Futon Lord: Uh, I think so. I think I mentioned a difference in the technology wouldn't allow Konohaji to age. I'll look back, and if I didn't, I'll fix the continuity error.
You know, I can't seem to figure out what team I hate more. The Heat or the Celtics. Though I also hate how overrated the fucking Clippers are, especially Blake Griffin.
Chapter 49: Caballero Estrella
"W-What is this?" Ichigo managed to get out, looking down upon the grisly display of events. Despite that, the fate of those things weren't what was bothering him, as they looked like they had been dead for years. No, it was the young girl who looked around his "age" who was still alive down there. How long had she been here?
"Hey!" he said impulsively, jumping down into the pit. Orihime tried to stop him, but he had already gone down there, picking up the near unconscious, gibbering girl in his hands, using his Shinigami powers to hop back up onto the ledge.
He laid the blonde girl down the ground; she was dirty and ragged. Her eyes were wide-open and staring into space, reflecting the lunacy that was held within them. Her mouth was open, but most of the time no sound came out, and when it did, it was pure gibberish. When she managed to annunciate full sentences, they were very garbled and difficult to understand.
"Are you okay?" Ichigo asked frantically.
Ichigo winced a little as she grasped his wrist very forcefully, tilting her head slowly to look at him. Her eyes suddenly became even more bloodshot, and an abject hiss sounded as she opened her mouth.
"Kill... me... NOW!" she hissed, before she screamed the last part out. Out of impulse, Ichigo tore himself free of the girl's grasp, stepping away and staring at her incredulously.
The way she had said that disturbed both Ichigo and Orihime. It wasn't a kind of pleading tone, one where they were absolutely desperate to die. No, instead it was an angry, demanding kind of tone, one that promised great pain should her request be denied.
"Kill me now!" she shouted again, not getting up. Ichigo took an uneasy step forward, once again going up to the fallen girl. He stared at her tentatively, watching as she occasionally twitched.
"What happened here? Why are you here? Who are you?" he opted to ask instead of complete the girl's request. Surprisingly, the girl didn't fly into a rage at that.
"Pit... K-Konoha... Hollow... killed them... mercy..." she babbled onwards, her words making no sense to the pair of other humans who had stumbled across her.
"What's she saying, Kurosaki-kun?" Orihime asked, trying to decipher the jumbled words.
"I think she's trying to tell us something about this pit, and what happened down there..." Ichigo commented, watching the girl go through yet another spasm.
Ichigo dropped his sword into the ground as her spasms got more violent, pulling her head onto his lap to support her.
"He did this... did this to all of us. Had to kill them..." she mumbled. Her sentences seemed to be getting less jumbled.
"Did this to who?" Orihime asked soothingly, trying not to set the girl on edge.
"Name... Naruto. Turned comrades... into things. Had to... kill them... couldn't let them suffer... any more..." she said. Her eyes were fairly blank, and all she did now was stare into space, and from the way her voice sounded, she was talking to neither Ichigo or Orihime.
Ichigo latched onto one word in that sentence.
"Naruto? Who's that?"
The name sounded familiar, and Ichigo felt that this "Naruto" person was someone he should know.
"King... of place. Attacked... Konoha..." she replied, before she stopped staring out into space. Suddenly, like she wasn't even motionless anymore, her arm shot out, grabbing Ichigo's sword and holding it to her own neck.
"Must die... been unable to... had to find a way to save them... but it was hopeless..." she babbled. A few tears fell down from her eyelids, but whether it was joy over a long sought after release, or sorrow over past events, no one could tell.
This action seemed to catch both Ichigo and Orihime off-guard, with the former wondering how he had been so careless to allow a sharp weapon within this clearly suicidal girl's grasp.
"Wait, don't be so hasty! You don't have to do this!" Ichigo shouted at her, while making sure to not make any sudden movements that would startle the girl enough for her to thrust forward.
"The pain's too much!" she said, in her first full sentence of the entire conversation. She seemed to be becoming more and more aware of her surroundings as time went on.
Before Ichigo or Orihime could manage to get out another word, the girl plunged Ichigo's sword into her jugular vein, effectively ending her life as red liquid poured from the vital spot at an impossible to halt rate.
Ichigo wrenched the sword from her grasp just a split-second too late, just as the girl penetrated her own flesh deep enough and fell to the ground, coughing heavily, but with a last minute smile on her face.
The two travelers were shocked by how quickly that occurred. Within minutes of freeing the girl from the deep chamber, she babbles some words that they really couldn't make sense of, and then takes her own life. It was so surreal that neither of them knew what to make of it.
Things like this just didn't happen, not even in Hueco Mundo.
At least, not without a cause.
There was something about this that stuck on Ichigo's mind, however. The girl that had just committed suicide seemed to point to the fact that there was a certain culprit who organized whatever had happened.
The girl also seemed to mention that she had killed a bunch of her own villagers, which meant that there were more people who were subjected to a seemingly similar fate.
This seemed to be a Hollow kingdom, similar to ones that Ichigo and Orihime had encountered during their travels, but it was on a much larger scale, not to mention it seemed abandoned.
This Naruto person seemed to be important in the scale of things though. Perhaps he was their leader? Whatever the case, he seemed to be the one who was responsible for this spectacle, but there was too much information they hadn't gleaned, and therefore they didn't know the full circumstances of the incident that the girl was talking about.
Regardless, they knew that some horrible crime had taken place here.
A lone, injured member of the Jagmardee stumbled through the Vandenreich palace in Hueco Mundo, having just got back from her recruiting mission on the other side of the world. After witnessing the events that took place there, he had to rush back as soon as possible.
This was bad. This was very, very bad.
He barged into the throne room, screw the consequences. Juhabach was sitting on his throne, a light smile on his face as he regarded the distrubed Jagdarmee member. On his right was his faithful servant, Haschwald. On his left was a pink-haired woman that the Jagdarmee didn't recognize.
He knew, however, from the crazed look in her eyes that he never wanted to cross her.
"Juhabach-sama, we've got trouble!" he shouted at his leader. If it were any other situation, he would've bowed in his presence.
"Hmm, what? You are part of the Jagdarmee, right? Where is Kirge?" Juhabach asked.
"D-Dead..." the Jagdarmee member stuttered out.
"He's dead! They're all dead! Kirge-taichou and the two Stern Ritter sent with us are all dead!" he shouted desperately at his supreme leader.
Juhabach had the decency to look slightly taken aback.
"What?! On that mission of yours!? Who killed them?!"
"V-Vulpes C, your highness! Although, I've heard that his real name is Naruto! The leader of the Arrancar, whatever the case. He's the one who killed them, and so quickly too! It was a massacre! They never stood a chance!" He paused for a moment.
"He said that if we wanted to talk negotiations, you needed to go, Juhabach-sama!"
Instead of being wiped off his face, Juhabach's smile actually got wider. He relaxed in his seat, and turned to look at Sakura. Her eyes had widened significantly after she heard the Jagdarmee speak Naruto's name, and even he couldn't tell what she was thinking.
The woman looked quite a bit different than when he had last seen her. Her face had been covered in shadow then, but now one could see that she looked like a woman of around twenty-five, with shoulder-length pink hair pulled into a short ponytail, which was looped through the back of her Vandenreich cap.
Instead of being totally naked like earlier, she was fully clothed in a custom-made Vandenreich uniform, similar in appearance to Bambietta's. Her Zanpakutou was held at her hip, a fairly short katana with a pink hilt and sea shell shaped guard.
"It's alright! I know you didn't mean to fail, now did you?" Juhabach asked, a little too politely. The Jagdarmee blinked for a moment, before a hole the size of a basketball was punched straight through his stomach.
"I guess those three weren't enough to convince them. We still need Arrancar power though, and they're the only ones who can supply it. I'll have to send someone who is capable enough to show off our power to them." Juhabach mused. He turned to the left.
"Sakura, would you be willing to pick up Kirge's mission and recruit some more Arrancar. With your power, it shouldn't be difficult to defeat them, even if their leader seems to be somewhat powerful..."
Sakura smiled deviously, but didn't say a word. That was enough confirmation that Juhabach needed.
The Vandenreich palace lie in ruin, similar to Las Noches.
The wooden infrastructure had been completely demolished, but this time dead bodies were sprinkled all over the blood, and the smell of blood lingered in the air.
On top of the pile of wood, Haruno Sakura stood triumphant, still dressed in her Vandenreich uniform, though her feet was resting on the dead body of Juhabach.
For she had killed all of them. Every last one.
Sakura had no use for the Vandenreich anymore, no, now that she learned of Naruto's whereabouts, she had bigger fish to try. Her hatred of Hollows not withstanding, she would find him.
Yet... her other objective, bring the members of Konoha to Hueco Mundo, was still in play. If only for her own personal desire and gain, she would get them to Hueco Mundo.
Especially with her upcoming ceremony within Soul Society, it would be perfect. But first, she needed to find Naruto...
Naruto suited himself up for the attack on Soul Society, and was about to call all his Espada to him so they could begin the invasion. Szayel had already completed all preparations.
They left... today. They destroyed Soul Society... today.
Naruto could hardly wait.
He fastened his Zanpakutou to his waist and adjusted his Arrancar uniform, descending from his throne and crossing the longhall. He opened the flap to his tent, stepping out into the Hueco Mundo air.
As he breached outside, a pale Arrancar around his size approached him. Like many of the other Espada, Ulquiorra's outward appearance in his unreleased had changed much. Other than his mask covering more of his head, there wasn't anything.
Despite that, Ulquiorra had proven himself immensely when he revealed that he was the only one before the use of the Hougyoku to have obtained Segunda Etapa. With that goal already reached, he had spent the next ten years simply improving his already existing abilities, and as such he had attained the position of Segunda Espada, behind only Naruto himself.
"Naruto, we're having a little issue. A random woman showed up in the camp today asking for you; she's already killed three of our Arrancar. Should I send her your way?" Ulquiorra asked.
Naruto raised an eyebrow. Could it be more Quincies?
"Uh, yeah, go ahead and do that. I'll see what the fuss is about and deal with her myself if I have to..." he said, still a little confused. What was the big deal about this woman? As long as she didn't kill any Espada, there was nothing to worry about.
Naruto's attitude did a quick one-eighty as the woman in question entered his field of vision and noticed him. Her features were a little different, and she looked older, but he knew that shock of pink hair from anywhere.
Naruto's passive face took on an extreme look of hatred as his brow furrowed. His pupils began tiny pinpricks in a sea of red, and he bit his bottom lip in a massive sneer, his fangs poking through his mouth. He snarled so loudly it might as well have been a scream, and released the full brunt of his reiatsu.
All around the camp, Arrancar and Hollows alike held their breath as they felt the full force of their leaders reiatsu, smothering them like an ocean of water. Ulquiorra, who was the most resistant to it, turned his back stoically, but even he had a bead of sweat rolling down his cheek. He had only felt this force of reiatsu from Naruto once before, and that could only mean one thing.
Something big was about to happen, and they weren't even in Soul Society yet.
Rage still on his face, Naruto drew his Zanpakutou immediately, rushing Sakura and slammed his sword down on her with all the force he could muster. The clang of metal was heard all around the camp as Sakura actually managed to block Naruto's attack.
Sakura was standing there, a lustful smirk on her face as she blocked Naruto's first attack. She slowly licked her lips and pushed off Naruto with her own Zanpakutou. Naruto lightly jumped back, putting distance between the two.
"Sakura..." he sneered.
He clutched his Zanpakutou tight in his hands when he saw the smirk on her face.
"I've been looking all over for you, Naruto, and I've finally found you!" she said, her tongue peeking out of her lips yet again. She didn't to sense Naruto's extreme hatred towards her. Or better yet, she sensed it... and was drinking it up.
"I can FEEL your anger..." Neither Naruto nor Sakura realized that she just uttered one of the most famous movie quotes ever, but the words did their purpose and had a profound effect on Naruto.
"Bitch!" he roared. He sheathed his Zanpakutou for a moment.
He then put both of his hands out, spreading each and every one of his fingers out a fair distance. He concentrated his reiatsu to his hands, where each of his fingers lit up with a little blip of orange.
"Diez Ceros!" he shouted, as the blips of light formed into individual Ceros.
The ten beams rocketed off of his hands, each one almost as strong as a normal Cero. The ten beams of orange traveled in a straight line for a second, before they merged together to form one giant attack that barreled towards Sakura.
Sakura held one hand out, catching the giant Cero with her palm. Her grin faltered as she realized she didn't have the strength to fully stop it, and just as she was about to be overwhelmed, she dodged to the side instantly.
The blast obliterated everything in its path, including a few tents with Arrancar inside them. Sakura whistled at the damage, smiling as she grabbed her Vandenreich cap and threw it to the side.
Naruto fired another round of the same attacks, and Sakura's eyes narrowed a little bit in mirth.
"It seems you've become much stronger over the years; you're even leading this massive. Truly, the destructive power of this attack in incredible. But..." she trailed off, talking to herself.
She held her Zanpakutou out.
"Hado #91: Senjuu Kouten Taihou!" she said. Pink dots, similar in appearance to Naruto's Cero, formed in the air around Sakura like a halo. When she fired them off, it converged on the rapidly approaching Cero, effectively cancelling out the attack in a gigantic explosion.
The impact of the two Kidou and the Cero caused an enormous cloud of dust to rise in the area, giving both Naruto and Sakura cover. Naruto looked around for her, but when out of the corner of his eye he saw a quick flash of movement, he raised his Zanpakutou and swung out.
Sakura was in mid-air, her Zanpakutou slashing downwards at Naruto's scalp. Naruto met her attack with an upward slice, grinding his Zanpakutou against hers.
Sakura swung her hips to the rhythm of the attack, getting herself pumped up for the fight. Naruto himself seemed to get over his initial anger towards Sakura, and was now in euphoric fight-mode, where he could finally kill this bitch.
"This is too good! I never thought that one of my targets would actually come to me!" Naruto guffawed. Sakura wasn't phased.
"Eh, it seems like you're still obsessed with getting a date with me! Let me ask you, do you love me?" Sakura whispered that last part, as a look of lust entered her eyes. She stood there in an almost seductive position, crooning at Naruto.
"Huh?" Naruto asked. Her behavior was perplexing, even to him.
"I'm asking if you love me! I can feel such strong feelings coming from you; it has to be love!" she shouted chaotically at Naruto, who laughed raucously at her.
"Love you? Fuck no, bitch!"
That seemed to spurn on the first negative reaction that Sakura gave Naruto. A vein popped on her forehead, but her entire face reddened in anger and her eyes bulged out in rage.
"WHAAAT?" she screamed in indignation, like it was the most surprising thing in the world. She released her full reiatsu in her rage, and swung her Zanpakutou to the sky.
"Tempt..." she shouted, as water surrounded the tip of her blade. Naruto was on guard.
"Hmm..." he muttered.
"Hankara!" she finished her Zanpakutou release.
The wave of water wrapped around her katana, glowing with Sakura's pink reiatsu. She thrust it down into the ground, sending a shockwave into the dirt and sand.
Naruto focused on the ripple of force that was moving through the ground, before his eyes snapped open and he jumped off of the ground, landing in mid-air right above a hut. Arrancar that were in the surrounding area moved out of the way of the fight, hoping they didn't get caught in the crossfire. Whatever the invader was doing couldn't be good either.
The ripple of force settled, and it was quiet for a few seconds. But after that, a jet of water erupted from the ground like a geyser, spreading a few inches of water depth throughout the surrounding area. Naruto heard a rumbling from underneath the hut he was floating near, before he dodged another geyser that erupted from the ground.
While he was moving through the air, focusing on the water, Sakura attacked him in mid-air, trying to lop off his head in her rage. Naruto just got his sword up in time, but the force of her blow was staggering.
Yet, there was something off about the whole thing. The water on the ground didn't look normal or anything. Normal water was completely clear, or it was in the human world at least, but this water looked shinier.
It seemed to have a lustrous quality to it, and it was setting off alarm bells in Naruto's head.
Sakura's Zanpakutou also changed. Instead of a normal, metal katana like an unreleased Zanpakutou, it was now completely made out of calcium. To be more specific, it seemed to be completely made out of sea shell.
The hilt was made of sea shell, the guard was made of sea shell, and the blade was made of sea shell. It seemed sharp too, but what really caught Naruto's eye was the tip of blade, which was actually wide instead of narrow, with a large opening that ran into the blade. It was like there was a conch shell merged straight into the sword.
Naruto swung his sword three more times in quick succession, and Sakura blocked them all. His last strike actually got caught in the ridges of her sword, and it broke his rhythm when he yanked it out quickly.
Using his momentary confusion, Sakura flipped over Naruto's head, attempted to carve in his unprotected back. Naruto swung around to match her speed, driving his own blade into the hole of the conch.
He attempted to wrestle Sakura's released sword from her grasp, but Sakura's insane strength remained tried and true even during the afterlife.
Naruto was beginning to overwhelm her, and Sakura was growling at him. However, before Naruto could wrench the blade fully from her grasp, a jet of highly pressurized water shot from the conch on Sakura's blade, barreling right into Naruto's talk.
The force of the blow pushed Naruto back as the water seared his stomach. He grunted in pain as he impacted a hut directly behind, destroying it completely.
He rose from the rubble, wiping blood away from his mouth. There was something off about this battle.
Sakura had proven herself for a very worthy opponent; he couldn't even fathom how she had gotten this strong. And yet, her Shikai was surprisingly dull. She used it well obviously, but he thought that someone of her caliber should have a more impressive Shikai.
That, and the strange quality of the water put him on edge. There was something missing here.
If she was hiding her current abilities, it would only make things more difficult in the long run. Unfortunately for him, she also gave off no clues as to what her other abilities could be, except for the shine upon the water. But he had no idea what it did.
He projected a look of hatred at Sakura, and it was clear the she could feel his emotions. Strangely, his hatred for her seemed to put her at ease, and she giggled sadistically a little bit, her rage all but forgotten.
"Oh, I see what's going on! You're playing hard to get, aren't you?" she asked, to the confusion of Naruto. Was this bitch confusing hatred for love or something? She was as crazy as him.
Sakura wove her sword around, dispelling her Shikai and sheathing her blade.
"What are you doing? You know this battle's not over yet. I'm gonna kill you right here, bitch!" Naruto shouted. Sakura smirked at Naruto; she knew how to get the advantage over him.
"No, you're not! And do you know why? It's because I am a necessary asset if you want to truly destroy Soul Society!" she blurted out, making Naruto halt in place.
"How do you know about that?"
"Oh, please, Naruto!" she snorted. "I was a double agent for Aizen within Soul Society before you took him out. I knew you were the Primera Espada, and I knew all about your desire to destroy Soul Society. The only thing I didn't know was the you had the stones to actually challenge and defeat Aizen, and your location over the past few years. And now, I'm going to join the winning team!"
Naruto attacked once again, slamming his blade into the ground as Sakura dodged to the side.
"I don't believe you, bitch! What makes you think you have anything you could offer me..."
Sakura held up a finger.
"It's simple, really. I offer you what might be the most important piece of your entire plan. You see, I am the Captain of the Kidou Corps within Soul Society, but I'm getting a promoted tomorrow, due to my creation of a new type of Kidou. From that point on, I will become a new member of the Zero Division, or otherwise known as the Royal Guard. I assume you know the only way one is able to access the Reiokyuu?" she asked rhetorically.
Naruto was silent.
"I'm sure you have your own little plan worked out at this point, but at this point the only way to access the Reiokyuu is through a member of the Royal Guard. I assume that you had planned to lure them out of their hiding place when you completely destroyed Soul Society. That might be effective, but it's a risky move if you're trying to access the Reiokyuu. I am the only way you can have guaranteed passage to the Reiokyuu."
"Not to mention, as I right now I could open a portal to the real world or Soul Society and tell them all about your invasion, rendering your surprise attack useless..."
"Bitch..." he whispered. The Libro de Ciclos didn't cover too much on actual passage to the Reiokyuu; it only told him what he needed to do once he actually breached that dimension. A member of the Royal Guard was necessary, but he figured he could bide his time once he had finished taking out the regular part of Soul Society.
Now, however, their plans could go a lot smoother.
He contemplated for a moment, before he clenched his fists in anger.
"FUUUUUCCCKKKKKKK!" he screamed to the heavens, his anger shaking through the nearby huts and longhall. As much as he wanted to deny her, he knew he possibly couldn't at this rate. He could try and kill her and find some way to harness the power of her bones, but he was getting restless.
He needed to destroy Soul Society, and he needed to do it now.
"Fine! Have it your way! You'll help us access the Reiokyuu when we're finished destroying the main part of Soul Society, but you will not help us with main attack on Seireitei! I don't want to see your face while we're fighting!" Naruto spat at her.
"Excellent, love. I'm looking forward to working with you again; I've missed you over the years!" she winked at Naruto, who sneered at her. This was an infuriating thorn in his side.
Sakura had already put her hands together, almost like she was doing hand seals from the living world. However, she glowed with a pink reiatsu, and a few seconds later, a portal had opened in mid-air space. It was almost indentical in appearance to Garganta, except that the void inside was a bright white instead of a cold black.
"I will have the preparations for your passage to the Reiokyuu ready tomorrow, as soon as I am promoted," she said, as she disappeared into the void, which then rippled closed.
Naruto remained standing there, a sour look upon his face.
"You don't trust her, do you?" a new voice said, stepping out of the shadows. Naruto's pissy face turned to view Ulquiorra stepping out of the awnings of a hut.
"Of course I don't. She's a Shinigami, after all, and I can tell: she's changed even since she died. I know that's obvious, considering she probably died over three-hundred years ago, but still, she baffles me. I can't tell if she's leading us into a trap, or if she legitimately wants to help us. Even if that's true, I can't stand taking help from a bitch I want to kill..."
"You're going to kill her once she's not useful anymore, aren't you?" Ulquiorra deadpanned. Naruto looked at Ulquiorra.
"Did you even need to ask?"
"This may not even hinder your plan, regardless of whether or not it is a trap." Ulquiorra stated.
"Think about it, Naruto. We have eluded the eyes of Soul Society for years. It is safe to say that they do not know about us. If she truly was a double agent for Soul Society and Aizen, she cannot come out with that information in Soul Society. She would likely be executed, and the fact that she seemed to be part of that Quincy organization also seems to add credence to that. Despite that, even if she immediately goes back to Soul Society and relays this newfound information to the Seireitei. There is not enough suitable time for them to prepare countermeasures for our attack. We are attacking them today, within hours. The most she can do is warn them of our attack, which will do no more than impede progress slightly..."
"Is there a chance that she lied about her loyalties, and has truly been loyal to Soul Society. Could the Soul Society have perhaps staged this display, her being part of the Vandenreich and a double agent for Aizen?"
"I don't think so. According to our latest report, the Soul Society has not figured out how to use Garganta yet. That means that her true loyalties would have to be to the Vandenreich or as Aizen's double agent. It's the only way that she'd even be able to be here in the first place."
"You saw that "Garganta" though, right? What if she's the secret to Soul Society getting to Hueco Mundo?"
"I did see that "Garganta". However, Szayel's spies have kept good reports within the Soul Society ever since we've connected to their world. They do not know how to use Garganta. She is keeping her power a secret from them..."
"I see... I will trust you on this matter, Ulquiorra, but we've wasted too much time as is. I'll take your advice; we will attack now in order to prevent them from taking countermatters, on the off chance that she is loyal to Soul Society... Is Szayel ready?"
Naruto grinned, his previous mood evaporating.
"Good, let's go..."
And, we're done.
Again, the next chapter will be the last one of around this length. After that, they're going to get far, far longer, probably around twice as long, so there will be chapters that are longer than 10,000 words.
Hankara: Half Shell
Reiokyuu: Spirit King Palace
Diez Ceros: Ten Ceros
Hadou #91: Senjuu Kouten Taihou: Thousand-Hand Bright Heaven Culling-Sear