They all gave him affirmative replies with the battles becoming marked out. Guri leapt down crunching the earth with his impact. An eager rage boiled beneath the smirking confidence that he bore as he marched forward. He stopped in front of Seiji staring down at him, a hulking mass of muscle and masculinity. "Show me what you got, boy!"
"You're a tall bastard as well," a cocky Seiji answered back not having a judge of their scale as they all were unnaturally tall other than the old man.
"What getting scared now?"
"No just thinking how annoying it'll be that I won't be able to punch that smirk off your face. But I can settle with taking the wind out of your sails!" Seiji wound up his arm quickly to deliver a straight jab for the gut of the demon, but it was caught in his palm, blocked with ease. The shockwave from the hit rattled the earth.
"Got a little punch there, boy!" He wound up his arm to return the favor back to Seiji. "But let me show you how to really throw a punch!" The speed on it was deliberately slow giving Seiji all the time to block, but it still knocked him off his feet and sent him flying far away back towards the Capital. Guri disappeared in the next instant to give chase.
Hearing the wind whistling in his ear, Seiji had managed to keep himself together during the hit, but he had no flight ability like that of Yumi. 'Damnit! I blocked that punch and I'm still feeling the sting from it.' Having felt the unsettling presence of the demonic aura pouring out from the mass during their recon, he understood partly what it meant. But in a way, he sort of hoped that the massive amounts of demons that disguise each equaled more than it was implied. The one punch made it very clear that the truth from Manekamaru was accurate.
It was not lost him either how much Guri held back in the hit. The amount remained a mystery, he could only speculate to the true strength of the Demon Lord. But it clearly did not hit him with anything close to the full strength. 'It's been a while since I've felt something like this…'
Chapter 443 – Challenging the Mountain
Crashing into the Capital, Seiji disappeared into the cloud of smoke and debris. The hit from Guri directed him into the abandoned part of the market district of the Capital. A long path of destruction from Seiji's impact left stalls in ruined tatters and homes cleaved in two.
Seiji coughed up from the shock on his body. He still could not see through the veil of gray that fought him. However, his stomach felt the sickening feeling of a demonic energy. A feeling that left a permanent reminder on him. 'He's nearby…' Just the feeling was enough to make him sweat.
Dropping into the open court of one of the many markets, Guri looked around at the state of the Capital. In all of the fighting and the war, they had never breached the city. The humans had managed to keep them away from it. Even reaching the sight during the war itself sat as a milestone. In the past, it might have been considered an achievement in the war, but now it carried so little weight in the words.
Humans had grown so weak after the war, he became disappointed with the country. He might have remained the only active Lord in the entire time since the war, but he hardly played a direct role in the administration of the West. Most of his subordinates managed the day to day running of the country. He just kept an eye out for anything that might have interested him.
Yumi's emergence gave him exactly the interest that he wanted. She killed many of his soldiers and other Lord's as well. The mystery of a woman slaying demons within their land without fear seemed almost too good to be true. Upon seeing her in the flesh, he realized that it was. She was not what he hoped for. Seiji too did not meet with his desire. But he survived his first fist, so he could have some entertainment for a bit. "You're an impressive one for a human."
Walking towards the voice, Seiji managed to break through the streams of smoke to see the demon once more. "I'd say you're impressive for a demon, but I haven't fought enough to have a good measure."
The Lord laughed a deep and rattling tone. "You've got guts too, kid. But I'm going to have to adjust that statement about you. You're an oddity. No damage from a hit like that and you used no spell either. You definitely aren't like the rest of those Hunters that rely on talismans and spells for defense."
"I don't use anything like that!" Seiji threw up his fist with a flex showing off his refined muscle of his forearm. "I'll only use my strength to beat you!"
Such bold declarations made the demon smirk. "You will be an interesting fight. I can't count the years it's been since I've had such a fight!" Accepting the offer, Guri stretched out his arms as they fell into a martial stance unlike anything that Seiji had experienced before.
Tension mounted for Seiji as the fight bordered on beginning in earnest. He only had so much preparation for the fight. All his mental training focused his mind. Nothing went into his body. He had to rely on the same thing he had from the last encounter with demons. It did little to boost his confidence. 'Feels what it was like going up against Yuki back in our Junior High days…'
Far in the distance the sky dyed red and black from the eruptions presented a far darker image for their battlefield. It felt like they readied for battle at the end of the world with the apocalypse already in progress. Nothing that they could do would prevent the destruction of life. All they fought for was the pride in knowing who would be the last one standing before it all went up in flames.
"Entertain me, boy."
'He wants me to go first. He really thinks so little of me.' Seiji could not really argue as much as he wanted against Guri. He knew how out of his league he was against the Lord. None of that could stop him from the fight.
Pressing his foot against the earth, Seiji started in earnest with his attack. Cracking beneath his foot, he launched forward with a straight punch. Guri took it head-on blocking him with an open palm. Wind caught up to his movement blasting out behind the demon kicking away loose debris. "Definitely got more of your shoulder behind that hit," Guri complimented to Seiji. The smirk had not disappeared yet. He was not bored. But Seiji was going to have to show a better game to keep him interested in the long term.
'Damn, hoped to budge him a little with that. Monster's built like a mountain…' Seiji jumped back quickly as a reflex just as Guri's massive fist came out. It only grazed him, but still sent him sliding back. The size of his fist alone made it harder than normal to block, his height made him inhuman already. Seiji had never had to fight against someone like this that was human in appearance, but scaled up. It threw him off thinking it was just like any other human. Just his hand could fit easily around his head like cracking a nut.
"You've got good instincts, boy." Guri stared at Seiji inviting him for another round. The immoveable mountain and the stubborn beetle. Seiji darted back into the fray unleashing a barrage of punches this time on Guri. Each had less power than his first, but came faster than before. Speed started to be his only guess at breaking through the defense of the demon.
Strength alone was not going to be enough against the Lord. Seiji understood that well from just the first exchanges. The power difference was too wide. Nothing he had could compete with the demon. Yet with the size, he might stand a chance trying to slip hits through. Though even that was not enough. Each punch he threw was effortlessly blocked by the demon. Guri had more than just strength as his defense.
Jumping back from his attempt, Seiji measured up the demon. No movement came from him still. He might have countered once, but he still seemed to be trying to find something interesting from Seiji. Such notions of being toyed with only frustrated him further with his failures. 'Can't make any progress… I've got to find something that works against him!'
In stark contrast to any of his previous opponents, Guri was the highest hurdle for him to reach. Past opponents he always felt like he had a chance against, even if they seemed stronger or had the advantage in powers. He could still win against them with the right effort. This seemed nearly impossible from the start.
Impossible or not, Seiji charged back in knowing he had keep the struggling going. The results remained the same with none of the hits landing successfully against Guri. He countered with a simple punch that Seiji struggled to block. It flipped him over to crash into the ruined building nearby them.
Coughed up in smoke, debris hid Seiji underneath the wreckage. "Damnit…" The weight of the building on him hardly even was noticed. He only thought about the punch from Guri. It came faster than before and stronger. The demon started to escalate things for him. Yet he felt that he already hit his limit.
Casting the debris aside, Seiji caught the fresh hot air of the Capital. His arm swiped through the air trying to clear away the smoke. It amounted to a minor success letting him see the Lord once more. 'I can still feel the sting this time. If I didn't know better, I'd swear it was broken…' All he received from the punch was a small knick that barely even bled.
"You're a resilient one, boy. I planned on breaking your arm with that hit."
"Guess you're just have to hit a little harder."
"Would seem that you're right." The earth started to quake and rumble from the pressure being released by Guri. Parts of the ruined buildings collapsed fully from the shaking. A soft red glow came from Guri as he tapped into more of his strength.
Sweat dripped down Seiji's body as he felt the change from the demon. "Damn it all to hell…I knew he was strong, but this is absurd!" He did not know what was going to happen to him anymore now that the demon started to get serious. The warm-up for him seemed to be over.
Seiji braced himself for the next strike and tried to channel everything that he had. 'I need every little bit of strength I can find! This is do or die now!' Earth cracked under his feet as he dug in searching for any hidden wells of power to tap into. Such places were in short supply for him. He did not have the same sorts of additional abilities to reach for like the others. Strength of his body was the only thing he could rely on in the fight.
'Focus!' he snapped at himself as a stray thought tried to tempt him away. Seiji dug into all the power that he could muster for the demon. The next hit would determine for him if he could survive in the fight.
The ground calmed down with a sigh from its tired soul. A long day already passed for it with the rending force of the volcanic eruption and now beings of unimaginable power threatened it further. It could only have a moment of rest.
Just like before Guri remained static in his place begging for Seiji to enter into his field. Gritting his teeth hard to hear them scrap painfully together, Seiji tightened up as he prepared to accept the invitation. Every part of his body throbbed with pressure. It knew the danger coming. Death was a very real possibility. It was an outcome that he had no way of knowing if he could live. Strength of his will could only take him so far and this demon made that limit be felt. He had barely even start the fight too.
Seiji pressed into the earth for a launch. Shooting out at his top speed, he streaked through as a blur, but still easily tracked by Guri. The force of Seiji's charge was enough to throw up the loose stone tile of the market center and shoot it out like bullets both ahead of him and to the side. Shards of debris sprayed Guri bouncing off or disintegrating upon impact of his body.
A wider smirk grew over Guri's face witnessing the intensity of Seiji's charge. He blocked Seiji with his forearm as his muscles absorbed the impact. Blasts of wind and shockwaves ripped through the district from Seiji's impact. The ground compressed from Guri's bracing as it could not withstand the power any longer.
For all the spectacle of his punch, little happened to the demon other than shrinking a little in the height difference from the ground lowering. Guri made the difference clear as he grabbed Seiji's arm opening him up for a direct strike.
Heightened in the instant, Seiji could see the fist Guri made as it came to him. Even though his eyes could see the movement, his body was unable to react to his response. It was too slow to do anything and pinned by Guri. 'I'm dead!'
Delivered straight inside his defense, Guri's fist smashed into his chest with a cracking of bone heard through his body. Seiji immediately coughed up blood from the strike and his eyes shrank from the shock. The force of the fist traveled through his body pulling it away from Guri. His body flew through the air over the streets of the Capital crashing through building after building unable to stop.
Lord Guri stared monitoring the scene. The smirk faded away for him as Seiji continued unable to stop. "Would seem this is your limit. For a human you were definitely interesting, though foolish for challenging me with nothing, but your fists."
To be continued…