Post by Shun Minamoto on Feb 24, 2014 23:13:30 GMT -5
Captain-Commander, The Gotei Five
Name: Shun Minamoto
Age: 714 [155 in Rukongai, 559 as a Shinigami]
Birthday: February 24th, 1302 C.E.
Language Fluency: Japanese (contemporary), English (c. 15th century England), Swedish (c. 18th century Sweden)
Height and Weight: At 95.5 kilograms and 193 centimeters Shun stands out as much, much taller than most of the oriental persuasion. Among Shinigami he is only a bit above average and it adds to his reputation of strength and status as a model Seireitei citizen. His weight is the result of an thick layer of muscle grown over five centuries as a Shinigami. This makes him stand out when compared against the thinner men that have led Seireitei in the past. These things come together to make a man who looks and gives off an aura befit someone of his rank and notoriety.
Eyes: Two deeply brown eyes that stand out only when wisps and rings of Shun's spiritual energy, a brilliant white, shine over top of them.
Hair: Medium length and well-kept black hair are a trademark of the first Minamoto son. Although the back is kept short enough to prevent the style from resembling a mullet the front is longer. Some goes down either side of his face to frame his features while much of the hair gathers into pointy ends that fan off to his right. This keeps most of it out of his vision and allows him to do his work unimpeded.
General Appearance: Regal is the word most commonly associated to Shun, at least in his own experience. Although he was once a mouthy little boy that thought just a touch too highly of himself he has since tempered into a man calm, reserved, and polite enough to almost make his very family believe that he’s truly the beacon of perfection that many of his peers and subordinates take him for. Some members of his family have even gone far enough to compare him to female ‘idols’ in Japan, finding no end of amusement in the thought of Shun obsessing over makeup and grades.
The man himself has never let himself be absorbed by that, only adding to his reputation. Despite being looked up to and seen as an ideal he has always kept things about himself simple. His hygiene is immaculate but he never goes out of his way, typically ignoring little things like cleaning under his nails. He’s a Shinigami and the work he does might involve stooping and bending and crawling in the dirt—it’s a sign of ethic, not shame. Even though you’ll never see him go more than a day without a shower or bath he is, upon closer inspection, little better than your average Shinigami man.
On top of that his clothes are never intricate or complicated. He rarely walks around Seireitei—or even Rukongai, given that much of his work is still there—in anything but the black garb known as Shihakushō. When he does he wears equally traditional and simple robes. Any patterns they might have are basic, floral in nature or nonexistent entirely.
Only appropriately formal functions cause him to devote more attention to his appearance than normal. When those events crop up he tends to clean up his hair, though he keeps it in the same general style. His outfit is what changes the most, trading his plain clothes for something more decorative and elegant. Mundane colors tend to vanish, replaced by something more majestic and of higher quality. He typically dons a haori, far from the ones the Captains wear, and adds his best and least-worn outfits to it.
When it comes to sleeping, the hot summers of Soul Society have built the habit into him to discard all clothing entirely and, sometimes, the sheets with them. It’s only the coldest of nights when his usual blankets and bedroll don’t cut it that he bothers to wear anything at all, and even then it is only the thinnest and least noticeable of shirts and shorts that he puts on to keep himself from shivering away the hours.
In his seven hundred years Shun likes to feel as though he has struck a balance between efficiency, his own comfort, and aesthetics appeal in his appearance and style. He manages to maintain an air of professionalism and dependability without resorting to the means that some men go through, neurotically maintaining every detail down to the hair.
Everyone has things that are good about them, usually no more than anyone else. It is only when the goods things they have, or pretend to have, line up with what society wants of them that we idolize them so. Shun is one of those individuals, a man who possesses traits that his culture and society have deemed better than the rest.
- Courageous has always been a defining has always been a defining aspect of Shun’s person ever since he drew his blade on two petulant Shinigami back in the Rukongai. Despite Shun’s natural proclivity to take the easy way out of a situation, his innate courage has been what has propelled him through the most challenging events of his life, recent and old. Whether it’s for himself, for what he thinks is right, or for someone else, Shun always manages to overcome his own self-doubt and act when it is needed most.
- Honorable to his very core, Shun isn’t one to act in such a way that would bring shame upon himself or others. In battle against other Shinigami he presents the respect and and decency one would expect. He would never, for the sake of victory, endanger the safety or lives of others. He would never shirk his responsibilities either, seeing it as a reflection upon himself and his family. The one major exception to Shun’s personal code are those who have disgraced themselves, given in to degeneracy, or are simply not Shinigami.
- Compassionate might seem like a strange word to use to describe Shun but, when not around Hollows or traitorous Shinigami, Shun is a deeply caring individual. He will go to great lengths to help friends and loved ones, he’ll be the one to sit up all night listening and talking if that’s what someone needs. He genuinely cares and, even more than that, genuinely wants to solve the problems of others and improve their personal circumstances.
- Industrious is a good way to describe the inventive, driven side of Shun’s personality. Although not a researcher as his history with Fourth would suggest, Shun is absolutely a man of ideas, projects, and achievements. He has come to realize his own nature as a builder, a man who makes things and makes things happen, and he finds himself most fulfilled doing those things. He likes to say that while his father builds homes for families, Shun builds their future, and everyone needs both.
- Inquisitive ever since he was a boy, Shun has always had a desire to learn and discover. While this has never always leaned directly towards the technological or the scientific, it has definitely affected him on an intellectual level, especially as it related to magic. However, Shun’s unwavering adherence to the rules, and to societal taboo, means that this aspect of himself always comes second to those ideals.
- Uninhibited in the face of both opponents and friends. Shun has let go of the filters that used to govern his tongue and his outward behavior. Now he feels free to act on who he truly is, trusting that the aspects of himself he tried so hard to preserve in the eyes of others will shine through without issue. There is a renewed, genuine self-confidence behind him now that allows Shun to put his full, honest self forward without any hesitation, shame, or regret for his actions afterward.
Even the things about Shun that would raise red flags rarely cause others to so much as bat an eye. He is, in many ways, a product of both his nature, his family, and Seireitei. Because of this, the aspects of a person that typically slow them down in life have actually made Shun’s life even easier, growing them to the edge of being completely out of control. Not only do they feed each other but they’re encouraged by almsot everyone around him. This has guaranteed that they would grow into the powerful forces of character they are today.
- Strict in all the worst ways at all the worst times. Although Shun is aware that there is a time for unbending adherence to law and expectations, he has never mastered the art of realizing when an exception must be made. It is this inherent inability to distinguish one moment from the other that has made Shun seem cold, callous, or even oblivious to those around him.
- Dutiful to a fault. Shuns puts very, very few things above his work. Of the things that do make the list, the typical exceptions of family, friends, and other loved ones are not present. The only thing that Shun puts above his job as a Shinigami and a soldier of the Seireitei is the well-being and purity of the Soul Society at large. No matter his orders or the law, Shun will never act against that overriding priority.
- Absolute when it comes to what he believes in. Shun will never, ever accept an argument on certain subjects. Some of those subjects are innocuous, such as love for the family, excellence in profession. Some are more prone to provocation, such as Shun’s unbending belief that Hollows of all sorts are tortured souls who need purification more than anything else. Shun also believes in the inherent superiority of Shinigami to human spiritualists and the Quincy, though it remains his job to protect them all. These are some of the things that Shun, for worse more often than for better, will never budge on.
- Self-Absorbed to the point of turning into his own, private echo chamber. While this has turned Shun into a man of decisive action and great self-confidence, it also makes him prone to take charge and accept nothing less in teamwork situations. The whole world is on his shoulders and all others should bend to his vision, will, and force of personality or simply be left behind. To this end, Shun has a tendency to even engage in arguments with Hollow-Breeds that refuse to submit to purification at the edge of his blade, baffled every single time they refuse to give in.
- Stubborn, just like his father and his brother both. Once Shun has thoroughly set his mind to something, truly decided to make it happen or that he’s correct, it’s nearly impossible to sway him. He works relentlessly, tirelessly, to get the bottom of a situation or to solve a problem. If it’s an achievement, he’ll put in as much work as is demanded of him to get the result he wants. With others, this turns into a point of contention when Shun will refuse to back down even when letting a subject go would be in the best interests of all involved. Of course, this doesn’t mean he fights over every little thing—he picks his battles and sticks to his guns once he has.
幻肢 Genshi (Phantom Limb)
Typically found near the beach, sitting on a lawn chair constructed of wood from the forest, is Genshi.
The man is a bit different from Shun, though they both typically sport glasses. Unlike his Shinigami, Genshi is bulky, with great arms of muscle and an even greater chest. His hair, though pushed back in a messy manner and running all the way down the back of his neck, also stands out as a stark white to Shun’s black. Even the beard that covers little more than his chest is the same stark white. The thing he shares most in common with Shun are probably his dark eyes, eyes full of the same vision and determination as the Shinigami he represents.
Attire is something else he keeps simple and something else that he claims to have made for himself. An orange button-up shirt with a deep v-neck made out of rough-spun cloth covers him most of the day. Equally rough off-green pants join that shirt and hang down just past his knees.
Only three accessories are ever carried around by Genshi. The first is a western style broad sword outfitted with a heavy blue hilt, the straight guard a bright cold and the pommel jeweled with a bright, white gem. The second is a simple, curved flask of silvery metal. Although eager to drink, Genshi claims that he can only ever enjoy the flavor and sensation when Shun partakes—there’s nothing in the world that he can ferment, so the only thing he can drink is water.
Shun never really believed him, no matter how many times he explained that the only things he has are things he made for himself.
Beyond the physical, Genshi is a man of wisdom. Much like a father, though vastly different from his own father, he acts as a guide and mentor for Shun in a way much more literal than many Zanpakutō Spirits. When Shun was younger and easily caught up in his work and goals, Genshi would be the one to remind him that relaxation was a necessity and the consequences of breaking down from stress were great.
In response, Shun would usually laugh and call Genshi a lazy fool.
But even Shun could get lazy, neglecting the work he loves so much in favor of others entirely. In response to this he would typically find Genshi carefully building something else for himself. His most common projects were additions to the log cabin he had built for himself just inside the forest, clearing opened up by all of the trees he chopped down with a rough hand axe.
Despite their frequent disagreements and how they constantly seem to be on the opposite page, Shun came to respect Genshi’s insight and Genshi came to respect Shun’s judgment. Between the two slowly formed an iron bond of trust, one that couldn’t so easily be broken by a heated discussion.
White sand that stretches in opposite directions and spans for endless kilometers is the primary facet of Shun’s Inner World: A beach. Complete with the light blue, tropical water that continually laps onto the shore. Across the all-but-flat sea can be seen the horizon, the sun almost constantly hanging in the sky around the position of noon.
Away from the beach is the forest, cooler and incredibly dense, a place that Shun would explore once he found a way to reliably enter this inner sanctum of his. Despite the abundant trees and grass and all other vegetative life, Shun has never once found a single animal in the forest. The sea, on the other hand, is full of fish and other marine life the likes of which he had never once seen before—likely a product of his imagination, or so he decided. The only animal above ground are the red birds that flock around the beach, never straying far into the forest.
While the sand is always hot from the constantly beaming rays of sunlight, the forest itself is cool. The thick canopy keeps out much of the sunlight, just enough that the plants below can get what they need from it. The sea itself is cool as well, a refreshing source of relaxation in a mind that offers little else in that vein.
Like all Inner Worlds, Shun’s will change with his mental state as well. Extreme exhaustion can bring on nighttime and all of the changes that come with it. While, on the other hand, overexcitement can make the sun burn brighter and hotter than ever. Fear and depression can even cause a wintry chill to descend on the otherwise warm beach and temperate forest, though it has never once managed to snow.
Anger brings one of the biggest changes. Righteous fury, a passion for a cause, will gift Shun with absolute command over his world—to use as he sees fit to combat this latest obstacle—and whip up a wind enough to carve bubbles of water into the air in mighty splashes. While, on the other hand, irrational rage brings with it the darkness of a storm, one enough to topple trees and rain lighting down on the sea and forest alike.
Perhaps Shun’s favorite transformation of his inner world is the changes brought on by determination and his powerful will. When focused and working toward something, his world changes and becomes…brighter. Every color is richer, everything is more comfortable and warmer. There is a peace and serenity, but devoid of the lethargy that so many feel comes with bliss, unlike anything he experiences in his world at any other time.
When not displayed in its full splendor, Genshi takes an unassuming form. With a blade measuring exactly sixty-five centimeters and a guard shaped as a simple square, gray and undecorated, it is debatable whether or not it can take the title of most boring Zanpakutō in Seireitei. Even the hilt is an equally dreary gray color, wrapped in black threads to keep it all together with a pommel made of the same material as the guard.
Even though the weapon is one of the least noticeable in the entirety of the Shinigami population, Shun would trade it for no other. It may be blank and gray, but it is his. Unlike other Shinigami, this weapon was forged by his soul, not claimed by it. It manifested as an extension of himself when he needed it most, a tool to protect his father and family from a Shinigami who got a little too full of himself.
One of the defining traits about the weapon that Shun holds so dear is the clear wear and tear. There are scuffs and scratches all over the hilt and guard. From deeper grooves for near-miss cuts or dents from blows received from all sorts of weapons ranging from claws to clubs. Every mark is a symbol of the determination with which the weapon has stood by him and, despite it all, never once broken.
Maybe it will one day, Shun is prepared for that. As for now the weapon remains untarnished, the blade perfect in every way and just as good as it ways on day one. Should it ever break, and should he live to tell the tall, the resulting scar in his weapon will be one he carries equally proudly, but until now he looks upon the silver sheen of the metal with a reverence for the weapon that has stood unbending at his side.
薄れる, 幻肢 Usureru, Genshi (Fade out, Genshi)
Were its Shikai not like it was, Genshi likely would win some sort of facetious award for being the most boring weapon in Seireitei. Its Shikai form ruins his chances at such a prestigious title.
The weapon changes entirely, straightening the blade out to a fine point as if a unique combination of a rapier and a katana. Although the blade itself doesn’t change much at all, the hilt undergoes a wild transformation, becoming much more western in nature with the way it curves all around his hand, bright and highly decorative.
Then, as if keeping with the colorless nature of the weapon itself, it loses all color. The entire blade becomes a single shade of nothing at all. Instead it becomes nearly transparent, the reflection of light from the angles and curves being all that gives the weapon away. In this form the weapon looks almost crystalline, though the material of the sword doesn’t change in the slightest.
Much like its unreleased form, Shun holds great pride in his Shikai. Although very few have seen it, those that do almost certainly speak of it to everyone they can. The incredible transformation, almost an exact opposite of what any one would expect, captures his fellow Shinigami with its irony and beauty.
For Shun, it is only another example of simplicity veiling greatness.
Seen even less than the Shikai form itself are the abilities it possesses.
Shun takes his work quite seriously and the combat involved even more seriously. A battle won against a Hollow is won through deceit and tactical acuity. Simple comparisons of brute force and power end up with lost limbs or lost lives, something Shun will have nothing of for himself or those that may be fighting under him.
Although a healer, Shun’s prowess with a blade never dulled. In many respects he considers that area to be the one where his greatest potential lies, eclipsed not even by his talent with the healing arts.
All of this comes together to be why he hides his particular ability so closely: The ability to phase his blade in and out of this dimension.
To this day he’s not sure what happens to his sword when he does that. Although clear and crystalline, the blade is still obvious and visible. Even when it enters the phased state it looks entirely unchanged and everyone instead expects the new appearance to be a sign of its active ability when that is simply not the case.
This only makes the power that much more deadly. When phased the blade cannot be interfered with by any obstructions whatsoever. So barrier, no block, or armor will stop the weapon. The only thing capable of touching the sword when it is phased is Shun himself or an object so large and or dense that even the half-present weapon cannot penetrate it, such as the ground or even a wall of lead.
Even though this ability has no other uses, serving only to blip in and out of physical reality, a major limitation is that Shun has not yet learned how to phase only portions of the weapon. This means the entirety of the weapon must pass through an obstacle, otherwise the blade itself will pass through the flesh of the target without doing the damage intended.
Like any other tool in his arsenal, his Shikai is a precision instrument that Shun must use carefully.
卍解. 無形の太刀. Bankai. Mukei no Tachi.
Seen even more rarely than his Shikai, and mastered over the course of a century and a half, is the enigmatic Bankai of Shun Minamoto.
Just like his blade in Shikai, his blades take on the crystalline look of prismatic, perfectly blown glass. When used in broad daylight, this effect turns Shun into a semi-transparent man who appears a rainbow of colors. This effect is absolute and will even extend to his clothes and other objects that Shun shares the effect of his Bankai with.
What’s most mesmerizing, and distracting, to most people who witness Shun’s Bankai is the way light dances through his glass body. It can refract the light in all sorts of ways, casting rainbows and even blinding opponents by accident and by surprise. Some also get the mistaken idea, from Shun’s appearance, that he becomes as brittle and delicate as glass when, in fact, the opposite is true.
This look allows Shun to maintain the public ruse of his powers and how they work, all part of a carefully preserved lie that he maintains for the world to see.
Only twice so far has Shun used his Bankai within the walls of the Seireitei, both times obscured from the vision of both his opponent and any bystanders. Shun protects the true nature of his Bankai’s power from as many people as he possibly can for he realizes that, even more so than his Shikai, the power of his Bankai is a delicate instrument best used as a surprise.
In this form, the ability of Shun’s blade—specifically the blade, the hilt being exempt—extends not only to the rest of the sword but also to Shun’s entire body. The ability will even, at higher levels of skill, extend to other objects in physical contact with Shun, ensuring that his clothes are similarly affected.
This state is a unique situation of intangibility for, while Shun cannot be touched by anything he does not choose to spread the effect to, anything he does share it with can still touch him. Only recently discovered by Shun is that the physical presence of not only his weapon but also his body gets moved to the Void Between Worlds, the gray, stormy world revealed on the other side of a Hollow-Breed’s Garganta.
Just like his Shikai, however, an opponent of greater still can actually reach through this gap in Shun’s apparent presence and his physical presence to still hit him. Even when the opponent is similar to Shun’s ability, they have a small chance of touching him successfully should Shun’s focus falter from a distraction or simple exhaustion.
Ultimately, the biggest weakness of his Bankai is how infrequently Shun can use it. Although somewhat mitigated by a powerful enough soul and extensive talent with the power, it is no easy feat to fade between worlds at the drop of a hat, and this allows Shun only a few key uses throughout a battle. Outside of those precious moments, Shun is as vulnerable as anyone else.
Evolved Zanpakutō Appearance
Ironically, the evolution of Shun's Zanpakutō primarily affects his Shikai form in terms of aesthetic change.
Originally, the sword would take on a glass-like effect that appeared only on the blade of the weapon. This appearance extended to Shun's whole body, and the hilt of the blade, while in Bankai.
Now, even while just in Shikai, Genshi becomes completely invisible. The blade, the hilt, all of it are entirely transparent. The blade cannot be seen whether it’s in hand, in the water, on the ground, anywhere. The effects of its physical presence, such as flattened grass, can still be seen. Were the blade dropped on the ground you could even hear it rattle and clang.
This effect is maintained in Bankai and is just as strong. However, the blade has no additional features that protect it from perception beyond the visual. It can be easily sensed by the spiritual sensitive or even seen by those with non-standard, spiritually-based vision.
Evolved Zanpakutō Abilities
While the appearance changes are mostly reserved to the Shikai state, the abilities are entirely reserved for Shun’s Bankai state.
Shun's new is the apex of his previous powers. Both of them, unknown to Shun at the time, phased into the void Between Worlds—the world revealed by the Garganta of Hollow-Breeds—to allow his body and weapon both to pass through physical impediments. These abilities remain unchanged.
Additionally, and reserved for his Bankai state, Shun has gained the ability to teleport.
This ability is slightly non-standard teleportation. Normally, teleportation moves the user from point "A" to point "B" in zero time. The way Shun's power works is that it uses two teleportations. The first transports him into the Void Between Worlds and the second returns him to his target destination a single moment later, even if it's a different dimension entirely.
Just like his other powers, this ability shares two primary points of weakness.
The first and most obvious is the sheer amount of energy this consumes. Even a powerful soul like Shun's will find it different to teleport between the worlds and even teleporting a short range from his original destination will be incredibly difficult. This will slightly improve over time but, ultimately, Shun will find multiple teleportations over the course of a single regular battle to be the product of great effort.
The second is that this ability is very difficult to control. Unlike other powers, improved through some practice and an evolved relationship with the Spirit, this power can only be grown through sheer practice and study. Shun will have to learn how the power targets where to go, both in the destination world and in the Void. He will also have to learn how to orient his body each time he teleports. At first, even short-range teleportation won't be accurate and interdimensional travel will be largely random in terms of final arrival.
These two factors combine to make a power that perfectly encapsulates the spirit of his other powers: A delicate tool that's difficult to use with the precision it demands. If given enough time, however, it can become the best tool in Shun's arsenal by far.
Nothing came for free to the Minamoto family and that didn’t change when their second child, a boy, was born. After the first daughter they had he was a comparably simple birth. No complications, no fuss, and plenty of noisy crying to remind them all he didn’t much appreciate his relocation. He was just their next beloved child and the parents, a long-time married couple, were eager to teach him all the wonders of the world as any doting parents would be.
Even growing up was fairly typical for the boy. He cried as an infant, kept his parents awake when they tried to sleep and generally played things by the script. In particular he had an affinity for their attention or the doting attention of his older sister, nearing her teens and quite happy to pamper her baby brother when her parents could not. Despite the general tranquility they were not perfect. Their new son, who they had lovingly named Shun, was a stubborn and outspoken child as he continued to grow. Bright by many standards but impatient, failing to analyze and test his own ideas or do the work necessary to draw accurate conclusions.
This impatience stuck with him as he grew, forming friendships easily and either commanding or dropping those he brought into his close circle.
Of course, being among the dead in Rukongai meant that he had plenty of company. Junpei, his father, along with Sayuri, his mother, had both been in the upper and nicer districts of Rukongai for a while. His mother had friends, connections, and his father did as well. They were even acquantainted with the powerful and rich citizens of the great, white-walled fortress city known as the Seireitei.
This place in particular always marveled Shun, as it did many children and even adults. He constructed elaborate fantasies and games, organizing and leading them for his peers despite the many arguments and conflicts they created. On some days the Shinigami who lived in there were noble warriors fighting a dark evil—whispers of which he only heard in passing, ranging from giant monsters to lowly animals and even other men from different worlds—or even being the villains, when he felt a need to change it up.
Other times he imagined Earth, an incredible and constantly-changing world. It housed beasts and men of great power, humans that lived for what would eventually seem like no longer than the snap of his fingers. He imagined a world that constantly barreled forward, twisting and roiling as it hit almost every bump along the world. A world he never got to see, but one both of his parents were born in—that thought there mesmerized the child. The idea that they had come from another world, that they had once been human, and while it might have defined them they could actually recall none of it.
From family to friends, work to play, he found himself driven to be the chief. He commanded and led with a unique zeal and authority that drew other children, teenagers, and eventually adults to work alongside him. That impatience stuck around, that confrontational spirit that did little to defuse tense situations. As he grew into adulthood and helped welcome him the other children that followed, family or otherwise, he also came to discover a unique sense of duty.
Whether to family or colleagues, he knew he had a duty. An innate sense of things that told him that he needed to give back, just as his sister and parents had given to him. This empowered him, propelled him, and gave him the drive it took to endure the strains of leadership. No matter if his siblings needed comforting, his father needed help with work, or his mother simply needed time with her son. Even the community in which they lived, the quality district of Rukongai that could afford shoes, clothes, shelter, even food enough to satisfy the meager scraps and water demanded to keep even the deceased around.
All of this was not without conflict. His parents ran into difficulty, financial and otherwise, and there were crises. Although he lost the fantasies of his youth he learned that many were not far from the truth. The Shinigami did just as the rumors said—they fought monsters, great and terrifying. Perhaps even more terrifying were the disasters they would create for themselves, a result of bumbling and laziness. Shun found that funny for the longest time, that men and women of such power could falter simply due to a lack of leadership. On those rare days when he let his imagination get away from him he could almost see himself in their clothes of black and white, a sword at his side as he brought order and efficiency to the people with the most potential to make it mean something.
Not that there was anything to do with it. As well-to-do as they were, especially when compared to the abject poverty of other parts of Rukongai, the family didn’t press for more. Moreover, they didn’t even realize just how unique they were becoming. Unbeknownst to them they had lived a life full enough, rich enough, with enough conflict and triumph and loss that—despite being meager in scale—they had grown over the decades. They had grown enough to stick out and draw attention.
The right kind of attention for all the wrong reasons.
Everything happened so fast that Shun can barely remember the details. It was a conflict, an argument with a Shinigami—his name long forgotten—over something so petty. His father was present, his mother too, and something about their reluctance to be cheated infuriated the man. When Shun would look back on the day in the future he realized just how sad and petty the man was, despite his big and burly appearance. Since Shun was not a man to stand down, even back then, he did not accept the Shinigami’s assertions of rank as valid. He could not simply take just because he wore black robes and carried a sword.
Steel had a voice too, something that Shun had insofar been ignorant of. Never in his life had he directly seen a Shinigami pull their weapon on a Rukongai citizen. He had heard about it, read about it, but seeing the steel flash in the sun above you when you were in an open street and wore nothing but thin robes?
That was another matter entirely.
Truth be told, he never could answer what inspired his reaction. The Shinigami swung for his father, the bigger and elder of the two men arguing with him and the one whose injury would leave the biggest impact. What the Shinigami didn’t consider was that Shun would burst into action, swinging a sword he didn’t have. He was just a bit closer than his father, off the Shinigami’s side and thus out of the way of his sword. He slammed his foot into the ground in just the way he had practiced when he dabbled in weaponry over the course of his century and a half until now.
The next thing Shun saw was a second flash of steel, he heard the shriek of a Shinigami cut by the impossible weapon from nowhere, and then saw the spray of blood that coated the cobble streets around them. The man responsible stood there in shock of himself. He had never been particularly violent, though quick to react when threatened. His father being assaulted—though he maintains to this day that his father really didn’t need his help, instinct had simply taken control—more than qualified.
What followed shocked the crowd and the aggressor’s friends even more. Shun immediately dropped to his knees and urged the injured man to relax. His shoulder was sliced open, gushing blood, and trying to fight back after such an injury would have been a fool’s choice for a man of his power. He immediately tore his own shirt and did his best to manage a field bandage.
Had those Shinigami friends reacted differently, things would have turned out far worse. What had made the exchange so quick was not that Shun was better or stronger, but only that the unexpected manifestation of his Zanpakutō had been impossible to predict. Had they chosen to fight with their comrade he and his father would have died that day; a chilling thought. Instead they were astonished by his remarkable self-control—many times suspect before and since—and understanding enough to realize their friend had it long coming.
It didn’t take long for him to be helped away, his tail between his legs, for the Shinigami to patch up however they did later in the day. Shun spent the rest of the day with his family, the talk of the district, and through the roar of people that came to thank, congratulate, or even hug him he learned that the mysterious weapon he called forth from the ether was in fact himself—his Zanpakutō. The weapon was a manifestation of his own soul, still largely dormant, and he was one of the few to not require a pre-forged Asauchi to help manifest it.
Although without rank or robe he had become a Shinigami in his own right. For the first time in his whole life he saw his family look at him the same way those children, his friends, and even his colleagues did—like a leader.
The very next day, after a discreet investigation by the Second Division, his entire family became officially noted for their above-average Spiritual Pressure and a summons to the Spiritual Arts Academy followed.
Naturally, the story of the Minamoto didn’t end there. Nor did it really ignite there either. Although they were accepted into the Spiritual Arts Academy, none of them really, truly stood out in performance. In reality the only exceptional feat among them was that their son had naturally manifested his Zanpakutō well before many managed to integrate their own Asauchi.
After six years the entirely family had largely made it through the Academy, their entire worlds changed forever. Whereas their lives had been only to eek out centuries of living in Rukongai they now had an entirely new world to explore. Shun’s life had changed as well, going from an unknown man just trying to help his father and family enjoy the comfortable life they had secured for themselves.
For the first time in his life, in all of their lives, they could see something greater than survival on their horizon. Perhaps more importantly than that, they believed they could reach it.
Shun couldn’t speak for his family but it was the most excited he had ever been. Even the horror of the Hollows that they had been exposed to and taught about did little to make him falter. Those creatures could be killed, purified, and saved. They could be given a chance and they needed to be protected once they got that chance.
When his acceptance into Sixth Division was made official, the entire family rejoiced. He was the first to be so quickly accepted to a decision and among the first to so sternly decide which one he wanted to lend his mind and body to. For the most part his decision had been greeted with smiling faces—they all had reason to think that Shun would do well in Sixth Division, keeping the peace in Seireitei and Rukongai alike. They all knew that all Shinigami would eventually be set out for assignments on Earth of varying length, none expected what happened next.
After a quick acclimation period Shun was given such an assignment right out of the gate. To this day he can remember gawking at the orders and feeling the anxiety and dread stir up a maelstrom in his stomach. It took every fiber of resolve in his body to swallow that down and report for duty as ordered, straight to the heart of modern civilization: late fifteenth-century England.
Being stood in front of the great Senkaimon gate is what really made it sink in—even though his father didn’t explicitly remember it, he had been born on Earth. Shun had not. The idea of a whole other world out there, separate entirely from Seireitei, had always been something that part of him consigned to the likes of fairy tale.
Now here he was, about to step through a gateway across dimensions. It was only right before his foot took him through that he realized how funny it was that Earth seemed too far-fetched but magical guardians in robes did not. He didn’t quite understand his father’s stories of amazement of learning the existence of Seireitei when he first arrived until that moment.
Nor did he understand his father’s lingering memories of suffering and agony on par with the poorest districts of Rukongai until he got his first sight of an English village.
Poverty didn’t cut it, suffering didn’t cut it.
Right away his eyes and nose were assaulted with sensations so repugnant it was all he could do not to vomit in front of his Shinigami seniors who had been assigned to other groups of towns in the area—one Shinigami for a whole village was too easy, of course. They all got entire regions.
Entire regions where they were to do nothing but ferry the dead.
So Shun stood in midair overlooking a town where the closest thing to medical and healing was pouring leeches on people and other methods of a process called bloodletting, where dental care was praying that removing a tooth didn’t kill you. Every single day he would be expected to aid the dead the stuck around and fight off the monsters that came to feast on their souls. Backup would be minimal, the assignment strictly limited in length, and punishment severe for deviating from this pattern.
Shun never deviated.
Every time he had to pass on a soul or turn his eyes away from the screams of men, women, and children alike he bore it. He grit his own teeth, counted his blessings of health and wealth, and moved on. He did his job as ordered and nothing more. Given the multi-week length of the stay he even managed to get fluent in the local language just to communicate with the souls, anything to occupy his time between doing his work.
Once the end finally came he could have sworn—and he did swear, in multiple tongues now—that the relief was palpable. Had he tried hard enough he probably could have reached out and plucked it from the air, for that he was grateful. The trip back through the Senkaimon was one of the most satisfying events of his entire life, the weight lifted off his shoulders and the albatross from his neck.
As that weight evaporate and he eased back into proper Shinigami life, not with a couple close calls and all the horror of the modern world fresh in his mind, Shun felt truly hardened. When he went to Earth he had been little but an ignorant boy. Now he felt that his motivation was truly steeled and ready to face the reality of things, just like he was.
For a moment he wondered if they did that on purpose, tossed Shinigami out into the world just to hit them with just how bad things could get. Those that still had will afterwards, they would be people to watch. Those that didn’t either needed more time or just weren’t the right kind of person to be a star in Seireitei.
Now he really had reason to tire of being a nobody, tired of surprising half of Rukongai because he manifested the sword that felt like a partner now in broad daylight. He didn’t want people to be surprised over those things when they came from him; he wanted those to be normal. He wanted them all to know that he could be relied on, just like his family had learned.
The next morning, as he woke up, a voice greeted him in his mind. Something alien, yet familiar. Looking back Shun wonders why he didn’t react with shock at first at the realization that he was actually hearing things. Perhaps the experience on Earth had actually driven him mad! Yet he somehow knew that the voice was normal, natural, and a longtime coming. And when he asked the voice its name he was pulled to another world, further unlike any other he had been in.
When the man--tall, sturdy, and white-bearded—told Shun his name he knew immediately that it was true.
So he went to Rukongai. After such a successful first assignment, marked by not needing limbs replaced during his time away, the officers were more than happy to let him patrol Rukongai. That was typically the harder and more unpleasant assignment anyway, volunteers were welcome.
He went. He went and he patrolled, he talked, he even fought on occasion with a drunk or angry citizen who thought he could take a swing at the black pillars that helped hold what little civilization Rukongai had together.
Through those experiences, he grew. But now he grew differently, he grew with Genshi helping him every step of the way.
Not a single step was easy. Every day seemed to bring a new argument, a new difference of opinion that they fought desperately to reconcile. Some days they did, most days they didn’t—Shun simply rejected him. He didn’t know what else he could do when Genshi constantly chided him for his inaction, for sticking solely to his duty. Shun would counter that duty was more important and Genshi, like he almost always did, had a sharp and precise retort that force Shun to think in ways he never had.
Why was doing extra incompatible with duty?
Did he not do extra when he defended his father, though he had no duty to put himself in such danger? In fact it could have been argued that it was his father’s duty to protect his son, not the other way around.
Things like this made interactions with Genshi, the man in the sword, something rich and engaging every single time. Despite being surrounded by a circle of friends—since Shun never did lose those social graces from childhood—and more than a few starry-eyed female admirers he found himself growing more and more satisfied by conversations with Genshi than anyone else. Not that Genshi allowed that to be easy either, reminding Shun that neglecting his obvious social talent should be a crime punishable by death like any other in Seireitei.
Although Shun laughed at the time it was those two insistences, the one to seek to do more and the one to continually meet people, that he would be most grateful for.
Inspired by the experiences on Earth he began a new program, a small service that he could offer because of his own talent with the healing arts. Not only did he patrol Rukongai with Sixth Divison but he took it upon himself to help heal those who were hurt or otherwise ailing. The action very quickly drew attention and praise. The effort took little extra time and vastly improved relationships with whatever districts Shun visited. Although it was a simple innovation at its roots it quickly changed everything, in some cases entire lives, and Shun soon found himself with the rank of an officer.
Suddenly his social graces paid off many times over. All of the people he knew gave him more opportunity to use those healing magics, to improve them, and to gain even greater distinction for his service. He became a sort of minor celebrity in some parts of Rukongai and this made doing his job that much easier. When Shun was around, people behaved—people liked him. In all of his time he would never have thought that one thing could have such a drastic impact on such a different job. Keeping the peace and mending split bones were two very separate things at first glance. One reacted to clean the mess and one tried to prevent it.
But Genshi had opened his eyes to the fact that he could do both.
None of that would matter much for long, though. Even though he had found his first taste of success and recognition since that fated day in the street, it was not the improvement to his career—sending him sailing to Fourth Seat of Sixth Division—that really changed him.
It was the late sixteenth century when a young woman, as full of fire and attitude as any other woman in his family. Unlike some of his adoring fans and the obvious infatuations that most Shinigami earned from the young women in Rukongai, this one seemed critical. His first interaction with her was mending a fractured wrist, her only prize from trying to chase a thief out of a window. Even as he was in the process of using his magic to patch her up she had the gall to look him dead in the eye and say “Couldn’t handle the manly stuff so they’ve got you out here doing this?”
Shun would never forget that line, no matter how long he lived. He wouldn’t forget how far his mouth dropped open either, completely aghast that the young lady had just come out and said it so frankly like that. Had he been more used to people treating a Shinigami like that he would have recomposed himself much more quickly, but instead barely managed to stutter out a retort so insignificant that he didn’t remember it the next day. The young lady simply laughed and introduced herself once he finished mending her bone. She then trotted off without paying him another glance and instead patted him on the shoulder, thanked him, and reminded him that the right guy was out there.
By the time a year had passed and 1590 rolled around Shun found was practically stalked by the woman, who at least had the courtesy to introduce herself as Mitsuki Nakatomi. Almost every venture out into Rukongai brought her peeking, mouthing off, and generally being a nuisance. Of course she never actually interfered with his work. More often than not she’d slowly pick away at questions she had about the Shinigami while seated off to the side in the dirt or on whatever was available to support her; with how small she was those things weren’t hard to find.
Sometimes it didn’t matter, though. She would come along with a curled lip and an appetite for his frustrations, being sure to tease and torment every step of the way. What made it worse for the man was that his colleagues, whoever they might have been on any given day, were more than happy to laugh and egg her on. They had fun with it and many had grown to like they girl—he couldn’t blame them. Rukongai kept her thin and fit. Despite the dirt and grime she usually lived her auburn hair, reminding him of English autumns, hovered between brown and red—but certainly not the red of his sisters or mother. It reached down and brushed against the tops of her shoulders, slightly messy and not well kept. He laughed at the idea of a woman in the middle districts of Rukongai having immaculately maintained hair.
Shun was never the kind of man not to fight back, though. For every jab at his predilection for the typically feminine art of healing he retaliated with a comment about how her rags and hair made her look like a rat—in fact, it evolved into a nickname. Rat, little rat, anything using the word was fair game for Shun. Somehow this didn’t deter Mitsuki in the slightest.
Things only got that much more fun for her when Shun mentioned his transfer to Third Division and the promotion to Third Seat that came with it. The idea of Nurse Minamoto appealed to Mitsuki to no end who went on about for at least three of their visits. After a while Shun wondered just how she even managed to know where he was going to be for most of his trips. The thought didn’t stick around, he didn’t honestly care.
The two of them continued that way for a few months into the new year; meeting, banter, laughter, smiles, all of it. It was only near the middle of the year that Mitsuki told him something. They were walking through the streets of Rukongai at the time and the sun had long set. Lamps hung and lit the streets of one of the upper Rukongai districts and, looking back, Shun was surprised he didn’t take note of Mitsuki dressing in something better than the rags that earned her Shun’s favorite nickname.
Mitsuki had stopped in the middle of the street and Shun turned to her, asking the obvious question. She only smiled and slowly pulled out a fistful of papers, crumpled despite their importance, and handed them to Shun.
Records of her acceptance to the Spiritual Arts Academy.
“I guess even a girly man like you taught me some things,” were the words he’d never forget from her. He broke out into a big grin not moments later and they shared a spontaneous, unexpected hug.
After that their lives changed considerable. Shun actually saw a bit more of Mitsuki since he could very easily visit the Academy whenever he pleased. His duties had stayed roughly the same this entire time and it was only a simple change to his schedule for him to see more of her. It didn’t take long for the two of them to drop the act and admit there was an attraction between them. Shun had girlfriends before, just as the fifty-or-so year old Mitsuki had boyfriends aplenty before him. But there was something about one another and how much they enjoyed giving the other a hard time that kept them almost inseparable despite the major change Mitsuki experienced in her life.
She did well at the Academy too. Her spiritual pressure was average at best but her determination was real. As she got deeper into her work their conversations grew deeper, more meaningful. He learned a lot about her, that she had genuinely been inspired to see Sixth Division doing work like this. On top of that she insisted that Shun was more than just a talented healer—it was his ability to see a need and fill it that really made him exceptional. She insisted that he try something new, make a dedicated part of Third Division that did the work he shouldered on his own. If he led it he could create an entire new service for Rukongai that might inspire more like her to see what it took to wear one of those robes.
Shun took her advice. She was right too. Even Genshi had been hinting at it. What he was best with was not healing or fighting or anything like that at all. He was best with people, with getting things done and figuring them out. He was a builder and, in a way, a tinkerer in his own right. He liked the sound of that. But she was right about one thing, the Seireitei moved slowly. They didn’t hurry, they didn’t rush, and they certainly didn’t embrace change that quickly at all. OF course, that depended on the kind of change. Was it small? Then it would be hard. Was it big and valuable? Then it would be fast.
Right now he was a Third Seat. He didn’t have anything he could contribute that was something that could change the face of Seireitei.
Inspired by his Academy Student girlfriend, Shun set out to do just that. He worked hand-in-hand with Mitsuki and his family alike, bouncing ideas and figuring out the best way to pitch it to his current Captain. The idea was the one that he and Mitsuki had originaly discussed, a special part of the Third Division that did what he did. He liked it, they liked it, she liked it.
As it turned out, the Captain liked it too. The idea was put through the normal process and slowly began to gain steam, new members of the Division being enlisted and the first roll out of the project happening in 1596.
Of course, by then it had long stopped being a primary concern of Shun’s. All of their time together had caused the two of them to throw away any notion that they had been able to live and work and play with anyone like each other. Mitsuki and Shun married in early 1595—to much fanfare among his family and her adoptive family in Rukongai—and Mitsuki graduated next year, taking a position in Sixth Division. Much like him she was deployed shortly thereafter to Earth for her first major posting. Shun had managed to avoid it due to his success with his patrols and Sixth Division and now this project, but even as a supervisor of the Rukongai Medical Squad he was not exempt from those assignments.
Not even as a parent, apparently. The new couple had a conceived a child in 1596 who was born in October of that year; a young boy who came out screaming his head off, eager to be noticed. They named him Jinpei, similar to Shun’s father, and already he seemed like he had the attitude to fit.
Almost thirty years of happy marriage later, with Jinpei now a young man—and even younger by Shinigami standards—they had another son, Itsuki, the first male member of the Minamoto family to sport their surprisingly persistent red hair. This young man was a bit different and attached much more to his mother than Jinpei, who had always seemed to prefer Shun but was always too independent to really show it.
With his own squad and now two quickly growing boys it was enough to keep him busy, but not too busy, until the second decade of the eighteenth century. His next assignment was one that had been a long time coming, he knew that. They were sending him to Stockholm, Sweden, to watch over the city as part of his assignment. He had gone quite a long time without being stationed on Earth and even the Third Division’s Third Seat wasn’t exempt from that requirement of all Shinigami.
Long rejuvenated since his last visit Shun charged into the human world full of fire. This time he did not shrink away from the suffering, the hurt, the poverty that he saw. While Stockholm had less of it than the countryside of England he knew all too well that there were other dangers that would come with it: Hollows.
In the first week alone he cut down more Hollows than during his entire months-long assignment elsewhere. On top of that he patrolled more than just Stockholm. There weren’t endless amounts of Shinigami to watch over the entirety of the world at any given point: His single assignment covered a lot more than just the city proper. All of this drove Shun closer and closer to the very difficult question, one that he had been avoiding up until now. Unlike many Shinigami he hadn’t visited Earth more than once, he hadn’t gotten a chance to see it for himself.
The Hollows kept coming. Vile, murderous creatures in droves. Sometimes they were young, weak, other times they were developing, and and in a few cases they were strong in their own right. This alone wouldn’t have been anything significant to Shun or any other Shinigami. He knew just how terrible Hollows were, there was no grand realization there. But it did raise the question that had yet to creep into his mind.
How did they keep up with them?
For every monster he struck down a thousand more seemed to crawl out of the dirty or be born from the souls of the unfortunate. Shun himself had the displeasure of watching the tragic transformation of a Plus into a Hollow, only to have to cut it down from behind and pass the soul onto Soul Society. He knew, of course, that his Zanpakutō could purify him. Genshi made sure Shun knew that even though he hadn’t gotten to that Plus beforehand, the result was the same. He got to go on to Soul Society.
Shun never worried about that. He knew that soul would be fine. Seeing the transformation for the first time, though, that drove home an irreplaceable truth.
Every single Hollow that lived was the mark of the failure of the Shinigami. They existed in millions because Shinigami could never, ever hope keep an eye on the whole of the world. Just to make matters worse these creatures never aged and despite eating each other to grow stronger there were still so many. His mind was opened to the tragic, hilarious inefficiency of the Shinigami. They could never hope to do their job properly.
They weren’t shepherds; a good shepherd didn’t allow wolves to run rampant.
They were janitors, cleaning up after the sheep and wolves alike.
When the Third Seat return to Soul Society once again he went with a new sort of disappointment. Not in the treatment of humans but in the weakness of his people. It was a simple matter of numbers and no one in Soul Society, not the Captain Commander and not even god, could do anything about that. All of the comfort of his wife did little good, but somehow he wore a smile through it anyway.
Somehow his weakness, the impossibility of their task, took a weight off of their shoulders. It got him thinking. Not just about Hollows, not just about humans, but about Shinigami and what their true job was. If they could only hope to stop the smallest number of Hollows from forming from those lost souls, what good were they at all?
With his sons smiling in front of him, one but a boy and the other on his way to being a great man, he had to come to an answer.
The answer was right there in front of him.
He was stronger than Hollows, almost all Shinigami were. They just couldn’t hope to keep up. So how did the Hollows balance it out? They had strong ones of their own, just as destructive but able to keep up with Shinigami. Except these Holows rarely left their home world. They stayed there where Shinigami wouldn’t bother them and to feed on their peers—a far better meal than a human.
Shinigami were just janitors. They cleaned up the mess, that’s all they could hope to do. That’s all they needed to do.
Their biggest job wasn’t to kill every little Hollow. It was to get the select few powerful enough to stop the strong ones.
To be a great Shinigami wasn’t to pass over the most souls. That was just a formality. It wasn’t even to kill the most Hollows.
It was to be the strongest so you could kill the strong Hollows.
Shun had a new purpose. For the first time in that Third Seat’s life he had a reason to pursue power and greatness for their sake. In the past he had been content to leave that duty to the Captains. They already possessed the volume of soul necessary to tangle with such powerful monsters. They were the only ones who really could.
Only now did he realize that it was the duty of every Shinigami to strive for that power.
That day marked the start of the period of Shun’s life during which he felt the most alive.
His lifestyle changed drastically. Although he didn’t stop leading the new squad he had founded, he did start to take on special assignemtsn. Teams sent to Earth specifically to kill powerful Hollows. He began to fight more, a lot more, and quickly proved a valuable asset in combat. He was one of the rare few whose proficiency with healing didn’t interfere with his ability to fight. He was skilled with a blade, skilled with barriers, and quickly drew a reputation for being excellent at every single Shinigami art. A new reputation to add to the story that was Shun Minamoto, one that grew with every powerful Hollow he helped cut down. Even a few of the bastard Hollows themselves, the Arrancar that pretended to be Shinigami just for a chance to reach for new sorts of power.
Over the course of the next century he quickly became an idol without flaw.
Over the course of the next century he pulled away from his family more than ever. His sons saw less of him than ever before, his wife as well, and that wasn’t all. While Mitsuki worked tirelessly to be the best Shinigami she could, she couldn’t hope to keep up with either her sons or her husband. Her soul wasn’t as great and it didn’t hold up like theirs.
While Shun looked young, Mitsuki didn’t stay that way for long. She aged, she grew wrinkles, she slowed down.
Yet she never stopped. Although that fiery attitude of hers had mellowed she never stopped being the woman that Shun married, the woman that Shun loved, and as the latter half of the nineteenth century arrived she looked downright elderly. Her auburn hair had turned white, her smooth skin had begun to sag, and the spritely young voice that flowed from her lips had matured into something deep and rich with wisdom.
Compared to Mitsuki, Shun’s own mother still looked like a little girl.
Shun, now proudly wearing the badge of Lieutenant of the Third, stood in front of the Senkaimon about to depart on his first mission after his latest breakthrough. Moments before the portal was opened he heard the voice of his youngest son screaming for him to come, repeating Mitsuki’s name without an explanation. Shun didn’t need an explanation.
Despite pulling away he never stopped being a husband, being a father—he simply didn’t give it the time he could have. He was not such a fool to let himself slip into outright neglect. Mitsuki would have left him decades ago if that were the case.
But this? He hadn’t expected this, not this early.
With the rank of Lieutenant making it easier he immediately left the scene an returned home with Itsuki. There they found Mitsuki in bed, finally too weak to get up and go about her duties, and Shun took his place at her side. His sons watched on. It was their mother, but his wife.
During that time Shun didn’t leave the house for three days, scarcely leaving the room. No one really knows what they talked about and Shun never brought it up, but there wasn’t as silent moment. It wasn’t until the fourth morning, with sunlight streaming into the windows outside of Shun and Mitsuki’s room and coloring the two sons that slept just outside the door.
The unexpected creaking of the frame was all it took for them to wake. When they saw their father standing there of his own accord they knew what it meant, that it was over. Even one of the best healers in Soul Society couldn’t put off the inevitable. Her soul had reached its limit and Mitsuki had let herself go peacefully, proudly, never once faltering in her duty as a mother or Shinigami. Both things that Shun gave her, things she treasured and would never let go.
Shun relaxed after that. After over a century of relentlessly pursuing strength and supposedly acquiring power to rival that of a Captain, Shun stopped entirely. He kept up with his duties but stopped pursuing special assignments. He never once failed to be an exemplary Shinigami, not for a single day.
But that ambition had died. He didn’t want to grow stronger if it meant not savoring every moment with the people he loved. He could have had a lot more time with Mitsuki, his sons, his father, his mother, his brothers and sister. When would they go? When would their time come?
Did he want to feel unfulfilled when that happened?
His status as an idol and his achievements were never forgotten. To this day Shun is heralded as a bastion of perfection, a Shinigami of talent and skill and power and resolve. He didn’t waver in the death of his wife, he saw her through her final days, and he never once stopped being there should either of his sons need him. He was perfect.
But he was tired and with nothing that he could show for it.
The nineteenth and twentieth centuries both went and he remained in his post as a Lieutenant. He serves dutifully in the Third Division to this very day.
Out of Character
Player Alias: Most people here just call me Tova.
Length of Roleplay Career: Ten years this August.
How I found Bleach Gotei: Google
Other Active Characters: None. Inactive characters include the retired Tova Diabló, Lancelot Aizawa, Erich Masaru, and Phrixus Cruz.
Torch the Sky
Desperate footsteps sounded as they raced through the burning Rukongai.
Their source was none other than Shun Minamoto, Lieutenant of the Third Division.
Sweat beaded his brow and his chest heaved with effort as he leapt through the burning wreckage of the City of Wandering Souls, his mind reeling at the damage caused only by a single creature and its lackeys. He didn’t understand at all, didn’t understand how it had gotten this bad this quickly.
How long had it been?
Shun’s foot hit the ground again and he tumbled, his face blackened with the soot from the crumbling buildings. He used the force of his fall to bring himself stumbling back to his feet, ignoring the grim that had attached his sweat-drenched Shihakushō.
Then he spotted someone out of the corner of his eye, the color of red hot flesh that had not yet been completely scorched by the flames that were spreading through Rukongai like hungry wolves. He barely managed to twist his course around in time to leap into the air, grab the person around their chest, and topple through the flaming and crackling wall of a building.
Shun rolled again, this time clinging to the person in his arms. When he came to a stop he threw the man on the cobblestone street underneath them, now far enough away from anything flammable that he could rest assured that his new friend would, at least, not burn to death.
“Breathe!” he commanded the man, wishing his Lieutenant’s badge possessed power other than manufactured authority. He brought his hands down on the exposed and burnt chest of the blonde-haired man that coughed violently in the street. A bright flash of green followed and a gasp of relief came from the patient beneath him, the burst of spiritual energy into his body igniting a rapid healing process.
“Stay here,” Shun ordered, standing up and coughing himself, forcing the suffocating smoke from his lungs only to gasp in another mouthful. He repeated his order more forcefully and took off.
It had been like this ever since that man arrived and laid waste to Rukongai, heading straight for the wall. Shun had been nearby, he had watched the man strike down a powerful Shinigami effortlessly, and ever since then he had been chasing desperately after the creature who was so much faster than him.
Already he could tell that he was locked in another battle, though he was truly letting himself have fun now. In the distance Shun could see towering structures of glistening white, ice in the middle of a firestorm. He didn’t know who made them, but he did recognize the presence that was rushing to the scene of the battle far faster than Shun could ever hope to. He’d exhaust himself using Flash Step the entire way, leaving little that he could give to the patients that now filled Rukongai.
Those that were still alive, anyway.
The grueling mental image of one of the first victims, a young man impaled by a flaming spire falling from his own home, still wouldn’t leave him even with his brain drowning in this much adrenaline and panic.
It only made it worse that he recognized that presence, then. He knew that even with whoever else was there, this creature possessed such terrifying power that it made little difference.
The only change would be that he would crouch over the small, burnt body of Lessa Kachekiwa, a fellow lieutenant, and pray that there was anything left to save.
Shun had seen the power of the Cero himself, of course. He’d be lucky to have ashes to grieve over.
So he did the only thing he could do: he ran faster.