This particular patch of forest is relatively unremarkable save for the path - wide enough for a good-sized wagon, though not smooth enough for the wheels of one - running through it; a skunk browses on low-hanging raspberries planted alongside the path while songbirds flit from branch to branch overhead, and there's the sound of underbrush being cut away somewhere in the middle distance.
Great! She wishes she could say "Thank you" and "goodbye," this is honestly the hardest part of this. What if she is being rude and now they all hate her.
She's going back in the house and is going to watch her stuff out the window. Probably nobody will steal it because nobody has seemed worried about things being stolen. But it's worth being careful.
Nobody steals it; in fact, nobody walks by at all, though at one point a crow lands on the porch railing and looks at her curiously for a few seconds before flitting off again.
Eventually presumably-honeysuckle and the black-and-blue themed man turn up, leading a larger walking platform piled with weeds past her to the main building; a few minutes later honeysuckle comes back out with a stack of books, half green-and-gold and half white-and-grey, and heads for Mabel's cottage.
Oh, books! Literacy! She is very excited about this and opens the door before honeysuckle gets there.
The green and yellow stack is for her to read from, and Mabel can follow along in the white-and-grey stack, which she's crafted up to take marks from an implement. (The implement doesn't have a pen- or pencil-like tip and doesn't leave marks anywhere else, but does indeed allow her to take notes in the books.) Presumably they should start with the basic vocabulary and grammar volume, but there's also ones on crafting, crafters and crafter society, tools and objects, plants and animals (which includes talking animals, in this case, she notes), and natural phenomena including terrain and weather; they can do those in whatever order Mabel prefers - she suspects they'll have time for the basic vocabulary volume and one more before dinnertime. Or she can get the kitchen set up first if Mabel wants to be sure that gets done tonight; she doesn't expect to get distracted from it but that is possible.
Basic vocabulary and grammar sounds good, and she's also interested in the one on crafters and crafter society, mostly because she thinks most of her pressing questions are going to be about this.
Mabel doesn't really care about the kitchen that much; reading lessons!
The language is, thankfully, fairly straightforward, with each word getting its own glyph made up of simple shapes, and the glyphs themselves having a sort of internal grammar of how they're constructed that makes it relatively easy to remember their meanings and guess what new ones mean; it also has a set of general-purpose modifiers that take the form of drawing a circle or oval around one or more glyphs and adding markings to it.
The book on crafters starts with general relationship categories like friends, neighbors, parents, children, and romantic partners; they also have terms for households, heads-of-households (the people who claim the territories that households are in and are ultimately responsible for keeping them running), and household-members (animals or people other than the head-of-household who live in a particular territory and are the head-of-household's responsibility). There's also a concept of guests; being in a household's territory as a guest is like a much less intense version of being a member of that household, where the household is responsible for your well-being while you're there, mostly in the form of helping with freezing-instinct problems but also including things like offering food and other amenities during longer visits.
With inter-crafter relationships covered, the book switches to giving vocabulary related to the freezing instinct; from the explanations she can gather that crafters have a real problem with interacting with things they perceive as owned by another person without that person's direct permission, including not being able to enter each other's territories or move around within them without an escort. This explains the focus on making the things they're giving her match her clothing: a person's color scheme is used to indicate which things are theirs, or are intended to be used by them, and without that indication they wouldn't expect her to be able to use them. It also covers public-use objects, which honeysuckle explains are done up in plain grey around here, and group-owned ones (the marking scheme for those varies, mostly by how the group is arranged), and abandoned ones.
Next it talks about things people do, without particularly distinguishing between productive work and hobbies and without mentioning money or careers at all; things like hunting, building robots, breeding animals, and maintaining public utilities like pebbleclinkers (primitive computers, based on the description) are listed alongside producing various kinds of art, participation in recreational groups for things like writing or playing games, and going on journeys to do things like picking up skills, answering questions, or collecting things. Farming isn't mentioned, though breeding and crafting plants and animals specifically to change their traits and breeding animals for food are; constructing buildings is only mentioned in the context of making robotic walking ones; government, law enforcement, and retail shops aren't mentioned at all.
This is all very interesting and also really helpful for helping her figure out what's going on here! It's also really far outside of her experience; although she can definitely relate to feeling really uncomfortable in spaces or interacting with objects that aren't hers, the root of that feels different than it does with these people.
She's also specifically interested in robots -- she's never actually met a Coldsteel, and as far as she knows the only people who know how to make them are other Coldsteels, even if logically someone had to have made the first. Maybe these people?
Do they have a way of saying thank you?
They do! The language is intended for letters and books rather than casual conversation, though, so the closest thing to 'goodbye' is more of a valediction.
When she seems interested in robots, honeysuckle adds that there's a roboticist living relatively nearby - about a day's travel, but close enough to ask the crows to carry messages and to potentially invite them over or have something brought over from them.
Excellent! Mabel is going to write "thank you" and add the emphasis marker. They've really done a lot for her. She tends to speak formally, so the lack of slang or most other casual conversation markers isn't going to phase her, but she does struggle a little with not having stock phrases for leaving/greeting/etc.
She would love to speak to the roboticist! Or, communicate in writing with, as the case goes.
They can ask the crows to carry a letter for her as soon as she has one to send! They don't actually know the roboticist, so they can't really do introductions, but they have a notice up on the noticeboard, so sending messages is fine.
That's fine! She's excited; she's definitely going to practice writing a lot anyway because it's just practical, but the robots can be a little bonus motivator. She probably won't actually make any once she gets home, as she has a feeling that's probably frowned on, but it would be nice to know.
Does honeysuckle have a map? Mabel would like to try to find out where she is and how far away from home she might be.
There's one back in the main building, sure. She can check on dinner while she's there.
She's back shortly with quiche, toasted acorn-flour bread with jam, baked apples, and a map. It's a map of Earth, clearly enough, though some of the coastlines are different; it's fairly subtle in most places, but the area around England is land rather than ocean and there's a strip of land joining Alaska to the corner of Russia, too.
She recognizes... none of this. The continents are totally different, there are no marked cities, much less a marked Chabe. She figured that they probably wouldn't have maps exactly the same as she was used to but this is completely unrecognizable.
Is this the whole world? She asks this question in writing but it's pretty stilted and she's sure the grammar is wrong, but hopefully it will get across what she needs to.
That's everything, yeah. Well, except for some minor islands. They're here, a bit north of the place where North America starts to narrow down.
Mabel does not know how to write "world" or "planet"; instead she writes "This is not my territory" and adds emphasis to "territory."
After thinking a little bit she adds "I do not see my territory on the map."
Map is actually written like this, she clarifies, and planet and continent are like so.
If Mabel's home isn't on this map she's not sure they'll be able to get her there... they don't have space flight, nobody's cracked the problem where if you go up too high you stop being able to breathe.
Mabel's planet doesn't either, and even if it did she wouldn't know how to get there. It seems very obviously a magical mishap to her, just not her type of magic.
She writes that that's okay. She is... pretty bummed out anyway, but she's still worried about seeming rude, so she's going to use her knew knowledge of how to say "Planet" and add that the crafters' one is very nice.
It doesn't sound like it's okay really, honeysuckle is sure she'd be pretty shaken up about it if she unexpectedly wound up on a different planet, but it is pretty nice here and hopefully she'll settle in okay.
Yeah, that's true. She is shaken up!
Mabel writes "Yes" and "thank you" again, and fidgets with the books.
Anyway, it's getting late, she should probably set Mabel's kitchen up and get going. ...she bets her mom just kind of guessed at how Mabel likes her aesthetic arranged; did it turn out okay or would she like some things changed around?
Maybe more pink? Mabel likes pink. She writes "pink" and, as always, "thank you."
The kitchen setup would be great! Can honeysuckle maybe walk her through how everything works again? Mabel is going to try to figure out how to phrase that with her limited vocabulary and hope the message gets across.
She can add some pink, certainly, wherever Mabel wants, and bring the kitchen things in and recolor them and show her how to use them - the glyphs on the buttons and sliders are mostly ones she's seen before, but some of the safety features on the cookware do need a little more of an explanation. She also offers to make a shelved cabinet to sit on the countertop and hold all these trays of utensils, since it'll be pretty inconvenient to store them in the cabinets under the counter, and to make a smellproof box to put dirty things in until they can craft them clean.
All of this sounds great! Mabel is visibly excited by all the kitchenware, and also by the pink. A shelved cabinet and a smellproof box would also be great -- Mabel is honestly pretty dirty.
She does have no other clothes -- she's a little anxious about asking for more things but everyone's been so nice lately, and it seems to be culturally expected.
She doesn't know the glyph for clothes so she just draws a shirt and pants.
Hm - there's kind of a lot of clothing miniatures, they were saving that collection to show her tomorrow when she's fresh; does she want to see it tonight anyway or just get something temporary?
Something temporary, please! She's just... very dirty and feels grimy.
She intends to take a bath later and wants clean clothes for that, but doesn't have the vocabulary to express it. She'll just say that the temporary clothes are fine.