Like the colorless infrastructure of writing, like the mortar in a mosaic -- you would want to change "one of the guards" to "a guard" or "one guard" wherever feasible because you want the bright colorful stones, not the dull gray mortar, to cover every inch you can.
Then, you can't revise a mosaic easily. I tend more to the metaphor of density -- the infrastructure and other deadwood thin and spread the meaning, where you want meaningfulness and imagery and action to cramp together as densely as possible. Plutonium grade if feasible, though that may point to a difficulty some readers will have -- they will need to read it slowly to get the meaning.
And the prose should carry them on like a swan gliding down the smooth flow of the river, its swiftness (rivers are faster than streams) hidden by the evenness of the flow, without a snag to cause so much as a ripple as it bears on and on, so the attention can stay on the banks of the river where the story progresses.
Or -- the prose should prowl like a black panther by night, every muscle smooth and compact and perfectly in place, so that the perfection of motion can not be dissolved into its components but stays focused on its prey.