A long, long time ago, Kuroi Ryuu and Shiroi Tora existed. They were too opposite sides of a coin, one dark, one light, though neither was necessarily good or evil. They had the power to rule the universe, though Kuroi Ryuu was much stronger than Shiroi Tora. Kuroi Ryuu simply lacked the ambition to overpower Shiroi Tora and rule on his own. Shiroi Tora, however, was ambitious, and jealous, and would rather rule on his own. Seeing this, Kuroi Ryuu made a deal. He would handle death, the realm of the Shinigami and Hollows, while Shiroi Tora would rule the living world. As a service for each side, the Shinigami would protect the living souls from hollows, and in return, the living world would send their souls to him after they died, where he would take care of them, and they would eventually be returned to the living world. This situation worked quite well, though Kuroi Ryuu always suspected that Shiroi Tora was still jealous. Kuroi Ryuu was much more adventurous and fun-loving than Shiroi Tora, and after a while, decided to resign himself to a cycle of reincarnation, and put their system to good use, as he saw they were operating fine without him. Shiroi Tora however, was much too power hungry to ever let himself slip into reincarnation. He stayed behind, biding his time until he could find Kuroi Ryuu, kill him, and take all his power for his own.
Yamamoto stared down at the scroll in front of him. It was incredibly aged, older than he was, which was quite a feat. Ukitake and Kyoraku had brought the translation on a script of paper from Kurotsuchi. They now stood at either side of the heavily scarred old man, explaining the riddles of the words. The more Yamamoto heard, the less he liked it.
"So," Kyoraku drawled, though there was a hint of worry in his voice. "The scroll says that on the solar eclipse of this year, when the moon covers the sun, Kuroi Ryuu, or the original Shinigami, also known as the Grim Reaper-," Ukitake cut him off before he could list Kuroi Ryuu's various names. The white-haired captain continued.
"His powers will be awakened, and Shiroi Tora will be able to find him, and probably try to kill him, and end death forever, which will give the living world eternal life, as death itself will collapse, along with reincarnation." He explained. Kyoraku jumped in.
"Needless to say, that would be very bad. The living world would probably overflow with souls pretty soon, as new souls would be created, but none would die. There's a possibility that the universe will shatter and fall apart." He said, sounding almost lazy, but if you looked up the brim of his hat, you would see that his eyebrows were furrowed, and he was truly very concerned about this. "The only reason Shiroi Tora hasn't gone after Kuroi Ryuu before, is because it's impossible to find him, because he sealed away his powers. He's untraceable until the eclipse. Then Shiroi Tora can find him, and will have a large opening to kill him until a prophesized second solar eclipse this year, which is when Kuroi Ryuu is no longer vulnerable to Shiroi Tora." Yamamoto sat and thought about this for a second, his face unreadable. His fingers were laced together, and he had set his chin on them. After a long time, he finally spoke.
"How will he no longer be vulnerable?" Ukitake and Kyoraku shared glances, and shrugged.
"It doesn't really specify, but Kurotsuchi-taicho assumes it's something like him regaining all his memories and powers." Kyoraku explained.
"Also," Ukitake started. "I should mention that it is very possible for Shiroi Tora and Kuroi Ryuu to be either male or female. Since there is no real evidence, we may safely assumed that they were just personified as male, due to that being the ruling gender at the time. We really have no way of knowing what their genders are." Yamamoto considered this, and took his sweet time before answering, somewhat slowly too.
"We must find Kuroi Ryuu before Shiroi Tora does." Kyoraku tipped his hat to Yamamoto.
"Perhaps we should get together a group of powerful Shinigami with a history of working together? Also, Kurotsuchi-taicho promises us that he can trace Kuroi Ryuu once his powers are awakened. As long as we include someone who can use kido and is smart enough to handle basic devices, similar to the hollow phones for those stationed in the world of the lving, the team would be fine." Yamamoto slowly nodded.
"That is a good idea. I trust your judgement enough to assemble the team. Both of you." Ukitake and Kyoraku once again shared glances.
"Yama-jii, is there anyone you would like to specifically include on the team?" The often-ill captain inquired gently. Yamamoto slowly nodded again. He indeed had somebody in mind, somebody that would need if they were going to find and protect Kuroi Ryuu from Shiroi Tora.
"Please inform our substitute Shinigami Kurosaki Ichigo of the matter, and give him our formal request to be a part of the team. He may bring along the Daiyouhin Chimu too, if he believes that they would be effective." Kyoraku grinned.
"He was exactly the person I had in mind, Yama-jii. Looks like I learned my good judgement from you." He tipped his broad hat again, his voice playful. Yamamoto remained stoic. After the latest captain meeting, a word with Hitsugaya-taicho had brought something important to his mind. The fact that the cause of most of Kurosaki Ichigo's troubles were the Soul Society. A strong matter that Kuchiki Rukia had informed him of had hit very close to home, especially because of the Kuroi Ryuu-Shiroi Tora ordeal. Kurosaki Ichigo's mother had been killed by Grandfisher, a dangerous hollow that they had foolishly left alive, because they had been too prideful to send anyone overqualified to deal with it. It was the Soul Society's job to protect all human souls, ahead of dealing with hollows, though they often came hand in hand. Pride meant nothing if there was nothing to be proud of. The truth was that the Soul Society hadn't been able to protect Kurosaki Ichigo from that hollow. But his mother had. Sometimes, Yamamoto wondered if that was better or worse, for a nine-year old boy, who's life centered around his mother. He shook his head to clear such tragic thoughts from his mind. He was going to start changing even more around here. Central 46 was better than the last. Traitors had been thrown out of their ranks. And if he had to step on the pride of some captains to get the change they needed, so be it. As Kyoraku and Ukitake began to leave, he called after them. They turned around. He didn't turn to face them, simply spoke quietly, but firmly.
"And please, remind Kurosaki Ichigo that he reserves the right to refuse this mission. But tell him that I asked him to please help us." Kyoraku and Ukitake gaped at their Captain Commander. He never said please, when it came to asking help of someone. And to extend that to the substitute Shinigami? Even the sorrow and pleading tone in his voice was something they had never heard before. It was as if he knew something about Kurosaki that they didn't. Ukitake managed to collect himself, but Kyoraku stared, mouth hanging open.
"Jeez, I need a drink." He muttered.
"W-will that be all, Yama-jii?" Ukitake stuttered out. Yamamoto nodded.
"That is all. You return to your respective squads." The nodded, looked at each other worriedly, before beginning to hustle out, only pausing at the door, to say,
"Yama-jii, regardless of the evidence you have, and what you are thinking of Kurosaki," Ukitake started,
"We do believe that he will help. He knows we need him. He's always helped before, hasn't he?" Kyoraku said, his face twisting into a tragic half smile. He bowed low to his Captain Commander, though he still didn't turn around. "Don't worry too much Yama-jii. You'll go bald." Some of the lilt returned to his voice and face as he left. The Captain Commander was amused, though he didn't show it. Kyoraku's teasing did wonders to lift his spirits. He shuffled through the small pile of paperwork at his desk, his eyes continuously drawn back to the prophecy next to him. I sincerely hope you're right Shunsui.
While walking towards their barracks, Ukitake and Kyoraku delved into conversation.
"Yama-jii isn't telling us something important." Ukitake immediately stated. Kyoraku held up a finger, waggling it.
"Nuh-uh-uh, Jushiro. It isn't something necessarily important, though that's rather more subjective, as something that should have mattered a long time ago." Ukitake frowned.
"I'm pretty sure that's the same thing." Kyoraku shrugged.
"Potato, patato. Anywho, I think it's something that may be the Soul Society's fault, something that happened to Kurosaki a long time ago. I'm assuming it wasn't something particularly stand out, or we would have known about it earlier. Yama-jii probably just found out. He looked like it was bugging him." Ukitake was practically flapping about anxiously, like a dehydrated butterfly.
"What could it be? It seems important enough." Kyoraku sighed.
"I think I know, but I'm going to need a drink before I can go into this with you." Ukitake, determined to know, took a sharp turn into a bar and immediately ordered two bottles of sake. Most people would think that they were for each of the men, but being as sick as he was, Ukitake couldn't drink very often, and abstained from it when he could, as to not bring on another bout of his illness. Given his friend's drinking track record, he had a feeling that Kyoraku would have requested a second bottle anyway. He had a feeling that his friend was always a little drunk. Kyoraku smiled at Ukitake, and lifted up his bottle as he took a sip. After an expectant expression from Ukitake and half a bottle of sake, Kyoraku felt like talking.
"Due to Kurosaki's large reiatsu, it's safe to assume that he had a considerable amount even when he was younger. That would have made him a target for hollows, and from all the evidence I've gathered, it's very likely that a hollow went after him and someone Kurosaki cared about got caught in the middle." Ukitake nearly gasped, but Kyoraku wasn't finished talking, albeit reluctantly. "It was probably a hollow we should have taken care of, but the kind that's too advanced for a regular, unseated member, but beneath a fukutaicho. So we never sent anyone who would be able to take care of it, due to pride, and as a result of that, got an innocent bystander killed." Though it didn't seem like it, Ukitake knew that Kyoraku was a lot smarter than he looked. If this was what Kyoraku thought, than you'd better believe that was what happened.
"That's terrible." Ukitake said. Kyoraku took another sip of his sake, before continuing on with the explanation.
"Since Kurosaki hasn't been too terribly angry at the Soul Society, he probably doesn't know too much about the wheels and cogs of the event, or he blamed it on himself. He's just the type of person to do that. So not only have we failed at our job, we failed epically, and also turned the blame onto a kid with too much to handle already. And not only did we fail epically, we probably got his nakama or whoever turned into a hollow. And now that the kid knows about all of this, we can most likely assume he realizes that they've been turned into a hollow, a fate worse than death, and that not only did he fail to protect them from being killed, he also failed to protect them from temporary damnation." Kyoraku tipped the rest of the bottle into his mouth, and let out an unholy burp.
"We screwed up." Ukitake realized. Kyoraku snorted.
"Understatement of the century."
"You wouldn't think that an event that small would be such a big deal," Ukitke started.
"But that kid seems to remind us of our own shortcomings without meaning too. We screwed up really badly, and it just wasn't seen as a big deal at the time because we've been letting it happen more and more lately. If Kurosaki ever finds out all of this, we'd better apologize as sincerely as possible, because he will tear us apart, or die trying." With that, the captain nodded his head and started on his second bottle. Ukitake slumped against the bar.
"Famous last words." Kyoraku laughed so hard he sprayed sake on the bartender.