FLOOR BOARDS squeaked and footsteps resounded. Several Shinigami walked down the halls of a prison. Renji walked down the halls and a black butterfly flew toward him. Renji pointed his finger out and the butterfly landed on it. The butterfly flapped its wings twice and flew away. Renji continued walking and stopped at a cell.
Rukia sat on the floor of the small cell, clad in a white dress and was handcuffed. She wore an oxygen mask that had slits on its sides and had small oscillating disks in it.
Rukia did not turn when Renji came by.
"Rukia, I just received the order from Central 46; you have been sentenced to death. You have 20 days to live" Renji said.
"What'd you arrest me for?" Rukia asked.
"I don't know," Renji sighed, "I wasn't told anything,"
Renji took a seat beside the cell. Despite Rukia answering him, she had not turned to him at all. Renji was a little used to the way Rukia behaved when angry. When she shouted and looked angry, then you'd know you could talk your way out of it. The way to tell when she was seriously angry was when she would talk quietly and not react so much.
Or so Renji thought.
"Why'd you agree to capturing me then!?" Rukia yelled.
"Hey, I didn't know I was being sent after you," Renji said, "I was told to search for a specific reiatsu signature, that's all. When I found out it was you, I had no idea what to do, so I just followed orders,"
"And I thought you were my friend, ha!" Rukia snorted.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Ever since you became a lieutenant, you think you're high and mighty always distancing yourself. Heh, you've even changed your look with all those stupid tattoos!"
"The tattoos are not stupid!" Renji growled, "look at yourself, you're now so human that you need an oxygen mask to breath here,"
Rukia remained quiet. Renji regretted saying that; it was a bad move on his part.
"I'm sorry," Renji said, "but, if I didn't follow orders, we'd be in even more trouble than you are in now,"
"And death isn't trouble enough?" Rukia asked.
Renji turned away from Rukia. Rukia sat back and calmed down a little.
"Well, I guess you couldn't have known," Rukia answered.
"What did you do?" Renji asked.
Rukia didn't answer Renji. Renji got to his feet.
"Rukia, I'll go and find out what's going on." Renji said.
Rukia didn't respond.
"Hang in there," Renji said and he walked away.
WIND SWIRLED around and dust settled. Urahara stood before Ichigo with a sense of fulfilment. A blue energy was around Ichigo and his eyes, which had been glowing, returned to normal. Ichigo transformed back to his human form to his shock.
"What the hell?" Ichigo exclaimed.
"You just achieved Bankai. Your body will need time to recuperate after honing in so much reiatsu in such a short space of time," Urahara explained.
"Indeed," Yoruichi said as she jumped onto Urahara's shoulder, "what you have achieved today is tremendous. What takes royal-blooded Shinigami of exceptional skill years to achieve has been achieved in mere hours. You are truly something, Ichigo Kurosaki,"
"Well, I never thought I would take a complement from a cat, but thanks," Ichigo said.
"Ichigo!" a girl's voice called.
Ichigo recognised the voice and it was the last thing he expected to hear today, yet along in Urahara's training room. It was Orihime, who ran excitedly toward them along with Chad.
"Hey, Orihime! What are you doing here?" Ichigo asked.
Orihime and Chad got up to Ichigo, Urahara and Yoruichi.
"I've been training them. They had latent powers that I discovered when Uryu Ishida let those Hollows loose," Urahara explained.
"Wait a minute, you know about Uryu?" Ichigo asked.
"I have my sources, Ichigo," Urahara explained, "Orihime and Chad agreed to help you save Rukia,"
"Mm-hmm," Orihime nodded.
"Are you sure about this, guys?" Ichigo asked, "I mean, you barely even know Rukia. You could get killed,"
"We don't know her, but I for one am willing to help you out, Ichigo. You risked your life defending me from thugs in High School and it's about time I returned the favour," Chad explained.
"These aren't thugs, their well trained killers," Ichigo said.
"Death is death and you risked your life for me. It's my turn now," Chad boldly said.
"And I just like you, so I'll help," Orihime giggled.
Ichigo smiled uneasily, not expecting her to say something like that, yet alone in a place like this. Orihime sort of regretted blurting that out as soon as she said it.
"Uh, Orihime, I'm afraid I can't let you come along," Urahara said.
"What? Why not?" Orihime asked.
"Your Shun Shun Rikka draws reiatsu from the spirit particles in the environment. The type of spirit particles you need for your powers are scarce in the Sereitei, so you would be defenceless there. I can't let you go there," Urahara said.
"Oh, I understand," Orihime responded sadly.
"Don't worry though, I will find a way to rectify that to enable you to be battle ready regardless of where you are," Urahara said.
"Okay," Orihime brightened up.
"So, Urahara," Ichigo panted, "let's get going,"
"Whoa, you think we're going now? No, you'll be slaughtered even with all the training in the world of you're tired as hell," Urahara explained, "get some rest and come back tomorrow. You'll need it,"
"Thanks, Mr. Hat n Clogs," Ichigo said.
Ichigo, Orihime and Chad began to leave. Orihime nudged Ichigo.
"Hey, I thought you said you don't like Don Kanonji," Orihime said.
"Yeah, I don't," Ichigo said.
"Well, Rukia said you two met at a Don Kanonji live show," Orihime answered.
Don Kanonji was a TV magician who would 'slay' ghosts using all sorts of illusions. Despite that, Don was a cocky nitwit who called himself a superhero constantly. And worst of all was that stupid laugh of his;
"Mwa, ha, ha, ha, ha!" Orihime laughed while crossing her arms across her chest.
Chad crossed his arms across his chest as well, but simply grunted. Ichigo groaned.
"Y-yes, I love D-Don Kanonji's show," Ichigo said, trying to play along, "It rocks!"
Ichigo laughed uneasily.
BYAKUYA KUCHIKI sat at his desk. His office was expansive and magnificent with beautiful wooden carvings. Behind his desk was a large window that showed a lush garden with trickling water that added to the tranquil ambience.
A knock came on the door.
"Come in," Byakuya said calmly.
Renji entered the room.
"Take a seat, Renji. What do you want?" Byakuya said.
Renji took a seat and cleared his throat.
"Sir, it's about Rukia," Renji said.
"What of her?" Byakuya said.
"She is being sentenced to death for the act of resurrection when it is usually punished with banishment,"
"Execution, banishment; what is the difference so long you do not see the person ever again,"
"Something is not right sir. She is just a first time offender and we know her; she has a clean record, she must have had a good reason for what she did," Renji said.
"And your point is?" Byakuya asked.
"Well, this is injustice. There should be trial; maybe she was framed,"
"We are Shinigami, we have no business in the lives of the living, only the wellbeing of their souls. Bringing someone back to life is clearly a violation of law,"
"I know that it is sir, but the way she is being punished is an anomaly. Shouldn't she be heard out first? Shouldn't she simply be banished? We're treating her like a war criminal,"
Byakuya did not respond.
"Sir, she is your sister," Renji said.
"Look, the relations of the Kuchiki royal clan are none of your business," Byakuya said, clearly angered, but suppressing it still, "she will die and that is final,"
"Ah, yes, the honourable Kuchiki clan washes their hands clean of their own members when being unjustly punished,"
Byakuya sat back in his seat.
"I do not make the law, I only enforce it. If you have a problem, then take it up with Central 46, I'm sure they will love to hear your plight," Byakuya said.
Renji frowned at Byakuya, but decided not to say anything more. Renji got up and left the room.
A BONE NECKLACE dangled around, smacking against the chest of its wearer. An Adjucha wearing a bone necklace walked before three Menos Grande, leading them. Takeshi and Ashido stood behind a tree, peeping at the Adjucha.
The Adjucha stopped. Takeshi and Ashido hid back behind the tree, afraid they were spotted. The Adjucha sniffed and Takeshi gulped. Ashido turned to Takeshi with his finger to his lips.
The Adjucha punched the tree Ashido and Takeshi hid behind and they jumped out of the way. The Adjucha gestured to the Menos, which moved toward Ashido and Takeshi.
"Take the Menos, Takeshi," Ashido said as he drew his Zanpakutou, "I'll take the Adjucha,"
"Uh, not to be rude, but shouldn't the captain take the more dangerous enemies, sir?" Takeshi asked frightfully.
"Trust me, I am," Ashido said.
"O-okay," Takeshi said as he drew his Zanpakutou.
Ashido charged at the Adjucha. The Adjucha threw a punch at Ashido who teleported behind the Adjucha. Ashido swung his Zanpakutou at the Adjucha and it jumped out of the way. Ashido grazed the skin of the Adjucha with his Zanpakutou and followed it as it withdrew.
Takeshi sliced at a Menos' leg and the Hollow howled. Takeshi jumped back.
"Huh, these things are weak," Takeshi said cockily.
The Menos swung its arm at Takeshi and he escaped barely. The Menos' arm went on to knock down three trees.
"Whoa," Takeshi said as he clenched his Zanpakutou tighter.
Takeshi stabbed the Menos' leg and jumped back when another Menos fired a red energy beam from its mouth at him. Takeshi jumped onto another Menos, stabbing its skin. The Menos recoiled and Takeshi jumped off it onto another one, stabbing its skin. Takeshi jumped onto the third Menos' skull and sliced its nose off. Takeshi swung his Zanpakutou cockily as the Menos he stood on fell over.
The Adjucha punched Ashido in the gut and slammed him down. The Adjucha threw a punch at Ashido and he blocked with his Zanpakutou, cutting into its paw. The Adjucha jumped back and Ashido got to his feet. The Adjucha fired three red beams from its mouth and Ashido dodged each of them used teleportation. Ashido flipped over the Adjucha's head and it grabbed his leg, throwing him onto a tree. The Adjucha threw a punch at Ashido. Ashido rolled out of the way and the Adjucha landed the punch on the tree instead, knocking it over.
A Menos fired a red beam at Takeshi and he sidestepped.
"Ha, missed," Takeshi said.
The Menos maintained the beam and directed it at Takeshi. Takeshi ran away from the beam that now followed him like a laser, trying to manoeuvre it. Another Menos fired a red beam at Takeshi and he began to manoeuvre the two beams simultaneously. Takeshi ran into a cluster of trees and the beams followed him, scorching the trees he had ran passed. Takeshi jumped out of the cluster of trees and ran in another direction. Takeshi looked at the two Menos and saw that their heads were able to turn at a 360-degree radius. There was no way of losing them, especially at the speed Takeshi was running.
Ashido blocked forearm thrusts from the Adjucha and it punched him in the gut. Ashido swung at the Adjucha's head and it ducked. The Adjucha elbowed Ashido in the gut, sending him hurling a few metres back. The Adjucha fired a red beam at Ashido and he teleported out of the way. Ashido appeared behind the Adjucha and sliced its back.
"Heh, got ya," Ashido said, panting.
The Adjucha turned to Ashido, growling. Ashido was got off guard and the Adjucha slammed him to the ground. Ashido teleported out of the way. Ashido reached into his pocket and pulled out a grenade. The Adjucha threw a punch at Ashido and he blocked it with Zanpakutou. Ashido punched the Adjucha, stuffing the grenade in its stomach. Ashido teleported away and the Adjucha exploded.
Ashido turned to see Takeshi still running from the Menos' energy beams.
"You've gotta be kidding me," Ashido said.
Ashido teleported onto a Menos' head and waved at the third Menos as it got to its feet.
"Hey, over here!" Ashido yelled.
The third Menos fired a red beam at the head of the one Ashido stood on. Ashido teleported away as the third Menos inadvertently killed its compatriot. The Menos that had been firing a beam at Takeshi suddenly stopped.
"Huh?" Takeshi said as he stopped running.
Ashido appeared on another Menos' head and stabbed it in the eye. Ashido teleported onto the last Menos' head and sliced its skull in half. Ashido teleported beside Takeshi as all three Menos fell and died.
"How'd you do that, sir?" Takeshi said.
"We captains are very skilled," Ashido responded as he sheathed his Zanpakutou, "Menos are child's play,"
"Well if that is the case," Takeshi said as he sheathed his Zanpakutou, "you need to train your lieutenants better. If I was alone, I'd be dead,"
"Which is why you have me around," Ashido said as he began to walk onward.
"Is this the case with all Divisions?" Takeshi asked as he followed Ashido, "that their lieutenants are far weaker than their captains?"
"Yes, usually," Ashido said.
"Sir, a team is only as strong as its weakest link," Takeshi said as "if lieutenants aren't even close to the strength of captains, then their teamwork isn't cohesive. Instead of focussing on combat, the captain will have to be thinking about the safety of his lieutenant,"
"Hmm, I'd never thought of that. You have a point. You should tell Yamamoto about that,"
"Uh," Takeshi laughed uneasily, "could you tell him instead?"
"Why?" Ashido asked.
"He scares me, sir," Takeshi said.
Ashido chuckled as they continued through the forest.
KEIGO WAILED loudly to Ichigo's annoyance. Lunch could never be normal with him around. Chad and Orihime handled it well, but Tatsuki didn't. She was so tired of his crazy side that she wished she had earplugs or something. Yet again, Tatsuki wondered why she even hanged out with him, but then started chuckling.
"How can you leave us, Ichigo? Aren't we friends?" Keigo asked.
"I'll only be gone for a month," Ichigo said, "I'll be back for the next semester,"
Orihime, who was seated across from Tatsuki and beside Ichigo, noticed Tatsuki try to hide her chuckling. Since Tatsuki was seated beside Keigo, Orihime assumed the chuckling was because she liked Keigo. Well, everyone likes Keigo; he's funny, but Orihime thought maybe Tatsuki liked him a little more. Then again, Orihime has misread things before, like when she assumed Tatsuki was in love with the football captain when he told a joke one time. Orihime still wondered though because Tatsuki's cheeks were turning red. Maybe it was from all the chuckling. Orihime continued to wonder, but lost herself in the food she was eating.
"Relax, Keigo," Chad said.
Keigo continued wailing. Tatsuki stopped laughing and wiped some tears that welled up. Orihime glanced at Tatsuki's cheeks were completely red. She continued eating and ignored it.
"Hey, Tatsuki, are you okay?" Chad asked.
"What?" Tatsuki asked.
"You're cheeks are red," Chad said.
"Huh?" Tatsuki asked since she hadn't noticed.
"Tatsuki and some guy," Keigo began to sing, "sitting in a –"
Tatsuki elbowed Keigo and he fell off his seat. Tatsuki continued eating and realized that she really was blushing this time. She tried to get her mind off it by eating.
"So what're you going for?" Tatsuki asked.
"Just going for a visit a friend," Ichigo answered.
"In Tokyo? That's miles from here," Tatsuki asked.
"Well, I met him online," Ichigo answered.
"So you'll visit a friend miles from home because you met them online?" Tatsuki asked.
"Uh, yeah," Ichigo answered.
"Okay," Tatsuki answered.
Phew. Ichigo was relieved, yet surprised; it was very uncharacteristic of Tatsuki to simply leave things at that. It was probably that whole blushing thing.
"That's weird, Tatsuki. I thought you'd grill him over it," Orihime asked.
"Just because he is going to visit someone he met online when he can't even remember the names of classmates who live across town yet alone visit them?" Tatsuki said.
"Well, yeah," Orihime said.
"Nah, it's nothing. I don't really care," Tatsuki said.
"Are you sick, Tatsuki?" Chad asked.
" No," Tatsuki said, "why?"
"You cheeks are still red," Chad said.
Tatsuki stood up.
"Look, being nosey, okay?" Tatsuki said as she left.
"She's got it bad," Ichigo said.
"Yeah," Orihime said as she stuffed her face.
"But for who?" Ichigo said.
"I dunno," Chad said.
Keigo groaned as he lay on the floor.
"Oh, it still hurts," Keigo said.
Tatsuki walked passed a window as she left the restenergynt. She looked at her reflection and her cheeks were still red.
"What's wrong with me?" Tatsuki wondered.
She wondered whether she was sick or put too much hot sauce in her food again. No, she knew she was blushing. What was she blushing for? Frankly, she did not know herself, but she didn't like it.
Orihime finished eating and got up.
"Well, bye guys," Orihime said.
"You're going already?" Chad asked.
"Well, I'm pretty sure Tatsuki wants to talk about something, so I'm gonna catch up with her," Orihime answered.
"You know she doesn't like girl talk," Ichigo said.
"I know, but I like messing with her. I even talked her into fantasizing about you, Ichigo," Orihime said.
"Really?" Ichigo said.
"Yeah, you seem psyched. Relax, it was only a one time thing ... I think. I'm not sure, it's probably the reason why she's blushing. I sure hope not," Orihime said.
Ichigo and Orihime laughed uneasily. There was an awkward silence.
"Well, I'm going. Good luck in the Sereitei," Orihime said.
"Thanks," Ichigo said.
"Bye, Orihime," Chad said.
Orihime walked away. Chad turned to Ichigo who seemed deep in thought.
"What is it, Ichigo?" Chad asked.
"Lots of girls throw themselves at me, don't they?" Ichigo said.
"Yeah, I wondered when you'd notice. You brushed off tons of girls in High School," Chad said.
"Yeah," Ichigo said absentmindedly.
"What are you thinking about?" Chad said.
"You thinking about Tatsuki?" Keigo said as he jumped to his seat.
"Yeah, she's kinda hot," Ichigo said.
"You like her, don't you?" Keigo said.
"Well, not really; it'd be just a one-off thing, you know." Ichigo said.
"Said the guy who's never gotten laid," Keigo said.
"Hey, I've laid down to sleep; that counts," Ichigo said, chuckling.
Keigo and Chad stared at Ichigo disapprovingly.
"What?" Ichigo asked, confused.
"That was just sad, man," Keigo said.
"Seriously," Chad said.
"Well, I'm not the only one; neither of you got any either," Ichigo said.
"Let's just change topic before you make another pathetic joke," Chad said.
ICHIGO AND CHAD walked down the streets of Karakura Town, both clad in casual clothing. Ichigo hummed a tune.
"Hey, Ichigo," Chad asked, "you don't seem the slightest bit unnerved, how come?"
"You're talking about the Sereitei thing?" Ichigo asked.
"Yeah, you don't seem the slightest bit worried. Urahara said that the Sereitei is full of dangerous fighters who would kill us in a second," Chad said.
"Well, that's what everyone else said about the thugs in High School, but we took care of them, didn't we?" Ichigo said.
"Yeah, but these are no thugs; their well trained swordsmen," Chad said.
"Well, I'm a well trained martial artist and Urahara has taught me everything he knows," Ichigo said.
"I doubt he did. I couldn't put my finger on it, but I could sense that he was hiding something. Orihime confirmed the same thing," Chad said.
"Well, I do admit that guy is a little shifty, but I have learned a lot from him. I even achieved this thing called Bankai which is like the ultimate technique for Shinigami," Ichigo said.
"You Shinigami use too many complicated fighting styles. I just punch and shoot out energy from my fists," Chad said.
"Yeah, I wish there were simpler methods of fighting," Ichigo said.
Chad and Ichigo continued walking.
"Well, we're here," Chad said.
Ichigo and Chad stood before Urahara's shop. Two teens aged around 14 stood at the door. One of them was a young hot-headed, redheaded boy, Jinta Hanakari and the other a young raven-haired and impish girl, Ururu Tsumugiya.
"Hey, Ichigo, Mr. Urahara is waiting for you inside," Jinta said, seemingly displeased by Chad and Ichigo's presence.
"Thanks," Ichigo said, ignoring Jinta's glare.
Ichigo and Chad entered Urahara's shop.
"That girl's weird," Chad said.
"What do you mean?" Ichigo said as he looked back at Ururu.
"She gives me weird looks and is always blushing," Chad turned to Ururu then back to Ichigo, "I don't roll that way, man,"
"Yeah, I guess her face is always like that," Ichigo said.
Ururu turned to Ichigo and he quickly looked forward.
"Okay, you're right; she's creepy," Ichigo said.
"Let's just keep walking," Chad said.
Ichigo and Chad proceeded to the inner room in the shop.
URAHARA stood in the training area, awaiting Ichigo and Chad who were walking up to him. Yoruichi was on his shoulder, seemingly asleep.
"Hello, good morning, gentlemen," Urahara said.
Ichigo and Chad walked up to them.
"Let's get down to business," Urahara said, "now, I'm going to open a portal to the Sereitei that you will go through called a Senkaimon,"
"I will forget that name," Ichigo said.
"Good, it makes things easier for the readers. Anyways, the portal can be opened by any Shinigami by using their Zanpakutou," Urahara said as he unsheathed his Zanpakutou.
Urahara walked passed Ichigo and Chad and held out his Zanpakutou. He turned the hilt clockwise like a key.
"Unlock," Urahara said.
A white portal opened and Urahara sheathed his Zanpakutou.
"See, easy," Urahara said.
"Just like that?" Ichigo asked, surprised.
"Yeah, and you don't need to hone in your energy or anything, just like that. As long as you have a Zanpakutou, you can do it," Urahara said.
"Cool," Ichigo said as he walked toward the portal, "thanks, Mr. Hat n Clogs. C'mon, Chad,"
Urahara cut off Ichigo.
"Wait, there's one more thing. The portal will remain open until something goes through it, which means if two people want to go in, they should go in quickly or else you will be separated. And be sure to be quick when entering, you don't want to leave your leg in this dimension," Urahara said.
"Yeah," Ichigo said, frightened.
"You should run as fast as you can when in the portal. The portal leads you to the Precipice World then into the Sereitei. In the Precipice World is a strange creature we call the Cleaner that destroys everything in its path like a freight train. It is indestructible," Urahara explained.
"Got it," Ichigo said.
Ichigo tried to walk in, but Urahara cut him off again.
"What is it?" Ichigo said.
"Well, only spiritual beings can enter the Sereitei, so," Urahara said, "turn into a Shinigami,"
"Oh, right," Ichigo said embarrassedly.
Ichigo summoned his Zanpakutou and transformed into a Shinigami.
"What about me?" Chad asked.
"Huh?" Urahara said, then realized, "Oh, you'll be fine, Chad,"
"But, you said only spiritual beings can enter the Sereitei," Chad asked.
"And your point is?" Urahara asked.
"Uh, I'm not a spiritual being," Chad said, gesturing to himself.
Urahara stared at Chad blankly. Chad sighed.
"Never mind," Chad said.
"Aren't you forgetting something?" Yoruichi said.
"Kitty!" Urahara said excitedly as he lifted Yoruichi.
Yoruichi laughed, but then composed herself. Ichigo and Chad looked at the two with droopy eyes.
"Not now, Urahara," Yoruichi said, chuckling.
"Oh, right," Urahara said as he placed Yoruichi on the ground, "Yoruichi here will be coming with you,"
"Why?" Ichigo said.
"Well, you've never been to the Sereitei, so you'll get lost," Yoruichi said.
"Right, but won't you get injured in the Sereitei?" Ichigo asked.
"I've been there for years; I know what I'm doing," Yoruichi said.
"They let cats into the Sereitei?" Ichigo asked.
Yoruichi hissed at Ichigo.
"Just go with her," Urahara said.
"Okay," Ichigo said, "see ya, Mr. Hat n Clogs,"
Urahara nodded. Ichigo picked up Yoruichi and walked up to the portal.
"C'mon, Chad," Ichigo said.
Ichigo and Chad stood at the portal and ran into it. The portal closed.
ICHIGO AND CHAD ran down a dark path, walled by jagged rocks. Ichigo looked at the ground and saw human bones crushed up on the ground.
"Yeesh," Ichigo exclaimed.
"We'd better be quick then," Chad said.
"And they say Shinigami are ghosts. Tsk, Ghosts don't have bones," Ichigo said.
"We don't really know why these are here, but we've never had the time to do any investigations in this place," Yoruichi said.
"Well, it's still weird," Ichigo said.
"Yeah," Chad said.
A loud horn suddenly sounded and Ichigo freaked out.
"What's that?" Ichigo yelled.
"It's the Cleaner, get moving," Yoruichi said.
Ichigo and Chad began to sprint. A bright light illumined the room from behind them. Ichigo turned and screamed as he dashed forward, surpassing Chad.
"Ichigo!" Chad called out.
Chad turned to see what Ichigo saw.
"Oh, man," Chad said.
A large bulbous creature charged at them. It was black, round and around 17 feet in height with only one eye that was as bright as a train's lights. Chad dashed and caught up to Ichigo.
"I'm never using this route again!" Ichigo said, panting.
"Then how will you get home?" Yoruichi asked.
"Oh, right. But still, ah!" Ichigo screamed.
Chad and Ichigo ran as fast as they could, but the Cleaner was still gaining on them.
"Run faster!" Yoruichi said.
"This is the limit!" Ichigo yelled, but still tried his best to run faster.
"Hey, look Ichigo!" Chad said.
A portal came into view a few metres from where Ichigo and Chad were.
"There's the gateway into the Sereitei," Yoruichi said.
"We're gonna make it," Ichigo said.
The Cleaner was only inches away from Ichigo and Chad.
"We're not gonna make it!" Ichigo yelled.
The Cleaner came close enough to graze Ichigo and Chad's arms.
"Oh man, I never even got to eat that strawberry yoghurt I left in fridge!"Ichigo yelled.
"Jump!" Chad shouted.
Ichigo and Chad leaped through the portal. It closed and the Cleaner continued on. The Cleaner moved through the area, illumining it as it crushed things. Its movement resembled that of Pac Man, only darker, louder and without the munching
A PORTAL opened and Chad and Ichigo fell out of it, landing awkwardly on a dusty ground. Ichigo and Chad got to their feet and took in their surroundings. They stood in a poor village that resembled ancient Japan. Ichigo was surprised.
"Are you sure this is the afterlife?" Ichigo asked.
"Yes. Welcome to the Soul Society," Yoruichi said excitedly.
Ichigo and Chad were unimpressed. Everyone was poor, haggard and sad – all of them working desperately for food.
"I don't wanna die," Ichigo shook his head, "if this is where I'm gonna go,"
"Don't be ungrateful, think of everything that we have here," Yoruichi exclaimed, "Peace,"
Ichigo looked at a woman suffering from tuberculosis.
"Harmony," Yoruichi said.
Chad looked at two people fighting in the street.
"And eternal rest," Yoruichi said.
The sick woman died.
"Uh, did that woman just die dead?" Ichigo asked.
"What?" Yoruichi asked.
"How do you die dead?" Ichigo asked.
"There are things you humans will not understand," Yoruichi said.
Ichigo frowned at that sentence being repeated to him.
"A dead woman just died!" Ichigo yelled at Yoruichi.
Chad pointed at a woman who seemed to be 9 months pregnant.
"That woman is pregnant," Chad said.
"So, the woman is about to give birth ...?" Ichigo asked, "Isn't giving birth called 'the miracle of life'? That woman is about to give death!"
"There are things you humans just will not understand, okay?" Yoruichi said.
"No," Ichigo laughed, "there are things you Shinigami will not understand. This is ridiculous,"
Ichigo stopped laughing when he saw an enormous wall in the distance. It was white and seemed to encompass the horizon. He looked at it in awe.
"Whoa, what's that?" Ichigo asked.
"That is the Sereitei," Yoruichi said.
"Its magnificent," Chad said.
"Yeah," Ichigo said, awestruck, "hey, wait a minute; you mean we have to walk all the way over there?"
"Yes, you do," Yoruichi said.
"Oh, c'mon, really?" Ichigo asked.
"Yes," Yoruichi responded.
"Okay, fine, let's get a move on," Ichigo said.
Ichigo and Chad trotted on.
A WOMAN sat on a mat in a large wooden room. She had long raven hair, a voluptuous body and had a wooden right arm. She wore a red top and a white dress with a slit on her right leg. Her head was wrapped in bandages and she wore a red glove on her left arm that was tattooed. She smoked a cigar and seemed to be bored, but at the same time not eager to do anything.
"Madam," a man called from outside the room.
"Enter," the woman responded.
The man entered the room. He was dressed in beige kung fu attire which had a badge on its right arm with the symbol of Division 13 inverted. It was a uniform.
The man knelt before the woman.
"Madam, surveillance feeds have detected that a Senkaimon had been opened in the West Rukon district," the man said.
"So? Senkaimons are pop up everywhere everyday," the woman said.
"Madam, Yoruichi Shihoin came out of the portal with a Shinigami and a human male," the man said.
"Alright then, let's get moving," the woman replied.
ICHIGO AND CHAD ran as fast as they could, covering some kilometres in an half an hour. It would've taken less time if Chad had been as fast as Ichigo was, but Ichigo did not mind. He needed the company of another human. He may not have said it, but Ichigo was beginning to think that he was going insane and talking to a cat for probably the next month would only make things worse. Ichigo and Chad arrived at the wall.
"Here," Ichigo panted, "we are,"
"Yeah," Chad said.
A large Shinigami guard stood at the gate. His left sleeve was torn and his arm was scorched. He wore a red band around his head and wielded a large axe shaped Zanpakutou.
"Identify yourself," the guard said.
"I thought Shinigami only wielded swords," Ichigo whispered to Yoruichi.
"Zanpakutou means 'soul slicer'; it does not necessarily have to be a sword," Yoruichi answered.
"And here I assumed they were only swordsmen here," Chad said.
"Yeah," Ichigo said.
"I said, identify yourselves," the guard said once more.
Ichigo placed Yoruichi on the ground and walked up to the guard.
"I'm Ichigo Kurosaki and I want to get into the Sereitei," Ichigo said.
"I need some credentials," the guard said.
"Credentials? I'm a Shinigami, can't you see the kimono?" Ichigo said.
"You are unauthorized to enter, please leave before I make you," the guard said.
"Man, why didn't Urahara just make the portal open inside the Sereitei?" Ichigo asked, turning to Yoruichi
"I don't know, I didn't make the thing," Yoruichi said.
The guard brandished his Zanpakutou.
"I said leave, now!" the guard shouted.
"Fine," Ichigo said, "I'll just leave,"
Ichigo drew his Zanpakutou.
"Bankai!" Ichigo yelled.
Ichigo's eyes glowed blue and a blue energy surrounded his body. His kimono top turned into a form-fitting cloak that was tattered at its tail. His Zanpakutou shrunk into a kitana with a black blade. This was Ichigo's Bankai form.
"Uh, isn't that a little –" Yoruichi tried to say when Ichigo swung at the guard.
The guard blocked the attack and pushed Ichigo back. Chad clenched his right hand when Ichigo ran passed him.
"I got this," Ichigo said.
Ichigo jumped at the guard, slicing his torso. The guard swung at Ichigo who blocked, causing them to lock blades. Ichigo sliced through the axe's blade and cut it in half. The guard stepped back and pressed a button on his belt. Ichigo lunged at the guard and sliced his torso in half. The guard fell over and died. Ichigo landed and shook the blood off his Zanpakutou.
"What the hell!?" Yoruichi exclaimed as she ran up to Ichigo.
"What?" Ichigo said as his attire and Zanpakutou returned to their original state.
"You did not have to kill him," Yoruichi said.
"Why? We needed to get through," Ichigo said.
"We could have just forced him to open the gate, now we can't," Yoruichi said.
"Oh," Ichigo said.
Yoruichi walked passed Ichigo as she sheathed his Zanpakutou.
"You're lucky, at least there weren't any highly skilled Shinigami around here –" Yoruichi tried to say when the gates opened.
The large gates were the height of the wall, which was around 300 feet tall. The gates slid apart, revealing just a glimpse at the Sereitei, which was a lavish and high class area in comparison to the area they were in.
A man stood at the gate. He was tall, slim and had grey hair. He exhibited an unnerving grin and, combined with his ever-closed eyes, made him look menacing.
"My, my, I was right," the man said as he walked out of the gate, "we should've had guards standing on top of the walls, not out here where they can be killed. Stupid, Yamamoto,"
Yoruichi looked at the man and stepped back, frightened. He was a Squad Captain and just from his look, he was dangerous.
"Well, then," Ichigo said as he drew his Zanpakutou and went into Bankai state.
"Ichigo, stop!" Yoruichi yelled.
Ichigo charged at the captain.
"You should've listened to you're friend," the captain said smugly.
The captain drew a small Zanpakutou from his kimono's torso. He thrust its point at Ichigo and the blade stretched out at an incredible speed. Ichigo blocked the attack in a split second and was pushed far back. The captain's Zanpakutou shrunk to its original length and he sheathed it.
"Don't come back," the captain said.
The gates began to close and the captain walked back into the Sereitei.
"Ichigo!" Chad shouted as he ran toward Ichigo's location.
"Stupid boy," Yoruichi said as she followed Chad.
Ichigo lay on the ground in the middle of a street. He struggled to get to his feet, still recovering from the force of the attack. Ichigo reverted to his normal Shinigami state.
"Man that hurt," Ichigo said.
"Not as much as this will hurt," the woman said.
Ichigo turned and saw the raven-haired woman along with several uniformed men stand around him.
"What the hell?" Ichigo said.
Chad and Yoruichi caught up to Ichigo.
"Dammit," Yoruichi said.