The Bird of Hermes is my name; eat my wings to make me tame.

Not going to say much today, except thanks to everyone for all the reviews and support you've given the story. Please enjoy and read the note at the bottom when you're done.

EDIT: There is a petition site set up for writers to stop this blatant censoring. Its www(dot)change(dot)org/petitions/fanfiction-net-stop-the-destruction-of-fanfiction-net#. Sign it if you want and please pass it on.

Oh yes, today's chapter inspired by the songs:

Lose My Life – Papercut Massacre

What Have You Done – Within Temptation

Akkadian Empire - Audiomachine

Disclaimer: All characters are property of their respective owners, of which I am not.

"Normal speech"

"Kido/Zanpakuto release"

'Inner speech/thoughts'


'Ichigo and Tatsuki's link'


Chapter 17: The Beast Within.

Tatsuki dodged to the left just as Ichigo's fist came down on the ground, cracking under the tremendous force, and retaliated with a several lightning quick jabs to his torso. Despite her bladed gauntlets though, she was unable to pierce his clothing and inflict any actual damage to him. Cartwheeling backwards she was spared an axe kick that sought to crush her skull.

"You missed Ichigo!" she taunted as his face remained blank, while Mabashi laughed in the background. Despite her best efforts at trying to attack the Bount directly, she found herself constantly under pressure by Ichigo. She counted herself lucky though, that Ichigo's dual pistols had been rendered useless, probably thanks to Alucard. If only he could snap Ichigo out of this trance soon. Charging back at Ichigo, she ducked under a cross, slamming her elbow full force into his gut, sending him crashing into the wall.

"You're getting slower Ichigo," she taunted once again, "before you would never allow such a simple attack to land on you!" Her eyes widened though as a small boulder was thrown in her direction, knocking her back a few feet as it struck her. Cursing her arrogance, she leapt to her feet again, searching for him. Even without the use of his abilities, he was more than a match for her...unless she decided to take it to the next level. She had hoped that simply drawing out the battle would give Ichigo the time to regain his senses, but at this rate, his superior strength and endurance would wear her down.

"That is not the man you love mistress," Kurohime said appearing behind her, standing on her hind legs as she wrapped her wings around Tatsuki protectively. "Anything we do to him now can be healed, but anything he does to us, brings us closer and closer to death. Think how he would feel, when it comes to his attention that you were unable to lay a hand on him, simply because you are lovers. If we die here by his hand, you are unleashing a force that will burn the world to the ground in his madness."

'I don't need a reminder Hime,' Tatsuki thought as Ichigo continued to watch her. 'I just wish that the first time I really let loose on him was when he was fully conscious of the beat down,' she thought with a smirk.

"We don't always get what we want mistress," Kurohime said with a deep rumbling growl that Tatsuki recognised as a chuckle. "Perhaps later you can beat some sense into him for allowing that insect to control him?"

'Oh you can count on that!' Tatsuki thought with glee. Seeing the smile on her face confused Mabashi, wasn't she supposed to be worried about fighting the boy?

"How much longer do you plan to stand there?" he asked her. "No matter what you do, he's not going to be able to break free of Ritz's control."

"Oh I'm sure he will…eventually," Tatsuki replied. "I just came to the realisation that if I let him kill me now, he'll track me down in the afterlife to punish me for thinking something stupid like that." Taking a deep breath, Tatsuki relaxed and let her powers rise to the surface. Her coat and blouse melted away and were replaced by her black V-neck, while her gauntlets, greaves and wings burst into flame. As the flames washed over the area, Mabashi raised an arm to shield his eyes from the brightness, staring in horror at the form she possessed now.

"I hope you're ready for Round 2 Ichigo," she said as she fanned her wings, encircling them in a ring of fire. "Because I really hope you survive this." Vanishing from view, she reappeared behind Ichigo, startling Mabashi with her speed. With a sickening crunch, her flaming greave struck Ichigo's side, tearing through his clothing and skin, sending him flying back. Racing after his airborne body, Tatsuki waited with her fists ready, delivering an uppercut as he reached her, sending him crashing into the roof. Collapsing with a thud, he struggled to his feet, only to be sent flying once again by a spinning heel into the wall near Mabashi, where he sat unmoving.

"Game over freak," Tatsuki said as she appeared in front of Mabashi, the flames flaring around her body. Mabashi watched on in fear as a flaming fist was barrelling towards him and screamed as it neared him. It never struck though as a large figure was suddenly in front of him, the fist striking them and exiting their body in a shower of blood.

"Ichi…go…" Tatsuki said in shock as she saw her fist embedded in his stomach. She could say no more though as Ichigo's hand clamped down on her arm with crushing force. Unable to get away, she was caught off-guard by a head-butt, leaving her seeing stars as she tried to get her bearings. Not allowing her a breather, Ichigo followed up with a bone-breaking knee to her ribs, causing her to double over, leaving her in the perfect position for an elbow to her unprotected neck. Letting go of her arm, she dropped to the ground before him.

"Excellent Ichigo," Mabashi said as he recovered from his momentary fear. "Now finish her off, we have others to kill."

Nodding, Ichigo wrapped both hands around Tatsuki's neck, lifting her off the ground as he began to choke her. As her feet dangled uselessly in the air, Tatsuki tried to break his grip, but her efforts were in vain as her vision started to blur and her strength faded. The pain from being choked, combined with the knee from earlier, caused her to cough up a mouthful of blood, sending it spraying over Ichigo's face. Unfazed by the act, Ichigo continued to choke her, until a single drop ran down his face and into his mouth.

At that moment, Ichigo dropped Tatsuki to the ground, his body being enveloped in his black reiatsu as it billowed about him. It grew larger and larger until the ground below him started to crack and splinter, as he let loose a bestial roar that echoed throughout the cavern, along with a high pitched shriek from Ritz.

"Ritz!" Mabashi screamed, trying to make his voice heard over the din, while Tatsuki gasped for breath where she sat on the ground.

With a final roar, a shockwave of energy shot out from Ichigo's body, sending Ritz flying with it.

"Ritz!" Mabashi said once again as he cradled his doll in his hands, where it remained silent and shivering. Looking back at Ichigo, he was narrowly able to dodge a massive blast, as it flew past him. As he slid back though, his body came to an abrupt halt as someone grabbed his shoulder. With a fearful glance back, he found himself face to face with Ichigo's monstrous features, pure rage radiating off him as he held his right shoulder. Tightening his grip, Ichigo started to squeeze, the bones cracking under the force, while his other arm grabbed Mabashi's right arm.

"You're going to scream very soon," Ichigo said venomously, "and you're going to scream loud enough that every other Bount in this fucking place can hear it!" he roared and ripped the arm off with pure brute strength. A piercing scream echoed off the walls as Mabashi clutched his shoulder, hunched over in pain. Ichigo's eyes held no remorse though as he stalked towards him.

"LOUDER YOU FOOL!" Ichigo said as his heel smashed into Mabashi's left knee, shattering it and causing the Bount to let loose a bloodcurdling scream.


As the screams reverberated down the separate passageways and into the main chamber, the Bount, soul reapers, humans and mod souls cringed, wondering what manner of torture was being used to evoke such sounds from someone.

"You've provoked a monster Kariya," Koga said as he and Kariya waited in the main chamber. Next to him, Kariya only narrowed his eyes and scoffed.

"Maybe Koga," he said nonchalantly, "but when he comes for me I will put him down. Besides it's time you got going."

Nodding, Koga headed down the middle path, trying to ignore the screams as they still echoed towards him.


Back with Ichigo and Mabashi, the enraged teenager held the Bount in the air by his neck, his teeth gritted in rage as the man grew silent, and his throat hoarse.

"You won't be needing this anymore then," Ichigo said as his free arm gripped Mabashi's lower jaw and with a squelch ripped the appendage free, rendering the Bount unable to make any sound other than a gurgle as blood poured down his throat.

"You made me hurt Tatsuki…" Ichigo said in a whisper, his eyes downcast as he held the limp body still. "You made me spill her blood…" he continued, tossing the man's jaw away. "Your suffering will be legendary," Ichigo rattled off as he dropped the man's body to the ground, watching as he twitched feebly.

From where he lay in the dirt, Mabashi could feel tears in his eyes as his vision swam and pain became his entire being. His eyes widened in fear as Ichigo's boots came into view at his head and he wondered what else would be done to him now.

Lifting his boot, Ichigo placed it on Mabashi's skull, the heel digging into his temple and began to push down. He watched on dispassionately as his opponent's eyes rolled up into skull, as the bone began to crack, before finally giving away as Ichigo's boot crushed it. Grinding the bits of brain and bone into a paste, Ichigo watched as the body turned to dust and was blown away. Looking down at his wounds from Tatsuki, he saw that the skin had finally knit back together and his clothing mended. Seeing her frozen in the distance, he sighed and made his way over to her, returning to his normal form.

"Ichigo…" Tatsuki said as he dropped down to one knee next to her. She could say no more though as he pulled her into a tight hug, his head resting on her shoulder as he held her.

"I'm so, so sorry Tatsuki," he said, his voice quivering with emotion, prompting her to just wrap her arms around him. "I felt as if I was sealed into a black box, unable to ever see you again. Then when I could taste you and feel the fear…I just slipped into a rage and shattered it. Please, please tell me what I can do to make it up to you," he pleaded as he stood, lifting her with him.

"Well…for your idiocy today, I think we can start with you serving my every desire for the next week," she said with a grin, making him scoff.

"Clearly you're better," he mumbled as he carried her like a child, setting off down the tunnel he could feel Orihime's reiatsu coming from. He shut up though as she elbowed the side of his face.


Meanwhile Renji, Chad, Noba and Rangiku had come to a halt in a large open cavern, staring down at a frail old man, who was dressed in a black suit with a purple ascot and cane in his hands.

"So you've finally arrived soul reapers," the old man said as he peered at them through narrow eyes from atop a strange brown chair. "And I see that the one that killed Mabashi is not with you…a pity really."

"Oh? Why is that?" Rangiku asked curiously, a smirk on her face.

"Just that he would have been an interesting soul to absorb," the old man said.

"Who are you?" Chad asked in his deep baritone.

"Ah forgive me, my name is Sawatari. Would you mind terribly just giving up so that I may devour your souls?" he said with a chuckle.

"We'll pass," Renji said as he and Rangiku drew their zanpakuto and Chad activated his arm. Noba remained calm, his eyes narrowed on the ground beneath the man.

"Very well I shall oblige you," Sawatari said with a smirk and disappeared into the floor startling them. Immediately they stood with their backs to each other as they scanned the area for their foe.

"Move!" Noba yelled as his senses picked up on an anomaly below them, causing everyone to leap away from where they were standing, just as a gigantic whale-like creature burst from the ground, its maw wide open.

"What?" Renji exclaimed as he and Rangiku watched the whale slip into the ground once again, its shadow barely visible in the dark cavern.

"Gotcha!" Rangiku exclaimed as she charged down, zanpakuto aiming to impale the shadow. She struck nothing but hard rock though as the shadow was unhurt by her blade and started to rapidly charge at her.

'Shit,' she thought as she struggled to pulled her blade free, while the whale surfaced and sped toward her, its jaw open wide.

"Rangiku-san!" was the simultaneous cry from Renji and Chad, as it seemed to swallow her. They breathed a sigh of relief though, when she exited a wormhole and landed on her ass near Noba with a slight shriek.

"Good job Noba," Chad said to the mod soul who only nodded his head slightly, before rapidly blushing as Rangiku wrapped an arm around his shoulders, bringing his face dangerously close to her breasts in his eyes.

"Yeah Noba without you I would've been chow for sure," she said cheerily, not noticing the effect she was having on the mod soul. Renji could only snigger while Chad remained impassive. The moment was broken though, much to Noba's relief, by Sawatari resurfacing again.

"Yes, impressive indeed young man," he said with a chuckle as he stared at Noba. "Allow me to introduce you. This is my doll, Baura."

"This is an awfully cramped space," the doll said in a deep voice that reverberated around the cavern, "do we really have to stay here?"

"I'm sorry, but we need to stay here for now," Sawatari said as he closed his eyes. "Baura can manipulate the space around him, allowing him to swim through it all freely. It is quite similar to what that young man can do," he said pointing at Noba, "but our powers are far beyond his."

"We'll see," Noba said as his eyes narrowing slightly.

"Impudent brat," Sawatari muttered, "Baura!"

"Okay," the doll said as it disappeared into the ground again.

Readying themselves, everyone watched for the faintest hint of movement, as they scattered across the area. Suddenly the ground below Renji began to ripple, making him jump into the air just as Baura leapt up from the ground.

"Howl, Zabimaru!" he yelled and swung his whip-like blade down on the doll, the blade only scratching the hide as it scraped across it. As it sailed away from him, Chad sent a blast that missed it, striking the ceiling above them and sending rubble falling to the ground.

"Watch your aim Sado!" Renji yelled at him. "If we're not careful we'll bring this entire place down on our heads." Chad only grunted in response, as the doll charged at him, while he charged another blast in his arm. Letting it loose at the doll, he was stunned as the doll swallowed it with ease, continuing to charge at him. Unable to dodge in time, Chad suddenly felt himself yanked to the side as Rangiku flash stepped away with him. This game of cat and mouse continued with Chad, Renji and Rangiku trying to put some dent into the beast each time it surfaced, only for all their attacks to be rendered useless.

During one such attempt, Matsumoto felt her blade actually dig into his hide, but flinched as she was unable to remove it. Swinging his tail around, Baura knocked the lieutenant free, sending her crashing into the ground below him. Grimacing in pain from the hit, Rangiku cracked an eye open and watched as the dark abyss that was Baura's mouth, closed in on her.

She was shocked though when Noba appeared in front of her, shield at the ready as he faced the charging doll. When the two clashed, red and purple energy arced around the others like lightning and covered the area in a swirling vortex of debris, forcing them to shield their eyes. As they continued to clash, Sawatari's eyes widened, filled with a crazed gleam.

"You insolent brat!" he yelled. "Do you truly believe that you possess the power to seal ME off? Do you even have any idea of the countless human souls I have absorbed in order to gain this power? There's no way you can ever hope to MATCH ME BOY!" Unknown to him though, Renji and Chad had seen what Noba was trying to do and charged at Baura's unprotected rear, knocking the whale into Noba's wormhole. As the void sealed, Noba fell to his hands and knees, the strain taking hold of him.

"Noba!" Chad yelled a he and Renji rushed over to him, while Rangiku crawled over.

"Noba what did you do there?" Rangiku asked where she sat on the ground next to him.

"I…forced him…into my own…dimension…" the mod soul gasped out, avoiding looking in her direction since her cleavage was at his eye level.

"But how did you know that, that would work?" Renji asked.

"I…didn't," Noba said as his breathing started to calm at last.

"Then why take the risk?" Rangiku shouted at him.

"We mod souls…were created to fight the Bount," he replied. "No matter what, I will not fail in that mission." At his words he found himself in a position that many a man would kill to experience, as Rangiku wrapped him in a tight hug, her assets rubbing against him, causing him to rapidly blush once again.

"Ah Noba-kun's so heroic," Rangiku cooed, while Renji sniggered. Feeling a sudden pain in his chest though, Noba shoved the lieutenant away as he staggered away from the three of them.

"Noba?" Chad asked nervously, but was answered a moment later when Noba screamed in pain, his body rising into the air slightly as his reiatsu flared around him.

"Now what?" Renji said as they watched Noba's body convulse in front of them. Suddenly his coat was torn open, as a large wormhole opened in front of him and Baura leapt out of it, sending the mod soul flying backwards. Rangiku flash stepped after him, catching the mod soul and sending both their bodies rolling across the cavern.

"Noba!" was the call from both Renji and Chad as they rushed over, their faces contorting as they beheld multiple lacerations across Noba's chest.

"That was a good try brat," Sawatari said from behind them, as he walked off Baura's side. "But you're about a hundred years too young to even try and seal me away."

"Bastard," Renji whispered as he gritted his teeth, as he and Chad took their stance once again, while Rangiku tried to wake Noba.

"It's about time I end this," Sawatari said as he ground his cane into the ground. "Let's go Baura."

"Okay," the doll replied and leapt over him, charging at the group. Before they could leap away, Renji and Chad found their shirts in Noba's grip, while he had his arm wrapped around Rangiku's shoulder. As Baura tried to swallow them, they found themselves in an entirely new cavern.

Letting go of them all, Noba fell to the ground again, as his blood pooled around him from his wounds.

"You shouldn't strain yourself like that Noba," Rangiku said as she helped him sit up.

"It's like I said," he coughed, "I was created…to fight them…so no matter what…I will do what is…needed." He stopped to regain his breath. "Besides…we need a plan…" he trailed off.

"He's right," Renji said as he looked around the cavern, it was similar to the last, but had far more stalagmites and stalactites. "Noba, can you predict where he will show up?"

"No," the mod soul said with a shake of his head, "It takes about all of my ability just to find him as he attacks and while he's in that other dimension, it's close to impossible."

"What do you mean, close to impossible?" Rangiku asked.

"He's emitting a pulse of his reiatsu to find us, while in that other dimension," Noba coughed out, "but that pulse is too weak for me to track." At his words, Renji and Rangiku shared a look between themselves.

"Do you have a way to track him?" Chad asked, noticing their look.

"It's possible," Rangiku said as she turned to face him, "but if Noba and I were to combine our powers, I could provide the boost he needs, while he tracks the reiatsu. It would leave the both of us drained of what little reiatsu we have left, meaning that you and Renji only have one shot to end it all." As they mulled the implications of the plan, Noba looked up with a steely glint in his eyes.

"I'll do it," he said bringing everyone's attention towards him. "What do you want me to do?"

"Okay then, first we'll need to synch our reiatsu," Rangiku said, causing Noba to blush again, while Chad was confused. He was enlightened though, when Noba slipped his hands under Rangiku's shihakusho, placing them on her shoulders, while she crouched down. For a moment nothing happened, until their reiatsu's flared into existence, Rangiku's light blue coiling itself around Noba's crimson. As it continued to wrap around each other, it began to fuse, acquiring a bright pink glow as it engulfed both their bodies. Her eyes snapped open at this and Rangiku began to chant, while drawing a circle with various symbols into the ground.

"Heart of the south, eye of the north, finger of the west, foot of the east, arrive with the wind and depart with the rain, Bakudo no. 58, Kakushitsuijaku!" she said and pressed her hands to the ground, causing the circle to glow. "57…89…95…" she rattled off as she searched for the Bount, "103…122…136…184…190…202…" Renji and Chad grew worried when she no longer spoke, their apprehension rising when she gasped. "I-I can't find him," she said in a panicked voice, causing Noba to grip her shoulders even tighter, as he reached through her kido.

"There…" he muttered, drawing Rangiku's attention to a pulse to the west of them. Rangiku's eyes narrowed in on the pulse, watching as it rapidly approached them, trying to find the exact location he would appear from. "Above us!" she shouted, startling Renji and Chad into action, just as the whale appeared above them.

'They'll never see me coming,' Sawatari thought with a grin as they swam through their dimension, right above where their prey waited. The grin vanished though, when they exited the void and he noticed that everyone was staring at the exact point he had come from.

Charging his fist, Chad leapt into the air, delivering a powerful blast to the whale's underbelly, sending it crashing into the cavern roof, before falling towards the ground.

"Finally," Renji said with a grin, "Bankai, Hihio Zabimaru." His reiatsu flared around him, hiding him from view as dust blew about the area. When it died down he was standing with his bankai coiled around him, the snake-like head uttering a hiss as it raised itself higher. Swinging his bankai towards the falling whale, the snake wrapped its body around it several times, before sinking its jaws into the soft flesh that was already weakened by Chad's attack. Baura let loose a dull roar of pain as Hihio Zabimaru bit deeper, ripping out a piece of flesh as Renji pulled it back a bit.

"Hikotsu Taiho!" Renji yelled, as he directed his bankai to fire an energy blast right into the wound, widening the wound as it ripped through the doll's body.

"No this cannot…I WILL NOT ALLOW THIS!" Sawatari shouted in rage, only to find himself face to face with Zabimaru. His cries were drowned out as the bankai clamped its jaws down on him, easily ripping through the dense hide and severing the man at his waist. Almost immediately, the doll and its master dissolved into green reishi and vanished, while Renji and Chad stood over the clothing left behind.

With Noba and Rangiku though, they let loose a sigh of relief as they felt drained. Still holding Rangiku's shoulders, Noba was stunned when Rangiku slumped into his chest, knocking the two of them to the ground. As she tried to sit up once again, she unconsciously grinded her hips into his body, causing the mod soul to pass out from a combination of his wounds and the steam that was rising comically from the top of his head, while Rangiku fussed over him, much to the others amusement.


And that's the end of the chapter. I will definitely conclude the arc in the next chapter.

Right this would normally be where I talk about today's chapter and try and be a bit humorous, forgive me for being a bit more serious today.

As some of you are no doubt aware, this was posted on the 4th of June:

"Please note we would like to clarify the content policy we have in place since 2002. follows the Fiction Rating system ranging from Fiction K to Fiction M. Although Fiction Ratings goes up to Fiction MA, since 2002 has not allowed Fiction MA rated content which can contain adult/explicit content on the site. only accepts content in the Fiction K through Fiction M range. Fiction M can contain adult language, themes and suggestions. Detailed descriptions of physical interaction of sexual or violent nature is considered Fiction MA and has not been allowed on the site since 2002."

As such this story will probably be placed under revision since it does contain 'Detailed descriptions of physical interaction of sexual nature'. I will however be moving it to AFF (Adultfanfiction) so for those that want the uncensored chapters, that's where you will find them, I'll probably add a link on my profile so that you don't need to wade through other stories trying to find it. I will continue to post the censored version, as it were here, this will apply to my other stories that I actually had lemons in mind for.

Until next time guys, girls and monsters everywhere.

For other authors, the following passage might interest you.


Read the petition below, sign it, and repost this to your own fics. Hopefully if we make enough noise everything will return to normal. Thank you.

Greetings to the fine folk that moderate our site.

Myself, along with many, have been writing and posting on your fine site for years now, some of the better examples of up and coming writers out there are now suddenly finding some of the stories we've come to love at risk of being removed without the chance to even rectify our errors.

For some, that means the permanent loss of a story. While I don't have anything that I believe violates your terms of use, there are those out there that are never able to recover a story in its original form, this is something I find to be almost worthy of a legal action, as while we cannot claim ownership of a character, the stories are OURS and simply destroying them is something that is inexcusable.

It's quite easy to simply add an MA rating, additional filters or even a simple requirement for a free membership to read the stories presented here, and would cut down on hateful anonymous reviews and posts at the same time, so I have to question as to why such a thing, in all this time, simply wasn't added.

If you're worried about falsification of a registration then have an appropriate disclaimer and then there can be no dispute, you took your steps and the PARENTS didn't monitor their children, if that is even your concern. If it is more of a personal view or desire then please at least let people know and give them a chance to remove a story that you and yours find offensive, most people on the site are actually rather cordial when it comes to such requests.

While I cannot say for sure if this letter will even reach those that may be willing to listen, of if it's more akin to a wide spectrum purge in preparation for something bigger, please understand that you are going to be losing a LARGE number of your writers, and thus your income from a lack of readers if there is not some level of action taken to help with this situation.

For those that may agree with this, please feel free to sign on and send this to the support server, maybe we can get some movement on this.





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