Another short chapter…
#39: Finalé – Part 4 – Tsukuyomi
"Your zanpakuto… Why did it suddenly change name into the current one? From Murciélago to Tsukuyomi is kind of drastic, I guess."
"…Hn, I wonder. He didn't tell me either, Tsukuyomi is."
It only took a split second for Ulquiorra to jerk back and avoid the explosion. He frowned distastefully. It became harder and harder to get out of neither Kurosaki Ichigo's peripheral vision nor destructive blasts he wondered why. The Quatro blamed it on his recently distracted mind. He didn't need them; those disturbing memories and thoughts…feelings. He didn't need to remember; he didn't have to. There was nothing to remember anyways. Hollows don't have or need memory. Nor do they need any feeling.
He agilely somersaulted, keeping his eyes on the black figure beneath him. Slim index finger pointed towards the said figure, followed by monotone voice of "Cero."
It was the only clue for Ichigo to leap away from his previous spot; as blindingly green ray of Ulquiorra's familiar cero swept down towards the said place. Loud and deafening explosion followed by shower of debris, rubbles, and dust marked the dangerously destructive power of the beam. Ichigo exhaled slowly, not even for once fazed by the sheer potential of being blasted by that cero—he had experienced it before, after all. Dimly, he could hear small squeaks and whimpers, undoubtedly coming from the group of his so-called class mates. He just hoped that they would be alright amongst the crazy amount of these mass destructions.
"…You're so stubborn." Ulquiorra's voice was as indifferent as ever, but Ichigo was able to make slight exasperation and impatience—something that somehow was normally unfitted with Ulquiorra's normal personality—within it. Time and experience made him able to do it in a glance. The orange haired man almost felt himself smiling at the sheer fact—three years ago, he wouldn't dare to say himself as being able to decipher the stoic arrancar's emotion at all. It was a task by itself and an effortful one at that.
"Everyone says that to me." Ichigo lightly responded, vaguely noting the deepened frown of the other. He smirked. "What's the matter? Annoyed? It's not like you, Ulquiorra—being easily annoyed is much more of Grimmjow's forte than yours."
Ulquiorra blinked. Here he went again, spouting random names…names that he didn't recognize at all. His mind didn't register that strange name—Gri-something…Grimm…jow?—or more that, his mind didn't want to register that it recognized the name, even vaguely. He knew and registered the feeling of the name, already memorizing each rolling and vowel of its syllables.
Ichigo must have noticed his tensed silence and troubled confusion, as his smirk faded and his countenance became once more serious and disturbingly dark. "…Do you start recognizing the names, Ulquiorra?"
Silence answered him, but that was expected. Ichigo tried again as he muttered other names. "Halibel?"
Ulquiorra blinked. Ha…li…bel.
"Starrk? Szayel? Neliel?"
Ulquiorra blinked. He recognized that name, at the least. This man had uttered the woman's name before, but at that time it only brought slight discomfort and fuzzy remembrance. Memories…memories of vibrant honey-colored hair and grey ashen eyes, of flower-scented shampoo and soap, of fearful yet innocent stares, of somehow bold and brave words, of pure, unadulterated concern and pity, of warm hand…warm hand that stretched out to grasp his…warm hand and warm feeling that her…
His heart (no, he didn't have one; he was hollow; hollows don't have hearts)…his heart (he didn't have one, goddammit)…his…
With that final word, Ulquiorra pointed his zanpakuto downward before his chest. Ichigo blinked before his eyes widened in sheer realization—he knew that it was Ulquiorra's specific stance before he transformed into his true form. Ulquiorra was, finally, calling his Resurección.
The orange haired man's eyes almost immediately strayed around, spotting the group behind the farthest pillar from their battle. Ichigo got on shunpo to dash towards them, promptly startling Kanzaki and the others.
"Kurosaki Ichigo-sama? What—?"
One look at his tight expression successfully stopped Koheita and the other's rants as their proclaimed hero-idol stood before them, Zangetsu poised readily in hands; and he eventually turned around to face his adversary. They could only gaze at his broad yet tense back, and then at the Quarto Espada across the hall. The stoic arrancar held his zanpakuto in front of his chest, upside down, and was seemingly ready for something.
"Heh," Ichigo chuckled humorlessly. Kanzaki and the others looked confusedly at him, though the said man didn't see it. "You should have warned me before, Uriya."
Ulquiorra frowned. "…Do not call me by that name, trash."
Ichigo smirked. "I'll keep calling you by that name, until you remember. I'll punch, kick, slash, and blast it on you, until you remember. Over and over…until you remember."
Ichigo glanced at the group behind him. "Make a kidou barrier, Kanzaki, Masamura, everyone. If you can, make those barrier kidou…Tozansho or Danku, che, whatever, as strong as you can muster."
Kanzaki gaped. "To-Tozansho? Danku? But—but either one of those are the high leveled bakudou—" he was cut off by Ichigo's glare.
"No buts! If you can't cast either one of those, then use Seki instead! Everything that works as barrier is fine!"
"O—okay." Kanzaki shared a glance with Masamura, Asahi, and Mayu, nodded in mutual agreement and eventually evened his breath. Though, his curiosity peaked and he couldn't help asking, "Why do we have to build some barrier…?"
Ichigo's reply sounded tense and gravely serious. "Trust me; Uriya—no, Ulquiorra's Resurección makes you want to just die already only from the sheer force of the reiatsu."
"…You can compare it with bankai. Only that its effect is ten times stronger and more catastrophic, since it's Ulquiorra we're talking about…"
The group gulped, horrified.
'No…it's not the name…now…'
'Master, my name is now—'
Ichigo blinked in abrupt shock and confusion.
That…he heard that right, didn't he? Ulquiorra…he…his zanpakuto's Resurección…
It wasn't Murciélago.
Most of everything is black and some other things are grey.
There is only a single thing that isn't black or grey. It is the moon, round, full, and white. Awfully, disgustingly, blindingly white.
My inner world is awfully monochromatic. No other colors included, there are only black and white and their derivations. Monochromatic black that paints the night sky, monochromatic yet blinding white of round orb which makes the singly illuminating moon, monochromatic grey sand which covers the entire land…the scenery is pretty much like the lonely desert of Hueco Mundo.
Even in this deep hole that my inner world, creativity doesn't reach my conscience. Not even a little bit.
There has been like this since…since forever. As long as I remember, my inner world is this monochromatic world, deafeningly silent and still. Even the air is stale.
I don't pretty much think about it since I rarely ponder about it. That was the past, back then when I was still a lowly hollow. At that time, my mind was occupied with one, single thing: to eat, to devour, and to evolve. Becoming stronger and stronger was my single purpose in life, or rather, after-life. I didn't remember my life as human back then—when you die and eventually are born as hollow, you pretty much forget everything.
When I eventually evolved as Vasto Lorde, some other thoughts came to my mind. I regained most of my intelligence and logic—though, it was still without memories. I didn't really care, though. Memories are unnecessary in this gloomy, dark world of eternal night called Hueco Mundo. You could be a king for whatever rich and grand country you are living in; for death's sake, it doesn't matter once you die and wake up in this savage, barren, and cold desert. Survival instinct wins over everything you hold dear. No fight, you won't survive. You'll definitely die—again. Game over.
I learned to be the stronger fighter. I watched, I analyzed, I evaluated and re-evaluated…I learned. How to control my newfound strength, how to push other hollows into submission by instilling fear and terror, how to spread desperation into my preys' consciousness…I learned. I learned and I kept learning. Coldly, ruthlessly, mercilessly.
Without any feeling unnecessary hindered my mind—since I learned not to bother about it.
Feelings are unimportant. Feelings are unnecessary. Feelings are useless. In this cruel desert of Hueco Mundo, feelings will be your downfall. Emotion is some kind of feelings. I didn't need them.
So, I repressed them.
Coldly, ruthlessly, mercilessly…
Slowly, I began forgetting…those feelings, emotions, and what alike. And I mostly forgot the root of all of them…the heart.
And pitifully hollow, my inner world is.
Just like what I was. What I am.
Nothing more. Nothing less.
Aizen frowned as he sensed a blast of a very familiar reiatsu, coming from some place not quite far from his chamber.
This was Ulquiorra's reiatsu. He had released his Resurección, it seemed. Though…
Something was different. Definitely.
"…My, my, Ulquiorra…I wonder what is the difference?" He mused, chuckling darkly. The brown haired man eventually rose from his throne and almost tonelessly walked towards the grand gates that his chamber's doors.
"Should I investigate it myself, hmm? Perhaps…it doesn't hurt to just inspect them, a little bit."
With that, the god-wanna be treaded outside and directed his steps towards the battle spot.