Kimetsu No Yaiba Light Novel (Demon Slayer Light Novel) – Chapter 2 – Haganezuka Hotaru’s Matchmaking Session
(T/N: In modern times, we would have called it a blind date but I’m just gonna stick to matchmaking which is more time appropriate)
Haganezuka Hotaru was a superb sword smith.
Not only did he have the polished techniques that were passed down through the generations of the Haganezuka clan, he loved swords more than anyone else.
But there was a huge problem with his personality.
When he was only two years old, because of his difficult personality, he whittled down his parents’ mental spirit. Afterwards, he even grabbed a cleaver and chased after this youth from the Demon Slayer corps who had a custom sword made by him, yelling “I’ll kill you!!”, “You deserve a thousand deaths!!” and so on. He even choked another youth who had the same job as him and beat up a youth who was a Pillar and various other violent actions. It was already well known among others that he was a self-centered individual……
“Hotaru really gives people a headache.”
While seated in the living area and eating mitarashi dango, Tecchikawahara Tecchi let out a huge sigh.
Just to mention, the mitarashi dango was a gift to Haganezuka by the Demon Slayer Kamado Tanjirou. As Tanjirou had trampled on the result of painstaking effort that came from Haganezuka polishing a blade without rest, Haganezuka, in a fit of rage, demanded that Tanjirou “give him mitarashi dango till the day he dies”.
Tanjirou was really amazing* and he really followed the instructions obediently.
(T/N: Amazing – not in a good way. As in doing something to make people bewildered and so on)
Speaking of this thirty seven year old man with the maturity of a fifteen year old….
As the foster father who gave Haganezuka his name, Tecchin slumped his shoulders in low spirits.
“Did I go wrong in the way I raised him?”
“No no no. He’s already a man who’s close the forty. Right now it has nothing to do with how he had been raised.”
Kanamori brewed tea and said calmly.
“Right? Kotetsu boy?”
When his name got called, Kotetsu looked up from his mitarashi dango.
“Yeah. With a personality that’s antisocial and being a hot-headed loner, it’s all Haganezuka’s own fault. You don’t have to care.”
“Even so, I feel that I should take responsibility for it~”
Tecchin shrugged his shoulders lightly like a child.
“I really wish he could become more amicable. Isn’t there some good method for it?”
Kotetsu answered harshly.
“Rather than changing that person, it’s definitely easier to teach a bear to shake.”
“……Well.” On the other hand, Kanamori who was older, and had more experience in life tilted his head. Then—
“How about setting him up for a matchmaking session?”
Kanamori said leisurely.
The plan “It’s about time to get Haganezuka married and create a family and become a changed man” raised by Kanamori progressed smoothly, which was unexpected, under Tecchin’s passionate fanning of the flames.
They had worried that Haganezuka would throw a tantrum……However, even though the person himself appeared to be reticent, he did not put up much protest and agreed to the suggestion. Therefore, the date of Haganezuka Hotaru’s matchmaking was set to be on the closest auspicious day.
And today was that auspicious day.
Kanamori, who made the suggestion, and Kotetsu were both staking out at the courtyard of the Ryotei* where the matchmaking was to take place. The goal was, of course, to spy on the situation.
(T/N: A luxurious traditional Japanese restaurant)
As the village did not allow outsiders, the location of the matchmaking was chosen to be in a town that was far enough from the village, in a time established Ryotei that was famous for its beautiful courtyard. The one was made the reservation was Kanamori so there was no need to sneak themselves in.
In the middle of a hall that was the size of more than twenty tatami mats, a man and a woman sat facing each other. Even if it was not said, this pair was Haganezuka and the girl he was set to meet. Tecchin, who was short, sat between them like he was a piece of décor.
The young lady who was all dressed up was cuter than they had expected, with a petite slender frame that contrasted well with the gorgeous peony pattern of her clothes.
“The other party is really cute. How infuriating.”
“Ah, this completely reflects of village head’s preferences. Her face is exactly like Kanroji-sama’s.”
They heard that Tecchin chose the matchmaking partner seriously. Even though the village head usually had a calm and steady composure, there were occasions when he would emit a terrifying aura of intimidation. But when it came to women, he was just like any other lay person.
“Such a cute person was actually willing to come for matchmaking.”
“If we just go based on looks, Haganezuka-san is handsome. In this case, just the photo alone would be able to pass.”
“So in the end, it’s about appearances.”
“No, Kotetsu-boy. The important factor is love, love.”
Kanamori, who fell in love at first sight with his wife and tied the knot with her, was the number one in the village for doting on his wife and it felt like he would go on a long spew about his feelings for his beloved wife anytime.
At the same time, the matchmaking session continued in the hall.
“May I know what your interest is, Haganezuka-san?”
Clack. The sozu* that was fixed in the courtyard made a clear sound.
(T/N: Bamboo water fountain that can be found in gardens. When one end fills with water, it will tip over and strike a stone, making a noise. Originally for scaring away animals.)
“Your first name is Hotaru? That’s an excellent name.”
“Isnt it? I’m the one who gave him that name. However this child keeps complaining that the name is too cute…”
“Fufufu, he must be embarrassed.”
The sozu made a knocking sound again.
“My interest is in cooking. If you don’t mind, may I find out what kind of dishes you like?”
The sozu made another clear noise.
“What do you like to do when you’re not working?”
“….Eat mitarashi dango.”
“Dear me, you really do love mitarashi dango.”
“….I wish I can eat that every day.”
“Haganezuka-san is really adorable.”
The loud clapping sound from the sozu seemed to finalise the conversation.
“Oh? It went pretty well? Also, isn’t the sozu too noisy?!”
“True, it did go better than expected.”
“Right? The atmosphere is quite good but that guy didn’t say much at all and his voice is so soft!!”
“He’s probably nervous, right? A big man like him is acting so coy……how gross.”
“Well, he has been living only for the sake of swords after all. He’s unexpectedly innocent. At least, for now, Haganezuka-san has not done anything strange and the lady seems to have good feelings for him. Maybe, just maybe, there’s a chance.”
As though he was the one participating in this matchmaking session, Kanamori was terribly excited.
“Alright, why don’t you two young people take a stroll in the garden?”
The village head used an old-fashioned method to temporarily wrap things up and the location for the match making moved to the courtyard.
A hunky man wearing a Hyottoko mask and a youthful beautiful lady were walking together in the courtyard. This scene was definitely difficult to describe.
“Haganezuka-san, you don’t really like to talk much, do you?”
“I like men who are silent. It feels like they’re gentle and intelligent.”
“………………Is that so?”
“The next time, I’ll make Mitarashi dango and bring them to you.
Haganezuka still barely uttered a few words and his volume was strangely tiny, also, the contents of the conversation seemed to keep spinning around mitarashi dango. However, the atmosphere between the two could not be considered bad.
“This is a miracle, Kotetsu-boy.”
Kanamori lowered his voice even more to prevent themselves from blowing their cover, and at the same time, he made an action like he was wiping away tears.
“Haganezuka-san’s spring has finally arrived.”
“Ah, that girl actually proactively held his hand!! Oh, that Haganezuka-san is still squirming around, he’s just like an octopus!”
“Yeah, he’s shy, I suppose?”
“You call that shy?! That’s disgusting!”
“It is indeed disgusting but right now, we should be praying that this miracle can hold on until the end.”
Kanamori made the pose of a senior and spoke to Kotetsu in an even mannered tone.
Haganezuka and his potential partner got close to the tree the two were hiding behind. Kotetsu and Kanamori immediately held their breaths and shrank their bodies until they could not become any smaller.
The two stopped in their steps.
The lady spoke in dead earnest.
“I have a request.”
Her tone was extremely serious as though she had made some kind of decision.
“ ………Ye, yes?”
Haganezuka was so nervous his shoulders stiffened up.
Was this finally the moment? The two sneaking a peek from their cover behind the tree both swallowed their saliva.
“After the chat we had just now, I have fully understood how high of a regard you hold for your sword smithing job, Haganezuka-san.”
“Is, is that so?”
Haganezuka’s voice suddenly became brighter. “However—” the lady continued to speak:
“Swords are already a thing of the past.”
The lady showed a pleasing smile.
“No one uses swords in this era already. So, why not make chef knives from now on, or even tools? I don’t wish for my dear husband to make barbaric objects such as swords.”
The lady said so in a straightforward manner and Haganezuka froze on the spot.
The two who were eavesdropping were also stunned….and the blood quickly drained from their faces.
“Crap!! This is bad!! She can’t say such a thing in front of Haganezuka-san!”
To that man – Haganezuka Hotaru – who loved swords more than anyone else, this was the most forbidden of forbidden statements.
In the worst-case scenario, he might even kill someone with his own hands.
Then the swordsmith village would be finished.
“Kotetsu-boy, if things go south, please take that woman and run. I will tickle Haganezuka-san’s armpits and use my utmost efforts to open a path for the two of you.”
“I understand. Kanamori-san, please do not die.”
Kotetsu and Kanamori became nervous.
Yet, after a long while, Haganezuka did not make any sound.
“Umm……Haganezuka-san?” Seeing that Haganezuka had quietly lowered his head, the woman opened her mouth to ask.
Haganezuka said in a whisper:
“There is someone using what you call barbaric swords, putting his life on the line to battle for the sake of people he does not even know.”
“Even if he was riddled with injuries, he continued to charge forward. No matter what kind of predicament he was facing, he still continued to fight without yielding. I am lucky I can make a sword that protects lives for that person. I am proud to be a blacksmith.”
“Excuse me, please pretend this never happened.”
The woman could not speak.
A cold wind blew past between the two.
Haganezuka was very calm.
Even though the woman looked down on the swords he loved greatly, he did not scold her on impulse.
He only quietly rejected her.
The reason definitely involved his pride as a swordsmith as well as his bond with a certain Demon Slayer.
–Haganezuka’s matchmaking session quietly came to an end.
“Sigh, this is considered fate as well. Just try again next time.”
The village head was still optimistic.
“Let me see. Which girl should I choose this time~?”
He happily chose another matchmaking potential from a stack of photos.
“……forget it….I have my swords anyway….”
On the contrary, it had already been a few days since the end of the matching making session, but Haganezuka still lay on the tatami mats in a slovenly manner.
“You have a huge build, stop blocking the way. It’s annoying.”
Kotetsu retorted with his usual tone and then placed a plate full of Mitarashi Dango onto the table lightly.
“Here, Tanjirou-san sent Mitarashi Dango over again. Eat these and get your spirits back.”
“Yeah, Haganezuka. Isn’t it great that you can make swords for such a kind and caring Slayer? For a swordsmith, that is the greatest fortune.”
“Hmph, of course it’s something he should do….that guy did trample on my hard work.”
“Alright, stop making a fuss. Let me pour you some tea.”
Once he finished speaking, Kanamori poured tea into Haganezuka’s teacup.
“Wow, the tea stem is standing straight up. Haganezuka, this is a good omen.” Kanamori said happily. There really was a complete tea stem standing upright in the teacup.
“You definitely will be successful during the next matchmaking session.”
However, not long after the joyful moment, Haganezuka became angry for some peculiar reason.
“When the tea stem stands straight up, one has to secretly finish the entire cup! You have ruined it! How are you going to pay me back?!”
“If things don’t go well during the next matchmaking session I go for, it’s all your fault!! Take responsibility!”
That was far too unreasonable, wasn’t it? Kanamori could not help but be bewildered by the situation.
“….How did you raise such a rotten personality?”
Kanamori blamed the village head.
“Didn’t you say that he was almost forty so it has nothing to do with the way he was raised already?”
“I did say that but he’s ridiculous. If I had put it bluntly, he’s human scum!”
“It has nothing to do with me~”
Tecchin abandoned his responsibilities as the foster parent and turned away his face that was covered with a Hyokotto mask as though he was not part of the issue.
Kotetsu helplessly sighed under his mask.
(However….it’s not as though Haganezuka-san did not make any progress.)
Seeing how Haganezuka lectured the beautiful lady who looked down on swords, it made him delighted. It was too cool.
Those words were full of responsibility and honour as a swordsmith. As someone who was from this hidden village, from the same profession, Kotetsu could not help but feel deeply moved.
Getting to know that youth who believed in the sword he made and who entrusted his own life to him, could actually let this isolated man undergo such a huge change.
–Because of that.
(….Gods, when there is a day that Haganezuka-san can turn over a new leaf and rid himself of that rotten to the core personality of his, please bestow him with a gentle wife who can understand his love for swords.)