Narration: "Bleach" final-release "Missing Link Project" Starts!!
Revealing Narita-sensei's novel, which features the period of 17 months of vol. 48~49, in the 4th issue of Jump.
-Emergency special report-
The 17 month-long truth post Ichigo's loss of reiryoku is now revealed!!
"Spirits Are Forever With You" Vol. 01
Narration: The place is the 1st division waiting room, where the 13 captains gather.
(If I were to make the translation smoother, it would be: "The story takes place at the 1st division waiting room, where the 13 captains gather.")
The threat nears the Soul Society-------------
7 minutes after (presumably the time after the person's escape), 1st division waiting room
Captain-Commander: It's an urgent situation!
Narration: Following a loud thump, caused by the captain commander striking the floor with the end of his staff, Yamamoto Genryusai Shigekuni let out his voice around the inner parts of the waiting room. The people who were gathered here are the captains who were gathered for an emergency. Regardless of the absence of disease-stricken Ukitake, Kenpachi and Mayuri, who were both absent for no reason at all, and even with the faces of the regular-attendees made the place utterly defenseless. Because even the time it takes to wait for the other captains to make their arrival at the place seemed wasteful, Genryusai began the captain's meeting. Having answered Genryusai's glare, Soi Fon released her report coolly.
Soi Fon: According to the investigation engaged by Onmitsukido, the treasonous sinner, Azashiro Kenpachi's presence has affirmed to have vanished from the 'Mugen. Starting with the Aizen Sousuke to other convicts, there's no signs of their escapement. Presently, the order has been given unto every squad members for Azashiro's search.
Narration: Azashiro Kenpachi. The ones who had their expressions changed were the following: Unohana Retsu, the captain of the 4th division, Shunsui Kyoraku, the captain of the 8th division, and Hirako Shinji, Ootoribashi Rose, Muguruma Kensei, who were restored to their respective captain ranks in recent times, thus totaling five.
Hirako: My my, an extremely nostalgic name popped up. That's the guy who had been captured before I became the captain.
Rose: Yes, it's the event that's been 200 years already.
Kensei: Was it the time back when we became seated officers? That bastard erupted a rebellion or some shit and were sent to Mugen as a result.
Narration: In contrast to Hirako's gang, who seemed to be talking about a person from the long-forgotten past, Unohana, who has held the title of captain longer than they, was mumbling while her expression was drenched in her shadow.
Unohana: Azashiro Kenpachi....To think that that name would be heard at a time as early as now.
Narration: Meanwhile, Kyoraku, keeping his silence, thinks while he lowers his hat beneath his face.
Kyoraku: This is really bad. As expected, was that child an ominous premonition to come?
Narration: Kyoraku gave out a long sigh, as he thought about the arrancar girl he saw at the Ugendo shortly before. No.......It's rather natural to think that there's a connection between the two events than to believe that it was a mere coincidence that it happened following the prior one. Other captains talked to one another, while Kyoraku immersed himself in his own thoughts.
Toshiro: It's a bastard whom I am not aware of. "Kenpachi," what joke is this? Or is this a mere coincidence?
Narration: As Hitsugaya Toshiro mumbled while putting on a blunt expression on his face, Kuchiki Byakuya, too, with a blunt expression, answered his question.
Byakuya: Certainly, the name, "Kenpachi," is a name that's inherited by defeating the previous name-holder in a duel....There cannot be a situation where two people with the name, "Kenpachi" walking and alive in the same time-period.
Narration: Following Byakuya's words, Genryusai opened his mouth.
Captain-Commander: That's correct. That very exception is Azashiro Kenpachi.
Narration: Having opened his eyes slightly, the captain-commander began to talk with a heavier tone.
Captain-Commander: He inherited the name after having felled Kuruyashiki Kenpachi, the 7th, in a duel.......He, however, was not cut down by anyone. After he had committed the grave crime, his very existence had been buried deep inside the prison, Mugen, the vice-captain of 11th of that time had been made into the 9th Kenpachi in order to keep the Kenpachi name alive.
Narration: Naturally following the previous person's story, Kyoraku, who had released himself from his thoughts, began to talk to Hitsugaya Toshiro, and to other captains.
Kyoraku: That 9th had been cut down by the strong one of the Rukongai, who had called himself Kiganjou. The one who had defeated that strong of the strong Kiganjou is Kenpachi-captain of the present time.
Toshiro: Let me ask you by skipping the formality. From your viewpoint, is that bastard called, "Azashiro," more cumbersome than Zaraki?
Narration: To Hitsugaya, who was questioning while keeping his eyes opened keenly, Kyoraku rubbed his chin with a crooked smile on his face.
Kyoraku: Even if you were to ask something without the formalities, that's a bit......Both Azashiro, the previous captain, and captain Zaraki are too special. More than anything, we don't even know the names of their zanpakuto's. And as for Azashiro-kun, we haven't even seen his sword.
Toshiro: Sword? By, "sword," do you mean to say, "shikai?"
Kyoraku: No, that's exactly what it means. He didn't keep it with him. The zanpakuto, that is. "To explain this in a specific manner, he, indeed, kept his zanpakuto, but it was not seen by our eyes," something like that, or at least that's how the story goes.
Narration: In reaction to Kyoraku's words, the 7th division captain, Komamura Saijin, who was keeping his silence, raised his beastly ears and opened his mouth.
Komamura: Could it be.......that it's an illusion-type zanpakuto such as Aizen's Kyoka Suigetsu?
Kyoraku: That's certainly possible, however, he has never revealed that secret. Even at the urges of the Central 46, he refused to say anything further with a simple line, "I've already shown it."
Toshiro: That Central 46 ended the ordeal with only that?
Narrataion: As if he had a certain viewpoint about the Central 46, Hitsugaya asked as though he was surprised. Kyoraku, having affirmed Hitsugaya's surprised question as something acceptable, he gave an answer while he sighed.
Kyoraku: The thing that allows such arbitrariness is the name, "Kenpachi." Kiganjou-kun, who was 10th, too, on many occasions, had the aspect of ignoring call for a captain's meeting or the will of the Central 46.
Toshiro: That's not just the level of arbitrariness.........
Kyoraku: Anyways, the point is the name, "Kenpachi," is a kind of special rank in the realms of Seireitei.
Narration: Looking at the skies under the shadow of his hat, Kyoraku mumbled on as though he was looking back at his past.
Kyoraku: Now that I think about it, Azashiro-kun could have become the Kenpachi for the purpose of seeking after, "it."
Narration: Azashiro, the disappeared 8th Kenpachi as well as the one without the sword. Treasonous sinner Azashiro Kenpachi.....The past that Kyoraku alone looks back....All the facts are to be revealed from the novel!