You are Tsukuda Ryouta, a Shinigami of the 12th Division with the unique role of an investigator of abnormal occurrences.
You've returned to Soul Society after capturing your target in the Human World's Berlin. You were given several days to recuperate, as your injuries were quite severe, and the fatigue of your previous battle has brought with it unpleasant health-related complications - namely, a cold. You're at no risk of dying, of course. A Shinigami is much harder to kill than that.
You were in hardly any state to leave your bed, so the mission report had to wait. Captain Urahara was too busy for a personal visit, but your jumpy colleague, Kagaku Oto, kept you up to date on the state of the human you've brought to Soul Society. Erwin has been successfully detained, and now awaits interrogation.
You've received a couple letters during your absence, and your Denreishinki also reports that you've been transferred a large sum of money. It seems that Kirino Moeka kept her word, though you can't verify if this really is 'half' of the bounties and not any less than promised; at this point, you can't help but wonder if the might have simply miscalculated.
Before you left, the red haired Shinigami had also entrusted you with a large cardboard box, which she wanted you to deliver to Minami Hikari, your ex-tutor back during the days of the Academy, as well as a mutual friend. Unfortunately, once again, you were in no state to give it to her. On the bright side, it should be easy to find her in the Shin'o Academy whenever you want.
As for the letters you've received, the first one is from Ito Satoshi, 8th Division, the Shinigami you've rescued from a Hollow during your first mission. He's thankful for your help, and promises to return the favor. "If you ever need me for anything, even if it's just for company, send me a letter, and I'll be right there!" Is what it says.
The second letter is, coincidentally, also from a Shinigami you've cooperated with during another mission - Sasaki Soren of the 10th. His letter is rather curt, asking to meet with you whenever you are able. "This isn't urgent; treat this letter simply as an invitation to spend time together informally, preferably somewhere in Rukongai." It says. Schedules are tricky to align between people from different Divisions, considering the unpredictability of potential assignments and deployments to different areas of two different worlds, but it's not impossible to organize something like that.
As soon as the fever drops and you're able to walk, you tell Oto to notify the Captain. On the next day, you're summoned to Urahara's seldom used office and give him a report. As you talk about Moeka's actions during your mission, he chuckles.
"It seems that your 'partner' has given you quite a bit of trouble, Ryouta-kun. Because she's in a different Division, I obviously can't punish her directly. Her Captain is a good man, but still, I can't expect him to just take my word for it. If you think it's necessary, we can start a case." Urahara says, his smile fading, though a glint in his eye still betrays a slight amusement. "You won't need to do anything. Just give me the word and I'll have someone handle it."
>"I think Moeka should be punished for her actions."
>"I think Moeka learned her lesson."
>"I doubt I'll ever have to see her again, so I'll leave the choice to you, Captain."
>"What do you think a normal person would do?"
>"I think Moeka learned her lesson."
Just inform her captain and let him do as he sees fit. I recommend keeping an eye on her and only punishing her if she does those sorts of things again.
Like I don't know, she really could be good, but she doesn't seem willing to make the effort to be good which is what got us in trouble. If she shapes up she's unlikely to make the same mistake again, and the process of becoming less shit would likely not be fun for her, so there's that bit of "justice".
"It's complicated. I'm not sure she learned her lesson but I don't know if pursuing an official case against her would help. I feel like her being demoted would be a waste, but it's not okay for her to keep doing things as she has been."
Technically the options aren't mutually exlusive, like we can ask what a normal person would do, but then try to clarify our thoughts.
Like it is true that there were times when Ryouta couldn't trust Moeka which wasn't really pleasant, and she made the mission more difficult than it should have been, but there were also some parts that could be considered enjoyable, and we have seen both when her potential reiatsu and how she defeated the spider hollow, that there's the potential of a decent shinigami.
"What would a normal person do?" You decide to ask. The question gets Urahara to think for a little while.
"It'd depend on the person, Ryouta-kun." He finally answers. "I wasn't there, so I can't tell you what I'd feel about her if I were you, and I can't suggest to you what you should be feeling about her, either. Some people might sympathize with her and assume that she didn't mean any harm, whereas others might not believe that she has done it obliviously, or might feel that it doesn't justify her actions, regardless. Other factors might be at play, too, like greed or attraction. ...Well, as you can see, it's all rather complicated."
If it was simple, you'd have figured it out yourself. You don't hold a grudge against her, but, as always, you don't feel anything positive towards her, either. Both options have their objective upsides and downsides, as well as plenty of unclear factors and consequences; the only way to tip those scales would be through personal feelings, which you simply do not have.
Seeing as how the question still remains largely unanswered, the Captain decides to show some initiative.
"It's hard to judge this kind of situation from a purely objective perspective. Of course, protocol says that unruly Shinigami should be punished, but there are usually many more factors at play than just the fact of the misbehavior itself. She's not my subordinate, so I'm only thinking about this because you were affected, Ryouta-kun. But if you don't feel particularly wronged, then I'll leave it to the man responsible for her." He says, to which you nod. You've reached something of a compromise. "I'll tell Captain Kyoraku about her and leave it to him. But if you want to return the bounties you had to share with her, you'd need to make a case. Feel free to change your mind whenever you wish."
With that subject closed, you continue with your report, approaching your battle against the two Hollows.
...It's not that you have any reason to distrust your Captain, even though it sometimes felt like that, for reasons you couldn't - and still can't - really explain. But this ability you've discovered, the ability to replicate unsealed Zanpakuto through your own sword... nothing like that has ever happened before. Considering the 12th Division's reputation, could it be better to keep it to yourself?
>Tell Urahara Kisuke about your ability.
>Leave the details of the battle vague.
Hm, maybe tell him our zanpakuto did something odd, and ask him to accompany us somewhere private to see if we can replicate it? Like I'm not sure if we can only do it in moments of extreme stress or not.
I mean it's complicated anon. It is true that Urahara probably cannot be trusted with that knowledge, but at the same time, the idea that we can conceal it from him until we're able to rival his own abilities or be in a position of power above him seems impossible.
He's a very busy person and it will take a while before he figures. At the same time we can excuse it that we just got it and still trying to handle its basic powers, which is why we didn't disclose that information yet.
Either way, plenty of captains don't know about the powers of their subordinates. It's not considered out of the question to keep some privacy about it. It's culturally acceptable. I just think that for now it's safer to say nothing and see where it takes us.
Aizen? You mean the man who, upon seeing a Quincy come out of nowhere and threaten to destroy the artificial vasto lorde he worked so hard on, responded like this?
I don't think you understand how arrogant scientists work, especially since right now Urahara could murder us with a teacup and zero effort.
You can always tell him later if need be, or excuse it that you're still trying to understand your sword and so didn't bother with a report yet. However you can't untell him if that turns to be a mistake.
Yeah but the guy is pretty prideful about his sword. It's almost his entire schtick. Someone duplicating it is a major red line, and Aizen is big on preemptively taking on threats.
Honestly I'm not sure how replicating Kyouka Suigetsu would work since the only way to see it would mean that Ryouta is hypnotized by it.
Also I'm pretty sure he isn't Aizen, because if he was, why bring up his own rebellion at all? Like that doesn't make any sense because there's no reason to think Ryouta would know anything about what happened one hundred years ago.
Maybe he just wants to share a half truth for the background of the wishing ball we need to find. He'd need to disclose something. Urahara managed to send the artifact away, but they switched bodies and Aizen is Urahara under passiveness.
At the same time we asked her for assistance, for hours, on how to unlock our sword, so it's kinda fitting to show her we succeeded. Also she's our lieutenant, as a subordinate we can always go to her.
and this weeks chapter was a gift holy shit Urahara going full tilt perv and converting Yoruichi into a catgirl
You try to explain the situation in full, hiding nothing from the Captain. You tell him of the swords you've replicated during that battle, and of the swords you feel that you are able to replicate. You name the owners of those weapons, in case Urahara needs proof of the fact that the swords have been copied off of someone else, and aren't your unique abilities.
The lax atmosphere grows heavier. The Captain's eyes, having looked on without much apparent interest throughout your report, have briefly widened.
"Could you show me?" It's a reasonable request. You draw your sword. You can't say you're in your best shape right now, but it should be possible to do it. You don't think it was just a fluke, what happened back then.
"Flourish, Haname." Upon hearing you say that name, the steel reacts, scattering into a transparent disc of light. In a flare of Reiatsu, the energy solidifies, taking up its beautiful form.
"Hold it for a little while." He says, standing up from behind his cluttered desk and approaching the shield. After a careful examination, he adds. "Make another one."
On your whim, the power is sealed back into the manageable state of a traditional sword. An unpleasant weight burdens your spiritual body, even though you've held Haname for less than a minute. Ishiken should be easier to use, so you demonstrate the steel crossbow next. The Captain's eyes widen yet again.
"They even feel different..." Urahara mutters, his voice carrying notes of amazement. This time, his examination is brief. It seems that the variation in the sensations of these replicated weapons was enough for him to come to a conclusion. You cancel your sword's transformation. As you make to sheathe it, having concluded the 'presentation', the Captain grasps its blade; even touching the edge barehanded, his palm is unscathed. His eyes stare intently into yours, his expression clouded with severity.
"...Just who in the world are you, Tsukuda Ryouta?" He asks, emphasizing your name with clearly pronounced skepticism. "I'll hold onto this thing for a while, is that fine?" That's a question you're not expected to answer; it's more like he worded his statement - his order - as a question, just for politeness' sake.
You let him take it. You give him the sheath so it won't be hard to carry the sword around, though in Urahara's hands, it seems almost redundant.
"You should rest for a few more days. After that, there's some more work to do. Don't worry, it's nothing dangerous this time, I just want you to contribute to some research." He says, sheathing your sword. "Make sure you don't tell anyone about this ability of yours, alright, Ryouta-kun? There's nothing inherently forbidden to it, but some people might... misunderstand."
You nod. The office descends into silence, the blond man staying where he is, glaring at nothing in particular. The office has been used as a debriefing room almost exclusively. You don't think the Captain does any work here. ...But then, where does he work?
You've just about finished your report, so you don't really have anything to add. But you can't just dismiss yourself, either.
"...Ah, that's right." Knocked out of his intense contemplation, Urahara remembers something. "Erwin Kramer - that human you've captured - does not have what we were looking for. He's not really relevant to our interests anymore, but if you have something you wish to ask him, then feel free. It won't be difficult to arrange." He ties your sheathed sword to his belt. "Was there anything else, Ryouta-kun?"
>"What did you mean, they might 'misunderstand'?"
>"Is something wrong with the sword, Captain?"
>"I want to buy a house in the Seireitei. Could you give me some advice?"
>"Will I be permitted to see my "partner" captain? Please take good care of it."
>"I want to buy a house in the Seireitei. Could you give me some advice?"
>Arrange a meeting with the man, ask where he got the book, how he discovered his abilities, and what else he may know about the occult or any others that have his sight of capacity for magic
you, I, and the MC all know what this means. We're stealing abilities and all of those whome we've collected save the teacher have been stricken with a case of "needs squad 4 badly". Not to mention central is very nervous about super powerful zanpakuto. Imagine the panic attack they'd have if someone, even as low in riatsu as us, managed to snag one or two captain level shikais.
>"What did you mean, they might 'misunderstand'?
>"Is something wrong with my sword, captain?"
>"I want to buy a house in the seireitei. Could you give me some advice?"
"What did you mean 'who am I?'"
I felt that they were all legitimate questions. Asking something you know the answer to is something plenty of people do for clarification. Being concerned for your sword is pretty normal for a shinigami, and the house option we've already covered.
"Misunderstand? What do you mean?"
"It's hard to explain, Ryouta-kun. If someone catches you using their Zanpakuto, there's no telling how they might react. I suspect some people might not take well to seeing someone else wield what should be an exclusive and inseparable part of their soul. They might think that, for example, you've stolen it, as superstitious as that might seem to you. Others, especially the authorities, might deem your ability too powerful to allow it to be, and how they might go about assuring safety for Soul Society won't be something you'll enjoy taking part in."
That last implication is reason enough. There's certainly plenty of potential power contained in this ability, and in your emotionless hands, it might be considered a danger. It's a shame that discussing Zanpakuto abilities with their respective owners might be too risky of an option.
"But what is wrong with the sword?" You ask. Even though he just said that there's nothing 'forbidden' about it, he's still confiscating it.
Urahara smiles at that question. "There might be nothing wrong with it. It really could be as strong as it is completely coincidentally. But who can say for sure? I'll need to run some tests, and for that, I need your Zanpakuto."
"But do you have any ideas?"
Your question is at first answered with a pause. The Captain seems to be weighing the pros and cons of sharing his thoughts. "Sure. I do." He answers coldly. "For now, I'd rather not divulge them. You're probably better off that way, Ryouta-kun."
"I don't understand. Is it the sword, or is it me?"
He chuckles. "In the context of the Shinigami, just how different are those two things, really?" Urahara asks, though he doesn't wait for an answer. "Give me some time, and I think I might be able to answer your question, Ryouta-kun."
He suspects something, but he won't say what it is. Asking more questions about this subject might be meaningless.
"Don't worry, I won't take long." The Captain says. "You'll have it back soon."
With that topic closed, there's only one other thing you wanted to ask. It's a little personal, but...
"A house? You don't like the barracks?" He asks, probably jokingly, but then pauses to consider it. "I suppose I could ask around. That kind of thing is hard to come by in the Seireitei... And are you sure it'd be worth it? It's expensive, and we'd still need you in the Division grounds most of the time."
You explain that the house isn't really for yourself. Urahara nods a few times, and promises to look into it. After that, the two of you take your leave.
On the next day, you feel well rested. You're still on your sick leave, but there are only a couple of days left of it. After that, you'll be working for an undetermined amount of time.
The cardboard box entrusted to you by Moeka is still sitting around in your room, even though it's a present meant for Hikari. You can't mail it to her, as you don't know her address; she might be living in the Academy, she might have her own house, or she might be living in the barracks of her Division. You can't send it back to Moeka for the same reason. You'll have to find Hikari yourself.
There's also Erwin Kramer, the would-be human magician, detained by the Shinigami. It's by no means a necessary thing to do, as that mission is over, but it's still possible to ask him something.
Neither of those things are particularly urgent or necessary, but this is a good opportunity to get one of them done.
>Try to find Hikari and give her Moeka's souvenir.
>Go talk to Erwin.
>The captain offered to look for a house on your behalf, but you might still achieve something by searching yourself.
Shin'o Academy. You've never thought you'd be returning to this place. The wide, clear courtyards, the long wooden hallways, the same old classrooms - things haven't changed here. The crowds of uniformed students, the faces of whom have never mattered to you even during your training here, are different, but still as unimportant as always. You've been gone for only a few years, so perhaps it's strange to be expecting major changes.
Well, there is a single notable change among the teachers. The girl, her dark hair still tied up in a neat bun, looks just a little nervous as usual, even in her position of authority. You wait for the class to finish and for her students to leave. She forces herself to speak her farewells just a little bit louder, so that the leaving crowd might make it out among their loud chatter, and gets herself to answer the questions of the few students that stayed in order to clarify something about the lecture.
It somehow doesn't look easy on her, but she still presses on until her students are satisfied and finally leave, their questions answered.
As you approach, her eyes stay on you uncertainly, widening a little bit. She then smiles; it looks just as anxious as always, but it seems genuine.
"Ah, you're..." Hikari begins, unable to finish. Her eyes dart around, the thought she keeps trying to find twisting and treacherously slipping away. She finally gives up with a nervous chuckle. "S-sorry, I remember you, but I just can't seem to..."
"Tsukuda Ryouta." You remind her. The girl nods.
"That's right - Ryouta-kun! It's so nice to see you again! It's been so long... How have you been?" The conversation begins with small talk. You tell her you're doing well, and ask how she's doing in return. "I'm also doing really well! Being a teacher is hard work, but, um... It's also very rewarding when your students learn. I'm very grateful that you let me, uh, practice on you back then. It really gave me a huge boost, Ryouta-kun. I don't know how much else I can teach you, but if you ever need another lesson in something... W-well, please don't hesitate to ask!"
She really shouldn't feel indebted to you. It should probably be the other way around. But, still, you could probably get quite a bit of use from her offer. Well, you're not here for that. You explain the situation, about how Moeka gave you Hikari's souvenir in hopes of getting it passed on to her sooner. You didn't bring it with you today, as the box is quite bulky, so you need her address to mail it for her.
"M-Moeka did, you say..." She seems embarrassed about something. "So you've met her?.. Uh, what did you think of her?" Hikari asks uncertainly.
Moeka said Hikari is one of her best friends, and you think it might be a mutual state of affairs. Maybe Hikari wouldn't like hearing you badmouth her friend.
...And it feels like the subject of Kirino Moeka is cropping up far more than it should be, especially considering that your mission has ended almost a week ago.
>Be blunt about it. "We worked together, and she caused complications."
>Try to be polite about it. "She's... opportunistic. Perhaps not in a good way."
>Try to drop the subject as quickly as you can. "She's... alright."
"She's... opportunistic. Perhaps not in a good way." You say. It's a little hard to pick the right words.
Hikari sighs in a way that only someone who really knows can sigh. "She can be... like that. But she's... a really good person underneath." Hikari pauses, smiling in what appears to be fleeting reminiscence. "...But I'm not saying it's something that should be encouraged. It's probably not my place to say this, but I think she might have picked a Division that doesn't suit her... If there's no one around to push her on, she can really let herself go..."
It does appear that they know each other quite well.
"W-well, I owe Moeka-chan a lot. I don't know where we'd be if we didn't have each other..." She mutters. The girl reaches for some paper and writes down her address. She does have her own house, it seems, and not far from the Academy. "H-here you go, Ryouta-kun. Do you know what Moeka-chan got for me?"
You shake your head. The box was sealed with tape, and it would be impolite to pry. But it's something big...
"Something big from the Human World?.. I have no idea what it could be, Ryouta-kun. But I'll write you about it! Um, could you give me your address, too?"
You write it down for her. Even after you purchase yourself a new house, you'll still be living in the barracks most of the time, so this address should be fine.
Hikari nods, turning away to read something for her next class. The conversation has gone quiet, and there's a class coming up, so this appears to be all. You say your farewells and head out.
You send off Moeka's present. A few days later, you receive a letter from Hikari. Inside the box you've sent her was a large CD player and a collection of musical discs. She's quite ecstatic about it - it's apparently something she's wanted for a very long time, as soon as she's heard of the Human World's 'legendary boomboxes' a few years ago. And the humans' music, the 'disco', is, according to her, way better than traditional instrumental music so common throughout Soul Society.
She invites you to listen to it whenever you get the chance, but unfortunately, there's work you need to do.
A few months pass in monotonous research and paperwork. You weren't inventing anything new, just helping improve the equipment that you already have.
You've heard that Erwin Kramer has been sentenced to several decades of imprisonment for his crimes. Surprisingly, not to execution. If you've ever wanted to ask him questions, it's still possible to visit him. But on the other hand, it might be best to just let it be.
Urahara Kisuke returns your sword. You ask him if he's figured anything out, but the Captain's reply is rather vague.
"I need some more time to make sure. Don't worry about it, Ryouta-kun. Actually, I think you should take a break. You've done really well on that last mission, and I want to reward you for it. Oh, and that thing you've asked me about..." He smiles and hands you an envelope. "You should talk to this person about purchasing a house. He's a trustworthy contact of one of my friends. He can probably get you something good."
You thank him and put the items away. It's still quite clear that he doesn't want to talk about your sword... or perhaps he just doesn't have any answers.
"Make sure to stay available, though. You never know when a new trail might appear." Urahara adds in a hushed whisper. He then coughs exaggeratedly and walks away.
Well, you have plenty of things to do with this free time. The only question is how many of those things you'll manage to take care of before you get sent off on another assignment.
>Look into purchasing a house for Shiori.
>Arrange that meeting with Soren.
>Visit Hikari and listen to her boombox.
>Meet with Ito Satoshi.
Ending thread for tonight, it's getting really late for me! The next thread will start off with the most voted action!
Next thread will be announced on twitter:
Sorry for the slow (even more than usual) thread today! I felt a little resistance while writing, but I think I got over it now.
If you have any questions or feedback, shoot them my way!
Thanks for reading!