Bleach: Words of the Copper Chain


YORUICHI AND Kuukaku moved stealthily through the Sereitei, using every possible location devoid of surveillance cameras. Yoruichi and Kuukaku jumped off a rooftop and landed in an alley near a sewer.

"Huh," Yoruichi said, "you think we should've told the kids about the surveillance cameras?"

"And you?" Kuukaku asked, "You could've told them. I forgot,"

"Guess it slipped both our minds," Yoruichi said.

Yoruichi peeped out of the alley then went back behind cover.

"Sure hope they aren't dead yet," Yoruichi said.

"They'll be fine," Kuukaku said, "well, at least the orange haired kid will. From the guy's reiatsu, he's at the power level of a Captain,"

"That's the power level of a Captain?" Yoruichi asked in a surprised manner.

"Well, yeah, that's an average Captain's reiatsu level," Kuukaku said, "though the orange haired kid's fluctuates a lot,"

"Man, things have changed a lot since I was here," Yoruichi said.

"Yeah," Kuukaku said, "I'm not even afraid of being spotted by a Captain right now,"

"Well, seems you may get your chance," Yoruichi said.


Yoruichi directed Kuukaku's head to Soifon and the Four Stealth Force Shinigami who walked down a pathway across from where they were. Soifon stopped and pointed at Yoruichi and Kuukaku without turning to them.

"Move," Yoruichi said.

The Four Stealth Force Shinigami teleported and swung daggers at Kuukaku and Yoruichi. The two women rolled out of the way and the Stealth Force Shinigami split up to attack the two.

"Kuukaku," Yoruichi said as she dodged an attack, "don't kill them,"

"Why?" Kuukaku asked as she punched a Stealth Force Shinigami in the face.

"They work for a friend of mine," Yoruichi said

"Oh, so now I'm your friend, huh?" Soifon asked.

Kuukaku gave a Stealth Force Shinigami a punch and leg sweep combo.

"Oh, fine," Kuukaku said.

Kuukaku punched the Shinigami out cold.

"They don't seem worth killing anyways," Kuukaku said.

Kuukaku went into a fighting stance.

"Go talk to your friend," Kuukaku said, "I'll take on these wimps,"

The Stealth Force turned to Soifon and she nodded. The Stealth Force Shinigami drew their dagger-shaped Zanpakutou at Kuukaku. She blocked a dagger with her right arm and dodged the other daggers. Stealth Force Shinigami #2 threw a punch at Kuukaku and she dodged it. Kuukaku punched Stealth Force Shinigami #3, kicked him in the shin and backhanded him, knocking him off his feet. Kuukaku jumped back, dodging a dagger and ran up to Stealth Force Shinigami #4. Kuukaku dropkicked him, flipped in midair and elbowed him in the neck. Kuukaku gave Stealth Force Shinigami #3 a roundhouse kick. Stealth Force Shinigami #2 grabbed Kuukaku's arms from behind. Kuukaku gave him a reverse head butt, kicked his knee and flipped him over her shoulder.

Yoruichi walked up to Soifon, wondering why she wasn't doing anything the whole time. Soifon had just been standing there, watching Kuukaku take down her men.

"Hello, earth to Soifon?" Yoruichi said, "Or is it, 'Sereitei to Soifon'? Tsk, I always forget whether this place is on earth or not,"

"So is this what you've been doing?" Soifon asked, "Rising up fighters to invade the Sereitei?"

"You and I both know I have better things to do than that," Yoruichi said, "and besides, I could take down four Captains singlehandedly without breaking a sweat,"

"Oh, really?" Soifon said, "Let's test that theory, shall we?"

Soifon drew her Zanpakutou and stabbed it into the ground. A large group of Stealth Force Shinigami appeared, surrounding Kuukaku and Yoruichi. Kuukaku stood lazily as she looked at her new opponents.

"Heh, I prepare for a real fight and this is all you give me?" Kuukaku said as she flipped her hair, "C'mon give me your 'best' shot,"

Yoruichi looked at the Stealth Force Shinigami then smirked. A Stealth Force Shinigami suddenly dropped on the pavement, unconscious. Soifon looked in surprise and turned to Yoruichi who looked her dead in the eye.

"Oh, it's no theory," Yoruichi said.

Stealth Force Shinigami started dropping like flies. Yoruichi's disappeared and reappeared rapidly in the same spot. All the Stealth Force Shinigami dropped to the ground and Yoruichi reappeared. Soifon had her mouth agape, at a loss for words.

"You're even faster than last time," Kuukaku said.

"Why thank you," Yoruichi said as she bowed cockily.

Soifon dislodged Zanpakutou from the ground and flew toward Yoruichi with a slash. Yoruichi blocked with her forearm and the two women teleported away. Kuukaku stared at the spot Yoruichi and Soifon were at.

"Well, I'll just look for Rukia then," Kuukaku said.

Kuukaku ran off.

URAHARA STOOD before a computer and a swirly loading icon came on the screen. Words came onscreen; "REIATSU STRUCTURE ANALYSIS COMPLETE".

The computer showed that the reiatsu's structure was that of a Shinigami and two other unknown beings. Urahara had expected there to be human and Shinigami signatures in the reiatsu image taken from Ichigo. To find that of Shinigami and two other beings was completely unexpected. Urahara sensed that something was wrong.

SOIFON AND Yoruichi appeared in a forest on the outskirts of the Sereitei. Soifon swung her Zanpakutou at Yoruichi and she blocked it with her shin. Soifon swung twice at Yoruichi who weaved swiftly through each slash. Yoruichi flipped over Soifon, hooking her neck with her calf and slammed her on the ground. Soifon teleported away and Yoruichi teleported into a cluster of trees. Yoruichi hopped from tree to tree and Soifon followed her. Soifon swung her Zanpakutou at Yoruichi and she jumped onto it. Yoruichi kicked Soifon in the temple, sending her hurling out of the forest. Yoruichi's voice echoed around as she laughed.

Soifon got to her feet and looked around. She couldn't see Yoruichi. Soifon held out her Zanpakutou horizontally and placed her free hand on the blade.

"Sting all enemies to death," Soifon said "Suzumebachi,"

Soifon's Zanpakutou glowed and shrank down, wrapping around her right hand. It stopped glowing and had become a black gauntlet with gold stripes and a small chain linked it to a blade on her middle finger.

"You couldn't take me down with your Zanpakutou at full length," Yoruichi said, "but you think it can catch me with a gauntlet,"

Yoruichi appeared before Soifon, catching her off guard. Yoruichi grabbed Soifon by the neck and slammed her on the ground. Soifon cut Yoruichi's left shoulder with her stinger gauntlet and Yoruichi teleported away from her. Yoruichi's cut began to bleed and her shoulder slowly began to turn black. Soifon ran up to Yoruichi, stabbing her stinger at her. Yoruichi dodged and kicked Soifon in her ribs. Soifon smacked into a tree, fell over and rolled to her feet. Soifon lunged at Soifon, throwing two kicks at her. Yoruichi blocked them with her forearm, grabbed Soifon's leg and smacked her into a tree. Yoruichi tried to throw a punch with her left arm and it began to sting. Soifon leg swept Yoruichi and stabbed her stinger at her. Yoruichi teleported behind Soifon and tried to stomp on her head. Soifon rolled out of the way and got to her feet. Yoruichi threw a kick and Soifon blocked it with her forearm. Yoruichi threw two punches with her right arm and Soifon weaved through them. Soifon kicked Yoruichi's left arm, elbowed her and threw a kick at her head. Yoruichi rolled out of the way, landing on her left arm. Yoruichi writhed in pain and Soifon ran up to her. Yoruichi kicked Soifon's legs, Soifon fell toward her and she elbowed her in the head, sending her hurling some metres back.

Yoruichi struggled to get to her feet and Soifon made it on all fours. Soifon's mouth and nose bled and she became angry. Soifon got to her feet and stared down Yoruichi. Yoruichi looked at her left shoulder and the blackening on her wound had turned into a black butterfly shaped stamp. Soifon wiped the blood off her nose and mouth.

"This ends now," Soifon said.

White electricity-like energy slowly exuded from Soifon's shoulders and back, increasing in intensity. The back and shoulders of Soifon's kimono top were incinerated in the white energy that enveloped her entire body. Yoruichi stood there, not attempting to attack as she held on to her shoulder in pain. Soifon ran up to Yoruichi, ready to stab her with her gauntlet. Soifon drove her hand toward Yoruichi who placed her right hand laterally below hers.

"Stop," Yoruichi said.

Electricity surged around Soifon's body, the white energy dissipated and she froze in place. Soifon could not move a single muscle in her body except her eyes.

"You are not ready to use this technique yet, Soifon," Yoruichi said, "Shunko is hard to control and if you come across someone with more experience,"

Yoruichi held Soifon's hand, breaking the paralysis.

"They could easily manipulate your reiatsu and freeze you in place," Yoruichi said, "Like I did."

"Then why haven't you killed me?" Soifon asked as she lowered her head angrily.

Yoruichi let go of Soifon's hand. Soifon lowered he head.

"You came all the way here and took down my men just to gloat about your skill?" Soifon asked.

Yoruichi didn't answer. Soifon lifted her face and tears rolled down her cheeks.

"Why'd you leave me, Yoruichi?" Soifon asked, "You train me for all those years and just abandon me? Why didn't you take me with you?"

"You didn't need me to train you anymore," Yoruichi said, "And I didn't want you to get implicated in the mess that I was in,"

"What mess? What are you talking about?" Soifon asked.

Yoruichi didn't respond and just looked at Soifon. Soifon started to bawl.

"I'm sorry, Soifon," Yoruichi said.

GANJU AND the Shiba warriors encountered several Shinigami as they made their way through the Sereitei until they caught up with Ichigo who stared at the raven-haired Captain with the pink-haired Shinigami fearfully.

"Ichigo!" Ganju called out.

"Ganju, get out of here!" Ichigo yelled.

"Hmm?" the Captain turned to Ganju and the Shiba warriors, "No interference,"

Ganju and the Shiba warriors arms buckled as the force came over them as well. The Captain used a reiatsu grip on them and they fell to the ground and died. Ichigo turned to the Captain, scared to death.

"You think this guy's strong enough, Kenpachi?" the girl asked.

"We'll just have to find out," Kenpachi said.

Kenpachi drew his rusty Zanpakutou and let up the reiatsu grip on Ichigo who went into his Bankai state. Ichigo drew his Zanpakutou and teleported to Kenpachi with a swing of it. Kenpachi blocked it with his Zanpakutou, wielding it with only one hand. Kenpachi pushed Ichigo back and Ichigo flipped over. Ichigo swung at Kenpachi's legs and he blocked with his Zanpakutou. Ichigo punched Kenpachi, kicked his leg and jumped into the air. Ichigo swung down on Kenpachi who looked at him, unfazed.

"What is he doing?" Kenpachi asked the pink-haired Shinigami.

"I don't know," the girl responded, unimpressed.

Ichigo nearly hit the pink-haired Shinigami. Kenpachi swung his Zanpakutou at Ichigo's side and Ichigo teleported out of the way. Kenpachi ran toward Ichigo with a swing of his Zanpakutou. Ichigo blocked it with his Zanpakutou and punched Kenpachi in the face. He was unfazed.

"Will you stop with those baby punches and fight?" Kenpachi shouted.

Kenpachi pushed Ichigo down, slamming him on the ground. Ichigo tried to push Kenpachi off him, but failed. The pink-haired Shinigami slid her fingers on the blade of Ichigo's Zanpakutou and looked at them. They did not have a single scratch.

"Hmm, I thought the blade would be sharp," the pink-haired Shinigami said, "Are you sure it's worth fighting him?"

"Yeah, you're right, Yachiru," Kenpachi said.

Kenpachi stood up and placed his Zanpakutou on his shoulder. Ichigo sat up, wondering what Kenpachi was doing.

"Let's see if the other Ryoka are stronger than this guy," Kenpachi said.

"I can sense them near the East Wing," Yachiru said.

Ichigo sat up, panting heavily. Kenpachi walked away from Ichigo. Ichigo looked at his back and saw the squad 4 insignia on his jacket.

"They'd better be because you took forever to locate this guy," Kenpachi said.

"Kenny, don't be grumpy, I found him didn't I?" Yachiru said.

"Yeah, but I'm disappointed, 'cuz I could swear his reiatsu was the strongest among them," Kenpachi said, "I just hope the remaining two won't be as weak as he is,"

"Why can't you locate them if you can sense their reiatsu?" Yachiru asked.

"Meh," Kenpachi said.

Ichigo's eyes glowed blue as he got to his feet. Ichigo charged toward Kenpachi.

"He's coming again," Yachiru said.

"Eh, whatever," Kenpachi said.

Ichigo swung at Kenpachi's arm and managed to cut it.

"Hmm," Kenpachi was surprised, "Guess I was wrong about this guy,"

Yachiru instinctively jumped off Kenpachi's back.

"All yours, Kenny," Yachiru said.

Kenpachi swung his Zanpakutou at Ichigo's side and he blocked. Ichigo kicked Kenpachi and stabbed toward him. Kenpachi grabbed his Zanpakutou with his bare hand and it bled. Kenpachi pulled Ichigo by his Zanpakutou and stabbed toward him. Ichigo flipped out of the way and gave Kenpachi a roundhouse kick, failing to knock him off his feet. Ichigo stood on Kenpachi's shoulder, failing to pull the Zanpakutou out of his grip. Ichigo elbowed Kenpachi's head, releasing his Zanpakutou from his grip. Ichigo landed behind Kenpachi, swung at his back and Kenpachi blocked it with his Zanpakutou. Ichigo and Kenpachi exchanged two slashes and Kenpachi grabbed his head and tossed him at a building's wall. Ichigo teleported before he smashed into the wall. Ichigo kicked Kenpachi in the head, rocking him a bit.

"Now we're talking," Kenpachi said.

Kenpachi swung at Ichigo and he blocked it. Ichigo pulled off Kenpachi's eye patch, expecting to see a damaged eye that he could injure. His eye was intact however and Kenpachi grinned.

"You shouldn't have done that, kid," Kenpachi said.

Yellow energy exploded out of Kenpachi, sending Ichigo hurling a few metres away. Ichigo got to his feet and Kenpachi ran up to him with a slash. Ichigo blocked it, but could barely stand as Kenpachi overpowered him and began to push him down. Blue energy exuded from Ichigo and he pushed Kenpachi back. Ichigo and Kenpachi exchanged three slashes with so much force that the ground around them began to crack. Ichigo and Kenpachi locked their blades and both their eyes were glowing, blue and yellow respectively. Kenpachi slashed at Ichigo and he blocked. The force was so great however, that it sent Ichigo hurling several metres in the air, causing him to smash through a building's wall.

Kenpachi stood and waited. Ichigo did not respond.

"I think you killed him, Kenny," Yachiru said.

"Eh, probably," Kenpachi said.

Kenpachi waited and Ichigo still didn't respond.

"Ah, well," Kenpachi said as he walked up to his eye patch, "It was fun while it lasted,"

Kenpachi picked up his eye patch and Yachiru ran up to him.

"You won again!" Yachiru said excitedly

ICHIGO WOKE up to a rude shock. Yoruichi was seated astride on him, kissing him.

"Hey, what're you doing?" Ichigo yelled as he moved away from Yoruichi.

"Giving you mouth-to-mouth," Yoruichi said blankly.

"Well, did I need it?" Ichigo asked, not realizing that he was still yelling.

"Nope," Yoruichi said, shaking her head.

Yoruichi stood up and walked around. Ichigo stood up and took in his surroundings. The two were in a rocky, mountainous area that had a pool of water nearby.

"Where are we?" Ichigo asked, still yelling.

"Stop yelling," Yoruichi said, chuckling.

"Well, sorry, I didn't expect to wake up to that," Ichigo said, no longer yelling.

"You didn't like it?" Yoruichi said.

"I said I didn't expect it," Ichigo said.

"So you did like it," Yoruichi said.

"You don't just go around, kissing people for no reason," Ichigo said, "Why'd you do that?"

"I just felt like it," Yoruichi said.

"You just felt like it?" Ichigo asked.

Yoruichi nodded.

"Okay," Ichigo said, confused and not wanting to ask any more questions.

"You can't even thank me for saving your life?" Yoruichi asked.

"Where are we?" Ichigo asked.

"We're in a cave Urahara and I discovered in a mountain near Sogyoku Hill," Yoruichi said, "Urahara expanded it and turned it into this. We used to hang out here all the time years back,"

"Just like the one in the shop?" Ichigo asked.

"Yeah," Yoruichi said.

"And you used to hang out?" Ichigo asked.

"Hang out, train; you call it what you want," Yoruichi said.

Ichigo looked at himself and realized that he was back in his standard Shinigami state with his Zanpakutou back in its sheath. All his bruises and wounds were gone as if they weren't there to begin with.

"Wasn't I in Bankai?" Ichigo said.

"Yeah, but since you were knocked out, you reverted to your normal form," Yoruichi said, "If you died, you'd become human again,"

"And how'd you heal me?" Ichigo asked.

"I placed you in that pool over there," Yoruichi said as she pointed at the pool, "It's a solution of water mixed with different ingestible medicines that can heal any wound and recover your reiatsu concentration. It's a product Urahara developed,"

"Well then," Ichigo said as he walked toward the pool, "I'm gonna have a swim," "Sure, let me join you," Yoruichi said.

Yoruichi began to remove her pants and Ichigo quickly turned away.

"No, no, no, no," Ichigo said in a panic, "I've changed my mind,"

"You're such a prude, you know that?" Yoruichi said as she put her pants back on.

"Yeah, whatever," Ichigo said nearly blushing.

Yoruichi laughed.

"How'd you find me anyway?" Ichigo asked.

"I could sense your reiatsu a mile away," Yoruichi explained, "I told you not to use Bankai; you don't know how to control it,"

"Well, what choice did I have?" Ichigo said, "This Captain named Kenpachi killed Ganju and the Shiba warriors then overpowered me. I had no choice,"

"Ganju's dead?" Yoruichi asked.

"Yeah," Ichigo said solemnly.

"I wonder how Kuukaku's going to take this," Yoruichi said, "She lost her older brother, Kaien in battle as well,"

Ichigo walked passed Yoruichi.

"Wait, how'd you save me, but not Ganju and the others?" Ichigo said.

"I just teleported to your location," Yoruichi said, "I couldn't sense Ganju and Shinigami were coming toward us. If a Shinigami's dead, their reiatsu completely dissipates and becomes undetectable,"

"Crap," Ichigo said as he held his neck angrily.

Yoruichi sighed and the two had a moment of silence. Ichigo realized something.

"Wait, aren't Shinigami supposed to be ghosts?" Ichigo asked, "How do ghosts die?"

OMAEDA RAN around the Sereitei, looking for Soifon. He lost her while looking for his bag of chips and he was panicking because he could not sense her reiatsu signature. Omaeda didn't look where he was going and nearly bumped into Shunsui who was walking in another direction.

"Hey, you nearly bumped into me," Shunsui said.

"I'm sorry, sir," Omaeda said, "I was looking for Soifon,"

"What, you can't find her?" Shunsui asked.

"I was just looking for my bag of chips and –"

"Oh, well, it's no big deal then," Shunsui said.

Shunsui walked on and Omaeda held his shoulder, stopping him.

"No, you don't understand," Omaeda said, "I found these Stealth Force Shinigami corpses being taken away from the barracks and I was told that they tried to attack Soifon and that she was heading for Central 46,"

"What?" Shunsui exclaimed, "If she heads for Central 46, she'll be in huge trouble. Only Captains of squads 4 and above are allowed there,"

"That's why I'm looking for her," Omaeda said.

"I need to stop her," Shunsui said.

"Let me come with you," Omaeda said.

"No, I don't want to get you in trouble either," Shunsui said, "I'll find her myself,"

Shunsui walked away from Omaeda who looked at him concernedly.

ICHIGO COVERED his eyes hastily as Yoruichi slowly removed her scarf.

"Since you might die," Yoruichi said in a saucy voice, "This may be the last time you see a hot young woman like me,"

"I told you, I'm kinda with someone," Ichigo said.

"Kinda doesn't count," Yoruichi said, "there goes the top,"

Ichigo quickly turned away.

"I said no," Ichigo said.

Yoruichi laughed hysterically.

"You make it too easy, Ichigo," Yoruichi said.

"What do you mean?" Ichigo said.

"I'm just kidding," Yoruichi said, "My top's are still on,"

Ichigo turned to Yoruichi and her jersey was off. Ichigo blushed then quickly frowned. Yoruichi was wearing a shirt underneath.

"What, you're disappointed?" Yoruichi asked smugly.

"Just shut –"Ichigo tried to say when Yoruichi removed her shirt.

Yoruichi had another shirt on and Ichigo growled.

"Ha! I knew you were a pervert," Yoruichi said.

Ichigo frowned angrily then stroked his chin.

"Huh," Ichigo said, "Where have I heard that before?"

Yoruichi removed her second shirt, revealing her bra. Ichigo quickly turned away from Yoruichi who put her jersey back on. Yoruichi laughed.

"I like you, Ichigo," Yoruichi said, "You're always good for a laugh"

"It's not funny," Ichigo said angrily, now blushing.

A hole exploded out of a mountain nearby and out came Byakuya and the grinning, grey haired Captain. Ichigo drew his Zanpakutou and Yoruichi turned to see the two. Yoruichi lit up.

"See, I told you they were here," the grey haired Captain said.

Byakuya looked at Yoruichi who was smiling.

"Let's split up," Byakuya said, "I will take the orange-haired boy and you take on Yoruichi,"

"Why?" the grey haired Captain asked.

"If you remember her, then you know why I don't want to fight her," Byakuya said.

"Hmm, eh, suit yourself," the grey haired Captain said.

Ichigo went into his Bankai state and teleported toward the captains.

"I told you not to go into Bankai," Yoruichi said then she shook her head, "They never listen, then again, these guys are tough,"

Ichigo collided with Byakuya and the grey haired Captain appeared beside Yoruichi. He tried to pull out his Zanpakutou when Yoruichi suddenly hugged him.

"Gin, did you miss me?" Yoruichi asked.

"Great, I remember you now," Gin said as Yoruichi continued hugging him.

Gin teleported away from Yoruichi and she turned to him.

"Is that anyway to talk to your old friend?" Yoruichi said.

"Oh, we are not friends," Gin said.

Gin drew his Zanpakutou and pointed it at Yoruichi. The Zanpakutou stretched out at high speed and Yoruichi nearly failed to dodge it. Gin shot his Zanpakutou at Yoruichi and she blocked it with her forearm. The Zanpakutou retracted and Yoruichi looked at the arm she blocked with and saw sand on it. It began to cover her arm. Gin shot his Zanpakutou at Yoruichi and she teleported away. Gin teleported, following her.

SOIFON WALKED back into the Sereitei grounds from the forest in which she fought Yoruichi. The blush on her cheeks was visible and she hoped that it would wear off as she walked. She was so happy that her mentor was back and Yoruichi always made her feel like a little girl. Soifon was embarrassed and didn't want anyone else to see her behave like that. She would want to tell Omaeda about it, but she was unsure whether she would bump into him first. She wondered where he was as it was long since they parted ways.

Soifon walked down a pathway when a small pin suddenly stuck into her left arm.

"What the?" Soifon said when the pin suddenly gave her an electric shock.

Soifon fell on one knee and seven Stealth Force Shinigami appeared around her. Soifon removed the pin and drew her Zanpakutou, transforming it into her gauntlet. Her left arm suddenly felt like a log and she was unable to move it. The Stealth Force Shinigami ran up to Soifon.

SHUNSUI WALKED up to an elevator door in a building's hallway. He placed his hands on a fingerprint scanner on the side of the door. The elevator opened and he stepped into it. The elevator went up a few floors.

This was the first time in over a year that Shunsui was going to Central 46. Even though he had the clearance, he did not want to interfere in the important judicial discussions the members of the Shinigami Council had.

The elevator door opened and Shunsui stepped out of it. The hallways were bare and desolate. Absolutely no one was present and Shunsui got an eerie feeling in his stomach. Shunsui walked up to a door, pulled out a security pass from his pocket and placed it on a scanner on the side of the door. He thereafter placed his hand on it and the door opened. Shunsui entered a very expansive conference room.

"What the hell?" Shunsui said.

There was no one in the room. This was the main room the Central 46 held their meetings.

ICHIGO AND BYAKUYA locked blades, grazing them against each other fiercely. Ichigo pushed Byakuya back and slashed at him again. Byakuya blocked and pushed Ichigo back.

"Getsugatenshou!" Ichigo yelled as he swung his Zanpakutou down.

A blue energy blast shot out of the Zanpakutou's tip, moving towards Byakuya in a crescent shape. Byakuya teleported out of the way and swung at Ichigo's neck. Ichigo jumped back and Byakuya flew toward him.

"Bankai," Byakuya said, "Senbonzakura Kageyoshi"

Byakuya's Zanpakutou disintegrated into several tiny pieces. The pieces multiplied and had a white glow in the shapes of flower petals. The petals flew toward Ichigo who teleported out of the way. Ichigo ran away from the petals and flew away from them.

I can fly. Why haven't I done this before? Ichigo manoeuvred from the petals that followed him at high speeds. Ichigo flew in between two mountains, hoping to lose the petals. The petals pierced through the mountains and continued to tail him. Ichigo flew high in the sky and dived toward the ground. The petals surrounded Ichigo and he blocked them at lightning fast speed. Byakuya floated in midair, shocked that someone matched up to the speed of the petals. Ichigo flew toward Byakuya, and the petals flew near him. Ichigo teleported beside Byakuya and swung his Zanpakutou at him. The petals blocked Ichigo and he teleported away.

Ichigo teleported around Byakuya so fast that it seemed that several Ichigo clones were jumping around. Ichigo tried to slash Byakuya from all angles, but the petals got in his way. Ichigo finally managed weave through the petals and stabbed toward Byakuya's neck. Byakuya dodged and placed his index and middle fingers on Ichigo's shoulder.

"Hado number 4, Byakura," Byakuya said.

Byakuya's fingers sparked and lightning shot out of them and through Ichigo's shoulder. There was a gaping hole in Ichigo's shoulder that was steaming. Ichigo plummeted to the ground. The petals followed Ichigo and smashed onto him.

Byakuya descended toward the ground, looking carefully at the cloud of dust. The petals suddenly exploded out rapidly to Byakuya's surprise. Animalistic growls echoed from the crater and began to sound like the moans of a Hollow. Byakuya squinted and saw something move in the crater.

A dark figure stood in the dust cloud. The dust dissipated and Ichigo stood in it with his head lowered. His shoulder wound closed. Ichigo raised his head, growling in an animalistic way.

"Impossible," Byakuya said, taken aback.

The left half of Ichigo's face was covered in a humanoid Hollow mask that was slowly forming around his head. It had two red lines curving above his eye and two curving below it. Ichigo roared wildly like a Hollow.

ASHIDO RAN up to a cave and hid behind a rock. He breathed heavily and tried to quiet down to avoid being heard. Ashido pulled out the screener from his jacket and turned it on. He read the translation of the words the two Adjuchas were saying. It read, 'Those Espada think they can subjugate us all, don't they?' The rest of the conversation was still being processed in the translator.

"Damn," Ashido said.

Ashido pressed a button on the side of the screener and a small device shaped like a button slid out of it. Ashido picked up the device and placed it in his ear. He pressed it and a red light lit up. Ashido typed on the screener's screen when the humanoid Hollow smashed the rock he hid behind. Ashido crawled away from the Hollow and turned toward it. Ashido hit the send button on the screener's screen and the Hollow grabbed it. The Hollow crushed the screener in its hand. Ashido cowered as the Hollow stood tall over him.

After all those years, a Hollow would finally do in Ashido? Ashido would have laughed this off yesterday if someone told him that, but it was happening right now. Despite it all, Ashido regretted nothing and, sadly due to his injured state, he could do nothing. Ashido closed his eyes and prepared to die.

The humanoid Hollow lifted Ashido by the neck and looked at his face. The humanoid Hollow dug its claws into Ashido's neck tossed his corpse on the ground.

The button shaped device in Ashido's ear beeped as the humanoid Hollow walked away.

YAMAMOTO AND Mayuri watched the footage from Ashido's earpiece device on a large computer screen in Yamamoto's office.

"This is interesting," Mayuri said, tapping his disgusting fingernails together.

"How is this possible?" Yamamoto said, "Those things were just legend,"

"Well, even a fool is right sometimes," Mayuri said.

"No, Urahara was no fool and we should have listened to him," Yamamoto said, "The Vasto Lorde race is real,"

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