A hearty welcome to Inferno Vortex in the patron family!!!
It didn't take long for The Pillar of Bubble and The Pillar of War to acquaint themselves again and while Saeko hid the relationship between Elizabeth and Nik, the public relation of Nik being trained by the Cultivator of War attracted the pillars' attention once again.
"Master doesn't stop praising you... at all." Without even trying to conceal his envy, Ceasar hissed softly while finding a seat for himself in the barely filled room, which happened to be quite easy as he sat down on the tatami unceremoniously, his gaze lingering on Nik.
"It would seem that you have made quite an impression on her..."
"Along the myriad walls in the mansion, Master is also included on getting 'impression'..."
Saeko whispered with glee, inducing the pillars present to c.o.c.k their heads in confusion but Mitsuri, The Pillar of Love, on the other hand looked at Saeko and Nik continuously. Nik, on the other hand, ignored Saeko's words filled with muddling truth and
sat in front of Ceasar whole leaning back on his shoulders.
"I guess, I am just that talented..."
Nik grinned at Ceasar's visible grimace and looked at other pillars, still standing, before focusing on Ceasar.
"What do you think of the situation?"
His words instantly brought out the topic being suppressed by the pillars. After all, the Pillar of Water happened to be protective of the slayer who has housed a demon! It was a scandal like none other. There have been cases of pillars or breath users turning into a demon, but never did the headquarters face the situation where a demon is being protected by two slayers, both trained by the same Cultivator.
Allegedly, this situation placed Sakonji Urokodaki in a tough position as well.
And right now, the second pillar cultivated by the very same Cultivator sat in front of them with a leisurely expression, openly discussing the situation that the other pillars weren't willing to at the moment, at least.
"Why do you ask?"
Ceasar posed a question instead, not willing to divulge his own personal thoughts in such a complicated manner. One wrong word and he may end up placing a wall between the Cultivator of Water Swordsmen and the Cultivator of War.
"Why do I ask?" Nik looked towards Saeko and smiled, patting the area beside himself, hinting Saeko to sit beside him if she wished to. Finally, he turned his head towards Ceasar and smiled.
"No particular reason. We both have studied under the same master. So, I think that your thoughts... might align to rationality instead of emotions."
His words instantly forced out an expression out of the many pillars present. As if to point out their surging anger, the white-scaled serpent coiling around Obanai's neck flared a long flickering Hiss from its forked-tongue while Nik could literally feel a few scorching gazes at his back. Of course, with Saeko sitting beside him, Nik failed to find any negative thought at this moment and continued.
"I mean... a demon housed by a slayer. From the reports that the crows have already given, the culprit is named Tanjiro Kamado. His crime is to safeguard his own sister that turned into a demon Nezuko Kamado.
Finally, Giyu Tomioka enters the scene. His actions biased towards Tanjiro and from the looks of it, my master, Sakonji Urokodaki seems to be involved.
So let me confirm all of your suspicions. I knew about Nezuko's situation. I lived with Tanjiro and Nezuko and trained with them.
Now, can you guys ease up for a bit?"
Nik smiled and looked at every one of them, before his eyes settled over at Obanai, whose eyes were already narrowed down dangerously. Flashing a charming grin, Nik bore his teeth and whispered, finally unable to hold himself back.
He wasn't going to lie. After all the training, he severely wished to flex his own energy. His own presence that was cultivated through bitter, exhausting training.
A mind-numbing pressure immediately rocked the mind of each and everyone present, except for Saeko as Nik whispered softly.
"And of course, I insist that this chat remains civil."
Obanai's hand twitched into a sudden stop as his fingers almost traced the hilt of his sword. Meanwhile, Kyojuro finally let out a loud laugh.
"This is good! A Pillar of War indeed! But, you will also be entering the trial while accompanying Giyu."
Saying that, Kyojuro grinned and sat on the floor, not willing to speak further while the Pillar of Sound, Tengen narrowed his eyes and trailed Nik's figure before muttering.
"Even in the presence of Pillars... he remains flamboyant."
Meanwhile, Ceasar's frown only deepened.
"Master... never taught us to protect demons."
"She only tried to teach us her heritage. Aside from that, we are mostly left on our own devices. So... when did she ever teach to 'not' to save a demon?"
As Ceasar's frown continued to grow deeper, Nik guffawed. His laughter drumming against every pillar present.
"Aah~ Sorry. I just couldn't help it. With you all so serious... screwing with you turned out to be my number one priority."
Standing up, Nik looked towards the open backyard and presented his hand towards Saeko, who, with a smile, took it and stood up, leaving Mitsuri with an incomparable impression.
'So Cool! Saeko is so impressive~!'
The room was gloomy, so were most of the pillars present. After all, the room wasn't even well lit with two flickering candles lighting up the room dimly, Nik preferred the slowly brightening backyard with an artificial rocky surface that extended out to an exotic garden.
From the side of Pillars, Ceasar also stood up and followed Nik out after a moment's hesitation. Although he also had to admit that the room was quite gloomy, his reason to follow Nik stemmed from the continuous praises he heard of Nik from her Master Elizabeth's letters.
Finally, after almost an half-an-hour of idling around, the sound of hurried footsteps. With an unhurried pace, two youths, a man and a woman entered the backyard right away. From a single glance, Nik identified the calm, impassive faced youth for he had heard a lot about him from Sakonji.
The Pillar of Water Giyu Tomioka.
Meanwhile, Saeko couldn't help but scowl when she saw the beautiful, fair-skinned lady waving towards her with her purple eyes narrowed. A multi-coloured haori draping over her shoulders as she made her way towards Saeko with a slightly quicker pace.
"Saeko, I was wondering if you retired. Surely you couldn't have? Right? And this must be Nik. Surely, your presence is far impressive than what my Kasugai Crow painted you out with her words."
Nik smiled and nodded.
"What can I say, Kasugai Crows have their own standard of measurements. It takes another hidden gem to identify its co-treasure."
Nik extended his hand out, which, the petite lady shook with a graceful movement of her own hand before looking at the others inside the gloomy room.
"Hey, guys. Why don't you all come out? It's just sun, right? Surely, you all haven't turned into demons."
Nik's smiled broadened while Saeko couldn't help but grow a bit indignant. She was right, severely so. Nik and Shinobu The Insect Pillar were a part of the same flock for her words instantly brought out an angry glint within everyone in the room as they grumbled and stepped out. Obanai, on the other hand, landed for a moment before jumping over the nearest tree while Shinobu's gaze intensified over Mitsuri's extraordinary, exposed, milky valley that threatened to suck the souls of weak-willed.
"I see, as shameless as ever?"
She smiled and poked her finger into Mitsuri's cleavage, immediately making the pink-haired girl yelp in indignation before she shot towards Saeko and hid behind her.
'Shinibu is so cool ah! No, she is soooo meaaannnn!' A grumbling Mitsuri stuck her tongue out while Giyu spoke nothing from the start, his gaze still on Nik.
"Ah! You should probably greet Tomioka-san, too. Or else he will feel left out."
Shinobu chimed and tiptoed around the helpless Saeko before she gave a perfunctory spank to the skirt-wearing Mitsuri.
Nik, on the other hand, smiled at Giyu and nodded.
"It is finally nice to meet you, Giyu Tomioka-san. Master used to talk a lot about you in his free time."
Giyu gazed at Nik's extended hand for a moment that was just touched by Shinobu and narrowed his eyes before extending his left hand, instead, instantly, attracting a strange gaze from Nik while a 'smiling' glare from Shinobu.
"Ah? Could it be that Tomioka-san is afraid of girls? Hmm, wouldn't that mean he will probably shiver under a female demon's gaze?"
Once again, Shinobu's words caused a terrifying chill to spread from Giyu while Nik had no interest in antagonising Nezuko's protector and promptly shook his left hand. Saeko, on the other hand, could swear that Shinobu's glare changed direction from Giyu to Nik.
Nik's expression brightened visibly as he walked past Giyu and immediately high-fived a weary-looking, blue-haired Brian as a grin formed over the face of the Temporal Fiend as the high five extended out to a strong handshake.
"Nice to finally meet my second-in-command!" Brian grinned broadly. Only he knew how terrible his entire journey had been!
"Yeah! Thanks for looking out for Tanjiro and Nezuko."
Nik smiled and nodded gratefully while Brian shook his head.
"Just performing a wingman's duty. Instead of fending guys off at a bar, I slashed a few demons into bits and pieces. No biggie."
Of course, their conversation took place in barely audible whispers before Nik turned his heels and looked at the two lower-ranked slayers carrying an unconscious Tanjiro and a wooden box before he made his way towards the box holder and smiled.
"I'll be taking her."
Without waiting for the youth's explanation, the box changed its owner and Nik instantly activated his [Life Vision] to check on Nezuko. Aside from the relative increase in her Positive and Negative Hamon, there remained no outright changes. In fact, the Hamon residing within her remained in a perfect balance.
"Better slay the demon now."
A cold voice silenced the entire backyard as all except Brian looked towards Obanai. Brian, on the other hand, narrowed his gaze and inhaled deeply before observing Kyojuro Rengoku.
"Ah? No, thanks."
Nik smiled and shook his head before walking back towards Saeko when Tengen interrupted and stood forward.
"Nik, as a pillar, you should flamboyantly slay the demon!"
"Then, please be sure to point out who is a demon? Nezuko, who hasn't touched a drop of blood?
Or me, who has slain humans and demons alike?
Or... you? Who can't even differentiate between who to slay and whom to not."
His words silenced the entire rank of pillars when a gruff voice retorted.
"Huh? That's all high and mighty! But a demon in this mansion is something I won't tolerate.
Stand in my path, and I'll cut you down alongside that demon."
Turning his heels to face the newcomer, Nik needed no introduction of the scar-faced youth with 'crazy' swirling in his eyes as his malevolent eyes remained focused onto the box Nezuko was cooped up in.
Sanemi Shinazugawa, the Pillar of Wind.
"Cut me down alongside her? Bro... are you high or something?"
Brian almost fell face first while a gentle smile finally formed on Shinobu's face as her gaze brightened the moment she looked at Nik again.
Meanwhile, Saeko giggled openly, attracting the attention of others.
'He wasn't joking about flexing, huh?' Brian thought internally before he gazed at Kyojuro once again.
'Well, I guess, it's better to observe his growth... with a possible new addition around the corner...'