In the heavily damaged Seireitei, Rukia runs into the 6th Division barracks as several Shinigami shout orders to one another. Running through a hall, she bursts through a set of double doors into a room filled with books, believing 6th Division Captain Byakuya Kuchiki is inside. Instead, she finds 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai, who greets her. Renji walks over to Rukia and shakes her by the shoulders while states he was worried about her until she showed up just now. As Renji tells her that she looks great, an irritated Rukia tells him to stop it.
As Renji notes Rukia has recovered from the damage inflicted on her by Sode no Shirayuki, Rukia punches him in the face and tells him to stop it. Renji sits on the ground and holds his face as Rukia states she is still shaky from what happened before telling Renji to not touch her. Renji says he understands and states he is glad to see she made it back before revealing most of the captains are here now. When Rukia asks him about Byakuya, Renji reveals they have a search party looking for him before admitting they have not heard from them yet.
When Rukia looks down in sorrow, Renji tells her to not worry and claims Byakuya would never get killed in a small fight like this one. Smiling, Rukia states he is right. Later, Rukia walks through the Seireitei and recalls what happened last night. Remembering the battle between Byakuya and his Zanpakutō Spirit, Senbonzakura, Rukia tells herself Byakuya must be alive. When snowflakes float past her, Rukia looks up to see ice covering a nearby entrance, with two Shinigami encased in ice.
Hearing a scream, Rukia runs inside as Sode no Shirayuki's Icy Wind encases several more Shinigami in ice. As a smiling Sode no Shirayuki holds her hand out, more Shinigami are frozen solid. Rukia runs toward Sode no Shirayuki and tells her to stop before leaping into the air. Flipping in midair, Rukia lands on the other side of Sode no Shirayuki and tells her this is enough. As they stare at each other, Sode no Shirayuki states she will no longer tolerate Rukia's demands, prompting Rukia to ask her if this is true. Rukia and Sode no Shirayuki stare at each other as Sode no Shirayuki states Rukia no longer controls her.
Sode no Shirayuki says she is free now before claiming that Rukia cannot prevent her from doing anything regardless of whether or not she believes it. Saying she understands, Rukia asks Sode no Shirayuki why she is using her power to hurt others who are innocent if she is free, prompting Sode no Shirayuki to states she will do as she pleases from now on before proclaiming she will not spare the life of anyone who gets in her way. Rukia says she has no desire to fight with Sode no Shirayuki and tightens her grip on her Zanpakutō before beginning to explain why she will do so anyway.
However, Sode no Shirayuki interrupts Rukia by disappearing before reappearing in front of her. Generating Icy Wind in her hand, Sode no Shirayuki throws it at Rukia, who dodges as the ground where she was standing is covered with ice. Rukia leaps into the air and attempts to release Sode no Shirayuki, but nothing happens. Landing, Rukia looks at her blade and notes the reports of Shinigami being unable to perform Shikai is true. Sode no Shirayuki confirms this before stating her energizing spirit no longer lives within Rukia's sword.
As Rukia expresses surprise, Sode no Shirayuki notes Rukia had the ability to harness her power as a Zanpakutō whenever she wished before claiming she graciously allowed Rukia to do so. When Sode no Shirayuki states the Zanpakutō Spirits allowed it because they never had a choice in the matter, Rukia admits she never thought of it this way. Manifesting her released Zanpakutō form, Sode no Shirayuki proclaims things will be very different from now on before saying it is time to use her power for herself. As Rukia expresses surprise, Sode no Shirayuki claims Rukia thought all of her power came from within.
Sode no Shirayuki goes on to claim that Rukia believed all of her power came from herself and says Rukia is sadly mistaken before proclaiming that Rukia cannot do anything without her, prompting Rukia to state she never thought all of her power came from herself, Sode no Shirayuki uses Some no mai, Tsukishiro, causing an icy circle to form underneath Rukia. Upon seeing this, Rukia leaps away as a pillar of ice is created where she was standing and expresses disbelief at this being possible because the range of Some no mai, Tsukishiro should not be so large.
As Sode no Shirayuki states it should only be the area between the earth and sky within range of Sode no Shirayuki, Rukia lands on a nearby roof as Sode no Shirayuki asks her if this is what she thought before slashing at her again, forcing Rukia to dodge as another pillar of ice forms on the roof. When Sode no Shirayuki appears behind her in midair, Rukia tells her she must stop as Sode no Shirayuki blows Icy Wind at her, sending Rukia crashing into the ground. A panting Rukia notes Sode no Shirayuki really believes Rukia cannot do anything without her.
Getting to her feet, Rukia chants the incantation for and fires Hadō #33. Sōkatsui, causing a blast of blue energy to hit Sode no Shirayuki and create an explosion. However, Rukia is surprised when the blue energy dissipates to reveal a spike-shaped barrier of ice, which shatters to reveal an unharmed Sode no Shirayuki. When Rukia asks her how she did this, Sode no Shirayuki notes Rukia looks shocked and asks Rukia if she is surprised by her possessing so much power before stating she will gladly display her full capabilities because Rukia continues to underestimate her.
Sode no Shirayuki appears behind Rukia and slashes at her. Blocking, Rukia is knocked back as Sode no Shirayuki appears above her and fires a wave of ice shards at her. As Rukia dodges, Sode no Shirayuki generates and fires more ice shards. Continuing to dodge the ice shards, Rukia thinks about Sode no Shirayuki and notes she is filled wit hatred despite being one of the most beautiful beings in all of Soul Society. Rukia thinks about how Sode no Shirayuki wishes to destroy life and has nothing but venom for her before wondering if they have not always existed peacefully as one.
Rukia reflects on her past with Kaien Shiba, who taught her how to achieve Shikai and helped her discover and use the special techniques of Sode no Shirayuki while constantly supporting her efforts to establish a relationship with Sode no Shirayuki. Rukia wonders if she has monopolized Sode no Shirayuki's power and caused her to suffer. When Sode no Shirayuki disappears, Rukia skids to a halt and looks around. Sode no Shirayuki says Rukia leaves herself open for an attack whenever she reflects on the past as Rukia notices Sode no Shirayuki standing behind her.
Rukia and Sode no Shirayuki slash at each other, creating an explosion of ice and snow. As Sode no Shirayuki leaps onto the roof of a nearby building, a panting Rukia stands in the middle of an icy platform before falling to her knees. Rukia continues to pant as Sode no Shirayuki uses Tsugi no mai, Hakuren, generating an avalanche of ice and snow which hurtles toward Rukia and creates a large amount of ice. Sode no Shirayuki expresses surprise upon seeing black-red Reiatsu crackling in the center of the ice as two Bankai-enhanced Getsuga Tenshōs hurtle toward her.
Sode no Shirayuki moves away as the Getsuga Tenshōs crash into the building which she was standing on. As the dust clears, Ichigo Kurosaki stands in front of Rukia in his Bankai, Tensa Zangetsu. Asking Ichigo why he is here, Rukia states it is too dangerous to be here when they still do not know enough about why the Zanpakutō Spirits are turning against them, but Ichigo tells her to shut up before asking Rukia if she thinks he could simply sit back and wait. Ichigo looks over his shoulder and tells a surprised Rukia to not worry because they will find the answer even though they may not know the reason yet.
As Rukia smiles and says she hopes so, Sode no Shirayuki lands in front of them and greets Ichigo. When Rukia states Sode no Shirayuki is strong and tells Ichigo to be careful, Ichigo says he knows this. Raising his sword, Ichigo admits it is not surprising because Sode no Shirayuki is Rukia's Zanpakutō Spirit before moving to Sode no Shirayuki, who fires ice shards at him. Ichigo dodges the shards with Shunpo and lands on a roof behind Sode no Shirayuki, who fires a crescent-shaped blast of ice at him. As the blast crashes into the roof, Ichigo moves to the ground behind Sode no Shirayuki.
Ichigo and Sode no Shirayuki stare at each other as Sode no Shirayuki asks Ichigo why he is holding back. When Ichigo does not answer, a smirking Sode no Shirayuki says Ichigo is doing so because he has decided to go easy on her since she is Rukia's Zanpakutō Spirit. Stating this is a poor choice, Sode no Shirayuki manifests her released Zanpakutō form once more and proclaims she will make Ichigo regret this before moving back. Sode no Shirayuki uses Some no mai, Tsukishiro, causing an icy circle to form underneath Ichigo, who expresses surprise as Rukia tells him to get away from there.
When ice begins to cover his left leg, Ichigo breaks it with his fist and leaps away as a column of ice forms. Ichigo appears in the air next to the column as Sode no Shirayuki appears behind him and attacks, forcing Ichigo to block. As Sode no Shirayuki smiles, ice begins to form on the blade of Tensa Zangetsu and Ichigo's hand. Leaping back, Ichigo breaks the ice once more, only for Sode no Shirayuki to appear in front of him and blow Icy Wind at him. Ichigo is sent crashing into the ground, causing Rukia to express concern for him before looking at Sode no Shirayuki, who looks over her shoulder and smiles.
Upon seeing this, Rukia expresses surprise as the dust clears to reveal Ichigo standing with fragments of ice on his arm and a chunk of ice covering the right side of his face and his right shoulder. Asking Ichigo if the ice hurts, Sode no Shirayuki says Ichigo has come to Soul Society to protect Rukia, prompting Ichigo to ask her why this matters to her. When Sode no Shirayuki states he is a fool, Ichigo asks her if she thinks so and breaks the ice covering his face. Blood drips down the right side of Ichigo's face as Ichigo grabs his wrist with his left hand before preparing a Getsuga Tenshō.
When Sode no Shirayuki says it is hard to imagine what Ichigo can do with a frozen left arm because he is still hesitant about killing her, Ichigo tells her to shut up. Smiling, a glowing Sode no Shirayuki states she shall teach him how such indecisiveness results in death as several currents of icy wind emanate from her. However, Ichigo expresses surprise upon seeing Rukia attacking Sode no Shirayuki from behind. Ichigo expresses concern for Rukia, who slashes at Sode no Shirayuki, only for the latter to nonchalantly block the attack without looking. As they look at each other, Sode no Shirayuki pushes Rukia away.
Landing in front of Ichigo, who calls out to her, Rukia looks over her shoulder and tells him to stay out of this. As Ichigo expresses surprise, the Getsuga Tenshō in his blade dissipates as Sode no Shirayuki asks Rukia why she has interfered. Rukia tells Sode no Shirayuki to direct her hatred toward Rukia herself if she has any, prompting Sode no Shirayuki to say Rukia is correct and proclaim she hates Rukia before stating this is why Ichigo must die. When a surprised Ichigo attempts to move forward, Rukia stops him as Sode no Shirayuki states killing Ichigo is the best way to make Rukia truly suffer.
Sode no Shirayuki proclaims she will take away everything which Rukia holds dear - her friends, her family, and her pride as a Shinigami - before claiming Rukia will only be able to watch as this happens. Stating she understands, Rukia says Sode no Shirayuki truly is her Zanpakutō Spirit because she can hurt Rukia deeper than anyone else can since she knows her so well. Rukia tells Sode no Shirayuki she is beautiful and states this always filled her with pride before saying that having such a beautiful Zanpakutō for her sword made her smile.
When an angered Sode no Shirayuki proclaims she is not one of Rukia's belongings, Rukia states she is right before saying Sode no Shirayuki is now free, prompting Sode no Shirayuki to express surprise. Ichigo expresses concern for Rukia, who proclaims she now releases Sode no Shirayuki, shocking her. Telling Sode no Shirayuki it is time to put away her anger, Rukia looks up and thanks Sode no Shirayuki for the time they have shared. As Rukia states the time they spent as one was great, Sode no Shirayuki asks Rukia if she is saying she will continue without her.
Rukia confirms this as Sode no Shirayuki lands on the ground. Stating she will do so even if going on without Sode no Shirayuki causes her to lose everything and forces her to return to Rukongai, Rukia walks forward and begins to chants the incantation for Hadō #73. Sōren Sōkatsui as Sode no Shirayuki asks her if she truly intends to destroy her. Rukia begins to chant the incantation for Bakudō #61. Rikujōkōrō as a surprised Sode no Shirayuki asks Rukia if she really believes she can live and survive without Sode no Shirayuki being here.
When Rukia continues to chant the first incantation, a shocked Sode no Shirayuki surrounds herself with an orb of icy wind. Walking into the orb, Rukia uses Bakudō #61. Rikujōkōrō, which binds herself and Sode no Shirayuki together. Sode no Shirayuki expresses surprise as Rukia says she cannot forgive anyone who attempts to destroy what she must protect. As ice begins to encase her body, Rukia states she is not afraid to lose and let go of anything. When Sode no Shirayuki asks her if she is willing to do this, Rukia says she shall let go of her anger, hatred, and sadness because she and Sode no Shirayuki are separate.
Sode no Shirayuki begs Rukia to not do this as Rukia states she releases Sode no Shirayuki to be free. Putting her hand on Sode no Shirayuki's chest, Rukia says she lets go of Sode no Shirayuki's beauty, the power she gave Rukia as a Shinigami, the memories of what they achieved together, and everything in their past because all of what they shared has become a burden to her and to Sode no Shirayuki. As Sode no Shirayuki tells her she must stop, Rukia generates blue energy between her hand, which causes Sode no Shirayuki to express terror. Rukia tells her she is now free forever before firing Hadō #73. Sōkatsui.
As an orb of blue energy expands outward, Ichigo watches as the orb of icy wind glows before exploding. Shielding himself, Ichigo calls out to Rukia as she and Sode no Shirayuki are sent flying away from each other. Sode no Shirayuki wonders how Rukia could do this and states she never thought Rukia would possess the strength to let go of her. Saying a Shinigami cannot go into battle fearing what they could lose, including their Zanpakutō, Rukia bids farewell to a shocked Sode no Shirayuki, who grabs for Rukia's hand and calls out to her, only for Muramasa to grab her wrist. Muramasa asks Sode no Shirayuki if she really intended to die begging like this, prompting her to express surprise.
Meanwhile, as the smoke clears, Ichigo calls out to Rukia, who lies in the middle of a large crater. Sliding down the side, Ichigo runs towards her and asks if she is okay before stopping upon sensing an enormous amount of Reiatsu. Standing behind Ichigo and next to Sode no Shirayuki, Muramasa states this was quite a spectacle as Ichigo looks over his shoulder at them. Muramasa admits he did not expect Rukia to risk so much before noting this will prove useful for future reference. When Ichigo asks him who he is, Muramasa introduces himself. Asking Muramasa what he wants, Ichigo states he has never seen him before. When Ichigo asks him if he is a Shinigami, Muramasa smirks and reveals he is a Zanpakutō spirit, shocking Ichigo.
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 Bleach anime; Episode 232