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The Sleepless Night - Part 1

"Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less."
WC | 1575
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ONE OF THE... simplest factors of life is the fact that all beings that exist, have once existed or shall one day exist, share only a single truth among all of them and it remains impossible to replace, hide from, or deny as an absolute certainty. "We all have something we fear." The Kido Corps Commander, Oriru Ryuka Kusho, stood across from his dear friend, his loving partner, and his current sparring partner; The current standing Captain of the Third Division Osore Shinsei smirked at the response of the Corps Commander. Each one stood across from one another removed from most of their gear and clothes as they stood within the open air at the top of Sokyoku Hill towards the end of a day. Both the Captain and Corps Commander had their shirts and Haori off to the side folded nicely in separate piles, at the request and effort of the Corps Commander, with their Zanpakuto gently placed on top of each designated pile.

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In the near distance, a short walk from the pile of clothes sat the Kido Corps Chief Ginger Genshi and the Third Division Lieutenant Aimi Amagawa who were disinterested in the activities of their formal superiors and informal friends. "They seem to be having fun at least." Ginger commented as she turned the page of her book which, at a further glance, became noticeably a graphic novel as opposed to her typical research texts. "Yeah, at least Osore isn't skulking around anymore." Aimi added as she too turned the page of her graphic novel, one of a more lewd nature, "Which is great, so Oriru isn't making those annoying deep sighs in his office." Each one chuckled as they both happened to lean back on the ground engrossed in their reading.

"Are you about to try and get philosophical on me?" Osore couldn't help but smirk as he proceeds to roll his right arm stretching his shoulder as the beads of sweat continued to fall down his body. His Kido Veins having the streams of light blue reishi flowing through his body keeping him from falling ill once more. "Because this is not a Kido lesson here."

Oriru made a soft sigh. "Of course, my apologies." He nodded with his apology as he started to perform a side lunge while reaching down towards the ground. "You know my instincts, but you are right. This is your training session." As he lifted back to his standing position, Osore gave a nod in agreement but Oriru still added, "Still, my statement remains true." Suddenly Osore vanished from his position in a blur and appeared less than a meter from Oriru in a low crouched stance reaching his left hand across his body on the ground and spinning his body counter-clockwise sliding his right leg along the ground leaning close to sweeping Oriru's leading left leg.

It was a quick movement, but it was a gentle attack compared to what Oriru was prepared for which gave him the chance to lift his leading foot off the ground less than a foot but enough to avoid the leg as it approached. Once Osore had completed most of, he was able to use his planted hand to leverage his momentum and lift his body into a handstand with his leg lifting up towards the chin of Oriru. This attack, although more elaborate, was still within the expectations of Oriru regarding Osore and his style of dance combat. His own response was simply to generate distance and would have enough leverage to leap back even with only one foot on the ground. 

As he pushed back off of his single-foot Osore responded with a quick lurch of his free hand to grab the foot of Oriru which was something that was less expected as both feet were now removed from the ground. Osore took the moment for his advantage and pushed off with his one based hand and pulled with his gripped hand while bending at his knees and launched himself at the chest of Oriru. Oriru could see the attack as it came, but he could not manage a way out of it in time as he placed his arms in front of him across his chest to block the knees as they collided upon his guard and brought the impact through and drove him into the ground. Osore used the momentum to carry himself as he released the leg and continued the circular rotation landing upon his back and rolling to his feet.

Osore took a few steps to the side of Oriru before putting one leg over him and posed over him. "You have to stop thinking so much." He reached his right hand down prepared to help Oriru back to his feet, "Spend too much time in your head, you start to lose time in the moment." Oriru let a sigh that shifted to a smile as he gripped the forearm presented with his own right hand as he was assisted back to his feet and stood directly in front of Osore. "Now who is getting philosophical?" He smirked as Osore released the grip and pushed Oriru away but Oriru was able to respond fast enough this time to grip the elbow with his left hand and pulled Osore close placing a quick kiss.

"I was not expecting-" Mid statement Oriru took his left knee to the right knee of Osore and used the placement of his hand on his elbow and reached under his arm for leverage before sweeping him towards the ground. He brought his right hand to the chest of Osore to maintain control and open his stance and brought him to the ground with his grip maintained. With a smile, Oriru winked at Osore, "Spend too much time in your head, you start to lose time in the moment." He quickly jumped back a few feet, which was a perfect instinct, as Osore quickly shifted his position as his body generated a small amount of grey smoke and he based himself to windmill back to his feet. "Now that, that was clever." With a smirk, "You sneaky little shit." Oriru gave only a shrug in return, "Just being in the moment."

Once more Osore rushed forward to continue their session, "How much longer do we expect them to be at this?" Aimi inquired to Ginger as her own book remained rested upon her chest, arms crossed behind her head, and gaze fixed on the decorated night sky scattered with stars. "Honestly, I can never tell with these two." Ginger continued with the reading of her book as she held it firmly in one hand and the other was crossed behind her head. "Sometimes it is a quick session, and other times they will go at it until the sun rises." Aimi, startled by the response, turned her head towards Genshi with a look of confusion, "Yeah. See, Oriru comes from the 57th district of the Rukongai and had little to no money or recognizable spiritual pressure when he joined the Spiritual Arts Academy and your Captain, Osore, he comes from the shadow of his father always labeled as the heir to the Jonestsu clan." She paused a moment as she turned the page and placed her hand back behind her head, "Oriru came from nothing and has made his way to Kido Corps Commander but still wants to prove to himself that he can be better, proof for the Captain Commander, proof against his father, and proof for his mother. Osore, on the other hand, wants to prove to everyone that he can be great on his own."

Aimi brought her gaze back into the stars, "I mean, they are always training with each other and other Captains all of the time. I wasn't expecting to be chosen as his Lieutenant, I am not nearly as dedicated as they seem to be." Ginger chuckled, "Osore would not have chosen you if he didn't see a fire similar to his in you." She finally closed the book and set it down next to her. "You also come from a noble family, which you aren't too keen on sharing." Aimi sharply turned back towards Ginger prepared to speak before Ginger interjected, "I don't plan to tell anyone, it is my job to know a little bit of everything. A specialty of working with Oriru is the plethora of knowledge. Sadly the only thing he doesn't know too well is how to have an actual social interaction with people, which is potentially the hardest part of my job."

There was a moment where Aimi was about to speak once more when a loud crash was heard where both Oriru and Osore were training. She sat up and turned her head to see in the distance a large plume of dist from the ground which was mixed with the smoke reminiscent of her Captain. "They are making quite the noise." Suddenly both Oriru and Osore appeared in the sky above the smoke and rushed each other in such a speed that Aimi could not perceive but she saw the massive spark of light from their collision and a few seconds later the sound of the impact like thunder. "Oh, they are barely getting warmed up Aimi."

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The Sleepless Night - Part 2
"Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less."
WC | 1305
---------

THE NIGHT HAS... always been one of the most curious moments in life as it has the ability to hide the truth from the light of day but yet finds a way to illuminate the faults in reality and determine the actuality that is hidden. A false promise of protection is offered every time that the moon decides to appear but the light of the moon is nothing but the stolen property of the sun that hides upon the next horizon; this making the moon nothing more than thief and a liar becoming the greatest patron of the night. "Come on Ryuka, you aren't starting to get tired on me are you?" Osore blurted out as he panted a few meters across from his opponent and partner, a few bruises appearing on his body from the session that had been going on for what appeared to be quite some time. He took a moment to posture up back into a casual stance keeping his eyes fixed on Oriru just in case the moment returned to the session.

"You of all people know the depth of my stamina." Oriru retorted with the clear tone of his intentions that was paired with a charming smirk and followed with a soft laugh. "But it appears that you might be the one to tap out soon." He too took a moment to posture up, a few less noticeable bruises added to the collection of scars that consume his body. It was not as clear as it was with Osore, but Oriru was having subtle labored breathing as they each kept their eyes upon one another. "I have yet to tap out once, and today is not about to be any different." Osore slyly responded as a soft veil of smoke could be seen forming around his body, the gentle ashen grey color enveloping his form and dancing like the remains of a freshly burned incense. "I think we have had a decent warm up at this point though Ryuka." A smirk upon his face revealed his white teeth and the noticeable feature of his canines extending. Oriru could not help but give a tender smile as he shook his head, taking note of the change in the eyes of Osore with the iris shifting from the traditional circle to a more diamond shape. "Oh, is that the way that you want to go, Reisui?" Almost as if it was a trigger, upon the name spoken, the thin veil that was forming around Osore shifted darker in color with the immediate area growing in temperature. 

With a flash of light Osore was gone and the only thing that was seen next was Oriru with his arms crossed over his chest in an 'X' formation as he slid back several feet along the ground. Flashes of light would occur all over the place as Oriru would only respond with moments of a shift in position just before a massive impact. With each flash of light an intense sound of thunder could be heard seconds after, after nearly three flashes of light cause a lapse in synchronicity for many. "They-they really aren't holding back." Aimi, now standing to her feet watching the intense battle taking place before her, or watching as much as she could manage to watch. The intense power displayed would be overwhelming if not for the refinement at which they were both performing with that potentially made it more magnificent. "Actually," Ginger remained in a seated position next to Aimi with her book in her lap and arms slightly behind her as a base, "They still have yet to actually get going."

"You are kidding!? There is no way that this is still a warm up session for them." Genshi could only manage a soft shrug paired with a nod for affirmation, "This amount of power is remarkable, I do not believe that they are at least using a major part of their power." Aimi kept her focus on the two as best she could, being mostly the fact that she could only see Oriru shifting his position in small bits as the flash of light continued to appear around him. "I mean think about it, they say a Captain's base power is more than ten times any seated officer using their full potential." Ginger took a moment to smile, "You are impressed by the display that you see, yet neither one of them have even touched their Zanpakuto."

That was the moment that dawned on Aimi as she glanced over at the piles of clothes and the respective Zanpakutos of their owners, "They haven't... This is their own natural base power on display."

"Exactly. Because if they were to actually use any of their real power we honestly would not be able to be within range of nor even see a moment of their encounter." A chuckle slipped from her lips, "And I still remember meeting young Oriru when he was still fresh in the academy unable to manifest his own Reiryoku for a basic kido and now..." In a burst of power, almost to finish the sentence, Oriru caused a massive explosion of black energy from his body the moment that a flash of light appeared next to him and both he and Osore were blasted away from one another. They would soar through the air before colliding with the ground bouncing several meters as they established their feet underneath one another and vanish once more.

"Ginger..." Aimi held her fists clenched in excitement as she continued to watch, "Let's train." Her focus was set on the battle that she could not even witness occurring before her as Ginger turned her head and locked on to Aimi with a curious gaze. "We may not be able to reach the level of the Captain and the Commander, but we can do right by them and prove ourselves capable." A momentary crack in her excitement revealed the inch of angst underneath, "We can grow powerful too, and be recognized for the talent that we have." Her right hand came down to grip the sheath of her weapon for a second, "Who knows, we may even be able to surpass them one day." She turned towards Ginger, ready with her sheath gripped firmly within her right hand as she pulled it away from her body.

They looked at each other for a long moment as Aimi's expression grew more excited and Ginger gave a smile, "Pass." Before laying back down on the ground and looking up at the sky and allowing her eyes to close. Aimi, however, was not as relaxed as another massive explosion could be heard nearby moments after a collision of light occurred far to her side now. "What do you mean pass?" There was  clear sign of confusion, "I mean I will pass on training, but you are more than welcome to do whatever it is you please."

"Why would you pass?"

"Because, technically speaking, no matter how much I train I can't get any better." She smirked, "Besides, there is no way that I could ever surpass Oriru." With a slow exhale, "Since he is still weaker than me." Another explosion occurred and this time high in the sky as both of their bodies fell from above and collided with a major impact into the ground. Oriru and Osore remained on the ground bruised and with a bit of blood next to each other laughing.

"Alright. Alright." Oriru said catching his breath. "You finally give up?" Osore attempted to respond with heavy breathing, "Nope. I think the warm up is finally done."

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The Sleepless Night - Part 3
"Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less."
WC | 1860
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STARS SHINE BRIGHTEST... during the night is an obvious statement to say the least, but when posed in such a manner it means that they remain shining during the times not considered night and such a thought it is a curious one. Never has a person considered the thought about the starts that shine during the day and the divide between its other half. Even when the sun is at a full force, the stars still shine just as bright and we get to personally experience the power of that star compared to the majestic value of the others when the darkness spreads across the sky and such the shimmering sparks of energy give a decorative visual above. "What are you even talking about?" Aimi inquired, clearly confused by the statement provided by Ginger but also shocked by the force of the Captain and Commander facing off against one another. "There is no way that the Kido Corps Commander Kusho, the man that is having a fight with such power, as a warm up no less, is weaker than you." Her voice was truly against the information provided, "No offense.

"None taken. From the view of the ranks, and certainly raw power, Oriru is definitely leagues above me." Oriru slowly got to his feet, with a smile on his face as he clenched his fists observing Osore do the same with a mild amount of strain. "The simple fact of the matter is, although Oriru is capable and determined, he still lacks the practical experience to really be a combative force." With a wild smile, Osore would stretch his hand out as his nails appeared to sharpen and blacken. His body would start to radiate a mist of sorts, vapor of energy, as a soft spike in his Reiatsu washed over the area with a strange calming sensation. "He is capable of withstanding a massive amount of punishment, and enough grasp of Kido to be a force to be reckoned with; but perhaps his greatest weakness is that he is still too scared to use his real power." With the first wave of Osore's power flowing through the area, a second one came but this one was less calming and more as if a torrential rush of water exploded from his body and for a moment Aimi stumbled as she fought to maintain balance. Meanwhile, both Genshi and Oriru both remained fixed in their spots unwavering. "As long as he remains scared to use his real power, the full power of his Zanpakuto, then he will always be a single step behind me."

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The wave of power finally started to fade revealing Osore with his eyes having a deep red radiant glow and even his Kido Veins sharing this distorted energy flowing through his body. It was so potent that some of his natural veins started to radiate and it appeared that his skin started to crack from the power flowing, "Come on Ryuka. Let's turn it up a notch." Osore had a distorted voice that held a hollow tone to it but although the rush of power was clear, there was a soft tranquility to the rage infused power. "You are telling me that this, this power that the Captain is displaying that causes Commander Kusho to not even flinch, is still inferior to you?" Aimi said with the obvious criticism. "Of course not, Osore's Shunko is remarkable and I could never compare to that. It is strictly about Oriru, but he could explain it better. You should ask him about his Zanpakuto, it is quite fascinating when you learn the truth." Aimi took a moment to look Ginger up and down before scoffing at the absurdity that she had been spewing, "I will never believe that you measure to this." She motioned over to the pair as Oriru's nature remained calm and fixed on Osore. "Dai Enkai, the unique technique developed and descended from the variation of the Shunko skill Kantan'na Shokuji, something that the Jonetsu family take pride in."

Osore revealed a smile as it showed most of his teeth had sharpened at this point, "You spend so much time reading, but let's see how much it has taught you." Osore leaned forward for a moment as Oriru crouched down in a low settled stance before they both vanished without a trace. Aimi and Ginger both remained a close distance to where they once saw the pair and seconds went by without a sound nor a sight of the two. "Where... Did they go?" She asked looking around for a moment as the calm night revealed nothing and the only sound heard was the soft gentle breeze rolling through and the rhythmical pounding of her own heartbeat. Ginger smiled, "They didn't go anywhere really, they are still over there." She pointed in the direction that they were both standing, "Like, invisible?" Ginger couldn't help but laugh at the question, "No, of course not. They just are getting really intense, and it looks like Oriru is finally taking the session a little serious."

"What are you talking-" Before the rest of her sentence could be made, the sudden sight of a dust coming from the ground followed by the sound of the impact itself revealed a momentary spark of light between the deep red color of Osore and a new vibrant aquamarine color. Sudden crashes began to happen all over the area following the first creating a dust storm. This continued for nearly a minute, with each successive crashing coming faster than the previous. Ginger quickly got up and took hold of Aimi and in a rush of speed carried her several meters away, "Why did-" the sudden crash the happened at the place that they pair of them were standing was the answer to the question. The force of the final collision plus the force of their Reiatsu pushed all of the dust from the surface of their little spare. "Thanks." She took a moment to gather herself, "That was a close one. Their power is incredible."

"Yes, my son and his friend are quite impressive indeed." From behind Aimi and Ginger appeared an a familiar face to one, "Show him the power of a Kusho my son!" He shouted, claiming the attention of Oriru and Osore as they both stared down the man standing behind them. "Nisshoku." Instantly they both prepared to rush down the man before a figure stood in front of them. His long black hair over his bare torso as the black bones covered parts of his body, a gift from Nisshoku. The form of the horns appearing as a clear sign that Oriru would recognize, and upon seeing his face it became clear. "Whoa, come on cousin."

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"Tsubi." Oriru said between gritted teeth as he stood next to a feral form Osore. "It's Tsubusu." Oriru held a strained face, "You were put in prison." Tsubusu simply let out a chuckle as he shrugged, "I was, but uncle Nisshoku was so kind as to let me out so I could stretch me legs a bit. Get a little fresh air as well." Osore rushed forth, "Down boy." He raised his right hand forward and an orb of black energy formed as he whipped it forward and a wave of energy consumed in a red glow was fired at Osore. "Danku!" The clear barrier formed between Osore and the blast as Oriru rushed forward to grab him and move to the side as the blast shattered the barrier after a second of resistance and continued forward into the air.

"Oh cousin, you have learned a skill or two since the days in the Rukongai days." He laughed, "The little coward who would get bullied all of the time, calling out to me," He started in a mocking tone, "Cousin Tsubi. They beat me up and stole my books." Slowly he made his way towards them to close the distance once more, "So I took care of them, and they never bullied you again." "You killed them!" "Because we are family!" As he shouted, a wave of energy come from his body. "I made sure that no one would ever mess with our family, and you denied my offer to join the family venture in the Rukongai... Because you wanted to be a Soul Reaper. You wanted to join the Academy."

Tsubusu stopped a few feet in front of the pair, "The only person who even came to visit me in the nest was your father, him and my father, until you showed up in his life. Then you became his obsession and he stopped coming to see me." His power began to spike violently, "Then you decided to kill him, my father Hiko." Oriru turned his head away in guilt, "He was trying to kill me... He wanted to kill me to stop him from being set free." "No excuses."

"Let them go." Osore snarled towards both Tsubusu and Nisshoku, "Oh no, I think they will remain right here with me." He placed a hand on each of their shoulders with a smile, as they attempted to run but their bodies could only manage small twitches under the pressure of the man. "You will not survive. You are in the center of the Court of Pure Souls, the forces of the Thirteen Court Guard Squads will arrive any minute thanks to your idiot nephews little flare." "Yeah, assuming you both survive the Captain and the Commander.

Nisshoku release a light chuckle, "A feisty duo you are, but enough from you both." With a slight amount of pressure they both buckled to the ground. "Aimi." "Genshi." Each of them made the glance over to their weapons and rushed over towards them, "I don't think so." Tsubusu dashed in front of them as Nisshoku appeared next to the garments and Zanpakuto. Tsubusu got in the way of Oriru but Osore made it around only to be halted by the approaching Nisshoku. Simultaneous to the movements appeared a strange bone like dome around the weapons and garments. 

"Cuz, let me put it in simple terms for you. This is your last chance to join the family venture, become part of something great, or I end your life myself." Oriru gritted his teeth as he lowered his stance, the aura surrounding him contrasting the deep red aura of his cousin. "We are no longer family." "Shame... I would give the mercy of a quick death for family." There was a pause as Tsubusu pulled his Zanpakuto from his sheath holding the blade in his right hand as Oriru glanced over to notice Oriru attempting to battle Nisshoku just as Tsubusu appeared in front of him, "Focus on me!" Collision of power caused an eruption of energy to surge into the sky and for a moment even the stars disappeared from sight unable and unwilling to shine so bright upon the events of this night.

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The Sleepless Night - Part 4
"Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less."
WC | 1500
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LIFE IS FINITE... and there has never been a moment that it was not true. Even with the acceptance of knowledge with the soul being capable of carrying on into a new form within a new realm or becoming assimilated through consumption, life still has an expiration date. This is not true, however, of existence for that continues endlessly through the memories, tales, and essence that radiates. There will always be a fragment of what once was that remains in what is. So is the case as Captain Kusho collided his fist with the hand of his cousin's palm. A valiant effort but pointless to the superior combat specialist. "Come on Cousin, you are the Commander of the Kido Corps yet this is all that you can manage?" With a devastating punch, Tsubusu crushed his cousin down into the ground. "With this effort, you will be dead long before your friends ever come to assist you." He raised his leg to stomp down on Oriru as he rolled quickly out of the way and pushed himself to his feet. There was little time between his feet hitting the ground before Tsubusu was already rushing forward. "Enough."

Then, in an eruption of power, a wave of emerald green energy surged from his body and launched his cousin a short distance away. A pillar of energy that shined like a gem stone basking in the absent light of the stars hidden beyond the darkness of the power. Tsubusu could not manage to move under the pressure being exerted in that moment as Nisshoku delivered his own devastating forward kick against Osore sending him flying quite a distance away. As Osore attempted to gather himself he felt a stinging sensation where he was kicked and saw a black ink on his body. Before he could react properly, the ink started to glow and instantly a massive explosion of purple energy occurred consuming Osore in the power of Nisshoku's technique. Both the emerald and purple energy would disperse revealing Osore falling to the ground unconscious and Osore in a form much different than anything that had been seen from him. His skin had become so radiated in raw energy that it darkened like the night sky as the pores that his hair would flow from would be consumed in a flame. Though it was not clear, the flames was nothing more than raw energy so potent that it left his body like exhaust.

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Fire by AbsolumTerror.deviantart.com on @deviantART

"Now this, this is what I'd like to see from-" Before the words could finish, Osore stood in front of his cousin and allow his right hand to collide with the nose of Tsubusu causing a massive explosion to occur as he was driven into the ground. His left hand followed suit with a left hook that scooped Tsubusu from the ground and launched him into the air. Osore, in a burst of literally explosive force, appeared in the air and caught his cousin with his left hand around the neck and threw him at the ground. Yet another force of explosive energy surged from Oriru as he rushed down like a meteor from the sky upon Tsubusu. The moment that he reached the ground there was a bight light of swirling black and green energy with a dust cloud as Nisshoku looked on. 

From the cloud clearing revealed Tsubusu holding his blade to the heel of Oriru, straining to hold his ground. "Aye, you got a few tricks up your sleeve. Shunko, not bad." With a smile he generated a black orb from his mouth and instantly Oriru appeared a few feet away as the beam launched forth towards the sky. "Play time is over." He held his blade in front of him gripping the blade with his bare hand at the base and slowly slid his hand along the sharp edge carving into his hand revealing a strange black blood dripping, "Get wild, let loose, and accept the insanity-" Before he could finish several of the Captain's revealed themselves arriving and lead by the Captain of the Eleventh Division. 

With a smile Tsubusu finished, "that surrounds you, Bōmei." Tsubusu was consumed by a radiant black energy that danced like smoke as red lines traced his body. "Now... We play." The voice of the newly formed Tsubusu was as distorted as his form, his body actually leaking this strange black energy with each drop seeming to eat away at the very ground that it touched.

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Tolt v2 by LAS-T.deviantart.com on @deviantART

The first to charge forward was the Kenpachi, despite the request of the Captain of the Tenth Division to coordinate. He swung his blade down upon Tsubusu as the dark being generated a blade of his own from this strange black substance that would meet the blade of the Kenpachi. "You, the false Kenpachi, have already proven a disappointment." With his blade held to the Kenpachi, he spun on his back foot so fast and delivered a kick to the chest of the Kenpachi sending him flying. Nisshoku appeared several feet behind Tsubusu and a small distance in the air.

He observed as Tsubusu took on three Captains; the Eighth, the Tenth, and the Seventh, with such a grace and ruthlessness using his ability to adjust his form using the black substance. Oriru rushed forth to assist only to be met with the presence of his father standing before him. "You interfere and they die." He motioned in the near distance at Osore, Aimi, and Genshi all on the ground with silver spears hovering right over their body. "Every inch you move is an inch closer that their hearts meet the cold steel." Oriru attempted to rush Nisshoku only to see the rods move down into the heart of his friends. He slowly moved back towards his position and observed the rods retreat a small distance as well. Any movement he made from that point made the spears inch closer forcing him to remain fixed.

Oriru was forced to watch Tsubusu fight against the four Captains, and even unleashing their Shikai had not amounted to enough to stand above the force of this man. It only took a few moments before the Captain of the fifth Division appeared with the Captain of the Ninth Division, Sixth Division, and Thirteen Division as well. "Looks like it is my turn to play." Nisshoku suddenly appeared before the new Captains with several spears surrounding his form and using those to combat the force of the newly arrived Captains. These two individuals were able to remain the stronger force against the majority of the Captains even though they kept their Bankai sealed. 

The shift occurred when the Captain of the Second Division, Mikoto Shuu, and the Captain of the Fourth Division, Elevander Jecht, arrived. The other Captain's feeling a bit outmatched, stepped aside when Shuu approached Tsubusu and Jecht approached Nisshoku. If nothing had shown the difference in power for the Captain's this moment certainly changed the dynamic as Shuu matched the power and potential of Shuu much like Jecht against Nisshoku. The other Captain's would not be aware of it, but neither of them were using their real power against these enemies. "Disperse." With the words spoken, a massive explosion occurred less than a foot from each of the individuals in the area forcing them all to disperse momentarily in order to avoid the explosion.

Suddenly the air became increasingly thin as everything seemed to stop moving. Each person could not move a single muscle as hard as they tried. "This is a forbidden technique, and trust when I say that not a single person upon this hill will be able to move an inch. At least, not until I have said my piece. See now what weakness you have here in the Soul Society, what vulnerability you have against us. For too long the Soul Society has been afraid of the nature of Hollowfication, shying aware from the truth because Central Forty Six deemed it illegal. The art of hollowfication has been perfected and true power has been discovered, and I grant you the same opportunity that has blessed this man and the others that have Ascended." Suddenly three beings appeared next to Nisshoku all with their own unique black substance dressed upon their body similar to Tsubusu. 

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b9f1d90b3e81e37c6ec680302c76cd12.jpgCard: Apostle of Silence2 - Villain - There always has to be a reason for a mask!

The unique time field that contained them all started to fade allowing them the freedom of movement as Nisshoku released a smile unleashing the full force of his Spiritual Pressure he could manage without activating his actual release. "So who here would accept the offer of Ascension?" Many remained focused on the five enemies that stood in front of them while a few glanced at their comrades, curious as to who is actually considering the offer.

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The trials of the few impact the many. 

This was something that Xarm Kaeru had repeated time and time again as Xarius grew up. The father figure had a great insight into how things work, namely other souls. While they often different in how they approached any given person or situation, they often came to the same conclusions. Each and every person to cause ripples in the lives of others. Some are easily swayed by the words of others, while others ignore the words out of sheer stubbornness.

The trials of the few impact the many.

The high alerts were going off as the reiatsu releases of Captain of the Third Division Osore Shinsei and Kido Corps Commander Oriru Ryūka Kushō against unknown forces were causing quakes resonating from Sokyoku Hill which was the center of Seireitei. Stepping to his balcony looking out towards the hill a hell butterfly lands on Captain Commander's shoulder. The information that was immediately passed to him was from the Onmitsukido patrol corps that a battle with two unidentified vaizard figures had begun. Captain of the Eleventh Division Kenpachi Gragir Sozand, Captain of the Seventh Division Opah Dhamal, Captain of the Eighth Division Hisu Zikrud, and Captain of the Tenth Division Xai Shieng were the first ones to respond. Captain of the Fifth Division Regashi Hokori, Captain of the Ninth Division, Captain of the Sixth Division Baal Kuchiki, Captain of the Ninth Division Monchue Jōnetsu, and Captain of the Thirteenth Division Shanzausk Olboro were all enroute. He in turn gives a simple command to advise Captain of the Twelfth Division Fimzinra Stemunalzo to stay behind and keep her current project protected.

"Captain Commander!" Vice Captain Razzezu Kuchiki burst into the frog captain's office in a huff, as if she was out of breath from running, "We are.." "Under attack," Xarius finishes her outburst calmly and directly as his head turns so that his eyes meet hers with the hell butterfly already fluttering away from the balcony, "I know. Prepare yourself Leiutenant we are heading out immediately." This was the exact type of situation he had been discussing at length with the Central Forty-Six that they needed to prepare for, but were stuck in the middle of too much political tug-of-war about every decision ever made. "Yes-sir! I am ready!" Razzezu replies with a strong bow as he charges forward to jump out of the room as the captain commander leaps into a long distance flash-step.

The trials of the few impact the many.

Arriving on scene during one of the several explosions as Captain of the Second Division Mikoto Shuu, and the Captain of the Fourth Division Elevander Jecht were each fighting different individuals whose reiatsu had been flaring up over the past few moments. Xarius was purposely keeping his lowered to not draw attention as he continued to take in the battlefield. First wave of captains were all severely injured, the second wave all looked fatigued and bruised, and then there was Captain of the Third Division Osore Shinsei, his Vice-Captain Aimi Amagawa, and Vice Kido Chief Ginger Genshi all on the ground with silver spears hovering right over their body and the lack of action of Oriru that seemed transfixed on the figure fighting Captain Jecht. The spears seemed to act like his flying blades or Oriru's orbs, but their structure seemed to be built more for speed than for durability or power that means he could take advantage of some timing.

With Vice Captain Razzezu Kuchiki arrives to the immediate area where the frog captain motioned for her to keep her distance as the group of captains all seemed to suppressed under a forbidden kido art that dealt with time in some form. Flash-stepping into the area of the fallen shinigami with the silver spears over their heads he grips his Yin zanpakuto with his right hand and his Yang zanpukto with his left hand pulling them both out in a flourish as he speaks the words for a kido art lowly, "Hadō Number Seventy-Eight: Zangerin." Each zanpakuto generates a large amount of energy from their blades before blasting it outward destroying all of the silver spears. Grabbing up Osore in a fireman's carry and the other two under each arm he flash-steps once again landing just past Razzezu giving her a direct order, "Protect them with your life." "Yes Captain Commander!" Razzezu spoke drawing her zanpakuto speaking the release command, "Gracefully Dance, Kōri no joō" A burst of cold wind erupts form her person as the sleek all white zanpakuto is gripped with an intensity not usually found on the Vice-Captain as she holds her position firm.

As Osore's body touches the ground next to the other two the frog captain began to raise his reiatsu level up to make his presence known as he could tell the forbidden kido art was starting to fade. That is when three new figures that had just appeared; one that looked like a female specter with a scythe, the middle one was a male figured with a scythe that had two blades on it, and the last one looked to be a goblinoid with two hooks attached at either end of a chain. The hooded goblin figure threw one of the hooks like a wipe cutting down Captain Opah, unfortunately for the vaizard he found himself in dire straights for his actions as the frog captain had appeared to make one smooth motion at a speed only a few could see cutting off the enemy's left leg, arm, and split the chain weapon in half. The hooded figure screeched out in pain as it fell over onto the ground bleeding everywhere. "Captain...Commander?" Captain Opah barely got out as she struggled to breath as she gripped the gash across her stomach, "Thank...you.."

The trials of the few impact the many.

The captain commander now stood between the Captain of the Seventh Division and the four remaining standing enemies. "I am Captain Commander of the Gotei Thirteen Death Squads Xarius Kaeru and I respectfully decline your offer," Xarius states plainly without hesitation as he steps through the area where everyone else was struggling to move as the kido was focused on those that were there on the hill when the kido art was cast, "You speak without understanding the full scope of the situation you are truly in if you are willing to make offers while in our domain, one that has had laws pass making Vaizards no longer illegal. Captains find your resolve, words come easy to those without honor." Firmly planted with both zanpakutos ready to defend against anyone of the enemies that makes a move towards any of the injured shinigami, this would allow those that had the resolve to fight, to fight without looking over their shoulders. Their mettle was being tested not just as an

[WC: 1146]

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The Sleepless Night - Part 5
"Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less."
WC | 1460 --> 2960
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TIME TELLS MORE... than the passage of moments in life and finds a way to explain things that have no other method of communication. Death has always been at the end of time, waiting for the moment that the gift made by Life will reach them. It has been a partnership of these three since the beginning when time decided they no longer wanted to be so lonely.

"Gongoro!" shouted the woman with the single blade scythe as Gongora fell to the ground in pain as his blood, black like the substance that consumes him and his comrades, would leak from his body. He shouted in pain as he used his remaining limb to cling to the place where his arm once existed. "Father, we must leave." The woman spoke towards Nisshoku as she appeared next to Gongoro placing her hand on his chest. Nisshoku simply raised his hand to silence Zerna.

"Oh, so it is true. The lost Captain Commander has returned from the dark unknown. If I had not seen you with my own eyes, I would not have believed it." He gave a smile as he took a single step forward with his feet placed firmly on the ground. Tsubusu stood next to him as his black substance cloak would dance like flames. "But allow me to make something clear, as you speak of not understanding the full scope of a situation. We are not pathetic Vaizards, who simply dabble within the nature of power. We. Are. Ascendants. We have broken the boundary between being a Shinigami and being Hollow, beyond the limits of a Vaizard; capable of things greater than either of those beings." With a smile, "Zerna, show them the outcome of denying Ascension."

Zerna would not to Nisshoku as she prepared her scythe in her hand, "Illuminate, Jaakuna kodomo." A burst of blinding light would radiate from the scythe as her Reiatsu seemed to flare to levels beyond any of them. In a burst of speed, Oriru would watch as she danced across the battlefield unable to move watching Zerna carve through each of the captains. The second being, unknown, would follow behind slicing anyone that attempted to run away. Tsubusu dashed forward and in a flash of speed carved through the Captain Commander and no matter how much Oriru tried to resist he could not move a muscle. Nisshoku fought against Shuu and Jecht but even they could not stand against the force of these beings. He watched as Tsubusu stood next to the bodies of Genshi, Aimi, and Osore making eye contact with Oriru before he impaled each one slowly as their screams of agony echoed in his head. So much blood, pain, and violence as all of his comrades surrounded him and he was unable to do anything about it.

Sudden a flash of light would happen once more as Zerna stood back in her original position much like the rest of the Ascendants. His eyes darted around and saw that nothing had changed, all of the Captains stood there but it was clear in one thing; they had seen a similar gruesome sight that he had. Those with enough power would be able to understand the illusion that had just happened, but the memory remained fresh and almost real. Those without the will or resolve would be more shaken by what they have seen. "That is the outcome of denying the blessing that I offer."

Suddenly, the final unnamed member of the Ascendants turned his head in order to crack his neck as he sat upon a black lifted platform that formed from his own black substance. "My turn father?" Nisshoku responded with a nod, "Zalorian, you may proceed." With a smile extending from ear to ear Zalorian cracked the knuckles of his left hand, "Echo endlessly, Kūnokū." as the two blades of his scythe shattered into black dust. This dust formed in front of him as two clones of himself holding his scythe as well but with a single blade each. "I know that someone in this group is tempted by the power, but allow Zalorian to show you what power truly is." There was a moment where all was silent, broken by the Captain of the Eighth Division leaping forward, "Ban-" She stopped midway through her words as one of the clones opened his mouth. It was not that she stopped, but no sound would escape her mouth. "Kai!" The clone completed, "Endless Flare!" The clone added as a blinding light consumed the area for a moment, "Hisu, no!" Captain of the Tenth Division, Xai Shieng shouted as she followed behind closing her eyes aware of the technique name, "Ban-" She attempted to complete the words herself as well but no sound would come free, "Kai!

"Daylight Judgement!" A searing sound of energy cackling could be heard as the blinding light would diminish revealing a several hurt Xai Shieng by what appeared to be a clone of Zalorian holding a massive spear with the blood of Xai on the end with a wound along her torso diagonally from shoulder to hip. The captain of the Eighth Division, Hisu Zikrud, suffered severe horizontal burns to her frontal torso along her abdomen as the other clone appeared to be holding a blade made of pure radiant black light. The Zalorian holding nothing but a staff cracked his knuckles as the clones shattered and reappeared on his staff reforming his dual blades. "Those were not as satisfying to consume as I had hoped." It had all happened so quickly as Regashi rushed with Jecht to claim the two injured captains and pull them from harms way. "It appears that those two were more zealous than I had thought. A shame, I had hoped to add a stronger pair of Bankai to the collection." On either side of Nisshoku would appear shadowy like figures of the Zanpakuto spirit of Hisu and Kai recognizable mostly only to them and perhaps any others that knew the form of their spirits. "For too long the Soul Society had sat upon their throne away from the worlds around them, believing themselves to aid in the balance while fearing the nature that is the other side of the scale. You claim to have allowed the existence of Vaizards, abominations to what is actually possible. Nonetheless, this is a warning." Nisshoku and Tsubusu stepped forward as something like a Garganta but opening to a void of pure white energy, "Shinigami shall go extinct."

As he spoke, few would notice Gongoro had his limbs almost completely regenerate from the black substance that was draining like blood from his body. Even his weapons were starting to regenerate the chain link with the black substance. Oriru was still fueled by his Shunko, still incomplete, but he was unsure of what he could manage to do at this point. He was grateful that Osore, Aimi, and Genshi were all safe and secure. "Tōitsu Technique - Oshieru." He said under his breath, activating a special kido technique he had been developing, "Jecht, Shuu, Kaeru; this is Kusho. Do not react, but this is being communicated directly to you-"

The Oshieru technique normally allows a user to share their memories and thoughts associated with the memories with another person, a special technique of the Tōitsu Kido Art, but a practitioner of Oriru's skill allows him to transplant thoughts without the need of associated memories providing the scene of events he plans:

Shuu and Kaeru both deal with Nisshoku and Tsubusu while Jecht uses his Dark Judgement, to which Jecht immediately thought, "Aye, how'd you know about that?" but it was ignored as Oriru attempted to maintain the connection of the thoughts being transplanted. With the Dark Judgement and Oriru triggering his Shikai, it is possible to prevent Nisshoku from triggering his time manipulation. If it works, it could catch him off guard enough to find an opening.

Oriru started to get a nosebleed and had to cut the connection, it was an untested technique on multiple targets at once but the strain was clear. Oriru only hoped that they trusted him enough as he kept track of the location of his Zanpakuto. If Shuu and Kaeru made the initiated action of fighting, Oriru could claim his Zanpakuto and he and Jecht would be able to trigger a theoretical combination. It was now or never as his form flickered for a moment revealing that he would not be able to sustain this form for much longer.

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The shout of the fallen vaizard revealed the name to be Gongoro, which the captain commander made a mental note as he was aware that vaizards like hollows had the potential for some self-healing capabilities. The enemy shouted out in pain as he used his remaining limb to cling to the vacant spot where his arm used to be located. The woman then tried to advise Nisshoku that they should retreat now that the forces that be were in the location all at once as she appeared next to her suffering ally placing her hand on his chest. The leader would raise his hand to silence her, seeming to have direct command over their state of being and mind without question. This was a curious moment as the frog kept his zanpakutos prepared for whatever would happen next.

Unphased by the Nisshoku's words of disbelief, the frog captain only acknowledged the statement with an intense glare as his reiatsu reached the peak without releasing his zanpakutos. This pushing those in the area to struggle with the various power levels shaking about, Captain Mikoto, Captain Jecht, and Captain Horoki were the only ones not clearly effected by this on the shinigami side. Nisshoku and Tsubusu were the only two that did not seem to be struggling with the higher reiatsus in the area. He made a mental note of this as he watched Nisshoku smile as he stepped forward planting himself on the ground firmly with Tsubusu standing next to him shrouded in a black flame-like cloak. 

This was a textbook monologuing from someone that thought they had the upper hand, a trick, or control of the situation at hand. Which was something Xarius Kaeru had grown up dealing with as a member of the noble Kaeru clan, Shinigami within the Gotei Thirteen, and answering to the Central Forty-Six. Within moments of showing up the frog shinigami had already pressed the man to give up valuable information, the type of information that could be exploited with time to study; Arrogance in his view of the state of Soul Society, the racism towards other vaizards and shinigami, what he believed separated their cause from that of what was accepted in Soul Society, and the icing on the cake promising the removal of limits. 

What came next was a pathetic excuse of an illusionary release ability as everyone in attendance was treated to the "future" if they were to decline the offer that the Ascension were offering. "Illuminate, Jaakuna kodomo," became the first release he was able to witness and study as the rest seem to either not understand that it was an illusion or were shocked at the display before their eyes. Kaeru remained as the fakes cut through and displayed a horrific scene until the light flickered back to the way things really were. Another mistake by the enemy to show one possible tactic of how they would "cut down" all those that opposed them, as even if it was an illusion this Zerna had to pull the moves and actions from somewhere. That meant more than likely she had trained with these allies of hers or at the very least had watched them attack others in the same fashion. This was valuable information for those of a keen eye.

The unease was palpable. Those that were truly battle tested were not shaken, or swayed to action, rather fixated on their respective locations and duties in the moment; Mikoto, Jecht, Horoki, and Kaeru. His eyes twitched over to each and every captain in that moment to mentally note the resolve of those shaken by this images; Kuchiki, Jonestsu, Kusho, Zikrud, Shieng, Soz, and Olboro. The only other two captain-level shinigami in the area were Captain Shinsei who was unconscious behind a terrified Vice-Captain Razzezu and Captain Dhamel who was still struggling with the gash through her stomach on the ground behind the Captain Commander. 

The final member of the Ascendants turned his head, cracking his neck as he asked if it was his turn to Nisshoku as he sat upon a black lifted platform. This Zalorian was almost too excited once his leader gave him the go ahead to be the next to do something. "Echo endlessly, Kūnokū," was another spoken release for the captain commander to study as the two blades of the scythe shattered into black dust forming in front of him as two clones of himself. This was an interesting way of going about a release, they also were each holding a single blade version of his scythe. 

The captain commander knew that there were only two possible people that would react to this clear goading by the enemy; Hisu Zikrud or Kenpachi Gragir Soz. They were the two most irrational of all the captains here in attendance, all of the Gotei Thirteen Death Squads really. Many had already fought to some extent revealing some of their trump cards, but he was curious which would break the tension first. The frog shinigami did not have to wait long as Captain Zikrud leapt into the fray with her long time friend Captain Shieng right behind her as usual. He immediately recalled both of the Captains' zanpakutos and fighting styles from when he tested them. Hisu relied on her blinding light to camouflage her attacks, while Xai could change the fate of two of her attacks. In tandem with these two were an effective force if not for their self-entitled personalities.

As the Captain of the Eighth Division jumped forward calling out her secondary release something interesting and possibly devastating to his fellow captain happened; her voice was turned mute and one of the clones finished the release command. The clone followed up using one of Hisu's techniques called "Endless Flare!" which engulfed the area in a blinding orange light. This was bad, he could hear the Captain of the Tenth Division shout out in fear for her friend having the exact same thing happens as the other clone would finish Xai's secondary release command. 

Another of Hisu's techniques known as "Daylight Judgment" could be heard from the diminishing orange light. As the light retreated everyone in the area was exposed to the sight of a severely injured Xai Shieng by a clone wielding a massive spear in a similar fashion to her bankai. Captain Zikrud was in a similar condition as the clone appeared to be holding a radiant black light blade much like her own bankai. Kaeru noticed at this moment that Zalorian currently holding nothing but a staff. A moment later the man cracked his knuckles causing the clones shattered into dust reforming on the staff as the dual blades. 

Devastating blows for two captains to fall in battle so quickly, but this was another round of valuable information about the captains and the enemy. Kaeru could not simply jump in and protect everyone, this unfortunately was a gruesome life lesson in the middle of what looked to be the beginning of something much larger coming. He was showing them a level of respect in their capabilities by allowing them a chance to step up or step aside. The figured made a comment in a disappointed tone about the consumption being unsatisfying as Regashi and Jecht flash-stepped forward to recover the two injured captains pulling them from harms way back behind Captain Jonestsu and Kuchiki. 

Nisshoku spoke about a shame in the two captains as he hoped to added to his "collection". Then two shadow-like figures appeared on either side of the Acsendant's leader. Kaeru immediately knew them as Hisu and Xai's zanpakuto spirits. That was a detail he was not going to forget anytime soon as there seemed to be a connection to the bankais stolen? Copied? Whatever Zalorian did these shadow zanpakuto spirits were now connected to Nisshoku's somehow. That could be troublesome, glancing over he could tell that Shuu was locked into these details as well. 

Not missing a chance to spread his gossip some more Nisshoku used a metaphor about how those in Soul Society sat on their throne away from the worlds around them. This was a curious point of view to have. Giving the grave situation most of the captains were in Kaeru was going to have to pick his spot very carefully as he noticed the one called Gongoro was almost had completely regenerated his limbs back from the substance that was pouring out of his body like blood, this even included his chain hooked weapons. Troublesome abilities all around them and a lot to take in, but he was as ready as the others for a true counter strike now.

A clarification on the difference between the vaizards the frog was aware of and the apparent "ascended" radical elite that stood before them.  As the two main people stepped forward a pure white void ripped open in a similar fashion to a something like a Garganta. Names of the nameless. Gongoro was the cloaked goblin like male with the chained hooks he had just cut down. Zerna was the feminine grim reaper that showed them the alleged future that would happen if they did not accept the deal of the vaizard leader. Zalorian was the lanky male figure with the double bladed zanpakuto that seemed to steal the bankais from Captain Zikrud and Captain Shieng. There was the male humanoid in the black cloak named Tsubusu. And then finally there was Nisshoku, Oriru's father and leader of these "Ascendsion" vaizards. 

As the frog shinigami heard the words of going extinct the voice of Oriru came into his head with flashes of memory. This was the special technique Oriru had been working on for some time that allowed him to transplant thoughts without the need of associated memories providing the scene of events. The request was direct and simple, Shuu and Xarius to cause a distraction to buy Oriru and Elevander time to use the real Kenpachi's technique "Dark Judgment". This was a move only the four of them currently knew about, Oriru being the only real surprise within the group mentally linked up. I will look for that opening and provide the required time you both need Kido Chief, Xarius replied as he rotated both of his blades so that the back of them were pressed up against his forearms. He was preparing for the next move to be made by Shuu, being his friend for this long allotted him the luxury of knowing when he wanted to prove a point. There had always been a friendly rivalry between Shuu and Elevander for as long as he could remember, but the Fourth Division captain always seemed to lumped in with the preconceived more powerful fighters, when second division captain had proven time and time again that he was more than capable to throw down with beings of that exact same power level.

I'll finish what Jecht could not finish, without saying another word within the mind-link Shuu started to step forward rolling off his captain's haori as his high reiatsu aura began to shift and shape as fire with an overwhelming heat. Everyone immediately around him moved away as the morphing flames turned into wild looping rings that seemingly danced around his body. This was the infamous fire shunko of the Second Division Captain; Mōka Shunkō (Conflagration Flash War Cry). "Shinigami shall go EXTINCT? Are you really that cliche? Of course you are. Every time someone wants to prove how strong they are where do they come? Soul Society. Where does everyone go when they want to talk about how slighted or looked down on they are? Soul Society. Do you know why? Because we the standard. Each and every time, someone like you shows up they do the same thing; appear out of nowhere, use underhanded tactics to prove how 'strong' they are, offer some half-assed reward for stepping out from under 'the man' or the 'oppressive gotei structure', while claiming that their cause is the right path with all these freedoms if they just give in to your 'blessings'. That we have somehow not done enough, understand the balance of things enough, tried to do 'more'. Do you want to know why? Do you really? Of course not, you want to destroy, then rebuild it in your image, which will ultimately fail and fall like the others," the intense voice of Captain Mikoto Shuu pierced through as he repeated the man's words as he reappeared with a blazing punch connected with the left side of Nisshoku's face pushing the man away from the apparent gateway, "I. Am. Sick. And. Tired. Of. this. BULLSHIT. " With each emphatic word he crouched lower and lower into his stance building up power, crushing the ground into a spider's web-like cracks so that his scarlet eyes were completely locked into the vaizard's fanatical leader before he burst forward into several flash-steps. The loud explosion of each punch or kick overtook the area like repeating thunder. The smell of sulfur clouded the atmosphere like the air itself was on fire.

"Uncle!" Tsubusu shouted as he reached out with his right hand to form several blade bladed weapons to launch at Mikoto, but he attacks all miss their target for two reasons; Shuu was too fast and, more importantly, Tsubusu found himself sliding backwards from a knee strike to the face by the Captain Commander. "Seems I am still not as fast as the Scarlet Demon..." Kaeru stood between the black-cloaked figure and the explosive battle that were erupting behind him, "I was hoping to have some words with Nisshoku, but I guess Captain Mikoto has another plan. So if you want to live a little longer, I suggest you stay where you are at or you will be consumed in his flames or cut down by my blades. Your choice really." 

"Get out of my way filthy shinigami!" Tsubusu shouts out launching three freshly made black spears which Kaeru partially blocks one then dodges the next two. The first was to test the power of this vaizard, he could definitely tell by the damage he sustained from the partial attack this figure relied on physical prowess. Glancing over his shoulder, there were two craters where the other two spears landed, they were however already back out of the ground flying in his direction. "Die again weak shinigami!" Tsubusu called out as he tried to strike the elusive captain commander as their speeds seemed to be about the same, but there was a slight edge with how the frog was able to time his dodging maneuvers as he replied calmly with a resounding, "No."

"All you do is run away," Tsubusu barked out as he shifted the spears into a cloud of throwing stars to disperse into an area around him, "I will kill you, again. And this time there will be no coming back. I will prove how strong we Ascended are here and now by killing the shinigami leader!"  "Hadō Number Thirty-Two; Ōkasen," Xarius spoke appearing behind the vaizard. The man was able to turn around to easily block the wide arching yellow energy kido art attack, but found himself in a compromised position as the frog flash-stepped out of sight reappearing to the man's left speaking another kido art, "Hadō Number Fifty-Four. Haien." The oblong blast of purple energy from the right hand of the Captain Commander incinerating the vaizard. Or that was at leas the intent as the flames died down the figure was slighting away a bit fatigued. The frog made a mental note that while physically strong, this figure was weak to reiryoku type attacks, he would have to take advantage when he saw openings for that. Which at the moment were few and far between.

"Did us mere shinigami tire you out already? I thought you were supposed to be ascended?" Kaeru questioned in a directly dry tone with a load of sarcasm behind each word as his intent was to stir up the man's self righteous mantra in the cult like the Ascension needed to feed their own egos, "Were you not going to kill me? Is your goal to kill me or just warm me up for the real fight? Each of you clings so desperately to Nisshoku...Are you afraid your leader will fall before his reign even begins?" "Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!" Tsubusu was clearly rattled by the words to some degree, "SHUT UP! You don't know a single thing about Uncle!" This was exactly what he was looking for as now a game of intense tag was about to happen with each of them flash-stepping from spot to spot in blurs that only the most perceptive of eyes could see. Effectively the two biggest threats were moved out of the immediate position of power they were to allow the other captains to gather their resolve circle around each of the remaining three. 

Captain Olboro and Kenpachi Soz cornered the recovering Gongoro. Captain Kuchiki and Jonestu stood on either side of Zerna. While Captain Hokori touched down before Zalorian cautiously knowing what just had happened moments before to Hisu and Xai. Captain Dhamal was up to one knee with her left hand gripping the long red sheath tightly and the handle of her zanpakuto with her right hand with equal strength. Ready to act if anyone came near the fallen shinigami in the area. Next to her was Razzezu still with her pure white zanpakuto willing to lay down her life if that was what was required of her this day.

[WC: 2932]
[Total WC: 4078]

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The Sleepless Night - Part 6
"Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less."
WC | 1700
---------
SHUNKO ACQUIRED

DREAMS REMAIN LOST... fragments of what the mind would fail to consider. As Nisshoku remained fixed with his gaze upon the collection before him, a gathering of Soul Reapers that, at one point had been his comrades, and kept a soft smile. His mind traced the contents of his memories recalling the appearances and spiritual energies of those before him to his previous encounters. It drove further as he recalled being sealed away, poised to exist eternally placed away from the world and only free because of the foolish Captain Commander. Since his birth Oriru was bound to his father by the nature of his Zanpakuto and the growth of his power would allow moments of power to surge and allow Nisshoku free, and it would not have been possible had the frog commander believe he could reveal a potential within his subordinate. Suddenly, from the collective, the Captain of the Second Division stepped forward and flared his Reiatsu to a level matched by the forming flames upon his body. People would start to move on both sides of the confrontation avoid the flames, all but Tsubusu and Nisshoku. 

It was clear that the words of Nisshoku had struck a chord with the Captain of the Second Division as he continued his approach ranting on his intense feelings towards the nature of his current opposition. Then, in a blur of speed unimaginable, Shuu appeared with his right fist against the face of Nisshoku smashing against him and launching him forward. Slowly the Captain lowered his posture, concentrated his energy, and rushed the Ascendant leader. His series of blows seeming impossible for the leader to react to nor defend in any form becoming devastated by the assault of the Captain. Each strike became a force of lightning to the ears of the individuals all around with the smell of fire becoming the only possible aroma capable of being discovered. Had anyone questioned the power, or potential, of Shuu; it would all be removed in this moment. He continued the assault, a series of punches and kicks, and not a single attack seemed able to provide a chance for the Ascendant Nisshoku to do anything about it. Then, in a flash of bright purple light, they vanished. No trace of the two existed as the energy signatures, the heat, the smell, all of it had vanished.

While Tsubusu remained occupied by the Captain Commander, Captain Olboro and Kenpachi surrounded the recovering Gongoro. He continued to clamor in pain for a moment before he suddenly his body dissolved into ash and reformed upon his feet in a fully recovered form. "Well, that hurt." Despite that it could not be seen, there was the clear sound of him smiling as he held both of his weapons linked together by a chain. Kenpachi held little regard for Gongoro and charged forward with his blade ready and swung his blade down on the form of his target who did not make any attempt to dodge or block outside of moving his right foot back as the blade sliced down his chest. Instantly he reacted with a swing of his right blade cutting along the chest of the Kenpachi and it became clear to Olboro that neither of them reacted to the clear wounds that formed on their body. The Kenpachi and Gongoro continued to slice at once another as Olboro attempted every so often to assist but the nature of Kenpachi gave little to no room for an assist.

Captain Kuchiki and Jonestu both stood in front of the illusionist with stern looks, their personalities held little room for any expression beyond disdain for those that wish ill upon their comrades. "Young Kuchiki, shall we?" Jonestu spoke forth with his hand reaching upon his Zanpakuto as a cloud of steam started to radiate from his Zanpakuto and Kuchiki held no qualms to release his Zanpakuto as the flower petals took form. Zerna gained a long smile as a flash of light occurred revealing more than a dozen of her appearing before the pair of them. Quickly the encounter escalated with Kuchiki handling several of the Zerna forms and Jonetsu dealing with a handful himself but after killing a couple the problem became clear as each one cut down seemed to form two more in their place. "Engulf." Jonestu spoke only the release phrase, avoiding the name of the Zanpakuto for reason known only to the elite members of the Gotei 13. Even with the name unspoken as he removed the blade from the sheath the massive heat was intense enough to burn a few of the Zerna beings to ash and the battle became one of attrition. 

Meanwhile Hokori stood in front of Zalorian with a smirk, "So that leaves you and me." His eye was stuck on the being in front of him "Are you going to feed me your Zanpakuto as well?" Hokori could only release a smile as his arms became consumed in black steel. "I won't even need to use my actual release against you." Hokori charged forward with his arms consumed in an aura of heat formed by black energy as a red glow could be seen just behind the eye patch. The two of them engaged in combat between the combined powers of Zalorian's consumption of Hisu and Xai's Zanpakuto and one of the Masters of Kido.

This confrontation seemed to be an even match until Tsubusu stopped engaging with the Captain Commander, "I have had enough of you." His left hand was pulled over his face as white particles began to generate a clear white mask with thin slits for eyes and a long smile as he placed it on his face. Immediately his body began to radiate a massive amount of power as Nisshoku finally fought back against Mikoto unleashing an explosion of power causing a small pocket of time forcing everything to move slightly slower than normal. That gave Nisshoku the chance to appear next to Tsubusu and rip the mask from his face. "Not today.

In that moment a being clad in full body black armor appeared in the middle of the battle field with the Shunko form of Oriru standing next to him with his Eight orbs all around the pair of them. "Jecht, let's do it." The eight orbs formed a circle in front of Black Armored Jecht as the area began to shake. "Dark Judgement, Eternal Damnation." From the circle generated a black orb that began to lose the darkness and become a blend of several colors that unleashed a wave of energy on the location of Nisshoku and Tsubusu consuming their position in this intense power. The point of impact unleashed a massive explosion that consumed the location and created a mushroom cloud focused on their position. Everything went dark for a moment as the debris cleared from the explosion. "Father!"

As the smoke cleared Tsubusu stood there with clear signs of damage while Nisshoku stood unharmed but in a new form. He shook his head with disapproval, "I commend your efforts, but you seem to not understand the true power that we have." Zalorian used the flash of his stolen Bankai to blind Hokori and appear next to Nisshoku. Kenpachi impaled his blade through Gongoro in his abdomen as Gongoro stabbed both of his blades into the shoulders of the Kenpachi. Instantly they stood in swapped positions with the Kenpachi having his own blade through his abdomen and Gongoro with his blades in his shoulder. The Kenpachi fell to a knee as Gongoro appeared next to Nisshoku. Jonestu swung his blade towards Zerna attempting to consume her in his flames and eliminate one target as a flash of light occurred once more and revealed Kuchiki consumed in fire and Zerna standing where Kuchiki was standing with a smile before appearing next to Nisshoku. 

Mikoto was far from done as he charged forward to assault Nisshoku once more but this time Nisshoku met the punch with his own as an explosion of power with both being frozen in place, "Mikoto Shuu, you are a legend across time itself and I look forward to adding your Zanpakuto to my collection." Nisshoku swept his rear foot around to connect with the side of Mikoto's face only to be blocked with his free hand. It was in that moment that Shuu noticed the energy generated at the point of impact and retreated as an explosion triggered. Oriru attempted to take the chance to rush forward and in the midst of his approach a wall of ice formed in front of him. Everyone who knew the truth looked at the only individual who had the source of power to do so as Olboro approached Nisshoku without allowing a glance towards her comrades. "Olboro!" Hisu shouted forward as Olboro continued moving stopping next to Nisshoku and turning towards her team without the ability to meet the eyes of her comrades. Nisshoku placed his hand on her shoulder as a translucent barrier of purple energy came from the white garganta. The ice barrier faded away as Jecht and Oriru lost control of their power and reverted to their natural state exhausted. Shuu stood still consumed in flames watching as the Ascendants all departed through the white portal. "I'll see you soon my boy." One of the orbs entered the white portal behind them and in a burst of energy exploded with the force of a Forbidden Hado causing the portal to crack before closing entirely. "They will never use that portal again.

The white portal closed and left the Shinigami there alone to recount the events and tend to those around. The last sight of their enemy held to their memories behind the closing white portal with the red sun.

Spoiler

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There were moments in Xarius' life where he had wavered at the wrong time, allowed doubt to creep into his mind, or succumbed to indecision when he was needed most. Those times were mostly in his youth, though his mind was constantly analyzing every situation and problem set before him. Joining the Gotei Thirteen Death Squads had allowed him the unique opportunity to overcome most of his most challenging issues of his youth. The organization had allowed him to find balance, direction, and a purpose that he was found himself floundering in often. Then he was chosen to become a Vice-Captain of the Eighth Division, then a Captain of the Seventh Division, and eventually the Captain Commander of the entire Gotei Thirteen.

Why was he thinking about those things now?
Because. It. Mattered.
Why did it matter?
Because he had a foundation that most of the current Gotei Thirteen did not have.

Case in point was Captain Olboro and Kenpachi Soz struggling against Gongoro who he had dealt a strong blow against. The kenpachi's erratic style did not allow for the snow maiden to step in all that often. Something he was very aware of looking at the disjointed team work in action, now that the enemy had seemingly recovered to full strength. He was noting the recovery speed of these Ascendeds compared to those vaizards he had already run into, like Onmitsukido Detention Unit Commander Hitsuyona Shizukesa.

Across the battlefield two more seasoned shinigami captains in Jonestsu and Kuchiki had engaged with the illusionist Zerna. While her release at the time seemed to be pretty potent to those of lower sensory awareness, he was able to cut through it himself. The battle itself was one of endurance as Kuchiki had released the flower petal shikai and Jonestsu had also released the intensity of his fire zanpakuto. One that he knew all too well could suffocate those around him in a daunting heatwave. The some of the dozen of figures from Zerna turned to ash, but there was not an ending in sight to that fight.

In a separate part of the battlefield there was a slugfest of the Blue Eyed Beast Captain Hokori and the figure that stole two captain zanpakutos in Zalorian. Regashi wasted no time in casting multiple kido arts and stacking them to his advantage forcing the vaizard to use the combined powers of both Hisu and Xai's zanpakutos. There was an interesting note there that the figured seemed to be able to not just know the names or abilities from the zanpakutos, but also how to use them in unison with one another. This so far was the only real threat that could not be overcome with sheer brute force. Figures like Tsubusu and Nisshoku could be matched, or wore down, but the abilities such as Zalorian were definitely a crutch they relied on. 

No.

Ability they had to have in order to do what they were doing. So far how things were positioned and the ascended were acting all centered around the fact that they were using fear of the loss of bankai. A figure that could 'steal' away their spirits, paralyzing them from using their 'trump cards' and that was how they were able to act so superior as they could use their own releases without fear of actually being matched. Removing that piece from the battlefield and the war was starting to become the priority in his mind, but he had to trust that Hokori would do what he had always done in the heat of battle. 

Rise to meet the challenge.

The constant clashes or dodges of attacks were starting to get to the vaizard ascended as he started to reach to his face with his left hand as Kaeru remained calm studying what would happen next. The frog captain then noticed the small space-time quake over by Shuu and sudden reappearance of Nisshoku over by him cutting off Tsubusu from finishing his transformation. This annoyed the Captain Commander some as he was hoping to see what potential that was going to bring out, but ultimately understood the strategic move to pull back on the reigns. "Good thing you stopped him," the frog dryly stated as he was not stepping down or back from the situation. In an almost picture-frame position he stood across from the two top figures of the ascended without flinching. He did not fear death in this moment, nor did he fear defeat. There was no fear, only a purpose. A single-minded hyper-focused purpose to defend Soul Society at all costs. 

There was not much time to react as Kaeru's eyes caught Jecht arriving in his fully clad black armor causing the area to shake around him. Right behind him was the shunko form of Kusho with his released eight orbs out as well. Whatever they had planned was about to be unleashed. The wave of energy that followed started in the form of a black orb before giving way to multiple colors as the impact on the location of Tsubusu and Nisshoku. The frog captain had to flash-step backwards a small distance to get out of the blast radius. His eyes were searching for the remains or if the enemy had survived somehow. 

The mushroom cloud gives way to the wind revealing that Tsubusu was hurt and Nisshoku had taken a different form. This was more valuable information for them to process. This moment of study was interrupted by a flash of light from Zalorian used Hisu's flare ability to separate from Hokori. Kenpachi found himself a victim of Gongoro's apparent abilities to switch locations with an opponent as Soz had impaled himself with his own weapons. Jonestsu was tricked by Zerna's illusions into using his shikai's fire power to consume Kuchiki in flames. 

The ascended were all now back by Nisshoku. Flocking to him like an umbrella of protection. A savior.

Ready and rearing to take the fight to these vaizards Kaeru gripped onto both Yin and Yang tightly seeing Shuu was launching into another strike which was going to draw Nisshoku to match in an impressive display of power. The words of "adding your zanpakuto to my collection" rang out. That was the whole point. This being needed others power to become stronger, he needed their power to even be relevant. Exiting a flash-step himself to the side he prepared to unleash a hado ninety-six kido art spell on the group for the trouble they had caused him. 

Unfortunately, as he exited the flash-step there was a moment of hesitation as Captain Shanzausk Olboro created a wall of ice and wind stopping Oriru from charging in. The voice of Hisu rang out her name as Nisshoku placed his hand on her shoulder as they disappeared into the white garganta. Before that portal could close Oriru sent an orb in to make sure they could never use that one ever again, or at least that is what he said as the frog captain touched down feet away from his long-time friend Shuu.

Fuck.

After a momentary pause the captain commander's haori flicked with the passing wind. This was unacceptable in so many ways, but they could not doddle so stepping up he turned around, "We need to tend to the wounded immediately, then we need to figure out our next move." The heavily armored Captain Jecht releases his black clad suit before calling in Fourth Division members to come in and help with the wounded which included; Amagawa, Genshi, Shieng, Hisu, Dhamal, Kuchiki, Osore, and Soz. "Vice-Captain Kuchiki," Kaeru called over his vice-captain as the healing corps arrived into the area, "Report to Captain Stemunalzo immediately with all information that we have on the wounded and threats that appeared." "Captain Commander sir, am I not needed here?" Razzezzu a little shaken by what happened started to look around the area for where she could help, specifically at Baal, but her eyes met the intensity of the frog captains as he spoke to her, "Go now. She needs to be informed of what happened to the best of your memory. We will fill her in with all of the details as soon as we can. Let her know to prepare for evaluations for the captains that were hurt severely." "Yes-sir Captain Commander!" Razzezu replied with a quick bow as she sheathed her zanpakuto once again and took off in the direction of the Twelfth Division barracks.

The sounds of a frustrated Shuu punching the ground could be heard and felt just before he released his fiery shunko form. Their eyes met one another's with an equal frustration, but understanding that they had to gather themselves in their weakened states. The captains that could still move around stayed to protect the area until the wounded captains were stable enough to be moved over to the Fourth Division barracks. With that the frog captain flash-stepped down next to Oriru, "We have a lot to discuss about today, but go I have this under control. Go, you will need a clear mind for the days to come." The frog understood just how complicated families could be to deal with, but whatever his former Vice-Captain was going through was on another level of bad. Plus, there were a lot of less strong-willed shinigami around that would probably blame Oriru for being connected. Xarius would shutdown those voices as much as he could, but the only way to really shut them down was to set things right. That would take time however. 

In the days to come they would allow people to recover. Captain of the Twelfth Division Fimzinra Stemunalzo would need time to study the after effects of Zalorian's abilities connected to their bankais, how Zerna's abilities were able to trick Jonestsu's well-trained eyes, and the switching of places Gongoro was able to pull off. There was a lot of raw information that they needed to discuss, comb over with an analytical eye, and make preparations to deal with. Former Captain of the Thirteenth Division Shanzausk Olboro the traitor was another issue to address with her peers. Tsubusu and Nisshoku were no doubt strong, there seemed to be an obsession with others zanpakutos that Kaeru would need to ask Oriru about.

They needed to rest, regroup, reset, prepare, and act.

War was once again here.

[WC: 1725]

[End]

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