Ulquiorra reappears to confront Ichigo Kurosaki as he and Nel Tu make their way through Las Noches. Taunting Ichigo, Ulquiorra states Rukia Kuchiki is dead after sustaining wounds during her fight with Aaroniero Arruruerie. Unsure of whether to believe him, Ichigo begins to leave. When Ulquiorra asks if he can do so without killing him first, Ichigo states he has no reason to fight him. When Ulquiorra is perplexed by this, Ichigo states though he may be the enemy, he has yet to harm any of his friends, prompting Ulquiorra to ask if Ichigo would change his mind if he told him he is the one who kidnapped Orihime Inoue and brought her to Hueco Mundo. Upon realizing Orihime did not go to Hueco Mundo of her own free will, Ichigo, attacking, is blocked by Ulquiorra, who finds it strange that her friends would come to save her even if they had doubts about her loyalty. Scolding Ulquiorra for causing Orihime to be branded as a traitor, Ichigo, stating they should go all out because he has no time to deal with him, activates his Bankai.
Initially unimpressed, Ulquiorra is shocked by the sight of Ichigo wearing a Hollow mask. When Ichigo fires an enhanced Getsuga Tenshō at him, Ulquiorra blocks the attack with his forearm. Pushing him back, Ichigo sends him flying through a number of pillars. As he gathers himself to launch an attack of his own, Ichigo, firing another Getsuga Tenshō at him, claims the fight is now over. Pushed back a considerable distance by the force of the blast, Ulquiorra, attempting to stop the blast with his bare hands, is enveloped by it.Assuming he has won, Ichigo, moving to leave with Nel, finds Ulquiorra is not only alive, but barely scratched by the attack. Disappointed Ichigo actually believed he would not be able to stop the blast even with both hands, Ulquiorra asks him if that was all of his power. When Ichigo does not respond, he resolves it is quite clear it was. Disappointed, he fires a Cero at Ichigo, sending him flying through a huge hole, which the Cero had created, in the wall and out to the desert. As Ichigo, getting up, runs to see if Nel is okay, Ulquiorra, moving right beside him, kicks him, sending him flying a considerable distance, into a large pillar. Appearing before him, Ulquiorra states Ichigo had summoned his mask before the Cero hit him, providing him with momentary protection from the blast, impressing the Espada with his reaction time, but he deduces this time the mask shattered in an instant, and next time he will not be able to bring it out at all. When he asks Ichigo to surrender, Ichigo, unwilling to give up, stabs Ulquiorra in the shoulder, telling him he refuses to surrender, for he figures Ulquiorra is the main Espada, so after he finishes him off, everyone else will be a simple clean-up job. Unfazed by the attack, Ulquiorra, grabbing his sword, pulls it away from him to the side, causing his coat to rip open, which reveals not only is he uninjured by the attack, but he is not the main Espada, for his Espada tattoo on his left pectoral shows he is only number four. Hardly believing his eyes, Ichigo asks if he is number four. Stating he is the Cuatro Espada, Ulquiorra Cifer, and among the Espada his power is ranked fourth, Ulquiorra, impaling Ichigo through the chest with his bare hand, tells him he cannot defeat him, and even if he did, there are three more Espada above him, stating there can never be any victory for either him or his friends. As Ichigo lies severely wounded, Ulquiorra expresses disappointment at having overestimated Ichigo's abilities, for he failed to meet his expectations. Leaving, Ulquiorra suggests he retreat if able, and die there if not, but either way, his journey has ended.
As Ichigo's Bankai fades, returning his Zanpakutō to its Shikai state, Orihime, sensing this, is distracted by the door to her room rattling. Thinking it is Ulquiorra, she is surprised when she sees the two Arrancar girls from before. As they say they will have some fun, Orihime lets out a blood-curdling scream. Throwing Orihime around the room, the pig-tailed Arrancar, laughing, states there is no way an Arrancar can be beaten with only Human strength. When Orihime responds with a sad look, the Arrancar, asking her why she is looking at her like that, hits her again. When her companion asks if she can do this a bit more quietly, the Arrancar, telling her to shut up, decides to pull out all of Orihime's fingernails. As the door explodes behind them, they turn to see Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez standing in the doorway.
As Grimmjow comments on the situation, the pig-tailed Arrancar, asking what he is doing here, is kneed in the gut by Grimmjow. As she is sent flying across the room, her companion, charging a Cero in her hand, runs at Grimmjow. Stopping her Cero with one hand, Grimmjow fires his own Cero, which overpowers the girl's and blows away the top half of her body. As the pig-tailed Arrancar states Sōsuke Aizen will not stay quiet about this, Grimmjow, grabbing her leg, begins to press his foot against the side of her knee. As she tells him to cut it out, he rips her leg off. Screaming in pain, she, telling him Aizen will kill him, is kicked by Grimmjow, who says Aizen would not bother to do anything for them. When Orihime asks why he saved her, Grimmjow states he did so to repay her for restoring his left arm. As Orihime expresses confusion, Grimmjow, lifting her in the air by the collar, says he did not just come here to save her. Saying his debt has been repaid, Grimmjow says Orihime will accompany him on an errand.Later, Nel, waking up, sees Ichigo lying on the ground. As she, crying, tells him he cannot die, Grimmjow, appearing, tells her to get lost. As Nel recognizes him, Grimmjow, kicking Ichigo's body, sees the hole in his chest. Saying he thought as much, he, revealing Orihime, who is bound and gagged, orders her to "fix him". As Nel explains what happened to Ichigo, Grimmjow, telling her to shut up, says Ichigo will get better if she stays quiet. As Orihime, thinking about the nature of Ichigo's wounds and the Reiatsu swirling around them, thinks to herself she cannot heal them, she asks who could do such a thing. Revealing it was Ulquiorra, Grimmjow, stating the hole he left in Ichigo's chest is a trademark attack which he uses on pray he likes, says he will show him what happens when he messes with someone else's prey. Opening his eyes, Ichigo recognizes Nel and Orihime. As they express happiness at his revival, Grimmjow, stomping his foot, says to heal him instead of talking. When Ichigo asks why he is with Orihime, Grimmjow reveals he is only having him healed so he can settle his score with him at full strength. As Orihime realizes why he is having her heal him, Grimmjow, telling them to get a move on, states Ulquiorra will realize what happened and come here at any moment before Ulquiorra appears behind him.
Asking him what he is doing, Ulquiorra asks why he is healing the injuries of an enemy he has defeated. Realizing he is not going to answer, Ulquiorra, stating Orihime has been placed under his care by Aizen, orders him to hand her over, which Grimmjow refuses to do. When Ulquiorra asks him what he just said, Grimmjow, stating he is very chatty today, charges at him. When Ulquiorra blocks the attack, Grimmjow, saying he understands Ulquiorra is afraid to fight him, fires a Cero at him. As he comments on how Ulquiorra repelled it, Ulquiorra, appearing above him, charges his own Cero, which Grimmjow responds to by charging another Cero and putting his palm up to Ulquiorra's outstretched finger. As the resulting explosion destroys the section of the tower they are standing on, Ulquiorra, moving away, notices Grimmjow, standing behind him, release a small cube into his Hollow hole. As the cube emits a large amount of light, Ulquiorra vanishes. When Orihime asks what that was, Grimmjow, explaining the mechanics behind it and why he has it, states it is made for use on Fracción, not Espada, so Ulquiorra will only be in there for two to three hours, so Orihime needs to heal Ichigo. When Orihime refuses, he, grabbing her by the throat, states he is not asking her. When Orihime continues to refuse, Ichigo, grabbing Grimmjow's arm, tells him to let her go. Telling Orihime to heal his injuries, Ichigo asks her to heal Grimmjow's injuries too so they can fight on even ground. As they cross blades, Grimmjow states they will have a death-match on even ground.
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 269, pages 17-19
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 270, pages 13-24
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 270, pages 25-31
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 271
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 272, pages 1-4
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 272, pages 5-8
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 272, pages 16-19
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 273, pages 1-11
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 276, pages 15-18
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 277
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 278