[K] Fawlty Towers: Kidou Who?

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May 6, 2005
Urahara Shoten
Fawlty Towers: Kidou Who?

Kayla Arujo
Taiken Yuusuke
Rei Jiiro
Yukiko Murray​

Sunlight flowed over the pitted and scarred skyline of Seireitei, revealing the buildings that had been spared from destruction. Ash and snow mixed underfoot to make an ugly gray groundcover, and in the midst of it all, Yukiko was noting that several patches of daffodils were defying the cold. Ah, the bravery and persistence of nature she mused as she walked slowly through the northern arc of Seireitei.

The 1st division headquarters had been utterly destroyed by an Arrancar, but the rubble was already being carted away and plans were in motion to rebuild it. Looking past it, Yukiko could see the wasted remains of forest and training grounds which would temporarily hold debris until it could be removed.

Among all the destruction, Yukiko strangely did not feel despair or sadness or fear. For the first time in months, she felt hope for the future. Hope that the Arrancar and Vizard menace could be shattered and peace restored to Soul Society.

Her feet continued to make their slow, steady progress around toward the 2nd division, which she had never really been inside of...or laid eyes upon. Amusingly enough, I've never seen most of the taishos in the Gotei. It makes me curious as to what they look like, how they inhabit them...what they smell like...

Shaking her head in amusement, she continued past the 2nd division with a genial wave to the shinigamis standing outside. Her purpose was to assess the damage to the Kidoushuu towers, which had stood unopened and unused for quite some time. Silently, Yukiko came to a halt before the tower and looked up at, gauging whether it was safe to enter.

It was an odd thing for the spiky-haired third seat to have a chance to leave his office. So, when a notice came from his superior that, once again, he could leave the confines of that space from hell and stop writing, he immediately seized the chance and bound out of his office, skipping merrily towards the Kidoushuu tower that was settled near the 2nd and 4th divisions.

Squiggle-san in tow, Yuusuke approached the Kidoushuu Towers and slowed down upon seeing the white Haori of the Captain of the Fifth. He'd never met the Sorceress before, and it was apparent that she too might be on this mission that he'd been assigned. Bowing deeply, Yuusuke approached the Captain with a silly grin as he faced her, saying, "Greetings, Ma'am-Taichou~!"

As soon as the words had left his mouth, Rei's form could be seen instantly blurring into view behind the man, arm raised high in wave. Or so it had seemed, until his fist had come crashing down on Yuusuke's skull, sending him fast first into the pavement below.

Leaving Yuusuke's face planted in the dirt, Rei slapped the palm of his hand to his face, a light growl could be heard escaping his throat. "It's Taichou... Ma'am. Get the order right already..." Looking up to the person in the white haori, Rei was shocked to see that it was his usual partner in absolute insanity.

"Hey Yukiko... long time no see. When was the last time we hung out? That whooping we got?"

At the sound of the man's voice, Yukiko turned to see who was addressing her. She had never met this individual before, so his reiatsu was unfamiliar to her. Looking straight across at the man bowing respectfully to her, she noticed his spiky hair and silly grin. And the teddy bear...?

A split second later, a familiar reiatsu streaked toward them before the strange man was slapped into the dirt. Looking down at the now-flattened shinigami, Yukiko replied, "Yes, it was a whooping I'll never forget." Her voice was oddly droll and monotonous as she tried to get a grip on the situation. Then she gave up and let it go.

"Rei-Taichou, you know this fellow?" she asked placidly. "I didn't realize that the 2nd Division came equipped with...teddy bears."

Kayla had been doing that crazy thing where she'd drown herself in work. It was no surprise, there was so much to do lately with everything going on. Such was life, anyway.

Like many times, she had fallen asleep at the small desk in the kidoushuu tower, which had become her second...no, third home. Maybe forth. If she counted Shizuka's office...

Regardless, she was having a wonderful dream of beaches and coconut trees when the loud rattling of voices came from the front of the room. Her eyes hesitantly opened.... and then she grumpily made her way towards it, pulling on the heavy iron door and peering half asleep at the three figures in front of her.

Upon being slammed into the ground, ever so rudely, Yuusuke felt himself grow quite irate with the Captain. It was one thing to punish him brutally during training or on a mission, but it was quite another to slam him into the ground when he was attempting to be polite to a Captain and make a good impression.

Wiping the dirt from his face, Yuusuke slowly pushed himself up off of the ground, shooting daggers at Rei. "He **** well better know who I am. I'm his third seat...and Taichou...If you wanna be that way, then fine...See if I let you use Squi-"

He interrupted himself in horror as a distinctive sight caught his eye. A person he knew. A person who was looking grumpy. That was not a good sign. In fact, Yuusuke could feel years shave off of his life. So he hid. Well, not so much hid as jumped back five feet, turned his side to the door, covered his face with his hands, and started muttering, "Don't let bad things happen. Don't let bad things happen. Don't let bad things happen."

Watching the man huddle in on himself, Yukiko was struck even more by the oddness of the situation. "I must say, Rei-Taichou...the use of a division teddy bear to bring everyone together as a cohesive fighting unit is superb. I don't think I caught the name of the bear in question," she said calmly while wondering just who or what was glaring out at them from the tower.

"And Rei...should I run?"

Rei blinked twice as he took in the visage of Kayla, he'd never seen her so early in the morning before, and now he knew never to call a meeting in the AM again. Which was good though, since he hated mornings too, it had nothing to do with fear or self preservation. Nu uh. With that decision being made firmly by him, not fear, Rei turned to Yukiko with a small grin on his face.

"If you weren't gone five seconds ago Yuki... you're waaaaay too late consider it now..."

Taking a step forward, Rei swallowed as quietly as he could, still going down in a loud 'gulp' that could be heard by even Squiggle-san. ..

"Morning Kayla... Me and Yuusuke were just reporting in like.. I thought you'd asked..." But seeing the stare he was getting from Kayla... self-doubt began to rear its ugly head.

Kayla's eyes moved slowly from person to person as she sleepily scratched her tummy. They fell finally on Yuusuke who was cowering beyond the two captains. Her eyes narrowed.

"CrianÁƒ §a inÁƒ ºtil... que cadela pequena," she said absently, before shaking her head and closing the door.

She immediately plopped herself back onto the couch, letting her drowsiness get the better of her and wisp her away to that tropical paradise of her mind.


He could feel his eye twitch. He didn't know what the Head of the Kidoushuu had just said...but he could be assured that it was not, in fact, a compliment. And, if that was the fact, then there was only one person it could be aimed at. Him.


He didn't know what language that was in...but ****it, she would not get away with that. Or, he thought, [/I]Maybe she will...I'm not too fond of being on the receiving end of her Kidou...[/I]

But still...

He didn't want to let her get away with that, did he? Then...there could only be one solution. He would have to resort to the art of subterfuge. Or, in layman's turn...pranks. A grin, unlike which had been seen in quite a while, spread across his face.

Mischievous thoughts entered his head.

And his voice, calm and controlled, spoke, "Well then...I suppose we should see what she wants of us."

Silently, Yukiko stepped aside and let the strange man walk past her to the door. She looked at Rei blankly, not quite sure what was happening, but at least no one was trying to kill her. Yet.

"Your division members are rather interesting, Rei," she said, dropping the honorific now that she had observed the casual atmosphere among his people. "Though, I suppose there was no real need for me to trek over here to examine the tower. It's just like the one near the 5th and 3rd divisions. Not a scratch on it."

Blandly looking at Yukiko - out of spite for her insult to his division, or out of jealousy that she never had to deal with this? Who knows. - Rei shrugged his shoulders as he replied. "Interesting? That's putting it a little lightly, but sure. We'll call them that..."

He slowly began to walk towards the tower, pulling out a set of keys that had been given to him beforehand by Kayla. Probably not for this very purpose, but who really kept track of that anyhow? She'd said to give him access to the towers, and by Jove he'd get access to this **** tower if she killed him later.

Still an option people, still an option.

Walking past Yuusuke to the doorway, Rei placed the key into the lock and turned it ever so slightly to the left, a little to the right, then jiggled the **** keys like they were a tambourine in a bad 80's band. After a few seconds of this bizarre ritual, a loud click could be heard as the doors lock disengaged itself, letting the three kidoushuu members enter.

"KAYLA!! Wake up dammit... your message said to be here early..." Turning back to Yuusuke, who was still standing and hiding behind the frame of the doorway, Rei called out in a frustrated voice. "Get over Yuusuke... I need a meat shield..."

A grin, almost too wide to be a good one, spread across Yuusuke's face as he chuckled with glee. "Oh, Rei-taichou, it would be my honor to be your meat shield."

The grin widened. Yuusuke was certain that the two captains must've realized that he had something planned. Not that he cared.

Sticking both his left and right pointer and middle fingers up, Yuusuke slowly fed his Kidou to all for of them, electricity soon building up on them. He kept the amount carefully under control. No need to zap the girl. He had something else in mind.

Small bolts of electrical current jumped between the fingers, the voltage almost negligible...however...

Yuusuke leaned in with a sadistic grin and watched as the electric field slowly pulled the girl's hair, leaving her with an extreme case of what would appear to be bed head.

A final grin appeared as he leaned in farther, and slowly shook her, the current undetectable by touch, flowed in and cause her hair to frazz out completely. "Kayla...Time to get up."

Kayla let out a loud groan, shifting uncomfortably in the couch. "Nnngg..."

What time was it, anyway? Why were they all yelling at her to wake up? Didn't they know she was enjoying her time in the summer sun being pampered by tan, muscular model-worthy men in bathing suits?

Woah there....

The harassment continued and she winced, bringing her hands to her ears in a final attempt to shut it out. Sleep... I just wanna sleeeeep....

It was then that her fingers felt the strangely dry texture of her hair which was usually soft and well kept. Her eyes finally opened again, and she stared at the man looming over her with a smug look on his face to the reflection of herself in her eyes.
Her mouth dropped open and she sat up straight, suddenly, knocking the top of her head sharply into Yuusuke's chin. The pain was fleeting, for her at least, when she saw a true reflection in the mirror. Her eyes widened and without any further hesitation, she swung around and blasted two extra-cold orbs of water at his feet, binding him to the floor. She drew out her zanpakutou and pointed it at him, strategically aimed below the waist, and stared him down with blazing ferocity.

"What do you want on your tomb, boy..." she spat angrily.

A smirk appeared on Yuusuke's face as he returned a favor from long ago. "Whoa there, Kay-Chan....Feeling a bit...testy today, are we?"

Her manner was threatening to say the least...but...Yuusuke grinned as he cast a Kidou. "Bakudou no Ni Jyuu San, Sude."

His hands were endowed with extra protection as Yuusuke grinned again Kay. "Tsk tsk tsk. We all know that close combat is my speciality. If it's training you want, than you just need to ask. I'd be happy to educate you." He said, raising his hands into a defensive position.

A smile curved across Yukiko's lips as she watched the two shinigamis bicker and threaten each other. It was apparent they were good friends, and their antics were amusing to watch and listen to.

"Ah, well, I suppose I should begin trekking southward from here, to check on the third tower," said Yukiko calmly as she watched the sparring match commence. "It's obvious that this tower is in good repair, and is already in use by the 2nd division."

She turned to Rei and smiled, her eyes twinkling with humor. "I'm glad to see you again, Rei-san. And please don't take my earlier remarks to heart; their exuberance is refreshing, and the teddy bear...all divisions should have a teddy bear," she said with a quick grin as she turned to leave.

Rei smirked as Yukiko began to turn to walk away, quipping back at her. "These aren't just normal teddy bears Yukiko. The Second Divisions standard issue teddy bear comes equipped with the latest and greatest in anti-hollow technologies." His voice was straight out of an infomercial, had he ever seen an infomercial, he wouldn't have thought twice about using the tone of voice.

He was tempted to grab the teddy bear for his examples, but he wasn't sure how attached the man was to the bear. Anyone 'eccentric' enough to carry a teddy bear in broad daylight had to treated with finesse.

"Yuusuke's prototype bear is even capable of using basic Chiyudo on itself... thus negating the hassle of having stitch up any random tears it acquires battling hollows..."

Yukiko either looked on the verge of calling him a moron or asking him to supply her division with these awesome bears. Before she teetered one way or the other, Rei started to chuckle as he decided to leave off where he did, instead taking a quasi-serious tone as he asked the next question. "So the towers survived the siege?"

She snickered and said "Battle bears to the rescue!" under her breath before replying.

"Yes, interestingly enough...the buildings near the towers have sustained some damage, but the Kidoushuu towers seem to be literally unscratched," she said as she pulled her cell phone out of her pocket and began to navigate around menus until she found what she was looking for.

"In addition to that, they seem to be impervious to kidou attacks, which makes sense if you're going to be developing and testing kidou spells inside or nearby," said Yukiko. Then she held her cell phone out to Rei so he could look at the tower nearest her own taisho. "Interesting, ne?"

"Cute, Yuusuke. Real cute. You know, you shouldn't be so blaze with the person who can kill you from a mile away..." she hissed angrily, lifting her arm into the air. FLOOD!"

Promptly, the room began to fill with ice-cold water, the source of which was stationed over Yuusuke's head.

It'd been slightly amusing when this whole thing had been a bit of a joke, but now...Yuusuke was growing increasingly annoyed with the massive amounts of cold water that was being dumped on his head.

If she wanted to mess with the young lightning user, then she should by all means do so...but prepared to get shocked in the end. Gathering Kidou at his palm, Yuusuke swore out, "****IT! ZAP!" and send small bolts of lightning seeking the offending Kidou Mistress.

"And you shouldn't mess with a skilled lightning user, oh great and powerful water master, unless you have an urge to feel the touch of lightning on your skin," he taunted back, anger seeping into his tone.

"Oh ho?! And waking me up by messing with my hair is appropriate, how? Obviously in the illogical little world of Yuusuke. But I hate to burst your bubble, there's a big real world out there and things called 'common sense' and 'respect'."

She angrily shielded herself from yet more static shock and sheathed her sword, not bothering to release the binds or stop the flow of water, despite the fact that a good few centimeters had accumulated. He could get himself out of it since he ..indirectly got himself into it.

With that she spun around and made way to the bathroom to do something with the mess on her head.

"**** you"

"Oh yeah!?" he yelled after her, "And I suppose saying something about me in a language that I don't is the epitome of respect and maturity in your world Kayla! Che..."

Rei had little time to comment on the information on her cell phone before torrents of icy cold water began to gush out of the tower and soak their clothes. Annoyed, she flipped the phone shut and looked inside the building. Then she had the presence of mind to grab Rei and hop up onto a ledge, out of the water once Yuusuke let loose with the electricity.

"Not that I wish to insult the leader of our little group, or your fine subordinates...but they're frigging crazy! I mean, sure, I let a giant penguin loose in Rukongai...but they're flippin' insane. No wonder you twitch so badly when you see me, it's like adding insult to injury whenever I show up," muttered Yukiko as she waited for the kidou to subside.

Once the coast was clear, she released her death grip on Rei's gi and let him drop to the ground with a mushy plop, as the ground had become rather muddy all of a sudden....

"Are they seeing each other or something? They act like an old married couple," remarked Yukiko as she heard the tail end of the argument and the slamming of a door.

Brushing some dirt from his shoulder, Rei looked up to Yukiko with a bored expression. "This coming from the person who grows a massive hellmoth, likes massive penguins... and... wait... are you trying to compensate for your lack of height Yukiko?"

Smiling at her, he shook his leg to clear it of the mud that had splashed on his pants. "You really shouldn't worry about something so trivial as height Yukiko, you more than make up for it with your character... right?"

Looking over to the door of the tower, nodded his head towards the inside. "And I'll thank you to not insult my subordinates... they may be crazy, childish, and a handful, but they're my crazy, childish, handfuls..."

His smile was soon wiped away by a look of trepidation, as he again looked towards the door. "You think we should go inside and check on them... when its too quiet I sometimes worry that I have a homicide on my hands..."

A few hairs sproinged from Yukiko's bun when Rei began tying everything to her height. "I didn't do a thing to him, he was already like that when he landed on me in a rainstorm, but it's not like you would know you never asked only assumed..." she muttered.

Then she stepped over and peered in the door. "Well, they've either killed each other...or else they're up to something," she said noncommittally. "And I'll not insult your people again, Rei...they came through the Siege with their lives and sanity. That's more than can be said of some of our comrades."

Che...Stupid girl...trying to blame it all on me... He couldn't believe the nerve Kayla had...He hadn't even done anything wrong! A harmless joke, at worst. Heck, she'd brought it on herself by muttering at him in that stupid language. If anyone was at fault, it was her!

Yeah...but...she was kinda cranky. Messing with her...weren't you just trying to start something, dumbass? the Zanpakutou's sarcasm bit through his anger into the calm center.

Well...Maybe...but still...She shouldn't get angry over that! [/I] he mentally countered, and the Zanpaku laughed out, chiding him, Stop acting like a child and apologize, brat.

He wanted to resist, he really did, but that ****ed pain in the *** piece of him called the conscious told him that she was right and that really, it was his fault for trying to pick a fight. "Alright...I'm sorry about the hair thing...that was really inappropriate."

She didn't expect him to fully apologize, did she?

Kayla came back from the bathroom, her hair now drenched and calmed, with a small towel in her hands as she dried the tresses a little with it. She watched him, contemplating whether or not to accept his apology.

On one hand, he acted like a complete douche-bag.

On the other, for Taiken Yuusuke to apologize and admit fault was like ... she half expected the moon to come crashing down and impale itself on a tower Setsu-style.

She gave him a quick shrug and turned her attention elsewhere, her feet sloshing through the water that hadn't drained yet.

"Gah, what a mess..." she muttered mostly to herself as she made her way over to brew some chai tea for everyone.

"Where's Rei and Yukiko?" she asked absently.

He didn't really expect her to say much but still...only a shrug? He had to admit that it was slightly annoying.

"Uhm...Dunno. I think they might've left during our little...scuffle, earlier. Probably a smart thing too, considering we could've wrecked the place if we'd gotten too enthusiastic."

Seeing that the two hadn't killed each other, Yukiko ventured inside the tower, noting the water-covered floors, the scorched furniture and wall coverings, and two normal people going about the business of getting along with each other and having tea. She loved every minute of it.

"Ah, Kayla-san, is it safe to come in?" she asked politely while watching what looked like a small, scorched plushie float out the door. "Or should I come back at a different time?"

Sighing to himself as he stepped through the door, Rei could only be thankful for one thing and one thing alone. this isn't gonna destroy the second division at least...

Walking across the room, ignoring the squishing noise his sandals made on the damp carpet, Rei looked over to Yuusuke and Kayla with an embarrassed look. "So are you two done yet? Maybe we can get down to what you'd called us out for..."

He touched his hand to the flask shaped object on his waist before asking a question. "Does this have anything to do with the package Yuusuke and myself brought back from Earth?" It had puzzled him what she'd wanted with it in the first place, but he still hoped she'd found a use for it beyond making it into a decorative paperweight or coaster.

Kayla threw the towel down on the chair and sat at the desk, taking out various notebooks, scraps of paper that were scribbled on, and other random things. "Sorry about that fiasco," she said passively as she searched through the files. "But anyway, I'm sure you guys are aware of the Vizard threats that have been made towards all of us, and the Kidoushuu. I developed an anti-mask Kidou for this reason.... Aha." She grabbed a sealed envelope and walked back over to the group.

"Speaking of our masked friends, this is for you, Rei." She handed it to him and gave a stern look. "It's top secret... don't let anybody see, or know. Read it as soon as you get back and then burn it."

With that, she turned to the rest of them and nodded. "I needed that hollow mask to demonstrate and do further studies to improve the kidou. However, I'm pretty confident in the beta stage that it'll work. You guys up for it?" she asked Rei politely.

Making the folder disappear into one of the pockets lining his uniform, Rei vowed to read the information as soon as he was able to. Meeting Kayla's gaze with his own, Rei nodded briskly before quietly speaking. The nature of the conversation seeming to put Rei into a serious train of thought.

"What did you have in mind Oyabun?" Strangely enough, Kayla's legs seemed to twitch when he said those words, almost as if she was about to jump into the air and kick Rei in the head. It was the weirdest thing.

An anti mask kidou huh? No wonder it had to be a B Ranking hollow, anything else would have been much too weak to actually have contributed towards the research.

Kayla frowned, not exactly thrilled with his choice of words, but she ignored it.

For now.

"Alright, well here we go." She led them all up a set of spiral stairs to the second floor, which upon entering was pretty much just one giant empty room save for an old machine that looked like it was ready to break any second. She began to explain the situation as she headed over to it.

"This hunk of metal was used by the Kidoushuu to replicate different types of kidou energy. That included, charges, elements, spin ratios, etc. It took me a long while, but based on the mask Rei and Yuu-chan got me, I was able to get a set simulation of the molecular make-up of masks." Once they reached the device, she pulled out a chunk of hard material that looked like an ordinary rock. "This was the product. Synthetic mask matter." She handed it over to them to examine.

"Turns out the best way to weaken it is to create a kidou flow of pure energy with the exact opposite charge. It obstructs the make-up and weakens the bonds. Like most kidou, depending on the strength and skill of the enemy and caster depends on how much this weakening can happen. In extreme cases, one blow could shatter a mask. The downside is as of right now, it requires a direct hit."

She pointed to a set up of target-like objects that stood on one end of the room. Each of them had a slab of stone that resembled the same synthetic matter as the rock. "Those things are what I practice on, pretty much. And these..." She tossed them all small vials that were closed with swirls of energy in them. "These guys are small samples of the charge and flow you need to break them. Basically open them up, get a feel for it, and try to replicate it with your own energy... it sounds complicated, but you get used to it."

Yuusuke nodded slowly, taking in what Kayla had said and reaching out to sense the energy that was contained both by the rocks, and the vials. I see...And by weakening the masks, it becomes easier to defeat them...but...

Glancing back at Kayla, he asked, "I can appreciate the idea behind this, Kayla...but I have to wonder how practical this sort of Kidou will be. I mean, sure, weakening the mask might have it's uses, but on the average, the real difficulty of the battle is actually getting into position to strike. The mask hardly ever presents a problem, once you're there. So, does this Kidou have other affects? Or will weakening a mask affect a Hollow in ways I'm not aware of?"

"The mask is the center of power for a Vizard. Their trickiest and most dangerous skills center around it. It's more than just making it easier to crack, it also lowers the potency of their Vizard abilities because of it. It is a difficult task to actually carry out, since it requires a direct hit. But I feel being able to get it done will really help. We don't...*really* know what we're up against."

She eyed them sternly as she spoke, which was a rare occurance for usual lighthearted nature. "My goal is to negotiate, regardless of what people say. But I'm honestly not sure what they can pull. Weakening them makes it easier to *not* have to be rough."

Holding the vial in her hand, Yukiko pondered the uses of the kidou. It sounds useful, but I wonder what else it can do? Shaking her head of interfering thoughts, she opened the vial and let the energy pour out onto her hands. It felt strange, yet as she let it sit on top of the reiatsu covering her hands, she could feel how it worked. In her mind's eye, the reactions of the differing energies became a cohesive thought, and that thought settled into instinct as she let her own kidou energy flow out and assume the same frequency as the vial's contents.

A smile crossed her lips as she considered the uses of the technology, how much faster and simpler kidou instruction could be...

Holding the matching energies in her hands, she asked, "What exactly is the name of the kidou and its incantation?"

Holding the vial in one hand and creating a sphere of the opposing energy in his other hand, Rei looked between the two to be absolutely sure that he had created the right charge. The feel was there, but he couldn't help but try and nitpick and perfect on what he was already feeling.

"Would it be possible to adapt these vials to teach someone the proper way to activate their kidou energies? Too many people outside of the kidoushuu waste a lot of energy with their crude methods."

Tossing the vial back to Kayla, Rei's eyebrows raised as he thought about one of the first lessons they'd learned. The method of absolute bypass.

" Oh, right. It's 'These opposite souls clash among the three worlds in eternal conflict. Let the darkness within be silenced by my will. Bakudo #76, MÁƒ¡sara Roto'," she offered, and then turned to Rei. "I hadn't thought about that... it's a bit of a pain in the *** to get that stuff done, though. The machine's old and needs some severe tune-ups. But, you're right, it probably would help a lot of people got a feel for a kidou before using it."

She recalled her trip to the academy and realized how much easier it would've been if she had such examples. She shook her head.

"Anyway... those practice masks. Just give it a shot, I guess, and see how well you do. They're pretty charged so they won't break too easily for a bunch of captains."

"Alright then, Kayla, Rei, Yukiko...I'll take the first crack at doing this."

Closing his eyes, Yuusuke took several deep breathes, gathering his energy and calming himself. The young Shinigami reached out and enveloped the swirling bit of energy with his senses, slowly converting his own Kidou to match the energy that was coming from it.

His eyes shot open suddenly, and his body was in motion, dashing towards the rocks that sat opposite of him. "These opposite souls clash among the three worlds in eternal conflict. Let the darkness within be silenced by my will. Bakudo #76, MÁƒ¡sara Roto."

Thrusting his arm out, Yuusuke hit the rock as he finished chanting...and stared at it. It didn't look any different..."Uhm...Did I do that right?"

Scratching her head absentmindedly, Yukiko replied, "I'm not sure, Yuusuke-san, but I think I'll take a shot at it myself."

She focused on a nearby rock and walked up to it. Recalling the incantation, she let the energy run up and down her arms as she settled into the familiar feel of the kidou. "These opposite souls clash among the three worlds in eternal conflict. Let the darkness within be silenced by my will. Bakudou #76, MÁƒ¡sara Roto."

The power flowed out from her core as she focused it around both fists. Settling into a fighting stance with her feet apart and her right hip leading, she struck the stone with two quick, solid strikes. Energy flared out as her fists made contact with the substance, causing it to fracture slightly along one edge.

"Tch, not much effect," said Yukiko as she stepped back and focused again.

Watching the pair as they each used the bakudou on the stone in front of them, Rei let the kidou energies in his body flow freely, slowly guiding the energy towards the tips of his fingers. Whispering the words to complete the incantation.

"These opposite souls clash among the three worlds in eternal conflict. Let the darkness within be silenced by my will. Bakudou #76, MÁƒ¡sara Roto."

Bursting towards the stone, Rei clenched his hands into a fist before punching the block with crushing force. Did... it work?

Only a small dent had been created by the force from Rei's punch, sending a dull throb that started running through his forearm and continued working its way up his bicep. Just when Rei began to question what he'd done wrong, a small crack began to form.

Another crack soon followed, until it was quickly fracturing its way throughout the block of stone until it seemed that it couldn't possibly hold itself together. Instead of breaking and falling apart, a shallow hum vibrated the pieces until they violently erupted.

Yukiko walked over to Rei, noting the scorched eyebrows and sooty face. Without saying anything, she looked at the charred wall. Then she looked at Rei. Then the wall. Then Rei.

"I need to discuss a certain crater...or two that appeared in my training grounds a week ago, Rei," she said neutrally as she began to tally the costs of filling in the dirt. Or, she could just fill the crater with her former Vice Captain, seeing as how he let Rei do the damage and did nothing to repair it.

Meanwhile, Yuusuke was still trying to figure out of he'd managed to do the ****ed Kidou right. He'd tried a number of things already to see if there'd been any change in the rock. Poking it, proding it, juggling it, petting it, watching it, and even letting it touch Squiggles-san (for which it should be extremely grateful; not just anybody is allowed to touch him.)

Gah...Guess I failed...Stupid rock...

Deciding that the best way to get ride of his frustrations was the rock (and not a verbal argument with a certain Oyabun), the newly appointed Captain grabbed the rock and threw at the ground. Hard. In frustrating. After which, the rock sat there for a second, glaring back at it's archnemisis. And then split in half.

"Oh..." Yuusuke became distinctly aware of the gazes of his comrades, which seemed to have made their way over to him. Flushing slightly, he slowly continued, "I guess it did work, huh?"

Looking between the scorched wall, then the cracked stone on the ground. The stone, the wall. The stone, and the wall. Then back to Yuusuke with a confuzzled look. "Umm... I don't think any of us really got it..."

He pointed to Yuki's target, taking a guess at what had happened. "You didn't use enough energy by the looks of it..." He then pointed to Yuusuke's 'pet rock'. "... I don't even wanna know what the heck you did wrong with yours... it might be contagious."

The then waved his hand to indicate his crater that he'd created. "and me... well, you have three guesses to figure out what I did wrong..." It had to have been an arrancar plot... just like when they hid my keys in the couch. Evil *******s...

Doubt filled Yuusuke's eyes as Rei commented on his failure; the diagnosis of his mistake was probably accurate, but he wasn't going to keep quiet. Contagious my ***, Rei, you ***....

"Contagious? No more so than your inexplicable aptitude towards leaving scorch marks wherever you go, Rei."

The stone on the wall seemed to mock Yukiko with its intactness. Rei had a point, so she channeled more energy into her hands and let it flow around them as she repeated the incantation. Then she lunged forward and struck the stone with all her might, channeling all of the kidou's energy into the attack.

Still, the stone had only a small fracture along the edge.

Sighing in frustration, Yukiko turned her back on the stone and walked over to Rei and Yuusuke. Just as she opened her mouth to speak, the edge of the stone cracked off and exploded outward. As the smoke cleared around them, she could only shrug her shoulders as little bits of debris bounced off her head.

"Maybe we need to take control of when the energy is released? Like, the kidou energy is released before we actually hit?" she suggested weakly as they just stood there and stared at her.


Yuusuke blinked balefully as Yukiko made the suggestion...and realized that it was probably a good one. "Hmmm," he began, "Maybe...we need to force the energy into the stone instead of just trying to hit it. Imma give this one more go."

Turning his attention back at the rocks, one in particular glared at him. Yuusuke glared back. The rock taunted him. A twitch appeared on his forehead; what the hell kind of rock taunted you?!?!

Gathering all of his Kidou into his right fist, he charged the stupid, determined to shatter it...or at least, not manage to screw up completely. As the incantation left his lips, Yuusuke released the energy, pushing it into the actual rock and then swung hard.

For a few seconds, nothing happened...and then...a long, shallow crack appeared. "Uhm...We're getting there, I guess. Rei, you try it. Maybe I just don't have enough power to shatter this thing in one go."

Kayla couldn't help but smile to herself as her comrades worked hard to get the spell. She felt lucky right then to have them on her side, really. They were good people, bright, and strong.

"Don't worry too much about it. Remember the point of the spell is to weaken the mask. Even if you can't shatter it with one blow, it'll be easier to do with a zanpakutou, your fist, or other kidou spells. But control and speed is a big factor in it right now..."

She turned to the machine (which she resolved she needed to give a name) and squatted down, opening up the cabinet that it rested on and pulling out a few slabs. She hadn't been able to make much being it took a lot of her own energy and time to create. But she wasn't expecting the group to go through them that quickly.

She handed one to Rei since he had managed to make his first attempt a shiny one that went 'boom' rather easily.

"A few more tries here, and you guys can take some home to practice. I'd suggest making them move somehow... maybe slap 'em on a dummy in the kidou training field."

Looking at the synthetic mask in his hands, Rei was tempted to just try the kidou right then and there. Except for the nagging memory of his last try kept him from smashing/blowing up/denting the mask.

Looking over to Yuusuke, a shark-like grin came over his face as he envisioned other ways that they could possibly practice the technique. Mainly Rei trying to justify smashing Yuu-chan's face in for that remark awhile back.

"Well... I could always use one of the kidoushuu dummies for target practise..." His toothy grin towards Yuusuke left little doubt as to what he was talking about.

"That sounds like amazing fun. While we're at it, Rei, I've got some pictures that I know my former colleagues in the second are just dying to see." He smirked slightly; one should never estimate the power of a subordinate determined to get some dirt on his former Captain. Of course, I must be careful myself. No more going to bars where I could make a fool of myself...

Grabbing one of the slabs from Kayla, he shoved it into the folds of his uniform; he wondered if he could draw faces on them. If so, he knew exactly what face would be going on his as he practiced. "Thanks, Kay-chan. I'll be sure to perfect this on my own. Could come in useful."

The stone felt strange in her hands as Yukiko took the proffered practice material from Kayla. She was making sure to keep some distance between herself and the two men, since their animosity seemed to be growing the longer they were together.

"Thanks, Kayla-san," she said before stepping behind a nearby cabinet. She didn't want any chunks of them to hit her, should they do something foolish.

"Whenever you're ready for another round of training Yuusuke, I'm always ready to help you learn." The synthetic material disappeared into the sleeve of his uniform before he started to move on. "... but that's not why we're here."

All signs that he'd been arguing with Yuusuke vanished from his face before he quietly turned to Kayla. "Was there anything else you wanted to share with us Kayla?"

"Nope, that's about it. Other than... one last thing." She went back into the cabinet and took out two small yellow envelopes, tossing one to Yuusuke and one to Yukiko. "Keys for the towers. You guys'll need them. And this place is always open for you guys to practice. Other than that.. nope. That's all I wanted... other than some sleep."

She winked at them and then turned to make her way out of the room. "When you guys are done, just lock up. I'm going to go grab a bite and get on with my daily madness. Ciao."

She gave a short wave before disappearing into the stairwell.

Snatching the packet as it flew towards him, Yuusuke gave a grin to Rei. "Ah, I'd be more than happy to have another go with you, Rei. I've been working on some things that you might enjoy getting a taste of."

He gave both of his elders a short bow, and then turned to face the stairs, giving each of them a short wave. "I'd love to hang around and chat some more, but I've got a few things that I need to take care of. See you later, Rei, Yukiko-san."

Standing there in silence, Yukiko looked down at the stone in her hand, then at the packet of keys. Then back to the stone. "Why do I feel like I'm carrying nitroglycerin around?" she murmured before tucking the two items into her robes.

After brushing some dust from her hands, she looked over at Rei, who still had quite a bit of soot across his face from the earlier explosion. She didn't even want to know what her haori looked like from the back, as it must have looked terrible.

"Well, Rei...it looks like it's just us...and our simulated hollow masks o' dewm," she said as she shifted the stone in her pocket.

Looking over to Yukiko from the corner of his eye, Rei didn't even bother to hide his attempts to wipe the soot from his face. After failing miserably and only managing to smudge it into his uniform, his voice was muffled as he spoke through his uniform.

"Don't worry yourself too much Yukiko. It won't bite you unless you attack it with another weird experimental kidou..." Before her anger could get the better of her, and let her retaliate against him, Rei activated the energies for the shadow step kidou.

Disappearing into the boundary between light and shadow, Rei stepped into his office in the second division and tossed his haori into a pile in the corner. that makes that the third one this month, I think they're gonna cut me off soon enough if I keep this up. Guess I'm gonna have to learn how to patch up my own stuff...

Falling backwards into his chair in a relaxed heap, he kicked his feet up on his desk as he craned his neck backwards. The day's events still fresh in his mind as he closed his eyes and began to doze off.

Silence settled over Yukiko as the last of their merry band buggered off into the shadows. I need to learn that kidou someday...soon. Her feet still squelched softly as she trekked out of the tower, shutting off lights and closing doors behind her.

Cold air hit her face as she stepped out of the tower and turned to lock the door with her new set of keys. As she pulled the packet from her robes, the keys jangled and slipped out. Sighing in irritation at having to dig the keys out of the mud, she leaned over and reached for the nearest key.

The soft sound of a squelching footstep behind her was only a secondary announcement of Wintermantel's presence.

"So they finally reopened the old towers?" he remarked as he reached out and touched the wall of the building. Yukiko didn't answer, as she was too busy fishing for her keys. Shaking his head sadly, Wintermantel pulled a key from his pocket and inserted it in the lock. The mechanism turned over smoothly before he removed the key and placed it in his pocket again.

"Ah, got them!" exclaimed Yukiko as she lifted the keys from the muck. Then she noticed the locked door.

"...you have a key?" she asked quietly.

"From days of old, Yukiko," he said with a smile before he pulled his cloak around him and disappeared into a shadow step.

Sighing softly, she shook the mud from the keys and pocketed them before making the long trek back to West Seireitei. When she got home, she was going to make some cocoa...and read something frivolous. Ohhh yeahhhh.


Writing Week is 257

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