Many Worlds Chapter 49
Jules was glad he didn’t have to try to sleep with the soldiers. He wasn’t looking forward to attempting to sleep with occasional gunfire. Not that he slept at all now. Unfortunately, he couldn’t return to Many Worlds directly in the relative morning of Artien. He still had work to do, and even with some extra money he had gained from real-world “quests”, he couldn’t afford to just not work. He could take a day off, but he wanted to save those for critical times. As it was, he managed to return not too long after they started marching again. Jules was glad for the relative time difference between where he was on Earth and his current location on Uesmeth.
The entire process of reclaiming the city was going well. By the afternoon, they had cleared out about a quarter of the city. Although it wasn’t thorough, at least all the larger groups of monsters were driven off or killed. A more thorough sweep would be done before having citizens return to their homes and businesses. However, for military purposes, it was good enough. Fortunately, the monsters didn’t have any kind of organized resistance. Although some of them were quite intelligent, they didn’t think in such a way as to form intentional groups. More importantly, the monsters had no actual need to stay on the island now. Some of them would like the new territory, but it was much too small for all of them to live on the island, even if they could avoid fighting each other.
Though everything was going well, Jules was looking forward to everything finally calming down. Obviously, the people of Uesmeth were relying on this conflict ending as soon as possible as well. They had to live with it, instead of being able to leave. Though many of the cities were now safe, there were still reminders of what had happened, and people to mourn.
The squad Jules had been attached to was walking down a fairly typical street. There was rubble everywhere, though there weren’t run down vehicles everywhere, unlike what one might see in similar post apocalyptic media. After all, it wasn’t a surprise, so nothing had been caught out on the road. There were, however, occasional signs of barriers and blockades that had been set up, and subsequently torn down.
Everything was going well, until Jules saw some of the rubble in front of him move. He had already looked over it with his senses, finding just rock… on the surface. His senses hadn’t even been wrong. The creature was something like a crab almost the size of a human though wide, not tall. It wasn’t that it had been hidden under rocks, but its shell was made of rock. It was only a few steps in front of him… and a step behind a soldier who hadn’t noticed it.
In only a moment, it was snapping some very sharp claws. However, the soldier found himself pushed forward. Instead, where he was, Jules stood. He only really had time to see an expression of surprise on the soldier’s face before everything went black.
Dying was as unpleasant as ever. Jules wasn’t exactly sure why it was that way, except that it must be harder to transfer consciousness from a dying body to a living one. The distance didn’t seem to matter, since going from Earth to Uesmeth was by all accounts instantaneous, not that anyone thought it strange to log into a game immediately. Jules wondered how long the majority of the population would continue to believe that. He could tell everyone, but he wasn’t sure if it would be helpful more than it was hurtful.
Regardless, dying was unpleasant in an indescribable way. Though, Jules did find it rather pleasant to find he was still alive, just on Earth. Perhaps the uncertainty was part of the problem. It felt real, was real, so he couldn’t ever be quite sure that he would not truly die.
After his death, Jules considered what had happened. The situation had been avoidable, certainly, but it was rather hard to act properly in dangerous situations, even with his enhanced mental capacity. Perhaps he had just let himself relax too much, though. He could have attempted to check the surroundings more thoroughly, though he would have become exhausted if he did that all the time. If he actually knew what was dangerous, he would have spent more time on that. Now, perhaps, he could check for the rock crabs or similar things, and would not have to spend too much more of his mental ability on it. However, without knowing, there wasn’t much he could do. There was, however, a much better solution than what Jules had done, even being unprepared. He didn’t think he could have reached the soldier in time to push him without placing himself in the crab’s attacking range, but he didn’t have to. Although his telekinesis wasn’t strong enough to consistently move a person, pushing someone out of the way was within his capabilities, though not easy. He couldn’t pick them up and fling them about, put pushing someone out of the way would at the very least not have to fight gravity, and was only a brief moment of effort.
Still, Jules found his actions better than having done nothing. At least that soldier would be alive, and Jules himself would only be slightly worse off for it. He would have liked to say he considered that, but really he had just acted on instinct. Perhaps that made him a good person, or perhaps it made him foolish. However, Jules would like to think it was the former.
Although Jules lost a level, he didn’t feel weaker. It could have been that it was less than 5% of his enhanced ability, but he felt it was probably that he just hadn’t actually adjusted to the full amount of all the levels he had obtained. Jules considered his actions, and wondered. Dying was unpleasant, but helping people was good. However, he had experienced some close calls on Earth, where he was fairly certain he would die permanently. Jules still wanted to help people, but he also wanted to be safe. He would have to carefully consider what quests he took, and how he went about them. He still would do them. Jules couldn’t forget the one person he had saved, and how terrified they had been of the mugger, Colwyn, who had almost killed them. Jules wondered if it was selfish to save people to feel good about yourself, but figured as long as he didn’t get an inflated ego, everything would be alright.