Johan was fishing for information, even if his question was a bit blunt. However Reyla doubted that the Quincy in front of her would be that lacking in skill when it came to attempting to get information, so she had to assume that he was being blunt on purpose. Or perhaps he was that clumsy, but Reyla preferred to give the gentleman before her the benefit of the doubt. Benefit or not though, she still had no intent of releasing sensitive information, though the idea that someone would be unaware of such a shift in power baffled her, even those not affiliated with the Seiretei would have to have noticed that there had been no rotation of Shinigami and that any Shinigami that were killed weren't replaced over the last five years.
Unfortunately she also couldn't simply lie to the man, not because of any moral obligations, but rather because she wanted to at least attempt to build some trust. Trust that would be destroyed rather easily once he found out that she had lied to him. This really only left her with the option of giving basic, noncommittal answers that ran the risk of being easily seen through, or she could try to avoid the question completely.
"Despite how we may act at times my people are hardly immutable or unchanging, so while a shift in power that would lead to more open relations isn't out of the question I'm afraid at the moment that this is more of a personal project of mine, but then again every individual who decides to be a bit more open is an individual less likely to start conflict or kill your allies. So even if I can't guarantee that all of my people agree with me, wouldn't you agree that it's worth it to make the first steps?"
Reyla waved to Merrick in acknowledgement of his statements. She wasn't going to ask him to put up a barrier, but she supposed it couldn't hurt. She also doubted that she would need to knock on anything if she was reading the situation right. Based on the glyphs and what she could sense of the spell work she was able to determine that the spells in the room were laid down as reiatsu sinks, essentially absorbing the ambient spiritual energy given off by any being of significant power. However, that energy had to go somewhere, and while the containment spells inlaid on the cylinder in the center of the room were powerful, they weren't powerful enough. Thankfully the builders had seen to setting up a solution to that, unfortunately it wasn't exactly applied in the most efficient manner.
It looked like the spells were designed to slowly siphon off energy into the earth itself, allowing it to harmlessly dissipate without being noticed, unfortunately the slow rate of release that allowed it to be harmless and unnoticed also meant that the spells had been absorbing energy far faster than they could release it, and it looked as if the container had nearly reached capacity. Ideally Reyla would be able to simply disable the sinks and allow the energy to drain safely, but the people who made this had mistakenly integrated all of the spell work so closely together that to remove one element was to unravel the whole thing, as such all of the energy stored in the cylinder would be released at once in the relatively small space of the room. Reyla didn't know the exact amount of energy, but she estimated that the release would be equivalent to several captains exerting as much of their energy as they were able, which also indicated that this instillation had been in place for some time.
With a frown Reyla pushed her concerns aside and got to work. First she set up protection around herself. "Bakudo number sixty Sangai." A gentle light began to flow up from Reyla's feet as petal like layers formed around her feet and folded up to engulf her before fading to a transparent green chrysalis of energy. Thankfully Reyla's skill would allow her to keep herself safe from the eruption, if only because the energy would be undirected. Exerting her will Reyla caused a small hole just large enough for her hand to fit through to appear in her shield as she walked to one of the glyphs. Reyla tensed as she laid her hand on the glyph. Concentrating she carefully wove some of her own energy into the spell, effectively integrating a formless bakudo into the spell weave before she spoke, "Bakudo number seven, Funsai." Reyla drew her hand back into the barrier and closed it as soon as the spell began to take effect. The glyph flashed brightly as her spell work shattered within it, causing it to quickly unravel, and then suddenly Reyla's world went white.
Through the rush of sound and noise of the massive eruption Reyla could feel her shield strain, but it held even as the room shook around her and she was slammed against a wall that she could feel was quickly becoming riddled with cracks, and then in an instant it was over. The sudden darkness was blinding, and the ringing in her ears made it hard for her to hear her own breathing, but she wasn't unused to situations like this and quickly her senses returned to her. A very small amount of light was leaking in through Merricks barrier, which looked worse for wear but had thankfully also held. The doors however had been twisted beyond all recognition and were embedded into the floor. Stumbling slightly Reyla made her way to the barrier and knocked against it, hopefully alerting Merrick that it was safe to lower it and allow her out.
Once again Reyla had been thrown for a loop, and she was not happy about it. The sigils that were being used here were almost direct copies of the sigils she had designed for her time dilation spell, and the fact that they were here meant that somehow she had missed an observation device within the lab she had been working on, and now her research was being used for unknown purposes. Most importantly however, her research had been a breakthrough, and she hadn't been consulted. Reyla was proud of many things, her appearance, her social skills, but most importantly she was proud of her abilities as a Shinigami, and this direct theft of her work made her blood boil.
Even worse, the people who had done this had tried to modify her work, and she could see several spots where they had made mistakes. The intent of the sigils was clearly to provide reiatsu sinks that would absorb ambient spiritual energy, but due to the modifications that had been applied to them they didn't disperse that energy very readily, and would instead hold onto it until there was simply to much energy, causing a highly destructive detonation. Instead of consulting her and admitting to their theft of her work however, the individuals responsible for this had instead gotten around the problem by creating the pillar in the middle of the room which, if she was reading the Kido right, slowly bled off the stored energy into the earth. A clunky and dangerous solution to an easy problem.
Pushing down her frustration Reyla replied to Merrick, "Yes, I can disable it. You might want to exit the room though, if I'm reading this right," Which unfortunately I am, "there's going to be an absolutely massive spike in spiritual energy centered on this room. I can shield myself from the effects, but working with these sigils will require enough concentration that it wouldn't be wise for me to spread my attention by trying to protect anyone else."
Reyla watched as Mirabelle inched closer and closer to the field, if she touched it she'd be in for a nasty shock as the field snapped, but nothing to bad as long as the tower remained intact. Briefly Reyla thought about warning Mirabelle, but decided to let her make her own decisions.
Reyla may have also still been a bit cross about how Mirabelle had barged in and tried to manipulate her.
Eventually however Mirabelle chose the smarter option and backed off, showing that her knowledge wasn't just a front. After giving her questions a moment's more thought Reyla responded to her, "The desk is still experiencing the flow of time, however it's experiencing time pass at roughly one one thousandth the rate that the rest of the world feels. Trying to completely isolate it from the flow of time would cause to many problems when it came to reintegrating it to local time, it's far easier just to allow it to maintain a tenuous connection to our time frames. It can be moved, as long as it remains in contact with the surfaces that the sinks are attached to. One of my ideas was to make a mobile prison integrated with them, or a stretcher that could indefinitely keep a patient alive."
Mirabelle's idea about a pocket dimension had some merit, but Reyla felt that just maybe she was overlooking a far easier option. "I admit I hadn't thought about creating an artificial pocket dimension, but it does give me another idea. What about the Dangai? It should be simple enough to create a subspace within it that wouldn't need any supervision."
Reyla raised an eyebrow at Johan's first question. "I can't really offer anything other than my word now can I? Or would you prefer a contract in blood?" His second question however made far too much sense. She had to agree that most of her peers tended to ignore anything that still had a physical pulse, and if they didn't ignore them they tended to act towards them with outright hostility. Reyla was again reminded of the path her thoughts had been taking earlier, and found herself with a choice.
On the one hand, she could be dishonest. She could claim that she was doing it out of no other reason than duty. She could also say that she was merely curious to observe a Quincy up close, acting as if he was some kind of bug to be studied under a magnifying glass. On the other hand, she could tell the truth and let him know that she felt that her predecessors had set a very bad tradition and that she didn't agree with her peers.
It would be easy to lie and it would give her an simple answer that Johan would be expecting and would easily believe. She certainly had no qualms with lying to get her way, and in fact found doing so to be the right choice quite often. However, the whole reason she was doing this was to try to foster a better relationship with non Shinigami beings, and even as insignificant as her progress could be she still wanted to make progress. Unfortunately if she told the truth and it somehow got back to Soul Society her words could easily be considered treasonous, especially after the last five years.
Deciding to risk it Reyla responded, "You're right, more often than not we don't. Perhaps I think that's a mistake, and just maybe I believe that our Isolationist attitude only hurts us in the long run. I could even think that by constantly being at each other's throats both Quincy and Shinigami are simply setting ourselves up to fail and be wiped out, and it's possible that I'm trying to do my part to lessen some of that needless hostility and disregard."
As their combined energies got to work disabling the barrier spell woven into the door Reyla considered Merricks question. There were feasibly a great many things that she could reasonably expect to be behind these doors from documents to sensitive experiments. Unfortunately she had no way to narrow down her expectations as of yet, so she decided to give as accurate an answer as she could given the circumstances. "An explanation."
Reyla stepped back as she felt the barrier dissipate and took a look at the door itself. She didn't quite recognize the material it was made out of, though it was clearly metallic, and if it was metallic it could melt. Reyla pointed at the top of the leftmost door and spoke, "Hado number twenty three, Moyasu." With that the spot that Reyla pointed at seemed to heat up incredibly rapidly until it glowed a bright white with the acrid scent of burning metal tinging the air. As she moved her finger to trace the outline of the doors the heat continued to follow her finger, melting a path all the way around the doors. The doors, now bereft of any connection to the walls, fell into the room with a loud crash.
Reyla only made it four steps into the room before she froze, her breath catching in her throat. In the center of the otherwise empty room was a giant cylinder covered in glowing blue lines which extended out to cover the floor, ceiling, and walls. What had stopped Reyla however, was the sight of four glowing sigils on each of the rooms four walls.
Reyla recognized those sigils, after all she had designed them.
"I know how they've been dampening spiritual signatures."
As Merrick began to speak Reyla was brought out of her investigations, and in response to his seemingly disparaging tone Reyla just shrugged. "An hour is likely a low estimate, but unless I actually start trying to unravel the barrier at a fundamental level I can't say for sure just how much longer it might take, and now's not exactly the right time for experimentation."
Unfortunately Merrick's second question wasn't something she was quite so eager to answer. In all honesty she didn't have a problem letting Merrick know the extent of her abilities, at least in that respect, however she absolutely didn't trust Tatsuya at this point. Even if she didn't like Merrick she could trust him to hold information to his breast with an iron grip, Tatsuya on the other hand was an unknown, and she couldn't trust him not to start rumors about 'forbidden spell casting' that might hit a little closer to the truth than she'd like. People did always tend to assume the worst about people who had skills that they didn't understand.
Making a quick decision Reyla turned to Tatsuya, "Tatsuya, go sweep both ends of the corridor, we don't want anything catching us by surprise and we don't know how many Hollows there actually could be in this facility." The irksome recruit looked like he was going to protest for a moment, but instead simply shrugged and walked towards the end of the corridor. Maybe a lucky Hollow will do us all a favor.
With Tatsuya out of easy hearing Reyla turned back to the door as she spoke to Merrick. "In terms of knowledge I'm able to match acting Captain Mirabelle. If you'd prefer a more numerical analysis my current knowledge of spells peaks at the one-hundred level spells, even if I can't cast them legally." Reyla had no real fears about Merrick reporting her, just because she knew of spells that weren't legal to cast didn't mean that she had broken any laws. Besides, she somehow doubted that Merrick was exactly guiltless himself. The more she interacted with the man the more convinced she became that his plan to build clinics in the Rukongai wasn't nearly as altruistic as it sounded.
"Regardless, I want to know what's behind this door." Reyla's hands lit up as she focused her energies, her right hand a dull orange and her left a bright blue. Placing her hands on the door the light seemed to be absorbed into the metal. "So if you wouldn't mind?"
Reyla regarded 'Johan' with a half lidded gaze as he told her that he could easily slip past a Hollow or two. He was clearly trying to avoid having her tag along, which made her want to do so all the more. The fact that he mentioned that they wouldn't be 'distracted' instead of saying that they wouldn't notice him also didn't escape her attention, though she couldn't exactly fault him there as she was a good deal stronger than he was. The problem with his logic however, was that she was a good deal stronger than the local Hollows as well, which meant that they wouldn't attack her.
"That may be the case, but allow me to ask you this. Why would a predator attack stronger prey when there's a weaker target about? If anything they'd be more attracted to you." Reyla sighed, purposefully allowing her facade to crack, even if it showed fake regret. She wanted to be on friendly terms, but she was still curious. "Like I said, I won't detain you, but the portion of my patrol that involved the Country side was just ending when I detected the Hollow, whether you like it or not I'm on my way to Tokyo to relieve the one stationed there. So you can either allow me to travel with you and at the very least have some company, or deal with the fact that I will be clearly trailing you as I make my way to the same destination as yourself. I will say however that I have no intention of following you once you reach the city. As long as you're not trying to kill one of my own then your business is entirely your concern, not mine."
Reyla watched the woman slink farther into herself, but instead of feeling the satisfaction she expected she felt...hollow. Much like the girls words had been. As the girl stammered out an apology Reyla took a moment to actually think about her actions, and as she did she couldn't help but feel disappointed in herself. She knew that she was a bit more fond of watching others get their comeuppance than was really normal, but that required the person in question to have actually done something wrong. Unfortunately Reyla was beginning to realize that while the woman had been disrespectful, she was still here and working when so many of her comrades had been lost or had gone rogue. The woman may not have been strong enough to directly face Reyla in a confrontational situation, but she clearly had some strength in her to keep doing her duty.
As the woman began to walk away Reyla decided to bite the bullet and let her pride take a small hit, "Wait." Reyla walked up to the woman, slipping her hand into her robe and pulling out a small slip of paper. "I'm...sorry. I was the one who ran into you, and you were within your rights to be annoyed and ask for an explanation." Even if you could have worded it better. "I shouldn't have gone after you like that, no matter what mood I've been in. Here." Reyla handed the woman the slip of paper, "This is a coupon to a tea shop just outside of the walls, the people there at least still tolerate us, and the shop itself still welcomes us. It's not much, but it should at least give you a chance to relax a bit, lord knows we could all stand to unwind and stop jumping at shadows."
With that Reyla turned and began to walk away, determined to find her own way out. Yes it might have been somewhat humiliating to admit that she was wrong, at least in part, but she felt that the shame of deliberately attacking one of her peers out of pent up frustration would be worse, so even if she was still in a somewhat bitter mood she at least walked away better than she would have if she had allowed her attitude to continue needlessly.
As Merrick spoke Tatsuya gestured to the device and rolled his eyes, non-verbally blowing off Reyla's concerns, which of course only made her more angry. Instead of blowing up at him again however, she simply took a deep breath and turned away from him. Regardless of anything else Tatsuya had firmly planted himself on the list of people she disliked, but even though she wouldn't necessarily be disappointed if he were to die and be shuffled off into the cycle, she also had to acknowledge that for the time being she and Merrick were supposed to try and keep him alive as part of their unit. Even if Merrick showed no interest in doing so.
If Reyla was willing to admit it, she might also have acknowledged the fact that this situation was wearing on her nerves, badly. This was supposed to have been a simple mission, and while she had expected that something terrible had happened to the Shinigami staffing the listening post, she also hadn't expected to find an entire complex like this. What was happening here she didn't know, though she doubted that it was any kind of secret research. If it had been their superiors would never have sent them here in the first place. Either way however, this was not going according to any of the plans that Reyla had anticipated, and she knew on some level that she was taking her anxiety out on Tatsuya. Not that she would ever acknowledge such a fact.
The fact that he was being deliberately disrespectful wasn't helping him either.
In an effort to calm herself down somewhat Reyla turned back to Merrick, trying to ignore Tatsuya's attitude. "You're right, not to mention that there's very little we could likely glean from the device without the proper interface." Leaving that as her final word on the subject Reyla followed Merrick, glancing into the rooms that he had already looked in to see for herself what remained of whatever operations had been underway here. What concerned her was the fact that every room showed sign of a struggle, and given that there had clearly been hollows being experimented on somewhere in the complex she doubted that the Shinigami that had been stationed here had been particularly weak. There were only three scenarios that Reyla could think of that could have led to such a widespread struggle ending with the apparent deaths of everyone stationed here. Either there were far more Hollows than the two that they had found so far and they were able to overwhelm the staff with sheer numbers, there had been a particularly strong specimen being kept here, or one or more Shinigami turned on their fellow soldiers for some unknown reason. The first scenario seemed the most likely, but Reyla couldn't discount the chance of the other two being the explanation for what happened here.
She desperately hoped that it was either the first or second scenario.
Eventually they came to an excessively large metal door with a strange keyhole in it. The door in and of itself seemed fairly formidable, but Reyla could clearly sense an unusual barrier integrated with the structure of the door. Reyla glanced at Merrick, "I'm sure you can feel that. I'd like to get a closer look at it, I'll only be a moment."
With that Reyla strode forward and placed her hand on the door, focusing her magic to get a good idea of exactly how this barrier was created. What she came back with was interesting, but it was something she could deal with as long as Merrick was willing to help. "This is...different. I've never seen something like this before, but it seems that the barrier is keyed to different forms of simultaneous energy manipulation, Hado, Bakudo, and Kaido. I could theoretically pick this barrier apart without using all three of them, but it would take me at least an hour." Reyla turned to face Merrick again, ignoring Tatsuya as he leaned against a wall looking bored, "I can handle both the Bakudo and the Hado, if you can handle the Kaido. Basic manipulation should be all that's necessary, we don't even really have to cast any spells."
Reyla stepped back as Merrick began to cast his spell, Kaido if she wasn't mistaken. She had gotten about as much information as she could from the Hollow, so she felt no need to risk being in Merrick's way at this point. She was mildly surprised when he stated that he knew how the device was positioned, but she quickly realized that since Kaido specialized in working with various anatomy it wasn't that unusual that there would be some kind of spell that would allow the user to map the internals of a subject. When he brought up the subject of method of extraction however she felt that there was really only one ethical course of action.
"It would make the most sense to simply purify it, without knowing if it has any abilities to modify it's internal bone structure or organs like it seemingly can with the spines on its shell there's no reason to risk damage to the device by putting it under the knife while it's not sedated." That was the logical reason behind her decision, but she also saw no reason to put the beast through more pain. A glance at it's face revealed that it was still regarding them with impotent anger, but there was no intelligence behind its eyes, it probably didn't even understand what they were saying, it was simply an animal.
Reyla put her hand on the hilt of her blade, but before she drew it something occurred to her that caused her to pause and turn to face Merrick again. "Where would be the best spot to make the kill, I don't want to accidentally-" Reyla's statement was cut short by the sound of steel hitting stone, and even as she turned to face the head of the Hollow she could feel anger beginning to bubble at what she knew she'd find. She unfortunately saw that she was correct and Tatsuya's blade was pierced right through the hollow's head. Even a recruit like him could kill a hollow of this caliber if it was bound and he could get at it's softer flesh.
When Reyla spoke her eyes were hard and the tone of her voice suggested that Tatsuya should run, not that it would do him any good. "What do you think you're doing? Were you paying any attention to the situation at all?"
Tatsuya rolled his eyes at her, once again showing that he had absolutely no instinct for self preservation. "Of course I was, you two said you wanted to kill it to look at some doodad inside of it, so I killed it, what's the problem?"
Reyla resisted the urge to grind her teeth as she spoke, "The problem is that only Merrick knows just how far the device trailed into the hollow, which is why I was asking him where the best place to land the killing blow would be when you decided to 'take initiative'. Even if it was unlikely, you couldn't discount the possibility that part of the apparatus had been hooked into the head somehow, so you'd better hope for your sake that you didn't damage anything." With that warning Reyla turned to the rapidly fading corpse of the Hollow, ready to see if Tatsuya's brashness had caused yet another undesired complication in a situation that was already far worse than they had originally expected.
Reyla watched as Merrick effortlessly flipped the Hollow over and moved into inspect it. Well, he certainly has physical strength to spare. Reyla moved in beside Merrick, completely confident that her binding would hold until she released it. The first thing that caught her attention was the wire that she had noticed earlier, the trailing end had obviously been torn off of something if the jagged edges and small piece of metal dangling off the end meant anything. The more interesting thing however was where it connected to the Hollow. Despite having a large shell like a turtle the monster's underbelly was soft, and whoever had placed this wire into it had clearly made good use of that fact. The wire itself split into five seperate wires which led under the skin of the Hollow's stomach, and the path of the wires could be traced for several inches by how it made the skin bulge until the wire either terminated or went deeper into the beast's flesh. The wires were partially ripped out of the flesh, likely from the force that the Hollow had applied when pulling free from whatever it had been hooked to, but they were implanted deeply enough that they were in no danger of falling out. All along the beast's stomach were angry swollen scars that looked to have been caused by other incisions, and even with Reyla's limited medical knowledge she could tell that not much care had been taken when creating the cuts, or when letting them heal.
After getting a good look Reyla turned to Merrick, glancing at Tatsuya to make sure he was there. Thankfully the brash recruit had decided to follow orders this time, even if he was clearly bored and didn't seem to be paying any attention. Reyla wanted to reprimand him, but she felt that now was not the best time. Looking at Merrick she spoke, "I'm not entirely sure what that was connected to, but it's clearly not an I.V. drip. If I had to guess I'd say that it was hooked up to some kind of sensor, what do you think?" There was a part of Reyla that rankled at asking Merrick for his opinion, she didn't like the idea of him feeling like he had something over her, but she wasn't stupid. Merrick was a doctor, and he was without a doubt the most qualified to figure out what was going on with this hollow out of all of them.
The man identified himself as Johan, and despite herself Reyla couldn't help but think something was off about that. For some reason, and she couldn't identify why exactly, the name Johan made her think that this man should have been significantly more long winded than he was showing himself to be. Unfortunately a simple feeling wasn't enough suspicion to accuse 'Johan' of hiding something, so she simply accepted it for now. Reyla nodded her head towards the man, "Reyla Natori, and the pleasure is mine." Reyla briefly considered asking Johan what his business in Tokyo was, but it wasn't really her business, and since she wasn't from the Second she was under no real obligation to try and dig into Johan's motivations, not to mention she felt that doing so would be directly counterproductive to establishing some kind of positive, or at least neutral, rapport with the man.
It would be a small step towards easing tensions, but if Reyla actually intended to try and follow that goal then she needed to do everything she could, and speaking of doing anything she could, "If you're asking if I'm going to attempt to detain you or prevent you from going on your way, then no. However, would you like some company on your way? You've already attracted the attention of one Hollow, and even if Tokyo isn't particularly far, it isn't necessarily close. You have some miles still to go, and the Hollow density will only increase the closer you get to the city."
What Reyla didn't say was the fact that from what she could tell Dresden wasn't as strong as she was, and while she wasn't rude enough to mention it she wasn't quite sure that he would be able to handle all of the Hollows that could potentially be drawn to his presence.
Reyla watched as the woman seemed to collapse into herself in response to Reyla's words, and her annoyance grew even more. Perhaps if she'd been in a better mood she would have been more generous and tried to be nicer to the girl, but as it was all she could think of was how utterly contemptible this woman was, to act as if she had the right to make demands, do not give others the right to speak before accusing them, and then to not have the spine to stand up when someone bit back? What was worse was the fact that she was even in the first division at all, a woman so lacking in confidence had no place being a leader, especially after the toll that the last five years had taken on the morale of the Soul Society. A woman like this trying to lead would only cause the Soul Society to become even weaker than it had become.
Reyla was almost surprised when the woman straightened back up, showing that she could use her spine after all, but any improvement in opinion towards the woman disappeared when she heard her speak. The woman's words showed none of the fear or meekness that she had shown before, but neither did it have any conviction to it. Her words were hollow, as if they were spoken less out of the belief of the one speaking them and more like they simply thought they should say them.
"I'm going to assume that you want me to apologize for running into you, which I was about to do before you failed to reign your tongue. If you refer to my words, why should I? You showed me disrespect, so why should I respect you, especially after seeing you crumble under my words. I saw your fear, and while you tried to stand back up there was no conviction. How can you expect respect, how can you expect to lead, when you can't even stand up for you own pride?"
Reyla took a good look at the Quincy in front of her, he was roughly the same height as herself, and with short dark hair that was just barely lighter than her own. The man's physique was fairly well defined, at least what she could see underneath his meticulously pressed clothing, and from what her limited skill with detecting reiatsu could tell her his energy seemed....patchwork for lack of a better word.
Before responding to his question Reyla took a moment to sheath her blade, it wouldn't do to have a weapon out while trying to keep tensions low. "I'm on patrol, I was a fair distance away when I detected the Hollow, and by the time I arrived it had fled to the forest, which obviously brings me here. I did notice on my way that you seemed to clash with it, at least for a moment, I'm...sorry, I should have been here sooner." Reyla's apology was honest, though a bit forced. While she didn't feel that there was any good reason to be hostile, her pride didn't want her to admit that she hadn't performed as quickly as she should have.
"What about yourself? What are you doing this far from civilization?"
Welcome to Bleach Gotei, an alternate universe Bleach RP!
Seireitei is crumbling and the Gotei is a shell of its former self. Ravaged by the plague, the surviving Shinigami struggle to maintain the balance, but with so few of them left, the work is taxing and their fortress-city has fallen to neglect. Spread thin across all fronts, their diminished presence has been noted by friend and foe alike.
The Arrancar have rebuilt Las Noches and are rallying. The throne remains empty, but self-styled Espada have risen up from among them and are vying for control, each one endlessly testing the others’ weaknesses. Too evenly matched for any one of them to claim the crown, they bide their time, waiting for the opportune moment.
On Earth, all seems well—but there is a war being fought in the shadows as the mortals find themselves lacking the protection they once had and so sorely need. The Quincy, having realized the oppressive specter of the Shinigami is no more, are flourishing, and are fighting the Hollow-breeds with renewed vigor.