(Note: This is Chapter 14 of the Return From Exile story arc.)
Ichigo and the four captains stand before a very confident Akashi and his copies…
“You seem confused,” Akashi mused for a moment, “Ah I see. You are under the belief that these copies from my Five of a Kind are capable of battling all five of you at once? No you see they,” he gestured to the versions of himself in his bankai’s other stages, “they are simple copies I control them with my will directly, but could truly only handle a fight against one upper level shinigami, but they lack a consciousness of their own and therefore despite their power, they cannot possibly do what is necessary to defeat all of you at once. For that I will have to use a much more powerful technique.” At his words the copies disappeared.
“Now,” he grasped the hilt of his blade with both hands, “Royal Flush Randamu Kado Jisatsu Kingu!” his entire body begin to glow with reiatsu and he thrust his blade upward. From the tip of the blade a beam of spiritual energy rose up then split into four falling beams which then arched downward (two on each side of him). As they were about to land the tips released a glowing crimson energy that reformed into a silhouette of the Akashi that had been standing in the center but even he was reduced to a silhouette now and then the beams split and as they joined their respective bodies, there was a bright flash followed by a wave of reiatsu. Then standing before them were five almost identical copies of Akashi, the only difference among them was that each had gained writing on the forward shoulder portion of their arm guards, a “10,” “J,” “Q,” “K,” and an “A,” a blood red heart still sat on the opposite side of their chests with a black outline around it.
“Ten, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace?” Ichigo said aloud.
“Do they mean something?” Hitsugaya wondered aloud.
“Very perceptive,” said the Q. “They represent who is the weakest,” said the 10. “And who is the strongest,” said the A. “We each are at a different power level right now,” said the J. “But each of us is stronger than a Captain” said the K.
“Well I’ll take the Ace,” Zaraki said gleefully, “Ace is the highest in the series, and therefore will be the strongest! Byakuya looks like the King will go to you, since he is already inside that technique you have going. Hitsugaya why don’t you go on and take the Ten since that’s your squad number? Komamura you take the Jack he looks like he has some fight in him.”
“I guess that leaves me with the Queen,” Ichigo said, “Hey what gives Zaraki! Why did you leave the Queen for me?”
“Just seemed right,” he responded jokingly. “Now lets give each other some room, you okay with the set up there, Akashi?”
“Fine by me,” said Akashi-10. “I guess,” said the Akashi-Q. “Perfect” said the Akashi-K. “Whatever,” said the Akashi-J. “Lets do this!” said the Akashi-A. They each flashed away to different areas and began to attack.
Kenpachi immediately began slashing away; each strike was parried by an equal strike from Akashi-A. “You have no style at all! Do better!” he yelled.
“Style isn’t necessary with my power!” Kenpachi said confidently as he revealed his strong yellow aura and continued his attacks.
The Akashi-A’s reiatsu began to show blood red as the intensity of the battle increased. He growled before a stirke, “Flush,” Kenpachi was surprised to find that he felt five cuts move across his right arm.
“My blade passed right through,” he said staring at his blade in confusion, “This is gonna be fun!”
Meanwhile Hitsugaya begins his battle with the Akashi-10…
“So you’re the Squad 10 captain?” the Akashi-10 asked stiffly.
“Hm,” Hitsugaya nodded quickly. As he drew his blade he called out “Sit Upon the Frozen Heavens, Hyorinmaru!” the large ice dragon of his shikai charged toward Akashi-10.
“Shuffle,” he called out and then blade became an enormous cloud of cards larger than had been summoned before, “you know its surprising how much more powerful a skill can be when you use its name in battle,” he said with an irritation in his voice, as he looked at the backside of the cloud as blocked Hitsugaya’s attack. He then formed a slender tube like cloud and charged it at the dragon as it came around for a second pass. The cards drilled through into the dragon’s mouth and proceeded to rip it apart from heat to tail. Hitsugaya stood there in shock. “That’s better,” the Akashi-10 said.
At that same moment Captain Komamura and Akashi-J began their battle…
“Roar, Tenken!” the captain called out and swung his blade.
An arm 5 times the size of Akashi-J’s swung a very large blade at him, but he managed to block it as chuckled as he called out, “Straight!” and matched the attacks strength and as Komamura made a second swing. As the back swing was about to come in the held out his blade and the attack was thrown away quickly.
“That second attack…” Komamura said in shock.
“Was 10 times the strength of the first,” the Akashi-J laughingly finished, “and the next will be 100 times, prepare yourself.”
As the others began to fight Kurosaki ran into some difficulty…
“Lets begin then shall we?” Ichigo asked.
“Why should I?” the Akashi-Q asked almost apathetically, as he sat on the ground.
“Because, I’m your enemy,” Ichigo insisted.
“No Byakuya is my enemy, Captains of the Seireitei are my enemy but not you,” the Akashi-Q explained, in a melancholy tone “you’re nothing to me, just a substitute shinigami.”
“I’m held my own against captains’ level enemies and survived isn’t that enough for you?” Ichigo asked.
“I suppose it will have to do.” He said in concession.
“Great now then Getsuga-,” he raised his large blade curved blade as energy gathered across its edge, “Tenshō!” the attack flew toward the Akashi-Q.
“Ugh,” he groaned as he deflected the attack with his hand. “I think I’m gonna finish this fight fast maybe one of the other’s will let me fight a captain for a while. Straight Flush!” The blade began to glow as he delivered a strong first five strikes that passed through Ichigo’s blade and straight into his upper shoulder.
Byakuya and Akashi-K square up with the Senkei surrounding them…
“I’ll tell you something brother,” the Akashi-K began, “I’m the true Akashi, the others are me but they’re not me.”
“Does that mean you are the strongest of them?” Byakuya asked.
“Mhmm,” the Akashi-K nodded. “The others are still quite strong and will be able to handle their opponents with ease.
“You treat this as a game Akashi,” Byakuya said sternly.
“No this is not a game,” Akashi said, he pointed to the other battles “those are games, now what we are doing is quite real and quite serious. Come brother!” Their blades met and they began to flash step and battle intensely.
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Next Chapter:The Fox and the Dragon, Akashi’s sinister copies.