- The greater the fear... the nearer the danger. - Kenji-Taichō
The hunt for Gengetsu has taken an abrupt and potentially fatal turn for the worst that has launched Team Sanretsu straight into the powerful presence of the frightening Averian! Time running out, and their chances all but nil, the members make one final stand. The line has been drawn on the sandy plains of Hueco Mundo. There can be no defeat, nor can there be victory... but at ht every least victory can be obtained by living to fight another day... Join them as the story begins to delve deeper into the world of these gods of death as one meets their end...
Autumns Many Trials: The Will to Fight Triumphs Edit
Kitsui lay motionless in Sairento's arms, held by the force of his foes spiritual energy which was stronger than any other he had experienced up until this point in his relatively short life. Averian loomed large, like a giant overlooking the ants beneath and the pleased, twisted grin only made him appear all the more menacing. The youngster noted that neither Zenmetsu nor Saigai had risen to fight again, no doubt weakened considerably by his Bankai-enhanced Rei Furashuu, which in itself was a relief. If they were to have any chance of escaping the Arrancar before them alive, then they would need every advantage their superior numbers would allow. Pushing his body and will, anger at his mistreatment the driving force, Kitsui moved of his own accord, standing on his feet to his allies growing concern and surprise. They each though him completely drained, and while that was half true, he still had reserves if he was willing to utilize them. Hisako knew well what he was thinking, and her concern alerted the others soon after. Stating that he'd be a fool if he tried, Sairento reached out an arm to steady him, only to have it repelled by a blast of spiritual energy as Kitsui assumed his Mūnshēdo form, though Sairento quickly noted that his spiritual energy was quickly becoming more Hollow-like by the second.
A dust cloud kicked up that hid both Kitsui and Sairento from view, though Yoshiaki knew exactly what the youngster was up to and slowly drew Shuken from its sheath, the act drawing the penetrating eye of the ever powerful Averian. Explaining that he intended to see his friends leave alive, Yoshiaki's eyes narrowed as a shroud engulfed his person, hiding the elder of the four companions completely from view as Hisako looked on with surprise and bewilderment at Yoshiaki's actions. For her, this was the first time she had ever witnessed him do anything like this. Almost immediately following the shroud, the entire area surrounding Yoshiaki's body was covered in a think black mist, making visibility even poorer when combined with Kitsui's growing dust cloud as the two exerted their energies. From this mist Yoshiaki emerged as though constructed from the shroud itself, with Averian questioning him on just what it was he managed to do with his fancy mist show. Explaining that everything would become clear soon, Yoshiaki whispered the words "Bankai. Eien Shuken." Sairento noted his appearance to have altered drastically from the shoulder draped kimono and black hakama he had worn previously. He now wore a suit of ceremonial-like armor that appeared very samurai-like in its appearance, with black scale armor protecting the elders groin area with a tasset, with another section guarding his stomach. The chest area was colored red, inlaid with rich thin golden lines, while the sash that hung from his tasset was colored a mixture of red and purple. Hisako arched an eyebrow at his sudden change, taking greater note of his hair color, which had somehow shifted from black to purple, complete with a purple blindfold that no doubt prevented him from seeing a thing in front of him.
The mist continued to permeate the area as the dust cloud obscuring Kitsui from sight finally dispersed, revealing him with a Hollow mask! Leaving Sairento wearing an amused expression, after all, he knew Kitsui had no Vizard powers. The mask was simply to preserve his identity and designed to appear like a Hollow mask in order to intimidate those he may be meeting with. When used alongside his Hollow-enhanced Mūnshēdo form, however, the mask could easily pass as one donned by a Vizard and Averian's slowly widening eyes showed that he had taken it as such. As Kitsui turned, Hisako recalled the menacing look of the mask and felt herself shudder. The mask worn on his face appeared as a menacing skull with two vertical black lines running down the front on either side of the eye slits that run past the teeth to converge on the chin. The mask covered the entirety of his face, save his eyes and the small area around them, though his Hollow influence made his eyes appear yellow in coloration regardless, only adding to the overall deception. The eye slits were long and wide, with two rows of pointed teeth positioned above and below the masks lip. Taking the time to laugh at their meager attempts at opposition, Averian calmly drew his zanpakutō from its sheath at his waist as he told his opponents to come as a group so he could make a meal of their collective souls.
The Arrancar simply exerted his monstrous spiritual energy in response, the force of which was akin to gravity pushing down on them! Both Sairento and Hisako were pinned to the ground by its sheer intensity. Even Kitsui was dropped to his knees until he managed to increase his own spiritual output close to max just to compensate. Admiring his will to fight back, Averian began a slow, mocking clap; obviously taking delight in their foolish opposition and the fear reflected in Kitsui's yellow eyes. Stating they had no chance without more flees to lend assistance, Averian shot forward, his actions beginning their battle!
Crossroads to Disaster: Kitsui Sanretsu & Yoshiaki Hiroshi vs. Averian Edit
The attack was aimed for Kitsui, Hisako noticed with a growing sense of dread. The force exerted on her body still prevented her from moving more than a few inches in either direction, and when she finally managed to glance to her left, Sairento too was pinned, though struggling against the bonds that held him as surely as they held her. Sparks flew and eyebrows shot up as Yoshiaki moved, very much a blur to Hisako's untrained eyes. She caught a warning in Yoshiaki's tone, dangerous and angry, telling Averian he would not be merciful if harm befell his son. Scoffing at the notion, Averian jibed that it was he who had given birth to the boy through countless failed experiments in an attempt to replicate Kusaka Kori's Rei Furashuu, only the caged bird he had intended to create instead proved himself to be a hawk not easily barred by steel. Emotions raging at the casualness of his tone, Kitsui released a tremendous, black-colored Cero that very nearly struck Yoshiaki too, before he and Averian engaged one another in a quick, but short, display of swordsmanship that left a large gash crossing Kitsui's back in a diagonal line that spanned from his right shoulder blade down to the back of his left side. Falling forward, Yoshiaki moved, putting himself between his adoptive son and Averian's hungry zanpakutō, Hisako noticing that he was not one bit encumbered by the blindfold covering his eyes. In fact, he seemed to move better with it.
Explaining that his other senses were honed to such degrees by his Bankai, Yoshiaki proceeded to strike out against the powerful Arrancar, releasing his vast spiritual energy at the moment of every slash in order to push his foe back away from Kitsui's crouching form. Watching his desperate strikes brought another twisted grin to Averian's face who repeated once again how foolhardy their actions were as he casually knocked Yoshiaki's sword aside and cut a deep gash into his left shoulder, moments later sending him hurtling with a thrust-kick to his mid-section that sent him hurtling to the desert sands of Hueco Mundo far below! Watching and feeling helpless, Sairento gave action to his growing anger by forming a multitude of crystal barriers around himself and Hisako that succeeded in lifting the force of Averian's energy away from them momentarily. Clicking his fingers, crystal formed beneath Yoshiaki's falling form, becoming elastic momentarily to prevent further harm.
Watching the scene unfold with pain pulsating from his back, Kitsui attempted to move, his body objecting every movement, but his heart overriding his thoughts of giving up. Tears were present in his eyes, Averian noticed as he approached, his comments mocking. Brushing aside the words, Kitsui done the opposite of what he had been taught. He allowed rage and anger, spite and hatred, fear and uncertainty to fill him body and soul. He relished in them now, the sensation completely different from when he usually severed those same emotions. He was sharper, his senses more finely tuned, if in a different way. His instincts, he reckoned as he engaged Averian once again; this times the two locking horns and neither giving an inch. Kitsui fought for that inch, and then dug for more, even though his reserves were being pressed to their limit. Even when three more injuries were cut into his arms, chest and legs, he refused to give in. Fear burned like a fire, turning to courage in the heat of battle, as Averian actually began to enjoy himself, his smirk once what it had been when Kitsui had surprised them once before in their torturous training sessions. His smile vanished completely when Kitsui managed to land a strike that glanced across his chest, as the youngster intoned "Rei Furashuu!" The energy burst forth like the raging waters of a flood, converging around the Arrancar from the point of impact, pushing him back. Images of his first ever usage of the technique, when he had succeeded in pushing this same person through the wall flooded his mind, and the same black-haired man he had seen so often as a child - as though a guardian angel guiding his steps - appeared in his mind, performing the same steps for Kitsui to mimic.
Thanking Sairento for his assistance, but insisting that he and Hisako open the Masukage's Nul ability to escape at a moment’s notice, the elder rejoined his son in time to see a Rei Furashuu engulf the Arrancar; which did more than bring a smile to his face. Landing beside his son, the two awaited the energy to dissipate before launching themselves into the dance-like styles of the Yuengiri, Kitsui once again severing his emotions to leave them floating on the edge of his conscious mind. They both utilized pin-point forms, striking in time with one another and leaving Averian to counter a gauntlet of flashing swords and precise strikes. Concentration covered their faces, and despite their movements and size, they barely disturbed the air beneath their feet as they floated with Shunpo. It was as though they were one with the landscape around them. One with the sword in their hand until it became an extension of their body. Kitsui's senses were so honed, he could hear the quiet breathing of the Arrancar in front; see the fibers of his uniform. Father and son moved in a circle now, time seeming to become a distant worry as they worked through the styles; Averian wearing a grimace as three wounds were cut into his flesh.
Their motions stopped dead though; fresh sweat beading on both their foreheads as Yoshiaki twisted and impacted Averian in the back of the skull as wings sprouted from his back. As the Arrancar fell, he caved in his son's ribcage, leaving him on the edge of consciousness barely. "You must live on," He whispered, voice calm. "Someday Kitsui, you will find something you'd give your very body and soul to protect, as I have. You, my son, will not die here. You will live on and see the world unclouded." Two black colored seals, one appearing like a dragon beginning to spread its wings and another with a circle and two upwards pointing curves appeared on Kitsui's person before Yoshiaki hurled him to the waiting Sairento and Hisako. "GO!" His bellows followed the three, Kitsui’s voice quite and barely audible... but clear to Hisako beside him. "Father... father..."
Passing of a Legend... Edit
Yoshiaki appeared in a winged-form with flowing black hair, large, black-feathered wings that sprouted from the back of his still=present Bankai appearance. Keeping close-mouthed about the transformation in fear Averian may figure out just what it was, Yoshiaki remained still. As his comrades vanished through the Garganta-like opening Sairento had created, Yoshiaki returned his attention to the growing anger of the steadily rising Averian. Their gazes locked, hatred passed between them, and a single step from both fighters brought them together! Blades glanced, barely touching in truth before six swift strikes were met and parried respectively before they once again moved apart and around one another in a continually moving circle shape. Every strike made produced a shockwave of force that jarred Yoshiaki's bones and numbed his arm a little more than previous. He kept telling himself he would not surrender, that it was for his comrades... his son.
He had no indication of how Averian was taking things, but their battle was progressing steadily worse. The two figures flashed through the night sky, blades clashing and sparks flying as they danced the graceful dance of death, with Yoshiaki bearing three more injuries across his body as Averian upped his game. Beginning to fell the pressure of his situation, Yoshiaki was impaled through the gut with one fluid movement later spilling his blood on the sands of Hueco Mundo. Stating him to be a fool, Averian impaled him through the knees this time, slicing both up so they were beyond use, which essentially left Yoshiaki all but helpless as the blows began falling, minor and grievous alike. When they finally stopped, the elder was a bloody mess with countless bloody wounds that Averian had delighted in creating. "You’re the strongest opponent I've ever faced..." Yoshiaki began, his eyes shining with intensity. "I know I won't beat you... but he will!" There was no need for Averian to ask who he meant. With that, the fight ended, with Yoshiaki's limp body falling to the sands below... but in truth, a victory had been achieved. For Averian received none of his victim’s power or abilities as he usually did, as they had previously been sealed into another, which brought a roar of anger that echoed throughout Hueco Mundo.
Kitsui watched the horizon, but not really taking anything in. The setting sun and the tweeting birds might as well not have existed for all he cared at that particular moment in time. Hisako and Sairento sat a small distance away, warming themselves by a fire. The wind carried a chill Kitsui didn't attempt to shield himself against. His father was dead, killed so they could escape. Someday Kitsui, you will find something you'd give your very body and soul to protect, as I have. You, my son, will not die here. You will live on and see the world unclouded he had said. See the world... The young, black-haired Shinigami got to his feet slowly, tears showing in his eyes. For the first time since his return, he took note of his surroundings and in particular the winged man flying towards them. Greeting him as Saikō Onkei and as a Fullbringer, he was also a member of their team and one of Kitsui’s greatest friends. After the situation was explained, he sighed before immediately regaining his cheerful persona and poking Kitsui on the forehead, telling him not to let Yoshiaki's death be in vain or waste the life he saved.
With Saikō promising to remain with them from now on, the group look toward a future without the wisdom of Yoshiaki to guide them...