Marume's zanpakuto began to shine a bright white light causing Blaze, Kuro and most of the audience to block their eyes.
“Fancy light trick Marume” Blaze commented as he started to blink and re-adjust his eyes for the fight. In a mere second Marume was crouched beside Blaze, both of his feet pushing off the ground and driving a large and circular metal object into Blaze's chest. Surprised and alarmed, Blaze was sent backwards with his feet dragging into the dirt floor and yet never loosing his balance. Blaze winced in pain and placed his right palm onto his chest to regain the breath that was forced out of his lungs.
“Yes I know I know, fancy looking and all...you just can't muster any compliments” Marume smirked, his long hair falling over both shoulders now. Marume in his right hand held onto a circular, silver shield that wasn't much bigger than 2 feet in diameter. Carved into the shield was 4 symbols, a red heart, a red diamond, a black clover and lastly was a black spade. Hanging loosely in Marume's left hand was a long and slim silver Katana with a thin silver tube exiting through the hilt of this sword. Blaze's eyes followed the thin tube to wrap around behind Marume and attach itself to Marume's shield.
Flashing into sight above Marume was Kibo, gripping his spear with both hands. (Keep your guard up, Baka) Kibo thought as he plummeted towards Marume. Turning his eyes to the side, a devious grin came across Marume's face. In quick succession Marume spun around and released his grip on his shield, swinging his sword so that the tube connecting both his sword and shield followed suit with the motion of his swing. Marume's shield whipped into the air and made contact with Kibo's plunging strike to ultimately break Kibo's posture and leave him descending and open to a front attack. “Wha-” Kibo muttered. Marume pushed off the ground and in a blur he passed Kibo in mid air before flipping forward and landing on the ground. Kibo landed on the ground as well but with a shaky stature.
“Kibo...” Blaze began to pick up his pace and approach his friend.
Blood sprayed from Kibo's left hip to his right shoulder, causing Kibo to fall on one knee. “Should've predicted” Kibo spoke softly while grinding his teeth to endure his cut's stinging reminder. Blaze approached Kibo only to be met with a ball of powerful wind. In a last minute embrace, Blaze leaned in with his right shoulder and was only pushed back a few meters before flash stepping out of the way and allowing this ball of air to travel across the arena. “Don't come over here unless it's to attack...we're still fighting each other here Blaze!” Kibo began to wobble to his feet and turned back towards Marume.
“That was fun, want another dance?” Marume turned around and smiled at Kibo. Kibo spat on the ground and began to charge in Marume's direction. Marume began to crouch, holding his shield up and his sword horizontal behind his back. Kibo's Shikai started to summon powerful gusts of wind to trail behind Kibo with each step. Once Kibo was near Marume, the wind behind Kibo began to push against his own body. With the speed of his wind behind him, Kibo passed by Marume without giving Marume a chance to even react. Marume's left shoulder began to trickle blood down his arm. And for a second Blaze who was simply observing had watched a concerned look on Marume's face when he watched his blood fall down his right arm. What Marume did next really intrigued Blaze, Marume switched his sword from his left hand to his right, leaving his shield to be picked up by his left arm. Blaze continued to watch while both Kibo and Marume dodged attack after attack and exchanged blows equally. Kibo cocked his right arm back and threw his spear towards Marume who only had to step to the side in order to avoid the spear. “Nice aim!” Marume taunted and dashed towards Kibo. Kibo pointed his finger at Marume and wind began to whip towards Marume. Spinning and rolling from one side to another, Marume avoided the wind and was directly infront of Kibo who remained without any sort of defense. “All I have to do is stick to close range with you!” Marume brought his right hand up and his sword down towards Kibo.
Sparks fell onto Kibo's face, Marume's sword knocked out of his hands with Kibo's spear returning towards Kibo, missing Kibo's grasp but returning to his direction just in time to knock Marume's sword away from an attack. Kibo flash stepped backwards and smacked grabbed his Shikai just a few feet behind him on the ground. “Bastard” Marume shouted angrily, feeling his possibly fatal strike being taken away from him. Marume yanked on his shield with his left hand and had his sword fling back to him and caught with his right hand. Kibo smashed his Shikai into the ground and wind began to form a solid wall between Marume and himself.
“Stop running and face the light” Marume taunted Kibo before noticing something something to his right. Blaze's fist punched Marume's jaw with a boneshattering punch, blood and spit flung from Marume's mouth and his body tossed and turned around the ground. Before Marume pressed off the ground with his shield and spun back up to his feet. Blaze flashed once again before Marume and this time slashed to Marume's side. With quick reaction Marume ducked, a trail of fire just missing his head but singing a few hairs off of his head. Marume pushed forward and Blaze tried to dash to his left and managed to do so. “Thank you for allowing my victory Blaze Kagayaku!” Marume smiled. Blaze watched Marume's blade have a trail of blood and a few spots of blood fade away.
“And why exactly do you believe you are entitled to this victory?” Blaze doubtfully questioned, knowing Marume was trying to play mind games. “Both you and Kibo have bled on Rakki Fuko, my sword and shield have respectfully both touched the blood of my opponnents...there isn't any need for waiting” .
Kibo pushed through his wall of wind and began flash stepping towards Marume. “Stop being so full of bullshit!” Kibo started to spin his Shikai and with every flick of his wrist was another strike pelting Marume's shield. Kibo's eyes were locked onto Marume, attempting to muster up an almost animal-like rage. Kibo brought his right arm up which brought a gust of wind upwards in front of Marume and pushed his shield and sword up into the air with his arms. “It's over!” Kibo drove his Shikai into Marume's right shoulder, Once Kibo's shikai punctured Marume's shoulder Wind began to gather around Kibo's hands to help toss Kibo's shikai and carry Marume attached to it.
“NO!” Marume let go of his sword and let it swing in the air, while he held tightly onto his shield and flew across the arena only to be pinned to the wall of the arena by Kibo's shikai. Wind followed Kibo's shikai in pursuit and battered against Marume's body. Kibo started running towards Marume before his wind could clear up, that way Marume would stay put and be finally out of this tournament. “Step back!” Blaze yelled over to Kibo. Wind dispersed in a sudden burst of spiritual energy and Kibo's Shikai sent spinning away from Marume and the wall that it had been impaled into. “How?” Kibo asked, stopping in his tracks to see Marume standing bloodied and tattered, his clothes barely hanging onto his upper body. “Heh...hahaha, Gyakusatsu Kado....Slaughter Cards” Marume laughed wickedly, no longer holding in his hands a sword and shield but instead a deck of cards.
The arena echoed with Marume's laughter, Blaze and Kibo looking to each other in confusion yet caution. “Ladies and gentlemen, watch as I deal out the final blow!” Marume opened his arms and began to attempt a crowd hyping moment. “First card....” Marume brought his deck of cards to his face and slowly peeled back the first card. “Blaze Kagayaku is written on this one!” Marume's pupils darted to meet Blaze's confused glare. “This must be for you Blaze Kagayaku!” Marume whipped this card in blinding speed towards Blaze.
Blaze brought his shikai upwards and made contact with Marume's card, splitting the card in half. “Uh uh” Marume snapped his fingers and in an instant the card that was split in half exploded in a large fiery blast, the fire and explosion seemed to destroy a portion of the arena floor and a hefty portion of the crowd behind Blaze.
“MARUME!” Kibo yelled, the crowd began to scream in horror... all seemed in an uproar until the smoke from the explosion had dispersed. Both the crowd behind Blaze, the stands, the arena and everything that the explosion had made contact was unscathed....Blaze however laid impaled into the ground that he once stood on..nothing more, no large crater or even damage to the arena floor.
Marume pushed his long hair away from his face and began to brush off his shoulders. “I suddenly feel much muuuuuuch better” Marume turned to Kibo who began to have an outline of light blue energy surround him. “Before you go on bulking up, don't you wanna know the card trick?” Marume grinned, his eyes piercing into Kibo's. “In Rakki Fuko's state, my sword acts as a port if you will...It absorbs blood that it can touch, transferring the blood that has been stored and stockpiled into my shield via the tube connecting the two. Once I activate Bankai, my deck of cards are shuffled into fifty two cards with the name of whomever blood was used to create that card...that card can only detonate an explosion that would cause damage to the one who's name are written on the card”. Kibo scowled at Marume and began to spin his Shikai in his hands.
“BANKAI!” Kibo yelled, a pillar of wind circled around him and reached up into the clouds overhead.
Marume pulled back the next 3 cards in his deck. “Two for Blaze...one for you little fella”.
Kibo appeared up in the air above the entire arena, 2 long green scythes in each hand, both scythes having a blade on each respective end in different directions. Kibo looked down towards Marume, his blonde hair stained with red blood as it dripped down and fell onto Marume's forehead. “No thanks, I have enough from you already” Marume teased Kibo and threw the card with Kibo's name on it up into the sky. Kibo began to spin his scythes, each rotating in a different direction. Once Marume's card reached Kibo it detonated. Marume turned his attention away from Kibo and threw one of the cards that had Blaze's name on it to land just in front of Blaze.
Marume waited as Blaze was just beginning to stand up. “Boom” Marume said softly, Marume also threw the other card in his hand at Blaze . The entire arena floor was consumed in a fiery blast. Overhead, Kibo remained untouched. “I guess twirling those batons of yours worked... guess I'm gunna have to hit you with a double dose like your friend-” Emerging from the smoke just as Marume was rambling on, Blaze walked out with fire dripping off of his body. In Blaze's right hand was his large guillotine blade...his “Bankai, Kewashii JIGOKU!” Blaze's angered stare shook Marume's confidence. “Bastard” Marume scowled. “I've trained with my zanpakuto long enough that my fire is strong enough to press away even the strongest of your silly little cards!” Blaze began to run towards Marume, both hands on Kewashii Jigoku's hilt and guard. Overhead, Kibo began spinning both of his Bankai scythes in his hand , the circular rotation of his scythes brought large and condensed currents of wind to form a large and solid ball of wind. “Torrent Bomb!” Kibo pushed his balls of wind down towards Marume. From Marume's side, Blaze began to tense up his muscles and get ready to fight Marume head on.
“That's right, come closer Blaze!” Marume smiled wickedly and drew his next 3 cards. (IMPOSSIBLE) Marume's jaw dropped open...1 card in his had read Blaze Kagayaku while the other two read...Marume Saiwai.
Marume in all his confusion and shock threw Blaze's card to the ground and jumped away from Blaze's attack. “Kisai Koto!” Blaze yelled, his large Bankai sheathing itself in dark red flames. The explosion rippled through Blaze's body. Marume's grim mistake was jumping upwards and into Kibo's Torrent Bombs. The closer wind bomb exploded into a fury of whips and slashes. Marume shot in unthinkable speed the ground . Smoke from the card's explosion had been pushed aside from Kibo's wind. Blaze stood with Marume gripped tightly in his left hand. “Wanna know a card trick...some of those have your name” Blaze had caught on to why Marume didn't use all 3 cards that he drew against Blaze at once. “When I punched you earlier...your blood touched your sword”. Marume couldn't believe what he was hearing, he had been so cautious. Kibo's second Torrent bomb was only a few seconds from reaching the arena floor. “You'll kill.. us both” Marume commented on the current situation. “No, me and that guy up there still gotta have a fight” Blaze looked up and only saw Kibo's torrent bomb, though he was looking passed it and knowing Kibo was looking down on him...for now.
“Well if you don't kill us both...I WILL” Marume tightly gripped his deck of cards and shut his eyes tightly. Blaze's eyes widened and Marume snapped his fingers. Kibo's wind attack fused into Marume's massive explosion. Kibo was struck by the explosion's shockwave, causing him to fall down to the ground and be lost by the crowd due to the smoke and debris. Everyone in the stands covered their mouth from inhaling too much debris. Kibo's wind still kicking up dirt within the arena. Amidst the smoke, Blaze began to stand in a wobble and shaky stature. In the distance he could see Kibo kneeling down and opening the once locked chest that held Division 14's captain haori. Blaze began to run at Kibo, Blaze's flames from his Bankai illuminated his presence through the smoke just enough that Kibo could see Blaze coming... Kibo's Scythes lay idle on the ground, in no way was he going to have to to grab his Bankai and prepare for Blaze's assault... Kibo fumbled to open the box and gripped the haori, Blaze stood only a few feet away and brought his arms up to cut down and through Kibo. Both Blaze and Kibo froze in spot. 10 seconds passed by, both Kibo and Blaze looked to one another in complete isolation from the crowd and wherever Marume had gone thanks to the cloud of debris.
“Do you remember the first time you showed me the tournament poster” Blaze broke the silence, his hair falling over his face to shade his eyes. Kibo stared puzzled at Blaze but nodded his head signaling that he remembered.
“You were the first one to think I could win it...win something...be...my friend, you were the first Kibo” Kibo watched as a single tear fell down Blaze's face and struck the ground. Kibo's eyes shook and he looked away from Blaze. “Enough of your sentimental bullshit Blaze... You fucked up, You know I think that... won't always think that way though” Kibo turned up to look at Blaze, his own voice becoming hoarse now. “I will never feel as...as proud as I once did, after I betrayed you” Blaze continued on, pausing as his arms grew heavy and tired of holding Kewashii Jigoku in the air. “Blaze... I need time to think... I was crushed when you abandoned me...us” Kibo gripped the haori in his hands tightly.
“But we can work through things together...you taught us that!” Kibo yelled to Blaze with his eyes full of tears.
Blaze smiled and nodded to Kibo. “Let's end this Kibo. Blaze brought his Bankai down and just began to cut into Kibo's shoulder before he stopped.... Kibo's scythe found it's way into Blaze's side, blood dripping down his leg quickly. “You're too hurt...you can't hope to win” Kibo didn't mean to offend Blaze but simply state the obvious. Smiling, Blaze dropped his Bankai and fell back onto the ground. “You are right... I haven't been this tired in so long” Blaze rested with his back on the ground and close his eyes. “Kibo” Kibo looked with a puzzled look on his face.
“You fought well”.
The cloud of debris was thin now and cleared, showing the crowd that Marume was bloodied and motionless against the arena wall, Blaze with his eyes shut and Kibo's scythe sticking into his side....Kibo on his knees with the Haori in his hands.
“Give up a round of applause for Kibo Kyuryu, your new Captain and Tournament of Warriors' Champion!” The announcer shouted into the microphone and the crowd roared and cheered. Kibo smiled and waved the haori in the air. Blaze felt Kibo's scythe leave his side, Kibo's Bankai returning to it's regular state. Blaze met eyes with Kibo, both men smiled and nodded their head in respect.
“Hey Blaze” Kibo spoke while he looked around at the crowd and bowed. “Hmm?” Blaze replied, only now recognizing just how much pain his relaxing body was in. “Even if you don't wear this anytime soon...you are still squad fourteen's captain” Kibo finished his sentence before medical personnel began to rush to his aid alongside Blaze and Marume.
“Thanks Kibo” Blaze smiled. “You can thank me by giving me some of your food at the medical facility” both men laughed while the medical team began tending to their injuries.
The rain overhead began to slow down and thicken rapidly. In a swift transition, rain turned to snow. Suddenly a bright line of light appeared in the sky and seperated. From opening in the sky a man shot out and landed on the edge of the arena's top, shattering the concrete structure around him into thousands of pieces. Blaze's eyesight focused on the man above. Yamamoto and Choshiro as well as many other Captains appeared on sight almost instantly. “ICHIRO!” Yamamoto exclaimed, the man high above gripped onto his sword tightly, he was bleeding from his head and arms. Whatever he was fighting must have been strong as Blaze singled out this man's spiritual pressure and felt it among even all the surrounding captains.
“Everyone brace yourself!” Ichiro yelled in haste.
Snow began to fall faster, obstructing long distant sight. Blaze suddenly noticed a mass compilation of Spirit energy to his left in the arena stands.
Yuki Takeshi, The shinigami known as 'Doctor' , Tsuneo and lastly the man dressed in robes appeared from thin air. “Hello Soul Society” Yuki grinned, his arms folding over his chest.
“Yuki” Blaze scowled and spoke through his teeth. Rage filling inside of his body.
“We are the Seiga, all of you will bow here and now before our leader, Korren Septimus!” Yuki unfolded his right arm to point up in the sky at the open senkaimon that Ichiro emerged from. Stepping out into view was the Arrancar that Blaze had met a while ago...the one he let free. Korren looked down on everyone, still in his Ressureccion form. Korren rested his axe against his right shoulder and narrowed his eyes at everyone.
“Which of you is the strongest” Korren swung his axe and the snow falling began to shape long and thin needles of ice, plummeting towards the people in the crowd. Ichiro, Kibo, captains did everything they could to shield anyone and everyone they could...many scrambled to run however and just couldn't escape the falling shards of ice. Blaze watched in horror as people died and fell in front of him...innocent people
Blaze watched as red blood flowed throughout the arena stands, the members of the Seiga halting anyone who came close to them aswell.
Korren watched down below as a dark red flame began to brighten and from red came white flames, from white flames came a light blue flame. “Theatrics...how nice” Korren spoke to himself.
Blue flames dispersed to Show Blaze standing tall and strong in his Blue Flame form. “Everyone fight strong, I will protect you!” Blaze swung his Bankai into the air where it rippled over the arena to create a searing dome of blue flames. Ice that struck the dome from snowfall melted and couldn't pass through Blaze's flames. Korren stood overhead with his silhouette towering over the dome of flames. The only one outside the dome was none other than the man to push Korren to his higher tiers in the first place...Ichiro stood with his Shikai in hand and stared down his opponent.
“You've made a grave mistake boy” Korren's face tightened, he was smiling at Ichiro. “Need I teach you more?”.
“Please do” Blaze spoke out from behind Korren, the blue flames that Blaze had passed through was tightening to seal the gap caused by him leaving the dome. “Nice to see you again” Korren stood with his sides to both Ichiro and on the other; Blaze. “Very well, first lesson... Do not challenge someone whose power surpasses your very imagination!” Korren's body began to glow bright blue, almost taking on the form of pure energy.
“Ichiro, we must kill him...protect everyone, everything”.