Mr. Familiar

by

EO Tenkey

Quest 28: Mr. Familiar Gets Munched

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After looting the plorgs, Lucy scooped me up, plopped me on her shoulder, and advanced through the gateway. It went surprisingly deep—deep enough that there was a solid band in the middle completely in shadow. Surely the walls weren't this thick. I peered up and to the sides, and it looked like there were a bunch of murder holes. So maybe this was intended to funnel invaders through an area where they could be easily dispatched.

Thankfully, plorgs weren't much for strategy or ranged weapons. Heck, it might not be possible to safely get up to other side of those murder holes, regardless.

When we reached the end, Lucy paused. "Hey, Mr. Familiar. Think you could peek around the edge and see if there's any of those pig-things lying in wait?"

Oh, I could totally do that! Cheep! I took a quick flight to the ground, waddled to the edge of the gateway and peered out.

Beyond the gateway was a large courtyard, edged with stone structures fighting a losing battle with trees and. Lots of stone blocks, partially-collapsed walls, and a complete lack of roofs. I checked to the left; looked clear. To the right…oh, there were several plorgs wandering around. Smart move, Lucy!

I flipped myself up in the air and flew back to Lucy's shoulder.

"Were there enemies?"

Cheep!

"One? Two? Three?"

Cheep!

"Hmm, okay. That's not too bad. Did they look as tough as the ones we just fought?"

I gave that a brief thought. I hadn't noticed any weapons, so…cheep cheep.

"Alright, sounds good. Let's take 'em out!"

So that's what we did. Rather than sacrifice any initiative, Lucy sprinted straight around the corner and headlong into the first of the plorgs, sending him rolling with a solid hammer to the chest. His squealing immediately attracted the other two, one of whom was close enough to immediately engage and the other who tried to charge us.

My dance moves sent the charging one stumbling, and shortly thereafter Lucy landed a solid Icy Grip that chilled all three and sealed their fate. I didn't even have to hump anyone's face!

Unfortunately, right as Lucy laid the third and final plorg out for good, a new enemy stalked out from between a pair of trees.

Aw, nuts. I'd been right about Gloaming creatures. This one looked like a weird cross between a wolf and an ape, with inky black hair, glowing red orbs for eyes, and a body whose proportions were simply wrong somehow. It was also a lot bigger than the creatures I remembered fighting in the boss battle for this quest. Its lupine mouth gaped open when it caught sight of us, and it started loping our way silently across the grass.

Hoo boy, based on the sort of bouncing run this thing was using, I didn't think I was going to be able to trip it up with a dance move. And of course Lucy was looking the other way while she finished looting the final plorg, because that's how these things go.

Nothing for it, then. I didn't think I had very good odds for getting Lucy's attention before the thing arrived, so guessed I was going to have to try and intercept it more directly. I performed a quick flip, circled once while the creature drew closer, and as soon as I judged it to be in range, dive-bombed its face.

Unlike the plorgs, which just stood there and took whatever I had to dish out with a look of piggy confusion on their faces, this thing did not like losing sight of its prey thanks to a pink fluffball colliding with its snout, and it let out a gravelly snarl as it tossed its head upwards. The movement dislodged me enough that I caught a glimpse behind me, where Lucy literally jumped before spinning around.

"What the—scribble! What is that thing?!" She frantically grabbed her hammer just as the creature pounced toward her.

Sadly for me, the head-shake followed up by the pounce was more than I could withstand, and I was tossed into the air. I frantically pumped my wings, gained control of my flight, and performed a quick turn.

Lucy was on the back foot. Aside from getting caught unawares, the creature didn't move like any of the enemies she'd had to face so far. No straight-forward charges here; instead it nipped at her before ducking away, whipping around to her side and trying again. Her first swing of the hammer completely whiffed as the creature did a little sideways hop out of the way.

That was not good. I was pretty sure her next usage of Icy Grip was still on cooldown, and that was going to be her best method for leveling the playing field against such an agile enemy.

As I winged toward the fight to try and interfere, the creature managed to bite and scratch her several times, and she'd still yet to connect with the hammer. I circled around the two, watching the creature to get a feeling for its attack patterns. Looked like it had three main attacks: it would lunge in to bite, hop aside and scratch, or rear up and scratch followed by a bite. Now I just had to get into position, which was trickier than with plorgs because the diddle thing was constantly circling Lucy.

Ah, I think I've got it! I dove down, aiming for the creature's head, and hit nothing but air as the flicking thing jumped aside. Curses! I pumped madly, careening just inches over the ground as I tried to pull up. Luckily, I managed to gain control of my momentum before smashing into my invisible barrier, and with a bit of few tight spirals was able to regain my aerial position.

I guess maybe I needed to aim where the monster was going to be instead of where it was. Lesson learned. Lucy was looking a bit ragged, so I needed to actually contribute to the fight on this next pass.

I shifted my direction and started circling around opposite the way the monster had been moving most recently. Hopefully coming in at an angle would increase my odds of success.

Ah, there! The creature had just dodged one of Lucy's strikes after doing a slashing attack, so I was betting it would go for the bite next. I arrowed downwards, but instead of colliding with the thing's snout and knocking it off course, I ended up right between its jaws as they clamped down. Pa-keeng!

Oof! Better me than Lucy, I guess, but oh scribble what if it tries to swallow me?!

I started squirming, and the creature started pawing at its own face.

Vaguely I heard Lucy give a shout, and then all of a sudden I was flung through the air to collide with the invisible wall and flop down. From my new position on the ground, I could see Lucy glowing ever-so-slightly red, and the creature was on its side with a dazed look in the glowing orbs that served as its eyes. Guess she finally successfully landed a hit while I was getting myself munched on. The shout must have been her activating her Furious Rage skill to bump up her damage and heal a bit.

She didn't give the thing a chance to get up, but nailed it dead on with an Icy Grip-empowered hit. By the time I'd forced myself back onto my feet in preparation for taking to the air, the Gloaming wolf-thing was dead.

Lucy wiped her forehead as she looked around, probably checking for more enemies. "Whew, that thing was kind of tough, huh, Fluff-kins?"

Yeah, those high agility hit-and-run tactics really didn't mesh well with Lucy's "smash it with a hammer" strategy. Cheep. On the plus side, I had a much better feel for the timing of the thing's attack patterns and would hopefully be able to interfere more effectively in future battles. Though hopefully not by becoming a flying chicken nugget. That wasn't much fun.

Lucy downed a potion and looted the Gloaming-infested monster. "Gloaming hunter, huh? That thing was freaky. If you spot another one of those things, you should warn me, Mr. Familiar. How about three tweets if you see another one of those Gloaming hunters. Or just if you need my attention, I guess."

Excuse me?! "Tweets"? I did not tweet!

Still, the idea was sound. Cheep!

See, Lucy? Hear that? That was a "cheep," thank you very much!

"Aw, you have such a cute little tweet!"

Pa-keeng!

Grah!


We continued working our way through the fortress, battling plorgs and the occasional Gloaming hunter. Lucy's idea to cheep three times to get her attention really boosted our teamwork. She didn't always hear me in the thick of battle, but being able to draw her attention when she wasn't actively whaling on something allowed her to avoid more than a few charging plorgs. We were both getting better at anticipating the other's actions, and she was starting to call out requests or instructions which was super helpful, especially when I was actively obstructing an enemy somehow. I didn't have a great amount of awareness of the broader battle when I was down pecking at a plorg's eyes or trying to play "here, have some chicken" with a Gloaming hunter.

The only unfortunate thing was that after several failures, I'd discovered that flying straight into a Gloaming hunter's mouth as it was trying to use its bite attack was far and away the best way to distract it. The diddle thing's eyes were set far enough apart on its head and it whipped around so much that I couldn't effectively block its vision so much as occasionally bounce off its snout.

Eventually, we reached an ominous-looking tunnel that led into the basement under the main keep, and Lucy logged off for the day.

As she disappeared into motes of light, I fervently hoped, wished, and prayed that she would be back within the day instead of leaving me hanging in a state of nonexistence for months.

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A note from EO Tenkey

Mr. Familiar should probably be a little more careful about flying into thing's mouths. I'm guessing getting swallowed would seriously screw with the game's ability to reconcile the game mechanics with his aberrant behavior.


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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