Author's Note : First of all, thank you guys for the review and the congratulations. Your continuos support are amazing, and I'm really really touched. Anyway, hope you guys enjoy reading this chapter. We're a few chapters left toward the ending so I hope you guys will keep reading until the very end! Hehe... =)
Summary : Inoue Orihime, an orphaned girl who worked at a chocolate shop met and fell in love with a werewolf, Kurosaki Ichigo. Due to a trauma he faced during his childhood, he was unable to transform into his wolf form. As they fell deeper in love, it was revealed that Orihime was already engaged to another werewolf, a pack leader, named Ulquiorra. Staying true to her promise, she chose Ulquiorra over Ichigo, but Ichigo wasn't willing to give her up yet.
Meanwhile, Orihime's brother, Abarai Renji, was investigating a series of killing that seemed to be done by a werewolf. One of his colleague was killed. He was devastated, but the incident brought him closer to Kuchiki Rukia, another werewolf who was also Ichigo's best friend.
In last chapter, it was revealed that the killer killed humans to feast on them to help increase his power. However, that wasn't enough for him. With the help of a brilliant wizard, Kurotsuchi Mayuri, he began killing other werewolves as well, especially The Fallen (werewolves who've broken the rules and were cast out of their pack).
The killer also seemed to target Ichigo as he was prophecied to be the future leader of the werewolves, and also the most powerful one. Ichigo trained to regain his ability to transform to win a duel against Ulquiorra, unaware of the killer plotting to kill him. To make things worst, Orihime was kidnapped by Ichimaru Gin.
Who is this mysterious killer? Will Ichigo be able to save the love of her life?
Disclaimer : I don't own Bleach. I also included lyrics from the song "Safe and Sound" by Taylor Swift.
I remember tears streaming down your face
When I said, I'll never let you go
When all those shadows almost killed your light
I remember you said, Don't leave me here alone
But all that's dead and gone and passed tonight
Just close your eyes
The sun is going down
You'll be alright
No one can hurt you now
Come morning light
You and I'll be safe and sound…
Ichigo banged hard on the massive mansion door. His fist already hurt but it didn't stop him. He could hear muffled voices from the other side. The servants had gathered but none of them dared to open the door to a raging man.
"Ulquiorra! Open the door, dammit!"
Ichigo muttered a curse. He was about to kick the door when it suddenly swung open, revealing a tousled-hair, shirtless Ulquiorra.
He squinted at Ichigo, his eyes puffy from sleep. "Kurosaki! What are you doing here? At this time?"
Ichigo didn't reply. He grabbed Ulquiorra by the shoulder and pushed. They skidded backward for a few feet until Ulquiorra's back stopped smack against the cold, brick wall. Ulquiorra winced in pain.
"Are you crazy!?"
"Where is she?"
"Orihime! Where did you hide her?"
Shocked, Ulquiorra struggled to push Ichigo away. "What do you mean? What happened to her?"
"Stop playing dumb."
"I don't know what the hell you're talking about!"
"Guess I'll have to find out by force then."
The two wolves ran side by side, glancing at each other every once in a while; communicating telepathically.
Do you think we're doing the right thing? It was the larger one, Asano Keigo, who asked.
I don't know…
Helping Ichigo, and Rukia-san would mean we have to go against the elders… You do realize that, don't you?
But they're our friends. We have to help them.
I'm scared, Mizuiro. I feel something bad is going to happen.
To most werewolves, the transformation often happens almost naturally. But to Ichigo, who've just regained his ability to transform, it was an excruciating, painful process.
First, he closed his eyes, willing every inch of his body to relax. As that happened, his senses sharpened; he became more attuned to his surrounding, and more sensitive to smell.
Then, the pain came. It felt as if his muscles enlarged and popped. Ichigo screamed as he dropped to his knees, his head bowed. Bright orange fur began spreading all over him. When he finally looked up, Ulquiorra saw his piercing, red eyes. Ichigo growled at him, revealing strong, sharp teeth.
His transformation was complete.
And so was Ulquiorra's.
"Please take me with you…" she pleaded, tugging at the edge of his shirt.
He shook his head, "No, Tatsuki. It's too dangerous."
"But I can't let you go alone! Besides, Orihime is my best friend. I want to go and save her!"
"I won't allow you to risk your life! You don't know these people. They're dangerous."
Sitting at the edge of the bed, Tatsuki looked up at him, "And what about you, Uryuu? Do you know them well enough?"
"Yes! As a matter of fact, Tatsuki, I do!"
She replied nothing. She was worried about Orihime, and she would do anything to save her best friend. But Rangiku and Ishida both warned her not to do it. To make things worst, they both gave her the same reason not to do so; that it was too dangerous.
"Lately, it just feels like everyone is hiding things from me," she whispered.
Sighing, Ishida sat down next to her. He cupped her cheeks and turned her face slowly toward him.
"I'm sorry, okay?"
She nodded silently.
"I think I know who took Inoue. And those people, Tatsuki, they are not humans."
She gasped, "What?"
"They are monsters. Werewolves. And I know for certain that there's a wizard helping them."
"Huh? Uryuu, you're not making any sense."
"I know that it must be confusing, but the werewolves do exist, and now, they've taken Orihime."
"But, why? Why her?"
"You know that guy she's in love with, Kurosaki Ichigo, well, he's one of them."
"Ichigo? But he seemed to be so much in love with her. Why would he want to hurt her?"
"No, no. It wasn't Kurosaki Ichigo who took her. It was someone else, I'm pretty sure of it. I think it's most probably done by his enemy or enemies. They must've known what she means to him and they're using her to get to him."
"His enemy? Who could that be…"
"At this moment, I'm not sure…"
"Could it be… Ulquiorra?"
"Yes! Orihime once blurted accidentally about him being a werewolf. Back then, I thought she didn't mean it literally, but, he's a possible suspect, isn't he?"
"I don't know. Remember that wizard I said earlier? I don't think that he's working with Ulquiorra. My instinct says it's someone else."
"About my condition, there's something I want to tell you."
"Onee-san, where are you taking me?" asked the young boy, tugging the dark-haired woman's hand.
"Be patient, Uryuu-san, I'm taking you to see my father."
"Your father? But, I'm not ready to meet him yet…"
"Don't worry, he's a nice man. I'm sure you'll like him. He wants to meet you because I've been talking a lot about you." Then, blushing, she added, "He must've noticed how I feel about you, Uryuu-san."
Ishida Uryuu said nothing. His heart beat faster at the indirect confession. Kurotsuchi Nemu, a sexy and intelligent woman he'd met at the library months earlier. He was fifteen, and she was a few years older than him, but he couldn't help falling in love with her.
She was a very mysterious person. They often met at the library, discussing books for hours, but sometimes, she asked him to accompany her to the jungle. When he asked why, she told him she loved listening to birds.
But, on that very day, they walked even farther into the jungle. The farthest they had ever been.
"Did you leave in the jungle, Onee-san?" he asked, as fear began creeping inside him.
She smiled, "My father hates crowded places."
They finally stopped when they reached the enormous, white labyrinth in the jungle.
Kurotsuchi Nemu turned to face him, flashing him the sweetest smile he'd ever seen. "We've arrived, Uryuu. This is where I live."
"Oh my God… She tricked you?"
Ishida nodded slowly, "It turns out that his father is a evil wizard. He experimented on me, turning me into a shapeshifter."
"I trusted her. I loved her. But she betrayed me. Because of my stupidity, I became a monster myself."
She leaned forward and kissed his forehead, "Shhh… Look on the bright side. This unwanted power he gave you will allow you to help a lot of people."
He planted a grateful kiss on her soft lips. "Thank you," he whispered.
"I want you to remember, you'll always be my hero…"
"I will go and save Inoue-san. For you, Tatsuki…"
She hugged him, "Go and save her. I will wait for both of you to be back safely…"
The white wolf snarled, and circled the newly transformed Ichigo, intimidating him.
So you're able to transform again now, huh?
Ichigo growled. Compared to him, Ulquiorra appeared larger and more powerful. He was a bit worried. During training, he was only able to maintain his transformation for a short period of time.
Across him, Ulquiorra revealed his sharp, pointy claws.
Orihime chose to marry me. Why can't you just let her go, Kurosaki Ichigo?
She's mine, Kurosaki.
Ichigo lurched forward angrily, attempting to bury his sharp, pointy teeth into Ulquiorra's flesh. Ulquiorra however, being a much more experienced wolf than Ichigo, swerved to the other side, avoiding Ichigo's surprise attack, and lunged his long claws at him.
Strands of orange hair flew about. Ichigo felt a dull pain on his stomach. Ulquiorra managed to scratch him.
Just give up, Kurosaki. You're no match for me.
Shut up! I will win this fight! I will win her!
You don't understand. She's not some kind of trophy. We don't decide for her. She's free to do whatever she wants.
Shut your trap, Ulquiorra! I love her and I'm not letting her go.
With that, Ulquiorra leaped forward and knocked Ichigo down. Shocked, Ichigo struggled to get away, but Ulquiorra was already pinning him with his unbelievable weight. Ulquiorra snarled and sunk his teeth into Ichigo's stomach.
Ichigo screamed in pain.
"Ichigo-kun!" Orihime shouted, banging on the locked door. She felt as if something bad was happening to Ichigo.
"Let me out!"
She remembered Ichimaru Gin barging into the house last night, grabbed her and dragged her into his car. She remembered Rangiku screaming, and she remembered how she bit into Gin's arm, her desperate attempt to escape from him, but he felt no pain.
This morning, when she opened her eyes, she was already locked inside a dark, cold dungeon. It was dirty and it was smelly.
"Shut up, bitch! You're hurting my ears," a voice came from the other cell, startling her.
She turned around, "Who are you?"
The man stepped forward slowly, revealing his bright, teal-colored hair. "I'm a nobody," he replied.
"You! You kidnapped me before!"
"Well, don't worry about me hurting you. We're pretty much in the same position right now."
Orihime sighed. "Do you know why we're trapped here?"
"I am food," he chuckled. "But you, he must've captured you to bait Kurosaki."
"Ichigo-kun? Who would want to hurt him?"
Grimmjow opened his mouth to reply, but suddenly, steps were heard coming toward them.
"Who's that?" Orihime whispered.
A cloaked figure appeared in front of them. He smiled.
"Ah, I've seen you guys have made acquaintance with each other. But I'm here to take you away, Orihime-san. A princess deserves to be treated as one, not locked away in this filthy place."
Ichigo whimpered. He was slowly turning back to his human form. His head was fully transformed and he began coughing blood. Ulquiorra maintained his hold, deliberating whether he should kill Ichigo or spare him.
You're my enemy, Kurosaki.
Ulquiorra closed his eyes.
And opened them again. A breathless Yasutora Sado stood before them.
"C-Chad?" Ichigo croaked.
"Ulquiorra-san, you have to release him."
Ulquiorra ignored him, and turned his attention toward Ichigo again.
"Someone took Inoue-san!"
"You and Ichigo must save her first!"
Ulquiorra looked down at Ichigo. His opponent was fully transformed into human now. Slowly, he released his death grip on Ichigo's stomach. Blood pooled around him, dripping from wounded stomach.
The white wolf took a few steps back and began his own transformation.
"Get up, Kurosaki," he said once the transformation was done. "Your wound will heal in a short time."
Chad helped the badly injured Ichigo to get up. Ulquiorra glanced at Ichigo's bare body, "I'll lend you my clothes."
"Damn you!" replied Ichigo.
"We'll go save Orihime first, and then we'll finish our duel."
Humans are hypocrite creatures.
They may act kind toward each other, and be nice to their family and friends.
But the truth is, humans are the most dangerous predator on earth.
They kill for food.
They kill for clothes.
They kill for shelter.
Humans kill, and they always find excuses to justify that act.
That's why he despised humans.
Humans told their children, that werewolves are evil because they hunt and eat humans.
But when he himself was still a child, it was humans who hunted and killed the werewolves.
His family, just like Ichigo's, was killed by humans.
Don't you dare look out your window darling
Everything's on fire
The war outside our door keeps raging on
Hold onto this lullaby
Even when the music's gone
Just close your eyes
The sun is going down
You'll be alright
No one can hurt you now
Come morning light
You and I'll be safe and sound…
The killer's identity will be revealed in the next chapter!