The Oracle Paths

Chapter 18 New routines

scovering for the first time. Battle rope, jump rope, throwing weights, mobility and balance training, some weird yoga and breathing techniques.

There were also many physiological movements to practice like punching, kicking, rolling or climbing. All in all, it was a well-thought training, with no details overlooked.

At some point, Jake ceased to ponder over the logic behind all these strange exercises. He was getting jeering glances from other gym adherents nonstop, yet he didnt care. He was too focused on his task.

Funnily, he was not the only person practicing exercises that didnt seem to make sense. Every human was treading their own path and as a result, abnormal behaviors were sort of becoming the new norm.

When he arrived home, his nerd body was dead tired. His energy has been spent and despite the absence of muscle stiffness and soreness, he felt like his body had been run over by a bulldozer.

Jake took a well-deserved shower before moving on to the next step. The next trial was not easier in the slightest. In fact, it could be even harsher.

A little reminder, Jakes Cooking skill had 1 point when the average human being had 4. Cooking pasta or rice was ok, but anything else went far beyond his field of expertise. He would have to focus and follow the Shadow Guide moves very carefully.

He didnt have knowledge of what recipe he was following. His cooking talent was almost inexistent for two simple reasons: no interest and no dexterity. He was not good with his hands and his few girlfriends could confirm it…

When boredom could struck him even during the most intimate act, you could easily picture what kind of shitty face he was doing right now.

Well, he was sobbing. Chopping onions and garlic.

The Shadow Guide was performing some awesome knife skills, slicing the vegetables at high speed. As he tried his best to follow his prodigious doppelganger, the meal was taking form. It was a simple stew with big slices of chicken meat and a varied selection of vegetables.

Not the appetizing dish he was dreaming about. However, there was no doubt that it would turn out as a balanced healthy meal. The fragrance fuming from the cooking pot was stimulating and tempting his senses. This stew was full of promise.

The unexpected revelation was that cooking encompassed many subskills. You needed an acute sense of observation, the ability to discern different scents and cooking sounds. Good control, knife mastery, knowledge of each kitchen instrument, recipe knowledge were all part of the same main skill recognized by the System.

Jake had no idea how the Oracle calculated the final score, and it didnt really matter. What he knew though, was that his Shadow Guide was not content with simply showing off. It wanted Jake to throw himself emotionally into the act of cooking.

When the Guide was seemingly immobile but was, in fact, taking a whiff above the stew, Jake could feel it. It was not foolish imitation. The real feat was to achieve the same way of thinking the Shadow had while cooking. It was an extremely focused state. If he didnt know better, he would have thought the latter had gone all in ” on poker with only a pitiful pair of two.

After an hour or so, simmering at medium temperature, and despite many mistakes, Jake cooked the best dish of his life. Even Crunch was licking his lips and drooling over the cooking pot. One cat and one human stared at each other like two mortal enemies, yet it was not long for Crunch to remember whose hand was feeding him.

Jake was not a selfish person (at least not with a cat), so he took out two plates and served generous portions for both of them. Truth was that he wasnt free to gorge on food as he wished. The Path was still active. The amounts of food were controlled, there was nothing left to chance.

The meal proved to be delicious. However, the pleasure he was expecting didnt come. Indeed, he couldnt even eat in peace. In order to improve his intelligence, the Oracle had concocted for him many mind games he couldnt skip.

They were simple routines like brushing ones teeth, writing and eating with ones opposite hand, reading upside down, focusing on the present moment or learning survival-related knowledge. However, when he practiced them all, it took a toll on his brain.

When he went to sleep, Jake wished to die and never wake up. He had barely survived his first day. Nonetheless, he knew that the following months would only be worse, never better.

So next morning, Jake woke up on time and his life became hell again.

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