Seireitei was in an uproar. The Gotei 13 were having a particular problem collecting a large number of souls who were refusing to move on. The worst thing was the unusual condition of these souls: not only immensely powerful with off-the-chart spiritual energy, but there was confusion on if they were alive or not. Captain-Commander Yamamoto called an emergency meeting of the captains.
"This island was somehow not under our watch," the elderly man said with a bit of anger. "Twenty-one souls! Every shinigami we have sent has been defeated in brutal combat. It seems," he said, stroking his white beard, "these people have some sort of abilities...magic, one of the shinigami who returned called it."
"Magic," Captain Kyōraku Shunsui scoffed softly, adjusting his pink kimono.
"That is what was reported," Yamamoto nodded sternly, "but they were low-ranking officers, prone to exaggeration. Nevertheless, these are powerful and dangerous souls. If they are left to remain and turn into Hollows, it would be very troubling."
"So why the hell are we here?" Kenpachi barked in annoyance as he scratched an itch in his nose.
"We have determined that some of these souls have power equal to a captain," Yamamoto said with a glare in his eyes. "We even sent Vice-Captain Ōmaeda Marechiyo, and he failed against a single one of them."
"Is that really so shocking?" Captain Hitsugaya Toshiro muttered. "If this is causing a problem, I'll go. I've nothing better to do, and Matsumoto has been bugging me about wanting to make a trip anyway."
"That will be most helpful, Captain Hitsugaya," Yamamoto nodded solemnly, "however, we have intelligence that three of these people are so-called Dragon Slayers. Even using your bankai, you may have a problem with them."
"Che!" he gritted, irked that the captain-commander thought he was not enough for a few mere souls that needed to be put to rest.
"This is no ordinary soul burial," Yamamoto warned. He hummed and seemed to debate something. With a pout, he decided to tell them. "I have met this group before, these so-called...madoushi."
"Eh?" Captain Kyōraku asked in a lazy tone. "Wizards? Mages?"
Captain Ukitake Jūshirō's pallid face drew down in concern. "Then you're saying these people truly have magical power?"
"They call it that," Yamamoto nodded. "Suffice it to say, their spiritual energy was impressive when I faced one of them many years ago. It was one of the only fights I would consider to be a draw."
The captains muttered amongst themselves. The captain-commander himself, unable to defeat one of these mages!
"And you say there are twenty-one such people?" Captain Komamura asked.
Yamamoto nodded with a sense of gravity. "Madoushi normally lose their magic upon death, yet these are, according to Captain Kurotsuchi, alive but not alive."
"Actually," Kurotsuchi Mayuri correctly, "what I said was 'dead but not dead.' Big difference."
Yamamoto only narrowed his eyes at being interrupted. "This is not an expedition to be taken lightly. These madoushi, or mages, have a variety of abilities: control over elements like fire, water, ice, lightning..."
Hitsugaya hummed at that. Both fire and ice mages?
"...a master swordsman...or swordswoman! Capable of summoning hundred of blades to her beck and call."
Kuchiki Byakuya made the faintest raise of his imperious eyebrow.
"People who can change their very bodily form into that of animals and beasts."
Komakura's furry face snarled a little. Humans who could turn into animals?
"As well as at least two mages with spiritual energy that could match or even surpass the greatest known here in Soul Society."
Kenpachi grinned, already eager to test that out.
"Some are weak, some are powerful. Therefore, we shall send three captains, and I would like some vice-captains and seated officers to deal with the weaker ones. Captain Hitsugaya has already volunteered. Any others?"
"Count me in!" Kenpachi chuckled with a glint in his eye at the possibility of meeting a good opponent.
"I shall go as well," Byakuya said in a reserved tone.
"Very well," Yamamoto nodded. "Leave as soon as you gather a team. That is all!"
"Our destination?" Captain Hitsugaya asked.
Yamamoto opened his squinted eyes just a little. "Tenrou Island."