The Grand Emperor
Summary: Once the nine of them were considered gods, Nine Great Lords of Hueco Mindo. Then they vanished without a trace. Reality became legend, legend became myth and even their names were lost to history. Then Aizen had to go and awaken the strongest of them.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or Bleach. They are the respective properties of Musashi Kishimoto and Tite Kubo. I'm just burrowing a few of their characters for a while.
Who am I?
Where do I come from?
What am I?
Where do I belong?
These are questions which I asked myself at first, when I awoke in this accursed land.
I don't know who I am, or where I originally come from.
I don't know what I am, and as far as I know I belong nowhere.
I have no name, none that I remember.
As to how old I am, well, when the years turn to decades, centuries, even millennia one eventually stops counting.
All I know is at first I had the visage of an animal, a long sinewy creature with skin of hardened white carapace, and nine flowing tails followed me wherever I went like a shroud. I was smaller than most creatures, and at first I thought of it as a weakness. It was not until I made my first kill that I realised that size mattered very little in this world, and I have killed many more since then.
Over time my body began to change, and over a course of hundreds of years I slowly changed from a four legged creature to a two legged, bipedal form. By my fifteen hundredth year I had become what my subconscious saw me as, what I most likely looked like when I was human. Over these long years I slowly realised that not only was my body evolving but my intelligence as well, I began to remember things and commit them to memory.
I quickly realised that I was not like the others around me, for one I didn't seem to follow their evolutionary cycle. I didn't need to merge with hundreds of Hollows to become what was known as a Gillian. Even the higher levels didn't look anything like me, for although they took on more human appearances it couldn't hold a candle to me.
It was not until many years later that I realised that I had become the first true Vasto Lorde level Menos Grande. Over time I found others just like me, stronger than the rest who had gained almost completely human visages. We travelled together for a time before separating, carving out nine vast territories in this world to call our own.
We would go down in legend and lore as the Nine Lords of Hueco Mundo. The first nine Hollow to be truly called Vasto Lorde. There had been none before and none nearly as powerful since. We were the mothers and fathers of the final evolutionary hurdle, brothers and sisters who transcended life and death. We became monsters with a conscience, monsters that reclaimed their souls as well as our bodies and intelligence.
I even remembered my own name.
It was Naruto, Naruto Uzumaki.
I was the first to remember my name, but I would not be the last. The others slowly began to remember their identities, and over time we became something more than those around us. We became Vasto Lorde. We became the Nine Lords of Hueco Mundo.
Gaara,The Ichibi no Shukaku
Yugito, the Nibi no Nekomata
Yagura, the Sanbi no Kyodaigame
Yoshi, the Yonbi no Saru
Rin, the Gobi no Ookami
Utakate, the Rokubi no Namekuji
Fu, the Nanabi no Kabotumushi
Kirabi, the Hachibi no Kyogyo
And me, Naruto, the Kyubi no Yoko
Our reign lasted for millennia, and then something happened. It began as a rumour that one of our siblings, the Fifth Lord, Rin, had vanished from her territory. Then news slowly reached my wizened ears that the others had suffered a similar fate, one by one I lost contact with my siblings until I knew I was all that remained, and that I was next.
I still remember that day. The day I met the ones who had driven a wedge into our combined domains. He called himself the King of the Soul Society, Spirit King, and his thirteen warriors, the first Captains of the Shinigami Court. They introduced themselves as such. I had heard of the term Shinigami before, but I had never met ones of such raw spiritual pressure.
I learned that they were the ones who hunted down my comrades, to eliminate us as a threat to both them and the worlds they watched over. With that they struck, but I was not defenceless. The battle lasted for days, destroyed my fortress and massacred the majority of my subordinates. In return I had personally killed six of his Captains and engaged him. Our battle had been a battle of gods, one that scarred the very earth and turned the surrounding landscape into wastelands.
The eternal desert of Hueco Mundo came into existence through this conflict.
He won by doing what he had done to my comrades, by whittling down my strength and sealing me away, under the ruins of my fortress for all eternity. Centuries passed, and while my body had been sealed my soul was still able to see the goings on of Hueco Mundo. The Nine Lords became stories of legend, then myth, and it was many centuries before something interesting happened again.
Shinigami had entered my fortress, now a ruin, and defeated the one who had called it home, some young pup named Baraggan, supposed God-King of Hueco Mundo. God of Hollows preserve me. How far our race has fallen if that skeletal fool is one of the strongest?
The Shinigami returned my fortress to its former glory and gathered an army with his goal being all out war with the Soul Society, and to take the Spirit Kings place. If only he knew I was down here I might have helped him, but he seemed a little off for my tastes. He gathered ten of the strongest Menos he could find and through some unnatural alchemy turned them into something not Hollow nor Shinigami, Arrancar, yes that was what he called them.
I didn't know how it happened, maybe it was just the age of time whittling away the effectiveness of the seal I was trapped in, or perhaps it was the presences of so many powerful beings that weakened my prison. All I know is that over time I felt my coffin getting weaker and weaker, until it was weak enough for me to tweak it, push the barrier back and forth until hairline cracks began to form. It would only take a single burst of my spiritual pressure to blow the top off, and I would be free.
I waited until I felt the presences above me begin to disappear. I may have been considered the more powerful of the first Vasto Lorde but so many years of captivity had weakened me to the point where I would not have been able to defeat everyone skulking about my fortress.
So I slept.
I had waited for a couple of a thousand years, what was another hundred?
I wasn't sure how long I slept for, maybe a few hours or a few years. I didn't really keep count. But I was jarred awake by a great explosion of spiritual pressure, then another and another. It must have been impressive if it awoke someone like me. There was a battle taking place above, and it looked like it was winding down.
I reached out with a withered hand, pressing it against the cool surface of my coffin. The seal had corroded to the point where the slightest blast of energy would have shattered it. I spoke, voice croaking and raspy after so many years of disuse.
"Well, might as well say hi."
I released a small amount of several thousand years of pent up spiritual pressure.
Maybe a little too much
But it did the trick.
Byakuya Kuchiki had felt many powerful spiritual pressures in his lifetime, as a Captain of the Goteijusantai he had been called upon to deal with many a powerful Hollow, and just recently he had been selected as part of an infiltration group to find and aide the Substitute Shinigami and his allies when they haphazardly entered Hueco Mundo against their advice.
He was the head of the prestigious Kuchiki family, Captain of the sixth Shinigami Court Guard Division and considered one of the strongest and most experienced Captains of the next generation, yet in all of his years as a Shinigami Captain he had never felt a spiritual pressure this huge, not even the Zero Espada who stood before him in his released form, not the battle loving Captain of the eleventh Division nor the clearly mad scientist Captain of the twelfth, were nearly as powerful.
The ground several dozen meters behind them bulged and exploded, throwing sand and rock high into the air, allowing a powerful blade of crimson spiritual pressure to break through and pierce the air with an almost suffocating aura. It reached so high that it pierced through the ceiling of the fortress of Las Noches, an impressive feat considering the incredible size of this place and the height of its roof.
The battle between Shinigami and Arrancar came to a sudden halt as the three combatants turned to watch the spectacle in both wonder and terror. Byakuya Kuchiki wasn't familiar with this powerful Rietsu, but knew at an almost instinctive level that it spelt more bad news for the infiltration team of Shinigami Captains.
A figure stepped through the crimson energy as simply as a man would step through mist or fog, hand making a simple horizontal cutting gesture that dispelled the spiritual pressure surrounding him. He was clothed in rags which might have once been considered clothing, but he could not discern their original colour as they were covered in dirt and filth.
He took the guise of an old man, face wrinkled and tanned from extreme age. Hair, turned white from age, stringy and unkempt as it fell all the way down to the small of his back. Exposed skin marred with liver spots, and form as thin as a rake, ribs pulling his skin taught and wiry arms and legs. He was literarily nothing more than skin and bones.
The eyes were the only thing that did not look decrepit, a brilliant blue with showed an abundance of life and intelligence behind them.
He looked around and took a deep breath, before breaking into a mass of sputtering, hacking and coughing. He spoke after he regained control, voice raspy and croaking from what seemed like lack of use.
"Hmm, I suppose I have to fix this shouldn't I?"
He didn't wait for anyone to answer as a dense spiritual pressure surrounded him, crimson and bubbling, so strong that anyone not Captain level on the rector scale would have fallen to their knees or collapsed into unconsciousness, even death. Byakuya looked on with a wide eyed fascination as this being transformed before them.
His wrinkled and liver spotted skin became smoother and took on a more healthy tan. As he de-aged right in front of them Byakuya noticed whisker marks on the man's face, three on each cheek. He watched as muscles started to bulge across his body before it was overtaken by cloth as the rags seemed to recover into actual clothing. A white shirt and pants, black knee high boots and a white overcoat lined with black. His white hair bleached from white to a vibrant gold, before being cut from the flick of his right wrist. A mass of blonde locks fell to the desert sands as that which remained seemed to spike naturally.
What stood before them as the spiritual pressure receded was not an old man of skin and bones but a young man in his early to mid twenties, handsome and powerful with a broad grin of white teeth. When he spoke his voice was not croaking and raspy, but gravelly and cheerful.
"Ah, that's better!"
The three Shinigami Captains and one Espada blinked as they looked at this creature as he himself began to look around, a look of awe on his features as he checked out the huge fissure running along the ceiling of the grand fortress. A reminder of the colossal battle which took place between Ichigo Kurosaki and the Fourth Espada, and then he looked around at the ruins of the once grand Las Noches.
"Wow, someone's really been redecorating this place. Must have gone insane from all these neutral colours, I mean really, white, did the decorator have an off day or something?" He looked down at his clothes before making a distasteful face. "Where is the life in these things? Where is the colour and vibrancy?"
Byakuya blinked at the new arrivals rant before looking at the expressions of his fellow Captains. It was what he had expected. The Captain of the twelfth Division looked at this man with a mixture of awe and clinical fascination, not surprising considering Mayuri Kurotsuchi was a scientist right down to his rotten core. The Captain of the eleventh Division looked at the new arrival with a manic grin. Obviously Zaraki Kenpachi wished more than anything else to fight this mysterious newcomer.
Surprisingly it wasn't him who spoke first. It was the Zero Espada, Yammy Llargo. The giant monstrosity roared angrily at this fourth opponent, making the blond turn around and look at the Arrancar with narrowed eyes, almost giving the impression his eyes were slanted. He didn't look very intimidated, Kuchiki realised, more like questioning.
"Who the hell do you think you are?" The giant roared as he neared closer to the blond stranger, three original opponents forgotten. "Waltzing in here like you own the place. You must have a death wish!"
"Who the hell do I think I am?" The newcomer asked with a broad grin, even as the most powerful of the Espada reared back his huge fist for a blow which would have probably levelled an entire building, or a block of buildings. "Why I'm Naruto Uzumaki, and I waltzed in here like I owned the place because-"
The fist came down with a thunderous crash, throwing up tonnes of sand and debris as it made contact with its target. It took some time for the dust to finally settle, but when it did the blond stood, unmoving and unhurt, hand raised in a palm which seemed to stop the multiple times larger fist of the released Espada like it was child's play.
"Because," he continued, smile still in place but without even a trace of mirth. "I waltzed into this place because I own this place!"
He vanished in a blur of motion, completely disappearing from Byakuya's senses. Then he reappeared right in front of the Zero Espada, hand reached out as if to flick the storey tall giants forehead. Which he did, sending Yammy skidding back by several dozen meters before falling on his spiked back, flattening the remains of what must have once been a cylindrical pylon.
The blond landed in a crouch, azure eyes glaring at the fallen giant with an intensity Byakuya could feel from his place, then they settled on him and he froze, feeling a mass of killing intent which would have killed most humans.
"Now then, not to sound cliché but." He stood, spread his hands and looked to the broken roof of Hueco Mindo. "After three thousand years I live again!"
Author's Note 1: I know, I know, don't upload new ideas when I have so many unfinished ones on this site, but I couldn't help myself with this. The In the End crossover has officially been discontinued until further notice, after rereading it I realised how many nagging little annoying details that contradicted each other. I might try and rewrite it someday.
Author's Note 2: Not really sure what I want to do with this one, so reviews are always appreciated and welcome. I'm thinking this will be another story, maybe three or four times longer than A Moment in History.