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(Note: This is Chapter 8 of the Return From Exile story arc.)
Before them now stood two enormous stone doors, that dwarfed them in size. The monk walked toward the doors and stopped at a point far off, took his shakujo staff and slammed into the ground. Both shinigami felt the spiritual energy released by this and took note that it was not hollow energy. Suddenly there was a loud grinding noise as the doors began to swing apart. As the separated Akashi and Byakuya got there first glimpse into the temple there were many odd statues lining the walls of the immense room, none of them human, and there was an incredible amount of damage around, large scratch marks, burns, broken pillars and statues lay everywhere. Clearly the hollow had managed to enter here and attack the monks. There was also a markedly higher level of hollow spirit particles exuding from inside the temple, whatever was responsible was definitely inside of there. “Won’t you come in? Follow me,” Kotsu said with his usual glee.
“I don’t like this brother,” Akashi said carefully.
“It is not for us to like our duties, but to honor them, let’s go,” Byakuya said sternly.
“Of course…sir,” Akashi replied. The two entered the temple and Kotsu slammed his staff down again, a different reiatsu this time, and the doors began to shut behind them.
“I’m glad you two could come; its so nice to have visitors,” Kotsu began, “I am assuming that you are like the others who came and you won’t want any food, am I correct in that assumption?”
“Yes, you are correct,” Byakuya, answered while looking around, “Prior to the attacks what did the monks do here?”
“Well we meditated and prayed,” he started. “We also worked to master the skills we’ve been taught here. My specialties were seals and spirit combat skills.”
“Spirit combat?” Akashi repeated to himself.
“Oh yes, it is a very sacred art to be trained in,” Kotsu responded. “It empowers us monks to be able to fend off spirits, and the seals help us to control the spirits.”
“If that’s true,” Byakuya pondered, “then it would take exceptionally strong hollow to actually kill this many monks right?”
“Certainly, sir,” Kotsu said. “The monsters that attacked us were incredibly strong unlike those that we normally encounter.”
“So you’ve encountered hollow before?” Byakuya said as the doors finally closed.
“Yes, but never such strong ones or in such great numbers,” he stood behind them lifted his staff, and then fired a sphere of whitish-blue energy at Akashi across the room, Byakuya flash stepped in front of it and flew backwards under the force of the blow.
“What the hell?” Akashi said as he turned. “Byakuya are you all right?”
“He’s quite incapacitated one of the strongest monk seals is paralyzing him!”
“Wh-? Kotsu what are you doing?” Akashi asked.
“Kotsu is gone,” said a deeper more sinister voice, “You may call me Gomakasu!” with that the possessed being charged Akashi. “Die!” he cried as he swung the Shakujo at Akashi.
In a flash his blade was drawn, but he was still knocked backwards by the strength of the hit. “He’s so strong,” Akashi said as he rose to his feet. “I won’t be caught off guard again, you filthy hollow! Deal the Cards of Fate! Jisatsu Kingu!” The blade exploded into a cloud of cards that were immediately sent flying toward Gomakasu.
“Holy Shield Barrier!” he yelled and a sphere encircled him and deflected the cards.
“Cut,” Akashi commanded and the blade reformed. “What a barrier, Three of a Kind, lets see if this will do something.” All three of them charged the barrier and struck to no avail, “Five of a Kind," he was getting desperate for something that would end this quickly.
“Repel,” Gomakasu growled and all five were sent flying backwards as the barrier pushed them away and faded. “Ha!” The hollow possessed body charged the five of them, firing blasts from the Shakujo as he swung it around.
Two flash-stepped behind him, as all five called out “Waterfall!” Two ropes grabbed him by the arms and two by the legs while the fifth whipped around the Shakujo and ripped it from his grasp. “Now lets see what you can do, without your weapon.”
“Fool!” he shrieked, “You Shinigami are so dependent on your weapons that you think we are all that way! Great Spirit Wave!” His whole body began to glow then a wave of energy released in all directions, destroying the copies and hurling Akashi into the far wall of the enormous temple. “Don’t you understand, I am Gomakasu,” he held out his hand and Akashi felt his body pressed into the wall as he felt some the monks spirit energy surround him. “I’m not some simple hollow, I am an Adjuchas! I have surpassed the status of Menos in my time here.”
“H- How?” Akashi strained, barely able to breath under the pressure.
“I’m actually quite astounded with the genius of it myself,” Gomakasu mused, “fine I’ll tell you before you die, I might as well let someone know. I discovered this temple some time ago and realized that it was a source of high quality souls, very delicious,” he licked his lips. “The problem is that the monks were quite well equipped to deal with a hollow of my level, so I realized all I need to do was let other hollows attack and in the confusion I could devour any of them I wanted to. This arrangement was quite beneficial, in fact I felt myself growing stronger, but I wanted to grow faster! So I possessed this monk,” he gestured at his body, “In that garden that is so dear to him. Not far from there I opened the first Garganta, the scent was too much for the hollow to resist and after opening a few more all around the temple was almost continuously under siege, and I could feast almost continuously.”
“Before long I was approaching Menos level, I could feel the hollows I had devoured trying to take my consciousness from me and make me one of those big stupid creatures. Luckily for me a group of Menos found their way to the Garganta and began to come through. The monks that were still there attacked and weakened them and I took the opportunity to feed on the falling Menos, and eating all of them allowed me to immediately become the Adjuchas you see before you.”
“I don’t believe you,” Akashi said a small smile on his face as the force continued to crush him into the wall. “You’re no Adjuchas hollow. You’re just a lucky little hollow that found a monk with some skills you could use. I mean look at this. This whole battle you’ve been leaning on the powers of a monk. You couldn’t possibly defeat me with out his help.”
“Wh-? How dare you!” He cried out. “I’m going to be even stronger once I devour you and that one over there!” He pointed at Byakuya who was still disabled by the seal. “I’ll show you!” suddenly a hollow grew into existence in front of the body, It was tall with green skin and a mask that looked like a longhorn bull’s skull, his claws dragged the ground as he walked forward and his massive tail swung in the air. “I know you’re hoping that I’ll leave his body and his seal will break will end but it will continue so long as he is alive. So the other Shinigami will stay out of this fight.” The hollow then moved lightning fast speed and was right in front of Akashi who had just returned to his feet. He swung his massive arm and sent Akashi flying through the massive room. Instantly, Gomakasu appeared where Akashi was about to land and he spiked him across the floor of the temple.
Akashi was dizzy with pain. He could barely think. He could feel the ground shake as the hollow slowly approached. He realized that his blade was across the room and he was in no shape to get there before Gomakasu arrived, he panicked and focused on the blade in his mind, sensing it out in the room, “Jisatsu Kingu,” he thought to the blade, “I know you hear me calling to you, help me!” The hollow was now practically on top of him, “Shuffle,” Akashi managed to utter. The blade erupted into cards and the cloud rushed to him carrying the hilt and dropping it at his side as they formed a barrier and the Hollows fist came down on the barrier. The barrier wouldn’t last long. He managed to rise to his feet. He came up with a plan.
Several things happened all at once. Akashi uttered the command “Flush!” and the cards turned to energy. The cards reshaped into a series of spikes, and as they did Akashi managed to shunpo out of range. The hollows fist came down this time on the bed of spikes that sliced up his left hand.
“Gyar!” Gomakasu cried out. “You bastard! I’ll kill you know enough games!” With he that fired a wave of red energy from his mouth at Akashi, who barely managed to dodge that one only to have the next one hit him, and the resulting explosion left him barely breathing against the wall, his cards scattered across the room, bleeding from his head he heard a voice.
“Akashi Kuchiki, is this how you will meet your end?” said a smooth deep voice.
Previous Chapter: A Look into the Past: The Truth of the Brothers!
Next Chapter: The Battle Ends! Akashi’s Regret.