For whatever reason, I'd never read this story before (even though I was
on the FFML in 1998-1999). So thanks for posting the final chapter
and catching my eye, as it was definitely well worth reading.
Also, I have to admit I'm amazed at your persistence, to come back
after so long and finish your story (even though internal evidence
suggests that this wasn't your originally-intended ending).
One thing that struck me in this chapter was the vanishing of a certain
ambiguity which was apparent in the earlier chapters. While you say
that a number of readers hated your portrayal of a disutopian Crystal
Tokyo, it is not obvious to me that, until this chapter, that actually IS
what you were portraying: all we had for evidence that Crystal
Tokyo really isn't a utopia was the obviously-biased words of one
man, and we can certainly be sure that no utopia goes without
at least one critic. This chapter certainly put paid for that notion.
The ambiguity certainly was very useful: I had no idea where this
story was going. At various times during my reading I thought any
or all of the following might occur: Endymion might actually be
killed and replaced by our hero; Emerald would have his mind
changed though closer proximity to the Senshi, and might come
to be a defender of Crystal Tokyo, even as THEIR minds
changed the other way, to the point of refusing to perform
the Purification; Emerald turns out to be the one who kills
monsters during the Great Ice; Emerald turns out to be the
one who creates the Great Ice.
Also, I should mention that I thought your characterization
Emerald was fantastic: like almost everybody, he's the hero
of the story in his own mind. He's willing to do things he
knows he'll regret, but always for what he thinks of as a
good cause. We readers can't really dislike him; he's more
like us, in many ways, then the Senshi are.
All in all, a wonderful read. Thank you for writing and sharing!
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