Для желающих убедится в том, что не все арранкары погибли в каноне, предлагаю почитать эту любопытную новеллу, которую написал сам Кубо Тайто к последнему датабуку под названием Unmasked.
Пояснение: Новелла имеет место между событиями 422 и 423-их глав манги.
Kukkapuuro - имя собачки Ямми
Nestle to Night.
By Matsubara Makoto and Kubo Tite
Yammy – Yammy – It is nighttime in our world again…
After Aizen had left and all the Gargantas had closed, Hueco Mundo regained a sense of peace. Brushing by the ruins of Las Noches, the breeze seemed to carry with it sounds of lamentation. Yet apart from the sound of sand caught in the wind, there was only silence.
A single animal lay on this silent desert. It had the shape of a small dog, with the mask of a hollow and soft white fur. Its name was Kukkapuuro.
Kukkapuuro had lost almost all of its memories. It only knew that it was a hollow, and that this was Hueco Mundo. Calling itself “Kukkapuuro,” rubbing its forehead with its paw, and scratching the itch behind its ear were the only important memories that it had, sketched deep into its consciousness.
In a world full of reishi like Hueco Mundo, a small hollow like itself only needed to breathe to survive, and eventually become the prey of other hollows. Kukkapuuro was at the very bottom of the food chain, yet it was able to survive entirely because it stayed by the side of someone very strong.
Kukkapuuro looked to him and thought, “I think this person must be very important.”
As his steps were very large, he was always a great distance ahead, alwaus forcing Kukkapuuro to chase after his enormous shadow. He always looked at Kukkapuuro with an impatient mutter, refusing to even give it a name. He never held, petted, or shared food with it.
Even so, he never killed Kukkapuuro.
Until the very end, he also never left Kukkapuuro.
“It’s pretty quiet here…” was the first thing Mila-Rose said upon exiting the Garganta.
Following her, Apacci, Sung-Sun, and finally Tier Harribel also landed on the desert. Behind them, the Garganta silently closed, and the rip in space suddenly vanished.
“What a complete mess…” said Apacci, looking at the destruction caused to Las Noches by heated battles.
“It seems like everyone used pretty barbaric methods to fight…” said Sung-Sun, hiding her mouth behind her sleeve and looking up at the sky. The ceiling had broken in many places, creating a mosaic out of the artificial blue sky of Las Noches and the dark sky of Hueco Mundo beyond.
Harribel stared silently for a moment at the battlefield. The three of them, despite squabbling all the time, also followed her example and stood there in silence.
Standing behind Harribel’s right hand side, Apacci looked down at her own completely unharmed body, and clenched her fist.
She muttered in her heart.
Only a few hours before, every single one of them had been close to death. Harribel’s body had suffered two wounds from Aizen’s zanpakutou Kyoka Suigetsu, one across her abdomen, and another pierced from her back through to her left chest. Apacci, Mila-Rose, and Sung-Sun had each lost an arm to create Allon, and had also suffered severe burns over their entire body from Yamamoto’s fires.
Apacci touched her left arm with her right hand. It felt completely normal, just like her orignal arm. There was also no pain remaining anywhere on her body.
(In the end… we still had to rely on the strength of humans…!)
She clenched her teeth.
The one who healed them had been Inoue Orihime. When the Fake Karakura Town had been switched back with the real one, the unconscious Arrancars had also been sent with the fake town to Soul Society. Apacci had asked her to come into the town to treat them, when Orihime came back from Hueco Mundo with Kuchiki Rukia and the rest to see Ichigo after his battle had finished.
The three of them that had been spared by Yamamoto were relatively fine compared to Harribel, who had suffered two life-threatening injuries. Apart from Orihime, there was probably nobody who could help her. Still, trusting her deeply revered Harribel to a human, for even one moment, was something that she could never forgive.
Apacci hardened her face, tightly gripping her arm.
(Such a bastard…!)
Her own undying feelings of gratitude to Orihime were something that she could never forgive.
Not long after Kurosaki Ichigo met everyone again, he let out an anguished cry that seemed to split open his throat, collapsed, and lost consciousness.
Despite rejoicing only a few seconds before, Rukia, Orihime, Renji, Uryuu, and Chad now ran to Ichigo, calling out his name.
"Everyone, please be calm," said Urahara, stopping Orihime, who had her hands stretched out, ready to use Souten Kisshun. He saw her extremely troubled gaze and nodded to her, turning to the rest. "Kurosaki is fine. What happened just now does not endanger his life."
Chad let out a breath of relief upon hearing those words and lifted Ichigo, so that he might sleep facing up. His body, though unconscious, continued to convulse, and he let out a painful groan.
"What exactly happened to Ichigo...?" asked Rukia, frowning at Ichigo's pained state.
"In order to defeat Aizen, he used the Final Getsuga Tenshou."
"...Final?" asked Uryuu.
Urahara calmly closed his eyes, and slowly sighed. "It is a technique called 'Mugetsu,' and using it will cause him to lose all his shinigami powers... it is such a technique."
At first, everyone seemed to not understand his words. Perhaps unconsciously, they did not want to understand.
A few seconds later, Orihime murmured, "How could this be...!" She immediately collapsed to the floor.
"Shinigami... powers..." Rukia looked as if she had forgotten everything and only stared, unblinking, at Ichigo.
"Are you saying that Kurosaki can no longer be a shinigami...!?" exclaimed Uryuu, as if venting his feelings.
Urahara nodded sadly. "Yes."
"...The bastard!" Renji felt in his heart a tumultuous brew of emotions, that they had no choice but to rely on Ichigo, who wasn't even from Soul Society, that he had use this kind of technique, and that he was himself so weak.
"Ichigo...!" Chad also lowered his head, shaking at his feelings of remorse towards his own weakness.
Urahara waited until everyone had calmed down, and continued, "Kurosaki collapsing means that the first stage of his losing all his powers has begun. With Isshin's help, he trained for three months in the Dangai Precipice World's timeflow, until he attained 'Mugetsu'."
"Three months?!" Renji couldn't help but ask.
"That's why his hair is longer..." Uryuu said to himself.
Rukia envisioned the Ichigo that she had parted from in Hueco Mundo, and the one currently sleeping before her, putting both together in her mind. His hair had grown long, and it seemed like he was a bit taller. Whether unconsciously or not, his expression also seemed more mature. It had only been a few short days between the time when they sneaked into Hueco Mundo to save Orihime and the conclusion of all the fighting.
(But for you, it seems like it has been a very long fight...)
Rukia gave him a comforting glance.
"Right now his body is undergoing the effects of reversed timeflow from the time when he was in the Dangai. It will cause extreme pain and loss of consciousness, but it will not endanger his life."
"Is there anything that I can do...!" asked Orihime, distraught.
"Unfortunately, no." Urahara shook his head. "There is nothing we can do right now. After the timeflow reversion is complete, Kurosaki's shinigami powers will disappear. This is the first stage."
"And then what?!" asked Rukia, surprised.
Urahara nodded to her and continued, "As for the second stage, when the rest of his reaitsu stabilizes, he will wake up... and then, his remaining spiritual power will completely vanish."
"If that's the case, Ichigo will..." Chad swallowed.
"Never mind shinigami and hollows, he won't even be able to see normal pluses."
Upon hearing Urahara's words, everyone fell together into silence. Being able to see spirits - this was the very essence of Ichigo's existence, something which every single person there understood.
Looking at everyone's pained and gloomy expressions, Urahara said brightly, "Anyway, let's first take him somewhere to get help! Until the first stage completes, we can't send him home. If his sisters saw him all grown up like this, they would be very surprised!"
"...That's right." Renji was the first to lift his head. “There’s no use in us just sitting around and talking. Oi, bring a stretcher here!” he called out to the Fourth Squad members who were about to take apart the town. Two of the closer ones came over with a stretcher. “Take him to get help. Be careful…this is the great hero who captured Aizen!”
“Of course!” The two of them replied excitedly and bowed deeply. As the hero who had finally concluded this battle, Ichigo’s name had spread in a flash throughout the members of the Gotei 13.
When they had carefully moved Ichigo’s body onto the stretcher, Urahara and Uryuu looked up at the same time.
“This reiatsu… an Arrancar!?”
The two talented at sensing reiatsu lifted their heads and gazed upwards. Everyone else followed their example, looking to the sky.
Suddenly in the clear blue sky, a figure appeared using sonido, something only Arrancar could use. It came quickly, almost falling out of the sky.
They looked at the Arrancar on the ground. It was one of Tier Harribel’s fraccion, Apacci. Her skin was burnt, her left arm ripped off with blood still dripping from the wound, and it was all that she could do just to stand.
“You must not want to live…!” Renji fixed his glare on Apacci, his hand gripping his zanpakutou Zabimaru.
Still, Apacci did not even spare him a glance, as she had eyes only for Orihime. “Hey, woman…come…with me…” Her shoulder shook violently as she breathed, her words coming out in short bursts.
Seeing her heading towards Orihime, Rukia quickly put herself between the two. But before she could do anything, Apacci took another step and lost her balance, falling heavily to the ground.
“Bas…tard…” Trying to lift herself up, she grabbed a fistful of dirt.
“Souten Kisshun!” Orihime stretched out her hands, using her Shun Shun Rikka technique. Shun’o and Ayame flew to Apacci, surrounding her with a glowing healing field.
“Wait a minute, Inoue! That’s an Arrancar! There’s no reason to heal her!” Renji shouted. Orihime had once been kidnapped by the Arrancar and Renji understandably hoped that she would have no further contact with them.
“But, I can’t just do nothing…” Orihime walked past Rukia, coming closer to Apacci’s body. Even though she was an Arrancar, Orihime could not just leave someone who was hurt.
As Orihime started to focus on healing, Apacci said weakly, “Don’t mind me… first…save Harribel-sama…!”
“But, your wounds are also very serious…”
“Please!” Apacci lifted her head and grabbed Orihime’s hand, her own hand shaking, either from the pain or something else. “Please quickly… save Harribel-sama…!” Her eyes held no antagonistic, killing, or deceitful intent, only concern for her nakama, like Orihime herself.
“…I understand! Please take me there!” Orihime released her Souten Kisshun, and offered Apacci her shoulder.
“I’ll go too. Take hold of me.” Rukia stood to her other side, taking note of the wound to her shoulder, and carefully holding her up. Rukia’s left arm was also wounded and in a sling, but her right arm was tightly gripped around Apacci. Surprised, Apacci widened her eyes but did not say anything, relying on the two of them.
“Well then, I guess I have no choice…come on!” Renji walked up to them and bent over. “You’re in a hurry, right? Then let me carry you. It seems like I’m the least wounded out of all of you…”
“Thank you, Abarai-kun!” Orihime and Rukia carefully placed Apacci on Renji’s back. Renji stood up and started walking towards the fake Karakura town, with Orihime and Uryuu following behind him.
“Urahara, Chad, I’ll just leave Ichigo with you then!” Rukia ran off to join them, leaving Urahara to explain Ichigo’s injuries and Chad to nurse the wound to his leg.
Seeing some movement amongst the rubble, Sung-Sun asked, “Who’s there!?”
“Woof!” Kukkapuuro walked out of the shadows, running towards the four of them.
“You’re Yammy’s…” Harribel remembered that this tiny little hollow always was by Yammy’s side.
“Near here…I can feel the remains of Yammy’s reiatsu,” said Mila-Rose. It was his reaitsu from where he had used all his strength for battle.
“That fellow Yammy, he’s always so absent-minded, and always thinking himself so great, as if!” said Apacci in her usual voice. The other two nodded their agreement.
“What then…that bastard!” she said, kicking up the sand. Apacci hoped that everything would become normal soon. That humans, shinigami, this battle, and contact with Soul Society would all soon be forgotten.
“Che! Have they already discovered…!” murmured Mila-Rose, focusing on the reiatsu signatures around them.
Sung-Sun nodded, frowning. “Hn…there’s a group of mid-level hollows congregating in that direction.”
The hollows who before had feared Aizen and the Espadas’ strength were now starting to surround Las Noches.
“There’s…going to be another war then…” Harribel’s expression was grim and her heart felt heavy. As she had followed Aizen hoping that his superior strength might stop unnecessary wars from ever happening, she was unwilling to let such a thing happen.
Hearing that call, she turned and saw Sung-Sun kneeling on the floor. She lowered her head and said, “Barragan is dead. Aizen is gone. The only one fit to become ruler of Hueco Mundo is now Harribel-sama.”
“I agree!” Apacci also kneeled, bowing her head.
“No matter what, please become the new ruler of Hueco Mundo!” Mila-Rose also knelt.
Harribel lowered her head, calmly regarding the three who were now awaiting an answer. “Hueco Mundo does not need a ruler.”
“A fake sun can not illuminuate this darkness.” The blue sky created by Aizen stretched above them. “Hueco Mundo has darkness…and only needs a peaceful darkness.”
Harribel slowly blinked and started walking towards the center of Las Noches. The three of them stood up, exchanged glances, and silently nodded.
“We will always serve you, Harribel-sama!” said Sung-Sun, as they followed her.
After five or six steps, Apacci stood still and looked back at Kukkapuuro, which was still staring at the four of them. “Hey, little thing! You’ll be killed if you stay in a place like this!” She walked over and picked it up, but Kukkapuuro yelped and struggled from her grasp.
Seeing this, Sung-Sun said to her, “Let it go. Don’t you understand that it wholly wants to stay here?”
“You’re so noisy! I don’t need you to tell me. I was planning to let it go!” She put it down and Kukkapuuro happily yelped, wagging its tail.
“You too, also have something that you cannot leave?” Mila-Rose gently petted Kukkapuuro’s head, before walking back to Harribel’s side with the other two.
Their shadows slowly disappeared. Their footprints also vanished, smoothed out by the wind.
Kukkapuuro stayed there and saw it all.
To this day, it is still there, still missing its deceased master.
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