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Chapter 15: Chapter 15: Promise

In the candy store, Yamahiko stood on a stool, in front of the grocery counter, looking at the pink-haired girl in front of him, and asked, "Vice-Captain Yachiru, what would you like this time?"

Yamahiko had been working at the candy store for almost a month, and the one who visited the store most frequently was still Yachiru Kusajishi. She would come every two or three days and buy a large bag of candies each time.

No one could really understand why she loved candy so much.

Yachiru Kusajishi stood in front of the counter, pointing at the candies on the display, and said, "I'll have some of these and these."

Yamahiko promptly weighed them for her, filled a large bag, calculated the price, received the payment, and handed the bag to Yachiru Kusajishi.

Yachiru Kusajishi took the bag and eagerly unwrapped a candy, a happy smile on her adorable face. She seemed completely content as she headed towards the door.

However, Yamahiko called out, "Vice-Captain Yachiru, wait a moment."

"Little hiko, what's up?"

Yachiru Kusajishi turned around, curious about why Yamahiko had stopped her.

Yamahiko didn't mind the nickname she had given him; instead, he reached under the counter and pulled out a box, handing it to Yachiru Kusajishi, saying, "This box of candy is for you as a token of my gratitude for helping me find this job."

Yamahiko had two more days of work before finishing his job, and he had already received his salary for the month. He had bought this box of candy as a gift for Yachiru Kusajishi.

Yachiru Kusajishi saw the box and her eyes lit up, but she quickly said, "This box of candy is quite expensive. I can't accept it."

Yamahiko scratched his head and said, "If it weren't for Vice-Captain Yachiru helping me, I wouldn't have found this job."

"In that case, I'll gladly accept it."

Yachiru Kusajishi didn't refuse any longer and took the box of candy, then bounced away happily.

As Yachiru Kusajishi left, Yamahiko felt a sense of melancholy. He had found this job thanks to Yachiru Kusajishi's introduction, and after a month of working together, he was grateful to her, but he also felt a sense of regret.

In the future, she would disappear, and he couldn't change that fact.

Should he try to eliminate the enemies who would eventually defeat Kenpachi Zaraki to prevent his release of the Zanpakuto? However, the enemies Kenpachi Zaraki faced were incredibly powerful, and even after unsealing his Zanpakuto, he needed to achieve Bankai to defeat them. Shikai would not be enough.

Could he, with his current level of training, reach the point where he could achieve Bankai after unsealing his Zanpakuto within the sixty-year timeframe?

Yamahiko knew that with his current training, it was already a lofty aspiration to match the sealed Kenpachi Zaraki in Reiatsu(spiritual pressure).

Yamahiko could only keep this in mind and, over the course of many years, search for a way to solve this issue.

After working at the candy store for two more days, Yamahiko finished his month-long part-time job and returned to school.

There were still seven days until the start of the school term. Kira Izuru had returned to the dormitory. At the beginning of the spring break, he had applied for a temporary pass to the Soul Society and returned home.

As for Yamahiko, Rukia Kuchiki, and Renji Abarai, they didn't want to return to the Zaraki District and stayed at school.

When Kira Izuru arrived at the dormitory, he put down the package he had brought with him and took out a paper bag from it, handing it to Yamahiko and Renji, saying, "These are some gifts I brought from home, a specialty of my District. Renji, Yamahiko, give them a try."

"What is it?"

Renji Abarai took the bag and opened it, finding several round, pancake-like treats inside. He picked one up and asked curiously, "What is this?"

Kira Izuru smiled and said, "These are taiyaki, a specialty from the District where my family lives."

Renji Abarai handed one to Yamahiko and said, "Yamahiko, you try it first."

Yamahiko was already used to Renji Abarai's consideration; every time there was food, Renji would offer it to him first. Of course, being used to it didn't mean taking it for granted. Yamahiko remembered all the kindness Renji had shown him and vowed to repay it someday.

Yamahiko took the taiyaki, placed it by his mouth, and took a bite. First, he tasted the soft and sweet bread crust made from honey and flour, followed by the smooth and sweet filling made of red bean paste and syrup.

Extremely delicious.

The rich flavor mixed with a sweet aroma was intoxicating, and Yamahiko quickly finished eating a piece of taiyaki.

Kira Izuru smiled and asked, "How is it?"

Yamahiko licked the red bean paste from the corner of his mouth and said, "It's really good."

Renji Abarai also picked up a taiyaki, took a bite, and his eyes lit up. He said, "Indeed, it's great. Kira, aren't you going to eat?"

Kira Izuru waved his hand and said, "I've had enough of these. I brought them all for you guys."

Renji Abarai quickly finished the taiyaki in his hand and then said, "Well, I don't really like overly sweet things. Let Yamahiko have the rest."

After finishing his taiyaki, Renji tossed the bag in front of Yamahiko.

Yamahiko blinked slightly; he could easily see that Renji Abarai was giving it to him because he had said it was delicious.

Renji had done this kind of thing many times before.

From their first meeting to the nine months in the Inuzuri District, and now nearly a year sharing a dormitory, Renji Abarai had already treated Yamahiko like a younger brother.

He always let Yamahiko eat first, and if it was something Yamahiko liked, he would give it all to him.

The same went for Rukia, who also considered Yamahiko as her younger brother.

Yamahiko could never forget the kindness that Renji Abarai and Rukia had shown him. He remembered the future where Rukia would be imprisoned and bound to the Sōkyoku, just a step away from execution. He also remembered Renji Abarai getting seriously injured while protecting Rukia and battling Byakuya Kuchiki. All of this was destined to happen.

Yamahiko didn't want Rukia to go to prison again, nor did he want Renji to be seriously injured. However, the enemies of the former were Aizen and the latter's opponent was Byakuya Kuchiki. One was an Espada-level threat, and the other was a captain-level threat. They were not opponents that could be easily dealt with.

This made Yamahiko feel powerless, just as he had the desire to save Yachiru Kusajishi but lacked the strength to match it.

Could he really do nothing?

Having crossed into this world, yet unable to change the fates of those around him, how could he accept that?

Yamahiko silently swore in his heart that he would change their fates. To achieve this goal, he had to work hard and not waste a single moment to increase his strength. Perhaps then, there would be a chance to save more and more people.

Thinking about this, Yamahiko checked the time. It was now evening, but there was still some time left before lights out.

He took out his wooden sword and headed towards the training room. Seeing this, Renji Abarai asked curiously, "Yamahiko, what are you going to do?"

Yamahiko waved his wooden sword and said, "It's still some time before lights out. I'm going to practice in the training room for a while."

Leaving these words behind, Yamahiko carried his wooden sword and ran out of the dormitory.

Seeing this scene, Renji Abarai said, "Yamahiko has such great talent and yet works so hard. I finally understand why he's even better than us."

Kira Izuru sighed and said, "Now that Yamahiko has skipped a grade and entered the fourth year, he's likely to graduate early. With his talent, he should be recruited early by the Gotei 13 for special training. He might even become a captain-level Shinigami in the future. By then, the gap between us and him will only grow wider."

"In that case, we need to work hard too. We can't let him surpass us too much."

Renji Abarai suddenly stood up and said, "If he becomes much stronger than me, I, as the big brother, will lose face."

Saying this, Renji Abarai also grabbed a wooden sword and left the dormitory.

Kira Izuru smiled and took out the items from the package, placing them one by one on the table.


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