Chapter 204

Chapter 204

The inside of the administrative building was both smaller and sparser than before. There was the board and a rather sullen older woman sitting behind the only desk. She was finishing up marking an individual’s quest marker as they came in, forcing the pair to take position behind.

While they waited, Arthur could not help but look around, curious. The scribbling on the quest board was terrible, but rather than having only a few markers like he’d expected, the board itself was overflowing with notes, pinned upon one another without rhyme or reason as far as he could tell. There was no organization involved, just a mess of documentation.

Curious, Arthur did his best to read them over.


Raw tobacco (5 packs). Urgent!


Leach shards: 11 shards to 1 core


Gingko biloba (Tower modified); 3 bunches: 1 point.


5 buckets of rubber sap: 1 point.


Leach shards: 12 shards to 1 core


Heart of the mangrove tree: 3 points


Leach shards: 12 shards to 1 core.
Bonus loyalty program 1 point every 3 sets!


“Loyalty program?” Arthur muttered, with slight amusement.

“Lots of competition,” Casey said. “No surprise.”

“No.” Arthur scratched the back of his neck where some particularly ambitious insect had taken a nip out of the skin. His fingers came away bloody, and he grimaced. His damn healing system was overworked right now, dealing with his neck. “We could do like them, you know.”

“Sit in the hall, pay for the stones?” Casey said. “My Clan isn’t rich enough to pay for all of you. Nor would we.”

“Nor is Rick.”

“Yes. If you’re willing to leave your people behind…” Casey trailed off.

He just snorted, and she shrugged. They both knew that was not happening, for a variety of reasons. Her goal was to get out as fast as possible. His was to build the Clan halls and the Clan itself. If he didn’t at least set-up the beginnings of a decent organization, he would be leaving behind a mess that would be even more difficult to manage.

Never mind the kind of leverage he’d leave himself open to, weakened as he would be alone.

“Still…” Arthur rubbed his chin, considering. There were two groups to those quests on the board, as far as he could see. The ones trying, desperately, to collect enough tower assignment points to exit the floor and those who were asking for materials that could be more easily found here. The first came from the tourists, the climbers who were just trying to leave.

The second were from the residents. He couldn’t understand it himself. There were a lot of nicer levels after all, but some chose to stay here. For a few months, a few years even. Sometimes their entire lives. It made for a good place for those, he guessed, for those who disliked others. Or had reasons to avoid large crowds.

The tricky part was getting enough of such individuals to join, or somehow making contact so that his nascent Clan Hall wasn’t left entirely empty either. Or at least, finding a few who might want to stick around long enough for his hall to function.

Unless he left it as an empty waystation. Accessible only to Clan members…

“Oy! Coming or not?” The glare the older administrator leveled at him made Arthur blink. He shook his head clear of the thoughts flashing through his mind and stepped up.


“What you want?” the administrator asked in a clipped tone.

Arthur extracted and handed over his token, the woman continuing to glare at him as he did so. She swiped it over her board after his prompting, though not without letting out a long huff of irritation. A moment later, notifications flooded down the Tower connection.

A slight prod by Cassie had him moving to the side, as she handed the woman her own token. The administrator took a few moments to pull her gaze from Arthur, her lip curling up a little in a sneer as she took and swiped Cassie’s token.


“I’d like to offer one of the three buildings my people have built to the new Clan Head to use as his Hall.”


Casey blinked, then rallied at the unresponsive customer service. “I was hoping you’d tell me how to do that.”

A shrug was her answer, as the token was shoved forwards.

“What do you mean?” Casey said, her voice growing a little more strident.

“Not my area.”

“But I was told he could do that. That Clan halls can take over residences.” All that she could get was a shrug. Then, to her growing fury, a hand waved her away from the desk as the older woman returned to filing her fingernails.


Arthur, not looking, grabbed hold of her arm and dragged her away from the table. Since they were the only ones present, he saw no issue with touching her at the moment. As Casey turned on him, he shook his head.

“I know how.”

“What? Why didn’t you say so before?”

“Because I just learnt it. And you won’t like it,” he said.

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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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