This time Hanako was really surprised. What definitely came as a surprise was that a man so young and not even graduated from the academy should already have access to his Shikai. Sure, that by far not everyone was such a late-bloomer like Hanako was a given. Yet even the gifted ones amongst the students, who had already imprinted their souls onto their Asauchis, could understand it’s voice and even use the first release, were rare. And Koyo just looked so young. Of course that was just appearances and he could easily be the oldest soul present by some margin.
The next surprise was this being orchestrated by Captain Kobayashi. Even after knowing him for quite some time now, he still managed to catch Hanako off guard. Each time she thought she was used to it he pulled another “he-knows-what-he’s-doing”-situation out of his sleeve. It was more amusing than annoying, but she still wished that her Captain had informed her about tonight. She might have easily taken another route, missing this area completely, and be sitting in a hot bath by now.
When Asami accepted, Hanako turned towards her and nodded with a friendly smile.
“Less of a challenge, more of a request. I am just curious about your style and if I could hold my own against it.”
Amon also seemed to be in the mood for some sparring, which Hanako had hoped. Saera, too, wanted to go for it, and suddenly the tiredness began to fall away from Hanako, being replaced by anticipation.
“To be honest, I had thought about just using our swords, plain and simple, without any releases. I wanted to do sparring like that with Amon anyway, and with your Daisho, Asami, the prospect of a pure fight of steel against steel is also quite appealing. Aside from that, my own Shikai ist rather difficult to use in more or less confined spaces like here. I mean, it would work, but I fear I could do a lot of damage to the structure and I would prefer avoiding that. Also I don’t really like to use my Shikai against friends. It doesn’t feel right, doesn’t feel honorable, if you know what I mean. Still, if all of you vote for released Zanpakutos for this I’m in, I will just hold back.”
There was some discrepancy between what Hanako said and what she really felt. She had meant everything she just told the others. Of course she didn’t know what Asami’s or Koyo’s abilities were, but it was true that she didn’t plan to partially destroy one of the training areas for something like a relaxed midnight-spar. It just wasn’t worth it. That she didn’t feel comfortable using against friends was also true, but that was a matter of personal choice. Her Shikai was meant for destruction, it was meant to hurt and erase. Even without using its true, hidden, ability, it still didn’t feel right to her.
On the other hand, since Saera and her had to fight against the huge wale-hollow and she had witnessed Tsuki no Ryu in action she itched to test herself against it, a feeling Bakumusha shared.
How easy life would be if there were no choices…
But still, there was one more thing before anything could start. She turned towards Koyo and invited him to step a little closer.
“Well, there seems to be one official duty I have to perform before anything else tonight. I would be honored to witness your Shikai. But only under one condition: If you want to stay afterwards and spar with us, please remember we are all off-duty. As long as there’s no emergency I am not here as Vice-Captain. Besides: Vice-Captain Yamada probably would have to send you back to the academy immediately. Hanako doesn’t.”
She shrugged, to show Koyo that the choice was his, before she turned towards the others and gestured that it was also meant for them. It was one of the downsides of her position, this kind of disconnection between her and her peers. At least some, like Saera and Amon, were going along with her rather lax style, as long as the situation permitted it.
Coding Altered From: [The Frost]