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A sour look donned on Yoshirou’s face at the mention of Emmell. It was a name he cared not to ever hear again but his luck wasn’t as such. Even still he continued to listen to Metabee explain himself and his stance on his proposal. “I see so that’s what you were getting at,” Yoshi comments. He scratched his chin as he briefly gathered his thoughts. “Leave it to; it’s my idea so the key is my burden. I was already planning on visiting the remnants of Central 46 regarding other matters so I will just plead how dire our circumstances are while I’m there. If we run out of options and fail then they face certain demise as well.” The Noble knew that, even that might not be enough to convince them, but quitters never start and loser only complain.

 

With his mind made up on the matter he gave his Advisor his full attention as he continued to explain the drawbacks to his plan. “I cannot say that you’re wrong… but I don’t think you’re completely right either. Yes, Hell Chains are suppose to be unbreakable otherwise a Sinner's sentence would be pointless. Even still there has been a case or two where this principal fundamental has been… shattered. But over the countless centuries there has never been a known incident of a being escaping the eighth level of the Underground Prison. It was purposefully made for ‘immortals’ or those deemed unkillable/unstoppable. But think about this for a moment or two; if we are successful, you don’t truly believe that we are the first ones to have done so? I can’t prove either way but I honestly believe that it was initially created for beings that not even Hell could contain.” His thoughts were that with Hell being such a taboo subject it was officially changed to a prison of “immortals” though it still served the same purpose.

 

Metabee agreed that they didn’t have to decide just yet and finished up with one last remark, which got Yoshirou thinking. “If anything were the ones that will be facing those 2 to 1 odds.” He kept this thought to himself as he had just mentioned something about not being pessimistic. “I have this feeling that if we fail it will be more than just the Soul Society that falls,” he responses.

 

“Agreed but its like the two of you say, we need as many choices available to us, so that even if just a little, we may stack the odds in our favor,” says JDan chiming in at the last minute.

 

“Then it’s settled. Together we will continue to perfect and teach Kijin. In the mean time we all have our own tasks. I will go before Central 46 and see what help if any they might be, and you should continue what you’ve been doing in your spare time; uniting the rest of the Gotei. JDan you continue to help oversee the clan and keep moral high, you’ve been doing a great job, and we desperately need everyone in high spirits,” finished Yoshirou as he then took a sip from his glass.

 

If there were no complaints or anything else to add then diner for the trio would be warping up. Yoshirou still had a meeting with Nero and Teschma and didn’t want to keep them waiting to long. 

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Yoshirou listened as Metabee gave his points and the discussion continued. After hearing him out, Yoshirou said that he would take care of trying to get the key or any information regarding it from the remaining Central 46 so he would just leave it at that. There was no harm in trying and who knows it might even turn out well so he wasn't against it. Regarding unforseen circumstances, the Noble couldn't deny that there have been rare cases of it but he still argued that there hadn't been any case of someone being able to escape Muken.

Metabee too knew that but like he said earlier they should consider the risk as well. If the Sinners were to find a way out of Muken like they found a way to be able to break the chains of Hell then that would make the situation all the more worse. If they were to escape where would they be? Right in the middle of Soul Society. That itself was a big threat which is why he felt like they should take it into consideration. He answered Yoshirou,'Who knows? It was made for a reason so I definitely don't think we are the first. Though at the same time I am a bit curious as to what those beings are and what they are like. We haven't heard much of such big shots that were a threat to the world.'

With this, they discussed the key topics for now and all three felt that it was a good place to stop for now so Yoshirou once again reiterated what the each of them should be doing in the time that they are not training. Metabee was tasked with visiting the remaining half of the Gotei which was something that they had decided on before. Afterwards, the three split up and went their own ways.

While informing the rest of the Gotei did hold some urgency to it, he was feeling too tired right now to be able to do that so he decided to head to his room. He hadn't slept the previous night and with the added fatigue from their training it was no wonder that he was exhausted. Upon arriving in his room, Metabee decided to think things over a bit more as he was still coming to terms with everything. Not getting anywhere with his thoughts, he then decided to meditate a bit to keep himself in check before turning in early for the night.

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With dinner over Metabee was the first to leave. Yoshirou had wanted to invite him to this meeting but missed his chance to do so. Perhaps this was the way it was meant to play out. Meta looked tired and could use some rest and there wasn’t much advising to be done so it was best not to needlessly burden him right now.

 

Yoshirou turned his attention to JDan, stopping him before he could get too far away. “JDan have Harold escort Teschma and Nero to my office once there done with dinner.”

 

“I will do so,” stated JDan as he nodded and took his leave. Yoshirou immediately headed to his office; doing some paper work while waiting on his guests.

 

Only fifteen to twenty minutes, or so, passed before the Noble was rescued by a knock at the door followed by Harold’s voice. “Lord Kyoraku, Teschma and Nero are here to see you.” Yoshi set the paperwork, which he had been tediously working on, down and stood inviting them all in.

 

Given the go ahead Harold opens the door and gestures for the others to enter. Yoshi greets his guests before dismissing the head butler. “Thanks Harold. Now if you would be so kind and stay close I wish to speak with you next. I’ll have a task for you to carry out.”

 

“Of course my lord,” replied Harold bowing then closing the door. It had been a while since lord Kyoraku asked him to do something personally so he was very curious as to what it could be.

 

For the first few minutes Yoshirou and the others carried on with small talk, discussing things like – how was your stay so far and what do you think of the food, as well as a few other things. But after addressing all the pleasantries they got down to the main topic at hand.

 

“I’m glad to hear that your stay so far has been a delightful one. It’s been an honor to have not just the last of your group here but its very finest at that. I’d be lying though if I said I wasn’t eager to hear the outcome you two decided on,” states Yoshirou.

 

Previously Yoshi offered them both a place in his clan as well as a ranking position in the Gotei 13 in exchange for a series of missions he wished them to undertake.

 

Nero turned and nodded his head at Teschma confirming that he was still ok with the answer they have come to. “Ok then,” says Tesch redirecting his gaze back and the esteemed Noble. “What you ask is no easy task and this grand plan of yours seems out right ludicrous. My initial assessment of you is that you were a madman with more than a few screws loose. Honestly, the plan was to enjoy your fancy hospitality and split once it came down to it; I mean how could we agree with the nonsense that we were hearing. And if any of the things you were saying about this new threat from Hell were true, why wouldn’t we want to enjoy our ‘retirement’ better elsewhere?”

 

Tesch paused long enough to take a deep breath then continued. “But then we walked amongst your streets and spent time with your people. It quickly became abundantly clear why you would go to such great lengths to protect them. What you have here is special and anyone would do whatever it takes to ensure their safety. But… I’m not convinced that you have the strength to pull off what you’re trying to accomplish. That is until the other day when we ventured near the training grounds you three were occupying. The abundant amount of energy emanating from there was too captivating to ignore, so we got as close as we could without disturbing anyone. It was at that moment we knew running and hiding was pointless. If you and your comrades prove unsuccessful then there truly will be no place left to hide.”

 

“What my comrade is trying to say is that we’ve decided to help with what we can,” says Nero, as he gets straight to the point.

 

 

Yoshirou exhales a sigh of relief. If they had turned him down then it would have been a serious snag in his plan. Currently he didn’t have a back up plan so a lot was riding on there answer. “Thank you. I know it is unorthodox but I would do anything for my clan and I believe this to be the best option ,” he says sincerely as he wholeheartedly believed it. “The two of you will make an excellent addition to our family and the Gotei…”

 

“About that,” says Tesch before the Noble could finish. “Although Nero here will accept both of your offers, I will only will not. Being a Captain in the Gotei will be enough of a reward for me. Of course I would like to have you as an ally but I do not think the noble life is for me. I hope you do not take offense to this.”

 

“Oh… No offense taken. You would have been another great addition into the family but I respect your decision,” answers Yoshiro as he stood and leaned across the table with his right hand out. “It’s an open ended offer, if you ever change your mind don’t hesitate to join us.”

 

Teschma stood and shook Yoshirou’s hand followed by Nero. He was glad that the noble didn’t get upset about being turned down. “You have been different than any other ‘noble’ I’ve met," were the thoughts that currently floated through his head.

 

With all that sorted out it was now time to go over the details of the first mission once again. “As you know the first mission is strictly a recon assignment. Infiltrate Hueco Mundo, more specifically Las Noches, a find out Everything you can – their numbers, current leader, motives/goals, their stance on Hell if one… Anything that stands out or seems useful I want to know about. We’ll need all the information we can get if we are to enact the second part of the plan. Any surprise there could lead to a quick death,” declares Yoshirou.

 

“Understood,” said the pair in unison.

 

“We will leave before dawn tomorrow,” says Teschma.

 

“Preliminary reports show that there are at least a few Espada ranked Arrancar there although how many is left for you to confirm but please, please be careful. I don’t wish for this to be a suicide mission,” states Yoshi.

 

“Neither do we,” said Nero as they took their leave. They had an early morning and still needed to prep before they could get some rest.

 

A few minutes went by but just as asked Harold returned to see what the Head Noble needed of him. “How may I be of service my lord?”

 

“Harold tomorrow morning I need you to go to Central 46 and inform them I will be paying them a visit,” replies Yoshi…

 

With the night winding down Yoshirou retired to his bedroom. A lot has happened in less than two weeks but there was still much more to come.

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Metabee woke up at his usual time feeling rested and all his fatigue from the previous day gone. The schedule today would be same as yesterday where shortly after breakfast they would continue their training on Kijin and after that he wanted to try and visit one or two more squads. His first step was his normal daily routine which was to have a shower and wash himself before getting dressed and leaving.

Just like the previous night they met each other in the dining hall and sat together. There was a small discussion here and there but since they covered all the important topics yesterday no new topics have been brought forward and they took a more relaxed approach since they didn’t want to start the day on a negative note.

After breakfast was finished and everyone was satisfied, they headed to the training grounds and Metabee took his usual spot. The previous day his training simply focused on his Zanpakuto cutting ability but today he wanted to move onto something different. Yesterday Yoshirou was the one to try firing off Kido from his Zanpakuto but he thought that for now he would leave that to the Noble while he worked out different things and then they would share at the end of the day. It seemed like a much more efficient method.

That’s why today he wanted to focus more on the defensive aspect by covering his body with energy. The first difficult tasked that he faced was actually to cover his body with energy. This was because it wasn’t the same as simply releasing your spiritual pressure and so he had to try harder than that. JDan and Yoshirou already had a lot of practice with this since that was what they focused on from the beginning but Metabee went with his Zanpakuto so this was his first try.

He closed his eyes and focused himself before starting. Just like before first he gathered his dark spirit energy using the same visual image of a black circle with purple flames forming the circumference. Up to that point he had no problems but now he wasn’t going to be firing a Kido at someone but covering his entire body with it. He used the method he knew best and sort of just let it leak out slowly. That way he didn’t damage his body at all and he got the result he wanted, partly. Using this method would take way too long so it had no effectiveness in real battle.

Before he could move onto other things he knew that he would have to master this step first otherwise learning the more complicated things would be pointless. That’s why for the first half of the day Metabee was simply trying to get a hang off ‘turning it on and off again.’ By that point, instead of letting it leak he let it burst forth from within which was much faster and only took 5 seconds to cover his entire body.

Currently, it did not look like anything special as Metabee’s body was simply cloaked in purple energy which didn’t have any special attributes apart from being quite thick. However, he knew this was only because it was the beginning so its form would look much different in the end. Kido, and especially Bakudo were always used in a specific form or shape and finding his optimal shape is what he wanted to find.

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With breakfast out the way the majority of the clan headed off to training but this wasn’t the case for a particular pair. They were both up well before the crack of dawn preparing for their departure. Although most of their preparations were done the night before there was still couple of things to go over. It didn’t take long though and with their checklist completed Teschma and Nero set off on their first official mission for the Head of the Kyoraku Clan…

 

As usual once the trio made it to the training grounds, they went to their designated area, and resumed where they previously left off. Compared to the others JDan was behind but he didn’t let this discourage him. He had heart and wouldn’t give up so easily. Even if the others master Kijin before him he will continue until he had accomplish what he set out to do. For now it was his control and consumption of energy that held him back so that’s exactly where he started.

 

Yoshirou had a set training plan today but once he made it to the training area he found himself almost skipping to the end. After their discussion last night he couldn’t help it and he wanted to know what would happen, if anything, when he called out Kijin. “Ki…” he started but stopped himself as he regained control on his enthusiasm. No, so far things were going smoothly without a hitch and to throw a curb ball now could be detrimental. Reining in his emotions Yoshirou stuck to his plan. First he would pick up where he left off the day before, which was launching kidos through his Zanpakuto. After a little warm up if things were still going smoothly he would attempt to do so without stating the kido’s name. Only at the end of the day if things were still progressing well would he attempt to use Kijin by stating his name. 

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Metabee continued his training by getting some training bots and setting them on idle mode so that he could punch and kick them to his satisfaction. Figuring out the optimal shape of his energy would be the last step so before that he had to figure out many things. The Captain started with seeing the difference to his close combat ability when he was clad with energy. Even though this was meant to be a defensive aspect there were many ways to use your defense offensively, besides the dark element was never one for defense to begin with.

Even though the other two said that they could be sparring partners when they were clad in energy he first wanted to have more control so that they wouldn't be injured which is why he started with the bots. He could see that his attacks packed more punch since he was clad in thick energy so it gave more impact and upon closer inspection he deduced that if he was to do a full strength punch it was probably enough to crack bones so he was glad he started with the bots. Just like the day before, Metabee let out many attacks with various strength behind them to try to get used to it and made a mental note each time. For now he would have to hold back quite a bit if he was to spar but against a real opponent he would still have to control his own strength not to hurt himself as well but in that case hurting his opponent would be his goal.

Once he was satisfied, the Captain decided to move onto something else. Yoshirou wanted to fire off Kido from anywhere in his body which was useful but it would consume more energy so he took a step back and thought about basic attacks. Would it be possible to make a physical attack if it wasn't with your fists, legs or weapon? Theoretically, it should be since by definition the energy was an extension of his body. That means all he had to do was manipulate his energy into an attack, but how to do that? The simplest method that came to his mind was simply to extend his limbs. If your opponent can't get close because your range is too big that itself was an advantage.

He put out his right hand and aimed at one of the training bots and then began focusing energy on his hand. Under his energy manipulation, the energy that was a bit like a formeless blob turned into what looked like claws around his fingers but the rest stayed the same. The claw then started moving forward as it extended from his real hand as it squirmed in the air almost like a snake but before it got too far it dispersed. He let out a sigh. Maintaining its shape and extending it away from his body currently required a lot of focus so if he lost focus the energy simply disappeared and returned to its normal length. Furthermore, he could feel that because he put so much focus on his hand the energy covering the rest of his body became considerably weaker. That wasn't something that he could solve in a matter of hours or a day. He would have to practice a lot to eliminate these flaws.

After a couple of tries he finally managed to get the hand close enough to the bot to be able to do something. Before making any sort of complicated movements he first wanted to try to lift it. As Metabee moved his real fingers the energy fingers also moved accordingly so he lowered the hand over its head and made a grabbing motion with his hand but as he did the energy fingers dug into the head of the bot and crushed it like a melon. This made him lose focus and the hand disappeared. Since the energy wasn't his actual hand he didn't know the strength behind it and it would be harder to control. It was just like he thought. Even though they made a lot of progress it brought even more problems with it. Metabee kept up this exercise as his first challenge was just to lift the bot without damaging it and only once he succeeded at that would he move onto trying to attack with it.

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Both Yoshirou and JDan were rigorously training. The Head Noble swung his sword releasing a kido for the umpteenth time; sometimes through a single Zanpakuto, others through both of them. Each time he did he called out the Kido’s name and an instant later a training bot or two was seen having to reconstitute itself yet again. After keeping to this same routine for about half the day Yoshirou was ready and now confident in pressing forward, his next goal – to silently cast Kido while using Kijin.

 

Yoshirou sheathes one of his weapons putting all his concentration into a single Zanpakuto instead of splitting it between the two. He then widens his feet, though he keeps an offensive stance, while bringing his sword high above his head. His concentration becomes fuel and his focus a fire that cannot be extinguished. The atmosphere around him condenses and crackles as his ‘will’ began to put off a formidable pressure of its own. Yoshirou exhales releasing all the built up pressure, while simultaneously his sword descends to the earth.

 

Without a word an altered Sokatsui rocketed forth from the blade of Yoshi’s Zanpakuto. The enormous arch of energy screeched forward as it scarred the ground as it traveled. The Sokatsui exploded upon contact with the training bot completely destroying it as well as damaging the bots on either side of it. “Success,” mutters Yoshirou before collapsing out of exhaustion. Like multiple times already this morning he had depleted all his energy and needed a break to recoup some, but it was worth if as he progressed by leaps and bounds. 

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It took him many tries but Metabee eventually managed to lift the training bot without damaging it. At first, with each try the head was completely destroyed and with more tries this got better as he started to lift it successfuly but not without the claws digging deep into the head. The more he worked on it the less damage the bot took on until eventually it was picked up without a single scratch each time. It may not seem like much but this itself took considerable effort which made him have a longer rest.

He thought that once he got the picking up right he could move onto attacking but the more he thought about it the less probable that seemed. Being able to extend his reach like this not only improved his attack but also his flexibility. He could use the claws to latch onto a boulder or a tree and pull himself in to dodge attacks but to do that he had to make sure that he wouldn't break whatever he wanted to latch onto otherwise it would be pointless. Another strategy he thought of was to blindside his opponents. Even if the claw attack missed he wanted to manipulate it to curve around and then pierce the target's back but to do that he had do make sure that he had good control over the energy because so far whenever he made too big of a movement the energy dispersed.

Once Metabee felt that he was able to continue he again changed his training. This time he wanted to stack the bots on top of each other which would still involve the first stage of having to pick them up but now it would require more control in order to balance them otherwise they would just fall straight away, which they did. Forget three bots, he struggled to even put the second one on top of the first. Each new step proved to be a real test and he was sure that applied to the whole group. If Captain level Shinigami had trouble with the 'basic' actions in this mode then how long would it take for an ordinary Shinigami to truly master this technique? He wasn't very fonds of those odds but he knew that Kijin was a technique that only a certain few would be able to truly master while most would be stuck at an incomplete level. However, even an incomplete technique can be mastered to a high level so perhaps that would even things out.

After just as many tries as the lifting stage and even more after that he was not a single bit closer than when he started. Metabee didn't even manage to stack two training bots together. However, he started thinking that maybe he set himself an impossible task to begin with. While the bots remained perfectly still they possessed a humanoid shape which is far from ideal for this sort of exercise. That's why using simpler things like blocks akin to a childrens puzzle would have been much simpler and yielded him more results than what he attempted. However, he didn't feel like it was a complete waste of time. Most of this training was trial and error to begin with and his control over the claw improved which allowed him to perform more delicate movements.

With this realisation, rather than moving onto something new Metabee looked to the other two if they wanted to finish up for the day as he wanted to properly absorb what he has learned today as covering too many things would cause even more mistakes. However, if the two still wanted to continue Metabee would continue his lifting training though this time he will use his left hand instead of right.

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Determination… that was the driving force fueling JDan as he relentlessly practiced. He pushed himself to the limit and beyond repeatedly as he fought tooth and nail to catch up to his peers. Low and behold it was drastically paying off. At first he was only able to sustain Kijin for roughly thirty seconds but now he could do so for well over five minutes at a time. An important thing he learned throughout the day was that his maximum time in Kijin would be shorten the more he used Kido in this state. Unfortunately it was a significant decrease in time too; on average it was about minute less per kido but even this beat yesterday’s progress were he wasn’t able to do it at all.

 

It wasn’t as late in the day as it has usually been when JDan found himself unable to continue training due to exhaustion. He laid on the floor in a buddle of sweat with a smile on his face. It might not have been comparable to the others but he was happy with his achievements. In fact if it weren’t for pair that he trained with, JDan would have been considered a monster due to his impressive progression in the new Arts.

 

Recuperated enough JDan sits up turning his attention to the others. Like the monsters they were, they were still going at it so he decided to meditate for while.

 

Yoshirou had met with an astonishing amount of success today. To not only be able to launch a kido through your Zanpakuto but also without an incantation was miraculous accomplishment. There was one thought that played on his mind like a broken record, “I must get stronger in order to protect those important!” As cliché as it sounds it was a powerful driving force that pushed one to get better in times of uncertainty. There was no doubt that they were all getting stronger. Yoshirou could effortlessly destroy the self-healing training bots using low-level kido in his Kijin state. But even still, Yoshi was seeking to push the envelope even further…

 

“Its time to give it a try,” the Noble thought to himself as once again he began to clear his mind, while taking a simple stance with his swords. His train of thought was now fixed on one goal and one goal only.

 

The hairs on the back of JDan’s neck stood up as the atmosphere around him suddenly changed, causing him to look in a particular direction.

 

“Kijin," stated Yoshirou as if manifesting his willpower into words. Instantly the purest of light erupts all around him, engulfing his entire body. A light so bright so intense that if this was another story it would be capable of turning the undead. The warmth giving off was comforting to his allies but an enemy wouldn't be so lucky as the overbearing heat seemed to reach the depths of there souls.

 

Seconds later the light subsides revealing Yoshirou, whose long hair effortlessly floated behind him. From head to toe he was surrounded by an aura of brilliant white light. “It feels like lightning is flowing through my veins,” he thinks being a little 'high' off the power since it was his first time. As he assessed himself he noticed the aura surrounding his body dancing and flickering around him much like solar flares do around stars. It was a thing of beauty or a thing of death depending one's point of view but both were true.

 

After a few moments Yoshirou cancels Kijin, feeling it to be to unsafe to actually test in indoors at the moment. He immediately notices the other two gazing at him so he approaches them. “Metabee, JDan it worked, it really worked!” he says with a smile on his face that clearly stated his satisfaction. “Not only by stating its name does it require less energy and time to activate but the results were magnified as well. Its been a long long time since I felt a new powerful energy flow through my body. It felt no different than achieving a new state in Zanpakuto for the first time.”

 

“It certainly looked impressive and overpowering,” JDan comments. “How long do you think you could maintain that state?”

 

“That’s hard to say. The initial power ‘high’ was intoxicating, for a split second it felt like I could stay that way forever. But realistically… maybe a third of the time I can maintain Shikai give or take a little,” he says purely guessing.

 

“Wow that much already!?! I’m jealous,” teases JDan.

 

“I am honestly not sure. It will take some more time and practice before I know the extent of it,” Yoshi replied.

 

Next was Metabee’s turn to respond and after which he suggested they take a break for the day. Yoshirou and JDan agreed so the trio began to take their leave. 

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As Metabee was thinking about the progress he made today, a sudden burst of energy came from Yoshirou as a white light enveloped him. This resulted from the Noble using the Kido's name to activate the technique which made him let out a sigh. For now the result seemed to be successful but was definitely not guaranteed and so he approached the two to once again warn them about this. Yoshirou was quick to show his excitement and described to them how his actions just felt to him which impressed JDan.

Metabee too wouldn't hide that he was impressed and a thought came over him that maybe it would be the Noble who would master Kijin first. It seemed that he had some kind of aptitude for this kind of technique which would be quite fitting as he was the one who thought of it in the first place. On the other hand, maybe he was just very lucky and something bad was bound to happen sooner or later since luck wouldn't last forever. The Captain crossed his arms and spoke,'You just couldn't wait, could you? What if it went wrong? That would easily damage your nerves at best, paralysis, necrosis or death at worst. We shouldn't get ahead of ourselves.'

He wasn't angry but he still believed that it would be better to refrain from using the name until they would reach the final stages since that should be the safest. While it was true that nothing would be accomplished without taking any risks, but risking a severe injury or possibility of death at this stage would be a crucial mistake. All three agreed that they were needed to lead the Shinigami forces so if one one them were to die now that would drastically lower their chances of success, which were already low to begin with. If Yoshirou was ready to admit his hastiness, Metabee would then say,'Well, at least we won't have to look for a candle at night.'

The Captain then suggested calling it a day to which they agreed and took their leave. He decided that for the moment he would briefly go to his room to rest a bit and would then rejoin the other two if they wanted to hang out more so he informed them about this and headed to his room. Upon entering his room, instead of heading to his bed to rest Metabee sat on the floor and started meditating. He felt like he would need to do this quite often from now to keep a proper peace of mind, though he wasn't quite successful at that. He wasn't able to completely hold back his thoughts but was able to supress them somewhat. It was enough to do the job because if he was going to do nothing then all his negative thoughts would come back and he would probably return to his depressed state which was what he was trying to avoid.

As he meditated, he felt a minor burning sensation in his chest which caught his attention. At first, he thought that perhaps it was from overusing Kijin and was a rebound effect of dark energy but at the same time he had no problems after yesterdays training and the fact that he passed his trial should have removed any possible limits on his body. His next thought was that maybe he was becoming ill from his state of mind which he couldn't quite rule out, though it didn't quite feel like it. Maybe it was simply some sort of bad premonition.

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Metabee was impressed but more so worried than anything else and had every right to be. As Kido Commander he perhaps knows better than anyone the dangers of an incomplete and unstable art. “I’m a lord, we’re always bad at waiting,” Yoshirou said teasingly. JDan laughed, as the truth to that statement was the exact opposite.

 

“I know it was dangerous but I felt confident in myself otherwise I wouldn’t have been so quick to give it a go. Besides with out real combat experience there’s not much more I can do besides work on stamina,” he states. Nothing ventured, nothing gained was just one of the many philosophies Yoshi lived by. Even still Yoshirou knew that Metabee was right; to suffer a crippling blow now would only guarantee the Soul Society’s demise. As he thought about it more he knew his actions were a little selfish. “My apologies Advisor. I realize now I got too ahead of myself.”

 

With the scolding coming to an end Yoshirou laughs at the joke about how bright he became during the release of Kijin. “Well it’s sure I wont be apart of the Stealth Force with that technique." After the small talk they all agreed to end practice here for the day. Before they left though Yoshi informed the others that he will be leaving to visit Central 46 after he cleans up and most likely wouldn’t be back till late tonight. He finished up with telling Metabee that he would like to have another meeting with him tomorrow night to catch him up on a few things.

 

JDan wished him the best of luck as they needed all the allies and help they could get; even if that help was merely not being an obstacle or another headache. After the good bys JDan sets off to do his usual check-ins. 

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Metabee listened to Yoshirou's excuse of being a lord and therefore not liking to wait but he knew he wasn't like that. The Noble explained that the only reason he tried it is because he felt confident to do so. The Captain didn't think that Yoshirou was stupid so he was certain he thought about the risks before trying and didn't look down on him. They trusted each other and more or less were aware of the others limits so he would let it slide this time. He nodded,'Alright, I'll forgive you this time but don't try to strain yourself too much.' Metabee's joke made him laugh and Yoshirou's comment made him chuckle,'Definitely, but I don't think the technique would be your only problem.' He said so as he wanted to get a bit at the Noble as part of his punishment.

Before the three split up, Yoshirou told them that he will be going to Central 46 as part of the things that they have discussed the previous night and that he wanted to talk to him tomorrow night which he nodded too. Meanwhile, JDan was going to continue with his duties and patrol the vicinity while Metabee returned to his room to meditate. Once he finished with that he thought about what to do next. Today they actually finished the Kijin training quite early so it wasn't even dinner time and they had plenty of time to do other things. He felt like he could use a bit more training but with the other two not participating he didn't want to continue without them, besides it was his suggestion to call it a day.

The other choice he had was that there was still some squads he had to visit to inform them of the battle but seeing how Yoshirou left the manor, Metabee wanted to stay on the premises just in case anything came up. That means he had to find something to do within the area and so he quickly came up with a plan for the rest of the day. His first activity was to help out the members with the training so he left his room and headed for where they were. The Kyoraku had their own training regime but seeing that he was there the members took advantage of it and asked him for advice, which was what he wanted.

Just like in the Kido Corps he split them up into smaller groups and then tried to spend an equal amount of time with each group. That way he wasn't showing any preference towards any group and everyone benefited. He found this to be one of the more efficient ways to train. With any new members who came he did the same and there were even a few who wanted to spar him to try out their strengths which he did. This continued until dinner time when everyone split up to have some food.

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Metabee arrived in the dining hall where everyone was though this time he was by himself as Yoshirou went to the Central 46, JDan seemed to be still doing his patrols and would probably be late and neither Nero or Teschma were present either. Even so, that wouldn’t stop him from eating since he was hungry all the same. Therefore, without hesitation he approached the buffet and took a plate before filling it with the various kinds of foods. Since there was so much choice it would be hard to just settle for one thing but looking at his plate it did make him feel a bit like a kid at a candy store who would try to pick everything.

Having a full plate of goodness, the Captain sat down at a free table and dug into his food. About halfway through his meal a person approached him and when he looked he saw Scarlett holding a plate of food,’Can I join you?’ Metabee nodded his head and responded,’Of course,’ as she then sat down. He talked with her on a few occasions so he didn’t mind but even if a member he hasn’t talked to had asked he would not deny them. They both ate their food before Scarlett started the small talk,’So, how is everything?’ He responded briefly,’It’s alright. The training is quite difficult but we are making progress. How about you?’ She smiled at being asked,’Oh, you know same old though I don’t dislike it.

Metabee responded with a simple ‘I see,’ and silence fell. Although the two of them had started on a bit of an awkward note that had been solved already so this one came from a different reason. He could see her hesitating but she eventually asked,’Did something happen? You seem to be quite down recently.’ He was sure that it was not hard to see so he couldn’t blame her though he liked to think that he looks a bit better now. The Captain let out a sigh,’We all have our own problems. I’m getting better now though you don’t need to worry.’ Scarlett seemed a bit concerned but at the same time relieved that he was getting better. She gave him a kind smile,’I see. I know it’s not much but if something is ever troubling you and you want someone to listen then I wouldn’t mind.

He was quite slow to realise this but apart from Yoshirou and JDan there were also many more who were concerned about him. Scarlett probably felt like his problems couldn’t compare to her own petty problems and she probably knew that if something would happen probably only Yoshirou would be able to help, but she still wanted to support him because she was worried about him. This applied to many others that he met so far like Jessica, Harold, Kenlaw, Olivia etc. Metabee felt genuinely wanted here even though he’s only been here for a short while and that made him happy. He gave her a real smile, probably for the first time since his trial, and answered,’But I’m supposed to be the Advisor here.’ Scarlett didn’t have to think about it for long,’That’s true but that doesn’t mean you can’t ask others for advice.’ He nodded,’I’ll consider it. Thank you,’ which made her really surprised but also happy as a blush appeared on her face.

The rest of dinner continued uneventfully and after finishing he headed to the VTS facility and raised up a storm as he announced that he would accept challenges. Immediately, a queue formed and the battles began. To make it fairer upon the challengers, the conditions he set upon himself was that he was unable to use his Zanpakuto or Hollow Mask which meant that he was going to fight with his projected weapons every time. Even having said that, it didn’t stop him from winning every single battle. He told the members to record the battles and see where they can improve but it was also just a way to have fun too. As for Metabee, this was a bit of training as he wanted to strengthen his weapons to be less disadvantaged against Zanpakutos.

After spending about 3 hours in the VTS facility, he called it quits and left the room full of cheering and excitement to somewhere more peaceful. He wanted to have a bit more time for himself but he didn’t want to hole himself up in his room since he felt like he has been doing that too much recently. Therefore, he decided to go on a stroll in the trading district.

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The last time Metabee had been in the trading district was when he was passing by with Yoshirou on their supply mission to Rukongai. He had been given a small tour of the place but since they were tight on time they didn't really visit the individual places so he wouldn't call it getting a 'full experience'. Though, since it was a bit late now and many stores were closed it probably wouldn't be a full experience either, but he didn't mind as he just wanted a simple stroll.

The Captain started going to the individual stores and observed what they were offering or making as not all stores sold physical goods. There was a lot of daily life items but there were also a few stores that had really interesting stuff like the technology ones which he spent more time in as he was genuinely curious about the various developments they showed. By looking at all this stuff, an idea came into his mind about how to restore his energy even in mid battle which will definitely be useful in the coming fights. Though it would be limited to only him so it wasn't like it was a ground breaking discovery or something.

He also found a few trinkets and decorations that he liked enough to want to purchase them for his room but restrained himself for now and kept looking. There was still a few food stalls about but they were closing up since now the restaurants became busier and so Metabee decided to buy a snack or two from the stall since he didn't want anything heavy at this hour.Since this was meant to be a kid friendly area there was not a single pub/tavern in the area which made him sigh though it was better that way as he just kept strolling around without staying in one place for too long.

Along the way, Metabee even met with Akoy, a spring water merchant that he met last time, so they had a little chat about how his business was progressing and so on though there was no major developments since not that long has passed from last time. After that, there wasn't much else to see so Metabee looked to the direction of the mansion. Throughout the duration of his stroll the burining sensation in his chest started becoming stronger over time which made him a bit worried. It wasn't possible that the food at the mansion was undercooked or something since they had high standards and unfortunately, he didn't possess a skill like clairvoyance so he tried not to pay it too much mind. However, he decided that it would be best not to stay out too long and started heading back to the mansion where Yoshirou most likely returned by now.

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It was a day like any other where nothing happened for the Kido Corps members guarding the Hell’s Gate but that was a good thing since it meant that Soul Society was safe. It was evening now as the sky was dark and in just an hour or two their shifts would be over and they could go back to their rooms and sleep. In truth, it was a very boring job but one of utmost importance so none of them complained, besides they were not forced into it and willingly chose guard duty since someone had to do it after all.

They kept watching like normal until something caught their interest; a ripple appeared in the portal. Then another and another which made them take up their fighting stances until the portal became distorted and a man came through. He was wearing an olive coloured suit, had very pale skin, bright yellow eyes that seemed to be glowing in the darkness, pure white hair and a hat matching the colour of the suit resting on them. Of course, if he came through the Hell’s Gate then he was no ordinary man but a Togabito! They ran at him but before they could do anything he raised his right hand at them as black embers shot out and hit each one of them in the chest making them lose consciousness and fall to the ground.

Asmodeus looked at the Shinigami laying powerless and smiled. Normally, charging through the front gate would be an unthinkable strategy for someone as calculative as him. However, with the current state of Soul Society there was only very few Shinigami that could actually match his strength while the rest were trash not worth mentioning. The second point was that for the Hell’s Gate since there were guardians, there was no automated alarm system so someone had to raise the alarm. However, they would have to get to it first which as can be seen he didn’t allow. In conclusion, even though he walked right into enemy territory it was almost the same as sneaking in.

Unfortunately, he was on limited time as these Shinigami were not dead and merely knocked out. As he wanted to negotiate, he couldn’t just walk in and slaughter their forces so he opted for knocking them out as a means of self defense. All he did was cause their bodies to shut down from an overload of corruption though they would wake in around an hour and a half but that would vary from person to person too. Therefore, he did not have time to idle around and wait for them to wake. Now the only question was in which direction must he go to reach the Shinigami.

He focused and started searching for traces of his own spirit signature which made the task easier as he 'filtered' the searching to only high spiritual pressure. It took him but a moment to find it when it was narrowed down to the strongest few since there were not many with such a dark spirit signature. At the same time, a vision came into his mind of a big courtyayd, of a massive and luxurious mansion, of a balcony on the second highest floor. Asmodeus smiled. He and the Shinigami were linked and his own power was calling out to him. It will not be long before he can reclaim what is rightfully his.

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Yoshirou was almost back home but his thoughts were still on the assembly. “Fucking politicians! I hate playing the game hence why I try to avoid it all together but that wasn’t possible this time. Huh, I wonder if that’s how commoners feel about Nobles? Well, I’m trying to tackle that front to but there’s only so much I can do.” As of late Yoshirou has been spreading himself pretty thin but there was no one else right now. Metabee is in the same position, both men just trying to keep the Soul Society afloat.

 

“Stop, I will walk from here,” says the Noble. The carriage came to a halt, just inside of the Manor’s main gates, letting its only occupant disembark. He chose to walk in order to relax his mind. Right now it was running a mile a minute and there was no way he could go to sleep yet, so walking it is. As he strolled towards the mansion, he greeted the few people he passed though there was no meaningful conversation. Though the few bows and short chitchats did a good job at easing his mind a little. Yes, it was a hard and stressful time but joys can be found in the little things, which is a good thing to remind yourself from time to time.

 

By this point Yoshirou had made it to the mansion. If he happened to run into Metabee he would greet him and inquire about his evening. Though he wouldn’t want to hold him up too much, as it was already very late.

 

If they happened to miss each other Yoshirou would stop at the guard station getting an update on the flow of the evening. But immediately after that he would head to his room were he washed up and called it a night. 

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Metabee returned to the mansion to see that it was still perfectly standing just like it did when he left so nothing bad happened. Despite that, the feeling in his chest did not go away. He just couldn't figure it out no matter how much he thought about it. As he passed through the gates, he saw the carriage being parked in the distance which meant that Yoshirou was already back. However, it seemed that they missed each other as he saw no sign of him and since it was a late hour he didn't want to look for him and disturb others.

Metabee thought that if it was important the Noble would eagerly wait to meet up with him and discuss the outcome, but perhaps it did not go well or maybe he was experiencing some kind of side effects from the training and he decided to rest. Either way, if there was something wrong they would talk but seeing as it did not happen he decided not to pursue. Instead, the Captain headed to his room to hopefully get some rest as well thinking that if he did then maybe the burning in his chest would go away.

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Asmodeus suppressed his spiritual pressure and left behind the knocked out Shinigami to sneak through the streets of Seiretei. While he couldn't say that security was tight but there were still patrols out and about which slightly hindered his progress at times. The key word being slightly as he simply dealt with the situation as appropriate. At times he would knock the Shinigami out, other times he would use noise to distract them, some times he simply had to use the cover of the night and dead angles to get by. Even if he was caught he could simply knock them out with Karadawaru, but of course this would be only as easy as it sounds when it came to individuals. If it was to be a large group, then even he might be hard pressed to maintain his stealth.

Luckily, no further complications appeared. 'Wait and hope' was his motto. He was a very patient demon that used his intellect to calmly get through most situations. This was how he always was, even in life. There will always be an opportunity, you just have to be patient and know how to seize it. The mansion was now in his sight. Given that this was a Noble Clan it was guarded more heavily than the streets so charging through was not an option. He carefully examined his surroundings for any openings that he could take advantage of. After a few moments he found what he was looking for.

The architecture of such buildings was always that the gates would be guarded more heavily because if the enemy gets in then it will be harder to repel them. That's why most often than not on the inside there would be a few areas that would be overlooked. However, being Shinigami with experience they would not do that but still not as much attention was given to those areas. Meaning they were less guarded. He jumped through the wall and took out the Shinigami on the other side and quickly hid his body where it would not be seen. Now that he was in he had less options to continue.

One of which was to turn his cloak, which was currently retracted under his collar and couldn't be seen, into Shinigami clothing and simply walk through. The colour would be a bit different but as long as someone did not get close they wouldn't really notice in the night and he wouldn't get recognised by his face either. However, considering the fact that now only guards were around, he couldn't just walk about without knowing their set patterns and rotas. Therefore, he decided to continue like before and analyse the situation before acting. It was no quick task and it required great patience, position and fast reactions that were also smart. Many would not be able to accomplish this, and even those trained would be liable to fail even with the tiniest mistake. Unfortunately, Asmodeus was used to skulking around in the shadows and foiling others plans so he was quite skilled at this and managed to get through as the balcony now appeared in his sight.

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Considering that things weren't feeling right, the Captain did not sleep. He was resting but he was still vigilant. He didn't want another tragedy to happen and cause them to lose more. Especially now when it might cause him to give up completely. Unfortunately, as much as he hoped life never made it easy for him. The sounds of sirens made him get to his feet as a Hell Butterfly entered through the balcony and delivered a messaged to him. It was from the Kido Corps members stating that a Togabito has broken through the Hell's Gate and is currently somewhere in Seiretei. His thoughts quickly raced. Was it Sama'el? Has it already began? Metabee shook the thought out of his head though. If it was Sama'el then he would simply appear at their doorstep and wouldn't need to go through the Gate and if there was an army they would have sensed it. Thefore, it must be an unrelated event but he still couldn't rule out the possibilty that they were acting on Sama'el's orders.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWnc5eSzB8o

The Captain faced the door as he was about to leave to let Yoshirou and JDan know but,'Where would you be going, I wonder?' a voice caught his attention as he looked back to the balcony. He saw a man illuminated by the moonlight standing on the railings and smiling. They had never met before and yet Metabee instinctively knew who he was. He had been warned but he couldn't become paranoid about someone who might not have existed. Unfortunately, he was now standing right before him,'Who are you?' The Tsumikami simply answered,'Asmodeus.' Metabee quickly searched through his memory if the name meant anything to him and he found the source,'Asmodeus, one of the demons summoned by King Solomon.' The white haired demon laughed and spoke,'Not quite. Do not compare me to that weakling. If you know of him then perchance you might know of my true identity too, though it matters not. You have something of mine that I wish to have back. How about we make a deal betwixt us?'

Metabee knew this demon was very dangerous and fighting inside was to his disadvantage so even if he was to hear him out he wanted to prepare for the worst. In an instant, the Shinigami drew his Zanpakuto and in a single leap appeared before Asmodeus and swung at him though the Tsumikami blocked it with his bare hand and the impact caused them both to fall out of the balcony and land on the ground below, without taking any further damage as both knew how to land. Asmodeus spoke,'Ah, attacking someone who came to talk. Is that the Shinigami code? Humanity has disappointed me once more. Will you not listen? What I have to say may be most beneficial to you.'

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Not much had happened while Yoshirou was away reported the guards. Well all except for a small stunt pulled by Metabee. Apparently, he held an exhibition for a few hours for all those brave and confident enough to challenge him; there were a lot of takers but only one winner.

 

“Metabee sure knows how to advertise himself. Not only that but it should boost their moral and confidence, having another well-capable leader,” Yoshi thought. “Maybe the old Metabee is not that far off from returning!” With a new smile on his face the Noble entered his room with a little more pep in his step than before. So much so that Yoshi found himself humming different songs while prepping his shower and gathering his PJs.

 

However, a state of bliss around here never seems to stay long. Without warning two guards burst though his door. Immediately Yoshirou knew something was amiss, as not even JDan would enter the Head’s room without knocking first unless an emergency. As if confirming the severity of the situation a siren from the Soul Society began to sound off. “Report,” stated Yoshi.

 

“There’s an intruder in the Soul Society! It hasn’t been confirmed yet but early sources are reporting it’s from the Hell Gate the Kido Corps guard!” responds one of the guards.

 

“Impossible! Are they already prepared for war…” was Yoshirou’s immediate though but luckily he was able to keep it to himself. He immediately dismissed this possibility as the report stated an intruder not attackers. “Double the guards and patrols. I don’t care if it becomes crowded I want this place on lock down; no one enters or leaves without my knowled…” Before he could finish he was interrupted by the Clans’ siren as well as a loud kaboom, which sounded as if it was right outside the balcony.

 

Instantly they all darted for the balcony to confirm the situation. Below was the Kido Commander with his Zanpakuto drawn, facing an assailant the three of them have never seen before. For now the intruder seemed to be talking so Yoshirou took the time to reissue his orders. “Forget what I said earlier. All the guards are to report in. Have JDan quarantine the area with the focus of capturing the intruder not killing him; but he is to prioritize the men’s safety. Have Jessica secure and account for all the non-combatants. I don’t want to needlessly loose a single person.”

 

Like dust in the wind they disappeared to carry out their orders. “Of all nights for this to happen. I’d imagine that everyone at Central 46 is on the verge of having a panic attack,” mutters Yoshirou as he drew his Zanpakuto and jumps down to the scene below.

 

Yoshirou arrives appearing a few feet from Meta. “You are not welcomed here. It’s not to late for you to go home if you withdraw now. I’d even escort you personally,” he says knowing it’s meaningless, but he still had to try. He then turned to Metabee asking if he knew anything about their uninvited guest. Their had to be something more to this as coming here alone is no different than running into the lions den; even an Espada would think twice and most likely not follow through but not this guy. 

Edited by Yoshirou (Kyōraku)
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One might question why Asmodeus went to the effort of being stealthy only to be caught, but to him everything was according to plan. His eyes perceived movement in the windows while his ears heard the running of people in corridors. Everyone was aware of his presence now. It seemed that everywhere he went there always was a fitting audience to see him which reminded him of when he was alive and crowds flocked to see the mysterious Count. Before long, another Shinigami jumped down from the balcony and landed besides his vessel. He too knew who this was as he saw him in his visions but it was also child's play to figure it out. His stature, manner of speaking and the highest spiritual pressure told him that this was the Lord of the mansion, a Noble.

Asmodeus smiled at the Shinigami who joined them,'Is this the hospitality you show to an honoured guest? Clearly, you are nothing more than a peasant pretending to be a Lord. Let this be a lesson: a Noble should show hospitality even to his greatest enemies, even if he means to poison them or slaughter them in cold blood.' Of course, he did not seriously expect to be invited inside for a cup of tea and biscuits, but he knew how to taunt people and strike where it hurts.

He could see more and more guards getting into position further cornering him into an impossible situation and yet the demon showed not a single ounce of fear in him. Furthermore, to the two before him he seemed unarmed with no weapon which would add to his insanity. This was who Asmodeus was. Especially as an immortal, he did not fear death, but even in life he did not resist when he was sentenced to death. If he failed once then he will be able to try again and again until he succeeds. Asmodeus then spoke again,'I will leave, though whether peacefully or over a mountain of bodies is a choice that you will have to make,' he focused on Yoshirou,'I suppose this concerns you as well so I grant you permission to stay.' He did not particularly care if Yoshirou stayed or not but as long as he wasn't attacked Asmodeus wouldn't attack back.

'Now, I want you to use your brains,' he said as he tapped his head with his index finger,'One. In my visit here there has not been a single casualty on your side. Two. I am immortal. Killing me would achieve nothing. Actually, as far as I am concerned I could simply leave you to your fates and let Baal stomp on your carcasses. Yet, here I am. Now then Gentlemen, what say you? Shall we begin?' He said so with a devilish smile on his face. Whether they would listen or attack him, he was prepared for both.

 

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Before Metabee could answer the demon, Yoshirou appeared beside him with his Zanpakuto drawn. If he was here then it meant that the rest of the Clan will also be moving into action pretty soon so even if a fight were to break out the intruder would be vastly outnumbered. The Noble warned the intruder and then asked him about the identity of their guest and he answered,'Unfortunately, I know who he is, but I can't really explain it. As for his goals or reason, I know just as much as you do.' They still had to be aware of all the possibilities, especially that this could very well be a trap to preemptively weaken their forces before the battle began.

The Captain listened to what the demon had to say but most of it seemed to be taunts aimed towards Yoshirou. Even in this situation this demon had the confidence to speak like that and a Karadawaru could not be seen on him though he doubted someone would come into enemy territory completely unarmed. This meant that there had to be some trick up his sleeve and if not then he really was insane. Asmodeus then presented two points to them and Metabee thought about it,'He is saying the truth. I haven't heard about any casualties from the Kido Corps. or any damage caused in general.'

Metabee sheathed his Zanpakuto and said,'The least we can do is hear him out and then we can decide what to do with him.' He wasn't letting down his guard but he was showing that he was willing to give the demon his attention. It was the same with Sama'el. They listened but they did not have to agree with what he said. For now the enemy showed no hostility and it wasn't good to always resort to violence. However, if he was to attack then they will quickly strike him down. Having come this far they did not want to lose more things.

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After Metabee responded Yoshirou listen to the intruder hurl insults but they didn’t faze him one bit. It did work with Sama’el, Monk or those before them and it wouldn’t work now. For those up to no good it was a common tactic they often used.

 

JDan and the other guards began appearing on scene with the strongest concentration of them between the mansion and the intruder. If anything happened they hoped to force him way from the main living quarters. The men were tense and slightly nervous as it was their first real emergency that wasn’t just a practice drill.

 

“Your insults have no power here. In fact they only help to further confirm your unruly nature. I would stop here before you loose all credibility,” Yoshirou states, his tone unwavering.

 

More and more guards showed up until everyone was in place. Meanwhile, the intruder has graduated from insults to threats but at least he was making progress; sooner or later he would reveal his intentions or be captured, or perhaps both if it was a good day.

 

Apparently the intruder wanted to talk and by the sound of it, it has to do with Sama’el or Baal or maybe even both. Metabee was the first to respond confirming his claims and further stating that they should at least here him out. Yoshirou was shocked at how easily Metabee agreed, even sheathing his weapon, but he stated that he knew him so there was obviously more to it.

 

“Fine, I will hear you out but I fear it will make little difference. I have yet to meet someone from Hell that I didn’t have to clash swords with,” responds Yoshirou. He would listen for now but he would not sheathe his Zanpakuto. 

Edited by Yoshirou (Kyōraku)
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Asmodeus smiled as the Shinigami kept a stern tone and told him to stop before he lost his credibility. Clearly this one didn't seem to be a good sport but maybe he could make something of him yet,'Ah, you do not know how much you lose. If only you knew who you were talking to! As for credibility, I am sure that in your eyes my race took away any credibility I have the rights to.' He did not care that he was talking to a Noble for he did not acknowledge him as such. These Nobles did not possess any titles to signify so after all. As for his own Nobility, he had discarded that long ago but he would still use it from time to time to show his status to the other party. It was thanks to that status that he became who he is now so it was undoubtedly an important aspect of him.

Once he was done speaking, the vessel was the first to agree and sheathed his weapon while the other was reluctant but agreed to it,' 'tis certain that we will cross swords though it shall be at a later date rather than sooner.' The white haired demon then inspected the men that were surrounding him and continued,'You are not ready. Your men are shaking in their breeches...well, sandals. I simply have to do this...' Asmodeus increased his spiritual pressure though he showed no intent to attack, he was simply trying to prove his point as the weakest members would fall to their knees in fear while the average would struggle to stand. As he didn't raise it to the maximum the rest should have no problem and he lowered it moments later to not cause any hostility.

The demon continued,'Luckilly, they will not be fighting Baal directly but I suggest that you train them harder if you want to have any hopes of winning. 'tis one of the reasons I am here. I propose a non aggression pact betwixt us. I can help you turn the tide of battle in all three realms simultaneously and even directly lead you to Baal. However, your survival solely depends on you. I will not win your wars for you and care not for the outcome either. I simply pursue my own objective. Of course, I am a demon so for my assistance a price must be paid.'

Asmodeus then smiled and pointed at Metabee. He was sure that he would understand. The rest simply had to agree to the deal but the one that must pay the price is only him. Naturally, if the others disagreed then he will not offer them his assistance and find a different way to get what he wanted. There were other advantages of doing this as instead of helping these fools delay their death he could use his army to storm the castle. However, even he wasn't certain that he could win and so to increase his chances he needed his power back which should bring him on more equal footing. He would take every measure to ensure this happening. The demons hand opened up ready for a handshake,' What is your decision?' he would say as he waited.

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Yoshirou would not be lured in to a debate or argument with a Sinner over credibility or any such matter so he remained silent for now just listing. The demon then agreed that they would clash but at a much later date, or so he stated, but at the rate things were going the Noble wasn’t so sure about that.

 

It was then that the bizarre intruder made his first mistake in the 'negotiations.' There were a lot of things that Yoshirou could and would tolerate: insults, disrespect, lying, misunderstandings, ect. And the list goes on but what you would not find on there is threatening his clansmen, especially in his own home.

 

Without a wasted moment Yoshirou, withdrew and sheathed, is second Zanpakuto swiftly enough to launch an arc of compressed air. While doing so he simultaneously raised his spiritual pressure and killing intent a bit. The attack wasn’t any where near strong enough to hurt the intruder even if it lands cleanly but was meant to let him know the Noble was as serious as can be. “You insult us and threaten my people in our own home but you want us to listen to you. Either suppress your energy and get to what you have to say! Or our blades will finish this conversation,” he demanded. If the hostilities continued Yoshirou wouldn’t hesitate trying to capture his enemy.

 

If the intruder complied, Yoshirou would even sheathe his zanpakuto and suppress his energy and killing intent as well. He would proceed to listen to the reason of his ‘visit’ here. “They will be trained and ready and have even got to experience what they will be up against,” he mumbled but the intruder continued without batting an eyelash. The mysterious reason as to why he was here was finally revealed but it only brought more questions: How did this guy know so much about them, what is his identity and objective? Of course he would gain something out of this or why else be here, but what? And if he wasn’t on Sama’el’s and Baal’s side then were there more like him? Is there a rebellion going on in Hell and is that the reason they are attacking other realms now too? Times were certainly confusing but this guy was even more so.

 

Yoshirou looked at Metabee. “What’s this guys identity and what does he mean by pointing at you?” he asked. “If he’s asking for you as a tribute I swear I will beat some common sense into even if it takes all of eternity. His immortality will become his torture." Of course Yoshi needed to know these things before he could come to an answer, but it would help much in changing his mind.

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Metabee listened to the demon as he would to anyone else. He wasn't one to easily get offended by words and was good at keeping his cool so the taunts and insults had no effect on him. He just hoped that Yoshirou would be able to do the same since Asmodeus directed most of it towards him. Now was not the time to act rashly and they had to play along until they had enough information. However, before they were told anything the Tsumikami raised his spiritual pressure enough to affect some of the Clan members. Yoshirou instantly unsheathed his second Zanpakuto and let out a warning shot demanding that he ceases the threats. The Captain didn't hesitate either and in the same time unsheathed his Zanpakuto and raised his left hand to follow up with a Kido in one swift motion.

They didn't know if he listened or if he did it on a simple whim, but Asmodeus did lower his spiritual pressure and finally gave them something to think about. In a way he was right. These Shinigami have never encountered a Togabito before and they didn't fully comprehend what they were up against. Even Metabee and Yoshirou didn't have that much experience to be able to call themselves experts. In light of this, the demon told them that he would be able to assist them in the upcoming battle as long as they didn't attack each other. However, he wouldn't do it for free and he stated the price by pointing at Metabee,'So in the end, it comes to this.'

Ever since coming into contact with Asmodeus, he has been talking about returning something to him and he knew what. Recently, on two occassions he has seen black flames that no one else could, once in his inner world and once in the physical world. Furthermore, his spiritual pressure has been a bit harder to control as it would involuntarily leak from time to time. Now he knew the reason why. Yoshirou questioned him about the intruders identity and intentions and promised that if he was asking for his life then he will not escape. The Captain answered him,'I can't tell you because I don't know. He introduced himself as Asmodeus yet that is not his real identity. He wants the thing I've told you about, the darkness within me but what it entails I don't know.'

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Their talk on credibility ended there as the Shinigami stayed silent so Asmodeus took that as his victory and moved onto the main topic. They did not take lightly to his first point as the Noble unsheathed his second Zanpakuto and launched an arc of air at him which hit him but did not damage him whatsoever. To begin with, even if it did damage him he would not feel any pain from such a tiny graze and it would take a fraction of a second to heal.

Asmodeus smiled at this. Of course he knew that this was nowhere near his full strength but they were still making a big mistake. He was being severely underestimated! The other side thought that they could win simply because they had the numbers, but that was actually to his advantage. Apart from those two, the rest were simply fodder to him. If they were to all charge at him at once then he could easily eliminate all of them in one move so that not even ashes would remain. However, he would not tell them that and let them bask in their 'strength'. It was the highest falls that were the most entertaining to watch after all.

He finished speaking and gave both of them their choice which he did not expect them to answer instantly. Both were visibly confused and wanted more information which was a lot of the times more valuable than money. The Shinigami said that if the cost was his life then he would be tortured for all eternity and definitely regret his actions. This time Asmodeus could not help himself but laugh in his usual demonic way,'Ah, how foolish! You believe yourself to be crueler than Hell itself? 'tis truly the height of hubris! You who upholds his fake justice remember this: without evil your 'justice' would not exist. I am your reason for being! You claim to be on the side of justice and save people. Yet to save one person you would trample on a dozen of wishes. You would ignore even more to save those you trampled over. After each conflict you keep telling yourself that this is the end, that everyone will be happy and that peace will come, yet it only keeps repeating itself. You are nothing but a pup. One day, you will realise what must be done and come to the same answer as me!'

Asmodeus then brought his attention to the vessel,'Fear not though, I will not take your life. Actually, I am the one who will save it! Baal recognises me as a threat. Centuries ago, he took from me a part of my soul and sealed it within some poor soul. What do you think would happen to them? They would die, instantly. I have watched as it went from person to person, from generation to generation causing death at every step. Until one day, it found you. You seem to have a resistance to it, perhaps because of your natural affinity to darkness or perhaps that happened because of my soul. It matters not. You feel it now do you not? As it slowly corrupts you and destroys you from the inside. It will kill you just as it did all the others. Luckily, I want it back. If you return it then any chance of death will be eliminated, though I cannot speak for any other threats that you bring to yourself.'

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“So he goes by Asmodeus. I’m delighted to say that I have never heard of him,” Yoshi says replying to Metabee. “And I wish it would have remained that way,” he thought to himself but there was no changing that fact that he was here now. Just his presence made Yoshi's skin crawl, giving testimony to his wickedness. 

 

Asmodeus reengaged in conversation, though he misunderstood Yoshirou’s previous comment, but it mattered not. The Noble would not have a philosophical debate with a madden intruder. No, as long as his family was safe he could suffer a few words. Finally, Asmodeus revealed the specifics of what he wanted, and it was complicated. Though to sum it up he wanted something inside of Metabee that would make him whole again, restoring his full strength. 

 

Yoshirou looked at the Advisor, while shaking his head. This was all just ludicrous! Why now of all times do they have to deal with a crazed soul? Was Monk not enough? Unfortunately, the answer to the latter was standing right before them.

 

Yoshi did not know the thoughts coursing through Metabee’s head. But he knew one thing; making Asmodeus stronger would certainly doom countless souls. But potentially Meta’s life was on the line so it wasn’t a decision that could be made lightly. Knowing this Yoshi would ask for his thoughts on the situation before giving his own. The last thing he needed was to make an enemy out of Metabee by rushing into an answer.

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Ultimately, the decision fell to Metabee as it was his life that may be at stake and so Yoshirou wanted to hear his thoughts. He slowly thought about everything they were told and what they should do with it. It was definitely not as easy decision to make and one that should not be made lightly. The Captain made up his mind and spoke,'War brings unlikely allies together. I think we should take his offer, though it doesn't mean that we have to trust him. He said it himself; it's a non aggression pact so it just means that we have to not attack each other and they will aid us.

He knew that most here would not be willing to co-operate with a demon and would think him crazy so he continued,'I'm not doing this for myself either. It is very likely that many of us will die in this battle, me included so prolonging my life is quite pointless. If you are able to co-operate with other racess then think of it that way. Sometimes we must be able to co-operate with criminals to be able to do the greater good. It is true that our forces are a bit lacking but against an immortal opponent it will never be enough. What better way is there to combat immortality than with our own immortal forces? If we want to increase our chances of winning then this deal may be it.'

Metabee then looked to Yoshirou for his opinion. The Noble was also a leader of this army so his input was crucial to the matter too. If he was not to agree with his opinion then he would respect it and they will continue looking for other ways just like they have been doing so far.

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As Metabee answered, Yoshirou took a deep breath. He wasn’t necessarily surprised by his answer, as a strong case could be made for either choice; but he was disappointed. Even still Yoshirou couldn’t blame him. His life personally wasn’t on the line nor had he had to live his entire life with such a burden hidden deep inside. Literally one so dark that it would eventually kill you. Perhaps finally being presented an option when nothing else was possible was a blessing Meta was looking for. Or perhaps it was to sweet to be true… Asmodeus was a resident of Hell after all. It was easy for Yoshirou to dismiss it from this side of the coin. But until he walked a mile in Metabee’s shoes he would never know what he was truly going through.

 

As the Advisor continued Yoshirou couldn’t help but think that maybe he was wrong about the reason behind his answer but Yoshi could at least understand and even support it. But with this new explanation, to Yoshi it seemed hastily made and he could not accept it. Even if they sought a truce they shouldn’t just rashly agree to it with a devil. 

 

While Yoshirou did not wish to cause conflict with the Kido Commander, his opinion must be heard. “I do believe that desperate times brings unlikely allies but that is as much as I can agree with here; at least the way it stands,” he states which he will explain in a moment. “You state that we can not trust him but you immediately agreed… it’s perplexing. He is a Sinner of Hell. Meaning that while alive he was so rotten to the core that he could not be cleansed of his transgressions. To be damned to Hell for all eternity, paying for his sins.” He stated this not to educate Metabee but to confirm that he very well knew what he was asking. “Besides he already stated that he cared not how the war ended for us and that he has his own agenda at play. No, it leaves to many questions and they all lead back to trust.” Ie: can he really help Metabee? Even if so what condition who he be left in? Would it cripple him or weaken his power? For all they knew Meta could become just a regular soul, which would out weigh the benefits of having this so called ally. And that wasn't even touching on the fact that his aid during the war could be a bluff, or worse. And what was this hidden agenda of his?

 

“The way I see it, is that his help is skeptical at best. So to decide on that factor is unwise and something I’m not confident in supporting. If it were left solely to me I would outright refuse him. But if you truly believe that this is the way, not for the sake of war, but for the preservation of your life. Then as a friend I will support you and help you burden the consequences,” says Yoshirou, pausing for a moment so that Meta could clearly understand what he was saying. As a friend no matter what Yoshirou would be there.

 

“But if we continue to negotiate it should be on our terms as we hold the upper hand,” the Noble stated as he now spoke louder ensuring that Asmodeus heard them. Furthermore he began to address him directly. “You come here waving the possibility of a cease fire around as if we struck gold in you doing so but it is you who are more desperate than us as we have no reason to trust you. You may be a cunning, scheming, sly little devil but we will not be so easily fooled. Until you revealed yourself you were never on our radar. To be frank, I can honestly say that none of us knew who you were or that you even existed... till today,” Yoshirou states as he was building up to his point. “Therefore we had an unofficial cease fire between us. And I’m sure someone as well informed as you-” he says which wasn’t him exaggerating but meant as a compliment to his knowledge. “-already knows that you’re not a target of ours as you mentioned our conflict with Baal multiple times. Our war is not against all of Hell but only those that wish to ‘campaign’ outside it.”

 

Yoshirou turned back to Metabee. IF we make a deal here our voice will be heard and we will not simply just agree to his terms. For starters I don’t believe that we should empower him until he keeps his end of the bargain and that would be after Sama’el and Baal are dealt with. In the mean time we could use him to remove the darkness from you and seal it in an object, which he would in turn receive as a payment of sorts at a later date. But what say you Advisor? Surely you have some stipulations that you would like to be heard as well.”

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