She sat on the back seat of her carriage, and there were two older looking men in the seat in front of her. While she was the only one in her seat, her jacket covering the spot that would be used by another passenger. Her elbow rested on the door and her head leaned against her hand, with long curly raven hair having covered part of her face, hiding her left eye, leaving only her light brown right eye exposed.
Her skin was the picture of health, and its color natural with what seemed to be a natural shine to it. There were no visible marks, be them of natural origin or not. She wore tight black pants, with long leather high heeled boots, and her upper body was covered by a white blouse that in no way helped to hide the outline of her medium sized bust. The simple fact was she was beautiful. She was among one of the most beautiful women in the Kingdom, but that mattered little to her, as her eyes fell on the village that her carriage was currently going through, pure boredom filled her mind.
The small village was basically placed on what many could call the garden of one of her family's manors. Being a family of merchants, the manor was used for when they had to conduct business with the more important clients. After all the sight of the country side was, most of the times, seen as more pleasant than the chaos of the more civilized areas of the Kingdom, or so her father said.
To be honest she saw little difference in how business was conducted be it here, or somewhere else, but her opinions never matched her father's. That had been the case since day one. More than her opinions, what really displeased him was her, a girl who should have been the prodigal son that would take over the old man's business once the time came. Instead she was the daughter, not prodigal because he would have never admitted it, who was just a glorified merchant, when she knew perfectly well that at his age, if she was a man, the business would already be in her hands.
It wasn't like she wanted his approval. It was only a matter of time, even if he was greatly displeased by her choices, and the way she did things, he knew that no one else was good enough to take over what he had built. Her eyes went to the few people outside waving goodbye, and she managed to reply with a weak wave of her own, albeit an uninterested one. Uninterested being the perfect way to describe her life. She felt that her life had gone into a rote. In the beginning the selling was thrilling for her, it left her with the most satisfied feeling when she managed to make a big sell, but now it was mundane at best.
The sudden halt of her transport brought her back from her thoughts. Quickly looking around to see what had happened, she found that the two other men looked as lost as she was. Since the carriage had effectible stopped, she opened the door and walked out, going up to the driver to find out what was going on. However, she had no need to ask him, as she saw a small group of people running to the forest that was too her left. Taking a quick look at them they all seemed to be worried about something, and were in a rush.
"What has happened?" She asked the driver.
"M-My lady Amelia, I'm not sure. But I heard something about a man in the jungle." The young, unkempt, driver replied.
Amelia raised an eyebrow at him, before turning to look at the direction the small group was going in. Quickly making up her mind she decided to go and follow them, her actions quickly got the attention of the men inside of the carriage.
"Lady Amelia, it may be dangerous!" One of them said.
"We cannot waste any time on this. Your father is waiting for you." The other pointed out.
"My father can wait. It's not like a 2-day trip will get any longer if we spend some extra time here." Amelia growled back, briskly walking away from the carriage.
Given the fact she was rather talented with walking with high heels, she easily made her way through the houses and into the jungle. As she did so she walked past some of the locals, hearing them gossip about what was going on. From what she heard the only things she could piece together was that a man was found in the woods, and he seemed to be badly hurt, which was enough to catch her interest.
Going into the forest, it didn't take much time to arrive at the main group of people, who were all surrounding this one tree. Some of them were even carrying weapons, perhaps fearing whoever this man was.
"Let me through!" Amelia announced.
At first, they seemed reluctant to do so, but given the fact her family held great power over their village, and their business was also good for them, they eventually moved aside opening a path for her to walk through.
What she saw was truly surprising. Indeed, there was a man there. One that she had never seen before, he seemed to be wearing some kind of clothing made out of black straps, which were currently falling apart, and his hair was brown and messy. The thing that really got her attention, to the point it made her take a step back in order to compose herself, were the whole in his chest, and the missing part of his left arm. Even with all these injuries he was alive. That much was obvious, since one just needed to note that he was in fact breathing, and only unconscious.
"W-What happened here? Where did he come from?" Amelia asked, looking at the people around her.
"M-My daughter said she saw him stumbling towards the village. But when we came to investigate we just found this." A woman replied.
She looked at the woman, and then back at the man. He had stumbled his way here? If that was true, then where had he come from? Was he really a man, and not some demon in disguise? After all, his injuries should be able to kill any normal man.
Still that could not be true, seeing his injures, she could imagine one of this world's great heroes fight on with something similar to this. After all, wasn't that what heroes did? Not that this man looked like a hero. To be honest there was something about him that transmitted trouble, yet she couldn't help but look at his face. Even slightly hidden by his hair, he was a looker, that much was obvious.
"What are you planning to do with him?" Amelia asked in curiosity.
"We leave him here, someone like him can only mean trouble!" One of the men growled.
"We can't do that! Can't you see he's hurt!? We have to help him." One of the women argued back.
"Can't you see he's a demon!? He will kill us all!"
"If he is a demon, then why come here? Especially when he's in this state?" Amelia remarked, lowering the crowd into a low whisper.
"I agree with helping him. Now, who wants to take him back to my carriage?" She asked looking around.
"B-But he needs help. Shouldn't we treat him here?" One of the women asked.
"Look at him. He needs to go somewhere with the proper conditions to take care of him, and that just happens to be where I'm going. Also I have healing potions which can be used to at least stabilize him. Now, I repeat, who will help by taking him to my carriage?"
It didn't take much time for two men to volunteer. After all her pretty face was hard to resist, and a small compensation for the deed was implicit. The two men carried the stranger as comfortably as they could until they finally arrived at the carriage. Amelia went inside for a brief moment, walking back out with a blue potion in hand.
Opening the small bottle, she eases it into the man's mouth, making sure none of the healing liquid was lost. Having given him the potion she turned to go back into the carriage, when she heard something hit the floor. Looking back, she found out that both men had dropped the unconscious stranger. She was about to scold them, when she noticed his eyes were open, which must have been the reason for their reaction.
Shortly after falling onto the floor, the man let out loud gaps for air, followed by a harsh cough. Not wanting to waste any more time Amelia motioned the men to get him inside the carriage, which they eventually did, and after receiving their reward left.
"W-What is the meaning of this?" One of the gentlemen accompanying her asked, visibly shocked.
"We are helping him." Amelia replied, looking at the now unconscious man sitting next to her.
"H-Helping him!? Look at him. He's as good as dead as he is! We should find is a place to leave him at, and then go to your father." The other argued back.
"I'm sure you could sleep soundly with that, however I could not. And the last time I checked, I was the one in charge."
"Then do try not to waste our merchandise, on him."
"What merchandise?" She asked back.
"That potion. It was for Mr. Victoria."
"An old man, who can't accept the fact that he is long pass his prime. But don't worry, I will deal with him, if need be."
The trip was a long one, after all there was a certain urgency since above displeasing Amelia, and that was the fear of displeasing her father. So there were few breaks so as to spend as much time as possible on the move. Normally it would be something Amelia would openly complain about, however this time she was much more interested in the stranger, showing to him what the two older men saw as almost genuine concern.
The man went in and out of consciousness rather frequently. Even if the times he spent conscious seemed to last longer, Amelia found herself unable to get anything out of him. The fact she could get his eyes to follow her movements was already progress compared to how he had started out.
She had already "wasted" 5 potions on him, much to the other passengers' displeasure, to which she could care less. After all it was better for them to be used on someone who needed them. Something she noticed, but decided to ignore and luckily the other two seemed ignorant of altogether, was that the hole in the man's chest seemed to be growing smaller. The change was minimal at best, that being the reason she didn't pay much attention to it. However, it was happening none the less.
The same was happening to his arm, with minimal recovery, which was amazing given the quantity of healing potions she had given him. Certainly it should have worked, still she wasn't an expert in the potions, so she could always be wrong.
At one point during the trip, the man began to mumble something. He spoke in a low tone that was filled with long pauses and seemingly disjointed phrases. It made it impossible for her to understand what he was saying.
Finally, the time came for a long pause. Night had fallen and the roads were far too dangerous to travel alone, especially when among them there was no competent fighter. They stopped at the White Fang Inn. It had a rather brutish name, but was known for being at peak condition to welcome even those of the highest order, meaning even a merchant of Amelia's caliber was small fry in their eyes.
The driver stopped the carriage and went immediately to open the door as to let his passengers exit, and as he did this a sharply dressed young man came to greet them.
"Welcome, to the White Fang Inn." he greeted, as Amelia emerged from the carriage.
"T-Thank you. Are there any rooms available?" She asked, as the two older men emerged from behind her.
"There are. If you will, I can show you to the front office, and get you a much-needed nights rest." The young employee said, taking a small bow.
"Very good, young man. Lead the way." One of the older gentlemen said.
The young man gave them a nod and proceeded to guide them back to the building. Amelia however decided to stay behind, so as to have a word with the driver.
"See what you can do about giving him a proper place to rest. Perhaps in the same building you will be spending the night in." Amelia said.
"O-Of course. I will do my best."
"Do so, and inform me if something of note happens."
Having made her orders known Amelia began to walk towards the Inn. The driver took one look inside the carriage at the still motionless man, giving him a small sigh he closed the door. Taking control over the reins, he proceeded to take the carriage to where it, the horses, and himself would be spending the night at. It was a far less impressive looking building then the Inn itself, but not smaller. After all, it was used to keep the transport, and most of the servants. Of those that came to spend their time here, compared to similar buildings in other places, he was about to spend the night in a palace.
A noise caught his attention, it was familiar, yet since it was overshadowed by the general noise of the carriage itself, the driver decided to ignore it. That was until it continued to repeat itself. Looking to his left, from where he determined the source of the noise was, his eyes grew wide when he saw the carriage door open. Quickly stopping the horses in their tracks, the driver dropped down to the floor and rushed to the opening. Looking inside he saw nothing. The interior was empty, and their newest passenger was gone.
He began to panic. What would Lady Amelia say when she learned of this? Certainly she would reprimand him for his failure, but how could she? Whatever happened was out of his control. Running towards the Inn, the driver pushed past some of the receptionists. He made his way inside the building, bringing dirt onto the immaculate floor, and surprising Amelia and the old men with his sudden appearance.
"What is the meaning of this!?" One of the old men growled.
"M-My L-Lady he's gone." The driver announced, his words immediately painting shock in the face of those present.
Amelia looked around, seeing if his words had caught any unwanted attention, and luckily that didn't seem to be the case. So she approached the driver before speaking.
"W-What do you mean he's gone!? That should not be possible." She mumbled.
"But it's true my Lady. I heard the door open while I took the carriage away, when I went to check he was gone."
"Then he did us a favor." One of the old men remarked.
"Be silent!" Amelia hissed back, before directing her attention back to the driver.
"Go and put away the carriage… Then you're done. Go and get some rest." She said.
"B-But shouldn't I go looking for him? After all he was h…" He was quickly silenced by Amelia.
Amelia pondered his words, to be honest it pissed her off that he had simply vanished, apparently having left after she had gone out of her way to help him. It also pained her to admit that the driver was right, he was hurt and perhaps disorientated that being the reason he disappeared like that.
"Fine. Go and look for him, but don't waste too much time on it. We'll need you fresh-faced for tomorrow. If you do find anything report to me immediately. Now go."
"Yes, my Lady." Taking a small bow he left.
He stumbled through the forest near the Inn. Using his right hand to hold himself up against the trees, he was unable to focus his mind on only one thing. It was a new experience for someone whose mind normally was fully organized. Several thoughts clashed, all of them battling for his attention. Letting himself fall against a tree, he took in several long breathes for air, as if he had never done so in his life.
First solid thought that came up in his mind, which for a moment made him almost chuckle, was how small a distance he had been able to cover between the carriage and this forest. Once more his mind went into disarray, which along with his strange exhaustion drove him to his knees. There was something wrong with his body, he was sure of it, but it should be expected given what happened. His mind then went blank. What did happen? The last thing he remembered was being in battle and then darkness.
His eyes darted to his chest and left arm. They finally seemed to be regenerating. Had it seen fit to only really start the healing process now? Away from the eyes of those that were already suspicious of him, and his nature, it was a smart move. It wasn't like he could complain, given his current situation. He had only been conscious during short periods of time before, but standing in the middle of the trees showed him what he already was suspicious of, that this was not Soul Society. Perhaps it was the Human World? Not, he wasn't so sure about that. It didn't match the Human World he knew.
Once more he took in a large gulp of air, either his body was having trouble adapting to his surroundings, or it had changed. He was more leaning into the idea of it having changed. It felt strange, his own body felt strange to him. The feeling was similar to when one would first wear a Gigai, it was restricting.
What should he do? He was weakened that much was certain. His body was exhausted from whatever process had brought him here, and the idea of going off by himself was a foolish one. He knew far too little to be able to do that. Then a name came to his mind; Amelia. She was familiar with this place, and she did go out of her way to help him. Perhaps for the time being that is what he needed, help.
Forcing himself back up, he turned around letting his eyes fall upon the Inn. He looked down once more, and flesh was now covering the hole in his chest. The arm too was now made out of flesh and bone. He had never seen his regeneration take such a turn, but for the moment he would accept it. He waited a few more moments for the process to have run its course. When his body was fully healed, at least appeared to be healed, passing his right hand through his hair, he vanished.
Amelia opened the door to her room, she was currently enveloped in a light pink robe. It was property of the Inn and proved to those who showered there, that the robe's quality was guaranteed. Closing the door, she took a few steps inside when her eyes fell on the opened window, which she knew was closed before she left, and would have not been opened by any servant without her say so first.
A chill went down her spine as she came to a terrifying realization; she was not alone in the room. It was faint, but she could see someone in the corner of her left eyes. She began to slowly turn around, tightening the grip on the small blade she had in her right hand. It was a strange thing to carry around, but it was better to have it and not need it, then to need it and not have it. What she saw stunned her. Leaning back against the wall right next to the door, was the man, the one she had helped, the one her driver said had vanished.
"My apologies. It was not my wish to frighten you." He spoke, his voice felt overwhelming and educated.
Her mind picked up on something else. It was weakness she saw. He sounded confident, but she could see through that. After all that was her job.
"Is that so…" She said, walking towards the bed, furthering her distance from him.
"Yes. I understand that it was rude of me to have disappeared, however I was not in my right mind at the moment…" He informed, just for her to cut him off.
"So, you decided to come back? Feeling that you had been unfair to the one who had helped you? That perhaps she deserved more than being told you had just vanished?" Amelia argued back, not bothering with hiding the sarcasm.
"What you say is true. It would be ungrateful of me to leave without expressing my gratitude. After all, who knows what might have happened if I had been left alone."
The man took a small bow as he said this, and Amelia couldn't help but let out a laugh. To be honest she hadn't had this much fun in years. She enjoyed the fact that she held the power in this situation.
"I'm glad you appreciate what I did for you. And if you want to express your gratitude, why not start by telling me who you are?"
"My name is Aizen. Sōsuke Aizen. Might I know your name?"
"Amelia Bedelia Aigner. But that is not what I asked you. Well, a name helps, but a name is a rather limited and common thing. It doesn't tell me who you are, unless I am supposed to know who you are by name alone."
Aizen gave the woman a weak knowing nod, showing her that he understood what she was saying. Amelia noted his nod, however her attention was more focused on him as a whole. His body language showed her more than his words ever could. He was trying his very best to keep up appearances. No matter how good he was at keeping up his appearance, she could see that he was struggling, with some difficulty, to keep his posture straight. So much so it made her wonder why she was worried when she first felt him inside the room.
The reason became obvious to her soon enough. It was his eyes. They burned through her with insulting easiness. They didn't match his current state. The power they transmitted alone, was enough for her to not let down her guard, at least not fully.
"I suppose my name would not be known around here. Untorturable for the both of us I cannot give you a satisfactory answer to that question. I was in battle, and was caught off guard by the enemy. When I woke up I was in the middle of a forest, near a lake. You can fill in the rest."
Amelia crossed her legs while pondering his story. It was vague, too vague for her tastes. When he talked about a lake, it must be the lake near the village. Outside of that, he really hadn't told her anything of note. Certainly, he could be more open with his words. After all she had helped him. Surely, she should learn more.
"In battle? Against who? Where?"
"Nowhere that you would know about, and not against an opponent a human would be familiar with." Aizen replied.
His answer piqued her interest. "Human"? Did that confirm what she already suspected, and believed to be obvious, that he was not human?
"When you say 'human', does that mean you are not human?"
Aizen let out a muffled sound, which Amelia was unsure was a laugh or not. Had he thought that her question was too obvious? To be honest she didn't care. She had come up with her own conclusions, but in the end, it was always better to get the answer from the source itself.
"Indeed, I am not human. My kind are known as Shinigami. Also known as Soul Reaper."
"You take people's souls?" Amelia asked, raising an eyebrow at him.
"To put it in simplistic terms yes."
Holding back the anger she felt, it was derived from the emphasis he placed on the word, "simplistic". Also, Amelia couldn't help but find his story very fascinating.
"What you are saying, is that you are a Shinigami, who was sent here during a battle, in which something happened that ended up sending you here… Then I assume the injuries were from that battle?" She asked, looking at his healed body and chest.
"That was lucky enough to be found, by me and helped… That's a pretty interesting story…"
Amelia stopped and paused as she got up from the bed. She walked up to the still opened window, looking out at the moonlit surroundings, before speaking once more.
"Let's say I believe that story. Why did you come back? Isn't a Shinigami able to fend for himself? After all you were able to heal your injuries."
"I am unfamiliar with this world, and I am currently in a weakened state…" Aizen began to reply, before being interrupted by Amelia once more.
"And you want help. Is that right?"
"Do not misunderstand. Indeed, I am in need of assistance. However, I do not plan on asking for it without offering something in return."
"But what can you offer me? After all you don't seem to have anything of note on you."
"Indeed, I do not. However, you are making a decision only based on what you see right now, and I am sure someone like yourself knows better than to do that. As I am, I probably don't have a viable way of paying you back, but at 100%, it would be a different story." Aizen pointed out.
"There should be no reason for such a question. Let your mind run free. I'm certain you can think of something."
Amelia eyed him down once more. He was confident, and she would have to give him that, which only made her worry. Say that he was speaking the truth, what use would he have for her once he was back at full power? For all she knew he could get rid of her, yet something told her that wasn't the case. Once more it was his eyes. They seemed to tell her things that his mouth didn't transmit. They showed her the strength his body was lacking. A power that strangely enough, made her feel safe. As if the whole world could come crashing down around him and he would continue standing.
"I had already decided to help you, so I won't ask for anything in return from that. But I will take your offer in consideration for what comes next. After all, I take it you do not have a place to go, and may need a guide since you are not from around here. Then, you may start thinking about how you will repay this debt to me."
"You are most generous."
"You can also leave the sweet talk for later." She growled back, walking back to her bed.
"We leave early in the morning. Make sure to be there."
"Of course." Aizen said, walking towards the window.
"And close the window on your way out."
Aizen vanished shortly after, closing the window as she had instructed. As soon as she was sure he was gone, Amelia let out a tired breath, allowing the heat that build up in her core to finally permeate through her body. His presence was way too overwhelming. She could see how his body seemed weak, even how he spoke, and she was certain he held himself back in order to get on her good side. Still he felt overwhelming to be around. It truly excited her. After all, when was the last time she had been with a man who enthralled her, a man that even at his worst just transmitted such a sophisticated image?
Above all else, she could not let go of the way he looked at her. Amelia's eyes went down to her cleavage and exposed legs. His eyes were all over her, however it seemed that he wasn't aware of it. This made her chuckle. It was almost as if he was a child, but given his looks she was certain he was no stranger to women. He was truly an interesting man.
Aizen reappeared a good distance from the Inn. His heart was beating at a thousand miles per hour, and heat had completely filled his body. It was as he feared, something had happened to his body. What else would explain how his attention could be so easily diverted by a woman's body. Such a feeling was beyond him, as it was weak, simple minded, almost human.
His eyes widened as the word appeared in his mind. He looked at his sweating right hand. Was this what had happened to him? Had his body been altered to resemble that of a human, or was it simply human? It was flesh and blood, that much he had already concluded. He would need more time to come up with proper conclusions. For the moment, he would need rest. The simple thought of it made Aizen chuckle, but it was true, for now he would rest.