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Charcoal Rivers @aglobuzzy
Blackfire So, since Breath of Flames hasn't had all of its forms revealed (I hoped that the Rengoku Gaiden would reveal them, but it looks like it didn't) I am using some that I made up myself.

Nezuko crossed the bridge connecting the dusty road to the town streets. Her new katana swung from her belt. It felt heavy, carrying a hefty importance.

“This is it. This is the weapon I’ll use to kill demons.”

Nezuko looked around the town. In structure, it reminded her of the old village. But, it seemed much more desolate and pessimistic. There was a sense of uneasiness in the air.

“It’s got to be because of the demon attacks.”

“Poor Kazumi,” she heard someone say. The words seemed to be directed at a young man walking the opposite direction to her. He looked even more shaken and lost than everyone else. “He just hasn’t been the same since Satoko vanished.”

Nezuko veered off her course and chased after the man.

As she swung her bokken, she saw someone approaching the Rengoku estate. A man in a hyottoko mask, with a large parcel on his back. This had to be the swordsmith! Nezuko placed her practice sword down and ran to greet him.

“Hello!” She said.

“I am the swordsmith Haruyoshi Suzuki. I have crafted Nezuko Kamado’s Nichirin blade, and I have come to deliver it.”

Nezuko bowed in respect. “I am Nezuko Kamado. Please, come inside.”

“It is an honor to see you!” Kyojuro called. The three of them walked into the main room. Nezuko sat in front of Haruyoshi, while Kyojuro sat by Nezuko’s side.

“Nichirin iron is harvested from the Sunlight Mountain. As the name suggests, the mountain is bathed in sunlight all year long,” Haruyoshi explained as he unwrapped the cloth around the sword. “Since it absorbs so much sunlight, Nichirin is one of the few substances capable of slaying demons.”

The cloth fell away, revealing a pinkish red sheath with two white stripes. Haruyoshi extended the sword out to Nezuko. She took it into both hands. She slid off the sheath and held the blade up high.

The blade remained a dull gray for a moment. Then, as if it was overcome by ink, black spread from the hilt to the tip.

“Black?!” Haruyoshi exclaimed in surprise.

“Well, this is a surprise,” Kyojuro said, still beaming.

“Is it bad?” Nezuko asked, blinking.

“Bad?! You’re just as useless and pathetic as my sons!”

Nezuko stiffened, as did Kyojuro. Haruyoshi took this as a chance to excuse himself and not face a drunken Shinjuro’s wrath.

“Black swords users are destined for failure!” Shinjuro roared. “You’re nothing!”

“Father, I will not permit you to address my pupil in this manner,” Kyojuro said. He wasn’t smiling. The usual jovial tone became deathly stoic. He got to his feet, facing his father.

“Young Kamado is anything but useless and pathetic. I have my complete faith in her success!”

“And you’re a fool for thinking that!”

Shinjuro marched back to his room, slamming the door behind him. Kyojuro seemed to deflate in relief.

“Rengoku-san,” Nezuko started to say. She fell silent, her lip trembling.

Kyojuro knelt in front of her again. “Do not worry, Young Kamado!”

“Is it true? Is it true that I’m destined for failure?”

After all of her hard work… How could she help Genya now? No, she couldn’t be a failure!

Kyojuro put his hands on her shoulders in a reassuring manner. “Listen, Young Kamado. It is true that black Nichirin blades are very rare, and no one with a black blade has become a Pillar before. However, do not be discouraged! I oversaw your training, and I know firsthand your power, your will, your drive. I expect nothing but great things from you! You will go far, I’m sure!”

Nezuko felt tears prick at her eyes. She bowed her head in gratitude.

A crow flew in through the window.

“Mission for Nezuko Kamado! Mission for Nezuko Kamado! Head to the north! North! There is a village where young girls have been going missing! Find the demon lurking there and slay it!”

“Your first assignment!” Kyojuro exclaimed. “I wish you the best of luck, my pupil!”

Nezuko quickly changed into her new Demon Slayer uniform. She tucked her now black blade back into its sheath and slipped it into her belt. The new pink haori, made from her favorite kimono, was draped over her shoulders.

“I will do my best!”

She left the Rengoku estate, knowing that every step she took would take her one step closer to curing Genya.

“Kazumi-san!” Nezuko called out, chasing after the man.

Kazumi turned around. His eyes looked unfocused. He was brimming with immeasurable sorrow. It made Nezuko furious. Demons capable of causing this much pain-

“Who are you?” Kazumi asked after a moment. His voice sounded fragile like parchment, about to be swept up and tossed around by the lightest breeze.

“My name is Nezuko Kamado,” Nezuko told him. “I’m new in this town. I was hoping you could tell me about the recent disappearances.”

Kazumi’s eyebrows twitched. He looked away, but Nezuko saw his hands trembling.

“I- I’m hoping to put an end to them,” she explained. “To do that, I need all the information I need.”

“... They’ve been happening for a little over a week,” Kazumi spoke up. “Every night, a young girl would go missing. They just… vanish. My- my fiancée disappeared last night. She- we were just walking and then she was gone and I-”

Nezuko grimaced. She had to find this demon before it hurt anyone else.

“Thank you, Kazumi-san,” she said. “Thank you for telling me about this.”

“How do you exactly plan on stopping the disappearances?” Kazumi asked.

Nezuko grinned. Just as Kyojuro taught her, smile in the face of danger. Smile in the face of adversity, and you can overcome anything.

“The people vanishing have all been young girls, right?” Kazumi nodded, skeptical. “In that case, I make the perfect bait.”

“No, you can’t-” Kazumi protested. “It could be dangerous.”

“Don’t worry,” Nezuko replied. “I can take care of myself. I’ll lure the culprit in, and then I'll make sure they never hurt anyone again.”

“You mean-” Kazumi’s eyes darted to the sword at Nezuko’s side. She gave a curt nod.

There was still plenty of time before sundown, so Nezuko decided to look around for clues. Kazumi followed her around, clearly concerned for her safety. She asked a few more townspeople about the events, and they all told the same story as Kazumi.

“I doubt they’d send a rookie like myself to fight a super strong demon with no backup,” she thought to herself. “If I’m lucky, maybe this demon doesn’t even know about Demon Slayers.”

“Hey, uh, Nezuko-” Kazumi spoke up. “This- this culprit- they aren’t human, are they?”

Nezuko spared a glance at her sword. “No, they’re likely not human.”

Kazumi sighed. “I- I’ve heard the urban legends about man eating demons, and the samurai that slay them. But-”

Nezuko shook her head. “They’re not urban legends. Believe me, I wish they were.”

“So you’re a Demon Slayer?”

Nezuko nodded.

“But, if a demon is behind this, then Satoko- and all those other girls, that means they’re all-”

“Yes, most likely.”

“We can’t know for sure,” Nezuko lied through her teeth. “Maybe this is a demon that likes to savor its meal. Satoko-san went missing last night, right? That means she has the highest chance of still being alive.”

The chance was so slim it was practically nonexistent. Still, Nezuko couldn’t stand the desperate look on Kazumi’s face. If there was any hope left, she didn’t want to be the one to extinguish it. She remembered her own feelings of desperation, helping Tanjiro drag Genya down the snow covered mountain, holding on to the fleeting hope that everything would be okay.

For the remaining hours until sunset, she scoured for clues as to where the demon might strike next. There didn’t seem to be a set pattern in the exact locations of the disappearances. Some, like Satoko, vanished on the streets. Even stranger, some went missing in their own rooms.

“Could this demon have some sort of teleporting Blood Demon Art?”

“Kazumi-san,” she said as the sun sank over the horizon. “What I am about to ask of you is potentially dangerous. But, would you be willing to assist me?”

“A-assist? How?”

“While I am a young girl and fit the criteria to be bait, I don’t think the demon will attack me if I have my sword on me. Could you hold onto my sword for the time being? When the demon appears, you’ll just need to toss it to me.”

Kazumi looked uncertain. “But, what if the demon doesn’t take the bait and goes for another girl right away?”

“I can detect a demon’s presence once they’re on the move - call it instincts if you will - and I’ll take my sword back and chase after it.”

Kazumi nodded after a moment, and Nezuko handed the sword and sheath to him.

“Alright, stay close by, but try to stay out of sight,” Nezuko said, walking down the street. “I’ll holler when I’m ready.”

With that, Nezuko started walking down the lantern lit road. She kept her gaze centered forward, instead relying on her peripheral vision to see to her sides. The barely present sensation of being watched told her that Kazumi was still following behind her.

Her senses picked up on something that screamed not human. It was nearby, and it seemed to be approaching her. Good, the bait plan was working.

As if in slow motion, a black mass appeared underneath her feet. She almost fell through, the substance reminding her of some sort of marsh. Nezuko quickly rolled forward to escape the substance, just as a pair of clawed hands reached out of the portal and grabbed at her. Nezuko felt one of her pink hair ribbons be tugged away and her hair come loose. She broke her fall and rolled back to her feet.


Hearing his cue, Kazumi threw the blade, sheath and all, in her direction. Nezuko caught the sword by the hilt and slid the sheath off in one fluid motion.

The demon seemed to sense that its target wasn’t the best option, since the hole began closing up.

“I can’t let it get away!”

Nezuko dashed forward, her sword raised above her head.

“Breath of Flames, Third Form: Descending Flare!”

She swung the blade downwards, slicing through the hole and scorching the ground beneath her. A shriek - half pained, half furious - came from the hole. A demon with long dark blue hair and two horns emerged from the hole. His empty red eyes glared in Nezuko’s direction. Her pink hair ribbon was clenched tightly in his claws.

“What the hell!” The demon screeched. “My meal is fighting back against me! And all those muscles, too! Argh, you’re losing taste by the minute!”

Nezuko narrowed her eyes, raising her sword in defense. Everything coming out of the demon’s mouth was sickening. She wasn’t going to indulge him by speaking to him.

She ran forward again, sword raised to attack. But, out of the corner of her right eye, she saw a similar hole forming on the nearby wall. She changed trajectory and rolled away, just as another pair of hands reached out for her. They grazed against her hair.

This new demon looked identical to the first one, only with three horns instead of two. It grinded its teeth together in what could only be frustration.

“Now, now, don’t get frustrated.” A third hole opened up. A final demon, with a single horn, emerged from it. “We’ll still have a meal tonight. A thirteenth young girl will be eaten tonight.”

“Thirteenth?” Nezuko’s head swiveled in the direction of the voice. It was Kazumi, still standing by the edges of the houses. “But- Satoko was the twelfth. Does- does that mean-”

“Oh,” the one horned demon said, sounding amused. He opened a flap in his uniform, revealing various ribbons and hairpins hanging from the fabric. “If this Satoko’s hairpiece is among this collection, then I’ve already eaten her.”

Nezuko felt her anger boil over. This kind of taunting over the death of a loved one was unforgivable.

“Breath of Flames, First Form: Unknowing Fire!”

She dashed forward, swinging her blade forward, aiming for the neck of the three horned demon. All three of her adversaries ducked back into their portals and avoided the attack.

The inky masses reappeared around her, trapping her in a ring.

“Breath of Flames, Sixth Form: Sea of Fire!”

Nezuko pivoted in place, swinging her sword in a horizontal arc. In sync with her attack, hands reached out of the portals. The slice severed the arms, falling away in a spray of blood.

More shrieks came from the portals, and they began to close up again.

“Breath of Flames, Second Form, Rising Scorching Sun!”

She swung her katana upwards, tearing through the ground and through the nearest portal. Another spray of blood, and the head of the two horned demon, disconnected from the rest of his body, came flying out.

The sound of teeth grinding filled the air. The three horned demon, angered by the death of his comrade - other personality? half of himself? - lunged at her. With a swing of her sword, his head came flying off, too.

Only the one horned demon, the most calm and calculating of the trio, remained. A glint of frustration passed across his face, but he remained level headed, submerging back into his portal.

“He’s not going to come out again. He’s too careful for that. But, if I don’t kill him now, he’ll return and keep terrorizing this village. I have to stop him now!”

With no second thought, Nezuko took a deep breath in and jumped into the portal. She found herself submerged in inky water. Pieces of ripped clothing and dirt floated by her. The water stung at her eyes, but Nezuko forced them to stay open. She scoured the murky depths for any sign of the final demon.

She detected something swimming on her left. Her eyes darted in that direction, and she caught a quick glimpse of the demon before he darted out of her sight. He was moving rapidly, clearly comfortable in his home turf.

Nezuko was running out of air to breathe. “Stay calm,” she told herself. “He’s waiting for you to slip up. Don’t give him that chance!”

Once again, she saw the demon swimming towards her, moving with such speed and velocity she couldn’t hope to accomplish underwater.

“Get ready…”

As the demon neared her, Nezuko dived deeper, gripping her blade tightly. She spun around in mid spin and kicked her legs as hard as she could. Her blade was extended outwards, directly above her.

“Breath of Flames, Fourth Form: Blooming Flame Undulation!”

She swung her sword out in an arc, sweeping up the demon in its range. Both arms were cut off. Nezuko then thrust the sword into his stomach and kicked upwards, pushing them back to the surface.

They breached the air, and Nezuko wasted no time pinning the demon to the wall.

“It will take some time for your arms to regenerate,” she said. “Now, talk.”

“I have nothing to say to you,” the demon sneered. “What do you expect, an apology for the girls I killed? Please, I was doing them a favor. They were going to start aging soon and lose their flavor.”

Nezuko gritted her teeth and forced herself to stay focused. She retracted her sword and slashed it across the demon’s face, blinding him. He screeched, despite his composed nature.

“No, I want you to tell me how to turn a demon back into a human.”

Tanjiro had told her he tried asking every demon he ran into at Final Selection that question, but none had responded. But, maybe the ones not trapped on the mountain would be willing to share more.

“That’s the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard,” the demon scoffed. His eyes and arms were slowly regenerating. “A demon, turning back into a human? I can’t think of a single demon who would want to return to being such a lowly life form.”

“In that case, tell me about Muzan Kibutsuji.”

The demon froze. For the first time, Nezuko genuinely caught him off guard.

“Tell me about your leader!” She said again. “Does he know how to turn a demon back into a human? Where is he? What does he look like?”

“I- I can’t tell you-” The demon looked genuinely terrified. Not of Nezuko, but of some invisible force pressing down on him. “He- He said I can’t tell anyone-”

“Muzan must be trying to keep himself hidden, so he uses fear to keep his demons loyal to him.”

The arms finished regenerating, and the eyes followed shortly after. The demon tried to duck back into his little swamp. With a single sweep of her blade, Nezuko cut off his head. Before his disintegrating body could fall back into the portal, she snatched up the cloth that had the hair pieces attached to it.

“I couldn’t learn anything, about Muzan or how to turn demons into humans. Sorry, Genya. You need to wait a little longer.”

Nezuko spotted her sheath lying abandoned a few meters away. She picked it up and slid her sword into place. She looked around for Kazumi. He was kneeling on the ground, looking even more lost than before.


“Satoko, my fiancée,” he murmured. “She’s dead. She got eaten by that- that monster-”

Nezuko frowned and felt tears prick at her eyes. She knelt in front of him. “Kazumi-san, it hurts. I know it hurts.”

“How do you know?!” His voice was hurt, and he was lashing out in pain. “You have no idea what this feels like! You don’t understand!”

Memories of her mother and little siblings, slashed to bloody ribbons while she was sleeping ignorantly, memories of Genya turning away from her in an attempt to hide his new demon features, flooded her mind, and Nezuko decided she did understand.

The pain must have been painted across her face, because Kazumi looked shocked, and he bowed his head as tears fell from his eyes.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered. “That was an awful thing to say.”

Nezuko extended the cloth she snatched from the demon to Kazumi. “The pain will never truly leave. But, for the sake of the people you lost, you must live on. I’m sure Satoko-san would want for you to be happy, even if she can’t be by your side. Please, see if you can find her hairpiece here.”

Kazumi looked down at the cloth, before quietly tugging at the large red ribbon and holding it to his chest.

“That demon won’t hurt anyone else in this town,” Nezuko said. She got to her feet. One of her bows had been snatched away by the demon and was likely lost forever. She tugged the final bow loose, retying it around a small bunch of hair near her forehead.

“How do you do it?” Kazumi whimpered. “How do you keep going?”

“I don’t have a choice,” Nezuko said with a sad smile. “I still have people relying on me. Take care, Kazumi-san.”

She walked away down the road, the sun still obscured by the horizon. Her crow flew overhead.

“So many people are hurt and suffering. Not just humans; demons, too. That demon, who had been so calm and collected before, trembled when I mentioned his name. Muzan Kibutsuji, I will find you, make you turn Genya back into a human, and then I’ll kill you, so that no one else will suffer.”

“New assignment! New assignment!”

Nezuko looked to the sky, where the crow was still circling.

“Head to Asakusa! Asakusa, in Tokyo! Rumors of demon activity there! Go, go!”

I chose to have Nezuko fight the Swamp Demon instead of Tanjiro in order to write some more varied choreography, and it is good practice for battle scenes.
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