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A Hero's Call @babykitsune_9
Chapter 37

I don't know if I explained Ichigo's abilities or what the Espada's are- right.

The dynamic between Ichigo and...Chad was an interesting thing to watch. Especially up close.

While riding back to the city in the helicopter, his girl had flat out refused to let go of her friend to sit normally during the ride. Toshinori had tried to emphasis that she was still injured, especially since Chiyo hadn't been able to do much about the bruising and such that still remained.

And her friend, flat out refused to let go of her too.

Which was...irritating to him. Sweet. But weirdly irritating nevertheless.

So here they were on a almost three hour trip back to the city, and Ichigo was sitting in her friend's lap due to the lack of seating and room.

Toshinori only allowed it now because when he'd started to tell the girl to remove herself from her friend's lap- mostly because it made him uncomfortable to think of her sitting there for other, and decidedly less pure reasons- because he was too fucking young to be made a grandfather quite yet, thank you very much.

But upon hearing Shota threaten to leave him behind at the cabin to walk back to the city, he'd quickly become okay with his young charge sitting in the young man's lap.

And it wasn't as if they were doing anything perverted. Neither of them were grinding on each other or anything like that. But he would still catch himself clenching his teeth a little bit from time to time when Chad would touch her.

Sure they were little affectionate touches. But they set the blonde's teeth on edge for some reason.

Not only that but the two of them were speaking to each other in a different language so that no one could understand what they were saying to one another. But on occasion Toshinori would see different emotions flitting across his girl's face and wondered just what was being said to her to elicit such looks of devastation and sorrow.

Finally the two seemed to finish speaking in tongues and he heard Chad say, "That was an Espada back there." It didn't seem like a question. Though he supposed that it could have been.

Ichigo got the grimmest look on her face, that he'd ever seen on someone before, and nodded her head curtly. "Yeah."

"How'd it get here? Do you know?"

"I don't know. And no. He wasn't exactly in a talkative mood."

"So you don't know how he got here or what his rank was or anything?"

"No. I was kind of busy having the hell kicked out of me." She said as she leaned back so that she was resting against his body.

Toshinori felt himself start to clench his teeth again when the young man started petting her hair in a soothing manner as Izuku suddenly blurted out. "What's an Espada?"

The pair turned their heads to look at the boy oddly for a moment before Chad simply said, "An Espada is a monster in human form." And received an elbow to the ribs for his curt reply. Grunting as the young man shit Ichigo a strangely indulgent look, he then sighed and started to explain.

"It's all pure animal instinct, savagery, and hunger. There is no happiness or joy in them. They're incapable of feeling such things. All that they live for is the hunt. And trying to satisfy their insatiable hunger."

"Hugh?" Izuku and several others all said in unison because that had to be the most bullshit explanation that they'd ever heard before. Since they didn't understand much of any of it.

Ichigo made a frustrated sound in the back of her throat and growled out. "They're fucking cannibals. They hunt and eat people!"

The looks on all of there faces must have been a mixture of disgust, dread and horror. There was simply no other way to explain how he felt at hearing that the person that had tried to sneak up on them was a cannibal.

"So they hunt and eat people..." He heard Shota say in a thoughtful tone before then asking, "How do they find their prey? Do they have an M.O. that we should be aware of?"

The pair looked at each other, seeming to communicate with each other without speaking a word. It was odd just how jealous Toshinori felt at seeing this. But he managed to push it aside since he knew that that kind of deep connection with another person was rare. And usually only happened once in someone's life.

Finally the two seemed to stop communicating with each other and they both turned back to the rest of them as Chad said, "They hunt people by sensing their abilities. The stronger the ability, the hungrier the Espada gets for that person. They lose all sense and reason when their like that and turn into nothing but a slavering beast."

"Wait- they hunt by sensing other people's abilities? How does that work?"

"Even we don't totally understand it." Ichigo said before she started to chew her lower lip a little bit before then saying. "But since they rely so heavily on being able to sense their prey- even over a distance..."

Chad cut in since she seemed to be having a difficult time explaining how Espada's hunted well. "The basic concept behind what we do know about them is- that the stronger a person's power and abilities, the easier it is to sense, hunt, and devour them."

"If that's so...then who was the Espada after in the first place?" Izuku asked, looking more than a tad bit worried.

"They're drawn to the powerful. So if he sensed someone amongst you who was more powerful than the others- he was likely after that person. But he would have killed everyone else and eaten them too. It's...just how they are." Chad said darkly as he used a large hand to press Ichigo's head against his collarbone.

"So it was after someone? Toshinori, Gran Torino, or one of our students?" Shota asked, sounding anxious to narrow down who the Esapda had been after so that he could begin planning out new safety procedures for said people immediately.

"No. It wasn't after any of them."

"Y-You're saying that that thing was after Ichigo, aren't you?" Izuku asked.

Chad didn't say anything. Neither did the girl, for that matter. The young man merely tightened his hold on the girl a little bit, but not enough to be uncomfortable or painful for her as Toshinori finally decided to ask.

"Why would that thing have been after her? What's so special about Ichigo that something so terrible would attempt to hunt her down and eat her?"

Chad was quiet for a few moments, his expression shifting between caution, worry, fear and then finally settling n grim determination as he slowly said. "Espada's absorb the power of the people that they devour and add it to their own immense power. In this way, I guess you can think of them like nuclear bombs. Each of them contains an horribly destructive power all their own. By adding to it, they become even stronger and more devastatingly destructive."

He paused for a moment and looked down at his friend for a moment, indecision clearly written on his face as he then said. "Now, think of someone who's born with very similar abilities to an Espada," He ran his fingertips through Ichigo's long dark hair as he heard an hiss of anger the blond sitting across from them as he went on to say. "But without needing to devour or kill others just to gain it. The ability lays dormant for years while the body matures enough to handle it. And awakens and grows. Exponentially. Every time it's used. It grows more and more and more until it simply can't be contained anymore."

"Ichigo's abilities grew to reflect her many life threatening experiences. But the possibility of her growth is so...utterly boundless that she's not only considered to be a living weapon in every sense of the word. But also unstoppable by ordinary means."

"W-What do you mean by that?" Toshinori asked as he cast a slightly concerned glance towards his girl.

Chad gave him a humorless smile before saying. "It means that death can't hold her. Chains, and prison's can't hold her. Limiters can't weaken her enough. No ordinary measures can stop her if she decides to really go after someone or something. She's simply so dangerous that everyone- including cannibalistic Espada's- usually fear the very sight of her."

Everyone looked at Ichigo strangely. Probably finding it difficult to imagine anyone being afraid of her for any reason. Which was naive of them in Chad's opinion.

After all, she was the person who could rip apart the heavens, collapse civilizations, and even create unparalleled devastation unlike anything that even he could imagine.

There was no arrogance in his thoughts and beliefs about this because he knew exactly what she was capable of. And they hadn't managed to really learn anything major about her just yet.

So they didn't know how frighteningly powerful she was. Not like he did.

But once they completely understood...he had no doubt in his mind that they just might turn on her the same way that some of their old friends had.

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