"Man... it sucks..."
Nik sighed as he continued his journey towards the mist mountain. From Ceasar, he found out that the entire state is covered by four tall mountains with a single huge behemoth of a mountain right in the middle of the four mountains. Mist mountain was one of the five mountains that gave the state its name Warding Province.
Apparently, the formation of the mountain seemed to represent the ancient scriptures that would ward away evil beings like ghosts and demons, but as Nik encountered, demons still ran amok within the state.
The journey brought Nik towards a strange area where the morning mist was simply too heavy even if the atmosphere wasn't cold.
'Guess it's called the Mist Village for a reason...'
Nik mused internally as he continued stepping forward. Nik's appearance attracted gazes from the early village housewives that got up to prepare for the rest of the day. Since Ceasar did not specifically describe the meeting location, Nik could only assume the village itself wasn't the meeting point.
After thinking for a moment, Nik decided against chatting with some of the few beautiful housewives sending him gazes of curiosity and stepped forward. Although he had a whole year to join the Slayers, Nik still felt a little apprehensive.
If the system deemed one year as enough time for an average host to pass the quest, then it meant that he needed to train for a long time and also that the stuff he would be learning wouldn't be easy.
'I'll have enough time for shenanigans later.'
But Nik still did not have the heart to leave the beautiful and full housewives completely cold and dry. With a charming smile on his face, he nodded to everyone that would look towards him with a slight bob of his head before he passed the main street of the village and continued stepping up the only path to the mountain.
It was at this moment, Nik looked at his left. As if feeling the presence of someone watching him, Nik immediately used his [Life Vision] as a source of life-force far greater than the burly, yet, skimpily dressed youths named Ceasar and Jojo, possessed. It was in a league of its own!
But, this also assured him that Nik wouldn't be learning from an incompetent nobody. Even though Nik didn't know the true power system of this world, he did know that the vitality exuding from this being easily equalled to Brian's.
Until now, Nik already knew that Brian's weakest stat was his Vitality with other stats already hitting the 30 mark, the limit cap of a Rank 1 host. But his vitality still remained a little over 20.
So, in essence, the man hiding his presence was already at the top of the food chain.
'But why would he hide his presence? Does he wish to test me?
If so, what are the rules and the conditions? Since the man isn't willing to show himself, he must be waiting to find out something...
Or maybe... he is just a creep who likes to stalk?'
As multiple scenarios played within his consciousness, Nik felt another presence moving towards him. Using his [Life Vision] once again, Nik saw a total of six presence... one golden in colour while the other five were a mix-match of grey and black, unlike the malevolent crimson energy signatures of the demons.
'What the hell?'
Nik frowned and once again activated the skill only to observe the same result. Before long, a youth, probably seventeen years old, as apparent from his height and beat-up features, slowly limped towards Nik's direction. The eyes of the youth were crimson and even his black hair sported a crimson tint in each of its strands.
His clothes tattered and his face blue and swollen.
But the most surprising thing was that the youth did not even register Nik's presence as he simply walked past him, continuing towards the direction from where the astounding life force signature originated.
But the youth's whispers attracted Nik's attention.
"I did it... Nezuko...
I did it... Urokodaki... san..."
'Oh, well, might as well follow him.'
Nik shrugged and followed the youth.
(A/N: Yes, Nezuko in this world would be legalized. Deal with it!)
Although the slow pace of the youth really annoyed Nik, he still had to respect him, after all, even Nik could tell the youth was standing at the border of unconsciousness as he continued walking even in such a condition. After a few minutes, the duo came across a simple wooden hut that screamed of coziness as the warmth within the hut permeated in the surroundings.
Without giving any polite knock, the youth simply opened the door and with one last victorious whisper I returned he fell head first, if, Nik wasn't there, who simply caught him through the backside of his collars and kept him hoisted in a slanted angle.
"Are you... ehm... Sakonji Urokodaki?"
Nik looked back and found a masked man with his face covered by a red tengu mask and his body garbed in blue kimono imprinted with a wavy pattern and few white clouds design. Even though Nik could see his grey hair, from the side of the mask that exposed the remaining portion of his face, Nik couldn't see a single wrinkle.
'A young man?'
Nik speculated internally while the tengu-masked man nodded and asked in return.
"Are you Nik that forsook his family name to slay the demons?"
Nik nodded. Before leaving, his Earth Slasher had already found its sheath, but even then, Nik had decided to store it away.
"Alright, your training will start with Tanjiro tomorrow morning. Till then, you will stay with me, understood?"
Sakonji walked past Nik and picked up the boy named Tanjiro before placing him on the bed next to a beautiful girl. Pale skin and a peaceful expression on her face, but the scroll pressed against her face looked rather ugly.
Suddenly, his eyes widened.
"Wait, is that a..."
Sakonji muttered as he gently laid Tanjiro down while placing a heavy blanket over his body. Since it was the morning time, the mist did not seem to thin out, so Nik also grew a bit interested in the situation and entered the hut.
What followed was a proper description of the situation. Although, Sakonji did go out of his way to elaborate on the situation that the girl named Nezuko was not a hostile creature, he also managed to convey his own disgust and hostility against other demonkind. No person in this world seemed to be without an interesting history and Sakonji was also one of them.
Even then, Nik didn't pry because he was all too aware of what kind of history the man would have.
A bitter one, filled with loss that slowly steeled his will and determination which led Sakonji to become as strong as he is now.
"So, to sum things up, you are hiding the fact that the so-called 'Cultivator of the Swordsman' is housing a demon... so, you still had to accept Ceasar's recommendation since he himself is almost a 'pillar', was it?"
Nik looked up and inquired as Sakonji nodded. He finally opened his mouth and a raspy, yet, a deep voice emerged from behind the mask.
"Yes, and I request that you give these siblings a chance to prove themselves to the world..."
Sakonji bowed his head and spoke calmly, not a single ripple in his voice while Nik nodded.
"She hasn't eaten any human beings, correct?" Although, Nik wasn't the least bit affected by what the species of this world ate, he still had to act like he cared. Hearing Nik's words, Sakonji nodded once again.
"Yes, she did not taste a single drop of human blood. In fact, she hasn't eaten or tasted anything since her demonification."
Nik exhaled deeply and spoke up.
"Did... did Ceasar's tell you about me and my... ehm, Brian's circ.u.mstances?"
Sakonji nodded and calmly analysed.
"Humans and yet possessing strength rivaling low-ends demons that are already more than three times stronger than us humans. Not only that, you two completely butchered a demon so that it could no move even if it wished to find a source of energy to regenerate.
Not only me, but Ceasar's reports had also been sent to the headquarters and the newfound revelation of your methods had made the entire pillar rank focus on you two."
"So that is why you couldn't refuse, huh?"
Nik finally understood as he nodded.
"Yes. So, from now on, I will be teaching it you the method of the swordsman and also the core techniques that will allow you to face demons with a proper foundation."
Nik nodded hearing this and lowered his head slightly.
"I will be in your care, then."
Sakonji nodded and stood up before calling for Nik.
"Let us not waste time. Previously, I only had to train Tanjiro, but now, with an addition, I wi have to change a few plans."
Nik looked towards the sleeping siblings one last time before he got up. Although, Nezuko seemed pretty cute, she wasn't awake, so Nik couldn't do anything. So, he was able to focus on what came next.