August 13, 2007

"Shadow of the Moon" revisions

TP is the TokyoPop translation. EW is my translation.

Chapter 43

This chapter builds to the moral climax and turning point of the novel, showing Youko at her most cynical and callous. Thus, I think it is an editorial mistake to inject too much doubt into her mind early on. She is initially trying to shed all doubts. It's not until she contemplates torturing the kirin (though she doesn't know that's what it is) and murdering Rakushun that she begins to come to grips with herself.

1. Yoko, who had heard such a drum on her journey before, knew that when it finished beating, the gates would close.

      EW: When the drum stopped sounding, the gates would close.

The addition is not in the original.

2. Alarmed, Yoko glanced up to see the silhouettes of a flock of giant birds swiftly approaching.
      Wings on high . . . giant birds like hawks with horns . . . eight in all.
      "Kouchou!" someone shouted, and the mob of travelers became a stampede toward the gates of Goryou.

      EW: Noting this with great suspicion, Youko glanced back over her shoulder. Already she could clearly see the silhouette of a great bird. A great bird like an eagle with a horn. And there were eight more of them.
      The screams reverberated, a wave of humanity rushed toward Goryou.

Hmm, the "more" is wrong (and it's not in my rough draft).

3. All at once the big gates began to swing shut. Anyone still upon the road was being abandoned.
      It made sense. The townspeople wanted to protect themselves from kochou. They owed the travelers nothing. Still, Yoko wondered, what good will closed gates do against creatures that can fly?

      EW: With total disregard to the flood of people, the huge gates began to close.
      They certainly had the right to defend themselves against the kochou, but even if there were nobody else but those inside the gates, what good would closing the gates do against these flying monsters?

I might change it to: Those idiots, and remove the paragraph break. But otherwise the TokyoPop additions are not in the original.

4. Yoko quickly pushed her way out from among them, yelling for Rakushun to follow. They would have a better chance in the open field, where she could use her sword without worrying about the people around her. [1]
      Closer to the town there was utter chaos as people dashed themselves against the walls; every man, woman, and child fought for safety as newcomers pushed up against those who had arrived just as the gate closed, trampling the weaker underfoot. [2] All were screaming.
      Separated from the rushing crowd at last, Yoko ran at a slow jog toward the town, keeping just ff the road; a thin smile crossed her face.
      No gods to save you here.
      Floods came and demons attacked, yet no one in this world cried out to their gods for salvation. That was why they each ran alone, leaving their fellow men behind. That was why the gates closed, leaving the travelers outside to die. Without divine aid, without luck, whether one was attacked by demons or not depended entirely on how much caution one took. Whether one was killed or spared depended entirely on one's strength.
      If that's the case, many will die here tonight.[3]

      EW: Youko suddenly pushed Rakushun away from the crowds. They were fortunately still a good distance from the gates. Had they been alone at the gates, they would have been trampled and crushed by the onslaught of people pushing and clawing their way through. It looked like some inner circle of hell.
      Putting distance between her and the human tidal wave, Youko ran toward the city. She permitted herself a hollow laugh.
      This is a country that asks nothing of God.
      Even being attacked by youma, they expected nothing from their Gods. So they thought nothing of tearing down the people in front of them to get there faster. Yet the gates closed on the travelers, as if they weren't there. Whether or not you were being attacked by youma, wasn't it up to you to keep on your toes? And whether you were rescued or not, weren't you supposed to rely on your own devices?
      "The fools," she said aloud. This bunch couldn't be more powerless.

4.1. The addition is not in the original.
4.2. A perhaps acceptable embellishment of the original. The word for "hell" here is the same as that used for one of the Buddhist hells, hence my borrowing from Dante.
4.3. The addition is not in the original, though as an embellishment it does fit into the context.

I should rewrite the second-to-last paragraph in the third person.

5. They made easy targets, and because they had to fly straight, it was easy to gauge the timing of their attacks.
      It had been so long since she'd had to fight anything, and here she was, smiling. Yoko was amazed at herself.

      EW: All a bigger foe meant was a bigger target. At the intervals they were gliding in, it would be easy enough to pick them off.
      It'd been a while since she'd gone toe-to-toe with her enemies. Her gleeful self was looking forward to it.

I'll split the difference on this one. LIT: "Meeting her enemies for the first time in many days, she found her laughing/smiling self interesting."

6. The fifth great bird came plummeting at her. Yoko dodged to the side and swung her sword with deadly precision, lopping off the monster's head as it hurtled by. The headless corpse slammed into the ground and rolled several times before coming to a stop. Yoko whirled back around just in time to see the sixth kochou bearing down on her. She leapt to avoid it, throwing her self prone, and watched as the demon, outraged at having missed its mark, soared on toward the travelers huddled by the town gate to wreak its vengeance on them.

      EW: The fifth dropped on her like a crashing plane. She cut off its head, dodged the sixth. The sixth grazed her with its talons, tore through a bunch of travelers behind her and rose back into the sky.

All the additions are not in the original. The author actually only uses two sentences.

7. And if the woman wouldn't talk, Yoko would cut off an arm and see what she had to say about that.
      Abruptly, Yoko stopped, stunned by the wildness of her own thoughts.
      Is this my true nature--a beast?
      What was this animosity inside her? Or was it merely bloodlust, the frenzy of the battle . . . ?

      EW: And if the woman didn't have anything to say, Youko was pretty sure lopping off an arm would get her into a talking mood.
      As she turned over the possibilities in her mind, a surprising thought occurred to her. Perhaps she was catching a glimpse into the character of these beasts, some method behind the madness. Or perhaps the kochou was simply intoxicated from so much blood.

TokyoPop is correct. The second paragraph should read: "As she turned the possibilities over in her mind, she found herself aghast. Where did such ferocity come from? It was as if the nature of the beast was manifesting itself to her. Or perhaps she was simply intoxicated from so much blood."

Here Youko first begins to question herself. But she quickly turns to goading the kochou by mutilating its partner.

8. Demons shouldn't fear death. Perhaps it's merely startled to find such difficult prey.
      Yoko raised her sword and stabbed it . . . .

      EW: Did a youma hold its own life as precious? They'd had no problem attacking people up till today! Youko flipped the sword around and sank it and sank it into the corpse of the kochou at her feet.

The addition is not in the original.

9. The bird shrieked and flapped its wings. Buffeted by the wind, Yoko feared the creature would lift her into the sky.[1] Wrenching her sword free with both hands, she threw herself at the ground, rolled once, then sprang up again [2] and thrust her blade at the hovering bird's broad chest. [3] She felt the blow sink home and jumped to the side, pulling the weapon with her, narrowly dodging a spray of fresh blood.
      The rest was easy. The creature no longer had the strength to fly. Teetering on its hind legs, it lunged at her a second time, then a third, [4] before she decapitated it.

      EW: The bird raised a strange cry, beat its wings. A great wind buffeted her as it tried to take itself back into the air. Youko stepped on its feet, freed the sword and sank the blade into its abdomen. She did not sense an immediate response to her thrust, but when she jumped back a moment later, pulling out the sword, blood gushed onto the ground.
      It was easy work after that. Unable to hold itself aloft, the bird crashed to the earth. After a second strike and a third, she delivered the coup de grace and cut off its head.

9.1. Split the difference. Youko doesn't "fear" anything, but the sentence should read: "A great wind buffeted her as it tried to take itself back into the air, and her along with it."
9.2. The addition is not in the original.
9.3. Should be "torso."
9.4. The grammar is the same as "throw a (punch) at (an object)," and "delivered the coup de grace" is part of the same compound sentence, sharing the same subject. So I'm pretty sure Youko is the one doing the attacking.

10. Yoko stood out like a sore thumb, the only person standing among the bodies by the road. Worse, if the guardsmen had been watching from the safety of the gates they would have seen that the kochou were after her . . . and they would have watched with amazement--horror, perhaps--as Yoko defeated them. Every person in the town would be suspicious of her, if not outright terrified.
      From there, she could guess what would happen . . .

      EW: Standing there amongst the fallen bodies, Youko stood out like a sore thumb. Anybody observing from afar would have seen the kochou going at her and would know it had been her taking them down. That would strike anybody as more than a tad unusual.

The sentence begins (LIT): "Amidst the fallen people, only one person left standing, Youko was conspicuous." The additions are not in the original. The last sentence should be: "That would strike anybody as more than a little suspicious."

11. What would Rakushun have to say if Yoko abandoned him here to die?
      She travels alone, carrying a sword wrapped in cloth, hair dyed black, wearing men's clothes. She's heading for Agan, to cross into the kingdom of En . . .

      EW: She didn't think Rakushun would inform on her if she ran away and abandoned him here.
      The sword that was the slender bundle she was carrying--the color of her dyed hair--dressed like a man--traveling to En by way of Agan--

Her hair color is not mentioned. Hair and eye color are not listed on Japanese driver's licenses, for example.

12. But for Yoko's sake . . .
      Pulse throbbed loudly in her ears.
      Then, she heard a voice through the surging tide that filled her mind. Run to the rat, and kill him.
      Who's there? Who said that? Joyu? Me?
      There was no time to think it through.

      EW: For Rakushun's own good, she ought to go back. And for her own good . . . .
      The blood throbbed in her veins.
      Go over there and put him out of his misery.
      The voice spoke inside herself, rebuking herself. She didn't have time to second-guess herself.

The last paragraph is incomplete. LIT: "'Such a thing! [Are you crazy?]' a voice inside her said. Who was exhorting her to do such things?"

13. Yoko ran back toward the road, where a crowd of late-arriving travelers was just coming to the scene of the carnage. Slipping through a caravan train, Yoko wove her way to the far side of the newly gathered crowd, and with them between her and the townspeople from the gates, she fled back down the road.

      EW: The remaining travelers rushing in from the highway were on top of her. She slipped through the crowds and left the scene at a sprint.

The additions are not in the original.

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