The Royal Palace Brides

BY : c0p13r
Category: Bleach > Het - Male/Female
Dragon prints: 2601
Disclaimer: I don't own 'Bleach' and make no money from this story.

The Royal Palace Brides

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            The world manifested in fragments, levels of comprehension.  Pillars, stone, skylight…  Then sounds; a booming voice, the merry voice of Hyosube Ichibe, congratulating him for opening his eyes.  “Now breathe,” he told Ichigo.

            And knives filled his lungs.

            “Arck!”  He fell on the ground, his knees hurting on the smooth stone floor.  He clutched at his ribs, fingertips clawing his naked flesh.  Each breath hurt, but each time, a little less.  Soon, the knives turned to pebbles, and the pebbles to butterflies.  Finally, he got to take a steadying breath, and there was no pain.

            “That’s about right for the air in the Royal Palace.”  Ichibe tucked his hands into his sleeves and smiled brightly at the rest of Squad Zero.  “I’d say that’s been the best transference we’ve done so far!”

            “It’s the only one,” Tenjiro pointed out, his long toothpick bobbing.

            “Ha-ha!  All the more reason for us to congratulate ourselves!”  Heedless of Ichigo’s state of resurgence, he grabbed both arms and picked him up like tossing a child.  Ichigo was dizzy when hoisted to his feet in such a manner, but his voice hadn’t caught up with the rest of him; little more than a gasp came from his mouth.

            His feet tottered, stinging from supporting his weight.  He wobbled, arms aimlessly trying to catch his balance.  Something on his back; it put him askew.  “What… what is…?”  He managed the coordination to swing his arms erratically, trying to at least touch whatever was latched onto him, but he found nothing; saw nothing, touched nothing, but he still felt like there was something upon him… like a new limb, yet he couldn’t see or maneuver it.

            “What… happened?”  His brown eyes regarded the High Priest, who watched him in silent reverence.

            Ichibe suddenly bowed, not deeply, but the baldness of his head showed fully to Ichigo in the respective manner.  Behind him, Kirio-san bowed similarly; Senjumaru-san gave a small but distinctive nod with closed eyes.  Oh-Etsu, being Oh-Etsu, gave a swag double ‘thumbs-up’, and Tenjiro just snorted softly and looked off to the sky to separate himself from this show of formality and gratitude.

            “There are no words we could give to amount to the height of our gratitude,” Ichibe said lowly, the humor gone from his voice.  Finally, his head came up, meeting Ichigo’s perplexed gaze once again.  “Though I’ve told you this before, you are preserving the existence of all worlds.”

            Ichigo somehow felt taken aback by this declaration.  Told this before?  Preserving existence?  Maybe it was the weight of Ichibe’s words, but more likely the weight of the palace that made him suddenly dizzy and nauseous.  He was kept from swirling by the Monk’s large hand grabbing and squeezing at his shoulder.  “Rest assured, we are here to help and manage you.”

            “Manage me?”  Ichigo’s eyelids moved as if he were drunk.  He gave a soft growl, and as if determined to depend on his own strength, he backhanded Ichibe’s arm away from him, though it felt like he had struck a tree trunk from how solid the arm was.  “What’s going on?” Ichigo demanded.  He swung around, trying to see what had been saddled on his back.  He reached again, but there remained nothing but invisible, intangible weight.  “Why does there… Argh…! feel like there’s something…?”

            “The tailoring of a lynchpin is trickier than that of cloth and thread,” Senjumaru admitted, one of her sticklike prehensile arms flourishing and stroking at her soft chin.  But then the sequence of arms scattered in a manner displaying disregard to the situation.  “Of course, it could be that a mortal vessel – as you once were – is not accustomed to the weight of reality on your back.”

            “But you did magnificent work regardless, Senjumaru!” Ichibe bellowed in praise, clapping his hands twice.  She modestly ignored the praise.

            But it was all very vague, to Ichigo most of all, who could hardly remember anything before drifting off and waking up here.  The Royal Palace…  How?  The last he remembered, he was down below, and Yhwach was carved in half by Zangetsu, his last words blaming Ichigo for fear being able to thrive.  Then… then…  Rumbling…?

            “As the newest resident of the Royal Palace,” Ichibe said as if welcoming a new neighbor, “you are afforded all of our luxuries!”

            “Except my Kirinden,” Tenjiro quickly interrupted, his toothpick bouncing.  “Don’t think ya can use it like some sort of babe resort or getaway whenever ya please!”

            “Tch!  Tenjiro, you got no sense of style!” Oh-Etsu complained, taking some obvious past offense to Tenjiro’s sudden and odd restriction.  “If some honey wants a day at the spa…”

            “The Kirinden ain’t no spa,” Tenjiro said plainly, letting Oh-Etsu scoff and fuss, though he himself never took his eyes off the ceiling.

            Ichibe moved in front of the two to block Ichigo’s view of them, afraid that they would infect him with further confusion.  “Perhaps we all have our particular rules,” he gave, “but in the Royal Palace, you needn’t go wanting.  For right now, it’ll be best for Senjumaru and Kirio to attend you.  You and I still have some time before the week is up.”

            The week?  What does a week matter?!  All sorts of questions had swelled in Ichigo’s brain, one stacking another, yet each one hadn’t come close to a satisfying answer.  If he could just get the one…  “What is going on?!” he finally let loose, voice trembling off the walls.

            Each head turned to him; Oh-Etsu’s picked off the floor where he sulked.  Ichibe stared at Ichigo for a long time, and his deep-set eyes showed understanding.  Yes, whatever had happened before the slumber, Ichigo had forgotten.  “Kurosaki Ichigo…”  Not one; both heavy hands came to rest on Ichigo’s shoulders to brace him.  “You have assumed the place of the Soul King.”

            Ichigo’s eyes steadily widened, his mouth slacking.  “What?”

            “Yhwach was slain,” Ichibe explained.  “With his powers, which usurped the true Soul King’s place as lynchpin, dissipating, there was no other choice.  We beseeched your mercy, and you answered.”

            Ichigo didn’t know what to say, though, with a reasonable understanding of the Soul King’s place in existence, he knew that without him, reality would crumble.  To protect everyone, he would…

            “Ichigo!”

            That voice…  He looked up, and Ichibe stepped aside so that he may see.  Nel and Orihime, both of them, had rushed down the halls, but froze a room short of him.  They both looked… perfectly fine.  The first bit of relief touched his heart, bringing a small smile to his mouth.  Nel and…  His heart thumped stronger than before.

            Orihime.

            Seeing him, the redhead’s face became a vibrant play of emotion.  Happiness, relief, joy, sorrow…  Her bottom lip bunched up, and she sniveled.  “K-Kurosaki-kun, you’re…”

            “You’re awake!” Nel jubilated, covering the space between them in three prances before flinging her arms around him and kissing him unreservedly on the mouth.

            Not a smooch.  Not a peck.  This was a lip-locking.  Nel, gently clasping her hands on either side of his face just beneath his ears, had tilted her head in such a way that she joined their mouths perfectly.  He could feel the voluptuous bottom lip against the side of his mouth; so positively distracting that he could even take notice of her bosom shoved up against his sternum.

            The kiss was watched, though Squad Zero gave no sense of scrutiny; only grounded Oh-Etsu smoothed his way closer to get a good shot with his phone to show off at the faux Phoenix Palace.  Orihime was the only one who seemed panicked, rushing forward with a blushing “N-Nel-san!”  She hurried, but not too quickly in her Urahara-made outfit.  If you make too much haste, it’ll help them pop out~.  Conscious of herself, she tried to keep her breasts from too much bouncing.  Help them pop out; as if that was the devious intention all along.

            Ichigo was red hot under the kiss, eyes wide, though the comfort of Neliel’s velvet-like outfit along with her supple warmth was downright soothing.  She moaned softly and left his lips tingling as she detached.  His jaw hung, unable to even mime a stammer.  She left him breathless, speechless, mindless; less of every sense but one…

            Neliel, as if she hadn’t just inappropriately engaged him in the audience of some of the greatest beings in existence, smiled joyfully and said, “I’m so happy you’re okay!”  Then came her signature bone-crushing bear hug.  That was enough to liven him up, if only to kill him again by suffocation.

            “Nel-san!  You have to be gentler with him!  Nel-san!”  Orihime grabbed at Neliel’s shoulder with both hands, but her human might was not enough to even concern an elated Arrancar.

            “Well, that seems about right for a happy reunion,” puffed Ichibe with a nod.

            Ichigo, mustering up the will to resist Nel’s power-grip, pushed away enough to condemn her.  More embarrassed than when Yoruichi first appeared naked in front of him, he shouted, “Nel!  What are you…?!  Ack!  You’re breaking it!”  He gagged, and arched his back as her strong arms dented his spine.

            Ichibe fussed curiously with his chin as he watched the trio fumble and roll, laughing or shouting in pain.  Tenjiro hummed.  “Not much of a Soul King,” he observed, not finding much humor in their antics.

            “Hmm…  I thought it was customary for a husband to acknowledge his wife’s kiss,” Ichibe mused, not loudly, but it did bring Ichigo to sudden pause, freeing enough space between Neliel’s arms to breathe,

            “Wha-what did you say?”  Small-mouthed and wide-eyed, Ichigo turned to look at Nel, and she just smiled in response.

            “Yes,” Ichibe said proudly, his eyes twinkling.  “This lovely Arrancar is your wife!  It was unanimously agreed that, to try to maintain peace amongst all worlds, to avoid another disaster like Yhwach’s reign, the Soul King must form a union with the races.”

            Ichigo sweated more bullets.

            “Neliel-chan was most eager to be wed to you, Ichigo.  You are very lucky.”

            “L-lucky?” Ichigo repeated.  He then burst out, as Tenjiro had expected, “How could you decide that for me?!”

            A hand, disjointed from body, skeleton and mechanical, shoved its long, thin finger at his face.  Senjumaru leered at him from between Ichibe’s bulk and Tenjiro’s lanky stance.  “It was you who solemnly took up the mantle of Soul King, Kurosaki Ichigo.  It is a not a role to take lightly.  If it means peace…”  Her arm slithered back behind her.  “… then you will abide.”

            She was a wicked woman.  Ichigo, admittedly, was afraid of her type.  A sharp tongue was harder to face than strong fists.  Her ensuing grin mocked his silence.  “I’m glad you understand.”

            Ichigo wouldn’t go so far as to say that…

            “Your wives will be here to take care of you, Ichigo-chan,” Kirio told him warmly, contrasting Senjumaru’s unchallenging tone.  “That is why they are here.”

            The rabbit hole just kept going.  The more Ichigo was told, the more lost he felt!  It was bad enough…  …  To amend to avoid hurting Nel’s feelings, Ichigo thought it was strange enough to have one wife.  He had bonded with Nel long ago, and it didn’t seem like her affection for him had swung oppositely during their prolonged time apart.  It had seemed, even, that she grew more attached to him!  Absence makes the heart grow fonder, he figured.

            But Kirio-san had definitely said ‘wives’.  Plural.  The opposite of monogamy.  And it didn’t take him long to figure out why Orihime was there as well.  Somehow, he felt more embarrassed looking at her than when Neliel had kissed him.  His jaw hung again, lines of red slanting beneath his eyes as he gawked.  She recognized the way he looked at her, almost seeing the puzzle he was putting together in his head.

            He’s looking so intently.

            Giving up her struggle to unlock Nel from his midsection, she swung around and held her heated face.  Yes, it was true.  She was a wife, too!  It made her ecstatic and anxious!  And she wanted it to be more romantic, but how could she be idle when the proposal was made and Neliel was the first to cast her hand upward for the job?

            “Uh!  I thought…!  If I could be of help to Kurosaki-kun…!”  Orihime’s hands fisted in her dress.  She frantically tried to excuse her haste of making Ichigo’s decision for him.  “I thought it’d… be for the best.”  She fidgeted anxiously, frightened and anticipating Ichigo’s reaction.

            She’d not get one.  Even if Ichigo had the ability to process what he was feeling into words, they’d come out as words of how soft and supple Nel’s chest was; she had dragged him back to her bosom, drowning him in the round mountains.  Incoherent to the situation between Ichigo and her fellow wife, she cuddled and nuzzled his head.

            “Not just for the best,” Ichibe said as fact, not for Orihime’s benefit, “it was necessary.  As we have said, it is the Soul King’s prerogative to maintain the peace, and the way to do that is to wed the races.”  He bowed his mighty bulk down to the mortal, and she felt the heaviness of his great hand fall on her shoulder.  She winced, trying to keep from offending his offhandish show of tenderness and respect.  “A bride of the Soul King; you represent more than the care you have for Kurosaki Ichigo.  You are his connection to the world of the living, the representation of all humans which are tied by existing alone to the Soul King.  The Soul King may have many, but you are irreplaceable.”

            Orihime wished that it made her less anxious.  It wasn’t her status as the Soul King’s wife that concerned her, it was how Kurosaki-kun felt for her and her new role in his life.  Unable to bring herself to speak these feelings – and naturally opposed to correcting oblivious, larger men who knew naught of their own strength of size – she smiled at the bearded monk.  “Th-thank you, Hyosube-san.”

            He nodded, and then rose to his full height while folding his arms.  He looked the way Nel and Orihime had first arrived.  “Hmm…”  Just what was on his mind, Ichigo, half-embedded in Nel’s cleavage, pondered.  No doubt more surprises for him.  It was enough that Nel and Orihime had laid some claim to him.  How was a man supposed to be with two women?!  His cheeks burned at the prospect.  Keigo had once mentioned the ultimate fantasy, and Mizuiro had more or less lived it with nine or so girls during summer break, snorkeling and all.  Ichigo hadn’t even broken ground with a girlfriend yet!

            “I suppose we ought to go now,” Ichibe observed.  His jolly eyes gleamed down at his king.  Ichigo had started to shout something; wanting more answers, probably.  But Ichibe hushed him.  “Now, Ichigo-san, we are here to help, but we have matters to attend to.”

            Tenjiro hoisted his elongated paddle onto his shoulder.  Oh-Etsu got off the ground.

            “What?!  You’re leaving?!”  Ichigo’s stomach flipflopped at the idea of being alone with the two girls now claiming to be his wives.

            “Gotta get going,” Tenjiro said.  “The others are just about done stewing.”

            “The others?”  Ichigo wasn’t so sure he was talking about dinner on the stove.

            “You only got questions?  Hasn’t it clicked yet?”  Tenjiro scoffed and sneered upward.  “We gotta get all your wives ready.  Apparently, it was a package deal with these ones, but they were all in pretty bad shape after the whole mess they brought on us.”

            Ichigo’s eyes widened.  He couldn’t mean…

            “What’s with all the noise?!  This place is gloomy enough without screams echoing…!”  Riruka came up short when she stepped into the room, her rabbit-eared hoodie pulled up.  The pompous glare that she kept so often had pulled up in a look of surprise.  Ichigo looked at her and he knew at once: Wife No. 3.

            “Ri-Riruka?”

            Riruka gawked for a moment, before she hurried to reclaim her composure.  She frowned hard at him and whipped her head away so fast that her ears swished sharply above her.  No way was she going to expose a vulnerable side like Nel and Orihime.  “Ah!  I should have guessed it was you being loud!  You make a ruckus wherever you go, with no consideration of my beauty rest!”

            Ichigo pursed his lips.  He forgot how antagonizing she liked to be.

            But her entrance did not stall the members of Squad Zero exiting.  Tenjiro and Oh-Etsu kept on the path with only the latter turning to the small human and saying that she had a very stylish outfit.  She looked opposite of him, saying that she didn’t like creeps calling her cute dressings ‘stylish’.  “They’re cute,” she affronted, shooting Oh-Etsu down.

            “Kirio and Senjumaru will stay behind to tend to your needs, Ichigo-san,” Ichibe said with his foot on the threshold.  He looked very pleased.  “As a new Soul King, you’ll need a lot of nourishment.  And of course, Senjumaru will give you clothes appropriate for a King.  Enjoy your palace, Kurosaki Ichigo!”

            He left as the third wife moved to congregate around the stupefied Soul King.

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Sorry if I get honorifics and whatnot muddled.  It's been a while since I read the unofficial translations.



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