Apocalypse Shop, V1, Prologue: Superpower Merchant

A superpower is a lot like a gun. If you cock a loaded 44. Magnum revolver and casually drop it in the lap of some kid from the Middle Ages, they’ll probably end up killing themselves or someone else within a few minutes. That’s because they wouldn’t understand how dangerous their newfound ‘Power’ was, or how to properly use it. There was no instruction manual or a teacher to show them the way.

The same goes for if you gave a shotgun to someone who actually knew how to use it, but neglected to offer any shells. Without ammunition, the weapon would be little more than a club. If their enemy was twice their size and unarmed, the person with the gun would probably get killed without being able to put up much of a fight.

When it comes to superhuman strength, speed or even just eyesight, a normal person in the Information Age would have trouble utilizing them properly, and safely. If you don’t tell people that they could go blind by using their ability during the daytime, they’ll probably lose their power and even their normal sense of sight, before even accomplishing anything.

It might sound funny, and I would probably laugh at someone accidentally sneezing to death, but there’s no purpose aside from humor or chaos. I don’t operate that way. I’m more interested in actually turning a profit from my hard work.

You think it’s easy being a Superpower Merchant? I’ve seen some idiots spend years of painstaking effort, trying to craft a Devil-Slaying Bullet, only to realize that they didn’t have enough materials to make a gun to shoot it with! I guess they just thought that their chosen ‘Hero’ would make do with some ordinary pistol. Turns out that there weren’t any .91 Caliber barrels in that world, not to mention that the chamber would have had to fit that really obnoxiously long cartridge size exactly. Ultimately, their champion was killed due to his helplessness, while the Superpower Merchant went broke.

I’m not sure if you understand what it means to go broke when you’re in my position. No, it’s pretty much the same as on Earth or any other planet that has a monetary system. You run out of money. You can’t afford to eat and will eventually starve to death.

Why don’t I just go live in the wilderness and survive off the land? I’m a craftsman and a great merchant, but I definitely can’t make it without running water and a roof over my head. I don’t even want to think about trying to hunt or fish for my food on a daily basis, without any refrigeration or eating utensils… Ugh, gives me the chills.

As long as I have a steady supply of Mana, my house can keep functioning indefinitely. It’s not very big, only two stories and a basement, but it’s plenty for my job. The basement is a workshop, the first floor is the storefront and upstairs is where I ‘live’. Only a bedroom and a bathroom, neither of which are particularly large: 100 square meters for the bedroom and 20 for the bathroom.

The stairs come down to the backroom of the store, where I have a small kitchen: Refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher, drier, a table for maybe four, some counters and cabinets. It was a little cramped, but it was enough for me to live alone.

Down the stairs again, in the basement, that’s where I spent most of my time these days. Although there was a small sectioned off area for things like the hot water heater, water fabricator, electrical generator and air filtration unit, most of the space was for my equipment: Gunsmithing, blacksmithing, ammunition crafting and other tasks needed to be handled by myself. I can’t be considered a master by any means, but at the very least, I knew what I was doing.

I also had a mini biolab set up for genetic manipulation drugs. There was a small mechlab for cybernetic enhancements and well, normal mechanical repairs if necessary. I don’t make vehicles, but I can fix them up or modify them. There was a scrying orb for cartography, though I have a computer program for that, so I’m not like those crazies that like to do everything manually. There was also an alchemy lab, an enchanting table… And a few other pieces of equipment, which I won’t bother talking about right now.

I’m currently in between worlds at the moment, so I need to prepare for the future as much as possible. If you’re wondering how my house is just floating through the vast and empty ‘Chaotic Void’, it’s complicated. The simple way to explain it is that the house itself is more like a starship or interdimensional transportation vehicle. Although it looks like a big rectangular prism, without any visible form of propulsion, it works more like a magnet. The building is something I inherited, literally, so I still don’t understand how a lot of the mechanics work or how in the hell someone created something practically indestructible… While also making it appear like an ordinary red-brick house on the outside, and inside.

The reason why I’m even writing this is basically to avoid going insane from extreme loneliness. I can watch movies and television shows, play video games or work, but I can’t talk to anyone. I have to go years at a time, just… Waiting, alone, working by myself.

In a few months, my house will just randomly appear somewhere on ‘a’ planet Earth. You would be surprised how many versions of ‘Earth’ there are. But that also makes things easier from my perspective. Since I was born on one of them and have experienced three different versions since inheriting this place, and this job.

If you compare me to other Superpower Merchants, I’m just a nobody. Only been through ten Apocalypses so far… Not much to brag about honesty. Unlike the Kitsune, I don’t have much of a network. If I don’t prepare enough food before leaving a doomed world, I will literally starve to death on the way to my next planet. I can’t order takeout or whatever those foxy bastards do… I’ll just die.

I’m barely even superhuman to be honest. It comes with the territory. I won’t die from old age, at least not within the next ten thousand years, so that’s one thing I don’t have to worry about. Cancer is a problem, but something that can be mitigated with a very expensive dose of single-use nanites. Fortunately, that doesn’t happen very often or I would go broke. Plus, I can create them myself, just takes a while.

My Strength, Agility, Perception, Endurance, Dexterity and other quantifiable ‘statistics’ are pretty low. There comes a time where I usually have to just close my shop, because the monsters and people are too strong for me to deal with anymore. I can’t survive in a vacuum or even underwater with my body alone. My magical aptitude is mediocre at best.

I just want to live forever and not get any weaker than I am right now. That would be enough. Who knows, maybe I’ll get lucky in this world. Find some decent Artifacts or at the very least, have some of my customers live long enough to keep me in business for the whole Apocalypse… At the very least, I hope my little patch of land doesn’t get nuked this time. Really bad for business.

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