The Oracle Paths - Chapter 816 The True Purpose of Oracle Ranks

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Chapter 816 The True Purpose of Oracle Ranks

Once the mood settled, they did an actual count of the survivors. In addition to the official Myrtharian Nerds, a number of natives who had joined them had either managed to flee, or had simply not been targeted by Lost Divinities and their allies during their big clean-up operation.

Vincent had managed to save his two "wives" and their Water Elf people, a few dozen of Drastan's obedient Trolls had survived by virtue of their extraordinary regenerative abilities, as had most of the underlings of the remaining Laudarkvik factions. Jeanie, the tiny Minmin, had also survived by hiding in Aisling's breastplate.

On the other hand, the losses suffered by the natives also had far more lasting consequences. The army of knights and Dragonids recruited by Lucia had been all but wiped out, as had most of the beasts recruited by Mufasa and Shere Khan. Kenway's brother Lysander was dead but luckily for him he had already received his own Oracle Device, making him a Player like them.

The problem was that they couldn't give them all an Oracle Device. For one thing, they needed the liquid alloy to support the Oracle Shield, which would get them off this planet in a few months, and for another, they just didn't have enough.

Jake, for instance, by spending the more or less 25 tons of liquid alloy in his possession, could provide a bracelet to about 50,000 people. Hade, Lucia and a few other members may have accumulated a substantial amount of liquid alloy, but because of the previous orders he had given them, he didn't know if they had time to give their new subordinates a bracelet.

Even if they did, they had another major concern: the lack of available places at the Myrtharian Nerds. By spending 1000B of Aether points to upgrade it, they would only free up another 3200 slots, not nearly enough to accommodate them all.

Without a faction, there was only the Pet or Slave Contract to guarantee that these natives would be sent to B842 after this Ordeal. In fact, Xi had already told him that this was not a guarantee either. There could be significant delays, sometimes numbering in years. Sometimes the Oracle System had its own agenda for these natives.

Fortunately, Lost Divinities had not attacked any civilians or the death toll could have been much more disastrous. Nonetheless, the end result was the same. Jake and his faction were no longer able to harm them and their own plans were compromised.

[Side Mission n°4: Save the people of Laudarkvik from the Purge.]

[Side Mission n°5: Get your revenge against Lost Divinities.]

As he checked the two Side Missions in progress, a woefully chagrined expression appeared on Jake's face. His comrades were not much better off.

"Let's face it." Jake laid it all out on the table. "We can still save the citizens of Laudarkvik from the Purge, but our vendetta against Lost Divinities is over. I propose that we focus our efforts on what can still succeed, rather than on a project that is doomed to fail."

"I agree," Gerulf grunted.

"I agree too." Asfrid calmly agreed.

The other members nodded in turn, but Lucia didn't seem ready to accept her defeat yet.

"Is there really nothing we can do?" She groused, Enya sitting next to her staring at him expectantly.

Seeing the expectant and battle-ready looks on his friends' faces, Jake knew he just had to give the order for them to follow him in a suicide raid. Even though it made him feel good, he couldn't bring himself to give the order.

"Honestly, I don't know." He replied wearily." After that defeat, I suppose you all mulled over what we could have done to prevent all of this from happening. As a leader, it was my responsibility and I didn't stop to think about it either.

"I came to several realizations. We already know that an Oracle Path is a prediction showing us the way through our Shadow Guide to accomplish our goals. An Oracle Rank that is too high or being a Digestor makes us disappear from these predictive calculations and since there is a variable missing the result can only be wrong. When the target of the prediction is directly related to a Digestor or an individual with a higher Oracle Rank than us the calculation fails and the prediction does not take place."

For Aisling, Haynt, Kenway, and the other natives this was totally new and they listened very carefully. For the others, it was an unnecessary reminder and Lucia couldn't help but grumble impatiently.

"What are you getting at?"

"I'm coming to it." Jake clicked his tongue in annoyance. "Based on the principles I just mentioned, I was wondering how our enemies could use the advantage of their higher Oracle Rank to its full potential.

"We already know that if you phrase your wish intelligently, you can use it to find out someone's location or be alerted to their intentions. I want to know how to reach such a person, such a place', 'I want to know how to kill all my enemies as soon as they plan to attack me or harm me' and so on. Based on this logic, it is possible to use the Oracle Device's Guidance feature with nearly infinite flexibility.

"We know that it is also possible to calculate several Oracle Paths simultaneously. The downside is that it is necessary to keep the intent behind these Oracle Paths in mind. In the end, an Oracle Path is not something that can be initiated by writing a wish like a letter to Santa Claus. Therefore, if someone suddenly tries to kill us, our Shadowguide will react in most cases, because our survival instinct prevails. Conversely, it can also cause our death if the desire, anger or greed that motivates us at that moment causes us to forget our self-preservation instinct. For a mother, dying may not be as high a priority as saving her child.

"In an ideal world, an Evolver with an all-powerful mind would be able to perfectly control his desires and emotions, keeping the intent of all wishes unaltered and permanent so that he could monitor the slightest variations of each of his Oracle Paths.

"But in reality, I think it's extremely difficult. Honestly, even if I did nothing but focus on my Oracle Paths, I'd eventually relax my concentration at some point."

The other Myrtharian Nerds frowned and a reflective silence filled the room.

"That... seems very complicated to me too." Asfrid admitted after a moment. "But not impossible. In a faction like Lost Divinities it's not insane to imagine that they have a strategist with a very high Oracle Rank whose sole and exclusive role is this."

Jake nodded and gazed quietly at the Eltarian,

"That's what I think too. I only said all that to point out that they didn't attack us as soon as we started to seek revenge. Their strategist or leader or whatever probably took a while to realize that we were a threat. Because strategically speaking, the Oracle System being deterministic, they could if they wished vow to eradicate as efficiently as possible all their present and future enemies from the first day of the Ordeal. If they had attacked us a few days after our arrival, when we were much weaker and dispersed, we would have been defeated in an instant. In the end, by only attacking now they suffered heavy losses too.

"Now I want to address another key aspect of our defeat. Mine, Hade's, Lucia's or Gerulf's can easily be explained. Our enemies were too strong and their Oracle Ranks higher than ours. But Hephais, for example, was luckier. He was ambushed by a large number of enemies weaker than him. Unless they all had a higher Oracle Rank than him, it should have been impossible. So how did they do it?

"Here is what I think is the most interesting function of the Oracle Rank: Giving orders. With a high Oracle Rank, you disappear from the Oracle Paths of lower ranked Players. You might think that this is limited to the person with the Oracle Rank, but it actually encompasses everything about that person. So if that high-ranking Player orders one of his minions to attack me, that minion will not be computed in my Oracle Paths."

Now everyone could see the problem. According to this logic, Jake was indeed the main reason for their failure.

"In other words, as long as this subordinate follows his superior's orders to the letter, his every action will be tabulated as if he had the same Oracle Rank as the one who gave him his orders. Hade said coldly. "But that raises another question. If someone is ordered to kill me by an enemy with a higher Oracle Rank than mine, is it his intention to kill me that my Oracle Path can no longer factor into its predictions, or does that person become capable of plotting my death without any limitation as if he had the Oracle Rank of his superior?"

"I don't know." Jake shrugged. "But what I do know is that as long as their high-ranking strategist has us in his sights, there's nothing we can do against them. I did notice one interesting thing, though... Before they attacked us all simultaneously, they chose to attack Ruby and Asfrid a few days earlier.

"And Ruby is-"

"A Digestor Trojan!" Hade exclaimed.

Perhaps revenge against Lost Divinities wasn't so hopeless after all.

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