The Legend of Heroes VI: Sora no Kiseki FC (known as Trails in the Sky in English) is a role-playing game originally released for the PC in 2004. This game and its sequels are notable for containing a large quantity of readable books unrelated to the central plot, including a full-length serial novel in every installment. One of these books is titled A Primer to Everyday Conversation in Catspeak (in the English version apparently rendered as Kitty Talk for Dummies) which contains an extensive list of the subtle meanings of different types of meows.
I decided to examine how closely the dialogue of the cats in the game itself hews to this list, though as the preamble of the book warns, the notation and character of meows may vary with geographic location and the individual character of the cat speaking.
I’ll be focusing on one particular cat, Antoine, as thus far he is the most plot-relevant feline by a significant margin and I had a pretty clear memory of which saves I need to load to review his dialogue.
The party is likely to first meet Antoine during a subquest in which they enlist his aid to find some stolen tobacco.
Miriam: Well, I don’t know if it will be of any use to you… but there was a witness to the theft, in a fashion.
Estelle: …?! That’s all the evidence we need, isn’t it?
Joshua: Who was it?
Miriam: He’s right behind you. Antoine.
Antoine: Nya~~~go. (Good day to you.)
Estelle: A, a cat?!
Miriam: Right. That’s why I said I didn’t know if it would be of any use to you.
As Antoine is a very intelligent cat, the party takes him along to sniff out the suspects. When interacting with a mistaken suspect, he responds as such:
Estelle: Ah, that’s right. Antoine, what do you think?
Antoine: ………Nyao? (What seems to be the matter?)
Tita: It doesn’t seem like he’s reacting.
Eventually the following exchanges will occur:
Antoine: Niya~~go. (Pay heed!)
Antoine: Niya~~go. (Pay heed!)
Joshua: Is there something amiss with this door?
Tita: B, but this door is…
Estelle: Anyway, let’s look inside.
I’ve obscured the name of the other participant in this conversation so that nobody feels they’re being spoiled. (Even though this is a silly subquest.)
???: Hm, what is it?
Antoine: Niyaa~~~o. (This is it!)
???: Oh, Antoine. Why are you making such a fuss?
Antoine: Niya~o, niya~~~~o! (This is it, this is it!)
Estelle: Hm, this means…
Joshua: Any way you look at it, we’ve found the culprit.
Tita: Seems so…
To actually find the stolen tobacco and expose the criminal, you need to look around a little and investigate another door.
The door is locked.
Antoine: Niyaa~~go. (Pay heed!)
Estelle: …Inside here?
Antoine: Nya~o. (Yes, that’s correct.)
Joshua: Let’s look for the key.
That’s the end of Antoine’s dialogue related to this sidequest, but later the party will end up with him on an airship as part of the main plot. When talked to on the airship, he says “Nyao! (My claws are bothering me! / I’m irritated!)”, whereas previously he would meow in a way that wasn’t listed in the book. Perhaps cats don’t like air travel.
Eventually, this scene (which has to be kept very vague to avoid fairly significant spoilers) occurs:
Grunt: The readings are abnormal! There’s something living inside the container!
Boss: What?! Maintenance chief… what’s the meaning of this?
Maintenance Chief: O-oi, I’ve got no idea. Maybe your equipment is broken.
Boss: That’s not likely… it was specially made in the Central Factory, after all.
Maintenance Chief: Then maybe there’s a mouse in there. Nothing to get all worked up about, is it?
Boss: The rules are the rules. All of you! Surround this container. Good… now open it.
Maintenance Chief: Look at that. If it isn’t Antoine. How long ago did you slip inside there?
Antoine: Nya-o. (We meet again so soon.)
Boss: This, this cat is…?
Maintenance Chief: His name is Antoine, and he lives in the Central Factory. It seems like he snuck aboard the airship.
Boss: He really gave us a shock…
Hey, you. Don’t go around causing trouble like that.
Antoine: Nyaon? (Might I ask who you are?)
Boss: Well, it’s no use blaming a cat for being whimsical…
If this place interests you so much, why don’t you stay here a while?
Maintainence Chief: Oi, don’t try to seduce Antoine.
Antoine: Fumyaa… nyaon. (Yawn… I’m tired.)
Boss: Mph, I suppose that’s a refusal.
Maintainence Chief: Isn’t that a shame.
Finally, in response to the above, the following conversation takes place near the end of the chapter:
Antoine: Nya-go. (It’s been a while. Are you doing well?)
Estelle: Ah, Antoine?
Joshua: You worked hard yesterday.
Antoine: Nyao-n. (Yes, that is indeed so.)
Estelle: Honestly, what you did you really gave us a shock. Show a little remorse, will you?
Antoine: Myaon? (What did you say?! / A response to an accusation)
Estelle: He’s not listening.
Joshua: Haha, perhaps he’s playing innocent.
Estelle: Well, whatever. You did help us out quite a bit. Thanks, Antoine.
Interestingly enough, ‘Myauun’ has no translation in the original Japanese text of the book, but the English release seems to have added the entry “Mya~uun: You are welcome, squishy pink thing” – evidently they bothered to cross-reference it against the cat dialogue in the game just like I’m doing here.
The English version of the book also contains other embellishments such as rendering ‘Nya-o’ as “So, we meet again… fleshy thing.” and “Myaon?” as “What did you say, o’ hairless one?”
I’ll allow you to draw your own conclusions on this fascinating subject, but I hope you’ve found this blog post educational.