There remained no doors that covered the sight of the training hall and instantly, Nik witnessed the sight of fallen Tanjiro, Zenitsu and the boar-masked party youth fallen, their body battered with Shinobu alongside a troop of girls witnessing the sight from the sidelines as Nik looked at a particular girl with her dark hair combed into a side ponytail with deep violet eyes. She was the same girl that participated in the exam with Nik The Butterfly Girl.
Looking at Brian's somewhat hesitant face as he looked at the fallen trio, Nik frowned and sent a message to the Blue-haired Temporal Fiend that did not seem to even have a single scratch upon himself.
[Well, isn't this a sight? They aren't dead, yet, Mr Fiend.]
Looking sideways to find a mocking smirk on Nik's lips, Brian remained impassive as a message popped in front of Nik.
[Holding back... I didn't know it was this easy. Either way, I don't think any fiend is capable of hurting kids.]
Nik shrugged softly as Tanjiro finally opened his eyes slightly to witness Nik's mocking smirk that was directed towards Brian, making the youth's eyes widened and instantly, Tanjiro's short stature with two bodies already slumped over him felt a thick stream of vigorous energy flowing into his body as he stood up, making the two bodies that belonged to the blonde Zenitsu and the party boi roll over to the ground.
"Nik-san," Tanjiro's soft whisper, darkened gaze that expressed you are dead to me and finally, the bone-chilling rage hidden behind his impassive pupils induced soft shivers to run down the spine of everyone present as the Fiend looked at Nik with a mocking smirk of his own and took a step back, retreating towards the troop of girls still observing the scene from the sidelines.
"How could you?..."
Looking up, Tanjiro matched Nik's gaze and instantly burst into tears and shot towards him, "How could Nezuko pat you?!!!"
'Ah... it's a jealous brother...'
Nik commented and looking at the adorable boy-mom that took care of him for so many months, Nik did not have the heart to sidestep, put his foot in between Tanjiro's path and make him fall headfirst. So, Nik extended his palm and simply caught Tanjiro's face and kept the snot covered youth away from him.
"Calm down, Tanjiro! Let's talk things out!"
"Ahhh! Nezuko did not even come near me for the entire time! She kept patting your head!"
Tanjiro tried to reach out with hand but the difference in height finally mattered the exhausted Tanjiro and he simply couldn't reach Nik while the spectators looked towards Brian, the sole witness of the scene described by Tanjiro in expectations as the fiend nodded and replied gingerly. Glee plastered on his face.
"So, what happened was that Nik helped Nezuko heal up quickly and the moment she came out, the little lady kept tending to the unconscious Nik while the kind brother cried blood of tears."
Brian grinned as Shinobu laughed softly, "Well, no brother should allow their sisters to get close to Nik."
Shinobu nodded at her own words and continued, "But, maybe I should find out his desirable features?"
Her words brought a great deal of astonishment to the troop of varied females while Brian shrugged at her response. Just like death loves Fiends, women are attracted to the incubus-kind. But he won't be a good wingman if he did not use the opportunity to strike Nik as someone even better than the expectations planted within Shinobu's mind.
"If I may add, Nik... his muscles are extremely toned."
Brian nodded at his own words, but Shinobu's words made him speechless and the other girls crimson.
"I understand Nik is desirable... but get in line."
Her smile made Brian realise that he may have said his words in a manner that painted him as a lover of swords instead of sheathes and he instantly started putting words in defence which only made Shinobu's smile broader and broader making Brian feel even more flurried.
"Ready to calm down?"
Nik questioned Tanjiro for the umpteenth time as the crimson-haired youth nodded, making Nik remove his hand from Tanjiro's head as Tanjiro collapsed in exhaustion. Finally, Nik took a deep breath and sat beside him, making him look towards Nik with an apologetic expression.
"Sorry, Nik-san... even though you helped Nezuko... when I saw her taking care of someone else...
I felt extremely sad.
After all, she is my only family left."
Tanjiro exhaled deeply as his hands slowly extended outwards, allowing him to properly sprawl with stretched limbs. His words pulled a nod of understanding as Nik knew that this won't be the last time where he would have to deal with an angry brother. And honestly, there was no denying that Tanjiro happened to be a likeable guy.
"Tanjiro... you... you need to expand your family. Get a wife, have some kids..."
Nik responded calmly, making Tanjiro chuckle. In this day and age where the average life expectancy failed to reach 50 years, marriage between two people occurred at a young age. But choosing the life of slayers, such a life was already a doomed nightmare for Tanjiro.
Understanding the emotions behind Tanjiro's chuckles, Nik sighed but his words of 'wisdom' were cut short by Brian's unceremonious roar I am not into men! Damnit!
His roar awoke Zenitsu and the Party Boi akin to startled fauna as the exasperated Brian almost stumbled when Shinobu chuckled, "The more you deny, the more honest you look."
Nik's attention finally fell on Shinobu and the other girls. A pair of triplets the same from yesterday a twin-tailed, dark-haired girl. A brunette with orange-brown hair, the butterfly girl, a pink-haired bespectacled girl and finally, Shinobu herself.
'I need introductions... can't just keep calling them butterfly girl or something else... speaking of introductions...'
Nik looked at the Party Boi and whispered to Tanjiro.
"Who's that guy? The one with boar mask."
"Hmm?" Tanjiro rose to attention and replied with a smile, "He is Inosuke Hashibira. We met him after a few days of travel."
Tanjiro slowly stood up as Shinobu took the chance to enter the scene and clapped her hands.
"It looks like Brian does not need any training... after all, he wiped all of you in a total of three strikes. Maybe your injuries flared up, after all, you were defeated in a single attack each time.
Or maybe, are you honestly... weak?"
Shinobu crouched down and poked at Zenitsu's cheeks with a happy smile as he just whimpered and rolled away, albeit, extremely slowly.
"Huh?! I Guhhh!"
The Party Boi Inosuke immediately stood up and started a roar only for it to end abruptly as he fell down, his expression masked by his entire head covered by a boar's furry head, but the quivers of his body pointed out to the pain the youth was feeling.
"Well, no broken bones, so silver lining." Nik grinned and stood up while looking at the three kids with similar features and smiled.
He waved his hands as the three girls looked at each other before smiling brightly and instantly cl.u.s.tering around Nik.
"Hello! Welcome! Nice to meet you!"
The trio spoke simultaneously, making Nik's smile broader while he looked at Shinobu.
"I didn't know a woman so young could become the mother of three beautiful kids."
Nik crouched and let his palms softly pet the trio's head one at a time while Tanjiro honestly wondered if Nik crouched knowing that Shinobu had swung her sword to take his neck or not.
"Making such personal comments is rather rude, don't you think, Nik?"
Shinobu smiled, as if the soft 'clink' of her sword getting sheathed was a mere illusion and looked at the three kids.
"And I can only dream to have such beautiful kids one day."
She smiled and crouched herself to poke at their heads as the trio giggled.
"Now, why don't you three help Tanjiro back to the ward?"
"Yes! Bye, Nik-san!"
The trio immediately nodded and moved towards Tanjiro, helping him up even with their short stature while Zenitsu groaned.
"Me... too! Help me up, too!"
"Ah, I always thought you were extremely strong, Zenitsu! But..."
Shinobu trailed her words with a sweet smile as steam rushed out of the blonde's youth and he instantly stood up and screamed loudly. Yeah, Zenitsu is the type of youth that represented more than half of the men in the entire multiverse that could only get motivated when a woman cheered for them. In short, a budding youth of culture. Instantly, Nik's favour regarding Zenitsu shot high, yet, remained slightly lower than Nik's favour for Tanjiro.
"Since you are already up, why don't you take this chance to learn something from the pillar of war and if I may be bold enough to claim, the strongest pillar whose skill reaches the level of Cultivator?"
Shinobu questioned and looked at the remaining girls with a smile, "This is also an opportunity for you guys and... me."
Her smile broadened and she stood up. With a clap of her hands, Shinobu finally claimed, "Then it's decided, we will take turns to spar with Nik. Of course, he will be going easy on us, right?"
She turned towards Nik and blinked her large, round eyes innocently.
Without letting others have a say in the matter, Shinobu gathered everyone at the sidelines and threw out a quivering Zenitsu in front of Nik, who stood up and smiled in return.
"We couldn't chat back during the exam. It's nice to make your acquaintance, Zenitsu. Your junior, Brian, praise you a lot." It didn't take someone to own a genius intellect to understand the buttons that could motivate Zenitsu and Nik's praise pushed such a button, making him feel a bit calm and confident.
"I- I didn't think I would be taking the exam with a potential pillar." Zenitsu muttered and looked at Nik's handsome visage while trying to hide his scowl. To understand that fact that Nik is probably 'experienced' also did not require Zenitsu to become a genius. And Zenitsu was jealous! Incomparably so!
"Even I didn't think I'll become a pillar. Now, instead of talking about me, we should talk about you.
Zenitsu, you probably want to become a pillar. Believe me. When I save the women kind from danger... the non-monetary rewards I receive... is absolutely the best."
Nik smiled and loosened his posture while his words caused claps of thunder to barrage within Zenitsu's mind.
Zenitsu questioned and instantly entered into the stance of the Breath of Lightning First Form.
"Please, teach me well, Master!"
Zenitsu instantly disappeared from his location with only three people in the room being able to locate Zenitsu's movement.
A dull thud pointed out Zenitsu's defeat as the blonde youth collapsed instantly. To the untrained eyes, Zenitsu disappeared and landed on Nik's extended fist.
"But, the quicker you try to fight, the less you will learn in this case." Shinobu smiled at the soft 'oomph' sound as Zenitsu collapsed when Inosuke, the party boi, cut in and shouted!
"I'll fight him!!"
Without allowing any words of refusal to leave the mouth of girls, Inosuke shot towards Nik, but still, his figure remained visible to the n.a.k.e.d eye while Nik looked with an amused expression and picked Zenitsu up before throwing him towards Inosuke.
"You are Inosuke, right? I only know your name, so let's take things slowly. Like, why do you wear that mask all the time?"
Nik smiled while Inosuke grabbed Zenitsu and threw him to the sidelines, where, sadly, no lady waited to catch his body. Meanwhile, Inosuke instantly ran on all his four limbs and shouted a reply with a low kick pointed at Nik's knees shooting in tandem.
"My mother was a boar! She taught me to hunt!"
The kick landed and Inosuke let out a broad grim under his mask, but soon, he found that Nik didn't collapse in pain of a broken kneecap. No. He was standing straight, with an easygoing smile.
"The first difference is probably the natural density of our bodies. Hamon makes our body denser over time. Even if the effect is minimal during the beginning stages, train Hamon continuously and you'll have a sturdier body in a few years."
A deep exhale led to a flip kick towards Nik's face, which was avoided gracefully as Nik continued.
"I am not as skilled as Shinobu paints me to be. But the difference is still there. Not to mention, our reflexes are worlds apart."
Nik's words held no traces of mockery. Although Nik had an unfair advantage when it comes to his growth, he still put in loads of hard work and through his eyes, Nik could easily see his own past version in Inosuke. A relatively feeble body and a wild attack pattern.
Standing straight after the flip, Inosuke instantly punched towards Nik's chest, making the incubus smile broadly. The punch did not connect and only kissed empty air while a soft whisper echoed from Inosuke's sides.
"And of course, I can't let my humble self lose in front of lovely ladies."
Another dull thud followed by an unceremonious 'oomph' marked the end of the spar.