Defying any sort of thoughts she might have had about this move, it was indeed a completely straight charge for her. She saw it all coming easily, he did nothing fancy to try to trick her about his move. There was no deception in his movements even as his eyes spoke nothing about it, but lies.

Yuki's fist extended out moving far faster than she expected. His speed suddenly seemed to increase within the proximity of her defense. Somehow he was matching or maybe exceeding her demon enhanced human attributes. Anumera did not understand how his human form could match her so effortlessly. And even more, she could not block his skillful maneuver that slipped through her defenses.

A clean hit landed on her jaw knocking her back and tripping her up in surprise. The Demon Lord fell down not expecting to be floored in a single punch by a human using no powers. 'What happened?!' Anumera laid on her back staring up at the smoke tainted sky paused for the moment. She tried to process everything that happened in the instant.

Through her mind the attack ran on repeat to dissect each frame of it. It was a simple attack with no flair or attempt to trick. There was nothing that she could find in it to be different. 'What was that?! Nothing about it makes any sense. He had no sort of presence to make seem anywhere at my level yet he moved faster than I could react. No feint, no misdirection, he got me with a straight jab and nothing more!'

Watching the demon carefully, he could tell that the hit hurt her pride more than her body. It might have been strong hit, but it was not going to be enough to take her down. 'She's going to be caught up in what happened there for a bit. If I was a less honorable sort, I'd have killed her already. But with this I made it a fair enough fight all things considered.' Yuki waited for the demon to recover from the hit before continuing their fight.

Anumera could not come to an answer that made any sense to her. Between thoughts, she snapped back to reality to see Yuki waiting on her. She knew that she could not embarrass herself further by lying on her back before the enemy. "You surprised me there," she admitted wiping her jaw where Yuki hit her.

'Her composure is shaken, good…' Switching back to his fighting stance, he signaled to the demon his readiness to continue.

The Demon Lord matched the stance no longer taking Yuki lightly. 'He's back to the fight as though nothing is different. The confidence he has is stronger than ever.' Anumera felt a bit of sweat drip down her face. It was unnerving seeing a human have such a commanding presence on the battle and over her. She never expected to face such an enemy. Worse she still did not understand how he was so close to her equal displaying nothing unique or extraordinary.

Resuming their fight, Yuki made the first move again with the demon holding defense trying to understand him. Different from the first punch, a feint went out that she blocked with greater skill than she had shown before. Immediately, a glance from Anumera's eyes picked up on what Yuki feared. 'She's already noticed. She's not master of this art for nothing…' Even with her seeing it, there remain enough time for him finish with the maneuver and connect through her defenses sending her stumbling back.

Unlike before Anumera held her ground less taken off guard by the hit, but still stunned. She left the smudged mark on her cheek while examining what she saw. 'Something wrong… He's as fast or faster than me, but it's not because his moves match that of my demonic attributes. Rather I'm not moving as fast as I should be…' That realization hit her harder than either of Yuki's hits. She did not understand how it could be happening.

She tested out the theory that she started to form going on the attack to see what her reaction time was actually. Feints and counters, she danced around with Yuki exchanging blows that never landed. Each one did not have the same sort or strength behind it that she expected. There was no force of nature with her blows or even his. The only shaking came from the unstable earth still unhappy with the destructive force sent to it by human hands.

Nothing in their fight felt like she would expect if she used her true strength. Worse even, she was actually trying to apply more than enough power to disintegrate a human with just the force of her fist through the air, yet all it did was land with an uneven thud against Yuki's forearm. No wounds or real damage came from either of them.

The troubled Lord slid away from Yuki after they finished their dance. 'We've only managed to bruise our arms a little from that. Nothing is like it should be. I'm not moving normally, but it's not like I'm moving slowly, I am, but not the way I would think. I'm moving as quickly as I want, but it's not the same. And it's not even that it feels as though something is weighing me down. I just feel like I'm using the full extent of my abilities, yet it's no where to the level it should be.'

Unable to solve the riddle placed before her, she stared at Yuki knowing that it was something that he did to her. "What are you doing to me?"

"Trying to hit you, I'm pretty sure," he remarked feinting ignorance with her.

"You know what I mean. I know what you're playing at, but I want an answer from you!"

"A little frustrating fighting someone that you can't understand?"

"You're not like other warrior priests and monks. You aren't using chants, talismans or relics. It's something else!"

"That will be the great mystery for you to solve. Because this is a fight, a battle in a war where there is no such thing as good sportsmanship. Did you really think I would explain what it is that happen? The first step to defeat is explaining your powers, I'm not so full of myself to be doing such things."

"Tch!" She ground her teeth together more disappointed with herself for getting caught up in her own frustrations to have led her to that outburst. It was an obvious answer that she knew too well. He should keep what he did to her a secret. The advantage in the fight laid square on him because of it. As a tactician he would have to be a fool to give up that superiority.

Staring at Yuki, the part of her frustration with his strange ability started to fade. Accepting it as the reality she had to deal with was all she could now. There was no changing what the fight had become. "Very well then." Anumera regained her composure ready to face Yuki properly.

Chapter 448 – Tactician's Trick

Yuki grimly narrowed his focus on the demon. 'That flipped quickly. She's given up on trying to figure me out and just going to fight as is. Time to move onto the next phase…' He stood ready to start the fight again with the Lord. Unlike before Yuki took a defensive position waiting to see what she would do next.

'This isn't getting anywhere as things stand right now. We could keep punching each other, but he definitely skilled with the martial arts making us even. I have to pull the advantage back to my side.' She dropped her stance in favor of an open posture. Lifting her hand into the air and opening her palm flat a white energy emitted from her hand.

The change in attack made it clear to him that things moved along as he expected them. 'She's going to her ability now. It made the most sense after what I showed her. The real question now becomes if I can handle whatever her power is…' Despite all of the planning that he put into the fight, he still had unknowns that he could not plan anything around. He could only be reactive to her now. 'She wants control…'

'Let's see if you're good enough to dodge the speed of light!' A flicker of light shined off her hand in an odd manner almost like it was reflective. Channeled through her hand, the white energy gathered into her index finger and pointed at Yuki. Unleashed at an impossible speed, the white beam impacted sharply upon Yuki with the energy being released outward.

Smoke kicked up with the earth being rattled by the blast. He disappeared behind the clouds of debris with Anumera unable to clearly see what happened. 'My sight is not as sharp as before. It happened too fast for me to see anything… This is annoying…' Only the brief sound that she heard which mixed into the rest of the noise gave her a gut instinct that things were not right. The results would have been different had it actually hit the target.

"A beam attack," commented Yuki through the smoke giving her the confirmation she already expected that he was unharmed by the attack. "I figured you would have had something different as your power."

"I wouldn't be getting over confident. I haven't displayed the full range of my capabilities."

"No, I don't imagine you would have. This was just merely a test to see what would happen."

"I'm impressed you were able to negate the attack though. Seems more creativity will be required." Anumera could finally see Yuki once more and he had nothing more than a little dirt on him from the attack. He truly had managed to deflect or negate the attack. 'Unless he's been holding back on me, which I didn't feel in our exchange before, he's not as fast to be able to react to the speed of light. Which means the only conclusion can be that he had a defense prepared before hand. He's a clever man…'

Anumera went to focus for her next attack, but Yuki no longer kept a static position. He ran to the side working to keep her aim from finding a clean target. While she charged her attack she tracked his movement noticing that she had trouble even seeing him as he got further away. When she released her beam, it completely missed without going anywhere near to where he was. 'Damn it, I'm not used to this drop in my physical capabilities. If he wasn't doing something to me I would have had perfect accuracy.'

She had no choice but to follow after him. 'He's obviously leading me away into traps he set, but I don't have any choice if I want to hit him. I need to get closer. I need to understand his methods more. I need to see more of his traps to understand the way he works. Only then can I put together a strategy to defeat him.' The Demon Lord continued to be troubled by Yuki leading the fight around. Taking the pace back had not been as easy as she hoped.

Allowing the demon to close in closer to him, Yuki, like her, needed more information. 'A white beam could be anything, the easy answer is that it's just her demonic energy, but I doubt it would be that simple…' Yuki activated another defense to block the beam coming at him. The range between them no longer made him confident in his dodging ability. 'I need to force her to use more of her power so I can gauge what it is…'

The two ran around the uneven field keeping their fight from getting very intense. Each tested out the other trying to draw out more power and not wanting to tip their hand. However, both also knew that it could not last for long. Due to the effect that Yuki placed on the Lord, her stamina would not be the same as it was before. They would not last forever in such a fight. Someone would have to make a move soon.

First to make a move was Yuki, no longer using defense against her. Before her next attack went out, a chunk of earth that had been broken free from the volcanic erupts turned up to completely guard Yuki from the beam as well as remove him from sight.

Yuki knelt down seeing the beam pierce straight through the earth narrowly missing his head. 'I could feel the heat off that…she guessed well…' A bit of sweat ran down his face built up from all of his running. 'Now's a good enough time for it.'

A pressure difference suddenly built up in front of him as a visible distortion appeared. Focused forward, the pull was not nearly as strong as it started to make the hunk of earth crumble before it finally went critical. Rapid acceleration from the air pressure change and stabilizing of it sent a burst at the earth.

Hurling as an unwieldy mass towards the demon, Anumera gritted her teeth bothered with the turn of events. She rapidly built up energy allowing it to release in micro bursts directed to slice up the chunk. Only smaller pieces of debris rained down around her, but through the cloud of smoke Yuki appeared bringing up his leg with a powerful spin kick that caught her in the arm.

The Demon Lord went staggering to the side nearly knocked off her feet again, but she stubbornly returned with a fist glowing white. It only grazed him, but his skin boiled almost instantly before he knocked her arm away. Grinding his teeth through the pain he delivered an open palm hit to the stomach of the demon.

They paused in their attacks to take a breath and analyze what they looked. While their bodies were still able to keep going, shows of some shortness of breath started appear. Nothing would stop them from continuing to fight though. It had not gotten that bad for either.

Yuki held his hand up to his burned cheek feeling the sting. 'She didn't even make a direct hit on me… Whatever her power is, it's lethal from heat alone…' He did not get as much as he hoped from the attack. It at least worked well for him, since he knew that she came up with about as much as him from the brief exchange.

'This human…he continues to keep things well hidden… Whatever he's doing I'm not able to see anything or recognize it as something I've seen before. He's not even making a motion when activating his ability. What is it that he doing?!' Their short round of hits pushed her to action. "You're right. The fairness of a fight to the death is meaningless."

'What's she planning now?' Words alone made it ominous for him and he still did not understand her powers. He prepared whatever defense he could against while leaping back to gain some distance for her next attack.

"Whatever your ability is, won't save you from this!" Pointing at Yuki, suddenly the space around him starts to go dim. In seconds a completely black void covered the entire area where Yuki stood leaving him unable to see even his hands.

'All the lights gone! I can't see anything!'

To be continued…