Many Worlds Chapter 40
Note: Just realized some numbers have been wrong. If you don’t care about numbers, skip this note. Population numbers have been poorly calculated (by me, whoops). There should be about 750 cities of two million on the planet (previously had different numbers of cities and population per city… and did the math wrong ending up with the same 1.5 billion total instead of 15 billion that the previous numbers actually were). There are also about 3 million players instead of hundreds of thousands, because a few hundred thousand people is much too small for a launch of a “big game”, especially since the current Earth has tens of billions of people. This means about 4000 players/adventurers per city.
Jules had basically nothing he could do about someone who could unlock the wristbands, so he didn’t worry about it. Herbert, however, seemed annoyed that he didn’t already know who it was. He seemed to think he should know. Jules just decided to let him brood over that. Not that he could stop him anyway.
In Fesmoilia, the tensions were at their highest point. Monsters were attacking the city walls consistently. There were only ten days left until the predicted time of the landshift, after which the monsters would theoretically spread back out and go to live in their caves. However, before that, there would be many who gathered together in larger attacks on the city. There was enough room around the city for them to fit, theoretically. However, with so many creatures around, there were inevitable conflicts. This was fine, since it reduced their numbers somewhat, but they also attacked the city because it was in their new “territory”.
There were now constantly larger numbers of guards on the walls. At this point, adventurers were taking shifts on the walls as well, since leaving the city would be suicidal. Having more people defending the city was greatly appreciated, as well. Though, it was not that adventurers were that numerous. It was just that nearly all of them were combat capable and willing to fight. In practical terms, adventurers were about one fifth of the available fighting force. The actual fighting force of Fesmoilia, at least, was about twenty thousand men. It was merely one percent of the population. However, it wasn’t that the rest of the city wasn’t participating in the defenses in any way. There were those who made and produced the equipment they were using (though some of this was traded between cities), medical personnel, and even those who didn’t seem related such as people who worked in restaurants and other stores were still somewhat related. After all, soldiers had to eat, and they also had to have a running city to defend. There could have been more soldiers through conscription, but they weren’t deemed necessary. It wasn’t that the people took the defense of their cities lightly, but rather that they had enough experience to know what they needed. Still, it wasn’t a problem to have extra soldiers, so the adventurers were welcome.
Jules stood on the walls with his friends. It was rather boring, really, but occasionally there were monsters who attacked, which they shot as they tried to climb the walls. The walls were, to Jule’s surprise, electrified. This was not normally the case, of course, since it was a large use of power, but it was an almost necessary feature during monster attacks, since they could otherwise quickly scale the walls. There were also turrets in the walls as well, though they hadn’t been visible. The walls were still technically made out of stone, like they appeared, but upon closer inspection Jules had realized that it was only fair to call it “stone” if one called concrete “stone”. In the case of the defensive walls, it was much tougher than concrete as well, but just as artificial in its origins.
During the times where there were no packs of monsters, Jules conversed with the nearby soldiers. It turned out they had training, but actually very little experience. This made sense, because a landshift only happened every few decades. That said, some of their leaders had experienced the previous landshift, and thus had good advice to give them. They had trained for much longer than any of the adventurers, but the adventurers learned very quickly thanks to their status.
His talks once again confirmed to him that this was the way of life of people here. Real people, not NPCs in a game. It was somewhat strange, though, because even though he knew there were people in the other cities, as he had only seen this one, he would only go out of his way to help Fesmoilia, if there were no other rewards. A facet of human selfishness, perhaps, or perhaps it was just that humans avoided truly comprehending every unfortunate event that happened to not go crazy. Jules wasn’t sure which one made him feel worse, so he was glad that more monsters appeared for him to shoot.
It was then that Jules saw the first flying monsters. He couldn’t describe it at the distance it appeared, but he was for some reason relieved that it had wings, perhaps because flying without wings would have indicated it was more alien than even the rest of the monsters. It was far away, not just because it had not approached the city, but also because it was very high up in the air. There was no reason for it to fly near the walls, after all.
Jules pointed out the flying monster, and the soldiers with him used their comms to call it in. It seems others had already noticed it, but it never hurt to have more confirmation, especially to avoid missing anything. Jules watched as it approached. It got closer, but was still hard to make out distinctly, even as it was almost over the walls. It looked like some kind of bird, perhaps, as he thought he saw feathers.
Then, the anti air defense fired. This particular device, at least, was a giant laser. The flying creature either didn’t or couldn’t dodge, and soon it was plummeting to the ground. It landed not far in front of the walls, where Jules could see it did look something like an eagle or a hawk. However, only if they had four eyes, in two pairs, and their claws were two feet long. Though, to be fair, the claws seemed about normally proportioned, which just reminded Jules how terrifying birds of prey were to smaller creatures. Jules was glad there were dedicated anti air defenses. He wasn’t surprised, though. After all, these people had survived on this planet… probably for their entire existence. He hadn’t heard about them migrating here, anyway, but he hadn’t delved deep into Uesmethi history either. Perhaps he would look into that more, after the landshift.