252 Turn back the pendulum

(3rd's pov)

It was a day like many others in Soul Society for most Shinigamis, but at the moment, an emergency Captain meeting was being held.


"This is urgent! According to the report from Squad 9's standby camp on the front line, the Reiatsu of both their Captain, Kensei Muguruma, and their lieutenant, Mashiro Kuna, who were on night watch, have vanished. The cause is unknown! This is one of the worst situations we can possibly imagine!"

Yamamoto gathered all of the captains to discuss an important issue. For a few weeks, there was a mystery of the disappearance of souls in Rukongai districts, and Squad 9 was responsible for looking into it and now that both Captain and Vice-Captain were missing. The matter, which, up until yesterday, was merely one of the minor issues, has become something Gotei 13 must resolve as fast as possible.

"Because of the circumstances, I will now hand-pick 5 members of Captain class to head directly to the scene."


The big entrance to the Assembly Hall opened, revealing a stressed Urahara.

"You are late, Kisuke Urahara." Yamamoto said with his usual authoritative tone.

Urahara didn't pay him any mind and requested to allow him to go.

"Please... Let me go..." He said between his breaths.

Unfortunately, he was met with rejection. "I will not." Which rightfully distressed Kisuke even more. He sent his lieutenant with Squad 9 as a help just earlier, so if the situation is grave enough to send 5 Captain level, then Hiyori wouldn't stand a chance.

"My adjutant is heading there now! Urahara tried to argue but was stopped by someone he didn't expect.

"Kisuke!!! Yoruichi's outburst surprised the newest captain. "Don't lose your composure! It's pathetic! You yourself selected and sent her, right!? Don't you understand that losing your composure is an insult to her!?"

Yoruichi isn't as heartless as her actions may show at the moment. It's true that as a leader, one must make difficult decisions, and she believes in that. Sending the right person to the right job is equally as important, but as a captain, one must keep one's cool at all times, and Urahara was all but calm, and he would make a terrible mistake if she didn't stop him. Also, waiting and having faith is also the captain's duty, although not all would agree.

"Moving on..." The old man said. "Squad 3 Captain, Roujuurou Outoribashi. Squad 5 Captian, Shinji Hirako. Squad 10 Captain, Love Aikawa. The aforementioned three will now head to the scene!" After a short discussion, it was also decided to send both Assistant Kido Chief, Hachigen Ushouda, and Vice-Captain of Squad 8, Lisa Yadomaru, together with the previously mentioned captains.


Hiyori was running. It wasn't because she was terrified, although she felt scared. It wasn't because she knew she was outclassed, although she was. It even wasn't so she could find allies, although she would appreciate any help at the moment. She also didn't draw her weapon. She couldn't for obvious reasons because right now, the enemy was Kensei, Captain of Squad 9, and he wasn't himself. Not only that, but he was also forcibly undergoing something called hollowfication.

Hiyori didn't stand a chance against Kensei as she was a lieutenant, and hollowfication boosted Kensei's strength even more. As she was about to get cut by her former ally, Shinji flash stepped between the two and blocked Kensei's attack.

And so, the battle between a Captain, soon to be monster, and newly arrived began, but they weren't the only ones who were in the area...

(Aizen's pov)

This may very well be a turning point in my plan. Ordinary souls can't withstand hollowfication, but if they can't, then I just need to use stronger souls. I was aware after the first experiment that normal souls, no matter how many times I would re-do this experiment, the outcome wouldn't change.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results, and while the line between madness and genius is a very thin one, I stand above both.

The reason I needed to continue doing the same experiment was to draw attention to these incidents. If there were enough eyes on this issue that I manufactured, someone would be sent to investigate the cause of these disappearances. While I knew that the souls with low levels of Reiryoku would never go through complete hollowfication without being destroyed as they couldn't survive being injected with Hollow's soul, it never hurt to have more data.

And as usual, I was right, although it seems that I'm going to have more lab rats than I intended.

It's not an issue, and I'm not going to complain about additional volunteers. As I mentioned before, more data is always welcomed.

I wasn't alone in this forest, observing the development of the battle. With me, there was Tosen Kaname, someone who could be considered a natural counter to my Zanpakuto's ability. However, I suspect another person to be able to do precisely that, but I need to confirm my suspicions at a later date.

My other companion is the newest addition to my plan. He is perfect for getting a rise from the eccentric captain when the time to leave Soul Society comes, and an angry opponent is very simple to predict. It would be entertaining to see him angry again too, but that's for another time.

Without turning to my companion, whose identity was hidden for a few reasons, mainly because his identity is very sensitive, and it would be beneficial to keep it concealed for a bit longer, I asked.

"So, what do you think?" Asking simple questions like that can surprisingly get more information out of a person than one would imagine.

"The power that Captain Muguruma got from the hollowfication is incredible, but it's not worthwhile if it takes away all of the reasoning. It looks like another failure."

I shook my head internally. So young and inexperienced. He is blinded by this breakthrough that we are witnessing. It's the closest we got to completely hollowfing a soul, and every step forward is essential. We can't expect to know how to run without being able to walk.

He is too focused on accomplishing his goals to notice the importance of every achievement. If not for his, let's say, connections, then I wouldn't even bother with him, but maybe with time and some 'help' from me, it will change.

At least he is easy to control, just like most of the others, but I'm surprised by how trustful he is. I am aware of his circumstances, and it answers some questions, but his naivety is more extensive than I ever imagined. Or is it the pursuit of his goal that makes him blind to everything else?

Trust is really an interesting topic. Trust someone too much, and you risk being betrayed. Trust someone too little, and you risk missing something crucial about said person. On the surface, there isn't any solution to this predicament, but there is one very simple answer that many disregard.

Become strong enough to not need anyone, or alternatively become strong enough that even betraying you would accomplish absolutely nothing.

So simple yet so difficult to achieve for most, but I'm going off-topic. The important matter at hand is observing this fascinating phenomenon.

Two captain-class Shinigamis are straggling against a single captain-class. His power is impressive in comparison to his previous level of strength, but nothing much to what I expected. It's a failure, then...

Maybe I'm thinking about it the wrong way. If I can't succeed in breaking the boundaries between Shinigami and a Hollow by injecting a Hollow soul into the Shinigami, then I'll try to transform Hollow into a Shinigami.

It looks like we are done with this failure. It's possible to study hollowfication further if I had a better specimen like that girl, I observed but getting her would be very detrimental to my plans as her father can be overprotective, but no matter. I'll work with what I have and create more opportunities if needed.

(3rd's pov)

As the group that was created to help the 9th Squad Captain was trying to restrain their friend to possibly get him help, their situation was getting worse and worse. Just as they were able to hind, Kensei Hiyori went out of control herself and a bone-white mask. Just like Kensei's, it was Hollow-like. All of the remaining fighters were ready to rush to stop her from injuring Shinji any further, but they were ambushed.

It was Aizen, Tosen, and a masked member. The masked man, boy, or teenager wasn't saying anything but was observing keenly.

Aizen, throughout the whole conversation with his captain, was taunting him the whole time to speed up the process of hollowfication, and he was succeeding. And it didn't help that Shinji was the only one conscious and able to fight even in his condition, but on the enemy's side, there were three foes, and he was only one.

As Aizen raised his Zanpakuto to deliver the final blow to his soon-to-be former captain, he himself was ambushed by the newly arrived guest.

"And here we have yet another pair of interesting guests." Aizen started talking. "And what brings the two of you out here? Captain Urahara, Grand Kido Chief Tsukabishi."

Noticing Kisuke, the masked figure visibly flinched.

After a short confrontation and confirming his suspicions about Urahara, Aizen decided and ordered to retreat. The pair of Captain and Chief of Kido Division was not able to pursue the trio as they had a group of injured to take care of.

Tessai, using two forbidden Kidos, transported the future Vizards back to the Squad 12 HQ so Kisuke could treat them as fast as possible. Without wasting any time, Urahara started working, and while it took the whole night, he was able to save everyone's life, but they wouldn't be able to return to being ordinary Shinigami.

Being tired from all of the work and the stress he went through, he decided to go for a walk, but as soon as he stepped out of his headquarters, he was stopped and arrested...

(Ryoto's pov)

Being in my office, I was deep in my thoughts. I just got information that Kisuke was just arrested, and that means that everything thing went as it should, for better or worse. Now I should also get going. I spread my awareness as far as I could, which was pretty impressive considering how bad I was at that, but knowing which direction I needed to focus on, and it looked like I won't need to save Kisuke by myself... Yoruichi made her choice...

What am I going to tell Yukima?

As I was getting ready to leave, Rin burst into my office, clearly stressed out about something.

"Ryoto!!! Kisuke just got arrested and is currently being sentenced by Central 46!!!"

Rin was so upset about the whole situation that she called her 'mortal enemy' by his first name while usually, she called him Urahara.

At the same time, someone else approached the entente at my office.

"Is it a bad time, dad?" It was Masaru who probably planned to ask me for a training session.

"Sorry, Masaru, it looks like I'll be busy today." I apologetically smiled as I answered my son, and then I got an idea. "How about you train with Rin? I'll go fix whatever problem occurred." I walked up to Masaru and made a mess of his hair. After I was done with my son, who didn't even oppose my actions, I took a few steps to get closer to Rin and gave her a peck on the forehead without saying much. "I'll be out for a while."

"Don't do anything stupid."

Unfortunately, this time, it wasn't me who would do something stupid.

And so, I left, heading to the only place where Yoruichi would bring Kisuke and Tessai.

The Study Chamber.



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