Jules found himself muttering in Uesmethi while at work. It was weird, though, because he couldn’t remember most of it that well. Mostly, he just ended up repeating “What is that?” and “I don’t know” over and over. Well, his poor memory made some sense because while in game the system had probably been supporting his learning. It was weird how ingrained it was in his unconscious processes, but that was pretty much necessary for a truly immersive virtual reality.
He took a deep breath, then sighed. He knew it wasn’t real, but he really wanted to be back in the fresh air of Many Worlds. The purplish sky had been weird when he first started, but at least it had a strangely natural feel to it, unlike the more normal but obviously artificial lights here. Jules thought that even if he didn’t end up getting seriously into the “game” aspect of Many Worlds, he’d “visit” on his days off. It was a nice change.
“Apparently a bunch of people have quit Many Worlds already, saying it’s hardly a game. Well, they’re just selling their systems to other people, so they didn’t really lose anything.” Robert said. “I kind of agree, but I still enjoy it. What are you up to anyway, Jules?”
“Hmm, mostly… Sitting outside Fesmoilia and learning the language.”
“The name of the city, obviously.”
“…How do you know the name of the city?”
“I pestered the guards until they talked to me. They don’t shoot anyone unless they try to get inside, so…”
Robert replied, “Well, if you do get in eventually, let us know if there are any class trainers. We could use something besides ‘adventurer’.”
“I guess I could ask to be let in. Maybe if I say please.”
His friends laughed for a second. “Wait, you’re serious?” Isaac asked. “How much of the language have you learned?”
“Hmm, I’m not too bad. I’ve got about 20 hours of practice, and the game really makes it easy.”
“…Don’t you sleep?”
“Yeah… a little bit.”
Since Jules didn’t have any reason to hesitate, the first thing he did upon logging in was ask, “May I enter the city?”
The guards looked at each other. “No.”
Jules had to think for a bit on how to form his next sentence. He said something like, “How do I get permission?”
“You have to get permission from…” someone important, probably. Jules didn’t know what that word was, though.
“They’re in the city, where I can’t go, aren’t they?”
The guards nodded.
“Then, can you…” Jules wanted to say petition, but he didn’t know the word, “…ask someone for me?”
The guards shrugged. Jules hoped that gesture held the same meaning as outside the game. That is, sadly not a yes, but fortunately not a no.
Jules went back to pestering his favorite guard for more information. He would have thought of him using his name, but the guards all refused to tell him their names so far. Jules often got tired of sitting, so he would often walk around a bit, never getting close to the gate, but always close enough to talk to the guards.
After a few hours of this, someone surprised him with a greeting from behind. “Yo! Jules.” He didn’t immediately recognize the voice of one of his friends. In fact, he knew it couldn’t have been one of them, because this was the voice of a woman. He turned to look. It was the woman who’d stood in front of him in line. He vaguely remembered that they’d exchanged names, but he couldn’t remember hers, or any of the conversation.
He figured he might as well get it over with. “Hi… I’m pretty bad with names, sorry. Yours was…?”
“Mary. Hanging around this city hoping the guards will go to sleep and you can sneak in?”
“Ha. Not likely, they’re very diligent. They can’t leave though so they are my captive audience for learning the language. That guy-” he pointed to his “favorite” guard, “is my teacher. Not by choice though.”
“What, you’re actually trying to learn the language? It seems more likely players just aren’t supposed to go here yet.”
Jules frowned. “Why, because there’s an obstacle? Since this is supposed to be an open, exploration type game, there’s no reason not to go here. Besides, I’m doing pretty good.”
“Oh, is that so?” She looked doubtful, but maybe in a teasing way.
“Sure.” Jules wondered if there was some way to show his progress… maybe he could share the skill with her? As he thought that, something that happened after many of his idle thoughts in this game happened. The system responded, and this time, it had a window that said:
|Do you wish to share the skill “Uesmethi”?|
It was quite convenient that wondering if there was a feature immediately revealed whether it existed or not. Jules chose yes.
Mary looked surprised for a second, and Jules figured she saw a message asking her to learn the skill, because he soon got confirmation that she had. Then she frowned. “My head hurts now.”
“Really? Hmm, I didn’t have that problem.”
“Well, I imagine you didn’t have all that much language inserted into your head all at once.”
“True. Out of curiosity, what level is it?”
“What percentage to the next level.”
“I can’t tell.”
This told Jules two things. Other players received the skill at the level he was at, at least up to a certain point, and they couldn’t see their progress. The second piece was likely because of his “Information” class. It seemed rather inconvenient for the other players though. He wondered if… immediately, he shared the ability to see progress, although only up to two decimal places. Mary looked surprised again. “How did you do that?”
“It’s related to my secondary class, I guess. I can unlock some extra information about things.”
“That’s super convenient. I wonder if I can share Uesmethi too, I haven’t seen anybody with skills that aren’t from their class yet.”
Jules shrugged. He thought it would be convenient if all the players could learn the language. Then, he knew he could share it automatically. He didn’t really want the publicity, though. He discovered he could share it privately. People within a certain range would have the chance to learn it, and could learn from each other too. Convenient. Was there anything he couldn’t do in this system?
He knew, of course, that there were many things he couldn’t do. Like, apparently, transfer languages to people without giving them a headache. Well, he’d learned it properly, if at an accelerated rate, so it made sense that even more acceleration could cause issues.
Jules wondered at how normally he’d been able to talk to Mary. Maybe it was because it was a game, but since it felt pretty much as real as reality, it couldn’t be just that. Maybe it was because he’d actually been socializing more recently, if you counted pestering alien guards to learn their language. After thinking about it for a minute, Jules realized it had been because he’d been surprised. Now he was getting a little bit nervous again, realizing he was in conversation with an attractive woman.
“So, what have you been up to, Mary?”
“Me? Well, instead of sitting outside of a city wasting my time, I’ve been looking for monsters to kill and dungeons to explore.”
She sighed. “Not really. The only structures around are the respawn areas and cities, at least that we’ve found. Some people found caves, but they’re just caves… that animals live in. Well, there’s tons of area unexplored. Especially since people die of hunger.”
“Hmm, they should eat the green flowers and the… potatoes.”
“Green flowers and potatoes?”
“Sure, let me show you.” Jules got up and started moving to an area he knew they grew. “They aren’t exactly potatoes, but they look like them.” Jules pointed out the flowers, and ate the good parts as an example. It didn’t particularly taste good, but it wasn’t bad either.
“Umm, how did you find out they’re edible? Is there a guide or something?”
Jules tilted his head and looked at her. “How? I just ate them. How else would you find out?”
“Weren’t you worried about them being poisonous?”
Jules shrugged his shoulders in an exaggerated fashion. “If the choices are between eating something maybe poisonous and possibly dying quickly, or eating nothing and dying slowly, I’d choose the first.”
“Good point,” Mary admitted, “But how did you figure out they were interactable items?”
Jules looked at her like she was crazy. “This is an immersive virtual reality system. Everything is interactable. Even if it didn’t have any specific nutritional properties before trying it, wouldn’t the game’s AI just generate something?”
“That’s true, but then they have to save that information or have random effects. It could take a lot of data storage.”
“Storage is cheap. Well, if they really are storing all the information for an entire planet they have to have some pretty significant systems.”
“Hmm, well, this is good information. I should go tell some people. I’d just message them, but for some reason this game doesn’t have even that kind of basic convenience.”
“Good luck.” As Mary started to walk away, Jules remembered another piece of advice. “Oh, one more thing. The ones that are purple with blue spots are bad. Just a tiny bit will make you vomit. I don’t know if more will kill you…”
“Thanks. Maybe you should put together a guide.”
“Ooh, good idea.” Jules reached for his pocket. “Right, no computer.” Jules was used to having a portable computer that could fit in his pocket, but he didn’t have one with him in game. Well, he could write once he woke up, if he could remember the information.
“Before I go…” Mary paused. Then, a window popped up in front of Jules.
|A player has sent you a friend request! (Next to the text was a visual of Mary)
Do you wish to accept?
Jules pressed yes. He had nothing against having more friends, although he did have something against large groups of people being around him. Even if they were friends. He noticed the system didn’t automatically fill in a name, so he put it in manually. Jules assumed that was so people could use pseudonyms if they wished to. That would be the only reason he could think of immediately, anyway.
Mary went off to tell people they could pick up the plants. Honestly, Jules was astounded that more people hadn’t tried. After all, it was pretty rare to get to see a “real” flower, and breathe in clean “air”.