9 Months Ago
Even with the damage to his surname's reputation this process was still rather expedited for the shamed prince due to a combination of both circumstances regarding Naruki City and subsequently Lieutenant Hyouzuka's request to bolster the 10th Division's forces as was stated at the briefing during his inprocessing. Immediately following this Masahiko would then be made to learn the layout of the Division grounds, the function of the 10th itself in regard to the Gotei 13, and a list of tasks requested and ordered by level of priority. Such was the expectations of his superiors to the newly appointed 7th Seat. Eventually after becoming loosely acclimated to his new surroundings he would be escorted to his new living quarters. To the disgraced noble the space gave off somewhat of a dull, but simultaneously homely appearance. It was small and cozy with a simple wooden work desk, and a fresh futon, along with white walls to match. In a way it made sense to the young soul who had found solace in solitude for most of his life seeing as he believed it was the best way to learn about one's self. Stepping inside for the first time he could somehow feel a change occuring within. He was now finally at the starting line to begin his journey and this revelation gave him a sense of exhiliration; taking a breath as he thought to himself.
Let's get to work
8 Months Ago
His form, movement, and technique to the trained eye appeared without flaw as his strikes came in rapid succession with a frightening precision, holding his blade closer to his body in order to deal blows at a shorter range whilst alternating between high and low targets. Well; that was until this had happened...
He didn't even have a chance to process the shock he felt in the moment the newly appointed Lieutenant, Shoumetsu Takahiro, grabbed his Zanpakutou before an unearthly amount of pain struck the core of his very being causing him to fly straight from one side of the training hall to the other; landing just shy of the wall.
W-What was that? How did he...
Masahiko attempted to gather his thoughts despite how badly disoriented the sudden blow left him, but there was something off with the way he had been struck. It felt as though he had already had been made to experience this pain in a split second window prior to the point of contact. However instead of focusing on the reasons why, and thus wasting time taking his focus off of his current instructor now sparring partner, the noble prioritized willing his way back to his feet. He would fulfill his curiosity after completing his day's training regimen. This task however was easier said than done because as soon as Masahiko's free hand took hold of his torso he could already feel the agonizing sensation of a pair of broken ribs while the taste of copper suddenly became apparent. Meanwhile he could already hear the comments being made by some of the passerby in the Division who were conducting other business during this training session.
"If it wasn't for the fact that he's one of those Kuchiki bastards I'd actually feel bad for the kid" one onlooker said only somewhat concerned.
"Ever since our new Lieutenant showed up from the 11th he's been putting us through hell everyday, but it seems like he always turns the heat up an extra notch when the new kid is involved" said another.
"Well I say more power to him. How absurd is it for a fresh recruit to be considered our superior because of his damned blood. Sure he's got some raw power and skill, but he hasn't proven anything on a battlefield. If the Lieutenant seems to want to prove a point than why stop him?" another said chiming in.
"That'll teach him for looking down on us regular Shinigami who had to earn our keep" said another still.
Was this what they all thought of him? Even though he had personally never done anything of the sort to them?
Responding almost purely out of spite Masahiko would instinctively stab his blade into the ground as he slowly but surely force himself to stand again. His legs wobbled and wanted to buckle, his head still a bit foggy from the blow, blood dripping steadily from his mouth, but he seemed resolved to refuse to let his body sag lest he surrender to his body's cry to stay down; steadying his weight on his Zanpakutou before taking it back up again. All to the collective shock of everyone who had witnessed what Shoumetsu Takahiro had just done to him. However it seemed that no one, not even Masahiko himself, had expected what followed next to occur as the disgraced noble struggled to resume the practice bout in a proper stance.
"Masahiko is it...what drives you to fight? I will take you on as my disciple if you accept but once you do there is no going back, it's either you will grow stronger or you will die in the process. Never hold your attacks because I ensure you in a real battle your enemy definitely will not. Whenever you draw your sword against me from this point forward you better come at me with the intent to kill."
Shocked couldn't even begin to describe what all in attendance had felt. For how long had the Lieutenant been considering this? And why Masahiko in particular? Whatever the reason it was an unexpected opportunity not afforded to many to be apprenticed to such a powerful Shinigami in this manner. Though taken aback all he could do was nod in acceptance of Shoumetsu's offer. And thus the match would resume in complete silence.
The disgraced noble needed strength, and he needed it as soon as possible. If he was ever going to accomplish his goal of taking back his honor, taking back his name, and restoring the Kuchiki clan he had to become stronger. This was an offer he couldn't refuse.
6 Months Ago
Death By A Thousand Cuts
Without a doubt one of the most painful methods of torture ever divised intended for obscenely stalled deaths. Yet here it was being used as a training method all for the purpose of teaching him the basics of the Musou. Compounded with his usual duties and training, along with the strained spiritual connection caused by Yamata No Orochi constantly being broken everyday, Shoumetsu had effectively made sure that both Shinigami and Zanpakutou were under constant duress with every waking moment. His reasoning as it was explained to Masahiko was the fact that matters of life and death are always inherently stressful and therefore he needed to be acclimated to the reality of how uncomfortable battle can truly be. In essence the goal to become comfortable being uncomfortable and accept pain with open arms akin to a long lost friend. Only then could he proceed further in his training.
Soon Masahiko would compile a menagerie of horrendous scars to prove his diligence as the knowledge imparted to him by his ruthless master was quite literally carved into his skin bit by bit until by each day's end when either work hours concluded, or when Masahiko found himself in a state of near death. Ironically enough now the same Division mates who would snicker about his tainted blood now came face to face with the reality of it soaking up in whatever path he had taken that day. It was as if the 7th Seat was now obliged to paint the Division grounds a deep shade of crimson. At some point the noble could no longer recall most days as his body now practically moved seemingly on autopilot. However this was fine. The more Masahiko began to look inward the less that pain registered to his senses much to Lieutenant Shoumetsu's approval. Training was going as intended.
"When we first met I asked what is it that drives you to fight? What causes your fighting spirit to burn with such fierce intensity? The time to answer has come."
For master and student it was business as usual as they clashed furiously whilst their opposing spiritual pressures fought for supremacy. The combined potency of which kept all curious minds FAR away from their private session lest they wished to forfeit their life. The sounds of metal clashing permeated the air as the grounds shook with every mutual strike. Despite his progress however; it was again the Lieutenant who seized and maintained control of the pace much to the younger 7th Seat's chagrin as the back of his blade was authoritatively pressed down to his shoulder by Shoumetsu's own causing Masahiko's feet to break through the earth as he tried to stand his ground. Though unlike 9 months ago he showed no visible reaction to the apparent gash running down the same shoulder where their swords met. A stark contrast to when his apprenticeship under Shoumetsu had first began.
His master's voice demanded as his power continued to bare down on him with increasing intensity. Masahiko had been contemplating Shoumetsu's inquiry ever since the question was first presented to him. What did he fight for? What made him willing to go through so much to accept this type of life without hesitation? How was it that no matter what others said or did it only made the noble that much more determined to prove them wrong? Other then the sounds of blades grinding against one another there was no other sound heard between the two for what seemed like ages. And then... he spoke. From the very depths of his soul he stated only two words in response as he unleashed all of his spiritual power at once.
And for the first time Masahiko had verbalized what is was that kept him standing where many before him had fallen, as the returning force behind his swing gained him just enough space to side step and Shunpo away in order to regain his footing. Though both of their attentions would be distracted by the sudden noise coming from Shoumetsu's Denreishiki.
The time had now finally come for the return of 10th Division's newly appointed Captain. Shizuka Hyouzoku!