A few days had already passed after the duo's arrival.
The Village only grew more accommodating after learning about Nik's and Tanjiro's entrance into the demon-slaying corps, finally removing the target from their backs as many aspiring and young ladies sensibly backed off due to the risks in the profession. Unlike other villages, the Mist Village had been under the protection of a Cultivator for a long time to understand that demons weren't just a fiction, but actually beings made of flesh.
Of course, that fact did not stop from Tanjiro being kind while Nik also set things straight with the three ladies, who were more than happy to attain their closure. Being mature brought them experience in relationship, allowing the trio to understand that even if Nik wasn't a young demon-slaying aspirer, he still would have left eventually.
The next day, Nik woke up as usual and committed himself to his stretching exercise while he finally looked at his stats before going into the meditation to focus on his Hamon Training.
Name: Nik Faran
Affiliation: Incubus Society (Member)
Bloodline: Carnal Demon
STR: 7 -->8
Even though his strength increased by a point, the change made him realise that even without the system, there was a chance at growing stronger. Hamon being derived from the life source of a living being itself had a natural ability to augment physical stats. It all depended on the quantity of the energy within him.
Just like Brian pointed out, although the efficiency was definitely lower than stat points, Nik could still, theoretically, boost his physical stats until the current limit of this world.
Unlike 'Static' worlds where the world will places a permanent limit on strength factor, for example: The world of Elements and his homeworld, this particular world was called an 'evolutionary' world.
Although the world-will places a partial limit on every living being, should someone manage to surpass the limit, then that particular being's maximum stat would become the next limit until it is broken once again.
Right now, Nik's Hamon energy that was formed naturally within his body was slowly collected and fused into his own physical body. Although, Nik still couldn't feel the minuscule gain in physique, he still continued his practice nonetheless.
While the denizens of this world had to store their Hamon Energy each day and create greater reserves before starting the process of boosting their physique while also maintaining an appropriate amount of Hamon energy in need, Nik could simply utilise, both, his natural Hamon energy and the Hamon converted from the system energy to boost his physique.
And still, the progress was extremely low.
But of course, even under the grace of certain 'monsters', Nik still did not feel any discouragement.
A soft sound echoed as Nik opened his eyes and a steaming breath leaked through the small slit between his lips as his uncharacteristically warm hands gently stroked Nezuko's head.
Even if Nik did not mention her strange life-force signature that showed a perfect balance between as Nik dubbed it the 'positive' Hamon and the 'negative' Hamon, Nezuko was a contagious creature. There was no doubt about it.
Her mouth was still covered by a scroll that would allow her to control her urges to attack human beings and eat their flesh, Nik still felt captivated by her. At this point, it was not even about her beauty.
'Well, whatever. I just have to enjoy these peaceful days...
Just a little bit more...'
Nik let his finger slide at the back of her ears where he massaged the point of contact of her ear lobes and the starting of the neck and started massaging the spot softly as an approving 'hum' leaked through her scroll covered mouth as she raised her legs and started dangling her calves playfully.
"Don't lose your focus!"
Even the loud shout failed to break the peaceful and gentle atmosphere surrounding Nik and Nezuko as the demon gently petted the other's demon head. Meanwhile, the two humans sparred against each other until, Tanjiro's gaze landed at the fluffy scene and be almost lost his balance, causing Sakonji's strike to land on his cheek, throwing him more than a meter away.
Tanjiro groaned before laying back once again, making Sakonji look towards Nik, who finally supported the reluctant Nezuko to sit up as she looked at the masked Sakonji with wide, sad eyes.
Alas, no matter what, Sakonji was a demon slayer, and Nezuko, she was a demon, a mutant one at that.
"You seem to have grown confident."
Sakonji commented softly while Nik finally couldn't keep a straight face and smiled. It was the truth. After he used the blade formed of Water Hamon twice, he already felt his techniques evolving. Although, his efficiency would be lowered when using a normal sword, there was no denying the fact that his swordsmanship has changed for the better.
"Nothing slides past you, right?"
Nik grinned and unsheathed one of the many spare swords placed within Sakonji's hut and took his stance. In a spar against demon slayers, use of Hamon was not beneficial. After all, Hamon is a life-force energy. Although it impacts the demons negatively, the effect on human beings was always positive.
Sakonji, just like always, grabbed the initiative by its throat and shot towards Nik while the latter immediately slashed his blade horizontally before tilting his blade halfway into a diagonal slash.
Sakonji commented as the slashed body disappeared in mist while Nik nodded. After observing Sakonji for so many days, he finally understood the preliminary of his technique.
"Although Hamon cannot be used to attack other demon slayers. It can definitely be used to confuse them.
What you did was gather your Water Hamon energy to affect the mist around us and somehow... create a phantom self... an illusion."
Nik looked around, aside from the fainted Tanjiro and the curious Nezuko who kept petting Tanjiro's head, Nik could see nothing else. Using the [Life Vision] at this moment would be counterproductive for he needed to pass the hurdle using his own Hamon.
"Let's try it..."
Nik muttered and almost instantly, he rotated his body and extended his sword while roaring waves formed over its surface.
'Breath of Water... Second Style
Unlike the previous vertical water wheel, Nik formed a horizontal one and the mist around him finally cleared out temporarily.
Instantly, his legs were kicked and another kick landed on his back while the cloth over his back was gripped, pulling him once again while Sakonji's voice erupted.
"Never expect an honorable fight. Between demons and demon slayers, there is only hatred and anguish, nothing more."
"I thought so."
Nik smiled and he immediately kicked his feet against the ground and tried to impact his back against Sakonji's chest, which, without any doubts, failed spectacularly.
Before Nik's back could even touch Sakonji, the latter simply threw him using the hand that gripped on his cloth, and before he could impact against one of Sakonji's trusty trees, he felt a soft body hug him and bring down while a soft and mellow scent entered his nose.
Nezuko tilted her head curiously before patting Nik's head and then looked at Sakonji and glared before raising her voice.
"Remember, there is one condition if you really wish to learn my phantom.
Become a pillar.
How you find about the process of becoming one is not my concern."
Sakonji stated before looking at the continuously 'humphing' Nezuko and nodded while speaking softly.
"I understand. I am sorry."
Before vanishing once again.
'How did he even understand her... oh well, this isn't so bad.'
Alas, Tanjiro woke up at this time.
Finally, a total of fifteen days had passed since the duo's return and their Nichirin Swords had finally shown up alongside a strange visitor.
"Is this the person we are expecting? Master?"
Tanjiro looked outside the door while Nik and Sakonji ate as Nezuko kept rolling on the floor. By now, it was clear to the trio that after the incident, Nezuko had experienced a severe trauma that would require a lot of time to heal. Meanwhile, outside the door, a person with a large straw hat equipped with wind-chimes and a sunflower patterned kimono stood and looked at Tanjiro.
"My name is Haganeduka. I am the one who forged the blade that will be wielded by Tanjiro Kamado and Nik."
"I am Tanjiro Kamado, please come in."
Tanjiro replied and immediately welcomed the strange visitor, meanwhile, Sakonji had already prepared a mattress and immediately, Nezuko rolled over the mattress and tucked herself in while blinking cutely.
Haganeduka, on the other hand, sat on the ground outside the hut while Tanjiro immediately panicked.
"Please, come inside. Your clothes"
"This is a Nichirin Blade. This sword is forged by me."
"Please, come in and have some tea."
"The Nichirin Blade's raw materials are iron sand and ores from the highest mountain closest to the sun that are not affected by cloud or rain."
"Um... your clothes are getting dirty."
"Scarlet Crimson Iron Sand and Scarlet Crimson Ore... these are the names of the metals that are used in forging the Nichirin Blade."
Haganeduka finally looked up, revealing yet another strange mask on his face with the lips extended forward in an 'O' shape while he gazed at Tanjiro.
"Ahh, Red eyes and Red hair... it is most auspicious to meet you.
Haganeduka immediately looked into the hut and found another boy alongside someone sleeping over the mattress.
Finally, the strange swordsmith stepped in and took out two sheathed blades and two packets of uniform while Sakonji took this chance to explain a few things.
"Unlike the swords, I lent you previously, these are complete Nichirin Blades. And the demon slayer uniform is light and durable. So you can fight without any worries. Of course, the high-level demons can easily slash through it alongside the slayer itself."
"Now, hurry!" Haganeduka cut in and placed the swords in Nik and Tanjiro's hand while speaking with a barely concealed excitement.
"Unsheathe your sword! I want to look at its colour."
Nik and Tanjiro nodded. They both already knew that the Nichirin Sword takes the colour of the attribute of the swordsman. So, without any further ado, they both took their blades out.
Tanjiro's sword immediately started turning pitch black, making Sakonji and Haganeduka startle as Nik's attribute definitely weren't 'unknown', meanwhile, Nik's sword was even stranger.
It still held its silver colour and didn't change in colour at all.
Seeing this, Haganeduka looked at Urokodaki and snickered.
"You've got some strange kids this time."
Seeing the unchanged colour of Nik's blade while recalling his prowess in the breathing techniques, Sakonji couldn't help but nod.
"It seems so."
But, the group wasn't allowed to think further as two crows finally flew into the hut and landed on Nik's and Tanjiro's shoulder while cawing loudly.
"A new mission has arrived! A new mission has arrived!"
Two things, guys.
First, like every weekend, there will be no chapter for the public tomorrow for it is the weekly patron day.
Secondly, I will start reading my own previous chapters to recap and edit and get my inspiration back.