Kurono is now starting her training. but could going through the shattered shaft lead her back down the hollow path?
The Path One Must Take
So Zelo and Seji came back an hour later carring a black kimono. I put it on and realized that it was obviously not meant for a girl.
“What's with this? It barely stays up on my shoulders, moss-ball”
“Well there is only one girl in squad 11 and that’s the lieutenant.”
We followed Yoruichi to the yellow gate. Zelo leaned over to me while Seji kept giving me smirks and winking at me
“Just act like you're supposed to be here. They won't say a thing”
The gate keeper, a very large man, nodded at Yoruichi and let us in. He looked at me and I nodded. His eyes narrowed and reached out a large finger and pointed at my face. It was so big it blocked him from my veiw.
“I don't remember ever seein’ you before. What's your name and squad?”
Before I could say anything Zelo was in front of me frowning.
“She's the newest member of squad 11. Kurono Suzuki”
“Oh… Pass on”
We walked on slowly and the gate shut behind us with a bang.
“Phew, thanks Moss-boy”
“Come on you three, be quick.”
Start Day One
We arrived at a cave in the mountain side. Inside the ceiling was painted like a sunny sky. It was just like the one under Kisuke’s shop. Zelo’s eyes bugged out of his head while he ran his hand threw his green hair. Seji threw a few glances around as well
“I never knew this was here!”
“That’s the whole point Moss-boy. What kinda hair cut is that anyway?”
“A strong manly spirit cut”
“Kurono, let's start your training”
I looked at Zelo
“Stand back sissy boy”
“You don’t have your own sword for right now so you must go to your inner world and speak to your spirit. You don't have enough Reiatsu to tune in to the inner world using Jinzen. We have to get that power back so we’re going to do what we did to Ichigo”
“But won't that…”
“Turn you into a hollow? Perhaps. Here, this devise will act like a soul chain”
Yoruichi pulled out a metal pad with a long chain hanging from it. She attached the chain end to a metal pole. I gulped.
That looks like…
“Kurono, where do you want me to place this?”
“Right here please”
I squeaked the last bit, fear crawing into my throat as I pointed at the area just below my collar bone.
“Kurono, you don't have to do this if you don't want to, but if you want to get back there…”
“It's fine let's do this”
Yoruichi bent down and pulled down the front of the kimono. Zelo looked away, acting like he was looking for a place to sit, dragging Seji with him who was peeking threw his fingers at me.
“This is going to hurt, are you ready?”
“On the count of three.”
I nodded as I watched her take the panle off the back. Spikes shined, ready to run me threw.
Yoruichi suddenly slammed the device into me. I lost all air as she quickly placed the back panle on my back. Pain swelled inside and I felt almost human again, like a normal human soul. I fell to the ground and cried out in pain as Yoruichi put the top half of my kimono back in place. I looked up to see Zelo and Seji sitting on a tall rock. Zelo was leaning back and had already started snoring. Seji watched me and looked ready to jump off and run to my side
“Oh…lord… that hurt worst then I thought it would….I-I can't breathe!”
“That is because you are now like a normal soul, one without any Reiatsu. We can not begin until the Spiritual Pressure you’ve lost is restored”
“What do I have to do?”
“I’ll just show you. Seji, this is where you come in. I need you to fight Kurono till she can't move anymore”
Zelo opened his right eye
I wouldn’t let Seji do that”
“Yeah I don't want to hurt her…”
I glared at them both, Zelo looked bored and Seji had worry in his eyes.
“Well I don't want to hurt you either”
“Just go after her she’ll be fine”
“Come on Seji! You're insulting me here”
I tried to stand and he jumped off the rock.
“Look, you cant even stand let alone…”
I yelled as I ran at him. He merely side stepped and sighed. He brought his left hand around to hit me. His punch swerved and hit a rock behind me. Dust flew up in my face as I felt his Reiatsu. I tried to move to hit him but I couldn't.
“Try your sword Seji”
Yoruichi’s voice echoed out of no where. Seji pulled out his sword. It was short with a yellow handle and jagged on both sides looking like a very deadly dagger. He swung it down and I rolled to the ground.
It's hard to move without my hollow powers…
The sword slammed down by my head and I rolled even further away.
If I run I can think of a plan…
I began running, I don't know how I got the strength but I had it. Seji chased after, barely having to jog to keep up with his long legs.
“Release your sword Seji, we need her to be scared.”
Seji nodded and whisperd
“Handou Ken Sentou Aimi Kiiro-Akio” (Kick and Punch Beautiful Yellow Child)
A blast of yellow Reiatsu surrounded the blade and it disappeared. We continued to run while I watched his sword change. The blade had melted with his hands and feet, covering them with a hard metal. His knuckles had spikes on them which he aimed right at my back. They fired and barely missed me. Fear spiked as they exploded a rock I had just passed
I started feeling more strength in my legs and I started to go faster.
If I'm faster than him, then I can hit him!
I stopped suddenly and used the g-force to swing my body around in a complete 180 and my left fist connected with his face at the same time I caught the end of the on coming punch with my right hand. The look on his face was priceless as he flew backwards, putting a rut in the ground. But his hand flew out of no where and wrapped around my kimono’s neck. I was pulled with him and slammed into a hill of rock, creating a hole. I fell to the ground painting
That didn’t hurt as bad as I expected…
“One more time please”
Yoruichi started clapping as she walked towards us. I stood. Zelo was still asleep up on the rock
“Good job Kurono. Lesson one cleared. You have restored your Reiatsu. Isn't it eaiser to breathe?”
I nodded and Yoruichi smiled
“Then let's move on. Seji, are you alright?”
Seji stood and his sword returned to normal.
“I’ll be fine. But man it felt like Kenpachi smacked me!”
“Let me see your sword”
Seji frowned but handed it over and Yoruichi swung it down right on my new soul chain. I felt a blast of pain and I fell to the ground.
“What?! Why’d you do that?!”
I stared angrily at Yoruichi. Seji was crying in the back ground mumbling about not hurting his Kuro-chan. Yoruichi didn’t answer as she started spouting Bakudō spells. Chains clasped my hands behind my back and I was too weak to fight it.
Zelo had just woken up and was staring as Yoruichi picked me and started carrying me towards the center of the training grounds.
“Uhg… I feel like I'm dying all over again…”
There in the middle was a large shaft that seemed to never end. Yoruichi jumped down the shaft and sat me gentely on the bottom.
“This is the Shattered Shaft. At the bottom it takes 72 hours to become a Shinigami and climb out. If you do not achieve this then you will become a hollow again and me and Zelo will have to kill you. You have no more than three days.”
Yoruichi leapt out of the pit and the chain started eating on itself. I fell to the ground and gasped for air as pain swallowed my body.
And Ichigo went through this?
“I can’t climb out with my hands behind my back!!”
“Stop complaining and start doing!”
I sat there for hours and counted how long the chain was eating on itself and how long the breaks were. When I was postive that it ate itself for 5 minutes and slept for an hour I started thinking of a way out. I stood and walked around the pit, having to stop to let the chain eat itself. I gave up on walking around and lied on the ground wishing I could see someone again, but I didn’t know who.
End of Day One
I closed my eyes and imagined Ichigo’s face. It was the last thing I had seen so it was fresh in my mind.
He had went through this… but how on earth did he become a Shinigami out of sitting at the bottom of a dark pit?
I focused more on my last memory. Ichigo was staring at me with tears starting in his eyes. Behind him was some sort of dark sky. I focused more on the sky and man in a green and white hat. Then my memory of the fight with my hallow. I followed my memories back and soon saw myself yelling at a man.
The man had light-blue spiky hair and eyes, and also had green lines below them. His attire consisted of a white hakama and a black sash; his white jacket was ragged with an upturned collar. The inner lining was black, the sleeves were rolled up, and the man wore it open, leaving a muscular chest revealed. The remains of his Hollow mask consisted of the right jawbone, and his Hollow hole had moved to his abdomen. His tattoo number, a 6, was located on his back, near the right side of his Hollow hole. He also sported a large scar on his torso.
When I saw him a waterfall of feelings came to me in a large wave. Fear, hate, anger, saddness, worry, compassion, longing, even… even love.
I whispered the name out loud.
His smile, that sadisic grin, his smirk, it was all coming back to me faster than I could handle. The scar was given to him by Ichigo. His arm was healed by Orihime after being cut off by Kaname Tōsen. He came to my world, he ate lunch with me, we shared a mentel commection, he went to the dance with me. He….he kissed me. But wasn’t it a lie? No, it couldn’t have been, it felt, it looked, so real. The look in his eyes, his soft touch when I was hurt. The anger he got if I was hurting. That was NOT fake. I needed him, I now I beileve, he needs me. This is the soul perpose of this adventure. I started out to fix myself and atone for my wrong doings; that’s how I’m going to finish. I want to do this… no. I NEED to do this. To save Grimmjow…. To save Ichigo, Orihime, Chad, Uryū, Rukia, Renji, Arashi, Seria…to save….myself. I need to finish this.
“I HAVE TO FINISH THIS!!”
I could feel myself slipping, falling into the black. It felt cold, but odly soothing. I took one last breath and sunk below the darkness.
But didn’t someone say that Grimmjow was lying?
Start of Day 2
I opened my eyes and screamed in pain. The erosion was getting more and more painful. I had nothing better to do than sit and try to remember my life before all this. My human memories were white washed, and faded more than before. I couldn’t remember my parent’s faces or my Sensei; I couldn't even remember their names, all I knew was that I had them and I was royalty. I remembered all the Espada and Aizen along with my brother and my sister, Ryu and Suki. Gintaro appeared later in my mind closely followed by his brother Ginshiro. But just before I could remember what happened just before my fight with Grimmjow, Zelo appeared by my head.
“What do you want Moss-ball?”
“I just wanted to check in and see how ya holdin’ up”
“Does it hurt, the chains I mean?”
I gave him the best sarcastic look I could muster
“No not at all. It's just the regular walk in the park”
“Jeez, even though you're dying you're still snarky”
I sat up wishing I could hit him. But the thought startled me.
That’s just what a hollow would want to do…
“Hey? You ok?”
“Yeah, just tired and bored”
After a long awkward silence Zelo left, leaving me back in the solitary darkness to think more about life as a hollow.
Middle of Day 2
Finally it came to me, the man with the fox-like grin, Gin.
Gin was the one who had lied to me…or was he telling the truth? I can't remember… but what he said is still in my mind…
“All of it, the niceness, the care… the love. It was all fake, something for Aizen to study”
Oh I hate him, that evil coniving little snake! I’ll kill him when I get outta here!!
That’s when my stomach growled.
“Hey Yoruichi!! You got any food up there!?”
Wait a minute… I'm in soul form, I shouldn’t be hungry
Yoruichi’s head popped up over the edge of the pit
“Hunger is the first sign of turning into a hollow. You seem to be starting the transformatin early.”
“Don’t be silly, I still have…” I looked down and counted the links I had left “… I still have 12 links left!”
“The last few links go quickly.”
I gulped and stared at the chain. It had stopped eating itself hadn’t eroded for a good 3 hours. But the last time it had started eating the pain was unbearable.
What am I supposed to do? And how long has it been anyway?
1 Hour Later
I stared at the dirt floor and felt like crying. My stomach screamed for food and my arms had gone numb some time ago. I hadn’t been able to sleep or think clearly due to my fear. I only had 7 chains left and according to the new cycle, eating every 5 minutes, the next chain was due to erode some time in the next 2 minutes. I was getting desperate
“Yoruichi, what do you want me to do!!?!?”
“Become a Shinigami”
“That’s just swell! I’ll just do that and while I'm at it I’ll have tea with the queen!!”
Pain screamed in my chest, but it wasn’t like the last few times. I screamed and sat straight up as the pain seared inside my body like a growing storm. I looked down and screamed in fear
“STOP!! All of you stop!!”
All the chains had begun to eat one another and I screamed in pain. They quickly turned to dust and finnaly my body couldn’t take it any more.
“MAKE IT STOP!!! PLEASE!!!”
I felt and saw blackness seeping into my vision as a snake-like voice spoke that sound all too familiar
“Just give in and let me in again… don’t fight me anymore Kurono…”
The final chain was eroded and the plate burst, leaving an empty hole.
“Come, let me in once more…”
A white substains started spilling from my eyes, mouth, and nose as I screamed in pain. I could feel a strong Reiatsu spirling around me that felt familiar
I don’t know who I was saying no to but it seemed to silence the voice in my head. Zelo and Seji started running down the shaft but were stopped by Yoruichi.
My cries were desperate and the look on Zelo’s face was torn. Seji looked ready to kill Yoruichi if she didn’t let him threw.
“Don’t, she has to do this on her own”
“But she’s turning into a Hollow!”
Seji’s voice was pained
“Not yet, look, usually the body transforms and the mask forms last. But in this case the mask is forming first which shows she is resisting the change. It is a very painful process but it may just save her soul”
“STOP STANDING AROUND!!! PLEASE KILL ME!!!!!!”
Soon my voice was lost and I screamed louder as more and more white crud spilled from the openings in my face. I felt the Reiatsu around me spike as I got more and more afriad of what was going to happen to me. Zelo and Seji knelt to the ground under the pressure.
“Yoruichi, every Shinigami is going to feel this Reiatsu!! Its almost higher than Kenpachi Zaraki’s!!”
I screamed and screamed wanting someone to kill me. I had never been through this much pain. All my thoughts were jummbled as I slipped into darkness. In the distance I still heard my screaming as I fell into something cold.