For reasons I will divulge at the end of the month, I have a bit of ‘free’ non-intensive writing time on my hands right now. (I’ll pick the intensive writing back up on Monday.) As such, I have some time to write up a blog post to let you know that, after exactly a year, in an intensive three-day rush wherein I wrote 17,000 words, I successfully finished The Dying of the Light on October 31.
And subsequently spent the next six hours either crying or staring blindly into space. I wish I was kidding.
At 550 pages and 167, 770 words is, by far, the longest, most intensive project I’ve ever worked on, and my favorite. Every novel I write has a large part of my soul wrapped up inside it, but The Dying of the Light has more than the others. It was the novel where I finally found my groove, where I fell head-over-heels for everyone, where I was able to address issues that are extremely important to me (loyalty, honor, personal/physical abuse, abuse of power, friendship, integrity, old-fashioned good vs. evil) and do it with a futuristic samurai Robin Hood.
I’m relieved that I’m not through with the series. I can’t imagine ever being done with this world and these characters, and so I prefer not to think about the day that happens. I have many other projects waiting in the wings, and they’ll get their own time. For now I have another world and other characters to focus on – but a small part of me can’t wait to get back to my Japanese gang, and see what happens in the month between novels.
“He’s rather talkative, given his age,” said the Prince-Regent, watching Alucard with attentiveness bordering on predatory. “And he reads?”
“Backwards, like I said,” said the doctor. “And yes, he speaks. He catches onto things distressingly fast.”
“Excellent,” said the Prince-Regent.
“Yes, well, that’s a matter of opinion,” said Dr. Sleimann.
The Prince-Regent smiled. “No harm will come to Alucard today. You have my word of honor.”
Oscar grimaced. “I’d rather just have your word, plain and simple.”
Shi raised a hand and walked down the hall, nodding Tsuki as he passed her. They paused briefly and exchanged a few words before continuing on their ways.
Saizou cleared his throat. “What was that about?”
“What was what about?”
“You and Shi.”
“Oh, that. He told me to go easy on you.”
“He did not,” said Saizou.
“‘You can punch him if you want to, but don’t punch him too hard,’ were his exact words. Take that as you will.”
“Sorry.” Kirikizu shrugged. “You have to obey me. He,” and here he pointed at the Dog, “is to make sure you don’t kill anyone.”
“Don’t need watchers,” spat Alucard.
“Your behavior indicates otherwise.”
The Dog made a coarse, heaving sound somewhere between a laugh and an indignant huff.
Alucard grinned suddenly, putting all his small, sharp teeth on display. “Kill him,” he said simply. “Kill you. No watchers.” He made a small, flitting hand gesture as if to say problem solved.
Kirikizu was beginning to feel that when Oscar had called Alucard ‘a handful,’ he was being distressingly moderate.
Matahachi stood in front of the cracked, dusty glass, looking very much out of place, like a piece of fine jewelry dropped in a gutter by accident.
“We weren’t born friends, you know,” said Shi.
“I know. I think it started that night, though.”
“It did,” said Shi. “It took a while for me to believe you weren’t a complete basket case.”
“That came later,” Saizou agreed.
He looked over his shoulder and saw his twin walking down the hall. He moved stiffly, and his face remained too gray to look healthy, but he smiled and spoke briefly with the middle-aged nurse who stopped to say something to him. She patted his cheek like a fond mother and continued on her way, and when Shimo reached the front desk, Virgo put a hand on his hip and said, “Nice. Get adopted again?”
“I get adopted a lot,” said Shimo, giving another weak, but geniuine, smile to the orderly behind the desk. “You ready to go?”
Virgo clicked his tongue. “I honestly don’t know why anybody bothers adopting you. Every time they see you you’re injured somehow. Reckless. And you look horrible. Do I look that bad when I get injured?”
“Worse,” Shimo affirmed.
“Right,” said Fumiyo. She tugged the neck of her sweater. “I guess I’m staying, too.”
“Even though I’m here?” teased Shotgun.
She shot him a glare.
“I think it’s more like ‘in spite of you,'” said Shi.
Fumiyo nodded vigorously, and Shotgun clutched his heart. “Ow. Right in the bowl of feelios.”
“What?” asked Shi.
“What?” asked Shotgun.
Shinya bowed toward the customer, who did not look up. “How can I help you?”
“Weapons,” said the man. “Where are they?”
Shinya eyed the man critically. “What kind of weapon?”
“Swords,” said the man. “Two of them.”
“You should know, man. I can’t sell a blade over thirty inches. Still,” he continued, not wanting to let a sale slip through his fingers, “I have a nice selection of wakizashis and tanto—”
The man looked up. “Swords,” he repeated, his sapphire eyes threatening to pierce right through Shinya to the wall behind him. “Two of them. Daito. Straight blades with fukura-tsuku points. Tempered line has a hitatsura pattern. No menuki in the hilt. You forged them, you should remember them.”