This post has the following content warnings:
Jun 08, 2023 6:44 PM
The System welcomes all to the Tutorial, even isekai'd catgirls
+ Show First Post
Total: 279
Posts Per Page:

Two Pack Rats come out. She recognizes brown-patch-next-to-ear from before.

Brownie takes the marble, then retreats to the tunnel entrance and tilts its head expectantly.


Noooo it wasn't supposed to do that!

And obviously a single marble isn't enough to trade for an Essence gem?

It looks like it wants her to follow. This doesn't make sense, but the thought comes to mind, maybe because before she met everyone, she was hoping she could live with the Pack Rats.

It's probably safe. They're critters.

...Unless they want her to spring a trap for them. There are spiders that live in the ground. And she's still injured.

Is the other Pack Rat paying attention?


Yep, though it seems confused. Brownie waves its arms around a bit. Pack Rats probably can't really talk...?

And then Brownie squeaks in realization and fetches a small case from somewhere in its fur. Squeak squeak!


(Sure, they don't have hominid vocal cords or hands, but that just means they don't share a language with her. Yet!)


But what does it mean?

(She's not getting anything from them telepathically other than simple friendliness and frustration.)

On the chance that they can read, she scratches in the ground with a claw:

I'm leaving. If you want to come with us and work together on being safe and getting good things, come now.

(Although she speaks with a strange accent, perhaps resembling, if you don't listen too carefully, that of a native German speaker who learned English exclusively from Bostonians, her writing is 21st century Standard American English.)

If they can't read - and surely they can draw a cartoon as good as that one - the case itself must be the message.

So maybe:
- The case represents her, and they're going to do something with it. Bringing it into the tunnel would make it clear what they want, although she still doesn't know if it's a good idea.
- The case represents her, and things inside of it are objects she has, or things she eats, or maybe even things she wants or thinks.
- The case represents trading, and things inside are objects being traded, or represent - quantity or timing of trading?

Hm, the case has electrodes? The detachable parts don't look like batteries. It would be perfect for what she wants to communicate if they were things that the case 'takes care of' in some sense...

Brownie squeaked twice, representing an incomplete trade? Or just finishing the triplet accidentally started by its exclamation?

She puts her shoe back on and steps closer. Touches the cartoon cat's ribbon and then her own forehead. This represents me?


Squeak! Brownie draws a case and the weird-diamondy-shape of Essence next to each other in the dirt and then makes grabby-gathering motions over them.

"It wants you to Craft those airpods. Maybe it'll translate for you," opines Sam.


And then in a fairly extended drawing campaign:

-Weirdly tall stick figures carrying pointy things
-Tall stick figures with pointy things and cartoonishly dead pigs nearby
-Tall stick figures with pointy things inside a circle with dead pigs around it
-Rats also inside the circle but separated
-Little circles scattered near the cartoonishly dead pigs
-Rats fetching the little circles into the big circle and keeping half of the little circles


Yay, they want to team up!

"If I understand you correctly, sir, you think that if I try to craft a translation artifact with it, it will either work, or do something else they want it to do, but not go wrong?"

She doesn't have a Essence gem - she touches the Essence drawing and tilts her head at Brownie...  draws a tall stick figure with cat ears and points to it with one hand, points to one of the Pack Rat drawings with the other hand, and then resumes looking questioningly at Brownie.

They want to keep half the loot, in exchange for fetching the loot from the monsters that the, uh, 'players' already killed? That doesn't seem like a good deal.


"I think it probably won't go wrong, at least. Here, still got this from earlier?" John holds out a Pack Rat Essence (x1).

Another Pack Rat emerges with a small collection of bits and bobs - screws, bottle caps, bits of drywall, a burnt power socket, pill packets, and a chips wrapper - which are piled up next to the 'crafting' drawing and squeaked at. The System actually identifies it with a blue window as [Junk x2], like being in the rats' possession makes it special somehow.

As for the loot, Brownie sees how hesitant she is, then draws a line of dots in the dirt, fifteen or so, and holds a paw about a third of the way down.


"Thank you, sir." She thought those were in the loot bin in the truck, but she's not going to complain! Presumably if Dave asks, they only ever had one of them.

The issue is that she didn't expect the Pack Rats to want loot at all, and doesn't think that picking stuff up is all that hard.

Maybe there's a setup where everyone who can uses ranged weapons and/or acts as bait while the Pack Rats scurry around gathering loot and not getting in the way of the shots because they're small?

If the Magic Thing does translation then they can talk after she crafts, and if not, whatever it does will be new information.

Crafting time! She tries to let the Mana go where it naturally tends, as long as that involves all three of the case, the Essence, and the Junk x2.


This one is... Kind of a mess. The mana really doesn't want to stick together. Gobs and gobs of it clump up and tangle into uselessness, falling off or curdling away even as she pours more of her own Mana in. The plastic melts and shifts, the screw is attached to the side of the case. The end result is a pair of earbuds with weird antennae attached, and a much-modified case- A lopsided thing that somehow looks rusty, burnt, and fragile.

You have created:

Ratrophone (Poor Quality). Anyone wearing these earbuds can understand [Rat] Critters at a basic level. Place in the case and infuse up to 5 Mana to recharge. It also creates an uncomfortable mental feedback.

20 Experience awarded for Crafting.

"I dunno how patient they're gonna be, just saying, everyone wants to get rolling," Sam warns her gently, trying not to wince at the result.


Aaah she lost track of time, they're going to be angry. "Thank you, sir!"

(What's Infuse mean? Just sticking Mana into it?)

The translation artifact only works in one direction, and she doesn't have time to draw out a big table with her alternate proposal...

She draws a box around Brownie's sequence of drawings with the rough outline of the crafted case. Next, a big circle. Inside is a cat-eared tall stick figure, a Pack Rat, and a much smaller lopsided box with the same shape - several lopsided boxes, then erase all but one of them.

She gingerly dons the earbuds.


It's weird! It feels a bit like there's some sort of telepathic pressure telling her she's stupid and wrong and confused.

When Brownie squeaks and goes on for a while squeaking, though, it becomes a lot easier to understand. Not that what's being spoken is English, but it's sort of understandable anyway.

>Pack Rats want a safe place to live most of all
>They also want junk, trash, debris, loot, etc
>They are sneaky and good at tunneling and scouting
>They can even provide crafting materials by converting junk into Junk(x1)
>Having early warning of monsters is very valuable!
>Since this place is not really safe, maybe Pack Rats can go with them for now and work out the exact details of Loot distribution and so on later?


That's totally a language it's just squeaking to keep her attention it feels like the meanings line up with groups of squeaks of course it feels like that brains imagine patterns in everything yes let's leave now that's what she was trying to communicate herself, it's just wishful thinking that they would agree, and why would they trust her they like her they were going to feed her to a spider

She pulls the earbuds out and shakes her head with a shiver. "Mrrp!"

She picks up the case and steps away, pausing to look back the manner Brownie did earlier.


A group of seven Pack Rats in total hesitantly begin to follow?

"-So are they coming with us or what?" Asks John, frowning in concern.


"I think they are, sir!"

She keeps walking back toward the truck, pausing to check that the Pack Rats are still following.


Kind of cautiously, but yeah. An eighth shoots out of the warren to join them. Their Levels are all one, except for Brownie and one other who are at 2.

Dave takes the Ratrophone and frowns at it, and tells them "if you're gonna be living in my compound you gotta earn your keep". The rats seem to agree. Everyone, Pack Rats included, loads up into the back of the truck, which then starts rolling. There are two turrets with men sitting tensely, a ladder with a little hatch leading to the roof where Wynn is, cargo strapped down in the middle of the box-truck trailer, and a line of benches and seats along the wall as well. There's a door to the front cab too.

Eight landscaping guys in total, plus her and the rats and the cargo, still leave the container with a decent amount of free space. They start rolling, smoothly accelerating out of the way. The guys are talking about guns and sharing what they know about monsters and the System so far- They heard from some cops they passed that worse ones are popping up out in the countryside, Level 4 Fear Deer, for example- And Sam is talking about fortification plans with the boss.


Yay, she did it, and Dave doesn't seem angry at the delay.

She sits on the floor next to the Pack Rats. Since their fur is so bristly and serves to store their valuables, she's not sure of their social grooming behavior and does not try to touch them.


The truck rolls along peacefully for a while, turning occasionally. The pack rats huddle to themselves and visibly restrain themselves from picking over the stacks of cargo for things to take.

"Possum, one o'clock, hundred fifty meters, by the base of the oak tree near the trampoline," Wynn's voice reports calmly through a speaking tube. One of the turrets traverses forward and pop-pops. "Possum down. Nothing else in sight." 

"Should we stop to loot it?" One of the landscapers asks.

"No way, too slow. Not for a single Giant Possum," is the boss's response.

And then another turn, and then some more cruising, and then-

"Something's wrong but I don't- AAH!" There's a loud thump from the speaking tube.


Wynn yanks open the roof hatch and dives through it head-first on sheer instinct, hitting the floor and rolling.

Three seagulls with multi-foot wingspans and glittering, razor-like beaks come straight in after her, screaming and making a racket, flopping around on the floor and sending feathers everywhere. The whole area is suddenly in chaos as people stand and yell, the door gunners try to extract their weapons, and the gulls' feathers fly in every direction, impeding vision.

One of the Razor Gulls stands and flaps towards the small huddle of Pack Rats and C'Esther, resting in the corner, before order returns.


Aaah! She reflexively covers her face and flails.

No - look at the bird. She can't stand up, at least not neatly, but she can bounce rhythmically sitting on the floor and wave her arms in a syncopation.

She tries to slash and grab and curl on top of it. She's not expecting to be able to effectively restrain it, just give someone a chance to hit it solidly before she or the Pack Rats take a fatal amount of damage.


The razor beak snaps at a Pack rat before she can fully react, neatly slicing off its tail and dragging a cut into its back. The rat, a little white one, squeals in agony.

And then she's on top of it, arm around its head and trying to grapple it. The gull writhes and flaps, trying to worm its head around on its flexible neck, trying to push away from her. 

The Pack Rats swarm in fury, clawing and biting at the gull in a frenzy of chittering anger. Even as it flaps and kicks furiously, knocking one away, C'Esther's weight mostly holding it in one place makes the struggle futile - the gull's attempt to wedge its neck around and stab her arm is stopped by her choking grip on its neck, and also a rat closing its teeth on said neck through the thick layer of feathers.

...The bird stops struggling, after a bit. The others are taken care of too, signified by an ugly squork! and a wet crunching sound.

Level 3 Razor Gull defeated!
Contribution: 50%
Bonus Experience awarded for defeating an enemy above your level: +0.2
180 Experience gained!

Brownie shakes its head and starts licking her paw gently around the limp body of the monster, as several other Pack Rats look over the piteously squeaking wounded white one.

The other fights seem to still be going on, going by the yelling and stomping and squawking in the background. None of it's panicked, though, they seem confident.


Oh no. Loot! (Maybe there will be something she can use to craft a healing tool?)

She gently touches Brownie on the cheek.

She's still low on hit points, and she doesn't know how many hit points Pack Rats have but probably not a lot; she'll stay out of the other fights unless they come to her.


The wounded white one seems surprisingly okay! The thick bristles and pile of junk on its back seem to have absorbed some of the blow. It's bleeding, but only a bit.

The remaining two birds are dispatched eventually. Someone scales the ladder and pulls the roof hatch shut, making sure nothing else gets in.

Most of the blood and gore in the corner of the trailer vanishes into motes of light, collecting into a white-metallic [Razor Feather - Imbued with speed and cutting magic].

"Everyone alright back there?" Comes Nick's voice over some sort of intercom. "Okay, we're just a few seconds from our first stop, remember to keep the turrets manned."


Her first thought is to shove the feather at the nearest Pack Rat before anyone sees it and takes it, but the other monsters are the same type so the missing feather will be obvious.

The scheme that she hasn't had a chance to propose yet would give the Pack Rats half the loot from monsters that they help kill. The downside of having only a single object is that it can't be divided on half, but the upside is that is should be clear to them that the allotment wouldn't set a precedent. And she wants to reassure them that she's dealing honestly.

Really, they did most of the work on the Razor Gull. Her scheme didn't include that case, but it does now! With deliberate motions, she picks up the feather and gives it to Brownie.

Speed and cutting magic sound applicable to her Dancing Claw? (Presumably she could use one of the other feathers, at Dave's direction, or trade a different item to the Pack Rats later.) But if she's going to be a sentry, that's less useful to her, as much as she likes using Dancing Claw. If the Pack Rats' honeypot idea works, they'll be the ones who need speed the most.

She's relieved that the little white one is okay. Is that a consequence of injury being measured solely in hit points? If the cut on its back had been deeper, would it have a 'paralysis' affliction? If the Razor Gull had gone straight for C'Esther could she have an affliction to her eyes or ears or hands, or would those injuries heal as she regained hit points? She should talk to F'Wen about recording their wounds so they know what to focus on defending.

But right now they're going to pick up someone's household! She stands up in front of the Pack Rats, catching the beat of her previous bouncing and extending her claws, ready in case there's more trouble when they open the door. This could even be a chance to Pounce!


Nobody seems to particularly notice her Loot Acquisition, they're all kind of busy with their own monsters. Aside from John, who was heading over to see if she needs help anyway.

John heads past her, into the door to the front area, even as the back door opens and Dave's Landscaping piles out into a suburban street lined with houses. Two stay to stand guard, and two are still manning the turrets, though.


As the truck stops, Wynn comes and sits next to her, arms around her legs and head resting on her knees. She's bleeding in a couple places, and shaking slightly.

"...Sorry for letting them in. That was stupid of me. Should have expected flying monsters, definitely can't be a lookout like that anymore."

Total: 279
Posts Per Page: