The Oracle Paths

Chapter 12 First mission

e knew nothing about what these qualifying rounds entailed. But, somehow he could tell it wouldnt be a cakewalk. He still was hopeful, though. Many people were still affected by all this alien thingy, so with a bit of luck, most of the competitors wouldnt come.

Their VR center didnt contain enough rooms to host the main competition anyway. Qualifying rounds happened in every VR arcade-rooms around the world. They were used to sort the wheat from the chaff. VRGF competitions were the new Olympic games and it was basically possible to compete in anything: Athletics, martial arts, tennis, fencing and so on.

Naturally, FPS, RPG, and strategic games were still the most popular. Some of these famous VR games were even used for teaching purposes. Firefighters, militaries, pilots, special forces. Many of them were former VR professional players having won prestigious competitions or tournaments. Of course, it was under the premise that you didnt cheat.

In the end, Thiru and Paul didnt come to work. For Harry and Jake it was a piece of good and bad news at the same time. Their absence proved that even easy works like theirs were already too much to deal with for average people. Logically, serious competitors should have far higher dropout rates compared to them as they would refuse to compete with their actual mindset.

If enough competitors asked for reporting the qualifying rounds, they would have at least an easy week. The bad news was that if they were wrong and the competition was maintained, they would be missing two helping hands.

Camille has her own office to work so they rarely talked to her during the day except when they were taking short breaks or having lunch.

Jake and Harry busied themselves putting in order every VR rooms, restocking the VR store, and doing some maintenance for the few VR gears that had been defective lately. At 9:00 am, Camille walked out from her office and announced to them that the competition was indeed canceled until further notice.

Hooray! They could relax now. They exchanged jokes in the staff room around a cup of coffee, not expecting any customers at all. It was a boring morning.

Camille had this boss air that made it impossible for them to talk to her normally. Their dirty jokes were swallowed back and they didnt dare to talk about topics that only nerds had the secret.

Xi didnt say a word either. Coaching proposed many times some random challenges that his System had judged as great opportunities but were in fact just ways to torture him.

It could be something like ” Run 10km, do 100 push-ups, 100 pull-ups, 100 squats, and 100 sit-ups ”, but there were also some requests much more terrifying. For example, when Camille was drinking coffee with them, Coaching proposed him to maintain eye contact with her for at least 20 seconds. Can you imagine how creepy he would seem to her if he really did that? The funny thing was that there were true benefits to get from this trial.

Rewards:

– Self-confidence: +2%

-Communication skill: +1%

– Social anxiety: -10%

– Authority level: +1% (Rank up at 100%)

– Camille will see you in a new light

This tantalizing reward was only obtainable if Camille put an end first to their eye contact. His stare also had to be confident but not forceful, otherwise, he would pass for a shy nerd deeply in love with her or at worst a disgusting pervert. If he failed, he was condemned to feel a deep shame that would probably let him embarrassed for days.

Did he succeed? No, he failed miserably. He broke eye contact after 1.3 seconds. He couldnt see her, but he had the feeling Xi facepalmed herself watching him. He could feel the Punishment meaning:

– Self-confidence: -2%

It was unsettling how the Oracle could quantify these emotions and states of mind, but it was undoubtedly accurate. If he followed the Coachs suggestions he could probably solve his social anxiety problem in a few days. Most phobias could easily be solved like that after all.

Feeling shameful, he excused himself justifying that the VR store needed someone to watch over it. He envisaged taking a nap to forget, lying down with his feet on the reception desk. However, the outside ring tone announcing new customers rang out not even ten minutes after he started to relax. At the same time, the Coach gave him his first real mission. A mission, that made his eyes pop out of his head when he saw it.

Mission: Take care of this customer as if it was your soul mate!

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