‘Silhouette’, the ability of ‘Dark Stalker’, dyes one’s body black and conceals any type of presence.
The presence of the undead is already milder than a living person, but when I use this ability, my presence becomes so weak that it even surprises me.
‘Silhouette’ is a very fuel inefficient ability. It might be even more fuel inefficient than the ‘Cursed Flames’ I stole from Man-Eater.
I can only activate it for a short time even with all the considerable power I have as a Lesser Vampire and I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to keep it activated all the time in the future either.
Nevertheless, if I pour even more blood power into this fuel inefficient ability―― I can completely become a ‘shadow’.
The amount of power required for it is probably too much to be provided by ‘Dark Stalker’. But this ability is well suited for assassination.
Even with my senses as a vampire that far surpasses those of a human, I wouldn’t be able to notice if I was attacked with this ability.
It’s understandable why ‘True Vampires’, who inherit the abilities from their previous evolutions are so feared.
The undead Senri senses are huddled together right below the steep cliff where the castle was built.
They’re wrapped in black outfits and their presence is so weak that they’re almost melting into the darkness, but my eyes can’t be deceived.
We approach from the leeward. Perhaps Senri’s using some kind of ability, her presence behind me is weak. The undead are usually sensitive towards the presence of the living, but this way, we don’t have to worry about being noticed.
The group made little to no noise but I sense the negative power that’s hard to hide.
This is ―― Sympathy. I can feel my kind. Maybe I’m sensing the same thing Death Knights use to find the undead.
They’re probably Skeletons. But I’m calm. They outnumber us, but judging from their strength I’m feeling, they pose no danger.
The Lord and Death Knights who I faced at the beginning held the power I could do nothing against. It was only by luck that I was able to defeat Albertus who I faced next and Rainel was also a threat worthy of his Demon King title.
Compared to them, this group is far inferior. It’s ridiculous to even try comparing them. They might even be weaker than the mob I fought at Rainel’s army.
When I was under the Lord, I couldn’t take on multiple Skeletons at the same time. When did this power gap open up between us?
Of course it’s not bad that they’re weak.I turn back and put my index finger in front of my mouth before Senri.
The undead are hostile towards the living, but I might be able to talk with them. Of course, this is under the assumption that they can understand language. Killing them wouldn’t be too hard so trying wouldn’t hurt.
Perhaps understanding my intention, Senri frowns and moves back. We have a tacit understanding.
After I purposefully make a sound, I reveal my presence and walk in front of the skeletons.
The group hiding their faces with black coats raise their heads. As expected, they’re Skeletons.
A hard sound of bones rubbing against each other. An eerie red light is illuminating the depth of their dark eye sockets.
The most common undead that appear naturally are Zombies, followed by Wraiths. For Skeletons to appear, there needs to be a certain amount of bone left, so they have an unexpectedly high hurdle for being created naturally.
Everybody in the Skeleton group was covering their bodies with black leather armor. This, included with the fact that they were moving in a group made it obvious that they were not a natural phenomena.
Well then, how should I communicate with them? I had the experience of interacting with Skeletons when I was with the Lord, but I was completely ignored there. Now that I think about it, I’m not very good at communicating.
I wasn’t sure what to say, so for the time being I raised my right hand while fiddling with my sunglasses.
"Hi there, nice night we’ve got here. What are you doing, my skeleton friends?"
Skeletons didn’t attack me. They only looked at me and rattled their teeth.
Skeletons are also the undead. They’re envious of the living. They’re not attacking me because most likely they’ve realized that I’m their kin. In other words, I can say that my expectation was correct.
I observe them with a smile. Skeletons are 10 in total. They’re all armed, and on top of that, they also have a leader.
It’s a Skeleton with black bones. ‘Black Bone’, the result of the evolution of the Skeleton.
From what I know, perhaps because Skeletons don’t have skin, they have a hard time accumulating negative energy. The fact that it has evolved means that it’s a relatively strong enemy.
I check the weapon of Skeletons close to me. Most Skeletons are holding a rugged, dark grey sword.
The length of its blade is long, but it’s not silver so it won’t be much of a problem. Only the leader is holding something long but it’s not made of silver either.
The fact that it’s somebody that managed to evolve means that it has a considerable intelligence.
"We’re all dead here so let me join your guys too."
When I talked to them in a friendly manner, Skeleton in front nodded strongly and opened the way. Looks like they’re gonna let me join them.
Until now I’ve always been hated by the living except Senri and my father but it looks like the dead are kinder. Skeleton the Lord was keeping (by the way, I dubbed him Jack), was unfriendly but maybe he was just similar to his creator.
I triumphantly join the enclosure of Skeletons. I felt indescribable familiarity from their dark eye-sockets.
―― And, I catch the sword that’s swung down on me by rotating my body.
"Sorry, please spare me from having my clothes torn."
I haven’t bought any spares. If my clothes get ruined, Senri will once again demand that I turn into Baron.
Skeletons start rattling at once. It’s an eerie scene, but it doesn’t induce any fear in me.
It’s useless. I’m alert. Even without the scent or the sound, I can feel the slightest movement in the wind. I can’t afford to be taken by surprise each time forever.
The skeletons swing their blades down at once. I crouched and cut the white, smooth and sturdy femur in front of me with a machete.
A hard response. Skeletons are made of human bones, but their sturdiness is much higher than the former. But the thick blade of ‘Blood Ruler’ easily cuts it apart. I shake off the blade and leave the broken enclosure.
I frown at the response I felt.
By the way, this is the first time I’ve cut the dead except for the Lord’s ghost with this weapon.
The sensation transmitted to my hands was very obviously different from when I cut living monsters.
The thick blade that cut Skeletons off had a wet luster. It was an already dignified machete, but I don’t think it had this kind of brilliance?
Looks like the Lord was intending to fight with his friends. He didn’t give a hint of that when he was alive. What a truly two-faced man.
Skeletons slowly made a big circle around me. Although I could see proficiency in their footwork, their abilities on an individual level were not on par with Jack, who the Lord commanded. Since they’re the same kind, it must’ve been the quality of the materials that was different.
"That was self-defense. Let’s talk it out."
I talk to ‘Black Bone’, who has a larger build than others.
In its hand is a weapon known as a halberd. It’s a powerful equipment with a good reach that can be used for cutting, stabbing or scything down enemies. It’s difficult to handle, but it’s said to be unrivaled in close combat in open places and battles between humans.
Its heaviness is supposed to be its weakness, but since my enemy is an undead, that weakness might as well not exist. It looks like even its handle is made of silver, but Black Bone is lifting it easily.
The black Skeleton is stepping in. A blade with a sufficient force behind it comes down at me with the speed of a whirlwind.
He’s strong. He has mastered it. I barely evade that strike by moving back.
The blade that looks like an ax cuts the ground shallowly and the soil scatters. Only the sound of cutting the wind echoes through the moonless night sky.
The slash is sharp and smooth. At the very least, it’s not just an ordinary soldier. If it was a human, it would be called a veteran soldier.
But unfortunately I’m not a human and neither is Black Bone.
That series of attacks was the technique allowed only to the veteran fearless fighters, but it was too fragile to be used in a fight between monsters.
I completely saw through the flowing onslaught. I forcibly block the sideways slash from above that utilized gravity and centrifugal force, with Blood Ruler.
A high-pitched metallic sound echoes. The halberd is flung away with great force. This slash that would be impossible to properly receive by humans is nothing in front of a Lesser Vampires like me.
The opponents I have fought so far have all been huge in size. Size is strength. The jet-black Skeleton is bigger than me, but he lacks muscle and he’s too light.
I catch the halberd that draws the arc in air with the momentum of being flung away and swoops down on me by grabbing it with my left hand.
An impact runs through my whole body and my feet creak a little. But that’s it. That alone stopped the continuous attacks. It didn’t have any effect on me. I haven’t received any wounds even as little as a scratch, so I pretty much haven’t used any blood power.
I put more strength in it and steal the halberd. Black Bone is strong, but my physical strength is stronger.
I’ve surely gotten stronger. As I’m earnestly engrossed in my thoughts, Black Bone, who had his weapon stolen, rushed at me without hesitation.
It was completely unexpected. I’m not sure where he got it from, but hanging around his waist was a knife with a relatively long blade. But it wasn’t just an ordinary knife.
It had a silver sheen to it. Judging from its vigour, it wasn’t concerned for its body. He trampled the ground, his attack full of killing intent unimaginable to be coming from Skeleton.
―― I ‘lightly’ knock away that surprise attack with the handle of the stolen halberd.
The sound of bones breaking. Black Bone that’s bigger than me is lightly blown away and pierces into the cliff. The silver knife rolls on the ground.
"Don’t think that surprise attacks will keep working. I’m learning too."
No matter how strong I am, they immediately try to burn, cut, stab me with surprise attacks. It’s unbearable to have my clothes ruined so many times.
The only thing that could make me let my guard down right now is Senri’s seduction.
The surrounding Skeletons perceived their leader’s defeat and dispersed in all directions. Looks like they don’t intend to take revenge. I pick up a stone rolling at my feet and throw it at one of the fleeting Skeletons.
A stone the size of a fist flies in a straight line, crushing the skulls of the Skeletons. A Skeleton flies high in the air and falls down on the ground. I haven’t practiced throwing, but it looks like the athletic ability of vampires is generally excellent.
I rush out and cut the fleeing Skeletons in order with Blood Ruler. I’m faster than them and I can feel their presence too. Now that I’ve come this far, this is my job. I haven’t accomplished my goals, but it wasn’t the kind of atmosphere where I could negotiate so it can’t be helped.
After I properly kill all of them, Senri appears.
It hasn’t been long since the fight. Plus, I ended everything without ruining my clothes. I wonder what she thought about how I fought.
As I’m excitedly waiting for my evaluation, Senri says with a chilly look.
"End, signs of the undeads inside the castle have disappeared. All the undead around are heading towards the castle. Something happened… we should hurry up."