Author's Note 1: Not many people expressed interest, but here it is for those of you that did! The new material is in normal text, everything else is smaller and italicized.
35. Conversation II
“Starrk, we must speak.”
“…” Intense Silent Staring.
“Good. You are awake.”
“Ulquiorra? What are you…were you watching me sleep?”
“Yes. I require your participation.”
Heavy Sigh. “In what?”
“No thanks.” Lies back down. “Find someone else to help you.”
“You misunderstand- I am not seeking your assistance, I intend for the two of us to do battle.”
“We must determine who is stronger.”
“Not interested.” Rolls over.
“That is irrelevant. As hollows, we must defer to those of greater strength to maintain our natural hierarchy. I seek to determine my position relative to your own.”
“I’m still not seeing the point. I’m primera, you’re quatro – isn’t that clear enough?”
“In our non-released and resureccion states, that is sufficient. However, I have since discovered a second release state capable of far greater feats.”
“Good for you.” Closes eyes.
“…Therefore, we must fight.”
“I don’t care. Go bug Grimmjow if you want to fight someone.”
“If you refuse to engage in battle, then I must consider your response a forfeit and declare myself the victor.”
“Mmm…” Disinterested yawn.
“Do you understand, Starrk?”
“Sure. Knock yourself out.”
“I do not-.”
“It means go ahead. Declare yourself the winner.”
“You do not wish to challenge me?”
“No. Actually…” Yawn. “If you DO say you won, maybe all those idiots will challenge you for the position instead of me.”
“Just a bunch of lesser arrancar who think they could do a better job, or that I'm weak just because I don't like fighting. All it takes is a wave of reiatsu to knock them flat, but it’s still annoying.”
Stretch. “But I’m not accidentally killing them anymore, so that’s something.”
“Your reiatsu is capable of killing?”
“When it is weaponized, you mean.”
“No, just in its base state.”
“My Segunda Etapa is capable of causing intense depression.”
“In Hueco Mundo or the human world?”
“Hueco Mundo, of course.”
“It’ll be drastically reduced in the human world, with its absence of ambient reiryoku. But it sounds like enough to knock down most challengers around here.”
“…On further consideration, I believe it would be prudent for our rankings to remain as they are.”
Scowl. “You sure?”
“Our rankings are provided by Aizen-sama. It would be disrespectful to assume they are incorrect.”
“You don’t say.” Completely Deadpan.
“I will return to my duties now.”
Ulquiorra stalks away. Starrk rolls over and falls back to sleep.
Author's Note 2: So there you have it! (Also, that bit about ambient reiryoku enhancing powers is canon - it was mentioned at the beginning of Ichigo's invasion of Hueco Mundo. It surprises me that so many people seem to forget that...)
- Howling at the Moon Ch. 35 alt. Ending
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