A warm feeling wash over my face, opening my eyes soon blinded. Holding my hand over my face I saw it was the sun. Running my eyes as I sat up, feeling as if I had awoke from a long nap. A terrible pain in my back noticing I wasn't in my standard shinobi gear. Wearing a black and white kimono, with my mask still placed where it was. Rising with my feet almost giving, soon finding myself in a forest clearing.

"How'd I end up here?"

Seeing through the trees I spotted a village. Pushing through the tough brush being presented a sight. A village yes, but in the far off distance was a white structure. Seeing an old frail woman who seemed to be trying to lift a heavy jar of water. Before she could fall I caught the ceramic jar.

"Oh thank you young man" she said with gratitude

"It's no trouble"

"It that case would you mind helping it in the hut? I would do it, but as you witnessed..."

"Of course lead the way"

Following her I was soon in the womans small home, I could see a bit of the roof caving in, a small mess of a bed.

"Can you set it in the corner there?" She said pointing in the direction

Placing it where needed she soon offered me a cup of tea. I accepted seeing that I needed a few questions answered anyhow.

"My thanks for your help"

The tea was hot and smelled fantastic in, pulling my mask down just enough to take a sip. It was sweet and warm something I wouldn't expect here.

"Excuse for being blunt, but where am I?"

The woman looked amused as if she had heard it as a joke or just too many times.

"You're in the Soul Society, when you die in the living world you're brought here" she answered pouring herself a cup

So it was true I was really dead, and to be honest I didn't picture the afterlife like this. The question for me now was...what do I do? I was truly at a lost. Finishing my drink as well as taking my leave.

"What do you plan on doing?" The elderly woman asked

"Don't know, but I might as well see what this place has to offer" I answered with a hidden smile

Walking out the home making way down a trail. Finding a spot atop a hill with a view of the entire Soul Society. The white structure seemed to be surrounded by other smaller districts.

"They must stretch for miles"

Not seeing an end the thought of how long it would take me to explore. Wandering into the more busy part of 'district' not many people were present. A few kids here and there, but besides that you could say people were scarce. I could see men in uniform, they seemed to be on patrol or something of the like.

"Hey drunk out of the way" one said pushing said man over

They weren't friendly as suspected ignoring I left the scene. I didn't know much besides the name of place, but that structure kept my mind busy. I needed to know what it was. I asked many of the locals getting only bad information: nobles, rich and poor whatever to relieve their frustration. I came to one woman who seemed to be serving food or that's what it looked like.

"Excuse"

"Hmmm?" She said turning my way

"Could you tell me about that place? I've asked everyone else, but they didn't give me a straight answer" I explained

"Oh that would be the Seireitei, but I don't know much besides that" she answered

Finally a complete answer and from what I saw those men in black kimono would come in and out. Most likely a military force lay behind the walls.

"There is a gatekeeper you could talk to, but few rarely do so" she added

"Gatekeeper?"

A massive man stood at the front of a gate. His face was put in a permanent frown almost, his body looked like weighing itself down. I couldn't explain it, but something didn't feel right. If I fought him I would surely die in the encounter.

"Not today"

Walking away from the situation my curiosity would have to be satisfied another day. There was a steady growing stream of people filling the streets. Kids ran by me, though I had to check my pockets only to realize that I had nothing worth stealing. Continuing down the path a strange feeling washed over me, one sinister and sadistic. There was another as well one that was fading quickly, running towards the spike. Knowing that I was basically committing suicide if I encountered this thing or whatever it was that was giving off this energy.

"What is this?"

Getting closer to the forest nearby still sensing the dark and fading energy. Upon entering the forest a massive weight or pressure more like fell on my shoulders. Still determined to find what this was, I pushed further in cautiously. The trees seemed to block out the sun making it feel like night. Taking a short break my hand dipped into a puddle, looking at it I first thought it was mud. The real answer was just as troubling, the dark red color covered my entire hand.

"This is troubling"

Looking up a trail was barely visible, but I followed it the best I could. Whoever blood this belonged to was losing it fast. Stopping spotting a man whose arm was missing, he was breathing heavily, sweat dripped off his face, and a sword dangled in his hand.

"Hey!"

The man was startled by my voice looking at me in wide eyes. Gripping his sword once more he glared at me.

"What are you doing here?" He growled

"Hm?"

"Get out of here!"

Before a question could be uttered I felt that same sinister energy. As if by instinct I jumped out the way, a massive force smashed into the ground creating a crater. Peering into the dust cloud a tail whipped in the air as a skull shaped beast with bright yellow eyes glared at us.

"What is that?"

"A hollow" he answered with a sharp breath

Looking it up and down it seemed to be covered like a skeleton. Glancing back at the man he was struggling to keep his feet underneath him.

"What's your name?"

"Uh? Shinji of Division 9 Soul Reaper" he answered

Those words went through my head: Soul Reaper, whoever or whatever that is it was irrelevant at this moment.

"Well Shinji can you still fight?"

"I'm wounded, but I can still throw a hit or two" he answered readying his sword

Gazing at the creature I readied I didn't know if I could use any Jutsu, but I had to try something. Focusing whatever energy I had into my palm. I felt a spark then it grew as arcs of electricity came off my hand. Shinji was surprised by the act, but refocused on the situation. Charging the beast chuckled as it whipped it's tail. I dodged the first attack getting close inside slamming my palm into its side. The blast was large, but it didn't cause much damage besides burn marks. Raising it's claw I moved out the way barely as it hit the ground.

"Argh!"

Shinji was in mid air blade raised, but he was knocked out by the tail. Getting back up I refocused my energy into my palm, this time it shot out like bolts. Shooting a series of them they blinded the beast, but I felt my fatigue worsening. Using these techniques was exhaustive, if I continued I would die.

"Roar!"

It charged as I jumped over it escaping the attack. I was soon caught by its tail as well. Falling to the ground hard as the air escaped my lungs harshly. Going to pierce me with its tail I dodged it by rolling out the way. Til again caught by its claw striking me across the chest destroying the top of my kimono. Blood dripped from the marks on my chest, I was struggling now to stay up.

"Here! Use this!"

Turning his sword was flying towards me, catching it I aimed it at the beast. It felt heavy the steel was chipped and the handle was covered in blood. Gripping tightly an odd feeling surged through the sword, and I suddenly felt lighter.

"Focuse your energy in the blade!" Shinji shouted

Gripping the hilt pouring my energy the blade began to glow a bright blue. The creature charged once again, not knowing what to do I raised the blade and slashed the beast.

"Argh!"

The beast howled in pain as its arm was cut off, not giving it time to recover. I thrusted the tip into its head, blood ran down its face. Pulling out the blade the creature fell dead. Looking at the blade the power that it had displayed was incredibly. Looking up I rushed towards Shinji who sat bleeding out.

"Shinji? Are you alright?"

"No...I'm dying" he whispered

"Don't worry, I'll get help"

"No use...when they get here I'll already be dead" he explained

Sheathing the blade he gave I put it on his lap til his hand stopped me.

"No, take it...you've shown you can handle it"

"It's your blade, and it's power yours" I retorted

"You think that power was the swords? It wasn't...it was yours the Zanpakuto chooses" he explained just before dying

Looking down at the blade I could hear a faint ring on the blades edge. Glancing back at the man I lay him down on the ground, closing his eyes so that his squad mates could pick up respectfully. Looking back at the blade I sheathed it, and began to walk away.

"Farewell Shinji"