Chapter 215

Chapter 215

Days later, the group were on their way out again. They had kept a small portion of the formed monster cores with them, rather than use them all. After all, the map was vague enough that the question of how long it’d take them to find the lost city was a major unknown.

Of course, leaving hadn’t had its issues.

“Seriously, you’re leaving now?” Cassie snarled, when Arthur came back and explained things.

“Sure?” he said, shrugging. “It’s a good technique that will be important for my Clan.”

“And what about our deal?” she waved a hand at the building they were in. “What about this then?”

Arthur’s lips pressed tight before he shook his head. “I won’t miss out. You need a few months to grow stronger anyway, right?”

“How are you going to grow stronger, tramping through the woods?” Cassie said. “If you die, it’s useless.”

“Well, it’ll get you further up, and faster, no?” Arthur said.

She shook her head. “My gains have been marginal so far. If anything, I could have used all the stones we’ve given for myself and been faster.”

“But you couldn’t have passed the last floor without us. Not that fast,” Arthur pointed out. “And you’ll need a group on the sixth too at the very least.”

“You think I can’t hire people?” she sniffed. “You think me and Lam can’t do the rest ourselves?” She gestured over to Rick who was in his corner, cultivating. Not that Arthur expected he wasn’t listening as well. “There’s always people who could be useful.”

“Then you won’t miss out much by staying here,” Arthur said. “If we don’t get back by the time of our deadline, we’ll – I’ll – still come up.”

Again Cassie shook her head. “Don’t bother if you aren’t strong enough either. If you die, then my family will be even more angry. At least, if you come out slow, we still have a Clan.”

He could see she was severely unhappy with him, but the fact stood that they were allies, not subordinates to one another. He had something she wanted, she the same. So long as they moved towards the same goal, they’d stick together.

Of course, if he didn’t manage to make it back in time, it’d be a problem.

Which was why he pushed them as hard as he dared, his team tromping through the woods as best as they could. Uswah ranged out front, the only one with a working movement technique in the Clan. Of course, it wasn’t the only one with a working movement technique in the group.

“Teach me lah. It sounds cool…” Yao Jing continued to pester Rick, chatting away happily.

“No,” Rick replied, for the tenth time.

“I’ll teach you my technique.” Yao Jing flexed his biceps not so subtly. “Makes sure you don’t lose your physique at all.”

So that was how the man had kept his muscles. Without having a set of weights to train against, he had wondered how Yao Jing continued to bulk up. If anything, each time he increased his body, he seemed to have grown even stronger.

“I don’t need a technique to look good,” Rick said, running a hand through his floppy hair and flashing a pearly white grin. “I already am.”

The snort by Yao Jing said a lot of what he thought, but Arthur could not help but acknowledge Rick’s point. The man was good looking. More than one woman had literally stopped to look him over, while they’d wandered around on the second and now, third, floor.

It’d hurt a lesser man’s ego.

“Just remember, not to use those guns. They’re not a lot of fun,” Arthur said, reminding Rick. “We don’t need to draw in more problems.”

“I know, Da!”

“Even if there are concerns.” Arthur hesitated. “Problems. Concerns. Blem. Drum. Dumb. Even if it seems dumb.”

Tak boleh lah, boss.” Jan, behind, shook her head.

“Yeah…” Head bent, Arthur worked that rhyme in his head as he picked his way across the roots. They were in a ‘good’ part of the marsh right now, where the trees were all close together enough that it took only a little hop to cross open water.

So far, they’d been leaning towards speed and ease of travel rather than moving in a straight line, though eventually, they’d have to curve further east to meet their objective. There had been a brief discussion about borrowing or purchasing boats, but not knowing the terrain in-between and when – or how soon – they’d need to discard the flat-bottomed rafts, they’d chosen against it.

By the time nighttime and enough shadows had arrived that the group was forced to wait, they’d covered another good fifteen kilometers or so. A very good amount of distance, considering they were wading through marshlands. It was even in the right direction – mostly.

Of course, the team was mostly dirty and sore by that point. However, the handfuls of crystals from the two swarms of leeches they’d had to deal with and a flock of nasty birds had filled their pourches, which meant that once they had relocated themselves to higher branches where they were marginally safer, it was time for cultivation.

“Remember, minimum six hours sleep people.” Except for him. He and Uswah, thanks to their Yin body’s could likely run on fewer hours sleep; but she was their scout. Asking her to not rest fully and be half-functional seemed like a bad idea to him.

On the other hand, he only needed to plod along and fight. So cutting down to four hours of sleep would be fine enough.

Or at least, that was the plan over the next few days or weeks to get to the lost city. So long as tromping through the marshes required little direct though, he’d power on and try to catch up in the few hours gaps he had to pull energy into him and upgrade his cultivation.

That way, when they finally got the right technique, he would be ready.

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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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