When the Wandenreich attack the Seireitei, Byakuya, alerted about the blue pillars of flame caused by their arrival, heads out to battle along with other Gotei 13 officers. As the Wandenreich's attack begins, Äs impales several Shinigami on his thorns before 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai arrives. Attempting to fight the Sternritter, he, attacking with Zabimaru, is perplexed to see the blows are completely ineffective.
Deciding to try attacking faster, Renji, ambushed by the Sternritter Mask De Masculine, who dodges the initial attack, but is surprised at his speed. When Mask tries to attack again, Byakuya saves Renji with his Shikai. Surprised by his arrival, Renji listens as Byakuya tells him he should not try to read his opponent or take pity on them. Saying the Wandenreich are obviously enemies because of their intent to slaughter Soul Society, he implores his lieutenant to use his full strength to defeat them.
As Byakuya walks towards Renji, Renji finds himself still surprised at his arrival. Reiterating there is no need to show mercy to the Quincy, Byakuya points out how they have cowardly attacked the Seireitei without any notice and are the enemies of Lieutenant Chōjirō Sasakibe. Taken aback by his words, Renji says he was not showing mercy. Despite the arrival of a captain, Äs, remaining silent, steps forward.
Telling the Sternritter to not move, Byakuya swings his Zanpakutō's hilt. As Senbonzakura is directed at Äs, Renji tells him it is impossible for their blades to hurt the enemy. Slightly perplexed by Renji's statement, Byakuya, watching the Sternritter be exposed to his Shikai, tells Renji this is not true. When Senbonzakura slices Äs' hand in several places, Äs remains silent as Renji expresses surprise at Byakuya's Shikai cutting the Quincy. Shocked to see Äs get wounded so easily, Mask, wondering what the fellow Quincy is doing, tries to scold Äs Nödt for having his Blut Vene so easily torn, but is interrupted when Byakuya tells him he should not move so carelessly either. As the ground underneath him collapses, Mask falls due to Byakuya having crushed it earlier with Senbonzakura. Telling Renji the odds have shifted towards them, Byakuya, sealing his Zanpakutō, tells Renji to activate his Bankai to defeat Äs if his own Bankai is sealed.
Surprised at his request, Renji states the enemy could seal both of their Bankai, based on Chōjirō's report. Stating their opponents cannot be defeated without using Bankai, Byakuya reveals he intends to use Bankai so they can observe how the Wandenreich seal Bankai and form a way to counter this. Glaring at the Sternritter, Byakuya, dropping his Zanpakutō, activates his Bankai. When Äs takes out his medallion, Senbonzakura Kageyoshi is absorbed into Äs' medallion. As Äs smiles, a shocked Byakuya, staring at the medallion, realizes his Bankai was not sealed, but rather stolen.
Shocked at what just transpired as well, Renji, preparing to use his Bankai as well, is ordered to not do so by Byakuya. Protesting, Renji wonders how are they to fight the Quincy if they cannot use Bankai. Later, Byakuya and Renji, along with the other captains and lieutenants, are notified by Rin Tsubokura via transmitter swords Ichigo Kurosaki is currently heading to Soul Society. When Byakuya is slashed by Äs, Renji moves to aid him, but Byakuya, ordering him to stay back, tells him attacking an enemy whose abilities are not understood is a foolish plan which causes one to lose advantages.
When he orders Renji to watch the battle for now to figure out Äs' abilities, Renji offers to be the one to do this, but Byakuya tells him he does not feel his lieutenant is intelligent enough to make Äs reveal the full extent of his powers, which Renji reluctantly agrees is true. Assuring Renji he will make the Quincy reveal its powers, so he should just observe for now, Byakuya notes it feels like his limbs are frozen. As he wonders if the Reishi Thorns which Äs used had some sort of poisonous property, Äs notices Byakuya's puzzlement, telling him his initial thoughts of being poisoned are incorrect, and reveals the thorns have infected him with something which he likely lost a long time ago: fear.
As Renji is surprised at this revelation, Äs states it is impressive for Byakuya to have lasted this long because the intensive amount of fear which is induced by the thorns would have caused a normal Shinigami to scream, go insane, and experience heart failure. Revealing the thorns cause victims to lose control of all rational thought and have a deep-seated fear towards the Quincy, Äs, commending Byakuya for resisting with willpower alone, notes it is surprising. As Byakuya strikes at Äs' chest, Äs asserts Byakuya's heart is already stricken by fear.
Resisting his fear, Byakuya tells himself fear is ridiculous, for he has overcome it each time on the verge of death and acquired power to continue forward. As he envisions a decaying Rukia Kuchiki, Äs impales him through the chest. Noting Byakuya's legs have stopped moving, Äs states most experienced fighters believe fear can always be overcome when it is a fear which comes from reason.
However, he asserts that true fear is a primal instinct which can never be stopped or escaped from. As he claims true fear has no reason or limit whatsoever, similar to a horde of bugs crawling up one's body, Byakuya, finding himself overwhelmed by fear, once again tries to eliminate the Quincy, who dodges his attack by jumping. Taking out his medallion, Äs uses Senbonzakura Kageyoshi, causing Byakuya to fall to his knees in a torrent of blood.
Falling to his knees, Byakuya glares at the Quincy. As Äs states it is unsurprising Byakuya can do nothing else, for there is no possible way to defeat his own Bankai with only his Shikai, Renji, appearing above him, states the Quincy has no right to be using Senbonzakura Kageyoshi. He uses Zabimaru in an attempt to assault Äs, who, blocking the attack with his Blut Vene-enhanced hand, tries to get rid of the lieutenant with Senbonzakura Kageyoshi, but is stopped by Byakuya. Facing Byakuya again, Äs forces the Shinigami to face torrents of his own blades over and over, further worsening his already weak state, and sends him crashing into a wall.
Overcome with anger, Renji, yelling at the Quincy to stop, tries to use his Bankai, but he is stopped and sent flying by Mask, who had fallen down the pit earlier, knocking him unconscious and injuring him. When Äs tells Mask he was foolish and should have tried to steal Renji's Bankai as well, the he simply states he thought only captains had Bankai, prompting Äs to state he should go back to their headquarters and review the Daten which Yhwach gave them. Defeated, Byakuya, leaning on the wall he was crushed into as his Zanpakutō begins to break, silently asks Rukia and Renji to forgive him for his failure.
When Ichigo arrives at Soul Society, he speaks to Byakuya, who is now in a near-death state, and assures him Rukia and Renji are alive. Saying he is glad that they are, Byakuya, stating he will not last much longer, expresses his shame at being unable to prevent the deaths of many Shinigami, causing their families to suffer. He asks Ichigo to forgive him as well and to go do what he was unable to: protect Soul Society.
After Ichigo leaves, Byakuya comments on how typical it is of him to not reply. Trusting Ichigo will protect Soul Society, he drops the remaining part of his Zanpakutō, which disintegrates. After the Wandenreich's assault ends, Byakuya is reported to have narrowly escaped death, but remains in a comatose state, which makes it uncertain if he will be able to resume his duties as captain or even wake up.
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 494, pages 1-4, 17
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 495, pages 6-10
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 495, pages 14-18
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 496, pages 4-5
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 496, pages 4-17
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 497, pages 2, 14-16
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 500, pages 2-4
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 501, pages 4-10
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 501, pages 11-17
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 502, pages 1-3, 5-14
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 512, pages 8-13
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 513, pages 1-3
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 515, page 13