Chapter 16: The Espada Attack! Conclusion
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or Bleach. They are the respective properties of Masashi Kishimoto and Tite Kubo.
A/N: I regret to tell you that this story will temporarily be on hiatus until the end of the month so that I can focus on my other story, SHinigami on the Prowl.
[Spiritual Wave Measurement Lab, Shinigami Research and Development Institute, Seireitei, Soul Society]
The current situation inside of the SRDI was frantic as the members in charge of the Spiritual Wave Measurement lab were currently in awe. They were staring at a large screen, which was currently flashing like a light show. On the screen was a map of Konohagakure, where there were two colored dots on it, representing two people in the area. Both dots were sending out rapid, ripple-like pulses at a fast speed. This represented the amount of reiatsu they were exerting, and it was a ridiculously amount going by the speed of the pulses. Among the shinigami present was the 12th Division Captain and head of the SDRI, Mayuri Kurotsuchi. Standing next to him was Akon, who served as both the 12th Division's 3rd seat and vice-president of the SRDI. He had spiky brown hair with a jagged, hairless area running through it, along with what appeared to be three horns on his forehead. He wore a shihakusho with a white lab coat over it. Mayuri then turned to his subordinate, who he began to talk to.
"It appears that the different sources of reiatsu have been gradually disappearing, sir. Only these two are currently left, and they are apparently going on out, sir."
"Interesting. Who are the owners of these reiatsu signatures," Mayuri asked as he analyzed the screen, cocking his head to one side, like a dog interested in something.
"The first one appears to belong to an Arrancar, sir. Going off the amount of his reiatsu, he appeaer to be in the level of a high-class Adjuchas."
"And the other one?"
"It belongs to one of our own. It definitely belongs to a Captain class fighter."
Before Akon continue, a female researcher rushed up and handed him a sheet of paper. Briefly skimming through it, he placed it down before speaking to his superior again.
"We've now got confirmation on the identity of Captain-class fighter. It's Captain Naruto Namikaze-Uzumaki."
Mayuri simply rolled his eyes in response, slightly annoyed by this revelation.
"So the brat is going all out in the middle of the damned village... why am I not surprised by this in the slightest?"
[Streets of Konoha, Konohagakure, Land of Fire, Shinobi World]
Sasuke looked up in surprised as Naruto went out of his pose and descended from the roof he was standing on. He then approached him before swiftly pulling out the katana that was pinning Sasuke to the ground, freeing him. The Uchiha clansman slowly got up, flinching at the pain. Naruto then helped him stand up as he began to speak.
"I'm surprised you got thrashed so easily, Sasuke. You could of easily gone toe to toe with him with your Sharingan at the very least, given how hard you've been training the past several days."
"I told you, Naruto, I'm not using my dojutsu under any circumstances."
Naruto gave his friend a flat look that read, "are you kidding me?" before speaking again.
"Seriously? You're going up against opponents that are much more powerful then your average shinobi, and you're not using every trick in your bag? That's just suicidal! You have one of the most powerful bloodlines in existence, and you're not using it. And people say that I'm an idiot."
"Did you forget about the vow I made?"
"I didn't and that vow of yours almost got you and Sakura killed," Naruto countered. When Sasuke tried to counter back, only to find himself unable to say anything, Naruto continued his little lecture.
"I know that you have your reasons for not using your Sharingan... but do you think those reasons matter when your friends and allies die beside you? When you're fighting opponents of this level you have to use whatever powers you have in order to win; if you don't and someone dies because of that, then how do plan to live with yourself, Sasuke? It's not like with me or any of the shinigami captains, where any restrictions placed on us don't really matter most of the time. We can normally beat our opponent with the powers we have available to us at any given time. If you don't want to lose anyone to these Arrancars or anyone else for that matter then you have to use every power you have to fight them, that's just how it goes, Sasuke," Naruto explained as an ashamed Sasuke looked away, not even able to look Naruto in the eye after that.
At this point Sakura, who had already recovered from Grimmjow's blow, headed over to where her two friends were. She took Sasuke off of Naruto's shoulders before speaking to him.
"Where were you, Naruto? Most of the fighting has ended; this guy is probably the only enemy left."
"I was fighting off a guy who claimed to be a follower of a guy named Grimmjow. I detected his reiatsu coming from where you guys were, so I killed the follower and headed over."
However, before the former Team Seven's conversation could continue, a presence made itself known by shouting.
All three teens then turned towards the source of the voice. It came from a recovered Grimmjow, who now sported a few minor injuries. His jacket was now gone, having been destroyed by Naruto's attack. Because of this, he was shirtless, now showing his muscular physique. He spotyed several burn marks across his torso, although they were minor. Lastly, Grimmjow was sneering at them with an angry look on his face.
"Who the fucking hell are you? Are you a friend of theirs?" he sneered while a jabbing a thumb at Sasuke and Sakura. Naruto simply nodded as he went into a zanjutsu stance.
"Yes am I, you bastard... and I assume that you're the Espada that hurt them?" he asked as Grimmjow gave off a rather sadistic smirk.
"That's right. I am the Sexta (Sixth) Espada, Grimmjow!" The Arrancar replied rather proudly as Naruto narrowed his eyes at his opponent.
"Is that so? Then allow me to introduce myself," he said as he pointed his left thumb at his headband.
"I am Naruto Namikaze-Uzumaki: Captain of the Gotei 13's Third Division, former shinobi of Konohagakure, and the guy who's going to kick your ass!"
"Is that so?" Grimmjow asked as he touched his own zanpkauto, eyeing Naruto like a predator to its prey. He smirk on his face turned into a bloodthirsty grin. He had finally found an opponent that was strong enough to figh and, to make it all the more sweeter, his new opponent was the one who defeated Aizen himself. If Grimmjow could defeat him, it would prove to everyone that he was the strongest (what Grimmjow would be the "strongest" of was anyone's guess at this point in time).
"You better have the skill to back up those damn words, shinigami, because…"
Grimmjow suddenly disappeared with his sonido before reappearing in front of Naruto with a manic look on his face.
"… I'M THE ONE THAT'S GOING TO TEAR YOU APART!" he shouted at the top of his voice before trying to impale the jinchuriki with his fist. Naruto quickly block the attack with his left armguard. He then brought his katana forward in a vertical slice, but Grimmjow leaned back to avoid it. Twisting his body, he then slammed his right foot into Naruto's side. The blond teen didn't move at this strike or show any outward signs of pain. Grimmjow then disappeared and reappeared in front of Naruto, preparing to punch his head off. Naruto, on the other hand, had Tozai-Fu no Moi in both hands, ready to deliver an attack.
Both attacks hit their mark. Grimmjow's fist connected with Naruto's face, knocking a molar out. On the other hand, the blade of the katana slashed across Grimmjow's chest, leaving a small vertical scar on it. The two separated as Grimmjowed jumped up into the air, stunned that somebody was able to wound him. Naruto landed near Sasuke and Sakura, whom he turned to them before quickly speaking.
"Sakura, I need you to get Sasuke out of here and to a hospital. I know both of you are strong in your own right, but you're not enough to last against Grimmjow."
"I don't have time to argue, just go!" Naruto countered as he gripped his sword and dashed off after Grimmjow. Using his speed, he planned on using another diagonal slash on the Espada. When he was in range, he let out his attack, only for Grimmjow to catch the blade with his bare hand again as he smirked at the Captain.
"Did you really think your zanpakuto would work against my Hierro (Steel Skin)," he taunted as Naruto let a small grin appear on his face.
"Actually, I counted on you to catch my sword. Kyōfū Shīsu (Gale Sheath)!"
Wind suddenly covered the blade's sword as it cut Grimmjow's hand. Blood spurted from the wound as the Espada retracted it back. Taking advantage of this, Naruto sent out a large gale of wind at Grimmjow, which blasted him back a few dozen yards. The Espada grunted as he cocked his fist back, charging it with reiryoku.
"Bala (Hollow Bullet)," he shouted as he brought his arm forward and launched an orb of red spiritual energy. He followed this up by firing off several more of the attacks until there were at least 25 Balas heading in Naruto's direction. The captain took a few steps back before aiming his left palm at the Balas direction.
"Hadō #88: Hiryū Gekizoku Shinten Raihō (Flying Dragon-Striking Heaven-Shaking Thunder Cannon)!"
Suddenly, an enormous beam of white-blue spiritual and electrical energy fired from Naruto's palm. The attack slammed into the Balas and destroyed them like flies on a windshield. Grimmjow's eyes widened as he began to charge up a Cero (Holow Flash) in an attempt to slow down the attack. He fired off the energy beam, only for it to be ineffective against it. Thinking on his feet, Grimmjow used his Sonido to escape the path of the Kidō spell.
Just as he thought he was out of trouble, the Espada looked over his shoulder to see Naruto bearing down on him, about to deliver an overhead slash. He quickly withdrew his zanpakuto and the two blades made contact.
"Heh. This kid's good," the Arrancar though to himself. This fight wasn't frustrating him at all. The Shinigami Captain was apparently fighting him without pulling any punches, unlike the Uchiha. Both swords separated before colliding again. Grimmjow was on the offensive, attacking with a series of cuts and slashes. Naruto was fending off the attack, gripping Tozai-Fu no Moi tightly and either blocking or parrying Grimmjow's strikes.
After clashing swords one last time, Naruto flashstepped away and reappeared a few feet back. Channeling wind into his katana, he then delivered a vertical slash, similar to that of an iaido move.
"Kazeha Danmaku (Wind Blade Barrage)," he shouted as the gathered wind shot forward and formed into the shape of a blade of air. In the blink of an eye, the wind blade hit Grimmjow squarely in the chest. Naruto followed this up firing off several more wind blades, totaling up to fifteen. The blades impacted Grimmjow, cutting his torso, arms, and legs. The Kazeha Danmaku was constructed similar to the Kazekama, yet lacked the spiritual energy that went into it. Because of this, it lacked power. However, it made up for this by being much faster, and the blades could be fired multiple times before canceling out.
Taking the chance that Grimmjow was momentarily stunned, Naruto decided to give the Espada the coup de grace. Gripping his katana in a two handed grip, he channeled both reiryoku and wind into the blade. Naruto then brought the sword back before swinging it forward as announced his attack's name.
"Kazekama (Wind Sickle)!"
At the instance of the slash, the wind and energy was released from the sword and formed into a sickle shape. Since he was using the attack in bankai, Naruto's Kazekama was much more powerful than when in his shikai. The sickle slammed into Grimmjow's midsection and the force of it caused him to drop to the ground. The impact of Grimmjow's landing caused a small crater to form on the street. The dust from the attack cleared, and Grimmjow was standing, now with a large diagnol scar that covered his chest.
Despite this, Naruto was only interested in Grimmjow's expression. Instead of being pissed or in pain, the Arrancar seemed to be excited, going off the manic look on his face. He then let out a burst of laughter, as if what had transpired amused him, before speaking again.
"You're something else entirely, Uzumaki. I haven't had a fight this damn good in a really fuckin' long time. If you're going all out, then I might as well."
With that, unsheathed his zanpakuto and held it up in his right hand, like the start of a low stroke sweep. The sword began to glow blue as Grimmjow placed his right hand at the top of it before shouting:
"Grind, Pantera (Panther King)!"
He then raked his hand across the sword in one swift motion. This released a torrent of reiryoku, causing it create large gusts of wind. Naruto covered the lower half of his face with his arm, before lowering it as he got a good look at the Espada.
Grimmjow's appearance had drastically changed, now looking more predatory and feline. His teeth were now jagged and sharp, his hands had turned into black claws, and his feet had turned into black paws, akin to a cat. Complimenting his new appendages was a slender, whip-like tail that was longer than his body. Grimmjow's hair was long and flowing, and the markings around his eyes were now larger and extended to his now catlike ears. His mask fragment was gone and was replaced by headgear of some sort that covered his brow. The remainder of his outfit had been turned into form-fitting white-segmented armor, with what appeared to be blades protruding from his forearms and calves.
Grimmjow suddenly leapt forward with animal-like agility before appearing in front of Naruto. He then delivered a pounce like kick to the Shinigami's stomach. Naruto was sent back a few yards by the kick, and Grimmjow attempted to follow it up by slicing him with the blades on his arms. Naruto, reacting on his reflexes, quickly brought up his sword to defend himself from the slash. The two separated as Naruto regained his senses and then assumed a stance. Naruto then channeled wind through his blade before speaking again.
"Senpū Supurinto (Whirlwind Sprint)," he said as the wind from his sword then moved and covered his body in a shroud of some sort. The shinigami captain then gripped his sword as he uttered a second command.
"Kyōfū Shīsu (Gale Sheath)."
Wind then formed on his sword before covering it like an aura. Grimmjow, grinning psychotically, leapt forward, planning on using his speed to be the blond senseless. However, Naruto moved in one swift movement disappeared before appearing behind Grimmjow. He then delivered a heel kick to the Espada's back. Naruto then came into view, rushing towards Grimmjow with both hands on his sword. The blond then delivered a series of cuts and sword strikes upon Grimmjow. The speed and frequency of this attacks continued to increase as the Espada began to block or defend himself from this barrage, with a variety of success. Then something dawned on him.
"Uzumaki isn't using shunpo or any other sort of speed technique! This is just him using one of his bankai abilities! How fuckin' strong is he?"
Grimmjow then wisely used his sonido to get out of the way. He then leapt back whilst pointing his elbow at the shinigami.
"Eat this, you motherfucker! Garra de le Pantera (Panther Barbs)!"
Suddenly, what appeared to be five bombs were fired out of his elbow. They appeared to be dark green and look like crystalline, unevenly cut stone darts. The bombs whistled as they chased after Naruto. The shinigami was able to use his shunpo to avoid most of the bombs, one of which hit a building and promptly destroyed part of it. However, the last of the bombs hit Naruto squarely in the stomach, exploding and knocking him backwards. Grimmjow smirked at this as he went in for the kill. As he neared his prey, the Espada was suddenly hit by a large blast of wind that pushed him back. Naruto, whose stomach was smoking from the bomb strike but was otherwise perfectly fine, followed this up by flashstepping in front of him and delivering a knee strike underneath his chin. Grimmjow soon got out of his daze as he grinned viciously.
"Get ready for the my most powerful attack, Uzumaki!," the Espada roared viciously as his claws began to glow. He then made a slashing motion with both hands, which created long, sharp blades of reishi on each claw.
"Desgarrón (Panther King's Claw)!"
Grimmjow then threw both of the reishi blades at Naruto, which flew through the air as if they were spears. Naruto's eyes widened at this, as he began to quickly channel an massive amount of wind and reiatsu into the sword. He then pulled Tozai-Fu no Moi back before swinging it forward and releasing his attack.
"Kazekama (Wind Single)!"
The attack flew forward and clashed with the reishi claws. The two attacks struggled for a bit, but the Kazekama overwhelmed the reishi claws, causing them to dissipate, and Naruto's attack slammed into the Espada. As the smoke cleared, it was revealed that Grimmjow now had a vertical scar across his abdomen, courtesy of Naruto's Kazekama.
"Are-are you kidding me? Are you FUCKING kidding me? Was the most powerful attack I had did fucking nothing against you! Goddamnit! God fucking damnit!" The blue haired Espada bellowed out in rage. He wanted to fight a strong opponent, but not be trumped by him at each and every turn,
Without warning, he then bit into his thumb with one of his sharped teeth, allowing blood to flow out of his wound and cover his hand. Grimmjow was breathing rapidly and sharply, as he now had a crazed look in his eyes.
"Your dead meat, you fucking asshole," he screamed at his bewildered opponent, who was surprised at what he was doing. Grimmjow then began to charge a cero in his hand, which mixed in with his blood, and then from a crimson red to a deep, vibrant blue.
"This is a technique that only an Espada can use. Let's see how you deal with this!" Grimmjow boasted as he aimed the attack at the Captain. The Arrancar's incoherent rage seem to increase as he shouted at the top of his lungs.
"Gran Rey Cero (Royal Hollow Flash)!"
The Cero was then released as Grimmjow fired it off, which seemed to be much more powerful and faster than a regular cero. It spun like a razor as it constantly compressed and decompressed, disturbing the fabric of space and time as it traveled. However, Naruto was able to dodge it, since Grimmjow was blinded by anger and not thinking clearly. However, the Cero was now straight on a path to where Sasuke and Sakura were. They had not left yet due to the latter healing the former's injuries which were more severe than Naruto had realized. The two Leaf shinobi had now just noticed the oncoming attack, and Sakura frantically tried to get her teammate up on her feet.
"Damnit. You guys are still here?" Naruto thought to himself as he did the one thing possible to save his two best friends from certain death. He suddenly flashstepped away from Grimmjow (much to his surprise) and appeared in the path of the Cero, which was only a few feet from his former teammates.
The Cero slammed into his back as Naruto shouted as it tore through his back muscles, sending pain throughout his body. The attack managed to shred his haori to shreds, leaving him only in his mesh shirt and hakama. The cero then disrupted as Naruto placed his hands on his knees and breathed heavily. After he got his breathing to a steady pace, Naruto looked up at his teammated with a disapproving expression on his face.
"What the hell are you two still doing here? I thought I told you to leave! -I'm going to be feeling that for a couple of days-"
"Naruto, Sakura was healing me and we got caught up watching your fight," Sasuke explained as Naruto turned his back to them. They were repulsed by what they saw. The flesh on his back was mostly burned, the skin being red with patches of light pink. Also on his back were deep scars that had etched themselves onto his flesh.
Grimmjow descended to the ground with a smirk on his face, having deactivated his Resurrecion, against all common sense. He then dashed forward with his zanpakuto in hand as Naruto went into a defensive stance, the young captain more than capable of continuing the fight. Before anyone could do anything else, however, a tall, pale figure suddenly appeared on the scene and grabbed Grimmjow by the shoulder. The Arrancar looked over his shoulder to see Ulquiorra, the Cuarto Espada before him.
"What the fuck are you doing?" Grimmjow snarled as his superior retained his emotionless expression. Ulquiorra then spoke, retaining his calm and detached tone.
"You are dragging out this pointless carnage, Grimmjow; can't you see that you are clearly outmatched? Even that wound you gave Uzumaki is not going to be enough to defeat him. It is time to leave and report back to Aizen-sama."
"I'm not done here, you prick!"
"I did not give you an option," he countered as he opened a Garganta (Black Cavity). Grimmjow reluctantly yet angrily walked over towards the portal as Ulquiorra followed him. Sakura then stood up and began to speak to the Cuarto Espada.
"Wait a minute, you're just going to leave use here like that? Without even fighting?"
"Now why would I waste my time fighting somebody like you, girl? If you could barely fend off Grimmjow, then you don't have a phantom of a chance of defeating me. Only Uzumaki is strong enough to fight me even with that wound, and I have no intention of fighting a pointless battle that I wasn't ordered to fight," Ulquiorra stated simply. He wasn't being prideful, arrogant, or boastful. He was speaking as if he was stating a well known fact.
Grimmjow, on the other hand, eyed Naruto before yelling at him.
"Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez! Remember that name, Uzumaki! It's the name of the Espada that's going to kill you soon!"
"We'll see about that, Grimmjow," Naruto stated simply to himself as the portal closed. It was then eerily quiet before Sakura spoke.
"Come on. We need to get you two to a hospital."
"Actually, I'll be fine, Sakura-chan."
"Naruto, have you even took a glimpse at your back? It's a total mess!"
"I heal quickly. It's a flesh wound, nothing more," Naruto countered rather childishly as Sakura pinched the bridge of her nose.
"You're coming with us!" she said as she grabbed the blonde by his earlobe, and began to drag him, using her chakra-enhanced strength to do so. Naruto winced and gritted his teeth at this.
"Don't I get a say in this?"
Sasuke, meanwhile, slowly walked behind them, almost limping. Sasuke learned a very hard lesson as a result of getting his ass handed to him: he would need to up his game if he wanted to have a chance against one of Aizen's Espada. And that meant breaking the vow he promised to himself. The question was could he bring himself to do it...
Next Time - Picking Up the False Sun's Trail