Chapter Four: To Fight Once More

The path he chose was revenge, but the journey was to be riddled with death and despair long before he even laid eyes upon the one he wanted so dearly to murder with his own hands. With nearly everyone against him and only three friends at his side, it seems a suicidal mission. But he’ll do it.

 

He will do it.

 

Even if it costs him his life.

 

After all, it’s not like he really cared about it in the first place…

 

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            “Who the fuck are you?” he choked out, eyes blearily coming to a stop on the figure that stood over him.

 

            “Oh, that’s a nice greeting, isn’t it?” she scowled, brown eyes disdainful.

 

            “What else did you expect? I’m fucking dead!” he yelled back, tired of thinking about his situation over and over again.

 

            “Who said I wasn’t?” she growled back.

 

            At this, his eyes widened slightly, before glinting suspiciously. “You’re shitting me.”

 

            “What, did you think you’re the only dead person? Stop shitting yourself, Sherlock.” She rolled her eyes. “Forget it. Get the fuck out of that puddle so I can send you on.”

 

            “I never pegged you to be a cussing one, you know,” he muttered as he drew his knees under him, slowly lifting himself out of the murky puddle of blood and dirt. “And what the hell do you mean by send on?”

 

            “What else do you think it means?” she bit out, tired of the endless banter.

 

            “If it means what I think it means, then I have two words for you. Hell no.”

 

            She blinked, before her eyes hardened once more. “What did you say?”

 

            “Hell. No. Who died and made you decide what I’m supposed to do? I choose where I go.”

 

            “You did, apparently,” she sniped back. As she began to draw out her sword, he immediately slapped his hand on her wrist, preventing her from pulling the blade out any further.

 

            “First, before you do anything else, tell me this. What are you? Most ghosts I see don’t go around wielding swords and wearing black robes.” His voice grew louder, his questions suddenly pouring out of him. “And you know what the hell that thing was, don’t you? Were you just watching? Were you just going to stand there and let me die?” he hissed, fury dancing like icy fire in his eyes.

 

            “No!” she lashed back, eyes burning with an untold hate. She recomposed herself, closing her eyes for a second before opening them again. “No. I got here too late. I…”

 

            “I failed.” And with that, her shoulders dropped slightly, and the cold, unforgiving demeanor was replaced by a weary, battle-worn one. For the first time, he noticed that she was not much older than him, in appearance, anyways. She rose her eyes to meet his before she turned away, silent. When she spoke again, it was in a monotone voice, empty, desolate.

 

            “I am a shinigami, a death god, of the Gotei Thirteen. We are here to protect the ones that pass on, to maintain the balance between the living world and the world of the dead. That thing you saw… it feeds on souls, living or dead. They are a monstrous thing, Hollows… but they are to be pitied. They are souls like you or me, souls that have been left alone too long, souls that began to mutate, to transform, into the thing you saw here today. Into the very thing that killed you.” She looked back over her shoulder at him, before glancing once more at the grey skies.

 

            His eyes softened slightly. “So my blood is on your hands.”

 

            “Yes.” And suddenly she turned, hand on her sword once more. “Come; if I could not protect you this time, I can at least make sure you do not die a second death. There is nothing beyond the second life.”

 

            “No.” He stood his ground, firm. “I have something I need to do, and I won’t rest until it’s done.”

 

            “I should have known,” she sighed, sheathing her sword with a faint metallic click. She turned away once more, and began walking away without a backwards glance, her footfalls on the wet ground suddenly pounding in his ears.

 

            “Wait.” She stopped, but still did not look back. “Where are you going?”

 

            “There is nothing else I can do here.” She took another step, but suddenly, he dashed after her, laying his hand on her shoulder, holding her in place.

 

            “I heard you, you know,” he said, in a dangerously low voice. “You said… that there was a chance I could take, if I was willing. What is it?”

 

            She remained silent, before she spoke again. “It is a chance that I am not even sure will work. It’s a chance that could get you killed, and it is a chance that means I cannot go back on my word, for it will mean my death if it succeeds.” She looked at him, eyes blazing with regret, with a sudden desperation. “If this succeeds, I will die. There is nothing that will change that.”

 

            “I died before my time, you know. I’m only thirteen. I am not one of the centuries-old warriors of the squads. This… this is not a life I ever wanted. This isn’t something I wanted to continue. I fought, fought for my life before, and I failed. I’m tired of fighting.” She glanced back at him. “But you… you have more to live for than I ever will again. Fight me. Win. And I will give you the power you need. I will fight, one last time, one last glorious battle, for you. A fight to the death.”

 

            “Do you accept?”

 

            “…yes.”

 

            She smirked, life finally coming into those blank, empty eyes. And he felt his heart warm a little bit, just for the prospect of battle.

 

            “Then let the bloodbath begin.”