I've been kind of stuck on this chapter and I keep re-writing this comment. So I'm just going to be straight with you and hope it doesn't come off too harsh.
The kids are feeling like an afterthought. They seem to pop-up randomly and I'm not sure what their purpose is anymore. All I'm sure of is that they aren't getting that bedtime story.
I don't understand the purpose of Kagome meeting the family and the challenge. It feels really out of place, when I got to that part I almost thought I was reading the wrong fic. It just didn't seem to fit.
Coming back to this fandom after a long absence, the changes in fanon sometimes shocks me (especially since I remember reading many of the fics that birthed certain tropes in this fandom while they were still in progress). And the fandom has changed a lot too. I blame it mostly on a number of mistranslations combined with the influx of English dub fans that have never read the manga (or anything not translated by VIZ for that matter). It makes some things seem really wrong to me, but I'm very good at suspending disbelief, especially for well-written fics. But still, fanon has really overwhelmed this fandom and it is even more acute in this pairing.
So where am I going with all this... what happens in this pairing is that after a while, readers expect certain things to happen and when they don't they get mad or upset. Then what happens is that authors start writing towards those expectations and the fanon is reinforced, thus continuing a vicious cycle that can make writing in this pairing feel stale.
For the most part, you have impressively and refreshingly, avoided this trap. It's one of the many reasons why I like this story so much (you've managed this in Convivial also, btw, but more on that another time). I get what you're doing with it, keeping the pacing realistic, and not rushing or forcing certain developments. So when I say that part of this chapter feels out of place, I mean that it feels like you stumbled a little into that trap. It's the kind of scene that can feel obligatory in this fandom. It's not a fall into the pit by any means, I think you just got a little sidetracked.
So that was a really long explanation trying to explain something relatively simple... yeah, I need to work on that...
Wow... Yuugao... wow... she went there...
So... Yuugao and Shinzuru... hmm... hmm...
Oh my god! This chapter! I LOVE when authors do this, you are so awesome. I had to go back and find the quote, it's chapter 8 when they just get Miroku back and Sango is snapping at Kagome and Sesshoumaru tells her, "It is not unusual for one to keep everyone away from a fallen mate, even if it is detrimental." That is SO what he's doing now. I love when stuff comes back around like that! Okay, I'll stop fangirling now.
Blue fire? Aosagibi? Ao-sagi-bi. Blue heron fire... lol I get it. Clever.
I know there wasn't a treaty with Touran, but I would think he would have some consequences for her too. Shunran really seemed to be stalling him. It seems implausible that she wouldn't be in on it also.
Everything that night was the spirit... hmm... the way he said that... seems more like he didn't want to believe it was all the spirit...
Wow... ok wow... this chapter... there is Stuff in this chapter, isn't there? It has me all excited but probably not for the reasons you'd think. Yuugao... there is Yuugao Stuff here. First the obvious, I was sure she was testing Kagome in the spar earlier, but that bit about the trial... she wants to see if she would pass... but does that mean what I think? And that person that did not attempt the trial... I have a vague suspicion about that, but I think I'm going to keep it to myself for now so I don't make a fool of myself if I'm wrong...
Now, the part that REALLY intrigues me... that part about, "Do not forget who and what I am, and what I represent." I really want to know what THAT means. I cannot read this fic fast enough!
Was it a draw? Didn't Kagome kinda cheat pulling that knife? Yuugao said no weapons, but I think I see what she's doing here.
Enenra... wonder what exactly is going through Sesshoumaru's head right now. And the kids all upset, aww!
Oh... the painting... paintings... oh... I don't have photoshop anymore... hm... *thinks*
So Yuugao... we see so little of her in the manga or anime and yet it's like you nailed her. Your characterization of her is amazing.
So how DID he turn his hand into a heating pad? Do I even want to know?
That was a great chapter. I loved the playfulness. Glad to see Sango is finally coming around.
Hm, sounds like you had to cut this chapter short. Well, not short, but it seems like something else was supposed to happen at the end there. I'm intensely curious to know if so and what.
Wow... Sango has cracked...
(Chapter 42) - Sun 29 Jul 2012
I KNEW IT! From the moment you introduced Nanmei and pointed out the same eyes as Kagome I knew they had to be related. I even wanted to scream at them during the scenes in hell because I knew she already had youkai blood in her, Resshin's. And how utterly ironic that their specific line created a miko, especially considering what happened to the clan. Aside from that, I have spent the majority of my free time these past few days reading through this entire story and damn is it good. I hate starting stories which have yet to be completed because I'm always afraid the authors won't finish them, but I seriously love this fic and cannot wait to read what's going to happen next.
Well that was awkward. Interesting, that bit about them mixing their blood in her core and something growing...
I loved Shippou's comment at the end there! Seems he and Rin are the only ones with any insight there...
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