AN: The author does not claim ownership of Bleach or Highschool DxD; they are the property of their respective owners. The author has no desire to profit off of the publication of this fan work and does not endorse any attempts to do so. Shout-out to PMers, Reviewers, and others who showed interest in my concept base for this fanfic, 'A call to crossover fans'. Preliminary notes are as follows:
-Canon is all manga chapters up to the Lost Agent of the Shinigami Arc. The movies and filler do not apply.
-The Lost Agent of the Shinigami Arc occurred at the end of Ichigo's second-to-last year of high school.
-Karakura Town is much larger than in canon.
-Spoilers for the Thousand-Year Blood War Arc
Everyone go thank general zargon for being a beta this chapter. In addition, this author has been a great idea-bouncer. Go check out his/her Bleach/DxD/Gamer crossover, Game of Life and Devils, which I had the pleasure of helping out on!
At this time of year Kuoh Academy was abandoned. The opulent school halls and classrooms were closed and bare of decoration, as students enjoyed their summer break. For a few more weeks the entire campus, from the several buildings to the sports fields would be closed until the school year resumed. Most students were outside with their friends, and if you were to ask any of them about school most would probably give a confused look and tell you to come back to them when the school year began. But Ichigo Kurosaki, on the other hand, had school on his mind.
The teenager was dressed casually, in attire that was best for being outdoors, while the principal wore a pantsuit and looked more like she was ready for a business meeting. The two currently stood inside the Kuoh Academy gymnasium, with Ichigo looking over the facilities under the watchful eye of the school's principal. Kuoh had a few banners, though most were several years old and were clearly marked for the school's girl's teams.
This wasn't a surprise to Ichigo, as Kuoh up until very recently had been an all-girls school, with a change occurring a few years ago that had made the school coeducational. From what he had heard the transition had been made since Kuoh's enrollment rate had been flagging, and to try and reverse the decline the school had changed its policy.
"Mr. Kurosaki? What do you think?" the principal asked, interrupting Ichigo's train of thought.
"You can just call me Ichigo," Ichigo replied. "And the gym here looks fine."
"Any questions?" she asked.
"Well, I'm curious about the sports situation here. How are Kuoh's boy's teams?" Ichigo asked.
"Well, I would say the situation is not in your favor. Certainly the girl's teams have enough players and are well set up, but the boys have been struggling for a bit due to the fact that we haven't been able to enroll as many of them as we'd like," the principal explained. "The soccer team's enrollment has been strong for several years, so you could probably try out there."
Somehow, Ichigo wasn't surprised about this fact. Kuoh still had a strong reputation as being a 'girlie school', which had manifested itself when Ichigo had announced his decision to transfer. Keigo had almost fallen over with laughter. Then Ichigo had gotten to him, and Keigo fell over for a different reason. Despite this, Ichigo was sure that somehow he would miss the idiot, not to mention everyone else.
And not having a good sports program was going to hurt his finances, now that he thought about it. At Karakura High with his job with Ms. Unagiya and the exorbitant prices he had weaseled out of the various sports teams he had made quite a bit. But now, with a weak sports program and the commute to and from Kuoh having caused him to quit working for Ikumi, his income had dried up.
"I'll definitely consider it," Ichigo said, as having something to do would be good.
"Any more questions?" the principal asked.
"None here," he replied.
"Well, that concludes our tour of the facilities. But before you leave for Karakura Town I think I should have a talk with you," the principal said.
Thus the two walked out of the gym and through the various halls and across the school grounds to the main building, where the principal's office was housed. A few more flights of stairs and finally they reached the office. Besides the filing cabinet, desk, and chair for the principal, two chairs and a few abstract artworks lined the walls. Ichigo sat in one of the chairs, while the principal took her seat.
"I presume you know why you're here?" the principal asked, keeping her eyes on Ichigo's face. The Shinigami kept his face relaxed and composed.
"This is about my record, isn't it?" he answered.
"Correct. You most definitely have the scores to get in, though I and the admissions staff were a bit concerned considering the sheer number of fights that were listed after your name."
Ichigo sighed, and then provided a counterpoint.
"Not my fault I was born with orange hair," Ichigo said, and the principal raised an eyebrow.
"You don't dye your hair?" she asked.
"This is how it's always been," he said, and the eyebrow lowered back down.
"I see. Well, in any case, upon meeting you and seeing you I have to say that I'm not too concerned about you causing problems here. But if there are any altercations with you involved I assure you that it will make me seriously reconsider my decision," the principal said, a stern look on her face.
"I understand completely," Ichigo said.
"Excellent. In that case our business is done here," the principal said.
Ichigo stood up and shook her hand before leaving the room. A few minutes later and he was out the door, straightening his jacket for the brief walk to the train station the provided service between Karakura Town and its sole suburb to the north. It wasn't quite an hour's journey, though the trip was long enough that Ichigo would need to wake up earlier than in previous years so he could get to school on time.
Of course, beyond the mundane things, Ichigo was hoping this year would be normal for high school. While certainly the second year had been more normal due to his loss of powers after the war, the Fullbringer infiltration into his personal life had left a bitter taste in his mouth when he looked back on the year, and had strained the already distant relationship with his friends.
Walking down the streets, Ichigo was surprised that despite the pleasant weather there weren't that many people out. Cars did not drive down the street, no children played outside, and no owners with their pets roamed the streets. Perhaps Ichigo was too used to the busier city environment, but he couldn't help but feel like there was something wrong with the situation. Now more alert, Ichigo began to jog to the train, and took quick looks over his shoulder from time to time as he checked for anything following him.
Despite his exercise in paranoia, there was still nothing. However, enough combat experience had taught Ichigo the value of exercising a little patience. A faint cry could be heard in the distance, and Ichigo jumped up, twisting his body to the side to try and minimize his body as a target. Despite his efforts, Ichigo gave a yell as something searing hot grazed his side. He gave a yell, but did not lose his focus and after reaching the ground again he began to run, ignoring the searing pain and reaching into his pocket for the Substitute Shinigami badge he kept with him all at times.
Ichigo also noted the yellow spear that had sliced through the sidewalk, and had been firmly planted in the ground. It looked like lightning, yet it had not been fired in a short burst. It looked more like a spear to him. Regardless of what it was, it burned, and every move Ichigo made reminded him of this fact, with a flare of pain with every stride as he made himself a moving, hard to hit target. All the while he searched for his attacker, trying to locate whoever had attack him.
"You're not a fool," remarked a voice, the tone haughty and sounding feminine. "Though certainly you have no idea about how to use all that power of yours, do you?"
Ichigo looked up, and noted that there seemed to be a winged woman flying several feet directly above him. She was beautiful, with long blue hair that covered her left eye, and she was well-endowed and maybe a few inches shorter than he was. A gold necklace around her neck vaguely reminded him of the voluptuous Rangiku Matsumoto's keepsake, and her clothes were a dark purple, closed jacket that showed off her cleavage and a skirt of the same color that showed off her legs. Her expression was grim, though her eyes had a sort of gleam to them.
"What are you?" Ichigo asked, glaring at her while clutching his side.
"My name is Kalawarner, and I'm here to kill you. As for your question, I am a Fallen Angel," she replied.
Now that he had some more information to work form later, Ichigo moved, quickly drawing out his substitute badge and moving to press it to his chest. At the same time, Kalawarner had begun to create two glowing objects, one in each hand. As Ichigo felt the sensation of his soul leaving his body he charged forward with a burst of shunpo, reaching out to catch Kalawarner's wrists. The Fallen Angel had already cocked her arm back, and hurled a glowing bolt down.
Already aware of what the bolts could do, Ichigo did nothing to try and impede the bolt's path, and instead continued moving forward and slamming his body into Kalawarner's while grabbing her empty hand's wrist. A brief struggle followed, as Ichigo tried to keep from getting stabbed or maimed by the bolt that was still in Kalawarner's hand, while the Fallen Angel tried to keep him from grabbing her arm.
A minute of grappling and growls of anger and frustration later and Ichigo had Kalawarner's arms restricted. As he tried to get the blue-haired woman to drop her spear, which she was trying with all her might to hold on to and to get to touch some part of him. While Ichigo's abilities allowed him to simply stand on air, Kalawarner behaved more like a bird, as she beat her wings to not only stay aloft, but also as a way of providing extra force to her efforts to tug and pull her arms out of Ichigo's grasp.
With every second it seemed as though Ichigo wasn't getting any results, and Kalawarner edged her bolt closer and closer to his exposed hands and forearms. Deciding to concede this battle, Ichigo brought his legs up and let go of Kalawarner's wrists. A confident expression came and went as Kalawarner realized Ichigo had released her, but a look of shock replaced it as Ichigo forcefully kicked her in the stomach, sending her careening through the air.
With the Fallen Angel disoriented and off balance, Ichigo checked his human body. When he had rushed Kalawarner he had hoped that the surprise and some good luck would keep his body safe, but this was not how things had played out. Lying in the middle of the sidewalk, Ichigo could see the bolt firmly embedded in his body's torso, pinning the flesh and blood form to the side of the road. Ichigo left the air, and knelt down next to his body. Drawing his massive sword from the bindings on his back, Ichigo looked around for Kalawarner. He would need to make this quick, as he wanted his human body to survive.
"Well, now I'm curious. What, Ichigo Kurosaki, are you?" Kalawarner asked.
Ichigo stood up and turned his head to the right, considering whether he should answer the question. Kalawarner was flying only a few feet above the ground now, a new set of spears glowing in her hands, though she carefully kept her distance. Besides the question, of course, Ichigo also wondered how she had gotten his name. He was going to have to investigate all of this.
"I am a Substitute Shinigami," Ichigo said.
"A death god? You certainly don't fit the style of Hades' people, Kurosaki. What are you?" Kalawarner mused to herself, trailing off into her thoughts.
Ichigo wasn't sure as to whether he should answer the question, and merely glared at her. A minute's pause went by as the two enemies recuperated and considered their next move. Then, Kalawarner's right arm went back and Ichigo moved forward.
As the bolt launched forward Ichigo took a gamble and swung upward to his left, a scowl on his face as he cleaved the spear in two. He then launched forward with shunpo, bringing his sword up so he could bear down with his weight and momentum as much as possible.
Kalawarner wisely chose not to throw her remaining spear, and instead brought the glowing weapon up and tried to parry the strike. To Ichigo's surprise both his sword and Kalawarner's spear chattered, with the force Ichigo bringing to the strike sending Kalawarner sprawling onto the sidewalk, a groan escaping the Fallen Angel's lips as she lay in pain.
Ichigo, on the other hand, was worried. The fragments of his blade lay scattered around the sidewalk and grass of the street, leaving Ichigo with a jagged wreck that was the remaining part of his sword attached to the hilt he held. And, slowly, Ichigo looked down as the remaining parts of his sword seemed to turn to putty, going from a solid to a more liquid consistency. He let his blade slide out of his hand, mesmerized at what he was seeing due to a mixture of shock and horror. What the hell had happened to his blade?
Kalawarner began to pick herself up off the street, wincing at the pain that came from her wings. A quick look around confirmed that she was still in the human town, and that Kurosaki and his doppelganger were still there. The Fallen Angel adjusted her wings and noted the scrapes on her elbows, which were causing her to bleed in a few places. The way her lower legs hurt on the back side was probably a good sign that she was also injured there as well. For now, however, she needed to check her wings.
For any of the races that were lumped together as being a part of 'the Three Factions', keeping their wings intact was a concern, as not only were they a sign of power and status, but they also provided a combat bonus due to the edge flight could give over grounded enemies, like humans and other proxies. As Kalawarner felt her wings up and down and visually examined what she could see, she noted that Kurosaki seemed intrigued by something happening to the pieces of his broken sword, which seemed to have become a liquid substance that reminded Kalawarner of liquid mercury.
In particular, one piece seemed to be forming near her, the liquid first creating a small pool, undisturbed as it seemed to be waiting for the other liquid remains to come together. Several of these small pools lined the sidewalk, and Kalawarner had to put the number at around fifteen. She had now stopped her wing inspection and like her target was now staring aimlessly at what was happening with the broken sword.
Slowly, the small pools began to build up, making a vaguely cylindrical shape, as though they were the miniature form of some massive tower or skyscraper. Kalawarner was curious as to what they were, and she slowly and stealthily made her way forward so she could be close to one of the pieces. A few more seconds passed and it seemed to have stopped its formation process.
The final form of the fragment was one that Kalawarner recognized, though it was not in the color she usually associated with it. It was a black chess piece, a pawn to be specific, short and with a rounded head. This was the nearest piece, though the others that Kalawarner could see strewn about the sidewalk seemed to all go together as one side of a chess set.
"Fascinating," she murmured, and Kalawarner picked up the pawn, rubbing its shiny, glossy exterior and examining it.
Her inspection was interrupted, however, by a grunt from Ichigo. Looking up at the orange-haired 'Shinigami', Kalawarner noted that Ichigo was on his hands and knees as the pieces one-by-one returned to him. Each one seemed to touch his chest and be absorbed, though her target's reaction seemed more like he was being punched in the stomach. Perhaps this was a side effect of a 'Shinigami' ability?
Eventually, however, there was only one piece left to reclaim: the one Kalawarner held. Rather than let go, she decided to test what would happen if she refused to give up the chess piece. The response was almost immediate, with the piece struggling to get itself out of her grip and go to the Shinigami. Despite her best efforts, even Kalawarner had to admit she was having a difficult time holding on to the piece, and the effort required to hold on to it seemed to increase with the passing of time.
As she held on to it, straining, Kalawarner noticed Ichigo looking up at her, a grimace on his face. Almost immediately after this the pawn ceased its struggling. Tentatively, Kalawarner opened her hand, wondering if this was some sort of ploy. Then, the piece seemed to sink into her hand, and a flash of light emanated from her palm.
"What the hell?" she heard Kurosaki say, but Kalawarner's focus was directed elsewhere.
Right now, the Fallen Angel felt like something was rearranging her insides and putting all of her organs on overdrive. Despite this awful feeling, at the same time Kalawarner felt like she had been just given a lot of caffeine. Raw power seemed to crackle at her fingertips, a sense of euphoria flooding through her body. And damn, it felt good, even if she was a little scared. Gradually, the sense of power seemed to rise like a tidal wave, and Kalawarner felt herself let out a bloodcurdling scream. And then, something struck her over the head, and she slipped into unconsciousness…
It was an odd realm, for its skies and ground were skyscrapers. They seemed placed upon their side, as the two individuals within the realm stood upon windows, unmoving. One was clad in white, with sickly pale skin. A frenzied look occupied his face, and his grin directly contrasted his companion. Clad primarily in black with a grim look on his face, the two seemed to gaze at each other a time until the black one broke the silence.
"I never intended to hurt him, Zangetsu."
"Oh, I know that. I still don't care. The King is going to find out about the truth, whether you like it or not. And then he and I am going to make sure he does everything with my Bankai," Zangetsu replied with a slasher grin seemingly glued to his face.
"Why did you set up that Fallen Angel with that piece?"
Zangetsu shrugged before turning away from his companion. Gazing above at the skyscrapers around him, he seemed to think for a brief moment.
"That girl was very fine. Very, very fine. And since Fallen Angels must have done something to become fallen, with any luck I chose one that got in trouble for lust!" Zangetsu had a very happy look on his face as he answered the question.
"Ichigo is not going to be happy."
"Oh, you better believe it! Especially when round two for the King-and-Horse positions comes around!" Zangetsu cackled.
Ichigo stood over Kalawarner, panting for breath, as the Fallen Angel collapsed onto the pavement. Going back and picking up his body, Ichigo prepared to get out of the suburb. He held his limp body bridal-style, careful so that the bolt wouldn't touch any part of himself or his shihakusho. His body hurt like hell, but he had other things on his mind. For one, if he had a weapon Ichigo probably would have taken care of Kalawarner, but he wasn't exactly comfortable with using his hands, not to mention time was not on his side since he needed to get his body medical attention as soon as he possibly could. And of course, she was defenseless right now.
To get back to Karakura Town for someone like Ichigo was a simple matter. All it took was some shunpo and practice, which Ichigo had. And it didn't hurt that he had been taught by one of the best shunpo users, though Yoruichi Shihouin certainly had the strangest of habits…..
Shaking his head and clearing his rambling thoughts, Ichigo used a quick burst of shunpo to gain some altitude, hovering many yards above the roofs of the suburban households that lay below him. Ichigo re-shifted his body, and turned in the direction of Karakura Town. Then, he was off.
Below the teenager landscapes flashed by, blurry due to the extreme speeds Ichigo was traveling at. After a few minutes of travel Ichigo slowed down, and took stock of his location and making some necessary changes to his trajectory. With his fixes complete Ichigo took off again, this time angling himself so that he also began to increase his height above the ground. Once he got to the city proper he would probably need to do another check for his position, and he wanted to avoid any exposure to the mortal world.
Eventually Ichigo entered the city limits and after another pit stop he was on his way to his neighborhood, though he wanted somewhere in particular: the Urahara Shop. While its proprietor, the exiled Shinigami scientist Kisuke Urahara, was often a bit too moronic than needed, Kisuke knew a lot about just about any conceivable subject, and Ichigo had a feeling that the other Shinigami would have the answers he wanted.
Touching down in the small courtyard just outside of Urahara's shop, Ichigo propped the body up against his shoulder and reached for the door. It was a bit of a struggle, but ultimately Ichigo managed to get himself and his cargo inside. Once inside he found one of Urahara's two assistants sweeping away at the floor.
"Hey, Ururu, is Hat-n-Clogs here?" he asked.
The rarely talkative girl gave a nod, and led him further into the shop. While it masqueraded as a candy store, Urahara often used his shop as a front for selling essential goods to Shinigami stationed in Karakura and to do private experiments. And it looked like Ichigo would finally learn where Urahara did his dirty work, as Ururu guided him to what seemed to be the shop's physical basement, not the special training area that also existed. Inside, Kisuke Urahara tinkered away at what looked like an open heart, most likely a new project.
"Ah, Ichigo! What has happened that your favorite humble shopkeeper has warranted a visit?" Kisuke greeted him warmly. Urahara looked a bit more unkempt than usual, most likely out of engrossment in his work. He gave an interested look at Ichigo's body.
"Hat-and-Clogs, something attacked me earlier on my way back from my new school," Ichigo said, tone accusatory.
Taking a look at the spear embedded in his body, Urahara nodded in agreement.
"Light spear. I suspect you had a run-in with a Fallen Angel, then?" he asked.
"That's what she called herself. What are they? You never mentioned them before," Ichigo angrily replied.
"Do you find it odd, Ichigo, that there only seems to be one afterlife, which serves as a medium for the reincarnation cycle?" Kisuke asked, tone serious. "Nearly every mythical pantheon or widespread belief system has had or still has a supernatural equivalent. Soul Societies exist in nearly every nation on Earth, serving as embodiments of the reincarnation cycle. There's a heaven, and you yourself have sent souls for punishment in hell."
"Why didn't you tell me?" Ichigo demanded.
"A number of reasons. It's viewed as need-to-know information, for one. Two, you have no rank within Soul Society. Captains, Lieutenants, and sometimes up to Sixth Seats are made aware of these facts," Kisuke explained.
"I've got the power of a Captain," Ichigo grumbled.
"And none of the sense or responsibilities. Why didn't you simply ask your dad for help?" Kisuke asked, changing the subject.
Ichigo gave a grimace and shifted his human body. "It's my dad. The old man's still a fool, did you know he's started attacking me in the mornings again? No way am I going to him."
To this, Urahara chuckled.
"And something happened to Zangetsu."
"Well, I can't say I didn't see this coming, Ichigo." Urahara said, after stopping mid-chuckle.
Stepping outside of their current room and beckoning for Ichigo to follow him, the interested substitute followed, still holding his body. After stopping in one room to remove a long and thin package with a vague sword shape. Another short journey led the pair to the underground training room in the shop.
Stepping into the peaceful, natural surroundings, Urahara unwrapped the package, revealing an unmarked katana.
"I personally requested this sometime after your invasion of Soul Society," Urahara explained.
"Why? I'm guessing that this is a Zanpakuto, but I've already got Zangetsu," Ichigo interjected.
"Ichigo, most Shinigami gain their Zanpakuto after enrolling in the Shino Academy. They're given an Asauchi, a blank Zanpakuto that is molded into its end form based on the Shinigami's personality. Yet you never received a Zanpakuto."
"Then what have I been using all this time?" Ichigo asked, confused.
"We don't know. This blade was personally provided for you in the case that your current Zanpakuto failed you. Personally, I'm curious as to what will come from this Asauchi," Urahara explained.
Laying his body on the ground, Ichigo seemed to tense up, and then relaxed. He swallowed, before turning to take the blade from Urahara.
"I'd appreciate if you'd patch my body up," Ichigo said.
Urahara nodded, and Ichigo firmly grasped the Asauchi.
Ichigo was surprised to find himself in his Inner World in front of Zangetsu. The two seemed to look at one another silently, testing each other's wills to see who would speak first. Eventually, the area around them changed, with the skyscrapers that made up part of the realm breaking up and dissolving into water.
"Are you really Zangetsu?" Ichigo asked.
"Then who or what the hell are you?" Ichigo demanded.
"I am the source of another power, one that directly opposed you becoming a Shinigami. When you first became a Shinigami I stepped in and took over the role of your powers. I limited you, in hopes that you would stay away from conflict." Zangetsu said, still calm.
"So how many lies have you told me?"
"Just that my name was Zangetsu."
"So who or what is the spirit of my Zanpakuto? You yourself said you aren't!" Ichigo angrily asked.
"The spirit of your blade has always been what you called your Inner Hollow. I drew its power when you needed strength, as it was willing to give it to you. When you battled Ulquiorra in Hueco Mundo, I did not save you, the Hollow did. It was always a manifestation of your real powers, a portion I could never suppress."
"I thought it wanted to take over, not help me. How can my Inner Hollow even be the spirit of my Zanpakuto?"
"As a Hollow, it believes in the concept of survival of the fittest. In order to protect you, it believed that you needed to overcome it. And now it believes that I am an obstacle that needs to be overcome. The Hollow is right, as I will no longer be able to work against my nature and for you for much longer."
"'After nine hundred years, he will regain his pulse. Ninety more and he will regain his wits. After nine more, he will regain his power. And in the span of nine days, he will reclaim the world,'" Zangetsu responded cryptically. "It was an honor to be your sword."
"And, I'm glad you were my sword, but Zangetsu-"
"Ichigo, I am not Zangetsu. It is time for you to use your true strength. My time is up."
The old man disappeared in a flash of light, and Ichigo found himself back in the training ground, carrying two black blades, one longer than the other. The pair of blades seemed to have a certain 'feel' to them, a sensation of 'correctness' that felt new to Ichigo. Looking up and away from himself and the blades, he found that the area around him had been flattened, with the exception of a small zone around the stairs back to the shop. As the dust settled, Ichigo noted the glowing, transparent orange barrier that was protecting the stairs. Inside the barrier Urahara and his assistant, the mustachioed Tessai Tsukubishi, crouched down. Standing above them was the massive figure of Hachigen Ushoda, the Vizard wearing his mask as he worked with the others to maintain the barrier that kept the stairs intact.
"Quite a bit of Reiatsu release there, Ichigo," Urahara called, a smile on his face.
"Indeed," Hachi agreed, voice distorted as he put his hands on his mask and removed it, causing it to dissolve into particles of reishi.
"Now, I presume you'd like some sheathes for those?" Urahara asked. Ichigo nodded, and he followed the other beings out of the training ground…
"Hat-and-Clogs, what can you tell me about Fallen Angels?" Ichigo asked as he sat down in front of the shopkeeper.
Urahara briefly sat in silence, thinking to himself. Eventually, he looked up and began to speak.
"The Fallen Angels are part of the Three Factions-Angels, Devils, and Fallen Angels. They're the supernatural response to the belief in the one God of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Millennia ago they fought an enormous war against each other, although they're under a shaky armistice right now. Skirmishing, according to information from before a hundred years ago, is very common."
"But why attack me? I'm not from the factions."
"Fallen Angels have always suffered from low numbers. Since the other two factions have often recruited human auxiliaries with ease and have developed a way to turn other supernatural races and humans into their own species, they have adopted a kill-empowered humans policy."
"How do you even know about that?"
"They've attacked World of the Living-stationed Shinigami in Gigai before. Which brings me to my next point: Fallen Angels are Angels who have given into earthly desires like wrath, greed, and especially lust. Some view their desires as something to indulge in every now and then; others are hedonists. Angels are supposed to be paragons of virtue, it's why those who get too interested in those desires become Fallen."
Ichigo paused for a moment to take in the information, scowling.
"What about Devils?"
"They're Angels who rebelled against their God over their views on treatment of humans. Devils share similar views on sin as Fallen Angels, but they are more inclined to encourage those activities in humans than to do them themselves. The Fallen Angels fought them in the Factions' Great War in hopes of redeeming themselves," Urahara explained.
"Which group should I trust?"
"None of them, although Angels are the least likely to turn on you or attempt to use you. Devils are most likely going to want to recruit you. Try to keep a low profile in the suburbs." Urahara warned. "There aren't any Angels, Devils, or Fallen Angels in Karakura Town."
"You're sure?" Ichigo asked.
Urahara put a hand to his chin as he reconsidered his answer.
"For now, yes. And Ichigo, you really should talk to your father about this."
Ichigo decided to swallow his pride and do what the shopkeeper advised.
"I heard you had…. An encounter," Isshin Kurosaki said.
Ichigo's father sat across from him at the family dinner table, his usually goofy expression and nonchalant attitude gone. This was a side of his father that Ichigo saw rarely, and to keep his father that way he was going to try and be compliant.
"That's right. A Fallen Angel," Ichigo said.
Isshin nodded, and hunkered down, his chin against his clasped hands. For a time Isshin thought on the matter, gazing intently at the tabletop.
"Are you interested in not transferring? With what I assumed from when you wanted to get away from the supernatural," Isshin said.
Ichigo thought about the situation for a second. This had been one of the factors that had driven him to Kuoh Academy, and he certainly was hesitant about going back to a more supernatural environment. And yet, the new powers, coupled with the new species that had holed themselves up in the suburb to the north, had certainly piqued his interest.
"I still want to transfer. I want to learn more about these Fallen Angels and whatever else is out there. Besides, it would be a waste of all that effort to have me go back to Karakura High" Ichigo replied.
"It isn't that hard to undo," Isshin remarked.
"Regardless, something happened out there. And I want to unravel this mystery," Ichigo said firmly.
"You're absolutely sure?" Isshin asked.
Isshin sighed, and looked up at the ceiling. A moment passed, and a bored Ichigo yawned. After another minute the man's head moved down so Isshin was looking at Ichigo right in the eyes. Ichigo felt a sense of dread creep over at the glint that had manifested in his father's eyes.
"Your new school resumes in a few weeks. And even with the time change, I assure you I won't miss out on the fatherly duty of waking you up!"
"Where is she?" Raynare asked.
Despite not being alone in the room she paced in, the Fallen Angel's companions knew that her question was rhetorical and should not be answered. Despite having sent Kalawarner out in the evening, it was already dark out and the Fallen Angel had yet to return to the abandoned church where they had set up camp.
The church itself was largely a mess. Having been abandoned since the 1990s due to the declining membership and the Angels' willingness to let encroaching Devils claim the city, it had regressed to being a wreck, and possibly the Devils had desecrated it. Admittedly Raynare and the others hadn't done much to help with fixing it up, but with any luck the exorcist troop that were coming could be cajoled into doing that particular job. Especially up here in the choir section, which overlooked the main area of the church, where one too many choir sections had left their trash.
Raynare sighed, and looked around her. Personally she was rather pale, with long black hair, and wore a lot of leather. Her currently present allies, Mittelt and Dohnaseek, stood in the corners of the room behind her. Mittelt was a short blonde who wore styles of clothing in the Gothic Lolita style. Dohnaseek was more of a gentleman, with a fedora and trench coat over a formal suit.
"Should we write her off as dead?" an irritated Mittelt asked, eyeing the door.
"No. Stay here," Raynare snapped.
Compared to the rest of the Grigori, Raynare knew her band were small fries. All of them had only one set of wings on their back, which had been the lowest rank available to angels in heaven. More or less it signified a power gap, and the hierarchy with the wing sets had carried over to some extent with Fallen Angel society. Amongst their little group, Raynare ruled, as she had the most experience and had largely dominated their activities. Thus, Mittelt obeyed her command, though the other Fallen Angel did not look happy.
Raynare turned back around and looked outside again, trying to make something out in the night sky. The church had poor illumination around it, but the street that led up to the dilapidated building was illuminated by the street lamps, and gave some degree of visibility. Raynare moved around, pressing her nose against the glass and peering outward, until her concentration the task at hand was interrupted by the slamming of the church doors below her and the others. The three Fallen Angels looked over the edge of the choir section, and waited for the person who had entered to walk out in the open. Raynare smirked as Kalawarner walked inside.
"Kalawarner!" Raynare boomed, her voice echoing through the church.
The Fallen Angel turned around and looked up at them before unfurling her wings and flying up to the choir section. She looked ruffled and seemed to be on edge, not really looking at them.
"Where have you been?" Mittelt haughtily asked, raising her voice slightly.
"Quieter," Kalawarner hissed. "I have an awful headache right now and I feel like something messed with my insides."
"So your target got away?" Raynare growled.
"What do you think?" Kalawarner sneered back.
"You have got to be kidding me!" Raynare yelled. "This was a simple job! Just kill that powerful human and come back! But no, you went along and failed, didn't you!?"
The frustration Raynare felt about the way things had gone soon morphed into fear as Kalawarner whipped around and picked her up by the neck before chokeslamming Raynare onto the hard floor of the room. Despite the confusion Raynare could tell by the bar of illumination around Kalawarner's left hand that a light spear had been formed. Kalawarner then planted a foot on Raynare's stomach, causing an undesired exhalation of air, and then put the light spear to Raynare's throat. Up close and personal Raynare could tell there was something wrong with the spear. Black energy with a hint of white surged through the spear, adding more colors to the glowing yellow.
"Be quiet," Raynare snarled. The other Fallen Angels stayed back, merely watching the proceedings.
Raynare began to breathe harder as the light spear moved closer to her neck…..