This article, A New Life in Darkness; A Fresh Face Arrives, is property of Suicuideking.

(Note: This is Chapter 1 of The Forgotten and the Banished Arc.)

A spirit gate opens over the dark moonlit desert of Hueco Mundo, and a single haggard figure steps through…

Akashi Kuchiki reaches his hand up shakily and removes the bag from his head, and, for the first time, lays his eyes on his new home in exile. He felt under his robes to find his blade still there. “What do I do know?” He wondered aloud. The question had barely passed through his mind when he noticed off in the distance a building, a castle by the looks of it. “Well there’s something, I wonder what’s over there. I might as well check it out I guess.”

He quickly noticed the massive size of the castle. It was still some distance and even flash-stepping to his greatest skill, he was barely putting a dent in the distance. “I guess that’s the nature of this place. It is a vast wasteland, nothing to block your view even of things incredibly far away.”

Suddenly, something exploded out of the ground, massive and towering, it was what he feared that it would be… a Menos Grande. It was worse than anything he had ever seen in any text book or ever heard a story of; it was an enormous towering black creature with a white skull mask and a long nose. It opened its mouth and a red glow began to come out, “Oh man,” Akashi thought, “a cero…” He felt the blade inside of his robes, “Of course! Deal the cards of fate, Jisatsu Kingu!” A wall of cards formed in front of him but was blown to pieces as the cero made contact. “Another one of those and I’m dead!”

“GWAAAH!” It yelled as it stepped towards him. Another cero began to form in his massive jaws. As it fired away, Akashi was barely able to flash step away before the blast hit.

“Defense won’t save you now, Akashi,” he thought, “you’ve got a few more cards play them!” He raised his blade and called out “Ban-Kai!” Akashi stood before the Menos Grande, clothed in the robes of his Bankai, “Randamu Kado Jisatsu Kingu!” He held out his hands and the long ribbons of cards stretched out from him, wrapping the jaw of the great hollow tightly shut. Akashi quickly found he was quite limited this way his arms weren’t free to move about on their own without breaking the grip of the ribbons on the beasts jaw. “If only my legs…could, that’s it!” the ribbons on his left leg pushed into the ground raising his body up to eye level. As he did he spun and kicked with his right leg toward the Menos ribbons went swirling away slashing a diagonal across the chest of the hollow. He swiveled his leg around focusing the ribbons into a sharp point he jabbed his leg out repeatedly watching it pierce through the great monster before him. Finally, he released his arm and drew his actual blade launching off of his ribbons toward the Menos, he made a great swing down the great white mask. It split in two.

The beast dissipated into spirit particles and Akashi landed with a thud on the ground. He quickly felt weak and sealed his zanpakto away. Huffing he muttered, “That was intense, let’s hope there aren’t many more of those…” suddenly four other menos exploded from the desert sands. “Let’s hope these guys are slow!” He began to run but before he could flash-step four ceros exploded around him the ground gave way and he felt himself tumble down…

In a cave, four figures clothed in tattered robes sit huddled around a fire…

“Urg… I hate it here,” grumbled the first, who was standing leaning against the wall of the cave. He was by far the tallest of the group and certainly tall by any human standards. He had dark tanned skin dark brown eyes and short black hair the slightly longer than the stubble on his face. His damaged shinigami robes seemed to strain to hold in his muscles.

“You’ve said that already, Yuudai,” spoke a man with long straight white hair and lightly tanned skin. His green eyes poked through his hair showing his irritation as his right hand rested on his bent right knee as the other leg lay flat, with his other hand resting on the ground. “We all agree with you. None of us is scouting to build a nice cottage around here. So you don’t have to repeat yourself all the time by saying, ‘I hate it here,” he mocked Yuudai’s grumble, ”We’ve all said it at some point, well except for Kiyoshi, but to be fair he doesn’t say much of anything.”

The white haired man gestured toward a man kneeling, facing the fire. He was shorter than the white haired man, and much skinnier, he had incredibly fair skin and blond hair. He knelt there with hands on both knees sitting with his back straight, at the mention of his name he raised his head and opened his eyelids to reveal his eyes that had a pattern of blue with white lines intermixing.

“Um.. Toshio?” spoke a timid young female shinigami as she looked at the white-haired soul reaper. She was certainly shorter than the others, as she stood pushed the brown hair from her eyes. “What if uh… do you think rescue will ever come?” she paused almost ashamed to speak. “It’s just that it’s been several months that we’ve been stranded here, and we haven’t seen any signs of Soul Society activity. Nothing at all.” Her voice became hurried, “What if they’ve forgotten us or abandoned us to our fates here!” Kiyoshi slammed his fist to the ground, looking sternly at the young woman.

“Hanayo,” spoke Toshio calmly brushing his long white hair from his eyes. “Things are going to change very soon…I promise.” He said with that knowing smile Hanayo had come to trust. At almost that exact moment a loud crash was heard outside of their cave. “Starting now,” He smiled.

Next Chapter: Branches and Blades! Two Shinigami Fight to Survive!

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