Reviews for The Bell Keeper: Book 2 - Tinkle
SalemXYZ chapter 22 . 10/13/2014
It's been a while but I'm happy to see the new chapter is here. I should reread from the beginning of this arc since the fight scenes feel different than that previous big one. Although, it could also be because of the overwhelming power difference between Kura and the Kyuubi&Crimson Butterfly duo, and the fact that the beta Pakak is of a different calibre than these regular Wolverine troops.

Yutsu's scene truly showed the descent of the peaceful farm girl back to the ruthless assassin. Even though in previous chapters we've seen Yutsu rejoicing that the Shirley part of her still lives on, it's obvious that the blood on Yutsu's hands will swallow her whole one day. As much as she wants to keep to the light, she couldn't. What's 'worse' is that her love for her family is the very factor causing her to fall back into the mad bloodlust. After all, it gives her the power to protect her loved ones, and that's the only thing that matters. As shown in the massacre and flashbacks, Yutsu is perfectly fine with mutilating strangers. Yet, just the sight of Kura's blood made her sick. This small yet significant detail kept her sanity at bay. I must be getting rusty though, because I feel like something very crucial was revealed while Yutsu was slaughtering those Wolverines. She used to be a top assassin for the Mongoose Camorra, but I thought she hated them? It sounds like some top brass was her teacher too. I'll need to review my notes lol Either way, it's clear that most people only know the bounty hunter side of her, not this Crimson Butterfly (perhaps with the exception of Esme). At Rui's current state though, I doubt she would mind. I'm more intrigued by the possibility that she may have assassinated someone important and related to a main character - now, that would be problematic once things unraveled.

Rui is falling apart in a similar yet different way than her lover. At the beginning of the chapter, she was shown disturbed by Yutsu's affinity to gore. Later on, she completely exploded (literally too lol) upon learning what happened to the teens. No matter how much Rui wanted to deny it, she still cared for Kura - she may be angry at Kura's action and even if Kura got herself killed, that was her own choice. However, that bitterness and anger was still nothing compared to the intensity of her rage at those who harmed her family. In a way, it's almost as if she is the only one allowed to punish Kura for her brashness and no one else. Like Lyra said though, Rui got her taste of bloodlust and now sought it in the name of revenge. It makes me wonder how long this euphoria would last though - unlike Yutsu, Rui is still new to this kind of world. Years of Taichi's teachings and livelihood as a mostly-peaceful bartender cannot be washed away so easily by these strangers' blood. In spite of her callousness, Lyra would be a good 'leash' for the kyuubi. On one hand, her actions angered and irritated Rui; on the other, it was from a kindred spirit. To quote Lyra, Rui's thoughts is like a Wolf's now. Even then, the thoughtful Vulpine part of Rui is bound to show up later, and she will regret the violence she committed here.

I'm guessing that's Garuuk and Synnaria at the end - I'll have to wait to see why they have reappeared together. It sounds like they could sense the 'blight' tainting Rui and Yutsu, and probably Nita too. I'm glad Nita came when she did - imagine Kura waking up only to find out that both Rui and Yutsu had to be 'put down'. Thankfully that didn't happen, but it wasn't far from the truth either. I don't know what the effect of having all 9 tails cut off is, and Synnaria must have done all she could to stop Yutsu, who was pretty much a killing machine at that point.

Yutsu is fighting for her bloodlust and determination to protect her family, while Rui is fighting for destruction and her fellow Mytho Nita. Either way, both adults are 'in the game'. Now that they've effectively reunited (apart since arc3), I look forward to the next chapter!

Notable things: possibility of Zared Teresia (Clarice's uncle) as one of the Tyrian commanders working with the Wolverines; gunpowder was considered magic back in the days; Pip the Penguin may have swam to Aukanec; Mongoose Camorra, Yutsu's former organization as Crimson Butterfly
SalemXYZ chapter 21 . 7/7/2014
I got to say, this is quite an intense chapter and it's not just because of the fight.

First we are shown more about people of the Golden Ages, which will inevitably tie-in with Rui and Nita finding their niche in the Rebellion (which has the purpose of saving/correcting the world), as well as Kura who's essentially doing the same thing as what Fenris and other Mythos did in the past. The mythical stuff is still relatively new in this story, since we've only been shown the 'what' but not so much of the 'why' and 'how'. Why do they have such strong magic? What are they supposed to use it for? These powerful mythos had been the leader of their people, so are Rui and Nita supposed to take that path as well? I remember the group learning about Ginka at the Plains' lake, which is implied to be a magical pool in Fenris' flashback. So, it'd make sense for the group to learn even more about the past now that they're near the biggest lake on Fenrisyr (according to the map anyway). The Blight sounds like a corruption of the soul, which brings out the worst in someone and intensifies it until all the affected person wants is to bring chaos to the world. We can see the severity of the effect from Nita, whose peaceful soul was forced to remember her worst memory as a slave and warp it so that it's even worse. I don't know how she would recover from the Blight, but the Bell and the Lake seem like possible candidates.

Next, we see Kura's growth as she handled the situation at Tuaq on her own. She spoke with the Penguin Chief as an equal, a full adult, and she received the rightful respect for her actions. While I never thought she would turn tail in the first place, it's still exciting to see her stand her ground and stay to defend these helpless villagers. Not only that, she wants to understand the other side of the story too, rather than indiscriminately killing her enemies due to racism, as she said. That's a very Kura thing to do.

What I did not expect is Pakak's side of the story. Before, we were shown that Oki was a generic bad villain but he was probably just incapable of explaining himself and was blinded by rage and discrimination, which the Penguins did in this scene as well. Pakak, perhaps due to his position as Beta, was able to maintain his composure even though we see how furious he was with the tragedy that befell upon his family and brethren. He sounds like a man with morals, but the situation left him no choice. His last chance to appeal to his conscience came in the form of Sakura's genuine interest in his people, which probably doesn't happen often considering the information we've been given. Therefore it makes sense that Tyradum's proposals would appeal to these Wolverines, no matter what Tyradum had done in the past to the land down south.

Because of Pakak's character, his memories would stay in Kura's mind for a long time. He wasn't just a faceless enemy to defeat, but a father who just wanted the best for his family. The battle scene was intense because you can practically feel the emotions behind each blow. I wonder how Sakura is going to heal though, since Nita doesn't seem well enough to help. Perhaps this is where the Whites come in as the spiritual Lupine pack, probably similar to the Coyotes.

Anyway, I can't wait for the part2. It sounds like the intensity is only put on hold and we'll resume the fights next.

Notable Things: Fenris, Ginka and Vesperia used to be close, and Fenris sounds like to be on good terms with Tyr the White Tiger too; mysterious winged creatures (dragons?) once brought chaos to the world, and that chaos remained in the form of a curse (The Blight?); The Blight seems to bring out the worst in people, meaning a bloodthirsty villain would only turn even worse; not all Wolverines are inherently evil, as shown by Pakak the Wolverine Beta; the Whites are not as they seem - the opinion is divided (Wolverines dislike them, Penguins respect them, the other Wolf Packs seem scornful but generally neutral); Penguins need protection on land; the jokull - special Lupine dagger given by Penguin Chief
SalemXYZ chapter 20 . 6/17/2014
Finally had the time to write a proper review, even though I read it the day it was uploaded. Rui and Yutsu, it's been a while. I agree with the blog that these two characters are heading towards a new direction, and we'll have to wait and see if that's a good or bad thing. They're both trying to find their identity here in the North, so I find the title quite appropriate not just for its relevance to the Wolves.

Rui for one, is battling with her anger at many things. Kura leaving, the whole Fenrisyr-Tyradum conflict, her magic and Kyuubi identity, but most importantly herself. She had always considered herself as Rui Brewfort, the bartender who's only known Kaltrea and the Cog Weasel as her home. As seen in Book 1, she's gradually lost direction and in this aspect, she's similar to Kura. Both Foxes were trying to find their own place in this chaotic world. As Book2 goes on, Kura's succeeded in regaining her purpose in spite of the obstacles she had and will have to overcome. Rui, however, is still subconsciously rejecting the idea of being a Mytho who is tasked with some mission to save the world. She just wants to be normal and go back to the way things are, and she would have succeeded too if powerful Mythos like Rowena hadn't appeared. Even if she had succeeded in leaving the continent, the thought of Rowena somewhere in the world would lurk at the back of her mind, giving her no reprieve.

Naturally, Rui worries about her fellow Mytho, Nita, and as much as she doesn't want to deny it, a part of her still cares about Kura. Of course, that's not to say their reunion wouldn't be ugly, but when it comes down to a life-and-death situation, I'm certain she wouldn't just stand there and watch the girls get killed, because that's who Rui is. It's the same humanity that compelled her to take in Kura, and listen and accept Yutsu years ago. Now, in addition to those two, Nita is a new light for Rui. She's the only person who can help Rui with her magic at the moment. I'm certain that Rui doesn't want her fire to go out of control like the nightmare at the beginning (even though my gut tells me it's all that monk's fault).

Yutsu has yet to lay rest to her past demons. I expect that in this arc, she will have to confront her bloody past head on, in the form of past enemies or victims (strongly implied to be Wolverines). All those flashbacks, interweaved with her current Shirley state, are jarring but in a good way. It shows the reader that turmoil she's experiencing. I like how her bloodlust is portrayed as addiction, and that she's experiencing withdrawal. After all, it's been a long time since we've seen the bounty hunter side of Yutsu in action. The Crimson Butterfly, possibly her codename during her time in Fenrisyr, is a discarded identity that Yutsu would have to don again in order to protect her precious family. That said, I'm not sure how the reunion would go. While Rui seems like the type to use physical discipline, Yutsu's current mental state makes me wonder how she'll welcome Sakura as a family member again.

There have been few whole happy families in TBK, so I'm quite happy for Ragnur and Shira. I don't know, I've been worried that something will happen during birth lol I quite enjoyed the ending where the ragtag group temporarily became one in celebration of Eddie's birth. It shows how hope can truly bring people together.

Now, the Wolf representatives for the Lupine side. For the Dogs, we have Esme, Heidi, Ala, Carlos and more, and they all get along. Here though, Nita is the only one accepted by the Wolves, while the other three more or less dislike them. Can't blame them, since these Wolves aren't likeable by 'normal standard'. Rui's description fits perfectly. Savage. However, unlike the Dog nobles' roundabout and condescending ways, these Wolves are straightforward, like Yutsu described. Lyra is still weird and frank, but she seems to enjoy making fun of Rui and Yutsu. Amaroq seems like a typical guy who doesn't want to get pulled into women's argument, but enjoys his violent exchanges with his (ex?) girlfriend. Synnaria catches my attention immediately due to her difference from the other Wolves, and she's definitely more than it seems since she is Hugo Currumpaw's eldest daughter. I'm guessing she's like a 'diplomat' in the North though I'm not sure that's the correct term considering Fenrisyr is one country. Huginn is interesting by default, since he's the first ally Avian who would get to interact with the main cast. I can't wait to learn more about the Ravens. I wonder if their children have wings? While it's still up in the air how the Wolves' relationship with the main cast would develop, it seems that Lyra might (unknowingly?) help Rui control her power through anger.

Can't wait to see how this arc would develop and escalate.

Notable Things: Greg and Theodore Mackenzie (notable Rottweilers of Bismarck); the wolves are looking for Garuuk, the White's son and supposed successor; Tikaani, Garuuk's sister and current temporary leader of the Whites;
K-Nakano chapter 20 . 6/15/2014
Amazing chapter! I love how the events are starting to come together as Yutsu and Rui get closer to finding Sakura and Nita again...and I can't wait for their reunion. I'm still trying to figure out how Rui would react because, while she may say that Sakura is "dead to her," I still think she cares very deeply for her and that scene is sounding so very promising in truly showing their relationship when it happens.
I love how Yutsu's past is revealing itself even further, and I love how you made her into a kind of blood-thirsty addict with her "withdrawal symptoms" and flashbacks. As much as she may try and have a "normal" life, she just can't seem to escape her past and her profession that made her who she is (until she settles that score at least). Can't wait to see the trouble she's bound to get herself into once again lol.
I love all the flashbacks! They're extremely relevant and meaningful to the story in their own respects and the ending was great for the painful memories that continue to haunt Yutsu. Awesome update, can't wait for the next chapter!
SalemXYZ chapter 19 . 5/18/2014
arc4, as well as Kura and Nita, it's been a while. While I'm not surprised that they survived the blizzard, the how is worrisome. I suspect they were saved by either the unknown white reaper at the end or Rowena , who can navigate in the blizzard unharmed and leave barely any footprints.

It sounds like there's a huge conspiracy building up north, a great storm (or blizzard) that would draw the Wolf Packs together similar to what happened south with the Dogs. Unlike the south, this time the enemies also include internal traitors (since I suspect the Wolverines are governed by the White like how Krasami and Bismarck are by the Grey). Heartless as it may sound, what happened with the Whites really is of no immediate concern for the other Wolf Packs. They're not obligated to help yet, at least not until the situation is clearer.

Shira sounds like an adorable mother-to-be, and I do hope Ragnur gets to return to his wife before she goes into labor. I'm surprised that Polar Bears exist in this story, but it also makes sense since they couldn't have lived at Beryn with the other Bears. I suppose the way Nita feels about her distant kin is the same as how Kura and Rui feels about other Foxes, and how Mary feels about other Rodents - kin but only by word, without emotional attachment. On a side note, I can't wait to see Penguins lol

Sakura and Nita are cute. So cute that I have to keep reminding myself this is TBK, where emotional roller coaster and dark things happen. And I wasn't disappointed. Oki's appearance screams danger, though I admit I didn't expect him to reveal his colors in the same scene. Poor Kura though, just when she manages to get cozy with her now girlfriend, her confidence and pride take yet another hit and this is different from all the blows before - this is personal, an intimate realization that she failed to protect her girlfriend. For one moment there, I thought Kura went into the 'zone' or something, like how Rui did. As Nita suggested, the Bell might have resonated with Kura's rage and desire to hurt Oki but unlike Rui, Kura couldn't (or didn't?) hear the Bell. Speaking of which, I absolutely love this line "The Bell has a beautiful chime, Sakura. Even if you can't hear it, I'll always listen for you." If this were to happen in a humorous manga or something, I can just see all the characters diving in to give Nita a big hug. I know I would. The Rui and Yutsu cameo in the flashback remind me that it's been a while since we've seen the two.

Overall, cute but still suspenseful introduction to arc4. Definitely can't wait for more.

Notable things: White Alpha is dead (due to Tyrian and Wolverine alliance); Lake Sedna has magical properties that may be related to the Bell; Polar Bears exist (whereabouts unknown);
SalemXYZ chapter 18 . 5/10/2014
Finally had time to read this in one go as it's intended. I do agree that this interlude can be its own arc, but on the scheme of the main plot, it's still 'an interlude'. That said, this interlude still has depth and character development that rivals the main one.

Esme and Heidi have come very far since their introduction. We first saw Esme way back as the welcome guide to Fenrisyr, back in arc1. We learned that she's Yutsu's old friend and a civilian who had to struggle to make the ends meet due to the influence of Feline occupation around the coastal cities. Later on, she introduced us to more Dog characters in the Dog cities in the form of journals, including several familiar faces and names. While she immersed herself in the grand plot, she began to learn new things and connect with these people around her. This aspect makes her easily relatable, as a new employee in a foreign environment. She grew and found strength to stand on her own and out of the shadows of her past. Now only does she has her own story to tell, she is to lead it too.

Heidi, on the other hand, was first introduced as one of Hector's remaining Rebels, working for Tal as a stern figure in the Rebel base. We did not know much of her other than how much she admired Hector and still believed in his cause. Later on, we see her again as part of the forces gathering in the Dog cities in response to Hodous bombing. We learn more of her character and drive through Esme, her aide, and how life used to be like before she made her choice to become who she was today. This aspect is also relatable for a reader because some of us are a the point in life where we're still trying to figure out what to do and not make a choice we'd regret later. She made an irreplaceable companion at this unexpected place and time, a young and innocent woman who reminded her of who she could have been, was once, and knew of. Needless to say, the relationship between Esme and Heidi has now become one of my favorites in this story. A family member can also complete a person's life after all.

Can't seem to find my notes (must be in one of the many flashdrives cluttering up my desk) so I'll just wing the context aspect scene by scene.

There's a conspiracy at work from the Yerkar Corps, the weapons dealer, though there aren't enough information revealed here so I'll just keep this at mind. I'm pretty sure they're neither in support of Fenrisyr nor Tyradum, maybe not even their own country. They're just in it for profit. The return of the Balkan rebels was surprising but welcomed. I'm glad to see they've survived and it'd be good for Kura to see them again. In a way, her words back then helped them survive the bombing and drove them to this unified army of Canines.

Heidi has also proved herself to be a reliable guidance figure for Carlos and other youngsters, not just Esme. It seems that Carlos does not have any dependable adult figure in his life to whom he could open up, other than Dr. Draques. If the House of Aragon is just as most of the characters described it to be, it'd be difficult for someone of high status like Carlos to show his vulnerability, to simply relax. Heidi, being herself, does not coddle and simply speaks frankly but it's exactly the kind of counseling the prince needs. Heidi, too, is able to lay an old ghost to rest.

Renee Dobrezynski seems like a good candidate of an older sister in Esme's growing family. She's whimsical but still comforts the younger woman when the latter needs it. Kalti is now staying with the HDC group so Sui should be enough to distract him from worrying about Kura and Nita, as he doesn't seem to trust the Wolves much. Kano is still an enigma, but perhaps his spiritual presence would turn him into a stable pillar of strength for Esme as well, once she gets used to his perceptive gaze. The two Foxes certainly have more story to tell when it comes to Rui and Kura, but we'll have to wait for more of that, won't we?

Esme's lecturing of Kipcha is definitely a milestone, for the old Esme wouldn't have been able to stand up to the scary dame. Esme is now someone who had experienced and learned so much, she no longer need anything else to stand on her own (ironic symbolism here considering she was still using crutches, then again she discovered her legs were stronger than she thought). Considering Kipcha's relationship with Heidi, it's not necessary a bad thing that Kipcha decides to remember Esmeralda, especially due to liberation of Xenoc.

I didn't expect Juan from the earlier scene to make such a poignant scene later, but I like how Carlos calms him down. This shows that even NPCs experienced such milestone, though terrible, and would grow into a better person. The battle sequence is well-written, full of tension and anxiety from the seat of a commander. I feel awful for Jock and Trisha, but perhaps they can provide a new home for the poor Pups once the war is over. At some point, I was afraid that either Heidi or Carlos would perish because of how far they've come, but I'm glad they managed to stay in one piece.

The last scene speaks for itself, a good ol' victory atmosphere with Ala's trolling. While I do think she is forcing the mami part, it's necessary for her to do so because it would not have come to fruition otherwise. Ala's still here to give people the necessary push.

Overall, this interlude is full of up and downs and certainly takes the reader into a whole new perspective in the story of TBK. Keep up the good work and I look forward to the return of the main cast.

Notable things: Paulo de Alvear (Kipcha's elite), Juan Rulfo (Carlos' friend), Yerkar Co.'s involvement in the war, Xenoc & Demoscyn reclaimed by Dogs
K-Nakano chapter 18 . 5/5/2014
I think Heidi has become my new favorite character. There is so much to this chapter that is really emotionally powerful in allowing readers to even relate to from a character development/personality point of view. I love how there are so many characters in this chapter that put themselves out of place of their stereotypical boundaries...some with success and worth, and others becoming a little reckless. For example, when we see Esme crossing the line with Heidi's aunt in her desperation to be heard, and when it is also further revealed how Heidi, too, stood up to her in her efforts to prove herself worthy (which I love in her character-her perseverance to "be someone" and to not let anyone tell her otherwise despite her stature or "weak" personality at the time).

What makes it even greater is how these characters supposedly started out as just "NPCs" or basically side characters that really weren't meant to provide much else besides some interaction and plot progression, but have become an integral part of the story and proven to be extremely valuable dynamic members of the main cast. Every character in any story written has a background (whether it's explored or not is up to the author), and I love how we get to read more about Heidi and Esme, who were merely supposed to be "supports" and eventually fall off as story progressed. I'm glad you guys chose to keep these characters around because they have proven to have some of the deepest and (honestly) the best backgrounds that the average person could relate to (which makes these characters so lovable...because they feel real). It's also great to see how these 2 continue to interact with one another and build their relationship based off of their own missing aspects in each other's lives (as a kind of mother-daughter bond and friendship that neither really had).

Amazing job on the chapter! I look forward to your future updates!

K chapter 17 . 2/16/2014
I liked the end...shit just got real for Carlos, especially the, "Instead, he stood with the wariness and fearfulness of a boy who has yet to choose a code to live by." I wouldn't be surprised if you killed him off, as sad and tragic as that would be, with all the mayhem that has gone on in this story I really don't know who is safe anymore. Can't wait for the next chapter!
SalemXYZ chapter 17 . 2/5/2014
I'm glad to see this story back in action. It doesn't feel right without me rambling on TBK chapter at least once a month lol I'm feeling a little rusty but hopefully I've gone over the major points.

Technically this is Esme's first scene in the story since the interlude, but her character is still recognizable without knowledge of the journal entries. Of course, as you three stated, it's better to read the entries so the puzzle pieces are put together and it's easier to enjoy the content knowing what led up to the current predicament. Anyway, I'm glad to see Esme is recovering well. While her ability to dance again is still up to debate, at least she's regaining her ability to walk. Life and death really is only separated by a thin line, a very thin one. Even with mental training, it's difficult to prepare a person for what Esme had gone through. If I remember correctly, those who accompanied her in the journal were all civilians like her, engineers, miners and so on. That's another ugly facet of war, that whether those higher-ups planned it or not, the civilians will always get involved no matter what and, usually, they're the first to pay the ultimate price.

Carlos is an interesting character and one of the few males to have an important role. If I have to put him on a pedestal, I'd say right now he's as important as Kalti is for Kura's group, and Maurice is for Clarice's group. While the other two's involvement would end, or pause in Kalti's case (the cameo was nice), once the group moves on, Carlos is set to have more appearances to come. His position is also much heavier than it seems. If we really separate Fenrisyr in three, Carlos is the 'crowned prince' of the Dogs, the equivalent of Malik. Of course I might be exaggerating since we have yet to see enough of the Wolves, but as far as I can see, the Dogs have more influences to the species we're already familiar with - the Foxes, those in the Coastal Cities, and most likely the species who live in Kaltrea, Middleport and so on. The Wolves only seem like an intangible authority figure, while their actual interaction seem to be with other yet-to-be-revealed species.

I'm getting off track lol. Overall, I look forward to see how Carlos' character is developed. He is relatable yet he's not perfect, which is easier for readers to accept him. We'll just need more informal situations for him to drop his prince mask so we can see the real person beneath. Maybe that would allow Esme to talk to him easier, and vice versa. I don't think they've realized their feelings yet. Carlos seems like the type to deny it further when friends (such as Hideki) teases him about it lol

Back to Esme. I don't know if I said this before (lol I must have), but her perspective is appreciated on the grand scheme of things. A civilian who's not involved, yet unlike Rui, she's not a fighter, and unlike Nita, she doesn't have a history that directly ties her to the war other than the fact she's a Fenrisyran citizen, like many other people. Her inner conflict is very human and well-written, really shows the effects of survivor's guilt. She chose the path that "she'd least regret", I love the process of how she got to this decision while interacting with other characters, new and old. In particular, her growing bond with Heidi. Heidi could really be the mother Esme never had the chance to know, while Esme could be the daughter Heidi could have had (with Alfonso, even).

Heidi is still the level-headed, aloof tactician I remember, though now it's even more obvious that she's trying very hard to keep everything down, to compress all the stress she's accumulated. However, as seen here, eventually the pressure becomes too much, so she must let it out and breathe. It's nice to see characters like Hector and Alkira, especially the latter since I only remember her interacting with Nita before. We learn most about Alfonso here, and I'm alsointerested in knowing what happened to Elxius. A Sabertooth, Hector's younger brother, that's an important role too. Alfonso is likeable, a gentle spirit like his niece Elaine. It doesn't seem like Heidi ever noticed his feelings for her, but considering that they grew up together like siblings… at least, I feel that she noticed in that last moment together and perhaps would reciprocate it eventually. Reality is cruel though and it just never came to be. I wonder if Esme would learn more personal stuff about Heidi, since at the moment Heidi seems to know a lot more about her than the other way around. On a side note, I especially like this line "she was still a mortal, mother, wife and friend" when Heidi was talking about Ala.

Now, Foxes. It's safe to assume that Sui is related to Rui, not just a distant relative but maybe a cousin because of their similar name. Sui and Kano's quest of finding the lost samurais must have something to do with the ones Yutsu faced before. The samurais sound like they're looking for the Kyuubi too, and not for a good reason. I want Rui and Kura to meet these two (as well as Nita reuniting with Kano again), but it doesn't seem like the meeting would turn out well. In one way or another, any one of the main four have something to do with these two Foxes. It's also implied that the Kurama Clan has some sort of power over the Norinagas, though it's difficult to imagine Kura having any authority over Rui lol

Irrelevant, but I wonder what would happen if Mona were to meet Kachina, or Mani lol They could either get along very well or…, well, not lol For sure I know Mona wouldn't be fond of Clarice's tail. Also, it seems like I was wrong about Hideki. If he had anything to do with the ambush, he wouldn't have sent the two Foxes to help out Esme. While it could just be a personal favor for Carlos to protect Esme, his friend Hachi perished so that erased my doubts.

In future CC chapters, I'll just raise my eyebrow whenever Elaine denies being a royalty again. Her grandfather certainly has the disposition fitting of an Archiduc. I couldn't say much the first time he appeared in the Symvolo meeting, but here he seems like a fair ruler respected by his peers and subjects. It's also easy to imagine him as a doting father and grandfather. What happened to his wife/ Elaine's grandmother? I don't think it's mentioned anywhere unless I've missed it. Anyway, as a father who lost his son in the previous war, Alcazar must have mixed feelings when he sees Huritt standing with Kalti, and Diego's treatment of Carlos. His parting words to Heidi certainly makes sense.

Diego's bitterness and aggression are to be expected given what happened, though his aloofness to his son seems odd as he is all that's left of his wife. Of course there might be something more personal at work here, or Diego has never been a caring person to begin with and his wife's death just killed whatever's left of his ability to connect with people. The other Dogs seem neutral, or even pleased at the possibility of working with the Wolves, so maybe Diego's grudge has something to do with the Wolves.

lol long ramble session, everything's all over the place, as usual. Anyway, I look forward to more TBK, especially the battle scene.

Notable things: type-0 (special bomb that might even the playing field with Tyradum's technological might); Norinaga Clan (Fennecs; ninjas?); Kurama Clan (a ruling clan?); Sergei Kovalchuk (Borzoi Sidonian general who's worked with Heidi in the past war)
SalemXYZ chapter 16 . 11/24/2013
Arc ender, the prelude arc to the storm (or blizzard lol) in the last arc of book2. Quite a few things happened here so I'll just jot down my thoughts scene by scene.

At first glance, Rui and Yutsu's current journey has nothing to do with the wars brewing around the world, as their trip is mostly personal. However, the fact that Rowena, another Mytho with overwhelming power, is in the Tyradum military, certainly will make the two women rethink their options. It's one thing to stay away from Kura's Rebellion, but another to flee from antagonists who seek after Rui based on the fact that she's the Kyuubi. From what I can make of available information, Rowena is the second Mytho that Rui has met, and the first time a Mytho is after her Kyuubi identity (since the pursuers in the past sounded like normal Foxes).

Rowena is overpowered. While the powers of high-ranked Canines and Felines and even the Insects of Lemuria aren't shown yet, it's safe to assume that Rowena is unrivalled in power. Her control over wind makes the bombing of Hodous seem like a child's play. So, like Rui said, I don't know what her agenda could be. She could easily kill them all, as shown with those gouging wind blades, but she didn't and only left. From what the Avian said, I can only speculate that she wants to find a fellow Mytho who is as strong but preferably stronger than her. Maybe she feels guilty about being in Tyradum's military in spite of being an Avian. Maybe she caused her nation's fall and wants someone capable of ending her life? After this encounter, for sure Rui has no choice but to fully embrace the Kyuubi/magical side she has shunned for so long. Yutsu, who had once protected her mate from pursuers, now has a renewed purpose of fighting to protect her loved ones even if if means she has to get involved in the Rebellion.

Kura's scene is done in flashbacks so I was just as confused as she was at first, though unlike her, I thought the blizzard was caused by Rowena's powers. It makes sense too, since it's explained that the weather was just fine and the blizzard appeared out of nowhere, and the locals are baffled at the weather abnormality too.

For some reason, I still don't trust the Wolves. They look like they're siding with Kura's cause at the moment, but I can sense that both Mani and Lyra still have ulterior motives. And their support of Kura depends on whether or not they get this said unknown objective fulfilled. From the discussion (and later the Symvolo meeting), I feel that just by having the three Canine races work together isn't enough to fight Tyradum, since most of Tyradum's power isn't revealed yet while the two revealed powerhouses, Rowena and Odessa, are devastating enough. And let's not forget the airship in Webgate, and those assassins who almost succeeded in killing our main characters. They may be dead now, but I'm sure there are more enemies like them at Webgate.

Mani's invisible sword range though, makes me wonder that it's possible for non Mythos to combat one. Like Kura, I'm not surprised that Mani's the Alpha female, since her sons are introduced and she's so comfortable around Lyra the Beta, meaning she must be more than it seems. Still, it's nice to fully take in the presence of … say, an ally boss character. Kachina and Ala and Tal are powerhouses too but as a reader, I feel too familiar with them to put them on the same pedestal as Tyr Ruryk, the ultimate obstacle Kura must overcome. Mani, along with perhaps Alcazar, and then the other Wolf Alphas, would be the opposing forces to the Tyr. The fact that Lyra is a blacksmith has a deeper meaning now because the weapons she created might have extra effects, or I even dare say magic. I vaguely remember the Elder saying that everyone has magic and it's just the ability to tap in the said power differentiates in individuals. I might have to reread to check on that.

While it's expected that Kura and Nita would survive the blizzard, I'm interested in the how. Did Rowena really leave? Did she maybe sense the power in Kura's Bell, and is waiting for it to awake? Or maybe waiting to see what Nita's powers are like? Nita's affinity is Earth, so maybe she could summon some form of protection. Though really, Rui's power is most needed in this kind of weather. There are too many possibilities so I'll just stop rambling lol.

It'll be interesting to see how Kura and Nita's relationship will affect the group dynamic from now on. Rui and Yutsu's relationship is established before the story starts (though we have yet to see the full story), while Kura and Nita's developed as we go along so in a way, I feel … satisfied to see it becoming canon? I got to say though, I actually didn't expect their mutual feelings to be known to each other yet. Usually in-plot relationships don't bear fruit until the very end, so I'm glad that we'll actually be able to see the stage beyond this supposed 'end'. Maybe that's what I enjoy about Rui and Yutsu's, that we're shown the up and downs instead of the assumed 'happily ever after' when a romantic relationship is established.

Last scene. I remember in Mary's interlude we're shown the state in Vertalis after the Republic Fall, after the Felines' invasion. Now here, Salvatorre's words and mannerism only showed how much worse Vertalis has become since then. Samaria is still a mysterious nation, though it's worrisome to see such good relationship between Tyradum, Samaria and Vertalis. Lemuria alone may be able to rival Tyradum, but certainly not all three. Lei Yi may have to change her neutral stance to help the Canines. True, I don't see her wanting to get involved, especially because of the bad blood between the two countries, but she doesn't have any fondness for the other three anyway. I remember Hector got Lei Yi to help him out once, so that's an accomplishment already - a feat Kura must do. Maybe that's where her Hybrid blood comes in handy. She represents both Fenrisyr (technically Yasumaro) and Lemuria.

Ruryk doesn't seem like someone who cares about his offspring, but we have yet to see him interact with his two favorite daughters so it's still reasonable to see why he's motivated to avenge Anne. I don't think the name Cassander was ever mentioned before, but it's hinted here that he was assassinated in the past by (supposedly) Fenrisyrans or perhaps even the Bears. Nations aren't black and white after all, so it's still reasonable that some radical Bears, like how the Balkans were the extreme radicals of Canines, had killed the (favorite?) prince. The last few lines make me feel certain that Tyradum has something to do with the non-weather abnormalities that Mani enumerated of the White Capital.

On a side note, I'm excited to see how feared and revered the Insects are even to a seemingly invincible ruler like Ruryk. The power of full-blooded Lemurian Insect is something I'd love to see in combat. I would place them a step just below an elemental Mytho if the swarm is this feared. Also, side note #2, I'm glad to see that there are Komodo Dragons in this story lol.

In conclusion, Kura has many trials ahead of her, but that's what arc4 will be about, won't it? Lol it's been 1.5 Book and 2 CC arcs already, but I feel like the story just started. Definitely looking forward to the concluding arc of Book2.

Notable things: Silva Fenrisulfr (current Grey alpha); Rafe Kraar (current Sable alpha); Varg Jaaqpait (current white alpha); Rolfe Kraar (former Sable Alpha); Greg Mackenzie (Rottweiler in Bismarck, Ragnur's friend); Aukanec (the White's capital, which I'm guessing are Arctic Wolves); The Nest in Portland (formerly an Avian property, now used to host important events like the Symvolo meeting); Samaria and Vertalis have good relations with Tyradum; Cassander (a deceased Tyradum prince)
Guest chapter 16 . 11/23/2013
Damn that Tyr though -.-
SalemXYZ chapter 15 . 11/9/2013
Finally had time to write a proper review, even though I read it a day after it was uploaded. Things have been crazy but I digress. I skimmed the chapter again to jog my memory lol So, cliffhangers on both end and both could be interpreted as either good or bad.

First on Kura's side. This is the the first time we see an overview of how a Canine environment is like. The bay cities are too influenced by the Felines and the Plains are too open and have very little buildings, while so far we've only been at the outskirts of Sidonia for the Dogs. Yet, in spite of the details Kura noticed of Lupa, this Wolf capital is still similar to Kaltrea. Sure there are differences, and seemingly lack of racism (which I'll talk about later), the Canine and Feline cities still really resemble each other even though they're supposed to be archenemies, the opposites, and should be completely different. But they're not, so I can already see the gears turning in Kura's head. Unlike the Balkans, she doesn't want to kill every single Feline, so this noted similarity further strengthens her belief that not every Tyradum citizen is 'evil'.

The discrimination still exists amongst the Wolves. There's the water and oil compatibility of Wolves and Dogs, but the Wolves seem to be scornful of Insect descents too, as shown through the two young Pups. Perhaps the adults have it too, just that they hide it well. I don't recall a major Insect character yet (other than the two Roach Hybrids of our main cast, and they don't count), so I don't know if this is mutual or not, though it most likely is due to the history. I do remember somewhere that Hector once got these two races to work together, so maybe this is something Kura must do to truly succeed her father-figure and advance her Rebellion plans.

Fenris, the much-revered figure for all the Fenrisyran Canines. I can't say what his presence would do to the story, but I speculate it may be something similar to how Ginka guides Rui. The bell appears to be associated with Fenris too, so at least we'll continue to see the magical side of this plot even in this renewed path to reorganize Kura's rebellion.

I like the fact Lyra is a blacksmith. There are many possibilities one can do with a blacksmith, and maybe Kura might get a proper weapon at last. Or Nita, considering the Wolves use poleaxes and she uses a spear. I can't say much for Lyra or Mani yet. On one hand, they seem fond of Nita and the Bears, but it doesn't mean this friendliness extends to Kura, racism aside. Lyra doesn't seem fond of Hector for some reason either. I would guess that, at the very least, Lyra would hear whatever Kura has to say, but whether she finishes unscathed or if her words would reach the Wolves is a different story.

On a side note, Nita is criminally cute in this chapter lol might be because she's a young girl in love. And Kura seems to have finally realized that.

Now, Yutsu's side. In spite of the revelations she had in Ti26, she seems lost as to where her place in the whole scheme of things. Rui is very much against the Rebellion, and that's her stance, while Yutsu is still tittering between the pros and cons. I would say her heart's with Kura, but the realistic side of her isn't, especially after all the bloodbaths she's overcome and caused. Also, she's been a protector on their journey so far, but now that she's the dependent one, she doesn't know how to react and what to do. While I have no doubt that she trusts Rui and doesn't mind depending on her mate, she must prefer being the protector instead since she hates feeling helpless. It's especially understandable now that we know a lot of her past, except the convoluted segment where she's killed many. No gory details needed, but I have a feeling her past sins would catch up to her sooner or later. At least, it hints here that Joseph's death might be the reason why she left Madame Shrew.

How old is Ragnur? 22, 23? Either way I'm surprised that he's already married and expecting children, since the first time he appeared, in CC, he was only an adolescent, a temporary lecturer for Elaine's class. Though surprising, I like the fact that his wife is a Reindeer (in fact the girl whose life he's helped, according to my old reviews lol), so this means their child would be a Hybrid. Other than our main characters, I don't recall seeing a named one, so this puts an interesting spin on things. It'll also be interesting to see how Yutsu reacts to a city full of Hares, her brethren, and maybe eventually a bunny-Hyrbid kid like her.

Because of the pictures and the fact Rowena Silverwing is the only named Avian (other than Alkira), I would say it's her at the end of the scene. Now, back to what I said in the beginning of the review - this could go either way. The whole set-up her introduction is probably meant to make her seem antagonistic, which is reasonable since she's from the Tyradum army, the smile at the end might not be as chilling as it looks. She, the Admiral of the Air Force, flew all the way up here to find the Kyuubi? Certainly, if the Kyuubi is powerful, this would require her direct attention since she's a Mytho as well. However, she extinguished the campfire without any of them noticing her presence, meaning she could have just killed them if her purpose is to exterminate a possible rival Mytho. So I'll wait and see what her real intention is. It could still be either harmful or beneficial to Rui, but at least I'm sure Rowena doesn't want her immediate death. Still intrigued why an Avian, like her is doing in her supposed enemy's army, as an Admiral too. It's like Nita being a Tyradum general too. Speaking of Nita, I wonder if her being a Mytho would interest Rowena as well.

Anyway, looking forward to next chapter as always.

Notable things: Lycan Castle (Alpha, Beta Sable's residence); Randal, Ulric, Rollo (Mani's sons); Rowena Silverwing (Mytho who can control wind); Shira Krasami (Ragnur's Reindeer Wife)
SalemXYZ chapter 14 . 10/16/2013
Here it is, the aftermath of Kura's decision the previous chapter. Since this chapter is clearly divided to two, that's how I'll review it as well.

Nita, in spite of the optimistic and fairly positive end to her scene, took a much heavier decision than it appeared. Unlike Kura who already lost everything regarding the Rebellion or what was left of it, Nita still has a life on the Plains. She has family-like friends who care for her, and a community she could thrive in (disregarding the few racial villages). The brief scene with Lokni also shows us how she is viewed from the Blackhawk Tribe, and how much her help is appreciated in her homeland.

Like Kura said, she is more needed here if we look at the big picture. However, like Lokni said, she must choose the path she'll least regret.

And, in Nita's case, I agree she's picked the 'correct' one. I use the term 'correct' loosely because there really isn't right or wrong as Nita had pondered over. For her, after everything that's happened, she's found her place and that is to be there for Sakura.

On the other hand, Rui's place with Sakura takes a complete different turn. Whereas she was there for her charge before, she's decided she had enough or rather, she finally allowed her dissent to erupt, literally too. I can't say I blame her for being so angry. In fact, I'm fully with her on this if I were to put myself in her shoes because from the beginning of the story until now, she had never wanted part in this Rebellion, but obligations and responsibility 'forced' her to do so (another term Nita had pondered over). No one could blame Rui now that she decides to just leave. Kura left without even saying anything after all.

This is the tricky part though, because I would do the same thing as Kura did if I put myself in her place. In order to pursue the Rebellion while keeping her loved ones out of danger, I would leave in a way that would prevent them from chasing after me as well, at the cost of my bond with these said loved ones. That's the theme of this chapter, I think - shades of grey. Each character has decided on something that's 'right' for them, which makes the other party 'wrong' or at least in Rui's case. Kura, after all, also thinks it's 'right' that Rui and Yutsu don't get caught up in what -she- believes is correct, which is the Rebellion. However, Rui believes what Sakura does is wrong and detrimental to the point that she actually wants to hurt and kill her former charge. That's also understandable since any option, no matter how terrible it is, sounds tempting when a person is filled with anger lol

That said, this is just me but her rage seems to be over the top because of those meditation sessions which should have helped appease that. Yes, the Elder's words don't make sense to her and meditation itself seems like a waste of time yet in that brief narration in the beginning of the scene, I would even dare say she enjoyed 'being immersed with nature', as Nita would have put it. I don't know, maybe this is to show that in spite of the meditations, anger cannot be easily extinguished?

Maybe once she's calmed down, she'd think differently, and by that I don't mean to forgo her anger. The parental figure in her still reserves the right to discipline Kura for leaving unannounced. After that though, I'm not sure where they can go from there. Having the two Foxes around each other just doesn't work. If Rui's around Kura, Kura can never grow up and become an independent adult. If Kura's around Rui, then Rui can never move on with her life. In each case, any compromise would cause reluctance and other negative emotions to build up and eventually erase any good bond they once had, which I really don't want to see considering everything they've gone through. I remember Rui and Kura's bond being the first to be fully shown to readers as well as being the first characters to get POVs. They would need a proper conversation later for either of them to get closure.

The political issues and war seem to have taken a back seat and would probably continue to be for arc3, since I believe the shift in character growth and the dynamic in their relationship is the main point. Kura regained her confidence and became more mature; Nita found her niche and possibly acknowledged her romantic feelings for Kura; Yutsu let go her darkness (at least in Ti26) and was willing to look to the light again; and Rui gave in to her darkness but acknowledged her role as a Mytho and thus her connection to Nita the Spirit Bear. The railroad issue, which had been mentioned and hinted before, presents the most viable option the northern half of Fenrisyr has in combating Webgate. After all, it doesn't matter how powerful the Wolves are if they have no means in transporting their manpower and resources to the battles. Roald, the first introduced Wolf character, seems like a nice sort of fellow who listens to reason instead of being blinded by prejudice like Balkans were. There is nothing more frustrating than speaking to a biased, condescending person, so I'm glad to see he doesn't sound like one.

I'm really curious how the story's going to go. Keep up the good work.

Notable things: Ragnur Dalquest, a Hare (first shown in Elaine's flashback as a prof in her school); Roald Wargson (beta of Sables, overseer of Sonoron)
K chapter 14 . 10/16/2013
All I can say is: dayum.

One of my favorite aspects of storytelling is characterization and emotions, and this chapter was quite the emotional rollercoaster. The interaction between Sakura and Nita is very sweet and just makes you feel warm inside knowing how they feel towards one another and seeing it finally out.

Love how Yutsu now values her life and takes a bit more responisbility before acting and such, and that really shows how everything up to this point has changed her mindset a little from reckless to careful. But shit, I didn't expect Rui to have the dark thoughts and emotions towards Sakura when she found out that she left (mainly that "strangling" part). Holy eff, that is intense and not what I expected from her character whatsoever, but in ways, I can see why she feels that way and why it can be legitimate characterization. To feel like your being used after busting your ass to take care of someone or look out for them (to the point of near death experiences) and not getting any consideration of what that even means in return would probably make me go ape shit crazy too. I can totally relate to the "being used" part, it really does suck to get taken advantage of (especially kindness and sincerity). But man, to consider yourself like a parent to the one being you care for...only to have said child abandon you with their recklessness (which is not seen that way in Sakura's eyes), that burns...(literally for Rui lol).
I love the reasoning between Rui and Yutsu as well. While Rui is pissed beyond all reason, Yutsu can understand and sees what Sakura was thinking. This section seriously gives me goosebumps because it's so deep underneath the surface. I can't wait until the confrontation between Rui and Sakura, that's going to be one scary as shit scene in my opinion. If I were Sakura, I'd be scared of ever facing that woman again...

Nice job with the update! I think this has become one of my favorite chapters so far! I loved the emotions and thoughts driving the depths of each character in this chapter! Keep it up!
SalemXYZ chapter 13 . 9/15/2013
Ah TBK. It's been a while, even longer for Yutsu. I actually read this when it was uploaded but I wasn't be able to write a proper review then.

I'm sure readers of this story have been wondering about Yutsu's past for a while, and this chapter is definitely an eye-opener. It's heartbreaking to read her young self while knowing what kind of person she would become. A timid girl who disliked alcohol and leaving the comforts of her home to go traveling? It was inconceivable for her then. Of all the characters, she was the only with the happiest and most complete family then. Even Elaine wasn't able to grow up on her Fenrisyr homeland and she had lost her uncle to the war. In spite of her hybrid blood, she had everything.

Then everything was brutally ripped away from her. Charlotte, while never stated to have died, I'd imagine it would be difficult and even if she somehow survived, it would be impossible for her to remain the same bubbly girl she had been. Yutsu changed drastically so she would too, and I'm not sure if I want the two sisters to meet again.

Samurais. That term has appeared a few times, but we won't be able to see what roles they'd play. On one hand they're antagonistic to Rui and Yutsu, but they were mentioned fondly in Nita's. It may seem like their involvement on Fenrisyr is over, but that's not the case at all. I won't comment much on the teaser dialogues, though it's fun to see the lines with Esme and think "I know where that's from" lol I think it's the only line from scenes we've read (other than the carrot martini). The short dialogues are disorientating but in an effective way. Chaotic but meaningful as we see glimpses of her descent into the professional killer she is today.

I had to look back on my previous reviews to remember who Larry was. Since I just read Mary's interlude not too long ago, I still remember Baird and after this, I can conclude Larry, Joseph and Baird were the citizens of the Republic who happened to stumble upon the ruins of the Feline invasion. The exact events after Yutsu was found are still vague, but I can grasp a direction of her traveling until meeting Rui. It sounds like she hasn't joined the Kazan Guild before she left Esme, so exactly what Yutsu did on Fenrisyr that makes her so fearful of sharing with Rui and Kura might be bigger/worse than I expected. However, that's also what makes the ending bit with Nita cute. Yutsu was probably melting inside lol

Overall, Yutsu's many contradictions is probably why she's so dynamic, and the memory segments of Shirley combined with what readers already know about the bounty hunter really make one appreciate her character. It's enjoyable to read her thoughts on the story so far, especially tidbits of her past that makes her who she is today. Normally I'm against copy-pasting certain lines from the chapter but I feel I have to mention this as my favorite because it's powerful the way it's written:

"What's your name, then?"
She felt her lips curve as something wet slid down her cheeks. "Yutsu. Call me Yutsu."
Because Shirley was dead.
Now, the second half also has a lot of new information that paves the direction of arc3. In spite of arc1 and arc2, Fenrisyran culture is still largely unexplored since the cast had more pressing matters then. Kura and the readers are finally shown how things are like in the Plains and how these Chiefs handle political issues and their response to Hodous.

She is also given an option here. She could have chosen to stay on the Plains to stay with the adults and eventually leaving for a new place so she can settle down as a normal civilian at last. However, in spite of what's happened, I never expect her to choose such option and I'm glad to see that she didn't. This is the Kura we're familiar with. While I don't see her progressing with her spiritual strength any time soon, at least she's regained her sense of focus and is able to be that hopeful girl that Hector called his successor. Whatever obstacles she may face in the future, her persistent mind would aid her instead of further confusing her.

Although, I must admit that I didn't foresee her decision to go by herself. I thought she would try to convince the others again. While the end is a positive change for Kura, the other three definitely would not be happy about her decision once poor messenger Kalti delivers the news. Especially Yutsu, who almost died. However, judging by her characterization this chapter, I don't see her condemning Kura for her decision either. Angry, but still understanding. It's Rui and Nita who would have a hard time. I suspect they would go after Kura but it'll be difficult given that Yutsu can't even move around much, let alone travel, and Nita just returned home weeks ago.

In conclusion, Yutsu and Kura have a lot of revelations this chapter that make them accept their current selves even though they used to hate them (I suppose that's where the chapter title came from). This is only the beginning, and I look forward to the rest of arc3.

Notable things: Zared Teresia (his mercenaries destroyed Millingshire, Yutsu's hometown, and her nemesis); refer to deviantart upload of the Plains Chiefs
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