What do you believe?
People often say things such as 'history is written by the victors', 'History isn't what happened in the past, but what everyone agreed on what happened', and other similar quotes.
So it's easy to see that many people know that many things they're being told are either lies, partial truths, or intentional distortions of real events. This is the genius of government secrets. They can't truly hope to fool the very people they've educated into believing every lie they sell. So what they do instead is that they tell you a story and remove any evidence that could be clearly used to show the contrary. A statement that can't be disproved is often seen as the truth after all.
The problem occurs when the truth of the matter resurfaces, and not always in a manner that can be readily interpreted.
A few years ago, an Egyptian dictator had always maintained power by feeding lies to the people about a variety of subjects. He informed them of how much better off they were than the rest of the world, how prosperous they were, and how thankful they should be to have a man like him in power. His rule was completely safeguarded from the rest of the world, as he practiced isolationist policies to maintain his grip on political power. If no one could arrive in his country to prove him wrong, then his lies could never be brought to light. All means of communication were tightly guarded by his secret police as well. Egypt was seemingly impossible to reach from the outside.
Then along came the invention of the internet.
The Egyptian dictator did everything in his power to try and close down the internet: attempting to censor every website that allowed interaction between people outside of Egypt, taxing computer sales at absurdly large prices, and everything in between. Regardless, the Egyptian people eventually found out through the use of the computer that their dictator was lying to their faces about everything, and they riot to this day against his rule.
As society advanced, normal people became more and more capable of communicating with each other. Civilians from different nations could more easily speak to each other, and even compare notes between what goes on in each other's countries. As this practice became more commonplace with improved versions of the computer and the phone, language became the only real barrier preventing any two human beings on the planet from talking to each other. Even then, there are literally thousands of prototypes in the world for portable translators that can let two people who speak different languages casually communicate with each other. This ability to exchange notes between cultures has steadily been bringing more and more lies to light in the face of the public, the Egyptian revolution being only one example of the more extreme results. However, this ability doesn't simply endanger government secrets, but all secrets there are to hide. Many of those secrets were intended to be kept away from humanity in general.
All lies inevitably come to light, one way or the other.
The Magical world was in great chaos and confusion.
The Magus Association and the Holy Church had all scheduled a meeting as a result.
This was a monumental moment in magical history, as those associations virtually hated each other with a passion for a wide variety of reasons. The only reason they didn't outright declare war on each other at some point was because they cared more about keeping the existence of magic a secret, and any sort of armed conflict would make that goal nearly impossible. What was happening now however, threatened to endanger everything they worked for.
Humanity was becoming aware of its surroundings.
One month ago, a war occurred that had shaken the foundations of everything they had built. The magical world faced the very real threat of exposure. Even worse, humanity was in a state that they may very well turn their weapons upon them if they learned of what had been going on below their very noses for untold centuries.
The Youkai species was pitiful to the Magus Association. Back in the Babylonian age and onward until the Middle Ages, the monstrous species had attempted a war upon humanity in general. The human species responded with military force that battled against the likes of the Youkai species into a standstill. Ogres, Lizard-men, and dozens of other monster species found themselves locked into mortal combat with Romans, and after them the Greeks, Persians, and Feudal Chinese dynasties, and after them the Feudal kingdoms of Europe of the middle ages. The humans could afford to lose thousands of their own on a daily basis and think nothing of it. The Youkai would've been irreversibly devastated if they lost a fraction of that many of their number at a similar rate. The Youkai were unable to maintain a battle of attrition with humans, yet they did so anyway, believing that species superiority would be more than enough to secure victory. The humans responded to this belief by grinding the population of the Youkai species to a fraction of what it originally was.
The only interesting points of that conflict were the presence of 'S-class' monsters. They were the more powerful of the monster species, who took hundreds of armed human soldiers to bring down by themselves. They were often the leaders of any organized monster force, and seen as nigh undefeatable. When the monster species found themselves being pushed backward, they were the ace in the hole that saved the Youkai species from extinction.
It was here that humanity revealed its own aces.
The Magi of the past had been unrivaled in power. Their spells weren't as watered down as their present incarnations were, and were several times more powerful. They were feared by their fellow humans, but ultimately respected for the simple fact they were truly human, and not some form of monster out to kill them. When the vampires and werewolves of the monster species rose to destroy the villages and settlements of humans, it was the Magi who rose to stand against them. S-class monsters found themselves fighting against humans who could wield impossible powers and abilities. These super powered humans appeared where the traditional human armies failed. They succeeded where armies had failed. Numerous S-class monsters fell to the incantations and powers of the Magi, who insured that humanity would never be outmatched by their enemies.
That had been long ago, a time of legends.
After the war lost traction and the Youkai species was in danger of extinction after continued conflict, many of them had migrated away from Europe. The majority of them slinked away into Japan, who was isolated from the rest of the world at the time, and completely unaware of the Youkai species. There, the Youkai settled in and resolved to try and find an alternate way of existence that didn't bring them into conflict with the dominant human species. The Magi of the past formed the Magus Association, who hid themselves from the rest of humanity to further the knowledge and practice of Thaumaturgy while subtly slinking away from the human population. Youkai and Magi alike fell into folktales and legends. After decades and decades passed with no recorded sittings of the Youkai or Magi, they were eventually written off as folktales and children's stories. Humanity continued to advance, seeing as there was nothing in the world to inhibit their actions and advancement as a species.
This wasn't to say that Humanity forgot about the Magi in general, but those who did know were involved in secretive organizations themselves, very good at keeping secrets, or silenced.
Sadly, this was one of the reasons that all of the influential powers in the magical world were assembling together. Their fellow humans weren't in danger of exposing them, but the very monsters they had helped to defeat all those years ago could. Humanity had been effectively hushed about the existence of the Magi. The Youkai however, were an entirely different issue. They had been isolated for the past several thousand years, and were nowhere near as dangerous as they once were. Their numbers were still devastated from their first war with humanity, they and never truly recovered. Humanity owned the entire planet and had unrestricted access to its resources, using those resources to improve their weapons and technology to astounding levels. The Youkai species was limited to integrating itself into human society, and living off of whatever scraps of earth the general human population overlooked. Such conditions limited just how freely they could reproduce. On top of that, they had lost thousands of monsters to the human military forces with the latest war. Their species was in danger of extinction, with their only hope of survival being that they could talk the general human population into staying their hand. If the Youkai brought up the subject magic in any way to the UN, then thousands of years of effort would be wasted.
The Magi weren't in any way involved with the war, yet there was an easy case of confused identity that could occur. The majority of the people killed in Japan were killed by the magical plants that had been summoned by Fairy Tale associated witches. Witches were humans that had somehow gotten the ability to produce youki energy, which all Youkai had. They were easily comparable to Magi in that they were very studious in learning about the extent of their abilities. They have their own established orders and collaborations, just like the Magi did. To someone who was incapable of sensing magic, the two were almost perfectly identical. The only apparent difference between a Magi and a witch was that witches favored the stereotypical cartoonish appearance of magic users, while Magi were seemingly average people, if a bit suspiciously out of touch with modern day technology.
The Magus Association wasn't sure if the Youkai knew the difference between witches and Magi, or if they even knew that there was a difference at all. Regardless, the fact that the Youkai might know about them, was enough for drastic measures to be taken. If that weren't bad enough, things only got more complicated from there. There were numerous Magi who had been in Japan at the time of the attack, who were either killed in the crossfire or forced to leave before they could destroy their workshops. Due to the current situation, no one could be sent to destroy any evidence of Magi in Japan without the risk of being shot or attacked by either the Youkai extremists or the human military. However, if they let things play out, someone could discover those workshops, along with whatever information happened to be within them, and reveal the existence of the magical world.
There were so many complications in place that it would be a miracle if the magical world wasn't exposed for the entire planet to see very soon.
Then there were even further complications coming in. A new type of energy, neither youki or magic, had been discovered. It wasn't completely new either. It seemed to be some sort of mutated version of od mixed in with ectoplasm, which was what spirits were made out of. Magi had plenty of experience with them, having used spirits as slaves, familiars, and attack dogs frequently. The issue came in when they found a scarily large amount of it in Karakura city, mixed in with large amounts of radiation and explosive residue. That alone, implied they weren't the only ones who knew about this energy, and the ones that did know must've been a military force, or at least associated with a nation's military.
When they deployed familiars to observe what was happening, they found a battlefield filled with the corpses of strange spirits, armored humans, and even a few Youkai. In addition to corpses, they saw more armored humans, these ones very much alive along with normal humans in hazard suits. Those humans were gathering the bodies of their comrades, and burning all of the spirit corpses. The Magus Association knew a cover up attempt when they saw it, and had no doubts that something even larger was going on in the background of the war.
It was apparent that something had occurred in addition to the war against the Youkai, but no one was quite sure what. The spirits they saw were nothing like the phantoms that could be summoned by advanced Magi, or the heroic spirits summoned during the Holy Grail wars. They were entirely different, and somehow they had gotten into conflict with a human military branch that they were completely unfamiliar with, one that equipped all of their soldiers with several types of heavy armor.
The only information that could be brought up in relation was that the images of those armored humans matched the reports of 'Super Soldiers' on the news.
The situation of the Second Human Youkai War demanded the attention of the magical world. The issue wasn't that the situation needed attention, but exactly what kind of attention they needed to give it. They couldn't afford to come in and destroy all relevant information, as well as anyone who may know that information. There were too many possibilities of that course of action backfiring. If they simply sat back and let everything play out, they would inevitably have someone trace the information from the abandoned Magi workshops back to the Magus Association. They would have to destroy those workshops and not arouse any suspicion while doing it, and then hope that the Youkai had forgotten about the Magi over the years.
The meeting between the Church and Magus Association would ultimately determine how they would respond to all of these events.
Akasha Bloodriver was almost never intimidated.
She was thousands of years old. She had been alive when the 1st war with the humans and Youkai had first kicked off, though she herself wasn't a combatant during the conflict. She had been there when it ended and the Youkai species was in full retreat. She had personally directed monster kind in a gentler direction, with the assistance of Tenmei Mikogami, and Touhou Fuhei. She had been forced to defend her title numerous times from arrogant upstarts such as 9 tailed Youko, Ork clan leaders, and Werewolf pack alphas. She had faced and defeated them all with ease.
So she couldn't for the life of her figure out why she was so scared to go on stage in front of a few hundred humans.
To her knowledge, only a few of them were even armed, and those that were currently in possession of a weapon hardly posed a threat in the face of some of the strongest Youkai of the monster world. She knew that she was above every single one of these 'world leaders' in importance, stature, physical ability, and even mental capability, yet that knowledge did her little good considering that the vast majority of the people in that room could order a nuclear strike on her home at a whim.
The queen of vampires took a calming breath. She wasn't here to figure out the advantages and disadvantages that monsters and humans had on each other, she was here to try and inspire friendship between the two and evade continued warfare. She couldn't even begin to conceive how important this meeting was. Monster kind was coming out into the lime light and into the eyes of every major human leader on the planet. They were forsaking well over a millennium of tradition by doing this act, even if it wasn't necessarily voluntary. If a single thing went wrong, thousands would die at best and Youkai genocide would be carried out at absolute worst. She paused as she heard a round of clapping coming from the human leaders.
It seemed the Exorcist was making a good impression at least.
Tenmei Mikogami, the Exorcist and principal of Youkai academy, had volunteered to go up first. He was currently explaining to the world leaders of what Youkai Academy was, and what it was doing. He spoke pridefully of how his students entered the school thinking in the mindset of monsters, but came out of the school being just as capable as any human citizen. He was listing off the accomplishments of students after they graduated, and what they had done to contribute to human society. After he explained that he had collaborated with the PWCD for this idea, he noticed that many of the leaders in the audience looked a lot more receptive. Undoubtedly, they were worried about what would be the result if monsters taught other monsters how to act in human society without any humans to aid them in teaching.
Obviously however, listing what monsters had accomplished by simply mimicking humans wasn't enough to get many human world leaders on their side. A lot of people were still casting dirty looks toward the non-human who had the nerve to appear in a place like this. They were likely still plenty angry at the war that had occurred in Japan. The Exorcist noticed how hostile those humans in particular were being, so he went about gaining their trust through a different method.
He then brought up the fact that a few monsters had successfully joined the PWCD organization and were aiding the Black Ops organization in their efforts against the Youkai terrorists and extremists.
Akasha had to admire how easily the man could catch the humans' attention by bringing up common knowledge in skillfully eloquent ways. He had been speaking for 30 minutes, and in that time had made the human world leaders several times more receptive to her cause than they had been initially. Now all she had to do was go up after him, and not do anything to offend humankind and peace could yet be achieved.
Now if only she could remember all the things that she definitely shouldn't say, then she would be confident.
Akasha wasn't verbally challenged in conversation or anything like that. She was simply used to dealing with other monsters. When it came to speaking with beings who thought themselves equal to you, they always acted with confidence and even slight superiority if they thought they could beat you. It was always a game of flexing your muscles without revealing the height of your abilities. With beings who were weaker, they were often difficult but ultimately submissive in their actions and negotiations. They simply tested how much they could get from you before you put your foot down.
Humans were entirely different. They treated the people they were dealing with as equals, no matter the power difference between the countries that were negotiating. They even went out of their way to be friends with who they were negotiating with, even if it was usually just to appease the media most of the time. If you offended them, they simply threatened to 'break off diplomatic relations', which wasn't a direct threat at all. If you wanted something, you had to give something in exchange; otherwise they would look at you as if you were crazy, regardless of your ability to simply take it from them. Apparently in human politics, your worth came from what resources you had to offer, not how much more powerful you were than the person you're negotiating with.
Human politics were deeply confusing, but she got the gist of it. Simply pour on fake smiles and false friendliness in public, and pour on fake civility in face to face negotiations. If you could do that without incident, then you were perfectly capable of being a human politician. Both you and the person you were negotiating with were fully aware of the lies you were spouting to each other's faces. Both of you knew that you were plotting and playing at a secret agenda with every action, yet you both intentionally act as if you didn't have the slightest clue. Akasha understood how human politics worked, but she couldn't understand the logic behind why they did it the way they did.
The vampiress' ears were assaulted by a seated ovation from the human world leaders. The exorcist walked off stage, his usual smirk seemingly three times as prevalent on his face. The Youkai academy principal walked up to Akasha, his robes somehow still fluttering even indoors where there was no breeze.
"Well that went better than I could've hoped. To appeal to human politicians, act humble and frequently remind them of what it is you're doing to help them." Mikogami advised.
"I know how to talk to humans, but thank you anyway. It seems you've made quite a good impression for us so far." Akasha stated, impressed with her old friend's diplomatic abilities.
"Not as much as you think." Akasha looked at him with a curious expression, beckoning him to go on. "I've assured most them that the Youkai species as a whole doesn't have any ill intent towards humanity. However, they're still suspicious of our connection to the conflict." He replied. The vampiress frowned.
"What can we do to convince them otherwise?" She asked. Humans were tricky to deal with, especially when they knew what you truly were. They weren't completely hateful, however. It was simply their nature as a species to be hesitant toward things they saw as unnatural. They were infinitely easier to deal with when they felt they could partially trust you. She just needed to say the right thing to gain that trust.
"I doubt anything we say will fully rid of them of their suspicions." Mikogami's smile didn't falter as he said this. "They were attacked and lost nearly 100 million people in only a few days. The closest human experiences that can compare to such a catastrophe are World War 1 and 2, and the total losses of both wars were barely a fraction of this."
Akasha paused as she thought over this hitch.
"I actually think this may be somewhat good for them." The vampire blinked and looked at him in surprise. "What? Look at human history. The human species may get healthier and live longer as the years go by, but their mentality as a species is weakening further and further. In the Middle Ages, humanity was about as thick skinned as they'd ever be. They were familiar with conflict and didn't hesitate at the idea of battle. Now, they've gotten softer. Even the soldiers of the PWCD aren't as mentally sturdy as the medieval knightly orders. They feel disadvantaged at the idea of fighting with anything less than the best equipment they can get, while a knight would fight in those same odds with nothing but a sturdy claymore in his hand." Mikogami began rambling.
Akasha only continued to listen out of the curiosity of where he was going with this.
"After World War 1 and 2, humanity abruptly became less complacent and prepared themselves for future conflict. Tragedies that claim human lives en-mass only make the human species stronger overall, but if the threat isn't constant then they grow complacent. Fairy Tale may have caused a lot of issues, but the humans did badly need a reality check that they weren't as untouchable as they thought they were. Now they'll adapt to the world in preparation for what new threats may arise."
"And that's a good thing? We don't need humans to be any stronger, we need them to be more peaceful and accepting." The vampiress responded.
"Who said I was only referring to the situation between humans and Youkai?" Mikogami stated, his smirk larger than ever. Akasha's eyes narrowed.
"What are you talking about Mikogami?"
"We thought that humans were ignorant for thinking they were the sole sentient residents of earth. Are we that much more enlightened? The humans didn't know that we existed because we hid from them, and even then a small minority of them was completely aware of us. Who's to say that we aren't in a similar situation?"
"The hollows are an admittedly new addition, but they aren't that much of an issue. The humans dealt with them, and they dealt with the Shinigami as a threat during the war." The vampiress stated dismissively, already guessing what Mikogami was implying.
"I wasn't talking about the spirit world."
The Exorcist was beginning to walk away. Akasha Bloodriver was stumped by what she had heard. What could he possibly mean by that? The vampiress was tempted to pursue the man for further answers, but she felt his youki power levels spike up and then abruptly disappear. The man had apparently teleported into the room that the other Youkai representatives were waiting in, both to inform them of his performance and evade any further conversation about his parting statement.
A man on stage announced her name, species, and title to the crowd of humans. They responded to the phrase 'Queen of Vampires' with either stifled laughter or questioning glances to their peers. Regardless they politely clapped, which in human politics was how they welcomed a speaker to the stage. She looked over herself one time, insuring that she was decent for the occasion. Well she had to thank Mikogami for one thing. She was no longer nervous about her portion of the speech. She was too deep in thought about what the Exorcist had saidto be concerned about her initial reception.
Throwing her thoughts to the wind for the time being, she walked onto the stage welcoming the odd stares she received because of her pink Victorian-style dress.
Deep in Hueco Mundo there dwelled a creature that inspired fear in all hollows.
The bodies of dozens of murdered adjuchas-level hollows lay scattered across the menos forest. Their wounds didn't speak of being brutally overpowered, but surgically cut and stabbed. Some had their throats slit. Some had a few of their major arteries cut and they had bled to death. One had a hole going through their eye socket and out the back of its head. Since the edges of the hole were singed, it meant that the hole wasn't a natural hollow hole but the result of a condensed and well-aimed cero.
These Adjuchas had all been a 'clan' so to speak. For one reason or another, they had forgone attempting to devour each other and instead worked together for a mutual purpose. Such groups were rare, as hollows rarely ever found it in themselves to trust each other enough not to try and kill the others in their sleep or something similar. When they were formed, they were nearly unstoppable, as nothing weaker than a vasto lorde had the ability to uproot and defeat them. Such battles were threatening in and of themselves as the massive flares of reiatsu attracted countless hollows; who would either wait for a victor to be chosen before attacking, or simply opt to go for the kill mid-combat, and start massive aimless brawls.
That wasn't an issue here as these Adjuchas hollows had all been cut down before they could truly get off an attack.
Standing in the center of the dead creatures was a warped parody of a PWCD commando. Its armor was white, rather than the usual black. The creature's helmet was busted open to reveal a hollowed out skull with empty eye sockets. Its armor was in ruins, sporting numerous hole punctures, scratches, and exposed wiring. In its right hand was a weapon that was a curious mixture of a pizza cutter-like blade and a rifle. The blade was arranged so that the handle of the blade was attached to the barrel, and the blade itself was beneath the rifle-butt. In its left hand was a ruined hollow mask with a puncture and a bit of blood on the forehead area.
This creature had marauded across Hueco Mundo for a month, pondering what to do with its existence.
It was a hybrid of a human super soldier and a hollow, an abomination that would be killed on sight by everything that saw it. The creature was lost in what it should do with itself. The creature had been satisfied in its human life as a soldier for the PWCD and in its hollow life as an auxiliary to Aizen's army. When the human half of itself had been captured, they used some form of kido to fuse the two beings together. Two spirits had been bound together, both of which would've readily killed the other if they had the chance. Now they were both forced to endure a tortured existence in a body neither of them wished to inhabit.
They had been named the Meta by their creator.
Aizen had used the hybrid as both a rabid attack dog and personal guard; using them to destroy the remaining members of his army when he realized that they were virtually useless now as anything more than cannon fodder. The madman had always thought that power was everything. He believed that once the hogyoku had granted him ultimate power, nothing would be able to defeat him. With that belief, he polished off the 'useless' arrancar and sent the rest to die fighting both the PWCD and Shinigami in the city of Karakura. After their defeat became inevitable, the madman joined the fight and unleashed his full potential. Aizen devastated the remaining members of the 13 protection squads, and forced the PWCD army to flee. The madman felt assured that he would rule the world with this power.
The PWCD responded by firing a nuclear warhead at him.
He wasn't killed immediately, as his power was enough to shield him from the brunt of the explosion, and then the hogyoku energized him as well as it could to keep his wounds from killing him. The hogyoku would've eventually burnt out, which would've assured Aizen's death. Just leaving him be may have allowed him to somehow heal however. So in the interest of not allowing some unforeseen event to save the madman from certain death, the Meta shot him a few times just to be sure. The human half had decades of experience, which was more than enough to know better than to just leave a dying enemy be.
With all that done, the Meta was now unknown in their purpose. They didn't have to ingest other souls to survive, which made the hollow side rather confused about what its existence should be focused on. It was no longer human thanks to the fusing of two completely different bodies together, which killed any hope of returning to its human life as a soldier. They would certainly be killed if it went anywhere near Soul Society. The 13 protection squads already had a rocky relationship with the PWCD and their augmented soldiers to begin with, and they actively hunted hollows. A fusion of both may as well have painted a giant target on its chest.
Now that they were truly free of any immediate enemies, they acknowledged that they were very good at killing. Creatures of their power level were too slow to keep pace with them. Most augments could keep pace with them but weren't strong enough to endure a single blow it sent. Even PWCD commandos, augments equipped with reiatsu powered armor, were pathetically weak in comparison. They were more of a threat for the guns they wielded that could punch through the Meta's armor, rather than their close combat ability. Only an augment wielding a reiatsu powered hammer and a jet-pack had been able to give them a real challenge, and he had been left broken and bleeding on the ground last they saw him, which was milliseconds before several squads of commandos ambushed them.
They knew that killing was the only thing they would and could do, but they felt conflicted about killing whatever they happened to come across.
To simply spend time, the Meta had taken to killing off a few of the more powerful hollows every now and then. The fact that the Meta had an Adjuchas power level warded off most threats, and Adjuchas with a slightly higher power level were easily sorted out as the bodies at their feet could attest to. Strength was nothing if you couldn't bring it to bear against your enemy in time.
The Meta sonido'd away, wandering around the desert for something else worthy of their time.
The hybrid wasn't going to simply be idle during this time; they just needed to discover a reason to do anything other than what they were already doing. This desert was nothing but sand and hollows. There was the odd soul here and there that somehow got teleported into Hueco Mundo as well. The Meta opted to save them from being eaten, more out of boredom and some dormant sense of humanity rather than any legitimate reason. They always opened Gargantas to Seireitei and threw the scared souls out as lightly as they could, and then pressed on with its odd life.
The Meta had one day killed an Adjuchas, and had a pack of rabid hollows ready to devour the body. Since the hybrid felt even more bored than normal, it opened a Garganta to Seireitei and dumped the dead body of the Adujchas through the portal. The rabid hollows swarmed in after the body, just before the Meta closed it. To this day they were curious how that had played out, but weren't nearly brave enough to attempt to investigate. They weren't invincible after all.
The Meta paused as they felt many different signatures entering Hueco Mundo, not hollows or shinigami. They felt somewhat human, but held large amounts of reiatsu. They couldn't be PWCD, as the organization always tried to conceal the amount of reiatsu they leaked to avoid detection. Satisfied at this new development, the Meta repressed it's reiatsu to nearly undetectable levels and began angling toward the direction of those energy signatures.
They noted with interest that they had appeared inside Las Noches.