(Note: This is Chapter 4 of the Return From Exile story arc.)
A cloud of smoke hangs in front of the wild haired Akashi…
“It is such a shame, really” Akashi said half to himself, “that such a unique bankai would rest in the hands of such a worthless shinigami.”
“You take it back,” said a voice from the smoke. As the smoke cleared, Renji stood there, his robes in shambles and the area around him decimated. He walked toward Akashi as he spoke until he was less than ten feet away from him. “My bankai, is a sign of a great achievement and not even a smug bastard like you can deny that. So take it back.”
“Impressive,” Akashi said the smile falling from his face, “you survived that did you? Most impressive. But, I’m afraid the game ends here.”
“You're right.” Zabimaru rose and surrounded Akashi as Renji spoke, “Hihio Zabimaru, Higa Zekko.” The spikes on each section of the serpent’s bones began to glow and a blade shot at Akashi from each of them. “That’s game, Akashi.”
“It would seem so wouldn’t it?” said Akashi. “Though, surely, you have not forgotten my blade’s cards are still out there. You’re real problem is that you’ve not consider where they are.”
“Hm” Renji said, “What do you mean and- and how did you survive those blades?”
“Well its easy to survive an attack that does not make contact. You see,” he said pushing the blades away. “They never touched me. Now back to my original point. You didn’t consider where my cards went and you were so blinded by your anger toward me that you lost focus on your beloved bankai’s energy thread.” The energy flowing between the sections began to grow dim. “And didn’t even sense my Jisatsu Kingu’s reiatsu hidden inside.” The energy dwindled to almost nothing and they became visible, along the snake’s entire length where several cards hidden within the binding energy of Renji’s bankai. “After absorbing your Baboon Bone Cannon I got a sense of what you reiatsu was really like and modified mine, as much as one can, to match it. Then when I attacked you and you hid yourself inside you didn’t notice the cards joining the energy stream. It is an understandable mistake, but one that proves that you have not yet mastered your bankai.” The energy flow ceased and the sections began to fall but before they hit the ground Renji’s bankai faded away and his blade returned to its sealed form.
Renji fell to his knees barely holding himself up with his sword. “No- How- I can’t believe this.” Renji said to himself.
“You can feel it, cant you? The energy that is no longer within you,” Akashi said sadistically, “I bet it feels just like when you’ve spent all of your energy in a battle, except I’ve taken your reiatsu, what was in your bankai anyway, and sealed it in my Zanpakto.”
Renji saw the cards still floating in the outline of his bankai, glowing bright with his own reiatsu.
“I bet that you now see,” Akashi began a new level of seriousness entered his voice, “That it isn’t all skill. Chance, luck, fate or what ever you may call it plays an equal role in the outcome. Had I waited to arrive a few years later or if you had discovered your Bankai earlier things might be different. But there is no use in considering how you might have won given the right cards. Now, it is time to end this let me show you my hand.” The cards gathered together and began to swirl around Renji forming a sphere of reiatsu, his reiatsu, around him. Akashi swung the empty hilt of his sword with a slash and the sphere seemed to ignite, filling with so much energy it became unstable and exploded around Renji.
“Uuuaaaaghh” Renji cried out from within the sphere as his body was clearly visible burning under the force of his own spiritual pressure.
The explosion ended as suddenly as it had begun. Renji’s body fell limp, and collapsed on the ground.
“Byakuya, why have you come back here? Did you decide to answer me?” the Captain said not taking his eyes from the view.
“Sir I-” began Byakuya.
“Maybe, another time, then,” Yamamoto said dismissingly, “What happens now Byakuya?”
“Sir?” he says carefully.
“Your lieutenant has fallen in battle, and now the young Quincy from living world is going to attempt to face him. His spiritual pressure is faint when compared with that of Akashi, he will fight honorably, but we both know that for all that boys cleverness, he will only approach success because Akashi allows it. So will you allow him to fall too? We both know that there is only one reason that criminal has come here, and we both know that only one thing will end the chaos he is causing.”
“Right” Byakuya said firmly as he turned and left.
“Good, Byakuya,” Yamamoto said to an empty room, “Your grandfather would be proud.”
Akashi stands at a distance as Uryu stands near his fallen friend…
“You monster,” Uryu called out as he approached Renji’s body and lifted him up. He carried him some distance away and returned to face Akashi. “You stand there judging him for his inexperience and then you condemn him for it! How dare you think that you have some say in his worth?”
“Silence Quincy,” Akashi snapped. “You understand nothing of my goals or why I am here so stand down.”
“Stand down?” Uryu repeated indignantly, “Stand down! You think you can tell me what to do?”
“Either, you walk away now and tend to your friend,” Akashi paused, “or you end up just like him. I care nothing for you, Quincy, and I gain nothing by defeating you so ease both of our struggles and simply stand down.”
“No,” Uryu began, “You’ve done all this damage, and quite possibly killed Renji. So no, I will not 'stand down' if you want me to leave you alone you’ll have to face me!”
“Very well,” Akashi began, “It was entertaining to face a fellow shinigami, in order to have some real gauge for how much my abilities have increased while I was away, but now that I’m aware of that change, I’d much rather just press on to my goal.”
Uryu held out his hand and summoned his web like bow. “I’ll show you that the Quincy are a powerful race!” with that he raised the bow in front of him.
“Flush,” the scattered cards began to glow that deep scarlet glow as they sprung to life, and began to fly in circles around their master. Their after images making it impossible to count them.
“It doesn’t matter how many cards you’re Zanpakto becomes,” Uryu said as he took aim, “I can fire 1,200 arrows a second!”
A barrage of arrows flew toward Akashi, but as they neared the cards formed a barrier protecting him. “It is a valiant effort and quite the upper level skill, Quincy. That said it is a shame that there is nothing more you can do to defeat me.”
“Is that right?” Uryu began to move at top speed around Akashi, continuing to fire at him though several of the arrows missed and struck the ground behind Akashi. “I guess it is fortunate that my access to spirit particles in the Seireitei is incredibly high so this fight could carry on for some time.”
“I assume you think you can simply wear me down?” Akashi queried, “No… that isn’t the style of a Quincy. Then what is your plan?”
“This!” suddenly Uryu began to flash all around Akashi, even above him. It seemed almost as if an army of Quincy had begun an assault upon this rogue shinigami.
Akashi’s barrier now fully enveloped him but he could sense the thundering rain of arrows may not let up soon. “Enough.” he said as the cards from the barrier went flying at the numerous copies Uryu had created. The real Uryu stood facing Akashi, who began to speak with a with a tone of irratation in his cold voice, “You are a fool to begin a battle with me. Your friend’s bankai was annihilated by the shikai of Jisatsu Kingu and I was barely trying. Clearly you feel that you have the skill necessary to defeat me then let us begin. Cut.” He said with an eerie calm. The cards reformed his blade. They still shone with that same dark crimson glow. “Now Jisatsu Kingu let us show this Quincy the error of his ways.”
Akashi leapt forward, and swung his blade at Uryu, its afterimage following it. Uryu raised his web-like bow to block the attack. As each afterimage made contact, Uryu felt a distinct impact. He jumped backward, and his bow dissipated as he drew a small handle like object from his hip. “You’ve activated the kinetic energy in your Zanpakto’s spirit particles in order to convert it to an energy weapon?” Uryu said calmly holding the slim silver hilt in his hand. “You’re not the only one with an energy sword!” With that an energy blade suddenly sprung from the handle. “This is my Seele Schneider.”
“I’m familiar with your weapon Quincy,” Akashi spoke calmly once again. “It isn’t a true blade though is it? It’s a specialized arrow with a sharpened edge all around instead of just at the tip. I’m confused though I’ve never seen a Quincy use that primitive handle to call upon it. Is that a focusing device to make it more precise? Or,” Akashi looked Uryu in the eye, “or is it a beginner’s tool to help you summon that blade in the first place?”
“What do you mean?” Uryu asked.
“In training Shinigami, or indeed any sword fighter we don’t begin a trainee with a sharpened metal blade. We give the beginner a wooden practice sword. This way they won’t pose any significant threat neither to themselves nor to their opponent. I only assume that this must be what you have there a training device of sorts.” He grinned vindictively, “You see in my time as a Shinigami I have faced a fair share of Quincy warriors who would- oh how did they put it, ah yes- ‘belittle their honor and raise a blade in battle’ which seems a sporting idea, except for two errors that no Quincy has considered in that choice.”
“And they would be?” Uryu said through clenched teeth, his blood boiling at the thought of his people dying at the hand of this man.
“The first is that we Shinigami are trained with a sword for much of our lives and there for our skills with a blade would be far superior, thus by ‘belittling’ his honor the Quincy was risking granting us a strong advantage.” Akashi said confidently.
“And what was the other error of their choice?”
“Overestimating the power of their blade which is made out of only spirit particles, which I must admit seems to be your error.”
A puzzled look came over Uryu’s face, “but that is all you have there, a sword of spirit particles, so maybe I’m only making one error.”
“No, you see I have demonstrated countless times Jisatsu Kingu’s power and yet you feel that by merely forcing particles together you have found a way to match my blade’s Flush technique. What your forgetting is that I have more than simple particles on my side. Jisatsu Kingu strike.”
With that Akashi jumped forward swinging the blade and as Uryu braced for the impact of the blade’s clashing, he felt instead, nothing. He saw the blade swing with its following afterimages, but there was no contact with his blade at all. In fact, as far as Uryu could tell he felt nothing. No wait there was something a series of sharp stinging something’s across his chest; he felt them cut right along the path the blade and its afterimages had taken. He felt the five blades slash his chest. He stood there in shock as he felt his own warm blood seep from his wound and stain his robes.
“Wh- What happened?” Uryu thought to himself. “I blocked. I know I did. The blades should have made contact, so that I could parry the strike, but… nothing.” Aloud he managed to utter, from his paralyzed lips, “How?”
“Its quite simple really,” Akashi began, “I’m disappointed you haven’t figured it out. My blade, unlike yours, is a Zanpakto, and it, therefore, has its own will. You assumed that our blades were the same given that their base components are similar, but you didn’t consider the spirit within the blade. To answer your question more precisely, it has to do with frequencies.”
“Yes resonance frequencies to be precise. Every particle in the universe vibrates at a certain frequency, and the same is true for spirit particles. Your blade is composed of several of these particles being compressed together and being forced into a solid-like shape. Thus their initial frequencies are lowered as they are forced to interact with one another.” He looked at Uryu his face still in shock, from the unsuspected attack. “My blade’s state as an energy weapon is actually formed the opposite way. The particles are allowed, through my zanpakto’s will, to space apart thus increasing their frequency. The tricky thing about that weapon you hold in your hand is that it is a training device. As such, it has a limited frequency range, whereas mine does not, all I need to do is increase the frequency of the vibrations. So when the blades came into contact, or at least when they should have come into contact, mine passed through yours while the tip (which was focused to be denser) was left to cut you.”
Uryu fell to his knees. He caught himself as he almost fell forward. “Impressive,” Uryu said calmly as hair covered his face, “I figured that you would have someway past such a simple technique as the Seele Schneider, I never claimed to be to adept at it in the first place, but it served its purpose.”
“Did it now?” Akashi said a rare confused tone escaping his lips.
“Yes,” he said tensing at the shoulders and leaning onto his hands “It provided a good distraction while I was gathering spirit particles, for this.” He stuck the hilt of his last Seele Schneider into the ground and let a drop of his blood drip onto the top of the handle. Suddenly five points of light appeared around Uryu forming a pentacle. Energy rushed from each of these points directly toward Uryu, and a bright light engulfed him.
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