The Primera Espada, Coyote Starrk, stepped out of the Garganta and onto the bright green grass offered by the human world. The Garganta slowly closed behind him, sealing away the path to the dark Hollow world he just left behind. He silently gazed around at his exit point, partially surprised at how relaxed everyone was, completely oblivious of the fact that if he wanted to, Starrk could kill every person at the park he was in.
If he wanted to. Killing in general was something he didn't care too much for. His spiritual pressure had killed more than anyone should kill in any two lifetimes. He had, however, learned to control his vast amount of power he held.
So long as none of the humans in the park he was in were spiritually aware, no one would be subconsciously injured.
The Primera walked across the park, silently moving while people ran about around him, unaware of his presence. No one else came to the human world with him. He had left Lilynette at Las Noches, and it wasn't like anyone else would have come with him in the first place. He let out a sigh, a mixture of boredom and conflicting emotions, and sat down on a wooden bench. Two kids chasing each other ran right by him, laughing without a worry in the world.
This park was a spot Starrk had visited before. It was a happy place, always full of family and friends enjoying everyone's company. He couldn't understand it, but every time Starrk took his leave from Las Noches, he was drawn to this particular park. He looked out, examining the fountain at the center of the city escape. It was a simple fountain, but its constant flow of water gave a comforting hum to the atmosphere.
Aside from the fountain, there were some swing sets, a set of monkey bars, a slide, and those animals that sat on the big springs.
Starrk leaned forward, placing his elbows on his knees and letting his gloved hands droop. For one moment, he started to brood on several thoughts, each requiring more work than he wanted to put forth. He let out another sigh, this one of frustration, and put his back against the bench. He put his arms up on the top of the bench, and looked up at the sky. The bright blue, cloudy sky returned his stare. The clouds silently rolled along, the blue backdrop maintaining its ever-lasting image.
It reminded Starrk of Las Noches. The artificial sky Aizen provided was a perfect replica of the human world sky.
And Starrk was a little tired of it.
A voice interrupted his tired thoughts. He knew no one could possibly be talking to him. He was perfectly masking his presence to keep any Shinigami from causing much unwanted trouble, and no human should be able to see him. He shut his eyes, and-
Starrk glanced down; now feeling like someone was attempting to get his attention.
A woman, seemingly in her twenties, was standing in the park, trying to get the attention of a couple having a picnic under a tree. She had blonde hair, put back in a thick pony tail that came down to her shoulder blades. She had a black hoodie on, and a generic pair of blue wind breakers. She had her back to where Starrk was, and he could automatically tell something wasn't normal.
The couple didn't react at all, and kept their conversation going like no one was yelling at them.
The girl yelled a little bit more, and finally let her shoulders fall in defeat. She turned around, facing Starrk, and he immediately understood the situation. A broken chain hung from her chest, revealing her as one of the deceased. She probably didn't understand that she had passed.
She looked at the ground and walked over to the bench Starrk was sitting on, and sat down next to him, completely unaware of the fact he was a soul-eating monster with a human form. Starrk's taste for humans faded when he turned into an Arrancar, so he was completely unfazed by the plus sitting next to him.
Starrk didn't look at her as or after she sat down, already having returned his gaze to the blue sky. It was only a little after noon, so he figured a little nap wouldn't hurt. He had the uncanny ability to sleep nearly anywhere, so he allowed his eyes to slowly close and blot out the bright sky.
"Can you hear me?"
Her voice was soft, and obviously scared. He kept his eyes closed, preferring to stay clear of the awkwardness of the truth. He knew one of three fates awaited her: soul burial from a Shinigami, devoured by a Hollow, or becoming a Hollow.
"Well, if you can't, that's okay. I just thought you might because you looked a little . . . strange."
Starrk ignored the comment. He knew to a human he was abnormal. The hollow hole in his chest and his zanpakuto, coupled with his mask remains around his neck would give off an odd appearance to anyone unaware of what he truly was. She probably assumed he was just a cosplayer who got lost on his way to a convention.
He heard her let out a sigh, and assumed her head drooped to the grass. Her saddened atmosphere made it hard for Starrk to concentrate on his nap, and pretty much ruined his mood.
The Primera silently rose from his seat, and left the plus where she was, never passing her a glance. He never knew how to react with people, let alone telling someone they were dead. He chose to keep his distance, holding a somewhat childish fear of strangers.
He began making his way into the city, hoping a spot to find a nap would soon reveal itself.
Hisagi Shuhei sat in the 9th Division office, finally with some time to spare. He found that a Captain's work just kept building, and never really came to a halt. He plucked another string on his guitar, unsure if it was in tune or not. He listened to the vibrating string slowly come to a halt, and decided it was as close as he could get it without assistance from either a tuner or Sado.
He rechecked his tabs, satisfied his hand-written music was acceptable enough for a bit of a practice session, and began to let his fingers move across the instrument. He had been slowly improving with each session, and his fingers could now gracefully slide across the strings. The music that flooded out was comforting to him. It wasn't too energetic, but far from a rhythm and blues tune as well. He had most of the sheet music memorized, and could almost play it all by memory, though he would occasionally miss a note here and there.
The lieutenant was preparing to restart his set list when a Hell Butterfly made its way into his office. He silently extended a hand from his guitar, and the black insect softly landed on his palm.
Message: 9th Division Lieutenant Hisagi Shuhei. You are to report to Sokyoku Hill in exactly ten minutes. Finish all current work and be prepared for a new assignment in the human world.
The insect silently left, having fulfilled its current objective. Hisagi sighed, realizing that no matter how much he would want it, he would never get a true day off.
He reached up the neck of his guitar, and began to carefully tighten a string he decided was out of tune. He felt the information from the Hell Butterfly was lacking, which probably meant there wasn't much known just yet. The lieutenant knew it probably had something to do with the Arrancar threat, though was unsure to what extent. He began to ponder on the particular group of hollow, but his thoughts were interrupted by the snapped guitar string flying back into his face.
Hisagi walked up the last few steps of the hill, and was partially surprised that only two other people were there to greet him- Lieutenant of the 3rd Division, Kira Izuru, and Captain of the 2nd Division, Soi Fon.
"Hisagi," Kira began as the tattooed Soul Reaper approached the small group. "Welcome."
"Hey there, Kira." Hisagi replied with a smile and a brief wave. He got to the group, and gave a polite bow to Soi Fon.
"Good after noon, Captain Soi Fon."
"At ease," she coldly responded.
Hisagi relaxed, but couldn't be "at ease" around the Captain of the assassins of Soul Society. He never really spoke with her, let alone was in the same room for more than a few seconds, so was uncertain with how to act around her. It made him uncomfortable to have someone like her as their acting leader, and he was sure Kira felt the same.
"Have you been briefed?" Soi Fon asked.
"I'll brief you on the way," she told him as she walked past both Hisagi and Kira. Though the Captain came only to Hisagi's shoulders, he felt like she was looking down on him from some metaphoric pedestal.
Hisagi glanced at Kira with a look of concern. Kira simply replied with a shrug. The two lieutenants quietly followed the Captain as she walked to the gate that led to the Human World. Right on time, three Hell Butterflies arrived to escort them safely to the other side.
"Do keep up," Soi Fon began as she walked into the light the gate gave off, "or I won't be able to explain everything before we get there."
As soon as she stepped through the gate, she took off in what seemed like a sprint, though the lieutenants knew it was but a jog for the Captain of the 2nd Division. Kira and Hisagi ran off after her, soon getting next to her and keeping pace. Once caught up, Soi Fon began to speak to the lieutenants.
"We are going to a town just outside of Karakura."
That town's name was now known throughout the upper ranks of Soul Society. Supposedly in the winter, Aizen's army of Arrancar were to arrive there, and Captain Hitsugaya and a few others were sent there in the mean time. Enemy movement around the town was not a surprise to Hisagi.
"Apparently, an Arrancar was seen there by the Shinigami of that town. He naturally didn't engage, and quickly informed the higher ups. Yamamoto wanted to keep the Captain's in the Soul Society, so I was ordered to take two lieutenants I deemed fit to go with me to investigate, and if found, assassinate this Arrancar."
Hisagi felt a small pang of fear stretch through him, a usual habit of going into battle held by the lieutenant. He was, however, somewhat anxious to meet the enemy that threatened Soul Society. The thought made his heart rate increase slightly, but he relaxed himself, another habit gained through years of going into battle. They silently ran a few steps, awkward silence now filling the air.
"May I ask you something, Captain?" Hisagi asked, unsure of what the woman's reaction was going to be, but relieved to break the silence.
"Make it quick."
"Why did you choose us?"
Soi Fon stayed quiet a moment, then opened her mouth. "My lieutenant is a waste of space, and you two are well rounded in all fields of a Shinigami."
She gestured to the blonde Shinigami to her left. "Kira was in the 4th Division at one point, which naturally made him a wise choice for a battlefield situation. You excel in offensive Kido, and are one of the most well-rounded lieutenants."
Hisagi felt a little proud that he was being praised by someone like Soi Fon, but knew what she was saying wasn't a complement. It was only what statistics on the reports said.
"Now may I ask you something, Lieutenant?" Soi Fon asked in a flat tone.
The gesture took Hisagi by surprise, though his pace didn't slow. "Of course, Captain."
"Why do you have a fresh wound on your face?"
Hisagi slightly blushed, recalling his own mistake of tightening a guitar string too much, and wanted to avoid the question.
"Uhh, well-" he wanted to keep the image Soi Fon held of him, so he was looking for a good answer.
"Get ready," Soi Fon interrupted.
Hisagi looked ahead to see the Human World at the end of the path. He prepared himself, and together with Kira and Soi Fon, ran through the light into the human world.