Alt text is too much of a pain to keep up

Obligatory Skippable DFederal Arc-Related Intro

(hit "Expand" if you want to read it)

Note: This bit takes place after the district reorganization

“Nice place you got here,” Shigure Rangetsu says, stepping into a temple. He taps his sheathed sword on his shoulder as he looks at the inside of the towering edifice. The temple dwarfs the surrounding areas of the newly-created Middle District, and was probably visible even from his mansion in the 1% district.

“Yes, it is,” Artorius Collbrande replies. The two men walk towards the back, their footsteps echoing on the cold, stone floor. The sound of running water and splashing leak in from a side room, leading Shigure to look inquisitively at the doorway before continuing in.

“The homeless, and the particularly poor, need a place to wash,” Artorius says as he opens a door behind the blank stone slab that passed as an altar, “I provide them one. There’s even an access point to the sewers, though that’s in a separate building.”

“No offense, but ‘large charitable works’ doesn’t exactly fit you,” Shigure says as Artorius leads him down a long hallway. His former superior lets out a self-deprecating laugh, opening a door seemingly at random as he finishes.

“Velvet said the same,” he says, “She refused my help, as did Eleanor.”

“Well, that’s only logical,” Shigure says as he sits cross-legged on a small rug. Artorius sits across from him on his own rug, the brazier behind the grey-haired man finishing the three furnishings in the clandestine meeting room.

“And you seem to have done well for yourself. That cadre of bodyguards you formed with the rest of the Chess Royale participants – excepting Mikoto – has been on the lips of many of the temple’s parishioners.”

“Yeah, well, with all the gangs and the Wolves and the cults, figured people would need someone to look out for them.”

“Yes. The city is disorder, chaos, and illogic made manifest,” Artorius says, scowling, “I once thought the Wolves fools, but now I see they hadn’t gone far enough. I would enlist your services once more, Shigure. Protect me, as I and the Order of the Burning Eye tear this city to its foundations.”

“That’s… a little more than I’d like to get the others involved in.”

“You alone would be fine. Besides, once word of us gets out, you’d have a whole city to fight.”

“Shoulda said that from the start!” Shigure says, manic grin creeping onto his face, “This is getting interesting.”

Shinsuke & Shakugan

Rushing yourself makes things even more difficult in the spiritual world. It's better to just sit and wait things out.
— Shinsuke Kazamatsuri
Shinsuke Bio.png

Shinsuke Kazamatsuri was born as Takekichi, a peasant during the Sengoku Period in Japan. Takekichi, despite having no talent with the blade, would practice under a master who never acknowledged him. Seeking the ability to create his own path through life, he left his village under then name Shinsuke Hyodo to live as a traveling Ronin. He eventually encounters and travels with Tama, a fox demon, and Jinka Yamato, a human who wants to turn into a demon. They come into conflict with an organization of monks known as the Dangaishu, who are conducting experiments on fusing humans and demons. They soon come across one of these experiments, Shakugan, who had gone berserk.

After Jinka defeats Shakugan in her demon form, she joins the trio on their adventures. The four gradually make their way towards the Dangaishu main temple, with Shinsuke and Shakugan falling in love along the way. The monks send out their strongest fighters to head them off, starting with Raidou Zanzou, the wielder of the demonic blade Arabuki. Raidou loses his second bout against Jinka, and gives Shinsuke some training as well as Arabuki.

They then encounter Higan, another of the Dangaishu's strongest as well as another subject in their human/demon fusion experiments. After Higan's death, they take her remains to the village of the Rock Demons, the hometown of the demons fused into Higan and Shakugan. While there, the group assists a pregnant woman in giving birth. This is interrupted by the arrival of two more monks, Douren and Resshin. While Douren seeks honorable combat against Jinka, Resshin utilizes curses to send a boulder towards the pregnant woman.

Shakugan stops the boulder by turning into a stone herself, entering a coma. This puts Shinsuke in a state of near-constant fury, and he swears revenge on the Dangaishu as a whole and Resshin in particular. He, Jinka, and Tama seek out a mountain goddess, Ooyama Mitsuchi-hime, to assist them in assaulting the main temple. They succeed in getting her help, at a cost, and manage to trick her into sealing away the Dangaishu's strongest warriors: Jinun and his ten-year-old son, Senya. The assault on the temple succeeds, with Shinsuke getting his revenge. Jinka, however, awakens as the Thousand-Tailed Fox, a berserk being capable of destroying the world.

Tama and Shinsuke split up, with Tama seeking out acquaintances to help her plan how to save Jinka and Shinsuke training under the mountain goddess. At one point in Shinsuke's training, Senya gets released from his seal, though with amnesia. Shinsuke prevents the mountain goddess from killing Senya, and flees with the child. He eventually lands in a village where humans and demons peacefully coexist, and decides to raise Senya there. Shinsuke picks up a drinking habit, while Senya befriends the village children, growing particularly close to a girl named Tsukiko.

This was not to last, as a mad god attacks the village. Senya tries to fight it off, but Tsukiko's father is killed during the fight. Senya and Shinsuke leave the village, and are joined by Tsukiko and an orphaned water god named Nau. The four head to Kyoto and the court of Yoshiteru Ashikaga, where Shinsuke reunites with Raidou Zanzou. They enter the shogun's service, with Shinsuke teaching Senya spiritual interference, until a dragon kidnaps Tsukiko and breaks Arabuki to goad Senya into a fight.

At the same time, Yoshiteru reveals that he can see the course of his entire life, and that his death at the hands of Hisahide Matsunaga is approaching. Shinsuke and Raidou help Yoshiteru and Hanatora, a land god who has taken a liking to the shogun, prepare for his death. Yoshiteru dies as he envisioned, and Shinsuke uses Arabuki to fly him over the clouds, fulfilling his wish as he dies. Shinsuke and Raidou accompany Hanatora to a hidden village, which they are then bound to.

During his stay at the village, he refines Spiritual Interference and rehabilitates violent demons. He has Arabuki reforged into a pair of short swords, giving one to Tsukiko and retaining the other. He remains in the village as Senya and Tsukiko set off on a journey to find more information on Jinka's fate and the Tribe of the Void hunting the youth. He is set free shortly after Senya's return, and joins Tsukiko when she pursues Senya after the youth's departure.

They stop by the village of the Rock Demons along the way, where he learns that the Tribe of the Void awoke Shakugan and brainwashed her into serving as a soldier in the army of demons the tribe gathered. They make haste to the site of the former main temple of the Dangaishuu, and arrive at the final battle just in time to prevent Shakugan from killing Tama. Shinsuke swiftly disables Shakugan, and uses spiritual interference to free her from the tribe's control. He plays a key part in the battle by freeing every demon the Tribe of the Void captured from their control, and gives Senya critical advice on utilizing the spiritual world.

He accompanies Senya to his fight against Jinka, creating the basic battle plan. The plan is executed successfully, and Shinsuke, Tama, and Shakugan are successfully able to use spiritual interference to return him to sanity. Shinsuke then tracks down and disables the Dangaishu's chief researcher, and finally returns to the village he was formerly bound to. He marries Shakugan, and lives the rest of his life in peace.

This world... This troubled world, this peaceful world... Beneath this sky, it's all the same! It's only earth.
— Arabuki
Shinsuke Arabuki.png

Arabuki was originally a full-size katana that allowed Shinsuke to control the wind. After being broken against the dragon Mudo, it was reforged into two wakizashi. One, Itakebi, took on lightning properties and was given to Tsukiko. The other retained its wind abilities and the name Arabuki, which Shinsuke used himself. In addition to allowing Shinsuke to fly, it can release gusts of wind as well as use the wind to create bindings. These bindings are strong enough to disable Shakugan, but Arabuki needs to be in physical contact with a target to utilize these.

Oh, and he has a separate, unpowered full-size katana, though he doesn't use it after acquiring Arabuki.

When I go into their spiritual worlds to free them, it's not like I go in to fight and win against these demons. I just stand by their sides. Steady their backs, and help them forgive their own weaknesses.
— Shinsuke Kazamatsuri
Shinsuke Interference.png
Spiritual Interference is a special technique, whereby a practitioner enters the mental world of someone they are in physical contact with. While inside the spiritual world, the strength of one's mind and imagination is paramount. In contrast to the Tribe of the Void, who used Spiritual Interference to brainwash demons and drive gods mad, Shinsuke instead uses Spiritual Interference as a healing technique. Basically, think of it as magic therapy.

As long as we stay alive, good things can always happen.
— Shakugan
Shakugan Bio.png

The being known as Shakugan is, in fact, a person and a demon fused into one. Shakuyaku, the human, was born to a poor village, and was discriminated against due to her red hair. A monk from the Dangaishu took her from the village, bringing her to their temple. Kagan, the demon, was a Rock Demon who left his village alongside his friend, Sougan, and was taken captive by the Dangaishuu while taking a nap. Shakuyaku and Kagan were then combined into one being, becoming Shakugan.

The process made Shakugan go mad, breaking out of the temple and mindlessly rampaging. The demon, driven by Shakuyaku's resentment of her home village, eventually traveled to that village and destroyed it. The rampaging demon eventually crossed paths with Shinsuke, Tama, and Jinka, and after being defeated by Jinka returned to sanity. The Shakuyaku and Kagan quickly form an understanding, acting as one person in harmony with each other.

Shakugan, now preferring to take on the form of Shakuyaku, traveled alongside the three. During their travels, she falls in love with Shinsuke, and he with her. She ends up fighting a Dangaishu monk by the name of Higan, who like Shakugan is a fusion between a human, Hino, and a demon, Sougan. Their bout is interrupted by another member of the Dangaishu, Jinun, assassinating Higan for treason. After this, the group take its remains to Kagan's village. There, they are attacked by the Dangaishu again while Tama helps a pregnant woman give birth.

One of the monks, Resshin, sends a boulder towards the hut the pregnant woman is staying in. Shakugan stops the boulder, holding it and the curses Resshin put on it at bay. Resshin uses illusions to distract her allies, and stabs Shakugan in the back. She roots herself into the ground and turns herself into a rock, putting her in a coma and stopping the boulder. The woman she saved bore twins, and named the girl after her human half and the boy after her demon half.

Eight years later, her comatose form is kidnapped by the Tribe of the Void, who used Spiritual Interference to brainwash her. She is one of their stronger pieces, though she is released from her brainwashing by Shinsuke. She then fights alongside him, helping contain the cloud demon Banshou-ou. She, Tama, and Shinsuke then save Jinka, and she goes on to live in the village Shinsuke founded. They eventually get married, with Shakugan taking Kazamatsuri as her family name, and have children.

We are two souls in one body. Together, we are Shakugan.
— Shakugan
Shakugan Abilities.png

Shakugan is an immensely strong fighter, and is able to use the following techniques:

Shakugan can shapeshift into Kagan's form, or - more often - shapeshift part of her body, usually her limbs. The shapeshifted limbs are hard stone, allowing for strong strikes.
Superhuman Strength
Shakugan has demonstrated superhuman strength, and is able to fight on par with Higan, someone who should be far stronger than her.
Superhuman Durability
As Shakugan is part Rock Demon, she has superhuman durability.
Shakugan can release blasts of energy, known as Goutenshin. Their exact power is unknown; a Goutenshin did little against a Spiritually Awakened Jinka or Higan, notably strong opponents, but was used as a threat of lethal force against the Orangutan demons. These blasts appear to only be fired from a shapeshifted limb or the central mouth & eye of her fully shapeshifted form.
Illusion/Drug Resistance
Shakugan has shown the ability to resist Tama's sleep-inducing abilities, which appear to combine illusions and some form of drug.

Tanjiro & Nezuko

Spirit alone isn't gonna get me anywhere! Use your head not just spirit. Think, think, think.
— Tanjiro Kamado
See that, generic Shounen protagonist #x3A6E5DE? You can't win just by yelling about your friends.

Tanjirou Kamado was born the eldest child to a family of charcoal makers, living mostly isolated on a mountain with his family. After his father died, he helped take care of his five siblings and mother, at least until the demon Muzan attacked his family. With his sister, Nezuko, turned into a demon, and the rest of his family slaughtered, he sets out to try and find a cure for demonhood to return Nezuko to normal. He encounters Giyu Tomioka, who spares his and Nezuko's lives when he sees that she is not acting like a typical demon. Giyu sends Tanjiro to his mentor, Sakonji Urokodaki, to learn how to use a sword.

Tanjiro meets Urokodaki, and learns how to kill demons and generally utilize a sword. He survives the selection test, and gains a specially-forged Nichirin blade, which emulates the effects of sunlight. The Demon Slayer corps sends him to hunt demons, relaying assignments through a talking crow. He completes several missions successfully, joining forces with Zenitsu Agatsuma and Inosuke Hashibira as he does so. He is eventually sent with them to Natagumo Mountain, where he confronts the spider demon Rui and his "family." He and Inosuke initially enter the mountain, leaving Zenitsu to follow them later, and he gets separated from Inosuke while fighting "Father."

He and Nezuko then encounter Rui, who is jealous of their sibling bond and wishes to take Nezuko for himself. The siblings fight him, with Tanjiro using the power of flashbacks to recall the Hinokami Kagura and Nezuko learning her Blood Demon Art to emerge mostly victorious. The arrival of Shinobu and Giyu completes their victory, and the pair are then taken to the Demon Slayer headquarters. After rehabilitation from their wounds, they are sent off on a new mission to investigate a train alongside the Flame Hashira, Kyojuro Rengoku.

They successfully fight off the demon Enmu, who had fused with the train, but Kyojuro is then killed by Azaka, one of Muzan's strongest demons. After mourning his death, the group is then drafted to assist the Sound Hashira, Tengen Uzui, infiltrate the Red Light District and rescue his three wives. The mission is successful, with the swordsmen and Nezuko killing Gyutaro, another one of Muzan's high ranking demons. Tanjirou chips his sword in the process, and he travels to the hidden Swordsmith Village to try and convince the blacksmith who worked on his sword to repair it.

I will pursue you to the ends of hell itself! I will remove that head of yours with my blade! I will absolutely never forgive you!
— Tanjiro Kamado
Tanjirou Nichirin Blade.gif

Tanjiro, like all Demon Slayers, has a Nichirin sword. This is his third such blade, and has a few special properties. One is that the blade itself will change color once its wielder draws it for the first time; Tanjirou's changes to a black color. The other is that the blade absorbs sunlight and thus is fatal to demons in ways ordinary steel isn't; striking a vital point on a demon, or cutting off its head, with a Nichirin blade is guaranteed to kill it.

A Nichirin blade can turn crimson if subjected to specific stimuli. When turned red, cuts from the blade will take more time to regenerate, and can even damage a demon's cellular structure such that their wound will not heal. As this is directly before the Swordsmith Village arc, Tanjirou's blade has chips, but is not broken.

I will relentlessly wield my blade against the Demons, and that's a fact. But I will not trample on the pains of being a Demon. Nor on those who regret their own actions.
— Tanjiro Kamado
Tanjirou Water Breathing.gif

Tanjirou's primary combat style is Water Breathing. The style focuses on flexibility and "flow," and is generally useful in most situations. It is considered the simplest Breathing form, and so is the most common amongst the Demon Slayers. The techniques Tanjirou has displayed are as follows:

Water Surface Slash
A fancy name for a single slash
Water Wheel
The user leaps into the air, doing a vertical spinning slash while airborne.
Lateral Water Wheel
Similar to Water Wheel, but a horizontal spin rather than a vertical one.
Flowing Dance
The user swings their blade and bends their body, striking enemies in their path while evading
Striking Tide
User attacks multiple times, using footwork and agility to land multiple slashes in an instant
Striking Tide - Turbulent
An improved version of Striking Tide, increasing the speed, accuracy, and number of slashes landed
Blessed Rain After the Drought
A swift, painless strike to the neck. Used to kill a surrendering demon humanely.
The user twists their body, cutting anything within their sword's range. If used underwater, the centripetal force generates a whirlpool, drawing enemies within range.
Whirlpool - Flow
Combines Whirlpool and Flowing Dance to redirect projectiles coming from multiple angles.
Piercing Rain Drop
A fast and accurate stab.
Piercing Rain Drop - Curve
A stab following the blade's curve, increasing accuracy.
Waterfall Basin
An overhead chop. More effective when assisted by gravity.
Splashing Water Flow
A movement technique where the user minimizes time spent on the ground. Allows for greater flexibility when footing is uncertain.
Splashing Water Flow - Turbulent
A variant of the technique that emphasizes unpredictability in movement
Constant Flux
A continuous attack, where one strike flows into the next. The user builds up momentum with each strike, resulting in a stronger attack for the next strike.
Note that the author themselves has stated that the elemental "weapon trails" are purely stylistic and not actual manifestations.

The strong should aid and protect the weak. Then the weak will become strong, and in turn, they will aid and protect those weaker than them. That is the law of nature.
— Tanjiro Kamado
Tanjiro Hinokami Kagura.jpg

The Hinokami Kagura is the current form of the Sun Breathing, the original breathing technique. It has been passed down through the Kamado family as a ritual prayer, but its movements and forms are still applicable to combat. It is designed specifically to take down Muzan, the originator of demons.

A single vertical slash
Clear Blue Sky
A vertical spinning slash, hits in a full arc around the user.
Raging Sun
Two horizontal slashes. Can be used offensively or defensively.
Fake Rainbow
An evasive technique, making use of quick turns and footwork to create afterimages. These afterimages are more likely to fool those with good eyesight.
Fire Wheel
Leaps behind the opponent while spinning vertically to attack.
Burning Bones, Summer Sun
A defensive technique where the user uses a circular slash to defend against incoming frontal attacks
Sunflower Thrust
A single thrust
Solar Heat Haze
An attack that appears to fail to land, but actually does.
Setting Sun Transformation
User backflips in the air to deliver a slash
Beneficent Radiance
User attacks with a spiraling slash from above
Dragon Sun Halo Head Dance
A continuous moving strike that can be used against a group
Flame Dance
A vertical slash followed by a horizontal one. Has no relation to the Breath of Flames.
As this is directly after the Entertainment District arc, Tanjiro has not developed Flash Dance, nor has he used the power of flashbacks to learn the 13th form.

Because demons were humans. Because they were humans like me.
— Tanjirou Kamado
I snark about it, sure, but one of Demon Slayer's biggest flaws is its reliance on flashbacks for power boosts the way other Shounen series use friendship/spirit
Superhuman Senses
Like all Demon Slayers, Tanjiro has enhanced senses thanks to his Breathing style.
Enhanced Olfaction
Tanjiro has a highly developed sense of smell. He is able to smell emotions, and track people over miles. He further uses his ability to smell to find openings in an opponent's strikes, which he visualizes as a thread guiding his blade to the target.
Enhanced Physical Abilities
Like all Demon Slayers, Tanjiro's Breathing style pumps extra oxygen into his blood. Rather than giving him hyperoxia and killing him, it enhances his strength, speed, reflexes, and general bodily functions.
Breathing Hybridization
In order to use the Hinokami Kagura effectively, Tanjiro has combined the style with his preferred Water Breathing to allow for better movements.
Tanjiro has a notably thick skull, to the point where a simple headbutt can cause harm to strong demons.
Tanjiro has repeatedly had flashbacks when he is close to dying, allowing him to relearn things from his childhood. He also appears to have some form of genetic memory, which these flashbacks can tap into. He can learn new techniques from his ancestor Simuyoshi watching the originator of breathing styles practice.

— Nezuko Kamado
Nezuko Bio.png

Nezuko Kamado was born the second child to a family of charcoal makers, living mostly isolated on a mountain with his family. After her father died, she helped to take care of her younger siblings and mother, before Muzan attacked them, killed most of her family, and turned her into a demon. Her older brother, Tanjiro, brought her back to her senses. The two encounter Giyu, who initially tries to kill Nezuko but relents once he realizes that she is trying to protect Tanjiro instead of eating him.

Tanjirou builds a basket for her to protect her from the sunlight, and she rides on his back as he seeks out Giyu's teacher, Urokodaki, and saves Tanjirou's life on the way be kicking the head off of a demon. She sleeps through most of his training, with Urokodaki brainwashing her while she sleeps to see humans as her dead family members. She accompanies her brother on his missions, only occasionally popping out of her box to assist in a battle.

She eventually accompanies him to Nagatumo Mountain, where she stays in her box until encountering Rui, the leader of the spider demons. Rui, who is jealous of their sibling bond, wishes to take Nezuko for himself. The siblings fight him, with Tanjiro using the power of flashbacks to recall the Hinokami Kagura and Nezuko learning her Blood Demon Art to emerge mostly victorious. The arrival of Shinobu and Giyu completes their victory, and the pair are then taken to the Demon Slayer headquarters. After rehabilitation from their wounds, they are sent off on a new mission to investigate a train alongside the Flame Hashira, Kyojuro Rengoku.

They successfully fight off the demon Enmu, who had fused with the train, but Kyojuro is then killed by Azaka, one of Muzan's strongest demons. After mourning his death, the group is then drafted to assist the Sound Hashira, Tengen Uzui, infiltrate the Red Light District and rescue his three wives. The mission is successful, with the swordsmen and Nezuko killing Gyutaro, another one of Muzan's high ranking demons. Tanjirou chips his sword in the process, and he travels to the hidden Swordsmith Village to try and convince the blacksmith who worked on his sword to repair it.

— Nezuko Kamado
Nezuko's Blood Demon Art is known as Exploding Blood, and is effectively a form of pyrokinesis. She can ignite her own blood and control the flames, which are harmless to humans but burn Demons.

— Nezuko Kamado
Nezuko Other.gif

Nezuko's combat style is fairly simplistic, having never been trained in combat. She uses her superhuman strength to punch and kick, aiming to overwhelm them with brute force. As a single kick can decapitate a demon, this proves to be very useful.

Size Manipulation
Nezuko can manipulate her size, shrinking and growing at will. This retains her body proportions, unlike her Demonic Transformation ability mentioned below. She can do so fast enough to dodge attacks from Kanao Tsuyuri, a highly skilled Demon Slayer.
Superhuman Strength
As mentioned in Combat Style, Nezuko has superhuman strength. She can decapitate with a kick, and her strength has also improved her speed and reaction time.
Power Restoration & Growth
Rather than consuming humans to restore and increase her powers, Nezuko sleeps. This allows her power to grow rapidly with little training, often manifesting in battle like a shounen protagonist.
Healing Factor
Nezuko can heal her wounds rapidly, restoring severed limbs in seconds. She can also control severed limbs remotely, connecting them to her body by manipulating her blood.
Demonic Transformation
Nezuko can transform into a berserk state when in a dire situation, seemingly maturing rapidly and growing a horn. She becomes closer to her demon side in this state, and even craves blood. This also increases her combat power, though she requires Tanjiro to sing her a lullaby to return to her normal form.
Nezuko cannot enter the sun, as this will kill her. Wisteria is also poisonous to her.
Rather than regain strength by eating people, she regains her strength by sleeping.


  • Tanjiro & Nezuko are as they are directly before the Swordsmith Village arc
  • Shinsuke & Shakugan are as they are directly after the events of Sengoku Youko
  • A kill is not required to win.
  • Giving up the fight is a loss.
  • Having both members of a pair incapacitated is a loss.
  • Death is a loss.
  • Wining is done by being the last remaining pair not losing.


  • Please have at least couple paragraphs as to who you think will win and why
    • Edges will naturally make it this long and are easier to read
  • Rebuttals can reduce a vote by half.
    • Counter-arguments can restore the half point
  • valuating the warriors used based on a different canon or different point in their timeline as given will invalidate a vote
  • I have the final say on whether or not a vote counts
    • Contact me via Discord if you think I made a mistake with vote counts
  • Only votes on this blog will count.
  • Voting ends on 04/20/2021 at 01:09 Eastern Time


Tanjiro stumbles through the forest, Nezuko’s box on his back and the sun rapidly setting. He was completely, utterly lost, with no idea where or, thanks to the time-manipulating demon he was tracking, when he was. A few steps later, Tanjiro comes to a halt, hearing some rustling ahead as the trees thinned out. As his eyes grew used to the starlight, he spied a waist-high boulder, with a figure on either side leaning against the trees.

On the right was a man in a yukata, with a daishō and straw hat, pouring sake into a pair of dishes on the rock. One was picked up by the red-haired woman on the left, dressed in a sleeveless garment. She uses it to point at Tanjiro as the man drains his own dish.

“Hi! Who’re you?” Shagukan asks.

“And why are you out here so late?” Shinsuke continues, placing the empty dish back on the rock and smiling gently at the boy.

“I’m Tanjiro, from the Demon Slayer Corps,” Tajiro replies, cutting off further explanation as Shinsuke’s gentle demeanor sharpens in an instant, his hand moving to the wakizashi at his waist. Tanjiro, not needing his nose to sense the other man’s hostility, reflexively places his hand on the grip of his own blade.

“Shinsuke-sama?” Shakugan asks, transforming her arms into rock.

“If he means harm to the village, we have to stop him here,” Shinsuke says, nudging Arabuki a fraction of a centimeter out of its sheathe. The motion creates a gust of wind, launching a pebble at Nezuko’s box. Narrative contrivance arcs it perfectly to hit the clasp, and Nezuko tumbles to the ground behind her brother.

She hisses behind her bamboo muzzle as she rises, forming claws with her hands. Sensing the danger to both of them, she charges, making the first move. Shakugan intercepts her, firing off a Goushentin that stalls her momentum. Shinsuke rushes past her, creating a wind tunnel as he draws Arabuki fully. Tanjiro draws his own sword to parry, but before he can get it fully out of its sheathe Shinsuke slams his palm into the hilt, forcing the blade back into its sheathe.

Tanjiro’s life flashes before his eyes as the cursed steel comes towards his neck, and Nezuko – not his memories – bails him out. She kicks Shinsuke in the chest, sending him back a few meters. Tanjiro gets his sword out just in time to parry another blast from Shakugan, who charges in to defend her husband. She ducks low, under a slash from Tanjiro, lashing out with her stone fist.

Shinsuke dodges as well, and slices over his wife’s head, forcing Nezuko to break off her attack and leap back to avoid getting sliced. He manipulates the wind, knocking Tanjiro off balance. Shakugan hits him full force in the stomach, sending him reeling back. Shinsuke steps in, cutting downward as his wife swings her stone arm at Nezuko, again preventing the demon from interfering.

Steel hits steel and stone hits flesh, both blows parried. Shakugan aims and fires a blast with her other fist, hitting Nezuko in the face and sending her flying into a tree. Shinsuke generates a blast of air under Tanjiro’s feet, sending the demon slayer into the air. He flies after him as Nezuko charges at Shakugan anew, his younger opponent using their clashes to maneuver in the air. The youth leaps off a branch in an awkward manner, and Shinsuke wastes no time in making a shallow cut in his opponent’s elbow, aiming for the tendon.

His eyes widen as he sees a hit, but doesn’t feel it. He drops, the change in altitude saving his life as Tanjiro’s blade sends his hair flying as it passes. Shinsuke twists, flipping in the air to kick Tanjiro in the face.

The sound of him hitting a tree reaches the women on the ground, drawing Nezuko’s attention for a split second. Shakugan uses the distraction to punch the younger girl in the face, but Nezuko simply shrinks under the blow and grows back to full size with an uppercut. Shakugan stumbles back, and as her foe closes to follow up she slams her fist into the younger girl’s gut. Shakugan fires a Goutenshin at point-blank range. The blast sends Nezuko flying backwards, slamming into a tree yet again. A branch pierces her palm, and she groans in pain as she picks herself back up.

She flings the blood in front of her, activating her Blood Demon Art to generate flames to keep Shakugan at bay. The two glare at each other as they catch their breath, each waiting to see how the other would react. Their staredown is broken when a black sword plunges down into the forest floor, and Shinsuke lands next to Shakugan with a Tanjiro bound by the wind and struggling.

The sight of her bound brother infuriates her, activating her transformation into a full demon. She is unable to hear Tanjiro yelling at her to stop as she bites through the bamboo muzzle, a horn growing out of her forehead as her sanity fades. Shinsuke and Shakugan, noting Tanjiro’s reaction, look at each other and nod.

He releases Tanjiro, using Arabuki to create a path for Shakugan to circle around and grab Nezuko from behind while he charges in and presses his hand to her forehead. As Tanjiro staggers to his feet and reclaims his sword, he sees Nezuko revert to her normal form and sag to the ground, asleep. Shinsuke turns to him and slowly, deliberately sheathes Arabuki.

“I saw her trauma,” he says, as Tanjiro sheathes his own blade, “Our village has humans, demons, and fusions of the two alike. You’re welcome to rest there, though I’d keep quiet about the whole ‘Demon Slayer Corps’ bit quiet while you’re there.”

“Thank you,” Tanjiro says, bowing, “I apologize for the misunderstanding.”

“No, no,” Shinsuke replies, smiling sheepishly as Shakugan lifts Nezuko over her shoulder, “I’m the one who jumped to conclusions. Haven’t had the best of experiences with self-proclaimed ‘Demon Slayers’”

And with that, the three start down the path leading to the village, regaling each other with tales of their adventures.

Obligatory Skippable DFederal Arc-Related Outro

(hit "Expand" if you want to read it)

A trio of footsteps plinks through metal pipes, stopping only when the footing turns to stone. The leader of the party, a man wearing grey and blue, contrasting with his angular orange mask. To his right was an irritated young girl, wearing a maroon one-piece dress and long gloves, and to his right was a blue man in blue armor, holding a red sword at the ready.

Carol snorts in irritation, looking around at collapsed stone columns that dotted the room.

“Was it necessary to bring all three of us? It’s a simple revival glitch,” she asks, glaring at the thin worms that wriggle out of their way.

“Agreed, and I believe I’ve told you that I very much do not like this place,” Saturos says, vigilant against an attack.

“This is the more likely of the two places to have what we’re looking for,” Leo says, turning to a clacking nose getting steadily closer, “Not to mention scene composition works best with three.”

“And you couldn’t have sent us to the other one?” Carol asks, pointedly ignoring the last statement.

“You want to go outside the city alone?”

“Never mind,” Saturos says, as the noise stops just out of sight.

“What, trying to finish the job?” an inhuman voice asks, the question transmitted to their minds directly.

“Just looking for someone. You nab any corpses originating from our little city recently?”

“Just the one, in the Interstice between your territory and ours,” the voice says, “Finders keepers for your puppets’ corpses, though.”.

“We’re missing… its soul, I guess. Do you still have the body? Don’t need to break the cocoon.”

“My worms will fetch it. Trade for an answer?” it asks, waiting for Leo to nod before continuing, “Your city, just what have you done? Thought-Shades from there near my raw power, that of a Brood, and simple puppets near the power of an average Thought-Shade.”

“The hell is a Thought-Shade?” Carol interjects.

“A User,” Leo answers, before turning to address the being “And, well, if you can’t figure that out while knowing the nature of our existence…”

“Well, that it’s not special is answer itself,” the voice says, and as promised a slender sac squishes to the floor. Leo squats down, bringing out a small, tear-shaped piece of glass. A thin, rust-colored fluid leaks out from the cocoon, flowing into and permeating through the glass. Leo taps it once it’s absorbed, and the spiderweb pattern glows for a second.

Leo thanks the being and snaps, teleporting the three of them back to his office. He snaps again, summoning a large, spiked mace.

“Okay, wait,” Carol says, “I think you owe us an explanation.”

“He owes you an explanation,” Saturos says, “I know this already. I’ll give these to Joker while you talk?”

“Yes, please,” Leo says, and continues as Saturos grabs the items and heads out. “So, Carol, first thing’s first. None of us are ‘real.’”

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