It’s hard to believe we ever wanted to kill the Nigh-Infinite Serpent. I mean, I don’t know how you do that, and neither did the Ancients, since every bomb they invented never even sloughed its old skins. But I’ve got fat books full of stories of great knights and cyclopes who braved the mountains of the world trying to kill the Nigh-Infinite Serpent. Their bravery made for great tragedies, even if these days they only get adapted as comedies.
You have to be very brave to fight something that can and frequently does encircle the continent. Every Winter the nights get longer, not because we’re tilting from the sun, but because it’s shifting in the sky trying to warm up. You might as well try to arm wrestle an earthquake. Also, fighting it caused a lot of earthquakes, which is why the Moderns outlawed fighting it.
There was this one whole crusade that climbed up to the Nigh-Infinite Serpent’s mouth, using a combination of apatosauruses and gryphons for travel, just to die bravely and go to Ten Heavens. This was in the second dynasty of the Moderns, who dispatched one thousand runners to chase them and hand of the writs of cease-and-desist. It was bound to be an epic, and an epic against the serpent would probably wreck the entire continent for us.
So the crusade had to turn around, because if they broke the law then their dead souls would never get into Ten Heavens. Except they were so high up that they had to march down the Nigh-Infinite Serpent’s spine – there was no easier way. And marching around up there, the crusaders found there really was no more convenient way to get anywhere on the continent than by walking on the serpent. It was lying about so much of the world that some of them even visited islands cartographers had deemed lost and mythical by hopping off its tail.
You can tell which regions were the first to bribe the Nigh-Infinite Serpent into playing highway because they’re still rich as cake today. Ornithologists were conscribed to trick flocks of rocs and gryphons into straying past the Nigh-Infinite Serpent’s mouth, giving it ample sustenance, and for every load it would contort its amazing body, a length becoming a new bridge or tunnel, sometimes running two or three highways on top of each other if the bribe was plentiful enough. When the Moderns factored in the reduction in wars with nature and no longer needing to construct or pave highways, they considered bribing the beast to be an exceptional savings.
Nowadays it actually gets angry if people aren’t traveling on its hide, which is why it attacks so many aircrafts. The best we can tell is it’s used to all the traffic as a sort of back massage. I work in automobile manufacturing, so I don’t mind the anti-aircraft strikes, but the delays on the highway are miserable whenever the beast sheds.