The Oracle Paths

Chapter 1159 First Step Towards True Will Of Self
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Chapter 1159 First Step Towards True Will Of Self

[Fate Flipper?] Xi beat him to it.

"Cough..." Jake, taken aback, choked as if he'd just swallowed a mosquitoe, gagging on his own saliva.

Far from tiring of their little game, the teasing voice of his favorite Oracle AI seriously continued with,

[Then... Fate Screwer?]

"..."

It pained him to admit it, but it didn't sound half bad.

"I was thinking something like Fate Slayer, but I guess it's pretty much the same thing." Jake gave in with a defeated sigh.

Seeing that he was no longer reacting to her teasing, Xi sighed even more dramatically, then said,

[While I was joking just now, my words weren't entirely without basis. Though the name of this First Form won't impact your psyche as immediately and profoundly as a Soul Class, the intention behind the name can lead to very different Aura manifestations.]

"You mean..."

[That's right. If the First Form names mentioned in jest were Soul Classes, their influence on you, while similar on the surface, would affect you and result in slightly different abilities. When it comes to Soul Classes related to Fate as you understand it, in terms of changing what is supposed to be determined, inevitable, or irreversible, there are a few that come to mind.

[Some may sound like bad jokes, like the two I threw out to tease you, but others can be invoked like Fate Ditcher, which conveys the idea of literally getting rid of an unwanted destiny, or Fate Twister, which aims more at manipulating it. Fate Cheater is another well-known Soul Class for its ability to dodge certain deterministic rules under specific conditions. You devoured an Aurae Stele, so you should be able to feel it easily.]

Jake had to admit there was truth in that statement. After devouring the Aurae Stele at the end of his Fourth Ordeal, Jake was in theory able to summon via Phantasm Artifact another Stele, or to become one himself through Artifact Incarnation.

Unfortunately, like the Aurae Codex, this Aether Artifact was far too advanced, both in terms of grade and technology, for his body to replicate its properties. If he tried, severe physical and mental aftermath leaving him half dead was by far the most optimistic outcome.

Still, if Jake was confident in one thing, it was his resilience and regeneration. Thus, fueled by access to an almost unlimited energy during his year and a half seclusion in the Dungeon Digestor preceding the 5th Ordeal, he had still attempted to embody it.

So to speak...

Even if the experience was brief and the consequences traumatic, it was rich in lessons. The most fundamental point was that each Stele possessed a rich database for detecting and proposing a list of suitable Soul Classes for each Evolver.

The one he had devoured was far from the most efficient model, or Grigori-- The Oracle Overseer running the Divine Academy on Quanoth--would not have so expressly requested a newer model from Aurae immediately after.

The Stele's inability to provide him with a suitable Soul Class before its forced maintenance was also another proof that these artifacts were very dependent on their database, rather than their intrinsic power.

Getting back to the point, by becoming for a fleeting moment a Stele through Artifact Incarnation, Jake had caught a very brief glimpse of this monstrous database. He obviously hadn't had time to read even the first lines, much less decrypt them.

This nevertheless validated Xi's thesis. He had no doubt that all these Soul Classes would be referenced the day he managed to browse this database without imploding.

Although his own attempt to replicate the power of the Stele ended in a resounding failure, it had nevertheless prompted Xi back then to consult the Oracle System Archives at his request. That's why Jake knew with certainty that she wasn't pulling these Soul Class names out of a hat despite the current dysfunction of the Oracle System.

[On a more serious note,] Xi continued as if nothing had happened, [Fate Slayer, the first form you came up with on your own, or others like Fate Defier, Fate Breaker, Fate Reverser, or Fate Remaker are all very powerful and sought-

after soul classes.]

"They indeed sound pretty powerful…" Jake conceded graciously.

[They are.] Xi confirmed. [All Soul Classes directly touching Fate are at least Rank 7. Those who develop this kind of intent are often formidable because a person wanting above all to claim their destiny is a person realizing their True Self. In simple words, it's one of the shortest paths to True Will of Self, the only True Will enabling you to mobilize the entirety of your Soul Strength. If you could do it, your actual combat strength would be at least a hundredfold. Imagine for those old monsters who have lived for billions of years.]

"Sounds pretty good…" Jake nodded passively once more. "Should I infer that having a bloodline allowing one to affect their destiny or that of others is the royal road to the top?"

It bugged him a bit. His jack-of-all-trades bloodline was indeed overpowered, but to his great regret, a concept as abstract as Destiny wasn't part of it. His only entry point into this domain was his immense luck taken from Beskyrian genes.

[That's not too bad. All roads lead to Rome.] Xi reassured him, before awkwardly correcting, [At least, when it still existed, but you get the idea… If an Evolver survives long enough to become all-powerful, what seemed impossible and distant before will become as simple as snapping your fingers. Bloodlines, Soul Classes, Cultivation Techniques, Artifacts, Authority… they are just more or less convoluted paths leading to the same finish line. Some of these paths may be considered shortcuts, while others may seem strewn with obstacles and handicaps or even lead in the wrong direction, but if you persevere and survive to the end, you will eventually reach your destination.]

Jake didn't rush to contradict her, but inwardly he was far from convinced. If he hadn't obtained his Myrtharian Bloodline and chosen to stay human, he would never have performed as well during his subsequent Ordeals. Most likely, he'd be a cold corpse by now.

Likewise for his Soul Class. Refusing to choose one would have deprived him of a significant and free power-up.

Therefore, contrary to Xi's idealism, his common sense whispered to him a much more down-to-earth and disappointing reality: Clinging to his humanity and principles didn't pay off.

To become stronger, Jake intended to continue seizing every opportunity presented to him, even if they involved distancing him further from his humanity or admitting that he hadn't made it on his own.

Nonetheless, when he had the opportunity to make his own decisions for once, he certainly shouldn't deprive himself. The choice of this First Form was fully up to him, because the Intent chosen definitely came from him and not from the obscure database of any Stele.

"Then Fate Slayer it is." Jake reconfirmed out loud. "Whether a Soul Class of the same name exists or not is irrelevant. What matters is that this Intent exists within me and reflects my will to destroy anything that stands in the way of my freedom, my ambition, and my happiness. I differentiate it from mere Killing Intent in that it only manifests when I feel my life and my ideal future threatened. It's actually an amalgamation of different True Wills, including True Will of Killing, which will be mobilized together when this condition is met."

[A Killing Aura for your first form wouldn't have been more practical?] Xi questioned, though she understood him better than anyone.

"A tangible Killing Aura that I can manifest at any moment is obviously more practical." Jake acknowledged right away. "But, I don't need a bazooka to kill ants. Conversely, the day an invincible enemy stands before me, I want to be able to put a nuclear warhead in their face, even if it kills me. That's what this Fate Slayer Aura will allow me to do by enabling me to mobilize a large amount of Soul Power against an enemy far surpassing me."

[I see where you're going with this. It's an excellent compromise." His Oracle AI finally approved. "Such an Intent indeed doesn't need to dabble into fate, karma, or divination to exist. It's just an amplified Killing Intent with a reduced scope of action. At least for now.]

Now it was time to get to work.

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