The feeling was unmistakable; she had long been used to sensing when one was nearby. But this felt like it was stronger, and it reminded her too much of all those times lately that she knew something had happened, but she just never got there fast enough.
Not this time, she told herself, scrambling out of the tiny kitchen to the front door of her apartment. Suddenly she had difficulty standing, and clutched the door handle for support as she felt the sudden weight of crushing reiatsu around the city.
She needed to find her friends, and quickly! Regaining her composure, she threw on her shoes and ran out the front door, forgetting to shut it behind her in her worry. It wasn’t just Hollows, she could tell. It was bigger, more dangerous, it—
Orihime barely whirled around in time as she felt the presence of something behind her, and a Hollow’s tail swept through the stairs leading up to her apartment. Crashing to the ground in a roll as the stairs crumbled, she let out a yelp and came to a defensive crouch. Her hands reached instinctively to her barrettes, and she took in her attacker, a lizard-like creature with a horned mask of sorts.
But that wasn’t the only one, was it? Knowing she had felt more than the presence of just this one Hollow, her eyes flitted around quickly, not daring to take her eyes off her current attacker for more than a second. That was when she saw more approaching, in a way that reminded her eerily of the day that Ishida-kun had challenged Kurosaki-kun. What had happened this time, to bring so many??
A brief tapping sound permeated the air, though no normal mortal ears could hear it. Two shoji screen doors materialized from thin air before sliding open. A black Hellmoth flittered through, closely followed by a regal looking man in black and white robes.
Without looking back as the portal to Soul Society closed, Kuchiki Byakuya took a few seconds to orient himself. He was in an unfamiliar part of Karakura town, one presently besieged by an abnormally large amount of Hollows.
He had been roused from his office in the 6th Division headquarters (though it was late at night in Seireitei, he hadn't even been close to going to sleep yet) to investigate this matter immediately. And though he could feel a more powerful presence in the distance, he could also sense a human in immediate danger.
Deciding to cleanse this area first before moving on (a shinigami’s duty was to protect the humans after all), he flash stepped towards the mortal in danger, only to discover that it was a familiar looking young woman with orange hair and strange powers.
A mass of Hollows hesitated at the corner of the street. Their tasty mortal snack (the one with long orange hair) was looking more dangerous than they had anticipated -- and a shinigami of high reiatsu-level had just joined her.
The big lizard Hollow, however, knew no fear. (Possibly because he was not the most intelligent of Hollows, but these things do happen.) With a howling squeal, he rose up on his hind legs, jaws sagging open to display huge jagged teeth, and prepared to charge, trample, rip, mutilate, and chew.
[OOC: Providing Hollows in this thread due to a shortage of villains. Hope you don't mind!]
Orihime’s eyes widened and she scrambled to her feet, taking the moment the Hollow reared up as her chance to move. She wasn’t going to be able to catch up with her friends easily with this many of them around. And a small part of her worried if she’d even make it to them – she had her powers, but they weren’t as strong as Kurosaki-kun, Ishida-kun, or Sado-kun – and whatever she sensed out in the distance was even stronger than the approaching Hollows she faced now.
She began to run to the side even as she called out the words to her attack. She’d try to hit it before it came after her, but she also had to keep moving if she wanted to even make it down this street before she was attacked again.
“Koten Zanshun, I reject!”
She aimed Tsubaki with as much determination as she could muster, even as it charged towards her, remembering that such was what it took to deliver a cutting blow. Caught up in her own fight with the creature, she hardly noticed the arrival of the captain Shinigami.
Byakuya stoically watched as the human girl ran from the Hollow, her complete attention on that single creature instead of her surroundings as well. He didn’t blame her for the folly; she wasn’t trained in the ways of combat after all, but it could be a fatal mistake. Other Hollows could attack her from another direction and put her in a worse situation. It seemed he had arrived just in time.
Leaving the lizard like Hollow to the girl; Inuoe was her name if he recalled correctly; Byakuya raised his right forefinger at a group of lined up Hollows. Undoubtedly they were waiting for the right time to attack her as well, probably when her back was fully turned to them.
“Hadou No. 4, Byakurai.”
Immediately a bolt of lightning jumped from his pointing finger, the electricity unerringly racing towards the vile monsters.
Tsubaki sliced through the air, direct as a laser, and cut directly through the Hollow's mask as it charged at Orihime. The mask fell apart, shattering to powder, and the Hollow crumpled to its knees with a slow groan, then crumbled to dust itself.
The other Hollows were already beginning to recoil as Byakuya pointed at them, but too little, too late. The lightning outraced their attempts to flee, and scythed through them, bringing them down and frying them.
A brief silence settled over the street. In the distance, the reiatsu bursts of approaching Hollows could be felt, and their cries were audible, but for the moment Orihime and Byakuya had cleared the area.
If she weren’t in such a hurry, and the situation weren’t as dire as it was, Orihime might have cheered for the victory over the Hollow. As it dissolved, she let out a sigh of relief, cut short at the realization that there was suddenly a Shinigami here, and that he had disposed of the other Hollows on the street. Ones that she didn’t even realize were there just a moment ago. Or him, for that matter.
She halted, not one to run off without giving thanks to her rescuer, and blinking in surprise at who it was. Wasn’t that… “Kuchiki…Taichou?” It certainly wasn’t who she expected, but somehow she just knew that the guy was more caring than he seemed on the outside! How come boys always had to look so serious just to hide that they were actually quite helpful and nice? Turning, she gave a sincere bow. “Wah, thank you so much for your help!”
The roars in the distance diminished her cheer a little, and she glanced off in the direction that most of the reiatsu was coming from. “What on earth is going on…?” she questioned quietly, worry seeping back into her voice as she gave her crushed staircase a glance of sympathy.
That Soul Society sent their captains out to help suddenly gave her an instant indication that it was more than just a Hollow invasion. They were the strongest ones! But… hopefully that meant that they were also helping in other parts of the city.