The Oracle Paths

Chapter 6 Risk and Reward

it is.]

[- Getting married, raising her three children as a househusband.]

[Quarrels and divorce as soon as you stop following the Path.]

[Infamy: +648 Ex-husbands fans will want your death, together with all fans of Sarah Hilton shipping the original couple.]

[Risks: Life imprisonment, wounds, death, losing your job.]

[Probability of success: low]

[Probability of failure: very high]

He took a deep breath. He was already sweating profusely, shivers up his spine when he got to the Punishment part. If he was to blindly throw himself into this Path, he could as well shoot himself a bullet in the head right now. The result would be the same.

He promised himself to never turn off the Coaching ability. He liked having the chills from time to time, but he would never play with his life.

As an optimistic person, Jake would rather focus on the rewards.

”It really looks like a game. ” He couldnt help thinking the Oracle device had enticing game-mechanics.

The only difference was that these rewards were not Quest rewards, but the logical consequences of walking through a Path until the very end. There was no checkpoint or difficulty level. He couldnt know all the steps from a Path, but the Coach was giving him some clues.

The first clue was his skills and basic attributes improvement. It was telling him that this Path would take quite a long time to finish. From the first steps that he could already see, he would have to follow harsh training to get a physique to the taste of Miss Hilton. Simultaneously, he would have to take some acting lessons at the theater and learning quite a few things. At the very least, he would need a few months.

To be honest, he could get the same rewards, minus Sarah Hilton, just by doing the preparation steps. There probably were shorter Paths to select, requiring killing or blackmailing maybe. However, he would never try them.

On the one hand, he was not a criminal, and on the other hand, there was no escape with the Oracle. Policemen had Oracle bracelets too. They could easily wish ”How can I catch the culprit in the soonest time? ”. Then they would never lose your location, whatever you try, the same way a compass would always point out the North.

[Do you have any questions?] The Oracle A.I asked with the same cute voice. No disdain was hidden in it for once.

He had many of them in fact, but he controlled himself. He would have all the time to ask her everything he craved knowing. First, he would ask her name. He could not call her Oracle AI forever. That would be awkward.

[My name is Xi.] She answered gravely as if her name had a deep meaning for her.

Damn, it was supposed to be a simple AI? My ass! Configured to be best suited for him? It WAS a real person. He was doubting it before, but the name confirmed it. Not even in his wildest fantasies had he dreamt of such a short foreign name.

”Nice to meet you Xi. Any surname? ”

[Just Xi.]

”… ”

[ I see where you are coming, so I will spare you wasting your time.]

[ Your Authority level is insufficient.]

[ Us, AI are all interchangeable pawns. As authentic as I can seem, my actions are restricted by the Oracle.]

”You are always saying that my Authority level is insufficient! Then how can I raise it? ” That was the answer he was burning for.

[By making good use of the Oracle. The Coach will show you the way if you know how to interpret his advice. Become a better version of yourself. That is the only way to figure out what lies beyond your small world.

[If you perform repeatedly above your normal self, eventually your Authority level will be promoted.]

Jake got goosebumps for a long time after Xi final declaration. He felt the adrenaline rush flowing his bloodstream, making his heart pumping stronger and faster.

If you were proactive, confident and successful in life, you couldnt understand how a disillusioned introvert with a high IQ felt on a day-to-day basis. He was too perfectionist, too scared of being rejected or failing anything he could undertake. He was also too smart, too down-to-earth to attempt anything he wasnt one hundred percent sure to accomplish. His life was basically riddled with doubts.

This Oracle System was palliating all of this. Fundamentally, his life didnt change yet. But now, doubts had been replaced by certitudes. From now on, he would never lose his Path.

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