"Oyakata-sama, are you… sure about this?"

"I assure you, Rengoku, I am as sure as I can be. This is not a decision that I will make lightly."

Rengoku cannot hide the small frown on his face even if he tried, and it did not escape his notice that his fellow Hashiras were also sneaking unsure glances at each other after hearing what Oyakata-sama had to say.

They were gathered for another Hashira meeting, an occurrence that had been getting more and more frequent as of late. The reason for it was simple. It's because currently, the Demon Slayer Corps had been closer to winning their war against Muzan than ever before. Everyone is eager to end this war in their victory, but now every step that they take must be taken with great care lest they accidentally mess up or all of the advantages that they had painstakingly grabbed after decades and centuries of hard work will be for naught.

Muzan had gone into hiding after the loss of so many Upper Moons in a relatively short time. Oyakata-sama and the Hashiras were of the same mind, that right now, they have to pursue Muzan and his demons as relentlessly as they could and not give Muzan even a chance to catch his breath or to plan his next step. Now is the time to strike while the iron's hot, to force Muzan out of hiding and end things once and for all.

However, if Oyakata-sama is wise, then Muzan is just as sly. He is not someone who will fall for an obvious trick or to allow himself to be cornered. Fortunately, the scale tipped in their favour once more when Shinobu managed to invent a gaseous variant of wisteria poison that is toxic to demons, but harmless against humans. That had been tried, tested, and proven when Rengoku, Kanae, Shinobu, and Haruto had forced the Upper Moon Six out of hiding using that newly invented variant of poison which subsequently led to the successful elimination of the Upper Moon back at Yoshiwara.

With that, the Demon Slayer Corps no longer needs to wait till the sun has set to embark on their demon hunting, the time where demons are at their strongest. Now, they can fight their battles where Demon Slayers are at their best, which is during daytime, because all they have to do is to gas the entire area which they knew the demons were hiding at. Once that happens, the demons will only have two choices, which is to stay hidden and die by wisteria poisoning, or try to escape the toxic gaseous cloud at the risk of being burned by the sun while trying to evade detection of the Demon Slayers sent to kill it. Either way, Shinobu's new variant of wisteria poison had drastically increased the chances of their members successfully slaying a demon. Her invention had given the corps the new option to battle demons during daytime instead of night.

What came out from that was the steep increase in the number of demons slain in the past two months ever since this practice was put into motion. Muzan's demons are being thinned out at a rapid rate, far greater than any before throughout the history of the Demon Slayer Corps. If Muzan chose to hide until the storm blows over, it will be at the price of seeing the army of demons that he had painstakingly built over the centuries being reduced to nothing within the next few years.

However, demons are also known to be adaptable, and Oyakata-sama was worried that Muzan may find a way to allow his demons to resist, or outright build an immunity to wisteria poison if given time, because there were historical cases of a handful of demons being noted to possess increased resistance to wisteria poison. As such, he wants to end this war now, at a point in time where the Demon Slayer Corps have the greatest advantage against demons in their long history and at a point in time where Muzan still had not found a way to even the playing field.

Oyakata-sama wishes to lure Muzan out in an ambush, and he had the perfect idea for it. The only thing in his way was his Hashiras' willingness and acceptance of his plan.

Himejima was the first to voice his disagreement.

"With all due respect, Oyakata-sama, I refuse to agree with your plan. I was hesitant to agree when you proposed to reveal the existence of the Swordsmith Village as bait, but when you spoke of being there at the battlefield yourself, that is where I have to disagree."

"I concur," Uzui backed Himejima up instantly. "Oyakata-sama, please reconsider!"

Ubuyashiki Kagaya can no longer see with his eyes, but that does not stop him from giving a sweeping look across the Hashiras present.

"I had heard Himejima and Uzui's opinions on this matter. The rest of you?"

"Oyakata-sama, I have to agree with them as well. You cannot come to harm," Shinazugawa spoke through gritted teeth. To him, the very idea of their leader using himself as bait to lure the bastard Muzan out was simply ridiculous. There has to be a better way to go about doing this.

"I see. The rest?"

"I disagree."

"Me as well."

"I too, think that-"

"It's worth a shot."

The room fell deathly silent when their Fire Hashira voiced his support for Oyakata-sama's plan. Despite his young age, Kamado Haruto is one of the longest serving Hashiras in the corps and as such, his words held a lot of weight. For him to agree with their leader's suicidal plan is just something they never expect to hear from him.

"Are you fucking insane, you darn matchstick?!" Shinazugawa Sanemi was the first to react and showed no hesitance in yelling at the Fire Hashira. "What do you think-"

"Unlike you, I am thinking," Kamado Haruto cut Shinazugawa's words off right there and then, giving him a warning glare to watch his mouth or be on the receiving end of the Fire Hashira's temper. "Look, stop being a muscle-brained simpleton for once. Look at the bigger picture before we drill down to the details. First of all, are we all in agreement here that each and every person here wants to see Muzan gone, no matter what cost we have to pay?"

"No fucking shit," Shinazugawa agreed, and so did the other Hashiras with a nod of their heads.

"Oyakata-sama, do you feel the same?"

"I do," Ubuyashiki Kagaya replied.

"Then we are all on the same page. I'm sure that everyone here feels the same, that if giving up our lives would mean creating a chance to kill Muzan for good, we will all do so in a heartbeat. That goes for Oyakata-sama too. To deny him of his plan would be to deny the resolve that he had made, and that is not something I wish to do for the leader I had sworn to follow."

"Look, like you said, Oyakata-sama is our leader. If he-"

"Sanemi," Haruto interrupted smoothly, his voice stern, and Shinazugawa Sanemi kept his mouth shut because this time, the Fire Hashira addressed him as "Sanemi" and not "Shinazugawa", and whenever that happens it means that the Fire Hashira's patience is wearing thin.

"Let's be real. We all can see for ourselves how bad Oyakata-sama's illness has worsened. We need to start asking the question of how much longer can Oyakata-sama live. One year? Two years? I don't want to be the disrespectful one to say this, but I personally don't see how Oyakata-sama can live past the next five years given how bad his illness has gotten and I'm being very generous in my estimate. I think Oyakata-sama's imminent death is a fact that we Hashiras have to learn to accept. I'm sure everyone here would prefer if their deaths mean something, that they would rather die fighting trying to bring a demon or two to hell rather than wasting away on a sickbed and not being able to do a thing to contribute to the corps. I believe this was one reason Oyakata-sama had volunteered to use himself and the Swordsmith Village as bait to lure Muzan out, because you cannot deny that the combination of the two is a very juicy bait and we all know that Muzan cannot bring himself to ignore it, even if he knows that it is a trap."

Haruto took a slight pause before continuing.

"In case you guys have forgotten, let me remind you once more that we are Hashiras. Our duties are not just limited to slaying demons, we need to look at the larger picture and envision what the immediate future of the corps would hold in light of the current situation. Right now, the corps is at the peak of its strength, holding advantages against the demons and this is a phenomenon that we would probably never come across again in the next century or two. Likewise, we the Hashiras, are all also at the peak of our strength. We unlocked the secret of the Demon Slayer mark, and we all know the price of doing so and we had willingly paid the price, but what's the point of unlocking it if we cannot use the mark against Muzan? Everything we had done would have been in vain. If we want to kill Muzan, it has to be now, before time passes and we rust from old age or die from the side effects of the mark. Time is always on Muzan's side, but the same cannot be said for us. Please understand that we don't have time."

The silence in the room never felt more deafening. Haruto simply continued.

"I know what you are all worried about, that we might fail to kill Muzan even if we risk Oyakata-sama's life and ours. Let's take a hundred steps back and assume that we fail in killing Muzan despite our best attempts, assuming that all of us in this room had given up our lives to kill Muzan but still fail. Is all lost? No, it's not. Oyakata-sama had trained a successor in Kiriya-sama so even if Oyakata-sama were to die now, the corps will not be left without a leader. As for us, we have our Tsugukos. Tanjiro, Nezuko, Zenitsu, Inosuke, Genya, Kanao, Kanroji, Shinobu; some of them are already more than qualified to be a Hashira and for the rest, just give them a little more time to polish themselves and they will be able to assume our mantle should we die an untimely death. It's because of them that I trust that the corps will remain strong even if we all die right now, so there's no longer a reason to hesitate."

Haruto let out an audible sigh.

"Can you see now? This is the main reason why I agreed to Oyakata-sama's plan. We are at our strongest right now and it would be foolish to not strike while the iron's hot, while our blades are at their sharpest, but there's no point in keeping a sharp blade if Muzan does not make an appearance. Our blade will only rust with time. If that's the case, we must make our resolve now, more than ever. We must be willing to stake everything we have because the corps might not have a chance to grow into this level of strength again once this period has passed. Muzan can afford to wait for a few more centuries, but we can't. Even if we fail, we have done all we can to groom our successors and they are ready to take up our responsibilities with immediate effect should we fall. Even if we fail, I'm sure that with Oyakata-sama's wisdom and the strength of the strongest Hashira lineup in history, we can force Muzan to reveal all of his tricks and abilities that to date, the corps still know nothing about. I'm sure that even if we fail to kill Muzan, we, the Hashiras, can inflict a scar so deep that Muzan can never fully heal from. It doesn't matter even if we fail, because I am sure that whatever information we gleaned out of Muzan from this fight will one day be vital in helping our successors to end him where we had failed. In that case, then we have every reason to bring the fight to Muzan right now, even if it meant using Oyakata-sama as bait, because our chances of victory had never been higher. We don't have a reason to disagree with Oyakata-sama's plan, especially after he had made his resolve to die fighting alongside us."

The silence that followed after Haruto said his piece filled the room, and was only broken when Oyakata-sama spoke up.

"Sanemi."

"Oyakata-sama," Shinazugawa answered with his head bowed.

"Remember when we first met? I told you that if you are pawns, then I am a sacrificial piece too. As such, even if a piece like me were to die, nothing would change. Haruto had said everything that I had wanted to say, because he is right to say that the time is now. This is the best opportunity we are going to get if we want to end Muzan once and for all. Please don't view me as someone above everyone else because in the end, I am also a sacrificial piece just like everyone else is. Like Haruto said, my illness will claim my life soon. I don't know how soon, but I don't see myself living past the next two years. In that case, my life is cheap, and I want to milk it for all it's worth before it becomes entirely worthless. Right now, the best way to maximise the remaining worth of my life is to act as bait to lure Muzan out, and I am willing to sacrifice myself for the cause. I had made my resolve, Sanemi, and I assure you that my plan wasn't crafted on an impulsive wish to go out in a bang. I had made this plan with the intent to end things here permanently while minimising the casualties to the corps. Even if we fail and Muzan is far stronger than our worst imaginations, like Haruto said, we have trained our successors to immediately pick up where we left off. Even if we were to fail, I'm sure that the combined efforts of the corps and everyone in this room would be able to force Muzan to reveal all of his secrets that would ensure that he stays dead the next time we bring the war to him."

Ubuyashiki Kagaya looked back at his Hashiras once more, a warm feeling emanating from his heart because this is the strongest and the most united the corps had been in centuries, and he is proud to be a part of it.

"I have made my resolve, my Hashiras. Have you?"

This time, they will end this war.

He will see to it that the war will end in the Demon Slayer Corps' victory.


"You are still sulking?"

"No, I'm not. Just… We have been talking and imagining this day for so long, but when it finally happens it feels unreal that we are really going to bring the war to Muzan and his demons," Kanae admitted from where she was seated at the front porch of her home, watching Haruto practising his bladework in the small clearing ahead as the moon shone down from above.

"Make your resolve, Kanae, preferably earlier than later, or you will just be going to die a dog's death. You are better than this," Haruto intoned with an inexpressive voice as he sheathed his blade before unsheathing it in a rapid strike, then slowly sheathing his blade once more. He had been repetitively practising the basic motions of sheathing and unsheathing his blade. It's a very basic skill for swordsmen, but sometimes mastery of the basics is what defines the victor in a fight.

Anyone else might have found Haruto's words to be offensive, but Kanae didn't. She clearly heard his concern for her in his voice. It was almost unnoticeable, but his voice had quivered a little at the start. He's worried about her.

"Maybe I really haven't made my resolve," Kanae admitted with a sigh. It doesn't matter to her if she dies because she is a Hashira, she exists to protect the corps and victims of Muzan and his demons because that is her role and duty. It's like what Haruto had said in their meeting earlier today. If giving up their lives would mean obtaining a chance to kill Muzan, she would do so readily in a heartbeat.

But at this very critical juncture, at this very last moment, she still found herself hesitating. She's still unsure and a little afraid of the unknown future, because what if they fail? She cannot bring herself to imagine a future where all of their efforts would have been for naught.

"Did you really not make your resolve, or are you just afraid of taking the first step forward? There's a slight difference between the two," Haruto replied as he continued to practice his bladework, repeating the same motions over again and again.

"What do you think? Do you think that I have not made my resolve, or am I just afraid of taking the first step?"

"My opinion does not matter, this is something that only you yourself can answer, but as I told you earlier, you are better than this, Kanae. I did not fall in love with a weak woman."

"Woah, since when were you so forthcoming?"

"Someone had been a bad influence. Last I heard, that person was the Flower Hashira. Do you happen to know who that person is?"

Kanae giggled, knowing that this is Haruto's own weird awkward way of encouraging her. Strangely, it worked.

"Honestly, you gave me quite a scare when you suddenly voiced your agreement for Oyakata-sama's plan like that. Mind giving me a little warning next time?"

"And how am I supposed to do that? Telepathy?"

"As lovers, I thought we would have formed some sort of tacit understanding that allows us to understand each other with just a glance."

"You have been reading too much of those trashy novels."

"Even so… do you really think our siblings are ready to assume our mantles in the event we failed and were killed?" Kanae cannot help but ask as she recalled how Haruto had argued that they have no reason to hesitate in embarking on this gambit since the future of the corps can now be entrusted to their Tsugukos, which would mean that the Hashiras can now truly focus on nothing but giving it their all to bring Muzan down when they step onto the battlefield.

"Oh, that was a lie."

"What?!"

Her head swivelled to look at this infuriating man who she had fallen for, her eyes wide and jaws agape.

"Can't you tell? What I said was just to get the others to just shut up and agree to carry out Oyakata-sama's plan. Shinobu and Kanroji are ready to be Hashiras, that I am certain, but the rest of them still have ways to go before I would deem them fit for the Hashira position."

"Haruto-"

"Yes, I lied, because I never planned to let Tanjiro, Nezuko, Shinobu and Kanao ever have the chance to be a Hashira. This war that has lasted for centuries, I plan to end it here permanently. After that, the corps will no longer need to exist, and so they would not need to even be a Hashira in the first place. If someone from my family has to pay the price to exorcise Muzan from this world, then let me be the one to do it and leave my family out of this."

Kanae stared at him, stunned, but quickly burst out laughing.

This adorable dork.

"Haruto."

"Yeah?"

"Has anyone ever told you just how charismatic, amazing, and attractive you can be?"

"You might want to repeat your words a little louder. I don't think I heard them properly with how soft you are speaking."

She pounced on him from behind, wrapping her arms around his neck and whispering directly into his ear.

"I said, that you are so incredibly… hot."

"Maybe you have forgotten, but I am the Fire Hashira."

"Way to kill the mood," she playfully slapped her hand on his shoulder in slight beratement, but quickly returned to her playful self.

"Say, Haruto?"

"What now?" He sighed, sheathing his blade because they both knew that he's not going to get anymore practice in with how she was clinging onto his back.

She had made her resolve, fully intending to head into the imminent final fight with the expectation that she would very likely not walk out of it alive. She is sure that he had also made the same resolve a long time ago, it's an understanding that they had both reached when they both became Hashiras.

But she doesn't want to leave this world with any regrets. Before that, there's just one last thing that she wants to do and share with him before they focus all of their attention in preparing for their final fight.

She had never felt so nervous before. She leaned in closer to him, to the point that her lips were just a hair's breadth away from his ear, and told him her one last wish.

"Tonight… stay with me. Don't go."

His body froze for a brief moment and she tightened her hug over him, but she knew that her thoughts had reached him when she felt his hand gently holding her own, telling her that he's not going anywhere tonight. Tonight will be a night where it's just them and them alone.

Tonight, just tonight, she wants it to be a night where she can forget about everything and spend it all with the man she loves.

Just one night together as lovers before they head off for war, that is all she asks for.


AN: Finally an update. Sorry it's taken so long, almost an entire year since the last update, but life has been… well, you know it, and for some reason I really wasn't feeling the mood to write a Demon Slayer story so updates for Sunrise had been continuously delayed.

On a side note, Gooble had drawn a fancomic for Sunrise on wattpad, and even if it's only one chapter I'm really liking it so far. The new cover page of Sunrise was also drawn by him. I really recommend you give the fancomic a try. The link to the fancomic is posted on my profile although from past experiences, you might need to refresh the page a few times to successfully get there. Wattpad's link is a little glitchy for some reason. If it doesn't work the first time, don't panic, it's normal. Just keep refreshing until you reach the page. At least, that's how it worked for me.

On a side note, I really never thought that Sunrise would grow to be as popular as it is today, it's totally beyond my expectations because I truly thought this story was doomed to fail when I first wrote it (lol). This story was actually the very original form of my one-shot "The Earth's Promise to the Flower" after I deemed Sunrise a failure and stopped writing it in favour of completing that one-shot, which I thought was a far better story than Sunrise but eh, it seems that I was proven wrong.

Hopefully I am able to end Sunrise soon, because I have far too many uncompleted stories and too little time to write.

See you when I see you.