Okay, so I re-uploaded this story for a couple reasons. The first reason is that I've come a long way with the plot and because of that I had to make some changes to the first two chapters which you probably noticed if you remember what originally happened.
The second reason is that it's been five months or so since my last update and I just wanted to start fresh. I have the first three chapters of this story done and will upload them every two weeks or so. I also have enough planned for at least another three chapters so expect a good amount of content.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything here. I have pulled things from many different sources and so I won't list them all but just know that I don't own any of this! The characters and worlds depicted all belong to their respective authors!
In Darkness, Reborn
- Chapter 1 -
~ Soul Society
The ground trembled lightly beneath their feet as the black crescent arc of energy surged across the Shinigami City easily cutting through any of the destroyed Seireitei which was unfortunate enough to cross its path. So colossal the black moon fang was that it seemed to tear away all of the colour from the area around them leaving nothing but a bleak world full of hopelessness and despair.
As if synchronized both the young Shinigami and sole living Quincy rose an arm to cover their faces and shield their eyes in a poor attempt at preserving what little visibility they had left. Violent winds ripped across the ground picking up and carrying with them dust and debris of varying sizes and battering their already bruised bodies. Were they not beings of the supernatural than these winds surely would have already lifted them from their feet and sent them careening through the air for miles.
Finally, after what felt like an eternity of waiting the winds settled into a hurried breeze and the arc of energy slowly dissipated off in the distance allowing the colour to once again flow into the world around them. As the dust settled and their vision returned a look which could only be described as silent horror marred their faces and twisted in the depths of their eyes as they met gazes with the seemingly unharmed Quincy King who floated casually above the gargantuan ravine which was left in the wake of the Shinigami's attack.
Was is despair? He had felt that far too many times to count in his journey through the supernatural thus far, this was different. Hopelessness perhaps? He had felt true hopelessness on the roof of Las Noches when the black and green energies consumed the world around him and he was brought face to face with the embodiment of despair, again this was different. Acceptance? Yeah, that was a good way of putting it. A cold, grim sort of acceptance that it was all over, that his world was about to end.
They had put their trump card to the test and it had failed.
Still, despite the feelings which clawed at his heart he shifted on his feet and prepared to attack once more, the white and black blade of his true Tensa Zangetsu poised before him. He could see Ishida follow suit from the corner of his eye, his Heilig Bogen pulsing to life in his hands, an arrow already pulled back and ready to fire.
Despite their obvious movements, the Quincy King made no outward attempts at following suit, he seemed perfectly content to stay where he was. It may have been from arrogance, the belief that his power was so much greater than theirs that he no longer needed to act. Or perhaps it was because he no longer wished to fight, an idea that while unlikely sounding would be proven plausible by his next words.
"Such actions are unnecessary Ichigo, Uryuu, even a combined effort with Sosuke Aizen was proven meaningless before my power," he stated simply, pausing briefly to see how the duo would react to his words. When they stayed still and gave no indication that they were willing to stand down he simply sighed. "It saddens me deeply to watch my children struggle so, especially since your lives have already reached their ends."
Glaring towards the Quincy King the orange haired teen uttered a soft 'tch' under his breath. "So what if we've been unsuccessful so far?" he started, tone sharp and brimming with defiance, "You think I'll give up here just because out trump card failed? That I'll lay down and wallow in despair waiting for the end to take me? Get real." Pausing, his head fell slightly forward so that his bangs cast a dark shadow over his eyes and the white-knuckled grip he held on Zangetsu strained further. "And what of this despair? I know it all too well.. because up until now I've climbed up, kicked it in its teeth and surpassed it over and over again just to make it to this very moment!"
"Ah yes, ever the defiant one," Yhwach called back, tone somewhat like that of a parent scolding their child. "I am aware of how you've defied fate all this time, believe you me, Ichigo, for it was I who led you from the shadows. Through all of you battles, your triumphs and failures alike, it was me who led you through them, it was me who allowed you to shatter that which held you back, fate."
"But my will which allowed you to defy fate is no more, it cannot be, because after all these years finally I will succeed. A world without the fear of death, without lies and deceit, a world without imprisonment under the guise of protection will be born, and I will be the one to bring us to this new world! It is I who will now shatter fate, it is I who with tear this world down so that it may be reborn once more and it is I who will finally correct the Sin of the Gods! And it is you, Ichigo, you whom I have groomed since your birth that will be my instrument for bringing this world to an end!"
The implication that Yhwach had led him through life from his birth had seriously pissed him off. More so the idea that he would be used to end the world terrified him because it had already been shown once that through the Quincy blood flowing in his veins Yhwach could control him to some degree, as seen when he had forced Ichigo to land the finishing blow on the Soul King. Yet even still, when his mouth opened to speak on the words said by the Quincy King it wasn't on either of those subjects.
"The Sin of the Gods?" He repeated quietly, almost as if he was unsure of the words.
He felt like he'd heard that somewhere before, brief words from a broken conversation some of the Zero Division members were having that he probably wasn't supposed to hear. Brows scrunching in frustration he made a decision, it was about time he finally found out what the hell was going on.
Yhwach scoffed out a brief chuckle and simply shook his head in disbelief. "Why am I not surprised that those fools have once more left you in the dark? And you didn't even have the foresight to ask. Once again you charge in half-cocked with your sword brandished to battle an enemy you don't even know why you're fighting, I can't decide if you're naively stupid or just stupidly naive."
Seeing Ichigo bristle in frustration at the insult and knowing he was more likely than not to charge in and get himself killed from anger the outwardly stoic Quincy stepped in. "Why don't you tell us then, Yhwach? Why has the Soul Society decided you are an enemy? What is this 'Sin of the Gods' you wish to correct? Just what is this great big secret that no one seems to want to tell?"
Yhwach grinned broadly at the questions, "the great secret, you ask? It is the origin of Shinigami and Hollow, the curse of the Soul Chain that was placed onto the people of Japan and their subsequent imprisonment because of it." He finished bluntly. Angrily.
Neither of the teens knew how to respond to that, both of them just stared wide-eyed into the distance with mouths slightly agape as their minds worked to think over the revelation he had just given.
"Not the answer you were expecting?" He continued, smug as ever. Upon noticing that their attention had been brought back to him he said his final piece. "Tell me this Ichigo, Uryuu, tell me that you have never wondered about these things. How a person such as Sosuke Aizen could come to exist, someone who would try so hard for so long, sacrificing everything they had and more so willing to sacrifice countless others to achieve their goals, do you really believe that someone could exist who would do so much and all for the petty reason of becoming a God?
And what of me? I waited in silence for a thousand years, patiently biding my time and growing my strength all for this moment, do you really think I, or Aizen, did what we did, sacrificed all that we have, and all for such petty villainous reasons as your allies would likely have you believe? If so then you are more foolish than I thought.
Ichigo face soured and his head fell forwards, his bangs casting a dark shadow over his eyes. He had considered those very questions far more than he'd really care to admit. Ever since the final confrontation with Aizen when he'd had some time alone to think things over as the Twelfth Division prepared to transfer the real Karakura Town back to the human world he mulled over the whole situation. Why and how the whole situation had come to be, and no matter how many times he considered it from every different angle he could think of, he always came back to the same conclusion.
The Soul Society was covering something up, hiding a secret in the depths of the Royal Realm that they didn't want anyone to know. Something dark, egregious, something that would shake the world as they knew it should it come to light.
"You're right," he finally admitted, "it wasn't what I expected.. and I have a ton of question racing through my mind that I'd love to have answered because of it, but I doubt we have the time for that anymore," he bit out mirthlessly, "I have thought about it, let my mind wander further and further into darkness as I looked for the truth in everything. I always knew the Soul Society was bad, that it was evil, but I believed that it was a necessary evil and so I looked past it, but now, after everything that's happened I have to wonder if that was really the right thing to do.
Who knows," he said with a shrug, "maybe you are right and the Shinigami are wrong, maybe they are a great evil that you and Aizen had every right to try and purge, maybe this Sin of the Gods really is bad enough to justify everything the two of you have done.. but even so, there is one thing I cannot forget, cannot forgive.
You are the reason that my mother is dead, the reason that Ishida's mother is dead, and that I can never look past. So even if you are right, even if my dying right here and you succeeding is the best things for this world I'm still going to try my damned hardest, give everything I can to my last breath to beat you into the ground." At those words, his brows tilted downwards and his mouth set into a thin line. Tensa Zangetsu, which had gone slack in his hand during their conversation rose again, black wisps of reiatsu rising from the blade.
Still the Qunicy King did not react, instead, ever so calmly he responded, "Such passionate words, so much so that I almost felt my heart waver. But sadly.."
As those words escaped his mouth it felt as if something deep beneath the ground shifted below their feet. As if two tectonic plates which had long since been at odds with each other had finally given way, the shaking which enveloped the world around them was explosive.
Parts of the ground erupted sending monstrous chunks of rock careening through the air, and in others large ravine's split open swallowing whole large portions of the destroyed Seireitei. Pillars of inky black, eye-filled reiatsu rose from the depths of the earth far into the sky. Within seconds what remained of the Shakonmaku was covered in darkness blotting out the sun, oddly enough the only light which remained in the Shinigami City shone down on the three as if the very heavens themselves were crying out to them in their last moments.
"..it is already far too late."
~ Unknown Location, Unknown Time
The rich, earthy scent that filled his nose jolted his mind awake, the metaphorical gears in his head which had long since been dormant finally beginning to turn once more. The dull ringing in his ears and slight stinging as his eyes fluttered open further proved that his senses were finally coming back to him. A few quick blinks were all it took to clear his vision and allow him to finally get a glimpse at the place he'd decided to rest, which as it turned out was a forest.
He'd heard of taking naps in the forest, it was quite the common occurrence considering how serene they often were, perfect for getting some peaceful and uninterrupted sleep. Though it felt like he had been here for much longer than a simple nap, even if he couldn't remember how he'd arrived in this forest or where else he should've been if not there, and so, for now, he let it slip to the back of his mind.
Rustling leaves and creaky branches drew his gaze upwards, the densely packed trees did well to keep the sun from reaching the forest floor. Due to the lack of sun exposure a fine mist had been allowed to form beneath the trees which blurred and obscured the distance from his sight. It looked almost fantasy-like, the way rays of sunlight would break through the branches every now and then cutting through the mist as the wind moved the trees.
He could hear the odd chirp of a bird every now and then though he had yet to see an animal of any kind thus far. A part of him wanted to get up and have a look around, to set off in one direction and see what he could find, but the other part wanted him to stay right where he was, to settle back into the large cedar tree he was propped against and return to sleep once more.
It was an alluring thought, and with each passing second he could feel his eyelids grow heavier and heavier.
[I wouldn't do that if I were you.]
Well, that snapped him out of it. With reflexes he couldn't quite remember having he sprung himself forwards, falling into a small, forward roll before poising himself on his feet in a crouched position, his eyes actively scanning the surroundings for the source of the voice which had just spoken to him. It was rough, heavy, and it filled all the space around him. It was filled with such power that it reverberated throughout the air, speaking to the depths of his soul.
[There is no need to be so jumpy, I am no enemy of yours, not that you could find me even if you wanted too.]
"What do you mean?" he bit out suspiciously, eyes narrowed.
[Exactly as it sounds, my words hold no hidden meaning. Even if you were to search this whole realm it would be fruitless for I currently have no physical body of which you could find.]
His eyes widened at those words. It wasn't all that unbelievable really, from the moment he'd heard the voice speak he had felt that it sounded kind of distant, disembodied even, despite the power which echoed in its every syllable, "then how are we speaking right now? Who are you?"
[It's something akin to telepathy, not exactly the same but for the sake of saving me having to explain we'll go with that.]
'Telepathy?' Now he was no expert on the subject of supernatural powers and the such but he did know that telepathy was something he'd only ever heard of Gods being able to do. He also hadn't forgotten the way this 'voice' so blatantly ignored his second question.
As curious as he was he figured it wouldn't help to push the subject, clearly this mysterious person had no intentions of revealing their identity, at least for the moment, so instead he asked about something else which had been on his mind.
"Why did you stop me from going back to sleep? You made it sound as if something bad would happen if I did."
[Well if it would be bad or not depends on the perspective I suppose, would you consider never waking up again to be bad?]
He stilled, "What?!"
[I'll take that as a yes then.] The voice responded in an amused tone, once again having no intention of elaborating. [Why such a rush to leave the realm of consciousness again anyways? Especially considering how long you've already been asleep.]
Ichigo's brows furrowed and he gave the empty space before him a curious look, "What? How long I've already been asleep? What do you mea-" and then it all came back. Shinigami, Quincy, Hollow, the Soul Society, Yhwach, the Thousand Year Blood War, how could he forget?
He half expected himself to freak out, to throw a fit and start yelling about how messed up everything was, about how he'd let everyone down, how he needed to get back to the Soul Society so he could try and defeat Yhwach again, but he didn't. Instead, he just breathed out a simple, resigned, 'I lost.'
Looking up towards the hidden sky Ichigo bean to speak in a soft tone, "will you tell me? What happened after I mean.. with Yhwach, the Soul Society and the Human world.. what did he do?" He wasn't sure why he asked the voice, why he assumed it would know everything that had happened, it was just a feeling he got, that this voice- whoever or whatever it was, probably knew a lot more than he could imagine.
And he was right.
[I can tell you a little bit, my vision right now is somewhat.. limited.] The voice said in an odd tone, one that the teen couldn't quite describe. [The display of power you saw towards the end was only the beginning. After you and your Quincy friend were consumed by that energy and ultimately killed it multiplied by at least a hundredfold. The Soul Society and Japan were blanketed in a darkness that lasted a few moments, disappearing almost as quickly as it came when he was done.]
The teen's fists clenched at the news that Ishida had gone with him, sure he had already suspected that was the case but to hear it confirmed now was difficult. Ever since that moment when the two of them fought back to back during the hollow bait incident he'd seen the bespectacled teen as his friend and rival. As time went on and their shared journeys grew, the enemies faced together, the near-death experiences they faced head on, it was those moments that elevated their friendship to a brotherhood much like that of what he shared with Chad.
And, although neither of them would be caught dead admitting it out loud because they didn't do 'sappy,' they both knew with utmost certainty that they had each others backs no matter who the enemy was. That one fact was what made this hardest for him to accept, he didn't just fail himself and let himself get killed by Yhwach, his failure took Ishida with him.
Now was not the time for mourning, however, whoever or whatever this voice was clearly had vast knowledge and could give answers to the questions he had swimming in his mind, and he would make use of this opportunity whilst he could.
"He said he wanted to correct the Sin of the Gods and to do that the Soul Society and Japan would be reborn as one.. as much as I really don't want to ask, I have to know, how many people were killed?" He couldn't help but hold his breath in dreaded anticipation at the answer which awaited him. Images of his hometown, his school, the Soul Society, his friends, family, all flashing through his mind as he considered everything that had been lost because of his failure.
The answer he received from the voice, however, was unexpectedly and thankfully not what he assumed.
[Hm? You seem to be mistaken. He won yes, but things didn't exactly go as he'd planned. In theory, he accomplished his goal although the end result will likely not be anything like he'd hoped, in fact, he's probably made things worse. After you and your Quincy friend died and he made his display of power he quite literally vanished, even I do not know if he still lives. No one else died in the Thousand Year Blood War and the Shinigami have long since begun repairs to their realm.]
Ichigo was rightfully concerned upon hearing that Yhwach had likely made things worse than better and really wanted to ask the voice to elaborate on exactly what he meant by that, but there was something in the last line he said that sent an unnerving shiver up his spine, especially when he took into account the voice's earlier words, 'Why such a rush to leave the realm of consciousness again anyways? Especially considering how long you've already been asleep?'
"What do you mean they've long since begun repairs? And earlier too, you made a comment about how long I'd already slept.. What were you talking about? My battle with Yhwach couldn't have been more than a couple of days ago.." At his questions, the voice released a sound of realization which only made his sense of foreboding grow stronger.
[Ah, I guess you wouldn't actually know it yet, I can't believe I didn't realize sooner. Ichigo, your final battle against the Quincy King was nearly a hundred years ago, you have been asleep this entire time.]
A muffled choke was the only sound which escaped him for a good few moments as his mind tried desperately to wrap his head around that bit of information. "A- A hundred years.. Asleep.." He really wished someone would pinch him right now, maybe slap him as hard as they could, anything to wake him up from this nightmarish reality. "I've been asleep for a hundred years?!"
[Well to say you were asleep isn't technically correct, you've been floating between the borders of life and death, unable to move on. Physically you haven't aged a day since the battle, though your soul did age, not that it matters much for someone like you.]
So even though Yhwach hadn't killed most of his friends and family he wasn't completely off the hook because time wasn't so forgiving. And, as spiritually gifted as they all are- were, time is impossible to escape.
He wasn't sure how long he stayed silent after that revelation, his heart hurt so much, his eyes stung with unshed tears as he thought about everything he missed in those hundred years and would continue to miss now that he was dead. He wouldn't be able to finish his schooling, get a job, get married and have a family, watch his sisters grow and live full, fulfilling lives.
Eventually, his emotions did settle down again, to say he had come to terms with everything and found acceptance would be a bit of a stretch, but he felt better. He wasn't sure he even wanted to finish the discussion from earlier, it had just been one piece of bad news after another, but there was also a part of him that wanted to know if it was all worth it, everything Yhwach had done.
Perhaps if his plan really would make things better for everyone than it would be an easier pill to swallow, all he'd ever wanted to do was protect and help people, and if his death led to a better life and afterlife for millions of others than so be it.
"He wanted to correct the Sin of the Gods," he finally spoke up, absentmindedly plucking blades of grass at his side, "he told us that it was the origin of the Shinigami and Hollow, and the reason why Japanese people have Soul Chains upon death."
[He didn't lie in that aspect. Are you aware of Izanagi, Izanami, and their unfortunate journey into the underworld?]
The teen nodded, "In the act of giving birth to one of their many children, the fire god, Kagutsuchi, Izanami was fatally burned and went to Yomi, the land of darkness. The grief-stricken Izanagi followed her there and asked her to leave with him but was told that he was too late because she had already eaten the fruit of that place and was no longer able to leave. The news shocked him but he refused to leave her in Yomi.
He lit a fire and under the sudden burst of light saw the horrid form of the once beautiful Izanami who was now a rotting form of flesh with maggots and foul creatures running over her ravaged body. Crying out, Izanagi could no longer control his fear and began to run with the intention of returning to the living and abandoning his death-ridden wife, Izanami angrily chased after him. Upon his exit of Yomi, he quickly sealed the exit leaving Izanami forever trapped within."
[Mm, but it's what happened following that which holds the answers you seek, though it has for obvious reasons been stricken from history.]
Ichigo remained silent for a good minute after the voice had finished saying what it had, just patiently waiting for it to continue, though with every second that passed he could feel his annoyance grow and a tick clearly became viable above his right eye. "Well don't leave me hanging! Are you going to tell me or what?" He finally blurted out, his patience having thinned too far, the mocking laugh which followed his outburst did nothing to help his mood, however.
[So impatient, I've never understood the mortal's need to rush everything, nevertheless I suppose I can continue. In vengeance against Izanagi, Izanami cursed all mortals of their lands which lead to all of the Nihon-Jin, Japanese people being born with the abominations known as the Soul Chains.]
"Well fuck.." He breathed out with a blank expression, shaking lightly as a mirthless huff of laughter escaped him, "I can see why the Zero Division were so intent on keeping that a secret."
[Souls were never meant to be bound, yet in a defiant act against creation and all to spite Izanagi, she did. Due to her actions, the boundaries between the living and dead began to weaken, corrupt, and after enough time had passed the first Hollow was born.]
"Earlier you said that he probably made things worse. What did you mean by that?" The teen wasn't sure how things could possibly get worse than they currently were but he'd learnt long ago not to doubt fate, she could be a bitch.
[It was nothing, just a feeling.]
Ichigo merely hummed in response to the voice's lack of an explanation, it was obvious he wasn't going to get anything else on the subject and so he just went silent, choosing instead to further mull over what he had already learned.
"Amaterasu-sama..?" A soft voice called out from behind the Goddess of the Sun, the abruptness causing said Goddess to jerk a little in surprise.
The mother of Japan admonished herself for allowing someone to sneak up on her like so, though she couldn't really blame herself. It just went to show how close and familiar she had gotten with her aid, Ayame. The girl had been at her side for so long that her energy signature was just another part of the surroundings, something she seen as natural. The downside to this was that Ayame was perhaps the only person who could sneak up on her and catch her off guard.
Her long strands of ebony hair swayed softly as she shook her thoughts clear, turning her gaze towards the small girl she replied, "Yes, Ayame?"
"What is troubling you, Amaterasu-sama?"
A small, lopsided smile was the only response the Goddess of the Sun gave initially, leave it to Ayame to notice something had been troubling her. "It has been nearly a hundred years, Ayame. I will admit that my heart has been heavy as we once again approach the anniversary of that day."
The kitsune's ears fell flat atop her head as the pain in her ladies voice pierced her heart, how could she have been so forgetful? It had been nearly a hundred years since the end of the Thousand Year Blood War and even till this day they were unsure if they could call it a victory or not.
The Seireitei had been completely destroyed, the Gotei 13 had been reduced to a third of its former numbers. The lack of able-bodied Shinigami meant that trips to the human world were less frequent. Every trip that couldn't be made led to another soul which couldn't receive a Konso and every soul which did not receive a Konso either became a Hollow or was easy prey- and an easy power up for one which already existed.
It was a mess.
And, if that already wasn't enough for them to deal with Yhwach had left them quite the parting gift. It was times like these that Ayame really wished Genryusai-dono was still around. He'd always seemed to know what to do, always that calm, sturdy pillar which held the Soul Society up through the good times and the bad, and now more than ever she wished he was still stood at the head of the Captains.
That was a sentiment perhaps none held more firmly than the current head captain, Shunsui Kyoraku, who was thrust into the unwanted position due to the deaths of not only Genryusai-dono but Ukitake-dono and Unohana-dono as well.
Despite his complaints over the past hundred years, however – and there had been many – Kyoraku in Ayame's eyes had done an incredible job as Head Captain. He was intelligent and cunning, ruthless and kind, and he had more patients than any one man could ever need. While nowhere near a strong as Genryusai-dono – though that wasn't an insult towards him, just recognition of how absurdly powerful the old Captain Commander was – he was still strong enough to put any disobedient Shinigami in their place, not that it was needed mind you, the other Captains and Lieutenants held so much respect for the man that there was no issue of his orders ever being questioned.
With Kyoraku at their head, the Soul Society was rebuilding, it was a slow and sometimes painful process but they were rebuilding and growing. The only knock that could be said against the first Captain Commander was his unwillingness to change, how stuck he was in the old ways. With Kyoraku that wasn't an issue in the slightest.
It would take time but they would pull through, they always did.
Glancing back towards the Goddess of the Sun her brows creased further in concern, it didn't take a specialist to realize that the hundred year anniversary wasn't all that was troubling her. The rigid posture, the way her fingers fidgeted and fumbled on the wooden railing which overlooked her garden, it was quite the dead giveaway.
"My Lady, what else is troubling you?"
Amaterasu waited a moment before responding, her hands having stilled on the railing. In all honesty, she didn't really know how to answer the question. "I am unsure, Ayame.. it is just a feeling I've had, nothing more."
Despite the lack of information received the aid didn't take the words any less seriously, Amaterasu had always been known for her ability to predict. She couldn't see the future or anything, but she'd always had a good feel of the world's energies, and often she could predict if something big was coming because of it. "Could it be because of Hyosube-dono? His Slaughterhouse Mausoleum of Halted Reincarnation is a.. frightening technique to be sure, and considering the anniversary we are coming up on it would make sense.
"You aren't incorrect," she began with a small shake of her head, "that technique is nothing less than sinister and the world is definitely reacting to it. One does not simply erase a hundred nights and face no consequences.. but that isn't it, not all of it at least, I feel something terrible is coming, Ayame, and it frightens me."
The small girl didn't say anything in response- what could she? If her Lady was scared then it was cause for concern, but there was nothing she could do other than act as Amaterasu's hand as she always had and trust that things would work out. With a small bow, she turned on her heel and made for the door so that she could resume her duties, however, just as she was about to pass through the door something stopped her.
It was curiosity, the desire to have a question answered which had been plaguing her since the end of the Thousand Year Blood War. "Why didn't you save him, Amaterasu-sama?" she asked bluntly, the 'him' in the question was obvious to the Goddess. She could never understand it, Ichigo Kurosaki was her young hero, yes she loved all of her children as the mother of Japan should but with him it was different, she adored him, and so when Amaterasu did nothing to save his life when she easily could have it confused the kitsune.
With a mournful sigh, the Goddess of the Sun lifted her face to look at the setting sun, "because it wouldn't have been fair." She started simply. "What right to life did Ichigo have over any of the other thousands of Shinigami who perished? Some would argue that because of everything he'd done for not only the Soul Society but the Human World and Hueco Mundo as well that he deserved to be saved.. but I don't think that's right.
More than anything I wanted to save him, to defy the laws of this world and do as no God should, reject death, but it is not my right or place to do so, thus I let him die. It is a decision that will haunt me for all of eternity but one that I believe was right."
"Yes, Amaterasu-sama. Thank you." She answered with another bow before turning to leave once more. Her Lady was completely right, not that Ayame had ever doubted her, she just wanted to hear those words for herself and now that she had she could move on.
~ Unknown Location, Unknown Time
"Oi, mysterious voice you still there?"
[Hm, mysterious voice is it? How creative.]
He felt a tension which he hadn't quite known was their flood from his body when he did get a response, he wasn't sure he could handle being left all alone yet especially when you consider how long he could be here. The voice told him that he'd been here floating between the borders of life and death for a hundred years, who's to say he wouldn't be here for another hundred years, or a thousand, or maybe even the rest of eternity. The thought of being here alone for such an extended period of time was very disturbing.
"Che, we'll it's not like I have anything else to call you unless you'd finally like to tell me your name which you've so obviously avoided until now," he finally called back out in response.
The voice stayed quiet for a moment, then cut back in abruptly with an amused huff, ['Mysterious voice' is fine, you would not know my name even if I told it and thus it holds no meaning.]
"You know that only makes me more curious right?" Ichigo sighed out, not expecting a response. He imagined that if he could see the physical body of whomever this voice was right now he would see them shrugging in a lackadaisical manner.
[Do not dwell on it, this world works in mysterious ways.. perhaps we shall meet yet if fate allows it.]
Ichigo's eyes narrowed ever so slightly, as that last line left the voices lips it was different, gone were the friendly words carried on a honeyed tone and in their place was a clear, crisp malevolence. There wasn't any maliciousness directed at him though, it was just a dark amusement which seemed to encompass everything around him, like a puppeteer pulling the strings on a dark game. And he had a feeling that they would be meeting sooner or later no matter what fate wanted.
[So, what is it you wish to ask now?]
"Despite what others would try and tell you, I'm not stupid. With everything that happened in the war against the Quincy and my final confrontation with Yhwach, and now from talking to you I've confirmed one thing- Gods exist. That being said, with Izanagi and Izanami aside what else is there? And why don't we know about it?"
[I can't be bothered to explain the why as I wouldn't be able to fully answer it anyway, for that you'd need to ask the Shinto Trinity as they're the reason it is all kept a secret from you. As for the what, again I can't really be bothered, there would just be too much to tell so instead I'll say this: Anything you can think of in that head of yours, be it a God, a Mythical Beast, a Legendary Weapon or a forgotten realm, anything that you can think of does- or has existed at some point in time.]
Slowly he exhaled the breath he didn't know he was holding as he sat in awe, all of the possibilities those words held left him in a stunned trance. He let out an arid 'damn' under his breath, half in amazement at the world which had been opened up to him and half in frustration at the fact that he was now dead and could see or experience any of it.
[Feeling some wanderlust are we?] the voice said knowingly.
Ichigo couldn't deny it.
Ever since he was young he'd felt that desire to explore, to set off in a direction and see what wonders awaited him, but he never could. The burdens of life had always clung to him strongly, a never-ending weight on his shoulders that seemed to grow with every passing year. It started when his mother died, his father had understandably shrunk in upon himself at the death of his sun and the centre of their world but Yuzu and Karin still needed someone looking after them and so naturally Ichigo took on that role.
Now some would argue that at only nine years old Ichigo needed someone watching out for him as well and maybe they were right, but it just didn't work out that way and maybe it was for the best. Ichigo matured a lot faster than other kids his age but he would argue that it helped him with everything else that came later in his life.
As the years passed his duty lessened with his sisters, his father once more starting to accept the parenting role in his own way and Yuzu started looking after the household chores and cooking. It was appreciated greatly. His respite would not last long however as two months before his fifteenth birthday a vertically challenged Shinigami would walk through his wall setting in motion events which would literally place the weight of the world on his shoulders. Twice.
For better or for worse now he was dead and those burdens were no more than distant memories. But, even though those burdens were gone and he now knew of a world that existed which was much bigger than anything he could have ever imagined, still he could not experience it. What was once a burden of duty that held him back was now an unseen force that kept him between the borders of life and death.
"Well, I guess if I have to look on the bright side of things this forest isn't such a bad place to spend the rest of eternity." It was a weak consolation prize and the sour undertone in the teen's voice did nothing to hide it.
[Indeed it isn't. Lush trees, flowing springs, singing birds, truly a peaceful place to rest. Now, if only it was real..]
~ Soul Society
"OH MASAKI! THE HORROR! NOT JUST ONE BUT BOTH OF MY DAUGHTERS HAVE NOW PASSED AWAY! HOW SHALL I MOVE ON FROM THIS TRAGEDY?! I DON'T THINK I CA-"
"Give it a rest will you?!" Karin called out from her place above her now snivelling father, "It's been a hundred years of this crap already, haven't you gotten tired of all that screaming yet Goat-face?" Despite the harsh tone she directed at him an amused glint could be clearly seen in her eyes.
"Ma, it is impressive that he never seems to lose his voice despite his more.. boisterous outbursts," Urahara said jokingly from his seat, amusement clear in his grey eyes.
"Hmph, how naive, I've never heard such a foolish thing in my life," the Kurosaki patriarch began in a serious tone from his place on the floor, though the seriousness didn't last, "IT'S OBVIOUS THAT WHEN YOU HAVE A VOICE AS RUGGED AND POWERFUL AS MINE THAT IT CAN NEVER DIE! JUST LISTEN TO THIS MAGNI-"
Again he was cut off by Karin's foot, though this time he was smart enough to cover his nose. Karin snorted at his antics, "I still don't know what mom saw in you all those years ago, you're a nut case Goat-face."
Again with that endless energy he seemed to possess he flipped back onto his feet and levelled his daughter with a serious gaze. His left hand rose to frame his chin and his right index finger began wagging in a disapproving manner, "Tsk tsk, I'm disappointed in you Karin. YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT IT WAS MY KILLER CHARM AND DEVILISHLY GOOD LOOKS WHICH DREW MASAKI TOWARDS ME! I MEAN JUST LOOK AT THIS CHIN! THIS JAWLINE! HAVE YOU EVER SEEN SOMETHING SO PERFECT?!"
The boisterous female laughter of Yoruichi rang throughout the Shiba Manor as she walked in no the oh so familiar comedy routine that was the Kurosaki family. Her timely arrival also saved Isshin's 'beautiful nose' from another beating. Her presence was a welcomed sight in the Kurosaki-Shiba home, her closeness with the family was no secret around the Seireitei, though her arrival also brought an undertone of seriousness because it meant that they would be getting more information on the last living Kurosaki who finally passed away.
"Yoruichi-Obasan!" Karin called out with a cheeky grin, "It's good to see you again, have you been taking care of yourself? Oh? Is that a wrinkle I see? I guess you are getting up there in age.."
A very obvious tick appeared above the woman's left eyes as she listened to the girl before her, "aha, always the brat, you've only started acting out because Yuzu-chan hasn't been here to keep you in check, though I suspect that will change very soon." She quipped back with her own more feral grin, her abnormally large canine teeth visible.
Urahara deciding to be the peacekeeper cut in, "Now now, how about you two settle this at your next training session, yes?"
Karin clearly liked the idea if her widening grin was anything to go by, "sounds good to me, it's about time I take that title of Goddess of Flash from you."
Said Goddess merely rose a curious brow, "while your confidence is good and your growth thus far has been as impressive as expected, you're still a thousand years too early to even think about taking my title from me kid."
"If Ichi-nii could surpass you in a couple years then so can I," she fired back.
Yoruichi merely rose a hand to pinch her temples at the reminder. "I know setting goals is important but trying to do what your brother did is just impossible," she said softly with a lopsided and reminiscent smile. "Ichigo was.. Ichigo was a monster, a hybrid born of the three races, the things he did just can't be matched," she finished with a small shake of her head."
Urahara with a crooked smile of his own continued the train of thought, "Yes, I don't think Kurosaki-san ever even realized how frightening he was. His ability to mimic and learn from his opponents, incorporating their moves into his own style all while in the heat of battle, while fighting for his life was terrifying."
The room fell silent for a moment, each of the three adults thinking back on their former student and Isshin's son.
"Yeah yeah! Ichi-nii is amazing I get it, I've heard it a thousand times!" Karin shot out with forced annoyance, her hand waving dismissively.
The three adults didn't buy it for a second and just gave her knowing looks. Karin loved hearing tales of her brother, she would always be the first one to drop what she was doing when someone around them started telling a tale of their hero. She just put up a front because she still missed him, even after all this time his death was hard for her to accept, as it was for all of them.
Deciding a change of subject was necessary Isshin brought the attention back to Yoruichi, "So, what's going on? Any news?"
She gave a light shake of her head, "Kurotsuchi's machines haven't picked anything up yet, though Kyoraku-soutaichou has made finding Yuzu top priority in the Seireitei and so the Stealth Force has assembled in full and will begin scouring the districts immediately, I haven't seen SoiFon this serious in a long time."
That was a relief to hear. The stealth force rarely assembled in full and when it did that meant something big was going on.. for Kyoraku to be taking this seriously enough to order something like that meant more to Isshin that the man would ever know. Yes, she was a Kurosaki, and yes she had inherited the same abnormal amounts of reiatsu as her brother and sister, but she had never learned to use that power like her brother had and to an extent Karin, she had no way of protecting herself.
If she appeared in some of the outer districts.. Isshin didn't even want to think of all the bad things which could happen to her out there.
"Thanks, Yoruichi, I mean it," he said with a deep nod of his head, he'd have to pay the Captain Commander a visit soon.
Yoruichi for her part just shook head, Isshin had nothing to thank her for, it was only obvious that she'd help.
Her face falling into a frown, a hint of unease seeping into her eyes Karin spoke up and brought forth the subject they'd all been trying to avoid for the last eighty-nine years. "Though now that Yuzu has passed on I guess we can't put it off any longer.."
The three adults in the room all reacted in their own way, Urahara outwardly stayed impassive although the downwards tilt of his green bucket-hat was all the indication needed for the others to know his mood had soured. Isshin for his part just looked guilty, his daughters were being forced into something they didn't want because he abandoned his position all those years ago. And finally Yoruichi's golden eyes fell a couple shades darker and her lips turned downwards in a small snarl as the recollection of that day came back to her.
"That damn Tsunayashiro," she bit out, she'd never liked the man and that day only served to increase her animosity.
~ Flashback, roughly 11 years after the end of the war
"Well it's certainly clean despite its lack of usage," the head of the Tsunayashiro clan called out jovially as he glanced around the medium-sized room. "I heard it had only been used once during an inauguration a couple generations ago, not even during the expulsion of the Shiba clan was this place used." He finished, taking a seat in one of the five chairs around the pentagon-shaped table.
The room he was talking about was, of course, the special meeting place for the five great noble families, a place that was hidden underground and not marked on any map. A sacred place since ancient times where issues such as policies would be discussed by the five family heads, regarded as one of the most important locations only second to the Soul King's Palace.
Sat opposite of Tokinada Tsunayashiro in the two farthest seats are two very prominent figures in the Soul Society, the head of the Kuchiki clan, Byakuya Kuchiki, and the acting head of the Shihoin, Yoruichi Shihoin. Due to the fate of the clan, the Shiba's no longer held a place at the council however there still should've been a fourth member at the table with them, the head of the Kasumioji clan, Rurichiyo Kasumioji who was absent for a different reason.
That reason being a law established by the old Central 46 which stated that all five heads of the great families could never be together at the same time. If all five clan heads were to be assassinated at once it would be a grave disaster for the Seireitei and the Soul Society as a whole.
With a small smile on her face, Yoruichi observed the man carefully, tall and thin with silver hair partially braided close to his crown on the left side. He was just as arrogant as his predecessor, however, Yoruichi could also feel an air around him that screamed of someone unfitting to head one of the five clans. It was a sentiment that Byakuya shared.
Whether he felt her gaze on him or not, Tokinada flashed a gentle smile and opened his mouth to speak. "That reminds me, this is the first time I'm meeting the former head of the Shihoin clan. Indeed, you're not called the Shihoin princess for nothing. You are a beauty both charming and majestic."
Yoruichi had to resist throwing up. "Your transparent flattery is unnecessary. Let's be honest here, you think of me as an unruly woman who unbecoming of nobility, don't you?" She said flatly.
"If you are conscious about that, then as former clan head you should refrain from acting in such a rash manner." Byakuya cut in, though the light spark of amusement could be seen in his eyes by the woman next to him.
Ignoring the words he had so matter-of-factually interjected – She would get Byakuya-bo back for that later – Yoruichi narrowed her eyes in a smile and posed a question to the head of the Tsunayashiro clan.
"So? Why go to the trouble of summoning me and Byakuya? You even asked for me specifically rather than the present head Yushiro… it's not like you gathered us here to merely show us your face is it?"
With a smile that was not all sincere, he began to reply, "I am concerned about the Soul Society's future of course. You all made a mistake when you let us be attacked by the likes of the Quincies, even allowing them into the Soul Palace.." trailing off he shook his head briefly as if discarding that train of thought.
"Never mind," he continued, "you were mere accomplices anyways. Rather than blaming the Gotei 13, there was a Soul King-sama and Zero Division who failed to act because they misunderstood the flow of the world. If we had a true ruling body that didn't seclude themselves away than surely the damage to the Soul Society would have been reduced, right?"
Ignoring the obvious criticism of the Soul King due to her wanting the meeting over with as soon as possible she cut to the chase. "So, what do you want from me and Byakuya?" She asked with weary eyes, unsuspecting of the answer she would receive.
Smiling jovially again he responded, "I'd like to revive the five great noble clans, or more specifically I'd like to propose a restoration of the Shiba clan."
The two supposed they should have seen that coming, "Why are you so fixated on restoring the Shiba clan?" Byakuya asked, his expression as uncaring and nonchalant as ever.
And it was at that question that Tokinada's jovial facade began to slip, "All for the sake of valuing justice. I have no issue getting things done through the might of the Tsunayashiro clan but that would only create issues with the people of the Soul Society, they would think that they are under a dictatorship, for this reason, I want it to be known that the Seireitei operates through just procedures. If we resurrect the Shiba clan than the five great noble houses will have a position equivalent to that of the Soul King's Palace and can become Seireitei's decision making body over the Central 46." Letting out a bark of laughter Tokinada continued, "Perhaps the Central 46 at the time feared such a thing and thus they removed the Shiba clan without much opposition when Sosuke Aizen gave them a reason to do so."
Byakuya even still kept his expression neutral though Yoruichi wasn't shy in showing her suspicion, 'of course he wants power,' she mused, surprised she hadn't thought of that already. Though she couldn't deny that a ruling body of Byakuya, Rurichiyo and Yushiro over the Central 46 didn't sound bad at all, yeah Tokinada would be a leader too but.. three against one should stop anything crazy from happening.. keyword there being should.
Seeing that neither were in the mood to reply yet Tokinada eagerly began to speak again, the more he could say the better chance he could sway them. "Have you never thought to question it? Why, out of the five great noble clans, it was the Shiba clan that was met with a cold reception from the very beginning? Supposedly, it's because they took up residence in Rukongai in order to set up a Shiba clan secret cannon there. However, before they were stripped of their position amongst the five great noble clans, the Shiba clan received treatment no better than a bunch of poor people from lesser nobility. Aren't you curious about both the Shiba clan and why it was deemed acceptable?" He pushed further.
Once again silence befell the room, Tokinada sat there silently with a pleasant smile on his face, or probably what he thought was pleasant. Yoruichi and Byakuya were mulling things over, exchanging silent glances to get an idea of how the other felt. After a couple of moments had passed finally it was the head of the Kuchiki that spoke up.
"While your plan sounds good in theory, and I cannot deny the merits of the five great clans acting as a ruling body for the Seireitei there is one flaw," he began, continuing when he seen Tokinada nod, "There is no one to head the Shiba clan were it to be resurrected. Isshin Kurosaki abandoned his post and would never be allowed to retake it, not that he would even if he was offered, and same sentiments are shared by Kukaku and Ganju Shiba, they will not take the position. Ichigo Kurosaki would have been the only other candidate, however, he is no longer with us," Byakuya finished, a sombre tone underlying his voice.
Yoruichi while also saddened at the reminder couldn't leave this unsaid, "Not that he would take the position anyway, politics would drive that kid so mad that he'd eventually go off the deep end," the Shihoin Princess joked earning a small smirk from her longtime friend and even a chuckle from the man across from them.
"Not to worry, I have thought of a solution to this as well," he said simply, a warm smile on his face that didn't extend to his eyes, instead what Yoruichi and Byakuya found there was dark mischief. They knew they wouldn't like his 'solution.'
"It is simple, we just need to have Karin and Yuzu Kurosaki come and act as joint figureheads, there are many people including yourselves whom could help them along as they learn the in's and out's of the position."
The words Karin and Yuzu caused the atmosphere to shift completely, Byakuya's gaze was sharper and his hand twitched in his lap no doubt wishing to reach for the sword that normally sat on his hip.
Yoruichi openly snarled, "Tsunayashiro.. you- you're walking a dangerous line trying to bring them into this."
Putting his hands up in a defensive manner he tried to ease their minds, "I assure you I have nothing but good intentions in mind."
They didn't buy it. And, to the surprise of the two other occupants in the room, it was Byakuya that called him out, "I wonder, Tokinada Tsunayashiro, if you would still dare to be so audacious if Ichigo Kurosaki was still here."
The man's smile was devilish, "Of course not, that man would bring the Soul Society to Civil War, and it would not end well for those on the side of the Central 46."
'At least he's honest,' Yoruichi mused internally, she knew that neither of them would support such a thing so she assumed it was over for now, how wrong she was.
"So then, do I have both of your co-operation on the matter?" He affirmed, receiving only twin raised brows as both of the other occupants look at him incredulously.
"I believe you already know the answer to that, Tokinada Tsunayashiro," Byakuya stated, intending to finish the meeting right there.
"Great," the man clapped, a joyous look on his face which sent alarm bells ringing off in his 'companions' heads, "I have already been granted permission for my proposal from the Central 46 so I look forward to working with the both of you."
If Ichigo was still alive and they could've gotten away with it both Yoruichi and Byakuya would have killed him right there.
~ Flashback End
The two of them with the help of Rurichiyo fought the decision with everything they had, but it was no use. All they had managed was an assurance that the twins could finish out their human lives before being thrust into the position. But now that the second twin had passed Yuzu and Karin would be taking over as joint heads to the Shiba clan and there was nothing that could be done about it.
Deciding she had thought about it for long enough Yoruichi threw another serious gaze to Urahara who was still sat to the side of the room. "I have a message for you too, Kisuke."
Karin swore Toshiro must have been around because just as those words left her mouth it seemed as if the temperature fell a couple of degrees. Clearly, the man had an idea of what Yoruichi was about to say if his demeanour was anything to go by, his mouth had set into a thin line and he'd tilted his hat back down covering his eyes from view.
"Kyoraku-soutaichou told me that transport has been prepared for your immediate departure to the Royal Realm, Amaterasu-sama wants to speak with you as soon as possible."
"..very well," was his curt reply.
~ Unknown Location, Unknown Time
He only had enough time to let out a startled yelp before the ground gave way below his feet. Head falling forwards his eyes began scanning around for anything that he could latch onto. Spotting what appeared to be the underside of a tiled roof his arm snapped out and his hand grasped on for dear life as he pulled himself back up to safety.
He could feel his heart settle and all of the tension flow out with each steady breath he took, he hadn't expected to get his adrenaline surging so suddenly. Surveying his surroundings as he continued to take steady breaths he had to admit it was beautiful in its own way, this eerily silent, never-ending world of grey. As far as he could see in front of him and just as far behind, to his left and his right, above and below it was all the same, just an endless sea of swirling and shifting grey, darker streaks twisting throughout trying to merge with the light.
There were no mountains standing tall and proud, no clouds floating overhead, no sun or moon, no rocky plains or grassy fields, not a drop of water or the slightest gust of wind, it was just grey. He would be completely alone here had it not been for the debris which floated so aimlessly around him. Chunks of wall, roof, roadways and glass, all discarded from their time in history and forgotten. Ancient, medieval, renaissance, industrial, Ichigo could recognize all of these architectural designs from his history classes.
And, perhaps it was just coincidence but the teen didn't buy it, this was just too perfect to ever be so simple. Of all the pieces of debris that he could have landed on when coming to this world- wherever it was, it was a chunk of white wall not unlike that you would find in the perpetually feudal era Japan that the Soul Society found themselves in.
Brushing his hand along the smooth stone surface he muttered out a soft curse. He didn't know what the hell was going on, what he was supposed to do, where he was supposed to go and how he was supposed to get there, this whole situation was just a mess.
Dragging a hand through his hair he realized he had only two options. The first would be to keep sitting right where he was and float in this grey world endlessly, perhaps for all of eternity. Or, the second options would be to get up and start moving. If he was careful he could easily jump between the pieces of history, maybe it would be a waste of time but it couldn't be worse than just sitting there doing nothing. And who knows, maybe if he travelled long enough he'd be able to find someone, something, anything that could help him figure this mess out.
With a nod of his head, he hopped to his feet and began stretching his muscles out. He didn't have any reiatsu right now which meant he body wasn't supernaturally enhanced and he would need to rely on his own strength as a human to get this done. He didn't doubt his bodies capabilities, after everything he had been through his body was trained to almost superhuman levels.
With one more swivel of his head to get out any last crick his nodded in satisfaction and stepped back towards the edge of the chunk of wall he was stood on. Shifting his weight to his back foot he crouched slightly and pressed off, three long, powerful strides later and he leapt.
Stopping on what appeared to be the remains of an old brick wall he peered down through the broken window and the endless expanse below him, he really didn't want to fall down there. Wiping a bead of sweat from his brow he let a hint of annoyance set onto his face, he hadn't found anything. He didn't have the faintest clue how long he'd been free running in this place either though he would admit with a bit of pride that he'd covered an impressive distance thus far.
It was an interesting world, he felt fatigue in his body and muscles the further he pushed himself but his energy never ran out. It was a lot like his inner world in that regard, he would run out of breath and sweat, feel pain and bleed but he would never need a break, his stamina never diminished. This would be a great place to train if nothing else.
Dragging his arm across his brow to wipe a bead of sweat he shifted his weight to stand in a more relaxed position. "This is pointless," he sighed out, he hadn't seen, felt, or heard anything yet which would hint at something more in this place and continuing to jump around aimlessly wouldn't accomplish anything either.
[I was wondering when you'd catch on, though it was amusing watching you hop around.]
Feeling his anger surge at the voice which he hadn't expected to hear again he rose his head to the sky and shouted, "Oi! You bastard! Where the fuck is this?! Why am I here?!"
[Where are you? I told you already, didn't I? You are stuck floating between the borders of life and death.] He started calmly, not bothered in the slightest by the anger directed at him. [Though I suppose you mean more specifically this location. These are the Astral Planes, they are the space between everything, the road that leads everywhere, it's where you are when you aren't anywhere else.]
Well, that was a lot to take in, though it rose the question, "And how did I get here? Why didn't I just die and move on like a normal person? Why am I stuck here?!"
[Because I pulled your soul from the cycle of reincarnation.]
"You what?!" The teen howled at the endless expanse around him. He couldn't believe it! He didn't even care that this voice had just all but admitted that he himself was a powerful God, one on such a high level that he could mess with the cycle of reincarnation, he just wanted to know why! "Why did you do that?! I'd rather be dead and have a chance at reincarnation than be stuck here for all eternity!" He was furious, who would want to spend forever in this lifeless and empty world, that would be torture.
[Always such a dramatic, I figured that you of all people would want a second chance in your world, that was why I did it, I just had to wait for you to wake up to tell you.]
[Hmph, not so hostile anymore are you?]
"Can you really do that..?"
[Of course, it's a simple task, though you will not be the same person as you are now, Shinigami, Hollow, Quincy, none of that will define you anymore.]
"What do you mean I won't be the same? I'll lose my powers?" That thought made him hesitate a little, he had experienced a powerless lifestyle and it wasn't pretty, but he had to think it would be better than the alternative, staying dead.
Part of him wanted to go back, to see everyone again.. but it had been a hundred years since the final battle with Yhwach, as grim as it was most of his human friends would have passed away by now, more so he was unsure which Shinigami survived the Thousand Year Blood War.. he didn't know if he would be able to handle it, going back to find out all of his close friends had perished.
[I will say no more, you have two paths before you and the decision you must make now.] As those words were spoken a shift took place in the Astral Planes, below the platform which the teen was stood on a swirling vortex of purples and blues opened up warping the once grey world around it. In front of him, it looked as if a claw had torn right through the dimensional wall leaving a dimly glowing red tear in space.
[If you wish to finally pass on, to re-enter the cycle of reincarnation, then jump from that platform into the depths below you and your soul will be allowed passage. Or, if you wish for a second chance at life, to be reborn and reunited with your friends and family then walk forwards and come find me.]
"Wha- You can't just leave it at that! What do you mean find you?! How will I know what to look for?!"
"..Oi! Are you still there?!"
"..you've got to be kidding me."
Okay, I know it will be brought up so I'll just say this now. I am not abandoning Guardian of the Dead! I'll say it again, I am NOT abandoning Guardian of the Dead! So please do not post reviews asking if I have or asking when the next chapter is coming out! I am still writing that story and the next chapter will come out when it comes out, okay? Now that we have that settled let's move on.
This is a story that I've wanted to write for a long time and just never got around to it, it's kind of crazy and I'm honestly not sure how it will be received by you guys but I'm having fun writing it so whatever, that's all that matters in the end.
If you read the disclaimer at the start of the chapter then you will know I am pulling ideas from many different sources for this story so expect some crazy things and random encounters from different characters. That being said, no, I'm not just going to grab random things and toss them in without a care, every element that I add to the story WILL be explained at one point or another.
Also, Tokinada Tsunayashiro isn't an OC, he is a real character. The Tsunayashiro clan is the actual fifth great noble clan that was never shown during the manga along with the Kuchiki, Shihoin, Shiba and Kasumioji. If you google his name you will be able to see a picture of him.
A couple more things before I end it, I am still kind of looking for a beta for my stories, someone who understands the English language at a high level and can help me improve my stories further with things like spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure and all things alike. If you're interested PM me.
Also, if you can speak Japanese and understand Kanji, Hiragana, Katakana and whatever else is needed to translate things properly from English to Japanese in regard to naming Zanpakuto and Attacks/Abilities and you wouldn't mind helping me out then please message me.
A couple more things before I go. I was thinking of starting a Discord sever where you guys could join in and talk to me or each other if you wanted. If that interests you then let me know, if I get enough support I'll create one.
And finally, would you guys be interested in a Bleach/My Hero Academia crossover from me? After watching S3 I got really hyped and started writing the first chapter lol.
Anyways that's all!
If you have any thoughts on this chapter than feel free to leave a review! I'm always looking to improve my writing and so constructive criticism is appreciated. If you have any questions then feel free to message me, I always reply when I can.