Las Noches, the palace among the dunes of Hueco Mundo, two days after Takuya had spent six hours training with the Vaizards. Sitting on the throne-like chair in the main hall is Aizen Sosuke. However, he is wearing something new. Instead of the white attire with black trim that marked him as the leader of the Espada, he wore what looked like a solid white garment, splitting into four sections from his waist down. At the center of his chest was a dark-purple cross with a softly glowing gem in the center. It opened into a wide collar that was purple on the inside edges and had a jagged hemline, as if it had been torn open. His hair was also considerably longer than when he'd last set foot in public a week ago, and his eyes had become a deep gold color set against a dark amethyst-purple background. His sword lay haphazardly at his feet. Standing before him is a white-haired man with a face only describable as snake-like.
"So you've left that boring white mask behind, have you?" the snake-faced man asked, his voice sounding somewhat childish. "Aizen-Taichou?"
"Of course, Gin." Aizen stated flatly. "Now that I've left the chrysalis stage, it's time to begin the next phase of my plan."
"The second battle in the Living World, right?" Gin smiled. "Who are we bringing this time?"
"I'm sending one of the new recruits to rile up those three girls that gave Kare trouble." Aizen said, a smirk on his lips. "In fact, he should be arriving in Tokyo any minute. Sit back and watch, Gin."
No sooner than Aizen turn on the special view screen in Las Noches was there a large explosion in the heart of Tokyo's main harbor. The first person on the scene of the explosion was a monkey clothed in a black cape that surrounded its body and a large hat, reminiscent of Abraham Lincoln's, but with no brim, a domed top, and alternating white and violet stripes. At his side were three teenage boys. One was a red-head dressed in a red tank-top and black jeans. He wore a crimson hat with the brim aimed behind him as his waist-length hair fluttered in the wind from the wake of the explosion. To the red-head's left was a blonde with his hair cut short. The blonde wore blue jeans and a sapphire blue t-shirt with the words 'Punk-4-Life' emblazoned in electric blue and outlined with thick white borders. He also wore sunglasses with jade-green lenses that had a mirrored coating. Strapped to his back in a makeshift sheath was a katana with an orange hilt wrapped in black. The guard was a perfect circle carved from a tiger-eye stone and set in titanium plating. There were four pointed blades set at points on the guard to make it resemble a shuriken. On the right of the red-head was a boy with spiked black hair and forest-camo cargo pants. He wore a matching camo t-shirt with a jet black long-sleeve shirt underneath. The eyes of these three teens matched their hair color, and all three wore combat boots that Japan's armed forces would want. The red-head and the blonde simply stared at the carnage with no visible emotions, but the boy with black hair pointed towards where the disaster had occurred. He wore fingerless gloves with rivets at the knuckles.
"That was a hell of an explosion." he said. "I wish I could say it was our doing, but that bastard in white with the axe beat me to it!"
"Do not worry yourself." The monkey said. "You boys would make much better explosions. For it was I who made you, and it is I who knows your destructive powers."
"That may be, Mojo," the red-head stated. "But you know that Butch has a point. I mean, after Kare was royally ass-whooped by those bratty girls, the four of us became the masters of this town's dark side."
"Can it, Brick!" the black-haired boy, identified as Butch, said. "Hell, if it wasn't for Boomer siding with those girls and making us argue, I'm sure we'd be in the same boat as them."
"And that would be what?" Brick asked, turning his ruby-red eyes on his brother.
"Six feet under." Butch stated. "You saw their corpses. Mojo did too."
"So did half of the world." the blonde, Boomer, said in a deadpan voice. "And now their bodies have vanished without a trace."
"Enough talking of the past!" Mojo said. "The past can not be changed, for it has become history, and history can not be changed because it is in the past. We must now find out who that person is! Go, and beat their ass if needed!"
"Don't have to tell us twice!" Brick and Butch said simultaneously.
As the three boys flew towards the man in white, Boomer couldn't help but think something was definitely off about the past week. Sure the girls had bested Kare and killed him, but for them to die in the process? He wouldn't accept that. And just where had the two called Lunar Blade and Howling Blaster run off to? And now this punk blows up the one place where the blonde had called good enough to be protected. He paused in the air for a moment while his brothers went on. He looked back and saw that Mojo had run off, no doubt to attack some store and get food for the next week. Seeing that nobody was paying attention to him, Boomer flew north-east, heading towards the Utonium Laboratory. If anyone had answers to these screwed up events, it was the Professor.
Brick and Butch noticed that their blonde brother had ditched right as they landed, but they didn't really give a rat's ass. All that mattered to them was the punk standing before them and wielding an axe that would rival Paul Bunyan's own.
"Alright, prick! Talk!" Butch said, taking a ready stance. "Who the hell are you?"
"And why did you fuck over the one place that actually liked us?" Brick added, pointing to the still burning sign with the words 'Heian's Marine Wall' on it. "Their food was damned good!"
"This is the first line of defense this pathetic town throws at me?" the man asked, a heavy Russian accent on his tongue. "Well, Comrades, I destroyed this tiny building because I felt like it."
Now that Brick took a moment to look at the man while Butch started a ranting dialogue with him, he noticed his attire was definitely not of Japanese origin. Sure he had sandals on that reminded the red-head of samurai, even if they were black with white trim, but that was the only thing even remotely oriental. The pants that this man wore looked like they were American Navy SEAL standard issue, but the knees were blown out, as if he'd slid across a gravel road at sixty miles an hour. The only thing he wore above his waist was an open vest, revealing a perfectly round hole in his chest where his heart should be. On his face was a bone-white thing that resembled a hawk's wing, sweeping up towards and vanishing into his rust-blonde hair. His hair cascaded around his shoulders, and a piece of black ink could be seen just inside the left neckline.
"Butch, look at this guy." Brick said, grabbing his brother's shoulder as he gave the 'bird' to the stranger. "Notice anything familiar?"
"Familiar? What are you, on crack or something?" Butch said, then spotted the hole. "Hey, wait a second. He's got a hole in his chest like that Shimabara fucker has!"
"Exactly." Brick lowered his head slightly, allowing the bangs that poked through the hat to frame his eyes and shade them with a serious tone. "If he's anything like Shimabara, we'd better not drop our guard."
"You don't say." was all the raven-haired boy said.
"What's your name, axe-dude?" Brick asked sternly, flexing his right hand as he prepared to summon his weapon.
"Just call me Jjacques Cossack." the man said with a thick Russian accent, tapping the shaft of his axe against his shoulder. "I'm a real beast, you know. An Espada. You think you can take me with just the two of you?"
A slender blade with a hexagonal guard appeared in Brick's hand while a set of three inch spikes extended from the rivets on Butch's gloves.
"We've fought against this city's greatest heroes and held our ground." Brick said. "Someone like you is just a waste of time."
"But, since you doubt our power," Butch added. "We're gonna give you a private lesson!"
Boomer arrived at Professor Utonium's laboratory as his brothers began their battle. When he knocked, a boy about a year or so younger than himself opened the door, only to slam it shut and throw the deadbolt.
"Hey, shorty! I just wanna ask your old man a couple questions." Boomer said. "Besides, I'm here alone. My brothers are fighting some screwed up logger down by the bay, and Mojo is probably robbing some grocery store."
"Ken, who's at the door?" came the voice of the Professor.
"It's Boomer!" the kid who'd slammed the door shut said.
"Let him in. He's got a good reason, I'm sure."
When the door opened again, Boomer saw that the genius scientist was covered in soot and his hair was frizzed out. The blonde entered quietly and sat down in the empty chair by the coffee table and spoke sternly.
"Professor Kitazawa, I need to ask you something." Boomer said, addressing the adult by his last name. "Where are the Girls?"
"They're in Karakura right now." the Professor said. "So are Takuya and Riku. They said something about giving the girls special lessons to train their new powers."
"DAD!" Ken was suddenly angry. "Why are you telling him that? He's our enemy!"
"Actually," Boomer stated, taking off his sunglasses and set them on the table. "About that. I've weighed it out, and I've decided to abandon Mojo and my brothers. I'd like to form an alliance with you and the girls."
"Why would you turn against your family?" Ken asked. Noe he was gaining curiosity.
"The RowdyRuff Boys has become just some lowlife, street-thug filled gang." Boomer said. "Brick and Butch are turning to darker things, and Mojo regularily buys and sells stuff on the black market. I want out, and they don't give a damn."
"What about that explosion earlier?" Professor Utonium asked. "Didn't you guys have something to do with it?"
"Hell no! Heian's was the only place with seafood that was better than decent." Boomer said, an angry glare forming on his face. "Anyways, back to the topic at hand. Where exactly are the girls? You said Karakura, but where in Karakura?"
"I was told to keep it secret." the Professor said. "Ken and Peach only know that they're in Karakura. I won't even let them know."
"I've got something to persuade you, then." the blonde said, standing. "I know that Shimabara and Hayabusa both have swords that change shape with a command phrase. This sword, which was at my side when I woke the day Kare challenged the girls in that red lobster body of his, has the same property. Watch."
With both Utonium and Ken Kitazawa watching, Boomer drew the blade from the sheath, which was just a thick cardboard case used for steel bars and yet thin enough to fit snugly to the blade's guard. The blade itself, when it became visible, was jet black, with the cutting edge being a crimson red, as if the sword itself had been forged from blood and coated in ink before being sharpened. Taking a stance that both Kitazawas knew to be for battoujutsu, the blonde's voice sounded stern, yet merciful at the same time.
"Embrace the Storm of Twilight." he said, preparing to draw the blade from the invisible sheath at his hip. The blade gave a soft crimson glow with the next word. "Masamune."
When the glow disappeared, Boomer's weapon had transformed into a sickle-shaped blade with a long chain attached to the hilt. Where he held the weapon was attached to the underside of three spikes on the back of the blade. The blade itself reminded the Professor of a narrower version of the giant cleaver that Kurosaki Ichigo wielded. Attached to the far end of the chain, which itself appeared to be ten feet in length (but possibly longer due to the coiling around the boy's feet), was a large kunai knife. The blade of the sickle-end and the kunai-end had an intricate design reminiscent of runes, and at several spots along the chain itself there were flickers of black lightning.
"Masamune - Rengoku Zetsuei." Boomer said.
"Well, that's interesting." came a heavily Texan-accented female voice. "Didn't think there'd be a Shinigami in this backwater hick-town. Aizen-Sama didn't say anything about that."
"You sent her, too?" Gin asked Aizen as he watched the new development.
"Of course. An assault on two fronts is better than a solitary disturbance." Aizen smiled darkly. "Don't you agree?"
"Who the heck are you? Ken asked as he backed away from the wall and hid behind his father.
"And just what is a Shinigami?" the Professor asked, feigning ignorance.
Boomer didn't give the woman time to respond. He threw the kunai towards the intruder, piercing through her right shoulder and pinning her to the wall. However, despite the injury, she didn't seem fazed. She wore a V-necked t-shirt with the left sleeve torn off, exposing a Gothic-style '8' on her shoulder. The shirt stopped an inch or so above her navel. She also wore what looked like white form-fitting jeans that flared out once they past the knee, ending as wide as Takuya's shihakushou pants. She wore black sandals with white trim, and her arms were sheathed within white fingerless gloves that stopped halfway up her upper arm. When she only laughed at being pinned to the wall, Boomer demanded she explain.
"And here I was griping about needing a new shirt with no sleeves." she said, ignoring Boomer. "Now I have an excuse to just tear it off."
And tear off the sleeve she did, exposing a hole in the shoulder, through which the kunai had passed. This only elicited a stern frown from the blonde as he tugged the chain, making the kunai return to him. The woman only glared at him, despite keeping her smile.
"Didn't your Mama ever teach you to be nice to a lady?" the woman asked, pulling a strand of her black hair from her face. "Especially one as beautiful as I am?"
"I wouldn't know." Boomer said. "I was raised by a maniacal monkey with a small-time-crime complex."
"What's your name, lady?" the Professor asked.
"Me? Ain't nobody really cared bout that." the woman said, her pale lavender eyes looking them over like choice cuts of meat. "But I suppose if you must know, my name is Sierra. Sierra de la Rivierra. Don't forget it, pumpkin."
With that, the lady vanished, a peal of soft thunder marking her passing. Boomer resealed his sword and spoke again, this time with clear disdain and irritation in his voice.
"I'll ask you once more. Where are they?" he asked as he sheathed his blade.
"I'll tell you." the Professor said, having thought that he and his son would've died if Boomer hadn't been there. "They're staying at the home of a colleague of mine, Urahara Kisuke. The boys are there, too."
"Thanks." Boomer took off without another word.
"Why the hell won't this bastard die?" Brick screamed.
"What the fuck is he made of?" Butch asked. "I feel like I'm hitting steel."
"I'll let you two in on a secret." Jjacques said, looking as if he'd not broken a sweat while the two RowdyRuffs were exhausted. "There are ten of us Espada. The closer the number to zero, the stronger we are. I admire your ability to stand up to me for so long, but here's some news. There are two of us here."
"What?" Brick asked, right as a raven-haired woman appeared next to the Russian Espada.
"Jjacques, honey, let's blow this joint. I'm bored, and the Shinigami I found wasn't even close to Captain-Class." she said, turning to display the number '8' on her left shoulder.
"Fine, Sierra." Jjacques said, opening a hole in the sky itself, a dark vortex within it. "But first, let me show these two what they just fought with."
"Whatever, just make it quick." Sierra said before vanishing into the hole.
"Behold, Comrades. The man you fought with has this rank." Jjacques lifted the vest away from his neck, revealing the number '5'. Brick and Boomer were shocked. "Just so you know, Comrades, the power of each rank is exponentially different. Example, Octava is twice as powerful as Novena. Septima is twice Octava's power. Enjoy your last free days of life."
The hole he'd torn closed as the RowdyRuff boys gawked. They were gonna need help if that guy came back, and they knew it. After all, without Boomer they were only so strong. As Butch began to call out obscenities towards the now vanished strangers, Brick thought of the only group he knew that was skilled enough in fighting to form an alliance.
"Butch, we need allies." the red-head stated flatly, his weapon vanishing from view. "And there's only one group that I can think of that's strong enough."
"What are you getting at?" Butch asked, still angered about the food shop being nuked.
"That guy was toying with us." Brick said. "If we want to stand a chance, we need strong allies to train with.
"Brick, I don't like where this is going."
"Do what you think is best to train." Brick turned and lifted off the ground slowly. "I'm going to see if Ace will agree to an alliance."
In Karakura, however, in the basement of a certain shop owner, six people were training like there was no tomorrow. Momoko was learning the basics of swordmanship from Riku, keeping her blade sealed for the moment. Miyako was sitting cross-legged with her blade laying across her lap unsheathed. Takuya sat in an identical fashion facing her. However, his blade was standing in the ground between them as opposed to on his lap. Takuya was teaching her about an old method of communicating with her Zanpakutou.
"This method I'm going to teach you is called 'Jinzen'." Takuya said. "It's the only way to carry a proper conversation with your Zanpakutou. You must learn to focus your mind, letting it become one with your blade."
"Is there some special trick to it?" Miyako asked while the two of them ignored the intense training session between Momoko and Riku, as well as the near battle-like session occurring between Kaoru and Urahara.
"If you can call attaining a serene state of mind a special trick, I guess." Takuya sighed, opening his right eye to look at her. "I'm sorry for having to be rough with you during this process, but I must. Now, FOCUS."
Miyako nodded and closed her eyes. Takuya waited about two minutes, then stretched out his left leg in an attempt to kick his girlfriend in the forehead. However, much to the boy's annoyance, she easily dodged.
"Why did you attack?" she asked, upset that he would do such a thing.
"Dodging proves that you aren't focusing!" Takuya said, deflecting a stone with his foot as it hurtled towards him from Riku's direction. "You're leaving your senses open to your surroundings. That's not gonna fly!"
"All you told me to do was meditate and focus on my sword!" Miyako said, raising her voice at him. "I don't see YOU focusing!"
"Tch..." Takuya knew he would regret his next action for a while. For the first time in his life, he was about to knowingly use a vulgar word in front of a girl. "This ain't about me, Miyako! Now stop complaining and put your full attention on the blade! And for the love of god, FOCUS YOUR DAMNED MIND!"
The instant he'd finished speaking, Miyako slapped him, her nails leaving thin cuts across his cheek. The two of them said nothing, having both known that he deserved it, and began to focus again on their weapons. This time, though, they both became immune to the sounds of the world around them.
Meanwhile, Urahara was beginning to have trouble keeping pace with Kaoru. He'd already been driven to unleash his Zanpakutou's true form, and now the raven-haired tomboy saw it clearly.
"The hell is that?" she asked.
"This?" Urahara raised the blade so she could see it perfectly. "This is my Zanpakutou, Benihime. She's definitely something, isn't she?"
"That cane-sword of yours just shot the same thing that Kare had!" Kaoru screamed, her reiatsu pulsing a bit. "What the HELL are you?"
"Me? I'm just a simple shopkeeper that happens to have a bit of knowledge about swordsmanship."
"BULLSHIT!" Kaoru screamed, swinging her weapon wildly at him.
As Urahara kept easily dodging her attacks, Kaoru felt her anger reach a breaking point. Before the final battle with Kare, she'd seen Takuya reach his hand up to his face while fighting several times, but had never actually seen anything change about him. However, at her request an hour ago he had performed the same action. This time, when he pulled his hand down his face from eyebrow to jaw, she (along with the other two girls) had seen a mask form from an emerald-edged sapphire light. They had been so shocked that they'd forgotten its appearance already, but Kaoru decided to try the same maneuver.
"I'm gonna turn that hat of yours into ribbons!" Kaoru yelled, reaching her free hand up to her face, gathering energy. When she pulled her hand away, dragging the energy down and to the right, her vision went black as her body seemed to stop all motion.
"Well, this isn't good." Urahara said in a deathly serious tone. "I'd better freeze her for a bit."
As Urahara set Benihime down and began to recite the proper incantation for the bakudo he was about to use, a soft unearthly growl reverberated from the raven-haired tomboy's throat.
"Walls of iron sand, a priestly pagoda, glowing ironclad fireflies. Standing upright, silent to the end. Bakudo number seventy-five. Gochutekkan."
At the moment he stopped speaking, five gigantic pillars made of iron appeared, tied with a thick chain through the tops, and pinned Kaoru's body to the ground. The arrival of the binding spell was enough to draw Riku's attention from his fiance, and he cast his own binding spell to aid Urahara's, just in case.
"Bakudo number seventy-nine. Kuyo Shibari!"
Eight dark holes suddenly appeared in formation around Kaoru as a ninth burst into existence from the center of her back. Momoko saw this and became frightened. She dropped her Zanpakutou and stepped away from Riku, slowly.
"What...what did you guys just do to her?" Momoko asked, her voice wavering on the verge of tears. "You didn't..."
"No, she's still very much alive." Urahara said, returning to his usual sing-song voice. "These two spells are binding spells, much like Rikujokoro, but stronger. She attempted to summon the strength of her inner Hollow before she'd attempted to tame it."
"Because of that, we immobilized her body, just in case she goes berserk." Riku added, sheathing his blade. "With our flyboy in the middle of Jinzen, all we can do is keep her bound."
"What's Jinzen?" the redhead asked, confused.
"If you want to know, ask Takuya when he's done with his girls." Riku said.
"Wait, what? You said 'girls', as in more than one." Now the self-proclaimed leader of the Powerpuff Girls Z was thoroughly stumped. "I only see one."
"I think the phrase 'don't judge a book by its cover' applies here." Yoruichi said, startling the soon-to-wed couple. "All Zanpakutou have their own souls. It is not unheard of for a Shinigami to have a Zanpakutou of the opposite gender as themselves."
"I'm gonna get some air." Riku stated flatly. "Momo, just let Yoruichi-San explain it to you."
"Wha-? Wait, Ri-Kun!"
"Don't worry about anything, Momoko." Yoruichi said. "I will give a simple explanation. Will you listen?"
"I...yeah." Momoko sat down as Yoruichi began to speak, setting her sword on her lap.
"You know as well as any person that when a woman has a baby, there is an equal chance for it to be a boy or a girl." As Momoko nodded, Yoruichi smiled. "It's a similar situation with Zanpakutou. You see, even though a Zanpakutou is a part of your soul, it is also its own person. But that is a discussion for another time."
"So...what about Takuya-Kun?"
"His Zanpakutou happens to be a female." Yoruichi said. "He mentioned that he became a Captain, right?"
"He said something like that." Momoko stated, raising a brow. "But what's that got to do with his sword being a girl?"
"One of the requirements for becoming a Captain is the ability to use Bankai." The former Captain of Division Two held up a paw at Momoko's attempt to speak. "Bankai is the full potential and true form of any Zanpakutou. In order to achieve Bankai, one must first be able to manifest the Zanpakutou's spirit in our dimension, as opposed to sending one's mind to the world within their soul to speak with the spirit."
"You lost me."
"Do all children these days have trouble keeping up with even simple explanations?" Yoruichi mumbled. She then raised her voice. "Why don't I just have him demonstrate?"
The black cat scampered over to Takuya, who'd just finished Jinzen and was now watching his girlfriend, and tapped his leg.
"I'm having difficulties explaining Zanpakutou genders to Miss Akatsutsumi." Yoruichi said, sighing in defeat. "Would you please ask Hanabara to step into our world for a time?"
"I figured this would come up." Takuya said. He then leaned backwards and looked at the red-head. "When Miyako-Chama's done with Jinzen, I'll show all three of you what Hanabara looks like. So sit tight for a bit, kay?"
As soon as he finished speaking, there was an explosion of familiar reiatsu from Kaoru's body. This grabbed everyone's attention, since it destroyed the two binding spells easily.
"Well, that's not good." Yoruichi and Urahara said simultaneously.
As Tessai, who'd been introduced to the girls before the training began, tried to initiate another bakudo, Takuya called out loud enough to break Miyako out of Jinzen.
"EVERYBODY GET BACK!" He screamed.
After Momoko stared at him for a moment, she (along with everyone else) obeyed, getting back far enough that when Kaoru's body stood, her mask giving a soft emerald glow from the eyeholes, the only living thing she saw in range was the silver-haired teen. When she attacked, Takuya blocked her weapon with a shimmering wall of semi-transparent light.
"Bakudo eighty-one! DANKU!" he hurriedly called out.
Then his hands gave a soft green glow as he clapped once and leapt into the air, luring Kaoru's blood-crazed and seemingly mindless body after him. She stopped short as a wall of white pillars barred her from her target. Behind the wall, several more layers were being added as Takuya continued to speak.
"Brethren-in-arms withdrawing for the distance of 8 sun and standing still. Blue bolt, white bolt, black bolt, red bolt. Sinking into the ocean together seeking redemption." A blue roof formed on the structure as he slung a single blue bar across the back of the thing. "Ryubi no Jomon!"
A warbled and crazed voice came from Kaoru's mouth as she began to attack the wall.
"This ain't gonna stop me, Hun!" She cried as unknown to her, a windmill-shaped barrier appeared on her left, a honeycomb-like object comprised of hundreds of smaller hexagons appeared behind her, and an obelisk with numerous panks curled to look like a crudely formed bird with wings making a lampshade-like structure appeared above her.
"Then I'll add these." Takuya said. "Koko no Jomon! Kikai no Jomon! Hoyoku no Jomon!"
"That brings back memories." Urahara said. "I wonder how he got Ushoda-San to teach him that?"
"Shut up and watch, Kisuke." Yoruichi said as a rectangular darkly colored prison-like barrier formed around Kaoru.
"What the hell is this?" Kaoru screamed. "What are you planning?"
"Just a battle to keep you in your place until Kaoru-Chan comes back." Takuya said. "SHIJI NO SAIMON!"
He stepped up to the windmill barrier and allowed it to open enough to let him in. Once inside, he closed it again and drew his sword.
"Oh, you'll pay!" Kaoru screamed, her voice still not her own.
"What the hell is this?" Riku had just returned to the Urahara Shoten basement only to see a familiar barrier around Kaoru and Takuya. "Shiji no Saimon? Why the...you know what, screw it. I don't wanna know."
"You may not, but I sure as hell do!" came a voice from behind Riku.
When the teen turned to see who'd spoken, he saw a teen with bright orange hair wielding a giant cleaver with no guard and no proper hilt. He was in standard Shinigami robes, and a determined look was in his eye.
"Kurosaki-San? What are you doing here?" Urahara asked.
"I felt the energy of one of Hachi's kido and thought there might be trouble." Kurosaki Ichigo said. "But all I see is Takuya and a girl with a Hollow Mask inside that barrier."
"I can explain." Miyako said, tapping Ichigo's arm. "That is, if you want me to, Kurosaki-Kun."
"Eh...Gotokuji-Chan?" Ichigo was stunned, but then he saw the Zanpakutou in her hands. "Yeah, you'd better explain. Start with the Zanpakutou in your hands."