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Bleach: Shihai no Tsumi: The Opening Moves 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: The Opening Moves is the property of Darkrai.
It may not be used by anyone but the author or the co-author's in question.

The Understanding[]

As the Head Captain turned to face them, Rukia could feel the power radiating from him. Despite his young appearance, she could tell this boy was suited for the position of Head Captain.

Despite knowing that they were there, the Captain-Commander's gaze shifted towards that of his Rubix cube. One of his hands drifted forward, grasping it and pulling it towards him. He began to shift the squares of each one in order to solve it. All the meanwhile, he remained silent, not even taking another glance towards the four. This made Kuniumi twitch a little, and a bit of skepticism was within him. Was this even the right Head Captain?

"Excuse me, Head Captain." Rukia was the first to break the ice, and motioned for General to come stand over next to her, since he had said they'd be doing the talking. "We've got information that you need to know."

No response. The Captain-Commander was still playing with his Rubric cube, seemingly ignoring the two even as the General walked to stand right beside Rukia.

"Um..." Rukia's eyes blinked in surprise. She wasn't sure how to get the boy's attention.

That was when the boy spoke.

"Um doesn't sound like information that I need to know." He spoke in a low, monotone voice that border-lined on both the description of both dark and eerie. Yet, it held a clear formality that hid all emotions and replaced it with a business-like feel to apply to the situation. He still wasn't looking up from the Rubric cube that he was calmly attempting to solve. "Come back when you've actually something important to tell me."

"I-I'm sorry." Rukia was got off guard with this. She hadn't thought he had actually been listening. "What we're here to tell you is that Takahashi Ishikawa, the former Captain of Eighth Company, has started to make his move. I did some research on Takahashi in the Daireishokairō, and, from what I found, his target is the Seireitei."

"And yet, there are soldiers from Yūrei standing before me as if it was their issue." The head Captain remarked. "What is your explanation for that?"

Shinji cleared his throat. "That was because henchmen under his orders attacked our city, sir." He explained, using one of his hands to motion expressions for his words. "Several civilians and law enforcement were killed in the process. I also have reason to believe he may commit consecutive blows against Yūrei in the future. Since he was also a problem in the Seireitei, we've come to you for help."

"And what makes you think this needs my help?"

That caught the General off-guard immediately. But the head Captain was unphased. "Surely, if a powerful civilization such as the Yūrei Oukoku cannot handle the likes of Takahashi by themselves.... then why do you bother coming to its rival for assistance? Tell me, exactly how many hostiles were reported into this attack?"

"....four."

"Four henchmen? And how strong were they?"

"They were just like Pluses, armed with Kidō rifles and--"

"Four henchmen were able to deliver gruesome casualties to an entire company of police officers? Yūrei's new king must be a disappointment if he allowed that to happen so easily. I suggest he cleans up his act, before another preventable accident happens...."

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Yuusuke scowl a little, the grip of his rifle. But he continued on. "For a small group like this...." He spoke, placing the Rubric cube down and fixing his attention to the blocks. "My actions would be affecting the balancing act of this place. Government policy and its effect on the residents of the feudal Soul Society either keeps the equal balance, or pushes it to tilt the scale to one side." There was a unique way he was putting the cubes: they were being stacked with only the corners touching. "If I sent troops to defensive positions without the proper situation to fit my instructions, then that balance would tip. Not only would I be doing something unecessary, I would be also swaying public opinion of the Gotei 13 to one side, positive or negative. And I prefer to keep the balance like...."

Once he finished that very statement, he had balanced all of the blocks into an upright X. They were standing completely still, no wobbling or anything. It seemed as if they were held together by an invisible force.

"So."

With that being said, he laid back within his chair, folding his hands across his face and resting his elbows on the armrests of his chair. "That being said, what you have described to me is nothing more than a situation that can easily be contained. Therefore, regular patrol will be maintained, and your request for the Seireitei's help is denied."

"H-Head Captain sir! To deny our request is the same as signing a death warrant for everyone in the Seireitei!" Rukia protested. "What are you going to do when Takahashi arrives? He cut down his own allies, and none of us who were watching saw it coming. Right now, he has already recruited fighters who think nothing of performing a massacre in city streets. This is a matter of concern for the feudal Soul Society as well, not just for the Yūrei Ōkoku!"

"When I see some proof of your claims...." The head Captain replied dryly. "Then maybe I will consider your words. Until then, leave me to my thoughts."

Proof? He wanted proof? What did he expect them to have for proof, several mangled corpses? Rukia sighed for a moment, turning to the General. "What are we going to do about this?" She asked.

"That's not a suggestion, Kuchiki Rukia."

The head Captain's words immediately cut off what Shinji was about to say. Immediately, the door to the office opened, and the two guards that the four had greeted once before now entered the room in order to escort them out. To this, Shinji just closed his eyes and shook his head slowly. There was nothing he could do now....

As they were shown out, the disappointment showed slightly on Rukia's face. She hadn't expected this Head Captain to be so...indifferent?

"Well.... that was highly unfortunate." Shinji muttered, folding his arms across his chest. "I thought the treaty would've caused him to be more cooperative to our cause. Sorry, Ambassador...."

Rukia frowned. "He said he wanted proof." She thought for a moment. "Wouldn't it be possible to get images, or a video of the after-math of the massacre sent here? Yūrei has the technology, and we know the media caught the aftermath on tape."

"He doesn't need proof of that." Yuusuke spoke immediately from behind them. "As far as he's thinking, he wants a reason that would make him involve the Seireitei in this crisis of ours. He wants proof that Takahashi's target's going to be the Seireitei, if anything else."

"In that case, I could show him the documents I found in the Daireishokairō." Rukia said, seeing that as the simplest solution. "Otherwise, we will have to wait until he actually makes his move."

"Like he doesn't know about those...."

Rukia frowned deeply. "If he already knows about the documents in the Daireishokairō, then he should know very well what Takahashi said before he left."

"Words and documents aren't enough." Yuusuke countered, his voice rather annoyed as he fell into step right beside Rukia. "It takes a good liar for those kinds of things....."

"I know, I know." Rukia murmured. "I think we're just going to have to find some way to prepare the Seireitei for the inevitable. If the Head Captain won't listen to reason, perhaps we can persuade other Captains to aide us?"

"And what? Attempt to cause a little internal argument between the Gotei 13?" Yuusuke asked sarcastically. "They're all loyal to their head Captain, ambassador. His word dominates theirs."

"True." Rukia sighed. She wasn't thinking straight, in desperation for a way to get the Head Captain to see some sense. "Then we will have to wait until Takahashi launches his attack." She did not like the sound of the words that came out of her mouth, but it seemed that was what it was going to have to be.

"Dear God, I hope that's not what he's wanting...." Kuniumi muttered gravely, a rather solemn look even on his face.

(Separate, Solo Post)[]

As the three carried their discussion out of the head Captain's office, a lone figure was walking from the opposite direction. It was the figure of Naomi Takada, the new 4th Division Captain and successor to Retsu Unohana. But despite being the head of the Gotei 13 hospital, she wasn't the typical caring, gentle, and kind doctor that you would expect. On the contrary (at least for her subordinates), she treated it as if it was some sort of boot camp. She expected nothing more than the best out of the people under her command and medical treatment to be at maximum efficiency. After all, they were concentrating on the salvage of lives, soldiers and civilians alike. All it took was one mistake and there would be just one more corpse to bury, one person that had lost their life due to another's foolish error. Even as she walked to the office, those that happened to be near her backed off a little out of knowing her pressurizing behavior.

However, she could've cared less about that. Instead, she was more focused on the task at hand: assembling with the head Captain.

Sometime before Rukia's own meeting with him, he had called Naomi to appear afterwards in order for a discussion of their own. However, he did not specify what the topic of debate would be. Therefore, she was officially left in the dark on what was to come. That didn't stop her from mentally conditioning herself for it, stopping in front of the door to open and step inside. "Mikami?" She questioned calmly, closing the door behind her.

"I told you not to call me that...." In response, the boy's voice was rather stern. But it still mostly held indifference as if the comment had not bothered him at all. "I'm sure you must be aware of our positions by now...."

"Obviously...." The woman replied casually, raising an eyebrow. "But you and I both know that I occasionally have to look over you. I mean, really...." She nodded her head over in the corner. A vast array of building blocks and toys were scattered over there. "Is that how you put up your things when you're done playing with them? You organize your paperwork better than you clean up after yourself!"

Her voice took on a slightly annoyed edge, but Mikami turned his head slightly away to show that he was disinterested in her words. "If you're going to use this time to nag me about the unimportant issues, then it would be rather pointless to tell you the reason why you're here, isn't it?" He countered easily.

An exasperated sigh escaped Naomi's lips. But she didn't push the issue any further. "All right...." She relented. "What have you called me for?"

Mikami placed both of his forearms onto the table and looked directly into her eyes, his blank stare surprising her a little. "I want you to go take a visit to the 12th Division's barracks and question them on the status of their project. By the time that has passed, it should be done by now. If anyone asks you... tell them this was a direct order from the Captain-Commander, no exceptions."

Naomi straightened up easily, giving an affirmative nod. "I understand."

A small smile graced the head Captain's face. "Oh.... and, if anyone outside the 12th Division approaches you beforehand, do not let them know immediately." He spoke in addition. "Now...." He motioned his hand towards the door. "Be dismissed, and be as quick as possible."

With another nod, Naomi stood up from her chair and vanished with a Shunpo in order to deliver the news.

Necromancer Reverberation[]

A shadowy figure was rapidly approaching the Kokuryōmon, where Danōmaru, it's Gate Guardian, stood tall, surveying the area. The figure stopped, right in front of him, revealing itself to be a Hollow. At the speed it had been moving, it could have kept going and not been noticed by the giant. But it stopped, right in front of him, and the spiritual pressure it exuded was sure to catch the man's attention.

If it had been a normal person, Danzōmaru would've stopped it immediately with demanding words. However, as the guardian of the gate, he knew better than to waste time with what wouldn't understand him. He narrowed his eyes, his teeth gritting. "Hollow trash!!!" He snarled, raising his massive fist up in the air and swinging it to begin the challenge.

No sooner had the Hollow registered the giants movement than two smaller flickers of movement were felt, and a splattering sound was heard, and a liberal amount of leeches, along with a strange liquid, hit Danzōmaru's hand. The Hollow itself took the sky, avoiding the hand strike itself. The Hollow's tongue stuck out from its mouth and it began to vibrate, letting out a loud ringing noise.

Aside from the noise, it was silent for a moment. Then...

BOOM! The leeches on Danzōmaru's hand exploded.

GAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!"

Danzōmaru let out a pained scream and staggered back, his back slamming against the wall. He lifted his violently shaking hand to his face, staring at it in disbelief and shock. How was a mere Menos able to do so much damage to him?! It was impossible, and yet it happened anyway! He growled in fury, widened eyes snapping to the Hollow into the sky. Roaring defiantly, he punched the ground with his good hand, sending a shockwave throughout the Seireitei. Not only was it a display of power, but it would also alert nearby forces to his aid in the case that this one proved too strong for him.

There was two more movement flickers, and creatures, like minature Hollows, appeared right in front of Danzōmaru's face. They pressed their hands to their heads, firing more leeches and liquid at the man's face.

Due to the close proximity and Danzōmaru's large size, the giant could not simply sidestep the attack. Instead, he attempted to stop the leeches before they came. He swung an arm in order to swat the creatures away from him and do some damage.

While he did manage to hit the creatures away, they were crushed, and the leeches and liquid that they had fired, and the remains that were inside of the creatures, spilled out onto the giants arms. The flying Hollow once again vibrated it's tongue, signaling the leeches to explode.

Which they did.

Once again, an angered scream erupted from Danzomaru's throat, and his hands fell limp to his sides. They collapsed onto the ground, unable to be raised out of the inflicted damage. Both of them had been skinned raw, muscle and bone showing through the blood. His head hung, and he slumped a little, letting out continuous agonized moans. This was it.... these creatures would be the end of him. He was going to die right here, right now.... he slowly closed his eyes, waiting for the inevitable.

The Hollow, silently as ever, began to make a rapid descent, it's feet ready to crush the Gate Guardian's head with the power it had been given. As it fell, it began to pick up speed. When it landed, it would be a literally crushing blow.

It would not meet its target.

WHOOSH!

One figure, cloaked in the garments of the Shinigami 9th Division captain, had made a sudden appearance onto the battlefield. Despite being much smaller than the gargantuan figure of Danzōmaru, he stood like a brick wall protecting the innards of a fortress and its residents. His hand was already on his sword, palm and fingers gripping the hilt with a gentle tightness. His very presence caused the giant to stare down on him in shock. "S...sujong-taichou...?!" He managed to speak out, grimacing at the aggravating pain of his wounds.

However, what took him by surprise was the creature itself.

After he had finished the sentence, the Hollow suddenly exploded in a shower of gore, flesh, bone, and organs. Red, pink, and blue liquid fell like rain in front of them to stain the ground. It was an amazing sight to see, and yet such a disgusting one as well. Yet, the Captain hardly seemed phased by it. Instead, he turned to look over his shoulder with a raise of the eyebrow.

"I thought you were supposed to be a guardian, big guy...." He commented smoothly. "What're you doing, getting your ass swatted around by a bunch of flies?"

The giant immediately flinched, a wave of shame filling him. "I....I'm sorry, Sujong-taichou...." He muttered weakly. "But--"

Sujong immediately raised a hand for silence, refusing to have any of it. "I was just kidding. Don't get so worked up over it." Lowering his hand, he looked over the remnants of the assailant with half-lidded eyes. "An Adjuchas-class Menos.... I wonder what it was doing all the way out here alone. Usually it has a pack or two along with it...." He looked up towards the sky, then shifted his head to look over his shoulder towards Danzōmaru. "I'm going to get some medics from the 4th Division to help you out. I'll be back soon."

Someone, a young girl, was watching this from the sidelines. She wasn't visible to either of the Shinigami, and was masking her spiritual pressure, and was holding a small orb in the direction of the Shinigami. She looked down at the remains of the Hollow in disgust.

"Takahashi-sama won't be pleased." She murmured. "I'm sure he expected something better than this." She clicked her fingers, forming a Garganta, which she stepped into, and it closed.

In Hueco Mundo, Takahashi was sitting on his throne, as usual. But, even for him, it was too quiet. It was as if he was waiting for something.

Suddenly, a deafening roar was heard, and a Gillain tore through the wall of Takahashi's palace. The former Captain looked over at it.

"It's about time you arrived." He murmured. "I was beginning to get impatient." He stood up, and drew his sword. And he vanished, appearing seconds later on the ground behind the Hollow. Suddenly, it split in half, and disintegrated. Takahashi shook the Hollow's blood from his blade, and sheathed it, returning to his seat as quickly as he had left it.

"My blade thanks you for the meal." He said quietly, just as a Garganta appeared on the ground in front of him. Nabiki stepped out of it, holding the orb in her hands.

"Takahashi-sama. I have return-" She didn't complete her sentence, her attention was caught by the large hole in the palace side wall. "Takahashi-sama, what happened here?" She asked blankly.

"Nothing for you to be concerned with." He said dismissively.

"Of course." She held up the orb. "As you requested, I set XS001 loose in the Soul Society, and I gathered the results." She held up the orb, and crushed it in her hand. It turned to dust and drifted over to Takahashi. As soon as the dust made contact with his face, his eyes closed, and he began to see the whole scene replay in his head, from the Hollow's attack on Danzōmaru to it's destruction by the Captain. He opened his eyes, and frowned. "I see the experiment did not go as well as I would have liked. XS001 should have been able to survive such an attack, even from a Captain."

"What does this mean for the Project sir?" Nabiki asked. "Should it be terminated?"

"No." Takahashi replied, waving his hand at the remaining dust, and forming it back into the orb it was. "Take this data and begin reconstruction. With you at the helm, it should only be a matter of hours before it's finished." He lightly tossed the orb to her, and she caught it. As she turned to go, Takahashi spoke again, a smile on his face.

"Remember, Nabiki. I will not tolerate failure." Though he was smiling when he spoke, and his tone was light, there was no mistaking the anger at the failed experiment he was feeling. Nabiki gulped for a moment.

"Yes sir." She said, before walking out of the door.

"A pity your experiment had to go so horribly.... but, then again, it was a test run."

That voice had come from Angelika herself, who had her arms folded across her chest and her eyes turned towards Takahashi. As Nabiki was leaving, Oliver looked on and snorted in amusement at her fright as he followed Angelika's stance. Anton was leaning against the wall, hand against his ear and eyes closed as if trying to sense something.

Takahasi nodded curtly. "Test run or not, I had expected more from it." Takahashi sounded bitter. "These projects of mine are designed to serve as my army. Even though XS001 was the first one created, and therefore weaker, one blow from a Captain should not have inflicted as much damage as it did. Nevertheless, Nabiki will set about making the improvements."

"Was there a reason why you didn't simply appoint Shinigami or Arrancar soldiers instead of Adjuchas like your Shriekers?" Angelika questioned, slightly cocking an eyebrow towards him. "I assumed they would've been much more effective against the enemies you have."

"It's not easy to find Shinigami willing to work alongside Hollows." Takahashi replied as if it was obvious. "And natural Arrancar are difficult to find. Finding Shikaku and Diosa was a difficult task." He placed a hand on his Zanpakutō. "My lack of humanoid soldiers is nothing to be concerned about. My Zanpakutō, and yourselves, more than make up for it, as you will soon see."

A soft smile came across Angelika's face. "Then I suppose that makes our job all the more easier. And by the way...." She slowly turned her head away from Takahashi. "There's going to be an added benefit to those plans of yours, courtesy of us."

Takahashi's face went slightly blank, which is how he normally shows surprise. "Added benefits? Care to explain?"

"Hmph!" Choosing not to answer immediately, Angelika's eyes turned towards Anton. "How goes the communication, Semenov?"

"Just about complete...." The Russian muttered. "10....17....11.....22. There." Immediately, he opened his eyes and pushed himself off of the wall. "I sent the message to the body. We should be getting responses in the next several seconds."

Angelika once again turned her head towards Takahashi, the smile all too clear. "The Yūrei soldiers thought they could execute one of my subordinates without my permission...." She explained calmly, eyes half-lidding and head tilting to the side. "But they obviously do not know how I operate.

---

Back in Yūrei, three nurses were carrying a table with a covered sheet on it. Inside of that sheet lay the body of Shou, still and unmoving as the corpse he was. There was only the sound of their footsteps and the creaking of the wheels as it traveled along the floor. They were in the process of burying the body and cleaning up what evidence of the murder had been left behind. His very existence would be erased from the world, and there would be nothing left to show that he had been killed in the first place.

"10...."

However, part of his mind was still awake.... to recieve the coded message.

"17...."

His heart started back up, as well as his other body functions The bullet wound sealed up slowly, leaving only a blood stain behind.

"11...."

One of his hands twitched.

"22."

His eyes abruptly snapped open, pupils shrunken, and his hands clenching into fists.

He sprang into action.

Before anyone could blink, he had jerked himself off of the table, one of his fists flying towards one of his carriers. It smashed dead-center into his chest, completely shattering the chest cavity and sending a lifeless corpse to slam into the wall. With a violent twist, he retreated back and caught the second one with his heal, snapping the neck and ripping the head completely from the shoulders. Then, for the finale, he twisted and thrust one of his hands straight into the face of the final one, his fingers acting as a dagger as it punched through the skull. With a sickening sound, he ripped his hand out and allowed the nurse to fall to the ground.

He only looked at his surroundings briefly, before he began walking off calmly to continue the plan.


"Well.... let's just say the Seireitei won't be the only thing facing destruction...." Angelika finished.

A small grin crossed Takahashi's visage, as what she was saying pieced together in his head. "I see. Interesting."

Aftermath[]

"....and you're saying one of these things attacked you?"

"Yes, Takada-taichō.... it came out of nowhere, and had it not been for Sujong-taichō's intervention, I would have certainly been killed by it..."

It was at the scene of the attack. Several seated officers were at work, using healing Kidō in order to set the giant's wounds. The one who had questioned him was a frowning Naomi, who was standing with her arms folded across her chest. Standing a distance away was Sujong, who was watching idly with a distant interest.

"This is awfully rare...." She muttered, eyes drifting with disgust at the pieces of the Hollow as it were cleaned up by other seated officers. "Not only did an Adjuchas-class Menos approach Soul Society.... it also came alone. I wonder why it chose to come to a fortress instead of the unguarded territory of the Living Realm...."

"I don't know...." Danzomarū said bitterly, displeased by the fact that he had been beaten so easily. "But it seemed dead-set on ending my life...."

"I'll have to inform the rest of the Captains about this...." Naomi let out an irritant sigh; she had already delivered the news that Mikami had instructed her to bring to the 12th Division, but now she was going to have to go back and re-inform them of this update! It was so frustrating being the messenger around here! She slowly turned her head to look over at Sujong. "Sujong-san, do you mind helping me spread word of this? It will go a lot faster with both of us working on it."

"Sure thing, Takada-san...." He answered readily, giving an idle salute. With that, he immediately vanished from the area in order to perform the request.

Having been drawn by the commotion, Rukia, the General, and co. were rushing to the scene, and got full view of the downed giant.

"What happened here?" Rukia asked, looking for the nearest Shinigami.

"Kuchiki!"

All eyes snapped upon the woman in surprise. But only the nearest Shinigami seated officer bowed in respect. "It's an honor, noble Rukia...." He stated, raising himself back up. He backed up a bit, raising one of his hands to motion towards the fallen Danzōmaru. "Our guardian was attacked by an Adjuchas, but you'll have to ask Takada-taichō about the full details." Sure enough, the female Captain had turned away from the giant and was just about to leave.

Rukia was about to mention something to the bowing officer about him not needing to be so formal, but the mention of the Hollow attack distracted her from it. "Attacked? By an Adjuchas in the Seireitei?" Rukia was shocked. Such attacks rarely happened, if ever. She looked over to see the female Captain, and appeared in front of her with a Shunpo. "Excuse me, Takada-taichō." She addressed the Captain. "I was wondering, could you tell me about the Hollow that attacked Danzōmaru?"

"....."

Needless to say, the Captain wasn't amused.

When Rukia finished her sentence, Naomi fixed her with a stern glare, hands folded across her chest. Then, she reached out with one of those hands to roughly grasp the top of the woman's head. "And who in the hell are you to just waltz into this like you were born into it?!" She snapped, rocking the shorter girl's head around a bit. "Hasn't anyone ever taught you your business matters, little girl?!"

"I-I'm sorry?" Rukia said uncertainly, shocked at this Captain's attitude. She hadn't had much contact with the new Captains of the Gotei 13, and was unfamiliar with many of their mannerisms. "But, please, Takada-taichō, I need this information."

"Well....." Naomi said briskly, removing her hand from Rukia's head. "From what I hear from Danzōmaru over there, this Hollow was a bit unique from what we've seen. Created small creatures that crawled onto him and exploded, taking good pieces of his arms with them. When the guardian was finally weakened, the thing decided to move in close to finish him off. Not to mention it was by itself when this happened."

"S-small creatures...that explode?" Rukia repeated, her eyes widening.

Splash! Leeches hit Rukia from the right, when she had mistakenly put up her arm to block them. A Hollow appeared right behind her, mouth open, tongue out.

"This might sting a little!"' The Hollow called out, and the tongue began to vibrate, letting out a loud ringing noise. Leeches on Rukia's side, arm, shoulder and head exploded. The Hollow let out an insane laugh.

"My my. Don't you look pretty, all covered in your own blood?"' He gripped one of the small creatures he created. "I think red becomes you Shinigami, let's see some more of it!"

"Shrieker." She murmured.

Naomi's head jerked up at the very word. "Wait a minute.... you know about this Hollow....?" She asked cautiously, raising a slight eyebrow.

"Yes." Rukia nodded. "But Shrieker wasn't Menos level." She frowned. "Another thing is, he was supposed to be dead. I was there when he was purified as a Hollow and sent into Hell for his human sins."

A frown swept over Naomi's features, and she looked off to the side for a moment in thought. "And yet this one comes to attack us...." She commented. "Do you think there would've been any way to escape?"

"Not that I know of." Rukia replied with certainty. "I watched him get dragged into Hell. I've never heard of anyone escaping from Hell before either." She frowned. "Is there any remaining part of the Hollow's body left when it was killed? Organs, limbs, anything?"

"Not just anything.... a motherload." Naomi answered calmly. "We're still in the process of cleaning it all up, thanks to Sujong-taichō's interference..."

"That's good." Rukia said. "Please don't go anywhere. I want to find out if this really was Shrieker." She vanished with a Shunpo, appearing close to Danzōmaru. She could see the remnants of the Hollow that had attacked. Blood, organs, and limbs were on the ground in a scattered mess. She walked over to the body parts, ignoring the cleaning crew around it, and picked up what looked like part of the Hollow's wings. She concentrated on it for a moment, sensing the remaining spiritual residue. Her eyes snapped open as she dropped the limb. She removed herself from the spot with a Shunpo, landing next to the Captain again.

"The spiritual pressure I felt from one of the limbs was that of Shriekers." She said gravely. "But it was mixed in with a different spiritual pressure, unfamiliar, and but still Hollow-like. It wasn't easy to detect Shrieker's energy signal in there."

"Sounds to me as if someone got a hold of him."

Shogo himself walked up to stand beside Rukia, eying the piece of the Hollow carefully. "Whether he escaped or not, dead or alive, he left something behind for someone else to play with." He deduced, raising his eyebrow slightly and slinging his rifle over his shoulder.

Rukia looked up at Shogo. "Left something behind?" She repeated. Then she remembered. "His leg and tongue. I remember, both of them were severed, the tongue ripped out by his opponent and he ripped his own leg off in a chance to escape. It's possible they were collected and used to make Shrieker imitations."

The wound-indicating statements caused Shogo to grimace a little, expressing his displeasure. "One of these things was strong enough to bring down a gate Guardian...." He remarked, his grim eyes turning to stare into Rukia's own. "If a hundred, a thousand of these things were created, they could very well inflict severe damage to an entire region. And there's only one so far that could be planning anywhere remotely near that goal...."

"Takahashi...." Kuniumi supplied, one of his hands pressing up against his face in clear agitation. "Great. Just fucking great....."

"This could actually be a good thing." Rukia said, though she was not too fond of the idea of a thousand Shriekers marching into the Seireitei bent on killing everyone. "Maybe we can use this to persuade the Head Captain." She sounded like she didn't believe it, but was merely throwing it out there as an option.

"Don't bother."

Shogo's head snapped up in surprise as Naomi's voice spoke up behind them, a few steps away. "With the know-how he's got, the Commander's probably gotten the knowledge and is already making preparations." She answered dryly, looking over towards Danzōmaru. Her medics were just finished, and he was standing tall once more, though hunched over slightly.

Rukia turned her attention over to Naomi. "He is?" She frowned. This was definitely good news, but she wished that the Head Captain would have listened to them when they went there. "I as afraid he'd wait until Takahashi began to slaughter everyone."

That caused Naomi to smile darkly. "Who knows?" She questioned casually. "Maybe he will...."

Rukia frowned. "I hope not." Was all she could say. So, Shrieker was alive, and there was a possibility that there were more of him. This was turning out to be worse than she thought.

"In the meantime...." Naomi looked towards both of them, Shogo looking back at her with a rather studying gaze. "What do you plan on doing?"

"At this moment, I'm not exactly sure." Rukia replied, sighing for a moment. "We came here to tell the Head Captain about Takahashi, but he had someone escort us out of his office, so that's done. I intend to stay until the Takahashi threat completely passes however."

"And that means we're going to be stuck with you for a while...." Yuusuke said, scowling a little as he strode up behind the three. "Our vehicle crashed thanks to a damn lightning storm, so we've got no way out of this region.... other than Rukia's little sword spirit."

"She can't lead us out of her unfortunately." Rukia chuckled weakly. "Now that I think about it, can't one of you get someone in Yūrei to start constructing a newer, more durable model and have them fly it this way?"

"Communications don't reach so far, unfortunately...."

"Oh?" Rukia frowned. There went her big idea. But, if communications didn't reach that far, how would she let the Kurosaki's know when they were going to be needed?

"Mhm...." Shogo nodded, a bit unhappy at the circumstances. "So, if we wanna relay this to the other side, we're going to find an exit strategy out of the feudal Soul Society."

Rukia thought for a moment, and the answer came easily. "Jigokuchō." She suggested. "A Shinigami and use them to send messages to and fro."

"Those things?" Kuniumi remarked, scoffing a little. "Thought they were way out of style by now...." However, his tone sounded more than relieved. "You happen to have one on you?"

"Yes." Rukia said, as a Jigokuchō began to flutter around them, seemingly appearing out of nowhere. It landed on Rukia's outstretched index finger. "Say what you have to to the Jigokuchō, and it will record the message perfectly."

Shogo was the one to step up first, with the rest of them looking on. He eyed the Butterfly for a moment before speaking. "This is the Commander to the D.O." He reported, keeping his voice calm and maintained. "Our vehicle has been neutralized by a lightning bolt during the passing of the thunderstorm over Soul Society. Requesting extraction on command. Over." Then, he stepped back, holstering his rifle properly and looking over at Rukia with slightly skeptical eyes. "You sure that this will work? Can they respond back to us with this one alone?"

Rukia nodded. "They should be able to yes." She held the Jigokuchō up to the sky, and it's wings began to flutter, and it flew up and away. "That takes care of one problem at least."

"Yeah...." Kuniumi added, his voice slightly bitter. "And more to fucking come....what should we do while we're stuck here?"

"The Head Captain seems adamant about handling this himself." Rukia sighed. "I don't suppose there's anything we can do but brace ourselves for Takahashi's assault. I'm going to send another Jigokuchō to the Kurosaki Family later, and tell them that they'll need to get here soon."

"Right...."


Takahashi was sitting on his throne, waiting patiently. It had been quite awhile since Nabiki had set to work. Or was it the emptiness of this realm that made time seem to pass so differently? No matter. He heard the door creak, and it caught his attention. Nabiki was walking calmly up into the throne room, covered in what looked like blood.

"Takahashi-sama, the reconstruction, it's done." She said, wiping her forehead and looking slightly exhausted.

He looked down at her. "There were no problems?" He asked slowly.

"None whatsoever." She said, sounding almost proud. "And, the smaller Hollow you sent into the Seireitei to scout, it returned awhile back with information."

"Oh?" Takahashi looked curious.

"Rukia Kuchiki, it seems, has figured out exactly who the Hollow was that you sent in, and she has informed the Shinigami."

"I see." Takahashi frowned briefly. "That wasn't something I expected, but it will matter very little." He got up from his throne, and jumped down onto the ground, landing neatly. "Nabiki, Angelika." He addressed these two personally, though he was addressing everyone in the room as well.

"It's time to move."

End

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