A while back I reviewed the story Salvation. The author has since rewritten the story, and asked me to review the new version.
Part of the chapter review exchange.
I should warn you that I’m not familiar with Pokemon Conquest, so if that’s what you mean by “Conquest AU” I may be lost on some details.
[The sun hung lazily over the peaks, casting jagged shadows across the ruined and shattered plateau. The ancient city that lay nestled into the mountainside burned in agony, smouldering fires spewing acrid black smoke into the pristine mountain air. A ball of flame launched from one of the siege engines surrounding the city.]
I feel that there should be a paragraph break before the last sentence here; though it would make the first part relatively short, I do feel like the shift to talking about the siege engine connotes a change in subject, especially since the sentence is a simple one.
[“You have not failed, Morty, “]
You’ve got extra spaces before your endquotes like this throughout the story, likely a formatting error.
[as she banked hard and swooped around the gengar..]
Extra period here.
[the would be usurper]
“Would-be” should be hyphenated here.
[Lance drew in a sharp breath, steeling his mind for a mental assault. Waves of nightmares crashed into his mental barriers, nearly overwhelming him with violent and visceral details.]
This is a bit telling-not-showing; one of the unique advantages of literature is how much detail you can put into mental states. I think it would be very powerful if you actually gave us a taste of what the “violent and visceral details” looked like, and how they make Lance feel, and exactly how he’s resisting it. This would give us greater empathy for his situation, as well as giving us a better idea of how the gengar’s powers work.
If you’d like an example, I do this in chapter 4 of my Steven Universe fic, “The Darkness Between Stars”. The fics “Gods and Demons: ad terminos terrae” and its sequel “So Comes Ice After Fire” also have good examples of this; the latter in particular goes into a lot of detail on how mental and spiritual fortitude can interact with pokemon battling.
[haunter and ghastly launching themselves at Betherian and swarming over her scaly hide. She cried out in pain, dozens of infernal claws tearing at every inch of her hide.]
The repetition of “hide” here, especially in the same position, is a bit awkward; I’d recommend finding a synonym or rewording.
So once again, this doesn’t seem to have much to do with Pokemon. This is a decently-written fantasy war scene, but there’s just not much in the way of emotional investment. These characters may share names with the canon cast, but they’re effectively OCs. I don’t know who they are or why they’re fighting, and therefore I don’t have much investment in whether they win or lose. Though action scenes are sometimes effective openings, one of this magnitude requires prior context for audience investment. You could maybe work that into the battle through internal monologue; have Lance think on what led them here and what he’s fighting for. You do a bit of that with the nightmares, but that’s towards the end and still vague. As it is, I don’t understand what the political situation between Kanto and Johto is, or why Lance is any more worth rooting for than Agatha.
And though it does add to the battle, I question giving trainers their own magic powers – one of the key traits that separates Pokemon from other fantasy stories is that the supernatural abilities are totally divorced from the humans themselves. If the trainers can throw down too, there ceases to be much distinction between them and their pokemon, turning this into a rather standard story about superheroes fighting monsters.