Vow of the King

AN: If you recognize it, I don't own it. Also, DON'T STEAL MY FUCKING STORY! See end of chapter for further notes.

"This" designates speech
'This' designates thought
"Italics"denotes Zanpakuto speaking.
"Bold" denotes Hollows speaking.

Chapter One: This Is The World We Live In

"Nemu! Where are you, you worthless girl?!" The voice shouting perfectly matched its owner, possessing all the warmth of deep space and the compassion of a shark. Mayuri Kurotsuchi impatiently waited for his lieutenant/daughter to arrive, a scowl on his painted face. Into the lab stepped a young woman in abbreviated black robes, her violet hair kept in a braid and her face lacking any expression. Not turning from his computer, Mayuri addressed her with a voice dripping with disdain, "There you are! Took you long enough. You're being assigned to a month-long patrol of the living world, in a place called Karakura. It contains an exceptionally high amount of Reiryoku and thus sees an unusual amount of Hollow activity. As a result, I've managed to convince Yamamoto to let me send you rather than some no-name Shinigami like he'd planned. Officially, you're there to perform the usual menial tasks of purifying Hollows and performing Soul Burials. However," Here, Mayuri turned to regard Nemu for the first time since she entered, clearly intent on making sure she understood what he viewed as the most important part of her assignment. "Your main task is to collect specimens. Such a location is sure to possess individuals rarely seen elsewhere. They will be perfect for experimentation. But! Do not get caught. Yamamoto knows nothing of this, and it will stay that way. Am I understood?"

Speaking for the first time since she entered, Nemu bowed her head and answered, "Yes, Mayuri-sama. It will be done."

"Good! Now get out of my sight!" With that, the amoral scientist returned to his data as Nemu left to prepare for her mission. A mission that would ultimately shake the very foundations of more than one world.

On Earth, in the city known as Karakura, one teenager squared off against six others on the banks of Onose River. The lone fighter was a tall strawberry blonde teen by the name of Kurosaki Ichigo. His opponents were a group of typical high school delinquents armed with an assortment of makeshift weapons. "You really thinkin of pickin a fight with us in our own turf, Kurosaki? You gots some real balls. Not much brains though. Minamikawase is our territory," The apparent leader of the street toughs sneered at the strawberry.

Ichigo snorted in response, "You're the morons who set up shop so close to my house. What's wrong, did the kids at Furin Hall run you out of Karakura Honchou?" Enraged by his taunt, one thug ran forward, swinging a pipe. Ichigo casually grabbed him by the wrist, flipping him to the ground, the pipe clattering at their feet. The teen then followed up by stomping on his opponent's shoulder and pulling brutally, dislocating the joint and removing him from the equation. This seems to signal the others to charge, each seeking to beat the schoolboy so brazenly standing against them. The first to reach him went for a right hook enhanced by a pair of knuckledusters, only to catch a jab into his floating ribs. The strawberry blonde then grabbed him by his shirt and waistband and threw him into another of his comrades. Both hit the concrete embankment hard, letting out gasps of pain. The next street tough had his baseball bat intercepted by the stolen pipe now held far-more-securely in Ichigo's hands. Ichigo switched his grip and jabbed the end of the pipe into the thug's stomach. The delinquent almost vomited as he doubled over, before the improvised weapon crashed into his jaw and knocked him clean out.

Seeing their partners defeated so quickly, the final two took a more cautious approach. The leader was armed with a knife, his stance suggesting he actually had an idea of how to use it. His sole remaining underling wielded a chain that he was spinning inexpertly. The pair slowly advanced, seeking to force Ichigo back against the riverbank to limit his movements. Instead, Ichigo lunged forward, dodging a panicked swing by the chain user and quickly maneuvering behind him, pulling the thug into a reverse naked choke hold. As the delinquent frantically scrabbled against his arm, Ichigo maneuvered them so his victim was between him and his boss. Ignoring the thug's attempts to strike him with his chain, Ichigo addressed the gang leader, "Six on one? You should've brought more. A lot more." Feeling his victim go limp, Ichigo kicked him in the back to force him away as he grabbed his chain before it could fall to the ground. With more bravado than brains, the gang leader went for a probing thrust, only for Ichigo to wrap his chain around his attacker's arm and twist, forcing him to drop his knife. Unwrapping the chain, Ichigo folded it in two and wrapped it against his final opponent's neck.

"On second thought, you should've set up shop anywhere else. You see, Karakura, is my territory. And I don't want to see you or your friends in my town ever again." Seeing the delinquent frantically nod his agreement, Ichigo shoved him forward and slammed his head against the embankment. The delinquent crumbled to the floor and Ichigo let out a sigh before rifling through his beaten enemy's pockets. Pulling out the thug's cell phone, Ichigo dialed 119 and waited for a response on the other end, "Hello? Yes, I need an ambulance. At Onose River, about… half a kilometer south of the train tracks. How many? There's six of them. Yes, a dislocated shoulder and several fractures and broken bones." With that, Ichigo tossed the phone in the river and hurried home, not wanting to be late for dinner. Worse than potentially missing Yuzu's cooking was facing her disappointment.

At the same time, high above Karakura, a set of old-fashioned shoji doors opened in the sky and out of them stepped Nemu Kurotsuchi. Her face was expressionless as she checked to make sure she still had all her equipment. Once satisfied, the woman surveyed the area and pressed a finger to her earpiece, "I have arrived Mayuri-sama."

From the earpiece came her captain's voice, irritation dripping from every syllable, "Then what are you waiting for, you simpleton? Stop wasting my time with worthless information and carry out your orders!"

With a quick confirmation, the Shinigami took off, the setting sun silhouetting her from behind.

Hours later, Ichigo laid in bed after another tiresome day of fighting his father, going to school, fighting various street toughs, fighting his father some more, and placating his younger sister about almost being late to dinner. And annoyingly one last fight with his father. As he lounged about and read his manga, a figure suddenly came through the wall. And he didn't mean she bulldozed her way in either. She simply phased through like it wasn't even there. The figure landed on his desk, revealing herself to be a buxom young woman in a short black kimono. Ichigo gawked in a mix of confusion and disbelief as she took out a flip phone and checked something on the screen. "The first one should be nearby-" She's interrupted as Ichigo attempted to kick her in the back, only for the woman to quickly grab his foot and hip throw him to the ground. Unfortunately, the two become tangled and Ichigo found himself on his back with the mystery woman straddling him.

The woman looked at him in surprise as she realized what just occurred, "You can see me. How strange. Your Reiatsu levels must be considerable for a human." She checked her phone again before she gave a quick nod. "You must be the first specimen then. That will make things easier. Please do not resist."

Her comment distracted Ichigo from the sensations of having a curvaceous woman literally sitting in his lap. Looking up at her, he sputtered in shock, "Wait, the hell do you mean 'specimen'?! And will you get off me already?"

"I will be taking you back to Soul Society on behalf of my father. Please do not resist," the young woman stated as she stood up from Ichigo's prone form.

Getting up and quickly distancing himself from this apparent kidnapper, Ichigo demanded, "What the hell is Soul Society? And for that matter, who the hell are you?"

"I get the impression you are going to resist. Therefore, Bakudō #4, Hainawa." A glowing golden rope instantly shot out of her hand and bound Ichigo's arms, sending him crashing to the floor. The kidnapper-to-be gave a quick bow and introduced herself, "My name is Kurotsuchi Nemu, Shinigami and lieutenant of 12th Division. Soul Society is the home of the Shinigami who ferry souls to the afterlife and purify Hollows."

Realizing that the crazy woman in front of him might not just be some weirdo in slutty cosplay, the strawberry blonde teen questioned further. He wasn't entirely sure he wanted to see just how deep this rabbit hole went, but seeing as she was calling him a 'specimen' buying time would probably be the smart thing to do. "What the hell are Hollows? And for that matter, what do you mean 'Shinigami'?"

"A Hollow is a soul that has lingered in the Living World too long after passing, causing them to be consumed by their regret and despair, turning them into monstrous beings who seek to consume other souls in a fruitless attempt to ease their torment. Hollows are frequently drawn first to their former loved ones then to those like yourself with especially strong Reiatsu." As Nemu spoke, the Shinigami pulled a notebook from her robes and rapidly moved her finger back and forth across a page. Once she finished, Nemu turned the notebook around and showed a detailed drawing of a ghost turning into a monster with a mask. As he stared blankly, Ichigo realized that yes, this woman had just drawn a photorealistic picture with her fingertip in a few seconds and that no, he didn't want to know. The Shinigami then ran her finger across another page several times and showed a picture of that same monster being bisected by a human in dark robes without pausing her explanation, "A Shinigami purifies a Hollow by destroying their mask, absolving them of any sins committed as a Hollow and sending them on to the afterlife along with all the souls they've consumed. This, along with ferrying souls to the afterlife is the main purpose of the Shinigami that make up the Thirteen Court Guard Squads."

Before Ichigo could pose any further questions, a heavy pressure weighed down upon him as a loud roar was heard from outside. For the first time that night, Nemu showed actual emotion as she looked up in shock, "A Hollow? But how did it get so close without-" Mid-sentence, she stopped and looked back at the bound teenager on the floor, "I see. Your uncontrolled Reiatsu has permeated the surroundings and smothered my senses." At that moment, something massive impacted the ground outside.

As Nemu moved to confront the Hollow outside, Ichigo called out desperately, "Wait! It's after me, right? Untie me then! Get me away from my family!" Even as he spoke, the boy writhed in an attempt to loosen the glowing rope binding him.

Nemu stopped as she opened the door and turned towards Ichigo, only for a figure to collapse just outside the doorway. It was his little sister Karin, obviously hurt and struggling to move as she whimpered, "Ichi-nii, run."

Anger and determination flooded Ichigo's mind as he forced himself to his feet and struggled against his bonds. He refused to lose anyone again, especially not his family. "Don't do it human, you only succeed in teari-" Again, Nemu stopped mid-sentence, this time in shock as the mystical ropes binding Ichigo suddenly unraveled, like someone pulling a loose thread on a poorly made scarf. Freed from his bonds, Ichigo quickly checked on his injured little sister. After determining she'd be alright for the moment, he charged downstairs to confront the monster threatening his family, leaving a stunned lieutenant behind. 'But how? He didn't just break it! He unraveled my Bakudō! How is that possible?' She marveled in the safety of her own mind.

Upon reaching the first floor, Ichigo stared in shock at what he found. Most of the wall was blown out and through it he could see a bone mask almost as big as the hole itself. The creature rose up and he could see Yuzu underneath one of its hands. With a surge of protective rage, Ichigo grabbed a nearby bat and charged the beast, only to be casually swatted aside into the side of the building. Looking up, Ichigo got his first look at the monster in its entirety. While its head was covered in a white mask like a stylized fish head, its body more closely resembled a poorly proportioned gorilla, with its arms reaching the ground. As the teen attempted to rise from the bone jarring impact, Nemu appeared beside him with a hand on his shoulder. "You are no match for a Huge Hollow. Leave this to me, human. It is my duty."

With that, Nemu charged into the fray, drawing a wakizashi from her sleeve as she went. The lithe Shinigami sliced at the Hollows arm, causing it to reflexively lift the appendage off of its prey. Nemu swiftly kicked the Hollow's mask before grabbing the unconscious girl and spiriting her back to Ichigo in moments. "Look after your siblings, human."

Unfortunately, the Hollow was much tougher than it looked. It didn't take too long to recover from the jarring impact and took advantage of her distraction, landing a crushing blow to the violet-haired warrior's side. She hurtled through the air into a light post, the metal crumpling under the impact. For the first time, the Hollow spoke, "Foolish Shinigami, you are no match for my power! You will fuel my ascension into a Menos Grande!" Undaunted, Nemu rose up once more, prepared to continue her battle.

"It will take more than yourself to destroy Mayuri-sama's work." But as she spoke, her opponent wasn't idle. From its colossal fist, the Hollow fired a scarlet orb of destructive power. Though caught off guard, Nemu nonetheless was still far more capable than any regular Shinigami. She redirected the attack skyward with her blade in an attempt to limit collateral damage, even as she analyzed the situation. 'A Bala? No, not quite. It has similar speed but it's not quite as powerful and the Reiatsu is unstable and unrefined. Still, for a Hollow to use even a proto-Bala without reaching even Gillian status is troubling.' Refusing to let up for even a moment, the Hollow continued punching crimson blasts at its Shinigami foe, forcing her to dodge what she could while slicing apart what she couldn't with her superior skill and control.

"Troublesome gnat!" The Hollow snarled, before firing off two blasts at once, one aimed for the Lieutenant, the other hurtling towards the human spectators. In a flash, Nemu appeared before the pair, shielding them as the proto-Bala crashed into her body. Ichigo stared wide-eyed at the Shinigami's back as the monster continuously launched more attacks into her torso. At one point, she raised an arm and tried to speak, only for another attack to strike her in the face, cutting her off. As the woman finally collapsed, the creature grabbed her in one giant fist and swung her over its head before slamming her into the ground.

Deciding she was finished, the Hollow lifted her up to its gaping maw bit down on her torso, only for the Shinigami to point a hand down its throat and declare, "Hadō #33, Sōkatsui." The blast of blue fire scorched the Hollow's insides as it was launched down the street. As the Hollow struggled to recover, Ichigo raced over to the downed Shinigami, desperate to help in any way he can. Upon reaching her side, Ichigo was horrified by her condition. While he was no stranger to seeing others injured, both from his fights and his time helping in his father's clinic, Ichigo couldn't recall ever seeing someone so… brutalized, except for his- 'No! Don't think about that right now!' Coughing up blood, Nemu addressed the teenager at her side, "Human… Do you wish to save your family?"

Momentarily taken aback by such an obvious question, Ichigo responded, "Wh-what? Of course I do!"

Shakily, Nemu raised her wakizashi and continued, "Then place my Zanpakutō against your heart." Deciding to trust the woman who nearly died saving his family, Ichigo did as she bid, only to frown in confusion when she moves the blade minutely from where he placed it. "If this succeeds, you will be granted a portion of my power. Enough to purify this Hollow."

Unable to help himself, Ichigo asked, "And if it fails?"

"Then we'll be devoured," She responded plainly.

Nodding, Ichigo asserted his decision, "Do it. And my name is Kurosaki Ichigo, for the re-" Before he can even finish his sentence, Nemu pressed forward, stabbing him directly in the septum of his heart. There was an indescribable surge through Ichigo's body, like his bones had been replaced by hot steel or like someone ran an electric current through his very soul. At the same time, Nemu felt as though all the warmth in her body had been siphoned out of her and into the teenager she just impaled, where it burst into a roaring conflagration. The pair were shrouded in an eruption of blue energy which receded to show both of them altered. Ichigo stood there in a black shihakusho with a massive sword leaning against his shoulder. It looked like a bad parody of a katana, being many times longer, thicker, and wider than a real blade. Nemu on the other hand was clad in a yukata of purest white, a look of pure shock on her face as she reeled.

"This feeling… I feel incredible! Unstoppable! Invincible!" As the huge Hollow lumbered towards him, Ichigo confidently stood his ground. Nemu once again stared in astonishment because of this teenaged human. 'How could this be? I only intended to give him 53% of my available Reiatsu, but he took over 98%!' The Hollow launched a punch at Ichigo's side, only for its fist to bounce off, the knuckles bloody and shredded as though it'd punched a brick wall. Ichigo disappeared in an instant, only to reappear behind his opponent, one of the Hollow's arms falling to the ground at the same time. "Where was all that power and speed from before? You're awfully sluggish now." In desperation, the Hollow punched forward with its remaining arm, firing off another of its proto-Balas, but Ichigo dodged with ease. "Well either way, it's time for you to pay for hurting my family!" With that, Ichigo jumped in the air and performed an overhead strike, cleaving straight through the Hollow's mask and instantly purifying it.

As Ichigo turned back towards Nemu, his vision suddenly blurred. His limbs grew heavy as exhaustion overcame him, like he'd just sprinted from one end of the city to the other. Just before unconsciousness claimed him, Ichigo swore he saw a small animal in front of the injured Shinigami, like a small dog or a cat.

Ichigo awoke. As he slowly sat up, he looked around his room in confusion. Something wasn't quite right, but he couldn't figure out what exactly. Everything in his room seemed the same as ever but he couldn't shake the feeling something was missing. Shaking his head, he tried to put it from his mind. It was a school day and he needed to get ready. As Ichigo got dressed, he noticed his father hadn't come to wake him up/"train his reflexes" yet, which was unusual but maybe he had an early patient this morning. It certainly wouldn't be the first time. Besides, the respite was certainly appreciated.

It was only as he walked into the dining room that Ichigo realized what was wrong that morning. There, on the far side of the room was a massive hole in the wall. In that moment, his memories of the previous night flooded back: the Shinigami, the Hollow, being empowered. Remembering the state he saw last saw his sisters in, Ichigo rushed towards where he could hear his family talking. Standing outside their home, Isshin and his daughters stared incredulously at the hole that used to be the wall of their dining room.

"I can't believe a car hit our house last night!" While as boisterous as ever, Isshin's voice was tinged with confusion. As he looked over the damage, Isshin sighed internally. 'That's going to be costly to repair. Then again, Urahara does owe me a favor. He could probably get this fixed in a day or two.'

As snarky as ever, Karin chimed in, "I can't believe a car hit our house and none of us woke up. Anyw- what? Ichigo, what's gotten into you?!" She was cut off as Ichigo suddenly grabbed her and her twin in a tight embrace. "Godda- seriously, let go already. You're acting like you haven't seen us in months!"

Realizing how he probably looked, Ichigo released his sisters before standing up. He awkwardly scratched at his head before muttering, "Sorry. Bad dream I guess," as he steadily refused to make eye contact with anyone. "Oh, would you look at the time! I'mrunninglategottagobye!" He blurted out before sprinting away towards school.

It was only after he was a couple blocks away that Ichigo finally slowed to a more sedate walk. "Last night definitely happened. But why aren't any of us injured? Why don't the others remember anything? And what exactly happened to that woman?" So lost in his thought was he, that Ichigo didn't notice the approach of another until he heard his name called.

"Oi! Ichigo! Anyone in there?" The speaker was a petite young woman in a school uniform, her dark hair kept short and spikey. This was Arisawa Tatsuki, Ichigo's oldest friend and one of the best karate practitioners in her age group in the nation. "Geez, what's going on with you today? Anything to do with that giant hole in your house I saw earlier?"

Looking up in surprise, Ichigo finally noticed Tatsuki standing directly in front of him. "Oh, sorry. Yeah, a car hit my house last night?" He belatedly replied. Even to his own ears, his excuse sounded weak. Tatsuki's unimpressed stare said she felt the same. Regardless, she apparently decided to let it go and changed the subject. The pair made meaningless small talk as they continued their walk to school, comments about how Tatsuki's training was going or whatever gang Ichigo roughed up recently. Eventually, they arrived at Karakura High, ready for another boring day of classes.

"ICHIGOOOO!" A deafening and exuberant voice rapidly approached the moment Ichigo stepped into the building. Reflexively, Ichigo stuck out one arm, catching one Asano Keigo by the face as he attempted to tackle his friend. After stopping his momentum, Ichigo carelessly dropped the brunette to the floor. Crying exaggeratedly, Keigo whined, "How cruel of you Ichigo! And here I was trying to bring you the good news!"

Curiosity piqued, Ichigo replied, "Hm? What good news are you talking about?" While it was no secret that Keigo's overreactions could get annoying, he did have a surprising tendency to hear new rumors before most.

His exaggerated tears immediately stopping and gaining a cocky smirk, Keigo answered, "I heard there's a new transfer student arriving today." His attempt to seem knowledgeable and wise fell apart instantly as his smirk turned to a perverted grin, "I hope it's a total hottie! Someone really exotic, with melons like Inoue's and legs for-"

Keigo's rambling was suddenly cut off as a new voice spoke up, "Melons? I don't have melons. Though I did bring some melon bread today, with wasabi and peanut butter!" The newcomer was one Inoue Orihime, a rather ditzy girl who made everyone agree on three things. First, she was too adorable to hate. Like a newborn kitten. Second, she couldn't possibly have a sense of taste with the food she ate. Finally, her breasts were so large, they had their own gravitational pull. …That last one may have been created by Chizuru, who claimed she couldn't keep her hands off them. "Oh, Kurosaki-kun! I heard from Tatsuki-chan about your house! Are you alright?" Before Ichigo could respond, the second bell rang, and everyone quickly moved to their seats. What followed was a largely average day of classes with Ichigo later learning the transfer student was in another class. Finally, it was time for the final class of the day: Physical Education.

Ichigo stepped out of the locker room in his gym clothes and was surprised to see the boys and girls weren't already separated for class nor was the teacher present. Looking around, he spotted Chad easily and decided to see if the tanned giant knew what was going on. As he walked up to him, Ichigo noticed Uryū was also near Chad, likely a coincidence as he was pretty sure the two didn't really know each other. "Oi, Chad, Uryū. Either of you know what's going on?"

While Chad merely answered in the negative, Uryū sighed in disgruntlement before responding, "No Kurosaki. All I've heard is that Kagine-sensei seems to have resigned unexpectedly." Despite the two of them being cousins, Ichigo and Uryū couldn't be less alike both in terms of physicality and personality. Whereas Ichigo had strawberry blonde hair and a mild tan, Uryū was extremely pale and had dark hair. Ichigo possessed obvious muscle tone from all the fights he got in and looked like a delinquent, while Uryū was just shy of being outright scrawny and seemed like a stereotypical nerd. About the only thing they had in common was their rudeness, although Uryū's was clear condescension whereas Ichigo's was more a lack of any of formality.

Over by the girls, resident sex maniac Chizuru decided Orihime looked too irresistible in her bloomers and started fondling the other girl's breasts. As Orihime squawked in surprise, an irate Tatsuki stomped over to teach Chizuru some manners. Before she could however, a red rubber ball flew out of nowhere and brained Chizuru hard enough to make her flip cartoonishly through the air. "Please refrain from any sexual encounters during class, Honshō-kun." Ichigo looked around in shock at those words. 'That sounded like- but it couldn't be, could it?' While the other students muttered about the new teacher, Ichigo alone recognized her. Sure, she was wearing a navy-blue tracksuit rather than a shihakusho and had her hair tied in a low bun rather than a braid, but there was no mistaking that woman. She stopped before the class and dropped the large bag she'd been carrying over her shoulder, before greeting them, "My name is Kurotsuchi Nemu and I will be your physical education teacher for the foreseeable future."

AN: This story is technically AU, though the details won't be revealed until they come up in story. The pairing is Ichigo/Multi. Pairings are set and will be added to tags as they occur. Anyone who wants to know the pairings ahead of time can ask.

M rating as violence will generally be more graphic than canon and there will be swearing when I feel it's relevant for the character. However, while there will be nudity and flirting, there won't be any explicit sexual content as I don't feel confident in my abilities to write lemons. And reading a poorly written lemon is like getting half a kitten; it's a bloody mess and you really wish you had never gotten it to begin with.