[This topis is separated into stages to represent each challenge she faces through her training~ Word count is everything that is NOT in brackets ^^ Enjoy the read. It took me all day to type x.x]
Phase One ~ The Meeting
It was a calm, quiet morning in the Seireitei. The sun was just rising high into the powder blue sky, painting the heavens with a soft orange hue. The sun resembled a giant golden disk, a soft yellow aura radiating from the massive, otherworldly star. A few fluffy white clouds decorated the celestial canvas, making it a beautiful scenery to behold. All the Shinigami within the Seireitei were starting to rise and begin their duties. Running errands, taking on missions, and delivering supplies and messages were just part of the mundane tasks a Shinigami had to uphold. However, there was one who had a more important task at hand. Yachiru Kusajishi, the young Lieutenant of Squad thirteen, had received a message from the Ichibantaicho and Central Forty-Six. A member of squad five had delivered it to her personally, meaning it had to have been important if a hell butterfly wasn't used. Apparently the Captain of her squad, Kenji Mamoru, had been removed from duty and Yachiru was the candidate to replace him. There was one catch, however...Yachiru had yet to achieve Bankai. In order to claim her new position, she first had to achieve the coveted show of power that all shinigami strive for. Yachiru took the news in stride and was quite excited. She responded to the message, reporting that she'd begin training first thing in the morning. Now morning has come and the young woman stirred from her slumber with determination in those dark pink eyes.
She practically leapt out of bed, wearing only her undergarments. She bolted to the small wardrobe within her sleeping chambers and shuffled through the messy pile of clothing until she found what she wanted. She started dressing from the bottom up. She first pulled on her tabi, then giggled while wiggling her toes in the strange notched socks. Then came her hakama. She tugged them on while doing the one legged dance that most do when pulling pants on while standing. She soon lost balance and fell back onto her bed. She laughed a bit and just finished pulling her pants on while laying down. She then rolled back onto her feet and grabbed the white hakama-himo sash, threading it through the odd "belt loops" as she called them, then tied it in a messy bow just below her waist. After all that was done, she bound her chest in white bandaging. It was somewhat constricting, but she didn't like having the twins unrestrained. She felt that she'd end up like Matsumoto. The thought made her shudder. She was too content with having a functioning spine. Next came her white shitagi. She pulled that on and bound it shut before tucking the ends into her hakama. Then her kosode was put on, following the same actions as her shitagi. Her final piece of attire was Kenpachi Zaraki's haori. She never left anywhere without it and refused to take it off no matter how many times she was scolded. It was a very important possession to her, even more so than sweets. She lightly smiled and hugged the haori close while whispering softly. "I won' let you down, Kenny..."
She then put the haori on before grabbing Moumoku, her Zanpakuto. It was resting against the wall next to her bed. She tied him to her hakama-himo by it's loose cord, then hurried out of the barracks. She had a plan on how she could learn her Bankai, and it started with meeting Moumoku himself.
The training grounds for her division were located behind the barracks. The turf was a dull beige color, the grass no longer growing due to the damaged ground. There were a few straw training dummies on posts scattered around the field, obviously targets for swordsmanship training. Upon she arrived at the training grounds, she looked around to see if anyone was present. The area looked empty. Perfect. She didn't know what the power of her bankai was, and knew that if she achieved it here, she didn't want to be responsible for anyone else getting hurt. She stood in the center of the field, then drew Moumoku from his sheathe. The blade gave of a bright flash of light as the silver surface was hit by the sun's golden touch. Yachiru smiled and held the blade out in front of her, simply basking in the beauty of the weapon for a moment. She then brought her blade in close, it now giving off an aqua blue aura while pulsing with power. She placed a gentle kiss upon the cold steel before whispering to the weapon softly. "Moumoku...allow me to join you amongst the flames of your domain...Open the gates to your chambers and let me enter.. I am worthy..."
Azure flames erupted from the blade as Yachiru spoke. At that moment, she stabbed her blade into the ground. The flames surged and enveloped Yachiru in the sapphire inferno. The next thing she knew, she was in the domain of the Blind Midnight Phoenix.
Moumoku's inner world is what one would describe as the burning pits of hell. The sky was black with streaks of crimson and blue. Burning embers rained from the sky almost constantly. The ground was no more than a rocky crag composed of sharp obsidian glass and volcanic rock. Fiery pillars erupted from open fissures in the terra firma. The place was always hot. Yachiru was already sweating from the immense heat. She approached what looked like a massive nest made of stone and fire. A ring of bright azure flames circled the rocky domicile. Within it, slept the great beast himself. "Moumoku..."
Yachiru called out softly to her dear friend. The massive avian beast lifted his head, his milky white eyes falling upon the young woman. The earth below her feet began to shake as the massive creature stirred. He slowly stood, stretching his extravagant wings while letting out a thundering cry that could wake the dead. His display caused the flames encircling his nest to erupt into a raging inferno before calming once again. With a single thrust of his mighty wings, he was airborne and approaching Yachiru. He landed a mere fifty feet in front of her. The great beast stood at over thirty feet in height, twice the size of the one she summoned during her shikai. His blazing wings stretched to almost a hundred feet in total. He lowered his head to Yachiru's level before greeting her with a gentle nuzzle against her arm with his massive beak. Yachiru smiled and lightly brushed her fingers against the side of his face, her fingers combing through his fiery feathers with no harm coming to her. "Moumoku....I have come to ask about how I unlock your true power....how do I attain our Bankai? I want everyone to revel in your majestic beauty, I just need to know how I do it. I seek your council..."
Moumoku listened, then slowly lowered himself into a lying position, his wings now folded against his body. He soon began to speak, his deep booming voice echoing all throughout the phoenix's fiery kingdom. "Lady Yachiru....to first be able to reveal our final release....you must first manifest me into your world....not here... Milady... the version of me that you summon during your initial release is no more than a than a tenth of my power...You must be able to bring out my full strength to release my full power and bring me into your world. Once you do this, I will instill you with that power, thus releasing our final release... Do you understand, Milady?"
Yachiru listened intently as her friend spoke. She processed his words, then nodded as he asked if she understood. Moumoku nodded as well, then stretched out his wings again. Yachiru was it with a wave of superheated air, yet was till unharmed by the heat. Moumoku made sure that his temperatures would never harm her. "Go now, Milady....you have work to do..."
Yachiru smiled and bowed to Moumoku in thanks. "Thank you, my friend...Your help is appreciated.."
In that instant, her eyes opened to find herself back in the training grounds. The cool morning breeze made her shiver after being in such a hot place. She lightly smiled and drew her blade from the ground. She placed a gentle kiss on the blade, then smiled. There was much work to be done now.
Phase Two ~ The Awakening
Yachiru began to ponder on how she should go about training for her Bankai. She remembered Moumoku saying that she had to manifest him into her world instead of just his inner world. She began to think for a while, her train of thought soon broken by the sensation of pulses coming from her blade. She shifted her gaze to the weapon, noticing it giving off a bright blue aura. She smiled and nodded to her weapon. Moumoku was telling her what to do. She gripped her blade tightly in her right hand, her blade extended, the tip pointing directly in front of her. Her left hand moved up and gripped just below the right hand. She felt her reiatsu flowing through her body and into her blade, fueling the bright blue aura that now enveloped her sword. She closed her eyes and slowly whispered the command to stir Moumoku's power and bring out her initial release. "Awaken from your eternal slumber....Ai no jigoku...Moumoku Mayonara Fushichou..."
Her words triggered the start of her Shikai.
The area around Yachiru erupted into a burst of bright blue flames as her first release was triggered. The flames swirled around her body and blade in a vibrant display. Her blade turned let black, seemingly charred by the flames. It began to transform, taking on the shape of a four foot long broadsword. The blade's edges became jagged and serrated, meant for ripping and tearing her targets. The flames began to quickly burn away her clothing, the ashes of her shihakusho swirling around her, along with the flames, while her new attire began to form. Aqua blue threads of reiatsu and thousands of bright blue phoenix feathers began to close in and condense around Yachiru's bare flesh. In another burst of flames, the garment was complete. Above her, a mass of her own reiatsu, along with more flames, began to take the form of a large azure bird. The shape solidified, becoming a smaller version of Moumoku. He stood at fifteen feet in height. He stretched his bright blue wings, the appendages stretching to fifty feet in total wing span. The avian creature let out a cry similar to Moumoku's upon awakening. He circled high above Yachiru, soaring slowly, his cloudy white stare watching her closely as she finished the change. Her left hand released her blade, her right hand swiftly swinging the weapon towards her right side. She released the flames, the fires around her extinguishing to reveal Yachiru in her Shikai form. She was now dressed in a bright azure kimono composed of her own reiatsu and extravagant phoenix feathers. The garment hugged her upper body tightly, forming to fit her every curve. The bottom half opened just at her knees, the bottom half flowing like an elegant train behind her. She gripped her blade tightly and looked up at her avian companion, lightly smiling. "Now I just have to figure out how to wake up your big brother."
She chuckled a bit and closed her eyes while the massive bird landed behind her, his massive wings encircling her. "Concentrate, Milady....You must concentrate to awaken our true power...."
Yachiru listened to the bird's words, her eyes remaining closed as she focused on her own inner power. She began to work on building her reiatsu up within herself and within the bird that enveloped her. She felt a warm sensation starting to grow within her body like a small spark that ignited a flame within her very soul. She exhaled slowly, trying hard to summon her inner power to awaken Moumoku and manifest him in front of her. She started to grow impatient however. She sighed and opened her eyes. "I....I can't get it.... What am I doing wrong, Moumoku..? Am I not strong enough?"
Yachiru was on the brink of giving up. She felt like she just wasn't right for it. She then remembered how Kenji treated her during their last mission. He treated her like she was weak. Like she couldn't handle a simple hollow. He treated her like a child. At that moment, the small fire within her began to slowly erupt into a raging inferno, fueled by her desire to prove herself. Her reiatsu began to flow from her body at an unimaginable strength, though was kept from escaping by Moumoku's wings. She gripped her blade tighter, a dark cerulean blue aura now surrounding her body. She poured a massive amount of reiatsu into her blade now, then thrust the blade upward, driving it through the phoenix's heart. Upon impact, she poured her reiatsu into the bird. "Awaken! Rekka Netsubo No Moumoku Fushichou!"
Phase Three ~ Bankai
A torrent of sapphire colored flames burst from the phoenix as Yachiru's blade impaled him through the chest. The massive bird cried out, Yachiru's reiatsu dying the bird's sky blue body a darker tint of blue as his body began to grow larger and larger. The massive creature was now twice it's normal size, it's fiery wings surrounding Yachiru in the sapphire inferno. The gigantic bird let out an ear splitting cry that rattled the Seireitei while Yachiru's spiritual pressure was set free. Her first kimono was being burned away by the intensity of Moumoku's flames. She was soon left bare, a blazing twister encircling her nude form, replacing the incinerated kimono with a newer, more extravagant one. Feathers of crimson and gold moulded to her every curve, binding to her flesh by her reiatsu. This kimono was far more complex and extravagant than the previous one. The main part of the garment was sleeveless, it binding her tightly from the chest, down. A cluster of crimson and gold feathers, forming the shape of wings, covered her breasts. Her torso was covered by the spiraling mixture of the two regal colors before flaring out at the hips. The hem of the feather garment stopped at her mid thigh and was garnished with what resembled short tail feathers. On the rear area of the hem were sixteen longer tail feathers, organized in a pattern of crimson, then gold, then crimson again, then gold. Each glorious feather was three feet long and was incredibly soft to the touch. The tips fanned out beautifully, the center of the fan pattern was a diamond shaped mark, each diamond being black in color. Meanwhile, Moumoku made his presence known by landing with a thundering crash directly in front of Yachiru. He stood at his full height of thirty feet, each forty foot long wing folded tightly against his body as his massive head lowered to look down at Yachiru. She looked back up at him, her dark pink eyes meeting his glassy white gaze. Moumoku nodded in approval before speaking in his usual deep, booming voice. "Well done, Milady.....You've summoned me by your will to be stronger....Now.... We shall see if you are worthy to hold my full strength....I'm going to grant you this gift, Lady Yachiru.....I'm going to grant you your Bankai....Your gift.....The raging fires of the Blind Phoenix.... I suggest you brace yourself, Milady..."
Yachiru nodded and took a defensive stance, preparing herself for whatever Moumoku was about to do.
The massive bird stretched his enormous wings and, in one great thrust, he was airborne yet again. Her circled high above the division barracks three times, gradually gaining speed. Once he gained enough speed, he did an aerial back flip, folding his wings in as he did a straight nose dive, aiming straight for Yachiru. Yachiru closed her eyes, trusting Moumoku to the fullest. As Moumoku dove towards her, he decreased in size. Upon impact with Yachiru's body, he was no larger than your average falcon. The moment he hit Yachiru, he was swiftly absorbed into her body. She let out a slight groan as she felt her spiritual pressure multiply tenfold. Her eyes shot open. They were no longer that gentle dark pink hue. They were a glassy, milky white color however, unlike Moumoku, she still held her vision. The feathers on the back of her kimono slowly drifted off of her back as a pair of sapphire blue wings emerged from her back. Each wind was about seven feet in length and was composed of nothing more than blazing feathers and reiatsu. They were incredibly hot to the touch, much like Moumoku's feathers that covers his body. The blade in Yachiru's right hand began to change yet again. The black charred look on the blade began to chip away, revealing a deep cerulean blade, it taking it's original katana look but two feet longer than the average Katana. The blade itself was enveloped in deep blue flames, giving off an immense amount of heat. Yachiru dropped to her knees as the flames that encircled her body extinguished, revealing her Bankai form. She panted lightly, bracing herself up by digging her blade into the ground. She groaned and forced herself to her feet. She had to force herself to handle the power given fo her. "I can take it....I have to....I have to prove everyone wrong....I can master it!"
She now stood on her feet, her wings stretching and flexing as she tested them out. She grinned and was about to go on a test flight when a voice echoed within her. A familiar voice. Moumoku's voice. "Milady....listen to me...Take your blade and stab it into the earth below your feet....Trust me and do as I say...."
Yachiru nodded and did as he commanded. She took her blade into both hands, pointing the tip downward. With all her strength, she buried half of her blade deep into the gravely earth.
At first, nothing happened. Yachiru was curious as to why Moumoku told her to do it. She was about to remove her blade when the ground beneath her feet began to tremble. A fissure began to stretch from either side of her blade, stretching eight feet in both directions. Yachiru's eyes widened and watched as the fissure parted and opened like a gaping mouth. Bright blue flames shot up from the craggy opening, leaving Yachiru staring in awe. "Milady...wield the flames with your reiatsu....This is our Bankai ability....Flame Burial....Trust yourself and wield it how you see it in our heart....You can master it if you try hard enough... I believe in you, Milady..."
Yachiru grinned as Moumoku gave her a little pep talk. She then poured her reiatsu into the flames, commanding them to take the shape of two large clawed hands. Yachiru smiled happily as she watched the claws emerge from the crag. She then did as Moumoku said and began to wield the claws as if they were part of her own body. By controlling her reiatsu, she sent the claws towards one of the few standing training dummies. The claws gripped it tightly, the heat of the claws turning the straw dummies to ash upon contact. Yachiru blinked and watched a pile of ash form in the palms of the claws. She grinned and sent the claws to grip something a little more sturdy. A boulder that had always annoyed the shinigami of the thirteenth division. The claws gripped the large rock, its surface turning red hot upon contact. They two claws began to drag the rock towards the craggy fissure, pulling it into the oblivion of the crevice. Moumoku's voice began to right in Yachiru's head again. "Once the object has been pulled into the fissure, take out your blade...."
Yachiru nodded and waited, using her reiatsu to pull the claws into the fissure, dragging the rock closer and closer. Then the bolder was pulled into the fissure, bright blue flames now erupting from the cracked earth. Yachiru then yanked her blade from the ground, causing the craggy opening to seal itself shut, leaving the area looking as if the fissure was never there. The boulder was gone, trapped within the earth below. Yachiru then dropped to her knees, panting lightly. She used a lot of her reiatsu, her body practically drained. She had done it. She was able to summon and wield her Bankai. "Milady...you may seal me now...You've done it....You have achieved our true power....You have achieved Bankai..."
Yachiru smiled weakly and sealed her blade by sliding it into its sheathe. The wings on her back extinguished like normal flames, her eyes returning to their soft pink color. The feathers that composed her outfit began to slowly drift off of her form before evaporating into reishi particles. She had reverted back to her normal self, wearing only Zaraki's haori. The only reason it didn't incinerate like the rest of her clothes was because of her love towards it. Moumoku knew of how much it meant to her, so his flames spared it for that reason alone. She stumbled and suddenly collapsed, hitting the dusty ground with a loud thud. She was completely drained and in dire need of rest. She slept there on the ground for two days until she was found by a couple other members of squad thirteen. If she was conscious at the time, she could have wondered what had taken them so long...
Phase Four ~ Success
Yachiru woke up almost a week later, having been asleep the entire time after she had achieved her Bankai. Her division mates began to thing she'd never wake up. They found her almost eight days ago, laying unconscious in the training grounds. She was carried into the division and placed in her bed. She's been there ever since. She finally stirred, her entire body in excruciating pain from the amount of strain she put it through while training. She sat up slowly, groaning in pain. She realized she was left naked, sighing slightly. Part of her wished some of the squad members had the decency to dress her. At least she was still wearing Zaraki's haori. She smiled and laid back down, glancing over at the wall near her bed to find Moumoku laying against it. She chuckled and watched as it gave off a light blue aura. "I know, my friend, I know.... I'm happy too. We did it... together.... Now I'll be able to take over for Ken-sama... I'm going to make him and Kenny proud of me..."
Moumoku pulsed with a darker blue aura, his voice echoing from within the sword. "I believe in you, Milady....I have faith in you. I know you'll do well. Never give up and prove your worth. I'll always be by your side to aide you. Just don't strain yourself anymore, Lady Yachiru...You worry me when you do that."
Yachiru chuckled at his words and curled up in her bed. "I won't, Moumoku...I promise I won't... though this time, it was worth the strain. I'll report to the Ichibantaicho tomorrow, reporting that I have achieved Bankai."
Moumoku pulsed again while speaking. "Yes..rest now, Milady...you need to recover your lost reiatsu. Just rest and deal with business tomorrow."
Yachiru chuckled, her eyes slowly drifting shut. She was utterly exhausted. Training for such an immense amount of power had completely drained her. She was still feeling it after being comatose for a week. She didn't want to sleep, however. She was too excited and was aching to report her successful training. But Moumoku was right, though she was sure she'd have a mass of paperwork waiting for her along with the undying need to report her news. The paperwork wasn't important, though her news was, but she wouldn't make it too far with how her body ached. She needed her rest and Moumoku wasn't going to let her do otherwise. Her eyes slowly drifted shut, she soon falling back asleep, dreaming of how proud Kenpachi would be of her for obtaining her Bankai and of the power she could obtain in the near future.
[Training Complete: 4078/4000 words]