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At this moment, the choices to counter the sudden threat of death were many, Nik reckoned. He could try and beat the living shit out of the scar-faced youth with 'absolute-crazy' swirling within his dark pupils. Nik could use his recently acquired Pheromone 'Domain' to calm everyone down. Nik could also simply hand Sanemi the box in which Nezuko, rested, but that option was already a lost cause.
Using the Pheromone, instead, might counter his goals. Right now, before the apocalypse, Nik had a dire need to establish his own power amongst the pillars. It was a simple thought process, really.
During the apocalypse, at least, for one month, all the citizens non-nobles, at least were doomed. There was no way every single one could be protected. And Nik had no doubt that in such a crisis, many nobles, kind and merciful alike would turn to the specialist organisation The Demon Slaying Corps.
And with the influx of a great number of nobles, more corrupt than not, Nik held no delusion that inner conflicts that require a proper method of 'dealing' with would ensue. At that very moment, if push came to the shove, Nik wanted the Demon Slaying Corps to have more favor of him, or at least, his strength.
That is why
An extremely clear sound of a water drop pattering echoed within the group as a cool, somewhat chilling temperature spread across the entire backyard with Nik as the center while a typhoon of rushing waves erupted around Nik's right forearm. Of course, instead of using the costly Elemental Hamon, Nik simply mobilised his training with the Breath of Water and the Water Element to achieve the feat.
The rushing waves extended to a sleek blade, making everyone's eyes except for Saeko go wide. A blade of element! All the pillar had seen a similar feat at least once in their entire lifetime. And yet, never had there been a case where the performer of such miracle was a youth, the same age if not younger than them!
Of course, Nik could expressively witness the crazy within Sanemi's eyes recede, giving way to temporary realisation and if Sanemi did feel even more furious for having such a powerful Demon Slayer as Nik actually protecting a demon, he let nothing transpire on his face. As his grip on the hilt of his sword tightened, Nik flashed a broad smile when the sound of crackling flames ensued and intermixed with the growing sound of the waves as Nik's left forearm housed a massive inferno of a blade, this time, pulling an astonished look from even Saeko.
Only recently had Nik grown proficient enough to manipulate the Fire and Earth element to form a weaponry out of them. Of course, the hurling waves of shock finally destroyed the barely remained impassiveness within the group of pillars as they gawked, except for Gyomei, who needed Kyojuro's report to understand the true situation.
Standing in front of the box, Nik brandished both of his elemental blades while leaving a thin line of frosty air and the burning effect credits to his elemental bending to make his actions feel even more dramatic.
"I just recalled, you are the Pillar of Wind, right? Let me even the odd for you."
With a mere thought, the fire dispersed into thin air while the water quenched the thirst of the rocky bed as furious gales twisted around Nik's form, making Sanemi's eyes grow even wider if physically possible due to a single, reasonable explanation forming within his mind. And yet, before Sanemi could complete his thought, a barely visible blade of gales rotated around Nik's body, leaving a clear, melodic sound for everyone to recognise its existence.
"Saeko... san... pinch me..."
Mitsuri muttered with bated breathing as Shinobu took the chance to fulfil her request and pulled at her cheek, meanwhile, the Serpent Pillar lying atop the branch of the tree simply couldn't sit as comfortably as he sat before. The other pillars had varied reactions themselves.
'Element controlling... quite an orthodox choice of power.' Brian looked at Nik and simply showed a poorly constructed shocked expression for appearance's sake only.
'His improvement has been great. Not a slacker type even if he leads others to believe so. Till now, he did not show his strength and took Sanemi's provocation as the catalyst to expose himself.
Had he been alone, such a course of action would not have been mandatory.' Throwing a cursory look towards Saeko, Brian couldn't help but sigh, 'But he isn't alone. So, this course of action might not be the worst... of course, he could have also used his partners to grow stronger in the shadow while making them fulfill his wishes.'
Looking at the box right behind Nik, a small smile touched Brian's lips.
'And yet, he isn't as sc.u.mmish as he once again lead others to believe so. And that bastard said I am too kind...'
A recollection of a towering youth crossed Brian's mind and finally, he threw Kyojuro another cursory glance.
'As for this one... an opposite?'
Brian's thoughts were cut due to a sharp flicking sound and instantly, the eyes of the pillars were attracted to a single, white-colored strand of hair falling past Sanemi's face.
"Instead of that strand of hair, your eyes, nose, throat, heart, fingers... anything could have been slashed apart and you wouldn't even register the attack until you breathe your last...
Is that how you wish to Slay me alongside Nezuko?"
The blade of gale disappeared and with that, the flutters of hair, leaves and the grass stopped as the scene fell into a heavy silence only to be broken by the sound of heavy coughing, attracting the attentive of everyone present.
Due to the sudden squirming, the youth that held Tanjiro on his back ended up letting him fall on the ground as the unconsciously coughing youth winced visibly. Meanwhile, Nik could clearly feel a sense of agitation from the box, making him use his Pheromones to calm Nezuko down. After all, the sun is already above the horizon.
Picking the box gently, Nik passed the sweat-covered Sanemi. Of course, Nik won't jab at how smelly he grew in a period of a few minutes. After all, he could pick similar scent from the other pillars as well. And also, he had made his point. He was strong... stronger than what his rank asked from him. There was no point to flex anymore and clearly, with all said and done, the general hate within the pillars stemmed from their personal encounters with the demons.
Of course, even with all his strength, Nik wasn't willing to divulge Yuriko's existence just yet. Right now, a peaceful, yet, fragile balance hung amongst the other pillars. A balance that none wished to break, including the craziest of them all, Sanemi.
Tanjiro's eyes snapped open and his throat let out the desired name that he dreamt of, unfortunately, his somewhat hazy eyes only found Nik's face closest to his. And that grin... just like the time when Nezuko hugged him.
With a bit of blood leaking due to shouting even after an injured throat, Nik's body glowed gold and finally, Tanjiro felt a current of warm energy soothing his insides.
"N-Nik-San! Nezuko! She"
"She's safe, Tanjiro." Nik smiled and sat in front of him while keeping his palm onto his shoulders. Being the kind soul Tanjiro was during the entirety of the training phase with Sakonji, Nik simply couldn't let Tanjiro squirm in pain.
"There are remnants of poison restricting my abilities, so calm down a little. I'll fill you in on what you need to know."
At Nik's words, a relieved expression touched Tanjiro's face as he nodded silently. What ensued next was Nik calmly reciting the entire course of the event and the thoughts of the other pillars regarding Nezuko and himself. During this time, Nik once again used his Pheromones to keep Tanjiro from acting out and worsening his injuries.
"Thank you, Nik-san... your scent is still as calming as ever."
A broad grin emerged on his face when suddenly, a soft voice spread across the backyard.
"It has been a long time since all my dear warriors gathered together"
Turning his head, Nik observed the source of the voice and found a young man with the top of his face eaten out by a viral infection with purple mesh of flesh alongside terrifying veins popping out. Slick black hair cascading till his cheeks, framing his face and a pretty woman with natural white hair supporting the man sit up carefully.
This man needed no introduction.
The true leader behind the scenes that made the life of every demon difficult.