Chapter 257

Chapter 257

Arthur flopped onto his bed, looking up at the ceiling in the tiny room that he had acquired for himself. After all, the inn did not have a lot of space, and certainly no luxury rooms. One of the aspects of the building was the almost dormlike rooms that were available, like the Tower was encouraging the development of Clans and Guilds. 

Clad only in a towel, Arthur glanced over to his backpack and then the new set of clothing he'd picked up from the Tower before he'd arrived. It had been more expensive than purchasing it from your average stall around, what with the flow of normal clothing just one of the luxuries brought in by Climbers. But that'd require him to look around, to go shopping and right now... Well this was good enough.

Also, considering how much he owed them for his new armour - nevermind the antlers - and the minor cost of the clothing was a footnote. 

"Two hundred and eight six contribution points," Arthur muttered. "And that's after taking away everything that I've earned so far. I'm going to be running a lot of quests, it seems."

A hand raised and traced along his chest for a moment, admiring the muscles he'd gained. Washboards flat and ribbed, a nice round number of eight. He'd heard that the number you had was all genetics, but mostly, it amused him that the best way to lose weight was just to have your body replaced by the Tower. 

Then, he pushed the mild vanity aside. He ran through his options, then finally stood up, grabbing the pouch of monster stones from his belt and then the others in his backpack. He looked through the pouches briefly before he showered them on the table, sorting them quickly into levels and types and batches of ten.

"I could use this, give them a pouch or two," Arthur muttered. "With the income from the Chin's I should be able to replace what I use. Except, of course, there's no guarantee I'll actually get any with the new complication." He sighed. "Cassie, you really need to survive. Or else this will be a real pain."

No point in waiting anyway or wondering. If there was going to be a choice to be made, it would be later. For the next few days or until she arrived, he'd train. That was the best he could do, increasing his own strength once again. After all, that was the entire point of climbing this Tower. 

Even if, right now, all he wanted to do was rest. His body had healed for the most part, the Advanced Healing technique constantly refreshing him, especially now that he wasn't pushing things. But his mind, his mind was another matter. He would need sleep eventually, but he'd rested enough in the lower floor. 

Pulling the largest stone to him, Arthur took a seat on his bed and closed his eyes. He breathed slowly, forcing energy from the stone into his system, pulling it through his various meridians. The fourth floor core, the boss core he held, was significantly stronger than the first floor ones he'd utilised so many years ago. He could feel the energy raging, threatening to tear itself free of his control and damage him.

The initial pull from the stone was the worst, the untamed energy intent on escaping his grip. As it passed through his meridians though, he tamed it, mixing with the energy within him and giving him grips to wield and control it easier. He knew that if he lost control even for a second, it would damage his meridians, escape into his bones and force him into a period of recuperation that would set him back.

Normally, you'd start by going up each floor level, growing stronger gradually and increasing the amount and density of the cores one used. With enough traits and experience, you would be able to manage the overflowing energy within each more powerful core. However, Arthur was already behind the curve with his speedrun antics and utilising a boss core which was even more densely packed. If not for the superior cultivation method he was using and the traits he'd picked he would not dare try this.

However, with both, he could speed up his cultivation rate significantly. If he had to put a number to it - and not, of course, have the Tower do it later - he'd figure he was between half to two thirds of a full point coming from this single stone itself. It would take just over an hour plus, if he could control the energy.

Pulling it through his meridians, gaining millimeters of control with each passage, he finally managed to take full control of the energy and make it his own. Next step was pouring all this energy into his dantian, the storage area of his own refined energy. Problem was, the first gush started pushing at his core, causing him to ache and hurt.

He gritted his teeth, the pounding influx of energy pouring into him pushing the bounds of his core to the maximum. Recalling the cultivation exercises, he began to compress that energy too, forcing it tighter and tighter into the center of him. Refined energy could be compressed, transforming as he exerted the full strength of his will and stored away. It was this very compression that would give it the necessary pathways to later on infuse him.

If he could control it.

Heart beating like a hundred horses going off in his chest, burning energy pouring through his form and leaking out of his dantian, Arthur struggled to breathe regularly. Once he started the energy pull, he knew there was no going back. He would have to utilise it entirely. Normally losing a stone wasn't a problem, and with the right kind of control, you could stop the process even.

However, control was a laughable concept right now. He had as much control over this energy as  a road raging BMW driver stuck in Monday morning traffic after waking up late for work. 

Focus. Breathe. Not ignore the pain, because the pain was not something one could ignore. No, you just had to accept it and live with it, use it to sharpen his mind and focus. 

Moment by moment, he pulled energy from the monster stone into him, compressed it and made it his own. All to do it all over again when the monster stone was finished, so that he could pour the refined energy into his attributes and grow stronger. 

Back to blog

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.

Join Tower One for $5/month to read 3 weeks of advanced chapters or Tower Two for $10/month to read 8 weeks of advanced chapters.

Want to read new chapters in your inbox?

Receive new chapters of Climbing the Ranks either daily or weekly in your inbox.