Chapter 238

Chapter 238

With passing the third floor a matter of just handing over the stones, it had taken the group little enough effort to cross over into the portal that snapped open within the Administrative building. No boss to finish off, no trial to clear. Simple.

As Arthur landed in the next floor, lurching a little as the teleportation dumped him out, he scanned the surroundings. No surprise, there was no one around. Part and parcel of the fourth floor. At least, no one on his particular stage, what with it floating in mid-air with only one way exit, a series of rising steps that he would have to clamber upward from.

From this starting position, he could see the vegetation that awaited him. No creatures, but that was the trick of this first portion of the floor. The monsters here were the plants themselves, the snapping ivy, the moving vines and spitting flowers.

Upon their first revelation years ago, it had even revived interest in an old mobile game involving living plants fighting off undead enemies. Thankfully, for now, the plants would ignore him till he attempted to ascend to the next level.

Scanning the surroundings once more, Arthur verified he truly was alone before walking to the edge of the floating level he was upon. The entire platform was no bigger than twenty feet across by forty. Large enough that one did not feel like you’d roll off if you went to sleep. Almost too generous a size, if not for the fact that the entire thing was just there… floating.

At the edge, Arthur stared down at the ground hundreds of feet below. He felt a moment of vertigo push at him, whispering for him to take just another step before he pulled back, ignoring that intrusive thought. Instead, he raised his head and looked around, noting the presence of other such floating, linked platforms.

Hundreds of them. Each floating by themselves, somehow managing to avoid one another even as they drifted through the skies. Some, he knew, would grow close enough that enterprising climbers had attempted the jump before.

Mostly at further levels, of course. It was rare for the bottom levels to get close enough that suck leaps were viable. And not a single time was the leap safe. Of course, stories of climbers who had found their way stymied leaping to other platforms to complete a different starting point abounded; but such successes were also drowned out by the volume of those who failed and plummeted to their deaths.

As he was thinking that, a chirp drew Arthur’s attention. The flicker of motion, moving almost too fast for him to perceive crossed his vision as one of the floor guardians made itself known. The Battering Birds weren’t part of any normal biome, their elongated and curved head allowing them to ram climbers as they tried to leap between platforms.

The fact that they left those who stayed on their original platforms alone made it clear that the floor designers did not intend for much transition. On the other hand, that they didn’t block it off entirely gave some hope, hope that was often dashed as they were struck and plummeted to the ground below.

For the average tower climber, it was enough to complete the floor on the platform they started upon. While the trials themselves were difficult, they were not technically impossible unless one was extremely unlucky. Or unprepared.

Staring at the floating platforms, Arthur watched for others that he might recognize. Even with Keen Sight boosting his ability to pick out details at a distance, he soon gave up. Other climbers, he spotted. But his companions, he found none. An overall unsurprising result. Most of those close by were being ascended, climbers on the second, third or in one case, sixth joined platform.

Each stepped platform was different, each configuration different. From his own location, as Arthur stepped back to the center of the first landing, he could only catch minor glimpses of the next floor. Mounds of sand, piled high against an invisible barrier.

“Garden then desert, but at least it’s not a dessert.” Arthur sighed. “That doesn’t rhyme, which is a crime.”

Another breath, as he debated waiting. But there was no point, he’d already refreshed himself before coming.

“Now, what was the rhyme?” Face scrunched up, Arthur slowly ran through his mind, finally coming across the details as he stared at one swaying pod filled vine. “Peas lack bees, for they shoot when you loot. Cactus for tractors, make sure you’re not a detractor. Audrey likes melee, so flee easily.”

Confirming his knowledge by eyeing the pea pods that swayed around, the cactus that lurked as mines and the weird, monster-alien like creature that was seeking to bite him if he got too close.

“Right, magical hopscotch it is.” Arthur let energy infuse his body, pulling it from his center to infuse all over as he triggered the Seven Cloud Steps ability. Hopping a little, he checked the energy rushing through him and the lightness in his body before he tugged on the straps of his backpack.

Another deep breath and then he charged forward, angling not for the center where a bump in the ground spoke of a low-lying cactus waiting for him to step onto it. He could not veery to the right, because an Audrey was waiting, so he’d have to go left.

Nearing the sheer cliff that broke up each level, he leapt, extending his left hand to throw him higher as he reached the top of the next floor. Between the increased physicality of his climber body and the movement technique, it was a simple matter to ascend to the top.

Immediately, he struck to the left and blocked the pea that fired itself at him, slicing the green sphere apart. He did not wait for the pea pod to recharge, instead rushing onward. Further to the left, duck the Audrey that tried to bite him as he triggered his first cloud step as he leapt forward, jumping on the cloud rather than land near the clear space where a group of cacti awaited.

The leap took him high and he tucked his legs in close, going into a front flip to dodge a pair of peas. Then, as he untucked himself, he struck to the right and speared an Audrey as it began to pull itself upward, using the momentum of his earlier movement and the spear to push himself onward.

Magical hopscotch and dodge ball, all joined together. Arthur bounced, ducked and slid his way through the level, rushing forward with each moment. His spear kept moving, slicing at Audrey’s and blocking peas fired at him.

The second platform was nearly thrice the length of the original platform, but even so, Arthur found himself nearly at the end within a few minutes. Rather than wait, knowing that the pea pods would continue to fire on him so long as he stayed on this level, Arthur grabbed at the other platform and leapt.

Flipping himself upwards again to land on the third platform with a little flourish.

One down. A lot more to go.

Zurück zum 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.