[Valley of Screams]
In a cavern, a white-haired man wearing green armor paired with a kimono stood up from his seated position, while showing a solemn expression.
“It seems like we have intruders.”
Around him, the five remaining members of his clan stirred and stood up with him, their expressions grave.
“What is happening?”
Ganryu, the white-haired man, the leader of the group, took a look at the last remnants of the once prestigious Ryodoji clan and showed a bitter expression for a short while before shaking off the feeling of melancholy.
“It was only for an instant, but I felt three Reiatsu. Two belong to someone at the captain level and one belongs to a vice-captain.”
At those words, the expressions of everyone worsened. In their groups, aside from Ganryu who was comparable to a captain of the Gotei 13, the others were only equal to vice-captain at best.
If this was all, it wouldn’t be much of a problem. But, before being exiled from Soul Society, the Central 46 had confiscated and sealed their zanpakuto. So, they couldn’t even use their full strength properly.
Ganryu, who understood all this, sighed and asked, “Mue, What about the Blank Manipulation Project?”
A somewhat handsome dark-haired man raised his hand and nodded, “The situation still isn’t good. We would need a few decades to perfectly attune our wavelength with the blanks. But it should be enough to fight and defend ourselves now.”
“Very well. Benin.”
Benin was a tall tan-skinned woman wearing the same style of clothes and armor as the others.
“How is the Shinenju?”
“The Shinenju is only about half-formed. The memories seem to have condensed into the seed, but it lacks a certain accumulation to be complete.”
Ganryu bit his teeth, frustration evident on his face. Everything was happening too fast. The scheme they had created should have been in the development phase for a few decades. But now, they have been flat-footed.
Still, the worst hadn’t come to pass. Both the Shinenju and the Blanks were a natural phenomena and Shinigami would not destroy them intentionally.
“Listen very well. We do not know their objectives, but the chances of this being an extermination mission are low. After all, they would not have sent only two captains if that was the case. As such it’s imperative to test the situation. Are we the targets? If so, what are the orders they received? Either way, we need to capture the vice-captain to get the information necessary.”
Ganryu spoke fast. The enemy should be unable to feel their Reiatsu. After all, he only managed to do so because those shinigami hadn’t tried to hide, unlike them.
“Jai, Ryan, and Bau.”
A tall and large tanned man followed by a blue-haired man with a mask on his jaw and another one with a veil covering his face answered.
“The three of you will deal with that vice-captain. Try to capture him/her but if that proves to be impossible, then just kill them.”
“Your job will be to follow me and support me against the two Captains. If possible, I will let you two deal with one Captain, while I take care of the other one.”
After all, not all captains were at the same level. Even without a sword, Ganryu was a powerful shinigami. Furthermore, he had always prioritized Hoho, Hakuda, and Kido. Losing his sword didn’t affect his strength by much.
“This is only a light greeting. If things turn sour, prioritize escape at all cost. The clan must live on.”
An expression of rage filled his face as he spoke emotionally,
“For a millennium, our clan was forced to scrape out an existence surviving only by concealing ourselves in the dank crevices of the Dangai. Our hatred for the Soul Society was the only fuel that drove us to endure that living hell! Then we discovered how to avenge this injustice and obliterate those who condemned us to this wretchedness. Now the moment is at hand. No one is going to stop us!”
No one could understand the pain and suffering they went through. For one thousand years, they moved into exile after suffering a complete humiliation. Each day, each hour was a struggle. They had to watch their comrades slowly fall and die one after another.
“Now let’s go.”
Ganryu gave the signal to advance, but, just as they were about to move…
*Clap* *Clap* *Clap*
“Sniff! What a touching and moving discourse. I must say, it brought a tear to my eyes.”
“Who is there!!??”
Ganryu and the others widened their eyes as they began to survey their surroundings.
“Oops, I guess you can’t see me currently.”
At those words, a curtain of light seemed to tear apart the space along with them as a white-haired man wearing the shinigami uniform appeared in the space between all of them.
“3rd Seat of the 4th division, Satoru Gojo at your service.”
“Impossible! Bakudo #26 Kyokko?”
Ganryu completely ignored the provocative introduction and gasped at the realization of what happened.
This particular Bakudo had the effect of hiding the physical form and Reiatsu of the caster by bending light. It could even be used in combat to mask the Reiryoku used when setting up a trap for the target, masking individual abilities.
But, even though it was without a doubt a very useful Bakudo, it was still one rank below Thirty, meaning that it wasn’t even a mid-rank Kido. How could it be possible for it to hide someone standing between all of them?
‘Wait a minute.’
He could still feel the three Reiatsu from far away, but this one?
“Who the hell are you? Bastard!”
While he was deep in thought, Jai acted by throwing a punch while shooting. In his sense, the bean sprout in front of him did not even emanate the slightest energy. It was clear that it was just a low-level grunt good at stealth.
His punch was both heavy and fast. The air around him seemed to be unable to withstand the impact as a mini shockwave followed his attack. Furthermore, the fist was even larger than the head of the man that had appeared out of nowhere in their midst.
Just as his fist was about to connect-
Ganryu woke up and shouted to stop, but it was too late.
“Bakudo #39: Enkosen.”
“Argh!! My hand!!”
Hitting a rotating yellow wall, Jai’s punch was stopped short. It was then followed by a scream of pain and a splash of blood as his fist was completely broken and twisted beyond recognition.
But, this didn’t stop here.
Faster than they could understand what was going on, a large cloud of dust was floating in the air and the cave was trembling.
When the dust settled, they could finally see Jai with his head completely embedded in the ground while his face was held by the white-haired shinigami.
All this while, a smile was still on his face.
“Heh, I have been trying to be polite. But sneak attacks are no no, you know? Gotta play fair, otherwise, someone’s gonna get hurt — Just like you. Pfft!”
Ganryu felt a chill as his intuition was proven right. Even now, despite the enemy using a mid-ranked Kido, he could only barely feel his Reiatsu.
This could only mean two things.
The man in front of them was so weak that they could not feel his energy.
Or the man in front of them was so strong that they could not even understand the difference in power between them.
: Bent Light
: Round lock fan
(AN: Reiatsu in bleach is really an interesting thing. While it isn’t a clear indication of how powerful someone is, it can do pretty scary things. For example, in Ichigo vs Zaraki. At first, Ichigo couldn’t even really feel Zaraki’s Reiatsu. All he could feel was death. As for Aizen, after he fused with the Hogyoku, his Reiatsu was off the chart. For one, he couldn’t even be felt, and two, any poor bastard below a certain level that came close to him could die while being completely twisted and shredded.)