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“God…” Luke muttered to himself as he sat outside his tent, his head hung low and his rifle safely in his lap as he lazily inspected the weapon with exhausted eyes. He let out an irritated sigh as he rubbed the back of his neck, his exhaustion making his body feel heavy and his mind cloudy. The night had been rough for the young soldier, sleep was nothing but a distant pleasure that he just couldn’t reach, his mind cluttered with yesterday's ordeals alongside vivid and twisted dreams that only suffocated him with a heavy wave of dread and anxiety. After the fifth time he awoke, his lungs empty of air and a coat of sweat covering his body, there was no hope for a blissful sleep. Remaining awake wasn’t any better for the exhausted soldier. Trapped with only his thoughts Luke found himself repeatedly thinking of yesterdays encounter with Green Fox, recounting every step he took during the fight, questioning if his actions were truly for the best. There was so much dread behind his thoughts, feeling slightly sick as he remembered the demise of Green Fox by his own hand, the blind rage he fell in as he put that bastard's life to an end. In the moment it seemed like a proper punishment for his fallen comrade, but had he gone too far? Was it really the right call? He could never answer that question for himself, instead he pushed it away in the back of his mind, the thought feeling to heavy a burden for his mind to carry in the moment.

A hiss escaped Luke as he felt a throbbing pain in the middle of his forehead and rubbed it gently with a small frown. He gritted his teeth in a mixture of annoyance and pain as he remembered his fight with Ines, her words remaining with him and only souring his mood even further. Blaming him for Thomas’s death and tearing into him. It still irritated him a bit, but his anger had now dulled and with his sleepless night he had plenty of time to think of her words. Too much time maybe. Then there was Isaac and Diana throwing in their thoughts, Diana pouring out her heart about the team and how she didn't want to lose anyone else to this war. Then there was Isaac who compared Luke to Middleton, saying Thomas deserved a better end than the one he got. It was all so much to take in, especially since he was alone in the argument. No wonder he exploded the way he did, it was bound to happen one way or the other. There was one thing though that Ines said that he couldn’t deny, Luke was afraid. His fear of death was present, but he feared more of dying a pointless death, or leaving his loved ones behind to deal with his demise. In the end the only thing Luke wanted out of this war was to carve his name into it for others to remember it, making sure he would never be forgotten. He wanted his sisters to remember his determination and strength to achieve his goals. If they came to hate him for his decisions then so be it, but they could never deny his ambitions to become something better than himself.

Luke winced again as the throbbing in his head brought him out of his thoughts. Not only were his thoughts burdening his mind, but now his sore skull pounded away without mercy. The only way he could be free of this horrible experience was located at the end of his rifle barrel, but that would waste a bullet. He’ll need that extra bullet to kill some Imps in the coming days. With a heavy sigh he loaded a fresh round into his rifle and rose to his feet with a groan, his body feeling sluggish and sore. Luke looked up to the sky and frowned, knowing it was almost time to go to work again. Apparently this was going to be a big mission, probably the biggest Luke has ever done in this war. He could feel it in the air, the mixture of dread, anger and even bloodlust. For Luke he could give a damn about it all. He felt like a zombie, readying to shamble to the next battle without any thought about it. After a moment of thinking to himself Luke popped in a crumpled cigarette and lit with a match. For the first time in hours Luke felt his mind dull for a moment as he breathed in the chemicals into his lungs, enjoying the taste before releasing the smoke into the air.

After relishing in brief moment of relief Luke strapped on his new helmet and began to make his way to his teams briefing area, walking slowly through the rain with his rifle securely strapped to his shoulder and his new pistol tucked away in his pants. It was definitely busy today as he saw several soldiers hurrying around the camp to fulfil their duties before the assault. There were so many, but all Luke could think was how many of them would come back alive. It didn’t matter to him too much, just a curious thought on how many lives have been extinguished in this damned city. Just thinking about it made him wonder how many lives were taken in this war all together. Lots of holes to dig. Blowing some smoke through his nose Luke continued on as he let the thought fade from his mind. Soon he reached his teams briefing area and saw his team gradually gathering together to prepare for the assault. Without any words Luke kept to himself and remained to the side, focusing on his cigarette and trying to keep his exhausted mind focused on the coming battle instead of his dwelling thoughts. All that mattered right now was making sure he was up to get his job done.

A small frown rested on Tatsuo’s face as his master replied to his question, though she had no real answer for him he silently agreed that all they could do was hope they were prepared enough to face what they were all trained for. Most of the recruits he watches over may see him as a bit of a cold instructor, but he believed it was better for them, hopefully fueling them on to grow stronger with his harsh methods. If he had to be the most hated man in the estate then so be it, he was already used to it by now anyway. He was soon brought out of his thoughts as a new recruit thanked Kikumi in accepting them into the estate. He let a slight smirk slipped onto his face and held back a scoff. There wasn’t about to be much hospitality once she’s being watched over by him. None of the new recruits were going to catch a break. The moment they walk into the training rooms he’ll have some fun with them.

After his master replied to the girl he leaned a bit closer as she requested he’d take the new blood to get something to eat. Tatsuo gave a quick nod and held back a sigh of relief as she said he’d be free for the rest of the day. “Sure, I’ll fattened the new pups up,” he replied with a small smirk before taking a few steps forward towards the new band of recruits, a frown now resting his face. Once his master left them Tatsuo rested his hand atop his sword and scanned the new faces. “Alright kiddies listen up! Before I take you to stuff your faces I’ll introduce myself. I’m Tatsuo Isao, Master Mori’s pupil and one of your instructors. I’ll simply tell you this; I expect you all to do your best. We don’t have time for those not prepared for the path of a Demon Slayer. Train as if your life's on the line, because trust me when I say it is. I also suggest that you cause no problems, well, as long as I’m not dragged into anyways. If I am then you’ll have a rather unpleasant experience,” he finished with a stern tone as he scanned everyone of their faces. After letting it all sink in for them he turned towards the estate and motioned them to follow him.

“Now let’s hurry and get you something to eat. The sooner I drop you pups off the sooner I can somewhat salvage this day,” he muttered before leading the new recruits through the estate. It was a quiet journey, only a few irritated mumbled from Tatsuo and some hushed conversations amongst the new recruits. He paid no mind to it though and finished escorting them to the cafeteria. With a small sigh he turned to them and jabbed a thumb towards the cafeteria. “Go on and eat something before you get some rest. Tomorrow you start your training. Be prepared kiddies, this is what you’ve all been striving for. Don’t mess up,” he said before letting them all file into the cafeteria, watching them with a final glance before walking away with a heavy sigh. Finally he was off the clock. Tatsuo couldn’t help but smile in relief. Now he had to think of how to salvage his day.

Finally after some thinking he decided a little nap on the beach would be a good end to his long day. So with a deep breath he made his way off the estate and began his careless walk towards the nearby beach.


Tatsuo rolled his eyes and exhaled through his nose in slight annoyance as Kikumi stated the Spirit Pillar would be hunting down the traitor instead of him, another chance in climbing the ranks diminished with his duties here at the estate. “Great,” he muttered under his breath before rubbing the back of his neck with a sigh. It was honestly a pain in the ass getting stuck with this job, all he wanted was to get back in the field full time instead of baby sitting these recruits. Only reason he puts up with it all is because his position has him working under a Pillar. Plus the estate had some nice spots to nap at, it was hard to pass that up. Tatsuo was soon brought out of his thoughts as Kikumi spoke up again, congratulating him for his work and assuring him she kept him around for a reason. He arched a brow in slight surprise at her comment before simply replying with a shrug and a small smirk. It was slightly refreshing not getting chewed out again, but soon enough it’ll just make him tired and get him in more trouble.

A familiar voice quickly caught his attention and he glanced over to see Emi, his headache from her ramblings from earlier gradually returning. A small frown came to his face as she informed them of a new wave of recruits that had just arrived. Just another pain in the ass. With a small irritated huff he shook his head as a familiar name came up, Tsurugi. That man knew how to have a good time, but his arrogance was nearly as irritating as Emi’s gossiping. It didn’t surprise him to hear how he was chatting with the women in the ward again. Honestly he’d prefer to be there instead of working. Tatsuo gave a quick nod as Emi waved goodbye as she went to prepare some rooms for the new recruits before glancing over to Kikumi as she said he should take after. He scoffed slightly at the comment with a smirk, being like her was the last thing he ever wanted to do.

A low huff escaped Tatsuo as Kikumi gave him two options; come with her to welcome the new blood, or keep working. He gave a small frown of disgust at the thought of working some more and lowered his head in defeat as he followed behind her, unable to agree or not to the options given to him as usual. Silently he followed behind her before they finally reached the gate to be welcomed by the sight of the new recruits. A small frown came to his face as he got a good look at the new blood and held back a sigh, not the least bit surprised to see the poor looking wave of new students. For now he kept his thoughts to himself and let Kikumi address the new blood along with her brief welcome. A small smirk of amusement came to his face as he heard her usual boring speech before watching the new recruits file through the gate and into the estate.

Once they were gone Tatsuo gave a small chuckle and rested his hand atop his sword before glancing over to Kikumi. “Dull and straight to business as usual huh? Maybe you should have Emi write up a new speech for you, make it a little more warm and welcoming. Maybe lose the mask too,” he said with a smirk before letting out a small sigh. “I swear though, every new batch of recruits that come through here get more and more pathetic looking. At the rate we may as well just start feeding the demons our recruits,” he muttered before his smirk fell to a small frown at the thought. “How many do you think will get past their first mission?” he muttered coldly, a small glint of dread at the thought flashed in his eyes as he looked towards the gate the recruits just walked through. A small part of him hoped they would all be successful, but he knew many of them would meet a bloody end.


Tatsuo let out a small sigh, pinching the bridge of his nose and resting his hand upon his sword as he silently watched a good handful of recruits spar with one another, separated in different parts of the room and testing their fellow recruits strength in one on one duels. It was good and all to see them so eager to train, it was just a shame half of them were too sloppy with their sword work. They had spirit and determination, but they’ll need more than that if they’re going to make it past their first mission. Tatsuo was brought out of his thoughts as a yelp reached his ears and glanced over to see one of the recruits fall over. He arched a brow before noticing a dribble of blood escape from a freshly busted lip of the young man in his late teens. The fallen recruit cursed in frustration and seemed to struggle to get up, his arms shaking as they attempted to push him up. The young female recruit who was sparring with him noticed his struggle and went to help him up, but Tatsuo frowned and turned towards them. “Stop," he ordered with a stern tone. The female recruit jumped a bit as he spoke, not expecting him to speak seeing as how he’s been silently watching over them all this time.


“I said stop,” he repeated himself with a hard look before glancing to the fallen and wounded recruit who looked up to him with confusion. “Don’t help him, he won’t learn from his failures,” he stated firmly before crossing his arms and locking his eyes with the fallen recruit. “Now, get up,” he commanded before he began to tap his foot impatiently. The young recruit took in a deep breath and slowly forced himself up to his knee, nearly crumbling down to the floor again.

“Isao-san please let me help him, he’s been training since last night and hasn’t rested yet. He’s just exhausted,” the young female recruit stated as her urge to help up her sparring partner seemed to grow. Tatsuo arched a brow and began to inspect the young man, noticing a few bruises scattered along his arms and a few bags under his eyes. He definitely looked like shit, but Tatsuo wasn’t in the sympathizing mood.

“You think that matters? If he was facing a demon then he’d be torn into several pieces by now. Demons won’t help you and they won’t give you time to rest, they’ll consume you and be on their merry little way,” Tatsuo spoke before giving the fallen recruit a harder gaze. "The Corp doesn’t need more food to send to the demons, we need Slayers who can actually perform their duties,” he paused for a moment before placing his hand atop his sword. “So what are you? Food, or a Demon Slayer? From what I’m seeing you don’t have much of a future wielding a sword,” Tatsuo coldly stated, earning a glare from the recruit before he slowly forced himself up with gritted teeth. The recruit had new flame lit within his eyes before he turned to his sparring partner and falling into a fighting stance.

“Eh? Wait you need to rest, we can-”

“It’s fine, I can keep going! Please, lets keep going,” he pleaded to his concerned partner. She seemed hesitant at first, but quickly went along with her partner and fell back into their training. Tatsuo watched the pair continue practice before hearing a light chuckle from behind him. Tatsuo turned towards the source and frowned slightly to see a familiar face. Emi Sakao, Tatsuo’s own personal headache.

“Well this is certainly a surprise, you’re actually working for once,” she said with her usual smile and chuckle to see Tatsuo’s frown. “Are you finally growing up?” Tatsuo felt a brow twitch and sighed in annoyance.

“Who says I’m not grown up? I have this position for a reason,” he defended before crossing his arms. “What is it? I’m not in the mood for your gossip today,” he stated with an unamused tone. Emi rolled her eyes and shook her head with a smile.

“Oh come on Isao-san, don’t take out your anger on little old me. It’s not my fault the rain ruined your plans for the day,” she said before chuckling at Tatsuo’s face, a frown growing more sour. He had hoped no one had noticed him slip away earlier, wanting to avoid an earful from Kikumi. It seemed he failed to do so however and let out a long sigh before pinching the bridge of his nose. Emi chuckled again and patted his shoulder. “Don’t worry, I’ll stay quiet just for today since you decided to actually work for once,” she said as she placed a finger over her lips to promise her silence. Tatsuo let out a huff before looking away towards the training recruits. Emi followed his gaze and turned to the recruits with a smile. “You know you should be a little more thoughtful towards the students, I know you see their hard work just as much as I do,” Tatsuo remained silent before his gaze hardened.

“They have the drive and determination, but that won’t be enough. They need to be ready and have more time,” he said as he tightened his grip on his swords grip. “I have a feeling they won’t have much to spare,” he muttered. Emi glanced over to him with a straight face before letting a small smile came to her face.

“That’s why we’re here, we’ll do all we can to prepare them for their duties. After they leave all we can do is wish them luck and trust they will succeed,” Emi said with confidence clear in her voice. Tatsuo soaked in her words before letting out a small sigh. He already knew that was the case, but it always bothered him in the back of his thoughts. He’d never have to think about these things while sleeping.

“Ugh, what a pain in the ass this is,” Tatsuo muttered with a sudden tired frown, his urge to crawl into his bed growing by the second. Emi chuckled before an excited glimmer came to her eye.

“Oh, I just remembered! Do you remember that waitress who kept looking over at you that one night? Well she…” Tatsuo held back a groan as Emi’s gossiping came into the conversation out of nowhere and mentally prepared for her ramblings.

A groan escaped Tatsuo as he rubbed the back of his head and walked through the halls, his boredom mixing well with his irritation, only souring his mood even further. His soft and warm bed remained in his head, continuing to urge him to drop his duties and fall into his usual routine. He’d be sleeping in one of his hiding spots by now, enjoying some peace and quiet. The same uneasy feeling from before though has kept him from ditching his duties. It annoyed him to no end, but his instincts haven’t done him wrong yet so he wasn’t about to ignore it. With a small frown he came to a stop in front of another room filled with recruits training, a new round of recruits sparring with new partners. He silently watched them with a bored gaze and let out a small breath before hearing a familiar voice from behind him. A small sense of relief came over him before he turned to face his master, Kikumi. Tatsuo gave a small huff as she acknowledged him actually working before peeking his curiosity as she insisted he would need to keep it up.

It was rare to get a compliment from her and Tatsuo had little time to enjoy before she fell back into her usual serious attitude. As she leaned forward and began to inform him of their issue in a hushed voice. Tatsuo tightened his grip around his sword as she revealed a traitorous Pillar on the loose, confirming the uneasy feeling he’s had all day. A Pillar had really turned traitor? The thought irritated Tatsuo and formed several questions within his mind, but he simply remained silent and nodded as she asked if he understood. He didn’t like the idea of bringing in more recruits, but he had no say in the matter. Soon after her short pause Kikumi continued to speak, giving him an order to watch for anyone who seemed ready to ditch like the Pillar, the order only worsening his mood. With a heavy sigh Tatsuo nodded and glanced over to the training recruits.

“I got it, I got it. I’m good at sniffing out a few rats, I’ll keep you updated,” he replied before looking back to Kikumi with a straight face. “When can we hunt this traitor down though? I’ll be happy to cut off the bastards head,” he stated with a small vicious smirk spreading onto his face. It had been a few weeks since his last mission and they had started to become boring. Hunting a Pillar though sounded like an actual challenge and the perfect way to rise in the ranks. It was also much better than working around here.

A sense of exhaustion began to suddenly fill Luke as he walked through the camp, their previous encounter and the speech he gave seeming to take the energy out of him. Honestly some booze sounded like heaven right now, though he had a feeling most people here weren’t having a similar urge to have a celebratory drink like him. It sounded wrong given the circumstances of a fellow soldiers unfortunate demise and a part of Luke knew so, but the rush of their victory over such a huge kill went straight to the young soldiers head. To him it was better to raise a toast to the fallen soldier than mourn his death. It was strange, he knew he should feel more sadness over the man’s death, but for some odd reason he was somewhat numb to it. Did that make him heartless? No, no that couldn’t be the case. He barely knew the man, so how could he be broken about his unfair fate? He wasn’t heartless, he wasn’t a monster… was he? Images of Green Fox’s brutal end continued to flash within his mind, but he quickly shook his head before he could sink any further into it. He was dead, Luke wasn’t. That should be the end of it. Refusing to dwell on it Luke fell back into his state of victory and marched through the camp, satisfied with the results of the day.

That was until a familiar voice reached his ears and forced him to halt in his tracks. Quickly he spun around and was met with a furious Ine’s marching towards him, a glare of rage in her eyes. Luke was taken aback by the enraged Darcsen, but quickly stood his ground and locked his eyes with hers as she approached. What was she so angry about? What did he do!? His questions were quickly answered as she began to speak her mind, lashing out at him for his decisions and declaring how he didn’t care about them, only the glory in killing Green Fox. Luke’s fist clenched tightly as she went on, shaking his head in denial and his glare gradually increasing as she continued accusing him of aiding in Thomas's fate. “You don’t know what the hell you-” he was cut off, unable to defend himself as she went to saying he left the dirty work to the Darkies and how she’d prefer a spineless leader over him. Luke took a step forward with his chest puffed out, unaware of his now bone white knuckles shaking in anger. He could feel his heart race, his mind screaming out in denial at her accusations and rejecting the idea it was his fault. It wasn’t! It just wasn’t! Nothing she said was true! This lying Darcsen bitch!

Now, barely unable to hold back his anger, Luke listened as her voice lowered itself as if she was disappointed in a child. He felt like a spike pierced his heart as she spoke about their talk during his birthday, saying he wanted to do good by others around him and saying she thought he had a heart. Luke gritted and bared his teeth in rage, silently warning her to stop speaking with piercing eyes. His warning was ignored though and his mind went numb as she finished her ramblings, her final statement causing something in Luke to snap.

“It’s because you’re afraid.”

With a feral like growl Luke shot his forehead forward and slammed it against hers, the world around him melting away and his sights only on the Darcsen. With a swift motion he pulled back his fist and smashed it against her lower jaw with a shout of rage. Several muffled shouts surrounded him, but Luke ignored them and went to deliver another blow, but felt his raised fist be held back by an unknown assailant. With a shout of rage he attempted to pull free, but he was quickly pulled back by several soldiers jumping in to stop the fight. “Get off me! Get off me!” he roared as four soldiers forced him back a few steps and held their own against his rage. Luke’s glare remained glued to Ines and bared his teeth towards her. “What the fuck do you know you bitch! Huh!? What the fuck did you do!? What was I supposed to do!?” he shouted with anger. “I did my job! I killed the fuckin Imp gunning for us! That’s what we’re here for! I’m not a doctor, you’re not a doctor, none of us were trained for those injuries!” he stated as he began to gradually stop fighting against the soldiers holding him back.

“All I can do is set a broke limb and plug up a bullet hole, not a fuckin blown off limb! I couldn’t do a damn thing if I tried!” he defended before finally stopping his resistance against the soldiers. “How fuckin dare you blame me! I followed my gut yes, but it worked and it saved us! You didn’t do a damn thing to take that bastard down! You wanna follow that bastard then go ahead, but I’m not gonna sit around and let the fuckers keep shooting at us! I didn’t do it for glory or you’re useless respect! I did it for survival! I did it so I have a better chance getting home to my family!” he barked before spitting at her feet and growled towards her. “Don’t you dare talk about why I left my home and family, you have NO idea why I left! Why I decided to put my life on the line in this fuckin war! Fuck you!” he roared before slapping his hand against his chest, tears beginning to well up in his eyes. “And of course I’m afraid, everyone is! Not a day goes by when I think a fucking bullet through the skull will solve my problems, but I don’t because I’m afraid of dying! I’m afraid of looking too weak to move on! I’m afraid of leaving my sisters alone to grow up without me! I’m afraid!” he declared with a loud boom before tears began to stream down his face, every sense of holding his composure fading away.

“But I won’t fuckin die doing something I’m unable to prevent. I can’t save everyone, I couldn’t save Thomas, but I’ll be damned if I’m blamed for his death because you got an issue with me! All we can do is move on, to use his legacy as an example and fight on. Not just for the Federation, ourselves, our homes, but to end this war as soon as we fuckin can,” he stated before taking a step back, the four soldiers separating him from Ines. Finally noticing the warm stream of tears on his cheeks Luke wiped them away and looked to the ground with a frown, his eyes exhausted and his soul slowly deteriorating. “I’m… I’m sorry he died, but I couldn’t save him, neither could you or anyone that was out there. So get your shit together and move on,” he finished with a heavy voice, any urge to fight now non-existent within him.

@Yam I Am

Boredom, minding numbing boredom was all Tatsuo could feel at this point as he slowly walked through the Estate's training facility, casually passing by groups of Demon Slayer trainees going about their business and gradually bettering their skills. Their hard work and determination would be an inspiring and warming sight to see if it hadn’t gotten old to him around the 50th time he’s seen it. Gets surprisingly dull, especially if he knew most of these kids were gonna end up dead before their second mission. It was a grim thought, but Tatsuo’s sadly accepted that as a fact. He would aid in their training when he has the time to help give them a better chance, but it was mostly up to them. A low sigh escaped Tatsuo as he lazily rested his hand atop his sheath sword and ran a hand through his messy hair, still slightly soaked from the pouring rain outside. Already his day of laziness had been ruined by mother nature, his plans to slink away, drink on the beach and pass out ruined before it even started. Not to mention his hard earned sake had been lost from a close call on the slippery, rocky cliffs.

With a mixture of annoyance and boredom Tatsuo decided if he couldn’t pass out on the beach for the day he’d at least get in a few naps before his so called ‘Master’ found him and nagged his ear off. Tatsuo will acknowledge her strength and the position she’s gained, but other than that she is a royal pain in his ass. Today he was hoping to avoid her and sneak away to have a day to himself, but it seems that mother nature is working with the Sea Pillar and forcing him to cancel his day. A drawn out yawn escaped Tatsuo while he rubbed the back of his neck and entered an empty room used for training, his own personal space where he comes to train or avoid Kikumi when she’s on the prowl. With a small sigh he closed the door and slowly strolled around the room, taking his sheathed sword from his hip and looking around the room with a bored frown. A few racks of wooden swords, dummies, weights and scrolls were along the edge of the room for use. It wasn’t the most luxurious of places, but it was good for a quick nap or two.

Tatsuo glanced out the window to see the nasty storm raging on, continuing to ruin his day. He gave a huff before finding a good enough spot to lay down. As he began to lower himself to the floor he heard the door open and gave a small sigh before rising back to his full height. “Great," he muttered before turning around to see his master, Kikumi, standing in the doorway. Before Tatsuo could defend himself Kikumi spoke first, telling him she’ll be gone for a few hours and instructing him to keep things in order and train. A small frown came to his face as he noticed she was in a bit of a hurry and went to question her, but before he could she simply turned and left without another word. “Wha-wait! What’s going...on?” he let out a heavy groan and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Well, there goes my day of well earned rest and relaxation,” he complained before strapping his sheathed sword to his hip and reluctantly leaving the training room.

He could honestly ditch her request and sleep in peace like he usually does, but something felt a bit odd about this sudden outing of Kikumi’s. If something was brewing it may be a better idea to be prepared. So he might as well take up her usual duties of keeping an eye on the recruits and keeping order. Besides, at least he wouldn’t have to get an earful of Kikumi’s nagging when she gets back. Who knows, maybe he can find something to spice things up and make this day actually interesting.

@Haruharara Okay, made some changes. Hope it's better.

Looks pretty cool, I'm down.
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