Disclaimer: The following is a fan-based parody. Bleach is owned by Tite Kubo. RWBY is owned by Rooster Teeth and the late Monty Oum (rest in peace you saint of a man). Please support the official release.
Chapter 58: Reflection
(Que Story OP – Hello Sleepwalkers "Hyakkiyakou")
After the events at the Bount manor, the gang of Team SIRR, (R)WBY, and JN(P)R rendezvous at Urahara's shop. Jaune and Nora were off to rest any of their injuries while everyone was settled in the main room open to new plans. One Ruby Rose and Ichigo Kurosaki were studying the sleeping forms of the two people they rescued instead of one in the main room with Blake, Yang, Renji, Rukia, Urahara, and Yoruichi present around the small table. There was of course Uryu Ishida, unchanged since they last saw him but even more injuries from his capture by the Bounts. He was wrapped in bandages from his arms to his scalp to fix his broken bones together.
The surprise was that when Rukia and the Mod Souls found Uryu, he was oddly insistent in rescuing another one. Ruby looked beside Uryu to find the Bount woman she interrogated on their first enouncter, Yoshino. Despite being a Bount, she was held in a separate cell with her own injuries that matched Uryu in severity. Like a good Samaritan, her wounds were also dressed in bandages and now left the a pair resting in the room. Now the questions firing in Ruby's head was why did Uryu want to keep this Bount safe and why was this Bount against the others?
"My respect for Uryu has dropped." Ichigo stated in flat tone.
Ruby blinked in confusion at her boyfriend. "You had respect for Uryu?"
"I used to know until now." Ichigo explained. "I was worried when Uryu went missing after leaving the hospital. I thought he would be attacked by a Hollow. But no. He had to do the most ridiculous reason for making us worry like that as he was hanging out with a girl this whole time. I mean, really, Uryu? You did not think there were other important things?"
"Ichigo, don't we hang out?" The three-way hybrid immediately tensed when Ruby started to speak in mysterious, yet malice-filled voice as she spoke with a dark miasma surrounding her, "Did you imply that I am a bad influence on you?"
"No I didn't." Ichigo immediately replied, pale in the face.
Off on the other side of the room, where Blake was wrapping Yang's arms in bandages to heal, the blonde secretly cousin of Ruby could shed a proud tear at the sight. Blake paused in her motions giving her partner a quizzical look.
"Ruby's has her boy-toy wrapped around her finger." Yang said. "She's from the best. I'm so proud of her."
"That mindset you have makes me worry about my own safety." Blake mumbled under her breath.
"Oh really?" Yang said while she smiled cheekily. "Then why are you still here with us?"
Blake gave her own smile. "Someone has to survive the life that is you, Yang. That is my job of being your partner or anyone else would have lost their mind."
"C'mon, Blake, you don't need to be so - catey?" Yang punned.
"Seriously?" Blake deadpanned. "Puns? Right now?"
"My puns are the be - YEOOW!" Yang's sentence ended in a pained yelp as Blake gave a sharp tug on Yang's bandages, irritating the bruises underneath. "Okay, okay. I'll stop. Sheesh."
Blake almost smiled in victory as she went back to treating Yang's injuries. It was one of the only times she can get one-up on Yang instead of being picked on. Definitely feels good to make Yang pay for her bad taste in puns. A loud commotion drew the attention of Ichigo, Ruby, Rukia, Renji, Blake, and Yang to the scene of Jinta wrestling with an animal plushie in a wooden bucket of hot water.
"Stop enjoying the bath and suffer." Jinta growled, pulling roughly on the Mod Soul's head.
"I ain't taking that from a freaking kid." The plushie cried.
"Is that Kon?" Ichigo wondered. "Oi, Kon, what are you doing here? Shouldn't you be at my house like usual."
"You!" Screeched Kon, pointing a plushie finger at Ichigo. "Why the heck would I be stuck in that hell you call a home where your sister will constantly dress me up? It was all good when I could use your body while you go on your shinigami duties or whatever, but ever since you got that new soul candy it's been your sister torturing 24/7. Why would I be stuck there when I could be here where big sister Rukia is? Please give me comfort, Rukia-nee-san."
The Mod Soul leaped forth from Jinta's grasp and pounced forward to embrace Rukai's chest. He only got as far as to get in the petite Kuchiki's reach before he was punched down to the ground by said shinigami. Her blow had surprising strength to send Kon through the floorboard before he managed to pick himself up groggily.
"Why Rukia-nee-san?" Kon cried. "Why can't I be embraced in your lovely flat valley of softness? What about you, Ruby?"
He glanced over to the Arrancar, only to see the expression on her face. Ruby looked at Kon with her lips in a grimace while her crimson eyes held no care. It was a face of pity to something that she could only hope to save.
"What's with that look on your face?!" Exclaimed Kon. "Why are you looking at me as if I am some sort of pitiful creature?! You know what? This is your fault! If it weren't for you, my life wouldn't be stuck in this body all the time and I would be surrounded by beautiful babes."
Ruby did not say a word. She really could not find any letters to put together to express how she felt. Only that her expression grew from a look of pity to one of raw, undeniable disgust. This was joined by Yang, giving such a similar look as if she saw one of nature's mistakes, and Ichigo merely facepalmed knowing Kon dug this hole himself.
"Please, say something!" Kon begged.
'So you and no one else can suffer because of your own stupidity.' Ruby thought.
Out in the other room, pained grunt came from Senna who was sitting in seiza. Tessai, former captain of the Kido Corps, was working on fixing gauzes and bandages on the shinigami. Some were already stained in crimson with her blood, especially on the front, forcing to discard her shihaksho to have Tessai examine the wounds. Overall, she was the one out of everyone from the manor to have gotten the worst injuries from the manor, but she still seem to bounce back. As Tessai healed Senna, they both discussed on the enemy that she faced.
"So you are saying that a shinigami is with the Bounts?" Tessai said. "Are you sure it wasn't some sort of other Bount?"
"Even if it was some clever similarity, Mirokumaru knows when a zanpakuto when he clashes against one." Senna said, gesturing to her zanpakuto resting at her feet. "I'll tell ya, he sure was vicious. Emo-kun couldn't even take a joke."
Tessai raised an eyebrow. "Emo-kun?"
"Until the bastard smiles, I'll just call him Emo-kun." Senna said, letting out a hiss as Tessai applied gauze to a gash on her shoulder. "His zanpakuto somehow weaponizes light. It could blind me and strike from all directions. If I didn't use Mirokumaru to strike out from all directions, I would be a goner for sure. And yet through all that everything about him was cold. Like he was empty, and anything he did had no meaning to himself. Honestly, it was sad to look at."
"Interesting." Commented Tessai. "You mentioned that his zanpakuto uses light to blind you. Could you elaborate those abilities for me, Senna-san?"
"It's not as simple as shining a light in my face." Senna explained with a thoughtful look. "Emo-kun's zanpakuto somehow transforms the whole area into light, obscuring everything I am supposed to see around me in blank white. The only thing I could possibly see are the shadows of his slash attacks. I only experienced once, and I already knew that I had to use Mirokumaru's wind abilities to his full extent. Even then, you can see what Emo-kun got on me already if I didn't do that."
Tessai hummed in thought. "Did you by chance hear the name of the man's zanpakuto? Perhaps I may know about this man."
"I heard it all right." Senna said. "It's name was Nijigasumi, and it made his reishi shine like a rainbow."
"Nijigasumi." Tessai mused, rubbing his chin. "It's translation is 'Rainbow Mist'. How very curious. I've only the name of that zanpakuto belonging to one shinigami at least over a century ago before I had to forcefully retire from my duties as commander of the Kido Corps. It only caught my interest considering this shinigami was in Squad 11, who are rather infamous in not allowing 'Kido' zanpakuto in their ranks. Did you catch this rogue's name?"
Senna gave a quizzical look. "Ummm... I might have ignored him and decided to just call him Emo-kun. I guess his name was Maki."
"I suppose that is the best I can receive." Tessai said, snipping the last bandage on Senna's shoulder. "There you go. All finish. I'd recommend not moving around unless you want to feel like you needles on your skin. Give yourself a rest and you'll be good to go once the day is over."
"Thanks for the fix then, Doc." Senna said, testing her body by rolling her bandages left shoulder. "I can call you 'Doc', right? I mean, you'd make a great medic in my opinion."
"Just doing my duty, Senna-san." Tessai said. "And I'd rather be called Tessai, but... 'Doc' has a nice ring to it."
In one corner of the room were Jaune and Nora, the latter being looked over by Ren, trying to rest off their own injuries. Jaune was being healed with healing Kido by Ren on his left arm that had used with his shield to block Baura from striking Weiss.
"I really messed that one up, didn't I Renny?" Nora said, her head a little nauseous. "All he did was touch me, and then poof - I am down for the count."
"You'll get better. That I promise." Assured Ren, the green glow from his hands disappearing when he saw the last bruise disappear.
To his dismay, Nora did not perk back up like he expected. Glancing to his lifetime best friend, Ren saw she still held a look of defeat. Always did Nora come right back to hit everything with her hammer, but now all of that destructive energy was diminished. He decided seeing his partner so down could not be made to stand at all.
In the middle of her self-loathing, Nora was caught off guard when she felt gentle strong muscled arms pulled her from her previous seating position to where she herself lying on her back. She felt the back of her head resting against a soft, yet toned and her blue eyes were forced to look up back at Ren. The Kido master reached one extended finger forward and...
"Boop." Ren said in his usual monotone voice, but the amusement was clearly there as he poked the end of her nose.
"Mmh." For a rare moment, Nora couldn't muster any words and her cheeks gained a small scarlet blush.
Her eyes widened hearing the chuckle from Ren and the smile adorning his face. Just seeing that smile made something burst in Nora's chest, automatically bringing back her own grin. She shifted her body closer to Ren, relishing the warmth of their body contact.
"You remember that from the initiation, don't you?" Ren reminisced fondly. "You were trying to use the sound of a sloth to have stay in contact when we launched, and you thought it was the best since you had no idea. We found each other anyway and then you booped on the nose while you were hanging from a tree. Like a sloth."
"I remember, Renny~." Nora said in equal fondness, her right hand snaking its way to take a hold of Ren's right hand. "Thank you..."
Ren's smile grew seeing his work at cheering Nora up a success. In the end, both of them were a lifeline for each other. They would not dare try to be separate from each other or have the world dare to do so. Or Nora would find a way to break the world if that ever happened.
The hammer, leg-breaking orangenette took her chance to really study Ren beside his face. Now up close, she could really peek from the opening of the color of his green shirt that showed off pectorals taken to the limit of his build. His lack of sleeves showed off his newly toned arms that expressed the new muscle that had been built. Where her right elbow rested, Nora could clearly feel a rock-hard six pack on her childhood friend's stomach. Ren was no body-builder, but now his muscles gave him the perfect swimmer's build that fit his agile fighting style.
'Gods, he's ripped!' Nora thought with a heavy blush as she found herself trailing to his arms. 'I want them to hug me forever.'
Nora then reached her left hand out and pocked Ren's chest repeatedly. Still to her surprise, it felt like she was poking a warm wall of steel. Before the whole... death thing to Ren and Ruby, her childhood companion had lean muscle, but they still had a softness to them. All of that was gone, leaving muscles built to their maximum potential for Ren's form of combat, and even putting in her own impressive strength that rivaled Yang could hardly go past a millimetre.
"Nora," Ren said in his deadpan, "I will repeat the same as the last five days. I am not a cyborg?"
"...Are you suuuure~?" Nora drawled in genuine suspicion, still poking Ren at random spots.
It was amazing to Ren that he was able to make Nora drop the conspiracy theory that he was a robot only three days in Karakura Town. Yet to his slight annoyance, Nora latched onto yet another conspiracy that he wasn't all robot and instead he was revived as a cyborg. Ren rolled his eyes, berating himself for not expecting that turn since it literally happened when Nora admitted that he was not a robot. Quirks like that made Ren think Nora was chaos incarnate, and thus made him the only one to leash her.
From Jaune and Weiss' spot in the room, the duo watched the interaction between Nora and Ren with bewildered looks. Jaune had his eyes open in too much surprise while Weiss was constantly picking her jaw up and trying to right reality from fake some sort of fake illusion.
"I can't believe I am seeing this." Weiss whispered to Jaune. "You see what I am seeing, right Jaune?"
"Yeah." Jaune agreed with a smile. "They are totally thinking of getting ice cream."
Weiss almost facepalmed at the completely wrong answer. No wonder Pyrrha had such a hard time trying to get Jaune to really like her back. He was one of the dense males, and it was worse that he can be as much of a dork as Ruby. So she promptly pinched Jaune just enough to know her displeasure.
"No, you dunce!" Weiss whispered in a hiss, turning their gaze back to Nora and Ren. "They are totally into each other. I mean, look at them."
Jaune's eyes widened in realization. "Oooh, now I see it."
Weiss began to smile. "I think... we should do something to help them."
"What are you planning, Weiss?" Jaune wondered.
"Nothing yet." Weiss said. "But as loyal friends and classmates, it is our duty to make sure they are as happy as possible. We'll think of something for them after this whole vampire debacle."
"Someone say vampire!?" Nora exclaimed, who was suddenly in front of Jaune and Weiss with a sharpened stake in her hand.
So frightened were they by the maniacal look in Nora's eyes that the room was filled with a girl's scream... while Weiss gave a terrified yelp like a scared lion cub drowned out by a now fainted Jaune.
Back in the main room, Ruby and Ichigo sat at the table where tea was served. Yang and Blake decided to rest against the wall to tend to any of their injuries while Yoruichi and Urahara sat down at the table. Yoruichi lacked her smile, showing just how serious the situation really was and what she had discovered in her time at Soul Society. Ruby directed her eyes at her teacher and the Shihoin raised her head ready to give an answer. Though with Renji and Rukia taking a spot at the table as well, Urahara started to realize he needed bigger renovations.
"I think I might need to invest into some bigger rooms." Urahara mumbled after taking a look over the room. "Maybe I can get Tessai to do that later."
"Shishou, you went to the Soul Society to find out why the Bounts are here, right?" Ruby said. "Can you share with us what you found?"
"I'm in the same mind." Rukia added. "Does the Soul Society have any information that can help us?"
"I found something alright." Yoruichi said. "Something was dug up from R&E. Apparently long ago, Bounts and Quincy were mortal enemies. The tribe of vampires were at war with the Quincy trying to come after certain members for their own purposes. As you know, Bounts have an unspoken rule to only feast on dead human souls. However, it was during that war with the Quincy that they were freely eating living human souls so they could capture this particular Quincy. You can see parallels that are happening right now."
"So of course they would be targeting Uryu, but just why?" Ichigo wondered.
"I have theory." Rukia said, holding her chin. "They are gathering all of these human souls for a purpose, and the Quincy are being who excel in their reiatsu control. What if they need the reiatsu control of a Quincy to punch a hole into Hueco Mundo?"
"Really?" Ruby said with a raised eyebrow. "If they have all of that spiritual pressure, couldn't they do it themselves instead of needing Uryu? And why Hueco Mundo?"
"It is not as simple as using blunt force into creating opening into other worlds." Rukia explained. "It also takes precise control, which Uryu has in spades as a Quincy. And the reason the Bounts would go to Hueco Mundo is because they feed on reishi to become stronger, and the world of the Hollows is a literal dimension made up reishi."
All except Yang and Blake widened their eyes in shock at the horrifying implications. If just one of the Bounts managed to have excess to what was basically unlimited power, nothing would stop them from whatever they would do. It was enough for Ichigo and Ruby to break out in a sweat.
"Uhm, that sounds like bad news." Yang said. "That is bad news, right?"
"Very." Urahara said without humor. "If what Rukia says is true, the Bounts would just keep on getting stronger and stronger from the limitless reishi in Hueco Mundo. Nothing would stop them from becoming literally the most powerful beings in our world. No one would be able to even defy them."
Yang paled. "Ah, that's very bad."
Blake could only shiver like a cat before a predator, her eyes wide in terror at the thought. She had seen personally how leagues upon leagues that the shinigami like Ichigo and Ruby stood on. Heck, she saw Ichigo push a whole ocean back with one swing of his sword for miles, and Ruby could fire those Ceros constantly to level a city. To think of someone becoming stronger than that was terrifying enough to activate her feline instincts.
"Shishou, what are we going to do about the Bount that Uryu is so clingy to?" Ruby asked. "They'll be hunting for her as well, either as a traitor or for some other nefarious purpose."
"In the meantime, Yoshino will be staying here." Urahara said. "My shop is practically the safest place in all of Karakura Town. I almost dare those Bounts to try to force their way here."
Ruby was not exactly assured by those words. No, rather as she glanced to the Bount, it felt like this would be the last time she would see Yoshino. Her face softened into a look of pity. Just under what circumstances did Yoshino come under to have her own people target her?
I just wanted to add some fluff in this chapter for both Nora and Ren, who the latter is quite protective of. Hopefully in the next chapters I can skip some the Bount Arc plot to get to the part in Soul Society quicker. It is there where we can see the Shikai of Blake, Yang, and Weiss awaken to fight against the super-powered Bounts.
Up next is Chapter 59.
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