Chapter 9: No. 37
It was so casual a voice, but Zhang Mu shuddered when he heard it. He slowly turned around, looking at the strange, but familiar person.
The master of the voice wore a blue robe made of countless feathers that reflected bright lights.
Zhang Mu looked up, gazing at the person’s face.
It was a man who had high nose bridge with long golden hair covering his shoulders. To be honest, he looked naturally noble.
Zhang Mu clearly remembered his name: No. 37.
Although Zhang Mu was No. 37’s last sub-merchant, apart from the first time they met, he normally couldn’t see No. 37 even when he came to trade.
However, when Zhang Mu saw No. 37’s face, he remembered their first meeting in his last life. That was a pretty memorable experience.
Wait… Something was wrong!
When Zhang Mu was thinking, the golden-haired man also gazed at him in interest. He said with a faint smile on his face, “Human, you don’t look surprised. Besides, I think the emotion in your eyes is… loss? Have you seen me before?”
Zhang Mu got a fright. Why were No. 37’s senses so sharp? Had he found something?
However, Zhang Mu was not a young man anymore. He had ten years experience. After a second, he calmed down. It was time to act now.
He didn’t intentionally hide his feelings of loss, but exposed it more.
“Oh, it was really dangerous when the walking dead chased after me. I suddenly saw a light column here and saw it rejecting the walking dead. I was already driven into a corner, I had no choice but came here to try my luck,” Zhang Mu said.
He paused for a moment, then kept his lie, “As for you… I thought that you looked like one of my old friends. I don’t know if he is still safe now. Maybe he had been killed by these monsters.”
Zhang Mu pretended to be sincere and sad. The golden-haired man thought for a while, then decided to put Zhang Mu’s strange emotion aside.
He changed his lazy expression and slowly said with a robot-like voice, “You can call me No. 37. I’m the thirty-seventh era merchant of the Third Era Caravan. This planet is Testing Field Number Forty-Seven and I’m responsible for our branch in Luoyang City. We, era merchants, come here to collect the Spirit Qi that aggregates in different areas in this plant. However, we don’t belong to this world, so the world’s rules don’t support us travelling beyond time and space. Each era merchant can only control a small area. For example, I’m only responsible for this branch in Luoyang City.”
No. 37 paused for a while, then continued, “The way to judge we era merchants’ achievements is in accordance with the local aggregates’ number and products they have collected and our conventional method is to recruit aborigines as our sub-merchants.”
“Our sub-merchants could trade freely in the ninety-nine cities of the whole testing field and the goods we accept are those of the current era and the era’s local goods.”
“The price of the era goods won’t change between the different era merchant branches. However, as time goes by, their prices will be gradually readjusted. Their main use is to help you humans cultivate.”
“As for the local goods, they are the several spirit qi coagula that are found in different areas. Naturally, they have different prices.”
“We will offer a fixed amount of the two goods every month. However, the local goods will be relatively rare.”
“Of course, you can buy Luoyang City’s goods from me, then sell them to the era merchants in other cities. You can make a margin of profit this way, then bring back a great amount of goods from other places.”
“However, I can’t promise that you will definitely earn money from that. It depends on if you can meet different era merchants’ demands. You can only explore the rules by yourself.”
“The only currency our Era Trade Caravan accepts are crystals. You have to obtain them from the walking dead.”
“The trading currency of local goods, on the other hand, are golden leave, a currency that is only used in our caravan. I can give you a few golden leaves in advance, with which you can buy goods from other places. I will offer you an equivalent amount of crystals or some special goods according to the value of the local goods you bring back. The goods and golden leaves will be saved in your Merchant’s Ring. You can find crystals from the abandoned people’s necks. As for golden leaf… Look, it is this little thing.”
The era merchant’s speaking speed was very fast, but the sentences were clearly imprinted in Zhang Mu’s mind, as if by magical. This was one of era merchants’ abilities.
Suddenly, No. 37’s expression returned back to normal. Well, to be exact, he looked like a human again. He snapped. A dark gold leaf appeared between his two fingers.
“Money is a good thing no matter where you are!”
The golden-haired man closed his eyes and said with an intoxicated look. Looking at his expression, Zhang Mu’s heart wasn’t as peaceful as what he showed on the surface.
Zhang Mu knew what crystal and gold leaf was; he remembered the trading method clearly in his mind. However, his memories did not including the era merchant’s current behavior. The era merchant wasn’t as indifferent as what he remembered at all.
He always thought that the era merchant was just an automatic system, but he was wrong. Apparently, the era merchant had his own thinking.
Was it because he was the first sub-merchant? Could he contact more secrets now?
After a while, No. 37 thought that Zhang Mu should have understood his words. He opened his eyes, then gazed at Zhang Mu and said, “So, do you want to be my first sub-merchant?”
Zhang Mu suppressed his strong desire to trade with the era merchant immediately. He pretended that he had many questions to ask, purposely making himself look like an ordinary person and shouted at No. 37 with anger, “What the hell is going on? What is the ‘Paradise’ the voice mentioned at dusk? Who are these people exactly?”
No. 37 didn’t interrupt Zhang Mu. He just looked at him as he listened to his questions. After Zhang Mu finished, No. 37 exposed a weird smile on his face, as if he had expected that, then said slowly, “The code of the new era is ‘Paradise’. According to the rules, I can’t tell you more. After all, the Era Trade Caravan is just one of their partners.”
He paused for a while, then continued, “However, you’re the first aboriginal who has come to see me in the debugging time from the dozens of testing fields I have recently visited. You had the luck to escape from hundreds of abandoned people and had the guts to run into this unknown light column… You mind, courage and ability must be unusual. I’m very interested in how far you can go. Therefore, I will give you a piece of advice.”
No. 37’s gaze sharpened. He continued, “You don’t have the power to change the world, so you can only try you best to survive in this world. You must stay alive and keep evolving. Remember, you can never stop!”
Suddenly, No. 37 changed the subject. He said with a smile, “Well, that’s all I can tell you. It’s your turn now. Tell me, do you want to be my sub-merchant?”
No. 37’s words made Zhang Mu’s heart boil again. One question after another kept appearing in his mind.
So, era trade caravan was just one of the partners of the presences hiding behind “Paradise”. Then who were they?
There were dozens of testing fields… So, was earth not the only testing field?
And “abandoned people”… was this how era merchant called the walking dead?
So many thoughts all appeared in one second. The next second, Zhang Mu gazed at No. 37. He decisively nodded and answered, “It looks like I don’t have other choice. Ok, I will.”
No. 37 looked very satisfied to Zhang Mu’s answer. He lightly whipped his golden hair, then smiled, “I know you are a clever man. Therefore, the contract established. This is your Merchant’s Ring, No. 1. It’ll record your information into Era Trade Caravan’s archives.”
As No. 37 spoke, a black, old ring suddenly appeared on Zhang Mu’s ring finger. Before he took a few more looks at it to see the difference between this ring and his ring in the past, he heard No. 37’s voice again.
“Boot up, Era Magical Cube!”