318 A piece of the merchant's puzzle

‘God damn it,’ Mathew thought, swallowing a mouthful of saliva. ‘Now I won’t know what to use my points for!’

The young man took a step back, refusing more than just a single glance at the system section of the merchant.

‘I need to keep my priorities straight!’ Mathew told himself over and over again, inching away back to the weapon-related alley while his body constantly struggled, attempting to enter the system alley all on its own.

Ultimately, though, the immediate security claimed the victory in the struggle for Mathew’s preference, putting him back into the weapon’s alley.

pAnDa (nov)e1‚Äč ‘Let’s see what we have here,’ Mathew thought, trying to distance himself from all the thoughts about the system seeds nearby.

‘You don’t even know if you can use it on the girls or if you can have more than just one system,’ the young man reminded himself yet again of the obvious gaps within his understanding.

And it was because of those that Mathew finally managed to focus on the task he had at his hand.

Mathew leisurely marched down the alley, throwing his eyes all over the place.

“It seems like it’s sorted complexity-wise,” Mathew muttered to himself as he started to notice the patterns.

At the very beginning of the alley, all he could see were simple clubs, spears, and relatively crude bows.

Moving forward, simple swords started to appear along with other bronze-based weapons. There were axes, mallets, picks, and even some fancy twin blades.

Mathew had to walk for a good few minutes before he finally reached the area housing the weapons he was familiar with.

‘It took that much time to develop proper steel tools?’ he thought, baffled at the realization.

Yet, as he thought about it, it only made sense.

Tools accompanied human civilization since its very beginning. Early humans were all hunter-gatherers, with the focus on the hunter part. In other words, for thousands of years, before any sort of competent civilization came to be, humans were long using tools of death.

As such, a discovery as recent as only a few hundred years old in the culture Mathew was from appeared only near the end of the entire alley…

Or rather, that’s where Mathew guessed it would appear once understanding the pattern that ruled the alley. Yet, to his surprise, steel weapons appeared as soon as in the middle point of the alley, making his head turn around and look down the way, curious just how much more complex the weapons at its end would be.

‘For starters, I should take some swords for the girls and myself,’ Mathew thought, pushing his curiosity for later as he looked closer at the available vares.

The advantage of this seemingly random upgrade to the merchant lay in how Mathew was free to pick items he wanted without actually buying them.

Of course, they would disappear as soon as he would leave the merchant’s subspace unless they were bought properly. Yet, while it was only a small convenience, it allowed Mathew to pick whatever he was interested in first before putting away all the stuff that he would ultimately eliminate.

“This saber looks nice,” Mathew muttered to himself once a weapon of a cold-type finally caught his attention.

He reached out with his hand and grabbed the weapon’s handle…

Only for yet another menu to appear before his eyes.

[Pick the weapon affinity:]

[High Zombies +0/1/2/3/4/5/6]

[Wild Evolutions +0/1/2/3]

[Class Evolutions +0/1/2/3]please visit panda(-)N0ve1.co)m

[Humans +1/2/3]

[Mana weapon +1/2/3]


Among all the options that Mathew saw appear before his eyes, the unidentified one filled the great majority of his vision.

There were tens if not hundreds of different types of something that he has yet to discover.

And as if that wasn’t enough, Mathew could hardly figure out what the few weapon affinities he had access to meant!

“Can you tell me more about the affinities?” Mathew asked out loud, hoping for some merchant’s help.

After all, as long as he asked about something that was strictly within the merchant’s jurisdiction, he was likely to receive proper information… unless there were some specific requirements he had to fulfill before he could access it.

“Weapon affinities build up over time as the weapon is used to fight any given type of opponent,” the system replied with its usual, robotic voice. “The higher the level of the weapon affinity, the greater the cost of the weapon.”

‘I guess it makes sense…?’ Mathew thought. Then, a small, cheeky smile appeared on his lips.

“In that case, can you tell me what were the affinities of the weapons I sold?” he asked.

“It’s impossible to repurchase sold items,” the system replied after taking some time. “Action blocked, unable to reply.”

“I see,” Mathew muttered, hiding the dissatisfaction in his voice.

‘I guess I can only assume that growing affinities is what made our weapons more expensive,’ he thought as he directed his eyes to scan his options again.

“What’s the prize for this saber without any affinities? What’s the prize for high zombie affinity three and six?” Mathew came up with different questions that could indirectly confirm his guess.

“Steel Sigmundian, five hundred cores a piece without affinities,” the system replied with haste. “High zombie affinity three raises the price to sixty-two and a half thousand cores. Sixth-grade high zombie affinity type costs one hundred eighty-seven and a half thousand short of eight million cores.”

Despite providing far more complex numbers, the merchant didn’t even need a second to grind out the numbers.

Mathew, on the other hand, took well over five minutes to figure out the scheme behind the raising price.

‘So for high-zombie affinity, each level of affinity multiplies the price by five, huh?’ he thought once his math finally checked out.

“What about wild evolutions one affinity? Human grade one? Why can’t I get a weapon with a human or mana weapon affinity of grade zero?” Mathew quickly followed with a set of different questions.

And after the system produced its answers, Mathew, once again, took some time to calculate the results.

‘So the more specific affinities multiply the price by a factor of ten,’ Mathew quickly figured it out. ‘As for the lack of zero grade for certain affinities, just the affinity alone boosts the weapon already so rather than a potential for the change it’s a change already, hence lack of the zero grade of affinity.’

The system behind the merchant’s pricing and affinities was as straightforward and crude as it could be. Yet, at the same time, Mathew couldn’t help but wonder.

‘If high affinities are worth that insanely much, then just how insane do they have to be?’

Mathew managed to raise some affinities of the weapons he was using. The same was the case for his wives’ weapons as well. And yet… no matter how he looked at it, he could hardly see any difference between a freshly bought weapon and one he used for quite some time, save for its wear and tear.

‘I discovered a huge piece of the merchant’s puzzle,’ Mathew thought, taking a deep breath as he finally managed to get over all the things he realized. ‘But I guess it’s still too early to think I can see the full picture!’

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