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A week had past since the fight with Möröödögch and Kaeru was still recovering within the walls of the First Division Barracks. His Captain Sif Barkuz had ordered him to bed rest for the running off on his own without back up. Sif was as by the books as the frog remembered him to be when the man was his vice-captain before the disappearance. Older, wiser, and higher status had a way of elevating some while giving others a since of false importance. The Captain did not waste a move nor did he get involved in other squad's politics, because of this alone he had been keeping the First Division operating at a serviceable level.

If only my body was to the condition it was when I was the Captain Commander... Kaeru thought to himself trying to give himself a veil of self assurance that he could of survived that fight. Reality was that man was as powerful as the reports had stated he was, but there was something off and the frog could not shake it. There was no doubt within his own words at the time, even now he was convinced his words rang true. That however did not discredit the words of Möröödögch. They were worth at least worth pondering about that much was for certain within his own mind.

The last words he heard from Möröödögch as Kaeru made his retreat had left a lasting impression upon his waning soul. Was he capable of making a difference? That was a loaded question for the frog to try and sort through as this could be applied to more than just Soul Society as a whole. From within the Gotei Thirteen he could definitely invoke the most change, but there was a lot of work to do before he was going to be able to get that sorted out. Being allowed to live was a luxury if he was being honest with himself as Möröödögch had him dead to rites. To fix was the aim, but not for anyone else as his drive was always to make things better for all of those around him.

Since coming back to the Gotei Thirteen and regaining his memories Kaeru had been focused on the point of proving he was capable of being the shinigami he was when he disappeared. Pulled into meetings with Captains and the current acting captain commander Mikoto Shuu of the Second Division. These meetings had lead him to getting those memories, reminding him of his noble birth and rise to power. While the memories coming back were super beneficial, they served more as a reminder of what he was not, he was not strong any more. 

The trouble was Kaeru had not taken the time to properly prepare himself for actual combat and had pushed himself to the brink of almost death. Literal death this time had the leader of the detention unit Hitsuyona Shizukesa stepped in to say his pathetic life. There was a great need to get a grip on his former skills and get his connection with his zanpakutos back to full power. Actually all of his shinigami skills were rusty and needed technical work. This would require him to swallow his pride and ask for some help to get back on track after this major set back.

The idle thoughts of Kaeru were interrupted as he caught the door to his room sliding open slowly revealing Captain Sif Barkuz.  The adult pale skinned humanoid male has brown hair and light blue eyes, and numerous distinctive tattoos wearing the traditional shinigami outfit with a captain's cloak over top and wielding his dagger sized zanpakuto. "Looks like you are finally ready to get out of bed," the Captain stated sliding the door closed, but not before the frog noticed there were two other shinigami lined up outside as guards. The worst kept secret was that with the frog being back he was aiming to take his former rank back, this would result in replacing the current Captain that was now sitting down across from him.

Sitting up slowly off his bed roll on the ground Kaeru winced in some pain as he looked to his right to see his shinigami outfit folded up to the right of him. Just past that lay his two zanpakutos Yin and Yang under his vice-captain badge. Drawing in a deep breath the frog weighed his mind, heart, soul, and body's current state of balance. That balance was in disarray and that was something he was going to work at getting back on track. Those insecurities would have to be pushed to side as the Captain was no doubt here to question his actions and methods, these would then be reported to the acting Captain Commander and the Central Forty-Six. 

"Captain Barkuz," Kaeru addressed the man properly as he was now sitting straight up preparing for the difficult conversation. "Did you lose all sense over the last four years?" Sif asked in a gravely serious tone towards the frog, "What you did was not only irrational, but quite possibly made an enemy of an Rukongai targets we have been tracking for years. As Captain Commander you were much more calculating and calm minded, the type that would not of rushed into a fight or goaded a brutish type like that into beating yourself nearly to death. Did you think dying would somehow help Soul Society in some way?" 

There was a pause that Kaeru took to think over each question in an attempt to answer them honestly. For him the four years was a blink of time, did not feel like four years, yet there was more than one thing different about him since he had returned. The irrational comment struck a cord as he was trying to do what he had always done, but this time he was the one that took the bait playing to the Rukongai man's terms and turf. He had always rushed into fights to help his allies not really ever fighting one on one as there were strength in numbers. Dying was never the goal, but there was a calming acceptable once he realized the man's blood lust was far too great for his current power and skill levels. 

"Getting beat to death was not the initial part of my plan..." Kaeru dryly spoke in response to his captain, "Scope out the area that Möröödögch had taken over within Rukongai Districts. Approach and study his closest allies and the man himself. The home base in the steppe while the size of a village was not hard to assess the defenses, completely relying on that man's power. Stepping in was an attempt at conversation or awareness, but things became clear the only way I would get any respect or information would be in I fought the man on his terms. My usual fighting style proved to be less than ideal against this man."

"That much is certain," Sif replied as he crossed his left hand over top of his right hand, "Not everyone understands the reason we do what we do, that much we are aware of but since you have been gone we have been spinning our wheels. Rukongai is one of many things that we are struggling to keep from exploding. That Möröödögch and his forces are but one example of an issue we are dealing with. Taking a squad with you to investigate the area should of been the entire mission. Confront the group on our terms, not his as we always try to do. And if that was not achievable? If you truly felt approaching him was the best course, then you should of gathered back with reinforcements beforehand."

This exact conversation was one he had given to others within the First Division when Kaeru was the Captain Commander, this stung in a way he had not seen coming. Often he spent time with up and coming shinigami on the importance of patience. Yet here he was acting impulsively and pushing things past his limits. There were all kinds of tools in his arsenal, such as bankai, shunko, or kido arts. Yet he used almost none of them as he felt he should be able to win with a simple shikai release and zanjutsu. The miscalculations in power and the immediate synergy of Möröödögch's dual zanpakutos with their abilities was something even he could not plan for in the middle of battle. Though, his primary fighting style relied on him being able to adapt to last minute information.

"In any case," Sif starts to say as he begins to get up from the floor into a standing position, "Your time as a Vice-Captain is limited, take this time to re-familiarize yourself with the Gotei Thirteen and learn what is different from when you were the Captain Commander. I suggest that you to talk to Senior Administration Officer Oriru Ryuka Kusho, he is also the twentieth seat of our Division. He will file all the information you were able to gather from this event and be able to advise you on some areas of improvement. I let him know to keep his schedule somewhat open to get this information recorded and filed for planning purposes for the inevitable next clash with this figure. Things are different than when you were here last, try to remember that before your rush to your death again. Gotei Thirteen needs the stability of what you used to be, try to remember that as you floundering in self pity a while longer. The events going on all around us will not wait for you to get caught up again." Standing up fully he wanders over to the door placing his left hand on the sliding door pausing to add, "The next time we see one another will most likely be when you are taking the Captain's test." 

With that the Captain exits the door sliding it closed before walking away with the two lower seat officers leaving Kaeru in his room. Looking down at his own calloused hands the frog balled them into fists as he leaned forwarded pressing the knuckles of each hand into the bedroll feeling the hard ground underneath as he uses the leverage to stand up. Stepping over he grabs up his gear up off the ground sliding the vice-captain badge over his left bicep, yin zanpakuto into his belt over his right hip, and the yang zanpakuto strapped to his back. He needed to train in a few different areas, but that would have to wait until he found this Twentieth Seated Oriru Ryuka Kusho of the First Division.

[WC: 1,777]

[Exit thread]

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Quite a bit of time had passed since Kaeru had returned from the void prison he had been in for four years. During the last few weeks he had been working on getting himself prepared to take the next step in his "recovery" plan. First he learned that the proper names of his zanpakutos were Yin and Yang. Then he started to work on his skunko skill set in his family's dungeon. Visiting the Central Forty-Six he regained all of his memories and was charged with a short amount of time in the role of Vice-Captain for the first division before he could apply for a Captain title and eventually Captain Commander unless they found someone more suited for the role before then. 

From there he went in search of one of the more powerful souls in Soul Seireitei to confront as a way to show he was ready to return, but while he had perfectly scouted out the area and level of threat he was not counting on this self proclaimed "Khan" Möröödögch to have a pair of zanpakutos of his own working in harmony with him until first release. He almost died that day had Hitsuyona Shizukesai in vaizard form not shown up at the last minute to say him. Being able to escape after getting thoroughly throttled he took the time he needed to recover before heading back home to House Kaeru in order to request training from his father Xarm Kaeru. A battle broke out in while Xarius was the victor earning the right to use the Kaeru Dungeon once again for his training without having to sneak in. 

Standing outside of the First Division Barracks house Kaeru waited for those that were going to give him the test to show up. The building behind him was where the offices and living quarters of the Shinigami of the First Division. The building that stood out the most was the assembly hall where the captains would gather for their meeting. Especially during the times when the Captain-Commander was under the First Division banner. The Central Great Underground Prison is located directly below the barracks. Each facet of this barrack was something to pay attention to as they seemed to connect to something important. There are three different ways to become a captain for the Gotei Thirteen; Captain Proficiency Test, Personal Recommendation, or Trial by combat. The Captain Proficiency Test is a test that requires the shinigami to have the ability to perform Bankai. This is the most common method of becoming a shinigami captain. At least three existing captains of the current members, including the Captain-Commander, have to witness the results of the test. Personal Recommendation, to have at least six captains and approval from at least three of the remaining seven. Trial by Combat is simple the ability to defeat a captain in one-on-one combat with at least two-hundred witnesses from the captain's division. 

One by one Captain Sif Barkuz of the First Division, Captain Mikoto Shuu of the Second Division and acting Captain-Commander, Captain Elevander Jecht of the Fourth Division, and Captain Regashi  Hokori of the Fifth Division arrived entering the hall. Sif already being in the area had stepped away from his paperwork duties to do this test with him. Soon followed Regashi coming in with Elevander as they were doing some joint squad training on this day before the test. The last to show up was the ever wary acting Captain Commander Shuu that seemed to always be in a state of exhaustion or at least unwavering tired expression. With all four captains now in the area they head directly into the Assembly Hall as the only five members.

Closing the doors behind him Kaeru wandered over to the middle of the room directly across of Sif, Mikoto, Elevander, and Regashi  awaiting their orders as he was not conflicted in the other guys. "Alright Vice-Captain Xarius Kaeru we are here to witness your taking of the Captain's Proficiency Test. As per the requirements there must be at least three total shinigami for that off load, one of which must be the acting Captain-Commander," Elevander explains the profession in an almost bear bones way so that anyone could understand what they were about to do, "The floor is yours whenever you are ready." His mind was fixated on the Gotei Thirteen's primary responsibilities consisting of: The defense of the Seireitei, the deployment of Division members into enemy territory for combat operations, the deployment of task Forces as defensive measures in the Human World. Regashi steps forward and away from the spot right next to Shuu as  his arms as he steps forward to say, "I'll be the one to test your skills."


With the doors closed Kaeru began to speak out the words with confidence as he gripped both of his zanpakutos, "When shady side of mountain meets the sunny side of mountain, Yinyang Taijitu. Bankai." With that a burst of wind explodes worth showing off his full power for a brief moment. A massive yinyang diagram appears beneath the frog and everyone within a short distance, three of each katana that looks just like his shikai yin and yang blades will come up from out of the ground near him as he is now clad in black samurai armor with white lining. "Kagayakuyoru no odori," he commands four of the six blades to rise up from the ground in order to get the blades to fly around heading towards Regashi. This continue for about five minutes before he dove into explaining some of his abilities and skills within his bankai.

Kaeru goes on to explain to the captains in attendance how his "Taijitu Crests" work sort of, but not how they fully work. They spend a good while talking about how he uses his bankai and the effects it has in correlation with others like him. There is a short moment during this time when Xarius also begins to show them that he remembers all of the Academy level kido and that he has remastered the Kaeru family Skunko Technique known as the "Gift of the Sea God". There is a small murmuring with the remaining captains that had not been physically judging him, but rather were judging him for by how he handled himself and spoke about the issues at hand. This takes roughly an hour to go through each one and explain how much he has been working on all of this.

At the end of this conversation the four huddle up to discuss how the test went and just what to do next. Kaeru did not have to wait on them to deliberate too long as they split up to speak with him again. "You have passed the Captain's Proficiency test with ease as you are using the bankai to full effectiveness currently," Shuu stated keeping his arms crossed as the zanpakutos of Kaeru are being put away and Regashi  getting up from the sparring match, "Now Sif will speak to what will happening during the transitioning of the First Division over to you as their Captain." Stepping forward the former captain Sif wasted no time in talking straight forward, "As of right now the First Division has no special duties, however this is something you can tailor to your own liking, the Division how you want as their Captain. There are several outstanding role model members within the First Division that have not returned recently. The big difference is that I will remain the Director of Administrative Affairs." "Now with all the formality stuff out of the way here you go," Shuu states as he pulls out a freshly made First Division Captain over coat handing it over to Kaeru, "Remember this is just over the First Division, for Captain Commander you will have to prove yourself against all kinds of deadly threats and the Central Forty-Six is apprehensive about anything to do with the title. So be mindful with your next few steps as you are going to continue to be watched for an undisclosed amount of time."

"That is fine with me," Kaeru replies as he slowly reaches out to grab the overcoat just after pulling off the Vice-Captain's badge to trade with Captain Shuu, "I have been proving myself to others my entire life. This should be no different and there is still much to be done within Soul Society as a whole, though Seireitei and Rukongai each have massive problems that need to be addressed. Becoming a captain again will allow me to really push into that as I reconnect with old friends and make new ones." The overcoat had a Chrysanthemums insignia on the back that stood for Truth and Innocence over his Shihakusho. Another step closer to becoming the Captain Commander, but from now until then and then after that he would be working on becoming more power than he was before in order to push the world at large into being a better soul.

[WC: 1,502] [Claimed Captain of the First Division]
[Total WC: 3,279]
[Exit Thread]

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Stepping out into the open training fields Captain Xarius Kaeru was flanked by his Vice-Captain Oriru Kushō and Third Seated Officer Sif Barkuz. There was a purpose to this day that he had been putting off until he reacquired his proper rank of Captain Commander of the Gotei Thirteen Death Squads. That purpose was to address and introduce the changes to the highest seats within the First Division as there had not been a proper meeting for that very thing. The reason for this was because the frog captain was getting things lined up for how he wanted the squad to be ran and look under his leadership.

Coming to a stop on the outskirts of the training field Xarius watched as his younger brother Ank Kaeru the  First Division's Seventh Seated Officer was already taking his duties of Kido Arts trainer seriously. "Today's lesson was Hadō number fifty-four: Haien," Ank explained as this was one that the frog captain knew decently well but had not tried since his return from the void. "Gather the rest of the squad that have not shown up yet," he stated as he motioned with his left hand for the two highest ranked behind him to use their various skill sets to reach the rest of the squad's members. The kido art also was known as Abolishing Flames was a technique where the user fires an oblong blast of purple spiritual energy from their hand that erupts and immolates a target completely when it makes contact with the intended target. A straight forward yet powerful kido art that could put the bind on just about any opponent that was not prepared to dodge. 

"Hadō number fifty-four: Haien," Ank directs his voice in a teacher like tone as he moves his left hand in a horizontal motion firing an oblong blast of purple spiritual energy from his hand that connects with a nearby training dummy before erupting in flames that completely engulfs in flames. "All of you can sling around academy level kido arts," the younger frog gives a short nod to his older brother before continuing to the group of low seated officers being trained, "But you all have become lazy by not continuing your training or learning new kido arts, that is why the Captain himself has selected me to get this squad up to tip top shape."

Taking a few steps to his left Ank motions out to the Captain Commander to come to the front, "What do you say captain? While we wait for the rest of them to show up, we can show this group some of the kido arts I've helped you relearn or learn since your return?" As the group looks back to see who Ank was talking to a blur leaving a few leaves swirling in the wind. Their confusion continued as they faced forward to now see the larger frog shinigami standing just to the right of the smaller frog shinigami trainer. "Seems like that could take more time that is allotted for today," Xarius replied as he glanced over to the nearest training dummy, "But this is one that I could use a refresher course on." 

"Give it a shot and let's see what you remember," Ank states throwing his hands up behind his head in a carefree manner. Xarius gathers some of his reiryoku in the tips of his right hand's fingers lifting that hand straight out before making a sharp horizontal motion as he says, "Hadō number fifty-four: Haien." The oblong blast of purple spiritual energy flies from his hand making contact with the dummy as it explodes in a fiery display of destruction. "Close, but need to concentrate a bit more on the fire and density of the spiritual energy you are throwing. This is meant to burn your targets to the ground not create an explosion of fire," the younger Kaeru explains to the older one where he went wrong drawing shocked expressions from the group watching on.

"I see," Xarius replies recoiling his right arm repairing to go again, "Hadō number fifty-four: Haien." Wasting no time he once again fires a purple oblong blast made of pure spiritual energy that was more concentrated and dense than before from his right hand at the same target. As the purple energy hits the new training dummy near the last one it erupts and burns much longer this time around. The group of onlookers watched in amazement as the quick turnaround on a simple correction. "There we go, only took two tries with this one," Ank gives a mocking form of praise, "Keep that up and you'll pass me up." 

"Highly unlikely that would be any time soon. I don't have the time to only train one skill like you do," Xarius gives a short dry jab back to his younger brother as he noticed the rest of the group First Division Members were now gathering in behind the kido arts trainees. "Go ahead and join the rest of them as training is done for now," Xarius tone changed to a more authoritative one as Oriru gave him a hand motion showing that the meeting was ready to begin. 

The whole First Division squad was about thirty members strong, clearly the smallest group in all of the Gotei Thirteen Death Squads. "Thank you all for gathering on such short notice," Xarius started out resting his right hand on top of his two zanpakutos attached to his right hip as he let his left hand dangle to his left side, "This meeting is to establish a lot of different things, namely the future of this squad. Starting with the clear changes in the command structure as I am once again Captain Commander of the Gotei Thirteen Death Squads and captain of the First Division."

Murmurs started to breakout slowly as word of Kaeru taking the mantle back of Captain Commander was still not known to Soul Society at large. "This is still very new as the Central Forty-Six just ruled on this earlier today. There will be an official announcement later this week once all of the paperwork has been finalized. Because of this change former captain Sif Barkuz has graciously accepted the rank of Third Seat while retaining the title of Director of the Administration Department as we work towards the future I have envisioned for this Squad," Kaeru announced as the low murmurs continues as Sif raises his left hand to quiet the crowd as the large frog shinigami waits for things to settle.

"In conjunction with this effort I have named Oriru Kushō as my Lieutenant and Director of Command of the First Division," Kaeru states firmly as he gestures over to the new Vice-Captain, "His organization and structure proposal has been approved as well as being implemented across the Gotei Thirteen. Because of his transition seventeenth seated officer Tinzauzid Zobyakemzu will be taking over his former duties as Central Forty-Six Chambers' administration assistant role. Some of you have already met with Seventh Seated Officer Ank Kaeru as our Kido Arts trainer and recruit manager for all new seated members that join our squad."

Taking a step towards the group at large Kaeru would then speak with an even more authoritative tone than before, "The First Division under the new structure is still the squad of Leadership and Administrative Command. This Division currently is, and remains, the Head of the Thirteen Court Guard Squads and retain the responsibilities of relaying order delivered by Central Forty-Six, dealing with Soul Society Law, and monitoring all the other Divisions within the Thirteen Court Guard Squads. That was why this meeting had to wait until I was officially Captain Commander once again and had my Lieutenant in place."

Turning around for a moment Kaeru looked up towards the center of Seireitei where the large white tower of the Senzaikyū which was linked to the Sōkyoku Hill could be seen. His captain's haori moved in the wind as the First DIvision's insignia of a chrysanthemums that signifies truth and innocence flapped up showing the back side of his deep purple hakama-himo as he spoke up once again, "This Division recruited each and everyone one of you because of more than just your skills in one particular area. The primary reason former captain Barkuz is the same reason that Lieutenant Oriru and I will continue to recruit similar souls to join our squad, you all have the greatest potential to lead the Gotei Thirten Death Squads into the next generation. We may be small in numbers right now, but we more than make up for it in what we can do as a united squad moving with a singular focus of making Soul Society better."

Cheers and shouts of affirmation erupted from all thirty of the seated officers out in front of the three highest seated officers at the front of the group. Kaeru continued calmly through the swell of out pouring emotions from the squad members new and old, "That starts with assessing where we are at as individuals and as a squad. Lieutenant Oriru will be meeting with each of you individually first to process and update everyone's paperwork so that we can find everyone's proper placements in the new structure with Director Barkuz's assistance. From there I will take time to greet each of you and start to work through what exact your roles as I want you to understand them clearly and know my expectations. As this will be a long process I request you all have some patience as the processes are literally be written up this week."

Lifting his left fist into the air Kaeru summoned up the last of what he had to say, "From this day forth I will expect of each of you exactly what I expect of myself; your absolute best. The potential is in each of you, reach for that, grab it, take that and mold that into the soul you want to be for the betterment of not just the squad or yourself, but for Soul Society as well. Take pride in everything you do, own your shortcomings to better yourself, and provide support to the other Gotei Thirteen squads as examples of where this is all heading. The winds of change start right here with this squad!" With that a lot of cheering happened as he nodded to the vice-captain Oriru and Third seat Sif as he took his leave towards his office once again. There was a lot of work to still be done, but this was one small step in getting this back to their proper order.

[WC: 1,721/1,050(reiryoku specialist)][Learned Hadō #54: Haien]
[Exiting thread]
[WC reduced by 58 for Oriru's structure notes of:

Spoiler

"The First Division under the new structure is still the squad of Leadership and Administrative Command. This Division currently is, and remains, the Head of the Thirteen Court Guard Squads and retain the responsibilities of relaying order delivered by Central Forty-Six, dealing with Soul Society Law, and monitoring all the other Divisions within the Thirteen Court Guard Squads.

 

Edited by Xarius Kaeru
add note for WC reduction
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