Arthur’s world lurched as he was teleported, the Tower twisting and throwing him through time and space. He fought the disorientation that threatened to empty his stomach, his body feeling no more stable than a leaf in a monsoon, tossed and turned and torn apart by pelting rain.
Still, for all that, it was significantly less painful than the last time he had been teleported to a new floor. He could still remember how helpless he had been, whereas this time, his eyes were open, his grip on his spear still firm. And while he might still throw up, it’d be in the direction of his enemies.
A win, all things considered.
Hard stone beneath his feet—the teleportation platform with all its requisite enchantments—and a slight chill in the air were the first things Arthur noticed. Then, his vision informed him of the lack of trouble. A second later, the teleportation platform did its thing, disappearing from under his feet and leaving him stumbling a little.
A good thing that the teleportation platforms didn’t appear in the same spot all the time. If not, it would be a simple thing for other cultivators to wait for newcomers’ arrival and conduct some leveraged trading—as they did on the first floor.
Unfortunately, Arthur was going to be alone for a little bit, without any idea or clue as to how his friends were doing. There were, however, a few rules about transportation that the Tower generally kept to that were well known.
Firstly, they were all within around five kilometers or so of the mini Tower-built town on each floor. While the number of individuals on the second floor was smaller than the first floor, there was still a need for basic services, from the Tower exchange center to quest registration. And, of course, hotels—which were one of the few truly safe areas.
Secondly, teleportations were only done if individuals were no closer than a few hundred meters from one another. The exact specifications of timing were hard to confirm; it seemed the Tower took into account things like line of sight and hearing, but Arthur knew he was, for the most part, safe from being discovered.
Lastly, teleportations by the Tower could not be tracked. No one thus far had publicly declared they could locate or track individuals being teleported in. Made it difficult to keep groups together, but it also meant that enemies could not wait to ambush an entire group of arrivals all at once.
In another time and place, with more money, simple solutions like signal stones might be used. However, Arthur’s team had nothing that extravagant to wield. As such, they had chosen a much simpler method of gathering: they were to meet in town within three days.
All that was to say: Arthur had two days to rest up and heal if he wanted to. And he had to admit that was definitely high on his want-to list. If nothing else, he needed to get a better idea about this new floor, how it worked, and the energy that coursed through the surroundings.
Of course, being Yin-bodied, his best time to cultivate would be at night. And looking up through the trees—weird ones with broad flat leaves that looked spiky but large branches which made them perfect for climbing—he noted that the sun was two-thirds across the horizon.
No idea, of course, if it was setting or rising. No way to tell until more time had passed.
Another look around, noting the small patch of clear ground he was in. Not enough to be called a clearing, just a space between trees. The trees themselves were mostly the usual mixture of dark brown and black, though a few were paler towards white.
More importantly, this seemed to be a primary growth forest. Not much brush or shrubbery under the trees, what with the thick canopy blocking out the sunlight. It was pretty dark around here, and extending his senses and touching upon the energy around him, Arthur noted that the Yin energy was pretty thick.
Decent enough to spend time cultivating if he wanted.
On the other hand, it would be even better if he could find a monster to slay. Each monster core here was twice as strong as the ones on the first floor. As such, a single monster core here would mean a significant increase to his cultivation speed.
It’d also mean that he could test himself against them.
For a moment, Arthur debated the best course of action. Then hurrying over to a nearby tree, he began the slow process of climbing it, first slinging his spear across his back using one of the straps that was built to hold it.
Up and up he climbed till he reached the thick canopy. He kept going, making sure he was hidden from sight before he carefully unslung his backpack. He strapped it to the tree trunk, which was thinner at this altitude, then paused long enough to listen for monsters and look around for problems. Other than a lizard that he had to smack across the head and send scurrying away, nothing too concerning.
No sign of his friends either, but that was not surprising.
Then, with his spear still attached to the straps over his vest, Arthur began to make his way down.
It was probably the worst idea he’d had in a while. There might be other cultivators hanging around out of sight and possibly looking to rob him. But he needed to know exactly how well he stacked up against the monsters here. And if he was going to embarrass himself in a fight, he’d rather have it happen when he was alone.
Anyway, there was no way the jump between the first floor and second floor was as bad as they said, right?