Leveling Up Wives In The ApocalypseChapter 379 Merchants Redesigned
Mathew stood still while facing the faceless merchant.
He gave out his opinion about how possibly dangerous it was to get into contact with their realm… Only for all the girls to agree that he needed to stop with his bullshit and just stick through it.
'It's not like I don't understand their point of view,' Mathew thought, calmly taking his time to steel himself for the experience. 'Without those merchants, we would be all long dead. Without weapons, without provisions to supply our bases, or even without the levels that we got from them…'
Mathew shook his head. He then took in a deep breath before reaching out.
His hand, however, stopped just an inch away from the merchant's hood.
'But they didn't feel it,' Mathew thought, gritting his teeth. 'The sense of something creeping all over their consciousness, invading their most inner parts…'
This was the true reason why Mathew didn't want to enter the merchant's subspace again.
Not because he feared being watched by some otherworldly being. Those who were responsible for the apocalypse likely had no need for the merchants to keep an eye on him at all.
No, it was this creepy feeling alone that Mathew experienced right at the moment when his memories were slightly shaken. Right at the point that made him suspicious whether all that he could remember happening… was really all there was to his experience.
'But their point still stands,' Mathew thought, gritting his teeth as he pushed his hand forward. 'And right now, we can't really afford not to use those merchants!'
Mathew grasped at the shadows. And as per usual, the shadows surged forth, quickly detaching him from reality, pushing the world that Mathew knew aside.
'It's like suddenly falling into a hole,' Mathew thought. Ever since the unpleasant experience, he paid a lot more attention to the details that he grew so used to he started to omit them. 'It doesn't feel that I'm moving, it's more like the space itself moves apart. It doesn't feel like I'm falling… but if there is no space, the notion of falling loses its meaning.'
There were only so many thoughts that could pass through Mathew's head while the shadows coiled around him to create the familiar space of the subspace with its merchant and all the massive shelves that he had to offer.
This time, however, the shadows changed their mind…?
'No, that's not it,' Mathew thought, startled when the process of getting into the subspace prolonged way beyond the usual. 'They didn't change their mind as they don't seem to have any mind in the first place. It's more like…' Mathew hesitated for a second, taking a moment to pinpoint the right word to describe his feeling. 'It's more like they need more time to build this subspace up?'
The reason behind the delay was just another small detail that Mathew from yesterday wouldn't pay much mind to at all. A rare but only slightly annoying change that the young man would ignore in favor of thinking about more important topics.
Thankfully, as soon as the merchant's subspace revealed itself to Mathew's eyes, he quickly realized the reason behind the delay.
"What the hell is this?" Mathew asked out loud, weirded out by the change.
There wasn't a single shelf with the merchant's wares displayed. There was no furniture or construction of any kind… save for a simple set of a desk, chair, and an old type of personal computer.
'Did it take longer because it had to recreate the structure of earthy computers from the scratch?' Mathew thought, taking a step closer toward the familiar device.
The type of computer was so old Mathew could barely recall ever having one. The screen itself was bigger than the actual computing unit, like the technology Mathew could only ever see in Wikipedia or an actual museum. The computing unit itself wasn't all that better, with yellowish-white plastic in place of the glass and black metal Mathew was used to.
Even the keyboard screamed ancient times when he looked at it.
"I wonder why they used this kind of model when replicating something more modern would likely be easier?" Mathew muttered to himself as he took yet another step closer before sitting behind the desk and resting his hands on the keyboard.
"Were they worried that my shut-in instincts would take over, leading to me spending hours upon hours in the subspace just playing random games?" Mathew whispered, acting as if he wanted to hide his voice… while in fact hoping that whoever was obviously listening, would take this suggestion and offer Mathew some solace.
"Well, it's not like it matters, I guess," Mathew then muttered before finally taking the leap of faith and pressing the launch button on the computer's case.
Something started to work. The noises coming from the case were the greatest proof of that. Gears started to turn, and the solid disc of the hard drive started to spin.
Bit by bit, the computer produced more and more noise. And by the time the screen turned on, it only joined the cacophony, making Mathew wish he had some noise-canceling headphones.
'I hope I will be able to get used to it,' Mathew thought, resting his hands on the keyboard while he waited for the system to properly launch…
Which never happened.
Mathew didn't get to see the logo of the company that made the hardware. There was no logo that would allow him to recognize the software either. No login phase appeared just like the launched piece lacked any of the convenience icons that Mathew was used to.
And yet, regardless of it all, Mathew only needed a single look to figure out the system of the computer.
The alleys turned into folders. Shelves turned into catalogs while items changed into singular listings with a picture, a reference button that Mathew couldn't tell the use of, and lastly the price, the desired quantity, and then the simple "purchase" button.
"Seeing how there is no sell button," Mathew looked up from the screen and towards the area behind it.
And just as if responding to his thoughts, the shadows coiled only to form an altar that looked like an insanely massive, stone bowl.
The creeping feeling appeared again, sending a cold chill down Mathew's spine.
The young man twitched in his seat. He used all of his willpower to stop himself from freaking out.
'I can't disappoint them,' Mathew thought, gritting his teeth and ignoring the feeling as he quickly scrolled through the items now available at the merchant. And soon enough, he found the "settlement" folder along with the "local upgrades" catalog.
There were only six icons inside. Four of them stood for specific yet general upgrades to the area while the two others turned out to be folders named "convenience" and "defense."
'Seeing how I can actually buy defenses for the settlement… it doesn't seem like just upgrading from a fortress will be enough of a barrier to stop the zombies or the monsters," Mathew muttered to himself, quickly analyzing the meaning behind the items that he didn't even bother to check.
Right now, the four items appearing right away within the subfolder were that much more important.
Utilities, production, manufacturing, trade.
Four words that held more meaning behind them that Mathew was willing to accept right away. Four words that he looked forward soo damn much to seeing… Only to end up terrified to no end when he actually did.
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