Chapter 206

Chapter 206

Settling in was simple enough. Thankfully, this time around, the Tower guard that had appeared had chosen to wait outside and let Arthur confirm ownership of the building before it tried to chop him in half. Of course, the presence of the Tower guard – not seen except on the first floor for the most part – had attracted attention, which was why Yao Jing was outside, explaining what was going on. Lam Kor, once he was certain that Casey was safely ensconced in the Clan hall had disappeared to check on the rest of their holdings.

In the meantime, while Casey took a shower using the time tested method of bucket and pail, Arthur reviewed the last of the Clan information updates he’d received.


Clan Head Confirmed
Control of Benevolent Durians Clan Building (Third Floor, Tower 2895) Confirmed
Type: Residence
Building Bonus Chosen: Security (Town Guard assigned)
Total Number of Floors: 1
Total Number of Residents: 0
Total Number of Rooms: 0
Would you like to review the layout?


Arthur snorted at the last question. He didn’t need to review it. He could literally walk it in less than five minutes, and that was only because of the outdoor kitchen, the couple of storage rooms that had been partitioned off and the connecting washrooms and bathroom that were connected via hanging branches and a simple covered walkway off the small hillock to hang over the water. Made for easy cleaning, in all senses of the word, when things just… dropped away.

“We’re going to need some more bunk beds in here…” Rick said, eyeing the large, circular main room where they’d have to live. “And cultivation is going to be a chore.”

“You can leave, if you want?” Arthur waved his hand to the exit.

Rick shook his head, dropping his bag and other equipment next to one of the few beds. Once he was done, the man pulled out his pistols and lay them against the bed, beginning the process of stripping one of his guns down and cleaning it.

There were six, each of them single beds, all set along the circumference of the walls, leaving the space in the middle open. Arthur knew they’d have to build out soon enough, though the amount of space available on the little hillock they’d taken was rather limited. They’d have to sink piles into the ground or something to get themselves more space.

“Why are you frowning?” Mel said, slurring a little as she spoke and startling Arthur. The Chinese woman who’d once led the seal party and now, one of his most trusted lieutenant stood before him, utterly drenched in mud with a bandage wrapped around one side of her face.

“What happened to you?”

“Leech. You?”

“I don’t know how to build buildings.” He gestured downwards and then around. “Or furniture.”

Mel looked around, then shook her head. She stepped aside, dropping her own pack to the ground before asking. “Bathroom?”

“That way. But Casey’s in there!” he shouted, only to shake his head as Mel just walked right past him, ignoring his earlier comments. Left alone, he sighed and rubbed the back of his neck, going over the numbers. Only one missing now was Jan.

He shook hi shead, knowing there was little he could do. On impulse, he checked the number of Clan members on the third floor and confirmed she was still alive. Having that option was useful for now, though once they started recruiting that’d be a pain.

Which reminded him.

Standing up, he wandered outside and looked over as Yao Jing continued to speak with the others. He waved to the man, and after a few words, his erstwhile bulky bodyguard sauntered over to Arthur. Interestingly enough, it was obvious that enough of what was going on – and the silent hovering Tower guard nearby – was enough to keep the onlookers back.

“Yes, boss?”

“How you feeling?”

“Good!” Yao Jing confirmed, loudly. “Ready to go.”

“Great. Then find whatever Thorned Lotuses there are. We should get moving on the recruiting.” He hesitated, then raised his voice as he looked at the lookie-loos. “We’re also in the market for bunk beds or anyone who knows how to build them.” A slight hesitation, then he added. “Cupboards or shelving too.”

Surprise registered on their faces, but it was wiped away after a moment. While an unexpected request, it wasn’t unusual after all. They had just taken over an entire building and were in the process of getting it outfitted.

“That really a Clan hall?” one of the braver bystanders called. Arthur turned his attention to him, noting the way the man held himself slightly apart from everyone else, the soft leather armour he wore that covered his body and the hardened strips of leather over his form along with the bracers. A kris and a curving blade, almost like a scythe but a little less pronounced sat on his other hip, both no longer than a large knife in length. Malay from his features, with a much larger than normal nose for his kind. It didn’t help that he had a scar that ran across the tip of it drew a lot of the attention there.

“Yes,” Arthur said. “I’m also the Clan leader. Arthur Chua.”

“You nak recruits, ah?” the man asked, eyes narrowing as he regarded Arthur with suspicion. No surprise. The man was at least half a decade older than Arthur.

“We will. Not just yet,” Arthur said. “We’re getting settled.”

Saya Mohammad Aziz.” A slight pause, then looking at Arthur a little closer, added. “I’m interested.”

“We’ll let people know.” Then, he shrugged. “In a week or so.”

“Others can go in? Use your Clan hall?” Another man, Indian of some form. Lighter skinned, so maybe a Punjab or Bangladeshi originally? Or a descendent. Malaysia had received quite the number of them in the later part of the last century and early parts of this, when it had still been growing and accepting migrant workers to do the necessary hard work. Now, they made up large portions of Malaysia, whether they were here legally or not.

Some – a lot – tried to get into the Tower to better their lives. Stolen identity cards, fake ones, even a few careful bribes to the guards all meant that there was a constant trickle of the illegal residents in. The better off just bribed to get their children or themselves officially registered in Malaysia, then came in direct rather than risk being caught.

Most who did, never got past the second floor. Not unless they got lucky and the challenges changed. Here, on the third, anyone could pass though; if they were careful and willing to work for it.

“No,” Arthur replied. “It’s Clan only.”

“Rent?” the man touched the side of his pants where a rather thin pouch hung, an obvious indicator of what he was thinking.

“Maybe.” Arthur shook his head. “Later. All of this, later. Furniture, my allies, then recruitment.”

“Okay.” The Pakistani-looking man spun around and headed away, head down. A moment later, two of his friends hurried after him. Arthur blinked at the sudden departure while Mohammad looked between the remaining group and him before he shrugged and walked away, headed for the woods instead.

Just like that, the group dispersed. Probably to bring further rumors, though one enterprising youngster had crouched down, eyeing the crowd coming from farther away. Possibly to answer questions when Arthur and Yao Jing.

On that note…

“Why are you still here?” Arthur said to his bodyguard.

“Was going to ask them,” jerked his chin at the departing crowd.

“Well, nothing stopping you now.”

A grunt was his only reply before Yao Jing dropped his backpack, with a muttered ‘put away, will you?’ and then hurried after the others.

Bemused, Arthur grabbed the pack and retreated before he had to do anymore public speaking. Not that the crowd was that large, but he’d noted a sudden surge in his heartbeat at having to do so. Only after he’d started speaking though.

Sometimes, acting without thinking had its advantages.


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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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