It was the night before the ceremonial day. He was currently laying in bed.
He had finally met his "family" over the course of the week. They were obvious in their dislike for him, they were not abusive in any regard but he could see it in their eyes, they didn't consider him one of them.
Lord Phenex barely spoke to him, it was clear he wanted to keep his distance and not have any kind of relationship.
Lady Phenex was the most direct. She had outright disgust for him. From what he heard, her and Lord Phenex were happily married, so he could imagine the indiscretion that Lord Phenex had with his mother really put friction on their relationship which Lady Phenex directed towards the young Shinigami.
He apparently had 3 siblings. Two older brothers, one by several years and one by a single year. The younger of the two showed disdain for him outright, his name was Riser. The boy was the cliché spoiled brat. He thought himself better than everyone due to his heritage. The only reason the boy didn't all but demand Ichigo kiss the ground he walk was because he didn't know if Ichigo would awaken his bloodline or not. Though it was an open secret among the family that the chance was slim.
The older of the two brothers, Ruval, was the true heir of the family, both in name and in presentation.
He radiated nobility. He did not treat Ichigo as a lower being like his other family members, he was polite and direct about his reservations towards the bastard.
The last of the family, the little sister. She was a few months younger than Ichigo.
Though he did not have any feelings of familial bonds towards the Phenex family, their reactions did hurt him on some level, and she was especially hurtful.
He grew up in his last life treasuring his family. Sure, he and his father got into fights every day, but he loved the idiot and would die to protect him and his sisters. He understood why his father's personality changed when his mother died. Their father had trouble coping with the loss more so than the kids, and Ichigo and his sisters had to step up and reel him in from time to time.
So, when he was supposed to meet this "family" of his, he hoped for even a sliver of love would be shown, it was something he lacked the past 11 years of his life. He craved some kind of relationship with something he could call family.
To say he was surprised would be an exaggeration, he prepared himself for the feelings he would receive. It didn't matter how old he was mentally, having people turn their back on you, especially family, hurt.
And his sister was the worst, the other family members acknowledge him, they pretty much told them how they felt about him which were not very good things, but his supposed sister was indifferent. She ignored him, didn't bother to address him as another living being.
If the other family members hurt him on some small level emotionally, she made him angry.
Her attitude made him realize; if he disappeared from their lives forever, none of them would care in the slightest.
Still thinking of this past week made Ichigo angry, the only thing he could do now was get a good night's sleep and prepare for tomorrows fallout.
His eyes opened as the first Sunlight pushed through his curtains.
He calmed himself, he needed to be alert. After the ceremony he would look for any chance to escape, he didn't know how long it would take before there was an opening.
Patient... Patient, he repeated multiple times in his head.
He wasn't the brash hothead he was before, though he surely can play the part if the situation arose.
Though he will never have the insight and mental capabilities like Aizen or Urahara, he matured enough over the years to be able to handle himself calmly in most situations.
His thoughts were interrupted by a knock on the door, it was time.
He was led by a few people he had never met before. They made their way to what looked like a large dining hall. It was probably what was used to host celebrations or a party.
Not that this was a celebration in the slightest. This wasn't like how the gossip around the castle talked about the previous celebrations. The atmosphere was heavy. Only the important people of the clan were here, the ones that would decide his fate when he failed to awaken his bloodline.
He stood in the middle of the room, all eyes on him. He was nervous though not as much as a kid in his position would be, so he had to keep acting. He couldn't wait for the freedom he would get when he finally made his escape. It made him antsy, he wanted to finally throw away this mask he had put on for the past 11 years. He wasn't an infiltrator, he wasn't a specially trained spy who could hold their emotions down and complete their mission. He mused at the thought of what his friends would say when he told them how he managed this. Him, the kid who would use Bankai right from the start and charge in without a plan.
It calmed his nerves a bit, though his mask never slipped, on the inside he was calm.
Behind him, the large doors opened, breaking him out of his thoughts.
People he didn't recognized, people not of the Phenex clan, before he could question in his head who these people were, Lord Phenex responded.
"I welcome the emissary of Lord Beelzebub to my home" Lord Phenex declared, causing all noise to stop.
"I thank you for your hospitality Lord Phenex, I am here by my lords decree to provide a set of Evil Pieces to one young Ichigo Kurosaki" The man replied with a bow.
"Of course, its this young lad with the orange hair" Lord Phenex responded while gesturing over to where Ichigo was.
The Emissary raised an eyebrow at Lord Phenex's statement. He knew more than most people, he knew that the kid was a bastard, hell, most of the big families knew what happened. Everyone has spies everywhere and news travels fast.
What caught the Emissaries' attention was the color of the kid's hair. Bright and strange colors were not rare among devils. But the fact that an offspring of Lord Phenex had orange hair when his whole family had blonde hair? Something was off with the kid. There should have been no way his human features he inherited from his mother would be so pronounced over the ones he should have received from Lord Phenex.
He pushed the thoughts aside, it wasn't his place to meddle and if he figured this out, then Lord Phenex would have noticed this much sooner than he.
"Come here boy, it's time to receive your Evil Pieces". The man waved for Ichigo to come over.
Ichigo approached as the man opened the box he had. Chess pieces. He could feel the aura radiating off them. These were not common items.
The man took the king piece from his box and handed it over to Ichigo.
"Push your energy into this piece and let it meld with your soul" He said, placing it into Ichigo's hand.
"When this piece enters you and fuses with your soul, the other pieces will respond and be linked to you."
Ichigo felt an odd sensation wash over him as he let the piece enter his soul. While the process was happening, he peeked inside himself to see what changed. There was a large floating chess board floating around him, along with one set of chess pieces with the King glowing red.
He quickly pulled himself out of his soul at the hushed murmurs of the crowd.
He didn't know what was going on, did he do something wrong? It was then he laid his eyes on the other chess pieces.
They were cracked, and then he heard it in a soft whisper in the crowd.
"Broken Pieces" A random person said.
It was both a term to describe the current state of his pieces, and of what they represent. Ichigo knew the term, if there was one thing he could do in this castle, it was read. He was allowed to read about pretty much any subject, and when his 11th year approached he asked for books about the Evil Pieces.
In the early days of the evil pieces' creation, they tested them out on various power levels of devils.
There was a reason only high-class devils and high level bloodlines were given sets. They were expensive to make for one, and two ….they were useless for low level trash.
A normal piece is influenced by the respective king's potential and current power and uses that to amplify the bonuses the pieces give when they reincarnate something.
A queen piece gives all the bonuses of the Rook, Knight, and bishop making it the most powerful and balanced piece.
A rook piece gives Increased Strength and Defense.
A knight gives increased Speed.
A Bishop gives increased mystical properties, usually referring to magical power.
A pawn gives no inherent bonuses but allows the user to promote temporarily into a corresponding piece when fighting.
When a king's potential or strength are high enough, the bonuses of the pieces increase. And in certain cases, a change can occur, called a mutation. Essentially the piece receives a multiplier. A mutated piece can go up to triple the bonus a regular piece has. All things being equal, a devil reincarnated with a mutated queen vs a regular queen, the mutated queen will win 10/10 times.
Though that's not all…the power of the piece represents how strong a being they can reincarnate. A new king can't use a regular pawn to reincarnate a god.
This makes Mutated pieces extremely valuable. Mutated pieces are rare that not even 10% of devils who receive their Evil pieces get a mutation. With a mutated piece, you can reincarnate a being that has higher potential or strength than you, to a certain limit of course. There is a reason the king is usually the strongest of a peerage.
This brings back up the issue of broken pieces. They are called broken because a devil with little to no potential and power activated them. Meaning, they can only reincarnate beings that have an even lower potential or power than themselves.
They reflect the king, a broken devil.
Devils respect strength above almost all else. And a broken devil is the weakest. Barely better than a human but without the potential that humans usually have. They have no place in devil society and are usually cast out.
This is the reason Evil Pieces are only given to higher class devils, the chance for the pieces to become broken are much lower than middle- and lower-class devils.
It's been theorized that only 1/10,000 high class devils become "broken", where as with middle class devils its 1/100, and lower-class devils its 9/10.
Middle class devils made up for much of the devil race, probably about 90% of the entire population. A middle-class devil had a decent chance to move up in society, if they worked hard and got strong they could potentially become a high-class devil. Low-class devils on the other hand, were rare and not in a good way. Low class devils were outcasts, they were the lowest rung of society, they were considered trash. They couldn't manipulate demonic energy to save their lives. Any amount of holy energy would instantly kill them. They were physically as weak as humans but lacking any kind of potential growth.
To say Lord Phenex was aghast was an understatement.
Of course, a low-class devil could potentially be born into a high-class family, but the chance was minuscule, and yet here stood the orange hair bastard. Not only was the kid a constant reminder of his broken promise to his wife, but also now a slap in the face to his prestigious family.
People were going to gossip, they were going to ask whether the Phenex bloodline became contaminated or if they were ever strong to begin with.
He was going to have to do something, maybe arrange a marriage? That Gremory girl is about the same age as his son, Riser, and her father owes him a favor.
He let his emotions calm down and could only sigh at this point. There was no longer a need to do the ceremony less they embarrass the family even more. It was clear the boy would not awaken the Phoenix bloodline, he had no potential.
It was at this point he was glad his wife and kids were not here, he didn't want to have to deal with reining them in. He was sure Riser would flip out, acting as the spoiled brat he had been, and cause a scene. He really needed to ground that child. His arrogance is going to kill him one day.
And his wife, his wife…. he didn't even want to think about it right now. He was sure she was going to open past wounds over this.
He looked over to the servants that brought Ichigo to the hall in the first place, "Please take him back to his room" he said tiredly.
The guards approached Ichigo just as he finished putting the other evil pieces into his soul, he didn't merge with them like his king, they merely sat in there, the same as all devils.
The emissary was watching the boy the whole time.
The boy never once looked like he despaired, he knew that even if he was a bastard, he should have had an education regarding the evil pieces and knew of the status that broken pieces held and yet, the boy's eyes didn't show the sadness or anger that he would have expected.
His eyes were confidant, like he didn't care.
A smirk appeared on the emissaries' face as he turned around to leave. The boy was clearly hiding something, and it gave him the confidence to not care about the looks or indignation that came with the broken pieces.
"The next few years are going to be interesting" he thought to himself.
Ichigo had been stuck in his room for the past couple weeks. He was aware of his status in the clan, he was the black sheep, the blemish, the trash of the Phenex clan.
He heard the gossip from the few servants that still visited him to take care of his daily needs.
His tutors no longer came, he no longer received an allowance, and he didn't get anymore books to pass the time.
He was a prisoner.
He was sure, they were still deciding on what to do with him. He didn't think the Phenex were bad people, just because you don't like someone, even for stupid reasons, does not make you evil. But he also knew how clan mentality can cause a good person to bad things. Remembering some of the stories he heard about the noble families back in soul society gave him shivers.
He was prepared to leave at a moments notice, he kept his money hidden on his person and was constantly on the lookout for an opportunity to escape, but that opportunity didn't come.
The weeks progressed into months until a certain day arrived. Not the one he was expecting to come first. It was his 12th birthday.
He had essentially been stuck in his room for a year. And the day his powers were going to awake came, and it was not a good timing.
He tried his best to suppress his powers from awakening. He couldn't show them now, in the middle of the castle. He needed time to adapt to them otherwise he was sure he would lose a fight against any decent devil.
It was painful, not just physically but emotionally. He could feel it, Zangetsu and the old man wanted out. He could only hope that they heard him when he said that he couldn't yet, they needed to be patient.
And his patience paid off.
He was being moved several days later. Several guards came to him and escorted him to a car and they headed to the city.
Most of the underworld knew at this point that the Phenex clan had a broken devil with their bloodline. He would make an easy target to capture and "extract" the bloodline.
So, the family decided to take him away, far far away. No one would hear from him again. That was going to be their story officially.
A dead Phenex can't carry on the bloodline.
They didn't place much importantance on the boy himself, only a single guard in the backseat with him and a couple vehicles following. They were going to head to a very secluded town, or so they said.
Only a couple of the guards knew what was going to happen. Take him far away and….have him disappear.
Ichigo could see the look in their eyes, some of them oblivious but some of them had the look of killers.
He was going to be killed. This was his only chance, so he held it back, ready to unleash his power if needed. He would survive, he was a survivor.
It was coming, he could see. The time to run.
The car pulled up to an intersection, crowds of devil on either side of the street.
Just as the car was about to come to a stop, he pulled open the door and ran.
Ichigo bolted straight into the crowd, keeping his head low and zig-zagging around pedestrians. He could hear shouting coming from behind him, but he did not falter. He had a general outline of the city in his head and he was several blocks away from the teleport.
He ran and kept running, his body was not very strong, he couldn't get much exercise these past few years, he was already running on empty, but he pushed forward. He could see the teleport building further ahead This time of year, people weren't making very many trips into the human world so there shouldn't be a line.
He felt something off, he escaped a bit too easily. His instincts were screaming at him but he had to continue pushing forward.
He pushed open the doors to the building and made his way to the teleport operator, practically pushing the money into his hands and yelling at him to open a portal to Japan, he didn't care where. And it was at that moment he felt a shiver down his spine, someone powerful grabbed him on his arm without him noticing.
"That's enough kid, come with me" the voice said behind him.
The devil's name was Azer Lindoff, he was a reincarnated devil of the Phenex clan. He was just under the level of a high-class devil.
He started to take notice of the boy when he was assigned as the "shadow guard" when the boy wandered the city. Something felt off immediately.
The boy was meticulous, he went in very specific directions, like he was scoping the area out.
Azer had seen enough combat to trust his gut in matters like this. The boy was more than he was letting on. He would listen in on how the boy would ask leading questions about his circumstances and his place in society, he would trick his "tutors" into going along with his whims. Azer was able to see through the deception. The teleporter in the city held the boy's attention almost every time he went out.
The boy wanted to escape. He didn't know why, and he had no evidence to take to the Lord or Lady, so he could only continue to watch in the shadows.
It was the day the boy was supposed to be taken away and, removed. He was high enough on the food chain to know the decisions of the higher-ups.
He volunteered to be one of the guards.
So, he sat, watching to see what the boy would do. He knew the boy was smarter than he let on, he could tell the boy knew his life was in danger. He would watch the car when the perfect moments to escape arose, and that's when it happened.
He couldn't have picked a better moment himself, large crowds, lots of building and alleyways to duck into. They couldn't follow him in the cars through the traffic.
He followed, giving the boy a false sense of security to see what he was going to do.
As he predicted, the boy took the most direct route to the teleport building.
The boy wanted to go to japan of all places, though his mother was Japanese he would guess the boy thought he might find family there?
It didn't matter, the boy had his fate sealed.
He appeared behind the boy, "That's enough kid, come with me" he said.
Ichigo got a look at the man that grabbed him, he could hear the portal activating behind him, he needed to stall a few moments.
"I see…I thought someone was watching me a bit too closely." Ichigo said.
Azer couldn't help but smile at this comment, this kid was something else. If he wasn't a broken devil he was sure the kid would be a big name is the future.
"Sorry kid, you did well but I have to take you in."
"We both know what's going to happen to you, I'm sorry it has to be this way"
Ichigo could hear it the portal was about to activate, the portal keeper was hiding behind console, the man clearly scared about the events going on.
"I'm afraid I'm going to have to make things difficult, I believe the phrase is: I'm not going to go quietly" Ichigo said with a smirk.
Ichigo was ready, he held it in long enough. He was backed into a corner, and couldn't escape without using his powers.
"I was hoping to leave quietly, but I guess fate has other plans." Ichigo said with a sigh.
Azer felt something was off, the boy was weak. He was confirmed as a broken devil. He himself was almost a high-class devil. This boy was no idiot, so what gave him confidence? And then he felt it. A power that he had never felt before, it weighed down on his very core, his soul shuttered.
A large torrent of energy exploded and shot upwards from the boy, Azer was forced to retreat in fear.
Ichigo's reiatsu shot up into the sky, tearing a hole through the ceiling, its power effected everyone in the area. Even powerful devils across the underworld felt it. A power never felt in this world before, a power that shouldn't exist. Every Satan, and the majority of high-class devils all looked in Ichigo's direction regardless of distance.
The people in the city all looked on in shock, this wasn't demonic energy, it wasn't holy. It was strong enough to have form, it was blue and it pierced the clouds. Anyone in the area could feel their souls come under pressure, the weaker devils collapsed.
The pillar of energy started to dissipate, but the weight remained. It started to concentrate around the boy.
Azer was shaken, he never felt a power like this. He felt like a blade could cleave through his soul at any moment. He felt like a predator was in front of him. A being much higher on the food chain looking down on him. His instincts were telling him to run or be destroyed, but he couldn't, his legs wouldn't respond anymore.
It was then that he heard it.
Words of power, so strong his soul wanted to kneel and beg for forgiveness.
The world was silent, all the people still staring at the building felt it. They were too far away to hear but their souls heard it.
A declaration to all who would oppose him.
"Cast off your fear and cleave the Heavens, ZANGETSU"
So, i'll be the first to admit it. I stole the shikai release incantation from another story i read. It felt right when i read it. So the author who created it, wherever you are, i give you credit.
Also i'll explain next chapter why he went straight into shikai.
More Privileged Chapters
Download the app and become a privileged reader today! Come take a sneak peek at our author's stockpiled chapters!Download
Please switch to the pop-up to complete the payment.
Complete daily missions to get rewards.Learn more about the rules
This's an experimental test for reading assistance in case.
We highly recommend you to enjoy the beauty of the original words.