[BSD-RP] Soul Society: Rukongai


Staff member



The districts of the Rukongai hadn’t indulged in such splendor in over a century. Every few feet of a pathed stone street was host to a cart that had souvenirs, toys, or even sweets of some kind. From the famous Hoshi candy to even the Commander’s own crystalline rock; there was no shortage of delicacies to be consumed by the masses. In the distant reaches, both rebellious and excited youth contribute in their own way, causing the vibrant rainbow light of a plethora of fireworks to clash with the amber blanket of the setting sun. Multiple street musicians make the festival their stage, their own unique compositions blending in and becoming hush beneath the over-arching fanfare conjured by the festival’s hosts. The smell of openly-roasted foods invades the nostrils of all attendees—Yakisoba noodles, Takoyaki, and Yakitori have become the favorites of the day. There seemed to be less attention turned to the actual cleanliness of the festival, and more of a focus on the overall enjoyment of its participants. The once spotless streets had become cesspools of discarded candy wrappings, half-gnawed bones, and plenty of other debris as a result of the games. All of these districts’ inhabitants and even those who had come from other districts, were indulging in the festivities while having their businesses prosper simultaneously. Everyone seemed to be having a great time!—Except this guy.


Dismally unamused, the party-pooping sloth drags his geta sandals along the ground with hunched shoulders. From the outside, one would assume an invisible elephant was sitting on his back. His strides are filled with a heavy burden, forced from his peaceful day of sleep and solace, to clean up another one of Kori’s messes. Between his teeth—not abnormally—he fiddles with a large toothpick-like object to appease his irritated jitters and fidgeting. His presence is insignificant, nothing glaring about him that makes him stand out in the massive crowd. No fame or infamy—at least among the Rukongai folk—allowed him to simply be another ant in the colony, an extraneous cog in the machine. To any onlookers, he was just another Shinigami unassigned to the games, able to instead spend his time participating in its pleasures. As an active study, The Kenpachi Games would usually be something that he’d dedicate a fair amount of attention to. It isn’t often you see Captain caliber shinigami fight without limit or restraint. While many looked at it as entertainment, the best and the brightest would know that above all, this was a teaching moment; an opportunity to learn and assess the many strengths and weaknesses of Soul Society’s strongest. Like most opportunities, this one passed by him slowly, out of reach due to his addiction to never-ending slumber. Some had even opted for his participation, though they were smart enough to know he had no interest in exerting that much effort among friends and comrades. What’s more, they aren’t the type of enemies he could sleep against while fighting, meaning he’d be losing precious hours. Absolutely not.

What was originally deemed urgent seemed to only frustrate the lone Kyoraku. He had hastily made his journey to the Rukongai, and spent the mere moments of his travel questioning the purpose of his mission. Perhaps just this once, he wouldn’t save Kori, but let her learn from her mistakes. His protectiveness wasn’t to be confused with doubt, however. She was perfectly capable of handling any situation on her own, but it was her methods that caused the trouble. Unlike Musou himself, Kori was a rebel among rebels, a woman who rewrote every rule in the book with her sword, her wits, and her body. While this was fine in a distant tavern somewhere in the Rukongai, it was not fine when it came to meddling in the affairs of Captains and Seireitei law. His shunpo, had turned into a run, his run, into a trot, his trot into a drag of a walk. Kori’s presence, once identified, hadn’t been surrounded by any Captains, any officers of the Omnitsukido, or the Kido Corps. No, instead it was nestled deep within the confines of a local bar, a place that she frequents. Maybe he wouldn’t have to do much cleaning up after all. Perhaps she had given up and gone to one of her usual spots to drink down the failure. At the very least he could comfort her, before dragging her limp, drunken body back to 8th Division away from the creeps and vermin that litter these establishments.

With one of his Zanpakuto’ slung over his shoulder, he approaches the bar’s entrance, the swaying door not doing much to keep the clamoring of its tenants inside. Just before he goes to step through, it swings outward against the weight of multiple Shinigami women clad in medical relief bags. His eyes popped out of his head, as the nurses come through first. He liked nurses. For the first time all day, his lips curl to create an ominous smile. His cheeks flush in crimson as if he too, had been participating in the same pass-times of those that resided inside of the bar. With his free hand, formerly tucked beneath the covering of his burlap-colored cloak, raises to awkwardly wave as they seem to struggle to force themselves through the entryway carrying an assortment of alcoholic items. Just as easily as the smile arose, it suddenly sunk to create a frown within the depths of his cheekbones. As the nurses had cleared the way, following behind them was a man. His smell came into frame far before his image; a mix of blood and alcohol, its pungence could not be ignored. Here he was, armless, with an entourage of nurses to tend to his every need. They had seemingly been trained, conditioned into waiting on this.. Man, hand and foot. One would never think that this was a man that had just stood his ground with multiple captains, or had fought in any bout at all. Even without the hands to grab the drinks himself, he was still drowned in his own drunken stupor.


Unbeknownst to Musou, this wasn’t the first time today the White Death had heard the second-person pronoun directed towards him, perhaps not even the second. It seemed most had a shared reaction upon finally discovering the man after seeing him on the live feeds and hearing the whispers. The sloth’s clutch on his Zanpakuto gets a bit tighter, the toothpick between his teeth pointed skyward as it rests between his incisors.

“Where’s Kori?”

Stopping the man and the nurses in their tracks completely, the 8th Division shinigami sternly asks. It was clear this was the individual that Kori had come to find; to save. This was the blob of his dream given shape and form. The one who’d presumably fixed a Zanpakuto himself, something Musou himself didn’t have the innate talent to do in full. This was him? The question he asked regarding Kori was somewhat rhetorical, knowing that she was somewhere in that same bar behind him. But if they were in the same place, and she had found her target, why had they separated? Why was he in such a hurry to create distance between himself and her? They’d hear what Kori had to say before anyone went anywhere, Musou would make sure of it.






Munehisa remained as he was, listening for the response to his own thread of information. The Commander had addressed the Head Lieutenant before turning his attention to him. There was clearly plenty going on, most of which happening under the majority’s noses. An escalation of events in both major cities in the World of the Living, the quarantine at the Third, and the continuation of the Games. The attention of the Soul Society had been scattered, but even with the various events transpiring Munehisa focused on simply what involved him. All that mattered to him presently was what his assigned task would be.

“Fifth Seat Kobayashi, monitor the Twelfth Division situation closely. While I trust Lieutenant Kurotsuchi, I know there is nothing that he would not do in the pursuit of knowledge, or for the greater good of science. His motives elude me, discover them. Oddly enough, you might need only to ask.”

An elusive motive that could potentially be retrieved with but a question? A peculiar possibility but certainly fitting of a member of the Twelfth, especially one who bears such a notorious name. Munehisa resolved to lead with that transparent intent and propose the inquiry at face value. Though even with a favorable response from Lieutenant Kurotsuchi, his eyes would not derail from the individual in question. Be it himself or others appointed, it was at this time that Twelfth had to be kept under watch. There was of course the chance that housing such suspicions towards them may prove to be nothing more than empty insecurities, yet if there was even a chance of true misconduct, it should be attended to promptly. A single weed left unchecked could eventually overtake the whole garden.

The Nihilist bowed his head once again at the direct request before speaking but a simple phrase of acceptance.

”Understood. I will see to it.”

Just as he readied to take his leave, there was another presence that expanded those in attendance. The immediately distinguishing features of said individual was that of vibrant pink hair and the haori that laid over her other garments.

“I'd hope you'd be enjoying the festivities, but it seems as though some information has plagued your day. I regret to inform you of more if Head Lieutenant Kasumi hasn't already.”

More information on the matter?

“It's been reported that both Lieutenants Ueku and Toshiyuki have passed. Ueku's is currently preserved in Tenth Division. Toshiyuki's body status is unknown. Three seated officers have also suffered critical damage and are currently going under treatment. The status of Third Seat Kiyoshi, Third Seat Takahiro, and FIfth Seat Nokoribi are unknown as of this current time. Additional reinforcements have been sent to Naruki City, but..."

The Kobayashi’s eldest son rarely was caught off guard by information, but to have two Lieutenants pass and multiple seated officers in critical condition in a single day was obviously not a common occurrence. Where that was a tragedy on its own, it posed a broader concern. The upper ranks of the Gotei 13 were already narrow as they were, to have such a hit to their numbers so swiftly was certainly crippling. Both so in regards to the confirmed fatalities and the possibility of more was a harrowing reality. How many more Souls had to face their own mortality by this current predicament?

His expression for the first time reflected since his arrival, a genuine look of concern. Hopefully the dispatching of more aid will diffuse the situation and allow for recovery. Time would tell.

Munehisa grounded his surprise and closed his eyes for a moment. This presently wasn’t his primary concern, but should his services need to be applied to something on this matter, he’d offer them without hesitation. For now, he had his task. He caught the look of the Head Lieutenant, to which he gave a shallow nod to as a silent recognition. As she left he spoke but once more.

”I too will be on my way.”

Those words were accompanied with a limp wave of his wrist as he turned away before promptly vanishing from sight, heading onward towards his mark.

Rukongai ———————————— traveling to ———————————— Northwest Seireitei






"Shame. I would have liked that."

With the second cup on her lips, the drink initially left untouched by Zhou other than to toast along with her, she took it upon herself to not squander the inebriating liquid, further intoxicating herself as she'd had little to eat that day but some sweet potatoes before her fantastic failure in the games. A slight smirk is hidden behind the ceramic cup as she pours the liquid into her mouth, keeping her composure even as the woman's face begins to flush red as the alcohol heats her from the inside.

"The academy had a surprise visit from the Twelfth Division’s Nyūraku.-"

As Zhou begins his update to her on the happenings on the Academy grounds, her attention is divided between him, and the white haired man sitting at the bar who whimsically spins on his chair to face her. While he had no idea what her name was, she had heard his name in the announcements as they were called to their individual groups, a frightening group to have been in, and still come out alive. To say she was impressed would be an understatement. What truly makes it past the woman's defenses is the man's flirtatious wink to her, causing her to nearly choke on her drink as her face reddens far more than from it blushed from the heat of the alcohol. She covers her slight smile with her hand, clearing her throat as she stifles what could only be described as giggles.

She is flustered.


When was the last time someone brazenly and openly flirted with her? In all her years, she couldn't possibly remember such an action, the man is certainly bold, and to the woman, he's a breathe of fresh air. Perhaps in the near future, the two will have a chance to share a drink without interruptions.

The Oki's attention returns to her monotonic companion as he continues detailing 12th Divisions antics in Shin'o Academy during her absence. Nyuraku... She sighs, her expression dropping back to a stern face after the mild lighthearted interaction with Suiyo ends ...There's always something with his division. She thinks to herself, whether she goes to their division in person, or waits until his next visit to her division is yet to be seen, but one thing was certain, the two will have a conversation on his unauthorized experiments on the students of Shin'o Academy.

"The situation has been handled. There were no injuries nor casualties. Everyone is safe… physically speaking. I heard talk of some needing some sort of counseling, but as future members of the Gotei 13, I am sure they will find it in their hearts to become stronger from this. With the amount of panic, I figured that it’s best to prepare them for what’s to come. I was thinking of having additional excursions to the World of the Living. I wanted your opinion on such."

"I see, I'm glad everything is... okay, I suppose. I'll speak with Kurotsuchi-san. His pursuit of science at others' expense can get out of hand. As for additional excursions to world of the living, that's not a bad idea at all. It will expose our senior students to the true dangers, lets discuss this more in-depth back at the academy."

Instead of pouring the contents of the small sake bottle into the cups, she simply opts to drink it straight from the bottle, gulping it down in under a second. The liquid burns her insides as it travels down, the heat of her body intensifying as her intoxication grows with each passing second. She gestures with her hand to transfer the bottles previously requested from her, to the man guzzling down liquor like it was water after an ordeal in the desert.

"Give them... to the... gggentleman with the nurses." She turns to Zhou, nodding her head towards the exit as she begins to stand, when a boisterous drunkenly voice fills the bar.

"MaaaAAn! There’s the LooooOOOOooosEr! RIiight there! Look at ‘er. Weak I tell ya! I am SOoooO glad that I ain’t wager on that broad!"

"Hey, not so loud, she’s right over there!"

The old man's reasoning companion's voice is squandered under the sheer volume of the drunkard's yelling. She paid little mind to it, having heard far worse for her wrong doings, normally, this would do nothing to provoke the former head lieutenant, but this day, she has been emotional, battered, and now she is inherently drunk. Her face contorts to what once was a signature smile of hers, a plastered façade to hide the rage, but this kind demeanor does nothing to hide her blatant killing intent towards the man.

"Yeaaaaah, yeaaah! What’s she gonna do? KILL me? Ahahahahaaa!"

A slender hand places itself on the sitting man's shoulder, her movement swift, imperceptible as she glides the short distance with little more than a single step, then leans in close to the man's ear as she whispers softly so that only he hears.

"You know... thhhat's not a terrible idea. I didn't get a chance to sssatisfy my bloodlust in the games. Is this you volunteering, siiirrrr?"

With no change in her tone of voice, no reiatsu bursting out of her, it is only the monotonous, slightly slurring words of the woman that send chills down the man's spine as she gives his shoulder a gentle squeeze, reminding the man of her own physical strength as it squeezes the muscle tighter, bruising it in a matter of seconds.

"My, my. I didn’t think you would visit such a fine establishment such as this one."

The Oki glances back at the sound of the familiar voice, finally releasing the cold sweating man from her unforgiving grasp. Ah. Hoshi. An old.. acquaintance of hers. Perfect. She thinks as she walks back to the table where Feng and now the Hoshi sit.

"If you would be so kind as to bring another two bottles, I having a feeling one might not be enough for this table. Oh, I’m sorry I hope you wouldn’t mind if I have a seat here?"

"Not at all..."
She gives him a knowing smile, having been reminded of his debt at mere sight of the man. Something she'd soon come to collect. "...we're actually on our way out, Hoshi. You'll have to forgive us, but duty calls."

"You are in 3rd division are you not? Could you please deliver that to Asahi Kajiyashiki. I hear he is quite fond of sweets."

Honoka's eyes follow the satchel as it is thrown to Feng, reminded of the her own that Yasu had thrown to her before the beginning of the games. She slips her hands into the opposite sleeves, uncertain of which of the two the small pouch of konpeito lay. She rummages for a few seconds before finding the rustling bag at the very bottom of her left sleeve. A Hoshi brand candy as well, they seemed quite popular in the candy making business.

As she undoes the binding of the pouch, another lively soul makes their way through the bar. What an unusual day. She had picked this one as it seemed the most empty out of the entire lineup of establishments, but it appeared to become quite popular in a matter of minutes. She pops a sugary star into her mouth as she watches how this seemingly scorned lover goes after the armless drunk as he himself also attempts to vacate the premises.

"I’m NEVER gonna forget what you TOOK from me! I swore to my mother and my father, the day you crawled back to the Rukongai, I’d get my revenge!"

The man was a lecherous flirt! Just what exactly happened between these two to elicit such a hateful response from the woman?! He hardly even seemed to remember, had this been a drunken mistake between the two?

"But first! We drink.~"


Both the Shiba and the drunk are as unpredictable as they come, her nearly biting his head off, him attempting to flee, only to be lured back by the drinks from the woman. As their exchange continues, the Oki takes this opportunity to exit the bar right before Suiyo fully emerges with his squad of nurses. On her departure from the bar, she crosses paths with yet another shinigami, this one, appearing to be in search of the woman inside. She looks at him, then at the wooden pick in his mouth, raising an eyebrow before locking eyes with him briefly. There was no doubt the woman would recognize the remnants of her own shikai, but for them to be.. refined in such a way, she is impressed by the ingenuity. She offers the craftsman a nod, then proceeds on her trek back to the Academy grounds in Central.


Rukongai →→→ Central

Awkward Heals

New member



"Kazumi-chan, this way!"

Lurching forward. Not by her own will but thanks to the man bursting forth from the tent. Blindly he exited, camera in tow. Ready to continue interviews. Having stepped aside to allow his full exit, Kazumi was still wide-eyed at the way he was treating her. Behavior that defied their Captain. Behavior that defied her, many seats above him. Still tossed around, pushed about without a second thought. Confidently and carelessly throwing the camera about. His arm wrapped around her, urging her forward. Words died in her throat. Yet inside she seethed. She raged. She wanted to grab that camera and swing it at him. Demand he respect her.

Her compliance continued. It fueled the concept he could get away with such thing. Because he can. Miserably, she knew this. Allowed herself to be treated in such a manner. Was there a singular moment this began? Kazumi could not remember. Had she always been this way?

Aggressive. Stopping harshly, it was now his turn. Not expecting resistance. Guard lowered. His shoving arm puts him off balance. Meeting a rock. His fast pace teetered his step, almost drunkenly. Wobbling forward, he regained his balance. Suprise coated his face when their gazes met.

"Where are you taking me?"

Against her will, her voice wavered. Only slightly. It was enough. The man had received the message. Almost embarrassed. Color filled his cheeks as he explained.

"Tenzen Oda has already returned to his barracks. We didn't even get to interview him, right? We could try to catch him. I guess he might come back. He left that one drunk guy---That drunk guy!"

Confusion made Kazumi forget she was standing up for herself. She was being hustled along once again. Eyes dancing about. Trying to see what excited the other so. Pushing through crowds. Wind in her ears. The man yammered in her ear. Distant. Constant and monotonous. He rambled on like a single sentence. "won'tgetanotherchancetogetthisinterviewifwedon'tgethimnow" Kazumi's confusion grew. Then she saw him. Suiyo Kusotare. A contestant in the strangest battle. The pair came to a sudden halt. The man kept a firm grip on her shoulder, keeping her upright.

Letting her go swiftly, Kazumi took a step forward. Created distance. Turning to face him, he shoved the microphone in her hand. His camera was ready. He nodded behind her. She turned again. Then his hand was on her back, shoving her forward and face-to-face with Suiyo. Unsure of what else to say. She had no time to prepare. The first question for the interview exited her mouth. Not her name. Not her purpose. Just a microphone shoved into his face. The handless man. Why was he handless?


The handless man shared her confusion. He showed this with his teeth. Using them to manipulate a straw, he tapped on the microphone. Kazumi showed no reaction. Sound bothered her little. When he spoke, it was a question.

"Kazumi Fujioka, Ninth Division. I'm interviewing some of the participants."

She kept her reply short and simple. This could go either way. Her shoulders were tense. Without waiting for a response, she launched into her next question. This time he answered. Looking beyond her. Distracted. It could be worse. Captain Yugure probably wouldn't like it. Kazumi had also most likely lost an interview. She won't like that, either. Kazumi could only move forward. Next question.

“Yeah, these guys get a bad wrap. No brows is a killer, sure but he has a heart of gold, plus I’ve never seen anyone move so fast. Check this out.”

This surprised her. It also didn't. She feared Kyomu Mukuro. She would also never disclose the secrets she knew. What she had learned during her time in Second. She would also never dare to cross his line. Never to return to Second. If you removed respect from the equation, fear would rule. Fear of him alone would stop her. He was deadly when it was necessary. Merciful when it wasn't. Reporter mode activated. The man had responded. Truly answered. Her first thoughts nearly left her mouth. How she agreed with him. How the Captain was, in his own way, a good person.

Fortune smiled upon Kazumi. She was aware the instant Kusotare began speaking again. The moment he stopped her from bringing those thoughts to light. Live, on-air. Her relief is so immense, so absolute. She had no commentary or questions over the strange scene before her. The shy yet obliging woman. Helping to retrieve an item for the man. He began to talk excitedly. He displayed a trophy acquired during his battle. He appeared both proud as well as a newfound fan of the Captain.

It was difficult to tell how the man truly felt about anything. Or did he see all sides? Hearing him speak was surprising. Refreshing, even. She kept a tight-lipped smile as he was attended to by the women surrounding him. Comical in a way. Sad in a way. It seemed to Kazumi like he saw it as the former. He practically basked in the attention he received. Unbothered. Kazumi was speechless. If she spoke, she would laugh. Would laughing be unprofessional? Would it anger him? Better to not press her luck. To simply enjoy the ride. The comic relief.

He displayed his final item. The camera zoomed in. Inspecting. For all to see now. Curious eyes gazed upon it. And he explained.

“Shome shorta ineral, I shink it can asor…ashor- reiatsu. Shusher rare an it tastes schweet too.”


Kazumi stared. The words repeated in her head. Syllables dropped. Letters replaced. When she deciphered the gibberish, he was staring right back. The humor had left his face. No longer amused with this. Kazumi thanked him for his time. She bowed. The man with the camera bowed. Then they retreated.

It seemed random. They were escaping. Right? The encounter had gotten strange. The interview was complete. There was no destination. They just had to get away. Right? So the man with the camera ran, and Kazumi followed.

The man with the camera had stopped. So Kazumi stopped. She scratched her face nervously. Yet she laughed a little. It had been pretty funny. That could be enough. He hadn't answered half the questions. But there was a performance. In the end, that was all that truly mattered. The more lucid answers gave introspection. Something the person had learned about themselves. A lesson they could, perhaps, pass along to the audience. But people can only stand so much seriousness. They need entertainment. The interview wasn't quite complete, but it had been good in its own way.

The smile left her face. A familiar presence. When she actually looked around, the world here was different. Everything swarmed and moved. The same as the festival. This was different. Urgent. The familiar gear of so many around her. That familiar reiatsu. Blood painted the inside of her mind's eye. So much blood. All of those bodies. Two survivors. One of them had been wounded. Unconcious. She had required treatment at the Emergency Relief Tent. Wrong. They hadn't been escaping. Wrong. They hadn't ran aimlessly.

Wrong. He had brought her to Honoka Oki.


She refused. No. Anyone but her. Not now. Not yet. The poor woman was still in treatment. It wasn't the time. They weren't moving. Weren't walking. Yet somehow his words. Pleading. Explaining. He managed to sound the same as he had before. "won'tgetanotherchancetogetthisinterviewifwedon'tgethernow" He wasn't panicking. He was excited. Frustration built up. So many words came to mind. So many insults. Then she would leave.

But then they weren't alone. A woman Kazumi had never met. But she had heard of her. Heard how kind she was. This Lieutenant stood before her. But Izumi had no smiles for her. No kindness. Kazumi received only a hard glare. The woman only spoke with that look. Then she was gone. Kazumi breathed. Then she glared, too. The man with the camera. This was all his fault. And now they had to go inside. They knew they were there. Bustling about. Preparing.

The duo ventured in. Kazumi was first. Ahead of the camera. It was difficult to look the Oki woman in the eye. She probably hadn't at all. She felt only shame under the woman's gaze. Kazumi seemed to appear like magic every time the poor woman had any misfortune. The Lady Oki had no way of knowing. Not the one before her. Not the one that had been before her on the day of their massacre. Kazumi had not been in reporter mode. Her uncertain approach. Worried, but determined. She had only wished to help.

But she had written about it. Kazumi felt it was necessary. Anyone else could have written about it. Many did. Yet they had missed the perspective Kazumi had known. The injustice of it all. It didn't have to happen in such a way. But Kazumi had written about it. And she became another vulture in the eyes of the two Oki women. This was understandable. As was the look upon the Lady's face when she saw Kazumi.


Stare at the floor. Question. "...No." Stare at Oki's chin. Next question. "I didn't exactly put up much of a fight."

She didn't behave as if it was personal. Frustrated. Angry. Heartbroken. The woman had been through much. She was kind enough to consider Kazumi was simply doing her job. But she was still cold. Kazumi didn't blame her. Kazumi only felt guilt. She was grateful for how quickly the answers flowed. All the sooner they could leave. Stare at the ornament in the woman's hair. Next question. "Hageshi... possibly the O-"

Speakers near-by amplified the shouts. Most eyes went to the screen. Tenzen Oda forfeit. Kazumi squinted at the screen. This had happened not long ago. This must be a replay. She supposed it made sense they weren't tuned to the live channel. The one Honoka and Kazumi currently resided on, live. Honoka continued.

"Well, the options have dwindled." Irritation dripped in her voice. She was unhappy with this news. Kazumi tried to smile. She gave up almost instantly. It was too fake. It looked too fake. Too much like she pitied the woman. As if Kazumi only saw her through a lens of her losses. Maybe. Her thoughts were running too fast. Honoka Oki made her nervous. Guilty. She was fidgeting. Last question.

"...Thank you for your support."

Lady Oki was done. Kazumi was done. There were no more words. She would stop bothering her. She bowed. A silent thank you. Kazumi left the tent backward. She bowed to everyone.

When they stepped outside, Kazumi looked to the sky. The man stood behind her. Fumbling with his supplies. Excited about what they had done. There it was again. That buzzing noise. "-captainwillbesohappytheseareamazingIcantbelieve--" She started to walk. The buzzing stopped. Before it could start again, she was in shunpo. Launching herself back to "her" tent. Where she had been stationed. Where she should have waited for the two interviews. Where she would have waited.

Retreating instantly, Kazumi entered the tent. The man was behind her shortly after. Still babbling. "-didntstartoffsogreatbutitgotgoodnear--" Kazumi couldn't understand it anymore. She didn't care. Tired of being a doormat. Tired of being ruled by fear. He set his camera down. He was glad they got footage of Honoka like that. He set down his bag of supplies. He told her how weird the handless man was. He laughed, finally noticing her face.

"No right..."


"..You..had... no right dragging me into that! Oki-san wasn't ready. I wasn't ready for Kusotare-san. You won't do that to me again....Okay?!"

Surprised, he nodded. She supposed she was, too. But the hole she had dug for herself had grown stifling. She had felt a freedom today. She wanted to keep that feeling.







This must have surely been a day for this establishment. The number of powerful Shinigami within the no-name bar would have indeed led to a publicity like no other. Was it an omen perhaps? With the number of paths that were crossed this day, there was no way this was done by happenstance, rather, this was something that was aligned by fate itself. Time passed on quickly, as the number of souls within the bar continued their merry festivities – some too drunk to even realize who was in their presence. Regardless of this, the individuals carried on with their differential conversations -- with Honoka probably being the one with the short end of the stick.

Despite being in the midst of excitement, Zhou found it necessary to talk about matters revolving around work: a true square indeed and correctly assessed. Zhou’s attention never left Honoka, but he also still bore a keen observation of his surroundings. For some reason, Honoka’s face flushed brighter than a rose blossoming in Spring. At first glance, one might not have guessed the reason for this, but the previous member of the Second Division had skills that rivaled even the most well-known assassins. One might first assume this rush of blood had to do with the amount of alcohol she consumed, but this could have been only part of the reason why. Zhou learned to always gauge his surroundings – continuously analyzing what and who he was around is something that happened as natural as breathing. With his attention being on Honoka, he noticed that her attention was divided with her facing towards a particular someone. Zhou had not known this individual’s name, but there was a feeling that his inability to name this stranger would change in the future. What gave a hint to this was how this one geezer had caused the female that had such a bad day to blush. Zhou wasn't sure what the male did, but he knew something was done. Regardless of how pointless this information was, Zhou was still able to pick up on all of this at a moment’s notice and still acted as if he didn’t know what her problem was – simplistically continued to converse about the fairs at hand.

He agreed with her assessment of Kurotsuchi and found it also beneficial that she agreed with his overall opinion of additional excursions to the world of the living. Honoka suggested going back to the Academy to discuss the plans in further detail, but the thing was, with the way she was drinking, more than likely, nothing was going to be discussed. Her face flushed and heated paired with her giving alcohol to someone else located within the bar, it seemed as though Honoka was a step closer to recovery. Maybe this wasn’t a day to discuss business – maybe it was a day for celebration. Soon enough, there was something else to distract Honoka – the female that was slowly falling into the grasp of alcohol.

Just as graceful as ever, Oki motioned towards the male whom was belligerently intoxicated, simply out of pocket with his crude remarks and his lackluster assessment of the Queen of Green. Zhou hadn’t known Honoka personally, but even he knew that this probably wasn’t the day for mockery in any capacity. Although his own ears couldn’t pick it up, Zhou could tell the words whispered weren’t pleasant, the male that her ears cursed with that whisper shivering to the point where his face lost all of its color, contrasting Honoka’s. The soul truly thought death was imminent due to0 the way that her palm clamped down on his shoulder that once started akin to a gentle touch of a leaf morphing into the vice grip of that of a snake. With the bruise to his pride and to his shoulder, comical tears streamed down the male’s eyes as he practically begged for mercy – gaining back his sobriety. Making quick work of the male, the others at the table with him looked away from the embarrassed loud-mouth: one that just got scolded by the wicked witch.

“I told you to shut the %&*# up.”

One of them mumbled, quickly taking another drink as each one of them sweat dropped.

Soon enough, Zhou felt the presence of someone moving oddly close to his table. He wondered exactly what she wanted, but there seemed to be no ill-intent radiating from her. The automatonlike assassin sat at the table as one donned with blonde hair and golden hues immediately placed a package on the table, followed by an explanation.

"You are in 3rd division are you not? Could you please deliver that to Asahi Kajiyashiki. I hear he is quite fond of sweets."

The mysterious yet memorably brazen characters abruptly spoke. Although he didn’t know much about her, he was able to identify her as Signy Hoshi. Zhou was privileged to a plethora of information due to him being once a member of the second division and now as a member of the 3rd division. He was meant to be able to correctly identify other souls that held a seated spot within the Gotei 13 and Signy wasn’t an exception. With the mention of his fellow seated officer, Zhou’s mind drifted towards The Clown, wondering exactly what he was up to in his current merry-go-round of a lifestyle. Without embarking on the thought too much, Zhou answered the female before she left in the same, lifeless tone as he used all of the time.

“I will deliver these to him.”

Picking up the product, he placed it into his attire, with doubts that it was something to harm him or his fellow comrade especially with how the Hoshi were known for their candy business. Not too long after meeting Signy face-to-face for the first time, there was yet another power player in the midst – someone to make their way within the bar and literally grab the attention of a number of the souls, mainly males, within the establishment. Zhou's silver hues briefly glanced in her direction being greeted with not words, but her relaxed attire. Despite the attention she would have gotten from the number of males within the bar, the female’s attention was on two things – the flirt and alcohol. She was loud, but Zhou could tell from the atmosphere that nothing truly dangerous was in the works – just another person with an exaggerated approach more than likely due to alcohol consumption.

"I’m NEVER gonna forget what you TOOK from me! I swore to my mother and my father, the day you crawled back to the Rukongai, I’d get my revenge!"

It was definitely time to leave. With Honoka's departure, Zhou followed suit as his steps were as silent as they came. With the exit, there was yet another Shinigami that was in their midst: one bearing verdant orbs with brown locks. Even without looking directly at him, Zhou was able to analyze the male’s appearance through and through. Just what was this place??? Regardless, before any commotion could continue, Zhou and Honoka were on their way back to the Academy grounds in Central. During the trek, Zhou came to a realization. Despite Honoka being as strong as she was – a soul that had seen years upon years within the Seireitei, in the Kenpachi games, she didn’t even make it to a second round. Regardless of her opponent, there was a gap in power that needed to be filled. By no means was Honoka weak, but if one of their strongest – someone who had mastered their Bankai didn’t progress, there was a need for a shift in thinking. He had to progress, but the question was … how?

On the way to the Academy, Zhou picked up his Denreishiki X, and began to send a message to Asahi. With his fingers moving at lightning speed, the message was sent in an instant – as if he were some sort of teenager or something.
“Oki is going to the Academy and she is intoxicated. By the time she arrives at the gates, please meet her there. I have some work that needs attending to. Please watch over her until I return. Thank you in advance, Kajiyashiki.”

Zhou only escorted her as far as the gates, but never left the Rukon district. When she approached the gates, he vanished completely from her presence before she more than likely knew that he was gone -- like a shadow dissipating. As this was not a lapse in her overall ability, this would be potentially due to her intoxication in tandem with Zhou's abilities. Zhou soon went to attend to his business before he could return to the Academy. Before he could truly be seen with eyes, he was in front of the Fēng compound – where his story truly began.