I didn’t find any major plot holes this time around. I did however address two major concerns readers had in their feedback, which I’ll talk about behind the Read More link, as they are spoileryiffic.
The two concerns were “The switcheroo between the Quantum Mermaid and the Clockwork Mermaid at the end is too confusing” and “Camille figured out too quickly that her parents were planning to die in Plan C.”
I don’t have changelog notes about the first one, but I did throw in a few more quick hints which tip the reader off to the switcheroo here and there. I don’t mind being obvious about it, as I’m not COMPLETELY obvious about it — I still never call the QM out by name.
As for Plan C, I revised a section quite a bit. Changes in bold.
“Go to the address I’ve written down there, and look for the Mermaid,” he explained. “You can’t miss it. That’s your sanctuary. Take our daughter, take your wife, and go right now. Jesse and I will cover for you. GO.”
“Excuse me? The two of you against all the guards in the palace?” Edward asked. “That’s suicide. Not metaphorical, but quite literal–“
“We’ll be fine,” Jesse lied. “Leave immediately and keep Camille safe.”
Being the daughter of a strategist and a witch, and having some common sense, Camille immediately understood. Two remain to slow down the enemy, while the others flee. A last stand. It’d work brilliantly, except for the part where the two who remained would never come back… and those two were mommy and daddy.
“No. No, you can’t! You can’t stay here and fight!” Camille begged, even as Chloe was trying to pull her away. “There’s too many of them, you can’t–”
“You know why we have to,” Jesse said, trying to stay cold, as cold as she had to be, ready to recieve whoever may come. “You have to live, Lady Camille. You–”
“But you don’t HAVE to do this! There’s another way!”
And Camille turned away sharply, to face away from them… and to the wide open grasses of the Royal Gardens.
At this one moment in her life, at her most desperate and her most confident… she did what no witch her age had ever done before. A thing which required the Word and the Way, but above all, the Will to enact your willpower upon the planet itself and bend it to your liking…
“[Plan D]!” she called out… as her Word. Which, again, was unheard of.
At one point, Gilbert Gearhaus had decoded the art of magic itself, crafting and blending spells together. He still wasn’t a spellcaster, having none of the skill, talent, or practice that comes with years and years of training. And technically, neither did Camille. But she was her mother’s daughter, of the world of magic… and her father’s daughter, of the world of the mind. The arcane mathematics were in her blood, along with a child’s stubborn determination. If this was not within her grasp, she would make it be so.
…this makes it far more clear, and I also revised some of the wording to better explain how Camille was able to pull the stunt off. It also more closely ties her to her father’s genius, since commenters noted she felt too much like Jesse’s daughter and not enough like Gilbert’s.
Lastly, while I was in there, I added one tiny note to hint at things to come.
“Change is coming to this world. Change is even coming to the Faerie Court,” he spoke. “I’m in talks with Princess Susan on that subject, in fact — proposals for Ascendancy assistance with the Court’s security. I seek an orderly and peaceful wave of change. The Ascendancy is simply stepping into the shoes of Arcology #A076… here to help this Earth’s transition to a brighter tomorrow. I know many fear change, but… I think you are the sort who understands the importance of proper structures. Of standings. I’d like to think that, unlike your friends, you know the best place to stand.”
This helps better lead into sf05, where Lar starts leaning heavily on the Faerie Court. Until then it’s not entirely clear what he wants from them — it links up to the changes to law enforcement that already happened in England, and will be happening in sf04 in America.
The upshot of all these changes is a stronger chapter, through minute tweaks.
Next up, the ridiculously long sf04. I don’t know if I’ll have that one done soon; sf03 was small in comparison.