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In a future closer than we imagine, life will have the ability to become the dream of many, or the darkest nightmare that anyone has ever experienced.

An unknown young man took the world by storm. His invention revolutionized the way humans interact today. Eduard was a programmer who tried to make the dreams of his clients come true, but for that, he had to hide the reason why he started his career. He knew that the business of the Internet was to draw the user’s attention to the screen. The longer he could keep them looking at his app, the more money he could make.

The idea came to him out of the blue, one lazy afternoon, while chatting with one of his friends. Eduard knew that his dream was more important than all the applications he was working on. However, life made him lose his way for many years.

Tired of seeing that money did not give him satisfaction, he decided to quit. Years locked up in a rural house on the outskirts of a town resulted in the launch of Shopeview.

Now people from all over the world use their cell phone screens to look into another dimension. Nobody thought much about the virtual world that is projected on top of the city. Nobody imagined that this application, using your phone’s camera, would let you see a world that overlaps reality.

At first, it was only used as a treasure hunt app. Millions of users around the world were actively looking at their phone screens in search of treasure clues in city walls all around the world. Talented people became known as treasure hunters and could live off the rewards they got from the Shopeview app.

Eduard’s lack of greed for endless mountains of cash helped Shopeview to distribute most of the company’s advertising revenue to its users. Companies worldwide wanted their brands to be featured over the facades of buildings, although the only way to see these ads was through the phone screen.

Over time, more people enter the Shopeview in search of rewards to improve their standard of living. Until technological advancements created affordable virtual reality glasses. Eduard became the most powerful man in the world and the entire planet interacted within the Shopeview interface projected through their glasses.

Of course, things have changed since its inception. Now the virtual world in which people live instinctively interacts with reality. After the first profession, new ways to obtain financial rewards arose within the app. Adventurers sought magical worlds that only exist in Shopeview. Full body armor aided to achieve full immersion.

It is common now to see a raid against a dragon in the middle of a city park. Likewise, thousands of new professions were created within the digital world. People of the future took advantage of the need for brands to showcase their products.

It’s funny to imagine that there was a past when people didn’t wear virtual reality goggles all the time. The world without them was… boring. Shopeview’s team announced a couple of hours ago that an incomparable treasure would be found in the middle of Fallens Park in Angel City. In a matter of hours, a fence of six-foot-high bars appeared surrounding a five hundred and fifty-square feet space.

There was a sign over the main entrance of the dungeon: Unholy Grounds. People from all over Angel City rushed to see the event, as Metal_Head_0093 stepped into Fallens Park. He was the best-equipped tank in the city. His companions awaited his arrival.

Thanks to the augmented reality glasses, everyone present could see the armor he was wearing. Metal_Head_0093 held a flail with a foot-wide metal ball in his right hand and a metal shield in the left. His silver armor sparkled in the sun’s rays.

The other members of his group waited in front of the metal cage entrance. The mission was simple: the creature’s hit points had to reach zero before theirs. The cities were constantly attacked by this type of virtual beings, and defeating them meant a significant cash reward.

Metal_Head_0093 knew how important something like this was for the well-being of his team. They chose to be guardians in a city where more teams worked for the same rewards. Today, Metal_Head_0093’s group was the first to arrive at the site.

Heals_inmysocks, the group’s lead healer, had been walking through the park when she saw Shopeview’s representatives setting up the stage. She immediately contacted the rest of her team.

Metal_Head_0093 was working on an adventure out of town. He had to leave the other adventurers without a tank, but being the first to enter the Unholy Grounds was the only thing on his mind.

The rest of his team was ready at the dungeon entrance. They were the only ones waiting for the queue.

Heals_inmysocks approached Metal_Head_0093 as soon as she saw him arrive. “We’re ready to go in,” she said.

“Very well,” said Metal_Head_0093. “What do we know about the event?”

“As far as I know, it’s a creature of the darkness,” said Heals_inmysocks. “I have my team ready to protect us from its shadow magic.”

“How many pumpkins do we have?” asked Metal_Head_0093.

“None, why?” said Heals_inmysocks. She seemed confused.

“We better get one, a real one,” said Metal_Head_0093. “They are the favorite food of the beings of death.”

Heals_inmysocks took it upon herself to send one of the priestesses to fetch a pumpkin.

“Looks like we’re ready to go,” said Metal_Head_0093 as he stopped in front of all the members of his group. “We have to be ready for anything. Don’t feel safe even for a moment. I want to see you moving until we can identify our opponent’s fighting style. Something tells me that if we all keep our attention to the fullest we’ll be able to down this creature before others have a chance to try.”

The other guardians began to cast the temporary spells they bought with real money before arriving at the dungeon. Entering the event will cost each of them a month of expenses. Losing was not an option. Their financial well-being depended on getting the reward for killing the creature.

“Follow me,” Metal_Head_0093 said as he turned to approach the dungeon door.

Heals_inmysocks waited for her priestess to approach with a real pumpkin in her hands.

Once everyone was present, the doors opened. Thanks to the augmented reality glasses they entered a dark and smoke-filled place. Waiting in the middle of the room was a six-foot-tall skeleton with a massive sword slung over his shoulder. The creature immediately started walking towards them.

Metal_Head_0093 ran in front of his team to get agro from the creature, while Heals_inmysocks placed the pumpkin by the dungeon’s entrance.

The fight was longer and more exhausting than they expected. Spectators from far and wide came to see the lights and colors that shone from each of the guardians. Augmented reality glasses allowed everyone present to observe the battle. Even the life of the creature and the guardians was projected for all to see.

Very few understood what was happening. Of course, the guardians led by Metal_Head_0093 have been training their entire lives to complete this feat. It was amazing to see them using their powers.

Finally, the skeleton fell to its knees on the ground before collapsing. Metal_Head_0093 and his team were jumping for joy as they now have what they needed to survive a couple of months. Heals_inmysocks was surprised to see that the pumpkin had disappeared before she left the dungeon.

The world of online advertising grew so much that companies were capable of anything to get the attention of consumers. Shopeview was the bridge that united social needs with business ones.

  1. 💖 a picture says a thousand words, I suppose many of us too afraid to look deeper into that stage of reality

  2. I don’t know what was wrong, Sebastian, but I couldn’t reach your site to get this new story last week. I have it now to read it on the radio this week.

  3. I’ve fallen so far behind in my emails. A puppy with endless energy, inquisitiveness, and sharp teeth is an experience that doesn’t permit as much time to myself. Great story, seasonal, well, if you consider my email backlog. Keep up the great work.

    1. Thanks for the kind words and for reading my story. Glad you enjoyed it despite the challenges of having a puppy around. I hope everything is going well for you. Thanks for your support.

  4. I enjoyed this…being still very muchnpart of the “retro-virtual words” like Second Life and OpenSimulator, I found the futuristic projection very possible and interesting:)

  5. I loved so many different things about this story! I don’t where to start, so I’ll start with the first thing that caught my attention-I love the name Heals_inmysocks lol, I know that has nothing to do with the story but I like clever names. Also, I love that he is generous. And I can really relate to living far from city life in the peace and quiet of nature. I live currently for the past 13 years in a valley in the middle of forest in a house built by a man who lived in trailer as him and his wife built it from the trees in the forest. Peace and quiet really helps the mind, and it’s stories develop. I also loved the virtual world becoming a reality of sorts. In this day and age, I can almost believe it could happen. Great work!

  6. Interesting concept for a story, and a good commentary on some needs present in the world today. I particularly like the seeking of a solution to some of the corporate greed we can see in the world.

    Thank you for sharing. 🙏

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