DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN BLEACH OR STAR WARS. THEY BELONG TO TITE kUBO AND VIZ MEDIA WHILE STAR WARS BELONG TO DISNEY. THIS IS PURELY A WORK OF FICTION BY A DIE HARD FAN OF BOTH SERIES. I STAND TO GAIN NO FINANCIAL OR OCCUPATIONAL GAIN FROM THIS STORY. PLEASE SUPPORT THE OFFICIAL RELEASE.
I'd like to start by apologizing for the teaser I had at at the original ending for Chapter One. I had fully intended on delivering on my promise of Chad and Orihime as Soul Reapers. But when I actually tried to implement it, I ran into a cavalcade of problems. I couldn't figure out a way to show them meeting their zanpakuto without bringing the pacing to a grinding halt before it could even begin. On further reflection, I also realized their zanpakuto went against aspects of their established character. I was unable to make it work on a technical level, on a character level, or just a coherent manner in general.
I admit, I've always wondered what would happen if Chad and Orihime were given Asauchi. I mean, Soul Reapers are really just spirits with higher than normal reiatsu, which Chad and Orihime both qualify. Ichigo's fullbring fused with his powers so I don't see why that couldn't work for Chad or Orihime.
I will still deliver on the promise of Orihime and Chad being a bit stronger in canon. Because let's be honest, Orihime and Chad do fuck all for the entire Soul Society Arc. Uryu is the only one besides Ichigo who actually does anything.
Anyway, I'm rambling. Let's get on with Chapter Two of Jedi Rebirth.
"I think we broke them," Ichigo frowns. He'd just finished catching his friends up to speed and now they're left gaping like fish out of water.
Ahsoka quirks an eyebrow at her Padawan. "Eh, they're taking it about as well as you did."
"Whatever," Ichigo grumbles, looking away in a poor attempt to hide the blush creeping up his neck. Ichigo's reaction to the news had been much the same, though he'd pulled it together faster than his friends.
Receiving such a reaction to her appearance is a novel experience. In the Republic there had been as many alien species as there were stars in the sky. For a planet to be so cut off from the rest of the universe and be so ignorant to what's out there; it baffles Ahsoka.
Ichigo certainly has some gutsy friends to show up despite the Urahara's warnings. The shopkeeper certainly hadn't been shy about delving into the dangers they'll face. He hides it well, but Ahsoka can sense his own surprise at the turnout. The bond between her Padawan and his friends is plain to see. Without hesitation, they look unto him, barely acknowledging Urahara.
Apprentice: the word brings a smile to her face. When she'd left the Order, she had been certain that was the end of her story. She was never going to be a Jedi Knight or Master, and she would never know the privilege of passing on her knowledge and teachings to her own Padawan.
So, when the Force called on her once again and tasked her with training the first Jedi in a hundred generations, she leaped at the chance.
She hadn't been sure what to expect for the first Jedi in millennia, but Ichigo wasn't high on her list of predictions. For starters, he was old to be starting his training, even older than her master had been when he was first brought to Coruscant. Ichigo is brash, cocky, and could learn a thing or two about patience, but his staggering connection to the force is undeniable.
"So, you're a space wizard?" Orihime blurts out, staring at Ahsoka with childlike wonder in her eyes.
The question takes Ahsoka by surprise and the Togruta can't help but let a snort of laughter escape. "I guess you could say that." Her Padawan hadn't been mistaken in his prediction that she would take the information in stride.
Orihime hums and adopts a thoughtful expression. "Have you ever abducted anybody? You're not going to probe us are you?"
"Orihime!" Ichigo admonishes, blood rushing to his cheeks.
"What? It's a legitimate question," she pouts.
"As entertaining as this is, shouldn't we be focusing on the task at hand?" Uryu drawls. Ahsoka's eyes wander to the Quincy. Stern, no-nonsense, and focused. He and Obi-Wan would have gotten on swimmingly.
"Of course," Urahara says, gesturing at the portal with his cane. Ahsoka grimaces at the sight of the clunky machine. She's seen her fair share of scrap in her time repairing machines to scrape by after her exile. The cobbled-together portal is a point of concern, the device conjuring images of the junkers she's stripped down to the screws for parts.
Still, Urahara is confident in its value and those under him seem to trust his judgment. If the portal works as it's supposed to, especially with the technological limitations of the planet, there would be no question of his genius.
"Normally, a Soul Reaper is able to open a Senkaimon straight to Soul Society using their zanpakuto. But, only officially recognized Soul Reapers are able to enter this way. However, there is an alternative, a corridor bridging Soul Society and the world of the living," Urahara lectures. "You'll be using the second option as the security is rather minimal as it's mostly for use of mass transport. Since living matter cannot enter Soul Society, the gate will be converting your bodies to spiritual form so you may pass. Any questions?"
"What's the catch?" Ahsoka asks. "A lucky break like this? There's got to be some kind of downside." Urahara grins and is prepared to answer when Yoruichi cuts in.
"The portal isn't perfect. Forcefully creating an opening like this will make the portal unstable. That gives us a tiny window to make it the other side. Do not fall behind or you will be lost."
Urahara sulks, muttering something about Yoruichi stealing his thunder.
"Then what are we waiting for? Let's go already," Ichigo grumbles, unmoved by Yoruichi's warning.
Ahsoka shakes her head in exasperation. Her young Padawan isn't shy about his desire to take action; a trait he shares with her former master. Ahsoka frowns at the thought of her fallen mentor corrupted and warped by the dark side. The blatant similarities between Anakin and Ichigo are terrifying. Ahsoka just hopes she can steer him from suffering a similar fate.
"Once you step inside, there is no going back. If you wish to back out, now is your chance," Urahara warns, raking his eyes across those gathered.
"Just get on with it, Hat N' Clogs. Everyone's made their choice."
Ahsoka hides her smile behind her hand. Strong words for someone who'd spent the last weeks fretting about their friends.
Yoruichi is the first to dart through the portal, spurring the rest into following suit. Ahsoka flies through as quickly as she can and shudders from the sharp tingle that comes with crossing dimensions.
The Dangai is a dark and dreary place, made even more so by the closing of the portal behind them, leaving the only source of light in the dim corridor being that which spills out from the opening at the far end. Taking the feline's words to heart, the group books it as soon as they're through the portal. After a few brief moments, the slimy purple walls of the Dangai start to melt and form a rising tide of mush that steadily closes in on the group.
"Don't lose focus. Keep your eyes ahead!" Yoruichi exclaims when Ichigo's friends start to become rattled. Ahsoka forces herself to comply. It is uncertain what will become of an entity like her getting trapped in the Dangai and she'd prefer not to find out.
They're about halfway through the Dangai when the pursuing wave of goo snags Uryu's cape, jerking him to a halt. The Quincy tries to surge forward and break free but the hold on him is tight. Ahsoka sees Ichigo reach for his lightsaber to cut him free when Chad doubles back for Uryu. Grabbing Uryu's cape in his hands, Chad tears the fabric in two and throws his friend over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes, much to his chagrin. His protests soon die down and he starts pounding on Chad's back, urging him to go faster when a new set of problems arises.
In conjunction with the collapsing corridor, a large round mass, steamrolls its way through the Dangai, threatening to flatten them under its bulk.
"What is that thing?" Uryu yells.
Without breaking stride, Yoruichi yowls back. "It's the Cleaner. It's set to clean the Dangai every week. It's just our luck that day would be today. Don't let it touch you! If the Dangai will trap your soul, the Cleaner will outright destroy it. Its purpose is to purge excess spiritual matter."
"We might not have a say in the matter," Ahsoka hollers. "It's nipping at our heels."
"Just keep running and don't look back. It will only slow you down and we're almost at the exit."
The would-be heroes pour all their energy into a last boost of speed but it is still not enough against the unwavering stride of the Cleaner. The end of the tunnel is less than a hundred feet away but, at the current pace, the Cleaner is sure to get them before they make it that far.
To everyone's surprise, it's Orihime that turns to confront it. Placing her fingers on her hairpins, she shouts. "Soten Kishun, I reject!" The crystal pieces of her hairpins break off and shoot toward the Cleaner in a triangular formation. Just before it can hit, the crystals form a shield of orange energy between them. An explosion rocks the Dangai upon the moment of contact, catapulting everyone through the portal an instant before it closes.
A portal opens in the air above Soul Society, spitting everyone out and sending them crashing to the ground below with the exception of Ahsoka. The spirit floats delicately to the ground while the others are left in a sprawled heap. While they struggle to their feet, Ahsoka gets her first good look at Soul Society. For all of Urahara's talks about its dangers, the afterlife proves a lot more primitive than she had expected.
All the buildings are made of wood and nail and not a single skyscraper or office building is in sight. There are no cars, just wagons settled on the sides of the dirt roads. She narrows her eyes, ill at ease with just how EMPTY Soul Society looks. With the exception of their own group, not a soul is in sight.
If a life of danger and adventure has taught Ahsoka anything, it's to trust her instincts. And right now her gut is screaming at her that something isn't right. She turns to question Yoruichi but the feline is busy ripping Orihime a new one over her reckless actions.
"You're lucky the Cleaner only touched the shield and not your fairies, otherwise we would all be dead!"
"And how was Orihime supposed to know that?" Ichigo grunts. "If it wasn't for her quick thinking we wouldn't have made it at all."
"Is it just me or is it a little too quiet?" Uryu asks.
"Is this really Soul Society? I was expecting something grander," Chad rumbles.
"This area is called the Rukon District. It's the poorest area of Soul Society but also receives the least interference from the Seireitei."
Ichigo shades his eyes from the sun and stares at a large cluster of buildings that are much sturdier and nicer than those around them. "I'm gonna take a shot in the dark and say those buildings over there are the Seirei-whatever. Let's go," Ichigo takes off while Yoruichi yells after him.
"Wait, you idiot! You can't just stroll into the Seireitei!"
Yoruichi's warning comes too late and a row of giant stone slabs comes falling from the sky. They fall like a line of dominoes, crashing to the earth and forming a wall around the Seireitei. Ahsoka scowls at Ichigo's lack of sense. If anything will prove detrimental to his development as a Jedi it is his tendency to act without thinking. It has gotten her and her master in trouble plenty of times and will undoubtedly do the same for her Padawan.
Using the Force, Ichigo creates an invisible bubble around himself and his friends, shielding them from the dust and debris of the earth-shaking collision. A second, smaller crash ensues, kicking up a second wave of dirt. Ahsoka's eyebrows shoot up when the dust clears enough to reveal the cause. A giant of a man with an apelike appearance now stands guard at the wall. He's no Zillo Beast or Sarlacc but he could fit the likes of Chad in the palm of his hand and still have room to spare. His lips pull up in a smile as his gaze darts among them.
"Oh, dear," Yoruichi mutters, his ears folding back. "This isn't good."
"What is that thing?" Uryu asks.
"He is known simply as Jidanbo. He is the guardian of the Hakuto gate; one of four gatekeepers protecting the Seireitei. In the three hundred years he's stood guard, none have made it past."
Uryu scowls. "How are we supposed to overcome such an opponent?"
"If he's as strong as you say, then we'll just have to be smarter," Ahsoka concludes, garnering a nod of approval from the cat.
"Yes. First we must formulate a plan of attack. Now, Chad, Orihime-" Yoruichi trails off, and his eyes bulge out of their sockets. "What are you doing? Get back here, now!" Yoruichi screams. The two teens have chosen to rush to Ichigo's aid, in blatant disregard of his instructions. "This is precisely why I don't work with children," he grumbles.
"Well, they've got guts, I'll give them that," Ahsoka murmurs.
"A lot of good that will do them if they're being scraped off the wall."
Chad and Orihime don't make it far and skid to a halt when Jidanbo heads them off with a swing of his ax. In a single blow, he pulverizes the ground, upending the earth to form a dividing wall between Ichigo and his friends.
"What are you, country bumpkins? Were you raised in a barn? We have rules in the Rukon District and the rules say that all battles must be one-on-one!" Jidanbo glares when the rest of the group protests with Yoruichi being the most vocal.
"Come back, Ichigo. We'll figure something else out. We need to stick together."
"The spiky-haired one approached so the challenge has been issued," Jidanbo bellows. "We must now do battle."
Ahsoka rolls her eyes at the unfolding fiasco and phases through the wall, coming to a hover next to Ichigo. She remains calm and collected as Jidanbo's massive hand comes down in an effort to squash her like a bug. His face scrunches up in confusion when he goes right through her.
"Don't mind me," Ahsoka says. "I'm just a spectator. By all means, get on with your stupid contest."
Jidanbo nods at the Togruta. "Yes, we must commence with our duel. Do not interfere."
"Do you think you can beat him?" Uryu calls from the other side of the barrier.
Ahsoka watches Ichigo fix the giant with an appraising stare. "Probably. Just give me a sec." Ichigo's eyes harden and he pounds his chest with his fist. "Alright, take your shot, big guy."
Jidanbo smirks. "Your funeral, intruder!" Jidanbo proves deceptively fast for someone of his stature. His ax becomes a blur as he brings the blade down on Ichigo's head. When it's just millimeters from Ichigo's skull, the blade loses its momentum and jerks to a stop. "What did you do?" Jidanbo snaps.
Ahsoka smirks at his confusion. For those who haven't seen the power of the Force firsthand, seeing it in action is rather mystifying. "You talk a lot about manners, but last I checked, attacking your opponent before they're ready is pretty damn rude," Ichigo snarls.
The veins in the giant's head start to throb to the point that Ahsoka can swear he's about to burst a blood vessel. It comes as a surprise to both master and apprentice when, rather than throw a fit, Jidanbo bursts into uproarious laughter. The force and volume of his laughter is enough to kick up dust and ruffle Ichigo's hair.
Jidanbo stands up with a wide grin on his face. "I like you spiky-head. I can't remember the last time an intruder survived my first swing. But make no mistake, no one's ever survived the second."
The ax comes crashing down once more in an overhead strike and is met with similar results. A scowl mars the giant's face at the sight of his unconcerned foe. "You are strong. But let's see how you handle this: my Jidan Ten Hit Festival!"
Jidanbo starts attacking in rapid succession, loudly counting along with each strike. The frenzied series of blows culminates in a wide swing that shears through the rock barrier like paper and bringing down the whole structure.
"You finished?" Ichigo grunts, stopping the blade inches from his face. "Because it's my turn now."
Jidanbo growls and his biceps balloon up until the gauntlet covering his left arm explodes into bits. "This isn't over! I just need another ax!" His second ax is scarcely out of his robe when both weapons are violently torn from his hands.
Ahsoka watches with anticipation, eager to see Ichigo finally take the offensive.
Her Padawan's hands are raised above his head and spaced evenly apart, the axes shaking in tune with the twitch of his fingers. He slowly closes his fists with some trouble, as if he's squeezing an invisible stress ball. A series of loud pops, like gunshots, ring out through the Rukon District, one after the other, as cracks run down the blades. With one, final squeeze, the crystalline metal gives and shatters to pieces.
Jidanbo clutches the broken ax handles in his meaty fists and gawks at the metal fragments littering the street. "My axes. You broke my axes!" Jidanbo's voice breaks and his eyes well up with unshed tears.
The group's discomfort is palpable as they stare in awkward silence at the giant's toddler-like tantrum.
"You broke my axes! Why would you do that?" He wails and pounds the earth with his fists.
Ichigo has the decency to look sheepish and his embarrassment over the whole situation is plain as day. "Um, I'm sorry? But you kept swinging them at me," he rambles. "Though I guess I could have just broken one of them," he muses aloud.
If possible, Jidanbo sobs even harder at the apology. "You are truly a great person, spiky-head. We are enemies and yet you show me concern!" He blubbers.
Ichigo scratches the back of his head. "Well, yeah. I didn't mean to make you cry."
Ahsoka hovers closer to Jidanbo. "Hey, there. Maybe we can get you some new ones? I know someone who's really good at building things," she offers, thinking of the shady shopkeeper. She's not sure why, but she has a strong feeling that when this is over, Urahara's going to owe them big time.
"You're a nice lady," Jidanbo sniffles and climbs to his feet. The giant approaches the gate and looks at them over his shoulder. "You have bested me in single combat. I will open the gate and grant you all passage."
"That's awesome," Ichigo calls.
"Thank you, Mr. Jidanbo," Orihime hollers.
Uryu and Chad appear a bit more skeptical. "You're just going to let us all pass?" Uryu asks.
"Yes. Your leader defeated me thus you all deserve entrance." While Uryu protests Ichigo being designated leader, Jidanbo sets about opening the gate. He slips his fingers in the crevice between the gate and the ground and starts to lift. Lifting with his legs as well as his back, the Hakuto gate raises in increments of several feet. Then, with one last push, the gate shoots up until it's above Jidanbo's head.
On the other side of the gate, Ahsoka spots a lone figure approaching. The reedy man is hardly imposing, but the vulpine smile on his face is setting off every alarm bell in her head. "Ichigo," Ahsoka murmurs, sensing the danger before anyone else.
"Who is that guy?" Ichigo wonders, his muscles tensed and his gaze wary.
"The Captain of squad three: Gin Ichimaru," Yoruichi answers, eliciting a terrified whimper from Jidanbo.
"Well, now. This is no good," Gin hums.
Ahsoka narrows her eyes when Gin slides into an offensive stance, his hand hovering over the blade at his side. She sees a brief flash of white as Jidanbo's arm is sliced open in a spray of blood. Like a puppet with its strings cut, his arm falls limp at his side. With only one hand to grip the gate, Jidanbo buckles under its weight and is forced down to his knees.
"This might be a novel concept for you, but the gatekeeper isn't supposed to open the gate."
"They defeated me in combat. What else could I do?"
Gin tuts, his mocking voice taking on a cruel edge. "Oh, Jidanbo. When a gatekeeper loses, they're not supposed to open the gate. They're supposed to DIE."
When the eerie Captain reaches for his zanpakuto, it's Ichigo who dashes through the open gateway.
"Ichigo, no!" Ahsoka chases after her charging Padawan. She doesn't know what she can do to help, if anything at all, but if her apprentice is going to rush into almost certain death, she owes it to him to be there.
Ichigo pulls a lightsaber from his belt and activates it, the crimson blade flaring to life with a low-pitched whine. The young Jedi brings it down in an overhead strike that the Captain blocks with his sword. Ichigo's lightsaber hisses and sparks fly as he struggles to cut through the blade. The clash is over in less than two seconds with Ichigo falling back to put some distance between them.
Ahsoka watches Gin with bated breath, or she would if she still had lungs. He slouches and his sword hangs at his side but Ahsoka isn't fooled by the relaxed stance. He's proved already that his speed is no joke.
"You know, between you, pineapple head, and Byakuya, I'm starting to think maybe you Soul Reapers are all a bunch of jackasses. What's the big idea, attacking an unarmed man like that, and your comrade no less?"
"Ichigo, stop playing the hero and get back here you, fool!" Yoruichi yowls.
Gin's eyes open a fraction of an inch, exposing a sliver of his carmine irises. "Ichigo? As in Ichigo Kurosaki?" He muses aloud.
Ichigo is instantly put on edge and assumes a basic Soresu stance. "What's it to you?"
"You're public enemy number one, brat. Now, I definitely can't let you in."
Ichigo glances at his feet. "I'm already here, jackass."
"Let me fix that," Gin snickers, slipping into a low and unusual stance with his wakizashi.
Ichigo snorts. "What are you gonna do with that little dagger: throw it at me?"
"Not quite. Impale him, Shinso."
Gin's blade rockets forward, extending to absurd lengths as it races toward Ichigo. Ahsoka instinctively calls out to the Force to divert the blade but her call for aid is met with silence.
In a flash of movement, Chad puts himself between the blade and Ichigo. Grabbing the sword with both hands, Chad digs in his heels to brace himself, His efforts barely make a dent in its speed and both he and Ichigo are lifted off their feet and thrown out of the Seireitei. They land hard on their backs and the air can be heard leaving their lungs. Then, just as quickly as it had grown, the blade retracts to its normal length.
"Bye-bye, now!" Gin grins, waving merrily from the other side of the gate moments before it slams shut.
"Now what?" Ahsoka murmurs. To her knowledge, the possibility of a Plan B had never been brought up.
"There's more than one way to break into the Seireitei. I have an old friend who can help us. Hopefully, she hasn't moved far," Yoruichi muses. "But for right now, we need to see to Jidanbo. Orihime, can you heal his wounds?"
Orihime gives a brisk nod and puts her fingers on her hairpins when hushed murmuring can be heard all around. The previously missing citizens have ventured out of their homes, huddling together and viewing the intruders with caution.
Ahsoka's jaw drops at what she's seeing. "Rodians, Bothans, Twi'leks? Ichigo, I thought you said your planet didn't have any prior contact with aliens."
"We haven't," Ichigo murmurs, his shock mirroring his that of his master.
"And Rukia never said anything to you about this?"
Ichigo shakes his head. "Somehow it never came up."
"I don't understand. Why are they coming out, now?" Uryu murmurs. He stands tall and nonchalant but Ahsoka can see the Quincy cross dangling from his hand.
"They were afraid of us," says Yoruichi. "Souls who enter Soul Society illegally and without a Soul Reaper escort are known as Ryoka and typically mean trouble for the citizens."
"So, what, they think we're their enemies?" Ichigo frowns. The young Jedi's friends are quick to assume a defensive stance. Ahsoka is proud to see Ichigo take a more neutral "wait-and-see" approach to the situation.
"Please," rasps an old man at the front of the crowd, "there will be no need for violence. We saw what you did for Jidanbo just now and we would like to welcome you as his saviors."
"We still need to stop the bleeding," Orihime says, crouching over the giant. "Give me some room, please. I'll have Jidanbo fixed up in just a sec." A quick round of cheers circulates through the crowd and the villagers are all too happy to accommodate.
While Orihime is busy healing Jidanbo, the village elder is kind enough to offer lodging for the night.
"You're very kind," Ahsoka bows. "Thank you for your hospitality."
A small smile comes to the elder's weathered features. "Of course, it is a pleasure and privilege to have a Jedi amongst us, regardless of what the Seireitei might say."
Ahsoka frowns. "They dislike Jedi? Why?"
"It is the Gotei 13's stance that only they have the right to maintain the balance of the worlds. They don't take kindly to others muscling in on their territory."
"Soul Reapers have never played well with others," Uryu sneers. "The systematic purge of the Quincy is proof of that."
"Well, it's not like I can have any bigger of a target on my back than I do already, right?" Ichigo shrugs. Before anyone can answer, Orihime comes jogging over. "Jidanbo's all healed up but I need help moving him. Can you help me out, Ichigo?"
Ichigo nods and Ahsoka follows the two over to the fallen giant who is still sprawled in the street. The crowd has yet to disperse so all eyes are on the trio. "Where do you want me to move him?"
Orihime gestures to an open and empty side street more than big enough to accommodate Jidanbo.
Staring intently at Jidanbo, Ichigo thrusts out his hand and taps into the Force. An unseen force plucks Jidanbo from the street and slowly lifts him into the air. He's not even a foot off the ground when murmurs of disbelief start to ripple through the crowd.
"I can't believe it!"
"A Jedi? In Soul Society."
Ahsoka can understand their disbelief, especially after what she'd learned from the elder. That doesn't stop her from wishing the citizens would keep their mouths shut. Just a small lapse in Ichigo's concentration could be enough to loosen his grip and drop Jidanbo on someone's house.
Fortunately, Ichigo is able to move the giant without incident and gently sets him down on the side street. His brow is sweaty and he's slightly hunched over from fatigue. He hasn't the time to catch his breath when the villagers mob Ichigo and hound him with a flurry of questions.
"Are you really a Jedi?"
"Are there more of you?"
"Are you rebuilding the Order?"
Ichigo's eyes dart from person to person, unsure of how to respond. The relentless questioning leaves him visibly flustered. The elder is kind enough to step in and shouts for his people's attention. "That is enough! These people are our guests and will not be harassed. Now, calm yourselves or disperse."
The edge in his voice has a sobering effect and several villagers have the decency to look guilty and mutter an apology.
The elder bows at the waist. "I'm so sorry for the inconvenience. Now please, won't you join my family and me for dinner?"
Yoruichi dips his head to the elder. "We are honored by your hospitality."
Later that night, the group of ryoka are gathered around a small table. Yoruichi sits upon its surface and commands the attention of everyone in the room. His ears are flat to his head and his tail lashes from side to side in agitation. "I think we can all agree that the gate was a bust. Security is only going to be tighter now that we've been caught once."
"Then what would you suggest we do?" Uryu asks.
"Fortunately, I know another way in," he hums, shifting his attention to their host. "Excuse me, might you know where I can find Kukaku Shiba? She has the tendency to move around and I've yet to locate her new residence."
A troubled look comes over the elder's face. "Kukaku? Don't tell me you mean to break into Soul Society, that way."
"What could be worse than charging through the front gate?" Ahsoka asks.
The conversation is derailed when a loud rumbling can be heard approaching the dwelling, putting the entire group on edge. Ichigo's hand rests on his lightsaber while his friends assume defensive positions. "What's that sound?"
"It sounds like a stampede," Orihime remarks. A startled yelp slips out when one of the sliding doors is bowled over by a small mass. The perpetrator turns out to be a young girl just shy of entering her teens. She peels her face from the floor after a brief struggle to pry her horns from the hardwood floor.
"What are you looking at?" she snaps upon noticing everyone staring.
She's a Zabrak, alright, Ahsoka snorts. The horns are a dead giveaway and the former Jedi is starting to notice a trend of abrasive behavior among the species. She hops to her feet and dusts off her robes, a haughty look on her face. Her expression softens when she sees the village elder.
"Hey, old man! Who are these weirdos?"
"Blesri, what are you doing here? You shouldn't be out this time of night," he admonishes. The exasperation in his voice tells Ahsoka this isn't the first time they've had this discussion.
Blesri rolls her eyes. "I can take care of myself just fine. Besides, I've got Bonnie with me," she grins, jabbing a thumb at a large boar standing in the street.
"Is that a boar wearing a saddle?" Uryu asks no one in particular.
"Blesri, these are my guests. I've offered them lodgings as a thank you for defending Jidanbo."
Her lips tug downward in a scowl. "What happened? Did those ass hat Soul Reapers start bullying him again?"
The elder nods, a troubled look on his weathered features. "I'm afraid he ran afoul of Captain Ichimaru."
"These guys fought off a Captain?" Blesri narrows her eyes and closely scrutinizes the gathered group. "I don't know, these guys look kind of wimpy if you ask me."
A small tick starts to develop under Ichigo's eye. "You're a mouthy brat, you know that?"
Blesri sticks out her tongue. "Who are you supposed to be, Dandelion Head?"
In an attempt to mitigate the growing tension Ahsoka steps in, putting herself between the pair. "Let's all settle down, alright? My name's Ahsoka and the sourpuss behind me is Ichigo."
Blesri's scowl fades and is replaced with a look of wide-eyed wonder. "You're a Force ghost! Does that mean you're a Jedi?" she squeals with barely contained glee.
Ahsoka gives a small smile. The girl certainly has spirit, she'll give her that. "I used to be. I'm more of a teacher now but my apprentice here is a Jedi."
Blesri blinks owlishly and fixes Ichigo with a vacant stare. "He's a Jedi?" she half-whispers.
Ichigo recoils and a blush starts creeping up his neck when Blesri THROWS herself at his feet. "OhmanI'msorryIwannabeajedisomuchpleaseteachme!" The Zabrak chatters excitedly to the point her words start to blend together.
Bowing low to the floor, she glances up at Ichigo with a fiery determination in her eyes. "Teach me. Make me your apprentice."
Ichigo starts to fidget under her insistent stare. "Um, who are you exactly?"
Blesri snaps to attention and gives a small salute. "I am Blesri Shiba! I've been seeking a Jedi Master of my own to teach me."
"I'm sorry, did you say your last name is Shiba?" Yoruichi cuts in, his pitch rising with joy.
"Huh, a talking cat. That's cool. Yeah, I'm a Shiba. So what?"
"By chance do you know Kukaku Shiba?"
Blesri narrows her eyes in suspicion. "Who wants to know?"
"My name is Yoruichi and Kukaku is a dear friend of mine."
Blesri's eyes light up with recognition. "Yoruichi? I've heard a lot about you. You look different than I was expecting."
"So you DO know her?"
"Of course I do. She's my mother."
BAM! Sorry this chapter took so long. It gave me a lot of trouble but in my opinion I feel it was worth the wait. I managed to pack quite a bit in this chapter between arriving in Soul Society, Ichigo's powers and lightsaber, and most importantly, Kukaku's daughter! This actually came to me out of the blue but I decided to run with it. There will be far reaching implications and I feel it enriches the story. I could just do a retread of the entire arc but I want to make things different for the sake of variety.
Anywho, that does it for Chapter Two of Jedi Rebirth. Don't forget to favorite and follow. Did you like the chapter? Did you hate it? Drop a review and give me your honest opinion. Constructive criticism is welcome as it will help me improve.
Anyway, until next time! Peace out!