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Alone[]

The man awoke with a start, his golden irises scanning the room. Had last night all been a dream. He looked to the left of the bed. It was empty. He sighed as he sat up. No. It hadn't been a dream. He got up and put on his suit. He seemed to be wearing it quite often. He shook his head as he descended the stairs into the cafe area. The day just didn't seem to start right without Tereya yelling him awake.

In the majority of the areas he discovered, there was great celebration going on. As Ahatake walked by, they gave kind gestures towards him, offered their gratitude towards him, or otherwise just outwardly cheered for him. Because he had played a crucial role in fighting off the Yuurei army, they now had new morale within them. Even Juushin himself had felt confident; rebel troops were readying themselves for a full-out assault against the Yuurei army.

Ahatake did not notice their gestures or attitudes, positive as they were. He walked over to the table and poured himself a large cup of coffee and sighed.

"Keep sighing like that and you'll burn out your throat."

It was Taiki.

He was leaning against a wall, arms folded across his chest. He was eyeing his father with a rather indifferent expression, though his face was set in a smile. There weren't very many people around them, making the conversation between themselves for the moment.

Ahatake scowled. "Let me guess." He said, downing half his cup of coffee. "You've come to blame me yet again."

"That's harsh, Dad. I wouldn't be so stupid as to blame you this time. Though, indirectly it could be considered your fault...."

Ahatake's eyes narrowed as he picked up the coffee pitcher to pour some more coffee. "How'd you like to get this pitcher shattered over your head kid?"

"Hey, I'm just sayin'..." Taiki insisted, waving a hand up in defense. "But still, it was her decision and her decision alone to leave." He returned to his folded-arms position.

"Alright then." Ahatake replied, drinking more of his coffee. "Where is your sister and your kids anyway?"

Taiki rolled his eyes. "You should already know where Midoriko is. After Ryuka and Kyashi were recovered, she's been hanging around their kid for the time being. The two daughters are probably off playing around somewhere..." He replied readily. "Though, the twins are takin' it hard..."

Ahatake sighed. "I knew they would. Though I'm sure Kyuui is taking it worse than Aoi."

"I know. Such a shame she had to leave due to simple marriage problems, wouldn't you agree?"

"Yeah, but let her do as she pleases." Ahatake replied, setting his coffee mug down. "This whole thing'll pass eventually."

Taiki raised an eyebrow. "Are you talking about Tereya leaving, or everyone taking it hard?"

"Both." Ahatake replied shortly.

For a moment, the white-haired man lapsed into silence. However, he asked another question. "How do you know if she wasn't kidding?" He pressured, leaning off of the wall and lowering his arms. "You aren't exactly a mind-reader."

"True." Ahatake replied. "But I've never really known your mother to go back on her word. If she comes back, I will be delighted. If she doesn't, I'll get over it."

Taiki shrugged. "All right, then."

They heard laughter coming closer, and Ahatake turned around, a vein pulsing in his forehead. Who could it be, laughing so early in the morning?

It was Midoriko, coming through the entrance carrying Kibou Injiki, a huge smile on her face.

"Of course..." Taiki's expression didn't change upon seeing his smiling sister as well as the child. "Well, I see you've gotten out of your emo stage, sis." He commented lightly. "Where's Kyashi and Ryuka?"

"They're on thier way." Midoriko said, her smile not breaking at Taiki's remark. "Tou-san still bummed about Kaa-san?" She asked, sitting down and placing Kibou on her lap.

"I don't know." Taiki replied honestly, with a light shrug of his shoulders. "You'd have to ask the old man yourself if you really want to find out." He nodded over at their coffee-drinking father.

Ahatake sighed. "Yes, I'm still "bummed"." He said, eying Kibou and wondering what exactly his daughter saw in an toddler. "I'll get over it in a few days." He added.

The silent child only stared at him curiously, as if wondering what the man was thinking. With slow arms, he began to reach out to Ahatake, trying to stretch out of Midoriko's grip on him for the moment.

"Hm?" Midoriko looked down. "Kibou, you want to go to Tou-san?" Midoriko released her grip on him, to see what the child would do.

Promptly, the child's small arms wrapped around Ahatake's neck in a rather affectionate manner. It was his own version of a hug, attempting to cheer the man up.

Ahatake's eyes widened. "T-thanks kid." He said, smiling.

"That proves my point." Midoriko said. "Kid's smarter than he seems."

"Well, at least he's being nice to you, Tou-san." Taiki couldn't help but smile at the impromptu display of affection by the child, as he resorted to clinging onto the man in order to support himself.

Ahatake allowed himself a grin. "True. Don't think I'll have any problems if Kibou becomes one of the family."

"Good to hear." Midoriko said as she reached over and removed Kibou from her father's neck, smiling at the child. "You're a good kid."

In response, Kibou hugged Midoriko eagerly.

Midoriko grinned. "Oh yeah I've decided to Hollowfy the kid when he gets older. After I explain to him what Hollowfication is. I think it'll be a nice way to make him stronger."

"Have you gotten Kyashi's consent?" Taiki questioned immediately. "She wouldn't favor you experimenting on the kid unless you asked." He almost regretted saying it; the very words themselves made him sound like a stuck-up brat. Then again, he didn't really care what people thought of him, just as long as they got pissed off at him.

"You are right." Midoriko replied, while Ahatake just sighed. "But I think the decision should be up to the kid."

"I agree with Midoriko." Ahatake replied airily. "Hollowfication is something that should be agreed upon by the intended "victim" not their parents."

Taiki rolled her eyes. "Sure. Have a three-year-old decide about a life-changing experiment he will not be able to wrap his mind around. A perfect plan."

"I said when he gets older, ya dumbass." Midoriko replied snappishly.

A beat filled in the silence, and Taiki blinked once. "That would make much more sense..."

"Duh." Midoriko replied, brushing hair out of the little boy's face. Ahatake got up from the table. "I'm going out for fresh air."

"You going to commit suicide? Yay." Taiki drawled, with false cheerfulness. "No, wait, let me go get the noose, it can snap your neck easier."

Ahatake scowled. "You're pushing your luck kid." He said icily before he walked off, heading out the overlong exit.

"Whatever you say, Dad."

"You and Dad really don't get along do you?" Ahatake heard her ask as he closed the door and trekked through the exit into the fresh city air. He looked around. The place was relatively calm, not much human activity, since it was still early in the morning. Ahatake started walking down the street, not caring that he might get hit by a passing car. He needed to just forget about Tereya. She had left, simply because he was, as he had come to call it, "over protective", though her opinion of it differed drastically.

That was something that seemed to deter Ahatake's senses. A lone figure, standing on a roof perch, allowed his eyes to watch the man steadily. Something of a rather amused grin fell across his face. Gripping the hilt of his sword, he unsheathed the blade and lowered it to a readying position. He waited for the right moment...

...before he Flash Stepped off of the roof and re-appeared over the Kurosaki's head. He descended, his blade swung down at his head.

"What the..?!?" Ahatake thought, leaping forward and rolling, the blade barely missing the top of his head, and cutting off strands of his hair. He looked around. "Who the hell?"

"Oh....so your reaction time is still good." A male Injiki's voice commented. The blade was immediately sheathed, and a figure stood, folding his arms across his chest. "I was starting to get worried..." As it was looked closer, it was a figure with a black, unbuttoned shirt, a white shirt underneath it, and gray pants. Once he returned his sword to his sheath, he placed his hands in his pockets, as if what had happened never happened.

"Injiki??" Ahatake exclaimed. "Why the heck are you attacking me from behind? And at 8 in the morning at that!"

Ryuka smiled innocently. "Well, actually, I attacked you from above." Lifting a hand from his pocket, he pointed upwards at the roof that he had just descended from to emphasize. "Plus, if you're walking around this early, too, I didn't think it should be a problem."

Ahatake scowled. "I came out here for fresh air, not a hair cut." He said, eying the strands of hair on the ground. "So what is it?"

"Only that the rebellion's mounting up for an assault on the Yuurei capital building." Ryuka informed him, nodding over in the direction of a rather tall and intimidating-looking structure in the distance. "The troops will be fighting their way through a shitload of Yuurei troops as they make their way there, and they need your help if they'll want to make it within the month."

Ahatake looked at the building, the castle. "They finally have the guts to attack that place directly? 'Bout damn time."

"It's not that they were afraid." Ryuka answered. "At the time, they were outgunned and outsmarted by the rebel Yuurei forces, and they needed time to prepare an attack."

"I see." Ahatake replied. "And they need a Hollow like myself to succeed?"

Ryuka closed his eyes, skepticism showing. "You sound as if that's a bad thing..." He commented.

"No, I'm just in a bad mood." Ahatake replied.

"...why would that be?" Normally, Ryuka would never want to pry into one's personal issues. However, if Ahatake's emotions were blocking out his vital part in the attack, then as a former Lieutenant of the Gotei 13, Ryuka felt like he had to remind the Kurosaki.

"My wife left me yesterday." Ahatake replied. "Surprised you don't know. I thought she'd have been broadcasting it all over town."

"She..." Speaking of which, Ryuka himself looked quite stunned, though he retained his composure quite easily. "She left you? What for?" His tone held indirect concern; the Kurosaki was also his friend, after all.

Ahatake sighed. "She thinks I viewed her as weak, and didn't trust her judgement and she was tired of it."

Ryuka sighed along with him, his shoulders slightly slumping out of sympathy for the man. "Jeez, I'm sorry that it didn't turn out as you wanted..." He muttered, although there wasn't anything to be sorry for. He had no involvement in their marriage.

"Eh, it's nothing." Ahatake replied, sighing. "This'll all pass sooner or later. Guess I should head back to the base."

"Yeah..."

He turned back around and started walking the way they came. So the main attack was about to start. At least things are going to get interesting.

As he walked back, there was a massed arsenal in his sight. Several rebel troops, as well as Juushin himself, ready for the assault. Accompanying them were several vehicles marked with the rebel emblem, and cloaked in dirty green; a contrast from the clean colors of the Yuurei vehicles. Most of them were tanks. "Ah! Good to see you, Kurosaki!" Juushin greeted, as Ahatake stepped before him.

"Juushin." Ahatake inclined his head. "Sorry, I had to step out for some air. I take it the attack is about to start?"

"Yep." Juushin nodded. "There are several divisions advancing on different areas on the city, taking seperate routes to clear the areas. This one will be hitting the forces head-on, while the rest flank our sides. This way, we'll maintain a lookout on all fronts."

"I see." Ahatake said, looking around at the troops. "And you want me to fight with this group?"

"That's right."

"Seems simple enough."

"Though, we won't be attacking immediately, of course. For tonight, we'll camp out here; we're going to be expecting a counter-attack in order to crush our front. For the moment, we're free.... but stay alert."

"Alright." Ahatake replied, and sighed. He had been hoping for immediate action, but guess that wasn't going to happen.

With that being said, Juushin himself turned away from Kurosaki, and once again commanding the soldiers under his personal command. "All right, listen up! I need you all to..."

Ahatake sighed. This battle would be a good chance to test out his new release. With it's power, taking out minor soldiers would take 5 seconds or less. And going feral like that...it would prove to be a good distraction. The only problem was killing time until night fell.

Night Time[]

Darkness fell over the area. Most of the soldiers were either asleep or patrolling, and the tanks were stationed at hidden places of their sector.

Ahatake was meditating, trying to keep his calm as he waited for an attack.

"So far, all clear!" A sentry sniper on a roof was keeping a lookout, scanning the area for any forms of enemy movement. He motioned down to a comrade on the ground. "No enemy movement spotted!" The man on the bottom nodded in approval.

"All right. Keep on your guard." The sniper nodded, turning to look through his scope once more.

Ahatake opened his eyes. He needed to be alert, for when the enemy's attack came. It would only take seconds to wipe them out.

As the sentries were keeping a lookout, however, there was a lone figure that was sitting on a roof higher than the sniper. A rather feminine form, a Shinigami outfit, long and black hair that draped down to her shoulders, and crimson eyes staring down on Ahatake's meditating form. A scowl came across her face, and she raised a hand to pinch the bridge of her nose. Why was she doing this again?

Oh, right. It was to show that she wouldn't forget her family completely.

She picked up a small rock, kept an eye on the Kurosaki's head, and threw it with perfect accuracy.

Ahatake caught it and crushed it. "I'm not a target woman." He hissed, letting the dust fall out of his hand.

"Huh?" One of the soldiers turned around and looked at him strangely. "Who're you talking to, Kurosaki?"

The woman immediately swore behind her breath, leaping away and hiding away from the man's sight. Of course, the man would make a big deal in front of them all... Slowly, she stepped back from her position, assuming Ahatake wouldn't hesitate to confront her now that she was spotted.

Ahatake turned to look at the soldier. "No one important." He replied. "Just Tereya." He looked around. "Seems she's hiding now."

"...you sure?" The man looked a bit skeptical. "I don't see anyone or anything around here..." He looked around as well, attempting to find the hidden woman.

Ahatake sighed. "Pretty sure I saw her." Ahatake said, pointing at the remains of the rock he had crushed. "Unless that rock threw itself."

"...whatever you say...." The soldier muttered, still not willing to believe him. He turned back around, continuing his patrol of the area. This time, however, Tereya decided to whisper down to Ahatake. "I need to talk to you." She whispered, keeping it so that the soldier would not hear her. "Get your ass up here."

Ahatake scowled, vanishing silently and reappearing in front of her. "What is it?" He hissed.

The woman returned his scowl, but simply turned around and walked off. "We'll take this a short distance away from the camp. This is a private matter." She said bluntly. "Follow me." Without hesitation, she turned and kicked into a Shunpo, appearing a mid-range distance away from him. After looking behind her, she continued to Flash Step away from him, expecting him to follow.

Ahatake sighed and broke into a Shunpo as well, following her and catching up with ease. "What the hell does she want now?"

All too suddenly, she allowed herself to descend towards the ground, knowing Ahatake would follow her. So she turned back around to face him, folding her arms across her chest. "First off, I'd like to say it's a shame that you didn't show this much guts to me back at the cave." She commented. "My presence weighing down your sense of having balls, hm?"

"Shut up." Ahatake replied harshly, descending as well. "Now what is it?"

"Simple. I'm going to help you win this." Tereya explained, holding her hands out for emphasis. She kept her voice calm; a task so easy to do considering she had broken ties with him a day ago.

"I see." Ahatake replied. "You're going to fight as well?"

Tereya rolled her eyes. "No, I'm just going to sit on the sidelines and do nothing." She replied sarcastically, before she got serious once again. "Of course I'm going to fight!"

"Alright, you do that." Ahatake replied. "And now I have to get back before I miss the action."

"Before you do..." Tereya walked over to place a hand on his shoulder. "Do me one last favor." She said solemnly. "Tell the family I'm sorry that I had to leave 'em in the dark like that. I don't want them to think that I just up and abandoned them just like that. Secondly..." She narrowed her eyes. "I'm only doing this because I still consider you family, not for me to come crawling back to you."

Ahatake nodded, and a vanished, a loud boom signaling his departure. He reappeared in the spot in which he had left, and sat back down.

Just in time.

"MORTARS! INCOMING!"

Through the darkness, several missile projectiles came rocketing in on their sector, on fire and approaching with rapid speed. The force of them would surely cause destruction in the sector. It would have to be stopped somehow, in order to avoid massive casualties.

Ahatake grinned. Better now than never. He jumped into action, his sword raised. "Resurrección: Qīyànyú Kuǎnwánguó - Ocultar Sol." He murmured and he was enveloped in a burst of spiritual energy. It expanded then compressed on his and melded into his figure. When it faded, Ahatake had changed. The human like appearance he had was gone, and replace with that of a menacing hollow. His blade was exactly like that of his bankai, and his spiritual pressure was horrendously large.

"HOLY--"

Startled at the change, the soldiers almost open fired on him. But they opted to retreat away from him, just before the missiles started coming into contact with some buildings. Even though there were more on the way, some places were already set on fire.

Ahatake vanished, using Sonido to navigate around. Gripping his blade, he let out a feral scream and began destroying every missile within reach, creating large mid-air explosions.

"Is he in control of himself?" One of the soldiers spoke up, fear in his voice at the scream that had left Ahatake's throat.

"Forget about him!" Another soldier warned, pointing up the road. "Troops and vehicles are coming this way!" Immediately, as if to puncuaate tose very words, a massive battalion of soldiers came from the front, backed up by heavily armored troops and an assortment of tanks. It was going to get really messy.

Ahatake turned to see the arriving machines and silently cursed the technological advancement Yuurei had over the rest of the Soul Society. And yet missiles were still on their way. He opened his mouth wide at the oncoming explosives and a black cero was charging. "GRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!" He cried before releasing the cero. It was huge and took up a large amount of space, effectively wiping out the oncoming missiles.

All hell broke loose.

Both sides started to fire on each other, bullets, gunfire, and explosions rocking the entire area. Tanks unleashed hell on the rebellion side, until their own salvaged tanks began to step to the defensive line and fire back. Both sides held their ground quite skillfully, fighting the battle to a stalemate... so far. The body count was rising very quickly , the battleground being littered with both sides' corpses.

Ahatake seemed to be doing well holding the missiles off, but no matter how many he destroyed, more were on their way and he was kept from the real battle due to trying to fend off the explosives. He fired a barrage of Bala blasts, quick enough to keep up with the missiles.

Heavily Armored Troopers, having taking notice of him, decided to take their attention to the distracted Ahatake. With their own guns, they unleashed their barrage of gunfire on him, with the common troopers keeping the rebel forces busy.

The bullets hit him, but they seemed incapable of piercing his skin. Ahatake did feel them however, and turned on them. He let out a bloodcurdling cry of anger, and expelled a massive cero, black with red outline, from his mouth at the attacking troopers.

"What in the hell is going on?!" One of the heavy troopers yelled. They raised their shields up, and their combined density was enough to shield themselves from what otherwise would've been a death blow to the assault. From cover, a normal troop shouted at it. "He's resistant to the bullets!"

"I don't give a shit WHAT he's resitant to!" Another screamed, presumably the commander. "I want him DEAD! TANKS!!!"

The tanks near him right then decided to add to the heavy troopers' fire, blasting their shells straight for the Hollowfied beast.

The tank's assault blew off Ahatake's right arm, and his sword tumbled down with it. If he could have, he would have grimaced at the pain, but he didn't. He vanished, dodging bullets and other odd blasts, and began to attack the troopers with his bare hands.

Those who were close to him immediately switched tactics. Using their brand of hand-to-hand fighting, they managed to pull themselves out of his grasp and unleash their own counter-attacks. It was the form that was supposed to best that of the Seireitei Shinigami, able to disable and disarm and opponent quickly. For a stronger and more skilled opponenent like this, it would take some difficulty. Fortunately, a heavy trooper moved in, letting out a blood curdling scream as it swung down the heavy shield down on Ahatake's back.

Ahatake vanished with Sonido, appearing behind the man, and thrusting his hand at his back, aiming for his heart.

Bare knuckles hit cold hard steel. Despite the strength put into it, the heavily armored trooper didn't seem the least bit phased. In fact, he was more furious than anything, growling in fury as he swiped behind him, a backhand at the man's face.

The blow did nothing, the mask protecting Ahatake's face. He was getting annoyed. He paused for a moment to regenerate his right arm, and flicked his wrist, calling his sword back to him. It was alight with black flames. He swung the blade down, a giant wave of high temperature flames being expelled from the blades tip.

This time, it had an effect.

Once the flames enveloped the trooper, the armor was enough to protect most of its body. However, it was partially blinded by the flames, and it struggled to fight against Ahatake once more. However, the flames that bypassed him consumed the rest of the troops, who screamed in agonized pain as their flesh was boiled to the core. They collapsed as skeletons, but there was still many more to come....

Another heavy trooper swung his shield right into Ahatake's exposed back while he was focused on the trooper on fire.

It collided, and nearly knocked the Hollow down. However, out of his back, wings exploded, and Ahatake took flight, letting out a great roar of anger. He extended his hand and fired crimson Bala blasts at the soldiers and tanks.

Some managed to avoid the blasts.

Others, however, were not so lucky.

Once again, the armored troopers prevailed over the foot soldiers, their armor able to withstand the attack. However, the foo soldiers' bodies could not handle the power of Ahatake's Bala blasts. Some simply fell to the ground, others screamed in pain befor they died, and others exploded into a puddle of their own blood. It was a massacre, a fight for survival for the Yuurei soldiers as they fought desperately against the seemingly invincible beast.

The situation was getting ever so increasingly desperate.

Ahatake was wondering how much longer it would take to tear these soldiers to pieces. He could feel his energy fading, though he had plenty left. He opened his mouth to speak.

"Everyone that's on my side, get the hell out of the way!!" He said, his voice echoing horribly. He descended, so that he was very close to the Yuurei Soldier's and their tanks. He gripped his blade. "Meidou Wangetsu!" He said, swinging the blade down. It created a large, circular portal, and it immediately began sucking everything in that was in it's way.

"OH MY GOD-_ AAAAAAAAAGH!" There was a chorus of horrible screams that sounded in response, the soldiers and tanks unable to keep their ground. They fell, screaming as they plunged into the abyss that was the portal. Soldiers far away could see it, realizing that this fight was now far from victory.

"FALL BACK!!! FALL BACK!!!!"

"FALL BACK TO THE SECOND LINE! LET'S GO!!!"

With those screams, what remained of the assault began to ferociously retreat. The rebels cheered on. "Whooo!" One of them, possibly a leader, exclaimed. "Fucking cowards! Shoot 'em in the back!!!"

"We can do that after we case 'em, let's go!"

Without hesitation, the line began to purue the rebel soldiers, tanks smashing through the debri and racing ahead, eager to blow up even more.

Ahatake closed the Garganta before it began to spread to his allies, and enjoyed a momentary breather. He turned to look at the resulting destruction the missiles had caused. They seemed to have ceased but the flames were rampant. Ahatake raised his blade into the air and the flames began to reach into the sky and converge onto the blade. They were getting absorbed by Ahatake's Zanpakuto.

"Ah.... that your Resurrecion, I see?"

It was here that Juushin himself made his appearance. His Shikai had already been out. "It's a good thing you're putting that to use." He complimented. "They may have retreated for now, but they're going to have a much more dangerous defense when we go deeper into the city. You ready?"

Ahatake was silent for a moment as the flames continued to be absorbed. When they finished he replied to Juushin. "Yeah, I'm ready."

"Then, let's go." Juushin promptly Flash Stepped after the army.

Ahatake broke into a Sonido and followed, checking to make sure the missiles had really stopped. The fire he had absorbed through his blade had replenished his energy and he was ready for anything.

It wasn't long before they encountered another set of resistance.

When they reached a destroyed area of the sector, mortars once again began to overcome the area, and the tank divisions were so unlucky to be the first ones ahead. The mortars hit them full-force, and the majority of the tanks were ultimately smashed into pieces. The rebels scrambled for cover as more mortars hit their position. Air units began to converge on the area, ready to tear the hapless victims to shreds.

Ahatake raised his blade again. Now his targets were the mortars. Ahatake made a large sweep, sending his black flames heading straight at the weapons.

Immediately, the air units, the birds of death that roamed the skies of Yuurei, begin to open fire on the rebels down below. Their beaks opened up, and a jetstream of flames erupted from their mouths to enveloped their cornered prey. Many of those rebels caught fire, screaming in agony as they tried to put it out themselves. Soon, the majority of the rebels were nothing but charred skeletons. When Juushin, fighting it out against several ground troops, discovered it, he swore under his breath and eyed the birds. He raised a finger towards them, speaking the few words that would mean their deaths.

"Bakudō 43: Hikariori."

A massive-- No... Several massive beams of curling light came and wrapped themselves around the birds. Then, they enclosed around them, crushing their bodies and earning screeches of pain from its captors.

If Ahatake had teeth to grind, he would have done it. He disliked Kido, but didn't complain. Less for his to deal with. He eyed the remaining troopers on the ground. He opened his mouth and a mass of black energy was charging.

"I'll wipe you all out in one blast." He said menacingly, before unleashing the spiraling blast of black energy upon the enemy troopers.

"He's unleashing a Cero!"

Immediately, heavy armored troops raised their shields up and huddled together, acting as one massive shield for the blast. It was able to endure the pressure, and most of the troopers that weren't armored managed to get by safely. They promptly returned fire on the monster, trying to take him out.

Ahatake used Sonido to dodge the resulting bullets. "This is getting old." He hissed, raising his sword. He swung it again, this time with no warning, and created a Meidou. Like last time, it was huge, and it began to suck in everything around it like a large vacuum.

Ad once again, they all got sucked into that very portal. Just like that, the second line was destroyed, and the rebels were free to advance once again... or at least, what was left of that unit.

Ahatake sighed. These troops were proving to be very annoying.

They reached the second area, and were that much nearer to the main structure of the city.

This time, there was little to no resistance in the area. The rebel troops made their way with ease towards the entrance of the massive palace-like structure, which held their target: the King himself. Without Damian's leadership, they would have that much more easiness entering, knowing that the troops had lost their most prized fighter. Though, they still felt uncomfortable; as one would occasionally whisper to the other, "It's far too quiet..."

The quiet was soon to be broken however, as the palace's door opened with a loud creak. Everyone tensed. A figure loomed out of the shadows and into the light. It was a young man who appeared to be in his early 20's. He was dressed in white and was lightly gripping a sword. He had an amused smile on his face.

The King and his Zanpakuto

The King himself

The King of Yuurei[]

"Ready your weapons!" Juushin barked.

Immediately, all of the rebel troops raised their weapons at him, ready to shoot him down at the moment's notice. Juushin walked in front of them, a cold and determined glare marking his features. "You have nowhere to run, my Lord." He stated. "Your armies have been decimated, and rebel forces are on their way right now to surround this city. Surrender now, and we can end this peacefully!"

The man chuckled. "It is true that you have completely destroyed my armies, but to say I have nowhere to run? Juushin, you have been underground for far to long." He snapped his fingers and two figures lept out in front of him. They were cloaked, so their faces were not visible but they gave off a strange aura. "I have two new...test subjects that I shall use here." The king chuckled again. "I will be waiting inside the castle, assuming you manage to survive." He said, fading.

"...." A dumbfounded expression crossed Juushin's face, even as he stared at the two leftover troopers. "What the fuck?" However, he still kept his sword raised, wary of what they could do.

Ahatake landed and his Hollow body cracked and shattered, revealing his human form. The black in his eyes had faded and they and returned to normal.

"H-hey Juushin!" Ahatake called out. "If you don't mind, I'm going to break for a second. That Ressurecion tired me out."

"Sure thing, Kurosaki..." Juushin muttered, not taking his eyes off of the silent troopers. Surely, such a powerful man didn't expect two troopers to take on an entire army? It was clearly suicide. He had to have something hiding under the surface! "Who are you?" He questioned, though assuming he probably would not get an answer.

He was right. They did not speak. They did however, take action, vanishing on the spot and reappearing high above Juushin, gun's pointed at him. There was a loud bang and several red Kido bullets were shot at the man.

"Damn it!"

Immediately, Juushin avoided the blasts, just in time for the squad to open fire on the two troopers out of instinct.

They vanished, and landed on the ground, but they did not stay for long, turning back on Juushin. They seemed to be be programmed to go after him. Raising their gun's back up, they shot rapid fire Kido bullets on Juushin.

Immediately, he raised his sword up to deflect them, astonded at the accuracy and quickness they were displaying. Such agility! He had to commend the army for making such tools to fight for them. He smiled a little, knowing this would be a bit more challenging.

They two seemed to be moving in synch, and jumped back then their bullets were deflected. They extended their hands and fired a Sokatsui blast without the incantation or spell name. The force of the spell blew their hoods off their heads.

It was Ardish and Suki, Damian's bodyguards.

"Hadō 33: Sokatsui!"

Raising his own hand as soon as the bullets stopped, Juushin raised his hand and fired a wide sweeping stream of lightning at the both of them. Theirs might have been combined, but the potency of his was due to his own spiritual energy. It would be enough to match them move for move.

The blasts combined and created an explosion. The siblings were unfazed by it however. They did not seem to be conscious of anything, even the fact that they were fighting. They raised their guns and fired a barrage of Kido bullets.

"What the hell have you done to them, my Lord...?" Juushin muttered under his breath, swinging his sword accordingly to deflect the bullets back at the troopers. "Even Damian wasn't this concentrated in combat before..." He gritted his teeth, narrowing his eyes at the both of them.

They vanished in separate directions, and reappeared on either side of Juushin, As they raised their guns, he noticed that their eyes were blank. They pulled the triggers.

"...You monster..."

Juushin bent backwards to avoid the shots, mentally berating them for appearing to the side of him. Now with the position they were in, they had sent a bullet straight towards each other, point-blank. Would they make it?

The bullets that had been intended for Juushin pierced the siblings shoulder, one bullet from the other, causing them to collapse on the ground. They didn't stir.

Juushin bent straight back, lowering his sword and walking towards the girl first. He kneeled over her, inspecting her for a moment, before sighing and placing a hand to his eyes. "I should've known... somehow, the King brainwashed them into nothing but killing machines. I don't know if I can bring them back to their senses... but, what I want to know is, why did he have them specifically target me, knowing there were other troops around?" His blade reverted from its Shikai state, and he sheathed it.

Ahatake looked at them. "I'm pretty sure Jin can reverse it."

Juushin nodded. "Yeah... that's--"

"Boss!"

He turned around, just to see the remnant of another rebel brigade storm through several buildings to their position. Chidori herself landed in front of them, a rather concerned expression on her face. "I just heard the gunfire. Are you alright?" She asked. Juushin nodded in confirmation, turning his attention towards the Palace. "Yeah. But know, all we need to do is bust through the door and confront the King himself..." He looked around. "Where's Tokoshiki and Jin?"

The two in question stepped up, Jin as blank faced as always and Tokoshiki grinning.

"You rang?" The man asked.

Juushin pointed at the two fallen bodyguards of the deceased Damian. "They're brainwashed. Can Jin snap them out of it?" He asked simply, a serious stare leveled at Tokoshiki. "I want to bring them in for questioning."

Jin walked over to them, and place a hand to their foreheads. "It is possible." She replied quietly. "The method used to brainwash them is primitive." Her hands began to glow and she placed glowing bondages on them, presumably Kido. Then her orange barrier form around them, and they began to twitch for a moment. After about a minute, she removed the barrier.

"It is done." She said, walking back over behind her father.

"All right." Juushin muttered, folding his arms within his sleeves. "You guys monitor them. I'm going in with Ahatake to confront the leader himself."

Tokoshiki nodded. "Alright."

With that, Juushin kicked into a Shunpo to teleport himself to the door, raising a hand and smashing straight through the door. While the smoke was billowing, he turned back towards Ahatake only to motion for him to follow, before disappearing inside.

Ahatake was quick to obey, using Shunpo to follow the man, and caught up with relative ease. "It's finally time." Ahatake said. "I know I haven't been in this region for as long as you Juushin, or felt this King's oppression for as long, but I am feeling elated at being part of the help on the way to reform."

Juushin smiled. "Thank you, Kurosaki. I appreciate your comradeship." He turned his attention towards the last metal door that held the King, a stern expression coming onto his face once more. "With your help, we've managed to destroy the oppression after all of these years. It's time to make up for lost times." He stood in front of the metal door once he approached it. "You ready?"

Ahatake grinned. "As ready as I'll ever be."

Promptly, Juushin pushed the doors open and stepped inside. "We've had enough of this, sir." Juushin stated, scowling as he made his way through the rather large throne room. It served as an arena, more than anything, actually. "I'll say it once more: Surrender now, and we can end this here! The people are sick and tired of the false utopia you've created for them!"

The King was shocked to see them still alive. "Juushin, you know me better than that." He said, slipping off his throne and drawing his sword. "I will not surrender without battle. I, Seiten Kurokara, will kill you both, here and now."

A disappointed look came over Juushin. He gripped the hilt of his own sword, unsheathing it and leveling it in a defensive position. "We rebelled against you because we were sick of living like machines every day of our lives!" He continued, trying to drive his words through the warrior's mind. "We can work together and create a new utopia, a paradise that will truly reflect the glory of the Soul Society! Somewhere the wandering souls can find peace in! Isn't that what you and Damian wanted?"

Seiten took a stance. "There will be peace here without rebels like you alive."

Juushin's eyes narrowed at him. "Either way, I plan on ending this right here and right now. Prepare to be overthrown." He stated, determination backing his voice every step of the way. He was so close to tasting Yuurei's dream, so close to accomplishing it... he wouldn't allow it to fall into the darkness. Even if it meant killing the former King, which he really didn't want. It would only look like a power struggle, someone who would use their hatred for the King as an advantage. If anything, he wanted this man taken alive.

But just barely.

Juushin raised his sword. "Hadō 19!" He shouted, swinging it down. Several bundles of armored projectiles, covered in purple spiritual energy, was fired at the King, though each one seemed to be taking their own path at the same speed. "Sakugukikō!"

"Bakudo 81, Danku." The man murmured, and an energy barrier in the form of a rectangular wall erupted around Seiten, blocking every purple blast that was sent his way.

"Kido." Ahatake thought as the barrier was taken down.

"Hado 74, Surudoikizu." He smiled, moving his finger across in a line.

"Shit!"

"Bakudō 39! Enkosen!" Juushin shouted, raising his free hand up to the man. Where the reiatsu had focused itself, the shield of condensed reiatsu was able to withstand. Immediately, he lifted the barrier, frowning. "That could've been bad." Juushin thought to himself. "Just how far can his power go...?"

Ahatake growled and drew his blade. "Let's get the battle going." He said, vanishing, and reappearing above Seiten, swinging his blade down. The king blocked it with his own blade effortlessly, and pushed Ahatake back.

"If you're going to try a direct assault, I'd suggest attacking at the same time." He said, tsking.

"....Kurosaki. Cover me."

Juushin promptly leaped away, back from the King. He extended his hands out, the skin of them glowing red. "Hadō 48: Bakuyakunami!" He chanted. It sent a wave into the air, disrupting the oxygen of the environment around the King. This lasted for a split second; the result was the effect of the oxygen exploding like several grenades going off.

Before anything else could happen, Ahatake moved, appearing in the explosive area and firing a large Cero at the king.

When the smoke from teh respective attacks cleared, the king was only slightly harmed, his skin burned slightly and his clothing frayed. "If that's really your best, then I'm more than disappointed."

....great.

All of that and only a minor injury? This was bullshit!

Growling, Juushin returned to his own sword stance. Was he far too strong for them? It couldn't be - he had to have some sort of limit! All they needed to do was find it...

Ahatake was annoyed. How strong was this guy? Way back when, he had been able to fight even Seireitou on even ground, and yet this man seemed stronger. "Force my hand at Hell's beckon and Hollowfy me to crush my enemy, Kuǎnwánguó!" Ahatake cried and his Hollow Mask formed on his face as his sword became an overlarge Katana with a black blade and fur in place of the guard.

Ahatake's Shikai

Ahatake's Shikai

Juushin, seeing no other choice, followed suit. "Pressurize! Chikyū Tenohira!" He exclaimed. The sword shifted once again to the form of the gem sword, and he pointed the tip threateningly at his former king.

"Juushin... back me up." He said, flames erupting around him in a manner similar to Ryujin Jakka. "GRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!" He cried, swinging his blade down and sending a wave or yellow-orange flames at Seiten.

The man was smiling as he saw the mass of flames coming his way. J "You won't be smiling once I'm done."

From the way Juushin could see things, his Shikai was able to manipulate gravity, particularly the space between two distances. Once put to its full extent, he could safely predict that he would be able to travel to a star a light-year away in the blink of an eye. He doubted the King's senses could pick up such speed. However, this time, he only needed to use it for a short distance. He only needed it once. Narrowing his eyes, Juushin kicked into his Flash Step. But there was no woosh sound; he simply appeared behind his target, sword raised and poised.

He swung his blade horizontally, aiming to cut through the King's spine.

A red barrier appeared behind him, blocking the attack, cracking only slightly. In that same instance, Seiten caught the flames and crushed them in his hand. Ahatake was wide eyed.

"Such speed Juushin." Seiten said, the remnants of flame falling from his hand. "But do not think I enter battle unprepared. And now...you are within range." He said, turning on Juushin and swinging his sword at Juushin's arm.

"What?! How--"

He was too shocked to dodge, and the blade cut through his arm. A gasp came from the rebel leader, and he jumped back, sword arm at his side. "A Kido barrier?! God... DAMN it." He mentally swore under his breath. He hadn't even known of that spell! With dismay, he watched his arm tear from the nerves and fall to the ground. He'd have to heal it up later.

Ahatake growled, extending his hand. "Cero!" He cried, firing a bright red blast of energy at Seiten.

As the Cero was fired, Juushin readied himself. He had to keep fighting. Jin could deal with his arm once he dealt with defeating the King.

The king cut into the cero easily with his sword, and didn't move from his spot. He raised his sword. "Shatter...Jikuu." He whispered and his sword glew a blue-black color. The entire room they were in was warped into a dark space with no solid ground.

Ahatake was surprised to find himself floating. "What...what is this?"

Juushin scowled, looking around at the entire area. "What in the hell is this?" He demanded, raising his sword towards the man threateningly.

"A dimension that only I can create." Seiten replied, smiling as he looked around. "We are no longer in Yuurei. We're in my world now."

His world?

"You're lying." Juushin accused. "You can't expect us you believe you just teleported us to another realm using only your Shikai, you can't be that powerful." However, he knew he was bluffing; he didn't know the King's true strength. Before he had even utilized his Shikai, he was fighting the two of them off easily. What chance could they stand, now, that he had unleashed his Zanpakuto's power on them?

Seiten placed a hand on his forehead, ruffling his bangs a bit. "You're half right." The king said, looking as Juushin with a satisfied smirk. "I cannot teleport us to another dimension in Shikai. I can, however, create this dimension within another. We are in Yuurei, though we are cut off from it with my power. As far as we are concerned, the outside world no longer exists."

"...what's changed, then?" Juushin questioned further. "All I see is the fact that we're floating in the air. We could do that in the outside realm."

"You'll see." Seiten replied. "Come." He raised his sword. "I'll cut you down here and now."

Ahatake tensed. Something about this realm was off. Besides it's appearance and lack of anything solid, there was something bugging him. He and Juushin had to proceed cautiously.

"We'll be doing the cutting around here!"

Promptly, Juushin kicked into another Flash Step, - or rather, teleport - re-appearing to the side of Seiten. He swung his blade at his side, hoping not to hit the barrier this time.

"Juushin no!" Ahatake cried out. But it was too late. Despite Juushin's undeniable speed, Juushin had not only been blocked, but his shoulder was pierced. Seiten was behind him, his sword in Juushin's shoulder. "Too slow."

He had percieved his speed. With gritted teeth, Juushin could only narrow his eyes as he glared behind him. "Y... you bastard." He spat irritably, a bead of sweat coming down his face.

Seiten removed his blade, and raised it up to swing it down on Juushin. Before it connected however, Juushin was gone. Seiten looked around and saw him flying in Ahatake's direction, attached to rope of black flame.

Ahatake panted. Black flames in Shikai were tiring. "Juushin listen to me. You were thinking he perceived your speed and countered you right?"

"Y...yeah..." Juushin nodded, though the pain was slightly getting in the way of his thinking. "Isn't that what happened?" His eyes still continued to glare at the King, though he was now a bit wary.

Ahatake shook his head, his mask face hiding his expression. "From the moment this dimension was created, I thought I felt something wrong. And I was right. No one I know is fast enough to block the speed you possess, not even His Highness over there. He's manipulating time."

"....you have got to be fucking shitting me."

"I wish I was." Ahatake said gravely. "But his Zanpakuto seems to be a space-time Zanpakuto and right the, he manipulated time to block your attack and take your back." Ahatake sighed, though with his mask it sounded like a hiss. "When I fought an opponent who could control time as he does, there was a blind spot where his powers are nullified. We have to find it."

"I ran out of ideas when you mentioned he was manipulating time." Juushin joked, though his voice was just as grave. "I don't suppose you have any of your own...?"

"Sorry." Ahatake replied, gripping his large blade. "I am stumped. All I can say is we need to fight as a team. Maybe, while he is focused one of us, the other can attack him from behind. Given my Zanpakuto's ability, I think I'm more suited for the latter option."

"....didn't we try that?" Juushin asked skeptically, turning his eyes to look over at Ahatake skeptically.

"Something similar yes." Ahatake replied. "But unless you have a high power move up your sleeve, we have to try again."

Seiten was floating quietly. He had not bothered to attack while Ahatake and Juushin were having their discussion.

"...All right. But how are we gonna do this?" Juushin once again turned towards Seiten, blade raised. Though he despised it, Seiten had every right to be cocky. "Don't think I can manipulate anything without it being there anymore, unless I push to my Bankai. And I wanna conserve my energy as much as possible..."

Ahatake looked at Seiten, then back at Juushin. "Conserving energy is a fine idea, but against this guy it isn't exactly advisable. I was about to use my Bankai, to add power to my attacks."

A sigh. "I really hate opponents like this..." With that, Juushin pointed his blade at the man. "Bankai..." Immediately, he transformed once more. This time, he wore a much darker outfit, similar to that of an assassin's. Tattered with a mix of bandages and an actualy outfit, he looked much more menacing. He had no sword; only his bare hands. "Arumagedon Tenohira."

"Bankai!" Ahatake cried, and flames enveloped him, transforming him. His mask was altered, becoming slimmer and gaining dragon horns, and he was dressed in an all white Shihakushō. He sighed as a sense of relief and normalcy washed through him, as it always did in Bankai form. His sword shrunk from it's overlong Katana state, to a straight sword with a white blade. " Dǎikuǎnwánguó."

"Are you finally ready to fight me?" The king asked, smirking in his wait, not even taking a stance.

"Relax..." Juushin taunted right back at him. "We'll finish this quickly! Hadō 39: Nenshō!" After taking in a deep breath, he blew out a massive stream of fire from his mouth at the man.

Ahatake vanished as Seiten pointed his sword at the fire blast heading his way. Blue energy charged around it and was fired at the fire blast in the form of a beam.

Time Energy

Seiten's energy beam

Juushin used his reiatsu to fuel his own attack, once they collided. He gave it all he could, making it appear as if he was simply trying to gain the upper hand against Seiten. However, it would be all that was need for the distraction.

Ahatake was charging Seiten's down from behind. He raised his blade when he closed in "Enkou..." He swung the blade down. "Wangetsu!" He released a huge blast of blue flames from his blade tip and they enveloped Seiten.

Immediately, Juushin stopped his attack, looking on with apprehensive eyes at the blue flames. Had they done it? He still had his sword settled defensively, just so he wouldn't get ambushed suddenly.

The flames continued to erupt around Seiten, and Ahatake jumped back so as not to be enveloped in his own attack. When the flames subsided however, Seiten was barely scarred, the burns he had sustained from the previous attacks having been added onto, but showing no real sign of injury.

Impossible.

Even when they hit, only minor damage was sustained, and they were expelling their energy far too quickly. Juushin's eyes flickered for a millisecond out of the growing despair he was feeling. Had they just signed themselves off to a suicide mission, when they challenged this man? He seemed far too strong, far too durable, and far too invincible. With every second that passed, it became much more apparent that the fate of this fight was already going to be decided.

They would lose.

Ahatake wasn't feeling fear. He was a man who loved strong opponents, thought the normal elation he would be feeling was marred only by feelings of extreme annoyance. This man was far too strong for them to handle alone.

Seiten turned to face Ahatake. "A surprise attack? Cowardly, nonetheless effective." He raised his sword. "I'll finish you first." He swung it down on Ahatake.

It was time to use a last restort. "Bakudō 99! Part 1!" Juushin breathed in sharply, feeling the large amounts of his own reiatsu leaving him. If this one didn't work, then he would be completely exhausted and vulnerable. Seiten would be free to attack, and Ahatake would be stuck fighting solo. He watched as the spiritual fabric maneuvered themselves around Seiten, ready to wrap around him.

Seiten's eyes widened as he felt his arms being pulled back behind him and strapped to his side. Ahatake recognized this spell, the strongest Binding Spell there was, Kin. He knew what was coming next and was pretty sure Seiten knew as well.

"This ends now..." Juushin spat. "Part 2."

First, spiritual fabric enveloped Seiten completely from head to toe. Then, several long and metal bolts smashed into his body. Finally, a massive metal cube came down from the skies and smashed itself upon the entire mass. That was when all of Juushin's spiritual energy finally left him, and he felt himself slipping away. "F...finish him, Kurosaki..." He said weakly, before fading into unconsciousness.

Ahatake cupped his hands together at his sides and began charging a cero. However, inspiration struck when the cero finished charging and Ahatake began to chant. "Ye lord! Mask of blood and flesh, all creation, flutter of wings, ye who bears the name of Man! On the wall of blue flame, inscribe a twin lotus. In the abyss of conflagration, wait at the far heavens. Hadō 63, Sōren Sōkatsui!!!" Ahatake thrust his hands outward and fired a massive spiraling blast of purple reishi, his own Cero combined with his Kidō Spell. The blast enveloped Seiten, destroying the bindings around him, but incinerating his skin and leaving nothing but ashes. The moment the King's spiritual energy dissapeared, the dimension they were in shattered and they returned to the throne room.

None other than Tereya herself was sitting there, cross-legged and sitting on the floor a few ways off from the unconscious Juushin. She was steadily clapping her hands, eyes closed, and a smile on her face. "Congrats, Kuro." She complimented in an amused voice. "Looks like you didn't need my help, after all." However, in truth, she had been sitting there ever since the King had released his Shikai.

"Like you would have been any use." Ahatake replied, his bankai fading.

"You sure about that?" Tereya questioned, cocking an eyebrow. "But, it really doesn't matter now, does it? The guy's dead and gone..." She looked over at her former boss. "Plus, you might wanna get him to the medic girl. He don't look too good." Despite the fact that one of her former friends was possibly dead, she remained casual about the whole thing.

Ahatake hoisted Juushin up, slinging the man's arm over his shoulder. "I think he's just out of energy. But he DOES need his arm back."

"Well, he's also bleeding to death, but..." Tereya calmly raised a finger to point over her shoulder. "His arm's right there."

"Leave it." Ahatake replied. "The girl can reform it onto him without the need for that one." He began to walk out of the throne room, and broke into a Shunpo.

When he finally left, Tereya allowed herself to laugh. It was such a shame. Why did she even bother watching the fight? Oh... that was right. Surely, Ahatake didn't depend on anyone to fight for him. She shared that same fact. She had chosen to watch the fight out of honor, letting the two duke it out and prove themselves. She always held that hidden respect for someone - a trait that she would never allow to come to the surface. Standing up, she disappeared out of the room.

Ahatake arrived on the outside and was relieved to see that everyone was still there.

"Boss!"

Chidori was the first one to come up to Ahatake, gently relieving him of Juushin's burdening weight. She set him down in front of the ground. "Jin!" She said immediately, though she felt like she didn't have to. The girl saw the injuries clearly.

Jin appeared next to her in an instant. "I will heal you both." She said to Ahatake, as Ahatake moved closer to Juushin. "Stay still." She said as the orange barrier enveloped Ahatake, Juushin, and Chidori, healing Ahatake and Juushin's wounds and regenerating the man's arm.

Juushin's eyes, once the injuries were completely healed, fluttered his eyes open. He rolled over on his back. "Nnnngh..." He groaned. "Did we win?" A smile graced Chidori's lips, and she looked quite relieved to hear him speak. "Yeah, boss..." She said softly. "We won. You won."

The rebels heard her words, and they immediately broke out into a loud cheer, screaming victory over their oppressors. Juushin managed a weak smile of his own. "That's...good to hear." He said in genuine gratitude.

Ahatake slumped down. "Nice work Juushin." He said grinning. "Without that spell of yours, we would be dead right now."

"I thought I was going to die, with the reiatsu I used up to strengthen it..." Juushin muttered, slowly propping himself up into a sitting position. "Thanks for finishing the job, Kurosaki." He looked around. "Jin, what's the status on the two bodyguards? They awake?"

"Yes. They regained consciousness shortly before you and Ahatake emerged from the palace." She gestured over to them, Suki looking furious, Ardish as blank as ever.

With a nod, Juushin stood up, making Chidori glance at him in curiosity. "Boss?" She questioned. Juushin simply shook his head, narrowing his eyes at the both of them.

"I said, I'd question them." He said calmly. "With their leaders killed, along with the deception they probably endured, I don't think there's much resistance that will keep them from talking." He stepped up to them, looking the woman directly in the eye. "Who did it? What happened befrore you were brainwashed into fighting me?" He questioned.

Suki scowled and spit in Juushin's face. "Like I'll tell you anything." She hissed.

"....nice..." Juushin muttered, raising one hand to wipe the spit off. "The government you've been so loyal to has been destroyed by us. We're the ones who freed you from that mental prison you and your comrade were thrown into. Even if you don't talk, I can simply find out by myself. You both will be detained if I do that, and I want your freedom. Make it easy on yourself and tell us."

"The King did it." Ardish replied, speaking for the first time in ages. Suki threw him a furious glare.

Finally getting some answers, Juushin turned towards the man, seeing as he wouldn't get anything from the hot-headed Suki. "Why?" He asked. "Troops like you should've been loyal to him to the very end. Why would he resort to brainwashing you?"

"To block off all emotion and pain." Ardish explained. "And because Suki is ruled by her emotions, it was an advisable thing to do."

Juushin closed his eyes. "I see." He folded his arms across his chest. "Only someone with a truly totalitarian mind would apply to such methods to keep their troops in check. If a utopia was what Seiten was truly aiming for, then controlling other people's minds certainly wasn't it." He looked at Ardish once more. "Did he tell you anything else? His own plans for Yuurei?"

"No." Ardish replied. "He only told such information to Damian and others he trusted. It was never shared with us."

"And the only one we know of was killed by Tereya..." Juushin opened his eyes to a narrowed position, clearly agitated. "Just great." He motioned to the rebels who were raising their rifles towards the two. "All right, you can release them, now." Their eyes immediately widened in surprise at him.

Jin snapped her fingers and the bindings around them fell off. Suki was about to attack them, but Ardish gripped her shoulder. He bowed respectfully to Juushin and and faded, Suki along with him.

"And there they go." Juushin muttered in resolution, turning back towards the main group.

Ahatake yawned. "Hey Juushin. Now that the King is dead, there is the issue of the next king. Without some form of government this place will fall apart."

"Indeed. For now, the military will take control of this place until a true government can be established." Juushin agreed. "The civilians will be evacuated from the underground. This decision... falls on me, I'm afraid..."

"Speaking of things falling on you," Tokoshiki said, grinning as usual. "Why don't you become King" His tone was joking.

Unfortunately, Chidori hadn't seen it as a joke. Her expression brightened, and she stood back up. "You know what..." She said slowly, turning towards her leader. "That's a good idea!" She extended her arms out to motion towards him. "Juushin was the one who led this resistance, so it's obvious who the new leader should be!"

Juushin blinked, both surprised and blank at her statement. "W...me?" He muttered, dumbfounded. "You're kidding... I couldn't possibly..."

Ahatake grinned. "They're right you know."

"I don't have that kind of leadershi--"

Juushin stopped abruptly, once he saw that the entire invasion force, or what was left of it, kneeled before him in a sign of respect. His expression of surprise was replaced by one of serenity. They all wanted him to be the next leader. They wanted him to be a vital figure in reorganizing the government, to make the true utopia Damian and Seiten had failed to achieve. They were all relying on him now... and he couldn't help but smile for a brief moment. He nodded, closing his eyes for a moment.

"All right, then." The leader donned a face of seriousness. "Yuurei Oukoku now has a new King!" This brought a screaming cheer from the rebel forces, as well as his teammates.

Ahatake clapped and everyone joined in. "Then it's settled. The only thing left to do is reverse the damage done to this place." Ahatake looked around sadly. Many buildings were fire damaged, and there were still fires raging.

"Nothing that can't be repaired with some work." Juushin said dismissively, with a wave of his hand. "Such is the cost of victory, but it's nothing that we can't replace."

"Yeah." Ahatake replied, sighing. "This place will be back to normal in no time."

"In the meantime, you can all rest inside the underground base. We'll take care of everything here." Juushin turned back towards the soldiers. "All right, let's move out!" He shouted, getting the soldiers up from their kneeling positions. "We've got some work to do!"

The End

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