It was morning, about a few weeks after the battle with Diosa and her allies. Everything was normal. Or at least a normal as it could be with the two casualties the Kurosaki Family had suffered. But they were going about their lives as normal. They hadn't been attacked in recent weeks, which was surprise to them all, but they were taking advantage of it to get in on some training.
"YOU IDIOT!" A voice of a loud, angry woman burst out of nowhere, coming from the Kurosaki mansion and echoing around the streets. Ahatake was currently getting shouted down by a young woman with short black hair, red eyes, and glasses, and Ahatake was sitting there with a bored look on his face. Miharu slid down on the stair-case railing, landing neatly on the mat.
"Kā-chan, who is it that's yelling at Tō-san?" She asked her mother as she walked into the kitchen.
"How many times have I told you to stop doing that?"
It was more of a rhetorical question than anything else. Megami had spoken those words more than once, yet it became the daughter's habit. After so many times, she had begun to think that the girl had became an expert at performing such stunts inside of the home, so she began to think less and less of the action. But the words were still natural to escaped out of the concerned mother's mouth, even as she peeked her head out from the doorway between the kitchen and the living room.
Megami had not been in the kitchen this time. Instead, she had been in the living room where Ahatake and the other woman were resided. She didn't know exactly what to do - Ahatake wasn't exactly in trouble, was he? But the anger directed at him didn't seem like a natural theme to her. The best she had done was put on a sheepish smile as she watched the scene. She wasn't alarmed, for she had known who it was that screamed at her husband at such a manner.
"Sorry Mom." Miharu chuckled.
Ahatake sighed. "Seriously woman, give me a break. You just get fixed and the first thing you do is yell at me?"
The woman slammed her fist into Ahatake's face, breaking the man's nose. "I wouldn't have had to get fixed if you had been focusing back then!"
Miharu gasped. "O.K. can someone please tell me who she is?"
Ahatake didn't answer, he was busy tending to his nose.
That was when Megami decided to step in, stepping forward and raising her hands in a quelling manner. "Ryūseiga-san.... please! I understand that this is a spirit-and-master manner, but there's no need to resort to violence. Please, calm down!" Had she not been alarmed by the ruthless blow that the Zanpakutō had delivered to Ahatake, she would've gladly and directly answered her daughter's question.
Ryūseiga laughed when Megami said to not resort to violence. Ahatake, sighed, having finally cracked his nose back into place.
"If violence isn't solving your problems Megami, you obviously haven't been using enough of it." Ryūseiga said in an almost know-it-all fashion.
"Ryūseiga, can we settle this later?" Ahatake asked, annoyed. "It's too early in the morning for all this anyway."
The Zanpakutō spirit hissed for a moment, but she began to fade towards Ahatake's blade as if being drawing there, disappearing completely.
"Now you all know why I'm not too fond of my Zanpakuō." Ahatake said, sitting down in a chair.
Miharu was speechless. That was her Dad's Zanpakuō spirit? At least hers was nice.
"I believe I understand you a bit more, honey....." Megami muttered, lowering her hands in a mixture of relief and exasperation. She slowly approached him, leaning over and pressing her hands onto her knees. "Are you all right?" Her eyes peered at his broken nose in order to check if it was continuously bleeding.
"Damn I hate that spirit." Ahatake muttered. His nose was still bleeding, but he was trying to wipe it away with a napkin he found next to him.
Megami immediately switched to a medical mode, her tone turning stern. She gently pulled the napkin away from him, using her free hand to push him back in a prostrate position on the couch. She kept his nose pinched. "Keep your head tilted back and your nose pinched. The bleeding will stop after a while." She instructed him.
Ahatake did as she asked, tilting his head back and pinching his nose.
Once he did so, Megami released him and stepped back for a moment, folding her arms across her chest. "No offense... but you really should attempt to find some way to reconcile your differences with your Zanpakutō. After all, it's no good if a master and their sword can't get along easily. It just hinders the both of you when you're hostile like this...." She said gently, the stern tone gone from her voice.
"We get along in battle just fine." Ahatake said, his voice stuffed up. "As you can see, she's very violent. It's when we're not in battle that we can't stand each other."
"In battle....." Megami repeated, looking on with sympathy. "But when it comes to casual situations, you go right back to arguing again! I'm pretty sure broken noses aren't one of your favorite things, are they?"
"No, but it's not often she materializes into our world just to break my nose." Ahatake explained. "But then again, my Bankai has never been damaged before. When the dragon was damaged, it damage her. She didn't take kindly to that."
"Hmmm...." Megami thought for a moment. She walked over to sit down on the empty spot where his feet where. "If that's true... you think there could be some way to make it up to her? You know...." She shrugged, closing her eyes and placing folded hands onto her lap. "A bit of apology and humility for the injury and such."
A vein throbbed in Ahatake's forehead. "Megami, I really doubt that's going to happen. I'm not one for apologies anyway."
"Just try...." Megami said softly, placing a hand onto the man's ankle. She wasn't trying to annoy him, of course. But she was trying to get him to think a bit harder before continuing such a hostile relationship. "I know it's hard having to reconcile with people you hate.... but I think it's worth a shot. If it fails, then you'll have a reason to...well...argue, I suppose."
Ahatake chuckled. "Fine. I'll try it. Later."
"Good...." She stood up, but only to walk over to give her husband a kiss on the cheek. "I'm glad you decided to look at things my way, dear...."
Ahatake sat up, unpinching his nose. He breathed in. "Smells like blood."
Miharu had been standing there the whole time, quietly. "Kā-chan?" She spoke up. "When's breakfast?"
This caused Megami to let out a gasp. Then, a sheepish smile crossed her face and she scratched the back of her head. "Oh, I'm sorry...!" She apologized in an embarrassed manner. "I just couldn't bring myself to cook. There's some cereal on the sink if you want some, though."
"Alright." She left, and Ahatake could hear the rustling of bags and boxes in the kitchen. "Oh that's right. Megami, I just remembered. Last night, I went to the World of the Living to talk to Kisuke."
"Oh, did you....?" Megami asked, raising an eyebrow. She placed her hands onto her hips, waiting for an explanation.
"Yeah." Ahatake said, bracing himself to give the bad news. "I told him all about Takahashi, and, unfortunately, he doesn't know a thing."
"Of course...." Megami hung her head in slight disappointment. However, this was to be expected from a new enemy. Not everyone could know anything about him. "I wonder if Rukia knows anything about him. The next time I find her, I should go and ask."
"Well, you can go looking for her if you like." Ahatake suggested. "I can feel her Spiritual pressure, and she's not too far from here, though she's not headed in this direction."
"No, no, no, that'd be too tedious. I'd rather wait for a good time to catch her. As of now.... she's probably busy with something else. Being an ambassador does that to you."
Rukia had been busy indeed. She had just gotten back from the Seireitei, conducting research on Takahashi Ishikawa. Luckily, she had been able to find information she needed in the Daireishokairō. She approached the palace. She first had to deliver the information to His Highness, then she would tell Ahatake and co. what she knew.
Inside, a meeting was taking place.
Ginji, after things had been over and done with, had gone off to see Jūshin once more in order to discuss the aftermath of what had happened. The two were sitting across from each other in their respective places. Ginji was sitting in a chair in front of the man's desk, while the king himself sat behind it. His elbows were on the wooden material, hands folded. His eyes were giving the Major an even gaze, and the Major stared back without emotion.
"So, Diosa's group has been liquified?"
"The majority have been, sir. Diosa herself was killed by Takahashi, the real leader. He was also the one to have murdered the former Lieutenant." Ginji looked down for a second, solemn in thought. "All possible leads died when the man stopped breathing. Now we have no idea where this man is, what his motives are, or what his true target is."
Jūshin let out a heavy sigh of his own, his face buried in one of his palms. "Just terrific. You take out one leader, and another spawns to take her damn place." He rested his palm down on the ground, a stern stare directed towards Ginji. "I want this man silenced as soon as possible. He, by himself, is proving to be a threat to the city. I don't care how you do it, I don't want another crisis rearing its ugly head. If worse comes to worst, I'll be forced to step in this time."
At the door, Chidori was leaning against it, staring solemnly at the two as they exchanged words. "You mustn't do that, my Lord." She said quietly. "The people revere you as their leader. They wouldn't be able to stand a valuable individual like you to sacrifice your life. In the case that you die at this moment, there won't be any successors to the throne. The military will have to take over..."
"That's exactly why I don't want to do it." Jūshin agreed. "But.... there doesn't seem to be much of a choice this time, is there?"
Rukia was able to enter the castle without anyone stopping her. She was known there already. She proceeded to the King's Office. The door was ajar. She walked inside, announcing herself.
Chidori shouldn't have been leaning against the door so much.
The startled woman only had time to turn around before falling right into the short and petite female, causing Rukia to fall on her back. For a moment, Chidori lay there on Rukia's stomach in disorientation, raising her head up and letting out a soft groan as she rubbed the back of her head. "Ouch...." She complained, her eyes slowly drifting to see what she had landed on. However, once she did, all thoughts turned to shock once again. She immediately jumped off of Rukia, holding her hands up in front of her defensively. "Woah, didn't see you coming, Rukia!"
Behind them, the two males were snickering, trying not to laugh at what had just happened.
Rukia was grumbling, getting up and rubbing her head. "I didn't see you by the door Chidori." Rukia said. She didn't seem angry, just surprised. "And stop laughing you two." She snapped at Jūshin and Ginji.
That was the wrong thing to say.
Immediately, the two burst out laughing, the King pounding his fist on the desk for a moment. Ginji himself nearly fell out of his chair at that one, unable to keep his usually mature composition. "Good god...!" He managed to gasp out, before continuing his careless chortles. It was obvious that they needed the lift in their moods. Something that simple surely wouldn't have been so hilarious, would it?
Rukia sighed, looking at Chidori. "I'm finding it hard to believe he's the King."
The said woman was shaking her head sagely, closing her eyes. "You know what? Funny thing is, I'm starting to think that, too...." She answered, her eyes drifting over towards a now-dumbfounded king.
She smirked when he raised his hands up into the air defensively, causing Ginji to slow down and eventually stop his own laughter. "Hey! Don't just come in here and badmouth me!" He exclaimed, though not at all concerned about what the two thought of him.
"I came here on business until you two decided to bust a gut." Rukia said, walking over to the King's desk. "I can only assume you already know about Takahashi?"
At the mention of Takahashi, both men immediately straightened up, their expressions serious. The former returned to his former position before his laughter. "That would be just about right, Kuchiki-san." He said calmly. "Ginji was just telling me about what had happened in Hueco Mundo."
"Well, since we've gotten back from Hueco Mundo, I went back to the Seireitei and conducted some research on Takahashi in the Daireishokairō." Rukia said, relieved to see that they were back to normal.
Jūshin raised an eyebrow, moving a motioning gesture towards her for her to keep going. "And....?" He asked, anticipation within his tone.
"From what I found, Takahashi was the former Captain of Ninth Company. During his time in the Soul Society, he became a Lieutenant after the mysterious death of the previous Lieutenant. He was known for his abnormal interest in Hollows. He was later appointed to Captain Rank. Half a decade after his promotion, he was discovered welding Hollows powers, and was going to be tried by the Central 46. He defected from the Soul Society, promising he would eventually come back to slaughter every single Shinigami in the Seirietei."
Jūshin chuckled grimly, closing his eyes and shaking his head. "And he dared to bring this within my city and not expect retaliation...." He muttered. "I guess there's no other choice, then...." This caused Chidori to look at him in slight confusion, her eyebrow raising and her head tilted to the side.
"'No other choice'?" Rukia repeated. "What do you mean?"
"This situation has officially bled into both Yūrei and the feudal Soul Society." Jūshin explained, opening his eyes and leveling his stare at Rukia. "My local troops can't reach into that sort of field without it appearing that our treaty with them is willing to be broken, and this might escalate into something dangerous very quickly. If this is going to end the way we want it to.... we're going to have to call in the special ops."
"I.S.F.R., sir?" Ginji questioned.
"Exactly. Colonel Shinji's not going to be too pleased about having to be put on a rush so quickly, but there's really nothing I can do about that situation...."
""I.S.F.R?" Rukia's expression changed into one of bewilderment. "What is that?"
"Basically a mercenary military group.... without the mercenary. We pick the best troops from other soul societies and place them together to create a force to be reckoned with. We mostly go between the feudal Soul Society and this one in order for recruits, but they come from a wide variety of "nations", if you will. They're the best warriors in existence who don't need the help of otherworldly powers such as the Shinigami, Hollow, Quincy, and the like do."
"I see." Rukia thought about that for a moment. She hoped they weren't biting off more than they could chew. "Well, if you'll excuse me, I have to go now."
The king's eyes widened, a mischievious smile flashing across his face. "Oh, no you're not!" He counteracted, lifting a finger to point up at her face. "Before you leave this place, you've got some papers to fill out!" Immediately, he lowered himself behind the desk, rummaged around, then yanked out a huge staff of paperwork. Standing up, he walked over to Rukia. "You may be getting by thanks to me, freeloader. But as long as you're ambassador of this place, you're still going to have to work as hard as me!" Promptly, he placed them in her arms with a cheery smile.
Rukia's eyes widened at the sight of the amount of work she had. With the events that had been going on, she had been putting off her work. She sighed, walking out of the room with the heavy stack of papers.
As soon as she made her exit, Jūshin turned towards the Major. "Ginji, I would like you to inform the General and Colonel about this new development. Have them prepare the team as soon as possible."
"Yes, sir...." A nod of acknowledgement, and Ginji was out of his chair to run past a surprised Chidori and out of the room, closing the door behind. Now, the secretary and the king were alone for the moment. This newfound revelation caused Jūshin to sigh, his body sinking in one of the nearest chairs. He placed a hand to his forehead. "Oh, god.... I need a break. All of this work thanks to these damn people who want to start trouble...." He whined. "Why can't they just leave a king be for once?"
This caused Chidori to smile in amusement. She walked over to him, hands on her hips. "I donno, M'Lord...." She said casually, moving herself behind him. "But I do know you could use a break from all of this, even if it's a short one." She leaned over, placing his hands onto his shoulders. She could practically feel the surprise on his face as he looked at her from the corner of her eye. "We don't have any paperwork for at least a few more days. How about we get out of here for a while and enjoy ourselves?"
A grin came across Jūshin's face. "Are you asking me out on a date, Chidori-san?"
Her own smile grew wider. "How'd you guess?"
"Well....I think that's a great idea!" Slowly, the king pulled himself from the chair and stretched out a little bit. "Plenty of time to get myself straightened out....more time to think. I think I've been in that friggin' chair forever!" He earned a short laugh from his assistant, who moved up beside him. As he lowered his arms, she dared to hook one of her own arms into his.
"Glad you see it my way. Now shall I escort you, my Lord?"
"You may, my most loyal subject."
They both shared a laugh as they exited the office and through the doors.
The only sound that could be heard now was that of clashing blades. Out in the yard, Miharu and Megami were in another one of their training sessions. Daiyaku, apparently now a permanent member of their household, was sitting on the very tree he had fallen out of, watching intently.
Miharu looked tired, though this was expected, they had been going at it for an hour straight. In her hand was a blade that looked like it was made completely of energy. She thrust the blade forward, and it extended, shooting forward at Megami.
Megami's fighting style, due to the fact that this was only a spar and nothing more, used defensive movements and counter-attacks in order to counteract her daughter. Due to this conservation of energy, she was looking less worn out. She performed a simple side-step to avoid being stabbed. However, she also managed to jet forward in a race against the sword's retraction time. She poised her unreleased blade and thrust it when she got close.
"Mom's blade is made of water!" Miharu remembered. "Maybe I can do something to it." As her mother neared her, she waved her hand in front of the blade, attempting to use her control over water to made the blade disperse.
The blade was inches in front of her hand, moments away from cutting through it.
Then, it stopped entirely.
Megami's eyes widened slightly as the ice of her blade was shaking in a violent manner. She took a step back, unable to do anything as her entire katana blade suddenly shattered, melted, and vanished from existence. Now she was left unarmed, staring at her free hand and wondering what had just happened.
Miharu grinned. "It worked!!" She was beside herself with glee. She hadn't expected it to actually work, since the water-blade was a Zanpakutō, but she had done it!
Megami gave a congratulatory smile, lowering her hands to her sides. "Congratulations." She applauded her daughter, nodding her approval.
Miharu grinned, and Daiyaku jumped down from his perch. "I think you all need a break. You've been at it for awhile."
"An hour, to be exact." Megami shifted her arms, folding them across her chest and turning her gaze towards Daiyaku. She really didn't have much to say about the situation. Miharu was steadily climbing up her own mountain at this point, slowly learning as she progressed. Whether it was the actual experience or the training that was given, it was proving to have an effect onto her. However, the progress was still just that: slow.
Miharu was feeling a great feeling of accomplishment merely from shattering her mother's blade. Suddenly, Miharu felt a familiar spiritual signal, and she turned around to see Rukia making her way over to them. She tapped her mother's shoulder.
"Kā-chan. It's Rukia."
Having sensed the signature long before her time, Megami turned around to face the shorter woman. But her eyes soon fell to the small stack of paperwork she was carrying with her. "Rukia! What's with the papers?" She questioned curiously, allowing herself to take a few steps towards her. She really didn't need to, due to the distance closing up via one person.
"Being the representative of the Soul Society, I have a lot of paperwork to fill out." Rukia explained, chuckling weakly. "As hectic as it's been, my work has kind of been piling up. His Highness was so kind as to remind me of the work I have to do."
"I noticed...." Megami hid a hand behind her mouth, though the smile on her face was clear. "Any new updates on....well....whatever?" She hadn't really thought of what had happened in Hueco Mundo. The death of both Kyashi and Ryūka had still not fared well with her conscience. She had actually witnessed one of them die. But in both circumstances, she was rendered virtually helpless. It had been such a terrible feeling for her to be forced into such a position....
"Yes, I've been researching Takahashi in the Daireishokairō." Rukia said, looking at Megami over the stack of papers. "I can tell you all what I know if I can just get inside."
"Sure, sure!" Immediately, Megami moved over behind Rukia, using her hands against the back to push and guide her towards the open door. "Tell me everything to the last detail! Don't be holding out on me, you got that?"
Rukia waddled into the house, setting the large stack of papers down on the living room table. "I'll be glad when I see the last of those." She sat down on the couch, and as she did, Ahatake poked his head around the corner from the kitchen. "Oh, Rukia's here." He said through a mouthful of what looked like a BLT.
"Excellent, Ahatake, you're here." Rukia said, smiling. "I won't have to go through this for a third time. Alright, as I had been telling your wife, daughter, and Daiyaku mere moments ago, I've been conducting research on Takahashi in the Daireishokairō. From what I found, Takahashi was the former Captain of Ninth Company. During his time in the Soul Society, he became a Lieutenant after the mysterious death of the previous Lieutenant. He was known for his abnormal interest in Hollows. He was later appointed to Captain Rank. Half a decade after his promotion, he was discovered welding Hollows powers, and was going to be tried by the Central 46. He defected from the Soul Society, promising he would eventually come back to slaughter every single Shinigami in the Seirietei."
"You've told all of this to the king?"
"Yes." Rukia nodded, as Ahatake finished his sandwich. "Apparently, he is going to call in the I.S.F.R."
That intelligent statement was followed by a blank stare in Rukia's direction, courtesy of Megami.
"I asked the same thing." Rukia said, chuckling. "In the words of the King himself, it's a mercenary military group.... without the mercenary. They pick the best troops from other soul societies and use it to create a powerful group of fighters." Rukia had been sketching as she was explaining, and the finished result was a drawing of a group of bunnies, each with little evil grins on their faces, to show that the I.S.F.R. was a group.
"Uh..." Ahatake droned for a second. "Can you tell me why your drawings suck so bad?"
Rukia got up and walked over to Ahatake, and the sound of popping joints and cracking bones could be heard, and Rukia walked back over to her seat, Ahatake lying on the floor in a world of pain.
"...." Not surprisingly, the other woman was staring at her severely injured husband with a look of comical shock. Both corners of her lips were turned upward in a muscle-tightened smile. Her pupils had vanished, giving her widened eyes the appearance of white-filled circles. One of her eyebrows was twitching due to the expression. That was her husband lying on the floor like that! A strong, powerful, and death-stubborn guy!
And he had gotten destroyed by a former Vice-Captain.
She had only one coherent response.
"Rukia? You've really gotta show me how you manage to do that sometime...."
Rukia smiled. "I'll be more than happy to show you."
Miharu walked over to Ahatake. "Kā-chan, maybe you should help him?" She asked, giggling.
"I don't know, dear...." Megami slowly stood up, placing an innocent hand over her mouth. "He looks oh-so-perfectly comfortable on the floor, don't you think?" However, despite these words, she allowed herself to walk towards his fallen body, hand still over her mouth.
"You can just put his joints back into place and fix his bones up." Rukia said airily, putting away her sketchpad. "By the way, how's the boy coping with his father's death and all?"
"He still isn't doing so well.... but he's getting there." Megami moved over, carefully inspecting the damage before placing her hands onto one of the broken joints. She had to start with the limbs. After all, they were the easiest to grasp and fix. "All right, this is going to hurt real bad, so hold your breath, bite your tongue, whatever you need to keep from screaming. One....two....THREE!"
"GRAAAAGGHWHATTHEHELL?!" Ahatake screamed.
Miharu giggled again.
Rukia's eyes widened. "Isn't he supposed to be strong?" She asked, obviously referring to Ahatake.
After a helpless shrug, Megami couldn't help but express slight alarm. However, she raised her hands up defensively. "Ok, that's one arm. Stay with me, I have to do the other one....and then your legs...." She felt great pity for the man, having to go through this. However, she needed to do so in order for the joints to heal properly. If she let them be, he would be healed as a crippled man. In order to help, she materialized her blade and slid it in front of his face. "Bite down on this." She ordered, making sure the back of the blade was facing his mouth.
"As I was saying...." She murmured, her voice directed back to Rukia once more. "It's really hit him hard to know that his parents left him so suddenly. But he's a strong child. Ryūka made sure of that...."
"Yeah." Rukia agreed. "And he has that daughter of yours to keep him company."
"I just hope that's enough. Ok, dear.... ready? Here we go...."
The blade cracked.
Rukia sighed. "Looking at Ahatake, I almost feel guilty."
"Ah! Don't say such a cruel thing, Rukia-san!" Megami protested, quickly moving over behind him. She bent over, grasping both of his ankles and pushing herself up to a crouch position. "Ok.... one more time. Bear with me, this might be twice as painful. Ready....?" She herself took in a deep breath, gathering both the physical and mental strength in order to fix this problem. Then, without warning, she tugged.
The blade cracked even more as Ahatake bit down.
"Hey, Kā-chan?" Miharu spoke up, still giggling.
"Would you mind if I took a walk around the block?' She asked. "Haven't gone on an actual walk with all the events we;ve had recently."
"Oh, sure, go on ahead, dear...." Megami answered, giving Miharu a gentle smile. "Just be careful, all right?"
"I'll go with her." Rukia offered. "The paperwork can wait a bit longer, and I've told you everything so far. Besides, a bit of air would be good for me."
"Wha-- well, sure! Of course, Rukia! Thank you so much for choosing to look after her!" Knowing that she would be busy on her own with her husband, Megami eagerly thanked the shorter woman for her services.
"Don't mention it." Rukia smiled. "Let's go Miharu."
Miharu nodded. Then she looked over to Daiyaku. "Wanna come along?" She asked him. Daiyaku looked up. "Can't kill me." He said, jumped off from the stair rail where he was sitting and landing next to Miharu. He looked back at Megami. "Hope you fix 'im up alright."
"Don't worry about him...." Megami assured, her eyes attentive to the said man. She pressed her hands onto the broken limbs in order to initialize the kidō spell. "He's been through much worse."
"Good to know." Daiyaku said as the three set out.
It was here that Megami noticed that one of the joints were healing improperly. "Oh, dear...." She sighed, moving over to his arm and grasping it again. "Seems that I didn't set it correctly. I'll have to re-set it again. Ready?"
New Threat Arrives
Miharu, Rukia, and Daiyaku walked down the road peacefully. "Hey Rukia." Miharu looked at the older woman. "Your Zanpakutō's an Ice-type right?"
"Yes." Rukia replied. "Why do you ask?"
"Well, would you be able to give me some tips on how to use an Ice-type Zanpakutō?"
"Yeah. I like having my Zanpakutō take the form of an ice-type, but I'm not that skilled in using it ye-."
Just like a knife carving through butter, the sounds of gunfire ripped through their conversation and brought on deathly silence. Not long after, there were several screams, different ones that came simultaneously. Seconds later after that, there were people running in a panic through the streets. There was nothing but pure confusion, pure horror, pure terror as the hellish gunfire continued to make itself known. Within the confines of the crowd, several more bodies could be seen dropping to the ground.
"What the?" The trio was shocked to see what was going on. The gunshots had made them all jump, but the sight of falling bodies were about to spur them into action.
It only took seconds for the streets to be littered with dozens of corpses, bleeding and full of fresh holes.
"Осень! Все вы сволочи должен умереть!жизнь после смерти никогда не будет мира для вас, а не тех пор, пока мы живы!"
Over the civilian's screams, a threatening Russian voice spoke among them, a fair distance away and coming from the rooftops.
"Anyone understand that?" Miharu asked Rukia and Daiyaku.
"Not a clue." Daiyaku replied. "I don't think our worry is understanding it. Our worry is stopping it. But where is it?"
"Up there!" Rukia pointed at one of the higher roof-tops of the Yūei Ōkoku. It was a man, just barely visible. They all turned to look.
Up on the building, the man appeared to be lowering the murder weapon that he had used on the civilians. He only appeared to stand there for a brief second, before he turned and walked off to disappear out of their sight for the moment.
"What the?" Daiyaku hissed.
"Where'd he go?" Miharu started looking around.
Then, after a moment of what seemed like unbearable silence, four figures swept through the streets out from an alleyway on one side of the street. A man with long, red hair. Another man with short, blonde hair. A woman with short, dirty-blonde hair. All of them were armed, moving as swiftly as the wind itself. It took only seconds for them to race across the street and to the other side, where they disappeared into another alleyway.
"We follow them?" Miharu asked.
"We follow them." Rukia nodded. They took off, running at normal speeds to keep their spiritual pressures from rising to much, heading down the same alleyway that the shooters had gone.
By the time they had gotten there, the shooters had already disappeared. However, from a distance away, the sounds of gunfire renewed itself. This time, it was twice as loud, signaling a firefight ringing out between two forces. However, there were still the sounds of the civilians screams that echoed throughout the city buildings.
Daiyaku sighed, and, with a grunt, lightning aura exploded around him, and his hair began to stand on end. "C'mon!" He said, and he began to dash ahead of them. "Now we have to catch up!"
Miharu and Rukia both nodded, breaking into a Shunpo to move at even speed with him. As they ran, a truly horrific scene met their eyes. Screaming, random shouting, and bodies falling.
There was a much more horrifying fact coming into place.
The police force, outnumbering the small force of four by dozens, were being easily slaughtered and picked apart. Though they put up a bit more of a fight against the four, it was far too quickly that they were getting killed off. Even they seemed to be in a panic, having to put up such a defense against such an enemy. It was in contrast to their attackers, who held a rather calm and even amused composure as they fired upon the law enforcement.
"What the hell is happening here?" Daiyaku's eyes were wide.
"This is...this isn't necessary." Rukia muttered.
"Area gelöscht. Go.." The blonde woman ordered.
Immediately, the four, once the area was clear, moved through the dead and the dying as quickly as possible. What was left in their wake was several corpses of civilians and police members. Yet, they still had paid no notice to the three that were pursuing them.
"They're ignoring us!" Daiyaku hissed.
"Let's keep moving." Rukia insisted, and they took off after them. Miharu felt like she was getting sick. She had never seen so many people killed before.
However, as they made their way to a certain point of the area, there was a voice that would've been only familiar to Rukia alone. It was the voice of Kenta, the police officer she had met long before. He was now leaning against a car, sitting down on the ground. There were a few bullet holes in his chest, his jacket stained with blood. The liquid was even trickling down his chin. What looked like a shotgun was laying at his side. He coughed a few times after barely managing to say the Kuchiki's name.
Rukia turned around, looking for the sound of the voice, and finding the officer up against the car. Telling Daiyaku and Miharu to stop, she dashed over to him, bending down to meet him at eye level. "Kenta!" She gasped. "They got you?"
The officer managed a weak smile. "Unfortunately... thankfully, my jacket managed to keep those shots from being fatal...." He shut his eyes and gritted his teeth, fighting off a wave of pain that overcame him. "Shit...!" He hissed. "How in the hell does something so small do so much damage...?! Fuck...."
"Don't worry Kenta, I can heal you." Rukia said, raising her hands up, a small blue orb of reiatsu appearing under it. It was the Tetsuseikei Kidō Spell. She placed the obr of reiatsu onto the bullet holes, and the reiatsu began to seep into the wounds as she moved her hand over the afflicted areas like a scanner.
Kenta was relieved that the pain was slowly subsiding. He took in a deep breath, a more relaxed expression on his face. He managed to stare at Rukia as she worked her magic onto his wounds. He was a little bit embarrassed, a slight blush coming over his face. He was a guy, after all! A woman putting her hands on a guy's chest-- well, it was then he noticed that he was wearing a flak jacket, silently saying a "Thank you" to the big guy in the sky for not revealing his feelings at that moment. "You sure you want to waste time healing me?" He asked, breathing a bit heavily. "They're getting away...."
"We can track their spiritual siganls." Rukia replied. "Healing you takes priority I believe." She moved her hand over the last of the wounds, and they closed up. She lifted her hand up, and the orb dissipated. "Are you able to stand?" She asked, concerned.
Kenta nodded, grunting as he slowly lifted himself up while using the gun as a temporary crutch. "I can show you where they're headed. Scouts managed to pick up a small aircraft within the vicinity. If we hurry, we can cut them off before they can get there."
"Alright." Rukia said, glad to know that he was alright and they were finally catching a break.
With that, Kenta made a run past them and towards the direction where the killers had approached.
However, it was an entirely different manner at the ship said.
The four had proved to be far quicker than the three, already having approached the said vehicle which was parked. It looked like a massive hybrid of a hoverboard and a cruiser boat, the size noticeably comparable to at least three trucks and enough to fit more than just the four of them. The woman moved herself to what looked like the control HUD of the ship, shutting the door behind her. "I'll need some time to channel my energy into this ship. Keep an eye out for enemies, you two." Her German voice spoke.
Immediately, the blonde-haired male scowled, moving over to what looked like a turret. He grasped the handles. "God damn it..." He muttered in annoyance and clear English. "Of course she makes us stay outside while she's all nice and cozy in her panel room. Fucking kraut...." The red-haired male, however, remained silent, gun holstered across the chest and a calm alert on any enemies that dared to come across them.
The four of them had broken into a run, and arrived just in time to see the other four board the "vehicle".
"What the hell is that?" Daiyaku asked, surprise apparent in his voice.
"A hovercraft that runs on spiritual energy." Kenta explained, stopping at a certain point. "Mounted with a miniature Kidō cannons that can tear the enemy apart at nearly any range. We don't want to draw its attention." He raised his gun barrel, aiming down the sight. "One of the tangos is manning the guns and pointing it at our direction, but I don't think it's spotted us. If we move quickly, we can take them by surprise."
"We'll follow you then." Daiyaku said, before the rest of them could speak.
Rukia nodded. "You seem to know more about this than we do anyway."
"I've got a lock on to his shoulder. Once I fire this shot, you all move in." Kenta instructed. "Ready....one....two...."
He tightened his finger on the trigger.
Immediately, the blonde-haired man's eyes widened, and he let out a yelp as the bullet tore through his shoulder. He fell to the ground, stirring a reaction from both his teammates. The rooftop shooter let out a curse, immediately getting up. However, he was force to fall down under even more gunfire. "Ambush!" He called out. "To the side of the vehicle! Hartmann, you better be done in there!!!"
"Just a few more seconds...."
"GO, GO!!!" Kenta shouted out, laying down surpressing fire on his targets.
Rukia materialized her blade, and Miharu drew hers. Daiyaku was a weapon himself. Following Kenta's orders, they ran into the vehicle, Miharu and Rukia had their blades at the ready.
The moment they stepped foot, however, they were met with swift blows that shoved them back on the ground. The sharpshooter was the one to stand in front of them, opening fire in a desperate effort to kill them. Immediately, the red-haired male jumped over him, his own sword drawn out and ready. Not wanting to make a second mistake, he lifted his foot and kicked the only open door shut in order to keep the intruders out.
"The hovercraft's ready! I'm taking off!" The woman's voice called out.
"Wait a moment!" The sharpshooter cried. "Yoshizawa's still not on--"
However, he was cut off by the red-haired male's calm voice. "We're all aboard. Go!"
Immediately, the craft took off, with a dumbfounded sharpshooter staring after him. "DAMN YOU, SHOU!!!!" He shouted, his voice being swallowed up by the current. Shou clearly heard him, though. He raised a hand to his radio earpiece.
"Relax, Anton. I know what I signed up for. Just worry about tending to Oliver." He instructed, before turning the radio off. His situation was clear: he was now stuck by himself in an on-alert city, with three pursuers right in front of him. Such odds would not be survivable. But he knew the consequences off his actions. Slowly, he turned to face the three with a solemn look, tossing away his gun. There was a sword right on his waist, sheathed and ready to be pulled out.
Daiyaku, Miharu and Rukia were surprised to see Shou standing there.
"So.." Daiyaku muttered. "There's one still here." He looked ready to rip the man to pieces where he stood.
Shou closed his eyes, spreading his arms out. A slight wind blew, billowing his hair. "I hope you got the message we sent today...." He said, loud enough for only them to hear. "Shame that so many innocent lives had to be taken, but.... some things are just unavoidable...." Not only was it casual, but it seemed so taunting that he could speak to them while in his position. His eyes managed to catch Kenta with the barrel of his gun pointed straight at him, ready to fire on a moment's notice.
"Un..avoidable?" Miharu repeated.
A vein throbbed in Daiyaku's forehead, his lightning aura began to quicken and his hair spiked up a bit more. "Son of a bitch!" He vanished, appearing in the air right in front of Shou. His fist was raised.
Shou was ready.
With a quick pushing of the sword of its sheath from his thumb, he projected it like a missile just as Daiyaku raised his fist up. The butt of the handle struck the stomach, and the angered opponent was instantly thrown back with immense force. However, he didn't draw it any further than that. "Do with me what you will." He said calmly, his eyes opening to stare at the four. "Our work has been done. I've got no reason to fight you, though you are my enemy."
Daiyaku sat up, clutching his side. "What the hell? You say you have no reason to fight us, yet you try to blow a hole through my side?!"
Rukia looked over at Shou suspiciously. "What do you mean, you have no reason to fight us? Why did you stay behind anyway?"
Shou narrowed his eyes. "You were attacking me, and you didn't expect retaliation? Not to mention I considered that to be a mere push. I had no idea you were so fragile...." He commented lowly to Daiyaku, before switching to Rukia. "But, the reason for staying behind is to allow my teammates a chance to escape. Had I stayed with them, there would've been no one to guard them from total destruction."
"I see." Rukia said slowly. "And you're allowing yourself to be taken prisoner?"
"Very so." Calmly, Shou relieved himself of his weapon and tossed it in their direction. He raised his hands behind his head, keeping himself in a submissive stance in order to avoid their aggression.
Rukia held up a finger. "Bakudō 1, Sai!" She called out the name of the Kidō spell, and the man's arms were instantly bound and forced behind his back. She looked over at Kenta. "What do we do with him?"
Kenta had already moved towards the kneeling man, his gun holstered with one arm at his side. "I am going to take this man to custody for interrogation." He stated, using one hand to secure the man's wrists and pull him upwards. "However, I'm not so sure about you three."
"Well, I wanted to talk a walk to get some fresh air." Miharu murmured. "I think I got more than that."
"C'mon." Daiyaku lifted her up, bridal style. "I think the walk is done. I'm taking you home."
Rukia sighed. "I'm going to report this to His Highness."
"Understood." With that, Kenta directed his attention to the man that he held in custody. "All right, get up, let's go!" His tone was stern and snappish, and he nearly dragged the red-haired man along with him away from the group. The prisoner himself did not seem to show any reaction to it, however.
Daiyaku took off with Miharu red-faced in his arms.
Rukia sighed. "Something terrible is on the horizon." She murmured, taking off with a Shunpo.
She arrived at the King's Castle, and was greeted at the entrance before making her way down the hall. She hoped he wasn't having another meeting.
As she approached the door, she would notice that it was slightly cracked. There was little noise on the other end, only the sound of foosteps heading towards the barrier between her and the room. Then, that barrier slowly gave way with a creak, revealing another figure on the other end. Clearly, he was of old age, with white hair combed to the back. He also had a matching-color beard coating his chin. His pale yellow eyes were staring down at the girl with what looked like slight confusion.
Obviously, he wasn't Jūshin. But judging from his appearance, he certainly appeared to be someone of authority.
Rukia walked in slowly, surprised to see the stranger. He looked...different than normal people, though maybe it was just her thinking that. "Excuse me? Who are you?"
Apparently, that wasn't the right thing the say.
The old man's confused expression changed into a frown. He raised one hand, pressing it onto Rukia's head and ruffling up her hair. "The very least you could do is act a bit polite when addressing authority, you midget!" He reprimanded scoldingly, fixing an annoyed glare at her. "The name's Yuusuke Gouto, co-founder of the I.S.F.R. and Colonel of the Yūrei military forces. Don't tell me you haven't heard of me before!"
"Midget?" The word rang over in Rukia's head. This man reminded her an awful lot of Taiki. He even ruffled her hair! "I've never heard of you Gouto-san." She said, brushing the man's hand away. "Before this morning, I had never even heard of the I.S.F.R."
At this, Yuusuke, as he called himself, raised both of his eyebrows in complete surprise. "What? You can't possibly be--" However, he stopped off, the shock wearing into a more thoughtful expression. "Oh, that's right. You're the outsider from the Seireitei Soul Society. Can't be surprised if you've never heard of something that doesn't come from your own community...." He folded his arms across his chest, a rather casual gait carried around himself. "Anyway, your Majesty's out on a little get-together with his assistant. What do ya need?"
Rukia frowned. Would telling this man be alright? He didn't seem like he was untrustworthy, and he was in the special ops unit His Highness had mentioned. "I came to report to His Highness about a disturbance down in the streets. There was a massacre. Many civilians and officers are dead."
That immediately ripped away his casual mood. He lowered his arms to his sides, not outwardly phased by the revelation. But now, he was giving her a rather stern look. "Did you take note of how many were killed?" He asked, his voice slightly demanding.
"No, we were to busy pursuing them." Rukia replied. "They got away, but for some odd reason, one of them turned himself in."
"And where is he?"
"An officer named Kenta took him into custody." Rukia said. "I bound him with a Kidō spell."
"Is he going to be imprisoned, interrogated, or....?" Yuusuke continued to pressure her, leaning in slightly.
"Interrogated." Rukia replied simply. "Though I doubt he'll give any answers that will help."
"Come with me."
Immediately, Yuusuke walked past Rukia and down the hall. "We're going to pay that little prisoner a visit. With all of the time spent here, I believe I know where this Kenta guy took him to."
"Oh?" Rukia asked, walking briskly along side him. "What good is paying him a visit gonna do?"
Yuusuke turned his head over his shoulder to give her an irritated frown at her tone. "A whole lot, missy...." He answered, raising his hands to shove open the doors. "It's bad enough we've got this whole "Soul Society couldn't take care of their psychopath Captain" thing going on, but now this? This could be related to what had happened in Hueco Mundo. Whatever information we get will be vital."
"Yes, but what if we get none?" Rukia shot back. "He said himself he only stayed behind to allow his comrades an opportunity to escape."
He couldn't help it. The rather attitude-ish tone of hers made the old man roll his eyes. "Hasn't any one ever taught you about respecting your superiors?" He asked sarcastically. "Besides, if we don't get any information, we simply kill him and find out what happened ourselves. At least until we find another who would be more willing to speak up...."
Rukia was silent. She agreed with him on one thing. Killing him was a good option. And she figured it was the only option, since she did not think the man would speak up.
"C'mon, kid. Our ride's up ahead."
It only took a few moments for them to finally reach the police station, get their clearance, and approach the interrogation room. They were walking down the hallways which served as the final stretch to where Shou was stationed at. The walls and ceiling seemed to be made of entirely steel and concrete, presenting a rather cold and apprehensive atmosphere. On the floor, there could be traces of dried blood trailing to the door up ahead. As they came closer to the door, they could hear the pained shouts of the victim as well as volts of electricity sparking.
Rukai's eyes twitched. What the hell was this place?
"....your....m...methods of....interrogation....do not...scare me...."
When Yuusuke opened the doors, he revealed a cubic room with nothing but more metallic walls and a chair to match. In that chair was Shou, strapped in with belt restraints and wire pinched to parts of his body. Blood was trickling down the corners of his mouth and his eyes, and his body was shaking violently. But it was clear that he was not giving up any information. "If you think....you're succeeding.... you have no idea what Takahashi is...." He managed to gasp out. "I...have nothing...to gain.... by talking.... to you...."
The back of his chair was facing them, so that he couldn't see them approach. Yuusuke stood on silently, shutting the door behind him. "So I was right. This guy is in league with Takahashi...." He murmured, looking on and listening.
"We can do this all day!!!" An intercom with a disguised, deep voice shouted down at Shou. "We've got plenty of power and all the time in the world! If you want this to end, tell us why you and your teammates slaughtered those innocent civilians!!!"
"This is the interrogation room?" Rukia asked, surprised. From all her time watching the television in the world of the living, she had expected something more akin to what she had scene on cop TV shows.
"Mhm..." Yuusuke nodded. "This is reserved for the most dangerous criminals that we don't want around, but can't kill just yet."
"I'm already a dead man...." Shou's voice whispered. "My being here ensures my demise.... Takahashi has no faith in me, and he'll just kill me whether or not I say what you want me to.... just end my life and get it over with...."
"See what I told you?" Rukia said, almost smug as she looked up at the man. She did enjoy the feeling of being right.
In exchange, a dead eye glare was set onto the smaller woman, courtesy of the bigger man. "Shaddap..." He grumbled, a comical scowl on his face and a vein popping on his cheek. "I don't need to be talked down by the likes of you.... flat-chested midget...." He slowly walked over to the back of the chair.
Rukia chuckled, brushing away the insult, following him. "Am I required to stay and watch the "execution" or however you intend to kill him?"
Yuusuke grabbed the back of the chair and spun it around, revealing the full graphic detail of the shivering Shou. The prisoner's eyes seemed to widen at the two, presenting an awfully frightening appearance. The Colonel was not phased, however. Whipping out his pistol, he lifted it to point at the man's head. "You can leave if you want. But I warn you: you won't have much time to walk out of here...."
With that very shot, Shou's head slumped forward and fell still, a newfound hole in the center of the hole.
"....before it's all over and done with." Yuusuke finished, holstering his pistol once more. He turned towards Rukia. "You're going to come with me on a little trip. I hope you're ready to see your old haunt again, little lady, because we're off to Soul Society as soon as the I.S.F.R. gets prepared for the task...."
Rukia was making strange signs, and muttered something before looking up at Yuusuke. "Alright. But I have some business to attend to first, if you don't mind."
"Of course. I have to talk to the King and General Shinji, anyway...."
Rukia nodded. She took one more look at the executed man, and repeated the same hand movements and mumblings, before turning and exiting with a Shunpō.
Yuusuke couldn't help but raise an eyebrow at the statements, but didn't question anything about it. Instead, he looked towards the blurred windows, making out a figure watching both bodies. "Sorry about having to cut this interrogation short, sir." He stated calmly, folding his arms across his chest. "But I think we've found the information we've been looking for. You up for the trip?"
"Of course, Colonel." The voice said, this time in a calmer tone. "Are you? It's going to take us a while to get to the feudal Soul Society, and I understand how tired you can get easily...."
Yuusuke huffed. "Don't treat me like a kid, General. I can handle myself, thank you very much."
"Of course...." The voice chuckled, amused. "Now all we need to do is clear things up with the chief, and we're all set...."
Rukia appeared in front of the Kurosaki House. She rapped loudly on the door.
Unfortunately, the only closest sound that came to her ears from behind the door was that of Megami's snores. Apparently, she had fallen asleep at one point of the day, presumably on the living room in the couch.
Rukia was surprised to hear this. She could only assume Daiyaku and Midoriko hadn't come home yet. What could be keeping them? She opened the door herself, walking in. No sooner did she step in than she walked onto a creaking floorboard.
It was after that scream from a newly woken Megami did a lamp get hurled at Rukia's direction.
"Whoa!!!" Rukia cried, ducking the lamp and getting back up with a shocked look on her face. "Megami! It's just me!"
Megami was panting heavily, staring at Rukia with disbelief. Her hand remained in its position where she had stopped it at after she had tossed it upon, her body stiff aside from the involuntary breathing motions. Her eyes were slightly red from the sudden awakening, and she was sweating slightly. But, mostly, she appeared to be in shock upon seeing that it was her friend. She immediately re-coiled, waving her hands defensively. "Oh, jeez, Rukia! I'm so sorry!!!" She stammered. "I don't know what came over me, I was just asleep...."
Rukia chuckled weakly. "Don't worry about it Megami." She looked rather shaken. "Um, have Daiyaku and Miharu arrived home yet?"
"Uh.... well...." Megami looked around sheepishly. "I don't think they have. Heck, I don't even think I would've been able to sleep if they were here!" She remarked, her last words being slightly teasing.
"You don't know how right you are." Rukia murmured.
"Oh, I believe I do!" With that, Megami flopped herself down into the couch she had been sleeping on, yawning a little. "So.... what brings you to wake me and make me nearly hit you with a lamp? That I now have to replace...." She asked, sweatdropping a little at the end of her sentence.
Rukia sighed. "There was a massacre outside. It happened while we were taking our walk. Officers, civilians, dead. I'm not sure how many, we didn't bother to count, since we were too busy pursuing."
"Woah, wait up a second.... massacre?"
It was immediate for Megami to look a bit skeptical, although she did feel a little bit of apprehension. The words had been brought out so suddenly, it was as if what she had said was just some "not" hilarious joke. She cocked her eyebrow, mouth agape slightly after she had spoke out her sentence. "C'mon, Rukia...." She insisted nervously. "If you're going to tell me a joke, then at least make it funny and not scary...."
Rukia's expression was very serious. "Megami, this isn't a joke."
Megami's heart, at that every moment, skipped a beat.
"No....you're lying." She muttered, standing up and pressing a hand to her chest. "You can't expect me to believe that in the time that I was sleeping, several people just got killed out there." Though her voice was slightly stern, her expression was slightly frightened.
"Megami, go stand in the sky and take a look over the area." Rukia insisted. "You'll see I'm not lying."
The woman was quick to oblige.
Immediately, she used a Shunpo to carry herself to the sky, needing only a few seconds of time to do so. Once she did so, she peered downward and looked. At first, her expression was apprehensive and nervous, as she was clearly afraid to spot what Rukia had been talking about. However, when her sight feasted itself upon the dead bodies that were now being cleaned up by a mixture of law enforcement and hospital workers, she slapped her hand onto her mouth, her entire figure expressing grief at what had happened. "What....how....?!" She managed to whisper, a few tears escaping from her eyes. "These poor people...."
Rukia appeared next to her in the air, looking down. "Apparently, Takahashi is behind this." She said, not having to avert her eyes, but performing the same movements and mumblings she had when the man had been executed. "We're going to have some work ahead of us."
"...." Megami put her hands to her face, her tears flowing more freely. She uttered a few sobs, clearly not taking the aftermath of what was a brief Holocaust of Yūrei. She shook her head slowly, trying to will the images that had been forced into her brain. But she could never force out those blood-stained corpses, those pools of crimson staining the roads and sidewalk.
Ahatake was sitting up in his and Megami's room, laying back on the bed.
"GRRAAAAAAAAAAAAGAGGGGHHHHHH!" Ahatake let out a huge battle cry, swinging his blade. The dragon felt it, and it turned to face Takahashi before charging at him. Takahashi looked over to see the creature Ahatake had set on him.
"Pointless." With a flick of his finger, Ryūka's blade was sent from where it was to flying straight through the dragon, cutting it in half effortlessly. The dragon fell in two pieces, and Ryūka's blade landed at Ahatake's feet.
"What the hell was that?" He thought to himself. "I was powerless to stop that bastard." He reached into his pocket, and pulled out a hunting knife.
"Kā-san's Riyūhōchō..." He murmured. "If I had used this, would i have been able to win?"
Suddenly, the room went dark.
"Hellooooo Kurosaki-san!" A voice rang out from the darkness.
"T-that voice!" Ahatake gasped. Suddenly a bag was thrown over his head, and without a sound, he was ushered out of the room through the window.