The Oracle Paths

Chapter 21 Meet an acquaintance

It was Paul Baker, another of his co-workers. Having not come to work at the virtual reality arcade center, Jake hadnt seen him for almost a month.

Paul was once the seducer of their gang of nerds. From his 190 cm height, he was the classic handsome dark-haired man who made the ladies fall in love with him. He had a charming smile and knew how to be helpful. Given that he was also a professional VR player, he was the perfect charismatic employee.

Well, that was all in the past. The Paul Baker sitting in front of him was quite different. Unlike him, who had lost his cowardly physique, Paul had lost weight in an alarming way. The once robust fellow was now almost too scrawny for his own good.

His eyes were sunken in their sockets, with large bags underneath showing how sleep-deprived he was. His hands grasping the arm of the armchair were trembling slightly, evidence of an excess of caffeine.

”Paul? Is that you? Whats happened to you? ” Asked Jake, shocked to see him so weakened.

The young man turned his head towards him when he heard his voice, his eyes flashing suddenly. As he contemplated his former colleagues new appearance, he couldnt help but breathe a long sigh.

”Hi, Jake. As you can see, Ive had better days. Im glad to see that things seem to be going well for you.

”I want you to know that our meeting here today is no accident. It was my Oracle that led me here. Of course, I also needed to freshen up my hair, so I might as well kill two birds with one stone. ”

Jake was well aware that he could be included in someone elses predictions. Still, it was confusing to be part of Pauls Path. They may have been co-workers in the past, but they had never been friends.

As a self-respecting introverted nerd, he was running away like the plague from this kind of radiant individual. Apart from Harry, who was like him, and Camille, who was a hottie and his direct supervisor, he truly didnt give a damn about anyone else.

Anyway, Jake had come in for a haircut, and he had no intention of changing his plan. So he slumped into one of the chairs to Pauls right, and could now watch his reflection in the mirror as much as he wanted.

Meanwhile, the hairdressers had finished their coffee break and were ready to get to work.

They put on a pair of latex gloves, pressed their heads against the sink and turned on the taps. Once the water was hot enough, they soaked the boys hair and then brushed them with shampoo. To earn their rates, they massaged their scalps for longer than they should have, making them grunt with satisfaction. Even Paul seemed to relax.

After that, the hairdressers moved them into the main workroom. Perhaps because they were relieved to have two clients at once, they showed great professionalism, showing all their expertise.

Paradoxically, Paul, who was used to sophisticated and trendy cuts, asked for the same functional cut as Jake. His former colleague was like a stranger.

During the entire performance, the two young men remained silent. When the hairdressers finished their task, a huge mass of hair was scattered on the tile floor and he felt as if his head was lighter.

Jake then paid his hairdresser, leaving a generous tip, and left with Paul on his heels.

After that, Jake continued following his Path as though nothing had happened.

He did his training just like the other days, replicating the gestures of his Shadow Guide with absolute confidence. Paul, for his part, did not stop him.

The handsome former boy watched him make all those strange movements with a thoughtful look. As if he was wondering about the difference between their respective ways of coping with all these turmoil.

In the end, when Jake was drenched in sweat and totally out of energy, Paul finally made up his mind.

”Im having a party at my house tonight. Id like you to come. Harry, Thiru and even Camille will be there. ” He revealed his true purpose, leaving Jake dubious.

Given Pauls condition, he clearly didnt look like he was in the mood. Besides, he and Harry had never been invited to any of his previous parties. What was different this time?

”Sorry, I ref— ”

[Mission: Party at Paul Bakers house]

[Potential rewards: ]

[-Learning about the mouse, meeting people, seducing Camille]

[- Communication skills +1, Self-confidence +1]

[-Level of Authority: +5%]

”… ”

Coaching had just decided otherwise.

”What is it, Jake? Somethings come up? ” Checked Paul, slightly worried.

”No, everythings fine. Okay for tonight, Ill be there. ”

With those words, they parted. This proposal was unexpected, but it had the merit of aligning with his plans. After all, what better way to improve social skills than with a party?

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