[BSD-RP] The Valley of Screams


Staff member




Who here is the one being tested? Suiyo, waking from his slumber to find himself in an entirely new dimension, for the second time, is entirely unfamiliar with where he is or who he faces. He does nothing but smoke and ponder. Yet this Nao arrives drooling at the reputation of a man who has spent his life avoiding that very same thing. She skips any introduction, and without prompt, opts to deliver a thousand cuts from four different directions, flexing her reiatsu and utilizing her zanpakuto to manifest four different phoenixes, and using her shunpo to form four clones so as to avoid any consequences of facing this man. In essence, she was doing the most to an examinee who has yet to do anything at all. Her actions told of a desperate need to prove herself, to show that she too was a threat with her blade, that she too could tangle with the best. Yet everything she does to overcome Suiyo only proves that he is indeed all of the things she wishes to be.

While she dances about, lacing cut over cut to reinforce her bladework, where only one masterful cut would have been necessary, Suiyo only observes. He watches her dance, to form her speed clones, watches her blade whisk about repeatedly to pose some sort of threat, her reiatsu and feathers forming four massive creatures. Touched that she would put in so much effort to introduce herself, Suiyo notes that she is doing too much, but is impressed nonetheless. That is why he observes her actions as a work of art. It is not the formation of Kanji that bewilders Suiyo so, a simple flaming word is not enough to catch his full attention. Rather he finds it amusing to see her reinforce her own cuts, curious as to why she would admit them to be so weak as to need reinforcement. Nonetheless, having never seen an opponent form kanji and fire from repeated strikes, he considers her actions as a living form of art, and appreciates them as such, already impressed.

Indeed, Suiyo, who is capable of seeing the organization of Reishi particles down to their molecular structure, is not ignorant to what has formed before him. He observes how Nao holds her blade, how she forms each strike, then doubles back to reinforce them a thousand times over. Like looking at a kanji on paper and seeing not simply each brush stroke, but each particle of ink, no detail of her strike is lost on him, nor is the speed of her strikes such that they become imperceptible to him. Nao believed that if she moved fast enough and lagged her reiatsu, she would cause the drunk to sense the strikes only after they had formed. Yet, even if speed was enough to dilute his senses, even if reiatsu was enough to trick his genius mind, the killing intent behind her strikes makes them reek to the senses of any true swordsman, broadcasting their arrival before even their creation. What's more, the predictibabilty of Naos strikes, which comes from knowing the presenting opening he himself offers, as well as noting her penchant for organization, only further adds to their ability to be anticipated and perceived. While these strikes approach the seemingly oblivious drunkard, he does not appear to move nor notice their arrival. However, just as Nao’s movement had been seemingly imperceptible but to create a current of wind, so too would Suiyo deliberately do the same. In this, Nao’s observations cause her to fall for the very same deception she hoped to pull off.

Where she sees a single gust of wind meant to deflect her own, she fails to see that this wind is equally a byproduct of a thousand repeated strikes. The speed of Nao’s own strikes was nothing to Suiyo, who deliberately slowed his own strikes to match them. Their reinforced nature was also of no benefit, as Suiyo’s slashes had been of equal strength, reinforced, thickened, sharpened to be exact copies, stabilized with a simultaneous infusion of condensed Reishi and sharpened Reiatsu, bestowing the pressurized air with a fortified and tangible foundation that would eat through the sturdiest defenses like a hot knife through butter. Just as the fire spread around Nao, so too did the smoke spread around Suiyo. A master of observation, with masterful control over his own Reiryoku, ensures that what Suiyo is responding to is not the lagging after image of a purposefully delayed assault, but the formation of the assault itself. It did not matter how thin each sheet of wind was, nor how molecularly sound. As once again, Suiyo’s own observational abilities allow him to perceive the molecular structure of his surroundings. As such, he successfully ventures to form an inverse copy of her assault, deprived of even a single microscopic imperfection, preventing his assault from giving out without a whimper. Further he is able to do this four times over, responding to the assault from each side.

It was foolish to think that because the drunkard did not possess any shunpo ability he was incapable of fighting or perceiving fast-ranged movement from a distance. Had Nao been as observant as she believed, as studious of the man’s actions during the Kenpachi games, she would have noted this. Though it is true that Suiyo cannot traverse long distances in the same manner as a shunpo master, when it comes to close range he is at no disadvantage. This was evident when his own zanjutsu was able to repel that of the Phantom Captain’s, who had outsped Suiyo in his maneuvers from a distance, and yet could not find an opening in the drunkard’s zanjutsu. Nao had fought the man’s protegee, and feared her shunpo ability, while Suiyo had fought the master, and hardly noticed. Perhaps if this were a footrace Nao would have had the advantage, but as it is, Suiyo is her target, and so she was forced to come to him.

Further, as Nao should know, distance only has meaning in a fight between equals. With her and Suiyo, distance holds no meaning at all. A single swing of his sword was just as effective in point blank range as it was miles away, meaning that Nao would be forced to use Shunpo and that distance she is so proud of simply to avoid his strikes. Using Shunpo and reiatsu as crutches to mask the weakness of her Zanjutsu ultimately served no purpose. Somehow, she had formed an assault that was both microscopically compacted and yet simultaneously full of venting holes, which lagged behind in fractions of a second and yet was meant to strike in the same instant. Fortunately, Suiyo’s own reinforced strikes collided with the dangerous edges of this assault, while the “loose” wind they carried, the only thing Nao had perceived, successfully flowed past in-between these slits. However, they would not then be returned to the command of nature, but instead reform, and once again reinforce, behind Nao’s assault. What this means is that Suiyo’s blade struck away each of Nao’s cuts, while forming a secondary assault behind them. He had delivered double the attack at the same time Nao had delivered her initial one.

The Captain had severely underestimated the drunk while overestimating her own understanding of the opponent she faced. She believed that she was familiar with the swordsman’s style, that he was beholden to the Drunken Blade style due to his own drunken nature. This was a fair assumption, given that unlike Nao, Suiyo’s bladework lacked any killing intent, organization, or predictability. However, Suiyo’s instinctual habit of fighting does not derive solely from his inebriated state. His ability to fight subconsciously, his instinct, is no simple gut feeling, sixth sense, or sheer luck. Rather it is the input of every variable of his surroundings, the absolution of his observations, life times of experience in combat, countless battles with his blade, and his sheer and true mastery over zanjutsu in all its forms, that allows him to fight at a level so high that it requires no effort from him at all.

This man's intellect and skill has surpassed what Nao can comprehend as mastery in combat to the point that he has achieved a type of Nirvana, having long ago surpassed the eight thousand forms of Kenpachi Yachiru. Combat, particularly against Zanjutsu, has become trivially unimportant and disinteresting, that it occupies no mental space in his conscious thought. This is the instinct with which he fights. His eyes, his senses, they would not permit him to lag behind an opponent simply because the opponent was deceptive in their reiatsu or quick with their shunpo. Nao’s masterful and “imperceptible” bladework was impressive to the conscious Suiyo, but inconsequential to the subconscious swordsman, he need not even think before his body can move. It is for this reason that he can function so highly in a drunken state, or fight even while unconscious. With a lifetime of Shunpo Nao may become faster than the speed of light, but Suiyo’s zanjutsu is faster than the speed of thought. So long as the woman plans, schemes, or intends, she will never be able to surpass him. Nao may be a Sword Master in every sense of the word, but Suiyo is a Sword Saint.

The Drunken Bastard wakes up, sits up, reads the note on his blade, observes and is assaulted by thousands of cuts forming fiery imagery. His response mimics his attacker deliberately, limiting his own speed and reducing the sharpness of his own cuts so that he must reinforce them in a similar manner to his proctor. Four gusts of wind collide against a singular dome of wind, and each of the thousand cuts is met with an equal force that equally disperses them, not simply eight, as Nao may have hoped. Not only are these dispersed, but the wind that the blade carried is somehow reinforced behind the cuts, manipulated in some form to continue on. This means that this blade of wind spreads out in every cardinal direction, heading towards not simply the source of the attack, but the origin as well. Yet having had all this occur, Suiyo’s only thoughts on the matter is simply

"Ahhh, beautiful."

He was fighting completely instinctually, with no thought or intent behind his moves. This becomes equally apparent given that despite his own imperceptible movement, Suiyo does not seem to react to the attack, but instead remains blissfully transfixed on the art surrounding him. Burning brightly, the after-image of the phoenix and the kanji can be seen through the cloud of smoke that now pollutes Suiyo’s vicinity, until each fizzles out. Untouching of the air around him, each inhale burns the ember at the end of his pipe as brightly as Nao’s constructs, while each exhale emits a sparkling cloud of silver smoke. What Nao perceives next serves only to confuse her, as the Drunkard sits there, moving in a flurry, at these high-level speeds the vision of him remained a blur, as he leans forward, backward, sideways, each time in a position to dodge a strike that would never come.

Nao’s only explanation for this strange behavior is that the Swordsman was confused, and striking at ghosts. While it is true that each movement was primed to counter an assault from the speed clones, whether they actually came or not was irrelevant to the Swordsman’s true actions, to target the feathers formed from Nao’s Zanpakuto. It was not that he perceived them assaulting him, but rather that he perceived them at all. The Feather’s created from Umōmaru were under Nao’s control, every last one of them an extension of her very being; she could experience the world through them, feel that which existed around them, able to manipulate them at a whim, all of them simultaneously or just one, as if they were her own limbs. Due to this, just as with her zanjutsu, Nao believed that they moved at such speeds as to be imperceptible spare left over traces, and that Suiyo was simply striking at the deliberately lingering signatures of reiatsu, believing it to be a FACT that Suiyo was incapable of perceiving their true location, that it would be a futile endeavor to strike at them.

That is, until a series of explosions suddenly detonate around the battlefield. Mirages of feathers came and went. Activated by the release of the Captain’s shikai, these feathers were spawned from her blade as it swung through the smoke filled air. When they are formed, they are formed of Reiatsu, from the blade, meaning that they are sensible even in their inception, not only when they are lagging behind. Additionally, having to follow the trajectory of the blade in their creation made the feathers easy to predict before they even formed, not unlike Nao’s cuts themselves. The Captain surely thought highly of herself and lowly of her opponent, if she thought that someone lauded as a Sword Saint is only capable of following and striking at a lagging and lingering image. Her entire game plan thus far is predicated on her own assurance that she is both faster and more cunning than her opponent, to such a degree that he is incapable of even perceiving anything but trickery. Yet, downplaying her opponents abilities would not serve to boost her own. Was she even a master at all, or simply someone accustomed to fighting fools?

It is a popular experience amongst swordsmen to train their blade to strike two places simultaneously. Generally this is trained by following the unpredictable flight patterns of a sparrow, which can dodge and move through the air instantaneously at any angle with such swiftness that it is impossible to follow. Once a swordsman trains enough, they are not only able to predict this flight, but create simultaneous strikes so as to cut the bird from the air, leading their shot, and striking ahead of the bird before it even knows where it will fly. Long ago, Suiyo mastered this technique to the point where he could strike down an entire flock of sparrows with a single strike. Predicting the flight trajectories, speeds, and variables of hundreds of birds before they themselves could even instinctually move. How arrogant, to think that because the feathers were under Nao’s control, that they would be imperceptible and unpredictable to the Sword Saint, despite being beholden to the trajectory of the sword in their spawning, a sword which is more than perceptible even utilizing reiatsu and shunpo to cover its weaknesses.

To Suiyo, a swordsman who can strike down particles with such swiftness that he can cross the bed of a lake without a single drop of water falling upon his person, the speed and maneuverability of these feathers is nothing. Particularly since they are limited to the tempo of a sword swing, meaning that their instantaneous creation can only occur from an already existing blade. Even more so given that Nao observes Suiyo’s farce as a means to defend solely against a non-existent opponent, rather than as a ploy to strike down every feather that this Umōmaru had formed.

Additionally, the durability of these feathers would be of no consequence. Even had they been composed with such immense density that a blade could not strike through them, even if they had been made to be more durable than even the Commander’s crystals, Suiyo’s strikes would succeed in cutting each one in half. What’s more, just as their durability does not matter, neither too does the nature of their explosive ability. If severing a feather would not cause it to explode under normal conditions, then Nao would finally realize she is not fighting under normal conditions. As such, upon being struck, every feather the Captain had displaced around the battlefield would now explode into a blast of spiritual energy.

Yet any fiery blast that they emit, which may come within the drunk swordsman’s vicinity, finds itself redirected in a similar manner. Sucked away by the vacuum-velocity of his own sword swings, not unlike how he had countered the Kido chief's own explosive kido. Instead, much like the Captain’s entrance, the fiery feathers serve only to add an element of drama to this situation. The white of Nao’s teeth, revealed by her devilish grin, reflects the same explosive energy of her eyes. There is heat in the air, excitement in the atmosphere, as the two grin at one another.

Not even seconds passed since Nao’s arrival to the Valley, their immediate surroundings finally cleared of the smoke born of her accord, but not the smoke born of Suiyo’s, the red-hot sun high in the blistering blue skies finally returned to view. When Suiyo woke up, he had enjoyed the moment of peace, the cloud-dotted shining blue sky, the warmth of the sun, the silence of this valley, and the solitude of the desert. Now though it would appear that this tranquil valley had suddenly become the remnants of a previous battlefield.

Though the drunk was unaware of this, as he was most things, the purpose of testing the Valley of Screams was to give the examinee a fresh and fair battlefield devoid of distraction, a literal even playing field. There were in truth multiple Valleys of Screams, which were simply byproduct pocket dimensions which formed, came, and went. To ensure the fairness of a fight, the same valley is rarely ever used twice, especially so if the same person to have fought in one valley is to now fight in another. This promised that anything that occurs during the examination does so during the examination, and that a proctor cannot use the remnants of a pre-existing battle to seek an advantage in a current one. This is why there are no crystal spires, no towers of rope, or hands of black metal that litter the battlefield. However, it seems that is not the case for this fight, as Suiyo’s proctor requires every advantage she can get. Besides, it wasn’t against the rules to set up before a fight, and it’s not like Suiyo knows the rules or would follow them anyway.

The groggy drunk is immune to the sensation of a spinning world, given that his normal perception of existence is enough to give even the most grizzled souls vertigo. More so, the cloud of smoke that engulfs his person already places the world through a filter of haze. Yet even still, Suiyo is capable of perceiving the imperceptible, noticing something off about the reishi that forms his current reality. Curiously amused, he ceases his untying of his sash, and raises his hand before his face, forming a claw-like shape with his fingers, as he waves it about, as though to clear the smoke in his immediate vicinity. A bemused look seems permanently etched upon his face, as though he has forgotten about the fight and believes himself to have finally gotten high from the herb he has been smoking.

“Oh dear…”

So it would seem to continue, so long as the Captain perpetually made the same mistake. Underestimating the Drunk’s perception, his speed, his zanjutsu, predicating her strategy on the mis-believed “fact” that he cannot see her nor respond to anything besides her after images. Every swing of her blade would be parried in the same tempo by one of equal speed and skill, once again deliberately restricted to be an equal match, not forcibly enhanced to catch up. Every feather she launched would be sliced upon its creation before it is fully formed or able to be moved telepathically. Every blade-based Hado she formed met with a reversed flow of energy so as to dissolve it. Every explosion fired redirected with a vacuum sphere of defense. While if every one of these was somehow negated, even still the attacks she launched would simply seem to pass through Suiyo’s form, and be fired off the other side unimpeded and harmless, regardless of how many she launched, how enforced they were with her abilities, or how fast she moved. Nao’s Dream of humbling a legend would unfortunately remain so, so long as she sought to outplay him at his own game.

The four phoenixes that had previously fizzled away, now seem to reappear. With Four Naos smiling in front of them, firing off more and more volleys towards their opponent. Yet, just as suddenly as they had appeared, they would disappear. Well, three of them at least. Utilizing the speed clone technique, meant that Nao had to remain in perpetual motion so as to continuously provide tangibility to four separate points. It did not mean that there existed four separate Naos in space and time. Suiyo, having watched the woman continuously dart about in an amusing amount of effort so as to be impressive and intimidating, had entertained the farce long enough. Following her second futile assault on the man, the wide-eyed and smiling woman would return to her position to keep up appearances, only to find her movement suddenly and immediately halted.


All around her, black katanas immediately form. They offer no chance to shunpo away, they appear not from thin air, and make no motion towards her with which to dodge. No, the blades form from Nao herself, meaning that she has no hope of avoiding their creation. Though this opportunity might have allowed a chance to slice Nao to pieces as she hoped to do to Suiyo, this simply would not have occurred. Instead, every blade that forms around her skin does so with the dull side facing her, and the expertly-honed sharpened edge facing away. This, much like Suiyo’s imitation of her zanjutsu, is undoubtedly an insult, meant to show, in a similar manner, that he isn’t taking this woman seriously, and is fighting her with less effort than he is putting into smoking his pipe. Rather than cut then, what the blades do instead is interlock with another, positioning themselves in such a way so as to bind every one of the Captain’s joints, preventing her from moving at all.

Yet where had they come from? Nao, priding herself on her perception of Suiyo’s blade, on noting the similarities between his pipe and zanpakuto, on feeling assured that she had witnessed his sleight of hand, should already know the answer.

“This is what you wanted to see, right?”



Nao Murakami

New member

Whose test was this? Well, Mr. Kusotare’s of course!

…Beware…beware…the White Death from the West…

Somewhere in the Valley of Screams, a red-haired Captain came to exist, the Geta of her sandals displacing rocks, brought into the visible world from seemingly nothing. The surroundings were bright and clear of any obstruction, the newly-formed, green-eyed Soul exhaling her held breath to take in a deep inhale of fresh, non-polluted air. Flashes of a disheveled, white-haired Soul came to view from a distance, far beyond the reaches of the spiritually-laced smoke born of his blackened pipe; both Suiyo and his creation spun in place at a rate beyond the capacity for most to comprehend, and yet for Nao, Mr. Kusotare’s entire being and that which surrounded him – to include her four apparitions – came to view in such slow pace that she gleaned even the most exceptionally minute details. Her surroundings changed again, although in minor fashion, a bed of rocks placed to her right instead of her left, a boulder to her back instead of her front, the heat and clean environment but for all intents and purposes, remaining the same. Such was the nature of a Shunpo Master, to be in one place while at the same time in another, and then another, and then another in the time it took for the greatest minds to think, all the while observing in perfect detail that which existed on a slower plane.

It was a curious thing to expand on the matter of Shunpo, especially that related to an art of which the White Death held little expertise in, all the while disparaging the name of one of its greatest practitioners in all of Soul Society history. A master herself, Nao recognized the Phantom’s lack of care within his movements during the Games, even through the televised depiction, and yet, when presented with the obvious face-to-face, the Demon Drunk chose to believe himself an equal. So too peculiar the matter of belittling yet another Captain, the protégé of the Phantom, in a distasteful attempt to gloat in matters that would require him hundreds of more lifetimes to even begin to bridge the gap – curious also, on how the drunk would come to know the details of Nao’s confrontation with Captain Yugure, a battle he knew nothing of. Furthermore, these were irrelevant comparisons, for the White Death’s current opponent was neither the Phantom nor the Swamp Queen, but rather Nao. Even if the white-haired Devil witnessed the masterful Flash Step of the Phantom, the red-head’s applications of the discipline were unique to her.

On the matters of Zanjutsu, there was no question that Suiyo Kusotare possessed the skill of an absolute master. The speed of his swordsmanship, the seamless manner in which the hilt of his blade danced about his calloused palms, the gorgeously precise cuts, all of it seeming to lack imperfection. Even his physical movements were exquisite, observing that the space within the range of his blade was made his own, and yet, in terms of travel, that which was born of Zanjutsu would pale in comparison to Shunpo. If swordsmanship alone could grant that which was earned through mastery of Flash Step, then the countless Captains of old, all of them masters of Zanjutsu, would have no need for it, and such a discipline would never have come to be.

In the affairs of the Shinigami arts, there were no absolutes. Suiyo Kusotare may have earned Sainthood throughout his many years traversing the Rukongai, building a legacy all in his name, but such a thing was simply a title bestowed upon him within the minds of those who worshiped him. Lest he forget that which gifted him the byname of Sword Saint was his command of Zanjutsu, something that he honed through trials and tribulations…and yet he wasn’t alone in such an endeavor. There were many who boasted mastery in Zanjutsu, reaching the pinnacle of swordsmanship much like the White Death. Although it may come to light that Suiyo Kusotare was the greatest swordsman in all of the Soul Society, such a statement would be yet made premature, for relying on something as transient as a title would render foolish. Like the moniker of Kenpachi transferred from one individual to another, so too would that of the Sword Saint at a moment’s notice.

Although in the end, this examination wasn’t to test whether Mr. Kusotare was befitting of his existing legacy, but rather to determine whether he was fit to wear the white haori. So too was the fact that Nao cared little for titles, and held NO interest in their acquisition.

…Beware...I heard them cry…

Nao, a master of Reikaku in all aspects of the discipline, sensed the beginnings of a subtle, yet stark change in the Sword Saint’s disposition. Where the once seemingly carefree drunk persona exuberated, was in the midst of transforming into a seriousness that tugged at Nao’s instincts, her own subconscious sending signals through every organ of her body – a signal to which she deciphered and comprehended without thought, instinctively, as was the nature of the rank and file, let alone the Captains of the Gotei 13, to fall back on lifetimes of training in the midst of battle. What the Demon Drunk discarded as inconsequential, Nao accepted wholeheartedly, a unique sixth sense that bestowed upon her knowledge beyond what most would deem possible; a foresight from which she noted that the White Death, whether consciously or subconsciously, had switched from the defensive to the offensive in an attempt to destroy Umōmaru’s feathers and subsequently in an attempt to assault her in a rather peculiar and ingenious manner. It was true that the Captain-hopeful relinquished his existence to instinct, as masterfully demonstrated in his jaw-dropping perfected rebuttal of Nao’s Kanji-shaped gales, though an act taken in defense. That which went beyond defending one’s self in response to danger, that which encompassed the desire to affect the world beyond the self, whether consciously or subconsciously, would reek of intent. No matter how small, or how well one attempted to mask their desires, or how instinctively one fought, to a Master like Nao, it would be read from miles away all the same.

As she’d known deep down, the White Death’s Zanjutsu capabilities were truly magnificent! Capable of successfully formulating an identical, perfected, rebuttal to her Kanji-shaped winds, even going so far as to manifest thousands of equally immaculate layers – all of it done in the inverse too! As expected from one regaled as the Sword Saint! Although a strange thing to have portions of his gales suctioned through the slits of hers, for such a thing could only occur if his rebuttal had been concluded weaker, and unsuccessful, a fact he surely didn’t intend to admit.

However, the gap between what he believed to occur next, and what actually transpired, was as deep as the ocean. Upon the completion of her wind assault, and his successful rebuke, the White Death had mistakenly attempted to defend against a physical onslaught of Nao’s Zanpakutō that never came, swinging his ebony blade about him reflexively. Alongside this unnecessary endeavor to defend, was accompanied by a simultaneous intent to target the feathers birthed from Umōmaru. The question would then be, how exactly did he presume to accomplish such a feat?

If he implied that his obvious mistake that lead to the spectacular dance of his blade about his person, had somehow struck at her beautiful feathers ALREADY manifested, then he would be, again, unequivocally mistaken – unless of course, his Zanpakutō granted him the ability to manipulate space-time, of which Nao was nearly certain wasn’t the case. Or if he implied that he had somehow traversed the distance between his original lounging location to where the Kanji-flames manifested – roughly five meters – that boxed him in, and subsequently somehow phased through the sharp-wind formations embedded within the fires, and then struck at the feathers that were releasing from her blade, then such an event would only transpire within his own mind. To presume he understood how she went about creating her assault, wouldn’t be in his best interest. The Kanji in both flame and wind, were created at the very tip of her two-meter long blade, Umōmaru’s feathers able to manifest from where the hilt met soul steel; a combination of observation and estimation, put the Demon Drunk’s ebony blade at less than a meter in length, meaning that if he’d attempted to cut her feathers in this manner, he would have had to reach beyond both the sharpened wind and Nao’s frighteningly quick cuts, to which his arms would be reduced to nothing more than bloodied, yet exceedingly clean, stumps. But again, an implausible undertaking, for to circumvent the natural flow of space-time would require a capability he surely didn’t possess.

…their cries carried upon the bloodied winds…

So then the question posed again, how exactly did he presume to accomplish such a feat? With their creation already established from a distance beyond the physical reach of the Sword Saint, and Nao’s true position yet uncertain, how was he intending to sever them at their moment of manifestation? If his intent was to utilize another element, such as the manipulation of wind or Reiatsu, to either cut the feathers as they manifested by way of her Shunpo, or those already manifested feathers whose locations were equally uncertain, from a distance, he had made no such indication, although in the end, he would find it a futile endeavor. Like her Zanpakutō, the feathers created from it were equally under her complete control, every last one of them an extension of her very being; she could experience the world through them, feel that which existed around them, able to manipulate them at a whim, all of them simultaneously or just one, as if they were her own limbs. Any threat to them would come to be known faster than the speed of thought, a feat easily accomplished through his established intent, and much like their master, would be met with a simple deflection or evasion that would leave observers dumbfounded as to how such a thing could be possible. The vacuum-velocity of her blade – that which swung about her to defend against any possible threat, no matter how microscopic – would intercept his cuts at a speed faster than thought, the feathers would change trajectory at a speed faster than thought, dance elusively about the edge of Suiyo’s blade at a speed faster than thought, or any threat formed of the like, until the end of time. To compare a flock of sparrows to the feathers born from a Captain’s mastered Zanpakutō, could come only from hubris, although Nao understood that such a characteristic would likely be found within a Soul of his magnitude. All the while, deliberately limiting the speed of his own Zanjutsu in an attempt to match that which he perceived to be slower. At no point had Nao underestimated the White Death, at no point had she deemed his swordsmanship any lesser; she merely came to answer hypotheses based on her observations of their battle thus far.

All of this to say, that no feathers were severed, and subsequently no explosions rang throughout the battlefield…at least not in the manner he envisioned within his genius mind.

From the time of Nao’s entrance, to the simultaneous creation of her Kanji-shaped fires and gales and the emission of her phoenix-shaped Reiatsu, to the drunk’s successful wind rebuttal and subsequently unnecessary defense and unsuccessful attempt to sever dumbfoundingly elusive feathers, to the White Death’s attempt to disrobe and be obscene, and finally to Nao’s proceeding actions already in motion, all of it occurred within the span of seconds. Such was the nature of a battle between two titans.

It would be a catastrophic blunder to believe that the only component comprising the elusive and expansive discipline of Shunpo, was speed. To the contrary, what made Shunpo such a formidable art, was everything but. A master of Shunpo incorporated thousands of years of accrued knowledge, intricate and mind-numbingly precise body movements, instinct, foresight, design, intent, Reiryoku, Reiatsu, all of it put together to make reality bow to their will. To the uninitiated, the inner machinations of the speed clone technique would seem but a simple and straightforward application of speed, going from one physically visible apparition to the next in a perpetual revolution, in order to maintain their integrity. For Nao, preserving speed clones was an afterthought, requiring no such additional effort, her mastery over every aspect of both the technique and the discipline from which it was derived, allowed her clones to persist in pristine condition for greater time than all of the actions taken so far in their confrontation, and beyond. Only a single revolution had been required, and therefore conducted, which meant that all of the actions taken against him had already been set into motion; from the time of the formation of the Kanji-winds to the visible appearance of her physical form, Nao had prepared her proceeding assault, leaving her free to maneuver as she wished. The visual transformations of her apparitions, to include the pulsating red-orange of their blades, was simply reality finally catching up to her actions.

Having noticed the anomalous, spiritual-filled silver smoke from the White Death’s very first exhale, every fiber of her being – the conscious and subconscious – spoke of a danger that she would make no mistake to avoid. An ingenious yet ultimately unsuccessful attempt to utilize the smoke formed by her own accord, that which had come to exist and cease at a faster rate than the spiritual-smoke born of his black pipe could travel throughout, as a conduit in order to subdue his proctor. Her impeccable spiritual senses had picked up on the emenations prior to his initial exhalation of the dubious substance, and if he believed she would be incapable of discerning the distinctions both physically and spiritually between the smoke formed by her own Zanpakutō and that which was his, then he surely didn’t think much of her at all. In the end, none of his smoke made contact with Nao, and neither was any of it inhaled.

…as they fell...beneath his might…

From the space farther behind and in between each of the four apparitions, to their left and right, four iterations of Hado #78: Zangerin came to life, roaring out in furious, multi-layered arcs of red and orange, two of them vertical and two horizontal, cutting through and parting the smoke at their very core structure. The screeching arcs came upon him within a breath, just as the four signatures of Nao, full of sharp cutting intent, emerged before him, one to his front, two to each flank, and one from behind; these entities were in truth, simply the masterful employment of her own Reiatsu, molded, sharpened, and forced to mimic the edge of her blade, formed within the same time and with the same manipulations of her Zanpakutō that manifested the Zangerins.

It came as no surprise that the Sword Saint would be capable of dealing with the Reiatsu strikes, parrying them with frightening haste and precision. The Zangerins, however, were a different matter. What many would rightfully perceive, was that these Kido creations were solely composed of scorching orange energy; the reality however, was that they were coated with a second layer of red Reishi, born of Zanjutsu, condensed and sharpened to a degree only a fellow master swordsman could comprehend. The White Death’s attempt to dissolve the Hado by use of Hanki would ultimately fail, for the outer layer protecting the Kido underneath refused to comply, continuing on unfettered. The Zangerins would not simply phase through him, and launch on the other side, for they intersected at the center of his seemingly intangible form, the collision emitting a powerful shockwave outward as a red-orange cross of spiritual energy took shape. Upon his return to the same exact location, and re-materialisation, his body would find itself bisected from head to groin and midsection twice over, any Reishi disintegrated at the molecular level, no trace of flesh or blood but simply empty space in between his quartered existence.

If he could somehow successfully defend against the Zangerin assault, he would come to witness his somehow reformulated gales phase through the speed clones, followed by the sudden and peculiar emergence of many blackened katanas around one of the specters in an unsuccessful bid to ensnare the Captain, their forms finally commencing their dissipation, so too her phoenix-shaped Reiatsu. These spontaneous weapons had not manifested from within Nao, as the White Death mused, for again, the pollution of his spiritually-brimming smoke made no contact with her, and neither was it inhaled. A fascinating ability, her philosophic mind running through countless hypotheses as to the implications of what this meant; the White Death had exhaled smoke from a pipe with uncanny similarities to his Zanpakutō, both physically and spiritually, and then that spiritually-laced smoke had formed dozens of full-fledged katanas out of thin air…it seemed that this Suiyo Kusotare’s Zanpakutō could manipulate matter, although a very important question was, to what extent? An answer she hoped would come to light soon enough.

But that’s not all! All about his immediate person, within the space beyond his perceived impenetrable vacuum sphere of defense that had not gone into effect because no blast had yet come, an inferno erupted with a deafening roar; an explosion produced by a hundred feathers gone unnoticed, for his absolute fixation on unsuccessfully severing all of her feathers upon their inception, had left him tunnel visioned and unaware of those that had been willed upon him. They had traversed through his smoke at speeds faster than thought, disturbing no elements, left undetected, squeezed together in bundles of ten, their dubious spiritual signatures still pinging at his senses from afar, while he attempted at unrobing his Shihakusho. Their initial target location set as the ebony Zanpakutō embedded into the earth, to which he had made no effort to prevent, let alone any indication to recognize; they would dance about the steel of his blade as it swung, exceeding its deliberately slowed speed, as they maneuvered their way toward his person unnoticed, avoiding the cuts and Zangerins of her making all the same. Only after the blast occurred did the signatures of these feathers slowly come to light, one agonizing microscopic metric of space at a time, their footprints forming the trails from which they came.

The first sense to go was his sight, retinas burned away, then came the blast force, rendering him unconscious, the pressurized air passing through his body, causing immediate organ failure, then the flames, eating away at the Reishi comprising his existence, disintegrating him to ash, then the sound shockwave that burst his eardrums – if they still existed – rendering him deaf, and finally his inhalations of fire and smoke that would burn him from the inside out. So too did the very Reishi particles born of his Zanpakutō cease to exist, eaten away by the super-heated flames of the explosion.

Nao’s form came into existence, just as the bright star-shaped point of the explosion of her making came to be upon the horizon, followed by a sphere of an inferno that expanded in all directions, engulfing the Valley of Screams in yet another display of destruction. As the force, flames, and smoke of her explosions neared, they met an invisible wall and halted, subsequently forced up higher and higher at her behest until they reached far up into the scorching skies and dissipated.

With the second act finally concluded, Nao started toward the epicenter of the explosion, the invisible wall moving in accordance with every step of her Geta, where the drunk surely still existed, for he was the Sword Saint, the White Death, the Drunken Demon, and most importantly of all, the Immortal. With a seemingly static Umōmaru in her masterful hand, yet primed and ever in motion, and the stench of her Zanpakutō covering her from head to toe, an equal signature covering the expanse behind her for as far as could be felt, the Captain of the Seventh made her way forward toward a desecrated place that most would cower and avoid, a single sentence in response to his last declaration leaving her perfectly pink, gently smiling lips-

“Yes…it seems you’re finally taking this seriously.”
Last edited:


Staff member




Moving On...

The Zangerins, despite being layered in Zanjutsu-born Reishi, would ultimately seem to phase through the sitting Drunkard. Though they were protected by layers of zanjutsu and reiatsu, the impact of Suiyo’s blade would negate all layers, even if his hanki proved insufficient. This is due to the nature of his shikai, which Nao quickly begins to note. A form of matter manipulation, the four Zangerin would fall to full effect, and as they would approach the Swordsman, instead of colliding in the center, they would reshape around the man’s body. This causes the Captain’s opponent to appear intangible, utilizing shunpo perhaps, except that he doesn’t move at all. If the smoke which they passed through, which as Nao correctly deduced, carried with it particles of his zanpakuto, failed to make contact, it would not matter. If by a miracle the Sword Saint’s blade was rendered so incompetent as to be unable to parry a simple strike, it too would not matter. As the very moment the strike would touch Suiyo’s skin, it would instead fall upon the effects of his shikai. Ultimately, Nao fires her zanjutsu-based, reiatsu-laced, kido, only to see it seem to move through her target and continue on harmlessly in its trajectory.


All four of Nao’s clones are struck with a series of blades. Four, not one, due to Suiyo launching simultaneous counter-attacks, not just in a singular direction. The cuts of Suiyo’s blade were reinforced to match the strength, speed, and angle of Nao’s kanji, but the wind that they carried as a byproduct of their speed is what was displaced through the holes of her attack, and then reformed. How could this wind be reformed into a blade remotely by Suiyo who possesses no influence over this element? The same way that the smoke which surrounds him acts as a near-perfect defense. Every single cut that Suiyo has sent out, has carried with it microscopic particles of his zanpakuto, just like the smoke which he exhales. These particles allowed Suiyo to reshape the wind behind Nao’s strikes, and cause them to carry on. Wind, which then served to spread the particles for miles. Wind which now passed harmlessly around Nao’s clones, covering them in these particles, instantaneously forming into the blades which dissipates them. The true Nao however, dances about the Valley, unfazed by the sudden dump of weapons that pile up where once the afterimage of her clones existed.

“This is what you wanted to see, right?”


Somehow, despite successfully delivering a counter assault behind Nao’s initial strike, as he defended against this strike. Regardless of easily perceiving where they would originate from and which trajectory their origin point would follow. Even though his speed matched Nao's, not lingered behind to be outsped. Somehow, he was so focused on severing her feathers, that he failed to sever any feathers. Perhaps due to his drunken state, his inebriation only increased by unknown levels by the substance he smokes in his pipe. Perhaps it was because of his multiple trains of thought, not paying attention to Nao or the combat they were engaged in, since the formation of her Kanji. Regardless, even missing feathers as he may, even as they spawn in point blank range and around his grounded Zanpakuto. It would not matter.

The feathers that touch upon the ebony blade of the grounded Katana, immediately fall to the floor, like insects to an electric current. Falling out of Nao’s control, they land upon the ground not in the shape of feathers, but folded into flowers, multiple feathers merged and assembled into beautiful petals. Of course, this does nothing to stop their detonation, nor the ones upon Suiyo’s point blank vicinity. Eye already squinting at the dissipated forms of Nao, it’s easy enough for Suiyo to simply close it, his own reiryoku flowing to reinforce his senses from any blinding light that might pierce through, similar to how one reinforces their skin against a blade. The explosion goes off in all of its glory, just as Nao had hoped, at exactly the location she had hoped. Spreading across the valley, the massive detonation was surely inescapable, especially for the Drunken dolt who was sitting still at the epicenter. Yet, just as the explosion reaches its greatest point, Nao would likely be perplexed at the shape it morphs into: something too exact to be a mere coincidence.


Shaping into something outside of Nao’s control, the massive explosion strangely morphs into a rudimentary smiley face. Much like the drawing of a child, or more likely, that of a drunk. It would seem that the particles of his Shikai that spread in a radius around his vicinity, as well as flew through his blood veins, and which was harnessed in the unlimited amount of bladed weapons he can produce and wield, all served to ensure that whatever came close to him, would fall under the effects of his shikai ability.

Matter manipulation indeed, Suiyo possesses the ability to reforge, reshape, and refine anything that his Zanpakuto touches, including his zanpakuto itself. Heat was of no obstacle, for any boiling or breaking point that a normal zanpakuto would have, would just as easily be improved upon molecularly as Nao’s feathers can be manipulated telepathically. No, these microscopic bits of metal do not melt nor incinerate, but increase the density of their own constructs so that their molecular alignment would be more than sufficient in repelling the growing heat. Nao’s explosion spreads around Suiyo, yet he would simply reform it so that he was safe in the eye of the storm, further protected by any vacuum-sphere he wishes to produce. The blast wave is redirected, the soundwave too, as well as the heat. As the explosion spreads out through the valley, Suiyo’s zanpakuto particles spread out through the explosion, increasing his control over the construction of its matter.

Ultimately, once the explosion reaches the pinnacle of its mass, it not only maintains instead of dissipates, but begins to shrink. Constricting inwards on itself, the explosive smiley-face grows in its own density, continually folding in, and diminishing in size. Much like a star might be compacted through gravity, this explosion is compacted by the refining process of Suiyo’s blade. Equally, just as a sun’s density creates its own gravity, so too are the particles of metal in the air attracted to this fiery ball. Soon, the explosion is but the size of a melon, coated in a crust of metal, before it becomes that of a baseball, then an egg.

“Yes…it seems you’re finally taking this seriously.”

Yuhuh, hey check this out. ‘S Neat.”


In his hand, the master craftsman Suiyo Kusotare has combined the constructs of both his and the Captain’s shikai. Creating a self-maintaining and yet condensed explosion of Umōmaru, which is held in place by the perpetually refining insulating metal of Mukizu. The ultimate design of this device would be like that of a kitchen egg-timer, ironically fashioned into the shape of an egg, with the finishing touches of a chicken decal. Holding the device up for Nao to see, Suiyo twists his index and thumb, spinning the bottom of the egg and causing the timer to begin counting down. Yet, rather than tossing it at the woman, he snaps, and the device is nowhere to be seen, ticking somewhere up Suiyo’s sleeve no doubt.

See ya!

“So, this has been uh…something….”

The man still sits where he had woken up, having had only the time to sit up. Until now, he’s only moved to unfasten his sash, or leaned in obscure directions to alter the trajectory of his strikes. He has yet to rise to his feet at all, or take a step, despite the relentless, and perhaps over the top, display coming from the Captain stranger. Even still, it does not look like he means to stand up. Instead, he twists his torso, as though to spin his body. Perhaps he intends to deliver a sort of spinning-strike, or a wind-mill kick to rise to his feet.

“But, I’m gonna go ahead n’ go.”

Just like that, he is gone. No release of his twisted muscles, no build up of energy, absolutely no que of movement at all, yet he vanishes without a trace. It is as though the very ground itself has rejected him, or gravity has chosen to affect him in a different direction. Just as he had seemed to phase before, the likely answer appears once again to be shunpo, and yet just as he phased before, there was no doubt a deception to this appearance. Regardless, Suiyo flys through the air at speeds superior to those of the projectile-cuts Nao had launched, having had over a thousand examples to now gauge from. This means that launching a projectile after him, even at her shifting vantage points such distance away, would fail to bridge the gap in time enough to stop him. That’s if they could even get through the man’s surprise and upcoming defense.

As Suiyo soars through the air, the ground rumbles at his take-off, thunderous cracks ringing out through the valley, as the earth itself shakes as though in a quake. This cacophonic combination of noise and force trails behind Suiyo like a sound-wave trying to catch up to that which broke it. Yet, where exactly was his destination? Why move, torso twisted, so quickly, in a fashion so destructive to the battlefield, when there was nothing but barren valley that surrounds them? The answer was all thanks to Nao. Who, much like Suiyo was with the feathers, was so focused on her objective that she got tunnel vision, and failed to note what truly mattered.

Nao had entered this valley with the intent to kill. Abandoning her senkaimon before it even had the chance to open fully. Delivering an artistic display of a thousand cuts, followed by a dancing ensemble of feathers, and a orchestra of explosions. During this time, the Vacant senkaimon lingered open, hesitant as to whether or not to shut. The speed at which Nao ensured all this occurred, meant that only mere moments had passed. While all this occurred, Suiyo’s instincts were on Nao, his physical senses were entranced in the beauty of her zanjutsu, but his analytical mind, that part of him which might be called genius, was only ever focused on one thing. All he needed to do was get a single cut past her defenses, one which would carry on it, through a gust of air, an infusion of his shikai particles.

To Suiyo, distance holds no meaning at all. A single swing of his sword was just as effective in point blank range as it was miles away. This was exemplified in short distance by his handling of the point blank explosion, and as for long distance...


The Senkaimon that the Captain had arrived in, had been Suiyo’s target this entire time. Waking up in a new strange place was a common occurrence for the bum. However this was the second time he had been transported to an entirely new dimension. Much like the first, this one was barren of life, booze, and anything else of interest. What’s worse, is that this one had a beating sun, and dry air. Happy to have his zanpakuto back, forewarned of Nao’s appearance, Suiyo was not surprised by anything that has occurred. Instead, his focus was on the Senkaimon, the very moment he sensed a doorway out of here, the very moment Nao had chosen to abandon it. The reason he had not rushed the gate right away, was firstly because he would need to guarantee it would not close, and secondly because he was impressed by the zanjutsu-kanji display and the attire of this strange fiery woman.

Now however...


After firing his useless and inconsequential strikes out into the harmless distance, a single one of these would have slipped by mere moments ago. Carrying with it the particles of Mukizu, Suiyo was able to reform both the senkaimon and his zanpakuto upon contact. Using the components of blade and gate, Suiyo created a device that functions much like a stick in a door way. Where the stick might serve to lock a door, or keep one propped open, despite possessing less power than the door itself. This device, later to be named a Symmetry Gate, does not work to outpower the Senkaimon, but simply use its power against it. All the force the senkaimon might apply to the gate, is simply redirected back at it, keeping the doors propped open. This applies not just to the first gate either, but each subsequent one within, as the cut traveled down the halls of the open gateway, placing one such structure at each door, sure to launch out in the fifth division barracks.

Suiyo’s exit is all but guaranteed, with Nao remaining the only obstacle between himself and freedom. Accounting for this, Suiyo moves through the air at shunpo-level speeds, outpacing any sword strike that might be sent after him, the earth quaking behind him, his body twisted in an odd fashion, pipe in his mouth, ticking in his hand. What a curious fellow, what a curious fight, sure to shake even a battle-hardened Captain’s resolve with just the killing intent of a mere moment of seriousness in one instance, then launching himself like a clown through the air with a series of tricks and toys like a jester in the next. This battle has surely been one of confusion and unpredictability, when one master of their craft wishes to subdue the other, and the other wishes to avoid confrontation all together.






Three vanilla folders sit upon a desk of mahogany, each folder perfectly aligned with one another while simultaneously evenly spaced out from one another. While the contents of each folder may vary, they all bear equal weight. The folders belong to Oyama Hoshi, Ochitsuki Oda, and Himari Shimizu respectively. Each folder contains files, documentations about their performance within the division, the statistics of their missions. It was a review that would tell the Captain who was still an asset...and who, if anyone had become a liability..dead weight.

He holds a blue sake cup in his hand, yet it is not alcohol that fills the cup, but tea. His image perfectly reflected in the liquid that rests in a state of perfect calm, not a single ripple to be found to warp or disturb the reflection. He brings the cup to his lips, eyes still cast down upon the folders as he takes a sip. He had yet to open a single one, could the cold Captain be somewhat nervous? fearful of what he may read, fearful of their failure? The answer was of course, no. This hesitation had nothing to do with either individual but rather, the fastest man in the Seireitei had simply decided to take his time. Since the frustrating distraction that was the Kenpachi Games, the Captain was forced to play catch up. Shinobu Abe once more falling sick and unable to perform leading Kyomu to compile the proper paper work necessary for her transfer out of his division. Regardless of her skills, if she could barely perform than she was more a burden than an asset. Kyomu didn't need any more burdens added to those already clinging to him. While Shinobu's condition impeded her work, the three individuals before him held no such excuse. If their performance was not up to par he would carve into their flesh the magnitude of his expectations towards those who served under him...literally. If they did not shed sweat to work and ensure they were always producing results, then they'd shed blood as punishment.

Kyomu places the blue cup down, and begins reaching for a folder when his hand comes to a stop. The Captain says nothing, does nothing until-

"What is it?"

He seems to ask the wind as there appears no one within his office except him.

"Sir...word has come from the Commander."

A larger vanilla folder finds itself dropped on top of the others, landing with an audible thud. Kyomu's eyes focus on the folder, never shifting to acknowledge the nameless, faceless messenger. A single finger is used to open up the folder, the front page has a name and a picture attached to it; Eizoku Yugameru. The file was a dossier on the apparent Captain hopeful, an extensive one at that. Height, weight, background, tenure, estimate of his spiritual strength and capabilities, zanpakuto length, name, and recorded abilities. With every line he read, every page he turned he was learning more of the Third se-Former Third Seat of Fifth Division, and with everything he learned, he began to dissect.

'So..first it was your now former sibling, now its your former subordinate.'

He wondered how much more promising this individual, connected to Tenzen Oda would be...if at all. He takes his time in his reading, and it is only once he has read through the file twice over does he finally stand up, gripping his zanpakuto. It was time. His subordinates were spared having their files, their achievements and their failures scrutinized...for now at least.​


Time is on no one's side they say. Clearly they weren't aware of the existence of Eizoku. With a rare and powerful zanpakuto, a master of the demon arts, presumably skilled with a blade to boot — on paper, he was truly a force to be reckoned with. That was only on paper though. What had Eizoku learned from his former Captain, or was he like the disgraced Koga Kuchiki, drunk and blinded by the power of his zanpakuto? These are all questions asked by the Phantom as he traverses through the Senkaimon, one hand resting upon Genzoken's hilt, the other casually flipping and catching a single anken. Feet silently steps out into the valley of screams, the valley itself seeming to anticipate his arrival or...perhaps the arrival of something. The Captain ventures further into the valley, juggling that single anken. He moves as a specter, and despite his 'presence' there, the valley still feels vacant. Denied any sounds from the Captain's movements, any vibrations generated by his steps, denied his breath, denied even a sliver of his insulated reiatsu the Phantom haunts the valley like his namesake.

The clock was ticking for now, but if Eizoku didn't bring forth his best ability, he'd find his clock stopped