No matter how quick a demon slayer could rush towards the Swordsmith village, maybe a week, or even 4 days at the very least, with an entire trail of caravan pulled by slow oxen made the situation entirely different. Each cart was manned by the lower members of the corps while the caravans were filled to the brim with supplies. The Snake Pillar took the lead since he held nothing previous within the capital while the supplies gathered by the Pillar of War, Insect, Love and Fire followed the track that would lead to the mysterious Swordsmith Village.
Since the Swordsmith Village itself is one of the most protective secrets of the demon-slaying corps, no civilian was allowed to move with the trail. To avoid any conflict, the corps moved out in the middle of the night. This decision, of course, raised a few dissatisfied voices. A few remained loud in particular.
"Aahhhhh!!! What should we do?! What should we do?! Hey!
Inosuke, Tanjiro! Tell me, we are going to die right?! Ray won't come back, right?!"
With the convergence of the various trails leading to the swordsmith village, a particular youth with shimmering blonde hair stood out of the crowd. Maybe it was the fact that he was annoyingly loud.
Around him stood a muscular youth with his torso exposed, two blades belted to the side of his waist and a crimson-haired youth who paid the blonde's outburst no attention, his nose twitching as he kept sniffing the surrounding until his eyes grew wide and his head turned right, matching a pair of glimmering violet eyes and an unmatched, wolfish grin.
"Nik-san!!" Tanjiro ran towards Nik, passing the crowd with barely hidden eagerness, his eyes focusing on the wooden box slung across Nik's back.
"Yo! You look quite refreshed?"
Nik raised his eyebrows in amus.e.m.e.nt while walking alongside the caravan manned by Saeko as this particular caravan did not hold supplies, but the sleeping Shizuka and Elizabeth. With all the supplying of news and then also preparing the most for the movement, Elizabeth barely closed her eyes, and now, she took her well-deserved sleep. Meanwhile, Shizuka slept soundly in the arms of her ex-master and partner simply because she liked sleeping at night.
"Hey, kid! How's it going? Enjoyed your time with Ray, did you?"
Saeko smiled with grace and elegance while her words instantly made Tanjiro sweatdrop while Nik glanced at Saeko with a reproaching tone.
"You shouldn't be this direct... the personal matters between them are after all, quite sensitive."
Nik gazed at the softly flushing Tanjiro, "After all, Ray is a minor... he is only 14 years old."
Tanjiro cut into the conversation with widened eyes expressing his shock and the look of horror on his face made the entire scene more dramatic, pulling the attraction of the other tired and irritated slayers.
Nik grinned and then waved at the following Zenitsu and Inosuke before observing Tanjiro.
"Did he say where he is going?"
"N-no... he just left." Tanjiro replied softly with a shake of his head and the moment the other two heard Tanjiro, their bodies stiffened and they grew quiet. Of course, Nik held no interest in Ray's methods that easily tamed the party animal and the loudspeaker.
"But... all of that... what Ray said... it's true, right?"
Nik nodded and instantly, Tanjiro stopped Nik and gazed into his eyes with a stern look.
"Then please, make Nezuko your partner!"
"So that is it, huh. You were afraid to part ways with Nezuko..."
Breaking off from the trail of carts, Tanjiro and Nik walked behind the group to continue the chat peacefully.
With Tanjiro already aware of how big the world truly is, he had seemingly given up on his revenge. A change of thinking probably induced by Ray during their own sessions. This kind of manipulation wasn't hard and even he had done this to some servants in the mansion to experience the effects of [Pheromone Illusion]. But of course, it was clear by now that if Ray was really aiming for Muzan, he had already tampered with the memories of each and everyone in his Harem belonging from this particular planet and timeline.
"Yeah... I want to leave this world... experience everything I can to the best of my abilities... but I don't want to leave Nezuko behind. Ray explicitly implied that even if he can't accept Nezuko in his harem, you can."
Nik had nothing to say when he faced Tanjiro's slightly desperate tone and somewhat empty eyes, pointing in favour that Tanjiro really wasn't... the Tanjiro he knew. And while Nik felt a little distasteful as to how Ray had manipulated Tanjiro into giving his own sister while thinking that there was nothing wrong with that, Nik wasn't kind enough to deny Tanjiro's request.
Nik smiled. Even if Tanjiro hadn't liked the fact that Nik had plans about Nezuko, Nik would've still continued. After all, Nik had his own desires and seeing one of those desires getting fulfilled without any drama, he could only feel thankful.
"That's a relief. Now I can train without any worries."
But it was quite ironical that Nik still felt a pang of guilt in the deepest corner of his heart when he saw Tanjiro's wide smile... just like usual one of his smiles. Something Nik was well familiar with.
"Train well then. By now, you should have already understood that the breathing techniques won't be a proper solution to your future circ.u.mstances... but, Hamon itself has its applications unique to it. So, train without any panic, after all, with you in Ray's fold, there is no way that the onesie lover will let you get hurt."
"That is true."
Tanjiro grinned before focusing on Nezuko's box once again.
"She still hasn't woken up?"
"I am afraid so..."
Nik sighed and continued walking and even if Tanjiro's eyes shone with the desire to hold the box, Nik didn't give up the box anymore. Nezuko will stay with him from now on. This is something Nik decided the moment he gazed at Tanjiro's empty gaze while pondering if he would also have to manipulate the minds of his loved ones just to have harmony in his own Harem.
And after quite a bit of thinking, Nik simply exhaled deeply.
If push came to the shove, he'll do what he feels is necessary at that moment. Worrying about probable events won't help him, instead, Nik focused on three strands of gravitational wave and carefully rotated it around his body while having gained enough proficiency to keep Nezuko out of the effects of his training.
Meanwhile, his Pheromone Domain erupted and started seizing control of the minds of many demon slayers, not for the sake of manipulating them, but increasing his own sensitivity with his Pheromones to observe even the smallest of the details while also introducing various triggers to occasionally pull some of the demon slayers into a trance-like state while going through the recent thoughts, a skill, he picked up quite recently.
And of course, Tanjiro's group was also the part of the testing but finally held his curiosity when he felt a force greater than his own hypnotic power defending the group's mind. Instead of forcefully breaking it to screw with Ray without any reason, Nik decided to study the technique used since it would be helpful for his own Harem.
After another hour of silent walking, Tanjiro sighed in distress before making his way towards Zenitsu while Nik also hastened his pace to get closer to Saeko and chatting with her through [Partner Communication] while discussing regarding the project to finally use the strands of gravity on others for training purposes.
A thought that troubled Nik to no end and finally, to truly understand his gains of regularly manipulating the strands of gravity, Nik started increasing the number of strands.
After reaching the tenth strand, Nik finally felt his body being pressurised and although the effect wasn't as great as twice the gravity, Nik still felt that a total of ten strands of gravity may equate to a quarter of the original gravity of the planet. But the strain of manipulating ten strands happened to be something that utilised almost all of Nik's mental fortitude until he steadily dropped the control before finalising at controlling five strands of gravity.
Of course, if Nik used his Gravity Bending, results will be way greater than his performance in the world of elements.
After two more hours of journey, Shinobu, leading the trail, decided that it was time to stop for a rest. The original intention wasn't to travel at night due to the threat of demons, but the demons slayers had to leave early to avoid the civilian's plea. That was something the other group will handle.
Soon, the camps made of beast skins found itself covering a rather large area while multiple bonfires illuminated the camping region. Each demon slater understood the virtue of conversing strength alongside the stock until they reached the Swordsmith Village, so the expected party around the bonfires never ensued. Instead, with multiple slayers guarding the camp, the area emanated gloominess.
Until Shinobu decided to lay a visit with her entourage.
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