Once again, Nik followed down the path filled with the greenery initiative of a funeral and even if Shinobu felt emotional while making her way down the hill, she let nothing transpire on her face as the upward curve of her lips remained as natural as the rustling sound of the leaves.
This time around, Shinobu led Nik to the east direction of the slope, he could tell due to various signs created on the way to affiliate organised navigation. Although, Nik reckoned that such polite navigational means would be removed when Muzan decides to strike.
As Nik followed along Shinobu down the patched road, he finally couldn't hold it in and asked softly.
"Is it natural? The pigmentation at the ends of your hair?"
With no indication of faltering in her steps, Shinobu replied while keeping her pace constant, "Poison. This is what happens when you ingest an astonishing amount of Wisteria poison that could theoretically kill a moon series demon just to enhance your body's resistance against poison."
Nik nodded while he continued satiating his curiosity.
"Was it tasty?"
Shinobu finally stopped in her tracks and turned her heels to face Nik's curious expression with her astonishment laced expression.
Shinobu stammered, not willing to believe that someone would be more interested in the taste of poison rather than its actual effect on the body aside from the exterior pigmentation of the hair.
"I asked about its taste. Was it delicious? The Wisteria Poison."
Nik smiled and asked while sticking his tongue out and pointing at it.
"You know... poison isn't tasty..."
Shinobu floundered, not willing to divulge any information regarding the topic. At her words, Nik pursued with a small smirk.
"I guess so... but why do I feel that Pillar of Insect is a woman of great taste? Both, metaphorically... and literally."
With a smirk of her own, Shinobu tilted her head and whispered sweetly.
"Compliments won't get you the answers to the forbidden questions. Just so you know, as a future reference, my weight and age belong to a similar category."
"You look weightless and age is just a number. I am more interested in the taste... so you can rest easy."
Turning towards the road, Shinobu spoke with an enchanting smile not visible to Nik.
"With that expression of yours, Mr Pillar of War... my guards are all up."
'Even more delicious.'
Nik remarked internally before following Shinobu, who admittedly increased her speed the closer they got to the city before taking a left turn, circling around the city while explaining Nik to avoid his confusion.
"This is the capital with a number of rich nobles. Of course, corrupted ones are even in greater number, so I like to avoid the distasteful stares of the lower-minded."
"Well, a natural biological reaction should not characterize them into 'lower-minded' citizens, unless, you, or someone else have encountered something unpleasant."
"It isn't hard to guess, really." Shinobu replied as she continued making her way around the surrounding forest, occasionally encountering a clearing with long, patched roads that led into the city before entering the adjacent greenery.
"There have been many cases of Harassment against the opposite genders, both, male and female. Although, we try not to get involved with them too much, an occasional conflict is not unheard of."
"Any case when the pillar is offended?" Nik questioned as a chuckle escaped Shinobu's lips and she replied with a giddy tone.
A gleeful chuckled escaped Nik's lips as he questioned, "Then I must ask... any casualty?"
"Many. Sanemi is an individual who will slay any demon physically or mentally."
'Well... I am both...'
Nik thought of how easily he could have slashed Sanemi's neck since he wasn't particularly cautious against him.
"Of course, now, there has been an exception. The lovely lady inside the box behind you."
"Oh well, there are always some exceptions. After all, it isn't just Nezuko... there are many corrupt 'devils' alive within the city, too, right?"
Finally, after a few minutes of casual chatting regarding the hotspots within the capital, a few famous stories and the noble structure within the feudal system, Nik finally saw a beautiful, traditional mansion in the distance. From Shinobu, Nik already knew that she was the only pillar who received a mansion due to her expert medical skills that did not lose out to Shizuka and her tutoring skills were almost reaching the level of a Cultivator.
Most of her tutoring skills, however, were enhanced due to her quirky personality. At least, that is what Saeko told him, but now, Nik did feel that there was some truth in the statement.
"Here we are, the Flower Mansion."
Shinobu smiled and led the way towards the opened gates and passed through the open gates constructed alongside the walls lining the perimeter and finally, Nik found himself in an extremely uncharacteristic garden with an overflowing scent that failed to overwhelm even the bugs as the sensual scent seemed to calm the entirety of a person.
"Welcome to my humble abode."
"It's beautiful." Nik smiled and crouched to feel the petals of an exotic, dark green plant. The moment his index came into the contact with the petal, a small puff of green grains erupted, bringing alongside a deep and enchanting scent that sent Nik into a daze just for a few seconds but the wondrous 'colours' he witnessed were real... definitely so.
Nik turned his face to look at the still serenely smiling Shinobu and then looked back at the plant. Or, in fact, the entire bush filled with such kind.
"A mode of revenge, if you should term it."
Shinobu smiled, somewhat scarily while Nik nodded and then frowned before inquiring softly.
"Is it profitable?"
"Another arrow in the forbidden lands." Shinobu chuckled while Nik shrugged and stood up.
"I had to ask."
"Well... maybe... I may let you in one a few answers."
Shinobu smirked and turned her heels, leading Nik to the interior of the mansion. Just as the exterior, the interior was lavishly cleaned and the decors matched the feudal style of the stay with many rooms to house a multiple numbers of guests and finally, a large medical room where three patients were being currently tended to.
"I will leave you alone with your troublesome senior. Oh, and also, accompanying someone sensible is always a treat for me."
Shinobu took her leave while Nik didn't reply and looked at the medical room that... well, it should be called a party room. A shouting blonde, a shrieking girl, a bunch of kids Triplets, a man with an animal mask and a calm youth that did not think the situation of the medical room was strange...
Yeah, sounds like a party.
Tanjiro immediately waved before wincing in pain. Right now, he wasn't in his demon slaying uniform but a patient's gown while Brian, nodded towards him. Tanjiro's words immediately made the shouting Zenitsu to look towards Nik and instantly, he retreated in with apprehension clear in his face and finally, the four girls, one teen and three kids, looked towards him.
'Let's get this party started then?'
Of course, Nik won't speak his own internal humor out loud as he waved at Tanjiro and stepped into the medical chamber. Giving Zenitsu a cursory glance before looking at the boar-masked youth that laid on the bed without a single movement, Nik observed the teen girl with a scrutinizing gaze before smiling at the cute triplets that eyed him curiously.
"How are you holding up? Any major complications?"
Nik smiled warmly, setting the box beside Tanjiro and sitting next to Brian.
"No. Not at all. Although, these injuries will take a few weeks to recover... I can return to my movable state in probably a week. At best, four days."
Tanjiro looked at the box with a clear expression of relief while Nik nodded.
"It's good. From her breathing, she is probably sleeping, coping up with her own wounds... I cannot help her with this one..."
Nik traced the top of the box with his index while the teen had most probably recognised Nik as she bowed and took her leave, leaving the uncharacteristically calm Zenitsu even after the blonde sent pleas of rescue through his eyes.
Of course, no such request was registered and the girls took their leave. With their departure, the boys were left alone and finally, Nik gazed at Brian and stood up.
"Well, I'll visit you from now on, Tanjiro. We can't have more incidents anymore."
"Nik-san... isn't this a pillar's mansion?" Tanjiro's confusion wasn't unfounded for having trouble at a pillar's mansion was something he couldn't imagine.
"Nah... you'll soon find out that the source of these incidents would be our newest pillar here."
Brian snickered and stood up before looking at Zenitsu, his grin broadening.
"I'll leave with Nik for today. Please... stay calm?"
Nik's lips twitched at Brian's pleading.
Meanwhile, Zenitsu nodded with a grumble.
"I am the elder one here..."