Disclaimer: I claim no ownership to Bleach in any way, shape, or form. I do claim ownership to my OCs, however, so if anyone needs to borrow them for one of their stories, just send a review requesting the use, along with a basic idea of the story you're writing and the promise they won't be used as villains. I wouldn't mind if they were either made into anti-heroes or anti-villains, just no making them classic villains. There will be parts that I will be referencing from One Manga and my own manga so that I'll be as accurate as possible with my fiction piece. So, please don't hate me.
Shadows Are Rising
Prologue: Calm Before the Storm
Soul Society, Sokyoku Hill...
The battle between the two combatants had reached its zenith. The one outside of the crater had a black traditional Japanese kimono, called a shihakusho (Soul Reaper's uniform), underneath a white sleeveless haori with the kanji for 'six' on his back, signifying his role as the captain of Squad 6 in the 13 Court Guard Squads. His dark hair flowed just past his shoulders with a special decorative piece called a kensaikon in it, which parted his bangs into three separate strands covering his storm gray eyes. The man's face, which under normal circumstances would have held the beauty, grace, and emotional equivalence of a marble statue, was staring in astonishment at what his opponent had just told him. Looking into the crater that his zanpakuto(Soul-Cutting Sword), Senbon Sakura, had caused, Byakuya Kuchiki stared at the young man who had the gall to challenge him in the first place not once, not twice, but three times now.
"What?" he spoke quietly, almost disbelievingly.
The young man was strange from his appearance to the gargantuan cleaver of a zanpakuto that he carried. He had orange hair which strangely seemed to still stick out in small spikes even when matted with the blood that had been spilled from the last attack. His shihakusho was torn at the top, hanging by one shoulder, revealing a toned body; muscles visible even under the many bandages that seemed to envelop his entire torso. His shoulders were slumped, indicating the strain it was taking to pull himself up, his blood splattered on the ground around him along with the scattered form of his opponent's zanpakuto.
"You heard me. Don't make me say it again." Though he had his face down, if there were any spectators, they could almost hear a smirk in Ichigo Kurosaki's voice. "Or don't you believe what you're seeing?" While he spoke, his words seemed to be gaining strength, as though he was giving himself the power to take down his enemy effortlessly.
"It's the truth even if you can't believe it."
Pulling himself up, Ichigo looked directly at Byakuya's eyes with his own amber-gold ones, a large smirk showing on his face as he proclaimed…
"I'm nowhere near finished, Byakuya Kuchiki!!"
Forest under the Sokyoku Hill...
The wind gently shook the leaves all around the trees, as though there were no battle being fought anywhere in the area. The grass barely moved as a figure strolled through, pausing periodically to turn their head, looking for something. In their gloved left hand was a broken wooden shaft with a metal weight on the end. As the figure moved forward, a spiritual pressure like a mountain came crashing down on him/her, telling the figure two things: one, that the one wielding this pressure was initiating their zanpakto's bankai (full release) and two...
'Looks like your boy is all grown up, Isshin. You and Masaki should be both proud to see him become such a strong person.'
As he/she thought this, a glint of light caught their eye. Turning their head, he/she saw what they were looking for: the other piece to the blade that he/she missed for so many years dug deep into a half buried boulder. As they reached the blade, their right hand gripped the broken shaft of the once great weapon and pulled it from the rock, the curved blade, still as sharp as the day it took on this form, shined in the afternoon light. Part in happiness at being reunited with his/her old friend and part in guilt for leaving him behind, he/she placed their head to the blunt edge of the blade as tears hidden by their mask and reflective lens covering their eyes.
"Soon, my friend, I'll bring you back to your great form and I'll never leave you again. I swear to you," a masculine voice spoke through the fabric, breaking slightly from his tears. "I only hope you can find it in your heart to forgive my foolishness and naïveté."
Suddenly, He felt Ichigo's spiritual pressure change. Snapping his head so fast he could hear several bones popping, he could only shake as he felt the energy shift from Soul Reaper to…
'So Kisuke, this has to be a first for you. You actually let optimism get in the way of your better judgment with the kid.' With that thought, the figure moved faster than shunpo (flash step), appearing on the ruined scaffolding in front of the dome of glowing swords surrounding two fighters. As Ichigo's head raised and looked at Byakuya, the figure gripped the wood tightly as he saw the forming mask of a hollow and an evil smile spread across his face.
'Isshin isn't going to like this at all when he hears of this,' the figure thought bitterly, 'I just hope Tessai and Yoruichi can restrain him from killing Kisuke for this.
'This isn't a hollow's spiritual pressure. It doesn't even belong to a vizard.'
The figure was about to jump down and slash that mask off when he saw then that Ichigo was tearing off the mask. He breathed a sigh of relief.
"Good, he has it under control for now. Now, to gather the rest of the ingredients for your resurrection Soulfire Phoenix." he whispered as he disappeared.
A few days later…
Old district ruins...
"Everything's in order," the figure said as he lay down the broken remains of his blade. Standing up straight, he took a look around at the circle he created for the ritual. It was about 10 feet in radius, covered in symbols and words that seemed to belong to a culture from before the days of the Soul Society. At the center lay Soulfire Phoenix, the broken pieces lying in an 'X', ready to be reformed.
"Now, all we have to do is wait for the kids to go home and we can get this show on the road," he claimed, turning and walking out to the edge of the circle. Kneeling down, he placed his hands on the circle and waited for Ichigo's energy to vanish.
'I just hope that I can be forgiven, Master, and that I'll be able to do this without anyone interrupting me until this over' was his final thought as he felt the kids pass through the senkaimon (Tunnel World Gate) and began pouring his energy into the circle.
"Well, now that the Ryoka are on their way home, we must take this time to prepare ourselves for Aizen's next move," proclaimed Head-Captain Shigenuki Yamamoto-Genryusai, the founder of the 13 Court Guard Squad and captain of Squad 1. The plan seemed to be agreed by all until…
The day started to bleed, darkness clouding over the sky almost instantly. All who were present were confused at such a phenomenon. Their confusion was short-lived however, because they all felt a tremendous pressure, which almost crushed them. Then, incredulously, Captain Kenpachi Zaraki smiled widely.
"Whoever's doing this has to be exceptionally strong," he shouted excitedly, "Come on, Yachiru; let's go find 'em!" And he began sprinting towards the source.
"Commin', Kenny" yelled the pink-haired lieutenant of Squad 11, jumping up onto her friend and captain's shoulder.
"We'd better follow him to make sure that he doesn't get in over his head," sighed Captain of Squad 10, Toushiro Hitsugaya, shaking his head of white hair before shunpoing after his colleague along with the other captains and lieutenants, except for Renji and Byakuya who felt the need to talk to Rukia first.
"Rukia, return to the mansion now," said Byakuya in a voice that left no room for arguments.
"Yes, brother," Rukia muttered in a worried tone. After all, her brother and oldest friend were about to run head first in to a force that might kill them.
"Rukia, I promise nothing will happen to us," Renji assured her. 'I just hope she doesn't follow after us.'
"Alright, but if you die, I'll find you and beat you to death," she said jokingly.
"Done." With that, they shunoed off to the source while Rukia headed off in the other direction.
"Was that necessary, Renji?" inquired Byakuya.
"If I didn't, she would have tried to come with us," said Renji "Ya know how stubborn she can be."
Before Byakuya could reply, something distracted them: a monstrous flaming bird rising from the ground and letting off a tremendous shriek, shaking the ground with its call.
"We'd better move, Renji."
A little farther ahead…
"Captain, you look awful. What's wrong?" asked Matsumoto.
"It seems a little suspicious that as soon as Aizen betrays us and right after Ichigo and his friends leave, this happens," replies Hitsugaya "Also, did you see that bird?"
"Yes…" Matsumoto said slowly, not quite catching on.
"What did it look like to you?" Hearing this, Matsumoto thought before her eyes became as large as her chest.
"You don't mean…"
"If what I suspect is correct, we had better hurry," said Hitsugya as the firebird began spinning and went to strike the ground before it disappeared and the sky returned to its bright blue color.
Old district ruins...
Kenpachi arrived to see a figure in black, putting away a straight sword into a sheath tied diagonally across his back, handle poking from his right shoulder.
"Hey," he called. Hearing this, the figure turned to look over his left shoulder to look at the one calling him. "Don't put up that sword just yet." While he spoke, Kenpachi slowly drew his own battle worn blade, his grin growing at the chance to fight a strong opponent. "I want to test mine against you."
The figure turned to face him. His face completely covered by a mask, making it impossible to see his face.
"And what if I'm not interested in a fight? What if I just want to leave?" he called to Kenpachi, jerking a thumb over his shoulder.
The captain's face seemed to fall for a moment before making a smaller smirk.
"Well, if you're going to try to run from a fight, then, I'll just bring the fight to you!!" charging as Yachiru jumped from his shoulder. He swung his sword down closing in on the mysterious opponent's head as Captains Hitsugaya and Soifon of Squad 2 and their Lieutenants, Matsumoto and Omaeda arrived…
Karakura Town, 1:00 a.m....
The streets were calm as all the town's residents slept. The only one out at this late hour was a young man who looked to be around 18 years of age taking a stroll. He had silver hair tied up into a small ponytail, with bangs covering golden eyes set in a moderately attractive face. He was of slight built, wearing a light tan leather jacket over a dark blue shirt covering his torso, light blue jean pants on his legs while wearing brown boots. His hands were in his pockets, on his right wrist, there looked to be a set of black beads wrapped tightly it and going up his arm. Beside him was a black-furred dog, though it seemed more like a wolf than any dog. It had the same eyes as the young man, reaching his waist in height, with a collar made of the same beads as his master, trotting alongside him. The young man reached a street light and stopped, his dog pausing with him, glancing around, looking for any witnesses. Then, before him, the space began to distort and opened into a dark swirling vortex, yet the man remained unperturbed, even as someone stepped out of the vortex, panting heavily.
"Was there any trouble master?" asked the young man.
"Fist off, Yang, I've told you to call me by my name, and second, there was a slight hitch, yes," panted the man before straightening and taking a deep breath before speaking again. "That battle crazed captain Kenpachi saw me and decided to challenge, no force me to fight him."
"Were you injured, Master?" asked Yang, concerned for the man who was his teacher.
"No, although I had to use the "Sapphire Supernova" against him," admitted the master sheepishly.
"Please tell me that he's still alive," sighed Yang, putting his head in his hand, shaking his head slowly at his master's lack of foresight.
"There were others there, they took care of things. I'm sure the guy is fine," protested the figure.
"Anyway, did you get what you needed from the Soul Society?" Yang inquired, begging for a chance for some good news from this endeavor.
"Yep, I got Soulfire Phoenix back."
"So, judging by what you saw in the Soul Society, what do you think we should do next?"
"Aizen has moved to his base of operation in Hueco Mundo and taken the Hogyoku with him, so for now, we need to make sure that the current fighting force in Karakura is capable of holding out in the future."
"So, how do we do this?"
"Well, we know that anyone that Ichigo Kurosaki comes into contact with, they absorb the residual spiritual energy around him which, in turn, manifests as that person's own spiritual power, such as with Sado Yatsutora and Orihime Inoue."
"You believe there may be more that are currently developing their own powers." Yang wasn't asking any questions. After all these years, he knew how his master thought.
"Well, this is Isshin's son and their grandchild we're talking about, so it wouldn't surprise me if such a thing were possible."
"And you want me to follow him to mark off anyone around him that is showing signs of power."
"No, that would be too risky. You could be spotted, either him, the friends who are already aware spiritually or worse, any other Soul Reapers on patrol in the area, and that would lead to a very uncomfortable conversation. For now, just keep tabs on any of his friends as well as his sisters and see if it seems that they have a significant amount of energy. Any signs at all, hearing hollow calls, seeing spirits or better yet, Soul Reapers in Spirit form. That's a guarantee their power is manifesting to the closing point."
"And what of the boy himself? Where does he stand on this whole business?" This caused his master to become interested in his boots. The dog walked up and looked at him before whining to his partner. "Something tells me that there's more bad news than just the Captain Zaraki thing right? Please say wrong."
His master sighed then looked back at Yang. Yang personally hated that mask his master wore. It made him feel like there was something his master was keeping from him. "It turns out that Kisuke's 'little risk' in restoring Ichigo's power wasn't as little we had hoped. The level of the inner hollow he developed has evolved past what was anticipated and has taken the next step in the evolutionary chain."
This made Yang's eyes widen and his dog began to whimper while covering his eyes. "Easy, Yin," Yang reassured him before turning back to his master. "You're sure it's become that?"
"So, what do we about this? He's very valuable to many people in both realms and I doubt Isshin will be happy if his son is harmed, especially after what Masaki did to protect the boy."
"It may not need to come to that. I'll personally watch out for any signs of his 'hollow' going wild. Then, if he develops enough, I'll confront him and see if he'll take that."
"You really mean to put the mark on him so soon?" Yang was dumbfounded. His master was impatient sure, but this; this was going beyond that, this was bordering pure insanity.
"If what I suspect is true, then that might be our only chance. Otherwise, the Vizard will try to make him follow their way and he may let himself get complacent and it could overtake him and then, the Soul Society will take personal action, no doubt by sending Soul Reapers he himself has befriended as an 'act of mercy.' We can't let that happen!" He proclaimed harshly.
"And we won't. Now go, master, we must act fast if we are to help him." Yang said with just as much conviction.
"We'll meet back here in a month's time and get an update on both our parts. Good luck on your part, Yang."
"As with you, Master Shadow." With these final words, Yin became a black mist and swirled around Yang until he was completely covered by darkness and merged with the shadows around them. Shadow squatted down and gathered energy before pushing out a pair of black leathered wings, similar to dragon's wings, from his shoulder blades before both jumping up and pushing down hard with his wings simultaneously, launching him into the night sky, and then, spreading his wings, took off flying.
'I wish you luck on the challenges that are to come for you Ichigo, and I swear that neither I nor Yin and Yang will allow you to die. Just as I promised her that I'd watch over you and the family she loved with all her heart, both in life and death.' With that silent vow, the mysterious winged man flew into the sky, blending with the night.
Next time on Shadows Are Raising:
"The time has come Yang. I'll talk to Ichigo tonight and see if he wants to listen to our proposal."
"I won't ask again. Who the hell are you?"
"I'm someone who wants to help you get your little 'inner demon' under control."
"You're not getting me to join you in whatever nut job group you're in."
"If you don't at least listen to what I have to say, Ichigo Kurosaki, you could put all those you love in grave danger. That power inside your soul is more destructive than you could possibly imagine."