Kimetsu No Yaiba Light Novel (Demon Slayer Light Novel) – Chapter 4 – Promise of Tomorrow

Kimetsu No Yaiba Light Novel (Demon Slayer Light Novel) – Chapter 4 – Promise of Tomorrow


“There’s no other choice for those who have the mark….as long as the mark appears on them, without exception….”

A cold and ethereal voice flitted past his ear like a voice spoken in a foreign tongue.

Twenty five years old.

A person who had the mark appear on his body would not live past that age.

His older brother died at the age of eleven.

*

Because of the battle that was about to happen, there was a decision to hold a “Pillar joint training” after the emergency Pillar meeting. In order to prevent the contents of the training from overlapping, the participants of the meeting discussed quite thoroughly before the meeting was adjourned.

Muichirou walked within the elegant stone garden, preparing to leave the Ubuyashiki Manor.

“—May I have a bit of your time?”

A voice suddenly came from behind him.

Even without looking, he knew who that calm and deep voice came from.

“Himejima-san.”

Muichuro turned while addressing that name. The Stone Pillar – Himejima Gyomei showed a somewhat sad expression and he closed his sightless eyes.

“I wish to speak with you….”

“With me?”

“Yes. If you don’t mind, let us find a place to sit down and have a chat.”

With Himejima’s persuasion, the two of them sat face to face under a hut.

At the corner of the yard, there was a small hut with good ventilation that was a shared place for resting. The smell of the thatched roof was very pleasant. If one perked up their ears to listen carefully, they would realise that there were chirps of birds among the sound of branches swaying with the wind.

“What do you want to talk about?”

“….What Tengen-sama spoke of just now.”

After Muichirou asked his question once more, Himejima, who was before him, went straight to the main topic.

Oh right. Muichirou who realized what was happening spoke about the topic first.

“You’re referring to the mark? People with the mark can only live up to twenty five years old.”

“—That’s right.”

Himejima nodded his head. Muichiro then said lightly:

“When the mark appears, my body would become a load stronger so it definitely isn’t some normal phenomenon after all.”

Perhaps one paid with their lives in advance to use that strength.

That was why people with that mark could not live past twenty five. Because they have already used up their future life span—

However if they had the mark, they could go up against the Upper Moons.

In truth, because of that mark, Muichirou was able to win Upper Moon Five.

“Himejima-san….”

He heard that Himejima was twenty seven years old this year. If the mark appeared now, he had already crossed the upper limit of that lifespan. What would be the result then? Muichirou worried about it within himself.

“Don’t worry about me.”

Himejima used a stern tone that was rarely heard from him.

“I already have the resolution to die….but….you’re only fourteen years old, aren’t you?”

Himejima’s expression and tone showed a sorrow that could not be described with words.

Even though he was given the name of being the strongest in the Demon Slayer Corps and had a burly frame that was the envy of other swordsmen, this man had a heart as soft as a Buddha’s and he was shedding tears now for Muichirou.

“Tokito, I do not mean to insult your status as a Pillar or question your resolution. It’s just that……are you alright?”

“Why do you ask?”

Muichirou asked back in curiousity. Even though he had no intention of thinking badly of what the other party meant, Himejima looked grave.

“In the previous battle, the mark appeared on your body. You have no other choice now.”

“If we really had to talk about it, isn’t Kanroji-san the same? Rather than me, why don’t you show more concern for Kanroji-san and Iguro-san as well.”

“I understand what you mean about Kanroji but why do you mention Iguro?”

“Doesn’t Iguro-san like Kanroji-san?”

“……I’m surprised.”

Himejima’s dull eyes widened for an instant.

“Didn’t you notice?”

“No…what I’m surprised about is that you noticed.”

After saying words that seemed impolite in a nonchalant manner, Himejima finally showed a tender smile. When he showed that sort of expression, that grim expression that belonged to a monk from the mountains became unexpectedly gentle.

If there were no demons in this world, he would probably just be a gentle and kind normal person. Muichirou suddenly thought.

“You’ve changed.”

Himejima said in a soft voice.

“Or perhaps, that was how you were originally>”

“……”

True, if it were Muichirou from last time, most likely, he would not notice the faint affection between his comrades—even if it plain for all to see. That time, he even forgot the older twin brother of his who came to this world with him. With no interest in matters other than slaying demons, it was like he had sunk deep into a fog.

He could not hear anything, nor could he see anything.

The one who brought Muichirou out from that fog was something Tanjirou said that made him think of his already deceased father as well as Kotetsu who tried his hardest to help himself despite being weak.

Thanks to the two of them, Muichirou was able to look at everything anew just like how he did before.

Opening his heart to feel the beauty of this world.

And, of course, realise the good feelings from others.

Muichirou looked at the blue sky that was beyond the thatched roof.

—Tokito-san, it’s a promise.”

Muichirou suddenly recalled the promise he made with the young swordsmith when he visited the village once more after the incident.

*

“Eh? Tokito-sama? What’s going on?”

Seeing that Muichirou had arrived at the village while wrapped in bandages, Kanamori Kozo greeted him in a surprised manner.

“Are your injuries getting better?”

“Almost. Even though I’m not yet back to my best state….. Is the relocation going well?”

After Muichirou asked, Kanamori nodded his head and replied.

“Yes. It should be done in another two days. As for the matter of safety, the elderly, the women and the children have already moved to the “empty village” . My wife has been there for a while and is unpacking our belongings.

Earlier, due to the attack by two Upper Moons, there were many causalities in the village. However, the damage to the village itself was kept to a minimum.

Therefore the villagers were able to immediately go about relocating to an empty village that was prepared in times of need.

“The tools and swords have more or less been completely moved. So now the men are moving the remaining luggage as well as burying those killed in the attack. Ah, but Haganezuka-san has already moved to that empty village first to polish the swords. Sigh, it’s good that he isn’t here though. Besides making swords, he’s no good for anything else anyway. He’s going to be in the way if he’s here.

Wearing an unconventional mask over his face, Kanamori said some words of insult.

Surveying the village that was lacking in people, the wrecked homes were all eerily quiet.

In the past, one could hear the sound of metal being struck everywhere, now this situation seemed especially dreary.

“The graves aren’t relocated to the empty village?”

“That’s right.”

Kanamori’s tone turned to a sad one but it quickly regained its usual chirpiness.

“The living are important anyway. As swordsmiths, we want to get to smithing as fast as possible.”

“Is that so?”

“Right, why did you make a trip here, Tokito-sama? Did you leave something behind?”

Kanamori asked the question that he had asked in the beginning again. Muichirou replied straightforwardly.

“I would like to visit Tetsuido’s grave and offer some incense.”

“! I see….If you want to go, I can lead the way anytime.”

Kanamori spoke with surprise in his voice and nodded fervently.

Before Kanamori, Tetsuido was Muichirou’s swordsmith. Other than smithing his sword, Tetsuido was also concerned about Muichurou. However, when Tetsuido was alive, Muichirou did not notice his good intentions.

He did not even remember his name.

Because of this, Muichirou rushed to the village to pay his respects before the village disappeared.

“Also, I would like to meet Kotetsu—”

Since the women and children have already moved to the empty village, Kotetsu must not be here anymore, Muichirou thought to himself.

“Ahh, Kotetsu-boy is still in this village.”

Kanamori said.

“He is?”

“Yes.”

Kanamori nodded his head readily but he later seemed to be hesitating about something.

“—I’m not going to keep it under wraps but there seems to be some trouble with Kotetsu-boy.”

With Kanamori leading the way, Muichirou reached Tetsuido’s grave and he placed flower offerings there. Right after that, he went to where Kotetsu was supposed to be.

“This place is……”

Muichirou surveyed his surroundings. This was the forest where he and Kotetsu first met.

Under the trees that extended high towards the sky, a youth was sitting by his lonesome self in front of the battle doll– the Yorichi type Zero.

From the spare parts and tools that were scattered around, he seems to be in the middle of making repairs.

A downcast Kotetsu raised his head and sighed heavily. After that, he noticed that Muichirou was standing in the patch of forest before him—

“Ehh?! Tokito-san?”

He got a shock.

“What is it? Are your injuries okay? That time, you were wounded seriously and you even fell unconscious while spitting white foam.

“Yeah, I slept for two whole days.”

“No no no. Logically speaking, those kinds of injuries won’t get better even if you slept for two days, right? Are you really a human, Tokito-san?”

Kotetsu had not changed at all.

“Why didn’t you go to the new village?”

Muichirou asked casually.

The young boy became listless once he was asked the question and then he mumbled while slumping his shoulders.

“Yorichi Type Zero isn’t fixed so I can’t go.”

“Is it because I broke it?”

Kotetsu shook his head furiously.

“No, how could it be? That time when you ripped off his arm, I did think that this shameless kelp head should just slit open his belly and kill himself but—”

“……But?”

“Even though it is only left with five arms, Yorichi Type Zero is still operational. So I used him to train Tanjirou-san and the purpose was to defeat Tokito-san.”

“Why?”

Seeing that Muichirou was at a loss, Kotetsu gave a simple rundown of what happened then.

Defeating Tokito was only one of Kotetsu’s selfish whims but Tanjirou’s training was the main goal. He removed the swords from the other five arms and changed them to wooden sticks then started the training.

Even though he was having problems at the start, once it was the seventh day, Tanjirou’s sword could finally catch up with Yorichi Type Zero’s movements.

But Tanjirou was too nice, every time he attacked the battle doll, he hesitated.

Most likely he was considering Kotetsu’s feelings.

This moment of compassion was just like what Muichirou knew of him as well.

“Cut it down–! It’s fine even if it breaks! I definitely can fix it!”

Will Kotetsu’s urging, Tanjirou was finally able to swing his sword down to attack Yorichi Type Zero.

“That time, the sword that Haganezuka is polishing now appeared within Yorichi Type Zero.”

“That thing?”

Tanjirou used that sword to successfully behead Upper Moon Four.

It was because Tanjirou was willing to believe Kotetsu that he made that blow and then Kotetsu no longer looked down on his own ability and gave his all.

But yet—

“I just managed to fix the broken head and arms but that’s just the exterior. The mechanics on the inside….”

“Can’t move?”

“No, it can move but its mobility is nowhere like before. No matter what I do, I can’t bring it to what it was like during battle training….because I’m too useless.”

After finishing that spiel, Kotetsu fell into silence.

Muichirou lightly touched the battle doll’s arm and the cold and hard texture reached his palm. When they crossed blades last time, this doll was like a flesh and blood human, no wonder Kotetsu became so despondent.

“Anyway, why not just bring it to the new village and then slowly fix it there?”

Muichirou suggested however Kotetsu shook his head weakly.

“Tecchin-sama said that if I am unable to get Yorichi Type Zero to work like it used too before we relocate two days later, we’re going to throw it away.

The clenched fists by the side of his body started to shake.

They needed the Nichirin Swords to fight demons. To the Demon Slayers, the relocation of the village was imperative so they had to swiftly and secretly complete the task. It could not be helped that this sort of decision was made.

“In order to prevent the demons from catching wind of our movements, all the items have to be transported in a special way, so the things we can bring are limited….”

“Meaning that things that cannot be used are not needed?”

“……Yes.”

Kotetsu lowered his head and the sound of sniffling can be heard from beneath the mask.

Muichirou released the battle doll’s arm.

If it were him from last time, he would definitely agree with the village head’s Tecchikawahara Tecchin’s words. Useless things are not needed.

No matter if they were objects, or people—

However, now, Muichirou felt that those words were too heartless.

It was said that Kotetsu’s ancestors created the battle doll during the Sengoku era. It was not only something left by his relatives, it symbolised the existence of his family.

“—It would be mind-blowing if it could be used.”

Muichirou mumbled softly and Kotetsu seemed flustered when he heard him.

“But I….”

“I still remember the machine’s movements, of course not all of them.”

Muichirou said, cutting Kotetsu off. The pair of eyes under Kotetsu’s mask looked over in a troubled manner.

“Let’s fix Yorichi Type Zero together.”

“Tokito-san, are you alright? Are you still running a fever? You’re not the kind to say these kinds of things, right?”

Kotetsu was so frightened that he said some venomous words, but Muichirou ignored them and said:

“I’ll replicate the movements, remember them or write them down on a piece of paper.”

“Um, ah……”

“We only have two days to do this. Let’s start as soon as we can.”

“Ye, yes!”

Even if he was perplexed, Kotetsu still nodded his head.

The wrecked battle doll voicelessly watched the two of them……

*

“That’s the movement of the second right.”
(T/N: I’m assuming the first, second refers to which arm it was. The battle doll has 3 arms each on the left and right)

“Yes.”

“Then the right first, slices down like this.”

“Like this?”

“No, like this. With more speed and power.

Because he was unable to remember it all in his head, Kotetsu waved a pen and wrote as fast as he could. Muichirou removed the coat of his uniform, revealing his shirt and slowly reconstructed Yorichi Type Zero’s basic form.

He removed his coat so that Kotetsu could clearly see the movement of his arms. Usually, Muichirou wore a baggy uniform so that his enemies could not read his movements.

Without noticing, the western sky was dyed crimson.

Kotetsu was also starting to show signs of exhaustion and once he heard Muichirou say he wanted to take a break, he made an obvious sigh of relief.

“Then I’ll get water.”

Kotetsu went to a nearby creek to get water.

Muichirou leaned against a maple tree and sipped a mouthful of water from a bamboo tube. The water that came from the creek was cool and had a faint sweetness.

“…Tokito-san is really amazing.”

Kotetsu sat next to Muichirou and mumbled. When he got praised like this, Muichirou could not help but tilt his head, looking doubtful.

“Why do you say that all a sudden?”

“Because you only practiced once and you remembered Yorichi Type Zero’s movements. A normal person won’t be able to do this.

“I don’t remember all of them, you know.”

“Even so, you are still amazing. On the other hand, I….”

Kotetsu averted his gaze from Muichirou and sighed with his head lowered. As a youth who was only ten years of age, the way he sighed was far too heavy.

“Tokito-san, you’re already helping me this much but yet I keep worrying if I am able to fix this.”

“You’re only ten, the future is full of possibilities.”

“I can’t do it!”

Kotetsu suddenly shouted with his head lowered. However his voice quickly became as soft as the buzz of a mosquito.

“I don’t have the talent of a swordsmith, and I don’t have the ability to understand mechanics, I’m just trash. A child who is Heaven’s pride would not understand my feelings.”

The youth hands that grasped onto a bamboo tube shook,

Muichirou turned his gaze away from the youth next to him and looked towards the dense forest before him.

“When I was your age, I have not even held a sword.”

“Eh……”

Kotetsu raised his head in surprise.

“Weren’t you born in a well-known family for having generations of Demon Slayers?”

“Our father was a wood cutter.”

Muichirou looked at the green trees and closed his eyes.

“My parents died when I was ten. That one year after, my brother and I lived, depending on each other. That time, I couldn’t even cook rice properly, couldn’t use a knife or even chop trees and I kept getting scolded by my older brother. He always said “Mu” in Muichirou was the “Mu” in “useless”, the “Mu” in “meaningless”.”

(T/N: 無一郎 ( Muichirou), 無 means nothing or lacking。無用,無意味 means useless and meaningless respectively)

The him then was so clumsy it was shocking.

And he was hopelessly stubborn.

His older brother was doing his best to protect him but yet he himself did not understand his older brother’s intentions.

“Nii-san was different from me. He could do everything right.”

Chopping wood and cooking did not cause him to break a sweat and hunting was something he settled in a jiffy.

Even though he got angry for no rhyme or reason, and would say some hurtful words, he would frequently cook braised radishes that Muichirou loved to eat.

The juicy radishes had a gentle flavour.

“Is your older brother in the Demon Slayer Corps too? Don’t tell me that both of you are Pillars?”

“Nii-san was killed by a demon when I was eleven.”

“Eh….”

“Then I became a Demon Slayer after that. So—”

“I’m, I’m sorry!! Tokito-san!”

Even with the mask in the way, he could feel that Kotetsu had turned pale. Seeing the youth frantically apologising for his slip of the tongue, Muichirou tilted his head slightly and asked:

“Why are you apologising?”

“Because I made you remember something painful….”

“It’s thanks to Tanjirou and you that I was able to remember my older brother.”

“Eh? Me and Tanjirou-san? Eh? What do you mean—”

Kotetsu, with a Hyottoko mask, blankly mumbled to himself.

Seeing that he did not have a clue of what had happened, Muichirou briefly explained that when he got rid of the demon that killed his older brother, he was almost dead and then lost his memories.

“But I remembered all those things again, even though you were struck in the chest, you tried to save me to help me and protect the villagers and the sword.”

“Tokito-san….don’t……don’t mind me….go save……Ha, Haganezuka-san…..you must…..protect the sword…..”

This sentence did not mention “me” at all.

What a selfless heart. This child was not a swordsman but a swords smith yet he was willing to sacrifice his life to protect those around him.

“That compassion of yours as well as Tanjirou’s words made me remember what was important.”

“Tokito-san…..”

“Thank you.”

Muichirou had always wanted to show his gratitude to the youth.

“It’s lucky that I still can show my gratitude to you and Tetsuido-san in time.”

“No….I’m the one who should be thanking you.”

Kotetsu stood up and bowed his head.

“Thank you….Tokito-san.”

“Why are you saying your thanks?”

“Ah—it’s Kotetsu! I finally found you~~!”

This time, a cheerful shout came over and Kanroji Mitsuri sprinted right towards them. She carried a huge tray that had a large amount of rice balls on it.

“Army rations?”

“Kanroji-san? What are you doing here?”

Kotetsu was startled.

Muichirou, on the other hand, showed an expression of curiousity.

“Muichirou is here too as expected. That’s great.”

Mitsuri showed a pure smile and placed the tray piled with rice balls before the two. With a thud, the rice balls made a heavy sound that a rice ball should not have.

“I was worried about the village as well as everyone who took care of us so I wanted to come over to help with the relocation. I mean, I’m strong so I can carry loads of thing! But when I came over, I realized that most of the stuff had been moved already and just as I was at a loss of what to do, I met up with Kanamori-san—”

When Mitsuri finished that statement, Kanamori poked out his head from the cover of the trees behind her.

“I see.” Muichirou nodded his head.

“Speaking of which, what do you mean by “as expected”?”

“Ah, I told Kanroji-sama, Kotetsu is feeling troubled because he could not fix the battle doll handed to him from generations before so Tokito-san should be there.”

The Hyottoko-mask moved up and down slightly.

“Then Kanroji-san said she wanted to make some food to bring over so I lent a hand.”

Kanamori had a large flask in his right hand and was hugging four teacups with his left.

“Just to mention, this is high quality Jade Dew.”

(T/N: Jade Dew, also known as Gyokuro in Japanese. It’s a refined green tea.)

“Because most of the rice got taken away so I could only make a bit. But I added a lot of salt as well as delicious dried plums.”

“Only make a bit…..?”

“To Kanroji-san, this amount is a bit.”

Seeing that Kotetsu was shocked by the mountain of rice balls, Muichirou spoke lightly.

Seeing the two of them like that–

“Fu fu fu, Muichirou and Kotetsu have become friends. How adorable.”

A faint red tinge appeared on Mitsuri’s cheeks.

“No, a Pillar such as Tokito-san and someone like me can’t possibly—”

“Yeah, we’re friends.”

Taking no notice of Kotetsu who had become unsettled, Muichirou replied in a straightforward manner.

Kotetsu looked at Muichirou, stunned.

“Tokito-san….?’

“What I said before was wrong.”

“There is a vast difference between the value of your time and a Pillar’s time.”

“Swordsmiths are unable to fight, they can’t save people’s lives either. Other than making weapons, they’re useless.”

“Get a clue about your position before making a move. You’re no longer a baby.”

That time, Muichirou had a shameless and incomparably arrogant attitude.

He did not even understand why Kotetsu cried and for what reason Tanjirou slapped his hand away.

Tanjirou said Muichirou had no compassion for other people and those words were absolutely correct.

“Making a sword is also an important job. They are highly skilled people but not in a way like swordsmen. In fact, if they do not help to make swords, we can’t do anything either, can we?”

“Swordsmen and swordsmiths need each other.

“We are fighting our battles all the same.”

Tanjirou got so mad that he retorted with stern words however Muichirou was unmoved and just treated his words like wind.

The him then could not feel any emotions.

Just like a battle doll that could only slay demons.

“Even though it’s too late, but I would like to apologise to you—to all of you. Sorry.”

Seeing that Muichurou had lowered his head, Kotetsu’s shoulders kept shaking. He looked at the ground, trying his hardest to suppress some kind of emotion.

“I was saved by the sword made by you and Kanamori-san. Tanjirou was also saved by the sword that Haganezuka-san worked on. Tanjirou was right, swordsmen and swordsmiths are fighting battles all the same.”

Muichirou spoke with sincerity.

Kotetsu could not endure it anymore and clear beads of tears dripped from the chin of the Hyottoko mask. The youth tugged down his mask to keep his eyes covered and cried silently.

Kanamori as well.

“You have grown up……Tokito-sama.”

With that said, Kanamori also cried.

He removed his mask and openly showed his thin and lanky face and bawled like a baby.

“If Tetsuido-san could see you now, who knows how delighted he would be.”

“I was also….I was also saved many times by the sword made by Tecchin-sama….wahhhhhh!!”

When one noticed, even Mitsuri had burst into a fountain of tears. She looked like she was going to rub her cheeks against her sword—

“Why are Kanamori-san and Kanroji-san crying?”

Muichurou frowned.

“—Tokito-san.”

Kotetsu used the back of his hand to wipe his cheeks that were not covered by his mask and called out Muichirou’s name.

“After we eat the rice balls, can I ask for your help once more?”

“Sure. Let’s work hard together.”

Muichirou nodded. Kotetsu smiled happily with his cheeks still stained with tears.

“I’ll support the two of you!! I’ll cook lots of rice, so you must do your best!! Wahhhhhh!!”

Mitsuri hugged both Kotetsu and Muichirou tightly and wailed.

*

“Then I’m going to start.”

Kotetsu spoke solemnly and then stuck a key into the keyhole on the doll’s neck.

The battle doll raised its swords and stepped heavily into the ground.

The six swords swung over at a speed that could not be seen and Muichirou deflected whatever he could see.

Even though it stopped after a short while, that fluid movement was without doubt that of the battle doll he had fought against before – Yorichi Type Zero.

At the evening of the last night, they finally restored it to this state.

“Hu……”

Mitsuri let out a sigh, feeling relieved.

Kotetsu lowered his head towards the spectators.

“At the current moment, I can only reconstruct one style, this is already the limit.”

“Kotetsu is amazing.”

“Yeah, even though the situation was dire, you still worked this hard.”

Mitsuri gave him a warm applause and Kanamori who was beside her applauded as well. He nodded fervently and said:

“The village head was right.”

“Village head? Tecchin-sama?”

“Yeah, Kotetsu-boy. When he said that we’re going to throw that away if it can’t be fixed, that’s a lie.”

“Ehhhhhhhhh?!”

Kotetsu was immensely startled. “What, it was a lie?!” Mitsuri jumped immediately.

“Eh? Eh? Why must he say such a terrible lie?”

“What’s going on? Kanamori-san.”

Muichirou also did not mince his words and asked in a chiding tone.

“Um….”

Kanamori scratched the back of his head and replied, sounding a bit guilty:

“The village head said—”

“Kotetsu is a good child, he’s pure minded and brilliant. Not only can he judge situations calmly, his analytical skills are also top notch. However…..”

“The village head was worried that you’ll easily draw a line on your limits because of that.”

“People should not decide their limits on their own, this is the same as limiting their own capabilities.”

“So in order to motivate Kotetsu, the village head lied that there was a time limit?”

“Ahh, that’s correct.”

After hearing what Muichirou said, Kanamori nodded his head forcefully.

“There’s a saying about finding solutions under crisis* so he believed that if he pushed Kotetsu-boy to the edge, he would definitely be able to go beyond himself and even chose me to watch that moment.”

(T/N: Please tell me if there’s an English proverb that means this…in Chinese, it’s “finding a way to survive when close to death”)

As expected of Tecchin, as a village head, he was concerned about Kotetsu more than anyone else.

“Tecchin-sama actually….”

Kotetsu carefully savoured the village head’s consideration for him.

“Honestly, I had thought that Kotetsu-boy would give up. Sorry, I looked down on you. I offer my apologies.”

“—No, if it was just me, it would have been impossible. In actual fact, I just kept complaining…..if not for Tokito-san’s help, I would have given up long ago.”

Seeing that Kanamori had bowed his head in apology, Kotetsu said such words decisively.

“I will definitely fix the Type Zero. When that time comes, you must come over to participate in our battle training.”

Kotetsu bowed his head at Muichurou.

“The next time, I will operate it properly and attack your weak points, Tokito-san.”

After that, he added another statement in an awkward manner.

When Muichirou heard that, he recalled the incident of Tanjirou training.

“Ah, I remembered you despised my guts and you wouldn’t tell me how to use it no matter what.”

“Wahhh….sorry.”

Even though Muichirou had no intention of being sarcastic, Kotetsu cowered till his body became smaller and smaller.

“That time, I said a lot of rude words, like kelp head, that stinky brat with an uncaring expression, shortie, hideous short legged demon and so on. But now, I no longer have those kinds of thoughts.”

“Are those all supposed to be me?”

“Uwahhhhh, I’m sorry!!”

“It’s fine.”

Once Muichirou showed that he did not mind, Kotetsu grabbed both of Muichirou’s hands as though a burden had been lifted.

“You have to, alright? You have to come over.”

“Yeah.”

Muichirou nodded his head.

The skin on the youth’s palms were rough and hard, full of calluses and old injuries. Those were the hands of one who have staked their lives and gave their all.

Just like himself.

“Tell me once you fixed it.”

“Yes.”

“When that time comes, let’s get Tanjirou, Nezuko, Genya and the others over too, as well as Kanamori-san and Tecchin-sama. Let’s all have delicious food together again.”

Mitsuri smiled broadly.

That was Mitsuri’s style. No matter what kind of difficult battles she faced, she always shone a gentle light upon others with her cheerful demeanor.

“Why don’t we get the ones who are in Tanjirou’s batch too? It would definitely be really fun.”

“—Yeah.”

Muichirou could not help but show a smile. He did not do it intentionally. But when he imagined such a scene, a smile just naturally appeared on his face.

When they witnessed that gentle smile, everyone at the scene had a shocked expression.

Who knew when they could make this promise come true.

No one was able to give a clear guarantee.

Especially in this cruel battle of fighting demons, this promise seemed even more empty and fleeting.

But that also became an immensely warm beam of light that brightened up Muichirou’s heart.

“Muichirou-san, you absolutely must come over, alright?”

The youth kept waving his hand after he finished speaking, until he could no longer see Muichirou and Mitsuri’s figures—

*

“Tokito?”

“……….”

“Are you feeling alright?”

As Muichirou kept facing the sky without uttering a word, Himejima asked this out of concern. Muichirou snapped back to his senses from his memories at the swordsmith village and looked at Himejima who was seated before him.

“I’m fine.”

Muichirou’s reply was not in response to Himejima’s current question but to the question that was asked earlier.

He looked straight at Himejima’s dull eyes.

“I am no longer that Muichirou who is empty inside.”

I have friends who fight alongside me, as well as comrades.

I have a lord* that I can lose my life for to protect.

(T/N: referring to Ubuyashiki-san)

Nii-san did not distance himself from me on purpose, he treated me with importance even till his last breath. He said the “Mu” in Muichirou was the “Mu” in “Infinity”.

(No……it’s not right.)

He did not have nothing.

It was just that in the past, he did not have the luxury to realise this fact.

“As fellow Pillars, let’s work hard together!”

The flame Pillar clapped his shoulder with a warm hand.

“Who would have known? When you use your sword, I can’t help but shed tears.”

The old swordsmith was always concerned about him, it would have been great it he had realised their goodwill earlier.

“Thank you, Himejima-san.”

Muichirou turned the feelings within him to a short sentence.

He lowered his head to give his thanks within his heart to Rengoku and Tetsuido—to the people who have cared about him and helped him.

“……I needlessly worried about you, forget what I just said.”

Most likely he was moved by Muichirou’s tone, Himejima suddenly showed a warm smile.

Muichirou stood up from his chair.

“Let’s meet again in the next Pillar meeting.”

“Yes, please take care.”

When Himejima finished speaking, Muichirou bowed in greeting and left the hut.

He closed his eyes, welcoming the wind and then raised his head to look at the sky.

How quickly the clouds drift by.

The sky that peeked through the clouds was an eye-piercing blue.

(Watch me, Nii-san….)

Muichirou thought about his deceased older brother within his heart.

His older brother who died at the age of eleven.

He who carried a definite kind soul under that taunting and cold gaze of his as well as a firm resolution to protect his younger brother no matter what.

His older brother lived his short life as hard as he could.

Muichirou did not know where he would be tomorrow.

He might die in the middle of slaying a demon. Even if he did fortunately survive, his own life would come to a halt at the age of twenty five.

But what was amazing was that he was not really afraid.

He should just become a proper person worthy of his elder brother and his friends.

In that way, when the time came for him to go to the other side, his older brother would definitely smile and praise him: “You did well, Muichirou.”

Scroll to Top