Mr. Familiar

by

EO Tenkey

Quest 9: Mr. Familiar Flies the Coop

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After giving me sufficient cuddles to get over her guilt from whacking me in the face with an ice-enhanced sword, Lucy successfully demonstrated she could reproduce her Icy Grip skill and was dismissed by the trainer. We emerged from the training hall having skilled up, ready for anything.

Well, anything level 5 or below, I supposed.

"That went faster than I expected. What do you think, Fluffems? Should we go on a quest, just the two of us? I don't really have anything I need to do tomorrow, and Ray's probably at work by now."

I thought you'd never ask.

"Let's see, I'm pretty sure there must be a quest or two around here. Ray didn't want to do any of them when we first started playing, but he's not here, is he? Now, how were quest givers marked again? Was it an exclamation point, or…" While she was talking to herself, Lucy pulled open her map and started panning it around the town. "Oh, there's one nearby, let's go check it out."

A short bit of navigating through the streets later, and Lucy pushed her way into a smithy. A small counter ran perpendicular to the door, along with a small display of weapons, but there was no one manning it. Instead, as we walked in the door the blacksmith further into the room who was pounding away at an anvil yelled out, "I'll be with yeh in a minute!"

"Thank you!" called Lucy, setting me down on the counter as she stepped further in to peruse the weapons on display.

Well, I wasn't going to get a better setup than this. I launched myself from the counter, scooping my wings at the air with as much power I could muster and successfully flying right over Lucy's head where she was stooped over admiring daggers. Hinterlands yeah! I was doing this! I—oh, wait a flicking minute, how do I turn?! The room isn't big enough!

I tried holding one arm still while I continued to swipe with the other, which sort of turned me a little bit, but mostly just flipped me over so I had a brief view of the ceiling before I collided with a shield on the wall and hit the ground moments before the shield hit me.

"Wha—!" I heard Lucy exclaim, and then the shield was lifted off me. "Fluff-kins? Did that shield just drop on your head? Stay over here on the counter and wait for me, okay silly-face?"

She peeled me off the ground, and plunked me back on the counter as the blacksmith stalked our way.

He didn't so much as glance at the shield that was now leaning against the wall, however. "What can I do for yeh?"

"Oh, I was actually wondering if you had any quests!"

"Well, in fact—"

I tuned them out. Now that I thought about it, planes always tilted sideways in order to turn. Maybe the trick was tilting my body rather than changing how I was pumping my arms? Worth a shot, particularly given that Lucy was kind enough to give me some initial height again. I backed up a couple steps, and then waddled my way off the edge and back into the air. Rather than letting the rush of being successfully airborne overcome me again, I focused on trying to control my speed and altitude. The room was only long enough to allow me to pump my wings about four times before I ran into the opposite wall, but by using longer, slower scooping motions I was able to move a little slower and more controlled this time. As the wall approached, I tiled myself sideways and…it worked! Pa-keeng! Unfortunately, I probably should have stopped moving my arms, since when I pumped them partway through my turn I ended up propelling myself into a different shield, which once again followed me to the floor and squashed me.

As I listened to the sound of hurrying footsteps and waited for Lucy to free me, I thought back over the feeling of banking through the air. I was pretty sure another few times and I would be able to make the curve and—

The shield was lifted. "Fluff-kins, I'm so proud of you! You flew! But you really need to be careful indoors, okay? Let's stop knocking nice Mr. Blacksmith's shields on the ground."

The NPC blacksmith was still at the counter, staring over at us with what almost looked like a bemused expression. What, you never seen a cosmetic companion animal that can't fly, buddy?

Although come to think of it, maybe he wasn't happy about how his wares kept ending up on the floor.

Lucy placed the shield up against the wall next to the first and carried me back to the counter. "I'm so sorry about the shields. You were saying?"

I tuned the two out once more and wiggled out of Lucy's grasp. She gave me a quelling look, but otherwise kept her focus on the blacksmith who was spinning some sob story about a lost hammer, blah blah blah.

As soon as I was sure that Lucy's focus was back on the stupid backstory for this low-level fetch quest, I took off at my—admittedly low—top speed and flung myself off the edge of the counter again. Lucy saw me out of the corner of her eye, and tried to snatch me out of the air, but I gave my arms an extra-strong pump that shot me forward and up and out of her reach. Of course this meant that the far wall was approaching a lot faster than my last experiment, but holding my arms still I twisted my body to the left and successfully made a u-turn! Flick yes! Pa-keeng! I was awesome!

Of course now I was headed straight back toward Lucy and the blacksmith. I scooped at the air experimentally with my arms, trying to look upward (as much as I could with this roly-poly body) and generally scooping more downwards than back. Sure enough, I successfully gained enough height that I wasn't going to run into Lucy's head, and with a careful lean and twist I successfully turned back the other way. Pa-keeng!

Ah ha ha ha, this was amazing! I was actually flying! For the first time, this stupid fluffy body felt worth inhabiting, because the feeling of freedom I was experiencing was nothing like I'd ever felt when I was a human.

While Lucy finished up talking to the blacksmith, I flew around in circles over their heads. I was having too much fun to try and experiment more, unfortunately, so I didn't get any other behavior-based stat increases. But it was so worth it, even so.

Finally, Lucy hopped up and snagged me out of the air as I was making a pass just above her head, and carried me out the door.

"That was amazing, Fluff-kins! You were flying so well! I'm really proud of you!"

I kind of bounced up and down in her arms and waved my own arms with excitement.

"I know, you must be feeling so happy with yourself!" Pa-keeng! "Come to think of it, you were flying while I was working on Icy Grip, weren't you? What a good girl!"

No, I was a—you know what, who cares, anyway? What's a bit of gender confusion compared to flicking flying?

Unfortunately, Lucy kept a solid grip on me as she navigated through the town, so I didn't get any further flying practice just at the moment. Probably for the best; there were so many players and NPCs in the starting town that I would have just ended up running into people a bunch, which would be embarrassing.

Lucy headed out of town through the northern gate, and started following the trail, pausing at every cross-roads to check her map and peer off down the other trails. I wasn't sure what she was looking for, but the number of obstacles—I mean, players—drastically dropped, and with a determined wiggle I convinced her to let me flap up out of her arms.

Flying along while Lucy walked turned out to be something of a trick. I had a pretty good feeling for how far away from her feet I could get, thanks to getting dragged around so often, but evidently the invisible walls curved upward around her and I ran into them multiple times as I tried to get a sense for how soon I had to bank. Fortunately, Lucy didn't have much to distract her, and every time I took a tumble she paused to pick me up, give me a hug, and toss me back into the air. Over the course of my practice, I even gained three behavior points.

Sadly for my continued flying practice, Lucy at last found the offshoot she was searching for, and after a few more minutes of walking located the goal for the blacksmith's quest: an abandoned wagon, looking significantly the worse for wear, that was pulled off into the trees to the side of the trail.

This rang absolutely no bells for me. I hadn't paid attention when she was talking to the NPC in the first place, and I didn't recall doing any quests like this, so when Lucy approached the wagon, I aimed myself for the edge, swooped down, completely misjudged my speed and location of my own feet, and went somersaulting into the bed of the wagon.

"Silly-puss," said Lucy fondly, as she climbed in after me and started looking through the boxes in the back of the wagon.

I glared. I was not a silly-puss, thank you very much! You try perching on something when you can't even see your own feet and have only been flying for forty minutes!

Lucy wasn't paying any attention to my outraged self, though. "Ah ha! Found it!" From the moldering depths of a battered wooden box, she pulled out a large, one-handed hammer.

The light around us noticeably dimmed as Lucy examined her prize.

Oh, that wasn't good. That wasn't good at all.

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A note from EO Tenkey

He glossed over it, but you just know Mr. Familiar is actually in it for the hugs.

In unrelated news, my Patreon finally accrued enough funds, so I've commissioned some actual cover art! My goal with the Patreon is to eventually fund internal art for my works, so if you'd like to help with that feel free to join the very exclusive Patreon readership and gain access to chapters a week prior to their publication here on RoyalRoad!

If not, no worries! I'll share the finished artwork here on RoyalRoad when it's ready.


About the author

EO Tenkey

Bio: Read all the things. Write all the things. Sleep? What's that? Does it taste good with chips?

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