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for Through The Eyes Of An Assassin

1/2/2020 c10 Ryoji Mochizuki
huh.
10/24/2018 c10 FireMatrix
This is bloody amazing and deserves way more attention then what it’s getting. Great job with the story mate, keep it up.
9/29/2018 c2 5Syndrias82
Damn, this is a gold mine of knowledge and it reads like a professional novel, props to you my dude
9/19/2018 c10 AuthorOfTheFall
I need more Ren centric fics in my life. I wait eagerly for the next installment
6/5/2018 c10 Bagrat
This was an incredible read.
5/28/2018 c2 midnightandmoon
And now, after way too long, another reviews! I’m sorry for the multi-month delay – my eyes had been bothering me to the point of disrupting my ability to keep them open, much less look at a screen and they pretty much organized a labor strike. I’m not quite a hundred percent yet, but the situation is much more manageable now so I should be back on track. I’m sorry for the delay.

I love the idea of Nora and Ren communicating through sign language. It allows Ren to talk more than he might otherwise be inclined to due to his personality, training, and circumstances. I liked Ren fighting with a jian since in this universe, he’s an assassin who likely has proficiency in an array of weapons. The more potential for indiscretion, the better. I loved how he took that blow from Neo to figure out her location. I loved him threatening the White Fang lieutenant. I loved seeing your take on Neo, especially how Neo is an alias. She’s an interesting introduction to fighting Huntsman for Ren – it looks like Ren has never fought anyone with a Semblance?

I loved your depiction of Nora a little less, but Nora was never my favorite character, she’s easy to reduce to an airhead, and my greater concerns about her really lie in Chapter 3. I was initially so thrown by Nora acting so carefree during a cargo hijacking by the White Fang that I had to rewatch the series to pay more attention to how Nora acts when in danger. A certain brazenness is what Nora is known for, but sometimes I feel the fandom exaggerates this (as fandoms tend to do with their characters). I feel the same way with fandom’s ready claims that canon Ren is “stoic” or unfailingly calm. He’s not so much stoic as he is quiet – Ren makes all sorts of facial expressions, he just doesn’t get a lot of dialogue.

Anyway, upon rewatch, Initiation probably provides the most information for how Nora would react in an unsimulated combat situation without the benefit of a Huntsman team and yes, she does react with no small amount of glee. That I was flummoxed that Nora would respond similarly to her passage to a new life being aborted by a terrorist group stems from my own musings on what the circumstances regarding her meeting Ren were. I think that said circumstances were Bad, Worse Than Canon, but I don’t really know that and I don’t know if they were traumatizing enough to affect her personality. I also don’t know what her original personality was, or even if it underwent a significant change at all.

Overall, a great chapter involving a lot of great action.

Grammar:

“I never knew how powerful a emotion regret could be.”
“a” should be “an” before words that begin with a vowel sound (a, e, i, o, u)

“your late arrival has been duly noted.”
“Your” should be capitalized as the first word in a sentence.

“quality shipments from the Schnee-Dust company”
“Schnee-Dust company” should be capitalized with no hyphen like “Schnee Dust Company”
You’ve already corrected yourself in later chapters.

“Not that I particularly cared about lady justice.”
“Lady Justice” should be capitalized as the name of an allegorical personification for justice.

“The White Fang members themselves almost never talked, although their coordination was impeccable like a pack of well trained predators.”
“well trained” is a compound modifier, so there should be a hyphen in between.

“I gave her my thumps up.”
Typo: “thumps” should be “thumbs”

“You don’t like ice-cream?”

“ice-cream” doesn’t become a descriptor or adjective for a noun upon hyphenation, so it’s not hyphenated like a compound modifier. No hyphen needed; ice cream is just the name of a kind of dessert.

“Some of them dropped to their knees and few of them even collapsed immediately.”
There should be an “a” before “few.”

“Nora’s actions alerted her, but all she did when the grenade flew at her was watching its descend and subsequent detonation with a bemused smile on her face.”
Some tense and diction issues. “Watching” should be “watch” and “descend” should be “descent.”

“A unique and purely individual manifestation of qi, jin and shen.”
Optional: Oxford comma between “jin” and “and”

“My blade flew forward, but instead of parrying her counter, I manipulated her rapier right towards my shoulder – and through it, and as the piece of metal buried itself into the upper part of my pectoral muscle, it gave me the guarantee that the hand holding that weapon was not made of smoke and mirrors.”

The use of an em dash in the middle of a rather long sentence confuses me. Em dashes are wonderful for setting off parenthetical info, connecting a list of potentially unconnected items to a clarifying clause, providing emphasis, or to denote sharp turns in thought. You’re using the em dash to emphasize that Ren is not just guiding the rapier’s trajectory, but forcing the blade into his shoulder to snuff out Neo’s location. I would edit this sentence by either adding another em dash to enclose the sentence fragment you want to draw attention to or by splitting the sentence in half. If you choose to keep the original sentence, replace the comma after “and throught it” with an em dash. If you choose to split the sentence into two sentences, replace the comma after “and through it” with a period and remove the “and” at the beginning of the following sentence.

“Taking that wicked chainsaw into account which he carried around like some kind of broad sword”
“broadsword” is one word with no spaces

“Nora, stand down. Its just a flesh wound.”
“its” should be “it’s” (contraction of “it is” instead of the possessive “its”)

“Grenade-launcher, fire dust.”
“grenade launcher” doesn’t have a hyphen

“I let myself being run through just so I could neutralize her Semblance and get a shot at actually killing her.”
“being” should be “be”

“One of his subordinates, a female stag-faunus tried to raise an objection, but he cut her down immediately.”
“stag faunus” doesn’t need a hyphen. “Stag-faunus” isn’t itself an adjective.

“You are obviously headed to Vale and I will be staying there, too - for the foreseeable future.”
Excellent use of the em dash! Except I think you’re using a regular hyphen. This has more to do with how to create em dashes and en dashes on your particular machine and less with grammar, but I get the feeling that you’re a perfectionist so this is just a heads up.

That’s all that I found noteworthy grammar-wise for this chapter, but I’ve been meaning to point out some other grammar choices for the fic overall:

Your title “Through the eye of an assassin” sounds a little more natural if “eye” were plural, unless that’s a deliberate choice for, say, plot or spoiler reasons. But it doesn’t sound like Ren has only one golden eye, so I don’t think that’s what you were going for. Otherwise, it is a little strange that you only capitalize the first word in the title instead of all of the words.

One other thing I find a little strange is the inconsistent use of contractions among characters. Contractions are pretty natural to a native speaker, so much so that not using them makes one sound formal and even stilted or stuffy. An absence of contractions, like an absence of slang, is something you’d associate with a non-native speaker. A great example of this in fiction is Aqualad from the Young Justice cartoon. That Ren doesn’t use contractions wouldn’t surprise me – he has a formal, reserved personality which doesn’t clash with the subtle drama of saying “cannot” or “however” over “can’t” or “but.” That Nora and Yang occasionally opt not to use contractions is surprising given their speech patterns. Of course, some words stand out more in their non-contracted forms than others. “It is” is much more cumbersome to say that “it’s.”

One more thing: I’ve made a TV Tropes page for this fic and have added it to the list of recommendations associated with RWBY. No idea if that will help with fic visibility, but it’ll help me keep track of plot and characterization details moving forward (aside from my own reviews). Feel free to take a look and correct anything (it’s still under construction) and invite other readers to edit as well.
2/4/2018 c10 midnightandmoon
Well that escalated quickly.

I was wondering what kind of business Senior would demand from Ren in exchange for his support, but suffice to say, serving as muscle to help him build his casino business, which itself is only a stepping stone to building a nuclear energy company to challenge the Schnee Dust Company as part of the grandmasters’ long-term goal of transitioning Remnant from Dust dependency didn’t cross my mind. This is an even more ambitious fic than I first anticipated. I love it!

Senior and Ren talk about the Forgotten Kingdom’s knowledge of “the old world,” Ren specifically references a “home planet,” and now nuclear power has been formally introduced to this universe, which leads me to believe that this fic can add “post-apocalypse” to its long list of genre influences. The fact that Dust is the equivalent of petroleum (or the new petroleum-analogue if Remnant is the secondary home of humanity following some cataclysm as implied) and the fact that the grandmasters fear the consequences of greater Remnant’s Dust dependency makes their continued pursuit of Nora a little more understandable. Ren went AWOL on them, so of course they’re interested in punishing him, but it hasn’t been too clear why the grandmasters would still be after Nora, an unassuming if unusually strong young woman. Well, if the grandmasters are worried about clean energy, then controlling someone whose Semblance is drawing strength from electricity can only be a boon. Nora can’t generate electricity on her own, but hey, Ozpin did say that Semblances can evolve.

“The likes of Fengchu have certain distinct characteristics.” I was wondering how you were going to fold Cinder into this story because she’s got third billing as a character following Ren and Nora in the tags. It seems that the similarly golden-eyed Cinder may also be a rogue agent of the Forgotten Kingdom? And if this Cinder is also working for Salem as in canon, then we are in for a hell of a ride.

I mean I could be wrong about Cinder being Fengchu–Fengchu could be an original character we haven’t met yet. But man, I shudder to think about a Cinder who hails from the Forgotten Kingdom and has Ren in her debt.

Senior is speechless when Ren tells him that he’s now a Huntsman-in-training at Beacon Academy. Since we’ve seen that he’s able to recover quickly when thrown, this is very telling indeed. Twenty years seems pretty recent for the Organization’s standing order of avoiding Beacon and Ozpin, but I don’t remember when Beacon was founded or if we were even told that information. It’s still unknown whether the grandmasters know who Ozpin really is, but given that the reason why the standing orders are in place is classified to the top brass indicates that they probably do.

It’s going to be interesting seeing how you interweave the hinted real world aspects of this AU with canon lore.

So Ren’s main task for Senior is to neutralize the three crime bosses. So far, it looks like Shiro and Aleina will be the tougher nuts to crack. Shiro’s an obvious threat, but Senior’s reticence about Aleina is intriguing. She either is more than just a sex workers’ union chairwoman turned spymaster or she’s in possession of some extremely sensitive information. Not especially time-sensitive though. Hmm. Ren also accepts his mission with little apprehension, Black Dragon Brotherhood excepted. Makes me wonder about what type of missions he usually got while still with the Organization. Was his status as a tiancai purely due to his skill at manipulating qi? Or did he also rack up some achievements that would speak for themselves regardless of method of completion?

Gah. I live for these little hints about the Organization. I also remain intensely curious about the circumstances surrounding Ren’s decision to abandon service to the Organization for protecting Nora. While telling Senior that he didn’t leave the Organization because he was no longer willing to follow its creeds isn’t confirmation that he still believes in them, I don’t think he’s given them up entirely.

Fengchu’s mission for Ren–if he chooses to accept it of course–is to assassinate Weiss Schnee, the heiress of the Schnee Dust Company. He must be a little fearful of Fengchu, but we get no sense of what he thinks of this task in Chapter 8. I imagine he’s perfectly fine with assassinating Weiss now, but that might change as JNPR and RWBY grow closer.

You said I’d hate you after this update, and I do, just a little. I’m mostly just dying of anticipation. We’re officially entering political/conspiracy/spy thriller territory. I’ve been getting James Bond vibes for a while, but this takes that to the next level.

I should also apologize for the late review. The grammar corrections do slow me down a bit, but last weekend and this past week were more eventful than usual. I’ll endeavor not to take a full week to review in the future.

Grammar:

I should clarify that the cases I list below are just things that stood out to me, but I’m not an expert on English grammar, just a native speaker. I try to be thorough since learning a language is always fraught with what seems like a never-ending stream of grammar exceptions and vernacular twists, but do tell me if I’m being overbearing. Also feel free to dispute my corrections.

Case in point, I noticed that you leave commas denoting the end of a clause outside of quotation marks, something I have only encountered in academic writing as an American. Double checking grammar rules led me to discover that this is typical of British English. So while I was surprised by your choice to leave commas outside quotation marks since you use American spellings, your punctuation wasn’t actually wrong. Indeed, you have yet to confuse me or disrupt my ability to engage with the text with a particular grammar mistake or choice.

I note that you now capitalize “Organization.” Good move! It’s probably not the actual name of the organization Ren used to serve, but the usage of “organization” is so synonymous with the name of the actual name of the organization that it gets elevated to proper name status. A good example from Harry Potter is You-Know-Who. The man once known as Tom Marvolo Riddle didn’t choose the moniker “You-Know-Who,” but wizards are so terrified of uttering his chosen name “Voldemort” that some exclusively say “You-Know-Who” to mean “Voldemort.” In any case, “You-Know-Who” is understood to mean “Voldemort,” just like “the Organization” is understood to reference the name of the actual organization. It’s a good idea to capitalize “grandmasters” for the same reasons.

“In the end, my little gambit paid of.”
“of” should be “off”
Pretty sure this is a typo.

“Despite my stub at the end of the seduction game,”
“stub” should be “snub”
Again, typo, especially since you used the right word last chapter.

“hard nosed White Rose”
“hard nosed” should have a hyphen in between since it’s two words that are functioning as a single adjective for Melanie. This grammar construct is known as a compound modifier, and the two words that create a compound modifier are linked by a hyphen to make it clear that they are essentially one adjective.

“You should relax kid”, Senior drawled.
As I mentioned above, punctuation denoting the end of a clause or sentence is typically contained within quotation marks in American English. The above clause would look like this:
“You should relax kid,” Senior drawled.
The exception is in academia, where the comma for denoting the end of a clause would come after the quotation marks. Your choice isn’t wrong under British English standards and doesn’t lead to confusion for the reader, so I’ll leave the choice up to you.

“You know about throwing stones in glasshouses?”
There should be a space between “glass” and “house.” “Glasshouse” is another word for “greenhouse” or a prison in British English, but in this idiom, glass is just an adjective to describe a house.

“Now let’s play tit and tat.”
It should be “tit for tat” instead of “tit and tat.” Senior will match Ren for each question he asks and answers.

“You said tit and tat.”
“tit and tat” should be “tit for tat”

“A poison that is colorless, scentless, tasteless and can be counteracted by a preventive medicine?”
Just a stylistic thing to note–some people would choose to place a comma after “tasteless” to make it clear that “tasteless” and “can be counteracted by a preventative medicine” are separate items in the list of qualities in a poison. This comma before the “and” is called the Oxford comma and while I prefer using it because it reduces ambiguity, its usage really comes down to personal choice. Many journalistic style guides for example, advise against it to maximize print space.

“Studying history of science of the old world is required for anyone in my former position.”
“Studying history” should be “Studying the history”
The definite article “the” specifies the meaning of a noun. Ren is referring to the history of science not in a general sense, but specific to the old world.

“I want 100.000 Lien for every task I fulfill.”
The period should be a comma.

“If you start sending agents to nirvana while pretending to be a Beacon student…”,
As with the other cases where the clause-ending comma is outside the quotation mark, this is a style choice.

“Pete’s pumpkin pop.”
I’m guessing that the full name of the trademarked product is something like “Pete’s Pumpkin Pop,” in which case, you’d want to capitalize the entire product name.

“Bleue de lune Street in the Helmslett district”
“Bleue de lune Street” should be “Bleue de Lune Street” OR “Bleue De Lune”
“Helmslett district” should be “Helmslett District”
You’d want to capitalize each letter in the name of the street and the district. Articles like “de” or “of” don’t need to be capitalized.

“Back in the days me and my companions”
The phrase is actually singular so it should be “Back in the day.”

The moment the political borders were lifted the dice was cast.”
The phrase is plural: “the die was cast.”

“A sex worker’s union?”
“sex worker’s union” should be “sex workers’ union”
The possessive apostrophe comes before the s when referring to a singular entity (one person or thing like a single sex worker) and after the s for a plural entity (all sex workers in this case).

“A miner’s union, railroad worker’s union”
Should be “A miners’ union, railroad workers’ union” for the same reasons stated in the previous example.

“It took me until two month ago before I even realized that she is a major player in Vale’s underworld.
“month” should have an “s” to signify that it was “two months”
Pretty sure this is a typo.

“Prove that the news makers consider their audience to be morons.”
“Prove” should be “Proof”
Prove is a verb, proof is a noun. Hei Lang is referring to the fact that the media label Roman Torchwick a crime boss is evidence that they consider their audience to be morons.

Senior stapled his fingers.
I think you mean “steepled.”

“I used Jaune’s idiosyncasies the same way”
Spelling error/typo: you’re missing an “r” in “idiosyncrasies.”

“Tri-colored hair, relies on extreme levels of agility in her fighting style, wears high heeled boots?”
The noun “high heels” is the name of a specific kind of shoe and doesn’t need a hyphen. “High-heeled” is a compound modifier where two words are explicitly linked together using a hyphen to serve as an adjective. “High-heeled” becomes one adjective for describing boots.

“Your payment. 100.000 Lien.”
Again, the period in “100.00 Lien” should be a comma.

“I think the people in your former cell calls these kind of chips ‘Red Orders’.
“calls” should be “call”
Subject-verb agreement issue. Collective nouns, of which “people” is one, imply more than one but follow the singular rules for subject-verb agreement (singular noun taking singular verb).
This sentence is also missing the closing double quotation mark.

“I sat on the roof of a small warehouse fidlling with my scroll.”
Spelling error: “fidlling” should be “fiddling.”

“I hope you managed to put some cracks on his façade.”
“On” works (implying cracks on the surface of Senior’s facade), but I think “in” flows a little better and offers sharper imagery (implying cracks that run through the surface of Senior’s façade).
1/31/2018 c10 1PhantasmaXw
hope he meet neo in the next chapter.. finnaly another update XD. and this is quite the turn of event, getting more darker and darker than before... niceee
1/29/2018 c10 lazyguy90
Oh damn.

What a twist.

That's going to be quite the target. Clearly he should pretend to be a White Fang or something like that.

Keep up the great work.
1/28/2018 c10 2Vostok2142
Plz don’t hurt Weiss too much.
But wow the world building is great. Great how you depicted the underworld and all that. Eagerly awaiting next chapter.
1/21/2018 c1 midnightandmoon
As promised, here’s the first of several retroactive reviews.

I’m always given a lot to ruminate on with every chapter, but I find myself revisiting often Chapter 1 for just how well it’s constructed.

A less deliberate writer would open this fic, what with how it’s shaping up to be some kind of action/adventure/wuxia/thriller AU, by jumping straight into the action and delivering on the “Ren is/was an assassin” premise right away.

But as I mentioned before and will probably mention again in the future, it’s the grounding of details in this fic that really elevates it. Instead of opening the fic with an assassination or ambush, we’re treated to the less obvious details about life as a former assassin with Ren going through the motions of terminating his lease and uprooting yet again. Opening the fic with Ren handling the unglamorous legal, or illegal in this case, technicalities of forging new identities and how he manages his domestic life with Nora emphasizes how much work he’s had to do to–and still does–to survive on the run and sets the stakes for this final act of subterfuge. Finances, health insurance, contracts, tax forms, bills, cooking, budgeting, and just generally running a household is exhausting enough without adding in the responsibility over another person, and on top of that still, doing so every few years to shake an organization of assassins off your trail. Focusing on just how exhausting and stressful Ren’s life is makes us all the more invested in his success in escaping the reach of the organization for good.

Nora’s comparative innocence also emphasizes just how stressful and heavy Ren’s responsibilities are. But we’re also given hints that while Ren might be the “responsible one” in their partnership, Nora by no means has it easy. The very nature of being a fugitive means that the social bonds that the irrepressibly effervescent Nora thrives off of is a risk. Friendships can only run so deep and so wide before they present a serious threat to maintaining a false identity.

I like how we begin the chapter by making the final arrangements for Beacon, and end by closing the deal with Fidelius. We finally–I say finally but it’s only been one chapter–see Ren demonstrate his skills by taking down the two faunus bodyguards effortlessly. I like how you make us wait for this moment. Seeing Ren interact with Mrs. Auburn as a seemingly innocent young man and prepare dinner for Nora provides a sharp contrast to the man who cows a scheming forger by coolly dispatching two hired muscle. What a way to remind the reader that this version of “Lie Ren” is a former–and presently still–criminal of some sort on the cusp of securing a clean life for him and Nora.

All in all, a favorite chapter in story where every chapter is a favorite.

Other observations:

I like that we get a hint of Ren’s previous alias, but of course it’ll drive me mad not actually learning it, or Ren’s original name for that matter. If that is something to be revealed to us, I wonder if it’ll be from folklore in keeping with RWBY tradition. Of course, there’s an equally strong chance that it doesn’t matter.

Ren is rattled by Fidelius’ dig at his arrangement with Nora. He’s consistently defensive when probed about Nora, which reads to me as guilt even though Ren never identifies why he’s always thrown when someone brings up Nora. Very realistic, and a great example of the age-old writing principle of “show not tell.”

Grammar:

“Getting the acceptance letter to Beacon Academy was a live saver.”

“live” should be “life.”
Live is a verb, life is a noun. The acceptance letter will save Ren and Nora’s lives (lives is the plural of life, so I can see why you might have been confused), so it should be “life saver.”

“As a publicly funded boarding school our need for food and shelter was being accounted for and then there were Grimm bounties.”

“was being” should be “will be”
This is a conditional sentence. Neither Ren nor Nora are at Beacon yet, so their food and shelter isn’t currently being accounted for, but will when the condition of their arrival at Beacon is met.

“I was living alongside a taifun in human form afterall.”

I think by “taifun” you mean “typhoon?” I think this is just a spelling error.

“Sorry, I haven’t expected you to adapt so quickly.”

“haven’t expected” should be “didn’t expect” or “wasn’t expecting”
This is a present perfect sentence that links some action or event in the past to something in the present. Prior to Ren’s call, Fidelius had thought that Ren would take some time to adapt to his new alias, but Ren’s call indicates that he has in fact adapted quickly.

“Its definitely the encryption.”

“Its” should be “it’s”
“Its” is the possessive of it. “It’s” is the contraction of “it is.”

“I watched up from the stove as that boundless ball of energy with orange hair broke into the flat exuding vitality and vibrancy with every movement she took.”

“watched” should be “looked up” or something similar
This is just diction. “Watch” refers to looking for a sustained period of time, so it sounds awkward here. “I looked up” or “I glanced up” would capture your meaning better.

“I can endure ten minutes if its to eat your food.”

“Its” should be “it’s”
As with the earlier case, “its” is the possessive of it. “It’s” is the contraction of “it is.”

“Beef stew szechuan-style and steamed dumplings with chiitake and fried egg filling.”
“szechuan” should be capitalized to “Szechuan” since it’s referring to the name of a province.
“chiitake” should be “shiitake” (simple spelling error)
1/18/2018 c9 SeijuroRen
Are the kingdoms scared of dust running out. Is it a finite resource or does it regenerate. Grimm regenerate so I hope dust does so as well. But then, life isn't fair. Communist, or socialist society that pretends to be capitalist. If you are successful you can live how you want, or leave the safety to brave the wilds if you aren't successful but want freedom. Is the failure of Ren's Qi vs Aura the lack of a semblance? Nora's hasn't been mentioned either, but all the other aura trained people have semblances it seems... Your story is very thought provoking. The world building really draws me in.
1/18/2018 c8 SeijuroRen
Your formatting makes for a very enjoyable read.
1/18/2018 c3 SeijuroRen
Wow, this version of remnant seems significantly worse than canon. I assume the settlements outside the walls like patch are less strict and motivate people to expand outside the protection of the walls. It would allow for less unemployment inside the city, and prevents over population. Significant expansion projects seem to fail, but small towns seem to exist outside the walls.
1/18/2018 c1 SeijuroRen
I think Lien is used throughout all the nations, unless the new currency is based on some strange black market currency. It would be hard to figure out what entity will issue the currency and how to go about with trading so I guess it makes sense Vacuo would have its own. Also corn to grain and typhoon. Also I think bought should be changed to buy. Those are just some corrections. But the grammar is still pretty good.
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