Kimetsu No Yaiba Light Novel (Demon Slayer Light Novel) – Chapter 3 – Kanroji Mitsuri’s Secret

Kimetsu No Yaiba Light Novel (Demon Slayer Light Novel) – Chapter 3 – Kanroji Mitsuri’s Secret


–When we first met, I could not help but exclaim secretly that the world actually had such a beautiful girl.

White skin and clear deep amethyst eyes.

She was incredibly petite which made people adore her.

She treated everyone kindly yet was able to create poisons to kill demons.

Tough, clever, cute and incredibly dignified – what an outstanding girl.

I really hope I could become her friend. As we’re both women, it would be great if we could talk to each other more……

So when I happened to hear about that incident, my mind suddenly went black and I was completely unable to think.

“Kochou-sama saw her parents get killed by a demon right before her eyes, even her older sister, Kanae-sama….also met the same fate—”

I did not know.

Shinobu, I really did not know.

“Let me tell you something, actually I joined the Demon Slayer Corps so that I can find a prospective husband. If you want to find a partner, it’s best to find someone stronger than yourself, right? After all, girls all wish to find someone who can protect them. Eh, don’t you think so, Shinobu?”

If I had known, I definitely would not have said that.

That kind of shallow motive.

If I knew Shinobu’s past, I would definitely not have said that during that moment.

Ahh, why am I so stupid.

When I said those words, what kind of emotions did Shinobu have?

First a slightly surprised expression appeared on her face, then she smiled as usual and said, “About that, what should I say?”

Kanroji-san will surely find a good man.”

However, she must have felt disgusted and her heart must have been so furious.

Could it be that she doesn’t want to continue associating with a messed up person like me, right?

Hey, Shinobu…..

I.

I—

*

“Is there something wrong with Kanroji-san these days?”

Looking at her comrade who suddenly paid her a visit, Kochou Shinobu tilted her head in confusion.

Shinobu, who was the Insect Pillar, lived in the Butterfly Manor. And right here, was one of the treatment rooms. Aside from mixing up potent poisons to kill demons, she would also nurse and treat corps members who got injured in battle.

So almost everyone who came here were injured people.

However, there was not one scratch on her comrade, Iguro Obanai, and once they met, he seriously expressed his concerns about the Love Pillar, Kanroji Mitsuri.

“Something wrong…in what way?”

“Everything. There’s nothing normal about her. Didn’t you notice it?”

After hearing Shinobu’s question, Iguro shot her a harsh gaze.

The snake wrapped around his neck also coordinated with him and stuck out his tongue. That was the Snake Pillar, Iguro’s beloved dog, no, it’s beloved snake Kabamaru.

“Um—about that……” Shinobu stuck out her index finder and lightly stroked her upper lip, trying to remember the situation during the most recent Pillar meeting, however—

“I don’t have any impression.”

“Where in the world are you looking? Are you blind even though your eyes are so big? Are they just decorations?”

After grumbling for a while, Iguro let out an exaggerated sigh.

Shinobu thought to herself, it’s not as though I write letters to Kanroji-san like you do.

“Then I’m so sorry about that.”

However, she swallowed those words in the end and smiled, apologizing.

Even if the demons are unable to do anything in the day, the Pillars who shoulder a large responsibility are still so busy that they have no free time for anything. Since Iguro was able to pay a visit and abandoned everything else, the situation was probably serious.

Contrary to how Iguro seemed like, he actually really cared for his comrade.

“It’s fine as long as Iguro-san realizes it. If it’s not too much trouble, can you tell me, in what way is Kanroji-san being strange?”

Shinobu asked again.

Iguro nodded, his face stern and then—

“Fifty sticks.”

“What?”

“Kanroji is usually able to eat a hundred sticks of dango. That day she only ate fifty. Listen carefully, it’s fifty sticks you know? Those were even the dango that Kanroji loved eating the most.”

“……….”

Iguro’s direct stare with blood shot eyes made Shinobu subconsciously back up.

However, Iguro stood up and moved forward instead.

“Also she only replies me when she feels like it. Other than the content being simple and brief, it feels like she’s not being familiar with me. Why? That’s not right. It’s too strange.”

“Aoi, Iguro-san is going back.”

Shinobu turned her back towards Iguro and shouted towards the outside of the treatment room. “Iguro-san, the exit is over there.”

“Not only that.”

Iguro did not pay any attention to Shinobu’s sarcasm and added on: “During the last Pillar meeting, Kanroji intentionally avoided the gazes of the other pillars and did not even look straight at Oyakata-sama.”

Shinobu looked back at her comrade in surprise.

All the pillars respected Oyakata-sama – Ubuyashiki Kagaya from the bottom of their hearts. Mitsuri was no exception and was similarly charmed by Oyakata-sama. As far as Shibobu was aware, Mitsuri had never went against Oyakata-sama’s decisions and always placed him as a priority.

And she actually did not even look straight at Oyakata-sama? That was too strange.

“There’s a continuation from that. I heard that when Tokito picked up the handkerchief Kanroji left behind and was about to call her, she suddenly jumped near the roof and left like she was escaping.

“That is really abnormal.”

The usual Kanroji’s heart would definitely start racing and honestly show her gratitude saying: “Thank you~~Muichirou.”

“Was that the first time you realised that Kanroji-san was acting strange?”

“No, I felt something was wrong twelve days prior to that.”

He could actually even keep track of the date to such detail, that was something to comment on. But calculating based on that information, Kanroji’s strange state had persisted for close to half a month.

It was worrying.

“Perhaps she isn’t feeling well. I will check on her without leaving any stone unturned, you should be more alert too. Understand? Kochou.”

Iguro made his conclusion and seeing that Shinobu nodded in response, he was finally willing to leave.

Shinobu, who was left alone in the treatment room, sat back on her chair.

Iguro actually dropped everything and paid Shinobu a visit even though he probably could have sent her a letter via the Kasugaigarasu. However, it was heart-warming to see how much he cared for Mitsuri….

“—-I can’t stand him, once it comes to matters about Kanroji-san, Iguro-san would ignore everything else.”

Shinobu leaned onto the back of her chair and sighed lightly.

The only other female Pillar, Kanroji Mitsuri’s adorable smiling face appeared in her head.

“Hi, Shinobu.”

Even though she was older, she always had a carefree smile on her face and would approach Shinobu intimately like a kitten.

Thinking about her, Shinobu quietly closed her eyes, smiling.

Wind blew around outside the window, shaking the branches of the sakura tree that only had leaves left.

*

Her light, thin and flexible blade wove through the dark night, like a living creature.

“Breath of Love, First form – Shivers of First love!”

The body of the blade tumbled around at blinding speeds and tore the flesh of the huge demon.

After the demon’s head fell, Mitsuri gently breathed in. Her body felt strange, like it was unusually heavy.

As though even her blade had turned dull.

It was as though a layer of fog clouded her brain and suffocated her until she felt panicked.

“Thank you….Thank you.”

The ones who got married were a man and woman. The man kept bowing his head and expressed his gratitude while the woman asked, her body shaking:

“Are, are you alright?”

“Eh? Why do you ask that?”

“Because……you’re injured…..”

“Where am I inj—”

The woman’s gaze stopped at her own cheek. Mitsuri extended her left hand and wiped it lightly, staining the back of her hand with blood.

Mitsuri looked at her hand and then realized that she got hurt.

“For our sake……it’s because you protected us.”

“I must really thank you….”

The woman cried while saying her thanks and the man bowed his hand again. Mitsuri, however, frantically waved both her arms about.

“Ah, you don’t have to be that concerned, this kind of small injury is nothing. Sorry for scaring the two of you. Anyway, it’s great that both of you are unhurt.”

Mitsuri showed a lovely smile. Then, the man’s eyes became moist.

“Actually, my wife is pregnant.”

“Eh……Really? You have a baby?”

Mitsuri turned her head and looked over in surprise. Only then did the expression change on the woman’s tear stained face and she showed a shy smile.

“I’m due in three months.”

Now that she mentioned it, the woman’s lower abdomen was indeed bulging

“I see, congratulations. Please take care of your body.”

“You’re our family’s benefactor, we must really thank you—”

The man thanked her so many times that one lost count and after that, the young couple hugged each other while leaving, following the road in the night.

After the two people’s figures disappears, Mitsuri suddenly reached out her hand and placed it on her left breast.

Her heart was thumping continuously.

If the demon didn’t cut her cheek but instead struck the woman’s lower abdomen.

Just imagining it was scary.

That demon was not weak but it was not especially strong either. The usual her would have been able to escape unscathed and not even a scratch would be left on her.

(Then that pregnant woman would not have to show such an expression……)

The humid night air caressed her cheeks and Mitsuri used her finger to gently touch the wound.

There did not seem to be any pain at all.

But somehow, she felt that something important was continuously dripping out of the open wound.

*

“Huu……”

After her night patrol , with the brilliant sun shining above her head, Mitsuri dragged her immensely heavy body through the streets,

She walked into a restaurant which she frequented and ordered a ten-don, chilled soba, grilled fish, rice and miso soup.

Even though it seemed like this was too much to eat in the early morning, this was ten percent of Mitsuri’s usual amount of food.

In a short time, the tea was served to the table.

Mitsuri sipped a mouthful of tea, feeling distracted, then she sighed once more

After that incident, Mitsuri desperately tried to restrain the frivolous thoughts she had of other people.

Simply put, she was sealing off her feelings for others. Even though she initially joined the corps to be able to find a husband who would be with her for life. But in order to correct such horrible thoughts, she strictly stopped herself from feeling moved and seriously carried out her missions.

But fate seemed to be teasing her and Mitsuri continuously met with incidents that moved her greatly.

(Why….does it have to be during this kind of time.)
The timing was so bad it made her want to cry.

The Pillar meeting that happened earlier was the worst.

When she coincidentally ended up hiding from the rain with the Flame Pillar – Rengoku Kyoujurou, he removed his haori and passed it to her saying: “You’ll catch a cold! Put this on!!”. After that, she witnessed the Stone Pillar- Himejima Gyomei unexpectedly showing his cute side when he was carrying a small cat and saying: “Namo. Kitty, you’re so cute……”. Then she encountered the Wind Pillar – Shinagawa Sanemi by accident when he was sneakily feeding what seemed to be an abandoned puppy and witnessing the expression on the Water Pillar – Tomioka Giyuu’s face as he was startled awake while napping along the corridor. After which, Uzui grabbed her as she stumbled and almost fell over, saying: “Careful. Don’t fall in such an ungraceful manner.” Iguro even asked her to go to a newly opened Udon shop with him.

Every single time, Mitsuri could not help but feel moved….just holding back her escalated feelings was tiring already.

As a result—

“Mitsuri, is something bothering you? If you don’t mind, do you want to talk to me about it?”

(Even Oyakata-sama got worried about me……And when I went back, Muichirou was calling me but I actually ran off on my own.)

Horrible.

And she got even more nervous in front of Shinobu that she could not even look at her.

(What….am I doing.)

In the end, she even got injured by a demon that was not even one of the Twelve Moons.

Misturi slumped her shoulders, feeling depressed and took small mouthfuls of the Ten-don served to her by the waitress.

(Is it really alright like this?)

Just as this thought inadvertently crossed her head, the tempura slipped out of her chopsticks and dropped in the bowl.

The bowl was still more than two-thirds full of white rice.

She was really hungry yet she had no appetite and whatever she ate tasted bland and boring.

Ever since she blew her first matchmaking session in her life, such a situation never happened again.

“Kanroji-san’s physique is no different from normal people but your muscle mass is eight times that of theirs, which means that your muscle density is extremely high.”

The one who told Mitsuri this was Shinobu.

“So you must eat more. People with lots of muscles have high basal metabolism rates. Please at least eat eight times the amount of a normal person.”

“But…for a girl to eat that much….isn’t that disgusting? Would other people hate me?”

“Kanroji-san, if there’s someone who stops you from getting the nutrition you need, you don’t need to force yourself to be with them. When you encounter someone like that, just do this.”

Shinobu waved her fist around in the air with a cute smile on her face.

“Right?”

“Shinobu, you’re really….”

Shinobu’s smile and words gave her an unmeasurable amount of comfort.

A few days after speaking to Shinobu, Mitsuri and Iguro went to eat together and she anxiously ordered the food that she wanted. Iguro had the smallest appetite among the Pillars and usually took in small amounts of food and tea. However, he did not criticise Mitsuri from eating too much and even ordered food for her to eat.

Last time, Mitsuri did not dare to wear such an exposing squad uniform but yet she was unable to burn the uniform in front of the tailor just like Shinobu. At that time, Iguro only quietly and casually passed her a pair of striped stockings, without having any intention of showing kindness.

“Kanroji, so you’re here after all.”

Mitsuri got startled when she heard a familiar voice. She raised her head to take a look and the person before her was Iguro, whom she was thinking about and this made her flustered for the moment.

“I, Iguro-san?! Why are you here?!”

“I have something I want to talk to you about.”

After sitting in front of Mitsuri as though it was a natural thing to do, for some reason, Iguro started frowning.

“Kanroji, what’s happened……”

“Eh?” Unconsciously, Mitsuri looked down at the bowl next to her hand. “Did I spill my rice?”

Or was my eating face an embarrassing sight? Or could it be that there’s rice stuck at the corner of my mouth……

Mitsuri became panicked, however what Iguro pointed out was another issue altogether.

His tone was even colder than the freezing point of water.

“Why is your face injured?”

“Ah! This? When I was patrolling yesterday……I got careless—”

Mitsuri finished saying that in an uneasy manner and in an instant, the corners of Iguro’s eyes raised.

This was the first time her comrade, who could be considered a calm individual, showed such a frightening expression and Mitsuri started to have cold sweats.

(He’s angry. This was because I’m too useless, to be injured by a demon who’s not one of the twelve moons even though I’m a pillar….now what? Is he disappointed in me…?)

Just as Mitsuri was shrinking herself smaller and smaller, Iguro suddenly stood up.

“Where?” “Yaa.”

Mitsuri straightened her shoulders on reflex.

“Where’s that trash?”

“Eh?”

“I’m talking about that piece of trash who injured Kanroji’s rosy cheeks.”

“Eh……Ah, about that…..”

Actually I already defeated it, however Iguro interrupted Mitsuri who was about to open her mouth to explain and he growled in a low voice that was full of grudge: “That piece of trash deserves to die a thousand times over, I’m going to tear that bastard to pieces now.”

Seeing that Iguro looked like he was going to rush out of the store anytime, Mitsuri hurriedly stopped him.

“Wa, wait, Iguro-san! He’s not around anymore. Um, I decapitated him already, so……”

 

“…….—”

Iguro finally came back to his senses. He, who was a short individual, quelled his killing aura and sat back in front of Mitsuri and then placed a hand against his own forehead saying: “Sorry.”

Iguro mumbled softly, he was so embarrassed that he just wanted to hide somewhere—

“The rage got to my head.”

“….Iguro-san.”

(So he wasn’t angry at me?)
On the contrary, he was very concerned about her.

A warm feeling rose up from her heart.

Now that she thought about it carefully, since she entered the corps, Iguro was very nice to Mitsuri and took care of her in various kinds of ways.

“—Kanroji.” He spoke in an awkward manner:

“Are you troubled by something?”

“Eh……”

“If it’s alright with you, please talk to me about it.”

“Iguro-san……”

“I want to help you.”

“!”

Experiencing Iguro’s sincere tone and his serious gaze, her heart almost started beating furiously again—however, at that moment, Shinobu’s figure appeared in her mind.

“…….!!No!” “Kanroji?”

Iguro raised his head with a blank look at Mitsuri who stood up suddenly. No matter what, Mitsuri was unable to look at him straight in the eyes.

“I, I , I suddenly remembered that I have something else to do………! Sorry, I’ll make a move first.”

After barely forcing that sentence out, Mitsuri pushed the fee for her food into the boss’s hand and ran out of the store, looking extremely distressed.

(I’m sorry, Iguro-san! I really am sorry!)

He even took the initiative to show his concern for her.
And even said that he wanted to help.

(But if this went on, I’ll be moved by Iguro-san……)

Discussion aside, she was just going onto a path of failure, she could not depend on Iguro like she usually did.

Mitsuri left the restaurant like she was fleeing.

When she came to a more open area, Mitsuri could finally breathe a sigh of relief.

(I have to find a way to deal with this, I can’t keep relying on Iguro-san.)

Mitsuri forcefully hit her cheeks with both her hands.

However, the fog that enveloped her mind still did not dissipate.

A few days passed—

“Sigh~~~~……”

The low tension that troubled Mitsuri did not improved, in fact it only became worse.

She felt that breathing was difficult, her body was as heavy as lead and it may be because of that that Mitsuri clearly became weaker. She could not even use her Breath of Love techniques as easily.

(What…is wrong with me.)

In this state, would she be able to handle her responsibilities as a Pillar?
Just as Mitsuri was full of guilt, Shinobu sent a voice message.

–If Kanroji-san is free, can I trouble you to make a trip to the Butterfly Manor?

Usually Kanroji would be ecstatic to receive Shinobu’s invite but this time this made her even more troubled.

(Shinobu wants me for something?)

It would be so awkward to meet now but she could not ignore her either.

Mitsuri dragged her heavy feet and walked towards the Butterfly Manor. Then, she heard a voice calling her from behind.

“Ah! Is that ……the Demon Slayer Nee-san?”

Mitsuri heard a voice that carried some hesitation and she curiously turned her head around.
“I’m right, it is Nee-san!”

Standing before her eyes was a youth. When this youth and his mother got attacked by a demon, Mitsuri stepped out to rescue the two of them. A bright smile formed on that face that had been tanned by long periods in the sun.

“Great. I was looking for you.”

“Looking for me?”

Mitsuri blinked, not understanding.

“What is it? Do you have something to discuss with me? Or is something troubling you?”

“………”

The youth suddenly had an expression like he was wary of the people around him—

“Actually my mom works at a restaurant nearby.”

He said with a lowered voice.

Seemed like the youth had a secret he did not want his mother to know about.

“If Okaa-san knows about it, she’s sure to nag.”

He was just a child yet he sounded like an adult when he talked.

“Oh no……”

Mitsuri held back her laugher and walked a distance away, bringing the youth with her and they arrived at a tea house that she frequented.

The two sat side by side in front of the tea house then the youth happily took large bites of the dango they ordered.

“How have you been? Looks like you grown quite a bit, you’re taller.”

“I’ve grown taller by five inches since then.”

(T/N: 5 inches is approximately 13cm)

“Five inches huh, boys sure grow quickly.”

Mitsuri said, smiling broadly.

As Mitsuri happened to have a younger brother of about the same age, without thinking, she treated this youth like her younger brother.

“So? What do you want to talk to me about?”

After swallowing the dango with a gulp, the youth gradually opened his mouth and said: “I want to be a carpenter in the future.”

“Oh, that’s good. Are you skilled at making things?”

“It’s alright, I mean, my old man who has already passed away was also a carpenter.”

“Oh….”

Mitsuri did not know how to respond.

“My old man passed away three years ago.” The youth kindly told her to ease the situation.

That pair of dark eyes looked towards the sky.

“He slipped into the river and drowned when he was building a bridge. Even though he was a carpenter with good skills, he did not really know how to swim.”

“……I see.”

Mitsuri gently bit her lower lip and she focused her gaze on the youth’s tanned face.

Her mind returned to the time when she defeated the demon, the youth’s mother’s face was full of large drops of tears and she hugged her child, lowering her head to give her thanks. She was close to even kneeling on the ground and kowtowing.

–Thank you for rescuing my child*. Thank you. Thank you so much.
(T/N: In Japanese, it’s written as “little dog” which seems like an old way of referring to one’s own son especially when he does something stupid like committing a crime or making a mistake…)

After hearing the story of that youth’s father, the emotion felt at that time was even more touching.

“Because of that, Okaa-san doesn’t want me to be a carpenter because no matter what, she’ll think of my old man. She hopes that I can work at a sundry shop or a fabrics store….but I want to be a carpenter. I don’t want to work at a sundry shop or fabrics store.”

The youth clenched his fists tightly and the added on:

“So without Okaa-san knowing, I went to find a teacher that my old man knew to learn from him. We already discussed about it.”

“….Why are you telling me all this?”

Mitsuri asked, feeling confused. After mumbling for a while, the youth roughly replied:

“Because when you saved me and Okaa-san, Nee-san, you looked so cool.”

“Eh….”

The response made Mitsuri even more troubled.

That time, she was just a normal soldier who just entered the corps. Even though she had the raw power, she was definitely not considered strong. She always held the blade and swung it around recklessly, only managing to cut off the demon’s head after much difficulty.

In other words, she just muddled her way through. Even if someone tried to make it sound nicer, the her at that time could not be considered cool in any way.

“But I was really weak at that time, you know? And I won in such an embarrassing manner….I wasn’t cool at—”

“You were awesome!!”

The youth interrupted Mitsuri’s words and yelled.

“You’re a woman yet you risked your life and fought for the sake of people you don’t even know and even got beaten up because of it….Nee-san, you’re cooler than everyone else.”

The youth’s honest words struck Mitsuri’s heart.

It was not known if it was because the youth got worked up , his ears became as red as the sun set.

“Seeing how Nee-san was, I wanted to become just like you and do what I really want to do. I want to help others however I can. I don’t want to give up and I don’t want to regret. So even if Okaa-san cries even harder, I’m not going to be scared, I will become a carpenter no matter what and I’m going to build a bridge that’s more awesome than the one my old man built.”

“………..”

“Nee-san, I wanted to tell you this no matter what, so I kept looking for you—I’m be going now. Thanks for the dango.”

After saying those words, the youth ran off like a rabbit.

Mitsuri did not even have the chance to hold him back.
The youth’s back became smaller and smaller until he finally disappeared into the crowd.

“…..—”

Mitsuri blankly stared at the street where the youth disappeared……

*

“Welcome, Kanroji-sama. Shinobu-sama is waiting for your arrival.”

When Mitsuri reached the Butterfly Manor, Kanzaki Aoi brought her to the training dojo with a troubled expression. Even if her heart was not calm, Mitsuri still thought in a suspicious manner:

Why the training dojo—

Just like how the name described it, the training dojo was a place for injured corp members to undergo rehabilitation training, at the same time, it was also a dojo for Shinobu and her successors to spar with each other or to undergo their own training.

Even though this was not the first time Mitsuri visited the Butterfly Manor, it was the first time she was invited to the training dojo.

Aoi left the scene, looking dismal. Then Mitsuri nervously pulled open the door that lead to the training dojo.

“I apologise for intruding….Shinobu?”

“Hello, Kanroji-san.”

As expected, Shinobu was seated in the centre of the wide dojo.

Placed on the ground beside her were two bamboo swords.

Shinobu was not full of smiles as she usually was. She glanced over with what could be considered a cold expression then immediately, she grabbed the two bamboo swords and stood up quickly, tossing one over to the other party.

(…….eh?)

Mitsuri stretched her arm out and caught the bamboo sword on reflex.

Shinobu asked:

“Can you spar a round with me?”

The stern expression on her face did not change.

Even though it can be considered a request, Mitsuri did not even need to answer as Shinobu had already raised her bamboo sword and pointed it towards her.

“Eh…..?What? Eh? Shinobu?”

Misturi could not grasp the situation and she was at a loss of what to do. However, without making a sound, Shinobu had moved forwards and closed the distance between them in an instant and knocked the bamboo sword out of Mitsuri’s hand.

The bamboo sword struck the ground and a dull noise echoed throughout the dojo.

“Just now—”

Shinobu shot a sharp gaze at Mitsuri who remained rooted to the ground in surprise.

“I did not even use half of my usual ability. Kanroji-san, no matter how careless you were, you should have been able to dodge that easily.”

“……Ah….uh.”

Shinobu’s tone was extremely harsh , as though she was reprimanding Mitsuri, making her distressed.

“Seems like you aren’t even able to use your Breaths with ease.”

“Thi, this….about that….”

As Shinobu’s words exactly reflected the truth of the situation, Mitsuri became even more depressed.

Shinobu let out an almost unobservable sigh, put down her bamboo sword and icily assessed Mitsuri.

“The colour of your skin isn’t too good, your cheeks are sunken as well. I suppose you didn’t take in enough nutrients that your muscles need, correct?”

“!!”

“As a swordsperson, I’m definitely not amazing but Kanroji-san, you’re different. You have natural flair for the sword, flexible muscles and a body that is naturally powerful. You also have an overly honest personality, all these make you an excellent swordsperson.”

Mitsuri fell silent.

Shinobu then said in a tone that carried no emotion:

“Kanroji-san, why are you making yourself weaker.”

Mitsuri’s heart suddenly started to beat violently.

She nervously looked at Shinobu, Shinobu also looked directly at her.

The sound of swallowing saliva seemed to come from someone else.

If she wanted to say it, the only chance was now.

But—

(No….I can’t do it….I can’t say it.)

If she told the truth, it would make Shinobu remember the sad and tragic incidents, it would hurt her instead—no, that’s incorrect. It was just because I lack the courage. She was just pretending that it was for Shinobu’s sake, it was actually for her own. I’m scared that if I confessed everything, Shinobu, whom I liked the most would hate me. I’m afraid of destroying the close relationship that we have, I’m even more afraid of losing my close friend.

Mitsuri lowered her head, avoiding Shinobu’s gaze and she grabbed her non-dominant hand with her trembling dominant one.

(What do I do….I have to think of another reason.)

Just as she thought that, a voice rang in her ear.

–You were awesome!!

(Ah……)

Mitsuri suddenly raised her head.

At that time, she was just a newbie who just started out, however, that youth said she was cooler than anyone else.

When she defeated that demon and saved that youth and his mother, she was breathed a sigh of relief and from the bottom of her heart, she was glad that they were both alive.

She felt that she finally found a place aside from her family where she belonged.

“Thank you.”

The one who wants to give thanks is me.

(No……I can’t lie.)

If she did that, she would not be able to stay here anymore.

And it would become even more impossible to face Shinobu in future.

(I have to say it. I have to….talk about my feelings properly.)

Mitsuri closed her eyes tightly then she stared straight at her comrade’s eyes.

“—Shinobu, I.”

Just spitting out those few words made her mouth feel as dry as the desert. Mitsuri also knew that her own voice became even higher without realising it.

“I……heard about what happened to you….A member of the Kakushi told me.”

“………..”

Shinobu continued to gaze at Mitsuri with a stern expression.

One was not able to feel any change in emotion from her face.

If she wanted to completely control her own emotions, how much training must she undergo before that?

The young girl saw her parents getting killed in a violent way in front of her eye, then even her sister lost her life afterwards.

Mitsuri desperately hold onto her own heart which was full of pain and grief.

“……I’m ashamed at my motives for wanting to enter the Slayer Corps…talking about finding a husband, thinking of falling in love……I’m letting you down, Shinobu. I thought that I should not continue like this, I need to be more decent—but….”

After sealing her emotions, she became so weak that it was scary.

The Breaths of Love were tied more closely to Mitsuri’s heart than she imagined.

“I understand now that I can’t that. I need to protect “me” and work hard to raise my skills or I won’t be able to protect anyone else.”

She ignored the ones she was supposed to protect because she was scared of being rejected by the one she liked.

She held back the strength that she worked hard to build up for nothing and tried to live under a fake version of herself once more.

She already decided to stay in a place where she did not have to hide the real her and use the strength given to her by her parents to protect even more people.

“This is me! Kanroji Mitsuri! Not only do I love everyone I see, I’m also a glutton and a muscle freak……but….I—”

“………”

“I……love Shinobu the most.”

After Mitsuri finished those words and shut her mouth, Shinobu’s pale throat moved slightly.

“—-Other than me, there are many from the corps whose relatives were killed by demons.”

The calm tone caused Mitsuri’s chest to tighten.

“Aoi, Sumi, Chiyo, Naho, their families were also killed by demons and they did not have anywhere else to go so they decided to live here in the end.”

When Mitsuri lowered her head again, a warm voice rang next to her ear.

“However, those girls and I were never envious of your situation, Kanroji-san. Nor do we hate your reason for joining the corps. Ai, even though I was stunned when I heard it for the first time.”

“Eh……?”

Then she heard a small laugh. Mitsuri raised her head and looked and she came to face to face with Shinobu whose eyes showed a small amount of amusement.

The stern emotion had disappeared and her usual gentle smile enveloped Mitsuri in warmth.

“If we licked our wounds with hate and sadness, all of us would not be able to move forward. Kanroji-san, your cheerful personality and smile often brings us salvation.

“……Shinobu….”

Shinobu’s eyes reflected herself, who looked like she was about to cry.

Just like the first time they met, the deep purple irises were more beautiful than anything else.

“So please stop pretending, I love the original Kanroji-san the most.”

Mitsuri could not resist hugging Shinobu, who was more petite than her, tightly. Warm tears spilled out of her eyes.

“Shinobu, Shinobu, Shinobu!!”

“Sorry, I was just testing you.”

“No! It’s fine! It’s really alright….because I’m stupid.”

Mitsuri shook her head forcefully, hugging Shinobu just like that. Shinobu smiled like she was being teased.

“Please eat as much as you can in future.”

“Yes, I will eat normally! I’ll eat lots and become even stronger!”

“Iguro-san was very worried about you too.”

To the point it could be counted as being overprotective, Shinobu added on softly.

“Un, I’ll apologise to Iguro-san properly, and to Muichirou as well….”

Facing Mitsuri who was bawling like a child, Shinobu patted her back with her small hand like she was comforting a baby.

She muttered in a soft voice:

“—Actually I’m always envious of Kanroji-san’s body.”

“Eh?”

“If I could become as tall and muscular as you—then I can….”

“Shinobu….?”

“I said too much. Forget it.”

Shinobu, who was buried in her chest mumbled.

After “I can”, what was it that she wanted to say?

It felt that those words contained strong emotions that burned painfully.

The only swordsperson among the Pillars that could not decapitate a demon.

The body that was buried in her chest was so insignificantly small, almost like that of a small child. Mitsuri could not help but feel sad again and she cried even more loudly.

She swore from the bottom of her heart once more.

From now on, she was going to live honestly and not lie to herself.

And she will kill as many demons as she could.

In order to protect the smiles and happiness of more people.

So that she could continue staying in this precious place without guilt, together with the comrades she loved the most—

*

“Kanroji-san, why did you join the Demon Slayer Corps?”

“Hm? Me?”

Kamado Tanjirou asked along the corridor of Tecchikawahara’s residence.

She heard that he joined the Demon Slayer Corps to turn his sister, who had become a demon, back into a human. The boy’s iris were red like fire, it was extremely beautiful.

The gaze that came straight at her made her cower.

“It’s so embarrassing~~Hm—what do I do? Do you want to hear about it?”

Mitsuri started squirming around.

Nezuko who had used her blood demon arts to become as small as a child also raised her head curiously at this time. Mitsuri lightly stroked her silky dark hair.

“Actually……”

–Kanroji Mitsuri told her story with a smile on her face.

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