In the forest near E-Rantel, a fire lit up the area that had been bathed by what was a rather moonless light. This fire was used to illuminate and warm the small camp around it, and near this camp were two horses which were now resting, two small tents and two small logs that were working as seats for the two individuals there. The woman who was currently using the fire to warm her hands, was named Roos, and she usually worked as a spy and information gatherer for the Dragon Kingdom.
Normally, she would be walking the invisible line between the Kingdom's territory, and that occupied by the beastmen. However, given how few people there were that could actually be afforded to leave the Kingdom, she was chosen to go on this important journey. She was chosen because she indeed had the skills necessary for what they needed, and knew how to put up the necessary act to get what was asked of her. However, she being the one to do it was unorthodox, yet it was nothing compared to the one accompanying her.
Sitting next to her, simply looking at the fire, was Cesar. He wore an old cloak and hood that was used to purposely hide his appearance. He normally wore a mask, but he had taken it off for the time being. As his hood was positioned part of his face was visible, it was that of a primate-type beastman, who shared many characteristics with that of a chimpanzee. He stood as tall as a normal human, and had a somewhat human-like face, with some signs of age. However, his globed right hand showed that he was missing his pinky and ring finger, along with a large burn scar covering the left side of his face, and some of his left arm, this meant that his left eye was blind.
"We should get to sleep." Roos pointed out, letting out a relaxed yawn.
"Hm. Yes. We should." Cesar said in a low tone.
"Come on, it's just one more night sleeping with that mask. After tonight, we will get there." Roos reminded, trying to sound optimistic.
"Not counting the fact that if we are to bring them back with us, I will need to be wearing the mask at all times."
"R-Right." She replied with an awkward chuckle.
"Let's go to sleep then. The faster we get this over with the better."
"Fine…" Roos said, her tone lowering as she then murmured...
In the following day, Ainz was in the office, looking through some of the newer quests they had received. Their numbers had increased greatly since the incidents in E-Rantel, but the same couldn't be said for their quality. While indeed there were several quests that could do wonders for their popularity, many others were something that simply did not justify hiring the Espada. Of course, Aizen was certain that their lower prices had something to do with this. He was leisurely drinking some tea, when Amelia entered the room, portfolio in hand, and took a seat next to him. Following this up with putting the papers next to him.
"We just missed a huge opportunity." She informed with an annoyed tone, leaning back on her seat.
"Would you like some tea?" Aizen asked, seemingly ignoring what she said.
"No. Because, as I was saying, we just missed a huge opportunity." Amelia repeated herself, while showing a somewhat annoyed expression.
"I'm listening." Aizen said, putting the quests aside.
"Well, according to our sources in the Adventurer's Guild, Ainzach was directly given a quest, which he later on gave to Momon." She informed.
"Do we only know that?" He asked, his interest now awakened.
"Of course. They report a man entering the guild, presenting a paper to the receptionist, and right after being sent to meet with Ainzach. Another source confirmed that after they spoke, Ainzach had someone call upon Momon, and that from that conversation came the quest in question. It required him to retrieve a rare herb that grows in the northern region of the Great Forest of Tob. Said herb supposedly has legendary healing properties. Apparently 30 years back a team of adamantite adventurers, along with 2 teams of mythril adventurers, undertook the quest. From what I understood the nature of the quest was quite dangerous for them. Momon has already left, along with his pet the 'Wise King of the Forest'. Nabe, seems to have gone by herself on some goblin pacifying quest."
"I see... Do we have a description of this man? And from what I understood, given the nature of the request, since it was given directly to the guildmaster, the herb will be given to him, and he will give it back to this individual?" Aizen asked.
"It's all in these papers. And yes, that is what the procedure seems to be."
"This herb might be what we need to actually make some progress in our potion enhancing research." Aizen calmly remarked.
"I must say, that you being this calm, is surprising. Even for me. After all, we are going to lose this herb, which could have done wonders for us." Amelia pointed out in a neutral tone.
"Nonsense. The herb is already ours." Aizen remarked, taking another sip of his tea.
"What…" Amelia went to ask, when everything became clear in her mind.
"You are planning on taking it from Ainzach. Aren't you?"
"Well…" Aizen began to speak, but she quickly interrupted him
"No... You want to take it from whoever this man is." She said with a raised eyebrow, to which Aizen gave a cunning smile.
"Still, who would we send? The Espada are all either going to, coming from, or on requests. We even had to send some of your 'duplicates' to deal with minor jobs."
"We'll send Yoruichi. She will take care of this easily."
"T-The cat?" Amelia asked in surprise, raising an eyebrow at him.
"That's a transformation she uses in order to hide herself in plain sight." Aizen replied in a calm tone.
"Huh. I see. I suspected that there was something more to her. Especially for her being the one to train Alvis. Still, I was not expecting this. Also, she sounds male. But, I guess that is the point of a disguise." Amelia remarked with a thoughtful tone.
As Yoruichi was summoned and debriefed on her new mission, Unohana was brought to the front door by knocking. Opening the door, she was greeted by two people. One a woman in formal clothing, and the other a figure in a cloak and hood, who wore a blank mask with only two openings for the eyes.
"Greetings. My name is Retsu Unohana. How my I be of service?" She asked in a warm tone, taking a small bow before the duo.
"Hello. I am Roos. This is Cesar. We are emissaries from the Dragon Kingdom, and we wish to do business with the Espada." She said in a dignified tone.
"Very well. However, before I let you in, I will need proof, that you are in fact emissaries." Unohana informed, causing the duo to exchange brief looks.
Roos reached into her bag, pulling out a letter where upon it rested a seal with the crest associated with the Dragon Kingdom. Roos simply presented the letter to the maid, not being in the position to hand it to anyone that was not those in charge of the Espada. Unohana eyed the seal carefully, and indeed it was legitimate. Of course the fact the woman didn't seem like she would let her handle the letter somewhat limited her analysis of it. Still, she believed this letter to be sufficient proof, leaving her only with the distinct feeling she was getting from Cesar. Her senses told her that he was not human.
"Miss Roos, you may enter. However, I must ask that your companion removes his mask before entering." Unohana pointed out.
"Y-You see…" Roos went to speak, but Cesar interrupted her.
"I would prefer not to do so. I have suffered several injuries during the war, some of which left me disfigured. I do not want to force others to have to see them."
"I apologize if that is the case. But I must insist that you remove it." The maid insisted, in the same calm tone.
"Why are you insisting on this? He is not comfortable with showing his face. Can't you accept that?" Roos argued, causing the woman to look at her with a warm smile.
"Acceptance has little to do with it. It would be much simpler to remove the mask, since I am aware that your intentions are not hostile, and that he is not human." The maid replied, shocking Roos.
"H-How did you…" She went to speak, but Cesar spoke over her.
"You are no ordinary maid, are you?"
"No." She replied, with a calm smile.
"Of course, I won't ask you to do it here. I will lead you to the office, where those you wish to speak to are waiting. Then you can remove it. Agreed?"
"You can't demand that of him!" Roos growled protectively, forgetting herself in the moment.
"Yes, they can. It's either that or we will not even get the chance to speak with them. We agree. Please lead the way." Cesar calmly pointed out.
"I'm glad you understand. Please follow me."
The duo was then led to the aforementioned office, being the first to enter with the maid behind them. Inside they saw a woman sitting behind the desk with a man wearing glasses to her right. Standing near the entrance was a woman, that by the ring she wore they could tell was a member of the Espada.
"What is this?" Juno growled, her eyes focused on Cesar.
"They are Roos and Cesar. Emissaries from the Dragon Kingdom."
"Is that so?" Amelia asked, after looking briefly at Aizen at the corner of her eye.
"We are. But before we move on, I agreed to remove my mask." Cesar replied, as he removed his mask.
"You brought a beastman here?!" Juno roared at Unohana, as soon as her eyes fell on his face.
"Juno, that's enough." Amelia said, with a wave of her hand.
"You are dismissed, Unohana. The two of you, please, sit." She added.
"T-Thank you." Roos said, as the duo took their seats.
"Well, I believe introductions are in order. I am Amelia Bedelia Aigner. This is Sōsuke Aizen. Now, please tell me, how may the Espada be of use to the Dragon Kingdom? And, if you can explain to me why there is a beastman in my office." Amelia said with an amused expression.
Roos hesitated for a brief moment as she eyed the people in the room. She of course already knew who these people were from the information the Kingdom's contacts had passed along. What she was not prepared for were their scrutinizing gazes, that had immediately told her that the people she was dealing with were not simple coin merchants. Their eyes held an intelligence and an awareness that made it clear to her that any attempt at concealing information would be seen through.
The fact that a "maid" had seen through Cesar's nature, and that both Amelia and Aizen did not seem perturbed or even surprised by his presence was enough to clarify the caliber of people that she was dealing with. Even Juno's presence held an aura that made the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. It was something she could tell Cesar felt as well. With all this in mind, she came to the conclusion that full disclosure was their only option as she began to speak...
"As you might be aware, the Dragon Kingdom is going through a very difficult period, because of our war with the neighboring Beastman Nation. As things are, our military has been incredibly reduced. So much so, that we are mostly dependent on the services of adventurers, workers, and other countries to help us to fight. This also means that there are very few skilled people who could be sent out of the country to make the journey here. That is why I was chosen, since I have worked as a spy and information gatherer. I have what it takes to see our assignment through. Of course, this risks the Kingdom suffering a bit from the lack of information I could have provided." Roos explained.
"And Cesar?" Aizen asked, fixing his glasses.
"I am a traitor to my own people. I took the human's side in order to put an end to this meaningless massacre." Cesar informed.
"That's a rather interesting thing for someone of your kind to say." Amelia remarked in a cool tone.
"Indeed. I'm among the minority when it comes to this opinion. There are others that would abandon the war, but they have their reasons to continue. Mostly the fear of what their king might do."
"Yet, you betrayed them nonetheless?" Aizen asked in an analytical tone.
"I had nothing else left. Most of my tribe has been killed, or turned against our original ideals. My mate and children were killed, when it was found that I was secretly helping the humans. As you can see, I payed greatly for my betrayal." He stoically replied, then motioning to his scars.
"He then came to work more directly with us. In this case me. And since I was told to take someone I could count on, I chose him. But few are those that knows he exists." Roos calmly added.
"They are not lying." Aizen pointed out, looking at Amelia.
"I know. Very well, how can we be of service to you and your Kingdom?"
"I have with me a letter, written by the Queen herself." Roos said.
As she reached into her bag, Roos was thankful that her instincts were correct. Though the glasses wearing individual did not seem like much to the average person, she felt something was "off" about him. Those instincts had served her well in gathering information, and in saving her life. The same went for Amelia's gaze that seemed to see through anything a person said or did. Cesar then spoke as she produced the letter...
"On it is the request she so desperately wanted Roos to give you."
"If you wish, I can read it." Roos said.
"No need. Just give it to me." Amelia said, as the letter was handed to her.
Given her experience with having to read long documents and contracts, Amelia made quick work of the letter, since it was just a single page long and rather straight forward in what it asked of them. Having read the letter with an unchanging and hard to read expression, Amelia closed the letter and placed it in front of Roos.
"I apologize, but we cannot fully agree to what is being asked of us." She coldly informed.
"B-But without this help what are we supposed to do?" Roos asked, her nervousness getting the better of her.
"Apologies. I meant that we cannot deploy all of the Espada to aid your people. It is simply too much of a risk for us."
"You can't mean that. Surely we didn't come all this why for nothing."
"Roos, control yourself." Cesar calmly remarked.
"B-But…" She tried to argue, when Amelia spoke over her.
"I will offer you 4 of the Espada to help you…" Amelia began to reply, when Aizen interjected.
"And perhaps some Fracción."
"Perhaps, but don't count on it that much. As we speak two of the Espada duos are making their way back to E-Rantel. They will be here tomorrow, and they will be the ones that we can send with you. Those are our conditions." Amelia finished informing.
"Still, only 4 of them… These Fracción, are helpers correct?" Roos asked in concern.
"Yes. They are weaker than the Espada, but are still capable fighters." Aizen explained.
"But, we are not making promises about how many we can provide." Amelia added.
Roos did not know what to say. Why did she have to decide this? For all she knew she could be making a major decision for the fate of the Dragon Kingdom. For all she knew these 4 Espada might be capable, and put up a decent effort until they got better help. Or, they could be killed like many of the people that had come to aid them. Still, even if that was the case, their deaths could prevent the deaths of innocents, and buy her people some time. Of course, she had heard that the strongest of the Espada were adamantite level, so that could make a difference, yet she was also aware of the power the strongest of the beastmen wielded.
"I-I accept. In the name of the Dragon Kingdom, I accept your offer." Roos declared, her tone wavering with the overwhelming pressure of the situation.
"I'm glad you did. I can assure you that the people we make available to you will do their best to be of use, and bring this war to an end of course." Amelia remarked with a chuckle.
"Also, in terms of pay, we will adjust the price suggested in the letter. Still, don't think it will come very cheap. I know we offer services at lower costs than others, and I am certain you will still be paying less than you would with adventurers or workers. However, given the nature of the situation the price won't be that different." She then firmly added.
"Thank you." Roos declared, taking a bow.
"Don't mention it. After all, this is an interesting business opportunity." Amelia remarked.
"T-Then we will take our leave and come back tomorrow." Roos informed.
"Very well. Tomorrow we will introduce you to the Espada and sign a proper contract. Given the situation we can't take things likely."
Yoruichi had long since left in search of the man who had given Ainzach the quest. She explored a good portion of the city in her cat form before coming across the individual, since he was at the edge of the city in a rather secluded area, that was home to the lowest quality of places.
She found her target in a small bar, drinking cheap drinks in one of the outside tables. He was wearing a large brown long coat, black pants and boots. His hands were covered by silver platting indicating that he was wearing gauntlets under his sleeves. His eyes were light brown, his hair was short and grey, that also being the color of his noticeable facial stubble.
It was like the report said. He didn't look like a simple messenger. No there was a certain air to him. Even if he wasn't doing it on purpose, he felt distinct. Of course, this would only be evident to anyone with actual combat experience and that knew how to analyze ones opponent carefully. Yoruichi knew how to do this, and her senses told her that he was dangerous if provoked.
Using her cat form, she approached the man, using the stealth expected of an ordinary cat, which didn't last since as soon as she got close to the table, she felt his gaze on her. Ignoring this she continued walking and finally jumped onto his table, before starring at him.
Giving her an amused chuckle, he went to pet her, but the cat replied with trying to claw at his armored hand, a gesture that he avoided with ease. Seeing that the cat wasn't one for petting, he scratched his stubble and went back to drinking, letting the cat take a seat in the chair next to him. He remained like this for some time, until he finally got up, payed for his drinks, and began to walk away. Yoruichi following him shortly after. She kept hidden from his sight until night, where she followed him to where he was staying and followed him into his room. Of course, this was after he had noticed her, but naturally dismissed the cat.
Yoruichi decided to lay down in a corner, watching as he went to bed without removing any of his gear, showing that he was more than ready to act if attacked. Waiting for few more hours, she got up and began to claw at the door, this was enough to wake him up and convince him that the cat wanted out of the room, as he opened the door for her. Now free, she was quick to make her way back to the manor to report to Aizen what she had found.
She found Aizen in the office, something that didn't surprise her in the slightest. He was looking over another large stack of papers, but this could wait as she had to report in.
"I have returned." Yoruichi announced, jumping on his desk.
"What did you find out?" Aizen asked, looking away from his papers
"I found out where he is staying. I expect him to leave that place when the time comes to collect the herb. I have yet to get a name, but he is not a normal courier. My senses tell me that he is skilled and highly dangerous."
"A good thing we sent you in then. Rest assured in knowing that you can deal with him as you see fit. That is after he gets the herb."
"Does that mean I can toy with him a little? It's been some time since I've gotten some proper exercise." Yoruichi remarked in a chuckle.
"If you wish. As long as you don't go overboard."
"As if I would ever do that. Well then, I will be going back." With that, the cat left in a blur.
Night came and went, the same for the morning as Roos and Cesar were called upon to meet the Espada in the middle of the afternoon. They were taken to a small meeting room, which was used for the more frequent clients. When they arrived, Amelia and Aizen were already there, along with four of the Espada they had been promised. One of them was in full armor, while the rest had rings with the numbers "6", "5" and "3".
"Please take a seat." Amelia said, motioning to the couch next to the one she and Aizen were sitting in.
"So, these are the Espada who are going to help us?" Roos asked, taking her seat.
"Correct. Of course, they can't go right now and would need a few days to rest. Let's say, 4 days before they can leave." Amelia replied.
"But... then it will take a long time to reach the Dragon Kingdom." Roos remarked, visibly worried.
"I know. But, if you want them at their full capacity, you must allow them rest." Amelia calmly argued.
"We understand. What about the Fracción?" Cesar asked.
"You will get 4 of them, but they won't get here for some time. Still, there's no need to worry. They will be here on time." Amelia replied.
"Among them there is one named Nnoitra Gilga, he has some personality issues, but…" Aizen began to inform, when Carmyn firmly spoke over him.
"I will keep him under control. There's no need to worry."
"That. There's also Sajin Komamura. A beastman." Aizen informed, causing Cesar to look visibly surprised.
"Indeed. We found him injured not long ago. Having healed him, he decided to pay his debt by working for us."
"But there's no reason to worry. No matter how they might act, they are more than capable on the battlefield. And, in the end, isn't that what you need?" Amelia asked, with a slight, cunning smile.
"Y-Yes." Roos replied.
"Then, can we learn more about those that are actually in front of us?" She added, changing the subject.
"Of course. First, we have 6th-Espada, Inon Zur Morres…" Aizen began, when Cesar spoke over him.
"As in, 'Inon The Titan'?" Cesar asked in a thoughtful tone, looking at Inon.
"Exactly. How do you know that?" The Espada asked back.
"As I said before, there are some of my kind who are not happy with this war. and are doing it out of fear for their own lives, or the lives of those close to them. Among those individuals, is someone who used to be a close friend. Tomo, also known as 'The Stone Bear'."
"He is among the beastmen fighting in the war?" Inon asked. with a somewhat troubled tone.
"He is. He is among the strongest in the army."
"Hm, Makes sense." Inon remarked, still in deep thought.
"You know him?" Amelia asked in curiosity.
"I do. As you know, before joining the Espada, I was a pit fighter. While most matches were between two men or more, sometimes for the amusement of the VIPs, people would be matched up with a beastman that was open to working with humans. That was Tomo." Inon stoically replied.
"He worked with humans?" She asked, this detail piquing her interest.
"Hm. From what I heard, he was payed and also got the bodies from those who died in any deathmatches."
"So, you fought him?" Roos asked.
"Yes. Of course, I never stood a chance. No one did."
"Well, I hope that changes if you come across him now." Amelia remarked.
"It will." Inon calmly said.
"You believe that you can defeat him by yourself?" Cesar asked, trying to hide his disbelief.
"He can. I'm sure of it." Carmyn replied.
"And even if he can't, I will be there to make sure it happens." She added, in a more threatening tone.
"This is Carmyn Zoya, the 5th-Espada. She is a druid-type magic caster." Aizen informed.
"I hope we can get along well." The small Espada said.
"This is Leinas Rockbruise, the 3rd-Espada. She…" Aizen continued, when Roos spoke over him.
"W-Wait. Is she the same Leinas from the Baharuth Empire?"
"That is correct." Amelia replied, a bit annoyed by the sudden outburst.
"A-And she's number 3?"
"Correct." Aizen replied.
Roos seemed to freeze for a moment, thinking herself, "How was this possible?!" She had heard from her limited sources that Leinas Rockbruise was known for being only slightly weaker than Gazef Stronoff, who was known for his great strength. Could it be that among the Espada there was someone stronger than even Gazef himself? She wanted to ask, but the look on everyone's face told her not to do so, and she found herself relenting to their wishes.
"Finally, we have Nazz. A highly skilled and powerful warrior." Aizen calmly informed.
"He will be working as the leader of the group. He may not be a ranked member, but he has the necessary skills to lead the rest." Amelia explained.
"I'm looking forward to working with the Dragon Kingdom." The armored figure said, with a polite nod.
"Then, can we move on to signing the contract?" Amelia asked, to which Roos gave only a nod.
The signing of the contract took some time, as Roos lack of experience with these types of documents resulted in her taking some time reading it. She saw nothing wrong with the contract itself. However, couldn't help but feel unease when she noticed that the death of any of the involved Espada, including Nazz, would result in the Dragon Kingdom having to pay a certain amount per death. Still, she signed the contract, not wanting to risk losing the aid of what was starting to dawn on her, to be a group of very powerful people.
"Done." She announced, finishing signing the contract.
"We will meet in 4 days then. Until then, I hope you'll continue to enjoy E-Rantel." Amelia remarked, taking the contract.
Shortly after the meeting ended, with Roos and Cesar leaving, and the Espada starting their "necessary" rest. Aizen and Amelia had gone back to their office, with Juno now accompanying them. Amelia taking a seat as Aizen poured himself an her some tea.
"This is going to be very good for us." Amelia remarked, putting the contract to the side.
"This is a great payoff to having gone through the effort of having our contacts spread our deeds so far." Aizen added.
"Especially to a dying kingdom like this one. I still think this might cost us in the long run." Amelia pointed out, looking at the reflection in her tea.
"Don't worry. It is the 'dying' nature of the Kingdom that will open us to all the possibilities it can provide us."
"So you've said. Still, having 4 Espada busy for who knows how long will cost us some quests. Meaning we might have to use those duplicates of yours more often."
"That is not an issue." Aizen calmly said.
"I know. Because no matter how well ending a war will do for us, our immediate reputation will be damaged if we fail to take quests as often as we normally do."
"The duplicates will make up for that. Of course, we will have to show a small drop in quality because of it, but we will be able to meet the expectation nonetheless."
"Oh? I'm holding you to it." Amelia said, finally drinking from her cup.
The following day, Momon did the impossible and completed the quest given to him by Ainzach, by retrieving the herb within two and a half days. When night fell Ainzach went to deliver the herb to the courier, who then made his way out of E-Rantel by horse. He was not alone however, since Yoruichi was following him at a distance.
He had already put a good distance between himself and the city, when his senses then picked up on a projectile being launched at him to the front. Acting quickly, and keeping a hold of the bag that contained the herb, the courier jumped to his left, letting the horse take the blow as he made his escape into the forest. As he did so, he could see someone else following him in parallel, going at the same high speed and using the same swiftness as himself. Seeing that simply outrunning his attacker wouldn't work, the courier stopped as soon as he arrived in a clearing.
His pursuer ended up being a woman, with dark skin, golden irises, and dark, purplish hair. She wore a black backless, sleeveless undershirt, black wrist guards replacing the missing sleeves, black stretch pants with a pair of lightweight shoes. Everything told him that she was a trained individual, who probably had received similar training to himself. Meaning, she probably was an assassin like he was.
"Exposed face. I see this is not a normal robbery." He pointed out with a tired sigh.
"Correct. I was given orders to do as I wish with you, as long as I get the herb." The woman informed.
"Are you sure you want to take this route? The only thing that awaits you is death."
"I'll take my chances." She replied with a confident smirk.
"Haaah.~ I'm too old for this…" He sighed, dropping the bag with the herb.
"Very well. Can I get a name before we start?"
"Hoh? Why should I give you my name?" The woman asked.
"It's called 'manners'. I believe in letting my opponent knowing who I am before I kill them. And, as a gentleman, I will allow you to go first." He explained, causing her to chuckle.
"Very well. I am Yoruichi Shihōin."
"Pleasure. My name is Tou. Former member of Ijaniya, currently serving as a Worker. Also, even at my age, I can handle Adamantite ranked individuals just fine, so if you want I will allow you to turn around and leave."
"Good. Anything below that level of strength would be too easy." Yoruichi remarked.
"Kids these days."
Tou mumbled this as he removed his coat, revealing the vest he wore underneath, which held what seemed to be rather large needles. His lower arms like she had expected were covered by gauntlets which had 3 holes each.
For a moment nothing happened, till both assassins charged at each other, meeting in the middle of the clearing. Yoruichi went for a right palm strike, which Tou dodged to her right, bringing as he did so his own right hand towards her gut, on it 4 large needles. Seeing this, she dropped to her knees, letting her upper body fall backwards, a motion she followed by spinning trying to take her opponents legs from under him. To this Tou reacted by jumping into the air, and raining down several needles on his opponent, who used her great speed and agility to escape the barrage.
When Yoruichi rolled back to her feet, she was met by Tou, calmly standing on the needles he had just thrown. Materializing some knives, Yoruichi proceeded to throw them at him, in order to see how he would react. He did not do anything until they got within arms reach of him, where with surprising speed her proceeded to swat every single one away from him and into the ground.
"Not bad." She remarked, with an enthusiastic smirk.
"You think so? I used to be able to do this more easily when I was younger." Tou said, beginning to approach her.
Yoruichi went back on the offensive, closing the distance between herself and her opponent, she went for a kick to his left side, which the Tou dodged by ducking under her leg and throwing himself back. Tou threw several other needles at Yoruichi, with her dodging several of them and catching a few others to throw them back at her owner.
The male assassin used his gauntlets to block the projectiles as he went back to hand-to-hand combat, closing the distance between them and delivering an uppercut to his foe. Yoruichi managed to dodge this, especially when 3 large spikes emerged from the holes in the gauntlet, the same happening to the other. Seeing how close she was to him, she went for another palm strike, however he swatted her arm away with his hand, going for another blow in the process, avoiding this blow Yoruichi spun around this time managing to sweep his legs from under him.
Tou, now on the floor, watched as Yoruichi lifted up her left leg above him, preparing herself to drop it on his chest. As she went to drop her leg, Yoruichi saw him avoid the incoming blow with the same surprising speed he had used to avoid the knives she had thrown at him before. Rolling out of her way, Tou positioned himself on his back as he aimed his left arm at her firing the three spikes that had emerged from it, using these projectiles as distractions to allow him to keep some distance between himself and her.
"That's some impressive speed you can muster.~" Yoruichi remarked with a smile, looking at Tou.
"[Extreme Senses]. An ability I developed over several years. It allows me to momentarily bring my body to its limit in order to avoid blows I would normally fail to avoid." Tou informed, looking rather tired.
"A useful ability, even if it seems to take a lot out of you."
"Like I said, I'm not as young as I used to be. It begins to take its toll on me."
"Perhaps you should have withheld on using it then?" She suggested, causing him to chuckle weakly.
"You think I didn't notice? You are holding back, you have been doing it since the beginning, and something tells me that if you went all out, this would have been over long ago." Tou pointed out, causing Yoruichi to show a pearly white, toothy smirk.
"You have very well trained senses. You're right. If I wanted, this could have ended long ago. But it's been a while since I've been allowed to take part in an actual fight. I was in need of the exercise." She explained, causing him to lift his right arm and fire the 3 spikes at her, which she easily swatted away.
"What now? You'll kill me?"
"No. Seeing that ability of yours, it would be a waste. I will take you back with me, along with the herb, and have you teach it to my student."
"I see… That sounds like a good plan. Surely beats me being killed…" Tou said, with a thoughtful tone.
"[Death Before Dishonor: Cremation]!"
Before Yoruichi could act, Tou erupted into blue flames, these flames eating away at him at an unnatural rate until his body was nothing but ash.
"Well played.~" Yoruichi remarked, a certain hint of respect in her voice.
Taking the bag with the herb, Yoruichi returned to the manor, where Amelia and Aizen were waiting. Entering the office, she placed the bag on top of the desk, before Aizen spoke up.
"Where's the body?"
"It was destroyed. He preferred to kill himself by destroying his body then getting captured." Yoruichi replied, her head slightly lowered.
"Captured? He had something of use to us?"
"[Extreme Senses]. An ability that allowed him to dodge powerful blows for a moment by taking his body to its absolute limit."
"It could have been useful. Especially for Alvis, correct?" The Shinigami asked, getting a nod in reply.
"I see. No matter. We've acquired the herb, that's what matters. You're dismissed, Yoruichi."
"Thank you, Aizen-sama." She said taking a bow, before leaving in a flash...