Everyone's eyes widened in utter disbelief as the cut on Yammy's arm ran all the way up to his shoulder, and even Kenpachi was shocked when half of Yammy's arm suddenly slid straight off.
"Wha...YEARRRRGH!!" Yammy roared out in pain, and then tore the useless limb straight off his body. "YOU LITTLE BASTARD!!"
He brought his fist down, only to hit nothing but ground. He quickly looked around, and saw the boy over where the other Shinigami were.
"Hanataro..." Sado said in shock, as Hanataro set Rukia down. As Rukia turned back to see Hanataro's face, his kind features were now completely covered by his mask, the metallic gray lines, increased in number. Hanataro, Rukia thought, what's happening to you?
"Get Rukia out of here," Hanataro's Hollow spoke, "I'll deal with this monster." He turned back to see Yammy screaming out into the sky, as his reiatsu continued to expand. Suddenly, the hole where his missing arm was became consumed by a white substance, and it exploded outward, and formed a new arm.
"Regeneration," the Hollow said....and broke out into a cold cackling that chilled everyone's spines, "this fight may actually be FUN!" In an instant, he launched forward, and slashed Yammy across the shoulder, beginning to laugh as he did so. That same laughter, Byakuya thought, it's just like Ichigo when...
"Is that enormous size your only weapon?" Hanataro's Hollow taunted. "How pathetic! Cero Espada? What the hell makes you worthy of such a rank?"
Infuriated by the Hollow's sudden talk, Yammy threw a fist forward, only to have his fingers cut off by Hiiro Hisagomaru. "Let me show you and this kid, how to really fight!"
"You son of a..." Yammy growled, and his reiatsu went up more from his rage.
"What the hell's going on?!" Renji questioned. "That's not Hanataro at all!"
"It's obvious from just looking, and feeling his reiatsu," Sado told Renji, having heard of Hanataro from Ichigo, "his power must have been sealed away, so his Hollow wouldn't come out. But to think of this from Hanataro of all people..."
Just like Ichigo, Rukia thought, worried as she saw Hanataro's Hollow tearing into Yammy, only Hanataro never had any idea. I hope he pulls through, and-
"Kyahahaha," a cackling voice said, and Rukia looked behind her to see Mayuri walking to where they were, "How very interesting. How much I would like to-"
He was interuppted by three Shinigami blades pointed at his face, and Sado's Left Arm of the Devil forming. "Lay one finger on him," Isane said coldy, "and you're dead." Rukia could see it on Isane's face that her tears hadn't yet stopped.
Mayuri's eyes narrowed. "Tch, all right. Besides, even if I tried, the things Unohana would do to me..." Rukia didn't know if it was possible, but Mayuri was shivering at the thought of what Unohana would do to him.
"I never thought I would see this," Byakuya muttered, watching Yammy, whose second form even both of them combined had trouble with, thrashing around in desperation to catch Hanataro, "especially from that boy."
"Tch, a Fourth Squad runt taking away all my fun," Kenpachi muttered.
"Is that Hana-chan?" Byakuya looked to Kenpachi's shoulder to see Yachiru just hanging there as if she never left. When did she get there? "Amazing! Just like Ichi-chan!"
"Yes," Kenpachi said, and sighed. "Such a bore." He sat down, and decided to watch the fight. He was getting bored anyway from swinging his blade against that giant Espada. After all, what's the fun of fighting an opponent if the chances of hitting them were 1:1?
It was only five minutes, and Yammy was panting on the ground, his regeneration having trouble keeping up with Hanataro's Hollow. "Tch, what a bore," it said, "is this all you've got?"
Everyone was in disbelief; Hanataro had gone from being a 7th Seat, to being the equivalent of an Elite Captain going all out. "Kuchiki-san!"
Rukia's eyes widened slightly, and turned back to see Inoue and Ishida coming from the towers. "Inoue-san," Rukia questioned, seeing Orihime's worried face, and Ishida's, "what's wrong?"
"The-The Hogyoku wasn't there," she cried desperately, "it's gone!"
"The Hogyoku's gone," Renji questioned, "but where?"
"We don't know," Ishida said, "Inoue was supposed to use her ability to reject it, but-"
"Reject it," Isane questioned, hearing the battle re-commence behind her, "what do you mean?"
Orihime then began to explain everything that Aizen told her. "Is that what Aizen meant by... 'Phenomenon Rejection'?" Renji asked in disbelief. "You think she can reject the Hogyoku?"
"But it wasn't there!" Orihime screamed. "It...It doesn't make any sense!"
"Aizen must have it with him," Sado said, and everyone turned their attention to him.
"It would make sense that Aizen would have it," Rukia agreed. "But...there's one thing I don't get; he may have taken it with him to avoid such an incident, but why would he show you the Hogyoku if he knew you could possibly reject it?"
Orihime was quick to reply...a little too quick, Uryu worried. "We just have to go to Karakura Town," she pleaded, "Kurosaki-kun's there, so he'll be able to beat Aizen! He said he would!"
"Inoue, Uryu," Sado questioned, "just what happened on the dome?"
This question froze them. Uryu looked at Inoue, and saw her eyes shaking. She still hasn't recovered from seeing...that, Uryu thought. He looked over to where Yammy was fighting, and found Byakuya and Kenpachi separate from the fight. But if they're there, and Mayuri's here, he thought, cursing Mayuri's name for the horrors he inflicted on the Quincy, then who's...?
"That's something I'm worried about too," Rukia asked, "and it's okay if you don't want to talk about it, but whatever happened on there, has affected Ichigo for the worse. That's another reason for us going back to the Fake Karakura Town: to back him up against Aizen if we can."
Uryu noticed that Inoue seemed to want to respond, so he quickly asked: "Kuchiki-san, who's fighting Yammy if not the Captains?"
Everyone looked up as Yammy lifted his fist, and swung it down. Suddenly, a masked figure used Sonido to appear right below his fist, and blocked it. "Wh...who is...?" Inoue said aloud, her voice visibly shaking from the dark reiatsu coming from the figure. The figure lifted it's head...and Inoue stepped back in fear from seeing the mask.
"Rukia," Uryu asked, more shocked than scared, "who is...?"
"...Hanataro." Isane replied for Rukia.
Uryu took off his glasses, and rubbed them in disbelief, to see if his eyes were failing him; Hanataro as in Yamada Hanataro, 7th Seat of Squad 4, Uryu thought in shock, I can't believe it!
"Hey, bastard," the Hollow spoke, and Uryu looked over, and saw Inoue's eyes shaking in fear. She's scared, Uryu thought sadly, whatever has happened to Kurosaki, it's happened to Hanataro, and she's remembering that fact. "Your fight is with me." He then shoved Yammy's fist away, and Sonido'ed behind him.
"But...but how?" Inoue said in disbelief. "How can that possibly be...Yamada-san?"
Rukia registered the fear in Inoue's voice, and thought back to that column of light that screamed down from the Dome where Ichigo was fighting Ulquiorra: it was Hollow-like in nature, but it was Ichigo's reiatsu. Seeing what was happening with Hanataro, she put two and two together, and realized the awful truth behind what happened on the dome. Ichigo...he lost, her eyes widened at the revelation, and his Hollow took over, and... She calmed herself. I can't go making conclusions. He'll tell us when the time is right.
"WHY YOU!!!!" Everything was interrupted by Yammy's loud roar, and they turned their eyes back to the battle, their thoughts off the Dome at the moment. "I'VE HAD ENOUGH OF YOU!!" After saying that, Yammy licked the blood off of his hands, and opened his mouth wide. A blue orb began to form in his mouth. "THIS IS THE ULTIMATE CERO. TRY TO BLOCK THIS, RUNT!"
"Sosogi, Akeiro Hisagomaru." Everyone's eyes widened, even Kenpachi's (just a little), as the giant scalpel glowed red, and morphed into a giant cannon even bigger than Hanataro himself, and began to charge a red energy. "Hey," Renji asked nervously, a ridiculous smile on his face, "did his Shikai just change into...a freakin' CANNON?"
Despite it being a rhetorical question, Sado answered with a sweat-drop. "Yes. He did."
"GRAN REY CERO!" The advanced Cero fired, as did Akeiro Hisagomaru, and the two attacks collided, their reiatsu mixing together as they collided, to form a purple glow. The struggle lasted for 15 seconds, and with a Hollow-like roar, Hanataro's hollow put all the power he had into Akeiro Hisagomaru, and promptly ripped through the Gran Rey Cero, and bathed Yammy in red energy. "KYYAAARRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!"
When the dust cleared, Yammy's entire body was charred, and he collapsed to the ground. "A-amazing!" Rukia spoke, to break the silence. "Hanataro's hollow...he beat Aizen's strongest Espada!"
From where she could see, Rukia saw the mask break, and Hanataro collapsed to the ground. "HANATARO!" Rukia and Isane flash-stepped to where Hanataro was, and was followed by Sado and Renji. "Hanataro, are you all right?" Rukia asked.
Hanataro's eyes flickered, and then opened. They looked at Rukia in bewilderment. "I just had the most unbelievable dream. I had a Hollow mask, and..." He looked at where Yammy was, and looked astonished. "So...it wasn't a dream?" He stared wide-eyed at Isane and Hanataro.
Isane smiled, and shed a few tears; Hanataro was back to normal. "Hanataro..." She hugged Hanataro, sobbing softly in the process.
"It's going to take a while to explain," Rukia said. "But for now," she said, helping Hanataro up, "we best get to Karakura Town." She felt Hanataro's reiatsu; it was completely back to normal, as if what had happened with his Hollow never happened.
"It doesn't matter," Hanataro said, and closed his eyes and smiled. "At least I managed to protect Rukia-san and everyone else, didn't I?"
Rukia smiled softly; even with what happened, Hanataro was still himself. "Yes, Hanataro; you did."
"Now that this "touching" reunion is over," Mayuri said sarcastically, "shall we get going?" He and Nemu flash-stepped towards the pillar they used to create a Garganta. "Once we create this Garganta, it will have to be sustainable until we reach Karakura Town. I guess I better bring my experiments with me," Mayuri stated, as he looked at his carriage.
Curious, Rukia and Hanataro looked into the cart. "WHAAA??!!" They said simultaneously, in shock, as they saw Pesche and Donchakka in the carriage, as well as baby Nel...but what shocked them the most was Grimmjow's presence. "Wh-what are you doing here?!"
"That mad scientist dragged me in here," he stated, still bloodied and wounded from his fight with Ichigo, "he only treated me enough so I would stay alive. I don't have enough strength to do anything to you in any case."
"Pardon me," Nemu asked kindly, "but please step away from the carriage."
"Ah, y-yes, Vice-Captain Kurostuchi," Hanataro said with a nervous smile. He then remember the other two bodies wrapped in black cloth in Mayuri's carriage. Whose bodies were those...?
After extensive preparation, Mayuri and Nemu managed to create a sustainable Garganta.
"All right," Byakuya said, and ordered: "Let's go help Ichigo."
The group departed through the Garganta, Byakuya shortly followed by Rukia and Kenpachi, whom Hanataro held onto so he didn't get left behind. "Hanataro," Rukia asked, "how do you really feel about what happened?"
"...I guess I'm scared," Hanataro admitted, "because what happens if he comes out again, and..."
"What happened back there was all I could do in that incident," his hollow's voice rang in his head, "if you are worried about me coming out again, don't bother; it won't happen for a while."
Hanataro smiled softly. "Don't worry, Rukia-san," he said, "he won't come out again for a while; long enough for me to gain some control over him, I hope."
Rukia smiled, and looked back forward, "That's all that I wanted to know."
"Unforgivable." The memory of Ichigo lopping off his arm passed through his head, and his Getsuga Tenshou hitting him.
"Unforgivable."Urahara Kisuke, and his countering Yammy's Bala, and his fake gigai passed through his mind.
"Unforgivable." Uryu Ishida and the land mine flashed through his mind.
"Unforgivable." Byakuya and Kenpachi tearing into him flashed through his mind, as he got back up from the ground.
Veins appeared in his eyes, as he remembered Hanataro's Hollow's words, and the punishment he just put him through: "How pathetic! Cero Espada? What the hell makes you worthy of such a rank?"
"UNFORGIVABLE!!!!!!" Yammy screamed into the sky, and his body cracked and splintered as a black light emitted from his body. In an instant, his body exploded!
The Dome of Las Noches splintered and crumbled, and fell in on itself from the enormous power coming from that explosion. All the excess energy from the explosion swirled and converged onto a single point, and as the dust settled, a figure stood there.
"Cero Espada? What the hell made him worthy of such a rank?" This was the answer...