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Slaying Moon[]

A young man, hair dyed green, was walking through the forest, a large blade wrapped in cloth tied to his back and his eyes scanning the area. He was sure he had felt some strong spiritual pressure in this direction, but had yet to find anything that wasn't wildlife.

In a distance not too far off from the area, a hunt was taking place.

A pack of Gillian-class Menos had been terrorizing the area and its soul population, searching in the forest for any traces of spiritual energy that would be good for consumption. They scoured nearly the entire area, hunting and pursuing Pluses who were unfortunate enough to be there. Like a bird of prey trapping a mouse, these Hollows trapped their victims quite easily, diving upon them and snatching them in their mouths. For them, there was nothing that could stop them, no one that would dare to halt their feeding frenzy.

That is, until they stumbled across one lone man, with nothing but a sword on his back and a lot of time on his hands.

SLASH!

The hunter had become the hunted, once the encounter was set. Pulling out his sword, he had started slaying the Menos one-by-one, each one doused with little effort. That caused the remaining Hollows to retreat. The man smirked as he followed, sword gleaming with their blackened blood.

It would be a grand hunt, indeed.

The green haired man was alerted to the rapid rising and dropping spiritual pressure, and found in that cluster the one he had been seeking. He broke into a Shunpo and arrived in time to see the man cut down another Gillain.

SLASH..

The silver-haired man's eyes widened, a look of bemusement crossing his face. Out of the corner of his eye, as another Gillian victim screamed and surrendered to the death he had given it, he had seen another figure appear, seemingly out of thin air. It was clear that someway or the other, this hunt was going to be interrupted. Yet, he hid his annoyance well as he lowered his blade, body turning to face the man entirely.

"Does he want to help?" He wondered.

"Hollows."' The man thought as one Gillian turned towards him and fired a Cero blast. He quickly jumped over the Cero blast and gripped the blade on his back. The cloth around it unwrapped and shrank down to the tang, revealing an elegant, black and white cleaver. He swung the blade down, cutting the Gillian in half, and it quickly disintegrated.

Gillian's Cero

The Gillian firing it's Cero

As the silver'haired man watched, he noticed the pack of Hollows finally fleeing from the area. But, his concern was on the man that came before him. His eyes narrowed, and a scowl fitted his countenance in a regarding of annoyance and puzzlement. "You sure have a lot of nerve, barging into my hunt." He called out challengingly to the other warrior.

"Plenty of Hollows to go around." The other man replied, planting his blade into the ground.

"Who are you?" The man demanded. "A Shinigami like you shouldn't be staying so far away from the Soul Society." The last statement was rather mocking of the man, but his expression didn't show any amusement.

"Isn't it common courtesy to introduce yourself first before asking someone else their name?" The green haired man asked.

For a moment, the silver-haired man was silent, eyes closing in thought. He tilted his head to the side, contemplating the statement before saying in relent, "All right. I'll humor you. My name is Smirnov Seishou."

"Nice to meet you Smirnov." Dyan clapped. "My name is Dyan Arashi."

The sound of his hands clapped together brought a feeling of discomfort in the man known as Smirnov. His scowl deepened. "How funny of you." He stated dryly. "Was that supposed to be sarcastic?"

"Draw your own conclusion." Dyan replied. "On another note, I have been looking for you ever since I got into this forest, Smirnov."

A grim smile fell upon Smirnov's face. Through the trees, a gentle breeze blew against him, but its presence was enough to increase the tension felt within him. His blade stood in his left hand, tip almost touching the ground. "Oh? Are you my little stalker, now?" He asked.

"No." Dyan replied, rolling his eyes. "I've just been looking for someone to fight, and you've got decent spiritual pressure."

Behind his glasses, Smirnov's eyes could not be seen. However, his eyebrows furrowed out of his newly found indignity. "A way to kill your own time? Go find someone else. I'm not going to be used to sate someone else's boredom." He refused, slowly turning his hell as well as his back on Dyan.

"Why not?" Dyan asked. "You seem like a person who likes to fight. You have a sword. You have the time. Fight me."

"Go play with someone else, kid." Smirnov replied calmly. "I have other plans." With calmly gaited footsteps, he began to walk away from the man, his sword blade balanced on his shoulder as he did so.

"What plans?" Dyan asked. "Going on another hunt? I'd think an opponent with a blade would be a much better opponent. Unless you can feel my power, and you are scared to fight me?"

Immediately, the man stopped. His expression was darkened over as his entire body froze, processing Dyan's taunting words. The hand clutching his sword tightened like a vice-grip, his palm aching from the aggravating pain that came to it. The wind between them blew a little bit more, signaling the rise in tension as the strength of the breeze slowly grew and grew. "Scared?" He questioned, turning his head to the side to look at Dyan over his shoulder.

"Of you?"

His own power erupted from his body in the form of pressurized energy. In Dyan's view, the world was nothing but tunnel vision, colors black and white, and his entire FOV shaking violently. Smirnov's own voice sounded like it too was in nothing but a tunnel. He turned completely to face Dyan, a broad smile on his face. "Why would I be scared of my equal? A man with great power as well as a weapon to kill with. In this way, you're just like me..."

He raised his sword up, the tip of it pointing towards Dyan in a threatening manner. "But your words piss me off. So I believe I'd better quell that mouth of yours before it gets out of hand. Defend yourself." One of his feet slid behind him, heel going upwards in a running position.

Then, he pushed off, and a small crater was left in the ground where he was standing. Taking his sword in both hands, he swung down upon Dyan's head once he was in range of the man.

"Now that's more like it!" Dyan grinned, ripping his blade out of the ground and swinging it with great strength behind it to block the strike of Smirnov.

They connected. A fierce shockwave erupted from the collision of cold steel, spreading outward and away from their bodies. Now, the wind seemed like a warning storm wind, their reiatsu leaking out in rapid bursts as they struggled against each other. Smirnov's eyes glared into Dyan's eyes, a loathing respect as well as the realization of a tough opponent on his hands. He raised his sword and swung downwards.

Again.

Again.

And again.

Each blow, enhanced by the physical power of Smirnov's build, was driven repeatedly into Dyan's guard with merciless and unrestrained force. Each strike caused sparks to fly up, almost as if lightning itself was striking the two blades that fought against each other.

Dyan grinned as he kept blocking. He enjoyed close combat, but this would get them nowhere. His blade began to glow and he murmured two words. "Getsuga..Tenshou.."

CLANG!

Upon the last sound of the last letter, Smirnov's sword swung down, the glowing blade down to the ground. It was as if a gun had gone off in the wrong direction; the pent-up energy in the blade was immediately released, but at the wrong target: the ground itself. When it connected, it enveloped them both in its power, as well as kicking up a dust storm.

Dyan was wide eyes for a moment. "Nice move there. Never saw someone do that before."

"Thank you."

SmirnovStance

Smirnov, after the explosion.

Through the smoke and debris, his opponent's blade shot out from the smoke, the blade inches away from the distracted Dyan's throat. From the smoke was none other than Smirnov's own figure. His coat had been ripped apart by the blast, and nothing more than his undershirt had remained. The frown had once again returned to his cynical face. "But I don't think this is a proper time to be using words..." He lectured, lifting the blade from the killing position it had on Dyan's throat, stepping back to allow some distance between him and his opponent.

"He's right.." Dyan thought, gripping the cloth on the end of Zangetsu's tang. "He could have killed me right there." He began to twirl the blade, and it made a whirring sound like a machine. Getting in a stance, he threw the blade, the cloth stretching so that he could hold on to it.

Smirnov's eyes watched on as the projectile of a sword came flying towards him like a knife. Yet, he didn't allow himself to move, staring at both it and his opponent with stoic eyes. His entire body seemed relaxed, at least for a brief minute, even as death cam soaring towards his chest.

Then, his hand reached out... and his bare palm caught the cutting edge of the sword. But his palm did not bleed. Even as he gripped it tightly, giving the sword a violent jerk, it did not bleed. Instead, Dyan was forcibly pulled off of his feet and towards a waiting hunter, who raised his sword and thrust it straight towards his blindly charging form.

Dyan extended his hand outward towards the blade and chanted. "Bakudō, Number 39 ENKOSEN!" He summoned a shield of condensed reiatsu, blocking the sword from going any further. Taking this moment as his chance, he tugged on Zangetsu's cloth and it slipped out of Smirnov's hand.

This time, he bled.

He only looked on as his enemy's sword cut through the palm of his hands. He could feel the warm liquid drip from his skin, covering it with a deep crimson. Idly, he let that hand drip blood, hung at his side as if useless. His other hand raised his sword into a defensive stance, and his eyes concentrated once more on his opponent.

Dyan extended his hand again. "Hadō number 34, Kongōbaku!' He cried, firing a large ball of flame out at Smirnov. The moment he fired that he cried out the name of another spell, one more well known. "Hadō number 31, Shakkahō!" This blast was faster than the other and collided with it, merging and creating a large ball of fire.

Maybe he could toy with his quarry a little.

A smirk crossed Smirnov's face as he bent forward, sword pulled into a backhand position. The position was only maintained for a second. When he swung again, that mighty blade of his connected with the firey mass of spiritual energy. But, in the end, it was pure steel and muscle alone that conquered. The sword cut cleanly through the fireball, dispelling it into the reiryoku particles it once was.

Dyan was wide eyed. "This guy's power is insane! Cutting through a dual Destructive Spell with his sword alone!"

"That the best you can do?" Smirnov jeered, raising his sword to the air. Once again, his spiritual energy came to his assistance, billowing from his body threateningly, as if it too wished to consume the opponent within itself. It let out a loud roar, the winds that it was picking up swirling violently around the two.

Then, he swung the blade down.

Once it struck the ground, a wide fissure of condensed spiritual energy raced at its target All the unrestrained power, as well as all of that kiling intent, was combined with it to form a mass of death that tore through the ground. All if it was hungry to swallow Dyan whole.

Dyan acted quickly. "Getsuga Tenshou!" He swung his blade down, emitting a large amount of green spiritual energy that collided with Smirnov's own energy attack.

As the two otherworldly energies collided with each other, a bright light illuminated the entire area. To a far off-viewer, it would've looked like the two energies were simply combining to form the brilliant beauty. Smirnov looked on, hair rippling as well as his clothes due to the intense winds the struggle was producing.

"I have to do something. I don't even think he is in Shikai and he's stronger than me." Dyan thought, watching the light display.

Then, Smirnov's figure was gone.

Seconds later, however, his blade swung down from behind, downwards towards the top of the head: a spot where Dyan's frontal guard had not been able to defend.

But Dyan could feel his powerful spiritual pressure, and forced himself to move, the sword missing his head, but cutting into his arm, blood spurting out and pain shooting through Dyan's nerves.

Now, with that pain came another distraction - one that would prove to be a bane of the fight.

Lifting a leg, Smirnov once again relied on his immense physical strength in order to initiate the destructive power of his next move: a thrusting kick. That very kicked, boosted by the muscles in his legs, connected with the gash that was made in Dyan's arm. A snap of the bones could be heard upon contact. Dyan was immediately sent flying back, a missile through the air and away from Smirnov at nearly bullet-speed.

Dyan scowled as his arm throbbed in pain. This man was proving to be a real nuisance. His blade glowed a bright green again and he twirled it high above his head. "Getsuga Tenshou!" He cried, and many, high powered crescent moon shaped blasts were fire off in random directions, cutting into trees and rocks.

Smirnov's eyes widened.

He kicked into Flash Step.

His body faded in and out at random points of the battlefield, barely evading the multitude of blasts that had been sent his way. It was almost as if he was dancing with the attacks as he did so, their light only serving to glorify the false beauty of the combat.

Dyan stopped the flow of the blasts and the twirling of his blade. His hand glew blue, but instead of attack, he placed is over his arm.

It was here that Smirnov stopped his flickering dance, eyes drifting back towards his opponent with dry curiosity. Yet, his sword was still raised defensively, waiting for two things: an opportunity to strike, and what the next move of Dyan would be. He pursed his lips tightly, a feeling of apprehension sweeping through him.

Dyan stayed perfectly motionless, the blue light enveloping his arm.

Smirnov matched him, stance perfectly still, and body reactive, ready to evade at a moment's notice. A small bead of sweat dripped down his face, the wait already seeming too agonizing for him to bear. Yet, that was all that he did; anything more would've meant possible suicide. He didn't plan on dying.

At least, not yet.

Dyan removed his hand from his arm and the blue light faded from it. He moved his arm to make sure it worked. He sighed. "Alright. Arm is back in order." He gripped his sword and charged at Smirnov, swinging it down at the man's forehead.

Oh... so he was simply healing his own arm. It was fair enough, Smirnov supposed, as he raised his blade to intercept the guillotine of a sword from the flesh of his forehead. He took a step back, allowing his opponent to gain a foothold.

Dyan swung down with both hands, increasing the strength behind the swing.

Smirnov, however, could not bring himself to lift his own two hands to his own hilt in order to strengthen his defense, for Dyan's swinging speed had been far too quick for him to catch up. His sword was nearly torn from his hands when their blades collided once more. Once again, he took another step back, trying to keep his distance between his aggressor.

Dyan kept swinging, determined to remain on the offensive this time and their blades clashed, sending off sparks.

Too much ground had been lost to his opponent now. Even as he managed to secure a two-handed grip on his hilt and swing his blade accordingly to block the oncoming attacks, he did not have the motivation to push back against the offensive barrage, and thus, he allowed himself to get pushed back even more, defending himself against the relentless onslaught of his opponent.

"Getsuga Tenshou!" Dyan cried, swinging his blade up as he released a crescent of energy which collided with Smirnov's blade.

Smirnov couldn't react in time.

His defense found itself being crushed by the point blank energy blast. Even as he held it off from damaging him, he still found himself pushed back for a short distance. Without warming, its power consumed him, shortly before it too exploded under its own instability.

Dyan was panting. Those consecutive melee attacks and that Getsuga Tenshou were using up different reserves of energy.

Through the dirt cloud that was slowly clearing up, there was a pile of rocks and boulders that had been overturned in the ground by the power of the attack. A lone figure was sitting on it, the skinny figure of the sword hanging limp in one hand. At first, it appeared as if he was wounded, the blast having did effective damage to his person.

The smoke cleared.

There sat Smirnov, legs nearly up to his chest. His sword arm hung limp at on side, while his other arm was propped up on one of his legs. His hand was currently holding the bottom part of his face, and his attention seemed to be drifting elsewhere and not to the person that had attacked him.

Not only he had come out with only minor scratches... he had been bored by the whole thing!

Dyan's eyes were wide. "What the hell..? Is...is that even possible?"

Smirnov lifted his hand off of his chin...

...and disappeared.

Once again, his sword came down from behind. But this time, due to his opponent's bewilderment at the survival of his previous attack, his moves were now as free as the wind. The cutting edge swung downwards, and in aiming for a non-lethal point this time, tore a deep wound through the back. Now, Smirnov's entire chest was covered in the sticky red fluid as it was pumped out of his opponent's body.

Another ferocious blow... laid by the hunter.

It had missed both his heart and his lungs but Dyan was still feeling the pain. He pulled the sword out of him and jumped back, trying to gain distance.

"Shikai just isn't going to cut it here.." Dyan thought, clutching at his bleeding chest. "Zangetsu...help me out here." He clenched his blade. "BANKAI!" He cried and was enveloped in a mass of black and green spiritual energy which towered into the sky. When it cleared, Dyan was wearing a long-sleeved, ankle-length black coat with green lining that is closed at his chest, then left to flare out into ragged ends, and his sword had shrunk down to a daitō. "Tensa....Zangetsu.."

When the aftermath cleared, Smirnov's eyes had been set to a hawk-like stare in Dyan's direction. A flashback raced through his mind of his first fight with Ahatake - he had been humiliated and spat upon by the Kurosaki once that Bankai, a tool that had been such an advantage over him, was release. A loathing scowl fitted his face, and his sword raised up to defend its master. He would not make the same mistake he did before.

Dyan in Bankai

Dyan attack in Bankai

Dyan gripped his sword and charged Smirnov, his black blade gleaming in the sunlight. He closed the distance in seconds and swung his sword down on Smirnov.

A normal being wouldn't have been able to see such superhuman speed being utilized, the eye unable to perceive such movements. However, Smirnov's senses were quite sharp. He heard the faint sound of the Swoosh made when Dyan re-appeared, and the loud Swoosh made when he re-appeared. He could feel the immense spiritual pressure that moved from one location to his own. His body was reflexive, arm raising his blade in a horizontal position to intercept the sharp blade's path. Over all, it was a matter of relying on all of the senses in order to fight this newfound power.

Smirnov could do just that.

Dark Black Moon[]

"He has good eyes and ears." Dyan noted, seeing that the man could still keep up with his speed even in Bankai. He began to increase his speed, and afterimages began to become visible as Dyan continued his assault.

Up. Down. Left. Right.

Smirnov's arm, as well as his entire body, soon found itself having to move constantly, the blade intercepting Dyan's hyper-speed attacks. His eyes were looking in every direction, trying his best to follow those Bankai movements. Sometimes, he was forced to use a Flash Step to keep himself from being caught off-guard. But still, their blades swung and clashed against reach other as the two fighters collided again and again.

Dyan jumped back to gain distance. He held his blade up into the air. "Ready for this?" His blade was enveloped in black and green energy. "GETSUGA TENSHOU!" He cried, swinging his blade down and firing a massive blast of black reishi with a green outline.

Another Flash Step, and Smirnov was out of the blast's path in seconds. In a countering move, he gripped his sword with two hands, raised it, and swung down as hard as he could. A fissure of his own spiritual energy enveloped itself in dirt as it raced towards Dyan.

Dyan swung his blade into the reishi attack, cutting in directly in half and he resumed his assault, increasing his speed so that his after images were clearly visible and even slightly tangible.

"Is this all you have?" Smirnov asked lowly, even as he continued to block strike after strike. "An increase in speed? I was expecting something better than that, kid."

"You want better?" Dyan asked. "Fine. But you may regret asking." His blade began to glow and was enveloped in the same black and green aura he had fired off only moments before. He began to wing his blade rapidly, the Getsuga aura increasing the power behind his attacks.

This made Smirnov raise an eyebrow, but smirk nonetheless. "You have no taste in variety." He mocked, holding his ground as he watched the needed energy being summoned. Just to make sure he knew what he was doing, his sword was gripped in two hands.

Dyan kept swinging however, and the increased power was pushing Smirnov back. "You asked for Variety? My Zanpakuto has no variety."

He couldn't slice it in half now.

With a sidestep, Smirnov allowed the attack to pass him body, side-jumping a few steps away. "I didn't ask for variety, genius." He retorted in annoyanace. "Or are you deaf, too?"

"Boy do I hate him." Dyan thought to himself with as much annoyance as Smirnov himself. He gripped his blade and fired another energy blast at Smirnov.

"Any energy blast you throw at me, I will counter with my own strength."

In order to make it so, Smirnov raised his sword over his head when the Getsuga Tensho attack neared him enough. He swung down, immense physical strength and his reiatsu once again working together against its enemy. This time, he was able to slice through the blast and dispel it like before.

Dyan grinned, however, as the blasts remnants converged into a small orb and slammed into Smirnov's gut. "In Bankai, my control over the Getsuga is increased." Dyan said, the grin not fading from his face.

His reflexes coming to the rescue once more, Smirnov took one free hand and caught the orb, but the force pushed the back of his hand to his stomach. Putting his physical strength into the effort, he forced that blast off to the side, all the meanwhile glaring at the grinning man.

That wiped the grin off of Dyan's face. "I am seriously doubting this guy in a Shinigami." Dyan muttered. "I haven't landed one good hit and this guy hasn't even activated Shikai yet." He gripped his blade. "I might have to up the ante if this continues the way it has."

"What's the matter, boy?" Smirnov taunted. "Is your Bankai still too weak to take on someone like me? With all of that talk earlier, I thought you would've been much stronger than this."

"I thought you would have been much weaker." Dyan retorted. "Do you even have a Shikai and Bankai?"

Smirnov raised his arms in a half-shrug. "I used to possess Shikai." He admitted, deciding to humor his opponent once more. "But due to a past loss, I neglected to pay much attention in remembering my Zanpakuto's name. I don't possess either of those anymore."

"I see.." Dyan replied, remembering something Zangetsu once told him about when a Shinigami who did not listen to their Zanpakuto was weaker than normal. If this was Smirnov weak, he'd hate to see Smirnov strong.

Smirnov scoffed. "Well, I hear. And what I'm hearing is nothing but talk." He said calmly, raising the tip of the blade to point at him.

That set Dyan off. Taking that comment as Smirnov calling him weak, he charged in. his blade gleaming and he swung it down on Smirnov, aiming for his head.

Perfect.

With a rise of the free hand, Smirnov extended his arm to intercept Dyan. However, this time he didn't aim for the sword, but rather the wrist of the hand that swung it down upon him. His fingers secured a lock around Dyan's wrist, squeezing tightly before reeling the opponent in. With his sword hand, he rose the blade in a diagonal uppercut, the cutting edge tearing through Dyan's chest like a saw.

Dyan did not scream but the pain seared through him. Unable to move because of his wrist being in Smirno's grip, swung his blade up at Smirnov, powering up his slash with a Getsuga Tenshou.

With a flick of his wrist, Smirnov pulled Dyan's arm up and diverted the blow. Consecutively, he raised his sword once more and struck once more, this time in a lunge strike that ripped through the collarbone. It was here that he finally released his wrist, his newly freed hand gripping Dyan's face. With his strength, he lifted the man upwards in the air before slamming him headfirst into the cold and hardened ground.

A hunter was not supposed to play nice with its quarry, after all.

Dyan was bleeding but a feral growl ripped through his throat. His voice was changing and it echoed horribly. "That's it..." He hissed. "I'm going to kill you." He looked up at Smirnov, his Hollow Mask having formed on his face.

Dyan's Hollow Mask

Dyan's Hollow Mask

For the second time in the fight, Smirnov's shock was evident as he stared at the display upon him. What once had been human eyes were now the ones of the Hollow, glaring coldly as if it could simply freeze him to death. It wasn't obvious at first, but a cold aura began to sweep through the area, chilling the Shinigami to the bone. He couldn't even bring himself to fire a retort right back at what he now knew as a Vizard. "...why me?" He whined mentally, even as his body settled once again into a tense defensive stance.

Things had just gotten harder.

Dark Black and Green spiritual pressure began to whirl around Dyan and towered into the sky, similar to when he used his Bankai. Howeber, it was darker, and it evil emanated off of it. He vanished and reappeared in front of Smirnov, swinging his blade at the man's torso.

This time, his perception could not get used to the sudden increase in his opponent's speed. His expression changed from surprise to hidden horror when he found himself unable to block his opponent's strike in time. He grit his teeth, the katana slicing through his torso far too easily.

Dyan didn't stop with his strikes, swinging his blade down again, this time aiming for the man's arm.

The time it took for Dyan to raise his blade up again gave Smirnov a second to recover his footing. But it was just that; only a second. When that katana swung down once more, he could only manage to throw his sword to his other arm just as Dyan's blade cut through it. He staggered back, his hand, as well as part of his forearm, falling to the ground in a bleeding mess.

It was a horrible thing to see.

Dyan raised his sword. "GETSUGA TENSHOU!" He cried, swinging down the blade and sending a massive black crescent with a green outline at Smirnov.

Luckily, he had come to his senses enough to react, even if it appeared to be out of simple fear. Smirnov kicked himself into a Flash Step, his figure vanishing out of the path of what would've killed him. He re-appeared a distance behind Dyan, stepping on one foot.

"You're still fast it seems." Dyan said, turning to face Smirnov. "But I think you're finished." He extended his hand and fired an Emerald Green Cero.

"Don't declare me finished just yet, boy!" Smirnov countered indignantly, as he evaded yet another attack on his person.

"True." Dyan murmured gripping his blade and thrusting it into the ground. "Getsuga Tenshou." The blast of black resihi tunneled through the ground, ripping it up as it moved, heading towards Smirnov.

A grim smile came across Smirnov's face at the remark. He lifted his sword into a backhand position, glaring at the blast that dared to come across him. He summoned his reiatsu to him once again; but this time, it was not for launching. His very own blade sharpened, its killing edge proving to be even more potent than before. When the blast came to him, he swung, once again cutting it into two parts.

Dyan did not register that his blast had been destroyed, but he charged at Smirnov, his blade raised. However, the moment he got within striking distance, he vanished.

Smirnov's pupils shrank, and he felt fear sweep through him once more; an effect of the murderous energy that flowed from Dyan. His eyes darted around, his body's reflexes heightening due to his mind's alarm. His sword was gripped tightly in his remaining hand, as he waited for that brief moment.

There was a rumble as Dyan reappeared behind Smirnov and thrust his blade at the man's back.

"It's all right...."

CLANG!

That rumble alone not only snapped Smirnov to his senses, but alerted him to his opponent's next movement. He swung around, blade twisting to block and deflect the oncoming attack directed towards him. Although sweat dripped down his face, his expression was now resolute. He had only lost his composure due to that evil energy, but he remembered the feeling he had from Ahatake, as well. All he had to do was regain his focus and keep on fighting.

He couldn't let his spirit waver in the face of his enemy.

Dyan raised his blade up again. "GETSUGA...TENSH-!" Before he could utter the final syllable however, his mask cracked and shattered. "Oh shit!"

"...well. It seems like you're time has run out." Smirnov commented, almost allowing amusement to slip into his tone. "I guess all of that talk about killing me just went to waste, hm?" He allowed himself to settle back down to the ground, eyes on Dyan the entire time.

Dyan Stance

Dyan getting into a stance

Dyan took a stance, panting slightly, and pointing his sword at Smirnov. "This ain't..over yet." He said, the sword gleaming. "I still have enough reiatsu to end this."

"Good to hear." Smirnov replied, raising his own sword to his opponent in defiance. His stance mirrored Dyan's. A small smile formed on his face, as he readied himself for what he could assume would be Dyan's last attacks on him.

"Zangetsu... I need power..." Dyan thought, maintaining his stance. "Help Me.." Dyan's reiatsu began to increase and a huge aura of energy surrounded him. He sighed in relief as he felt the power flow through him.

"How amusing..." Smirnov commented indifferently, even as his own spiritual pressure began to billow. "It's comfortable to see the difference between you and I. Having to rely on another to fight makes me sick to my stomach." Then, he closed his eyes, summoning what remained of his own spiritual energy to his aid. Once it flowed freely, it grew, extending into a large column around him.

"Well that explains alot." Dyan replied. "A Zanpakuto is a conscious extension of your own soul, and as such part of your own power. It is the same as having extra reserves of strength." The aura spiked large and began to look like a storm.

"I don't need such reserves to fight you..." Smirnov retorted, eyes narrowing once more. "A man with a sword on his back and time on his hands. That's all it takes when it comes to killing your enemy." He placed one foot behind him, ready to lunge.

"Then let's end it." Dyan replied, mimicking Smirnov. "One strike is about all I've got left in me."

No more words were wasted.

Smirnov threw himself at his opponent, the energy giving him the appearance of a comet. He tore through the very atmosphere as he raced towards his opponent, blade holding all of that pent-up energy just waiting to be released.

Dyan launched himself from his spot like a rocket, leaving a small crater in the ground as he was enveloped in the black and green energy. He gripped his sword, feeling the rush of power waiting to be turned onto his opponent. The moment he was within range he swung, the reiatsu on his blade distorting the air as it moved.

Their blades collided, and their world around them exploded, consumed by the violent surge of reiatsu that resulted from the exchange. The reiatsu began to swirl and warp around them, whips of energy tearing into the ground and toppling over trees as theu pressed they blades against one another, trying to gain the advantage.

However, it was the one who was self-reliant who broke first.

Unable to withstand all of that pressure on both sides, his sealed blade began to crack under the pressure. His eyes widened in shock, and he tried to put forth even more energy to sustain it, but it was futile. Dyan's blade slowly cut into his steel, slowly breaking the defense...

...until the blade snapped in two.

With nothing to hold off Dyan's blade, the black katana fell forward, towards Smirnov. The man could only look on in defeat as the sharp blade cut through his right shoulder, blade embedding itself through his body. He felt his own blood pool in himself before dripping out of the newly created wound. Although his body remained strong, his spiritual energy reserves were dissolved into something next to nothing. He could fight no more.

He dropped his sword, his body only being held up by the blade that stabbed him.

Dyan raised the blade one more time but, before he could swing it down, he was winded by a sudden blow to his gut, was thrown into a tree by someone he couldn't see. Upon regaining his hair, he looked around to see a young blonde woman in a cap, jeans and tank-top glaring at him coldly.

With the weight unrestraining on him, Smirnov fell on his stomach, unable to look up at the person who had saved him. However, he could feel it as a familiar spiritual presence, one he had needed to know for a little while in order to know it forever. "Mi...zu...ko..." He whispered, a small smile gracing his face.

"Smirnov-san.." She murmured, walking over to him and placing a hand on his chest. She began to chant udner her breath, moving her hands over his wounds, her hands glowing and the glow spread over the wounds, healing it. She moved to his arm, and gasped, noticing it was missing. She looked around, and saw it laying on the ground in a puddle of blood. She picked it up and walked back to Smirnov, and placed the removed arm on the stump, and resumed her chant, the cells reforming and reattaching.

"Thank...you..." He managed.

She smiled kindly and leaned in kissing him briefly before getting up and turning to glare at the weakened Dyan. "Leave now." She hissed. "Or I will kill you where you stand."

Dyan scowled at the threat. "What makes you think I've leave. My fight with him isn't done yet."

"So you won't leave." Mizuko murmured and vanished, making Dyan's eyes widen. She reappeared on the side of him, placing her hand on the side of his face and forcing him into the ground. He swung at her but she caught the blade effortlessly.

"You have expended too much of your energy. You cannot stand up to me."

Dyan scowled, and jumped back, walking off into the forest, his Bankai receding and he placed his sword on his back, the cloth wrapping around it. "I'll be back Smirnov."

Mizuko walked back over to Smirnov. "Are you alright, Smirnov-san?"

A heavy sigh escaped the Russian's lips. He forced himself to his hands and knees, having no fear since his wounds were healed to a good extent. "Yeah... never been better." He muttered, breath slowly returning to him. "Thanks for saving me."

She smiled, walking over to Smirnov and giving him extra support. "Come on. Let's get you home so we can patch you up better."

"Don't overexert yourself..." Smirnov warned, though simply out of amusement. In turn, he accepted her help, balancing himself on her side in order to keep from falling. "I'm quite heavy, you know."

"I've lifted heavier." She assured him. "All that matters is that you're alive. Physical damage to myself is insignificant."

"Agreed."

The End

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