The Oracle Paths Chapter 240
237 The Two Sisters Bond
While Jake embarked on a long and vengeful hunt against any sea creatures or birds that had caused his death at least once, the Ordeal kept proceeding for the rest of the participants.
Those who had not been able to reach shore had long since given up and those who were able to had long since begun the second or third trial of the Sanctuary Bubble. Those like Jake who were able to persist this long despite the many failures were extremely rare, but on the scale of 11 million Players, there were still quite a few.
Among them were two pink-haired young women in their twenties who had finally made it to the beach after countless efforts. Their bodies were absolutely gorgeous and most of the men would have had a hard time controlling themselves in their presence, but right now they looked like they were at the end of their rope.
Their faces were emaciated, their eyes hollow and absent, while their once perfect bodies were covered with numerous wounds and bites. Although the body was brought back to its original state with each new attempt, it was still emaciated and skeletal, as if they had spent not just a few minutes at sea, but several weeks.
Knowing the personalities of the two sisters, Jake assumed that they would have given up long ago, but he had underestimated the bond between the siblings.
The first event being individual, Enya and Esya had been forcibly separated by being sent to two different areas of the island and it was the first time they had endured such a separation since birth. Even in their home world, they never left their castle and had never been more than a kilometer away from each other. This separation was therefore a trauma for which they were not prepared.
In the absence of their parents, they could only rely on themselves and the siblings were extremely dependent on each other. By being separated in this way, like Jake, they were devoured in atrocious conditions, adding greatly to their initial panic.
And yet, where Kyle had immediately broken down, they had stood their ground. Even though they had grown up with a gold spoon in their mouth and were rather timid in the face of physical exertion and hardship, it was impossible for them to abandon their only sister.
Even though Enya was terrified and wanted to give up more than anything, there was still the slim possibility that her little sister Esya would persist to the end and reach the shore. If that happened, not to mention the shame that would ensue when they were reunited, it would also mean that she had failed her as an older sister.
Esya didn't have the same burden on her shoulders, but neither did she want to abandon her older sister on this island. Therefore, even though they had to shed all the tears of their bodies countless times in terror and despair, they held firm.
Because they had exactly the same abilities, the only solution they had found to reach the shore was naturally the same.
The two sisters were not good fighters and their physical constitution was nothing special, not to mention the fact that they were women with a small body and a height of about 155 cm, which was also nothing special among women.
Without considering the Aether stats, their Body stats were probably four to five times lower than Jake's in strength, agility, constitution and vitality. This was a biological limit that was impossible to overcome without an incredible Aether advantage or a high grade Bloodline.
So their only resort was the only Aether Spell they had in their arsenal: Fireball lvl0.
A few days earlier, their Fireball was really pathetic and laughable, no more than the size of a tennis ball, mediocre heat, and low attack range. A normal adult human could survive such an attack if the face wasn't hit with a few serious burns, not to mention all those sea monsters.
Fortunately, the Sanctuary Bubble was fair. No megalodons, mosasaurus or giant vulture pterodactyl eager to eat them. There were sharks yes, dolphins, jellyfish and birds of prey, but their size and looks were far less grotesque, as was their ferocity and relentlessness.
Put in perspective, it was a challenge that was still extremely arduous, almost impossible for them to overcome, but compared to the one Jake was enduring it was as simple as swimming in one's own bathtub.
Unlike Jake, who was unable to concentrate during his first attempts, the Aether Spell they mastered did not require any special mental effort. It was an instinctive spell instilled by the Oracle System in their Aetheric Code and all they had to do was wish to cast the spell by opening their hands for the fireball to be generated.
Even in water, the fireball would still eventually form, boiling the water and producing a significant amount of steam. Alas, as soon as it was thrown at the enemy, the fireball would extinguish immediately as soon as contact with the power source powering it was cut off.
The two sisters had therefore slowly progressed towards the shore with a fireball in their hands at all times and this had initially been effective in discouraging the smaller and more wary fish and predators.
However, there was no way that this first trial could be so simple. Some of the energy that powered their fireballs came from the bodies of the two young women. It was a safety measure put in place so that they could still defend themselves if they had to face a mage with perfect control of the Aether around him.
A greater Spirit Body could expand to form a spiritual realm around it with the effect of suppressing the Aetheric abilities of the inferior Evolvers. In such critical circumstances, an alternative energy source was absolutely necessary and it could only be their own body.
Because their Fireball lvl0 was of the lowest level, the possibilities in terms of control and modulation when creating the fireball were virtually non-existent. Jake had shown them that it was possible to influence the diameter, temperature and throwing force of the spell with good aether control, but this did not solve this fundamental constraint. Not at their level.
After having received their share of the sale of the Rank 7 Digestor corpse, they had been able to maximize their Aether Intelligence, Perception and Extrasensory Perception, which had completely changed their destiny. They now had the potential to perform the same Aether manipulation as Jake, but their training had not been long enough.
To become so proficient with his Aether control, Jake had tried for a long time to train his Aether Core without success, which was a great way to temper his mind and Spirit Body. With the assimilation of his Myrtharian Bloodline, his Spirit Body was even three times stronger than normal and it was a level that they could not reach in a short time.
In other words, because their intellect and mind was also nerfed on their first attempts, the two sisters had been devoured without being able to do anything about it. Every time their bodies reached their stamina threshold, the fireball would burn out and all the predators lurking around them would come at them and swallow them whole.
After about a dozen deaths, which had left them distraught with despair, and victim of a potentially incurable post-traumatic stress disorder, the two sisters had begun to feel the first changes.
Each revival, by bringing them back to the initial moment, would repair the psychological damage done to their minds, notably by gently soothing their minds. Emotions such as fear relied heavily on certain hormones and neurotransmitters such as adrenaline, noradrenaline, cortisol and glutamate. Since the body was reset, so was the brain. Only their Proto-Soul or Soul retained the memory and horror of the traumas they had endured.
The psychological after-effects of a past trauma, such as PTSD or chronic depression, had multiple causes, but they often stemmed from the perception of the causal event.
For example, one could become depressed after the death of a loved one to the point where one would not be able to enjoy life for years afterwards, but for this one had to feel sadness. If the event did not generate any tangible emotion in the brain, or at least that it was quickly neutralized, they would ultimately remain as a neutral memory. One might remember that it was a sad event, that one didn't want to relive it, even draw lessons from it, but the chemistry of our brain and future personality would no longer be adversely affected by it.
This meant that this first trial was not as terrible and sadistic as the first deaths had led them to believe. After the shock of the first deaths, anyone could experience the changes in their psyche.
The deaths were still as painful and frightening as ever, but the more time passed, the less they impacted them. The most primal phobias, such as the fear of water, of being eaten, of darkness or of drowning, were purged one by one, until a clear and serene mental state was left, difficult to influence.
An ounce of energy would also nourish their spirit, slightly increasing their Aether of Intelligence, Perception and Extrasensory Perception and solidifying their Spirit Body. Although the two sisters did not possess the Self-Encoding of the Myrtharian Bloodline, nor the same aptitude to grow faster by surmounting challenges, the benefits of these resurrections were far from negligible.
Thus, after many attempts, their Aether control eventually improved enough for their Fireball to become capable of blasting any sea predators in sight. Sharks ? Blast! Jellyfish ? Blast! Any creatures in sight? Blast! They blasted everything in their way.
Enya and Esya thus managed to reach the shore in this slimmed down physical state. Cast all those fireballs had used the fats, sugars and proteins of their bodies as fuel, but they had held on.
Their faces may have been emaciated and their glassy eyes the shadow of themselves, but they had triumphed! They were no longer the same carefree young women and a new wild nature had awakened in them. They were now true Players and they were ready to play this game for real!
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