This is an idea that I've had floating around in my head for a while now, I want to see what everyone thinks of it.
This story takes place long after the main story line Bleach, several generations later in Soul Society. Few, if any, of the characters we're all familiar with will make appearances except in flashbacks.
All standard disclaimers apply. Read and Review please!
Chapter One: A New Taicho
Hundreds of Shinigami, including the taichos of the 8th and 12th divisions, and the Soutaicho had gathered around the large courtyard to be witness to what was to happen here today. Two men stood within the courtyard, facing each other. They were the taicho and fukutaicho of the 13th division.
Hiei Tsukino, the fukutaicho of the 13th division, stood facing his superior officer with a loathing expression, his hand already griping the hilt of his Zanpakutou tightly; its sheath and hilt black, the hand guard and pommel black with gold bamboo markings. Meanwhile the other man stood across from him with an arrogant, demeaning expression on his face, his arms hung limply by his sides, obviously thinking he didn't need to be prepared to fight a fukutaicho, his Zanpakutou had a red sheath and hilt. The taicho was a man of average height with slicked back red hair, and brown eyes. He also seemed to be slightly overweight. Hiei on the other hand had chin length black hair, piercing blue eyes, and a much leaner and athletic build than his taicho.
Hiei's eyes narrowed as he recalled the events that had led to this day, his hatred for the man across from him rising once more.
Hiei Tsukino had been the fukutaicho of Squad 13 for twenty years, having been promoted when his predecessor succumbed to an illness. He had heard ill rumors about the 13th division ever since Tamashi-taicho had been promoted thirty years before that, but Hiei, like most of the Gotei 13 thought they were just that: rumors. Once he was the division's second in command it didn't take long for him to see that there was fact behind these rumors.
He disliked Tamashi-taicho with a passion almost from day one. He was a very arrogant, rude, slobbish, and just plain rotten individual. He had clearly let his rank go to his head as he used his rank to get whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted it, from whomever he wanted it from. He also used his rank to intimidate people into silence, so there were no official complaints filed. Since he took over the division many of the previous seated officers had been demoted in favor of the new taicho's personal favorites. These new seated officers were just as corrupt as Tamashi, and Hiei had learned that the only reason he had become the fukutaicho was because he was widely known as the most powerful non-taicho rank officer, and Tamashi wanted to have the reputation of having the most powerful second in command.
Hiei's two closest friends: Masaru and Yuuta had become the taichos of the 12th and 8th divisions ten and five years ago respectively. When they had been in the Academy they had vowed to all become taichos, and they had drawn lots to see in what order they would, Hiei lost that particular game.
For the last twenty years Hiei had been a beacon to the lower ranked Shinigami in his division who were tormented by Tamashi and the corrupt seated officers. Hiei had gone to the Soutaicho numerous times to report what he had been told by these Shinigami, and Central 46 had done numerous investigations, but Tamashi was good at covering his tracks, the ones who were comfortable coming to Hiei were still too intimidated to come forward for these investigations. The last twenty years had frustrated and infuriated Hiei to no end.
Then just the day before, something had happened that had been too much and Hiei could not stand to do nothing anymore. He had been on the way to his quarters after finishing both his duties and Tamashi-taicho's duties, since the taicho had decided it wasn't necessary to do any of his work lately. As he reached his door a nervous, female voice called out, "Tsukino-fukutaicho?"
Hiei turned to look for the source of the voice, he saw an unseated female officer that he didn't really recognize, so she must be fairly new to the division. "Yes, is there something I can help you with?" Hiei asked in turn.
"I… I was told that if something bad happened that I should come to you… And not any of the other seated officers," she replied with a tentative tone.
Hiei immediately became concerned and turned to face her fully as he asked, "What happened to you?" As he turned he took notice of her disheveled appearance and the bruises forming on what skin was visible.
She looked around nervously and mumbled incoherently, all Hiei could make out was, "…and then Tamashi-taicho…"
"You need to speak up. Tell me what happened so I can do something about it," Hiei urged her as gently as he could.
Tears formed in her eyes as she spoke more loudly and clearly, "My friends and I were celebrating my acceptance into the Gotei 13, into the 13th division. Towards the end of the party some of the seated officers and Tamashi-taicho showed up and started making a ruckus. They singled me out and kept saying horrible things, and Tamashi-taicho started talking about how I had to make myself useful if I wanted them to leave me alone. I was uncomfortable so I left the party in a hurry, but they followed me and cornered me in a dead end…. And then…"
Hiei already feared the worst, but he had to hear her say it, so he urged her again, "Then what happened?"
She broke down crying as she blurted out, "Tamashi-taicho raped me! And they cheered him on while he did it!"
This confirmed what Hiei had started to fear, he could now honestly say that he despised Tamashi-taicho with every fiber of his being. He pushed his hate down so as not to frighten her with his tone of voice as he said, "I want you to suppress your reiatsu and wait in my quarters for a while, they won't think to look for you there." As he said this he opened the door for her to indicate she should enter.
"What are you going to do?" she asked tentatively.
He simply replied, "I'm going to see the Soutaicho about this, immediately."
As he started walking away she called out, "Thank you Tsukino-fukutaicho!"
He stopped as he turned to reply, "Just call me Hiei, and you're welcome. And what is your name?"
"Aimi. My name is Aimi Minami," she replied with a small smile.
Hiei found himself in front of the 1st division's main entrance in less than ten minutes; he had used shunpo to cover the distance quickly. As he entered one of the male seated officers greeted him, "Good evening Tsukino-fukutaicho. Is there something you need?"
"Yes. Is Kuchiki-soutaicho still here?" Hiei asked hastily.
The officer was taken aback by the hastiness of the question, but replied quickly, "Yes, I believe he is still in his office finishing some important paperwork."
"Thank you very much," was all Hiei said in response before he started walking quickly towards where the Soutaicho's office was located. He had been there enough times that he did not require I guide to show him the way.
When he arrived at the large double doors Hiei knocked loudly, but politely to alert the leader of the Gotei 13 that he was there, though his turbulent reiatsu had most likely been felt on his way there. After a moment a voice called, "Enter!" Hiei opened the door and walked into the massive office that overlooked all of the Seireitei; as he approached the desk at the far end the only other occupant of the room asked, "Ah, Tsukino-fukutaicho, what can I do for you this evening?"
Hiei stopped twenty feet short of the desk and bowed respectively and replied, "Kuchiki-soutaicho, I apologize for disturbing you at this unseemly hour; but I'm afraid there has been a development that requires immediate action, and I seek your counsel."
Hayato Kuchiki rose from his chair and approached the bowing fukutaicho. He was clearly an ancient individual, his once ebony hair had long since turned greyish white, it was past his shoulders and kept swept back out of his face by two kenseikan, one above each side of his forehead. His face was one of a man who had experienced much during his long years, stern, but not uncaring. His dark blue eyes were those of a man who had collected great wisdom during his life. Despite his great age he still carried himself with the grace expected of one from the noble Kuchiki clan. His Zanpakutou was leaning against his desk; it had a dark purple sheath and hilt, with a rectangular guard.
"Rise Tsukino-fukutaicho, I believe by now there is no need for you to bow as such. In fact I believe I told you the first time we met in this manner that it was unnecessary. So… I take it that Tamashi-taicho has done something yet again, and you seek guidance as to how to proceed?" Hayato asked calmly.
Hiei rose into a normal standing position as the Soutaicho asked his question after coming to stand a few feet from him. "You are partially correct sir. Yes, Tamashi-taicho has done something, but I'm afraid it is far worse than what he's done before, or at least as far as we know. The situation is now beyond being able to wait for an investigation to find him guilty, as he has managed to elude Central 46's efforts so far," Hiei replied gravely.
Hayato's eyes widened slightly at the urgency in Hiei's voice before asking, "Tell me, Tsukino-fukutaicho… What has he done?"
Hiei was quiet for a moment before replying, "Just a short while ago, right before I came to see you, a new recruit into the 13th division named Aimi Minami came to me… She told me that Tamashi-taicho and several of the seated officers singled her out at the celebration and were harassing her. She tried to get away from them, but they cornered her in an alley. She says that he raped her while they cheered him on."
Both men were quiet for a moment before Hayato stated, "That is a very serious accusation Tsukino-fukutaicho. Do you believe what this young woman told you?"
"I do Kuchiki-soutaicho; she had several bruises forming already. And even if for some reason she made it up, I wouldn't put it past him, and it would only be a matter of time," Hiei replied.
"I see… Where is the young woman now?"
"I had her suppress her reiatsu and told her to wait in my quarters while I came to discuss this matter with you."
"Understood," Hayato paused to look towards the door and called in a booming voice, "You there! Enter!" The doors opened and one the 1st division's seated officers entered. "Go to the 13th division fukutaicho's quarters, you will find a young woman named Aimi Minami there. She has been raped by Tamashi-taicho. You are to bring her directly to the 4th division medical bay, and do not tell anyone of what has happened except for the medic who treats her. Go immediately!" Hayato ordered.
"Yes sir Soutaicho!" the officer replied before vanishing using shunpo.
Hayato then turned back to Hiei and asked, "Now then Tsukino-fukutaicho… What do you intend to do about this situation? Should I report this as I did the other events?"
Hiei immediately replied, "No Soutaicho, we have already tried that, and it hasn't worked. I believe the time has come to take matters into my own hands about Tamashi-taicho." He practically spat the last word out, the hate in his voice obvious.
Hayato's eyes narrowed as he cautiously asked, "What do you mean by that Tsukino-fukutaicho?"
Hiei inhaled deeply before he replied, "Kuchiki-soutaicho, tomorrow I intend to challenge him to a duel for the position of Taicho of the 13th division, and he's so arrogant that he won't refuse. I will get justice for Aimi and all of the others he has hurt with my own two hands."
Hayato considered Hiei's words before he replied, "Very well. It is customary for at least one other taicho to be present as well as at least two hundred members of the challenged taicho's division to witness such a duel. I shall be there by noon tomorrow to observe this duel. I believe your friends would like to be there as well, I shall inform Urahara-taicho and Abarai-taicho immediately."
As Hayato walked to the window where he kept a cage of Hell Butterflies to send the message to the other two taichos Hiei replied, "I appreciate that Kuchiki-soutaicho. I'd never hear the end of it if those two missed this."
Hayato chuckled slightly at this; he was familiar enough with the three younger Shinigami to know Hiei spoke the truth of this. Those three had been inseparable for as long as he could remember, which was a considerably long time. As he released the two butterflies he turned and said, "Well then Tsukino-fukutaicho, I suggest you go and get some rest in preparation for tomorrow. I don't doubt your abilities, but Tamashi does have power and skill, otherwise he wouldn't have risen to his current rank."
"Understood Kuchiki-soutaicho, I bid you a good night," Hiei said as he bowed respectively.
"I bid you the same, and once again, the bow is not necessary," Hayato replied with a small smile. Hiei chuckled slightly before departing using shunpo.
Hiei returned to his quarters to find that Aimi and the 1st Division officer were gone, as he had expected. There was a note left for him that informed him that it had been the officer from the 1st Division that took her and they had gone to the 4th Division medical bay. He used a weak kido to burn the note to ashes before he slowly prepared himself for sleep, which eluded him for a while before claiming him.
Hiei continued to glare towards Tamashi until he heard a loud whistle from off to the side. He turned to see the three taichos that were here to observe this battle. The one who had whistled was Masaru Urahara, and once he had Hiei's attention he shouted, "Show this asshole what you're made of Hiei!" Masaru was tall and lanky at about six feet and two inches tall, with messy ear length dirty blonde hair, and bright yellow eyes. He almost always had a grin on his face except in very serious situations. People said that in looks and brains he took after his grandfather, except for his eyes. In terms of personality he was similar to both his grandparents. He had become the taicho of the 12th Division and chief of the Research and Development Institute ten years ago. His Zanpakutou was secured on his back with the hilt over his right shoulder, its sheath and hilt were dark green while the guard and pommel silver.
Beside him another man, Yuuta Abarai, taicho of the 8th Division added, "Yeah! Put that piece of shit where he belongs!" Yuuta was shorter than both Hiei and Masaru, but had a more muscular build. He had shoulder length red hair that he kept tied back in a low ponytail, and brown eyes. He strongly resembled his great grandfather, in both appearance and attitude. He had become the taicho of the 8th Division five years ago when the previous taicho retired. His Zanpakutou was secured to the left side of his waist, its sheath and hilt maroon, with a golden guard and pommel.
Hayato Kuchiki was standing with them, and gave them a scolding look for their unprofessional outbursts, to which they both laughed nervously before composing themselves as was expected for the situation. Hiei couldn't help but chuckle at the scene, but his attention was caught when Tamashi spoke up, "Laughing at your own stupidity huh Hiei? Bet you just realized you signed your own death warrant here."
Hiei scowled at the corrupt taicho as he replied, "Big words from the one not even in a stance to draw his blade."
Tamashi laughed harshly before boasting, "You're just a fukutaicho! We're on completely different levels, I'll be able to draw my Zanpakutou before you get a chance to move!"
"Well I guess we'll see about that won't we?" Hiei asked as he readjusted his grip on his Zanpakutou's hilt.
Hayato then spoke up, using kido to amplify his voice, "We have gathered here today to witness the duel between Tsukino-fukutaicho and Tamashi-taicho for the position of taicho of the 13th Division! The duel shall commence when I say to begin!" he gathered crowd grew silent as they waited for the Soutaicho to announce the beginning of the duel, a pin dropping could have been heard. It was probably only about ten seconds, but it seemed like an hour before Hayato shouted, "Begin!"
As soon as that had been shouted, Hiei vanished using shunpo. Tamashi's eyes widened as he hastily drew his Zanpakutou and just barely managed to block Hiei's attack, twisting his torso halfway around in order to do so, not having time to properly turn his entire body. He stared with shock into Hiei's hate filled eyes, as Hiei stated, "I see you have enough sense to know when you're about to lose a limb." He then jumped back from Tamashi and took the basic kendo stance before shouting for all to hear, "I held back with that attack to get your attention! The next one will be for real, so you'd better take this seriously!"
A cheer broke out from the majority of the Shinigami assembled, namely the lower rank and unseated members of the 13th Division, while the seated officers were speechless. According to what Hiei had just said, if he had wanted to he could have ended the fight in that instant, and for the first time a sliver of doubt was forming in their minds.
Tamashi was having similar thoughts, 'He was holding back?! No way, that's impossible. He's just trying to psych me out, that attack had to have been at full strength and speed. I'll show that little shit what power is!' As he thought this he took a stance holding his Zanpakutou up on his right side horizontally with the tip of the blade facing Hiei.
'That's better. I want to show you how it feels to be the receiving end of a beating for a change,' Hiei thought as a small grin appeared on his face. He then shouted, once again so everyone could hear, "Alright Tamashi-taicho, it's your move!" Tamashi growled at the perceived audacity before charging at Hiei and swing his Zanpakutou in a wide, vertical arc. The sound of metal striking metal resounded as Hiei blocked this attack. Not wanting to give Hiei even a moment to act, Tamashi went on the offensive with a flurry of attacks, each being blocked by Hiei as they slowly started to move around the open courtyard.
Off to the side Hayato made the observation, "It would seem that Tamashi-taicho's skills have become dull. He hasn't seemed to notice that when Tsukino-fukutaicho first attacked his reiatsu increased greatly, beyond Tamashi's current level. At this level, a frontal assault like that will never work."
"You're right Soutaicho. From what Hiei has told us, Tamashi-taicho hasn't trained seriously for the better part of twenty years, whereas Hiei has been training almost non-stop since even before his promotion to fukutaicho. If I had to make an estimate, Tamashi-taicho has lost as much as a third of his former power due to neglecting his training," Masaru said in reply to Hayato's observation.
Yuuta laughed a bit before adding, "Yeah, Tamashi has already lost, he's just too arrogant to realize it. Hiei's putting on a show for members of the 13th Division that have been victimized; when he gets tired of playing around he'll put that bastard in his place."
"And speaking of onlookers…" Masaru trailed off as he glanced over his shoulder and upwards to the top of one of the trees in the courtyard. He then called out, "You know, you could join us down here Suzume!" Yuuta and Hayato followed his gaze to see a woman with tan skin, short purple hair, wearing the backless and sleeveless uniform of the Onmitsukido commander, her Zanpakutou, a wakizashi with a sky blue sheath and hilt with silver guard and pommel, secured to her left hip. They felt a wave of annoyance before she moved beside Masaru using shunpo and hitting him over the head. "Ow!" Masaru exclaimed, "What was that for?!"
Suzume scoffed before replying, "For being an ass. How long did you know I was there?"
Masaru laughed slightly, "From the moment you got here sis, you never could hide from me. And don't forget I was part of the Onmitsukido alongside you for a good amount of time."
"Yeah I haven't forgotten little brother, you were one of the best we had. Was disappointed when you transferred to become taicho of the 12th Division, but to each their own," Suzume replied with a sigh.
Hayato turned to her and greeted, "It's good to see you not under poor circumstances Urahara-soshireikan. To what do we owe this visit?"
Suzume smiled at Hayato's greeting before replying, "It's good to see you as well Kuchiki-soutaicho. This is just the basic Intel gathering; it's our job to keep tabs on what goes on within the Seireitei after all."
"You came here personally to gather Intel instead of sending one of the members of the Keiratai? Good to see you again by the way Suzume," Yuuta asked with a questioning tone.
"You as well Yuuta, and true, I could have sent one of them. But Hiei is a friend of mine as well, and I wanted to see this for myself," Suzume replied with a goofy smile on her face.
As Hayato observed this interaction he couldn't help but note how similar this generation was to their ancestors. Before any more could be said, a change in the battle drew all of their attention.
Hiei was letting Tamashi be on the offensive, to let the corrupt taicho believe he had the upper hand, but he mentally sighed as he had expected the taicho to notice by now that he was putting much less effort into blocking and evading the attacks being sent his way than Tamashi thought he was. He had been blocking an evading Tamashi's foolish and useless head-on assault for the better part of five minutes, and while it was giving the crowd a good show, he had enough of it.
Tamashi's next swing was parried instead of blocked, and in his surprise Tamashi was left wide open. Hiei swung his Zanpakutou upwards much slower than he could, in order to give his arrogant, out of practice opponent time to avoid it. Tamashi used shunpo at the last second to move a short distance back from Hiei. The crowd however was more focused on the small amount of blood that arced through the air, and the tip of Hiei's Zanpakutou dripping small drops of blood. Tamashi looked down and saw a small, shallow cut on his chest. He hadn't completely avoided the counter attack, a second slower and the wound would have been much worse.
As Tamashi looked back up to Hiei, Hiei mockingly stated, "I don't know about you, but I think that was a good warm up." He was purposely trying to enrage Tamashi so he'd bring out the big guns.
Tamashi's expression faltered for a moment before his usual smugness returned. "Ha! A warm up huh? That's some claim you little shit."
Hiei sighed as he replied, "Believe what you will." He took a loose stance in preparation for Tamashi's next attack. As he expected, Tamashi charged straight at him again, but this time he made no effort to block or parry the attack. Just as the blade was about to hit him he moved away from Tamashi using shunpo, then charged back in with an attack of his own. Tamashi blocked his initial strike, which as at the same speed as the one that grazed him moments before. Before any counter attack could be made Hiei kept on the offensive, gradually increasing his attack speed causing Tamashi to struggle to keep defending himself.
The crowd began to cheer as Hiei pressured Tamashi more and more, while the seated officers were now sweating bullets. The seated officers knew that Tamashi could wipe the floor with them, and here Hiei was overwhelming him.
Once again Hiei was becoming frustrated with his opponent. He thought he had made it clear that Tamashi should come at him with everything he had, yet the fool's arrogance kept him from taking the battle more seriously. He increased his attack speed once more and successfully disarmed Tamashi, his Zanpakutou clattering to ground a good distance from the two men. The crowd gasped as Hiei swung his blade back down, and a spray of blood shot into the air, much more than before.
"He got him that time," Yuuta stated the thought on all of their minds.
Masaru sighed before he added, "Yeah he did. He should have listened to Hiei when he told him to take the fight more seriously."
Suzume had a slightly puzzled expression on her face as she asked, "I don't get it. He could have ended it just now, that's three times now that he's passed up an opportunity to end this battle. Why is he dragging this out?"
"It's because of what Tamashi-taicho has done during his time in that position. He has victimized the members of his division numerous times that Hiei was informed of, most likely many more times than that. Even your Keiratai weren't able to find solid evidence Urahara-soshireikan. Tsukino-fukutaicho wants him to be at full power, fighting at his best when he defeats him, so that there will be no doubt which one is the superior warrior," Hayato explained briefly. Before he could say any more on the subject their attention was grabbed by Tamashi diving for his Zanpakutou.
Tamashi backed away from Hiei one step at a time, blood dripping to the ground in his wake. Hiei swung his Zanpakutou in order to remove the blood from the blade. He had slashed Tamashi diagonally from his left shoulder to his right hip. It wasn't a life threatening wound, but it was definitely enough to wake Tamashi up to the reality that Hiei was outclassing him in every way so far.
"How?! How are you this powerful all of a sudden? You! A fukutaicho!" Tamashi seethed in anger.
Hiei shook his head before answering, "All of a sudden? No, you've got it wrong. I've been this strong for quite a while now, you just never noticed until now. You see, while you've slacked off for the last twenty years, I've been training whenever I could; pushing myself to my absolute limit in order to improve my abilities and power. So I'll say it one more time: you had better start taking this seriously!"
Tamashi stared at Hiei for a moment before he dove to the side, grabbed his Zanpakutou and got back to his feet and shouted, "Engulf, Kajiarashi!"
As he watched Tamashi's Zanpakutou morph into its Shikai form he muttered, "It's about time you stepped it up." Within seconds the transformation was complete: Kajiarashi's released was that of a large Flamberge, the blade nearly as long as Tamashi was tall, the wavy blade a deep crimson color, the guard shaped like flames but colored smoky black, the hilt was black, and the pommel was a red gem that seemed to made of fire itself.
Tamashi shifted to a two handed stance, tip of the blade towards Hiei, the sword held close to his side and asked, "How's this? Is this serious enough for you?!"
Hiei resumed the basic kendo stance while he replied, "It's definitely better than before."
Tamashi's arrogant grin returned to his face as Hiei made no attempt to release his Zanpakutou. He thought to himself, 'So you don't think you have to use your Shikai against mine? Fine with me, after I burn you to a crisp I'll have to make sure your replacement isn't anywhere near as strong as you.' With a silent command the blade of his Kajiarashi became engulfed in flames and he swung it in a wide arc, sending a wave of flames at Hiei. As the flames sped towards Hiei, Tamashi thought to himself, 'Go ahead and dodge that, but if you do it'll head straight for the crowd!'
Hiei was more than aware that if he dodged the attack, onlookers in the crowd could be injured, and he had expected Tamashi to use that cowardly tactic. In retaliation he lifted his left palm to the flames and shouted, "Hado number 33, Sokatsui!" A wide blast of blue flames immediately shot forward, colliding with Tamashi's attack, creating a small explosion.
"Kido now is it?" Tamashi growled as he observed the smoke left from the collision.
He heard Hiei shout, "Bakudo number 4, Hainawa!" His eyes widened as the golden energy rope shot towards him from the smoke to entangle him.
Tamashi used shunpo to jump upwards out of the way, reappearing a good distance in the air above his previous location. His blade became engulfed by flames again as he shouted, "And now I know where you are!" This time he stabbed Kajiarashi forward, sending a pillar of flames towards the ground where Hiei was still hidden by the leftover smoke.
Hiei grinned slightly as the flames made their way towards him before he quickly said, Hado number 58, Tenran." As he said he name he held both arms forward, the swirling wind immediately formed, swallowing up Kajiarashi's flames and send them, along with the powerful winds, back at Tamashi.
"Little shit!" Tamashi shouted as he used shunpo to dodge once again, back to the ground this time, only to find Hiei waiting for him and only barely managed to block the slash aimed at his throat. While their blades were locked Tamashi said smugly, "I have to admit, that was a pretty clever trick; using Tenran to send my flames back at me. But you're on the defensive now Hiei, without releasing your Zanpakutou you can't beat me, and even if you do I still have my Bankai."
"Oh I know you still have your Bankai, and I still have mine as well," Hiei replied simply.
"What?! When did you get Bankai?" Tamashi asked in disbelief.
Hiei smiled before he answered, "Twenty-five years ago, five years before I became your fukutaicho. And you're forgetting a major detail here: I know all of your Zanpakutou's tricks; you've showed off enough for your cronies for me to know them, and how to counter them. You on the other hand know nothing about my Zanpakutou; I've gone out of my way to keep its abilities from becoming public knowledge."
"You're an arrogant little shit you know that? So what if I don't know what your Zanpakutou can do? If I used my Bankai I would destroy you!" Tamashi shouted in anger.
"So you're still not at the point where you'll use it, I guess I'll have to hurt you a bit more," Hiei paused for a moment as he placed one hand on his Zanpakutou's blade and said, "Hado number 11, Tsuzuri Raiden." Electricity flowed from his hand through his Zanpakutou's blade, into Kajiarashi's blade, and into Tamashi's body. Tamashi cried out in pain as the electricity coursed through his body, unable to move as it locked his muscles in place. After a few moments Hiei ended the assault, used shunpo to move behind Tamashi and delivered another slash, this one vertically from left shoulder blade to the hip, and then used shunpo to move back a considerable distance and called out, "How about now?!"
Tamashi slowly turned around to face Hiei, with a look of pure rage on his face. He slowly raised Kajiarashi about his head and started building up his reiatsu before he shouted, "Bankai!" He was then consumed by a blinding crimson light.
Hiei and Tamashi had their blades locked, the crowd was in awe, and the four senior officers observing were taking the lull as a chance to converse about the battle so far.
"I have to say that Hiei's abilities have improved greatly since the last time I sparred with him. It's almost like he's using this fight to demonstrate his skill in the various fields: Zanjutsu, Hoho, and now Kido," Suzume observed.
"That would appear to be the case; I do not believe that he wanted to become a taicho in this manner, that he would have preffered the Proficiency Exam. But given the circumstances he's combining two of the methods to become a taicho," Hayato replied. He then added, "It is most impressive that he's fighting a taicho's Shikai while his Zanpakutou remains in its sealed form."
Yuuta sighed before he chimed in, "He probably won't go to Shikai unless Tamashi releases his Bankai. And considering how much weaker Tamashi is than he was when he became a taicho, he might not have a choice."
"Especially since Hiei knows all of Kajiarashi's techniques, and as we just saw, knows how to counter them. And Tamashi is getting angrier and less rational the longer this goes on," Masaru said in an almost bored tone.
Hayato thought to himself for a moment before saying, "If Tamashi-taicho indeed resorts to using his Bankai the crowd will be put in danger by its power and attacks, especially if he continues to act so recklessly. In that case the four of us will move to the four sides of the courtyard and use Danku with a full incantation in order to contain his attacks, understood?" The other three all nodded in the affirmative as they watched Hiei deliver another slash, this time to Tamashi's back.
As the light faded Tamashi was revealed with no weapon in his hand, instead, the area immediately around him was consumed by fire that toward over Tamashi himself. The fire seemed to be spreading from Tamashi's body and reacted to his every movement. "Arekuruu Kajiarashi," Tamashi stated simply as he flexed his arms and the flames surged in response.
Before either of them said anything else, for simultaneous shouts of, "Bakudo number 81, Danku!" were heard. Four translucent barriers immediately formed, one on each side of the courtyard.
They then heard Hayato shout to them, "We've used Danku in order to protect the crowd from any stray attacks!"
Hiei smiled as he said, "Well that's a relief, now I can just dodge the flames instead of countering them each time." He paused as he began to twirl his Zanpakutou around in his right hand, and said to Tamashi, "Since you've gone and used Bankai, I should at least use my Shikai." As he twirled the sword even faster he recited in a loud voice, "Murderous intent, seek the ones who have wronged, Kumori!" When he finished the release command the sword elongated and when he stopped twirling the weapon the crowd gasped at its new appearance. Kumori's Shikai form was that of a scythe that stood at six feet tall, with a three foot long blade. The shaft of the scythe was as black as night with a golden line spiraling from the base of the blade down to the bottom of the shaft which ended with a six inch long, double edged, golden blade. Hiei then shifted into a low stance, with the short, golden blade pointing at Tamashi and the scythe blade pointing away from himself.
"Hmm… So that's your Zanpakutou, I'm not impressed!" Tamashi shouted as he flung his arms forward, causing two streams of flames to shoot towards Hiei. Hiei said nothing in response but charged forward, keeping Kumori's blade behind him. He used shunpo to avoid the streams of fire and close the gap between him and Tamashi. "Won't be that easy!" Tamashi shouted as he set up a towering wall of fire to keep Hiei away from him.
Hiei cut through the wall of fire with Kumori's blade, and using the momentum of the swing started to spin around in a complete circle. Halfway through the spin Kumori's blade began to emit black reiatsu, as he came full circle Hiei shouted, "Katire!" As he shouted this, a disc of black reiatsu launched from the scythe blade, through the gap created by the initial slash, and towards Tamashi.
Tamashi jumped up using shunpo to avoid the attack and shouted, "Well that didn't do you any good did it!" He made a gesture with both hands, causing the wall of fire to try and swallow Hiei up. Another quick spinning slash gave Hiei the opening needed to escape the flames, but not before they singed his clothing and slightly burned some of his exposed skin. "Looks like you underestimated my Bankai! A bit more than you expected huh?!" Tamashi asked smugly.
Hiei's only response was to stab the golden blade at the base of Kumori's shaft into the ground, and the next instant over a dozen small blades shot out of Hiei's shadow and towards Tamashi, you released a quick wave of flames to intercept the blades. A few still made it through, forcing him to dodge, one grazed his right arm, giving him a shallow wound. As he returned to the ground Hiei charged him once again, but this time he was able to completely close the gap and swung Kumori in a wide arc at Tamashi, who hastily brought flames to both his hands to form two separate swords in order to block the attack. Hiei spun around to try and slash him with the shaft blade, but was blocked again. Tamashi countered by swinging down with his right arm but the fire blade was blocked by Kumori's shaft. They continued in this manner before Hiei become a swirling frenzy of acrobatic attacks utilizing both the scythe's main blade, and the blade at the end of the shaft, forcing Tamashi on the defensive once again.
Hiei then jumped back from Tamashi and stabbed the shaft blade into the ground again, but this time Tamashi took note that he had made sure to stab it into his own shadow both times, and prepared to dodge the shadow blades again, only to feel his back being punctured several times as the shadow blades flew from his own shadow this time. Tamashi bellowed in fury as he sent a massive torrent of flames toward Hiei in retaliation, who jumped upwards high into the air to avoid the flames. Tamashi saw that that the scythe blade was emitting the same black reiatsu as before. "That useless move again! This time I've got you!" With that he sent another torrent of flames up towards Hiei.
Hiei however, remained perfectly calm as he swung Kumori down and shouted, "Katire!" The black disc of reiatsu shot forward again, straight into the heart of the inferno coming his way.
The moment Hiei launched his technique the flames obscured him from view and Tamashi released a victorious laugh, but this feeling was short-lived as the black disc of reiatsu suddenly emerged from the flames, undamaged, and not disturbing the flames in any way, it had simply passed through them. "What the –," was all Tamashi got out as the disc reached him, and cut through his left side like butter, inflicting a very deep wound that caused him to gasp in pain and gushed blood. He heard a sound in front of him and looked up to see that Hiei had avoided the flames and had fired another Katire attack. He hastily jumped upward to avoid it, only to find Hiei already in the air waiting for him, and watched in horror as Hiei swung Kumori upward, knowing he could do nothing to block or avoid this attack.
The crowd gasped in awe as they watched this final attack transpire, the majority had hoped for this, but to actually see it happen… they were in shock. Even Hayato and Suzume were visibly surprised, the only ones not surprised in the least were Masaru and Yuuta. A loud flopping sound echoed through the courtyard, followed by a much lighter thumping sound, and then the even sound of two feet hitting the ground. Hiei stood calmly, resting Kumori over his shoulder, as he watched Tamashi struggle to get to his feet as the pool of blood on the ground below him continued to grow, his left hand trying to cover the stump where his right arm used to be. Hiei had severed it between the elbow and shoulder, and it was laying on the ground several feet from Tamashi.
As Tamashi tried to grasp what had just happened, Hiei opened his hand towards the severed arm and shouted, "Hado number 54, Haien!" A quick burst of purple flames shot towards the severed arm and instantly burned it to ashes.
"My…my…MY ARM! YOU BASTARD!" Tamashi shouted in fury as Kajiarashi's Shikai reformed in his left hand and was engulfed by flames.
"With a wound like that you can't maintain enough focus on your reiatsu to keep using your Bankai, how well do you expect to use your Shikai with only one arm, and not even your sword arm?" Hiei asked calmly. With a silent command he returned Kumori to its sealed form and then continued, "You lost because you never fully mastered your Bankai, so you never learned to compensate for its lack of defense, and you fell for my trap. I deliberately used those techniques in ways to make you think you knew how they worked so I could catch you off guard. So not knowing anything about my Zanpakutou turned out to be a bad thing after all."
Tamashi simply growled in anger as he brought his flaming sword up to the stump of his right arm and pressed the flat of the blade against it. There was an immediate hissing sound and the smell of burning flesh as he cauterized the wound. Once he finished he pointed the blade at Hiei and yelled as he fired a blast of flames at him.
Hiei was immediately behind him and was finishing sheathing Kumori. There was a slight pause before two sprays of blood sprouted from Tamashi's chest and he collapsed while dropping Kajiarashi, which immediately returned to its sealed form. "It's over!" Hiei called out, and the four Danku barriers were dropped.
Hayato was the first to reach the two combatants and asked, "That move just now, that was Senka wasn't it?"
"Yes, took a lot of practice to get that right," Hiei replied calmly, the reality of what had just transpired still not fully sinking in.
The others reached them in time to hear Hayato's question. "Senka… So you didn't kill him?" Suzume asked.
Hiei glanced down at the unconscious, bleeding man as he replied, "No, but unless he gets medical attention immediately he will die. If he lives, when he wakes up he will no longer be a Shinigami. I destroyed his Saketsu and Hakusui. I can't think of a better punishment for him, death wouldn't have been justice for those he's hurt." Hayato motioned for an officer to come and take Tamashi to the 4th Division medical bay, which they did.
"Well then, allow me to be the first to congratulate you, Tsukino-taicho. Your official induction you will be tomorrow during the weekly taicho's meeting. Until then, celebrate with your division, the nightmare of the 13th Division is over," Hayato said with a smile before he vanished using shunpo.
Hiei looked over the crowd that was the entirety of the 13th Division, save those who were deployed in the mortal world. He raised his fist into the air and they all cheered as loudly as possible. A large grin appeared on his face at this, and faltered for just a moment as Masaru, Suzume, and Yuuta lifted him off the ground for his division to see. The members of the 13th Division hadn't been able to laugh and cheer like this in a very long time.
The next day found Hiei kneeling before the Soutaicho, with the other eleven taichos standing on either side of him. "Now rise and don your haori, Tsukino-taicho of the 13th Division," Hayato stated formally as he held out the white garment of office worn by all taichos.
With a smile Hiei stood, took the sleeveless haori from the Soutaicho and put it on over his shihakusho, bowed once more to Hayato, and took his place with his fellow taichos.
It was the beginning of a new era.
Soshireikan: Commander-in-Chief (Commander of the Onmitsukido)
Keiratai: Patrol Corps (2nd Division of the Onmitsukido that specializes in Intel gathering)
Arekuruu Kajiarashi: Raging Firestorm