“Thank you, Captain.” Hanako said and bowed. So, it seemed that as of now she was a Fighting Fourth again. Who would have ever thought. Not so long ago she had held the plan to rise through the ranks of the First to one day stand beside Magnolia, Hime and others and behind the Captain Commander to put her life on the line for the Gotei, Seireitei, Soul Society and the Balance that they were sworn to defend. And suddenly all that changed. Although, as she noticed, the goal and the determination remained the same. Only now she stood at the side of Captain Kobayashi, together with the whole Fourth Division. Not bad, she’d say.
“I can attest to the strength of Everfrost-san. I trained with her and only saw a fraction of her true power, but it was still almost overwhelming. To be honest I deeply admire her and am uncertain how she might react to this change. I hope she won’t see it as if I was abandoning the First.”
Hanako still stood in front of the bench. She felt it inappropriate to take a seat next to her Captain.
“I once saw the Captain Commander in person. I was quite far away but...I have heard that she is allegedly weak. Someone once even said to me that I could defeat her in a physical fight. But I find that hard to believe. I felt a power and presence emanating from her, different from anything else I have ever felt from any Shinigami. It affected even the strongest Individuals present. How can such a person be considered weak?”
She thought about all the people she had met. All the people she had sought out for help with her training.
“There are also people like Ulv Auber and Elyss Kishimoto. Both are very strong. I already fought on Elyss’s side once, not too long ago.”
She felt those were two names that should be added to the ‘assets’ the Gotei had. Elyss was serving in the Gotei anyway and Hanako was at least reasonably sure that Ulv was on their side. And there were some more she remembered, whom she’d met in the world of the living. Some possessed a strength so vastly different from any Shinigami that it was hard to gauge, like a certain demon and her goofy companion she remembered.
“Concerning fighting...I am ready for that. You probably remember that I am always up for a training or a sparring match. Well...most people know that, they see me running around the Seireitei after my shifts almost every day.
There is only one thing: I finally know the name of my Zanpakuto and it has granted me access to it’s Shikai. However, I...erm...haven’t discovered it’s full potential yet and I don’t know how well it is suited for training. So, should we need to step up the training to such levels I would hold back until I have learned enough about my Shikai to know whether it’s full power is safe to use under training conditions or not.”
Absentmindedly she patted the sheath of her sword. It was still the same, almost shabby looking weapon. But if Hanako had loved it already, simply because it was such a well-made sword and perfectly balanced, the affection she now felt for it was beyond any description. Sadly she didn’t realize that by loving her Zanpakuto she loved a part of her own soul, a knowledge that would be infinitely more valuable. But even so it felt like there was not only a weapon and a comrade in battle, but also at least a part of a family she must have had once, but couldn’t remember.
“If I may speak my thoughts...maybe we shouldn’t only work on our bodies. I know that you believe in our duty and our mission. I know that I do. It is what keeps me going, what gives me my determination. I...don’t talk about this a lot, but I really do believe in a greater good. If we could make our fellow Shinigami understand...I mean…”
She broke off. It was frustrating and embarrassing how fast she came to her conversational limits. The lack of practice could do that. So, how could she convey her thoughts?
“Hm...I don’t know how to express this. You know...if we can show somehow that we don’t do this for ourselves. I mean, the whole thing, the Fourth, the Gotei and all. Training and all that surely is for our benefit and fun.”
Talking shop about training and fighting was one thing. But conveying a feeling with words was a totally different story. Hanako just hoped Yoshitsune would understand what she meant. There were those that had a flame burning inside them. A flame to protect the worlds, to protect the Balance and guide the deceased to Soul Society. That was the traditional duty of the Gotei. A flame that was fueled by the knowledge to do something that really mattered. And what Hanako had tried to clumsily propose to her new Captain was that they should try to share that fire, try to lighten that flame in others. As corny as that may sound...
Coding Altered From: [The Frost]