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A Good Hearing (But A Better Sight)

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Osoishi's book is small. She writes briefly about herself, and mostly about what she discovered, but that's it. It seems his great-grandmother was a reserved person. Zenitsu is disppointed, but not surprised. He doesn't think he would be talkative about his power either, even in a book.

 

Yoriichi reads behind him, brows furrowed. His eyes, particularly, are fixed on a sentence. Zenitsu noticed it, because he read it many times too.

 

If someone, be it a demon or a slayer, strike the ghost, the injury will appear on the medium.

 

It doesn't seem like much, but they both know the importance of staying focused during a fight. Being distracted, even for a second, is deadly.

 

Zenitsu bites his lip. He doesn't like this, and yet...

 

Yet, this power could make fighting against Upper Moons a lot easier. Kanae, Yoriichi, all these amazing slayers who died too soon and are stuck here. Zenitsu could give them a chance to fight.

 

But it would mean to multiply his chances to die. Because even if none of the ghosts “die”, all their injuries combined could probably kill him. In fact, doing this, his chances of survival are slim.

 

But their chances of winning are greater.

 

Yorrichi slams his hand on the book and closes it. His face is still blank, but the action speaks enough as it is : the sun breather doesn't like this plan.

 

(It's a good thing he doesn't have a say in it.)

 

Zenitsu breathes.

 

“Let's talk to Oyakata-sama.”

 


 

Oyakata-sama, or Kagaya as he insists that Zenitsu calls him, doesn't ask about the book. When Zenitsu enters his room, guided by Amane, he smiles politely and gives him candy. Zenitsu keeps his eyes down, hands fidgeting, and his smile becomes sad.

 

“You don't trust me.”

 

Zenitsu doesn't answer, and the leader hums a sad tune.

 

“I understand. But, if you would be so kind, I still have questions that need to be answered.”

 

Zenitsu reculantly nods and Yoriichi's eyes narrow.. Kagaya asks gently, like Zenitsu is some scared child that needs comforting.

 

“You were the one that saved Kyoujurou-kun, weren't you ?”

 

“Yes... But don't you already know that ?”

 

“I suspected it. Now, can you tell me which ghost helped you ?”

 

This time, Zenitsu hesitates. He glances at Yoriichi, a question in his eyes. The ghost observes Kagaya a moment, before giving a small nod.

 

“His name is Tsugikuni Yoriichi. He's a Breath of the Sun user. He... He's the one that almost defeated Muzan, back then.”

 

Kagaya smiles brightly, eyes gleaming.

 

“I know who he is. He was the strongest demon slayer, and invanted the Breaths. My ancestors left some documents about him. I believe he was expulsed from the Corps ?”

 

“It wasn't fair ! It wasn't his fault !”

 

Zenitsu blushes when he realizes what he said, but doesn't apologize. Yoriichi pats his head. Kagaya blinks, surprised for a second, before speaking slowly.

 

“Yes. I know this, but my ancestors didn't.”

 

He pauses, before moving his blanket away. It takes a moment for Zenitsu to realize what the man he's doing, but when he does, his jaw drops open.

 

Ubuyashiki Kagaya is bowing.

 

“Tsugikuni-san. My family wronged you, and while I cannot atone for this, I thank you for taking care of Zenitsu and protecting Kyoujurou-kun against an Upper Moon. You really are the greatest samurai to have walked on earth.”

 

Yoriichi freezes, eyes wide. Something strange appears on his expression, before vanishing. It makes Zenitsu wonders if there is more to his apology, but right now he doesn't look into it and begs his chief to stand up.

 

Kagaya finally stops bowing, and locks eyes with Zenitsu. Slowly, he says.

 

“I will not ask you to tell anyone about this. If one of my Hashiras ask, tell them you are my family, and they will stop.”

 

Again he pauses, and his smile when he speaks again is sad and broken in a way Zenitsu didn't think possible.

 

“But remember that, if you deem it fit to help using your blood, I will not allow anyone to hurt you, and neither will my children after my death. You are of Ubuyashiki blood, and we will not let you be hurt by the Corps we created.”

 

Zenitsu stares at him, eyes wide and tears stuck in his eyes, and whispers.

 

“Thank you, Kagaya-sama.”

 

It is not 'Uncle' or another familial title, but the sick man still smiles.

 


 

When Zenitsu is about to leave, Osoishi's book carefully tucked in his haori, a tall man approaches him. His hands are joined, and his eyes empty and crying. Yet he walks firmly towards the thunder user, and while he knows that he can't be an ennemy -they are, after all, at Ubuyashiki Estate- he still freezes and takes a step back.

 

The man stops in front of him, and talks softly.

 

“I am happy that Oyakata-sama managed to reunite with his lost relative... Namu Amida Butsu.”

 

What the hell. Zenitsu thinks, and behind him Yoriichi blinks slowly.

 

“Err... Can I help you ?”

 

The man whispers something, but Zenitsu is too busy to listen to it. There is something about this man, strangely familiar. He never met him -he would remember meeting someone like this- and yet something bothers him, something familiar in this stranger.

 

The ghosts, he realizes, and hhe stretches his ears to try to hear better the whispers around him, but the man talks and forces his attention away.

 

“I am Himejima Gyomei... The Stone Hashira.”

 

Zenitsu blinks. And then bows, terribly embarrassed.

 

“I'M SORRY !!! I didn't know !!!!”

 

Himejima keeps crying. Zenitsu is a bit freaked out.

 

“I just wanted to salute you... Have a safe travel.”

 

“I- Thank you ! You too ?”

 

The Stone Hashira turns and walks away just as the kakushi escorting Zenitsu back at the Butterfly Estate arrive.

 

It's only when he's blinded and on the back of one of them he realizes that the whispers around Himejima were awfully similar to those around Kaigaku.