WARNING: BIG IMPORTANT CHUNK OF AUTHOR'S NOTES AHEAD. READ BEFORE READING THE CHAPTER IF YOU ARE A VETERAN READER!

(A/N: *whistles* It certainly has been a long time since I wrote a chapter for this fic. Let me explain why that is. A while back my other fanfic, Soul Chess, was given the honor of being placed on the tvtropes fanfic recommendation page. I spent all of my time since then working on it and it became my new favorite, leaving Blades of Destiny to rot. Then, about a week ago, I discovered that this trilogy ALSO received a recommendation BACK IN OCTOBER! *facedesk* How did I miss that? Well, long story short, I've spent the last week and a half making a tvtropes page for the Tales of Bleach: Unreal Society trilogy. You can now find it by going to tvtropes and then typing in Main/TalesOfBleachUnrealSociety. All 3 fics are discussed there. Since I had to archive binge to really fire up the page, I decided to re-master the series. I fixed grammar and all that other junk I've been meaning to do. Took since last Sunday, but it's finally done. I changed a couple of dialogue points here and there, adding a few jokes, taking lines away here and there, but ultimately nothing much changed in the long run. With one exception and this is why you needed to read and if you haven't been reading this note block it is not my fault if you are lost.

Ahem, due to new information that has come to my attention some things were changed as far back as ch 29 of Blades of Destiny. I completely removed Kyoka Suigetsu from the picture and slightly tweaked the AU Gotei. The only squads affected are squads 12, 11 and 1. Squad 12's vice-captain, rather than being Hiyori originally, is now Izuru. Squad 11's vice-captain is now Renji and Squad 1's vice-captain is Yachiru Hekira. Yes, she has the same name as our Yachiru, but she is not our Yachiru. She is the person Kenpachi respected, still alive.

For those of you that have read Soul Chess you sort of know where this is headed, but let me explain for those who don't. If you have read Soul Chess go on and skip down a couple paragraphs unless you want a refresher. For those who don't: in Soul Chess' chronology, Mari Akari was the former captain of squad 10, prior to the Turn Back the Pendulum arc that met with a cruel fate. Her vice-captain, Yuna Homura, chased after her indirect killer Squad 3 captain Treva Hoshima [because if someone says someone retired from the Gotei that is a huge lie. Just ask Urahara]. Hoshima, Aizen's mentor, helped Aizen lead into battle, against Mari, a Vasdo Lordes by the name of Vanguard [not to be confused with the Sylvaranti Liberation Front].

Vanguard not only killed Mari, but he is also responsible for the death of the original Yachiru as well. 170 years ago, Yachiru and Kenpachi first met back when Kenpachi had no name. She called Kenpachi Hitteki as an affectionate pet name of sorts [Japanese for Rival] to which she mentored Kenpachi and taught him things such as what he once told Ikkaku about being defeated in battle. Because Vanguard was not around to kill her [due to the Elder God Album Atrum] Yachiru eventually convinced Kenpachi to join the Gotei 13 and he did, long before he would meet Yachiru or defeat Ikkaku in battle. Because of this Ikkaku never joined the Gotei 13 and Kenpachi never took in Yachiru, only knowing the other Yachiru as his best friend. If you take a quick glance back at the new ch 35 you will note that she is not to be taken lightly and thought to be just as powerful as Kenpachi himself. Since Sasakibe was revealed to have been loyal to Yamamoto and not use his Bankai [therefore being more powerful than originally let on] I thought "why not do the same for Hekira?" So that's the story there.

Now as many of you know I like to keep things as close to continuity as possible without going against it so let me give a brief timeline history. I am following the anime's continuity of which Ichigo had a window of opportunity to keep his powers. During that window, he went to Aselia in Unreal Society and lost his powers some time after returning. In Return of the Samurai, Ichigo has already clashed with Ginjo and regained his powers. Considering the only thing that would've affected this turn of events would be Orihime's Cruxis Crystal not much would have changed. However, there is one more messy detail that needs to be discussed: Rukia's promotion.

A crucial portion of Blades of Destiny is that Rukia can sneak under the radar because she is an unseated member. So, here's where I have to divert Bleach into an alternate continuity. After Ichigo loses his powers, in between then and his meeting with Ginjo there was a different path taken then in canon. As Aizen once explained vice-captains have the option to decline the offer they are given. In this pathing, Rukia declined the opportunity, not believing she could replace Kaien Shiba. This was slightly influenced by the guilt she felt from executing half-elves in Unreal Society. Following that, witnessing Ichigo Kurosaki's demon in Unreal Society made the Central Forty Six uneasy with letting known Visoreds become captains. This same issue is brought up in Soul Chess after the battle with the arrancars. This lets the series continue with all the continuity disjunctions explained. If you have further questions, please message me.

On one last note, I changed Sajin Komamura's dialogue with Presea. He has had his memory returned, but he does not want the world restored. Instead he actually likes what Album Atrum has done and he and Presea are now fighting. And that's the story. That is all you veteran readers need to know. Now sit back, relax, and read the new chapter of Blades of Destiny!)

Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach or Tales of Symphonia


3rd Person pov

1st Division outer territory

Hekira landed with a thud, scattering her opponents. She turned and swung, the energy she exuded blew Renji and Yosei off their feet completely. Mashiro came back at her with a fierce strike, but Hekira dodged with a burst of Shunpo and bashed the back of her Pommel into Mashiro, cracking her spine, causing the girl to fall to the ground. Hekira then took her sword and used Mashiro's body as a pedestal, killing her instantly as she twisted the blade, rupturing the Visored's lungs. Much unlike her mentee, Hekira did not fuck around when someone challenged her to a fight and especially when she was on orders to kill. She was compassionless, brutal, and efficient.

Renji and Yosei just gaped as Hekira drew her weapon out of Mashiro's shattered spine. "Next?"


Elsewhere in the Seireitei

Zelos slashed at Tosen, meeting the blind captain blow for blow. Their strikes were evenly matched, forcing Tosen to gain some distance with Shunpo. "Cry, Suzumushi." The high pitched ringing reached Zelos ears. As he was also an angel of Cruxis the sound overloaded his hearing and knocked him out. Tosen was then free to kill him.

"Recover!" Raine quickly cast the status reliever on Zelos just before Tosen could reach him, springing him to his feet. Tosen turned his head in the direction of the spell's caster, but as he motioned forward, Zelos got in the way, wings unleashed and pushed Tosen back.

"Stone blast!" The sharp shards of rock went towards Tosen, but with fast, swift movements he dodged each strike. "Turbulence!" The wind came from underneath Tosen, but he still managed to dodge and struck at Zelos from behind. The chosen blocked with his shield. "Gonna have to do better than that," Zelos told him.

Tosen pulled away from Zelos, "Suzumushi Nishiki: Benihiko!" The hundreds of blades began raining down upon Zelos.

"Whoa!" Zelos frantically fluttered about trying to dodge all of the blades flying towards him. As he was merely human and did not have the supernatural speed to deal with the fast moving blades, many of them struck him into the ground.

"Revitalize!"

With Raine's spell cast from a distance, Zelos was back on his feet. "Love ya, Professor," he commented.

Tosen thought to himself about what to do next. If he tried to go after Raine, Zelos would stop him. If he tried to decimate Zelos, Raine would heal him. Tosen had only one option. He retreated from Zelos with a burst of Shunpo to try and get as close to Raine as possible. Zelos darted towards him to stop him, getting in between Tosen and Raine, but that was exactly what Tosen wanted him to do. "Bankai."

Zelos and Raine, unfortunately, never knew what hit them before they were cut down. Raine did not even have time to consult her final thoughts. Tosen finished them off as quickly as he could and then put away his sword. He looked over towards Presea's duel with Sajin.

Though she was a tough one, Presea was wearing down. Sajin's Bankai was big and powerful and, though slow, was too tough for Presea's axes to cut through. She had been bashed around several times by the giant's massive left fist and though she had dodged the sword arm's strikes, she could not make even a dent in it. Sajin was simply that much more powerful than her.

Presea couldn't take much more, but she refused to give in. Steeling herself she charged forward. "Double Devastation!" She blasted the ground with her fearsome power, but Sajin was protected by the giant's left arm before it swatted Presea away again. She tumbled along the ground, but she immediately got back up.

"Presea, I do not want to have to kill you. If you could just see reason, understand the world that has been created, the peace that has been wrought."

"A lot of innocent people lost their lives for this peace. If you trade your loyalty to Album Atrum because of what he has done then can you really say you have loyalty to the Head Captain back in our time? It's true that Album Atrum gave you your friend back. He's made the world a better place, but…Ichigo regained his mother due to the changes in this world and he is willing to give that up. Can't you see that this is wrong? Can't you see that this world is just a glorified tyranny? Do you really think the world is better off this way?"

"I do," Sajin replied. He swung down with the sword arm to end Presea. Her form disappeared in the strike. However, when the dust cleared, Sajin saw Presea with her axes crossed over her back, blocking the giant's attack.

"Then…I am sorry for what I am about to do," Presea stated. With a fierce battle cry Presea utilized the full power of her exosphere and broke fragments off of Sajin's blade. She rushed towards him with fierce speed. Sajin punched her with the giant's arm, but Presea leapt over it with massive speed and came down upon Sajin with her axes. "Doubling Devastation." Presea struck into the ground and blasted the Earth sky high, shredding her axes through Sajin's helmet, body and splintering him with a multitude of sharp pebbles. Sajin toppled over. Tosen, seeing this, made to engage Presea, but she blocked him and attacked. "Punishing Beast!"

"Bankai," Presea was lost to the black abyss, "Suzumushi: Enma Korogi."

It does not matter if you rob me of my sight, hearing or my mind, Presea thought to herself, My axe will find you. "Punishing Whirlwind!" Presea spun fiercely, whirling around like a top, one axe in each hand. Tosen, having committed to his strike was sliced many times over by Presea's attack. Her monstrous strength wound up hacking his arms off from the elbows and split his torso wide open. Presea was freed from Tosen's Bankai and headed off towards the first division to help her friends.


1st Division outer territory

Hekira had just finished repelling all of her attackers. Her remaining enemies were all using their Shikai, Hekira was still using a sealed blade. Izuru had struck her once with Wabisuke, but Hekira still wielded her Claymore around like it was a piece of paper. Each of her opponents had a nasty laceration along their body. Hekira hadn't been touched once.

"This is why I am the soutaicho's second in command," she announced, holding her sword down behind her back, but not sheathed. "Come at me," Hekira goaded, "Or are you giving up?"

Falling for the taunt Renji unleashed Zabimaru and attacked Hekira. She swung down with one arm on her sword, barreling a fierce blast wave of reiatsu towards him, shattering Zabimaru. She was then on him in seconds pivoted her body, spinning a complete 360 and then cleaved Renji in half before switching her claymore to her left hand and skewering his torso as she flipped it over her head. Yosei fled from his current position before Hekira targeted him next, but she stood, not moving and turned to face towards Izuru and Love. She took a few steps towards them, crushing the face of Renji's corpse underfoot.

"Hifuki no Koduchi!" Love took a swing at Hekira with the fire from his Zanpakuto. She dodged and appeared on his right flank as Izuru came to attack her from behind and cut her blade. She turned and grabbed him by the throat before he could take a swing at her and crushed his windpipe with her muscles.

Unsure of what else he could possibly do, Yosei came up from behind Hekira to strike. She turned around and struck him across the waist, spilling plenty of blood. She then put both hands on her blade and swung up, ripping Yosei into the air from the energy of the attack.

Love came up behind her and struck her with his Kanabo, making sure to keep the distance between them. Hekira blocked, but the force of the blow pushed her back and away. Yosei hit the ground hard and banged his back. He got up, groaning. "Man she does not mess around."

"No kidding. Even in our own timeline I was captain when she was a vice-captain. Hekira's one woman you don't wanna mess with and I can't believe we actually decided we'd buy time for Ichigo by battling her. I'd just as soon piss off Unohana."

"You don't really mean that I hope," Yosei said.

"Nah, but close to it." Hekira reached the battlefield again, advancing slowly towards her adversaries. "Yosei, I know we don't have much of an alliance back where we belong so I gotta say, for what it's been worth, if this is the end, you've been a great partner," Love told him.

"You too," Yosei said and sighed, "I'm really missing my Bankai right about now."

"I'm sure Renji was when Hekira split him in half." Unlike Presea, whose memory was directly linked with her identity, the destinies of the Soul Reapers and their Zanpakuto were tethered to the current timeline. Therefore, the Visoreds did not have their masks and many of the vice-captains did not have their Bankais if they had one.

Hekira stopped advancing. "Make a move, or I'll make one myself."

"Captain, I'm going to charge. Use your Bankai. Take her out."

"See you on the other side, assuming we succeed of course," Love said.

Yosei smirked and darted towards Hekira with fierce speed, using his speed form to attack her. He didn't even scratch her with his quick strike and eventually Hekira just casually held her arm up and slashed Yosei's throat before knocking him to the ground with a chop, removing his head from his shoulders.

"Bankai," Love prepared to use his ultimate weapon as he invoked it casually. Lots of bulky, spiked, black armor formed on the 7th Division captain. His Kanabo was replaced by a hammer no bigger than that of a wakizashi. "Tengumaru Taicho!" Love swung towards Hekira and bashed her in the side of the face with his hammer, causing her to recoil. He punched her in the gut with his spiked fist and then uppercut her in the jaw. Flames ejected out of the gauntlet he was wearing at the elbow joint, acting like a rocket thruster, propelling Hekira higher into the air. She backflipped away used Shunpo and prepared to drop down from behind Love.

"Crushed flat!" she exclaimed, but her blade barely made a dent in Love's armor as he switched hands and struck at her with his hammer. Hekira drew away. "No choice then." She stood stolidly with her sword planted firmly in the ground with a blanket expression on her face. "Eradicate, Bokyaku." (Oblivion) Hekira's weapon was now twice her own size. It couldn't be considered a claymore anymore. Now it was just a gigantic sword. The blade was goldenrod and the handle was obsidian. The edges were incredibly sharp. The blade curved inwards along its length, except in the center and almost at just before the tip where it jutted outward. Love tried to get away, knowing Hekira's power, vaguely, but all his armor weighed him down. Hekira, using her own natural speed got within Love's range and, faster than he could react, sliced right into his shoulder and all the way through to his midsection before having to pull out of his body and bringing her heavy blade to the ground before picking it back up. She had ripped through one of Love's lungs and, coupled with his injury from earlier he was screwed. "Useless." Hekira was about to seal her blade when a fierce blast of wind headed her way. She tilted her blade to stop it and then turned around to see that Kensei had arrived on the battlefield, utilizing his Bankai. "Splitting from your partner?"

"Rose got cut down by Treva, but I took the bastard out myself."

"I see," Hekira said, tilting her sword. "Are you going to fight me?"

Kensei glanced at Mashiro's body and then said, calmly, but seriously to Hekira, "Yes."

"Very well then," Hekira said as she tilted her blade so that it slammed into the ground. "You are one of the strongest captains in the Gotei. I would be a fool not to face you with my full strength. Bankai."


11th Division grounds

Kenpachi and Richter traded blows over and over again with neither party letting up an inch. The two men were becoming increasingly exhausted as the battle wore on, with Kenpachi currently having the upper hand. He paused from wailing on Richter to take note of how dark storm clouds were forming in the air. He also could sense Hekira's spirit energy from far, far away. He grinned. "Seems like she's gotten serious."

Richter took the time he had to sense his friend's energies. Zelos, Raine, Serina, Regal and Lavirna were down for the count. He could sense Presea was making her way to first division, but she had taken quite a beating. This is turning into a massacre of our forces. Ichigo, you need to get to Album Atrum and reverse everything. We are…running out of time.

Zaraki launched himself onto Richter again and Richter blocked with his magma sword and swung with his axe, cutting Kenpachi along the left side of his pectorals. Kenpachi then slashed Richter across his torso. The wound regenerated, but the appropriate amount of energy was lost. Richter drew away from Kenpachi. "Scorching Missile!" He slammed into the demonic captain, but was stopped by Kenpachi's massive spiritual energy. Kenpachi put his palm over Richter's face and smashed him into the ground. Richter rolled to the side before he was stabbed and pulled back as Kenpachi swung at him. He began to pant heavily.

"What's wrong? Don't tell me you're tiring out. This is the best fun I've had in years in this timeline. You gotta give me more of a fight than that."

It's no use. I can't control the demonic energies and fight to my full potential at the same time. I don't have the stamina. Ichigo…I really hope you can fix things because I'm about to do what no Aselian should ever do. Richter gave into his fatigue and let the demonic power in his body consume him and empower him. Richter transformed fully into a demon. His skin turned red, his arms became clawed and over his head of now jet black hair, he obtained a three pronged helmet. He only wielded a single blade now and stood with an eight-pack of muscularity. Richter's reiatsu was surging, but his ability to reason had just been lost. It was all he could do to keep himself from dying and hope that he could defeat the demon before him. "Die." Richter tore towards Kenpachi with unrelenting ferocity and clashed his sleek blade against Kenpachi's brittle one and began pushing Kenpachi back. He pulled his arm back and went for a thrusting stab, gutting Kenpachi in the chest and imbued his sword with unholy flame and then slashed it out and blasted Kenpachi with a ball of fire from his fist. Kenpachi was sent sliding along the ground. Richter charged towards him, but Kenpachi blocked this time and he was chuckling to himself.

"I don't know what happened, but you just got really strong. Let's keep it going shall we?"

The demon formerly known as the half-elf Richter simply tightened his gaze in compliance.


1st Division, inner chambers

Urahara and Aizen crossed blades, warping about the battlefield to draw away from each other as sparks flew from the clangs and bangs created by their weapons. They were making an absolute mess of the barracks and were now in the dojo standing in the center as Urahara and Aizen pressed their blades against each other. "Album Atrum was right to cut you down. You are dangerous Kisuke Urahara if you could so easily match my blade blow for blow."

Urahara didn't answer as he tried to gain an advantage in the current weapon's lock. He threw a punch with his free hand and met Aizen's halfway, both were glowing blue.

"Attempting to use a delayed Kido after using a punch?" Aizen commented with a smile, "I was about to do the same."

"Where I come from you and I are the most brilliant minds in all of Soul Society. Is the same not true here?"

"Oh no your reputation precedes you here. You gave us the Research Bureau and led it for many years, but were cut down by our god and the position was given to his daughter," Aizen remarked.

The delayed Kidos ignited and Urahara and Aizen drew away from each other. A yellow fire flash erupted from both men and they rushed back to attack each other only to use Shunpo and meet strikes again and again and again and again. The dojo began crumbling around them and Aizen and Urahara met up with each other again in the air.

"Don't you think it's high time we raised the stakes on this here match?" Urahara asked.

"Funny, I was just about to ask you that," Aizen stated.

"Then if you know what I was going to do then do it," Urahara taunted.

"After you."

"Then we'll do it at the same time."

"Agreed."

Urahara and Aizen exuded massive amounts of reiryoku. Urahara's power exploded into a fine crimson mist around him as he held his blade at a forty-five degree angle in front of him.

Aizen did the same as smooth, green energy formed around him, mixing with milky white light at times. He also held his blade at the same 45-degree angle. The two men glanced at each other and hardened their gazes.

"Ban! Kai!" They shouted simultaneously and then the entire inner area of the first division was covered in their reiatsu.


Gladshiem, 1st Floor

The randomization of the maze scattered the heroes across the 81 rooms. Although his labyrinth was vast, it was fair. The gigantic maze randomly teleported each individual hero to a room on the floor when they entered or reached another floor. Album Atrum could not control his invader's paths, but rarely did his enemies ever get very far.

Colette, with her bizarre luck, managed to find herself in one of the four corners straight away and advanced to the second floor without engaging in a single battle. The same could not be said for Rachel or Genis. Both of them had been killed by their initial opponents. This fact was unknown to the others navigating the Gladshiem.

Sheena and Marta met up with each other as did Isane and Momo. The heroine pairs watched each other's backs and managed to defeat some very fierce opponents, though for Sheena and Marta this was mostly thanks to Sheena's summoning abilities.

Unlike the initial entrance to the Gladshiem there was a time limit for how long one would have to take a warp after another person before it would be considered a new traveler. This allowed Momo, Isane, Sheena and Marta to keep their respective partners as they advanced floors.


2nd Floor

Rukia and Lloyd met up with each other via the latter saving the former's life from certain doom. Hisana and Kaien also met up with each other just as the former was about to take the warp out to the next floor. Ichigo had yet to be pushed to Bankai in any of his fights and so far hadn't gotten a scratch. Byakuya and May hadn't even needed their Shikai, using only their natural skill and Kido.

Ichigo was beginning to wonder if the Gladshiem was more of a test of endurance rather than a test of skill. He hadn't fought many strong enemies and he was growing tired of all the running around and hacking and slashing. After reaching the third floor, Byakuya began to think the same thing.

Unbeknownst to the other, Colette and May just barely missed each other when they entered through the warp.


3rd Floor

On the third floor, May and Hitsugaya met up. Many of the fights were boringly one-sided allowing the living members of the team to skip through them like they were nothing.

Despite her small frame, Kiku held her own very well. Isane and Momo, the theoretical weakest members, had to have some of Colette's ridiculous luck by not running into anything particularly dangerous. On the third floor their first fight was against a ninja cat for crying out loud. Isane put it on ice and Momo blasted it to pieces with her fire.

Ichigo was finally pushed to Bankai. The fights were starting to get tougher and Ichigo did not want to begin underestimating his opponents. Similarly Kiku activated the Black Griffin. The group grew apprehensive since none of them had any idea how they got separated or where their friends were. They all just kept pressing onwards in hopes of finding each other.


4th Floor

After unknowingly missing each other twice, Byakuya and Colette wound up finding each other in the maze, though the former would've rather found Hisana or Rukia and the latter Lloyd. Since Byakuya's memory of the angel were unrestored he was not as tolerant of her cheery, spacey attitude as he was normally. He demanded that Colette keep out of his way during the fighting unless she felt like dying.

During their travel, Colette asked Byakuya how Rukia convinced him to help their fight.

"She didn't," Byakuya answered, "Rukia convinced Hisana who then, in turn, convinced me. I am not so sure that this is the right thing to do. I'm rather content with my life as it stands. However, as long as I have my family, I can go on regardless of my social standing or military position."

"O-oh, really?"

"Yes."

"Oh…okay," Colette wasn't bothered by Byakuya's answer in the slightest.

Unfortunately, Colette's good fortune was supposedly at the expense of Isane and Momo who ran into an opponent they simply could not handle. Now only 12 invaders remained alive.

The group fought their way through the weaker guardians of Album Atrum's labyrinth and none of the battles to this point were particularly noteworthy, but that was about to change.


Gladshiem, 5th Floor, 7th row, 1st column

Kiku had just taken the warp from her last battle in the fourth floor against a being made out of pure solar energy. Since the Black Griffin was a power of darkness, the battle was tremendously easy. Now however, she was in for something entirely different.

The woman before her was an arrancar with long green hair, the same color as Yuna Homura's and was dressed in the traditional arrancar white. The woman wore a white leotard and had a circlet running around her head as per her mask fragments. Her Zanpakuto took the form of a mace. Kiku tilted her head. There was something familiar about the woman before her, but she couldn't tell exactly what. Her opponent felt the same way as she stared at Kiku, but, due to her hollowfied nature couldn't recall why Kiku seemed familiar either. Given that Kiku was currently using the black griffin, her fierce aura detracted from much of her general adorableness.

Kiku levitated off the ground to face off against the arrancar before her. There were no words as the battle began. Kiku struck towards her enemy with a fierce punch. Her opponent used Sonido to dodge and attacked Kiku with her mace, but Kiku evaded with ease. "Negative Shadow." Kiku blasted her enemy with the dark blast only for the opponent to spin and reflect it at Kiku, but the whitette simply reabsorbed her attack back into her system. She faded into the shadows and attacked her opponent from behind with a punch to the woman's face. The arrancar's hierro kept her from receiving excessive injury.

As she recoiled off the attack and Kiku came in she fired an attack back. "Cero."

Flying out of the way, Kiku came zooming towards her target and made a bow of dark energy. "Death Arrow." The black shadowy arrow went zooming towards the green arrancar and she dodged. Kiku fired arrow after arrow after arrow at the arrancar as though Kiku were an evil cupid.

"Cero!"

Bending over backwards Kiku U-turned and ducked underneath the strike and then struck forward at her enemy with blasts of darkness. "Dark Twin Bolt." She fired off two blasts of black lightning at her target, but the woman evaded the strikes with her Sonido. Kiku crossed her arms over her body and then spread them outward. "Dark Wing Shards." The blast was weak, but wide and Kiku managed to score a hit only for her opponent to Sonido at the back of her right flank and strike with her mace. Kiku blocked with her energy empowered arm, but her small body was pushed away and the arrancar woman tore towards her before delivering an open palm scrape with her nails at Kiku's face. Due to the woman's hierro Kiku received a nice gash along her cute little cheek. Kiku dropped to the ground and held her arms to her body, sucking in the reishi around her to store up more power. Her wings expanded and Kiku's reiatsu rose. "Negative Overdrive." Kiku spun like a corkscrew towards her opponent tearing into the arrancar's chest and pushing her opponent far across the battlefield. The only platform in any room in the Gladshiem was the one floor, stretching on infinitely, surrounded by that black type of shadow mixed with reds and blues one sees when staring at a blank television screen. Because of this, Kiku propelled the attack forward as far as her velocity would carry her, rather than slamming her opponent into a wall or obstacle, before pulling up sharply and using her wings to stabilize herself in the air. While her opponent recoiled, Kiku drew her right arm back and gripped her wrist with her left hand, drawing mana to it. "Dark Photon Ray." The dark, continuous beam blasted into Kiku's enemy and further blasted her into the ground.

From this, part of Kiku's opponent's circlet cracked and because of Kiku's Negative Overdrive, the arrancar woman now had a nice burn mark in her midriff, dripping with blood from the broken skin. She grit her teeth in disgust that she was being overpowered. "Behead, Caiman de Sombra." (Shadow Gator) The woman transformed so that she sprouted a thick reptilian tail, large claws extended from off of her wrists. A hollow bone, gator-like jaw covered her head and her. She obtained foot claws, thick back armor and scaly arm and leg guards. Wisps of dark smoke emitted around her claws. She charged at Kiku with powerful ferocity and Kiku could barely dodge the incoming strike from her enemy.

"Negative Pulse." Kiku sent out a disk of dark energy at her opponent but it dissipated on the enemy's back and with fierce Sonido the arrancar woman tore towards Kiku and slashed her in five different places. Kiku's Black Griffin dissipated as it took nearly all of her energy to prevent her opponent from ripping right through her. Kiku dropped onto the ground onto her back, bleeding profusely. She got up, clutching her middle wound and limped forward away from her enemy. Her opponent appeared behind her, ready to take another strike at her and lunged, but as she neared she stopped as she heard a strange sound. Kiku was crying and there was something nostalgic to the arrancar. "Mama," Kiku sobbed, her vision waning and in desperation was calling out for her mother she had no idea if she was gone in this world. No one ever told her of her mother's connection to Cruxis so Kiku didn't realize the futility of crying out for Pronyma. "Mama…help me…it hurts…Mama," Kiku limped forward and the arrancar woman rushed around towards Kiku's front and then saw the look in her goldenrod irises and her cotton white hair.

Kiku expected her enemy to go for the kill, but instead a look of pure horror swept across the arrancar's face. "N…no…I-it can't be." The arrancar disengaged her form and in her hazy vision, Kiku seemed to believe she saw someone else entirely.

"Ma…ma?"

"I…"

Kiku limped toward the arrancar. In her battered state she couldn't tell she was limping towards her enemy from moments before. "Mama…help me," she cried weakly.

"Kiku?" the arrancar couldn't believe it. "N-no…I…"

Kiku let out a small weak cry and began to fall forward, blacking out.

"Kiku!" the arrancar woman, Pronyma, recognizing the girl she had loved as a daughter rushed to the half-elf's aid. She cradled Kiku and held her as her daughter lay bleeding in her arms. "Oh god," she shook her, "Kiku, Kiku open your eyes."

Kiku opened her eyes as best she could and saw her mother looking down upon her with tearful eyes. "Ma..ma." Kiku put her blood covered hand upon her mother's white robe before it fell at her side.

"Kiku?" Pronyma asked, her heart pounding, sniffing as tears fell from her face. Her daughter didn't move. "Kiku, please wake up. Oh god. Oh god," Pronyma's eyes swelled with tears. Suddenly she shouted. "Kiku you can't die on me! You aren't allowed to die!" Pronyma continued to cry, holding her daughter firmly to her. "I was going to find you…take you back when you arrived in Soul Society. Why did it turn out like this?" Pronyma held her dying child in her arms, sobbing. Kiku tried to open her mouth to speak one last time, but she hadn't the strength. Her body was going cold. "No, no this isn't happening. I…with my own hands I…KIKUUUUUUUUU!" Pronyma rocked her daughter's corpse in her arms. "WHAT HAVE I DONE?" Pronyma shouted and then said through sobs, "What have I done? A mother…shouldn't kill her baby." In that lonesome, everstretching room, Pronyma held her dead daughter to her body. She eventually stood up and opened a garganta. She was abandoning her post, temporarily, to Hueco Mundo. "I never meant to hurt you," Pronyma choked back the remaining tears as she walked, "But you deserve a proper burial, Kiku, my angel. I never got to apologize, never got to tell you goodbye, but I didn't want to say goodbye. The next time I saw you, what I always wanted to say to you was: Mama's here Kiku, it's all right. Everything's going to be okay."

Pronyma went to bury her daughter and now, only 11 warriors remained to stop Album Atrum, unaware of Pronyma's pain or of Kiku's passing. Soon though they would all become aware of the severity of the situation and just how much had been sacrificed for the sake of reaching the Elder God. If victory was claimed, returning to the alternate timeline, they would know would be the only option. Otherwise, they would be in for equal, if not more, of the pain the former leader of the Desian Grand Cardinals was currently feeling.

End of Chapter 37


(A/N: No omake this time. That would just be heavy mood whiplash. I want to give my regards to shorty35565 for helping out with my work for the Gladshiem. I know I'm a little skimpy with the maze, but…eh…I really want to get back to the original fight in Hueco Mundo and, really, most of the fights are kind of one-sided, not to mention I hate writing fight scenes enough as it is, so you're all going to have to settle for the way I'm doing it and hope that something interesting pops up. Oh, Shorty didn't pit Pronyma against Kiku. I did that just for a gut punch and to make you all feel terrible. I'm crying right now. I hated writing that scene so I share your pain. In other words, there really was no other reason for me to do that other than to add further tragedy. But holy hell Hekira is fucking scary: wiping out Renji, Izuru, Love, Yosei and Mashiro and now going up against Kensei. There is a reason Kenpachi respects her it seems. Thank you for reading, this is draconichero21 and I'll see you next time).