"Well it's about time you got here you pathetic sap. Still let's not waste time, we have lots to do!"
"Who are you? Where am I?"
"I said let's not waste time! You dumb as well as weak?" it threw the blade into the ground. Where it touched the dirt it turned to ice. "Ok listen up. This is your inner world and I am your zanpakuto dumbass. But hey, I shouldn't hold it against you, after all, I have been holding back a little and I haven't given you my name yet. But you never really expected me to do all the work now did you?"
This was my inner world, this desolate, chaotic wasteland. And that there was my zanpakuto. What did this say about me?
"Did you bring me here to tell me your name?"
"I didn't bring you anywhere. You came here on your own because you finally wanted to learn my name, to get stronger. I wont blame you for it, I know what it is to thirst power, but you should know such dependencies are weak-"
"-I would never ask for your help or anyone elses," I sliced the air with my hand at this and stepped towards him.
"And yet you still came here looking for power. Well I can give it to you, I can give you the power I've been holding back and my name, but you'll have to fight it out of me," his smile widened into a larger smile.
"I remember all those years ago, when I first dreamt of you. That night we fought and you beat me to prove a point. You wanted me to know I would always be inferior to you unless I trained and showed my true potential. Many nights since we have fought in my dreams but I never suspected who you were. Now that I understand this, it seems we would do better to finally work together rather than to continue our little feud."
"I can see that logic. Fine, then rather than fight me, you shall prove your worth through a little game," he held out his hand and the sword sank into the stone, then disappeared. "Somewhere within the caves of this world is where your shikai lies. But I would be fast in finding it, it wont be long before that volcano erupts," he jabbed his finger over his shoulder to the bubbling torrent of fire, "and a little hint," he kept his thumb pointed at the volcano, "it's somewhere over there."
I ran as fast as I could. Within moments I was at the base of of the volcano. There must have been dozens of dark, ominous cave-mouths. I sighed and began jumping from rock to rock. Eventually I reached the first cave and went inside. It was dark but lit up by an strange red glow. The entrance was a large cavern, but there was nothing in there. From it, several tunnels branched out. Where they all going to be complex systems?
I tried the left but it was blocked from a cave-in, so I tried the tunnel on the right instead. It was full of twists and turns and a few dead ends, but after backtracking I kept on heading down the tunnel. At some point, light spilt into the passage but when I reached it, it was just another cave entrance. I headed back and found another pathway. That's when it started to feel hot in this cave and everything shook violently.
I nearly fell as the explosion of lava caused several rocks to almost fall on my head. I dodged them but continued. I tried a few more branches but they were more dead ends so I back tracked again. There were still seven more openings in this cave and I began to feel fear, for the first time in a long while. I was panicking.
"FOOL! you should be able to feel the shikai's riatsu, or is its power wasted on you?"
He was right, but it took all my inner strength to quell the rising tide of terror that swelled in me. From a cave on the right, magma seeped into the room. I closed my eyes and saw Mia's face. Everything felt calm then and I could sense the sheer coldness of the shikai's riatsu. How had I not felt that before, especially in this place?
I entered the passage directly opposite the entrance and after following a particular path, though there were many more branches, sure enough I found it.
Standing on the tip of the blade upon a rock as if it were being held by an invisible hand, it stood raised on a rocky dias. I approached it and went to grab it. I closed my hand around the crimson ribbon and felt a surge of power run through me.
"Excellent, know my name. I am Ryuunosuke, and I must feed!"
I was jolted to my senses. The room was reminiscent of the squad 4 barracks. Across the room stood Unohana and Hanatoro. It was dark.
Hanatoro rushed to my side.
"Thank goodness, you're alive!" he cried.
"Duh," I groaned.
"For a moment, we were unsure if you would pull through your ordeal. Rest assured, I did everything in my power to keep you alive and well Takeshi," her eyes were covered by her large smile. She moved ever so gracefully towards me. I couldn't help but feel soothed by her riatsu. Then I felt a terrible pang in my stomach.
"How is Mia!" I tried to get up but my back was wracked with pain. Hanatoro's eyes widened.
"Don't worry yourself," she held up her hand, "she will be fine. She took nowhere near the beating you did," suddenly her face went serious. "Now I shall not ask you anything, I like to keep my patients calm, but somebody shall doubtlessly come to ask questions about what happened," she suddenly smiled again and walked towards the door, "come Hanatoro, I'm sure he would like some rest, let us leave. Goodbye for now."
Of course somebody would come. Part of me was angry at Kiyoshi, so angry that I wanted to place the blame on him. But then it may all come down on me once Kiyoshi gave his side of the story about how I had been harassing him. On the other hand, where would all the fun be in all the mess of tattling. If Kiyoshi left, how would I get my rematch?
Sure enough somebody came from the 2nd squad. I gave the only story I could. It was dark and so I couldn't see the perpetrator. I tried to defend myself but whoever it was, was far too strong for me. So I almost died. That was when I blacked out.
They didn't argue with that, but it did make them suspicous of who had done it, but they finally left.
I sighed and sunk deeper into my bed. I closed my eyes to try and sleep, but all I wanted to do was test out my new shikai. My zanpakuto was whole again in its original state. Soon enough I would be healthy and would become stronger than everyone once more. Soon.