(A/N: I wasn't going to start on this series till at least the spring, but, even though I don't celebrate Christmas, starting this series early, at least the first chapter, is a courtesy to my good friend Sony Ninja. I probably won't continue forward with this series much until Bleach itself moves its plot forward a little more. IMPORTANT NOTE: IF YOU HAVE NOT READ "Tales of Bleach: Unreal Society" PLEASE GO READ THAT BEFORE YOU READ THIS. This series is a DIRECT SEQUEL to Tales of Bleach: Unreal Society so continuity carries over. It is NOT a fresh start using the Bleach characters and the 2nd Tales of Symphonia game. Now then, without further ado, here's to the sequel of Tales of Bleach: Unreal Society: Tales of Bleach: Return of the Samurai)
Disclaimer: Bleach is owned by Kubo. Symphonia is owned by NAMCO
It has been two years since Lloyd Irving and Ichigo Kurosaki fought side-by-side and helped regenerate the world of Aselia. And it has also been quite a long time since Ichigo and his friends left Aselia to its own devices: the same two years since the heroes fought side by side. However, now that the world is reachable once again, Yamamoto has been sending soul reaper representatives to manage it and watch for hollows. The numbers have started to decrease dramatically over the last six months and whenever that happens it's usually the work of war and rebellion on the horizon.
To investigate, Yamamoto dispatches Rangiku Matsumoto of Squad 10 to Sylvarant and Rukia Kuchiki of Squad 13 to Tethe'alla. Both women have returned reports that amount to the following: With their high level of technological prowess, the Tethe'allan civilization looked down upon the people of Sylvarant as barbarians. The Sylvaranti blamed the Chosen of Regeneration for bringing this world into being, turning their backs on the Church of Martel that supported her. Also strange things had begun to happen to the world itself. Scorching hot deserts were blanketed with snow. Bountiful lakes dried up and withered. Forests burned to ash as glaciers melted into the sea. These phenomena fanned the flames of dissatisfaction within the hearts of the people, leading to the birth of a monster. A resistance organization was formed by the oppressed people of Sylvarant to defend themselves. United against the perceived evils of Tethe'alla and the Church of Martel, they called themselves the Sylvaranti Liberation Front, the Vanguard.
Late at Night
About an hour ago Palmacosta was set aflame and had begun to be ransacked by the Vanguard. I contacted Rukia for backup, but Meltokio is quite a long ways away from Palmacosta so I don't know how long it'll be before she gets here.
Meanwhile, not as many people as usual can see us Soul Reapers now that the flow of mana isn't as unstable, though there isn't a consistency between which people can see us and which can't. In my soul form I trot around the city looking to see if I can't gather any information on the vanguard menace. I have been given orders that if I am threatened by said rebels that I am allowed to kill if my life is endangered, if necessary. I stood on a rooftop of a building that wasn't in flames just frowning down at the chaos. It was then that I noticed an attack coming at me from behind and I shunpoed to dodge. My attacker…his identity surprised me.
"L-Lloyd?" What was he doing?
"Hello Rangiku," he said, something was wrong with his demeanor.
"Lloyd what are you…?" I was confused, he had his weapons drawn on me like he was ready to attack me.
"I have my authority from the Church of Martel to bring down judgment upon the city of Palmacosta. Any one who might be considered a threat," he took a stance, "Is to be eliminated."
"Lloyd what are you saying?" I shouted.
"Sorry, but I need to kill you a little," he rushed at me.
"Lloyd! No! Stop! Aagh!"...
By the time I got to Palmacosta things had significantly calmed down. I found Matsumoto-fukutaicho, but not in the condition I hoped to find her. She was WIA almost as much as she had been when she was in the winter war, if not worse. She was still conscious. I helped her up a little.
"Matsumoto-fukutaicho! Matsumoto-fukutaicho what happened?" I asked her in worry.
"L-Lloyd…Irving," she passed out, blood dribbling from her mouth.
"Matsumoto-fukutaicho!" I started to heal her wounds as best I could. I could hardly believe she had been injured this much. And what did Lloyd have to do with what happened to her. He didn't do this to her did he? No. The Lloyd we all knew couldn't have possibly been this ruthless and barbaric as to harm a friend, but then again Matsumoto-fukutaicho and I haven't seen Lloyd or any of our closest friends in the time we've been here. That worries me. Tomorrow I figured we'd go back to Soul Society and check in with Nii-sama and Hitsugaya-taicho. Something really fishy was going on here.
The next Day
Nii-sama, Matsumoto-fukutaicho, Captain Hitsugaya and I were all in Nii-sama's office discussing what had happened. Due to her injuries Matsumoto-fukutaicho had a patch over her right eye, a head bandage, a sling for her left arm and her sword hand was in a cast.
"You're sure it was Lloyd Irving who did this to you?" Hitsugaya-taicho asked her.
"He knew my name and he looked exactly like him. He also used Lloyd's abilities. I hate to say it, but the odds don't look good that that wasn't Lloyd," she said solemnly.
"What do you suppose could've happened that could've made Lloyd change so drastically?" Nii-sama asked.
"I think that's what Rukia came here for, to discuss the possibilities," Hitsugaya-taicho said.
"What do you think we should do then? Confronting Lloyd only seems like it will get the sharp tip of his blade pointed at us and Kratos should be able to handle his own son to that effect," Nii-sama stated.
"True, but I feel like there's something more going on than meets the eye," Hitsugaya stated.
"What do you mean by that?" Nii-sama asked.
"I have a hunch that things are going to get pretty chaotic in the world of Aselia, something that we're going to have to get ourselves involved in as a courtesy to the world we helped regenerate," Hitsugaya-taicho explained.
"You don't plan to send the entire fleet we sent before do you?" I asked.
"Of course not," Hitsugaya-taicho responded, "That would take too much time to get everyone to Aselia. We need a small group and we need to send it quick."
"Then here's what we'll do. I'll go with Rukia and Renji back to Aselia. We'll split up and try to gather some information. Meanwhile you can look after your vice captain until she is recovered enough to return to the field. Afterwards make your way to Aselia and we'll gather together and discuss our findings," Nii-sama planned.
"And what if things go wayside?" Hitsugaya-taicho wanted to know.
"There's no telling if that will happen or not. We'll have to improvise if things don't go as planned," Nii-sama said.
"Do you think it will be all right, just the five of us?" I asked, "Shouldn't we get Ichigo into this?"
"It's the summer. Kurosaki Ichigo is probably trying to enjoy his summer break from his first year of college. I say we let him," Hitsugaya-taicho said.
"Agreed," Nii-sama said, "Besides he'll just wind up getting in the way possibly."
"Well, fine. If we do see Sheena we can at least let her know how he's doing," I said.
"Well then, I suppose I have some paperwork to fill out to authorize mine and Renji's travel to Aselia. Rukia will you be ok on your own for awhile?" Nii-sama asked me.
"I'll be careful," I told him.
"Good luck Rukia," Hitsugaya told me.
"Thanks," I said.
Today was Saturday. I had just gotten home from doing some grocery shopping and putting my latest paycheck in the bank and I had finally gotten some time to myself to kick back and relax. I started thinking about how I hadn't seen Sheena in a while. I hadn't been to Aselia since I started college: no time. It's not like I hadn't wanted to see her either, but last summer I had been really busy, not to mention I had lost my powers by that time only to get them back just this past spring. This summer…actually, right now I had no excuse. I smirked and grunted as I got up from the bed. Kon noticed this.
"Hey Ichigo, where are you going?" Kon asked me.
"Aselia," I answered.
"Hey can I come with you this time? You always leave me behind," he complained.
"Why would I take you with me?" I asked him packing my bag with things I normally took on a trip to Aselia, "You're an annoying perverted stuffed animal and I don't need you wrecking my relationship with Sheena."
"Man you are so mean Ichigo you know that. If you're gonna spend the rest of your life with this chick she's gonna find out about me eventually. It may as well be sooner rather than later don't you think?" he asked.
I sighed in defeat, "Fine," I said opening the backpack, "Hop in."
"Yes!" he jumped right in.
"However, you're to be quiet and not do a damn thing unless I need you. No opening my bag from the inside and popping out and no wondering off on your own," I told him.
"Yeah, yeah," he waved as he lay down, "I hear ya." I grumbled and headed down the stairs to the front door. I then jogged to Urahara's place. He opened the door and smiled brightly.
"Oh well this is a surprise! I haven't seen you with a bag like that in close to two years now! How have you been?" Urahara-san asked me.
"Pretty good, college has been a pain in the ass though."
"I can imagine," he chuckled, "So you want me to open the gate to Aselia?"
"Ichigo!" I heard a peeved voice. I turned around.
"Oh, hey, Yoruichi-san," I waved.
"I cannot believe you Kurosaki Ichigo. You come here nonchalantly and you head straight for your girlfriend's planet without even saying hello to me," she frowned.
"I just said hi," I told her.
"You wouldn't have if I didn't say anything now would you? Be honest," she questioned. I breathed deeply.
"Well why don't we all go together?" Urahara asked.
"Wait if you guys leave who's going to watch the shop?" I asked.
"Tessai can be in charge, besides I could use some time off anyway," Urahara-san said.
"We promise we won't interfere with your 'private time' with your girlfriend," Yoruichi chuckled.
"We'll just go to the closest bar and pub and get some drinks," Urahara-san said and paused, "There are bars and drinks right?" he asked.
"Well let's go then."
I followed him and Yoruichi down to the basement and Urahara-san set up the special Senkaimon that went straight to Aselia. "You can go first Ichigo. Shall I send you to Mizuho as usual?" he asked.
"Actually let me go to Luin first. I want to get a gift for Sheena, along with some of the other things I have from college to show her, but put me on the outskirts so I don't freak anyone out," I said.
"You got it," he said, "We'll follow in after you then once you've made your way completely to the other side."
"Whatever," I shrugged off. The gate opened and I walked through thinking about what I would say to Sheena. I knew I'd have to apologize for not coming by last summer or all throughout this past school year and the year before. I hope she didn't hold it against me. When I finally entered past the Senkaimon I started heading towards Luin. I wasn't that far off, but I wasn't that close either. As I made my way towards it someone called out to me.
"Excuse me," he called to me.
I turned around. The guy who had called out to me had long red hair, green eyes, and wore curved, teardrop-framed glasses. He had a sword and an axe sheathed along his waist side and was wearing a lightweight overcoat and leather boots. "What do you want?" I asked, not to keen on starting up a small conversation.
"Aren't you Ichigo Kurosaki?" he asked me.
"How do you know who I am?" I asked.
"Your name and reputation precedes you," was all he said. In other words this guy obviously knew me from what I did for the world regeneration. He didn't look like a groupie, but looks can be deceiving.
"Again, what do you want?" I asked him.
"You haven't seen a girl with a red jewel embedded in her forehead by any chance have you?" he asked me.
"No, not really," I said, "I just got here so…"
"Ah yes, I'd forgotten that the soul reapers that assisted in the world regeneration left afterwards. Sorry to inconvenience you," he said to me.
"It's fine," I said, "Why are you looking for such a strange girl anyway?" I asked him.
"Do you need that in order to live?" he asked me. I was silent. "By your silence I can assume you don't. If you do see her though, be sure to tell me."
"Yeah, yeah," I said and continued to walk on. I suddenly noticed the guy was following me. "Any particular reason you're…"
He didn't let me finish, "We're both heading to Luin at the same pace. I'm not following you, not intentionally anyway. We both probably have our own agendas once we get to the town anyway."
"True," I said.
"Anyway we've delayed ourselves long enough," we both then briskly walked towards the town.
"What's your name anyway?" I asked the guy seeing as he knew my name.
"Richter, Richter Abend," he told me.
"Will you be staying in Luin for a while?" I asked him. He looked at me odd. "You know, in case I find that strange girl you're looking for."
"For about a day or so I guess," he said, "It's fine if you don't see her. It's not like I'm demanding that you find her."
Gotta remember I'm not working right now, I said to myself. "Right, sorry about that." Richter was silent.
Upon our arrival in the city Richter and I parted ways and I headed for the store. As I walked by though, I took notice of the shining statue of me standing near the docks. "What the…I didn't agree to this!" I said, agitated. I made a mental note to take things up with the mayor about having that statue taken down before going to Mizuho with whatever I got for Sheena.
I went to the pawnshop and sold a couple of trinkets I had brought with me to get some gald and then went to the accessory shop to buy something for Sheena. I got a bracelet with aquamarine, topaz and moonstone gems carved into a jade ore band. It cost me about 7,000 gald but it was worth it. I exited the store and shut the door behind me only to notice a kid with blond hair, with a single piece sticking up in front, wearing white shorts and a periwinkle top walk up to me.
"U-um, e-excuse me," he sounded like a younger version of me.
"Hm?" I looked over to him.
"Are…are you…Ichigo Kurosaki?" he asked me.
"What of it?" I asked.
"My…my name is Emil Castagnier. I…I've heard stories about you. Is it…is it true that you're Lloyd Irving's ultimate rival?" he asked me.
"Rival?" I scratched my head. I always thought of Lloyd and us as friends. Since when did we become rivals?
"Hey!" I heard a grumpy old guy call out and then run towards Emil, "You little nuisance, what are you doing talking to someone as important as Kurosaki Ichigo? People like him don't have time to converse with ill behaved brats like you!" He turned towards me, "Sorry, I hope he wasn't causing you any trouble."
"Things were just fine until you butted into our business," I scowled at him.
"You're better off not conversing with him at all, he's a deluded little pipsqueak," the old guy told him.
"And how would you know?" I snapped.
"I'm his uncle," the guy returned.
Ok, I definitely crossed boundaries there. Still. "Did you come here to get your nephew away from me or did you need something from me?" I asked.
"Actually it's convenient that you're here. I'm a member of the town guard and monsters I've never seen before have started popping up at the dried up lakebed of Lake Sinoa. Do you think you could take care of them?" he asked me.
Sheena's waited two years to see me. She can wait at least a few more minutes. "Sure," I said, "Just give me a minute. Where's the nearest alley way?"
"In between the inn and the pawnshop I guess, why?" Emil's uncle asked me.
"Not your concern," I said and ran off. I grabbed my badge out of the side compartment of my backpack, dragged out Kon, slammed my badge into his forehead and swallowed his pill. I tossed him my bag. "Come with me down to the lakebed," I told him. "I don't trust you to wander around the city. Find someplace safe to watch and so I can get rid of some human hungry monsters."
"Man and here I was hoping I could go to the local pub and hit on some chicks." I whacked him over the head with the flat side of Zangetsu as I unsheathed it.
"Everyone would recognize you as me, and I certain to god as hell don't need you ruining my reputation. Now come on," I grabbed his wrist and used Shunpo to get to the dried lakebed. When I got there I saw Emil and a girl with long, split brown hair, with flower pins in her hair fighting this giant, mutated grizzly bear. They looked like they were having a bit of trouble. Emil had no form at all with his sword fighting and the girl seemed to only know how to use one simple technique. I told Kon to wait for me on the perch we were both on and to change positions if someone or something spotted him. I then ran down to the battlefield and slashed the bear right across the front with a Getsuga empowered Shikai slash. "You two ok?" I asked as the bear fell down, as I put Zangetsu away.
"I-Ichigo?" Emil was surprised to see me.
"What the heck are you doing here anyway Emil?" I asked him, "I didn't think you were the type to seek out danger."
"Well no, but…" he started to explain himself.
Suddenly the girl turned towards Emil, "He's right, you should probably get going," she then added after a pause, "Hey it's you!" She seemed to recognize him. I turned around.
"Huh?" Emil was confused.
"You don't," the girl drew nearer to Emil, "you don't remember me, do you? Maybe I'm wrong? But you look just like him." I had no idea what she was talking about nor did I care, but I wanted to make sure Emil got back to the village safely so I stuck around. He reminded me of Hanataro in so many ways in terms of meekness, but at least he was capable of self-defense. The girl finished her conversation with Emil and then began to take off.
"Um…wait," Emil suddenly called out to her.
"What is it?" she asked, "I'm in a hurry."
"I wanted to thank you for saving me," he said.
She must've shown up before I did, I figured.
"My name's Emil. So, um, what's your name?" he asked the girl.
"I'm Marta," she said. "Is that it?"
"If it's dangerous here then...maybe you should leave too," Emil seemed concerned for her. I could tell he was a little flustered showing concern and I stifled my chortling by making it seem like I had something stuck in my throat.
Marta looked at Emil and then blushed, leaning forward with her hands behind her back, "If things get dangerous will you save me again?"
"B-but Ichigo was the one who saved both of us," Emil stammered.
Marta giggled, "You don't remember, do you? I'm sorry to confuse you. But I really have to get going. Take care of yourself Emil!" She ran off. As she did her hair flew in the breeze and I saw a red jewel encrusted into her forehead.
That's the girl Richter's looking for, my eyes widened.
"U-um," Emil turned towards me.
"What is it?" I asked.
"Thanks for helping out," he told me.
"No sweat," I said rubbing the back of my neck, "Your uncle told me to take care of some monsters so that's exactly what I was doing. You want me to escort you back to town?"
"Yes, please do!" he seemed almost thankful that I was doing so. "S-sorry!"
There are some weird things going on with this kid, I thought to myself.
"Just wait for me a moment," I told him. I signaled Kon to the shipwreck not far off from where Emil and I were, went behind it and got back into my body and met back up with Emil. "Come on let's go."
"Y-yeah," He nodded and we headed back to Luin.
(A/N: So this is my Christmas Present to all you ppl who enjoyed Tales of Bleach: Unreal Society. I don't know when I'll continue with the sequel, but rest assured it won't be for a while, maybe a couple of weeks 3-6 months at the most. Anyway please review, subscribe and fave if you like this and if you are lost or confused and you HAVE READ Tales of Bleach: Unreal Society I would be happy to answer your questions. Anyway see ya!)