That's just my life in a nutshell. I go outside for some time, and my pet is either dead or has run away, and I meet a Vasto Lorde that could be hostile towards me.
I'll miss Steve, but I should focus on the Hollow in front of me.
"I would say welcome, but I see that you already feel at home. How can I help you?"
"Are you the one who trapped the Hollow here?" She asked with a monotone voice, not betraying her emotions if she felt any.
"Yes, but to be fair, he tried to eat me in my sleep. I would kill him there and then, but his fur was very warm. Nights are pretty cold in Hueco Mundo. Now I'll be cold. Also, for your information, I wasn't abusing Steve. He was being fed, I talked to him, and I even allowed him to chew on my arm from time to time. He was being treated better than I am."
My rant didn't create any reaction from the Vasto Lorde in front of me. Her expression didn't change in any way, and if it did, it was minuscule enough for me not to notice, which would be impressive.
"I see... then what is Shinigami doing here, in Hueco Mundo?" She questioned further.
"Now hold your horses, shark girl. Now, it's my time to ask a question. Then it will be yours again. I think it's only fair after you broke into... I would say house, but it's just a cave."
She stared at me without saying anything, and it was unnerving.
"I understand. What do you want to know?" Her voice was very even and emotionless. I don't like not knowing what my possible opponent thinks... is what I would say if I didn't have a cheat called Haki. She was cautious, very cautious, but she didn't show it on the outside, and it's understandable. I'm an unknown Shinigami that, for some reason, is in Hueco Mundo. She doesn't know what my goals are and if I'm hostile.
"Then I want you to tell me your name. I don't want to keep calling you, you, or shark girl. You have a name, right?"
It seemed like that genuinely surprised her as her eyes widened slightly.
"... Tier... Tier Harribel."
"Ryoto Yuuki, current captain of Squad 2 and also, currently stranded in Hueco Mundo."
Hearing me, she raised an eyebrow, but I could tell she put her guard even further up.
"A captain? What is a captain doing here?" She asked.
"As I said before, I was stranded here. Kidnapped, to be more precise. You wouldn't believe it. I was just having a nice walk, and then an army of Menos took me with their kidnapping beam. Now I'm trying to find some way back home, but I have nothing yet, and as you probably are aware, not many Hollows are very approachable, and even more so, nice enough to help me out."
She gave an understanding nod, but I could feel her confusion with a bit of caution.
"Now it's my turn again. I just want to know what you are doing in my temporary home. Not that you are not welcome. You are the first one that didn't try to eat me, so I call that a win... You don't want to eat me, right?"
Tier ignored my question and started thinking if she should share whatever she wanted to say with me, and in the end, she decided to tell me.
"Recently, I evolved into Vasto Lorde, and I no longer need to eat Hollows to survive. I wanted to find some quiet place to live my life outside the conflict, as unrealistic as it is. I found this cave, but I was unaware that it was already occupied except for that mindless Hollow. I thought that he was suffering, so I ended his life. I wasn't aware that he was being taken care of. I apologize."
I see, I see. Steve was mistaken for a victim until he became one. What a sad fate.
"Now that everything is clear, I'll continue my search for a living commodity."
She started leaving, but I couldn't just let her go. She is basically the only one in this place who can conversate with me! The others can as well but don't want to. They just want a piece of me.
"... If you promise not to eat or attack me, you can stay."
She stopped in her steps and turned to me.
A few weeks passed, and I can proudly say that I tamed yet another shark girl, and this time, I didn't even need to spank her. All I needed to do was to give her food. Yes, Hollow meat isn't the tastiest, and I didn't have kitchen tools at my disposal, but I am crafty, if nothing less.
On one of my searches in Hueco Mundo, I found some Hollows who had a lot of bones. Sturdy bones. So, as anyone reasonable, I cut off the bones and took them to make the necessary tools. I still couldn't do much without any spices and vegetables, but I could at least make different types of meat, and I didn't need to eat raw meat anymore.
So, when I was cooking one evening, her curiosity got the better of her, and she got closer, so as a good roommate... cavemate? I offered her a bite even if she didn't need to eat anymore, and she was smitten by it, not that she would ever show it. Even if her eyes widened in shock at the first bite, she managed to stay relatively calm.
It only makes me want to destroy her calm facade even more, but with ingredients in my hand, it's not possible. Shame.
I was reluctant to ask Tier to get me back to the world of living so I could get back to Soul Society for a reason. I am aware of that if I get back too fast and without a plan, then I risk my aggressor to do something... drastic. I should stay for at least a year before I return.
Faster than I thought I would but slower than I could.
This will be an interesting year, but I hope my family is alright.
Ryoto's absence caused a few things to happen in the family. One could call it both good and bad, depending on you see it.
While Rin and Isane both tried to show trust in their husband, it didn't stop them from worrying, although thanks to the investigation, it was known that Ryoto was indeed still alive and probably in Hueco Mundo. It was theorized that fleeting Hollow created a Garganta and Ryoto following the Hollow, knowing full well that it would cause a massacre beyond beliefs if it wasn't killed.
There was some push towards the theory of Ryoto's betrayal, but it was simply put an end to by three of the five Noble Houses, a few Captains, and a few lieutenants, not to mention the Captain Commander himself. If Ryoto was found guilty, he wouldn't hesitate to follow the orders, but as long as there was a chance, he would fight for his student.
Seeing this much of a pushback, Central 46 was forced to back away. Not all of the judges shared the same opinion, but the majority were against Ryoto.
At the same time, Masaru and Yukima were training furiously in the Study Chamber. The whole situation motivated them to get stronger, much stronger. It went to the point that they sparred most of the days almost every day. It went to the point where they started to worry everyone around them, so with some talking, they were convinced and reduced the intensity of their training.
It didn't mean that it stopped altogether, and today was one of these days when the Yuuki siblings were fighting each other in the hope of getting better.
After they were done, they tried to give each other some advice on what they could improve on. As they were talking, a third presence made itself known.
Both Yukima and Masaru turned to newly arrived person only to see what they expected but not what they wanted. Akio, their brother.
Their annoyance was clear on their faces, but it didn't seem to bother Akio. Since his father 'disappearance' he was constantly visible in a better mood, which irked the two of his siblings.
"What a wonderful day we are having, Yukima, Masaru-nii~."
"What do you want?" Instead of the usual calm and kind response, Masaru's voice was filled with resentment and didn't go unnoticed.
"And which ant did bite your ass this time. I don't remember stepping on your foot as of late. I was away for some time, and the first thing I heard was you angry at me for some reason."
"I wonder why. Dad is missing, maybe dead, and you didn't even attend the family meeting. Do you even care about our dad!?" Masaru yelled, clearly upset about the whole ordeal and staring at his brother.
Akio stared back without flinching at the raised voice.
"I clearly don't. Didn't I make myself clear a long time ago? To be honest, this situation is very pleasant. I hope that it will continue fo-" Akio stopped talking as Masaru grabbed him by his collar, his expression twisted in rage.
"Don't you dare to finish this sentence! I don't care how much dad cares about you! You don't have any right to wish for that!"
Masaru was about to punch his younger brother, but his wrist was held by Yukima, who had an uncharacteristically calm expression.
"Masaru-nii, before you decide to flatten Akio-nii's face, I want to ask him something." She then turned to her silver-haired brother. "You didn't seem surprised when you heard about Dad's disappearance. Even if you didn't care about him, you would at least show up in an unexpected event like that, but you acted like you were expecting this. Care to share your thoughts." She narrowed her eyes.
Yukima isn't always the sharpest person in the room, but she is her father's and mother's daughter. She isn't stupid, just short-tempered most of the time, but when focused...
Akio, on the other hand, didn't say anything but smirked, which earned him a straight, powerful punch to the face.
It was Yukima who sent him flying.
"You think that you are the smartest person around, but you are too blind to realize how stupid you are! I... We don't know why you hate Dad that much! Is it your ego!? Pride!? It doesn't matter! If something was wrong with Dad to justify your actions, Masaru-nii would have noticed. Did you forget what he can do!?"
In the corner of Yukima's eyes, tears started to gather, but she left in a hurry, not wanting to show them to anyone.
Masaru just looked at his laying sibling, shook his head, and left shortly after his sister.
Left alone, Akio kept lying on the ground. He didn't feel pain as much as he expected. It wasn't because the punch wasn't strong. It was numbed for some reason.
What Yukima said to him managed to reach him. Not to the point that he changed his mind instantly, but it was enough for the middle child of the Yuuki family to start thinking about a few things.
Something wasn't adding up. He wasn't questioning it before, but something was off, just like his sibling told him. Focused on what he believed to be true, he didn't even acknowledge other possibilities.
He'll need to look into it as soon as possible.
His sister literally beat some sense into her brother, and he wasn't planning on wasting it.
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