Zhang Zian thought the stray cat had run away through the original path at the corner of the alley. However, when he looked back, there was nothing out there. It was impossible for the cat to have climbed up the wall, because the height of the wall was almost 2 meters. It would be easy for a stray cat to climb down from the wall, but it would not be easy for it to climb up.
He looked around and found nothing on the ground, not even a piece of cat hair. There were very few people around, and nobody cared because it was a far-off, old residential area waiting to be pulled down.
He swallowed his saliva and asked himself, "Well, where did the cat go?"
No one could be asked, not even a ghost, except for the navigation elf that could hear only his voice.
[Navigation Elf]: You have caught the Nulla Luctus Felis. Please check the Pet Bar if you have any questions.
Zhang Zian saw an icon that looked like a little house in the upper right corner.
[Game Hints]: Click here to open the Pet Bar.
He clicked it.
After the animation finished, the Pet Bar appeared.
The Pet Bar was divided into two areas. The upper area was for real pets, and the lower area was for mythical creatures.
Every area had 5 bars.
The first bar of the real-pet area was occupied by a khaki cat.
He clicked the cat.
[Game Hints]: Pet property
[Common Name]: Nulla Luctus Felis
[Features]: Ordinary cat
[Origin]: It is a second generation stray cat. Its mother was originally a home pet before being abandoned by its owner.
[True Name]: None
The cat became alive in the picture, stretching and yawning in the Pet Bar, clearly bored.
"Wait, I didn’t mean this. I meant the cat, the real cat…" Zhang Zian said.
[Navigation Elf]: It is exactly the real cat that you captured.
[Navigation Elf]: Please bring the cat back home, as part of the novice tutorial. Later, you can decide by yourself whether to release it or keep it.
[Navigation Elf]: Your question will be answered when you go back home.
Zhang Zian stayed still for a while. He didn’t know what he was waiting for or what he was expecting. He felt like he couldn’t just wait, because the sun was going down. He decided to go back home first.
He was relaxed when he went out. However, when he came back, he felt that the cell phone in his pocket was extremely heavy. While sitting on the bus, he kept thinking about what had happened. It seemed unscientific.
He returned to the store, seriously picked a seat, sat down, and started the game.
[Game Hints]: You have returned to the starting point. Do you wish to set this location as your home?
He clicked "Yes."
[Navigation Elf]: Home, warm and sweet home.
[Navigation Elf]: Welcome home, novice adventurer!
[Navigation Elf]: Your novice tutorial will end if you release the cat you captured.
Zhang Zian noticed there was a little icon on top of every Pet Bar. The style of the icon looked like an open door.
[Game Hints]: This pet is real. If you decide to keep it, please aim the cell phone camera toward the cage. Otherwise, please aim it towards any other space.
He hesitated for a while, then aimed his cell phone’s camera toward the door and clicked "Release."
After he put down his cell phone, he, impressively, saw the stray khaki cat appear at the store door.
The stray cat looked confused. He felt like he was just about to go to the swill bucket to find something to eat. Then he would meet the flirtatious cat who was raised by Mr. Wang nearby. Why did he appear to be here? Where was here?
He looked around, then decided to run toward the sunset. He wanted to start his new life.
Zhang Zian felt relieved because it was the same cat going in and coming out, not some surreal monster.
Although there weren’t any pets in the pet store, he didn’t intend to keep the cat; he felt it was weird, and the cat was a stray.
He had never run a pet store or raised a pet by himself, but his parents had talked about pets every day during lunch and dinner. It was like an occupational disease.
His parents mentioned that, for cats and dogs, there was a critical socialization period after they were born where they could easily learn how to communicate with human beings.
For dogs, this period was between seven to fourteen weeks—about two or three months after it was born.
For cats, the period was shorter and more advanced. That period was between four to eight weeks—about one or two months after it was born.
During this period, if the kitten had frequent contact with human beings and was treated kindly, it would become strongly attracted and attached to humans. If it didn’t meet with a human being within 10 weeks of being born or was treated maliciously, then it would be wary of, alert to, and afraid of human beings for its whole life.
Maybe that was why many people took a stray cat home, only to find that, no matter how they treated it, it still held an unfamiliar attitude. As they would say, "No matter how you raised the cat, it still felt strange."
Hats off to those who took stray cats back home. However, a pet store would be discourteous if it sold stray cats as home pets.
Whoever went to a pet store trying to buy a pet, no matter if it was a cat or a dog, would hope to have the pet grow close to them. Nobody wanted to meet the situation above, so Zhang Zian couldn’t keep the stray cat.
Of course, if a cat was first a home pet, then later abandoned, and eventually adopted, it could still get close to its new owner as long as it was not abused. However, the khaki cat was not on that list.
If you want to run a pet store, you’d better purchase the pets from a breeding base.
"What happened? Why did the cat disappear and then come back?" Zhang Zian expected to receive a satisfying explanation.
[Navigation Elf]: That is the rule of this game—catch pets, regardless of whether they’re real or virtual; even mythical creatures are included.
"What’s the final purpose of this game?" Zhang Zian had to find out.
[Navigation Elf]: This game is extremely free. The player is not forced to finish any tasks, do anything unwillingly, or have a final purpose. The player can play this game however he likes based on local laws and social morality.
Zhang Zian felt relieved. He didn’t want to be led around by a strange game. Who knew whether it would lead him down the wrong path.
[Navigation Elf]: As the reward for finishing the novice tutorial, you will get a lucky lottery.