Want to start wrapping this arc up, so some of the fights and scenes are shorter than normal. I even deleted over 2,000-3,000 words and cut entire scenes as I felt if they weren't necessary for the story and plot then I'd just cut them to save time and words.
Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach or Devil May Cry
At The Gates Of Armageddon
Byakuya's Captains Haori had certainly seen better days. Now it was more akin to a cluster of tassels draped over him than a coat. His torn coat wasn't the only thing to sustain damage. Much of his black Shihakusho had been ripped to the point his right sleeve was completely gone, and his families prized scarf that was passed down to every Kuchiki Clan leader had flecks of dried, frozen blood on it.
But Byakuya was a staunch as they come. Paying little attention to his wounds and focusing all on winning this fight against the Higher Demon named Cerberus. Whom was littered with bloody marks and gashes, as the demons icy armour proved unable to nullify all the countless blade Byakuya commanded.
One thing was clear to Byakuya though, this fight had gone on for too long. The sounds of ever increasing battle heard from beyond the now sealed door of Temen-ni-gru's entrance combined with the recent massive spike in Hellish Reiatsu only served to make that point more clear.
"Though I commend your prowess, Demon. This ends now."
All the countless pinkish metal blades floating around the pair began to break apart into small petal-like shards and swarmed around Byakuya's outstretched hand. Around Byakuya the blades began to condense into a single sword, then a blinding white light illuminated off the nobleman.
Sensing the sudden rise in power flowing off the mortal, Cerberus likewise pumped out his demonic power. The ice around his body increase in size and mass until the hounds entire body was coated in ice, near a meter thick.
Once the light around Byakuya faded his new appearance was on show. Behind Byakuya was what looked like a pair of wings and a halo, both of pure white, and in his hand was a sword that now resembled a bird. This was Shukei: Hakuteiken, one of Senbonzakura's strongest abilities. In which all the millions of blades were condensed and focused down into one single blade which drastically increased the cutting power of his sword. Something which Byakuya hoped would be enough to get through Cerberus' icy armour once and for all.
"Come at me, mortal. I'll bathe in your blood!"
Cerberus took off like a bull and charged at Byakuya. Byakuya himself remained motionless, completely still with the same calm look on his face he'd kept throughout the battle. Then, once Cerberus was but a few feet from him, Byakuya took one single step forward, then vanished from sight before reappearing a few yards behind the devil.
Before Cerberus was even aware, a faint red line trailing across the length of his body made its presence known. The line became more and more pronounced, and just like that, Cerberus' body split in two right down the centre. His left and right halves collapsing on the floor with a thud as the demons icy armour proved useless against the overwhelming cutting power of Byakuya's Zanpakuto.
Allowing his Bankai to fade way back to its sealed katana state, Byakuya gave the now dead Cerberus one final glance before making his to the main lobby of Temen-ni-gru. "For all your strength, in the end you were nothing more than a rabid animal. A best like yourself can never stand against someone of my class."
One might think that when in a battle of life and death you'd be taking the fight as serious as possible. Clearly you've never met Shunsui Kyoraku. Who was currently fighting against Nevan with a humble smirk plastered on his face.
"You want to explain what that massive burst in demonic power was just then?" Asked Shunsui, using the shadows in the room to evade Nevan's lightning.
Bolts of electricity and bats flew of her hands as the man hoped from shadow to shadow escaping Nevan's aim. "I'm not exactly an expert on this place. But if had to hazard a guess. I'd say Temen-ni-gru has just entered Phase Two." She then went on to explain what little she knew of the second phase.
"Our two realms about to merge, eh. Jeez, talk about a high stakes game." Speaking of games, it was about time Shunsui ended this one. "Bushogoma!"
Two sets of wind blades rushed towards Nevan and enveloped her in a tornado-like intensity. She called forth her bats to swarm around her as a protective shield. "Come now, my dear. Don't worry about that, once our reals are merged I'll keep you safe. You'll be by my side as my personal bed warmer."
"Tempting as that sounds. I'll have to pass." Appearing directly above Nevan, Shunsui raised his swords above his head as he descended down on the demoness. "Takaoni."
"Sweetie, please. I've already seen this move before." Raising both her hands in Shunsui's direction, Nevan fired off several bolts of lighting at the man. Shunsui managed to use Shunpo in time to dodge the lightning, reappearing on the stage. Then, for reasons unknown to Nevan, Shunsui used his blade to slice off a piece of the red curtains and tied the fabric around his waist like a belt. "I'd prefer it if you removed some clothing, sugar." She winked at him with seduction.
Instead of joining in with the joke, Shunsui allowed a darkness to shroud his face, "Any other day I'd let this fight drag on, maybe even see if you were up for a night on the booze. Unfortunately for you, this isn't any normal day." Using the shadows at his feet Shunsui sank deep into the black and vanished.
Sensing a tingle in her spiritual sensory factors, Nevan turned on her heels and watched as from her own shadow she cast, the same man launched out from the darkness. "This game again? Don't tell me you're having a dry spell?" As the mortal took a swipe at her with his blades she used her bats to block to strike. Now he was defenceless Nevan let loose a massive burst of lightning that blew a hole right in the man's chest, causing him to cough up blood and collapse to his knees. "What's wrong, sugar. I thought you liked it rough. Here, let me kiss you better."
As Nevan leaned down closer to the mortal, her red hair draping over his shoulders and neck as she did, she froze when she heard a voice behind her.
"Kiss you? Despite what people think, even I have standards."
The Shunsui kneeling in front of Nevan faded away like a fart in the wind. Unknown to Nevan she had just fallen for Kageokuri, a technique that allowed Shunsui to create a realistic afterimage via his shadows.
As Nevan turned her head to see the real Shunsui she knew it was too late for her to block or dodge his strike. He was right beside her and had his longer sword drawn back ready for a strike.
Aiming for the red hair that was now covering the woman's neck, Shunsui swung his sword. Normally, given Nevan's durability she'd be able to withstand the strike to her neck, however, Shunsui was a monstrously tricky fighter given how unusual his Zanpakuto and the things it could do were. Once such game, Irooni, increased the power behind Shunsui's cuts so long as it correlated to the colour he called out. But there was a catch. It would only work if Shunsui himself was wearing that same colour, which is were the red curtain sash he'd tied to his waist came into play.
With a single swipe of his sword, Shunsui lopped off the head of the beautiful demoness. Her decapitated corpse slumping to the ground, all the bats likewise instantly dropping dead.
Removing curtain sash from his waist, Shunsui looked down at Nevan's body and shook his head glumly. "The first woman to come onto me in all this time and I have to kill her. I swear, it's as if the Soul King himself has it out for my sex life."
After that complaint he went to the door and left Nevan's lair, nursing the cuts and electrical scorch marks on his body he'd picked up during their lovers spat.
Standing high, atop the peak of Sokyaku Hill, Jin Kariya stood, hands in his pockets as the high winds swept his white hair back and forth. He was just staring out, watching the raging battle unfold between Shinigami and Demon. His sharp facial features were hard to read.
A hollow smile that didn't reach his eyes fell upon Kariya. For centuries he'd wanted the Seirietei to fall and finally when it was happening before his very eyes, he was furious. For this was Arkham's doing, not his own. And he doubted Arkham was doing this to bring retribution for the Bounts. The fall of the Seireitei was just a stepping stone to Arkham, and that boiled Kariya's blood.
As Kariya watch the battle unfold, contemplating how foolish he'd been to allow himself to be played by Arkham all this time, he heard a distinct "Fwoosh" sound from behind, the telltale calling card that was Shunpo.
"You came after all. I wasn't sure you would. What with everything going on I thought you might have stayed to help your friends fight those beasts."
"I have faith in my friends and allies. I trust them. Unlike you, who just uses people for your own benefit then throws them away when no longer needed." Ichigo grabbed Ririn from his shoulder and placed her on the ground, nodding towards the treeline where she'd be safe.
"Please." Kariya let his cynicism show, "Relying on others is weakness. If you don't have the strength to survive on your own, then you don't deserve to survive at all. Of all the lessons the Shinigami taught us Bounts, that is the one I'm grateful for most."
"Say that all you like." Ichigo said with distaste. "Without the other Bounts helping you you'd just be living out your days in some cave in the Human World. It's only thanks to their help you've got this far, Kariya."
"Perhaps, perhaps not." Shrugged Kariya, not caring to listen to some kid lecture him. "Honestly, I haven't the time or patience to debate with you on ethics. You are, after all, despite your power, just a child. A child that's fallen for the lies of the Shinigami and given your allegiance to them." Kairya released a bitter laugh. "How naive of you, boy."
"I'm not blind. I know the Gotei 13 isn't exactly a bastion of liberalism." The first time Ichigo even encountered the Gotei was when two of its members, Renji and Byakuya tried to kill him. "That doesn't change the fact that they're my friends. I'll fight and die beside them if necessary."
"I suppose you will." Turning to face the young teen, Kariya rolled up the sleeves of his long coat and allowed his Reiatsu to spike in a flexing show. "Die with them, that is."
Narrowing his eyes at the stubborn Bount, Ichigo pulled Zangetsu from his back and pointed the tip at Kariya. "I'd like to see you try." Taking a deep breath, Ichigo channelled his spiritual power into his blade. "Bankai!" A torrent of wind burst out from Ichigo, kicking up dirt as his chunky knife-like blade transformed into a slender black katana. A long back coat with red inner lining now flowing behind him in the wind. Cofidence and determination oozed off Ichigo. "Tensa Zangetsu."
As Ukitake continued to make his way through the numerous long halls and rooms of Temen-ni-gru in hopes of either finding an exit or a way upwards to where the immense level of demonic power was coming from, he couldn't help but reflect on his battle with Gigapede.
In all honesty. He actually felt sorry for the demonic insectoid. Against another opponent Gigapede would have been a challenge, given the sheer amount of energy attacks it could output. When against Ukitake however, a man who's Zanapkuto had the power to absorb another's energy attacks and make it its own. It wasn't really a fair fight. So much so that Ukitake had sustained very little injuries in the battle, just an odd burn mark here and there, and his Reiatsu had more or less stayed in tact.
After dispatching another cluster of Fallen with a single Kido spell, Ukitake found himself in a large wide dome ceilinged room. Carved into the wall was an elevator, however, much like ever other of its kind he'd found thus far, it was unresponsive.
"Why did I expect anything less."
A tremor of demonic power caught Ukitake's notice. All around the room red pentagrams appeared from which dozens of demons came tumbling out. All of them being Mid level demons, some Blades, some Frosts, some Assaults, some Fallen and many more.
Zankaputo in hand, Ukitake went to go at the demons when someone beat him to the punch.
Countless pinkish petal like blades tore into many of the demons, ripping the flesh of the Hellspawn as they screeched in anguish.
Flicking his gaze at the man responsible, Ukitake gave a friendly wave. "Byakuya. Good to see you in one piece. I take it you defeated the three headed dog."
"I wouldn't be standing here alive if I hadn't." Never one to show much emotion, Byakuya acted as lackadaisical as every other day at the office, though he was glad to see Ukitake was fine.
When a Frost made a move for Byakuya, assuming that now the man's sword had broken into little piece he was an easy target, the demon was torn apart by a flurry of wind before it even got close to the nobleman.
Giving the man who'd protected him a dull stare, Byakuya plainly commented, "You're aware I was in no danger then, correct."
"And people say the aristocrats have no manners." Was Shunsui's dry sarcastic response.
"Looks like you've had it rough, my friend." The volley of electrical burn marks on Shunsui let Ukitake now his best friend had not had it easy in his battle.
"It's my heart that hurts the most. Taking away such a beautiful woman from this world. What a monster I've become." His fellow Captains had no clue what caused Shunsui such despair, just putting it off as his quirkiness.
"Yes, well…" Bring the conversation back, Ukitake spoke. "I take it the two of you can't find a way to get further up the tower or out of it?" Both Shunsui and Byakuya nodded. "Though as much. I can only assume someone, perhaps the Bount, is trying to keep us all separated. So we can't help the others at the top of the tower and those outside either."
"From what I was told, we're in 'Stage Two'." Informed Shunsui, who told his fellow Captains what Nevan had told him. "Likely that someone's closed off the upper floors to us. Try as we might, the three of us as stuck down here."
"Then we'll just have to trust Lady Shihoin and Nero to put a stop to the Bount." Both Ukitake and Shunsui were taken aback by Byakuya's statement, a man who wasn't exactly known for being willing to put faith in anyone than himself to see things through. Guess he really had changed of late.
"Kuchiki's right. I know Yoruichi, she'll do whatever it takes to end this chaos. And though I've only known Nero for a short time, I can safely say he shares the same determination as Kurosaki. With the two of them on the case, it puts my mind at some ease. However…" All around Ukitake and the others, more and more red pentagrams appeared and with them demons. The three of the Captains gripped their Zanpakuto's getting into a battle stance. "It doesn't look like we'll be having it easy until they manage to finish this."
Hell, the Underworld, Demon World, Netherworld, Tartarus, Naraka, Hades. It had many names. Each one correct in their own right. As Hell, much like the Mortal Universe, was divided up into countless worlds, realms and dimensions. Some home to demons, others home to sinful mortals that were to spend eternity paying for their crimes, and others home to many and more beings lost to myth and legend. Trying to categorise them all would be as implausible of a task as trying to do so to the Mortal Universe, akin to analysing and recording every grain of sand on Earth.
The most prevalent established way to distinguish Hell, used only by those in the know, was to separate it into two distinct parts. The part of Hell where the demons called home, the Demon World. And the part where sinful mortals, or Togabito some called them, were sent to spend eternity, the Underworld. But even that was too broad of a distinction. For there were far, far more then just two separate planes of existence in Hell.
When one pictured Hell in their mind they likely conjured up images of fire and brimstone. Sinners being roasted on spits over a bed of molten lava while devils danced around them. And while that wasn't entirely off the mark, at least in certain parts of Hell, that was by no means what all Hell looked like. For just as every snowflake on Earth was unique, so to was every world in Hell.
Which is why Arkham didn't bother questioning when he entered into the portal above the Seireitei into the Demon World, he ended up in dark void with pitch black sky and purplish floor that moved like a mix of water and lava but resembled neither. The only way to move across this place were by the series of rocky pillars that jutted out the purple below, high into the sky.
This place, Nirvana, as it was called, was the land of Hell in which Sparda had long ago sealed and hidden his power in the form of a sword. The place Arkham had long since sought to find and finally had arrived.
Standing on the largest and most centrally located pillar was Arkham, gazing down at the sword impaled tip first into the ground as if the blade were some long lost lover that Arkham wanted to embrace and never let go.
"This is it, the Force Edge, Sparda's power in bladed form." Studying the blade, Arkham couldn't help feel it lacked the visual grandiose it deserved. It looked like any other European style long sword. With a "W" shaped cross-guard the resembled Sparda's horns and a spiral handle with a pommel in the shape of four skulls, a spike jutting out the top. All in all, it looked pretty unremarkable. But, even the smallest of men can cast a mighty shadow.
After a lengthy inhale and exhale, Arkham looked at the blade that would grant him all his hopes and dreams. 'After all this time. Countless decades, so many centuries of research and planning. The time has finally come. The power I've long dreamed of is before me and with it. The dawn of a new age. One in which I shall reign as the rightful King of mortals and demons alike.'
Wasting no time, Arkham reached to his neck and pulled the Amulet from it. The red jewel lit up and the Amulet levitated free from Arkham's hand, spinning in the air above the Force Edge before the Amulet moved closer to the blade before being seemingly absorbed into it. The sword came to life with a purple aura that shrouded the blade as it awakened from its slumber, its almighty demonic power now free to sense.
'By God. This power. This Reiatsu. It's incredible! I've never felt anything like it! This truly is the power of a God!' And that power was still rising by the second. "At long last, the power of Sparda is mine!"
Placing his hands on the Force Edge's grip, Arkham put his back into it and pulled the sword free from the stone as if he were King Arthur.
The moment he did he was almost knocked back by the sheer godly amount of raw power flowing within the sword. So much power that it felt as though it were trying to wash over and drown Arkham.
"S-So… much-… power…" It was as if Arkham's very body was being torn from the inside out as the power of Sparda ran through his fragile mortal shell. Any smart man would drop the blade there and then and run for the hills. Not Arkham. He'd come so far after so long. He wasn't about to give up now. If the Force Edge wanted to fight Arkham then Arkham would fight back to gain control over its almighty power.
No matter how insurmountable of a task that was.
"I… won't… surrender… to you…" Blood began to pour from Arkham's eyes, ears, nose, mouth and more. He could scarcely keep on his feet with how his body was being ripped apart from the immense demonic power he held in his hands, it was like all his organs and bones were slowly being crushed in a vice. But to Arkham, that was a small price to pay. "…Your… po-power… will… be… MINE!"
Arkham managed to raise the Force Edge over his head, pointing the tip at the sky in a show of defiance. The purple aura around the blade now coated Arkham, imbuing him with the Force Edge's inner power.
In an instant, Arkham's body morphed. Now appearing as a demon with scaly hide, downward facing ram horns, a set of both bat-like and beetle-like wings on his back and claws and hooves instead of hands and feet. In place of two mismatched eyes were now a pair of glowing red. Sparda's eyes. Sparda's visage.
Believing he'd been victorious in forcing the blade to submit, Arkham, now wearing Sparda's appearance, allowed the purest smile of joyful arrogance to cross his lips.
He'd soon find out the hard way how wrong he was.
Sparda's power had been so great it was enough that not even Mundus could topple the Dark Knight in battle. Not just anyone could wield the Force Edge and live to tell the tale. For as strong as he was, at the end of the day. Arkham was just a Bount, just a mortal. And mortals aren't meant to hold the power of Devil God's in their hands.
Nero chewed his lip as he walked around the peak of Temen-ni-gru, the wind at the altitude causing his coat to billow out behind him, his already unkept white locks becoming even scruffier.
"Looks like I'm the first one here. Fine by me. As I told La-Mary," he corrected himself, "you snooze your lose."
Walking to the edge of the roof, Nero craned his neck down to take a look below. So high up was he that he couldn't make out the fighters below whom looked just like black ants, but he could see that things weren't exactly going well for them. Oh yeah, not to mention there was a freaking giant whale flying around, letting demons from its mouth like it were a troop carrier.
"Hang in there just a little longer guys. I'll fix this, I promise. I just need a little more time."
Moving back to the centre of the roof, Nero's eyes flicked from the various statues all hanging above. "I can't sense anything from them. These statues are just empty husks now. Guess the Sins must have escaped. As if today couldn't get any more fucked for us. Since I can't sense their Reiatsu anywhere close I can only assume they've left the Seireitei. Which in all honesty is probably even worse than if they'd of stayed to fight." Running a hand through his white hair, Nero reflected on just how bad he'd made things by not stopping Arkham when he had the chance, "Another log added onto the pile of crap I've made. Well. Nothing I can do about that now. Have to cross the bridge when I get to it. Right now Arkham's the main concern."
Walking over to a beam of red light, Nero stood right in the middle of the light and much like a UFO in the movies, he was lifted off his feet and pulled towards the portal in the sky like some tractor beam.
After a short ride in the tractor beam, Nero entered into the portal and found himself standing in Hell.
"I just fall into an A-ha music video?"
While Nero knew enough on the Demon World to know not to expect hot coals and a burning volcano. What he didn't expect was to stumble into a place that looked like it was ripped right from the famous painting of all the sideways stairs. 'Relativity? Is that what the paintings called? Wait. Why am I even asking that. Who gives a shit what it's called.'
The area of Hell Nero now stood was a white void, from top to bottom. Now sky or ground to be seen. The only structure around was a building that seemed to move and wobble like it were made of jelly, though it was clearly made of brick.
"This is why I always hated the Demon World. It's like the architects and laws of physics just said "screw it" and called it a day."
After that complaint, Nero moved forward. The building, if you could even call it that, he was in had only one path to go, straight. And so he did. Soon he found himself at a dead end as the path was met with a sheer drop into the white void. At the end of the path was a mirror-like frame of sorts, but instead of reflective glass in the frame there was a pulsating screen of white and grey. An odd power emanating from it.
"Now that's a portal if I've ever seen one." He did a quick double-take of the area to see if there was anywhere or anything else he'd missed but came up empty. "Jump down the rabbit hole and out the other side? He, Nero in Wonderland, who'd of thunk. Just hope what's on the other side is friendly."
Having no choice left to him, Nero did a run and jumped into the portal. As he landed in a totally new area he found himself face to face with a massive chess board, complete with life sized chess pieces that were all radiating demonic Reiryoku and giving Nero the death stare. The chess pieces surged to life and began to converge on the sole Devil Hunter who was giving off the most aggressive of deadpans.
"Seriously. Are you freaking kidding me?! First Agnus' dice game and now this. There some sort of demonic Toy's R Us down in Hell no one told me about." As the chess pieces moved closer and closer to Nero, he remained as calm as ever and just rolled his eyes as he reached for Red Queen on his back. "Sorry boys. Never been one for chess. Much more of a checkers guy."
Keeping at a safe distance, Mary watched on as the battle between the duel bladed Devil and dark skinned woman reached its climax. Mary always heard how powerful the Captain class Shinigami were but never in a million years did she think they were capable of this. Where the demon Rudra proved an insurmountable obstacle for her, the blue devil was played for laughs against the Shinigami who's beauty was matched only by her power.
This woman, Yoruichi, was making this fight look like child's play. Her unfathomable speed giving her the edge in being able to avoid literally every single attack Rudra threw at her. And despite what you might think when looking at her small size, those delicate fists of hers packed more power behind them than even Mary's Kalina Ann.
In fact, as Mary watched the fight she wasn't sure whether to be thankful to the woman for saving her life or insulted and just how easily she was handling a foe Mary herself could do nothing against. Then again, saying Mary was "watching" the fight was an overstatement. Yoruichi was moving so fast that, at best the woman appeared as a blur, and at worst she moved so quick she was invisible to Mary's naked eye. She wasn't called the Goddess of Flash without reason after all.
'This woman… Just who is she?' As Mary wracked her brain she recalled back to the time she first met and shot Nero in the head. 'She was the one who found him. If she's Nero's friend, then why would she save me?'
As for Yoruichi herself, she was too focused on the task at hand of taking out Rudra to concern herself with Mary's inner dilemma. Her orange over-shirt was gone, leaving her black backless, sleeveless under-shirt in its place, as crackling yellow lightning covered her arms and back.
'So this is one of those Higher Demons Nero spoke about. I'll admit, they're strong. And this ones power to use both wind and fire is rather troublesome indeed. But…' Rudra held his two swords together, from which a fiery tornado shot forth at Yoruichi, who just vanished on the spot, appearing behind the demon and landing a vicious spinning Bird Kick in his back that sent him flying across the room. Each time the demon hit the floor the ground cracked due to how much force Yoruichi had put behind her kick. 'It doesn't matter how many elements he can control, if he can't keep up with me.'
Once he skidded to a stop, Rudra got to his shaking knees, contemplating the rough situation he was in. His once flawless blue skin was now marred with black and purple bruises from where the woman's punches and kicks had connected. Even some of the rocks on his arm had crumbled. Yet, Rudra was far more concerned with the tarnished state the room was in. "What a rude guests I've been visited by of late. You don't even clean up the mess you've made. You mortal women have no manners." The mortal woman then flashed in front of him, her right fist pulled back ready to strike. "Got you!"
Rudra unleashed a double crescent slash from his two blades, both of which landed a direct hit on the woman, much to her shock as evident by her jaw dropping. The currents of wind and fire combined, sliced right through Yoruichi's shirt into her skin, tearing off and burning chunks of her flesh. She spat out blood and collapsed to her knee's as her golden eyes trembled in fear.
"Ha. See brother. I was able to do you proud after all. The mortal was too slow in the end." Rudra's victory was short lived however, as the severely wounded Yoruichi in front of him faded away to nothingness. "Uh…?"
'He fell for my Utsusemi. Good, now he's right where I want him.' Using Shunpo, the real Yoruichi appeared above Rudra, "Too slow? Me? Guess you lost your brain along with your head," extending out her right arm and aiming a flat palm at Rudra in which electricity began to crackle to life. "Hado #63 Raihoko!"
The Kido attack fired from her hand in a massive strike of energy that lit up the entire room, hitting Rudra head on and causing an explosion that knocked the demon to the ground and kicked up brick and asphalt.
Capitalising on having the demon flat on his back and defenceless. Yoruichi channelled the power of her Shunko onto her fists covering them with lightning and then landed atop the devils chest on all fours. Letting out a war-cry-like roar, Yoruichi proceeded to lay into Rudra with a series of ultra-high-speed punches, a high level Hakuda technique, Raioken. The power behind each hit was only enhanced by her Shunko, which not only boosted her striking strength but also gave an added zap to Rudra with each hit. So great was the force she was exerting, that the ground beneath them began to dip as Yoruichi jackhammered a literal crater into the floor. A thick plume of dirt, smoke and debris filling the entire room to the point that Mary couldn't even see the fight any more.
As Yoruichi continued to whale on Rudra, who due to the sheer amount of pressure and pain he was under couldn't mount any kind of counter-attack, she readied to give him one final wallop. Cupping her hands together into a ball and letting the Shunko energies around them flow, she fiercely slammed her hands down onto Rudra's chest. Her brutal strike packing so much force she might have been mistaken for a sledgehammer, the lightning based Shunko around her fists sending an electrical current coursing within Rudra like her hands were a defibrillator.
The hammer-like strike Yoruichi landed was enough to completely shatter Rudra's ribs, made clear by the audible sound of multiple bones snapping. 'Time to end this.' Yoruichi crouched her legs on Rudra's now broken and bloodied chest and used him like a diving board to launch herself in the air.
She took a deep breath to focus on her next move, her Reiatsu tingling in response to the Kido she was calling forth. While Yoruichi wasn't as skilled at Kido as Kisuke and Tessai, owing to them all growing up and training together, she, just as they, could use the highest levels of Kido only Masters in the arcane arts could.
While in the air, Yoruichi pivoted her body with the grace of a professional ballet dancer, raising her right arm downward in the direction of Rudra, still lying in the crater. A blue orb of electrical and spiritual energy formed from her palm.
"Hado #88 Hiryu Gekizoku Shinten Raiho!"
The blue orb transformed into a large beam that flew towards Rudra, who at this point was far to wounded to move with all his broken bones. The resulting explosion was so great that Mary thought a nuke might have gone off, her ears ringing from the blast that created a shock-wave which slammed her into the wall and off her feet. The crater in which Rudra lay deepening even more, it had also widened too, to the point that most of the rooms floor was now more crater than it was ground. Debris raining down throughtout the room like a monsoon.
Emerging from the mushroom cloud she'd created, Yoruichi landed on the floor, her purple hair being taken for a ride by the backdraft of her own Kido, as she put a hand in front of her face to cover her eyes from any rubble. "Whoops, think I might have gone a little overboard with that."
Once the smoke cleared, all it took was one look at Rudra to know he was finished. His blue skin was now chard black and peeling, his chest sunken from the punches which shattered his bones to dust and worst of all, both his right arm and leg along with a chunk of his chest was completely gone.
"...Ag...ni…" So hush was Rudra's voice that even a scurrying mouse made more noise. "...I …I f-failed… brother…" His left hand grew limp and the red sword of his brothers he held fell to the ground with a clatter. "…For...give m-me… Agni…"
Life left Rudra, his body crumbling to dust as a gust of wind swept up his remains.
With the demon now dead, Yoruichi saw no reason to keep up her Shunko and powered down. "For a demon, he actually came across as pretty nice, shame, would of liked to take him up on the offer to make me lunch. I could have used bite right about now. Ah well. Guess his head wasn't in the game after all." Maybe hanging around with Nero as much as she did was causing his corny jokes to rub off on her.
'Sh-She beat him. Just like that…' Continuing to stare at the woman whose back was to her in disbelief, Mary struggled to rise to her feet, having to use the wall to support herself. She needed more time to recover from her injuries, time she didn't have.
The sound of feet scrapping on the floor got to Yoruichi's ears, she turned her neck to see the brunette girl behind. She smiled at her in a friendly way and sending her an apologetic wave, "Oh, hey. Sorry, almost forgot you were here."
Startled by the woman's sudden attention on her and after witnessing what she was capable of, Mary went to reach for her holstered pistol.
"Huh?" Hearing her name caught Mary off-guard, so much she stopped trying to grab her gun. "...Yeah." She narrowed her eyes at the woman in suspicion, "And you are?"
Walking over to the woman while simultaneously fixing her ponytail, Yoruichi answered evenly, "Like I said, names Yoruichi. Nero told me about you."
While this "Yoruichi" wasn't giving off any negative vibes, Mary still remained hesitant. Keeping her eyes firmly locked on the woman that was now standing but a few feet in front of her. "Why did you help me just then?"
Ignoring the younger woman's noticeable bitterness, Yoruichi remained cordial. "I helped you because you needed help, simple as. Besides, I like a girl that ain't afraid to get her hands dirty, most girls these days are all talk and no muscle."
"Well then, Yoruichi. I appreciate your help. Now, if you'll excuse me." Mary pushed herself off the wall and took a few steps, limp and weak steps, before she was stopped by a hand on her shoulder.
"I can't let you leave." Announced Yoruichi in a serious tone, taking her hand off the woman's shoulder when she felt her jolt. "Easy there. I'm not here to fight." Holding her hands up in a sign of peace, Yoruichi was able to convince Mary to leave her firearm be. "I just want to talk."
Though Mary held no ill feelings towards the Shinigami, she was still hesitant around them. Especially one that shared a rapport with Nero, who, while not her enemy was certainly not her friend. And so her standoffish behaviour reeled its ugly head. "I don't even know you. You don't know me. We have nothing to say to each other and I have far more important things to do than talk to some stranger."
"You mean like going after your father, Arkham." That caused Mary to stiffen and glower. Rubbing her forehead at how difficult Mary was being, Yoruichi wondered if this is how others felt when with Soi Fon. "I know Arkham's your father. That's where you're headed isn't it. You're going after him. To kill him. I can see that look in your eyes." As a former assassin Yoruichi knew those eyes well, the eyes of a predator on the hunt for their prey.
Now Mary's antagonistic persona bubbled to the surface, fixing her saviour with a biting glare. "So what if I am?!"
"You'll die." Yoruichi kept her cool as she said as if it were the most obvious statement ever. "I might not know the whole story of what caused the recent massive increase in demonic power. But, I'm willing to bet your father is responsible for all this. Look, you're pretty strong, that's clear. Compared to your father though. You don't stand a chance." Yoruichi looked the Bount from head to toe, paying close inspection on her numerous wounds, "Especially in the state you're in."
"You don't get it." Slouching with her back against the wall as her feeble legs became more weak, Mary let out a deflating breath, turning away from the woman. "All if this began with my family. It was supposed to end by my hand." It sounded almost silly saying it aloud. "Don't even know why I'm saying this to you," she let out a laugh that held no humour, "Not like you'd know anything about it."
"Trust me, I know a thing or two about having to try and live up to family expectations." Folding her arms, Yoruichi gave voice to her philosophy. "Family is important, no doubt. That being said, that doesn't mean you have to base your entire life around your family. Living up to your family name, honouring their past deeds, cleaning up their past sins. Family will always be a part of who you are, but that doesn't mean your family is who you are." She emphasised the last bit, "I'm me and you're you."
It almost made Mary chuckle at how similar what this woman was saying to her now as to what Nero said to her before. "You and Nero must be birds of a feather."
"I'd prefer "cats of a claw"." Yoruichi grinned at her own joke. "But if Nero told you something similar, I'm guessing he had good reason."
Closing her eyes, Mary rested her head against the wall. "I just wanted to be the one to end this." Now she just voiced the thoughts in her head. "After what my father did to my mother. To me. I thought it was my duty to end him." Silence permeated the room as Mary wallowed in her misery. "I know I can't beat my father. What Nero said was right. That I should just let you guys handle things from here, but…" She clenched her fists and frowned up at the ceiling, "Just giving up when I've come this far. I… I don't think I can."
"I don't know what Nero said to you. But he's usually right when it comes to serious matters like this, no matter how much of a clown he likes to pretend to be." The Shihoin Princess let her faith in Nero show. "He swore to me he'd do whatever it took to stop your father and I believed him then. If he said the same to you then I believe him even more. Mark my words. Nero will make sure Arkham doesn't see the the next sunrise."
"You really believe that?" Mary looked to Yoruichi, whose golden eyes were brimming with confidence as she nodded. "I suppose he has the best shot at taking my father. He is powerful, and part demon himself, so he can relate to my father."
Though Mary didn't mean it as an insult, it still irked Yoruichi to hear Mary say that about the man she'd grown so attached to. "He may be part demon. But it's the human side of him that gives him his true power. Whenever he's faced with a problem he just smiles, cracks a joke and tells that problem to screw itself. Even now, when he has a chance at returning back to his world, he's willing to throw that away in order to help fight for this one. Willing to put his life on the line if it means other people will get to go back and be with their families, even though it means he'll likely never see his again. That's his true power. Not his strength, speed, healing or any of that. No matter what, he never gives up. Because he has that human tenacity inside him."
As Mary listened to the speech, she found herself agreeing with the point. After all it wasn't Nero the Devil that managed to talk sense into her, it was Nero the Human. "You really care about him, don't you?"
"More than I thought possible." Yoruichi said with open heart. "I trust him with my life."
'Trust? I wonder what that's like.' It had been so long since Mary had been wiling to trust anyone other than herself after what her father had done. For years she'd been living on her own. No family. No friends. No allies. Just herself and Flik against the world. That and her drive for revenge was all Mary had. "Not all of us have lives worth saving.", she grumbled bitterly. Her legs gave out and she landed on her backside, slouching against the wall in defeat, losing the wind from her sails as for the first time since the death of her mother, she felt utterly lost and without purpose. "Just leave me. If today's the day my father dies then I might as well join him. Close the page on our shit-show of a family for good."
Shaking her head in disappointment, Yoruichi made her to the door which was now unlocked. Having gotten through to the Bount as much as she could. "You've had a rough life, there no denying that. But killing your father won't magically fill that void inside you. Revenge is a fools game. So you can carry on playing the emo edgelord crap all you like. The only one who can who can actually change your life for the better is yourself. So long as you want to that is." She reached for the door and pulled it open, giving one last piece of advice. "Take it from someone who's had over a hundred years of living on their own. It sucks. All it does it make you angry and miserable. I was so close to becoming you, but I allowed myself to be surrounded by those I cared about and that cared about me. Despite what you might think, you still have that choice. You're only a kid, you've got your entire life ahead of you. Don't throw all that away out of spite. If you do, then it's your father who wins."
Turning away and focusing on her lap, Mary said nothing. The noise of the door closing and footsteps slowly getting quieter and quieter let her know Yoruichi had left. Leaving her alone with her thoughts and revel in words of wisdom Yoruichi had entailed her with.
More and more demons came bellowing out of Leviathans maw, further hardening the task of the Shinigami who were clashing against the demons on their doorstep. By now, every single Shinigami was covered in sweat, grime and filth. Wounds etched onto the bodies of the lucky ones, the unlucky ones were laying face down, dead on the ground.
No matter how many demons the Shinigami killed, more would take their place. Courtesy of Leviathan and the Hell Gate. While there was nothing they could do about the latter, they could at least try to tackle the former.
A giant samurai warrior was hanging on Leviathan's back, wrestling with the gargantuan beast. "Now, Captain Hitsugaya! Quickly I can't hold it for long!"
Upon Komamura's instruction, Toshiro, who was using his icy wings to fly in the air, aimed the tip of Hyorimnaru at Leviathan and flew towards the demon at high speed. "Ryusenka!" Once his blade pierced the demons flesh, a four-pronged burst of ice began to emerge from within the whale. Only for the ice to somehow be drawn back inside Leviathan until no ice remained at all, leaving Leviathan unscathed. "What! How is that-?!"
Spinning around like a crocodile feeding on it's prey, Leviathan managed to knock Komamura's Kokujo Tengen Myo'o off it's back and throw Hitsugaya aside via the wind pressure it created.
"Not even those two working together could bring it down?!" Renji, like all the other Lieutenants had long since given up on trying to aid in the fight against Leviathan. All their attacks just rolled off the devil like raindrops, and so the Lieutenants focused on taking out the Lesser and Mid demons that continued to come from Temen-ni-gru, the Hell Gate and Leviathan.
With Renji having his eyes on the two Captains failed move on Leviathan, it left him open to attack, luckily, Rukia was there to slice the head off the Blade that tried. "Keep focused on your own fight, Renji. Just let the Captains handle that." Not that she wasn't concerned, she was just better at hiding it. 'But how did Captain Histugaya's attack just vanish like that. The same thing happened earlier when even the Head Captains flames were swallowed up by the monster. Just what is the power this demon has.'
On the sidelines of the bout, Mayuti Kurotsuchi ran his finger along his chin. "Hmm. Interesting."
Waves of flames incinerated hordes of demons leaving only ash behind as Yamamoto effortlessly handled the demons Leviathan ordained them with. "Something you wish to add with the rest of us, Captain Kurotsuchi?"
"Hmm. Oh no, not yet at least. I'm still formulating a conclusion as to what this Leviathan is truly capable of." Piercing the whale demon with an intuitive stare, Mayuri cocked his head to the side as his eyes bulged. "The demon isn't absorbing or devouring our attacks. No. It's more like it's… oh ho, could that truly be the case?"
Before Yamamoto had a chance to inquire on what tickled Kurotsuchi's brain, he heard his second in command, Sasakibe, yell out in distress.
"Head Captain! It's trying to leave!"
Since appearing, Leviathan had been contempt with staying in proximity to Temen-ni-gru, now though, perhaps because the Shinigami around the tower had been constantly laying into it with attacks, the demon was making a break for it. Flying away and heading towards the walls of the Seireitei, intent on leaving.
"We must not let it escape!" Of all the negative impacts that spawned from the Bounts Invasion, Leviathan escaping into the greater Soul Society and possibly the Human World was by far right up there. Yamamoto turned to Sasakibe, "Inform the Omnitsukio and the Kido Corps! Tell them they must-!"
A buzzing sound alerted Mayuri, who brought up his wrist-bound communicator to his ear. "Yes, Nemu. Is it ready? Well then what are you waiting for you stupid girl. Hurry up and activate it."
Unlike all the others who were scrambling around in horror at the thought of Leviathan escaping the city, Mayuri was the picture of tranquil. Like the rest, he kept his eyes on Leviathan as the demon got closer and closer to flying over the Seireitei's walls. Then, just as Leviathan was less than half a mile from escaping, a red tinted dome sprang up which covered the entire Seireitei from wall to wall, as if the city has just been turned into a snow-globe. Once Leviathan got to the edge of the Seireitei, the demon smashed its head against the dome and let out a pained echoing moan.
"Ah, excellent. It works after all. Then again, I shouldn't be surprised. I did make it, so it's no wonder it works." A sea of curious eyes all fell on Mayuri, who secretly enjoyed their dumbfound expressions at his genius. "Come now, do you really think that after I learnt of what young Nero truly was I wouldn't make preparations for more demons to arrive." He scoffed, finding it laughable they thought him as naive as themselves. "Back when I examined Nero I was able to, unknown to him, gain a sample of his blood. From which I looked into how the Demonic Reishi in his blood compared to the Mortal Reishi in ours. While they were more or less similar, there was some subtle difference. Enough that the Sekkiseki rock which the Seireitei's walls are made of weren't able to negate his Reishi. At least, that was until I created this." He pulled out what looked to be an ordinary piece of rock from his pocket, which was in fact a small sample of his own specialy made Sekkiseki. "I modified the mineral so that it also is able to negate Demonic Reishi too. Of course, I don't have enough to rebuild the entirety of the Seireitei's walls. But I was able to use one of the devices in my lab to, in a sense, hack into the Shakonmaku the Sekkiseki casts, thus creating a dome in which not even Demons can escape. Of course it also means no mortals such as us can escape the Seireitei either, unless I turn it off that is. But, it means that no demon can now escape the city from this point on so long as the barrier is active."
Silence hung heavy in the air as the Shinigami, even after all these decades, still couldn't get used to Mayuri's uncanny ability to seemingly create a solution to any problem. A walking Deus ex Machina if there ever was one.
"If you had something like that. Then why didn't you just activate it the second the demons appeared." Shuhei griped, trying his best to remain amicable. "Sure, no demons can escape the Seireitei now, but at this point there must be dozens that already have."
Giving the man a look an adult would a toddler, Mayuri shook his head and placed a hand his temple. "Of course the simpletons don't understand. Why did I expect otherwise." He then explained in as simple terms as possible so that drooling monkeys like themselves could comprehend. "Nero's blood and Reishi is after all only part demonic. It wasn't enough for me to one hundred percent finish creating my new demon-proof Sekkiseki. For that, I needed the blood and Reishi of a pure demon. Which only just appeared an hour ago. I did most of the work on it myself but the mineral still needed time to 'set' as it were. So I left Nemu to see to that and told her to transmit the demon-proof energy field into the Shakonmaku once it was ready. I also incorporated the same technique the demons themselves use to shield this tower and block their doors. Hence the same red colouring on the dome as the demons have on their energy shields."
That cleared that up at least. Well… no it didn't. Try as he might to get his genius through to his fellow Shinigami, there was, as much as Mayuri hated to admit it, only one man that would ever be able to understand him.
"Oh, I see. So you were able to transmute the molecular make-up of Sekkiseki, there in to alter the minerals Reishi negating abilities to accommodate for demons. Mayuri old pal, you never fail to impress."
The smug smile on Mayuri flipped into one of dour as he all but spat, "You…"
"Is that anyway to greet an old friend." Standing proudly on one of the buildings roofs was Kisuke Urahara. Using his fan to waft his shit-eating grinning face. "My, my. Quite the mess you've all got yourselves in. Lucky for you it's closing time back at my candy store, so seeing as I was free i thought I'd drop by."
Before anyone else had a chance to speak to the former Captain, Yamamoto's deep booming voice cut in like a drum. "Kisuke Urahara. What are you doing here?"
Though Yamamoto now knew Urahara was innocent of his crime he'd been banished for a century prior, it didn't mean he was thrilled to see the snippy scientist back.
"Like I said. I was in the neighbourhood and wanted to order some new stock for my shop. Those Kido imbued sour candies are flying off my shelves like hotcakes." That wasn't exactly a lie, but neither was in the truth. "Besides," Kisuke tipped his hat, "after I saw the trouble you were in I decided you could use a hand."
"And how is it you knew we were in trouble." Asked a suspicious Komamura.
Holding his fan so to cover his mouth, Kisuke alluded, "Lets just say I still have eyes and ears in the Seireitei." Snapping his fingers as if he just remembered something, he said to Komamura, "That reminds me. Your Lieutenant and Division were just about to be overrun by demons. Luckily, I sent Miss Matsumoto and Mister Kiba to help, along with Tessai, Ururu and Jinta. You can thank them later. Hate to imagine what those nasty demons would have done to all the civilians in the shelter had they got to them." That act meant the others would now have no choice but to accept Kisuke's assistance, as gratitude for his and his allies assistance in protecting the civilains.
No longer able to hold back his ire at his former commander, Mayuri fished for answers rather rudely. "And just how is it you know about how I created the demon resistant Sekkiseki."
"Isn't it obvious… I'm me." A tick mark formed on Mayuri at Kisuke's arrogant goofy jest. "Did you really think I also wouldn't try to create a counter to demonic power the same way you did. I've been dabbling my hands in it that field for a while now. Only difference between us is I actually had Nero's permission to test on his blood and Reishi."
While Mayruri muttered a series of incoherent curses under his breath. Momo pointed to the north-east where Leviathan was flying towards them. "It's coming back!"
"*Whistle* Now that's what I call a fish." Kisuke was aloof on the outside, but inside his mind was working overtime. Studying the whale-like demon meticulously, coming up with a thousand and one ideas of what it was, what it could do and how to stop it. Along with two-thousand and two back up plans in case those failed. As the Shinigami around him readied to once more battle Leviathan with their Zanpakuto as they had earlier to no avail, Kisuke held up his hands in a gesture to regain their attention. "Hold on. No point in swinging your swords around against a creature you can't kill through normal means."
With all eyes on Urahara, Renji was the one to talk. "Take it that means you have an idea?"
"Mr. Abarai, it hurts you'd even think to ask that. Of course I have an idea. I just need one extra pair of hands for it and… oh wait… here she is now." Sensing the Reiatsu he was familiar with due to years of working closely together, Kisuke leaned a hand on his cane and used his other to tip his hat to the woman that appeared behind him with Shunpo. "Hey there. Long time no see, eh, my little Buzzing Bee."
"Call me that again and I'll slice off all the parts of your body that stick out." She emphasised to really nail home just how much she hated that nickname he used to use for her back when they both worked under Yoruichi in her Captain days. Despite the bandages wrapped around her head, Soi Fon looked all business, back in her Captains attire and Zanpakuto strapped on her back. "I thought I could sense some foul Reiatsu. I wasn't to sure whether it was yours or a Dung Beetles. Personally, I'd of preferred to find the latter."
"Nice to see you're as sweet as honey now as back in the old days." Brushing her insult off with a hardy laugh, Kisuke opened his arms out, "How's about a hug for old times sake…" Her stare burned hotter than Yamamoto's flames. "That a no? …Ah, well. Can't blame a guy for trying." Hearing Yamamoto give a 'get back to the point cough', Kisuke held his fan to his face and opened it out so only his shadow covered eyes were visible. "No need to worry about that demon. As someone used to say in one of my favourite British comedy shows, "I have a cunning plan"."
Pushing the large metal doors open, Nero found himself in the room which stood at the very epicentre of the immense demonic power that flowed inside the realm he stood.
Jumping down onto the ground, his feet made a splash, the odd grey-purple water-like liquid that made the floor went up to Nero's ankles. Unique rock formations jutted out the water, some several stories high. In the centre of the floor was a whirlpool that the "water" flowed around.
The water splish-splashed as Nero meandered around the room. He couldn't see Arkham but he could sense his Reiatsu. From the feel of it, Arkham's Reiatsu had now merged with the demonic power he could also pick up, Sparda's power.
'So Arkham's absorbed Sparda's power after all.' Though Nero idly, cursing his bitter luck at being too late to stop the Bount before he'd gained Sparda's power. 'By the feel of it, something's not right. Arkham's powers increased, but… it's like Sparda's power hasn't properly fused with Arkham's.'
Whether that was good news or not remained to be seen. Sure it meant Arkham wasn't as powerful as Sparda since the power Arkham held within him felt… incomplete somehow. But it didn't change the fact that Arkham still had some of Sparda's power. Even if it were just a small amount, it was still enough that Nero wasn't entirely sure he could win this on his own.
Alarm bells rang inside Nero. With lighting fast reaction he grabbed Red Queen from his back and blocked the sword strike off Arkham from hitting his right flank. He swung out his foot in an attempt to kick him but Arkham managed to leap back, avoiding the kick.
As Nero turned to face Arkham his face morphed, resembling the bewilderment in the Devil Hunters head. "What the hell is this?!"
Gone was the scar-faced bald Bount. In his place was a form that was, in every definition of the word, demonic.
"Are you jealous." Arkham's voice resinated with an echo as he opened his arms and spread his wings to show off his new majestic form. "How does in feel to gaze upon my magnificence. To feel the immeasurable power flowing inside me. Look upon ye mighty and despair!"
"Oh, I'm despairing alright." Resting his sword on his shoulder, Nero ran his eyes over Arkham's new form and scoffed. "You step into a teleport pod with a fly? Jeff Goldblum, eat your heart out."
"You can joke all you like, boy. It changes nothing. I have transcended the plane or mortality and risen above any mortal and demon! I have become a God!" The purple aura became more illuminated as Arkham dug deeper into the demonic power inside himself. "With Sparda's power there is nothing you, nor anyone else can do to stop me! You are bugs beneath my feet!"
"Calling me a bug when you look like that?" Derided Nero, who allowed his contempt at the man show. "You're no God. You're just a typical runaway deadbeat dad. You had a wife and daughter, yet all you did was fixate on demons. What? Was your wife just not into sleeping with bald men. Couldn't you have just turned to porn like most lonely old guys."
Arkham let out a shallow chuckle. "I'll miss that wit of yours when I rip you limb from limb." Pointing the tip of the Force Edge at the teen, he challenged. "Well then, boy. Lets see how your taught talk stacks against my power now!"
"Bring it, Bug-Boi." Impaling Red Queen into the ground, Nero revved the Exceed System making flames dance along the blade. "The time has come and so have I!"
Moving so fast he was but a blur, Arkham swung Force Edge in an overhead downward slash at Nero. Catching the blade with his own, Nero felt the energy from the clash reverberate across his arms making his limbs tingle. 'His strength has increased. I can actually feel his muscles pushing back against my blade.'
To further convey his increased power, Arkham not only was able to match Nero, but slowly began to push him back. The platinum haired teens feet skidding across the watery floor. Straining both his body and face, Nero refused to allow himself to be pushed back by this runway father with a God complex. Drawing from his own great supply of demonic and spiritual power, Nero was able to not only halt Arkham from pushing him back, but reverse it completely and put Arkham on the back-foot.
The two stayed that way in a tug-of-war of blades, each one trying to match and overcome the others physical strength. Until something within Arkham stirred and his entire body jolted. Capitalising on this, Nero freed Red Queen from its struggle against Force Edge and aimed a horizontal slice at the Bount-Demon's neck. Arkham was able to react in time and block Nero's strike.
During their short clash, Nero was able to pick up on something that only a seasoned warrior could. 'Arkham's powers increased, for sure. But, there's something wrong. His Reiatsu, it's… off. Fluctuating up and down. One moment he's as strong as any Shinigami Captain, the next he's even weaker than a Scarecrow, then his power shoots up and he's rivalling even old Yamamoto. His power isn't stable at all. Just what the heck is going on.'
The two combatants then went at it. Red Queen and Force Edge becoming a double-act in their dance of metal and dark-forged steel. Clings and clangs echoed throughout the void-like chamber. Sparks cameoing in the duel when the blades clashed and sent shock waves out due to the raw force that both Arkham and Nero were channelling into their respective weapons.
'Not just his physical strength. Everything has increased.' Nero's eyes darted to Arkham who then vanished without a trace before reappearing behind him, not due to his teleportation but due to his speed. For as fast as Arkham was now, he still wasn't able to catch Nero who ducked under his sword sing and buried a fist into the man's stomach and fired off a Cero that sent Arkham tumbling back into the shallow water with a splash.
A Cero of that power would have killed Arkham before. With his new power, not only did he survive but the burn marks on his chest instantly healed.
Rising from the pool of water, Arkham clenched his fist and grinded his sharp canine teeth. "H-How can this be? No one should be able to match my power now. I… I just need more. More power!" He brought the Force Edge close to him, glaring at it like a boss to a suborn employee, "You will submit to me! I am your Master! Obey me! GIVE ME YOUR POWER!"
The same purple aura shrouding Arkham deepened. Turning black and sickly. The power that radiated off the Force Edge and into Arkham was enough to turn the gears in Nero's spiritual and demonic senses into overtime. The power was incredible, no one could deny, not on the level of Dante or even Sparda, but still enough to surpass the likes of Beowulf and any Shinigami Captain save perhaps only Yamamoto. There was however a flaw in that power that Nero noted.
'His Reiryoku isn't stable.' Unlike Nero's own where his mortal spiritual and demonic powers lived in harmony as one, as did Ichigo's Shinigami and Hollow to a lesser degree. Arkham's were in total war with the other, his Bount and the Demonic power he was absorbing from the Force Edge were in perpetual conflict. The Bount power trying to dominate the Demonic and the Demonic trying to eradicate the Bount. 'This power it's… destroying him. Ripping him apart from the inside!' Before something happened to him that would be bad news for both Arkham and Nero, he tried to talk some sense into him. "Arkham! You have to stop this, now! You can't control Sparda's power! It's too much for you to handle! Let it go or you'll die!"
"Let it go?! After all the effort and time I spent to get it?! Never! This power is no longer Sparda's! It's MINE!" Ignoring the young man's warnings, Arkham continued to draw more and more power from the Force Edge into himself. Until the demonic blade was actually pulled inside him, absorbed into his very body. The orgasmic high that flooded Arkham's every cell was enough that he didn't even care or notice his body began to morph in shape. Seeing it as a necessary consequence if it meant gaining the power of Sparda. Little knowing all his was getting was but a paddling pool shadow of the vast ocean of power that was still sealed with the unawakened Force Edge. "Hahahaaahaha! I can feel it! The demonic power overflowing my body!" His demonic form melted away. His body oozing, bubbling and bulging out, growing in height roughly four times the size he was before. Becoming a dark purple large blob, Amoeba-like pulsating mass, with tentacles jutting out and writhing like worms. "THE POWER OF SPARDA IS MINE!"
Seeing what Arkham's lust for power had brought him to become, Nero lost any sympathy for him, knowing the man had just thrown away his last chance at redemption. Looking the blob that was Arkham from top to bottom, Nero held a look of visible disgust. "Now your outsides match the inside, you one ugly motherfucker."
Swinging Red Queen outwards with enough force that several stone pillars were sliced in two from the air pressure of the swing alone, Nero dug his feet into the ground and charged towards the mutated Arkham.
"Hope you've got a cushion to use after I'm through with you, Arkham. Cause I'm about to give you an ass beating so hard it'll make dropping the soap in a prison shower a soothing vacation!"
As for how some Captains took out some of the demon bosses with ease, it's because much like in Bleach where the Captains, Espada and Sternritter aren't all equal in power, the same is said for High Demons. For instance, Ukitake is a mid to high level Captain class Shinigami while Gigapede is a very low level Higher Demon, so no real issue for Ukitake. Like how Mary, who is above Lieutenant level Shinigami but below Captain's, can take on Agni and Rudra (as when the demons are separate they are on the very low end of Higher Demon tier). But when one of them dies and they combine power, Rudra's power escalate into mid level Higher Demon tier (too much for Mary to handle). But Yoruichi is on the very higher end of Captain class (as we saw when she fought Askin. She's also compared as being more or less equal to Urahara in terms of power in the novels), so to her Rudra, while not easy to beat, wasn't enough to push her like how Askin did.
I know we never see Yoruichi use any high level Kido in the anime/manga, but I always assumed she could. I mean, she grew up with and trained alongside Kisuke and Tessai, both of whom are Kido Masters, and she mastered Shunko which is a combination of Hakuda and Kido, so presumably she, much like Kisuke and Tessai must also be great with Kido (maybe not equally as skilled or strong with Kido as them but enough that she can use the higher end spells). It's also kind of hinted in the Bleach novels she can use the higher level Kido's too.
Mayuri coming through with his invention to create a barrier that blocks demons like how it blocks others from getting into and out of the Seireitei as we saw in the Soul Society arc. Though this was kind of needed since otherwise the Bleachverse has literally no defence against demons. So at least now they could, say, imprison demons in cells that block demonic power like how they can do that to Shinigami, Hollows and Quincy. I actually planned for him to create something like this way back in the day, I even dropped a hint about it when Nero and Mayuri met in the Soul Society arc.
Feel free to give any and all feedback on this to review, critique, etc. I appreciate it all. Till next time.