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"I loathe perfection. If something is perfect, then there is nothing left. There is no room for imagination. No place left for a person to gain additional knowledge or abilities. Do you know what that means? For scientists such as ourselves, perfection only brings despair."

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"I always believed the sword triumphed over all... then I woke up. In this world, it is a spiritual bond with another that cannot be beaten by a sword. Not even the sharpest blade or the most precise cut can sever what two friends have"

The Blade and the Gun[]

Lunging forward, blade directed with the tip aimed to stab right through Kusagi. "Technique #16: Nuibari" Hyōsube called as he came within striking distance.

"Tate no Hakke" Kusagi calmly said. An x-shaped barrier sparked in front of Kusagi, catching Hyōsube's sword mid-attack. "You forget Hyōsube-san, I am well-versed in Anti-Shinigami Warfare." he said before disappearing. Appearing once more in the air, Kusagi aimed down Kumabachi and fired towards Hyōsube.

Hyōsube reacted on key, quickly pulling Mudabana from it's snag. "Hadō #32:Ōkasen" Hyōsube called, sending his Kidō barreling into Kusagi's shot.

"Kidō, Hyōsube? That's unlike you." Kusagi said, landing on the ground away from Hyōsube. He quickly pulled Kumabachi up and fired two more shots, sending them spiraling towards Hyōsube.

"Hmph." Hyōsube huffed as he skid across the ground. Ready to fire another Kidō blast, Hyōsube quickly noticed Kusagi had leaped above and fired another shot. "He's quick" Hyōsube thought, quickly thrusting a palm forward. A rectangular shaped barrier quickly erected around him, crimson in color.

The blasts quickly struck against the barrier, creating a cloud of smoke around Hyōsube. Charging through the plume, Hyōsube quickly swung his blade, sending an arc of spiritual energy forward towards Kusagi. "Technique #22: Nami" he called as the attack collided with Kusagi.

Searing his cloak, Kusagi tossed it aside, blocking Hyōsube's view of him. Firing three shots, they promptly ripped through the cloak and directly towards Hyōsube.

Colliding with Hyōsube, his natural durability left him unscathed, save the burns to his haori. "Tch. If there is one thing I learned from Captain-Commander Yamamoto, it's that a haori is more than just a piece of cloth. I can't let this go unpunished." Hyōsube said, tossing his haori to the side.

Kusagi smirked as spiritual energy sparked around him. "Well that was my favorite cloak, so we're even." he said with a chuckle. "You know, I think it's time I take this up a notch." Kusagi said, holstering Kumabachi at his side.

Hyōsube quickly spun his sword and grabbed the handle with both hands, he was ready for whatever Kusagi had for him.

"You haven't seen this weapon yet Hyōsube... actually, I made it specifically for you." Kusagi said, tossing a Gintō tube in the air. From the light, Kusagi gripped what appeared to be a shotgun. "This here... is Jorōgumo." he said, giving a pump to the barrel.

Hyōsube smirked at the sight. "A new weapon? You're going pretty hard on me now." Hyōsube said, loosening his grip on Mudabana. "Kidō #4: Byakurai!" Hyōsube called, firing a large blast of white spiritual energy from the tip of his blade.

With a flick of his wrist, Kusagi quickly squeezed down on the trigger sending a powerful blast of spiritual energy forward.

The two forces collided, causing the entire arena to shake.

In the stands, the on-lookers broke out in conversation.

"You, in the red armor... tell me how you are able to standby and watch your freinds fight to the death." Atsui Kamaitachi said.

Harusame was quiet at first before letting out a sigh. "Kusagi-sama and Hyōsube-sama aren't new to the concept of fighting. Since I knew them, they were aware that their destiny was to fight again... and one would die in that fight. Kusagi hired me for the purpose of discovering new ways to take on a Shinigami... it turned out that my assistance would become more of an alliance." Harusame said, speaking more then normal.

"What does your relationship with him have to do anything?" Namazu said, arms folded and listening in on the conversation.

"I meant it as a reminder to myself... that I don't think I can bare to witness Kusagi's life being lost in this battle. I just hope he will win..." Harusame said.

"You're a very loyal lapdog." Namazu muttered

Gogorō chuckled. "You're quite the sassy one, aye Barbie?" he bellowed.

Harusame, looking at the argument erupt, slowly shifted his eyes onto the battlefield where his eyes widened in disbelief. "Kusagi-sama!" he called at the top of his lung.

On the battlefield, Kusagi turned to see Hyōsube lung with his sword aimed forward. "Game." Hyōsube said, piercing through Kusagi.

Life and Death[]

Standing with Hyōsube's sword impaled through his abdomen, Kusagi coughed and blood trickled down from his mouth. "Pretty good." Kusagi muttered, lifting up Jorōgumo. "Don't forget, I have some close-ranged power also." he said, firing a blast at point-blank range at Hyōsube.

A plume of smoke ensued, enveloping the two within. Leaping back through the smoke, Kusagi slid across the ground, gripping his wound as he came to a stop.

Hyōsube remained within the smoke, standing still when the smoke finally lifted. His clothes were charred and he had burn marks across his chest an arm. "That thing is deadly up close." Hyōsube said, raising his Zanpakutō to hip-length. "Bakudō #63: Sajo Sabaku" Hyōsube called, materializing several chains forged of yellow energy.

"Going to try and capture me?" Kusagi asked, lifting up Jorōgumo.

Hyōsube remained quiet. With a motion of the hand, the chains charged for Kusagi, in an attempt to subdue him.

"Banryoku." Kusagi called with a leap into the air. Dozens of "clones" quickly appeared around him, mis-directing the chains into nothing. "Anti-Shinigami Techniques are meant to easily defeat Kidō. A Bakudō isn't much when you can't find the target." each Kusagi clone called in unison.

Hyōsube sneered, stabbing his Zanpakutō into the ground below him. "Is that so?" Hyōsube called, quickly bringing his hands together. "A friend of mine taught me this... let me show you my power Kusagi." Hyōsube called.

"What's he planning?" Kusagi thought, quickly leaping backwards.

"Engulf the world, fall into the darkness, light the candle from within. Watch the light burn as it starts a new world around it's mighty flame. Burn and Recreate Bakudō #85: Tamatebako." Hyōsube called. Spiritual energy poured out and swelled around Kusagi, taking the form of several large pearl-colored pillars. Light's sparked from the top of each pillar, connecting into a square. Spiritual energy covered the area, creating a large translucent box entrapping Kusagi.

"Now to finish you." Hyōsube said. "Let Loose, Mudabana." he called, gripping his Zanpakutō from it's place stabbed into the ground.

Quickly pulling up Jorōgumo, Kusagi fired into the Bakudō's wall. "Fuck, it's to powerful..." Kusagi thought, readying for another shot.

Kusagi wasn't able to react in time, Mudabana had pierced through the Bakudō and into his chest.

"Fuck!?!" Kusagi thought, feeling the effects of Mudabana activating.

"Your body is breaking down Kusagi. I'm afraid I won this battle." Hyōsube said, walking up to the Bakudō. "I'll avenge your death Kusagi, I'll take that bastards life." Hyōsube vowed, placing his hand onto the Bakudō's wall.

Kusagi smiled, placing his fist against the inner wall. His chest was breaking down into spiritual particles, his life was slowly fading from existance. "Next time, I'll win..." Kusagi said, dying from within the Bakudōō.

Hyōsube lowered his head and did so for several minutes.

In the stands, Harusame was in turmoil. "Kusagi-sama..." he muttered, his head bowed in respect.

"I had a feeling Hyōsube would win..." Atsui said. "His power's are quite well know within the Royal Guard, I've seen his file... it is astounding." he went on.

Namazu continued to watch the battlefield. "Why is he showing respect for his defeated opponent... such a weakling." she said mockingly.

"Bitch!" Harusame called, quickly grasping her by the throat and picking her up. "I'll FUCKING Kill you!" Harusame yelled, choking the breath out of her.

"Not so fast!" called a voice, quickly sending Harusame flying.

Leaping down from his seat up top, The Puppet Master had a wicked grin on his face. "No killing your competition unless it's in the Ring, #1 Rule!" he called. Walking to the edge of the arena, The Puppet Master snapped his fingers, sending Hyōsube and Kusagi's remains elsewhere.

"I'll send him to rest until his next battle, and until then... we begin the second battle of the first round." he called, tossing his hands up into the air.

The crowd remained silent, waiting to see who of them would be forced to fight for their lives next.

Pulling the Strings[]

Smoke and Dagger[]