So, this has been a long time in coming, here is the first chapter of "The King of Hueco Mundo"- the sequel to "The Boy from Hueco Mundo." It picks up immediately after the epilogue to "the Boy from Heuco Mundo."
The faintest breeze ghosted over the perpetually cold lit silver dunes, hardly disturbing a grain in the world that stood mostly unchanging– a constant silent night, stagnant, emptiness– the hollow land. And in the one obstruction to the endless horizon, the one thing that shone a little brighter– but only so it could cast a much darker, nearly endless shadow– in the long hall of empty chairs, in his throne, sat the most hollow being of all.
For ten months he'd ruled here. Unchallenged, in boredom, the only thing that kept him going was the need to find out who he was– recover those lost memories. And he hadn't been quite alone. He'd had Pantera, an inexplicable bond that apparently not even the cataclysm could erase. The cataclysm– but no, it had been a man, as he had learned, Aizen.
Then he had come to fear who he was. Glimpses of his past were enough to warn him to stop looking. But the past seemed always to catch up to him and he had suffered for it, gravely. Months of pain, of confusion, of loneliness. And it had all just brought him back where he started, in the centre of this hollow place, but this time not even with Pantera. The only thing he ever let himself wonder about now was what he possibly could have done in his past to warrant this punishment, this allotment in his own personal hell.
He could barely remember what it had felt like in that briefest of time, when his existence had seemed to have some value, when he'd had responsibility for someone else, cared for someone else, befriended someone else.
But after all he'd done to save him, that friend was gone now too. He had no need for the hollow king now that he'd returned to his world, so full of life even in death, where he had responsibilities of his own, people to take care of and who took care of him.
So Grimmjow Jaggerjaques sat alone, shutting his eyes so that at least he wouldn't have to stare at emptiness around him.
"Sir!" His eyes shot open the instant the voice sounded but he had felt it too– a massive eruption of spiritual pressure rippling across their world.
"Haqueshaw!" Grimmjow was on his feet, striding to the hollow who's addressed him. "What the Hell was that?"
"I don't know. But I've never..." the white humanoid figure before him began to tremble. He felt the flare of all the other arrancars in the palace, they were equally as terrified.
"Send out a scout. I want to know what this is."
"Y-yes sir." The arrancar left, undoubtably relieved he personally had not been asked to go.
Grimmjow remained where he was, letting his Pisquikas hone in on the threat. There was something about it he recognized but he couldn't put his finger on it. But whatever it was, he knew without a doubt it was far more powerful than himself.
The report never came back. Grimmjow didn't bother sending out another damned soul. He was surprised to find most of the occupants of the palace gathered, waiting for him to announce something when he left the great hall. He looked at the faces that did not even bother to mask their fear and stated simply, "I'm going."
He left without another word, knowing that whoever the being was out in the sand, it would most likely kill him.
The Head Captain sat back wearily in his chair. He had barely gotten word that Grimmjow had escaped before he discovered Kisuke Urahara and the rest of his loyal companions missing. There was no doubt in his mind what happened but that would have to wait because even more disturbing news had just reached him. He of course, had felt the disruption in the balance, even from the distance of another dimension.
"It has been confirmed, sir." His lieutenant reported from where he had silently slid in through the half open door. "Ichigo Kurosaki has transformed into a hollow. Uryu Ishida was witness, and it seems that Kisuke Urahara and Yoruichi were also present. Shall I have them brought back?"
"No. Inform Urahara that I want his full cooperation in this matter or measures will be taken to secure him and his friends again. But I feel he might be willing to aid us in this matter as long as it concerns the safety of the humans. Have Renji Abarai and Rukia Kuchki join him in the human world. They can then send their full report."
"But sir, they have yet to recover their memories."
"They are loyal, and they can handle this much. Too many are still recovering from the last battle. We must rely on every resource we possess. Is that understood?"
"Then there is one person in the world of the living I would have you bring to me."
"Who is that?"
Whisper thin wings bat through night air, black on black, making the Hell Butterfly nearly invisible. But well trained senses had the lieutenant sit up sharply in the night. She had drifted only lightly after the whole ordeal of letting Grimmjow go. But she was loyal to her Captain, and even if he didn't have many of his memories, she believed his instincts were in tact.
Matsumoto stretched out a long finger and allowed the insect to alight on her digit. Her gasp echoed through the room and none remained asleep when she shot to her feet.
"Captain!" He was up in an instant. He too had only drifted lightly. "We have been summoned by the Head Captain."
"No. This is something else. The Head Captain needs you to remember."
"We've been trying. He said it will just take time."
"No, this is something specific. He needs you to remember how you got into Hueco Mundo."
"I don't understand." Uryu said again, leaning his head into his palms while he sat on the bare floor of Urahra's shop. "I was told we'd broken into Hueco Mundo once before. Why can't we do it again?"
"Oh we can." Urahara said with no cheer in his voice. "I have the calculation in my notebook."
"Then what is the problem?"
"Two things. First, the notes are written in code that I have yet to remember and deciphering them will take some time. And secondly, it's not just some spell, it's a process. A gate must be built and a means of converting human souls must be devised if we plan on bringing Ichigo back and if you plan on going through."
"Then what about Soul Society? Didn't they have a gate?"
"They did but it was constructed by Captain Kurotsuchi."
"And let me guess, his memories are wiped too.'
"No. He's dead."
Uryu fell silent and gripped his knees in total frustration. There was nothing he could do but sit on this floor while Ichigo was in another world and...another form. Urahara had explained it as best he could but it was still rather a lot to take in. Jinta sat on the floor beside him with one arm around Ururu and the other still gripped tightly around Pantera. Uryu eyed the sword, thinking how useless he would be without his bow. He wanted to think that at least this meant Grimmjow couldn't kill Ichigo, but he had gathered from Urahara that that wasn't much of a possibility. Most likely, the espada was already dead.
Grimmjow vainly tried to wipe the sand out of yet another wound but it was no good. Thousands of grains were already stuck to his bloody palms and trying to rub them out of other wounds only succeeded in grating against tender and torn flesh further so he dropped his hands from his side and looked back to the enemy.
He didn't understand how it was the kid, but once he'd gotten closer, there was no mistaking that all-consuming power– no matter how darkly twisted and deformed. He'd held his own for the first hour or so of battle but the accumulation of small wounds and Ichigo's unrelenting attacks had weakened him greatly. At first, the hollow Ichigo was wild, confused, unrestrained and sloppy. But as Grimmjow got weaker, he seemed to be getting stronger, fighting with actual strategy rather than blind rage. After the first bad blow Grimmjow knew he was in trouble. But now he wondered if he'd even make it back to the palace if he tried.
"FUCK." Grimmjow screamed feeling his shoulder dislocate when he tried to block a blow. He slid far back into the sand, crashing through dunes and sending up a silver spray in his wake. His breath had been knocked out of him and he tried to fight past the pain to get up before Ichigo killed him but couldn't quite make it. Suddenly the perpetual moon was blocked by that hideous face and he took a deep breath, knowing it would be his last.
But in that long moment that he stared death in the face he felt something smooth and cold against the back of his hand, laying in the sand. He had no time to look, to think, it just felt so much like the cool hard surface of Pantera that he instinctually raised it up against the beast who was crouched so low that the object met its chest.
It was the cataclysm all over again.
That one memory that Grimmjow tried to escape but had played over and over in his mind came rushing back in high definition.
Cresting the dune.
Seeing the two figures.
Feeling that all-consuming, white-hot light that spread across the land until it was burning him up.
But now he was on his back and it was in his hand and the white light was just on them, just burning them. He was sure his whole arm would explode but somehow it just stayed pinned against the creature's chest while it howled in equal agony. He could see nothing past the powerful light but at its core, glowing between his fingers he could see the flash of pure gold and knew his terrible mistake.
Ichigo blinked down at the man at his feet, then to his surroundings.
"Grimmjow...what happened, where are we?"
The man starred back up at him, something clutched tightly in his hand. But he could hardly sit up when he tried so Icghio swooped to help him.
"Is that really you kid?" Grimmjow asked, when Ichigo repeated his question.
"Yeah, are you okay?"
Grimmjow was watching him wearily.
"It's me, Grimmjow," Ichigo insisted, "what's wrong?"
Ichigo raised an eyebrow. "You might have a concussion, that head wound looks pretty bad."
Grimmjow shook his head but Ichigo insisted, the man was not acting right. But when he reached out a hand to the matted blue hair he froze. In the cold light of the moon his hand shone back unnaturally white. It was colourless compared to Grimmjow's skin which was pale enough at the moment.
He withdrew from Grimmjow and looked himself over. His clothes were just as white as his skin except where trimmed in black. At his side was a long black blade, still identical to Zangetsu though he heard no voice from it. He ran his hands over his body and stopped cold when the fabric of the white kimono gave way at his stomach– as if it was hollow beneath. Very slowly he undid the top of the uniform and let it fall at his waist. There, set in muscle much more firm and developed than his human body, was a perfectly round hole, in almost the same place as Grimmjow's. He took a gasp of breath and fell to his knees, but the pounding of his heart beat was strangely absent. No racing pulse, no thunder in his ear drums, just silence in his body except for his breaths.
"What's happening? What is this?"
Grimmjow finally opened his hand. It had not burned away like he thought but was instead fine, all injuries on that arm were healed. He uncurled his fingers and examined the broken, golden object in his hand.
"Aizen tried to destroy the world with this." Grimmjow said very quietly. "It's one of the only memories I have. Both he and Toshiro cut into it, I thought that meant it was destroyed."
"Is that...the Hogyoku?"
Grimmjow nodded. "Or at least part of it."
"How did you get it?"
"I don't know, I just felt it in the sand and reacted. I thought I was going to die but then..." his eyes roamed Ichigo's form again. Even though he had seen his skin and clothes and hollow hole, the teen did not know that his hair was also white and his eyes black as ink save the piercing yellow irises. Grimmjow swallowed hard and gripped the hogyoku again.
"What is it?" Ichigo asked seeing his face.
"But Aizen used it for something else too. He used it to make me the way I am."
"What do you mean?"
"Ichigo, just now, you were like a hollow. I don't know how but–"
"Grimmjow, just tell me what you mean."
The wounded man sighed again. "The Hogyoku can be used to make hollows into espada."
In the deepest depths of Soul Society Prisons, in walls of Seki Seki and complete obscurity, a figure twitched where it was bound on the floor. If any light could reach those depth, a pearly grin would be seen amidst the grit and grime.
"Ah..." Aizen hissed, "so it's been found. How interesting."
Hope you enjoyed this first chapter!