“Kisuke Urahara,” the robot said, hissing crackling into static spitting, “What were you thinking?”
“Ah,” he said lightly, one hand tipping down his hat, “I wasn’t really. Thinking that is.”
A squawk of indignation, and he was suddenly fending off sharp beak and claws. “Thinking, Kisuke Urahara, is your job!”
“Oi, what’s happening back there? My cargo’s safe, right?”
“It’s all good!” Kisuke shouted back, “Everything’s in one piece!”
“Yoru,” he hissed to the robot, a frozen smile on his face, “please do not give us away with your jabbering—”
“Aren’t you the head of the Wandenreich?”
The two of them froze. “Did he just say Wandenreich,” Kisuke asked, voice so flat it was more a statement than a question.
Kisuke hid behind a crate, tucking an uncomplaining Yoru in the space between. They sat there for several breathless moments, listening to the driver and Jugram Haschwalth chat. Thankfully, the driver didn’t give them away, but that only made Kisuke tenser and more suspicious.
He cradled the neck of his Crimson Princess in one hand and placed the other on the cane head.
Sure enough, a gun clicked loaded in the driver’s hand and the barrel stared at him through the window of the carriage. He sighed and burst out through the back of the carriage with a leap to dodge the bullet and give himself some more room to manoeuvre.
Kisuke’s eyes blew wide. This factory!
“Until 15 years ago, I worked at this facility,” The driver told him, arms spread wide as if in benediction, “I was both a soldier and a researcher,”
“Hōgyoku...” he whispered, stunned.
A crazed smile blossomed on the driver’s face and he spun with arms flung out wide as he shouted. “Indeed! The Hōgyoku’s ideology is flawless! We must carry on their will and create new weapons!”
The driver’s arms drooped to his sides. “You’re Red Raven, right?” The driver didn’t wait for an answer before he continued. “We knew you would be coming to this town... but your timing could not have been better! It seems everyone believes the executioner to be able-bodied. So even the Caccini overlooked you,” The driver pulled out a massive machine gun with crossbow limbs, as tall as the driver, “Red Raven... I have no doubts about your power. I will put it to good use under the Hōgyoku! But first,” the driver pulled the trigger, sending three massive metal bolts flying at him, “let’s take a look at your ‘power’!”
No.122. The arrows of heaven. A massive mechanical crossbow that could shoot three huge metal bolts at a time, and with an unautomated reload system that was so fast as to be ungodly.
His rage bubbled over. Kisuke smashed the bolts into pieces with his Crimson Princess. “Seriously,” he muttered, “can’t you stop reminding me of these memories I want to leave behind...?”
“Wha-” the driver got over his shock and desperately fired again and again.
“You minions of the Hōgyoku... none of you... not a single one really knew about the goals of the Hōgyoku, about the goals of the founders of the Hōgyoku,” Kisuke hissed twirling his Crimson Princess and her cane-exterior scabbard, smashing his way through the deadly steel rain towards the driver, “And you talk about your twisted fucking ideals as if they were shared by the Hōgyoku, you’re disgusting,”
“SHUT UP!” The driver shouted maniacally, firing as fast as he could reload the requisite three bolts and pull the trigger, “Don’t you talk like you know everything! Hōgyoku will rule the world! What do you know about the Hōgyoku!!” the driver snarled, finger clicking empty on the trigger and pile of bolts gone.
Kisuke stilled, only his loose clothes billowing in the backwash of air. “You asked ‘what do I know’?,” Kisuke steadied his footing and held his Crimson Princess low and to the side, “That Hōgyoku was my creation, fool.”
He swung up, thumbed the switch, and it was a long-reaching whip that ripped through the no.122 Hōgyoku.
“Possession of illegal weapons, conspiracy to manufacture and disperse illegal weapons, attempted murder of a Raven, suspicions of conspiracy to commit murder... I do believe that... an immediate execution is required!” A knife-sharp smile cut across his face. “You won’t struggle, will you?” He brought his Crimson Princess up to his face, uncaring of the way the metal shards cut into his cheek as he rubbed his cheek against it.
“The— the Crimson Seraph!” the driver turned a ghostly pale.
Kisuke tilted his head in predatory consideration, the metal slicing deeper as he leaned into it. “‘Tis I, ‘tis I,” he murmured, smile drawing wider into a crazed, half-glasgow affair.
The driver’s expression twisted again, into something equally half-crazed and grimly determined. He pulled another weapon out from under his coat, a small handgun.
No. 132. A handgun that could shoot unusually large rounds but was otherwise unremarkable except in its relative stealth.
He ducked down, running low to the ground. The bullets passed overhead, one brushing his hair as he twisted to dodge the shining ruby death seeking out his head. He slapped a hand on the ground, boosted himself back to his feet, ran for the driver. Another trio of bullets sprayed towards him. He dodged high, leaping up into the air and catching the bright sparks of danger in his whip and shattering them.
The driver backed away, firing all the while. Kisuke dodged and ducked, swinging his Crimson Princess frenziedly and clicking rapidly between sword and whip to destroy each bullet that bloomed to life in the vision granted to him by his Blood Eyes. He reached the driver, let his chest lead and turned to dodge one last baleful star and flicked his wrist as he fell to the side. His whip lashed out and wrapped around the driver’s neck.
Kisuke rolled to his feet, uncaring of the way his whip’s metal shards bit into him with the motion. The driver was bent over, gasping and clawing at his neck, and the no.132 hōgyoku clattering along the floor from where the driver had dropped it. He yanked, hard, and the driver’s head fell to the floor with a wet plop, followed quickly by the thud of the main body.
Kisuke stepped over the decapitated body cheerfully, with nothing but bloodied satisfaction in his mind and whistling with abandon. His smile faded some, when he saw the crates of weapons, lined up neatly in rows. The heat he’d need to melt all that metal to a useless slag... his smile faded away altogether. A bonfire, would work, yes, but there was a chance of it burning itself out on the metal or jumping to other buildings and catching the entire section of the town on fire.
Well, at the very least he could begin stripping and disassembling everything down.
He glanced up and out through the skylights. Or he could send a message through Yoruichi, who was flapping down to join him.
He raised an arm, and Yoruichi alighted on it deceitfully lightly.
“Yoru’, you’ve been getting heavier lately, have you been eating too many rats recently?” he teased.
She squawked and batted at him with her wings. “Cretin! Philistine! How dare you ask a lady how much she weighs!”
He laughed good-naturedly and used his other arm to fend her off half-heartedly. “I would never dare.” Kisuke declared blandly. “Patch me through to HQ or the nearest Raven?” he turned serious.
She grumbled and fluffed up her feathers before deigning to settle down again. When she opened her beak again, Soi-fon was speaking out of it.
“Urahara?” She asked, the distaste and reluctance clear in her voice.
“Soi-fon.” He said flatly.
“Why are you calling me.”
“I have a warehouse here, old Hōgyoku manufacturing plant. It’s been used recently; it looks like it was used as a storage facility for scavenged and half-assed hōgyoku. Most of the pieces in here are either put together by the workers who made the unnumbered hōgyoku, or scavenged pieces. There were a couple numbered ones used by the man who drove me here in hopes of an ambush, so I suspect there are a few more floating around.”
“Location.” Soi-fon demanded.
“Third warehouse on Via Fabbrica. I’ll be going, so you better arrive soon.”
She snarled at him, but he hung up before she got past the opening volley of insults.
“Really, your Soi-fon has such a mouth on her.” He said to Yoruichi.
She huffed and ruffled her feathers. “If only you two would stop riling each other up, you’d be such a good team,” she mourned.
Kisuke threw her into the air and she squawked and hurriedly flapped a few times to stay aloft. He was already wandering off when she caught up to him and dived him with claws out and an unceasing litany of creative insults on his manners.
He ignored her.
Aizen... I’m coming for you. You and Ichigo both.