Chapter 52

Chapter 52

He ducked under the jenglot’s swipe, managing to mostly dodge it. Even the small clip on the top of his head was enough to stagger him, putting him a little out of position for a straight thrust with his spear into the monster’s chest. No heart, but it still had a kidney exposed—or what he thought was a kidney.

The spear moved as though it were traveling on its own volition, piercing tough, bristly fur and entering softer muscle beneath. At the last second, knowing he had a clear opportunity to attack, he had poured energy into the spear and imbued it with Focused Strike.

He felt his attack pierce the monster’s side, and blood gushed from the wound. Dancing sideways, footsteps crossing over one another in his haste, he lashed out with the sharp spear point, tearing at skin and hair.

“Stupid hair, got to get some flair,” Arthur sung under his breath, realizing in short order that the cuts were of little use. The spear was never truly meant for cutting attacks, and the monster’s bristly fur was slowing and softening his attack. All he was doing was giving it a trim each time he swung his weapon.

He had made half a rotation around the monster, the creature spinning as fast as him, before the jenglot decided to do something strange. It dropped low, extending an arm out beneath and supporting itself using the arm, kicked like a capoeira student.

Surprise caught Arthur, as did the paired legs of the monster. Thankfully, it was not a technique it had practiced much, meaning that the full strength of the creature’s massive legs were not in play. It didn’t matter though, since the jenglot was more than powerful enough to send Arthur flying through the air. He crashed against the tower’s inner wall, cracking his head against stone even as he attempted to curl in defense.

He fainted, for a brief second or two. He knew he had fainted, because by the time he came to, he was on the floor, spear on the ground a half-dozen feet away, his body half-folded like a discarded rag doll. His scalp had opened in the back, blood gushing as dark spots warred in his vision. Blood from his scalp and nose and mouth, where he had accidentally bitten his tongue.

Never mind the way his back, ribs, hips and spine throbbed. If he had been a normal human, Arthur would never have survived. As it stood, he was seriously injured. Eyes searched for his assailant, only to be grateful to find that the monster was battling the girls now instead of him.

Knowing he was useless for now, he delved into his body to pour refined energy into Accelerated Healing. Attempting to fix his most crippling of injuries, that meant first dealing with the concussion that threatened to tear away his concentration.

Searing pain, one that tore a scream from his throat. It pulsed through his head, as blood clots and a burgeoning brain bleed were fixed. Moments later, he found himself coughing and snorting as globs of congealing blood were forced out of his head along with cerebral fluid. When the pulse of healing ended, his thoughts were clearer, though a part of him wondered how bad things had been that spitting and dribbling blood from his mouth was the better option.

Crawling forward, he grabbed his spear and surveyed the battle. It had gone from bad to worse, with the only advantage being that he was not the only one crippled. Another monster was down, one leg mangled such that it was unable to reach the battling trio. His own jenglot was fighting at a disadvantage too, with one hand clutched around the open wound his spear had created. It seemed that throwing itself sideways and kicking Arthur had torn something wide open.

Attempting to stand was a failure, his body refusing to hold him up. He crumpled to the ground, unable to stand. Something was not working right in his lower back.

“Tiu . . .” Arthur cursed as he managed to get back onto his knees. Fine. He had no way of getting into the battle. Didn’t mean he was out of options entirely.

Using the spear to prop himself up, he raised his other hand and formed the Refined Energy Dart. He waited for a brief second, making sure he had the right timing down before releasing it. It was not targeted at anything as crude as the head or neck as those moved too much. But a foot, planted onto the ground, used for bearing weight. The knee that supported the entire thing—those didn’t move much. Not when the timing was right.

The Refined Energy Dart shot forward, impacting the back of the jenglot’s knee. It tore into the extended, outlined muscles, ripped apart tendons and ligaments before the dart ended, power emptied. The monster stumbled forward, then as a parang swung at its head, managed to sway aside. However, when it tried to recover and attack again, it put its weight on the injured leg, and the knee gave way. The monster crumpled, leaving its face open to a return strike of the parang by Jan.

Still it did not die. The monster fell backward, clutching at the open wound of its own face. Seeing the battle turn tide, Uswah shouted.

“Back! Focus on the boss!” She put words to action, pulling the team away and circling towards a wall, leaving the other two monsters to crawl after them. Except . . .

“Shit,” Arthur cursed, realising that the other jenglot, the one that had first been crippled had switched directions. It was coming to him now, instead of the women. And in the time he had been watching, it had covered nearly half the distance.

Switching aim, he conjured Refined Energy Dart again. Unfortunately, though launched at the monster’s face, the dart caught its shoulder instead when the monster twisted at the last moment. Its shoulder was now bloodied and injured, but still mostly functional.

Too close for him to launch another dart—never mind his desire to keep at least some energy for healing—Arthur switched plans and struck out with his spear. He stabbed once, twice, forcing the monster to defend itself rather than crawl forward.

Blood began to gush down the injured arms, but without his own mobility and having less range to move his spear, his attacks grew predictable. A yank by the monster tore his spear away when a failed strike brought it too close, leaving him weaponless.

“Shit, shit, shit . . .” He would back off, but he was up against the wall already. He briefly considered getting up and running, but his legs were still half-numb.

Choosing to give up dignity for survival, he threw himself to the side and began crawling away from the jenglot, moving as fast as he could. Hopefully the team would get to him before the jenglot and its long, claw-like fingers did.

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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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