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 The Will to Begin (SOLO)

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Subject Post 1PostSubject: The Will to Begin (SOLO)   Sun May 21, 2017 12:42 am





ELENA GENOVESE






Day 1:

Anxiety pumped through Elena's heart as she stood in front of the Hollow, staring it down just like it did her. Her outfit was different from the usual. Rather than wearing a suit, she was in her shuhakusho, the formal outfit for Shinigami. Her coworkers watched in awe as the woman they've always known as a hardass stood in front of them, wielding a sword like one of the samurai they knew only from movies. In front of her was a beast that looked much like a giant preying mantis. Its face was buglike, its arms ending in long curved blades, and the lower half of it being long with at least four pairs of legs. The men and women watched as the two battled, clashing blades and dancing around each other in an attempt to open up the other's guards for a chance to strike them down.

Elena parried a swipe and attempted one at the abdomen only to find her blade reflect off one of the sharpened arms of the mantis creature. Taking a step to the side, she barely missed being impaled on one of the arms, and thrust at the creature who responded in like. It was almost like they were completely even. There was a difference between the two, Elena felt, but she wasn't sure who's favor it was in. If it was hers, it would be quite obvious. The only real factor was whether this creature had half a brain. Anything more than mindless blows would most likely pose a threat to Elena, but she had practiced matching blows with a certain other individual on at least a few occasions. This was nothing new, and the Hollow wasn't fast enough to outspeed Elena either. It was only a matter of time...

And thankfully that time came, but not after a series of screeches and several swipes of the blade. Each time the blade came down upon Ellie, it was parried or sidestepped in some way. There was little the creature knew in the way of combat, and Elena was extremely thankful for that. The last Hollow she fought almost crushed her at least once or twice. This one, not so much. And as the last of the flurry of strikes came at her, the redhead noted that the creature's other blade was poised to strike shortly after. It was raised well above its head with the tip of the blade pointed forwards, so there was no where else for it to go. In an instant, Elena knew what she had to do.

As the creature struck upon its human foe for the last time, it found itself screeching as a searing pain coursed through its upper arm. Looking down, its left arm had been cut off as if its opponent knew what it was going to do next. And as if to further its severe misfortune. Elena took the time to leap up and stab the mantis clean between the eyes in one quick thrust while it was distracted by its missing limb. Landing on the front of the creature, she quickly pulled the blade out of the being's skull and leaped off its chest, soaring through the air and finding her place next to one of her coworkers.

No more than a few seconds passed after the Hollow had completely collapsed before a loud cheer erupted around the woman. Looking around, the dozen of coworkers that had watched her fight quickly surrounded her and sang her praises.

"Boss that was awesome!"

"I didn't know you had it in you Boss!"

"We should call on you from now on, that was way better than those other Shinigami schmucks!"

This was what Elena heard as she sheathed her sword and she picked up her body to return to it. Now in her human form again, she couldn't help but force a smile just to make the men and women around her feel good about their praise. Only because she didn't want to make them feel bad. It wasn't that their words of gratitude were lost on her, she just didn't like attention. If it were up to Elena, she wouldn't be doing this on the job.

It had been roughly two and half weeks since Elena had been turned into a Shinigami. In that time, Elena had hardly achieved any increase in her own personal strength. Meanwhile, there were individuals who could destroy entire cities with their power, and Elena? She could barely swing a sword right. If it were up to her, she would be fighting Hollows on the regular in an attempt to get a feel for how to wield one of these things. Combat was something she was trained in, but for normal people a fight usually lasted moments and ended in a split second. This was something far beyond what Elena was used to, and if that wasn't evident then she didn't know what to say. There was plenty of room to improve, and she had seen what it took to be a real swordsman. Even still, the woman wished there was some kind of gun that did what these things did. That would make this whole process a lot easier...
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Subject Post 2PostSubject: Re: The Will to Begin (SOLO)   Fri May 26, 2017 8:15 pm





ELENA GENOVESE






Day 3:

The day previous had been uneventful, just a lot of paper sorting. As a result, Elena hadn't gotten much sleep the night previous. Her eyes were half lidded and her body felt a little heavier than usual, but that didn't mean she got a break from her off job. Another Hollow attack in the outer areas of New York city happened, and while she was out investigating a crime report too. Part of her wanted to believe it was something other than coincidence, but she wasn't superstitious. Almost every time there was a Hollow attack, she was able to track down the culprit and engage them in combat. Most of the time she could deal with them, albeit with a struggle. It seemed only desperate, mindless Hollows were stupid enough to attack within the city limits. Even then, they were mostly starving and borderline dead.

But that just fueled Elena's drive to become stronger. Each time she would learn a new way to fight these creatures, to defeat them and take their lives, sending their souls back into the cycle of the afterlife. If she was having trouble defeating these weaklings, then there was truly no hope for her. From here, it was only forwards. These were the things that went through Elena's mind as she stood her ground against another Hollow. This one had murdered what the police force of New York assumed to be a lone male in his early twenties. Thankfully he was alone, but if Ellie was any stronger, she could have saved this man. They had gotten there just in time to watch the man die, and even as Ellie ran with her sword drawn, she was still too slow.

And as they traded blows, the redheaded substitute shinigami versus the rat-like Hollow, Elena couldn't help but feel weak. This thing should be dead. There were other people who wouldn't have batted a single eye against this thing, yet here she was trying to cut through iron fur and avoid steel claws. Every move she made became more and more draining of her physical energy, and she felt like it was not long before she lost this fight. The only thing keeping her in it was the pure adrenaline that flowed through her veins.

Another claw swipe aimed at her throat was narrowly dodged by a quick backstep. Reaction timing was something she had down to a T due to her job as a cop in a land filled with crime. What she didn't have, was the necessary tools to cut through the metallic fur of this creature. She retaliated from swipe by swinging at the beast once more, only for it to turn its body a certain way so her sword was reflected by the fur covering its body.

"Pathetic! Can't you even use your reiatsu to cut through some measly hair?"

Oh, that was what it was called. Upon hearing the mention of reiatsu, a series of memories came flooding back to her from when she was told that a person with a particularly powerful spiritual presence could manipulate the energy of their soul to amplify parts of their body or even their zanpakuto. Ellie had done this once or twice, but only to an incredibly minute level. She had used her reiatsu to lift a weight that was heavier that what she had been able to deal with previously. The knowledge came from an encounter with a certain wolf-eared woman who taught her only part of the bare minimum of Shinigami abilities.

Wielding her sword in front of her, Elena started to do what she could to channel her spiritual energies to her arms and her sword. It was slow, and it was a struggle, but after a while there was a clear red energy that started to envelop her arms and her sword. So this was what it looked like? It was alright she suppo-

WHAM

The rat had spun around and bashed Elena square in the center of her body with its tail, sending her flying into a car and leaving the woman gasping for air from the impact. This wasn't the first time it had happened to her, but she felt a lot more pained and winded than the last time it happened. Was this because she was channeling her energies to other parts of her body? That had to have been it. With this newfound fact in her mind, the cop shakily stood back up and held her sword at the ready again. The rat was a decent ways away this time, so when it charged her without any regards for the discoloring of the air around her sword, she had plenty of time to react.

Once more, it twisted its body and attempted to strike her with its tail, but Elena took up her stance and anchored herself to the ground in preparation. With one powerful downward swing, she dismembered the tail from its host with surprising speed and power. In fact, it was so surprising that Elena's upper body lurched forwards and her sword cleaved into the concrete beneath her feet. The rat screamed in pain, giving her time to pull her sword from the ground that it was now stuck in. One... two... three tugs of the hilt was what it took to free the sword of its captivity, and in that time the Hollow had recovered enough to painfully turn at Elena and scream obscenities at her like a kid at a video game.

"You little bitch! I'll kill you for th-!"

That was all it managed to say before its head was cleaved clean in two by Elena's zanpakuto. Seriously, why did these things think they had time to talk in the middle of their fight? If they let their guard down for even a split second, Elena was going to end the fight without any hesitation. And that was exactly what she took the time to do. One down. That made three that she had killed over the course of her entire time as a substitute Shinigami. Next time it would be easier, or so Elena hoped. Now that she understood what her spiritual energies felt like and had a feel for manipulating them, she was definitely going to put them to good use. It would only take a little while for her to get a proper understanding of their magnitude, and then it would make her life just that much less complicated.
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Subject Post 3PostSubject: Re: The Will to Begin (SOLO)   Fri May 26, 2017 10:34 pm





ELENA GENOVESE






Day 6:

It was becoming apparent to Elena that she was not the only one that could manipulate their spiritual energies. Yesterday she had slain a Hollow with almost no effort after practicing her energy manipulation for as long as she could each day since she figured out how it worked. It made her job a lot easier, but her current predicament posed a particularly powerful question to her. What happened when she faced an enemy who could also manipulate their energies? This Hollow seemed to be able to pour his energies into various parts of his body, but Elena was seeing a pattern. After experiencing what it was like to have all of your energy in your arms after getting sent flying into a vehicle, the first thing that came to Elena's mind was the deficit of having most of your body unprotected.

However, it seemed that this creature was adept at moving its energies. Even moreso than Elena, which was fair considering she'd only had a few days to practice. Despite her hours of practicing and training, it still wasn't enough. In some cases, she was even being beaten out by the Hollow. A few strikes of the creature's arms would send her skidding backwards on her feet, but she managed to learn to dampen the blow by keeping her weight centered and her reiatsu spread evenly enough to keep herself from suffering too much kickback. Elena had no idea what this Hollow was supposed to be. Everything about it just looked like a giant human, with a slightly upper body and arms. It wasn't quite ape-like, but it wasn't completely human either. Its mask was something of a mayan design, or something along those lines. Whatever it was supposed to be, it wasn't too intimidating by appearance.

Yet Elena could feel the pressure of her situation building up even more with each passing blow. She managed to block several and dodge the rest, but her stamina was still something that wasn't quite on her side. Maybe that would fix with time. Another forceful punch came at her, and Elena held her blade sideways to block the blow. Once more she was sent skidding back. If she weren't doing this in the middle of the streets, this would be a lot more of a problem, but thankfully there was still plenty of road to go. Keeping the environment on her side was something Elena had made good use of so far. Hopefully she would keep that up.

The beast roared and beat its chest, making the cop regret calling this creature anything but an ape. It might just be trying to intimidate her now in the middle of their fight, but it didn't scare Elena too much. What scared her was the fact that she was becoming increasingly tired. That and the light forming in the creature's mouth. But mostly- wait what?

As Elena watched the beast prepare some kind of special attack, what felt like every synapse in her brain went into full panic mode. This was not something she should be standing here for, but even as she tried to leap to the side to get out of the way, the thing just turned its head to adjust its aim. At least 3 seconds passed and the thing still hadn't gone off. Elena felt lucky that this was taking so long, but she knew that if she didn't have some way to move faster than this thing could react then she was dead meat. Never once in her life had she thought that this would be the way that she would go out, but now it felt almost certain. The sweat on her brow dripped down the side of her face as she looked around for a way out, until it hit her. Thankfully in the heat of the moment, Elena was able to remember something that her first "mentor" showed her. With no instruction, Elena forced all of her spiritual energies into her legs and feet and prayed to god she was able to mimic what she had only seen happen before.

Just as the Hollow fired its cero, a beam of pure energy which Elena had never seen used before, she vanished from sight and dodged the attack completely. What she didn't expect was how far she would have gone. Since it was only her first time using this technique, she flew clean over the Hollow's head and hit the ground far behind it. There was no landing, as Elena was unprepared for the moment she hit the ground. Instead, she merely skid along the ground before stumbling into a roll that lasted for a good few seconds. Due to the fact she still had her reiatsu channeled through her legs, the lower half of her body remained unscathed. The upper half sustained plenty of bumps, bruises, and scrapes. There was a tad of damage control as Elena tucked into a good position to keep rolling, but the sheer force and speed of the roll still made her skin tear off in a few places.

Thankfully the creature didn't hear her, but now she was too far away to do anything. As the woman recovered from her piss poor landing, she decided the quickest, and possibly only way, to defeat this creature would be to do what she did again, but actually focus. Once more, with the energy still laden along her lower limbs, Elena forced herself to move at speeds the normal human eye couldn't see. This time, she managed to not stumble as much since she had a very rough idea of how fast she would move, but she couldn't help but still stumble a little bit. Catching herself mid step, the woman managed to impale the creature through its abdomen. Not enough to kill it, but the creature came tumbling down on Elena quickly. Spinning out of the way in a fairly elegant manner, Elena managed to bring her arms up over her head mid spin in order to bring her sword down on the Hollow's mask in one swift motion, cleaving its head in two. Apparently it had no idea where to focus its energies after that surprise attack, and thankfully Elena was able to use that moment of supremacy to defeat it once and for all. Next time, she wouldn't have to rely on her luck nearly as much.
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Subject Post 4PostSubject: Re: The Will to Begin (SOLO)   Fri Jun 16, 2017 11:19 pm





ELENA GENOVESE






Day 7.5

The feeling of an unfamiliar breeze, the scent of sickly sweet aromas, the sound of a gently trickling stream... These were things that were not in Elena's house. The woman's immediate reaction was to shoot upright from her position on her stomach, noticing in a split second that she was in her Shuhakusho. The auburn-haired cop did not go to bed this way, and her first course of action after realizing this was to stand up and look around her frantically. From where she was standing, she could see an endless sea of red flowers in one direction, and on the other was a river with many a lantern floating in it. From there, she could see some kind of stone structures aside mountains, and across the river was...

Elena gazed in awe at the sheer size of the massive gates that sat on the opposite side of the river to her. It made her wonder why they were so big and what could be hiding just past those doors... Why were they on the other side of the river? Looking down into the waters, Elena noted that there was nothing in sight. In fact, the water seemed to be mostly black, as if it were hiding something from her as well. What was this place? And why was she so aware of what she was doing. Normally when she dreamt, there was only half-visible images that changed after what felt like a few minutes of her watching. This, however? Elena felt fully conscious, almost as if she were actually there.

Looking around one more time, the confused woman finally confirmed she was alone. Nothing else was in sight other than these places that she could only see from a distance. It felt... lonely. Lonely and humid. Elena wondered why that was, or if it even mattered. This was such a sudden change in atmosphere from what she was used to that it made her wonder if this was real, or if she was under some kind of attack from a Hollow who had psychological powers. She continued on this train of thought for only a few seconds before a loud, booming voice cut through the air around her and pulled her out of her momentary trance.

"What is it you desire in life?"

In an instant, many of Elena's natural alarms were set off once more. What was this voice, what did it want, and where was it coming from? All of these resounded in her mind as her hands went to grasp her sheath and draw one of her zanpakuto, but as she did so her hands only caught the air. Her swords had been taken away from her, as far as she could tell, and now she was defenseless against whatever this... thing, was.

"What is it you desire in life?"

The voice asked this again, and Elena figured that what it wanted was a response. Considering it was a personal question and a matter of opinion, she figured it wouldn't be a hard question to answer. It wasn't like there was a right or wrong when it came to her opinion, so what was it that could go bad?

"Peace." she replied, letting her nerves up for only a second. Her reward for responding was the same voice speaking to her, but much louder.

"WRONG."

The volume had been raised to a point where Elena covered her ears reflexively to prevent any damage to her eardrums. What did it mean she was wrong? That's what she wanted, and Elena was extremely confident in that answer. Was there something it wanted to hear specifically?

"What is it you desire in life?"

It asked the same question again and Elena decided to reply differently.

"Happiness."

The response was the same as before, loud and clear as if her hands weren't even covering her ears. Was she really wrong? That couldn't be right. No one knew her better than herself. There had to be something that this thing wanted to hear, something very specific that she might not agree with. But before she could open her mouth, the thing spoke again at a much more tolerable volume level.

"Until you learn why it is that you wield those blades, we will refrain from telling you our purpose."

It told her this and before Elena could ask any questions, everything turned black and she faded into the unconscious once more. When she woke up, it was to her alarm in her own bedroom.


Last edited by Sumdumguy on Sat Jun 17, 2017 12:35 am; edited 1 time in total
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Subject Post 5PostSubject: Re: The Will to Begin (SOLO)   Fri Jun 16, 2017 11:44 pm





ELENA GENOVESE






Day 8:

Elena twisted her body from left to right, arms extended and blade poised to cut clean through the mask of the Hollow she had spent the last few minutes fighting. The monster's head was cleaved in half, its body fading away moments after it was done. The woman stood there panting, sweat dripping from her brow as she laid the final blow upon the monster. Her swordplay was definitely getting better, but there was still much to improve on. Not only that, but why was she doing this? Why was she still going along with this Shinigami nonsense? Elena was a cop, not a Shinigami. Despite the seemingly minor conceptual differences in their job at first, she was finding it increasingly difficult to keep motivation for being a Shinigami.

The thought came to mind as she sheathed her sword that she might be able to retire early. This didn't seem like it was proving she had made much progress after she learned the basics. Or maybe that was because this was becoming too easy? No, it wasn't easy. Not yet. There was still a lot to improve on. A lot to make better, but what was the point? Up until these past few weeks, she had just been a normal woman. To a degree, she still was. Personality-wise she was still the same, and as a result, she felt strange as she defeated these monsters, something a cop like her wasn't meant to do.

But despite her confusion and lack of clarity regarding the state of her life, it didn't feel wrong. In fact... it felt kind of good. Fighting was mildly entertaining for her, she had found out. It made her both enthused and discomforted to know that she could at least take joy in her work. Not only that but the idea that she was helping other people made her feel satisfaction, much like her work as a cop. While she could get used to it, there was a certain feeling of hesitation that she felt whenever she thought of trying to step it up to the next level. In fact, outside of the mild joy and satisfaction she got out of slaughtering these beast-like entities, Elena didn't know why she was doing all this.

Why was she even feeling this way about it in the first place? What was this feeling of joy? Elena felt happiness like a giddy teenage girl felt when she figured out that the boy she liked had feelings for her in return. It was both lovely and disgusting at the same time. This couldn't be how other people felt about this. No, Elena was just missing some piece to the puzzle.

As the redhead re-entered her living body, she stared down at her own hands. In her Shinigami state, she had been covered in blood. But now? It was gone. There were two lives that she could live here, and it was conflicting as to whether or not she should try and live one or the other. Living both was out of the question, as they both took too much time out of her day individually. If she didn't put in that much time in to one, she wouldn't be doing a good job. In both realms of existence, half-assing your job was not even a question. If you did that, there was no point to doing it at all.

And so Elena spent the rest of her day, half-assing her job as a cop regardless while her mind pondered more personal issues. What life she could live and whether it was worth it or not to take risks were now on the table, and Elena couldn't decide on whether or not it was better to take personal interest over living a stable life like a normal human being.
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Subject Post 6PostSubject: Re: The Will to Begin (SOLO)   Sat Jun 17, 2017 12:31 am





ELENA GENOVESE






Day 10: Elena was on her knees with her sword being used as a crutch. This was getting worse by the second, and she didn't know if what she was doing was even working. Every time she hit this toad-like Hollow, it would receive a slash wound like any other being would, but it would release pressurized blood from the wound that was also acidic. Elena had lost use of her left leg, thankfully not her dominant one but she was still in immense pain. It was unlike anything she had ever dealt with before.

Yet behind her there was a family of four, cowering in fear. The Hollow and Elena were doing combat in an alleyway, a place that the latter did not want to be in. The walls were melting, and if it weren't for her spiritual powers, she doubt her leg would still be attached either. Staring the creature down, she watched as it reared its head back and swung it at her, its mouth agape and its barbed tongue flying straight at her. If she dodged then the family would get hit. If she cut it, then its blood would likely get caught on her. There wasn't much she could do.

The woman merely used the flat of her blade to block, but this sent her skidding backwards. Naturally, her body's reflexes used both of her legs to stabilize herself as she was sent backwards, but that only made the pain worse. Elena gasped in response before collapsing entirely. Was this it? Elena's vision was fading, and the pain was driving her mad. The creature's tongue was launched at her again as it swung its head once more, and she closed her eyes, awaiting the attack and her imminent demise...

But it never came.

Her eyes fluttered open and she raised her head to see that the Hollow's tongue had been pierced and stuck to the ground by... a playing card?

"My my, what a troubling sight."

(SONG)

The sight of a woman wearing a long, fur trimmed coat in a dress filled her vision as said woman descended from the rooftops and onto the ground besides her. With a flick of her wrist and some sleight of hand, a card slid out from her sleeve and into her hand. Elena's senses were immediately filled with a feeling of power as this woman's spiritual presence was made known. It wasn't comparable to the one other Shinigami that Elena had known, but it was well above her own.

"Do stay back. I don't want to catch you on fire." said the woman before she vanished completely from sight. The next thing Elena knew, was that the same woman was caught on fire and was standing on top of the Hollow, catching it aflame and destroying it without letting a single drop of blood spill from it. And as it started to fade away, Elena finally fainted from the pain. When she awoke again, she was in her apartment with a coworker and the woman who had saved her life.

"Oh, you're awake." said the woman, noticing as Elena sat up. She tried to move her leg but was stopped by the pain, the other redheaded lady gently pushing Elena back down onto her back. "No, no. Lay down. You must rest for a few days." she said, prompting a sigh out of the cop.

"I must say, fighting something of that strength on your own when you barely know how to hold a sword... that's impressive. There must be something else there that I didn't quite get to see." said the woman as she shuffled a deck of what appeared to be tarot cards in her hands. Elena looked at this woman, then at her coworker as he exited the door without saying a word. What the hell was going on? And before she could actually ask that question out loud, the woman spoke up once more.

"Look, I don't have much time to spend here, but I do need to ask you one thing. Considering you're a substitute Shinigami, or at least I assume due to that badge that you have, you must know about your duties, correct?" asked the stranger, to which Ellie nodded silently. Her eyes were dancing around as she looked this woman over and judged her based on appearance and her previous actions. "Then may I ask what you were doing, then? Surely you must have realized you were out of your league there."

Elena sighed and looked back up at the ceiling, having come to the conclusion that this woman was harmless to her. She had helped the cop live after nearly dying after all. Maybe that meant she was only here out of her own desire. "It... felt right." replied the woman in defeat. The redheaded stranger sighed and shook her head.

"That's not good enough. If you don't have allies to help you, then there was no point. Unless you truly are one of those individuals who believes in "true justice" and "sacrificing yourself for others". Judging by your job, your appearance, tone of voice, etc, it seems that is not the case. If so, then... what is your purpose as a Shinigami?"

This question boggled Elena's mind and only served to frustrate her. "That's what I've been asking myself for the past few days. I had an easy time with this "job" at first, but..." mumbled Elena as she closed her eyes and pondered her purpose as a substitute shinigami for the the millionth time.

"If I may suggest... finding a purpose, if you do not have one? Or at least, finding a way to want one?"

Elena wondered in silence at whether or not this pertained to her actual issue. It felt like it did, but... did it?

A short conversation about Elena's situation to the stranger occured, and she left shortly afterwards, but not without leaving an imprint on the crippled woman's psyche. Was there really a purpose to what she did? Or was she simply doing this because it felt good? That alone didn't feel like a proper purpose, and the more that Elena thought about it, the more that she decided she needed more reason to be doing what it was that she was doing. Maybe tonight she would finally be able to answer the voice in her dreams that wanted to know her life's desires...

Because now she finally had an answer.
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Subject Post 7PostSubject: Re: The Will to Begin (SOLO)   Sat Jun 17, 2017 12:48 am





ELENA GENOVESE






Day 10.5:

Elena woke up once more in the land of crimson flowers and bleak waters, the gate that so menacingly towered over her in the distance still there. She sat up from her spot on the ground, having just woke up in this strange land once more. It felt almost comforting that she was here so soon after deciding on the true answer to the question that made her question her life's situation. And just as soon as she stood up and turned to face the gates to who-knows-where, the voice resounded around her once more.

"What is it you desire in life?" it asked, and Elena responded without hesitation.


"Purpose." responded Elena. That was what was conflicting her. What purpose did she have as a Shinigami? There was none, at the moment. Just self satisfaction. If she could find someone or something to oppose, then she would have a reason to get stronger. She would have a reason to continue living as a Shinigami. That was what she wanted, but at the moment, the only thing for her to oppose were those that attacked innocent people. It was a metaphor for justice, but Elena hated that word. Using another word in its place was pointless as well, because despite her hatred for it that was the basis of her actions. It was why she did what she did.

There was a brief silence following her answer, and then the sounds of the water in front of her shifting rapidly before her. From it arose a wooden bridge that didn't lead all the way across, but it was a start to a way towards the gates within this world.

"That is correct." it said, but immediately followed up with another question. "Who am I?" it asked, to which Elena paused, but answered after just a moment of silence.

"My... zanpakuto." she responded as she approached the bridge, putting her hand on the damp oak wood while more of it arose from the water. It seemed that Elena would have to keep answering questions if she wanted a way to the other side of the river, and from there the gates that she could only assume would lead to her gaining some... thing. Or maybe, this was the satisfaction of learning her way in life?

"That is correct." it said once more. Just like last time there was little pause between its response and when it spoke again, but there wasn't another question to follow this time. Instead, the voice seemed to be ordering Elena around now.

"Return to me when you have become stronger and have seen that which you will truly oppose."

And like that, Elena faded into unconsciousness again. When she woke up, it was to her alarm in her bedroom with her zanpakuto hugged to her body. She had been sleeping with her sword hugged to her these past few weeks, hoping to get some kind of communication with it like Mirja had said she would via meditation. Jinzen wasn't working, so maybe sleeping with it nearby would? Apparently it did, although Elena just didn't realize it at first. However, now that she knew what she was dealing with and how it worked, she would find a way for her to become stronger and for her to find who she was to fight against. But if it wasn't the Hollow, then who was it? There must have been more than just those beasts for the Shinigami to fight, though Elena just didn't know what yet. In due time, she thought to herself.

But for now, she needed strength. For she had finally found out what she had been looking for the whole time, and that it was within reach. All she needed was power...
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