Endings and Beginnings
(Soul King's Throne Room)
Pain. That's what Ichigo felt throughout his entire being as he started to wake up, not a sharp and stabbing pain from a fresh injury but more of a dull throb from one that was healing. His soul on the other hand still felt like it was on fire and it was barely calming down. The hybrid opened his eyes to see that he was back in the throne room of the Soul King, the members of the Zero Squad had been Revived and Tenjiro was healing Ichigo in a sphere of his White Bone Hell water to push out all of the damage and there was quite a lot of damage. Uryu was in the corner with Yuzu and Karin watching Ichigo, Yuzu was clearly worried while Karin was trying to appear confident that their brother would be fine. The bubble of water eventually shrank to free Ichigo's head, allowing him to breath and hear, likely since the Soul King was speaking.
"Penance should never be used again Ichigo." The Soul King immediately ordered with the full power of his authority. "Unless it is impossible to seal away whoever it is that you would use this on, you will not use that attack ever again. You completely erased my foolish son from existence, he will not be reincarnated, he will never be revived, you even burned away his name. All that remains of him is a scant memory that someone like him existed but it will never be on the forefront of anyone's mind. He is gone and doing something like that bears a heavy burden." The Soul King held out a hand and the calligraphy brush of Ichimonji flew to him. "This brush has a technique, Futen Taisatsuryo, where it absorbs massive amounts of 'black' to create a mausoleum that would take away all the 'blackness' of his opponent, killing them and ensuring they'll never reincarnate. So much darkness that one would steal one hundred nights from any world if they used it. You bore the price entirely on your own."
"I could tell." Ichigo rasped out, prompting Kirio to get him a drink of tea that she brewed to aid in his revitalization. "All of his sin was converted to heat and hellish flames that I had to hold within me and bear while he burned away."
"He may have lived for over a thousand years, but it's easy to accumulate sin like that." The Soul King added before waving a hand, Ichigo feeling his restoration accelerating before Tenjiro released the bubble of water. "If you can avoid it, never use that technique again." Ichigo bowed his head in understanding before Tenjiro grabbed his head and looked over the hybrid.
"Well, you've mostly healed up but you have a few scars." The founding healer stated, tracing the one over Ichigo's right eye. "It doesn't impair your vision, but I can get rid of it if you want."
"Leave it alone, I want a reminder." Ichigo ordered while pushing him off. He needed one, a reminder of what he went through, of what was sacrificed, of what he lost, all because of that damn selfish parasite. Soon after that he was tackled to the ground by his two sisters as they hugged him tightly, apologizing for being a burden on him yet again. "Never think like that you two." Ichigo said as he returned their hug. "Neither of you will ever be a burden. I'm just sorry I hurt you so much."
"We promise." Yuzu said as the two cried in relief and self disappointment. "We promise we'll get stronger so that this never happens again." Ichigo rubbed their backs in a soothing manner while Uryu walked up to his cousin, the two sharing a look before Uryu started chuckling.
"After all this time, it's finally over." The Quincy laughed out with mixed emotions of relief and exhaustion. Years spent training, dealing with all of Soul Society's problems, getting ready for the revival of the man that tried to take everything and destroy what he couldn't all for his own selfish wants, and now it was over. Their life's goal had been complete
"It's not over yet you two." The Soul King interrupted, causing everyone to look at him. "This battle is done, but after every war comes the task of rebuilding. Laying to rest those that have lost their lives in battle, restructuring the flawed and corrupted system the nobles had, adding the Quincy to this new system, there is still plenty for you to do. But first," he waved his hand again and the members of the Zero Squad grasped at different parts of their bodies while gasping in surprise and pain, "the Zero Squad is finished. I will only have one guard from now on, the rest of you will return to the Seireitei and make more contributions to them. Make yourselves properly useful again, I will be able to protect myself. Speaking of, here it comes." The palace shook, forcing everyone to turn to the palace entrance to see a giant Adjuchas Hollow that shocked Ichigo to his core.
"Ikomikidomoe." Oetsu breathed out in shock as he and the remaining Shinigami began sweating bullets. It was a large white humanoid with short legs and long arms with bear like claws at the end, no visible neck so it looked like it had a wide face with an odd jack o' lantern smile ending in circles with four yellow eye-like orbs, and hexagonal shaped scales going down its back with a small bearded Hollow mask in the middle of its odd smile. "An ancient Hollow from before I made the first Zanpakuto, so powerful that it threatened the stability of the worlds."
"But the Monk removed his name and changed it to that meaningless one to severely weaken his power before they sealed him in one of the first Zanpakuto." The Soul King continued as the Hollow made its way to the throne. "Do you remember your real name?"
"Yes." The Hollow responded in a low rumble.
"You tried to eat me when I was weakened." The god continued, showing no fear to the beast. "Do you think you can now?" Silence as the Hollow didn't want to admit that the being before him was more powerful than himself. "You belong to me, as my sword and guard dog. Failure to comply and I'll take away your name... or just feed you to that kid over there." Ikomikidomoe looked over to Ichigo, who got over his initial fear and looked at the Adjuchas with hunger in his eyes. "Like you, his growth is endless. Unlike before, there are Shinigami more than capable of killing you. Do you submit?" The Hollow turned back to the Soul King and began to fade, turning into a pure white broadsword with black spots and falling into the Soul King's hand before being set to rest against the arm of his crystal throne.
"Good boy." The god said before pointing to Uryu. "Now one more thing before you all leave. Stand before me Uryu Ishida." The Quincy complied and stood before the Soul King, who reached out and touched Uryu's forehead. "The Quincy as a whole need a leader, someone that truly cares for them and will lead them down a righteous path, not one of destruction. As such, I carve unto your soul that authority to lead them, as the progenitor of all the Quincy." Uryu jumped back, screaming as he reached for his eyes. Ichigo moved to his cousin's side as Uryu revealed multiple pupils in his eyes. "You now share in the power of the Almighty, Every power my son was capable of is now yours to wield." Uryu's eyes returned to normal as he dropped to his knees.
"That... that's hard... to control." Uryu panted from exhaustion. "Draining too."
"You will learn to control it in time." The Soul King said before turning back to Ichigo. "You will be executing someone very soon Ichigo. And when you do, bring me his sword as well." Oetsu tried to hide his surprise as he immediately guessed what blade the Soul King would want. "Now, begone. The barriers are gone and you have much to do." The king dismissed as the curtains closed, leaving the former Zero Squad members and Ichigo's family. The group of eight went to the entrance of the palace and jumped, beginning their return to the Soul Society. All of this the Soul King watched with his own Almighty sight, smiling before disabling his clairvoyance and precognition to properly look through his own eyes for the first time since his imprisonment.
(Back to the Seireitei)
The group of eight continued to descend, a trip that normally took days by normal Shunpo cut to mere minutes by a sudden gate appearing and transporting them down to above the central city of the Soul Society, seeing the realm free of the shadow that switched out the Shinigami capital with the Quincy's Silbern now gone and the Soul Society mostly restored. There was still tons of damage from the previous battle with the Vandenreich, but that could be fixed easily. Buildings can be rebuilt, but many of the dead could not be revived. The assembled forces of the Gotei and the surviving Quincy noticed them and began to crowd near the predicted landing zone. Once they touched down, before anyone could say anything, Isshin and Masaki burst through the crowd and hugged their children.
"Oh my babies! I'm never going to let this happen again!" Isshin said, letting tears of relief fall as he and his wife held their daughters. Ichigo was grabbed and pulled into the mass of arms and embracing, letting it happen as he could tell just how stressful this was on the mother and father. He had to wonder how long they were actually feeling like this and how he could let them stew in that worry and concern. Ichigo then felt a whisper in the back of his mind as he was finally released by his parents.
"Mom, auntie Mira wanted to say she's sorry." He said as Masaki looked confused as Ichigo handed her the Arrancar's pendant. The moment Masaki touched the metal her eyes widened in shock and surprise before tears started to form.
"That was so mean of her." The matriarch of the Kurosaki family said, opening the pendant and seeing the pictures of herself and the disguised form of the Arrancar that was her best friend. "Disappearing without saying goodbye. You were supposed to be there with us Mira." She sobbed, prompting the family to embrace her again. Ichigo was the first to let go, joining the rest of the assembled Shinigami, Arrancar, and Quincy with Uryu at his side.
"So he's gone?" Kyoraku asked the pair. "Gone for good?"
"I burned him away to nothingness. The Quincy King is gone." Ichigo announced, prompting cheers and celebrations from some while others smiled quietly at the return of peace. Bambietta came out of the crowd and jumped onto Ichigo, giving him a deep kiss, followed soon by the rest of his harem.
"No fair! I want some strawberry sugar too!" Candice yelled out as she claimed the next kiss and Ichigo didn't really have a say as all of his lovers took turns, then he felt something poking his neck rather harshly.
"You took my Bambi." He saw a girl with a dopey expression that was burning with hate, anger, and jealousy. "I'LL KILL YOU!" She roared as her Reishi arrowhead failed to even pierce his neck, guarded as it was from the clothes Senjumaru made and his own passive Hierro. Everyone backed away as she tried to kill the hybrid before Kenpachi grabbed her by the throat and pulled her off.
"So... can we agree that she doesn't get to stay?" He asked while looking over the crowd.
"She's insane and would probably try to kill me. Go ahead." Bambietta said while Orihime fussed over Ichigo's non-existent neck wound. Uryu instead walked up to her and placed a hand on her head with Giselle soon screaming afterward before going limp.
"By the will of the Soul King, I was granted the powers of the Almighty." He announced to everyone, revealing his eyes to the surviving members of the Vandenreich, the Gotei, and the Arrancar. "He named me the new King of the Quincy. If anyone wishes to challenge me for it, then go ahead. But as king, I declare allegiance and brotherhood to the Soul Society." He turned to Kyoraku while holding out his free hand. "If they should accept it."
"Not doing so the first time was a mistake." The current head captain said as he made his way to Uryu and shook his hand. "I welcome you, king Uryu Ishida." Uryu smiled before turning back to the remaining Sternritters.
"If you want to leave, go ahead. I won't stop you. I'm not a tyrant pretending to be generous." The assembled Quincy looked to each other while they made their decisions. Haschwalth stepped forward before anyone.
"Everything I did was for the future of the Quincy." He stated before kneeling before the new king. "I put my faith in one that would lead us to a brighter future." Bazz-B walked up next to him and did the same.
"Someone's gotta keep an eye out for this dope." He said while the other Quincy followed suit, some for selfish reasons like keeping their powers or fondness for a certain hybrid, while Robert wanted to retire and teach the future Quincy since they'd need one. They soon went into talks about how the Quincy would integrate themselves into the new Gotei system when Uryu all but stated that they'd be the new squad 15 and the Silbern would be their base. Urahara and Mayuri then started planning on moving the Silbern into the 'shadow' of Karakura town based on the reports Uryu made about Reverse London during his time with Wing Bind.
As that was going on, Kyoraku grabbed Ichigo and told it that there was something he needed him to do; finally put an end to Tokinada Tsunayashiro.
(Seireitei: Unmarked Prison)
During the walk over to Tsunayashiro's holding cell Kyoraku filled Ichigo in on the prisoner; who he was, why he was in prison, and why Ichigo was slated to execute him. Aizen did unforgivable acts with the ambition of power but also thought he could do a better job than what the founding members of the Soul Society did. Yhwach was a real monster driven by sheer selfishness and an understandable disgust of how the Soul King came into being and the fear of his own death. Tokinada Tsunayashiro... had neither. No end goal, no sympathetic motivation, he just loved to cause pain and was able to get away with it.
"Does he have a notable Zanpakuto?" Ichigo asked as Kyoraku revealed the hidden prison.
"Wouldn't surprise me if he did." The head captain admitted as the pair descended into the depths of the single occupant prison. "All notable clans and noble families have an ancestral Zanpakuto that anyone of that family can use. Nanao is part of one such clan that are charged with performing rites and rituals, so they only have that one sword."
"Wait... I don't remember seeing her with a sword." Ichigo noted, thinking back on all the times he's seen the lieutenant. "I don't think I've ever seen her-"
"She's basically my secretary, not a combatant. Her mother asked me to keep their family sword for safe keeping." He said, revealing why Nanao never fought. "I won't ask why you want the Tsunayashiro clan's sword, but I'm betting it's an order from the Soul King." He said before they reached the prison cell of Tokinada Tsunayashiro, Ichigo flinching from the burning stench of sin emanating from the noble that reminded him all too much of his time in that other dimension.
"Where's your sword?" Ichigo demanded upon seeing Tokinada, who was looking more raggedy and angry in the time since Kyoraku left. Evidence of people tending to his basic needs of food and water were evident but some spots of blood suggest that he was less appreciative of whoever was still loyal enough to aid him. The fact that his entire prison was made of Sekkiseki stone with a one of a kind lock that would break if anyone tried any other key made his escape impossible under the conditions that happened. Tokinada looked to Ichigo and scoffed.
"My Zanpakuto was taken when I was dishonorably discharged from the Gotei." He answered. "I have no idea where it is." Ichigo took the key Kyoraku offered and opened the prison cell, reaching for one of his three blades. "BUT!" He yelled, holding his hands up to stop Ichigo's march. "I will tell you where my family's Zanpakuto is, if you get me out of these cuffs." He held his hands out. "If I'm to die, at least let me go out fighting. Or would you deny me that honor?" Ichigo thought it over before looking to Kyoraku.
"If you really want to fight him, I'll keep an eye on him while you secure that blade." He offered while handing Ichigo another key. The hybrid took it and held it before Tsunayashiro.
"My ancestral Zanpakuto is called Kuten-Kyokoku, and it's buried in my family's garden." He said before gesturing for Ichigo to unlock his Reishi restraints sealing his power. As Ichigo quickly unlocked his ankles and moved to his wrists, a new voice started talking.
"Man, that ain't her name!" Oetsu shouted as he walked down, with Scathach next to him. "That sword's real name is Enrakyoten and it's in his hand!" Tokinada hissed just as Ichigo freed him and he revealed a hilt without a blade. The noble tried to stab Ichigo with it but the hybrid caught his wrist, feeling something pass along his cheek but failed to cut him. However, before he could crush Tsunayashiro's wrist, the hilt revealed thousands of cherry blossoms. Scathach created a wall of ice between herself, Kyoraku, and Oetsu and Ichigo and Tokinada.
"DIE YOU BASTARD!" Tsunayashiro roared as the thousands of petal blades converged on Ichigo like a whirlwind, but failed to cut him due to his use of Blut, Hierro, and greater Reiatsu... at first. Eventually Ichigo started feeling light cuts before his arm was cut off at the elbow, freeing Tokinada. "You won't-" he was cut off be Ichigo grabbing his face and slamming him against the wall. Tokinada was dazed but not unconscious, as evidenced by his use of Senbonzakura which had gained a black and yellow glow. Before whatever it was could happen, Ichigo just pounded away at the guy with rapid fire punches that made the entire prison shake before landing one more punch that left a spiderweb crack behind Tokinada's body. The petals converged on the hilt to reveal a katana blade.
"I'll be taking this." Ichigo said as he grabbed the hilt of the Enrakyoten before walking out of the prison cell, then snapping his fingers to summon a Hell Gate. He didn't bother looking back as Tokinada was dragged into Hell for his sins. Realizing it was over, Scathach dispelled the ice as Oetsu looked over the ancestral blade.
"Probably the strongest Zanpakuto I've ever made." The smith admitted as he handed it back to Ichigo after pulling out a sheath from out of nowhere and putting it on the blade. "The Shikai of that sword is to mimic any Shikai that its wielder has seen before."
"Is that how he had Sebonzakura's abilities?" Ichigo guessed.
"And Nozarashi and Suzumebachi, which is why you almost died before pounding that prick into the wall." Oetsu scolded, poking Ichigo's forehead harshly. "You need to be more careful! You're now the ONLY member of the Zero Squad, the last line of protection for the Soul King from having to get off that throne! Be a bit more careful!" Ichigo stayed stunned from the knowledge that he almost died and that Oetsu, arguably the goofiest member of the previous Royal Guard, was the one to tell him to get his act together was a little jarring. He almost missed it when Oetsu and Scathach had started talking about weapon crafting.
A few days passed after the execution; Ichigo had given Enrakyoten to the Soul King, he finally met the remaining 'heroic legacies' from around the world, the Seireitei was rebuilt with some notable improvements, the project to recreate the Silbern in the shadow of Karakura was nearing completion, and everyone that had lost their lives in this damned war had been gathered together. It took three days to gather the remaining bodies from wherever else they were from the Silbern to Hueco Mundo and for the Gigai/Reigai research teams to gather data on all those bodies to optimize potential bodies, but now it was time to lay them to rest.
Jugram and the surviving Sternritters were doing their own goodbyes to their former comrades, though no love appeared to be lost from the Quincy. CuChulainn and Achilles stuck with Ikkaku and Squad 11 as they began to say their goodbyes to the fallen brothers in arms, the whole squad unanimously agreeing to learn some Kido to honor their former third seat. Medea was with Unohana, crying over all the lives she failed to save while the motherly captain tried to soothe the sobbing girl. Karna did his own ceremony for his rival, since there was no body to bury, and Atalanta preferred to keep her distance. Scathach, Hassan, and the former members of the Zero Squad went to Yamamoto's grave to bid their final goodbyes with the exception of Kirio who joined with Hiyori in the main plaza. Ichigo was with the captains while Kyoraku talked about the courage, bravery, honor in the face of their duty and Ichigo just didn't hear anything. He was tired.
'Cirucci, Marik, Mira, Rununganga, Rudbornne, Yumichika, Soi-Fon, Tsukishima, Chojiro, Master Yamamoto,... Rangiku.' He thought going over all the people he had called friend and comrade, some he was closer to than others. Hearing about Rangiku, even now seeing her body among the dead, didn't seem real. She was so happy, so full of life and love, the whole world seemed a little darker now that she wasn't in it. Orihime still looked like she was going to cry, something Ichigo hadn't done at all since Yamamoto died. The drive from burning anger and vengeance was gone and now he was just tired. Tired of fighting, tired of losing people, tired of his family being kidnapped, he just... he wanted to be done.
"...go. Ichigo." Ukitake said, snapping Ichigo out of his daze. "It's almost time." The two turned their attention on Kyoraku as he gave Ichigo his cue, the head captain standing next to a long wall with the names of every member of the Gotei that died in the war separated by their squads.
"And now we bid our friends good bye." Kyoraku nodded to Ichigo as he walked out among the dead and held up his Kagutsuchi. One quick release and the barest exposure of the blade and all the bodies were alight in flames, the power of the fire blade quickly reducing them to ashes near instantly. After that the Kido Corps scattered the ashes to the wind, Ichigo watching it all with an impassive look but many could see the exhaustion in him. Some kept their distance, other placed a reassuring hand on his shoulders, his family and lovers hugged him, but only one stuck around.
"Ichigo?" Izuru Kira said as everyone else left. "I've got a message to give you, from captain Ichimaru." It was then that the hybrid realized that he didn't see Gin once during this entire ordeal, not since he came back down from the Royal Palace. "He said to meet him where he first found Rangiku."
(Rukongai: Unnamed Field)
She told him about it once, how she was a starving child in the Rukon with no one to care or help, until Gin showed up and shared some persimmon with her. She made a conscious effort to forget about the days before she met Gin, only counting the days after they met. Ichigo was able to find him after some time, sitting alone with a bag and a few wine bottles, while the sky darkened with the sense that it might rain but never does. When the teen went up to him, Gin immediately handed him a bottle of clear reddish orange liquid. A few sniffs and Ichigo figured out that it was Persimmon wine, a pretty strong wine.
"That was going to be a wedding gift for you two after the war." Gin explained as he took a swig from another bottle. "I was looking forward to that day and spent quite a lot of time making the brew just right. Still had a long way to go, but what's the point now?" Ichigo looked down in shame Gin continued to look at him expectantly. The hybrid got the hint and took a long drink from the bottle, enjoying the sweet flavor and slight burn from the alcohol. "Stop looking like that kid, I don't blame you and never had." The vizard captain said, waving his hand about like he was wiping away his cares. "She'd be upset with me if I did and we all know you can't be everywhere at once. You went above and beyond what any Shinigami has ever done, which was far more than anyone should've asked of you."
"Thanks." Ichigo managed to squeeze out. The two continued to drink in silence until Gin poured out the rest of his bottle in the ground.
"To the fallen." Gin said before Ichigo did the same. Gin had one more unopened bottle but set it aside as he stood up, looking at the gray sky. "Everything seems just a little darker, now that you're not here." He whispered, facing Ichigo and ready to fight. "You know why I asked you to come here?" Ichigo didn't say anything, he just drew Zangetsu and activated his Shikai. "Make it quick." There was a pause as the two waited, tense for the moment to strike. The two then disappeared in a burst of speed and reappeared in the middle, with Gin impaled on the two Zangetsu.
"Gin... I-" Ichigo started, choking up as his emotions started to come out.
"Save it." Gin said, coughing out a bit of blood as he dropped his sword to hug Ichigo while he bled to death. "No use crying over someone like me. I never cared about anything, except for her. I became a Soul Reaper to get close to Aizen and kill him, because he hurt her. I stayed as a Shinigami because she would be sad if I completely disappeared. I wanted her to be happy, so I asked you to do it because you were more capable than I was." Ichigo let go of his blades and returned the hug, feeling the life fade from Gin's body. "This... was a really shitty place growing up. But, it looked almost livable when I was walking through it. That was your influence... to make the Rukongai a better place. Keep up the good work kid, Soul Society's in good hands."
"Gin..." The captain's legs gave out and Ichigo lowered him to the ground.
"Not for me... but for everyone else... let it out." Gin said as he coughed a few more times. "I'm too weak to live in a world without her. I can't bear it. I'm not strong enough to go on like you kid. I... really wanted... to be... an uncle... to..." Gin said no more, the smile on his face still there as his life ended. Again another friend and ally to the list of those he lost, because of what was lost. The rain finally fell as Ichigo let out an anguished cry, alone with no one to hear as he screamed out his pain.
(One week later)
The official story was that Gin was poisoned in his fight against Cang Du and some of the other Quincy and he wanted his final moments to be somewhere he remembered fondly. Kyoraku, the other captains, and Uryu were the only other ones that knew the truth and it was agreed to carve his name on the Memorial Wall. Ichigo burned his body to ash so there was no evidence to refute his claims, not that anyone wanted to since there was enough pain already and it made no sense to disgrace one of their own. Everyone just wanted to move on and start the process of healing.
There was a lot of back and forth travel for Ichigo as the Gotei needed to fill in their vacant roles. Uryu was still the lieutenant of Squad 15 but that didn't matter to the Quincy as they still listened to him first and Uryu still needed time to adjust to being a main leader, so Isshin still remained as captain until further notice. To help with the transition, Oetsu began crafting a Zanpakuto equivalent for the Quincy that would still mix with their Vollstandg but was as of yet unnamed since the Soul King had that authority and power now. Lisa was appointed the interim captain of squad 8 until she decided to fully take it but Kyoraku implied that someone else would hold that position in the future. Ichigo and Kyoraku agreed on making Halibel the new squad 16 captain since she was more of a leader than any other Arrancar and was closer to the role of Queen of Hueco Mundo than Neliel. Ichigo was still their leader as King but that paled in the future role of Captain Commander of the whole Gotei so it wasn't reasonable to make him the captain of the Hollow division.
As for the foreign heroes, Karna and King Hassan left pretty early after deciding their roles in this war were over though Hassan told Ichigo to find him when he was finally ready to begin his training under the master assassin. Achilles and CuChulainn spent some time hanging out with some of the rowdier members of the Gotei that Ikkaku introduced them too and going to drink with before Scathach and Atalanta stopped them. Eventually it was time for the Greeks and the Celts to return to their homes as well, but before that Achilles and Cu wanted to challenge Ichigo to a friendly spar. They spent almost the whole week trying to talk him into it when hearing about him before the war but have yet to actually see him in action. Scathach was the one that managed to talk him into to finally doing it, stating that she made a promise to Yamamoto and that she intended to keep it, so seeing Ichigo in action would be useful.
"So, how is this supposed to go?" Ichigo asked Achilles and Cu while checking the straps on his new uniform, similar to his previous outfit but with far stronger restraints since Ichigo gained the sum total of Aizen, Yamamoto, and Ichibe's Reiryoku, leaving only the Soul King stronger than him. The outfit was meant to contain him down to levels that wouldn't destroy everything around him until he could control it all, which still left him stronger and faster than anyone in the Gotei Squads.
"Well, master just wants a better idea on what to do with your training." Cu said, swinging around a practice pole in lieu of his Gae Bolg. Achilles and Ichigo also had the same type of wood staff, as per Scathach's orders. When the two spear masters started to complain about the matter, she said the alternative was to fight her. They immediately agreed to stick to fighting Ichigo just to avoid angering the Queen of Dun Scaith. "So let's go until you lose."
"Pretty cocky, aren't ya?" The hybrid said while lifting his staff and getting into what he recognized as a combat stance, though the result was more than a little awkward. "I won't deny my lack of any training with a spear, but I'm pretty sure I'm stronger and faster." Achilles and Cu seamlessly shifted into their own stances.
"Prove it!" Achilles yelled out in excitement before shooting towards Ichigo at speeds that were impressive for pure leg strength alone while CuChulainn moved to flank the hybrid from the right. Reflexively Ichigo tried to block them like he was wielding a sword but that ended with him stumbling a little and getting touched by their staves, on his solar plexus and the back of his knees. At the same moment those staves made contact with him he jumped and, to the two spear masters, disappeared. "What the-?" The rush of wind alerted the Greek warrior to an overhead strike.
"Well?" Ichigo asked as he swung the staff down just as Achilles blocked the downward swing, making a loud crack as the poles collided. "Fast enough?" Ichigo disappeared again when Cu attempted to stab him with his pole. "Or should I go faster?" He started blitzing around the two, creating many after images while surrounding them.
"Okay... he's faster than us." Cu admitted while he and Achilles stood back to back, scanning the different after images of Ichigo. Suddenly Achilles swung his staff to block Ichigo's own, which he had thrown at the two. Once Achilles deflected it, Ichigo flashed over and grabbed onto Achilles staff while flipping over the Greek. Cu turned and saw this, quickly drawing a few Runes that shot fire at the hybrid. Ichigo saw this and quickly cast Sai to restrain CuChulainn's arms, forcing the Celt's arms behind his back from the sudden counter cast. As Ichigo completed his flip he shot a kick into Cu's unprotected chest and sent him flying away, then twisted his body as he landed to wrestle Achilles for his staff.
"Tell me, is this really satisfying?" Ichigo asked as they fought for staff, trying to rip it from the other's grip.
"A little... but not enough." Achilles admitted before slamming his head into Ichigo's own Blut and Hierro reinforced skull. "Can you give a little more?"
"I thought Kenpachi had a thick skull." Ichigo muttered before his veins glowed red.
"Oh boy." The spearman said before getting hit with the hybrid's own headbutt, before he freed a hand from the staff and slammed a fist into the Greek's gut. Achilles felt the full force of the punch pass through his body, stumbling back from the blow, and smiled in excitement. "Now that's more like it!" He yelled out before tossing away the staff and brought his fists up in a pankration stance before charging. He threw many rapid fire punches and a few strong kicks, Ichigo blocking or dodging them before returning his own.
'It's like punching a steel wall with this guy.' Ichigo thought as another punch hit Achilles's face but the guy powered through anyway. Achilles threw another punch to Ichigo's head, prompting the hybrid to block, but it was a feint as the actual attack went for Ichigo's solar plexus. The hybrid coughed out all the air in his lungs as Achilles then threw a spartan kick into Ichigo's core and threw him back.
"Come on Ichigo! I thought you'd be tougher than that!" The Greek taunted as Ichigo got back to his feet. CuChulainn freed himself from the Kido, but had opted to watch until he could engage in his own one on one, standing next to his teacher. Then he noticed a slight shift in the air around Ichigo.
"You finally noticed?" Scathach asked as Ichigo's veins glowed again. Cu nodded as Ichigo flashed to the Greek with both fists buried in Achilles's torso, realizing that Ichigo was way faster and likely way stronger. "And that outfit still restrains his power. Now I see why Yama thought I'd be interested."
"Sokotsu." Ichigo whispered as a shockwave of air burst from the point of impact with the sound of broken bones cracking throughout the air. Ichigo backed away while Achilles wrapped his arms around his body. "That only fractured your ribs? What are you made of?" Achilles let out a short laugh before smiling at the hybrid.
"I may not be invulnerable like my namesake, but I'm certainly durable enough." He said before coughing out some blood. "I think that's enough."
"Yes it is!" They heard someone yell when Atalanta appeared and punched Achilles in the head. "We were supposed to be going home today you idiot! Yet here you are, sparring and getting hurt." She scolded while Medea ran up to heal him.
"Come on sis." Achilles started, hoping to calm the irate lioness, who then punched him again.
"We're going home. We did what we came here to do." She turned to Ichigo again and bowed her head. "It was an honor to fight alongside a noble hero. May our paths meet again as allies once more." She then turned, grabbed Achilles by the ear, and dragged him away while Medea was still healing him. Ichigo rubbed his knuckles, now healed after breaking them punching Achilles.
'One tough bastard.' He thought before getting a heavy slap to his back.
"Nice display there kid." Scathach yelled out with a smile while Cu was next to her. "I wasn't expecting much skill with a spear from a novice, but you're definitely good on physical ability. Now I don't have to worry about training your body so much." Her smile then turned more sadistic. "I'm going to have a lot of fun training you." She tossed a stone tablet to Ichigo, who caught it on reflex. "That rune stone will guide you to my domain, just throw it in the air when your at the Isle of Skye. Don't keep me waiting for too long. I'm gonna go and gather materials for your spear. Bye!" She said happily before using Rune magic to open a portal to her domain, walking through happily. CuChulainn looked back to Ichigo with a smile before holding out his arm.
"Till then, brother disciple." He said as Ichigo tapped the hound's wrist with his own, watching as the spearman followed his teacher. Ichigo let out a sigh, remembering that he's expected to undergo more training.
"Can I at least take a few months to myself?" He asked as he started walking back to the Seireitei, then his phone rang about a text from Kyoraku. Something about him needing to go to Kyoto before he can even leave Japan. "Never ends, does it?" He sighed before flashing to the squad 1 barracks.
"So... this must be boredom." The Soul King said, realizing that he was completely alone inside his palace, aside from Ikomikidomoe and he wasn't in a talking mood. "I've made a terrible mistake."
A/N: And there we go, a journey spanning four years now comes to an end... for the Bleach storyline. BUT because I let LastKenpachi talk me into it, there's going to be the crossover Death and Dragons where Ichigo is a faction leader in the DxD storyline. Epilogue Episodes will be chronicling some things that'll happen during the timeskip, primarily Ichigo's training and the integration of dragons from Burn the Witch into Soul Society, with some of Ichigo meeting a few notable characters along the way.
If anyone missed it, I'm intending to have Ichigo gain a spear made by Scathach so ideas for that will be appreciated. There's going to be some time before I get there though. Like I said, I'M TAKING A BREAK! This was a mammoth undertaking, and there's something else I want to start working on and it's time I get to it.
I'll see you all again... likely when I do the first of the Epilogue adventures. Ichigo in DxD Kyoto, that'll be fun. Let you know when that starts.
: Ichigo is at End of Series power, not his super jacked up power.