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This article, The Demon and the Shark: Nnoitra Jiruga vs Tia Harribel, is property of Ten Tailed Fox

This article, The Demon and the Shark: Nnoitra Jiruga vs Tia Harribel, was added by Achrones150 who determines its usage on this wiki.

Survival of the Fittest[]

Deep within the dunes of Hueco Mundo, three figures dotted the sand, surrounded by dozens of Hollows. On the top of one of the dunes, sat a masked man, who watched silently. Several feet below him stood two Arrancar; a male and a female. In an instant they split up and cut down all of the Hollows, returning to their normal spots only seconds later. "You two are improving." the masked man said, in a deep voice. Starrk floated up to join him, "It's about time we did too." he said, flatly. The woman began walking up the dune soon after, "Perhaps...but I still don't feel strong enough yet." she confessed.

Normally, it would've been a desolate and deathly passive time in the dimension of Hueco Mundo. Despite the crack of day, and other than the three that stood together, it was nothing but dead silence. There were only the constant screams of Hollows, along with the battle cries of insane Arrancar that fought against one another. It was a civil war waging... and yet, there was no significance or importance to it. It was a battle that would never be won or lost, but would go on for eternity. Only these powerful beings were able to retain their sanity in such an environment, where no law existed, and criminal activity resided.

However, it was not too far away that similar powers were clashing.

A four-armed figure, as well another Espada-like individual, were using Sonido to constantly appear and re-appear and several points. During this time, their blades clashed ferociously, sometimes in brief bursts, and in other times all-out swinging. The Espada seemed to be having difficulty keeping up with the six-armed monster, scythe blades forcing him on the defensive. But his speed and skill allowed him to hold his own, even counter-attacking at some points. On the ground, there was another figure, an Arrancar female observing, as well as having a rather cheery smile on her face.

It was not too long before both fighters finally descended to the ground. Senkaku fell to one knee, breathing heavily and wheezing slightly. There was a shallow gash in his side which he was clutching. It didn't heal, even as he came out of his Resurrecion. "Damn it..." He cursed breathlessly, sending a glare towards the other Arrancar. "You've gotten a lot better, Nnoitra..." That brought an arrogant smirk across Nnoitra's face, as he too faded out of his Resurrecion.

"What's the matter, water boy? Can't keep up anymore? I was only using four arms!" He gloated.

"I don't think that really matters, Jira-kun..." The girl commented, looking quite skeptical as she folded her arms across her chest. "If they can outmaneuver you, like Grimmjow had almost did--"

"They won't." Nnoitra interrupted, fixing her with a narrowed eye glare. "Even that pussycat's Resurrecion couldn't do shit to me. He was weak, and only got saved because that whore of his managed to take him away."

Senkaku grinned. "You mean, you got your ass kicked by a girl? Again?"

"Shut your mouth, water boy!!!"

By this time, Harribel, Starrk, and the masked man were lying in a triangle formation on their backs, staring at the dawning sun of Hueco Mundo. Suddenly, Starrk opened his eyes and slid them in the direction of a fading reiatsu. He hadn't noticed it earlier, but there had been two large energies not far away, and they had both just winked out and faded. After focusing on it a little more, he recognized it and let a smirk cross his face. This didn't go unnoticed by the masked man, "What is it?" he asked his comrade. Harribel didn't allow Starrk to answer. She had her eyes closed still, but spoke up immediately. "It's an old associate of ours. So it seems we weren't the only ones to survive, eh, Starrk?" she asked. "I suppose so." he responded, yawning.

"Wanna go pay a visit to him?" the masked man asked the both of them. Starrk sat up and looked over, lazily, at him, "Why ruin a perfectly good chance to nap?" he replied. Harribel, however, rose and got to her feet, shocking Starrk and prompting the masked man to rise to his own feet. "Harribel?" the masked man asked. "I would like to go over there." she replied. The masked man nodded, "As you wish." In that instant, the group vanished from their location.

Before Nnoitra and Senkaku could continue their fight unreleased, they immediately sensed three presences approaching with immense speed. Senkaku's eyes narrowed, and he abruptly sheathed his blade. "Guess that's it for training today..." He commented, turning towards his former opponent. "We'll have to-- Nnoitra?"

He was surprised upon seeing shocked eyes and a slight frown that was Nnoitra's expression. The former Espada had rarely shown a look like that outside of a surprise attack by his opponent, and they weren't even in battle yet. "Uh...Jiruga..." He attempted to get the man's attention again, and that was when he saw the Quinta's eyes narrow. He slung Santa Teresa over his shoulder, walking over to take a seat on one of the nearby boulders. There was no doubt about it - Nnoitra had acquaintences coming his way.

Reunion[]

There Is No Woman, Only My Hated Enemy[]

Three swishing noises were made and the group touched down directly in front of Nnoitra's. Starrk scratched his head and sighed, not looking at the Quinta at all. Harribel, however, glared at the former fifth Espada. The masked man took a seat behind her with Starrk following suit. "Nnoitra..." Harribel stated, as if his name had just come back to her.

Senkaku couldn't help the look of amazement that had befallen on his face. As Nnoitra looked over the female as if trying to find the right way to greet her, he pondered. Nnoitra knew this woman? Had she been a former rival? With the way that she was glaring at him, it didn't appear as if the two appreciated each other's company. He looked thoughtful and solemn, folding his arms across his chest as he looked over the situation. However, he was immediately broken out of his thoughts by Melina's cheerful voice.

"Ooh, ooh!" Eagerly, she pointed at Harribel first. "Tercera!" Then she lifted her finger towards the meditative Starrk. "Primera!" Nnoitra hadn't even told her who they were yet, and she could already guess their former ranks accurately. This allowed a small smile to cross Senkaku's face; despite her bubbly complexion, Melina proved to be quite perceptive in such situations.

Nnoitra's smirk

Nnoitra greets both of his fellow colleagues with his trademark smirk.

However, Nnoitra was too busy letting memories swarm his mind. His past with the 3rd Espada had not been too great. Once again, a female had secured a position two ranks higher than him, the fact of a woman being more powerful than a man having irritated him to no end. Had Aizen not been keeping them in line, he would've gladly resorted to the tactics used against Nelliel. However, he hid his scorn well, masking it with a smirk in the former 3rd Espada's direction. "Well, I'll be damned...." He said lowly. "Both Tia and Coyote alive and kicking... tell me, who did you get killed by?"

"That..." Stark began, finally looking at his former comrade, "...is none of your business, Quinta." he replied. Harribel remained silent for a moment and then finally spoke once more, "Aizen turned on us, but we managed to escape the Fake Karakura." she explained. She then narrowed her gaze at him once more. The masked man looked at her with concern, "Are you alright, Harribel?" he asked. She did not respond to him, instead adressing Nnoitra again, "Why weren't you with us in Karakura?" she asked.

Undeterred by Starrk's stern statement, Nnoitra looked directly into Harribel's eyes. "Heh. I was off seeing how'd that substitute Shinigami would fare against an Espada in combat. He got the shit kicked out of him by Grimmjow, and it was a shame having to crush him at such a weak level." With Santa Teresa in one hand, he lightly shrugged his shoulders. "There's nothing much to say about it. I crushed 'em both and fought your predecessor, until she reverted back to that weak kid form of hers... yeah, I was about to finish up and meet you there for some actual fightin'... but..."

He closed his eyes, lowered his head, and let out a maniacal chuckle. "That.... that was when I met my opponent. I'd never thought I'd duel with a Shinigami so brutal, so bloodlusting, and so ferocious in my entire life! It was even better than crushing those weakling Hollows, Arrancars, and what-not back then! My only regret now is that I won't be able to cross swords again with him, now that the whole fuckin' war's over and done with."

Harribel shut her eyes and nodded, "I see." she replied. She then reopens her eyes with a fierce glare that seemed to penetrate Nnoitra. "If I recall correctly; You once tried to provoke me into attacking you back in the old days, during one of our Espada meetings. Don't tell me," she began, placing her index finger into one of the slots on the guard of her zanpakutō, which was situated on her back, "...that you still hold a grudge towards me for being of a higher rank than you back then."

Starrk was now observing the situation with a very observant eye, "Wow. I've only seen Harribel get fired up once and that was when Aizen turned on us. Yet right now I can feel the anger burning off of her being...She really mustn't like this guy." he though, now crossing his own arms and glancing over at the masked man, who glanced back at him, seeming to return his concern. "Not that I really blame her. He cares nothing for comradely and his mouth is as foul as his reiatsu."

Immediately, Senkaku took a step back, a bit intimidated by her power. Now, as strong as he was, he knew better than to mess with a pissed-off female. What the hell had Nnoitra been doing in order to anger someone such as the 3rd Espada, anyway? This woman was two ranks above him, and yet the man still acted like he could look down on her. Well... he could, considering he was the tallest one out of all of them. Still... if this got out of hand, he may needed to rely on his team. The other two teammates were watching silently, Melina refraining herself from speaking, although she did look anticipated.

How well she read him.

From the table the Espada were sitting at, a hole opened up. Light materalized for a second, shining with a color the same dull blue as the room itself. However, soon it began to produce images within itself... more particularly, three figures running across the sand. Aizen allowed his voice to fill the room once more. "There are three intruders..." He explained calmly, giving off a rather serene and indifferent aura. "Ishida Uryuu, Sado Yasutora, and Ichigo Kurosaki."

Out of the corner of his eye, Nnoitra saw Grimmjow's eyes widen, and a short gasp come from the Sexta. "What in the hell is his problem?" The Quinta thought, slightly raising an eyebrow as he folded his arms behind his head. But other than that, he showed no reaction to it.

"They're the enemies?" Aaroniero questioned, sounding skeptical.

"What's this?" Barragan, the old geezer, sounded slightly indignant and offended. When you said we were under attack, I was curious to who our enemy was!" Nnoitra couldn't blame him; all three of them seemed to look like reject warriors rather than an actual threat.

"They're a bunch of whipper-snappers..." Szayel said, a smile of amusement crossing his face as he looked upon the hologram. "Not very exciting at all." After that, the only response to Aizen's statement was a scoff from Yammy, who was looking rather bored to even say anything.

"You are not allowed to underestimate them." Aizen warned, placing his tea cup on its holder as a sign of finality. Not that anyone would bother to argue against him... "They were once labeled ryoka. Just the four of them broke into Soul Society and fought on par wtih the 13 Protection Squads. This prompted Zommari to look over at him, popping a question that could've been possibly overlooked.

"Four? Then one of them is missing. Where's the fourth?"

Aizen merely smiled, and Ulquiorra answered for him. "It was Inoue Orihime." He explained shortly.

"Eh?" After remaining quiet for so long, and with most of the other Espada having said their words, Nnoitra felt that he might as well make his own. "So they came to save their friend..." He said mockingly. "Why not let 'em, even though they look weak as hell?" He was feeling really confident; cautious or not, the three of them couldn't possibly expect to take on a force such as themselves. Nnoitra'd see to it himself that they'd all be crushed under his feet, like the bugs they were--

"Haven't you been listening?" The dry voice of Harribel spoke up, wiping the grin off of his face. Great. Now the bitch was talking to him. Being made to sit besides her, he was almost tempted to raise his hand and backhand her across the face just to ease his own boredom, but as it was, Aizen was watching his every move. He had to be a good boy, in order for him not to get fucked over by the guy or his lackies.

With a slight frown, he craned his head and gave Hallibel a bored look. "Huh?" Was the intelligent answer that he came up with.

She fixed him with a rather hawk-like stare, green eyes piercing his snake eyes. "Aizen-sama just told us not to underestimate them."

"I heard it from his lips, you dumb bitch..." Nnoitra wanted to say, but he held his tongue as well as his indifferent look. "I didn't mean it like that..." He stated, sounding a little hurt by her statement. However, his showing eye widened, and he smiled innocently at her. "You scared?" He asked, hoping to prod at her and make her lose that disgusting composure of hers.

His spirits was heightened a little further when she turned a little to face him, no change in expression but the irritation clear. "What did you say?" She asked lowly, some menace clear in her voice...

Had Grimmjow not interrupted at that moment, maybe he would've gotten the fight with her a lot sooner. Oh, well.... sooner or later, they had come to this. Nnoitra could feel the rage curdling within Harribel, and he practically fed off of it. His grin grew wider, and Santa Teresa's staff was behind him. It was the lazy form of the stance he was about to go into. "Damn right..." He hissed maliciously, returning her glare full-force. "Bitches like you shouldn't be even wielding swords... you belong in one place out of where the men belong... and that's on your knees!!"

Tiburón being drawn

Harribel draws Tiburón.

With a flick of her index finger, Harribel ripped Tiburón from it's sheath, spinning it around and catching it firmly in her right hand. As soon as she grabbed it, her golden spiritual energy erupted from her body, sending powerful gusts into the dunes which caused sand to blow everywhere. "Well then," she said in her usual calm voice, "It looks like you'll get your wish. But I warn you....I'm far above the level I was in my days with Aizen."

She then turned back to her team, "Forgive me." she said to them, "But I cannot allow someone like him, who treats his comrades lower than ants, and he who will not acknowledge the strength of a woman, to live." The mask man nodded his approval, "Very well." he said. Starrk put his hands behind his head and leaned back, "Fine by me. I need to rest after all that training."

Nnoitra's stance

Nnoitra settles into a stance, ready to engage Harribel.

"Oh, really?" Grinning, Nnoitra settled into his stance, already feeling the adrenaline pump within him. "Well, I'll warn you too, Blondie. I'm a far cry from the 5th position. Pretty soon, even Wolf boy's gonna start kneeling before me!!" Finally, he had his chance to prove himself stronger than the top four Espada. This was a step to becoming the strongest Arrancar in Hueco Mundo - to build your way up and fight your enemies like a ladder.

First he would kill Tia. Then he would crush Starrk. Simple as that.

However, before he could finish that though, Harribel appeared behind him and swung her blade for the back of his head with deadly precision and speed.

The Double-Edge Needle of Malevolence[]

CLASH!

It was no surprise that Harribel would utilize Sonido first. However, constant cases of being overwhelemed by Nelliel served as a harsh lesson to Nnoitra. Little-by-little, he had managed to get himself adjusted to such speed, and bit-by-bit, he had managed to climb to the 3rd Espada's level. With no limit to his training, his reception was even faster. Turning his side to her reflexively, he put Santa Teresa's two blades in the way of Harribel's impressive sword strike, effectively blocking it. "See that?" He gloated. "I can keep up with the likes of you, now..."

Gripping the hilt of his weapon with both of his hands, he used his brute strength to forcefully break the swordlock and parry Harribel's sword away. Then, without stopping, he raised the blade over his head and swung down with all of his tremendous might and strength behind the blow.

Harribel, still only using one hand, lifted Tiburón up into the air and blocked Santa Tresa with no visible signs of buckling under the strength of the blow. "Typical of a man to use his brute strength as a sign of power." she thought. She had to admit, though, that she was impressed at the Quinta's display of speed. She flicked her blade, freeing it of Santa Tresa and then filled Tiburón with her yellow spiritual energy, swinging for her foe's mid-section.

With both hands on his sword, and his Zanpakuto's blade in the air, he wouldn't be able to swing the crescents down in time to block the enhanced attack. With the butt end of Santa Teresa, he swung it into Harribel's wrist to stop the progress of her arm's movements, if not break the bones in her hand altogether. Then, with a rapid flick, he had the killing edge pointed at her neck, thrusting again with a vicious speed of his own.

OlaAzul

Harribel's Ola Azul.

Harribel was stunned slightly by the attack on her wrist, but her Hierro held up, preventing her from breaking any bones. She then preformed Sonído to dodge the oncoming blade of Santa Tresa. From above, and with the yellow energy still within Tiburón's hollow portion, she thrust her blade forward at Nnoitra, "Ola Azul.." she declared, firing the energy blast directly for Nnoitra's head.

"Oh, please."

Nnoitra's cero

Nnoitra's Cero.

In order to counter the attack, Nnoitra stuck his tongue out to reveal the number 5 tatto on it. But this wasn't meant to be a sign of taunt; a golden Cero, opposed to being fired from the finger or palm, was forming at the tip of his tongue. The attack wasn't actually meant to damage the Espada, but rather counter the Ola Azul she had sent his way. If the Cero overwhelmed the blast, all well and good. If they combusted upon collision, he would have to settle for a strike in its wake... that is, if Harribel didn't move immediately. He unleashed it, the golden beam of certain death illuminating its own pathway as it raced toward its target.

Realizing that her Ola Azul was no match for an Espada's Cero, Harribel moved quickly, swiping her blade and firing her own golden Cero, which rushed down and overtook Ola Azul, heading on a collision course with Nnoitra's Cero.

Abruptly, however, Nnoitra stopped the attack immediately, allowing Harribel's Cero to overwhelm his own. Despite facing immediate death, he sneered, snake-like eyes narrowing. He raised a hand off of Santa Teresa and held it out in a signal to stop. "I've been waitin' to use this..." He declared arrogantly. Sure, Nel may have been a bitch and all, but Nnoitra could safely admit her techniques had packed a punch. He carried this one for his own, as if it was his own personal trophy for supposedly surpassing her in power. He was confident Harribel would never see it coming.

Harribel's Cero slammed into his palm, but stopped short right there. He closed his eyes and opened his mouth, sucking in the energy like a vacuum. Once it was all stored, Nnoitra tilted his head back, lunged forward, and unleashed the Cero right back at the woman while firing his own, resulting in a drastic augument of the attack. So far, only he and Nelliel had proved to utilize the technique successfully.

Cero Doble.

Harribel's eyes slightly widened, "That's...!" she thought as the immense Cero rushed towards her. She quickly sliced her finger with Tiburón, "Your attack has power...however.." she said, charging a large pinkish-purple Cero, "It's still no match for mine...Gran Rey Cero.." she declared in a stotic cold voice. The massive Cero erupted from her palm, rushing towards Nnoitra's Cero Doble.

It was unfortunate that Harribel did not speak empty words.

At first, when the Cero Doble and the Gran Rey Cero clashed, they seemed to struggle evenly against one another... but it only lasted for a few seconds, before the Gran Rey Cero overwhelmed Nnoitra's power. The arrogance in Nnoitra's face faded completely, and he could only afford to widen his snake eyes, pupils shrinking almost to non-existance. "Impossible!!!" He nearly screamed out, as the blast overwhelmed and consumed him completely in the resulting explosion. It was a blaze of fleeting, killing beauty, a purple-pink explosion rocking the landscape. Needless to say, his teammates were looking on with varying degrees of shock at what seemed like a crucial blow.

Things Get Heated! The Demon and the Shark[]

Waking The Demon[]

Harribel looked down with a cold and icy glare at the pink mass of flames that now danced on the dunes below her, "Rise up, Nnoitra. I know that wasn't enough to kill you." she said coldly. As she said this, her eyes darted around, looking in the smoke and the surrounding landscape for the counter attack she knew was coming. "I will say this though..." she said, speaking again. "I expected more of a former Espada."

From below, Starrk looked on with slight amusement, "Harribel sure let him have it." he said, chuckling. The masked man returned his chuckle with one of his own, "So it would appear." he replied. His eyes then narrowed beneath his mask, "Let's see the result of your training thus far...Harribel." he thought, returning his attention to his comrade.

"Did...did she do it?" Melina asked cautiously, fearing the worst.

She would soon get her answer, when she saw a figure teleport behind Harribel.

Nnoitra Jiruga

Nnoitra looms over Harribel threateningly.

Other than a ripped sleeve, as well as burn marks along his right arm (and a part of his spoon collar taken off in the blast), he showed no signs of major injury. In fact, he still stood mightily as he towered over Harribel, looking down on her physically smaller form. "I'll admit..." He said, almost whispering. "That was a nice attack... but you've seem to forgotten what my specialty was. Starrk had his guns, you had water, Ulquiorra had regeneration... and I? I have the strongest Hierro. There was only one person that managed to cut it, and that was the Shinigami I fought. Aside from that, there would be no one else." He sneered ferally, weapon lowered to the side of him. "Face it, Tia... to you, I might as well be invincible!!"

Abruptly, he swung Santa Teresa diagonally with one hand, attempting to catch the 3rd Espada off-guard.

Harribel sidestepped it with Sonído, reappearing a few feet away in the air. "Only one has cut it? I think you're vastly underestimating your opponents. Your skin is tough without doubt, but it isn't impenetrable. " she lectured. As she said this, her reiatsu began to feel different in the air and ferocity finally took hold in her emerald eyes. "Up until now, I haven't been taking you seriously at all. I still expected you to be the weak little puppy that you were back then...but it seems that dogs like you really do learn new tricks." she spat, leveling her sword. Then in a demonstration of her mastery of Sonído, she surrounded Nnoitra with twelve after images before violently attacking him with Tiburón; making slicing movements and slashes with deadly precision and lethal speed.

All bets were off.

Nnoitra clearly expressed shock, and even slight fear as Harribel unleashed the first attack against him. He could barely raise Santa Teresa to block it in time, the surprise overriding everything else. However, as he stared into furied eyes of his former superior, he felt his own expression began to shift, his grin exposing his growing excitement. He fixed his glare onto hers, allowing her to see every bit of bloodlust and anticipation that he would hold in commensing this fight.... for real. His spiritual pressure started exerting itself, illuminating his body with a golden glow. He didn't need to say any more words.

When she attacked, he fought back. Her Sonido was pitted against his, and at every point they clashed at, a shockwave could be felt as the powers clashed violently. In terms of swordsmanship, he not only utilized simple blocks with his blade, but also blocks with the pole itself. He kept twirling the weapon around to adjust himself with her attack pattern, his own counter-strikes fast, furious, and deadly. Sometimes, he even utilized grabs and parries with a free hand in order to temporarily throw off Tia for openings. He almost regretted telling her that she wasn't worth using a sword.

Almost.

On the sidelines, Senkaku himself watched the battle commense with clear amazement. He had never expected the seemingly stoic woman to fight so seriously, and he had never expected Nnoitra to hold his own against her fury. But it was all too clear; Nnoitra had definitely surpassed his expectations. Melina herself now found the voice to cheer him on occasionally. "Go, Spoon-chan!" She shouted, though it was possible he couldn't hear her.

Onward she went, parrying his every blow and matching him in speed every way she knew how. She hated fighting more than anything. She'd rather be where Starrk or the masked man were now; observing things from the sidelines and making judgments of strength and outcomes, but she knew she had to do this. In her mind, this man embodied everything she was opposed to. He was her polar opposite and a vile person in her mind. Not to mention that she knew that he'd go after Starrk if he defeated her. While she knew that Starrk could easily take a match against Nnoitra, she couldn't bare the thought of someone hurting her comrades. With each blow, her strength became more and more evident, as she too locked gazes with her foe.

Finally, she saw her opening. As Nnoitra parried her blows, she reached out and grabbed hold of the stem of Santa Tresa, holding it firmly in place, while with her sword hand she made a slash for Nnoitra's chest that had a great amount of reiatsu behind it. She, being a former comrade of his, knew how his hierro worked, and she had spent the whole fight up until this point getting use to his reiatsu. With this slice, she hoped to send Nnoitra the message that this was no game.

The result was fruitful.

Although there was no shock, Nnoitra's smile faded when he felt her blade tear through his chest. The power forced him away from her, and he could only stare for a second in what looked like disbelief. Then, he raised a hand to place on the wound, lifting it up to his face. Fresh blood, clear as the day itself, covered the skin of his palm. He half-lidded his eyes, turning his gaze back to Harribel. "People like you really seem to piss me off, catching on quickly like that..." He said vehemently, raising his blade up to point the two tips of Santa Teresa at her. "But, I guess it won't matter. Tell me, how does it feel to know that a weak puppy like me can still be able to kick yer ass, hm?"

Tiburon

Harribel's release.

Harribel's hair blew in the wind of the desert as she looked upon Nnoitra with a stotic look, regarding him with indifference. "You...beat me? Ridiculous. All you have managed to do is delay your demise. I'll admit, you've gotten a lot stronger but it's only enough to prevent me from killing you. If you become cocky and let your guard down for an instant, you will be slaughtered like the dog you are." With that she spun her sword around and pointed it towards the ground, "I grow tired of looking at you, so I'll end this." she snarled menacingly.

The Prey That Fight Back[]

Starrk's eyes widened as he watched, "Is she going to...?!" but he couldn't finish his sentence, because the masked man had made it to his feet by now, "Looks like it!" he exclaimed. "Harribel isn't the type to release her sword when she's in a bind, like most fighters. Instead she releases it when she's ready to wrap a fight up. I was right when I suspected that she didn't like this man, but I never thought it was to this degree!"

"Attack...Tiburón..." she declared. Suddenly water gushed from the hollow portion of her blade and enveloped her in a cyclone. The wind kicked up from her release caused a massive sand storm on the dunes below, causing Starrk to shield his eyes. Finally the cyclone dissolved as storm clouds began to gather, revealing Harribel's stunning new form. She looked only at Nnoitra, "You've heard of this form from Aizen, but you've never seen it with your eyes. Prepare yourself." she said, enveloping her body in her yellow reiatsu which seemed to suck all of oxygen out of the nearby air due to it's intensity.

At first, Nnoitra seemed unphased, placing Santa Teresa over his shoulder and looking smugly at her new form. "Oh, wow." He stated sarcastically, raising a finger to point at her. "So you decided to be a bit more revealing and show me a mini-skirt. Doesn't matter... I'll cut you down to size either way! I won't even need my Resurrecion for killing you!!" This, however, made Senkaku look slightly unnerved as he stared at Harribel. Although not much had changed other than her clothing, it would've been a grave mistake to understimate her power.

And now, Nnoitra was making that very mistake.

Harribel shrugged off his comment. Her Shinigami foe, Toshiro, had once made the same mistake. She raised her pata into the air menacingly, and then, with speed unseen by her before, she stuck at Nnoitra like a shark pouncing on it's prey.

That immediately crushed any hope of staying intact for Nnoitra. So caught up in his own arrogance, he couldn't even begin to see her movements. For his punishment, her massive blade cleaved through his left shoulder and down to his torso. Once again, that malicious smile faded immediately, and blood spilled from his mouth to fall onto the sands below. All train of thought was lost as he leaned back, plummeting to the ground below and colliding like a meteor.

Once again, he had underestimated his opponent's strength.... and now, it had once again put him on the verge of death. He matched the position he was in for Grimmjow to nearly killed him, lying on his back, and his eyes blank as he stared up at the face of his transformed foe. Senkaku could easily tell, however, that he was still alive... but just barely. Melina frowned, clearly disappointed. "Aw... Spoon-chan lost the game?" She asked to no one in particular.

Nnoitra Crushed

Nnoitra, critically wounded after taking one blow from Harribel's pata.

Harribel refused to get cocky now. She watched with the eyes of a hawk. Quickly she prepared herself for another strike. Surely, Nnoitra would not underestimate her a second time.

And she was right.

But he would not be getting up for another strike on her person. There was too much pain shooting through his body, nearly immobilizing it. Sweat raced down his face, blood raced down the corners of his mouth, and adrenaline raced through his entire system. "Y...you bazooka-tit bitch...." He growled, managing to climb himself onto his knees. Slowly, he stood up, his tenacity reigning over the agony that his body was screaming. He refused to acknowledge it; the very thing would be admitting defeat... to this woman. He would never do that. Not as long as he had breath in him. Not as long as he could fight.

"I..."

Nnoitra's spiritual pressure

Nnoitra, building up his spiritual pressure.

That was when his reiatsu began to build up once again, giving him that bright orange glow. His voice slowly became stronger, as he raised his head up slowly. The winds began to pick up around him once again. His half-lidded eyes widened, and the feral snarl once again decorated his face. He raised his blade into the air, a newfound ferocity swarming his emotions. "I WILL NEVER DIE!!!" He screamed, putting every bit of anger, frustration, and murderous intent he held for the Espada into that very sentence. At that moment, his spiritual energy skyrocketed, its light enveloping the very skies into darkness. Shockwaves were being blown from the massive pillar created, the winds becoming violent.

"PRAY, SANTA TERESA!!!"

Then, that pillar briefly turned into a light that blinded the entire area. As it started to fade, what was facing Harribel was now the silhouette of a massive crescent moon on the ground, the skies a crimson red. As the illusion created by his spiritual energy faded even more, there was a massive dust cloud that could be seen enveloping the spot where Nnoitra once was. However, he soon stepped out of its shadow, revealing his form to the woman. The butcher of the Espada had surfaced once more.

File:Nnoitra's released form..jpg

Nnoitra's released form once again reveals itself, as it did to the former 6th Espada.

Harribel looked at him with indifference, "So this is your Resurrección. How very underwhelming." she commented. "From the looks of it, that release is a melee-type. In that case, my ranged attacks will be most effective." she silently formulated her plan of attack. Water began to rush out of the gill-like markings on her pata and she aimed it for Nnoitra, "La Gota." she declared, releasing several high pressured fangs of water at her foe.

A sneer came across Nnoitra's face. He readied his blades as she fired the pressurized blasts at him in order to defend himself...

But, in the next millisecond, he was gone.

With speed that she had never seen before, Nnoitra re-appeared in front of Harribel, his wide eyes and grinning face that made up his insane countenance inches away from her own. He knew that it would've been a pain in the ass to keep dealing with ranged attacks, even if it was in this state. All he had to rely on was his Cero, and that needed improvement if it was going to deal any damage without being deflected. He only had his training to thank for this... without it, he'd be stuck trying to avoid Harribel's attacks from the ground. But now, his enhanced speed made up for it, reducing the chances an opponent could trap him in such a situation. He would never allow her to breathe easy.

Not now.

Not ever.

All four of his blades came gleaming down on her like a predator's teeth, hungry for their prey and eager to drink her blood.

Harribel was not totally shocked at his display of speed, as she had already deduced from fighting with him in their unreleased states that his speed had vastly increased. However, in her own Resurrección, her already immense skill with Sonído had grown and she managed to dodge, though a lock of her hair was cut trying to avoid the blades. "I will not fall so easily." she told him, readying for her next move. Water surged from the gill markings, creating a cyclone of water than surged around her. Her body then began to glow golden as she leveled her pata with her opponent's head, "Cascada!" she declared, launching a truly enormous jet of high pressured water at her foe.

Cascada

Harribel's Cascada.

In her years of training since leaving Aizen, she had mastered her Resurrección form. She no longer had to wait for water to gather in the air to use her big techniques and she had even learned some new ones. As she thought about this, she then began boiling the water of Cascada, making it scorching hot as it rushed towards her former comrade.

As Nnoitra turned around, he stuck out his tongue. Normally, he'd have his reluctance about using a Cero on such an opponent, especially if it wasn't at its most powerful. However, he didn't want to reveal the technique to her too soon... he'd wait until she wasn't watching him like a hawk. For now, he'd stick to this. A Cero was blasted towards the jet of water, comparable to that of the Gran Rey Cero Harribel had used to neutralize his Cero Doble.

The boiling water and Cero blast exploded in a fierce boom that rocked the desert. The water from Cascada then flooded the area below the fighters, causing Starrk and the masked man to become airborne to avoid it. Harribel used this opportunity to summon a large mass of water from her pata, releasing it in the form of a giant tsunami. She didn't expect the technique to kill or harm Nnoitra at all, though she had a reason behind using it, and that reason was about to rear it's head.

It was here that the three teammates of Nnoitra had to go airborne in order to avoid being boiled to death. With one arm set, Nnoitra shielded himself from the oncoming water wave and managed to keep himself airbone, but he was drenched as a result. He was clearly angered at what seemed like a weak attack. "C'mon!!!" He jeered, turning to face her with a scowl. "Is that all the former fuckin' 3rd Espada can do?! Hurl water?!" Still, he readied his blades once more defensively, fixing her with narrowed eyes. He could safely assume that she was preparing something big for him, something that his teammates would probably jump at the chance to save him from. He couldn't have that... he would counter whatever she had in store for him with brute force alone. That was what true battles consisted of; strength, dominance, and death.

This was it, Nnoitra had underestimated her for the last time. Harribel almost felt pity for him, but finally she was ready. She pointed her pata towards the storm filled sky and upon doing so, the massive volume of water from her earlier La Gota attacks, her Cascada, and her wave just now began to lift itself into the air, creating a truly massive cyclone of boiling hot water. "Tromba." she said, proudly naming her technique. She then lowered her pata to point at Nnoitra, causing the massive tornado to begin it's move towards Nnoitra.

Upon seeing this new development, Senkaku was surprised. Her Resurrecion.... it was just the same as his own! It was almost as if he was seeing himself fighting it out against his own comrade, the water tornado bringing a nostalgic feeling to him. His hand rested on the butt of this hilt as he watched. He had faith in Nnoitra... but once it seemed like victory was out of his hands, Senkaku would be there to stop Harribel from killing him. She seemed understanding and receptive enough...

Nnoitra, however, had been too late to move out of the tornado's wake, and it ended up consuming him in its depths. He felt the cold water splash onto his body, giving him a rude awakening. Instinctively, he held his breath as he went through the cyclone's walls, eyes jerking around. He immediately retracted his blades, aiming his arms at seemingly random directions. "What in the hell is she trying to do?!" He thought, gritting his teeth. This couldn't be a prison; it was too weak!

With another gesture of her pata, she massively increased the water pressure of her water cyclone and then began to boil the water, causing steam to fill the air and the surrounding area entirely. "Even if he somehow manages to survive the crushing pressure and the intense heat...he'll be in no condition to fight off my Resurrección form. Not with the wounds he's already sustained." she thought, before noticing Senkaku getting ready to intervene, "Do not get too close to this. It is pointless that you get hurt by attack when as of yet, you aren't my enemy." she told him with an almost motherly concern.

Starrk was in awe, "Wow. I never knew Harribel had improved so much. I've seen a lot of water-type Arrancar releases out there, but this one may just be the best. Not to mention that she executes her attacks and strategies with such cold, callousness and cunning, while at the same time, watching out for her comrades. She is truly a wonder." he said. "Indeed." the masked man agreed, looking up at Harribel.

The tone in Harribel's voice caused Senkaku's eyes to widen slightly, and he looked up at her in surprise. Without hesitation, he removed his hand from his hilt and looked in the direction of the tornado. He had faith that Nnoitra would survive; the bastard was just too damn tenacious to just die like this. He knew the Arrancar too well by now, even if his body was torn to pieces, he would still fight if he had breath in him. That just showed how ruthlessly determined he was in combat, determined to crush his opponent with all of his iron strength behind him. It scared him, in that manner - a killer with indestructible resolve.

However, his eyes widened, and a scowl crossed his face, as he saw the tornado begin to glow a golden yellow. "Is he gonna..." He thought, but before he could finish that sentence, the core of the tornado began to glow a bright yellow. Then, through the liquid walls, he saw a number of six Cero shoot out from the tornado, turning in what looked like a pattern-like direction. This caused the water flow to disrupt, and the cyclone to completely collapse under the pressure. Inwardly, he sighed in relief - his comrade had made it out.

But not entirely without injury. The heat had caused burn marks to appear on the skin. The Hierro had protected him heavily, but not enough to keep him from being scolded by the boiling water. He breathed heavily, eyes shadowed over as he lowered his arms once more. His body was shaking, the tension from fighting off the intense pressure having caused his muscles to go out of control temporarily. He raised his snake-like eyes to glare venemously at Harribel, shoulders heaving. "Like I said...." He gloated mockingly. "Who's afraid... of a little water?"

The injury did not last. Once he had gotten to the end of his taunt, all injury he had sustained outwardly was healed, burned skin clearing up, and muscle tension fading to a dull twitch. He widened one eye and sneered down on the woman, increasing the aura of insanity he was so easily producing. "From the way you were speaking..." He continued to taunt her. "That was the strongest out of your kiddie pool arsenal... and it failed!! But I gotta admit... that was a neat trick you did. Nearly fucked me over..." His tone, though the words were complimentary, were mocking at best.

Sorry, Nnoitra[]

Harribel looked slightly annoyed, but who could blame her? This man was testing her patience time and time again. "You, my wet little dog, are foolish. I'm not the type to use my ultimate attack as only a finisher. If nothing else, I have discovered that a simple use of water will not kill you, but it has also confirmed something else for me." she explained, leaving it at that; not wanting to disclose what she had found out. Earlier in their fight, her Ola Azul and subsequent single strikes had failed. This was proved again with the turn out of using La Gota, Cascada, and Tromba all on their own.

However, she also recalled the former Espada being forced back heavily when she began to become more ferocious and began using multiple tactics at the same time. With all the proof she needed to execute her final strategy, Harribel summoned a large volume of water to attack with. She then summoned more water to coat her pata. "La Gota!" she shouted, firing three fangs of water at Nnoitra. Before the attacks had even connected, she used Sonído to appear on the other side of Nnoitra, "Cascada." she declared, firing the large jet of water she had summoned at his back. Lastly, in a demonstration that showed her true skill with Sonído as much as it did her Resurrección, she flashed above Nnoitra, charging a yellow energy on her pata, "Cero!" she finished, firing the yellow blast in a very wide arc.

A total of three attacks rushed now at the male Espada from all directions and with great speed.

Nnoitra was forced to think quickly. Despite the speed of the attacks, he had been given the tip-off due to the names that Harribel had shouted out. It was a tactical fighter's way of trapping her opponent... but he didn't need her craftiness to get out of this. His own individual thinking had been enough to fight his way out of her traps up until now. She could deduce whatever she wanted... he would only counter with his own, vast power. He waited, until they were close enough to him, inches away from blasting him to an early demise. He didn't even allow himself to look at her, remembering where she floated in the air.

Then, he made his move. With a burst of Sonido, he teleported out of there just as the attacks collided, his Sonido affet-effect having been camoflauged by the explosion. This camoflauge was what allowed him to get behind Harribel once again... but this time not out of taunt. All six of his arms snapped like a Venus Fly Trap, encasing her arms and torso in a bearhug. Without hesitation, he began to squeeze, exerting the full power of his Resurrecion to cause her body to creak under the pressure. "If I can't cut you to pieces..." He hissed, hot breath tingling in her nearest ear. "Then I'll just crush every bone in your body until I have you squealing... And I'm ready for you to start screamin' my name!"

At first, seeing him dodge her attacks stunned her. The sudden sensation behind her of Nnoitra trying to squeeze her to death also surprised her, but not in the way he would have hoped. Her eyes snapped back, revealing for the first time since Aizen had betrayed her that she was furious. The fact that he dared touch her in the manner he was, was bad enough, but having added on that last, obviously sexual, comment about her sent her into a fury. Her reiatsu burst from her body in an eruption that made Starrk's ear ring. It was now her brute strength against his and she was no push over. Water gushed out from her pata and engulfed them in an orb of water. Now, not only did Nnoitra have to worry about keeping her strength in check, but he also had to avoid drowning.

She no longer hid her rage with her subtle look, her emerald eyes seemed to glow with it as she stared down Nnoitra by glancing behind her. She would not be treated like this by anyone, especially him.

He could yank himself out and spare himself the pain of having his lungs being filled with water. However, that would mean losing the grip he had no Harribel. At this point, what he had did was throw any mercy she had for him into the dust. He was certain that she would destroy him - something that he didn't mind. Hell, it would make up for lost times.... that Shinigami couldn't kill him... maybe this bitch would. But, either way, if Nnoitra released Hallibel now, she would have a chance to kill him in cold blood. But maintaining the grip meant self-drowning. He had to think quickly, as it was difficult for him to keep holding his breath.

With difficulty, he shifted his arms into a different position as he struggled against her fiercesome strength. Now, he had four hands hands pressed against her back, with the other two still restraining her. This would be his last window of opportunity for a quick victory. As his claws dug into her back, the spheres once again formed at his tips. This was the technique that, once at full capacity, would rival that of the Cero Oscuras. If he was lucky, it would destroy her. The six-armed Cero Parejo - though at the moment, he would need only four hands.

"Let's see how you hold out against this...." He thought grimly, before unleashing the four blasts on her without hesitation.

A look of shock came over her face, as she was seemingly blasted through the midsection, however, this was an ill perceived view. In reality she purposely allowed herself to be struck by the blast, as the force of the blast forced her out of Nnoitra's grip. Once she was free, she wheeled around completely, pushing the tip of her pata into the massive Cero as she was pushed back further. Then, with Sonído, she leaped above the blast, allowing it to crash into the dunes below. She hadn't escaped without wounds, however. Burn marks covered her back, causing her to wince in pain.

Now, though, she had a final advantage. Using the water she had summoned fighting Nnoitra off, and with him already within it's sphere, she mustered her strength for another attack, "Tromba...." she huffed, turning it back into her immense water cyclone. This time she fully powered the intensity of the water pressure and turned up the heat as high as her power would allow her.

Then, as a finishing move, and with Nnoitra unable to do much in his current predicament, she focused dark energy onto the tip of her pata. "Disappear..." she hissed. "Cero Oscuras!" A dark blast that covered all light it touched entered the tornado on a collision course for Nnoitra.

"Fuck."

Within his water prison, the Cero Oscuras consumed him completely, annihilating the tornado. The good news was that he wouldn't get the punishment being burned severely. However, as the corruptive power overwhelmed him, he could feel his Hierro beginning to crack completely, and his blood spilling from multiple cuts made in his body. He let out a pained, agonized, and animalistic scream that tore through his teammates' ears. Although they had extremely dislike what Nnoitra had said to her, his pain was enough to provoke sympathy within them. But, as it was, the fight was seemingly over. They could see Nnoitra's figure rocketing towards one of the towers before slamming into it with great force.

There he stayed, badly burned, severely lacerated, and trembling under the pain. However, he felt a grim satisfaction, a sneer once again coming over his face. Not only had he put her literally in his clutches... but his words were enough to provoke a rage that allowed her to damage him so critically. Not once had Nel put forth the strength that she did. He had brought out the emotion within the usually stoic woman... and he loved every minute of it. He would relish the day he would close those eyes forever.

For now... what was going to happen?

The Calm After the Storm[]

At first, Harribel considered killing him, but soon her anger subsided. She turned her back on him and returned to her normal form, sheathing Tiburón back into it's normal resting place. She breathed heavily from exhaustion as she descended to where her teammates were floating. She looked back for a moment at where Nnoitra's smoldering body lay, "You'd better go to him." she told his teammates. "He won't live if he doesn't get treatment soon. Perhaps now he'll respect women." she said weakly.

"Starrk, help her and let's go." the masked man said to the male Arrancar. "Sure thing, coach." Starrk replied, putting his hand on Harribel's shoulder. "You did well, Harribel." the masked man said to her, and then, they were gone.

Closing his eyes, Senkaku nodded to his two teammates. "Go check up on him and make sure he's OK... I don't care if he complains." He instructed, getting a quizzical eyebrow from Melina. "What about you?" She questioned, obviously concerned. He sighed heavily, reaching over to pinch the bridge of his nose. "I'm going to ask their leader a question, that's all. Don't worry about me..." With that, the two nodded, vanishing off towards Nnoitra's body. He himself, however, teleported to catch up with the group before they faded out of his spiritual range completely. "Hey, wait!!" He shouted, stopping a few ways off from them.

The group stopped dead in their tracks. The masked man gestured for the two Arrancar to stay back while he went on ahead. "What is it?" he asked walking towards the Arrancar.

It was time he put his prediction skills to the test. "I knew there was something funny about the fact that despite the Tercera and Quinta's hostilities displayed back there, they were able to tolerate each other as Espada." He said solemnly, looking straight into the face of the masked man. "But to see someone of Shinigami spiritual pressure, a supposed mortal enemy of the Hollow, had got me thinking that there's something more than just a random group who met each other." He paused for a moment, letting the information sink in. He couldn't help but feel that he was somewhat off in his statements, but if his overall assumption was right, then he had nothing to worry about.

"Tell me..." He stated. "Are you going to be participating in the Hell tournament too?"

The masked man grinned underneath his mask, "Yep. Can't wait either. We've got a few more teammates to go pick up and then that's where we're headed." he replied. "These guys each had a separate reason for being with me, but we all have a common reason for coming together also. Comradeship. Everyone of us is an outcast of some sort." he replied.

"Heh...." This caused Senkaku to grin as well, satisfied at the thought of them entering the tournament as well. "That's good to hear. If the competitors are able to display that much power, then it's going to be a hell of a ride, then. If anything, if we do meet again, I can't wait to raise my sword to you..." He tilted his head to the side. "And just in case that happens.... Senkaku Ningensei." He raised a thumb to indicate himself.

The masked man placed his right hand over his mask, dissolving it away into his Hollow energy. "I look forward to the challenge, so I will also honor you with my name. Raian Getsueikirite." he declared.

"Catchy..." Senkaku commented, nodding slightly. "But I guess I can remember that name to the tournament." Turning his side to the three, he raised his two fingers to his forehead in a good-bye salute, a sign of respect for all of them. Unlike Nnoitra, he wasn't the type to be rude and disrespectful upon such people. "See ya." With that, he teleported away, leaving the three to their business.

Raian smiled and donned his mask once more, "Come my friends. Our last two members are in Soul Society." he said. Starrk opened a Garganta, and they were gone.

Plans For The Future[]

Nnoitra Damaged

A severely weakened Nnoitra, after the battle's end.

When Senkaku re-appeared back at the tower, he found his two teammates standing over him, the girl kneeling over him. Her body was encased in her spiritual energy, her aura encasing Nnoitra's body. He was squirming a little, but it was mostly due to the pain. Had he been in his Resurrecion, the damage would've been healed faster due to the high-speed regeneration activating. However, as it was, the healing was slow. But by now, Nnoitra could move a little without having to worry about such pain. With his hands in his pockets, Senkaku walked over to them, kneeling down to Melina's level. "How is he?" He asked.

However, Nnoitra's raspy voice cut through the conversation, startling Melina to the point of losing her concentration on him. "You s...shitheads...." He spat, propping himself onto his elbows in order for support. "I didn't need your help... why'd you come--" However, he was abruptly silenced by Senkaku's raise of the hand, as well as a stern expression. "Trust me, I was ready to jump in when Hallibel trapped you in that water cyclone... but I had a feeling that you'd survive." He explained calmly. "You're lucky to have that Hierro of yours as protection...otherwise, that Cero Oscuras would've slaughtered you."

Almost immediately, Nnoitra's eyes shot open, staring in shock at Senkaku as he spoke the words. "R...really?" He inquired, though regretting it instantly as pain shot through his throat. He winced, growling as he clutched his neck. Senkaku himself tried not to pay attention to it, expression lightening to one of concern. He pressed a hand to one of Nnoitra's shoulders in order to keep the man from doing anything rash. However, the next thing Nnoitra had spoken caused him to rip the hand away and stare at him in surprise.

"Well.... ain't that just refreshing to hear?" The Arrancar could only stare blankly at Nnoitra's grin, even as the injured man laid back down on the ground. "W...what?" Was the only intelligent thing he could manage to come up with in reply.

Nnoitra raised a hand to place on one side of his face, covering his Hollow hole. "Back then... Nel was too much of a bitch to give me the honor of death in battle. She seemed so insisting on sparing me and leaving me with the humiliation of lying in my own shit. Sayin' I wasn't a warrior.... but a wild beast that she could stomp into the ground. But Tia..." His body shook with the seemingly maniacal chuckles he was letting out. "There was no mercy in her eyes. She was so ready to slaughter me where I stood, and she hated me for the bastard I am.... and I enjoyed every minute of it!!! She was even better than that Shinigami fuck in my Espada days..."

He closed his snake-like eye. "Guess when I think about it, there's really no difference between male and female. We all started out as creatures who lived to consume everything in their path, as well as tear the hell out of each other. Even if she's the calm and ice-cold cunt, and I'm the hot-blooded butcher, that fightin' instinct will never change. I've proven myself to be her equal... even she had the guts to say it to my face." Senkaku remained silent as he said this, though he was a little glad at Nnoitra's logic.

"Aww..." Melina smiled, gushing at the Quinta's words. "Nnoitra's got a sweet spot for Tercera!" This caused Nnoitra to pass a harsh glare in her direction. "Shut your fucking mouth, dumb bitch..." He snarled. "I don't feel shit for 'er 'cept to kill her if we ever fight again!"

"Well, I guess that's it, then...." Senkaku muttered. "I think you're ready for your final climb..." Whe Nnoitra raised an eyebrow, a rather devious smirk came across the short-haired male's face. "When I get done with you, they're going to be seeing nothing but the butcher of the Espada again... once you get healed up, we'll search for our final teammate, and then I'll start right away, got it?"

Nnoitra smirked, clearly satisfied. "Fine by me... water boy."

The End

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