I realized that the quotation marks which are used for dialogues here were in a different form than the usual straight-up I got used to, likely because I use Times New Roman font for every document. Though I believe it's not really a huge deal, do tell me if it is.
So... I'm back with a chapter. This one is half shorter than the first one. I honestly want to make it longer, but college just won't allow me to. I hate you all, assignments.
I learned that people prefer simplicity, especially for Author's Note, so I try to not say much while still conveying what needs to be said.
With that said, enjoy.
So this is what I'd been hearing about that time.
Tanjirou was right now holding an exquisite treat called ice cream, wearing a face that teemed in pure wonder while studying it.
He had first heard the name of this food during one of his missions back in Asakusa, Tokyo, where he couldn't help but eavesdrop on some passerby talking about it.
From what it was described, it's a frozen snack that had a sweet and milky flavor with a soft, smooth texture, kind of like a pile of snow but creamy. The one he was holding was shaped like a snowball put on a cone and the color was brown because he ordered chocolate flavor.
And now he was about to eat it for the first time in his life.
Bringing it closer to his mouth, he licked the ice cream.
His expression instantly delighted. Chilling, but delicious!
"Gah! Cold! Cold!"
Tanjirou looked up from his food when he heard one of his friends' cry.
Across the table were Zenitsu and Inosuke, sitting on their own chair. They were also enjoying themselves with their respective ice cream like him.
Well, Zenitsu was. Inosuke, his dark blue hair and feminine face revealed to the open public, was the one who made that cry.
"I don't like it, it makes my whole body tinglin' from the inside. Why would anyone likes to eat this when it freezes your tongue?"
"That's because you're supposed to eat it while it's still cold." Zenitsu admonished the pretty-looking boy, repressing the urge to roll his eyes. "It's how you enjoy it. If you don't eat it sooner, it will melt."
Inosuke just harrumphed back. "Whatever. I'd rather eat tempura all day than this cold thing."
"You actually have tried this before?" Tanjirou asked the thunder breather.
Zenitsu turned to him. "No, this is also my first time trying it. Back in our world, such food like this is hard to get by around Japan. You might have a chance if you go to a town named Yokohama where I heard the people there produce one when a samurai visited the western world dozens of years ago, brought on how to make it, and then went home to make it themselves." He paused to take a little bite of his strawberry-flavored ice cream before continuing, "Those who've tried it are to be considered lucky in their life. Not many people can have the luxury of getting their hand on something as scarce as ice cream."
Tanjirou hummed. "I see. Would that make us a lucky person then?"
"I believe so." chuckled Zenitsu. "Though that may not the case anymore as we can buy this every time we want here, which honestly came as a surprise for me."
Tanjirou agreed. Here in Planeptune, or Gamindustri as a whole, Ice cream was a common thing and you could almost find it everywhere in some shops and dining places. There's even a vehicle called truck that was going around the city and selling it; the same vehicle where they bought their ice cream.
"By the way," He raised an eyebrow. "You said this is your first time, but what you told me made it seem like you've had it before."
"Ah, no." Zenitsu sheepishly said, shaking his head. "I know this from some gossip I usually pick up the time before I become a Demon Slayer. Plenty of girls were very much gushed whenever someone brought it up, saying they wish to try it once in their lifetime."
"Oi, what's with that disgusted face? Stop it! I was not stalking or anything like that to those girls! It's just by a chance I happened to hear them from far, alright!?"
They went quiet after that as they continued to consume their ice cream in peace, though it looked like Inosuke had already finished his. In reality however, he actually threw away his ice cream somewhere without care when the two were occupied in their chat. If somebody saw him littering his food, someone would have likely come up to them about violating sanitation, but as it stands, nobody disturbed their moment of peace.
"Tanjirou." Zenitsu broke the silence once he was done eating.
"Hm?" The dark red-haired teen went for his last bite before looking up.
"How long are we going to do this?"
"You know what I'm talking about. It's been five days since our mysterious arrival in Gamindustri." The yellow boy bit his lips from leaking his frustration. "While I am somewhat appeased now that we won't no longer have to worry about our survival ever since we're getting used to how the way of living here, it didn't exactly help us in the slightest to our circumstance."
"I agree with him." Inosuke joined in. "This world amazed me it feels like I have a strong desire to rove every part of it, but I miss the time I bisected demons around their neck and cut 'em off with my blades."
"Of course you only miss that, you musclebrain." Zenitsu uttered quietly.
Tanjirou was not saying anything for good seconds as he contemplated on what he should say. His dark red eyes then drifted to the side, observing the scene around him.
They were now in one of the many spacious parks in certain parts of the metropolis. The recreation itself wasn't something to be highly bemused about, but it might as well be for our Taisho youths. Grey tiles paved the floor glittery, benches were assigned around the place, a water fountain was created like some sort of symbolism, and greening like trees, bushes, and grasses were grown in the surrounding for a natural landscape with very tall, advanced buildings known as skyscrapers peaking in the background. Currently they were sitting on one of many chairs encircling a round-shaped table with an umbrella in the center, blocking the heat.
As Zenitsu had said, the three of them had been around this peculiar world for roughly five days. The first and a half day was the time they had learned the basic info about Gamindustri and taken their first quest that's unrelated to slaying man-eating demons, while the rest was spent adjusting themselves with the local standard and further attaining any prevalent knowledge they could profusely grasp as well as taking quests consented to by the Guild.
Today's earlier morning, they took another request that's a bit challenging; finding a rare item by defeating an equally rare monster in one of many dungeons around Planeptune's landmasses. It was basically a luck-type mission in which their luckiness was to put in test. Despite with their separate extrasensory, it took them a considerable amount of time for discovering the infrequent monster. By the time they obtained the item after dispatching it and arrived back in Planeptune, the skies were beginning to show their orange-ish color. Once they submitted and received another reward, they decided to kill their remaining time by taking a scroll, later found the ice cream truck, bought three for each, then rested in a nearby park, which led to where they are at present.
Tanjirou saw some citizens doing their own business. Chatting with friends on the same setup as them, parents accompanying their children who were having fun, and a few who were engrossed in what he learned as a phone while sitting on a bench. Seeing such activities full of modesty instilled a sense of sentiment in his heart; it reminded him of the fond, simpler times when he didn't have to worry about the life-threatening situation; before the day he murdered his family.
"Truthfully… I have no idea as well." He started, returning his gaze to his partners. "Never in my life I had gotten through something as inconceivable as ending up somewhere beyond our understanding. I didn't even know about the existence of another world besides our own, so this is all very new to me."
"No arguments," Zenitsu remarked lightly. "Being awakened only to see you're in a different world is the least expected in my life list."
"But Gengorou, I thought the requests we took in that guild place were to ascertain if there's a way out to go home by scouring every bit of this world?"
"Partially, because it just mostly acts as our temporary job to earn savings - thank Kami we have plenty of funds now to expend - and until now we haven't exactly made any progression to our issue even when we're off traveling outside while carrying through the quests at the same time."
There were mainly three reasons they became a regular 'adventurer' for the Guild. First was to obviously make profits for any necessity during the entire time they were stuck away from home. Second was to contribute in aiding the populace via clearing quests on board, if only due to their sense of obligation as humanity's protectors were brought along. Third, and the most important, was to determine in hopes that implementing these endeavors could potentially lead them to a road to repatriation. Woefully, the latter was but naught thus far.
Zenitsu was in deep thought until he said, "What about the goddess of this city, CPU Purple Heart if I recall? I don't think we've made an attempt to seek her out. Perhaps she has a solution for us."
"I did consider that as an option," Tanjirou nodded. "But in case you forget, she is nowhere to be seen and hasn't shown her face for years if what we heard were to be believed."
Which is a shame, because Tanjirou was honestly hoping he could meet the supreme herself in some way. If there was someone that could help them, it would be the one with a higher power, literally and figuratively.
That, and he couldn't quell his curiosity about the prospect of meeting the purple deity of this world and what she's look like.
Zenitsu wasn't over with his instigation. "Then what of the other goddesses? Surely we can just simply head off and ask one of them, right?"
The hanafuda-earrings boy was about to say back before he stopped himself as he mulled on Zenitsu's suggestion. "That's… I haven't thought of that."
The more he thought about it, the more he realized that, while one of the goddesses was unavailable for who knows long, that did not mean the other three were too. In all likelihood, they're still presently supervising their own region and didn't abandon their subject, and in turn there's a high chance that the boys could potentially meet at least one of them directly.
He hung his head for not considering that since the start. "Guess I kinda too worked up in this I unwittingly hedged myself only to this country."
"Goddesses, huh?" Inosuke wondered. "Do you think they can really help us out?"
"Possibly. I mean, they are beings superior to us, so they must have the key to our situation." responded the yellow-haired teen. "And candidly, I'm still having a hard time about them being verily substantial and not just some credulity in superstition entrenched by devotees."
"Well, they are this world's divinity, not ours, and we don't know much about them to begin with." Tanjirou elucidated. "In any case, now that we have an alternative view, does that mean we have a clear idea of what our next move is?"
"Leaving Planeptune and going to another nation, correct?"
He stood up from his chair, grabbing the wooden box on the floor beside him where Nezuko slept inside it and he slung it onto his back. "It's decided, then. Seeing as it's already dusk, let's turn in for a day. Tomorrow we'll take another quest from the Guild as we need more credits if we're going to travel to a different city. The day after that, once we are prepared enough, we will depart immediately. How's that sound?"
Inosuke grabbed his boar head on the table and put it onto his head. "I have no objection."
"Don't forget to buy some necessary supplies later. I heard there's this medicine bottle that can miraculously heal you up in a short time." Zenitsu added as he stood up as well. "It sounds incredibly unbelievable I thought you were pulling my leg if were not for the fact that magic exists here."
"Eh? Why would anyone dare pull your leg for not believing?"
"...It was a figure of speech, Tanjirou."
Once they weren't leaving anything behind, they walked off toward the exit of the park.
"Come to think of it," Inosuke questioned. "How come this city is still fine and intact when the goddess isn't here to reign over?"
"If I have to guess, usually there is a second-in-command person who takes charge provisionally when the main superintendent couldn't be in there to take care of everything. Take the Hashiras or Oyakata-sama's family for example."
"That's right." Tanjirou picked up where the yellow boy left. "Remember the Final Selection we underwent? His daughters were the ones who oversee us instead of their father, which is completely understandable due to his… unfortunate state."
Up till now, he didn't exactly sure what kind of illness the leader of Demon Slayer Corps, Kagaya Ubuyashiki, suffered even after he saw the rotten skin on the leader's face during his 'trial'. One thing he could say for sure though was that Master's illness was slowly but surely dying him, which was proven by news delivered by Shinobu to Tanjirou and the others about him coughing up blood. It's only a matter of time before his eyesight wasn't the only thing he would lose.
Tanjirou shook his head. As saddening as it was, he couldn't do anything about Master's condition, not when he was so far out of reach from the Corps.
"But back to what you said," He redirected the conversation back as the three of them crossed the exit and onto the side road. "You know the lone giant tower that, well, towering over the whole buildings in the center? Not only that is where the CPU supposedly lived, but it's also the home of an organization called Basilicom. The members of this group serve the goddess herself and assist in governing as well. Although I'm not quite sure yet if there's a vice positi-"
His words had been cut off when he felt something bump into him and knocked him onto the pavement.
That something, which turned out to be someone (and female based on that high-pitched voice) also fell and landed on her butt.
"Tanjirou!" Zenitsu ran to him in a fret. "Are you alright?!"
"Y-yeah…" Tanjirou groaned. "Nothing harm on me…"
"Oi, you!" A loud exclaim made the two look at the boar boy who was berating the fallen petite girl. "You've got a nerve pushing him down. Get up and say sorry to him for your fault!"
"Huh?" The girl who was rubbing her butt stood up as quickly as she fell, glaring. "How is it my fault?! I was purely jogging my way happy with my purchased puddings until I crashed!" She pointed at Tanjirou in accusation. "It should be his fault for not paying attention. And also, why are you half naked and costume your head like a freak animal?"
That tickled the beast breather. "You little…!"
"Stop it, you idiot!" Zenitsu approached them and leveled his gaze on his friend madly. "That's not how you treat a girl like that!"
"Who cares about that silly crap?! This brat must be doing it deliberately!"
"Now you're just accusing for something that might well not be true!"
"Both of you, quit it!" Tanjirou went between them to stop their bickering from escalating further. "You're causing a scene here!" In fact, he could see a few people looking at them right now with curious eyes.
Noticing that he was right, they ceased their squabble, feeling slightly embarrassed.
Sighing in relief, the boy in black-and-green checkered haori directed his attention to the girl he bumped.
The girl had lilac-colored hair with eyes of similar color. She wore a big white hoodie-like dress with purple lining and hood; another unfamiliar clothes style to him since his time in Gamindustri. On the zipper section, two big round pockets on both lower sides and a big zipper with the letter 'N' on it. Her shoes were lavender with lilac trim and worn in long, white-and-blue striped socks. There was also an odd white metal choker around her neck. She was short, even shorter than Nezuko, probably more or less 20 cm lower than himself.
Once he came near to her view in a considerable yet still close, Tanjirou bowed. "I am very sorry for earlier. It is my fault for not looking properly at my surrounding. I hope you can forgive me."
The straightforward apology took the girl by surprise, making her feel awkward. "O-Oh, um… n-no, it's fine. It's also my fault for not seeing where I walk to." She said that with a faint blush, looking down.
"Hm? I thought you said-"
Whatever Inosuke was about to say was forcibly shut by Zenitsu elbowing his rib. "Will you be quiet?"
Ignoring them, Tanjirou continued, "Still, I'm deeply sorry for this. You're not hurt anywhere, right?"
The girl went joyful immediately as soon as he asked about her well-being. "Yep, I'm perfectly OK~! It would be unfitting for the heroine of this game if I grouse myself over a trivial thing like this."
He didn't get the last part, but he understood that she was uninjured at least. "That's great, I guess."
He saw the girl open her mouth, but no voice was coming out from her as her face suddenly went wide, seemly realizing something. "Nepu! I'm sorry for cutting it short but I really need to get going, or else Compa will notice that I snuck out from her house to buy puddi…" Her face then went into horror as she realized, "My puddings! I must've dropped them when I fell!"
Before she got worked up any further, Zenitsu showed her a plastic bag filled with many cups of pudding inside. "You mean this? I picked it up when I heard something else fall on the ground."
"Ah! Thank you!" She swiped the bag from his hand and quickly checked the content. "No sign of anything broken…" Relief washed over her. "I thought I had to spend the night without any of these yummy puddings." She then spun around, but not before momentarily glancing at them. "I have to leave now before Compa finds out about my absence!"
Without any chance to say back, she already ran away hurriedly to somewhere else, leaving the demon hunters alone.
"...You know," spoke Zenitsu as he watched the girl's figure getting smaller and smaller. "We really should buy you some upper clothes, Inosuke. We do keep getting a lot of conspicuous stares because of your bare chest since the first day we stepped here." And the fact you keep scaring off people with that mask of yours. He thought at the end.
Inosuke merely huffed, "No way I'm going to wear those things again. It hampers my sense."
"You can just remove it when we're facing the monsters, and I do not mean throw it away." Zenitsu sighed, not wanting to bother with the boar's stubbornness. Instead he changed the topic. "By the way, that girl looks cute, don't you think so, Tanjirou?" When he heard no response, he turned toward the hanafuda-earrings boy who was still staring in the direction the girl left.
That girl… She's… Tanjirou internally muttered, not noticing the yellow-haired boy beside him giving him a worried look.
"Tanjirou?" Zenitsu placed his hand on his friend's shoulder, jolting him up. "Something is bothering you?"
Tanjirou composed himself before he spoke back, "No, nothing is bothering me."
"Ya sure?" asked Inosuke. "'Cause it looked like you were very in deep thought, like there's something troubling you."
"It's fine, guys, really." Tanjirou assured them. "Nothing too important."
"If you're sure…" Zenitsu decided to let it off for now. "Shall we get back to the inn, then? It's almost dark."
"Yeah, let's return back."
They went in the opposite direction as they busied themselves with another talk which later heated into another routine of the quarrel between the yellow boy and the boar boy.
During all of this, Tanjirou's mind went back to the young lilac girl from before.
The reason he told them it wasn't important was that it's not overly a significant problem to them and he's not entirely certain if what he's sensing was not just his imagination playing with his head.
Of what he detected about the girl.
Of what her scent was.
It's almost imperceptible, but she has an… inhuman scent.
Tanjirou was so used to how humans in general smell like for as long as he lives and it also had become a habitual act for him to discern every scent of beings besides humans, gaining variants of characteristic smells. Every living, mortal and organism alike, would always involuntarily disseminate their congenital aroma wherever they went. Even demons, while tainted because of the exotic blood coursing in through their vessels, still retained the uniqueness within their person that was rooted since birth.
The girl undeniably was no exception, or so he assumed at least. In the short time they interacted with her, he noticed that she didn't emit the scent of a normal human or demon, yet also not the scent of monsters of this world - it was completely new and unidentifiable. The only thing that he wasn't alarmed by this was she had no malice or ill intention in her, so he didn't feel any sort of danger.
What confused him however was her scent felt… compressed. No, he believed the accurate word would be attenuated yet queerly dormant. Her innate scent was thin and tenuous, which caused it less potent than how an ordinary scent should give off, hence the imperceptible part. He suspected that was why he didn't spot it more sooner, else he would undoubtedly mistake her for a human.
Which begged the question…
If she's not human, then what is she?
Alas, it would remain as a question without an answer even after the day was over.
Thank you for reading the second chapter.
As I said above, I had planned for this chapter to be longer, but I've been getting busier and busier which leaves me with little time to write. My laziness at heart doesn't help either. Good thing I have made the draft days ago for the next chapter, so I'll leave a sneak peek after this note.
Also, I have a request. I'm currently seeking those who want to be my beta reader/helper (just one person for now). While I'm content with myself only, I think it's better to having a second hand. It's not required, but I'd feel appreciated anyway. Plus, a person with a profound knowledge of both series is what I'm aiming for and my only condition.
After this, I will retract my step and go back to the first chapter before I continue with the next one. I want to do some betterment because I noticed there are a lot of flaws and unnecessary words, so I feel like I need to do something about it to make it few-to-none errors.
Well, guess that's all, so I wish you a good day; and Happy Halloween also since I posted this at the end of October.
"Everyone is oddly feeling anxious..."
"Can you please reconsider your decision?! Don't we have our own quest to complete?!"
"I don't think I'll ever get tired of admiring this scenery."
"Any last word before I send you to the other side of the realm, Neptune?"
"Comin' Through! Comin' Through!"
"Please be careful! That lady is very strong, even Nep-Nep in her transformed form had a hard time against her."