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Izanami no Jidō: Chichi no Tsumi is an article created by Achrones150. Use is allowed with the permission of the owner, with the exception of collaboration-created articles.

This article, Izanami no Jidō: Chichi no Tsumi, was added by Blankslate who determines its usage on this wiki.

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Act I[]

Where We Are...[]

"Forgive me, Brina, for I do this for not duty's sake, but for our own,"....


"I'd hope you would be strong and that instead of me dealing the killing blow, you'd be able to spend a moment with her..."

Words uttered in darkness, followed by haunting echoes were all that filled the void of her head. These were words that brought scars back on her broken body, lying in bed, all on her own. Memories from a time that she'd long hoped to forget, a time that she wanted to go back and change with all of her might, but even in a world with endless possibilities, she had no means to do so. All she could do was lay there in her lonesome torment, hearing these words again, just like every night before this one.

"I'll just have to beat you like the bitch you are.... master."

Please, Brina! Come back with me!"

Please, Brina! Come back with me!"

Come back with me!"


Her lavender eyes shot open with an audible gasp, immediately pulling herself up from a laying position to a sitting position. Sweat matted the pillow her head was on and her short blue hair draped the back of her neck, wet with sweat as well. "Oh... Oh god..." she said in a sorrowed murmer, covering her mouth with her right hand and panting in it heavily as her bloodshot eyes stared at the short, orange handled katana leaned up against the wall, one whose blade had been soaked in blood of her enemies... and at one point, her dearest friend.

"Another sleepless night..." she thought inwardly, pulling herself off of the bed within the rather empty, black room and standing on her two feet. She looked down to see that she was still wearing her Stealth Force attire; she had been at work for so long yesterday that she'd forgotten to take it off. But at this point in time, that was the least of her concerns. She was in Yūrei Ōkoku for important reasons, not clothing desires. She grabbed the katana up against the wall, staring at it for a few moments before sighing and strapping it on her back like it always was before.

"Captain Suì-Fēng?" a knock at the door, followed by a voice came, turning her attention towards it. "If you're awake, we have someone important here to see you."

"I'm coming." she said as she popped her neck into place, and calmly went for the door.

"...and another meritless day."

On the outside of what was the the woman's home, the one who had called for her was standing on her doorstep.

He had black hair that reached down to neck length, carrying jagged and pointed edges. He had blue eyes that, currently, held a pleasant serenity even with the rather firm expression he had. He wore a white and short-sleeved dress shirt with brown pants and formal-looking tennis shoes. His weapon of choice, a Kidō revolver pistol, was kept within a holster on his waist. He had his hands within his pockets, standing before the guards with a collected and almost inappropriately casual gait. There were few that could identify him by appearance alone, but his name was quite common... at least amongst his people.

When the freshly awake Suì-Fēng came to the door, he put on a polite but formal smile and gave an acknowledging nod. "Captain Suì-Fēng, I presume?" He questioned, pulling one of his hands out of his pockets and extending it to her for a handshake. "I'm Kenta Sonoda, commander of the Sector 3 Yūrei Police Overwatch. Sorry I had to disturb you from what I assume was a pleasant slumber," His eyes could be seen looking over her bedridden form with a subtle grimace. "But this was too important to not come to you with."

"I'm glad to hear it." Sui-Feng responded plainly, grabbing her long, black leather trenchcoat off of the coat rack next to the door and putting it over her stealth uniform before coming out onto the porch with Kenta, standing next to the guard rail. There were two guards, both dressed in similar attire as her, standing next to her door and maintaining a constant vigilant stance to protect their leader. Paying no mind to his attempted handshake and instead crossing her arms, she spoke in a staunch, but nevertheless cooperative tone. "I'm tired of standing in this... pompous room for days on end. What do you have for me?"

It was a motion that slightly wounded Kenta's positive attitude. He retracted his hand and returned it to his side, restraining the slight wince that would've come to his face, otherwise. But he kept up his composure. The last thing he wanted was to look less than professional in front of the hardened Stealth Force operative. He was also a leader, after all. Besides, she looked as if she had a rather rough day if not a harsh sleep altogether. Many people had those moments, and he understood well enough to know not to undermine that. So he continued to explain his presence.

But before he said anything else, he allowed his gaze to sweep the area before resting it back on Suì-Fēng. He raised his hands out in a gesture of placating in the event that the Captain had any objections. "I'd rather not talk out in the open about sensitive information such as this. It's concerning a certain," He tilted his head to convey a sense of knowing. "Criminal that has been on the run for quite some time. I'm sure you can pick up on who I speak of?"

A visible flinch sparked in her expression, knowing fully well who exactly Kenta was referring to and it almost made her want to immediately push him for information; it was something she truly couldn't wait for, but she restrained herself, choosing instead to ease his concerns of being out in the open.

"This area is cleared." she replied in the same tone, also glancing around at their surroundings, noticing that there was little to no real activity happening, minus the every day pedestrian moving around in the streets far below them. "I specifically chose this apartment because of it's height and relative distance from others, and I have sleeper cells on a constant lookout. Or are you doubting my competence as a tactician, Sonoda-san?"

In truth, talking out in the open would be an advantage for her. If there were snitches listening in, or assassins putting her in their crosshairs, she would have them caught in no time, giving her even more opprotunities to dig out information.

It wasn't exactly a pleasing thing to hear. For a brief moment, it broke his collected composure in a way that didn't pass over the limit; his eyes closed, he lowered his head for a moment and he shook it lightly while letting out a soft sigh. But he knew that at this point, the Captain was going to be stubborn in not going back inside. He needed to move things along, and arguing over location wasn't going to help that. So as the situation required it, he relented.

"If you insist..." He muttered, a hint of reluctance within his words. He folded his hands behind his back, taking on a straighter stance and meeting her gaze. "Recon drones centered around the borders of the Material World have been keeping recent taps on your target. The exact location cannot be specified, as technological reach within that world is limited. But reports have repeatedly claimed that possible locations were centered in the country of Japan. It's up to you to round down and find her." He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small tablet to hand over to the Captain. "You can use that to mark down what places you've hit and what you haven't, in case it happens to slip your mind."

Calmly, she reached out and took the tablet from his outstretched hand, looking over it herself. "No need to know where I'm going..." she murmered quietly, before sticking it into her own coat pocket. "...just need to know where I've been." She then looked back up at him, retaining her tone and stance, but clearly desiring more information. "That can't be all you have to tell me. The weight of this criminal's existance is becoming a serious burden to me and my organization. If there is anything else that you're able to share with me, you need to, now."

But the police commander shook his head. "I apologize, Captain." He answered. "But it was hard enough trying to pinpoint where the target was. Any other information is vague and unreliable at this point. Besides," He turned himself away, shoving his hands back into his pockets. "She was a subordinate of yours. I believe that'll be all the information you'll need, if not more than enough. I wish you the best of luck and hope that you'll see justice through." With that being said, he strode off the porch and walked off into the day of sunrise. The sun that peeked over the horizon illuminated the area showed a horse tied to a post - his way of having traveled to the area.

She clenched her fists slightly; hearing his last words before departing stung at her heart. Because of this meager lead that he had left her with, in many ways, she was now more lost than ever on chasing down her quarry. Had her prey truly eluded her again? She couldn't tell at this point; the only thing she could do was keep finding more clues and leads.

"Men." she said to her two guards, beginning to walk towards their vehicle. "We're moving out. It's time to find a few more leads."

In the material world - more specifically, in the isolated community that was Motuo County, one of those leads would be sitting in a house lit only by candlelight.

Inside, several tables were set out. A multitude of candles were placed to create a rather eerie yet peaceful setting within the darkened place. Within a room upstairs, a man of middle age was sitting on his bed and looking at a picture on his drawer. It would contain an image of him with an arm wrapped around a woman's waist, with the two of them putting on casual smiles. In front of him sat two much younger individuals, with a girl having her own arm's wrapped around a boy's waist. While the girl had a bright smile on her face, the boy seemed rather irritated and uncomfortable with the proximity she was at with him.

He reached over to take the photo from off of his drawer and held it in his hands, staring at it for a long while. His voice spoke, grizzled by time and weariness. "It would pain you to see me like this, Evelyn." He said softly. "Sitting in some isolated house in China, still moping about you and the children even after all the years that passed. Well... I'd like to think that I've stopped moping. To tell the truth, I think I've gotten rather used to the quiet. No more civvies throwing rocks in your general direction. No more worrying about children getting lynched. But despite the peace... it just leaves too much of a void behind. Sometimes, I just lie on my bed and wonder just what could I have done differently. Maybe then you would still be here... maybe then, we would still be together."

Slowly, he set the photo back where it was and reached beside it, grasping the neck of an acoustic guitar. He gently set it on his lap, his fingers moving to place themselves onto the strings. "But," He continued, his tone showing resignation than anything else. "I suppose the only thing I can do about that is play this song on my guitar. You always used to play it, taught me how when we first got together... I never could figure out just why you loved it so much. But right now, it's the only thing real I have left to remember you by." He took in a deep breath, taking in the memory of the notes and timing of the song before beginning to pluck at the strings.

"I hope you like it."

Then, he began to play, filling the air with a sad yet haunting melody. His eyes were closed, and all of his concentration was on his playing. He hit each and every note with decent accuracy, the timing a little off but not enough to turn any potential listeners off. One could feel the mourning rolling off of his fingers and into the air as he played, the remnants of his family still within his mind. When he finished, he set the guitar down and stood up from his bed. With a casual shift in expression from weary to relaxed, he strode out.

"Think it's time I headed out for a little while. I'm sure the house won't mind..."

Back in Yurei...

"Head straight towards the Police headquarters." Sui-Feng said sternly, sitting in the passenger's side of an armored car that she and her three guards were given upon their arrival. Two of them were sitting in the back, armed with assault rifles mirroring the real life SCAR-H, while the driver sat up front, driving with one hand and holding a similar rifle in his other. Sui-Feng, however, was armed only with her sword, of which rested right in her lap. She was tense, sitting straight up and her eyes set like hawks on their destination. "I know that this 'Kenta Sonada' is hiding something from us; he and this entire city completely rub me the wrong way..."

"You're the boss."

The driver, known as Jesse "The Kid" Cox, kept his eyes on the road as he navigated the armored car to its destination. For an operative of the group Sui-Feng was in, he was rather young compared to the other agents. His blue eyes kept on the road in a similar manner as his superior's. However, his wasn't stern. In fact, he had a more casual attitude about himself in comparison to her even as he kept his rifle at his side. "I gotta say," He commented, a small smile on his face as he drove. "The technology that's been spreading across the Spiritual World is quite impressive, even if it is derived from the Material World. Pretty useful for people who aren't taught Flash Step and want an easy way around..."

Initially, she didn't think to reply; his personal views and opinions had no value to her and, had she been in a worse mood, she would have berated him for speaking out like that... but he was young, and she understood that. The younger agents were always easier to mold and craft into elite members with more set goals, so she would take her chance to do so with him. "I hate it." she commented, crossing her arms without looking at him. "It's too much like the World of the Living, removes the need to train and work hard for progress, and those who spend time around it too much aren't nearly disciplined enough to be considered 'true' soldiers. Soldiers have to work for their progress, not let machinery do it for them."

"Well, I'm sure it's not that bad..." Jesse answered, tilting his head to the side as he made a turn. "I mean, we're not exactly replacing foot soldiers with robots any time soon, right? When that happens, that's probably the time we should start worrying." The tone he took was more of a jocular manner, and his words were obviously meant as a joke to lighten up the situation. "What about the rest of you guys? What do you think?"

"That you should shut up and keep driving?" One of them snarked, to which Jesse rolled his eyes.

"Hey, I'm just trying to spark up a conversation. Things tend to get boring when all you're doing is remaining silent..."

"Focus." Sui-Feng sternly said, this time a little bit louder as a means to assert her authority. Her attempt at conversation hadn't gone the way she thought it would; unit cohesion would be disrupted by such idle chatter, based on what just occured. Jesse would need to be disciplined for starting it in the first place-

She stopped thinking about that for a moment as a thought occured to her: was she taking this too seriously? Idle chatter was causing her to think about taking such extreme measures? How often had she tried to converse with her underlings before about something that didn't involve their assignment? Was she really this out of touch with her men?

Was this what was wrong with her?

Her tone, however, would stop Jesse's casual tone and replace it with a bit more humbled one. "Ah, sh... sorry, boss." He muttered, taking in a deep breath and shaking his head. "But I got a question. What are we even doing, going to the Police HQ? Didn't that Kenta guy tell us just exactly where our target was, give us the coordinates?"

"Sonada was a member of the police unit, which is meant to regulate internal affairs only within the city." The one who had spoken up, one Sha Ling, had taken up the reigns of the conversation. She kept her rifle rested in her lap, her arms folded across her chest and her back resting leisurely against her seat. "He wasn't supposed to be delivering that kind of information in the first place. If anything, it should've been an operator of Yūrei's military to do the job. He violated protocol."

"Might've had a good reason to do so?" Jesse suggested. "Going out of our way to help us out in our great time of need?"

"We'll have to find out when we get there--"

"Wait!" As the armored car stopped in a bus in front of them, the third member by the name of Shigure Kuroda interrupted the conversation with a hushed voice and a raise of his hand. "I hear something down the road. Does anyone else hear it?"

It made everyone stop what they were doing in order to listen. At first, there was nothing but silence. But sure enough, they would pick it up. An engine was being gunned from the west road of the intersection they had stopped at, with the sound coming closer and closer to their location. Jesse's eyes squinted with confusion as he listened to it.

"Sounds like someone's in a big hurry to get nowhere. Why's it coming this--?"

Then, time slowed down.

Jesse would see the source of the noise race into his vision as the bus was slowly sliding into the intersection. It was a standard sports car, dark blue in color with tinted windows. But that wasn't what made his eyes widen in shock. On the doors of the car, there was C4 strapped and primed. Even considering the roar of the engine, he could hear the telltale beeps of a bomb ready to go off. His eyes dilated in shock and horror, and he immediately turned the car in reverse while going off in a mantra.


He would only get in a car's length before the car crashed into the bus and the C4 detonated, causing a massive explosion that swept the car from its location.

Sui-Feng felt it before any of them did.

The oncoming car's engine would be all the warning she would need. She could have slipped out rather easily, but doing so would leave her susceptive to the imminent explosion; staying within the armored car would be the safest option, but then again, how strong would the explosion be?

She would find out the hard way. The car was forced back towards a small gas station, plowing past the pumps and into the store itself. Because of it's armored structure, the walls of the building were utterly torn down. Sui-Feng herself then kicked the door of her side of the vehicle off and stepped out, sheathed sword still in her hand. "Is everyone still in tact?" she calmly, yet sternly said to her three fellow agents.

From the driver's side, there was a series of coughs and gasps before the door was kicked open. Jesse stumbled out, with the side of his forehead dripping with blood. As disoriented as he was, he still found sense enough to reflexively take cover by his own open door. He clutched his rifle to his side, breathing hard. "I'm a little bit fudged up!" He gasped, trying to regain himself. "But I'm all right... shit, the car..."

"The car will be fine, Corporal..." Although Sha was in a rather stunned condition herself, it wasn't as bad as Jesse or Shigure's was. She raised her rifle up as she came out of her own doorway, crouching down in order to keep her head getting hit by possible gunfire. "It's us that we need to worry about. What the hell was that?"

"Car bombing." Shigure remarked, taking a position at the car trunk while checking his rifle and clicking off the safety. "Not sure if it was a deliberate attempt on our lives or just a random act of terrorism. Either way, I think we just got our reason as to what exactly is up in the city..."

"Did we get them?!"

"They're still alive! Get your asses over there and take care of them!"

"Yes, sir!"

"Fuck!" Jesse hissed, peeking over the car to see several distant figures rush towards their location. "Captain, we've got hostiles and they're closing in fast!"

There wasn't a trace of worry on Sui-Feng's face. While the car bombing had taken her by surprise initially, the foot soldiers coming towards them seemed like nothing more than easy prey. "Hold this area." she said to her fellow agents, standing up on her feet and whipping her sword from it's sheathe, holding it in her right hand while holding the sheathe in her left. "I'll handle this fodder on my own."

There was a plentiful number coming in from the north of their position. There were two of them who were leading the charge, speaking to one another even as they had weapons leveled at their foes. "Are you sure that we should be focusing on them, sir? They're only a single group."

"They're also part of that infidel defense that surrounds this city!" The other spat. "Open fire on the gas station! They won't survive the explosion!"

"Right. Troops! Prepare to fire on my mark!"

And with that, she moved.

She decided to sheathe her sword, as there were far too many civilians around; creating a massive bloody mess would only make her organization worse in Yurei's eyes. Within a second, she had beat down the first two of the enemy foot soldiers, and then charged for the rest of them. A one sided beatdown would ensue; her goal of granting defeat quickly taking priority as one by one, the enemy soldiers fell into incapacitated states and some had even been killed from the force she used.

"Just knock them out..." she thought to herself, palming a trooper into a street light at the same time. "They're more valuble alive than they are dead. Just keep..."  but then she turned to attack a trooper behind her. She was going to punch him upside his face... but his face was what caused her to hesitate.

It was the face of Brina.

"B-Brina...?" she murmmered lowly as her eyes widened in shock at what she saw. Had her apprentice come to kill her, or to reconcile? It would turn out to be the former. The one with Brina's face put his gun to her stomach, and pulled the trigger. A burst of blood shot out from her back and her mouth, and she fell to the ground. 

"Boss, I got her!" the soldier, who in any other person's eyes would be a masked trooper like the rest of them, shouted, kneeling next to the fallen Sui-Feng. "It's not a fatal shot, we can take her in if you want."

But that was when the cavalry arrived.

Before the other masked trooper could respond, a small geyser of blood was sprayed horizontally from his skull. All he could do was let out a grunt as his body collapsed bonelessly onto the ground. The trooper who had spoken up would also find a bullet in his own skull, freshly fired from the barrel of Sha's assault rifle. It was a defiance of Sui-Feng's "non-lethal" policy, no doubt. But then again, she hadn't conveyed that order to any of the troops. That would be further emphasized when she rushed out of cover, shouting out commands to her comrades.

"Take 'em down!"

That would be the signal for the rest to charge in. Their guns erupted, their bullets spraying the rest of the hapless cultists before they realized what had hit them. Some of them attempted to raise their guns and shoot back, but didn't get far before their bodies were riddled with shots. The squad continued to advance, mowing down the rest of them until none were left. It only took a matter of seconds for the experience soldiers to clean out the advancement, nearing their commander with precious time.

"Ah, fuck...!" Jesse swore, quickly dropping his gun and rushing over to Sui-Feng's side. "Captain, are you still with us?" His hands reached within a pouch, pulling out a med-kit in preparation for use. "Stay with me..."

Sui-Feng's eyes were blank, staring up into the sky as if it were staring back. In her mind though, it was: a humanoid black figure was in the center of her vision, walking towards her. Whispers were all she could hear, just like the ones she had heard in her nightmares both this night and the nights before. These whispers were varied in tone and voice, but among them, a much louder whisper was coming from the blackened figure.

"Mctavish..." she heard in particular as the being was now inching closer and closer to her, now being only a few meters away. "Find Mctavish...." it continued as it was now mere inches away from her. "Find...Haralson...."

She suddenly jolted up from her position, breathing heavily as she spoke in a slightly weaker voice than before. "I know... I know where we have to go..."

At first being scared by the initially non-responsive state that his leader had, Jesse was surprised when she had suddenly sat up from the ground. Although he knew it might've been an uncomfortable place to lay down on, he also knew her trying to get up would only agitate her injury. So as reluctant as he was, he reached up to place her hands on her shoulders to stop her from getting up any further than that. Barely did he take notice of the words she spoke.

"Hey, wait a minute!" He protested, trying to make sure she was still. "I know you Shinigami are strong, but this looks like a rather nasty wound! Here, hold still..." Taking his hands off of her shoulders for a moment, he opened up his health kit and pulled out a spray can as well as a pill. The pill was held out to the injured Captain. "Here, swallow this."

As he was doing so, Sha Ling started walking backwards while keeping an eye on the area. Since Shigure was doing a good job of visually sweeping, she could comfortably turn around to face both patient and medic without worry of getting shot in the head. She knelt down to Sui-Feng's level, resting her rifle in a standing position beside her while regarding her with a slightly intense gaze. "You kind of zoned out there, ma'am. You sure you're feeling up for this?" She questioned, firmly but holding a subordinate's concern.

The Captain snapped out of her initial shock and placed her hand on her wound. Despite it's look of severity, she shrugged it off, calmly taking the pill from his hand and swallowing it. "I'm fine Lieutenant..." she said in a calm tone as she stood to her feet, demonstrating her remarkable endurance. "Trust me, this feels like a bee sting in comparison to what I've been through." she continued as she pulled placed her hands on her hips and exhaled. The bullet had certainly knocked the wind out of her.

She then spoke to Sha Ling without looking at her. "Zoning out gave me my first clue. If we're going to find Brina... we need to start with her family."

Despite Sui-Feng's insistence that she was fine, Jesse didn't stop to humor her. He raised the spray and pressed the button down, causing the inflicted wound to foam up. The blood would recede, the bullet wound itself would seal up and any internal damage would vanish. As he did this, Sha Ling regarded her superior with slight uncertainty. After all, getting shot and then claiming to know where their target was usually wasn't a sign of mental stability. But she didn't choose to comment on it; she usually trusted her superior in times like this.

Jesse, however, wasn't so quiet. "Wait a minute, I thought we were heading to the Police HQ!" He said, standing up to her feet and looking at her questioningly. "What happened to that?"

"My orders. That's what happened." Sui-Feng snapped without looking at him. She'd make it known to all of them that when her mind was set, nothing but a superior officer's orders would change it. "We need to find Haralson McTavish, the... culprit's father. Sha Ling, do we know anything about where he might be?" she said to the officer in question.

It was enough to shut Jesse up. A wincing expression came across his face, and he was almost tempted to raise his hands up in a placating fashion. But he simply placed his spray inside of his first-aid kit without further comment and secured the pack back to his holster, folding his arms across his chest as he watched his two superiors chatter.

"Haralson McTavish?" Sha Ling questioned, cupping a hand with her chin and lowering her head in a pondering motion. "That's a name that I haven't heard in a long time. After his retirement, he went dark for quite a long time. Even the Gotei 13's Stealth Force haven't been able to keep constant tabs on him without disappearing somewhere else. There have been rumors circulating that he's residing in the Gifu Prefecture of Japan, last time anyone's said anything about it..."

"Then that's where we're going." Sui-Feng said in response. "Contact HQ, let them know where we're heading. Tell them that it's going to be a quick run..."

"...and that should about do it."

Casilda gave a sigh of exhaustion as she set the quill down into her jar of ink and looked over the letter she had written. "It's times like these that the modern technology of the other realms was acquirable here..." She muttered, rolling it up and setting it in front of a small, crow-like bird with a Hollow mask covering its face. It was a messenger bird - one of Tierra Doncella's birds, to be precise. They were used to deliver messages to and fro throughout Hueco Mundo. This particular message was concerning her Segundo; she was going to take a temporary leave of absence to do double spy duty in the ranks of the Ahijados, a radical Arrancar Red Sun cult. Under normal circumstances, it would've been no big deal. But if the intel on them was right, this was a state of emergency, and not just for Hueco Mundo. The Segundo would be in charge for a moment while she was gone.

She watched as the bird took a hop on the roll of paper before flying away, clutching the letter in its talons as it flew out the window. She gave a yawn, stretching out her arms and spinning around in her chair. She would stop to look at herself in the distant mirror. Instead of her standard Espada uniform, she was dressed in her sleep attire; a long-sleeved white yukata that reached down just above the knee caps. Her hair was slightly disheveled due to constant writing of letters to other parts of Hueco Mundo and management demands. As she lowered her arms, she idly blew a strand of hair from her face. "I look so unprofessional right now..." She muttered dryly. "Findor would have my head if he ever saw me like this. Oh, well..."

She spun back around, standing back up in her chair and giving a brief stretch. "I'm sure he's handling things pretty well. This Primera's checking out~..."

She would find herself in for more than just a mere break.

The cracks between her door and the room's wall began to glow with an eery dark blue light, before the door itself was blasted from it's hinges, flinging towards her at a very high speed. A single red eye shined through the dust, accompanied by an eery voice. "Knock knock...." it said in a male voice, slowly walking out to reveal a young man with spikey black hair that curved towards the right side of his face, with a golden right eye and glowing red eye concealed by his hair partially. Across the bridge of his nose and around his neck were long scars with stitches in them. He was also wearing a solid black robe, in contrast to the Arrancar's usual white coloring.

"Well... that's what I would say if I had manners. Pretty sure you're used to me making this kinda entrance," he continued, tilting his head and grinning, his half-lidded eyes staring at the Primera. "Eh, boss?"

Out of all the things to happen, her door being knocked down was not one of them.

Nor did she expect that door to be launched at her like a missile.

It smashed into her form full-force, breaking into two halves upon contact. The two halves would crash into the table and cause it to fall over, collapsing on two legs. The small jar containing the ink knocked over, spilling a black pool on the table surface. Some of it would spill on her feet, causing her to reel back and let out a yelp of displeasure. However, she didn't take time to reflect on it. After all, she just had her door broken down. In addition, it wasn't some enemy that had crossed her defenses. It was one of her own subordinates, and she had no idea why.

She turned towards him with an incredulous glare. Although her voice was calm when she spoke to him, it expressed her surprise. "De Soto... what do you think you're doing?"

"Making an entrance, as always." he replied, lowering his grin slightly while holding up his right arm, idly popping his fingers into place. "I'd been doing a little diggin' around the archives and found some... pretty interesting finds." he continued as he slowly and calmly dragged his feet to where he was getting closer and closer to her. "Stuff any ole' kid like me would want to find, like who's my daddy n' shit, and where my dear beloved brother has run off too. You know, if you wanted to keep this information secret from me, you really shouldn't have put it out in the open. That saying 'hidden in plain sight' doesn't always work, y'know..."

It wasn't a shot in the dark.

As required of her position, Casilda had background knowledge of all of the Espada below her. It was necessary for state of emergencies, such as if one of the precious Espada went missing or killed. Out of all of them, De Soto had always been unaware of his own past despite all of what the Primera had picked up. She had never bothered to inform him, considering that such information would've surely affected his performance and duty. But now, as by his claim, he knew. The violent entrance and the way he was approaching her was a sign that he wasn't here to talk about it peacefully.

She took in a deep breath and started to back away, only for her to feel the wall against the back. "Decima..." She began, her tone taking on a slightly anxious tone as she slid down the wall to a sitting position. Her legs were nearly curled to her chest, and she reached out with a placating hand in an attempt to make him stop his approach. "Look, this is not a good time to talk about it. Stop and think about just what you're doing..."

The maddened Arrancar's next move happened within the span of just a couple of seconds. 

His right hand swung out and revealed what appeared to be a Quincy cross around his right wrist. It shined with a dark blue glow and as he appeared within mere inches from her face, formed into a black claymore with a thin blade that stabbed into the wall next to her. It's clear, obsidian form nearly touching her cheek, it's wielder spoke in a lower tone, but still with an unsettling grin and stare directed at the Primera. "Oh, you really don't want me to start thinking about you." he said, certainly wanting to leave her unsettled. "Tell ya what: tell me what I want to know, and I won't be too hard...."

Her response was to lower her head down, letting out a quiet whimper as she covered it with her hands. "Wh-what do you want to know? Spare me, and I'll tell you anything..."

And then De Soto's defining characteristic was shown to her once again.


"Oh come on!" he said loudly with a manic chuckle, immediately pulled himself back away from her and his spirit weapon along with him, backing up and looking at the Primera in a dead pan sort of way. "What the hell is that supposed to be? Honestly, if you want to lure me into a false state of security, you could at least TRY to put on a better performance, or at the very VERY least you could be more in character. Something like "Buzz off you annoying shit and leave me the hell alone." There, you see?! ACTING!! At least with that I could make this conversation more interesting! Hell, could act better than that, and half of the time I don't even know how I'm supposed to act!"

Just as he was about to continue, he stopped himself and peered down at her once more. "...You are acting, right?"

That would be the moment where the established "fake" tears stopped and where the action began.

In a heartbeat, Casilda had transitioned from helpless damsel to threatening combatant. A Sonido as quick as a lightning bolt carried her to De Soto's front. Her leg had already been swung, connecting with De Soto's face with merciless force. The sound of thunder was loud enough to echo through the walls of her quarters and alert nearby civilians from the outside and their respective homes. The sound would be followed by the Arrancar's body as it crashed through the walls and over the city below. Through the smoke and dust, Casilda approached the newly made hole in her wall and rested a palm against it as she fixed an irritated glare on her adversary.

His scare tactics might have worked on any other Arrancar. But against the likes of the Primera, one with thousands of years of war experience on her side, he might as well have been trying to strike up a conversation with a rock. He had been right to assume that she was acting. But he was wrong to ever have attempted to frighten her in the first place.

Despite the brutal blow placed on him, De Soto would reappear back a few feet away from the Primera, on the outside of her building. His jaw was knocked out of place, but that didn't stop him from speaking in a disjointed form of his original voice. "The funny thing is..." he started, placing his hand on his right facing jaw and pushing it back into place, creating a disturbing popping sound in the process. "... I don't even really know why I came to confront ya' about this. Guess I just wanted to make some noise..."

His left eye then shined with a bright red light, his expression becoming less manic and more serious, but still with a low grin. "... actually, I'd like to know: Why did you keep all that from me?"

If she were a lesser person, Casilda would've been disturbed by the sight of the Arrancar's jaw snapping back into place like that. There was a slight grimace as she heard the bones snap back into place. But other than that, she kept a cold glare on De Soto as he came back to her. Her voice was level and composed, with the only sign of readable emotion being annoyance. "And what makes you think that I'm just going to tell you?" She asked rhetorically. "That I would just oblige to someone who's clearly off his rocker? I may be many things, De Soto. But "stupid" certainly isn't one of them." She lowered her head a little, her glare becoming a little more pronounced.

"It's been very clear that you're not fit to remain in the Afilado. As of here and now, I'm dishonorably discharging you from the Decima position as well as the Afilado itself. Now, if you really want to try me, I can have you marked as a hunted fugitive. You can run to the ends of the earth if you'd wanted to. But my forces would eventually run you down and bring you back all fresh and ready for an execution. So if I were you, I'd start thinking about leaving Empresa right as of this moment."

Upon hearing her reply to him, the manic Arrancar's grin vanished, as did his entire form briefly, before appearing in front of the Primera once again. Without a moment's hesitation, his left hand grasped her around her neck with an iron-clad grip, before pinning her to the wall next to the hole she had created just seconds earlier. The power and force that was being exerted, as well as the strength of his grip on her, demonstrated that De Soto was clearly beyond the power of what would normally be expected for a Decima ranked Espada.

"Maybe you aren't as smart as you think." he said to her in a more menacing voice, a clear indicator that the Arrancar's anger had been sheltered this whole time, evidenced further when he placed the tip of his black Spirit Weapon onto her collar bone area. "Now, if you really want to try me, I can have you staked through the chest and put on display for all of your subjects to see for miles and miles away."

The red eye glowed once again, and his smirk reappeared as he tightened his grip. "Now, answer my question, or you can try me."

Needless to say, Casilda was surprised.

She carried a look of shock on her face as she felt her neck clasped by his hand, letting out a grunt as her back was slammed into the wall. She shut one eye in discomfort, reflexively grasping the wrist that held her in that position. Although it hadn't been enough to evade her senses, she hadn't expected such speed from the likes of him. She hadn't expected him to move so aggressively right after she had finished speaking. But then again, he always behaved irrationally and unpredictably whilst in her serves. He was the wild card of their ranks, and even she always had a wariness as to wielding him against enemies.

But even as he attempted to pressure her, he would find that no matter how much pressure he applied to her throat, he couldn't find the strength to bring her windpipe inwards. So she was free to breathe unhindered, although it didn't take away the discomfort she was under. In fact, after she listened to his threat, a smile slowly broke out on her face. She started chuckling, almost as if the act on her person was nothing more than a joke. Her next words seemingly lost all of its cold formality in amused incredulity. "Do you honestly think you can carry through with that? I will admit, this was a bit more than I expected from the likes of you. I'd go so far as to say I underestimated you a little. But, still..."

In a gesture that mocked the severity of her situation, she tilted her head to the side. Her hand slowly released his wrist, falling back down to her side. The smugness within her smile couldn't have been clearer. "You have another thing coming if you believe that you're able to make me a decoration on my own building. Even after all you've been through, you're still an amateur in my eyes. Even if you did it right now, you couldn't get that blade of yours farther than the surface of my skin. No existing force of nature has ever managed to do that."

To further mock him, she slid her hands behind her head in a gesture of relaxation. "Better start making a choice now, De Soto. Die here or live to die another day. What's it going to be?"

"Funny..." he replied after a few seconds, his red eye now shining with a dark blue light. "That's actually something I wanted asked those guys..." In the distance, at least a kilometer away, a large pillar of violet-blue fire shot up from the center of one of Empresa's most populated centers. The color of the blast and his eye was enough evidence to show that he was the cause. "...can't do it now. I can keep that pillar going as long as I want, and since it's a Quincy ability, it will tear this city apart in just a few minutes."

If she didn't already know, Casilda would see here that De Soto was willing to do anything to get what he wanted.

That was when Casilda's blood ran cold.

The smug look of of her face was wiped clean when she felt and saw the pillar of fire erupt from that particular location. Her spiritual senses could detect it; multitudes of Arrancar signatures dropped off within a few seconds. Even from this distance, she could hear the screams of both the victims and the witnesses as the area erupted into a mass panic. It wouldn't go unnoticed; she could feel several signatures of her Espada move towards the area with great haste. They would find a way to delay the expanding flames. But they wouldn't be able to suppress it completely, nor would they be able to recover the lives lost. It was a senseless slaughter De Soto was committing, all for the sake of a simple question.

Her relaxed stance broke, and she once again grasped at his wrist with both hands. She could easily overpower him, kill him before the circle could expand. But she was so unsure that would work. Even after her breaking his jaw, mocking him and making it clear that he had made a big mistake trying to challenge her, he still acted so composed. No matter what she did, he always behaved like he was the one in control. It was so baffling, even to her, how one could behave like that. Just what exactly was this man?

She shut her eyes and turned away, unable to stop the signs of tears from falling out the corners of her eyes. Her breathing began to pick up, increasing in rate and volume as alarm began to set in. Her words would leave a bitter taste in her mouth, for she knew she was giving an enemy what he wanted. "I... I didn't know how you would react...!" She gasped out, shaking her head as best as she could. "What was I supposed to tell you?! That you were nothing but a tool used for your "father's" machinations, a mere piece of the bigger puzzle?! Your creator was a fanatic, a cultist obsessed with the religion that is Red Sun! He couldn't be trusted with that kind of power!"

It would appear as if though something had snapped in De Soto's head after her last sentance. His blue eye shifted back to a shining red and he seemed to just stare at the wall next to her for a couple of seconds. Red Sun were the only two words that were in his twisted head, probably giving him what he needed to know then and there.

And then his grin returned.

A low chuckle escaped his lips and persisted as his shadow seemingly began to devour his feet, causing his form to sink into it's black maw. All the while, he was still giggling to himself, almost in a defeated sort of way. Within just a manner of seconds, his whole form had vanished within his own shadow, leaving not a single trace of his existance in it's wake.

And just like that, his presence was gone.

It was one of the times Casilda would be left in a very unnerved state. His threats and attempts to interrogate her hadn't done that. It was his actions and their respective consequences. Empresa was supposed to be one of the safe havens that the weary Arrancar could take after the Great Schism. But thanks to De Soto and his episode, she knew that the foundation of trust she had gained from her people would be severely shaken. Just like that, everything had been turned upside-down. She sank back onto her bottom, letting out a weary sigh and hugging her legs to her chest. As she rested her face against her knees, the voice of her Quinta Espada spoke within her head.

"My Lady! There's a massive explosion in the Eastern District! My men are heading there to suppress the flames, as we speak! Do you know what happened? One of Tierra's birds saw a figure get hurled from your quarters!"

Her telepathic voice was as weary as her physical voice would've been. "It's De Soto. He's defected."

There was a moment of silence after that. Casilda's spiritual signatures could now sense the massive fire dwindling little by little, Nicolao's men obviously having reached the area of emergency. After several seconds, Nicolao's voice would speak with resignation. "So, he's finally gone and done it, has he? Truthfully, I'm not surprised. He hasn't exactly been the most cooperative with us ever since his enlistment. What's with the explosive entrance, though?"

"I thought it was an attempt to interrogate me. He attacked me, claiming to want to know about his personal records that I kept from him. That terrorist act was an effort to make me break... and I did. But even that wasn't enough for him. I realize it now. This was no attempt at interrogation. This was just some act of cruelty done for shits and giggles. He's nothing but a mindless psychopath."

"Is he still with you?"

"No. He's gone now."

"...what do you plan on doing, then?"

"I want you to gather up the Espada for a meeting in Tratamiento Hall. This is a state of emergency, and I think it's best if everyone knew."

"Yes, ma'am. I'll make sure everyone's informed. I'll see you, then."

The transmission cut off, and Casilda slowly raised her head back up to stare into the mirror across from her. Now, she had a more ragged appearance than before in terms of hairstyle. There were bags underneath her eyes, and her eyes were slightly red from her tears. She gave a bitter chuckle as she looked over herself, her voice laced with weariness.

"I guess I won't be sleeping for a good while, will I?"

As We Set Out...[]

"Aw, c'mon mom...!"

Sui-Feng and her entourage were just at the gate of Yurei Okoku, the one that would lead them to the World of the Living. While the others prepared their equipment and other needs, Sui-Feng was using a video transmitter to talk with a young girl who had some resemblance of herself.

"No, young lady." she responded sternly, raising an eyebrow that accompanied her blank expression. "You are not coming with me. You're to stay there and continue your lessons. That's my final word." she finished.

"But mom!" the girl, who appeared to be around ten years old, continued to complain. "I've never been on a mission with you before! Don't you think it'd be cool if we hunted that crook down together?" she went on, gleaming with excitement over what might be.

"B- Daughter..." Sui-Feng almost snapped, but held her composure. Her daughter was just as energetic and lively as her father, something that annoyed her greatly. "This assignment is too dangerous for someone of your calibur. You wouldn't have the skill to even get past the first stages."

This caused the girl to frown in a disheartened manner. "Huh... so all that praise you gave me last week over my training... didn't matter at all, did it?"

"I... was a bit too lenient on the praise you earned..." Sui-Feng admitted. "I was swept up in how quick you were improving, but I didn't mention that there was room..."

"Wow." the girl responded once more, raising an eyebrow in a somewhat angered expression. "So no only do you refuse to call me by my first name, but you even lie about my progress?" she continued, followed by a few seconds of quiet, before she let out a sigh. "You know what? I don't really even want to go on that mission with you. I'd probably just get in your way, like always..."

"Daug-, Bei-Feng..." Sui-Feng started, but by then, her daughter had disabled the connection. She could only sigh in a reluctant manner and put the phone back in her pocket. She had never considered what sort of responsibility... or burden in many cases, it was to be a parent; certainly, it had proven to be among the most difficult of tasks that she had ever had to carry out.

Surprisingly, it was the one task that she gave herself, and it was the one she had struggled with the most.

"Not having the best of times with the kid, ma'am?"

Sha Ling's voice came to her ears, and her form came to stand a few steps beside Sui-Feng's. She had her respective rifle in her hands, giving a tilt of the head as she looked at her superior. Her voice was calm and composed as it usually was, but producing a subtle hint of empathy. She may not have been the closest companion Sui-Feng could have at the moment, but at the very least, she was much easier to talk to than the other guards.

Sui-Feng glanced at her briefly before staring back at the ground before her. "I never have good times with her anymore..." she started, remembering the times when she would hold her daughter as a mere baby. "Those days are long and gone... maybe motherhood was something I never should have tampered with..."

She quickly shook this notion off and looked back at Sha Ling, regaining her composure. "Are you and the others all set?"

Sha Ling readily nodded, briefly checking over her rifle for any possible mishaps before turning her attention back to her commander. "We're good to go on our ends." She confirmed, nodding over towards the other three guards. They seemed to be busying themselves talking to one another while they waited for their two superiors to finish up on their end. "All we're waiting for now is you." However, as she said this, she raised a slight eyebrow as she looked over Sui-Feng. "I don't mean to offend, but are you certain you're up for this?"

"You think my ties with this criminal are going to hinder our efforts." the former Captain stated, not even making it a question. While normally she would have berated a subordinate for asking such questions, Sha ling was the most level headed and rational of the trio, one that Sui-Feng could place some form of trust in. "I assure you, that isn't it case. This low-life stooped to all new levels when they crossed the Gotei 13. They're simply a target in my eyes, nothing more."

It was a rather cold statement that would've given any other person the impression that she truly was fine with coming along. But Sha Ling had reasons to worry. After all, the sudden and unexplained freeze-up during the brief ambush couldn't have been from getting caught off-guard. The sudden mention of meeting Haralson McTavish was starting to make her wonder about the judgement her leader was making, even though it hadn't been as bad as Jesse's concern over it. Still, it was up to Sui-Feng to decide, and her subordinate certainly wasn't in much of a position to stop her. So the sub-commander merely allowed herself to nod in acknowledgement. "Very well. We will march on your go, Captain."

"Wait." her Captain would say, turning to face her fully with a slightly concerned expression on her face, demonstrating her desire for an honest answer. "Before we do go... I want you to tell me something. Of all the agents I have under my command, you're the most level headed and blunt out of the bunch...." she hesitated before finishing, also letting it be known that it wasn't a question she asked easily. " you think I'm losing my sanity?"

It caught Sha Ling by surprise. Her eyes widened and her mouth opened slightly at the question of insecurity. But it would last for only a few seconds before she quickly closed it, giving a slow shake of the head. "In all honesty? I think that you may be starting to lose your edge." She answered, maintaining an unbiased tone of voice. "But you seem pretty sane. Wouldn't have followed your lead if I thought otherwise, ma'am." A small smile crossed her face. "Matter of fact, if worse came to worse, I think I would've shot you by now."

Sui-Feng simply glanced her eyes to the side and lightly scoffed, calmly walking past Sha Ling but briefly putting her hand on the woman's shoulder as she spoke lowly. "You may have to by the end of this trip, if I'm going where I think I'm going..."

"Let's hope it doesn't come to that, then." Sha Ling responded, the smile fading from her face at the rather worrying words. She reached out to mirror Sui-Feng's movement, giving a few paths on the shoulder and looking her in the eye. "Have faith in yourself, Captain. I know for a fact that you're strong. You just have to remember that."