A wave of gratitude for Tiago Ferreira for contributing.
"I don't know how and when... but I faintly recall a similar sense of... freedom. As if something... or someone finally let go of my shoulders."
Nik whispered into Shigure's ears as the duo laid onto the mattress. With the deed done, Nik couldn't help but feel an astonishing sense of dj vu. But why?
"I am... happy. A person... is only happy... when free."
With her long hair draping Nik's torso, Shigure's petite figure lay upon Nik's while she snuggled her face into Nik's neck.
"Even if it means to let go of the responsibility of your loved ones?"
Shigure shook her head and kissed his neck while letting her words echo within Nik's consciousness fluently, "There is a thin line between caring for your loved ones and taking their responsibilities. Although, both are taken up voluntarily...
The two emotions can never restrict a person's freedom. To blame restrictions to freedom on responsibilities...
It is a coward's excuse.'
'Oof, how harsh... calling me a coward.'
Nik smiled and hugged Shigure's body tighter while the Kunoichi once again countered back.
'You are not a... coward. Yes, you may represent many things unacceptable by society.
But to your own people, you are the kindest soul.'
"You know how to butter your man up, huh."
Nik whispered with a satisfied smile as Shigure smirked, "I... learned from the... best."
"Yeah, you did."
Nik took a deep breath before exhaling loudly.
"I may sound like a jerk when I say this out loud... but I gotta go see Yuriko.
I am done trying to account for what the consequences will be after that... I'll just find a cure for her."
Shigure grew silent for a while her arms coiled tightly around Nik as she took a deep whiff before sighing into Nik's ear.
"Yeah... you are a jerk. But... get back quickly... I have a surprise."
"You got it."
Nik caressed her back and continued the embrace for a few minutes before tucking Shigure in and wearing his clothes. Then, with light steps, Nik walked out of the hut and found that it was already night and yet, the streets were filled with people. Apparently, all of the people that Nik couldn't recognise were the Swordsmiths, or at least, their family members for none of them had their mask on.
Some sported faces streaked with tears while others showed a sad yet reminiscent smile on their lips. But one thing was for sure, the moment Nik found that he could feel the entire village within his Pheromonal Domain, he instantly linked the strange event to himself. And when he tried to pry into the minds of the dazed citizens, he found a rush of thoughts into his consciousness which he instantly worked to organise.
There were events, memories of peoples and objects. The only thing that connected the strange memories was that each of the memory was a turning point for one of the villagers or the demon slayers present in the village. Of course, Nik closed the connection the moment he activated it in fear of his own mind getting overwhelmed by the memories.
Finally, Nik hastily worked his way to control the effects of his own Pheromonal Domain when it hit him that the control over his own Pheromones seemed to have gone through a major change.
Even if Nik could control his Pheromones subconsciously, the feeling this time around felt even more sublime. It was as if he could continue controlling the Pheromonal Domain to its extensive functions even when he didn't actively think of it or hypnotise his own self on a subconscious level.
This was a concept Nik wasn't strange to.
This level of control could only be categorised into the realms of instinct.
The realm which Nik wished to train his manipulation of gravity into.
Exhaling softly, Nik steadied the illusion. The night was young and he didn't want others to find out
On another note, Nik smiled and slowly pulled others from the illusion while making his way towards Elizabeth's stay at a quick pace. In a few moments, Nik identified Elizabeth's presence that was graced by Nezuko's and Yuriko's too as he pushed the door open and met a red-eyed Elizabeth. The moment the brunette looked at Nik, she jumped into his arms without saying another word while an equally saddened Yuriko looked at the scene from her mattress without interrupting.
"Hush, honey. We both know that your kid won't hate you... so don't feel guilty."
As it turns out, Elizabeth met JoJo in her dazed state. They both were in a place where no battles took place. Where Elizabeth did not have to leave him alone with his grandmother while battling the demons and never returning. As happy as Elizabeth felt, the wave of guilt that washed her heart was too hard to bear for her. Even if she spent some time with JoJo when he returned to her life due to a chance meeting with Caesar, she still couldn't bring herself to speak these words out loud Did you miss me, son?
She had no right to say these words.
'Hmm... I... am worried for him.'
Elizabeth whispered into Nik's consciousness while Nik nodded in understanding.
"He is going towards the other mountain, right? I'll look him up in a few days... I still have some task left outside the village."
"No, I want to go." Elizabeth shook her head and took a deep breath before smiling as the streaks of tears still marred her face, "I had this feeling of... I don't know how to put it in words.
I just don't want to stretch the lie any longer. I'll face the consequences myself."
"And if you thought that you'll face anything alone, then I must bed you real good once again to make it clear.
I won't let you be alone any longer. So, do what you have to do."
Nik cupped Elizabeth's cheeks with a smile and gently pecked her lips before gazing at Yuriko while mentally speaking to Elizabeth, 'You wanna join in this time?'
Elizabeth's expression flipped a 180 and she pushed Nik with her cheeks flared.
"That's the only thing in your mind, isn't that right, mister?"
"Of course." Nik smiled and brought Elizabeth closer to pinch her lower cheeks in a swift motion before whispering.
"I'll meet you after I'm done here... As for that thing you just said, we'll leave in five days, how does that sound?"
Elizabeth nodded before gazing back at Yuriko and smiling with a hint of lethargy and pity and then, finally making her way out.
"So? What did you see?"
Nik smiled and closed the distance between the two and sat in front of her while Yuriko scooched back while shaking her head.
"I am sorry... I can't do this anymore. Whatever we had between each other, let's just call it an appreciation for one another." Yuriko's whisper barely echoed in the hut as Nik smiled and leaned forward.
"You saw your husband... and your daughter, Saya. You three were together, happy. It was a sunny day." As Yuriko's expression grew worse, Nik grew closer and lowered his voice steadily, "You three enjoyed a warm and happy picnic. Nothing to break the family apart. No responsibilities, no work... no family dispute."
Tilting his head, Nik brought his lips closer to Yuriko's ears, "You want to love your husband, don't you? As loyal as you were as a wife...
You couldn't bring yourself to love a man whose entire life was filled with politics that may very well taint your own innocent daughter."
Yuriko snarled and opened her jaws to finally showcase her abilities as an enraged demoness only for Nik to suddenly whisper, "You can still have that. A life with your daughter. And...
You are still capable of loving a man. An able man, at the very least."
"A man that can make you quiver in a single touch." Nik softly kissed Yuriko's earlobe as her body shivered while getting defensive and shrinking into a ball as Nik continued advancing.
"No, shut up! You know nothing about me! Shut up, shut up, SHUT UP!"
Yuriko's hands felt helpless as she couldn't even muster any energy to push Nik's body as he softly bit on her earlobe, "A man that can make you feel accomplished as a lover, a respected wife and a wonderful mother."
"Stay away from me!" Yuriko's lips quivered while her thoughts grew into a chaotic and twisted whirlpool that only wished to register Nik's touches, his kisses.
"I am done holding back, you know." Nik's arms gently covered Yuriko's back as he continued whispering, "So, as selfish as it sounds Be with me...
That is not an option."
It wasn't an option, indeed.
It was Nik's wish that he wanted, nay, needed to fulfill.
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