This article, Putting Names to the Faces, follows on from Fleeing the Imawashi and is part of Bleach: Cataclysm, serving as the penultimate chapter of the opening arc. It features Kentaro as the POV character with Kensei, Shūhei, Sanada, Hawke, David and Akiye in supporting roles.
The theme of Kentaro holding his meetings with far more freedom and less formality than the old Ryu Order was starting to become something of a routine, which his fellows were beginning to expect. They didn't expect what awaited them however. Even though the information Kensei and Shuhei possessed was of vital importance, Kentaro had spent the two hours preparing the meeting room itself. By the time the Commanders – all of whom where in attendance thankfully – arrived Kentaro had the circular table they usually sat around filled with food! Meat on the bone, bread, strips of meat, bowls of rice, fruit and vegetables, and all manner of seafood. He had also had tankards set around the table which he had filled with an assortment of alcohol.
“Did you do all this?” Sanada asked, disbelieving.
“He's actually a good cook.” Akiye admitted. “He does a fantastic ramen!”
The first to sink his teeth into anything was Kensei and his reaction made Kentaro smile. The first bite was hesitant – he was probably half-expecting it to taste awful. His eyes widened in surprise. Kensei lifted a piece of meat by the bone and sank his teeth into the flesh, ripping and tearing, with absolutely no manners or decorum whatsoever! He then jammed a bread roll into his mouth and it disappeared down his throat after only five or six bites, before returning to the meat. By the time he'd finished that particular piece of meat juice was dripping down his chin.
“What?” He asked, looking around. “Is there something on my face?”
Akiye cleaned his chin with a handkerchief which led Hawke to laugh. Kensei responded in-kind and hurled a roll at him across the table, hitting him between the eyes! Hawke dropped the roll he'd been holding and it fell into the bowl of soup Shuhei was filling a bowl from, splashing over his black kosode.
“Hey!” David declared. “Stop wasting good food!”
“Oh, yeah! That's typical. Show no concern for your brother!” Hawke declared.
David, dressed in a red coat over a black one-piece outfit, and Hawke, dressed in a pair of jeans and a hoody, then exchanged blows. The two where separated by Sanada when things began to escalate beyond fun who plopped his chair down between them, threatening to deprive both of their dinner if they did not behave themselves. They reacted with exaggerated sadness and over-the-top theatrics, with Kensei telling them to sit on their asses.
The six commanders and Kentaro then adopted silence as they cleared the food from the table. By the time they'd finished not a scrap was left!
“Best Vienna-sausage I've had in a while.” Shuhei remarked, patting his belly.
All you heard from Kensei where his loud slurps as he finished off the last vestiges of a bowl of soup.
“So...” Sanada began. “Shall I be the spoilsport? This has been nice, but we need to discuss some matters.”
“Yes, let's begin.” David agreed. “Hawke and I can't leave the patrols for long, after all.”
Again Kensei interrupted proceedings, this time with a loud belch.
“Good to see you liked it.” Kentaro remarked. “But Sanada's right. What have you both learned?”
Shuhei broke things down for the group. During their time undercover they realized early that the Imawashi wasn't simply recruiting anyone who could swing a Zanpakuto. Their abilities where explored and tested; those who passed joined the ranks, those who failed where disposed of in an alleyway. Kensei took up the explanation at that point, revealing that the current Imawashi comprised twenty-seven members if Dastan was counted amongst their number, with three core groups. The first, designed to destroy the Six Directions, where those they had researched specifically.
“What did you learn?” Hawke asked, leaning forward.
“Names and faces.” Kensei replied.
“Could you put the name to the face if you seen them again?” Sanada asked.
“Yes, we could.” Shuhei answered.
Sanada drew his Zanpakuto and released it into Shikai. “Saisei,” he whispered. The tabletop became the solid surface which relayed the events recorded by Sanada's Sekireigan, which he'd done during their flight. All twenty-six members of the Imawashi, including Dastan, appeared on the tabletop, almost like a TV show. He zoomed in on each face as Kensei and Shuhei examined them. After some time had passed Kensei began pointing them out.
“Katashi. He's a Hakuda specialist, known for his physical strength.”
Kentaro could believe it looking at the man. He wore no shirt and instead donned only a pair of tight black hakama. But he had arms the size of bloody tree trunks! His physique was muscled from top to bottom, and the glare captured by Sanada's Shikai caused a shiver to run down Kentaro's spine. It only then donned on him.
“I know him.” He whispered.
“You do!?” David asked.
“Yeah, real tough son of a bitch. He was a drug dealer in Kohai Tochi when I went to rescue Akiye. He's not just strong but very fast; I barely got away from him.”
“Who else do you recognize?” Akiye asked.
“Those three: the girls.” Shuhei pointed out. “Akane, Hinata and Kasumi. They're considered to be roughly on-par with a Lieutenant.”
Akane was a green-haired young woman with red eyes. In the events depicted by Sanada she wore a pair of combat trousers and a hoodie, with the hood up to obscure her features. Kentaro visibly gulped at the sight. He recalled that look, that body, but the last time he'd seen her was before he'd even met Akiye.
“That one: Akane.” Kentaro began. “She was once a member of the Ryu Order. She and I... well, we had a thing. It was before I met you.” He added to placate Akiye who, to her credit, merely chuckled.
“You're so cute when you're flustered.”
Hawke and David laughing like banshees in the background did little for Kentaro's confidence, which was steadily becoming dented.
“Get on with the report.” Kentaro suggested, pulling rank.
The second woman depicted, Hinata, was the youngest. She was short, petite, dressed in a flowing kimono-style outfit of a blue colouration, with steady black eyes. She was one Kentaro did not know.
“What do we know about her?” Sanada asked. “I've learned to stop judging a book by its appearance.”
“Kido prodigy, fast.” Kensei concluded. “She's got a short fuse too.”
“Sounds like you'd get on well.” Sanada jibed.
“Oh, don't be like that.” David added, leaning in close and elbowing Kensei lightly in the ribs. “C'mon, smile!” For his trouble David ended up face-planting the floor! Kensei clapped his hands against one another, followed by a smile, though David didn't see it.
"She's just a kid." Sanada murmured. "What a waste."
"She's dependant on Reiyaku." Shuhei revealed. "She's the newest recruit, pulled from some dark alley."
"... Bastards!" Akiye exclaimed.
The third girl, Kasumi, was another Kentaro recognized. The last time he saw her was during his search for Akiye. She was the merchant's wife whom Kentaro allowed to flee and life, rather than kill. He was beginning to wish he had killed her back then. The depiction of her from Sanada's recordings showed her wearing a white sleeveless top, a pair of denim jeans, and a brown jacket.
“I only recognise these other two.” Shuhei admitted, pointing to two men.
“Arata and Hi-”
“Hikaru!” Kentaro exclaimed, cutting Kensei short. “I can't believe that son-of-a-bitch betrayed us!”
His outburst brought a series of quizzical looks from his compatriots, though none actually put voice to their thoughts. Hikaru was a soft-featured young man with orange-coloured hair and a lean physique, roughly on a height with Kentaro himself. He seemed to carry himself with the assurance of a warrior, and the mere sight of him angered Kentaro.
“He was my rival. He used to torment me as a child because of my Hollow powers. He encouraged the other kids, made finding anyone to hang out with difficult. He was also my equal in everything. I'll enjoy killing him.”
“Good.” Kensei concluded. “The last is Arata. He's a tech-type, former 4th and 12th Division member.”
He looked intellectual. His clothing consisted of a high-necked black overcoat with denim jeans, and he stood with his arms folded across his chest.
“Okay, good work, you two.” Kentaro concluded. “We know some of our targets, some of their skills and what they look like. We start there. When we strike we strike them hard. No prisoners!”