Two hours later, Kirio’s Palace, the dinner table.
A feast was prepared to celebrate Jan’s return, Kirio’s large dining table was filled with all sorts of food, waiting for everyone to sit around it. However, only Isane, Ichibe, and Kirio were here, and the mood was a bit gloomy.
“Shouldn’t you wait for Jan?” Kirio said while watching Isane stuff her mouth with a variety of foods.
“Eat up, eat up, he won’t be here anytime soon!” Ichibe said, as his gaze wandered through the table, seemingly looking for something to eat.
“I want to, but I can’t help but eat when I’m so stressed out.” Isane stopped for a moment to reply and then continued eating.
Kirio sighed sadly, but then decided to join her, “Well, he’s going to return eventually and we would need to be ready before then, so I better start eating as well!”
Ichibe continued to look around, until he finally locked his eyes on something, “Oh, finally something new!”
Ichibe excitedly picked up the glass, then took a very small sip, “Hmm, kinda milky… and I can taste tea as well. This is quite impressive!”
Kirio, who seemed to have entered some sort of eating contest against Isane, stopped for a moment, and then said hurriedly, “Yes, Isane made that! She’s really making great progress; I’m really blown away by her learning abil… HEY! THAT’S MINE!” Kirio was about to say something but her words were cut abruptly when Isane swiftly took the plate that was in front of her.
“Oh?” Ichibe’s eyes widened, “The little girl made it? Well, I’m going to call you, Milk Tea!”
Suddenly the door was pushed wide open, and Nimaiya came in dancing, “Who’s ready for a party, because there ain’t no party like a party in Kirio’s house, Yeeey!!”
Nimaiya was in a great mood, but the moment his eyes laid on the two chubby monsters fighting for food on the table, he instantly was creeped out, “What’s going on here?”
“Oh, there ain’t no party at all,” Ichibe said calmly, then turned around again, trying to find something new on the table under that quarrel, in vain.
“What?!” Nimaiya exclaimed.
“Yeah, Jan wanted to enter the inner room,” Ichibe said calmly.
“He doesn’t even have an Asauchi, why did you let him enter the inner room?” Nimaiya suddenly calmed down, speaking solemnly.
“He said he could sense something coming out of the Inner Room.” Ichibe couldn’t help but grin.
“How?!” Nimaiya exclaimed, “Wait, wait a minute. That does make sense…”
Ichibe didn’t add any other words and watched Nimaiya pondering, while the grin on his face grew bigger and bigger.
“If that broken sword was the result of an unfinished hollowfication, then the thing he’s sensing is actually his Zanpakuto’s true spirit? But, what should that be exactly? Would it be the result of a fusion between his Shinigami power and his inner Hollow? Or something else entirely? …” All sorts of possibilities went through Nimaiya’s head and his eyes showed some glimmers of excitement.
“Whatever it is, the inner room will help it manifest in front of him, but whether he will succeed or not completely depends on his own will.” Ichibe said.
“Still, this is a bit too much…” Nimaiya sighed, “Well, at least I have more time now to finish this one.” As he spoke, he looked at a weapon he had wrapped in cloth.
“Show it to me!” Ichibe said with some anticipation.
“Okay…” Nimaiya put it on a table on the side, then opened the wraps revealing the weapon to Ichibe, “Man, I was really looking forward to this party…” He stopped to look at his captain, but the latter was so immersed, “Captain, Captain, I’m pouring my heart out to you here, are you listening…”
Ichibe’s Palace, the Dark Hall.
“As I thought…” Jan was pondering, while meditating with his eyes closed, “That bald bastard isn’t going to bring me any f…” The moment those thoughts went through his mind, the gate of the inner room was suddenly pushed open, emitting a very loud sound that freaked Jan out, “Who’s there, are you reading my mind or something?”
He sighed and then looked at the gate, “This place is going to give me a heart attack… even though I’m dead already…”
The room inside was very bright, and from where Jan was standing, he could already tell that there was nothing there, not a single piece of furniture; it was just a vast white-walled room. However, the darkness outside seemed to be blocking the rays of light inside from reaching the Dark Hall. The light was, just like Ichibe had described it, trapped inside the inner room.
Jan knew a little about the inner room from what he read in the Manga. Rukia and Renji trained inside it during the Quincy’s invasion in order to get stronger. He also recalled that before going in, Ichibe told Renji about his Zanpakuto’s true name.
Jan roughly guessed that this place should help him discover his Shinigami powers and was hoping that when he would come out, he would at least have a Zanpakuto of his own. But he also hoped that he would get the same treatment as Renji, but Ichibe didn’t tell him anything; it didn’t seem like he was willing to go in with him and train him.
Jan sighed helplessly, looked left and right just in case Ichibe decided to surprise him again, and then walked forward. As he got closer, he realized how bizarre the scene before him was. Jan was just a few meters away from the gate, yet the light couldn’t reach him. From where he stood the gate seemed to be more like a portal to another world.
Jan took the first step and the second followed, and with the third, he entered the Inner Room.
Almost instantly, and as soon as he stepped inside, all the light inside struck Jan in the eyes, and he rolled on the ground in agony as if he was hit by a bullet, “OH MY GOD! I’M BLIND! I’ve stayed in the dark for too long! Oh dear lord in heaven what have I done! Lord, forgive me for meddling with the forces of nature!”
This evil snickering made Jan suddenly stop and look around saying, “Who’s there?”
A figure suddenly stepped out of nowhere, “Oh did I interrupt you? Please keep going, it’s quite entertaining.”
“Awesome, now I have to deal with you…” Jan sighed helplessly.