Lost to Darkness.. - Chapter 9 - Thorinprim_20 (2024)

Chapter Text

The next day, the damage was done, thankfully nobody got hurt by the Hollows. Although it was confirmed by Ryūken that someone indeed used Hollow bait, But who it was who did, that was an unanswered question which only left confusion and suspension among them all.

Of course, nobody from school or around the city remembers what happened following the hollow bait incident, all except for Chad and Orihime.

It took time to explain everything to Chad and fill him in on a ‘Need to know’ basis as well. However, the development of his and Orihime's abilities has struck curiosity within everyone.

This raises questions on how they got them or why, Kisuke made an theory on how the two were probably exposed to the Reiatsu that ichigo and Orion emitted, considering they were the ones who had the highest Reiryoku.

“What a drag..”

Sighing quietly, Orion stands while holding a juice box in his hand. His tired gaze was evident on his face which didn't show much expression, making it to be impassive to those around him. With the last days having an effect on him, especially what happened yesterday.

Speaking of which, His mind drifted off into deep thought as he remembers what happened from yesterday, especially with that talk he had with Frieda…

What..?”

Orion stared at Frieda who held what looks to be an old book.

Frieda sighed deeply at the teen's stupefied question. “What you have done today, No Quincy is able to do The Blut vene Anhaben… All except one.”

“One?” Ichigo questioned, frowning slightly as he heard this.

“The leader of the Lichtreich before it was destroyed by the Soul society nearly a thousand years ago..” The woman specifically said, giving a sharp look at ichigo. “The Quincy King, His Majesty..”

“The Quincy King..” Uryū mutters, remembering something. “There was mention of him in the books that Grandfather had given me when he was teaching us.. But nothing specific except for..”

“The confined Quincy King regains his pulse after 900 years, his mind after 90 years, his strength after nine years..” Orion mutters quietly, as there was a distant look in his eyes. “The Kaiser gesang..”

Frieda looked at him strangely as if wanting to tell him something but was reluctant to do so as if something was holding her back. Instead, She took a deep breath and nodded, “Yes. According to my knowledge of history, The Quincy King.. His Majesty was the only one who could utilize The Blut vene Anhaben and among other things..”

“Huh..” Ichigo mutters, strangely enough he didn't hear what Old-man Zangetsu had to say about this.

Orion remained silent upon hearing this, he doesn't know why but it felt like.. Frieda knows something else that she wasn't telling them. He frowned at the thought of it but didn't say anything, knowing how stubbornly the woman can be if she really wants to.

“I see..” He mutters to himself, silently looking over at Frieda.

“What, does that make Orion as the new self proclaimed King of the Quincy?” Ichigo sarcastically asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Of course, Not.” Uryū interrupted, sending a questioning look at ichigo. “Perhaps it's something that appears once in a few generations...”

“That sounds like a reasonable explanation..” Orion nodded in agreement with what Uryū had said. “Besides, I think that's all we know about the Quincy King, considering the lost knowledge of history is out of our reach..”

Frieda remained silent, looking away as she let out a sigh. “Of course, that's right..”

Slowly the flashback ended as the teen blankly stared at the ground, pondering while his hands grip the edges of his sleeves.

He has been noticing on how strange that Frieda had been acting lately, he doesn't why or the reason behind it but he does notice it regardless. A part of him want to ask, but another part of him want to see and wait patiently instead of confronting her directly. Which Orion considered the pros and cons from both parts as he decided to wait and see instead.

Whatever it was, there was a tiny part of him that doesn't want to remember. But Why? Why doesn't he want to remember? That was the question that swirled inside his mind. He can't seem to grasp it but Orion had a feeling that there was something terrible, that causes the desire to not remember anything.

Taking a couple of deep breaths as he maintained the level headedness that he has right now. Orion turned his gaze to look over at the distance, he frowned deeply as he had sensed strong Reiatsu signatures earlier this morning. It was faint but he could still sense them, The Quincy had a feeling that this wasn't a good thing to happen at all then.

He knew he should have stayed in bed, today…

Sitting on the branch of a tree, Rukia pensively staring into the sky in contemplation. There was a solemn look in her eyes as a mixture of feelings, mostly guilt, raised within her. Deep down she knew that It was time, she couldn't stay with the Kurosaki family any longer now. There was no doubt that Ichigo's father would be put on trial or worse, executed, especially for abandoning his post.

Then there was ichigo and the others, the former would probably be executed for taking her powers. While the latter, especially if anything happened to them because of her, the guilt would destroy her completely. After everything the Kurosaki family had done for her during all this time, she needed to get out of there for their own sakes.

She didn't want to endanger them any longer..

"Look see? I found her, she's over here! Hey Rukia!"

Snapping out of her thoughts, Rukia heard one of her 'classmates' had call out to her. She turned and looked down from where she was sitting. She had saw the other girls standing there below her as Rukia spotted Tatsuki and Orihime in the group as well.

"Why don't you join us for lunch?" Mahana asked with a smile on her face.

At first, Rukia didn't give her answer right away as she just stared down at the girls for a moment.

And so eventually, she reluctantly found herself sitting on the ground with the other girls as Rukia quietly drank from the straw of her juice box. Well, she needed to keep up her cover anyways if she was being honest with herself.

“Hey Rukia, can I ask you something?” She asked her, “Do you have a crush on ichigo?”

Immediately Rukia spitted out the juice she was drinking, coughing up about a couple of times while her eyes was widened with absolute shock written on her face for being asked by an question like that.

“WHAT-?!”

“W-well we were just wondering what exactly is your relationship with him..” Mahana responded, shrugging her shoulders.

“But relationship?” Rukia said In disbelief, using a napkin to wipe the juice off her face. “He's just a friend..”

“Mahana! How can you ask her so bluntly? You can't just say that boldly!” Michiru scolded her friend, giving her a look.

“What are you guys talking about!?” Mahana blinked at the others in confusion. “You guys were curious about it, so I asked!”

“Well I wasn't curious at all!” Michiru protested, staring at her friend in disbelief. “I didn't think you would ask Rukia about that!”

“Hmm?” Tatsuki looked at Michiru with a subtle frown on her face. “What's your problem with Ichigo? I know you hate him and all.. but-”

“I don't hate him b-but..” Michiru stammered, her face became flustered as she looked away. “I think him and Orion are just scary looking, that's all..”

“Huh? You do!” Orihime immediately turned to look at Michiru with her eyes widened.

“W-well I don't hate Orion-! He's uh-!”

“Pfft-! Ichigo isn't that scary, he's a kind guy if you get to know him better.” Tatsuki scoffed at the petite’s reason. “And outside of school, Orion is a laid-back guy, nothing more than that.”

“Okay Well..” Mahana turned her attention back to Rukia. “What's your relationship with ichigo, ever since you came here, you've always been around him.. so what exactly are you guys to each other?!”

Rukia didn't say a word for a moment, before looking up with a bright smile on her face. “Ichigo is just a friend!”

“Aww, really? Isn't that disappointing.” Mahana let out a groan, leaning back. “if it's not him, then what? Are you in an affair with Orion?”

“No.” Rukia immediately denied, deadpanning at the girl.

Later that Night-

“Great, Dishes duty for me again.”

Orion grumbles tiredly while washing the dishes at the sink with a sponge soaked in soap and water.

Hearing his grumbling, Masaki let out an amused giggle at his frustrations before continuing to put away the dishes that were clean and dry.

“Excuse me.” Ichigo moved past Orion who leaned forward to give his friend some room to move by. The eldest child of Isshin and Masaki, went to where the leftovers were at before grabbing the spoon and begin to take some of said leftovers into a bowl.

3… 2… 1..’ Orion mentally counted down, as if wanting for something to happen.

“Big brother!”

Yuzu called out in protest, pouting at ichigo who was taking the leftovers from tonight's dinner. “ You're taking the leftovers again!”

“This is my midnight snack..” Ichigo blandly stated, finishing pouring himself another bowl. “After all, puberty is very troublesome. Right mom?”

Masaki let out a sigh at her son's words, walking over to where he and her daughter were at. “It's only the second night, Sweetie.” She reassuringly said, patting Yuzu's head softly. “I'm sure he just wants to see if Rukia would like to have seconds..”

“Hmph! Alright Mommy… but I'm not going to care when he's gotten fat!” Yuzu declared, having an angry childish look on her face as she let out a huff.

“Yeah yeah, I'll be careful.”

Ichigo held the urge to roll his eyes back, as he headed up the stairs before making his way to his room as he opened the door wide open.

“Oi, Rukia!” Ichigo called out, looking around as he took a few steps into his room before putting the tray down on the table. “You’re here..?”

“Huh..” Ichigo frowned deeply, scratching the back of his head. “Where did she run off, this time?”

However, something caught his attention as ichigo turned his head to the side, only to see what appears to be a note written in Rukia's handwriting..

In the dead and quiet night of Karakura Town , Rukia was running through the streets with a red backpack strapped to her shoulders as she didn't look back but instead kept running with urgency, to get away from the Kurosaki Clinic as far as she could. She passed by the numerous buildings that made up this part of the neighborhood itself.

But memories with those at highschool, with the Kurosaki family, with ichigo and his friends, even those annoying frustrating moments with Orion, had filled her mind, with her having enjoying spending time with them all. She genuinely liked them, enough so that she didn't want Ichigo's family to be in danger because of her. After everything she been through with him, what she had done for him, Rukia couldn't let that happen.

"Am I getting too attached to this world?" She asked herself, conflict rose within her chest, a downcast expression appeared on her face.

"Yes! So you knew after all!?”

Hearing a familiar voice that called out from behind, Immediately Rukia stopped in her tracks, turning around with her eyes widening upon seeing who it was from above.

Crouching the top of a wooden pole, was A soul reaper who was wearing the usual standard Shinigami shihakushō with a badge on his arm, but he also had tribal markings along with having brown eyes and long crimson hair, which is kept in a high ponytail. Not only that but there was an white headband that goes around his forehead. “You've broken quite a severe law, you know that's don't you Rukia..?!”

“Renji?!” Rukia spoke in disbelief, wondering if this really was her old friend or was she experiencing a hallucination. “Could that really be you.. Renji Abarai?”

Renji didn't respond, instead jumping down from where he at as he brought down his blade, swinging it at her which Rukia dodged out of the way, missing the Zanpakutō just by an inch away.

“Tch.. you really did lose all your power..” Renji let out a scoff, putting his blade over his shoulders as he raised to his full height. “And you ain't completely lax enough to have your guard drop entirely, But enough of this chit chat.. Now call him Rukia. The human that stole your powers.”

“W-what are you talking about?!” Rukia spoke in a defensive tone. “If me being in a gigai makes you think that somebody took my powers..! What if I was just injured and I just didn't want to show it!”

“Please, if you're going with that lie, then you shouldn't bother trying to deceive me with it.” Renji retorted. “Wouldn't you agree, Captain Kuchiki?”

An ominous presence was suddenly being emitted from behind her, enough to make her freeze briefly in place. Gathering her wits, Rukia slowly turned her head to see The Head of the Kuchiki Clan.

“Byakuya onii-sama." Rukia let out a shudder, every ounce of her was feeling terrified.

Byakuya didn't show any emotion as he stoically stared at her with his white scarf blowing silently along with the breeze. “Rukia.” He simply said, showing a sign of him acknowledging her presence in this unfortunate circ*mstances.

Looking out of the corner of her eye, her expression became alarmed when she saw Renji came at her with his blade striking towards her. Seeing this if only for a brief second, she jumped to the side, dodging again as Renji’s blade came

“You know it's both a crime and a sin for a Shinigami to grant a human their powers.” Renji started with a grim smile etched on his face, “We have orders to kill the one who has your power..!”

Rukia's jaw clenched upon hearing this, now fearing for Ichigo's life.

The redheaded Shinigami pointed his blade at her. “Now call him Rukia! We'll capture you and he will die. So don't even try to defend him!" He demanded, while settling into his stance. "This time, my next attack will be more serious than the last!”

Suddenly an arrow made out of reishi came out of nowhere as it came straight towards the redhead. Renji maneuvered his body backwards, dodging it as the arrow flew right past him.

But there was a tug on his shihakusho from below. Before Renji could even have a chance to look down, an fist came straight at him and gave an uppercut to him, sending him back a few feet away.

Rukia let out a gasp, seeing the one who came phasing out from the ground like a ghost. “Orion…?!” She spoke in a subtle voice of surprise.

“Rukia.” The teen greeted her back calmly with an impassive gaze, his face keeping a neutral-blank expression as he maintained an calm demeanor.

“A man with a weapon, attacking an unarmed woman..?” Uryū's voice spoke up from behind Rukia as the Quincy came into view while holding a Heilig Bogen. “This isn't a good scene to walk on in.. isn't it? Orion.”

“Indeed, Uryū.” Orion nodded in agreement while the teen didn't look away, maintaining eye contact with the redhead Shinigami.

"You..! Who the hell are the both of you?!" Renji growled, gritting his teeth while gripping the edge of his chin where the pain was mostly coming from.

“The two of us are just people passing by but instead offering a helping hand to our friend’s unofficial friend..” Orion calmly stated, blankly staring at Renji.

“Uryū, Orion..” Rukia asked in a bit of disbelief to see the ones who possibly have every reason not to help her, be here. “Why are the two of you here..?”

“Like he had said, Originally just passing by when I was out shopping in my mother's stead.” Uryū told her. “But I ran into Orion here, informing me of what Ichigo had told him..”

“But of course.. we couldn't let someone who ichigo cares about, to be hurt.” Orion added with a reluctant tone. “Otherwise, we'll be just horrible friends to him if we let that happen..”

‘Okay that's more likely the reason why they're here..’ Rukia thought to herself, sweatdropped at the reason.

“Hey you two!” Renji yelled, gaining The trio's attention once more. “I asked you both a question! Who are you?!”

“I didn't hear you say please, first..” Orion responded, tilting his head to the side. “Manners maketh man, after all.”

“What?..” The redhead just stared at the teen in disbelief at what he was hearing. “You know I could kill you both if you don't feel like answering my damn question!”

“Wait, Renji! They got nothing to do with-!”

“We're just classmates of Rukia..” Uryū interrupted her, staring at Renji. “Those who hate Shinigami…”

“That’s not what I asked!” Renji shouted in frustration, glaring at the two. “You idiots!”

Orion let out a sigh, shaking his head in disappointment at the redhead’s tone. “If you so insist on it, then I might as well tell you.” He spoke in a reluctant tone. “I’m Orion, the one who will teach you a lesson on having a better attitude as a gentleman in social conversations.”

“That's it! You're dead!” Having enough with this facade, Renji charged towards the teen with his blade raised up before swinging a strike at him.

The teen remained calm as the blade passed through him like he wasn't physically there at all. With the aid of His Mangekyou Sharingan, he observed the Shinigami's movements.

Upon seeing that the blade went past through the teen like he wasn't there at all but only air instead, Renji look a bit shocked by this unexpected development. “What the..?!”

“What's with that look?” Orion questioned innocently with a faint smile.

Snarling angrily at the teen, Renji attempted to landed a couple of more strikes against the teen with his Zanpakutō but each time was a failure as they pass through him like he was nothing but mist.

He’s making a fool out of himself..’ Byakuya thought silently, seeing the ridiculous display unfolding before him as none of his lieutenant’s attempts of attacks were inflicting any damage to the teen.

Uryū let out a half-smile in amusem*nt at the scene while Rukia sweatdropped at what she was seeing at her old friend being humiliated like this.

“Dammit, What the hell!?! Just hold still you little-!” Renji's frustrations were cut short as an fist came punching him in the abdomen, sending the redhead away from Orion.

“Well, well look who's on time then.” Orion commented, looking at the newcomer. “Thought you were going to miss all the fun here.”

“Shut it, it's your fault.” Ichigo grumbles, rearing his arm back as he holds Zangetsu in his grip. “Since You didn't take me with you.”

“Urgghh… A shihakusho-?” Renji wondered out loud, furrowing his brows as he notices the subtle differences on the teen's outfit. “I don't recognize you. What squad are you from?" He demanded.

“Tch.” Ichigo let out a scoff, scowling at him. “I'm the human you've been looking for.”

“So you're the human that stole Rukia's powers?" The Soul Reaper growled in irritation.

“It's more like I accepted her power when she gave me the chance to protect my family.” Ichigo heatedly corrected him.

Renji seemed to be angered by that fact as he snarled and lunged forward only for him to attack but Ichigo blocked every strike with Zangetsu as the hybrid teen had developed a sense of sorts whenever he had spar against Orion who used the Sharingan. Making his reaction time to be swift and quick.

“Why haven't you jumped in and helped him yet?” Rukia demanded, looking over at Orion and Uryū. “He's facing the Lieutenant of Squad 6, Renji Abarai. So why?!”

Sighing deeply, Orion closed his eyes as he pondered over Rukia's question. “This is Ichigo's fight now, there's always an appropriate time and place to aid him.”

Meanwhile, Byakuya watched in silence in the background, observing the fight between his subordinate and the newly arrived newcomer as well.

Ichigo swiftly jumped out of the way, dodging the redhead’s strikes for each time again and again. ‘It is just me or does his strikes seem so slow..?’

HA! Yes it does Kingy! Cause you were used to fighting against those fast strikes from Orion!’

Damn, He's quick-!’ Renji cursed underneath his breath. ‘I forgot that this was one of the guys who slay that Menos..!’

Going on the offensive, ichigo brought Zangetsu down for a strike as it clashed against Renji's blade. The two traded a barrage of strikes to each other, Ichigo grinned while delivering more powerful strikes than the last.

Renji growled in irritation, leaping a couple of feet away from ichigo before gripping onto the hilt of his Zanpakutō. “Now Howl, Zabimaru!" He shouted. His blade glowed red before it changed into a large 6-segmented blade with pick-like protrusions running along the blade.

Interesting..’ Orion thought, making an mental note on the blade's new appearance while remaining where he was with Uryū and Rukia.

Renji leaped up high into the air before diving towards Ichigo while swinging down his Zanpakutō. But Ichigo brought his own Zanpakutō up to block, but Renji's blade split into segments, about to slice into Ichigo's shoulder. However, immediately jagged lines of Blut vene covered the entirety of the hybrid's shoulder, preventing Renji's Zanpakutō from slicing into his flesh.

Ichigo grunted against the pressure behind the redhead's blade, raising his feet before kicking Renji in the stomach, sending him back.

Suddenly the hybrid burst off into a high speed as he performed a rapid barrage of slashes at the redhead.

"Damnit!" Renji cursed as he barely moved his face back to avoid a slash that managed to destroy his sunglasses, revealing the tattoos on his forehead which sustained a slash wound as blood leaked down his face.

Ichigo didn't stop there, he came at the lieutenant with Zangetsu at the ready, his eyes narrowed with determination to save the one who he considered to be his friend.

THAT RIGHT, KINGY! GO AHEAD AND FINISH THE BASTARD, FINISH HIM ALREADY!’ Zangetsu's voice urges on the teen with an maniacally laugh.

“Getsuga Tenshō!” Ichigo yelled out in retaliation, wasting no time in swinging his Zanpakutō as He unleashed an Black Getsuga Tenshō towards at his opponent.

Renji's eyes widened upon seeing the attack heading straight at him, instinctually raising his Zanpakutō in an attempt to block it.

Bakudo #81. Danku."

In the next moment a transparent barrier appeared between them as the Getsuga Tenshō struck against it, completely shattering the barrier to pieces as it took the hit instead.

Wait what-?!’ Ichigo was interrupted from his thoughts by a blade bursting from his chest, letting out a strained-agonized grunting noise escape from his mouth as a small trail of blood leaked out from the corner.

“Ichigo!” Uryū yelled out with a look of anger and anguish on his face, reaching out towards his cousin.

"Byakuya!" Rukia screamed out in horror.

Ichigo turned his head shakily and saw that it was indeed Byakuya standing behind him, He had seemingly flashed from existence at where he was previously at and appeared behind him to deal the final blow. He yanked his sword from Ichigo's chest without care for the teen.

“I have severed your soul chain and your soul sleeps. Rukia's power is forever lost to you.” Byakuya calmly stated in a cold manner before sheathing his Zanpakutō.

‘Damnit..! I was careless!’ Ichigo hatefully glared at the Captain, He could feel Rukia's power that once resided in him had now disappeared but he didn't feel his own power disappeared which brought a sense of relief to him. ‘More than that, I forgot about him being here!’

“Hey don't forget about us!”

Renji was the first one to turn and look, before getting punched in the face as the redhead grasped his face in pain. “f*ck..!” He cursed out loud.

Orion didn't say anything else before, but quickly turned around in the next second and launched a swift kick to the redhead's side, sending Renji to be slammed against a wall. The Mangekyou Sharingan and it's pattern swirled around wildly within his eyes.

Following his friend's example, Uryū pulled the string of the bow back, narrowing his gaze before firing out, an arrow made out of reishi aimed at the Captain disappeared from sight causing the arrow to strike through a window, shattering it into a thousand pieces.

The youngest Ishida's eyes widened, sensing an Reiatsu signature from behind as the Quincy quickly turned half-way around before Suddenly an blade pierced through his side, causing blood to seep out.

Uryū gritted his teeth In a great painful discomfort before Byakuya pulled out his blade, letting the Quincy fall to the ground as a pool of blood formed under him.

“Uryū!” Orion shouted out with a look of concern and anger, breaking the stoic expression on his face. ‘I have to-!’ The Quincy thought in a moment of blind rage as red jagged lines of Blut Arterie covered the entirety of his body, his eyes flashing a brief shade of purple, his body having the intent of being ready to attack.

“STOP! Stop! Don't do this, please, I'll go with you, just leave them alone!" Rukia pleaded, her eyes glimmering with tears in her eyes.

“Rukia..” Orion mutters in a bitterly hateful tone, his gaze narrowed while the veins of his forehead throbbed. “You..”

“Please..” Rukia whispers quietly, her fists clenching. “Let me..”

A tensed silence fall in between the two as Orion took one glance at the injured forms of ichigo and Uryū, the teen let out a snarled as Blut Arterie faded away. “Damnit..”

“Seems like you made the right choice..” Byakuya responded, stoically watching the teen. “Come Rukia.”

Rukia bowed her head, her hair shadowing her eyes as she quietly walked over towards Byakuya.

Orion could only watch in silence as the three Shinigami entered a gate that appeared in the mid-air before it closed as the gate disappeared from sight.

“f*ck..” The teen slammed his feet powerfully against the ground in frustration causing a gigantic spider web-like fracture to form in place as small bits of chunk were torn out from the ground and sent flying into the air…

Ichigo's Inner World-

“f*ck..!”

Ichigo yelled out in frustration, slamming his fist down against the floor of the skyscraper’s rooftop. The hybrid gritted his teeth, blaming himself for not watching out

“A sore loss for us.” Zangetsu’s voice said as he appeared, crouching near Ichigo. “It pisses me off a much as you are..!”

“They took her, Zangetsu. They took her and I couldn't do anything because of my damn mistake!” He growled out, kicking his foot against the pavement of the rooftop. “Now she's gone!”

Then tell me this Kingy, what are you going to do about it..?” Zangetsu co*cked his head to the side. “Are you going to mope around and whine like a bitch? Or do something productive?” He grinned widely at the last part.

Ichigo scowled at Zangetsu, especially for what he had said to him. However he stopped and thought for a moment. What can he do about it exactly? That's the question he is asking himself. But It filled him with anger, knowing Rukia would be executed. But remembering his father once told him that the soul society usually waits one month before the official execution starts.

Time. He still has time, just enough time for him to go and save Rukia if it means dragging his body through the force of the Gotei 13.

Having his answer, Ichigo glared up at Zangetsu with a determined look in his eyes. “I’ll know what I do, I'll go and save her, that's what I’ll f*cking do!”

“Regardless..” Old-man Zangetsu appeared next to Zangetsu, looking down at Ichigo. “How do you plan on getting to the soul society..?”

Ichigo became silent for a moment, looking down at the ground before an idea popped into his head as he looked up at both Zangetsu and Old-man Zangetsu. “If anyone could get me to the soul society, it's Kisuke.”

“Heh..” Zangetsu smirked at Ichigo's answer. “Seems like you made up your mind then..”

“Yeah.. but I swear I'll save Rukia even if it means going against the soul society itself!” Ichigo declared, firmly determined to keep that promise and make it happen while clenching his fist as he raised it.

“Then it's time for me to introduce ya to the other aspects of your power then.” Zangetsu seriously said, which surprised ichigo, considering he never heard Zangetsu speak so seriously.

“Imagine, Blut vene combined with Hierro!” Zangetsu smirked devilishly, “It’ll be the greatest defense you'll have..!”

“Indeed, He is right.” Old-man Zangetsu spoke In agreement which surprised both Zangetsu and Ichigo. “Both combined together would offer a lot more than separately.”

“Uh…” Ichigo gave a deadpan stare at Zangetsu. “Forgive me for asking, But what's Hierro?”

Hahaha!” Zangetsu crackles at the teen's ignorance. “Don’t worry about that, Kingy!”

Later-

Siting on a bench, Orion blankly stared at the ground with his back hunching over. His bag lay next to him on the right side, while the tree's leaves rustled due to the passing breeze.

Last night was a roller coaster, after Rukia was taken away back to the soul society. Orion had healed Uryū and Ichigo to the best of his abilities via the green chakra, before he had basically carried them both with him back home via Kamui. When the next morning came, Just like that, no one at school even remembers Rukia, it was quite eerily to him if he was being honest.

He didn't say a word about it, not wanting to cause a commotion and freak people out. But it did give him an weird feeling to it, something that considered to be wrong.

Although he remembers the talk he had from this morning, at the Kurosaki Clinic. It was still fresh In his memory..

“So you're going to save Rukia, then huh?”

It wasn't a question but more like an statement coming from Orion as ichigo stared at him and his family, before nodding firmly in his decision.

“Yeah..” Ichigo responded, nodding silently while staring at Orion.

“I see..” Orion calmly said, closing his eyes shortly after, he didn't say anything else but just remained quiet while he sat there in his seat.

The hybrid briefly looked away, “I know I can't ask you to come help me, but..” Ichigo began to say, but Orion interrupted him.

“Despite my personal desire of not wanting to get any more involved than this mess that you have managed to dig yourself into..” The teen spoke in an irritated tone before switching to an “I know that any attempts on convincing you to not to do this, would be just futile and wasting energy in the end since you're certainly very stubborn when you're set your mind on doing something…”

Hearing that, Ichigo had the audacity to look a bit guilty but didn't say anything which his friend took it as his cue to continue speaking.

“But with that being said, seeing I already got myself involved since the moment we encountered those Shinigami, I suppose that left me with no other choice..” The black ragged haired teen said with a tone of reluctance and annoyance. “I'm coming with you to the Soul society.”

“Hold on, I can't have you risk your neck for me..” Ichigo protested, standing up while looking at him in disbelief. “What about-?”

“But I’m not worthy of being a Quincy..” Orion firmly stated, his gaze glaring back at Ichigo's. “if I can't even help out a friend..”

“Looks like he already settled his decision, Son.” Isshin spoke up with a grin, patting Ichigo's back. “He's going with you.”

Ichigo deflated in defeat, shaking his head before letting out a sigh as a smile of reluctant acceptance soon appeared on his face. “Are you sure about this?”

“Positive.” Orion nodded rather stubbornly, not changing his mind anytime soon.

“Well, well!” Kisuke's voice spoke up. “I suppose you're all in an agreement then?”

Everyone turned their attention to the shopkeeper who stands in the front door’s doorway, while fanning himself with his fan.

“Yeah..” Ichigo nodded with a serious expression. “We are.”

“Well, The Soul society generally waits for a month before executing a Kyokushū. So that should hold true for Kuchiki-san.” The shopkeeper explained. “We have plenty of time for 17 days of training, seven days of opening the gate, and thirteen days for you all to save her.”

“Errr..” Orion scratches the top of his head. “Wouldn't that make it to be something similar to two weeks and 2 days? If the gate does take seven days to open, so… it would be just 17 days or so, and not 24..”

“Exactly!” Kisuke closed his fan, pointing it at Orion. “Plenty of time for you all to focus on getting stronger. There's a full certainty that You all will be going against the captains of the Gotei 13.”

“Great…” Ichigo sarcastically responded, rolling his eyes as he gave a deadpan look at the shopkeeper.

‘I don't like the way he had said that specifically..’ Orion thought to himself with a sigh..

“Orion-kun?”

Breaking out of the momentary flashback, Orion lifted his head only for his gaze to be met with Orihime as she stood in front of him.

“Oh..” Orion blinked for a couple seconds, before nodding at her in greetings. “Hey Orihime..”

“I heard about what happened to Rukia..” Orihime spoke softly, her eyes filled with worry while looking at him. “Mrs Kurosaki told me.”

“Of course she did.” The teen mutters underneath his breath. “I suppose you already know what ichigo and I will be doing then..”

“Uh-huh.” She nodded before sitting down on the bench next to him, facing him with her childlike innocence visible on her face. “You're going to rescue her, right?”

Orion let out an affirmative grunt, looking up at the sky. “That's the plan.” He told her. “It’s very likely for us to engage in unavoidable fights.”

“But will all of you be alright..?”

Hearing the unlimited worry in her voice, Orion took a deep breath before continuing. “I'll be honest with you, Orihime.” He spoke in a blunt tone. “There’s the highest possibility for some of us to get injured critically or worse, end up dead. But as long as I live, I promise for that not to happen on my watch.”

I swear on my soul I won't let that happen, I would rather burn the world itself.”

Orihime smiled brightly, sensing how determined her crush was, knowing that he was saying only the truth. “Just don't get hurt, be careful and be safe, alright?” She softly asked, placing her hand on his shoulder.

His shoulder tensed at the subtle contact but relaxes, the corner of his lips twitches upwards into a small yet visible smile on his face. Orion gave her a soft near-blank look. “I will.” He promised in a faint tone, as he didn't say anything else.

Happily hearing his response, Orihime closed her eyes with her smile growing ever so slightly. “That’s all I could ever ask from you, Orion-kun!” She responded before getting back up on her face. “Good luck!”

“Thanks..” Orion spoke with a light grunt, looking down. “We're going to need it..” He mumbles that last part quietly to himself.

Orihime gave an undescribable look at him, before tilting her head to the side. “See you later!” She quickly said with a cheerful tone as she begin to leave.

I promise, I won't let you all get hurt..’ Orihime thought with determination burning in her eyes.

Watching her leave in silence, the teen's twitched; He looked off to the side, knowing he need to not only just prepare, but need to gain an advantage over his future opponents. His thoughts drifted off to remembering that day where the times that he or Zērō had manipulated and created wood.

He already has some sort of idea on how to use it, kind of. But after the Gillian incident, Orion never really had tried it that much since discovering the ability to use it.

The teen remembers that the Shinigami lieutenant and the captain were only using twenty percent of their power as Isshin had informed him that they were. The thought of facing a couple of Shinigami being at full power, terrifies him. He can admit that, but it brought a sense of urgency and a desire to get stronger than before.

What if it wasn't enough? What if they were simply too strong? What if they don't have enough time to train? What will they do if they failed, only to be at the mercy of the Shinigami? Or worse, will they be putting their friends and family in danger because of their incompetence? These questions that are filled with fear, were constantly swirling within the confines of his mind.

He has his fair share of being trained in the Quincy Arts and utilizing chakra in his own way, But he feels like there is something more he could gain for his use, a way to get more stronger but what-?

“if interested, then come find me at these coordinates.. and come alone..”

His mind came to a halt upon Zērō’s words echoing in his ears, remembering what the humanoid had seen to him during that time. But The teen couldn't possibly think of that, could he? There were possibly a lot of reasons that the Humanoid couldn't be trusted. Everything about Zērō already seemed too suspicious, with a sense of something wrong happening.

But the fact was that the humanoid was certainly incredibly strong, knowing things that no being else knows. Can he actually take the risk of going to the Humanoid and pray to whatever deity is out there, for something useful to come out of this possible decision.

Zērō’s knowledge of chakra, the Rinnegan, the Sharingan, The Mangekyou, and the Byakugan, certainly proves how much information he has!’ A voice in his head argued. ‘Everything he said about us, Me! knowing things when we shouldn't have. For example, We shouldn't even know what chakra even is!’

He doesn't know if that voice was his conscience but, it did raise a value point. How the hell did he know things when he shouldn't have? The Humanoid mentioned something about the soul, chakra and inheritance as well. Those words sounded right to him, and yet he couldn't help but remained skeptical about the whole subject.

Inheritance? That was a thought that he was a bit willing to entertain, it did brought truth to the subject. But he can't put his truth and faith into things that easily, like seriously? Inheritance? Or inherit memories? But back to the subject at hand, Can he really let himself go to the humanoid? No he can't. But if there was a chance, that this being could help him in getting stronger, then…

“I can't believe I'm considering this..” Orion mutters through a snarl, taking out a piece of paper from his pocket. On it, was the same coordinates previous from the scroll, now they were written down upon the small paper piece.

The teen shoved the paper back into his pocket, before his other hand was taking out a sticky note with pencil from his other pocket. Quickly writing down some words on the sticky note before putting it on the bench, next to his backpack.

The Mangekyou Sharingan shifted into activation within his eyes as Orion disappeared into a vortex via Kamui.

-----

Appearing out through a vortex via Kamui, Orion landed his feet softly against the dirted ground as the teen froze briefly where he was standing, his senses suddenly going haywire upon feeling an unusual power that seemingly surrounded him. Causing Orion to look around his surroundings, already seeing that he was surrounded by tall pinewood trees covered in snow.

It felt like he was surrounded by nature's power itself..

“What is this strange power I'm feeling?” He mutters in wonder, his eyes searching for something.

“I see, I'm impressed that you can sense it. But I should have expected it..”

Turning around quickly, Orion’s gaze was met with the sight of Zērō who standed there, grinning at the teen.

“Zērō.” The teen formally said in a cold tone filled with distrust and suspicion.

I see you have indeed come here then..” The humanoid responded, sounding all too-pleased to see the teen here. “Has the information that the scroll contains, have piqued your interests then?”

“Indeed, they certainly answered and raised more questions.” Orion admitted bitterly. “But Don't misunderstand what I'm saying, I still don't trust you and the words that come out of your wicked-mouth.” He added coldly, his impassive gaze staring at Zērō.

Is that so?” Zērō tilted his head to the side. “Then why did you still come here..?”

The Quincy went silent upon hearing what Zērō said to him, but he didn't exactly answer right away. Instead, the sounds of a howling breeze was the only thing that had been heard by the pair. Orion subconsciously put his hands into his pockets as he just stared at the humanoid for a couple of minutes that passed.

After a long silence between them, Orion finally broke it before letting out a heated sigh as he spoke up and giving his answer. “Because..” He slowly began to say, keeping his tone down very carefully but just scowled. “You know things, things that no one else knows. Something that will possibly help me for the upcoming confrontation.”

Confrontation…?” Zero's echoed, narrowing his eyes as if thinking about something, his eyes searching for a read on the teen's face. “Against who..?”

“The Shinigami.”

As if the magic word, Zērō’s grin return full force but it unnaturally stretched wide across his face and it was also more bloodthirsty than anything too.

The soul society.” The Humanoid hummed, eyeing the teen with a look of observation. “Now I see.. so that's what you want then..”

“And what do you think I want..?” The teen questioned calmly, raising his brow at him.

Growth in strength, knowledge..” Zērō answered, looking to be very amused by this conversation. “It’s rational, after all, you are heading to the soul society. It's very likely that you will be facing many opponents whose power may be stronger than your friend's.”

Orion didn't say anything but just nodded, his hands clenched and unclenched about a couple of times. He didn't mention anything about anyone else, but hearing the humanoid saying that, just add the theory of him being spied on by Zērō.

I can help out in that matter.” The Humanoid purr out with a tone of eagerness. “Especially teach you how to properly control this.”

Zērō gestures towards the ground as an treelike root came bursting out of the ground and pierced through a rock, to prove his point to the teen.

Seeing that had made Zērō's words to be very tempting, Unfortunately, Orion had to admit that. All he knew was the full-proper basics of chakra which he learned from the scroll which Zērō left behind that night. The teen knew that the Humanoid was filled with knowledge and possibly mastery over the manipulation of wood, better known to be Wood Style.

That name, he felt like it was familiar but yet he didn't know it personally. Again, Zērō’s words that were about memories within souls had certainly had some truth to them. How else would he know about things that he didn't even learn or heard about? This made him question who his parents really were, he knew one of them was a Quincy. But the other had to be the one who has chakra and it's capabilities as well.

“Just remember that, I came here with the intention of getting stronger.” Orion Both warned and reminded the humanoid. “I don't care for anything else you have to say.”

As you wish..” Zēro bowed his head rather submissively.

Witnessing this had made the teen to be a bit freaked out as to why the Humanoid suddenly bowed his head in submission? Orion grimaced at the uneasy feeling in his heart. “Don't do that. Please.”

The Humanoid let out a laugh, followed by a series of chuckles. Looking to be pleased at succeeding in making the teen to be uncomfortable.

“Follow me.”

The teen didn't move right away, his gaze watches Zērō walking down an dirted path as the distance between them grew by the seconds. Pushing down the feelings of reluctance and caution, he followed the humanoid with great distrust and caution, but out of the corner of his eyes, he noticed something between the pine trees branches and saw an ancient gargantuan oak tree that was forty meters tall, seemingly reaching out for the sky, in the distance.

Orion flinched at the sudden headache like it was something trying to burst out of his head. Instinctively, his hand gripping the side of his head, in an attempt to try and keep that pain back. His teeth grinded against each other, the teen shifted his focus to the humanoid who stands in the middle of the path.

Just by looking at him, he wanted nothing more than just to squeeze the life out of him and put his corpse six-feet ground under already. But the reason for doing all this was preventing him from doing so, unfortunately.

Taking a deep breath, Orion swallowed down the uncertainty within him. “Tell me, what exactly did I sense earlier?” He asked, His voice being dark and low.

“Hmmm.. what you were sensing around you, if I have to guess, is something like the chakra of nature. You can call it.. nature energy..”

“Nature energy..?” Orion questioned this, frowning deeply, a wave of deja vu washes over him. “And how do you know so much about this..?”

Heh… upon the time of my creation, my creator had imparted various pieces of information to me which are considered to be of high value to them..” Zērō explained, looking over at the far distance between the trees. “Along with a set of objectives for me to follow and fulfill. Such as to find you.”

“Find me..?” The teen narrowed his eyes, staring at the humanoid. “Why me..?”

I thought you weren't going to trust a word I say..”

Practically hearing the smugness and cheekiness in the humanoid's tone, Orion held back the urge to strangle him. Keeping his feelings constrained under a lock, the teen picked up the pace as he started to walk ahead of Zērō. “Smartass..” Orion mutters to himself.

But An unexpected kick to his back, had cut him off from his thoughts as the teen was thrown to the ground. Orion groaned at feeling the harsh impact takes it toll, he rolled onto his back and lifted his head to see the Humanoid wiping it's feet against an rock.

“Time is wasting..” Zērō sneered in a mocking tone, it was a sudden shift in personality that caught the teen off guard as the familiar white markings spread throughout the humanoid's right side. “Be careful what you wish for.”

Oh, He was definitely going to kill this being after this whole thing was over..

17 Days later . . .

It had been nearly seventeen days since Orion went missing which caused an uproar with both families, including friends as well. The only evidence of him being officially missing, out of his own will, of course, was him apparently leaving his backpack on a bench with a note attached to it, saying: ‘I’ll be back, went off to train’.

Naturally, Ichigo trained as well despite the absence of Orion's presence. Although he felt pissed at Orion who suddenly disappeared out of nowhere, since it did have an effect on his family. Such as, he noticed his mom was constantly worried sick, wondering when Orion would come back.

“So he still isn't back yet..?” Karin questioned, holding the TV remote as she sat on the couch, looking over at her brother.

“Yeah.” Ichigo sighed, glancing over at the clock. “it's almost time to head off now.”

Yuzu looked up, focusing her gaze at Ichigo with a smile on her face. “I’m sure Orion will be back in time, Ichi!”

“She's right, I never let myself be late, you know?”

Startled, Ichigo immediately turned around, only to come face to face with Orion who stood by the doorway. He noticed how dirty his friend’s face was, looking like he spent days in a forest without rest. Not only that, Orion's hair seemed to be more ragged than before while it's length was past his shoulders. However, Ichigo also noticed the blood-stained bandages that were wrapped around his friend's knuckles.

“What happened to you..?” Ichigo asked, raising an eyebrow.

Orion just dismissively waved his hand at him. “Don't worry about it. Just know that I made it on time, that's all.”

“Hey Orion.” Karin called out, shooting a bored look at him. “Miss Tenenbaum stopped by and left something in your room.”

“Do you know what it is..?”

The black haired girl snorted at his question. “No.” She blandly responded.

The teen sighed, shaking his head before looking back at ichigo. “I'll go check it out before we head to Kisuke's shop.” He told him with an apologetic look.

“Fine but make it quick.”

Nodding in response, Orion hurried off from where he was as he quickly made his way to his room's door while passing by the couches of the living room on his way.

Arriving at the door, he reaches out and turned the knob as he opened the door before walking in. After a brief moment of looking around, the teen spotted a large box, with a sticky note on top of it, that also was sitting in the middle of his bed.

The teen approached his bed, staring down at the box before his hand reached out and picked up the stick as he noticed the words on it were written by Frieda's handwriting while he read what it says.

‘One must wear the proper clothing, when a soldat is prepared to march into the horrors of the battlefield.

-Frieda Tenenbaum.’

Having a good idea of what is in the cardboard box, Orion put down the sticky note to the side. He reaches out and opens the box with the intention to take a peek and see what's inside.

Orion felt a wave of mixed emotions upon once he saw what's inside, he couldn't help but let out a bitter and slightly sad*stic laugh.

“Those Shinigami will be freaking out, if they saw this.” He mused over the thought, imagining the scenario perfectly as it make him want to have a camera with him if that actually happens.

“Oh really?”

Startled, the teen quickly turned to look over his shoulder and saw Masaki standing there in the doorway. Orion sweated slightly when seeing her raising an eyebrow at him. “Y-yeah..” the teen choked out his response, avoiding her gaze while quickly adopting a calm-blank expression. “Of course, There’s also the possibility of not making it back alive..” He grimly added.

“Stop being that.” Masaki softly chided, tilting her head to the side with a knowing look.

“Being… what, exactly?” The teen questioned her, keeping his gaze on the box.

The woman sighed, quietly walking up towards him. “Being so.. negative.” She responded gently. “It doesn't suit you very well.”

“I'm simply trying to be realistic, Mrs Kurosaki.” Orion said, letting out a huff. “Is that a crime to be..?”

“No It's not.” Masaki let out a laugh, before frowning. “But as a mother, I’m just worried for both you and ichigo.” She continued saying, her fingers trailing the edges of the box. “Watching my boys leave, to go into the dangers of the unknown..”

“‘B-boys..?” The teen repeated, slowly turning to face her completely with a surprise look on his face. “Mrs Kurosaki…”

“Hush, You!” Masaki demanded as she roughly poked his forehead. “I have been treating you like I have been treating the rest of my children in this household for the past years..”

“I'm not even related to you..” Orion mumbles. “I'm just..”

“Silly, Family is more than just blood..” The older woman told him with a smile. “You have already been a part of this family for a long time now… Are you willing to accept that or do I have to knock some sense into you?”

He went silent upon hearing those words, the teen couldn't provide an answer suitable for this. Infact, He couldn't even grasp the words he wanted to say, but after hearing what she said, certainty sent a shock to his core.

He never knew or even remembers his mother, which was one of the reasons he held some resentment towards himself and his amnesia. He couldn't remember his parents or what they look like, causing a void to form in his heart at the beginning of when living with the Kurosaki family.

Family..’

Was he really a part of their family? The teen thought about it as he remembered the memories of him spending time with them, a joyous and loving time which he considered to be precious to him. The times where Ichigo and Orion hang out, sometimes with Uryū. The times of where he help out Karin or Yuzu with something, the times of where he had the unfortunate time to deal with Isshin's crazy antics that made him look like a fool at best.

His chest tightened, a part of him knew the only mother-like figure in his life was Masaki, He couldn't really tell that Tenenbaum was like a mother as she was more like an strict veteran-instructor for an aunt instead.

Another part of him had refused to call Masaki anything but ‘Mrs Kurosaki’ because of the fact she was the most motherly figure that he interacted with during the years that had passed by. Perhaps he was just waiting for his memories to return at some point, wanting to have the memory of his biological mother. To remember what she was like, but it didn't happen, all he got was just a piece of memory and nothing more.

His inner child had longed for a mother's comfort but the majority part of him had stayed away from Masaki at a distance that didn't seem to be suspicious for anyone to notice. But that child of himself was always waiting, patiently behind a barrier of suppressed emotions and stubbornness that was made up by himself.

The denial was stretched out, like butter being spread out too thinly across bread. That had made all of it more mentally tiring than ever.

Was it worth it? Was it worth even waiting it out and hoping to eventually remember a woman who gave birth to him? If it long this long to gain a piece of a memory, then was it really worth it?

The most logical answer would be no. That was one of them, and maybe it was right. Should he let go a bit of the past? All he have right now is the Kurosaki family, his friends and the others. Perhaps he should just focus on the present?

Could he do that..?

Maybe or maybe not, but his heart knew better. He can, but the same reason why he can't bear himself to do so. This only served as another reason for him to learn to let go of this piece of his life, realizing that it was most likely he may never recover the memories and feelings he had before..

Looking at the older woman silently, the teen finally decided to break the long-tensed silence. “Do you.. really mean that..?” He shakily asked, despite the blank-stoic expression on his face, there was a bit of raw emotions leaking into his voice.

“Baka..” Masaki laughed at him, looking at him as if he was stupid and silly. “You already know the answer.”

Couldn't help but laugh with her, Orion nodded slowly. “Right..” He utters, feeling a bit embarrassed at himself. The anxious feeling rose within his throat, as the teen bit the side of his cheek.

Oh god, He could feel his whole body was a bundle of nerves and shakes. It was so humiliating, that he wanted to crawl into a hole and die already.

“I guess what I want to say is that.. Thank you..for letting me stay here underneath this roof..." Orion mumbles, his words slowly trailed off before inaudible sounds came from his throat and out of his mouth t, almost as if trying to force out on saying a word. “M.. M…. m-mom.” He almost choked on saying those words, like how someone would after eating down a rough piece of a meal.

Masaki could only smile brightly, feeling her heart touched by those words.

Urahara Shop-

That night, Ichigo was already out of his physical body as he was wearing his modified garb as he was seemingly approaching the shop alone and was greeted by the sight of his friends Chad and Orihime, along with his cousin Uryū.

“Orihime, Chad.” Ichigo greeted them both with a nod. At first when learning both Chad and Orihime wanted to come along with them on the second day that Orion went AWOL. Ichigo was strongly against it at first as he didn't want the two of them to be directly involved in this mess of His.

He knew that if Orion learn of them coming along, he was sure his friend would get piss off in his own way.

Ichigo sighed before he turned to look at his cousin who's outfit consisted of, what appeared to be a pure white suit with a mantle around his shoulders. The teen knew what the garb was, since it was worn by The Quincy. Actually his family, except his dad, wear this during ‘certain’ days which he suppose were similar to holidays. “Uryū.” He spoke to him in a simple tone.

“Ichigo.” Uryū formally nodded in greetings, while standing there.

“I'm really surprised that Uncle Ryūken and Aunt Kanae had even let you go.” Ichigo commented with a surprising look. “How did you convince them both?”

Uryū awkwardly looked away, pushing his glasses up by its bridges as he let out an cough.

Ichigo felt a pit forming in his stomach, suddenly groaning as He slapped the palm of his hand against his forehead. “Let me guess, you didn't, but you sneaked out instead.” He utters in disbelief at what he had done.

“I didn't had the chance to explain to Mother and Father-”

“It's literally been seventeen days!” Ichigo argued, glaring at Uryū. “You had enough chances to tell them.”

“I was busy with training!” Uryū defensively said, glaring back at his cousin. “The better question to be asking here is, Where's Orion?” He questioned, frowning a bit.

“I’m over here.”

The group turned their gazes, and saw Orion walking towards them. But the teens noticed the entirely new outfit that Orion was now wearing.

His new attire consists of a white, double-breasted trench coat, with an black tie that has the Lichtreich symbol on the middle, with large buttoned black-cuffs and lapels, also wearing white trousers, and trench black boots. Over the outfit, was a tattered, ankle-length, black cloak. Also he wore a white cap on his head, with silver trimmings, which features a black peak and the Lichtreich's insignia emblazoned on its front. Orion's ragged black hair was tied up into a back ponytail.

'His is so much cooler than mine..!'Uryū thought in a bit of shock, now was absolutely was sure that Frieda was indeed playing favorites.

Standing where he was, Orion blankly looked at them especially at the ones he didn't expect to be here at all. “Orihime, Chad.” He spoke in an blank tone, although his jaw clenched a bit, giving off a glimpse of his shock plus anger at them coming along.

“Mmm..” The half-Mexican gave an wave at him after he gives off a grunt-like greeting sound to the teen.

Nodding in return, Orion turned as his stoic gaze landed on Orihime who shyly gives out a nervous laugh. “Orion-kun.” She softly spoke in greetings as well.

“Orihime.” Orion said shortly, before letting out a sigh. “I suppose I can't convince you to stay then, if I even try to.”

“Nope!” Orihime said with such optimism, being firm in her decision. It was clear that she wasn't going to change her mind anytime soon.

“Very well..” The teen reluctantly accepted, not willing to argue about this any further since what's done is done. His eyes shifted into his Mangekyou Sharingan as a vortex formed out one of his eyes.

An white long hooded-cloak came out of the vortex via Kamui as it landed and hung over his arm. The teen unclipped the cloak’s chain and wrapped the long fabric around Orihime as he re-clipped the chain. “There, at least you have something that covers your appearance.” He grumbles, taking a step back.

Orihime blushed lightly at him putting the cloak on her, She grip the edges of the cloak. “Thank you.” She happily said, bashfully looking at him.

He didn't say anything but just nodded at her.

“So everyone's here then!” Kisuke cheerfully said from the shop's doorway. “It's good to see you all prepared, now shall we go then?”

After exchanging looks with each other for a brief moment, The group of teens had followed the shopkeeper and entered the underground facility.

While Chad and Orihime seemed fascinated by it. Uryū, Ichigo and Orion remained calm while standing there, seemingly tense.

“Well then, I suppose this is the part we'll go to the soul society.” Orion mutters to ichigo. “I hope the trip isn't rough.”

"Don't be too Hasty now, If you want to get there at all, you're obviously going to need a guide. " A deep voice said.

The group looked down and saw a black cat standing there. “Ah, Yoruichi.” Orion spoke in a neutral tone, his eyebrow twitches in annoyance.

“Oh, You know Mr Yoruichi Shinhoin?” Orihime spoke to him, blinking for a moment.

Orion grimaced, sweating a bit as he looked to the side. “Oh yeah, we do know ‘Him’.” He mutters in response. “I'll suppose Yoruichi is our guide then.”

“Hmph.” the black cat out a scoff at the teen's words, rolling her eyes.

“Now then, one last thing," The shopkeeper said before clapping and summoning paper-covered blocks that formed a door frame. "This is a variation of the Senkaimon or World Penetration Gate that Soul Reapers use, this is called the Reishihenkanki or Spirit Exchangers gate. You see, only spirit beings can pass through the Soul Society, and the only spirit being here is Ichigo, who is a half-Soul Reaper. The only way you four would be able to go with Ichigo…"

"Is that if we were to die and Ichigo performed the konso or soul burial on us." Orion finished up for Urahara as the Quincy had a grim look on his face.

Kisuke nodded in confirmation at Orion and turned to the Reishihenkanki. “And that's what this gate is for, with this, we will change your physical bodies into spirit particles and allow you entrance into the Soul Society. However, All of us here on this side will only be able to keep the gate open for four minutes, once you go through the gate, there's no turning back. You'll have to go through the Dangai Precipice World and if you get stuck in there…it's all over." He finished saying with a serious look.

“I don't like the odds here..” Orion spoke up, staring at the reishihenkanki. “But what other choice do we have here?”

“None whatsoever.” Ichigo stated, staring at the gate with an determined look. “But we have to do this.”

“Now if you all quite done taking your time talking with each other, Let's move now!”" Yoruichi shouted out to them before rushing through into the gate

Sensing the urgency within the cat's voice, they wasted no time as the group followed after her through the gate itself while they immediately found themselves in a long narrow corridor. The walls were some sort of squishy substance.

The group didn't ask what the substance is as they already started to sprint with urgency.

A rumbling sound echoed from far behind them. Ichigo and his companions turned to see a massive dense blob of something, with a single glowing light shining in front of it, rapidly approaching the quartet.

"And that," Yoruichi said, tilting her head in the thing's direction, "is the Cleaner. If it catches you, you'll be forcefully ejected from the Dangai. We don't want that to happen to any of us, so RUN!”

Everyone begins to take off into a full-on sprint, following the cat who is managing to keep ahead of the group. However Orion ran with a lack of concern, managing to gain pace and kept up with the cat as the teen notices something during the running that they all have been doing.

“I don't like how the walls are closing in!” Orion yelled out while running, gaining a few feet ahead of everyone. “Keep running!”

“sh*t!” Ichigo cursed out, looking behind him and saw the Cleaner was getting closer, gaining speed. “It's catching up!”

“Hey you dumbass!” Yoruichi yelled at the hybrid. “Don't you dare look behind, just keep running!”

“WE WON'T ABLE TO MAKE IT AT THIS RATE!” Orion shouted, glaring over his shoulder. “We need to slow it down or at least gain a speeding boost!”

“Wait, what the hell are you thinking, Orion?!”

Orion ignored Ichigo's question, as he stopped before turning to face the incoming cleaner as his eyes shifted into the familiar purple shade that was The Rinnegan. Raising both of his hands as he shouted out.

SHINRA TENSEI!”

Immediately an repulsive force out of nowhere had clashed against the incoming force of Cleaner itself, pushing it back at a great distance. However it causes a chain reaction, creating an huge explosion that the shockwave forcefully blows the group ahead through the long-dark corridor and out through a pair of doors, only for the group to be in Mid-air.

“AHHHHHHHHHHH-!!?!”

Everyone screamed when the logic of gravity kicked in as they fall about fifteen-or-so feet straight to the ground.

Orion landed roughly on his frontside, only to feel someone harshly landed on his face and chest as the teen let out a groan. “Ouch..”

“O-orion-kun!” Orihime stuttered, realizing she landed on his back, immediately she jumped off. “I'm so sorry-!” She squeaked out, apologizing profusely.

“It's fine..” The teen said with a wince as he stood up on his two legs. “It’s Nothing that I can handle.”

He stopped for a moment, sensing something, sensing a Reiatsu that seemed familiar and yet, it's not here in this world. ‘What was that..?’ Orion frowned as he thought to himself.

“Yeah right..” Ichigo grumbles, sitting up as he rubbed the side of his forehead. “What a trip..”

Chad got up on his legs while Uryū standing there, looking disappointed as he held what remains to be his cape. “I can't believe I have to pull out my spare cape, already..” He sighed.

Of course, He brought a spare…’ Ichigo and Orion thought in unison with deadpan looks on their faces.

“YOU IDIOT-!” Yoruichi pounced onto Orion's face, swiping one of her paws at the teen's cheek. “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!”

“Tch.” Orion scoffed, the scratch marks on his face quickly disappeared while he was dusting off his sleeves. “I did what I had to do, besides we're here now, aren't we?”

“Yeah we are.” Ichigo looked around, noticing the poor-looking town that they were in. “So this is the soul society..?”

“Yes, as you already may know, this is the slum district.. commonly known as Rukongai, The drifting spirit town. It's where souls live when they first come to the soul society. It's the poorest but freest part of the soul society, the majority of the Konpaku lives here.” Yoruichi explained to them before turning and pointing her paw at a mass of white buildings in the distance.“As the district lies outside the walls of the Seireitei, Where the Shinigami live.”

“Great.” Ichigo stated, narrowing his eyes walking towards where the white buildings are. “We know where to go then.”

“Hold on, You FOOL-!” The black cat yelled at the hybrid.

“Ichigo!” Orion ran towards his friend, grabbing and pulling him back by the arm. "Don't you forget what your dad told us?! That there are four main entrances and each is guarded by a freaking giant!”

As if proving his words right, only for a large wall to come falling into their path. Another two came down beside it and soon a whole ring had formed around the Seireitei, causing an large dust cloud to form causing most of the group to cover and shield their eyes from the dust.

“Damnit!” Ichigo coughed a bit, accidentally inhaling some of the dust.

“It’s been awhile since anyone tried to crash the seireimon, the spirit gate, without a permit! So welcome boy, you wish to enter the Seireitei, do you?" A deep voice yelled from above him.

Suddenly a large figure crashed onto the ground in front of ichigo. When the dust cleared, there was a humongous man with an ape-like appearance wearing a modified Shinigami garb.

"If you have a desire to enter the Seireitei, then you must first defeat me, Jidanbō Ikkanzaka, guardian of the west gate." The giant declared in his booming voice.

Ichigo raises a brow, not really impressed at the sight of the giant.

Damn, very Lacking in security huh?’ Zangetsu’s voice mockingly said within Ichigo's mind.

“That’s Jidanbō! He's the gatekeeper of the Great white road gate, In 300 years that he been guarding this gate.. No one have ever crashed it.” Yoruichi grimly stated, looking at the giant in question.

“I see..” Uryū closed his eyes, pondering over the problematic situation that they were in. “So we have to defeat him then.”

“Yes, Ichigo need to-!” The black cat suddenly became alarmed, eyes widening. “HEY YOU TWO! COME BACK HERE..!”

Chad and Orihime tried to approach and help ichigo, only to be stopped by Orion who he put his arm out in front of them. “Don't.” He told them in an cautious tone.

“But Kurosaki-kun-!”

“This is clearly an One-on-one fight, supposedly a rule made by the giant here, one that must be honored.” Orion immediately said, looking at the giant from the side. “Otherwise, We'll be just the rude ones here.”

“Ah.” Jidanbō let out a nod of approval. “This one is more civilized and polite than the rest of you lot.”

“It's more rude to keep him.” Orion pointed at ichigo. “Your Opponent, waiting any longer.”

“Good Point.”

The giant roared before he swiftly brought his axe down on top of ichigo who just grinned, brought out Zangetsu and immediately blocked the blow with it. Causing The ground itself to gave out beneath him but the teen hyrbid remained unmoving.

LET’S SHOW THIS MONKEY, WHAT WE CAN DO HERE, KINGY!’

Ichigo effortlessly used his blade to pushed the giant and his Axe’s back, before disappearing via Hirenkyaku as the teen quickly brought his Zanpakutō up

“Zangetsu!” Ichigo roared out, bringing down his blade at the giant.

However Jidanbō didn't stand there and take the hit as he pulled out a second axe in retaliation. "None have survived a strike from my axe! So you shall die by my Jidanbō 10,000 year hit festival." He shouted, already started slamming down each axe with colossal force at the teen.

Ichigo blocked each hit with Zangetsu, effortlessly reflecting the axes back like it was nothing. This caused the giant to push harder, rapidly slamming down his pair of axes, targeting the teen hybrid each time. While doing this, causes more damaged around the surrounding area as the group had backed away to avoid any hits coming from the spar.

Jidanbō didn't gave up just yet, swinging his axes at ichigo who continues to blocked the strikes coming from the giant. The teen was careful not to inflict any wounds on his opponent, since the giant seemed to be a polite guy.

“HA…!” ichigo roared out with a determined gaze, already manifesting an sword out of reishi in his other hand as he brought down two blades in one strike, destroying the giant's axes into thousand pieces.

The giant was left in shock at this, falling to the ground due to the sheer force behind that strike which came from the hybrid. “My axes…! They're broken!” Jidanbō bawled out, in despair at how his precious axes was now destroyed. “They are broken!” He cried out, slamming his fists against the battered ground.

“Uhhh….” Orion blankly stared at the giant, unsure what to say at this sight he was seeing.

“Err…” Ichigo scratches the back of his head, awkwardly. “Look, I’m sorry for what I did… I guess I didn't have to destroy both of them. But I didn't really want to hurt you, you just seemed like a nice and swell guy.”

"Oh, What a nice child!” The giant cried out, touched by Ichigo's words. “You and I are still enemies, As For 300 hundred years, no one has ever defeated me except you. But You still try to show such mercy to the one who failed his duty. You truly are an honorable person with a big heart, boy. For this, you have pass and I shall open the gate for you." The giant declared firmly.

“Wait?! That's it?!” Orion yelled out, taking a step forward. “No more fighting? Isn't there any more retaliation from you?”

“Of course not.” Jidanbō shakes his head. “You're leader have earned the right for you all to pass through this gate.”

Leader…’ Uryū thought with a disbelief look, since ichigo was anything but a leader.

“Oh!” Orihime blinked, looking at the giant curiosity. “Does this mean, we can go through now?”

“Of course, Now step back and I'll open the gate.” The giant told them, before approaching the gate itself. He bended down, his gigantic hands reaches under the gate as he gripped it tightly. Jidanbō began to lifted it with an obvious straining that was appearing on his face.

The group watches the giant opening the gate while Orion had an concerning look. “Huh, it must be heavier than I thought.” He mutters in curiosity.

“Oh you have no idea..” Yoruichi said, shaking her head.

The giant then froze and started shaking at what he saw when opening the gate. “Oh.. Oh.. Ooooooooooohh..”

“I don't like that sound.” Orion stated, leaning over to the side to get a better look at what the giant was seeing.

Only to see a white-haired Shinigami standing at the other side of the gate, who was wearing a white haori with his eyes closed and a snake-like smile on his face.

“Who the hell is that..?” Ichigo grimly asked, gripping Zangetsu tightly, ready for another. “Jidanbō?”

“It's Gin Ichimaru..!” Jidanbō informed them, having a scared look on his face. Obviously afraid of Gin. “the Captain of Squad 3!”

“Uh-Oh.” Gin let out tsk from his mouth, shaking his head as if in disappointment at the giant in particular. “This won't do, this won't do at all.”

Then out of nowhere, some kind of blast blew one of the giant's arm off. Shocking those nearby, especially ichigo in particular.

Slowly Gin approached both the bleeding giant and the teen hybrid while ever so smiling at the two of them. “You do know a gatekeeper isn't supposed to open the gate. Right?”

Jidanbō grunted, somehow managing to hold the gate open with just one arm, despite bleeding out. “I lost. It is expected of a gatekeeper to open the gate for the Victor.” He shakily responded, heavily breathing.

“Gin Ichimaru, This isn't good..!” Yoruichi curses underneath her breath. “Ichigo, get out of there!”

“What nonsense, a gatekeeper that loses can't open gates, Didn't anyone tell you? A gatekeeper who loses is expected to die in the fight," Gin said to the giant, ignoring Yoruichi’s ramblings while raising his Zanpakutō.

The Captain of Squad 3 was about to strike his blade down at the giant Until Ichigo got in the way at the last second, using Zangetsu to hold Gin’s Zanpakutō back.

“Hey you dumbass!” Ichigo yelled out, gritting his teeth. “What gives you the right to do that?! Only a coward would slay down someone who is defenseless! For that I'll butcher your ass!”

“Be Quiet you idiot, we need to retreat for now, Ichigo!” Yoruichi yelled out, standing on top of Chad's shoulder.

“Ha, Ichigo Kurosaki?” Gin questioned, his smile widened a bit. “All the more reason to not let you all pass.”

“Spear him… Shinsō!”

Suddenly Gin’s Zanpakutō extended and the tips of his blade came rushing at Ichigo.

Immediately jagged lines of Blut vene covered the entirety of Ichigo's body, along with using Hierro as well while the hybrid held up Zangetsu as It clashed against the extended tip of the Captain's Zanpakutō.

“Grrrr….!” Ichigo growled, holding his stance while struggling a bit at pushing Zangetsu against the blade's tip.

He’s actually..’ Gin thought process had trailed off from there in wonder, staring at the teen in curiosity.

The hybrid reeled the tip back with a swing from Zangetsu. "Getsuga Tenshō!" He roared and swung his blade down. A crescent blast of energy rocketed towards the captain.

Filled with fear, Gin dodged out of the way as the resulting explosion was powerful and large, causing a powerful shockwave that stretched out in a long distance which also destroyed anything that was made out of any material, like clay or glass as formations of cracks appeared.

He’s stronger than you previously realized, Aizen.’ The silver haired Shinigami thought with a bit of dread.

“Gagh…” Jidanbō groaned, his knees shook, almost kneeling down to the ground as his hold on the gate was weakening.

Gaining an idea, Gin pointed his Zanpakutō at the giant swiftly before shouting out. “Shinsō!”

“No!” Ichigo yelled out, leaping out, hoping to deflect the attack and save the giant at the same time.

Amaterasu!”

A wall of black flames appeared, separating Gin from Ichigo and The giant.

This..?!’ The Captain of the Squad 3, jumped back a bit, immediately retracting his Zanpakutō back, barely avoiding being caught by the black flames.

Gin looked up and saw Orion who has an unreadable expression while standing next to Ichigo and Jidanbō.

On the other side of the gate, The group watches on as they see the black flames that prevent the captain from getting near.

“What is that..?” Orihime curiosity asked as she didn't look away, staring at the black flames in fascination.

“Over the six years, We learned that His Mangekyou’s original ability was called Kāmī, it allows him to spawn in a visual ability. Sort of like Kamui which I take it that you're familiar with, however he could only use Kāmī once a year.” Yoruichi explained, narrowing her eyes at Orion. “Amaterasu is only one of them.”

“I can't…” Jidanbō groaned. “My Strength is failing me..”

“Hold on, Big guy!” Ichigo called out, snapping his head towards Orihime's direction. “Orihime, Try and Heal Him!”

“Right!”

Orion stared at Gin from his side, the teen let out an sigh. “This isn't turning out to be diplomatic.” He mused over his words before his eyes shifted ones that were the Rinnegan as he raised his hand at the Shinigami. “SHINRA TENSEI!”

“Argghh-!” Gin let out a surprised noise before being flung back by an invisible force as the captain flew away from the gate.

At the same time, having reaching his limit, Jidanbō let go of the gate and fell on his back as both Ichigo and Orion jumped out of the way, watching the gate close shut.

The cloud dust pick up after the thing was slammed shut, leaving the group standing in front of the recently closed gate now.

Orihime immediately ran over to the giant, luckily Jidanbō landed next to his severed arm as the teenage girl outstretched her hands. “Sōten Kisshun, I reject!” She called out as a half-oval barrier formed around The giant's shoulder and severed arm.

“Well, Ain't that a bust.” Orion commented, staring at the gate. “I suppose there is another way for us to get in?”

Ichigo's face lit up as he suddenly got an idea. “Yeah..” He slowly said before looking at Orion. “Dad's relatives, The Shiba Clan. They can help us.”

“You're related to the Shiba Clan..?”

Ichigo and the others turned to look at the giant who was freshly being healed as he lifted his head to look at the former.

“Yeah..” Ichigo responded honestly to the giant. “My dad is Isshin Shiba.”

“I see, I knew there was something more about you, If I can't open the gate for you all. At least I can show you where The Shiba Clan are at.” The giant nodded before pointing in a direction. “Head that way and you will see a small house with a towering chimney and the banner being held up by arms.”

“I-! No wait, of course it'll be like that.” Ichigo sighed, rubbing his forehead. “If they're related to dad in any way, it'll be that."

“We better get moving then.” Uryū spoke up, looking over at the closed spirit gate. “We don't need to linger here any longer.”

“He's right.” Orion said, supporting Uryū's words. “The longer we wait here, it's more likely we'll have a bunch of Shinigami on our tail.”

“Well then.” Yoruichi spoke up, jumping off from Chad's shoulder. “if you are done talking here, We need to head out now then…”

Lost to Darkness.. - Chapter 9 - Thorinprim_20 (2024)
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