It was dark now, the clouds choking the black sky and hiding from view the light of the stars and moon.
I gasped heavily, blood trickling into my eyes. I could barely stand and my ripped clothes where soaked with more blood and sweat. The top half of my Shihakushō hung uselessly over my sash revealing the extent of my cuts and bleeding. I raised my Zanpaku-to once more. It was somewhat smaller than the average size katana with a silver blade that was slightly serrated and jagged. The hilt was red and there was no guard.
"You're fast Mia but I fear I'm getting faster than you now," I smiled happily at that.
"When will you be content Takeshi?" she asked.
"When I am faster and more agile than the mobile corps, when I'm more powerful than the Kido corps and stronger and more resilient than even Kenpachi Zaraki. Until that day, I will never stop trying?"
"And what if you do become as powerful as that, what then. What other meaning in life will you find, huh?" she leant on her blade. She had several small cuts across her arms and side, her hair was wild and her cheek had been sliced too.
"I-" I was speechless. I had never thought about anything else. Because nothing else mattered other than absolute power, "are you questioning my resolve Mia?"
"You misunderstand me, and don't talk to me like one of your goons. We aren't like that. What I'm trying to say is, there's more to all this than power. I entered the academy so that I could use my power to help those that can't help themselves. Why did you want to become a Soul Reaper?"
I grunted. I hated talks.
"I'll make this quick," I growled, "my father always taught me (as you can see from this scar on my forehead) that the weak deserved what they got and that the strong deserve to flaunt their power. I was weak once. I lived in the north Rukon district, area 79 where I was beaten to the point of death almost every day. My father was harsh and cruel, just as he needed to be to get his message across. One day, I had a dream. A nightmare actually where I envisioned a horrible demon with white skin and black horns that rose upwards from his head. His eyes however were pure black and there was a thin red circle were his iris should have been. The demon saw me and fought me. At first he overpowered me and plunged his claw into my chest. I felt as if I could no longer breath. I swear I saw myself as if I were a spirit.
"The demon called me weak and was about to deliver the final blow. I suddenly realised that I no longer wanted to be weak. I was young at the time and the decision came as if I had chosen between sweets and coal. So my revelation came, I would be strong, in fact the strongest and if anyone stood in my way, I would find the power to wipe them out. So I fought the demon, knowing only one of us can win and then woke up. That day my father in the Rukongai began his usual tirade. I beat him down and he didn't even fight back. I left my home and the usual people came to attack me. I beat them down, though I took many scraped. A few years passed and I met a Soul Reaper. I was so enamoured by his power that I had to fight him. He laughed till he found I was serious and humoured me. I fought as hard as I could, getting only a few punches in. He was surprised I even managed that but quickly overcame me. I didn't stop till I could no longer physically move. The Soul Reaper offered to heal me but I refused. He offered my a place in the academy. That I accepted, knowing I would gain the strengths of a Soul Reaper and then surpass them any way possible.
"I think that explains what you want to know Mia," she was not smiling, but instead there seemed a sadness in her eyes, "I have never told anyone this story, but I-"
"I understand," she nodded solemnly, "so now I will tell you what you want to know," Mia planted her Zanpaku-to in the ground," it took a few days. I think he was onto me from the start. He tried to avoid me several ways. First he disappeared amongst some rowdy 11th squad brawl. The next day he took a round-a-bout way to his location weaving in and out of building till I lost him. On the third day he was there one moment and then left. I can only assume he found a secret passage or that he used Shunpo. That got me thinking. I've been speaking to some of his classmates, trying not to arouse suspicion and I heard all sorts of rumors. So on the fourth day, I waited near 2nd squad barracks and sure enough he appeared."
"What are you saying?" the look of shock was evident in my face before I even heard the answer.
"I think he is in league with Soi Fon, Takeshi."
How could this be. Could he possibly be in league with a Captain at such an early stage. I had never been given an audience with a Captain and as I had proven five days ago, I was the strongest in the academy. But then I had barely seen him fight properly. Indeed Kiyoshi seemed to barely place effort into it. The way his spiritual pressure was usually low, how he would hang back and always always wait! It infuriated me. There was no love of battle, there was no desire to win. Like it meant nothing to him. So if he was in league with a Captain, did that show he was hiding his true strength or was he from a high class family and so would gain a position in the highest seats through favour alone?
I wasn't sure which thought infuriated me more. But before I could act, I needed more information
"Mia, I need to know exactly what he is doing when he speaks to Soi Fon... furthermore, I want to know what his last name is. So we can see exactly what to expect from this maggot," I clenched my fist till it was white. My teeth gritted hard.
"Sure thing. So are you going to stand there boiling like a kettle or are we going to have another spar?"
Good, I wanted to work off some of this anger. I went at her with all I had.