Chapter 233

Chapter 233

Spitting to the side, Arthur groaned as tired muscles ached as he cut open the next leech. The problem with being successful at killing a horde of these creatures was that you had cleanup afterwards. Unlike video games where you just had to click once and all the gold would appear or fly through the air into your pockets, in real life, in the Tower; you had to do the hard work yourself. No helpful loading bars, but hands dripping with gore.

He sighed, slipping the shard into the pouch hanging open by his side. It was pretty filled and Arthur hesitated as he wiped his hand against the root. After a moment, he sighed and shut the pouch, pulling the draw strings closed. He slipped the pouch further in, making sure it was tightened and then pulled a second one, intent on putting on his belt.

“Will you look at this…!” High and bright, female too.

The voice caught Arthur by surprise, forcing him to turn and stare. He scooped up his spear at the same time, angling it in the direction of the noise.

“Wah! So many ah!” Deeper. This time, Arthur saw them, a new group skimming across the ground from the direction of the administrative building.

“Watch for the harimau!” older this time, wary and tired. Big, muscular but not ripped like a bodyguard.

Arthur could not help but scan the surroundings again. He’d been watching, but hadn’t caught sight of the animal. No surprise, at least to him. They were more daylight creatures than nocturnal ones, though they slept so often you never know.

“What’s that?” A slight pause, then carefully. “Who is it?”

Arthur’s mind spun and his answer came without much thought, especially since one of them was raising what looked like a bow in his direction. Hard to tell in the dark and the camouflage paint on it and them. “The person who killed all these leeches.”

“Shiiiit,” the original high and bright voice said, the woman gesturing for her friends. She shifted to the side, leaving only the biggest one of them to come straight on as she and her other companion moved to flank him. “Impressive.”

“Yes. It was,” Arthur said, eyeing the way they were moving. One was skimming over the water, literally gliding along like it was a plane of glass. The girl was using something more traditional, a wind step variant where she kicked off the water as she stepped forward. And the third, well, he just waded forwards, the water itself seeming to part before him without care. “And who are you?”

“Just climbers. Out hunting, like you.”

Arthur eyes narrowed in surprise. Her voice, so high and bright… it still seemed to be coming straight on. In the gloom for most people, with motion in front of him, and their ability to hide, he might not have noticed the change. He had to admit, he was curious if it was just plain ventroquilism or a technique.

“Okay, well, hunt somewhere else.” Arthur gestured to the side, as he kept his gaze fixed on the man in front, allowing his peripheral vision to take in the others. The bow man had stopped, content with the angle he had on him.

That was the most dangerous.

The thought triggered his own preparations as he began to form a Refined Exploding Energy Dart in his hand. It was a little overkill if he managed to hit, but the noise and surprise might be sufficient to throw the others off.

“Oy! Sangat rude lah. We just want to talk!”

“I don’t. So move on. Or I’ll consider you hostile.”

Arthur bent lower, splitting his attention a little as he began the process of channeling the Seven Cloud Step technique. Splitting it would be difficult, and he wasn’t ready to do it properly, but the Refined Exploding Energy Dart was ready in his hand, held just under his skin, the energy pulsing within. Of course, it wouldn’t help if his opponent shot at him first.

They didn’t heed his warning, the pair still moving continuing to do so. He was curious, they seemed to be able to see him in the early dawn light. Just about enough to pick him out, but not enough to get details. A good thing in this case, since the Dart was beginning to glow a little.

“Last warning.”

Perhaps his words were the signal, perhaps she gave one herself. Or perhaps the archer was always going to start the dance. He would never know, but the arrow was loosed, hissing through the air aimed at his chest. Arthur leapt forward and upwards, turning as he did so point his hand at the archer.

Even anticipating the attack, he was too slow, the arrow tearing a line of pain along his side as it narrowly missed pinning him. Hand raised, he released his own attack, the white-blue glow of the spinning energy dart lighting up the surroundings as it flew towards his opponents.


The archer dodged too, anticipating an attack. What he didn’t expect was for the explosion as the Energy Dart struck the tree behind, sending shards of wood and water to pelt him from behind. Surprised and stunned, he fumbled the arrow he had drawn, dropping it and spilling some of the other arrows in his quiver aside.

In the meantime, Arthur poured his full attention into his movement technique. Having leapt towards his other opponent, his spear leading the way, he tricked them further as he bounded mid-air to the side, away from the larger, muscular lead attacker.

Instead, he went after the archer, changing directions as he flew towards the other man. He cursed as the archer skated backwards, pushing away as he reached for another arrow, forcing Arthur to splash into water and missing with his outthrust spear.

Behind, he could hear the pair rushing after him, but he had no attention to spare them. Instead, he swung his spear upwards, trying to catch the arrow as it was fitted and loosed, his opponent only conducting a half-draw.

Rather than risk getting pinned, Arthur poured his energy into Bark Skin. It saved him – somewhat – as the attack pierced his side, but failed to pass all the way through. Forced to wade forwards even as his opponent tried to run, Arthur cursed.

He couldn’t keep trying to switch techniques around and his ability to use multiple types, especially on-going ones, was poor. He had to do something, and do it fast. Ducking to the side, seeing his opponent smirk, Arthur made up his mind.

He leaned back and lunged forward, allowing himself to splash into the water moments after he hurled his spear at the archer. He could see the man sprawl downwards, ducking under the attack and watching it part his opponent’s hair.

A waste of an attack, but it was a good distraction.

Rather than follow up again, Arthur forced himself to swim sideways, heading for a marshy piece of water. If he couldn’t catch the slippery ass, he’d have to deal with the other two first.

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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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