As Hanatarō Yamada leads Ichigo and Ganju Shiba through the sewers, Ganju asks if the other Shinigami will not just follow them through the hole they entered. When Hanatarō states they will not because only the members of the 4th Division know how to navigate the complex system of the sewers, Ganju theorizes they use it as a supply route, so only they would need to know how to move though it. Hanatarō reveals they just have to clean the sewers because they get assigned all the chores, prompting Ganju to state he pities him. As Hanatarō claims it is not so bad, Ichigo asks why he is helping them, stating they are his enemies. Hanatarō reveals Rukia Kuchiki has told him a lot about Ichigo, so he hopes he will save her.
Explaining how he met Rukia, Hanatarō reveals prior to her imprisonment in the Senzaikyū, Rukia was in the holding cell of the 6th Division office, during which time Hanatarō was assigned janitor duty there. He explains how though he was scared at first due to her being a noble, when he called her "Rukia-sama" for the first time, she scolded him for it and told him to not address her as "sama". Stating her soft voice put him at ease, Hanatarō, saying he started going there every day, reveals Rukia started talking to him, mostly about Ichigo. He explains how she had a high amount of faith in him despite having only known him for two months, and because of him, her life changed forever and he suffered a lot of pain, so she does not believe she can ever make it up to him.
When Ganju says she is another weird Shinigami like Ichigo, Ichigo, agreeing, states this is why he has to save her. As he runs off, with Ganju and Hanatarō trying to catch up behind him, Ichigo, reflecting on Hanatarō's words, states those are his lines, and he will not let her die. Meanwhile, at a lieutenant meeting, Yasochika Iemura reports 11th Division 3rd Seat Ikkaku Madarame and 5th Seat Yumichika Ayasegawa have been rendered unable to fight due to injuries. Stating each division has reported minor injuries, he reveals the 11th Division has been completely wiped out. As the lieutenants express shock at this, Iemura, stating there are witness accounts for three Ryoka, reveals two of them kidnapped a 4th Division member and are moving towards the center of the city.
Revealing the 4th seat of his Division has lost contact with them, Lieutenant Tetsuzaemon Iba, stating he has likely fallen as well, asks them to send someone to check on them. As Lieutenant Rangiku Matsumoto asks if he is referring to Jirōbō Ikkanzaka, Lieutenant Shūhei Hisagi notes he is the younger brother of Jidanbō Ikkanzaka. As the lieutenants wonder how all of this could be happening, Lieutenant Momo Hinamori, commenting on how the situation is growing worse, realizes Renji has left. Elsewhere, Hanatarō, telling Ichigo and Ganju it is safe to come out, states there is no way to get directly under the Senzaikyū, so this is the closest he can take them. As Ganju comments on how big the tower is and how they will likely have to fight to reach it, Ichigo notices someone standing in front of the entrance. As the smoke clears, Renji, lifting the visor over his face, asks if Ichigo remembers him.
When Renji says he has a good memory for remembering his name, Ichigo thanks him for the compliment. When Ganju states Renji has a completely different Reiatsu than the Shinigami they met before, Hanatarō tells him he is the lieutenant of the 6th Division. As Ganju expresses shock, Renji states he thought Ichigo had been killed by Captain Byakuya Kuchiki's attack. As Ganju tells Ichigo to not go over there, Renji states he does not know how he survived, but it is impressive. Drawing his Zanpakutō, Renji, stating it is over now, says he will kill the one who took Rukia's power, and if Ichigo is still alive, Rukia's power cannot be restored. Asking why he is saying this now when he had previously stated he wanted to kill her, Ichigo, drawing his Zanpakutō and running towards Renji, states he must keep going forward, prompting Renji to state this depends on whether or not he can defeat him. Telling him to come at him, he says Ichigo likes to risk his life.
Crossing blades, the two circle each other. As they clash again, Ganju wonders what Ichigo is thinking, for his opponent is a lieutenant, and no matter how good he is, he cannot win. Saying this is not so, Hanatarō asks him to watch carefully. As Ichigo pushes Renji up against a wall, Hanatarō states Ichigo is very strong, having just overpowered a lieutenant. As Hanatarō wonders what kind of person Ichigo is, Ganju states this is what he wants to ask as well. Asking Ichigo how he plans to save Rukia, Renji states even if he defeats him, there are eleven more lieutenants, and above them there are thirteen more captains, so unless he can defeat all of them, there is no way he can save Rukia. When he asks if Ichigo can do this, Ichigo states it does not matter how many lieutenants and captains there are, and if they try to stop him, he will defeat them all. Wondering where this confidence is coming from after only one or two life-or-death battles, Renji asks if it is stemming from his new Zanpakutō. Asking if this little increase in strength made him this much more arrogant, Renji, throwing him back, releases his Zanpakutō, Zabimaru.
Renji extends Zabimaru towards Ichigo, who blocks with the broad side of his blade. As he is pushed back, he, noting the blade is not stopping, slams into a wall, surprising Hanatarō. Retracting Zabimaru, Renji, stating Ichigo must have thought he understood Renji's abilities after their first fight, reveals captains and lieutenants suppress their powers while in the Human World so they do not cause unnecessary disturbances. As Renji states he is five times stronger than when they last met, so beating him is close to impossible, Ichigo emerges, saying Renji is stating this is his true power, and states his attacks are ineffective. Thanking him for the information, he states if there are eleven more people like him, he should be able to handle them.
As Hanatarō asks if Ichigo is okay, blood drips down the latter's face. While Hanatarō states he is amazing for being able to take a direct hit from Zabimaru and remain standing, Ichigo, realizing his vision has become blurry, notes the attack was too strong, and he lost a lot of blood in his fight against Ikkaku Madarame. As he tells himself to stop shaking, Renji, running towards him, asks if it is okay to talk big at the start of the fight when he cannot stand up straight after one hit. Leaping into the air, he, saying it is over, slashes down, destroying the building in front of him. As Ichigo emerges, Renji slashes again, destroying another section of the building. Jumping on top of the building, Renji runs towards Ichigo, resulting in an explosion as the two clash. Stating this is not good, Hanatarō, stating he is being overwhelmed, realizes this is what fighting a lieutenant is like.
Renji once again clashes with Ichigo. As Ichigo pants, Renji, stating he is stupid, asks if he really wants to save Rukia this badly. When Ichigo states he did not say he wants to save her, but has to save her, Renji, forcing him back with Zabimaru, tells him to not make him laugh. He states it is Ichigo's fault she lost her power, which is why her sentence is so heavy. Stating it is his fault Rukia is going to die, he asks what right he has to say he wants to save her. Saying he knows it is his fault Rukia is going to die, Ichigo, stating this is why he has to save her, pushes Zabimaru away. As Renji, retracting his blade, extends it again, Ichigo, remembering Kisuke Urahara's training, notes Renji can only attack three times with Zabimaru before being forced to retract it. Counting the number of attacks, he, moving to attack Renji after the third slash, states it is over. Moving behind Ichigo with Shunpo, Renji, stating he cannot win, slashes him across the chest.
Falling back as blood spurts from his wound, Ichigo wonders how Renji dodged. Stating it seems Ichigo is puzzled, Renji acknowledges it was a good idea to attack while he was retracting, and his timing was perfect, but he was unable to hit him because he is too slow. Stating they are at completely different levels, he asks if Ichigo understands now. Raising his blade, he, stating Ichigo cannot rescue Rukia, slashes downward. As the blade moves towards him, Ichigo recalls training with Urahara, during which he learned to fully control his Zanpakutō. Back in the present, Ichigo, grabbing Zabimaru by the blade, apologizes for keeping Renji waiting. Stating he will put all of his will into defeating him, Ichigo, pushing Renji away, raises his Reiatsu. As Renji wonders what is going on, Ichigo, raising his sword, slashes Renji across the chest.
As Renji's Zanpakutō shatters, his hair becomes undone, and he falls back as blood spurts from his wound. Realizing he lost, he wonders what the attack Ichigo used was. As Ichigo pants, Renji realizes his feet will not move and his arm will not rise. Wondering how he could lose, he yells in defeat. Renji recalls his history with Rukia, who had helped him and his friends as a child and went to the Shin'ō Academy with him before being adopted into the Kuchiki Clan.
Having told himself to stay out of her affairs, Renji realizes he was just scared because he is a "tramp down to his bones". Saying he barks at the star but does not have the courage to grab it, Renji, grabbing Ichigo, reveals he never won against Byakuya, and even though he trains every day, he still fails. Stating fighting to get Rukia back is just an impossible dream to him, Renji, admitting he is probably shameless for asking this, tells Ichigo he has to save Rukia.
- ↑ Bleach Official Character Book Souls, page 262
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 94, pages 1-3
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 94, pages 4-7
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 94, pages 8-11
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 94, pages 12-17
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 95, pages 1-5
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 95, pages 6-14
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 95, pages 15-19
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 96, pages 1-8
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 96, pages 12-19
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 97, pages 1-18
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 97, page 18
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 98, pages 1-15
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 98, pages 16-19