Hello I'm back from outer space! I'm exceedingly sorry it has taken me so long to update but my boss shot my muse and it had been recovering very slowly so this chapter might not be the best but hopefully still enjoyable or at the very least informative.

Again apologise for taking so long

Love

Silverfox

~Chapter Nine~

"No."

"Absolutely not!" Izumi only frowned as the two shinigami before her spoke in tandem, forbidding her to battle. The silence seemed to stretch on as Izumi stared down two men with a cool gaze and unwavering patience that could only ever be matched by that of Sosuke Aizen

"And why, may I ask, are you refusing the help of a very valuable source?" Izumi broke the silence, narrowing her eyes the same time Aizen did almost glaring at him as she waited for his reply.

"We have discussed this countless times already Izumi," Aizen's voice was hard and commanding, not as coolly calm as usual Ichigo noticed, making him frown deeper as he attempted to figure out how the hell Izumi knew Aizen and Kisuke. "No matter what you are not to get involved."

"And you still haven't given me a reason Aizen." Izumi countered stubbornly, her eyes defiant.

"You know precisely why." Aizen's voice was only a low mummer but his words seemed to resonate throughout the large throne room, shortly followed by a heavy sigh from Izumi.

"Honestly, I've long since gotten over that incident why can't you?" Izumi's question was directed at both men and swiftly ignoring the hardening of Aizen's eyes she continued, "It has been over a century. I'm not a child anymore; I think it's about time you accepted that."

"Accepting if you are no longer a child is not the issue." Kisuke said, jumping in before Aizen could say something…well mean.

"Then build a bridge and get the hell over the past!" Izumi exclaimed in exasperation, "It happened to me not you so why the hell should it bother you so much when I've made my peace with what happened?"

"What are you talking about?" Ichigo decided to interfere briefly only to be silenced by two identical glares and a weary look. Kisuke was having difficulty in finding a way to defuse the problem but Izumi and Sosuke were far too alike to back down.

"I suggest you keep out of this for the minute Ichigo, Aizen's being a stubborn ass." Izumi advised in a tone barely containing her irritation.

"You're one to talk." Aizen retorted with an icy glare. Izumi only snorted in response.

Kisuke was at his wits end, he agreed with Sosuke sure but he had no desire to watch his lover be reduced to trivial arguing in front of their most trusted allies.

"Ok fine, I concede to that point," Izumi added after a minute of silent glaring, "But you are telling me that no matter what I say you will not allow me to join this battle correct?"

"Damn right, we'll confine you if we have to." Kisuke replied for the both of them.

"Alright then," Izumi let out a deep sigh closing her eyes for a second, as if she had given up but when she opened her eyes again they were fully of wickedness, "I guess you won't be needing this then." An identical frown was upon both Aizen and Kisuke as they watched her turn on her heel and walk a few steps away casually waving a hand over her shoulder, a hand that contained something essential for their victory; in fact it was what would decide the outcome of the battle.

"That's…."

"The King's Key. Yes." Ichigo and Gin joined the others in gawking at Izumi as she held the small softly glowing key in her right hand.

"Where did you get that?" Aizen asked the first to regain his use of speech.

"It was right under your nose and you didn't even notice." Izumi's gaze was smug, "I could have retrieved it for you years ago if you weren't such a stubborn ass."

"Izumi." Aizen's tone spoke of a scolding lecture.

"'He' cannot sense me, why is it you chose to ignore that valuable fact Aizen, 'He' also believes I am dead which is even better." Izumi's gaze softened as she gazed into eyes that replicated her own.

"Who is 'He'?" Ichigo found the courage to butt in again only this time Izumi answered.

"The Spirit King." Ichigo frowned so Izumi contemplated on the best way to explain before turning to the still disagreeable Aizen and Kisuke. "Okay look let's settle this argument later since neither of you seemed to have seen fit to tell Ichigo much of anything."

"We were getting around to it." Kisuke replied with a careless shrug.

"You no longer have time to take it easy anymore, 'He' is surely already informed of the keys disappearance," Izumi replied before turning back to Ichigo, "Listen carefully Ichigo because we can only afford so much time now, I've set in motion the last steps of this war, whether they like it or not." With that she sent a scathing look towards the two disapproving frowns.

"Don't be so smug about it." Aizen replied to her glare, "Doing so is a huge gamble and you are putting everyone's lives at risk."

"Yes I'm aware of that Aizen but I plan on getting through your pigheaded stubbornness and prevent any casualties but we'll argue that later, I'm sure you understand the gravity of the situation now." Aizen's eyes were hard but he gave a brisk nod. Turning back to Ichigo Izumi proceeded to ask some questions.

"Okay Ichigo, exactly what do you know of the Spirit King?" Ichigo frowned in consideration before answering.

"Ah not much just that he lives in a different dimension and basically lets Soul Society run itself." So only the very basic basics.

"Yes that is correct but despite his removed nature the King plays a very important role and that role is to maintain the balance of the three worlds and prevent any catastrophe that could possibly lead to the end of all three worlds."

"Okay and how does he do that?" Ichigo questioned with a frown.

"The King is one with the three worlds," It is Kisuke who speaks up turning everyone's eyes to him, "The King is a powerful being but must quite literally become apart of the reishi that makes up the worlds meaning he is connected with every being in existence whether human, hollow or Shinigami.
"That makes no sense." Ichigo supplied unhelpfully.

"Well it does take some getting us to but it's the simple truth," Izumi returned to explaining, "Now since the King is connected to everything in the worlds including animals and even the plants he is technically our source of life and he can also take away that life at a whim."

"Seriously?"

"Yes." This time it was Aizen who answered Ichigo's question, "The King theoretically had the power to kill anyone he likes but with so many people to judge it's just impossible to work like that so generally everything happens based on a person's decision."

"So we can't blame 'Him' for the death of others but that isn't the point." Izumi jumped in again with a shrug, "Anyway because everyone is connected to the King he can immediately pick up a threat to himself so he obviously knew of Aizen's betrayal long before Soul Society and simple said nothing for probably nothing more than his own amusement and the desire to see how far Aizen can get before he fails which if I can help it won't happen."

Ichigo was frowning through the explanation dying to know how Izumi was involved at all but pushed it aside in favour of finally getting answers to his other questions. Gin, who was standing to Ichigo's left, listened quietly.

"Now all this sounds pretty flattering for him I suppose and paints us in a bad light but the thing is, while the King is to keep our worlds balanced and from collapsing that is precisely what he isn't doing." Izumi's eyes had turned hard.

"He abuses the power he has or rather neglects it, the worlds are in great danger of collapse and killing everyone in them all because he is too lazy and preoccupied with that asshole's fruitless idea to do anything about it. He is being selfish and power hungry, he already holds the highest possible position to obtain and he still wants more."

"How can he have more?" Ichigo's question made Izumi smile, she knew the moment she met Ichigo months ago that he was more astute than he appeared.

"By ruling over the three worlds in a manner your human ancestors once did," Aizen spoke up a look of distaste on his features, "He wants to be known, seen, feared and obeyed discontent to simply remain on the sidelines and protect, that is why we wage war against him." Ichigo considered Aizen's words and found it logical however if the King is supposed to hold the worlds together…

"Wait if he's supposed to balance the worlds wouldn't you be destroying that balance if you killed him?" Ichigo asked making almost identical smiles to appear on every face. "What?" Ichigo was confused by the unanimous expression.

"Nothing Ichigo, we're just glad you aren't as stupid as some give you credit for," Ichigo bristled at that turning Izumi's smile amused, "And that is an excellent question and for the answer it's relatively simple: take his place as the King and the worlds will remain unhinged. The answer may be simple but the execution is anything but."

"How so?" Ichigo questioned with another deeper frown.

"The worlds must accept the person trying to obtain the throne." Ichigo just blinked at Aizen in confusion, "Put it this way if you will, the worlds have a collective conscience, the feelings of everyone in those worlds, while they won't be aware of it they will unconsciously accept or reject the rule of the one trying to ascend the throne should that person be rejected there is a brief time of one month to find another who will be accepted before the worlds begin their collapse."

"In which case after Aizen succeeds in killing the King he will see if he is worthy of taking up the position of King if not well that's where a back up plan comes in." Izumi continued shrugging at the last statement and refusing to go into anymore detail about it.

"I'm not sure I completely follow all that." Ichigo's head was spinning.

"It will take time to sink in but anyway back to the main point I'm trying to make here. Everything born in the three worlds is connected to the King and he can feel their presence as if it's his own which brings us to my previous statement, 'He' can't sense me." Izumi sent a meaningful look at Aizen and Kisuke.

"How so? If 'He's' connect to everyone why not you?" Ichigo asked of Izumi who returned from the silent argument she had initiated with Aizen to smirk at the orange haired Substitute Shinigami.

"I am not what you call a 'natural being'." Izumi replied a contemplative expression on her face as she considered her next words.

"What do you mean 'natural being'?" Izumi grimaced not finding a very suitable way to explain this so she went straight for the kill.

"Because I wasn't born from a woman, I have no mother."

"What the hell?" Ichigo's frown only deepened to which Izumi only smiled.

"I wasn't born from a woman of flesh and bone but rather an artificial womb, created from the spiritual pressure…among other things…of two men, specifically Sosuke Aizen and Kisuke Urahara." Izumi mentally counted down from five patting herself on the back when Ichigo's jaw dropped on zero.

"Wha…" Izumi grinned at him. His confusion was funny but it certainly was difficult to comprehend what she was saying so she decided to make it a little easier for him.

"What I'm saying Ichigo is that Sosuke Aizen and Kisuke Urahara are my parents." Izumi stated it so calmly like such a thing was normal let alone possible!

Yay! Now we know who Izumi is! Don't worry I'll put more explanation in about how she came to be about in the next chapter and hints of why Aizen started this whole debacle in the first place.

I hope it was decent.

Love

Silverfox