Sorry about the wait. I like doing weekly chapters but I had enough reason too. Chapters 2 and 3 form the first arc of the story I would say. The Origin Arc. I should perhaps label them or something so let me know what you think about that.

Anyway, since it's a two chapter arc, I was worried about enough words for chapter 3 so I had to write that as well. I got enough though so you get about 8600 words here and 6600 next chapter. Quite a lot altogether.

Anyway, let's head straight into the story.

Disclaimer: I don't own Fairy Tail or Bleach. Shame, it would be great if I did.


Protector Of The Fairies


Beginnings

Far away in an isolated part of the kingdom of Fiore, there exists a small town known as Karakura Town. A small place with a small community, most would think that it would be easy pickings for Dark Guilds and bandits. There were no troops of the Magic Council nearby to help them and the kingdom's own troops were too far away as well. So why was this town so safe?

The answer was in a small clinic in the middle of the city. In this clinic, a small family lived. The Kurosaki family.

Isshin Kurosaki ran the clinic. While there were many better doctors around, he was good enough to deal with small cases. When he had free time though, he helped defend the city alongside his wife, Masaki. He was known though to have some slight… problems with his personality.

Masaki was one of the kindest people in the city. Even the Mages she defeated and sent off felt like they had done something wrong, even if they had done much worse before and hadn't felt anything. She never seemed to get mad at anyone and never attacked anyone unprovoked.

She and Isshin together had three kids. The twins, Karin and Yuzu had only recently been born while their eldest child was already reaching nine. His name was Ichigo Kurosaki.

Ichigo was a strange child, different from most since the day he was born, and it wasn't just because of his bright orange hair. He was born with incredibly high Magical Power yet what was so peculiar about him was that no problems had ever occurred because of it. For most children, they would have fallen sick and could even have died if they were born with too much Magic, yet Ichigo had even more than them and was as healthy as any other child.

It had confused many of the people in their old town for months until they were about to ask the Magic Council about such a thing. Only Isshin's timely intervention had stopped them and to do so, he had cashed in every favour he owned. There was no knowing what the Magic Council would want to do if they learned of Ichigo's existence.

So the family had moved, left to Karakura Town. It was perfect for them. Isolated.

When the first bandits had appeared since their arrival, Isshin left to deal with them despite the warnings the others gave him. He returned an hour later with no sign of the bandits following him. To this day, no one knew what happened. Did he scare them off or did he kill them. In the end, they were just happy they were gone.

Of course, it wouldn't have stopped all the bandits. More came every once and a while but none reached the village. Eventually word reached some of the local Dark Guilds by an underground network. A village which suddenly had beaten ever attempt to attack it? It was just the challenge one of the Dark Guild members might have wanted for some fun.

They all failed just as easily as the bandits. Even a few times with Masaki going instead, they never reached the town despite Masaki being kinder in her methods. And eventually, they just stopped trying. The town wasn't able to be taken for their own purposes so it was better to leave it alone. The two Mages didn't seem to want to leave the city much so they were safe from them as long as they stayed away.

This had continued till Ichigo was nine and even then, they still were cautious around the town. While bandits were scared to approach the town though, the clinic was in chaos. It wasn't a Dark Mage that did it, rather it was the usual chaos in the family.

"You're late!" Isshin went flying towards his son, preparing to kick him in the face.

Ichigo ducked as he entered, Isshin flying out the door. Without wasting a moment, the door was shut before Isshin had a chance to crawl back in. Ichigo sighed at his father's antics before a beaming smile appeared on his face. He had seen his mother.

"Ah," said Masaki as she turned from what she was doing to smile at her son. "Welcome home Ichigo."

"Hey mum." Ichigo walked over to his mother to see the twins in cots behind her. "How are Yuzu and Karin?"

Masaki brought her son in towards her and hugged him. "Perfectly fine. Look at you though. Already acting like a good big brother."

Ichigo blushed. "Mum!"

"She's right!" The two glanced round towards a window to see Isshin climbing through it. Strange though. They could have sworn it was locked before.

Isshin smiled at Ichigo, a shiver suddenly going down the boy's spine. "Of course, now that you have to protect your sisters, we must step up your training. I will increase my level of stealth and strike when you least expect it."

Masaki shook her head at her husband. "Of course you will dear." It was fun to humour Isshin. His insanity was part of his charm. He wouldn't do it though, not if she had anything to say about it. Like she would ever let her little boy get hurt if she could help it.

Ichigo meanwhile had detached himself from his mother and was peering down at the twins. "They're so tiny."

"Of course. So were you when you were that age. And you were so cute too."

Ichigo made sure to look away from Masaki, concealing the blush on his face.

Isshin meanwhile was smiling at the whole scene. He had found himself doing this an awful lot since he had met Masaki. She was like the sun to them all and none of them cared that their lives revolved around her. They just all loved being near her.

"Oh Isshin." Isshin snapped out of his daydreams as he focused on Masaki. "I decided to take one of the requests people sent us."

Isshin acted exactly as she expected, rushing over to her and checking her all over, making sure she was alright.

"Are you sure? I mean you haven't been out on one in quite some time and Yuzu and Karin weren't born that long ago so you have to consider how that inactivity would have affected you and you haven't done many jobs since Ichigo was born and-"

Isshin was cut off from his ramblings as Masaki broke into laughter. Just hearing that laugh, he could feel all his worries fading away.

"You're such a worrywart. I'll be perfectly fine. It's just a simple group of bandits. They aren't even organised, more like a group of deserters who met up a few days ago and are causing trouble."

Isshin had to give her that one. Deserters from Fiore's army were normally handled internally. For them to leave these men alone meant that they weren't even through their basic training and as such, they were even weaker than normal bandits were.

Masaki felt a hand pulling at her arm. She looked down to see Ichigo looking at her with wide eyes, a pleading expression on his face. "Can I go with you?"

Isshin and Masaki both froze, Ichigo confused at the action. Was it something he said?

The two adults though were glancing at each other, almost having an entire conversation without saying a word. They had made sure Ichigo was safe from prying eyes in Karakura Town but elsewhere, what if someone noticed something strange about him? What if word spread about him and the Magic Council had heard something they couldn't stop from all those years ago. It wasn't just his large Magic quantity to worry about as well. The Magic Council was sure to know what their Magic was and any child of theirs would be watched closely if their existence was learned of. It had been hard enough to slip away unnoticed in the first place.

But then, Ichigo hadn't been out of Karakura Town in years. He had spent most of his life there and had been watched extremely carefully whenever they had left for a day or too. While the town they needed to go to was further than normal, it was still far enough away from any major Magic organisation to avoid detection. Ichigo wouldn't be staying in Karakura forever and would want to see some Magic in action as well.

Masaki sighed internally. What was the worst that could go wrong?

"Why not. We'll be leaving early tomorrow. Do you think you'll be okay with that?"

Ichigo smiled. "Of course. Thank you."

Isshin watched as Ichigo rushed upstairs, probably planning to pick out a few things to take, completely lost in his excitement. He glanced towards Masaki, the worry exposed on her face now that Ichigo was gone.

"Didn't you tell me not to worry." He grinned as he saw a small smile creep its way onto his wife's face.

"I did, didn't I."

Isshin wrapped an arm around her. "I know you're scared for him but I'm not. You'll be with him after all."

"You're stronger," Isshin heard Masaki mutter.

"But I'm a lot more noticeable." Masaki let out a small chuckled at Isshin's words. "You're the level headed one. And I trust you completely."

Masaki relaxed into Isshin's arms. "Thank you Isshin."

"Any time."


Protector Of The Fairies


The two left early that morning, Isshin forcing himself to get up to see them off. And then they were gone, heading down the road.

Ichigo was having the time of his life. Everything was new and different from what he saw in Karakura Town and he couldn't wait to see more. He had to stop himself from running all over the place in excitement.

Masaki smiled at Ichigo's barely concealed excitement. Seeing how happy he was made the whole risk worth it. They should probably take him out more as he got older. Karakura could be too small sometimes.

It took the pair a few hours to reach the new town. Ichigo pretended he could keep going for the entire journey while Masaki faked exhaustion to give him chances to rest.

Ichigo stared up at the new city. It wasn't anything special but to him, it was amazing. The houses were built slightly differently and there was a completely different feel about the place.

There were the downsides to the town as well. A flimsy wall had been quickly erected in a hurry and looked like it could fall down at any moment. Not much care had been put into it and it looked more they had just grabbed whatever they could to build it as it was a mix of wood, stone, and bricks.

Masaki frowned. This didn't look like the defence for a few weak deserters.

Her eyes scanned the crowds she passed as she and Ichigo went through the city. Most of the villagers would try to be subtle with their glances but some were outright in them. Their eyes showed a mix of both fear and hope.

A man approached them as they reached the town hall. He wore a formal kind of suit with an important air about him. Like the other residents though, he looked scared.

"I'm glad you came," the man said as he reached them. "Let's take this inside."

He gestured towards the town hall before leading them in to his office, the doors closing behind them and cutting off the rest of the village from them.

The man poured a cup of tea for himself before facing them. "Tea?"

"No thanks."

"Suit yourself." The man brought the cup to his lips before taking a sip, some of the tension he had fading with it. "A nice cup of this stuff always helps me calm down, you know."

"I assume you are the mayor?"

The man nodded. "Yes, I'm the mayor of this town. I represent our town's interests."

"Hey mister." The mayor looked down at Ichigo. "Why's there a big wall outside?"

Masaki nodded at her son's question. "I would like to know that as well. I was under the impression that you had a problem with a few deserters. That would make people believe it was to do with trade routes, not a raid."

"I'm sorry." The mayor couldn't meet her eyes. "I lied. That request I sent you was an older one."

"Why?"

The mayor hesitated. "Would you mind sending your son outside of the room a moment?"

Masaki looked at the man puzzlingly for a second before complying. "Wait outside a minute Ichigo. Don't wonder off."

"Fine." Ichigo closed the door for them, leaving the mayor and Masaki to talk. The two sat in silence for a moment, the only sound being heard coming from the mayor as he took a few more sips of his tea.

Masaki was the one to break the silence. "You haven't told me why yet?"

"Our town is too far away from any help the army can send easily. We sent a few requests out to the nearest guilds before we got cut off but those guilds were too weak."

"Too weak?"

"They're dead."

Masaki's eyes widened. "Dead?"

"Yes. No team they sent survived. Eventually, they just gave up. They lost too many of their friends."

Masaki felt her hands clench under the table. "Why did you send for me then?"

The mayor looked up at her, finally managing to look her in the eyes. He didn't show any fear anymore, rather that he had hardened his expression to as serious as he could get.

"We heard of you. Local news from one of the merchants who paid your town a visit. He heard of the Kurosaki family, the town's unofficial protectors."

"You haven't said why yet." The Mayor continued as if she hadn't interrupted him.

"I did some research into you two when things started getting bad. Through some old contacts before we lost communication, I learned that a Masaki Kurosaki and a Isshin Shiba disappeared almost nine years ago."

"What have you done?" Masaki found herself almost snarling at the man. It took a lot to get her mad, and if he was threatening her family, then that would be the trigger for it.

The mayor saw how close she was to snapping as he tried to calm her down. "I'm not threatening you-"

"Well it certainly feels like it."

"Please." The man dropped to his knees, shocking her. "I'm not trying to threaten you. I heard rumours, stories. They spoke of you two being different from normal Mages. Rumours about Shinigami and Quincy."

"Why would you need one of us? A normal Mage can still do the same job. Just get someone outside the blockade."

"It's not so much a blockade. More like a prison."

Masaki was about to say something when a bloodcurdling roar filled the air.

Before it even ended, Masaki was at the door and pulling Ichigo in. That roar sounded too much like a Hollow. She couldn't afford to let Ichigo out of her sight.

"Do you see now why I asked for you?" The mayor still hadn't left his begging position. "You recognise what that roar is. Most of the town don't know the truth about the monster, but there was something about it in the records I had available. Mentions of strange terrifying creatures with a pure white mask on their face."

"I beg of you," the mayor pleaded. "If not for me, but for the citizens of my town. You used to hunt these creatures. Please, help us."

Masaki looked down at the man. He was close to crying. He was literally putting every emotion he felt into his plead. Fear, worry, hope, despair, it was all there.

She could easily leave. A Hollow was dangerous. They were drawn to beings with high Magical Power, and Ichigo was practically a beacon of light for any nearby. All she had to do was leave now before it was too late. She was certainly fast enough if she carried Ichigo.

But looking at the mayor giving up even his dignity to beg her for her help, she just couldn't do it. She could have ignored it over at Karakura Town but she was here now. And she couldn't leave the situation as it was. There was even the risk that the Hollow would move on after this town and would eventually end up near Karakura Town. Worst case, it could attract unwanted attention.

Masaki sighed. "Where is this Hollow?"

"Thank you. Just thank you."

The mayor stood up, wiping his eyes. "We've had reports of it being in the forests north of here. That was a day ago though. The monster may have moved."

"It's there," said Masaki, not paying much attention to the shock the man was showing. "I can sense it now. It's not even hiding its presence from me anymore."

"Is… is that good?"

"Depends." Masaki looked down at Ichigo. "Ichigo, I need you to stay with this nice man."

"Huh? But why? I thought you said I can watch you in action?"

"I'm sorry sweetie." She crouched down before hugging her son. "It's more dangerous than I thought."

Ichigo pouted. "Fine."

"That's a good boy." Masaki turned her attention to the mayor. "I trust Ichigo will be safe here?"

"Here? Of course. He'll been fine."

"Good." Masaki walked towards the door before turning back to face the mayor one last time. "If he's not fine, the Hollow won't be the worst your town has to face."

The mayor shuddered as the Quincy left the room, Ichigo looking up at him. "Is your mother normally that scary?"

"Scary? She's the nicest person ever."

"I see." The mayor shuddered again. It was always the nicest that could be the scariest. Stupid suppressed aggression.


Protector Of The Fairies


Masaki found herself arriving at the forest quickly. She didn't bother rushing as the Hollow wasn't showing any signs of moving.

When did it work out she was coming. It must have tried hunting Ichigo at some point when they had gotten close to the city and sensed her presence. Hollows were creatures of instincts, and they trusted those instincts completely. Part of the Hollow must have screamed at itself about her being a Quincy, a built in survival instinct to avoid her.

Getting closer though, she could see why it was broadcasting its location to her. It was because it wasn't alone.

What had appeared to be one strong Hollow was instead a group of weaker Hollows, their presence merging together from a distance. It seemed that the mayor may have been quite accurate when he said there had been deserters previously. If she didn't know any better, she would bet that the deserters had become Hollows.

The mayor had said that he hadn't been threatening her. Now that she thought about it, it was better to send her the old request than the new one. If such a thing had been intercepted, people could have learned where she and her family were.

Still, a pack of weak Hollows was a slight problem. She hadn't lied to Isshin when she said she would be fine on the mission but she had expected deserters. Fighting a Hollow was slightly more dangerous, and after being out of practice for a while, she could find this fight harder than it would normally be.

She should have been practicing more. That was always her problem. If she had been keeping up with her skills, she would have sensed the Hollows a mile off before she even approached the town originally. She could still fire a bow though and she had her Bluts to fall back on. Those skills didn't dull, no matter how many years might pass.

Slowly, the trees began to thin out. The densely packed areas became sparser and sparser until she reached a small clearing, a river running through it. That same river carried on till it reached the edge of a cliff nearby, dropping down as a waterfall.

There wasn't any cover for the Hollows to hide, but then they hadn't planned to. In numbers, they had become more confident. They believed they could take her down so they didn't bother trying to hide from her, especially since if they did, she could just track them down one by one.

There were five of them in total. One had a bull like shape, even including horns attacked to its mask. It stood on its back legs and gave the impression it was more of a heavy hitter than anything else.

The second Hollow was more like a spider, with its eight legs and pincers. It could probably fire some kind of webbing as well.

The third was bird like, its arms being replaced by razor sharp wings. Likewise, its feet had become talons and its mask had the mouth extruding to form a beak.

One of the strangest Hollows she had ever seen was the fourth. It looked almost like a demonic flamingo with its incredible long thin legs and its terrifying appearance. Its long neck connected up to its face and mask, moving its head around a lot while never letting her out of its sight.

The last Hollow seemed to be the leader of the group. It was a lot like a giant hamster with red claws. There was a quite sinister smile on the Hollow's mask, and from the top of its head, a lure of some kind rested from it.

All of them had the typical hole through their chests as well. And they all were looking at her hungrily.

"Do any of you have names?"

None of the Hollows spoke, just staring at her. Eventually, the hamster like Hollow answered her.

"I am Grand Fisher."

Masaki nodded at the Hollow. "You know why I'm here."

"You're our food," the spider like Hollow called out.

"If you surrender now, it will all be over quickly."

"Surrender?" Grand Fisher began to laugh at the word, his voice filling the clearing. "Why would we do something as stupid as that?"

"You would save yourselves unnecessary pain."

"I think not." The Hollow licked its lips. "I'm quite hungry you know. And there is this delightful smell over in that village. Children are my favourite thing to eat as well."

Fury filled her very being as she held out her left arm. The Hollows were immediately on guard as they spotted the cross hanging around her wrist.

The cross glowed a bright blue as Masaki flowed her Magic into it before the energy shot outwards, pulling in energy from around itself. When it was done, a bow made of pure Eternano from the atmosphere was present.

The bird Hollow didn't wait like the others, instead taking to the skies. It began to circle Masaki from above before diving towards her.

Masaki was faster though. She took one look at the Hollow and aimed the bow upwards. Using her right arm, she pulled the string of the bow back and generated an arrow from the Eternano around her. It took less than a second to form and by the time that second finished, the arrow was already leaving the bow.

The Hollow sensed the danger the arrow posed but it was too late. The arrow smashed straight into the mask and shattered it, the Hollow disappearing with the destruction of its mask.

The other Hollows were already moving by the time she took out the bird Hollow though. The flamingo Hollow got their first and started stabbing towards her, using its long next and its flexibility to avoid any shots she tried to fire off at it.

The spider Hollow approached as she was occupied by the flamingo Hollow, firing off a blast of webbing of some kind.

Seeing the danger, Masaki began to move back from it only to find a wall of fur in her way, blocking her path. With no room to manoeuvre around her, she was left with no choice but to try and jump over it.

She didn't see the second set. As she began to descend, it smashed into her legs and rooted her to the ground.

Masaki swallowed the urge to cry out in pain. The webbing wasn't any ordinary webbing. It wasn't just stronger but it burned as well, almost like some kind of acid. She had to fire an arrow straight down to weaken the stuff enough to escape.

The distraction is caused her was complete though. A shadow appeared over her and she could just about see what was happening from the corner of her eye. All the attacks before had been cover for the bull Hollow to get as close as possible.

With a large roar, the Hollow brought one of its massive fists down on her, indenting to crush her. It smashed into her and sent her flying against the trees. The flamingo Hollow charged her ready to eat her remains and shot out its beak towards her.

Grand Fisher watched the scene and prepared to laugh in victory when he realised what the other Hollows hadn't. That attack just then would have weakened her or crippled her, yet she still should have been conscious and struggling in pain. So why wasn't she moving. It was almost like she was…

He froze as it all became clear before shouting towards the flamingo Hollow. "STOP! IT'S A TRAP!"

The flamingo Hollow froze in its actions but it was too late. Masaki's hand shot out and grabbed the Hollow by the neck, slowing pulling it closer towards her.

"What's the matter," she said to the Hollow as it struggled to break free. "Didn't you want to get closer to me?"

Using her free hand, she formed a tiny bow of Eternano with her fingers. The string was pulled back as she aimed it at the Hollow's mask.

"Heilig Pfeil."

The arrow smashed into the mask and kept going, firing a blast of energy out the back of the Hollow's head. The Hollow disappeared just like the first, Masaki stretching slightly as she picked herself up from the ground.

"Ah, that was close."

"Playing dead were you?" Masaki looked towards Grand Fisher as he spoke. "That blow should have crippled you or at least weakened you significantly. What did you do?"

Masaki gave the Hollow a smile before pulling by one of the sleeves on her top to reveal her arm. Nothing happened for a moment before a faint pattern of blue lines appeared across her skin.

"It's a nice little trick isn't it. You see, Quincy like myself have learned how to make up for our lack of defence and strength. By channelling our Magic through our body, we can enhance our abilities beyond what we would normally be capable of."

"I see. Does this technique have a name?"

Masaki looked at the Hollow in confusion. "You're interested in it? That's new for a Hollow."

The Hollow in question laughed. "Of course not. I only want to know the name of your trump card in order to destroy it."

A smiled crossed Masaki's face as she accepted the challenge. "The defence one is known as Blut Vene while the attack variation is Blut Arterie."

"Then watch as I crush it."

Grand Fisher charged at her and shot out a claw towards her. Before it connected though, Masaki vanished.

The Hollow barely dodged an arrow from above, reacting more on instinct that reasoning. He was lucky. If he hadn't moved then, he would have died.

"Since when did I say Blut was my only trump card?"

Grand Fisher glared up at Masaki who was standing on the air above him. "How?"

"Hirenkyaku. A Quincy can use it to ride a flow of Eternano beneath our feet. And as you can also see, we can also use it to stand on the air itself."

The three Hollows looked at each other before they all came to the same conclusion. They needed to bring her down. None of them could stand on the air like she could and none of them could fly. If they didn't bring her down, they were all dead.

The spider Hollow took aim and fired webbing up at Masaki. This time though, it spread out a lot more into a net rather than a ball.

Masaki dodged in a burst of Hirenkyaku before preparing to fire another arrow. Before she could though, the bull Hollow used its powerful strength to leap up to her height. It swiped its arms down at her and sent her flying down towards the ground.

Masaki just managed to catch herself mid fall before Grand Fisher was on her, launching large quantities of fur at her to try and grab her.

She quickly rolled under the fur and brought up the bow. Turning, she faced the spider Hollow.

The Hollow realised her intentions and leaped backwards, firing off a shield of webbing to block.

Unfortunately for the Hollow, Masaki had anticipated the action. The first arrow burned straight through the webbing, leaving a hole in it. The second was right behind the first arrow and smashed straight into the Hollow's mask, bringing the number of Hollows down to two.

The remaining two Hollows realised the situation they were in and as Masaki whirled round suddenly towards the bull Hollow, it raised its arms to defend itself.

Masaki sighed. They could have surrendered easily without this unnecessary trouble. Now they were just struggling at anything they could get their hands on. The bull Hollow was strong though, and due to being out of practice for a while, her arrows weren't as strong as they were normally.

There was no choice. She needed to finish this soon before they pulled something that actually would work. The traps they had used already were smart and she didn't want to find out if they had any secret trump cards like herself.

To get through the armour of the Hollow, she needed more power. Her Magic obeyed her request and activated Blut Arterie, increasing her offensive power.

She pulled back and fired. The arrow went clean through the armour the bull Hollow had obtained from its thick skin and hit the mask dead on.

Grand Fisher though had been waiting for her to be distracted. Whether it was by luck or because he worked out the weakness of the Bluts, it didn't matter. He struck his left hand at her, the claws grazing her side as she barely dodged being pierced.

The Hollow looked ready to do something but it was too late. Masaki brought back the string and fired an arrow. She didn't manage to hit the mask in her hurry but she was still in Blut Arterie. The extra force behind the arrow was enough to blast Grand Fisher straight off the cliff, falling into the water below.

Masaki brought herself to the edge of the cliff and scanned the area. She couldn't sense anything and she couldn't see the Hollow. Either the journey down was enough to kill him or a lucky rock had smashed into his mask, it didn't matter. She couldn't sense the Hollow's Magical Power any more. It was dead.

She let out a sigh of relief. That had been harder than she had expected. As least they had been weak, though some of them had some strange abilities.

The adrenaline left her body and she winced as she took a step away from the cliff. Blut Vene was also good at lessening the pain of injuries inflicted and she had a feeling she would be using it quite a bit for a while. Isshin was going to be so worried when she got home.

He would be worried anyway the moment he heard about the Hollows. If she knew him, he would be checking her for injuries within a second of getting home.

At least the mission was done now. She got rid of the Hollows and was now free to go home with Ichigo. It was a shame the Hollows had been the real threat. She would have loved to show him how her Magic worked against some deserters or someone of similar level. Oh well. There was always next time.

She left the area quickly, hurrying to get back to Ichigo. If she had stayed a moment later, she might have noticed the small burst of Magical Energy from below. Down at the bottle of the cliff, a hand shot out of the water and grabbed onto the rocks nearby.


Protector Of The Fairies


The mayor tried to ignore the orange haired boy as he asked question after question. It was like he had never seen or heard of anywhere outside his home town.

"Hey mister," Ichigo asked as he peered out of the window. "What's that statue about?"

He couldn't be this annoying all the time could he. How did he have so many questions? Was his mother overprotective or something? It was definitely a possibility considering how she reacted when he said he had learned of where she and her husband were.

He let of a sigh of relief as Ichigo lost interest in the statue, instead engrossing himself in one of the books he had in his office. He was lucky he had them else the boy would have been even worse. The books at least satisfied some of his curiosity.

Speaking of the boy, was he the reason why Masaki was so defensive and angry about him finding out where she was? He did seem to have a fair amount of Magical Power. He himself could only use a bit of Magic and even he could sense the boy's power, just hiding beneath the surface.

He wondered when Masaki would get back. She had left quite a while ago and she still wasn't back yet. He wished he could be like that orange haired boy, so calm and carefree. To him, his mother didn't have a chance at losing. She would be back. The convictions and beliefs of children were so simple like that, so much that he envied him.

If Masaki lost, then their town was doomed. No other options were available and by the time someone did hear of their situation, it would probably be too late. He cursed the fact that his town was so isolated. Even if Masaki managed to succeed, they would need to stop something like this from ever happening again. Perhaps petition the Magic Council or the King's Army for some sort of outpost nearby.

He was almost ashamed of what he was thinking of doing. To get such a thing to happen so quickly, he would need to provide an incentive. He had meant it when he said he wasn't threatening the Quincy, and he was true to his word. He just never said he wasn't planning to use that information anyway. He had to protect his town as his first priority, even if he had to tell the Magic Council about the family's location.

Masaki Kurosaki and Isshin Shiba had hidden for a reason and it was probably to do with that orange haired boy in the room. Maybe it was the boy's Magical Power as he did think it was strange for such a child to have so much available for him to eventually draw upon.

A knock on the door snapped him out of his shameful thoughts and he put on a smile as Masaki walked through the door. If she was back, then that meant only one thing.

"Is it done? Did you succeed?"

"Yes." A simple answer but it was all he needed. His home was safe for now.

"If that's all…" Masaki held out a hand, obviously waiting for the money from the job. The mayor quickly handed over the money. One hundred thousand Jewels was a good reward, far more than she would have received on the original job. He was glad when she accepted it without a word, not demanding more for having to fight those Monsters instead of deserters.

Masaki gave the Jewels a quick look over before putting it away in. She put out her hand towards Ichigo who grabbed it quickly as she let him to the exit of the office.

The mayor looked out to the town as she left and believed she was gone till he heard a few words.

"Don't ever expect my help again."

He heard the footsteps retreating and collapsed into his office's chair. He deserved it, he knew, for what he had done and for what he was going to do. He just hoped she wouldn't hold it against him too much if she ever found out. Because whatever he did, no matter how many of his own morals he needed to break, he was the mayor of this town first and foremost. He had a duty to his people and he would keep them safe, no matter the cost.


Protector Of The Fairies


"Hey mum?" said Ichigo as the two walked along the path back to Karakura. They had left the town as fast as possible under his mother's instance yet despite how rushed it had been, he had loved every minute of it.

"Yes Ichigo," Masaki said, looking down at her son.

"Today was fun wasn't it?"

Masaki wondered how to answer that question. To Ichigo, he had been having the time of his life. To her, it had been one thing to worry about after another, with the normal ever present fear for Ichigo of course. She hadn't felt so stressed in her life and she was still managing to try and stay happy for her son. So as for it being fun… she wasn't sure.

She couldn't help but admit that she had loved using her Magic again. It was exhilarating despite the events of today and she couldn't help but notice that she wouldn't mind doing a mission again from time to time. It was just so relaxing and empowering having Magic flow through your body like when she used the Bluts. She was still using Blut Vene and would probably keep using it till she got home so Isshin could have a look at her legs.

"It was fun." That was an appropriate answer to give.

Ichigo looked at his mother hopefully. "Can we go on another mission again?"

Would they? This mission had put her on edge, and she was worried if such a thing would happen again. She couldn't dare risk her little boy.

But she had seen how excited he was to see somewhere outside of Karakura Town. They had always been careful with what he saw inside the city, not wanting him to learn too much about Fiore to try and suppress his curiosity till he was older. A late teenager with high Magical Power was unusual but not impossible. It would be far less suspicious to people if they never learned that he had an amount of Magical Power that should have destroyed him from birth.

"Not for a while."

"Oh." Ichigo's face dropped. Masaki almost caved then and there. It was heartbreaking to see such an expression on his face, but it was for his own safety that he stayed in Karakura Town. As long he was within grip of her and Isshin, he was safe.

She couldn't just leave it like this though. And Ichigo had wanted one thing for a long time now.

"If you want though, I can teach you some Magic."

That did the trick. Ichigo was smiling again. He practically radiated happiness as he looked up at her. "Really?"

"Of course."

Ichigo let go on his mother's hand as he jumped around in joy. He would finally learn Magic. It was every kid's dream to do so.

Masaki watched him from afar as he ran ahead before picking up her own pace. Maybe they should have begun teaching him a year or two ago. No matter, it was too late for that now. She wondered how he would take to Magic. Would his high amounts of it prove helpful or detrimental?

She hoped Isshin wouldn't be too mad at her promising such a thing without consulting him as well. He wouldn't be mad too long though and the mission would distract him. Besides, he wouldn't be able to say no when he saw how happy Ichigo was. Better that he learn Magic now than go exploring and increase risk of discovery.

Masaki saw Ichigo ahead and noticed he had stopped running.

"What's wrong Ichigo?"

Ichigo smiled up at her before he quickly embraced her. "Thank you."

Masaki returned the smile. "You don't need to say thank you to me for something you deserve to know."

"I meant letting me go outside Karakura." Masaki raised an eyebrow at his response.

"What do you mean?"

Ichigo shuffled nervously. "I know you don't like me wandering too far away from home."

Masaki wondered how he had worked it out but then no one ever said that Ichigo wasn't a smart child. "You know your mum always wants to make sure you're safe right?"

Ichigo nodded enthusiastically. "Yeah."

"Always remember that."

The two kept walking in silence after that, both content. It was only later on that Masaki began to feel a sense of unease.

She couldn't explain why she felt like that. It was strange. The mission was complete and the Hollows were eliminated. If anything, she should still be happy like before.

It didn't help that she kept scanning the surroundings. It felt like she was being watched. Not just watched though. Identified, analyzed, even judged. She couldn't sense anyone nearby but she still felt like she was being suffocated by something, as if there was someone nearby who was a direct threat to them.

She subconsciously pulled Ichigo closer, hoping to shield him from whatever presence she was feeling. He squirmed slightly but she didn't let go. The feeling was getting stronger and it was too loud for her to ignore. It was even making her lose focus on Blut Vene and she could feel some of the pain returning.

Could she have counted wrong with the Hollows? What if there had been six or seven or more? They could have been stalking them and hoping to ambush them. As proved before, large groups of weak Hollows could still be dangerous.

She noticed Ichigo trying to get her attention. "Mum. Look."

She followed her gaze and found it landing on the man ahead of them. The man's spiky black hair was easy to recognise along with his 'cool' stubble around his face. It was just a thin amount of facial hair yet he always went on about how cool it made him look.

It was Isshin.

Hey dad!" shouted Ichigo as he broke free of his mother, setting out on a sprint to meet his father.

Masaki's hands gripped thin air before wrapping around herself. This wasn't right. Something was wrong. Something was dreadfully wrong.

Why was Isshin here? Did he perhaps hear something about the mission and had rushed over to meet her? What about the twins?

He would have left them with someone she reasoned. But what if he was here because of the twins? What if something had happened? Something he couldn't stop.

She had to be exaggerating she again reasoned. She was panicking, she knew that, but she couldn't stop. Her mind was running through too many scenarios. What if the Magic Council had found them? What if they had caught the attention of too many Dark Guilds and they had decided to team up to go after them?

But what was worst was that Isshin was standing right ahead of her down the path yet his presence wasn't reassuring her? Why? He never failed to calm her down when she got worried. He could just say a few words or even just stand there near her. So why wasn't he now? What was wrong?

It hit her like a tonne of bricks. Isshin. There was something wrong with him. Both her mind and her soul were in agreement about it but what was wrong.

Ichigo was almost at Isshin by this point. As he got closer and closer, Isshin seemed more and more sinister.

It was as Ichigo almost reached him that she saw it. A pair of eyes staring out from the trees, and a large white mask.

Her eyes followed the part on top of the Hollow's head till it reached where Isshin was. It was almost like Isshin was a lure…

Lure! Grand Fisher! It had to be. Whenever he had attacked her before with his claws, he had always seemed to try and use his left claw. Why? Could they have done something she wasn't aware of?

She was moving instantly though. One thing she remembered Grand Fisher telling her had engraved itself in her mind. He enjoyed eating children, and he wanted Ichigo.

Hirenkyaku. It was almost instinctive to use it at this point. She didn't have time to reach Ichigo by running. She could shout out but the Hollow could move faster than Ichigo could run. Hirenkyaku was the only thing fast enough to save him.

She appeared right in front of Ichigo, grabbing him and forcing him behind her. The Hollow had already begun to strike at this point.

Blut Vene. It was already running, strengthened as high as it would go. No matter how hard the Hollow tried, it wouldn't be able to wound her. This could stand up to some of Isshin's strongest attacks after all and Blut Vene was her speciality.

Then the worst happened.

Before her eyes, as Grand Fisher's jaw began to close towards her, she felt weak. Blut Vene disappeared as she felt all her power vanishing. It was draining away before her eyes and it would be gone way before the Hollow in front of her finished biting down on her. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion.

She stifled the desire to scream in pain as the Hollow's teeth ripped into her body. She didn't even recognise that she was falling as the Hollow released her from his grip.

"MUM!"

Grand Fisher let out a booming laugh as he stretched his arms out wide. "Do you see? You shouldn't have assumed I would be as weak as the others."

The Hollow raised his left hand. Masaki could just about manage to see what he was showing them.

"With my left hand, I can peer into your memories. All it takes is a single cut with them."

Grand Fisher then made to move his other arm, revealing his right hand to them.

"With my right, I bring them to reality. I find the one you can never harm or the one you never suspect and imprint them onto my lure. Did you never wonder why I went by Grand Fisher yet you never saw my lure have a purpose?"

"It was a shame you know." Grand Fisher looked down at her. "You could have killed me. You realised something was up and could have easily killed me if it wasn't for your son."

The Hollow turned his attention to Ichigo.

"How does it feel brat. How does it feel to know that you are responsible for your mother's death?"

Ichigo stood there in shock, not contemplating anything but those words. His mother was lying down on the ground, a pool of blood around her. Was it his fault? She saved him at the cost of her own life.

"Ichigo…" Masaki tried calling out to her son, her voice weak. She could already feel herself slipping away.

Ichigo didn't response. She tried again and this time managed to get his attention a little. The boy was on his knees instantly, crouching down by her with tears in his eyes.

"Mum. I'm sor-"

"Don't cry Ichigo," she said softly, trying to enjoy the last moments she could with her son before she was gone. "Big boys don't cry after all."

Ichigo tried to wipe some of the tears from his eyes but they wouldn't stop. He was gripping her hand tightly, as if begging her not to go. It was breaking her heart to have to leave him in such danger.

"Stay safe… and… be happy…" She was finding each word harder and harder to say. She just had time to say one last thing to him. Just three words.

"I love you."

The light faded from her eyes as her body slumped on the ground.

"Mum?"

No response. Her body didn't move as the rest of her blood spilled from the wound. Even that would eventually end, leaving nothing more than a lifeless corpse on the ground.

"Mum?"

Ichigo kept trying. Hoping, no begging, that she would open her eyes again. That it was all a bad dream and he would wake up soon, his mother there to reassure him everything would be okay.

Nothing. Still nothing.

"She isn't getting back up." Grand Fisher relished in the boy's despair as he taunted the child. He'd let the kid get consumed by his own pain for a few minutes and then he would devour him. It would be a fair trade in his opinion. The lady had taken four of his brethren so it was only fair that he should get some compensation.

The boy definitely smelled strong, even if he couldn't use that strength. He would put that strength to good use when he incorporated some of it into his own.

He decided that he had waited long enough. He approached the boy slowly, enjoying those last moments of pain the boy would have. It was fun to torment people.

He was right over the kid when he heard the boy speak. It couldn't hurt to listen to him for a moment. He would die no matter what.

"What did you say brat?"

"Wake up."

The kid was still talking about his mother it seemed. He wondered if the kid even heard him speak and had actually been just speaking to his dead mother.

Shame. He wasn't sure what he had expected but he had hoped something better. Oh well. It was time to feast.

"Wake up."

Did the child never shut up? He was just about to eat the kid and he had to keep talking. It was infuriating to him.

"Wake up, wake up, wake up."

That was it. He couldn't take it anymore. The child would be quiet when he was dead.

He lunged towards the boy, claws extended and his jaw wide. He would devour the boy in one go, and then he wouldn't have to deal with the child's incessant chattering again.

"WAKE UP!"

The Hollow couldn't react in time. The boy was enveloped in a pillar of Magical Energy, all being emitted by that same child. Grand Fisher didn't even have a chance to scream out before he was disintegrated, the sheer volume of Magic suddenly released too much for his body to take. Even some of the ground around the boy was shaking, rocks being forced into the air before being crushed into oblivion.

And by the time the Magic faded, the Hollow was gone and Ichigo was safe. He didn't notice though. He just stared out into space, lost to the world.

"Please wake up."


Protector Of The Fairies


And there you have it. You get to see the first glimpse of how Ichigo started off.

How did you like how I portrayed Masaki? She got to fight a bit but I also tried to show how she would think. She's a nice person but she cares about her family more than anything else. If anything can make her mad, it's if they are threatened.

It was an interesting fight to do. I had originally planned to have deserters like I said and then to have Grand Fisher surprise them on their way home, but then I got to the town. I ended up writing it more like it was in danger and I realised that these weak deserters posed no threat to the town on such a scale. Hollows however could.

The Mayor was just a small character, but I enjoyed writing his point of view. He cares for his people and is prepared to do anything for them.

Anyway, till the next time. I've been Takei. Thanks for reading.