Voices of the Past @aglobuzzy
The Demon Slayers, by Agatsuma

“Huh?!” Katsuki scoffed, sneering at the two men. “Who the hell’s Genya?”

“Y-your voice,” the scarred man said, his voice barely a whisper. “It sounded- it sounded like-”

“I believe you have us confused with someone else,” Shoto said. “We are Heroes in training in the Hero department at UA High. I’m Shoto, and that is Bakugo. We are currently here on an internship.”

Both men looked utterly lost. There was nostalgia in their eyes.

“But,” the black haired man muttered, “I could have sworn-”

Police sirens wailed from around the corner. In an instant, the two men snapped out of whatever daze they were in and dashed away, vanishing down a nearby alleyway and ignoring Endeavor’s commands for them to stop. They were long gone by the time the police officers scrambled out of their cars.

“Who were those guys?” Izuku asked. “Did they know you?”

“No, of course not,” Katsuki grumbled. His brows were furrowed, deep in thought.

The police forced Ending into the car, who kept yelling about how Endeavor needed to be the one to kill him. They determined that his Quirk was controlling white road paint and he had taken a Quirk boosting drug.

“Natsuo-” Endeavor tried to say.

“Don’t even say anything,” his son growled. “I don’t care why you hesitated. I want nothing to do with you.”

“I understand that-”

“Like hell you do!” Natsuo yelled.

“Believe it or not, I never meant to neglect any of you. But, all I did was dodge responsibility to blame others. And Toya- I might as well have killed him myself.”

“Didn’t mean to neglect us,” Natsuo sounded like he was in disbelief. Drops of tears were starting to form in his eyes. “That’s rich. Toya used to tell me everything. It will be a cold day in hell before I forgive you for what you did. If that means I’m not as good a person as Shoto, then so be it.”

Izuku realized Natsuo must have overheard what he said to Shoto. It felt like something twisted in his heart. He didn’t mean it like that.

“Natsuo, you… you don’t need to forgive me,” Endeavor said. “I’m not looking for forgiveness, just atonement. You are a good person. You always show up for your sister’s sake, don’t you? She wants a big, happy family, because that is what I ruined. And you care about how she feels.”

“Wow, you sure have a way with words all the sudden,” Natsuo scoffed. “Why do I have to be the one to come around?! Atonement? How do you plan to do that?”

“I have an idea for that, actually-”

But Natsuo didn’t want to hear anymore, storming away and murmuring something about “take a cab home.”

Endeavor grimaced. “Let’s go,” he said to Izuku, Katsuki, and Shoto. Without another word, they got back into the car, leaving the police to deal with the fallout.

“So, who were those guys?” Izuku asked. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard of those Pro Heroes.”

“They’re not Pro Heroes,” Endeavor retorted. “They’re vigilantes. The Pillars.”

“Are they famous around these parts?” Izuku asked in his meek tone.

Endeavor nodded again. “They’re persistent. The white haired one - the Wind Pillar - has been giving us trouble for almost four years. The other - the Water Pillar - joined in a little under a year ago. There has been an occasion when they worked with the police.”

“Was that before they became vigilantes?” Shoto asked.

“No, after.” Endeavor scowled, clearly not happy about it. “For whatever reason, they are very interested in the League of Villains. When Bakugo was kidnapped last summer, they were the ones who provided the location of the League’s hideout, and they both fought in the following battle. Their conditions: be cleared of all charges. But, if they are still active vigilantes, we have grounds to arrest them. If you happen to see them breaking the law again, bring them in.”

“What Quirks do they have?” Izuku asked him.

“We have that documented, though we haven’t been able to cross check them with the Quirk registry since their record was cleared,” Endeavor said. “The Wind Pillar’s Quirk is Rare Blood. Anyone who breathes in the smell of his blood experiences symptoms of intoxication, such as loss of coordination and incoherent thought. The blood needs to come from an open wound. The smaller the opponent and the larger the quantity of blood, the greater the effect.”

“I guess that explains the scars,” Izuku muttered.

“The Water Pillar has a Quirk called Dead Calm. If he enters a calm state of mind, any non living object that enters a range of two and a half meters from his body turns to dust. This also applies to intangible things such as fire and light. He can choose what objects get affected by it. This Quirk cannot be used for long periods of time.”

“It’s sort of similar to Shigaraki’s Decay, then,” Izuku muttered again. “But, this time, more controlled and less lethal.”

“What about those names they called us?” Katsuki grumbled. “Genya and Sabito.”

“If they are people from their personal lives, then we don’t have any information on that,” Endeavor said.

The three of them exchanged worried glances.

It was past midnight by the time they got to school because of Ending’s attack. Endeavor and Kurumada dropped them off at the gate and drove off. Izuku, Shoto, and Katsuki used their student IDs to get inside.

When they arrived at the Heights Alliance dorm building, the lights were off and no one was in the living room.

“I guess everyone else went to sleep already,” Shoto said.

Katsuki still had a thoughtful look on his face.

“What the hell did those guys mean?” Katsuki said. “Genya? Sabito? Who the hell are those people?”

“I don’t know,” Izuku said. “You two placed first and second in the Sports Festival, so it would be hard to mistake you for someone else.”

“I’m not sure…” Shoto said. “But, they sounded so sad. Their voices were in pain.”

“What’s that supposed to mean, Icy Hot?”

“Whoever these Genya and Sabito people are, they are clearly important to them. And, more than likely, something bad happened to them.”

~~~

Sanemi and Giyu sat in their apartment, not saying anything. The lights were on, and Pochi curled up by Sanemi’s legs and whined.

“Their voices,” Sanemi said after a while, staring at a single patch of carpet. “His voice- he sounded just like Genya-”

“I know,” Giyu said in response. “I- I heard Sabito. But, it can’t really be them, right? It’s not them.”

Sanemi shook his head. “I don’t think so. But still, I can’t help it- he sounded just like my little brother-”

They both knew it was going to be a sleepless night.

~~~

“Hey, Bakubro, you okay?”

“Huh?” Katsuki looked up from the problem he was trying to tutor Eijiro and Denki through. “Of course I’m okay.”

“You sure?” Denki asked. “I caught a mistake you made on the last problem. Me, of all people, correcting you, of all people.”

Katsuki sighed, slapping his hand to his face and dragging it downwards. He spared a glance over to the other table, where Shoto, Momo, and Izuku were silently studying in a group.

The students were now hard at work studying for the fast approaching final exams now that the weekend internships were over with. That morning, under All Might’s watch, they went through the new maneuvers and techniques they managed to gleam from the internships. Everyone had shown significant improvement. For whatever reason, Aizawa was off campus that day, so they instead informed All Might of their encounter with the Pillars.

“Yes, I worked with them on the mission Endeavor mentioned.” He had told them. “It was… odd. They were the only two aside from me who could manage to hold their own against All for One, even more than the likes of Endeavor or Edgeshot. During the briefing, they had this look in their eyes, as if they were familiar with the situation.”

Once again, there was nothing on Genya or Sabito.

“Hey, Icy Hot,” Katsuki called out. Shoto looked up.

“What is it, Bakugo?” He asked.

“Should we tell these guys about what happened during the internship?”

“Woah, what happened?” Denki exclaimed, alarmed. “Did something bad happen?”

“Come on, now you’ve got to tell us!” Eijiro jumped in.

“What’s this about?” Momo asked, turning to Shoto. The boy sighed.

“I guess it won’t hurt,” he said. “Have you ever heard of a pair of vigilantes that call themselves the Pillars?”

“I think so,” Denki said, trying to think. “Sounds sorta familiar.”

“So, did you encounter them?” Momo guessed.

“Yeah,” Katsuki said, leaning back in his chair. “They were hella weird. Weirdest part is that they recognized our voices. Called me ‘Genya’ and Icy Hot ‘Sabito.’”

“That’s… weird,” Eijiro said. “The two of you are well known from the Sports Fest, so it would be hard to mistake you for someone else.”

“That’s what I said,” Izuku said.

“And, according to my old man and All Might, they provided aid during the Bakugo rescue mission, so they should at least know what he looks like.”

“Any ideas of what it could mean?” Momo asked.

Katsuki closed his eyes, trying to think. “I might be wrong, but I saw something engraved into the blade of the Water Pillar’s katana. It was too quick to see clearly. Something along the lines of ‘Destroy Demons’ or something.”

Denki almost jumped out of his seat. “Now I get it! So that’s why it sounded familiar!”

“What is it?” Izuku asked.

“So, you know how I’m like a huge classic literature buff?” Denki said, leaning over the edge of the table.

Momo laughed a little. “Yeah, it’s the one subject I can get you excited about. I’d say you know more about Shakespeare and Hemmingway than I do.”

Denki beamed. “Well, that phrase. Destroy Demons, it reminded me of one of my favorite books from childhood. ‘The Demon Slayers.’”

“So, are these Pillars like avid fanboy cosplayers or something?” Eijiro asked, scratching his head.

Denki shrugged. “Let me try to find an online pdf; I had to leave my copy at home. Apparently it has been passed down my family for generations.”

They fell silent as Denki scrolled through his laptop. Katsuki and Shoto tried to return to their homework, but they were too anxious to concentrate.

Denki sighed after fifteen minutes. “Can’t find a full pdf. Probably because it’s so old. It would have been published before Quirks even came about. The most I can find is the preface and introduction.”

“That’s still something,” Izuku said as he, Shoto and Momo walked over. “Well, let’s see it.”

Denki turned the computer so that everyone could see.

The Demon Slayers

Compiled and written by Zenitsu Agatsuma, 1926

Transcribed and published by Yoshiteru Agatsuma, 2037

Preface

I loved reading my great grandfather’s book in my teen years. It was a grand tale of loss, love, pushing back against evil. My sister always dismissed it as “science fiction.” But, I had this feeling that there was more to it than meets the eye. My theories were confirmed when I visited my friend Sumihiko’s house. There was a framed photo on one of the walls that I never really paid attention to before. The same photograph appears at the end of the introduction of great grandfather’s book.

That being said, there is still no solid confirmation if what is in this book is based on real events, or simply a story fabricated around real people. Still, I felt like this was worth sharing with the world, so that my great grandfather’s - and all of the Demon Slayers’ - legacies would not fade into obscurity.

Yoshiteru Agatsuma

Introduction

Tanjiro Kamado died on July thirteenth, 1925. The last of the Marked Demon Slayers to fall to the Curse of the Demon Slayer Mark. His death followed the pattern established by Tomioka-san’s and Shinazugawa-san’s deaths. A gradual weakening of the immune system and body, resulting in a quiet, peaceful death the day before they were to turn twenty five. Tanjiro died surrounded by family and friends. He left behind a wife and two kids.

My brother-in-law was buried alongside the rest of his family near our house. Kiriya-sama invited us to a ceremony at the old Demon Slayer headquarters. Nezuko stayed behind to look after her niece and nephew, while Inosuke, Kanao, and myself made the journey for the ceremony.

There were many familiar faces there. The Ubuyashiki family. The Rengokus. Uzui-san and his wives. Aoi, Kiyo, Sumi, Naho… I even thought I saw Yushiro lurking there at night. All there to pay their respects to Tanjiro. Haganezuka-san buried Tanjiro’s sword near the front of the cemetery, where headstones honoring all the Pillars stood.

After a while, everyone left, leaving just me, Kanao, and Inosuke. The world felt a bit smaller. All of us survived the same final Final Selection test. Our original group of five had dwindled down to three.

Inosuke was the first to break into tears. “We won! Why did he have to die?!” He yelled.

Kanao was crying silently. “Tanjiro fought very hard against Muzan. He shortened his lifespan to give us a chance to win. We have to honor his death by living life to its fullest. Anything less than that will be an insult to his memory.”

She was right. Tanjiro’s memory will live on. Through Nezuko, his sister. Kanao, his wife. Inosuke, his best friend. Me, his brother-in-law.

When we got back home, Shinoko and Kyoichi were sound asleep. Inosuke left for the mountain forests to blow off some steam, while Kanao attended to her kids. I found my wife in our room, reading an old journal.

“Onii-chan [Tanjiro] kept this journal for me when I was a demon so that I could read everything when I was human again,” she told me. “I’ve been reading it every night since- since then.”

That gave me the idea to document this story. So many have already been lost, with no one alive to remember them. Tomioka-san. Shinazugawa-san. Among many others. All of their stories were lost to the world. I wanted to preserve the little that were left.

With Nezuko’s permission, I adapted an abridged version of Tanjiro’s journal to his demon sister, combined with my own account of the war against demons. Every still living Demon Slayer pitched in with their stories. Whether or not this will ever be read, I don’t know. Still, it is nice knowing the words exist somewhere, so that we are not entirely forgotten.

This is the story of the generation that defeated the Demon King, Muzan Kibutsuji.

At the end of the introduction, there was a photo of a large group of people, gathered and smiling at the camera. Well, all except for one, who was scowling off at some corner.

Taken one year after the defeat of Muzan. Top to bottom, left to right: Kotestu, Suma, Tengen Uzui, Hotaru Haganezuka, Kozo Kanamori, Goto, Hinatsuru, Makio, Sanemi Shinazugawa, Murata, Sakonji Urokodaki, Shinjuro Rengoku, Aoi Kanzaki, Kanao Tsuyuri, Zenitsu Agatsuma, Nezuko Kamado, Tanjiro Kamado, Inosuke Hashibira, Takeuchi, Kanata Ubuyashiki, Kiriya Ubuyashiki, Kuina Ubuyashiki, Giyu Tomioka, Senjuro Rengoku, Kiyo Terauchi, Sumi Nakahara, Naho Takada

“Hold on, look,” Katsuki said as they finished reading. He jabbed his finger at the photo. “Look at those two.”

“You’re right,” Shoto said, following the finger. “Those two look like the Pillars. The similarities are uncanny. The scars seem to be placed differently, but other than that…”

“So… avid cosplayers?” Eijiro asked again.

“Doubt it,” Momo murmured. “A cosplay is never one hundred percent accurate. This would be…”

“So, who are they?” Denki asked. “What are their names?”

Shoto and Katsuki reread the caption, following along the rows of people with their eyes.

“Giyu Tomioka-”

“And Sanemi Shinazugawa.”

I don't know how/when I'll fit this in, but Denki is supposed to be a REALLY distant ZenNezu descendant. Imagine his reaction when he finds out that one of his relatives had a lightning - well, thunder - sword!
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