chapter 157: the demon’s hope

Ashley, you free to meet up? Would like to check in and see how Desbar’s doing. Given that Udona’s world had just gotten started, I wanted to at least give her enough time to get used to everything while I checked on Ashley’s world first. Besides, I hadn’t really seen anything from her world myself, aside from the rather hastily made movie they put together. And I’d rather not get all my education of Desbar like that…

Thankfully, Ashley agreed to meet, and had me head to her room. When I arrived, I was a bit surprised that it looked like a small apartment. There was a small kitchen just inside the door, a living room, and a hallway that led back towards what I had to guess were bedrooms and bathrooms. Probably the apartment that she lived in before.

Ashley was sitting on the couch in the living room, holding a laptop on her lap. When I walked in, she gave me a smile and a nod, waving me over to sit next to her. The back cushion of the couch, at the base where it met the bottom cushion, had been hollowed out all along it, just thick enough that Ashley’s tail could comfortably rest behind her or circle around her waist.

“So, you here to collect the points I have leftover?” Ashley asked, somewhat playfully.

“Nope.” I quickly shook my head. “Those are yours to use as you see fit. I just wanted to check in on the place, and see how everything’s doing.”

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Ashley laughed lightly, nodding her head. “Well, nothing much has changed since your little break during the trip. I’ve kept the world at a normal flow of time. However, they did just end their latest world war.”

As she spoke, Ashley opened up the laptop, and then placed her index and middle finger from both hands on the top corners of the screen. When she lifted her hands up, she pointed outwards. A large projection of a map appeared in midair just in front of the wall, a map of Desbar. “Right now, there’s three main political powers. Funny enough, they each have their own little version of me that they worship, which leads to most of their conflict.”

On the map were four continents, taking up nearly half of the planet’s surface, a bit more than the original Earth. Two of the continents were colored white, one red, and one yellow. “First, let’s go over the Lenan Union.” As Ashley began, the two white continents lit up. They were both quite large, and positioned closest together of the four.

“They are a matriarchy, viewing me as an ancestral figure and the first of our kind. To them, fire and technology are one and the same, as there could be no technology without the most basic fire. The fires I brought thawed the world, and led them into an age of wonder. Out of the three, they are the most technologically advanced, holding a definite superiority over the two. However, purely in terms of military capacity, they are spread out too thin, leaving them open for attacks.”

Next, the white continents dimmed, and the red ones lit up. “Then there is the Asharan Republic. Their view of me is more brutal. I wield the flames of destruction, mustering the power of war. Their military strength is by far the most abundant, with roughly half of their citizens being trained in the use of firearms. This last war was caused by them trying to take over one of Lenan’s continents in my name, with the other two groups having to join forces to push them back.”

Only allowed on

Again, the red continent dimmed, and finally the yellow one lit up. “And the last is the States of Nemra. A coalition of smaller country-sized groups that came together under one name and flag. While they aren’t the most powerful in terms of firepower or politics, they have a nice blend of the two. In fact, they’re on their way now to establishing something like the internet, though it’s probably a few years away.”

I gave a sigh of relief as she spelled out the information without any dramatic retellings like I knew Aurivy would have. “What about technology? Is there anything that you would really call unique to them?”

That question caused Ashley to fall silent, thinking it over. “Their firearms can be considered unique. When flying, they can’t swing a sword, so ranged combat has always been the norm. The only common melee weapons, even in distant times, were bladed boots. Rarely, someone would armor their tail, but that didn’t happen often.”

As she spoke, the map of the world vanished, to be replaced by a model on the screen. The model appeared to be a rather typical demon male, his arms at his sides with his wings spread out. “You saw how their bows were constructed in the movie before. They are made to fire straight ahead, rather than shooting in a sideways stance. That’s also because of their flight. If they tried to turn to the side to fire, then they would be shooting at their own wings, or else be thrown off balance.”

“Guns are the same way.” The model extended its arm forward, and the view of it moved to the side to give a clearer image. On its arm was a long metallic object, roughly four inches wide and stretching along the entire length of his arm, with a short barrel at the wrist. At the model’s elbow was a joint which allowed the weapon to bend.

“A demon’s gun is arranged like this. When the arm is bent, it’s the same as the safety being on, and the gun can’t fire. Extra magazines can also be held in the lower bicep area, and can be reloaded quickly by fully bending the arm inwards. With the arm fully extended, they can fire through a trigger held in the palm.”

“Since they can’t as easily line up their shots, their accuracy tends to suffer with these weapons, but that is not a weakness when fighting demons. Even just one shot to a wing can be fatal if you hit one of them flying, and we have a very large wingspan.”

I nodded as I processed the information. “Did they never come up with the means to heal a damaged wing?” I had honestly thought that would have been the first thing that the demons tried to remedy.

“Well… yes and no.” Ashley shook her head as she did her best to explain. “If it is the skin of the wing that is damaged, it can typically be repaired by a skin graft. If time is less important, a salve can also be applied to stimulate healing. If it’s the bone, though… Our wings have such thin bones that they are extremely difficult to properly heal. Most broken wings end in an amputation.”

“Thanks to this, flying isn’t the only widely accepted means of travel anymore. They developed cars fitted for their body types, and ‘handicap’ accessible doors are at the base of any building. Though, this also led to an obesity problem, especially in Nemra. Once a demon becomes overweight, their wings can no longer support them in flight, so they can only drive the cars around instead.”

A soft chuckle escaped my lips as I thought about that, and nodded my head again. “What about the entertainment industry?” If I was going to bring Desbar into the fold later, it would help if they had a rather solid foundation to build on.

“You mean video games? They’ve been a thing for nearly fifty years now. Especially in Lenan, where the technology is typically at least a year or two ahead of the others. They might not have big online games yet, since Nemra hasn’t finished creating their internet, but I imagine it won’t take long for them to catch on once they see it.”

That earned another brief nod from me, but I raised a hand to let Ashley know that I was focusing. A thought had occurred to me. Terra, what would happen if I try to visit Desbar or Deckan? I wouldn’t keep my strength from Earth, would I?

If I did, that would be entirely unfair to anyone from the other two worlds, and something I doubt that the system would overlook. And sure enough, a light laugh soon answered my question. No, Dale, you wouldn’t. At least, not before they’re connected. You would have a normal demon body, with the greatest strengths any normal demon body could have. If you went to Deckan, you’d have the best body determined by the number of stat cards people had obtained. If someone managed to get two Strength cards, you’d have two extra strength.

I figured as much… but this also made those two worlds far more dangerous for me to visit. In Earth, I could be treated as nearly invincible with how the game system was set up, if I decided to use my full power. But in those two worlds, there wouldn’t be a full power for me to seal or unseal. What about taking items between worlds? Or would that be restricted as well?

That depends on the item itself. If it is something that can’t exist without the system from its home world supporting it, then you won’t be able to take it. For example, you could take your enchanted sword, but not a quest scroll to Deckan. Likewise, you wouldn’t be able to take a spell card from Deckan to either Desbar or Earth until the gates are set up. Thankfully, the gates themselves do not rely on a single particular system to achieve their effect, so we will be able to place them in all three worlds to connect them without a problem.

I let out a sigh of relief when I heard that. If it turned out that we couldn’t take items with material mined from Deckan to the other two worlds, then we wouldn’t be able to use the Fairy Gates at all. That would have been a lot of wasted points. Nodding slightly, I turned my head towards Ashley and smiled, letting her know I was done with my mental conversation. “Anything else important?”

Ashley gave it some thought again, and then nodded. “Right now, I’ve set both Asharan and Lenan’s cultural goals to be something I’ve had an issue with for a long time. Like I said before, the wings are a critical weak spot of any demon. So until the goal is met, both countries are aimed towards finding a way to cover that weakness. Either through a lightweight armor, or something else. That’s probably why Nemra got ahead of Lenan in creating the internet, because they were distracted with this.”

I felt my eyes open wide in surprise as I looked towards the screen, where the map had previously been displayed. “Have they made any progress?”

Unfortunately, Ashley let out a sigh, shaking her head. “There have been a lot of prototype armors, but anything that could cover the wing at its full span is either too stiff to allow flight, or too heavy. The best that they could come up with was an armored cape to wear over the wings when they are pulled in. They can’t even use shields, because any shield able to block enough to protect their wings would be too heavy to even lift, let alone fly with.”

I tried to imagine someone carrying a tower shield six meters wide, and couldn’t help but nod in agreement. “That will make things difficult for them, at least until they have access to magic. Though I wonder if their bodies will become too heavy to fly if they train as a warrior.”

That thought made me imagine the demons as a widely magical race once they get the game system. Since even the archer class added stats to strength, it would make it hard for demons to fly. Though, I imagine they could get something like a sniper class that doesn’t.

Ashley glanced at me curiously while I sank into thought. “Just when are you planning on doing all of that? I can send the world ahead a few dozen more years if need be.”

“Not yet.” I shook my head, offering a smile to her as I said that. “Not until we at least have the gates ready. Once those are in place, we’ll probably be pushed straight into the games, so let’s make sure that everything is ready first.” Hell, right now even Earth wasn’t at the level of strength it needed to be yet, to say nothing of the other two.

Thanking Ashley for her information, I got up and made my way out of her room. It was time to check in on Udona, and see what Deckan was like.

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