During his fight with his inner hollow, Ichigo finds himself losing, badly. As the hollow is about to finish him off, he strikes a deal with Ichigo. If Ichigo can complete all of his "challenges" in a month, he will allow Ichigo to take the throne a while longer, with a few exceptions.
Chapter 1- Agreement
"You're not good enough," the hollow said as it gripped Ichigo's sword,"at bankai." The sword quickly turned white and disintegrated from Ichigo's hand. He stood staring in shock at where the sword had been.
"Zan-- My... Zangetsu's..." he was immediately interrupted by his hollow.
"That's not Zangetsu," it chuckled,"I told you- I'm Zangetsu." Ichigo still didn't understand how this "other him" could be his sword- it was his hollow. In the middle of his thoughts, he felt the hollow's palm grasp his face and throw him to the nearest building.
"You really are an idiot." it sighed. "Why are you standing there without a weapon?" As Ichigo began to craw out of the crater, the hollow continued. "Ichigo, what's the difference between a king and the horse he rides?" Ichigo stood dumbfounded.
"Don't worry. It's not a riddle or some stupid guessing game. It's an important truth. Is it shape, ability, strength? When two beings are exactly the same, how do they decide which one willbe the king and lead them into battle, and which will lend its strength to the other, like a horse? What allows one dominate the other?" "We're not the same."Ichigo interrupted him.
"I guess you're right about that." It chucked softly before stabbing Ichigo in the stomach. "But a horse can still trample its king!" The hollow ripped the blade out of Ichigo beofre putting its hand around his throat. "How about this?" he chuckled, "I wanna test somethin' out, so I'll give ya another chance. I'll screw with ya for a month, and if ya don't die, I'll let ya have control whenever we're NOT fightin'. I get dibs during fights." It lowered the hand from Ichigo's throat. "Deal?" ichigo stood in utter confusion for nearly a minute.
"S-sure..." he said, realizing that if he had said no, he would have been killed.
"Good. Now go tell your little friends that you beat me." it said before ichigo found himself back in the real world. he fell to the ground in exaustion. He heard Shinji walk up to him.
"How do you feel, Ichigo?" he asked.
"Lie, or I take over and kill him!" his hollow ordered. Ichigo tried his best to force a smile.
"Not bad," he lied before finally passing awoke to see Shinji Smiling at him.
"You did a good job, but you've gotta learn to materialize and keep your mask on..." he informed Ichigo.
"Make an excuse and get outta here." Ichigo didn't question his hollows motives and quickly followed the order.
"I actually, um, need to go to school and stuff, or people will come looking for me..." he lied. shinji scoffed.
"Whatever. at least you wont be controled by your hollow anymore..." with that Ichigo swiftly left the warehouse.
So what do I exactly have to do for a month? Ichigo asked his hollow. It chuckled.
"Oh, you'll see… but first things first, if you wanna live through this, ya gotta learn to suppress your spiritual pressure." It said matter-of-factly.
Why would I need that? Ichigo asked confusedly.
"Because you'll die without it." It stated in the same tone.Ichigo agreed to simply listen when he realized that was the best explanation he would get.
So what're you going to do to me? Ichigo questioned again. The hollow laughed.
"I'm not so sure yet myself. I wanna see how much I can do to your body from in here." Ichigo froze.
My body? What are you gunna do to my body? Ichigo semi-panicked as he ran towards Urahara's shop.
"Hey, where're ya goin'?" The hollow asked, dodging the question.
To go see Hat 'N' Clogs. If I need to learn to control my spiritual pressure, he's the one who'll teach me! The hollow scoffed.
"No. No help." It chuckled. "That's the first rule I'm makin' this month"
Well then, what do you want me to do?
"God, do I have to explain everything to you? Find a place to train that's isolated from other people, and I'll teach you how to do it!" With that order, Ichigo went to the park where the Arracangars had attacked to begin his training.