Ichibe Hyosube’s Palace,
A palace that was given to Ichibe by the Soul King himself! Due to the nature of the Royal Guards’ duty, they weren’t very welcoming to outsiders or uninvited guests. The palace itself wasn’t prepared for hospitality. When Rukia and Renji initially stepped into Ichibe’s palace, they couldn’t even stand or breathe. Such an environment was perfect for interrogation; which is exactly why Ichibe brought Jan to his palace. However, three hours later, Jan turned on the other side, snorting…
Ichibe frowned for a while, looking at the back of Jan, then suddenly laughed out loud, “Buhahaha, I see that you’re still thinking about your next move.”
Jan suddenly sighed, then slowly moved up and sat crossed-legged, “Well, I thought that since I can finally move freely, I should at least face the other way so I can ease the pressure a bit.”
Ichibe carefully looked at Jan, who by now seemed to be completely used to moving in his palace, and then said, “It seems that your wounds have been healed already.”
“Yeah, I was surprised to see that as well,” Jan said in surprise.
“Well, if your soul is strong enough, my palace can be a place of enhancing and healing, but if you’re not, it would work the other way,” Ichibe said with a big grin.
“I see, so that’s why I don’t feel hungry anymore?” Jan asked.
“Yes, but you will feel much hungrier once you’re out.”
“So I can go out?” Jan asked.
“That depends. Are you ready to talk?” Ichibe said with a smirk.
“I suppose since you don’t seem to want me dead anymore. I’m guessing that has something to do with the Soul King’s will?” Jan said casually.
“So you know that far?” Ichibe’s eyes lightened, “I should thank you for your honesty but I’m feeling rather confused. Why would you expose your secrets to me?”
“I’ve called your name, didn’t I? There’s no going back from that.” Jan shrugged.
“To show me that you’re worthy of calling my name,” Ichibe said calmly.
“Yes,” Jan said firmly.
“I don’t believe it.”
Jan slapped his forehead, and hurriedly said, “No, no… listen, Ichibe-San, I really…”
“What I believe is that…” Ichibe was about to say something, but then his words stopped abruptly, and he seemed reluctant to say what was on his mind.
The look in Jan’s eyes became solemn, then he said, “You believe that it has something to do with the Soul King himself?”
“Does it?” Ichibe asked.
“What if the answer was… no?”
“Then you wouldn’t be helping yourself here, boy.” Ichibe’s eyes turned momentarily cold.
“Then, I don’t know,” Jan said firmly.
Ichibe frowned for a while, looking at Jan, then he laughed out loud, “Buhahaha, I would miss talking to you again if I were to kill you.”
“But you won’t, would you?!”
“How can you be sure?!” A smug grin appeared on Ichibe’s face.
“Well, I believe that you’re lying about the ‘I would miss you’ part. If you wanted me dead, you would have killed me already without the slightest hesitation. I don’t know what you believe, but I’m sure you sensed the Soul King’s will through your Oken. That is the only reason why I’m still alive, but also the reason why I’m here.”
Jan lowered his head, still keeping his eyes at Ichibe, “You simply don’t know what to do with me, but I know the answer to that.”
“Dear me, dear me… Even if you were him, or had a few years under your belt, compared to me, you’re still a boy, aren’t you? If you can’t behave when talking to me, I suppose that there’s nothing else left; I’ll just kill you!” Upon saying these words, the darkness surrounding the place suddenly gathered and shrouded Jan, suffocating him.
The look in Ichibe’s eyes was as cold as Ice, but Jan on the other hand showed no intention of fighting back the darkness overcasting him. He simply seemed to be trying to control his breathing, until finally, he started moving his hand. Ichibe thought that he was disparately trying to get rid of the darkness, but to his surprise, Jan started scratching the ground, engraving something upon it.
It didn’t take him long to write the few words he had to say, and when Ichibe finally read them, his face suddenly changed colors, and then a trace of regret flashed in his eyes.
After he raised his sight again and looked at Jan, who was barely breathing, Ichibe laughed out loud, “Buhahaha, you never fail to surprise me, boy,” With a big grin on his face, Ichibe turned around, “However, that doesn’t change the fact that you were a rude boy, so I shall deliver your divine punishment. Enjoy staying in my custody for a week. It might seem cruel now, but believe me, it will make you stronger.”
“%µ£*>£Q” This was Jan screaming nonsense the moment he heard the word “week”.
However, Ichibe started walking away with a smirk on his face, “One week from now, and you’re a free man.”
Jan screamed and screamed, or tried to at least, as Ichibe walked out of the palace; but the latter never stopped to reconsider his verdict.
After he finally walked out, a laughing Ichibe turned his gaze towards the greater palace, then recalled the words Jan wrote on the ground, “It wasn’t your fault.”
“I wonder what you truly think,” Ichibe said, staring at the King Palace. He then turned around again, just to find that Kirio was there waiting.
“What’s wrong?” Ichibe asked.
“What did you do to him?” Kirio replied.
“It’s not up to me. I followed the Soul King’s will. Jan is considered untouchable for the time being.” Ichibe said indifferently.
“But that doesn’t explain why you let him pass in the first place, and why you’re locking him up in your palace.”
“I didn’t,” Ichibe said calmly.
“What?!” Kirio was stunned.
“Either way, he will be out in a week, so you better be prepared for that,” Ichibe said.
“Well, then I shall explain that to his companions,” Kirio said calmly.
“Why would you care about two simple Shinigami?” Ichibe laughed
“T-They refused treatment and asked to see Jan first…” Kirio hesitated.
“Dear me… Well if they want to see him, they’re free to enter my palace!” Ichibe said as he grinned.
“How cruel of you!”
“Buhahahaha.” Ichibe laughed, leaving Kirio behind.