Chapter 37 - The Battle of Jōshō Kodoku, Conclusion?!

A/N #1: Wow, it's been over two years since I started this fic (I wanted to post this on the two-year anniversary of the fic but I unfortunately couldn't due to a case of summer slows). I'm really glad for your continued support, guys and I hope you'll continue to support this story once the Sequel, "The 2nd Act", begins.

A/N #2: Once again I want to give a BIG THANK YOU to DocHoliday0316 for writing out part of this chapter. If it wasn't for him I wouldn't have finished this chapter until late August at best. Please check out his stories as they're also good Naruto/Bleach crossovers.

I have more VERY IMPORTANT news for you guys; please read the A/Ns after the end of the chapter because they're VERY IMPORTANT!

Now that I've finished with that enjoy the chapter, guys!

Please keep sending faves, follows, and reviews

Disclaimer: Still Applies

[Unspecified Cave, Just North of the Jōshō Kodoku District, South Rukongai Region. Soul Society]

Ten Minutes Earlier...

A figure was walking out of a large cave nestled deep in what was arguably the largest mountain for several miles around. The being in question was massive, easily over nine feet tall, and had the large physical stature to match that height.

The being's entire body was hidden, however, as it was concealed by a suit of armor. The armor consisted of shoulder plating that was rounded at their shoulders with that included extension of plate armor near the person's neck that formed a high collar of sorts, a helmet consisting of a horizontal slit and a vertical slit that ran from the horizontal slit to the bottom edge of the helmet (with the opening resembling a T), armor plating that covered both side of their torso that covered everything above the waist, plated bracers with black gloves that completely concealed his hands, and large, plated boots. The lower part of their body, on the other hand, was draped by the lower half of a black shihakusho which, along with a white sash wrapped around his waist, identified them as a Soul Reaper, while the person also wore a white captain's haori over the armor plating covering their shoulders.

Emblazoned on the back of the haori was the symbol of the Gotei 13's 7th Division, confirming the person's identity to be none other than Sajin Komamura, the captain of the 7th Division. Komamura had left the Seireitei around the time Kurama and Kenpachi were having their little "spar" and had traveled to this cave (which he arrived at almost two hours earlier as he used his flash step to cut down on time) as the captain had told Yamamoto that he planned to undergo "special training."

The reason for this decision, and the details behind this "special training", were a mystery as Komamura was keeping his motives close to his chest other than the fact that one of these motives was obviously to help stop Aizen. Komamura had entered the cave without the armor he was now wearing so it was clear that this "special training" had some drastic effects on the anthropomorphic wolf of a shinigami.

As Komamura walked out of the cave he eyes, which were also hidden behind his helmet despite the slits, looked around and apparently sighed as if he felt relieved.

"Good... it looks like Tetsuzaemon has already set off," Komamura said to himself out loud. The captain was referring to his lieutenant, a tall, muscular, macho-ist soul named Tetsuzaemon Iba, whom had accompanied Komamura on this little excursion. When they had reached the cave entrance Komamura had ordered Tetsuzaemon to return to the Seireitei and take charge of their division until he was done and, being loyal to his captain, Tetsuzaemon had obliged him.

Komamura, who had now finished this "special training", was planning to head back to the Seireitei once he had finished... but that plan was thrown out the moment as he turned his eyes to the south where the sounds of battle echoed from a large plateau almost 50 miles away from where the captain stood.

Though one couldn't possibly tell by looking at him, Komamura eye's narrowed when he felt an all-too familiar presence.

"This spiritual pressure... it's Aizen! I need to head over there and fast," Komamura muttered to himself before he made a beeline towards the battlefield...

[Naruto & Ichigo's Battlefield]

Recap:

Aizen opened his mouth to say a retort but was unable to say anything, one of many interruptions to the traitor's would be unending monologues during this battle, before he was stopped by a new sound.

The sound of loud chiming bells...

Current Time...

As the now-confused Aizen tried to register what this new sound was, the traitorous Soul Reaper was suddenly buffeted by yet another series of strong winds that seemingly began to pick up out of nowhere.

"This is clearly Uzumaki's spiritual pressure... just what is he scheming now?" Aizen thought to himself as he heard Naruto's voice.

"Wind Style: Idai Rasenshuriken!" Naruto yelled out.

At this point Ichigo suddenly left Aizen via his flash step, much to the former captain's surprise. Aizen wasn't able to ponder Ichigo's actions for long, however, as the former captain noticed that the loud chiming sound behind him was getting louder. Keeping his other senses on alert in case the orange-haired Substitute Soul Reaper tried to pull something, Aizen turned around to see what Naruto was doing and was shocked by what he saw.

In his right hand, Naruto was holding what appeared to be a Rasenshuriken above his head... but, unbeknownst to Aizen, this one was different. This Rasenshuriken was far bigger, at least eight times larger, and was orange in color as opposed to the whitish-blue color it normally takes. The most unusual change, however, was that it now had three sets of four blade-like extensions, 12 energy blades in total, that spun at at insane speeds. The three sets of blades were positioned around the large Rasengan center similar to the appearance of an; despite this, however, the energy blades never collided with the blade-like extensions of the two other sets.

Unlike the rest of his Rasenshuriken variants, however, Naruto's Idai Rsenshuriken didn't feel any different in terms of power; as Aizen knew all too well, however, that feeling was incredibly misleading. As Aizen wondered how he planned to deal with the coming onslaught Naruto finally spoke.

"I hope you ready, Aizen... BECAUSE THIS IS GONNA HURT!" Naruto roared as he charged at Aizen head-on, though it was a relatively slow charge, much to the somewhat pleasant surprise of the former captain who, despite everything, had not lost his cool, calm demeanor the entire battle.

"How predictable, boy. Do you truly think a head-on attack like that is going to work on me? Such recklessness is going to cost you," Aizen said as he flashed stepped a distance away from the young Uzumaki-

"Don't even think about it!" a voice yelled.

Aizen, who was taken slightly aback by the voice, stopped to see the person who just yelled. This proved to be a big mistake on Aizen's part as Aizen detected a presence appearing right behind him... but it was too late.

Suddenly a pair of arms reached around Aizen from behind, much to his surprise, and grabbed the traitorous Soul Reaper from around his abdomen, stopping him dead in his tracks. Aizen, suddenly finding himself unable to move, cocked his head back and was surprised to see Naruto, or rather one of Naruto's shadow clones enveloped in the yellow flame aura of the KCM, restraining him, the clone having burrowed underground in order to get the jump on Aizen. Aizen made brief but futile struggle to break free of the shadow clone's grasp and, upon seeing that two yellow chakra arms have sprouted from the clone and are grasping onto the ground (preventing the traitor from using his flash step), Aizen knew he was now a sitting duck for the attack that was to come.

"Ugh... the clone's grip is too strong. There's no way I can break free in time; it appears I'll have to awaken it now," Aizen thought to himself.

A split-second after that thought passed through Aizen's mind, the real Naruto was now upon him, ready to finish Aizen off with his new attack.

"THIS ENDS NOW, AIZEN!" Naruto roared just as he shoved his new jutsu into Aizen's face, before the two combatants were enveloped by a blinding orange light.


As Naruto charged at Aizen with his Idai Rasenshuriken in hand Ichigo was currently standing on the top of a hill, located over 20 miles east of the battle, the orange-haired teenager using his bankai-enhanced speed to get as far away from the battle as possible. While Ichigo was not the type to pull out of a fight, he knew that Naruto's attack was going to be very destructive and he didn't want to impede Naruto so, despite his reluctance to do so, Ichigo decided to give Naruto a bit of distance so he could use his attack unhindered.

"Damn, that's a bit overkill, even for Naruto; I know Aizen isn't a pushover but I think he could've beaten him without using that," Ichigo thought to himself as he sensed the raw power of Naruto's attack; while he was aware that this attack was going to be very destructive he didn't expect Naruto's new Rasenshuriken variant to be that powerful.

As Ichigo looked on at the battlefield he sensed two people approaching him. The young Kurosaki turned around to see Minato and Kurama, the duo having just arrived.

"You guys alright?" Ichigo asked to which they nodded in response.

At this point Minato looked around for a few moments before he turned to face Ichigo.

"Excuse me, Ichigo... but where's Naruto? Is he alright?" Minato asked, a slight hint of worry in his voice indicative of a father concerned for his child. Thankfully his worry was without merit.

"You don't worry about it, Minato; he should be finishing the fight right about... now," Ichigo said, trailing off before the last word of his sentence, much to Minato's confusion.

Before Minato could question the young Substitute on what he meant by that he was stopped when he, Kurama, and Ichigo felt the ground rumble beneath their feet. The trio turned around just in time to see a giant orange explosion, 10 miles in diameter, that was spherical in shape. The explosion caused a massive shockwave that bursted in all directions, which buffeted the Ichigo and the others for a minute or so before subsiding.

After a few moments Kurama spoke, breaking the silence that followed the blast.

"Well... that was something. I guess Naruto was determined to finish that bastard in one go," the Tailed Beast said to which Ichigo sighed.

"Yeah. Anyways we should get going," Ichigo said before he suddenly vanished via flash step, the young Substitute Soul Reaper racing to Naruto's position with Kurama and Minato close behind.

A couple of minutes later Ichigo and co. were near the center of what was essentially ground zero of the immense explosion and, needless to say, the landscape had been changed drastically. The blast left a massive crater, inside of which the ground had been scorched black, while any hills, ridges, or anything standing an inch above the ground had been leveled.

The trio was unable to see the center of the crater at first, though, due to a large cloud of dust that was created by the jutsu; slowly, however, the cloud began to clear, revealing the two combatants.

Naruto, who looked perfectly fine, had now taken on a different form. Sprouted on his back were a pair of large wings reminiscent of a hawk or an eagle, which he flapped which blew away the rest of the dust cloud. This allowed Ichigo and co. to get a better look at these wings which were exactly like the one that the spirit of Kenja had except, in Naruto's case, his were made of his orange spiritual energy. In his hands was a pair of tri-pronged kunais made out of that same orange spiritual energy, similar to his staff which, along, with the nine Idai orbs, were noticeably absent; the changes to his attire due to his bankai, however, were not affected by the new form, which was actually a second form for his bankai. While this form of his bankai had several advantages one of the key benefits was an increase in speed, which is what allowed Naruto to escape the explosion from his own attack, hence why Naruto was able to escape the blast unharmed.

Aizen, on the other hand, was not so lucky as he was in very bad shape. Most of his outfit was torn to shreds, with the exception of his hakama. His torso and upper body was covered in various cuts, lacerations, and burn marks, and his left arm was now mangled. However, the most notable thing about him was the expression on his face. Instead of his usual calm demeanor, Aizen had a look that was a mix of fear and shock.

"It's over, Aizen," Naruto said as he pointed one of his kunais at him just as Ichigo and co. approached him.

"You guys alright?" Naruto asked while keeping his eyes on Aizen.

Ichigo was the one to respond.

"We're still alive, aren't we? Anyways... that's the second form of your bankai, huh?" Ichigo said to which Naruto took a brief moment to turn his head around and nodded (Ichigo had overheard Kenja's explanation to Naruto regarding his bankai back during their, meaning Ichigo and Naruto's, training in the Dangai).

Before the teens, Kurama, and Minato could continue talking, however, they were interrupted when they sensed a sudden spike in Aizen's spiritual pressure; all of them turned around to see what's going on only to see something unexpected happening before them. The wounds on Aizen's body began to slowly heal, with new tissue replacing the scarred and damaged one. His arm was soon completely healed, and the rest of his body followed as Aizen soon regained his calm expression. This left Naruto and everyone else at the scene speechless as Naruto began to speak.

"Wha-what? How the hell were you able to-?"

"Heal so quickly?" Aizen said as he finished Naruto's sentence whilst giving off his smug smile.

"Allow me to enlighten you. It's because of this."

Aizen then threw off the tattered remains of his shirt and revealed the source of his healing power. Right in the middle of his chest was a light blue mark resembling a four-point star. In the middle of the star was a purplish-blue orb that resembled a marble. Ichigo immediately recognized this as he uttered its name.

"The Hogyoku?"

"Indeed. I plan for everything, and this was no exception. As the reincarnation of the Sage, I realized that Naruto Uzumaki would have tremendous power and, given that and your own apparent growth, Kurosaki, it would have been unwise for me to go into battle headfirst without a means to ensure I didn't get killed as a result. Thus, I had the Hogyoku implanted within myself. This was my trump card, though you forced me to use much earlier than even I had expected. And to think I was planning to either capture you and use your power for myself or, if that wasn't possible, eliminate you outright. Seeing as that's impossible for now I'll have to change my plans," Aizen explained.

"Figures as much," Kurama said as grasped the hilt of his katana, anticipating what move Aizen would make next. Naruto clenched his fist as he became more determined.

"It doesn't matter what powers you have, you bastard. I won't let you destroy Karakura Town!"

Aizen simply chuckled at the part mentioning Karakura Town as he began to explain.

"I thought you might say that... and given the situation it seems I have no other choice. I am no longer targeting Karakura Town... I'll have to use another target."

Almost immediately Naruto, realizing all too well what Aizen was trying to say, went on the attack, forcing Aizen to block the attack with his blade.

"If you're planning on attacking the Leaf... I won't let you. You're not leaving this place alive!" Naruto yelled as he pushed against Aizen's causing, sending Aizen back several yards.

Aizen stopped himself but soon found that Minato had entered the fight, having somehow come up behind Aizen preparing to shove a Rasengan into his back... until he suddenly vanished and reappeared right beside his son and the others. The reason for that change of heart came a split-second later when an blur flashed right where Minato had just been standing, the new person revealing themselves to be Gin Ichimaru who looked a bit worse for wear.

"How nice of you to finally join us, Gin. I take it that the enemy is not too far behind?"

"Indeed, Captain Aizen. I caught that old goat Isshin, his wife, and those other Hokage tailing me. They should be here any mo-"

Gin was interrupted when I another figured crashed down, creating a large cloud of dust. It soon settled, revealing Captain Komamura, albeit in his new set of armor. Komamura turned his direction towards the traitor and let out a bone-chilling yell.

"AIZEN!"

"Hello, Komamura. Are you going to attack me headfirst like last time?"

"No. I've learned my lesson from last time," Komamura said as another blur appeared in front him before dashing at Aizen. A pair of blades attempted to cut Aizen in two, who flashstepped away, but not without gaining a cut across his arm. The figure was soon revealed to be Shunsui Kyoraku, wielding his zanpakuto in its sealed form.

"Hello, Aizen," Kyoraku said in his usual lax tone, as more blurs appeated, revealing both Kenpachi and Soifon with their weapons drawn (and Kenpachi had a bloodthirsty grin on his face). Aizen and Gin turned their head to the left when they heard another sound to see that Isshin, Masaki, and Yoruichi had arrived. The former Soul Reaper captain had his zanpakuto drawn while the Quincy had her bow drawn and with arrow aimed at Aizen. Lastly, Kushina and the remaing Hokage arrived, Kushina having decided to gather the other Hokage and bring them with her. Hiruzen and Kushina both had their hands close together in preparation for a jutsu while the two brothers both had their swords drawn and were prepared to use them.

Finally, Yamamoto appeared via his flashstep. A sense of déjà vu ran through Aizen as the Head Capatain glared at him.

"It's over Sosuke Aizen! You are outnumbered and surrounded. You're under arrest, surrender immediately or we will strike!"

Aizen simply sighed to himself, as he talked back to Yamamoto.

"How foolish of you, Head Captain Yamamoto. After the first time you tried that you tried to arrest me do you really think I would come here without any possible means of escaping?"

As soon as Aizen said this, a pitch-black portal ripped open in the sky above him, revealing dozens of Gillians. One of them engulfed both Aizen and Gin in a golden, squarish, beam, slowly lifting the two up.

"-Shit!- You're not getting away!" Naruto shouted as he prepared to attack the two, only for Yamamoto to restrain him by grabbing his arm, causing the young ninja to turn to look at the aged Soul Reaper in surprise.

"Don't be foolish. Your attacks won't do a thing to him now. That is the Negacion, an impenetrable beam that is incapable of being broken. There's nothing more we can do, we must let them go for now," the Head Captain said.

Naruto gritted his teeth in clear frustration before he heard Aizen chuckle.

"Do not worry... our fight is far from over. We'll meet again soon enough, Naruto Uzumaki. And you as well, Ichigo Kurosaki," Aizen said as he and Gin entered the portal before it closed up, leaving everyone standing in the field.

After a brief moment of silence Kenpachi said the one thing on everyone's mind (in a voice that was filled with disappointment due to not getting the chance to fight as he had hoped).

"So... what are we going to do now?"

Next Time – In Three Days…

A/N #3: Only 2-3 chapters are left of this first half of "The Maelstrom and Deathberry - The 2nd Act" (the exact number depends on what I am able to add in the next chapter). After that the story will continue in the sequel, "The 2nd Act", so keep an eye out for that.

A/N #4: After this chapter is posted I will begin working on chapters according to my former update schedule; as I've adopted a third fanfic, however, it does change things a bit. Here's the new update schedule:

1. The Maelstrom and Deathberry - The 1st Act/2nd Act (the "2nd Act" coming after this fic has "ended")

2. Guardian Maelstrom

3. Kitsune of Las Noches

I hope you guys will continue to enjoy and support these stories.

Until next, this is Rocker1600, signing out!