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«The Oracle Paths (Web Novel) - Chapter 1145 Corvac's Deadly Gambit

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Chapter 1145 Corvac's Deadly Gambit

This chapter is updated by Novels.pl

A monstrous quake brutally jolted the ground beneath their feet right after his last word, throwing off their balance. Soldiers from both sides, gathered at the site of the former hill, toppled to the ground one after another with shocked cries, only their superiors and other renowned warriors managing to stay upright.

"An earthquake?" Jake frowned doubtfully, considering this development underwhelming after all the suspense.

Hephais, Lysandra, and Ceythie seemed to share his sentiment as they all projected their mental senses into the ground below, searching for the cause. A serious light passed through their eyes as they sensed the ground beneath them was as perforated as Swiss cheese. Even deeper, they could feel a vast expanse of water…

"An aquifer? No, Lumyst Water!" Ceythie realized, finally understanding what Corvac was planning. All right! The man had guts! As expected from an old, faithless trickster!

Yet, it wasn't the enemy general's risky, double-edged plan that unsettled her, but rather how he managed to hide the existence of all this water. An aquifer covering the entire region of the battlefield and filled with Life Lumyst Water should not have eluded their vigilance.

It was well known that battle zones were thoroughly examined and regularly inspected to avoid any such surprises. To hide his plan, Corvac had to pull out all the stops, sparing no expense.

"If you were as strong as a Saint, you'd have been sitting in the Radiant Conclave long ago," Ceythie acknowledged softly, her face devoid of earlier condescension. The old strategist deserved her respect.

However, after delivering her compliment, she jolted her head with pity. As impressive as it was, such a plan couldn't defeat a Great General like her. Even if the Lumyst Water was pure enough to kill her, she'd still need to be touched by it. Her physical abilities might not match those of a Lifemancer or Light Warrior of equivalent cultivation, but they were more than enough to escape before everything collapsed.

Let alone her, none of the guards and officers accompanying her were in real danger either. The Light Warriors facing them were even athletically superior, also able to escape without issue.

It was rather the small fry who needed to worry. Coincidentally, a large number had been wiped out when the region was reduced to ashes by two consecutive forbidden spells cast by the battalion of opposing Radiant Mages.

The other survivors, still numerous, had managed to retreat quite far but not enough to escape the area covered by the aquifer. The enemy trap had also closed on them, and it seemed they would be the only victims.

Ceythie's reasoning wasn't bad in itself, as even Jake and the others started to think in the same direction.

"Counting the remnants from each army affected by the trap, we have 316,836 soldiers, about 1.6 million beasts, and 7 million enslaved souls on our side, and only 200,000 Light Warriors and about 450,000 beasts for them. The fact that their HQ was the epicenter of the two luminous strikes hit them hard." Jake quickly analyzed in his head before squinting with a gloomy gleam. "If all these people come into contact with the Life Lumyst Water below us, they'll be subjected to as many successive baptisms as the purity of this water allows. With a fixed success probability of 50%, after ten consecutive baptisms, there would only be about 630 units left, against 8,700 for us, assuming the wandering souls controlled by our Soulmancers can receive such a baptism."

[Except it's Life Lumyst Water.] Xi finished his reasoning without being asked. [All Lifemancers have received at least three baptisms, and ordinary Light Warriors at least one. In addition to this, their robust physiques from their Life Lumyst cultivation significantly increase their chances of surviving the initial baptisms, just as your high constitution and vitality allowed you to recover from your wounds in case of failure. Conversely, the Spirit Lumyst cultivation of our men makes them less apt to survive the consequences of a failed baptism, starting one baptism behind. This means that after one baptism, our troops will be practically halved, while the enemy will suffer no losses.]

"And this gap will widen even more if this water is pure enough." Jake's voice trailed off thinking of something even worse. Then, he sighed, "This is even truer for their Lifemancers. With at least three baptisms ahead of our Soulmancers, and a similar starting number in both camps, their number will surpass that of our Soulmancers by a factor of 8 after only ten baptisms. If parity is maintained, they would then need to endure three more baptisms, which would grant them a significant power boost. The impact of each baptism beyond a certain threshold cannot simply be quantified as a mere gain in life force. I can attest to that first-hand.

"If one ignores the absurd number of losses inflicted on his own camp… It's a stroke of genius for a general with his back against the wall." Jake concluded with sovereign calm before scowling again with yet another bad feeling.

Did I miss something? He thought, scanning the water below them again. An Oracle Scan indicated that the purity of the water at the surface was only +14. Higher than expected, but not enough to worry him. After all, he had himself endured 14 Lumyst baptisms. And for both types of water!

Bringing Lumyst water of this quality here in such quantity shouldn't have been easy, which at least revealed to him that this aquifer was not natural but artificial. The lake's edges were indeed strangely smooth, with a metallic reflection suggesting a material specially treated to hold such water…

As for the Nematodes squirming below them and responsible for collapsing the ground, they had long since fled or ended up in the underground lake into which they were trying to drag them.

When, a quarter of a second after the first quake, a barrier similar to the one protecting the hill previously closed over the region, enveloping it like a translucent capsule, Jake's bad feeling only grew.

"This barrier… I can't destroy it in one hit." Jake discerned immediately after investigating it with his Cosmic Eye.

Undoubtedly the work of another artifact or spell. It was hard to see, but the water level was dropping imperceptibly as if it served as fuel to power the gigantic force field.

This meant that Corvac's trap involved everyone, not just the cannon fodder. Once the ground completely collapsed, even the strongest warriors would end up in the water.

Even so, there was still an unknown factor in the equation that troubled him. It was the smug grumble of Lord Phoenix, far from the epicenter, who thought no one was paying attention to him, that gave him the answer:

"Hehe, even if the ground goes, I don't care, I can fly…"

So that's what was bothering me. Jake understood, exchanging a look reflecting the same wariness with Hephais and Lysandra.

If they could fly, then they wouldn't have to fall into the water. So, if their sense of alarm continued to intensify, there was only one possibility: Not only could they not escape this trap, but something even more terrible than the Lumyst Water below awaited them.

[The spiritual impulse of the Oracle Scan struggles to penetrate Life Lumyst Water.] Xi added, without a hint of teasing this time. [If the enemy has planned something to get rid of us, it's in the water.]

VRRRRRRRM!

As Jake and the others wondered what kind of horror awaited them, the water level, which had been dropping faster and faster to support the barrier, suddenly began to swell in the opposite direction, as if something massive was expanding inside, pushing it towards the sky.

Soldiers from both camps, clinging as best they could to the exponentially fracturing ground, sensed the rumble of the earth intensify again, followed by a deafening roar comparable to that of a waterfall pouring directly into their ears.

The next moment, the barely cooled magma exploded like a champagne cork. A geyser of high-purity Life Lumyst Water expanded quickly, filling every corner of the bubble-barrier that had become their tomb in the blink of an eye.

Ceythie, Jake, the other Players, and all the soldiers from both camps were helplessly submerged, swept away without being able to resist the power of the torrents. And as soon as the mystically charged water made contact with their skin or clothes…

The Russian roulette began!

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