The Oracle Paths - Chapter 980

Published at 20th of November 2023 02:34:40 PM

Chapter 980: Chapter 980 Look At Yourselves

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Chapter 980 Look At Yourselves

Earlier, on Lucia and Ulfar's team.

"Humph, can't say we're finding our way any easier since we've split up," Syrbarun declared, his tone thick with pessimism.

"Oh, do shut up, Syr," Siri rebuked curtly. "And instead of grumbling, how about helping us find a solution?"

"... The Vrusug responded, a picture of contrition, like a child caught in the midst of a naughty act.

"What worries me is the fact that no Digestors have attacked us yet," Lucia commented, idly swirling her sword as if to alleviate her boredom.

Speak of the devil, Ulfar halted abruptly, catching his comrades off-guard. Syrbarun, inattentive, bumped his head against Ulfar's back.

"Ouch... What's up, bro?" The minotaur grimaced, examining the horn that had taken the impact.

With a flabbergasted look, Ulfar turned to him before casting a displeased glance at the offending horn. 'Should be me asking that. Without my armor, I'd have been skewered...'

"What's going on, Ulfar?" Lucia asked, snapping the King of Beskyr out of his bemusement.

"I have a bad feeling about this direction. Only ill fortune awaits us there."

Siri and Syrbarun were skeptical of his confident assertion, but Lucia knew him well enough to heed Ulfar's intuition.

"Then, which path should we take?" She inquired earnestly.

Ulfar forced a wry smile and apologized, "That's the problem... No direction seems promising. It's as if a vice of misfortune has magically closed around us. Right here seems the safest."

Lucia and the others quickly scanned their surroundings and realized they were at a junction connecting eight different corridors.

By all logic, this was the most indefensible position during an attack, obliging them to guard eight directions instead of two. So why did Ulfar's instincts dictate that they stay in this vulnerable location?

Lucia pondered for a moment, her calm demeanor shifting to something more solemn as she comprehended the peculiarities of their location.

From one perspective, this place was a nightmare to defend, but on the flip side, each additional corridor offered another route of escape. Considering this, Lucia swiftly assessed Ulfar's position in relation to the entrances and deduced their likely escape route.

Simultaneously, she concluded that their chance to flee wouldn't be so easily grasped, considering Ulfar hadn't immediately retreated.

If they were attacked, they'd be swarmed from all directions.

"Brace yourselves for battle!" Lucia cried out, materializing a golden shield on her free arm.

Ulfar had already summoned his Fate Bow and nocked a handful of arrows. But being in a confined space, he couldn't use his explosive projectiles this time.

Syrbarun began to panic as the atmosphere abruptly changed. The ceiling tiles of the intersecting corridors began to drum loudly, as if trampled by heavy footsteps.

Seeing the steel ceiling deform with each step of whatever moved within, the minotaur started sweating profusely. Siri slapped his thick, bull- headed skull and scolded, "Stop freaking out and suit up. You're supposed to be a mech suit expert. Prove it!"

Shaken from his paralyzed state, Syrbarun hastily thanked the android and summoned his Iron Man-like armor with a thought.

"Pretty cool," Ulfar muttered enviously. He made a mental note for his next shopping spree on the Oracle Store.


Their enemies didn't grant them further time for armor admiration. Choosing that moment to collapse the ceiling above them, a torrent of grotesque, skinless creatures descended upon them.

"Damn! They're clever!" Lucia cursed, reflexively hoisting her shield overhead as if an umbrella against the downpour of beasts, her sword moving even faster to cleave two monsters in twain.

A shower of silvery blood splattered across her shield, coursing along the edges without marring the rest of her armor. Despite this, a few stray droplets eventually found their mark, speckling her as she spun and landed a kick squarely in the face of a particularly audacious Digestor.

"And they're quick!" Ulfar bellowed in frustration, thwarting two Sinewshades with the shaft of his bow, their drool-covered fangs snapping shut against it.

The venomous slobber soaking his bowstring released a corrosive smoke on contact with his gauntlet, compelling the King of Beskyr to retract his bow and summon his trusty sword, Death Embrace, instead.

In a heartbeat, Lucia and Ulfar's blades danced hundreds of times, shredding any Digestor daring enough to take them as prey. Surmounting their initial shock, Syrbarun and Siri proved equally potent, opening fire relentlessly on the monsters swarming from every corridor.

Siri even conjured a monstrous plasma Gatling gun, a cumbersome three-meter-long firearm that deafened the surroundings with its discharge-six thousand white plasma rounds per second. She quickly manifested a second, managing to single-handedly defend the entrance to two corridors.

Determined not to be outdone, with his test score at stake, Syrbarun gritted his teeth and activated his mech suit's auto-targeting laser cannons. His efficacy paled in comparison to Siri's, but each blast was a deadly headshot.

The drawback, however, was that his blaster shots were barely enough to pierce the creatures' skulls. At best, he managed to scorch their forehead flesh and occasionally blind them.

Realizing that targeting their eyes was far more effective, he recalibrated his aim and redoubled his efforts.

The battle felt interminable, but eventually the stream of foes dwindled, allowing them a moment's respite. Wiping sweat and blood from her brow, Lucia tossed her shield aside and exhaled a relieved sigh.

"Phew! That was intense. I take back what I said. I'd prefer we continue our peaceful hike rather than cross swords with these hideous things again."

"I concur..." Siri agreed impassively, noting the amount of ammunition wasted in the brief skirmish. She dreaded to think how her finances would suffer if they endured two or three more such encounters.

"Is everyone alright?" Ulfar asked sternly, inspecting everyone's condition, Lucia included. It was unusual for him to be so serious.

"What's going on?" Lucia questioned.

Instead of responding immediately, he took a step back, particularly from Lucia, and with a solemn look said, "Look at yourselves, and then at me. Notice anything?"

When he pointed it out, their expressions shifted, especially Lucia's. She was the only one not wearing a helmet or gloves.

"Holy shit! Why are we all covered in blood and guts except for you? Were you hiding somewhere while we fought or what?" Syrbarun snarled playfully.

Of course, he was joking. Everyone had seen that the fortunate warrior had felled at least a third of the enemies. Though less than Lucia, who had eliminated more than half single-handedly.

Knowing Ulfar well, the Myrmidian princess caught on,

"Is that why you were taking so long to kill them? Dodging so as not to get splashed by their fluids? Your instincts whispering warnings again?"

"I'm afraid so." The King of Beskyr conceded, a regretful expression on his face. "I didn't realize it in the heat of the moment, but I'm certain there's something wrong with these fluids. Even the air around us feels off. It was only after equipping my helmet and activating its internal breathing system that my discomfort lessened a bit.

"Check your Oracle Status." Siri urged coldly.

Seeing that her companions kept their distance as if she were contagious, Lucia huffed in annoyance but complied. With apprehension, she checked her status, sighing in relief,

"Told you. Everything is fine. Business as usual."

"Are you sure?" Ulfar frowned. "May I take a look?"

Lucia felt slighted that her longtime friend doubted her word, but she understood his

reasons. "Be my guest..." She grumbled, sending him her

latest status.

After scrutinizing it, the warrior admitted, a look of evident confusion on his face, "Everything seems... okay."

"Should we then continue our exploration?" Siri suggested calmly.

Syrbarun wasn't too keen, but neither did he want to abandon the test. They then turned to Ulfar, their risk assessor, to gauge his opinion.

Ulfar longed to tell them that danger had been averted, that they could press on with their exploration without concern, but his countenance betrayed only grim resolve.

"I fear you're all a touch too sanguine," he intoned ominously. "It's not over yet."

As if to underscore his words, the twisted steel plates of the eight corridors resumed their unsettling groaning. Almost immediately after, the ground beneath their feet, even the walls themselves, started to shudder in an eerie cadence, heralding the arrival of a horde of beasts far grander than the last.

Just when it seemed the circumstances could hardly grow worse, terrifying Aetheric auras burst forth from the depths of each corridor, a chilling reminder of their precarious position. The Digestors were but toying with them, much like a cat amused by a cornered mouse.

Their battle to the death against the Sinewshades was just beginning.


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