Chapter 13

Requiem for the fallen part II

Hueco Mundo - Las Noches

Halibel contemplated the future as she sits in the dark...in chains. Ever since that bastard Aizen betrayed her and she laid dying in Fake Karakura Town with her life's blood pooling underneath her soaking up the ground, she couldn't understand how she found herself here. She knew that she was in Hueco Mundo, any Hollow can smell its stench from a mile away but for the life of her she don't know why she was alive or let alone in a dungeon as a prisoner. The last thing she remembered was being cut by that traitor and being left for dead. As she lost consciousness though, she felt an unfamiliar reiatsu, a glowing circle drawing itself underneath her and vanishing into the light. One thing is for certain, she knew that bastard was still alive - she can feel his reiatsu after all. So she can still exact her vengeance upon that ass hole when she gets out of here...

"I'll feel better when I run Tiburon through and spill your guts, Aizen!"

"Is that how you thank someone who gave your power Halibel-sama?"

Hallibel looked up and saw someone she would have rather not. Szayel Aporro Grantz opened the door and let light in that blinded the former Tres Espada. When her eyes finally adjusted themselves she gave the Ocho Espada her fiercest gaze - reserved only for the vermin she was about to kill. The pinkette looked at her and chuckled nervously.

"Now, now Halibel-san, why are you looking at an ally like that?"

"Bastard, you were the one who threw me in here!" Halibel spat.

"You have to understand my dear that I was only trying to protect you." Szayel replied. "You can interpret that however you wish."

Halibel narrowed her eyes. Compassionate was definitely the one thing that Szayel Aporro Grantz was not. He must be angling for something and whatever scheme he has up his sleeve he's not going to get it so easily. She looked at him defiantly and didn't say a word. Szayel sighed rather audibly. He can understand why the Tres Espada would be rather difficult. Aizen-sama did try to gut her the last time they were at Karakura Town. Still if it wasn't for their "ally's" quick thinking she would have bled to death so perhaps she should be a little bit thankful for small favors. Still Aizen needed her power. The tricky part was trying to convince her...

Halibel though was surprised when he removed the chains and they clattered with a sharp clang on the cement floor. She was about to fall unceremoniously on her face before Szayel caught her and pulled her up her feet. Then he guided her to a room next to her cell and gently sat her down on the chair. She appreciated the gesture but she still looked at him with suspicion. Szayel could only appreciate the Third Espada's caution and take things as they are with a heavy grain of salt. Still he needed her cooperation and perhaps what he was about to do now was the riskiest part of his plan. When Halibel saw him hand her zanpakuto however she was rather speechless...

"I hope this friendly gesture earns me a token of your..." Szayel began to say.

However Halibel had other ideas and she quickly unsheathed her zanpakuto vanished and appeared behind him with her naked blade held tightly against his neck...

"Good will..." He continued.

"You know better than to give me back my zanpakuto..."

Szayel sighed. He figured that she was going to react that way. Perhaps he will need resort to a different tact...

"Pity, you feel that way. Your Fraccione would be disappointed if their mistress ever became such an unrefined and violent woman..." Szayel muttered.

"Are they alive?" Halibel whispered.

"They are waiting for you outside as we speak…"

Hallibel almost let her emotions rule her as she saw Apacci, Mila Rose and Sung Sun enter the door. The three Fraccione nearly bowled her over as she let Szayel go and stuck Tiburon on the ground. With open arms she welcomed them and the three Arrancars uncharacteristically weep as they hugged their mistress…

"I-I t-thought you all were dead…" Halibel muttered shakily.

"I thought we were too but Szayel and our ally has patched us up like new." Mila Rose declared.

"We would never dare to leave you Halibel-sama!" Apacci added.

Sung Sun who was the more reserved one nodded her head as she covered her mouth with a sleeve of her dress. Although she was glad that they were alive, Halibel had a nagging feeling that there was something off about them for some reason. Apacci and Mila Rose who are usually at odds with the other seemed to be getting along for some reason while Sung-sun was far too quiet and that's not normal for her. There were many a time that those two were butting heads and shouting in each others faces while Sung-sun -the instigator that she is - eggs them on! The women right before her were not as dynamic and boisterous as her Fraccione would be. Perhaps the stress of being a captive for months at a time has addled her brain and is now letting her imagination running wild. Still the Espada in her demanded that she observe and prepare for a fight just in case…

"Most touching indeed…" Szayel muttered. "I apologize for the interruption Halibe-sama but we have business to discuss…"

It figures that Szayel had an agenda! She was freed for a reason and she was about to find out what it is. Perhaps it was more prudent to listen and judge his offer on their merits.

"What do you want?" Halibel asked bluntly.

"Blunt and strait to the point I see. I would like you to test out something for me."

Szayel then took what looked like a tiara and gave it to her. The blonde haired woman scrutinized the object and turned it around to absorb the intricate details it had. The tiara's composition was made of silver. The middle wedge shaped front tapered at the top. Two thin crests in equal height were lower than the main one in the middle. A lone red jewel adorned the center and a script of unknown origin filled the rest of the tiara's surface.

"What is it?" Halibel asked in curiosity.

"It is an artificial Sacred Gear that was made for you." Szayel answered.

"So you're saying it's a copy of something?"

"From what I understand it was derived from a Sacred Gear called "Annihilation Maker."

"Interesting, but what would I need this…Sacred Gear if I have Tiburon already?"

"Think of it as another weapon in your repertoire…" Szayel replied. What he's about to say next will make things tricky from now on but he wisely chose to hold that detail aside for the moment. "Why don't you put the crown on to see if it fits?"

Halibel's eyes narrowed and looked at the pinkette mad scientist for a moment. She was formally Tres Espada - with the exception of 3 people above her - Halibel was considered one of the strongest in Aizen's army. She wouldn't need this power boost because she wouldn't need it. Halibel however stopped and became somber for a moment. Despite her third ranking she was easily defeated by that bastard! Tia thought it would be beneficial to increase her own power and only then would she have her vengeance! Working with Szayel again was rather disgusting to say the least but what choice does she have? She needed the bastard even if it did turns her stomach. Tia shook her head. It was an unfortunate but necessary evil. However that didn't mean that she can trust the mad scientist so easily…

Szayel sighed.

"Plan B it is…." Szayel muttered. "Girls will you…restrain Halibel-sama for me?"

Halibel found herself surrounded by her "Fracciones" and her suspicions about their odd behavior only validated itself as they to surround her and prevent her from escaping…

"Apacci, Mila-Rose, Sung-sun. What are you doing?" Halibel demanded.

"We're only trying to help you Halibel-sama!" Apacci replied lifelessly.

"Give it up, we are many to your one, Halibel-sama." Mila-Rose said just as woodenly. "Make it easy on yourself and succumb to the power. It will…give you peace."

"It is only for your own good Halibel-sama." Sung-sun added.

"You three aren't my Fracciones aren't you?" Halibel said backing away. "Bastard what did you do to them?"

"I only freed them of their burdens Halibel-sama." Szayel replied.

The three Fracciones lunged at their mistress and Halibel was forced to unsheathe, Tiburon. The hollowed out zanpakuto twirled behind her and she caught the handle. Tia then smoothly blocked Apacci's initial attack and deflected her blow to the side. She then tossed the hot tempered Fraccione and block Mila-Rose's attack. Tia grabbed the dark skinned Fraccione's face and slammed her to the wall. With practiced grace, she dodged the attack from behind Sung-sun initiated and the black haired girl found herself crashing through the door which exploded into splinters and hit the far wall hard.

"ENOUGH!"

The entire room vanished in a massive explosion of highly pressurized water….

Szayel reappeared a few miles above the tower along with the 3 Fracciones who were a little worse for wear. It goes to show to never under estimate the power of an Espada even if she was deliberately left for dead and spent her days recuperating in prison. Halibel rose from the ruins as the rest of the building crashed down below. Outraged, her spiritual pressure leaked out of her body and all of Las Noches felt her wrath.

"What is the meaning of this Szayel Aporro Grantz?" Halibel demanded. "And what have you done to my girls?"

"As I said before, I have freed them of their scruples and were made stronger for it!" Szayel answered. "So come Halibel-sama, come and be a soldier of Aizen-sama once again!"

The mere mention of Aizen made Halibel's blood boil and she rushed him with her zanpakuto reared overhead. Her strike was intercepted by the three however while the pinkette looked at her with no reaction.

"What Szayel-sama says is true Halibel-sama." Sung-sun said. "Now come and join us and be liberated of your burden!"

"Join us Halibel-sama and bask in the glory of Aizen-sama!" Apacci added.

Halibel didn't expect these impostors to be this serious for her girls wouldn't attack her like mindless beasts like these three did. Even more surprising -and smart on their parts - they actually released their zanpakuto and attacked her simultaneously. She let them get close before her spiritual pressure exploded sending them all careening through the cylindrical towers and crashing on the ground sending enormous plumes of sand that nearly touched the roof of Las Noches. The former Tres Espada however, emerged from the power display a little worse for wear. Exerting herself so early after just recovering from a near fatal injury and she thought that it was a miscalculation on her part. Still she had enough reiryoku to handle Szayel and his "doppelgängers." However that little outburst apparently depleted her reserves and fighting fresh opponents were tantamount to suicide. Reluctantly she decided to retreat to recover and to figure out what's Szayel's agenda. She vanished with the telltale sound of static...

Szayel emerged from the ruins of a cylindrical tower as he too got caught up in the massive shockwave. "Apacci," "Mila-Rose" and "Sung-sun" appeared right in front of him...

"It seemed that Halibel-sama has escaped..." Apacci observed lifelessly.

"Indeed, a most undesirable outcome." Sung-sun added.

"She will not get away, the others will come for her..." Mila-rose said. "By your leave Szayel-sama, we will track Halibel- sama down to bring her here to complete the ritual."

"By all means..."

The three Fracciones disappeared...

Szayel sighed, his job was made more difficult with this situation at hand. He didn't want to do this to Halibel but knowing the history between her and Aizen-sama, it was only natural for her to resist. Still, his efforts weren't wasted. He then turned his head and addressed the presence behind him….

"You have absorbed her reiatsu correct?"

The voice that responded sounded like a high pitched growl…

"I needed more time. It would have been faster if she has worn the crown but I have enough spiritual power to work with. Find her and make her wear it…"

"Indeed, your sisters are pursuing her as we speak."

"But they will not be enough. Perhaps, I should give them assistance?"

"You are still weak. Our efforts would be in vain if she killed you and our plans would be set back a couple of months."

"Who said that I needed to be alone to confront her…"

The shadow behind him elongated and from its dark depths all manner of creatures emerged…

"Go brothers and sisters, bring Tia Halibel to me!"

The monsters merged into the shadows once again and dispersed…

Vizard's hideout- the next day

Raynare was still five miles away but she can already feel Ichigo-sama's massive spiritual energy. Ichigo had no doubt returned training again as to be expected. His serious dedication was one of the traits that she liked about him. Raynare stopped and blushed. She wasn't too surprised how she reacts to thinking about him anymore. It's as if all those countless centuries of feeling desolate and empty just evaporated in just days. Feeling like a giddy school girl was certainly a very new and nostalgic thing and it was all thanks to a Shinigami of all things! When she arrived at that dilapidated warehouse, Raynare could feel the massive and oppressive spiritual power of The Beast.

"So he's still trying to control the power of the Beast?" Raynare whispered. "I wonder how he is faring with that..."

Raynare went as close to the warehouse as possible but stopped short of going there. She had this irrational fear that Ichigo's enormous power would somehow interfere with her spell. The black haired Fallen One didn't know where that silly notion came from but she was covering her bases and just in case something weird happens. Satisfied that she's far away enough, Raynare drew her magic circle and vanished. When she appeared minutes later in the basement, she fell to her knees as the massive spiritual pressure of the two Vizards crashed down on her. Just as she felt herself unable to breathe, she was suddenly gasping for breath as Hachi tripled the barriers around the arena and added another one where they were at. She blushed in embarrassment and begrudgingly have her thanks to the portly Vizard who nodded in acknowledgement.

"GRRAAAGGGHHH AAAHHH AAAAGGGHHH!"

Raynare nearly lost the control of her bladder as she stepped back in fear. It's not the first time she has encountered the Beast but being so up close and personal made her entire body turn to jelly! She can feel his animalistic rage even inside layers upon layers of barriers (since she has added her own on top of Hachi's work), the humongous raw power he possessed, and the involuntary fear that it caused her. Maybe it was because Ichigo's eyes were hidden in the mask and replacing where his usually warm brown orbs should have been were just hollow holes on a skull mask. There was nothing there but an infinite empty darkness. It's as if Raynare was staring at the face of death itself! The black haired Fallen Angel shuddered and shook her head. What the hell was she scaring herself like this? She has promised Ichigo to support him in his endeavor to fully Hollowfy. She wasn't going to turn tail and run even though her instincts were screaming for her to do just that! Although things weren't going according to plan from the way Ichigo has been manhandling 2 Vizards - in their Hollow masks no less.

Then she blinked and rubbed her eyes just to make sure she wasn't seeing things. For right before her was Ichigo but he didn't look like what she expected him to be. The Beast that she saw was far more bizarre than she remembered. Instead of his fully humanoid Hollowfied state, this "Beast" was more lizard-like in appearance complete with a tail and some black markings along its body and muscular arms. H. Ichigo was huge as he stood a head or two taller than his opponents. The familiar skull mask and black tattoo-like streaks that went down starting from his forehead and then ending at the chin. However, even in this form Ichigo looked terrifying especially as the glowing yellow eyes glared menacingly at his opponents like a predator sizing its prey. The static sound of Sonido echoed in the basement and Ichigo appeared from behind, his sword arm already moving in for a swift kill. The two Vizards sensing the danger vanished in a Sonido of their own and had no choice but to retreat. H. Ichigo growled in frustration, raised his left arm and pointed his index and middle fingers towards them. An incandescent black ball began to form in between the gaps of his two fingers and he fired a massive Cero towards them.

Hachi instinctively added even more layers of barriers to contain the volatile energies within the confines of the shield. They all knew the devastating consequences should a Cero breaks through the barrier and explodes outside their hideout. Raynare shuddered as the explosion caused a tremor and caused substantial damage in the training ground and contributed by adding layers on top of Hachi's own. Though she had to admit that these Vizards had a lot of balls trying to contain the Beast. As far as she knew and from what she witnessed a few days ago in the from that brutal and harrowing battle with H. Issei, Ichigo was unstoppable when he Hollowfies….

"Um, so Hachi-san, what is Ichigo doing anyway?" Raynare asked curiously.

"It was the same method that we Vizards used to acquire our Hollow powers, we needed to subjugate our Inner Hollow." Hachi answered.

Curious notion but it seemed flawed somehow….

"So how can you subjugate one's Inner Hollow a second time if has already been conquered already?"

"That's what we're trying to find out." Hachi replied.

Raynare blinked at the portly man and stared at him blankly. When Hachi sweated under her intense gaze and looked away, her eyes widened and said…

"W-wait, d-don't tell me y-you guys don't know?"

"This is new territory even for us Vizards." Hachi admitted helplessly. "But Ichigo insisted that they try and Shinji and the others reluctantly agreed. Ichigo has a 50 percent chance of succeeding and he has delivered with positive results when something was on the line."

Ain't that the truth….

"So why are there two of you ganging up on him for?"

"It's not that we're ganging up on him S&M lady." someone from the back said. "It's just that in this form that dumb ass is using is THAT much stronger than we are as annoying as that to admit!"

Raynare's brows began to twitch violently. She calmed herself and tried to be civil but she couldn't help herself and was too late to hold her tongue…

"No more like you just suck snaggle tooth!" Raynare sarcastically retorted.

"WHAT DID YOU SAY?"

"Did I stutter, did I mutter?" Raynare said smirking. "Are you that far along in age that your hearing fails you?"

A tick mark appeared above Hiyori's head…

"Why you!"

"Alright you children should stop arguing now!" Shinji said annoyed.

The both of them simultaneously replied the same thing ironically enough….

"She started it!"

Then the two of them turned around and glared at each other…

After awhile Raynare couldn't help but watch as two other Vizards tried to stop a fully Hollowfied Ichigo from stomping them to the ground and tearing them to pieces. Normally she would have enjoyed this blood bath and get off on seeing someone suffer but this brutal mindless violence even made her "exotic" tastes pales in comparison and made even her shudder. The Beast was ridiculously strong, unrelenting, nigh invincible and Ichigo wanted to control this power?

"What's wrong with you?" Shinji asked.

"Why…" Raynare asked no one in particular.

"Why what?"

"Why does Ichigo do this to himself?"

"You already know the answer to that, Miss Raynare. He actually demonstrated it as he saved your life did he not?" Shinji replied.

"I know that! He does it to protect those that are important to him." Raynare began. Then she whispered. "If he's too busy protecting us, then who's trying to protect him?"

Shinji and the others were silent…

Raynare looked at them for a moment and returned her gaze to the battlefield and looked on in worry…

Meanwhile in Ichigo's Inner World…

Ichigo stood in the middle of the sideways buildings of his Inner World. He never understood why the hell everything here was inverted but it is what it is and shrugged. The Substitute has been calling out to the resident spirits and so far they hadn't appeared nor did they answer his call. After yelling what seemed like an eternity, Ichigo sensed his doppelgänger's spiritual pressure and when he turned around, there was his Hollow staring at him sure enough...

"What is it you want...King?" Hollow Ichigo asked smirking.

"You damn well know why I'm here!" Ichigo replied growling.

"Heh, that's what I like about you King, strait to the point!"

Their respective zanpakutos crashed into one another and exchanged a few blows. The Hollow however, continued his torturous needling….

"Is that all you need my power for?" Hollow Ichigo asked gleefully. "Or do you have an ulterior motive instead?"

Dammit, it figured that the bastard knew what he was thinking. His eyes widened. Then did he know about Rias...

"You know as well as I do that Aizen will comeback. I'm just doing this to even up the playing field." Ichigo replied.

"All of that may be true King but you and I know better that's not the only reason why you're doing this!"

"I-I d-don't what you're talking about!" Ichigo replied lamely.

Before he knew it the Hollow was in his face and Ichigo was forced to retreat to gather himself. Appearing a hundred feet away his eyes widened as he saw a massive Getsuga Tensho coming his way.

"BANKAI!"

A tremendous explosion occurred and Ichigo was engulfed in its wake. The resulting shockwaves shattered the windows and the surfaces of several city blocks buckled and fell into the dark abyss below. The structure in the middle of zero broke apart piece by piece and huge sections slid down and fell into the darkness. Ichigo emerged from the billowing smoke wearing his Hollow mask and he balefully glared at his bastard of a twin several feet away. He was able to time his transformation with enough precision in order for him to escape injury and come out of that ruckus relatively unscathed with the exception of the shredded sleeve on his right arm of course.

"Very well done King. It looked like I got ya there for awhile but you never did disappoint!" H. Ichigo chuckled.

Ichigo didn't bother to reply and attacked this time around. The Hollow cackled in glee and welcomed his assault with reckless abandon. When their respective zanpakutos clashed, the ground underneath them and an entire building buckled and then collapsed below from the enormous pressure of the blow. Ichigo used his speed to keep his obviously stronger opponent off balance but it seemed that they were woven from the same cloth as both of them anticipated the other's moves easily enough. However, the Hollow proved to be a formidable opponent as he found himself face to face with a black mask. The Hollow grabbed his face and dragged his entire body through the buildings making a large trench, debris and glass alike falling down like rain. Then his masked opponent threw him through several buildings, causing catastrophic damage as several floors exploded into chunks of concrete and dust. The strawberry then crashed into another building causing a massive crater on it's surface. Still his brutal training regiment with the Vizards have paid off as he emerged from the confines of the ruined concrete with no major damage to his person. Ichigo then vanished as the building he was occupying became a smoldering ruin as it exploded into a fireball. He then countered as soon as he reappeared in the the air and massive amounts of reiryoku ignited along the blade of his zanpakuto…

"GETSUGA TENSHO!"

Another massive explosion occurred as the Getsuga and the Cero clashed. Hollow Ichigo emerged from the smoke and immediately looked up. Ichigo's Getsuga infused zanpakuto came down him like several thousand tons of bricks. The Hollow fell down like a meteor and sheared a building in half like a knife through butter. As the smoke cleared and Ichigo's white counterpart lifted the debris on top of him, H. Ichigo started cackling like a mad man. Ichigo pointed his two fingers to the ruins where the Hollow crashed and a massive energy build up glowed on top of his index and middle finger...

"Cero!"

The familiar sound of a released Cero reverberated in the empty world of Ichigo's soul. An enormous beam of concentrated reiryoku roared to where the Hollow was and blew away the thick billowing smoke away only for that entire city block to lit up and then disappear as a monstrous mushroom could dominated the dark rainy sky. Ichigo narrowed his yellow eyes, the bastard couldn't have succumb to that trick that easily? Instinct saved his life as he felt his Hollow appear right behind him and the Shinigami moved his head and shoulders to the side to keep himself from being skewered like barbecue beef on a stick! When the Hollow went past him, Ichigo took the initiative and attack the Hollows unprotected back, only for the bastard to vanish. The strawberry looked in every direction quickly and then sensed him up high. He blocked the attack but the momentum sent him flying down and crashed to the ground causing another massive crater on its surface. He then recovered quickly and locked the vicious downward strike from above. That action further drove the two deeper into the crater making that entire section crumble. The two of them exchange vicious blows for 10 seconds before separating and appearing somewhere a few blocks away...

"That's about enough warmup don't you think King?"

Ichigo stood as the Hollow's spiritual pressure skyrocketed through the roof. It was thick and heavy causing the gravity around him to shift. The ground beneath his twisted twin began to crumble and lift into the air as chunks of rock and dirt began to shrink to their base atomic structure. Then suddenly the tremor H. Ichigo caused made the surrounding area buckle and then carved a massive crater. The Hollow transformed as a hole exploded in the middle of his chest and a pulsating fleshy substance emerged from it, engulfing his body. The familiar skull mask coalesced on his face. It seemed like it's the same one he had always used when Ichigo transformed and the only difference was that the entire thing was color inverted, the color opposite of his own. He seemed to grow slightly bigger as his kimono seemed to rip from the strain of containing his shredded physique but then adjusted itself to accommodate the change. Ichigo himself has never seen this transformation as understandably he literally had to die a few times for this form to manifest itself or so what the others have told him anyway…

"Now let the good times roll!"

H. Ichigo then lowered his head and the space between his horns began to glow and gather huge amounts of spiritual energy. Ichigo had a sinking feeling that this was going to be a very long day…

Orihime's residence- 8am the next day

Orihime couldn't sleep and she has been tossing and turning all night. Her mind was too anxious to shut down and counting little aliens abducting sheep really didn't help make her succumb to the land of dreams. Anxiously she looked at the clock across her room and it said 8:05 am. She laid back her bed and hug her large teddy bear. A few minutes later she turned to the right and hid behind her covers only to turn to other way to try and get comfortable. Then she got up, apparently she was going to throw in the towel and gave up on getting any sleep today. The brown haired girl got up and shuffled slowly like the walking dead and headed for the bathroom. The sluggish healer brushed her teeth and a few minutes later tossed her dirty clothes on the hamper and took a shower. After 5 minutes soaking the warm water like a sponge, she fumbled for the knob and turned it to cold. Sure enough, the sudden shock jolted her awake and she involuntarily squealed loud enough that her voice could be heard through out the apartment.

"KYAAAH!"

Then her bathroom door suddenly flew off its hinges and a woman walked in with a massive zanpakuto unsheathed. Orihime blushed furiously as she covered her naked body with her arms as best she could…

"Orihime, are you ok?" the woman asked.

"Gabrielle-chan! W-what are you doing? Why did you kick my door in?"

The blond Arch Angel looked at her puzzled…

"Well I heard a scream so I came in to see if you were alright!"

'So her first instinct was to break the door?' Orihime thought sweat dropping.

Orihime explained to the blond what happened and Gabrielle sheepishly apologized for her over reaction and used her magic to repair the door good as new. The gentle healer looked in amazement as Gabrielle worked with her magic. It looked rather amazing as if the door was subjected to a cosmic rewind button as all the splinters gathered towards the air and went. The door then became whole as the pieces fitted themselves together and the damage reversed itself then floated back in an angle before setting itself on the door hinges that repaired and attached itself to the door. The blonde satisfied with the results tested the door and it worked like it was suppose to…

"There, that's should do it." Gabrielle said rather proudly and sheathing her zanpakuto.

"That's good, now will you please let me finish my bath?" Orihime asked half lidded.

Gabrielle blushed and saw Orihime naked for the first time and she apologized profusely. The auburn haired girl sighed. Gabrielle-chan has been a handful since she met her last night…

Flashback-yesterday evening

Orihime almost made at home. Operative word: almost. However, the gentle healer realized that she needed to go to the supermarket to get some more bean paste and some groceries because she was running out of supplies. After an hour doing grocery shopping and debating whether to get red bean paste or the regular brand -she ended up buying both - she quickly hurried out of the store and walked briskly to her apartment. Just as she was about 2 blocks away from home, the thing she feared the most came true. She was accosted by a stranger that blocked her path and without any pre-amble was attacked. As the energy spear was about to pierce her heart, Orihime reacted just as quickly

"Shiten Koshun. I reject!"

A triangular golden shield suddenly erected itself in front of her. As the force disperses itself along the edges of the shield, a light shined in front of the point and shot a strong beam that took the Fallen Angel by surprise. The energy projectile sliced through clothes and would have burned a hole through his shoulder if he wasn't fast enough to evade in time. Still he was dumb enough to try again but stopped short of his goal when suddenly a body of one his fellows came flying at him. Needless to say companion was knocked out silly and he got back up annoyed at the delay of his mission. However when he looked at his target, the girl was awestruck at the blond haired beautiful woman standing there blocking his path

"How dare you attack an innocent!" the blond woman said outraged.

Orihime was too stunned to react for she saw the blond haired lady chuck that body like a sack of potatoes and deflect that second attackers energy blade with a construct of her own. Strapped behind her was a massive sword that was sleek and elegant in its sheathe as the woman who owns it.

"I-is thata zanpakuto?"

Did it mean that her mysterious savior a Shinigami? But she has never seen her before and what Division was she from? Orihime didn't remember. Her assailant got up, shoved his fellow companion away and dusted his clothes.

"You have no business here Arch Angel. I have no quarrel with you Lady Gabrielle but leave this girl to me."

"Attacking the children of God IS my business!"

"You have no jurisdiction here!" the Fallen shouted.

"Then I should stake my claim now shouldn't I?" Gabrielle said imperiously. "I declare that Karakura Town is under my protective custody. Attacking any of it's people will be construed as an attack on me and therefore will be interpreted as an act of war against Heaven! Now tell me Fallen One, do you want to risk open warfare between our races? So if I were you…"

Gabrielle extinguished her light spear and reached out behind her and unsheathed the massive 6 foot Zanpakuto. It seemed that she deliberately pulled out her sword slowly, the hissing sound of her weapon's razor sharp blade rubbing against the metal of her scabbard; the noise making the Fallen's skin crawl. Upon releasing it and holding it to her side, her expression changed instantly. The Fallen Angel stepped back in fear, only for him to fall on his ass as she suddenly vanished and was on his face in the next, her sword still at her side. He gulped as he saw the expression on her face. It was not the look the sweet and kindly Arch Angel Gabrielle that everyone admired and loved. Oh no! The face that he saw was more like the cold murderous eyes of a killer! The blonde haired Angel grabbed his collar and lifted him off his feet

"Let this be a warning to you and your brethren. Try to attack this girl and anyone in this town who is now under my protection; I will not be so merciful the next time we meet again, understand?"

The Fallen visible turned white from fear and visibly gulped the large lump in his throat

"Y-yes…"

Gabrielle unceremoniously dropped him next to his unconscious companion. He hastily got to his feet and lifted his compatriot up and hastily made their escape. The blonde haired Angel glared at the retreating Fallen but didn't pursue them. Let her message spread like wild fire and the Archangel knew that it will. She was never more serious of handing executions to whoever threatens this town and it's residents. Gabrielle could do nothing as she was in her self imposed exile at the time that Aizen invaded Karakura. Well she was here right now and her negligence of her duty to Heaven and humanity will stop this instant. The blonde haired angel walked back to a very confused Orihime. She was looking down and the healer briefly glimpsed her cold blooded gaze that made her step back for a moment. Then when she looked up, Orihime saw Gabrielle blink her huge green eyes at her and smiled

Flashback end

It was interesting times indeed when an Angel of Heaven has declared Karakura Town under her protection. Orihime wondered what would Kurosaki-kun would think of the blonde woman if he would ever meet her? But knowing the strawberry, she would be adopted into their little exclusive group in no time! Still she wondered what the Archangel was doing here in the first place? And where was the the first time when Aizen's army attacked? Perhaps she will provide the details over breakfast but first, she really need to finish her shower before she catches a cold!

Wacdonald's - 3 hours later

Orihime and Tatsuki looked in fascination as the Gabrielle devoured her cheeseburgers. They were actually getting some weird looks from the other customers around them but it didn't seem to bother the blonde in the least. Somehow she openly has her massive sheathed blade casually leaning on the table but for some reason everyone seemed to be ignoring it. Orihime had a suspicion that she must have cast some kind of spell on the entire restaurant to simply overlook a large 6 foot weapon in their midst.

"Wow, thish ish soo good!" Gabrielle said.

"Slow down before you choke yourself geez!" Tatsuki said.

"I always wanted to try hamburgers but I never had to chance to."

Silence prevailed for a few seconds before Orihime asked what she had in her mind all night…

"So Gabrielle-chan, what brings you here in Karakura Town anyway?"

"Oh that's easy, I needed to take a break from my training and it so happened that I came here by accident. Good thing I did though or that Fallen One would have done some unpleasant things to you Orihime-chan." Gabrielle explained.

Tatsuki however was a little skeptical…

"I thank you for saving my best friend's life and all…" Tatsuki asked. "So tell what is the REAL reason you came here, Gabrielle-san?"

"Tatsuki-chan don't be so rude!"

"It's ok, you both need to hear the truth."

Gabrielle then put down her cheeseburger and looked at them gravely…

"I am here as Heaven's representative in this Town seeing that the Akuma and the Fallen Ones have taken residence here. More importantly, you both know that traitor Aizen will come back. I have neglected my duty to humanity for 200 years and failed to protect Karakura in the first Winter War. Now that I am here, I will serve as this Town's last line of defense should Soul Society somehow fail…"

Tatsuki and Orihime looked at each other and then at the serious demeanor of the blonde haired angel…

"You won't have to do that Gabrielle-chan. Kurosaki-kun won't let the city he loves to ever fall so easily." Orihime whispered.

"Yeah, I hate to say it but Ichigo would rather die than to let that bastard take this city without a fight! He's just blockheaded like that, you know?" Tatsuki added.

"Wait you guys know Kurosaki Ichigo?"

"Yeah, he's my childhood friend and our classmate why?"

"I have been looking for him all day yesterday until I met Orihime-chan here last night." Gabrielle explained.

"How do you know Kurosaki-kun Gabrielle-chan?" Orihime asked.

"I met him in Soul Society a few days ago. Do you know where he is?" Gabrielle said excitedly.

"Well he's training with some friends right now…"

"Will you please take me to him?"

"Why the sudden interest on someone you just met?" Tatsuki asked curiously.

"I know he will be the key to winning this war so I need to train with him in order for us to succeed. I find that Ichigo was the only one who could keep up with me and if we work together I'm sure that we will get stronger collectively faster than if we train individually. So please, I need to see him. Will you take me to him Orihime-chan?"

Orihime looked at Tatsuki and nodded. If what Gabrielle-chan was saying true then their chance of winning the war has increased with her on their side. The healer promised to herself following the first Winter War that she will do anything to keep him safe. And if facilitating a meeting between these two satisfied that criteria then so be it…

"Come, I'll take you to him…"

"Thank you, I will do my best to get us through this." Gabrielle said grimly.

Then her demeanor changed just as quickly and started devouring her cheeseburgers again. The blonde haired Angel squealed in delight as she took big bites of her food. Then realizing that she was being unladylike, Gabrielle then took dainty bites of her sandwich and dabbed the sauce out of her mouth with a napkin, trying to save her dignity. Orihime and Tatsuki sweat dropped. Gabrielle-chan sure is a strange person for an angel that is…

Then Orihime waved at someone and Gabrielle stopped for a moment to see who was behind her. She blinked a couple of times and gawked at the imposing figure towering over them…

"Hey, Chad what's up?" Tatsuki greeted.

Chad, simply nodded and didn't say a word…

"Sado-kun what happened to your arm?" Orihime said worriedly.

That's the thing, I don't quite remember?"

Orihime looked at him puzzled.

"Wait, you remembered last night right?" Tatsuki asked.

"Up to the part when we separated. I remember going back to the house then nothing. I don't remember going to bed or how I got these injuries."

"We should go somewhere private. To discuss this in public is rather dangerous." Gabrielle suggested as she chewed on her hamburger.

Chad looked down and finally noticed the angelic blonde haired girl as she got up and hefted the massive katana and slung it on her back. She signaled them to follow her and when she rounded the corner she stopped and waited for them patiently. When they all arrived, a strange thing happened as background's color seemed to turn gray and everything stopped. Orihime look fascinatingly at the bird that was frozen in mid-flight and wondered what was keeping it from falling on the ground? The others were wildly looking around alarmed and Gabrielle simply smiled at them as if stopping time was regular occurrence. She turned to Chad and extended her right hand to him…

"I would like to introduce myself." Gabrielle said politely. "My name is the Archangel Gabrielle. It is a pleasure to meet Sado-kun."

Chad looked at her wide eyed and then turned his gaze to his friends. Orihime simply nodded while Tatsuki shrugged. Well certainly she wasn't lying, considering the enormous power it took to freeze everything in place. Fighting alongside Ichigo has opened his eyes of the everything supernatural and in essence, meeting one of Kami's high Angels was certainly unsurprising. That's one more weird thing to put in a long list of strange things that he saw in his lifetime. However, it was still disconcerting to see that an entire city block was frozen….

"Actually, I haven't frozen time. Just look…"

The three of them look in astonishment that she was indeed right. Orihime squinted and noticed that the bird in the air didn't really stop and that it was still moving -albeit in a very slow and incremental pace. Indeed all around them, they saw everything moved in this manner. Tatsuki saw the car moving in slow motion, a woman in a bike pedaling sluggishly but still moving nonetheless. Chad saw a little boy drop his ice cream and the cone tumbled to ever slowly to the ground. It was definitely an interesting experience to say the least…

"So if time for them hasn't slowed, what about us?" Tatsuki asked.

"Time for us as you can see is normal. We are inside a dimensional bubble that I have constructed myself. The perception of time inside has a tendency to speed things up for us but slow it down for those outside the bubble or perhaps its perception that has changed, fascinating stuff isn't it?" Gabrielle sweat dropped as the three of them looked at her like she had an extra appendage growing on her head; her explanation obviously misunderstood. She continued nonetheless. "But I won't bore you with the details, the important thing is that we now have some privacy so we can talk freely without worry of someone eavesdropping on us. Now Sado-kun, explain to us what you remember from yesterday, please."

Chad explained that he walked with everyone and separated from the others at some point. He recalled getting close to the house then…nothing. He woke up in bed and saw the bandages wrapped expertly on his right arm. The giant then got dressed to get some food and it so happened that he met the three of them at the Wacdonald's.

"Let me see the wound Sado-kun." Gabrielle said.

Chad eyes widened and looked at how his hand had burns on them and the frustrating thing was he doesn't remember how he got them in the first place. Gabrielle's eyes narrowed and sensed the Fallen One's magic radiating from the wound. She heard a gasp from Orihime and immediately she called on her Shun Shun Rikka…

"Soten Kisshun, I reject!"

A golden shield engulfed Chad's entire arm. Gabrielle looked in fascination as the wound completely reversed itself and restored the giant's arm good as new with no visible scars that she could discern. It simply rewinded to the time before the arm got injured. This was a miracle and obviously trespasses Father's territory. Gabrielle wondered if Orihime-chan has a Sacred Gear and she would ask the girl at a later time…

"Thanks…" Chad rumbled as he flexed his newly healed muscular arm.

"You welcome."

"So now what? We still don't know how Chad got his arm turned to a barbecue and why he got selective amnesia hours after we separated from him." Tatsuki stated.

"Let me try something…" Gabrielle replied. "Now relax Sado-kun, this will be over in an instant."

Chad nodded and let the Archangel gently taking the side of his temples with her hands. As soon as they made contact, Gabrielle's eyes flashed. Chad felt a gentle pressure inside his head and immediately the cloud that covered his mind dispersed and he remembered…

Flashback - yesterday evening

An energy projectile made its way to Chad who just stood there without moving an inch. His right arm transformed into its armored state and caught the projectile with his bare hand. For some reason though, it felt like the energy weapon was burning through the layers of his armor and holding on to it was getting rather uncomfortable. Nevertheless the giant was still able to control and extinguish the beam through brute strength alone. The projectile splintered into pieces and exploded all around him and thus kicking up dust and debris that rained down from the sky seconds later. Still he was able to emerge from cloud of smoke relatively unscathed except for the mild burns in his right hand. Nevertheless, he ignored the pain and he casually turned to the side as the stranger decided to follow up her perceived advantage. Chad dodged and counter attacked. The Fallen Angel sensing her danger dodged and vanished only to reappear several yards away as his fist annihilated the wall. He yanked his massive arm from out of the hole and turned calmly towards his opponent

Seeing the black wings that emerged from behind her shoulders, Chad wasn't a bit surprised considering the odd things he's seen hanging out with Ichigo. So this is what a Fallen Angel looks like? They looked sohuman. Still those thoughts were set aside as he saw her blade of light ignited between the palm of her hand. A peculiar humming sound emanated from her weapon every time she moved around. The Fallen Angel circled around him trying to figure out weaknesses to exploit. The giant however, stood his ground and eyed his opponent warily for he too was looking for an opening of his own. Chad wasn't disappointed though as he suddenly felt the ground he was standing on suddenly glowed. He watched what seemed to be a circle with some weird symbols drawing itself on the pavement. It flashed and then it exploded

"That should be the end of you."

"EL DIRECTO!"

Kalawarner's eyes swelled to the size of saucers as an energy projectile of considerable power came barreling her way. Since she didn't have time to erect a barrier to protect herself, she did the next best thing and hastily jumped to the side. Her mind raced as she wondered how did this human have so much power? Then she realized that he is among the Beast's companions and she should have known that anyone who was associated with that monster would have power as well! Another realization dawned at her as she had the sinking feeling all the Beast's friends were not easy pickings as she once thought! This miscalculation would cost them their plans

"I have to warn the others!"

Before she knew it, Chad was in her face his armored fist reared back ready to attack. Surprised at the giant's mobility considering his size, Kalawarner was baffled and was at a loss to what to do. In all the centuries of her long life, she has never encountered a human who had such power and who dared to attack Fallen Angel! This incensed her to no end. How dare this human think he is superior to his betters? These thoughts riled her up so much that Chad didn't expect her to plunge her spear of light into his fist which exploded upon contact. He felt the light burn then but he ignored the pain and kept attacking. Having the novelty of a powered human wear out, Kalawarner was thinking clearly again. Still despite the severe burns that he had in his arm, she had to admit that his courage was admirable if not suicidal.

The two opponents moved in a sinuous lethal dance of attack and counter-attack as neither one couldn't find an opening. This happened in a blink of an eye as Chad even with his massive frame moved fast enough to keep Kalawarner honest and on her toes. The Fallen Angel dodged an armored fist and felt the power behind the attack just as she countered with horizontal swipe of her energy blade only for her opponent to dodge to the side. Still he knew to keep out of her reach because even though he evaded her blade, he could feel a burning sensation as it brushed mere inches from his torso. Attack. Dodge. Evade. Counter attack. So the vicious circle went. Still no opening to exploit. Still no end to their battle in sight. Then his opponent disengaged to fly up to the sky taking advantage of her perceived air superiority. How wrong she was.

With his opponent in the air and the fact that there was nothing in the way for him to demolish, Chad finally decided to take the kids gloves off as the fins on his shoulder opened and a torrent of reiatsu exploded like a volcano.

"EL DIRECTO!"

Chad's signature energy attack compressed spiritual power, coalescing in front of his fist and with a mental command he released the pent up energy into massive energy projectile that Kalawarner did not expect. Her eyes widened as the beam seemingly swallowed her whole. The giant felt an energy serge behind him and he thus turned around just in time for him to block the overhead strike from the thoroughly pissed Fallen Angel. She didn't seem to have escaped unscathed as she had burns all over her body and her pristine clothes were burnt in some places. He grunted as Kalawarner's blade bit into his armor and actually caused a small wound that bled. Ignoring the burning sensation and finally finding an opening he was looking for, he gave her a vicious uppercut in her stomach that lifted her several feet off the ground. The surprise in Kalawarner was evident as the blow made her temporarily breathless as air escaped from her lungs violently. Then suddenly she grinned grabbed his arm in a steel-like grip that he couldn't break. To his surprise his opponent dissolved and turned into a sticky substance that restricted his movement no matter how much he struggled.

"It's been fun but I think it's time to end this don't you?"

Chad felt a massive surge of power as she reappeared as she was forming a massive lance of light and it would seem she laced it with some kind of magic with the way the lance changed into an angry red color and the blue lightning that seem to spread throughout the tip. Without more pre-amble she hurled her weapon towards him and all Chad could do was transform his right arm to it's true form and hid behind the Hollow-like shield and hoped for the best. He was expecting the worst but when he didn't feel anything, he wondered what just happened. Then he noticed a strange woman who seemingly stepped out the shadows and erected a barrier that disintegrated the energy projectile with ease. Noticing that the Fallen Angel's face blanched several shades of white, he wondered just who this woman was that saved him.

"Oh my, you've been a naughty Fallen Angel haven't you?"

"YOUWhat are you doing here?"

"That is none of your concern. But WHAT I am interested in knowing is why the Fallen has stooped so low as to attack a human in the Gremory Clan's territory?" The brown haired woman said. "Does your kind want their destruction so badly that you would violate the terms of the seize fire?"

Kalawarner had no words to rebuff her statement

"This human and all the inhabitants of Karakura Town are now under the Gremory Clan's protection. You want to fight so badly, then I will be your opponent. If you want to die that much then I'll speed you along on your way to hell. Although it's underneath my station to soil my hands to deal with rubbish like you but I will make this one exception. So tell me Fallen One, what will it be? Will you try to harm this human and thus come to blows with the Gremory Clan and reigniting the war between our races or you can tuck your tail between your legs, run away, and keep you miserable life awhile longer? Those are your choices and whatever you do. DO. NOT. TEST. ME!"

And adding for further emphasis, the woman's hands glowed ominously with crimson energy crackling along the surface of her smooth skin. Chad noticed that the Fallen Angel swallowed the big lump in her throat. Grunting in frustration, Kalawarner had no choice but to retreat. She sure as hell didn't want to be the cause of an incident that would lead to war! She hastily flew up and disappeared into the night sky. The woman in front of him visibly relaxed and then turned to him smiling. She was indeed a beauty, unlike anything Chad has seen before and she carried herself in a manner fit of nobility. Her long brown tresses cascaded down her shoulders halfway to her back. The woman wore a long crimson dress that accentuated her curves. Though the most distinguished feature the woman had was her vivid purple eyes. Chad saw kindness and a depth of wisdom that makes her teenager appearance seemed misleading.

"Thanks…" Chad murmured.

"You welcome dear but I must apologize to you…" the woman said. "What's your name again?"

"Chad…"

"Venelana, nice to meet you."

Chad nodded

"But as I was saying. I must apologize for what I'm about to do. I cannot endanger Ichigo-kun's friends more than necessary. Although I'm quite surprised that you did very well fighting off that Fallen One."

"How do you know Ichigo…" Chad asked confused.

"It's alright. Do be a dear and relax and look into my eyes…"

Venelana's purple orbs glowed and Chad fell unconscious only to way up in the morning bandaged up and felt something like fuzzy feeling in his head.

Flashback end

"I…I remember…" Chad rumbled.

"I see that's what happened…" Gabrielle said almost to herself.

"What? What happened?" Tatsuki asked.

Gabrielle gave them a brief synopsis of the events…

"Why the hell am I not surprised?" Tatsuki commented.

Gabrielle looked at her puzzled…

"Ichigo has always had this knack of making friends of the unlikeliest of people. He has befriended Shinigami, Hollows, Quincies, Humans, and now Akuma, and Angels would need to be added to that list. Don't know what it is and I can't say it's charisma either considering he's a sour grouch most of the time!"

"No Tatsuki-chan. It is because Kurosaki-kun is kind!" Orihime said blushing.

"And because he fights to protect everyone…" Chad added.

"Yeah sometimes I think he puts the world's problems in his shoulders too much! Don't the idiot realize that we're here for him as well?"

"Indeed…" Gabrielle replied thoughtfully.

This Ichigo is becoming interesting….

"Though I still don't get why Venelana-san is interested Kurosaki-kun." Orihime asked. "Do you know why Gabrielle-chan?"

"Even I am at a loss to what the Matriarch of the Gremory Clan would want with Ichigo that she herself would protect one of his friends from harm."

"Wait you're saying that this Venalana person is like royalty or something?" Tatsuki asked intrigued.

"In a manner of speaking yes." Gabrielle replied. "Her family is one of the 72 pillars of the underworld. Think of them similar to the nobility of this world."

"What the hell is that boy doing attracting rich people in the underworld?" the martial artist growled. "The next time I see him, he's going to have words with my foot up his ass!"

"Language Tatsuki-chan!" Gabrielle replied sternly.

"Aww common, Gabrielle-san, why are being such a stick in the mud!"

"Because, a young lady shouldn't say vulgar words lest she be thought of as undisciplined, no mannered, indecent person!"

"Well I'll just kick their as…"

Gabrielle for a moment lost her sweet and personable demeanor to the demon inside her. Tatsuki has never seen someone flip their switch so quickly and thoroughly that it surprised her. The evil look that the Angel gave her was brief but it was so cold and terrifying that she swallowed her saliva and changed her tune…

"Err umm kick their butts…"

The Arch Angel looked down briefly, blinked and smiled….

"See no need to curse unnecessarily!"

The three of them sweat dropped. They never met an Angel that have drastic mood swings as much as she does and then preach be "lady-like" at the same time. She sure is a strange one…

"Still, Kurosaki-kun may know why the Akuma is so interested in him. If I remember correctly, he met one during that incident in Hell's Gate a few months ago…" Orihime said thinking. "It might be all connected somehow…"

"Then perhaps we should visit Ichigo, yes?" Gabrielle replied. "Incidentally I needed to speak with him on matters of great import."

"If it's settled then let's go." Tatsuki said. "By the way, where is that idiot been hiding anyway?"

"He's been training. He knows that Aizen will come for Karakura Town again so that's why he's been absent lately." Chad supplied.

"So I'm not the only one who feels that madman will come back." Gabrielle replied. She turned and addressed Chad.

"Chad-san, do you know where he is training and will you be able to bring us there?"

Chad silently nodded…

"Good, let us make haste to his training ground then." she said. "Time is of the essence!"

"So what's is he training for this time anyway?" Tatsuki asked curiously.

Tatsuki noticed that Chad shook his head while Orihime looked away. Gabrielle raised a blond brow at this and wondered what the two are hesitating so suddenly. It's only training right? The with the way those two have been avoiding the martial artist's gaze is proof enough that Ichigo was attempting something dangerous…

"You don't want to know…" Chad replied.

"What? It can't be that bad…right?"

Orihime gave an involuntary shudder…

"Orihime?"

"Kurosaki-kun is training to harness the monster inside of him." Orihime replied softy. "He is trying to become like a Hollow."

Kuoh Academy - The Occult Research Club

Rias couldn't help herself as she grinned from ear to ear while she studied the paper work that accumulated on her desk. Despite the tediousness of it all the prospect of introducing Ichigo to her Mother has brightened her spirits. The Gremory Heiress knew that out of all the people in her family, Venelana was on her side and perhaps the older woman would support her pursuit of marriage for love once she has met the Substitute in person. In many ways, the red headed beauty was somewhat apprehensive tonight but this was necessary to finally be freed from the shackles of unwanted marriage. Here is hoping that Okaa-sama will appreciate Ichigo's many qualities.

"Hey Kiba-sempai, what's wrong with Rias-sama?" Koneko whispered. "She's been grinning so much that I'm afraid that her face might cramp."

Yuuto only answered her with a chuckle…

"Koneko-chan, can you not see that our King has finally found happiness?" Akeno said smiling as she served everyone tea. "Isn't that right Rias?"

Rias calmly put the paperwork she was examining and took a sip of her tea and calmly answered…

"What ever are you talking about Akeno?"

"Arah, Arah, don't you play coy with us Rias and admit why a certain orange haired Shinigami is occupying most of your time!"

Akeno giggled as Rias nearly choked as her drink went the wrong way and started coughing to clear her throat. Yuuto raised an eyebrow while Koneko looked at her sempais back and forth in confusion.

"Akeno-san you mean that Rias-sama has a crush on Ichigo-sempai?" Koneko asked the Queen. "I like Ichigo-sempai. He is extremely strong and very nice…"

"Oh my, you see Rias, even Koneko-chan here approves of Ichigo." Akeno said looking her in the eye. "I'm sure that Kiba-kun here doesn't object. Isn't that right Yuuto?"

"I got no problem with Ichigo. Hell I think he's a pretty swell guy."

"And you know my feelings in the matter. So you see, your Peerage approves of Ichigo. So why don't you stop playing footsies with the guy and confess your undying love for him, eh?" Akeno said teasingly. "If you keep dawdling like this a more aggressive girl will surely snatch him away from you if you don't hurry Buchou!"

Rias looked at the people in the room and couldn't help blushing…

"I-I'm w-working on it…." Rias stammered. Then within seconds she recovered. "This has nothing to do with guys so don't worry about it…"

"Maybe, you should listen to your Queen more often, dear." Venelana said as she emerged from the shadows.

"M-mother, w-what are you doing here?"

"The Fallen Ones has targeted Ichigo-kun's friends and I have to step up and deal with problem…"

Rias suddenly crumpled the paper in hand and they suddenly burst into flames…

"H-how dare they attack someone in my jurisdiction!" Rias growled. "Are they ok?"

"I have my Peerage guard the more vulnerable ones 24/7."

"And the rest of them?"

"Trust me Rias, they can take care of themselves just fine and are far more stronger than you may realize. In fact, the Arch Angel Gabrielle has taken one of them under her protection. Who would dare challenge Heaven's Strongest Woman, yes?"

Rias blew a sigh of relief but still the fact remains that those Fallen Angel bastards were doing whatever the hell they want inside her territory and with impunity no less! This insult will not go unpunished!

"Thank you for letting me know this Mother. I will personally deal with those wretched beasts and hunt them all down myself!"

"Never mind that, I will take care of this. You on the other hand should go to Ichigo-kun right this instant." Venelana suggested.

"Why do you say that?"

"Were you not listening to your Queen? Hurry before some other predatory female snatch him away from you! You know that Fallen One is already there and the Arch Angel will go to him as we speak. Claim what is yours Daughter!"

"You know what I will!" Rias said scowling. "Akeno prepare the teleportation circle!"

"Yes ma'am!"

Rias and the others stepped in the confines of the glowing circle. But before they left, the redhead turned to her mother and said…

"Thank you Mother…"

"You welcome dear. Now go! I expect my second grandchild in a few years!" Venelana teased.

Rias' face turned crimson as the Gremory Matriarch missed what her daughter's protests as the red head disappeared. The older Akuma smiled, she has not seen her little girl brighten like an incandescent star whenever Ichigo-kun's name was mentioned. She knew how Rias feels about him, now Venelana wants to know if he feels the same about her. Perhaps that was why she wanted to meet him this evening. She smiled as she was looking forward going to dinner tonight.

"You mustn't get ahead of yourself Venelana. There will be enough time to tease them tonight. I just have to be patient!"

As she said that she vanished into the shadows…..

to be continued...

A/N Sorry for the delay...and contrary to popular belief I am still pretty much alive...just been working and too many distractions for my own good...You have no idea how many more story concepts that I cooked up -Bleach x Arpeggio of blue steel crossover for examples - that I was tempted to write even though I already have too much on my plate...I figured stay the course...I'll eventually get things rolling again...See first simultaneous release ever as bleach time was put up on the same day...lol

-Anyway, so what do you guys think Read and Review as usual

-Tell me if there are any grammatical errors as I only glanced at this once...Thanks

-That's it for now kiddies until next time