A few moments later, the blades clear, everyone looks in awe. Renji also regained consciousness. Everyone looked at the Sternritter lying on the ground, bleeding, and then back at Byakuya.
Byakuya walked up to the body of the Sternritter “I told you that you were wrong, and that I would send you back to your grave Äs Nödt.” Byakuya said.
“Oh? Is that right? Last I checked, I had to be dead for you to meet those requirements. But I’m still alive. Too bad for you.” Äs Nödt said as he rose up. Everyone looked at him, wide eyed and in shock that Äs could survive taking on that many blades slicing through him. But as they looked closer, they noticed that the veins in his hand turned a bluish color, he activated his Blut Vene before the blades of Senbonzakura had hit him. It had not deflected them completely, but it had lessened the damage Äs Nödt took.
When he rose, the extent of the damage he took was revealed further. The blood dripped from the cuts he had taken. But he still managed to stand. When he did however, he rolled back his left eye, revealing the symbol of the Wandenreich. Everyone in the room knew what this meant. He was going into Vollständig. Within seconds a column of light encircles Äs Nödt.
Once the light cleared, everyone saw Äs Nödt Vollständig. He had a star like halo encircled by barbed wire over his head. Blood poured from both his eyes and he wore a tight fitting cloak with stiches running down the middle of it. His wings were barely visible and resemble circles of barbed wire attached to his back. Both his eyes were rolled back and his forearms were covered in a black substance.
“Tatarforas. You remember my Vollständig don’t you Byakuya Kuchiki? Now that my powers are enhanced from Auswählen not even I know the full extent of my power. Do you care to help me find out Byakuya Kuchiki?” But now that Äs Nödt was in his Vollständig, everyone saw him, and everyone was induced by his limitless fear. Simply seeing Äs Nödt, they were infected with his limitless fear. No one moved, they all stood staring in fear.
“HA. HA, HA, HA!!! Everyone is motionless in fear! I don’t even have to create a dome! This is perfect!” Äs felt a surge of joy rage through him.
He looked over at his opponent, Byakuya Kuchiki; he was still motionless, but sweating. He then tried to close his eyes to break the power, but suddenly collapsed to his knees as the fear he was experiencing only got worse.
“Stop!!” He heard a woman’s voice call out. He quickly turned to see who it was.
When he turned around he discovered it was exactly who he knew it would be, Rukia Kuchiki. He took the time to look her over carefully. He had noticed her light pearly skin, and large purple eyes on her frightened face. Her black hair parted down the middle of her forehead, but a few strands hung between her eyes. He had also noticed that she was much shorter than everyone else; she could have been taller than 5’.
“Interesting, you must be lowering your body temperature in an attempt to resist my fear, or you have an extraordinary amount of willpower. If that’s the case, then it is very admirable, but it won’t work for long.” Äs said, surprised that she could even still speak when everyone else was speechless with fear. He found himself admiring her strength more and more as she resisted his fear, though he tried not to make it obvious.
“Stop! Do you even realize that the other Sternritter you came with had been abandoned by Yhwach?!?” She yelled in a convicting tone.
“What are you talking about?” Äs Nödt asked her, wondering if her words were true or if it was a clever ploy to distract him.
“Yhwach abandoned you and the other Sternritter when he went to the Soul Palace! If you had lived through our battle he would have taken your powers too! You probably weren’t even meant to be brought back!” She cried out “So why do you continue to fight for him!”
Äs Nödt was speechless. He had to admit that he had wondered about this himself. Why was I brought back? I only won in my first fight with Byakuya Kuchiki, I was incapacitated when I ambushed head captain Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto with the other Sternritter, and lost to this Soul Reaper, Rukia Kuchiki, a lieutenant who learned Bankai only recently most likely. So why should His Majesty bring him back? And to bring him back at the expense of three other Sternritter? Was it really some accident then?
Äs Nödt instantly reverted out of his Vollständig and back to his normal appearance. Doing this also released everyone from his fear inducement. He stared Rukia in the eye “your right aren’t you? It was an accident.” he thought to himself.
Rukia looked back at him, amazed that that was enough to convince him to revert back from his Vollständig. She even started to feel sympathy for him; knowing that the truth of her words must be taking a hard toll on him. Thinking you were brought back to serve your leader, only to later find out it was an accident; that he meant to leave you dead!
Everyone was silent. Äs soon collapsed to his knees from the wounds he received from Senbonzakura, but he didn’t make a sound. What do I do? I wasn’t meant to come back, but I did. What can I do? He lowered his head so he was looking at the ground. He heard footsteps approach him.
“What the hell are you moping about? At least you got your damn powers back and you damn life! Not to mention you’re stronger than anyone here clearly.” Bazz B said to him.
“I know that. It’s just that I wasn’t even meant to come back. I guess you could say I’m just a little disappointed, don’t worry about it.” He told Bazz B. “So is it safe to assume that we’re working with the Soul Reapers? And those orbs, they are charged with your reishi to open the gate that goes to the Soul Palace?”
“Yeah, pretty much. Here, we have extra.” Bazz B replies tossing one orb to him to charge up.
“Wait, wait, wait...that’s it? After all that…after everything…you’re on our side?” He hears a voice behind him, realizing it was Rukia.
“Yeah. I figure if I wasn’t meant to come back, why should I fight for Yhwach? I think I was brought back for a purpose, and I think this was part of it.” Äs Nödt say’s with confidence as he stands up, blood still dripping from his wounds.
“Wait! Hold on a minute! This guy just tried to kill us! Why should we all of a sudden trust him!?” An angry Renji cried out.
“As much as it pains me, we will need all the help we can get if we wish to beat Yhwach, even if that means working with a few enemies that have suddenly decided changed sides. Even one such as him.” Byakuya says in a calm but resentful voice.
After Äs Nödt had finished charging his orb and giving it to Kisuke Urahara, he met up to speak in private with his fellow Sternritter.
“What are we going to do after this? If we survive. What will happen with the Wandenreich? With us?” Äs Nödt asked. This had been a question he had always wondered, even before he had changed sides.
“I don’t know, I’ve been wondering that too.” Liltotto said as she put a lollypop in her mouth.
“Hmmmm. What could we dooooo?” Giselle says with her usual goofy expression.
“Well, Uryu Ishida was named his Successor. We could follow through with that, if he isn’t killed.” Äs suggest, knowing that he can’t be worse than Yhwach was.
“You can’t be serious! We don’t know a thing about him!” Bazz B says, confused by Äs Nödt suggestion.
“We’ll just have to learn more about him then. However, if he dies in battle, we won’t know who to pick as emperor. We can’t argue amongst ourselves and cause some sort of power struggle either. That’s how empires fall. So we’ll have to decide soon.”
“Alright…I see what you’re getting at. But what make Uryu Ishida so special?” Bazz B asked.
“From what I gather, it has something to do with Auswählen. Yhwach said that he was the final Quincy to survive in this world, and he performed Auswählen all those years ago. Maybe he is an impure Quincy and lived?” Äs said.
“A Gemischt Quincy? How could he have survived if that’s the case?” Bazz B said, interested at the new possibility.
“How should I know? I’m merely suggesting this as a possibility.” Äs said.
“Hmmm. What about the Soul Reapers? You think they’ll just let us go?” said Bazz B, as this new thought crossed his mind.
“I doubt it. We may even have to fight our way out. He he…” Giselle said with a sadistic smile.
“She may actually be right about that.” suggested Liltotto, as she leaned against a wall. “After all, we’ve all killed Soul Reapers.”
“Well either way, after the war we’ll need a new emperor; we should investigate Uryu once things get back to normal.” Äs said.
“I guess I’ll second that” Bazz B said, still unsure of Uryu, but likes that they won’t blind fully make him emperor.
“Girls?” Äs Nödt questioned, wanting to make sure everyone was ok with the plan.
“I’m for it.” Liltotto said.
“I like it!” Giselle added.
As soon as they were all in agreement with the new plan, they heard footsteps. They all nodded at each other, and left the room. Äs stayed behind, interested to find out who was encroaching on their conversation.
“Hello Rukia Kuchiki.” Äs Nödt said in a normal tone “How long have you been there?”
“I just got here, my brother sent me to make sure you weren’t up to anything, everyone is scared of your new strength. They’re being cautious.” She said wearily.
“Ahh…I understand. It is my power isn’t it? The power to induce fear in others. I do it quite well.” He replied. “So why did they send you? Is it because you killed me? Or is there more to it?”
“I don’t know. Maybe they trust me more…” She says evasively. “What were you and the other Sternritter talking about?” She asked questioningly.
Äs Nödt paused. Should I tell her? Would she even understand? Or would she tell the other Soul Reapers and so they can stop me and the other Sternritter? He decided to reply by asking a question.
“Rukia Kuchiki. What do you think will happen when this is all over?” Äs began. “With me and the other Sternritter that are going to aid you?”
“I…don’t know. Maybe they’ll pardon you?” she said unsurely.
“We’ve killed Soul Reapers. I came close to killing your brother twice. The Central 46 is far too bureaucratic to simply forgive us, even if we did help save the Soul Society. Look at Aizen, what do you think will happen to him, even if he is the one that kill’s Yhwach, he’ll be thrown back in the Muken. He may have a few years taken off but not enough to make a real difference. Out of everyone that is working to stop Yhwach…it’s most likely him or Ichigo that will kill Yhwach. But he is practically a god by now.” Äs told her in a serious voice that conveyed his uncertainty.
“You’re asking too many questions, I’m still getting use to the idea you’re even still alive.” She told him. “By the way, what are you planning on doing after the war, especially if you think you’re going to be pursued by the other Soul Reapers?” She asked just as wary as he was.
“I honestly hope…that things can return the way they were. We may have gotten our revenge, but it cost us. Almost all of the Sternritter are dead, and more will probably die. It probably a silly dream; I just hope we have a future.” He said in a saddened tone.
“But what does this have to do with what you and the others were talking about?” She asked again.
“Everything. We were talking about the future, Rukia Kuchiki. We are unsure of what’s going to happen to us and want to be prepared for whatever the future holds.” Äs said confidently. “But that aside, how does it feel to be talking an opponent you killed just a short while ago?” Äs said sarcastically.
“Oh! Um…well…I…uhh…yeah, um sorry about that.” She said unsure of how she felt; even more so now that he was on their side.
Äs Nödt looks at her, and cocks his head; his long black hair follows the gravity, and soon fell to the other side of his head. “Sorry? Please don’t be.”
Rukia was shocked. She paused before saying something “Bu-“Äs interrupted her.
“I have to admit something to you, I admire you. You used your Bankai despite knowing that it could kill you. You resisted the deep fear you felt.” He looked her in the eye; his black eyes seemed like an endless ocean of darkness. She couldn’t help but feel captivated by them. “Your strength is incredible, even when I was battling your friend Renji and your brother, you could still hold back your fear enough to stop me. You amaze me Rukia Kuchiki.” Äs said feeling warmth inside of himself that he had not felt in a very long time.
Rukia’s face lit up red; stunned that the Sternritter was amazed by her. She was speechless, unsure what to say. “Äs Nödt…” Rukia began, but was interrupted by someone entering the room. She recognized it as Kisuke Urahara.
“There you two are. We finished the gate, where heading to the Soul Palace.”