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Bleach: Shihai no Tsumi: Pride on the Blade is an article created by Achrones150. Use is allowed with the permission of the owner, with the exception of collaboration-created articles.

This article, Bleach: Shihai no Tsumi: Pride on the Blade is the property of Darkrai.
It may not be used by anyone but the author or the co-author's in question.

Illusion Shatter[]

Suki was now drawing her blade.

"Bloom. Mizuhana." Her blade began to change from it's ordinary katana shape to a blue-bladed broadsword, with a blue hilt and an electric-blue guard.

"Sachi Oní-san, it seems it's just us up here now." She said, gripping her blade.

For a moment, Sachi was silent in response to the statement, her back turned towards the younger sibling. She was concentrated on nothing but her foe, but she had indeed acknowledged what her sister said. But it was the fact that the girl had spoken that had caught her attention. "You're drawing your sword at this particular time of the fight." She remarked. "Why?"

"Everyone else seems to be pre-occupied, and I'm not letting you go at this guy alone." Suki replied. "So, I'm stepping in to help."

"....you should know better."

Even with her calm composure, there was a bit of an ice-cold tone within. "Waiting until your allies' numbers are diminished before stepping in will only hurt you in the long run, especially against a powerful foe such as Takahashi. Be thankful he didn't decide to use your foolish inactivity to gain the advantage on you." She gripped her sword with both hands, readying herself. "If you know what's good for you, Suki...."

Then, she boosted herself towards her enemy to begin the offensive.

"....then stay out of my way!"

"Now now, Oní-chan." Suki said in a slightly mocking tone, launching herself towards Takahashi as well, her blade at the ready. "That's no way to talk to me!"

The Takahashi chuckled, despite both oncoming women aiming to attack him, he did not move from his spot. It seemed rather insane to laugh in the face of oncoming death, but each women soon found out why. Literally fading into being, were two large, golem-like beings, standing at Takahashi's sides, their hands raised to block both oncoming blades.

Sachi narrowed her eyes, clearly not happy about the interference. Once again, her attack on Takahashi had been stopped by interference. Clearly, the man was only toying around with them, pecking at them. She lifted her sword to balance the back of her blade on her shoulder, studying the golem carefully. Her free hand was placed on her hip. Slowly, she floated back in order to gain some distance between herself and her personal enemy.

Meanwhile, back on the ground, Anton raised his hand in a signal to stop. "Relax...." He ordered in a glib tone. "I'm not going to attack you anymore, especially when you're clearly not in a state to fight." He raised both hands, steadily walking towards Rukia to show that he was non-hostile. There was no reason for him to fight to the death in such a situation. As far as he was concerned, the only order Takahashi had given him was to slaughter the civilians. Fighting Rukia was only a side "mission". Therefore, it was optional if he wanted to continue it or not, but not detrimental to his cause.

At first Rukia felt relief, but then she felt suspicion. He said he wasn't going to attack because she was in no shape to fight him. She frowned. He wasn't attacking her, he didn't look like he was attacking the civilians (granted, she could tell almost all of them were dead by now), and Aoi was doing a good job of keeping Oliver occupied. She could turn her attention to Takahashi now. Still, she had to recover herself for a moment. That spell, especially that combo, was not one she'd try again soon.

"What is this thing?" Suki asked as the golem caught her blade. It didn't seem interested in holding on to her, as it quickly threw her back, blade and all.

"Consider it a fragment of my mind." Takahashi replied calmly. "This ability allows me to insert my imagination into another's mind, which is the simplest way to create an illusion. But these illusions aren't like others you may have experienced. You will find that the damage they can inflict is very real."

"Be advised...." Anton warned, folding his arms across his chest. "If you use this recovery time to attempt to fight Takahashi, you'll end up fighting me again. Besides...." He lifted a thumb to point behind him where Takahashi was standing. "Do you really think you'll make that much of a difference? You're better off staying here."

After shaking her head disdainfully at Suki, Sachi turned her eyes towards the golem once more. "It's an illusion that can hurt us.... but that's just it. It's nothing but an illusion...." She thought to herself. "Destroying it by normal means is out of the question because it doesn't exist outside of our heads. There has to be a way to dispel it.... but how?" She readied her sword again, attempting to figure out the solution to this puzzle.

"So, if I want to help them fight, it seems I have no choice but to go through you." Rukia said, raising her blade. Her Bankai would be too stressful. She still hadn't mastered in yet. However, she had one more option, one that would serve as a power-up and help her regain her power.

"Initiate." She murmured, as black reiatsu with a dark purple outline began to erupt and surround her. "Sode no Shirayuki." The reiatsu surrounded her completely, and her power began to rise. As the reiatsu that covered her died down, she was revealed, dressed in a tattered, casual white kimono, with a long red-collar cape on her back. Her eyes had become cat-like and lavender, as well as her hair, and her skin as now pale. She was now barefoot and has a golden sash around her waist. Her weapon also changed from a pure-white katana to a now double-edged red scythe taller than herself.

Anton watched silently, taking in the increase in power. The wind rippled through his hair, blowing off his shredded hat. He closed his eyes for a moment, waiting for her transformation to continue. She insisted on fighting, even though she would be completely outmatched by Takahashi. Even now, he was simply playing with his opponents. By the time this fight ended, she would be too far gone in order to face the big boss himself. She would die like an animal. He took in a deep breath, inhaling through his nose....

....and opened his eyes in surprise.

"What's this....?"

He stared in surprise, looking from side to side, particularly at the corpses. Then, his gaze drifted off in one particular direction for a moment. "That smell...." He thought to himself. "It....it just isn't right.... where is it....?" He jerked his gaze back to his opponent, a frown coming across his face. As he settled into a barefisted stance, he pondered what was going on. "There's dead all around me, unburied, unearthed, and freshly decaying.... and yet.... it's not there....."

He felt a bit of worry seep through him.

"Where is the smell of blood? The smell of rotting flesh?"

Rukia raised her scythe, and boosted herself towards Anton, closing the distance between them in seconds. As she neared him, she swung her scythe, which quickly opened a purple rift that unleashed a powerful blast of dark energy at Anton from close range.

The dance began.

In order to accomodate for the lack of a blade, two Kiriken were summoned in each of Anton's hands. Avoiding the first few strikes, he began to exchange sword attacks with her. His defensive blocks were swift, reflexive, and accurate to his enemy's swings. In exchange, he delivered swift and rapid counter-attacks. There was no holes in his defenses, no let-downs on his guard. Sparks flew between them as their respective weapons clashed against each other for dominance.

Anyone who had a poetic mind could've said it was quite a beautiful sight to see.

In the sky, Sachi placed a free hand to her forehead and closed her eyes. "Mere illusions won't stop us from killing you, Takahashi...." She said. "Just how longer do you intend to delay your defeat?"

"Defeat?" Takahashi repeated. "You make me laugh. Not one of you here has the power to defeat me." He snapped his fingers and the golems each moved in to attack their targets, both golems however, were invisible to the onlookers and it would seem like they were about to cut into thin air.

"No one here has the power to defeat you?" A voice sounded through the area a small pillar of flame appeared next to Megami, and the wounded Miharu and Kibō. The flames died down, revealing the same young man who had just came from the grave. "Care to test that theory against me?"

Ahatake was back.

The Challenger[]

Takahashi looked down at him. "Welcome. Kurosaki Ahatake..." He murmured.

Angelika looked off to the side, an expression similar to "¬_¬" onto her face. It was noticeably comical. "Oh, great...." She muttered, giving a roll of her eyes. "And the big hero comes to save the day. Someone has been reading too much comic books...."

"....Ahatake....?!"

Both Kibō and Megami stared at him with what looked like disbelief. It wasn't the fact that he had simply showed up that caught them off guard. It was the aura that now blanketed him.... invisible.... and yet exuded a power that demanded respect and fear. The way he seemed to stand seemed far different than when he had first looked Takahashi in the eye. Despite the obvious defeat, there was no fear, no anger within his eyes. Whatever Kisuke did to him.... clearly, it worked.

Sachi didn't get that luxury to take her eyes off of her opponent to see Ahatake.

Indeed, she had sensed his presence. But she was too far busy putting her next plan into action.

A jolt to the brain. Using partial energy from a Hakurai spell, she would send a jolt of electricity through her own skull and to her nervous system. Normally, it would be a risk maneuver. But she was a master of Kidō, and thoroughly knew what she was doing. The bolt would shut down her nervous system temporarily, but it would also restart it without consequence. It would force out Takahashi's influence and destroy the illusion once more. It had to be the right amount.... otherwise, she would end up killing herself.

"Hadō 9: Hakurai!"'

ZZZZT!!!

For a millisecond.... all she saw was blackness. Her body felt numb, and she thought she had successfully ended her own life.

Then.... it came back to her.

When she opened her eyes, she saw nothing but Takahashi in front of her. Looking to her right, she saw Suki ready her sword against nothing. But the older sibling knew now that she was under the illusion still. A ghost of a smile came across her face at the small victory against his power. With his control removed, she floated over towards her sister in order to help her.

Rukia actually turned to see who was the source of the spiritual pressure she was feeling. This mistake cost her however, as one of Anton's Kiriken made a gash on her face. She managed to block his next strike with her scythe however, and their exchange of blows continued.

Ahatake stooped down to Megami's level, and took a look at Miharu, who was still knocked out and but she was being healed from the damage Sachi had done to her. "What happened to Miharu?" He asked quietly.

"She was hypnotized by Takahashi's Zanpakutō into attacking us." Megami explained immediately. "Sachi had to knock her out in order to break the illusion. She'll be fine once these wounds heal completely...."

"I see." Ahatake stood up, and vanished from the spot in that instant. He didn't teleport, this was his speed. He closed in on Takahashi, and slammed the back of his hand into the man's face causing him to stumble back. The best part?

Takahashi hadn't seen it coming. He was speechless.

ZZZT!

As Sachi performed the same technique onto her sister, the smile became more prominent. Her eyes had followed Takahashi's expression. Now, the earlier words he had spoken to were effectively nullified, and he now was facing a threat. Not that she would've easily fallen prey to his blade.... however, she knew that even though she had a chance to fight Takahashi, she didn't have the power to completely destroy him. Her Zanpakutō was not built for such things. But this newcomer was showing great promise....

"Huh.....?"

The sound of the backhand blow that Ahatake gave Takahashi immediately caused Anton to stop his head, his head turning to look at the event and his swords lowering themselves for a moment.

Rukia immediately took this chance, swinging down her scythe at him, once again opening the rift and releasing a powerful blast of dark energy at him.

Ahatake turned to look at his wife.

"Megami! Wake Miharu up!" He ordered. "Tell her to go find Seireitou Kawahiru! If I can't win this, I want him to train her so she can do it in my stead. If I do win... at least she'll get some decent training out of it!"

"But--"

However, another voice, completely foreign to Ahatake but known to Rukia, made itself clear.

"Forces of the wicked, and of the purest! Unite! Return to One! Never forget the origin of your pitiful existence! Tears of the befallen, use as your power, as all infidels fall prey to your ultimate wrath! Hadō 94: Idomu Īwatasu!"

The spiritual pressure in the area was already taken over by the two powers of Ahatake and Takahashi.

However, this third presence that made itself known would only add to that growing aura making itself known little-by-little.

From the newcomer's hand, a massive blast of spiritual energy erupted and raced straight for Takahashi. It would not be halted by a spiritual defense, or would it be halted by an attack of equal power. If the man didn't avoid it, even he would be destroyed instantly by the sheer power put behind the attack. It was a Kidō that took extreme skill to use.... but it had seemingly been used so naturally and with ease. There was only one person in the Seireitei who could do so.

And he stood on one of the rooftops, an unreadable expression on his face as he watched the attack commence. Beside him stood Shien, the latter of which with his arms folded across his chest.

The Captain-commander had made his appearance.

Plan Set In Motion[]

"Oh, damn--"

Anton barely had time to move out of the way. However, his arm was caught. He shut his eyes and let out a hiss as he felt his nerves tear, and the rest of his body jerked out of the way. However, the arm that was hit hung at his side helplessly. He panted heavily, sweat mixing in with the blood on his face. "It...doesn't matter...." He gasped out. "There's no need..... for you.... to help now...."

Rukia's eyes widened at this. The Captain-commander, who had so casually dismissed their request for help, was here now.

Takahashi was quick to act, moving out of the way of the spell quickly, landing at a safe distance. "And so the Captain-Commander makes his appearance." He said, not shaken by the spell, or disturbed by the boy's appearance.

"Captain-Commander?" Ahatake murmured, looking over at the boy.

Mikami didn't answer immediately.

WOOSH!

Instead, he re-appeared right beside Ahatake, his Shunpo acting like a teleportation. There was no shimmer, no after-effect in his wake. He simply appeared right beside the male Kurosaki without out any trace of disappearance or re-appearance. His stare was on Takahashi, but his mouth was directed towards the one he stood beside. "Ahatake, was it? He spoke. "Can I trust you.... to take on this threat by yourself?"

Ahatake was mildly-surprised. He was fast. "Of course." He said. His eyes were showing the truth behind his words. "That's the reason I came here."

Mikami gave an acknowledging nod, his own way of giving Ahatake the go-ahead. "Then I shall leave his death in your hands....." He commented, turning to look at Takahashi once more for a moment. "But, before this fight begins...." His voice called a little louder. "Takahashi! I want you to take a good look below you, at what you have assaulted. What do you see.... old friend?"

Takahashi surveyed the Seireitei, and saw a destroyed landscape, buildings in ruins, bodies throughout the area, some of the area scorched. He looked up at Mikami. "I see destruction." Takahashi answered simply. "I see my plans coming to fruition."

Once again, Mikami nodded. "You see death and destruction everywhere, the Seireitei fallen completely. Your eyes take in everything and realize what you see is the result of your own actions. Now.... take in a deep breath.... and tell me what your eyes didn't tell you...."

Takahashi breathed in through his nose... and what he smelled genuinely surprised him. He could smell nothing. Aside from the scent of the dust from the rubble, he couldn't smell the dead. No scent of decaying bodies, or blood.

"I see." He closed his eyes for a moment. "And what did you do?"

A small smile came across Mikami's face. "It is not what I did.... rather.... it is what we did. And we never could've done it thanks to you..." He answered simply, closing his eyes and concentrating. His arms folded themselves across his chest, and his body began to glow with a pale green aura.

The reaction was slow... but clear.

Anton was the first to notice. His eyes widened as he caught sight of a body lifting itself into the air and slowly ascending towards Mikami. A second joined it, followed by another. Pretty soon, every corpse in the Seireitei that had once been a civilian was floating towards Mikami. However, as they came towards him, they began to glow, and then materialize into a pale green energy-like substance once they came close. He took in a deep breath as they entered through his chest, like a black hole sucking in light from a star. It only took seconds for the process to finish. Once it did, Mikami opened his eyes and directed his gaze towards Takahashi again.

"The moment you stepped foot on these grounds, you sensed that the Gotei 13 was barely alert and unaware of your presence. However, you should've thought less about the future, and back to the past. I remember what you said clear as day: Shinigami define evil by many terms, the most prominent being "Hollow". But I define it as ignorance of possibilities. You Shinigami will see how wrong your views are. Shinigami kill Hollows out of fear. And your fear is very much justified, for Shinigami are weak. A mere amount of ten Vast Lordes Hollows could decimate us all. You fear Shinigami with Hollow powers because you're afraid they'll turn on you. Your fear in this is jutsified as well, for it is what I am about to do. I will prove to you the superiority of Shinigami with Hollow powers by becoming one. I will become complete, and I will be back to destroy the Gotei 13 as it is. I will come back and methodically slaughter each and every one of you. Those simple words were your most fatal mistake.... and our greatest advantage."

He spread his arms out.

"I evacuated the citizens of this place half an hour before you ever showed your face for the second time here. It took some work, having to keep both my allies and my enemies in the dark in order to prevent any leakage from coming out.... but, in the end, I can see that everything has fallen into place like a puzzle. You haven't killed one innocent soul on this violent pilgrimage, Takahashi.... and you haven't destroyed one single thing...."

He shut his eyes once more, raising his hands.

This time, the effect was immediate.

Pieces of rubble that had been lying on the ground.... concrete that had been uprooted.... what was once destroyed structures.... they all were flying to their respective pieces like a puzzle. Cracks were repairing, buildings were reforming, and the ground itself seemed to be healing from the damage. Whatever damage that had been inflicted by Takahashi and the Shriekers was being reversed....

An act of God was taking place.

Takahashi was looking at this with a look of complete apathy on his face. The sight had not deterred him in the slightest. "Needless to say, I am surprised, Captain-Commander." He said, turning towards the boy. "And I have to ask, how did you manage to do this?"

"The 12th Division was of great use." Mikami said, prompting Shien to smirk. "They allowed for construction of a normality restoration device - something that would be used in case the Seireitei and Rukongai was to ever face destruction. It could "reset" like a program, forcing a basic restart and reversing any damage created. However, it required a being of magnificent power to serve as both a conduit and its "jumpstart"." His eyes narrowed slightly as he spoke the next words. "You came here thinking that you could exact revenge, to deliver judgment on those who had supposedly wronged you. But in reality, your target was the very afterlife itself. No matter how much power you gain... no matter how many lives you end or sacrifice for your own personal cause.... the afterlife deems you unworthy and will reject your so-called retribution. You can never destroy us."

As he was speaking, there were several figures that appeared on other rooftops. Two of which were the Yamamura parents, Mitsuki and Tora. The rest were the majority of the Gotei 13 Lieutenants and Captains, all of them having some sort of battle damage inflicted onto them. "As for your Shrieker army...." Megami continued, taking a glance down at the audience. "They have been destroyed. Your creatures may have been able to give my Captains a rough time.... but there are the few that possess power beyond that.... and proved those Hollows to be nothing more than ants."

"Looks like someone's been doing their homework...." The German mercenary thought, surprise clearly etched across her face.

Takahashi Hollow Mask

Takahashi in with his Mask on and his blade drawn

"I see." Takahashi looked over at the boy. "You have certainly surprised me. But this is not the end for me yet." He turned towards Ahatake. "Allow me to show you something, Kurosaki Ahatake." He placed his hand over his face, moving it smoothly over it, donning his Hollow Mask.

"Hollowfication!?" Ahatake was shocked. This man was a Visored?

MASKED[]

Mikami closed his eyes, floating back and away. "Remember this, Ahatake...." He reminded calmly. "If you fall.... then we will simply kill him in your stead. You told me you could handle this threat on your own, and we came to see this murderous traitor die. Don't disappoint me."

"I don't appreciate being made into a show." Ahatake said back. Then he turned to face Megami. "Megami, wake Miharu already and send her to find Seireitō!" He sounded insistent on this one. Then he turned to face Takahashi, taking off his cape and throwing it to the ground. He reached to his side, pulling up his katana, sheath and all, before removing it. Then he gripped both the blade and sheath. Then...

They started. Ahatake made the first move, launching himself towards Takahashi, swinging his sword in quickly from the side. To Ahatake's surprise however, Takahashi caught the blade in his bare hand, and swung his own blade at Ahatake, who quickly blocked with his sheath. They were in a stalemate, all of their hands occupied. Ahatake was the first to act, slamming his head into Takahashi's stunning him and sending him flying back. He ran at great speeds through the air in pursuit.

Megami winced, attempting to open up her mouth to retort. But now, Ahatake was already fighting it out against Takahashi. What in the world was she supposed to say? "Hey Mi-chan, you're going to have to go find this Seireitō guy, despite the fact that you probably don't know what I'm talking about!" However, she knew that if Ahatake fell, then it would be one less step for the tyrant to take in order to destroy Soul Society. "Dang it...." She muttered softly, placing a hand onto Miharu's shoulder. Gently, she shook the girl. "Mi-chan.... c'mon, get up. I've finished healing your wounds, and there's been enough time passed...."

Miharu's eyes blinked open, and she sat up groggily. "W-where am I?" She muttered, looking around.

"Oh, thank God!" Immediately, Megami grasped her in a tight hug, though not enough to suffocate her. She had been through enough! "We're still in the Seireitei, dear. Don't worry about what happened.... all that matters is you're fine now...."

Miharu chuckled weakly, hugging her mother back, but then looked around, surprised. "Wait! Kā-chan, wasn't all of this destroyed the last time I saw?"

"Like I said...." Megami whispered, gently pulling Miharu away and holding her by the shoulders. "Don't worry about it. But.... your father is in trouble, and he's asked something of you that I hope you and he know about. Do you know...." She paused for a moment. "....who Seireitō is?"

"Um..." Miharu sat there for a moment. "Sort of.." She said, thinking back. "He used to tell me about his training when I was a kid. Seireitō's supposed a super-strong Shinigami, but I don't know anything other than that."

This caused Megami to let out a helpless groan. "And here he was acting like you knew him...!" She complained, slight irritation in her voice. "Listen, I don't know what your father's thinking right now. But he told me to tell you that you need to find this Seireitō Kawahiru person and train under him..... in the case that Ahatake falls, he wants you to defeat Takahashi in his place." She had a rather helpless expression on her face. "I'm sorry, dear.... but.... he didn't even give me a hint as to where this person would be at...."

Miharu groaned. "Great, now I gotta go on some hunt for a teacher. But, if he's as strong as Tō-san says he is, I should be able to sense a power like that from a mile away." She stood up. "In that case, I guess I gotta go find 'im."

However, Megami stood up with her, once again embracing her in a tight hug. A tear streamed down each cheek. "You be careful out there, you understand....?" She whispered, her voice cracked. But she didn't bother to hide it. She wasn't going to hide the fact that she was going to miss the child's company, even if it was going to be for a short time. "I know you can handle yourself out there, but.... I'm going to worry about you. So please, promise me that you'll make your father and I proud, all right....?"

Miharu hugged her mother as tight as she could. "Don't worry Kā-chan." She said, smiling. "I'll make it back alive and stronger than you can imagine!"

"I know you will...." After a kiss onto the forehead, Megami reluctantly let go and stood onto her feet. "Now go...." She whispered. "Time's wasting..."

"Yeah!" With that, Miharu took off, heading towards one of the gates. She knew she couldn't get out through the sky, the SekiSeki barrier would stop her. As she reached a Gate, she didn't know which one, or care, she knocked. As soon as she saw it open, she snuck through it, the Guardian missing her completely. With that, she drew her blade.

"Improvise, Kyūmu!" From it, she created a large feather. Jumping on it, she took off, flying off into the sky in search of Seireitō.

"Takahasi, explain something to me." Ahatake said, skidding back from a sword clash with him. "Besides completely annihilating the Gotei 13, what is your goal?"

"My goal?" Takahashi repeated. "I want to obtain as much Hollow power as I possibly can, while still retaining this body." He placed both hands on his chest for a moment. "The first one to mix blue and yellow called the new color "green". I want to do something similar to that. If blue is Hollow, then yellow is Shinigami, and green is the end result... Only one who understands the value Hollows can have for Shinigami and effectively harness their powers can be called the Ultimate Being."

Ahatake was disturbed by this. What Takahashi had said was exactly what he had wanted to do after first harnessing his Hollow powers. This man was like him, in a way. He breathed in, his feet beginning to glow slightly. And he launched himself forward, his blade poised to strike. Without warning, a red blast of energy came hurtling his way.

"Shit, a Cero!" Ahatake immediately moved, dodging the red beam of energy. "Why wasn't I expecting that?"

Tora looked at the spectacle silently, arms folded across his chest as observed every movement made between the two fighters. It was literally watching their future being decided right in front of their eyes. If Ahatake died.... then the blonde Yamamura himself would be the first one to put the finishing blade in Takahashi's neck. There was no way he could allow Takahashi to claim victory after this carefully put plan. This had to work! It aggravated him, but.... he was putting complete faith in the one that he criticized for being so headstrong.

Angelika looked on silently, a rather solemn look of her own crossing her face. Her trenchcoat billowed into the winds. "So far.... it looks like they're even...." She commented to herself. "But I wonder how long that will last....? Especially considering that they haven't revealed their full strength to each other yet. Quite a tense atmosphere building...."

"You dodged." Takahasi noted. "I congratulate you."

Ahatake didn't even take note of this. His feet began to glow slightly as he accelerated towards Takahashi.

"That's right. Charge in." Takahashi waited as Ahatake neared him, and then unleashed another Cero without warning, from the center of his mask.

"Not this time." Ahatake swung his blade, cutting clean through the Cero and charging right in, surprising Takahashi. Ahatake swung his blade down on the man, who immediately used his to block. They were once again in a stalemate. This time, Ahatake broke it, by kicking Takahashi down from the air. The man flew threw a building before crashing into the ground, leaving a small, but apparent crater.

There was silence.

"You can get up." Ahatake said coldly, descending. "I know you're not hurt. Not from an attack like that."

"What men...."

Even as her client was kicked ruthlessly into the ground by her enemy's immense strength, Angelika was unfazed. "Having to force each other to the ground before they deal a final blow...." She remarked, staring in what was slight annoyance. "Just get it over with and kill the other, already...."

Takahashi got back up, building rubble falling off him. He dusted himself off, and vanished on the spot, appearing behind Ahatake, his blade at the ready. Ahatake sensed his power and turned.

"Senka." He thought to himself, recognizing the form. His blade clashed against Takahashi's, blocking both strikes, blades sparking. Then, Ahatake started his offensive, swinging his blade at Takahashi. Takahashi used his own to block, but Ahatake was pushing him back, their blades letting sparks loose as they clashed.

"I find this to be a bit....funny."

Anton had turned his gaze towards Rukia, arms folded across his chest as he watched the two fight it out. Well.... as best as he could anyway, considering the woman had rendered one of them useless. His voice was slightly pained, yet still held a glib tone. "Despite that your friend can fight on even grounds with Takahashi.... our client just seems to anticipate every move he makes. Truthfully.... I don't think that revenger will last much longer, do you?"

Rukia had returned to her normal form, her fight with Anton was basically over. Since he had no civilians to kill, and Ahatake was more than handling Takahashi, she had no reason to continue fighting. "I'm not sure." Rukia replied slowly. "Just like Takahashi is anticipating Ahatake's moves, Ahatake seems to be doing the same. I barely saw that Senka strike Takahashi had performed, yet Ahatake not only deflected it, but is now on the offensive. Our side may just have a chance."

"Quite the faith you have...." Anton remarked, smiling a little. He looked over his shoulder at her. "I suppose that's the way how a noble's mind works." He shrugged his shoulders. "Oh, well. The only thing that's closer to that faith is that Takahashi can't pay us if he's dead...."

"Hm?" Rukia looked surprised. "Pay you? Aren't you loyal to him, like the Shinigami woman?"

This prompted Anton to turn towards her, his expression slightly incredulous. "You mean you never noticed it?" He answered back. "Surely, two things should've given that away. The first thing is that I'm not addressing him with your Japanese suffix "-sama" as the rest of his minions would. Secondly, if we were loyal to him, he would've had a lot more soldiers with Kidō weaponry instead of those Shrieker creatures. We may work with him to help his cause.... but loyalty? Hah.... we have no such thing towards him."

"I see." Rukia slowly turned her head back towards the battle. This surprised her. Takahashi ventured into the Soul Society with the intention of destroying it, with only one soldier loyal to him? Even with all his power, such an action should be considered suicidal. And even if he won the battle against Ahatake, he'd still have to deal with the Captains. If the soldiers were only with him for the money, they could easily shrug him off and go find a new client willing to pay double, they could leave Takahashi to fight these Captains on his own. She wondered if Takahashi had a counter-measure to that.

Ahatake used his sheath to block on oncoming strike from Takahashi, and swung his leg upward, aiming for Takahashi's mask. Takahashi blocked it with his arm, and then gripped Ahatake by the ankle, throwing him down into a building, destroying more of the Seireitei that the Twelfth Division had so recently mended.

Ahatake got up, his clothing slightly damaged from the fall. Lights began to flicker around his feet, and he launched himself towards Takahashi. The moment Ahatake was close to him, he sank his blade right into Takahashi's chest, where his heart was.

"!!!!"

There were gasps of surprise and even slight cheers from what appeared to be a killing blow to Takahashi. The only ones who remained silent were the Yamamura family and the Captain-commander, all of whom had silent and solemn looks onto their faces. The blow made was certainly from an obvious motion that Takahashi was sure to have seen coming. So why hadn't he avoided death? Unless, of course.... it wasn't a fatal attack....

Angelika looked skeptical, but remained silent as she watched the stop in the fighting. However, she was beginning to feel a bit of disappointment. If she had come all the way only to see her client die, then she might as well make the V-14 depart from the area. However, something compelled her to stay.... after all, even she knew that it was an obvious blow made by Ahatake. Her eyes searched the Gotei 13 crowd out of boredom, preparing to scan over the two fighters if they started agai--

"Wait a minute."

Her eyes caught something, moving quickly through the buildings and over the dead Shrieker bodies. At the moment, the figure was far away from the battle and main group itself, but was quickly closing the distance"That's funny...." She thought to herself. "I could've sworn that all of the survivors had been killed in the attack. That doesn't look like Gotei 13 personnel down there...."

Takahashi was motionless, his body limply hanging on Ahatake's blade. Ahatake wasn't smiling, but he truly believed he had won.

"It's-" Ahatake began to speak but was cut off by Takahashi's blade cutting into his chest.

"-Over?" Takahashi finished his sentence, pulling Ahatake's blade from his chest. There was no blood on it at all. He let Ahatake's blade go, and Ahatake himself stumbled back, bleeding.

"You're wondering, I'm sure, how I managed to survive have my chest impaled." Takahashi calmly flicked Ahatake's blood from his blade. He opened his shirt enough to reveal a Hollow hole where his heart should have been. "You see, I'm not a Visored, as I'm sure you initially thought. I am a Toreru."

"Boooooooo, you suck!!!!!"

In the midst of the silent Gotei 13 crowd, one angry yell was met by slightly annoyed glares towards its colleagues. The person who said it immediately shut up.

"A...Toreru?" Ahatake repeated. "And just what is that?"

"Earlier, I told you my goal was to become as Hollow-like as possible without losing my human form. After multiple experiments, I came to this result. Toreru are Vizard who have sealed away thier Hollow powers in the form of another Zanpakutō and gain the powers of an Arrancar. I've gained access to Hierro, Garganta, Cero, Negación, all abilities of Hollows and Arrancar. This is as close as I can possibly go, but my evolution is not yet finished. Toreru Inner Hollows can go through a process similar to Menos Evolution, by using the Zanpakutō they are sealed in to kill other Hollows, absorbing their power. In my current state, my Inner Hollow is of the Adjuchas-class." He was speaking loud enough for it to be heard by everyone, not just Ahatake.

"Damn." Ahatake thought to himself. "I should have aimed somewhere different. It looks like I'll have to bring that out after all."

It was here that Angelika spotted the figure hiding behind one of the buildings.... where Rukia and Anton had their backs turned. "Whoever it is.... I wonder whose side are they on...." She thought to herself.

Ahatake stood up, ripping part of his shirt off, and doing his best to wrap it around his wound. He sheathed his blade and reached into his pocket, pulling out a small hunting knife. "Takahashi, allow me to show you why I was gone for so long, and why you are going to lose, right here." He raised the hunting knife, and swung it down, releasing from it a blast of purple colored, blob like matter that sped across the ground. Unlike a Cero or other energy blasts, it was eating away at the ground. It collided with a building and went right through it, eating away at the building as well.

Takahashi had turned his head to follow it, and turned back around. One could only assume he was surprised, since his face wasn't visible through his mask. "And just what was that?"

"Giji Riyū." Ahatake replied, holding the hunting knife at his side. "A substance that mimics riyū to an extent. A creation of my mothers."

Down below, it could be seen that the figure was a girl. Short, black hair tinted with red highlights covered her head. She had crimson eyes, as well as skin bruised, battered, and bloody. Obviously, it could be assumed that she had been through a hellish struggle, though some of the markings on her were from past attacks. She carried a katana within one of her hands, its blade also stained with crimson. She was looking at the backs of Rukia and Anton as they watched the two superpowers fight it out. They didn't notice her.

Perfect.

Making sure to keep herself quiet, she snuck up behind Rukia, her footsteps like a ghost's. Every step closer brought her adrenaline ever higher. She kept herself contained as she approached her target, using the stealth of a 2nd Division member in order to achieve her goal. Then, she stopped right behind her to pause for a moment. A rather sinister smile came across her face as she raised her blade into position. Her free arm was also raised, her hand balled into a fist.

Then, with speed that could only be covered in milliseconds, she wrapped that free arm around Rukia's neck.

An Old Friend[]

The moment Rukia felt it, she began to struggle, her hands reaching up at the arm that was around her neck, trying to pull it away.

Cold steel came into view a second later.

"Ah, ah, ah...." A soft voice cooed, a hidden venom seeped within. "Keep it up, and I'll have to put this through your head sooner than I would've liked." Anton wouldn't recognize it; the look on his face before surprise upon seeing the second woman was none other than confusion. However, from that time ago, Rukia would clearly remember who it was.

"Aku!" She gasped. "How're you-! Weren't you arrested a century ago?" She ceased struggling, having no interesting in being speared by a blade anytime soon.

A malicious chuckle escaped the woman's lips. "Thanks to that last-minute move you made on me, I was." Slowly, she released the Kuchiki, raising the blade away from her neck. "They may have taken away my powers for now... but during my stay, they were kind enough to teach me so many things on how to inflict pain and agony on someone.... they taught me firsthand...." If Rukia had turned around, she would see the burn marks on her legs, partially covered by a slightly too-long hoodie coat. She would also see bruises and lesser burns on the rest of her body.

"Since you're not in prison, you've obviously escaped." Rukia said, not a trace of fear in her voice, the shock of the woman returning finally subsiding. "So, why didn't you take this chance to escape? You want to take revenge on me?"

Aku lifted her blade in order to point it at Rukia's face, almost as if ready to combat the woman again. "Oh, you always were a perceptive one, Kuchiki-san...." She remarked, tilting her head to the side. "But, I think we both know that this isn't the time to be worrying about each other. Or rather, you to be worrying about me. Once that man kills Ahatake, you will be the next to be his target. If you survive the Seireitei's destruction afterwards.... well, that will be only a signal for me to return again in the future, isn't it?"

"What do you mean "once that man kills Ahatake"?" Rukia asked sharply. "Ahatake still has a winning chance." She used her arm to gesture at the destruction the blast of his Giji Riyū had caused.

The criminal woman lowered her blade, her free hand placed onto her hip. The statement only caused her to smile in amusement. "As I was fighting for my life against those monstrous creatures.... I saw some of the fight that was going on. From what your friend told me before I was apprehended by Ukitake.... I gathered him to be nothing more than a leaderless soldier, a stubborn brute only focused on killing his enemy. There was no forethought, no intelligence, no logic. Maybe if he still held that nature.... he would've held a fighting chance against his demise. However, I also heard him order his wife to send Megami off to train under some unknown teacher in the case that he falls."

She stepped a bit closer to Rukia.

"Don't you get it? He himself is acknowledging his own death, and that's why he sent his daughter to prepare to fight in his stead. With a mind like Takahashi's....a mind who only knows what the gods themselves know.... a mere soldier has no chance of winning. Ahatake will die, and the corruption of the Gotei 13 will finally be destroyed...."

"We'll have to see then. I'm trusting in Ahatake to win this." She replied, focusing on observing the match. "He must have a way to win. That knife is definitely his secret weapon."

"Now Takahashi. This is my new power." He gripped the knife at his side and it began to glow purple, losing it's solid shape and turning into a floating blob of Giji Riyū, similar in appearance to what makes up the Kōryū and the Kōtotsu of the Dangai Precipice World.

"And this is?"

"My Fullbring, The Ties that Bind." Ahatake explained. "It allows me to transform my knife into this blob of Giji Riyū. But I won't explain further than that. I'll just show you." He placed both hands over the blob of Giji Riyū, the blob not harming him as the blast had eaten away at it's surroundings. He immediately brought his hands apart, and the blob lengthened into an energy lance. "I'm coming for you, Takahashi."

"Fullbring. A power unique to humans that allows them to draw on the souls of objects." Takahashi murmured. "That explains so many things. His sudden surge in spiritual power, why he hasn't released his Shikai or donned his Mask. He's given them up in exchange for this power."

Angelika now had her hands propping up her cheek, "sitting" in the air in what looked like clear exasperation. "Can't they just continue this fight already instead of talking....?" She thought to herself. "I'm getting wrinkles on my skin just waiting for one of them to make a move!" Nevertheless, she sat and waited for one to continue the fight.

Ahatake's feetr once again began to flicker with Bringer Lights, and he appeared before Takahashi, swiping the lance down on the man's neck. Takahashi dodge however, and his arm was cut instead. The arm began to bubble and dissolve, similar to what had happened to the ground and building, his arm being eaten away.

Takahashi looked down at his arm, and, in once swift motion, hacked it off. The arm fell, and hit the ground, disintegrating from the effects of Ahatake's Fullbring.

"Didn't want to go the same way as your arm, eh?" Ahatake said, a small grin crossing his face. "Hacking it off was smart, but, soon the rest of you is going to end up just like that severed limb. You can't hack all your limbs off, Takahashi. My Fullbring is going to eat you alive."

"You seem so sure of yourself." Takahashi replied, and there was a slightly cracking noise as his arm began to regenerate, Takahashi fully regaining the limb in under 5 seconds. "I told you." He said, vanishing and appearing behind Ahatake. "I have become as Hollow-like as I possible can. For someone who used to have these powers, you aren't thinking straight." He rammed his elbow into Ahatake's face, sending him shooting into a nearby building. This time however, instead of toying around him him, Takahashi pursued him. As he neared him, he fired a barrage of Cero blasts. However, Ahatake had been prepared, using the Giji Riyū to form a durable Riyū shield that destroyed the Ceros the moment they came in contact. Ahatake stood up, recalling the Giji Riyū to him, and it resumed it's lance form.

At this point, Aku balanced the blade over her shoulder and let out a slight sigh. "Well.... as much as this fight entertains me.... I must be off." With that, she turned onto her heel and walked off, ignoring Anton's incredulous stare at her back. "Make sure not to die on me, Kuchiki...." Then, she broke into a run, disappearing from sight as quickly as she had come to ambush the ambassador.

Rukia was puzzled. Aku came here, successfully captured her, but then left. She frowned. Her words did imply that she'd be back however. Best to end this now. She broke into a Flash Step, pursuing the woman, drawing her blade.

"Dance, Sode no Shirayuki." She turned her Zanpakutō in a circle counter-clockwise, releasing it with a rush of cold air. She was sure Aku was bound to feel that, so she acted as quickly as she could.

"Daigo no mai, Shirawana." She stabbed the ground with her sword, sending her spiritual energy to tunnel into the ground. Before she was aware of it, geysers of energy shot up around Aku, spiraling around her and effectively impeding her movement. They began to solidify, and merged at the top, sealing off the top, and from the sides, formed pillars with very then gaps, forming a cage of durable ice.

"....?"

The sudden move had caused Aku to stop immediately, eyes looking around in surprise. She raised her hands up, placing her palms onto the cold walls that surrounded her. She turned around, feeling each wall as she did so. If she had her power back, smashing through this makeshift barrier would not be a problem. But, as she was, brute force would not be able to work. She frowned, closing her eyes and taking a deep breath. "Then again..... I suppose I could stay for a while...." She commented coolly, shifting her position so that she was sitting Indian style.

"All you have to do is wait for this battle to be over." Rukia said, sitting down herself. She was going to guard this woman. "Then they can take you back to the Nest of Maggots."

"Assuming your hero doesn't die...." Aku answered mockingly, not bothering to emphasize her teasing with a smile. Rukia wouldn't be able to see it anyway, what with the ice blocking their view of each other.

"He won't." Rukia said, flashing a small smile of her own. "I'm sure of it."

Ahatake took the lance he was holding and threw it at Takahashi. However, Takahashi, now aware of the Fullbring's ability, easily dodged it. The Fullbring dissipated, returning to Ahatake's hands in the form of the blob. He left the blob fly this time, sending it right at Takahashi. He was going to smother him in the Giji Riyū. However, Takahashi didn't seem keen on being hit by it anymore, for he was moving. As soon as the Riyū neared him. he vanished from the spot with a Sonido.

"Why can't I hit him!?" Ahatake thought, frustrated.

"Your attacks are missing." Takahashi taunted. "Are you losing sight of me?"

Ahatake hissed, though Takahashi was right. His attacks were missing, and he himself seemed to be getting weaker. Was it the blood loss from the earlier inflicted wound? Or was he just outclassed? Takahashi vanished with a Sonido, appeared behind Ahatake, slamming his elbow into Ahatake's neck, stunning him, he then kicked Ahatake in his side, sending him hurtling through more buildings. There'd be some cleaning to do after this. Takahashi descended, landing lighly on the ground. The moment he felt Ahatake get up however, he sped towards him, landing a punch in the young man's stomach.

"You were foolish you know." Takahashi said, backing up slightly as Ahatake doubled over. "Instead of using abilities and powers that you've had centuries of practice with, you give them up in exchange for powers you haven't mastered. The way you are right now, you cannot win."

"DON'T LISTEN TO HIM!!!"

High above them, the familiar voice of Megami called. Her figure could be seen standing on top of a roof, hands cupped over her mouth to magnify the sound of her voice. Because of the distance, she herself had to personally move to them in order to keep the battle within her sight. Her eyes held a slightly nervous look, almost as if she was afraid to be there. However, she continued to speak, regardless of Takahashi's presence. "C'mon, get up!!" She insisted, a pleading tone to her voice. "He's the one that was responsible for both Kyashi and Ryuka's deaths.... he used our daughter as a tool to hurt us.... and now he's trying to toy with your mind!!! For them.... for us.... stand up and fight!! We know you can win!!"

Ahatake was shocked to hear her calling down to him. But he knew she was right. He couldn't lose. Not here, not when everyone needed him to win. In an instant, he was back on his feet, battle ready. Takahashi was surprised. "So you still have some fight in you." He raised his finger into the air. "I'll crush it, right now! All your hope, every thought in your head that makes you think you can win! They'll all go up in smoke!"

Ahatake braced himself for what was coming.

"Seeping crest of turbidity. Arrogant vessel of lunacy! Boil forth and deny! Grow numb and flicker! Disrupt sleep! Crawling queen of iron!" Takahashi began to be surrounded in a dark red aura as he continued his chant. "Eternally self-destructing doll of mud! Unite! Repulse! Fill with soil and know your own powerlessness! Hado number 90! Kurohitsugi!" The sky began to darken as multiple boxes of black energy appeared, each of them topped off with cross-shaped spears. Ahatake was wide-eyed and speechless as the technique began to enclose on him. They began to multiply enclose themselves on their Ahatake, completely shutting him out in a pillar of blackness.

Megami gritted her teeth unconsciously, fists clenching. "Come on....break out...." She encouraged mentally.

It was silent for a moment, and Takahashi truly believed it had ended, smirking under his mask. Then, the tall pillar of energy began to crack, and multiple purple spikes of Giji Riyū blasted out from all directions, completely shattering the level 90 Kidō spell. As the spell fragments fell to the ground, the look in Ahatake's eyes meant only one thing. He was ready to continue.

"You say I haven't mastered this power, Takahashi Ishikawa?" Ahatake said, beginning to become surrounded in an aura of energy. The fact that I haven't "mastered" it means there's always something new I can do with it. It's not perfect, and that's good. It's why you will lose." His feet began to once again flicker with Bringer Lights, and he jumped, landing a spinning kicked to Takahashi's face, cracking his mask. Ahatake gripped Takahashi by his collar and threw him from the area they were standing. He made a wide jumped, and accelerated in mid-air, using his Fullbring, in the shape of a sword, to slice Takahashi in half. As Ahatake landed on the ground, both halves of Takahashi fell to the ground behind him.

For the longest moment, Megami could only stare at the halves of her enemy as they landed on the ground.

Then, she took in a deep breath.

"YES!!!" She shouted, raising her fists in the air and jumping for joy. "Yes, I knew you could do it, Ahatake!!!" She just wanted to go over and give the guy a big old hug. However, she wanted to wait until Ahatake lowered himself down to do so. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Naomi and Mikami appear a few distance away from the rooftop, Naomi slowly stepping towards the two halves. But she could hardly care less. All that she knew was that her husband finally killed the guy!

"He's not dead Megami." Ahatake called up. And he was right. The top half of Takahashi's body began to wriggle, and the body began to restore itself, first regenerating bones, then muscle, then skin. Takahashi's new revived body (completely with clothing), stood up.

"Had that been anyone else, that would have worked." Takahashi said, dusting himself off.

"I could say the same about your Kidō." Ahatake spat back. He sped towards Takahashi, swing his Giji Riyū blade. He had forgotten something key to regenerators. Just put them away before they can do it.

"....oh, god damn it...." Naomi said irritantly, glaring at the revived Takahashi body. "Now this is getting ridiculous...."

"Agreed...." Mikami remarked, his voice deadpan.

"I'm agreeing with them."' Aoi remarked. She and Oliver had broken up their bout since the Head Captains arrival, and hadn't resumed since. She frowned. "Grandfather, you should be able to end this by now. Why are you dragging it out? CRUSH him!"

Ahatake charged towards Takahashi, sending the Giji Riyū forward in a blast of spikes. Takahashi expertly dodged them and used Sonido to get in close towards Ahatake, swinging his blade and cutting into Ahatake's side. Ahatake jumped back, and sent his Giji Riyū forth in a massive wave. It ate away at the ground and anything in it's path as it headed for Takahashi. Takahashi immediately dodged it, and then sped towards Ahatake, slashing him across the chest, causing blood to spurt. He slammed his leg into Ahatake, sending him hurtling into the ground. Takahashi descended, as Ahatake struggled to his feet.

"It's over." Takahashi fired a Cero, almost throwing it at Ahatake, causing massive damage to the boy. Ahatake collapsed, and hthe blob of Giji Riyū returned to him, reforming into it's knife form in his hands.

One Less Good Guy[]

"OH MY GOD!!!"

Megami did not think twice out of rushing towards the wounded Ahatake's side. Knowing that Takahashi would simply kill her if they stayed, she scooped him up within her arms and performed a Shunpo to pull him out of the escape. Her eyes held a grieved look. No.... it couldn't have happened! Ahatake had been so close in killing the traitor! But, now.... that was one less opposition in Takahashi's way. She really hoped the Captains could make up for their supposed savior's defeat....

Mikami closed his eyes, staring down his enemy with what seemed like hidden contempt. "I said before that if Ahatake fell, we would not hesitate to pick up the pieces...." He stated calmly, grabbing his blade. Slowly, he unsheathed it. "I will not say anything more. Naomi.... unless you wish to die within the stomach of my spiritual pressure, move back towards the main group and inform them of Ahatake's failure. I will stay.... and fight."

Naomi nodded, before vanishing with a Shunpo.

Takahashi turned to see Mikami about to draw his blade. "Mikami, even with my power, fighting you would be troublesome." He raised his hand. "I'm afraid you're going to have to watch for awhile." At the moment he said these words, he clicked his fingers, and from them a square rained down, cutting off and becoming a clear, yellow box which trapped Mikami.

"...." Mikami could only stare at the box, lowering his sword for a moment. "If you believe fighting me will be troublesome....then you attempt to contain me?" He asked quietly. "We both know mere prisons like this will delay the inevitable."

"Indeed." Takahashi replied. "But, I am certain your other Captains will also make their attempts to fight me. I want you out of the way. I will finish you later." Takahashi began to rise higher into the air. He was expecting the Captains to come and fight him. And when they made their move, he would make his. And it would not be pretty.

And sure enough....

"ATTACK!"

Without hesitation, there were several of the Captains that sprung themselves up into the air to face Takahashi head on. The ones that had dared to challenge this doom head-on was 2nd Division Captain Kūkai Shibara, 3rd Division Captain Jaken Yōrōzoku, Captain Kimiya Kuchiki of the 6th Division, 10th Division Captain Rangiku Matsumoto, 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Narita, 12th Division Captain Shien Ōretashi, and 13th Division Captain Katsura Aizawa. The rest had taken to watching on tersely, posing in their own forms of idleness as they waited for the second round to commence.

There were no words to be spoken.

"Stitch together, Mutadashī!"

"Growl, Haineko!"

Two captains, Rangiku and Jaken, released their respective Zanpakuto immediately. While others kept Takahashi surrounded, Kenpachi, Kimiya, and Kūkai began a frontal, close up assault. It was a distraction-surpression move in order to keep the pressure on Takahashi without letting up. Normally, it would've been a move used to destroy the enemy in mass numbers. But, considering the power of this individual, such a maneuver was needed. It was a desperate situation....

As they began their attack on Takahashi, Megami had returned with the fallen Ahatake. Setting him on the ground, she immediately applied her healing Kidō in order to heal the wounds delivered by Takahashi. However, she knew that it would not be enough to heal him completely, and that he would need some time for them to recover on their own. She had a solemn, stricken look onto her face. "What happened....? I could've sworn you had him....!!!" She thought to herself. How could've Takahashi survived such an attack on his person?! He was cut in half, for crying out loud!

Takahashi's eyes began to rapidly move around, following each of his new opponents. He had been right. They were going on the offensive now. He pressed his hands close together, sword hilt pressing in as well, and waited. The moment each Captain was close enough, Takahashi threw his hands out, releasing a massive wave of telekinetic force that not only threw back his attacking opponents, but easily spread outward and downward, destroying multiple parts of the repaired Seireitei, once again causing it to lie in mostly rubble. He waved his hands, and multiple blasts of Cero shot out, three for each opponent he was facing.

The three that attacked were forced to evade, or block the attacks head on. The ones that managed to evade had their beams smash into several other buildings and wrecking them as well.

However, as Takahashi was focused onto them and firing the Cero, another decided to use this to his advantage.

Katsura sprung up with a Shunpo behind Takahashi, fists at the ready and in a stable stance. He threw a punch towards the back of his enemy's head. However, this would be immediately followed by several karate chops to the mid-section and then a spinning kick in rapid succession. As this was going on, the ashes of Rangiku's Haineko blade hovered menacingly overhead, ready to shred Takahashi once Katsura was finished with his attack.

"You hear that, Kuchiki-san?"

Even though she could barely sense what was going on outside of her cell, Aku could clearly hear the fighting. "That is the sound of inevitability...." She said mockingly. "It is the sound of your death.... as well as theirs. I suppose your faith was just not enough, was it....?"

Rukia looked over at her, turning her senses away from the battle. "Tell me something, Aku. What did you come here for, and why are you so interested in their battle? The Death of the Gotei 13 right now means that no one will be able to escort you back to the Nest of Maggots, but even before, when Ahatake was fighting, you went out of your way to come to the battleground, and capture me, and going on about how Ahatake would lose. After which you did nothing, and then you fled, which of course brings us here. What was the point of it all? You could have escaped, unnoticed by us, but you didn't. Why?"

"Haven't I told you before....?"

Aku closed her eyes, letting out a sigh. "You humiliated me that day you sent those ice spikes through my body and nearly killed me.... a mere seated Officer being able to quell a being of higher strength? It shouldn't have happened... and yet, thanks to my carelessness, it did. I could've killed you a few moments ago.... but that would have been too easy, too quick...." She emphasized the last word with her fingers, making quotation marks. "I wouldn't have been able to savor the look in your eye if I ended you right then and there. This way.... my prey will feel the oppression right before I decide to kill them."

"I see." Rukia said, turning away from her. "That statement definitely lets me know you belong in the Nest of Maggots."

Takahashi wasn't one to let enemies slip out of his senses however. Those he could not see, their energy he could feel. As Katsura came in close, multiple long and powerful spikes erupted from his back, gleaming. These spikes were results of experiments Takahashi'd performed on his own body, and they were tipped in potent poison. Even a scratch could be potentially lethal. He fired several of them from his back like missiles as Katsura. He then pointed his finger at Matsumoto and fired a crimson Cero at her.

"Hup!"

Katsura's immense speed allowed him to avoid certain death, his body deftly dodging every missile that had been fired at him. Matsumoto did the same for the man's Cero, using a Shunpo to evade being hurt.

"Still adamant about keeping me imprisoned?" Aku taunted. "Don't you realize it yet? There will be no prison for me, because it will be destroyed shortly....."

"Yes." Rukia replied, shooting Aku a sharp look. "We're currently in a more secluded area anyway. They won't come looking for you, and this cage of mine does not dispel, even if I seal my Zanpakutō or I am killed. You will most likely remain here."

".... you really disappoint me...."

Aku had her eyes closed, still in her meditative stance. "How can I remain here...." She asked slowly, a clear mocking in her slow questioning. "When there's an opportunity of escape....?" She knew that her Zanpakutō was constant-release. Rukia, at least for the moment, had seemed to forget about the power that she herself wielded. However, she would see soon enough. But by then, it would be too late for her to do anything about it.

Rukia, though, was now going to the trouble of diving her focus between minding the battle, yet keeping watch over Aku, in case the woman attempted to escape.

Takahashi jumped into a Sonido, raising his blade as he appeared behind Matsuomoto. With as much strength as he could muster without ripping her entirely in half, he swung his blade forward towards her midsection.

SLICE!

Had it been anyone else, the Captain would've deftly dodged the attack.

However, it was clear that this opponent had overpowered them.... on all levels.

She let out a startled gasp as she was cut into the back. But, because of the proximity towards her spine, she was rendered immobilized immediately. Her body froze, all motor functions ceasing immediately. With a blank look on her shocked face, she descended towards the ground, her Shikai dissipating immediately. As she fell, Kenpachi used his own Shunpo to re-appear behind Takahashi, blade raised and swung down at the man's head.

"Strike and Retreat, Shukketsu Orochi!" Several crescent blades linked together appeared over Takahashi's head, blocking the blade. The crescents began to give way, but Takahahsi moved in time. The crescents shot back towards Nabiki, who was holding a machete. She was entering the fight. From the center of her lozenge shaped Hollow mask, she was charging a Cero. Without warning it fired at Kenpachi.

"Hmph!"

Though Kenpachi thought nothing of it, he decided to act. Pulling his sword out of the way and balancing it onto his shoulder, he raised his free hand in a signal to stop. The Cero was harmless to him; it slammed into his palm, but stopped as if it had hit an indestructible wall. With the natural movement of tossing a ball, he hurled it away straight at Takahashi's path. As this was happening, the 3rd Division Captain's wire on his needle-like longsword extended forth, intending to wrap itself around Takahashi's body, immobilize him, and even punch some holes within his body.

Aku tilted her head to the side, clearly enjoying Rukia's movements. The woman knew that she couldn't keep it up. However, even her watch would prove to be futile. Once again, she closed her eyes and took a deep breath once more. The opening was all too clear.... and Rukia would never suspect a thing....

HISS!

With that very sound, it only took Aku a split-second to turn black and dissipate, her body vanishing from sight.

Takahashi waved his blade, sending massive telekinetic force that repelled both the Cero (and neutralized it) and the wires, seemingly leaving them floating in mid-air. His body seemed to flicker for a moment as he moved with Sonido, but not towards the 3rd Division Captain as one would expect, but he moved to gain distance, seeming to think long-distance the preferable choice. He flicked his hand towards him, sending multiple Bala blasts in his direction.

The fact that her Cero had been deflected didn't seem to faze Nabiki, or she didn't show it anyway. It was only natural for a Captain-level opponent to be able to deflect her Cero, especially the battle-loving 11th Division Captain. But she had to help her Captain. She swung her blade, the blade lighting up in a flash of white light as it extended into a "machete-chain", heading towards the 11th Division Captain.

Rukia did notice the vanished spiritual pressure however, and turned, shocked to find the cell empty. She had lost her. She turned all her senses now onto her surroundings, searching for Aku's spiritual pressure.

It was fleeing the area. But Aku's body was nowhere in sight. It was as if she had turned completely invisible to the eyes, only the spiritual pressure being left behind.

"Ugh...."

Anton had meanwhile turned his attention to the formerly silent Oliver, who had long ago lowered his pistol. "What in the hell is he doing?" He snapped. "He's trying to show off, the bastard! Why doesn't he just get it over with and kill them already?!" It still seemed as if Takahashi was trying to hold back his power, even against those who were supposedly weaker than him.

"I don't know.... do you think we should leave him to his own devices....?"

Oliver smirked. "Shit.... I think that's the best idea you've ever had, Ruso." He remarked mockingly. "Let's go tell Angelika it's time to bust this fucking joint." Immediately, they zipped into the air, Shunpoing towards the still-watching-and-studious Angelika.

Aoi frowned. "He's like us." She thought to herself as she watched Takahashi fight. "He may have a goal but he seems to enjoy the thrill of fighting. That's why he's holding back against these guys." She looked over at Oliver and Angelika. "He might win. I guess they don't want their money."

"Hey, Kraut!"

"Hm....?"

Angelika looked up from watching Takahashi, seeing her two male subordinates appear with their arms folded across their chest. Of course, Oliver was the first to speak up. "Are you looking at the guy?" He asked incredulously, pointing down towards where the Toreru was fighting. "He's basically just fucking around out there. Their boss is going to break lose in any time, there are several more Captains just waiting it out for whatever reason, and yet our client thinks he's got all the time in the world!!"

Immediately, Kenpachi stretched his hand out once again. His bare hand caught the blade between his fingers. With a mighty swing, he yanked the sword as well as its owner to hurl her into one of the buildings. His tremendous strength backed each and every moment, bound to do considerable damage.

"Let him enjoy it." Aoi said quietly. "It doesn't seem like your client will lose." Her tone made it obvious she wasn't really concerned with who won, despite being on the side of the good guys. "You'll get paid. And if not, just find a more reliable client after this who would pay more than he would."

Nabiki emerged from the rubble, her clothing torn slightly, but her mask undamaged. "I will fight for my Captain." She thought to herself, moving forward quickly with a Sonido, heading towards Kenpachi. She then began to move in circles around Kenpachi, swinging her extending cleaver so it wrapped around him.

Because of her quiet tone... and the obvious distance between the three (who was in the air) and the girl (who was on the ground), her words fell upon deaf ears. Instead, it was Angelika's answer the two heard.

"Getting a bit bored, Oliver....?" She asked dryly, fishing out a cigarette from her pocket as well as a light. She ignited the flame, placing the appropriate end of the cigarette in her lips while she lit the other end with the small flame. "Maybe you should toy around with the girl a bit longer, I'm sure you were enjoying yourself beforehand...."

Anton allowed a small smirk to cross his face. "Yes, American. Because clearly a child can match you in terms of power...." This made Oliver fix a rather angered glare in his direction, but he was not fazed. The Russian did know that he was only kidding.... it was Oliver as well who had been toying around in the belief that it was only a kid he had to deal with and not an actually strong opponent. He rolled his eyes at the hypocrisy - complain about Takahashi not putting forth full effort into it, yet he obviously could've overwhelmed the child.

"Now, if you want to entertain yourself, how about trying the fight with the kid again? Only this time.... don't let yourself get prideful and cut something loose, OK?"

"....whatever...."

That being said, Oliver lowered himself back down again to the ground. If it was the only thing that would help speed things up around here, then he would have to choose an opponent that was free. He would've decided to take on the bitch Kuchiki, but unfortunately Anton had to weaken her.... so he was virtually stuck with the snobby brat. Just his luck....

"Only a Vice-Captain makes such a foolish mistake...."

Back in the air, Kenpachi once again reached his hand out, grasping onto the weapon once again. It only could wrap itself around his arm, but even then, he was barely fazed. Once again, he tugged on the weapon to pull Nabiki towards him. Then, he willingly dropped his weapon, grasped the girl's masked face with his free hand, and plummeted downward towards one of the buildings.

She was sent through to the very bottom, being pressured under both the immense friction of her body sliding across the concrete and the monstrous strength of the Captain she was fighting. The foundation itself was splitting it in half, the power obviously too much to bear.

Aoi looked over at his direction. "You want to fight again?" She said, sounding as if the idea repulsed her. She placed her hand on her sword. Releasing it wouldn't do any good. She wasn't feeling anything...

It was the very fact of the girl's arrogance that would lead to the success of Oliver's next attack. Her hand was on her blade, but she was not putting on any sort of actual guard at all. That was what people tended to do when faced with an obstacle they can easily overcome. It was a factor that served as a weakness, leaving the victim vulnerable until they finally realized what was about to happen to them. How many times had he seen this, in the face of his enemies? He was too far familiar with the expression in the child's expression and body.

That pride would kill her.

Pride[]

Whipping out his pistol again, Oliver started firing on Aoi again, keeping the barrel of the trigger aimed at her figure.

Aoi however, used her speed to her advanage, dodging as many bullets as she could, feeling the heat as they flew by her. She moved to the side, then boosted herself behind Oliver.

"Didn't I say before your power smelled weak?" Aoi asked, placing her hand on his back. "My Pesquisa never lies." He hand began to glow, and she let loose a flurry of Bala blasts towards him. If her could see her current attitude, he might actually be proud of her.

Because of the point-blank range, Oliver couldn't dodge.

Every Bala slammed into his back, and the force made him stagger back a little. The blasts left scorch marks on the back of his coat. However, he immediately whipped around again, his pistol pointed once more at Aoi. A smirk decorated his features. "If my power's so weak, little runt...." He fired back, lowering the pistol. "Then why didn't that hurt?"

"Because I simply don't care." Aoi said, shrugging her shoulders. "This is passing the time." She waved her arm in an arc, firing Bala blasts that spread out, following the swing of her arm.

"Then I'm gonna make you care...."

The very fact of the matter was: Oliver was a V-14 member, one of the most dangerous fighters in the criminal region. Whatever this girl was sensing from him was wrong, her statement nothing but pretentous. If the brat wanted to toy around with him, he would certainly not be a cooperative plaything. It was time to demonstrate how capable he was of killing his opponents on the battlefield.

If Aoi had been a bit more alert, she would've seen Oliver's next attack coming.

However, as it was....

Before it could even be calculated, Oliver was now off to the side of Aoi, his arm bent and positioned behind her. The back of his elbow struck the back of head with considerable force. Now, it didn't matter if she had Hierro or not. Because she allowed herself to get too relaxed, she would not avoid it. Her protection could not help her now, and the strike would cause serious damage to the head. Bleeding, both external and internal would occur, and she would practically be at his mercy.

All because she had let her arrogance get in the way.

Aoi stood up from the rubble, blood pouring down from the side of her head. She wobbled for a moment, clutching her head. Then, she stared blankly at him. She could feel it in her. The slightest trace of anger. But it would not be enough. She knew this man was serious, and if she wanted to avoid serious injuries, she would have to fight. She needed to increase her anger, and who better to help her with that than Taiki. She drew her floor, taking off her bloodstained hat. She'd have to wash that later. She placed her hand inside her coat, drawing both of her blades.

"Fluctuate, Rakuen." She whispered her, being covered in white reiatsu as she released her Zanpakutō. The two blades merged, creating one sword with a blace black but a white hilt and tsuba. She began to think about her father, summoning a mental image of his face, the very sight causing anger to well within her. She vanished from that spot, leaving a small crater where she had kicked off, and appeared right in front of Oliver, her eyes blank, but her expression one of anger. She slammed her fist right into his stomach, her Zanpakutō increasing her strentgh, speed, and endurance drastically.

Oliver never saw it coming. He had expected her to get serious...

...but the sudden transition in speed had caught him off-guard. He bent over, blood dripping from his slightly agape mouth and falling onto Aoi's offending arm. The majority of his wind was knocked out of him, and for a moment, he was helpless. However, it was short-lived, as he allowed a grim smile to cross his face. "Now you're talking my language, little bitch...." He hissed, raising his fist up and throwing it at Aoi's face.

It would be the start of an exchange of blows.

The punch collided with Aoi's jaw, but she withstood it. She turned her blade back to the bottom of the hilt faced Oliver, and slammed it forward, again at his stomach. She wasn't interested in killing him, but knocking him out still worked for her.

High in the sky, two figures were watching the battle going on. A blonde mand in a hand-tailored Italian suit, and a young girl in a billowing red dress, were looking down on the destruction. The man spoke, looking over his shades.

"If things keep going as they do, I might just win that bet with the boy after all." He said in a slow deep voice with a thick German accent. He chuckled.

"I wouldn't be so sure Anton." The girl said, speaking in a similar accent. "The Ishikawa guy defintely seems to be toying around. If he stops, and gets serious, you may get your money from him. However, if he keeps screwing around, this will all blow up in his face."

"Let's watch. I've never lost a bet before, and if I have, I don't remember."

The girl snickered.

Takahashi sighed. It was about time to end this. He was enjoying making them suffer, but all good things must come to and end. But, first, he decided, he must help his Lieutenant, who was being treated like a rag-doll by the 11th Division Captain. Boosting himself towards the man with a Sonido, he arrived right in Nabiki's way.

"Nabiki, get back. I'll finish this." He said calmly.

"Y-yes sir." She jumped back, not wanting to argue.

Takahashi wasn't about to waste time anymore, his body flickering as he vanished, appearing right in front of Kenpachi, cutting into his torso as easily as if he had cut butter.

There was nothing else needed.

Immediately, Kenpachi fell with a groan, his body unable to sustain the blow. He fell to the ground, his heavy body making a small crater as he landed. The remaining Captains rushed in, ready to attack the man from behind while he was distracted with the comrade.

As Megami watched, her figure kneeled over her husband's beaten form, her expression had much shock on it. Her fingers curled, hands gripping the tattered clothing that was Ahatake's shirt even tighter. There was no denying it now.... there was simply nothing they could do at this point. Takahashi was going to succeed where Aku and Hirashin themselves had failed.... she closed her eyes, lamenting over what used to be her own home....

However, she didn't get to mourn for long.

Static.

A Sonido came to her ears, and she immediately opened her eyes to stare into apathetic and cold of a familiar enemy. He had his hand outstretched to them, a beam of reishi slowly charging at the palm. "Sh....Shikaku...." She murmured, before closing her eyes and bringing her husband's body closer to her. She had completely lost her motivation to fight.... why bother? They had already lost....

She waited patiently for death to come to her.

Takahashi appeared behind Katsura, swing quickly slammed his blade into the man's back, twisted it, then ripped it out to the side, causing blood and slight bits of flesh to splatter. Then, he placed his hand on the man's left shoulder, completely blowing it away with a Cero.

"Normally.... I would not disobey my orders..."

Even as a mutilated Katsura fell to the ground, and Kūkai attacked with vicious punches and kicks of his own, Shikaku blatantly ignored them as he spoke to her. "What have not been disregarded or confirmed as completed is my orders to kill the two of you." He said grimly. "But.... I've seen what has progressed here. There is no more reason for me to end your life, now that Takahashi-sama is rendering the Seireitei useless." The orb of reiatsu faded away immediately, causing Megami's eyes to widen in shock. As he lowered his hand, she shakily asked the question.

"....b-but why? I thought you despised us...."

"I won't kill a enemy who is grieving over another."

With that being said, Shikaku turned his back and walked off, leaving what Ahatake himself had said to the Arrancar to swim in Megami's mind.

Takahashi noticed this, but he was not angry that Shikaku had not killed them. He decided to focus on finishing off the rest of them. He placed a hand in his pocket, and turned swiftly towards Jaken, moving across the sky as if sliding. As he neared Jaken, he swiftly removed his hand from his pocket, releasing an invisible forced that, when it collided with Jaken, felt like an iron clad punch.

It was just too much. The Captain crumbled where he stood, falling and landing on the ground in a lifeless manner.

"And then there were two." Takahashi said, turning to Shien and Kimiya. The Kuchiki first. He'd save his fellow scientist for last. He raised his hand, and shot a barrage of Bala towards Kimiya, ensuring it would be difficult to dodge. No matter how he moved, something would be blown off.

Dodging would be out of the question.

However, Kimiya did not do any of the above.

Instead, he simply pulled out his blade, positioned it in front of him, and started swinging it in a pinwheel motion that guarded his torso. When the Bala connected, they immediately disintegrated upon contact with him. Down below, Shien only watched silently, arms folded across his chest and his mouth contorted into a scowl. "This is quite unfortunate...." He thought to himself, closing his eyes. "Shame that it has to end in such a pitiful manner.... but I suppose some things are just unavoidable...."

WHUMPF!

Kūkai, using Takahashi's distraction as an opportunity, brought his leg to hit the side of the man's face, the bone of his knee connecting with his enemy's cheek. The force sent Takahashi down into one of the buildings, the force virtually shattering it to pieces. Kūkai lowered his leg, glaring at the spot where he had sent the man down.

Takahashi got up, unscathed except for his mask, which had been cracked by the force of the blow. It almost surprised him. He rose slowly into the air, and then shot off with a crack, heading towards Kūkai. He wrapped his hands around the his neck, and threw him straight into the nearest building.

"G-gah!!!"

As Kūkai was thrown into the building, Kimiya himself took this time to vanish behind Takahashi, sword swinging in a manner of decapitation.

Takahashi raised his hand to block the blade, and, from his back, attacked Kukai with a barrage of venomous spikes.

"!!!!"

They impaled the man through the chest, the majority of them spiking clean through his body. In turn, he collapsed from the overwhelming pain, falling and descending to the ground.

"And then there was one." Takahashi said descending slowly down, about two feet away from Shien. "Shien Ōretashi, Captain of Twelfth Company and Leader of the Shinigami Research and Development Institute. Out of everyone here, it is maybe you who I have a small amount of respect for. Before I make my move, I invite you to join me. With your mind, I could fully complete my evolution."

"....?"

This made Shien cock an eyebrow out of slight disbelief. An amused smirk came across his face, and he daringly stepped forward one time. "Oh.... so the great Takahashi needs my help....?" He asked mockingly. "I suppose that even a being like yourself has weakness within, after all. But...." He slowly tilted his head to the side out of a curious manner. "What's in it for me?"

Takahashi brushed the mocking tone aside, but he was rather surprised that Shien hadn't immediately shot the offer down. "Freedom of experimentation." He said simply. "As a scientist of the Soul Society, your experiments must be hindered by trivial things such as laws and ethics. That's all I offer."

"And the catch?"

"None." Takahashi replied, though it was obvious he was lying.

The scientist smiled wryly, pushing up his glasses with his index finger. "Come now, Takahashi. I can tell when you're lying through those teeth of yours. Go on.... whatever it is couldn't possibly change the rather ideal opportunity you're giving me...."

If you fail, I'll kill you

Takahashi smiling as he speaks to Shien

Takahashi removed his mask, holding it in his hand. to reveal his face. A smile crossed over it. "If you fail, you die."

"That's it?"

Of course, Shien was no coward. Death was a constant thing looming over him as he was a Captain. So Takahashi's apparent threat was practically worthless within itself. He shrugged his shoulders lightly. "Very well....partner." He said calmly. "As I've told the 4th Division Captain.... failure is not a part of my vocabulary."

Takahashi laughed briefly, and his mask faded from his hands. He was only slightly surprised that the Captain had actually agreed to join him, but he was pleased nonetheless. "All that's left is the loose end to tie up." Takahashi said, looking at the Head Captain who was still inside the Negación Prisión. He descended down next to the imprisoned Captain. "When you break out of that, even I won't be able to fight you, not in a fair fight at least."

"...." Mikami said nothing in response. Currently, he was in a meditative stance, sitting Indian-style. His eyes were closed, and he looked like he was deep in thought. But he had heard every word Takahashi had said, as well as what the scientist had said.

He placed both his hands on top of each other. "There is a rather simple solution. Forbidden Kidō, Jikanteishi." He split his hands apart, causing a small green pillar to form between them, and casting a glow around the imprisoned Head Captain.

It was a spatial displacement spell. It was supposed to halt time within a specific area. Despite everything, it would only serve to restrain Mikami more. That thought snapped his eyes open, spiritual energy flaring up. That was when the entire Negacion field, as well as the Kido itself was put to a standstill. The immense spiritual energy he was exuding immediately broke the hold Takahashi had on him, shattering both defenses. "Simple solutions are the most easily destroyed...." Mikami answered calmly, getting up from his sitting position.

Takahashi frowned. So, he'd have to fight the Captain-Commander after all. He formed his mask. He'd give the Captain-Commander the first move, and respond how he saw fit.

However, they felt a strong spiritual pressure making its way towards them, and a Senkaimon opened up, and out stepped Miharu. She jumped down from the Senkaimon, landing neatly on the ground. However, she was different, her spiritual pressure had risen, and she looked older. But how? It hadn't been that long since she had left for her training.

The Second Chance[]

Tora and Mitsuki, like the other Captains, had been watching silently.

However, their movements were far from still. As the battle had progressed, they as well as the Captains had been working hard to tend to their fallen comrades' injuries. Kimiya was particularly bad: not only did he have to deal with large holes in his chest cavity, but there was also a good amount of poison within his system. But now, as Mitsuki was focusing on one particular Captain, Tora had taken the time to give a look back at Miharu.

"Hm....?"

"And so another one arrives...." Mikami commented.

Miharu walked slowly over to her mother, who was still kneeling near the injured form of Ahatake. She kneeled down herself. "Hello Kā-chan." She said, smiling. "Are you alright? And what happened to Tō-san?"

"Mi-chan...."

Immediately, Megami shook her head to snap herself out of it. "Takahashi...." She said simply, knowing that her daughter would understand everything else. "And yes... I'm fine."

"I see." Miharu frowned. The spiritual pressure pouring from everyone's wounds made it feel like a Hollow had torn through here. So...he liked to masquerade as a Hollow did he? Miharu turned to look at her mother. "Don't worry Kā-chan. I'll take care of the pest problem." She sounded truly confident.

A soft smile graced the older woman's lips. "I know you will...." She answered. "Go get 'em, sweetie."

She pushed off from that spot with a Shunpo, appearing next to Mikami. "Captain-Commander, would you mind if I take it from here?" She asked, not looking at the boy.

"Your father pretty much said the same thing before...." Mikami answered smoothly, folding his arms across his chest. He kept his stare evened at Takahashi. "....and now look where he is. What makes you so certain you won't fall just like he did?" Despite the quality of his words, there really wasn't any aggravation within his voice. It was as if he was simply questioning her, making sure that she knew what she was doing.

"Seireitou Kawahiru-san trained me to make sure I was ready for it." Miharu replied simply. "Tō-san was trained by Kisuke, who, while powerful, can't match Seireitou-san." She put a hand on her blade. "My sword and I are ready for this."

"Seireitou....." This made Mikami close his eyes in thought for a moment. "Never thought he would've stuck his two cents in somewhere.... but, better late than never. Very well, Kurosaki-san.... I'll leave this in your hands once more. But.... do be sure to leave him breathing. I have my last words to speak to him, after all...."

"We'll try not to go overboard." Miharu replied.

Takahashi turned towards here. "And yet another fledgling makes its attempt at flight."

Miharu's lip curled. "I assure you Takahashi, I am not a fledging, but a fully grown hawk. Get ready, for my talons are about to pierce your heart."

Takahashi raised his hand over his face, donning his mask. "Then, as I did to the boy, I shall clip your wings."

"Then try me." Miharu replied, stancing herself. Takahashu lunged, swinging his sword. Calmly, Miharu brought up a hand, and caught it. Takahashi's eyes grew round under the mask.

"She caught it?" He thought, utterly surprised. "Impossible! With my strength, the blade should have torn through her hand."

"Are you holding back?" Miharu asked, tightening her grip on the blade as if it lacked an edge. She raised Takahashi up, and then threw him into one of the buildings still standing.

CRASH!

The collision was enough to shatter the foundation of the building, causing it to collapse within itself. This immediately caught the attention of Mitsuki, her head snapping upwards in surprise. She was just in time to see the structure fall, her hand raising up instinctively to shield her face from the blast.

Takahashi stood up, his mask cracking. That strength. She threw him effortlessly. His body began to flicker as he took off with a Sonido, moving swiftly towards Miharu.

Miharu however, moved with even more amazing speed, appearing in front of him before he got close, slamming her fist into his stomach, winding him. She then slammed her knee into his chin, sending him spiraling upward. He caught himself in mid-air, glaring down at Miharu from his half broken mask. He began to slowly make his descent.

This caused Miharu to smile. "It seems you're beginning to lose your composure Takahashi." She said, her grin becoming a smirk. "This is the first glare I've seen from you. Worried now? You know it's over."

Before Takahashi could respond however, Nabiki did what was probably the most reckless thing she could do. She didn't like to hear her Captain being taunted. She had dealt with what the Kurosaki earlier had said, but she wasn't going to deal with it this time. She launched herself from where she was standing, raising her machete. She swung it as she neared Miharu, but the girl raised her hand up to catch the blade, without even looking at it. She slowly turned to face the woman, still smiling.

"RUN!" Takahashi ordered. "DROP YOUR BLADE AND RUN!"

Too late. Miharu's arm was covered in an soft blue reiatsu. She punched the woman in the stomach, a straight, powerful punch that broke all the bones where Miharu made contact, and the girl let the blade go, the woman flying back.

Takahashi was seething as Miharu turned back to face him, the reiatsu dying down.

"You actually did care for her?" She asked, shocked. "Surprising."

Fortunately, there was someone else to clean up what Miharu did.

SNATCH!

Before Nabiki flew any further, her wrist was caught in the hand of Shikaku, the latter having used a Sonido to get there in time. A scowl crossed his face. "Children...." He said irritably, settling down onto the ground and gently lowering his ally on his back. "Never ones to listen to their elders when the time comes for it."

Miharu pointed her finger at Takahashi.

"Bakudō number 63." She said, her fingertips glowing. "Sajo Sabaku." From her fingertips, glowing yellow chains wrapped around Takahashi, binding his arms. She reeled him in, her other hand glowing blue. "Hadō number 88, Hiryugekizokushintenraiho!" From her hand she shot a massive amount of blue energy that enveloped Takahashi, disintegrating the chains as it inflicted it's damage, causing a massive white flash. Two powerful Kidō spells, and she threw them out like they were nothing.

As the smoke and light from the spells died down however, a blast of black and red spiritual energy erupted from where Takahashi should be, shooting up into the sky. The energy was cut in half by Takahashi, who emerged in a complete Hollow-like form.

"What's this?" Miharu thought, her eyes wide. "Ressurreción?" She frowned, and took a stance, raising her blade. If he was going that far, she'd have to rev it up. "Bankai..." She was surrounded by flames as she said the word, and her spiritual power began to skyrocket. The flames died down, and she was standing there, her hair in a ponytail, wearing a completely different outfit, a long beige overcoat. Under said coat, she was wearing a near standard Shihakushō, however, instead of a white obi she wore a thick black belt. She also gains an eyepatch over her left eye. Her prefferred weapon in this form is an all black katana, which was sheathed.

"...Musōhana Kaikahakkyō." She crouched, and then leapt, appearing right in front of him, her blade already unsheathed. "Die." She said, swinging the black blade, and cutting Takahashi in half as easily as if it was butter. But when she had cut him, he faded, causing her visible eye to widen.

"Looking for me?" A voice from behind her, and she turned, swinging her blade at the Hollow-Takahashi behind her, but this one faded as well.

"Bastard." She thought to herself. "He's toying with me." She held her blade upside down. "Ishiki: Tagenrinjō." From her blade, a blanket of spiritual energy spread forth that enveloped the area for miles. However, it was only visible to Miharu, to others, it appeared as though her attack had failed. Takahashi began to close in on her, but she sidestepped him, and didn't even strike.

"An illusion." She thought. "Now...where is he?" Without even turning her hand, she could see that Takahashi was behind her, preparing a tri-pronged Cero. She used Shunpo to reach him, slamming her elbow into his face without turning to face him.

"She could tell!" Takahashi thought as her elbow cracked into his mask. "Her Zanpakutō allows here to distinguish between illusions and the genuine article!"

Miharu grinned, grabbing Takahashi by the face and throwing him quite a distance across the area, before leaping into the air to follow.

"Oh, dear....I change sides, and look what happens...."

Shien looked in disdain at the change of events as he watched Takahashi get assaulted viciously by the young Kurosaki. "This man isn't worth my genius...." He muttered, placing five fingers of one hand on his forehead. His other hand moved to his elbow. It was a posture of narcissism and exasperation - expressions which Shien clearly exuded.

"Takahashi, I'm getting tired of this. It's time for me to end you." She held her blade up towards him.

"Tanninchi Ōse." Her blade disappeared, and, in that instance, she began glow, her body changing into pure spiritual energy.

"Takahashi Ishikawa." Her voice began to echo. "Your end is here." Takahash immediately vanished, appearing above her. Her dove down, and swung his blade. It seemed, at first, that she had been sliced in half. But then she stepped back, intact.

"Takahashi, wherever you move, I can see you." She said, boasting. "And in this form, your blade cannot harm me."

"....oh, shit....."

Now the V-14 mercenaries could only stare on in what was various expressions of astonishment. The one who had spoken was Oliver. "I.... don't think we'll be getting our money soon if this keeps up....." He muttered.

Miharu raised her hand, forming an energy blade out of her own arm. "Perish." She said, swing it with great power, creating a small crater that formed in the arc of her swing. As the blade connected with Takahashi, it burned into his Hollow form, and the pain was a reflex action for him to jump back.

"This is impossible!" He began to mutter to himself. "I cannot be losing to a mere child!" He opened his mouth, and began to charge a large, black cero. Miharu appeared suddenly behind him, swinging her energy blade and cutting his arm off. Takahashi once again tried to gain some distance, and from the wound sprouted several black, liquid-like spikes that grew until they became massive. Miharu looked disgusted with this.

"You've lost anything that could make you human anymore, Takahashi."

He was defying the very own words he spoke.

Mikami himself had his arms folded across his chest, looking at the battle with steady eyes. From that moment on, it was obviously a losing battle for Takahashi. He wasn't going to recover, no matter how many times he transformed himself. All of that power.... and yet, there would be always someone stronger, someone more powerful than he ever would be. The ghost of a smile came across his face.

"You want to masquerade as a Hollow? Then prepare to die as one." She suddenly regained her corporeal form, and all of the spiritual energy she was made of became concentrated in her right hand. Her hair was now out of it's ponytail, much longer, flowing, and unkempt. In addition, she had thick green faceline is shown coming from her eyes down her cheeks in a tear-like fashion, and was she was glowing in a thin outline of spiritual energy. "Takahashi, this is it. You're finished." She swung her arm down like a slashing motion of a sword, generating a massive wave of spirit energy that connects the clouds with the ground in sheer height.

"Shūryōre, Musōhana Kaikahakkyō."

Takahashi responded, using his spikes as a barricade, but it was in vain. The moment that energy blast connected with Takahashi, it tore straight through the spikes, and him as well, right through the middle, before vanishing into the sky.

The Aftermath[]

As the energy faded, Miharu's hair and Bankai outfit faded as well, returning her to the form she had been when she came out through the Senkaimon. She sunk to her knees, exausted, as Takahashi's Hollow form shattered, leaving a severely wounded, but alive, Takahashi lying on the ground. She left him breathing like Mikami asked. The problem? He was now brain-dead.

There was no problem that Mikami couldn't fix.

Knowing that this was the end, the head Captain vanished and re-appeared, his figure looming over the fallen Takahashi's soon-to-be corpse. He reached over, pressing a hand to the man's forehead. A glow surrounded the affected hand, and he closed his eyes for a moment. He was initiating a low-level Kidō spell that would heal the man partially. All of the energy was focused onto the head injuries as opposed to anywhere else. The two parts of his body were put together, but Mikami still left the wound grievous enough for the man not to get up on his own will again.

He would wait for Takahashi's reaction.

Takahashi suddenly gasped, breathing in vast amounts of air. The moment he realized he was alive, he tried to move, but found he couldn't. "What's this?" He hissed, barely able to move even his head. "Why can't I move?"

"I didn't allow for it." Mikami said simply, allowing himself to stand. "I wanted to make sure that you were hurt enough not to try to get up and retailate while I give you your final rites. Though, I doubt that you would be able to simply get up anyways.... even in that monstrous form, you couldn't even land a scratch on your enemy."

Takahashi made a "tching" sound. "So I've failed." He didn't sound angry, but rather disappointed with himself.

"You thought ahead of yourself...." Mikami said, a rather cold tone in his voice. "Gaining all of this power.... openly challenging and attempting to destroy something beyond your control.... with only powers weaker than your own. You assumed yourself that because of what you did to yourself.... you could do anything you wanted, just like you were in the shoes of the Soul King himself...."

His eyes narrowed slightly.

"The matter of the fact is..... that you are nothing but a murderer, Takahashi Ishikawa. You yielded to the power of the Hollows, and have confused yourself with a God." Once again, he placed his hand onto Takahashi's forehead. But this time, it glowed with murderous intent. "In the end, you're nothing more than a corrupt traitor. That's all you are. That's what you shall die as.... nothing more...."

The energy surged through Takahashi's body. The corruptive nature of his power would slowly incinerate the man from the inside out. It would be a moderately slow, but torturous demise.... a fitting end for the monster.

".....nothing less....."

Takahashi didn't scream, for the pain had not reached a point where screaming was required. But even when it did, he would not scream. He would not give them the satisfaction.

Miharu sighed, laying down on the ground. "Is it over?"

"Mi-chan!"

Immediately, Megami ran over to grasp her daughter from behind in a hug. Ahatake would be fine now.... she had enough time to rest and recuperate during the fighting. "Thank God.... I knew you could do it....." She whispered, clearly excited that their enemy had been defeated. From the Gotei 13 left (particularly from the majority of the Lieutenants), there came a steady chorus of clapping and even a few cheering.

From the sky....

"That's it....?" Anton asked quietly, looking over at the bodies. "Our client is dead.....?"

"He's about to die, anyway....." Angelika remarked, looking over with indifference. "A shame, too.... he was doing a good job in the beginning... but I suppose this is where it ends." Her eyes drifted over towards his two subordinates, with Shikaku holding Nabiki within his arms and directing a pensive look towards the distracted Gotei 13. If anything, the three marcenaries could escape. She wasn't sure about the two minions, though.....

Ahatake was beginning to awaken, his eyes snapping open. He salt bolt upright, and his eyes scanned the area, until they fell on Takahashi's collapsed form. Then they swiveled to Miharu. He scrambled up, his body still in a bit of pain, and made his way over to Miharu. "Miharu." He said, surprised. "You look different. What did Seireitou do to you!?"

"Something to help us...." Megami answered for her, keeping the girl held up and smiling. "From the moment the fight started, Miharu managed to overwhelm Takahashi. The Captain-commander...." Her eyes drifted over her shoulder to the boy that was giving the fallen monstrosity a torturous send-off to his own demise. "....he's finishing the job."

"I see." Ahatake sunk to the ground for a moment. "I'm proud of you then Miharu." He said, smiling widely. "Can't say I actually trusted Seireitou to do a decent job, but you came out alright."

"He wasn't as bad as your stories made him sound Tō-san." Miharu said from between her mother's arms. "Not the best sense of humour, but not the worst person around."

"...."

From one of the buildings rooftops, Kibo was sitting on the edge, legs dangling off. He could only look on, a bit sullent as he watched Mikami killing Takahashi. "Sorry, Dad....Mom...." He thought to himself, a sad smile coming across his face. "Guess I just wasn't the one to avenge you, was I....?" He put his face in one hand.

Midoriko, who had been recovering due to her Hollow powers, appeared next to Kibou, wincing slightly at the pain she could still feel. She sat down next to him, looking concerned. "Kibou-kun, you alright?"

"....yeah...." Kibō's voice was slightly bitter as he spoke, the rest hidden underneath a glib tone. "I'll live...."

Midoriko wrapped him in a gentle hug. "I know you must be feeling down about not being able to avenge your parents, Kibou-kun. But, look at the plus side. He's writhing in pain as we speak. A fitting punishment, yes?"

The brown-haired boy let out a sigh, allowing hismelf to lean into Midoriko's arms. "You have the worst mind, you know that....?" He remarked dryly, though his smile got less sad.

"Look at what I have for parents." She chuckled, referring to Ahatake and Tereya. "One a battle loving idiot, the other a cruel smoker. It's to be expected."

"And yet, I still like the mix of both minds...." Kibō remarked, raising one hand to gently grasp the back of Midoriko's head and pull her closer. His other hand drifted to the one wrapped around his waist, holding it as well. It proved to be a rather comforting move on Midoriko's part as well as his own....

"Break it up!" Ahatake called up to the roof-top, his voice sounding business-like. "There are people around."

Kibō stuck out his tongue - a childish gesture, but one that showed he was not really caring. "Well, if they don't like it...." He called back bluntly. "....they can kiss our ass!" It wasn't as if they were tugging clothes off or anything - just a good old fashioned hug. They could do whatever they wanted once they got out of here! Turning his head to the side, he gave Midoriko a peck on the cheek before resting his head against hers. It was a rather cute moment....

Ahatake laughed, and then turned his attention away from them. "So, should we be taking our leave now? Or are we obligated to help reconstruct this place?"

Megami nodded. "We've done our jobs here...." She said calmly. "The Gotei 13 will take care of the rest."

"Excellent." Ahatake clapped his hands. "Where's Rukia? I felt her energy before."

"I'm right here." Rukia said, clambering out of the forest she had been in. "I see Takahashi's dead. Who dealt the final blow?"

"Me technically." Miharu raised her hand.

"So, how do we get out of here?" Ahatake asked.

Megami looked down for a moment, a bit sheepish. "Yeah.... about that....." She looked up at the Kuchiki, expression slightly hopeful. "Rukia, could you handle that? I don't think I'm in much condition to be giving directions...." Her voice sounded a bit tired, clearly from the energy she had to output in healing Ahatake.

Rukia let out a weak chuckle. "I can't really answer that question. The ship I came here on was destroyed in a storm. Unless we all want to take that boat, we're stuck here."

Miharu cleared her throat importantly. "Remember me? My Zanpakutō got us here, it can get us out."

"Y'KNOW, YOU COULD'VE SAID THAT A FEW SECONDS EARLIER INSTEAD OF MAKING EVERYONE LOOK STUPID!!!"

Of course, Kibō had to put his two cents in.

Miharu and Ahatake roared with laughter at this, before Miharu stood up, wiping her eyes to get the tears of laughter out of them. "Get down here." She called up to them. "Luckily, I have a much better way to get us home than by bird."

"Hmph...."

That being said, Kibō gently pried himself from Midoriko's embrace and stood up. Gently, he grasped her hand in order to help her up. However, even as she was pulled up, he still had her hand clasped in his. "C'mon...." He urged gently, giving a kind smile. "Let's blow this joint and go home already!"

As everyone gathered around Miharu, she drew her blade. It began to glow and she took one last look at Takahashi. "You know, you may have been a bad guy, but I enjoyed our battle nonetheless. Takahashi, I hope you get reincarnated into someone good, die, and become a Shinigami long before I lose my mind. Then we can have a battle again." She chuckled. "I'll be waiting." She swung her blade, and they were enveloped in a golden light, transporting everyone that came with them, even if they were not next to Miharu at the time. Surprisingly, she also teleported Shikaku and Nabiki away, sending them to Hueco Mundo.

Free[]

"...!!!"

Immediately, Shikaku snapped his attention to the surrounding environment.

"What the.... I didn't summon a Garganta....!" He thought, blinking his eyes for a moment. "That girl...." He looked at the still unmoving woman within his arms. "But....why....?!" It confused him to think that the one who had killed his master had also rescued the both of them. They were her enemy, after all. Why didn't she allow them to get captured instead of freed?

Then it hit him.

He was free. He did not have to serve his master anymore. He was not trapped under his rule. He could do whatever he wanted, officially liberated from the control Takahashi had on him. He closed his eyes, letting out a small sigh. Then, he grasped Nabiki's form and picked her up bridal-style. "Woman." He spoke to her, shaking her gently. But he was careful not to agitate her wounds. "Are you awake? If you can speak, open your eyes and blink twice."

Nabiki's eyes shot open, and she sat up, her mask crumbling. She blinked, and then checked her side. Hadn't she been wounded there? "Shikaku?" She looked around. "Where are we?"

"Hueco Mundo.... and surprisingly...." A smile came across the older man's face. "I don't think I've ever been happier to see it."

She was surprised to see a happy expression on Shikaku's face. "So, Takahashi-sama is dead?" She sounded disappointed. She was closer to Takahashi than the others, having been his Lieutenant for centuries.

"He is." The smile faded immediately. "The Kurosaki girl.... the one with the imaginary Zanpakuto.... she was the one that handed him his defeat. I'm sorry.... but the head Captain decided to give him a torturous retribution before finally killing him. A brutal way to stop his goal.... but I suppose that's how it is." He sighed for a moment, closing his eyes. Brutal as it was, he couldn't help but feel that this was how it was supposed to end....

"Diosa...."

Through Miharu.... Diosa had been avenged. Would she have been thankful....?

"It seems there's nothing left to do." She stood up. "Shikaku, why don't we travel together?" She offered. "Nothing is worse than being alone, yes?"

"H-hey, easy!"

Immediately, Shikaku snapped a hand around the woman's waist, keeping her from falling. The blow Miharu had given her snapped the bones in that particular area, so severe damage would be still experienced. "You young-blooded fool....!" He scolded. "Trying to hurt yourself like that.... we need to get you healed up, so just don't exert yourself too much, all right?" His tone was aggravated.... but it was obvious that he was simply concerned for her safety.

She chuckled. "Don't worry, my wound seems to be gone. I think the girl healed it when she transported us here." She sighed. "Even though Takahahsi is dead, I can feel the beginnings of happiness. Maybe this is her work as well?"

Reluctantly, Shikaku let Nabiki stand on her own feet and folded his arms across his chest. "Maybe for you...." He remarked, eyes drifting over his shoulder for a moment. "But it's not going to bring back the lives that Takahashi-sa.... Takahashi.... had claimed on this bloody pilgrimage." At the end of his words, his voice sounded rather bitter. He couldn't help it - no matter how much he thought of Takahashi, Diosa always came up within his mind!

Nabiki nodded, and was about to speak, but before she could say anything, a large Gate erupted behind her, clad with twin skeletons on the doors. She was speechless at the sight of it.

"What in the...."

Shikaku raised an eyebrow, clearly not phased by the sight. "Ok.... that was certainly the most random thing I've seen in my life...." He thought to himself, arms folded across his chest. "Nabiki, please tell me you summoned that by subconscious...." He murmured, hoping that he would get a "Yes" in response.

"No." Was the short, thick reply.

The Gates opened up, and inside it was glowing red.

"W-what's going on?" She stuttered.

Out stepped a figure in black clothing, wielding a long, black scythe. As soon as the entire figure came int view, it was clear who it was.

Diosa was back.

Now it was Shikaku's turn to be speechless.

His mouth fell agape, and his eyes widened in shock. "Wh...wha...." Immediately, he unfolded his arms and took a step back. "No....no, this is one of Takahashi's illusions, this can't be possible...." He wanted to believe it was an illusion, that the person standing in front of him wasn't really there and that Takahashi had left him some sort of twisted parting gift. Maybe Nabiki was tricking him somehow, toying with his emotions?! He couldn't put that past him... after all, the fact that he was a Hollow and she was a Shinigami could not be denied....

Diosa began to change, reverting to her sealed state. She slumped to the ground, looking exhausted.

"Hello Shikaku." She said, smiling slightly.

Nabiki looked like she had seen a ghost, and was still unable to speak. How was she alive?

"...Diosa....?"

The fall made him reverse his steps. Slowly, he took steps towards her, not able to believe his eyes. "Is.... is that really you....?" He asked quietly, hands shaking. "I.... I clearly saw Takahashi strike you down.... I felt you die..... how can this be....?!"

Diosa's smile widened. "Well, Tō-san." She said the word in the sarcastic tone she reserved only for him. "Have you forgotten? My Zanpakutō is Negromante. I control Death. Just as I can enter Hell, I can leave it. Unfortunately, it takes longer to do while I'm dead, so that's why I just now arrived. But I am back."

"And...there's no side effects... no time limit, you're really back....?" Shikaku insisted, now standing directly in front of her. Well, actually, he was looming over her kneeling form, eyes studying her in a slightly hopeful manner.

"It is as it was when I brought back the Arrancar." Diosa nodded. "This is a permanent resurrection."

He didn't need for her to say anything else.

Immediately, he threw herself at her, wrapping her arms around her arms and torso in what was close to a bear hug. It was just as tight too, but he was careful not to crush her. "I'm...." He whispered, voice cracking as he spoke the words. "So sorry..... if I had seen it coming, I wouldn't have let you get attacked like that.... it was all my fault...." He had to take deep breaths, a tear falling from his eyes. "But it'll be another eternity before I let that happen again!! Now that I have this second chance, I'm going to protect you with my life....."

He opened his eyes to a half-lidded position, his pupils drifting sideways to the back of her head due to the position they were in. A small smile came across his face.

"....mija."

Diosa was surprised at this, but responded to the hug gently. Nabiki was feeling awkward at this. "Since you're back Diosa, I guess I'll just...go."

Gently, Shikaku released Diosa and looked over in Nabiki's direction. "I don't think so...." He contradicted casually, folding his arms across his chest. "You yourself said there's nothing else left to do, don't you? We've had our disagreements.... but I think we can work something out. It'd be great if we stuck together for a while, don't you think?"

Nabiki's face immediately lit up. "Yes." She wouldn't have to be alone. Inwardly, she felt relieved, but definitely didn't want to show it. Hueco Mundo wouldn't be so bad with these guys...

Revival[]

Daiyaku was sitting in the Kurosaki sitting room. It was dimly lit with one of the lamps, and, as he heard the door open, he looked up from a book he was reading a book entitled Powers You Never Knew You Had and What To Do With Them Now You've Wised Up, to see most of the Kurosaki Family back in the house. Miharu, Megami, Aoi, and Rukia were standing by the sitting room entryway. Ahatake, Kibou, and Midoriko were not there.

"I assume by the fact that you guys are alive, that it all went well?" Daiyaku asked, marking his page in the book and setting it down.

"Daiyaku....?" Momentarily, Megami was confused as to what he was doing here. "....what are you doing here? It went well, but...." She trailed off, not wanting to ask the same question again.

He held up a key.

"Oh yeah, did I forget to mention I gave him a key?" Miharu asked, giggling for a moment. Daiyaku chuckled, and went to put his book back on the bookshelf.

"The one that caused the massacre out there...." Megami's voice lowered itself to a low tone. "Did he....?"

"I destroyed him." Daiyaku said darkly, as Miharu went over to stand at his side.

"Right...." Megami didn't need for him to elaborate on the matter. Instead, she broke away from the main group and sat herself in one of the nearby chairs in the living room. It felt kind of awkward.... there wasn't any sort of celebration or anything. It just seemed as if they had went in, did what they had to do, then come back. However, now that they were back, they still had their own problems to deal with.... and that was the fact that the majority of the capital city's residents had been slaughtered in the attack.

Miharu began thinking about the dead residents as well. After a moment of silence, she said slowly. "You know..." She pasued, unsure. "With my weapon, I could possibly revive them. The dead people in the streets."

"Reverse the damage like nothing happened at all....?" Megami commented softly, smiling lightly as she folded her arms across her chest. "Sounds too much like a cliche happy ending, doesn't it....?"

"But it's possible." Miharu said, shrugging. "They didn't deserve to die like that. Well, maybe some of them did, but others I doubt it. But, if you want them dead..."

Immediately, Megami's eyes widened, shooting a rather alarmed glare at her daughter. "I was joking!" She said, clearly displeased at the idea that Miharu would let a problem just exist when it could easily be solved. "If you can do that, do it right away!"

"Alright." Miharu walked outside, drawing her sword. "This will revive everyone who's been murdered by Takahashi's people. Unfortunately, those who have already been reincarnated cannot be brought back." She swung her blade, letting off a golden shower of sparks which hovered into the air and spread out, landing over a multitude of bodies, healing their wounds, vanishing any blood and organs, and then the bodies began to stir.

Over at the Injiki house, Ahatake, Kibou and Midoriko were standing in front of the Injiki couples grave. The golden sparks descending, much to the shock of the trio and landed on the graves.

Kibō, in particular, was astonished.

"W...what in the....?!" He managed to gasp out, body stiffening as he saw the event taking place. However, as soon as he said it, the light immediately faded. There was silence, his tentative eyes drifting towards the dirt. All breath caught within his throat when he saw a hand immediately thrust itself out of his father's grave, fingers twitching violently. The skin was covered in dirt and worms. Yet, if one looked closer, the skin had retained its regular skin color. No decay.... no sign of wear and tear.... it had been as if the person had simply been buried alive.

"Oh my god...."

Ahatake's eyes widened. He was witnessing what should be corpses rising from their graves. "Uh... I'm hoping I'm just seeing things."

"If you are, then we're both going insane." Midoriko said quietly.

"G...ggggaa.....GAAAAAAAAAH!!!!"

Immediately, another hand ripped out of that grave.... and then....

A body arose, breathing and gasping for air. His long, black hair was matted in dirt. He was barely recognizable as he stumbled up to the surface, coughing as he struggled to stand. "O-oohhh,,, good...god...." He managed to gasp out, slowly managing to regain his breath. "I'm....seriously going to need a shower, and I mean right away...."

"D...dad....?!"

Ahatake let out a roar of laughter. "You rise from the dead Ryuka, and that's the first thing you say?"

If the second voice hadn't interrupted, Ryuka would've gladly responded. However, as it was...

"....Ryū?!" Immediately, the man's eyes snapped to attention at the second grave beside him. "Honey, is that you up there?!" He pivoted around, kneeling over the other grave and raising one hand. "Let me out of here!! I can't breathe and THERE'S THESE FUCKINGWORMSCRAWLINGAROUNDINMYSHIRTOHGOD~!!!!"

Now it was Midoriko's turn to laugh, and it rang out loudly. Not only was she happy to hear that Kyashi was back (she could care less about the Injiki), Kyashi's reactions to the works killed her. Wiping a tear of laughter from her eye, she wheezed. "You two are a laugh riot."

"Hold on, Kyashi! I'll rescue ya!"

Immediately, Ryūka plunged his hand into Kyashi's grave, giving a vicious tug. The ground was violently unearthed under the strength. When it cleared up, Ryūka's hand could be clearly seen gripping Kyashi's own - the source of the tugging. As he pulled her upwards completely, he was caught off-guard when the blonde (well, the dirt-blonde...) grasped him a hug, arms wrapping themselves around their shoulders. "H...hey, easy!" He complained, smiling a little. "It's a little claustrophobic, but--"

"I know...." Kyashi muttered, muffled voice on his shoulder. "Just checking to see if you were real or not."

Ahatake chuckled. "Nice to have you two back with us." He said, grinning. "Not sure if this is the best time to ask, but what is death like anyway? Well, death after this world anyway."

"I think you'll find out when you get there yourself."

Kibō chose that time to interrupt that little exchange, and now both parents feasted their eyes onto him. He took a deep breath, putting on a smile of his own. His eyes were wavering slightly. "For now.... I'm just glad they're back with us..." He finished, stepping forward to embrace the two of his parents, which was readily accepted. The two of them broke up, with the latter of the two facing the group that was with them.

"My question is how they're even alive." Midoriko said, looking at Injiki with slight dislike, and yet, Kyashi she was all too pleased to see.

"Miharu most likely." Ahatake said as if he was certain of it. "That golden shower of sparks had her spiritual pressure in it. Besides, only other person we know capable of raising the dead is my sister and I have no idea where she is. We should tell everyone you're alive." He added as an afterthought.


Later, after Ahatake had told the rest of the family that Ryuka and Kyashi were alive, Megami and Miharu prepared a lavish feast, completely clearing out the dining room to make room for a prolonged table, where the Injiki Family, the Kurosaki family, and Rukia could eat. Miharu had even invited Ezra to join in.

Unfortuantely, Ezra had other plans and would not be attending. However, he did have the courtesy to tell Miharu why. He had a planned date set up with who had been a childhood friend of his. Her name was Shiloh, and she too had orginated from the same Society he himself had come from - Aether. He had made sure to add a regretful apology due to not being able to come.

"--now that's the sad part about it. He had the guy, and he was frozen stiff as a board. I think the nervousness was getting to him--"

Ryūka was busy talking to his wife and son about what sounded like a sparring fight he had seen, though from where was unknown. They were looking at him with considerable interest, listening closely. No one could blame them - the nature to lean on combat had rubbed off on them, courtesy of the Kurosakis! Still, it didn't really change much. They were having a rather entertaining time as they ate.

Ahatake, of course, was listening in, and but at the same time, he was constantly reaching over the table to grab something to eat. As he began ladling bouillabaisse (French shellfish soup), onto his plate, he looked over at Miharu and Megami. "You two really pulled out all the stops with this meal." He said thickly (he was biting into a dinner roll).

"Hey...!" Megami remarked gently, smiling. "Don't eat so fast, you'll choke."

Ahatake merely chuckled, but then actually did choke, and began hacking so hard Miharu had to get up and perform the heimlich maneuver, the dinner roll Ahatake was choking on shot clear across the room and right into Ryūka's forehead.

"Whoop!"

Immediately, Ryūka ducked his head down just in time to see the disgusting piece of bread. "....ok....?" He muttered, sparing a glance towards Ahatake before he turned back towards his family. The latter of which were giggling a little.

"See? What did I tell you...." Megami sighed heavily, shaking her head. "No one listens to me anymore...."

Ahatake was slightly red faced, but started chuckling all the same. "Megami, no need to worry about me. I've never died and I doubt a bit of food is going to kill me."

"Watch what you say." Miharu said in a singsong voice, before taking a bit of some food that Daiyaku was offering her. Swallowing she turned to Ahatake. "Death may come for you next ya know."

Ahatake waved that comment away casually, and took a swig of the wine that was in front of him. "I'm just glad all that's over and Ryūka and Kyashi are back among the living."

"I agree. Well, halfway." Midoriko said, flicking a small piece of wood at Ryūka's head.

"Cut it out!" Ryūka said, looking a bit annoyed. He used the back of his hand, slapping away the piece of wood before it could actually hit its target. Seriously, what was with people throwing random crap at him? He didn't do anything to deserve it!

Midoriko grinned rather evilly, but then resumed eating.

"Maybe now that Takahashi is dead we can finally enjoy some peace for once?" Ahatake said, but he didn't sound to sure.

"I doubt it..." Aoi's quiet voice sounded from the far end of the room. She had been eating silently up until now, but when her grandfather mentioned peace, she figured she'd speak. "Tō-san is still out there..." She continued slolwy. "I'm sure you remember what he's like?"

Ahatake's face darkened. "Yes, but there's not much to do about it. He hasn't shown his face and I'd prefer he keep it that way."

"Maybe you would... but in a few days, I'm gonna be heading out, to go search for him." She replied. "Actually, I'll be searching for Kyūi, but wherever she is, he'll be as well."

This caught Megami by clear surprise. "But.... where will you go?" She asked, clearly not believing the idea. "For all we know, they could all be in another part of the spiritual realm. Aether, the feudal Soul Society.... who knows where they could've gone? You'd be on a wild goose chase!"

"I'm a Shinigami, I have multiple millenia to find him." She replied simply. "Kā-chan's already out looking for him, that's why she hasn't been around. I just have to meet up with her, and wherever she's searched we can cross that out."

Megami closed her eyes, placing a palm onto her closed eyelids. "Do you know why she hasn't told us, if I might ask....?" She asked dryly.

Aoi simply shrugged. "She's just attached to Tō-san like that. It disgusts him." She added, an ugly expression on her face.

"....I'm coming with you."

Megami lowered her hand to reveal resolute eyes. "Regardless of what your grandfather thinks, I intend to act." She said firmly. "Sure, I may have not been the one to bring him into life.... but, nonetheless, as long as things are the way they are, he's still my son. Even if he's just a step-son. That's enough reason for me to help you out, don't you think?"

Aoi looked surprised, but then smiled, the first time she had since before Kyūi was kidnapped. "Alright. Thanks."

"You can count me out of it." Ahatake said, ripping a dinner roll in half and stuffing it all into his mouth. He chewed and then swallowed, to avoid the mishap of only a few minutes ago. "I have no desire to have anything to do with the boy, no matter how Tereya thinks I should act towards him."

"I didn't expect you to...." Megami murmured, slightly disappointed. She had seen this coming, through. No matter how she tried, she couldn't get the man to get rid of his grudge towards his own son!

"Then it's settled." Aoi said, far from enthusiastic however. This was merely something that needed to be done if she wanted Kyūi back.

Outside, the sun had already finished setting and darkness was freshly fallen over the Yurei Ōkoku. Outside, the man called Anton and his young female companion were standing just outside the open window of the Kurosaki house, and had been listening to every word.

"Should we report?" Achilina asked in a hushed whisper.

"Yes." Anton replied, but his tone was not overly pleased. "Such a shame. I won't be getting my money off that boy." They turned and walked off, vanishing from sight.

The hands of Fate are turning...

END

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