Chapter 194

Chapter 194

Arthur stabbed and cut amidst the press of fur and claws and even weapons. The orang minyak swung simple tools and weapons that, rudimentary as they were, could deal significant damage if he missed a dodge or block.

Then he had to fall back, and now he realised why armies used the same weapons, fought the same way all the time. His greater reach with a spear meant he could ward off more blows, retreat more slowly.

Yao Jing was a grappler; he fought with fists and arms. His legs, too, when needed. In a scrum, he was tough, stronger than any individual Arthur had met, and well trained. On the other hand, when they were being swarmed by orang minyak here and his job was to hold them back while retreating slowly?

He failed. Against a group, he could do little but duck and weave and punch whatever came close enough. His projected chi fist exploded into the fray once in a while, but he could only use the technique so many times.

For the first dozen feet, they were on the backfoot, almost backpedalling constantly. More than once, having to retreat so fast, Arthur and Yao Jing nearly tripped and fell. Only the sudden intervention of Rick’s bullet or Uswah’s grasping shadow tentacle managed to keep their line from collapsing entirely.

Teetering on failure, sweat flying, breath exploding with each exhale.

Chaos reigned, until—like a breath of fresh air—the rest of the team arrived. Yao Jing fell back, allowed to take a backline effort. He kept in check monsters that tried to flank them. Jan did the same on the other side of the team as the others took to the front line.

Only Rick stayed behind, his weapons barking. Until they stopped.


Arthur nearly froze before he pushed the surprise aside. Additional energy from his core flooded into his body, Heavenly Sage’s Mischief taking full effect to empower his strikes. He swung hard and fast, battering monsters back with each swing of the spear, its tip glistening with blood.

The rest of the team unleashed their own techniques. Mel’s halberd grew in size and sharpness, the weapon still light as a feather as it struck monsters with greater lethality. Lam’s technique was only a little less showy, causing him to speed up until he was a blur. Casey empowered the crescent blades of energy she projected from her sword, cutting into monsters one after the other.

Yao Jing’s body gained a sheen, like it was covered by energy as hard as stone, and the man waded deeper into the fight, caring less about getting struck now. He punched monsters with attacks empowered by a small explosion of chi and sound, blasting them back.

Jan’s technique was similar to Lam’s; speed-based cultivation techniques were, after all, quite popular. Arthur had one too, though his focused on whole-body improvement rather than pure speed like Jan’s and Lam’s. Still, when you had enchanted weapons in play, strength was often less important than speed. The curved, guardless blades of Jan’s twin parangs sliced easily into the monsters.

But the team could not keep such a pace forever. If nothing else, their stamina and energy would bottom out soon enough. But for a short period, whilst their companion reloaded, it was a non-issue. In an explosion of gore, they even managed to push all the monsters back, and the orang minyak seemed surprised by the burst of ferocity.


The roar of bullets punctuated the words moments later. The pistols fired slow, though, Rick taking care to pick his shots with the team being so close to their enemies. He took care to attack only when he had a clear shot.

With the added weight of Rick’s firepower, the tide of the battle shifted in their favour finally. The seemingly never-ending numbers decreased, and it looked like the last of the creatures had come out of the village now. Some ran around Arthur’s team, hoping to catch them on the sides. But with many orang minyak still on the front line, it was a secondary concern. Uswah picked them off anyway, grabbing them with shadowy tendrils, and a bullet would inevitably find them.

To Arthur’s surprise, their planned fallback position was not required. They had been pushed nearly to the edge of the clearing they had prepared, but they’d been able to hold their current position. The creatures could split up, but none of them wanted to stay out of the fight too long. Whether it was instinct or base aggression, they chose to come in close as fast as they could rather than take their time. It was perhaps the right choice, for if they traveled too far, Rick and his bullets would find them.

As energy ran out of Arthur’s empowered body, he began retreating again. He was the first to do so, and the others followed soon after. All but Yao Jing, who was gripping one of the creatures by the head and dragging it along as he retreated, throwing uppercuts one after the other as he did so. His slow retreat allowed him to be assailed by a small mob of orang minyak. But he refused to let go, and was blood streaming down his side.

“Idiot!” Arthur snarled. Of course, he was too far away to do anything about it, so he had no choice but to wait, stabbing listlessly with his spear to keep monsters off him.

Then, just as things were stabilizing, a roar rose from the compound. Eyes swivelled and even the monsters fell back a little.

An orang minyak twice the size of these ones stalked out of the village, a massive sledgehammer in hand.

“Oh hell,” Arthur swore. “Of course I was right.”

Good thing they had a backup plan.

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Climbing the Ranks is a LitRPG cultivation novel by Tao Wong that publishes serially on Starlit Publishing. While the whole novel will be free to read, you can purchase a membership to receive chapters weeks in advance of the public release.

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