Categories > Anime/Manga > Bleach > The Rise of the Hollow King

Chapter 6

by Karasu-Tenka 0 reviews

Tatsuki awakens...

Category: Bleach - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama,Fantasy - Characters: Abarai Renji,Arisawa Tasuki,Inoue Orihime,Ishida Uryuu,Kuchiki Rukia - Published: 2017-11-11 - 5218 words

Kuchiki Rukia sat beside her friend in the darkened infirmary room, resting her hand on Orihime's. "Everything is going well. Preparations are proceeding on schedule, and Kisuke rescued your friend Tatsuki yesterday evening." The beautiful orange haired girl didn't answer, she didn't even blink at Tatsuki's name. Rukia felt her heart sink. "Please Inoue... we need your light. We need your smile back." She felt the familiar pain grip her chest once again as she thought about the situation. "Please... don't leave us like he did..."

She struggled to bring herself back under control, choking back tears once again. She had lost count of how many times she had broken down crying in the past several weeks. Her brother had been a constant and surprisingly compassionate support for her during those times, as had Renji, Chad, and Ishida.

The quincy had remained in Soul Society for the past three weeks, claiming that he 'Didn't trust the Shinigami to do a proper job of guarding Inoue-san'. Meanwhile, Chad had been almost unseen since his return from Hueco Mundo. The only person who knew where he constantly disappeared to most days was Yoruichi-san, who assured Rukia that he was steadily growing stronger each day. However, he always seemed to show up when the diminutive Shinigami needed a silently comforting shoulder to cry against.

However, Rukia had not let her personal feelings about the situation hold her back. She and Reiji had been training ferociously together. Rukia was desperate to get stronger, to no longer be a burden on those around her. And Renji had reacted to her feelings with a fiery passion, the two met most days, and usually trained for seemingly endless hours.

As her tears dried, she heard an odd thumping noise from the hallway behind her. Turning to look, she saw a figure silhouetted in the doorway, it's features in shadow from the light at it's back. She tried to make out any details of the figure, They're female... She thought, But she isn't wearing a Shinigami kimono. There was... something odd about them... almost as though the air around the figure was filled with a strange haze. It was then that she noticed something on the floor of the hall behind the stranger.

It was an arm, strewn out where the body attached to it had fallen. Blood pooled beneath the fingers. Then she saw the hole in the middle of the standing figure's form. Rukia's eyes widened in shock, moving to rise, and draw her Zanpakutō. However the figure in the doorway flashed forward with incredible speed, smashing a heavy fist into her side. Rukia felt the bones in her arm, and several ribs, shatter under the blow as she was hurled to the side, crashing into the far wall and crumpling to the floor.

The last thing she saw as her vision began to go dark from the pain was the shadowed figure hunched over Inoue's bed, shaking the girl's shoulders gently. "Ori..hime..." She heard a terrified voice coming from the figure. "Ori...hime..." Then everything went black.


Everything hurt. Everything was dark. Then... This is... Orihime! She could feel it. Orihime's presence. Orihime! Orihime! She had to go to her... had to protect her.
She realized with a start, that she could sense others. Dozens, all around her, all of them felt violent... dangerous... They may hurt her! She thought, horrified. Her eyes snapped open, the world rushing in to greet her in a blinding, painful flash of color and sensation.

Slowly, she pushed herself up, she was laid on a bed, clean white sheets covering her. Looking around she found herself in what looked like a dark hospital room, albeit one from what looked to be the 1600s or so, with what looked like modern day lights. A brief glance out the window set into the wall above the bed told her that the sun had gone down. There was no door in the entryway that led to the painfully bright hall.

It hurt her to breathe... like there was something pressing against her chest. Looking down, she realized that the pain was coming from what looked like a hole that had somehow formed where her solar plexus usually was... A hole that passed all the way through her body.

She tried to scream. Tried to cry out. But all that escaped her was a hacking cough. Then she heard the footsteps. One of the dangerous people that she could sense was coming towards her room, with a clear purpose, her mind filled with thoughts of what they were going to do to her. Would they torture her? Force her to watch as the tortured Orihime? She felt her teeth grind against each other as rage and bloodlust flooded her system, clarifying everything to a frightening degree.

Her senses sharpened, her ears could hear the approaching person's heartbeat, her nose could smell the scent of chemicals and herbs in the air, she could also taste them. Her vision seemed to clear, the darkness of the room she was in seemed to her suddenly as bright as daylight. And she felt her muscles clench, preparing to strike. As the figure entered the room, clearly focusing on the tray he carried, she lunged.

The man never even heard his death coming. By the time he realized that the patient was awake, she had already torn his throat out in a spray of arterial blood, and he collapsed to the floor, stone dead.

She looked down at the man, noting his black kimono and the katana at his waist. While the outfit seemed oddly familiar, the sight of it just made her nauseous and filled her with a fresh swell of hatred. Orihime... She cast her senses out, seeking the beautiful girl. There! She looked out into the hallway.

Orihime was in what felt like a second wing of the structure, whatever it was, but that didn't deter her. She darted out into the hall, flickering from corner to corner, and trying to stick to the shadows. As she moved, her mind fell back to the man she had just killed. It had been so... easy... the movement and the instinct had come so naturally to her. Have I always been like that? Hmm? It feels easier to breathe... She began to feel normal once more, even though adrenaline still thundered through her, it no longer hurt to breathe, and even the hole felt... right... like it had always been there, and she had only just now noticed it.

Her observations came to a pause as she sensed another person ahead of her. Slipping behind a small cart, she peeked out, seeing another man dressed in a black kimono walking towards her. She felt her eyes narrow as hatred coursed through her once again. It seemed that the man hadn't noticed her yet.

She waited patiently as her prey came closer. Yes... that's what these people are... She thought, Prey. The thought filled her with a sense of fulfillment, it gave her an added clarity to her world. They were prey, she was the hunter. The man walked past her hiding space, his own gaze seemed to be oddly distracted as he moved, almost as though he was dazed by something. She rose up silently behind him, closed her clawed fingers around his neck, and squeezed.

He made no sound as he died, though it was clear that he tried. His struggle was brief and frantic as he fought against the steel like grip that had taken him, then there was a satisfying snap, and he had fallen still. The tips of her claws had dug into his throat as well, which may have been why he didn't shout or cry out. They had slid into his flesh with such ease that she hadn't realized it until she let the man drop, and saw the fresh blood coating her fingers. It was oddly beautiful to her.

Turning once more towards where she sensed Orihime, she again began to walk. As she did, she looked down at her body, realizing that she too was wearing the black kimono that filled her with so much hatred. She froze, glancing about before darting into an empty room to her right. Someone must have changed my clothes as I slept! She realized with a surge of anger. I would never be caught dead in this! Her ears perked up as she silently raged, there was another person coming! And from the smell, she could tell that it was a man. Perfect... She felt her lips curl into a smile.

Leaning up against the door frame, she pulled her arm across the hole in her middle, easily hiding it from view, at the same time, she shrugged her shoulders from the top of the kimono, bearing just enough skin. She tried to make herself seem appealing, tried to ensure that her prey would take the bait. As she focused on the thought, her body seemed to begin to ooze raw sensuality. She quickly focused that feeling into something even more potent.

At that moment, the man came into sight, his eye's caught sight of her, and his jaw dropped. Holding up a finger and gesturing to be quiet, she beckoned him, feeling as though she had him by some kind of puppet string. He dropped the small clipboard he'd been holding and stumbled almost blindly forward, his hands reaching forward in a groping motion. Just before he reached her, she lunged forward, closing her hands around his throat, and pulling him into the darkened room.

The man's eye's widened with terror as he felt her strength, and again even further when he saw the murderous glimmer in her eyes. "Now..." Her voice was silky, and sensual, almost causing him to forget his current predicament. "Where are my real clothes? This kimono disgusts me."

At her words, the man's eyes seemed to glaze over. "Th-they were being washed..." He said, an almost monotone to his voice, "They may be in the laundry room... at the end of this hall on the left..."

She smiled, planting a small kiss on his forehead. "Thank you." She purred, "Now sleep forever." Her grip once again crushed the life from him in a matter of moments. She tossed the dead man aside, hearing the muffled thump as his body landed on the bed across the room. Looking back out into the hall, she darted forwards, towards the laundry room that he had told her about.

As she approached stealthily, she sensed another person in the room. Silently cursing, she peeked around the corner. There was a woman standing there, currently folding what looked like clean laundry. As she silently approached the woman, she decided to enjoy herself a bit. After all... She thought with a wicked smile, What's the point in life if you can't play with your prey? She reached around the girl, seizing her breasts in one hand and clapping the other over her mouth tightly. "Make a sound, and I will rip your throat out. Understand?" She purred softly into the girl's ear. There was a terrified nod, "Now then," She casually began to play with her captive, feeling her breath against her other hand begin to grow hot and quick. "Would you be a dear, and tell me where my clothes are? Do it quickly enough, and I'll give you a reward." She put a little bit of extra inflection on the last word, as well as a playful squeeze to the girl's breast.

The girl seemed to practically melt in her hands. A glance around to her eyes found them glazed over, like the man from before, and she could feel the girl's tongue lightly brush against her palm. Heh... they're like putty in my hands. She thought, reveling in the power she felt over the girl. "I'm going to allow you to speak. Tell me where my clothes are please?"

Her hand lowered from the girl's mouth,"They're here..." The girl said in that same monotone, "I just finished folding them... I was told to leave them... in your room for when you woke up..."

She smiled cruelly, "Aww, what an adorable little thing you are." The girl's face curled into a stupefied smile at the compliment, her eyes still glazed over. "Thank you so much for your hard work." She purred. "Now time for your reward." She pulled the girl around and planted a kiss firmly against her lips. The girl moaned slightly into it before gasping in pain as her clawed fingers crushed through her ribcage to her heart.

She let the girl's body fall, wiping her bloodied hand off on her own kimono before stripping out of it. A minute later, she was once again dressed in clothes that felt natural. Stealthily creeping back out into the hall, she made her way silently towards Orihime. Unfortunately, she encountered no more prey along her path, she had been enjoying her hunt until then, until she found the door to Orihime's room.

A man stood just to the side of the entrance, clearly a guard. All thoughts of playing with her prey vanished from her mind now that she was so close to her. She darted from around the corner, closing the distance to the guard in a blur of motion and fury. Her clawed fingers cleaved into his neck just as he realized he wasn't alone. His shocked expression went slack as he died instantly and fell to the floor with a soft thump. Meanwhile, the momentum of her charge carried her right into the open doorway.

The inside of the room was dark. Her eyes took a moment to adjust once more, then she saw them. Two figures, one on the bed, the other in a chair next to it. The figure seated in the chair was just turning to look at her, possibly alerted by the sound of the guard's fall. But she barely noticed that person. Her eyes were locked on the bedbound one.

It was her... She sat upright, her head bowed forward gracefully, her beautiful long orange hair draped down lightly brushing against her soft, gentle hands. But her eyes... they were open, but they clearly saw nothing. They were glazed over, almost dead looking. Those beautiful eyes that had once been so full of life.

Ori...hime... She felt her heart stop at the sight of the girl, as if all that she knew had suddenly been shattered. What have they done to you...? Orihime? The short woman in the chair rose with a start, her hand falling to the katana at her waist. Rage flooded her system once again. She lunged forward, bashing the woman aside as though she were a rag doll. "Ori...hime...?" She found herself standing over the girl. Her hands reached forward, clutching desperately at Orihime's shoulders. "Ori...hime...? Please... wake up... come on... It's me."

Nothing. The girl was completely unresponsive. Gathering her up in her arms, she looked down at the beautiful girl who had once been so vibrant and full of life. Throwing her head back, Arisawa Tatsuki let loose a scream of desperate, furious despair.


Ishida awoke to the scream. It was clearly the cry of a hollow, but there was something... human about it too. An Arrancar? Here in Seireitei!? It was then that he felt the reiatsu. It was almost as if some kind of veil had hidden it up until that immediate moment. It's so close! Throwing himself out of his bed, he ran to the hall, almost tripping over the corpse of the shinigami that lay there.

What the hell is happening? He looked up to see someone in Inoue's room. "Inoue-san!" He leaped across the hall, just as the figure turned at his approach, and he felt his heart stop. "Arisawa...san?"

It was clearly her, her face was unchanged, however a strange almost tiara-like band appeared just above her eyebrows, and extended down the sides of her face. She had tears in her eyes, but those eye... they weren't human. They were too full of hatred and rage. And then he saw the hole.

"No... Arisawa-san... how...?"

"I-shi-da-kun..." Her voice was sultry and impossibly smooth, but there was a murderous edge to it that caused him to step backwards. "What did you do... to Orihime?" She held Inoue in her arms, the girl's glazed over eyes just staring ahead, oblivious to the terrible events around her.


"You... you hurt her somehow... didn't you? I-shi-da-kun?" There was an almost maniacal note to her voice as she stalked towards him.

He watched, terrified, as one of his best human friends closed the distance between them, clearly ready to kill him. As she grew closer, step by step, his vision seemed to blur, and he suddenly found it difficult to even stand. Reiatsu? No... her reiatsu is certainly powerful... I can sense that, but this is something else... He stumbled backwards out into the hall, tripping over the dead guard and falling through the opposite door, landing hard.

"You and these people in the kimonos... you've hurt her somehow... You'll pay... YOU'LL ALL PAY!" Just as she was about to lunge, a figure appeared between Tatsuki and Ishida, slashing at her with a Zanpakutō. She dodged backwards easily, allowing the blade to only cut empty air.

"No! Renji-san! She has Inoue-san!" Ishida felt his blood freeze in fear for the orange haired girl.

"I know." Renji straightened to his full height. "This is gonna be tough. Just how the hell did an Arrancar get in here anyways?"

"I don't know what happened... but it's Arisawa-san." Ishida pushed himself back to his feet, desperately wishing that he still had his left hand.

"Arisawa?" Renji blinked as he recognized the young woman who clutched protectively at Orihime's body. "You mean your human friend? The karate girl?"

"Yes... I had heard from Urahara-san that she was brought here yesterday evening... But I don't know the details."

Tatsuki breathed heavily, glaring daggers of pure hate at the two men. "What are you two mumbling about over there?" She asked, her voice rolling across them like honey. "Are you plotting something?"

Renji felt the young woman's voice slither into his mind, whispers echoed through his thoughts as she spoke. He stumbled, clutching at his head with one hand while trying to keep his Zanpakutō aimed at her with the other. "What... the hell? What'd she... do to me...?" He felt his vision begin to blur.

"I... think it's her power... but I can't tell what it is..." Ishida seemed to be similarly affected, leaning against the door post just to keep standing. "This is really bad... Renji-san..."

"Yeah... We need to get out of here..." Renji cursed silently, feeling Rukia's reiatsu faintly on the other side of the wall from him. "Need to... get her somewhere open..." He grabbed Ishida, before vanishing away with a shunpo.

Tatsuki watched the men disappear, her hatred roaring through her veins. "You won't escape me that easilly... Ishida!" She stepped out into the hall, stomping down vindictively on the dead guard's head and feeling it crush beneath her heel with a satisfied smirk. She turned to follow the fleeing Ishida and Renji, feeling her body instinctively rush forward into a powerful sonido.

As she flickered out of the building, she was forced to dodge to the side as a blade cut through the air where her head had been an instant before. Coming to a stop, she found herself surrounded by dozens of Shinigami, all of them with their Zanpakutōs drawn and ready. In the middle of the Shinigami, stood an anciently old looking man, his back was hunched forward with age, and his head was bald, but sported a venerable, long white beard. He opened his eyes as she appeared, and she felt her blood freeze in fear. He's strong... She realized. So strong it hurts to even be near him...

"Release Inoue Orihime." The old man commanded, his voice reminded her of a boulder rolling down a mountain. "Surrender now, and we may be able to reverse what has been done to you. But should you resist..." The staff in his hands seemed to disitegrate, revealing a katana which blazed with fire as he unsheathed it. "We shall cut you down without mercy."

Tatsuki threw her gaze across the gathered Shinigami. Besides the old man, there were over a dozen others that seemed to be almost as disgustingly strong. Maybe if it was just one of them... And if I didn't have to worry about Orihime... Her eye's widened as she realized what losing here would mean. They'll keep hurting her... She thought, clutching the girl tighter to her chest. Seeing this, the old man gestured, and several Shinigami lunged forward. No... I can't lose her again... not now... not when I just found her. "NO!!!" She let loose a deafening shriek.

The night sky above the Seireitei seemed to shatter, as a bright streak of yellow light pierced down, bathing Tatsuki in it's protective glow.

"Negacion?!" Yamamoto blinked in surprise, looking up to see the massive Garganta open, and dozens of Gillian Menos Grande leered down on the Seireitei.

Tatsuki looked around, unsure of what was happening, clutching Orihime tightly to her. As the light continued to glow around her, she realized how warm and welcoming it felt. Like a warm fire to welcome her home after a long cold night. The ground beneath her splintered as the stone tile on which she stood slowly began to rise into the air.

The Shinigami below could only watch helplessly as Arisawa Tatsuki disappeared through the Garganta, taking Inoue Orihime with her.


Tatsuki looked about frantically, trying to figure out where she was. As the darkness around her faded away, she found herself in a cavern. One roughly the size of a city by the looks of it. Sensing a presence behind her, she whirled around, finding herself staring at something larger than a building, with a single massive pale eye gazing gently down at her. It made no moves, no sound, it simply regarded her with it's single giant eye.

Finally it turned, moving itself on a pair of enormous, stubby arms that it used to drag itself with, and slid away, leaving her alone. Tatsuki blinked, unsure of what the creature was, but somehow sure that it had saved her. Looking about, she cast out her senses, trying to figure out where she was, and more importantly, why she was there.

There's a bunch of... I can't call them people... they feel more like animals. She thought quietly, There's a lot of them... but they feel... familiar. As though I can tell they won't attack me. That's good. The air here feels good too... like it's greeting me, welcoming me home... As she thought, she looked down at Orihime. The girl had no physical injuries, and her eyes had closed at some point during the commotion, she looked like a sleeping princess or something. Casting out her senses once more, she discovered that there were also presences above her. So... there's a surface above this cavern... makes sense I guess.

It occurred to her then, just how surprisingly calm she was about the situation. Just what the hell happened to me...? I remember walking along the river... and then... nothing... a fear... some kind of primal terror. But nothing else. And have I always had this hole in my middle? It feels so... natural now, that I almost forgot about it.

"So you are here." A soft voice echoed out across the cavern. Tatsuki crouched down defensively over Orihime's body as she looked around for the speaker. "There is no need to worry." The stranger said, appearing from a small tunnel. "I am an ally."

Tatsuki felt her eyes widen in shock. "You!?" Standing across from her, his hands in his pockets, and a neutral expression on his pale face, was one of the two people that had nearly killed her in the park several months ago.

The newcomer's eyes flashed in recognition as he stopped at the entrance to the tunnel. "Oh? Shiro-sama failed to mention that it was going to be you..." He considered her for a few moments, his green eyes boring into her. "Hmm... it seems that you no longer have the spiritual strength of trash, you appear to have somehow become an Arrancar. I suppose that means that Shiro-sama's experiment was a success. He'll be pleased." His eyes tracked down to the sleeping form of Orihime below her, and widened in shock. "Inoue... Orihime...?"

Tatsuki felt the hairs on the back of her neck rise, "You know Orihime?"

The man said nothing for a time, he simply stared. Finally, he looked back to Tatsuki. "Come... It's not likely to be good to leave her lying on the cold stone like that. Shiro-sama awaits your arival at Las Noches. I suspect he'll be pleased that you somehow secured Inoue Orihime as well." He turned and began to walk away down the tunnel.

Tatsuki blinked in surprise, but decided that following him would be better than just sitting there. Gently picking Orihime up, she followed the man into the darkness, her eyes quickly adjusting so that she could see, even in the pitch darkness. Just what in the world is happening to me...?

"I take it that you can see?" His voice surprised her, instead of sounding from ahead of her, he now walked right next to her.

When did he move!? It took a considerable amount of self control not to try and attack him. After spending a moment recovering her composure, she nodded.

"Good." He said, his eyes never once actually tracking to her. He just looked straight ahead as he walked. "It seems that you possess quite a few impressive abilities. Shiro-sama will be pleased that it was such a success."

"Um..." Tatsuki shifted her grip on Orihime. "You keep talking about this 'Shiro-sama'... who is he?"

The man glanced at her, it almost looked like he was wondering if she was joking or not. "I see... so you don't remember. Does the name Kurosaki Ichigo mean anything to you?"

"You know Ichigo?!" She stared wide eyed at him for a few moments.

"Not anymore." He continued on, ignoring her outburst, "Kurosaki Ichigo is dead." Tatsuki felt her knees almost give out. "However... rather than vanish into the dark, his soul was so strong that it... reconstituted itself. He is now an Arrancar like you and myself." He stopped, turning to look back at her, "That is Shiro-sama."

Tatsuki tried to understand what the man was saying. "So... Shiro is like the reincarnation of Ichigo?"

He blinked, thinking about the comparison for a moment. "That... is close enough to the truth to suffice as an answer. For now."

"You seem to know an awful lot about what's going on here. And you know Orihime, so I'm going to ask you. Do you know why Orihime's like this?" Her eye's narrowed dangerously, causing the man to pause as he considered her potential strength.

"Inoue Orihime was present during Shiro-sama's 'rebirth'." He said after a while, his green eyes steady in the darkness. "It was... not a pleasant or particularly joyous incident, as it also means that she was present to witness Kurosaki Ichigo's death." He turned away from her, "I too was there. After all... I am the one who killed Kurosaki Ichigo."

Tatsuki stopped moving. Stopped breathing. Stopped thinking. This guy... killed Ichigo? "Y-you...?" She tried to think, tried to force her brain to work again. "You... killed Ichigo?"

"Yes." He nodded, his back still turned to her. He began to walk once more. "I blasted a hole roughly the size of his head through his chest. It killed him instantly. However... even then... I underestimated how far he would go to protect Inoue Orihime."

She blinked in surprise again, "What do you mean?" She felt her legs start to move again, keeping up with him meant she would figure out what happened. That's all that mattered.
"She... called out to him. Begged him to save her, and Ishida Uryuu." Tatsuki's mind flashed back to Ishida's missing hand, realizing suddenly how he probably lost it. "And... despite all of the odds. Despite all logic stating that his body couldn't possibly move, or his mind react to her cries... He rose again to fight. Not as a human, or a Shinigami. But as a hollow." The man gave a small, involuntary shudder, "That... creature... was the single most powerful hollow I have ever seen. Which being a hollow myself, says a considerable amount. But it was only a chrysalis. I realize that now. It beat me completely, before it's mask broke and Shiro-sama awakened."

Tatsuki smiled slightly at the thought of Ichigo beating the shit out of this pale man ahead of her. He ignored her however and continued his tale. "Ishida Uryuu and Inoue Orihime were present for that event. I... suspect... that the horror of what their friend had become, coupled with the fear that he naturally seems to exude, caused Inoue Orihime to retreat, to the only place that was truly safe at the time. The confines of her own mind."

"That's why she won't answer anyone..." Tatsuki thought back, remembering that for all of her beauty and kindness, Orihime was still only fifteen years old. An experience like what the man had just described would have been traumatic for anyone... but for a fifteen year old girl, who was watching it happen to someone for whom she cared deeply... She felt herself shudder.

The man simply continued walking, silent now that he had finished telling her everything that he felt was necessary. They walked for what felt like an eternity, every now and then, the tunnel would curve and twist slightly, but the pale man never once slowed or turned down any of the side passages. Finally Tatsuki spoke again. "So... you serve Shiro now?"

He nodded, "There has never been an Arrancar as powerful as him. Even Aizen-sama was no match for him. There is no other worthy of my service."

"Oh..." They continued on in silence for another few minutes. By now, Tatsuki noticed a deffinite upward slope to their path. "So what's your name?"

As she asked, the glimmer of moonlight appeared up ahead. He stopped as the tunnel let out under a pitch black sky, a bright crescent moon glowing overhead. "Ulquiorra." He turned back to her, locking gazes with her as he spoke, silhouetted by the moonlight. "Ulquiorra Cifer."


Shiro opened his eyes slowly. He was seated on a large throne-like seat that faced out over the desert from his tower. He stirred as the reiatsu appeared at the tunnel entrance. So she survived eh...? He chuckled lightly to himself. And there's a third reiatsu there... faint... but unmistakable. She actually managed to reclaim Inoue from Soul Society? Her powers must be greater than I expected.

Rising, he walked out onto the large balcony, looking down towards the endless sands of Hueco Mundo. "Welcome to my world... Tatsuki."
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