The moment Zaraki slashed with his sword, all of Kaname’s defenses were shredded to bits. Even his Captain level Reiatsu wasn’t able to protect him from what was obviously a fatal wound.
‘Just one hit?’
His pupils were shaking. He couldn’t understand how Zaraki’s power could be at this level? He had always known that Zaraki was powerful but this went against everything he knew.
His surprise was understandable. Ever since he fought against Yachiru Unohana so long ago, Zaraki had placed many unconscious and conscious means of restraining his own power so that he could enjoy better fights.
If Tosen had fought Zaraki ten years ago, even if Zaraki managed to get a clean hit he wouldn’t die.
But, sadly for him, after his fight against Gojo, many of his unconscious restraints had vanished making him far stronger than he had appeared after killing Kiganjo.
Furthermore, since Tosen was truly a traitor, Kenpachi had absolutely no reason to limit restraint himself.
This difference in base power brought the current result.
Tosen was dying. He knew he was dying.
He could already feel his Bankai breaking.
‘Is this the end?’
He couldn’t accept this. He refused to accept this.
How could his justice simply end like this?
Why had he fought so much and betrayed so many?
“I can’t lose… I won’t lose you to you….No matter what!”
Even as blood dribbled from his body and his senses began to shut down, Tosen still held a vehemence and a rage burning.
He could still remember his friend. A gentle and warm woman.
Her husband killed her. He killed a comrade over a petty dispute and then later killed her for scolding him about it.
Her desire for a peaceful world that was stronger than anyone…
Her sense of justice that was stronger than anyone…
She chose to fight for her beliefs but in the end, she died before she could even start.
Was she lacking something? Was it not enough to have a strong will to fight for peace and justice?
This was why he wanted strength. Strenght to help him create peace.
If it wasn’t enough to believe in justice…Then he would become justice itself.
“Aizen-sama…As you have guessed I have reached my limit. Then…I have no other choice.”
Thinking so, he slowly began to stand up. Even though more blood was flowing, he showed no care about it.
“Oh? I have been letting you think all this while because I thought you would show me something incredible. It seems like I wasn’t wrong.”
“Zaraki…Your greatest mistake…was letting me gather the resolve to take the last step.”
“Hahaha. Go on! Are you going to use your Bankai again?”
Zaraki laughed while taunting Kaname. But this time, Kaname showed no anger but rather, a sneer.
“Bankai? Don’t make me laugh. Aizen-sama has graciously gifted me with a power far more incredible than Bankai.”
Suddenly, in a movement that Zaraki couldn’t understand, Kaname placed his palm with his finger spread, in front of his face.
The result was instantaneous. The flickering and dying bluish Reiatsu changed into a deep dark, as if he was being swallowed by shadows.
The winds stirred and transformed into a veritable tornado as his energy level continued to increase unbelievably.
When the transformation finally ended, what stood in front of Zaraki was a completely changed Tosen.
His wounds had all vanished and his upper body was covered by a white armor. As for his face?
It was covered by a smooth featureless mask.
Even Zaraki became momentarily speechless at the sight in front of him. After all, he could not feel the power of a Shinigami coming from Kaname anymore. But rather…
…That of a hollow.
Outside, a few moments after Kaname’s Bankai broke and people were able to see the result of the fight, everyone had been on tenterhooks as they watched Kaname slowly dying.
After all, even though Gin’s words showed that they were traitors. He didn’t explain in what way exactly.
Now though, a grave silence fell as all the Vice Captains gasped while showing unbelievable expressions.
At the sight of Kaname’s transformation, one word sounded in the mind of all the old vice-captains.
Nanao muttered while Rangiku’s legs gave in as she fell down.
“Wha…What is happening? Why is Captain Tosen like this?”
Shuhei was becoming hysterical. He had only recently become vice-captain so he couldn’t understand what was happening.
Nanao showed a difficult expression as she explained to calm the poor soul, “Do you know about what happened about seventy years ago?”
“You mean…When Captain Kensei and the others were branded as traitors?”
How could he forget? Even now, he didn’t know why the one who saved him all those years ago had become a wanted fugitive.
“Back then… Captain Kensei and the others had been transformed into hollows and the culprit was…At least the one that had been accused was Kisuke Urahara.”
Nanao gulped. While Rangiku continued with an almost broken voice.
“Captain Kisuke had claimed that he was innocent and that Aizen was the culprit. But the Central 46 refused to listen since Captain Aizen had so many witnesses to prove that he hadn’t left the fifth division on that day. But now…”
Shuhei paled as his face was drained of all blood. One didn’t need to be a genius to make the connections.
“So…Captain Tosen became a Hollow…?”
The vice-captains outside weren’t the only ones reacting. Even the captains were showing expressions of surprise as understanding finally dawned on them.
Even the fight between Yamamoto and Unohana that was growing so strong that Gojo’s Bankai was showing cracks on their side stopped.
Unohana had not been privy to all the details of what would happen. But since she believed in Gojo, she had decided to give it a try and fought against Yamamoto in order to hold him down.
Because of how dangerous their two Bankai were, a true fight between them would most likely result in one of them dying.
Thankfully, the confession of Gin followed by the transformation of Kaname had been enough for even the stubborn Yamamoto to stop and observe.
Slowly healing herself, as more than half of her body had been burned down, Unohana sneered as she looked at Yamamoto.
“What did I say, old friend? You are becoming old.”
Yamamoto stayed silent. Before muttering.
When he remembered how many Shinigamis had vanished silently in the last few decades and the execution order on those exiled captains, he couldn’t help but feel a deep feeling of shame filling his heart.
To think that he would be so helplessly manipulated by some young guys.
Had he really become too old?
Thinking so, his eyes trailed down to a different screen.
Until now, Sosuke Aizen had been shown standing alone there.
But now, something was happening. A frivolous man appeared.
“*Whistle* You really did a good job. So this is hollowfication?”
[I know. I have already begun doing it. Not only him, but I am also recording and analyzing the Bankai of all those who are currently fighting. Once this day end, our Castle will evolve again.]
“Satoru Gojo. I believe this is the first time the two of us talked like this.”
Aizen smiled as he looked at Gojo. Even though he was all but confirmed of being a traitor, he showed absolutely no expression of being flustered.
“You are quite calm. You know that I could simply end my Bankai now and leave you to the old man?”
“I know you could, but you won’t. You wouldn’t stand for someone else to take away your prey, right?”
“Heh…You are quite right.”
The two of them were talking as if they were friends, but the growing spiritual pressure the two of them emanated showed that they were ready to tear each other’s throats apart.
Pushing down the bandages covering his eyes, Gojo showed a full toothed smile.
“Well, well, well. Are you ready to die?”
“Oh? You took down your protection? Are you not worried about my Zanpakuto?”
“Pfft! Hahaha. You think your illusions can trick my eyes? Hey…”
Gojo’s eyes became devoid of light as he tilted his head. His usual happy-go-lucky atmosphere was nowhere to be seen and was replaced by an extremely unsettling one.
“…Do you take me for a joke?”
Taking off his glasses, Aizen broke them before swiping his hair behind him.
His atmosphere also changed as he showed a grin full of confidence at Gojo.
“Shall we test it out?”
(AN: Honestly sorry, the chapter should have been more focused on Zaraki but struggling with writing Zaraki’s fight. The bastard uses no technique currently. Only swinging his sword. It’s incredible in visual but it’s such a pain in writing. I think I might reread Spirit are Forever with You, just to see again how to write Zaraki. Sigh.
In fact, this entire arc is stressing me to hell. It’s like the final arc of the first part of my story and it’s very important. I feel like I am fucking up everything. I have to bring all the different plot points developed to a conclusion and everything is becoming a clusterfuck. Too many characters to show at the same time. Too many fights. Too many things happening. Damn, this reminds me of the final arc in vol 5 of SHK. I was just as stressed back then.)