Soul King Palace.
A separate dimension kept suspended above Soul Society, serving as the official residence of the Soul King, the ruler of Soul Society, and the keeper of the key to this realm.
However, this so-called ruler is in fact a god who, for some reason, has been sealed. Thus, he has been forced to share the key of the Soul King Palace with the Royal Guards.
His existence is tied to that of Soul Society, the Human World, and even Hueco Mundo, and those who have gained his trust have had the power of the Ōken imparted onto their bones.
An Oken is a key that allows passage to the Soul King Palace and refers to the very bones of the members of the Royal Guard. They are a secret organization, and their existence is not commonly known even to the Captains of the Gotei 13.
Formed by only five members who are personally chosen by the Soul King, the Royal Guards or the Zero Division is an organization that is dedicated to the protection of him, the Royal Family, the Soul King Palace, and also slaying Menos.
Since serving the royal family is the primary purpose of the Royal Guard, they do not interfere in Gotei 13’s affairs and the defense of Soul Society, and they commonly stay within the Soul King Palace.
While this whole realm is called the Soul King Palace, only the large floating cylindrical structure at the end is the Royal Citadel where the Soul King rests. The surrounding five disc-like structures floating around the Citadel are the Royal Guards’ Estates. Upon each of those discs rests an entire town, which has been granted to each of the five Royal Guards by the Soul King.
This has always caused Jan to question the Soul King’s intentions; why would he share his palace with his guards?
Is he just such a great king?
Or was there something else?
The Royal Guard’s authority supersedes the authority of all within Soul Society, and the only people allowed to step foot in the Soul King Palace are those who have been permitted by the Royal Guard…
… That is unless you broke in!
Jan, Yamada, and Isane screamed in coherence, as the elevator crossed the Soul King Palace’s perimeters, crashing onto the sacred main entrance of the palace itself!
After the crash, Jan and Yamada pried the door of the elevator open and then rolled out gasping for air.
“I thought we were dead! What was that?!” Collapsed on all four, Yamada mumbled while gasping for air. He then glanced at Jan on his side to find that the latter was looking up, eyes wide open, motionless…
“This is ba…“ Jan was about to speak, but his words were cut abruptly.
Out of nowhere, four people appeared, landing on four of the pillars that were surrounding the main entrance. As they towered above Jan and Yamada, they simultaneously released their Reiatsu.
Upon being hit by that powerful wave, both Yamada and Jan were instantly pressed to the ground. To Jan, it felt like a huge hand was crashing his head on the floor, and no matter how hard he fought back, he couldn’t raise his head up again. Meanwhile, wind was already knocked out of Yamada, who fainted the moment that strong Reiatsu was released by the Royal Guards.
Jan, Yamada, and Isane, who already went unconscious due to head injury during the crash, have all broken into the palace without the permission of the Royal Guards. Getting hit by this strong release of Reiatsu was the least cruel thing that could happen to them. In fact, not being welcomed by the edge of their swords only indicated that the Royal Guards haven’t yet considered them a real threat to the Soul King.
Seeing how easily they suppressed the intruders, Tenjiro Kirinji took out a small stick, put it in his mouth, then snorted, “I thought I felt a hollow, but it seems like the intruders are just a mere Shinigami and a plus.”
Suddenly, a chubby woman with the Royal Guard emblem bore on her back flash-stepped in, landing on the fifth pillar carrying the injured Isane with one hand, “There was also another cute Shinigami girl inside the elevator, but she seems to be injured.”
Tenjiro put his hand on the small stick and stared at the ground coldly where the blood drops landed off Isane’s chin, and then snorted, “Humph, how could a well-trained Shinigami get injured by such a crash.”
There was a short silence after that, one ended by a very strong strike from Kirio Hikifune that landed on Tenjiro’s head!
“How can you be this cold?! Hurry up and help the cute little girl out!”
“Why are you hitting me? It’s her fault for being injured!” White steam was already coming out of Tenjiro’s head as he approached Isane.
On top of being an elite fighter, Tenjiro was also a very strong healer. In fact, it was he who passed on his healing techniques to the current Fourth Division Captain, Retsu Unohana. However, her caring and calm expression certainly didn’t come from him.
Tenjiro stood tall above Isane, who was already placed on the ground by Kirio, overlooking her with a very cold stare, and then he suddenly reached out to her.
Kirio smiled kindly upon seeing this, then adjusted her posture and looked at Jan and Yamada with concern. Meanwhile, Ichibe Hyosube, captain of the Royal Guards, and the other two focused their Reiatsu on Jan, who was still struggling. Kirio couldn’t help but feel that these kids didn’t mean any harm, and were here by accident.
Jan, who was struggling in vain to lift his head up again, had no choice but to try tilting his head slightly to the side so he could see what was happening with one eye. To his shock, Isane was already captured by the Royal Guards, and she seemed to be… injured!
Upon seeing the bright red blood on her head, and how Tenjiro was staring at her coldly, extending his hand as if ready to deliver the finishing blow, a painful powerful pulse beat in his chest, and he instantly felt like he was about to faint.
In a heartbeat, a strong release of wicked black Reiatsu burst out of his body as he was still facing the ground.
This sudden change of events caught Ichibe and the Royal Guards off guard; It seemed like the “Plus” among the intruders, the one they thought would be no threat to the Soul King, was actually the most dangerous!
Their eyes widened as Jan suddenly stood up with ease, despite the pressure of their strong release of Reiatsu. And finally, they saw his face.
The release of Jan’s black Reiatsu was enough to generate a manifestation of his spiritual energy; half of a hollow mask barely taking shape seemed to be fighting its way to cover Jan’s face, while the other half of his face showed how Jan was struggling to fight it back.
A Plus, a human, a Menos, none of that mattered anymore to the Royal Guards. This mere soul had to be eliminated immediately.
Tenjiro stopped the treatment and instantly leaped forward, waving his Zanpakuto with a smirk on his face, “So you were the Hollow that I thought I felt before.”
“AAAAAAH!!” Jan screamed at him and pulled out his sword abruptly.
“Oh! You seem to be in a hurry to d…”
Tenjiro did not finish his words, as a better look at the sword in Jan’s hand showed that it was actually broken. This also caught the attention of Oetsu Nimaiya’s, the creator of Zanpakuto.
Even Jan didn’t know that; he didn’t have a chance to look at this sword since things kept happening from the moment he opened his eyes in that building. But this changed nothing, even a broken sword can do the job, and the job needed to be done before he completely loses his mind.
“AAAAAAAH!” With another loud scream, Jan pushed the edge of the broken sword back, fiercely stabbing his own leg!
This surely startled Tenjiro, but it wasn’t going to stop him from cutting Jan’s head. He rushed toward him, extending his sword to the side.
“AAAAAH!” The stab to his thigh helped Jan gain a bit more control, but not enough. Therefore, he gripped the handle tight and twisted it to inflict even more pain.
Tenjiro’s movement stopped abruptly, and he couldn’t help but look at Jan in shock; a pool of blood was already beneath him. Jan was gasping for air, he seemed to be in great pain; something was off. Tenjiro wanted to stop but he had no choice, he forced himself to move forward, shouting, “What is this thing trying to do?!”
“Stop!” Suddenly Ichibe, who was still standing on his pillar, yelled and then Flash-Stepped right next to Tenjiro.
“I said stop.” Ichibe stared at Tenjiro, and then looked at Jan, “He’s trying to say something.”
Struggling to stand up straight, Jan fell on one knee, and then raised his head up, looking straight into Ichibe’s eyes, “Ic… Icch… Ichibe… Hyo- Hyosube.”