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Zanpakutou A katana with a soul and mind of it’s own, a Zanpakutou is able to change it’s form in it’s second and third states. These are given to seated officers of the shinigami.
Roukon DistrictA place where the souls of the dead go after a soul burial is performed on them. Taichou The Japanese synonym for Captain. The Japanese synonym for Vice-Captain. Energy of the spirit; Spiritual energy or pressure. The material (atoms) that make up the Seireitei. The entire domain of the Shinigami. Death gods; they lead the souls of the dead to the afterlife. alcoholic drink popular among the Shinigami.
what? A ‘flash step’ is a method of transportation the Shinigami use to move from place to place very quickly. This can be used in battle as well as in escape.
South Roukon District…….
The night was cold and dark, fragrant with the scent of rain, of the pregnant rainclouds that hadn’t yet released their bounty of water. A slim slip of a girl eased through the back doorway of an ancient cottage and tiptoed her way to the cobblestoned walkway. The girl broke into a run as soon as she passed 150 meters in distance from the house; as she fled the unfavorable situations that had ruled her life for the past 10 years. Being adopted by the wealthy family at age 12 had seemed like a good thing, but by the time her body had filled out, the master of the house had taken advantage of his position and had shamelessly propositioned her over and over again until the stress of his impending visits would drive her to insomnia. A broken sob burst from her throat as her foot caught against a paving stone and she fell. A large hand closed around hers and pulled her to her feet. She looked up and was about to express her gratitude when she caught sight of the person’s appearance. It was Raikan, her adoptive brother. “Caisa-san,” he said in a voice so uncommonly tender it was mocking. “Whatever are you doing running off alone? Why don’t you have more … things with you? Don’t you know how easily one’s food supply can dwindle when running off all alone?” “Raikan, please don’t tell your father. I’ll do anything!” Caisa begged, a broken sob tearing from her throat. “Oh stuff it, dear girl. You may well imagine what I’ll do to you if you make yourself tempting enough… as if you already aren’t… but I am not planning to take you back. Instead, I’ll take you with me. That way, father won’t know where either of us will be, since we’ll both be gone.” “Oh Raikan, thank you!!” Caisa whispered. “There is something you should probably know, we’re going rebel.” With these words Raikan withdrew a Zanpakuto from his capes. He handed it to Caisa. “That is yours. Find out its name; you know how.”
Caisa took the Zanpakutou with trembling fingers and stuck it in her hand the way Raikan had shown her time and time before. She felt the outside world fade away and she was in a desert land. All Zanpakuto had different places, some slightly similar to others. “Who goes there? Why have you invaded my space?” “For the purpose of obtaining your name, Zanpakutou. I would like to wield you and learn your immense power.” Caisa said her tone reverent and respectful. “You seem to know the correct way to speak to someone. Very well, Caisa-san. My name is Ryoikadori Hajjukisake, the desert nomad.” The Zanpakutou replied. “I will appear to you now.” There was a green blast of reiatsu that stirred the sand around her. A humanoid creature appeared in the sand around her. Pale, tan bandages were wrapped tightly around him and he wore black, slightly puffy pants with tight bands cinching it below his knees and clogs. Large black wing- like appendages protruded from his sternum extending above his shoulders. His hair fell to his waist in long, straight, black, shiny strands that, although thick, were obviously light as they swirled like tendrils of smoke behind him. A wide brimmed straw hat was on his head, shielding his face from sight. Ryoikadori Hajjukisake carried two huge, black disks connected by chains in his hand. The edges of the disks were serrated and the light from an untraceable source glinted off the sharp tips. The centres of the blades were inscribed with a pattern depicting a desert nomad spinning his blades. “Those disks roar your capabilities, Ryoikadori Hajjukisake. My hands itch to wield you, to broadcast your obvious power. Please, allow me to attempt a battle with you in my palms,” Caisa begged. “Granted,” Ryoikadori Hajjukisake said, his slightly rasping voice sending shivers of anticipation racing through Caisa’s body.
“What the hell-?” a 3rd Division member said, his voice coated with disbelief and shock. His colleague turned his head in the direction he was looking and gasped. “Oh f---ing shit! What the hell is that? Or rather who the hell is that?” “I think we should report to Kadomenisuke-taichou!! Hurry you bastard!!” the first one shouted. “Taichou! Taichou!” they yelled at the top of their voices. Rytori Kadomenisuke, taichou of the 3rd Division stepped out of his quarters. Not one to take his men lightly, the expression on his handsome face was serious. Kadomenisuke-taichou was a tall, slim man. A crescent shaped scar curved through his left eye and eyebrow, complements of an enraged Hollow from his past, and his long, black hair was caught up in a ponytail high on the back of his head. The sides of his head, right above his hair were shaved almost clean. The clip that held his hair in a ponytail, as well as the one he wore on the top of his head (in the same style as Byakuya Kuchiki’s from the 6th Division), proclaimed him a noble. “What is the matter? Why are you so worked up?” he asked, his voice deep. “There is a real weird thing going on over by the South Roukon District, taichou.”
“Yes taichou. There is this green reiatsu forming a pillar right into the sky! It is huge!” Kadomenisuke stared into the direction his minors were speaking of, and gaped, wondering how he could’ve missed the sight of the glowing, emerald green reiatsu forming a cylinder in the sky, illuminating the darkness of the night in the Seireitei with an eerie green light. “What the hell is that?” he roared. “We dunno taichou. We hoped you would. What do you make of it?” “I’m not sure, but I will check it out. Send for Neliel-sama. Quickly! Tell her to come as quickly as possible. We have to investigate this for the safety of the Seireitei!” Kadomenisuke ordered the first one. To the second, he said, “Tell Yamamoto-taichou all you know of this, and that Neliel-sama and I have gone to investigate. Hurry! ” The pair ran off to attend their respective duties, leaving their taichou to stare at the green pillar in silence. Kadomenisuke could feel faint traces of the reiatsu of the unknown entity. It was enough to make his skin crawl and his hands itch to wield Rey de Tréboles, his Zanpakutou. The threads of reiatsu that Kadomenisuke could feel were enough to tell him that the unknown entity was powerful. The presence of Neliel-sama was enough to tell him that it was time to go. Neliel tensed as she felt the threads of Reiatsu. The slightest amount of the molecules was concentrated and reeked of experience. What the hell was going on? Then, before her eyes, the green Reiatsu disappeared, petering out to little sprites before it completely vanished. “Taichou, what do we do? Does it make sense to continue now that the Reiatsu disappeared?” “I dunno, we should probably check the area, just in case,” he replied. Neliel nodded her agreement and the duo shunpoed towards the South Roukon District Area 73, one of the worst areas of that district. Upon arrival, they were watched warily by the villainous nightlife, who skulked around like hyenas, waiting for the fall of an elephant. There were still faint traces of the Reiatsu, but the source was nowhere to be found.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Caisa took up the second Zanpakutou and gently pierced her skin with it. The familiar faintness overcame her, taking her up in whimsical arms and swirling her away. She was in a rainforest of some sort. There was a peculiarly refreshing scent about her, and the air had a playful atmosphere.
“Have you come to play?” said a childishly high voice. A small bodied, slim young lady appeared from among the foliage. Intermittent rays of sunlight peeked through the leaves overhead. The Zanpakutou was around five feet tall and was very beautiful. She was wearing a pink dress that seemed to be decorated with pink flies’ wings, so transparent was the material. The dress stopped at her knees, and her feet were adorned with hot pink clogs. “If you want to let me play, beautiful Zanpakutou. I am Caisa-san,” Caisa said. “I am pleased to meet you. I am Fukuijakousi Armorataisuke, the flower Zanpakutou.” “What are your powers, Fukuijakousi Armorataisuke?” “All the powers of healing have been given to me. I can heal a broken heart, I can heal deep sorrow, I can heal even hatred. But, I have not yet been officially given to a Shinigami that can control my powers, so I lay dormant…in wait. Why are you here? You are not my chosen soul.” Caisa blinked at the direct question. “Eh…… I am here to seek your powers. I had a burning desire to recognise your talents and I could not resist taking a look-see,” Caisa murmured. “Are you telling the truth? I can tell you’re uneasy about something.” “Oh, never mind. I will be gong now, Fukuijakousi Armorataisuke.” Caisa left the forest, hoping she did not meet the Zanpakutou again. If all the things that could be healed inside her were healed, what would she be left with? Raikan raised an eyebrow when her eyes refocused without her Reiatsu rising. The look she sent him advised against question. She picked up the next Zanpakutou.
“What the hell is this Reiatsu?” Neliel murmured. “I’ve never felt anything like this before. It is so…unfamiliar.” “I feel the same way, but I feel sorta…I feel as if I should’ve met it before,” Rytori replied, his soft voice reflecting his state of deep thought as the duo shunpoed towards the Reiatsu. The Reiatsu increased in power and potency as the got closer to the location. “These seem more like powerful Zanpakutou than powerful souls. The Reiatsu is different that way,” Neliel whispered. “I know exactly what you mean. I wouldn’t be able to describe the difference, but I feel it all the same,” Rytori agreed.
“The Reiatsu of a soul feels more personal than that of a Zanpakutou. It feels more approachable, somehow,” Neliel observed. “I am so glad I made you my fuku-taichou. I would be almost completely lost without you. Are you sure you-“ “Don’t ask me that, taichou. You know I belong to Kurosaki Ichigo,” Neliel replied, cutting Rytori short. “About that. I dunno how he can stand to stay in the World of The Living with someone like you here. What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him-“ “Taichou, please. You know that you would end up hurting, because I simply cannot fall out of love with Ichigo. He just is special that way. Please don’t press the issue, taichou,” Neliel said softly, but firmly, rejecting any opposition from her taichou. She shunpoed on ahead of him, and Rytori deliberately dropped back a bit. “So this is what Kyouraku-taichou was trying to drill into me when he warned me against harbouring feelings for my fuku-taichou. Do you know, Neliel Tu Oderschvank, how much you are hurting me? Sometimes, I want to stop, but I cannot give up on us,” Rytori thought, smiling sadly. Neliel pressed her lips together as she fled Rytori. Nanao had told the story of being chased constantly by her taichou, Kyouraku Shunsui, but he difference between Nanao and Neliel, was that Ichigo Kurosaki, substitute Shinigami and Vizard, had taken Neliel’s heart completely. “Why do you do this to yourself, taichou? Why do you do this to me? It hurts to say no, and feel the change in your Reiatsu when you grow disappointed and hurt. You don’t know, but I can actually feel the change in people I know well. Even if I had a fling with you just for your sake, what would happen when Itsygo finally dies and comes beck to the Seireitei and I run away from you again? Its either I flee from you now, or betray my heart when the love of my life shows up for me. I’m sorry, but I don’t love you anymore than a best friend…and it has reached the point where I don’t think that I ever will,” Neliel thought wishing she had the courage to say her thoughts to her taichou. “I hope you don’t take her for granted, Kurosaki Ichigo. If you do, I will kill you myself and take what you left to the elements.” Rytori thought bitterly.
WORLD OF THE LIVING…………
Urahara Kisuke yawned languidly. The town of Karakura was basically stabilised. It was getting a bit boring, though. The sound of bickering was a welcome change from the quiet that stretched for hours on end sometimes. Jinta and Urrurru were at it again. Since the Aizen incident, Urrurru was no longer a little doormat. Twice this week she’d given the usually abusive Jinta a run for his money. Her soft, sweet voice had not changed, however. Urahara poured himself a bamboo-shot of quality sake smuggled to him from Rangiku Matsumoto. He downed it in one shot and rearranged his hat on his head. He was just about to slide his feet into his clogs when a weird feeling came over him. Something was going down. The feeling passed, but Kisuke felt uneasy. Five seconds after, intense Reiatsu pressed him to the mat he was sitting on. Ichigo.
“Karin! Karin!” Ichigo Kurosaki screamed, his voice hoarse and strained. “Answer me, Karin! Don’t leave me! Please!” he begged the still body on the ground amidst the rubble. Fragments of two cars surrounded the siblings and glass shards littered the ground and stuck in Ichigo’s bright orange hair. Horror masked his face when Karin’s soul rose from her body. The soul chain attached to her chest was broken. She smiled softly at him, then reached out and touched his face, smoothing the skin of his cheek. “Karin.” The name came as a guttural cry, torn from the depths of Ichigo’s soul. “I failed, Karin. I failed. I am so sorry, I’m so sorry,” he whispered urgently, his voice crazed. “Stop this Ichigo. Promise me you’ll take care of Yuzu, and forgive yourself. Promise me, Ichigo. Now take care of the Soul Burial and send me over. You know I’ll be fine over there. Do it!” Karin commanded. Using his glove, Ichigo pushed his soul out of his body, and then used the hilt of his Zanpakuto to perform the Soul Burial. As Karin’s soul was reduced to silvery blue sprites, her voice drifted back to her older brother. “Promise me, Ichigo. Forgive yourself.” “KKKKKKAAAAARRRRRIIINNN!!!!” Ichigo screamed, his voice carried down the street be the soft breeze. A crowd of people gathered. Ichigo’s soul, limp with sorrow, fell back to his body. The paramedics arrived just then. “Don’t touch her!” Ichigo barked sharply at the medic as he tried to lift Karin’s body onto a stretcher. He gave the man a savage kick to the forehead. Ichigo was as a man possessed as he defended his sister’s dead body. His eyes were wild and furious. The crowd eased back. He knelt and
cradled her body in his arms. “Karin. Karin. Karin. I’m so sorry,” he murmured over and over again like a stuck record. That was how Isshin Kurosaki found them as he came to investigate. Isshin was Ichigo and Karin’s father. At his father’s approach, Ichigo spun his head to the sound of the footsteps. So deranged he did not even recognise the person, Ichigo struck out wildly at the intruder. “Don’t come any closer!! Don’t you dare touch her! Leave us alone!” A savage kick followed the harsh words. “ICHIGO!” Isshin roared. The familiar voice pattern clawed through the fog of sorrow that clouded Ichigo’s brain. The brown eyes refocused and he muttered two broken words. “Dad….Karin.” Then, his legs gave way, and he fell to the pavement, cradling his sister’s body to his chest. Even though it was apparent that he was recognised, Isshin knew this was not the time to try and touch his daughter’s body. What would her twin do? The tears rolled unchecked down Isshin’s face. If he felt so terrible, how did Ichigo feel? That thought was like a vice grip, squeezing his heart. This was the second time Ichigo would be going through this pain. The first time, when Ichigo was nine years old, his mother had been killed by an evil soul, or Hollow. Little Ichigo had known nothing about the Spirit World at that tender age, and had blamed himself for six and a half years for his mother’s death. The arrival or Kuchiki Rukia had forever changed the teenager’s life. He, able to see souls of the deceased from an early age, was transformed into a Shinigami on the night a Hollow attacked his family. Isshin knew of his son’s escapades with Hollows and trips to the Soul Society. He knew his son had long mastered Bankai, the complete cooperation of his Zanpakutou. Isshin knew a lot of things Ichigo thought he hid. How did Isshin know these things? Urahara Kisuke. Ishida the Quincy. “Ichigo. Let’s go home.” When his son complied without a sound, Isshin knew his son had taken the death hard.
Inoue Orihime, Yasutora Sado, Ishida Uryuu, Tatsuki, Mizuiro and Kago stood quietly behind Ichigo and his remaining family members as the casket containing Kurosaki Karin’s body was lowered into the earth. Ichigo was openly sobbing, an uncharacteristic action on his part, and strangely enough, Kurosaki Yuzu was dry-eyed and offering support for her older brother. As if on cue, the rain began to fall in torrents. That night, Ichigo went missing. URAHARA SHOP…………………. Urahara Kisuke looked up as Ichigo entered the room. The young man’s face was strained and tired looking with a strange, demented energy about him. “Urahara-san. Get me to Soul Society. I need to see Karin-chan. I need to go now.” “Are you sure you want to do this, Ichigo?”
“I need to see her, and I need to fight Zaraki-taichou. I need to go through a strenuous workout.” “Don’t you think you should stay back and see to Yuzu and your father?” Ichigo gave a harsh laugh. A demented bark of a laugh. “Yuzu. Yuzu doesn’t need me. I caused Karin to die. It was my fault hands down. If I had been watching out for her, that car would not have hit her. Yuzu needs me to leave. She told me as much,” he said darkly.
Ichigo stood as his young sister, Yuzu, entered. Her face was strained and her eyes sad. She walked over to him and put her hand on his arm. “Onii-chan, I’ve been thinking that maybe you need a break from all this. You’ve not been yourself since Karin died, and you should probably take a vacation.” “Oh, so you want me to leave? I understand, Yuzu. You’re right. You shouldn’t have to worry that probably I won’t take care of you either, and maybe you might die as well. I mean it’s perfectly logical. Mom died because of me, and Karin died because of me, so that means you’re the only one left.” “Onii-chan…….Is this the way you’ve been torturing yourself? You did not cause Karin to die! Heck, Ichigo, she was 14. She could look out for herself! You did not cause Mom to die, and by saying you did, you’re scarring the image I have of her. You’re insulting her memory. You make Karin sound like some sort of weak invalid! She fought Hollow, or did you not know that? If you are to blame yourself for anything, Onii-chan, say you never spent enough time with either of us! You need to take a break, Ichigo, and don’t come back unless you can stop this foolishness about causing the deaths of my sister and mother!” Yuzu cried, spinning around and running from the room. “Say what you want, Yuzu! Try to tell me what you’ve convinced yourself!” Ichigo cried out after her. The sound of sobbing made Ichigo wish he could take back his words. It was time to leave. Coming back to the present, Ichigo looked to Urahara. “I’m ready.” “Alright, then. Let’s go.”
SOUTH ROUKON DISTRICT……………………………….
“You’re new, aren’t you?” Karin looked up at the source of the voice. A young boy stood before her. He was fairly tall and looked like around 16 or 17 years old. His hair was long and blonde and was a mass of neat waves. His shoulders were wide and sturdy looking…….and he was as good looking as they got. “Yeah…. Who are you?” “Choujisukake Kimarou-da. What is your name?” “Kurosaki Karin-da.” “Ah,” he murmured in acknowledgement. “Are you with a group?” “Eh? I just came here. My brother performed a Soul Burial and this is where I ended up.” “Your brother is a Shinigami?” “Aye. Kurosaki Ichigo, Substitute Shinigami.” Choujisukake nodded in recognition. “There was a bit of an uproar about him a while back,” he said. “C’mon. Might as well join us, Karin. We can talk later.” “You said something about a group…..” “Yeah. Most of the kids in Roukon group together in bands for selfpreservation. We are like family.” “So each member sorta contributes to the well being of the group….” “Yeah.” “Well, that is fine, cuz……” “Cuz nanii?” “Sorry. Nothing.”Karin stood and let Choujisukake lead her through the streets. She was led to a group of grubby children that looked up at her with hungry eyes. There were around 6 of them: 3 boys and 3 girls, not including Karin or Choujisukake.
Ichigo stepped through the Senkaimon opening in the Soul Society. The strength of his depression was strong. He needed Karin; he needed to see her, hug her, apologize again, talk to her, protect her…. He searched for her Reiatsu in the Seireitei, but could not locate her anywhere. She was nowhere to be found! Karin lay on her back on the pallet Choujisukake had offered her and stared up at the moon. “It’s amazing how, no matter where you go, the sun
and the moon are always the same,” she thought as she drifted off to sleep, bathed in the bluish light. “Karin! Karin! Wake up! Wake up NOW!!” an insistent voice called, breaking into Karin’s dream. She had been in a field, all alone, when two young men whose faces were not clear approached her. One wordlessly handed her a football sized sphere. She took the gift as the other one said, “Kick it, Kurosaki Karin.” She put the ball on the grass, pulled back her right foot, and kicked the ball. It burst into flames as it took off in the air and disappeared from sight. There was a distant explosion. “Kurosaki Karin. We are Tusshebaiiemon-da and Bandalou-da. Can you manage us?” That was when the other voice screamed her name. Karin awakened to the orange-ish glow of fire that ate at the walls of the little shack. She got up, and ran to safety with Choujisukake and the others, who were giving her wary looks. “What happened?” she asked. “You really don’t know? You monster! Look what you did!” Choujisukake barked sharply. “You can’t stay with us.” Karin glanced away, hurt. “Somehow, this feels linked to my dream…” Karin thought. “So-kah,” she said softly. She walked away slowly, trying to block out the whimpers of the disappointed children. What exactly had happened? If it was the last thing she did, she would find out.
Three nights later, Karin found herself in the same field, standing between the same men. The one named Tusshebaiiemon handed her the ball. “Kick it,” he commanded. “No, I won’t. The last time I did that, I burned the home of those kids. Now they have no place to live. There is no one around you now, Kurosaki Karin. Kick the ball,” he said. “Fine, but if I burn anything down, I going to blame you,” Karin said wearily. She kicked the ball harder than she had the last time. Bandalou turned to his companion. They both were too hazy for Karin to see clearly. “I told you she’d do. Let’s go,” he said. “Kurosaki Karin, go to the Seireitei. You will find the acceptance you seek there,” Tusshebaiiemon said, then, just like that, they were gone. When Karin awakened, the field she had been sleeping in was sooty and black, the grass burnt to a crisp. ‘I have to find the Seireitei!’ she thought.
Hitsugaya-taichou turned his white-haired head to the direction of the South Roukon as he waited for his fuku-taichou, Matsumoto Rangiku to arrive. “Rangiku!!” he yelled impatiently. Hitsugaya Toushirou stood at approximately 4 ft 6 inches and had the look of a very old youngster. He looked like a ten or twelve year old with white hair and a juvenile yet responsible air surrounded him. Hitsugaya Toushirou was the Taichou of the 10th Division of the Gotei 13 (The 13 Court Guard Squads). “Hi!” Matsumoto chirped enthusiastically. Going out with her taichou meant no paperwork! “You will have that paperwork to do when you get back. Let’s go,” Hitsugaya said. “Taichou…” Rangiku groaned. They shunpoed out the Red Swamp Gate and into the Roukon. “Taichou. What is it we’re looking for?” “Unusual Reiatsu has caused fire in the South Roukon and the owner of this can possibly be harmful to the Seireitei. We have to get to the area before anything too drastic happens. I hear that this is the second time this fire has been caused,” Hitsugaya said, not even looking at his fuku-taichou as he spoke. Rangiku fell silent.
Some ten minutes later, they reached the site of the most recent fire. Rangiku’s jaw dropped in amazement as she took in the sight of the blackened vegetation. “Whoa. This is… this is…” Rangiku stuttered. “Over there,” Hitsugaya said, his gaze locked on a figure in charred clothes standing at the far edge of the field. “I know that person…I think. That person seems so familiar!” “Nanii?” Rangiku murmured as her taichou shunpoed off to meet the person. Karin felt the presence of another as she stood at the edge of the field. A familiar voice broke the silence. “Sit upon the frozen heavens, Hyourinmaru!” Suddenly, she was held immobile by an encasement of ice. “Bandalou!” she cried on impulse. Flames shot from her skin, eating easily through the ice around her. She turned to face her enemy. “Toushirou? Toushirou! What are you doing here?”she cried as she remembered Ichigo’s strange friend from the world of the living. “Kurosaki Karin?” Hitsugaya stuttered. “Hi! I died in a crash and Ichigo did that soul burial thingy and well, I haven’t really been accepted here yet and..” Toushirou did not hear a word past that. Karin? Here?