Chapter 256

Chapter 256

Establishing the clan once he actually got into the administrative building was a simple matter. Just a bunch of conversations with the floor manager, an allowance for the Tower to send its notifications to him. The fact that he lacked a proper building to designate as a clan residence was a pain, but thankfully, the Tower wasn't going to force him to pick a place.

At the end of the flickering images and the usual floor-level notification, Arthur pulled up the clan detail page once more.


The Benevolent Durians Clan Status
Organizational Ranking: 182,748
Number of Towers Occupied: 1
Number of Clan Buildings: 3
Number of Clan Members: 198
Overall Credit Rating: F-
Aspect: Guardianship
Sigil: The Flame Phoenix


Arthur grimaced, noting the lack of change in the organisational ranking. Not a huge surprise, what with them not adding new buildings since the third floor, which he assumed was one of the major factors. And while the number of clan members was probably a factor, it likely had more to do with the type and progress of the clan members than any actual direct relationship to numbers. He also figured that the number of Towers they were within made a big difference. The only thing he didn't know how to affect was the credit rating. Or heck, what it really meant thus far.

"Sufficient, Clan Head?" the Administrative Manager's voice cut in, causing Arthur to blink. He stared at the lizard man that made up the Tower manager on this floor before he ended up nodding. "Yeah, I guess. Where's the inn, by the way?"

"Why do you require such lowly accommodation? Surely you can provide better for yourself?" The Administrator said, coldly.

"Eh, it's complicated," Arthur said. "I'll be back, but the inn now would be good."

"And is that all?" The Manager's gaze shifted to Arthur's backpack, making the man blink and remember what he was carrying. He'd been wearing it so long that he'd forgotten he was even carrying it around.

"Oh, shit. Need some new boots. Unless you can fix this one.” He raised his foot where he had barely managed to stitch his boots together so that it could last the trip to town. “And, I need an assessment of this. And maybe... an enchantment? Have it rebuilt?"

"Was that a question of our ability to do so?"

"No, sorry." Arthur slung the backpack off, shaking his head as he tried to get his brain back into the game. Something about the Administrator, glaring down at him with his older face reminded him of way too many disapproving bosses and teachers. It was throwing him off his game. "I want to know what you can do with this."

Hefting his biggest package, he dropped it on the table beside the Manager, all the while ignoring the crowd that had formed within the building. He'd have preferred to do this alone, but it was not as though he could kick these people out, and the manager wasn't making any move to do so.

By this time, the manager had pulled apart the ropes, snapping them with casual strength and leaving the edges frayed. He flipped the leather and fur open, running a finger along the ragged edges of where Arthur had cut the fur off, as well as the occasional spots where he'd accidentally cut through. The sneer on his face grew with each moment, though thankfully the entire thing had somewhat cured itself during the magical disappearing process, leaving the fur at least not stinking and rotting.

Finished with his critique of the fur, the manager barely even glanced at the antlers, picking them up and turning them over before dropping the entire thing onto the table.

"There are things we can do, yes." A slight beat, before the man continued. "The fur is of poor to middling quality. We can strip the fur entirely, soak the skin and create some leather. There is enough here to make a full suit of armour or breastplates and pauldrons for two individuals." Eyes flicking over Arthur's own worn and damaged armor, he continued. "It will carry some of the same properties over. Or we can make a cloak and gloves and mittens. It'll be very warm."

Arthur figured that last bit was a joke. While there were Towers with colder climates, the Malaysian one was definitely not that. A warm cloak or mittens was just about the last thing he'd want to wear. Even with a body that could handle a wider range of extremes, overheating was just not fun.

"Armour." He hesitated, then pushed aside the flash of guilt at what he was about to say. He had to remember that keeping himself alive was still the number one priority—for practical and Clan reasons. "For me only. If there's extra, maybe a breastplate or pauldrons or greaves."

The manager glanced at the material, frowned, and then spoke. "We can either produce extra perhaps, make full use of it. We'll charge you for all of the production." A slight beat, then he added, "Or we can take the remainder and discount your work."

"Oh... that's... uhh...." Arthur hesitated now, tempted. He had money—beast stones—of course, but the chances were he'd have to cover some of this via contribution points. Which meant running quests, which would take more time. Which was time not spent cultivating. On the other hand, he could have the others help pay for it. But... "Exactly how much better will this armour be?"

A lip curled upwards, taking Arthur's present armour. "Significantly."

"Yeah, fine..." Arthur sighed and then tapped the antlers. "And this?"

"Now, this is an interesting drop," the Manager said, suddenly much more interested and less hostile. "Not common to get one in this condition. The Tower must really have liked you." Then he paused, eyes narrowing as he took in Arthur. "Or it felt your status needed additional help."

Arthur would complain about not needing help, but since this was working in his favour... He just grinned and waited.

"Now, the greatest issue is that you cannot truly afford to make full use of it." The Manager held a hand up before Arthur could protest. "It's not something that's viable on this level. The seventh floor maybe. The tenth for sure. Or another Tower entirely." At Arthur's frown, the man continued, blithely, "We can send it up for you, of course. It'd cost a little, but we can have the payment when you arrive."

"And you get to keep it, if I die."

"Of course."

Arthur snorted but nodded. That worked for him, since he was going to be paying off the armour as it stood. More time was good. "And the options?"

"The best use? We break it down and inscribe it onto your clan seal."

The silence that pronouncement created was so profound, you could have heard a bribe being passed. It took Arthur quite a few moments to shake himself free and ask the pertinent question.

"What would we get?" he said, slowly and carefully. Anything that improved the clan seal was an improvement, because the boost would transfer not just to himself but everyone involved. It was, obviously, the smartest play across the widest range of people, if one was selfless. Or looking to build up a powerful organisation.

"It is hard to say, though it always coincides with the creature's abilities and element." Tapping the antlers, the Manager flicked a gaze across the listeners before he continued. "I'm sure you can imagine what that might be."

"Yeah..." Arthur said. "But if I went with another option? What else?"

"The usual. A weapon or two." Eyeing the antlers, the Manager shrugged. "Utility tools. Make good spades I'm sure. Maybe we could split them apart—they're technically one drop right now and the magic uses both. And if so, we could get you two weapons. Which can be split apart or..." Frowning, he measured the pair with his hands. "A pair of short swords?"

"Bone swords?" Or, well, not technically bone but close enough. Still, rather savage, Arthur figured. But if they heated up to the same level, they'd be fearsome weapons. 

"It would depend, of course, on the craftsman available. And what you can afford." Back to his stoic self now, the Manager asked, "So, what will it be?"

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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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