Jules sat on a tree stump in the woods near Fesmoilia. He felt the sunlight beating down on him. That didn’t help, because he didn’t really know what sunlight felt like. He shifted, feeling his clothes slide across his skin. He pulled out his knife, and rubbed his finger along the side, feeling it. He pricked his finger, and watched the blood flow. He tasted its iron. He listened to the sound of birds he had never seen. Jules picked up a flower and smelled it. He even sensed where everything around him, every blade of grass was.
Then, he moved into the city and watched everyone go about their business. People bought and sold wares, guards patrolled the walls, children played in the streets. All in all, everything that happened in a city was happening here. He thought about what Mary had said. Then, he pondered the lore behind Many Worlds. Earth was overpopulated, and after coming upon miraculous new technology, sent people to various planets with the hopes of colonizing them. A common setting, but one also not far from the truth. No, in fact, the only discrepancy from the truth was subtext. It was implied that sending people to other worlds involved them leaving Earth. However, that wasn’t necessarily true.
Jules couldn’t find a single sensation that felt incomplete, here. Because he had gained powers from the game in the ‘real world’, he had started to doubt that it was even real to begin with. It was no more real than Many Worlds. That had led him down the path of doubt, where he believed nothing was real. However, “Well, if you can see it, touch it, smell it, taste it… then it has to be real. At least, as far as anyone can tell.”
The real world was no more real than Many Worlds. This meant the real world was fake… or Many Worlds was real. Final conclusion: the bracelets for Many Worlds weren’t computers, but some kind of conscious transference system. They were probably also capable of augmenting abilities. The spawning areas… were some kind of cloning facilities. A new body had been created here. That was why he only felt tired after spending a lot of time in one place, because his body was always resting in the other. Well, the bodies here had to be stored somewhere when players were “offline”, but that probably wasn’t much harder than making bodies to begin with. Some kind of teleportation, maybe.
Jules tried to stabilize his new view of reality. He would have asked the mysterious voice for confirmation, but he probably wouldn’t have gotten a useful response. Instead, he just decided to believe in what he had deduced. Maybe he was wrong. Upon finding proof, he would gladly change his worldview. However, although conspiracy theories were all well and good, he had a hard time believing that the most simple solution was that the world he knew wasn’t real. Instead… he had to believe that some force, quite likely the world government, had sent many people’s consciousnesses to another planet without informing them of what was going on. That would be somewhat ridiculous, if the same government hadn’t done such things as covering 90% of the land area of Earth in solar panels, among other things.
Jules walked to the marketplace in Fesmoilia, such as there was. It was really more like a shopping district that had enough free space around for trading outside of the shops. Players… no, adventurers was definitely the better term now, often went there. Though, since they had only been around for a week and a half, “often” was perhaps not the correct word. However, there were players around now. Jules imagined that adventurers were somewhat of a headache for the city. Buying and selling weapons to each other completely unrestrained, mostly without licenses. However, it seemed they let it happen, as any such items initially ending up in the hands of adventurers went through proper procedures.
After that, it wasn’t worth dealing with. They knew that players wouldn’t attack citizens of Fesmoilia. No, they couldn’t. Jules wandered around picking up what he could, and heard of a couple incidents. Some people tried to ignore the “don’t attack NPCs” rule, which Jules thought really meant “don’t attack natives”, if this were real. It seemed some adventurers had intended to attack Fesmoilians, probably because the adventurers were arrogant and looked down on them. Then, as they raised their weapons to attack… *zap* their bodies disintegrated in a puff of smoke, never to be seen again, leaving behind only their items.
The Fesmoilians were generally good natured, but there had also been a couple instances of them starting fights, though just throwing punches. The adventurers defended themselves, and weren’t “banned”… or more specifically, disintegrated. It seemed various incidents actually had different results. It seemed that one person had the “bright” idea to intentionally provoke someone into attacking, so that he could “defend himself”… and then they got turned into a pile of dust when they tried to attack with a weapon. Needless to say, these conflicts caused the Fesmoilians to not be completely happy at the presence of adventurers, but they certainly tolerated them. The ill behaved ones were never seen again.
Jules also looked over the various items people were trading. Mostly, they were the same. There weren’t large differences in quality among the various weapons and gear that people had acquired, except damage that happened after purchase. Jules decided on various information he wanted to know about things, and started gathering it. He couldn’t come up with “damage values” or “defense values” for things, but there were certain features he could learn. He discovered that he could approximate how good he thought something would be, even without sorting through the little details, as long as he learned the details. He also discovered that details he hadn’t specifically gathered started appearing. For example, he didn’t have to find out the name of every type of gun around. After a certain point, the information just started appearing. He also managed to gather the prices things had been sold at, even though he was sure he hadn’t overheard any transactions. Apparently, he’d somehow gained the ability to passively gather data around him. This made his “Information” “class” more useful. Though, it still didn’t seem like any kind of game class, but was rather more of a “unique ability”. Jules wondered what other people’s were… Well, maybe this would let him find out.