Karakura Hospital, Karakura Town,
The police officer slowly made his way towards the distraught man sitting at the chair near the doors of the operation theatre. The officer shook his head in sorrow as he looked at the distraught father who had seen his family get destroyed in a single night. He had seen such things happen far too many times, but they hurt all the same.
Just then, the door opened and the doctor walked out, wearing his green coveralls, and wiping his brow.
"Kurosaki –san, I am here to tell you the condition of your son," he spoke as he looked at the distraught father.
Kurosaki Isshin looked up and stared right into the eyes of Ishida Ryuuken, who shook his head softly.
"Your son is in critical condition," the man spoke bluntly, seeing no way out of explaining the mess.
Isshin nearly choked with his next breath.
"We have been working on him for the past five hours. We had to remove the spleen – that's okay, you can live without the spleen," he did not need to elaborate that the spleen was an important part of the body's defense against infection, as he knew that the distraught father was a doctor too, and he knew the implications of that statement. He continued, "The liver had a moderately extensive stellate fracture and there was damage to the main artery that feeds blood into the organ. We had to remove about a quarter about the liver – again there is no problem with that- and I think we fixed the arterial damage, and I think the repair will hold. The liver is important. It has a great deal to do with blood formation and the body's biochemical balance. You cannot live without it. If liver function is maintained…he will probably make it. As for the rest, they are easy to heal," the man stopped as he rubbed his forehead.
"It all depends on the liver, if it continues to work, he will survive. We are keeping a very close watch on the blood chemistry, and we'll know more in another ten hours," he finished his report and bowed and left, leaving a thoroughly shaken brother behind.
"There is just one more thing," Ryuuken paused as he looked at the man, "Your son … is now in a coma. Even if he heals from this damage, we cannot tell when he will wake up, if he will wake up at all, for what it is worth, I am sorry," the man spoke softly and gave a light bow as he left.
"Kurosaki – san," the police officer, who had grown sicker by the minute as he heard the report by the doctor, called out to the man, "I swear to you, every policeman in this town, will hunt for this psycho who did this to your wife and son, you have our word on that," the man spoke with conviction, and after proffering a deep bow, he left.
"Are you there, Urahara?" Isshin asked quietly as everybody left the place, leaving him alone, to watch his seven year old son, battle for his existence, swathed in tubes feeding him medicines intravenously, and hooked up to monitors which constantly checked his body for any anomalies.
With a soft whoosh, a man appeared behind him.
He was blond, and had the look of a powerfully built man who had lost his aura over time. He was wearing a green ensemble, trousers, shirt, and a cape with a design of white diamonds at the bottom. His ensemble was completed by a green bucket hat, and wooden sandals, along with a walking stick in his hands, while a black cat was perched on his shoulder.
"Isshin," the man spoke softly.
There was no need for words between the two. In the entire town, apart from these two, only the doctor, Ishida Ryuuken, and the blond man's employees knew what had really transpired that night.
"How did this anomaly happen?" Isshin asked without preamble.
"I cannot elaborate, but my theory is that, instead of absorbing your son's soul completely, that hollow just managed to absorb a part of it, maybe the one that has to do with his sentience, and his core. The only thing that saved your son was the pure shock of watching his mother's death, which awakened his latent shinigami powers and his Reiatsu for the first time. However," here Urahara paused, as he looked at his friend.
"His Reiatsu was leeched off him; the moment it awakened within him for the first time, and because of that, his spiritual core … has been depleted. He will never be … a shinigami; in fact, he might even lose his spiritual awareness as well, including the ability to see even spirits," Kisuke paused, while Isshin gave a deep sigh.
"I see, thank you," Isshin replied softly, while the man bowed and turned back to leave.
As he was leaving, Isshin spoke out softly, "Prepare to unseal my Gigai tomorrow, Urahara. This will not, no, it cannot be allowed to happen again. My selfish desire to insulate my family from my heritage … has cost me dear. No more," the man spoke softly, while Urahara nodded.
Isshin remained in the hospital watching his son, while his two daughters slept in the care center at the same building.
The hollow known as Grand Fisher had made its way back to Hueco Mundo, after its repast in the mortal world, where it had assimilated the soul of a mortal woman, and her child.
The woman's soul had been disintegrated, and it had absorbed the miniscule power, but the child … its Reiatsu was so overpowering … it almost had the feel of a shiniga…
At that moment, the hollow gave a loud roar as numerous spikes of Reiatsu erupted from its body.
All the hollows in the area, who were nearby sensed the spike and hurriedly moved away from the place, realizing that a hollow was evolving from its existing state, and they knew well before hand, that when a hollow evolves, the first thing on its mind is to sate its hunger, and none of them had the intention of becoming another hollow's repast.
Soon, the hollow began to roar, and then, its body exploded, while all the Reiatsu began to swirl and slowly disappeared inside a vortex.
As the vortex subsided, a being could be seen. It had the appearance of a human child, in fact, its anatomy was completely human like, but its eyes, they were different. The sclera was black, along with his pupils, while his irises had turned yellow. In fact, the child, a boy, now appeared completely human like in appearance as he fully materialized; and as he stood bewildered, watching this strange phenomenon, the swirling vortex, which had slowly begun to recede, became more miniscule, until it reached his chest, at the place where his heart was, and stopped as it plunged in. The boy gave a loud scream, and clawed at his chest as he sank to his knees, while the vortex slowly dissipated, leaving a clear blown hole within his chest.
From a hundred yards away, a man and a little girl stood watching the whole scene in fascination. They were plain and ordinary looking, but with a difference. The man had a huge necklace made of bone sticking at the bottom of his throat, while the right side of the girl's head was covered by what appeared to be a broken helmet …, which was again, made out of bone.
TEN YEARS LATER,
It was just another afternoon, in the usual way in Karakura Town. School had just ended for the day, and the students were eager to get home, and relax a bit before they had to return to the dreaded place of education. However, not all of the so-called students were this eager to get home.
Kurosaki Karin was one of them.
She was a thirteen-year-old girl, and yet, she had the look of an adult, with her downcast eyes, and perpetual scowl, and even adults became wary the moment they encountered her.
However, her reasons for not wanting to go back to her home, were not like the ones you heard of in the news or gossip. Karin did not hate her family, since she had in fact a very caring father and a loving twin sister. Her family also did not hate her since she too had a strong and caring personality, although she was a bit of a tomboy, and a grouch. No, the reason why she did not want to go home was the fourth member of family.
Kurosaki Ichigo, her older brother.
Yet, the sole reason why Ichigo made Karin dislike being at home was not because he was a horrible person or because he did something bad to her. No, she remembered a time where her brother was just like their mother, a cheerful and bright person. Nevertheless, everything had changed on that fateful day.
The day their mother died.
Until today nobody knew what happened. Kurosaki Masaki's body had been discovered along with an unconscious Ichigo on that rainy day ten years ago. Karin and Yuzu were only 3 years old at that time and did not remember too much of their mother, but they missed the warmth she had always emitted.
Their mother, who had been the center of their family, had apparently been stabbed to death or something, trying to protect Ichigo. However, her brother had not been in a much better condition. For more than three years he was in a coma, and he actually woke up only three and a half years later.
That was the last time that Ichigo ever spoke properly with his family members. Her brother, who had been such a lively child, had lost every drive and energy, and the injuries he had suffered had rendered him ... nearly mute. He could speak, but he spoke with a slight lisp, and since it was too strenuous for him to speak after recuperating, he spoke as little as possible.
After he recovered, he solely devoted himself to his studies, with a fanatical fervor, and soon, his work began to pay dividends. He was hailed as a prodigy, someone who overcame a life-threatening event to rise like a phoenix, and soon, at the tender age of fifteen, he was offered a scholarship to the prestigious Osaka University.
After that, he had moved out of their home, to go reside within the university dormitories at Osaka. Isshin, who had always blamed himself for his son's fate, did not object and allowed his son to move away, despite all the misgivings that he had, further driving a wedge between Ichigo and the rest of the family.
Nowadays, they only saw him when he came back to his home for holidays. It was as if he had an aversion to staying in his hometown. When he did come to visit however, even then, he spent most of his time alone in his room, studying. Obviously, it did not help with his family. When there were only the three of them, Kurosaki Isshin, the father, and his two daughters, including her and her sister, everything was fine. They were a very happy family who had overcome much hardship.
Nevertheless, when Ichigo was around, there was always this oppressive feeling of guilt in the air. He served as a brutal reminder, which brought forward the tragedy that they had suffered, and every time he came to visit, it was as if the past had come back, reminding them forcibly that no matter what, there was a blight on their happy family, which would not go away. Moreover, Ichigo never opened up to anyone of them, not even to Karin's twin sister Yuzu, who had assumed the role of her mother in the household.
Sometimes Karin wished Ichigo had died on that day too, just to avoid being caught in that oppressive feeling. And this thought scared her more than anything, making her feel guilty of herself, whenever she was around Ichigo. She loved her brother, at least she believed that she did, but their relationship was probably the most dysfunctional brother and sister relationship ever.
And thus the spiral of suffering continued to plague the Kurosaki family, driving Ichigo more and more away from them. And this day would be no different.
"I'm home." Karin yelled when she opened the door. She threw her soccer ball, which she had carried in a net on the couch and relaxed for moment. She knew that her brother would come home later since the public library, which he frequented was farther away.
"Karin-chan! How was soccer practice?" Karin's sister Yuzu greeted her twin happily. She was wearing a white apron, and the smell coming from the kitchen confirmed the theory that Yuzu had been cooking their daily meal, just as she always did.
"Just like always. I swear, sometimes it feels like I'm the only one taking things seriously." Karin answered a bit darkly.
"Ah, come on, I bet they take things just as seriously as you are! Come, take a seat, dinner is ready. Dad should also be here soon – "
"My daughters! You have returned! Give your daddy a hug - !"
"Shut up! You're annoying!"
Yuzu was interrupted by the indignant shouts of a certain individual named Kurosaki Isshin – their father. Although he was a caring man and loving father, his antics just got on Karin's nerves. Therefore it was not uncommon for the family that Isshin would jump his daughters to shower them with his 'fatherly affection' only to receive a kick to the head from Karin. Just like it had happened a few seconds ago. Unfortunately for the two sisters, their father recovered fast and was seemingly unhurt from Karin's kicks.
"Oh Masaki! Our daughters have grown so strong! They make me so proud!" Isshin exclaimed, hugging the wall where a giant poster of his late wife hung.
The twins ignored his antics as good as they could. This happened every day after all. When Karin sat down and Yuzu came to serve dinner she spoke to her sister with a slightly worried expression on her face. She pointed behind Karin
"Karin-chan, I think there's one of them again… But I'm not sure."
Karin turned around to see where her sister was pointing at. And she was right. A few feet behind her floated the ghost of a middle-aged man, who apparently had followed Karin home. Oh how she hated this.
"Get lost god dammit! I told you already, I don't know how you get to the afterlife!"
The ghost sulked and disappeared – or at least she hoped he did.
That was another thing about Kurosaki Karin. Unlike the rest of her family, she could see ghosts. Isshin had once told her that at one time, her brother too had possessed this gift, but it had disappeared after the 'incident'. Now it was up to Karin to bother with the occasional wandering spirits.
"I must admit, I'm a little jealous. I can only sense a presence, but I can't really see them. It must be awesome to see ghosts!" Yuzu exclaimed excitedly.
"No, it's more troublesome than awesome, believe me…"
Another voice interrupted their discussion.
The voice of a young man, which was devoid of all emotions. Yes, her brother had returned.
"Hello Ichi-Nii, how was your trip?" Yuzu asked her brother cheerfully.
In the hallway stood a tall teen, he easily reached 5'9'' in height. On his head was a mop of unruly orange hair, which strangely enough was his natural hair color. He wore his university's sweatshirt and a pair of faded jeans. The only thing that was different with him, when compared to other teenagers of his age group, was the fact that he was also wearing a long black scarf around his neck, with the scarf's two ends resting on his back. Karin didn't know that much about the scarf, but according to Isshin, it had been their mother's scarf, and she had given it to him on the day of her death. Ichigo had never let go of it, even when he was in the coma.
"Ichigo! Prepare yourself!" Isshin shouted as he launched himself at his son just like he had tried earlier with Karin.
It was always the same. Yuzu tried to get her brother to open up a bit more every day by being friendly to him. Isshin tried the same thing by trying to get a rise out of Ichigo. Unfortunately, neither of those two ideas ever worked. Ichigo ignored Yuzu's attempts of conversation and simply dodged his father. He didn't even look at them. But what was even stranger today was that he didn't go to the table today, although they were about to have dinner.
"Ichi-Nii, where are you going? Dinner is ready." Yuzu asked her silent brother.
"I already ate something. I'll be in my room, thank you, Yuzu –chan,." The orange haired teen replied with a monotone voice, and gave a cursory nod and made his way back to his room.
Ichigo didn't turn around when he went up the stairs. Therefore, he didn't notice the sad look on the faces of his family members when they looked after him. When he was out of their vision, they sat down and ate. Isshin and Yuzu tried to cheer the three of them up, but it wasn't what it should be like.
And the spiral continued.
Around the same time, in Soul Society,
Sosuke Aizen stood in the line of Captains, Gin Ichimaru on his left and Kaname Tosen on his right. Retsu Unohana, was on the left of Ichimaru, while Sajin Komamura, as usual, was on the right of Kaname. On the opposite side, Captain Ukitake of Squad Thirteen was in one of his periods of better health, and stood alongside the giant Kenpachi Zaraki of Squad Eleven, who was standing next to Toshiro Hitsugaya, followed by Soifon and Shunsui Kyoraku, and Byakuya Kuchiki.
All of them were standing in their positions, while the Captain – commander was seated in this chair, impatiently waiting for the man who had requested this meeting.
The Captain of squad Twelve, Mayuri Kurotsuchi.
The door creaked open. No one was surprised, having sensed Kurotsuchi outside for a few seconds, probably composing himself. When he walked in, the ever-present smile and eyes narrowed into squints concealing any hint of what he actually thought.
"Kurotsuchi Mayuri, I hope you have a suitable reason for summoning an impromptu council of the captains of the Gotei 13 without my permission," Yamamoto's voice was stern, promising retribution if an unsuitable answer was given.
Everybody fidgeted as the commander released a small flash of Reiatsu, effectively indicating the tenor this meeting was going to conduct itself in.
"Most assuredly, commander, I believe that this has very grave implications for the security of not only the soul society, but for the mortal world as well," the Captain replied immediately without preamble, jumping straight to the point.
Hitsugaya's eyes narrowed. Even as Kurotsuchi said that, something sent chills through the young Captain. Mayuri's voice always sounded mocking, but there was a smug undertone that the white-haired prodigy had never heard before.
"Could you elaborate, Captain Kurotsuchi?" Aizen asked softly, while everybody stilled.
"It appears that a Vasto Lorde class hollow has entered the mortal world," Kurotsuchi replied glibly.
Vasto Lorde were the most-powerful class of Menos, and the final stage in the Menos evolutionary line. Vasto Lorde were the rarest form of Menos, but the exact population of that race was unknown; to date, apart from Shigekuni Yamamoto Genryuusai, the founder of the Gotei 13, none of the captains had come face to face with a Vasto Lorde.
To hear that such a hollow had taken residence within the mortal world, sent a chill down the spine of even the commander.
"That is not possible, a Vasto Lorde? But they never leave Hueco Mundo, it is simply not possible!" Soifon protested while all of the captains began to hotly debate this news.
"Enough!" A small flash of the Reiatsu that the Captain Commander normally kept hidden was enough to silence the room.
"Captain Kurotsuchi, elaborate," the commander ordered as he glared at the chief scientist of soul society.
"For the last six years, we have noticed an anomaly in the pattern of behavior exhibited by hollows in Hueco Mundo," the man began without preamble, as everybody became more attentive, "Over a period of time, we noticed that during certain periods within a year, no hollow would venture out into the living world from Hueco Mundo, none at all. Effectively, for the last six years, during certain periods, the mortal world has been completely free of any hollow presence, not a single hollow has ventured into the living world in those periods, and we immediately began to examine this phenomenon once it came to our attention," the scientist concluded.
"Wait, you mean to say that not even a single hollow entered the living world, but that's …," Hitsugaya began with a shaky voice, while Kurotsuchi nodded, "Intriguing, yes, I know, but that is not what interested me, my interest laid in finding out the source of this phenomenon, and I am happy to say that I have found out the reason for this phenomenon," he concluded with a smug grin.
"We discovered that these periods of absences were spread out evenly within the year, amounting to around eight weeks worth of time. I believe that during those periods, this Vasto Lorde entered the living world, and because of that, no other hollow dared to venture into the living world, simply because they wished to avoid tangling with a Vasto Lorde," the captain concluded.
"You mean to say that for the last six years … a Vasto Lorde has been entering and leaving the mortal world at will, and you have just discovered it?" the commander asked with a raspy tone, while even Kurotsuchi stilled, realizing the impending danger.
"Yes," That was the one answer no one in the room had expected to hear. Everyone had expected Kurotsuchi to have some excuse or reason up his sleeve, nobody expected him to just say he screwed up.
"Because this hollow," Kurotsuchi continued before the commander could retort, "Is quite possibly the most dangerous hollow in the world. As you all know, the more powerful the hollow, the stronger its Reiatsu emissions are. That is how we detect the presence of hollows. But this particular hollow, does not emit Reiatsu; it leeches it, thereby emitting virtually no Reiatsu at all, despite possibly possessing Reiatsu on par with, if not more, than that of a captain, thereby, rendering us unable to apprehend it. It could waltz right inside the Seiretei and we would not be able to detect it, unless it releases its Reiatsu. It took us four years just to confirm its existence. I hope you now understand the magnitude of the difficulty that we face," Kurotsuchi concluded while most of the captains turned pale at that prospect.
A Vasto Lorde walking freely within the Seiretei, unseen and undetected. That was a Shinigami's worst nightmare come true.
"How can it be? By nature, hollows emit Reiatsu. I have never heard of a hollow … leeching … Reiatsu. Is that even feasible?" Komamura asked after a while.
"Definitely," was the retort by Kurotsuchi. "In our investigations, we found out that whenever this phenomenon occurred, a significant amount of ambient spiritual energy was siphoned off from the mortal world as well. After correlating our data, we have concluded that this particular hollow visits the current Juureichi, Karakura Town, which is the focal point for connecting the soul society and the living world, every year, during specific times, and as of yesterday, it has returned to the living world, and will reside there for two mortal weeks, if our calculations are correct."
"Very well, I thank you for bringing this to our attention, Captain Kurotsuchi. The main task of the Gotei is to protect the mortal world from such dangers, and as such, immediately, Captains Soifon and Jushiro Ukitake will relocate along with their entire divisions, to the Juureichi, Karakura Town, in the mortal world. Your only duty is to apprehend that hollow, and if that is not possible, then dispose of it. Captain Zaraki Kenpachi will be kept on standby, to render assistance should you need it," the commander declared after a moment's contemplation, while the eyes of the other captains widened. Sending someone of Kenpachi's level to the mortal world was unheard of. Apparently, it seemed that the commander was not willing to take any chances.
"Do try to capture it, if you can, I would hate to see such a magnificent research specimen be destroyed," Kurotsuchi added, while the two captains in question ignored the man.
"What do you think?" Ichimaru asked Aizen as they made their way back to the Fifth Division, while Kaname simply walked behind them.
"After all these years … he has finally made a mistake," Aizen replied with a thin smile on his face.
"You think it is him? It could be someone else, you know," Ichimaru pointed out, while Kaname stiffened at the casual way in which Ichimaru addressed their master. Then again, Ichimaru was Aizen's right hand man, and was allowed more liberties than him.
"Of course, it is him. Who else could it be?" Aizen asked rhetorically as he gazed at the sky.
"After all these years, finally … I have a chance to get to him. With Ezekiel Nefarria on my side, my conquest of Hueco Mundo will be complete. Send word to Barragan and Stark, and ask them to move to Karakura immediately, to see if they can convince their … fellow ruler. With the third king of Hueco Mundo aligned with me, all hollows in Hueco Mundo will be mine to command," Aizen finished softly.
"I don't know, Aizen – sama, unlike his fellow kings, Stark and Barragan; Ezekiel has never shown any interest in our offers, or our goals. His terms have always been very clear. He will not aid us, but he will not interfere as well, and he has demanded that we adhere to these words, stating that he can do no more, but he will accept nothing less than this," Tosen replied softly.
Aizen narrowed his eyes in irritation as that tiny piece of information was brought forward, reminding him of his only failure to date.
Currently, Hueco Mundo was divided into three kingdoms, ruled by three of the most powerful Vasto Lorde's in existence. Coyote Stark, Barragan Luisenbarn and Ezekiel Nefarria. Aizen had managed to suborn Barragan, and had made an alliance with Stark, but to date, Ezekiel had evaded all efforts made by Aizen to contact him. Despite five years of effort, Aizen had seen neither hair nor hide of the most reclusive and mysterious hollow in Hueco Mundo; but now, it appeared that destiny had finally granted him a chance.
In Hueco Mundo, Ezekiel was unassailable, the sheer ferocity with which his underlings guarded him, had made it impossible for him to approach the hollow. Even Stark and Barragan had declared publicly, that if Sosuke Aizen ever intended to lead all the hollows in war against Soul Society, then he would have to convince Ezekiel to join him as well, and neither of them would assist him in this.
If Aizen wanted to command all the hollows, then he would have to prove that he single handedly possessed the ability to command the three kings of Hueco Mundo, that had been the challenge that had been issued to him, and Aizen, had now gained the allegiance of two of the three kings. All he needed to begin his plans were the Hogyoku and the allegiance of the third king of the hollows, Ezekiel Nefarria.
And now, finally, Ezekiel had made a mistake. He was in the mortal world, alone, and without any of his underlings, it was simply too good a chance to pass up.
Unaware of all this, in the mortal world, most of the members of the Kurosaki family, soon to be the focal point of the struggle between Heaven and Hell, slept on, while Ichigo Kurosaki, the son of the said family remained awake, studying during the night.
Suddenly, there was a small sound, similar to clothes being ripped apart, and Ichigo felt a presence enter his room.
Without turning back, he spoke in a soft tone, "You wouldn't have disobeyed my orders and come here unless something of monumental importance has taken place. So, tell me, what is wrong, Ulquiorra?"
1. I had no idea of creating another story, but this was an exception, because, this is the first story that I have adopted. The original author is faroush, he has dropped this story, and I agreed to take up his story, simply because I too had planned for a long time on writing a story with this genre. Where instead of Ichigo Kurosaki, his sister Karin is the one who is granted the powers of a shinigami by Rukia Kuchiki.
2. As many of you have guessed, Ichigo Kurosaki is indeed the third king of Hueco Mundo, Ezekiel Nefarria, and the hollow that Aizen desperately wants serving under him.
3. The Espada will be created, but they will vary, and Ichigo's true status as a hollow, will not be revealed to anyone until Aizen's betrayal.
4. Kurosaki Isshin has regained his powers, but he still doesn't know the truth about his son.
5. Soul Society is in fact unaware of the fact that Hueco Mundo has evolved and split into three kingdoms. Because, this is a relatively new development, which occurred after Ichigo became a hollow. More about this will be revealed in later chapters.
6. There are already few Arrancar existing, pure original Arrancar, which evolved naturally instead of the ones created by the Hogyoku. It will play a part as well, but in later chapters.
7. Ichigo's true abilities and powers will be explained later, as will his unique appearance, and powers.
8. The soul society arc, with Rukia's execution will take place, but things will be handled very differently this time.
9. By Faroush's request, Karin will be paired with Hitsugaya, but for Ichigo, I am currently debating between Senna and Soifon. If you want to, you can suggest someone as well, but it will not be Ichi Ruki, sorry.
10. And oh yes, this time, the first time Ichigo and Byakuya meet, it will be Byakuya who gets his ass kicked.
11. That is all for now, see ya.