Bleach Fan Fiction Wiki

Hello and welcome to Bleach Fan Fiction Wiki! If you are here to read fan-created articles, please visit the Reader Guide! To create and edit your own pages, start with the Editor Guide!

READ MORE

Bleach Fan Fiction Wiki
Advertisement

This article, I Am Truth, was added by Waterkai who determines its usage on this wiki.

This article, I Am Truth, was added by Illuminate Void who determines its usage on this wiki.

Revelation - contrary to popular belief - was not a grateful experience.

Realizing that the physical world can never satisfy the demands of mental desires is a harsh truth for anyone. Those confronted with it fall inevitably down a bottomless pit of pessimism and depression. The psychological pain caused by sadness that occurs when beholding that one's own weaknesses are caused by the inappropriateness and cruelty of the world is able to render even the most bolstered of minds insane. They seek isolation from this "truth", creating their own world within their minds and their environment where they can attain perfected satisfaction, but keep this to themselves because they fear this world might be destroyed by the opinion of others.

Sōsaku was such a person.

However, he did not keep his world to himself. He decided to recreate reality in a "fair" way, where there was no natural or human-made order to segregate things. Instead, everything would depend on chaos and disorder, giving everyone the least chance on a blissful life but at least the same chance.

And if such a clarification didn't work, Sōsaku could come up with a thousand others to justify his radical actions. Or not at all.

But of course, a game couldn't be played without pawns to take out their antagonistic peers and certainly not without entertainment. At the moment, Sōsaku was looking more for the latter, and he believed he had found it under the guise of a Shinsengumi officer. Using Saeyuku, he had sent out a Jigokuchō which had been "coded" perfectly, making it improbable if not to say impossible for anyone to think it wouldn't be coming from the Intelligence Operations Division Commander. The trap had been set, now Sōsaku only had to wait for the innocent deer to stray into it.

---

"Here are the reports sir."

"Leave them on my desk. I'll attend to them shortly." The figure said, back turned and gazing out of his office window.

There was an uncomfortable silence as the Shinsengumi fidgeted uncomfortably. The figure's head turned, lavender eyes gazing back at her own, and in an instant she felt as though she were pulled into them, the world around her fading away. She found herself in limbo, and then she felt it...an ancient power hidden beneath that piercing gaze...it was like she was plunged into the ocean...swimming through this endless sea of power, drowning in its depths. Her chest began to burn from the lack of oxygen, as she started gulping for air, having forgotten to breathe.

She was brought out of her daze as a pair of hands steadied her. Raising her head, she found herself starting at her commander, with wide eyes, as he held her steady. "I'm sorry commander, I didnt mean to..."

"Dont. Now, is there anything else you need to tell me?" He asked softly, and releasing her from his grasp. She wobbled a bit, but straightened herself in a presentable manner befitting a member of the Shinsengumi. Though even that couldnt hide the reddening of her face.

"Yes, There's a message for you." she said regaining her composure. "It was delivered by a Jigokuchuu, orders from the Intelligence Commander."

"Very well, prepare my things, and let my lieutenant know so that they can carry out my duties while I'm away."

"Are you sure you're going to be sent out again Captain?" she asked curiously.

"Knowing him, yes I will be."

"Isnt it strange though? You just returned from another mission earlier this day. You're report hasnt even reached them yet, so how could he know you were back?"

"It is. But that doesnt change anything. Remember, our job is to investigate strange happenings like this. And besides the commander isnt the head of the Intelligence Operations Division for nothing. He may be shrewd, but he does his job. But you are right, keep the divsion on higher alert, and send a message to the Intelligence Division, asking for confirmation. I'll be on my way."

"Yes sir!" She gave curt bow and left, leaving Kenshin to his thoughts.

Something's amiss. Why are so many powerful beings emerging now, in this time? Damn you Aizen. Every enemy Soul Society has ever made is now following in your example. The only question is, who and for what purpose?

Shaking his head wearily, Kenshin prepared for his next assignment, and shortly after left after receiving the message from the Jigokuchu.

---

The bait had worked.

Sōsaku was standing in an empty field of Rukongai District #66, Momonokika. The House of Peach Trees. Once a vivid and beautiful place where many souls resided in happiness, this whole situation had changed when a horribly gone-wrong experiment of the 12th Division bathed the whole place in a deadly radiation, extinguishing the light of all souls who weren't keen enough to flee when the horrid structure exploded. Over the years, the ill radiating influence had dimmed, but the area was still considered to insecure to live properly. The luster peach trees that once gave the district it's names had disappeared, making way for a gray no-mans land with cracked grounds and hazardous gases floating alongside the surface of the forgotten grounds.

To prevent any of these factors from influencing their battle, Sōsaku had conjured numerous kidō spells beforehand which would reduce the peril to near zero, at least for a given amount of time. Although his target would surely be aware of the dangerous state of the area and surprised about the changes Sōsaku had made, Sōsaku held no desire to conceal his schemes for now, even forgoing his famous shapeshifting act. He wanted to let the Shinsengumi now exactly who he was facing, and what he was capable of.

Yin and Yang[]

A Senkaimon gate opened, and out stepped Kenshin, his feet landing silently on the decadent field of District #66. He surveyed the surroundings, determined to find whatever it was he was called her for, as his senses expanded. He saw rather than felt, who was behind this possible deception, in the form of an azure haired man, complete with a wily grin. He didnt reciprocate the mans welcoming gesture. For one reason or another every fiber of his being felt compelled to tear this creature before him apart, and he instinctively reached for his sword before stowing away that feeling and relaxing, if only a little. A battle was to be avoided if it need not be fought, and it was obvious that this stranger did not intend to fight. At least, for now.

"I suppose your the reason I'm here." He said coldly. Inwardly he chastised himself. He hadn't meant to sound so rude, but it seems his instincts disagreed.

"I prefer not to be addressed by a term such as 'reason', but yes, I'm the purpose of your mission. Do you want to know why you are here, Yagami Kenshin? Oh yes, I know you're name. I know everything about you." Sōsaku's grin was both terrifying and innocent at the same time, giving away nothing about the fact whether he was speaking the truth or blatantly bluffing. His arms were folded behind his back and his demeanor was very relaxed, despite Kenshin's sword-draw reflex that had no bypassed unnoticed. This was his playground now. Everyone played by his rules.

"You are here because I'd like to pose you a question. Why?"

"Why what?" Kenshin asked dryly. "You might want to specify, otherwise I wont be able to provide the answers you want to hear." Kenshin may have fallen into this mans game, but he too knew the intricies of deception, and the power manipulation had. For now, he had walked into another kind of battle, one that would test his mind, and not his blade. So began the song to his dance of wit.

"Why do you let yourself be controlled? Surely both you and I are aware of the fact that your intellect is far superior to any other being out here you call a 'master'. So why respond to them? You know, Kenshin, you and me are very much alike. Both great minds that have been misplaced in society and try to find a way to create a pleasureful life. But that's were the crossroads of our destiny lie. You chose to be manipulated, I chose to manipulate. I offer you a chance of liberation, of salvation from these shackles of duty and order, Kenshin. Let that awesome power of yours triumph as it rightfully deserves and avenge the years of undeserved labor with steel and blood." Sōsaku grinned malevolently.

There is a period of silence as Kenshin regards Sōsaku impassionately, his eyes shifting every so slightly as though he were reading the man in front of him. Kenshin's face was a mask, and very difficult to discern what his exacts thoughts were. Visibly relaxing, and apparently satisfied with whatever it was he found, Kenshin responds.

"Perception is an interesting concept no? No matter how similar another is, perceptions will always remain worlds apart. But appearances can be decieving, which me brings me to my next point. You stand there, assuming that I've allowed myself to be manipulated, that I have a become subservient. Is what you see truly reality, or is just one of many veils I have weaved before your very eyes?"

Kenshin smiled softly, "I will not confirm nor deny either, and perhaps it is a little bit of both. Perhaps this all apart of a master scheme, centuries in the making. One can never be certain of anything, even truth. But." he pauses dramatically. "...for the sake of this...debate of truths, lets assume you're correct, and I am interested. What path would this lead us to?"

"Wonderful, simply wonderful." Sōsaku applauded slightly at Kenshin's statements, his claps resonating throughout the vast emptiness of the disconsolate battlefield. "I'm very entertained with your responses. You manage to effortlessly twist your opponent's words against them, driving them into corner with their own statements. Making them doubt their belief, their faith in the truthfulness of everything they've discovered about you. And yet again we arrive at the station of truth and conviction. My proposition is simple. I will act as nothing but a spiritual guide to you, enlightening that clever but clouded mind of yours and showing them the path of bloodshed and violence. You will turn your sword at your masters, cutting them down in a rightful retribution for the years of selfless service you've committed."

Sōsaku disappeared, suddenly, and before Kenshin could grasp his further motions he had already arrived at his destination. Standing back-to-back now with the Shinsengumi captain as if they were trusted comrades, Sōsaku leaned slightly backwards and looked up at the sky above him, staring at the ever-changing and whimsical aisle of the clouds. "Truth is subjective, Kenshin. As you said yourself, every man, woman or child percepts reality in a different way. Is there really a 'true' reality? Maybe we each live in our own, composed of mirages and illusions that arose from our own deluded minds. You may think that you are in control of your actions, and that you have been capable of influencing the pathway of others, but who says this is not the same case with your own? Any person who considers himself sane and acts according to the rules and laws of nature and common sense will never be free in his activities, and will always be prone to the ascendancy of the few that have surpassed this laughable but o-so-complex barrier." Sōsaku pulled his gaze away from the heavens, twisting his head so he could almost look at Kenshin. "Of course, that is only my vision. But I deem it one with a very high chance of turning out positively. For me, at least. Considering you'll eventually perish and fade away without any major influence on the ways of the universe, won't you join me and have a little bit of fun while you're still alive and kicking, Kenshin?"

"Hmph. My masters or your enemies? You speak as though you are a visionary, but your vision is little more than anarchy and chaos, sown from your manipulation on the weakness of others. Please, spare me the glamour, you consider me nothing more than a pawn, another resource in your scheme. Unfortunately for you, anyone with a modicrum of intelligence can see that. Conversly that makes gathering allies extremely...difficult for one such as yourself. If you want people to flock to you like moths to a flame, you need to prove yourself worthy of their loyalty. As they say, actions speak louder than words, you must demonstrate that you can get the job done, if you want others to follow suit." Kenshin paces around the field, his gaze straying from one object of decay to another, before settling back onto Sōsaku.

"I ask you this...Sōsaku..." a sharp metallic hissing sound echoed as Kenshin unsheathed his blade, lights dancing across its blade as Kenshin regarded the man before him. "...show me whether your dreams...your vision...are they reality? Or..." he brandished his blade, before swiping it down to emphasize his point, slicing the leaves carried by sudden wind, only to see them...reform as it passed, as though they had never been cut, when it passed. "...are they nothing more than illusions to be cut down by my blade!"

"When moths gather around around a flame that proves to be to hot for them, their bodies crisp and they plummet and perish. My light is as the suns: manifest for anyone yet to mighty for any person to approach closely. Do not put yourself under the impression that I care about my 'allies'. I could do all I want without any kind of aid or support. I only do this because it is more fun." Sōsaku's voice dimmed and became more absent throughout his speech, his gaze floating away far beyond the scorched battlefield. Then he flicked his head to Kenshin, a corrupt grin dancing around his lips. "Your words are very impressive when backed up by that sword of yours. But are you sure this point of view is anything but a prison preventing you from perceiving your true surroundings?" The last words Sōsaku spoke were empathized very strangely, laced with a crushing aura. It was as if Sōsaku had released a torrential amount of spiritual pressure into the area, but in reality he had initiated his Sondaigō technique. Blue threads of energy flocked together around Kenshin, soon encasing him in a similar colored box which shun brilliantly. Sōsaku's smile grew even larger, as he also drew the sword sheathed at his waist.

Kenshin paid no mind to the barrier trapping him within. Sōsaku, like many other opponents were simply put, unaware of the true extent of his abilities. He didnt possess the mastery many claimed over the demon arts, nor did he have the vast array of supernatural abilities associated with other Zanpakutou. But before his blade, such things were nothing more than nuisances to be struck down. Without any sign of effort he casually swung his Zanpakutou upward, a small ripple of energy surrounding the blade was Sōsaku's only indication of what Kenshin was doing, as his blade sliced through the barrier with little to no resistance, splitting not only it, but the very ground itself creating a small fissure stopping just short of Sōsaku.

"We shall see if the veracity of your claims can withstand the edge of my blade." said Kenshin.

Even though the ripple is tiny when compared to the lake, it is far more clearer than any amount of water the lake could contain. As was the case with Kenshin's action. Although the action itself had been rapid and small to discern, it's aftereffects were clearly visible, and the disturbance within the spiritual construct itself did not go unnoticed before Sōsaku's eyes. However, he showed no sign of having gathered this information, instead forming a rod of spiritual energy into his hand which upon it's throwing disintegrated within a hundred smaller versions, aimed to pin Kenshin to the ground. Although the kidō would probably have no effect if Sōsaku's guesses were correct, it only had to serve as a distraction long enough before Sōsaku's newfound strategy could be set into motion.

No, wait. It would just serve to observe Kenshin's motions. Plans are for idiots who can only overlook a battle when they have classified it within an order of their little categories. As the rods made their way to Kenshin, Sōsaku took a single step before disappearing completely, even without the trademark black shimmer or sweeping sound. Where he would appear next was an unanswered question to both combatants.

Kenshin's unwavering gaze remained fixated on Sōsaku's before the latter dissappeared, as his arm blurred, steel flashing in the wind. It was instantaneous, the hundred rods hurtling towards Kenshin shattered like glass before they even got within five feet of him. This was not the result of some inherent or kido based ability, no, this was just an extraordinary display of raw skill. It was evident that Kenshin's greatest skill may yet be his swordsmanship.

"A single binding spell? Perhaps if you had cast ten, you might have a chance at hindering my movements, but one?" Shaking his head in disbelief, Kenshin opted to wait for his opponents next attack. He was no stranger to strategy, testing out your opponents abilities was a common tactic, amongst the allusive such as Sōsaku. Waiting and baiting your adversary until a counterattack could be formulated. Use of mind games, subtle manipulation, and word play? Yes, Sōsaku reminded Kenshin of a cunning fox, but he was a hunter, and it was just a matter of time before his prey would fall. But...he would play to this game, for now at least. With that, Kenshin deliberately lowered his guard, an obvious attempt to goad his opponent into attacking.

A world of shades fluctuated in various shades of gray around Sōsaku, deforming the shapes of his surroundings. There was little to no challenge in flash step anymore. It had become a routine, like walking itself, which didn't require any conscious thought or awareness. As expected, not even the tiniest fragment of his spell posed any effect on Kenshin, in fact it only field his sense of superiority. But it was no empty thought, Kenshin was indeed on a higher level than Sōsaku. Against any normal person of Sōsaku's caliber, he would have ended this battle by now, swinging down that mighty sword of his before the wimp could bat an eyelash. Then again, Sōsaku was no normal person. No matter how this battle would end, victory would be his. The fires of bloodshed are hard to extinguish once blasted off.

There it was, the light at the end of the tunnel. The key within a surprise attack was obviously the surprise, but against a warrior of Kenshin's medal this assignment was nigh impossible. Attacking from the front was never a good idea, and all soldiers knew to keep an eye to the back, sides and the skies when their opponent has disappeared. From underground was completely ruled out: even if Sōsaku could dig himself in the process would be to time-consuming and most of all: it would be no fun either.

But there was still one option left.

Beneath.

To slide yourself beneath an opponent's legs and assault them was a tactic coined the "foul suicide" long ago by Shinigami officers. First of all because it was directed at the precious spot of an opponent: hurting them in their pride as well when flinging a sword. And second of all because it was just crazy work. Positioning yourself in such a situation resulted almost certainly in death, even when your attack was successful. You had to have lightning-fast reflexes to depart with Hohō when lying horizontally and straighten yourself in the midst of your movement. So Sōsaku did. The moment Kenshin purposely lowered his guard he was formating a plan out of the whirling mass of thoughts and analyses that swarmed through hid mind. The perfect opening for any opponent who could recognize it. Before his ingenious antagonist could register it, Sōsaku's body was lying between his spread-out legs, a blade swing travelling rapidly at the space between.

Kenshin wasn't at all surprised that his opponent had taken the bait. And like a good little fox, Sōsaku fell into the hunters trap. Though he had to admit, Sōsaku's method of attack was a tactic even he hadnt foreseen, even if it were a dirty trick. However, such an oversight wasnt going to affect his plans too much. As opposed to dodging or using Shunpo, neither of which were possible given the current angle of the attack, Kenshin was left with only option.

From Sōsaku's point of view, it appeared as though his surprise attack was going to succeed, afterall, Shunpo or any method of evasion was at this point useless. His opponent had let down his guard, and was being attacked from a particularly vunerable area, there was just no escape.

Then something flickered across his field of vision. It had happened so quickly Sōsaku might as well have ignored it. But the processes of his mind finally caught up with him relaying the event that just transpired. Having abandoned his offense, Kenshin had instead made use of an odd maneuver, as thurst his fear foot back as far as he could, which when combined with his downward swing, had repositioned his body - a single foot balancing himself while the other hovered above his head, as he came face to face with Sōsaku, his blade clashing with the latters in a fierce display of sparks. But it was the shockwave that followed, causing the ground beneath Sōsaku's form to flatten several feet in its depth. In the next instant, Kenshin launched his own counterattack, leaping up into the air from a single leg, flipped through the air, launching a cascade of lightning bolts at his opponent before landing, half a dozen in number all hurtling towards various vital points on his opponent.

Without even a single word, spiritual articles were collected in front of Sōsaku's body, creating a durable barrier to counter the assault of Byakurai spells. However, it seemed Kenshin's attack proved to mighty for the transparent wall, when the final lightning bolt shattered it, diverting slightly in the process and striking through Sōsaku's left arm. And then there was silence. Stumbling and shambling noises came through softly, while the dust cloud generated by Kenshin's fierce attack slowly dissipated. Sōsaku was standing, and in contrast to other opponents who would be panting, staring in dismay and pain and a seemingly superior opponent, Sōsaku laughed. Louder and louder his laughter persisted, spreading out even beyond the corners of the wrecked district.

Blinking away some tears as his laughs faded away into small chuckles, Sōsaku turned his attention back to his opponent. "Oh Kenshin, you really are entertaining. Such ferocity in your eyes when you are wielding that sword. So much bloodthurst. I can feel that you want to kill me, Kenshin. So come at me with your fangs, rip me apart. I won't resist." And surprisingly, Sōsaku sat down, folding his legs and placing his sword horizontally upon them similar to the process of Jinzen. "It's only during the heat of battle that a person's true personality comes to... Manifest."

His face remained impassive throughout the exchange, Sōsaku's chilling laughter filling his ears, and for the first time in centuries, Kenshin was left dumbstruck by his opponents actions. Still any emotional turmoil he may have felt, he refused to let show, though furrowed brows and narrowed eyes may have betrayed even that much.

He was even more surprised as Sōsaku knelt down, though he couldn't shake the feeling that something was amiss, a strategy or tactic he overlooked, hadnt considered. His thoughts warred against one another, as a thousand scenerios ran through his mind, each one clashing with another, but none of them fit. Was it...? No, it was impossible....he had to make sure.

Wordlessly, Kenshin's hoisted his Zanpakutou to the front, as a faint white light ran up the length of the entire sword for a few moments, before the light shattered like glass revealing a smaller sword, with a glass blade. Kenshin paused as though he had expected something to happen, but when nothing did, his face showed geniune surprise at his opponent.

"I...can't read him...not...accurately at least...its like....seeing an ever-shifting sequence of frames, only...each frame is an entirely different person. Is he...even a Shinigami?" Slowly the images, and impressions did reveal something, but it wasnt what he expected. "No...its his mind....I see it...but I don't comprehend it. Interesting. His mind isnt fractured...its just...incomprehensible."

Calmly he shifted his stance to something...unrecognizable, as he sheathed his own sword. "What ruse is this Sōsaku? What are you trying to gain from this?" he asked curiously.

"Gain? I hold no material desires. I don't have any goal or destiny that's awaiting me at the end of my path. I simply do things. I'm the person who knocks over the first tiny domino and stands at the sidelines, watching and smiling when the final one topples over. That is, if I don't feel like blasting away the dominoes when their way becomes to predictable." Sōsaku's figure remained motionless, showing no intention of standing up to resume the battle. "What is it, Kenshin? Are you afraid? Afraid to face something you cannot comprehend? You apparently have problems trying to place me in one of your little categories and now you... panic. Where has that fierce warrior from before gone, Kenshin? I see nothing but a coward, a wimp who doesn't has the strength to pick up his sword and carry out the tasks he has been trained for."

Interrupting his monologue for a moment, Sōsaku let himself fall on his back, his arms cushioning his head while staring upwards at the azure sky. "You know, Kenshin, I have a weakness for people like you. They make life so much more fun. Always hesitating, always considering, always wanting to take every possible loophole or option into accord. And while they worry about what's wrong and what's right, it gives me the time to do whatever I want!" Sōsaku lifted up his head so he could look Kenshin into the eyes, a devilish grin still found within his features. "Or am I wrong?"

"Do not mistake hesitation for caution. I pointed my blade at you to determine who are you, not," he paused for emphasis, "...to sate a preconcieved bloodlust. If you wish to proceed with this exchange, than raise your sword. Are your words as empty as the threat you now present? Or are they as every bit as deadly as the edge of your blade? Show me your conviction, or disappear into obscurity."

Despite what he said, Kenshin was still if only a little surprised by the fact that he couldnt accurately read his opponent. Such a phenomena was so rare that he could scarcely believe it. Which inevitable put Sōsaku into a different category altogether, he was very much interested in how such a mind functioned. Although his abilities were quite powerful, examples such as this proved they werent absolute. As such, he hoped to glean as much information as he could from this man a perspective he may not have considered. Opportunities such as this...were...once in a lifetime...he couldnt afford to let this one go to waste. Not yet, not until he could ascertain the nature of this....Sōsaku.

"Oh dear, oh dear." Sōsaku hoisted himself by his katana, like a crippled man holding on desperately to his cane. Feet wide the two combatants stood there, as years seemed to pass within the deafening silence that rose from the end of Sōsaku's sentence. And inevitable as it was, like how the sun must eventually breach even the densest of clouds, it was shattered as abruptly as it began - with a single word.

"Go"

Even before the words had reached Kenshin's weary ears, the attack took place. Seven Sōsakus, each one indiscernible from the other enveloped his personal space, pouncing Kenshin's figure like rabid foxes, aroused by the smell of blood and the tension of the hunt. Before Kenshin's mind could register it, the years of swordsmanship honing and endless practice kicked in, more as an instinct than as actual conscious motions. A flash of light ripped up the head-on Sōsaku's chest like butter, blood spurting all over Kenshin's uniform. In a fluid, uninterrupted motion the blade was brandished behind Kenshin's back, not even needing the confirmation of the zanpakutō spirit's gaze to know he had pierced a vital spot. Like the cunning fox Kenshin pictured, one of the Sōsaku's slithered underneath his first fallen comrade, directing a charge at his ankles. Echoes of clashing steel resonated through the district, like the screech of an ancient goddess, and in the next second Kenshin no longer held any ties with the earth. His sword had been trenched into the ground, acting as a fulcrum for Kenshin's arm and the rest of his body that was planted above. With a full circle of his airborne legs Kenshin dispatched of two other Sōsaku's, his spine shivering under the pulsations of the dislocating jaws and refracted necks. As he felt the inescapable pull of gravity dawn on his body, Kenshin shifted his weight and used this natural force to tear his sword out with a simple gesture, the soil around it digging itself into the eyes of a Sōsaku moments before the wave of lancinating iron strung along. Kenshin touched down elegantly, sinking deeply into his knees with unopened eyes, his blazing sword still continuing it's eclipse of bloodshed as it made it's last flow behind Kenshin's unbend limbs, slitting the throats of the remaining pair of Sōsaku who had endeavored to lay an ultimate attempt. Kenshin rose from his knees, hardly breathing any more harsher than before this extremity of battle and elegance.

Sōsaku hadn't moved.

In the instant Kenshin saw Sōsaku's unharmed figure facing him like nothing had happened, a straight aisle was ripped up between him and his adversary, festering geysers of dirt like an abominable scar. When the cloud settled, it was Sōsaku's voice again, permeated with mockery and enjoyment, that ringed throughout the no-man's-land.

"Are you eyes misdirecting you, Kenshin? You seem confused, disoriented with the new information your mind just had assimilate just now. Don't you also think how great the working of the Omnitsukidō techniques are? They transcend mere physical uses by a large margin. No, they affix themselves into the victim's mind, haunting him with mirages of blood and warfare. Did you recognize the feeling you just suffered, Kenshin? Sanguinariness. It's your instincts that are awaking, breaking free from the shackles of reason. It is the "Hollowness" within you. After all, we are all spiritual beings, weaved out of the mysterious substance we coin reishi. Our ribbons are merely differently patterned, and now that I've seen a glimmer of that emptiness within you, I'll do everything in my power to draw it out, Kenshin." Sōsaku's smile had grown from devilish to maniacal, disregarding the already weak cries of his sound mind more and more with each passing minute. He raised his hand to the sky, as if he were to call out a lightning strike during a cloudless strike, and shadows formed around it. Bubbling, bellowing, singing the shadows formed, stretching out far beyond the length of any amendable sword. The shadows were like fire, throwing whips of devastation into the surroundings and singeing the sickened ground an enigmatic gray. Sōsaku swung it once... and the shadows dissipated. What was left was a silver-bladed yoroi tōshi dagger, shining brilliantly in the blazing midday sun. The sight of it was almost laughable, as if Sōsaku had disregarded a zweihander for a kitchen knife. But Sōsaku kept his grin up nonetheless, reverse gripping his new weapon and gesturing for Kenshin to attack.

Kenshin needed no invitation, his posture and stance were already setup to begin his attack. At first it seemed that Kenshin was waiting a moment, perhaps out of cautiousness, but the tell-tale signs that something was amiss, did not escape Sōsaku's gaze. Almost immediately he half-turned raising his dagger to block the downward slash from Kenshin's rear attack. Only, his parry phased through the speed clone. The real Kenshin had opted to attack from Sōsaku's front, using Shunpo to distract the twin beguiler. His movements were like a dance, elegant and graceful, his attack seemed to come from every direction, his glistening sword flickering in the light, yet in an instant they merged together in a single upward slash, aimed at Sōsaku's lower torso. All the while Kenshin's stoic face peered impassively at his opponent.

The swordplay displayed by Kenshin was unlike any Sōsaku had encountered before - all-encompassing, decimating and yet in ever aspect fragile and beautiful. In comparison, Sōsaku's own zanjutsu was rather meager and certainly not a match for Kenshin's prowess. Nevertheless, Sōsaku had taken this into account upon beholding Kenshin's earlier samples of blade dancing, and his own magnificent speed was great enough to move back - in a microsecond - the few centimeters that formed the edge of a fatal wound and a superficial cut. The sword ripped through his clothes in a flash, penetrating the outer layer of skin slightly on it's way out. And now it was time for the grand oeuvre, the actual reason Sōsaku had refused to move from his position. Tapping the ground with his foot, it was immediately upturned into a circle of sharp rocks, raising up like the petals of an undisclosed flower. Lethal as sharpened blades, all fo them were set to thread Sōsaku's graceful adversary's assaults onto a gory sate. Although the effect was achieved by the use of Sōsaku's Sondaigō - one with a time limit, that was - Sōsaku was pretty sure the effects of Kenshin's mysterious weapon could do no harm to rock and stone.

Kenshin was surprised at his opponents speed, Sōsaku didnt move, so much as flow. His attack should have connected, would have connected with any other, his speed as far as he knew was seconded to none. Yet Sōsaku held that damnable grin on his face, as he slithered away launching his own counter-attack. Time seemed to slow down, as he weaved through the rain of earth, his body coiling and lengthening whenever necessary as his form blurred. With a single step he dived to the side, spinning through the air and coming to a stop a short distance away from Sōsaku as the rest of the attacks decimated his previous space. Words werent necessary in a battle of wins, actions spoke louder than words afterall. Dreams and aspirations collided as Kenshin's glass blade met Sōsaku's dagger, causing the earth to ripple beneath them as their powers clashed against one another. The message was clear.

You're going to have to do better than that.

Spear and Shield[]

Sōsaku's grin was immovable; despite everything that had happened and he had underwent so far in this battle, it was still there, mocking Kenshin in a way no words could ever have done. With a swift flux of his body Sōsaku paced several meters back, causing Kenshin's sword with all of the force that had been put behind it to dig deep into the barren ground. Holding the dagger in front of his body, tip downwards reminiscent of how a certain captain once prepared to release his Bankai, spiritual energy began to flow rapidly midst his body, building and rising gradually. "I believe some persons would declare now that you are 'worthy' of seeing my sword release. I'm just doing this because the battle is becoming boring." Then there was a slight pause, for dramatic effect.

"Manifest, Kanzadatō"

Sōsaku's body vibrated with a yellow outline, scorching the earth beneath him. When he spoke the release command, a humongous yellow pillar shout out from his person, breaching the far clouds above the two combatants. A deafening roaring erupted from the pillar, like thousands of mad beasts, crying out for salvage in the form of Kenshin's blood and flesh. However, it seemed that this was merely Sōsaku being a sly show-off, judging by the fact that his real person was already slashing at Kenshin's unprotected backside - a wide, circular attack which did not-so-much focus on doing any vital damage and more on drawing any amount of blood in general, for even the tiniest cut was enough to spread Kanzadatō's distorting influences, like quick-acting poison.

Kenshin briefly considered striking down his opponent the instant he let his guard down to release his Zanpakutou, but he allowed the opportunity to pass. Something about Sōsaku's power had piqued his curiousity, and it wouldnt do to kill the man before it could be sated.

As Sōsaku's energy soared into the sky, Kenshin watched with varying degree's of interest, his eyes, no, rather his entire being was abuzz with activity, as his Mugen Jijitsu came into the effect the instant Sōsaku released his Zanpakutou. It wasnt what it found that was troubling, but why it couldnt. His power was absolute, there was nothing before him that could be not be taken into account. But this? This power was unlike any he'd ever faced before. It scrambled his senses, distorted them. Truth? What..what was it? It took a moment for realization to dawn on him as he deduced why his power reacted the way it did.

It was functioning correctly, that much he could discern. Sōsaku's power on the other hand, is what caused the distrubance. It was a power that defied logic, that defied everything that Kenshin was. If his power, his ability was to impose order, then Sōsaku's power was to unleash the very chaos he sought to destroy.

He cursed himself, his mind preoccupied, briefly losing track of Sōsaku. His senses picked up a flare to his rear, and his body was already acting on instinct but it was much too late. For an opportunist like Sōsaku, that one moment was all he needed. Blinding pain seared into his back, as a long, and bloody cut was violently drawn across it, although Kenshin managed to reflexively lean forward, mitigating the damage dealt.

Almost immediately his body spasmed, his vision stitching into ragged lines of black and white, as he felt his very soul burn. Kenshin's corporeal body flickered like it was going in and out of existence, for a moment before he returned to normal. An abnormality of such magnitude would not go unnoticed by Sōsaku, as even with his experience, such an attack even by his weapon had never done that before. Strangely enough the Zanpakutou itself remained solid throughout this brief but odd phenomena.

Kenshin's head turned, his lavender eyes narrowing on the form of Sōsaku.

It was instantenous. One moment, Kenshin was there hunched over, and the next, he was above Sōsaku. The attack itself was sublime, his sword arm blurring until his Zanpakutou appeared as a beautiful serpent composed entirely of glass blades. The sword...apparition...released a howl sounding like thousands of blades grinding against one another, before it coiled and dove towards its prey.

Kenshin's unusual reactions to Kanzadatō's Hitsuzen Kyomō had achieved what almost no creature before it could - Sōsaku gave up his smile for a few seconds, eyebrows narrowed to signify the in-motion-setting of a thousand possibilities, each of them equipped with a thousand strategies. But as soon as Kenshin began his furious assault, this moment had passed, as ethereal as it was, and it made way again for Sōsaku's devilish grin. Screeches of steel could be heard when Sōsaku's endlessly-honed reflexes lashed out to block Kenshin's attack, but to no avail. The prowess and force of the swordsmanship master were clearly superior to Sōsaku's, the very earth beginning to rupture around his feet as their deadlock persisted.

Sōsaku was captivated by the strangest feeling he had ever experienced before - it was like Kenshin's blade was rearranging his mind, decomposing and building it up again to form a more logical structure. Yet at the same time, Kanzadatō was negating such a fact - scrambling up Kenshin's pulses and fulfilling Sōsaku once more in the blissful ecstasy of insanity he had been dwelling in for so long. Where the blades connected both of their steel surfaces rippled and flowed - a power that neither Sōsaku or Kenshin possessed.

From these crossroads golden energy was spat out, encircling the blades and expanding to do so with the two wielders as well. More and more of these rings began to appear, spinning and revolving around Kenshin and Sōsaku as if the fighters held their own gravity source. This was beyond either's abilities, and even the sagacious Sōsaku had no preceding thoughts on how such a thing was possible. To test out the theory he had formulated, he slithered away from the deadlock - his hand clearly bruised from holding back all of Kenshin's might - and as soon as the blades departed, the rings vaporized. This battle had evolved into a much more interesting happening.

Green energy mantled Sōsaku's right hand, signifying he had started a rudimentary healing process. For now, he only needed to keep Kenshin at bay for as long as his hand was not entirely functional. He switched over Kanzadatō to his blood-stained left hand. But, since Kanzadatō had saw the opportunity to reach out at Kenshin's bodily functions, this would surely be not as complicated as before.

The exchange had left Kenshin gasping for air, or rather, his energy reserves were fluctuating so much due to being so close to Sōsaku's aura, that his own form began to discorporate from it. With distance between them, he felt his spiritual power regain its balance.

What occured just moments ago was something he had never encountered in his entire existence. Not only was their conjuration beyond the scope of his and judging by Sōsaku's reaction, both of their abilities, the clash of their powers had apparently warped the very battlefield. As his gaze travelled, he realized they were no longer in the decayed lands of the 66th district. Or were they? It was difficult to tell, as he was quite sure they were on a mountain or were. Are they still? It took a few more moments for his mind to finally catch up with him, to realize that he they were still in the 66th district.

Releasing a breath he didnt know he took, Kenshin's mental process had given Sōsaku plenty of time to heal his injury. Readying himself, he prepared for the next attack. Now was the time for strategy, he couldnt afford to overwhelm Sōsaku with overwhelming force anymore. He took off in a sprint, running perpendicular to Sōsaku, as he wordlessly fired a Sōren Sōkatsui, followed by a Tenran, augmenting the formers power ten-fold. Hidden behind the azure flames, Kenshin weaved another spell, muttering its incantation beneath his breath. He then appeared on the opposite side of Sōsaku, intent on flanking him with his own Hado, his Zanpakutou sheathed, yet his hand hovering above the hilt. In a movement too quick for the eye to follow, a glint of steel was Sōsaku's only warning as an invisible force seemingly attempted to strike at his midsection.

"Danku"

Sōsaku normally didn't spoke aloud the names of his kidō spells but when he did their power was vastly increased. Nevertheless, Kenshin's clever combination proved to much for the single binding spell, yet erecting a second copy was all it took to block the weakened left-overs of the assault. Kenshin's succeeding iaidō assault proved to fast for Sōsaku to make a proper dodge, urging him to bent over backwards until his upper body was almost linear to the ground, Kenshin's blade snatching the edges of his clothing. He could only disappear just in the time for the shock wave of wind devastated his former position, although the small lines of blood dripping slowly from underneath his chest clothing hinting he had not escaped fully unharmed.

Deciding that it was time for himself to make a proper move, Sōsaku threw his blade back to his right hand and charged at Kenshin, not in a frontal assault as his adversary had tried but in a myriad of mirages and afterimages - a performance which was only further enhanced when Kanzadatō's pulses slowly crept into Kenshin's eye-brain connection. In one of the Sōsaku's left hand purple energy spiraled for an instant before it rocketed at Kenshin in a brilliant display of the Haien spell. At the same time, another Sōsaku set up a dazzling, dance-like attack, consisting of swift movements and full-body "flows". He had become more of a snake than a fox, slithering behind Kenshin's sword and thrusting his dagger upwards, aimed under Kenshin's wrist. It was part of a style named Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū, something a sword master of Kenshin's proficiency would surely recognized but hopefully not remember it's flaws before it was to late.

The moment Sōsaku's movements blurred together, obscured as though hidden in a maelstrom of cherry blossoms, Kenshin's closed his eyes, allowing his other senses to take hold. For a swordsman of his level, sight, sound, even hearing was unnecessary. He allowed his body to fall into the familiar rhythm of battle. The instant their exchange had ended, Kenshin realized he couldnt rely on his senses, in fact he couldnt rely on his Mugen Jijitsu, for Sōsaku's power was one to counter his own.

His body moved all on its own, the all consuming heat of Sōsaku's spell narrowly missing him, vaporizing a piece of his haori away, as he side-stepped the projectile. In that same instant he reached up with his hand firing his own counter-kido, unleashing a current of white lightning cleaving through the dancing mirages. He knew, rather than felt when Sōsaku appear behind him. The dagger was mere centimeters away from Kenshin's wrist, yet all it took was but a simple movement to ruin the attack, though not without consequence. Using the opportunity for a counter-attack, Kenshin was forced to minimize his movement, causing the dagger to only cut his arm instead of his wrist, but the opportunity was not wasted. Sōsaku was already commited to the attack, and wouldnt be able to escape that easily, allowing Kenshin to snake his arm around Sōsaku's just above the elbow and lock up. In that same motion he slid his left foot back, and delivered a devastating shoulder thrust to Sōsaku, followed up with an attempt to grab his kosode and throw him over his shoulder.

But to Kenshin's surprise, Sōsaku's clothing piece was simply ripped apart by the throwing attempt - it's structure loosened due Kanzadatō's presence. Sōsaku was panting slightly, the force of Kenshin's lock pressing against his already-injured left arm causing excruciating pains. Sōsaku simply ignored these nerve signals, and twisted his head backwards over his shoulder so he could almost look Kenshin into the eyes. Although his smile was as wicked as ever, the feeling of it was only further enhanced by the thin line of blood escaping from his mouth corner.

"There is a Kidō named 'the spell of sacrifice'. It is named that way because, to use it, the conjurer has to give up something precious to him, let's say a body part." As he continued his soliloquy, bright red cracks began to trace themselves on the surface of Sōsaku's retained arm, though he did not pay attention to this. "Unfortunately, I don't consider my limbs of any real value so it probably won't work out as good as when someone else would do it."

And even before his sentence was finished, an enormous, katana-tip-shaped explosion of red flames burst out from the ground, engulfing both fighters in a thunderous maelstrom. An outside observer would be able to vaguely discern the outline of a madly grinning man within, whose left arm had almost completely decomposed, the speed at which it did signifying that once the technique ended there would be no trace of it left anymore. And as Sōsaku had lampshaded, the technique, albeit breathtaking still, was not in the same league as Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto's during the Winter War.

Time seemed to slow to a crawl for Kenshin. Those precious moments passing as his mind raced to find some counter, some method of evasion. But to his horror, he realized his mistake, the pulsating sensation within his arm, as Kanzadatō's poison spread, disrupting his very thought process and focus. There was no way he would be able to execute any of his higher level techniques, let alone conjure a barrier of sufficient power to defend against the attack. He turned to face the madman, his eyes widening in realization. Sōsaku's widening grin was his only warning before the spike of spiritual energy harolded the awakening of the spell.

"SOSAKU!!!" He roared but his voice was drowned by the defeaning explosion of Ittō Kasō, and then...nothing.

As the explosion subsided, dust obscured where Kenshin once was, leaving it unclear whether he was even alive after such an attack. But within the scattered clouds of debris the sihoullete of a figure cloud be seen. When it cleared Sōsaku saw Kenshin hunched over staring at him definately. Despite his appearance even he hadn't escaped unscathed from the attack, whilst Sōsaku only lost a portion of his arm, Kenshin had lost his entire arm along with his right shoulder.

But it was the injury itself that caused Sōsaku to reexamine his opponent in a new light. Instead of blood and bone, something most would expect, in its place was nothing more than pure energy, electricity cackled, as Kenshin's form seemed to flicker and waver, as though his very existence were destablized. Instead of droplets of blood, what flowed was liquid spiritual energy. The far right side of his face was heavily burned, though his vision seemed entact. Strangely enough, he looked no more in pain than Sōsaku himself. At this point it was obvious that whatever Kenshin was he certaintly was not a Shinigami. They bled just like any other, but this!? He was neither Hollow nor Shinigami, so what was he?

"It seems I underestimated your conviction Sōsaku." He said with a heavy breath. "I had no idea you would be so tenacious as to sacrifice your own limb to obtain an advantage. A momentary miscalculation on my part, one that will not happen again."

With his left hand he unsheathed his Zanpakutou, sweeping through the air in front of him. In its wake appeared over six binding barriers, geometrically squared in design. Blue fire erupted within them containing the blast, augmenting it as they grew more brilliant in perfectly round spheres, compressed tightly with spiritual energy. They then flew from their locations towards Sōsaku, spiraling around him, and then one after another they hurled themselves right into him from every direction. As they neared the barrier containing them would shimmer before disappearing as the flames consumed it and the surrounding area whole.

Meanwhile Kenshin himself began chanting with his Zanpakutou held out to his front, summoning dozens more.

"Like I said, I don't hold my limbs of any value. Not my physical nor my humane."

In the moment Kenshin created his kidō spells, Sōsaku clicked a vague string of romanji japanese. Although Kenshin wasn't focusing on it, he could still see this, just like one can see things at the edge of their vision without paying attention to them. There was no spiritual peak within his body, rather it served to augment his mind and the eye-brain connection, allowing Sōsaku to "snapshot" Kenshin's position within his thoughts for later observation. There was no time to reconsider Kenshin's status at the moment, due the barrage of attacks that were pouncing Sōsaku.

Sōsaku closed his eyes, stabilizing his heart rate and speeding up the adrenaline generation. Countless repeats of almost laughable, academy-level hohō exercises which all other Shinigami had forwent had given Sōsaku a control over his bodily functions like no other. When the ubiquitous wave of fire was about to engulf Sōsaku, he activated a Hakufuku spell on instinct, not even needing to direct his reiatsu into it's shape. It was a nearly fruitless attempt, as the shock wave gathered by the spell only held back the flames for a second. In this moment, Sōsaku set off on one leg and kicked himself up so his body was airborne on the moment the spells clashed. However, this very clash forced an upward draft for the said flames, wisps licking Sōsaku's feet and climbing up his legs. An outburst of reiatsu and only Sōsaku's haori was left behind to be consumed by the Sōkatsui.

When Sōsaku reappeared, he almost casually brushed off the flames that were able to get a grip on his lower chest. Despite his mannerisms, this battle was taking quite it's toll on his physique, the pain of his corroded arm almost deafening his senses. Yet, being the insane madman he was, Sōsaku was enjoying it to the fullest, the heat and tension of battle and worries being almost like an aphrodisiac to him.

In response to Kenshin, Sōsaku also began chanting, forming a customized Danku spell around him, which instead of taking it's traditional rectangular form curved around Sōsaku's figure and moved along with every step he took, almost like a battering ram. Sōsaku then held out both of his arms and spoke a set of words which were lost under the roaring noises of both player's spells. Two golden chains shout out of his palms, firing themselves at Kenshin at high speeds. However, just before they came in reach of that annulling sword of his, they parted and curved around it, before shooting back to Kenshin, aiming to bind his arm to his chest like some pair of deformed, oversize handcuffs. A panting, yet still smiling Sōsaku watched it in pleasure, continually bolstering his Danku against the upcoming attack, as Kenshin would be quite helpless without his zanpakutō.

Instinctively he swung forward to negate the binding spell, however the twin chains parted mere moments before his blade made contact, quickly wrapping around him as they shot back. His arm and Zanpakutou were constricted to his chest, whilst Sōsaku grin devilishly at his plan. But Kenshin remained impassive. While Sōsaku's Zanpakutou was indeed one that opposed his own, even going as far as to nearly ruin his form, he too could make use of its properties for his own gain.

Kenshin began to glow, his body illuminated with white light before he suddenly vanished. He just disappeared, leaving only his sword behind as it dropped to the ground as the golden chains hung in the air. But before Sōsaku could register what had happened, as the Zanpakutou was mere inches from the ground, his form reappeared once more, crouching low to the ground with his left hand tightly gripping the hilt. In a flurry, he moved with uncanny grace, like a dragon swimming through the sky, his form blurred into a long sinuous mirage. He was instantly upon Sōsaku, appearing right in front of the madman, when his form inexplicably seperated into over eight translucent forms.

"Onmitsu Shunpo Shihō no Kyū - Sasori" Eight shadowy mirages converged on Sōsaku from every cardinal direction, and with his arm gone he would be hard pressed to defend against so many attackers. Yet Kanzadatō's influence may have saved him as over half of the mirages suddenly evaporated, tension and pain evident on Kenshin's features as he continued with his assault.

And despite the hundred of flashy escapes and witty counters he could have utilized, Sōsaku simply stood there, murmuring inconsistent japanese phrases. Kenshin's blade swiftly pierced his abdomen, but Sōsaku didn't even flinch. Instead, he wrapped his hand around Kenshin's own and the blade's hilt, pulling it and it's wielder closer, panting heavily as the steel cut further through flesh and veins, until its crossguard prevented it from moving further. Strangely enough, no blood seeped out of the mortal wounding, a feat owing to Sondaigō drastically trying to reform Sōsaku's severed reishi. This wasn't an easy task, to say in the least, as Yagami no Kenshin was constantly trying to cancelt hese out. Yet, it seemed the blade had... dulled somewhat, and Sōsaku took full profit of this.

A devilish smile crept across Sōsaku's blood-stained features, inches away from Kenshin's own. They were interlocked now, connected with no chance of escape. And then, without a word, golden ropes arose from Sōsaku's body, strapping themselves to the hilt of the dreadful sword. Sōsaku let go of the hilt and grabbed Kanzadatō's, before closing the small distance between his and his adversary's faces, his mouth now next to Kenshin's ear.

"There once was a man who tried to sell a shield that could hold against all attacks and a spear that could pierce any defense. When asked what would happen if they would if the object would meet, he couldn't answer. This is how the chinese word for 'paradox' originated, máodùn. Máo-dùn. Spear-Shield." Sōsaku chuckled, causing some of his blood to drip on Kenshin's only left shoulder. "I know the answer. We are that spear and shield, Kenshin. Unstoppable and immovable in all of our rights. And when they meet, the only option left for both is to... shatter"

The very last word of Sōsaku's sentence was emphasized by the sudden, swift aiming of Kanzadatō at Kenshin's abdomen. The zanpakutō spirit could now either suffer the blade's sharp steel or let go of his prized weapon - if a bond like theirs could even be called like that. Wouldn't it be more appropriate to call it "let go of his 'self'"? Anyway, Kenshin stood at the beginning of two sorrowful paths, and has to determine the lesser of the two evils.

"You would destroy us both?" But the look in Sōsaku eye's was all he needed for confirmation. They had always been so clouded before, but now, he could finally see with clarity just what this man before him truly was. A monster, in every sense of the word, Sōsaku wasnt just willling, he was counting on their paradoxal powers clashing and tearing this world asunder.

"I see." Kanzadatō pierced Kenshin, the blade burying itself to the hilt in his abdomen. But he like Sōsaku paid the attack no mind. It was obvious that this point that Kenshin's body if you can even call it that held no more meaning to him than Sōsaku's own.

A moment passed, and then everything changed. Twin jagged tears tore themselves from hilts of each blade, stretching across the sky of Soul Society. Within seconds they were joined with hundreds more as these cracks blanketed the sky, as though the world itself were a window, moments before shattering. The earth beneath them groaned and rumbled, as it literally rippled like water, destroying what was left of the district. Space began to curve at an impossible angle, as the powers of Yagami no Kenshin and Kanzadatō, battled infinitely with one another, causing reality itself to disort from their battle.

Kenshin knew, there was only one solution to this exchange, and with a heavy heart, and for the first time in his existence, was completely ignorant of the possible consequences of his next action. The wind carried the soft syllables of his word of power, before all was lost in the maelstrom that was to come.

"Ban. Kai."

Whatever perceptions both fighters had was suddenly and inexplicably ripped to shreds, as their world converged, bending and curving around them until it was seemingly absorbed into a single point. A singularity perhaps? Normally, Kenshin would have exploded with power, but for now, it was just enough to obliterate the chains that bound them, freeing both figthers from one another. As they gazed upon the space they were..floating..no...existing in, their eyes marvled at the sight before them.

It was a white empty space vast and infinite in mystery. Within their eyes, entire worlds, no universes sprung into existence passing them by like flickering lights and rainbow patterns. Yet just as easily they were destroyed and reborn anew. Scintillating energies and powers swirled around them! Was this the cosmos? Or something else entirely? Kenshin wasnt sure of what, he couldnt even be sure of what state his existence was in.

He realized that he didnt have a body, at least until he thought of one. It appeared that Sōsaku had understood this as well. Both appeared to be unharmed, and while Kenshin could still feel the ebb and flow of his spiritual energy, he realized with startling realization that it was unnecessary at this point. Such concepts were meaningless. It seemed that wherever they were, whatever they are now, was entirely dependent on their ability to will it to existence. This final battle, was one that hedged not on skill or prowess with the sword, speed, or magic. But of understanding, of perception, this was a battle entirely dependent on ones mind.

With a single thought the world shifted, as it..transmigrated into a new existence. There both fighters floated in a world where a brillant blue moon hung in the sky. Yet this, and the fighters themselves were reflected off of the worlds surface, or was it one.

"Sōsaku...you must realize by now...that our previous powers hold no meaning here. Come! Let us finish this battle, where chaos and order no longer exist! All that is left, is our conviction. Show me. Whose truth is absolute!"

Truth and Falsehood[]

A dull laughter oozed from Sōsaku's lips, as white liquid began to spill out of out. It covered his whole body, blanketing the former berth of his wounds and restructuring his arm, although it wasn't safe to say it had still been missing upon the shattering of this... "reality". As world-changing Kenshin's release had been, as humble was Sōsaku's Bankai. White wings spread out from either side, the pair of them reflected a million times in the world, and a million times again. All the flair and extravagance Sōsaku had possessed had now disappeared, made way for a pureness and unholiness at the same time, the epitome of a primordial being, the embodiment of chaos in its most undiluted form.

Normally, his bankai did not function this way, but it seemed there wasn't any preceding statement which could be counted upon as-of-now. The area wasn't bathed in the peerless white it normally would, yet this seemed almost... "normal" in Sōsaku's eyes. He had entered a realm which questioned everything and provided the answers simultaneously, iridescent and colorless yet holding no paradox in it. It was void of anything, a world where truth had yet to be established. And it was clear that it would be the efforts of Kenshin and himself that would determine this virtue.

Sōsaku's eyes marveled at the sight of his and Kenshin's Bankai forms. He was sure that, under any factors, both fighters would have taken up another build, maybe even one that wasn't as awe-inspiring as their current. Easefully, he lowered the elongated sharp steel in his right hand, his eyes fixated to his new-born opponent. It was like the fighters were only starting their fight just now, void of any exhaustion or injury. Kenshin even seemed... Stronger than before. Maybe it had been a test, a test for both of their blades. They had combated to the point that they had transcended themselves, and had become immune to one another. At least, concerning their shikai abilities.

The world seemed to center around thought, around will, around domination. Whether this would complement or hinder his blade's abilities, which where o so similar, Sōsaku would have to discover. For once, his own mind stood slightly perplexed, and couldn't formulate a means of exploiting the situation. The only thing he could do, was to test the dimension and find out what effect it posed on himself. Wherever he was, he was still Sōsaku Yawarakai, and stronger than ever.

And with that thought, the characteristic grin of his found its way back to his face as his gaze locked with Kenshin's own. "Truth, you say? Maybe. It seems that if we should debate whether you accept mine or not, this would be the perfect playground. Rough and still unshaped." His left arm arose, index finger pointed at Kenshin, as a lightning bolt sprung from it and raced at Kenshin. It was unlike any Byakurai seen before, gigantic as a Dangai World sweeper and a reverberating white. Sōsaku beheld the spectacle with a confident smile, but a curious gaze. So far, it seemed his bankai was still able to enhance his kidō spells.

"That by which we define as true and real, is an illusion. Truth is nothing more than a matter of subject; undefined and malleable in this primordial world!" To emphasize his point, he reached out grasping the wave of lightning, holding back its enormous power without any effort. With an almost gentle caress, the attack was unmade, disappearing back into the cosmos from whence it came.

"Do you expect to win this battle with such limited skill and imagniation Sōsaku?" he asked questioningly. "Conviction. In the truest sense of the word, are the beliefs we hold dear, our vision of this world. In my vision, I'm not going to kill you Sōsaku." The world pulsed with every word he spoke, warping about him, as the very whiteness and emptiness of space folded around Kenshin, bending to his will, gathering into his outstretched hand. There they formed the titular symbol that held Kenshins very pride, his soul. It was neither ornate, nor complex. Its design was simple, but true. A sword.

"I'm going to unmake the very chaos that defines you!" He roared! The sword moved every so slowly, it was like counting the moments of a single droplet of water as it fell from the tip of a single leaf. All at once, reality sharpened and focused into the form of a blade, channeled itself into the very core and essence of Sōsaku attempting to rewrite him whole.

And despite the odds, Sōsaku held up the blade of his own and countered Kenshin's. If Kenshin were the 'reality' within this world, Sōsaku represented everything that lied beyond, or more appropriated didn't. Existence and nothingness had now clashed swords, once more underlining the ever-recurring duality between the two fighters. Where their blades met the air, no, reality itself began to ripple and crack, a fissure that spread out vertically across the entire dimension, subdividing it between Kenshin and Sōsaku like an immense iron wall. The silence that followed was devastating.

And then the world exploded.

Or more specifically, Sōsaku's half did. Before Kenshin's eyes, reality was shattered like a glass window, its shards falling into a swirling void of beige and white. The moon that had hovered just above the two fighters had been parted as well: Sōsaku's side had turned into a black-and-orange mutation, festering with volcanic explosions and with gray, unholy flames surrounding it. Sun and moon had been unified into one giant abomination, whereas the world it reigned had been mangled into two separate halves. Kenshin's side was pulsating steadily, contracting and expanding to the rhythm of his heartbeat and rippling with every release of breath. Sōsaku's side, however, was swirling and streaming malevolently, uncontrollably. It was almost like it was dying, space itself imploding on various points while the wisps of the misshapen star wrecked both destruction and caused colorless rainbows to arise. For the two worlds shared one similarity, as there were both an endless and enigmatic white in color.

"You say that chaos defines me. You're mistaken. As of now, it is I who define chaos. My bankai is the literal apex of any power, as its concept is "transcendence"." Sōsakue's featureless white eyes peered right into Kenshin's. Although their deadlock barely held any force, he could feel the bones within his arm shattering to pieces as he spoke. The only thing he could do was keep his limb together with the enormous energy that circulated through his body right now.

"I have already seen how this battle ends, Kenshin. And I can say that that vision of yours isn't going to do you much good. Hopefully, you will understand in the end that chaos is the only objective and real truth within any universe. My influence has just introduced it into this world, and as you can see, it is currently the only law."

Both of the fighters held innumerable energy within their bodies, and Sōsaku's exploded in two enormous butterfly wings behind him, each one stretching far higher and further than either combatant could perceive. Sōsaku's smile was the only thing that stood out on his body, the rest being pure and undiluted white just like the world they were now standing in.

"You were correct when you said it, but the situation has changed, Kenshin. Truth is no longer an illusion within this world. I Am Truth!"

Kenshin's features were like steel, cold, unmoving and flawless. But the moment his blade met Sōsaku's he felt as though his entire body had been torn asunder a thousand times over. But he wouldnt let Sōsaku have the privelage of knowing that. But in a surprising turn of events, for the first time since their battle began, Kenshin smiled. Then that smiled erupted into full blown laughter. It was completely and utterly uncharacteristic of Kenshin, and even the deviant mind of Sōsaku would realize this much. Yet there was a hidden knowing in that laughter, something clicked, something Kenshin had found so ironic to be humored by it.

"I see it now! Yes, I had naively thought to eradicate your presence from this world, yet in the end, it only seemed to strengthen it. And even now, as your very power threatens my existence, I welcome it! You were only partially correct Sōsaku."

"Order exists within chaos, and within order, chaos must also thrive. To define one, one must define the other! We are like yin and yang Sōsaku! Destory me, and I will only be reborn anew, and the same of you. There is no escaping this endless cycle. Therefore there is only conclusion."

"We Are Truth!"

And the world resonated with that single declaration. The crack that seperated both their worlds dissolved, as each reality spilled into the other, resulting in a vibrant cascade of rippling worlds, molded from the essence of both. Reality itself transformed into a maelstrom of torrential energy of shifting shades and hues! Kenshin's form changed as well. No longer even human, he was a black whirling vortex of energy, manifested in a vaguely humanoid form. The only thing that remained solid was the sword itself, a singular crystal blade, mirroring and reflecting the countless realities around it. When he spoke...it wasn't sounds that echoed...but instead an understanding that Sōsaku could innately comprehend.

"However, neither of us are going to back down. So this will be settled as we desire. Not by the machinations of an undefined reality."

Sōsaku chuckled, amused by how this battle had resulted on something far more significant for both Kenshin and himself. "Just look at us, Kenshin. Simple men wielding decimating powers debating over the riddles of the universe. And every single time our point of view are opposite. Even now, we stand as black and white, truth and falsehood, reality and nothingness. And maybe your, or rather our truth is correct, but frankly I couldn't care less. What gives if you will reform every single time I cut out that festering heart of yours? In my opinion, the prospect that I'm part of an endless circle just makes it more fun all together!"

Carefully and almost curiously, Sōsaku brandished Kanzadatō up and down over Kenshin's blade, as if he was caressing the mirror of this world's reality itself. "Egregious. Simply egregious." The titanic wings of his flapped a single time, sending a ripple throughout the entire reality that caused it convulse like a mortally wounded animal. It was true that the flap of a butterfly's wings held world-shattering aftermaths. Yet Kenshin remained unfazed. Maybe the time had come for Sōsaku to actually listen to someone but the voices in his head.

With an almost nonchalant elegance, Sōsaku released the deadlock of swords, something which not only shook the foundations of the decaying world, but also liberated a huge weight of both fighter's shoulders. A few ribs of Sōsaku shattered for a second before reality itself reversed its happening. "And I agree. Since 'we' and 'I' have coalesced into one paradoxical concept, let's settle this as I desire. Or we. Whatever." With a menacing grin that cleaved through the void blankness of his features, Sōsaku raised his sword into something that could be called a "fighting position", were it not for the fact that the plane both fighters resided in almost disregarded trivial factors such as distance.

"But like I told you, the only thing I can do now is "transcend". The moment this power of yours came into being, Kenshin, I surpassed it."

"And your power will forever be at the mercy of my own. For it is the level of which you will always seek to surpass Sōsaku. That, has not changed, even here. Any ability you obtain, shall be turned into dust by my blade!" The world bent in a great curve as Kenshin's movement caused its fabric to strain, his sword, the totality of his being, shimmered in a rainbow of colors, cut through the very dimension itself he took a single step to slice through the Sōsaku. In that instant, his blade and form became many, almost as if he were existing everywhere at once, slashing his sword with the ferocity of a berserk demon. All the while bolts of lightning the size of skyscrapers rained down upon Sōsaku, hellfire erupting from non-existence, and pulled together in a horrific and cyclone of slicing winds and death.

"Then let dust by the sword by which I gouge your eyes out." Sōsaku's arm moved at a velocity even he was unable to comprehend, nullifying every single one of Kenshin's assault in a blur more reminiscent of a brush stroke than an actually possible motion. The raging of elements came to a halt, leaving behind an emptiness that could only be filled with momentary silence. "You're throwing with pebbles in an attempt to reach the moon, Kenshin. Don't underestimate what you can't understand, or that vision of yours might turn itself against you."

Black mist seeped from Sōsaku's blade, in stark contrast to the overarching whiteness of the dimension. Within it lied the barely dus discernable features of thousands of malevolent spirits and demons, grinning at Kenshin like hungry wolves. The mist veiled itself around Kenshin's blade, vibrating violently upon contact and then started to circle the two adversaries in an enclosed sphere. With a smile that made any of the mist-spirits pale in comparasion, Sōsaku smashes down his blade on Kenshin's, causing an implosion of the dark sphere so powerful the dimension itself began to shudder and crack.

Moments passed, well if such things even existed in this realm, but through his own perception, reality slowed to a crawl. As expected, Sōsaku had effortlessly snuffed out his attack, as though such attempts to harm him were laughable, and perhaps even insulting. But that was exactly what he wanted. Kenshin knew and perhaps even Sōsaku knew as well their battle within this realm would continue for eternity. The end of time? He almost laughed. Time held no meaning when all bounds of reality could be rewritten at will. The end itself? Another fallacy, for every end had a beginning, and their struggle would simply renew.

So it had come to this. This final clash, that Kenshin so desperately needed to solidify the last phase of his plan. It was simple really, and he was quite sure Sōsaku would have predicted his actions, afterall they were the only logical conclusion. But great minds think alike, so Kenshin also knew that Sōsaku was aware of his own plan. Which begged the question....why did Sōsaku commit? Well, it no longer mattered, Kenshin had long since given up trying to understand the mind of his adversary. All that was needed was this final strike.

His plan was simple, the moment Sōsaku's attack connected with his own, he would use Mangetsu (Full Moon), which would, at least according to his working theory, that by creating a focal point where "all things become one", and simultaneously expanding his Mikazuki (New Moon) aura, which would negate everything within, the volatility of their combined powers, would cause reality to collapse into this point. This would either destroy them both, or rebound them into their original dimension...or perhaps an alternate. Whatever the case, his counter would end everything.

Sōsaku's blade met Kenshin's, and in that instant, his power flooded reality, intermingling with Sōsaku's own, in a breathtaking scene of dichotomy as their spirits warred seemingly for eternity in but that brief moment. Reality reverberated to a soundless cacophony, chaotic in its rhythm, until it shrunk into a single point; the very point at which their blades met. Neither could comprehend what occured next, as reality seemingly cracked into a thousand pieces, spilling around them, their forms breaking apart, like chips of pain revealing only an empty existence in their wake.

To Kenshin's chagrin, Sōsaku had the audacity to smile before the chaos and nothingness took them.

In that single moment, when words and concept had lost all meaning and importance, with his mind floating apart like chunks of ice on a rippling pool, Sōsaku gathered all strength he had to form some kind of primitive physical unity, stretching out something he identified as a hand, an arm at Kenshin's distorted persona. Although there was no point of orientation, no recognition possible within the maelstrom of broken reality, his mind guided him through the chaos, just like how a water drop finds his way in the ocean. Eventually, he felt it.

Kenshin's heart.

It was physically shaped and composed just like any other, yet in any other aspect it was radically different, unique in a kind of sense. It did not pulse like a heart should do. Not that it pulsed irregular or at abnormal speeds, it simply vibrated in a cadence that was unnatural, unlike any other being Sōsaku had dissected before. But the most astonishing aspect were the... 'threads'. Sōsaku couldn't find any other way to describe it. There was some kind of ubiquitous connection arising from it that chained Kenshin's heart with his sword. No just like how a shinigami formed a bond with his zanpakutō, no... Kenshin's entire existence was interlocked with his sword. With a sudden tear, Sōsaku drew out a portion of the heart, an injury almost laughable seeing the state they were in now. Almost immediately the heart was ripped apart in spirit particles, yet Sōsaku slid down his blade through the blood just before the organ disappeared completely. He watched in curiosity as the blood evaporated on the steel, although he knew he had gathered what he wanted.

That all happened in a single heartbeat. Or longer. Maybe it even had spanned centuries for the mere order to originate in Sōsaku's mind. Not that it mattered, anyway. Just like how the universe perished and reincarnated in its aeons the fabric around Sōsaku and Kenshin began to reconstruct itself into a more common form. Sōsaku's smile was absent for a second as he gazed at the first specks of blue sky. Around him, the whiteness of his Bankai whirled and roared like a veil of flames, disturbed in its functions and order by the sudden throwback into the real world. Although Kenshin was still absent from his vision, Sōsaku looked down at the sharpened bar of steel that sent out an uncomfortable heat within his hands. Pondering if his bankai was still working correctly, Sōsaku reached down with his empty hand and picked up a small peddle. Fracturing noises resonated through the area that was still lacerated with iridescent nothingness before the peddle abandoned the broken hand of its finder for the soil it was born from.

His bankai had become unfathomably weak... Or powerful, the way you looked at it.

Not even sparing the broken limb a single glance, Sōsaku twirled around with grand bravado and a devilish grin. He was having the time of his life.

---

Kenshin panted heavily, as he found himself struggling just to stand. His breaths came out ragged, as he warily eyed Sōsaku. Despite himself he was relieved to find the distinct smell of death and decay that indicated the #66 District. His body flickered several times, before spasming, as he coughed up blood, or the equivalent, his hand still tightly gripping his blade went to his heart.

"Sōsaku...that bastard...he...did something when I resonated with him. Dammit."

He stumbled forward briefly overcome by a bout of exhaustion, but still he stood his ground. His Bankai was no longer active, in fact he wasnt even sure he could activate it at the moment. That stunt he pulled, drained him considerably, faster than his reserves could refill. But he could feel his power slowly returning, a testament to his mental fortitude.

"Kido is out...I doubt I can keep up with any high speed movement either....in the end...all I have left is this sword." He scoffed. "How fitting." He thought.

"Sōsaku...." His form flickered. "...even if it takes..." And again. "...every ounce of my strength..." His form shifted from a variety of different appearances, flickering still before "Kenshin" was whole again. "...Im going to crush you!"

He surged forward, though it was by no means the level of speed he displayed earlier in their fight, but still impressive nonetheless given his current condition. His blade came upward in a lighting quick slash as he tried to cleave Sōsaku from the waist up, his entire body trembling with defiance as he felt the effects of Sōsaku's Shikai enter his system. But still, he did not falter.

Advertisement