet. The device still buzzed and sparked, and there was almost nothing but a fuzzy impression of the town left now.

The old man’s face drew into mild fear and regret, but in a last ditch effort to distract her, he forced both of his arms to shove forward. The shadows consuming the younger man unraveled and threw him. He slid against the dirt and screamed in panic as he fell over the edge of the canyon. Rykosar could see a well-defined hate in the woman’s eyes before she went for the edge, taking the man’s hand as he had managed to keep a grip on a protruding rock along the canyon wall.

With a heavy chest, Rykosar moved for the machine, weakly raising both arms. The unraveled building shadow as well as the shadows tucked inside the canyon wall rose up and began to swirl around the device, wrapping around it. The old man had lost the strength of his metal bones, but this would have to do. He allowed a second thought of not doing this, but the locals of the town targeted put some sort of relevancy to his cause. Metal groaned and screws began to pop off as he forced the shadows to grip it tight and attempted to rip it from its stand and chuck it over the canyon edge.

Once the core began to flicker and the humming slowed, being separated from its place bolted in the earth, Rykosar tilted it on one of the ends of the spire and let gravity take care of the rest.

The young man felt a rough callused hand grip his own and his eyes shot up. When his eyes met the woman’s, they shined with fear, relief, and hope, she managed to grimace a smile though she still didn’t have quite the strength to lift him. That was when the device toppled over beside them. It banged and clattered all the way down, the beam leaving its target at the town's peak. The buildings and all snapped back into full reality, none likely the wiser.

The man ducked almost as a reflex despite it not falling near them, watching it spin over the drop. When it turned however, the beam struck the man and the woman’s hand subsequently clenched into a fist through fading fingers.

“Wait!”

The man’s mouth moved in response to her nonsensical protest, but he was already out of phase. She could only remember the shape of his lips and thought about what he tried to say before he was gone.

The machine burst into a shower of scrap at the bottom of the canyon.

A small curtain of shadows curled up from under her body, cupping around her upper half still dangled over the edge of the canyon before it started pulling up, forcing her back to arch before she awkwardly fell to one side on the dirt beside Rykosar. The old man took to a knee quietly, two small shadow tendrils sprouted from his back, assisting his hands as he gripped her arms and lifted the young woman so she was sitting up straight against his leg. It was unsure if he did this just to give her some support or if it was to keep her from seeing the guilt and shock searing his eyes.

Rykosar’s chest sank as he heard her speak again, the voice was reserved and meek now. “Is this the part where you put me in jail?”

“No.” He reinforced this by shaking his head, despite her not looking back towards him. She was still staring out towards the canyon, the large yawning dips in the earth casting fragments of shadows from the stone patterns as the sun began to dip. “That’s not my job. I just have to wait here with you for the people whose job it is to do that. Or to deem if that’s right. You technically haven’t done anything wrong. Or hadn’t, yet.”

He opened his mouth, but she interrupted him. “Before you ask if I’m going to fight-” Rykosar stopped, because that’s exactly what he was going to ask. There was hint of relief in his next breath as her voice projected more and became more confident. Though it seemed she was recovering quickly, or was making it seem like that. “There’s no logical positive outcomes to fighting you now. Or running. You’ll definitely win or catch me with your…shadows.”

The old gladiator rested a hand on her shoulder, cautious at first, having adapted attentiveness when it used to be completely metal. His fingers quietly tightened against her coat, grazing over the details of the fabric. “I suppose so.”

Helicopter blades cut through the air and the grinding of the engine bounced off of the canyon walls after a few minutes of complete dreadful silence. Rykosar offered a hand to the woman after he made sure that his own standing wouldn’t cause her to fall over, as she was leaned against him previously. She looked back at him finally but stood on her own, brushing the rust colored dirt off of her pants.

Though the old man offered a thin sincere smile towards the woman, it fell flat as she walked passed him. She spoke before the helicopter made it impossible to hear as it approached the canyon side nearest them.

“I just hope you don’t plan on stopping me from bringing him back.”

Rykosar let out a huff, raising his voice as the helicopter drew closer. “You realize there are other things that matter in this world. Just this world. The one we all live on.”

The woman scowled deeply, which was a relieving but terrifying thing as it showed she had collected herself. “This isn’t my world. He was my world.”

The rest of whatever was left of their conversation was drowned out, only allowing a few mouthed words to be translated before two armed men stepped out of the helicopter and pulled the young woman inside, followed by Rykosar. The armed men did not follow after them, staying to investigate what was left of the machine.

No voices sounded as the aircraft took off and for the rest of the trip back.

Crank
09-05-2014, 09:31 PM
I've got to go with Story 2 on this one, although both were quite good.

For #1 (and I will murder the person who read that 'hash-tag one' and bury them in my backyard) I think the main thing that they need to work on is having rise and falls throughout the story. It was all a bit of a flat-line to be honest, and I don't mean it was dead, just no variation, no danger or worry. It just felt like there was a general 'Why bother' feel through all the could be big moments.

His eyes widened as Sirius watched the darkness go to this old, scarred fuck rather than himself. Not only had he lost a lot of his weight, which had now gone to Sirius, but he had gotten Sirius’ powers. “For some reason or another, our abilities have been swapped,” Sirius mused, his pitch black hues glowering with resentment, “And I don’t know why.”

I will admit, if I was a murderous psychopath who could control shadows, this would outright ruin my day, but this never dives down to the next level. It never went into anyone's minds and we never found out how it happened.

He didn’t even expect it, nor could he really do anything about it. The entire squadron tackled Rykosar to the ground, paying practically no mind to the other male in the equation. Seeing as Ryko had absolutely no idea how to use the shadows, he could do nothing to stop them, nor did it seem he wanted to. The kind morals in his heart wouldn’t allow him to kill or bodily harm any of the men arresting him. Handcuffs were strung across his wrists, and he was lifted on his feet. He was told that if he even made any sudden movements, he would be killed on the spot. All the while, Sirius only stood there, watching with a combination of surprise and amusement.

This is a brutal ambush against an innocent man who won't even fight back against the army pinning him to the ground. If you want to showcase an emotion, you could pretty much take your pick here with whatever you wanted to highlight. If you wanted pity, dive into Ryko's mind as he's being attacked for reasons he doesn't understand and show why he isn't even fighting back. If you want anger, highlight the people attacking him and threatening his life.

But as the hired spy looked down at the canyon that was slowly fading away from view, he still noticed Sirius. On his knees. His hands spread outward. His laughter could still, somehow be heard. It was the type of laughter of a child constantly being tickled; except Sirius didn’t want it to stop. As Connor continued to look between the aging man with a smile on his face, and the other male on the canyon, he already knew that they had the wrong guy.

He had gotten away.

I don't quite see why he can't turn back and fix it, Sirius still weighs an ungodly amount and has yet to move. If he can't run, I don't see him getting away any time soon. This is another mindset thing, why has Sirius gotten away? Something is preventing Connor from going back and getting him, be it in or external.

These are the types of things that give your piece a heartbeat, like that thing that dirt-bag who read 'hash-tag' had. It'll give your work more of a flow and keep your reader more immersed. Like, I had an ex who was obsessed with shipping things, and she would alert me to having "Feels" by practically dying in front of me. I think what I'm trying to say, is if you have an emotional part coming up, you should take it upon yourself to murder at least one reader.

Again though, really good story!


If I had something specific to say I have since forgotten it. I didn't notice any overreaching issues, and nothing stuck out as big enough to linger past the point of the first review. It was a great story, and I wish you both luck!