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I believe it is acting maybe as a conjunction of すると But I'm not 100% sure。Here is the paragraph for full context.

さすがに少女の落胆にも物申したいところだが、自分の不甲斐なさが身にしみていてついつい言葉が出てこない。

,それまで彼女の肩の上で沈黙を守っていた小猫が尻尾を振りながら

「安心しなよ。……彼、悪気だけはまったくない」

Any help would be much appreciated thanks.

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    What is the sentence before this one? – user3856370 Sep 24 '20 at 22:18
  • @user3856370 The full context is "さすがに少女の落胆にも物申したいところだが、自分の不甲斐なさが身にしみていてついつい言葉が出てこない。と、それまで彼女の肩の上で沈黙を守っていた小猫が尻尾を振りながら,「安心しなよ。……彼、悪気だけはまったくない]" I'll edit the question to include that thanks for the heads up. – Xanadulo Sep 24 '20 at 23:23
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と here conveys the idea “at that moment”. Which moment? The one described in the previous sentence.

But it seems you left out some of the following context. I’m guessing but it seems to me that the cat which has been quietly perched on her shoulder now begins to speak.

At any rate, this sort of dramatic use of と is not unusual and gives a sense of immediacy and flow to the narrative.

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  • Thanks for the answer. I see so と can be used for just saying something the equivalent of "thus" or "At that moment" Out of interest is that only applicable when it is at the beginning of a sentence? Also, once again out of interest, do you happen to know the etymology of why と is being used this way? thanks again for the answer. – Xanadulo Sep 25 '20 at 22:09
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    @Xanadulo i’m not sure of the origins of this と but if i had to guess i would say it’s an abbreviated quotative form such as というとたんに – A.Ellett Sep 26 '20 at 21:35

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