Kimetsu No Yaiba Light Novel (Demon Slayer Light Novel) – Chapter 2 – For Whose Sake
“Nezuko-chan, watch your step over there.”
There was a slight drop downwards beneath their feet. Zenitsu reached his hand out and Nezuko grasped his hand tightly.
(Uwah, what soft hands……I’m holding hands with Nezuko!! I’m actually holding hands!!! That’s great!!!!)
The feeling of supple skin caused a lovey expression to appear on Zenitsu’s face and he carefully relished the feeling of bliss gushing from within him.
As he was completely immersed in the strict training for full focus and partial focus breathing, this period of time where he was able to go for a short walk with Nezuko after the moon revealed its face was something that made him feel happy beyond words.
Also he only dared to openly bring Nezuko out after he got the permission from Nezuko’s older brother, Tanjirou as well as from Shinobu, the owner of the house.
During this period of time, all the things that exist in this world seemed extremely dazzling.
Even the moon that hung high in the sky seemed to be giving its congratulations.
“We’re about to reach the place which is full of flowers, alright? Are you tried? Ah, there’s a lot of white clovers there. When we get there, I’ll help you make a flower crown.”
Zenitsu said while blushing.
Nezuko raised her face, which was biting onto a gag, peered at Zenitsu then nodded her delicate chin.
Seeing that adorable appearance, Zenitsu thought, while feeling moved: “Ahh…It’s lucky I’m still alive. It’s great that I didn’t become a spider!!”
“Come over, Nezuko! We’re here!” “!!”
Arriving at a field that was not too far from the Butterfly Manor, Nezuko’s expression lit up.
The field was full of flowers that have bloomed. If even Zenitsu, who was a boy, could not help but be amazed by the sight, then one can imagine what Nezuko, who was in her youthful years, was feeling.
Nezuko excitedly looked around under the faint moonlight and Zenitsu let out a smile as he saw the sight and started to pluck the white clovers like he promised. He wanted to get as many as he could so he could make plenty of flower crowns for her.
(I seem to be skilled at doing these kinds of things….Since a while back.)
Nezuko’s lustrous black hair would definitely be complement the flower crowns.
(I’ll make one with just white clovers and put other kinds of flowers on the rest. They would be more colourful that way.)
Thinking to this point, Zenitsu opened his mouth and asked:
“Eh, Nezuko-chan. What flower does Nezuko-chan think is the most—”
The words only came out halfway but he shut his mouth.
A yellow flower was quietly blooming at one corner of the white clovers, and a faint memory of Zenitsu’s resurfaced.
(That flower is……)
It was an incident that happened before he met Tanjirou and Inosuke—
That time he was training under a former pillar.
“Alright…………..I finally got away from Jii-chan.”
Zenitsu hid behind a large tree and kept a close eye on his surroundings while letting out a sigh of relief at the same time.
“Jii-chan must be so mad~”
Even though he felt a bit guilty, he was unable to endure any longer.
This was not something that was all fun and games, he would really die.
Zenitsu’s “Cultivator” was an energetic old master – Kawajima Jigoro.
“You won’t die from something like this!!”
Even though that was something he always said, the next time might be Zenitsu’s end.
It might not be something that would just end like his hair turning blonde after being hit by lightning.
(Sorry, Jii-chan……But this mediocre level might just be all I amount to…….forget about me—-Actually these aren’t my real thoughts……If you can think about me once in a while, I would be happy—I’m really apologetic about this…..I love Jii-chan the most ……But I can’t carry on doing this anymore.)
Apologising to his master in his heart, Zenitsu hurried on his way, hoping to get to the bottom of the hills before sunset. The sun was gradually sinking down to the west.
After reaching the village, he should taste some of their delicious steamed buns.
Then he shall enjoy the sight of girls walking towards him on the streets to the fullest.
Also, as he need not sneak around to train in the middle of the night, he could have a good sleep at long last.
Watching a movie film did not sound too bad either.
With those thoughts in mind, Zenitsu walked down the mountains with a spring in his step. However, when he reached near the foot of the hill, he suddenly stopped.
His extremely acute sense of hearing picked up the painfully sorrowful crying of a girl.
“Oh no! There’s a girl crying!!”
As though he had become someone else, Zenitsu suddenly had an awe-inspiring expression and he pushed aside branches, crossed rivers and made a beeline for the source of crying which was under a cliff.
A young girl who was wearing a completely white kimono was sobbing uncontrollably while squatting among the grass.
“Eh……Are you alright?! Are you feeling unwell anywhere?!”
Once Zenitsu made a sound, the girl was alarmed and her shoulders shook.
She nervously turned her head around, then her shoulders slumped downwards as though she was relieved after seeing Zenitsu. Then she started crying again.
“Sor, sorry?! Did I scare you?! Eh, are you really alright?! Are you hurt or injured anywhere?!”
Under Zenitsu’s persistent questioning, the girl finally raised her head.
Both their eyes met each other by accident—
The girl’s eyelashes that were moistened by tears were long like a bird’s feathers and they were beautiful to the point that even flowers would lament and sigh.
Zenitsu felt as though an arrow went straight through his heart and he unconsciously clutched onto the left side of his chest.
Of course, that was the Cupid’s arrow.
Perhaps it had to do with not having parents from young and not knowing the warmth of having a family while he was growing up—? He yearned for love and marriage more than most people and easily plunged into love.
Zenitsu had completely fallen head over heels with this teary eyed girl before his eyes.
He became frantic, no matter what, he wanted to stop this girl from crying.
“Um, if……if yo, you don’t mind, can you tell me why you’re crying? I might be able to help you……!!”
“My name is Agatsuma Zenitsu, and I’m learning swordsmanship from this “Cultivator” Jii-chan.”
The other party probably felt uneasy when she did not know who he was. Considering this point, Zenitsu introduced himself and the “sound” from the girl started to change slightly.
That was the sound he was hoping for.
The sound of finding a small ray of light while one was in a desperate situation.
Zenitsu realised that he had become the girl’s hope and he was so happy that he raised his voice.
“Eh? It’s alright if you just talk, do you want to talk with me?!”
The girl’s tears ceased only after Zenitsu suddenly asked this question in a fearsome way.
“….My name is Sayuri.”
She told him her name with a trembling voice.
“I live in that village up ahead that’s full of wisteria flowers together with my mother, step-father and two step-sisters.”
“I see, so you’re called Sayuri. What a cute name—so? What are you doing up in the hill’s today? And you’re wearing a kimono that doesn’t look easy to walk in….”
After knowing the girl’s name, Zenitsu continued to ask while waving his hands around, however the girl only slanted her brows downwards sadly.
“Actually , a few nights ago, my step-father encountered a demon in this hill……Even though he was lucky enough to escape with his life, that time, my step-father promised to offer up his daughter as a trade……”
“Ehh?! He’s offering up Sayuri to a demon?! What the heck is that?! Isn’t that too much?!”
“This is something that can’t be helped……If my stepfather is not around, then my mother and stepsisters would not be able to live on.”
The girl lowered her eyelids and the tears that remained on her eyelashes rolled off her cheeks immediately.
Her black hair that was tied high on the back of her head was too lovely to even compare with anything in the world.
Facing this pitiful girl, Zenitsu threw all concerns to the back of his head and shouted loudly: “—I’ll help you!”
“I’ll pretend to be Sayuri to find that demon then I’ll finish it off in a jiffy! Sayuri, you can wait for me at the foot of the hills!!”
As Zenitsu walked on the dimly lit mountain path, he very quickly regretted letting such words out of his mouth.
Even though he wore a kimono to disguise as Sayuri, the hem was ridiculously long, as though he could trip anytime. Furthermore, he hid his sword on his back so it made it difficult to move about.
Also, he had to fight a demon and this made Zenitsu scared out of his wits.
(No, it’s not possible right?)
(Since when did I have the ability to kill off a demon alone?”
(And what do I mean in a jiffy?! In a jiffy!!)
(How can I do this.)
(It might better to go back, lower my head and apologise to Jii-chan and ask him to come with me……)
(But there’s no time……)
(Ah—I’m going to die……I’m dead meat.)
Zenitsu’s rational side could not stop wailing.
He really wanted to bawl out loud without caring about his dignity and then escape from this place at full speed.
But on the other hand, he also knew that only he could stop that cute girl from crying.
(Sayuri……seems to be happy.)
When Zenitsu said he was going to get rid of the demon, Sayuri’s tears started trickled out of her eyes non-stop and she cried her heart out.
Even though the bright sound that represented hope and joy gradually grew stronger, there it was definitely interlaced with guilt, shame….as well as bewilderedness.
Perhaps it went against her conscience to push Zenitsu, someone who was a complete stranger to her, into the fire.
That was a complex and heart-wrenching sound.
(She’s really a kind girl.)
As they were about to part ways, Sayuri grasped both of Zenitsu’s hands with tears in her eyes and asked him to return safely—At that moment, Zenitsu recalled that trembling voice.
Although her stepfather wanted to sacrifice her, who had no blood ties with him, and her own biological mother did not plan to stop him, Sayuri never blamed the two of them.
Therefore, Zenitsu wanted to help her out even more.
However, even if he had strong feelings and courage for the girl, he was unable to overcome his fear of facing the demon. On the way to the location that the demon and her stepfather promised to meet, there were many times Zenitsu wanted to run but with much difficulty, he convinced himself to push on.
There was a thin crescent moon hanging in the sky.
Zenitsu raised his head and looked up at the moon through the gap between the trees and quietly prayed within his heart.
(I hope it’s a small and weak demon!!)
At this moment—
——The sound of a demon came over.
Zenitsu frantically covered his mouth with both his hands to prevent his wailing from escaping his mouth by itself.
It was the sound of something that was looking forward to the girl arriving and could barely hold itself back from chewing on her soft and succulent flesh. It sounded so greedy and cruel.
Zenitsu’s entire body was shivering and he stopped his footsteps.
He was unable to move forward, no matter how hard he tried, he could not take another step.
As Zenitsu held his breath and stood immobile in the dark mountains, an enormous demon emerged from the depths of the grass. That demon was irregularly formed, it had three gigantic arms sprouting out from its back and each were holding huge sickles. It had a bloody gaping large mouth that extended to its ears and above that were six cruel tiny eyes that glinted in the dark of the night.
(This is bad……I’m doomed for sure. Sayuri…….I’m sorry.)
Seeing that grotesque appearance and gigantic form that seemed to touch the clouds, Zenitsu was so terrified even his teeth were chattering.
Haa, haa, haa, haa, haa, haa, haa, haa, haa, haa, haa, haa—Zenitsu forgot about the image that a girl was supposed to have and starting gasping loudly.
“You’re that old man’s youngest daughter?”
The demon asked in a raspy voice.
In a flash, Zenitsu’s heart leapt to his throat. He just barely managed to suppress the fear in his heart and replied.
“Ye…Ye ye ye yes.”
But was unable to prevent his words from coming out unnaturally.
“My, my, my name is Zenko.”
After glancing at Zenitsu—
“That damn old man, he lied to me to protect his life. How is this ugly bitch the prettiest woman in the village in any way?”
The demon clicked its tongue, furious.
In order to disguise as Sayuri, Zenitsu tied his hair up, just barely, then he crushed some red petals to get their juices for makeup. However he was a boy disguised as a girl after all.
Quite a number of demons preyed on young beautiful girls, this demon probably had this kind of fetish as well. He came forward with the disappointment of his hopes being dashed and impatience.
Zenitsu was shaking like a leaf from fear.
“Whatever. Anyway, I’ll kill and eat you first. Then when then the seasons change, those hateful wisteria flowers will fall, then I’ll eat that bastard’s wife and other two daughters in front of him……That’s his punishment for fooling me.”
The demon wiped the drool leaking from his mouth and said in a threatening manner.
His voice was filled with a malicious joy.
That raspy voice which thirsted for blood was so icy cold that not a bit of warmth could be felt.
The demon arrogantly lowered his voice:
“First, I’ll use this sickle to gouge out your eyeballs. Then I’ll dig out your tongue. Afterwards—”
Because he was too scared, Zenitsu finally gave up on thinking.
The sound of a thread snapping was heard in his brain and just like that, the darkness swallowed him……
Waking up as the sound of something hitting the ground after falling from high up was heard, Zenitsu quickly looked around his surroundings. Then he realized the demon’s skull had fallen next to his feet and he unintentionally let out a scream.
The volume was loud enough to cause a tremor to the mountainous forest in the night.
As Zenitsu leapt away from it, he seemed to kick the demon’s head, and with an uncomfortable sound of being hit, the skull rolled around non-stop and the blood that remained on its wound flew everywhere.
As though the demon saw something unbelievable, its six eyes stared wide open and were bloodshot. The cut on its neck was also completely flat, as though it was cut but a sharp blade.
Just like a white radish that had been cut.
“What what what?! Why did it suddenly die?! I hate this!!!! I had enough!!!!”
“Why did its head suddenly get lopped off?! Why?! It’s so scary!! I hate this?! What is this?!”
He could not grasp the situation.
The demon was suddenly decapitated.
And strangely enough, he was holding onto the sword that was hidden behind his back.
The pure white kimono he was wearing was also covered with the demon’s blood.
“Did someone save me?! Eh, where are you?! Did someone save the useless me?!”
Zenitsu cried as he looked around him but he could not see and sign of another person.
He had a realization.
There was only one person in the world who would be willing to lend a hand to save him, right?
Tears gushed out of Zenitsu’s eyes again.
It was highly likely that Jigoro, who wanted to bring Zenitsu back, saved him from the clutches of the demon then understanding the situation, decided to kindly hide himself.
Gratefulness and guilt filled Zenitsu’s heart.
“Jii-chan……thank you….I will definitely find happiness with Sayuri……thank you for taking care of me all this while….really….I’m so thankful that you’ll save someone like me. You must take care of yourself.”
Zenitsu sheathed his sword while crying and bowed deeply to the dark forest, then cutting off all his remaining attachments, he left the scene.
–As Zenitsu disappeared, a person holding a cane started to move among the grass.
“……–That idiot disciple.”
That low voice sounded melancholic.
“I already said that you have talent that won’t lose to anyone, why won’t you understand—”
Sayuri is waiting for me.
Sayuri is waiting for me up ahead!
Zenitsu held onto the yellow lilies that he plucked on the way to the foot of the hills and was so lost in his own thoughts it was almost like he was in a dream.
“Thank you…….Zenitsu-san, I like you.”
The image of Sayuri’s ecstatic expression floated into his head. Ufufufufu, for a moment, Zenitsu was so embarrassed that he let out a strange laughter.
He could see a figure wearing his clothes at the side of the path.
Zenitsu was about to wave his hand energetically but stopped himself.
Sayuri was not alone. Next to her was a simple looking young man, looking in his direction with the same uneasy expression.
Tears gushed out of Sayuri’s eyes.
Then, Zenitsu understood everything.
Sayuri realized that Zenitsu harboured feelings for her that was beyond just sympathy and compassion which was why he was willing to take her place. However, she already had a lover.
Because of that, her sound sounded so complex and heart-wrenching.
Sayuri did not trick Zenitsu willingly.
She did not mention it, that was all. Because she wanted to live, because she did not want to die, she had no choice but to choose to remain silent.
Last time, there was a woman who tricked Zenitsu out of his money and eloped with the man she loved, but Sayuri was different from her.
It was clear from the sound.
But Zenitsu only wanted to focus on the positive side of the situation.
Right now, her sound was just saying over and over again: I’m sorry, I’m sorry.
It made people want to cry—
(……………It’s not Sayuri’s fault)
At the same time when he felt his passion cooling off, Zenitsu still showed a smile to the girl. There was a sharp stabbing pain in his chest.
“The demon’s dead, you don’t have to worry anymore.”
“Th……thank you……Thank you.”
“Thank you very much……!!”
The man also showed his gratitude sincerely and was almost going to kneel down and kowtow.
“I will never forget your generosity and compassion……!I’m going to take Sayuri away, far away from that heartless stepfather of hers! I really thank you very much!! Demon Slayer-sama!!”
(So noisy……! I didn’t work this hard for your sake!! It was all for Sayuri!! But, actually the one who defeated the demon was Jii-chan?! Damn it!! And this person isn’t good looking, he’s just a normal goody goody two shoes, this pisses me off even more, stupid!!)
Zenitsu was crying tears of blood within his heart and he stealthily turned the lilies around and hid them behind his back.
Tears trickled out from Sayuri’s eyes.
The sound of her blaming herself was gut wrenching.
“Sayuri, be happy…….”
Sayuri cried and bowed her head several times.
In the end, the two people returned to the village together.
Zenitsu watched as the two disappeared with a smile on his face.
When only he was left, the tears flowed out rapidly.
Within his blurry field of vision, Zenitsu looked at the flowers he wanted to give to Sayuri, at a loss.
He remembered their flower language was—
“Cheer” and “fakery”.
His chest kept hurting. Zenitsu wanted to throw the flowers on the road….but in the end, he dismissed that thought.
Just as he was trying to hold back his tears under the moonlight, someone came up beside him.
Without realizing it, Jigoro had appeared.
That sound was imposing and terrifying, but yet, quite gentle.
Zenitsu nervously opened his mouth:
“………About that………Jii-chan, I……”
With just one shout from Jigoro, Zenitsu shrank back in fear.
“How many times have I told you and yet you abandoned your training and ran away! Also, what with this weird getup!! It’s hideous!!”
“Seriously, it’s troublesome to have a stupid disciple.”
Jigoro sighed and said softly.
Zenitsu cowered in shame.
“But you’re not just any simple moron.”
“You’re a big moron.”
Just as Zenitsu was about to shrink back even more, Jigoro softened his tone.
“You’re a gentle big moron.”
Zenitsu raised his head, surprised and Jigoro immediately lifted his hand and placed it on Zenitsu’s head.
That hand was large and rough.
It was a hand that saved many people before when he slayed demons as a pillar.
Zenitsu dreamed that he could become like that one day—
The man he respected had a pair of strong gentle hands.
“You did well. Not only did you not abandon that girl, you also overcame your fear and fought.”
“………the one who helped her was Jii-chan, I didn’t do anything at all.”
Hearing Zenitsu say that in a depressed manner, Jigoro gave a baffled expression.
“What? You think I defeated the demon?”
“Eh? Isn’t it? When I passed out, Jii-chan—”
“The one who defeated the demon is you, Zenitsu.”
Zenitsu’s eyes widened as he could not comprehend the situation.
(Eh……? What’s that supposed to mean? Wasn’t it Jii-chan who defeated that demon? Why did he say I defeated it……Ehhh?)
Zenitsu was thrown into confusion, but he guessed that he could use philosophical ideas to explain this.
(Because I didn’t escape from the demon so Jii-chan was willing to help—so it’s the same as me defeating it? That must be what Jii-chan means, right? But there’s too many things omitted in between; I don’t understand what he’s saying at all.)
As Zenitsu was having his own ideas and kept nodding to himself, Jigoro called out his disciple’s name: “—Zenitsu.”
That was the imposing tone he used when they were undergoing training.
“Do you know what people mean by a good swordsman?”
“Um….of course it’s someone who is an amazing swordsman. Just like Jii-chan.”
Hearing Zenitsu’s reply, Jigoro seemed to have felt somewhat embarrassed and his face became red in an instant.
He cleared his throat and said:
“Then what characteristics do you think an amazing swordsman needs to have?”
Facing Zenitsu, who was stuttering, Jigoro inculcated him with an idea.
“Compassion can make a person’s heart infinitely tough. A sword that you swing for the sake of others can have power that is immense. You must become that kind of person.”
An extremely gentle gaze appeared on the old master who always seemed to be furious as he looked as his disciple who would amount to nothing.
“No matter what, you must think about the weak and step out to protect them. This is something that only you, someone who understands the meaning of being weak, can do.”
Seeing the soft gaze from Jigoro and hearing the comforting encouragement that was given to him, the back of Zenitsu’s throat and the corner of his eyes became hot for a moment, the feeling of sorrow also built up in his nasal cavity.
“As long as you don’t lose that compassion, you definitely can become a good swordsman.”
The tears suddenly fell.
Facing Zenitsu who was sobbing uncontrollably, Jigoro only gently patted his blonde hair.
There was also a crescent moon in the sky that night.
“I wonder how Sayuri is doing….”
Zenitsu smiled with his eyes and looked at the yellow flower swaying in the wind. Then, someone roughly pulled his sleeve.
(T/N: like this (^_^))
Looking down, he saw that Nezuko had an unhappy expression.
Zenitsu was quickly brought back to reality.
“Ah, sorry, Nezuko-chan! I’ll make one for you soon.”
“Sorry, I zoned out for a bit. Alright, I’ll make you a pretty flower crown as an apology. Right, shall we make one each for your older brother and that idiot Inosuke?”
After Zenitsu finished his words in a cheerful manner, Nezuko smiled happily.
“Ah ha ha.”
After seeing Nezuko’s smile, Zenitsu could not help grinning himself.
Sayuri must be leading a blissful and happy life with that gentle lover of hers.
While he, just like before, was still weak, a cry baby, cowardly and could only run away.
He definitely would not be able to become the tough blade that his Jii-chan mentioned that day.
Honestly speaking, Zenitsu did not even know if he could be considered a compassionate person.
(But one day……)
I definitely will—
As he made a vow in his heart, the boy plucked the most beautiful flower in the field for the cute girl.