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10/9/23 - Ace of Hearts - Everlasting Sunset Sub 10, 4161 words (LV)

Ace of Hearts

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Hi everyone!
I rearranged which scenes fall into which chapters, so this is actually the 2nd to last submission of part 1. Since we're moving into the climax of this arc, I'm especially curious to see how everything lands.
Thanks as always for your feedback! :)
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Definitely an end to the first part! There's a lot of things happening here, but I'm not sure all of them really got set up. The bit at the beginning with L is especially confusing. I'm not sure what the plan is there or why a princess would be involved.
I think a few more hints on the mysterious voice and on A's abilities might help as well to make this more surprising yet inevitable, rather than just surprising.

Thoughts while reading:
Pg 1: I'm not sure what preserving just the memory of the soldiers will do?

pg 1: "when she passed people in town"
--I still don't think we've gotten a good description of where the town is compared to the shore where the defenders are. Sounds like it's very close if she can take a morning run from the town and be there.

pg 1: Not sure what's going on here with the plan. It's putting L in danger evidently, but isn't she the royal heir and really bad person to put into danger?

pg 2: "You think we’re poorly treated now?"
--L is poorly treated? Confused.

pg 2: I'm not sure what's happening through here at all. She got stats on the deserters last chapter, right? Is that what they're working off of? Very confused.

pg 3: "No sign of them yet"
--this is the deserters, right?

pg3 : " they might not have an excuse to go as hard on us. Which means we might get better lives our next reincarnation.”
--Wait, do the ministers control the reincarnation? I thought it just sort of happened.

pg 3: "If we convince the pro-soldier ministers that we’re willing to die for them, it will be better for us in the long run.”
-- I feel like I'm missing something between the last chapter and this one.

pg 5: They're going on a bunch about how they're all going to die and we don't even know what the plan is. I think we need a little more on what attack they're expecting and why the soldiers all think they're going to die.

pg 6: “It’s go time.”
--Maybe a little more about what the heck the mysterious voice is whispering in her head?

pg 8: We just go straight into fighting, but it's a little hazy for me still. I still don't really know why our heroes are doomed and what they would need to do to succeed.

pg 10: This weird voice in her head seems like a bit of a deus ex machina. Have we had any hint of it before? 

pg 15: So there's a lot going on here suddenly. I think a little more buildup before this point might help with hints about the mysterious voice, and what their plan is, and what weapons A uses. They all come in at key moments here but I'm not sure they're built up enough to really show what's happening.

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As I read:

“You know they have a minister on their side…” Wait. Did we, in fact, know that? “They” in this case is the deserters, right?

P2 “The deserters could show up at any time, right?” But A was here for an extracurricular conversation with L, not manning the console or anything like that. Why the urgency here? (And again I have to wonder, who is monitoring for attacks when A is not on the clock?)

p4 “Please… don’t worry about me.” Actually, I’ve been wondering: should we be worried about A? That is, is she in physical danger from this attack?

P5 “You’re exhausting, L.” lol.

“The mystery person was speaking directly into her mind.” Is… is this not a big deal? Because it seems like it should be a big deal.

P6 “Scan the ocean if you do not believe me.” Maybe it’s because I don’t fully know how the tech works, but it seems to me that it’s being vastly underutilized. The addition of the mystery person (and possibly mystery abilities?) is a fun development, but shouldn’t the console be able to, I don’t know, set an alarm or something for this kind of situation?

P10 “his eyes flashed open…” Wait, didn’t his helmet just explode? I guess contact with the ocean isn’t instantly fatal and he somehow avoided sucking in a lungful of air/psionic debris?

“Is he the same person you knew?” Suspicious mystery voice aside, the implication here is a fun twist!

I like where this is going, but is A close enough to plausibly intervene in this combat? Also, if she was especially effective as a soldier—which this chapter seems to be driving at—it might be worth setting that up in advance. I think there would be lots of opportunities for A to think wistfully back to her abilities as a soldier and wish she could train the team up to be that effective, etc. Might also help to drive home the inevitability of the decision she makes.

P12 “You were hiding this the whole time?” Confused. A made a point of showing her soldier abilities to P some time ago.

P13 “Z sighed.” A seems to get what she wants rather easily here. Given what happens below, maybe worth hanging a lantern on?

Overall: My thoughts are pretty similar to @Mandamon's in terms of things needing more setup before we get to this point. Once that’s in place, I think the chapter itself will work great. Plot is progressing well and there are some fun twists in this chapter. My only question is around the mystery redacted person from B’s list in the last chapter; that thread seems to have been completely lost here.

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