'Remember, this.' While Nik stood within the empty forest during the night with his eyes closed, he recalled the scene when Sakonji presented his spare sword to Nik.
'A demon's fatal point is its neck. This is a Nichirin Blade. This sword is forged from materials that suppress a demon's regeneration, so, don't lose it.'
Looking at the blade that flashed a soft white glow, Nik knew that this was a White Grade equipment.
'But... I really cannot really practice this when I am with Sakonji or Tanjiro...'
Nik sheathed the blade and looked at the snarling demon in front of him. It was a grey-skinned boy with yellow, bloodshot eyes and nerves popping from his temples while the sharp claws looked nothing but threatening.
"Hey, there. Want to help me out with a technique?"
Nik smiled warmly while his hands started moving in a swirling motion while the Elemental Hamon within his body surged wildly.
"Shut... up... Shut... up... SHUT... UP..."
The demon kept rotating between whispers and shout while it slowly walked towards Nik with a look of pure hunger in his eyes.
"I'll take this as your acceptance."
Nik chuckled when the Hamon around his arm swirled into raging waves that quickly took a shape... or at least, the vaguest appearance of a sword.
"Hmm? Half of my energy reserve is already emptied... and even then..."
A subtle frown reached Nik's forehead as he looked at the sword that was formed of nothing but blue tidal waves. The idea was simple, really.
Instead of using the Nichirin blade, he wished to create a blade of elemental Hamon since Hamon energy was the most useful power against a demon. But, if Nik had the same thought after a few months of practice, then, didn't it mean that dozens of decades-old monsters had the same thought?
The answer came to Nik in the form of Elemental Hamon.
The breathing technique of the demon slayers allows the pure and una.d.u.l.terated Hamon energy to be transformed into a weapon in the form of tidal waves, crackling lightning and whatnot.
But that was it.
Only transformation and not wielding.
Using the Nichirin blade as the conductor to pass their Hamon energy, demon slayers kept defeating demons.
But Nik was able to achieve what others couldn't.
Wielding of Elemental Hamon Energy and that is what he did. Previously, he simply couldn't bend any element into something physical, he could only control it naturally. But now, with Hamon energy which was practically life-force, an energy that has a 'substance' when compared to the elemental energy, Nik could finally create a weapon of pure element.
And, he wasn't only limited to the sword. But, to create better pieces of equipment, he would need to learn the process of the formation of the said equipment.
"Oh, well, now, it's the problem of quantity."
Nonetheless, Nik still felt satisfied as he swiped his blade towards the demon that had already grown dangerously close to him. Much to Nik's surprise, even the Water Sword Forms he practiced felt far more fluid when equipped with this special blade of Elemental Hamon.
The moment Nik's blade sliced the demon in two, instead of the brief period where demons finally regain their consciousness before perishing, the Hamon energy instantly reduced the low-level demon into a pile of ash before its perfectly sliced body could even fall on the ground.
'And that was First Style: Water Surface Slash.'
Nik muttered internally before turning his heels while the surging blade of water in his hands faded on its own.
"With the Hamon energy utilised in turning the demon to dust, the blade will lose its substance and the element would fade away unless I bend water and use it to attack... but water without Hamon is of no use."
Nik observed the changes before concluding.
"So, in essence, this kind of attack cannot be used repeatedly... and based on the amount of Hamon, it may very well one-shot the strongest of demons...
That is unlikely."
Nik shook his head and took a deep breath before exhaling loudly, calming his emotions and walking back to the region where Tanjiro and Nik had decided to camp.
With Tanjiro's outstanding nose, the duo would hunt food during the day and repel demons in rotation. Meaning, at one point, only one of them would leave the area to defeat the demon while the other would defend the camp. After all, the location they had chosen was cosy and if any other trainee had some strange thought about their location, one of them were needed to be present to guard the location.
After all, in a seven-night survival campaign, it wasn't just about the skills, but also about finding a strategic location and a proper inventory to keep the hunters properly fed.
Honestly, Nik was already loaded with snacks and cold drinks, not to mention food and alcohol.
But, right now, there was no need to utilise his own stash.
It took a few seconds to reach an open area where a young boy sat in front of a bonfire while roasting a rabbit.
"Nik-san, you must be hungry, right?" Tanjiro smiled and passed the roasted treat to Nik while placing another game over the bonfire while humming softly.
Nik held his urge to imagine a female version of the dude and started eating. Although the taste of the dish wasn't the best, stuck deep within a forest, Nik wasn't going to complain about the taste of all things.
As Nik kept eating, he suddenly heard Tanjiro's cough while a revolting stench filled the area, making Nik frown. Looking back, Nik saw Tanjiro pinching his nose while his face had already gone pale.
"Demon!" Tanjiro immediately stood up and looked to the left while Nik nodded internally.
'Demon... certainly makes more sense than a nature defiling fart...'
Nik placed the food on the rocky seat and followed Tanjiro as the duo made their way towards the origin of the stench. Although, Nik had it easy, the same couldn't be said for Tanjiro. With his heightened senses, the smell might as well take a physical form a defile his nose.
But this time, the duo unanimously decided to face the sudden threat together. Although a demon may exude some sort of rotting smell, it has never been this great, inducing the duo to face the demon together.
From dozens of metres away, Nik could finally hear a suppressed scream followed by a mind-numbing sound of flesh and bones getting crunched and torn apart. And if Nik could hear it, this also meant that Tanjiro could hear it, too, making the youth run towards the direction while Nik had already mobilised his remaining energy and followed behind Tanjiro.
Finally, after entering a small clearing, Nik and Tanjiro came face-to-face with a behemoth of a demon that stood at a proud height of 2 metres while its sickly green body had unending arms wrapped around its entire body, making the demon look nothing but the abomination formed of most disgusting of nightmares.
"Era... another era has passed..."
Multiple arms kept moving akin to aimless tentacles while the demon kept muttering as the upper region of its body moved while releasing grotesque sound.
Immediately, Tanjiro's eyes flared in anger, but his legs kept shaking.
Even Nik gulped softly after checking out the demon's life-force signature and all he could see was a miniature crimson sun.
'This one is a tough cookie to crack...'
Nik unsheathed his Nichirin Sword while looking at the visibly terrified Tanjiro.