The Oracle Paths
Chapter 734: Pathetic

'Crap!" Jake grimaced with a regretful expression as he arrived too late in front of a hole-ridden young woman. The powerful radiation emitted from those spikes was charring the surrounding tissue at a frightening rate.

How could Carmin have been so careless that she forgot the most elementary principles of precaution? He could only blame himself for overestimating her maturity.

Then he froze, even carefully drawing his saber as he backpedaled.

Had Jake really overestimated her? That wasn't the point. It didn't matter if he overestimated her or not, because he wasn't relying on his judgment alone to make his plans.

His Shadow Guide hadn't moved all along. That Wyatt didn't want to be found was one thing he could accept, but that his Shadow Guide remained unmoved in the face of a Carmine in mortal danger? Even if he were a hundred times dumber he would have realized something was wrong.

"Who are you?" Jake deactivated the Stealth Spells cast upon them and in the process immediately followed up by drawing a plasma rune with his fingers that formed in the air the injunction "Reveal your true nature."

The plasma words shot through space at near teleportation speed, instantly branding Carmin's left breast, the only part of her body still relatively intact. As soon as the Words of Power imprinted themselves on her milky-white skin, Jake felt an unpleasant tug on his mind, a sign that his mental strength was being drained rapidly.

At that moment, the young woman's battered appearance underwent a drastic change. From a gorgeous beauty with long silky hair and a sexy body, her curves flattened, then her waist narrowed to take the form of a slimy mass that looked like human flesh dissolved in acid. Then the mass reformed, taking on the guise of an entirely different being. Wyatt, then Aisling, followed by Elduin and Bhammod.

"Wyatt?" Jake frowned, but after scanning the jars with his Oracle Device he relaxed, "No, you're an imposter."

When he confirmed that the monster in front of him was neither Carmin nor Wyatt, Jake's attitude changed dramatically. His previously tolerant and accommodating demeanor instantly turned icy and hostile, any sense of mercy nipped in the bud.

"Shifter, I don't care who you are or who you work for." Jake threatened, snarling ominously with an oppressive killing intent. He had rarely been this angry. "Tell me what happened to Carmin and the others and I promise to leave your corpse whole. Otherwise, I promise you that the fate inflicted on the prisoners of these catacombs will seem quite kind in comparison to the fate I have in store for you.

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"Ghehehehe!"

In response to his attempt at intimidation, the monster burst out laughing.

"For a Player, you sure are arrogant." A nasal, discordant voice like an out-of-tune guitar echoed through the cell, Jake's facial muscles twitching uncontrollably as he heard the horrible sound. "All those foolish, naive Players... I had a blast torturing and manipulating them. Bringing them to their doom without them even realizing they were being led around by the nose, isn't that the most intoxicating of joys?"

Jake grew grim as he listened to the shapeshifting Player gleefully brag about his exploits. Jake may have made a mistake in following Carmin here, though it wasn't really his fault, but in his opinion this Player had also made an unforgivable mistake in trying to trap him here.

Noticing the growing hostility in Jake's eyes, the shifter abruptly stopped telling how he had loved cutting Carmin and his other comrades to pieces, reveling in their screams of agony. A more solemn and grave expression appeared on his blurred face.

This face was definitely not the face of someone resigned to die.

"Hmmph, your arrogance is even worse than I imagined." The shapeshifter sneered as he took on Wyatt's appearance and wrapped himself in a Blood Energy shield. "I am a Player, not a native. My Oracle Rank is higher than yours. To trap you like this, I obviously took the necessary precautions. Guards!"

In the blink of an eye, dozens of life-signatures popped up around him, popping up from inside the nearby cells, smashing the doors holding them captive with a kick. At a glance, Jake counted 41 enemies, half of them hooded Players. At the far end, he recognized a certain android Lich he thought he had killed.

"So it was you." Jake commented apathetically. "He had already considered the possibility from the moment he discovered the lich was a droid.

Vhoskaud remained silent as he sensed his disdain. Communicating with a cornered prey was not worth it. Conversely, one of the native Vampires with an emaciated face and oily black hair falling to his shoulders took the opportunity to introduce himself.

"I am Remus Dracul, current leader of the Dracul clan and Aisling's uncle." He stated quietly, glaring at him with deep condescension. "You certainly have a lot of questions, but unfortunately I don't intend to answer them. Your only mistake is that you chose the wrong side."

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Waving his hand as if swatting away a fly, he ordered in an authoritative tone,

"Kill him."

"Alive! I want him alive!" Vhoskaud suddenly shrieked in his robotic voice.

The middle-aged Vampire's face turned ugly, but he immediately pulled himself together, showing his abundant experience and self-control.

"Do as Vhoskaud says... Lich, you will owe me a favor." Remus stated coldly.

"Sure... What about another Schwazen specimen?"

A delighted smile stretched Remus' face.

"Deal."

Seeing them negotiate as if he didn't exist the rage rumbling in Jake's heart exploded with a bang.

"It seems you're treating me like I'm already in your hands." He scoffed in a chilling voice, the temperature in the dungeon suddenly dropping several degrees. "Let me prove to you how wrong you are!"

"Fool!" Vhoskaud sneered, but his body went rigid as if he had just lost a bolt upon witnessing the scene that unfolded next.

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A Dracul elder was the first to arrive on Jake. His hand, wide open, fingers outstretched and slightly splayed, claws forward, ruthlessly swept toward his throat, almost becoming a blur due to its sheer speed. Simultaneously, two other Noble Vampires almost as old snared him from behind, one on each side, their fangs digging into either side of his neck.

"Pathetic." Jake uttered only a word filled with contempt, his voice devoid of fear.

What followed proved him right. The claws of the first one broke against the Silver Stone Skin covering his heart, the fangs of the other two held on but failed to pierce his flesh. Impassive, Jake grabbed the first one's wrist, locking him in place, then his galactic eyes emitted an intense light, causing an internal cataclysm of unprecedented proportions.

Jake's attractive body, which was currently only a modest 1m90, suddenly began to swell, his height quickly exceeding four meters, then five meters before stabilizing at just under 5m20. A network of glowing veins, brighter and more fiery than ever, ran through his skin as his hair and eyes turned into a silvery-gold mass covered in a blazing halo of heat.

The Vampire Jake had grabbed by the wrist hung limply in front of his face, his crushed arm looking like a badly wrung out wet rag. The two Vampires trying to bite his neck let out a shrill howl and their jaws exploded, irreversibly shattered by the shockwave as Jake cracked his neck.

Yawning with his free hand, Jake tossed the Vampire whose arm he had grabbed like a dirty sock, while with a double headbutt he knocked out the other two Vampires hanging around his neck.

The three Dracul elders were thrown like cannonballs in opposite directions, their condition unknown.

Before the other Vampires could react, a burst of ultraviolet light flashed from his body, instantly charring all the Vampires present. Those with any semblance of instinct managed to duck into one of the nearby cells just in time to avoid the deadly sunburn.

As the Vampires panicked, Jake quickly teleported behind the Metamorph Player impersonating Wyatt, then casually vaporized him by shoving his Aether Sun Core into his face.

"What-How is this possible?" The other Vampires were completely in shock.

Even Remus, who had been wearing a relaxed expression until then, turned livid at this absurd display of power. Suddenly, his disbelief was replaced by irrepressible anger. Turning to the Lich beside him, he shouted hatefully,

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"Vhoskaud... What the fuck is going on here? Depending on your answer, you will not leave this dungeon alive."

The Lich android harrumphed weakly, but inwardly he was totally stunned. How had this Player become so powerful in such a short time? He had lost to him, sure, but he was confident that he had perfectly figured out his limits. To make such an error in judgment... For him it was a first.

"It doesn't change our plan. On the contrary, the stronger he is, the more he deserves to become one of my guinea pigs. I want him alive, whatever it takes."

The Oracle Paths Chapter 734: Pathetic
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