867: The Cat Cometh – One ShotPosted: October 22, 2014
Hello, patrons! To start off my month-long one-shot break from large projects, I bring you a Harvest Moon / Riviera cross-over! Thus far we’ve only had one fic with Riviera in it, and that was Herr’s old shame that went by the name of Twenty Warriors, and this will be the first time we’ve featured something with Harvest Moon, so you’re all in for a treat!
But first, a little background.
Riviera (also known as Riviera the Promised Land) is a lesser known JRPG released for the GBA by Atlus in 2004. It was a good game, though rather typical to the genre utilizing turn based strategy and a relatively linear plot about saving the world. It combined bits of dating sim/relationship management along with an interesting item management system that gave each item a set durability which would eventually render an item useless after used enough times. As such, keeping low-power toss-away weapons was a good way to protect your more important armaments. Mind you, almost nothing about the game will actually matter when reading this fic. The important part is that the main protagonist, Ein, has a cat-like familiar named Rose that he starts the game with as his companion.
Harvest Moon is a very long-standing series about farming. I know, that sounds thrilling. It’s actually a pretty fun game and it was essentially Farmville before Farmville was Farmville. The first entry to the series was released in 1996 and remains a solid play even to this day (though in many ways Harvest Moon 64 was where the series really hit its stride). The basic premise has pretty much remained the same up to today: Something happens where the player avatar inherits a farm. It’s their job to make the farm successful while simultaneously wooing someone in town into marrying them (again, dating sim elements). As the series has progressed, lots of other things have been added, such as mining in caves, fishing, plant hybridizing, cooking, mixing potions, fighting monsters, befriending woodland elves, etc. But, by and large, the main core of the game has remained the same: make a successful farm. Along with that, many of the core characters in the game have remained the same since the first, such as some of the romantic interests: Ann, Elle, Eve, Maria, and Nina.
Anyway, most of this won’t matter, but I figured that will at least let everyone know what the fic is supposed to be about. Well… crossing those two things. Aside from the dating sim aspect existing in both, I’m not really seeing it.
Let’s start with the summary:
Every morning, I find this cheerful white cat at my doorstep, but why?… New Farmer Rothe tells the unusual tale of her psychological connection to a white cat that always greets her in the morning.
Yeah, that’s not really helping. And we have two different points of view within the summary. That can’t bode well.
Disclaimer: Still don’t own the rights to Harvest Moon, or Riviera: The Promised Land. I hope everybody starts to notice the patern…
This is a reference to the huge number of fics that C. Yuki has made based on Harvest Moon, Riviera, and crossovers of both. Some of those I might get to some day, but this is the shortest and, based on the summary, should stand on its own.
That said, if you think the disclaimer goes without saying (and they really do), maybe you shouldn’t say it? I know, there is a long standing (mis)understanding that they are required; however, a thorough read of the FF.net terms of service and posting guidelines shows that no such policy exists. Further, despite what many think, the disclaimers don’t actually accomplish anything from a legal standpoint, so you may as well just not include them anyway.
I know I’ve said it all before, but sometimes it feels like I can’t say it enough.
Harvest Moon: Magical Melody
Ahh, there we go, this is based on the second Game Cube Harvest Moon release called Magical Melody. It was one of the more accessible Harvest Moon games because it was a lot easier, had a ton more to do, you can be male or female, and had the most candidates for marriage out of any of the games. The plot was also more developed in that there was one. Magical Melody was actually one of the more solid editions to the franchise because it returned to the original gameplay model it set back in the very first game, but with huge updates to everything. It was pretty well received and the Gamecube version remains the highest rated Harvest Moon that has ever been produced. If you only ever get to play one harvest moon game, make it either Magical Melody or Friends of Mineral Town for the GBA, as those are widely recognized as the best two in the series (though Harvest Moon 64 and Back to Nature on PS1 are also highly rated and definitely worth a look).
Every Morning in Flower Bud Village, when the morning sun greets me, I walk towards the door of my humble home.
Everyone break out their purple prose glasses, it’s about to get all flowery up in this fic.
And what do I find there at my doorstep every day?
A small white cat with big blue eyes.
This would be the white cat from the game. It doesn’t really serve much purpose; just wanders around the village looking like a cat.
It came as if I have beckoned it. It came as if I’m its owner.
So, right away the Cat Cometh. I guess that means we’re all done with the premise of the fic.
I admit, I do feel a sense of companionship to this furry feline.
Oh that funny, freaky, fabulous, functional, felonious, fulsome, fictional furry feline!
That enough adjectives for you, Chuki?
But why did it choose me?
Don’t know. Are you pikachu by chance?
I haven’t done anything for this cat to expect I’ll treat it any better than the other villagers have.
Funny that you would neglect the cat you just described as feeling companionship for. You’re kind of a dick aintcha, buddy?
In fact, I would think all the gentle creatures would flock to Ellen, since she’s been so nice to every living creature without discrimination.
Very true. However, since you’re not feeding this cat, and apparently nobody else is, but it’s not dead, I would say it is quite possible that Ellen has been slipping it some fish or something to keep the poor thing alive.
Or even that nut Jamie.
You want to unpack that for us? Jamie isn’t particularly noted for his/her love of animals or cats. (S)he doesn’t hate them, just isn’t known for really caring either way. In fact, other than being kind of a jerk, Jamie isn’t really know for much of anything beyond farming.
I don’t understand why, but that purple rancher doesn’t like talking to anything EXCEPT animals. And chestnut trees. Go figure.
Ah, I see, we’re getting some informed attributes loaded up here. My mistake.
Still, that same white cat chose me and my doorstep.
Cats are creatures of habit like that. Plus I’m sure your farm smelling of fish and birds probably doesn’t help.
Sure, it had its good points. The fuzzy bundle of joy was a pleasure to hold and feed every morning.
So, let me get this straight, you feed it every morning, yet are wondering why it keeps coming back? You’re not too bright, are you?
Those big blue eyes are so shiny and adorable, too. There were even times where its long white tail playfully tickled my nose. I can’t help sometimes but love the little guy.
Okay. That’s nice. We gonna get some plot soon or something? I’ve got errands to run so if you could hove in on something with substance, I would appreciate it.
But then, it bugged me at the same time. What if this cat was just manipulating me to get its way? What if this sneaky stray was using me as a means to free fish and snuggling?
Uh, dude, it’s a cat. They are scientifically proven to be manipulators. If it’s a cat, it’s probably trying to manipulate you. It has everything to do with getting free fish.
What if it stopped coming to me every morning once it found a more bountiful home to come to every morning.
What if you actually started using question marks when you need them? Ever thought of what would happen then?
What’s worse is that the thought of raw fish bugged me.
If only there was some way for you to give the cat something else, or to cook the fish first!? ALAS!
Not because of the nasty smell everyone would usually complain about, but because it brought to me unusual deja vu.
So, wait, you give a cat raw fish every morning and the only thing that bothers you is that you feel like you’ve done it before?
For some reason, being around that cat has been giving me peculiar dreams lately. Actually, make that peculiar nightmares.
So, wait a minute, the cat comes around every morning without fail to be fed and get cuddles. By the sounds of things that’s been going on for a while. More recently you start having nightmares. Why blame the cat?
That would be like me saying: Every morning for the last five years I’ve taken a backpack with me to work. A week ago I started having nightmare. It was obviously because of the backpack.
You see, there were some nights where I myself was a cat-like creature.
There are nights when I dream I’m being chased by a miniature T-Rex; you don’t see me blaming Gumdrop.
“Indeed. You usually blame me.”
Crunchy, you flat out admitted to hacking my dreams with the Force.
“It was rather amusing, I will admit that.”
Shouldn’t you be bothering Eliza or something?
I looked in a mirror in those dreams, and I can still recall this form of mine:
That colon fills me with deep, clothing-porn-related foreboding.
My fur is all black, and my eats were all beady.
Beady… eats? How the crap does that work?
Maybe Chuki meant ears? The r and t are right next to each other on the keyboard, so that’s probably what he meant.
Still doesn’t make any sense, though. Beady means small and round; not something that really describes cat ears.
I’m guessing this is supposed to be some kind of memory of a different life as Rose from Reviera or something. Problem is, she doesn’t have beady ears either:
My trailing tail was tied up with a green ribbon; much like the ribbons I tie my hair in curly tails with, and on my back where some black, bat-like wings.
Totally called it.
What was with those things, anyway?
Wings? Uh, you use them to fly. Lots of creatures have them, like your chickens for instance.
How did you survive on a farm so long without knowing what the “deal” with wings is?
So, I thoroughly checked this strange form of mine, but grinned to myself as though I’ve been enjoying this body for ages.
What a horrible nightmare.
The white cat is Ein reincarnated, isn’t he?
I move close towards the mirror and take one more curious glance. I felt… satisfied, for some reason.
Uh, maybe we should all give Rose some time alone with the mirror.
“Not Bad…” I must’ve thought at that moment.
What, you’re not sure what you’re thinking? Do you have some kind of dissociative identity problem in your dream?
In either case, I turned anyway and saw my good friend, Ein.
Either case? There was some other possible thought that you might have had? Care to share that with the audience?
He had his usual messy, bluish-brown hair atop his baby face, but instead of his casual clothes, he wore this bizarre-looking outfit consisting of a grey vest, this goofy blue cape, some giant gloves, and some funny purple shorts.
Not pictured above: brue hair.
Oh, I guess Ein isn’t the cat, but is hanging out somewhere in Harvest Moon. Thank the gods for that. I love being wrong.
At that moment, I would’ve laughed and questioned what was up with his cosplay getup, but I guess I was used to those clothes in this dream.
So wait, in the moment you would have laughed, except you didn’t because it was a dream and you accepted it. So really, you wouldn’t have laughed.
What does that even mean?
In fact, we were acting like our natural selves, as if we were playing out or typical lives in some strange world.
I’m honestly not sure what the narration is trying to do here. The attempt to simultaneously make this all seem odd, but at the same time common place is just not working. It’s also making lots of comparisons to things we have no frame of reference to. For instance, Rose and Ein’s typical life in Harvest Moon is never described, so how can we know what them playing out their “typical lives” is like?
And, despite feeling like Ein’s pet, I was content.
Pet, magically summoned familiar. Potato, potato.
I also saw my roomie Ledah, except he was wearing these big black robes, and a red cape that made him look way more impressive than Ein’s dorky blue cloth. He had these cool-looking black wings, which Ein gazed at like a friend he hadn’t seen in ages.
Uh, is this really short one-shot going to be mostly expositive costume-porn revolving around all the core characters of Riviera? If so, why does it even exit? We have pictures of all the characters, dude.
I mean sure, I’d rather have some descriptions than none, but this fic isn’t very long and so far all that’s happened is a cat got some fish and then costume porn.
Ledah was the primary antagonist for a large part of the game, but started off as Ein and Rose’s companion. He wasn’t evil, just devoted to doing the job he and Ein was assigned. The job that Ein ended up fighting against.
Maybe he used to have wings too, in this bizarre dream world.
Seriously, is the dream world bizarre or common place in your mind? You can’t have it both ways!
Either way, it seemed we were about to go on some important journey somewhere, and leave behind everything we knew and love. Sorta like when I left behind my apartment to move to Flower Bud Village to pursue the quiet life of a farmer.
Eh, if that’s a transition, it’s not a bad one. A good link between the dream of expositive clothing porn and back to the farm.
If it isn’t a transition, then that comment is woefully out of place and breaks the flow.
Who wants to bet it’s the second one?
Anyway, after having more fun with my costumed pals, the dream starts to get really creepy…
If you guessed the second one, then you’ve been here before. Welcome back to the library.
I’m soon thrust into this wooden hut that reeked of chemicals.
See, there’s where a transition would have been good. It’s a dream, so I’ll allow it, but a transition would have made that feel a hell of a lot less abrupt.
And no sooner do I turn my cat-like head but to find the most disturbing sight:
My old College Professor, Cierra, in a slut-like witch’s outfit.
Hey, everyone, guess who the author doesn’t like!
Now, I confess that the color of her top and gloves went nicely with her long, scarlet hair, but I would still be afraid of running around in public in that getup.
You’ll also notice how Cierra got way, way less description than everyone else.
The author is not so good at keeping themselves out of their story.
This all got really strange when she started treating me like a house cat.
Ahh, this is taking place after Rose and Ein get separated and Rose ends up with Cierra prior to her joining the party.
She would pet me, offer me a toy mouse, and force raw fish to my face, calling me “Gateau” in baby language.
My apologies for any readers who speak French. Obviously the author doesn’t know the difference between baby language (babbling) and your fine tongue.
I would think, being some cat now, which I would actually enjoy this treatment, but this time, it felt like my two separate consciousnesses matched up at this point.
Ahh, so it is a dissociative identity disorder. That explains why the narrative has been so wishy-washy.
“No more,” I groaned in my mind “No more…”
She’s calling me “cake” in French! Somebody please end this horror!
But Professor Cierra continued to baby me in her questionable outfit.
Just in case any of you haven’t picked up on it, the author really doesn’t like Cierra.
Okay, so maybe I wasn’t exactly a cat.
Was it the wings that gave it away for you?
I certainly looked like one, but I REALLY hated being treated like one for some reason. Especially by this crazy witch.
This fic is only 1,800 words long, and I’m tempted to make a bashing buzzer for it. Not a good sign, author.
I felt like I endured this treatment for hours, trying to flee from her home, until the worse part came.
Petting? Did she put a bell on you? What horrors await the reader!?
At some point, the Professor would turn around and grab one of her fowl-smelling viles, and then she would come back with the most concerned expression as she brought the vile closer and closer to my feline nose.
A concerned look!? THE HORRORS!
“Are you okay, Gateau? You haven’t been playing or eating since I brought you here. All you’ve been doing is lie around glare at me with tired eyes. Here, this should fix you right up!”
She then poured the concoction down my throat. It went down really hard, and was perhaps the most disgusting thing I ever tasted. I then tried voicing my protest out loud, but all that came out were typical cat mews.
Being force fed medicine kinda sucks, but I’m not sure it really counts as a nightmare.
Also, why are we getting this dreamland version of plot regurgitation from Riveria? The fic is half over and nothing noteworthy or new has happened!
It was strange. I know I looked like a cat this entire time, but I remember being able to talk to Ein with little problem.
Even more canonically available information regurgitated fresh for our readers!
I think I was able to speak actual words from before, but then my voice and limited vocabulary matched to fit my form as well.
This whole dream memory thing is just so poorly executed it hurts.
I continued crying out in panicked cat mews, but all that did was make Professor Cierra smile. She brought out a cat’s tail plant and playfully wave it in front of my face, but I kept on mewing. My protesting mews grew louder, and louder, and louder…
…Until I woke up screaming.
That’s your nightmare? I’m smelling the fresh scent of wangst all of a sudden.
I would then jump out of my bed and check a near by mirror to see if I was really back to normal. I rubbed my eyes and blinked twice before taking a very good look.
Normal human face? Check.
So you wake up normal. Ho-hum. What next?
Normal human ears? Check.
No, really, we got it after the first one. Don’t need to belabor the point; we’re not stupid out here.
No funny black bat wings? Check.
Oh for crap’s sake! WE. GET. IT!
No black tail? Check.
That horse was dead before you did the first one.
Although for some reason, I really missed the tail. And if I ever wanted cat ears (which I also really liked for some reason), I always had those head accessories stored somewhere in this house.
That’s a weirdly specific accessory to keep around the house. Let alone many of them.
After having a hearty breakfast and exchanging my green pajamas for my trusty green blazer and skirt, I would greet the morning once again, and, well…
I would find that same white cat, resting at my door stop.
2/3s of the way through this fic filled with plot regurgitation, and we’ve finally come full circle. Maybe we’re finally in store for something new!
One day, I knelt down and stared deep into its big blue eyes.
One day? Did we just come unstuck in time? Why not use the narrative progression that you literally just set up the previous paragraph?
And after having that same strange nightmare for a while, thought to myself about some things.
Some things. They aren’t important and the viewer doesn’t need to know, but they were things, and there was certainly some of them.
Does the little guy really like the life of a stray, day in and day out?
He’s a cat that gets fish every morning and cuddles on his own terms. He’s probably pretty damn content with that arrangement.
If so, wouldn’t it be demeaning for it to be coddled by the occasional stranger from time to time?
Luckily, he has claws. Things are only going to progress so far down that path before he puts a stop to it.
I thought back to how awful it felt being “owned” in those disturbing dreams of mine, and noticed how happy that white cat looked wandering around the outside.
It’s so cute when authors try to be deep and insightful and fail at it.
And boy is this a failure of insight, on so, so many levels.
I pet the little fella as it mewed to me cheerfully.
“So, little guy, are you really happy with your current living arrangement?
As mentioned before: food and scratchies on his own terms with no commitment on his part. What’s not to love? The guy is basically Toto from Whispers of the Heart.
You know, I would think at least half of these villagers would let you stay with them if you really wanted that. I wouldn’t count out the guy with the cowboy hat, either…”
Beat that dead horse of a premise! BEAT IT, I SAY!
To be honest, I would try my best to avoid giving this cat a name.
Possibly because it would be a lot of work to do the research to find out if the cat has a canon name*.
*it does not.
After being named in my strange dream, I wasn’t about to demean a fellow living being with some embarrassing name that just happened to pop in to my head.
Are you all getting the message yet!? If not I’m sure the author will feel free to beat us all over the head with it some more.
Besides, my name is Rothe, not “Gateau”, damn it!
This means either the author actually played the original Japanese version of the game, or they looked it up so that they could claim superior knowledge of canon. You can see similar in people who use Aerith for Final Fantasy 7. It’s basically geek bragging-rights based on being pedantic about the nuances of translation.
Seeing that Chuki is an American with an anime avatar and a half-Japanese screen name, I’m guessing it’s the latter.
Now, if we really want to be pedantic, Rothe is the wrong one to use in a fic written in English. The reason why Rothe is wrong in this case is because her name in Japanese is ロゼ which translates literally to “Rose.” Rothe is the katakana-phonetic English translation in the JIS instruction booklet, but is not an actual English translation of the name inclusive of meaning.
In response, the cat just waved its tail and mewed at me cheerfully. It looked perfectly content, so I think that counted as an answer. The cat was just fine being a stray, I suppose. It gets to wander the village without being tied down by the rules and worries of an official owner, so it gets to see the sights and meet its people on its own.
See, he’s perfectly happy to take the fish off your hands each morning with no effort on his part. Now, can we move onto something that has some semblance of being plot?
I’m thinking full-on pampering is a welcome sacrifice for freedom.
We get it, sing “born free” with the cat if you must, but can we please move on!? We’re running out of fic and nothing interesting has happened yet!
And I guess this cat had some similar goals to those of mine.
Uh, so those goals would be to use a mixture of farming, exploration, and romance in order to wake up the Harvest Goddess, right? That cat has some very big goals for somebody who spends such a large part of the day licking himself.
I mean, the reason I moved out here was to prove to myself that I could make it on my own.
Pretty sure the cat isn’t out to prove that. If it was, he wouldn’t be showing up every morning to con you out of a fish. That’s pretty much the very definition of not making it on your own. And since he does it every day, he’s not even trying.
Plus, this country life is a new experience, filled with different people. And even if this place is starting to become more and more familiar to me, I’m starting to find new experiences, both great and subtle, somewhere in this village everyday.
And if you dress up vague, contradictory musing with extra words, it seems profound. Well, unless an idiot on a riff site happens to point out that is what you’re trying to do, then it just looks silly.
It also doesn’t help when you change the topic mid-thought.
It’s been a while since I moved to Flower Bud Village, and I’ve actually made a few friends in this span of time.
If it’s been a while, then that isn’t really surprising news. I mean part of the whole point of the game is to make friends so that you can collect musical notes (don’t ask, it’s complicated).
Believe or not, I’ve even come to friendly terms with that hard-ass Jamie, even IF we still complain to each other on occasion.
I’ll chose not to believe it. The only time Jamie acts even slightly friendly is when you’ve awoken the Harvest Goddess and collected 99 musical notes.
But I suppose the first official friend I made in this quiet little village is that white cat with big blue eyes.
Which is sad in a “crazy cat lady” kinda way.
Man, those first few days were interesting.
Oh gods, not another flash back! The last one was full of exposition!
I still remember Ellen running up to my newly-built home, immediately trying to get on god terms with me from the get-go, but regretting that she gave away the only domestic pet to another farmer named Jack.
God terms? Is that like getting a loan from the church or something.
I consoled her at that moment, letting her know that I wasn’t much of a dog person in the first place, but she still vowed to find me a pet I can call my own.
Finally something new! Looks like in this case the actual main character of the game is Jack. When you play the game, the first thing Ellen does when you meet is give you a dog.
So Rothe here is farmer #3. Who somehow managed to tame Jamie enough to make her friendly. Damn, even a fic with no substance has to have a Sue, doesn’t it?
It was only recently that I let Ellen know I found my animal companion for this village.
Eh, not really. You’ve got a stray cat that you feed in the morning. Hardly what I’d call companionship. Maybe you should pick a favorite sheep or something.
Sure, it’s a stray, and it preferred going door-to-door instead of being pampered by a single owner, but I actually liked this cat’s style.
You can like the style all you want, but a companion, by definition, requires a certain amount of companionship. This cat, on the other hand, eats, gets some quick scratches, and then fucks off. Not really the same kind of thing.
To this day, I continued seeing that same white cat, greeting me at my door step in the morning with the cutest expression.
Hunger mixed with irritation.
And I can’t help but smile back.
And it’s over! Well, aside from an author’s note.
Author’s Notes: Yep. Our poor city girl dreams of being a cat-like creature.
Author, can you leave the informed characterization for the body of the fic? Nowhere in your story did you indicate she was either poor or from the city; and it’s way too late to build character now.
But anyone who ever played Riviera knows whats going on here… heheh…
Uh, yeah. There are one-celled organisms who knew what was going on. You were exactly exercising any form of subtlety in this fic, kiddo.
Anyway, this was interesting.
We’ll have to agree to disagree on that point.
I actually came up with this idea this morning
You came up with the idea to write a moderately pretentious plotless fic that beat the dead horse of an idea that some people like to be free? What did you after that four minutes was over?
when I had another short fic I wanted to get out involving a conversation between Lyla and Jamie about Jill.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Normandy High, it’s that fics based entirely around gossip are always a good idea.
This felt easier to write.
It looked easier to write. That’s probably why it wasn’t any good, by the way.
Anyway, hope you had fun, and now you know what will be coming…
Uh, yeah. The cat. It’s even in the title. *points*
Gods I hope that title isn’t supposed to be a euphemism.
And with that, the fic as a whole comes to a close.
Honestly, after what I went through with Jedi’s Destiny and Raptor and I before that, this fic was wonderfully benign. Sure, it was empty, pointless, poorly constructed, a bit pretentious, and insulted the reader’s intelligence, but it was also harmless.
Join me again next week as we ride this one-shot train down the line. Until then, patrons!
Wait a minute, this was a humor fic. WHERE THE HELL WAS THE PUNCHLINE!?