Chapter 205

Chapter 205

Standing beside him in the small administrative building, the disinterested and surly administrator working her nails, Arthur hesitated to speak. He wasn’t sure he could trust this administrator to keep her mouth shut. They were, after all, still human. Then again, he dared not leave the building. Who knew what might happen if he didn’t finish what the Tower asked of him while in here.

Faai sau di laa!” Casey snapped.

“So.” Arthur gestured, knowing that she could not see what he saw – the grid overlay of the surroundings and all the buildings that appeared there. All the buildings. Not just the Clan administrative buildings, but all of them in the little village. “It looks like, without any other Clans in play or taking over the place and no one actually having bought any buildings or arranged for anything with the Tower…”

“In a Beginner Tower? That’d be insanely expensive and not at all worth the cost,” she scoffed.

“Yes, yes. Did you want an answer or not?”

He just got silence, so he continued. “Without any of those impediments, what we have is the entire village on offer.”


“Right. That’s what I was thinking too.” Arthur shook his head. He wondered if that was always available at upper levels, in more advanced floors and Towers. Was it possible to just swoop in, purchase a building out from another person if they weren’t a Clan and just… laugh? If so, why hadn’t he heard of such things happening.

Well, beyond the fact that the entire area of retail and office purchasing and lease agreements and how Clans worked were not something he’d researched because, well, that would have been insane to do. What right had he to even think about such things.

The gods really did like their jokes.

Ham ka chan. Don’t.”

“I’m not that stupid. And wash your mouth out.” Shaking his head, Arthur added. “Now, describe where the places are. Use the walkway we came in as pointing north.

“Wait lah.” Casey hurried out, even as Arthur raised his hands, shifting the wireframe around as he peered at the buildings. Not a lot to choose from, but the two dozen or so buildings were still enough that he wasn’t looking forward to just grabbing one and getting into trouble. Many were circular shaped, big enough for a large family with a single room and simple, thatched roofs that sloped to keep the water out. Easy to build, easy to care for.

However, there were a few that were shaped like longhouses, rectangular with sloping roofs and simple, high joists that kept the planked and thrushed roof aloft, with spacing between the roof itself and the walls to encourage air flow. It didn’t do much for the insects, of course, but the constant burning of lemongrass and other natural vegetation in braziers all across the village helped with that.


“Ready?” he asked as Casey walked back in. “Got yourself oriented?”

“I think so.” The woman looked a little uncertain. “It’d be easier if we just walked to it.”

“Sure… but there’s no guarantee this isn’t going to disappear. Not risking it, right?”

“I guess.” She quickly described the three locations they had. Two simple buildings, the third a longhouse towards the south west – at least as oriented on the mountain and the way they had arrived. As Arthur grinned and began to choose it, she held a hand up. “What?”

“The longhouse isn’t yours. You know that, right?” Casey said.

“We agreed on a building.” The look she offered him made him let out a huff. “Fine. It’s probably a bad idea to take the whole place. But these other houses. They don’t look that big.”

“Can’t be helped. The longhouse is where my clan stores the goods and hosts anyone who moves through. You’re lucky we even have three on this floor.”

“Yeah, I guess.” Arthur made a face, before asking the obvious question. “Why do you have three?”

“Originally, we only had one built out, one of the smaller houses. Then, as we grew, we added the longhouse. The last house, one of my cousin’s won in a gambling match. Took a few months to register and get it all sorted though.”

“So no one in there?”

“We rent it out when we can. And any of the main family who wants to use it can take it, if they don’t want to sleep in the other places or they’re full. Otherwise, yeah, it’s empty.”

Arthur shook his head a little. It boggled the mind that the Chin’s were big enough to just leave a residence empty, but they were one of the major players. He was sure some of the others, like the Ghee Hin and the like, had their own residences set aside. On that note…

“Eh, we know – exactly – which one has the bumiputera and crony space?” Arthur said.

Casey frowned. “Why do you care?”

“I don’t want to accidentally take it. So let’s check that, eh?”

She hesitated, but then nodded and headed out. There were a lot of ways to screw up, but screwing with the government and their buildings were one of the major ones. For the most part, they left climbers alone and even the actual climbing, just making sure they had buildings and infrastructure so that their cronies and their sponsored climbers had a way to ascend easily. Outside of that, there were just too many competing interests for them to mess with the Tower – including the Tower itself at times. Not that Malaysia had managed to screw up to that level, but no one wanted the Tower messing with floors or people as retaliation.

It took a few whispered words, a quick check and a few shouted questions at nearby climbers before they had verified what they needed and returned. After that, with almost 90% certainty, they knew where everything was.

Not the best numbers, but at this point, the insistent pinging in his head and the open connection was giving Arthur a headache. So taking the second house – inconveniently on near the opposite end of the tiny village to the Chin’s longhouse – was a matter of selection and will.

At which point, the usual notifications arrived.


Third floor Clan Building Selected
Building Type: Residential
Residential Bonus: Security – One Tower Guard assigned


Easy peasy. He almost wished he could choose a different residential bonus though. Maybe something like air conditioning for this floor. Or insect repellent?


Update: The Benevolent Durians Clan Status
Organizational Ranking: 182,762
Number of Towers Occupied: 1
Number of Clan Buildings: 3
Number of Clan Members: 146
Overall Credit Rating: F-
Aspect: Guardianship
Sigil: The Flame Phoenix


Not much movement there. He’d pushed up on the rankings again, with more Clan buildings. A quick review of the details on the Clan members showed that he’d increased in numbers a little more on the first floor, though the increase had slowed down somewhat. Most of the gain was on the second floor though. He figured he’d see an overall decrease in numbers soon enough, as each floor he’d have trouble gaining members.

After all, the Thorned Lotuses weren’t very populous at the higher floors. If anything, he was surprised by the presence he’d seen here.

“Done?” Casey said, impatiently.

“What’s the rush?” he waved his hand, dismissing the message and heading for the exit. She fell in with him.

“We’re on a timer, aren’t we?” she groused.

“I guess,” he said. “But a few seconds won’t make a difference.”

“But having a proper bath might,” she groused, looking down at the mud that caked her legs and shoes. “And maybe it’d be a little away from the damn insects.”

Arthur just chuckled, but he nodded. Might as well get on it. Not as though they needed to do anything about the floor quest to proceed to the next level. That was well known and had never changed, as though even the Tower creators had taken pity on the climbers themselves.

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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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