Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha or Bleach.
Hueco Mundo was always a desolate wasteland, filled with nothing but white sands and withered life, all of which were connected to the dark caverns below the shifting terrain. The desert was always trapped in the midst of an eternal night, and the pale glow of the moon always bore down upon the world of the hollows like a lone beacon, silently preventing the darkness from hiding what little dwelled within the void.
Although seemingly empty of all life, the atmosphere of Hueco Mundo was filled with dense levels of reishi that surpassed even that of the Soul Society. Although hollows lived beneath the wasted terrain the strongest of their kind dwelt on the surface, where they lived and fed on their own kind in order to survive. In this dimension the weak were easily devoured by those who were more powerful, and so the chain of carnage that presided over this world had remained consistent for countless centuries.
For so long the hollows had ruled, but now a new order had been established. A man named Sosuke Aizen had come to this land of tortured souls in order to establish a new world order, in which he would be king. He was truly one of the most powerful Shinigami in existence, but for so long he had sought new heights far beyond the rank of captain that he had held for many years. After revealing his true motives, he fled the Soul Society with his followers and took up residence in Las Noches… a mighty fortress the size of a large city located in Hueco Mundo.
Deep within the bowels of his citadel, the former Shinigami Captain sat upon a throne overlooking a cathedral-like hall. The room was large and empty aside from the dark pillars that lined the walls and the large white chair on which he sat. It had been months since his departure from the Soul Society, and he had spent his time experimenting in the darkness, using Kisuke Urahara's Hogyoku to achieve his own ambitions. The device was small, but it possessed the ability to instantly dissolve the barrier between Shinigami and hollow so that he could create beings with the abilities of both races.
Having gained the loyalty of the Menos, he had established absolute dominion over the hollows, having chosen the most powerful of their kind to become Arrancar. By using the Hogyoku on a hollow, once could remove their masks and allow their powers to increase far beyond what they had been before. The practice was considered taboo by those who dwelt within the Soul Society, but such a worthless law meant nothing to superior being such as himself.
As these thoughts floated through his mind, the Shinigami traitor could help but smile. He had effectively fooled his former comrades for over a century. So long they considered him to be a model captain, yet he had committed countless atrocities, yet most of those self-righteous fools lacked the capacity to comprehend his true identity.
The sound of footsteps quickly caught his attention, but he paid no great heed to the sudden intrusion. "I can see you standing there… … Gin…" he stated casually.
"Oh dear, I should have known that you would sense my approach… Captain Aizen." A confident voice answered.
A familiar figure emerged from the shadows behind him, the room's eerie glow illuminating his appearance as he stepped into the light. His hair was a very light gray color, almost completely white, and arranged in a rather ordinary trim befitting of his appearance. He was a man of average height garbed in long white robes, a strange smile and fox-like gaze adorning his pale features. Among those people who knew him, most found his constant leer rather unsettling to varying degrees. He was Gin Ichimaru, the former captain of the Third Division who had defected from the Soul Society alongside Aizen.
Sosuke Aizen sat back with a relaxed expression as his subordinate approached. "I see that you've taken to skulking around in the darkness. In any case, I trust that you have finished rallying the hollows?"
The shifty subordinate vanished in a flash of Shunpo, reappearing in front of the throne with a mocking bow. "Per your request, I have found several candidates to undergo the Shinigamification process. We are currently testing their offensive capabilities in order to ascertain whether or not they have the potential to reach the level of full hybridization."
His superior's face showed only minors traces of interest. "Well done… Although I hope that these new specimen prove to be more effective than Iceringer and Demora."
Gin smirked at the thought. "If it makes you feel any better, I had Ulquiorra handle the preparations. Personally I would have regulated the duty to Tosen, but appears that he has gone missing recently."
"Very well then." The former Fifth Division Captain gave a small nod of approval. "As for Kaname, I sent him on a private mission to gather some information. For the past few weeks there were some fascinating rumors floating around the Soul Society that I found particularly intriguing. Only recently did I deem them worthy of investigation…"
The smirk on Gin's face seemed to waver for the moment. "Oh dear… Could you be referring to that gossip going on in the Rukongai concerning the banished Izanai Clan? I sincerely doubt that they possess the military force to declare war on the Soul Society!"
"From the unusual fluctuations of reishi that our units detected in the Soul Society, it seems safe to assume that they did. At first I felt it was beneath me to intervene, but an astonishingly large amount of unfamiliar energy was detected… A power that seemed far too malevolent to be reishi of any kind that it was perhaps demonic in nature." He replied. "I assume you understand?"
"All species of youkai have been extinct for centuries." The former Third Division Captain displayed small signs of surprise. "To think that band of misfits could have brought the Shikon Jewel back into existence is truly amusing."
As if on cue, the doors to the throne room creaked open, grabbing the attention of both former captains in the process as a third figure made their presence known. Kaname Tosen was the former Captain of the Ninth Division. He was well known for having been born without sight, but his cloudy blind eyes were concealed by the presence of a visor. His appearance was rather striking among the Shinigami, with dark skin and long purple hair styled into dreadlocks, which hung loosely down his shoulders.
Once he had crossed the length of the room, the former captain sunk into a small salute, holding one hand over his chest as he gave a small bow. "You have my sincerest apologies for my tardiness, Lord Aizen."
"The information that I seek is far more important." His superior stated calmly. "I assume that you have come to present your findings?"
"Yes, my lord…" Tosen answered before beginning his story. "As you originally anticipated, the Izanai Family made their move on the Seretei. The Soul Society was victorious in the ensuing battle, but from what I was able to gather from my investigation, it appears that there were some factors that we did not foresee."
"Is that so?" Aizen raised an eyebrow, eliciting a small look of surprise from his subordinates.
"The fact is that they possessed a full army composed of strange beings the likes of which I have never seen. Leading them was a dark man of unknown origin… I believe that their former master, Kuyou Izanai, was murdered by this man some time prior to the attack on the court." The blind Shinigami explained.
The tyrant sighed in disgust. "I heard that he was a fool, but it seems like this replacement of his actually succeeded where he was incapable."
"Indeed" Gin Ichimaru's smile deepened at the thought. "It begs to question who usurped that unhappy man of his former position, and why…"
Aizen merely shrugged off whatever curiosities he may have had concerning the specifics of the situation. "The details are irrelevant." He stated curtly. "We are certain that the dark energies coming from the Soul Society were caused by the return of the Shikon Jewel. You were sent to ascertain the source of it…"
Kaname Tosen lowered his head solemnly. "Forgive me, my lord. As you have no doubt sensed by now, that power has long vanished along with its source. While the jewel was returned to existence, all members of the fallen clan perished during their foolish crusade. The leader used the power of that relic to gain great power, but was ultimately defeated."
"And what of the jewel?" the former Fifth Division Captain questioned.
"There is no doubt that it was permanently destroyed." The sightless warrior seemed to hesitate slightly under his superior's indifferent gaze. "I personally infiltrated the Seretei and discovered secret documents concerning this matter, both written and signed by Commander Yamamoto himself. According to the report, a mysterious weapon created by Kisuke Urahara and wielded by a priestess was the cause. Shards of the Sokyoku were utilized to dissolve the Shikon Jewel and the souls which comprised it…"
"Oh, that sounds dangerous!" Gin replied casually.
"In this case, it seems that someone finally managed to put an end to the jewel's cycle. Just leave it to Kisuke Urahara to figure out a way to terminate that which cannot be destroyed…" Aizen stood up from his throne, prompting his subordinates into silence.
While his tone and expression did not waver, the monstrous increase in his spiritual pressure seemed to speak for itself. After a moment of enduring their leader's silent wrath, he relaxed his powers and smiled with indifference once again. With a glint in his eye he sat back down upon the throne and rested an elbow on the side, relaxing his shoulders as if he had grown bored with the proceedings.
"Perhaps I should have personally entered the Seretei during the battle and taken that which you desired." Tosen replied wearily, but his master merely raised a hand to silence him again.
"For a moment I felt disappointment in this endeavor, but the reality of the situation remains thus… It's true that the jewel would have helped contribute to my cause, but the original plan has gone unhindered nonetheless." Aizen explained calmly. "If there is one thing that I must thank the Izanai Clan for, it is the distraction that they provided while we built up our own forces."
Reaching into his robes, the tyrant withdrew the small object that he had stolen from Rukia Kuchiki's body months prior. "Kisuke Urahara may have taken away that which I desired, but even he could not undo that which I have already taken for myself. As long as the Hogyoku remains in my hand, there is no man alive who can stop my ambition."
The three former captains did not speak for several minutes, but the sound of the doors opening quickly shifted their focus. This time, a few figures wearing white robes similar to those worn by their master entered the room. Two of them were the Arrancar that Aizen had spoken of, both possessing an odd mishmash of physical characteristics akin to both hollows and Shinigami.
The one standing in front was rather small in size, about as tall as a human, but his face displayed no sign of warmth or emotion. His hair was short and black, covered largely by the presence of a helmet-like mask. The man had cold green eyes and stoic demeanor to his face, a pair of lines running down his face branching off of his lower eyelids like thin black teardrops. The collar of his shirt was open slightly, revealing a tiny hole below his neck.
A much larger individual stood behind the first, his face ugly and partially misshapen and surrounded by the lower jaw of what appeared to be a broken mask. He easily towered over the other men present, wearing a set of white robes over his body with an open shirt that revealed a large circular hole in his stomach.
"Welcome, Ulquiorra and Yammy…" the tyrant acknowledged the Arrancars. "I trust that you have finished the preparations."
The smaller Arrancar inclined his head slightly. "Of course, Lord Aizen… Yammy and I tested the strength of your newest subjects. Among these individuals we discovered one Aducha-class Menos with a significant amount of strength, so per your orders we have brought him before you."
"If you ask me, you're giving the new recruit far too much credit!" The giant Arrancar named Yammy interrupted his comrade. "I think he's nothing more than a pesky worm with a big mouth!"
Before Yammy could finish, the hollow standing behind them growled in defiance. Without warning, the newcomer leapt onto his shoulders and slashed him in the face, eliciting a howl of rage from the gargantuan Arrancar. His attacker was a large and intimidating specter, with blade-like claws and a pair of wings like a giant bat. The forehead of his hollow mask was emblazoned with a black marking shaped like four-pointed star, a pair of javelin shaped horns protruding from each side.
"Get off me, you giant mosquito!" With a powerful punch, the Arrancar pushed sent his attacker flying into one of the room's many stone pillars, breaking it clean in half as he plowed through the base and into the wall behind it.
The enraged hollow shook off the attack and made an attempt to strike a second time, but was stopped as an agonizing noise attacked his senses. As he opened his eyes, the unfortunate victim found the tip of a sword inches from his face, the glaring face of Kaname Tosen on the other end of the weapon.
"Bastard… What'd you do that for!" the Aducha swung his claw forward, only to have it caught on the end of his adversary's blade.
The former Ninth Division Captain bore down upon his attacker with a disgusted glare. "Your ludicrous actions are barbaric enough as it stands, but to act in such a way in the presence of Lord Aizen is less than unforgivable."
He raised his sword to strike, but quickly lowered the blade as his superior stood once more. Aizen vanished in a flash and reappeared so that he was standing directly between the two, his back turned against Tosen. The tyrant glanced at Yammy's scarred face before returning his attention to their newest recruit, briefly displaying a small look of satisfaction. After a small pause, he turned towards his subordinate, who immediately sheathed his sword.
"That will do, Kaname… Although this individual has violated my law, I am intrigued by this creature's power nonetheless. To think that an ordinary Aducha was able to pierce a full-developed Arrancar's hierro with such ease in a sign that he has power." Aizen replied.
The Aducha looked amused by this sudden reaction. "Why exactly have I been brought here." He questioned fiercely.
"You have been brought here because you have impressive abilities among the hollows of Hueco Mundo." The former Squad 5 Captain reached into his jacket, revealing the tiny form of the Hogyoku moments later.
In a matter of seconds, the hollow found himself encased in a giant dark barrier. Energies from the small sphere in Aizen's hand seemed to engulf him. The mask on his face shattered into splinters, revealing the face of the human that he had once been, and slowly but surely he felt his body changing shape. His talon-like claws retracted into his giant limbs, which shrunk down becoming human hands in the process, and a strange sensation filled his entire body, making him feel as if his entire being were being compressed or shrunk. As soon as the feeling had started, it stopped…
With a motion of his hand, Aizen pocketed the Hogyoku and moved backwards before facing his newest test subject. "It certainly appears that the Shinigamification process was a success. You appear to have taken on a human form…"
The newly created Arrancar lay facedown on the floor of the castle for several moments before pushing himself into a standing position. He now bore the appearance of a young male of average height with a slightly tan complexion, his hair black as night, and a tattoo of a four-pointed star on his forehead. His eyes widened as he looked at his hands and noticed that the large claws he so prized had been replaced by a pair of human hands, which he brought up to his face. The Arrancar groped the place where his hollow mask had been minutes prior, only to feel the bare skin of his face and a small piece of jaw bone on the left side of his face where his mask remnants remained.
"Using this device, I granted you new powers and amplified those that you already had." Aizen explained the situation. "Like many of my other servants, you are now an Arrancar… A hollow that has removed their mask in order to gain the abilities of Shinigami. Although human in appearance, the strength that you possessed as a hollow has remained, and perhaps increased. Your transformation was truly a success."
His guest punched the stone floor with deliberate force, creating a giant hole where his fist had struck. "Whoa! I feel stronger than ever… Maybe even better than when I was alive."
"Why don't you tell us your name?" The former Shinigami asked.
The Arrancar smirked in response to the question, for it had been centuries since someone had asked him. "My name is… … … Bankotsu!"
Aizen turned his back to the Arrancar and reappeared on his throne with a well-placed flash step. He bore down upon the assembly in silence for several minutes, looking rather pleased with the daily proceedings as compared to before. His fellow Shinigami defectors watched their newest recruit in amusement along with Ulquiorra and Yammy. Kaname Tosen's eyes narrowed behind his visor as he felt a sense of senseless bloodlust coming from the newly made Arrancar.
"So, it appears that you enjoy fighting…" the tyrannical villain commented smoothly.
The newcomer shrugged in response. "Of course I do, but nothing is better than facing an opponent who can take everything you've got and throw it right back. That's the code I lived by when I was human. I lived my life as an assassin, and there's no better feeling than the thrill of the battle."
"One who thrives on a lust for blood can never truly be considered a warrior." Kaname Tosen interjected bitterly. "Anyone with even an ounce of humanity can see that your ways of viewing this world will lead you and all who share the same path to a terrible demise."
Bankotsu let out an ironic chuckle at the very thought, having been revived from the grave once in the past, he had died twice along with six other people who ironically enough had willingly chosen to follow his lead. "You're telling me pal… If you knew half of what I've been through then maybe you wouldn't act so high and mighty." He replied boastfully.
"Then you are a demon… Killing without viable purpose is nothing more than murder. Even a wild animal with limited intelligence has the sense to flee from battle before engaging in the practice. Bloodshed is not meant to be fun, even though we who live in this world all must endure its existence." The blind man muttered solemnly.
The former assassin crunched his knuckles threateningly. "To think I'm hearing these things from a man carrying a sword, and a Shinigami no less. If you hate the ways of the world so much, then why not allow me to put an end to your suffering."
Kaname Tosen wrapped his hand around the hilt of his Zanpakuto. "Your behavior only furthers my notion."
"That will do…" Aizen held up a hand to silence them, and although his face remained completely unchanged, a spark of impatience burning in his eyes.
The tense scene seemed to freeze in mid-run and remained that way until the former Ninth Division Captain came to his senses. The blind warrior slid his half-drawn blade back into its sheath with a resounding click and faced his master. He directed a look of utter loathing at his master's newest recruit and swept from the room without so much as another word, the large doors slamming shut behind him with a reverberating crash.
"It appears that he doesn't like you very much." Gin addressed the newcomer with a shifty smile. "I haven't seen Kaname this riled up since the day he meant that Grimmjow fellow a short while ago. He should really learn to keep a better hold on his emotions, or they're liable to get him killed one of these days."
"That is not my primary concern." Aizen replied before turning to face the three Arrancar standing below him. "At the moment I have a job for our new friend. It's something that a man of his unique qualifications is bound to enjoy…"
"If it involves killing anyone, I'll head out right now!" Bankotsu replied.
The former Fifth Division Captain nodded. "All in due time… …"
Note to Readers: This Epilogue is just a teaser in case anyone wants to see a sequel of some kind to my first story. The idea received support from some people, but I figured I would give a small taste of what it would be like in case anyone thinks it's a good idea. I hope that readers will review and tell me what they think so that I'll know whether or not it will be worth writing.