Uryū and Sado show off their new powers to Aisslinger and Demoura.
Ichigo notices Uryū's new bow and questions if it really is a bow, since it resembles a small pentacle. Uryū tells him he wouldn't use any other type of weapon and the pentacle reforms into the shape of a spider web. He then states that this is his new spirit bow, Ginrei Kojaku. Uryū then fires an arrow at Aisslinger.
While this is happening, Sado breaks the mask of Demoura and tells him he shouldn't have done that, since he looked much better with the mask on. Demoura angrily punches at Sado, but he easily blocks the blow. He then picks up Demoura and flips him over.
Aisslinger attempts to run away, but Uryū catches up with him and asks him if this is what they call Sonído. Aisslinger tells him that there's no way for a lowly Human to catch up to him and Uryū states that he isn't human, but a Quincy. He then explains that he uses Hirenkyaku, something he feels is superior to a Shinigami's Shunpo. Aisslinger states that he's never heard of a Quincy and Uryū tells him he should be ashamed of his ignorance. Aisslinger then goes to attack him and tells him that him being able to keep up with Sonído means nothing if he can't keep up with his Uña Tirotear. He then rapidly fires blasts of energy from his fingertips and Uryū begins firing Quincy arrows to defend himself. Aisslinger mocks Uryū's attempts to do this, since his Uña Tirotear can fire 108 shots consecutively, but Uryū tells him his Ginrei Kojaku can fire 1200 shots consecutively. Uryū's arrows then fire straight through Uña Tirotear and begin firing at Aisslinger himself.
Demoura tells Sado that there's no way someone like him could beat him and fires his tongue out at Sado. Sado easily grabs his tongue and speculates that that must have been his final attack. He then states that he doesn't like to deal the deathblow to opponents who have lost the will to fight, but that he can't say things like that now. He then uses his new attack called El Directo and fires off a huge blast of spiritual energy.
Ichigo, Uryū, and Sado spot Las Noches, while the Espada begin their meeting about the intruders.
Sado tells Demoura it's over and Demoura falls to the ground. Uryū tells Aisslinger to give a message to Aizen that the Quincy are the one's he should fear and not the Shinigami. Sado and Uryū then notice that the place is collapsing and Ichigo tells them it was probably because they went wild. Aisslinger corrects him and states that this room is meant to collapse if they are to fall. As Ichigo, Uryū, and Sado attempt to leave, Aisslinger tells Uryū that it's funny that he should say Aizen should fear him, as Aizen fears nothing and that that's the reason the Arrancar look up to him.
The place then collapses, but Ichigo and his friends are able to escape in time. They then notice that they are truly in Hueco Mundo and notice that there is almost nothing, but sand. As they continue to examine things about Hueco Mundo they notice a giant palace and speculate that it must be Las Noches. Sado notices that the quartz trees near Las Noches look like needles, meaning that they're really far away from the palace. Ichigo states that it's a safe bet that Orihime is in there and they decide to run there since they may get into another fight if they walk.
Meanwhile, the Espada walk into a meeting and state that intruders must have entered. They then all sit down and Aizen, Gin, and Tōsen enter the room. Aizen tells them that they are under attack, but proposes that they have some tea first.
Aizen calls a meeting of the Espada and informs them of the invasion.
After making sure everybody has a cup of tea, Aizen asks Tōsen to bring-up the images of the invaders. Aizen then introduces Ichigo, Ishida, and Chad. Aaroniero, Baraggan, Szayelaporro and even Yammy are all dismissive. However, Aizen warns them not to underestimate them and informs them that they were among the four Ryoka who defied the Gotei 13. Zommari wonders who is missing, and Ulquiorra informs him that it is Orihime Inoue. Nnoitra deduces that they are here to rescue her, but is still dismissive of them. Harribel chastises him for disregarding Aizen's warning. As they two of them bicker, Grimmjow abruptly gets up and starts to leave. However, before he can leave the room, Tōsen demands where Grimmjow is going. Grimmjow replies that he is going to go kill the invaders. Tōsen points out that Aizen has not issued the order yet and orders Grimmjow back to his seat. Grimmjow insists that he is going to kill them for Aizen, but Aizen himself tells Grimmjow to return to his seat as he has not finished talking. When Grimmjow remains standing where he was, Aizen releases an amount of Reiatsu that brings Grimmjow to his knees. Aizen then moves on and tells the Espada to return to their palaces and simply wait for the invaders, telling them not to underestimate them, but not to overreact either. Assuring the Espada that as long as they stand with him, no one can stand in their way.
Meanwhile, Ichigo and his friends crash on the ground exhausted. Ichigo complains that they have been running, but seemingly not getting any closer to Las Noches. He wonders if the palace is even there, wondering if it might not be a mirage. Ishida dismisses the notion and asks Ichigo if he would like to know why it can't be a mirage. Ichigo declines. Just then, he notices a small Hollow and comments on its existence and wonders what it eats. Ishida informs him that the air of Hueco Mundo is rich with spirit particle and small Hollows probably have enough to eat just from the ambient spirit particles. Ichigo wonders how Ishida knows this. Ishida explains that as Quincy fight using ambient spirit particles, he is aware of the difference — noting that he should be more powerful here in Hueco Mundo than back in the Human World or even Soul Society. Ichigo likens Ishida to a Hollow and the two promptly start arguing, oblivious to Chad's preoccupation with his fist. Just as the three of them get up to resume their journey, three Hollows emerge from the sand chasing a little Human girl. While stunned at the presence of a Human, Ichigo decides that they need to save the girl first and then wonder what she is doing there.
Ichigo realizes that the little girl is really an Arrancar and that the Hollows chasing her were just her friends.
As the little girl tries to run away from the Hollows chasing her, Ichigo and his friends begin attacking them. However, the little girl yells at them to stop and the hood over her head falls off, revealing a Hollow mask. The four Hollows get on their knees and apologize to them and the little girl states that they didn't think their game of endless pursuit would cause such a misunderstanding. Ichigo tells her she was crying though and she states that "Nel" would have no fun if she wasn't crying. Uryū is able to deduct that the little's girl name is Nel and she tells him he's correct and that she's the Arrancar Nel Tu. The other two Arrancar introduce themselves as Pesche Guatiche and Dondochakka Birstanne and that the other huge Hollow is their pet called Bawabawa. Ichigo questions this as he's never heard of Arrancar having siblings or pets and Dondochakka and Pesche admit that they found Nel wandering around and that they just had to be siblings with her. They then decide to ride Bawabawa to get to Las Noches faster.
Ichigo asks Nel if she's really an Arrancar, since she has a different feel than the ones that came to the Human World and Nel explains that the ones who went to the Human World were Numeros, Arrancar who are stronger than Menos Grande and have 2 digit numbers and are ruled by the Espada. She then notices that Ichigo saying those things make him seem less like an Arrancar and more like a Shinigami. She then questions what Ichigo is and he admits that he's a Shinigami, which shocks Nel and her friends, which leads Nel to believe that they're going to get killed going to Las Noches. All of a sudden, a giant sand monster appears, who introduces himself as Runuganga, the guardian of the white sands. He states that he got word of intruders entering Hueco Mundo and believes that Nel has betrayed them and is helping the Shinigami. As Nel tries to defend herself, Ichigo fires off a Getsuga Tenshō and splits Runuganga's head in half. However, Runuganga's head reforms and Ichigo asks Nel what he is exactly. As she explains that he is all the sand in the area, Runuganga attacks them. They attempt to run away, but Runuganga forms a sand pit and they all begin to fall down. Ichigo asks Nel if he has some type of weakness and she states that it's water. As Ichigo tries to figure out where they can find water, a huge beam of ice hits Runuganga and completely freezes him. The ice breaks, killing him and Rukia and Renji are shown to have come to Hueco Mundo as well.
Ichigo jumps off of Bawabawa and goes to where Rukia and Renji are. However, both Rukia and Renji punch Ichigo and yell at him for not having faith in them to come with them to save Orihime. Rukia then asks Ichigo if they're really his allies and he tells them they are. Rukia then warns him not to make her confirm such a foolish thing ever again. They then all decide to ride Bawabawa.
Ichigo asks Rukia and Renji why they're wearing cloaks and Rukia explains that Byakuya gave it to them because the dust clouds in Hueco Mundo can be bad. Ichigo is shocked by this and asks if Byakuya was the one that allowed them to go to Hueco Mundo. Renji states that it was, but that Urahara was the one that opened Garganta for them. Rukia then tells Ichigo that Byakuya's reason for doing so was because the only orders for him was to bring her and Renji back, but not to do anything as to what they could do after that. Ichigo believes that Byakuya's mellowed down a bit, until Rukia continues explaining that Byakuya also said that it would be bad for anyone to see someone as filthy as Ichigo running around alone. As Ichigo is angered by this, Rukia asks who the Arrancar their with are. The three of them introduce themselves to her and then state their team name, but all of the names are completely different. They then argue about what it should be and Ichigo tells them to stop.
Ulquiorra walks into where Orihime is and she's startled by this. Ulquiorra tells her to stop making a fuss about everything and states that he has an announcement. He explains that her allies have broken into Hueco Mundo and Orihime asks him why.
Ichigo and his group reach the palace walls and they decide to break through. As Ichigo and Renji take out their Zanpakutō's, Ulquiorra tells Orihime that they came because they wanted to save her. Ichigo and Renji then use all of their force to break through the wall.
Ulquiorra has Orihime state her loyalty to Aizen while Ichigo and his friends finally break into Las Noches.
Orihime is shocked that Ichigo and his friends are coming to save her and Ulquiorra tells her that it should mean nothing to her as the clothes she is wearing shows that she's their comrade in both mind and body. Ulquiorra than makes her state why her mind and body exist and Orihime states that it's for Aizen and his will.
Ichigo and Renji break through the walls of Las Noches and Nel tells them that they shouldn't have done that, since there was a gate they could have reached in three days. Ichigo explains to her that they can't just walk through the front door and they don't have three days to waste either. He then thanks Nel for bringing them this far and tells her to leave, since if they go any further they would be considered traitors. Nel explains though that they were already considered traitors when they were spotted by Runuganga. She then speculates that it was probably even further back then, since Aizen can foresee everything and that they're going to be killed by either Aizen or the Espada if Ichigo doesn't take her with him. She then begins crying and Ichigo gives in and allows them to come along.
As they're running through the palace, Ichigo complains that he can't see anything, so Renji decides to do a variation of Hadō #31: Shakkahō. He makes the fireball small enough to be used as a light, but it's too small and they make fun of him for it. After running for a while, they make it to a room with five separate paths. Ichigo tells Nel that it has to be goodbye for real now, as the Reiatsu up ahead is too much for her to handle. Sado asks what they're going to do and Rukia states that they're going to all take separate paths. Ichigo tells her it's too dangerous, since their opponents are the Espada and Renji tells him to be quiet, since showing concern for a warrior on the battlefield is an insult to that warrior. Rukia then states that she didn't come here so she could be protected by Ichigo and they come to the conclusion to all take separate paths. Before they leave, Renji decides to have them all do a chant. Ichigo asks him what he means and Renji states that it's a tradition of the Gotei 13 to do a chant before leaving for a decisive battle. They all put their hands together and Renji states the chant "We at this moment head into a decisive battle! Have faith that our blades will not shatter, have faith that our hearts will not waver! And even if our paths should diverge we all share a heart of iron! Swear that even if the ground beneath us should be rent asunder we will live and return to this place once again!" The five of them then separate and go into the different paths.
Nel decides to go after Ichigo and Ulquiorra explains to Nnoitra the psychological cages Aizen put on Orihime.
As Ichigo and his friends all leave, Pesche asks Dondochakka what they're going to do now. All of a sudden, Nel runs away and states that she's going to follow Ichigo. Pesche and Dondochakka decide to do the same, but lose sight of Nel.
As Ulquiorra leaves Orihime's room, he notes that she has a strong spirit for not flinching at any of his questions. He is then spotted by Nnoitra, who asks Ulquiorra how he's gotten to "taming" Orihime. Ulquiorra simply leaves and calls him a degenerate scum, but Nnoitra stops him and says that he's only asking if things are going well. Ulquiorra tells him that she's been under Aizen's spell ever since she entered Hueco Mundo and Nnoitra mistakes this for Aizen's Kyōka Suigetsu. Ulquiorra corrects him and states that Aizen put multiple psychological cages on Orihime. First by threatening the lives of her friends, she had to surrender to them, then she was given a chance to say goodbye to one person. Nnoitra mocks this and states that it's barely a psychological cage, but Ulquiorra continues and states that by giving her a chance to say goodbye to one friend, it would make her slightly sympathetic towards them. He then states that by doing this, it would make it seem as if she was doing this of her own free will and that by doing this her will to escape would slowly decrease. He continues his explanation by stating that because she can say goodbye to one person, she would be able to leave evidence of her doing so behind. Nnoitra tells him that the whole plan is a failure then, but Ulquiorra tells him that by leaving evidence of saying goodbye, it would make it seem to her friends that she had betrayed them because she had complete control of her actions. Ulquiorra then admits that the last part didn't work exactly as planned, but they were able to get rid of Soul Society because of this. Nnoitra states that this was a well thought out plan, but Ulquiorra counters him by saying that Aizen simply sees this as a game and it doesn't matter if she was trapped or not.
Orihime has a flashback of one of her talks with Aizen. Aizen apologizes to Orihime for making her come, but that there is something he would like to show her. He then tells two female Arrancar named Loly and Menoly to leave, to which they do so reluctantly. Aizen then takes out the Hōgyoku and states that due to repeated momentary awakenings, it has slightly deteriorated, but it is definitely moving towards a complete awakening. He then states that without the Hōgyoku, he can't make Arrancar nor the Ōken and tells Orihime that by showing her this, it is a sign of his trust in her. He then praises her powers and asks her if she will use his powers for him.
The flashback ends and she realizes that there is no way Aizen would show her the Hōgyoku as a sign of trust, but that because she knows its location and the nature of her powers, she vows to destroy the Hōgyoku herself.
Aizen is shown sitting on his chair smiling.
Ichigo runs through the straight path as fast as he can, but someone is sneaking up on him.
Ichigo begins his battle with Dordoni while Tōsen explains about "Tres Cifras".
Ichigo runs down the straight path, but he spots Nel running straight at him. She then headbutts him at amazing speed and states that she wanted to see him again. Ichigo asks her where the other her other friends are and she states that Bawabawa can't come in since he needs to eat sand to survive, and Pesche and Dondochakka should be right behind her. As she notices that they aren't behind her, Ichigo senses someone else behind them. He yells at the person to come out and he does so, but only because he tripped off of the beam he was standing on. The person is revealed to be an Arrancar, but Ichigo and Nel don't take him seriously do to his appearance. He then introduces himself as Dordoni, the 103rd Arrancar, but Ichigo continues to not take him seriously as his number is three digits, not two, giving him the assumption that he's one of the weakest of the Arrancar. Dordoni then tells him to test if he's weak or not, but not to come crying to him later.
Gin visits Tōsen and notices that he's spying on the intruders. He tells Tōsen that that's not a good hobby and Tōsen tells him that he must have come in here to spy on them as well. As Gin enters the room telling him he was only joking, Wonderweiss stops him. Gin tells Tōsen to do something about him and notes that he's become pretty attached to Tōsen as well. Tōsen remarks that pure beings are drawn to each other, but admits that he doesn't know what's pure about him. He then tells Gin to look at the monitors and states that they have split up. Gin remarks that they don't know their limits, since splitting up will lower their chances. Tōsen then states that they winded up in an interesting place called, "Tres Cifras". Tōsen then explains to Wonderweiss that Tres Cifras is the place where former Espada are put.
Ichigo gets his shoulder cut by Dordoni and fires a Getsuga Tenshō in retaliation, but Dordoni easily kicks it away. Dordoni then tells him not to underestimate his opponents by their appearance.
Dordoni explains to Ichigo that he's a Privaron Espada, which means fallen Espada, and that anyone with three digit numbers are just like him.
Sado and Uryū are shown to have been confronted by Privaron Espada as well.
Dordoni kicks at his opponent, but Ichigo uses his Zanpakutō to block the blow. However, Dordoni is able to kick Ichigo into another room, which causes him to lose his balance. Dordoni uses this opportunity to attack Ichigo again and sends him straight towards a pillar. He mocks Ichigo's lack of ability and tells him to use Bankai or he won't be able to win. Ichigo tells him he won't because he will only use Bankai against actual Espada and then goes to attack him. He blocks it with his leg and goes into his Resurrección causing cyclones to go around him. Dordoni then spins around and goes straight towards Ichigo to attack him. Ichigo barely dodges, but Dordoni decides to form even more cyclones around him. He then sends his cyclones to attack him and Ichigo gets completely overwhelmed. As this is happening, Nel watches from the sidelines and notes that at this rate Ichigo will get killed.