Saki stared a little in disbelief as Yuki flew off with the demon. She knew that he was going to fight, but he seemed to be taking it the least seriously as any of them. But she did not have much time to react as the remaining demon appeared in front of her, a tall demon woman with an imposing figure while still hard to decipher. 'She's fast… I only saw a brief blur before she was gone.' Sweat dripped down as she stared up at the woman. The simplicity and grace without any of the bloodlust.
This was a demon in a completely different class. She had never faced an opponent like her before. Saki tilted her head in a new direction to put them away from the others. Disappearing, she pushed her speed to test out the demon finding the obvious results that she kept up with ease.
Glancing behind her at the woman, she could still see the Capital on the horizon. She wanted more distance from the others. 'Seiji went into the Capital to fight and Yuki flew off nearby and I don't even know about Yumi. I don't really want to be fighting in the same area as three other Demon Lords. Who knows what could happen when they put their power on display…' The feelings of their power was enough of a reminder for her.
Her body still felt what it was like approaching the one that Masa had killed. She never actually saw their fight, but that was more than enough for any of them. That sickening feeling like having a flu, but not being really sick, a feeling of wanting to throw up and peel off your skin just to get rid of the disgusting feeling. Saki could never forget get such a feeling and that was just the effect it had on her body with seeing the destructive capabilities of it. She really did not look forward to seeing it first hand.
Yet that was the path that she headed.
Such a path was not one that she had confidence in seeing the end. She knew nothing of this demon's abilities or what it would do to her. Only speculation and an over active imagination could answer it for her right now. And Saki wanted to bury every thought that came up with it. None of the thoughts were any good for her. She only hoped that it did not turn out nearly as badly as that.
'I'm finally starting to see the Capital fall behind the horizon. This should probably be far enough it.' In front of her was a different set of mountains than the one that Yuki blew up. The one that he used in his trap had only been a branch that came off of the primary range that ran down the entire length of Japan. The Capital was tucked in around the mountains with a pretty good defense, even if it was not actually built into the mountain itself. If this had been more of Yuki's fantasy she imagined that it would have been. But the city was built out on the plains, more of the foothills of the mountains if anything. It kept a long distance away from the slopes of the mountains.
But anywhere they would go in Japan would have mountains, so it was hardly much of a surprise for Saki to see more. Their grounds for the battle would not have the best of terrain for her. All of the hills coming off the mountains made it easy to lose sight and kept straight lines difficult. Though she could use it well for herself, it meant the same for the demon too. She had speed that effortlessly matched her own. This was not going to be like any of her previous fights.
Saki came to a short sliding stop on the grass surrounded by wild flowers. Had it been their world or maybe a different part of the country, this might have been farms or patties, but it was empty. Nowhere in her sight did a village appear. They could at least fight without risking others. 'This woman is fast. Am I even going to be able to surprise her? I'm so in over my head…'
Chapter 452 – Invisible Dance
The Demon Lord came to a stop only a few meters away from Saki. At their distance, they could land a hit without even the other seeing it before it was too late. It was an unnerving length to have given their strength. Saki tried to keep the sweat from pouring down her face. She had not even actually seen the demon fight and she was already so on edge against them. 'I never felt like this against the Atlanteans… I guess it's because I knew I had a chance at beating them because I understood how their powers worked. I'm going to have to play defensively until I understand what her powers are…'
Kokonemu looked down to Saki with a soft almost pleasant seeming face. It was not kind per say, but it lacked the killing intent that she had come to be used to from demons. Perhaps it was because she did not see her as an equal, so she did not have to be serious with the fight. It was difficult to judge with so little known. "I think I'm starting to see why Lord Hokuren and Lord Anumera are so interested in you."
"Interested in us?" Saki asked, finding this a bit of a surprise. She did not expect that the demons had any sort of notice of them. They were just more humans like the others, just ones that fought back.
She nodded to Saki, still not looking like she had an interest in fighting. "That's right. We've all been asleep for centuries after the war ended. There ceased to be anyone of interest in the world and being trapped here, we had nothing to do."
'I remember Yumi mentioning something to that effect from what she learned from Manekamaru. They got bored with the war and just wanted it to end. Yet now they're awake…' This casual conversation left Saki on edge. Despite all appearances to the contrary, she felt that they could start fighting at any moment. A strong defense would be her only chance right now. "I thought you woke up because one of your Lords died and you're out for revenge."
"That definitely is what woke us up. Even in our slumber we remained passively aware of things happening in this land. The passing of a Lord woke us up and Lord Guri is more interested in the revenge."
"But not the rest of you?"
"It can't be helped for him. He's still very young and lives only to fight. So he doesn't understand what we do."
"And what's that?"
"There is only emptiness in the path that he follows. As he matures, he'll understand that."
"So what, you're not here to fight?" She knew that was not the truth. They would not have come with their army to march on the doors of the Capital if they were not looking for a fight. Yet, reading from the face of the demon, she did get a hint of something else. As though the demon was being completely truthful and that she just did not see what the truth was yet.
They had a different goal in mind. At least, that was what she seemed to be seeing from her. But that did not make a lot of sense to her. What did the demons want if not to fight and to kill? Manekamaru's picture that he painted of them was a very different one. Perhaps it was because this world was influenced by the mind of Yumi that they turned out so contrary to their expectations.
Kokonemu made a side step still not making an active approach on Saki. "We're here for something else. But that doesn't mean we're not fighting."
The moment that she said that Saki became even more tense than before feeling like they were going to start immediately, yet they did not. The waiting that the demon made her go through only increased her anxiety further. "You're not making a lot of sense."
"No, I suppose not. But that's just how things are."
It finally felt like the chat came to an end. 'I don't think she's got anything more to go on about now. Which means I'm finally going to see what I'm up against.' All her preparations for the battle would be shown their proof.
An ever slight change in her stance was the only indication of anything. One moment, Saki was staring at the demon waiting for an attack and then next she was gone. It felt like she had blinked. Gone without even a hint of a trace. Then Saki sensed the unease of the demonic power that her body still could resist. It was like smelling pungent perfume on someone and knowing that they were in the room without even seeing them. You could not miss it because it was overpowering.
Saki turned around seeing the demon staring down at her once more. 'It was only after she moved that I noticed… Damn this is bad…' Despite the clear advantage, the demon did not attack. She seemed to be testing out Saki to see what her extent was before starting the fight.
Gritting her teeth together, she disappeared trying to get into the blind spot of the demon only to see her turned around and facing her. Her body shook feeling the weight of it. There was not even a blur that she could see. It was like she just flipped. 'This is creepy…I can't see her movements…'
The demon silently seemed to insist on Saki continuing. She almost felt like she was before a parent that wanted their child to do them proud and show how far that they had come. They wanted to see them surpass them, but knew that it was impossible. So they looked for the seeds that would eventually grow to become that which that wanted.
Nothing of that sort of maturity was what Saki could display for the demon. Each of her seemingly flawless dashes to get around the demon failed. 'I still can't see her! I'm watching her for any sort of hint…' Saki moved each time in a deliberate way so that she could test out the demon. The speed that she had was too much for her. She needed something to go by or else their fight would not last for long. Yet each movement that the demon made was beyond her. Her eyes were not fast enough to even see it.
Sweat started to drip down the back of her neck. She froze in her spot no longer making an attempt to out maneuver her. 'Damn…this isn't even her full power and she's doing circles around me already…'
"You're quite impressive," the demon complimented.
Though for Saki it felt more like an insult or a taunt, or at best a back handed complimented. It was like a master saying to their student that they did well for a first try, but that they still had a long way to go before reaching their level. To make it even worse, she did not even sound condescending about it. She almost seemed genuine, unnervingly so. Sincerity that left her with a cold chill down her back. 'Is this her way of breaking my mind with these sorts of games?'
Saki did her best to keep it from bothering her too much, crossing her arms. "I'm not sure what sort of meaning that's supposed to have from someone doing circles around me."
"You don't use spells or chants like the others."
"What? Of course not, it's just physical speed, why would I?"
"And that makes you interesting."
"Just because all of the Hunters use their talismans and chants to do this?"
"You're not like those that we're used to fighting against. A physical strength that surpassing human limits. This is why Lord Hokuren is so curious about you."
'Except that we still don't even compare to any of you. What's so interesting when they're still stupidly over powered…'
The Demon Lord suddenly made a shift in her stature. She no longer seemed to be passive about the whole fight, if it could be even called one yet. Up until now, it only seemed like it was a practice match or some test. It hardly even seemed like something that could be a warm up for the demon. But that was changing now. She looked ready to fight in earnest.
Saki quietly ground her teeth together seeing the signs. This was not going to be the same sort of fight anymore. Dancing around the area with dodges to see who was the fastest was not enough for her. 'Am I even going to be able to take a single hit?' The strength of the demon even in her human form had to be immense and Saki did not have the same sort of durability that Seiji did. She might have been strong compared to Atlanteans or even other transformed Japanese, but this had nothing on the same level.
Tension mounted down her back as she tried to bring everything that she had to bare against the demon. Even getting a struggling fight seemed like an impossible dream at the moment, but it was the only thing that she could hope for right now. 'If I can just see one punch then maybe I have a chance! I need to see it. Focus, Saki! Watch and look…see everything like you were taught…'
Spreading out her weight and balancing her center, Saki drew upon everything that she knew. Every lesson from her classes that she could use to see through the first strike. She needed her body to be strong and flexible. Reaction had to flow smoothly from rest to action. Eyes needed to read every muscle and twitch.
Heightened further by her concentration, she picked up the environment clearly. The empty sounds that lacked animals or birds, signs of their survival instincts. Nothing wanted to be near a volcanic eruption, let alone the terrible might of a demon. But even without the sound of animals, the wind whispered in her ear annoying her and distracting her mind. Each little sound that the earth made came to her. Pebbles bounced around from the subtle quaking of the earth caused by the violence near the Capital. It was too many sounds.
Saki closed them out completely focusing on the demon. She needed to listen for the slight movement if her eyes were too slow. Anything that her body's senses could give to dodge the first strike. Her body felt like a live wire energized with too many energy. It could jump at any moment with the slightest twitch.
Then the moment came. Kokonemu disappeared from her eyes with the same flawless movement. No blur or trail to detect for her eyes. Moments between seconds slowed down to moments in moments. Saki searched out in the time between to feel out for the demon's position. It was coming. She could feel the intent now. An attack that she had to dodge. 'I must dodge!'
To be continued…