- Kusaka Kori: The main character and focus of this story.
- Tadashi Kori: The main support and Captain of the 11th Division. Kusaka's Uncle and unofficial father-figure.
- Shin Nagakura: A good friend of Tadashi's and Captain of the 7th Division.
- Yukimura Nagakura: Shin's younger sister and Lieutenant.
- Averian: The main antagonist. An Arrancar who fancies himself a God.
Kusaka, after his battle with the Arrancar Screamer and his Vizard partner, Amukaz, decides to seek out his Uncle, Tadashi, who he knows is currently leading a long Patrol Expidition in the Human World in order to ask his advice about the growing strength of their pursuers and how best to handle the situation. This story begins with Kusaka wandering in search of his Uncle when he is beset upon by a group og hollow...
Beating the BluesEdit
Locating TadashiEditKusaka walked down the street, thoughts cast all over the place. It had only been a week since he left Kenji, Kazuma and Ino, although it felt like much longer. Ever since his second battle with Screamer and his Vizard partner, Amukaz, he couldn't help but think about how weak he'd been, how he hadn't been able to stop them even though he wounded them greatly.
The thought was eating at him. The wind was howling it's pitiful lament as he continued walking, seeking the one person who could help him, the one person who'd always been there for him before. His uncle, Tadashi Kori, who was supposed to be on Patrol around this very area would help him without a second thought. And truth be told, Kusaka needed it. Right now, he was a shadow of the person he was before. Ever since he first met Screamer, his mood had grown worse and worse, as though someone else entirely was affecting him.
The rain was falling in blinding sheets, liquid bouncing on the road and filling drains close to bursting, but Kusaka didn't stop walking. The lights in the houses on either side were alight, but none would see him as he wandered in Shinigami form, his black outfit completely soaked through, his hair drenched. But he didn't care for the rain, or the wind, or the cold, chilling bite it possessed. All he cared for was finding Tadashi and finding out what he was going to do now that he'd lost his way.
He had no idea what the name of the city he wandered into was called, but he was vaguely aware of his mind saying that Kazuma would be enjoying this where he here. "Kazuma..." He thought suddenly. "Kenji...what's happening to me? What's this feeling I can't seem to shake...?" The peaceful embrace of his inner thoughts were harsly interrupted when a Hollow lunged at him from the shadows!
His mind was so far gone, that he didn't even attempt to dodge. The Hollow's talon cut deeply into his side, his Reiatsu folding like a weak dam before the raging flood, pain barely registering on his face. "Are you that far gone, that you can't even control your own power properly? Hmph! Pathetic!" His zanpakuto barked at him, voice revertebrating around his mind like an echo inside a cave. "Pathetic...pathetic..." The words played over in his head again and again, until he hefted his sealed zanpakuto and cleaved the Hollow in two with a mighty, downward strike that split the centre of the street.
"I'm not pathetic...! Just weak. I need strength!" He shouted into the wind. For a long time, the only sound that seemed to offer a reply was the howling of the wind and the sound of rain hitting the cracked street. "...Only a fool craves strength without cause. But this? I won't tolerate this anymore!" Barked the spirit of Shagetsu. When Kusaka opened his eyes, he stood opposite the spirit of his zanpakuto...!
Forming the Squad:EditTadashi looked across the city from atop a church spire, eyes scanning for the slightest sign of Hollow activity or movement. Even though he was the Captain of the 11th Division, Tadashi preferred to accompany his men whilst on Patrol, leaving his Squad to his trusted Lieutenant, Raiden Yasuhiro.
The night was late and the wind had a certain chill to it, but Tadashi beat that feeling down and instead focused his senses outward, seeking out any Hollow they may have missed earlier. He preferred to cleanse a whole area before moving on, because one hollow left behind often proved troublesome later because it learned to hide itself well. So far, he and his small squad of six Shinigami; three from his own division and the other three from the squad he belonged to previously in the Omnisukido, had dispatched every single hollow they'd seen without alerting even a mouse.
But something was wrong. Tadashi knew the feeling all right. Something was amiss, and pushing it to the back of his head would be a very bad idea. Turning to his allies, he told them to split into groups of three, with himself acting as a lone wolf to add balance. "Meet back here in an hour. Don't daudle or get sidetracked. Quick and clean, fellows. Move out." Six figures vanished as one, Tadashi soon following suit after breathing a deep sigh...
He leapt from roof-to-roof, footfalls as silent as the peaceful embrace of the grave. His eyes constantly scanned the area though. Earlier, he'd sensed a presence...weak and troubled, but he couldn't help but recognise it. But why he thought that was beyond him. Stopping suddenly, Tadashi watched a young man - a Shinigami judging by the strength of his spirit force - cleave a hollow clean in two, cracking the street with a single strike. Then, in a thundrous voice that echoed through the nearby alleyways, the man shouted, "I'm not pathetic...! Just weak. I need strength!"
Tadashi's mouth near struck the floor! "That voice! Kusaka!? What the hell's he doing here!?" "Kusaka?" He said, but his nephew hit the floor with a thud, blood puring from a wound on his side...
Inner World Questioning:EditShagetsu stood tall before Kusaka, red eyes piercing in their gaze, his posture intimidating. Long black hair hid the left side of his face and a tattoo consisting of several thick black lines ran up his right arm. He wore a red, sleeveless shirt and held his Shikai scythe, clenched tightly in his right hand.
Kusaka regarded his zanpakuto with lowered eyes, lip curling in a snarl. "...Why have you brought me here, Shagetsu?" He asked simply, eyes never once leaving the floor. "I would ask you to look at this place, Kusaka." The spirit replied calmly, hand motioning for Kusaka to raise his head. When he didn't, Shagetsu moved behind him and forced his head up. "Look at this place! The full moon once dominated the sky, stars twinkling brilliantly! Now, it rains!" Shagetsu barked angrily. "I will not allow this rain to continue, Kusaka. This rain represents your flagging spirit, and why? Because you're scared of your opponents power? Pathetic!"
Remaining silent, Kusaka paced back and forth. "Why am I afraid?" He asked himself, but wasn't surprised when Shagetsu gave him an answer. "Everyone fears that which they do not understand, Kusaka. It is human nature just as much as it is a Shinigami's. Your heart wavered because you simply did not understand that which was unfolding before your eyes." The spirit said, voice calm once more. He appeared beside his master, putting a strong hand on his shoulder. "Did you fear Dastan?"
Images flashed. The ex-Royal Guardsmen, his brown hair blowing in the wind, his chained weapon flying through the air at tremendous speeds, and a figure...yes, it was a man with two demon-like wings striking that chained weapon with a wrist-mounted blade in order to keep it from his friends. It was himself, eyes determined, Reiatsu solid...his resolve steady. "...No, I didn't fear him. Even when he almost killed Kenji and myself with fire, I wasn't afriad." He answered thruthfully.
Shagetsu's face broke into the first honest smile Kusaka had seen in a while from the spirit. The rain even eased off somewhat. "That was because Dastan was a Shinigami. Shrieker was another case. You had no idea what an Arrancar was and thought of him as nothing more than a glorified hollow. Tell me, where you afraid then?"
Again the images flashed. Yoshiro, his head held firmly by Shrieker's own hand, crimson light forming. A man, a blackened scythe in his hand, energy flowing into his blade as he prepared the final attack. Had he been afraid? Not of Shrieker. "Yes, I felt fear in that battle. But not because of Shrieker. I feared losing a friend. I feared being powerless to help and being forced to watch." His hands tightened into fists, the rain slowing to a mere drizzle.
"And now you encounter two enemies of differing races with similar powers, and your resolve cracks and crumbles like cheap potery! That, Kusaka, is what I find pathetic. Recall that battle. You wounded them as much as they wounded you. And weren't you the one who said no one can beat the power of trusted allies? Then trust in me like you once did. Trust me to guard your back, trust me to be there when you fall. And trust me to grant you power."
Kusaka turned to look at the spirit of Shagetsu and finally nodded agreement. The rain stopped then, the clouds moved away, and the moon came into view. "I once said 'Everyone can be likened to the moon, because no matter the individual, no matter how pure and just; everyone has a dark side which they never show to anybody.' You're different, Shīrudomūn. You see me at my worst and my best and you help me regardless. Thank you. I know what I need to do now."
Shagetsu disappeared into a black wind, forming Kusaka's sealed zanpakuto. "If you can see the future, Kusaka, then never look back! Never hesitate and never stop moving forward!" Kusaka's eye opened to a figure with red hair leaning over him, a pale green light surrounding his palms. "...Tadashi?"
Tadashi dropped at his nephew's side, calmly checking his pulse and sighing with relief when he found the youngster alive. Positioning him on his back, Tadashi inspected the wound on his side. "Hmmm, hollow talon? Kusaka, how did a bog-standard Hollow inflict this level of damage upon you? Your spiritual energy alone should've been enough to bounce it back the same way a ball bounces off a wall when kicked. Unless...! Huh, fool." His palms glowed with a green light as he began the healing process.
Kusaka was lucky though, and Tadashi couldn't help but keep the thought from his head. No internal organs were damaged, but they came pretty damn close. As Tadashi healed him, Kusaka's spiritual energy, which was strangely foreign and unrecognisable to the Kusaka he was once knew, was slowly growing in strength once again and it wasn't the healing that was doing it. Keeping a pleased smile on his face, Tadashi eagerly awaited his nephew's awakening. Afterall, he hadn't seen him since he left with Kenji and little Kazuma. There'd be stories to tell and exchange.
Slowly, the damage inflicted closed, the muscle joining and interlocking once again, though a small, white coloured scar was left behind. In no time at all, Kusaka began to rouse, eyes moving restlessly behind closed eyelids. "He'll come out of it soon." Tadashi thought before looking over his shoulder. "Tadashi-kun?" The voice belonged to Yukimura Nagakura, Lieutenant of the 7th Division under Tadashi's best friend and fellow Captain, Shin Nagakura. "Yes, Yukimura? What is it?"
She handed him a report, which he glanced over quickly. The centre text, though, caught his eye. "Eh!? That shouldn't be right...This report says the compound we use as a base in the Human World has been attacked and destroyed by an Arrancar." He didn't like this. Members of the Omnisukido had been there, all good men and women, along with some new recruits who were out on their first Patrol. "Yukimura, when did this happen? It would've took a pretty strong individual to raze the entire compound, but I didn't sense as much as a modicum of Arrancar Reiatsu."
She knelt beside the still unconscious Kusaka and placed her hand on his forehead. "He's burning up." Her hand glowed with the same green light as Tadashi's had done previously, and within seconds, his fever had recedded and his breathing had returned to normal. "We're not exactly sure, Tadashi-kun, but it was done by a Shinigami possing as one of us. The entire compound, as stated in the report, has been completely erased! Everyone...everyone..."Tadashi rose quickly and pulled her into a comforting hug. "Don't worry. As soon as Kusaka wakes up, we'll head over there and see for ourselves what's going on. For now, I want you to head back to Soul Society and tell Shin everything. If this...whatever it was, is strong enough to completely destroy one of our compounds, then we need to be careful. Tell him I need him here ASAP." He kissed her on the forehead and smiled kindly. "I'll make sure everything's all right. I'll see you back at the Soul Society later, okay?" She nodded before opening a Senkaimon and vanishing along with her hell butterfly.
Kneeling beside his nephew again, Tadashi decided to restore some of his flagging Reiatsu. After all, if this creature for lack of a better word was strong enough to level the compund full of several Omnisukido, then he'd be needed at full strength. Again, the green light surrounded his palms, but as soon as the light hit Kusaka's body, his eyes sprang open, darting from side to side quickly as he took in his surroundings. "Oh, you're awake." Tadashi said calmly and quietly. "It's been a while, Kusaka."
Kusaka's mouth nearly dropped. "...Uncle Tadashi? Ha, I can't believe it!" He got up quickly, footing unsure but Tadashi's outstretched hand steadied him. "I feel a lot better than I did twenty minutes ago." It took him a moment to really take everything in. Shagetsu was right. He couldn't - wouldn't - beat himself up and get frieghtened every time something unknow reared its ugly head. "I had a heart-to-heart with Shīrudomūn, and got told a few home truths."
Tadashi slapped him hard on the shoulder-blade, a goofy grin on his face. "I healed the damage done by the hollow I seen ya killing. Were you that far gone, that you didn't even sense my approach? But I've got to hand it to you, Kusaka, you've grown since I saw you last. Come on, you can tell me all about on the way to the compund. There's been an accident." Both Shinigami leapt into the heavens, footfalls silent on the skyline.
"Just let's say I stopped looking forward and got way to caught up in my own fear. Shagetsu snapped me out of it finally." He said that with a forlorn tone and sad expression. "Now, you were saying something about an acident at the compound? Knowin' you, I'd hazard a guess that this 'compound' is one of the sites you and your merry band of Patrolers congregate at? Last time I visited one, they were pretty well defended and stocked. What could've happened?"
Tadashi removed the same report he'd secreted away in his inside pocket and handed it to Kusaka silently before raising his head. "They are well defended. That is why I'm doubling back to check things out. Apparantly, the only thing that could have done the damage described in the report was an Arrancar," Tadashi caught Kusaka's eye and smiled when the glint that shone so brightly when he left to travel the Human World was back with all the intensity of the sun's rays. "The problem is that I didn't sense even a modicum of Arrancar Reiatsu. Trust me, I was looking for hollows, so I would not have overlooked it."
"I believe you, Uncle." Kusaka said quickly. "Arrancar's have spiritual energy that's like a damn flare in the middle of an ember pile. You can't help but notice it. Now, we need to consider that it can hide its spiritual energy. I've seen Shinigami do it with white cloaks, so why not an Arrancar to?" He said, and for a long time, Kusaka saw his Uncle with a truly annoyed expression.
"Whatever the case is, Kusaka, we as Shinigami, have a duty to find out what is going on and to avenge our fallen comrades. You, Kenji and Kazuma may very well have gone off to the Human World, but your allegance is still to the Soul Society and the Gotei 13. Never forget that, Kusaka. For if you do, the Soul Society would not hesitate to label you and your friends as rouge Shinigami to be executed."
"Huh, that's a beautiful thought, Uncle, but let me speak for a moment. I know the law of Soul Society better than most because Sojiro drummed it into me after you introduced him to history. Even If one of us wanted to return, he wouldn't be welcomed for what he has become. I'm telling you Uncle, because I know you wont rat him out, but Kenji has evolved well beyond that of an average Shinigami. He's become something else...something stronger."
Tadashi's eyes took a horrofied look before he calmed himself. "What have you been playing with, Kenji? If I'm thinking correctly, then you've gone and gained yourself hollow powers! The only punishment for crimes like that is execution. Only the ancient law of two Shinigami wielding the same zanpakuto is taken as seriosuly. Kenji...trwad carefully, I beg you." The uncle and nephew combo suddenly stopped, their eyes taking in the full devestation of the city street that had held the Patrol Compound.This section of the city had been the heart of industrilisation and the compund had been hidden below ground and cut off from human eyes and ears by powerful Kido barriers. "The barriers were designed to keep them hidden, not protected." Tadashi said finally. "Kusaka, take the right side and search the buildings for survivors. I'll take the left. Shin Nagakura will be arriving soon to back us up encase something is here." Kusaka turned to walk away, but Tadashi caught his wrist firmly. "I will not tell anyone about Kenji gaining hollow powers, but be careful none the less. If the Central 46 find out, he's as good as dead. And that goes for you as well, Kusaka. Be careful, because I do not fancy burrying my own nephew."
Kusaka patted his uncle's shoulder and bowed his head before flashing to the nearest building on the right-hand side. "Thany you, Uncle. Somehow, you always know exactly what to say to me. Now, it's time I started lookin' for whatever caused this mess...and kick it's ass up and down the pavement."
Tadashi followed the streetline until he came into the first razed building. The entire area was devestated, with several buildings charred, cracked, leaning off to the side and with glass from broken windows scattered everywhere. Some of the buildinds had large holes in them, probably caused by Cero or Cero-like blasts. Pushing aside a piece of rubble that blocked the nearest entrance, Tadashi moved inside and took a look around.
Bodies of workers and other unfortunate humans were scattered around and forgotten as though they were some childs plaything. "Yukimura said this happened recently...but everything looks like it has been in decay and ruin for quite some time. And there's that feeling as though I'm being watch by something..."
Kusaka punched through a wall to save himself finding another entrance and looked around the ruins of what appeared to be a downstairs office block. "Huh, weren't you guys unlucky." He said with a hint of sadness. He kicked a chair across the room in order to move it and cracked the already cracked wall at the back even more. "Oops." A computer was sitting on the floor, screen smashed from the fall, a person as dead as the mutton Kenji cooked two weeks sprawled over the table. "I'd feel sorry for 'em but they're in a better bloody place now."
Tadashi walked into the other room, footfalls echoing through the ruins as he walked. He'd killed a hollow lurking in the shadows, probably attracted by whoever had caused this devestation. A low moan echoed from farther down the corridor, and Tadashi broke into a careful sporint. It could be a trap afterall. As he skidded to halt, he turned, drew his zanpakuto and made shape to strike but stopped when he came face-to-face with a young Shinigami he recognised as the youngster he told to be careful before he left to hunt the hollow earlier. "Kid? Are you alright?"
He dropped down beside the youngster, cradling his head with his forearm. His breathing was laboured, his robes bloodied and his left eye slashed. Blood stained Tadashi's clothing just holding him. "T-T-Tadashi-Taichou. Ambushed...Arrancar...ugh!" Tadashi concentrated whatever skill he had in healing Kido in order to stop the internal bleeding, and somehow managed to suceed after some effort. The wound scattered along his body where slowly closing up, but he could do nothing for the youngsters eye. "I'm sorry I didn't get here sooner. Tell me everything."
Kusaka ran from the building, a young man slung over his left shoulder and drew his zanpakuto as a hollow dived from the sky to attempt to pierce them with an aireal assault. He side-stepped easily, used to dodging quicker blows from the likes of Kenji and Kazuma and tore his katana blade through it with a swift motion before returning his blade to a sheathed postion. He shot another clean out of the sky with a Byakurai before seeking cover behind his Moon Shield. "Kid? I need you to stay with me, you hear!? Don't you dare die!"
"...Under...stood, sir." He replied weakly, breathing slow and haggard. He was suffering from a severe concussion and several lacerations accross his body, probably internal bleeding as well. "...behind." Kusaka turned quickly, dodging carefully to the left as a hollow darted past him and straight into the path of his clenched fist as he flashed in front of it! His blow sent it flying into a nearby wall before the hollow fell defeated. "I've gotta get you to Tadashi. He can heal you."
Tadashi set the kid's head down gently on a piece of cloth he'd found and placed his torn, wet sleeve over his head before rising to his feet again. "Don't worry. Captain Shin Nagakura of the 7th Division will be here soon with backup. You're in no immediate harm, but stay hidden and stay alive." Leaving the young boy there, Tadashi patrolled the hall outside, looking out into the street where Kusaka was dodging the lunging dive of a beaked hollow. Another came in from his back, but he dispatched it with a single punch.
But that was when Tadashi himself ran forward, sword drawn, face set. Red spiritual energy awoke on his blade as he slashed in a diagnol manner. "Rei Furashuu!" He called loudly, a potent, red coloured blast with a distinctly darker red outline shot through the opening Garganta in the sky before anything could even emerge from the open rift. "Get him inside, Kusaka. I'll be along in a minute."
Kusaka ran to his uncle's side and grinned. "You're the Master of the Rei Furashuu, alright. Yours is definitely stronger than ours, Uncle. Now, we need to get this guy some treatment. You see to the healing and I'll erect the barrier, saying how you suck at Kido." He avoided his Uncle's playful slap and ducked inside, finding the one Tadashi had already aided and set them side-by-side before erecting a decently powerful barrier once Tadashi was inside.
Leaving his uncle to the healing, Kusaka left the building and returned to the water-soaked street outside, eyes focused on the skyline. He scanned the area intently, because he could've sworn he felt something up there watching him. "Ah to hell with it..." He made the motion to turn, and when his body effectivelt hid his hands, he created three purple spheres of energy and smiled. "Getsuei!" He turned, hand moving in a blur and the spheres flew at a tremndous speed before detonating in a fiery explosion that caused a figure to leap from his concealed position and land lightly on the street before Kusaka.The figure had long, black hair, the hollowfied yellow eyes of a hollow and a cloak over his head. He was tall and skinny, with a pair of black trousers and a black shirt beneath his cloak, a zanpakuto at his wait and a rather displeased expression plastered across his face. "Have you any idea who you jus attacked, Shinigami? I am A-"
Kusaka shot an unnamed Rei Furashuu up the street, bloodying the Arrancar's right arm. "I don't care if you're the bloody Soul King himself! You were watching us, weren't you? I don't take kindly to Arrancar - anyone for that matter - watchin' what I'm doin'. We clear?"
The Arrancar chuckled, the wounds on his arm healing quickly. "For that outburst, Shinigami, you will die. Everyone of your little flea-like comrades barked about how they would kill me, but they proved to be nothing but the next meal for my zanpakuto. I am Averian! Come, flea, and taste the flames of your death!" He shot forward with such a fast Sonido, that Kusaka barely blocked the strike! Twisting around it, Averian's sword falling to the crack the ground, Kusaka placed a fingertip upon his arm and fired a Byakurai clean through him before leaping back and firing off another Rei Furashuu!
Clash of Powers! Kusaka Kori vs. AverianEdit
Averian emerged from the attack, arm bloodied from blocking the attack, but otherwise unaffected. "Pathetic Shinigami. Tell me, are you the one my subordinate is after?" Averian's wounds healed and with a single flick of his finger, Kusaka had a crimson coloured Cero bearing down on him!Kusaka's Moon Shield sprang up before him, and cracked under the strain, but managed to hold firm. "The name's Kusaka, and yes, I'm going to kill you." Shagetsu whisteled happily in his head. "That's it, Kusaka. Don't hold back, don't hesitate and go for it! Confidence is strength!"
Kusaka burst into a testing Shunpo, moving to Averian's right and striking. Unsurprisingly, Averian simply grabbed his sword and pulled him in for an attack. Kicking him hard in the ribs, Kusaka coughed some blood before firing off a Rei Furashuu to free himself and his sword. "You'll have to do better, Averian. In that one attack, I've judged your speed, strength and Hierro strength. My ordinary slash can't harm you, but my energy attacks can."
Grunting as though insulted, Averian turned to regard Kusaka coldly, yellow eyes piercing in their gaze. "I've already taken three of those wave attacks now and healed myself after every time. What gives you the confidence that that can kill me?" His zanpakuto was drawn silently. Its overall shape was like that of an average katana with an hourglass-like guard and red hilt wrapping. Another blade, seemingly made from pure Reishi formed in his left hand and made buzzing noises as though moving at extreme speeds. "You know nothing about me, Shinigami."
"Really? Nothing? I know you got your ass kicked by a certain Shinigami duo. And you know nothing about me, either Arrancar." Kusaka said calmly. "That attack I hit you with, the Rei Furashuu, is stronger when I name it. When I hit you with it, I didn't name the attack. Every attack offered by a zanpakuto is stronger when you say its name aloud. That's Academy-level in its basicness, Averian. Allow me to show you the difference...between named and not named...Rei Furashuu!" The blast was dodged by Averian, but completely tore through the building behind him. "Scared to let it hit you? Dodging means it's dangerous."
The two launched into a series of sword strikes, hand-to-hand combat and evasion before they struck each others fist with enough force to repulse the other. Landing lightly on the ground, Kusaka was suddenly cut across the cheek, the energy blade re-appearing in Averian's hand and retracting to a more manigable size. "You look confused, Shini-" A wound appeared on Averian's own cheek, Kusaka firing his Rei Furashuu in a condensed, beam-like form. "Can it, Averian. I'm here to kill you, not get bored to death listening to you."
The Arrancar adopted a truly enraged expression, spiritual energy coating his body like an armour. "Wretched Shinigami! Stop acting so full of yourself, flea!" Kusaka sighed and clenched his free hand into a tight fist. "I really don't like that phrase "flea". If anything, it pisses me OFF! Guard, Shagetsu!" The blackened scythe formed in his hand, the smaller crescent blade attached to the long chain dangling from the base in his other. "I'd get ready If I were you, Arrancar. You see, I've been pissed off at something for a long time now, so I'm gonna bring it on you. Rei Furashuu!"
Tadashi raised his head when a massive black wave of spiritual energy with a distinct purple outline tore up the street, the force behind it enough to make the ground quiver as though frightened! "Kusaka... Be careful. That Arrancar's not even taking you seriously. Probably why you released, but be careful regardless. I'll be a little longer...so hold on until I can help you."
Kusaka waited for the smoke to clear a little before diving through, but when he stood where Averian once had, he found himself alone. Looking to his right, he seen the figure of his Uncle standing, and the left was clear as far as he could see and feel. It was as though he'd vasnished completely...unless! He looked to the heaven's, but surely enough, they were as empty as the street he stood upon. "Huh...did I blow him away? If he's not to the right, left or above then there's only one place he could be." With a truly devious grin, Kusaka raised his zanpakuto high into the sky and released a potent Rei Furashuu into the ground directly beneath him! "How'd ya like that one, A-Ave-. Ah, to hell with ya! You're nothin' but a glorafied hollow anyway!"
He leapt into the sky though and used Shunpo to float encase Averian did decide to take offense and attack. But for the longest time nothing happened. He was seriously considering the possibility that he'd blown him to the moon. "Naw, that can't be right. This is the same fellaw Kenji and Van fought not long ago, so he's strong." Being a little annoyed of waiting, Kusaka put his hand to his mouth. "Hey, get out-ugh!" As he looked down, he saw a blade sticking through his gut, the figure of his Uncle looming large before him. The facade, though, slowly pealed away to reveal Averian, who dawned his cloak and tied it to conceal his body. A torrent of energy flowed from Averian's blade into Kusaka's body. "Haha, this will drive you mad. No matter how strong you are, you won't beat what I'm about to do to you. You will become mine when your mind breaks!"But Kusaka grasped Averian's hand and tightened his grip until his knuckles turned white. "You think a sword in the gut and you pumping energy through me will stop me!? HA! I've endured worse, Averian! But, you'll feel this more than I will! You see, I've been holding back a certain ability. I've never even shown it to my friends. You won't come out of this unscathed, Averian! Consume All!" Purprle spiritual energy awoke all around Kusaka, the force repelling Averian and his sword with him. "Shoku mūn!" The entire area around Kusaka was engulfed in a massive explosion that cast a purple light on the nearby buildings!
The energy expanded outwards at a tremendous rate before disippating in the form of a beam shooting high into the sky. When the energy vanished, Kusaka fell to the floor, smoke rising from his body as he struck the ground with an almight thud! "Heh. It don't matter how strong you are, Arrancar. You won't come out of that without injuries." A smile split his face in two as Averian fell from the sky, body bloodied..."How'd ya like that one, eh!?"
As Kusaka raised his head, he became aware of the foot that suddenly slammed down just before his head, a hand raised to the heaven's as a blast erupted among the clouds. "Attacking a man when he is down isn't very nice." Tadashi's voice sounded in his ears. The smoke obsurring the location Averian had fallen cleared, revealing the Arrancar with tattered clothing, but wounds slowly healing. "Worthless Shinigami! How dare you intervene!?" Averian barked, anger plain in his tone.
Tadashi looked over his shoulder and grinned before he drew his zanpakuto slowly and held it out in front with the tip pointing downwards. "You're mistakes were threefold I'm afraid." Tadashi uttered, voice suddenly rought and angry. "One; you attacked my nephew. Two; you slaughtered my allies and razed our compund to the ground. And three; Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Tadashi Kori, and If that name is lost on you, then I'm better known as Tadashi Kenpachi, Captain of the 11th Division of the Gotei 13. Now, call me worthless one more time."
"No, you are correct. Shinigami do serve some worth..." Averian uttered, but Tadashi's face was firm, his hand tightening on the hilt of his zanpakuto. "You serve the purpose of empowering me!"
'"Unseal the Moon, Shiru!" The release of his zanpakuto was accompanied by a shockwave that sent Kusaka flying backwards into a Kido net created by the two Shinigami survivors who were back on their feet and already making their way to healing his wounds. Tadashi's zanpakuto remained largely the same, but his spiritual energy took a jump through the roof, and he shot forward with a swift Flash Step that almost succeded in taking Averian's head clean from his shoulders!
The two launched themselves into a speed battle, bouncing off several walls before their strikes crushed those very buildings. They then started bouncing from the falling rocks to change their angle of attack, all the while their zanpakuto's striking out quickly. So far, neither had recieved an injury and they were only getting quicker.
Kusaka could remember well the abilities of Tadashi's zanpakuto. Being a melee-type, his only real destructive power was the Rei Furashuu, but the zanpakuto itself did more than that. Its Shikai release alone granted him increased strength and speed, easily allowing him to move at speeds that others only seen in their dreams.
"C'mon...heal me. I need to...ugh!" He coughed blood violently, his entire body convulsing against his will. "What the hell!? Shagetsu, what's goin' on here!" The spirit's reply was hasty, his tone confused. Kusaka wouldn't say scared, but he was wary. "There's something here! That Arrancar done something when he pumped that energy through you! I don't know what, but there's something here!"
Averian's booming laughter echoed as he avoided Tadashi's strike. The Arrancar opened a Garganta, but turned to look at Kusaka with a piercing gaze. "I gave you a 'gift' Shin-. Oops, I can't really call you that anymore. Haha! Awaken and Spread!" Kusaka doubled over in pain, completely falling off the kido net and onto the floor. His hands were clutching his stomach tightly, his vision shaking, a spasm engulving his entire being as he trahshed like a helpless fish out of water.
Tadashi, anger soaring to new heights, growled and turned to regard Averian. "Arrancar! What did you do to him!?" Half of Averian's body was through the opening Garganta, but he stopped and turned to Tadashi. "His mind will soon erode and the 'power' I gave him will take over and create for me a new minion. He should be honoured. Soon...the power I provided will come to bear. I'll be back later to pick up...my pet." He along with his laughter vanished into the Garganta...
Kusaka continued thrashing, but Tadashi kept his distance. "Kusaka!!!" His spiritual energy was warping and becoming twisted, not unlike Averian's own; his physical body thrashing all the more as he cried out in pain! "Ahhhh! Get out...of my...head! Gragh! Ugh!" He was on his knees now, arms wrapped 'round his stomach as multiple pairs of wings sprouted from his back, his eyes completely blank. Rising slowly into the air, dark energy began to form, coating Kusaka's limbs as though forming armour, or some kind of protective cocoon.
Tadashi looked at the two surviving Shinigami and pushed both back with a quick flash step before returning to face his nephew. "Kusaka! Answer me! Kusaka!? What did that damn Arrancar do to you!?" Kusaka, though was lost in a veil of complete blackness. He was aware mentally of what was happening, but his body wouldn't obey his commands. His uncle's words were unclear to him, as though distant. "What's happening? What...did that Arrancar do to me?"
Pain suddenly filled his enitre being, and he felt himself fall to the floor. Awareness was again slow, until it was tore away from him cruelly. All he could feel was the spiritual energy of his uncle, rising with anger more and more with every passing second...
Achievemt of Power!Edit
Clenching his fists tightly, Tadashi gritted his teeth, red spiritual energy erupting from his body, lighting the street like a beacon that lit up the ocean. "Let the Moon Unleash its Wrath! Mūn-ji ni Shīru!" His Shikai blade turned completely crimson and grew a type of crescent shaped bend at the top, with a large bandage-like sheath running the entire way up his right arm and hand which was connected to the weapon itself. His uniform changed also, as he gained a large, silver wolf-head on his left shoulder and a gauntlet appeared on his right hand. "You aren't my nephew." He said plainly, tears forming in his eyes. "I don't know what's happened, but i refuse to believe he's dead! I will bring him back!"
The figure laughed, though. "Do you truly think there's even a trace of-" The fellow's side suddenly spasmed, a flicker of Kusaka's purple tinted black Reiatsu circling his body before disappearing again. Tadashi lowered his head and began laughing. "Allow me to enlighten you. Kusaka is a part of the Kori family. Our bloodline is well known for being incredibly stubborn. Believe me when I say that Kusaka will not give in easily!"
Tadashi eased forward with a testing shunpo, Kusaka easily moving into the steps for Senka which Tadashi avoided by throwing his body to the left, getting cut slightly on the arm as he hit the ground. Bouncing off the ground with his hand, Tadashi charged a Rei Furashuu in his palm and appeared beside his nephew, releasing the energy in a wide wave of crimson energy!
Leaping back to avoid a possible counter, Tadashi flashed into a nearby building, using the rubble to hide himself. Kusaka stepped from the attack, duting himself off as though he weren't even phased. "Futile efforts. A mere Shinigami cannot hope to defeat-" Again, Kusaka's spiritual energy surged, this time for much longer, possessing much more power and potency!
Tadashi opened himself to the full powers of his Shikai. He often hid its power by uisng its nickname so he could avoid the full effects it inflicted upon his body. "My zanpakuto, although unique and unlike any other, shares traits and similarities with both Kusaka and Sojiro's. When we use our full power...the energy released not only damages our bodies, but reduces our lifespans somehwat with every use..."
With the energy of the Rei Furashuu surrounding his sword, Tadashi flashed forward, parrying the sword blow of Kusaka with his gauntlets before striking a blow across his ribs! As the blade cut the skin, Tadashi released his Rei Furashuu, sending him flying backwards with the blasts momentum and trailing through several buildings! "Never underestimate Kusaka. I can feel your energy. It's fluctuating as though it were a stallion refusing to be broken."
Kusaka rose from the rubble, a deep wound on his side that slowly began to heal. "You have no idea the power which I possess, Shinigami. My Master bestowed me with it, gave me life!" He shot forward with such raw speed, it appeared more akin to teleportation than high-speed movement, but his strike never reached Tadashi.
A figure with spiked brown hair and a sleeveless jacket bearing a flower motif landed between the two, one zanpakuto blocking the blow and the other resting loosely in his left hand. "Jeez, Tadashi..." He said with a sigh. "You can surely pick 'em, can't ya, buddy?" The figure turned to regard Kusaka, his face suddenly serious as he exerted spiritual energy to repel him. "I can sense...Kusaka? What happened here?"
A smile slowly crept along Tadashi's face as he looked upon the back of the man who'd protected him. It could only be him, afterall no one would wear a jacket with flowers on them without being a little touched in the head. "Shin Nagakura. It is good to see you my friend. We encountered the Arrancar that Yukimura reported, and he somehow did that to Kusaka. But he's still in there somewhere, trying to break out."
Shin advanced forward slowly, both blades swinging in his hands. He had spiked brown hair, dark blue eyes and wore a black bandana with white designs wrapped around his forehead. His clothing consisted of a uniform slightly different from other Shinigami. He wore short-sleeved black shinigami robes with white sleeves, a sleeveless golden coloured jerkin over the top that bore a floral motif and gauntlets on both his hands that bore the kanji for Iris, the symbol of the 7th Division of the Gotei 13.
"Tadashi." He said simply, for once completely serious and focused on the task at hand. He was usually found napping and left the mundane tasks of running the squad up to his Lieutenant and younger sister, Yukimura Nagakura. But when needed, he was known as being serious and resourceful. "Then we need to thump this guy to lower his influence. You ready?"
Tadashi flashed beside his comrade and long-time friend, a smile on his face. "Firstly, I neeed to thank you, Shin. I probably wouldn't have dodged that attack without injury. Now, let's bring him back. I'm using my "true Shikai" so you know what to expect."
Shin sighed. "Mūn-ji ni Shīru, eh?" He eased himself into a ready position, eyes focused on Kusaka's body. "Be careful with that, eh? If you start to feel the pain, then disengage it immediatly. I don't need you killing yourself before your time, got it?" Tadashi's zanpakuto, although powerful, was incredibly dangerous. The longer he remained in the form, the longer it cut off his life. "It uses his own life energy to feed his power." Shin thought in awe of his friend. "Kusaka...I hope you realize the price Tadashi's paying to help you. Afterall, the man loves you...for reasons you cannot begin to know."
Kusaka's eyes were unfocused to the light that suddenly shone all around him. Shagetsu, as tall and intimidating as always was standing straight, eyes intent on Kusaka's face. "Get up and get moving. There's something - no, it's definitely a someone - here that shouldn't be, Kusaka. And you and I are going to pound it into the ground." Coming from Shagetsu, and in that tone, Kusaka knew that this someone was dangerous, or he'd have told Kusaka to do it himself.
Rising on legs that felt alien to him, Kusaka walked forward, his steps still unsure, Shagetsu offering a supportive hand now and then. "Shagetsu, Tadashi has unleashed his true Shikai. We need to end this quickly...!" The two suddenly stopped, as Kusaka's inner World started to crumble away. Some had already given way to and become transformed. The ground he stepped onto was as black as the night sky, the horizon sharing the same colouration. With anger coursing his veins, Kusaka released his zanpakuto and charged his Reiatsu outward again. When he did that, he felt the other presence growing weaker.
"Your efforts are futile." A voice rang out from the darkness. "But yet you still try and try and try. Tell me, are all Shinigami so painstakingly persistant? Leave me flea, for you annoy me." Kusaka chuckled as though he were loosing his mind and going mad. With another burst of spiritual energy, the corrosion of his Inner World halted, his spiritual energy pushing back the blackness of the intruder and revealing slowly the world he was accustomed to. "Now, tell me who the hell you are, and what the hell you're doing here. If I don't like the answer, then you die."A boy with a young appearance, black hair and two large, black wings on his back landed before Kusaka and regarded him coldly. His eyes glowed red, and red energy the same tone as his eyes sprang into being on his hand. He had no weapon that Kusaka could see. "I have no name, only a desire I feel compelled to carry out. And that desire is your downfall and for me to replace you in order to carry out my Master's will."
Kusaka clenched his fist tightly and fired off a condensed Rei Furashuu in the form of a beam that penetrated the figure's shoulder and left a burn hole in his black, short-sleeved outfit. "Wrong answer. Now draw, 'cause I'm pretty much pissed! Shagetsu, let's go." But Shagetsu was on his knees, unable to move and offering no reply. "...You do realize that harming my partner won't make me go any easier on you. In fact, you've just stamped the seal of approval on your own death warrant." Energy formed around Kusaka, but it wasn't spiritual energy. It was the Rei Furashuu cloaking his body like a suit of armour as he charged forward and caught the fellow's head in his palm before rising and throwing him into the ground where he procedded to release the energy wrapped around his body into the ground!
"Stand up." Kusaka urged. "I don't take invasions lightly, especially when the point of invasion is my own damn soul! And because I'm fighting to keep my uncle in this world a little longer. His true Shikai, much like my own moon transformation, limits our lifespan. Tadashi knows this, and yet he still uses it to help save me...! I will not lose here!"
The Battle Rages! Tadashi & Shin vs. Kusaka!Edit
With a single swipe of his hand, the possessed Kusaka sent both Tadashi and Shin flying back through several buildings! Bouncing off of the rubble formed upon their impact, Shin luanched himself forward! A single, large black scimitar with a square guard was in his hand. His Shikai was a melee-type that became stronger as the fight progressed. The more he cut an enemy the stronger he became, but he'd already reached the limit of the power augmentation, and was still lagging behind somewhat.
His Shikai blade resounded as it struck the energy blade Kusaka formed, but he brought his leg up for a kick and made him jump back to avoid it. Taking advantage, Tadashi flashed forward and put his arm under his nephew's left arm before stopping abruptly and throwing him into the ground! Flashing away, Shin appeared and grinned as he landed atop Kusaka's body and began chanting. "Heaven's vengeance is slow but sure. Heaven's net is wide and coarse, yet nothing slips through. Become lost in the divine flash of judgement! Hado 95: Teikoku Ikari!" A large sphere of white spiritual energy formed directly beneath both warriors before expanding outwards at a truly devestating rate!
Flashing away, Tadashi formed a barrier using his Rei Furashuu as he looked on with his senses. "Shin...you used Teikoku Ikari? That's one of the most destructive kido I've ever seen. Even you won't come out of that without grevious injuries..." And he was right. Shin flashed to his friends side, his movements slow and laboured, his breathing heavy. Smoke from the explosion and residue from the Reiatsu used still coated his body somewhat. "Heh...he's still alive... and conscious to boot! Tadashi...what is that thing? He doesn't feel like a hollow, but his energy is completely different to a Shinigami either."
"I wish I knew, Shin. But that question can be answered later... when Kusaka himself is here to help. Can you still fight on, my friend?" Shin scoffed at the question, his face showing surprise that he'd even asked in the first place. "I'm crazy enough to pop out two more of those If I need to...but only If I need to, of course. But I can keep fighting, Tadashi. Now, let's get your nephew back...!"
Kusaka's possessed body burst from the crater Teikoku Ikari had caused and punched both Captain's in the gut with enough strength to make them cough blood, but Shin's reflexes were quicker. His hand had managed to soften the blow, and now his Shikai blade was raised for a powerful downward strike! Kusaka leapt back to avoid, but Tadashi took that chance to flash behind him and kick him forward into Shin's strike! "You aren't getting away!" The blade sliced him from shoulder directly down the middle...
Turning the Tables: Kusaka's ResolveEdit
Kusaka batted aside the fellow's red, blast-like energy attack with his scythe before slamming him into the ground with a Rei Furashuu fired from his crescent moon blade. "I will kill you and your friends! Friendship and loyalty are meaningless to my power" The fellow barked through a blood filled mouth. "I will do my master's will!"
Kusaka arched an eyebrew, his fist tightening. His will to finish this battle quickly had just taken a jump. "Friendship and loyalty? Yeah, I know about that. My burns show for all to see how loyal I am to my friends. Can you beat that friendship? There isn't a single soul alive who can beat the power of trusted allies, because they're just that, a single soul. True power lies in the bonds you create, in the hearts of those you've shared your good times and the bad. So, even if you do defeat this body, someone even stronger would surface and take my place. That's because I have allies I am honoured to have stand beside me and call me "friend". So bring it! You said you wanted to kill my friends, right? I won't let you, because those bonds are all I have!"
Energy swirled around Kusaka's body, a mixture of his spiritual energy and the Rei Furashuu. The result was magnificent. The pitch blackness of his Rei Furashuu and the purple tint of his own spiritual energy mixed together to form a larger and more potent varient. "You won't survive this, and if you do, you'll never raise a hand to me or my friends again. Rei Furashuu!"
The young looking boy was engulfed in the blast, his screams echoing as he was blasted across the horizon. With a jolt, Kusaka found himself returned to his own body, the transformation that had occured poreviously broken, his hair returning to normal and his eyes returning to their original red colouration. Staggering forward, he fell into his uncle's arms. "I...did it, Uncle. Disengage that form right now, or I'm punching you in the mouth."
As Tadashi embraced his nephew, his Shikai resealed itself and he fell backwards when he released his grip, his energy depleted greatly. "Since you are just back, I will let that comment slide. But...are you sure? You're energy is completely different."Suddenly, Kusaka was surrounded in a refreshing black energy, that revealed him in a completely new form when the energy dissipated. The wings from his previous form returned, but his hair was now a combination of his own, and the young boy he'd just defeated, with black hair and a slight white tinge throughout. A sword with a wide crossguard and a red colouration all around was held firmly in his right hand and a black robe that flared out in ragged edges appeared on his body. "This feels amazing." Kusaka said in complete control.
"You have defeated me...Kusaka and now my power is yours...until I manage to defeat you. Remember, if you give me an opening-" "Yeah, yeah, you'll drag me down and crush me, right? You're so cliche. Since you don't have a name, I'm gonna call you Okita. First name to come to my mind, and it'll do you rightly."
Shin walked forward and slapped Kusaka's back hard, but he withdrew his hand slowly, a smile on his face. "I felt his spiritual energy just now, and he's not even the same person. In that form, he doesn't feel like either a Shinigami or a Hollow. Nice work, Kusaka. And nice form! Hey, can I have one of the feathers?" he asked jokingly.
Kusaka chuckeled before channeling his energy outward like Kenji had told him he did with Kyo and sealed the new abilities and transformation in a new weapon. But he didn't opt for a sword or katana. Instead, he opted for a dual ended scythe with a small piece of cloth in order to secure it on his back. The transformation faded and he instantly felt the pain of the wounds he'd suffered when he used Shoku mūn on Averian. "Uncle, I'm gonna head back to Kenji and Kazuma, now. Reinforcements may get here soon, and I'd rather not be here when they do. Shin, thanks again for the help...you to Uncle." The two embraced before Kusaka vanished...
As Kusaka wandered back to his friends, he raised his head when a man stood in the sky, leaning lazily on a wall of spiritual energy. Kenji Hiroshi greeted him with a large grin and a firm handshake. "I'm judgin' by the fireworks that ya found Tadashi." The nood was all Kusaka needed to say. Kenji tightened his grip and shook his head before grippiNG Kyo's katana firmly. "You've done exactly what I've done, haven't you? Your energy now isn't the same as it was, just like mine whern I started using Kyo."
"We've got a problem." Kusaka replied calmly. "I encountered that Arrancar Averian, and he's far more dangerous than you thought. He did this to me, but i ain't really bothered. But know this, I can't control it all yet. The form I'm just after sealing is a different story. I can control it, but not the second, stronger form. If I ever lose control like you did with your Inner Hollow, then either kill me or divert me. I want your word, Kenji."
"And you've got it, Kusaka. Not that ya needed to ask, but I get the drift. C'mon, Kazuma's been wonderin' where his mentor's ran off to, and Ino's ready to skin ya alive for worryin' her." The two friends laughed, happy to be back together again with things back to normal. "Did you beat your depression, or do I need to thump some sense into ya?"
Kusaka's grin was all the answer Kenji needed, as the two friends vanished as one back to the site they were currently camping in...