Byakuya met with the messenger from the high king in his garden. "Ah greetings young lord I am happy you obliged such a small creature such as me into your beautiful home." He bowed deeply to the captain. "I understand you have news of a reached out come of the negotiations with the other captains." The messenger nodded lightly and leaned his head toward an open cherry blossom. "Never have I smelled such lovely blossoms, there is something in the soil here that I have never encountered." Byakuya folded his arms and narrowed his eyes at the man."You did not come all this way to talk of soils and blossoms." The messenger snapped off a flower with an expert hand. "Unfortunately you are right. It has been nearly 6 months since the surge, 5 since the order was sent out, the same 5 you and your people have been allowed to search out the smith in KaraKura town to make any kind of report on. Now either you are hiding the facts....
no I would not believe it out of you....but how is your adopted little sister. Can you vouch for her? After all she isn't truly a Kuchiki." Byakuya stiffened at the insult. " Be careful of what you say in my house. Not even the high king could protect you here." The messenger merely nodded. "I am only a messenger, I am easily replaced. No more then a fragile tea cup that with one careless swipe could shatter on the floor. But you....You are a lord and have earned by your own hand the title of captain of the 6th squad of the 13 court squads. Not many would have even tried for such a level, especially when you are the only male heir of the clan." The messenger dropped the blossom and crushed it beneath his foot before walking ahead. Byakuya slipped it into his pocket before following the man to his families shrine. "You do them proud not even the high king has such a shrine to his ancestors. Then again he is who he has always been, but I am stalling to enjoy such surroundings without the gaggle of the court to blot such natural creation out from the simple messenger such as myself. Now to business unfortunately. I have received a very beneficial proposal from the high king himself for you. He says he knows how much you have missed your Hisana and that the stress of the selection has worn on you. So he has given some thought and has decided that if you bring the smith to him at any time-and I mean any time. You shall have your Hisana again. He shall use his powers to give you back your love in exchange for a creature you have never even met. A beast not worthy to even clean your feet. He has given you 24 hours to think the offer over before agreeing." Byakuya stilled and looked to the locked cabinet where Hisana's picture lay in its frame waiting for his prayers. To have her alive again to be a true family. The 3 of them and later children....."Yes, I agree. But to find this smith I must have more information. I have no idea on what they look like or what traits distinguish themselves from any other person. Reaper or living." The messenger smiled."Good, very good. I have with me a supposed smart phone, that is linked with the Book of Soul Smiths. Every smith that ever lived except for the very first is in the book...unfortunately the pages can not be turned back once they have been turned over. A safe guard against us. But once she uses her powers it will show up in the book and then on your phone. On the messages page. You will send us a photo of the girl once you have found her....
Hmm....I have heard you can be charming. If you can get her to the society of her own free will that would also help all our causes. In fact I would strongly suggest it." Byakuya's mind went blank as he digested the information. The man turned and studied him with a frown. Byakuya blinked and recovered from his shock. "A woman? The smith he desires to destroy is a woman? A girl?" The messenger rubbed his brow. "I hear doubt in your voice Lord Kuchiki. Do you not want to make the deal? You did give your answer quite hastily." Byakuya knew he had made a possible mistake but he had already said yes."No I agreed to it.I will not break the pact. I am just surprised that she even still exists if the high king fears her to such an extent as the orders claimed." The messenger frowned. "Fear? Fear is for little children and dying men not for the high king." He looked at the watch on his wrist. "Hmmm....it seems I am nearly late for yet another errand. If you will excuse me I will leave you now....and if you doubt...." Byakuya narrowed his eyes at the man. "Yes a Kuchiki is honorable to the last breath in his body. Hmmm….but youth and a deadly fascination with love can be harmful to ones honor. I know my way out, no need to see me to the door. Good hunting Lord Kuchiki." The man smiled and walked back the way he'd come without bowing. Byakuya grit his teeth knowing he'd made a bad bargain.
Ichigo winced as he heard the commotion from across the street at Marz lvanda's home. Where Abel was being put through his very intense training doubled by using his father along with Marz.It had been 5 months since he'd received his new powers. 5 months of the soul society trying to find this special soul smith. Not him. Though it didn't stop him from going through the sweats every hour. He'd lost at least 25 pounds since they'd taken over the school....and no Rukia. Not even by accident like that first night. Renji had his ear buds in listening to some kind of music as he wolfed down the bowl of oatmeal...
Ichigo hadn't been able to even think about oatmeal without thinking about those first few days when Abel had found out the hard way even angels aren't immune to allergies. Yuzu gave the window a worried look as it looked right into Ivanda's own dinning room. Ichigo gave her a hug and grabbed the cereal from the top shelf. Sliding out of the way so that his father could put his foot threw the kitchen wall right above the sink. "Damn it! You moved....uh-oh." Isshin's foot had found the water pipe and broke it in 1/2. Water sprayed slowly and then gushed out from under his foot where ever it could. "See what you did when you moved!" Ichigo shrugged it off and walked over to Renji pulling his ear buds out to hear...."In the latest news. Hyper Dandrin has been hailed as the next Babe Ruth of baseball. They are even thinking of going back to the old regulation fields just to see if he could be." The other commentator whistled. "Now that would really be something to see....wait....I thought there was something on the ticker tape about him.....yes. Yes! I was right! Here it is! Dandrin is supposed to be making a world wide tour to encourage the sport in other countries. Instead of war. Play baseball. I guess he figures if you're holding a bat and swinging at a ball you can't load up and shoot. Of course that doesn't stop them from bludgeoning their opponent with said bat, but who knows. If countries actually spent money on baseball, from the stadiums to the players it would probably cost the tax payers less money and we'd buy a lot of concessions. The only one who might end up dead would be the umpire if he made a bad call." The other commentator chuckled "Yeah that's one job I wouldn't want. So call us here at K-K-U-R-A 99.3 FM. Tell us what you think. Hey Tio let me see that schedule. Folks it looks like he's coming here for spring training before catching his flight back to the sunny shores of California....or was that Seattle? Seattle. I'm positive of it." Renji got up and hurried to the window to catch a signal, his phone in hand and dialing hurriedly. Ichigo rolled his eyes and went to his room. He grabbed up his pack and heard Chameleon stretching in his mind. "Morning brother Ichigo. School is such a boring place for me. I have been absorbing knowledge ever since I was given to you." Ichigo sighed. "Well next time keep your voice down in there. They've begun to think I'm nuts." Chameleon giggled lightly. "Sorry." Ichigo smirked and made sure the dagger his zenpakuto shrunk down to was in his pack for an overnight trip into the countryside. It was the only way for him to escape the madness encroaching in on his life. Chameleon hummed a soft tune and it eased his stress. " What is that tune?" Chameleon answered his question with a question. "You don't know?" Ichigo jaw muscle jumped. Which always made her answer. "It is the lullaby all Glory flower children are sung to sleep with. It was said that the Arch-Angel Michael sung it to the first Glory Flower smith child at his mother's funeral." Ichigo paled. "Her funeral?" Chameleon sighed. "No not every wife of a smith dies when they give birth. In those days war was a very common occurrence, thus so was death. His mother was the smith as well." Ichigo frowned. " Then how was the child taught how to be a smith?" He could tell he was angering Chameleon as she paused before answering."When a smith dies they pass on their knowledge to the next in line that way nothing is truly lost. Also the Glory flowers were just one of 13 clans, they weren't the only clan even if it did seem that way. So where are we going this time?"
Ichigo took out the map from his desk. "Why don't you pick it this time?" He heard her squeal with glee. " I really wish we were going alone.I don't need Renji nearly getting us caught bringing in the others,especially if they aren't in their ghigi's."
Ichigo had been camping in a field near town when Renji had plopped down to chat. He'd had to...to what would a reaper call it....flash travel to his school while his hair did the clothing change. He'd had to leave his camping gear there until morning as his body cramped up from the flash. Chameleon had been all over him about such drastic usage of his internal flame. "How do we get to the damn forges then?" Chameleon had shut-up then as if it was something she didn't want to talk about. Something had happened to her or to her last master."Just don't use it so carelessly. You could have just had your hair put on different clothing and said you had decided to get out of the city to enjoy nature at its finest." Ichigo sighed. "That may have worked if I could ignore Renji in the middle of my camp." Chameleon had taken a moment to think. "There are ways of getting around the ghigi it will take the both of you and it doesn't last long but it would be long enough to fool even a high ranking reaper...." That's what this weekend was going to be about. Renji was going to take his ghigi just in case.... His eyes went to the closet as they always did. As if they couldn't believe she wasn't....Ichigo hit himself hard with his advanced biology book. Why….why had it taken him so long to realize he loved her? He sighed heavily. Because he never thought he'd lose her. He thought he'd found someone who would never leave him, always be there to turn to. To....Damn it! He loved her and lost her....even if he never lost these new powers, Byakuya would never see him as anything but a tool to use when they couldn't handle the problem facing them. Renji came in with...."Hey that's my tooth brush!" Renji shrugged, Ichigo jumped him. They rolled on the floor for 5 minutes when Abel pulled them apart. He shook his head and threw them into a corner. "And they can't see the resemblance. Pig headed stubborn idiots and I have to be on my toes even when I'm asleep. Add one more to your little camping trip. At least Yuzu can pack me some snacks and baby me....Oh shit!" He ducked as Ichigo came in with a flying kick, and had to twist as Renji added a jump. "Alright then I'll just stay here and cozy up with her and a movie at a theatre. If....." This time he caught both kicks and flipped them both in the air. "Now come on which do you feel better with? Me here or me out there with the 2 of you....." He scratched his chin.
" Maybe that's not such a good idea." He had to make for the open window to avoid any more fighting. "Why don't we make it a guy's weekend and bring Chad and Uryu." He leaped off the window sill as they came close. Ichigo folded his arms as he looked down at the kid who still got spooked by car horns. "Admit it you like him, Ichigo." Renji smirked at his best....no they were family. Something inside his chest cracked and a new strength poured threw his veins. Ichigo was family. His body felt lighter and warmer with the thought. "I like him but if he ever hurt Yuzu....I'd kill him." Ichigo turned to Renji blinking and then smirked. "Yeah but he's her future.....mate. So we can't quite kill him. Maybe just wing him so that she can baby him and make him easier pickings for my dad and his....what the hell would he be? An angel can't have a foster father can he?" Renji shrugged and picked up the tooth brush from the floor and was about to put it back into his mouth when Ichigo popped him on in the mouth. "That was my damn tooth brush! " He grit his teeth. "Damn it! Chameleon choose a spot." The zenpakuto materialized and shook her head. "Boys. Alright. What about here?It has a good supply of water and the forest is close by. Abel was right we should have more then just the 5 of us out there." The two boy's faces went perplexed . "Us you idiots. She was counting us." Monkey slapped both on the backs of their heads while Snake cozied up next to Chameleon. Who always had a treat and a few kisses for his forehead whenever they appeared. As for Monkey they liked to spar with each other, sometimes they wore themselves ragged but both had smiles on their faces and saki soon after. "So do we go get the other 2?" Chad and Uryu found themselves in Kura's national park. Supposedly somewhere in it the legendary rebel had actually had a home. "So do you believe in him?" Chad asked the group. "I don't know. I mean I'm sure there was a Kura but as for the story....I just don't know. More like Robin Hood, more myth and legend then fact."
Renji said. Ichigo laughed. "You actually read Robin Hood?" Renji snarled. "So what? He gets the girl in the end...." Ichigo lost his smile. "Sorry."
Monkey rolled her eyes. "Oh just kiss already, you're so sappy. " Chameleon chuckled. "Thank goodness Toshiro isn't anywhere near here." Ichigo stated. "Why?" Snake asked. " Because he's got an itch for Chamel here." Monkey snorted. Snake's face became confused. "An itch for Chameleon? How can he have an itch for Chameleon she's not a mosquito ?" Chameleon flashed red and punched her sparing partner in the mouth and into the mud puddle left behind by the other night's storm. "Wow nice hit lady and with that mud all over her she won't soon forget it. You can get off now Abel." The wingless angel eased off queasily. But the scene made him steady. "What's going on here? Ichigo? Renji?" Marz handed the boy his pack. " Easy Big Wings they just had a little fun. That's all. A little teasing between family is a good thing. So you kiddies have a good time, but not too good that you forget to be here on time tomorrow night. I'll bring the car." He reversed his Harley before tossing Abel a hat. Abel caught it without looking even in its direction. " Don't disappoint me kid, this forest is going to be a test for all of you. I want some good vids to share back at home base to pick apart." Uryu blinked hard. "What did that mean? I thought this was only a camping trip to practice with Ichigo's new powers without the society butting in. Sorry Renji." Renji shrugged. " I'm a smith too." He looked at Ichigo."You didn't tell them?" Ichigo gave a Renji style shrug. "Why the hell didn't you tell them?" Another shrug. Abel stuck his wing in between as Renji's fist made for Ichigo. " Marz's only meant that we are our own worst enemy. Look at us. Look at yourselves. We aren't even to the camp site and we are tearing each other apart. We came here to learn to be a damn team and we are not making progress by being asses to each other." Ichigo felt his face redden. "Sorry I didn't tell them, but I didn't want anyone else to know that there were any more then just the 2. If things went wrong, if they came for me I didn't want anyone to know about you and the others. You are more soul reaper then smith. You can still have a life in the shadows."
Renji grit his teeth and ground his nails into his palms. " So you thought to be the lone sacrifice. How dare you! We're family. I have never had a family, a past to call out to the stars. I won't tread on what I was just given. I will stand with you to whatever end." Abel sighed and retracted his wings. " O.K. now that that's settled can we head out before noon. Or shall we fry in the hot hot sun."