Return of the Jagdarmee

Äs Nödt peered down the table, and watched as Rukia took a sip of her drink. Äs Nödt said his ritual prayer but still didn’t start eating. He still hadn’t figured out what to do with about his mask.

Rukia was obviously puzzled by his hesitation, and gave Äs Nödt a curious look.

“Äs, why aren’t you eating?” She asked him and for some reason her words sounded more like a statement than a question.

“I’m not very hungry just yet; I just need a few minutes to relax. Then I’ll be ready to eat, I promise.” Äs said as he tried to formulate a plan on how to handle the situation.

Rukia looked back at him and frowned. “You’re afraid of taking your mask off, aren’t you?” She cut to the heart of the matter so quickly, he was at a loss for words…she was not.

“Äs, I love you just the way you are, there’s nothing that will change that. Just because your lips are missing doesn’t mean I’ll view you any different.” Rukia stood up, and made her way toward the Quincy. “You are the bravest, most interesting and loyal man I know, do you really think I am so shallow that your looks are what attracted me to you? The fact that I find you highly attractive should waylay any fears you have of being yourself around me. I refuse to accept less from you.” Her voice had dropped to a gentle whisper by the time she reached his side.

She reached behind his head and unbuttoned the mask that hid his face before gently pulling it off and setting it off to the side, revealing the wound he’d carried for most of his adult life. The look on Rukia’s face had not changed; she simply smiled and brushed her hand across his cheek.

“See, isn’t that better Äs? I accept you just the way you are, you don’t have to worry about it. This is your badge of honor.” Rukia said in a gentle tone.

“This doesn’t frighten you?” Äs Nödt was taken aback by her.

“Of course not.” Rukia replied as she continued to stroke his cheek. “Now you can eat.”

Äs felt the sigh of relief as it worked its way up his chest before finally escaping his mouth. He never thought he would ever feel like this without the security of his mask. A feeling of acceptance, for who he was and the scar he bore.

Rukia turned and sat back down to eat, hiding her smile as she did.

Äs finally started eating, not realizing before now just how hungry he was. At first, there was a comfortable silence, before Rukia set her fork down and asked Äs Nödt a question.

“How did it happen…losing your lips?” She had wondered this for a long time, ever since their first encounter when his mask broke off during their fight back when the war was still being fought. Before she killed him…..

Äs Nödt fell silent.

“You don’t have to tell me. I was just…” Rukia was cut off by the sound of Äs’s voice.

“No, it’s alright. You deserve to know. Back before I joined the Wandenreich, I was a soldier in the German Army, stationed in Afghanistan. On a patrol our vehicle was blown up, I got lucky and only the lower portion of my face was a permanently affected by the fire that consumed the vehicle, in time the rest of the scars healed on their own. I was put in an army hospital, and that’s when Yhwach came to me and offered to help me, in exchange I was to serve him. As you know, I accepted.” Äs Nödt said.

Rukia fell silent and smiled before replying.

“...It’s just like I told you, it’s your badge of honor.”

Äs Nödt gave a slight chuckle. “Heh, I guess you’re right. Rukia…” Äs began. “Thank you…for everything.” Äs said sincerely.

A gentle smile made its way across Rukia’s lips before the two resumed eating.

The rest of the dinner was filled with a comfortable silence and small talk. Shortly after, Äs Nödt hugged and thanked her for the dinner before putting his mask back on and heading out.

He began walking back to the Embassy but was intercepted by a Soldat who was running toward him.

“Grandmaster! Emperor Ishida has requested your presence at the Silbern! Emergency meeting requiring all Sternritter attendance!” He says.

“I’ll be there momentarily, thank you.” Äs Nödt replies as he creates a Shadow Portal and heads back into the Silbern.

He arrives in the throne room just minutes later and makes his way through it to the conference room. As he opens the door, he notices that he is the last to arrive. Bazz B, Candice, Giselle, Liltotto, His Majesty, Ryūken, Meninas, and even BG9 were all sitting at the table.

“Just as I assumed, your still alive BG9. Welcome to the new order of the Wandenreich.” Äs says as he walks to his seat.

“It’s good to be back, His Majesty already told me what’s happened. You’re the new Grandmaster, and these are the only surviving Sternritter with the exception of the new Sternritter ‘D’ and our new Chief Medical Officer.” BG9 said.

Äs Nödt proceeded to take a seat next to Uryu.

“You’re all probably wondering why I called you here on such short notice. As you know, Kirge Opie, Sternritter ‘J’ is deceased. He commanded the First Jagdarmee. Hueco Mundo is in chaos now that he is gone; no one was left alive to command them in the case of his absence. His heir apparent perished along with him.” Uryu says as he places a box on the table. “I have a plan to fix this.”

Uryu opens the box. In it was a small, bluish-purple orb composed of a… unique substance. This could only be one thing and one thing only.

The Hōgyoku

Everyone’s eyes widened, as they shifted their focus from Uryu to the Hōgyoku.

“Your Majesty! How?! Do you know how the Soul Reapers will react if they find out we have this?!” Bazz B cried out.

“We ‘acquired’ this as part of our war goals, only one exists and it provides an unimaginable benefit to the Wandenreich. We can use this to bring Sternritter ‘J’ back, in much the same way Äs Nödt was brought back. We have already collected his body, all I need to do now is desire him back. When that is complete, we can re-establish order in Hueco Mundo.” Uryu says as he once again seals the box holding the Hōgyoku.

Desire him back?” Candice asks with one eyebrow raised.

“That is how the power of the Hōgyoku is channeled, and only a very powerful person can wield its power.” Äs Nödt explains with patience as the others stare at her like she’s insane for not understanding the significance of the Hōgyoku.

“Thank you Äs Nödt.” She smiles at him and then turns to stick her tongue out at everyone else. “Sorry, I missed that class!” Candice tells them sarcastically.

“Your Majesty…” As Nödt continues, ignoring the banter, “the Soul Reapers will eventually find out that this is missing.” He states the obvious.

“They won’t notice anytime soon, it was in 12th Division, tucked away in a large specimen safe, and with that monster finally taken care of, it will be quite some time before they take notice. First they have to find a worthy replacement for the position of Captain, and let’s pray the do a better job this time. If there smart they’ll reassign Kisuke Urahara to the position. Although I’m afraid he would take notice far sooner than anyone else would that this is missing.” Uryu says with a grin.

A chuckle spread throughout the men, then everyone grows silent, wondering what comes next.

Pushing his chair back, Uryu rises to his feet. “Come gentlemen,” he turns to smile at Candice, “…and ladies, we must take care of this now.” He signals for the Sternritter to follow him to the morgue in the basement of the Silbern. The morgue was a large, tiled room, circular in design with a large Wandenreich emblem in the center. The body of the Executive Hunting Captain was in a body bag on the top of the center table.

Uryu placed the box on the table next to the Hunting Captain’s body and opened it.

“Now let’s begin.” Uryu placed his hand on the Hōgyoku and closed his eyes. Upon doing so, the Hōgyoku turned a deep black color, and a bright light emanated from it. Everyone held up their arms to shield themselves from the bright light.

A few moments later the light died down. The two half’s of Kirge’s body had become one once more. His eyes flickered open as he leaned up on his elbows, confusion etched on his face.

“What the hell? How can this be? Am I alive?” He runs one hand down the length of his body before looking at Uryu. “I was cut in half!?” Kirge yells as he looks around the room.

“Tsh, that’s nothing Kirge! Äs Nödt was shattered into a few thousand pieces and brought back.” Bazz B says as he jabs Äs in the ribs, winking up at him at the same time.

Kirge shifts his focus to Bazz B.

“Did we win the war smart ass, or was my sacrifice in vane?”

“Well, now I’m starting to believe we did win, in a few ways at least.” Bazz B says as he crosses his arms.

Uryu speaks up. “I’ll give you the rundown. Yhwach betray the Sternritter, and went to the Soul Palace with his chosen elites and performed his Auswählen. A few of the survivors, Bazz B, Giselle, and Liltotto decided to betray Yhwach, and joined the Soul Reapers. But they ran into Äs Nödt, who was mistakenly revived. He later joined them. Long story short they decided to honor the fact that I was to be the next Emperor...”

Äs Nödt finish Uryu’s sentence. “Now here we are and you have been revived with the Hōgyoku. We need you to re-establish order in Hueco Mundo as soon as possible.”

A grin made its way across Kirge’s lips as he slid his round spectacles up his nose.

“Well, as long as we still hold the upper hand, I’m fine with the situation. Leave it to me.”

“One more thing.” Äs Nödt began. “We’re in an alliance with the Soul Reapers, but they don’t know we have the Hōgyoku, this is something that must be kept secret among the Sternritter.”

Kirge’s eyes widened behind his spectacles. “We’re in an alliance with the Soul Reapers?” He sighed. “Never mind, I can assume why. Now may I change? I have some work to do and unless you expect me to do it in my birthday suit, I will need a uniform before I can even leave this God awful morgue!” He wrinkles his nose. “And what is that God damn smell?”

As the Sternritter begin exiting the room, Bazz B lays a hand on Kirge’s shoulder. “That my stinky friend…is you.” He chuckles the rest of the way out of the room, and Kirge was pretty sure he heard a few other join in before it was only him and his new Emperor left in the room.

Uryu rolls his eyes before placing a uniform in front of Kirge. “There’s a shower through that door.” Unable to control himself, he laughs as he leaves the Executive Hunting Captain alone to dress.

A short while later, the Executive Hunting Captain exited the room wearing an identical uniform to the one he wore before his defeat.

“Now then, I shall return to Hueco Mundo and report on the situation soon.” Kirge said as he headed off to meet with the First Jagdarmee. He couldn’t wait to see the looks on their faces.

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