Bleach: The King Lives.

By Samuel Muiruri | Dec. 13, 2019 | Opinion Piece


The scene starts with the protagonists walking down a street in china street maybe trying out some of the local delicacy and just a moment ago he saw some ice-cream with a very convincing vendor with some good showmanship. So as he walks he passes a Buddhist temple but noticed something that caught the back of his eye. He looks back at the building and it’s actually doesn’t stand out that much from the others in the area and in this moment as one part of him wanted to just ignore that and move on, another part felt an urge to go inside, as if something inside this temple was calling from him inside. Begging to be seen by his eyes, begging to be known and reveal itself.

 

He was on a holiday so he figured why not, the curiosity was quite palpable at this moment and he now really wanted to know what lied behind these wooden doors, so he ventured inside, slowly pushing one of them and sliding in between them as it budged to his force. As I walk inside it’s didn’t stand out apart from the part it was completely abandoned, curious as to why this might be the case, did the locals here lose faith or is this an abandoned building, should I even be here or is it illegal, maybe it’s someone’s house or a place where nothing good goes on.

 

As these thoughts started to rush in his head and he started to contemplate the idea of leaving and truly was about to turn and leave he noticed a man in front him staring back, he didn’t seem offended, maybe intrigued, far ahead and near what you might consider the inner sanctum of the temple he just turned around and went inside. All this happened before he could decide what to do, say hello in a language he barely understood, try and justify his reasons being here in a language he did so the stranger knew he was a foreigner though his skin tone might just tell that more than anything else and all this in a frame of mind and moment when he had a chance to be intrigued and the thought of leaving dissipated and he decided to venture further inside and meet this mysterious figure and see after talking to him he can satisfy his curiosity and maybe be on his way or start on a new quest which is something he always wanted to do on a retreat, go on a life altering journey.

 

I finally meet him inside and start talking to him:

Me: This is a Buddhist monk?

Him: yes, but we aren’t exactly the same religion, we are what you might call guardians looking to help others seek the light and waiting for the one that was prophesied to come, one of great power. One who would bring the worlds together.

 

Me: *interested* so you’re like Christians waiting for Jesus at the same time preaching the peace, *becoming more sarcastic as i intrigued more, since I’m an atheist*

 

Him: Yes much the same way but we do not expect him to come here to rule or save us, we are here to save him from himself.

 

I raised my eyebrows, this intrigued me, I wanted to ask more but he pointed me to a man who sat in the corner hurdled in the dark corner of the room, I obviously knew what he meant since he could tell I wanted to ask more, dig into his idea, find out how well it could hold water under scrutiny and if it failed, sink it by debunking it.

 

 

The man in the corner was different from the one I was talking to from the start, for starters he looked more devoid of life and meaning that the other, his clothes less kempt, his posture lacking a sense of power, with hair that looked more common for a homeless person, he looked less like a teacher and more like a lost preacher, who’s faith came crashing down and his belief was laid bare and he had to accept it all wasn’t real. I wondered if this was the real reason this temple was a ghost town.

 

Feeling nudged on by his hand still held high pointing after his friend long after I had enough time to scan his demeanor and asses him for all his worth, his perceived worth as best as you can from how someone present himself at best when he seems unconcerned with a peering eye, it was at this moment that I noticed he was looking back at me from the corner of his eye with his long hair most covering his face and partially obstructing his view.

 

It was at that moment I felt the need to talk to this man not so much because he could lay words of wisdom on me, but so I could do the same to him, I saw in his eyes a lost man and his look only went on to further my belief and maybe in an exchange of words I might leave a positive impression on him.

 

So I stood up and bowed to this man as a show of gratitude and respect not only because he was a kind person to a stranger but this is something others did to me since I arrived to this strange place and it only felt right to return and equal amount of respect back at them. I walked up to the man and bowed to him, no response, sat up in front of him and looked at him as he lifted his head and looked at me, it was at that moment I noticed he had a sword hidden behind him, lying vertical to the wall, almost concealed.

 

It was at that moment then again; a sense of fear came over me as I felt this man might be a threat to me and I might be better of keeping my distance or better yet be on my feet in case I needed a quick escape. I looked back at the other guy and he was looking back at me reassuringly smiled back, I could tell he had no weapon visible, maybe one hidden but I couldn’t tell. I did have help nearby if I needed it and it occurred to me they wouldn’t be too far behind, even though I did advise them to keep their distance so as not to draw in too much attention to me, they were good men and would by now be within range in case I needed any help. Satisfied and with the distance between us at the moment I looked back at the man who started to talk.

 

Monk: you seem to be lost; I was hoping you might know more when you came here.

This felt, less like a question and more like a question intended to make me reflect inwards and point out something about myself, some form of insecurity, popular tactic people to read people.

Me: Lost how? Know more about what?

I intentionally returned the same information forcing him to divulge more and if we end up in a feedback loop, I’d know he was a fake charlatan. I wasn’t here to disprove something, but I also wasn’t about to be fooled by a simple psychology trick.

 

Monk: I noticed how you reacted to my sword, our eyes locked, mine looking for the face of a killer or a guy looking for a quick buck, I saw neither he continued. You know if I wanted to kill you, I wouldn’t need a sword, I could easily do it still without unsheathing it.

 

I smirked, at this. I’m not an expert fighter but I learnt early on the importance of learning how to fight and I certainly don’t buy you could do that with the blunt wooden board used to protect the sharp-edged sword. He seemed to notice my disbelief and comfort in knowing his current threat to me posed no threat.

 

He slowly pulled the sword back, I watched his hand as it was holding the middle of the sword, he pointed it at me, this wooden casing, fairly safe that you could use to learn how to fight with a sword but I felt something very menacing about it, not from the sword inside but as if it was emanating from it, like a snake poised, curled back waiting to strike, in that flight or fight response I paid extra attention to this and him slowly fading away in the background, just in case he tried to move but in that blunt wooden cap I saw a figment of a sword stretched out, farther than the wooden sword’s casing. There was half an arm’s length between my face and the tip of it but it stretched out almost all the way to my face, this ghostly sword was menacingly saying to me, I could cut you down even though I don’t exist, you shouldn’t see me and I don’t exist but I am a threat as real as the sword this casing you fear.

 

I locked back eyes with him and he seemed to appear like he knew what I saw and even worse yet, for me smiled back. Not the look I was expecting, he took the sword and placed it between us carefully as any samurai would a weapon, he cherished like we do our phones. He waved his hand on top and said, see for yourself, now that I think back, I’m amazed it was at this moment I wondered is it normal for them to be speaking English, not many locals I found in this area did.

 

I lifted the sword from the hilt and slowly pulled it out, I raised an eye brow when I found out it was broken almost all the way to the hilt, this sword was no sword, it was barely a weapon. This was what I was afraid of, I thought a bit about what I just saw again, there was that part again of my brain, wanting to rationalize what I just saw and explain this away, possibly adrenaline making me see a threat I expected.

 

Monk: Do you know why your here? Do you know why you saw what you did?

I was reluctant to tell him what I did see and for the moment questioned if this was an effective parlor trick they perfected. I seemed to annoy the man with my thoughts, I used to have this annoying feeling before like someone could read my thoughts or more so my body language was telling what I was thinking and they could tell. Why people would react negatively, maybe to dissuade you into reactive positively to them, a form of reverse psychology. I was thinking too much about this, I looked bluntly in his face and asked. What do you want from me?

 

Expecting a charlatan would have either a canned response or nothing to say, I wanted some time to think and something more to think on, there was too little to decide what just happened.

 

He looks back at me and says have you heard of chi?

 

Me: yes, the life force of a person, I think, according to your beliefs...

Him: yes, you could say I’m a master of looking into people’s chi and see where i can help them. Yours however is a bit unique I know you’re not likely to believe what I’m saying without proof. But before I show you some, let me first tell you what you need to know.

 

We are not alone in this world; spirits walk among us and some are strong others are weak just like us and in the same way some are good and others bad and there are those who are tasked to keep the balance. You have a strong spiritual force and this is what i believe people see with you but that is not all there is to you and i can help you see what lies beyond the veil, i can show you how to master the energy you’ve learnt to suppress if you’re willing.

 

Me: does it involve stabbing me

*he laughs* and I joined in.

Him: no, it doesn’t I’ll pull your soul from your body with my bare hands, he looks back at me with a serious face

Me: ok, I’d like to see you do that but know there’s such a thing as ...

 

At that moment as I talk he whisks a pill from his robe into his palm and throws it into his mouth and with that pop his soul pops from the front and its byakuya in full robe as a captain. He goes for me and then flash steps to stand behind me as the other byakuya is left still in place and time goes back to normal like unfreezing time.

 

Me: ... time out. And ...

Him: so i have your consent?

Me: yes

Him: ok, try not to panic

 

Byakuya from behind performs a hado (shaped like a diamond much like the hell kido performed by renji abarai) and then with the arm pointed at my back then pulled back so does my soul get yanked from the back still in that seated position.

 

I looked at my body in front of me and started to come into terms with what just happened. I looked back at him and uttered the words: you really don’t joke around?

 

At this moment a swelling dark shapes started to emanate from my body, like flames only completely dark, to the point you could hardly see through it, byakuya shifts his gaze from me to this and I stand to look at this, confused, intrigued, a bit scared but more worried if this turn of events was positive than negative.

 

I had already noticed this soul that pulled me from my body had a sword held by a strap on his waist, I believed this one couldn’t be a dud, his body, controlled by something else I later came to know was this wooden board he previously held in his hand had strayed clear of the whole thing making ample space between my body looking like it’s about to erupt or eject something ominous. Byakuya wasn’t giving of a face of fooling around, since the last few moments we met, this was the most serious I’d seen him, seemingly focused on this possible threat to the point he seemed unaware I was beside him.

 

The flames seemed to calm down as it orbited my body, byakuya continued to speak.

 

This is the soul king, at least what’s left of him. After his demise like any other soul he came to this realm to look for a host to start again, we expected your soul would be absorbed by his when this occurred but it didn’t. You would have become a tether for him to form again, a place for a mind to be reborn and retrace its steps back to where he came from.

But you didn’t get absorbed but took on the mantle as his energy bound to you.

The soul king is mostly energy unrivaled forming around a soul like the pull of gravity pulling in gas to form a star. You are the first to ever take this form, from war not passing down so this energy as calm as it seems, isn’t stable inside.

 

Me: so the merge isn’t complete?

Byakuya: yes, but the choice is still yours if you want to move forward with merging or split

I thought about this for a while, it’s like I got a free gift but if I decide to keep it, it will come at a cost. Like a pet, I’ll have to spend some energy if I want to keep it.

Me: it’s not a hard choice to make, I can’t tell how this will go but I have little to fear at this moment. This looks like some darkness I need to embrace, the light needs the darkness.

Byakuya: *he grins after I uttered those last words* he’s not all darkness, you define his reign, you are the ray of light that turns darkness to grey. In essence he can’t be all good or all bad, you both merge to become a mixture of both; the essence of what all men are capable of, both good and evil.

Me: so what will it take to calm him down?

Byakuya: you’ll need to go in there, without fear and feel the force, it won't harm you, it's not against you, you’ll have to feel it and control it. *he wraps one end of a ribbon round my wrist and holds the other end in his hand* as long as this remains white i can tell it hasn't overwhelmed you... if it starts to turn dark I'll pull you out.

 

I can tell where I need to head to from the swelling dark storm and an occasional gaze at my body sitting in the middle. I take a deep breath and start to walk inside & the dark flame goes haywire as i enter... i shield my face with my hand “dab style”, the darkness doesn't cover me just moves around me like visible gas stream round a body in a wind tunnel. I stand when i hear the voice of a wolf growling... my heart beats fast as I try to slow it down, reminding myself I need to keep calm. I closed my eyes as the swelling storm orbited us.

 

The two of us facing each other he’s sitting on the dark side (background black) and me on the light side divided as the two pictures merge. He’s sitting still in the same position while I'm standing and at this point we are staring at each other and as the edges of the two background start to mix the way a liquid would, not turning to grey but occupying each other’s space... camera view now pans for an eagle eye’s view as the two of background colors spin then focus on the floor with me as the white yin (a white dot being engulfed by black light) and him as the dark yan (a black dot being left in white background as the light covers the area left by the black light) as the focus goes back to him in a white background, oozing black flame, his reiatsu and he’s petting a dark wolf what is the true form of the entity that I have to tame, sitting next to him its hair waving and feels completely like dark reiatsu. It has dark eyes and so does he.

 

I talk to this entity inhabiting my body

Me: “can you feel that?” *the camera only showing him and his dark eyes and the pet while my voice comes from somewhere off-screen*

 

he replies “what?”

Me: “a disturbance in the force”

he replies “no”

Me: “don’t worry you will soon enough”.

 

As the scene shifts back to the both of us, a black hole forming, the darkness completely overwhelmed the ying-yang so only i remain now in this expansive dark space. The black hole that was dark and engulfing “light” from a star flips and becomes a white hole surrounded by ominous darkness falling into it and it shoots out a white beam from the top and bottom. The core of the light that was me.

 

The camera pans out to byakuya outside as the reaitsu reacts heavily forcing the air away, he stands still and patiently waits to see what will happen. What happened though, we’ll never know, somethings are left for a king to tell. Sufficient only to tell that the body no longer held any reiatsu, it was now only in the wolf and was tethered to the body by a chain made purely of reiatsu that merged with his hand. He was tethered to the energy but this wasn’t the end of the story.

 

As I emerged from this byakuya pleased asks me if I know how to open a gate. For a moment I almost said I didn’t know this but like someone with amnesia, with skills you fully can’t understand I somehow knew I could, and so I did. I let my body move freely and dictate the moves to open the game and with a few hand gestures and without uttering a single word two pillars appeared and merged to form a large gate.

 

A cat walks in and starts to talk “the lord’s gate” I look down and with a cloud of smoke puffs into yoruichi, she smiles at me.

 

Byakuya: “this is the lord’s gate unlike the gates we open with our swords that can only take you to soul society, your gate can take you wherever you want”.

 

So I just need to tell it to take me to soul society?” I ask byakuya

He replies, “no, right now as you can’t go soul society or the realm above it, you’re not stable yet”....

 

Youirchi: “hueco mundo, the land of lost souls, that’s where we’re going.

She stretched out her hands all the way from the back to the top, I could sense she means business, I just wondered what lies on the other side of the door meant business, did I just join a super powered duo itching to pick a fight?

 

Regardless, I felt no fear, I reached out my hand and with the palm pointing at the door said “open the door to hueco mundo”, a bit unoriginal and anti-climatic but I deal with tech and I don’t have to say a mantra before every Google search I make to make it work, and I figured a King’s standards eventually become the norm.

 

As the doors open a gust of wind rushes in with a bit of dust. As I stare into what looks like a desert in perpetual poor lighting yoruichi comes closer her hair swinging forward as she leans in, and with smile she says: “It’s time to leave, you can trust your body and the beast with renji (the first monk I met), now run!”

 

Byakuya reacts to this like a call to action, with no hesitation flash steps into this realm but to my delight I could this time read his moves. I mimicked it and like a sprinter using as much as possible to propel himself forward only this time your body has a nitrous tank that can boost the kick you made. In one step like skidding on ice pretty fast I was on the other side of the door only to find I’m hundreds of meters in the air. Byakuya is calmly free falling to the ground calmly like he’s got a man with a parachute.

 

Fuck I hate heights” i thought to myself, I was already starting to pickup speed falling down and in that moment yoruichi who’d already leaped next, and accelerated her speed downwards flies past me and slow enough to utter some words of wisdom.

 

Brace for Impact”, she says coyly, and she uses hado to form a platform to stand on, I could see it and as I stepped on it, felt a moment of relief and she somehow did a flip midair to land on her feet. She then as if ignoring me, kept looked at the ground a good distance below and said “this won’t last long, prep yourself it’s going to dissipate in 30 seconds. Just make sure you land on your feet and you’ll be ok”.

 

And with that she falls backwards of the platform and accelerates to the ground. I dislike heights, I mostly don’t have a phobia since I can tolerate it especially when I know I have a low risk of falling down.

 

This was different though, I felt like I was practically built like a tank, if I fell the right way like a cat feet first, I’d sustain 0 damage. So I took a deep breath and waited for the platform to fizzle away under my feet, should take about 10 seconds or less, I thought to myself and a few seconds later it did and I started free falling again.

 

I started falling feet first still wearing what I had before; a T-shirt, jeans and a pair of sneakers. With a blank expression like one punch man I halfway expected I’d react to all of this like him, an overpowered being, a King who’s single punch could practically take out anyone or anything. Falling feet first into sand was like playing on a bouncing castle or a trampoline, I thought to myself. But as I continued to speed past, if you saw me from a far like a stiff body I got bored and decided I’d try something out.

 

I extended out my hands and slightly crouched my legs in a sense better preparing myself for impact and to be able to better absorb it and still keep balance but I felt something far more interesting, the air. It wasn’t like the air I knew, it felt a lot different like it was far heavier and was rubbing against my hands like a pool of water, what was more interesting is after I stopped the sensation remained just as strong. I looked at my hand as I brought it close and in front of my face and knew this must be the source of power he was speaking of.

 

Might as well test it out, I thought to myself and shifted my weight so I started to fall head first, for a moment there I wondered what yourichi must think I’m doing, do I have a death wish. I smiled, in the end I’m the only one who knows why I do what I do, I know the method to my madness. Now that I finally had the posture I wanted falling head first I extended my right hand and in that moment my gaze locked on to something, that’s for the king to know but for me now I held on to this feeling and the same way I could flash step in a sense sent a force of energy past my body through my hand into the palm of my hand. Held it there for a second so it took the form, had enough of a kick and came out as specific as I wanted and with one gust of breath in sync came out a pulse of energy, it looked like a sonic boom, something breaking the sound barrier and I actually did.

 

I was flung up faster than the speed of sound and from this saw myself accelerating away from the ground, soon enough I was losing momentum from the lack of extra force used to keep it up and as gravity started to win this fight and I slowed down and started going down again, I decided to do a gigolo act, in that flip of change of pace from up to down took of my shirt one handed by pulling it from my back. Knocked of my shoes by pulling them from the heel, old school type, pulled out the belt and quickly speed out my jeans which are almost always loose, just the way I like it. So now I was speeding down in boxers and socks.

 

I felt the power welling up inside, it was intoxicating, as I plunged head first down I noticed the dark flames forming but this time instead of being stable it was erratic like a flame going out of control, being fed fuel and air, every breath i took every moment seemed to make the flames larger and more out of control. I was spiraling down less concerned with hitting the floor and more with killing the flame because it was at the moment more of a threat to engulf me and everyone else near me than the kinetic kill of hitting the ground.

 

With my vision now completely covered now from below Byakuya and Yoruichi looked up concerned with this step of events, Byakuya took out his sword and was about to act then Yoruichi held his palm down signaling they should wait a bit more. Deep inside this chaos I was looking for order, a funny idea that shows the way we all think looking for a pattern in the chaos to soothe us and convince that this is ok that what it is can be controlled. I changed tactic and now decided to take it all in, the first part felt like a kick in the chest, the feeling of a heart attack but in between the pain I persevered and pushed on and only then did the flame subside but like letting of the gas too quick the engine stalls and shuts off I shut off this connection. I was “normal” for a moment and blacked out before snapping back to see the two below prepping to brace my impact.

 

Lucky though I was back to “normal” and with an 180 degrees flip and a moment’s notice landed down feet first, the dust flew everywhere, byakuya then used a hado to form a wind turbine to blow it away. I saw then youirichi look back with a smirk and I smirked back. This was a “not bad” smirk but we both knew it could have easily gone the other way. It was then I remembered I was practically nude, well to the point of for a guy this is about as close to as acceptable skin you can show, ohh and she was eyeing me and byakuya was clearly uncomfortable with this.

 

She was in some pretty tight clothing herself so for a moment there this went from a serious moment to intense with no hope of moving further.

 

Yoruichi: Byakuya, give me your coat,

Byakuya: This should only be worn by a captain. he retorts

Yoruichi: He’s above the class you, she then looks at him with a smirk that only two close friends could get, a message that if you don’t comply you might not like what follows.

 

Byakuya smirks and then flash steps out of the coat, “keep it” he says, “it makes me stand out even more” the coat was left hovering mid air thanks to the speed he moved. She then picks it up and flings it at me, “wear this” she says “I don’t want you catching a cold”.

 

You must be wondering who am I and how did I get to this point... well it started a while back, well mostly this year I guess... I’ve been working up to something, to be something in my life but it felt more like batman climbing that hole he was thrown down, every step takes you closer to the exit but looking down feels like your gut is telling you not to go any further and the distance up seems to multiply the closer you get to the top. That’s been my life for the most part.

Last year I was just an ordinary web developer, simple guy, simple job, shitty pay, shitty life. But I had it all planned out and soon I started a company and went on to be a boss and running things like the way I liked, even got two bodyguards to keep off the guys i secretly used to hate, the guys who just would never leave me alone.

 

See I had an issue, people couldn’t figure it out and neither could I, I felt I had a calling, like something was calling out to me but in the loudness of life I could never quite make out what it was saying or how or why it was important i listen. I used to smoke herbs just to calm my nerves when the voices became too much and that was mostly it. Eventually got a reputation of being partly psychotic i even ended up believing it till that year, the year before i made it big i decided not to give a fuck, not to give a fuck what people where saying, not give a fuck how being around you makes me feel, not give a fuck if you like me or what do you want from me... I have too much things to give a fuck about any moment of the day so i stopped and let it just flow... let it ebb into whatever cocoon or web that it wanted to form... didn’t care if it was meant to help me or trap me... i just didn’t give a fuck, the only thing i gave a fuck about was what i really, really wanted and what really felt like this is really for me... not sugar coated promised or guilty built consciousness fucking reinforced over the ages i was done! I was done with this shit!

 

And who would have guessed it i heard this voice clearer than i ever did before, now i was mostly sober through most of this but it took me places... places i didn’t even knew existed... like if you asked me how i moved from point A to point B i would tell you i have no fucking clue... i just found myself there and then i followed the voice and it told me shit... shit i know i shouldn’t because it’s fucking private... you have a problem with that find me and try to declassify it... i dare you.

 

When i was done with this i knew two things... i needed to go to china, didn’t know why but i knew i had to go there, something important was there and i knew there were people... people around me watching me and some i knew would help me along... fuck i even believed i needed to buy somethings and there were intermediary checkpoints like maybe if we meet halfway here i would find like a teacher to guide me along the rest of the way... but i digress it was like war... it was like war raging inside and i was there like the last moment of a basketball game, the time is ticking, everyone is looking at me, no one is on my side, the heat is on and i’m about to make an attempt to throw the ball and see if it would make it and deep inside i didn’t give a fuck... that pressure wasn’t getting to me. That was were i was at and that’s where i’m at... now you know.

 

 

You need to sleep” yourichi tells me, for a moment I wondered if she’s making a move, “you need to rest because that’s how you’ll start to sync up more with the soul king”.

Ohh, ok got it” I replied, “but I’m not feeling tired and I don’t think I can sleep on demand right now” I continued. “Don’t worry I can put you to sleep” she says with a cheeky smile, I lifted one eye brow wondering if she intended to K.O. me just so I could sleep, but she did something more dangerously efficient, with a distance between us equal from your elbow to the tip of your fingers between us. From this short distance she quickly poked my forehead with a quick reaction that felt like a cobra attack, with little time to react you barely know what happened till it happens.

 

That little poke packed a punch, well more importantly it was meant to knock out someone who wasn’t bracing for impact or a fight, in simple terms it was a hado intended if the user can touch the person’s forehead put them in a trance or better yet in my case to sleep for as long as she needed.

 

Like a K.O. I fell backwards with no reaction to brace for impact of hitting the ground, but for someone of her caliber, an ex-captain I was falling slow enough for preparations to be made.

She casually walked to where my head would have landed and crouched on the floor and with her palm on the floor perfomed a hado that levelled the soft sand floor into a concrete flat floor and with still enough time to spare took out a biro and clicked it at the top and then threw it in the middle of this slab. Instead of working like a normal biro it inflated into an air mattress and I then fell on this and my vision went black, I was out.

 

She took a few steps away and performed a final hado that created a building of pure reiatsu to act as a form of protection, far superior than a brick house would be and better yet as the person who cast it, she would feel any pressure that came from outside and inside. It would serve like a heart rate monitor specific for spiritual energy and if someone tried to a sneak attack they’d wouldn’t ger far.

 

She looked on to see Byakuya sitting some distance away looking into the horizon, vigilant for any potential risk or maybe claiming his mark on this area because he wasn’t trying to mask his spiritual pressure, he was blasting it well enough that anyone who felt it could tell how much of a threat the person with it was. Yourichi flash steps to him.

 

Yoruichi: “were you planning to stand there all the time?”

 

 

*he stood there silently for a moment still gazing into the horizon* “there’s not much to do here” he replied, simple and to the point.

Youirichi standing next to him, looks at him for a moment, figures he’s just being him when he’s deep in thought. “guess what i found” she asks.

 

She pulls out a phone and earphones. “I found these in his pants” she continues, “he must have forgotten to take them out, maybe he doesn’t need it. Can I keep it?”Byakuya looks at her perplexed and says nothing

 

Yoruichi: it’s got a lot of music in it... and pictures... and apparently you can even take a picture with it... very interesting gadget... the other things not sure what they’re purpose is anyway... he must keep them though for something... *she giggles* you won’t believe how many pictures of women he has here... and how little they got on... like some of them don’t even have anything on... *she exhales a gust of hot air* ...so hoot

 

Byakuya: I’d tell you not to look through someone’s things but that would be useless, because you will still look through them.

 

Yoruichi: it’s important to know the people around you, and this is the quickest way, you should know that, as an assassins way... he’s lucky i’m not trying to assassinate him... with what i have so far i could probably get him to kill himself, or maybe be my slave, hard choice.

 

Byakuya smiles and she nudges him with a fist to the shoulder... she says “i just hope he wakes up soon... we still have a lot to cover before he’s ready” byakuya replies “yes but when he wakes up he won’t be the same kid you knew”. The truth was she didn’t intend to wake me up, I had the ability to break the hado and do so myself and I would only be able to do so with precision once I centered myself inside.

 

So there I laid on the floor and as the scene goes dark, into my mind’s eye a glowing dark figure appears sitting next to me, the scene returns with only the figure in color and the rest of the scene in greyscale, after all this was the real soul and inside was what was going on in my mind in color. This is what you’d call a zanpakuto, your will to fight represented as it should in a japanese world as a sword. This is the story that followed...

 

I was talking to an old man Genryusai, all this happened in a moment so all I remembered when I woke up is him telling me to “wake up” and i woke up.

 

 

In the dream i woke up to see him sitting next to me with his sword sheathed leaning on his sholder with the end braced by the floor. With one knee bent and the other slightly extended, he turned his gaze to me and spoke “oohhh you’ve woken up”, as i try to wake from my sleeping position he speaks without gazing at me “I wouldn’t do that if I were you, I’ve put a lot of power into pushing away the darkness in here, do you remember it was once all black” i look up and the sun is shining. He continues to talk. “I see you noticed, you’re probably wondering where we are then since the sun is shining aren’t you”

 

We’ll then let me tell you a story, have you ever heard how the shinigami in seiretei tell the story of where the moon came from? *he grins*, I can tell the story will be good. They say that the sun challenged Ryujin Chaka to a duel and after a quick duel Ryujin managed to slap his face off. Before this the sun had a face that looked like a mask and that mask is what we have today as the sun.

 

I laughed, it made no sense. The sun is a mask? “is that what really happened?” I ask as I look back at him. He stares at me and intently look at my shadow and then deviates from the story. “you have truly grown to master the darkness it’s now only limited to the shadows below you” he looks at my shadow as it eeks like sharp like worms edging only inches from my body“ in a while it won’t move without your command” as he looks on straight again.

 

He continues with the story; you see the sun had one power before, it could travel into the night and that’s why inside the story there’s a half truth. To do this it would always go through the moon and so that was where it would pass through and people would see its face. It would look from above before deciding where to land, forming a wall of flame that looked like a face on one side and a blazing rage on the other. This way it could see what was happening in the night and also during the day.

 

To descend to the night during the day required a lot of power and he had to leave most of himself in the day burning and return before it burns out, this was a must or else something unspeakable would happen to him. But an eclipse was his best moment for then he could descend to the dark side of the moon and come forth through the front side and reign on earth as a human god known as the fire god for as long as he liked.

 

He could only do this on the places the eclipse cast a shadow but he could navigate the eye of shadow to wherever he pleases but if he stepped outside of this place like an illusion he would disappear and fade into the night and a new sun would be born.

 

This sun comes from Ryujin Chaka; the one who gives birth to the sun’s and only he can step even into the eclipse to challenge the sun. He once did this before and the sun having being forced back to the skies vowed to take him out and take his power so he made a wager to Ryujin, if you can beat me in the skies i will give you the key... the key that allows me to travel into the dark side of any world using the eclipse but if i win you will bow down to me and never challenge me again.

 

He takes out a long pipe and brushes two of his fingers through the wooden hilt of the sword and sparks fly out and the two fingers ignite into a flame, he then uses this to light the pipe and starts to smoke it, then flicks his hand to kill the flame.

 

He continues with the story; now Ryujin is a soul a lot like yours, high tempered and doesn’t like to be challenged. Well they choose to fight on the moon so Ryujin landed there and waited for the sun to strike. Well before this the moon used to be bigger than it is now, the sun roasted him and the moon with his full might and Ryujin just stood there, didn’t bother to fight back, the flame did burn him but to the surprise of the sun it didn’t leave a mark.

 

So what happened next?” I ask, and he looks at me and replies “we’ll you should know on the other side of this world there is an eclipse and I’m here talking to you.” and he smiles, “damn” I thought to myself, this was a hard ass sword.

 

You shouldn’t worry about the wolf” he says as he slowly fades away, utters the words “wake up”...

 

I wake up, sit up and look around. I wake up and put on the captain gown and walk towards the wall of the hado castle and reach out to touch it. It zap’s me a bit but it doesn’t hurt, i look at my hand as smoke flows out, and in an instant yoruichi flash steps in. Of course she noticed I was awake.

 

Yoruichi: I see you finally woke up

Me: yeah, *rubbing my neck* I can’t remember how I got here?

Yoruichi: you feel down and hit the ground, you really don’t remember anything?

 

I looked at her perplexed, I did remember making my landing and getting this cloak or did I dream this from listening from what was happening around me?

 

Yoruichi: how do you feel?

Me: a bit like I’ve been working out for a couple of days.

 

Yoruichi: Good, your reiatsu is more balanced now but still a bit off scale... *she stares up thinking of something* ok, now we can move on to the next step. Are you up for some training, all you have to do is make sure i don’t land a hit... *she leans in and smiles* don’t worry I’ll go easy on you...

I smirk back and reply “you’re on”

 

And so it starts, she swings a blow towards my head, I block it with my hand and retreat one step backwards, getting some space to have an easier time leaning back from a direct attack I can’t block. She noticed this and says “take it calmly watch how i move... think before you react” i take the hint that retreat isn’t an option so I stood my ground and watched as the blows came and after a few hits and blocks showed an improvement in blocking and reading her moves, the fear that overcomes you in a fight or flight situation dissipated into an overdrive honed in and purely interested in what this had to offer, she teased me to try and do this with one hand and I did ever so slightly getting the upper hand before at times she went all in showing her full speed and beating my reflexes.

 

She starts to move around me as she talks.

Yourichi: Kai has a different meaning depending on the context it’s used, in our case shikai is used to release your first form and bankai it’s second form. For us though always a soul we learn to breath and live in kai, live under release, using our full potential at all times only exerting more force when needed. You’re fighting well but you’re still under a distadvantage. She looks at me say it...

Me: kai

 

A swell of energy overcomes me as I feel a rush of adrenaline compounded hundreds of times over what you’d feel in that situation when you either choose to run or fight. But there was an eery calm to it, like being in the eye of the storm, the force outside something to recon with but from where I stood inside there was nothing to this it, seemed to fade in the dark seemingly waited to be forged and guided into an attack. This was the force I knew I needed to be reconed with.

 

It came with a change of heart and mind, the moment you know your enemy and can gauge them full on. She lunges at me fist direct to the face and I blocked it with one hand, she continued her attack with a knee to the chest still using what’s left of her momentum adding some from the spring she needed to connect this attack. It took be back because I didn’t expect but it didn’t hurt and she knew that, I wasn’t the same. She continues more aggressive the blows more unpredictable, each countered with a block or dodged. She still continues with another, as she turns 360 degrees from the last block with a directed elbow to the chest, it lands. I feel it but it fails to gain a reaction, there’s no time to care, this fight just became real.

 

She continues to follow this move with her foot targeting my knee and I managed to evade that by shifting my stance backwards. As she regains her stance continues through with a follow up attack but still says “predictive my moves, be calm and see through it all”. I took this as I should, I’m overthinking it and she knew I could do better. With two more hits blocked she cleverly manages to reach one arm around my neck and use it as a brace to pull herself towards me. With a knee coming towards my chest and my balance shifted I reacted to both as best as I could, first using one arm to brace her knee attack at the same time shifting my posture to the side to work with the pull momentum. With one foot extended in that direction I had a grip and killed the momentum, I also had her at a distadvantage and with having to be swung with me as I shifted my posture she needed to balance herself but before she could do that and prime her next attack I had already reacted by using my other hand to push her chest outwards loosening her grip on my neck and that put us back where we started each facing each other off.

 

She dips her toes into the sand and throws a “wall” of sand into the air vertical, obstructing my view and through it a shuriken flies at me, aimed ever so slightly to the right of my head. I saw it and was able to catch it midair and as I turned my head to look at it, she comes in with a punch, I could tell this without seeing her and caught it with my other hand too. She looks at me and smiles and says “good that should do it”.

 

And with that she stands and faces the hado structure and closes her palms together to have it dissipate from the ground up to reveal Grimmjow, Nelliel and byakuya.

 

Grimmjow: is this the new guy *he’s asks byakuya, he then faces me and asks* are you the new guy?

 

Me: I’m the new guy

 

Yoruichi: new guy, meet grimmjow and Nelliel. they play an active role in making sure there’s peace in hueco mundo and they are a few of our allies

 

Grimmjow: i don’t consider you an ally, more like a necessary friend

 

Nelliel: stop it, we have a guest today, behave.

 

Grimmjow: *to byakuya* you let him take your captain’s coat? *he shrugs* you’ve grown soft old man

 

Byakuya: watch who you call an old man.

 

Grimmjow: what are gonna do?... old... Man...?

 

Byakuya: *shrugging it off* I choose to lend it to him since he’s of value to us now.

 

Yoruichi: okay *to me* let’s leave these two to settle their differences, you’re done with training for today so what do you say about me, you and nelliel go out for a walk and explore this place? eeeh?

 

Nelliel: yaaaay, I know just the place to start

 

Grimmjow: so your planning to just slack of the entire day? *staring at nelliel*

 

Yoruichi: if you must know we have still something in store... when he’s done relaxing the next training will start. You have to chase me first and nelliel will chase you, you don’t want to know what she will do when she catches you...

 

Nelliel: *with a stone face* you don’t want to know.

 

Yoruichi: and if you catch me then we both chase you till one of us gets tired and stops or one of us catches you and you get to chase them while the other chases you. And we keep repeating this over and over, till you learn how to evade and chase like second nature.

 

Nelliel takes out her sword and transforms into a centaur and says “jump on”. I jump on by leaping into the air then landing one foot standing on the back then falling but first onto her back. Still wearing just the captain’s cloak and the boxers.

 

Yoruichi leaps on more gracefully from the back and lands directly just behind me... then she slaps the nelliel’s extended ass and says “giddy up” and nelliel takes off, I hold on with one hand around her waist to deal with the speed she just summoned with her kicks.

 

We sped off and left grimmjow and byakuya.

 

Grimmjow: so what now, were supposed to wait till they’re done?

 

Byakuya: I don’t know about you but it’s been a while since i came here and without my captain’s cloak, this means if I walk around someone’s bound to mistake me for a weakling... the thought of it makes me nostalgic. *takes out sword and the reaitsu he pours into it, rubs on it’s edge creating a hissing sound*

 

Grimmjow: yeah, I see you have a point, but how about before that we settle a score and have a fight?

 

Byakuya: I don’t intend to hurt an ally

 

Grimmjow: and the new guy are we supposed to fight him, if you want to call it that without using out swords. I noticed he doesn’t have one.

 

Byakuya: we should know when they come back, he should be good enough to disarm you and probably even stab you with your sword, luckily for us that can’t hurt us because it is a part of you... not sure if the same goes for hollow’s *he stares at grimmjow, knowing this isn’t the case and smiles*

 

Grimmjow: I’d like to see him try... I’d slice him up into little pieces

 

Byakuya: you even so much as touch him without permission, Yoruichi will be the one slicing you up and serving you up as the next meal

 

Grimmjow: that’s sounds a lot like her

 

We are on an edge of a crevice, a deep faultline that seems to go on forever, the darkness below leave your imagination to imagine how further down it extends. Nelliel has already returned to her human form after taking us here and the three of us are staring at this bottomless pit, apart from small places where the rock protrudes to form a ledge you could stand on it’s a direct wavy descent to the bottom.

 

Me: I hate heights

 

Yoruichi: *looks at me, smiles* me too *then dives in*

 

Nelliel: don’t worry if you land you won’t feel a thing, you're too strong at this point and if you do we can heal you in no time * she says with a smile*

 

Me: the last part isn’t comforting

 

Nelliel: cheer up *as shoves me with one hand from the back*

 

As we both go in headfirst in free fall in sync as she jumps in as soon as I fell in. I see Yoruichi looking up at us from the only ledge you could land on, I was going to graze may hit the ledge, Nelliel falling next to me reaches out and pulls me closer to her saving me from a close impact. Yoruichi smiles as we whiz by and she jumps of the ledge feet first so you can imagine my view looking up as she came before us following us close to wherever we were heading.

 

The more we fall, the darker it becomes till all you can see is nothing and all you have to go on is the sound of us falling, it was at this moment I saw a flash of light, I thought it was just my mind’s way of trying to make sense of the darkness, then the flash happened again and I found myself standing next to Genryusai, he starts to talk...

 

Genryusai: Oh, I see you found yourself in a dark place again, good there’s something more I you need to know. You see the story with Yhwach, the way it started is a while back the soul king had one hand sent down to help him guide souls, the lost souls in the human world realm. Like an Egyptian king used to hold two objects in his hand, a coded message for the way your hands works, one was meant to heal the other to protect. In times of peace you’d send your hand to heal, in times of war your other hand to fight, the one that heals tends to find one who deserves to be saved and can merge with them to prolong their life while the other just looks for a foe worthy to fight, from above your control them to your bidding with your will.

 

This was the way things have been for a long time till your hand chose to help a soul, a soul from soul society who as a Shinigami was on a mission on the human realm, fell in love and chose to stay. He found a woman who was sick and needed a friend to watch over her as she passed on to the other world, touched by this he remained with her and the soul king’s hand helped her regain her strength but she then wanted more of this power and with time found out a way to suck it from him whenever he was around her. This became a problem as she could not contain or control it and it became more of a demonic hungry beast for power that infested her. Once the Shinigami found out he had no choice but to imprison her but she already had a child so he could not in good faith send her to soul society using his Zanpakuto so he waited till she gave birth but the child was born to with this ailment but to them a gift.

 

He did what he must and sent her back to soul society before her soul became fully corrupted but the problem there after was all the power she had stolen from the Soul King’s hand instead of going back to him or to his hand went to the child. The Soul King knew he would be a problem and with his third eye could see this child would grow up to despise the Shinigami for what they did to his mother and he would not be easy to stop so he cast blindness on him to blind his eyes and his third eye hoping it would him time to come to terms with this and find inner peace.

 

But the Soul King to true his oath to his throne made a plan to take him down if ever he overreached. He formed two swords that if used together by one could annihilate him, Ryujin Chaka and Hyourinmaru, the tale of ice and fire that would consume all it touched, but when I fought him the King had yet to decide his fate so I only had one part of the equation, he looked to the King less of a threat but a soul still grieving. When I defeated him he hid in the space between worlds outside of the eye of the Soul King and that of soul society and this is when the Soul King became concerned as he could feel his menacing intentions and he knew this time he had to end him, the fight to end it all and he knew the fight had to be final, he had to come to end him the King of Soul Society and not the Shinigami.

 

So, as time passed his scheme started to unfold with one intention, to make sure when he chooses to fight, he would do so with an all-in approach and not one foot in the door, in case he needs to make a hasty retreat. There would be no escape this time, this fight would end him and all those who stood with him. When they found his other hand and convinced it to join him, he didn’t stand in its way, he cut all connections to it and let it for the first time think on its own, the hand that was meant to fight. What he did was let them believe just as Yhwach did, a prophecy predicting victory, on the side of soul society what squad 0 knew was all the soul king would tell them, it would be a hard fight and doom would look certain but they’d win.

 

As they were gaining untold power and skills to go along with their preparations, the same was being done in the Soul King’s realm. The bridge between this realm and Soul Society was fortified that only power could sip through between both realms and a gate between could only be forged by those who understood how it worked, the squad 0 and when the Quincies went above and the opening was closed all he could have done and that is what he did was sip energy from the soldiers he left behind. No power of his could allow him to get out of this place unless the King opened a way and Ichibe confirmed this, a double verification was set in place.

 

The war that followed that lead to your previous death was only a ruse, what he killed and absorbed was less than 1% of your true power, to Yhwach it was immense power he couldn’t doubt was you. To Ichibe after Ichigo brought him back, alarmed that the King was wrong and the end was near sensed the presence of his King to only find a fraction of him left on his throne and knew what was going on, confident in his King’s third eye over Yhwach so he left the rest to Ichigo. He took steps to find where the next Soul King would reside and more importantly prepare for a counter they might use now that he could not leave this realm without the approval of the two.

 

Squad 0 wasn’t done, they would avenge the fallen and had the means to do, with Ichibe’s power to rewrite even death and in a realm overflowing with spiritual energy that at a moment’s notice they could recharge and charge, forcing the Quincies to fight a team that’s on rinse and repeat dwindling their source of power and manpower since the final secret was this realm’s spiritual energy wasn’t one the Quincies could use efficiently as they do on Soul Society, they’d have a hard time charging up at all in this realm from the energy around them.

 

This is not how we fight from above, we kill our prey like birds from above for even as proud as he had become every trick he had learnt was just a copy of something I had learnt to do long ago and taught others. We stood back and waited to see if he failed we would have to wake you from your slumber with a bang so you could avenge your death. Remember your essence remembers all this so you have the burden of soothing it till it subsides, and for not avoiding your demise you have our most sincere apologies.

 

Flashes of bright lights appeared again and with that I was back to the free falling in the crevice, and I heard a splash as Nelliel meets water at the bottom and in just a brief second so do I and finally. We both fall into the water then start to swim to the stop and watch on one end an opening for a cave and on the roof of the cave are glowing crystals. We swim towards it and start to emerge from the water. Nelliel says this is her secret hide away and we walk in. Inside there’s a place carved out, a training ground on its right is a large tent.

 

The cave extends inside with a small lake inside that glows, we're all wet and they have wet hair also to deal with, Nelliel tells Yoruichi they should both go into the tent, she’s got something to change into and dry her hair, “we’ll bring you something to wear too” she tells me as they go into the tent, with a moment of awkward silence I take the time to take in my surrounding, with a few stuff in the corner, training gear, some weapons, some lethal others not and with others you’d use to guard an attack but armor anywhere, I smiled when I remembered something, it weighs you down, that’s why you rarely see game characters in full armor. Anyway this wasn’t going to be a case where sparing could lead to serious injury or death, no this was going to be something else, thinking back to the training she was talking about wondered what she meant by you don’t want to know what happens if I catch you.

 

“Here you go”, Yoruichi says as she throws a Shinigami’s robe at me, I ease my shoulders and let the captains robe fall to the floor and extend my hand to catch my new robe, and wore it.

She flash steps behind me and picks up the captains robe and hands it to me, “treat it with respect” she says, “this is the sign of your guards, we wear it with honor”. I take it and with a moment of contemplation as I look into her face and our gaze meet. She breaks the stare game and comes around to my side and starts to whisper into my ear, she tells me how to do a flash step, why she choose to whisper I’m not sure, maybe because the hollows like Nelliel have a different type of flash step and it wasn’t something you’d want to tell how you do it or she just didn’t want to get Nelliel’s objection of coaching me to win the coming test. Either way she finishes with asking if I want to test it out, I replied “sure, why not” and with that flash stepped a couple of time around the cave at first being jarred with the sudden acceleration and deceleration.

 

If not for the fact I did take some self defense classes and this of course included plenty of sparing I would have fallen a number of times, but from sparing I learnt how to anticipate and calibrate against someone’s attempt to get me off my feet and this was similar with your upper body taking longer to catch on with your new speed feeling like someone just tried to push you from the back. Nelliel at this point seemed not to care less about this, maybe she could read my moves and it felt like a kid boasting he could run fast to an adult, a laughable statement when challenged to a race. But still she, Yoruichi looked on with a gleaming smile and like an assassin was predicting and reading my moves and flash steps to meet me in between a sprint to my next point, “wanna race?” she asks with a grin, with my raised eyebrow trying to read the situation, she quickly replied never mind and steps away.

 

When I stopped and looked at her, I noticed she had the captain’s cloak, looked back at my hand and wouldn’t you know it, she was distracting me, it was never about the race, it was about reading my senses and I apparently am not fully aware of everything happening around, this was one of the few things I prided myself with but then again I was dealing with a pro.

 

She flash steps into the tent, drops the coat and comes back to me, “sit down” she says, “Let me tell me a story”

 

Here's what we know about the history of the Soul King, when a soul dies it goes to Soul Society and retains its memories from earth, but when it dies in the soul realm and reincarnates back as a person it loses its previous memories as a soul and a human. The first cycled allowed us at soul society to form a society as soul’s that came used their knowledge to build one and that’s where the name came from “Soul Society” as souls found themselves in a place, ungoverned and desolate with nothing decided to form a society to fend for themselves.

 

Even souls need to eat and where to sleep. We couldn’t use exactly the same tech as earth since things didn’t exactly work as they did on earth and we had something new to work with, this energy we built up over time we called spiritual energy which we found uses for it for defense and offense we called it Kido, it was as the power struggle begun and souls fought for dominance that you were found, you displayed an uneasy stare that was said could peer into your soul, tell your inner thoughts. You were the first known person to scare people away with your spiritual pressure only, you seemed not to want to fight but those who loved to fight were drawn to you, unwilling to accept they could not beat you with time or trickery they opted to fight. It was with this that another secret of yours was revealed, after a number of them ganged up on you and managed to kill you, you reincarnated back as a human but you retained your memory as a soul and with a vendetta you proved to the be first who at will could have their soul come out of the body, and find their way back to soul society. You settled the score and came back but the rumor went around of the one who cannot be slain, and the tale that the King would return.

 

You got this name after a new society formed around you, those who were too weak to fight and were in need of protection, where you stood your ground became a safe space for all, you also got admirers who wanted to learn how you do what you do, those who believed it could be learned, mastered and surpassed soon learnt it can’t and those who choose to stay regardless became your guard, those who could watch your back for you when you can’t. These few loyal followers later on became Squad 0 as with time one was a sword smith by profession and as skill and power from this realm merged, the Zanpakuto was born, and with it came the need to overpower enemies with overwhelming force that none would be foolish enough to try to lay a hand on the King again. Two classes were born, those who struck with precision like a scalpel, they perfected the art of hohou, they cared about moving in and out undetected, how to dodge and counter with only emphasis of fighting a weaker enemy only when they need to, they have a target they need to take out and that it all they needed to do. Having witnesses to tell the tale was as important to the need of fear and one of the skills needed was Shunpo, the flash step.

 

 Then there were those who strike like a hammer and with Kido and the Zanpakuto they later on started on a single hand to hand combat method called hakuda, to prove they were just as lethal with their bare hands when fighting a person using a Zankpakuto even if they use Kido. The fame and philosophy or Squad 0 got them fame from the meek and fear from the bold, a society was then formed that allowed people to live in peace and the strong wouldn’t oppress the weak as badly as they did before. A class was born later on, some claiming lineage to the Soul King, others from wealth, prestige and other claims and these families became the core of Soul Society, they made sure commerce worked and a hierarchy would exist.

 

But with the ever-looming doom when the Soul King aged and died, a presence of instability would take over till he returned, it was with that one final key was added, the immortality of a soul, the knowledge that came with the fact that more spiritual energy slowed down and eventually stopped aging altogether, with that came a complete stability of one of the Squad 0 members, later on, came up with a rejuvenation pool that could even reverse aging, all of this made this the strongest reigning regime in both this realm and the human realm.

 

With time as Squad 0 got recruits they called the Gotei, the squad grew enough that they could take care of the security of the soul society and with that Squad 0 became the King’s Guard and as the two separated they retained the white coats to signify their position. By this time the Soul King was by far the most powerful of them all, capable of feats none of them could even master they knew the title of bodyguards was meaningless, if anyone could take him down, they most certainly could do the same to them. In the end, he was the last line of defense for this kingdom and he took this role actively.

 

There soon existed a scourge that would need be culled with time, hollows, souls that never made it to soul society because they refused to accept their death, they turned into things that had a bone-chilling cry, the only essence of them that remained, the pain that they felt and this thing that could only feel the base needs: pain and hunger. They didn’t even know how to amass spiritual energy so what they did is hunt other hollows and those who couldn’t fight back ran to a realm we soon called Hueco Mundo, a place between the human realm and our soul realm, it was the best a hollow could do with the little intelligence they had, but even here classes were being formed as stronger hollows started to attain awakening and soon came to despise the lower hollows and the food source available, the Arrancar would start to feed on other Arrancar as a more stable food source that would allow them to grow even more stronger and even souls when they can, some of them finally figured out how to get to Soul Society and wreaked such havoc a counter-attack was necessary, in this war, you the Soul King led the march and stopped them. With the threat of being overrun being culled as the retreating Arrancars would lead hoards of hollows to the soul realm overwhelming the Gotei squad requiring Squad 0 and the King to intervene and cease their advance.

 

When you defeated them that was the first time you came here, now time ticks slower here than it does at Soul Society so rumors started to float that maybe you were killed or were captured and it lead to the Gotei taking charge only to find out that a purge was in full swing, all upper echelon of the Arrancar were being killed to reincarnate back as people. They went back with orders to keep the peace and wait for his return, the strong among them deliberated and decided they needed to elect one among them to be their leader and from the others in this group would be equally divided as subordinates below them and so with that the Gotei 13 was born, Genryusai was the official leader of this group.

 

After the Soul King returned, he was welcomed back with a resounding applause and named the one who rules above all realms. Later on, as peace rained on the realm the Squad Captains practically expected to do nothing but be symbols of power and stability, the old Squad Captains one by one retired leaving only Genryusai as the leader of all the squads. When the Quincies were formed and the rebellion crushed and the sequences of the final battle became clear to the Soul King, he asked for his castle to be built out of sight in the skies above the inner court. The inner court was also to be reinforced with walls that could take on any head-on attack using Kido, the most powerful attack possible even one using a Zankpakuto’s which uses the same energy.

 

As he left for the skies and reinforced it’s surrounding that nothing could ever reach him the final part was set, you decided to take measures which were later on revealed to us. You by nature control the movement of souls and with so much power amassed your death more so the death of your conscious would echo out across all realms and it would feel like the destruction of them all, it needed to look like that so that your hand that was sent to heal would try and stabilize the realms from your death and you needed to live in a crystal finally to be an easy target, that’s why when Ichibe saw an immobile King with a fraction of his true power he knew this was a trap and he shouldn’t interfere but let it snap on its prey.

 

She stops talking and looked down, her mood switched to a somber mood as she exhaled and continued with her story.

 

It was during the wait and preparation that Genryusai got word from Squad 0 to go investigate something in Hueco Mundo, this was meant to be unofficial, an off the books mission so he gathered up his retired friends from the first squad and went in. The threat was that, she says as she signals with her head at the glowing water at the other side.

 

They’re reputation preceded them, and they got no resistance as they looked for it, there was a rumor that the Quincies were reading up on the strengths and weaknesses of each of the Gotei’s threats so that this time they wouldn’t go in blind and become overwhelmed. The rumor was in Hueco Mundo there’s a liquid that could withstand the force of Ryujin Chaka and they found it but so did Squad 0, his command was to destroy it or hide it away so no one else but if it stays it will be in Hueco Mundo.

 

The desert of Hueco Mundo being so expansive covering it would take too much time so they had to recruit an ally or guide to help them search quicker and with intimidation and quick reminder of strength to those who wouldn’t tow the line they quickly amassed an army that would do their bidding and they got them to searching. There existed a rumor that this was a fable escape for the hollow, a cure for being one! It was said that the very essence of being a hollow, a soul that couldn’t let go could be released by it. If you submerged yourself in it, you would start to lose your memories and if you stayed there long enough, you’d eventually lose all of them. And a hollow with no attachment to it’s human past would be freed not to soul society but back to being a human through reincarnation.

 

As this unfolded Genryusai became torn on whether he should destroy such a thing, why not use it to cleanse the souls? He later on sent message to Squad 0 and was given permission if rumor was true, they could take in a sample to be used to find a quicker way to clean souls, and that led to the development of Konso, an art that would release a soul before it became a Hollow. And with that Shinigami took to looking for Souls that wouldn’t leave before becoming Hollows. That’s when we started being called Soul Reapers and Death Gods to others as some humans who were in previous lives strong souls still retained enough spiritual energy to peer through the veil and see the souls walking among us and the theatrics of Soul Reapers sending them to the other realm.

 

Once they found it and a sample was taken to be used later, he tried to burn it and it failed. It was with that Genryusai knew the end was near, he knew of the prophecy of the dual wielding warrior that could take down Yhwach was never going to happen now that he could nullify one effect, that of Ryujin Chaka. As we later on learnt it would be far worse as they worked to nullify any Bankai possible. We never stood a chance against them, not without Squad 0 and the King in the fight, we were just a stepping stone to a final fight scene to unfold.

 

She sighed and looked at me, with darting eyes telling of the grief she experienced, the pain she knew could be averted if only I in my past life decided to intervene in the massacre that occurred. With those eyes filled with sorrow and lips shut from talking for so many reasons she sighed again and playing with her fingers wondered what she could or should say next.

 

I looked on aware I might need to take the burden of my past, a past that remained foggy and not yet fully within my grasp to own and use, a lifetime of experience thrown out of the door to start afresh comes knocking back at my door with unresolved cases. I carry my own weight and with that regard I was willing to sit in her court and answer with my amnesia why I thought an act was righteous, I would not attempt to comfort her though, no sugar coating was necessary that would only sting more belittling her pain, lessening the sacrifice that had to be made and making me seem weak and not worthy of it. So, I looked on the only way I knew how, unfazed by her pain for it was not mine to bear but understand, this cog wheel that would opt to add additional weight to ease someone else’s not only didn’t work but was redundant and it had to go.

 

She continued to tell me the last part of this tale.

Your memories lie there, in the lake of the forgotten, she says as she palm pointing upwards signals to the lake. It has the inverse effect with you, instead of robbing you of your memories it will show you that of your past life. You are the Soul King, there is no doubt about it, but our Soul King died at the hands of Yhwach, you are what remains of his essence. That was his last command to us, to let you know if you choose you can walk into the lake and be reborn with his knowledge, his wisdom and skill or you can choose to write your own path. The choice is yours, you don’t have to make the decision now. You still have a life left to live as a person before you ascend to the throne just know this will always remain under our protection and under your hands to use when and if you wish. That’s the real reason we brought you here, the training was just a rouse, she says as she tried to sneak in a smile to try and ease the situation, a halfhearted one.

 

Nelliel cuts into the conversation “we should show him how it works”

Like a trance broken she livens up and signals I join her next to the lake, she takes a band she had around her hand and wraps it around her hair so it flowed to the back of her head with a single tail of hair flowing down to her back. “This is how it works” she starts to explain “we found a way to share memories without losing them, you dip your fingers into the lake think of the memory, take it out and touch the side of your forehead, slightly above the eye should do.” She was doing this as she explained and as she pulled her glowing fingers away a stream of light flowed out of it then she quickly wrapped it around my head like a halo but on eye level. This halo became flat and like a flat semi-transparent screen you could see a story enacted all the way around it.

 

That’s what you’d see from the outside, from the inside I was cast into an all-immersive simulation the same as VR only it included all the senses, I could turn around and move around freely but only so far from where she stood.

 

I was in one of her memories and I was looking at it from the third person view, she was young here, before she became a captain, she’d just finished some training and talking about how excited she was about becoming a vice-captain. I could hear everything she said, thought and felt. I could move within the memory at my own pace, fast forward to a certain point rewind or play it “live” till it finished. When I was done living through it I could release it and would dissipate, becoming part of my memory the same way watching a tv does.

 

“What do you think?” she asks, I smile back and reply “it’s nice, great way to share memories.”

Nelliel nods her head, “too bad we can’t make it common use for now. This is top-secret stuff you know.”

 

“What about the training?” I asked her, she looked back at me perplexed, “I told you it was fake, you didn’t catch that” she replies. “I did but we need something to do and I’m sure you can teach me a thing or two”. She looks at me, shrugs and tilts her head sideways and stands up, “yeah I’m sure you can, your speed still leaves a lot to be desired and I can read your moves like a book, you’re too predictable, too into the moment” as she squints her mouth she asks “are you sure about this?” I look on with an unwavering expression that gave her the answer she needed.

 

With that she flash steps some distance away and calls for Nelliel to join her, from this distance away from prying ears I could only hear the laughter and inaudible conversation that went on as the two started to scheme the rules of the game. I got bored of watching them from afar and laid on my back and looked at the ceiling with multiple shining crystals and the more I looked at them and they’re order it became apparent they’re not a natural occurring state but someone intentionally put them there to illuminate this place. Curious if there was more to this, a pattern that would reveal another layer of intention I studied them more my eyes darting from one edge to another thinking through this, deconstructing it and asking myself if I had to duplicate it how I would go about it.

 

I wasn’t getting anywhere with a deeper meaning so it was a relief as two figures popped into view as the two came near and with a shift in their tone told me to get up, it was a familiar and exhilarating tone, it was one used in the military used to remind you of your place and stepping out of place was and wouldn’t be tolerated. It was on, and this time their friendly posture they started with was gone and it was down to business, a kill or be killed mentality that wouldn’t allow them to favor me and lose ground.

 

As I stood up she looked at me with the most cold eyes and a facial expression you get from a person who detests and looks down on you as she looked at me up and down. I’ve worked with military guys before so I knew a few things I shouldn’t do, no smirks, no smiles, my face would only be used to do two things: to look and speak, the rest of my facial muscles were to relax and remain as numb as possible, to any possible barrage of pain, verbal abuse and anything else they could throw at me. She was a superior and I would treat her as such, for now.

 

I straighten my posture and placed my hands behind my back and looked her dead in the face and waited to see what she would throw at me. Nelliel on the other hand I could see from the edge of my view biting her lower lip trying not to laugh, I shifted my gaze back to her since Nelliel would only make me a giggling fool if I paid attention to her, she had an easy going personality so this felt alien to her unless it was a threat she was facing. “At ease” Yoruichi said back to me and with that I placed my hands to my sides and continued to stare back at her, it was a chicken content it seems as we both sniffed for any sense of weakness in each other, each of us seemingly set in mind any would be unacceptable, a complete turn off and would mean this wasn’t being taken with the severity it should.

 

Both satisfied, her as much as me she starts to tell me the rules of the game. This was the first one, I was to chase Yoruichi and Nelliel would chase me, she would use a cloth strap controlled by her reaitsu to try and wrap it around my wrist or ankle then yank me back forcing me to lose my stance and fall. I didn’t have anything to cut it so she would release it when she chooses to but until then we would have close contact combat one on one. The winner wasn’t important though, the fact that I got caught meant I lost, my concern would be not to get hurt because she intended to do as much harm as possible within reason to make sure I couldn’t move as fast making me an easier catch the next round and so on till I gave in and tapped out.

 

But if I could evade her and managed to reach Yoruichi I would only need to tap her anywhere and the roles would turn, fast! She would start to pursue me and Nelliel should evade, which meant I had a split second to turn and chase Nelliel before Yoruichi did the same and caught me with her strap, she was the more lethal of the two and I should avoid that if I can. And if by chance I tagged Nelliel too before Yoruichi got me it would flip again and so on. There was one catch though, the first bluff, I could turn on a dime and pretend to have caught one so I’m chasing the other, if she bought it she should flee, if she doesn’t she should attack me head on. If she attacks and the bluff was real the two females would clash and I would get a point for executing a silent attack. And all this was to be done using Shunpo, at high speeds and erratic movement we were to hit every corner of this cave multiple times in under a second.

 

You can only maintain Shunpo for so long, I would have to release again to be able to match their speed, so I uttered the words one more time “Kai” and with that I got a boost of power, little did I know the source of power was the remnant of the Soul King left orbiting my body and with every act I did here straining myself I was pulling in more and more till eventually I amassed more power than what was left there, at this point under the power rule what was left like gravity would coalesce into me leaving only the shell of my body waiting for the soul to return.

 

And the games begun, I dashed at Yoruichi and felt this looming presence behind me as Nelliel crept in very, very close behind this fear was looming in the air but there was no time to dwell on it, I wasn’t in mortal danger so I didn’t need to bother with the blood lust she had. But the rules never said I had to come at her from behind and this move would box me in with her moving slow enough that I had to keep my speed in check so I don’t miss her when she switches direction but fast enough so I can’t catch her away from arms reach. While Nelliel speed in from the back like a train out of control so I dashed to the side, and came towards Yoruichi from the front, then to my surprise Nelliel came in front of her as if to protect her, blocking my advance, so I had to switch my moves, come around and try attacking from the back, they’d both turn, one trying to flee and another trying to fight, and I’d circle them in high speed trying to find an opening.

 

After amassing such huge amounts of reaitsu a new skill came to me with ease, the ability to make speed clones. At first I assumed their stance of having their guard up was just because, but once I saw one of my own circling her and another and another till there were at least 3 clones I could tell each moving in a distinct way as I hovered from immense speed to a moment of standing still. I couldn’t tell how many they saw but I knew this gave me an advantage and all I needed to do is see if I could use them all at once, attack of the clones 😊 so I lunged knowing full well if I closed the gap but kept to the same movement they would see clones attacking, and they did. Yoruichi took her bet and lunged where there was a clone she knew I wouldn’t be at while Nelliel lunged at a place where she knew the clones would be at, the logic sound since the clones would be ever so slightly more compact where I saw an opening and wanted to attack and ever so slightly less compact where Nelliel was facing since she wasn’t a target yet.

 

This meant they reversed they’re roles and took on the clones that seemed to act not as they should. Yoruichi got away but Nelliel didn’t get to me, as she tried to wrap her strap around a clone and missed as it faded away, she stood there and watched as the cloned seemed to vibrate and merge to where my real location was at. As the two prepared themselves for the next round, I patiently waited for a chance.

 

If Nelliel decided to strike first, I was more confident I could evade her and once that was done I only had to get to Yoruichi and this time I knew exactly how to do it. She took the bait and came lunging at me, I flash stepped around her and headed straight for Yoruichi, with multiple speed clones trying to make contact and touch her she had to keep moving to avoid each one of them, on my part I worked to box her in and rush her in with as many clones as possible hopeful that this technique would work. On the other side Nelliel was chasing a clone that was back stepping her advance at full speed and as she was about to corner me in the cave I’d split into two more clones left and right forcing her to choose which to attack, as she choose one I’d let her go with that, trying to keep her gaze away from Yoruichi as long as possible.

 

As soon as she noticed she took off beeline towards Yoruichi, the tag team approach again, but I had a contingency, if she choose to ignore my clones, they’d swoop in like magpies and make contact one way or another forcing her to retaliate, and before she could get past this attack, unwarranted but not against the rules I’d already managed to tag Yoruichi and with that my clones around her dissipated and started swarming Nelliel now, Yoruichi stood there looking on and with a few clones keeping an eye on her I continued with my attack on Nelliel trying to tag her and get my second point, then it happened, she started using speed clones herself and it forced me to react with my clones and hers going head to head.

 

You can only make so many clones and the more active your clones are the less you can make, it didn’t help that Nelliel caught wind of her plan and started using clones herself. Now this all deteriorated to a mess where clone wars was in full swing and no one knew whether you’re fighting a clone or not, no one except Yoruichi who did and was making sure she did before all of a sudden with a single strike lunged at me with her clone, I evaded and another one came in, this one had two straps one on each hand so it was one that was not just trying to touch me just to make sure I was real, she would get no points without the strap so this wasn’t a clone, it was her and she intended to catch me. She dropped the need to use clones and came at me as a single target, she would weave past the clones meant as a distraction and head straight at me.

 

I was faster so I could dodge her attack, but this put a lot of strain in my ability to chase Nelliel at the same time and she would be facing clones that fizzled away faster than usual, so quick it was easier to tell what a clone was. Just as I was about to plan my next move Nelliel blew a whistle, “Half Time!” she yelled, as she bent over holding her knees and heaving heavily showed how tired she was, well we all were but the heat of the moment wouldn’t allow us to accept it. Still this was fine and I was one point up, and I had to keep the heat up and not lose momentum.

 

So we all took this moment to relax and recover, drink up and lose some excess body heat. Once we were all back at our game Yoruichi spoke to Nelliel then both of them came back to give me an update. “We’re going to get you up to speed” she said, as we all headed for the lake, she knelt down and dipped her fingers into the lake, closed her eyes as she thought of what she needed to share and then touched the side of her forehead. But this time instead of doing a halo she touched the front of my forehead with the aura of her memories, this worked as a memory dump and instead of getting her memories I got her knowledge, of all forms of Shunpo, Kido and Hado. Every skill she had I now knew, and as a bonus I also knew something else about her, why she didn’t have a zankpakuto.

 

She was fascinated with reaitsu, the source of power for the realm, the very essence that turns a sword into a more lethal weapon, she wanted to spend her time mastering it and she did. That was her final form a creature that would ooze reaitsu and pulse it and use it in multiple ways. This suited her more than using a zankpakuto and she was more lethal this way than with it, but she had to learn how to use since one of the requirements to become a captain it to have a Bankai and depending on the few chosen to judge it, impress them to show you have mastered it well enough so you can be lethal with it. So I knew she used to have a sword but she laid it down to find a better path, a better way to deal with the world.

 

Then there was Nelliel, she told me she had just as much to offer, as she explained, a hollow isn’t a soul in its true form but it harnessed reaitsu in its own way. Something I could master without a hollow form, so it would help to share her knowledge and that of the realm so I could better understand them and how they act. So, she shared her skills and everything that came with it, her death, her ascension to an Arrancar and how they managed to forge their own swords, from the knowledge of how Shinigami did. This came as a luck of draw as some hollows were able to retain memories of souls they killed, some of which were Shinigami and they helped them understand the secrets of the sword and then word of mouth spread this secret in the realm and soon enough they had found their way to forge them.

 

Some stuck to using a dead Shinigami's sword which would revert to nothing but a shell once the person it was bonded to died, so they formed a new bond at the most opportune time when the world inside the sword was coming apart and a savior came its way. But others were locked from this effect, swords who were touched by the King and whoever was left to use it was only a caretaker to it. Their death was meaningless in the long run, like Hyonimaru, it would choose a new caretaker and continue its reign and in these memories of skill there was stories of the King’s blades. Two distinct that could rival the combined force of fire and ice with ease. It seemed I ruled above the Sun and the Ice, maybe it was time I found out where my armor was and what remained of my army.