A month had passed since I evolved to level 1. Everyone else also managed to evolve as well.
We spent a week at the church, going out to hunt and grow stronger, before we eventually ventured west, further into the city. The beasts were getting stronger as time passed.
We were currently fighting a cat beast in a suburban area in district 8. We had passed through district 7 where my family home was, but I wasnt able to find my parents or brothers. (I really hope they got somewhere safe…)
Donovan deflected the cat beasts claw strikes with his shield, repelling it away from Myra. The cat beast hopped back and jumped wall to wall, now lunging and aiming its claw at Ethan. *pushoo* Donovan cast his null attribute spell, [Dash] and appeared in front of Ethan, deflecting another blow. Null spells usually revolve around body enhancement. [Dash] makes the users speed increase exponentially for a few seconds.
The cat recoiled and then the sound of a *crack* and pain shot up its side, causing it to jolt. A whip glided gracefully through the air as Myra launched another attack, causing a gash to appear in the cat shoulder.
It howled in pain and jumped up to evade an attack that came towards it eyes. I had swung my sword and missed my chance to blind it. The cat beast, which was twice the size of a tiger, glared hatefully at his prey, but decided to yet again change targets.
The cat beasts lithe body tensed, getting ready for a pounce attack and then launching toward Marie.
Maria stood frozen in fear. The cat threw its claws and tore through Marie. But something was wrong. The cat didnt feel the feeling of flesh being torn. It looked back and the figure of Marie vanished as if an illusion.
The real Marie had used her Dark attribute spell, [Subterfuge] to create a shadow clone of herself while she became camouflaged. She took that opportunity to slice the cats hind leg with her dagger and then retreated back behind Donovans shield.
The cat, which had become much slower due to it leg wound, hobbled backward to get some distance from us, roaring furiously. We approached it cautiously. We had seen plenty of beasts get bursts of strength when cornered. Whats that saying go? Even a cornered rat will bite a cat.
(Though, in this case the cat is the one that will try to bite…)
”Ethan! Throw the net! ” Donovan shouted.
”Okay! ” Ethans weapons included a steel net and a spear. His evolution was one we were all jealous of. He evolved into level 1 with an earth attribute spell, [Metal Manipulation]. While its not as OP as a certain mutant comic book villain due to not being fast enough to be directly useful in combat and expends a ton of mana. It did help us all when Ethan crafted weapons for us using scrap metal. They came out pretty good too, and are expendable.
Ethan threw his net and it successfully bound the cat. He trust his spear into its ribs as it thrashed around. He held the chain connected to the net tightly in his other hand while he did his best to pin it with his spear. I also came around to the other side and stabbed into it with my sword.
After a short struggle, the cat eventually went limp. ”Whew! ” Everyone breathed out all the tension from the battle. ”That was a tough one. It had to have been a level 3 beast, right? ” Myra questioned.
”Yeah… probably. ” I answered. ”If I had used my [Rat Form] to attack it head on, I would have been torn to pieces. ” I had two forms I could currently use, Rat and Dog. [Rat Form] when cast, will cause a tail to grow. The tail is strong and can be used like another arm, and I also become much more nimble. I also carry a second sword just for my tail.
My [Dog Form] gave me dog ears and my sense of hearing and smell increase 1000 fold. Making me a very good scout.
”Ahh, found it! ” Ethan exclaimed as he pulled a beautiful mana crystal from the cats chest. The crystal shone like an aurora and it was about the size of a walnut. ”Hey, Jason. Do you want to eat this one? Its the first one from a cat weve found. ”
I took the mana crystal from Ethan and started at it for a moment before tossing it into my mouth. After a few moments I could feel power welling up from within me. As the imprint of the cats abilities settled down I could feel myself losing the dog. I had already known my current limit was 2 forms that I could keep. I activated the cat form right away to see what effect it would have.
A pair of cat ears appeared in place of my human ones and a cat tail grew from the base of my spine. (It seems I have night vision, hearing slightly inferior to the dog, and my balance has improved dramatically.) I chose to keep my rat form and gave up the dog, as the functionality of the rat tail was better combat-wise.
Myra seemed more excited than usual as she gazed at my cat ears with sparkling eyes. I could have sworn she mumbled something about petting them… Everyone else looked at me with anticipation, wondering about the effects.
”Ahem!… I can now see in the dark and my sense of balance is at the level of a shaolin monk. ” They all seemed impressed as I jumped and twisted my body as I swung my sword, landing on my feet perfectly, earning a few rounds of applause for my demonstration.
We had finished gathering the usable materials from the cat before proceeding on our way to finish our hunt. Donovan and I were on the threshold of level 2, and we were hoping to both evolve by the end of the day.
We continued to hunt for a few more hours before Donovan and I both felt the feeling of a level up. We all decided to make our camp in an abandoned pharmacy, and once settled in we let the process of evolution take over. The pain wasnt as bad as the first time but it felt pleasurable at the end.
I could feel it. As soon as the evolution ended, I got my second spell. I instinctively knew what it did. Ill call it [Beastman]. It was a second stage transformation. In other words I would transform with more qualities of the beast form Im using.
I stood up shakily, while Myra held my hand to support me. Ethan did the same for Donovan. I was curious so I asked him what he got and he answered, ”I got a new enhancement spell that gives bursts of strength. Ive decided to call it [Hercules]. ” He smiled brightly and gestured with a peace sign.
It only took another week this time for everyone to hit level 2. Myra had the Light attribute and her first spell was a healing spell and the second spell was a more powerful version. The first could heal wounds slowly with Myra having to touch her target, but the second could heal from 5 meters away when she shines the light in her hand at her target.
Ethans second spell was also a more powerful version of the original, allowing metal to be manipulated faster and more intricately, but still wasnt effective in combat. The weapons and armor he made were of higher quality though.
Cynthia had the attribute of fire and her first spell was [Flame Wisp], a fireball that circled her and attacked when enemies came into range. Her second spell added a second wisp and was now able to attach them to her arrows using them for attack.
Marie got a Dark attribute spell that she named [Mirage], which shrouded an enemy is a haze of darkness creating Illusions she conjures up to confuse or disorient the opponent. I could sometimes see her sulking about having the Dark attribute when she was originally a nun. She would often look at Myra in jealousy.
I found that the mana usage of second level spells used a much larger amount of mana compared to level 1. While hitting level 2 increased our total by almost double, the consumption of the same level spells was massive.
Days passed us by as we repeated a routine we had developed for ourselves. We moved district to district hunting and making camp wherever suited us. If we needed water we could scavenge bottled water and if we needed food there was canned goods and beast meat.
As we traveled we had been able to observe how the beasts form thier territories. Some areas had higher leveled beasts than others usually consisting of a specific type.
Currently we were in District 3, which is near the northwestern side of the city. We had avoided District 1and 2, as those areas were the center of the city and powerful beasts we didnt dare approach dwelled there.
”It must be because the city zoo was in district 2. ” Ethan stated as we ran away from a tiger beast that was the size of a pick up truck, before it could see us. ”What we have been fighting so far is small animals that have mutated. But the big cats at the zoo are on another level. ” Everyone nodded in agreement.
”Should we move our hunt further west? ” Marie asked.
”How about we go check out the shelter that guy mentioned yesterday. ” Donovan said, reminding us about the passerby we happened upon.
He had told us he came from a larger group, settled in a gated community. Apparantly a few of them managed to evolve an Earth Attribute. They reinforced the existing brick walls with a layer of earthen walls and they also built defensive towers to help keep the beasts out.
”I also vote we go there. ” Myra seconded his opinion. And in the end we all voted to go there as well.
We were walking through district 3 which is a business district with tall buildings, wide streets and narrow alleyways. But this area was special. The plants had grown wild and the entire place looked like a jungle. Trees grew through the buildings and vines hung everywhere the eye could see.
As we traversed this area we kept our guard up. I maintained level 1 of my cat form to keep a sharp eye out. My cat ears twitched as they followed every sound heard. The sound of rustling leaves and the chirping of birds were the only sounds I heard until…
I heard the sound of something moving fast, cutting through the wind. ”Above us! ” I yelled.
Everyone jumped to avoid a hairy meteor. Dust flew up as it hit the ground we had just been standing. As the dust cleared we could make out its shape.
”What. The. Fuck. ” I couldnt help saying each word out loud. In front of us was what could only be described as a humanoid gorilla. When I say humanoid, I mean when the gorrila mutated, it didnt get bigger… it shrank.
The gorrila had a more compact body. it had the appearance of a well trained human male but with a slender gorilla face and two fangs jutted down from its lips. But the oddest thing about it was it seemed to hold more intelligence that the other beasts we have fought.
It sported a loin cloth made from what looks like dog pelt. It held a crude spear made from a large stick and a fang for the spearhead. It exuded a pressure we had only felt from a distance before. A Level 4 beast.
We could comfortably kill level 3 beast now as a group, but we honestly didnt know if we could win this one with no casualties…
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