A/N: This one SUCKED for me. Not one fight was anywhere NEAR as difficult for me to write as this Ichigo vs Yhwach fight. Wanting to make this a satisfying bout was a lot harder than I realized, hopefully this was enough because damn OP fights are actually really hard depending on the powers. I'm thinking another 2 chapters, depending on if I give you all a look into the future before Death and Dragons, then this is over and I'm taking a much needed break. Holy crap.
(With the Zero Squad)
"Here he comes." Setsunamaru said as she and the other members of the Zero squad gathered on a single disk, the one that would serve as the intended battlefield for the hybrid and the parasite king. "And yet, Ichigo still hasn't joined us here." She seamstress looked back to the Royal Palace where Ichigo remained for reasons unknown to the rest of the Zero Squad.
"That brat talks a big game, has the nerve to insult us, claims he'll take on Yhwach alone, and where is he? Chickening out like a little bitch!" Tenjiro growled, letting out his anger at the hybrid that was growing ever since they went down to the Seireitei. "For someone that even we acknowledge, he seems pretty intent on letting us down."
"If nothing else, Ichigo is a man of his word." Ichibe said as Yhwach climbed ever higher. "He said that he'll kill that brat. I believe his words were in fact 'the next time I see him will be the last'." 'Though he did also say that I might not see that fight. What did he mean by that?' As Ichibe thought that, pillars of light appeared and shot toward the Seireitei. "No... he can't!" The monk shouted as he realized what Ichigo was attempting to do. "Stay here! If Yhwach arrives, keep him busy!" With no other explanation, Ichibe Hyosube flashed toward the Royal Palace and into the inner chambers where the Soul King resided.
"What the heck was that?" Oetsu asked while holding a new 'failure' in hand, a stronger Sayafushi than the one Ichigo destroyed in their spar so long ago. "What is that boy doing anyway?" The smith's eyes then moved to follow a Zanpakuto that was also flying toward the Royal Palace with Uryu Ishida in tow.
"I don't know but we don't have time to ponder that anymore." Kirio said as a beam of light appeared before them, with the Quincy emperor coming out. Kirio immediately activated a Kido that made the entire ring they stood on sprout a cage of trees that enveloped them and their opponent. The emperor stepped out onto the battlefield calmly, looking over the Royal Guard of his father.
"You seem to be missing a member." Yhwach said while the Zero Squad themselves got ready for a fight. "Do you really believe you can beat me with the four of you? It seems I was too generous in waiting this long." Yhwach's eyes that started to gain more pupils. "My eyes have finally opened."
(Throne Room of the Soul King)
The room had only two occupants; the Soul King himself, trapped in an amber crystal seal with slicked back black hair, four black irises in his eyes, and a gaunt body with no limbs that showed the measure of his mutilation, and Ichigo Kurosaki who stood before the prison with the Hogyoku floating before him and shining like a rainbow star while the hybrid himself was clad in his golden Hollow armor and in his Bankai state of Tensa Zangetsu. Ichigo summoned the sphere to his being shortly after throwing Kyoka Suigetsu down to the Silbern to open the way for Yhwach and was using it to grant his new wish; the restoration and revival of the Soul King. In response to that one wish, portals had appeared around the crystal prison of the Soul King with glowing orbs flowing from those portals and into the entity himself. The process had started out slow but was getting faster with every passing second, like the Soul King was willing himself back to full life. The hybrid would have been content to just stand by and wait for the process to finish, but he knew that something would try and interfere with this mission.
"Bakudo #39, Enkosen." Ichigo whispered before spinning around and throwing a punch. "Ikkotsu!" It wasn't an ordinary punch he threw, it was a spirit manifestation of his fist as big as the large chamber could allow and shielded by a large spinning yellow disc. As Ichigo threw his punch, Ichibe Hyosube flew at him and saw the attack coming. Very quickly the monk grabbed his large calligraphy brush and slashed the Kido with it, breaking the spell apart, and still managed to 'cut' the fist heading toward him and reducing it to half power. The punch still connected but the old Shinigami caught it and rode the attack back to the opening of the palace before the fist dissipated, replaced by Ichigo bringing his blade down on Ichibe who just managed to get his brush to block it.
"Ichigo! You can't do this!" The monk shouted while Ichigo tore off his damaged hand and grew a new one at full strength. "You don't know what you're doing! The Soul King cannot be revived! His current existence is what keeps the worlds stable!"
"Or are you just saying that because you fear his judgment?" The hybrid returned before summoning multiple Zangetsu blades to surround and point at the monk. "Yamamoto asked me to do this, to restore the Soul King to his proper self. And after learning what happened, I'm happy to do so." Ichibe's eyes widened before settling into a glare as he began to overpower Ichigo.
"If you know, than you should understand that the Soul King allowed this to happen. This was all by his consent."
"NO ONE WOULD'VE CONSENTED TO THIS!" Ichigo roared back as his blades shot toward Ichibe, the monk pushing Ichigo back to dodge the blades and flash to the Hogyoku. He brought up his Ichimonji in an attempt to erase the sphere's name and power, but Ichigo reached out with another spirit manifestation to grab him and yank him away from the orb. "It's true that he may have sat by while you and the four original members of the Great Noble houses, the founding members of the Soul Society, sealed him away in crystal despite his power to stop you at any moment but he didn't. Did he understand what was happening or was he too shocked that the beings he protected would stand against him?"
"The Soul King has a power called 'The Almighty', with it comes perfect precognition." Ichibe explained as he was forced back to the entrance and activating his Ichimonji. "He knew what was going to happen."
"No, he knew what would POSSIBLY happen. Jugram Hascwalth, one of our Quincy allies, explained the truth in the powers of The Almighty." Behind Ichibe, Ichigo saw Uryu and his Zanpakuto finally arrive. With Kyoka Suigetsu's Bankai still active, Ichigo made his way to Ichibe while the monk remained unaware. "I'm willing to guess that the Soul King took a chance that he would simply be sealed in crystal and that you and the other founders would leave it at that. But you tore him apart while he was helpless, proving that faith misplaced." The room then felt a crushing Reiatsu that made even Ichigo and Ichibe buckle under the sudden weight, nearly ending the illusion before Ichigo appeared beside the monk and swiftly cutting off the monk's arms. "Now it's time for you to pay!" Giving the man no time to react, Ichigo shot a clawed hand into Ichibe's throat, digging his fingers directly into the monk's larynx and taking away the ability to talk. As he did that Uryu fired a bolt into Ichibe's spine, paralyzing him and rendering the man completely helpless.
The three of them heard a voice in their minds, ordering them to stop. All of them turned their attention to the Soul King, now with all his limbs and no longer gaunt from the lack of internal organs, with his crystal prison melting away into a throne.
(Yhwach vs Zero Squad)
To say that the Zero Squad was fighting a losing battle was putting it mildly. All their speed, all their skill, all their preparations became meaningless in the face of Yhwach and the power of the Almighty. The man himself was already incredibly powerful, bearing a mastery of the Quincy abilities, but now he could peer into the future and predict the Zero Squad's moves. Oetsu and Tenjiro move with blinding speed, trying to find an opening to cut into Yhwach, only for the Quincy to block every attempt with an insulting level of disregard. The sharpest and most durable blade of the master swordsmith was failing to cut through Yhwach's pure Reishi blade, proving to be its match, and all the threading traps that Senjumaru set up and the heated 'white bone hell' waters of Tenjiro's springs were always nimbly dodged by the Quincy. Almost as if he wanted to prove that nothing could stop him anymore, then everyone stopped when they all felt... something.
'Father...' Yhwach thought as he recognized the power and presence of the entity, the innate connection in his blood. 'You are awake. You are FREE! Now you can repay these Shinigami for your humiliation and suffering and then we can make the world as it should be!' The Quincy emperor began laughing in victorious ecstasy at the thought of a truly wonderful win, the greatest returning insult to the Soul Reapers that tormented the first Quincy than merely ending his father's suffering. He continued laughing and laughing and laughing, each one growing ever weaker as the seconds passed... and nothing happened. The worlds remained stable, no great wave of power threatened to consume anyone, the Soul King was truly alive but was doing nothing.
'What... what's the matter?' As Yhwach became confused, the Zero Squad moved on the attack. Oetsu slashed the Quincy to pieces, Senjumaru rearranged his being and sewn him back together as a misshapen figure, and Tenjiro unleashed a torrent of his life draining waters that were hot enough to peel flesh from bones in seconds. 'Take your vengeance. Do as you've wanted for so long!' Yhwach pleaded while the Zero Squad destroyed his body. 'Why? Have you...' "Have you forgotten your own will!?" Yhwach roared as he immediately restored his body and blew back the Zero Squad. "In that case, I'll just have to do it all myself! If even you will betray me, THAN I'LL REMOVE IT ALL!" With that he went on the offensive, cutting down Oetsu, beheaded Senjumaru, and blasted Tenjiro into pieces before going to the cage like tree that imprisoned them. He took hold of a trunk and caught Kirio's neck in his other hand when she tried to attack him, choking the life from her until her neck snapped in his grip while his other hand drained all the Reishi from the trees and reducing it to a withered dead husk. The Quincy emperor tossed aside the chef's broken body and tore down the trees, finding one person waiting for him on another wide and empty disc, standing between him and the Royal Palace.
"You." Yhwach growled as he flashed to the disc. "Ichigo."
(The Throne Room)
The room was silent as the Soul King stretched himself in his new throne, the sheer power in the being stunning Ichigo and Uryu while Ichibe remained paralyzed in the hybrid's grip. Slight groans and pops came from the formerly imprisoned being as he stretched for the first time in millions of years, treating the release of his torment like he had woken up from an extended nap. The hybrid eventually came to his senses and dragged the helpless monk to the revived god and knelt before the Soul King.
"Mighty Soul King," he said while hoping to gain the entity's favor, "I am Ichigo Kurosaki, scion of the Shiba clan. I know what was done to you and made it my mission to undo it. I know your anger is great, but I beg you to spare the rest of the Shinigami. If needed, I'll-" Ichigo was then silenced as he felt something dig into his body from all over, looking up to find the Soul King's left hand extended and thousands of nerves digging into both his and Ichibe's body. The hybrid braced himself to try and resist any attempt to tear his being apart, but it never came. Instead he felt huge amounts of Reishi being pumped into his body while Ichibe looked like everything was being drained from his body.
"I am indeed furious, Ichigo Kurosaki, but your concern is misplaced." The Soul King said in a velvet smooth tone with an echo that just soothed Ichigo's being. "The one's that should suffer my wrath are mostly long dead, with that monk being the sole exception. Speaking of, this should tingle." Ichigo then began to spasm before raising a hand and summoned a Hell Gate that immediately shot out chains to Ichibe and pulled him into the abyss. "And there, I have been avenged." The Soul King pulled his nerves from Ichigo's body, making the boy collapse as his body was forced to process and absorb a massive amount of Reishi. The sheer amount made Ichigo thankful that the old monk was so unused to combat and that his own skills were so varied and allowing some key advantages. "I did gamble on the better nature of the founding Soul Reapers, but only the original Shiba was compassionate enough to argue against my torment. For your service, I have granted you more than enough to do your first mission as my newest guard."
"What?" Ichigo asked before feeling a sharp pain in his chest, opening his Shihakusho to find a new scar on the right side of his chest. An Oken scar.
"Everything in due time Ichigo. For now, kill my treacherous son." The Soul King ordered, closing himself off from Ichigo and Uryu with a barrier as the Quincy made his was to his cousin.
"So... is this good news?" Uryu asked, unsure what to make of the Soul King from his brief interaction with the god.
"Guess we'll find out later." The hybrid said, grabbing hold of Kagutsuchi's sheath as the blade burned to be used. "For now, let's finally end this Uryu." The cousins looked to the cage of trees, feeling that the Zero Squad were now being slaughtered by Yhwach. Uryu reached into his pocket and pulled out a small dagger and a single arrowhead, both made from the Stil Silver from their mothers.
"Wanna see who gets the bullseye first?" Uryu said, making Ichigo smile before before taking the knife. An old competition from their childhood, now the confidence boost for the final battle.
(Ichigo vs Yhwach)
"Of course it would be you," the Quincy emperor said as he moved to the platform Ichigo stood on, "the bastard, the selfish child, the thieving brat stealing what's mine." Multiple Tensa Zangetsu blades began to surround them in a cage of swords, floating just around the perimeter of the disc. "I suppose it truly is only fitting that you be my final opponent, to take back what belongs to me."
"And what exactly have I taken that belongs to you?" Ichigo asked, holding up his newest Zanpakuto by the sheath in front of him. "Aizen's power? Yamamoto's power? What do I have that you would lay claim to?"
"EVERYTHING!" Yhwach roared as he summoned Reishi arrows in the shape of broadswords around the interior of the disc, ready to shoot at Ichigo and the Zangetsu blades around them. "Everything you took is MINE, everything you've ever had belongs to ME, everything in the three worlds exist as MY belongings! But you stole the power of Aizen and Yamamoto and convinced my children to turn against ME! Their benefactor! It appears you've even stole away the will of the Soul King himself! I'm done letting you rob me of what is mine. I'm taking it all back here and now."
"And how is what I did different from you?" Ichigo countered, taking hold of the hilt and causing his hand to burn and give off smoke. "I did take from Aizen, but he wanted me to grow stronger. I took from my master, but he gave it to me. I only revived the Soul King, whether he forgave the Shinigami or not was HIS choice. As for your 'children'? If they turned against you so easily, than you were just a shitty parent. Reduce all creation to ash." Ichigo pulled the sword from its sheath and released a powerful wave of heat that only grew stronger as more of the blade was freed, a fire catching on Ichigo's hand and climbing up his arm as he unsheathed his mentor's gift. "Kagutsuchi." All the moisture disappeared as the stones beneath their feet began to glow and melt by the heat of the blade.
'This is the power you've inherited from Yamamoto?' Yhwach thought as he used Hirenkyaku to levitate once he saw the stone floor beginning to melt. 'There's no denying that it's certainly hotter than what Genryusai could do in his prime, but you also lack the control to properly wield that power.' Yhwach then took a quick glance through the many differing future timelines with his own Almighty, seeing Ichigo attack with Getsugas, Ceros, Balas, Reishi Arrows, various Kido, but two that seemed to appear more often was either a slash or a stab from Kagutsuchi. He returned his focus to battle and in the brief moment of time that he spent seeing the future, Ichigo was just an inch away from piercing his skull. 'What the hell?!' The Quincy emperor mentally screamed as he jumped away. 'Was that several speed techniques mixed together?!' His musing was cut short as Ichigo's blade sank into the melting stone and the entire disc erupted in a pillar of fire.
"Know this you parasite," Ichigo started as soon as the flames stopped, "nothing will stop me from killing you." From the many Zangetsu around them came a quick barrage of Bala, all aimed at Yhwach. The Quincy emperor did see this attack, along with the Cero and arrows that were being charged and fired as well.
"There is no such thing as a future where I'll die!" He shouted as he utilized the ultimate Quincy defense of Blut Vene Anhaben, shielding himself in a sphere made from his Blut Vene that began absorbing everything around it. Ichigo manifested a large spirit hand that wrapped around the shield and began to actually crush it, infecting it with his own Reishi and disrupting Yhwach's control as Ichigo's energy acted like a viral infection. The emperor reached out with Sklaverei, allowing his Blut Vene to dissipate and the spirit hand to be absorbed into a Reishi blade, just as Ichigo appeared before him with two Zangetsu in hand and a Getsuga Jujisho ready to fire.
"Then I'll just make one. Cero Getsuga Jujisho." Ichigo unleashed the most compressed and concentrated blast of destructive energy he could on the Quincy. Every future Yhwach saw this time showed a blast of Reishi of some kind in any direction but not where Ichigo was in that time, presumably because of the sheer size of the attack. Yhwach began to realize that something was messing with his future sight as the attack slammed into him, pushing him to the edge of the disc before his blade shattered and his chest was pierced with a gaping hole left behind.
'That damn brat!' The Quincy emperor thought, gasping for breath as he changed the future to allow him to live. Ichigo was already in front of him again, this time with Kagutsuchi burning with completely black flames. Yhwach couldn't help but smirk as he revealed his trump card, forcing Ichigo to stop just shy of cutting the Quincy and completely undoing the burning field.
"You... YOU BASTARD!" Ichigo roared as he looked at his twin sisters, Yuzu and Karin, bound and gagged with a familiar expression on their faces. An expression of experiencing pain from a fatal attack.
"Empathy, such a disgusting weak-" Yhwach tried to say before Ichigo slashed his throat open, nearly decapitating the Quincy, which Yhwach saw and allowed simply to see the horror on the hybrid's face when the same thing happened to his sisters. A visage of shock and heartbreak that was evident even through the skull mask "Yamamoto never hesitated to do what was necessary, even... the old monk did what needed to be done when the time came." Yhwach stated while healing and feeling somewhat foggy when he tried to name Ichibe, only to have it erased from his mind by some odd means. "But you? This is the second time your sisters were used against you and you still let them be your greatest weakness. Gotei truly are a shadow of their true selves." Ichigo didn't even react as Yhwach reached out and took hold of Ichigo face. "Now, return to me what is MINE!" He roared as he began to consume Ichigo, only to find that the hybrid and the twins disappeared. "What!?" He then saw Ichigo attacking him from every angle.
"I WILL TEAR YOUR SOUL APART!" Ichigo roared in layered tones while Yhwach blocked his attack, the frontal attack but not the ones from the sides and behind. Yhwach had assumed that the many different angles were different futures but in truth Ichigo had achieved what would be later called 'Godspeed', a perfect blend of Shunpo, Hirenkyaku, Sonido, and Bringer Light, that moved the hybrid faster than any other being in the history of Soul Society. Before he managed to mix two or three at most by being careful, now he just didn't care.
"That son of a bitch!" Uryu growled as he paced the throne room helplessly as Yuzu and Karin had one cut after another appear on their bodies. When Ichigo began his fight with Yhwach the Soul King brought the rest of the Zero Squad to his palace and revived them, stating that they still had some use. During that time Uryu was trying to get the perfect shot, waiting until Yhwach was sufficiently distracted or for Ichigo to restrain him, refusing to waste his one single shot on anything less than a guaranteed bullseye. Then the Quincy emperor revealed his ace, Yuzu and Karin, as his meat shields. Ichigo immediately attacked in anger, positive that he could safely recover the twins during the time Yhwach would take to recover, but both he and Uryu were shocked to find the same damage appear on the girls. Ichigo, however, did not freeze and forced himself to move and pull his sisters away from Yhwach while using Kyoka's Bankai to mask his true movements. With that he deposited the girls with Uryu before heading back out to Yhwach, feeling nothing but the blackest of rage and hate for the parasitic entity.
"My treacherous son tied his life force to the girls." The Soul King explained to everyone while Tenjiro went about healing the girls, despite the man's protests that it was only healing Yhwach as well. "Yhwach likely thought that the idea of hurting his sisters would be too much for Ichigo to bear, but that has clearly failed as Ichigo is now fighting more ferociously than before. Likely believing that he'll be able to save them somehow after killing Yhwach."
"And can he?" Uryu asked as Yhwach slowly began to adapt Ichigo's movements, gaining fewer and fewer cuts on his being.
"He won't have to, you already have the means to free them." The Soul King stated gaining the attention of everyone in the throne room. "Once you hit him with that Stil Silver, his connection will be broken. He'll be completely powerless for the briefest of instances, which will be enough to sever the connection to the girls." Uryu's eyes shined in hope before quickly switching back to determination. "I've already told Ichigo. He said you'll see your chance soon." The god stated as Uryu rushed back out to the opening of the palace, spying Ichigo with golden chains wrapped around his left arm. Uryu summoned his bow, brought up a silver arrowhead and waited.
(Back to the fight)
'Come on Uryu.' Ichigo thought as he kept up his assault, occasionally glancing over to his cousin to see if he was ready. Finally Uryu showed up and readied his shot causing Ichigo to smile, but was unaware of how much Yhwach adapted and how much the hybrid slowed down. Ichigo reacted too late as a swing was deflected and a Reishi blade cut his face, going from the top of his cheek under his right eye to just above the middle of his eyebrows. From there came a couple more slashes across his body before using Kyoka's Bankai to create a duplicate and gain some distance.
"That's on me, getting distracted now of all times!" Ichigo growled as the chains glowed with divine power. "Now bind him, ENKIDU!" The hybrid roared, slamming his palm into the disc as shimmering golden portals appeared beneath him. Moving according to his will, the chains around his arm shot into the portal and reappeared around Yhwach before wrapping around his form tightly.
"What? What is-?" The parasite emperor thought as Ichigo allowed Kyoka's Bankai to fade, revealing the chains and himself. Before Yhwach could do anything, something shot into his back and he felt utterly powerless. He couldn't move, even as the chains faded away. He couldn't see the future, only Ichigo immediately appearing before him with a simple silver knife, and then Yhwach saw nothing. Ichigo took his Stil Silver blade and cut through Yhwach's eyes, effectively destroying the power of the Almighty.
"I'M FINISHING THIS!" Ichigo roared while Yhwach was howling in pain, pressing against his ruined eyes in a vain attempt to do something to stop the pain or to heal himself. Ichigo did not care as he slammed a clawed hand into the Quincy's face, fingers going into the still bleeding eyes of Yhwach as Ichigo threw his opponent through the disc they were fighting on and shattered it to pieces. As the two began to fall Ichigo reached out and summoned a Hell Gate, having smelled a heavy stench of sin on Yhwach that would guarantee his entry into perdition. The gates opened and Hell chains shot out immediately, impaling Yhwach in various places before pulling him down with Ichigo still hanging on. They passed through the labyrinth of the 1st level, the ocean of the 2nd, the acidic wasteland of the 3rd, the ash graveyard of the 4th, and all the way down to the lava pits where damned souls are revived to continue their torment.
"NO! STOP! I DEMAND- PLEASE DON'T!" Yhwach started to beg as they descended as his greatest fear was becoming a reality. First he lost his sight when Ichigo destroyed his eyes, then he lost his sense of smell and taste as the scent of burning flesh disappeared along with the taste of ash. Soon he failed to hear his own screams of pain and horror as the sacrificial souls that sustained him drained away. His limbs then fell limp to the ground and his screams ended, no longer able to move without the lives of others fueling him. Finally he lost the sense of touch, only knowing tremendous pain as burning lava healed his flesh only to cause endless pain that he could only remember. The Sealed King of the Quincy. Over 900 years, he shall recover his heartbeat. Over 90 years, he shall recover his intellect. Over nine years, he shall recover his power. And over nine days, he shall recover the world. Then in one, he would lose it all. Yhwach was defeated.
"I doubt you can hear me, but I'm not content with this." Ichigo said as the Kushanada began to herd around him. "I believe I said that I'd tear your very soul apart." Ichigo then paused as the jailers of Hell relayed a message. "Really? I like it." The hybrid said before grabbing Kagutsuchi's hilt. "Reduce all creation to ash, Kagutsuchi." His arm was engulfed in flames again while golden energy of Hell started flowing into the sword's fire. Soon a Tensa Zangetsu blade came to the flames before converting into a Mugetsu, likewise merging with the fire to become black flames with gold flashes. Ichigo raised the blade while Yhwach was raised by the chains, with the blade pointing directly at the Quincy's heart.
"Now fade, PENANCE!" Ichigo called out before thrusting the burning blade into the fallen Quincy, erupting into a pillar of black and gold flames that consumed Yhwach's remains. The flesh burned away instantly, the skeleton was reduced to ash that itself burned away into nothing, and the soul itself became non-existent. Yhwach was permanently destroyed. It was finally over, the mission Ichigo had for over ten years had finally come to an end. He started chuckling, then laughing in triumph as he reverted to his base form before falling into the lava river, completely unconscious. The heat and fires would not harm Ichigo for this Hell was his realm and the Kushanada were his servants. One reached down to grasp and carry the now sleeping Ichigo to someplace more fitting. Soon another gate appeared above them, with a new Quincy emperor coming down for the hybrid.
A/N: Penance is based off the Ghost Rider's Penance Stare and will be elaborated on in the next chapter. Godspeed is canon, having appeared in Can't Fear Your Own World, the revival of the Zero Squad is canon because the Oken allows them to revive so long as they're in the Royal Realm, and if anyone wants to give my version of Ichigo a nickname, go ahead an PM me. Something akin to demonic nature as well as dragon themed is appreciated. Mainly because Yamamoto had nicknames based on his scars and Ichigo is the future leader of the Soul Society.
Mainly something in Japanese, with translation.