Characterization / Behavior
These will mostly be comments about characters that pop up in the story.
First Impression: A young adult having fun in a terrifyingly realistic VR FPS game. He seems to be experienced, which explains his confidence. But he's also cautious, which is great because he knows not to pointlessly put himself in danger.
Before the NPC lieutenant finished his sentence, a blade of light sliced him clean in half. His skeleton body disintegrated in a shower of bright sparks, bouncing against the shiny coat of the Viceroy's chariot.
I'm gonna take a stab and say Cube did this. If so, nice. Your description here's good too, and brings attention to how people are "deleted" in the game before turning the attention back to the scene. Again, nice! ヾ(｡>﹏<｡)ﾉﾞ✧*。
Cube leapt back to put some distance between him and his quarry. Around them, the invisible forest floor was already starting to catch fire from the earlier attacks. The remainder of the Viceroy's minions stopped attacking, standing motionless as if watching the duel.
Nice thinking, Q! But I'm wondering why mention the forest floor is "invisible"? Kinda makes it seem like they're standing on air. You already have the aspects of the VR world's technical features down with the Battle Windows and Q's inbox, so no need to make it obvious we aren't setting an actual forest on fire. I doubt he'd think about reality vs. gaming while in a mission.
"I'm flattered you've heard about me, but that moniker sounds a bit too pretentious. You may call me Cube — perhaps after you've created a new avatar!"
Does he... talk like this in real life? Or is this his way of role-playing? Hurm. In one way it shows how immersed he is in the game's setting and character, but in another it sounds kind of pretentious itself. The way he speaks here just seems off, somehow. But maybe that's because of his arrogance. Not sure.
A window appeared in mid-air between the two players — «Cube_3_0409 HAS FORCED A PERMADEATH MATCH!»
But how does what he said means he forced a death match? I'm pretty sure they both held at least an inkling of killing intent towards each other.
The target's head tilted in surprise. “Too sure of ourselves, aren't we? I don't think you realize what you've gotten yourself into.”
Haha, my thoughts exactly, Jack o lantern! But seriously, I'm loving this dude. Too bad he's gotta go.
Jerry was silent for a second. Then, a hearty laugh echoed across the field. “Looks like you did your homework.”
Waitttttt, his name is Jerry? When was that mentioned? Honestly thought it was Pumpkin Head on Pumpkill. Gotta work on introducing peeps without using dialogue, bud! Still, I'm not sure why Cube felt the need to mention his name. Kind of an odd response to "you don't know what you're getting yourself into."
Moving on to Jarry aka Smashed Pumpkin
First Impressions: Maybe it's just my preference, but I loved his demeanor. The way he !talked like he had everything planned out was refreshing. Although cold, you showed us more of him when he disposed of his army while trying to kill Cube. You make it clear he's an enemy, but a charming one. However, I feel like the way you introduced his name―as mentioned above―is somewhat awkward. Just saying it quickly in a dialogue along with a number of other facts doesn't hold much of an impact for me.
Observations: I really enjoyed his dialogue. I don't know, it's just smooth and natural. I ended up rooting for him because of how much charisma he gave off. Whether of not that's a good thing depends on your intent with introducing him, I think.
When the dust cleared, the «PUMPKIN JACK» was nowhere in sight. A slight rustle behind Cube caused him to dash forward, twisting his torso to meet the enemy.
THE Pumpkin Head? Unless that's a species/title name, I'd delete the 'the'. Maybe even stick to Jarry, since Cube is so knowledgeable.
«BLAZING VINES»! A rough voice echoed through the woods
Whose voice, though? I mean, I'm assuming Jarry because he mainly uses fire and all but I'd rather not make wrong assumptions. Also, lowercase 'a' since that's a dialogue tag. You also forgot a period at the end.
Thin ropes of flame shot out from the ground and wrapped themselves around Cube's wrists and ankles. They strained and pulled, yanking the avatar from its leap and trapping it in mid-air.
Since Cube is a real person, I'm not sure why you chose to make the pronoun 'it'. Sure, it's a bunch of coding and stuff, but it's still Cube and reflecting his actions and emotions.
Before Cube could react, the ground burst into flames. It enveloped his armor, spreading rapidly from his boots, to his greaves, all the way to his breastplate. But what caught Cube off-guard wasn't the fact that the skill didn't seem to do anything to his HP Bar. Instead, he was seized with fear at the debilitating, searing sensation that spread around his body as the blaze consumed him.
Woo! Nice description! Keep going! (≧▽≦)
- Suddenly, we're introduced to Ren in chapter 3.
First impression: After reading the line about her waking up, three thoughts came to mind.
She had to be Cube or Pumpkin Head, and just chose to play as a dude in the VR.
But if 1 is true, did she wear the VR to sleep? Is the game played in their dreams? Since games need a certain amount of focus, would any player get proper rest if that were the case?
I'm overthinking this.
After that, I read on to get answers to the questions burning my brain cells. Lo and behold,
Still yawning, Ren got up from the bed and fumbled for the blue denim jacket thrown haphazardly across her headboard.
Quick note. The paragraph before this didn't mention her yawning. I recommend rereading this.
That leaves 20 minutes of free time left, barely enough time for a bite before her next class.
Present tense → Past tense. •̀.̫•́✧
Hmm, the paragraph about her getting ready didn't really have a sense of urgency imo. Is she on dorm? How close is she from the building her class is in? It feels slightly nonchalant, but that might be what you wanted to accomplish. After all, some people believe time waits for them.
Observations: From her interactions with Penelope, she seems chill, and could possibly have a crush on Cube. But other than that, I'm not sure why we're in her perspective suddenly. I feel like it would've been better to introduce her after the battle, so we aren't left hanging until the next chapter.