Yo everybody! Got a new story for your enjoyment. This one of a bunch of Bleach story ideas bouncing around in my head and this is the one I've decided to take a crack at. Though I may write the others in a collection of one shots.
I know, I know, my numerous fans of my other stories are demanding updates for those stories. Be patient. With the coming of summer, I have more time to write. Updates will be coming.
Anyway, enjoy this prologue. The first chapter will be coming in a day or two.
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach or its characters.
Ichigo Kurosaki staggered to feet, struggling with his shattered left ankle only to be struck down by the massive fist of Tersa Lindocruz. As his body hit the sand dunes of Los Noches, Orihime screamed out his name before being gagged by Nnoitra Gilga. The bloodied soul reaper tried to get back up but the giant, warthog-like arrancar's fingers wrapped around his head. Ichigo was effortless hoisted into the air. Tersa's other hand then grabbed his right arm and snapped it like a twig, earning agonized screams from Ichigo. Once more the orange haired teen was thrown through the air, crashing into the white sand. But before he could even attempt to recover the blond arrancar was on him, a fist rising above his head.
'No… It can't end like this…'
Suddenly a much smaller fist slammed into the head of the arrancar, sending him crashing to the ground. The one who threw the punch landed before a very surprised Ichigo. It was a short, dark haired girl in the standard Shihakushō uniform but with cloth bandages wrapped around her hands and wrists, a zanpakutō with a jagged edged circular guard. But there was one thing about her that shocked just Ichigo but the others as well. Upon her face was a white mask in the shape of some form of hound. Its mouth of razor sharp teeth and nose extending outward into a short muzzle while three small spikes emerged from the far edges of each cheek, reaching past the ears. Black marks reached around from underneath each eye rising up into the two horn-like pointed ears that rose from the top of the mask.
"Heh. For someone so big, you've got one hell of a glass jaw," the Visored commented, her eyes never leaving the fallen form of Tesra.
'I've never seen her before. Is she with Shinji and the others?' Ichigo thought as he watched her. 'But they didn't wear Shihakushōs. Are there more groups of Visoreds out there then just them?'
But before he could ask her anything, a great shadow descended on him. "Got yourself all beat up, eh Ichigo," a very familiar voice said.
Wide eyed, Ichigo glanced over his shoulder. Standing behind him was the giant form of Kenpachi Zaraki, Captain of Squad Eleven of the Thirteen Court Guard Squads. "Kenpachi…" he somehow managed to utter despite his shock.
A small pink haired head shot from behind Kenpachi's board shoulder. "Hey Icchi!" Lieutenant Yachiru Kusajishi cheerfully said, waving a hand at the injured teen.
"Kenpachi? What are you doing here?" he asked. "I thought the Soul Society wasn't going to get involved in this battle."
The Visored turned her head towards Ichigo, her golden eyes glowing through the mask's eyeholes as she reached up for it. "Now isn't the time to be playing twenty questions Ichigo," she said, pulling her mask off. "We're here to help rescue Orihime and kick some arrancar ass."
Of all the surprises he had experienced in the last thirty seconds, the revealing of Visored's face was the greatest of them for Ichigo. This was not some stranger that had come with Kenpachi to help him, he knew this girl.
"Hey," was all his oldest of friends said.
"But how are you-"
"It's a long story and like I said, now isn't the time for it," Tatsuki answered, cutting him off. "We'll tell you it when we're done here."
Ichigo blinked, realizing what she was saying. "We?"
Tatsuki nodded her head in response. "Yeah I'm not the only one like this now. There are a couple of us here-"
Suddenly Tersa was standing behind her, casting Tatsuki beneath his shadow. "You… What are you?" he demanded. "You have the sword and uniform of a soul reaper but the mask of a hollow."
The girl calmly turned around and looked up at the much taller warrior. "There isn't a name for what I am yet. But you can say that I'm the same as you."
"I doubt that soul reaper," the arrancar replied. "But I will destroy you just the same."
"Just try it Pigface."
Captain Byakuya Kuchiki stood impassively in front of the unconscious form of his adopted sister, blood flowing from the cut tendons in his left leg. The arrancar's feeble attempt to use his ability on Rukia stopped in its tracks.
"You can move that much with one leg? As expected of a captain worthy of my utmost admiration," the Sèptima Espada, Zommari Rureaux commented, his tone bordering on mocking.
Byakuya was about to chaste the arrogant arrancar when the sounds of feet clumsily running across sand and heavily breathing caught his ears. The pair that had supposed to have accompanied him after he parted ways with the other Captains had finally reached him.
"We…we finally made it," the first exclaimed as he grasped for breath.
"Yeah… Hey do you have to run so fast?" the other added just as worn out. "How are we supposed to keep up with you when you move like that?"
It mattered little to the Captain of Squad Six whether or not the two of them managed to keep up with him. In fact, he much preferred the unsightly pair staying as far away from him as possible.
"That was so terrible of you to leave us back there Captain Kuchiki!" Hanatarou Yamada of Squad Four complained. "We nearly got lost…" The boy paused, staring at his self-inflicted wound. "Wah! Captain Kuchiki! Your leg!"
But the eyes of the other were not on him; rather they were on the Espada in his released form. "Gah! What is that ugly thing?" he screamed, pointing at the enemy.
A vein twitched on the side of Zommari's bald head. "Yet more irritations," he said, attempting to mask his annoyance but failing in Byakuya's eyes.
However he did agree with the arrancar's words on the matter. In the brief experiences he had with them, Byakuya had come to the same conclusion. Though at least Hanatarou had his medical knowledge to make himself useful, the other had absolutely nothing to even mitigate that. He was just a former human with barely any training and no actual combat experience. Worse he was one of them. Those barely better than the arrancar they were fighting.
"Hanatarou Yamada, Keigo Asano, step back," Byakuya said, not bothering to even look upon them.
"Yeah… You deal with the creepy thing with way too many eyes," Keigo replied, earning more throbbing veins in the head of the otherwise impassive Espada.
Hanatarou nodded his head. "I guess we'd just a hindrance to you Captain," he added.
"Not a hindrance but an eyesore," the captain truthfully proclaimed. "I will say this once more, step back. For the way I am now there is no guarantee that I can continue fighting without swallowing you both up as well."
Lieutenant Isane Kotetsu was worried. Not because they were in the heart of Aizen's lair within Hueco Mundo or because they under constant threat of attack from arrancar at any second, as a trained combat medic of Squad Four she was use to entering the battlefield to tend to the wounded. Such things no longer concerned her. No it was the one she and her captain were traveling with that was the cause of her worry.
He was-no he had been a human boy a few weeks ago before the incident. An infant compared to her and the others on the team yet despite his youth, it was his nature she found him terrifying. Isane had treated the terrible wounds of many of those that had sought to restrain them in those first days as they struggled to contain the newly created hollows within them. The fact that such humans with little spiritual pressure could transform into those fierce beasts and that they had been trained in the last few weeks, making them stronger was what truly terrified her. Captain Kurotsuchi had said that they were currently stable but at the same time he admitted that they could lose control and become those monsters again at moment. The only difference would be that this time they would be stronger than before.
And they were only the weakest among those afflicted. The rest were far stronger and far more dangerous. She had no idea what Captain-General Yamamoto was planning with them but she hoped he knew what he was doing.
The boy turned his head towards her. "Is something wrong Miss Kotetsu?" Mizuiro Kojima asked with a small smile on his face, pulling Isane from her musings. "You seem to be staring at me."
"Ah…er…sorry. Nothing's wrong," Isane stuttered, her cheeks turning red.
'Why does he have to be so darn cute?' she thought as they continued traveling across the dunes.
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