Blades of Epsilon
by Nathan J Xaxson
A sequel to the Kuchiki Salvation Trilogy

Rating: T+, for:
- Content thematically aimed for an older audience
- Moral shades of gray that are intended to provoke intelligent thought
- Action scenes with explicit violence
- Strong and occasionally crude/vulgar language
- References to and even mild depictions of sex

I did not designate an M rating because it does not contain explicit nor extended illustrations of sex, nor does it contain graphic depictions of gore. However, it is not recommended for readers under 15. Despite these warnings, the content in this story is really not any more objectionable than anything else I've previously written.

Author's Note: This story is a sequel to my Kuchiki Salvation Trilogy, "Save This For Kuchiki", "Save Me, Kuchiki", and "Saved For You, Kuchiki". Reading this story without reading the trilogy will likely leave you scratching your head in many places. Go read those first; they're worth the read anyway. Otherwise, there will be major spoilers - I have included a recap chapter for those of you who haven't read the trilogy recently and need a refresher. :)

Author's Request: I have worked very hard on this story over the course of a year to really try and push beyond my comfort zone. I've tried to take myself above and beyond of what I thought I was capable of to produce a story that touches upon themes, ideas, and characters that some would be afraid to write about. With that said, I want to request from my readers to try and push their own boundaries: even if this story isn't along the lines of what you might expect, or even if you wouldn't normally read something like this, please push forward and see if you can enjoy something unconventional. The greatest reward I can get is for you to allow yourself to come along for the ride, even if you're not used to it. Thanks! -njx

To my devoted readers: I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your patience. I hope it was worth it.

Special Thanks to stormcrowley and Fading into the background for all of their help.

Fanfic dot Net Limitation: I apologize, but this site filters out combined question/exclamation marks, so you'll often see a space between them ("You can't be serious! ?").

Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach.

"There are no such things as fairy tales."
~ Kuchiki Hisako, sometime far into the future

Prologue - Six months before the present - or if you prefer, nine and a half years after the past

Tatsuki could not believe her eyes. Neither could Ichigo. No one could.

"Holy shit," Tatsuki swore.

"Is that...?" Ichigo stuttered.

"This is not happening," Tatsuki said, shaking her head. "Who in the world would be that insane?"

Ichigo couldn't even think. His brain had shut down with his eyes glued to the television; the images there so harrowing that he had an instant urge to call everyone he knew, just to hear them still alive.

The breaking story was the same one that every other person around the world was seeing. Caught on camera, it was among the most trepidation-inspiring things either Tatsuki or Ichigo had ever seen - including hollows and shinigami traitors. The news channel relentlessly let the clip cycle over and over, as though it was so unbelievable that only repeated viewings would let people absorb the horror.

It was the Eiffel Tower toppling over, killing thousands of people, after two perfectly-timed explosions detonated one complete side of the foundation. The metal spire collapsed to the earth, crushing buildings and destroying roads. Secondary explosions fired as gas and power lines were breached, and in the span of twenty-three seconds, the lives of humans and shinigami alike were irrevocably changed.