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Old 07-14-2009, 07:29 AM
A Blibbering Humdinger A Blibbering Humdinger is offline
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Default [3rd] Week 92: A Gale Before the Storm

Farewell, Maybe For The Last Time

WC: 1848

It was time that his 'brother' had learned about his fate. Katsumi had been refraining from telling Daichi about the inevitable war, but what if the twentieth seat did not come back? What will happen when Daichi graduated and came to Seireitei only to be told that his 'brother', whom he had not seen for a long time, was dead.

Locking his door, the green-eyed striker started his journey towards the Spirit Academy., which was located in southern Seireitei. He was wearing his white scarf for the first time ever, but it was also going to be the last time. He had decided that he will give it back to Daichi and will only take it back if he comes back alive and if Daichi agrees to give it back.

Don't worry, Katsumi. I assure you that you'll learn my name soon. I will not let anything happen to you.

Katsumi's appointment with Leo had paid off. Now the boy knew full well that the voice in his head was his zanpakutou's voice and not a mental disorder. After learning the voice's true identity, the boy started calling him 'Shikai-san', but it had shortened to only 'Kai-san' afterwards. He patted the kashira of his blade.

Thank you, but I am in the assumption that you've said that a few million times already, Kai-san.

The soul reaper was not eager at all to learn the name of his zanpakutou, let alone actually seeing him. He was too worried about the war and his family to be fervent about anything. His zanpakutou had already had told him not to worry and that worrying wasn't good, but what could the boy do? He was so tensed at that time that he couldn't even pay heed to the spirit's advise. The shadows of war and worry had engulfed his mind in darkness.

But there was hope, too. The dim light of hope still flickered on, lighting up a small space that would have been under the sea of shadows otherwise.

Katsumi was surprised at how short the stroll from his office to the Spirit Academy appeared. He had been so thoughtful during the walk that he couldn't pay attention to the passing of time. “Wow!” he exclaimed sarcastically. “Time sure flies when you are entangled in your thoughts.”

The soul reaper observed the very familiar premises. Although only forty five days had passed since he had left the academy, it appeared that more than a year had passed since his graduation.

The shinigami stepped into the extremely familiar reception. He remembered himself stepping out of here for the final time as a student with a group of other graduates. The receptionist here was not the one he had been familiar with, but that was not inportant in the least.

“How may I help you sir?” she asked.

“H-Hello... I would like to meet Daichi, please.”

The receptionist smiled. Very few people actually even greeted her, and none of those few were nobles (the scarf gave Katsumi a noble-like appearance). “Can you give me some more info about this Daichi, please? There are about five Daichi's in this Academy, you see.”

Woah! Five of the same name?

Ignoring his zanpakutou's comment, the green-eyed striker started to think of a little detail. “Umm... He is doing his seventh year here.”

The receptionist rummaged through a bunch of files in the drawer. Katsumi could see many of them flying in all directions. By the end of the search, the woman's desk was littered up by files and a few of them were lying on the floor. “Aha!” she shouted whilst panting. “There is only one Daichi doing a seventh year. The Daichi you're talking about doesn't have a surname, right?

A surge of rage attempted to break through Katsumi's head, but it settled down afterwards. The boy didn't like it when people pointed out Daichi's lack of a surname. But there was no easier way to identify him. Who would go through all the trouble of saying that he had spiky, red hair and orange eyes? Noone, right? “Yes, that is the Daichi I'm looking for. Thanks a lot.”

“Your welcome. Good thing that you've arrived just before the break, sir. Anyway, I'll send for Daichi right away. Would you please be as kind to wait?”

“Of course,” the boy chuckled out. “Why not?”

Saying that, the shinigami sat down on a sofa opposite to the front desk. A few minutes had passed before the familiar sound of the bell rang through his ears.

“Sir, can you please wait in that room?” the receptionist pointed a door out.

The room was not unlike the one in the fourth division barracks. It consisted of a table which had two chairs on either side of it. Katsumi sat on one of those chairs and waited patiently, but the door opened after a moment and made the boy get up.

Daichi was standing in the door way. A series of flashbacks ran through Katsumi's mind. Although only one and a half month had since he had last seen him, it felt a lot longer.

All thought of war was gone. Impending doom? What was that? His eyes had just met his brother's eyes after a seemingly long time. All fear, pain and worry was gone. He had just met his brother once again after all.

The soul reaper ran towards Daichi and embraced him in a tight hug. “It has been so long.”

“Oh really, li'l bro? Only one and a half months accordin' ta me,” Daichi teased. “Have a seat, will you?”

“Okay, okay.”

The red-haired boy's eyes dropped on Katsumi's scarf. “So you're comfortable with that scarf, eh?”

“Yeah,” Katsumi sighed. Neither did he want Daichi to know about the real purpose of him bringing it here just now, nor that he had worn it for the first time now. He immediately changed the topic so that they don't delve deeper into this topic. “I got promoted, don't ya know?”

“Really? When?”

“Just a few days ago. I'm the twentieth seat of my division now.”

“Congrats, bro!” a delighted Daichi uttered. “So he's progressing....Glad to hear it.” he thought.

“What are your scores in your grades up until now?”

“Meh! Same as ever......... Only better!”

“Really?” Now that's good news.

“What are you doing these days,” Daichi asked.

“Hmm... Let's see... sparring, training, talking, missioning, eating, walk-”

“-Okay, okay. Understood!”

Katsumi laughed. He liked it when Daichi had been troubled or fooled by him. It was pay back to all the tricks Daichi had played on him when they were young.

Daichi never liked being laughed at. He would attack the laugher if he laughed too hard on him, but Katsumi was an exception. Daichi would never hit him unless his 'little bro' had done something terrible. To stop the almost unbearable humiliation, the red-haired boy asked, “Any new friends do far?”

“Hu...Yes,” the twentieth seat panted out. After panting to his fill, the boy continued, “Some, yes... Hey, do you remember Uchiwa Hikari?”

“Hikari? That girl with two eyes?”

Katsumi laughed out hard again. “Don't all of us have two eyes?”

Daichi's cheeks were gaining colour so that they were a lighter shade of his red hair after the 'colouring' had finished. This was another one of those helpless times where someone had made fun of him and he couldn't do anything about it. And two in a row?! “S-Sorry, I meant that... Didn't one of her eyes have a different colour from the other?”

“Yeah... She is in the tenth division now,” Katsumi revealed. “The division specializes in kidou,” the boy added because of his brother's curious look.

“Ah! Even if I want to join that division, I can't. My skill in kidou sucks...... What division did you join, bro?”

“I joined the third division. Look.” the boy showed two wings tattooed on either side of his right ankle. He was about to say what the division specialized in, but Daichi did it for him.

“By that mark of yours...” the red-haired boy said. “I can say that.... The third division is built for speed, isn't it?”

“Yeah, sorta,” Katsumi was always amused when Daichi used the wrong words. Sometimes he did it purposely, other times it really was a mistake.

“Really? I'm very good at hohou classes, as you very well know.”

“You need to have a secondary skill, too-”

“-And I'm really good at hakuda, too-”

“-I know that-”

“-So I can join your division-”

“-And maybe you can spar with me for initiation-”

“-Yes-”

“-Only if I come back alive...”

You had to spoil the mood, didn't you?


The widening grin on Daichi's face vanished, and it was replaced by a frown. “W-What?! Only if you come back alive?”

“That's what I came here for,” the twentieth seat said while unwinding his scarf. “To tell you that... that all shinigami – the entirety of the gotei-13 – are going out for war.”

He paused for a few minutes to allow the announcement to sink in.

“I'm giving this scarf to you just in case I-I.... Well, you know what I was going to say.”

“W-Why didn't y-y-you te-ell this t-t-to m-me bef-fore?” Daichi asked in an almost inaudible whisper.

Katsumi, who had only heards a few mumbles, asked, “What? I didn't catch that.”

Silence prevailed for a few moments. The atmosphere was tense. Each soul was waiting for the other to kill the silence. Katsumi didn't know what to say. Daichi had just learned that his brother was about to go to war and can get killed, so what could he say?

Killing the dead air, Daichi commanded, “You keep that scarf with you.”

“N-”

“-I have a challenge for you....”

“Yes?”

“You should take that scarf with you to the battle and bring it back in one piece. I know you can do it... I have faith that you can do it.... Don't d-disappoint me.”

With that, the red-haired boy attempted to leave, but, just when he was about to step out, he turned around and said, “Goodbye Katsumi.”

The cause of his not saying 'little brother' was that he expected something from Katsumi or he was warning him.

“Goodbye onii-san.”

Katsumi made his leave after that. Seeing his big brother had given more oxygen to that small candle of hope within him. Now that the light had spread, the boy was having more positive thoughts, and he was irritating his soul slayer in hope that he will tell him his name soon.

But the boy hadn't forgotten about the challenge, and he was convinced to complete it successfully.
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  #2  
Old 07-15-2009, 11:09 AM
A Blibbering Humdinger A Blibbering Humdinger is offline
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"Prove that you are stronger than me!"

WC: 2601

A pen flew through the room. A drawer collapsed. Papers precipitated all over. Katsumi had turned his whole office upside down in search of one thing. His white scarf. Daichi had given him a challenge to take it and bring it back from the war in one piece. But he had lost it before the war even started. What would Daichi say? What would the other kids from the fifty seventh district say? It was one of the three most precious things they had ever owned, and now it was gone like the wind.

“Where can it be?” the boy said to himself whilst rummaging frantically through the shelf of academy books. One book flew here. Another flew there. The other one hit the door and caused commotion outside. Katsumi ran through the field of papers to before anyone could open the door. “Nothing is happening. Book fell on the door. That's it.”

Wiping the sweat of his forehead, the boy sat on a chair. Where can it be? They'll kill me if I don't find it. After breathing properly, Katsumi resumed killing the cleanliness of his office. All the time he had used to set it up was thrown into the bin. What his brother had said was more important, and he couldn't afford losing the scarf at all. Images of an unhappy Daichi and a very angry pack were forming in his mind. What if he didn't find it after all? No, he can't let those thoughts penetrate. Be positive, Katsumi!

Hey! What is that small, crumpled thingy?

What?

On the table...


Katsumi saw a ball of crumpled paper on the desk. It was one that he had not seen before, and he was surprised because of that fact. It seemed alien to the other papers because it was ruled and crumpled. Katsumi went to it and picked it up. After straitening it, he saw that something was written in it in a 'hurrying' handwriting.

Kimura,

I have your scarf now. Meet me by the stream in the Seireitei forest at 10:00 pm if you want it back.


So someone had stolen it. It was foolish of him to keep the scarf in the office. He had thought it was safer over there, and he didn't want to wear it till the war.

“I. Am. Sooo. Stupid!!” the boy shouted out in regret.

All you have to do now is get it back, Katsumi.

Do you actually think that I just have to go there and take it back? You're more stupid than me-

Hey! Watch it!

I probably have to go there and do something dangerous, like battle the stealer to get it back.

Of course you have to. Can you think of anyone who could've stolen it?

Someone who knew that it was really important to me. Duh.

Or someone who liked it.

Whatever...



Katsumi couldn't do anything properly from then on. His mind was constantly showing him images of the possible future where he didn't get the scarf back. His sign paused in midway when he kept his pen down and looked with his mind's eye at the possible and terrible tomorrow. Katsumi didn't even know who had stolen the scarf and his mind was already occupied by a lot of things to things to think of suspects. His soul slayer couldn't muster any words to calm him down as he normally did. The cause of this being the obscure nature of the stealer. The zanpakutou didn't know if his wielder would be able to take the stealer on or not.

But the blade did manage to say something after a while. Focus on the present. What you're thinking about is only a possibility that can only take place if you lose. Who could have stolen your scarf? Think about that!

Hmm... Did someone see it when he was going to meet Daichi? Did someone actually realize that the scarf was really important to him? No. That can't be. He had never disclosed the importance of the scarf to anyone, not even Junichi. Maybe someone had thought that the scarf is really expensive or something and had stolen it. But why would anyone challenge him? What if they weren't challenging him? What if they... No, why go through the process of stealing the scarf then? What if this was all a prank? Or... What if they wanted him to get caught? What if...

There were so many ifs and possibilities. Katsumi had been driven to the point of curiousness. This matter did seem interesting, sure, but it was important that he should get his scarf back. Too bad that it will be solved all at once at ten o' clock.

The day had gone in a whiff of signs, stamps, reports and the wind coming from the open window. Katsumi couldn't resist it and decided to go to the Seireitei forest a few hours before the appointed time. The cool evening breeze hammered his face, and the sun's golden rays bounced off his eyes into the opposite direction. But the boy couldn't take full advantage of the colourful sky and the green ground. He was tensed about the scarf. He needed to successfully accomplish the challenge. It was an obligation! And there was no turning it down.

The silver light of the moon fell on the forest. The water in the stream might have been mercury. The roof of the trees might have been made of silver. It was a sight for sore eyes. The silent chant of crickets and the quiet hissing of the stream added to scene.

After what seemed no time, but what was indeed a long time, Katsumi could see the silhouette of someone extremely familiar. This character was carrying the scarf. The bully-ish face of the bully, Hajime, appeared, and a smirk was dancing around his lips.

“I was wonderin' whether you'll come or not,” Hajime said in a provoking tone. “It seems you do value money-”

“I didn't buy that scarf!” Katsumi shouted. He didn't mean to shout, but the appearance of the bully with his scarf had pumped his adrenaline up.

“It doesn't matter now...now that you're here.” The hefty striker held the scarf up. “Watch me as I tear your precious scarf away!”

Hajime had done a mistake by stating the threat in a slow and melodramatic way. Katsumi had begun his move when he had heard the word 'tear'. The boy had run towards Hajime and had snatched the scarf away from him.

“Why are you doing this?”the twentieth seat asked to a surprised Hajime.

“Why? Yes, I didn't tell you that. It's because I want to prove that I, Hajime, am stronger than the new twentieth seat! I deserved that promotion, not you! Look at you. I can make you fly away by blowing wind on you!”

What?! He wanted to give pain to him just because he was promoted. The boy had now lost trust in all other unseated officers. How many of them wore a fake smile when he was around while actually wanting to defeat him and prove that they were stronger? Was this the reward of moving up the ranks? Having other people become jealous of you?

Not all people are like him, Katsumi. Remember Junichi?

Yes, probably yes. Most of them might not even mind that he was now seated. Only some people.

“Kimura! I challenge you to a duel! If I win, you have to give that seat to me! If you win, you keep your rank.”

Is giving your rank to someone else even possible?

The big bully unsheathed his zanpakutou. “Let's start.”

“Okay.” Katsumi said while unsheathing his own soul slayer.

“Good. You accepted my challenge.”

What had happened to Hajime? Katsumi had always thought of him as a stupid old bully. Junichi had defeated him so easily in that verbal fight. And here he was, challenging Katsumi to a battle. The twentieth seat didn't know how strong he was, but the bully didn't know anything about the boy's power, too. If Katsumi knew anything about his opponent, it was that he wasn't going to hold back and neither was he.

The battle started with a whiff of wind. Both shinigami were giving all their strength to it. The sonorous sound of swords coming into contact with each other filled the forest, and it was followed by the fluttering of wings. Katsumi could see that Hajime was much better at zanjutsu than him. He was constantly being pushed back whenever he swung his sword at the bully.

The boy retreated to the trees to think of another plan. Attacking Hajime directly wasn't doing him any good.

“Come out, come out, wherever you are, skinny baby,” Hajime taunted.

The boy climbed up one of the trees and used it to hide as well as attack. Once he was on a branch that was facing the clearing, he whispered an incantation, “Converge light into spaces of darkness. Hadou number four, Byakurai.”

The bolt of white lightning pierced through the air, emitting light which bounced off of all surfaces around it. It successfully did what it was meant to. Hajime's right shoulder was bleeding. The bully covered it in pain.

While a grimace was replacing his smirk, the man shouted out, “Why you!!”

The sudden hoot of an owl, in the very tree in which Katsumi was hiding, made Katsumi jump. The boy fell down with a crash.

“So there you are,” Hajime said pointing a bloodied hand towards his opponent. The hefty striker advanced, preparing for a hard strike. “I'll finish you with this.” He stroked his sword vertically , aiming for the back of the fallen striker.

Katsumi heard the whoosh of the blade cutting through the air and instantly reacted by rolling over to his side. The edge of the bully's blade sank into the earth instead of the boy. The boy swung his leg to make Hajime's balance out. The big bully fell down with a large thud while the skinny twentieth seat got upon his feet. The boy swung his sword to deal a final blow, but it met his opponent's blade instead of his opponent.

Keeping a steady force on his weapon, the boy said, “So you're prepared to leave this bullying business of yours?”

“What?”

“It will be disgraceful if a seated officer goes on bullying graduates.”

“Oh. Are you giving up?” Hajime said in a taunting tone. “You are trying to make me change my mind. You think that you'll stop me from becoming the twentieth seat by saying words! No, I'll prove that I,” the force the bully was exerting on his zanpakutou greatened at this point, “am stronger than you!!” The man made Katsumi back away by pushing his blade with his blade.

“Listen,” Katsumi said. “Even if you defeat me, do you think that you'll be granted the title of the twentieth seat? We are so close to war, and... and Ritoru Taichou can't possibly hold another ceremony.”

“So what? Everyone will know that I'm stronger than you. And I'll be granted the title once we come back.”

Once we come back? How can he take war so lightly? Anything can happen. He can die, and he's thinking of it as though it was a toy that can be played with. Did the bully mean that the tense atmosphere of the Seireitei was nothing but a misunderstanding? Hajime had done it. He had made his opponent livid.

A fuming Katsumi struck. The boy was now continuously stroking and swinging his soul slayer wildly. He didn't have any battle plan at all. He could be compared to an aggravated beast attacking its prey with no idea at all.

The sudden change in his opponent's fighting style surprised Hajime. All the man could do now was parry. But after a few minutes of continuous parrying, the bully switched towards the offensive side. He was successful in dealing cuts, but he managed to get wounds for himself. After a while of continuous clangs of metal, the man thrust his sword, pushing the boy back once again.

The skinny soul's rage was at its peak. Only some little wounds weren't enough for him. He wanted to burn the bully alive for not even having an inkling of what war meant. “Ignite and thrive. Hadou number one, Yakekoge!”

Katsumi! Stop it! You don't have to be so barbarous! Stooooooop!

He doesn't know wha-

Stop!


Hajime backed away in fear of getting burned. “What does he think he is doing?” he thought. But the flame flicked off a while later. The bully smirked. “Got back to your senses, did you?” he called out while advancing for dealing another blow.

“Spinner of fate, unwind and cast yourself. Bakudou #4, Hainawa.” Katsumi chanted. A rope made of kidou energy emerged from his palm and wrapped itself around Hajime.

“What the hell?!” Hajime uttered, fidgeting helplessly with his sword in an attempt to break free.

Katsumi advanced towards the trapped bully. The light of the moon reflected from his raised sword. After a second, blood spattered out to the place where the sword had been. The wound ran diagonally through Hajime's torso. It wasn't fateful but painful. It was narrow, so it caused more pain and was easier to heal. It was as Junichi had taught him. Suddenly, the boy felt pain which spreading from his lower torso to his upper torso. Hajime had dealt him a long and vertical cut. The green-eyed boy crouched in pain.

“Ugh!”

Katsumi backed away before Hajime could've been given another chance. The battle was turning into a deathmatch. It was time to finish it once and for all. The distance between him and his opponent was far. Perfect. The boy ran as fast as he could towards the bully while transferring the energy used for movement to his fists. He aimed for the bully's bleeding stomach. When the punch was dealt, Hajime flew back and got smashed against a tree. Then, the bully had choked blood before being knocked out.

The twentieth seat wasn't sure if he should take him to the fourth division or not. Although he was battling him in the earnest, he was still a comrade. And they needed all the people they can get.

How could you even think of leaving him over there? You want him to die?

No. No! I wasn't thinking of...


But the boy had lost almost all his energy. What he needed now was a good sleep rather than carrying a hefty bully on his back. He stepped forward and fell down. His extremely heavy eyes closed. He was very tired indeed.


“Where am I?” A bright light hit the boy's eyes. He was lying on a bed beside a window. He suspected that he was in the fourth division, but how could he have come there?

“Ahh. So you've woken up. I was worrying if you... You were brought here yesterday night. You are in the fourth division”

The unfamiliar voice made Katsumi jump. Someone else was there with him. He looked around and saw a kindly face staring at him. Trying not to sound very rude, the boy said, “By whom was I brought here? And is my scarf here?”

“Yes it is.... You were brought here by your friend Mr. Itou.”
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~!A luverly sig by the luverly Mango!~
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  #3  
Old 07-17-2009, 09:35 AM
A Blibbering Humdinger A Blibbering Humdinger is offline
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A Puzzle Solved. A Truth Revealed.

WC: 1301


Katsumi was still very angry at Hajime because of him not even thinking about what war can mean and because of that fight. What if something had happened to any one of them. And the war was inching closer day by day. What was the bully thinking of when he was challenging the striker. If even one of them had gotten themselves into an irreparable state, then that would have been one striker down for the army. This wasn't the time to compete. This was the time to train and test yourself.

After learning that a Vastro Lorde would be coming with the division in the war, Katsumi started revising his old academy books once again. What was the difference between a Vizard and an Arrancar? What are the three levels of Menos Grande? What is a pl-

Stop it! You look so stupid reading these books! You ought to be training!

I need to read them.

I don't see the point of reading them.

What if I meet an Arrancar and think that it's a Vizard who has half his mask on?

So what? You just have to fight it anyway.

No, that was a bad example. . . What if I meet an Hollow and think that it's an Arrancar and kill it? If that happens, the Vastro Lorde will be mad.

From what the book says, it is pretty easy to differentiate between a Hollow and and an Arrancar. You don't need to read!

Whatever. But I'll read just in case.

Hmph!


The examples of possible mistakes he had given were not good ones, but it was true that he needed to read. This time, it wasn't just for the sake of studying. This time, it wasn't just for a final exam. This time, he was reading for real. This time, he was reading for his own life.

I didn't tell you this till now, but. . . I'm curious how Hajime managed to steal your scarf.

What?! The boy was confused by the sudden change of topic, but now that he thought about it, how did Hajime steal his scarf?

You can ask him...

What?! The soul slayer had managed to surprise his wielder yet again, but this time, it was just because of the plain stupidity of the statement. Who would ask a stealer how he had stolen the booty? No one of course. I can't believe that my zanpakutou is so thick-headed. And he was supposed to be what the boy was deep down inside? A brainless idiot?! Disgraceful.

Watch it! I'm your zanpakutou, your weapon. Even though you might think that I am always in your control, I can go against you any time I want.
The soul slayer was clearly lying. After all, it just wanted respect from its master. But the striker, who didn't know much about the workings of a shinigami's primary weapon, thought otherwise.

All right, all right. I'll go and ask him about it.
Katsumi said out of fear with no idea of what he was even saying.

There was a knock on the door of the office which was followed by, “Can I come in?”

Katsumi's face found itself with an expression of guilt. The Twentieth Seat had not thanked Junichi for escorting him and Hajime to the fourth division till now. What was he to say? Not allowing him in was out of the question.

“Y-Yes, o-of course.”

The door clicked open and Junichi came in. He paused in midway while walking towards a seat and asked, “What's with all these books?”

“Uhh...I was just...umm...looking at. No..uhh... These are my academy books. Just looking at what Arrancar are like.”

“Oh.”

“Have a seat.”

“You know what.” Junichi said as he was taking a seat. “You don't really need to read these books.”

Ha! See?

“Uhh...Yeah, I think so...” Katsumi said as he was starting to keep all the books back. His soul slayer started to laugh. Can you laugh..umm..quietly, please? The boy was still worried if his zanpakutou can turn on him. But can it? The Twentieth Seat made up his mind to ask his friend. After all, Junichi was the one who had given him a 'practical' introduction to Shikai. “Itou-san, can a zanpakutou turn on its wielder?”

“Never heard of one doing so. I don't think it's possible. A zanpakutou is a part of your soul, so I don't think it can. But why do you ask?”

Katsumi was relieved. A zanpakutou can't go against its master. So I don't have to go and do such a stupid thing.

It was only a joke.

But you can't turn on me at all.
The boy's worries about his soul slayer turning on him were over. “Just asking... And thank you.”

“For what?”

“For bringing me to the fourth division that night.”

Junichi's expression put on a confused look, but changed to a rather worried one immediately after that. “You need to be more careful, Katsumi-kun.”

It was Katsumi's turn to be confused. More careful for what? For taking on fights? “Why?”

“I had seen Hajime coming with you into your office one night-”

“-What?!” Hajime in his office? He didn't remember anything like that. The only person who came into his office besides him was Junichi himself. So how come Junichi saw Hajime coming with him?

“Hajime gets himself into trouble often. I guessed that that was just another of those times.... But what surprised me was....was that when you came out after ten minutes, Hajime didn't come out with you.”

Katsumi eyed Junichi suspiciously. “You waited there for ten minutes? Why?”

Junichi didn't put on an alarmed look as Katsumi had expected him to. “I was curious of what Hajime had gotten himself into this time.”

“Oh... But why didn't you ask me where Hajime was?”

“Because I wanted to check myself. You had locked the door, so I couldn't get in that way. I went outside to peep through the window and saw no one there. I guess that Hajime had stolen that scarf already.” Junichi paused for a while. Then he said. “How important is that scarf to you?”

“It means a lot to me. It is basically the only thing that I brought from the fifty seventh.”

“If so, then why did you keep it in your office?”

“Just thought that it'd be safe here. It wasn't.... I had always thought of Hajime as a thick-headed bully, but he turned out to be really clever.”

“He, in fact, is really clever. He just pretends to be dimwitted. He wants his potential opponents to not know about his cleverness.”

“He is so big, how could he have hid anywhere in this office? And without me noticing? How?”

“My guess is that he cloaked his reiatsu and stood behind you all the time. Come to think of it, I didn't sense his reiatsu then...”

What Junichi said seemed to be the only possibility of Hajime stealing the scarf unnoticed. And by the looks of it, he had done the dirty work pretty well.

Junichi checked his watch. “Oh! It's lunch time already?! Coming to the mess hall with me, Katsumi-kun?”

“Just after I finish my work.”

“Okay, I'll wait for you then.”

“No, you can go.”

“All right.”

When Junichi was about to close the door, a question struck Katsumi's mind.

“Itou-san! Wait!”

“Yes?”

“Which spear are you in?”

“I'm in the second spear, with you.”

Yes! Junichi was going to be with him. So there was something to look forward to in this war.
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  #4  
Old 07-17-2009, 02:02 PM
A Blibbering Humdinger A Blibbering Humdinger is offline
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A Request


WC: 1274

Extremely deprived of energy, Katsumi walked back to his room. The boy had seen Hajime that afternoon. A shot of anger had pierced through his mind at the sight of the bully, but something more aggravating had happened afterwards. Hajime had disappeared when he had seen the Twentieth Seat. The boy didn't want to fight at all, but avoiding someone just because you had lost to him didn't settle anything. Katsumi had wanted to come on to terms with the bully, but now it was almost impossible. This was not the time to egg on upcoming rivalries. This was the time to unify and attack the enemy as one sword.

After eating lunch and doing his paperwork, Katsumi had started training which went on till the night. Now the boy was heading back to his room for a good night's rest. He looked up in the sky to find the moon. The hoot of an owl met his ears. There was a cool night breeze that made the leaves rustle. The green-eyed striker wondered how lucky the forest-dwellers were. They didn't have to go to any war. They didn't have fight at all. All they had to do was mind their own business.

The teenager remembered how beautiful the forest looked in the evening. The colourful sky. So many animals. The orange rays of the sun falling down on the green of the trees.

They said that there was no sun in the Hueco Mundo. If so, then these could have been one of the last ounces of sunlight he had seen.

They said that the Hueco Mundo appeared colourless. If so, then these could have been one of the last bits of colour that had met his eyes.

No, he shouldn't succumb to these kinds of thoughts. He should fight the war and come back alive, and he should prevent as many deaths as he can while he was at it. He should accomplish the challenge that Daichi had given him no matter what. He will have to.

With that, the boy closed his eyes. Tomorrow, he would have to train a lot. He can't let those around him die. Those last thoughts had gone through his mind before he truly fell asleep. Or did he?

After what seemed no time, the boy opened his eyes. He was not on his bed. The light of the moon was glaring at him, and he felt earth beneath him. The Twentieth Seat got up and looked at this new environment. This all seemed too real for a dream. He pinched his left arm and made sure that this was not a dream. Wasn't he in his room a second ago? Had he magically shunpoed to this drought prone place somehow?

A drop splattered on his head. Then another fell on the ground. Soon it started to rain heavily. The nearly barren land started to grow plants very quickly. Was this what they call it when a desert blooms?

“It's been raining every night here since your fight with Hajime.”

Katsumi's heart had skipped a beat. That was his soul slayer's voice, but now it sounded abstract. It was not coming from within his head. It was coming from somewhere behind him. How come he had come out of his mind?

“This is your mind, or more correctly, your inner world.”

“What?!” Katsumi said. He had found the courage to turn around. His heart gave another jolt. All of the area behind him was a thick, evergreen forest. But how?

“The whole of your inner world was originally like this. But the climate changes depending on your emotions.”

The boy could make out where the voice was coming from, but he couldn't make out what was making the voice. The voice was coming from somewhere near the edge of the forest where he was standing, but its source was hidden by the trees.

But the boy still could not believe that this was his inner world. Heck, he didn't know what an inner world meant anyway. “Umm... What is an inner world?”

“It is a world within your soul. A place where your zanpakutou's manifestation resides... I am your zanpakutou as you very well know. I've brought you here.”

So this place was in his soul. His zanpakutou was here, too, and he had brought him to this world. Why would he have brought him here? There was only one answer that Katsumi could think of. “Is it time for you to tell me you name?”

“No. It is too early for that, Katsumi. I had called you here to request you for something... Look above.”

The striker did what he was told to do. He didn't see what he expected to see. The clouds from which the rain was falling down didn't occupy one small circle in the sky. At the middle of this circle was the moon. “Uhh... What's happening?” he said, a little bit confused.

“You see the moon? That is actually your mind.”

“What?!”

“Yes it is. It changes position and appearance depending on your emotions and level of energy. When you're awake, it takes the appearance of the sun. Now that you are physically sleeping, it takes the semblance of the moon... Since your fight with Hajime, the 'sun' has been giving out a lot of heat. More than wanted. Surplus, you may call it. As a result, all the water in the streams and rivers has been evaporating. Whenever you're awake, a drought starts. Why? Because of your anger.”

The boy was surprised, almost shocked. His soul slayer had to suffer a day of drought everyday because of him?! And at night... Katsumi looked down at his feet. He didn't notice it till now, but part of his legs – up to his knees – was submerged in water. And the water level was rising... His zanpakutou had to deal with floods at night because of him?

“It's almost funny,” the soul slayer said. “Your hating of Hajime is almost hypocritical. You want to come on terms with him, yet you loath him?”

“B-But... But he thinks that w-war is a joke.”

“So? That's his problem, not yours. This anger and hate can avert your focus while you're battling.”

“What can I do?”

“Don't keep your mind on him. Focus on other things. I hate to say it, but I think it will be better if you start reading those academy books again. You can talk to Junichi, too. Just don't focus a lot on anything hateful.”

“All right.”

The boy looked down again. The water had covered half the length of his thighs.

Noticing this, the spirit said, “Don't worry about me. I have ways to handle this.”

“Why don't you show yourself to me?”

“There's no need right now. I guess this is it.”

“Yeah.” The Twentieth Seat remembered the first time he had heard the voice. It had purred like a cat and then howled like a dog, which made Katsumi curious about what the owner of the voice was.

“Look behind you.”

Katsumi looked behind and was truly shocked this time. The previously almost barren land had turned into a whole forest. He went under the canopy but fell down because of a rock that was in his way. When he got up, he was on his bed.

I want the whole forest to stay like it is now from now on...

Okay. Thank you for showing it to me.

You're welcome.
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  #5  
Old 07-18-2009, 02:36 PM
A Blibbering Humdinger A Blibbering Humdinger is offline
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Can I Read Please?


WC: 1300

The green-eyed teen looked like a tiny ant in front of the huge forest and starry night. He was not in the Seireitei forest, but in the forest that was adjacent to the first district of Rukongai. He remembered the time when he had come here with the Fourth Seat Shunsen. Those criminals were cutting down the trees further into the forest that time. The boy wondered if the forest had shown any signs of recovery. But he remembered that this forest was not like his inner world. It took twenty years for a tree to reach its full height, but it took two minutes to cut down a fully grown tree. A shame.

But that mission was long behind Katsumi. He had come to the forest to shove of thoughts about war. He wanted one peaceful night. With no thoughts about war. With no thoughts about Hajime. With no thoughts about anything saddening, depressing, infuriating or anything like that. And with no training. Even though the soul reaper had said something about training in the meeting, he wanted to take 'a day off''. He was bringing a bed sheet and a couple of books which he had borrowed from Junichi. He had said that those books were interesting enough for shinigami who had never gone to the living world.

Another thing that he was bringing with him was an electric torch. This little device intrigued him. You just had to flick the button and light would come from the circle. Wow. Little did the Twentieth Seat know that there was a bulb that was used in torches and that it was extremely similar to the light bulb used in the barracks.

After finding a good clearing where the moon could clearly be seen, the boy set up the sheet and all. He was planning to sleep over there if he can. With the torch light flicked on, the skinny soul opened one of the books. Both of the books he had brought were written by shinigami. Both of them gave an insight to the world of the living from a soul reaper's view. Katsumi turned to the first page, but before he could read any of it, he was interrupted.

Boy, you look so lame reading these books at such a time. People will think that you're a bookworm when you're not one.

Didn't you tell me to 'cool my mind'?

There are better ways you know.

Can you tell any of them?

Uhh...umm... I don't know. But what you are doing is completely stupid. I was of the impression that you were not much into books.

I'm not. I'm just curious.

About what?

They say that the living world has changed. I want to see what changes they've made.

You can see that another time you know.

What anoth-
No. He had promised himself that he wouldn't give in to the thoughts about war this night. But how could he reply to his zanpakutou?

Okay. I understand. Read on.

That lifted the burden off. The soul slayer was proving to be more clever than he had thought he was. All right. Keep in mind that I'm not a bookworm.

Katsumi looked back down at the page. The heading of page was 'Cars'. Cars? What the heck were they?

“Aaaaaaaarrrrrrrrggggghhhhhhh!!!!!!!”

A scream from somewhere further into the forest alerted the boy. The book had to wait. Someone's life was at stake. The striker quickly got up and ran into the woods. What possibly could've been happening? Katsumi shivered to think of the answer. The boy had was still running after three minutes. The scream, he knew, had come from a point very far from the place he was. A sense of regret grew in him because of him not being able to flash step.

“Aaaaaaaaaa!!!!!”

Another scream caused the forest to come alive for a short time. Katsumi could tell that it was from the same person and that it was a girl's scream. He could also tell that he was coming closer to the target. A smell of smoke filled the air. Katsumi could see a tower of smoke going up to the stars through the openings in the canopy of trees. When a little closer, the Twentieth Seat could smell the aroma of marshmallows (though he didn't know what a marshmallow was).

Katsumi saw that his goal was a clearing and it appeared alight with fire. Moving closer, the boy saw that this was no forest fire. It was a camp fire. The smell of food was strong in the air.

“...and so that ends my horror story. Now you start yours, Aoi. Try not to scare baby Abigail-”

“I'm not a baby.”

Katsumi recognized that voice. That was the voice of the girl who had screamed. So she was only screaming because she had been scared of the story. Peeping from behind a tree, the boy saw that a group of children was camping out. The group was a mixture of children who looked like Katsumi himself and children who looked like Ninth Seat Amanda.

So there was no trouble at all. Katsumi smiled to himself.

Do you really have to care about others?

The boy had a really good excuse for this question. It's a shinigami's duty to protect all that are in Soul Society. The death god's grin widened. The soul slayer can't possibly answer that.

Katsumi ventured back towards the place where he was camping. Upon reaching his destination, Katsumi didn't see the books but the silhouette of a man disappearing into the woods.

A thief! After panting for a while, the boy started running again, but he was chasing someone this time. The thief soon proved to be almost as fast as him. After tailing the man for ten minutes, the boy managed to stop him. This would've been much easier if he could shunpo. The regret within him increased, but something more important than learning how to flash step was at hand now.

His grip on the thief's wrist was firm. He was very angry now. “Give them back.” Katsumi said through gritted teeth.

“Why should-” The thief's eyes widened. He looked at the shinigami from up to down. He pulled his arm away and ran away after dropping the books.

The skinny soul was surprised. What was so scary about him? Did he look all that ugly? Picking the books up, Katsumi started a journey back to the bed sheet. He was too stripped of stamina to run.

It's a shame. It took such a long time for the Twentieth Seat of the Blitzkrieg Strike Unit to only catch a normal thief.

Shut up.


The boy literally 'dropped down' when he reached his dark and silent camp.

Do you still want to read?

Yes, of course.


The teenager saw the familiar heading 'cars' and then started to read.

Cars are a convenient and efficient way of transport in the modern living world. They come in various sizes but are mostly a rectangular shape. They normally have four doors and four sea-

“Heeeeeeeeeeeeelp!!!!!!!”

Katsumi got up. Here came another voice calling for help. This voice didn't come from the direction of the children's camp. This voice sounded more like an adult's voice.

“This better be worth it.” Katsumi said as he started another adventure.

Soul Society doesn't want you to read those books.

The striker ignored the statement. He was already far away from his dark and silent camp. Suddenly, something popped up in his mind,. It was the real reason why he had come to the Rukongai forest for. He needed to check if everything was all right.

Umm... How is my...my inner w-?

I am satisfied with its current state now.



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