Gerard's flesh changed. The rotten patches faded away, replaced by pale skin. His complexion matched someone who had never seen the sun.
His evolution forcefully pushed the arrow out of his eye socket with chunks of his eyeball, with a new one rapidly growing back in its place.
Rather than Gerard's vague senses as a skeleton and ghoul, his senses felt more natural and heightened. Previously, he saw the world in vague shapes, perceived as a feeling, but now sights, sounds, and smells all sent his senses into a frenzy.
Gerard side-stepped away from the martial artist's kick, caught the incoming arrow, and flipped over the javelin of flame. The arrow singed his hand, and the electricity died down.
"A lesser vampyre? No, that's impossible; a ghoul cannot become a vampyre. I think we're dealing with a shapeshifter. It's a demon!" The archer called out her warning to her companions.
[Congratulations on your evolution. Please note; that as a Lesser Vampyre, humans will still hunt you down if they identify your race.]
Gerard cleared his throat and eyed his enemies.
"Too late for that," Gerard said.
His new physical capabilities far exceeded those of his Ghoul form. Power welled up inside him.
"It spoke?" The martial artist jumped back.
"I didn't wish to fight any of you. Honestly, I just wanted a peaceful life, but being undead makes that... Rather difficult, it seems."
"Don't listen to it. It's trying to get inside your heads!" The priestly woman clasped her hands together.
"See what I mean? Even now that I can speak and prove my sentience, you won't just let me leave, right?"
Their steadfast expressions said as much.
"I had hoped differently. I've never enjoyed killing humans, not in the past, and surely not now."
With the increased mobility and strength granted by his new evolution, Gerard hurled the arrow clenched in his fist. It whisked through the air and punctured the spell caster's neck.
She fumbled for her throat, falling to the ground after several seconds.
"Maybe there's some magic that can resurrect you all. If so, why continue to hunt me?"
In a flash, Gerard appeared behind the martial artist, thrust his hand into their back and gripped their spine.
"I truly wish it didn't have to be this way."
He pulled his hand back out, the spine along with it.
[3,800 Experience gained. 11,800 experience until your next level.]
"Monster!" The archer fired another arrow.
Gerard dodged it and gave a menacing glare.
*Monster? Attacking me with the intent to kill, even after I proved I was capable of reason? I suppose I looked like a ghoul and killed her friend, though.*
The archer jumped down from her platform. Gerard stepped forward, prepared to chase her down.
Drip. Drip. Drip.
Blood from the martial artist dripped from his fingertips and softly splashed on the grass at his feet.
He could smell it. His vision's colour became black and white, all except for blood.
He raised his hand to his mouth. He slowly licked his lips, then cleaned every last drop of blood from his hand with his tongue.
Sprite announced something, but Gerard spent all his attention on the blood.
[4,200 Experience gained. 7,600 experience until your next level.]
"What-" Gerard looked around.
His chin dripped with blood. The four corpses were desiccated and sucked dry. In his head, he was busy savouring the blood on his hand, but now he stood over the ninja's body, the first to die.
*I guess the spellcaster ended up dying.*
"Sprite, what happened?"
[You entered a blood frenzy. Vampyres of the normal and lesser classes may gain strength and speed in return for a loss of reasoning and control for a short time or until they sate their thirst. This can occur when there is a lot of blood around or if a vampyre has not fed for some time.]
"So, 'monster' was a pretty apt description for me. Now there's even less chance to live a peaceful life, even if I look somewhat human."
He opened his mouth and pressed lightly against his fangs.
"And that woman with the bow saw me before escaping. No doubt there will be more humans after me soon."
Gerard scratched his head. Hair. He ran his fingers through the forest of hair that sprouted from his previously barren dome.
"Ah, when was my head last covered in this much hair? Balding at seventeen, I never thought this day would come!"
He checked over the corpses. Each of them had a purse full of coins, and he combined them into one bag. The spellcaster had some rolled-up parchment with undecipherable characters on it.
The warrior's armour, which he thought would fit him, was too loose, but the clothing beneath the armour fit well. Now dressed in brown pants and a white shirt, Gerard felt a little more respectable. He adjusted the ninja's belt, with several holsters for knives, and strapped it to his waist. He picked up the two daggers from beside the ninja's corpse and holstered them.
[Gerard Blythe: Level 5 Lesser Vampyre]
[Mana Conductivity: 150]
[Skills: System Access, Evolutionary Tree, Mind's Eye, Leech, Lesser Compulsion, Blood Frenzy]
[Weaknesses: Holy Magic, Sunlight]
[Immunities: Dehydration, Sleep, Poison, Disease, Fear, Paralysis, Decay, Confusion, Blindness]
"Wow. So I'm stronger all across the board, but the trade-off is a weakness to sunlight, a thirst for blood that can make me a homicidal maniac, and I have two new skills?"
[Leech - Replenish your mana by leeching the life force from living beings. This is done through ingesting their blood.]
[Lesser Compulsion - A weaker version of the Compulsion skill. Manipulate a sentient target's thoughts or memories. Very limited and unpredictable.]
"Mana!" Gerard enacted a little victory dance.
[Compulsion requires the use of mana. Be wary, as the amount required will change depending on the strength of your manipulation.]
"That's it? Well, I'm sure I'll learn some cool magic. Evolutionary Tree."
The lesser vampyre evolution branched into two paths, like before, but this time, the paths displayed differently.
[Vampyre - Drink the fresh blood of 100 different human beings. (8)]
[???: ??? (8)]
"The first seems possible over time; maybe I can do that within a month. Sprite, what are these question marks?"
[When evolving, there will sometimes be a rare evolutionary path that will appear unknown to you, as will the evolution condition. Generally speaking, there are only a handful of these creatures living in this realm.]
"So, this is where I have to test out my abilities. Since I'm a vampyre, with only Leech, Compulsion and Blood Frenzy as my new abilities, evolving would involve using them to achieve something. This is exciting!"
[Just a reminder: If someone discovers that you are a vampyre, they will hunt you.]
"Yes, Sprite. Thank you. I remember."