The Eternal Guardians

Soul Society Arc

Chapter 08 – Shinobi




## Previously ##

"Already playing mind games eh, Tatsuki-chan." Naruto thought with a smirk and turned to face the leader of the Gotei 13. Yamamoto Genryusai, the captain-commander. "Time…has not been kind to you, Yama." He commented with a small smile.

"And you have not changed one bit…Naruto-sensei!"

## Now ##

"SENSEI!?" Kyouraku sputtered in surprise, looking between his old sensei and the blond Ryoka. He must have misheard or something. Yamamoto was the stuff of myths. A legendary warrior, the creator of the Gotei 13 and one of the most influential men in the entirety of Soul Society.

Naruto turned to the captain of the eight division with a raised eyebrow. "Yes…" Naruto trailed off. "Don't they teach you history anymore?" He asked almost rhetorically.

"I-" Kyouraku stuttered, surprised by the sudden question. He didn't really have an answer either. They did teach him history but to be honest, he knew nothing of the blonde standing in front of him right now.

"I'll take that as a no." Naruto frowned, turning once more to gaze at Yamamoto who seemed older than he had ever been. "It's a shame." He sighed.

"Now." Naruto's voice returned the previous sharp tone. "Yamamoto, release Tatsuki!"

Yamamoto let out a short, mocking laugh. "You seem to misunderstand, Naruto-sensei." Yamamoto's voice was sharp and harsh. "You no longer have any authority in here. That ended when you left, leaving us in shambles with no leadership to speak of. You left!" Yamamoto nearly spat out his words.

"Do you have any idea what you caused by simply leaving? Without even choosing an heir to carry the torch? Without you to enforce your authority, the Soul Society became nothing but pure chaos. It took me centuries to pick up the pieces and put it back together to a mere shadow of its former self." Yamamoto growled, surprising the remaining captains and Naruto with the amount of aggression.

"So no! I will not release this Ryoka." Yamamoto grounded out, hitting his cane on the floor and causing ripples of energy to echo through the room. The wood around the cane vanished revealing a simple and yet elegant katana.

"Oi, Sensei!" Ukitake gasped in surprise, cautiously taking a step back as with all other captains. "Are you going to fight him yourself?"

"I'm the person responsible for protecting the Soul Society now!" Yamamoto said sharply, his katana bursting into flames that radiated heat and light across the room. "And I will die to defend it if necessary, as would any of my captains!"

Naruto looked completely stunned at the turn of events but even himself couldn't help but to let a small, nostalgic smile to cross his face. "Always quick to anger." He muttered more to himself. His thoughts drifted to what remained of his old Seireitei. Perhaps it had been a mistake to leave so suddenly.

"I figured my home would be in capable hands." Naruto said softly. "If that is what happened then you have my apologies, Yamamoto."

"However…" Naruto said, snapping his head upwards, his blood red eyes blazing into life. "I have returned Yamamoto, and I will put my house in order once more!"

"Don't look him in the eyes!" Yamamoto warned letting his powerful reaitsu wash over the room. "A single glimpse is enough…and then you will be trapped in a world of illusions for all eternity."

"Just a little bit then!" Naruto thought, flaring his chakra across the room, and unlike Yamamoto's spiritual energy, Naruto's had a much more physical interaction. The wood beneath his feet creaked, sending splinters flying across the room. The building shook, the walls cracking into spider web patterns over multiple locations.

"That little display of power no longer impresses me, sensei." Yamamoto said, taking a step forward, the air becoming saturated with his vast reaitsu. "I've grown strong, sensei. Far stronger than you remember me, all those years ago, when I was still young."

The remaining captains stepped backwards even more, looking between both warriors in confusion and apprehension. What were they supposed to do? Should they fight with Yamamoto or simply step aside and let their commander make short work of this blond Ryoka?

Naruto smirked and bent his knees. His heart hammered in his chest. He had longed for this ever since he heard Yamamoto was still alive. The thrill to fight his student at the peak of his power. "I've told you this countless times, Yamamoto, and I will tell you once more. Measuring yourself against me…" Naruto's eyes glowed with barely restrained power. "…is only setting yourself up for disappointment."

"There won't be any fighting or killing today." A soft voice echoed through the room, breaking the hostility and tension almost instantly.

Yamamoto and the remaining captains looked surprised as another Ryoka slowly walked inside. But this one was completely different from the blonde. For starters she was obviously female, with delicate facial features and long, sweeping dark blue hair. She had featureless eyes, giving the impression of blindness to those unware of her bloodline.

But the main difference was not her soft tone, or even the gentle smile in her face, but rather an aura of warmness and kindness that radiated instinctively to those more attuned to energy sensing. It was the mother. The female protective spirit.

Every captain seemed to sigh in relief with her presence, whether they were consciously aware of it or not. Even the old, battle worn Yamamoto cracked a small smile at her presence. "Lady Hinata." He commented rather softly.

"Genryu-kun." Hinata replied with a gentle smile, stopping and standing side by side with Naruto.

## With Ichigo and the rest ##

Ichigo was unceremoniously tossed into the cold, wet floor of the sewers. He groaned at the impact but was quick to pick himself together and rise – only to be on the receiving end of a vicious slap, courtesy of Yoruichi Shihōin.

"You stupid boy!" Yoruichi hissed, slapping with all her strength. Ichigo groaned and crashed to the floor again. "You stupid, stupid boy!" She snarled, making him flinch. On the side, Orihime, Chad and Uryuu watched in silence.

"Didn't I tell you to stay put?" Yoruichi asked sharply, but received no answer from Ichigo aside from a defeated face. "I told you countless times that captains were far ahead of you didn't I? And you thought it would be a good idea to fight one head on. Byakuya of all people!" Yoruichi cursed and Ichigo's silence seemed to make angrier still. "Do you have anything to say?"

"You left her behind…" Ichigo whispered, getting a sigh from Yoruichi.

"I didn't have a choice." Yoruichi said, running a hand through her hair as she sat down. "I could only carry one of you and still outrun Byakuya."

"You should have saved her. I was still conscious enough to fight." Ichigo countered sharply.

"You're so naïve, Ichigo." Yoruichi sighed. "You already fought Byakuya and lost badly. Tatsuki on the other hand is unknown to them. Byakuya merely injured her enough to get her out of the fight. You, on the other hand, would have been killed for your current and past transgressions."

"It doesn't matter. You still left her behind." Ichigo said, looking at the floor with his hair covering his eyes.

"I've already sent a message to Naruto. They will get her back. Don't worry." Yoruichi replied and Ichigo simply nodded in reluctance. "Come train." Yoruichi ordered and Ichigo followed in silence but she understood. She had lost his trust by her decision.

## Back with Naruto & Hinata ##

"It seems we have reached a standstill." Naruto said, feeling perfectly comfortable even with all the tension in the room. Standing by his right side, Hinata sent him a wondering look. "What will you do now, Yamamoto? Are you going to fight us both?" Naruto asked, watching as the old commander looked between his old teachers.

"ENOUGH OF THIS!" Kenpachi roared, struggling against his chains. Naruto raised an eyebrow at his outburst. "REMOVE THIS CHAIN AND LET ME AT YOU!"

Naruto looked at Hinata with a smirk while she shook her head. His chains loosened slightly and that was all Kenpachi ever needed. His hand shot to his right eye, ripping off his eye patch and exploding with power, completely disintegrating the chains restraining him. His eyes and body gained a yellow hue due to all the reaitsu being unleashed.

"Oh…" Naruto trailed off, looking at the display of power. "It is indeed impressive for someone like you." Naruto's eyes turned to face the old captain whose eyes had never left him and Hinata. "You may have a contender for your place." Naruto's comment seemed ignored by the captain.

Kenpachi threw his head back and laughed madly as his reaitsu surged outwards. His fingers gripped his blade more tightly. Kenpachi coiled, almost like a snake and with a roar, he charged forward, blitzing through the wooden floor with unavoidable speed and leaving nothing more than a trail of destruction behind.

He was upon Naruto in the blink of an eye, seemingly too fast for the blonde to react. And with one final roar he swung his sword in a wide arc, hoping to bisect the Ryoka in one fast and smooth movement. The chipped and worn down blade sliced through the air unstopped until it hit Naruto's armor with a sharp clink sound and halted altogether.


"You seem surprised?" Naruto asked, gently trailing his fingers over the rough blade. "A sealed Zanpakutou could never hope to scratch my armor." Naruto replied, sliding the blade between his fingers and snapping the blade in half.

Kenpachi roared, dropping the blade's hilt and charging forward. Around Naruto and Hinata, the room exploded in chaos as the remaining captains took Kenpachi battle roar as the start of the battle. Only Yamamoto stood still, watching the events.

Kenpachi sent a punch forward. Naruto surveyed the room calmly while the fist came closer and closer. Mere inches from making contact, his eyes glowed an eerie red and everything froze.

"WHAT?" Kenpachi snarled, feeling his entire body lock up with only his eyes and mouth being able to move, although barely.

Slowly but surely, everyone around Naruto and Hinata started slowing down and soon enough every single captain was frozen in place, looking at the Ryoka with no small amount of shock and, to some small degree, fear.

Some captains were airborne, their hands clasping the Zanpakutou in drawing motions. Others stood behind, their hands and lips in weird positions as they channeled Kido spells. Only Yamamoto had stood perfectly still and much like the remaining captains, he stood unable to move.

"Go on." Naruto muttered and Hinata stepped forward, ducking under the charging Kenpachi who even now was snarling at them. She walked forward, moving gracefully between the frozen captains much like they were dummies at the dress shop. She stepped around Byakuya who hid their goal behind him.

Behind Byakuya stood Tatsuki in a near catatonic state, having been completely unprepared for the amount of energy unleashed in the room. Hinata brought her fingers to her forehead and gently tapped her. Tatsuki broke away from her shock instantly. "Hinata!" Tatsuki called out and made a movement forward, only to grimace as pain flared in her wound.

Hinata ran her hand over Tatsuki's chest, leaving a green glow as trail. Tatsuki's deep wound closed up instantly and alongside it, both her torn shirt and chest plate. She felt the tiredness and clouded vision dissipate immediately, and just like that, Tatsuki was back in her feet like nothing had happened in the first place.

"How?" Tatsuki whispered, moving her arm and shoulder to search for any signs of pain or stiffness.

"The human body, while a piece of art, is nothing but a temporary shell made of flesh and bone and chakra." Hinata replied, pulling Tatsuki up. "Let's go." Hinata said, walking out with Tatsuki on her trail. She passed Naruto uncertainly but he simply gave her a small nod.

"Yamamoto." Naruto called out, still perfectly aware that the old captain, while frozen, still had access to all his senses. "If you truly wish to settle any debts with me you know where to find me. Tomorrow at noon! I will see how much you truly grew!" Naruto turned around to leave and walked until he reached the door, stopping at the threshold.

"One more thing." Naruto said, looking backwards with a smirk. "Your warning about my eyes came a little late. You were all in my illusions the moment I opened these doors." Naruto said with a laugh before he simply shimmered away.

Inside the room, the damage in the walls and floor disappeared, revealing them to be in pristine condition. And the chaos among the captains with drawing motions and spells at the tip of their tongs disappeared like a mirage. All that was left were twelve captains who simply stood in perfect formation with Yamamoto at the head.

Then they all blinked, coming to the realization that everything that had happened when the Ryoka entered the room had been an illusion. But the damage was done, the Ryoka had managed to retrieve their own.


"We have to do something!"

"We must chase and apprehend them."


"Silence." The entire Gotei 13 was silenced with a simple word from their commander whose voice had never rose a single octave above normal. The silence stretched for seconds on end, but neither captain dared to speak before his leader.

"Uhm…Sensei?" Ukitake asked, looking at his teacher in hesitation.

"I know what you are going to ask." Yamamoto sighed, feeling his long years of live finally weighing down. "You all want to know about the Ryoka." Yamamoto's statement was followed by a series of nodes even though it was never a question.

"In my time, they went by Ootsutsuki Naruto and Ootsutsuki Hinata."

"Ootsutsuki?" Byakuya mused out loud. "I don't believe I ever heard of that family."

"You wouldn't." Yamamoto cracked a sarcastic laugh. "They are older than any of us. Probably as old as the Soul Society itself."

"That is not possible." Unohana intervened. "They are Humans. I could see that much."

"They are different. They are immortals. Their kind always had tricks up their sleeves." Yamamoto muttered, gripping his wooden cane more tightly.

"Kind?" Hitsugaya asked in confusion, looking at Unohana. "I thought you said they were humans."

"They are." Yamamoto interrupted, peering down at the young captain. "They are the last of a long-lost race of warriors." This time Yamamoto turned to face Soifon. "I do believe you know of them. They were called Shinobi."

Soifon froze at the word. "It is not possible. They are nothing but myths. Stories you tell children to behave."

"I assure you they were indeed very real." Yamamoto answered with a toothy grin.

"What are these Shinobi exactly?" Aizen asked, unable to stop his curiosity.

"Assassins." Soifon whispered and shivered as if a cold draft had passed by. "They were the most vicious and ruthless warriors to ever live. They did not believe in honor, remorse or even mercy. Their only redeeming quality was their undying loyalty to their village and leader."

"They were the deadliest warriors to ever exist. Trained from the moment they took their first steps, shinobi were versed in all forms of hand to hand and weapon combat, human physiology, mind arts, strategy, surveillance, interrogation. The list goes on and on."

"It is said they were death's hands. That once a target was chosen, they would rise from his shadow, slit his throat and disappear without a trace as if they were ghosts. However, they were not feared by their extensive record and abilities, but for one single skill that only they alone possessed."

"Their ability to bend energy. Shinobi could control all of the elements. They could breathe flames, control the water and the wind, bend earth with a small wave of hands and control lightning like no storm could. The stories say that Shinobi had monstrous strength and unparalleled speed, so fast that you would be dead and not even know it yet."

"Legends speak of their profound knowledge of the universe and powerful abilities that stretched beyond the realm of the living. There are stories that tell that these warriors even possessed the power to call back fallen allies." Soifon finished at the room was filled with a deafening silence.

"If they were so powerful how come they are so dead?" Kenpachi asked, breaking through the silence with a sharp, mocking laugh.

"As strong as they were, they had one weakness." Soifon replied. "Time. Time was their enemy. Their knowledge took years to learn and decades to master. By that time, their human body was old and spent."

"It seems then, that these Ryoka conquered this weakness." Kyouraku commented.

"Yes…" Soifon trailed off, worrying thoughts filling her head. "Some stories say that the Quincy were remnants of their long-forgotten bloodlines."

"Is that true or a mere supposition?" Unohana asked very quickly.

"Unclear. We don't even have any concrete proof of these shinobi existence." Soifon replied.

"Forget that! I want to know about the blonde Ryoka. Naruto, was it?" Kyouraku asked, turning to face his sensei. "You called him sensei." He stated and watched as the whole room focused on the Yamamoto once more.

"Naruto was my sensei, a long time ago. Long before the existence of the Gotei 13, when I was nothing more than a punk running through the streets, lost and hungry. He found me and saw the potential I had. He took me here, to the Seireitei where he trained me along others." Yamamoto sighed, thinking back to all that time ago.

"Back then we did not have the academy. Shinigami were few and far between. Naruto was our teacher in the ways of combat. There were a couple dozens of us but I was the best, the smartest, the strongest…" Yamamoto reminisced. "I was his favorite. His apprentice. His heir."

"But…" Ukitake asked, feeling the dreadful silence fill in the gaps.

"We had a falling out. I did something that went against his principles. A few days later he was gone and the Soul Society descended into chaos until I managed to pick it up." Yamamoto finished.

"And the woman?"

"His wife, Lady Hinata. She taught us the subtler aspects of combat. But make no mistake, she is just as dangerous and just as powerful as he is." Yamamoto warned very seriously. "They are the leaders of The Ten."

"The Ten?" Hitsugaya asked, his mind filling with dread at Yamamoto's words.

"You think they were only two?" Yamamoto barked with bitter laughter. "There are ten of them. They have many names in the Human World. In here, they were simply known as The Ten. The rulers of the Soul Society back then. Naruto and Hinata are the leaders and the strongest of The Ten."

"And their abilities?" Hitsugaya asked, gripping his Zanpakutou strongly. They were facing powerful opponents who seemed to have a deep understanding about the Soul Society.

"Far too many to say. If you face one of them in combat, the only advice I can give is this…" Yamamoto said seriously, looking at every captain in the eye. "Fight! Fight with everything you have. Fight as if your life depends on it, because it most surely will."

"Tomorrow I will face my old sensei. Ukitake, Kyouraku!" Yamamoto called out, making both captains snap into attention. "You two will come with me, to try and keep the woman from interfering." Yamamoto said, making both captains nod in understanding.

"Try?" Kyouraku mouthed in silence to Ukitake, who shrugged in confusion.

"The remaining captains, a word of caution." Yamamoto began, his voice cold and serious. "You have already seen the state of Captain Ichimaru was reduced to, when he came face to face with them. Bankai is mandatory against them. Do not underestimate them! They are as vicious as the old stories!"

## Later – With Naruto, Hinata and Tatsuki ##

Naruto and Hinata appeared back in home dimension, coming through the breach the blonde had opened between Soul Society and their home. "Come on." Naruto turned around, calling out Tatsuki that remained on the other side of the portal. "There is nothing to be afraid."

Tatsuki for her part seemed a little hesitant into crossing the threshold. She looked at the transparent membrane in front of her. Even now the membrane rippled slowly like water in a calm lake. She reached forward with her right arm and gripped the membrane, but felt nothing in her hand.

She closed her eyes and pushed forward, passing the membrane quickly. Once she had stepped through, the portal closed behind her. "That was so creepy." She said, shivering at the thought.

Then she looked around and gasped at the impressive sight to behold. If it ever was a definition for paradise, then this was it. Lush green grass covered the grounds around the stone pavement. At the end, an archway, covered with many beautiful flowers wrapped around the cold stone.

Naruto and Hinata stood behind Tatsuki, looking as she walked forward with wonder in her eyes. Tatsuki took a deep breath as stepped beneath the entrance and an amazingly palate of smells rushed her brain. She shivered, in a good way, and continued forward, running her hand over the smooth rail stone.

"My god…" She whispered, looking over the rail and the gigantic waterfall beneath it. "This place is beautiful. Where are we?" She asked, looking at the vast mountains that surrounded the house in front of her.

"Our home." Hinata replied, walking forward and placing a hand over her shoulder. "Come on. Let's go inside."

"This is breathtaking." Tatsuki said, looking at the bright sun in the sky and hearing the rushing sound of the water below. "Where is this place exactly?"

"Nowhere." Naruto answered this place. "We are not on Earth anymore. We are in another dimension. There is nothing but void after those mountains, Tatsuki."

"Still…" Tatsuki breathed out, going after Hinata. There was something magical about this place. She had seen plenty of beautiful sights and others images in the internet of course, but this place had a certain calling to itself.

"Where is Ichigo?" Tatsuki asked, following Hinata as they navigated through the maze that seemed to their compound.

"He is training with Yoruichi." Hinata replied and looked as Tatsuki's face saddened ever so slightly. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing. Just thought we would be training together is all." Tatsuki said and Hinata raised an eyebrow at the answer but asked nothing further.

After walking a couple more minutes they finally arrived at the place where Tatsuki was going to train. The three stepped through and were greeted with an empty room that seemed to stretch for miles on end, and whose ceiling seemed inexistent.

"Now –"

"I'M SORRY." Tatsuki blurted out and Naruto blinked at the interruption.

"For what?" Naruto asked in clear confusion. He looked at Tatsuki who seemed to be unnerved about something and avoiding his eyes. Naruto looked at Hinata for answers but she simply shook her head in denial.

"F-for getting caught." She whispered. "You guys had to come save me and I ended up ruining your cover." Tatsuki said and waited for the inevitable scolding talk. Seconds passed and she did not hear a word. She looked up and saw Naruto chuckling slightly.

"Oh Tatsuki-chan." Hinata said softly, elbowing Naruto on the side. "We were never angry with you. It is true that charging against a captain was very reckless of you, but at the same time, it was almost expected."

"B-but…you guys had to come rescue me and had to face off against all those captains and there was so much energy in the air and…" Tatsuki gabbled until she was stopped by Hinata who laid a hand in her shoulder in a comforting manner.

"Mistakes are meant for learning." Hinata said with a smile and Tatsuki felt warmth filling her body. She felt so calm and at peace in their presence.

"Now." Naruto began and Tatsuki focused on him. "You and Ichigo were defeated by Byakuya. Can you tell me what happened?"

"I don't really know how to explain it." Tatsuki said, sitting down cross legged. "His last attack, the Byakurai, I saw it coming. I mean, I could see him pressing his finger against my armor, I could see him molding the energy and eventually firing the spell against me. But I simply couldn't move. I don't get it."

"It seems you found the Sharingan's weakness."

"My eyes have a weakness?" She asked in surprise.

"Even the strongest of opponents always have a weakness." Naruto said, quoting Itachi. "The flaw is very simple. The sharingan allows you to track pretty much everything. No matter how fast it is, you will see it coming but that doesn't mean you will be able to do something about it."

"You saw Byakuya charging up his ability, but you were to slow to dodge or counter his attack." Naruto explained and Tatsuki nodded, absorbing the information.

"So I just have to get faster?" Tatsuki asked.

"Pretty much." Naruto agreed. "You also need to learn a few heavy hitters. The Kakke Kuushou (Vacuum Palm) simply doesn't cut it against captains with your current chakra levels."

Tatsuki jumped and twirled midair in a cheer at the prospect of learning more powerful techniques. "Here." Naruto called out, throwing a piece of paper at her.

"What is this?" Tatsuki asked, snatching the white plain piece of paper out of the air with practiced ease.

"There are plenty of abilities that can get your speed up and increase your power output. Senjutsu would be the first choice but you don't have the chakra capacity to use it."

"Senjutsu? That sounds badass." Tatsuki exclaimed.

"I assure it is indeed powerful. Look at me with your Sharingan." Naruto said, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath. He heard Tatsuki gasp and opened his eyes just as red markings spread across his face.

"Your chakra…" Tatsuki whispered looking at the aura that surrounded the blonde. His aura was off the charts. His chakra seemed so bright, like it was pulsating with unbridled power.

"Well, Senjutsu works by adding another energy to your chakra. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds all of creation together."

"By absorbing the nature's energy and blending it with my own, I enter an empowered state called Sage Mode that gives me increased strength and speed." Naruto explained, releasing the natural energy back to the world and returning to his base state. "This, however, is far too advanced for you to learn. You don't have the cakra requirements to learn it. You would be overwhelmed."

"This sucks." Tatsuki said in disappointment.

"Next is the Hiraishin, which grants you the ability to teleport instantly to pre-marked positions." Naruto said and Tatsuki's eyes lit up at the prospect. "But you can't learn this one either." Tatsuki face vaulted. "You don't have the required knowledge with seals to use it effectively."

"Next we have the Eight Gates Battle Formation which removes the bindings of the human body and allow you to harness the full potential of your body. It is said that using this technique to its full potential gives the user one hundred times their normal power at the cost of the user's life." Naruto explained and Tatsuki's eyes bulged out.

"That's impossible." Tatsuki whispered in disbelief. "There is no way that is possible." Tatsuki said in a whisper looking at the blonde and thinking what would happen if he and Hinata used that technique.

"Oh Tatsuki-chan." Hinata sighed softly. "You have no idea just how powerful humans truly are. No idea the potential that is locked inside everyone."

Tatsuki looked at Naruto expectantly. "You can't learn this one either. You don't have the physical preparation to withstand even the first gate." Naruto said.

"Oh, come on!" Tatsuki whined. "Now you are just being mean." Naruto grinned but held his hands in defeat.

"Ok, I'll stop now. The paper I gave you is called Chakra Paper and lets you identify your elemental affinity." Naruto said and rose his hand to stop Tatsuki's question. "There are five basic elements. Fire, Water, Wind, Lightning and Earth. Each person has an affinity to an element."

"Ok. So what do I do?" Tatsuki asked, looking at the frail paper in her hand.

"Channel some chakra into it." Naruto said, looking the raven girl. Naruto and Hinata already knew her chakra nature due to their advanced eyes, but they wanted her to experience the process of discovery.

Tatsuki focused and send a burst of chakra into the paper. The paper reacted immediately by wrinkling together into a small ball. Tatsuki looked at the pair expectantly. "Lightning." Naruto said.

"Is that a good thing?" Tatsuki asked, forcing more chakra into the paper until the thing became nothing more a small, wrinkled ball of paper in her palm.

"It's perfect for what I planned to teach you. With this technique, your speed and raw strength will increase exponentially." Naruto said, watching as Tatsuki's eyes lit up.

"What is it called?" Tatsuki asked in glee while Naruto chuckled moments before his body exploded with silvery lightning chakra, sending bolts of electricity across the room. The ground cracked, lightning flickered over his eyes. His chakra flared one step further causing his hair to stand on end. Tatsuki stood and watched in awe the display of power.

"Raiton No Yoroi."

## Next Day – Soul Society ##

A scream pierced the warm morning like the air sirens did a few days before. It echoed through the terraced houses making the origin hard to pin-point. The cry was undoubtedly terror, but not like the shrill cries of a movie theatre but the cries of one with eyes locked wide and every muscle rigid. There wasn't a single Shinigami in a hundred feet that didn't come running, their hands gripping the handles of their Zanpakutou in drawing motions.

Captain Hitsugaya was one of the first to find the origin of the scream. It was no one else then is childhood friend, Hinamori. She stood collapsed on the ground, hugging her knees while her sobs shock her petite frame. "Hinamori, what's wrong?" Hitsugaya asked in hurried whispers, kneeling down and placing a hand on her shoulder.

His cold eyes trailed the surroundings for the source of her grief and landed on the tall tower in the north. Hitsugaya's eyes widened in sheer disbelief and gruesomeness at the sight. Captain Aizen laid pinned on the tower with a single black katana driven through his chest. Chains wrapped around every single limb pulled him apart like a spread eagle while blood, still fresh, dripped down his warm body and pooled at the bottom of the tower.

Hitsugaya was broken from his shock at the cries of several Shinigami who had also arrived at the scene and had now spotted the fallen captain. "I'm going to make them pay." Hitsugaya heard a whisper and pulled his arm backwards, looking at Hinamori who had tears running down her face. "I'm going to kill them. Those Ryoka are going to pay!" She hissed.

Evidently most of the Shinigami around heard her words as screams of bloody murder and outrage at the Ryoka spread around like wildfire. Tales of how the blonde Ryoka managed to immobilize Captain Kenpachi with chains the previous day had already been spread across the Seireitei. It was only a matter of timer until every single Shinigami was turned against the Ryoka.

"We don't know if they were the ones to do this atrocity." Hitsugaya countered softly, as he himself did not fully believed his own words.

"There is no one else who could have pulled this off." Matsumoto replied, looking at her Captain with hard eyes. She turned around to face everyone on the roof. "Captain Yamamoto must be informed of this." Everyone agreed with her and split apart while Hitsugaya looked at the tower with sad eyes.

Far away from the tower, a pair of blood red eyes and cold white ones surveyed the events going on the roof with calculating eyes. "So Aizen made his move after all?" Naruto commented, leaning back, up high on a building.

"I did not expect him to do so. Not after we revealed ourselves. I had Aizen pegged as a cautious man." Hinata replied, watching as the Shinigami on the roof started organizing to bring Aizen's body down.

"Perhaps he was forced to move his plan, even with us as wildcards thrown in the mix." Naruto answered, looking as the bald man that was Aizen's double was removed from the tower. "It was a good move on his part though, placing the blame on us."

"We are going to have all of the Seireitei after our blood now. I don't think your battle with Genryu-kun is a wise move at this point." Hinata advised.

"Don't worry about me, Hinata-chan." Naruto said, turning towards Hinata with a playful grin.

"I'm not worried about you, Naruto." Hinata replied with a frown. "I know that you need to settle your score with him after so many years but you will be drawing a sizable portion of the Seireitei's strength. Aizen will be able to move much more freely." Hinata explained, looking at Naruto. She was confused at the small smile in his lips until her eyes widened in realization.

"You want Aizen to move around freely?" She asked in disbelief.

"Yes. Ichigo and Tatsuki still have much growth to do. They are still naive little kids." Naruto replied in a serious tone. "Aizen can't fall just now. We will use him as their stepping stone and once he loses his utility, well…then we will remove him from the picture." Hinata nodded in agreement. They were shinobi after all, they did not play by the rules. They did what needed to be done, even if it was the greatest tragedy the world had ever witnessed.

"Finish up with Tatsuki, Hinata-chan. I'm going to wake him up, he's been asleep long enough." Naruto said.

"Fine, say hello for me." Hinata said, disappearing between a portal.

"Poor Aizen." Naruto's eyes glowed a menacing red. "You never stood a chance against someone like us. We don't play by the rules." He said out loud before disappearing in swirl.

## Soul King Palace ##

Naruto stepped out of his space ability and arrived into the Soul King Palace. He looked around in surprise. This place had changed completely from his old memories. Gone was the meek and empty house surrounded by nothingness and was instead replaced by symmetrical lines and cold, smooth marble, giving it an air of nobility and power.

Ahead of him stood a large stairway, leading up to the main building. Naruto moved forward, one step at the time whilst admiring the new renovations. The construction had several layers, with a single layer suspended above all others. He could sense that the Soul King was there, in the central floating island.

He arrived at the main building and was surprise to see five Shinigami having lunch. "Nimaiya, Ichibei?" Naruto called out.

"INTRUDER!" Senjumaru cried, jumping from the battle and immediately charging against the blonde intruder who stood his ground, looking at charging Shinigami with interest.

"Stand down!" Nimaiya barked, trying to halt his colleague's charge. "He's a member of the Royal Family." Nimaiya said, freezing Senjumaru instantly.

"My deepest apologies, my Lord." Senjumaru said, kneeling with one knee on the floor and bowing her head in respect.

"What was certainly interesting." Naruto commented. "You may rise. What is your name?"

"Senjumaru Shutara, my Lord." She replied.

"None of that, call me Naruto."

"Naruto, long time no see." Nimaiya said, greeting the blonde in enthusiasm. "I should have known you were the cause of all that ruckus down there."

"I'm just shaking stuff up a little bit. Things have gone downhill since my absence." Naruto replied and looked at the remaining two guards. "I do not know of you. My name is Ootsutsuki Naruto."

"Tenjiro Kirinji." The tall man replied.

"Kirio Hikifune." The purple haired woman answered.

"A pleasure. I don't have much time right now. We will catch up later." Naruto said, waving them off as he walked away and towards the central island.

"Who exactly is that?" Senjumaru asked, eyeing the blonde with curiosity.

"That, Senjumaru…" Ichibei commented, draping an arm over her shoulders."…is the Soul King's brother in all but blood."

## With Naruto ##

*Knock Knock*

"Wake up, lazy ass." Naruto said, poking the glass that shielded Death from the outside world with his knuckles. The glass shimmered briefly but remained intact. He sighed. "Adrestis." The blonde muttered and the result was instantaneous.

Eyes as dark as the emptiest and deepest of voids in all of creation snapped open, the glassy barrier that surrounded one of the primordial gods shattered as a wave of unbridled spiritual energy washed over the area. Naruto took a step back, allowing the thing to stand up and take a step forward, coming out of his cocoon. A black shroud descended upon its form, covering his convulsing body.

"Na…ru…to…." Death whispered in a raspy, cold voice. "How many times have I told you to not say my name."

"You didn't want to get out of bed." Naruto said, shrugging his shoulders. "Besides, there is no one around. Lighten up."

Naruto snapped his fingers and a table appeared in the hall followed shortly by a couple of chairs. "Sit down, I brought you something." Naruto said, emptying the bag on the table. Death sat across from him, eyeing the wrapped goods. "I know you love junk food so I found this new place in the human world called McDonalds."

"That easy to soothe me, you think?" Death answered, picking one of the messily wrapped burgers and biting down hungrily. "It's good." He said neutrally after a few moments.

"Honestly, you are like a little brat who doesn't want to get up." Naruto shook his head in amusement. "Anyways, I think you slept long enough."

"How much time has it been?" Death asked, chucking the finished paper aside and unwrapping the next burger in the box.

"A couple thousands of years. I no longer keep track of it." He replied while Death only hummed in acknowledgment. "Soul Society is falling apart. You got traitors amongst your kin."

"You of all people know that creation is not black and white. It was inevitable." Death replied calmly, as if the mere thought of traitors among his army posed no real threat to him. "This traitor you speak of…" Death trailed of, closing his eyes for a few moments. "Ah…Sosuke Aizen, yes. I can feel him." Death rose his right hand.

"Don't!" Naruto interrupted Death from obliviating Aizen from creation. "Don't kill him yet."

"Why shouldn't I?" Death asked, opening his eyes to look at the blonde, his fingers still ready to snap and tear Aizen apart. "He aspires to stand on equal ground with us."

"He's useful for now. Besides, the main reason for me to awaken you was to tie up loose ends. The number of hollows and enemies the Shinigami face are reaching critical levels. It's time to shape this place up." Naruto explained, eyeing the last burger and snatching it right beneath Death's greedy fingers.

Death's eyes twitched at the boldness. "Hn." Death grunted make Naruto snigger.

"Now you sound just like an old Uchiha I used to know."

Like it? R&R

(1) Adrestis - He whom none can escape.

Sorry about the delay but it was kind of sad about the pathetic way bleach ended so my will to continue this story took quite a hit.

I wasn't thinking on ending this chapter here but I figured it was better not leave you guys hanging.

Until next time.