Much respect to Toshiro Hitsugaya… it’s easy to see why he’s so respected by his peers, having just disposed of the last of Kariya’s underlings, and now he’s naturally welcomed back with reverence by his men. Also having respect for even his deadliest enemies, he orders for Koga’s remains (if there are any at all) to be retrieved and given a proper burial.
On entering his office, he finds Rangiku, Renji, Ichigo and Chad waiting for him, along with a wounded Ishida. They ask to use his base as shelter after the fact, in order to give Ishida time to recover, so Hitsugaya has no choice really but to consent (pretty slick, if you ask me). Together, they take stock of all the Bounts that have been taken down thus far, but the threat is far from over; Ichigo informs Hitsugaya of Bount mastermind Kariya’s escape, his newfound powers, and his threat to completely destroy the Seireitei.
Unfortunately, with Orihime’s current absence, Ishida’s healing seems like it’s going to have to go the long, hard, route… or so they think, as she then makes a surprise appearance with Izuru Kira; she would definitely be an asset, given the amount of currently wounded shinigami. But Ishida, of course, takes priority.
Hitsugaya tries to round up some men to take down Kariya, and the only squad that hasn’t sustained heavy casualties is Squad 11, who, having no current Captain, have received no orders thus far.
In order to avoid complete annihilation, the Soul Society must move quickly and decisively. Lieutenant Nanao Ise gives an urgent status report to Yamamoto, informing him that, according to the information acquired, Kariya will need one day before he is able to acquire the necessary destructive power from the Jokai Crest in order to accomplish his goal.
While the Soul Society makes urgent plans to find and apprehend Kariya, one individual has already found him… Rantao arrives with one of her apparent inventions, an imposing, powerful big-ass gun that fires kido, which I guess corroborates her reputation as a ‘mad scientist’. In any case, Kariya has to make a mad scramble to avoid getting hit by her.
Despite creating and possessing the technology to detect and locate Bounts, Rantao hasn’t shared this with the Shinigami, intending to take Kariya down herself. However, her initial confidence turns to panic as she notices and recognises the Crest’s markings on Kariya’s body. On remembering the circumstances of the Crest’s creation, a flashback ensues…
Back when the increasing reports of humans gaining extraordinary abilities began to reach her ears, Rantao made an effort to round up as many of the Bounts as she could, so that they could escape persecution from regular humans, and maybe even possibly gain the protection of the Soul Society. In the meantime, she hid those that she could and provided them shelter in a large cave (the same one later occupied by Kariya?) , and made a trip to the Seireitei to make her plea on their behalf.
This, of course, didn’t go as planned. On entering the Seireitei, she was confronted by hostile shinigami, and discovered that the authorities would deal with the Bount situation by covering it up, instead of taking responsibility. In addition, it is decided via committee that the Bounts should all be taken into custody and eliminated, a decision that enrages Rantao. As Shinigami soldiers launched their attack on the Bounts’ cave, Rantao made the decision to defy orders, and lead them back to the World of the Living, where they could escape. The last Bount she rescues is a small boy, whom she gives a trinket that, she explains, has the ability to draw out the untapped power hidden within the Bounts.
This trinket turned out to be the reason that Bounts were able to manifest their Doll-summoning powers, and that small boy happened to be a young Kariya.
Rantao was then detained, and all blame for the Bounts placed squarely on her. Now face to face for the first time in many years, Kariya states his intentions to Rantao, who is horrified.
Elsewhere, in a reversal of his previous scene, Ishida, now somewhat recovered and mobile, sneaks out of Hitsugaya’s compound, while the rest of his friends are asleep (which I would say, has become sort of a habit of his, at this point). He’s just detected Rantao’s spiritual pressure, and inferring that Kariya would most likely be there as well, intends to follow it.
Rantao wants to save Kariya, but unfortunately he doesn’t share the same sentiment. He launches one of his devastating wind attacks at her, and her weapon is sent flying…
It would be rather poetic if Rantao, the creator of the Bounts and Kariya’s former rescuer, is able to stop and defeat him, but will she be capable of such a thing?