Chapter 225

Chapter 225

Oblong, green and purple, weighing just over a few pounds, flesh firm. Reminiscent of a large mango, though the curling shape around both ends and a slight spike from the hanging end was a little different. Holding the object in his hands after hours of climbing, Arthur pursed his lips.

“That’s it?” Yao Jing said. “We can go now, ah?” Every once in a while, the man cast a glance down, licking his lips as he stared at the plunge far below. Even if he had not chosen to say anything, it was clear he was still a little nervous at the height they had reached.

“Spotted any others?” Arthur asked the others instead.

Jan who had been peering upwards and all around shook her head. “You got the eyes, right?”

“I do.” He slipped the fruit into the bag and then slung it over his shoulders, tightening the straps. He looked up, scanning the foliage. There. One, two… three. All of them similar to the one he held. So, either this one was already ripe, or they were all not.

When he related the sights and his thoughts, Jan shrugged. “Up? More better, right?”

“Or one is enough.” Yao Jing touched the injuries he’d accumulated, scratching a little at the edges where flesh was beginning to reknit. “Dangerous lah.”

“It is always dangerous though. And Jan’s right. We should get at least one more.” He pointed to the closest one. “Not that far to go. Maybe twenty minutes?”

“Okay lah.” Jan stood up, heading for the next branch without prompting.

Grunting, Yao Jing took to his feet too, following after. Leaving Arthur to lead from the back, keeping an eye for further threats. The wood asps were one thing, but the snakes were another. And finally, that giant spider…

Entirely unnecessary.

While the creatures were dangerous, they were certainly not sufficient a defense to protect the fruits and the end of the quest. They were just speedbumps in the quest, a struggle to make it feel worthwhile. No, the real danger lay below, in the hantu air that had come for them.

He shook his head, dismissed the thought. It was time to focus, to get this job done and get a couple more fruits. Then, back down, rebuild their rafts and float all their way back. At which point, they’d have to start training.

Simple enough.

So long as there were no further complications.




“That’s it?” Arthur said, eyeing the packs they had fished up. A short distance away, Rick had his guns spread out, dried and oiled and rubbed clean. Weird that he felt the need to dry them out that much, since the bodies were mostly plastic. But, he assumed, things like the firing pin and springs were still a concern.

“All we found,” Mel confirmed.

Tengok, eh semua,” Uswah said.

“Or close enough to not matter. So how are we getting across the lake?” Arthur gestured. “I assume you tested that out too?”

“We did,” Mel said. “Nothing attacked us.”

“So we swim?” Yao Jing said, shaking his head. ‘That easy?”

“Easy for you,” Uswah said. “I don’t swim.”

Yao Jing grunted, then looked at the others. “Drag her?”

“On what? A boat?” Arthur shook his head. “Might trigger an attack. Remember, they don’t like us going.”

“No, just behind.” Yao Jing made a motion as though he was cupping something close to his face and then waving his other hand behind. “I can pull her along.”

“You swim well enough for that?” Mel said, surprised.

Boleh lah.

“Then that’s what we’ll do.” Arthur shrugged. “I can switch out with him if necessary.” He glanced at the spears they all carried and sighed. “Bundle those, someone will have to drag them along. It won’t be fun, but we should be able to do it.

“So get some rest. We’ll get moving tomorrow morning.”

Once he got confirmations from his team, he moved to put his back against the wall. He’d have to take his turn on watch soon enough, but for now, he had a pouch full of stones and a lot of cultivating time to catch up on.




Tense, swimming in water where they had nearly died. Discomfort and pain, from wounds he’d accumulated. Unlike the others, he healed the fastest, and spending a short time pouring actual cultivating energy into the healing process allowed him to speed that even further. He’d done so a little, just to deal with some of the biggest injuries; but mostly he had worked on increasing his energy stores.

Now, in the water, his wounds stinging and his lungs and muscles burning as he swam, he cursed himself out. He should have brought himself up to his full fighting potential. Though, if he had to deal with the possessed corpses in the water, he wasn’t sure how much he could do.

Pull, frog kick, pull, frog kick. Step by step, he swam forward. Beneath, he could see the mud and seaweed below along with the corpses that had risen and returned to the ground below. They lay still, unmoving, dead as they should have been.

Unmoving bodies. So many of them.

Where did they come from? Were they climbers? Or just corpses created by the Tower, just like it created monsters. And if it could create corpses, could it create people too? The attendants, the Tower Guards, they were not exactly normal. At least some of them, the ones who weren’t tied to the Tower. And how that happened, who knew. After all, they weren’t saying. At most, they’d mention an oath tying them to secrecy.

So many damn questions. And there was no way for them to get answers, not until they…

Well, who knew.

“Trade?” Jan breathed. Unlike him, , she was amusingly doing the backstroke. Mel, swimming next to her, occasionally had to make Jan adjust her course since otherwise she’d go in the wrong direction. When asked about her choice of stroke, she’d explained that she had never learnt another. At least, not well. And well was what she needed to drag the bundle of spears along.

Treading water, Arthur glanced to the side. Uswah was being dragged along, Yao Jing occasionally cursing her out to stop kicking or moving. Rick swam along beside them all, bringing up the rear. He switched between breaststroke and crawl as necessary, towing along a couple of bags as well.

“I got my own,” Arthur replied. “We all do.”

“It’s. Tiring ah.”

He snorted, but looked down. His breath caught for a moment as he noted movement in one of the corpses below, but after a second he realized that it was just an underwater current pushing her along.

Painful as it might be, exhausting as dragging and swimming across the water was, and tense as it might be. So far, everything was doing fine.

Which made him wonder, when the next boot would fall.

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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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