"Smelly kid! Don't go around spreading your scent!"
A grumpy crow wished to smack the back of a handsome youth's head when suddenly, it stopped in its caw and immediately flapped away urgently.
"Next time you try this stunt, I'll roast you."
Nik frowned and muttered coldly while Nik's Kasugai Crow had its feathers stuck on its thin body due to overflowing cold sweat. The crow was neither a pet or a Nezuko, so there was no need for Nik to put up with this strange middle-aged crows antics.
And what's more, the crow was the device used by the Demon Slaying Corps to keep their eyes on him and Nik held no doubt that these strange crows did not have the capability of communicating with other birds.
Snorting coldly, Nik continued towards his journey. After the two crows brought their missions, Tanjiro and Nik had finally separated from Sakonji and each other. Meanwhile, Nezuko was now accompanying her brother while traveling in the small box as she can control the size of her body at will.
Of course, a commotion was immediately created when Nezuko tightly gripped both, Tanjiro's and Nik's arm, but after a bit of calming down, she entered the box sullenly, not coming out after that.
'But... what is the demon-slaying corps thinking?'
Nik looked at his Kasugai Crow and narrowed his eyes. Nik, just like Sakonji, had no doubt that the organisation already knew about Nezuko's existence. But until now, no action had been taken.
"Maybe... they are sensible enough?"
Nik muttered while scratching his chin in contemplation. Although it was unlikely, Nik could only conclude to this point.
That or, someone is acting as the guarantor for Nezuko.
"Well, only a few hours of the journey left before I make my contact."
His mission was to investigate the strange disappearances of the Shinobi scouts that usually guard the mysterious shinobi village.
When the mission was given to him, the crow also handed him the necessary information to understand the true gravity of the situation.
Even though the demon-slaying corps is not recognised by the government, the organisation had its own allies. One of the allies is the mysterious swordsmith village, the location of which, no one knows.
Meanwhile, the other ally of the organisation is the village of trained assassins The Shinobi Village.
'I can't even train my elemental Hamon with that pesky bird over my head.' For more times than he is willing to admit, Nik once again thought of roasting the crow with fire bending, but held his hands. Technically, the crow had still done nothing to antagonise Nik.
And even if Nik actually reveals his art of forming a substance out of Elemental Hamon, it wasn't necessary that the Demon Slaying Corps will treat him akin to an experiment. But the chances were low and Nik did not wish to take unnecessary risks.
So, he did the next best sensible thing and started focusing on his breathing technique while generating Hamon energy which would be infused within his body.
But, the training would last only for a few minutes before Nik would once again start to pant heavily.
'Body... cannot maintain the focus.'
Nik took a deep breath and started walking for half-an-hour before once again activating his breathing technique and trying to keep it activated for a bit longer.
The journey would take few hours and honestly, Nik wasn't thrilled to step into the village of assassins with a strong demon capable enough to hide amongst them.
The whole situation reeked of a plausible demise. But... Nik had to start hunting demons from somewhere, right?
Once again, Nik felt his lungs at the state of bursting before he stopped and continued limping for half-an-hour. Meanwhile, the crow above Nik had a strange glint while it looked towards the east and opened its mouth.
Kasugai Crows had their own secret communication technique and Nik's crow kept on contacting with the nearest communication hub to report.
"Half-an-hour period completed. The journey is long and no stray demon encountered."
Looking down at Nik whose pressure and presence kept on fluctuating, the crown looked a bit thoughtful. From his other comrades, the crow knew a bit about the inner circle of the demon slayers, so Nik's training definitely looked sensible to the middle-aged, grumbling crow.
"Huff! Shit... who knew breathing would be this hard."
Nik wheezed out and looked quite distressed. After continuous trail and errors, he had created his own method of breathing, which then allowed him the access to Elemental Hamon. So, fundamentally, his Breath of Water was different from Sakonji's and Tanjiro's.
But, it was still hard for his body to physically focus on the breathing technique 247.
Even if his body's nutritional level could allow him to continue using his breath technique for the whole day and increase the output of his Hamon energy, which would then strengthen his physique, his body simply could not focus on other things while also focusing on the breathing technique.
So, the only answer he came up with was Training.
He had the time, he was alone, what better moment to train if not now.
And, Nik was absolutely sure that the reason Sakonji was this powerful was not only because years of training, but also due to the fact that his body is always in an optimised condition as he breathes according to the breathing technique 247.
Feeling the trickle of warm Hamon Energy trying to soothe his aching innards, Nik once again exhaled loudly before continuing his journey.
A few hours remained and Nik really wished to keep up the speed of his training.
In a plain room exposed to a beautiful garden by the open doors, a man with neck-long, pitch-black hair sat with a peaceful smile on his face. The top half of his face was already corroded due to some sort of disease and grotesque veins popped around his hazy, pupilless eyes, pointing out his blindness.
A beautiful white-haired lady sat beside him and continued preparing the tea in an elegant manner when a large crow flapped into their direction and perched upon the man's shoulder before cawing softly.
"Master... recent news is that Muzan has disappeared. But strangely, the search for the flower has increased by a pace.
Even after hearing the Kasugai Crow's words, the expression of the couple failed to change and the man smiled softly.
"Ease your heart. For better or worse, Muzan has left a huge opening in his previous impregnable defense.
But, the upper moons are still too much of a challenge, at least, right now.
Lisa Lisa, can I once again trouble you to locate the lower moon demons?"
From behind the couple, a western woman with long brown hair and a curvaceous figure stood up while eyeing the man for a few moments before nodding. Strangely, she had a scarf over her kimono, as she swiped it back and replied lightly.
"Lower moons are not a problem... if you want..."
Her voice trailed while the man shook his head.
"The Lower Six will be dealt with young ones under the hidden supervision of the Pillars.
This chance may never reveal itself again. As for the Upper Moons... we will ambush them in time."
"Consider it done."
The woman named Lisa Lisa nodded and walked out of the room while the man looked up and continued smiling softly.
"Kibutsuji Muzan... I'll destroy you... even if that's the last thing I do."