A New Start

Äs Nödt fell to his knees, exhausted from the battle’s he had fought. What will we do now? He thought to himself. He looked over at his fellow comrades of the Wandenreich; they too were exhausted from the battle, more so since their powers were weakened from Auswählen.

Wait…” he said to himself.

Where is that Uryu kid?” He remembered that he was here and fighting, but he lost track of him when Yhwach appeared and Äs activated his Vollständig. He looked around. All he saw was Byakuya, Renji, Ichigo, and Rukia sitting and talking about something. He heard footsteps approaching him. He quickly turned around.

“Damn. That was tough wasn’t it Äs?” A tough but tired Bazz-B said.

“Bazz-B had fun if you couldn’t tell.” He heard a tired Liltotto say, as she unwrapped another rainbow colored spiral lollypop.

“I figured. Hey do you know were Uryu Ishida is? I saw him in the battle, but Yhwach appeared…and well, have you seen him.” Äs said.

“No, we didn’t see him!” An excited Giselle said running up to the other Sternritter before stopping abruptly in front of them.

“Well isn’t that just great. Damn it. Well we should start asking around to find him before he gets himself killed. If he is sent to the Muken by the Central 46, we’re going to have a problem.” Bazz-B said unsurely.

“We’ll split up. I’ll ask around in here. You guys should split up around the Silbern. He has to be here somewhere.” Äs said in a confident voice.

“Got it!” Liltotto says while sucking on her lollypop.

“Alright” Bazz B follows.

“Ooookkk!” Giselle says with her usual cheery voice and goofy expression.

They all nod at each other and agree to meet back here in a few hours. Now the wars finally over Äs Nödt thought to himself, “What will we do now?” He started to walk over towards the Soul Reapers he saw earlier. As he walked his mind returned to the problem at hand. ‘What will we do? The empire is in shambles, most of the Sternritter are dead; we do not have a Grandmaster since Haschwalth died protecting Yhwach. We’ll have to send someone out with a message for the Soldats to return to the Schatten Bereich (Shadow Realm) and reorganize and come up with a new purpose. As Äs Nödt was deep in thought, he bumped into Byakuya Kuchiki.

“Huh?” Byakuya turned around and saw Äs, “What do you want?” Byakuya asked in a cold voice.

“My apologies, I was in thought. Have any of you seen Uryu Ishida? We need to speak to him.” Äs said.

“Yes we did. We captured him and he’s under arrest. He will be tried as a traitor to the Soul Society.” Byakuya explained.

“Well is there any way you can stop it?” Äs asked knowing that this was bad.

“And why would I do that for you?” Byakuya said coldly, still not forgiving Äs for using his fear inducement on him. Äs knew he had wounded his pride, but this had to be stopped.

“Well we’re no longer at war, and we did help you. So give him back, or shall I take him back myself! And I don’t think any of us want that to happen.”

“Wait why the hell do you want Uryu in the first place? Didn’t he betray you like your leader did? Why would you want him back?” It was a fairly tall, spiky orange haired boy, with peach skin, and brown eyes that answered him. He was hard to mistake for anyone else. Ichigo Kurosaki. Äs Nödt knew that he was a dangerous person, even Yhwach knew that. Ichigo Kurosaki was also a friend of Uryu Ishida; it’s only fair he should be curious.

“Uryu Ishida is the Wandenreich’s successor. To put it simply, he is the new emperor. I need to retrieve him.” Äs told him without hesitation, hoping he would understand the gravity of the situation.

“He’s what?!” Ichigo said, angered by this.

“Calm down Ichigo!” a woman’s voice said, he looked over and saw it was Rukia’s.

“Damn you Ishida! Why?! Why didn’t yo-”

“Tell me something Ichigo Kurosaki. If you thought you were the last of your kind, and suddenly found out there were more like you, how would you react?”

Ichigo paused in his tirade. His eyes soon fell to the ground, realizing what Äs was getting at. He wanted him to know how Uryu must have felt when he found out there were other Quincy alive.

“That aside, where is he?” Äs said, quickly turning the conversation back to why he was there in the first place.

“Why should we tell you? The Wandenreich will be broken up and things will return back to normal.” Byakuya said.

“Is that what you think?” Äs Nödt said, becoming very irritated at this point. He wasn’t getting anywhere.

“Äs Nödt!! We found him!!” an over enthusiastic Giselle yelled as she barged into the room. Byakuya, Renji, Ichigo, and Rukia looked wide eyed at the miraculous discovery of Uryu by the Sternritter.

“We found him alright. But I’ll tell you how that went down latter Äs.” Bazz B finished in a low voice, with a hint of excitement buried in it. He gently laid an unconscious Uryu on the floor.

“Yeah, he’s right. We’ll tell you later.” Liltotto said, with the usual lollypop in her hand.

“I guess I won’t need to pressure you for-” Äs Nödt was cut off by another voice.

“What’s this argument about? I came down when I heard all the yelling.” He realized who it was; the new head captain Shunsui Kyōraku.

“Head Captain. The Sternritter where requesting the return of Uryu Ishida, who was next in-line for emperor. I denied this of course.” Byakuya said.

“Why is that? They helped us didn’t they? Let them have him, the enemy’s dead so we’ve accomplished our mission after all.” Shunsui said in his usual laid back tone, remembering how much the Sternritter helped in the battle that took place just a few hours ago.

Byakuya’s eyes widened once more “But after all they’ve done we can’t just let them- ” Byakuya was cut off.

“That’s quite enough Byakuya; we’re all exhausted after today’s battle. Go get some rest.” Shunsui says to Byakuya.

“Yes, your right, my apologies.” Byakuya said seriously before immediately turning and walking out of the room.

“Brother…” Rukia says quietly to herself.

“Hey Äs, we’re going to wait until Uryu wakes up, and tell him what’s happened, but until then, we’ll be upstairs, meet us there when you’re ready.” Bazz B told him.

Äs hadn’t noticed that Uryu was still passed out; he was too focused on his argument with Byakuya.

“Alright, I’ll meet you there soon.” Äs replied as he sat down on the cold stone floor, and leaned back against the wall.

They walk out; Uryu slung over Bazz B’s shoulder

“Hey Rukia, I’m going with them, I want to talk to Uryu when he wakes up.” Ichigo says.

“Yeah, I’ll go with you too.” Renji adds. They both go in the direction of the other Sternritter. Leaving just Äs Nödt and Rukia.

“Well, the war’s finally over.” Rukia said as she sat next to Äs Nödt. “What do you think will happen?”

Äs took a moment before saying anything. He also wondered what would happen. There were several possibilities, but what did he think was going to happen? Another war? Another rivalry between the Quincy and the Soul Reapers? Or perhaps a cooperative alliance against that which threatens the Soul Society and the Schatten Bereich and the other realms of existence.

“I really don’t know. But for right now, I want to concentrate on rebuilding.” Äs said.

“Yeah, that would make sense. Can I ask you something Äs Nödt?” She said, uncertainty lacing her word.

“Of course.” Äs replied, interested in what she was going to ask.

“Were you serious about taking Uryu back? By force I mean.” She was curious to what his answer would be. Would the Sternritter have really fought all of the Soul Reapers that were in the room at the time.

“…Well, I take it you want the truth…so yes I was serious.” Äs finally said. Unsure of how Rukia would react.

“Wait… you were?! Why wou-” She was cut off. Äs put his finger over her lip.

It’s as cold as ice, she thought to herself as his eyes met hers; she was once again captivated by them, she started to feel a warmth build within her ‘Why does he stir this feeling in me?’ she thought to herself. Her face brightened, and her cheeks felt flushed.

“Do you remember when I told you about the Quincy having a future after the war? Well he is a part of it. He is the key to our future. Without Uryu, I am afraid of what destiny would hold for the Quincy.” Äs said, the strange feeling he had when he’d talked with her before came over him again…and it was farther from unpleasant he thought to himself. If he had lips, he knew he’d be smiling behind his mask. ‘What is this feeling she stirs in me?

“Of course, I understand. I’m so sorry Äs. I shouldn’t have asked.” She said in a saddened tone, her eyes shifting to the floor, embarrassed for asking.

Äs decided rather quickly that he liked the sound of his name coming from her lips. Was he going crazy after all?

“Don’t worry about it. It’s fine Rukia.” Äs said as he drew his finger from her lip. “How are you holding up? You’re not hurt are you?” Äs asked, with just a hint of concerned in his voice.

“Oh I’m fine. Don’t worry about me Äs.” Rukia said happily. He almost sounds like he cares about me…

“That’s good. You should get some rest, or if you want you can come with me to check on Uryu.” Äs continued, “He was your friend too wasn’t he?”

“Yeah, he was…” Rukia paused for a moment. “I’ll come with you.” She decided quickly, enjoying his company and the sound of his voice.

“Alright. Here, let me help you up.” Äs said as he bent forward with his tall, slim body, and held out his long arm.

“Sure...” Rukia said, as her face lit up with a bright red blush, excited that he was going to touch her again. Her lips soon widened into a smile as Äs pulled her to her feet.

“Thank you Äs.” Rukia said with a gentle smile, slow to release his hand.

“No problem.” Äs replied, trying to smile the best he could under his mask, his thumb brushing gently across the back of her knuckles as he let go of her hand.

They began walking up the same stairs the others took; Äs began to wonder how Uryu would react to finding out about his new position as emperor. Of course, he and the others still needed to approve this decision, but for now it would stand.

They still had to fill the position of Grandmaster in the ranks of the Sternritter. On top of that, they still had to deal with the Soul Reapers and any repercussions from what happened before this last war. They needed to stand together to ensure there is not another war.

It would be smart to set up some sort of embassy or something, or send someone as an ambassador to represent the Quincy to the Soul Society. The other problem was finding more Quincy qualified to serve the Wandenreich as Sternritter and replenish their numbers of Soldats. This in itself was going to be an uphill battle and a long recovery.

As they were walking upstairs Rukia looked over and noticed Äs deep in thought. ‘You must be thinking about what’s to come aren’t you? You have taken on such a burden. This whole thing seems like it’s changed you so much.’ Rukia thought to herself. ‘I don’t know what’s going to happen to you or us in the coming days, but I hope everything goes well for you.

Äs looked back at her.

“What’s wrong?” He asked, with the same hint of concern he showed earlier. The look on her face worried him.

“No, I’m fine, I was just thinking, that’s all.” She said softly, wishing she could voice her thoughts.

Äs hesitates as he looks at her, not sure if her words are true, but the longer he stares at her he knows in his heart that she spoke the truth. With a curt nod, he returns his attention back to his walk. A nagging thought pricked at his mind. What would happen between them when things settle down, could they possibly…..?

“So this is the Silbern, it’s a lot different now that the battles are over.” Rukia said as she enjoyed the quietness that surrounded them.

“Yes it is, and I agree. When everything is over, I’ll show you were my room is, if it’s still there anyway…If you want me to that is.” Äs said carefully, unsure of what she would say.

“Yeah…that would be nice.” She said with a gentle smile.

Just as Rukia finished her sentence, she noticed that they had reached the top of the stairs. The room they brought Uryu to was a large, open room with a huge table that had been moved off to the right with elegant chairs stacked on the top of it. This was one of our old meeting rooms. Uryu was leaning against the back wall and everyone was standing around him as he came to.

Uryu rubs his forehead in confusion. “Ugg, what happened?” he says with a loud yawn.

Bazz B is the first to respond to him “To put it simply, Yhwach was defeated shortly after you were, while you slept like an old woman. And now we have an empire with no emperor, and as much as it displeases me, you’re next in line.”

Leave it to Bazz B to simplify an entire battle and victory into a few short sarcastic words, Äs thinks to himself.

Uryu’s eyes widen as Bazz B’s words slowly sink in. “Wait a minute! I can’t possi…” Äs Nödt cuts him off because he’s in no mood for an argument.

“If we want any future for the Quincy, it now lies with the Wandenreich; we are the only ones that can possibly unite the Quincy. If you take pride in calling yourself a Quincy, now is the time to prove it, Uryu Ishida.”

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