Currently, Nnoitra Gilga was walking through the corridors of Las Noches in a bad mood. Frankly, he was dissatisfied for a plethora of reasons, one of them being that he didn't like a bunch of weaklings being sent to the world of the living. He was pretty sure that all of them would die, so what was even the point of sending them?
Although that fact annoyed him, he didn't really care about it in the end. However, what truly annoyed him was that there were Espada above him in Aizen's organizations. That was already bad enough, but his inferiority complex burned as bright as the sun when he thought about that not one, not two, but three people who ranked above him were actually women.
In his opinion, men were superior to women, and having one towering above him was unacceptable. So, he decided to challenge Nelliel Tu Odelschwanck, the weakest of the female Espada, to a duel, resulting in a crushing defeat for him.
Now that he was turned into a full-fledged Arrancara, he challenged her yet again. After tanking yet another crushing loss, he could only grit his teeth and continue honing his strength.
Currently, he was Espada number nine, but he was pretty certain that his increase in strength after being turned into an Arrancara was more significant than the other Espada, which should allow him to rise in rank.
Despite being angered by those three female Espada outranking him, there was someone else who irritated him even more: Yuna Uzumaki.
Unlike the Espada, who at least followed Aizen's command, she was utterly rampant, doing whatever she wanted, and surprisingly, Aizen didn't seem to care about that in the slightest.
Nnoitra could simply not fathom why Aizen would allow her to act so rampantly, not understanding that for Aizen, all of this was merely a game to kill some time until the Hogyoku was fully awakened.
As he continued walking, he noticed two young women a few meters ahead of him happily strolling with their arms interlinked while occasionally giggling, instantly annoying Nnoitra even further. Obviously, those weren't some random women, but one of them was the target of his anger.
"Can't you bitches go into heat where no one can see you!?"
As soon as those words left Nnoitra's mouth, the two women stopped talking and turned around, almost causing him to take a step make. For a brief moment, the atmosphere became heavy before it lightened instantly as one of the women started speaking.
"Oh, it's you, Nutty."
Hearing how the first woman called Nnoitra, the second one chuckled in amusement before correcting the first.
"That's wrong, Yuna; he's called Nutora."
"Oh? Is that so, Hinata? Oh well, whatever~"
Obviously, Nnoitra got angry after both Yuna and Hinata got his name completely wrong, but as soon as he complained, Yuna shrugged her shoulders.
"Mah, whatever. No point in memorizing the name of an insignificant side character like you, after all."
As soon as Yuna finished speaking, Nnoitra snapped and appeared in front of her punch towards Yuna, who only leisurely shook her head while tilting her body to the side, dodging the blow.
Before Nnoitra could react, Yuna's fist smashed into his face, sending him flying away. However, as he was flying away, Yuna couldn't help but look at her fist and tilt her head in confusion.
"Damn, are you some kind of young master? Your skin is ridiculously thick; just how shameless are you?"
Moments later, Nnoitra dug himself out of the wall he had just crashed into and resumed glaring at Yuna.
"That is my Hierro! Of all the Arrancar, I have the best defense! No matter how much you attack me, you won't be able to deal any damage to me! IT'S IMPOSSIBLE FOR A MERE SHINIGAMI TO CUT ME!!!"
As soon as he finished speaking, Hinata vanished from her position and appeared in front of Nnoitra with the tip of her sword already piercing towards his shoulder. Before he could react to Hinata's action, blood splattered as Hinata's blade easily pierced through Nnoitra's shoulder, causing blood to splatter, while Hinata tilted her head in confusion.
"That wasn't very hard~"
Nnoitra couldn't help but grit his teeth after Hinata pierced his supposedly unbreakable skin like he was a normal human and quickly retreated a few steps, resulting in Hinata's blade leaving his body.
'Shit, what was that!? How can she overcome my defenses so easily? Even higher ranked Espade have a hard time wounding me, so how can she slice through my Hierro so easily?'
Seeing the blood on her blade and the distressed look in Nnoitra's eyes, Hianta simply shook her head and sheathed her sword after flicking away Nnoitra's blood from it.
"Yeah, let's end this here. I don't like bullying the weak."
"Not only are you bullying the weak, Hianta, but you are also bullying the mentialy disabled as well~"
Hinata briefly wondered what Yuna was talking about, but after paying a little more attention to Nnoitra, she couldn't help but feel a little guilt. After all, Nnoitra's Hollow hole was actually inside his head, causing quite a large chunk of his brain to be missing.
"I see; I apologize for bullying you, but in the future, you shouldn't claim that your skin is impossible to pierce through. That just invited trouble for you."
The more Yuna and Hinata spoke, the angrier Nnoitra grew due to the duo not treating him as a genuine enemy but as a stupid child that boasted too much and got exposed for his lies. He was just about to retaliate when another voice echoed through the corridor they were in.
"What is going on here?"
Moments later, a mature woman with green hair and grey-brown eyes appeared in between Nnoitra and Hinata, pointing her sword at Hinata.
Obviously, Yuna remembered this woman's name because she had big br... *cough* because she was one of the stronger Arrancar. It was Nelliel Tu Odelschwanck, and she was currently the fourth-ranked Arrancar.
"Mah, no need to get angry, Nelliel; this guy boasted that it was impossible to pierce his skin, so my wife couldn't help herself but become curious and test it out. Unfortunately, his claims were empty as she managed to pierce through his skin as easily as if he was a normal human, consequently wounding him in the process."
Hearing Yuna's explanation, Nelliel paused for a moment and took a glance at Nnoitra, who was glaring at Yuna with pure hatred in his eyes. Initially, this scene looked like Nnoitra getting bullied by Yuna and Hinata, instantly igniting her sense of justice, but after thinking about what kind of personality Nnoitra had, she could easily believe Yuna's story.
He was simply too prideful for his own good, making enemies left and right while being completely unaware of how weak he was. When Nnoitra challenged her for the first time, she decided to serve him a crushing defeat to make him realize his place and no longer challenge those superior to him, but despite his crushing defeat, he didn't deviate from his mindset in the slightest.
Nelliel knew that not everyone was as forgiving as her, so she was also aware that if Nnoitra were to challenge another Espada that was stronger than him, he might die. As for why he even wanted to protect him: She was someone who wanted to protect the weak, and she considered Nnoitra to be one of the weak. Although that might be a weird mindset for an Arrancar to have, that was simply who she was.
After finishing her contemplations, Nelliel simply nodded her head at Yuna's explanation and sheathed her sword.
"I see; in that case, I assume you have no interest in continuing this fight?"
Hearing Nelliel's question, both Yuna and Hinata shrugged their shoulders in indifference. Neither deemed Nnoitra a character worth fighting and although Yuna briefly considered playing a few pranks on them, in the end, she couldn't care less.
While she had some fun messing with Zommari Rureaux due to him being a fanatical follower of Aizen, Nnoitra was simply an idiot, not really awakening Yuna's desire to mess with him.
Seeing Yuna and Hinata leave, Nelliel nodded in approval and started walking away as well, completely ignoring Nnoitra. However, before she could get too far, Nnoitra spoke to her with a hatred-filled voice.
"Why did you interrupt us!? What was in for you in this confrontation!? What do you want!?"
Hearing Nnoitra's angered voice, Nelliel could only shake her head as she resumed walking away.
"I don't want anything out of this. You are weak, so I decided to protect you. That is all."
Nnoitra's anger increased even further after Nelliel called him weak, looking at her departing figure with nothing but hatred.
"That damned bitch, I'll teach her that I'm above her! I'm the strongest! No matter what happens, I'll get rid of her! I'll get rid of all of them! I'M THE STRONGEST!!!"
While everyone was leaving Nnoitra to dwell in his own illusions, Yuna and Hianta reached Yuna's room. Although Yuna and Hinata had both been assigned one room each, neither of them thought for even a second of using separate rooms, resulting in them staying in the same room.
Currently, Yuna was lazily lying on her belly, with her head resting on her folded arms, while Hinata was sitting on her back, massaging her shoulders. Although the whole scene was rather tame, neither of them had any delusions that this wouldn't end up in a rather steamy situation later on.
However, before anything could happen, there was a knock on the door, causing Hinata to frown while a little smirk appeared on Yuna's face. Unlike Hinata, who was only paying attention to Yuna, Yuna still had some awareness of her surroundings, so she knew who was behind the door.
Hearing Yuna giving permission to enter, the door opened, revealing a busty woman with spiky blonde hair that had half of her face covered by the jacket he was wearing.
"Ohh, Harribel. Seems like you decided to take my offer~"
Although it took Harribel a while to genuinely accept Yuna's offer despite having already agreed to it, in the end, she simply couldn't resist. Yuna promised her a way to significantly improve her strength even further, even after she got the power boost from the Hogyoku. Frankly, she didn't think that there were many Hollow who would reject such an offer, especially under such good conditions. Basically, all she had to do was abandon her current master for a new one if her current one abandoned her first.
As soon as Harribel entered Yuna's room, she couldn't help but have her eyebrows twitch in irritation. Somehow, whenever she saw Yuna, she flirted with Hinata, which somehow irritated her a little. After all, they were currently at war, and despite that, all Yuna seemed to care about was having fun with Hinata, utterly destroying the serious atmosphere.
Despite that, she decided not to comment any further on the duo's action; after all, she was the one who wanted something from Yuna, while Yuna made her offer rather casually.
If she had to choose between getting angry at Yuna for messing around and getting even stronger, it was rather easy to make a choice for her.
"Yes, I decided to take your offer. You will help me to reach a higher level of strength, and in exchange, I'll follow you in case Aizen ever betrays me."
"That's right~ Quite the advantageous deal, isn't it~"
Although Harribel didn't comment any further, she couldn't help but agree. Frankly, the conditions were outrageously far stacked in her favor, but despite that, she couldn't help but feel like she was the one being taken advantage of, which was the reason she hesitated for a while.
"Very well. In that case, let's get started."
As soon as those words left her mouth, she motioned Hinata to get up from her back, which she did with a dissatisfied pout on her mouth, causing Yuna to chuckle briefly, increasing Hinata's pout.
"Well, for now, sit down crosslegged on the bed and close your eyes. Time to create the first proper Hollow-Shinigami hybrid~"
Although Harribel couldn't help but be nervous due to Yuna's words, she couldn't help but be excited as well. She couldn't fathom exactly how much she would power up, but surely, it wouldn't be trivial, right? Maybe, after the procedure finished, she would even surpass the number one Espada, Tayuya!
Frankly, she didn't even know why she trusted Yuna so much, but for some reason, her instincts were telling her that there was no need to worry. As a former Hollow that only followed its instincts and a powerful fighter now, she had a lot of trust in her instincts, so despite everything being rather sketchy, she decided not to back down.
So, moments later, she sat on Yuna's bed cross-legged while Yuna was sitting behind her, with Hinata hugging her from behind with a pout on her face.
"Take deep and steady breaths, and don't resist the pull you'll be feeling. Everything will be fine. Trust me."
Hearing Yuna's smooth and steady words that seemed to reverberate in her mind, Harribel couldn't help but follow Yuna's words instinctively as, for some reason, she decided to trust her unconditionally.
She couldn't fathom why, but she felt like she could trust Yuna unconditionally for some reason.
As for the reason she felt like that... Well, let's just say Yuna had been teaching youngsters for a very, very, VERY long time, so evoking their trust was rather easy for her.
In other words: Yuna was good at coaxing little girls.
Moments later, Harribel felt a hand touch her back, and before she could fully understand what was going on, she got the weird feeling that someone was pulling her consciousness away.
Initially, she wanted to resist the feeling, as she knew that if she gave in to it, she would faint, but she quickly remembered Yuna's words about not resisting. Despite there still being some hesitation in her heart, in the end, she decided to do as Yuna had told her to, resulting in her consciousness fading away.
Although she didn't know what was about to happen, and despite her slowly losing her consciousness, she couldn't help but have a good feeling about this.
'I don't really get it, but I feel like this is the right decision.'
Meanwhile, Grimmjow Jaegerjaques, another Espada, who was currently ranked seventh, couldn't help but grit his teeth in anger after hearing that all the Arrancar got wiped out. Frankly, even calling those trash Arrancar was already something he felt to be an insult.
'Why do we even send this trash out? Aizen should have just sent me, and I would have finished everyone worth mentioning. Why is he stalling like this? What does he want to achieve by doing this?'
As these thoughts passed his mind, his anger increased even further, causing him to grit his teeth so hard they almost shattered.
'Shit, this was utterly pointless. Maybe, I should go to the world of the living by myself? I have no idea what Aizen is planning exactly, but killing every obstacle in our way should be the easiest way to win this, right?'
If Aizen were to hear his thoughts, he would probably only shake his head in disbelief, as ending this war against Seireitei early was exactly what he didn't want to see happen. Unfortunately, he never really explained his plans to anyone following him, so it couldn't be helped that there would be some misunderstanding.
In the end, Grimmjow decided to be patient for now and not make any hasty moves yet. However, it was clear to him that if everything continued developing as slowly as it did now, he would undoubtedly do something he was not ordered to do and invade the world of the living.