Chapter 9:

Talent & Strength

The Forbidden and the Gifted

[12:14 p.m., July 18th 2044; Warsaw, Polish Czechia. Ichigo is seen sitting on the train at a window seat, looking at rolling hills pass him by from outside. The train moves steadily along, loud and not overly fast. A waitress walks down the aisle, offering the newspaper to Ichigo, which he accepts and begins reading, until the train comes to a sudden halt]Bookmark here

Ichigo: Eh? What was that?Bookmark here

Waitress: Not quite sure. We might be making a stop or two along the way for goods deliveries and all that. Bookmark here

Ichigo: Ah, alright.Bookmark here

[The waitress walks down the aisle, entering the next car, and as she exits, a man in a light trench coat enters the car]Bookmark here

Ichigo [Thinking]: So, am I supposed to find this bastard in Kiev, or is he supposed to be on this train? Shit, I should’ve known to ask Takuya man.Bookmark here

[The man in the trench coat approaches, and sits in the seat across from Ichigo]Bookmark here

Aleksander [To Ichigo]: This seat taken?Bookmark here

Ichigo [Looks up, confused]: You talking to me?Bookmark here

Aleksander: Yeah. You have a girlfriend or something that’s sitting here, or can I crash?Bookmark here

Ichigo: You’re good mate. Bookmark here

Aleksander: Empty car, eh?Bookmark here

Ichigo: Oh yeah, haven’t seen a place this dead in a while.Bookmark here

Aleksander: Really, eh? You from these parts?Bookmark here

Ichigo [Thinking]: Shit! The hell do I say? This could be the bastard that we’re looking for, that drawing didn’t do anyone justice. Eh, he shouldn’t know we’re onto him and even if he did, I don’t think he just slits my throat here, right?Bookmark here

Ichigo [To Aleksander]: Nah mate, I’m just visiting.Bookmark here

Aleksander: Visiting? For what?Bookmark here

Ichigo: Freelance.Bookmark here

Aleksander: Oh, so you’re one of them reporters, eh?Bookmark here

Ichigo: Yup. Wanted to see what was going on around these parts.Bookmark here

Aleksander: Oh, so you’re gonna be writing up some dirt on what we’ve been doing?Bookmark here

Ichigo: Pardon?Bookmark here

Aleksander: You reporters are all drawn from the same straw, y’know? You guys would write whatever the hell gets you the most clicks, or whatever’s most favorable to the people who’re putting money in your pockets. Not a speck of integrity. [Pauses] Ain’t that right?Bookmark here

Ichigo: Well, I tend to pride myself on trying to keep things ethical enough…Bookmark here

Aleksander: Bullshit man, bullshit.Bookmark here

Ichigo: How so? You don’t even know what I write.Bookmark here

Aleksander: Cause it’s the damn truth. None of you godforsaken sacks of shit know why we’re doing what we’re doing and the truth about this shit.Bookmark here

Ichigo: Again, I don’t completely follow. Bookmark here

Aleksander: All you know now is how there’s been a bunch of revolts and whatnot in these parts, right? Bookmark here

Ichigo: Well, yeah. And that there’s some tension brewing or something of the sort.Bookmark here

Ichigo [Thinking]: Wait, holy shit. I’m probably talking to the right guy, right? This guy has to be him, right? Then again, Tak did say that he’s smart and shrewd enough to not be doing this out in the open. Maybe a lackey? Who knows?Bookmark here

Aleksander: Well yeah, there’s tension, but only because we’re fed up with the corrupt dipshits that are in power.Bookmark here

Ichigo: So, I take it, you’re a rebel?Bookmark here

Aleksander: Hell yeah man. Death to the friggin government! Bookmark here

Ichigo: But, by saying that, aren’t you inciting the stereotype that you say aren’t accurate depictions of you guys?Bookmark here

Aleksander: It’s not our fault that things got violent. It started peacefully, but once you authorize martial law to try and silence the publics voices, do you think the people can stand down?Bookmark here

Ichigo: Wait, you’re saying martial law was enacted and not a soul heard about it?Bookmark here

Aleksander: Only in Ukraine, but word spread around to neighboring countries through means of info transfer and the sort. Obviously got blocked when stuff started to leak into western Europe.Bookmark here

Ichigo: And you know this, how?Bookmark here

Aleksander [Eye twitches]: Listen smartass, you asked for my information, right? I don’t know where the hell the information got lost, but clearly, if you folks in the western world don’t know shit, then obviously it hasn’t reached there, correct? Am I wrong here?Bookmark here

Ichigo [Grimaces]: No, no, you’re not. Go on.Bookmark here

Aleksander: Well, there’s not much to say from there. People obviously revolted, and it started off stronger than most people in the country expected. When they started to ask for assistance from other places, info started to become less and less censored and a lot of people who had grudges against people in power started to act up against them.Bookmark here

Ichigo: Grudges?Bookmark here

Aleksander: Yup. You haven’t lived in these parts, so you wouldn’t know. But the amount of money we put into taxes to get fuck-all in return, as well as having some of the shittiest working-class wages out there? Shit’s embarrassing, but the story doesn’t get told, cause it’s not in favor of the already corrupt bastards that are at the top of this chain.Bookmark here

Ichigo: So, essentially, you guys are rebelling to try and bring down this hierarchy, am I right? So, more than a war, a revolution of sorts?Bookmark here

Aleksander: That would be the correct term, yup.Bookmark here

Ichigo: Interesting, interesting. Since a lot of the countries have broken down up until this point, at least on the international stage, would you say your actions are collaborative with  common people from other countries, or not?Bookmark here

Aleksander: Huh? Of course we’re working together, we share a common goal to bring this shitty reign to an end.Bookmark here

Ichigo: Not like that.Bookmark here

Aleksander: Then how?Bookmark here

Ichigo: Like, do you guys have some official rebel association or something?Bookmark here

Aleksander: Huh? Even if we did, why the hell would I tell you? Sure, you’re a decent enough guy for listening to my shit, but we don’t have to reveal anything to a damn foreigner.Bookmark here

Ichigo: But isn’t it better for the public outside of these parts to know the truth? Wasn’t that your end goal, to stop people pushing a false narrative?Bookmark here

Aleksander: Yeah, that’s our damn goal. But we haven’t gotten help from outsiders before, and that isn’t gonna change with you. We’ll make the people see us in a different light when things change.Bookmark here

Ichigo: Don’t ya think it’s more logical to at least try and get other countries on your side now though/ Do you really think you guys can create a perfect utopia?Bookmark here

Aleksander: We’ll be able to. Our leaders a genius.Bookmark here

Ichigo: Leader?Bookmark here

Aleksander [Covers his mouth]: Shit.Bookmark here

Ichigo [Thinking]: So, this guy ain’t Katarov then, eh? Sucks. [Pauses] Then again, he doesn’t look like he’d be a fun fight. All’s good.Bookmark here

Ichigo: That’s fine if you don’t want me to know. You have changed my mind on a lot of things though, that’s for sure.Bookmark here

Aleksander: So, you were wholly prepared to paint us the villains, just like everyone else?Bookmark here

Ichigo: Yup.Bookmark here

Aleksander: Why, you…Bookmark here

Ichigo [Interjects]: And that isn’t gonna change just because of your sob story, y’know? Bookmark here

Aleksander: Huh? It ain’t a damn sad story, Westerner! It’s the fuckin truth! You can’t accept the truth eh? Bookmark here

Ichigo: It’s not that. It’s that there ain’t no hero in this story. Both of you, you rebels and the corrupt ass people in power, no matter who wins, nothing’s gonna change.Bookmark here

Aleksander: You don’t know the first…Bookmark here

Ichigo: Oh, but I do. Power changes everything. You’ll remember that one day.Bookmark here

Aleksander: You really think people like us will change? We’ve gone through hell damnit. Don’t talk like you know us.Bookmark here

Ichigo: I don’t know you. I really don’t. But you guys going through what you guys did is even more reason for you guys to be the farthest away from the throne.Bookmark here

Aleksander: You’re crazy. Bookmark here

Ichigo: That I sure as hell may be. Bookmark here

Aleksander [Stands up]: Anyway, it’s been alright talking to ya. Even if you don’t want us to take power, we sure as hell will. And we won’t turn into the pieces of shit that you think we will.Bookmark here

Ichigo: That’s what I’m truly hoping for. I’ll write my honest thoughts in the paper; you’re assured of that.Bookmark here

Aleksander [Walks towards the next car]: Alright man. Safe trip, wherever you’re going.Bookmark here

Ichigo: Same to you.Bookmark here

[Aleksander walks into the car behind Ichigo, and the camera follows him. He walks halfway down the car and puts his hand on one of the left hand seats. A voice can be heard, humming]Bookmark here

Aleksander: He’s here.Bookmark here

Katarov [Looks up at Aleksander from his seat]: Oh, he is? Delightful, delightful. What did you make of him?Bookmark here

Aleksander: Hefty guy, looks like he’s from Japan or Korea or something. Bookmark here

Katarov: Ooooo, this should be fun then. [Pauses] Did he try and play himself off?Bookmark here

Aleksander: He said he was a freelance.Bookmark here

Katarov: Ah, I see, I see. Okay Aleks, you can head off the coach, I got it from here.Bookmark here

Aleksander [Points to the car in front]: That car and the next few are empty as well, sir. Bookmark here

Katarov: Perfect, perfect, thank you.Bookmark here

[He walks towards the next car, and sees Ichigo sitting down as a waiter passes him by]Bookmark here

Waiter [To Ichigo]: Would you like any beverages for the ride, sir?Bookmark here

Ichigo: Oh, we’re finally gonna be moving again?Bookmark here

Waiter: Yeah, just had to make a stop here, that’s all.Bookmark here

Ichigo: Aren’t we barely out of Warsaw though?Bookmark here

Waiter: Yes sir, but the goods trolley is normally some miles from the passenger trolley. Bookmark here

Ichigo: Eh? What does that achieve?Bookmark here

Waiter: Well sir, some of the contents of the goods are – Bookmark here

Katarov [Interjects from behind]: Oh, my, my, you don’t look very educated in that subject, do you? [Ichigo turns around] Let me handle this, may I?Bookmark here

Waiter [Pales almost immediately]: Sir…Bookmark here

Katarov [Lowers one eyebrow and smirks]: I think you know that don’t ya?Bookmark here

Waiter [Nods his head and turns in the other direction, leaving Katarov and Ichigo]: I shall take my leave then.Bookmark here

Katarov: Of course, of course.Bookmark here

Ichigo [Thinking]: Eh? Who’s this? He’s got a different aura to him.Bookmark here

Katarov [Points to Ichigo]: You the freelance?Bookmark here

Ichigo: Your friend tell you about me? Bookmark here

Katarov: And if he did?Bookmark here

Ichigo: What, I’m not some kind of mass murderer, y’know? I’m not gonna beat the shit out of you because your friend said something, jeez.Bookmark here

Katarov: Oh, but won’t ya? Bookmark here

Ichigo: Huh?Bookmark here

Katarov: You’re the hound that’s after me, aren’t ya? The military’s finest, no?Bookmark here

Ichigo [Stands up, and enters the trains hall from his seat]: So that’s why you resonate differently big fella?Bookmark here

Katarov: Ah, you can tell when someone’s experienced eh? You’re no slouch, no wonder you got that grotesque name. Regardless, I’m glad you didn’t kill my friend back there. You probably could’ve, to be honest.Bookmark here

Ichigo: I’m not here to take innocents.Bookmark here

Katarov: Oh, he’s far from innocent. He probably told you enough and more about who he really is.Bookmark here

Ichigo: He told me plenty.Bookmark here

Katarov: So, you probably have already heard of me?Bookmark here

Ichigo: You’re the messiah that these idiots bow down? And here I thought you’d be a bit more of a presence. Why the hell would anyone bow down to you? You Shakespeare with your words or something?Bookmark here

Katarov: Oh, how rude, and to think, oh to think we just met.Bookmark here

Ichigo: Listen, I got no time for a guy trying to play God, no matter how noble of a damn cause he’s got. And hell, your cause ain’t all that.Bookmark here

Katarov: Saving millions of impoverished men and women isn’t a noble cause? My, my.Bookmark here

Ichigo: Saving them just to turn them into your own fodder later on when you eventually seize power? It’s a cycle of the same bullshit, wise guy.Bookmark here

Katarov: Oh, you’ve got me there. Bookmark here

Ichigo: Oh, you ain’t gonna deny it?Bookmark here

Katarov [Lowers his head and grins]: What’s there to deny? Seize power and everything’s at your fingerprints. Bookmark here

Ichigo: So you aren’t gonna bullshit me like your friend did? That’s rich.Bookmark here

Katarov: Ha, why should I? I’ve been blessed with my own power, I don’t need to serve anyone else.Bookmark here

Ichigo: So, everything you’ve said to your men is a bunch of bullshit eh?Bookmark here

Katarov: It ain’t all like that. I’m not a dictator, you know? I’ll seize power and make things better for everyone, not just myself.Bookmark here

Ichigo: But at the end of the day, your seizing power for yourself, not for your people, ain’t that right?Bookmark here

Katarov: You could say so, if you so desire.Bookmark here

Ichigo: And your men just follow you? You know, how can you call them true to your cause if they don’t even know what your cause is?Bookmark here

Katarov: They don’t need to know.Bookmark here

Ichigo: And why’s that?Bookmark here

Katarov: It’s like you said to him.Bookmark here

Ichigo: Huh?Bookmark here

Katarov: Power consumes everyone and everything. It’s only a matter of time before these self-righteous idiots get a taste of it and it’s as you say, they won’t be able to let go of it. Ichigo – that’s your name, I presume – why do you think I’m telling you this?Bookmark here

Ichigo: God knows. Shoot, dumbass.Bookmark here

Katarov: Cause you’re not blinded by ideals. You’re not an idiot like the people in these parts who think that things will change through revolution or whatnot. You know what power is and what it’s like to assert that power upon others. Being the military’s ace ain’t a short order.Bookmark here

Ichigo: So? That doesn’t answer your rhetoric, genius. Why’d ya tell me? Don’t think I’m joining you either eh – don’t think you can pull a fast one with the ‘we’re the same, you know’ bullshit.Bookmark here

Katarov: Don’t worry, I know you’ve already made up your mind. But what you said last is true – we are the same, at least in our beliefs. Sure, I’m the revolutionary, ‘re-write the world’ guy, while you’re conformed to society and what’s expected of ya, even if you are a masterclass assassin, but even then, you see the truth in the same way as I do.Bookmark here

Ichigo [Chuckles]: Didn’t expect you to be a philosopher, Katarov. I’ll give ya that though, maybe we are the same in that. We’re both realists, both seeking a better world that doesn’t exist, rather than clinging onto the fragments of a better world which’ll never be created.Bookmark here

Katarov: If this was any other way, I wouldn’t wanna fight you here and now. I think we both have more to give, and one of us brilliants is gonna be gone.Bookmark here

Ichigo: [Raises an eyebrow] Eh? You getting cold feet?Bookmark here

Katarov: Oh no, no, how could I? It’s a shame though, isn’t it?Bookmark here

Ichigo: It really won’t be.Bookmark here

Katarov: Oh?Bookmark here

Ichigo: You’re just another in a long list of bastards that I’ve had to deal with. I was expecting you to be a lot stronger than what you are, so that’s a shame in and of itself. Still, I got a job to do. Your self-loathing ass isn’t gonna get some sort of pity from me. Bookmark here

Katarov: Oh, scary, scary. And here I was praising you – but I guess that isn’t unwarranted, is it? Oh well, whatever.Bookmark here

[He quickly reaches his hand into his pocket, drawing a pocketknife and rapidly throwing it towards Ichigo’s head, to which Ichigo dodges, bending his head to the right and then straightening again]Bookmark here

Ichigo: Ya didn’t think that would get me, did you?Bookmark here

Katarov: Fast, ain’t ya?Bookmark here

Ichigo [Scoffs]: Ya fuckin’ bet. [He lowers his head and closes the gap – a distance of six or so meters – between himself and Katarov in a split-second, punching upwards towards Katarov’s chin]Bookmark here

Katarov [Grabs his fist and throws it aside, smirking]: You want a fistfight, eh?Bookmark here

Ichigo: Ain’t that how self-proclaimed righteous assholes like yourself want to settle things? Or is that too old school? Bookmark here

Katarov: A bit old school, but I don’t mind…Bookmark here

[Katarov raises his right fist towards Ichigo, which Ichigo blocks with his left forearm]Bookmark here

Ichigo: You don’t hit hard eh old man? You got some sort of ace up your sleeve?Bookmark here

Katarov [Smirks]: Eh? You won’t be saying that shit forever, y’know?Bookmark here

Ichigo [Thinking]: In a straight-up timed punch off, I’d probably blow the socks off this bastard. But this isn’t some shit where I can just be gratified with punching harder than him, right? If this becomes a contest of endurance, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s got the edge there, meaning that that’s probably his ace. In that case…Bookmark here

[Ichigo grabs a vase from the table to his right, and throws it at Katarov, breaking and cutting Katarov’s face. Multiple blood trails appear as Katarov brushes the glass from his face to the ground]Bookmark here

Katarov [Throws his head back and laughs]: Oh? But I thought his was a fistfight, eh? You foreigners don’t know the first thing about respect, eh?Bookmark here

Ichigo: And here you were showering my praises just before this.Bookmark here

Waiter [From Train Loudspeaker]: Passengers, please be advised. Car five is closed for the time being. We thank you in advance for your patience.Bookmark here

Katarov: Oh, that’s this car, eh? Look at us, getting a car all – Bookmark here

[Ichigo punches him across the jaw, knocking out two of his teeth. Katarov flies backwards into the opposite seats and straightens his head]Bookmark here

Katarov: God damn man, couldn’t even let me fin– Bookmark here

[Ichigo walks over and kicks him in the shins, causing Katarov to wince in pain. Ichigo towers over him, with a pistol in his hand]Bookmark here

Ichigo: As much as I would’ve liked this to be a nice little fistfight, I can’t be taking any chances with your sketchy self. You definitely got something to hide, and I couldn’t be bother– Bookmark here

[Katarov raises his legs upwards and kicks the pistol out of Ichigo’s hands, out of the open window before jumping to his own two feet and kneeing Ichigo in the stomach]Bookmark here

Ichigo: Why, you…Bookmark here

[Ichigo grabs his knee and runs forward, ramming him into the closed car door. Shouting from the few patrons can be heard from the next car over]Bookmark here

Katarov [Wipes the blood off his nose from the glass]: Ya didn’t think that that would be enough, did you? Bookmark here

Ichigo [Kicks him]: No, no, not particularly. [He punches Katarov in the head with his right hand, and aims to do the same with his left, but Katarov dodges the second, headbutting Ichigo as the sound of the train roars onward]Bookmark here

Katarov [Thinking]: This guy’s definitely got a shit-ton of fighting skill. Guess they really did send their best shot against me. Ah well, I guess I’ll give him a show.Bookmark here

[Katarov raises his free hand, pushing off the winded Ichigo and runs across the train car]Bookmark here

Ichigo: Oi bastard, don’t ya dare try running away! You damn coward!Bookmark here

Katarov [Looks back and scoffs]: Hah. Say whatever you want.Bookmark here

Ichigo [Reaches into his pocket and pulls out one of three switchback knives]: Take this, you insolent bastard!Bookmark here

[He throws the knife, and it lodges into Katarov’s heel, to which he screams, before quickly pulling the knife out and continuing to move forward. Ichigo then gets up and runs after him, but Katarov turns to one of the seats and sticks his leg out and roundhouse kicks Ichigo, propelling him backwards. Katarov then opens the back window, grabs the outer window, and climbs upwards] Bookmark here

Katarov [Scales the train’s exterior and gets on the roof, before shaking his head off]: Ah, a non-restrictive environment. How nice.Bookmark here

[A loud crash can be heard from the opposite side, as a window is sent flying. Ichigo pops his head outside and looks upwards angrily before grabbing the trains exterior and launching himself on top of the car, face to face with Katarov]Bookmark here

Ichigo: So, you wanted to finish this up here, ya rat?Bookmark here

Katarov: Yeah, I did.Bookmark here

Ichigo: Never took you as the considerate type.Bookmark here

Katarov: Well, well, well, I am the considerate type, y’know?Bookmark here

Ichigo [Lowers his head]: Well, I don’t think we have time to chitchat. Bookmark here

[He takes a run at Katarov from a low angle, which Katarov dodges, jumping backwards twice]Bookmark here

Katarov: Woah, woah, didn’t ya realize that doesn’t work on me? You tried it befo…Bookmark here

[Ichigo, on Katarov’s right from missing the first punch, swings his right leg backwards, kicking Katarov’s jaw and denting it. Katarov’s face moves upwards from the momentum, and he grimaces, before smirking]Bookmark here

Katarov: Ah, I see, I see. Well… [He lunges himself at Ichigo when his left fist, which fails to connect as Ichigo dodges, but his right fist upper-cuts Ichigo, to which Ichigo gags, before getting a knee to the chest from Katarov. He moves backwards, maintaining his distance]Bookmark here

Ichigo [Catching his breath]: Those still don’t hurt, old man. Bookmark here

Katarov: Oh really? [Laughs] Well then, how about… [He lunges towards Ichigo quickly with his leg extended once again, aimed for Ichigo’s face]Bookmark here

Ichigo [Thinking]: Too slow. Bookmark here

[Ichigo dodges the kick and raises his left arm to bend Katarov’s leg inwards, but Katarov raises his leg and kicks Ichigo’s arm away again, creating separation between them again]Bookmark here

Katarov: You’re good, eh?Bookmark here

Ichigo: I don’t need you to praise me, thank you very much.Bookmark here

Katarov: Hmph, I guess you’re right. But ain’t it nice to have a tough battle once in a while? You can’t be telling me that you’re normally going up against guys like me, are ya? Bookmark here

Ichigo: Well, if I wasn’t, how’d I be beating your ass right now?Bookmark here

Katarov: Eh? I’d call it even up till now.Bookmark here

Ichigo [Laughs]: Even? Look at your state!Bookmark here

[Katarov smirks]Bookmark here

Ichigo: Y’know. As much as you’re a damn rat, you’ve been pretty tough, I’ll give ya that.Bookmark here

Katarov: Ah, how nice. Bookmark here

[The sound of the train roars onward, as the two both lose their haphazard attitudes and size each other up once again]Bookmark here

Ichigo [Thinking]: I don’t wanna turn this into a battle of attrition. His response timings to primary attacks are pretty strong, but his reaction speed after that isn’t as good. I’ve hit him twice like that. I think I can afford to try it again and knock him down.Bookmark here

[Ichigo walks towards Katarov and raises his right fist, swinging it forward, only to be stopped by Katarov’s left. In a split-second, Ichigo’s left fist raises and aims for Katarov’s stomach, but Katarov kicks him backwards]Bookmark here

Ichigo [Thinking]: He blocked it?Bookmark here

Katarov: Too easy to read man. Come on now. [He readies his stance, with blood still dripping from his face]Bookmark here

Ichigo [Thinking]: How’d he block that? What?Bookmark here

[Katarov wags his finger at him, provoking him]Bookmark here

Ichigo [Thinking]: Can’t happen a second time.Bookmark here

[Ichigo runs towards Katarov, kicking his leg forward, narrowly missing Katarov’s head, before scissoring the leg backwards, but again, missing Katarov’s head. Ichigo, confused, lunges towards Katarov with his right fist, but Katarov smoothly dodges the incoming punch, before twisting Ichigo’s arm inside out. Ichigo wallows in pain, as Katarov lets go of the arm, but Ichigo’s other hand surges upward, punching Katarov square in the chin]Bookmark here

Ichigo: What?Bookmark here

Katarov: Huh? Whad’ya mean?Bookmark here

Ichigo: How the hell are ya dodging? Bookmark here

Katarov: What’re you talking about?Bookmark here

Ichigo: You know damn well what I’m talkin about.Bookmark here

Katarov: Hm. Oh, the dodges?Bookmark here

Ichigo: Are those dodges your damn ace?Bookmark here

Ichigo [Thinking]: Even if he can dodge like that, I doubt he’d be able to hurt me too bad. Eventually, I’ll probably be able to get him.Bookmark here

Katarov: Aw, since you’ve given me such a good time, I’ll tell you buddy.Bookmark here

Ichigo: Eh?Bookmark here

Katarov: Ya see… [Laughs] I’m gifted buddy.Bookmark here

[The train horn roars, as the two stare down one another once again]Bookmark here

Ichigo: You being cocky dipshit?Bookmark here

Katarov: What, you don’t know?Bookmark here

Ichigo: Know about what? The fact that you’re a big shot? I couldn’t care less. You’re gonna tell me you’re gifted, like alright there big fella, you dodged some punches, you’ve got a real gift there!Bookmark here

Katarov: Oh, you’re just clueless, are you?Bookmark here

Ichigo: The fuck’d ya say?Bookmark here

Katarov: Oh no, I’m just in awe, cause that means you’ve never heard of gifts eh?Bookmark here

Ichigo [His eyebrows lower]: Huh? You mocking me?Bookmark here

Katarov: No, no, no, no, no goddamnit! I mean like gifts, y’know? Darkness and light, all that stupid exposition shit? Never heard of it?Bookmark here

Ichigo: Huh?Bookmark here

Katarov: Guess your intel department’s absolute shit. Oh well, since you don’t know, this definitely makes it even easier for me. Bookmark here

Ichigo [Thinking]: The hell’s he talking about? Man, what?Bookmark here

Katarov [Thinking]: Well, I didn’t expect him to know what I had up my sleeve, but to be this clueless? That’s just not a fair fight man. Did sir really not give anyone any insight? Is he that damn secretive that this shits kept under this many wraps?Bookmark here

Ichigo [Thinking]: Eh, whatever. I’ll finish this bastard off, regardless of whatever gift shit he’s talking about. [He lunges towards him, but Katarov ducks right and slides across the trains roof, maintaining his distance. Ichigo jumps towards him again, but Katarov moves his body backwards and forces himself up, before kicking Ichigo down]Bookmark here

Katarov: You can’t win man. It’s clear as day.Bookmark here

Ichigo [Gets up and reaches into his pocket]: Who’s to say that, you insolent shit? [He throws the second of his switchblades towards Katarov’s chest, but just as it appears to make contact, Katarov throws his body backwards and ducks, evading the knife]Bookmark here

Ichigo [Thinking]: WHAT? How the hell? I get he’s trained, and that he should be able to do something like that, but how the hell was he able to react at all? He shouldn’t have been able to hear it, and it’s moving too fast to see.Bookmark here

Katarov [Chuckles]: I’m telling you man. You aren’t gonna win this. You gave me the upper hand.Bookmark here

Ichigo: Excuse me?Bookmark here

Katarov: Why do you think we’re on top of the damn train right now?Bookmark here

Ichigo [Confused]: I don’t know, you wanted some stupid ass cinematic shot of a fight that nobody’s gonna know about?Bookmark here

Katarov: Awww, that’s the secondary reason. But the primary reason is because I have the upper hand out here – plain and simple.Bookmark here

Ichigo: Oh yeah? Well… [He lunges himself forward again, but Katarov reacts within a split second, pushing his body upwards and grabbing Ichigo by the throat, before slamming him into the train]Bookmark here

Katarov: It’s futile man. Come now, even you should be able to tell that there’s a difference between those blessed with gift and those who aren’t.Bookmark here

Ichigo [Wipes and straightens his face, before spitting off of the train]: Gift this, gift that, gift this, gift that, won’t you ever shut up about that? You think I’m not fuckin’ gifted cause I’m not from these parts, or because I don’t got the reaction speed you got eh? Gift ain’t nun’ without hard work ya piece of shit.Bookmark here

Katarov: The hell’re ya talkin about?Bookmark here

Ichigo: You’re the one who keeps talking about gift and all this shit, the hell are ya talkin about?Bookmark here

Katarov: You fuckin weasel, a gift isn’t some sort of belief that you’re better than someone else. It’s a friggin power. Bookmark here

Ichigo: Eh?Bookmark here

Katarov: I’m not talking about my damn skill level, you idiot. Gifts are awakened powers.Bookmark here

Ichigo: The hell are you talking about? This ain’t God-damn final fantasy or some shit, you imbecile. Gift? Power? You’re the god-damn lunatic here.Bookmark here

Katarov [Thinking]: No use talking sense into this one at this point. He’ll never understand. Bookmark here

Ichigo [Thinking]: That has to be right, right? He’s the crazy one, right? There’s no way that some shit as stupid as actual power exists in the real world, right?Bookmark here

Katarov [Thinking]: Whatever. Let’s finish this shit.Bookmark here

[Katarov lunges towards Ichigo and strikes him in the head, but Ichigo remains standing, despite being pushed back some distance. Ichigo kicks directly forward, which is easily dodged by Katarov, but Ichigo plants the kicking foot down and dashes, lunging off his other foot with remarkable speed. Katarov matches the speed, dodging three of Ichigo’s punches and stopping the fourth, upper-cutting him, to which Ichigo coughs violently]Bookmark here

Katarov: If you don’t want to believe it, don’t. This is the world we live in now. You lot are so misguided by everyone and everything around you, it’s insane.Bookmark here

Ichigo [Looks upward, with his left eye twitching]: Shut up.Bookmark here

Katarov: My, my, you still can talk? After all that? You truly are special, despite your alarming lack of intelligence. Bookmark here

Ichigo: Shut up. Bookmark here

Katarov: Awww, is that all you can say big man? That’s a sha–Bookmark here

[Ichigo kicks out Katarov’s legs from underneath him and aims a punch at his head, which is just narrowly dodged by Katarov – Ichigo’s hand grazes his ear]Bookmark here

Katarov [Thinking]: I didn’t hear that? What?Bookmark here

Ichigo [Thinking]: Close the gap. [He dashes to the right while in view of Katarov and then lunges towards Katarov, kicking him in the stomach, before landing back on his two feet]Bookmark here

Katarov [Thinking]: What the hell is this?Bookmark here

Ichigo [Thinking]: Get close again. [He dashes towards Katarov again, and Katarov is again late to react, but is able to dodge the punch aimed at his head, before the two separate again]Bookmark here

Katarov [Thinking]: It’s his movements. He’s moving his body quicker than I can react, because it isn’t all of him that I can’t react to. His arms and fists are still moving at the same speed, it’s just his body that’s out of my range.Bookmark here

Ichigo: Eh, what’s the big deal, gifted man? You too slow?Bookmark here

Katarov [Chuckles]: You’re good man. As much as you’re an unintelligent, annoying moron, you’re a fuckin good fighter. Hats off man.Bookmark here

Ichigo [Scoffs]: Hmph. Guess I could say the same about you. I’ve been waiting to fight someone strong for so long now. It’ll be fuckin satisfying when I crack your skull open.Bookmark here

Ichigo [Thinking]: I’m gonna have to keep closing the gap and getting him to react.Bookmark here

[Ichigo lunges at him again, closing the gap remarkably quickly and Katarov reacts, kicking his leg out and missing Ichigo’s head by a few inches. Ichigo grabs Katarov’s shoulders before Katarov could react, and Katarov looks at him with amazement. Katarov tries to dislodge his right shoulder from Ichigo’s grip, but Ichigo grips it harder and pushes it down, breaking it. Katarov winces, and Ichigo lets go off the right shoulder, preparing for a punch to Katarov’s face]Bookmark here

Ichigo: Well then, shitter.Bookmark here

Katarov: You truly were amazing. Truly.Bookmark here

Ichigo: Those ain’t the words I wanna hear, you stupid fuck.Bookmark here

Katarov: Well, what do you wanna hear? Sayonara?Bookmark here

Ichigo: Well, I guess you shitheads always toy with death in your lives, so I guess the thought of dying ain’t nothing too scary to y’all. Bunch of weirdos.Bookmark here

Katarov: Oh, oh, oh, you say that like you’re any different. In fact, you’ve probably killed more people than I have.Bookmark here

Ichigo: I’ve killed criminals and shitheads like you. People who shouldn’t be considered people. Bookmark here

Katarov: And I’ve killed shitheads too. The difference is how we view them – but they’re essentially the same, are they not?Bookmark here

Ichigo: You keep saying this. I am NOT the same as you.Bookmark here

Katarov [Scoffs]: You’re right. You’re not.Bookmark here

Ichigo [Winds up his arm]: Sayonara, ya sack of shit.Bookmark here

[Ichigo’s left arm punches forward with incredible strength and connects with Katarov, but he isn’t sent flying backwards]Bookmark here

Ichigo [Thinking]: Ehhh?Bookmark here

[Ichigo looks at Katarov, whose eyebrows cock downwards and eyes glisten with a silver color. He smirks at Ichigo, before punching him backwards with a punch equal in strength to the one he had just received, sending Ichigo flying backward. Ichigo, extremely winded, tries to stand, and looks at Katarov in confusion]Bookmark here

Katarov [Smirking]: I told you man. You’re friggin special. It was a damn pleasure that they sent ya after me. And it’s a damn shame that you’re gonna be gone after this. Bookmark here

Ichigo [Thinking]: Impossible. No, no, that’s impossible. I hit him. He isn’t a defensive god or anything. I fucking hit him! It’s his reaction time that’s top tier, not his fucking defense! Bookmark here

Katarov [Smirks]: I’m telling you. You are special man. This is the first time I’ve had to use my full gift. Pretty good, eh?Bookmark here

Ichigo [Thinking]: Eh? Eh? Stop talking about gift you damn scum. Stop it. That can’t be true. That can’t be fucking true. I don’t believe it, damn it!Bookmark here

Katatov: You put up a good fight man, you really did. Thank you.Bookmark here

Ichigo: IMPOSSIBLE! [He lunges himself towards Katarov, but Katarov easily deflects him and lunges back towards him, knocking him sideways. The two trade heavy blows, despite Ichigo being winded, but Katarov doesn’t react until he gets kicked in the right abdomen by Ichigo. By this time, Katarov’s already landed four seismic hits to Ichigo’s head and body]Bookmark here

Katarov [Straightens his body up]: You can’t get through this now man. Unfair, isn’t it?Bookmark here

Ichigo: What the hell are you?Bookmark here

Katarov: I’m a human. Nothing different from you, and yet, entirely different from you. We’re worlds apart, as you can see. But we’re the same, flesh and blood. I bleed red, just as you do. See? [The cuts on his face begin to bleed prominently again]Bookmark here

Ichigo [Wearily]: Shut up man.Bookmark here

Katarov: But, like I said, you’re a fuckin tough guy. You put up a damn good fight… [Turns his head to look away] compared to most at le… [he gets punched in the face by Ichigo, who struggles to stand up properly].Bookmark here

[Katarov snaps his head back into place and looks pitifully at Ichigo]Bookmark here

Ichigo: Don’t look at me like that, damn you!Bookmark here

[He lunges forward but Katarov doesn’t dodge, instead grabbing him by the throat and lifting him up]Bookmark here

Katarov: This really is shit man. I don’t wanna fuckin kill ya. I don’t. Can’t we compromise or some shit? Your life’s on the damn line. Come now.Bookmark here

Ichigo [Coughs, then speaks inaudibly]: Shut up.Bookmark here

Katarov [Releasing his grip]: Oh shit, my bad, my bad, I didn’t realize how hard I was choking you. [Pauses] Come now, you probably have people you want to protect and see, don’t you? Come on. Bookmark here

Ichigo: Don’t fuck with me man. I came here to fight, not to make a damn deal. Bookmark here

Katarov: Oh, scary, scary. But it’s such a waste. You’re strong.Bookmark here

Ichigo [Trying to catch his breath]: I know. That’s why I’ll never bend my knee to people like you, no matter how good of a fight you put up. I came here for one reason, and it wasn’t to make friends with you, goddamnit! [He breathes in deeply and dashes forward, to which Katarov smirks, but he disappears from his view and appears behind him, to which Katarov reacts, but he disappears again]Bookmark here

Katarov: Huh? I can’t keep up with him? Bookmark here

[Ichigo reappears in front of Katarov and disappears again, but Katarov reacts at an almost identical speed. Katarov raises one hand to try and grab Ichigo, but Ichigo disappears again]Bookmark here

Ichigo [Grabs his third and final switchblade, and in Thinking]: I have him now damnit!Bookmark here

[The knife lunges towards Katarov’s neck but just before impact, Ichigo coughs violently, coughing up a pool of blood. The frame pans down, revealing Katarov’s free hand, with Ichigo’s first switchblade lodged deep into his stomach. Katarov then grabs his neck and squeezes it tightly, to which Ichigo coughs up even more blood]Bookmark here

Ichigo [Inaudibly]: No way. No one’s been able to stop that. [Gasps] How?Bookmark here

Katarov: I should be asking you that. That was some superhuman speed – you nearly had me beat at my own damn game. But I’ll tell you again. That’s your training and work – which maybe I shouldn’t have underestimated – but still, that’s all it is. It was a damn valiant effort, but it ain’t enough man. If you came at me with this breakneck speed earlier, maybe you woulda got me. But when I’m already using my power? It’s hopeless. [Pauses] You really should’ve started out with this man, you would’ve had me on my heels. But it is what it is. [Pauses and looks at Ichigo’s state] I guess this is it then, eh?Bookmark here

Ichigo [Breathes heavily]: Damn you. Damn you, you friggin piece of shit. Bookmark here

Katarov [Smirks]: Yup. [He pulls the knife out, throwing him down and killing him] Sayonara. Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.