- ParadigmExperienced Member
- Joined : 2022-10-03
Posts : 804
Wed Mar 15, 2023 11:03 pm
Over the last year especially, Morikawa Mizu had gone through what's felt like a lifetime of battles and experiences. From fighting Hollows on Earth, to participating in arena battles against Quincies, to teaming up with strangers to take down Goliath monsters in Africa. All of these situations pushed Mizu further than she thought even possible.
She also had the great honor of being mentored by Saiko Mori, a powerful and endearing Shinigami Mizu was happy to call her teacher. This training involved her connecting with the usually-objectionable Shousenmaru, her Zanpakuto, and the more Mizu thought on it the more grateful she became. Between Saiko's unique ability to calm an individual's emotions and her willingness to act as a mediator, Mizu and Shousenmaru had finally been able to connect on a level beyond just knowing each others' names.
Mizu continued reminiscing on these experiences as she sat cross-legged in the Eight Division training yard. She ignored the various sensations of dewy grass ticking her legs and a light breeze touching upon her nose.
She moved beyond her thoughts of the past and concentrated solely on her Zanpakuto laying across her lap. Recently she had been communing with Shousenmaru to not only continue developing their relationship, but to work on unlocking their true power together. Though intimidating, Mizu knew if she were ever to become a great Shinigami she would need Bankai. She didn't have any of the natural talent or power to get along without it like some legendary Captains and Vice Captains had. Even with her Kidō Mizu believed it to be Bankai or bust.
It didn't take long for Mizu's mind to be whisked away from her sitting position in Seireitei and sent to Shousenmaru's world. As she opened her eyes Mizu was surprised by what her eyes were met by. Instead of a bubbling brook dividing two fields and forests, her Inner World had been transformed into a mighty crystalline river cutting through the land like a great sword. As our bond grows, so does the river...
"You can't hide your thoughts from me, Mizu. Might as well speak up. What are you here for today? More power?" The blond Shinigami spun on her heel to face where that angelic voice had come from. Unlike the landscape, Shousenmaru's beautiful blue form was unchanged. Her usual silvery braids still fell across her back and her nearly-nude azure skin reflected in the river beside her.
"If you know my thoughts then you know why I'm here. Bankai is the next step for us both. I understand your concerns about giving more of yourself to me...but I'm a Shinigami! You're my Zanpakuto! If we have each other, the sky's the limit! Imagine how much more we could accomplish with Bankai? Besides, I'll never be a Captain without it!" Shousenmaru could not deny the sincerity in Mizu's voice and soul as she pleaded with her. Obviously she wasn't willing to take no for answer, either...
[color:714f=0066ff]"Fine, Mizu. You seem determined. Time to find out just how determined you are." At this moment Kanae flicked her wrist and summoned a blue version of her sword form in her right hand. Then, Mizu's senses were suddenly overwhelmed and she was knocked off her feet. As quickly as she had been overwhelmed everything was back to normal.
"What the...?" Blinking, Mizu looked around and realized she was back in the Eight squad's training yard. She reached down and pulled out a blade of grass just to be sure, proving she was no longer in her Inner World. "Ahem. Stand, Mizu. Or perish!" With a start Mizu jumped to her feet and drew her already-released Zanpakuto. She was given barely enough time to lift her weapon before Shousenmaru appeared in front of her and slashed downwards.
Mizu was shocked by the situation she found herself in, but it was not entirely alien to her. She had read about the requirement for unlocking Bankai before, Materializing and subjugating one's Zanpakuto. Now Shousenmaru was materialized, but subjugating her? H-how can I do that?! she wondered, flabbergasted at the very idea of defeating this woman.
"If this is how it has to be, then I won't hold anything back!" roared Mizu as she split her Zanpakuto into a considerable number of crystal shards. Then, with a flourish of her hand, she commanded all these shards to fly at her opponent like a massive wave of glass. This amounted to little as Shousenmaru countered with a great wall of crystal, off of which Mizu's shards bounced harmlessly with audible PING's.
With anger in her eyes the blue-skinned spirit reshaped her wall of crystal into many intricately-carved spears and then flung them at her wielder effortlessly. Mizu quickly found herself overwhelmed even as she Flash Stepped around, narrowly dodging the spears by the skin of her teeth. She was not accustomed to this level of precise control and power with her Shikai, though she wasn't surprised Shousenmaru would have better control over her powers than herself.
With nary a motion to indicate she was about to do so, the spirit shattered all the spears impaled in the ground and sent the massive wave of shards directly at Mizu. Knowing countering the wave was an exercise in futility, Mizu instead aimed her free hand directly for Shousenmaru and let of a spell, something she knew a Zanpakuto spirit could not replicate "Hadō #4: Byakurai!" From her finger tip a bolt of blue lightning shot at the spirit. To Mizu's shock, a segment of crystal shards formed a barrier between the spell and the blue woman, which caused the Byakurai to reflect off its surface and rebound at her. "Huh?!"
When her own spell reached her Mizu jumped left, leaving only her arm and sleeve to be singed by it. "Since when can the crystals do that, Shousenmaru?!" A disappointed look crossed the Zanpakuto spirit's face as she didn't even bother answering her wielder's question. This was their true power, and Mizu not realizing it meant, to Shousenmaru, she wasn't ready for Bankai. This could apparently only be made clear to her through beating the notion out of her though, and Shousenmaru knew it.
The torrent of crystal shards suddenly changed shape again, this time into two gigantic azure walls on either side of Mizu. With a wave of her hands the spirit had them move in a pincer attack meant to crush the blond Shinigami between them. Mizu countered with her own walls of crystal, albeit smaller violet ones she struggled to keep Shousnmaru's at bay with. Cracks began to form in her walls and Mizu frantically searched for a way out. Time for old reliable!
Mizu raised her left hand and shouted another incantation "Hadō #31: Shakkahō!" Instead of the expected sphere of energy, the spell's power rapidly built up before suddenly exploding and enveloping Mizu, her own crystal walls, and Shousenmaru's as well. This violet eruption shattered all the crystal constructs and sent her smoking and blackened body flying into the ground below. Mizu grimaced from pain as she dragged herself back to her feet. Though she was beginning to tire and was struggling through pain, she knew it wasn't in her to quit here. "Enough, Mizu. You're not ready. Maybe you'll never be ready. Either way, just give up." From her reliable partner these words were like knifes in her ears, but Mizu stood determined and sedulous in the face of overwhelming odds.
Seeing the intensity in her wielder's eyes, Shousenmaru decided it was time to end things and so she repeated her previous attack by reforming two massive crystal walls that began tightening around Mizu. Mizu however was deep in thought. I've fought people stronger than me before, this is no different! Come on, think! I need to get past her Shikai and defeat her up close...wait, that could work! Better than nothing at least! After racking her brain Mizu formulated a rudimentary plan and immediately set to work.
Much to Shousenmaru's surprise, Mizu turned to face the crystal wall to her left and raised her Zanpakuto "Hadō #32: Ōkasen!" As she said this a yellow light enveloped her weapon before spreading and firing a wave of energy at the wall. "Fool! You already know how this ends!" Her disappointment in Mizu turned to surprise again as the spell reflected and missed the Shinigami as she dodged out of the way. The spell continued on before bouncing off the other wall as well. This continued on even as the walls moved closer to each other, causing the Ōkasen to hasten in its bouncing like a ping pong ball.
The blue-skinned woman watched on with confusion and interest as Mizu stood idly while she came closer and closer to being crushed. Then the Shinigami waved her blade-less Zanpakuto and suddenly her plan became clear: Mizu met the rebounding spell with a crystal wall of her own, causing it to reflect and fire directly at Shousenmaru at a heightened speed. The yellow beam of energy shot at her like a bullet, moving far more quickly through the air than she was prepared to deal with and before long she felt her raised arms struck by the spell's might.
Though not sent flying, the following explosion completely enveloped the Zanpakuto spirit and left her in pain and without sight due to the cloud of smoke around her. Knowing Mizu was going to take this chance to land another attack, Shousenmaru quickly formed a crystal blade in her hand and prepared to swing it overhead. Then, a strange sensation warmed her breast as the smoke cleared. In its wake stood Mizu, sweat and blood on her brow, panting from exerting herself...and her sword pierced through the center of Shousenmaru's chest.
Shousenmaru felt no pain from her wound, only warmth like that of meeting a long lost friend. She extended her arm and clasped Mizu's head before speaking her congratulations to her wielder "You've done it, Mizu. I should not have doubted you...now, take my power and see what we're really capable of!" A bright light cloaked Shousenmaru head to toe, as well as Mizu's weapon, before quickly dissipating and leaving the young woman alone in the dark. Her Zanpakuto had reverted back to its sealed state, but Mizu could feel in her soul she had done it. She had unlocked her Bankai. And, with a sigh of relief, she collapsed to the ground and fell unconscious, a smile on her lips as she did.
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