(Note: This is Chapter 7 of The Forgotten and the Banished Arc.)
Akashi sits in the cave, the others sleep around him...
Akashi couldn't sleep. After he knew Toshio was well enough that he no longer needed direct care he stepped outside. He could see nothing but trees above him, and there he sat outside the cave listening to the eerie stillness of his new home. "Brother, why am I here?" He asked aloud. He remembered his last moments with his brother as Byakuya thrust the sword inside of Akashi's robes. "You saved me, but for what purpose?" He looked at the sheathed blade pulled it from its scabbard and struck its tip into the ground. "Jisatsu Kingu," he felt himself move and yet remain in the same place.
Akashi was now in a great hall he stood before a throne, on it sat his Zanpakto.
"Master Akashi, take your rightful seat and tell me..." spoke the king as he rose from his seat, "why has your heart been so eager and restless. And why do we now dwell in a place of such...darkness?"
"This is our home now, Jisatsu Kingu," he said regretfully. "We have been punished for a crime we did not commit."
"Injustice!" cried the king his robes flowing as he began to pace. Akashi, slumped down in the throne.
"Injustice it may be," he paused, "but a life was taken and it was the weight of that crime for which we are being punished."
"How long is our exile?" the king turned to face his master.
"Until our death," he answered. A look of horror came over the face of Jisatsu Kingu. "Speak no more of it!" Akashi demanded. "I've come here with other purposes."
"And they are?"
"I do not fully know your power," he said woefully. "I will need to truly master all that you can do if I am to survive hear."
"Why survive here?" the king asked in a challenge. "It is a dreadful place and if it is our home we would be better off dead," he egged on his master.
"So long as I live, I will protect the world from these...monsters," Akashi snapped at him. "There are others here. Shinigami they are scared and liable to die if unprotected. I will do that. I need to learn more of what we can do if I am to remain a guardian!"
"You may be my master, but a king gives the secrets of power only to those who are deserving," Jisatsu Kingu drew up, standing tall in his crimson robes. "Prove that you deserve it!" Akashi drew his blade and flew at his opponent. Jisatsu Kingu flashed and countless ribbons flew from beneath his robes, grabbing wrapping him up and holding him suspended in the air. "Hmph, and you think you deserve more? You hardly use what you already have!" He yelled as he tossed Akashi clear across the room, crashing through a few pillars before finally hitting the ground.
"You're right," Akashi said as he got to his feet, "Bankai!" He transformed into his bankai state. "How's this for using all I have! Flush!" he charged the king again. As the ribbons flew at him those around his arms and legs extended and blocked the onslaught, and Akashi charged on. As his blade was about to fall on the king, he felt a tug the ribbons were pulling him. No, the other ribbons had his tied up, and the zanpakto's ribbons were withdrawing into the robes. He felt himself fall his face grinding into the ground for a few feet as his body was pulled along.
Jisatsu Kingu looked on grabbing the ends of the ribbons as his own vanished into the void of his robes. "You over extend yourself!" He yelled pulling on the ropes of cards and swinging them in a circle. The sword watched as his master broke several more pillars. "Until you realize your limits you can never break though them!" he reversed let Akashi grind across the ground, before being swung over his head. The shinigami felt helpless as he soared upward, he crashed through three massive hanging chandeliers before plummeting to the marble floor once again, shattering it.
He rolled in agony, before attempting to stand. He reached his feet. "I can't have limits, not if I'm to protect everyone. Not If I'm going to redeem myself! Five of a Kind!" He began to glow crimson and his form appeared 5 times, but all of their ropes still lead into the right hand of Jisatsu Kingu.
"You want to save everyone, protect everyone. How will you do that Akashi? If you stretch yourself out to thinly then you won't be able to save anyone, even yourself!"
"What other choice is there!" They raised his blade and the swords erupted into clouds of cards. All of them flew quickly toward the Zanpakto, He held out his left hand confidently as they were crashing into him. The cloud shrank into almost nothing. All that remained was a sword composed of the cards.
"Focus on the cards at hand, Akashi," Jisatsu Kingu laughed. "You mock that other shinigami for counting cards and being over confident in what he knows, and yet you use only what you know is possible. It was because you looked to me for something new that you were saved. You called on me acknowledging your limits, and that is why I helped you." He looked at him sternly, "But now that you stand before me I see that you have learned nothing from that. You rely on these ribbons, that cloud and occasionally making them glow. You have so many other cards to play, you want me to help you grow stronger as if you've mastered your skills, but you neglect so many. Flush could have penetrated that barrier! Straight Flush would have killed him in less than your shikai's limit! And yet you limit yourself. What if the boy hadn't been there with that Hado?"
He pulled hard on the ribbons the five Akashi's consolidated and flew toward him. Jisatsu Kingu took the blade and slashed the ribbons into pieces. As Akashi flew toward him the zanpakto threw a punch with his left arm catching Akashi in the stomach. He raised the fist up and the punched toward the ground slamming Akashi down. "You'd be dead no matter what I did."
"So how do I learn these new skills, and master the old ones?" Akashi asked desperately rising slowly to his feet. "How do I reach the next level?"
"Immerse yourself in your power," he responded. "Study yourself, examine every possibility for your hand in a battle. Don't become so focused on the opponent’s cards that you forget your own like you did with that adjuchas. More will come he assured you of that, but you knew so little of me that you killed him before anymore information could be attained. You waste your full potential on lesser skills. Don't miss out on the chance at a Full House because your looking at 3 of a kind against 4 four of a kind. You won't always have others to point out the better play. Now go back to them, they are stirring in the cave."
Akashi's eyes open to find him outside of the cave once more. "Thank you," he lifts the blade sheaths it and walks into the darkened cave. "Time to tell my story," he said quietly.
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