Chapter 243

Chapter 243

“Remind me not to talk shit about herbivores,” Arthur muttered, staring at the massive… moose? Was that the right term? He really was not up to date on such creatures, even if there were pictures that were included in the wikis. Holding a hand up to frame the creature and its antlers, he muttered to himself. “Scoop-a-doop, makes for a moose on the loose.”

Yup. That was a moose. With antlers that looked like it could pick up and toss him aside if he got too near, flames flicking to life every couple of seconds, it was a rather intimidating sight. Also, the damn thing even from this distance looked like the size of a Perodua. They always came out with one of the small car lines for the poor. Considering at a good couple hundred feet, it looked like a tiny car, that thing was massive.

And hanging out at the pond, glaring at everything that looked askance at it.

“You know, those antlers really aren’t practical.” At least not in the real world. Afterall, with the volume of forest fires that were happening these days, the existence of a creature – any creature -that set its surroundings on fire on the regular would be a natural Darwin Award.

Then again, he couldn’t see a single spark actually falling to the ground. And the area around the moose, even as it dipped its head towards the bush, was unburnt. Even brushing against the branches didn’t do much but sear the branches aside.


Good enough explanation. Content that the creature was just guarding the pond itself, Arthur searched for the water source. Ponds meant streams, right? Except, without rain, there was no new water entering the surroundings and no easy flow of liquid to spot or acquire from.

Which left him with the choice of – hopefully – finding another water source – and he’d yet to see anything, and the edge of the platform wasn’t that far – or giving up on refilling his water skins for now.

Decisions, decisions, decisions.




Arthur walked, carefully, towards the water source. He had skirted around a little on the plains and the hill before making his way towards the pond itself, such that he was two thirds of the way across the pond from the giant moose. He would have chosen to go directly opposite if he had thought it would help, but that would also put him even further out of his way. And if the creature was that aggressive that over thirty plus feet of distance was enough to anger it, he wasn’t sure another ten or so feet would matter.

He walked with confidence but slowly, not varying his speed, not hesitant about his actions. He kept a close eye on the fire moose, though he made sure to watch for additional threats as he moved along. After all, Arthur knew well enough that there were ambush predators and creatures all around.

When he got within about sixty feet, the fire moose that had been busy stripping the nearby tree of its branches had stopped, turning its head to focus on the human interloper. Arthur felt a slight hitch in his steps occur at that point, fear coursing through his body before he pushed it aside. He could not, would not, show the nervousness that thrummed through him.

After all, the mutated moose that had looked like the size of a small car at first was now looking more like the size of an SUV. Not the massive ones that still graced certain parts of America as status symbols, spurting out underburnt diesel fuel with dangling testicles on the back, as though the ability to pay $20 a liter was something to be proud of.

No, the moose was more the size of a working SUV, a truck that was used to grab immigrant workers into plantations or to trawl their way through tough and underserved roads. Even with all the automation and push in technology, the cost of laying and keeping good roads up – along with significant environmental protections – meant that there were roadways that were still unpaved, untarred.

Weird thoughts, to consider the use of large motor vehicles when a monster with flaming red eyes stared at you, daring you to come closer. And Arthur, had to admit, he almost backed off.

But a parched throat, the sight of water, the knowledge of the monster core within and, frankly, a stubbornness and idiocy that had seen him taunt his attackers rose up. Even if the fight – if it came down to it – was tough, he was sure he would win. It was a single monster, and avoiding battles entirely was as detrimental to his progression as throwing himself into every battle there was.

More importantly, he had the Seven Cloud Stepping method. He could quickly flee into the water, and even if he did become wet, the fire based creature was unlikely to follow him in. After all, wading into the middle of the water was foolish.

Comforting himself with that knowledge, Arthur took another step forward. He managed to make his way to the water itself, slowly detaching the first empty water bottle from his belt with one hand. Still with the spear held in the other and one eye on the moose that had not stopped looking at him, he bent down to put the water bottle’s head to the pond.

The moment the water bottle touched the water and liquid began to pour in, the moose charged.

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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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