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Swimming Sharks

The world was still sitting on the edge of its seat.

The Thousand Year Blood War had shaken this world, and soon after, the incident orchestrated by the Tsunayashiro Clan did so once again. The vast world was balancing itself on the last vestiges of order before complete chaos would blanket it once more.

Now, a civil conflict had reared its head.

Within the desolate, white desert of Hueco Mundo and its endless sands, there was but one construct of civilization standing at its center: Las Noches. A series of buildings that appeared almost ancient in their architecture, and yet they withstood the test of time and conflict for so many years.

Within the confines of the grey complex, were the sounds of frightened screams, as one after another, corpses of Quincy were spilled onto the floor. The perpetrator behind these corpses had soon overtaken them, taking one leap at a time in pursuit without an intention of stopping. Her blade was drawn, and she approached her opponents at a frightening pace.

Tier Harribel, the former Tres Espada, was the woman responsible for the deaths of the Quincy before her. Although the Arrancar was a powerful beast in her own right, she was not one to condone aggressive behavior in this manner, and yet, flashes of anger were visible in her eyes.

These Quincy had boldly taken the initiative to strike down Arrancar within Las Noches, under the dutiful watch of Tier Harribel, and as the de-facto leader of these Arrancar, Tier had to abide by a philosophy she followed herself.

“If we produce casualties, we would sustain casualties of our own.”

Of course, the inverse of this statement must also hold weight. And so, she began her chase, as the shark within the vast deserts of Hueco Mundo, to hunt down those rebellious Quincy that were so eager on waging war on these sands once more.

It only took mere moments, and within another step, Tier had reached her next target. She outstretched her arm, and made a horizontal slash all within a single breath. Her strength ignored all resistance from inferior Blut Vene, and even the air would not be able to weaken this blade, as it sought to bifurcate the Quincy before her.

The Quincy looked at that blade, and his life flashed before his eyes. Regret welled up within his soul, but who would save him now? From this shark, that sought to devour any trace of rebellion?

Just before the blade could deliver it's fatal blow, a streak of blue light shot out from the opposite side of Tier's sword arm, slamming into the blade enough to parry it harmlessly away from the defenseless Quincy. The arrow would then shatter as it managed to push Harribel's blade away, and amidst the slew of sparks and fragments of Reishi, the cowering Quincy boy saw his opportunity to try and flee from the sight while the mighty Espada was distracted.

As the arrow would dissipate, however, another bright blue projectile would find it's way heading straight for Harribel from the same direction. Rather than be aimed at her sword, however, this smaller blue bolt was instead intent on piercing Harribel's forehead. Just as it came a few inches from her, however, the bolt burst into a fairly large sized cloud, before revealing itself to be that of a large Gritz spell. The thick sheet of Reishi was intended to wrap itself completely around the Pillar of Hueco Mundo and trap it in place, leaving it helplessly exposed to another oncoming attack.

"..!" A momentary shock was visible from the concealed expression of Tier Harribel. Who among the Quincy possessed enough power within their arrows to parry the former Tres Espada's blade? As her senses began to search for the source of the arrow, another appeared towards her head. Tier sought to retract her blade, and subsequently use the hilt of her blade to divert the arrow's path. However, before she managed to do so, the arrow scattered, and instead transformed into a solid grey coffin-like structure that sought to imprison Tier Harribel.

In that moment she was captured, silence blanketed Las Noches. However, that silence only lasted for those mere moments. A flash of golden reiatsu began to pour out from the confines of the spell. The release of such power caused the immediate area to feel far denser, almost as if the ocean itself was harboring over Las Noches. Soon after, a tear within the coffin was made, and with a perfect downward slash, the Quincy's spell was torn apart.

For another moment, silence fell across the area. Tier Harribel was free to move, but she chose to stand her ground. To give chase to a distant enemy was a futile strategy, and Tier Harribel was not one to give reckless openings to her opponents. Her eyes had been closed for a moment, but she had not lost awareness of the situation around her. Tier Harribel was attempting to gauge out the reiatsu of the opponent who had just attacked her, but it appeared as if they were intelligent enough to engage in hit-and-run tactics.

Of course, Tier was the predator in this situation. Another had entered her territory, and she would allow them to escape? Blasphemous. Those who supported a rebellion in this way had to be confronted, and rooted out from the source. Tier opened her eyes once more, and her golden reiatsu began to flow into her blade. The blade was enveloped completely, almost as if she were making a mockery of the Quincy's own Spirit Weapon.

"Cero." Tier spoke her first words. They were not loud, nor were they seeking to draw attention. Regardless, that word commanded the attention of any opponent within the area. She swung her sword, turning it along with her entire body in a complete circular rotation, and from the edge of her blade, released a completely circular blast of reiatsu that sought to destroy everything within its range, as any remaining constructs that would obscure her opponent from view would come crumbling down.

If her opponent was truly on a level high enough to parry her blade, then this sort of Cero was not something that would injure them grievously. But this Cero did not have that sort of intention. This was a warning flare, a taunt that would force her opponent out of hiding and into the limelight.

With every obstacle in her path destroyed, Tier Harribel awaited the face of her new opponent, while standing still, prepared for the incoming battle.

Her opponent, however, had already been one step ahead of her.

He was directly in the air above her by several meters, wearing what looked like a typical Soldat uniform with black pants and a short white jacket. His facial features were obscured by a Soldat mask and visor, but his most notable feature was his short white hair that billowed wildly in the wind. He was aiming an unusually long dark blue pistol down at Harribel's position, seemingly preparing to fire down at the unsuspecting Espada.

"Damnit, I didn't think she'd get out of the Gritz that quick..." The man thought to himself, having planned on keeping Harribel trapped within his spell long enough for him to land a fatal blow on her from above. While he had lost one opportunity, however, another one may have presented itself. She was currently occupied firing a Cero upon the surrounding area in an attempt to flush him out, but he had already taken to the air while she was briefly trapped in the Gritz spell. Now that her attention was focused on her surrounding environment, he had a chance to end this fight quickly.

The barrel of his pistol began to glow with bright blue Reishi, before a large Reishi cross formed just at it's tip. "Licht Regen." He said, before the cross began to spin rapidly in a clock-wise rotation, releasing thousands of Heilig Pfeil down on the Tres Espada's position. His hope was to blanket her immediate and surrounding area with a constant barrage of fire, giving her little to no avenue of escape.

However, Tier Harribel was not the type of person who sought escape. Within this seemingly perilous situation, the former Espada had immediately located her opponent and performed her next attack. The sequence only lasted for an instant to the Quincy above, as before the arrows could reach to the ground, the Arrancar had already made her way to the air.

A flash of yellow reiatsu would be visible to the Quincy once again, but this time, Tier Harribel did not make use of Cero. Instead, she gathered that reiatsu within the empty cavity of her blade, akin to a certain Ryoka's signature technique, before spinning the blade before her body, in front of the path of the arrows aimed directly at the Espada.

As the blade begun to spin, she appeared to allow her reiatsu to flare out even further, allowing the blade's rotation to act as a temporary barrier before the arrows. The suppressive fire of Licht Regen was mighty indeed, however, and some stray arrows did manage to make contact with the Pilares' body, but ultimately they did not phase her, for her hierro was mighty enough to wave off unfocused Heilig Pfeil with ease.

It had only been a few moments, but to the Quincy, they would have felt like an eternity as his arrows desperately struggled to pierce through Tier Harribel. Ultimately, his downfall would end up being his bold maneuver, for the moment Tier got close enough to the man, the blade's rotation had stopped. The pointed end of the blade faced Tier's left-hand side, and she grabbed it with her dominant hand once again. Without any hesitation, without any preparation necessary, Tier swung her blade in a perfect arc, releasing a ribbon of bright yellow reiatsu that followed the arc of her blade, seeking to defeat the Quincy before her in a single, mighty slash towards his chest.

The Arrancar had managed to get through his assault much easier than he expected, and now he was in a potential bind as he had intended for that Licht Regen to kill Harribel. It was pretty apparent now that he had overestimated his chances of catching the former Espada by surprise.

Right now, close range was not an option; her prowess in swordsmanship would make this fight little more than a scuffle. If he could keep himself at a distance, he would hopefully have an advantage against her. His pistol would seem like little more than another Spirit Weapon, intended only to fire Heilig Pfeil arrows, but it's most lethal function was that it was capable of storing Gintou tubes within it's magazines, which allowed the Quincy to fire off the many Gintou spells without the use of incantations. As Harribel was making her approach, the golden glow of her sword aided the Quincy in roughly gauging the distance between them. He cocked the hammer of his pistol, something he has to do only when firing Gintou Spells, and waited until Harribel was at the appropriate distance.

"Wolke!" He shouted audibly as pulled the trigger of his pistol. By this point, Harribel had fully cut through the Licht Regen barrage, and was preparing a deadly sword swing towards his chest. His Blut Vene was inactive, having kept it off as a means of keeping his attack power up, so if this strike were to hit, it would have no difficulty in cutting him clean open. Thankfully he would be able to prevent this, as his pistol released an intense blast of pure concussive force, visualized by a cloud of blue and grey smoke. This blast propelled the Quincy even further into the air, while also sending the former Espada flying back down to the ground from whence she leapt.

"Alright Asumu, clear and steady..."

The Quincy landed at least a mile away from their previous position, on the top of one of the many large cylinder shaped buildings that dotted Hueco Mundo's landscape. It was here that he was going to have to make as good of a stand as he could manage, for he knew that using the same tactics against Harribel each time they engaged wouldn't work. Holstering his pistol for a brief moment, Asumu produced three small, arcane rods from his left sleeve, before biting down on his right thumb hard enough to draw blood. Acting as quickly as he could without slipping up, Asumu then smeared the tips of each rod with the freshly drawn blood, before sticking each of them near the edges of the pillar's roof, making them form a triangle around his position. A brief flash of blue light shined out around the rods, making the triangle appear more clearly for just a moment before fading.

Now he was set. Drawing his first pistol, along with a second pistol that was a lighter blue color from his other holster, he aimed both of them down at the presumed area that Harribel would have landed from his Wolke spell, before firing of a slew of Heilig Pfeil from both of them at the Espada. Unlike the arrows produced from Licht Regen, these arrows were dense and powerful, trading massive amounts of firepower instead for accuracy and stopping power. One of these arrows as strong as seven arrows from Licht Regen, perfect for keeping even the strongest of foes at bay.

At least he hoped...

The sudden appearance of the blast did not injure Tier Harribel, but it did push her back a significant margin to the ground, forcing her to reorient her posture so her movement would not be compromised. Suddenly, she felt a spike of her opponent's spiritual pressure and looked upwards. These arrows were not aimed directly at her location, as her opponent wasn't able to fully calculate her position, which allowed Tier a small moment of reprieve to think of her new strategy.

If simply barging into close range was not enough, then she had to play along with her opponent. Another arrow made its way to Tier's location, and an instant prior to her being attacks, her form disappeared from view, with a tapping sound being left in its wake, as the arrow reached the ground, causing a shockwave of dust.

Tier soon appeared slightly above her original position, but now in the air, and once more charged her blade with bright yellow spiritual energy. Despite the onslaught of arrows towards her being, Tier did not take urgency with her attack, and instead aimed her blade's pointed tip to her opponent directly, as her Pesquisa guided her to do so. "Ola Azul." Tier thrusted the blade forward, but it was not only her arms that moved the blade. Her entire being was placed into this thrust, and the end result was the spiritual energy within the blade shooting outwards, transforming the thrust into a projectile that would shoot directly at her opponent.

As another flurry of arrows made their way to Tier, she once more performed an evasive maneuver. However, her movements did not simply evade the arrows, they pressed her forward against her opponent. Tier Harribel was powerful, but she was no fool. A ranged battle against an experienced Quincy was nothing more than suicide. With every movement she made, she paused, and sent out another blast of her Ola Azul technique. With every flurry of arrows Asumu would dare fire, Tier would intercept her opponent's flow with her own ranged techniques, enabling her even a few spare seconds to once more reach her optimal attacking range.

The fight had devolved into a shooting match, something Asumu hoped he would have dominion over, but it appeared yet again that Harribel had managed to counter him. The first of the bright yellow blasts came out of left field, zipping by the left side of Asumu's face and grazing his shoulder. There was a brief hiss of pain as it did so, for even with his Blut Vene active, the attack was potent enough to sting. Following that, he saw that she was not only evading his arrows, she was countering his own movements, evident by the projectiles she would hurl at him in response to his volleys.

These blasts wouldn't find their mark as easily as the first one did, however, their bright yellow forms giving them away clearly enough, though he dare not act carelessly while they came for him. With each blast, however, he realized that Harribel was closing in on him. He smirked at the prospect; the Tereca Espada had no chance of beating him at a distance, so it was only natural that she would try to close it, and it was in that tactic that he would initiate her downfall.

He waited until she was just at enough of a distance, keeping both of his pistols extended and halting his initial Heilig Pfeil assaults, before the barrels of both guns began to shine with a bright blue energy. Harribel would likely recognize it as the same attack that he had used on her just minutes prior, only this time it's power had now been doubled thanks to the use of the other pistol. A large Reishi cross appeared out in front of Asumu, nearly twice as tall and wide as he himself, before it started to spin in a clockwise direction, gaining speed as it did so.

"Licht Regen."

With that, a storm of Heilig Pfeil was unleashed upon the approaching Espada, twice as large and twice as strong as the one that Harribel experienced prior. This onslaught was intended to stop the dreaded Shark Queen of Hueco Mundo here and now, for he knew that she would have to take drastic countermeasures against such a relentless assault. He had not only the firepower, but the superior position as well, resting atop a firm summit while letting lose his holy rain of hell. And unlike Harribel's endurance, Asumu's source of ammunition was infinite.

"Make no mistake, your Highness..." He thought inwardly as he continued his onslaught. "...you're in my realm!"

Tier's eyes widened briefly at the appearance of the Reishi cross. Within this instant, she had to prepare herself. However, contrary to her opponent's expectations, the former Espada was not suffering any kind of overwhelming disadvantage in this situation. This was an opportunity for the Arrancar to observe her opponent critically, and understand the apex of his power. Once she had surpassed this hurdle, there would be no struggle to this battle, only a swift defeat.

The Arrancar's reiatsu flared once more, but not from Tier's body, but her blade. Before the first volley of arrows could reach her, Tier had pushed forward and begun to slash her reiatsu-soaked blade in front of her being. With every slash, the amber spiritual energy had solidified before her, and departed from her blade. A net-like construct appeared before her body, moving forward with her, and began to intervene in the arrows' path.

Some arrows did manage to sneak through, but it wasn't a problem for Tier. Small injuries were natural against an assault like this; what mattered right now was shutting down Asumu's tactics immediately. Tier's slashes had become more aggressive, and were now even faster. In the time she performed one slash before, she was performing two. Every hole within the amber net before her was being patched by Tier's speed, as she finally understood the speed and power of these arrows in full.

The Arrancar reinforced her maneuver. She added to her barrier, slash after slash. The net before the Arrancar had become a mighty shield, surpassing Tier's height and ensuring no more arrows could reach Tier's body. She already had light wounds across her torso, but they simply weren't enough to stop the mighty predator from reaching her prey.

Tier could sense a fluctuation in her opponent's spiritual pressure. In that instant, she understood that the technique must be coming to its end. The Arrancar briefly paused her advance, focusing herself, and raising her blade in the air once more. Her sword arm slashed downwards, and with it, the weight of Tier's entire body followed. It was a mighty slash, creating an arc of air pressure that launched her barrier forward, forcing it to close in on Asumu's continuing Licht Regen, and hoping to crush him within a swarm of his own arrows.

Of course, the maneuver had not finished there. Tier's shield of reiatsu was coming to the end of its lifespan, and with Asumu's last volley of arrows, it would be completely destroyed. Before that could happen, Tier had accelerated herself, appearing right before the pillar Asumu had situated himself upon.

Despite her reputation among the Quincy as a ferocious, tactless, warrior, Tier was honor-bound as an combatant. But, this was not the honor of a warrior. This was her own honor, as a predator. It would be shameful for her to attack an opponent from behind them. Those were the moves of an amateur. For someone who stood on top of the food chain, Tier Harribel had to prove her might among the Arrancar as the greatest, no matter how much she suffered to do so.

"I understand, Quincy." Tier spoke, for the first time in this battle, to her opponent. "With the distance you created, you felt you could conclude this. However, you forgot a cardinal rule of battle..." Tier lined her blade with her spiritual energy once more, her eyes completely locked towards her opponent. "Any distance you create within battle, can be closed as well."

"I'll finish this...in one blow." Tier spoke with decisiveness, launching herself towards her opponent, with Ola Azul flaring within her blade, as she performed a slash aimed from Asumu's left shoulder to his waist. Even without direct contact with the blade, should Asumu have been caught up by the sharpness of the spiritual pressure within Tier's sword, the battle would handily shift in Tier's favor.

Seeing the large yellow wave slowly try and press through the barrage of Heilig Pfeil caused Asumu to realize that Harribel was still going to try and advance herself towards his position, even with his superior firepower. He had already underestimated her capability to do so once, and he couldn't afford to a second time. As the bright wave closed in on him and started to break down under the firepower, his Licht Regen began to slow down it's assault, and he began to pump Reishi through his blood veins, knowing that Harribel would be upon him shortly.

His Blut Vene now active, though not quite at it's full potential due to his hastiness, he could feel the Shark Empress coming closer. It was at this point he was thankful for being a Quincy, for most other Spiritual beings wouldn't be able to keep track of such a fast and strong opponent. Then she appeared, her teal eyes glaring straight into his and her sword prepped to cut him clean in two. Instinctively, he raised his left arm up, hoping to minimize the damage as much as possible. Under normal circumstances, he would have tried to escape this position and keep his distance as usual, but his current plan required him to literally stand his ground. With this next technique, he hoped to end the Espada once and for all.

Her sword cut into his left arm with lethal intent, finding itself mostly halted by his Blut Vene. Because of the hastiness in preparing the technique, however, the sword managed to draw blood from it's target, causing Asumu to briefly wince in pain. This reaction was short-lived however, for he then smirked at knowing that he had Harribel where he needed her. He threw his right gun into the distance, leaving his hand open to firmly grasp Tier's sword arm tightly, the strength of which was aided by the influence of his Blut Vene.

"Yeah, I knew you were going to close the distance..." He said, his own piercing blue orbs meeting hers directly, the look of a great wolf staring down its opposition. "... and I was counting on it."

Suddenly, the three rods that he had placed around the ends of the pillar prior to his Licht Regan assault began to glow brightly, as did the immediate vicinity of Asumu and Harribel. Making sure to keep his grip on her arm as tight as possible, Asumu's own form in particular began to radiate an intense blue aura, one that could be felt for a great distance and served as a tense foreboding of the technique he was preparing to execute. Harribel would feel an intense burning sensation as the aura intensified, a feeling that would be unique only to Hollow-kind such as herself. It was then at the peak of this intensifying aura that Asumu initiated the attack.

"Sankt Zwinger!"

With that, Tier would be consumed by an immense column of destructive Reishi, reaching high enough to be into the clouds and obliterating the pillar that they previously stood upon. So intense and powerful was this column, it could be seen from several miles away, bearing the appearance of a great glowing cathedral. In the eyes of most, very few non-Quincy beings could hope to withstand such an attack and live through it.

That was Asumu's hope at least, having used Hirenkyaku to escape the blast once he knew it would hit Harribel with it's full force and reappearing next to his formerly discarded pistol. While he knew better than to let his guard down, he was hoping that he had at least damaged her with that last attack, but it was better for him to play it safe, rather than sorry. His body briefly bristled once more with Reishi, a specialized variation of Hirenkyaku should he come under assault once more, and this time, he preemptively flooded his body with Blut Vene just as an extra layer of defense. Most combatants would be exhausted by this point after such a lengthy battle, but here, in a realm made almost entirely of Spiritual Energy, Asumu knew he had quite a lot of fight left in him.

He just hoped he had more than his opponent...

The First Bite

"...!" Tier's eyes widened in shock at the maneuver her opponent had made. She had judged prematurely, it seemed. He had performed an action often enough for her to believe this was a pattern, and she had acted accordingly. She was wrong, and had to pay the price. She looked around her, and all that her eyes saw was bright blue spiritual energy, that intended to engulf and burn her into cinders.

For a moment, it was successful in doing so. But within the pain that she felt in this spell, she was reminded of a specific experience. She remembered, her battle with the Quincy Sovereign, and how terribly she was humiliated. This experience reminded her of her own inexperience...but she wouldn't let this battle go the same way.

From within the column of destructive reishi, which had already caused the canopy of Las Noches to become unstable, an even greater source of power was emitting from within it. Amber spiritual energy was released in a titanic shockwave, causing the desert surrounding the two combatants to form tidal waves that would smother any that dared interrupt this battle.

"Destroy, Tiburón!" Tier's raspy voice came from within the maelstrom of spiritual energy conjured by both herself, and her opponent. In the moment those words were spoken, the enormous emission of spiritual energy was subsequently replaced by water. Highly pressurized water had wrapped itself around the tremendous column of reishi, smothering all of its power and negating the entirety of the Quincy's last-ditch attempt at defeating the Arrancar.

The cocoon of water had continued to swirl for a brief period of time, no doubt leaving the Quincy perplexed, before suddenly, a sword protruded from the tip of the cocoon, bisecting the construct of water. As the water fell to the ground, the form of Tier Harribel could be seen once more. This time, however, all injuries that Asumu had made, no matter how grievous, were completely healed. Her standard attire had been replaced with an attire completely made by bones, including shoulder pads, covers over her breasts, a spine-like etching across her stomach, a skirt of bones and boots.

The most defining feature of this transformation, however, was the pata the Arrancar now wielded in the stead of her blade. Its length was half of Tier's height, bearing the appearance of a shark's fin, with gills etched into its center.

Before the Quincy even had time to register the Resurrección he had just witnessed, he would be overwhelmed by a subsequent attack. Without any warning, Tier Harribel displaced her body and appeared before the Quincy once more, but at a small distance away. She raised her blade high into the air, signaling that she would perform a slash.

Asumu had seen this maneuver many times. By now, he should have been able to counter it...or so he had hoped.

The slash that Tier Harribel performed this time was leaps and bounds greater than what she had previously shown in this battle. There was no discharge of spiritual pressure, but instantly, from the tip of her blade, a nigh-invisible arc was released in the wake of Tier's slash. The speed of the slash was tremendous, and sought to completely cut Asumu in half if he were not able to conjure an appropriate defense.

Of course, what could defend from this strike? It was a strike of extremely pressurized water gathered into a slash empowered by the strength of the Queen of Hueco Mundo. Anything less than the greatest defenses would be completely eliminated by this maneuver. But with this, Tier Harribel sought to end the battle here and now.

"Your technique was not weak, Quincy." Tier spoke to the man, as her slash sped towards him. "I simply have faced opponents much stronger, and lived to tell the tale..."

"Oh-"

Asumu was only able to glance at the sudden spike in Tier's Spiritual Pressure for but a moment, before realizing just how quickly she had managed to close the gap between them and resumed her assault.

"-shit!!"

The slash cut Asumu right down the center, his Blut Vene having done almost nothing to halt the attack. His eyes bulged out in different directions as the two halves of his body began to quickly fall to the ground lifelessly. Tier would no doubt be satisfied with this result initially, but she would quickly notice that something was very wrong with the bifurcated corpse before her.

There wasn't any blood.

Just as this thought would register, the two halves of Asumu's body exploded with a small but intense burst of blue flame and Reishi. Such a blast would likely do nothing but singe one such as Harribel, especially in her current form, but at the same time Asumu hoped that this would momentarily throw her off balance, and give him time to perform his next action.

The real Asumu was standing at least a kilometer away from Harribel's position, his back pressed up against yet another large column and both of his guns held next to his sides. The technique he had used prior to Tier's transformation was a variation of Hirenkyaku, called "Kasaneawase Hirenkyaku", which uses Reishi in the surrounding area to create a full on clone of the user, which in Asumu's case detonates upon being destroyed. It was a very advanced technique among Quincy, and while he was capable of using the technique multiple times due to the abundance of Reishi in the area, Asumu knew that Tier would be able to tell the difference between himself and the clones now.

He also knew that she would start closing the distance on him from here on out, and she could do so much more proficiently now that she was in her Released state. He wouldn't be able to keep running and firing from a distance for much longer, and he had to admit... the prospect of being able to match her evenly in open combat got his blood pumping.

Bump

His eyes widened, and his right arm began to twitch, causing him to drop his right firearm and look at his now empty palm. "That's right..." A bestial voice rang out within his own mind, one that sounded like his if he had transformed into a monster. "You can consume this shark and protect your pack... you must let the blood flow!"

Maybe that was the key to winning this fight; not by constantly running and firing backwards at whatever was chasing him, but meeting the opponent head on. The prospect made him grin, his inner wolf beginning to take hold over his mind and cloud his judgment. His hair began to bristle and spike upwards, his teeth slowly forming into fangs, his fingernails extending and sharpening, and his eyes began to glow a bright yellow color. He began to step out from behind his cover, grinning with anticipation, but then suddenly he stopped himself, using his free right hand to slap himself in the face, snapping him out of his train of thought.

"The fuck are you trying to do?" He harshly whispered to himself, quickly stepping back behind the pillar to regain himself. "Just because we can try and fight her on her own terms doesn't mean we should." He continued in the same tone, picking his gun back up off of the ground and looking at it briefly, his eyes now steadily drained of their yellow color and reverting to their original blue. "At least not yet..."

Hoping to use the explosion of his last clone to throw Harribel off if only for but a moment, Asumu closed his eyes and focused intently on Harribel's position. Choosing to block out all other senses for the time being, he focused solely on the Espada's Spiritual Pressure, making sure to keep track of where it was at all times. Quincy were far more advanced in Spiritual Energy detection than any other race, and he would use this to try and keep one step ahead of his opponent during this fight. Fortunately, Harribel's signature was so great it would be extremely easy for him to keep up with her position, though it was not a surefire guarantee when it came to completely tracking her movements while moving at high speeds.

He then held both guns out to his sides in a 'T' pose, before firing off four silent shots from each of his guns. These eight arrows soared throughout the landscape before situating themselves in a variety of heights and positions, forming slowly into what would look like miniature turrets. The turrets now fully surrounded Harribel, each of them several hundred meters away from her, and then each of them began releasing a slew of Heilig Pfeil upon the Espada's position, intending to keep the pressure on her from all directions. This technique, called "Gewehr Sklave", was just the beginning however. Keeping his guns in the same pose and upon hearing his turrets begin to fire, Asumu intently focused on Harribel's movements, before firing off several dense, powerful Heilig Pfeil from his own two guns.

These Heilig Pfeil would initially fly far out into the distance, harmlessly away from the battle. This would not turn out to be the case, however, as they all quickly began to home in on Harribel, who would no doubt be trying to either avoid or counter the turrets that were currently and relentlessly firing upon her. Asumu was now using a highly advanced and condensed version of "Ransōtengai" to control the paths and movements of these particular arrows, using them to follow and pursue Harribel wherever she went. It was Asumu's intentions to use the turrets and their firepower to keep Harribel distracted from him, while he himself fired and guided these larger and more powerful arrows to aim precisely at her wherever she went as she focused on the turrets.

As the turrets continued to fire, at least a dozen large and powerful arrows would fly out towards and follow Harribel, intending to destroy her once and for all.

"..!" Once again, Tier was left in a brief state of confusion, as the small explosion from the clone she had just cut hadn't done any actual damage towards her, but surrounded her in a veil of smoke, she had quickly swiped her sword, batting away the smoke and regaining her vision instantly.

She could already tell, with her Pesquisa, that her opponent had performed a new technique. However, that did not matter to her. "...I understand." Tier spoke to herself, as she dashed forward, beginning to close the distance between her and her opponent. "However," Tier began to draw closer, and her voice would be more audible to her opponent by now. "The spike in your spiritual energy, and the change in its nature...what was it?"

As Tier dashed further forward, she had realized that hundreds of arrows had been targeted, but their directionality was sporadic. The few that did land close to her, Tier simply batted away with her blade. However, she had then felt a much stronger presence land on her. "This is..." Tier was about to speak, but chose not to. There was a different course of action she had to take.

Another predator's gaze had landed on her. It sought to track her every movement. While it may have been successful in doing so, it wasn't the correct move.

"I have never recalled trying to escape your gaze, Quincy." Tier boldly proclaimed towards her opponent, as suddenly, her spiritual energy intensified. However, it did not do so to prepare an attack. Instead, that spiritual energy appeared to be released in response to Asumu's homing instincts. If the wolf dared to lay his eyes on the shark, then the shark would respond in kind.

She had bared her fangs. Among the Espada of yore, Tier Harribel's reiatsu, while tremendous, never boasted the overwhelming power that crushed others beneath their feet. This was not because the volume of reiatsu she possessed was lower than her comrades, nor was it because of her lack of control. It was, simply put, a lack of willingness.

Tier Harribel is not a Hollow who cannot control her spiritual energy, like Coyote Starrk. She is not a Hollow who uses her spiritual energy to cause her enemies to bend to her whims, like Baraggan Louisenbarn. Neither is she a Hollow whose spiritual energy forces one to feel despair, like Ulquiorra Cifer.

Tier Harribel is a predator. Like all hunters within the wilderness, she is powerful, curious, but rarely will take action. However, should someone attempt to encroach into her territory...there would be nobody to save them. That was exactly what happened here. All the spiritual energy that would normally dissipate into the environment, was instead fully directed towards Asumu Godai himself, even from such a far distance away.

Suddenly, her opponent would be overcome with a horrific sensation, as if the entire world was watching him and his every move. With every action that Asumu took, every thought he made, he would have to second-guess himself, for he could be killed at any point. For every bit that Asumu had his senses on Tier Harribel, the Espada had doubled back on the Quincy. From now...there was simply no escape.

By this point, the attacks of the haphazard turrets had become more coordinated, and it appeared that they were all aimed at Tier Harribel. She was closer to her destination, but she had one last leap to make, and knew she could not make it in time before the turrets' fire reached their mark.

So instead, she paused. In that pause, she built up an incredible amount of moisture around her blade, rotating fiercely, while she pointed it upwards. As the hyper-pressurized water continued to spin around her blade, the heat in her immediate area increased, to the point where the arrows themselves began to slow down as they closed in on her body. Without hesitation, she slashed her blade in a myriad of directions, dozens, if not hundreds of times over, all in a single breath. Within that maneuver, the boiling water that had been built up within her blade had all been released as finely woven arcs of hyper-pressurized water, as thin as wires, all made to completely slice through every single arrow and thread that was composed of this Gewehr Sklave technique.

Even the few arrows that had made it past the hyper-pressurized slashes of boiling water found the heat around Tier's body to be so unbearable that their path was dampened, and their impact drastically reduced from its full capacity, leaving only minimal injuries across Tier's body.

This was not over.

As the technique had reached its conclusion, Tier sped up tremendously within that instant, not giving Asumu even an inch to breathe, as she quickly appeared before her Quincy opponent. "Cascada." The Espada announced, as her spiritual energy quickly began to dominate the area, and the dry sands of Hueco Mundo soon saw water appearing from the sky itself, in a tremendous vortex that appeared in the visage of a snake. Its size eclipsed even the pillars of Las Noches, and it was soon launched directly towards Asumu with a downwards swing of her blade.

The surge of water rushed towards the Quincy, intending to completely submerge and drown him in the sheer volume and pressure of the water. If that were not successful, however, it did not matter. After all, Tier Harribel had successfully encroached kilometers upon kilometers of sand in water, which was now completely hers to command. The bright red pillars of Las Noches began to fall under the pressure, and every amount of footing that Asumu had held was completely gone.

Now, it was a matter of whether the Quincy would dare to fight the Espada openly, or retreat.

"Wait..."

Asumu's intensive focus broke upon Harribel's sudden fluctuation of Spiritual Energy, how it's composition had gone from calm and collected to ruthless and cold in an instant. The situation had become all the more clear to him; his attempt at protecting his fellow Quincy had put him in the path of a Queen who wished to see all of his kind dead, and he had made himself her prime target.

Feeling her take down his mobilized turrets in a manner of seconds, he had to at least try to make some more distance between them, keep her as occupied for as long as he could without getting too close, but all of that came crashing down when he suddenly felt Harribel come straight for him. The Shark Empress appeared before him, and just as quickly as she had arrived, before he could even hope to react, had completely submerged himself and what would seem like all of Hueco Mundo in an ocean of water.

The shock of the attack had caused him to lose enough focus to be sent plummeting further into the depths of this newly formed sea, and by the time he had come to his senses, it would have normally been too late for any human to swim to the surface and survive. Naturally, however, Asumu could normally make such a swim with little difficulty using his abilities, and initially he began to do just that. Holstering his sidearms and using his Blut Arterie, he began to swim up to the surface, finding it rather easy at first. However, the more he went, the further and further the surface seemed to get from him.

Was this ocean holding him under?

He remembered that Harribel could not only generate water, but freely manipulate it like he could Reishi. This ocean wasn't made simply to flush out his means of staying afloat and on her level, it was made to keep him there. Panic began to set in, for no amount of Reishi could prevent his lungs from being clogged with water; to attempt to stop such a fate would also cause him to stop breathing period. A sudden gasp escaped his lips, causing him to grasp his throat in a hurried state of panic, and this in turn lead to another gasp, and another... and another...

His eyes began to dim, the panic and gasping for breath steadily ceased, and his body began to slowly drift further down and down into the murky depths of Harribel's watery kingdom. "How stupid..." He thought inwardly, the distorting visage of the moon high above acting as the only source of light as his vision and mind began to cloud with darkness. Of all the ways he imagined himself dying, drowning in a desert wasn't the first option that always came to his mind, but in the end it's always the least expected path that one often ends up taking. "Well... at least I gave it my best shot..."

With that, his consciousness slowly began to fade, and his eyes started to close...

"......wolf...?"

bump

"....wolf.... please..."

bump

But then, in the darkness, a small glimmer of white started to pierce through the black void, and soon this white light consumed his re-emerging vision. Billowing scarlet hair brushed gently against his face, belonging to a feminine figure that gradually formed in front of him; a beautiful Arrancar woman looked back at him, her bright orange eyes staring deeply into his own before holding her hand out to him, causing him to extend his own out towards hers. Their fingers touched, brushing against one another's gently.

"....find me...!"

His eyes shot open, now turning a bright yellow as opposed to blue, and his hair began to spike up wildly. "Not like this!" He thought furiously, clenching his claw-like fists and gritting his now sharpening teeth. His muscles quickly began to build up in mass, becoming more noticeable albeit not obviously, and Reishi began to densely pack around his immediate form. This water... could not be actual water, it was physically impossible. Hueco Mundo is a desert with no moisture, therefore this water had to have been generated using Spiritual Energy that Harribel herself produced, and this energy could be used against her.

The Reishi that he packed around himself then began to split off into three almost completely identical clones of himself, the most advanced and convincing version of the Kasaneawase Hirenkyaku that he had used thus far, spreading them out over a considerable distance from each other, but enough to be able to surround Harribel. Each clone was so densely packed with Reishi that they would easily fool most any opponent should they not be keen enough to focus on them. One by one, Asumu and his duplicates pulled out their guns and aimed them towards the surface, before firing off incredibly powerful twisters of azure flames.

These billowing columns of fire, referred to as Heiliges Feuer, erupted from the surface of the water all around the Shark Empress. This is a highly advanced Quincy ability that not only severely burns anything they touch, but they also burned away the bonds between naturally made Spiritual Energy, and artificially generated Spiritual Energy, such as various techniques including the water-based ones that Harribel used. This in turn made them far more loose and easier for a Quincy to control and harness, and now Asumu was going to use this ocean that Harribel created against her.

The combination of fire and water quickly began to cause a great amount of steam to coat the surrounding area, however Harribel would quickly find that this steam would be outside the realm of her control, for it was simply broken apart Reishi that was now being manipulated against her. When enough of the ocean had been broken apart into a seemingly endless haze of blue-tinted Reishi, Asumu and his clones made their move. Using the density of the Reishi-steam cloud to conceal their movements, something that even one such as Harribel would have a hard time discerning, the clones began to fire off highly dense and powerful Heilig Pfeil at the former Espada from all directions.

Even as she would no doubt start trying to counter and parry these various bolts, it would be too late for her to realize the true intention behind the entire maneover.

The clones would continue to fire, moving at incredibly high speeds and alternating their distances to keep Harribel from ascertaining their true position, but in just an instant, with speed that would very much rival her own, the true Asumu emerged. His right hand lashed out in an immensely powerful and shattering claw swipe, striking the Empress clean across the left side of her face with an equally vicious snarl. This strike would be unlike anything the Quincy had used against Harribel thus far, for she had no doubt been operating under the assumption that Asumu was a ranged fighter, trying to keep a distance and pelt her with arrows all while fleeing from her power.

But now that assumption would be flipped clean on it's head with this strike, one that was akin to that of a beast trying to kill its prey in a savage bid to survive rather than a man trying to win a fight. Fueled with a great amount of Blut Arterie, this strike would crash through her Hierro as if it were little more than styrofoam, and would no doubt cause Harribel's body to twist and unwillingly follow the same path that Asumu would go, but this wouldn't be the end of the attack either. As he would pass the surely reeling Harribel, his left arm would turn and point back at her, aiming his pistol directly at her chest before firing a densely powerful Heilig Pfeil at her virtually point-blank.

He would land a considerable distance away, creating a Hirenkyaku platform to stand on above the remaining and now somewhat drained ocean, but his stance would be far from a composed one. His muscles continued to buldge and increase in mass, his hair steadily beginning to lengthen, his entire body seeming to undergo a radical transformation.

The likes of which Harribel would have never witnessed before, assuming she was still alive to witness it in the first place.

The opponent that the Espada faced seemed to have forgotten his history. Those were the thoughts that crossed Tier's mind as he began his maneuver. The flames that were invoked across the battlefield Tier herself had created had caused her to remember the time she had fought the Quincy Sovereign. She had exhausted every resource available to her, but they would be broken down and used against her.

This Quincy dared to use the same tactic against her. And he would soon regret it.

Despite the clones created out of Kasenawase Hirenkyaku, Asumu Godai had forgotten a key element that an Arrancar possessed. Pesquisa was a technique that sensed emitted reiatsu, as opposed to the reishi that composed a being. Harribel's focus had lain on the true Asumu, and duplicates were easily able to be seen by the Espada. However, that was not the problem here. Those flames had wrested control over her Cascada, taking away a portion of her weapon from the sands of Hueco Mundo.

However, not all was lost. As the clones of Asumu began to fire arrows from a distance, Tier spoke a single word. "Hirviendo." Within moments of the arrows reaching Tier's body, even without moving a single muscle, an incredible amount of heat was radiated from her, in the form of her reiatsu, which possessed such incredible power that it completely vaporized every arrow that sought to reach her body.

The vaporized arrows of loose reishi became the Shark Queen's to command, and command she did. They had condensed into droplets of water which she gathered together into a tremendous sphere, before she created a living, breathing clone of herself in the same manner that her opponent did, all the while she could feel his presence moving towards her.

Only instances prior to Asumu's claw rearing its head, Tier Harribel had already leaped backwards and allowed her clone to take her place. Indeed, the claw did rip through the face of Tier Harribel, but it was not her own face that was ripped through. The clone followed the path of Asumu, who had then shot a bullet directly into the clone's body. As it had finally dissipated, the true Tier Harribel began to follow their path, while twisting her own blade. Asumu, in his feral rage, would only now see the clone's liquid form, and the moment he landed on the platform and stopped his movement, the water forming the clone would gather together once again, and become a sphere of water that had surrounded his opponent entirely, attempting to suffocate the man and cause him to lose consciousness.

Tier Harribel was no fool, however, and wouldn't allow the same tactic to be used against her twice. She had already reached the place where Asumu continued to transform into his feral wolf-like self, and made her next move. Concentrating spiritual pressure into her blade, and allowing it to glow a radiant amber, Tier dived forward with her Sonido, holding her blade in front of her, and attempted to stab Asumu directly in the chest, giving him no time to react even if he had broken out of the sphere of water in time.

Her blade would pierce seamlessly through the sphere, and she would feel it pierce something solid, something flesh-like. The sphere of water gradually began to run red with blood, before the entire sphere was now completely crimson. A fatal hit it would seem, considering the sheer volume of blood that was put on display before her, but it would quickly become apparent for Harribel that her strike had not been enough.

She would find that something was holding her blade, and by extension herself in place. It was a strong, firm grip, and it would feel like the hand of something far bigger than just a human. The Spiritual Pressure of the sphere's interior started to rise, becoming denser and heavy at a rapid pace. More alarmingly, Harribel would see a pair of glowing yellow eyes piercing through the orb of blood before her, glaring at her not with feral rage, but sheer killing intent.

Accompanied by a terrible roar, the massive arm of a white beast emerged from the right side of the orb, nearly as long as Harribel's sword arm. With it's five chillingly sharp black claws, the arm swooped around and clawed Harribel across the face with the force of what would seem like a freight train. The sphere of blood then lost it's form, splattering onto the platform to reveal the form that Asumu had now taken, one that bore no resemblance to him, nor any human for that matter: His upper body had been enlarged by nearly a third of what it was before and was solid white, covered in silver-blue fur, and his head and face had enlarged and distorted due to it now having several wolf-like features, such as a longer nose and pointed ears. His lower body had begun to grow as well, shredding parts of the black pants that Asumu had previously been wearing. His shoes ripped open to reveal large, wolf-like feet with claws just as sharp as those on his hands.

Stumbling out of where it was, the beast briefly seemed to lose its balance, falling to its knees and grasping the left side of its abdomen with its left hand. It was the spot that Harribel had managed to stab, having managed to catch Asumu at a particularly vulnerable position while he was in the midst of finishing his transformation. In fact, were it not for the enhanced endurance this transformation granted him, Harribel's blow would have likely killed Asumu.

But unfortunately for her, this wasn't the Asumu she had gotten used to fighting now.

The beast's muscles continue to bulge and expand, the audible cracks of extending and reforming bones accompanying them as he quickly managed to stand back up on his two feet. He groaned and growled as his past "human" skin began to crack and wither away, his face gradually turning into that of a snout as it started to extend outwards. His teeth became enlarged and sharpened, his nose black and canine. His right hand finally reached up and lightly grabbed the now shredded and faded sheet of human skin and threw it to the side, for his transformation was now complete.

A now full-blown werewolf, nearly twice as large as his human form, Asumu looked on in Harribel's direction with both anger and blood lust, a snarl letting itself out between the gaps of his teeth. He looked down at the wound that the Espada had inflicted upon him, letting his hand off of it and observing how much blood he had lost and inwardly appreciating the fact that he had progressed as far as he had in transforming. If Harribel could see it, however, she would be exposed to yet another surprise that would not bode well for her in this fight; the wound she had landed was now healing itself, yet another boon given to Asumu through the power of Lycanthropy. Hueco Mundo's moon was visible enough to where Asumu's healing factor was able to happen at a relatively decent pace, but it was not one that he could easily abuse for the time being.

His adrenaline began to kick back up, his body alight with visible pulsations of Reishi, Asumu clenched both of his fists and fully faced his opponent once more. Blut lines coated the entirety of his body as he let out a mighty roar, one that created visible shockwaves that blew away the water that remained from Harribel's "Cascada" technique, one that would be heard for miles and miles across their battlefield for both Quincy and Hollow to hear. This roar was not merely just an expression of all his pent up energy, nor was it just a way to try and intimidate her; it was an open challenge to the Shark Empress.

He was the predator here, and she was now the prey.

"...!" Tier quickly realized the situation she was in and quickly attempted to move away from it. A being far more foul than a mere Quincy had appeared, and was gripping her blade tightly. "Tch." Tier grunted to herself as a power struggle between herself and the beast had formed. Right now, there was only one thing she could do.

"Hirviendo!" Within an instant, Tier's spiritual pressure was expelled from her body in tremendous heat once more. Regardless of this beast's power, when a living being's very body is being evaporated, all beings cower, and cower he did. The counter gave Tier just the right amount of time to leap backwards, narrowly avoiding a direct blow from the wolf-like appendage, although it did narrowly graze her face, as blood dropped from her cheek.

The roar had blown away every bit of preparation that Tier had created, prompting the Espada to raise her sword in a defensive stance to avoid being blown away by the colossal power of the shockwave.

"Submerged in the sea, the wolf rises, howling to the moon..." Tier spoke of the situation poetically, with a tense look covering her face. However, she could not back down at this point. Her opponent was powerful, surely, but Tier Harribel was not allowed to lose this challenge.

"Very well. The shark will drown the wolf once more." Tier began to flare out her spiritual pressure to a considerable degree, forming water and densely packing it around her body. The Espada was preparing to fight this behemoth, but would not make the first move, not until she knew exactly what she was dealing with.

In that exact moment, as she uttered that statement from her bone-encased lips, a figure blurred into existence in front of Asumu like an apparition, surfing along a wave of reishi.

"Is that so?"

His inquiry was followed by a smirk; a smirk that did not betray his emotions. He was confident.

"Then, allow I, Abraham Lewinsky of the Quincy Empire to demonstrate to you the might of naught a wolf, but of a killer whale."

He turned back to face Asumu, his smirk breaking down into a goofy smile.

"Hey, Asumu, Asumu! How was that? Cool, right? I've been practicing that for a while now, ever since they told me that she looked like a shark and stuff."

And there it went, the bravado, in all but an instant. Abraham Lewinsky, designated letter M, was a seasoned veteran of combat and warfare. He was a participant of every major battle the Quincy had taken part in, which all mostly ended in losses and defeats, which is perhaps why he was so calm facing a Vasto-Lorde in combat. Having tasted defeat was not a sign of weakness, but of strength, for he had managed to survive both wars despite thousands of his brethren falling in battle.

The strengths he held were all but a mystery.

And with that, the adrenaline and killing intent that Asumu had built up seemed to deflate, almost like a balloon. Initially, he was ready to pounce the man, as any predator would to one so foolish enough to turn their backs to him, but as soon as he saw the man's face and his goofy expression, he knew that this battle was going to take a different turn.

With a low snarl, Asumu slowly approached Abraham, sniffing the man's aura as a precautionary measure; for all he knew, this could simply be a trick devised by his Arrancar adversary to throw him off. Unlike many of his Lycanthrope comrades, Asumu's Werewolf state was not entirely devoid of reason, and was more than capable of telling friend from foe, and it was thanks to this that Abraham didn't find himself on the receiving end of a terrible mauling.

Once he discerned that this was in fact the real Abraham, his snarling expression lowered into one of mild annoyance, but he continued to sniff around. He could detect presence encroaching upon them, another Quincy. Had Reinhild sent him reinforcements? Or were they here to force him into a retreat? For the time being, he couldn't tell.

“The shark shall drown the wolf? Pray tell, oh leader of the Hollows, what if the sea rejects the shark before the wolf?” asked another as he arrived soon after Abraham. The man was another of the Sternritter, Roland Vimur. Roland turned to Asumu. “Long time no see, Asumu.”

In a move much like the shark-like Arrancar, Roland pulled upon the spiritual energy in the air to produce water. It circled around, forming arms that’s could be used as both offense and defense. Truly this was the power unique to him in the Quincy Empire, "O" - the Ocean". His presence here could potentially break the Arrancar. “Be alert, as you both should already know, she is amongst the strongest beings in her race.”

Just as Roland finished his sentence, multiple bullet-shaped reiatsu whizzed towards the arms of water. The impact of the reitsu bullets caused the Quincy construct to implode and dissipate into a shower of water droplets. But where did the attack originate from?

Situated on top of one of Hueco Mundo's spire formations was a prone Arrancar, wielding what seemed to be a long-range rifle. A rifle that was aptly pointed at the recent arrival. "She's not the only strongest Arrancar here." The Arrancar muttered to himself. It was Gregory Beltrané, one of Sosuke Aizen's surviving Original Espada. A member of the Old Guard so to speak before he was replaced by Hogyoku-enhanced Arrancar.

"Oi, oi, oi! Aren't you all havin' too much fun here without me?", a low, raspy voice resounded across the area all of a sudden. "'Cause this looks like the beginnings of a mighty fine party!"

There was another Arrancar who had pretty much popped into existence in the vicinity of the group, now floating casually in the air through some undisclosed means: Sakaala. He kept his hands tucked in the pockets of his white leather trousers, whilst the simple white vest he wore exposed his lean but muscular torso and arms. Intriguingly, there was no sign of a Zanpakutō, or any weapon for that matter, on his person, and despite the intensity of the situation he seemed rather nonchalant. The remnant of his Hollow mask on the right side of his face was shaped like that from an opera, with the addition of a little devilish horn; a highly suitable form considering his histrionic, capricious disposition.

"You little Quincies sure like to push your weight around, even though you're the guests here", he began levitating higher into the air, all the while staring down the aforementioned with a wide grin and a glint in his cool grey eyes that straddled the line between being playful and murderous. "If you seek an audience with the Queen you'd better show some respect and beg for it on your knees, or you'll fuckin' die."

With those words, and a crooked smile now planted of his face, he pulled his hands out of the pockets, his fingers fanned – and suddenly, he was wielding a pair of khopesh which virtually manifested in his grip out of the blue.

"Sakaala, Gregory." Tier stated with a matter-of-fact tone, as she looked upon the newly arriving Quincy and Arrancar. Something had definitely gone wrong here. For this many reinforcements to come into tow meant that the Quincy did not see Asumu's actions as appropriate. No doubt, though, Tier's own reinforcements came merely to savor the battle to come.

"I see. This might be problematic later." Tier no longer flared her spiritual pressure, and instead subdued her tremendous killing intent. "It's foolish to pursue this battle any longer. Neither side has the energy or forces to spare." Tier looked towards Gregory and Sakaala. They were chaotic subordinates, but if they refused Tier's directives, she knew how to keep them in line.

"I suggest you Quincy sort out internal affairs...before you get consumed whole." Tier spoke to the other Quincy, particularly referring to the unwarranted attack on her Arrancar. Something seemed off about this whole situation.

The water sprayed from being shot with the Arrancar's bullets; however, it reformed itself with great swiftness as the water flowed back together. "I see more are around. It is only logical, they wish to protect their queen. However," Kamui turned to Sakaala, "I only recognize one queen."

With that, the water around Roland spread out, flooding across the ground as it began to shine with light. Arrows burst from the water itself towards the Arrancar Queen and her subordinates. "Lichtermeer," Roland said with a matter-of-fact tone. Roland showed the water was his to command and that it truly was an extension of himself and his own power.

"Nice work, Roland! You're looking like me out there, hahaha!" Abraham boasted as he stepped forward, standing beside his fellow Quincy. He put his hand on his Quincy medallion, prepared to conjure forth his weapon if the need required.

"I recommend that ya'll just retreat for now, and we'll do the same. No one here wants to fight out a pointless battle. We'd hate to kill you all after you offered us your home."

Before either of the two Sternritter could act further, Asumu would hold his right hand up in a 'ceasefire' motion towards the two. Of course, as he was the same rank as they were, he could not necessarily command either of them, but he imagined that the sight of the battle-loving werewolf motioning for them to not attack would let both of them understand the gravity of the situation.

While he certainly appreciated his comrades eagerness to lend him their support, Asumu could tell that something was very, very wrong here. For the time being, he knew that neither side could necessarily afford a war with the other, no matter how much both sides hated each other. All of this time, he had never stopped to think on why Harribel, the most level-headed of the "Three Pillars" was suddenly lashing out against Wandenreich soldiers. Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez? Absolutely; in fact he initially expected the attack to have been performed by the former Sexta Espada. Nelliel Tu Odelschwank? While she was certainly composed like Harribel was, she was far more prone to letting her emotions get the best of her than her blonde companion.

So why her?

They couldn't act further, not without informing their superiors of the situation; his battle with the Shark Empress had already shattered any illusion of "peace" that the two factions were under, something he was sure that his opponent understood as well. Outstretching his arm out to his right, he created a shadow portal, one large enough for himself and his two comrades to enter, but not before giving Harribel one last look. Using one of his nails, the one that had managed to draw blood from Harribel's face and still held on to some of the red liquid, he ran the nail across the bottom of his nose. It was a customary sort of challenge that his kind often issued to their opponents, or prey. One that very clearly stated, from one predator to another, that no matter what, he would never lose track of her scent.

And with that, he and his comrades departed through the portal, out of sight, but certainly not out of mind for the remaining Arrancar.

"I can confirm there are no more hostiles within the immediate vicinity." Gregory reported to Tier whilst perched on the rock spire. In what seemed to be a heartbeat, Gregory appeared in front of Tier, casually walking towards her while carrying his Reishi Rifle on his shoulder. He subtly nodded to Tier.

"Tch. Fucking cowards", said Sakaala with a grimace of displeasure on his serpentine face. "Why start a fight if you're not gonna go through with it?"

As he shrugged, he dropped both of his curved swords, and the weapons vanished as abruptly as they had appeared before. After a short pause, the towering Arrancar swivelled on the spot to look at Tier directly.

"Well, any day I can see you in this get-up, Harri-chan, is a good day, so I don't mind that much", he remarked with a crooked smile.

Afterward, he began floating in the air freely, rotating about his axis and upside-down, until he just so happened to stop in front of the Arrancar Queen, and directly in Gregory's way, his back turned to the marksman.

"The sacrifices have been equalized." Tier spoke calmly to her two Arrancar subordinates. "Let's convene with the Espada. We should all be on the same page." Tier began to walk towards the grandiose structure that was Las Noches, noting the damages the battle between the Sternritter and Espada had caused.

Nonetheless, being the Shark Empress she was, she continued to move forward, without a single glint of hesitation in her eyes.

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