With the Captains suffering casualties and heavy injuries on their side, all hope seemed to be lost... until Shinji Hirako appeared, along with the rest of the former Shinigami. Though the aid of the Vizards certainly helped to draw the battle in their favor, it seemed Aizen's power alone proved too much for them.
Jericho was indeed happy that the Shinigami was able to stop his zanpakuto. Good to know he had at least some defensive skills besides full frontal assault with the same move. He even managed to dodge his kick which was good as well. Decent speed though could have been a little faster. The pommel struck Jericho but was absorbed mostly by his hierro, no blade used to cut through it for now, still a pretty good hit though. Jericho caught himself by stabbing his zanpakuto into the ground and saw the shin kick coming. He turned to his side and allowed the kick to hit his side. It hurt but, not the worst pain he even felt. hen, he brought his arm down and locked his leg nto place between his arm and hip.
He brought his other arm up and brought it down with devastating force upon the side of the Shinigami's knee. Then he proceed to toss him away in and attempt at debilitating him and get some distance between them. After releasing him into the toss he charge a bala and threw a punch launching it towards him. This was more of a way to continue opening the distance. "That was an excellent strategy and did indeed get you a hit but, you got to not leave yourself so open for a counter attack." He said, hoping that he would learn. Was it odd for Jericho to be trying to teach an opponent while he was fighting him? It certainly wasn't something that you would find typically now was it? O well, he thought taking up a defensive stance.
A small smirk spread across his face as Izaya saw that both of his attacks had hit. This was a pleasant change from his previous experience of missing his attacks. And this was a pleasant development, too. All these high level Kido were taking their toll on him at the moment. Endurance wasn't his thing in the slightest and the exertion of moving around to cast his Kido was a bother against this man. However, he would just have to end this quickly if the opportunity presented itself.
"How's that for a changed tactic?"
Suddenly, his kick had been caught by the bigger man. A look of terror flashed on Izaya's face. However, he wouldn't allow this to go unpunished. If this man wanted to stay close quarters, so be it. With a one-legged jump, Izaya threw himself as far up as his locked leg would allow him and made a quick slash at the Arrancar's arm before he received a blow to the knee and was tossed back a bit. While flying back a bit, Izaya stabbed his zanpakuto into the air to try to gain traction. This would take a few meters as he was more focused on the pain in his knee.
When he finally did stop, he dropped his feet down and tried to stand. However, a bala had been shoot at him. Goodie. He couldn't even try to move to dodge this attack and just had to take the damage and get pushed back even further. He had gotten knocked into a building and crashed through it a bit. Opening his eyes up he knew that at least one rib was broken again.
He straightened up, wincing with pain, until he was standing again. The destruction of the side of this building offered a small smokescreen. He knew that he needed to take advantage of this if he wanted this fight to end soon. He needed this fight to end soon if he wanted to walk away from it.
"Hado Number 4: Byakurai."
Then, gathering himself, he prepared his reiryoku for the technique he typically dreaded: Shunpo. He used a very ineffective bit of it to place himself a ways in front of him such that he could attack his opponent again. However, he would have to be careful about this. He couldn't use Hakuda or Zanjutsu with his ribs possibly broken. He hated doing this...but he had to.
"Distort. Haishutsu Megami."
With a 'click' the blade opened and he knew that his Shikai's ability would be in full effect now. He would need to end this quickly though, so he couldn't half-ass anything. Raising his arm, he winced again from pain in his rib cage. He flicked the blade and sent a ping of sound at his opponent. This was his newest ability with his illusion-style zanpakuto.
Jericho had sustained a slash to his arm. He had also noticed that the Shinigami had, had a look of terror on his face. Had he done it? Had he finally detoured him? He watch as he flew into a building. "Damnit," He cursed himself. He had been too reckless with that bala and even after he had promised Mikhail that he would watch out about them and his ceros. No time to worry about that now though. He looked at the area but, it was concealed by the dust and smoke. Was he still alive? Was he OK? He didn't think he had hit him hard enough to do too much. Suddenly he heard the words but, far too late as he watched the flash of lightning. All he could do is move a bit to keep it far being too bad as it pierced his shoulder. He gritted his teeth, he had to hold back his bloodlust, he just had to.
Suddenly the Shinigami was now in front of him. Damnit... this guy had to stop or he would lose it. The Shinigami raised his zanpakuto and released it. The raise in reiastu... it was just... so beautiful... so entertaining... so... so... deliciously fun. Jericho's eyes went mad for a moment and a big grin came across his face giving his fiery eyes and black scelera a intimidating appearance. Yes... it was time to fight again. Suddenly the Shinigami raised his zanpakuto readying an attack. The attack was released and Jericho used a sonido but, was a little slow and clipped by the attack and appeared a few feet away rolling across the ground. The hell just hit him? No matter. He planted his zanpakuto into the ground and hoisted himself up. He was a little disoriented.
"Very good Shinigami... very good indeed," he said this in a much more eviler tone than he had been using before. He raised his own zanpakuto regaining his bearing. "Slaughter... Diablo!" His eyes went wide with excitement as his body went through the changes. His hollow mask fragment around his eye branched across and wrapped around the other one as well. His hair turned black, and curved horns protruded upward from his forehead. Big black feathered wings grew from his back. He was now in his true hollow form. The form of the devil himself. "Well Shinigami, it has certainly been fun, let us continue to have fun... so much more fun." He said eagerly. Jericho had been holding his old habits back and here it was in full blast. A need was in need of filling and this Shinigami would be that filling. Jericho's reiastu flexed again with far more power, he was ready and raring to go.
Izaya tensed up at this. He knew what was coming. Arrancars had a zanpakuto release themselves. In the Seireitei, this was common knowledge. You had to know your enemy to survive in a war-type atmosphere that they always seemed to have. What he didn't know, however, was how much stronger his opponent would become. He kept his arm raised as he kept his blade pointed at the Arrancar. He needed to attack; he needed to charge this Arrancar and finish this before he had a chance to use his released form too much.
But, his determination wasn't what was in question here. He was...scared. If he attacked this man now, he might get hurt again. He could, he could lose his arm or worse. If that happened, he didn't know what he would do. Kurotsuchi-taichou wouldn't grow him a new arm again just on whim. Yukishiro-taichou wouldn't be as patient with him as she had been earlier. And something else was even worse, if he got hurt again, Kin wouldn't be there to help him.
"Well Shinigami, it has certainly been fun, let us continue to have fun... so much more fun."
That snapped him into the reality that was unfolding before him. He had to attack, he had to get close enough for Distort to work and he could play off of that. The Arrancar's new-found size didn't scare him; he had fought bigger men before. What scared him was that he didn't know what his opponent's power level was at this point. He didn't have the time to be afraid anymore. He bit his lip for a bit of encouragement. It was time to begin.
"Alright, here I come."
Using Shriek again, Izaya followed the sound wave at his optimum speed. When he was close enough, Izaya jumped into his direction and launched a kick from a horizontal position. If he connected, his shin would connect with the Arrancar's chest. To follow this up, he twisted around a bit to aim a small jab at the man's clavicle. He was elevated off the ground a lot; falling would be detrimental.
Jericho simply just watched and waited for the Shinigami, There was a hint of something in his stomach but, it passed soon after it came. Suddenly he reappeared and lunged at Jericho. He was not taken off guard, instead he blocked the kick and the swift punch with both his wings. Then he opened his wings rapidly pushing outward and sending the Shinigami even higher. Suddenly a fire began to form in his hand. Not any ordinary fire either, it was a black fire that soon began to solidify into a sword resembling his zanpakuto prerelease. Then, taking the newly formed blade he made an uppercut slice at the Shinigami. Ah, the feeling of combat, it was suck a nostalgic feeling.
He then began charging a cero in between his horns. The cero was red with a white outline but, before he released it he sonidoed above the Shinigami and then let it fly. He had a rather sadistic smile on his face while doing so. The one good thing was, even if he missed the cero would hit nothing but, the ground that was below. "Come on Shinigami you can do better than that can't you?" He kinda cackled, with that ever present smile on his face. But... something was wrong... it was almost like there was a voice in the back of his head. It was obviously trying to tell him something but, he couldn't quite put his finger on it. Oh well, he was having too much fun right now to focus on that sort of thing.
As he tried to kick at the much taller man, Izaya saw that this man had blocked both of his attacks. This wouldn't be good; this wouldn't be good at all. This man had blocked his hakuda with his wings and that posed a problem. The Arrancar could still attack with his limbs and Izaya couldn't really defend. However, this problem would fix itself as the small Shinigami was flung into the air with quite a force. If that wasn't enough, the Arrancar formed some sort of blade and then attacked him while in the air. Flying up like that, he couldn't really dodge.
He really didn't want to, but he had to block with his Shikai. He felt the switchblade almost scream as its integrity weakened. It wouldn't take much more for the blade to break and then he'd be done. He should've taken the hit, but he didn't know what that kind of attack would do to him. He had to be more cautious in this fight. If he wasn't, he'd be done in a little bit. This was scary to think about. Izaya didn't want to get hurt again; the last time was too painful to experience once more.
However, this wouldn't be the extent of the Arrancar's offensive. He had used some kind of Shunpo knock-off to place himself above Izaya. By this time, he could move again and knew what was coming. This man was charging the same kind of attack that had once blown his arm off. He was unwilling to be caught by that again. Izaya would not allow that to happen, not again. He let out an inaudible "fuck" before using Shunpo to place himself outside the blast radius. He knew that he needed to counter attack.
"Come on Shinigami you can do better than that can't you?"
"Ye lord! Mask of blood and flesh, all creation, flutter of wings, ye who bears the name of Man! On the wall of blue flame, inscribe a twin lotus. In the abyss of conflagration, wait at the far heavens. Hado Number 73: Sōren Sōkatsui."
The blast flied from his hand and he dropped down even further to land on a rooftop. He was exhausted already. Shit, this wasn't good.
Jericho smiled at the Shinigami's will to survive. It was quite the sight, blocking his melee attack and dodging his cero. It was all... so perfect. Maybe he could a little more fun with him. Suddenly this man started spitting out some nonsense, what was he up to? Now Jericho was very familiar with the kido Shinigami used but, he had never really been attacked by one that used the incantation. Needless to say the spouting of words gave him no warning of what might happen next when those two, blue shots flew at him. He was familiar however that it seemed the higher the numbers the stronger the kido was. Being hit by it however this Kido seemed to be lacking in... bite. It wasn't that he knew what it was supposed to feel like, it was more he was expecting something stronger...
This by no means meant that he was undamaged, in fact, he had scorch marks along his body and a few of his feathers were smoking. There was also some pain that came with it. It may have been missing some kick but, it had defiantly done its damage. He then watched as the Shinigami landed below on a building. "What's the matter Shinigami? Don't tell me you are running out of steam now are you?" He said rather sarcastically with an arrogant look on his face. Again, something told him that something was wrong but, he just couldn't place it. Jericho did twinge a bit at the pain of the direct hit with the kido. It hurt quite a bit but, there was a fight to continue with. He flew down towards the Shinigami using Sonido and came in for a downward swing upon him.
"What's the matter Shinigami? Don't tell me you are running out of steam now are you?"
Looking up at the Arrancar with a bit of anger, Izaya knew that he was about at the end of his rope. He couldn't keep up the reiryoku expenditure for long. His body just wasn't used to this caliber of battle. The amount of reiryoku he needed to fight someone this strong wasn't something he was used to just dishing out at will. Add in that everything was less effective with his Shikai and he knew that he couldn't win this battle through conventional means. What did he have at his disposal other than Kido? Hakuda? No, that wouldn't work well against someone of this man's physical stature. Zanjutsu? That wasn't efficient with his Shikai already weakened. One more block and it was done. But wait, he would have twenty seconds and even this man wouldn't be able to avoid the effects of Distort. That...that might be something he could capitalize on. Could he finish this fight in twenty seconds? Sure.
"Oh no Arrancar-san, I'm just waiting for you to get the lead out of your ass."
As the Arrancar made a downward swing at him, Izaya rolled out of the way. This would be ensued by a swift kick at the side of this man's knee. If nothing else, a strategic assault on the man's joints might hinder his mobility such that he could get him in a position to be exploited. Or he could trap him someway with a Bakudo. Deciding to try a bit of both, Izaya jumped back after that kick attempt; he didn't want to get caught in a close-quarters fight with this Arrancar.
Jericho had only smiled at the Shinigami's look of anger. Was he not having as much fun as he was? Oh well that wasn't his problem in the slightest, it was a minor detail in all of this. Though, things tended too be better when everyone else was having fun. At least this is a lesson that was nailed into our heads since we were born, right? Still it was a good time for Jericho, been a while since he had cut loose like this. Still however there was that voice in his head that he just couldn't focus on. Whatever could it be? No bother to focus on it right now, there was a fight to focus on. As he flew towards the Shinigami he found that he rolled away rather then using... what did they call it? Shunpo? Yeah that was it.
Was he not proficient in it? Or was he that bad off that he couldn't risk using more reiastu? He had used quite a bit of those kido attacks and dropped to this building so the latter was the most likely of the two. The kick to te side of his knee didn't so much hurt as knock him a little of balance and caused him to drop down to a kneel. Very good, he had taken advantage of Jericho's haste to close the gap but, Jericho was not likely to fall for anything like that again. He hoped he had more things to do besides that. Looking over to him he threw another bala at the Shinigami. It wasn't quite as strong as a cero but, had its advantages. It was now time to bide his time and see what else the Shinigami may have up his sleeve. He was eager to see what he might do.
Izaya's kick had connected right before he backed off to avoid getting hurt from anything himself. Actually, the taller Arrancar had not tried to counterattack right away like Izaya assumed he might've. That meant that he had a little time to plan. He needed to trap the Arrancar and he needed to do it quickly. He could use a Bakudo that he knew. It would take a lot out of him, but he knew that it would be his endgame anyway. He didn't care how much it took out of him. He wouldn't need anything after that anyway.
However, his planning period was cut short. The Arrancar launched another one of those quick ceros at him. He couldn't dodge this one either, his ribs wouldn't let him and his guard was down. Using his arms to block his face, he tried to dig into the ground as much as he could. "Fuck." As the bala hit him, he was forced off the rooftop and into the open air. He just stood there in between the tops of the buildings. This would be the perfect place for the prism actually; it would minimize the damage to the surroundings. Straightening up, Izaya winced in pain. He was going to have to take another trip to the infirmary.
"Well come and get me if that attack is all that you have in your bag of tricks."