Before I get into Chapter 15, I would like to point out that I'm still surprised at the popularity of this story. In my browsing of the interweb, I found links to my story across many different sites, which spurs me on to continue writing. So thank you to everyone that reviews and spreads the word of my story.

So onto the actual chapter. This is the second half of Episode 5, which really means it ends at the same time as Episode 5 ends. The events within the chapter are so different from canon that some of you might not even recognize it. Of course Tsumugu will fight Ryuko since it wouldn't be Kill la Kill without that happening, but the details of the fight as well as how it goes down is different. Three words: Plastic Explosive Pincushion.

Note: I am greatly interested in someone making a picture of Ichigo wearing Mugetsu. If anyone wants to do this, please PM me so we can work it out.


...


Chapter 15 - Won't Get Fooled Again

Under Satsuki Kiryuin's harsh rule, all students attending Honnouji Academy had a strict curfew of 10:00 PM, barring exigent circumstances. Any student found wandering the campus without a reasonable excuse would find themselves at the mercy of the Disciplinary Committee before being handed over to Ira Gamagori, who would go down on the student harder than usual due to having just been woken up. For the most part, every One-Star student and over obeyed the curfew without any fuss or complaints, but Ichigo Kurosaki didn't know about the curfew and wouldn't have cared even if he had.

The good thing about living in an almost empty dorm was that there weren't that many people around to witness anything. Nui Harime's visit on No-Late Day was a prime example of how this was a good thing. Ichigo had no doubts in his mind that if anyone were to have walked in on them, Nui would have easily and without hesitation killed the interloper in order, as she put it, to keep her secret. Ichigo didn't know why she was obsessed with him. Quite frankly it both scared and pissed him off.

Due to the lack of students both willing and able to stay in the dorms, the rooftop made an excellent place to speak without being overheard by spies or nosy people.

"Gah!"

"Hmm…" Mako raised a finger to her lips and tilted her head to the side, "I lost track. How many times was that?"

"Thirty one," Shinjiro Nagita answered without hesitation as he quickly added a tally mark to his writing pad. Much like Mako, he was sitting on the edge of the roof with a sandwich in his hands, "Ryuko's determination to persevere in the face of an unbeatable opponent is truly awe inspiring."

Ichigo frowned from where he was standing, "Yeah, but she's never going to land a hit if she just keeps charging in like that."

Skidding to a stop along the concrete roof, completely unharmed due to Senketsu acting as her skin, Ryuko grumbled angrily and picked herself off the ground. Brushing some dust off her Kamui, she glared at Ururu, who was still standing in the same spot as when the spar began.

"She's really strong, Ryuko," Senketsu's eye narrowed as he tried to come up with a strategy, but every plan the Kamui thought of was shot down by Ururu's lightning-fast reaction time and speed.

"Way to state the obvious," Ryuko wiped a trail of spit off her lips and stared at Ururu. When she had agreed to this spar in order to hone her skills and increase her abilities, she thought it would be simple. In her mind, Ururu only managed to kick Sanageyama's ass because he hadn't activated his Three-Star Goku Uniform. But after activating Life Fiber Synchronization and still not landing a single hit, Ryuko was beginning to wonder just how strong Ururu was, "There's no way you can be this strong."

"I wasn't always this strong," Ururu said softly, her hands clasped together in front of her, "I trained long and hard to get to where I am today."

"Huh," Ryuko grinned cockily as she digested that piece of information. If someone like Ururu, who hated fighting, could be trained to be this strong, then there was no doubt in her mind that she could do the same, "That's good to know. Ready for the next round?"

Ururu nodded her head, "Of course, but might I suggest trying to kill me? You won't be able to, but it would give you the strength and speed to maybe land a hit on me."

What Ururu just told her took Ryuko aback, "Kill you?"

"Yes," For the first time in the spar Ururu adopted a fighting stance. Bumping her gloved hands together softly, she added, "You should get ready, Ryuko. Here I come."

Ryuko nodded and brought her Scissor Blade up into a defensive position, but as much as she thought she was ready, she really wasn't. One moment she was standing almost twenty feet away from Ururu and the next she was sent flying into the air as Ururu's heel connected with her chin.

Wincing in pain as specks of blood hovered in the air around her, Ryuko looked down at the roof out of one half-opened eye, "Damn it. I couldn't even see her move."

"I didn't even sense her. She's really tough."

"I know!" Ryuko shouted as she spun around in the air before landing on the roof in a crouch. Just as her heel clicked against the surface of the roof, she was forced to quickly jump backwards when Ururu sprinted towards her.

Barely dodging the first punch, Ryuko was caught off guard when Ururu abruptly switched tactics and swept her leg across the ground. Tossed back into the air, Ryuko was stunned when Ururu thrust her palm into her exposed stomach. Even with Senketsu's steel-like skin, the power behind the blow was like she wasn't even wearing a Kamui. Thrown back along the roof, Ryuko rolled to a stop and immediately noticed her Scissor Blade was no longer in her hands. Twisting her head around, she saw the weapon held firmly in Ururu's hand.

Ururu gazed at the peculiar weapon in her left hand with something akin to wonder and interest. Something about it felt familiar, but that wasn't possible. Turning to a flabbergasted Ryuko, she said, "Your grip was too light. I was able to disarm you with hardly any effort."

"This is terrible!" Mako's arms were raised in front of her body and her eyes were on the verge of tears. Her best friend was equipped with her Sunday best and yet was unable to put up a fight! Gathering her courage, she stood up and shouted, "Come on Ryuko! Where's your fighting spirit? There's no way you should be getting thrown around like my old doll!"

"It is rather strange," Shinjiro flipped through his notepad. Frowning as he recalled something he wrote days ago, he turned to Ichigo, "Ryuko should be stronger than this. Didn't you say she was equal to Satsuki in strength?"

"Just about," Ichigo answered briefly, "She's holding back."

"Ryuko?" Shinjiro asked before wincing when Ryuko was thrown back and her Scissor Blade taken away.

"No. Ururu," Ichigo stated neutrally, "She's probably fighting at about a quarter of her strength. If Ururu wasn't holding back, she would have killed Ryuko when the fight started."

While Mako gasped at that revelation and cheered on Ryuko even more, Shinjiro seemed to become pensive, but Ichigo chalked his less cheery mood to his current state. Some time during No-Late Day, Shinjiro had been ambushed by the Disciplinary Committee and had the crap beat out of him. While most of his wounds had been superficial and needed nothing more than bandages and gauze, Shinjiro was forced to cover his left eye with an eye patch for the foreseeable future.

"Ururu's that strong?" The familiar awe was back in his voice, which showed Ichigo that Shinjiro was back to his old self, "That's incredible! She could be our secret weapon to expose Lady Satsuki's tyranny once and for all!"

"What's with you and taking down Satsuki?" Ichigo arched an eyebrow. There was something odd about how Shinjiro always wanted to go after Satsuki, "Can't you – "

"Look at the color changing!"

Ichigo and Shinjiro turned towards Mako, who had shouted the exclamation, before turning towards Ururu. While they were both stunned by what they saw, it was Ichigo who voiced what was on both of their minds, "It's turning purple?"

They were not the only ones to notice. Both Ryuko, whose eyes were wide as saucers and her lips trembling, and Ururu, who viewed it with a mixture of detached interest and confusion, had noticed it as well. Holding the Scissor Blade out in front of her petite body, Ururu watched as the red color of the blade started bleeding away only to be replaced by a shade of dark purple. In only a few seconds there wasn't any trace of red left on it. It was now a purple Scissor Blade.

"How strange…" Ururu held the blade up to her eyes and stared deeply at it. She had no idea why it had changed color, but nothing seemed to have been changed besides its cosmetic appearance, "Why did it turn purple?"

"You…" Ryuko's body was trembling and her head was tilted down, hiding her eyes beneath thick shadows. Clenching her fists angrily to the point where she should have drawn blood, she glared at Ururu and seethed, "Just who are you anyway?"

With almost wild abandon Ryuko raced along the roof, the vents on her back only helping to increase her speed. As she closed the distance between Ururu and herself, Ryuko cocked a fist back and aimed for her target's face. She could tell by the look in Ururu's eyes that she hadn't expected Ryuko to just come charging at her. That did not, however, stop Ururu from leaning to the side and allowing the punch to go sailing harmlessly past less than an inch from her nose. Nor did it stop her from stabbing the now purple Scissor Blade into the roof, rearing her arm back and driving her fist deep into Ryuko's solar plexus.

"Gah!" Ryuko spit out globs of blood as Ururu punched her with nearly half of her strength. Collapsing onto the ground with only a single shaking arm preventing her face from hitting it, Ryuko gasped for breath and looked up into Ururu's passive face, "Why?"

"Huh?" Ururu blinked owlishly in confusion.

"Why…" Ryuko took a moment to catch her breath, "…why did you kill my dad?"

Ururu stared at the fallen Ryuko before crouching down next to her. Staring level into Ryuko's eyes, she tilted her head to the side and said, "But I didn't kill your dad. I don't even know who he is."

"What?" Ryuko managed to regain some control over her body as the pain in her stomach abated, "But my Scissor Blade. Why did it turn purple when you held it?"

Ururu briefly looked at the skewered weapon, "I don't know, but I'm really sorry for any confusion and anger I may have caused you. Please forgive me!"

A faint blush of embarrassment adorned Ryuko's cheeks as Ururu apologized to her profusely. She was about to apologize when Senketsu spoke to her, "That was dangerous of you, Ryuko."

Ryuko stared at Senketsu's only working eye and saw that it was narrowed in anger, "What do you mean, Senketsu?"

"When you got angry just now, your blood began boiling hotter and hotter," Her Kamui paused for a moment to let his words sink in before continuing, "If it had continued for much longer, I would not have been able to control my taste for your blood. You need to be careful in the future. You mustn't let your anger take control of you or it will not end well for either of us."

"You're right," Ryuko sighed dejectedly, "It's just that I – "

"Ryuko!"

Ryuko didn't have much warning before Mako latched onto her neck, spun around once and tackled her to the ground. As she tried to get Mako's hands away from her neck so that she was able to breath, Mako tightened her grip even more, "Don't die on me, Ryuko! I can't afford to go searching for a new best friend this time of the year. It's too much of a hassle!"

"Mako…can't…breath…" Ryuko comically gasped for breath as her face started turning blue. Her relief came when Ichigo grabbed Mako by the back of her collar and pulled her off of the nearly dead Ryuko.

"Easy Mako," Ichigo let Mako down gently before offering a hand to Ryuko, "Are you alright?"

Instead of taking his hand, Ryuko deactivated Senketsu and sat cross-legged on the ground with her arms folded in front of her chest. With a pout of anger on her face, she asked, "How well do you know Ururu?"

"Ururu?" Ichigo looked at said girl and watched as she played keep away with Mako and the purple Scissor Blade that she still hadn't given back to Ryuko. Scratching his head, he answered, "Well…she worked for Kisuke for a while. I think she's his daughter or something. I never saw her outside of his shop or school."

"So she can't be the one who killed my dad. Then why did my Scissor Blade change colors when she held it?"

"Hell if I know," Ichigo shrugged and extended his hand towards Ururu, who immediately gave the Scissor Blade back. Strangely enough, as soon as his hand closed around the handle, the purple bled away and was replaced by the same dark shade of blue that Tournesol shone with. Giving it an experimental swing, he said, "Perhaps it just changes color if someone else holds it."

Flipping the blade around in his grip, Ichigo handed it back to Ryuko, who took it and watched the blue fade away to red almost immediately. Staring at the blade with a mixture of suspicion and betrayal for several long moments, she sighed and grumbled, "I guess I went a little crazy back there. God, I feel like such an idiot for blaming Ururu for what happened to my dad!"

Ichigo paused and looked to the side and away from Ryuko, "You never said what happened to your dad."

"That's because there isn't much to say," Ryuko admitted sadly, her gaze locked firmly on the ground in front of her, "Dad called me back home to talk about something. When I got back, I found him lying against the wall with this blade sticking out of his stomach. I tried to save him, damn it I tried, but I caught a glimpse of a woman with the other half of this weapon fleeing. That's all I know."

"Hmm…"

Ryuko noticed Ichigo's lack of response and looked up. Seeing him staring into the distance, she asked, "What is it?"

Ichigo watched Mako say something bombastically to Shinjiro, who replied just as enthusiastically, before replying, "I have an idea who the woman is."

"What?" Ryuko shot to her feet, "Who is it?"

Ichigo shook his head, "It's just a suspicion, but I'm pretty sure it's her. Everything just adds up too perfectly to be anything else."

Ryuko huffed angrily, "Can I at least know her name?"

"Yeah," Ichigo yawned and started to head back to his room. It was getting late and he was certain that Tsumugu would be coming back tomorrow to finish what he started with Ryuko, "Her name is Nui Harime."

"Nui Harime…" Ryuko let the name roll off her tongue. It was certainly a name she wouldn't forget anytime soon, "Hey, are you going to help me tomorrow against that guy?"

Ichigo looked at Ryuko, "You want me to?"

"Yes. No. Maybe. I don't know!" Ryuko grumbled and kicked her foot against the roof, "I want to know what that guy has against Senketsu, but he has so many damn tricks up his sleeves. For all I know, he's tinkering right this moment and making new traps and weapons to throw me off guard. He already managed to catch me off guard once alreadt. What's to stop him from doing it a second time when I'm not expecting it?"

That was a good point. Ichigo could see that while Ryuko would have preferred to fight her own battles, she was willing to ask for his help, "I'll do what I can, but if he's as smart as you say he is, he's going to wait until we're separated before attacking."

"Thanks," A smile graced Ryuko's face as she followed Ichigo back into the building. Perhaps tomorrow wouldn't be as bad as she thought.


...


A frown graced Satsuki Kiryuin's face.

Satsuki liked to believe she could predict events in advance. With human nature being what it was, it was simply a matter of determining how a person usually reacts in order to figure out the best course of action in limiting their power and influence. Sometimes it's their pride, knowledge, honor, or simply adoration, but people have weaknesses. Ichigo Kurosaki and Ryuko Matoi were no different.

Sipping her tea before continuing to read the latest report on Ryuko, Satsuki felt that reading it was a waste a time. She already knew the motivations behind Ryuko's actions, due in no small part to causing them herself. All she needed to do to provoke Ryuko into making irrational choices it to subtly mention the death of her father. It was almost too easy. Ichigo Kurosaki, on the other hand, was more complicated and difficult to read. Satsuki had tried to speak with him on multiple occasions, only succeeding in a couple, but what she was about to deduce wasn't enough to predict how Ichigo would react to future stimuli. He was honorable and law-abiding, but at the same time was willing to break rules in order to do what is right. If she was any other person, Satsuki would have applauded Ichigo, but right now he was a major obstacle to her plans.

"What is the best course of action for reining in Ichigo?" Satsuki leaned back and gently closed her eyes, "He is no doubt suspicious of my motives and will not listen to anything I say without a grain of salt. Perhaps I can use that suspicion to my advantage. By mixing together enough truths and lies, I should be able to trick him into doing what I want."

"Lady Satsuki," Houka Inumuta's voice carried across the room, reminding Satsuki that she wasn't alone, "I have the information you requested about the intruder who took out the Gardening Club this morning."

"I see," Satsuki would think more on dealing with Ichigo once the discussion was finished. She was finding, to her irritation, that her thoughts continued to circulate around Ichigo more than she would have preferred, "What did you find?"

Inumuta pressed a key and immediately a picture of Tsumugu was prominently displayed on the large screen taking up most of the wall next to Satsuki. Staring at the picture, her face illuminated by the green and black glow, she glanced over the various statistics before focusing solely on the pictures of his encounter with Ryuko and Ichigo earlier that day

"Information surrounding this man is surprisingly limited," As a computer expert majoring in data infiltration and gathering, Inumuta took pride in his ability to find out almost anything about anyone. His several failed attempts to find so much as the name of this man irked him to no end, "But the data I was able to gather suggests that he is a member of the Anti-Uniform paramilitary, Nudist Beach, that has been plaguing us over the last three years."

"Nudist Beach?" Ira Gamagori towered over his fellow Elite Fours as he stared at the screen with a mixture of disdain and contemplation, "That same group that's been dismantling several of Lady Satsuki associated academies?"

"The one and the same," Inumuta adjusted his glasses before continuing, "While that group has been working against Lady Satsuki, this man has personally taken out nine academies and schools in the last year alone."

"Nine?" Uzu Sanageyama uncrossed his legs and sat up on the edge of the couch, "Why haven't we caught this man yet?"

"He's smart," Inumuta explained, "Upon arrival at an academy, he immediately heads towards the Student Council and takes them out. Once the Student Council Lady Satsuki put into power is dismantled…"

"…We lose control over the academy and its students," Gamagori finished gruffly. Upon successfully taking over an academy, Lady Satsuki allows a Student Council of her choosing to run the school in her absence. To prevent any potential uprisings, each member of the council is given a Goku Uniform for their role in helping her expand her power. With this man taking out the councils, large swatches of Japan had broken away and joined up with the three remaining academies in the Kansai Region. Frowning deeply, he looked at Inumuta and asked, "How is this man accomplishing this? He doesn't seem to be wearing any Life Fiber-infused clothing."

"I was getting to that," Inumuta annoyingly admonished before typing a few more keys, "As I was about to say, this is the man's primary weapon."

Inumuta slid his fingers across the screen of his laptop and immediately the picture of Tsumugu vanished and was replaced by several of his Sewing Machine Gun. With another swipe, several high-resolution images of the needles used as ammunition as well as a basic schematic of the weapon appeared.

"How barbaric," Nonon Jakuzure quipped playfully as she looked at the weapon, "Using such a crude weapon against Lady Satsuki is just stupid. It's a wonder he even managed to take down a single associated academy in the first place."

"The needles he uses are composed of a special alloy that possesses the ability to sever the link between a human and a Life Fiber," Inumuta explained, annoyed at Nonon's interruption of his explanation, "Hmm? This is strange. It says that the alloy in the needles is the sole intellectual property of Revocs."

"How does a man working for an Anti-Uniform group gain access to classified materials?" Gamagori asked casually, "Could there be a traitor at Revocs assisting these Nudists?"

"I doubt that" Satsuki answered calmly, a cold tone to her voice, "My mother would not tolerate dissension of any kind in her company. If an employee so much as harbors thoughts of espionage, they disappear. Inumuta, pull up the list of robberies, both successful and attempted, against Revocs over the last twenty years."

"Electronic records only go back eighteen years, but I'll try," Inumuta typed rapidly against his keyboard, his fingers little more than blurs of motion. After more than a minute passed in silence without a hint of progress from the former hacker, he managed to find something useful, "I've managed to compile a list of internal Revocs memos. Of the hundreds of memos, only one, dating back fourteen years, references a missing shipment of classified materials. It's not concrete, but I do believe it is what you're looking for."

"It does not matter how he came into possession of the alloy," Satsuki concluded.

"Allow us to confront him directly," Sanageyama offered energetically, "The Goku Uniforms you gave to the other academies were no stronger than Two-Star. There is no way that he can take down all four of us."

"An excellent suggestion, but a pointless one," Satsuki turned her head and waited for Soroi to refill her cup of tea before continuing, "This man's target is Matoi, not me."

"Why would he be after Matoi?" Gamagori asked.

Satsuki spoke as calmly as ever, "His goal is her Kamui. Since his intentions do not involve me, this skirmish is simply a struggle between a sandpiper and a clam. Jumping in and getting involved will only dirty our hands. We will leave him alone and allow Matoi to fight her own battles."

"What about Strawberry?" Jakuzure asked suspiciously.

"You needn't worry about him," Satsuki sighed cockily as she sipped her tea, "Ichigo won't be a problem."

"Do you want me to take care of him?" Sanageyama asked, willingly offering his services to Satsuki. He was still smarting over his defeat to Ururu a few days ago. If getting his ass kicked by a little girl wasn't enough, he failed to get his revenge on Ichigo during No-Late Day. Somehow even without his Kamui, Ichigo Kurosaki and Ryuko Matoi escaped from him with barely a scratch.

"Your willingness is appreciated, " Satsuki condoned, "But unnecessary. It is likely that the clash between Matoi and this man will spread throughout Honnouji Academy. I need you to gather the Athletic Club Captains and be ready to capture this man as soon as the fight is over. Whether he defeats Matoi or vice versa, he will be exhausted both physically and mentally. It will be a prime opportunity to capture a member of Nudist Beach and determine their goals and plans."

"Strawberry is going to be a problem," Jakuzure quipped haughtily, "It'll be just like a prince saving a princess. But in this case the princess is an ugly troll with no sense of fashion."

"Ichigo is the kind of person to step in and help those close to him," Satsuki put the now empty cup of tea down and steeped her fingers, "Getting him away from Matoi for the duration of the fight is going to be a problem."

"Let me deal with Strawberry," Jakuzure chuckled coldly, "He needs to learn his place. What better way is there than to be crushed under my feet?"

"What a peculiar reaction," Inumuta noticed with a bit of sarcasm in his voice, "If I didn't know any better, I would think you were obsessed with Ichigo Kurosaki."

"Quiet doggy," Jakuzure growled menacingly, the mouth of the monkey skull on her hat opening and closing alongside her own, "It is true that the transfer student was the one to wreck my Biology Club, but Strawberry has taken out several other clubs. I'm not going to sit back and let him keep doing that. It is up to the Non-Athletic Committee to take care of its own problems. That is, of course, if Lady Satsuki permits me to do so."

"You may," Satsuki answered after a second, "But you must know that Ichigo's abilities far exceed anything you have witnessed so far. I have seen how he's defeated the Club Captains. It is nothing compared to the strength he used to fight and defeat me. If you wish to fight him, I will not stop you, but you can guess the price of failure. Either you come back to me with his Kamui in hand or you will be demoted down to a No-Star. I am giving you a single chance to reconsider your choice, Jakuzure."

"You don't need to be worried about me, Lady Satsuki," Nonon Jakuzure smirked and brushed imaginary dust off her shoulders, "I'm not going to underestimate Strawberry one bit. If he was strong enough to fight you fairly, it would be quite rude to not go all out myself."

Satsuki smiled minutely at Nonon's determination, "Very well then. If you are so determined on fighting Ichigo, then you have my permission to do so. However, you must know that you would be at a disadvantage to Ichigo's speed and strength."

"That is where I come in," Iori's voice spoke up from the shadows. Stepping forward and briefly acknowledging the Elite Four, he turned to Satsuki and continued, "I have done what you asked of me, Lady Satsuki. After several hours of going through the combat data involving the Symphony Regalia, I believe I have ironed out most flaws and mistakes. Jakuzure, please come with me. I need to test fit the Symphony Regalia Mark II."

A wide grin spread across Nonon's face as she stood up and followed Iori. With the power afforded to her by her new and improved Goku Uniform, she was going to make Ichigo pay for the humiliation he inflicted on her. That was for certain.


...


Ryuko strummed her fingers against her desk as she barely paid attention to Aikuro's rambling about the Iran-Contra Affair. As much as she liked to learn about history, there was something wrong with Aikuro if he was able to make her zone out as much as she was. There was no way this man was a member of whatever organization Nudist Beach is, which she still thinks is bullshit Aikuro made up to mess with her. Suppressing a yawn and scribbling down a few more notes, she looked at her hand and frowned when she noticed it was shaking.

"Is it because I'm nervous about fighting that man again?"

She would be lying if she said that Tsumugu didn't frighten her. The way the man knew how to disable her attempt to activate Senketsu meant that he must have experience fighting Life Fibers. Did he know about Senketsu and Kamui because he fought them before? How did he know Ichigo's mother? Thoughts like those plagued her mind and it only helped to increase the annoyance she was feeling.

"Your blood has had a bad taste to it all morning, Ryuko."

"Huh?" Ryuko glanced down at Senketsu, "What are you talking about?"

"All the nervousness you're feeling is making your blood taste really sour," Senketsu hummed and his eye blinked once before adding, "Or perhaps its all the lemons you've been eating lately. Switch to less sour fruit."

"Why do you care what I eat?" Ryuko mumbled and tried to focus back on Aikuro's dull lecture. It took Ryuko a moment to put the pieces together, but when she finally did, she stared back down at Senketsu and hissed quietly, "Wait a second, you can tell how my blood tastes?"

"As your Kamui, I have the ability to immediately detect any changes in your physiology. This includes your cholesterol, blood sugar level, weight and even your BMI."

Ryuko bit back a hiss of pain as her knee involuntarily jerked up and into her desk. Rubbing her luckily un-bruised knee, she growled at her Kamui, "Keep your nose out of stuff like that! It's private for a reason, damn it."

"It is private, but as your Kamui I have a vested interest in your health and welfare," Senketsu ignored Ryuko's complaints in order to continue giving his sagely advice. He knew that no matter what she said, she would soon realize everything he did was for her best interests, "Speaking of food, you should cut back on those croquettes. You need to eat a more balanced diet, like Ichigo."

"Don't bring Ichigo into this!" Ryuko tried to keep her voice down to barely a whisper. She was in the middle of class, not outside where nobody would notice her talking to Senketsu. She got enough funny looks as it is. She didn't want people to think she heard voices that weren't there, "And wipe that smug expression off your face."

"You should know by know that I am incapable of having any expression on my face…because I do not have a face!"

Ryuko grabbed Senketsu's collar and pulled hard, "Why you son of a – "

Her curse was cut short when the class bell rang, signifying that she didn't need to put up with any more of Senketsu's so-called advice. Quickly grabbing her bag, she made her way out of the classroom and found Ichigo waiting for her in the hallway.

"Hey Ichigo," Ryuko hooked her hands behind her neck, "What are you doing here?"

Ichigo pointed his thumb over his shoulder, "Mako wouldn't stop bothering me until I told her where your class was."

"Ryuko!"

Ryuko stepped to the side as Mako came diving through the air, causing her to go rolling along the ground before flipping into the air and impacting face-first against the nearby wall. As Mako comically peeled off the wall and fell to the ground, she quickly picked herself back up and shook the dust out of her hair, "Why didn't you catch me, Ryuko?

"Huh?" Ryuko raised an eyebrow, "Was I supposed to?"

"Of course you were!" Mako pumped a fist dramatically, "You were supposed to catch me midair so that I wouldn't get hurt."

"I'll remember that next time," Ryuko sarcastically rolled her eyes and turned to Ichigo, "Hey, where's Ururu?"

"She's thinking about joining a club," Ichigo shook his head. He remembered Ururu expressing a want to join one of the many clubs at Honnouji Academy. Her argument was that there were many different and interesting things to do at the school and she was interested in joining one of the Non-Athletic Clubs. When Ichigo asked her which one, Ururu had paused, tilted her head to the side and said that she didn't know yet, but she would let him know as soon as she did.

"Oh. I was going to apologize for what happened last night," Ryuko turned away in embarrassment. Even thought Ururu had been the one to apologize for causing her to snap like that, Ryuko knew it was just because the girl felt the need to please everyone. If apologizing for something she didn't do would help to calm everyone down, then Ururu would do it. Sighing wistfully, she asked, "Have you seen any sign of that guy?"

"No, and that's what bothers me," Ichigo looked out the line of windows along the wall of the hall and down into the courtyard below. At the height they were standing and with all the students milling about outside, it was hard to tell if one of them was that man. Shaking his head, he turned back to Ryuko, "But I doubt he'll just show up in the middle of the day. I don't think Satsuki was too pleased with what he did yesterday."

"Perhaps she'll take care of him for us," Ryuko laughed and added, "But if she thinks I'm going to thank her, she can rot in hell."

"Ichigo."

Ichigo and Ryuko stopped as Mugetsu spoke up, "What is it."

"Something's not right," Mugetsu's voice sounded slightly worried. As her multicolored eyes narrowed in thought, they quickly opened and turned to the right, "Get down!"

Ichigo didn't even think twice. Grabbing Mako and Ryuko, he dove to the ground as the windows exploded inwards, coating the entire hallway in shards of glass and metal while injuring the dozens of students around them. Coughing and getting back to his feet, Ichigo looked around for the source of the attack and soon found out what, or rather who, it was.

"Aw. I missed." From her position hovering just outside the hole in Honnouji Academy's wall, Nonon Jakuzure raised a hand suggestively to her lips as she gazed down at her target. In a deceptively sweet voice that promised sugar and rainbows, she added with a cocky grin, "I'll just have to try harder to hit you with my next salvo."

Unlike her previous bulky and unwieldy Goku Uniform, Nonon's new Symphony Regalia was designed specifically for high speed combat. Her entire body, save for her head, was encased in a pink flight suit with six red buttons going down her chest. Her drum major's hat, the same one with the skull of a monkey, now looked like an actual skull. Her forearms and lower legs were enveloped by white armor similar to Mugetsu's but resembling pieces of instruments. When she noticed Ichigo staring at her new uniform, Nonon struck a pose and adjusted her lower thrusters to bring her a little closer.

"Do you like my new uniform, Strawberry? It was made specifically to kill you."

"What the hell do you have against Ichigo, Snake?" Ryuko shook her fist at Nonon while calling her the nickname Ichigo said pissed the pink haired girl off.

"Keep out of this, Transfer Student!" Nonon hissed at Ryuko while the woofers extending from her shoulders temporarily glowed with an ominous pink, "Unless you want to die as well, I suggest you stay out of this. Lady Satsuki has ordered me not to deal with you today, so consider yourself lucky."

"Like hell I'm going to stand back," Ryuko reached for the pin on her glove. She wasn't about to allow Ichigo to fight against an opponent like Nonon, but before she could pull it out and give Senketsu the donation of blood he needed to transform, Ichigo's voice stopped her.

"She's right, Ryuko," Ichigo reached for Tournesol on his back with his left hand while his right hand moved towards the spaulder on his left shoulder, "Leave this to me. Take Mako somewhere safe. I don't trust Jakuzure to not hit her during our fight."

"You finally used my name," Nonon smirked and leaned back midair, "Does that mean you respect my power now?"

"Hell no!" Ichigo vehemently denied, causing Nonon to flounder around in the air from the surprise, "If anything, I respect you even less now! Attacking innocent students just for a shot at hitting me? How low are you?"

Nonon bit her lip at the insult to her honor. How dare Ichigo say she had no honor when it was Lady Satsuki's orders that she take him out! He had no idea what he was talking about, "Bold words, Strawberry, but I'm going to make you eat them."

"Come and try!" Ichigo slammed his hand down on the spaulder and was immediately enveloped in light and blue stars as Mugetsu transformed around his body, "Life Fiber Initial Release: Kamui Mugetsu!"

Stepping out of the smoke that formed from his transformation, Ichigo dispersed it with a swing of his blade and turned towards Nonon, "Let's do this, but not here. I don't want any innocent people to get hurt."

Before Nonon could give an answer, Ichigo leapt out the hole she made in the wall and fell towards the ground below. Scrambling to recover the initiative, she spun around and flew down after him, "It doesn't matter where we fight, because I'm going to wipe the floor with you!"

As Nonon's angry voice faded into the distance, Ryuko ran towards the hole and gripped the jagged edges with her hand. Her eyes fervently looked everywhere, but she couldn't see any sign of where Ichigo went. Cursing under her breath, she was about to turn away when a large explosion appeared in the building next door. Focusing on the rising plume of smoke, she could just barely make out a figure that looked a lot like Ichigo racing across a rooftop with Nonon chasing after him relentlessly.

"Mako, go find Ururu and stay close to her," Ryuko had no doubts that Ururu would protect Mako. Stepping onto the edge of the hole, she prepared to activate Senketsu to follow Ichigo, whether he wanted her help or not, but frowned when she didn't hear Mako say anything, "Hey Mako, I said – "

Ryuko stopped when she saw Mako's needle-filled body falling stiffly to the ground. Realizing who was coming, she quickly pulled the pin out of her glove, transforming Senketsu, and drew her red Scissor Blade just as Tsumugu fired a barrage of needles at her from his Sewing Machines Gun.

"Your skill has improved remarkably since our encounter yesterday," Tsumugu complimented as he stepped out of the shadows, "So let me give you two pieces of useful information. One. Do not think that our fight yesterday was any indication of my skill set. Two. I am giving you a single chance to hand over your Kamui with a fight. If you fail to do so, I will have no choice but to rip it off your body."

"Be careful, Ryuko. This man seems to know a lot about how to counter me.

"You worry too much, Senketsu. So just sit back and let me do the fighting. " Turning towards a frowning Tsumugu, she pointed her Scissor Blade at him and said, "You really think I'm just going to hand over Senketsu? You're going to have to take him over my dead body!"

Tsumugu closed his eyes and took a deep breath, "So be it."


...


Ichigo was not having a good day.

Moving a large chuck of concrete blocking his path out of the way, he hopped down and accidently landed on the unconscious body of a member of the Men's Basketball Club.

"Are you having fun yet, Strawberry?" Nonon hovered gently out of the hole she created in the roof. With her hands placed on her hips, she added, "Because I'm having a lot of fun kicking your butt."

"Shut up," Ichigo rolled his eyes at the fake sweetness in Nonon's voice. He was starting to get rather pissed off with the way she was talking to him and treating him. It was almost as if this fight was a game to her which, he had to admit, it was one he was losing. Since she could fly through the air, Nonon had a distinct advantage over him. While his speed and power were great enough that he could jump high enough in the air to hit her, she had proven herself able to reflexively dodge his attacks.

"Don't get angry at me because you suck," Nonon grinned and stuck her tongue out, "But don't feel too bad, Strawberry. There is no way you can defeat my Symphony Regalia Mark II. It was upgraded and improved all in order to defeat you."

"Improved?" Ichigo spit on the ground and stretched his right shoulder. Swinging Tournesol was taking a toll on his body. It had been a while since he used a blade and his body was suffering because of it, "So that means your first Goku Uniform wasn't good enough to fight me?"

"It was more than good enough!" Nonon swung her fist down at Ichigo angrily, which due to her diminutive size, wasn't as threatening as she wanted it to be, "It was all you and your stupid speed! My Symphony Regalia Grave's power was more than enough to defeat you, but you're just too damn fast! Luckily, Lady Satsuki was grateful enough to upgrade my Goku Uniform to its current form. Now I have all the power of Grave with the speed to catch you!"

Nonon punctuated her words by firing another stream of musical notes at Ichigo. Deflecting the abnormal metallic ammo with Tournesol, blue sparks jumping off the blade with every note blocked, Ichigo tried to think of a way to defeat Nonon. Trying to attack her had already proven to be ineffective. She knew how strong and fast he was, so she always made sure to fly just far enough away to avoid his attacks.

"Aw, screw this!" Ichigo twisted his body just enough to the side that the barrage of notes passed right above his skin. With his body still in motion, he sprinted towards Nonon before pushing off the ground towards her with enough power to dent the concrete below.

"How many times are you going to try the same old thing?" Nonon laughed as she prepared to move out of the way, "It's really sad to see – "

She stopped midsentence as her pink eyes widened in shock at the blue blade approaching her neck. Instinctively adjusting her thrusters to fire upwards, she leaned back at the same time and watched as Tournesol missed hitting her but managed to leave a long gash on her helmet. Flying away higher into the sky even as Ichigo landed back on the ground, Nonon raised a trembling hand to her head and ran her finger across the gash in her Symphony Regalia that could have easily been her throat.

"Strawberry was really trying to kill me."

For the first time in the fight, Nonon realized that Ichigo wasn't kidding around. As much as she and the other Elite Four bragged about killing anyone who dared to stand up to or fight against Lady Satsuki, she had yet to actually do the deed. She usually left such tasks to Gamagori or Lady Satsuki. Swallowing nervously as she noticed Ichigo staring at her, she gathered her nerves and thought, "There is no reason to be scared. Lady Satsuki believes in me, so there is no way I can lose! Strawberry is just trying to psyche me out. Like a pampered asshole that got a full scholarship to Honnouji Academy could have ever fought in a real battle. His fight against Lady Satsuki was nothing more than a fluke!"

"Nice try Strawberry," Nonon growled, "But don't think I'll fall for your bluff!"

Back on the ground, Ichigo stared up at the hovering Nonon and let out an annoyed huff, "Damn it, I was close. Hey Mugetsu, you have any ideas on what to do?"

"Oh?" Mugetsu's eyes swiveled around and gazed up at him, "What makes you think I know how to beat her. I'm just as stumped as you are."

Ichigo rolled his eyes, "There has to be something I can do. Can't you fly or something?"

"Don't you think I would fly if I could?" Mugetsu asked sarcastically before her eyes widened and then narrowed, "I have an idea, but I'm going to need a minute to figure it out."

"I don't think I have a minute," Ichigo saw the woofers on Nonon's back charging up with pink light. Clenching Tournesol's hilt in both hands, he prepared himself for what was coming.

"Try to dodge this!" Nonon's body was forced back as two heart-shaped beams of sound exploded out from her woofers, "Symphony Regalia: Grave Assault!"

"The hell?" Ichigo swung Tournesol up and managed to block one of the beams, but he wasn't prepared for the second beam to blow right through his defenses and hit him square in the chest. As his body was forced backward across the ground, he tried desperately to stop the attack right until it detonated around him.

From where she was floating, Nonon smirked as she observed the rising clouds of smoke and dust. There was no way that Ichigo could have survived that attack without taking at least some damage. Hovering closer to the ground, she began combing through the debris. She needed to find Ichigo's unconscious body so that she could tear his Kamui off of him. Seeing his naked body afterwards was simply a bonus.

"Where is that damn Strawberry?" she growled after nearly a minute. She couldn't find a trace of Ichigo or his Kamui, which meant she either blew him to pieces, which was really bad, or she missed, which was even worse. Gritting her teeth and spitting, she decided to smoke Ichigo out, "So you want to hide like a coward, huh? Fine then. Let's see how you deal with this. Symphony Regalia: Moderato Assault!"

The twin woofers on Nonon's back split into four sections each as a pink and purple light began to grow in intensity from within. As the light continued to grow brighter to the point where the immediate area was bathed in shades of pink, Nonon raised a finger into the air and laughed, "Dodge this!"

In a concussive blast accentuated by expanding shockwaves from the woofers, eight miniature heart-shaped beams spiraled through the air and hit the rubble and debris with enough energy to explode the concrete and send cracks radiating outwards from the point of impact.

"Too easy…" Nonon sighed and shrugged her shoulders. It seemed that Strawberry was all talk and no action. After that little display of speed yesterday, she thought he would put up more of a fight than this. Lady Satsuki had warned her about his power, but Nonon hadn't seen anything to suggest he was as strong as Satsuki said he was. Wait a second…if he wasn't as strong as she thought, did that mean Satsuki wasn't as well? Nonon quickly shook her head to stop herself from thinking of such thoughts. Satsuki was the greatest person in the world! Such thoughts were highly insulting to her best friend and leader!

"Oh well," Nonon hovered closer to the ground and began looking for Ichigo. Even if he was hiding, there was no way in hell that he managed to avoid her Moderato Assault.

"Huh?" Nonon stared at several small rocks that seemed to be vibrating and moving on their own. Leaning in to take a closer look, she was nearly blasted out of the air as something shot out from the ground and into the air above her.

"What the hell was that?"

She stared upwards and growled. Hovering in the air over her was Ichigo, but his appearance was different. While Mugetsu usually resembled armor, her new appearance was much more metallic and sleek. Ichigo's feet and lower legs had each transformed into jet engines that expelled enough force to keep him hovering lazily in the air. Mugetsu's eyes, which normally jutted up over his shoulders, extended backwards and out to the side and took the form of jet wings. Lastly, while Ichigo's face was usually uncovered by Mugetsu's transformed state, parts of her white armor now wrapped across his nose and down his cheeks.

"Mugetsu Gufū," Ichigo smirked at the stunned Nonon, "What was it you were saying about the skies being your kingdom?"

Nonon didn't say anything as her expression darkened considerably. Gritting her teeth together, her body tensed up before she rocketed towards Ichigo while shouting, "You orange haired bastard! The sky is my world! I'm going to kick your ass for mocking me!"

The venom in Nonon's voice surprised Ichigo, but it didn't slow him down much. As she quickly closed the distance between them, Ichigo twisted his body around and flew away from her, his body moving awkwardly as he grew used to flight.

"Die, Strawberry!" Nonon shouted and aimed her lower thrusters at Ichigo before releasing a swarm of missiles.

Maneuvering around a missile, Ichigo tsked, "What the hell is her problem?"

"It's something you'll never understand, Ichigo," Due to the new position of Mugetsu's eyes, Ichigo wasn't able to make eye contact, but that didn't stop him from responding.

"And you do?"

"Of course," Mugetsu answered matter-of-factly, "I am well aware of the female mind and I can tell you that your opponent never fought someone able to fly. Your use of Gufū has insulted her."

"What do you expect me to do? Just give up and allow her to hit me?" Leaning back and avoiding having his head blown off by a recorder-shaped missile, Ichigo decided to go on the offensive. Stabbing Tournesol into the missile's casing, he let out a shout as he spun around and, with no small amount of effort, threw the missile back at Nonon.

"Like hell that's going to work!" Nonon had a wild look in her eyes as she deftly avoided her returned missile and countered with another heart-shaped stream of sound, "You're going to pay for that you bastard!"

"Do you have a plan?" Mugetsu's voice was full of sarcasm, "Because I think that just made things worse."

"Oh great," Ichigo sighed as he quickly twisted around before flying higher into the sky. This was going to take longer than he thought. He only hoped Ryuko didn't run into that man until he was done with Nonon.


...


Ryuko really hated her bad timing.

"Damn that paranoid bastard."

Stabbing her Scissor Blade into the wall, she leapt over the line of trap mines and landed in the relative safety of the hall. The sheer amount of destruction and nude students to her left indicated which why Tsumugu had gone, but Ryuko wasn't stupid enough to follow him. She had already fallen into three spool grenade traps, a pin bomb and something involving laser tripwires. She wasn't too keen on walking headfirst into yet another trap. Pulling out the last few remaining needles from her body, she heard Senketsu let out a sigh of relief upon their removal.

"Thank you, Ryuko," Senketsu sighed gratefully, "There was something special about those needles. You need to try and not get hit by any more of them."

"Yeah, yeah," Ryuko crouched down and stared at the bound and gagged Club Captain struggling on the floor in front of her. There was something strange about his gag, but it took her a few seconds to realize what it was. When she did, Ryuko's eyes widened and she turned around and began running away as fast as possible. In the bound and stripped Kusatao Uwabami's mouth were over a dozen spool grenades, all of which were connected to a timer that had a few seconds remaining on it.

"God damn that mohawk bastard!"

While she was unharmed by the explosions, the force managed to throw her body forward, sending her tumbling through the halls before skidding face first against the ground. With her face on the ground and ass sticking up in the air, Ryuko grumbled curses and threats at Tsumugu, wherever he was, before planting her hands on the ground and picking herself back up.

As she stood up, Ryuko noticed a shadow growing against the wall to her right. Turning and looking out the window, she saw Tsumugu rappelling down Honnouji Academy before he crashed feet first through the window. Blocking his kick by crossing her arms, she found herself surprisingly thrown backwards against the door to the bathroom behind her with enough force to dent the steel door. Angrily and humiliated at his constant traps, Ryuko pushed back and managed to force Tsumugu back.

"Hmm," Tsumugu grunted as he landed and examined Ryuko. This was becoming a difficult fight. He had expected his jamming rounds to take a larger effect on the Kamui, but it didn't seem to be affected at all by his specialized ammunition. That just goes to show how powerful and dangerous Kamui are. Subtly reaching behind his back to his emergency weapon, Tsumugu stalled for time, "I thought my jamming rounds would have disabled your Kamui by now. Impressive."

"Like I care about anything you say!" Ryuko pointed her Scissor Blade at Tsumugu angrily. She was tired of playing games with this man and she had a lot of questions to ask him, "I'm going to kick your ass and then find out why you're after Senketsu!"

'Is that so? Well then, let me tell you two useful pieces of information."

"Screw that!" Ryuko raced forward, cutting off Tsumugu's speech and swung her Scissor Blade through the air. Twisting around the strike, Tsumugu pressed his palm against the small of Ryuko's back before leaping away and running into a room. Hearing a faint beeping sound, Ryuko looked over her shoulder and a plastic explosive pincushion stuck to her back with nearly three-dozen jamming rounds stuck inside.

"What the – "

The bomb went off before Ryuko could finish. As the explosion blew the windows for the entire hallway outwards, Ryuko flew through the air before hitting the wall harshly on the far side of the building.

"Damn that guy," Ryuko began to weakly pull herself free, only for Senketsu's voice to stop her.

"I'm sorry Ryuko, but I'm at my limit. You're going to have to continue on your own."

In a flash of stars and light, Senketsu transformed back to his normal uniform appearance, eliciting a shout of 'Senketsu!' from Ryuko. Before she could say anything else, Tsumugu came barreling towards her and pinned her body against the wall with his foot.

"One. I do not like to be interrupted," Tsumugu continued from where Ryuko so rudely interrupted him before. Pointing his Sewing Machine Gun at her, he flicked his wrist to the side, indicating what he wanted her to do, "Two. Killing you would be a pointless waste of life. You have put up an admirable fight, but all you need to do is simply give up your Kamui and I won't have to hurt you any further."

Ryuko spit out a glob of blood and glared up at Tsumugu, "Fuck you."

Tsumugu was unperturbed by Ryuko's gaze, "With the power of your Kamui sealed, you are completely helpless. Now, take off your clothes. Don't make me ask twice."

"I'm not scared of you, pervert," Ryuko kept Tsumugu staring at her face as her hand crept along the ground towards one of the needles that had fallen out when Senketsu was forced out of his transformed state, "I bet any minute now Ichigo or Ururu is going to arrive and kick your ass."

A boot to her stomach forced Ryuko to cough harshly before Tsumugu smacked her in the side of the face with his Sewing Machine Gun, "Unlikely. Ichigo Kurosaki is currently fighting against one of Satsuki Kiryuin's top lieutenants. He currently has the advantage, but he won't be able to come help you until long after I've destroyed your Kamui. As for Ururu, I have no idea who she is nor do I care. Your Kamui is a threat to the world and I will make sure it never becomes a danger to anyone. Now take off your clothes."

"You…bastard…" Ryuko managed to choke out.

"Defiant to the end?" Tsumugu reached into the pocket on his military vest and pulled out a cigarette. Lighting and taking a long drag from it, he said, "Let me tell you two final pieces of useful information. One. There is a woman who thinks a lot like you. She too believes that human and clothing can live side by side in peace. Even though she was betrayed by clothing, she still clings to her ideals, but she has never been the same since almost getting devoured by clothing. She hears voices in her head and is much more distant. Two. The path you have chosen is identical to hers. If you continue to foolishly believe your Kamui is your friend, you will die. I do not want to see you die. So I will ask you politely one last time, please take off your Kamui. There is no need for you to die a pointless and cruel death at the hands of clothing."

"I have no idea what you're talking about," Ryuko's fingers closed around the needle before she leaned forward and stabbed it in Tsumugu's leg, "But I won't let you take Senketsu!"

"Impressive," Tsumugu stared at the needle jammed in his thigh and, in one swift movement, pulled it out accompanied by a small spray of blood, "But useless. I am human and therefore immune to the effects of the jamming rounds."

"Get out of here Ryuko," Senketsu's voice was weak and it sounded like he was doing all he could to stay awake, "It's me he's after, so get out of here. I'll hold him off so you can get away!"

Senketsu's form almost seemed to bubble before he exploded off Ryuko's body and floated in front of her with his arms held out protectively. Tsumugu saw this as the Kamui's attempt to escape and fired several rounds into him, pinning Senketsu to the floor. Loading a special round into his Sewing Machine Gun, Tsumugu was about to finish Senketsu off when a quiet voice spoke up behind him.

"Please do not fire that bullet," Ururu calmly advised with her hand pressed right against Tsumugu's back, stunning the man since he hadn't sensed her presence until she talked. Turning his head around to face her, he stared into her deep blue eyes as she finished, "If you do, I'll be forced to kill you. You'll be dead before the bullet even leaves the chamber."

Despite the amount of power he could feel wafting off Ururu and the death threat, Tsumugu kept his cool, "This is none of your concern. Step back and allow me to finish my task."

Ururu tiled her head to the side, a gesture Tsumugu had seen only on one other person before, and answered, "Ryuko is my friend. I cannot allow you to hurt my friend any more. If you continue to do so, I will be forced to stop you."

"That's right!" Mako Mankanshoku slid in between Ryuko and Tsumugu while the latter was distracted and picked Senketsu off the ground. Holding the Kamui tenderly to her chest, forcing him to develop a luminous blush across where his face would be, she announced, "This uniform is the only piece of clothing Ryuko has and look how beat up and torn it is! I've tried getting Ryuko to wear some of my old clothing, but she is too big around the chest for it to fit, which is a shame! Do you have any idea how it feels to only have a single set of clothing?"

"I do not," Tsumugu answered bluntly, his eyes leaving Ururu just long enough to ask, "And who are you exactly?"

"I am Mako Mankanshoku," The last name caused Tsumugu's eyes to widen nearly imperceptibly, "Did you know that Ryuko loves this uniform more than anything else in the whole wide world? In fact, the only thing she might care about more is Ichigo, but you can't tell him that because it's a super secret for the moment!" While Mako raised a finger to her lips in the universal sign of keeping a secret, Ryuko began sputtering uncontrollably, "She's always whispering to it when she thinks no one is looking. And she's not the only one. Sometimes I catch Ichigo and Ryuko holding one-sided conversations with their uniforms. It creeps my whole family out when he comes to visit! Taking their clothes is the same thing as taking away a dear friend! This uniform is Ryuko's friend, so please mister, leave Ryuko alone!"

There was one part of Mako's rant that caught Tsumugu's attention. Lowering his Sewing Machine Gun, he took a step closer to her and asked, "What did you say about whispering?"

"Oh?" Mako blinked owlishly before answering, "That's right! Ichigo and Ryuko talk to their school uniforms almost as if they can hear a voice or something. Pretty creepy right?"

Tsumugu didn't bother to respond to Mako. Holstering his Sewing Machine Gun, which caused Ururu to lower her arm, he stepped towards Ryuko and asked, "Your Kamui speaks to you?"

Even in her battered and bruised state, Ryuko nodded and answered, "Y-Yes."

"I see…" Tsumugu grunted and thought back over the last decade. If Ryuko Matoi and Ichigo Kurosaki could speak to their Kamui, then couldn't that mean they aren't the only ones? Tsumugu shook his head to clear his mind and put his hands in his pockets, "I can see that I will not be able to pry your Kamui away from you, Matoi, not with that girl here." He pointed over his shoulder at Ururu, "So I will retreat for now, but don't get complacent. I will come back for your Kamui one day. You can count on that. Until then…"

With a flick of his wrist, Tsumugu let a smoke grenade fall out of his hand. It bounced off the floor once before exploding into a cloud of pink and blue smoke that soon cleared to reveal Tsumugu was gone. Ryuko didn't have long to wonder about what just happened before she began falling unconscious; the last thing she heard was Mako calling out for her.


...


"I suppose congratulations are in order." Tsumugu glanced at Aikuro before allowing the man to light his cigarette, "Does this mean we're even now?"

Tsumugu shook his head, "That isn't enough."

"It's more than enough," Aikuro leaned back and stared at the sky, "Besides, you know that I prefer girls to be in debt to me."

"That's true," Tsumugu smiled softly before his expression hardened, "There's something I think you should know."

Aikuro looked at his friend as Tsumugu continued, "When I managed to corner Matoi, she didn't back down. Not even once. She was more than willing to die along with her Kamui than allow me to destroy it. When I looked her in the eye, I couldn't help but see Kinue in her place."

"Kinue, huh?" Aikuro ran a hand through his hair. Kinue had been gone for a while now on a secret mission for Nudist Beach to destroy several Revocs factories and buildings in Europe, "Stop talking as if she's dead. You know she's going to be upset when she finds out you said that."

"Who's going to tell her? You?" Tsumugu scoffed when he saw Aikuro's innocent expression on his face, "Let me tell you two useful pieces of information. One. I'm going to give Matoi a single chance to prove me wrong about her Kamui. But if things start coming apart at the seams, you can be sure I'll return to rip it off her body. Two. If anything happens to Masaki's son under your watch, I'll make you regret it."

"No need to get so angry," Aikuro dismissed Tsumugu's threat with a wave of his hand, "If that ever happens, you're going to have to get in line because Isshin's going to get first dibs on me. When he gets angry, Isshin scares me more than Ragyo Kiryuin and the Grand Couturier put together."

What Aikuro said reminded Tsumugu of something he saw earlier, "I saw a girl hanging around Matoi."

"Ah, are you talking about Mako Mankanshoku?"

"No," Tsumugu shook his head, "Another girl. Her name is Ururu, but there is something frighteningly familiar about her. She was able to sneak up on me without being detected. The only way I knew she was there was because she announced her presence. Who is she?"

"I don't know," Aikuro paused pensively as he thought about the latest transfer student, "She just showed up a few days ago as a transfer student from Karakura Town."

Tsumugu's eyes widened, "Isshin's place? What is he up to?"

"Beats me," Aikuro shrugged his shoulders, "That man has more secrets that you and I could count, but I'm sure he had a reason for it. He always seems to know what he's doing.

Tsumugu grunted before revving the engine on his motorcycle and taking off into the distance. He needed to get back to Osaka and report in on what he discovered at Honnouji Academy. Even though headquarters didn't technically endorse his mission, Tsumugu was certain they would forgive him due to what he discovered at Honnouji Academy. The fact that Ichigo Kurosaki had a Kamui was a helpful surprise. Nudist Beach couldn't afford to be taken off guard when the Life Fibers made their move.

As he drove down the highway, Tsumugu reached for his cell phone and dialed a number with a single hand. Raising it to his ear, he waited until the ringing stopped and a tired voice answered before speaking, "Yeah. It's me. I have something interesting to tell you."


...


Kamui Tales #3: A Twenty Year Old Question

"Hmm…"

"What's on your mind, Isshin?" Ragyo Kiryuin asked bemused.

Isshin Kurosaki folded his arms and pursed his lips. The question that was on the tip of his tongue was one he had been wondering about for almost twenty years now. He really wanted to ask, but at the same time he liked the sense of wonder and surprise at what the answer might be. If he asked the question and the answer didn't satisfy him, he would feel extremely let down. Still, he really wanted to know the answer.

"Ever since I first met you, I've wondered something," Isshin leaned back and crossed his legs, "Why does your hair glow with the colors of the rainbow?"

"Oh that," Ragyo didn't seem overly surprised by the question. Sitting back as a grin spread across her face, she chuckled and said, "You're not the first one to ask, but you'll be the first one to survive asking. Do you know why?"

Isshin chuckled nervously, "Because I'm a lovable oaf?"

"Not exactly," Ragyo snapped her fingers and Nui Harime appeared at Isshin's side with several bottles of Life Fiber infused hair dye in her hands.

"You're not going to die because the Director wants you to have rainbow colored hair as well!" Nui said chirpily as she attempted to tie up Isshin. When the man dodged her attack, she frowned, "Hold still please!"

"Stay away from me!" Isshin made a break for the nearest window of Ragyo's office. He knew he could survive a fall from such a height and even if he couldn't, dying as himself was better than the alternative. As his body crashed through the glass and he began falling, Isshin felt a hand grab him by the back of his shirt.

"You weren't planning on leaving me, were you Isshin?" Ragyo had a mock look of disappointment on her face. As she towed him back into her office, Isshin's screams of pain and embarrassment could be heard all across the city.