Prologue: Ascension

Bleach: The Road to Paradise | Next >>


Main Hall of the Thirteen Clans; Kyoto, Japan; 993 AD

Footsteps.

Oetsu Nimaiya let his mind relax. The Kidou spell in his hand wavered, threads slipping from the weave and dissipating. As the last traces vanished, he opened his eyes.

Shigekuni Yamamoto stood before him. He was only a hundred years old, and already a clan head, but that was the way things were when Hollows devoured clan leaders left and right.

“It is time,” said Yamamoto.

Nimaiya shook his head. “I still think someone else should cast it. Not me.”

“Only you are capable of creating a sufficiently large dimension.”

Nimaiya looked levelly at Yamamoto. “If I do this, the Thirteen Clans will not allow me to fight again,” he stated.

Yamamoto inclined his head. “Yes.”

“I will be safeguarded, or locked away, or sealed, for my own protection.”

“Yes. We cannot risk the dimension collapsing if you are killed.”

“I am the best fighter of all the clan heads.” Nimaiya’s tone was flat. “I am the best warrior in all Thirteen Clans. I am the worst possible person to be taken off the front lines.”

“There are more important things than fighting, Nimaiya. The Hollows are numerous because they infect the souls of the newly dead. But the Hollows cannot access the new dimension created by this spell. If we can send souls to the new dimension before Hollows infect them, then we destroy the Hollows at their source!” Yamamoto gestured sharply. “You will do far more good than through simple combat.”

“I can make the dimension and still fight.”

“No! You are too important, Nimaiya. We depend on you for the zanpakuto, and soon for the new dimension, too. The rest of us are pawns and lances, silvers and golds, but you are the king, Nimaiya. You cannot be risked for any reason, or else the game is lost.”

“There’s no risk, Yamamoto. I can take care of anything that stands in my way.”

“Really? Like that time you took care of things so well that Ichibei died to save you?

Anger flared hot and hard in Nimaiya’s chest.

That was not my fault! There were fifteen Hollows-”

“And there may be fifteen again! Or twenty, or fifty! And you will lose, and you will be devoured, and the Hollows will win. We will be killed, the world will be a Hollow wasteland, and Ichibei will have died for nothing.”

Silence.

“I swore I would avenge him,” said Nimaiya softly. “How, if I cannot fight?”

“Creating the new dimension will more than repay-”

Swear to me that you will destroy the Hollows in my place. Every last one.”

Yamamoto hesitated. “I swear.”

Nimaiya looked into Yamamoto’s eyes. There was a pause.

“Then I will do it.” Nimaiya’s words were heavy in his mouth.

“I am sorry to impose this burden on you. But you are the only one with sufficient skill.”

“Leave, before I change my mind.”

“Remember not to siphon from the guards,” Yamamoto warned. “In case the Hollows attack.”

Nimaiya nodded, and Yamamoto left the hall.

Nimaiya sat, and closed his eyes.

He raised a palm, and a million threads of pure energy wove themselves into a complex tapestry. This would be the most demanding spell he had ever performed. Inter-dimensional travel was straightforward; it was discovering where dimensions were located that was difficult. But creating a dimension from scratch was a completely different matter. Not only did it require a ridiculous number of threads, but any slight dimensional misalignment was liable to send everything slipping through the path of least resistance into a nearby dimension. Yamamoto had been right; Nimaiya didn’t doubt that the number of people in the Thirteen Clans capable of such precision could be counted on one hand.

Nimaiya felt his energy reserves quickly running dry. Here was the second reason he was suited to the task, although he had tried his best to deny it to Yamamoto. At that moment, every member of the Thirteen Clans was in the grounds, meditating as Yamamoto had instructed them to. Nimaiya reached out with his mind, touching the swords held by each of the ten thousand souls. Their zanpakuto. His zanpakuto. Fragments of his soul. They were him. He was them. In his mind, he saw the golden ribbons stretching out from each of them, converging on him.

Gently, he pulled.

The energy of ten thousand souls began to flow slowly into him. Nimaiya immediately spun it into thread, weaving complex patterns into the spell. With this, he could make a weave thousands of times bigger than when doing so alone. Of course, Nimaiya could have fed the siphoned energy into another person who would in turn cast the spell, as he’d tried suggesting to Yamamoto. But that would entail a significant energy loss, and that was before accounting for how inefficient their casting was, compared to him.

Nimaiya felt the presence of a number of souls whom he disliked, and was tempted to wrench away their zanpakuto completely. But he’d never hear the end of it from Yamamoto, and he’d be forced to give them another one anyway. They’d need the sword for their work. When the dimension was complete, access would be restricted only to those marked with the energy of its creator. This was the main innovation, the cornerstone of the new dimension. Hollows would be prevented from moving freely between it and other dimensions, unlike how they were travelling from their thrice-damned Hueco Mundo.

Due to that, if Nimaiya had been any other soul, he would have been required to personally mark every soul that wanted to take refuge in the new dimension. But it so happened that Nimaiya was the one person able to give parts of his soul to others, in the form of a sword. Everyone possessing a zanpakuto was thus capable of marking another soul using that piece of him. It was a piece of excellent luck for the Thirteen Clans. Not so lucky for me, Nimaiya grumbled internally.

Nimaiya felt the pool of energy running low. If he drew very much more, he would risk evaporating the zanpakuto. The weave was now several times the size of Honshu; still not as big as he would have liked, but probably larger than what anyone else might have achieved. Even if they had the same energy reserve to draw from. Amateurs. If only there had been someone else.

Nimaiya looped the weave into an enormous sphere, and examined it for any final flaws. Finding none, he slowly released his grip. He let go of the final threads, and felt the weave cool. Pure energy solidified, and it was done.

Nimaiya exhaled and opened his eyes.

The world came back into focus. No. The human world, it should be called.

After all, there was a new one now.


The Road to Paradise | Next >>

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