Hello again, folks. I hope no one felt like they waited too long, been trying to send these updates out pretty regularly. Stuff going down in this chapter, I had fun writing it and I found it much easier than the last chapter to do. I got nothing else to say, on to the;
DragonBlade00:I do not know. Personally, I'm finding it difficult to get into this latest arc. We shall see, though. Who knows? Maybe everyone will demand it.
darkmachines:Glad to see you enjoyed 16. Hope this one is just as good.
Demon of Zero:Haha, I looked up which 'whale' I should use, and the dictionary defines 'whale' as a verb as well as a noun. The verb being hit someone. I'm glad you enjoyed the chapter otherwise.
Orachamus:I am hoping to make Baraggan out to be the sorta likeable jerk. I hope that I'm pulling it off good enough.
ShadowXardas:Good to be back. Enjoy.
Grinja:I do hope it's all up to expectations, my plots. I worry sometimes.
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Arrankor:Well, here you go!
SomeGuyOverHere:I hope this chapter doesn't disappoint.
Gethin Accalon:Here's an update, hopefully not too long of a wait. I do enjoy reading IchigoxArrancar pairings, mainly cause they're not so common.
Kirk-Vamp-Fan:Thank you very much. Enjoy this chapter, please.
T-B-R:Yeah, I thought I'd tease everyone. Soon enough though... soon enough
Seiei:All of Ichigo's concerns regarding Segunda Etapa, as well as his Vasto Lorde form, will be resolved in due time. Do not worry, friend. I would also like to say, to your Sun-Sun concern... yes... Please enjoy.
Sonofthelost:If you like that idea, be sure to keep an eye on my other story. Something along those lines will be happening.
Sentiment Remains:Lucky bastard, right? Hope this chapter can fulfill your wants.
hyper-reader:haha, thanks man. Appreciate the review. Please enjoy.
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Trife:Thanks man, it's good to be back. I'm glad you enjoy my story, please enjoy it further.
BluffBrant:I'm glad you enjoy it. Really appreciate the comment. Hopefully, this chapter won't destroy that view.
AND DONE. Please enjoy, CHAPTER 17
"Around a month ago, it was discovered that Ichigo Kurosaki was meeting with several individuals, identified to be Arrancar of Aizen's army. The nature of these meetings are, as of yet, unknown, though given our current situation, it was in our best interest to assume the worst and pursue Kurosaki with force, deadly if necessary. According to Twelfth Company's surveilance of Karakura Town, several high-level Arrancar are currently residing in the area. For those who have not read the reports..." Yamamoto trailed off, glancing knowingly at a select few who would match that statement, "Hitsugaya-taicho, would you please reiterate the events that transpired upon receiving your orders?"
"Hai, Sotaicho." Hitsugaya nodded respectfully and stepped forward, his brow furrowed in recollection. "Upon receiving orders to arrest the former Deputy Shinigami, Ichigo Kurosaki, I gathered the Hitsugaya Advance team, which consisted of myself, Matsumoto-fukutaicho, Abarai-fukutaicho, third seat and fifth seat of Eleventh Company, Ikkaku Madarame and Yumichika Ayesegawa, and Rukia Kuchiki of Thirteenth Company."
"You're telling me that several taicho and fukutaicho level Shinigami could not apprehend a lone target? A human, no less?" Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi had a wicked grin on his face, obviously quite amused at the failure Hitsugaya was implying.
"Kurosaki must have gotten stronger then." Captain Zaraki Kenpachi seemed to match Mayuri's grin. "He still need to be brought in? Cause I volunteer. That'd be fun." The only way the meeting would continue at an even pace was for Hitsugaya to ignore the two captains, proceeding with his reports.
"Our intel placed Ichigo Kurosaki at the Urahara Shoten, the headquarters of ex-Shinigami taicho, Kisuke Urahara. We decided to hold our positions in front of the store and wait for Kurosaki to come out. We also had adequate reason to believe Kurosaki was currently accompanied by Arrancar of Aizen's army, so we prepared ourselves for a, potentially, violent confrontation." Hitsugaya was interrupted again.
"What I fail to understand is why we are not currently pursuing Kurosaki, if we have reason to suspect he is in league with Aizen." It was Soi-Fon, captain of the Omnitsukido. Her question was valid, and it caused many of the captains to silently ask this to themselves as well. "Kurosaki was an ally, granted, but given his strength, he could be a threat." Yamamoto motioned for Soi-Fon to be silent, who complied immediately. He then motioned for Hitsugaya to continue.
"When Kurosaki emerged from the Urahara Shoten, he was in the presence of three Arrancar. Though, only one of these Arrancar were at the level of those we had engaged previously. Of the other two, one appeared to be at the level of a fourth or fifth seat, the other seemed to be equal to that of an academy student." This last bit of information surprised many of the captains, and confused them. "My team and I announced ourselves, requesting he surrender himself, and the Arrancar, to us to avoid conflict."
"And then he kicked the shit out of you?" Zaraki spoke up again, his wide grin not leaving his face.
"That was when the weakest of the present Arrancar, a female, attempted to flee the scene. My fukutaichio, Rangiku Matsumoto, moved to apprehend her, but was briefly incapacitated by Kurosaki. He urged the Arrancar to escape and said he would cover their escape. We prepared to stop them, but Kurosaki intervened and blocked their escape, brandishing his zanpakuto. Myself, Matsumoto, Madarame, and Abarai activated our shikai, in an attempt to discourage him. He then declared that he wouldn't attack first, only defend himself. That was when we engaged him."
"And then he kicked the shit out of you." Hitsugaya didn't even glance at Zaraki this time.
"For close to ten minutes, Kurosaki stood his ground against us. I dubbed the situation serious enough to activate Bankai. Abarai followed my lead and activated his Bankai as well. It was at this time Urahara Kisuke made his presence known, appearing to be on the side of Kurosaki, followed by ex-taicho of Second Company, Yoruichi Shihoin." Soi-Fon's eyes widened ever so slightly, before she resumed her neutral stance. No one had noticed. "I decided that my team was unfit to engage three taicho-class individuals. I then ordered the retreat."
"So, not only Kurosaki, but Urahara and Yoruichi." Soi-Fon was perturbed, but masked it expertly.
"Not exactly 'good', is it?" Captain Jushiro Ukitake of Thirteenth Company sighed, scratching the back of his head. He wasn't quite sure what to think about the rescuer of his subordinate's supposed betrayal.
"You don't say?" This was the laid-back reply of Captain Shunsui Kyoraku of Eighth Company.
"Gentlemen." Yamamoto said, gathering the captains' attention. "It goes without saying that this is very unsettling news. Kurosaki's defection was not something I, nor any of us, could have anticipated." He looked between the two rows of Captains. "Therefore, I feel it is necessary to declare Kurosaki an enemy of the Seireitei." This didn't surprise the captains, though it did make a select few appear disappointed.
"And negotiations with Kurosaki have proved unfruitful?" Byakuya Kuchiki spoke up, which was unusual for the normally stoic Sixth Captain. Yamamoto looked at the Captain, saying nothing for a moment, before,
"There have been no attempted interactions with Kurosaki." Yamamoto finally admitted to Byakuya and the rest of the captains.
"Respectfully, Sotaicho?" Byakuya asked permission to continue, even further out of character for the Captain.
"Proceed." Yamamoto gave the OK for Byakuya to speak freely.
"I feel that there is something we are overlooking." He began, looking at his fellow captains. "It is as you say, Sotaicho: This situation is not one that any of us could have anticipated. For someone of his age, Kurosaki possesses the moral character of someone easily four times his age."
"Could you elaborate on that, please?" Ukitake asked Byakuya. He already knew the answer, but asked this so that the other captains could understand.
"Duty. When Rukia Kuchiki had lost her powers in the World of the Living, Kurosaki continued in her place, fully aware of his lack of skill and the dangers ahead." Byakuya said, his expression remaining neutral. "Loyalty and Courage. When Rukia Kuchiki was to be executed, Kurosaki staged the attempted rescue, knowing that there were, potentially, those stronger than him here. Honor. He fought, and defeated, several seated officers, and two captains, yet did not kill them upon victory. I am among those he fought."
"If you would kindly state your point." Yamamoto urged.
"Kurosaki would not betray Seireitei. It is not in his character. I believe this simply a... misunderstanding." Byakuya stated simply.
"He attacked the Hitsugaya Advance Team." Soi-Fon pointed out. Byakuya looked at her, then Hitsugaya.
"Hitsugaya-taicho, in your report, you stated that you and your team attacked Kurosaki first, correct?" He asked the young captain, prompting the white-haired captain to blink.
"That is correct." Soi-Fon seemed calculating of this answer.
"Kurosaki merely acted in self-preservation, and did so with little effort to harm the Hitsugaya Advance Team. Evidence being, if he was, indeed, an enemy of the Seireitei, it would be well within his ability to inflict grievous injury upon his attackers." Byakuya said, focusing mainly on Soi-Fon.
"What do you propose, Kuchiki-taicho?" Yamamoto asked the noble, raising an eyebrow.
"I'm not in a position to propose anything." Byakuya answered typically. "However, I will say, were it my decision, I would send an emissary of the Captain class to meet with Kurosaki to determine the facts of the situation." The captains seemed taken aback. "I would then follow up that decision by being the one to meet with Kurosaki." He finished, looking at Yamamoto, who said nothing. The Sixth Captain stated many fair points, most of them being without much sentiment. IF someone were to be sent, it would certainly need to be of the Captain class, in case things are what they appear to be and a fight ensues.
"I agree with Byakuya-san." Ukitake broke the silence.
"As do I." Shunsui said, nodding his head. Yamamoto looked between the three men, contemplating. After a few brief moments of silence, Yamamoto made up his mind.
"Very well." This didn't really surprise anyone. "I will select two Captains to meet with Kurosaki as soon as possible to determine whether or not Kurosaki is a friend or foe."
"I would like to volunteer, Sotaicho." Unohana stated, prompting the elder Captain to raise his eyebrow in surprise once more. At his expression, Unohana said. "I feel that, given that I have little to no prior interaction with Kurosaki, I will be able to approach the situation without previous bias. Furthermore, I posit that, out of present company, I am most suited to making sure that no action taken from our side may be seen as hostile." Her logic was sound. Yamamoto appeared to think so.
"I would also like to volunteer." This time, it was Ukitake.
"And what is the reason for this?" Yamamoto asked.
"Well, depending on the nature of the negotiations, I think a certain level of 'open-mindedness' will be necessary. Don't you think?" The captain stated sheepishly. Yamamoto regarded him with a calculating stare.
"Granted." Yamamoto nodded to Ukitake, who bowed his head respectfully. Yamamoto then addressed all the captains.
"Both Unohana-taicho and Ukitake-Taicho will attempt to establish a peaceful contact with Kurosaki and determine the level of threat presented." He ordered, receiving a nod from the two captains. "Kurotsuchi-taicho, you are to keep surveillance on the area and report any emergencies."
"Hai, sotaicho." Mayuri replied with a certain amount of disinterest in his tone.
"Soi-Fon-taicho. You are to follow Unohana-taicho and Ukitake-taicho into The World of The Living, but not make yourself known to Kurosaki or anyone else. In the event things are as they appear, you have permission to engage."
"Kenpachi, Kuchiki-taicho." Yamamoto looked at the two captains. "Not only will Kurosaki be present, but former taichos Urahara Kisuke and Yoruichi Shihoin will surely be in the area. There is also a great chance former Kido Corps taicho Tessai Tsukabishi will be present. This is all adding to the fact that there are currently Arrancar in Karakura Town. Be prepared to provide assistance to Unohana-taicho, Ukitake-taicho, and Soi-Fon-taicho, should the need arise."
"Hai, sotaicho." Was the simultaneous affirmative. Yamamoto turned back to Unohana and Ukitake.
"If there is any point where you deem Kurosaki to be a threat, you have permission to deal with the situation in a way you see fit." He said cryptically, prompting a nod from the two.
"If I may, sotaicho." Soi-Fon spoke up. "We are going through a lot of trouble to determine the validity of Kurosaki's situation, when it would be simpler, as well as more logical, to eliminate him."
"I am aware." Yamamoto stated simply. "You are all dismissed."
(The Next Day/Kurosaki Clinic)
"Goooooood moooooorniiing, Ichigooooo!" BUMP! "Agh!"-thump-"Oof!"-thump-thump-"Oh god!" Crash.
When Isshin Kurosaki finished rolling down the stairs after practically ricocheting off of Ichigo's locked door, he lay in a heap at the base of the stairs, his body a mess of limbs and pain.
Ichigo opened his eyes, awaking from his slumber. He tried to sit up out of habit, but stopped when he felt the weight on his chest. Looking down at the female, currently using his chest as pillow, the events of the previous night replayed themselves in his mind. He rubbed the sleep out of one of his eyes, groaning.
"You hear something?" Ichigo asked, drowsily.
"Your dad tried to break in the door but failed and probably died after he fell down the stairs." Loly answered simply, looking up at him, resting her chin on his chest.
"Oh." Ichigo blinked. "How long have you been awake?"
"Not too long." Loly shrugged. "I just didn't feel like getting up."
"Fair enough." The two laid in silence briefly. "I think we need to get back to the Urahara Shoten." Loly sighed, disappointed.
"Do we have to?" She asked.
"No." Ichigo answered. "But I need to get something done with Harribel-san today." Loly was curious.
"What do you need to do with her?" She asked, somewhat disgruntled as well. Ichigo didn't notice, or at least, he didn't comment on it.
"I need to go see some people with her. Try and convince them to help us." He said vaguely. Loly seemed as if she was going to question him further, but was interrupted by knocking.
"Ichi-nii! Breakfast is ready!" Yuzu's voice was heard just beyond the door.
"I'll be right out." Ichigo replied, causing the young girl to huff cutely and walk away. "You want to go on ahead? I can catch up?" He asked Loly.
"Hmm." She pretended to ponder the question. "No. I'm hungry." Ichigo sweatdropped as she sat up and prepared to leave the room. He already knew this was going to be an awkward morning.
"A-And then, when I tried to wake Ichigo up, like a good father should, his door was locked!" Isshin cried out to his daughters, who both stared at him, rather unsympathetic.
"Sounds like a personal problem." Karin said in monotone. Although, it was quite amusing to see her dad tumble down the stairs. Isshin seemed distraught at his daughter's obvious lack of concern. Ichigo chose this moment to come downstairs.
"Oh! Morning Ichi-nii!" Yuzu greeted happily. She then noticed Loly. "Oh, a-and Loly-san. Morning." Karin swung her head back unceremoniously from her seat, viewing Ichigo and Loly upside down. Isshin gasped, his saddened mood vanishing instantly.
"Hm, that's interesting." Karin said simply, blinking.
"Ichigo! It all makes sense now." Isshin declared, pointing accusingly. Ichigo walked by Isshin, to a small table, and casually picked up the baseball that rested on it. "The brooding, the misbehaving, the cry for attention, it was all-!" Ichigo then threw the baseball at Isshin, hitting the man in the head. While his father collapsed on the ground, Ichigo caught the rebound and set the ball back down on the table.
"Shut up. It's too early." Ichigo said, groaning in annoyance. Loly laughed from behind him. Isshin sulked at behind mistreated by his son.
"It's been a while, Loly-san!" Yuzu said cheerfully. Her face then turned apologetic. "I would have made more food if I had known you were here, Loly-san."
"Did you stay the night?" Karin asked.
"Yep." Loly answered simply. "Came home late with Ichigo-kun." Yuzu gasped, her face reddening. It seemed she realized what this implied.
"S-so, you and Ichi-nii slept with each other?" She asked hesitantly.
"No." Ichigo told her.
"Yep." Loly said right after Ichigo, grinning mischievously. Ichigo would have glared at her, but settled for staring at her, deadpanning slightly. She only shrugged when she looked back at him.
"I'm so proud!" Isshin declared, hugging Ichigo and Loly from behind. "Welcome to the family!" Ichigo struggled to release himself from his father's grip.
"I never thought I'd see the day." And that was all Karin had to say about that.
"You had to say it, didn't you?" Ichigo asked, casting his look at Loly. The two currently walked side-by-side towards the Urahara Shoten. That morning's breakfast could have only gone one way, being the Kurosaki family. Especially since Loly decided to, ever so care-freely, mention that they had slept together the previous night.
"What? It was the truth." Loly defended. She then added, "Technically."
"Well, you could have lied." Ichigo groaned. Loly gasped condescendingly.
"Lie? To your family? What kind of girl do you think I am?" She asked, faking her offense at Ichigo's suggestion. Ichigo didn't buy it. He mumbled something under his breath, which Loly didn't quite hear. "What was that?"
"Oh, nothing, nothing." Ichigo replied, amused at whatever it was he said. Loly narrowed her eyes at him. "I said I love you."
"No you didn't." Loly accused.
"It's what I should have said." He said with a shrug. "Oh look, we're here. Time flies." It was true, they had arrived at the Urahara Shoten. Jinta and Ururu were out front, each of them holding a broom. The store had appeared to have just opened, as there was an absence of any customers. Of course, that made Ichigo realize he had never seen any actual customers at Urahara's shop. Made him think how he stayed in business.
"You're not off the hook." Loly told him.
"Noted." Ichigo nodded at her, half-grinning at her. "Hey guys." He greeted to the two kids.
"Good morning, Kurosaki-san." Ururu greeted meekly.
"Boss is underground." Jinta informed, knowing Ichigo was here to see all the Arrancar.
"Anyone dead?" Ichigo asked, to Loly's silent amusement.
"Don't think so. Still early, though." Jinta replied wittingly. Ichigo nodded and went into the shop. The two went to the back, removed the cover to the ladder, and went down into the Training Room, if it could even be called that anymore, what with all the modifications to it.
When they touched down, there were already quite a few individuals up and about. Luppi and the five Arrancar that made up Grimmjow's Fraccion were currently fighting. What caught Ichigo's eye were the tentacles that seemed to have sprout from Luppi's back. The Arrancar himself seemed to have to make little effort to fight as the tentacles fought the others around him. Luppi only seemed amused at their efforts. On the side, Apacci, Mila-Rose and Sun-Sun, Menoly, and Grimmjow watched.
"I'm going to go find Harribel-san. See you later." Ichigo said quickly, before breaking away from Loly's side and off to where Harribel's quarters. Loly watched him go, before walking towards Harribel's Fraccion. Menoly was seated near the three girls as well.
"And where were you last night, Loly?" Apacci asked, almost mischievously. Though, everyone there already knew.
"I stayed the night with Ichigo-kun." Loly said simply, crossing her arms and watching the reactions her words caused. Apacci chuckled, Menoly seemed happy, and Sun-Sun grit her teeth.
"How scandalous." Apacci replied, feigning surprise.
"So, you and Ichigo-kun...?" Menoly trailed off, knowing that would be enough to ask. Apacci and Sun-Sun were curious as well.
"No. Nothing like that." Loly sounded disappointed as she answered. Menoly raised an eyebrow at the answer, surprised. Sun-Sun seemed to breathe out quietly in relief.
"Really? You didn't try anything? You got some good self-control there. I'd have been all over him." Apacci admitted, her cheeks turning red ever so slightly as she pictured it. Again, Sun-Sun grew annoyed.
"Not like I didn't try. He just... stopped me." Loly said, furrowing her brow. She still didn't quite understand it.
"So, he's still a bit of a prude, is he?" Yoruichi asked from behind them. "Don't worry. He'll come around."
"I hope so." Loly replied, sighing. It was then that she realized that the voice who asked the question didn't belong to any of the fraccion. "How long have you been standing there?" The other girls turned to look at Yoruichi. None of them had heard her come up on them.
"Not long." Yoruichi shrugged. "Saw you two come in together, so I thought I'd listen in. Not like I was bothering anyone, hm?" She asked, knowing full well it would annoy Loly. It seemed she had found a new hobby tormenting Loly. Mostly because Loly allowed Yoruichi to bother her so much. "Don't let me interrupt though."
"I was done." Loly told her, growing increasingly annoyed. Yoruichi sighed over-dramatically.
"How disappointing. Fine, I guess I'll leave you alone." She said, turning and walking away. They watched her go, saying nothing until she left and was out of earshot.
"So, where's Ichigo-kun going now?" Menoly asked Loly, who shrugged.
"He said something about going somewhere with Harribel-sama." She said. Apacci raised an eyebrow.
"Really? Harribel-sama didn't say anything." She blinked. Sun-Sun chose this time to speak up.
"You are mistaken, Apacci-san. Harribel-sama informed me this morning." She said to Apacci, who frowned.
"And how come no one told me?" She asked, visibly annoyed at this information.
"Because I knew it would annoy you, Apacci-san." Sun-Sun replied simply, surprising the present girls.
"Oh? You wanna play that game, huh?" Apacci asked, evilly. Sun-Sun looked at Apacci, her eyes showing great disinterest.
"It would be pointless. You know nothing that I don't. And if you did, I am not one to become so immaturely upset about it." She said, causing Apacci to smirk.
"Oh yeah? I made out with your crush yesterday in the hallway." Apacci told Sun-Sun, smirking. She then poked Sun-Sun. Each time, causing the green-haired girl to slap Apacci's hand away. "Don't you wish..."-poke-"...you knew..."-poke-"... what that..."-poke-"... felt like?" In-between each attempt from Sun-Sun to smack Apacci's hand away, you could see her face was red, more than likely in exasperation at her fellow Fraccion's persistence. "But ya don't."
Loly and Menoly seemed surprised at what Apacci confessed, but weren't angry. In fact, it reminded Loly of something she needed to tell both Menoly and Apacci later. Sun-Sun, quite aggravated at Apacci's taunts, stood up.
"I've had quite enough of your foolishness, Apacci-san." And with that, she left them, returning to her room. By then, Ichigo and Harribel had already left to go talk to the Vaizards, so she would be alone.
"Maybe a little too far, Apacci-san?" Menoly asked. Apacci raised her hands up defensively.
"Hey, she started it. Not my fault she can't take a joke." She said, causing Menoly to sigh. She'd go talk with Sun-Sun. She didn't know the Fraccion that well, but knew when someone was troubled. She had spent enough time around Loly to see the signs.
"By the way, Menoly, Apacci, we need to have... a talk with Ichigo-kun later today." Loly told them. Apacci raised an eyebrow.
"About what?" She asked, curious. She wasn't complaining, as she enjoyed talking with Ichigo, but she had never really done so when Loly and Menoly were present. She preferred to do so when it was just her and Ichigo.
"About, you know..." She felt incredibly awkward. "How we feel?"
"I thought he already knew." Apacci deadpanned.
"Hard to explain." Loly sighed, becoming visibly agitated at the lack of words necessary to describe to the two girls in front of her.
"Describe that you're perfectly ok with sharing him?" Mila-Rose asked off from the side, not taking her eyes off the ongoing battle between Luppi and Grimmjow's Fraccion. Loly blinked.
"I don't see why we need to explain that. It's pretty obvious." Apacci said, looking forward at the battle. Menoly sighed.
"You would think." She then started walking away from the group. "I'm going to go talk to Sun-Sun."
"Gonna talk her into busting a move?" Apacci asked, amused at the thought.
"Something like that." Menoly answered, shrugging. Apacci didn't expect her joke to be the case, but said nothing more to Menoly as she left.
"She's got her work cut out for her, then. That girl is too uptight for her own good." Apacci shrugged casually.
"Or maybe she's just not a whore." Mila-Rose commented offhandedly.
"You calling me a whore?" Apacci asked dangerously. Mila-Rose looked at Apacci. She said nothing for a few seconds. She then answered.
"Yeah." Loly broke away from the two before she got caught in the unavoidable fight between the two.
(With Ichigo and Harribel)
"These 'Vaizards', how would you describe them?" Harribel asked Ichigo. The two were currently en route to the Vaizard warehouse. It was still pretty early in the morning, but Ichigo had figured Harribel would want to get their task done sooner rather than later. He was correct. She had already been waiting for him when he went to see when she might want to go. At the moment, Ichigo was still in his body, while Harribel decided to merely stay in her Arrancar form.
"They're an eccentric bunch." Ichigo told her honestly, thinking back to his previous interactions with the group of ex-Shinigami. "But they're pretty good guys. They stick to themselves and only leave their little hideout to get necessities, like food, from what I've seen." Harribel seemed to ponder his reply, trying to imagine the group they were about to meet. She then asked,
"How do you know them?"
"I met them a month, or so, ago. I hadn't learned how to properly control my Inner Hollow, and I was getting around to try and figure it out on my own. Their leader, Shinji, just up and appeared and said they could help me. My thought process wasn't exactly straight enough to stop and consider, so I accepted and he showed me their hideout. The rest is pretty straightforward. I show up to train my my Hollow powers there every couple days." Which reminded him, he needed to talk to Shinji about his fight with Ulquiorra in Hueco Mundo. Better to save that for another time though, he didn't need anyone but him and the Vaizards to know about it.
"Interesting." And Harribel did find it interesting. She knew little about Ichigo's Inner Hollow, but she was curious to find out more. "This 'Inner Hollow' of yours..." She trailed off to see if Ichigo would refuse to talk about it.
"Hm?" He raised an eyebrow, waiting.
"Could you describe it?" She requested. Ichigo furrowed his brow, recalling some rather unfortunate memories, but decided not to let it affect his mood too much.
"He's an asshole." He said bluntly. Harribel wasn't expecting that as the answer. She was more asking about the Hollow's abilities and what it allowed Ichigo to do. At her confused look, or what Ichigo figured was a confused look, he elaborated. "He's real sarcastic and condescending, and always loves to point out any faults I have. He's also a lech."
"Based on our interactions, I'd say that describes an opposite of you." Harribel pointed out, which made Ichigo think. It actually made sense, to a certain extent. He never thought of it that way.
"Hmm. I guess you're right. Still... he's helped me out a couple times when I was in trouble, but only when he thought I would die. I guess if I die, he does. Makes sense. That's how I learned how to fire a Cero." Ichigo said, shrugging.
"Sounds like a very convenient ally, if you don't mind me saying." Harribel said. Ichigo sighed. She was kind of right.
"No, I don't. I suppose you're right, but still..." He trailed off, not really wanting to talk about his Hollow anymore. Come to think of it, his Hollow hadn't talked to him since Hueco Mundo. It had only been a couple days, true, but it was still odd. He usually had some sort of asinine comment to make at Ichigo's expense.
"Are we close to our destination?" Harribel asked, recognizing Ichigo's want to no longer talk about his Hollow.
"Pretty close." He answered. So far, of all the Arrancar he had met the past couple days, Harribel was probably his favorite. She seemed so unlike the image of Arrancar he had painted in his mind. Granted, so was Starrk, but for another reason altogether. She seemed to be the most level-headed and reasonable, moreso than Aaroniero, as well as kind. He knew why Apacci, Sun-Sun, and Mila-Rose respected her so much.
"What do you think their reaction will be to seeing an Arrancar?" Harribel asked him, causing him to think. He really didn't know what to expect of the Vaizards.
"I don't really know... but they're pretty reasonable. I think we'll be fine." He said, appearing quite sure of this. Harribel stopped walking. Ichigo took a couple more steps, before noticing Harribel was no longer walking beside him. He looked back at her and raised an eyebrow. "Something wrong?"
Harribel suddenly reached back behind her and unsheathed her zanpakuto. Ichigo's eyes widened at the sudden movement, but found himself defenseless in his human body. When Harribel appeared behind Ichigo, a loud clang was heard. Ichigo winced at the sudden sound, but looked at what had just happened. Harribel's blade had stopped Hiyori's blade from striking Ichigo. Harribel would have made an attack against the short blonde, but stopped when-
"H-Hiyori?" Ichigo asked, taken aback.
"Baldy." She glowered at him.
"I assume you know each other?" Harribel asked, neither females pulling their zanpakuto away from the other.
"Yeah, he's a punk-ass." Hiyori said, stepping back, but still not dropping her aggressive stance. Ichigo deadpanned at her, still surprised at what appeared to be an attempt on his life.
"She's one of the Vaizards. She's an ally." Ichigo told Harribel, who raised an eyebrow in curiosity.
"Then why is it her attack was focused on you, rather than me?" She asked, not putting her zanpakuto away either.
"Oh. We go way back." Ichigo said, looking off to the side, annoying Hiyori.
"I still owe you an ass-whooping." She said, pointing. "Lucky your girlfriend was here to save you." Harribel made no movements at Hiyori's words.
"You are mistaken." She said calmly. Hiyori clicked her tongue.
"Seriously, Hiyori? Just gonna up and leave cause you 'smell Kurosaki'?" Shinji walked up to the three, his hands casually in his pockets. He looked at Hiyori, Ichigo, and then Harribel. He raised an eyebrow, his trademark smirk on his face. "With a guest, no less."
"Psh." Hiyori replied, sheathing her zanpakuto. Once she did, Harribel sheathed her own zanpakuto. Hiyori turned and walked back towards the warehouse, clearly disappointed with the outcome of her attack.
"Sorry 'bout that. She's a bit... dumb." Shinji said, his smirk dropping as he said this.
"I can still hear you!" Hiyori yelled back at him. She was ignored.
"Something tells me you're not here to train, Ichigo." Shinji said, examining Harribel. It was obvious he could tell she was an Arrancar. Why she was here, he didn't know.
"I'm not. You remember that made-up story I told you a little while ago?" Ichigo asked, all too happy to prove to Shinji he wasn't lying. Shinji blinked.
"No." Ichigo groaned.
"Then I'll tell you again." He said, annoyed.
"Come inside then." Shinji sighed.
(Urahara Shoten/Harribel and Fraccion's Quarters)
"Sun-Sun?" Menoly knocked on the Fraccion's door. It was only partially closed, but Menoly felt obligated to knock anyways. Sun-Sun opened the door all the way with her free hand, looking at Menoly.
"Menoly-san? Can I help you?" She was a little surprised at the unexpected visit. She didn't know the former Numeros all too well, but she wasn't one to turn someone away simply because she didn't know them very well.
"I just, you know, wanted to talk." Menoly said a little awkwardly. "About Ichigo-kun." Sun-Sun examined Menoly. Based on previous interaction with Menoly, Sun-Sun figured that Menoly was not here for pointless taunting and teasing, as Apacci would surely have done. Sun-Sun opened the door completely, turned around, then walked towards the table in her room. Menoly took this as the invitation to enter.
"I don't see what needs to be discussed about Kurosaki-san." Sun-Sun said simply, seating herself at the table. Menoly settled for leaning against the wall.
"Look, Apacci-san is a little out of line sometimes, from what I've seen, but she means well." Menoly said, feeling a little sheepish berating the blue-haired Arrancar.
"I can understand she believes she does." Sun-Sun replied, not entirely convinced of Menoly's statement. "I, however, fail to see the point of her pointless attempts at trying to get under my skin."
"She could go about it differently, but I think she just... wants to get you to admit to yourself so you can be happy." Menoly theorized, a kind look on her face. Discussing Ichigo was something of a no-no with Sun-Sun, so she was trying to be as careful as possible to not aggravate her.
"You are referring to my affection towards Kurosaki-san." Sun-Sun stated calmly, her sleeve lowered enough to expose her mouth. Menoly blinked once, opened her mouth to say something, then closed. She blinked again.
"I'm sorry, what?" She asked incredulously. Sun-Sun gave no change in her calm expression as she admitted, a second time,
"Yes. I have feelings for Kurosaki-san. I think I can go so far as to say I hold great affection towards him." Sun-Sun told Menoly, who could still only stare.
"But, I thought... Apacci-san is always teasing you and..." Menoly tripped over her words, not sure what to say with this sudden twist. She was not expecting this when she decided to talk to Sun-Sun. Menoly figured it would be an uphill battle getting the green-haired girl to admit it. Sun-Sun almost scoffed.
"Admit to Apacci-san? And give her the smug satisfaction of 'being right'?" Sun-Sun asked, almost condescendingly. "Don't be ridiculous. I claim the satisfaction of knowing something she does not." She seemed greatly amused at herself.
"... you had everyone fooled." Menoly admitted, snapping out of it. She allowed a small smile.
"As was the intention." Sun-Sun confirmed.
"Even Ichigo-kun doesn't know." Menoly said, changing the topic to something more serious. Sun-Sun frowned. She seemed aware of that, too. Keeping it to herself that she liked Ichigo so well will only have sent Ichigo the wrong message.
"I'm aware." She replied.
"So, did you have any plan on talking to Ichigo-kun?" Menoly asked, tilting her head to the side.
"Eventually, yes." Sun-Sun nodded.
"You have any sort of plan to go about that?" Menoly asked, curious as to what Sun-Sun would do.
"I fail to see how any sort of 'plan' would have to be incorporated. It'd be as simple as talking to him about it." Sun-Sun said. Menoly knew Ichigo well enough to know that's all it would take. "My only concern is..." Sun-Sun trailed off briefly, feeling a little awkward. "I am unsure of his thoughts towards me."
"Want me to find out?" Menoly asked.
"Don't be ridiculous. I'm going to talk to him and find out myself." She said simply. It was a good enough plan as any. Menoly was curious about something, though.
"So, you like Ichigo-kun." Menoly stated more for the record than anything. "Since when?" Sun-Sun seemed to think to herself, pondering the question.
"The most accurate time would have to be... the day we met." She confessed, looking back at Menoly.
"Just love at first sight? He's attractive, yeah, but-." Menoly started but was caught off.
"It wasn't quite that simple, though I will admit to Kurosaki-san's attractiveness." Sun-Sun said, a small smile surfacing. "He had been meditating. Talking to his zanpakuto, is what he said. Lilynette-san and Apacci-san were sparring against Urahara-san, and I decided to take a quick break. When he snapped out of his meditation, I decided to talk to him, just out of curiosity."
"And? What did you guys talk about?" Menoly asked, very curious.
"First, we discussed my fellow Fraccion. He compared Harribel and us to something of a family, with me acting as the older sister of Apacci-san and Mila-Rose-san." Sun-Sun said, recalling the particular conversation. Menoly almost laughed. That seemed pretty accurate. "Then... he started talking about his family, and how he became a Shinigami, and why he trained and fought so hard."
"Why?" Menoly asked.
"So he could protect those he cares about." Sun-Sun said, smiling. "So he could protect his sisters, his friends, Loly-san, Apacci-san, Lilynette-san, you... and me."
"And so after that, you started to like him?" Menoly asked, taken aback at what Sun-Sun was revealing to her.
"That is correct." Sun-Sun confirmed. "I didn't stand a chance against it." She added, somewhat amused.
"Yeah. He does that." Menoly replied, giggling. "Though, you realize you're going to have to 'share him' with us, right? Including Apacci-san."
"All good things have their own downsides." Sun-Sun said, giving a slight shrug. Menoly laughed.
"Oh yes, I recall now." Shinji said, his hand up to his chin contemplatively. Ichigo had replayed the events that had happened a month ago for Shinji. Everything from first meeting Loly and Menoly to a couple days ago when all the allied Arrancar took refuge in the Urahara Shoten. Shinji, Ichigo, and Harribel all sat around a small table in the massive room that bore resemblance to Urahara's training room. Well, Ichigo and Shinji sat. Harribel decided to stand nearby Ichigo's side of the table. "Still quite a story."
"I'll agree to that." Ichigo said, stopping to think about how ludicrous the overall situation was.
"So? This here is...?" Shinji asked, now up to speed on the events that had transpired the past couple days. Ichigo decided to leave out the details as to just who had decided to join them until after Ichigo was done with his storytelling.
"Tia Harribel. Former Tercera Espada." Harribel introduced herself. Shinji could sense her reiatsu. It was pretty powerful, almost the same as his.
"And that puts you at the third strongest then." Shinji stated, rather than asked. He knew little more than the ranks of the Espada and how they worked. If there were two others stronger than Harribel, then it wouldn't be too much to assume the next in line was stronger than Shinji, yet alone the first. "I see you kept to your promise by bringing someone to prove your story."
"The Segunda and Primera are on our side as well." Ichigo said. Shinji raised an eyebrow. That was certainly not bad. "As well as the Sexta and Novena. Plus another dozen, or so, Arrancar that are close to around third seat and fukutaicho in strength."
"Sounds like you got yourself a small army there." Shinji's smirked returned. "Though, I wonder, why are you telling me this? This seems like a mess for Seireitei to deal with."
"Well, that's the thing." Ichigo said, somewhat sheepishly. "They kind of took it the wrong way and pulled out of Karakura. We haven't heard from them since, but Urahara-san doesn't put it past them to declare us enemies."
"And you need more allies in the event Seireitei does declare you enemies and attack you on their way to Aizen." Shinji guessed, his smirk not leaving.
"That's about it." Ichigo nodded his head. Shinji shook his head at the situation Ichigo presented to him.
"Always stirring up trouble, Ichigo." He said, amused.
"Not my fault." Ichigo said, frowning in annoyance.
"Actually, it kind of is." Shinji disagreed, shrugging.
"It really isn't." Ichigo argued back.
"Based on the chain of events that led up to this moment, one could even argue that you can claim most of the responsibility for this." Harribel said bluntly from the side. Ichigo deadpanned at the, usually stoic, Tercera.
"We kind of have a... history with Seireitei." Shinji said, making a great understatement. "We're not actively looking to enter a Triple Entente with you and the Arrancar against them, you know?" Ichigo frowned, but understood.
"Yeah, I understand."
"We understand that this is a rather large, and mostly unreasonable request, Shinji-san." Harribel said, getting the attention of the two. "It lacks any sort of benefit to you and your people in the event you do side with us. Quite frankly, were it up to me, I would not have been in favor of allowing Kurosaki-san and Urahara-san to approach you with this."
"Ya don't say?" Shinji studied the Arrancar. He looked quite humbled. "Tell ya what... I'll have a talk with the rest of the Vaizards who have surely been eavesdropping on this conversation-"
"-and get back to you. In the meantime, I would like Ichigo here to keep us updated on the Seireitei." Shinji requested. Ichigo blinked, unsure of when it seemed to have switch between him and Shinji negotiating to Shinji and Harribel negotiating.
"We can agree to that." Harribel affirmed.
"Besides, he needs to show up for his studies. His teacher is getting upset." Shinji joked. Ichigo rolled his eyes. "If that's all, then."
"Thank you for your time." Harribel said, nodding her head, which was returned. Ichigo stood up and turned to leave, Harribel following him. Shinji only watched the two go, saying nothing.
"That went without incident." Harribel said calmly, walking a few feet beside Ichigo.
"Yeah, it did." Ichigo agreed with her. "Thanks for saving my life, by the way." He said, chuckling.
"Think nothing of it. I'm sure you would have reacted in a manner I did were our roles reversed." Harribel said, looking at him. Ichigo nodded, somewhat taken aback at her claim. It wasn't untrue, but it wasn't what he expected her to say. The two walked quietly after that, not in any particular hurry. It still wasn't even that late into the day, Ichigo realized. It was barely noon, actually. He wasn't quite sure what he'd do with the rest of his day now that this was done with, for now at least.
That was when they both sensed it. The opening of a Senkaimon, followed by two very strong reiatsu sources. Ichigo recognized them, but couldn't put a name to their faces.
"Come. We must warn the others." Harribel told Ichigo calmly. Ichigo was finally able to put a face to one of the signatures, and a name in the case of one of them. One was the Fourth Company Captain, he remembered it after being healed up in Seireitei. The other was Ukitake, the one who gave Ichigo his deputy badge. If Seireitei was attacking, why would they only send two captains? And those two?
"You go on ahead." Ichigo told her. Harribel raised an eyebrow.
"Don't be foolish. You can not hope to overcome them alone." Harribel said in a matter-of-fact tone.
"I don't think they're here to fight." Ichigo admitted, looking at her. Harribel said nothing. "I recognize the reiatsu. If they were going to attack, I don't think they would with those two. I know them. Get back to the Urahara Shoten."
"Very well." Harribel conceded. She turned and quickly fled the scene. Ichigo stood there alone. He hoped that he was right, as did Harribel.
"Kurosaki-san." Ichigo turned towards the female voice. There, standing a mere ten feet from him were Unohana and Ukitake. Rather than ready for battle, they seemed more relaxed.
"Ukitake-taicho?" Ichigo asked, raising an eyebrow. He wasm't entirely sure what to do as of yet.
"Ichigo-san." Ukitake greeted. He scratched the back of his head sheepishly. "Isn't this awkward?" He joked, chuckling a little.
"You don't say." Ichigo replied, feeling somewhat at ease at the Captain's joke.
"Kurosaki-san, we are not here to do battle, but will do so if it comes to that." Unohana stated kindly. "Yamamoto-sotaicho sent us here to talk to you. Nothing more."
"About me and the Arrancar?" Ichigo asked, surprised that the old man had actually sent someone to talk, rather than declare him an enemy right-out.
"That is correct." Unohana confirmed, nodding once. Ichigo figured that if he gave the wrong answer, the seemingly kind woman wouldn't hesitate to cut him down. He had never seen the Captain in action, but he didn't dare underestimate her simply because she was in charge of the Medic Corps.
"Don't worry, Ichigo-san." Ukitake said casually, waving his hand. "I'm certain this was all a misunderstanding." The man seemed genuine, which was probably why he was sent by Yamamoto to talk to Ichigo.
"You have no idea." Ichigo sighed out in frustration. "I'm not in league with Aizen. It's a little offensive that that's the first thing everyone thought." Unohana gave a kind smile.
"Then please explain the situation to us." She kindly requested. Ichigo nodded.
"I guess I'll start from the beginning..."
Soi-Fon followed Harribel expertly, living up to her title as the Stealth Corps Commander, maintaining her distance. She identified Harribel as an Arrancar right away and decided to pursue her upon Harribel and Ichigo separating, something that had initially confused the Captain. It seemed that the reports were at least accurate, that Kurosaki was, indeed, with the Arrancar. As of yet, Soi-Fon believed that the Arrancar was unaware of her presence.
Soi-Fon suddenly lurched forward unceremoniously as someone grabbed the back of her Captain's haori, halting her forward motion.
"Oh, hi, Soi-Fon. How ya been?" Yoruichi asked, a sly grin on her face as she held Soi-Fon by the haori. Soi-Fon struggled against the grip, losing her usual composure.
"Unhand me, Yoruichi-sama!" Soi-Fon ordered. She had believed that her stealth had improved to the point of being able to remain hidden even if Yoruichi was nearby. She was wrong.
"This is more fun." Yoruichi admitted, shrugging in a care-free manner. "But if you insist." She dropped Soi-Fon. Soi-Fon landed gracefully and faced Yoruichi, ready to fight. "Jeez, why so hostile? I thought we were besties." She feigned hurt.
"You are allied with the Arrancar." Soi-Fon stated calmly.
"I like to think I'm more allied with Urahara and Ichigo. The Arrancar just happen to be allied with them." Yoruichi seemed to think. She then sighed, annoyed. "So, technically, I suppose you're right."
"I don't understand." Soi-Fon stated, narrowing her eyes.
"Oh, Soi-Fon. I would've thought Seireitei would have sent someone to confirm the situation... at least long before today." She shrugged, her arms crossed. "I would guess that's what Unohana-san and Ukitake-san are here for."
"They are here to ascertain Kurosaki's intentions." Soi-Fon informed Yoruichi.
"And in the event Ichigo is allied with the Arrancar, you'd kill him." Yoruichi said, raising an eyebrow. "Not with that stealth." She seemed amused. Soi-Fon glowered at her previous Captain. "Take a joke, Soi-Fon. Always so uptight."
"We are at war." Soi-Fon said simply, giving the reason for her attitude. Not that it was any different at any other time.
"Maybe, but you have more allies than you would think." Yoruichi said cryptically, winking. "Just wait and see."
"And if I choose not to?" Soi-Fon asked, though, she knew she didn't really have a choice in the matter.
"I'll beat you up." Yoruichi said, grinning. Soi-Fon sighed in annoyance. She realized she could no longer sense Harribel's reiatsu.
"Then maybe you can shed some light on the situation for me?" Soi-Fon asked, furrowing her brow.
"Nah, you can wait." Yoruichi replied. This only served to aggravate Soi-Fon further.
"Where is he now?" Starrk rubbed the sleep from his eyes, having just been awoken by Harribel. Currently, he, Baraggan, Harribel, and Urahara were gathered in the small store on the surface.
"More than likely, where I left him." Harribel answered.
"Is this an attack, shopkeeper?" Baraggan asked gruffly, not too disappointed at the thought.
"More than likely not." Urahara said truthfully. "There are three taichos here, yes." This surprised Harribel, as she had only sensed two. "The two nearest Kurosaki-san are Unohana-taicho and Ukitake-taicho. They are both formidable warriors, but they are also known for their other qualities, which is probably why Yamamoto sent them. The third taicho is the Stealth Corps Commander. I'm guessing she was here just as an additional security, but Yoruichi has probably already dealt with her."
"If it's a show of force they want, I say we engage them." Baraggan stated simply.
"That might not be the best course of action. As of yet, I don't sense any sort of battle going on involving Kurosaki-san." Urahara said, thinking. "I believe they are here to confirm Kurosaki-san's intentions."
"Would it not be prudent for one of us to go and establish peaceful contact with them while they are speaking with Kurosaki-san?" Harribel suggested.
"It wouldn't be a bad idea." Urahara thought about it. "It may not even be a bad idea for you and Starrk-san here to be the ones to do so." Starrk sighed, not too thrilled at the idea of... doing work. "No offense, Baraggan-san, but you come off as a bloodthirsty maniac." Urahara said jovially to the Segunda.
"..." Baraggan said nothing, looking at the shopkeeper with annoyance in his eyes.
"In that case, It'd be best to go sooner rather than later." Harribel said, preparing to leave.
"I agree." Urahara nodded, looking back at Starrk.
"Fine, I guess I'll go too." Starrk sighed, not incredibly thrilled at the idea. "After you, Harribel-san." Both he and Harribel both disappeared with Sonido, deciding it'd be best to get back to Ichigo as soon as possible. This left Baraggan and Urahara alone. Urahara sighed, appeared exasperated. He turned to go back underground.
"And what do you intend to do, shopkeeper?" Baraggan asked the man, to which Urahara waved him off with his trademark fan.
"To make a couple more rooms." He said knowingly. Baraggan didn't say anything else as Urahara left. Soon enough, Baraggan, too, went back underground.
"That's quite the story, Kurosaki-san." Unohana admitted. Ukitake agreed with his fellow captain, looking contemplative on what had just been told to them. They all hadn't moved from their spots. Ichigo would have suggested to go somewhere else to talk, but decided against it, as he doubted the two captains were looking to be comfortable.
"Yeah... I get that a lot." Ichigo told them bluntly.
"So, these Arrancar..." Ukitake thought for a second. "They defected from Aizen?"
"Yeah. The three strongest Espada, the sixth and the ninth, and a handful of others." Ichigo confirmed, nodding his head.
"And these Arrancar have allied themselves with you?" Unohana asked.
"Saying it like that kinda suggest that I'm their leader, which I'm not. I think they all pretty much follow the Primera, Segunda, and Tercera, and those three have..." Ichigo thought for the right word. ".. agreed to help me."
"So, are these Arrancar looking for an alliance with the Seireitei?" Unohana questioned further.
"I think they'd be open to it." Ichigo said. Maybe Baraggan wouldn't be too thrilled, but everyone else probably wouldn't care too much. He couldn't think of any of the Arrancar that had any sort of grudges against the Shinigami. "You can meet them if you want." Unohana and Ukitake looked at each other.
"That would be acceptable." Unohana agreed, motioning for Ichigo to go ahead. Ichigo turned around to show them the way to the Urahara Shoten.
That was when Starrk and Harribel appeared a few feet from Ichigo. Ichigo blinked in surprise. "Well, that's convenient. What're you guys doing here?"
"To meet with the Shinigami representatives, or provide assistance. Whichever is needed." Harribel told him, looking past Ichigo and at the two captains.
"Unohana-taicho, Ukitake-taicho, this is Starrk-san, the Primera."
"Former Primera." Starrk corrected with a blank look.
"And Harribel-san. The Former Tercera." Ichigo said, correcting himself.
"Please to make the acquaintance of a Shinigami taicho." Harribel greeted respectfully.
"Well met, and all that." Starrk nodded his head. Unohana and Ukitake both seemed taken aback at the introductions of the two Arrancar.
"This has been a bit of a surprise." Ukitake admitted, not entirely sure of what to make of the whole situation presented to him and Unohana. "We will have to return to Seireitei and make our report to Yamamoto-sotaicho." Ichigo nodded.
"We hope this meeting will be the first step to a peaceful agreement between us and Seireitei." Harribel told them, her arms remaining crossed. Ukitake waved her off casually.
"I don't think there's anything to worry about. Yamamoto-sotaicho is pretty reasonable." He assured the three.
"At the very least, I predict that there will be no hostile transgressions against you or your allies, Kurosaki-san." Unohana said. She wasn't entirely sure of that, after all, she wasn't too certain on what Yamamoto would think of Arrancar allies.
"Great. That's all I wanted." Ichigo said, smiling in relief. The Senkaimon opened behind the two captains. "Could you apologize to Hitsugaya-taicho for me?"
"I'm sure I can handle that." Unohana replied kindly, turning to leave. Ukitake followed her, waving back at them, carefree. The Senkaimon closed and vanished. Ichigo breathed a sigh of relief.
"That was surprising." He said, looking at Starrk and Harribel.
"Don't see why I needed to stop sleeping for this, honestly." Starrk said, looking at Harribel. Harribel ignored Starrk.
"At the least, they assured us no hostile actions will be taken against us. That is all we could have really hoped for." She said. Ichigo nodded.
"Yeah, I guess so." He looked at his watch and frowned. It was barely half-past noon. "I knew it. It's going to be a long day. Dammit."
(End of Chapter/Author's Note)
And done. Hope you noticed the considerable lack of other characters this chapter. Don't worry. I have plans. I have nothing much to say, as usual, for this note, so I shall move on to;
Musical Inspiration for this Chapter:
Band:Miss May I
Song:Forgive and Forget
Take me back to how it used to be. I'll never close my eyes again. How could I ever forget a place like this? Somewhere that I can call my own.
And now... the rant you've been waiting to add your opinion for...
Okay, my turn again. Well, since we're already on the subject of heroes in fiction, let's continue on a bit, eh? I'll try and make my point a bit clearer on this so that there's no misunderstanding.
Normally in a game or manga and such, I don't find myself at all interested in the main character and his/her love interest. That's not to say that they're not good characters, or have some aspects about them that I don't like. It's just that I find myself more curious, and thus more drawn to, the side characters. Thinking of an example I'm sure most of us can understand, I'll use Final Fantasy X. I didn't care for Tidus, ignoring his... "character". I'm talking more about his motivation. Some people could find it interesting, being drawn from everything he knows and thrust 1000 years into the future. Me, I couldn't have cared less. The way he went about doing everything after finding out what happened to him completely turned me away from him. Yuna, on the other hand, I could actually have followed her story a bit more thanks to her motivation and the problems that arose with it, i.e. dying to save the fucking world. That's pretty damn big. But considering that the way she went about it, however, totally ruined the thing for me.
But then there's Auron. Holy fuck, Auron. We're told enough of his backstory that we're interested in him, but enough of it is hidden to have has asking more questions, thus increasing our curiosity and thus desire to learn more about him. Some of them were answered, others were insinuated, and in the end, when we think of a likable person from the game, we immediately think of Auron. And his huge ass sword. (Seriously, I want that fucking sword. And that jug of booze.)
I'd like to say that anime is a bit better, but really, it's not for me. In Melancholy of Haruhi, I'm more interested in Nagato. Tengen Toppa, I'm more interested in people like Kittan. Love Hina, Shinobu. Naruto, most of the filler girls and Tenten. Okay, and Shino. Cause let's face it, those shades are awesome.
That's not to say that there's no MCs in games that I don't like most. Haseo from .hack/G.U. drew me in with his motives and story, and I liked how his character development took 3 full games to complete. Most of the time development on the scale of what Haseo goes through takes the hero of another game a third of the time. And of course, Yuri "Jesus Christ" Lowell from Tales of Vesperia. Seriously, you have to play that fucking game from start to finish just to fully comprehend how much "Badass" is stored in that guy. And his motivation and how he goes about completing his goals is just great. From talking calmly, if a bit sarcastically and in deadpan, to full out assassinating a corrupt politician who escaped all punishment and tossing his body into a river, Yuri has you staying around to find out what he says or does next. That's what a MC is SUPPOSED to do, at least in my opinion.
Like I said, it's not that I don't hate all MCs. It's just that a lot of times I'm just not as interested in them as I am their companions. It might be because today a lot of MCs just come off as the same person with slightly different looks to me, or maybe because since the whole game/show/whatever is dedicated to the MC people think we have to be immediately invested in every little thing they do. I don't know. But hey, even if I don't like the MC, I'll stick around if only because I might get to learn more about the characters I DO like.
This is Lazruth, and AH. HA. HA. HA. AAAHHHH HA. HA. HA. HA.
Hope you enjoyed! Please read and review. Constructive criticism is welcome, but flamers will be hunted down and beaten up by me personally, I assure you.