Both were really good stories. Aargh, it's actually difficult for me to decide. Why is everyone's prose so nice? I guess I have to go for story 2, because story 1 seems to belong to a bigger one left untold (and that I want to see more of)
Story 2 it is.
I vote for the enticingly titled "Story #2" without any comment whatsoever.
These are both good! Considering that I didn't read the last round of entries, I had no idea what to expect and I'm pleasantly surprised!
With that, Story 1.
Great stories by both of the authors. It is a neck and neck choice for me. I'm going to have to go with Story #1, mainly because I wanted to know more by the end of it.
I went back and forth on this one, but I'm voting for Story 1 just barely and only because it better fit Mizal's prompt. Nothing was invented throughout the course of Story 2, nor was the story about a new invention. Story 1 started strong, and the prose is beautiful throughout, but the detailed descriptions that fill the middle of the story are tedious to read through. Story 2 ended strongly, but the beginning was quite confusing. I still don't know what the first paragraph is describing. If it's describing one of these metal encased soldiers, what is the meaning of "it's (sic) purpose thus far was unknown"? Who is their purpose unknown to? If it's describing the music machine, why is it a "mix of man and machine"? Why don't the characters take more notice of the "man" portion after the smoke is sucked away?
Both of them were really good, but I'm going to have to go with story 1.
I like #2, it felt like a whole complete story which is rare in these things, but #1 does feel more like a story about a marvelous invention. I mean, it's true, the machine in #2 was an invention, but all technology is an invention, invention seems to imply something new. And I guess this invention was new, to the protagonists. But we don't know how new it was to the people who originally used it. But if it's only new to the protagonists, does that make it a discovery? Aren't all inventions just discoveries given form? I think Helpfulconnoisseur is wrong on this particular judgement, or at the very least, nobody can truly be right. This is one of those judgement calls on genre where things that blur the lines will depend entirely on personal definition. I'm going with my gut feeling for this one, and my gut feeling is that I liked reading Story 2 marginally better.
I just wrote up a long paragraph to refute you but have instead convinced myself that you're right. If I were to write a story about a toddler getting potty trained, even though the toilet is not a new invention, if the story is centered around the toilet, it could still be described as a story about an invention, even a marvelous invention if written from the perspective of a relieved mother. There is no requirement that an invention must be new. Even a story marveling at how wonderful chairs are could be said to be about "a marvelous invention".