Support the GITP forums on Patreon
Help support GITP's forums (and ongoing server maintenance) via Patreon
Page 1 of 5 12345 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 129
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Gender
    Male

    Default [BitPR2] Extra Episode 1: Secrets of the Generals

    [Soul Society]
    On the way to Headquarters

    After visiting Sabitsura Sho and guiding the visitors from the Royal Guard to Black Dragon Gate, Zheng Li Lin limps through the darkening streets towards Li's new office. The old Commander is hardly on a happy mood, but it can't be allowed to distract from Li's various new duties.

    One, in particular, stands clear in Li's mind: that of getting acquianted with Li's new Vice-Commander. Izanagi-no-Mikoto, the corner-stone of Gotei and Shinoreijutsuin alike, left too suddenly and took too many secrets with him; now, the former Medicine-and-Logistics head is determined to not repeat his mistakes.

    As street lamps spark outside to shed light to the coming night, Zheng Li Lin arrives in Headquarters and seeks out the current Duty Officer. "Good, ah, night. I'm here for my Vice-Commander. Sadly, his name eludes me, but you ought to find him on the roster." The Commander probably did read it on a report earlier that day, as Li heard this person was involved in the fight with Sho. Still, Li has not interacted much with the man. The previous Vice-Commander, one Amaterasu Naomi who was tragically executed, is sill in better memory.

    "Tell him to come and meet me in the lobby. He has 30 minutes."
    "It's the fate of all things under the sky,
    to grow old and wither and die."

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Orc in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [BitPR2] Extra Episode 1: Secrets of the Generals

    "I would only need thirty seconds, sir." Koutarou replied from nearby.

    "My apologies for not being present to the meeting earlier. I had been busy reviewing the active rosters of each division and helping with the defensive sortie following the Arrancar arrivals. And then there was the emergency with the Ryoka. You can expect my full report on that to arrive shortly."

    He took a light bow.

    "Congratulations on your promotion, Commander-General. I look forward to working with you."
    The Void, the Cold Steel, the Just Sword courtesy of Prime32.

    AWSUM

    Spoiler
    Show

    This one's new.
    Spoiler
    Show

    I met a girl with a really pensive look. I walk up to her, put a fifty cent coin in her hand, "For your thoughts. I know the going rate is supposed to be one, but I figure you play hardball."

    She gave it back, "Keep it. Pretty sure a guy with your charm can find a way to have them for free anyway."

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [BitPR2] Extra Episode 1: Secrets of the Generals

    Li is surprised by Koutarou's presence, scanning him from head to toe as the man approaches. "Technically, she is not a Ryoka. I did officially let her into Gotei. She is, however, rankless, and going to stay that way for a long while. But enough of that. I'm sick and tired of talking of her."

    Li beckons towards the door. "We'll be going to the central warehouses. It will be a long night. I hope you have not been drinking."
    "It's the fate of all things under the sky,
    to grow old and wither and die."

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Orc in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [BitPR2] Extra Episode 1: Secrets of the Generals

    "Never on duty, rarely off, sir. I don't find drinking entertaining in and of itself." Koutarou noted as he accompanied the elder.

    "With all due respect, we didn't know it at the time. In any case, moving on.

    What would you like to discuss, Commander?"
    The Void, the Cold Steel, the Just Sword courtesy of Prime32.

    AWSUM

    Spoiler
    Show

    This one's new.
    Spoiler
    Show

    I met a girl with a really pensive look. I walk up to her, put a fifty cent coin in her hand, "For your thoughts. I know the going rate is supposed to be one, but I figure you play hardball."

    She gave it back, "Keep it. Pretty sure a guy with your charm can find a way to have them for free anyway."

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [BitPR2] Extra Episode 1: Secrets of the Generals

    "A lot of things", Li replies curtly. "If you've not been drinking, then have you perhaps hit your head badly earlier today? There's some uncertainty to your steps and your gaze is off."

    As they talk, Li leads them outside and sets on a path through the city. It should quickly become apparent to Koutarou that they're not walking even remotely to the same direction as where the warehouses lie. Instead, it appears the Commander is leading him towards the Central Hospital... though there should be a more direct route there too.
    "It's the fate of all things under the sky,
    to grow old and wither and die."

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Orc in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [BitPR2] Extra Episode 1: Secrets of the Generals

    "Direct result of the subject we're trying to avoid, sir. I've received proper care, though - it should be fine in a day or so." By which he means the Commander's assumption is on the money. "Luckily, I was wearing appropriate headgear at the time."
    The Void, the Cold Steel, the Just Sword courtesy of Prime32.

    AWSUM

    Spoiler
    Show

    This one's new.
    Spoiler
    Show

    I met a girl with a really pensive look. I walk up to her, put a fifty cent coin in her hand, "For your thoughts. I know the going rate is supposed to be one, but I figure you play hardball."

    She gave it back, "Keep it. Pretty sure a guy with your charm can find a way to have them for free anyway."

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [BitPR2] Extra Episode 1: Secrets of the Generals

    "Good. The last thing I need is having my replacement rendered comatose by a 'sparring accident'. " There is absolutely no humor to be found in the last two words. Then, Li stops dead on Li's tracks.

    "We're here."

    Here, in this case appears to be a lot of empty land somewhere around halfway between Black Dragon Gate, warehouse district and the Central Hospital. Hey, wait a second. Since when has there been an unbuilt lot in the middle off...?

    " 被揭示 "

    As the Commander's words echo from the buildings, the air ripples strangely and space seems to expand in the middle of the lot. One by one, three greenhouses made from dark blue glass shimmer into visibility, though they remain just dark shadows against a greater darkness of the sky.

    Li leads Koutarou to the greenhouse with number 2 emblazoned on the door. Inside, it is pitch-black until the Commander hits an unseen switch with the bamboo cane, after which dim blue lights (possibly ultra-violet?) alight the room. It is filled with various plants, mostly ferns. There are two work benches, one filled with vials, pliers and other chemistry equipment, the second bearing a pile of books and papers. The air is humid and opressingly warm.

    There is only one chair present. "Come in and close the door, please", Li tells Koutarou as the elder walks to and sits on the chair.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Li is speaking chinese. That phrase is spelled "Bi jiēsh" and means "Be revealed".
    Last edited by Frozen_Feet; 2013-07-04 at 03:37 PM.
    "It's the fate of all things under the sky,
    to grow old and wither and die."

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Orc in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [BitPR2] Extra Episode 1: Secrets of the Generals

    "Fascinating. I had no idea such an installation lay inside the confines of Seireitei." Koutarou nods idly to himself.

    He looks around, and while he finds the plantlife unremarkable in and of itself, the effort given towards concealing it is anything but. The officer finds himself looking the structure over in marvel and wonderment.

    He turns to the elder, apparently not mindful of the greenhouse's conditions. Koutarou waits for his commanding officer's words.
    The Void, the Cold Steel, the Just Sword courtesy of Prime32.

    AWSUM

    Spoiler
    Show

    This one's new.
    Spoiler
    Show

    I met a girl with a really pensive look. I walk up to her, put a fifty cent coin in her hand, "For your thoughts. I know the going rate is supposed to be one, but I figure you play hardball."

    She gave it back, "Keep it. Pretty sure a guy with your charm can find a way to have them for free anyway."

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [BitPR2] Extra Episode 1: Secrets of the Generals

    The Commander raises an eyebrow. "You didn't? It's not their existence that's secret, you know. Though I guess it's understandable if you'd never have to come looking for them." Li reaches to grab one of the books.

    "These gardens are a little retreat of mine. During the last years, I've relocated my most important works here in preparation of my retirement from Gotei. I intended to take them with me once my tenure as the Academy Chief Instructor would've been over. Alas, that did not go as planned."

    Li flips the pages with familiarity, apparently not bothered by lack of light despite Li's age. Or it may be Li's not actually reading the book. "That's why I've not maintained an office in the Central Hospital, and also why I haven't used the one over at the Academy after copying the most important works there. I'm rather amazed so few people have noticed." Finally, Li finds what Li was looking for, and pulls a slip of parchment from between the pages.

    "That's why I brought you here. In the case I will be forcibly reincarnated in the coming weeks, you will inherit this place. I don't expect you to do much with herbs, fungi and a couple of rats, but I hope you will enjoy a private sanctuary where you can be fairly sure to remain unbothered should you feel the need for that."


    "Despite the long history of Gotei, I'm only the third Commander-General. My two predecessors did not, unfortunately, see fit or have the chance to name their successors. As such, much of the knowledge they held is now missing. Even if it will turn out to be a futile gesture, I will try to learn from their mistakes and during the next four nights tell you everything I can about the history of our organization. History that is not known to many people other than me anymore, sad as it is."

    Li lifts gaze from the parchment to look Koutarou in the eyes. "I hope it will give you some perspective for the day when you must assume my role. Let me ask you a question: why do we of Gotei fight Hollows?"
    "It's the fate of all things under the sky,
    to grow old and wither and die."

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Orc in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [BitPR2] Extra Episode 1: Secrets of the Generals

    That is rather a lot to absorb. Koutarou wasn't aware that Li held him in such regard, especially considering the Commander had not apparently been acquainted with him as of less than five minutes ago.

    But as he is asked a question, Koutarou's mindset snaps back to that of a soldier.

    "To protect ourselves. At least, in theory. Some might argue we fight Hollows so we will not fight amongst ourselves, given what little I know of the founding reasons for Seireitei.

    Ultimately, each soldier has his or her own reason to fight the Hollows, but ideally, we should fight only because we have to."
    The Void, the Cold Steel, the Just Sword courtesy of Prime32.

    AWSUM

    Spoiler
    Show

    This one's new.
    Spoiler
    Show

    I met a girl with a really pensive look. I walk up to her, put a fifty cent coin in her hand, "For your thoughts. I know the going rate is supposed to be one, but I figure you play hardball."

    She gave it back, "Keep it. Pretty sure a guy with your charm can find a way to have them for free anyway."

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [BitPR2] Extra Episode 1: Secrets of the Generals

    Li smirks at Koutarou's reply. "That is a good answer. You may have much more insight to the matter than most. The answer I expected would've been 'because Hollows are our enemies!'. For your curiosity, here is what we thought thousand years ago, when I was just a lowly intern building the Central Hospital:"

    "The Court Guard was founded to prevent a war between Noble Families. Yet, in fifty decades, no military threat, internal or external, has appeared. As such, we of the Central 36, chosen amongst the wisest men of Rukon and Seireitei alike, demand that to make up for the costs of its upkeep, as a peace-time duty every member of Gotei 13 resume the most holiest of duties of Shinigami: that of purifying Hollows and guiding lost souls to their deserved resting place."


    Li extends a hand and offers the parchment for Koutarou to read. It most likely is not the original, but it is still written in archaic form of Kanji.

    "Peace-time duty. That is what we considered it back then. The thought of an army of Hollows would've been nonsensical to most of us at the time. 'Do you call a pack of wolves an army now?' would have been the question most would've asked when faced with such a concept."


    Li starts flipping through pages of the book again. "There were much fewer people back then, and correspondingly much fewer Hollows. All the supremely powerful Hollows of myth had already been dealt with at that point. But for contrast, do you want to know what kind of relation we had to Hollows when the Academy was found? Or before the Academy was found?"
    "It's the fate of all things under the sky,
    to grow old and wither and die."

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Orc in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [BitPR2] Extra Episode 1: Secrets of the Generals

    "The closest answer to that which I can find is 'hunting game'. The sentience of Hollows has never come up as an issue before, mostly because they've never made much use of that sentience. But something changed, hasn't it?" Koutarou replies as he peruses the parchment. "I don't doubt that someone, somewhere, has asked himself something that's essentially closer to what the Espada proposed - if Hollows are a product of spiritual nature going about its business, why do we fight them?

    Although that's a moot point now, I suppose. Whether we started hunting Hollows out of sport or duty, the fact remains that the hatred between Shinigami and Hollow runs deep."
    The Void, the Cold Steel, the Just Sword courtesy of Prime32.

    AWSUM

    Spoiler
    Show

    This one's new.
    Spoiler
    Show

    I met a girl with a really pensive look. I walk up to her, put a fifty cent coin in her hand, "For your thoughts. I know the going rate is supposed to be one, but I figure you play hardball."

    She gave it back, "Keep it. Pretty sure a guy with your charm can find a way to have them for free anyway."

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [BitPR2] Extra Episode 1: Secrets of the Generals

    "Hatred?" Li stops flipping throught the book. The word lingers heavy in moist air before the Commander resumes.

    "I don't hate Hollows. I have never hated them. In fact, hating Hollows is the most childish thing a Shinigami could do."

    "I am a pacifist at heart. I've never tried to hide this fact. The arts of war are extremely distasteful to me. Raising a blade against a human or fellow Shinigami makes my very being ache. A thousand years ago, if someone had told me I would one day be the Commander-General of Gotei, I would have taken it as an insult."
    Li closes the book.

    "Yet, for a century now, I have taught new soldiers how to fight Hollows in the Academy. And I've done it with pure consequence. Ask yourself, what makes a Hollow soul so qualitatively different that I would do that?"
    Last edited by Frozen_Feet; 2013-07-04 at 05:22 PM.
    "It's the fate of all things under the sky,
    to grow old and wither and die."

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Orc in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [BitPR2] Extra Episode 1: Secrets of the Generals

    "While I understand and respect your position on the matter, Commander, it is difficult, at best, to raise an efficient soldier with the mindset of a pacifist. I myself dislike fighting on principle, and believe me - I would relish nothing more than the opportunity to settle this diplomatically.

    Unfortunately, I doubt any peace treaty with the Hollows would hold."


    There is a tinge of sadness in Koutarou's voice. He understands - or at least believes he understands - the contradiction that the matter imposes. Si vis pacem para bellum - if you seek peace, get ready for war.

    "As long as the state of affairs is what it is, achieving peace would be... difficult. We have no deterrents and no compromise. 'Conventional' peace, such as the human world knows it, isn't something the Gotei will ever be able to achieve as it is. "
    The Void, the Cold Steel, the Just Sword courtesy of Prime32.

    AWSUM

    Spoiler
    Show

    This one's new.
    Spoiler
    Show

    I met a girl with a really pensive look. I walk up to her, put a fifty cent coin in her hand, "For your thoughts. I know the going rate is supposed to be one, but I figure you play hardball."

    She gave it back, "Keep it. Pretty sure a guy with your charm can find a way to have them for free anyway."

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [BitPR2] Extra Episode 1: Secrets of the Generals

    Li's sets the book aside and as Koutarou speaks, Li's fingers start to drum the table. "I appreciate the sentiment. But you should not say you understand or respect my position, when it's apparent from your words that you really don't."

    Li leans forward, placing both hands on the cane. "There is a widespread misconception among young Shinigami that we 'uphold the circle of life'. That is, shall we say, a naive way of looking at it. Or rather, it is the outlook of someone who thinks being a Shinigami is like a job. Something you do when put on a black kimono and wield a sword."

    "But that is not true. Being a Shinigami does not depend on an uniform. It does not depend on learning kido. It does not, even, depend on wielding or using a Zanpakuto. All of these are simply inventions of times, tools that someone had to make, and tools that will once be forgotten. I've personally witnessed many of them coming to being."

    "Being a Shinigami is something you are. What you grow to be. It is ingrained in your very flesh and bones. Our lot existed before any of the paraphernalia you now associate with us."
    Li straightens up.

    "We do not 'uphold' the circle of life. We are part of it. And not in the same sense as mortals who are just carried around by the wheel. We are that wheel's beams. We are a manifestation of one of its fundamental aspects." Li sets the cane aside.

    "There is no magical force that guides souls to their proper resting place. There is just us. Just in case the implication doesn't occur to you, let me spell it out: if there are no Shinigami, the wheel breaks. The existence of Hollows is not a natural state of things. Behind each and every Hollow, is the failure of us Shinigami."

    "That is why hating them makes no sense. Imagine a child dropping a glass from a table, and then hating the glass for breaking. You would hardly call that adult behaviour."


    The Commander reaches for pen and paper. "Before the Academy was founded, many Shinigami did consider Hollows just a force of nature. 'There's nothing we can do', they said, 'they're too powerful for us. We better avoid them'. But that was just laziness. Then came those who considered Hollows evil. 'We must protect mankind from these demonic creatures', they said. And there was no extreme to which they would not go in pursuit of that goal. They destroyed Hollows without care - not purified, destroyed so they would never be born again. Then they herded mortals around like cattle. It was 'for their own good', they said."

    "That was hatred and condescence speaking. But then Izanagi-No-Mikoto came. He had a different view: 'It is not the purpose of Shinigami to judge. Ours is the task of messengers and ferrymen, not of rulers. The decisions of mortals are them and them to make alone - they deserve freedom from our tyranny. And the crimes of Hollows, are born out of insanity - they deserve freedom from our hatred, and restoration to their natural state'."


    Li hands Koutarou a drawing. It is a fairly simple diagram, with Humans on the right and Hollows on the left. "In this drawing, where would you place us Shinigami?"
    Last edited by Frozen_Feet; 2013-07-04 at 06:24 PM.
    "It's the fate of all things under the sky,
    to grow old and wither and die."

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Orc in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [BitPR2] Extra Episode 1: Secrets of the Generals

    The officer looks as if he has been scolded, as if a child.

    But something seems to weigh on his mind. Whence came the first Shinigami? Who was the first one to say that Hollows needed to be hunted, that developed tools for it?

    "Personally, I don't like for people to be hurt. It is in that sense that I respect your opinion. Though I realize it may have been presumptuous of me to say I understand it."

    Koutarou took the drawing and thought. 'A Shinigami is something you are'. But then again... all Shinigami are Pluses, but not all Pluses are Shinigami. While there are those who arise with natural fighting talent, Shinigami as they exist - as Koutarou knows them - are Pluses with a very specific training. Yet they are no ordinary Pluses, either.

    "In the middle, I suppose." He carefully replied. "A purified Hollow becomes a Plus. A Shinigami would be the link between these two states."
    The Void, the Cold Steel, the Just Sword courtesy of Prime32.

    AWSUM

    Spoiler
    Show

    This one's new.
    Spoiler
    Show

    I met a girl with a really pensive look. I walk up to her, put a fifty cent coin in her hand, "For your thoughts. I know the going rate is supposed to be one, but I figure you play hardball."

    She gave it back, "Keep it. Pretty sure a guy with your charm can find a way to have them for free anyway."

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [BitPR2] Extra Episode 1: Secrets of the Generals

    "That is a logical thought. But if you had asked me, I would have placed us above both." Li takes the paper back and draws a Shinigami wielding a Zanpakuto above the two other drawings, slightly to the right so it's more above the Human than the Hollow.

    "Humans have freedom of thought, but are limited by karma. Hollows have freedom from karma, but they are limited by instinct. We Shinigami, who have already died and passed judgement of Heavens, are free from both. But, that freedom is balanced on our duty to help others who die to move on. Both Human and Hollow."

    Li puts the pen down and hangs the paper before Koutarou so he can take a good look of it. "Only a limited set of souls ever display spiritual power. This trait is not unique to a certain incarnation, either. Someone who has once been a Shinigami, often will become one in further incarnations as well. It is not easy to spot, however, because Shinigami live such long time as spirits compared to ordinary souls. It is likely we only live that long so that we can successfully commit to our tasks. A wheel needs to be sturdy to last for the whole journey, to use an analogue. In that sense, we are less fortunate than either humans or Hollows. In the time they will go through multiple lives, happy or sad, we remain burdened by a single duty."

    "But I'm getting sidetracked. Let's continue with pictures. An Arrancar is, supposedly, a Hollow that has overcome its instincts. Where would you place them on this paper?"
    "It's the fate of all things under the sky,
    to grow old and wither and die."

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Orc in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [BitPR2] Extra Episode 1: Secrets of the Generals

    That was a much trickier question.

    "Over here." Koutarou noted, pointing to a spot closer to a Hollow, but still beneath where Li had drawn the Shinigami. "Following your line of thought, a Hollow is free from the shackles of instinct. However, it lacks a very precious thing, which is purpose." To the Vice-Captain, that was a very important thing. "We may be burdened with the task we have, but if we didn't have it at all, we would be no better than Hollows by merely indulging our whims. An Arrancar has the freedom of a Hollow but none of the sense of duty of a Shinigami, to anything or anyone, in addition to holding more power than Hollow or Plus. That is a dangerous combination."
    The Void, the Cold Steel, the Just Sword courtesy of Prime32.

    AWSUM

    Spoiler
    Show

    This one's new.
    Spoiler
    Show

    I met a girl with a really pensive look. I walk up to her, put a fifty cent coin in her hand, "For your thoughts. I know the going rate is supposed to be one, but I figure you play hardball."

    She gave it back, "Keep it. Pretty sure a guy with your charm can find a way to have them for free anyway."

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [BitPR2] Extra Episode 1: Secrets of the Generals

    "Hmmm." The Commander looks ponderous for a moment. "That is a wise thought. You are catching on to this. Maybe, if we were talking of Arrancars of the past, I would agree with you." Li takes the paper and draws a small, misshapen Arrancar exactly where Koutarou pointed.

    "But after listening to the Arrancars speak, can you still say they lack a purpose? Let's engage in speculation for a moment and assume their leader was being truthful. They are building a city. They want to play their part in this world. They want to be like us."


    Li draws another Arrancar, this time dressed in an uniform similar to the Shinigami - only the colors are inverted, with the Arrancar being white where the Shinigami is black.

    "It took a long time for us, too, to realize our purpose. What you said about Arrancars being dangerous is true - but the exact same thing can be said of a Shinigami without purpose. You know what Sabitsura Sho is like. The Academy was founded to reel in people like her. Kiba, Sawada and many, many others - were just like her. Just like a human grown among wolves never learns to speak, a Shinigami lost in Rukon never grows to be more than thug with superpowers."

    Once again, Li presents the picture to Koutarou. It's now complete with a caricature of Sho below the Shinigami. "After hearing what I just said, would it surprise you if I told you Arrancars have more in common with Shinigami than either have with Pluses or Hollows? Not in some abstract manner, but physically. In the way their bodies are shaped, in the way their bodies work?"
    "It's the fate of all things under the sky,
    to grow old and wither and die."

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Orc in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [BitPR2] Extra Episode 1: Secrets of the Generals

    "Not very much, no. They too, seem to have swords. As fate would have it, they seem remarkably similar to Zanpakutou. I would not be particularly surprised if they exhibited much of the same properties.

    So. Suppose their intention in this is genuine. That, for all intents and purposes, they seek nothing more than to find their place. What happens then? Realistically speaking, they propose that we both fill the same niche in the wheel.

    Do you see Shinigami and Arrancar sharing that space, willingly, and without conflict?"
    The Void, the Cold Steel, the Just Sword courtesy of Prime32.

    AWSUM

    Spoiler
    Show

    This one's new.
    Spoiler
    Show

    I met a girl with a really pensive look. I walk up to her, put a fifty cent coin in her hand, "For your thoughts. I know the going rate is supposed to be one, but I figure you play hardball."

    She gave it back, "Keep it. Pretty sure a guy with your charm can find a way to have them for free anyway."

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [BitPR2] Extra Episode 1: Secrets of the Generals

    There is a very solemn look on the Commander's face as Li replies. "Have we Shinigami ever been a big happy family? The first act of our organization was that of exiling the House of Suou from Seireitei. Just yesterday, Yasunobu Sawada presented us evidence that the start of this conflict, the Scarlet garden, was in part engineered by his father Shenryuu to assassinate the last members of that branch. Grudges run deep when their holders live this long."

    "I've not, at any point, denied we are at war. I fully expect there will be armed conflict before this is over. But unless we want this conflict to end in disaster, understanding its exact nature is vital."

    "How old are you? Do you remember how, just four hundred years ago, we used to execute our criminals by feeding them to Hollows? Do you remember why we stopped? Do you know why we use the Sokyoku, a mean that destroys the soul, to execute them now?"
    "It's the fate of all things under the sky,
    to grow old and wither and die."

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Orc in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [BitPR2] Extra Episode 1: Secrets of the Generals

    "I'm about old enough to recall what you describe, sir. I'd like to say the reason we stopped is related to our advancement as a civilization, but that would be kidding ourselves. As for the Soukyoku, I'd wager it ensures that none of those people will return to create whatever trouble they did."

    For all the apparent cynicism in Li's opinions, Koutarou couldn't help but appreciate the insight from the elder. The Vice-Captain was willing to concede he lacked much of the experience that his superior had been trying to impart on him throughout this conversation. Experience breeds perspective, after all.

    "Given that we are not a 'big, happy family', what do you think would happen if we added Arrancar to the mix? At the very, very least, some of the more... 'class-conscious' members of the noble houses would be miffed. That'd breed grudges of its own.

    Generally speaking, we'd have to convince many folks that it is in our best interest to give coexistence with the Arrancar a shot... if that is what you are suggesting at all, sir."
    The Void, the Cold Steel, the Just Sword courtesy of Prime32.

    AWSUM

    Spoiler
    Show

    This one's new.
    Spoiler
    Show

    I met a girl with a really pensive look. I walk up to her, put a fifty cent coin in her hand, "For your thoughts. I know the going rate is supposed to be one, but I figure you play hardball."

    She gave it back, "Keep it. Pretty sure a guy with your charm can find a way to have them for free anyway."

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [BitPR2] Extra Episode 1: Secrets of the Generals

    A sad smile appears on Li's face. "Don't rush ahead, my apprentice! We can talk of my suggestions once I've explained the rationale behind them. But as far as executions go, you were spot on."

    "Like I said, we Shinigami are free of karma. No matter how virtuous and good, or corrupted and evil, our fate upon our second death is the same: our bodies rot back to Reishi, our selves are destroyed, and our souls travel back to Earth where they are reincarnated."

    "But like I alluded to before, this process is not perfect. Someone who has once been a Shinigami, is very likely to be one in later lives as well. Sometimes memories, even abilities, pass on."

    "We don't want to take that risk. The powers of spirits are not meant for Earth. Just one soul with great power and loose morals could throw human world into chaos. This is the same reason why giving our powers to humans is illegal and severely penalized. Shinigami are free of karma, but humans are not. Not only is giving them powers likely to cause disaster, it is almost certain to doom many of them to Hell."


    Li's smile fades. "That's why we had our criminals devoured by Hollows. A soul absorbed by a Hollow does not reincarnate untill that Hollow is purified. But the practice was discontinued because it was considered 'inhumane'."

    "Inhumane to the Hollows."


    Li puts the paper away and pulls another parchment from between the book's pages. "This is from 400 hundred years ago: 'By degree of us Central 42, all execution by Hollows, as well as pitting Hollows against each other in gladiator fights, is henceforth deemed illegal. It is unethical and, frankly, against everything we Shinigami stand for to let lost souls keep suffering because it is convenient or amusing to us. Such enslavement of the deceased shall no longer be tolerated. All captured Hollows shall be purified at once and all executions put on hold untill alternate means can be found. Anyone who is found to keep Hollows as slaves after the end of this year shall be stripped of their rank and put on trial.' "

    Li hands the parchment to Koutarou. "We don't fight Hollows because they're our enemies. We don't fight them to protect Earth - frankly, Earth is not our business, and the less we interfere with living humans or the Rukon, the better. We don't fight them, even, because they're a threat to the balance of souls. As long as even single Shinigami exists, all souls devoured by Hollows can be returned to the wheel of life." Li returns to Li's drawing.

    "We fight Hollows to save them. That is our purpose. We exists for the benefit of all deceased souls, human and Hollow alike. That is what it means to be a Shinigami."

    "So the question becomes: are the people we are fighting still Hollows? Or are they Shinigami?"


    Li presents the drawing back to Koutarou. This time, a line has been drawn from Human, to Sho, to Shinigami, as well as from Hollow, to mock-Arrancar, to the uniformed Arrancar - and above the Shinigami and uniformed Arrancar, the lines converge in a question mark.

    "Have you ever had a Hollow beg you to kill it? That occasionally happens. It happens because a Hollow with its Mask broken, even if temporarily, resumes its former identity and reason. For obvious reasons, they are usually horrified by what they have done. Of course, usually the Mask grows back, and the Hollow returns to being controlled by base instincts."

    "But Arrancars are different. Their Masks never grow back. For them to stand before our walls and challenge us instead of begging means they have come to terms with themselves. They know something that we don't."

    "According to Hishikawa Setsurou, Hollows have found to replicate this... let's call it Arrancarification. So far, this was only known to me and him. I've not told anyone else yet, and for a very good reason. I fear that if I had, I would have been pressured to attack this Hollows now."


    There is a rather agonized look in the Commander's eyes. It's apparent the elder does not like being in this position in the slightest. "It is starkly evident that evolution of Hollows if convergent with that of Shinigami. If we are Shinigami born from Humans, Arrancar are Shinigami born out of Hollows!." With the pen, Li beckons to the pile of books. "I spent better part of last night collecting all reports on Arrancars we have. It wasn't much. Prior to Scarlet Garden, Gotei had encountered only 147 of them. That's one every ten years of our existence, roughly. 77 of them were 'sighting only'. Of the rest, only 19 specimens were slain and recovered for examination. That amounts to 13 partial and 6 full autopsies. Only three were conducted with full benefit from modern methodology - the rest were pretty much garbage. But those three were more than clear: morphology and biology of Arrancars more closely resembles that of Shinigami, than it does that of Hollows. Two of them even had functional Hakusui and Chain of Fate! That means they generate Reiatsu in the same way as we do. I do not know how that is possible, but it's the way things stand."

    Li sighs, the elder's head drooping and eyes staring at the floor. "I can not, in face of all this evidence, consider these foes Hollows anymore. There are some of us, like Kiba-san, who think it changes nothing that these creatures no longer have their Masks. But it changes everything! We are not men fighting beasts anymore. We are men fighting men! This is a clash of two different cultures!"

    Li lifts Li's head, giving Koutarou a haunted look. "This is not a clash between Shinigami and Hollow, it is a clash between two different kinds of Shinigami. If you've been following what I've said, you should realize how it changes moral weight of this situation, moral weight of every decision we have to make. That's why you can't let hatred guide your blade. Our blades. 'A Captain should raise his blade only out of duty - never out of anger.' That adage is what's been taught to every aspiring officer, but I feat it did not stick."

    "Likewise is the motto of our Academy: 'Do not seek beauty in battle. Do not seek virtue in death. Do not make the mistake of considering only your own life. If you wish to protect that which you must protect... ...slice the enemy you must defeat from behind.' Few remember what this advice was meant for. It was not for fighting Hollows. It was given to Shinigami in case of civil war, so they would not give leeway for old friends. That it was also applicable against Hollows was just a bonus."

    "But it was also given so you would know when to yield. Always sticking to your beliefs and never compromising... is utter lunacy if it leads to destruction of what you originally fought for!"

    "That's why I do not wish for open warfare between us and these Arrancars at this juncture. Even in the best case scenario, it will be a pyrrhic victory, destroying this fledgling culture of new Shinigami and also sending us back to a new dark age where every Hollow is just a monster to be slain. Our best hope, is to turn this war from a hot to a cold one. I trust you are familiar with human history of last century? We must make both our troopers and these Arrancars to realize that open fight will lead to mutually assured destruction. The cost of failure is too great."
    "It's the fate of all things under the sky,
    to grow old and wither and die."

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Orc in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [BitPR2] Extra Episode 1: Secrets of the Generals

    Koutarou considered Li's passionate discourse. He couldn't deny the elder's logic, nor could he deny its implications. He very much agreed with Li's assessment, dire as the consequences were.

    "Commander, I believe I've said it before, and I will say it again. I do not hate Hollows. I hate to see people getting hurt. For that reason, and that reason alone, I stand up to fight. I would not have become a Shinigami otherwise - it is this very instinct and belief that led me to discover my spiritual power. Standing up for those too weak to defend themselves, even when I wasn't strong enough."

    Koutarou's mind flashes briefly back to the instant when he rose up to defend that old man. He was hurt himself, but he couldn't stop. When the old man lost consciousness, his grief and powerlessness triggered the release of his latent talent.

    "I fight Hollows because they hurt people. I have found one or two who begged me to end their lives, such as it was, yes - I never took any joy in it, for those were the saddest existences I could fathom. It was still my duty, however.

    If there was a way for me to restore their consciousness without having to use a blade, I would be more than happy to do so.

    In war, people get hurt and die. Each time I fought, I've always done so trying to minimize damage to my subordinates - admittedly, by putting myself at greater risk. Each time, however, I was confident that I would survive. Other people draw their strength from their loved ones; I draw mine from my beliefs and conviction. What you are saying now, to be honest, does shake that conviction a touch. Not enough to weaken it, but to get me wondering.

    But I digress."


    Koutarou held out the drawing and pondered aloud.

    "Even if we do not hate Hollows, the opposite is not necessarily true. Controlled by instinct as they are, they still possess enough sentience to resent being hunted. I would truly relish the opportunity to take Arrancar as our allies in this duty to save Hollows from their existence.

    Realistically, however, the truth is that since they have arisen from Hollows, they may not be so quick to forgive. And the Shinigami that have fought Hollows for centuries - lost family and friends on the line of duty - are just as unlikely to embrace us.

    I don't have an answer, and I know it pains you to be in the position you are, Commander. But I need to ask.

    How do you propose we support these fledgling Hollow-Shinigami? How do we make peace and ammends with them?"
    The Void, the Cold Steel, the Just Sword courtesy of Prime32.

    AWSUM

    Spoiler
    Show

    This one's new.
    Spoiler
    Show

    I met a girl with a really pensive look. I walk up to her, put a fifty cent coin in her hand, "For your thoughts. I know the going rate is supposed to be one, but I figure you play hardball."

    She gave it back, "Keep it. Pretty sure a guy with your charm can find a way to have them for free anyway."

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [BitPR2] Extra Episode 1: Secrets of the Generals

    "Well, like I said, we won't." Li leans back and crosses fingers before Li's face. "Frankly, it amazes me these creatures came and insisted on peace themselves. If I could convince my Captains to go along, we would agree on that offer, regardless of whether the Hollows are being serious. But at least at this juncture, that has proved to be impossible. Yasunobu Sawada is gone. Deserted. I don't know what he is doing or where, but I fear the worst. Kiba-san likewise openly stated he will not stand behind me in pursuit of peace, and has been missing since this morning. Sadly, for all his talk about civil war, I feel he does not realize he is sowing its seeds himself. If he deserts, the rest of the Combat Division, his 'Pack', will soon follow. They are more loyal to him, than they are to me."

    "We must make these creatures fear us. Fear us more than they hate us. Hollows are born out of fear, and it is a feeling they certainly understand. Sadly, we have no credibility right now. We can't bluff now, it would be too easy to call. If we were to bluff, our only hope would be that these creatures are bluffing as well. I hope Hishikawa Setsurou and Junrin Arianna can verify whether they are once they return from their mission to this supposed Hollow city."

    "But, for now, we must take their claim of strenght at face value. If we refuse, this conflict will turn into an extermination war, and there can be only losers in such scenario. We need... leverage. A new weapon, perhaps. Something to buy us time and a chance to build our strenght."

    "The best option, hypothetically, would be to divert their attention to another enemy. Perhaps some third party that is detested by Shinigami and Hollows both. But such party does not exist, as far as I'm aware."
    "It's the fate of all things under the sky,
    to grow old and wither and die."

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Orc in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [BitPR2] Extra Episode 1: Secrets of the Generals

    "Typically, in such a scenario, the typical response would be 'we create one'. It is, however, both immoral and impossible for us to do so at the moment." This was more of a reflexive remembrance on his study on military and political strategies back at the Academy, spoken out of a need to supply some kind of response than anything else.

    "Things may not be as bitter as they seem. There is this one officer in the Combat Division by the name of Masaru that has some interesting ideas about bridge-building between Divisions. Joint exercises, primarily, but they could build from there.

    I suspect Kiba-san may be a little less rash than he appears, as well. As hot-headed as he can be, he is not stupid. He wouldn't throw his life away on a fool's errand, knowing those he leaves behind would be in dire straits.

    Even assuming the Arrancar are bluffing, their bluff gave them a lot more information than it gave us. We fell for their trap hook, line and sinker."


    Koutarou paused and thought.

    "No matter how we look at things, we need time. IT's no use to expect a full-scale attack if we do nothing in the meantime. Worse, it'd give away our current state of affairs.

    Speaking of that Setsurou fellow, is it true he actually suggested a combat tournament to give us leverage? You think the Arrancar would go for such an insane idea?"
    The Void, the Cold Steel, the Just Sword courtesy of Prime32.

    AWSUM

    Spoiler
    Show

    This one's new.
    Spoiler
    Show

    I met a girl with a really pensive look. I walk up to her, put a fifty cent coin in her hand, "For your thoughts. I know the going rate is supposed to be one, but I figure you play hardball."

    She gave it back, "Keep it. Pretty sure a guy with your charm can find a way to have them for free anyway."

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [BitPR2] Extra Episode 1: Secrets of the Generals

    Li lets hands down and snorts. "Yes, he did. It was a ludicrous idea and I really don't see these creatures agreeing to it. But as far as diplomacy goes, it also a harmless idea. At worst, positing it to them will make them consider us a joke, something they are likely doing already. At best, they will take it as a show of moral backbone. The end result is pretty much nill in both cases."

    "Sadly, it was still one of the more fleshed-out ideas thrown around in yesterday's meeting, as far as responding to these creatures' offer goes. The rest, like withdrawing of our troops that I announced in my speech, were things that we were going to do anyway."
    "It's the fate of all things under the sky,
    to grow old and wither and die."

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Orc in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [BitPR2] Extra Episode 1: Secrets of the Generals

    "I'm not so sure. Bloodless competition is a great way to build respect, I believe." Koutarou noted. There was just a tinge of a smile on his face that suggested he might actually enjoy the idea.

    "They do have us backed into a corner, such as it is. This offer is a great maneuver when it comes to disorienting us and splitting us down the middle. It takes into consideration a lot of our way of thinking.

    If I didn't know better, I'd say Jehoel was once a Shinigami."


    Well, he doesn't, really. But there was no evidence to suggest the Primera Espada had been a Shinigami at any point in his life.

    "This tournament idea at least pulls us from a point where we believe we only have two choices at a no-win scenario, even if the best case scenario only marginally improves our chances. The peace offering is a binary effect, after all.

    Suppose we could change something in that proposal as-is, Commander. What would it be?"
    The Void, the Cold Steel, the Just Sword courtesy of Prime32.

    AWSUM

    Spoiler
    Show

    This one's new.
    Spoiler
    Show

    I met a girl with a really pensive look. I walk up to her, put a fifty cent coin in her hand, "For your thoughts. I know the going rate is supposed to be one, but I figure you play hardball."

    She gave it back, "Keep it. Pretty sure a guy with your charm can find a way to have them for free anyway."

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [BitPR2] Extra Episode 1: Secrets of the Generals

    "Nothing!"

    Li lets out a bitter chuckle.

    "That is the joke here. These creatures could not have made a better a better offer. Violence stops. Hunting of Hollows, the most taxing task of Gotei and one we can't spare resources for anyway, is relegated to them."

    "A great deal of thought was put into this offer. It shows they know what situation we are in and crafted it to fit. It is a great piece of propaganda if I've ever seen. There's pretty much nothing objectionable in this offer - only in who is offering it."


    Li's ironic smile fades. "The only way to make that deal better would be to demand... I don't know, something from them. Like restricting their actions to some specific country at first. China, maybe. It might be worth a shot for Setsurou to bring that up."

    "You're right in that they have us cornered. But this is not a trap. Trap is something you walk into, knowingly or not. But it's they who came walking to us. 'Ambush' would be better, but even that ascribes a level of deviousness to this ploy that is remarkedly absent. No, this offer is an open challenge. Though I guess it is just splitting of hairs."

    Li sighs, and then breaks into a fit of coughing. "My apologies. I've done *cough* way too much talking than I should have for one day. I'm still recovering from an illness afterall." Li wipes Li's mouth in Li's covered hand. Some dried blood is left on the silk glove, though it's from Li's burned lips, not the Commander's lungs.

    "I suppose we better wrap it for tonight. Let's return to Headquarters."
    The elder stands up and beckons towards the door.
    "It's the fate of all things under the sky,
    to grow old and wither and die."

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Orc in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: [BitPR2] Extra Episode 1: Secrets of the Generals

    "I doubt they'd stand for it. Worth a shot, I suppose. But...

    We need to leave some kind of subordinate clause. Something that allows us to defend ourselves without creating an incident.

    If nothing else, our duty remains the same. But so does the average Hollow. I doubt Jehoel can keep them all in line by himself.

    He lacks organization, which, while not as an unified front, we do not..."


    Koutarou does reach for the Commander when he notices his cough, however.

    "My apologies, sir, I should have been more mindful. Do you require anything?"
    The Void, the Cold Steel, the Just Sword courtesy of Prime32.

    AWSUM

    Spoiler
    Show

    This one's new.
    Spoiler
    Show

    I met a girl with a really pensive look. I walk up to her, put a fifty cent coin in her hand, "For your thoughts. I know the going rate is supposed to be one, but I figure you play hardball."

    She gave it back, "Keep it. Pretty sure a guy with your charm can find a way to have them for free anyway."

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •