I'm a fairly big fan of the Soul Eater anime. I don't have the time to read the manga, and though I've heard many times that it's better than the anime, I wanted a nice, closed storyline to use here. Here's a short exposition: Ichigo was sealed by Death (willingly) when he landed in the Soul Eater universe hundreds of years ago because he wanted to be in order to talk with his Zanpakuto and recover the power he had lost while traveling. Before getting sealed, Ichigo and Death talked about things and Ichigo learned all about the Soul Eater universe (at least, how it was hundreds of years ago).
If you haven't read my other stories and don't know my usual themes, know that Ichigo will be extraordinarily powerful and have all the abilities he possesses in the latest chapters of the Bleach manga. He is a post-Winter War and Quincy war Ichigo in an AU where the worst possible thing happened during the Winter War and it dragged on for around ten years. You guys can guess what kind of guy he is from there.
That is all. Enjoy.
"Lord Death, we have a situation."
"Oh? And what would that be, Sid?
"I never lied, that's the kind of man I was., so I'll tell you the truth. The hollows have begun to appear in America."
The rather odd figure of the Grim Reaper considered Sid's words for a few moments, before turning away from the mirror he had been staring at and facing the undead teacher. For once, he appeared to be serious.
"You're sure of this?"
"Of course. I would never have brought you false information, Lord Death—that's the kind of man I was."
"Yes, yes. Now that the Kishin business has been handled, it only seems appropriate that another problem would pop up in its place."
Lord Death wagged a rather blockish finger in the air, confusing Sid because the Reaper didn't appear to be looking at anything in particular.
"Youngsters these days," Lord Death said, his odd tone of voice making it difficult to tell whether he was joking or not, "making life far more interesting than it needs to be."
"Lord Death, sir, do you think we will have to wake him?"
The lord of death made a thoughtful humming noise and didn't answer for several tense seconds. Abruptly, he came to a decision.
"Yes. I shall begin to undo the seals and create a key for you. This may take some time; they have been in place for longer than any of my other seals, after all."
Sid's eyes widened. "Are you serious?"
Lord Death paused as he turned around just long enough to answer. "Quite."
As the zombie teacher began walking away, Death called one last thing over his shoulder.
"Oh, one more thing, Sid. When you free him—because he is sealed outside of Death City, and I cannot leave this place—do try not to get killed again. I don't think he will harm you, but one can never be too sure!"
Sid absently wondered how Death could say such things with such a cheery tone of voice. Sometimes, it was more than a little concerning.
The only light in the narrow stone staircase came from the torch that Sid held in one hand. It flickered and danced, casting constantly shifting shadows upon the walls that did not help Sid's already tense state of mind. The fact that Death had been extraordinarily cryptic in his descriptions of the man Sid was supposed to free—in both power and personality—was not helping Sid's anxiety either.
"I was a man of character," Sid reminded himself quietly, almost without realizing it. "And I would not back down from something like this. I trust Lord Death."
The words died to ominous echoes, quickly swallowed by the darkness that lingered just beyond the reach of Sid's torch. His steps echoed in much the same way no matter how hard Sid tried to keep them quiet. The stone seemed to make every movement louder and harsher than it had to be.
The entrance to the hidden stairwell had been difficult enough to find in the desert, and without Lord Death's key Sid doubted that anyone would be capable of opening the door at all. It had nearly been buried by sand and only Deaths' input via earpiece had allowed Sid to find it at all. Unfortunately, the amount of rock Sid was now under prevented him from continuing to communicate with his superior.
After what felt like an entire hour but had probably only been fifteen minutes, Sid came to a sturdy-looking metal door crossed with numerous chains and a seal mimicking the appearance of Death's mask hundreds of years ago. Following Death's instructions, Sid place the key—an odd, bone-like affair—in the nose hole of the mask, ignoring the way the black eye holes appeared to be glaring at him. With a resounding click, the key turned, and the locks fell away from the door with a surprising lack of noise.
Even so, Sid didn't miss their clear weight and the power that hummed around them.
Then the doors swung open, and Sid stepped into the black room beyond and held his torch high. Immediately, more torches sprung to life around him, triggered by power long thought dormant. Adjusting to the sudden light, Sid put his torch in a convenient empty bracket and slowly approached the center of the room, taking into account the sheer number of sealing tags dangling from the walls, the ceiling, and the pillars that radiated out from the center of the room.
The pressure of the power in the room was enough to create a physical sensation in Sid's chest. The zombie ignored it in favor of continuing to walk forward, trusting Death's word that the man sealed somewhere in the room was an ally and not an enemy.
Sid almost wished he had his partner, Mira Nygus, with him, but dismissed the thought. Death had told Sid to keep the matter secret, even from his own partner.
That only amplified the gravity of the situation.
Sid finally stopped, his eyes landing on what was clearly the sealing container for whatever Death had sent him to retrieve. It was large, taller than Sid by almost half again the man's height, and about as wide as Sid was tall. The box—oddly reminiscent of a coffin—was facing Sid, and appeared to be made of some kind of wood. Incredibly, the wood appeared to be in pristine condition despite its obvious age.
Death's orders repeated in Sid's mind and the teacher began walking forward once more, ignoring the way the sealing tags shifted ominously in an unfelt breeze the closer he got to the coffin. The pressure increased as well, and Sid promptly realized that it was coming from the coffin itself.
Even while sealed, the man noted, this . . . thing still produces an incredible presence.
Sid reached into his pocket and pulled out a far smaller key than the first one he had used. It was simple, made of brass, and looked like any ordinary house key. Sid supposed that it was Death's odd sense of humor at play, though, as always, he couldn't be sure.
Steeling himself for whatever was to come, Sid inserted the key into the barely visible lock on the coffin and took a few hurried but measured steps back, his eyes quickly scanning the room for any threats or possible cover he could have missed in his initial walk in.
He found none and returned his gaze to the coffin as the pressure in the air skyrocketed.
Had Sid not been a three-star meister, he figured he probably would have been driven to his knees or even knocked unconscious from the power been released as the coffin's door swung open and smoke poured out. Despite his best efforts, however, he still staggered a step and found support against a nearby pillar.
The smoke gradually began to disperse and Sid got a good look at the being that had emerged from the coffin.
It appeared humanoid, only getting more so as Sid's vision cleared from whatever distortion the power had enacted upon it. The being—a man, probably in his early twenties or even late teens—was fairly tall, possibly even taller than Sid, and possessed fair skin latticed with scars. He appeared muscular, and Sid noted the ease with which the man moved. The stealth operative immediately came to the conclusion that the man had training of his own and it had likely been far more extensive than Sid's had been.
The man wore surprisingly normal clothing given how long he had been imprisoned. Sid had been expecting something different than a black jacket, white shirt with a number fifteen emblazoned on the front in stylized black print, and black pants. Sid did note the fingerless gloves the man also wore, as well as the tattoos that were just barely visible on the backs of his hands.
The man suddenly turned and slammed the coffin door shut before kicking the entire thing across the room. The box sailed through the air with incredible speed before crashing into the far wall and splintering into numerous splinters and pieces.
"Damn cramped spaces," he muttered, returning to a more casual pose. "I never wanted to spend that much time with my Zanpakutō, thanks."
"Y-y-your hair," Sid stammered, caught off-guard by the man's surprisingly human appearance. "It's orange!"
The man turned and regarded Sid with icy brown eyes that seemed to examine every inch of Sid—even his soul—in an instant. Around him, the very atmosphere appeared to distort, but as Sid watched the strange phenomenon appeared to disappear alongside the odd pressure in the room. The tension the silence had created broke abruptly as the stranger disengaged eye contact and took in the room around him.
"And your skin is blue," he said calmly, stretching. "What's your point? And, more importantly, why did you come here?"
The last few words were said with deadly intent and the odd pressure that Sid had sensed upon entering the room increased nearly tenfold, making the zombie feel as though there was a blade pressed to his neck. Getting hold of himself and remembering Death's instructions, Sid reached into his flak jacket pocket and pulled out a letter that Death had given him, written and sealed with the Grim Reaper's own hand.
In an instant, the feeling vanished entirely, leaving Sid gasping for air. The man grabbed the paper out of Sid's hand and then stepped back with deceptive grace that did nothing to disguise the lethality he held in every single motion he made.
The man opened the letter and quickly scanned it, not even bothering to watch Sid. His eyes narrowed bit by bit, and when he hit the end of the letter he crumpled it into a ball and began tossing it into the air and catching it while making a thoughtful noise.
"So that's the situation, huh," he muttered to himself. "I did tell him not to unseal me unless my powers were needed . . . I suppose that hollows count." The man's eyes flashed as he caught the paper ball and crushed it between his fingers. "They're bastards to deal with, all right."
The man pocketed the ruined letter in his black jacket and then shoved his hands into the pockets of his equally black pants that did little to cover his combat boots.
Sid felt a grudging respect for those boots. They looked like quality craftsmanship.
"So, " the man said, giving Sid another one of his emotionless yet still appraising looks, "you're my tour guide, then. Nice to meet you; I'm Ichigo."
Sid waited for the last name, but it never came. Deciding that it would be best not to comment, Sid replied in kind. "The name's Sidney Barett. Call me Sid."
Ichigo nodded. "All right, Sid." He then glanced around. "I don't suppose Death mentioned anything about a sword to you, did he?"
Sid blinked. "As a matter of fact, he handed me a rather odd weapon wrapped in bandages before I left. I didn't ask what it was—I was never too curious, that's the kind of man I was—but it seems as though it would probably be a sword."
When Sid finished his sentence, he realized Ichigo was already gone.
He hadn't even seen the orange-haired man move.
A/N The chapters will be short and sweet, and the updates sporadic at best. If you find this idea interesting, awesome. If not, there is no need for you to bother reading the next chapter, whenever it comes out.
Until we meet again,