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Karakura Mission: "Bad Romance"

Rash Stunt Double

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Only a short time has passed since the Third Night of Wailing Incident. Since then, business has resumed as usual for the Shinigami assigned to Karakura, Japan. However, now with the knowledge that several beings of considerable power coexist in the region as its self-proclaimed "protectors". With the prevailing presence of groups like WILD'S and Noir, with the exception of performance of Soul Burials, many Shinigami have found it increasingly difficult to justify a strong Shinigami presence within Karakura. While many remain diligent and dutiful, there are nevertheless those who have taken to a more lackadaisical approach to their responsibilities. Many have managed to do just enough the skirt by, but some have slacked off entirely. Ultimately, it seems that one too many reports have failed to come through on time, requiring a formal investigation and evaluation to be done. And who better to spearhead such an assignment than the rising star of the Fifth Division, 4th Seated Officer- Sylvia Barlowe.

PART ONE: "The Kasazaki Team"

[Morishima Apartments - Kasazaki District, Karakura]

Situated in the heart of the Kasazaki, the Morishima apartment building is a humble little affair owned and run by the Morishimas, a young couple that moved into Karakura a few years ago and bought the building from its former owner. The Morishimas are apparently well-off and are rumored to be of the best landlords in town. Though the apartments themselves are not lavish at all and don't even have baths (the tenants used the bathhouse just down the street), there are many people who wish to live in the building, especially college students. However, it would seem that the building never has any vacant apartments. New tenants arrive just as quickly as the old ones leave. This is because the Morishimas and each of the tenants in the building are all Shinigami stationed in Karakura. In fact, the entire apartment building is a front for one of several Shinigami bases of operation across the region.

... TENZEN MORISHIMA stood in front of the property, smoking a cigarette as he awaited the arrival of Sylvia Barlowe on this cold, late-winter morning. Tenzen appeared to be in his mid-thirties; he had short dark brown hair and dark eyes. People in the neighborhood described him as well-mannered and approachable. A sort of big-brother figure in the community. He was a long-standing member of the neighborhood association, serving as it's vice-president under Mrs. Suzuki. Tenzen Morishima was, of course, also a Shinigami. A seated officer from the Thirteenth Division, although he hadn't known his exact seat number for quite some time. As a Shinigami, Morishima had the blessing of being a skilled combatant, though he didn't advertise that fact much and truthfully he hadn't even drawn his Zanpakuto, Sakagyo in years. Tenzen looked back at the building and sighed, the others should have all been up already, but he knew better than to assume that was the case. He'd been told not to warn them about the arrival of the evaluator and honestly, while he understood why that was the case, he wasn't thrilled about it. He viewed all the Shinigami staying in the building as his personal responsibility and while they had a slacker or two, they all got their tasks done and met their quotas --if he didn't make sure of it personally his better half surely did. Tenzen didn't think the evaluation was necessary for the Kasazaki team in particular and they happened to be the  one team most affected by the presence of WILD'S. It was bothersome that they were all catching flack because the teams in another district were admittedly under-performing. Nonetheless, it seemed that was just the way the wind had blown in these last few months. Tenzen didn't know anything about the evaluator assigned to them besides her name and rank, but he hoped she'd be able to judge the Kasazaki team fairly without being too much of a stickler about it. For Tenzen's part, he and the Kasazaki team would do their best to make Sylvia's stay as painless --and hopefully brief-- as possible. At least that was the plan.

[Instructions: Arrive at the Morishima building, meet the landlord, Tenzen Morishima, and the rest of team Kasazaki.]


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It was very early March so the majority of winter was behind them and soon spring would start, calendar wise as she didn’t expect the temperature to increase any time soon. Life continued as normal for Sylvia with the usual duties around the barracks and patrols with the occasional smaller missions. The previous day, Kazukan had approached her and asked her to come for a meeting the following day. This probably meant that her skills were required once again for some kind of mission.

Therefore, the next day after Sylvia finished the usual morning training session with her fellow officers she began heading to the Vice Captain’s office. On her way there, she was joined by another Shinigami who was Vadim, the 9th seat. She asked to check if it wasn’t a coincidence,’You too?’ The white haired male nodded,’Looks like we will be working together on this one.’ She smiled slightly,’Just don’t tell Waiola, she’ll get jealous that you went with me instead of her. She’s been pestering me lately to go on a mission with her.

The missions were handed out by Kazukan so Sylvia didn’t really have much say when she would be going on a mission. As the 4th seat she wasn’t sent to Hollow slaying missions but she wasn’t quite experienced enough yet to go on crucial missions. Though lately it seemed that the situation has quieted down since the previous operation in Karakura Town so there probably wasn’t much going on either way. Therefore, most of Sylvia’s missions up to this point was just solving minor problems around Seiretei. Vadim sighed at her statement,’She has a bit too much energy… she would definitely sulk knowing her but also get over it just as fast.’ That definitely seemed like the Waiola they knew though she will probably end up finding out as soon as they come back. The fact that the 4th and the 9th seat were needed for this mission suggested that it held some importance.

The two of them arrived at the Vice Captain’s office as Kazukan let them in and told to take a seat. With everyone seated the meeting began,’So I’ve got a mission for the two of you and the sooner this gets dealt with the better. The mission will be taking place in Karakura Town.’ That already made it unusual since it was usually the lower seats who were sent to the World of the Living. Furthermore, due to the event now known as the Night of Wailing, travel to Karakura Town was restricted for some time in order to ensure that it was secured. The Vice Captain continued,’Let’s start with some background. When we receive a Hollow signal and a Shinigami is sent to slay them, if they were to go through the Dangai then they would arrive there too lost in most scenarios. Even though time passes at the same rate for Seiretei and the World of the Living, the Dangai doesn’t follow the same rules. Therefore, to be as reactive as possible we have Shinigami stationed in the various districts of Karakura Town where they live on a daily basis.

Even though there was a rule that a Shinigami could not stay in the World of the Living for too long, she doubted that it was followed as strictly these days. Especially, for these Shinigami whose quite literal task was to be in the Karakura Town all the time so she doubted that the mission would be to enforce this rule. Kazukan didn’t stop for too long because he expected them to know most of those details by now,’We’ve seen the effectiveness of this method for ourself and usually that would be good enough. However, Karakura Town also has plenty of strong humans who are Fullbringers and Quincies. According to the reports, one particular group of Fullbringers is very active and they call themselves WILD’S. Due to the efficiency of that group, our own Shinigami have been seeing much less work as by the time they arrive on the scene the problem has usually been dealt with.’

It was an understandable situation since the Shinigami were doing this out of duty by the humans also wanted to protect the town that they lived in. However, the curious part was that they were able to get the same technology as Seiretei had to detect Hollows. Sylvia wasn’t really a technology person so she didn’t think something like that was possible but clearly the humans were better than they gave them credit for. The Vice Captain then informed them of their objective,’They aren't doing so good on their reporting recently so I want the two of you to pay them a visit and evaluate their performance. If they are wasting away then we could use them here to expand the investigation into Ascendants. Sylvia you will be going to the Kasazaki district where you will meet up with Tenzen Morishima and his team. Vadim you will be going to the neighbouring district, Sakurabashi, where you will find Miyoko Kimura and her team. I will send the exact co-ordinates to your phones.

He then gave them a list of the Shinigami officers who were part of these two teams. Sylvia briefly looked through it and made an observation,’None of them are in our squad. Shouldn’t their own squads take action instead of us?’ The Vice Captain nodded,’Normally, that would be the case. However, Kasazaki and Sakurabashi are districts assigned to our squad so they need to report to us first and foremost. Make any preparations you need and you can go if there are no other questions.’ It seemed simple enough so the two Shinigami nodded and left Kazukan’s office and began heading towards the Senkaimon,’Looks like we won’t be co-operating as closely as we thought. It shouldn’t take too long by the looks of it either.

Sylvia had assisted with evaluating the seats of her fellow squad members by proxy of Kazukan so it wouldn’t be a hard task. It would probably be asking for too much to see them in action but talking to each of them and getting an honest opinion would probably be good enough to make a decent decision. When they arrived at the Senkaimon, the two Shinigami got their Hell Butterflies which guided them through the various pathways of the Dangai. Near the end of their passage, Sylvia and Vadim split up as they would be emerging at different locations. They decided to meet up once they finished the job to return together and to be in contact if anything came up.

The female Shinigami emerged in the Kasazaki district though it was still some distance from the building owned by Tenzen. She didn’t mind as she continued the rest of the way on foot as she followed the map on her phone. Sylvia looked around her surroundings as she walked but she didn’t notice anything unusual and she couldn’t sense any noticeable threats. She didn’t really know which part of the Karakura Town was deemed the best to live in but this district didn’t seem to be too bad to her eyes. The buildings were in good condition and the streets were clean so that was probably enough for the residents. Before long, Sylvia arrived in the centre of the Kasazaki district where the apartment building was situation. Standing in front of the building was a man smoking a cigarette who took notice of her so he must have been one of the Shinigami. She approached him and introduced herself,’I’m Sylvia Barlowe, 4th seat of the Fifth Division. I’m here to evaluate your team today.

Word Count: 1,272

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... TENZEN inhaled a final breath of warm cigarette smoke as Sylvia approached. He then nonchalantly put out the cigarette with the heel of his shoe and then flicked it into a nearby trashcan. He let his eyes fall on the mature and seemingly well put together Shinigami in front of him as he briskly studied her demeanor, hoping to glean what limited information about her that he could based solely on a first impression. Admittedly, there wasn't much for him to go on, Sylvia Barlowe looked like a prim and proper Shinigami, although Tenzen believed he could see the "rookie-ness" in her eyes. He wondered how familiar the 4th Seat was with Karakura and the world of the living as a whole. Tenzen strongly believed it was important for Sylvia to at least understand how things worked down here in order for her evaluation of the team to be objective and fair. There was a nuance to these things that was often lost on the top brass, let alone the everyday average Shinigami that never set a foot out of the Soul Society.

"I’m Sylvia Barlowe, 4th seat of the Fifth Division. I’m here to evaluate your team today.", the Shinigami introduced herself and confirmed the purpose of her visit.

Tenzen gave a sincere smile and waved. "Welcome, Miss Barlowe. I'm Tenzen Morishima of the Thirteenth. I'm the leader of the Kazasaki team and your host for the next couple of days, I believe." Tenzen answered. He wondered if Vice-Captain Kazuhan had explained to Sylvia that she'd be spending more than just one day with them. While it wasn't uncommon for Shinigami they sent down as evaluators to be eager to return to the Soul Society and, furthermore, while Tenzen had heard that Sylvia was one of the best at her job, Tenzen doubted that anyone could get the job done properly in just one day. If Sylvia intended to rush things along it wouldn't go over well with the rest of the team, especially once they realized why she was there to begin with. "Whaddya say we get you inside and out of the cold?", Tenzen turned towards the building and beckoned Sylvia along as he lead her up the stairs and to apartment unit 04, which was the first apartment on the second floor. "This your first time in Karakura, Miss Barlowe?", Tenzen asked, attempting to make some small talk as they ascended the stairs? Once they were inside the humble little abode, Tenzen gestured Sylvia to the kotatsu table in the middle of the living room space. "Go ahead and make yourself comfortable." Tenzen passed through the living space and into the open kitchen. "Can I fix you anything, how about some tea?", he kindly offered.

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When the man noticed her, he finished his cigarette and threw it in the trashcan. Though much to her displeasure the smell still lingered around the man. While Sylvia wouldn’t judge his choice to smoke, it wasn’t a smell that she was fond of though she tried not to show that. The man gave her a smile and introduced himself as Tenzen Morishima, the owner of the building, so it was no surprise that he was waiting to welcome her. She smiled slightly and replied,’Looks like it,’ as she had a closer look at the building. It wasn’t anywhere close to their living quarters in the barracks but since it was able to fit 8 people inside then it wasn’t small either, which left it at medium size.

The female Shinigami didn’t mind staying at the building but she would prefer if her stay wouldn’t be too long as she didn’t bring that many things with her. If it came to it, she could just buy some clothes here and then take them back with her. The clothes she wore in Seiretei were basically the same as they had in the World of the Living so it didn’t make a difference where she bought them. Tenzen then invited her inside as the winter season was not ideal for an outside chat so Sylvia nodded and followed along up the stairs when she was asked if she was previously in Karakura Town. Sylvia answered,’Since becoming a Shinigami, yes. The times we came here during our Academy years don’t really count, do they? Also, you don’t need to be so formal, you can call me Sylvia.

When they came inside, Sylvia saw that the apartment mostly consisted of a living room as it had an open kitchen and she could also see two doors, one probably led to the bathroom while the other the bedroom. Tenzen gestured at the kotatsu table in the middle and to make herself comfortable,’Thanks,’ she said as she walked over and put her bag down before sitting down. The female Shinigami was then asked if she would like anything in terms of food or drink,’Sure, tea is fine. I don’t mind the type.’ A hot drink would definitely do a good job of warming her up so while Tenzen did that she asked,’Do you like living here? More or less than the Seiretei? Ah, this is just curiosity so no need to overthink it too much.

Word Count: 409

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... TENZEN quickly got to work on brewing a cup of earl grey for Sylvia as he reflected on her answer. Whether or not the Academy training sessions qualified as actual "visits" to Karakura was the subject of several debates but Tenzen was of the opinion that it didn't. For one, the Academy sanctioned visits were usually in controlled environments and didn't really allow the breadth for Shinigami to explore the World of the Living and what it truly had to offer. Tenzen chuckled warmly from the kitchen as Sylvia asked her question. He appreciated her reassurance that she was asking out of curiosity, but Tenzen assumed he'd might as well answer in a way that was indicative of the mentalities of at least most of the Kazasaki team. "Seireitei will always be 'home' nothing will ever change that, but I do enjoy living down here among the living." Tenzen paused for a moment of introspection. He recalled the first time he and Hanao were stationed in Karakura together as two rookies and how at that time they both couldn't wait to get back to the Soul Society but then as time passed their perspective changed. Simply from spending so much time in Karakura together, creating so many memories and making a difference in the everyday lives of the people around them, the place had grown on them. "There is a... distance, to being in the Seireitei.", Tenzen explained as he brought the tea tray into the living space and sat it down on the kotatsu. "You're literally a world removed from this place when you're in the Seireitei. Over the years I've found, personally, that it's easier to stay on task and see the bigger picture, the importance of it all when you're down here in the trenches." Tenzen smiled and chuckled once more as he realized it, "That's kinda ironic, though. Considering the very reason you're here is a bunch of guys being completely off task." While the words were on the tip on his tongue, Tenzen resisted the urge to outright say that the Kazasaki team weren't "those guys". He figured it was best to let Sylvia arrive at the conclusion on her own through her assessment of the team. "Well, I didn't say that we don't have our fun down here. Distance goes both ways and being somewhat removed from the Seireitei does come with it's perks and freedoms.", Tenzen admitted only half jokingly. He gave Sylvia a moment to enjoy her tea and then asked her another question. "So, what's your story, Sylvia? How'd this sort of mission wind up landing on your desk?"

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The owner of the apartment chuckled as Sylvia asked her question which was a good sign. Just like he wanted to make her feel comfortable she didn’t want Tenzen or the others to feel tense around her. She may be evaluating them but at the end of the day she was just another Shinigami just like any of them. The female Shinigami wanted to be fair so she wasn’t planning on being too strict but she couldn’t be too lenient either.

Tenzen answered that Seiretei would always be his home but that he also enjoyed living here as well. He brought over the tray to the kotatsu and set it down as Sylvia took a cup for herself. Then, he further elaborated that their world and the World of the Living could be quite different and that spending time in both helped to expand one’s perspective. She added her own thoughts,’The distance isn’t only in physical terms. At the end of the day, we are a military organisation so there is a distance between the people too. Not knowing who is friend or foe and constantly having your guard up is not good in the long term. It’s important to be able to trust your fellows.

The owner concluded in saying that they were also able to have fun here as they had more freedom as they away from the eyes of their superiors. Sylvia took a sip of the hot tea which warmed her insides as she could feel it going down. Tenzen also wanted to satisfy his curiosity as he asked for her story and how she ended up coming here. She shrugged,’I wouldn’t say that my story is special. I graduated from the Academy last July though Vice Captain Kazukan had already scouted me back in my first year. I accepted the offer but chose to continue my studies. The Vice Captain seems to trust me a lot so whenever there is a case of some importance it is usually me he turns to. He may not be the strongest Vice Captain but he tries his best to make it all work so I don’t mind helping when I can.

The female Shinigami could elaborate further if the owner wanted to know but she felt that she had said enough about herself for now. With her side out of the way, Sylvia asked a bit more about Tenzen,’What about you? What is your squad like? You’ve been here for some time now, right? Do you keep in touch with your friends back in Seiretei?’ She took another sip of the tea as she listened to his response.

Word Count: 440

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... TENZEN listened to Sylvia's story and nodded along when appropriate. He was glad to hear Sylvia seemed to share a similar perspective when it came to the some of the differences and challenges that came with living outside of the Seireitei as a Shinigami. The realization allowed Tenzen to be a bit more at ease and increased his confidence in the 4th Seat's ability to judge the team fairly, even if by only a little bit, the thought was still comforting. Tenzen felt that besides outright begging for Sylvia to keep their circumstance in mind he'd done everything he could in that regard and it would be up to the others to show Sylvia themselves that they weren't completely incompetent. Tenzen sighed deeply as Sylvia redirected conversation to him and asked about his relationship with his division. That was a question that carried some complications and pain, but Tenzen smiled anyway. "Oh, Sylvia. That question is a bit of a heavy one." Tenzen again considered how best to answer, the last thing he wanted was to say something that could be misconstrued or taken out of context, especially with what he understood to be the current high tensions in the Seireitei with regards to the Ascendants. "Obviously, I do my best to maintain some contact with all our friends in the Division, but as you could understand that sometimes falls a bit low on the priority list. Things only got more complicated after the Ascendants invasion and of course Captain Shanzausk did what she did. The former Captain was the one who recruited Hanao and myself and she's largely to thank for bringing us together. I wish I could know what she was think and what her reasons were." Tenzen exhaled and quickly shifted gears becoming more upbeat. "Captain Shinoda seems great as well, but I haven't interacted with her much personally. Hanao and I are scheduled for a Seireitei visit in a few months, so who knows what can happen." Tenzen ended there and allowed Sylvia to speak again.

Their conversation would go on for a few more minutes before Hanao Morishima entered the apartment. "I'm back.", she announced as she stepped into view. Hanao was wearing a white beanie and turtle neck with a beige blazer with fitted jeans and knee high boots. She had light brown hair that was tied in a low pony tail that hung in front of her left shoulder. She carried two large black shopping bags from a clothing store that Tenzen was not familiar with. Compared to Tenzen, Hanao had a more stern demeanor and those who got to know her knew she had the personality to match it. Members of the team often joked that while Tenzen might've been the easygoing dad of the Kazasaki team, Hanao was the strict no-nonsense mom. Still, it was largely thanks to Tenzen's guidance and Hanao's strict but fair enforcement that most work around the Kazasaki building got done at all.
"Welcome home, dear. Sylvia, this is Hanao Morishima. Hanao, this is Sylvia Barlowe, the evaluator.", Tenzen replied and then introduced the two women.
Hanao took a moment to size up Sylvia and then replied plainly. "Nice  to meetcha. You're a bit early, though, doncha think?" Hanao lowered the shopping bags and took off her blazer. "Whatever, it's fine I guess, Tenzen and I are up so you can give us points for that at least."
"Dear!", Tenzen objected meekly.
"What!" Hanao retorted. "Isn't that exactly how these things work? Evaluator shows up and judges every little thing we do and then reports it back to the head honchos. We've got nothing to worry about as long as our shit's in order.", she reasoned as she hung her coat.
"Yeah, but what about the others, you know some of them sleep in sometimes.", Tenzen whispered and then turned to Sylvia, "Usually after a long night shift.", he taped on with a chuckle. 
"Nah, screw 'em! A little outside disciplinary action could be helpful. I'm sure Sylvia here agrees, doncha Sylvia?", Hanao asked.

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As Sylvia spoke, Tenzen seemed to be showing an equal amount of interest in her story. Despite their different lives, they were both Shinigami with their own tale to tell. It was unlikely that there was a Shinigami without some kind of history, some better than others. When she asked about Tenzen’s history though he seemed a bit conflicted to answer though he tried his best as he put on a smile.

The owner’s answer was that he tried to keep in touch with those he could but the Ascendant invasion put quite the strain on that. The Captain of the 13th Division was the one that betrayed the Gotei and assisted the Ascendants, allowing them to invade. Even though Tenzen was probably in the World of the Living it still must have been quite a big hit for him. From his words, she could feel that the owner trusted his Captain greatly but received the same betrayal as the rest of the Gotei. Naturally, the result of that was a growing sense of distrust towards the 13th Division as a whole. No one could know for certain if Captain Shanzausk didn’t leave any more spies in their ranks while she made the first step.

Personally, Sylvia didn’t care too much about that. People were quick to judge but if she didn’t get a reason to distrust someone then she would treat them as normal. Being sceptical was also important though as they didn’t want another invasion to take place so she wouldn’t dismiss either side’s opinion,’It’s unfortunate that things turned out this way. Still, as long as she’s alive we will have the chance to find out her reasons.’ Tenzen smiled,’My place is here so I doubt I would be the one to do that but yes, at the very least I would like to learn the reason.

Since the conversation became a bit heavy, they dropped the subject as Sylvia continued sipping on her tea. However, it wasn’t long before they had company as Hanao Morishima. Due to being in a relationship with Tenzen, she was the second owner of the apartment and one of the other 7 Shinigami that resided in this building. Tenzen made a quick introduction of the two women and Hanao greeted Sylvia though from her comment she made it quite clear that she wasn’t fond of Sylvia’s presence.

Even though she was asked a question it didn’t seem like Sylvia’s opinion mattered from Hanao’s next comment. Unlike Tenzen who seemed more easy going about the situation, Hanao was heavily focused on her role as the evaluator which made the situation more difficult as he prioritised the image of the whole team rather than of himself. When the female owner actually wanted her opinion, the 4th seat answered,’Of course, everyone has a job to do and if I don’t do mine properly then it will also reflect badly on me. I don’t plan on lying so I will be reporting everything.

Hanao answered with a tone heavy with sarcasm,’Sure go right on ahead, someone who’s spent hardly no time down here must surely be qualified to do an in depth evaluation of our day-to-day lives and tells us how to spend our time and do our jobs.’ Tenzen once again objected though not as meekly this time,’Hanao! I understand how you feel but antagonising Sylvia won’t be helping anyone.’ His better half let out a scoff,’You were always too soft on women.’ Sylvia chimed in her opinion,’Do you have to be a writer to be able to criticize a book? An outsider’s perspective is just as important as that of those on the inside.

Hanao crossed her arms are the two women exchanged looks. It was clear that the two of them were not off to the best start as the female owner was displeased with Sylvia’s presence and her role. The female owner then turned to her other half,’Dear, please bring the wooden box from the storage unit downstairs up here.’ Tenzen nodded and started heading out,’Just don’t kill each other while I’m gone,’ he said with a sigh and left the two women in the room.

The female owner looked at the cup on the kotatsu table,’Did you like the tea?’ Sylvia nodded,’Yes, I’m not much of a coffee drinker so I enjoy the taste of tea. Green tea is my preferred choice but I have no complaints with the other types.’ Hanao also nodded,’I’ll keep that in mind.’ The conversation finished there as they tried not to get on each other’s nerves until Tenzen returned with quite a big wooden box. Sylvia couldn’t tell how heavy it actually was but it didn’t seem to be giving the male too much trouble. Hanao addressed Tenzen again,’Thanks, could you give us a moment? The next part isn’t for your eyes,’ she said as she smirked cheekily. He looked between the two women,’Oh, right. I’ll be outside,’ as he left the room once again.

Since Tenzen already had his morning smoke before Sylvia got here, he decided to visit the rooms of others and wake them up if needed so that they would at least look presentable though he still kept the fact that they were being evaluated hidden. This time Hanao addressed Sylvia though that was her only option since there was no one else in the room,’This box has your Gigai in it but they come completely naked so you deserve some privacy since we don’t want the guys seeing too much. I think it will be better if you can interact with the world we currently live in so we made sure it got delivered beforehand. I also thought you might need some extra clothes so I went ahead and bought some for you, you can include that in your report if you want.

Sylvia also agreed that being in a Gigai would make for a better experience so she was appreciative of the gesture. The 4th seat officer approached the bags with clothes in them and raised her eyebrow as she looked inside. What she saw was red lingerie of the sexy type as it was open on the parts that normally a woman wanted to cover. Hanao quickly dashed to her and snatched the bag from her as she fiercely blushed,’The other one!’ Sylvia decided not to ask any questions and inspected the other bag to find 3 pairs of underwear and normal clothes.

Meanwhile, Hanao opened the wooden lid of the box and took out a full sized female doll that was naked and bald,’You know how to use this right?’ She nodded and took the Gigai from the owner. Entering one was a mandatory lesson in the Academy so every Shinigami had to know how to use one though she didn’t get a chance to try it out since then. Sylvia focused herself as her soul entered the Gigai causing long grey and blue hair to sprout from the scalp as the rest of the body shifted to match her proportions exactly. Since she wasn’t used to being in a Gigai it wasn’t exactly comfortable to be in one as it made her feel heavy and restricted though she reckoned that it would go away with time.

As she was naked, she put the clothes that Hanao bought to use as she put on the ordinary underwear and then got dressed in a black turtleneck top, black tights and a brown check skirt. She finished up by tying her hair into the usual ponytail,’Looking good. Here is the gikon dispenser. It has a faux soul in it so in the case that you do use it, it won’t look like you are dropping dead on the street.’ Sylvia accepted the toy dispenser with a bunny head on it and put it in her bag for now as she didn’t have a need for it right now and she didn’t have pockets to keep it with her either. Now that she was in a Gigai she was ready to move on. Hanao asked,’What do you want to do now? We do want your stay to be nice but if you want to get right into then I can’t stop you.’ Sylvia nodded,’We will have time to spare in the evenings. I’ve met you two so I would like to meet with the rest of the team now.'

Word Count: 1,399

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As per Sylvia's request, Tenzen and Hanao would lead Sylvia to the apartment where she would meet two other members of the team and behind her evaluation. If Sylvia paid attention to their expressions, she might have noticed that Tenzen's expression appeared to display some concern, while Hanao was overall indifferent, if not a little smug as she led the way to unit 05.

... HANAO banged on the door three times and demanded that the pair inside "open up". Behind her, Tenzen addressed Sylvia, hoping to give her a heads up on what to expect. "This is Youma's and Jino's room. They get along swimmingly, most of the time so pairing them up in one unit was a no-brainer. Youma is general support for the team, happy to fill in wherever you need 'em. He even cooks from time to time-- his cooking isn't bad at all, either. Jino on the other hand is our muscle, fresh out of the 11th Division, sure you know the type. He's not a bad kid, but this whole situation with WILDS being in town has hit him the hardest.", Tenzen explained. "Youma! Jino! One of you open the door already!", Hanao demanded once more. The door swung open a second later.

... JINO UCHIYARI was half-asleep, half-naked, and basically fully agitated. As he stood in the doorway in just his boxer shorts and tank top, Jino took a only a second to size up the three people standing in front of him. Two he recognized very well, the third, a woman with with gray and blue hair, he did not know at all. "Tsk! What's all the noise about, it's too early for this shit, Hanao!", Jino growled.

"This little- Where are your pants, huh? This is a respectable establishment, yah punk!" Hanao hissed before raising her hand and swinging down over Jino's head.
"Hey!", Jino dodged backwards and raised his fist in a battle-ready stance.
"Don't 'Hey' me. And it's Mrs. Morishima to you."
"Since when?", Jino asked and then squinted. There was a pause as he again sized up the three people in front of him. Anyone observing the interaction might've noticed the moment the light bulb switched on in his head. "Oh." Jino sighed. "This is kinda awkward." Jino crossed his arms, "Listen, I'm flattered --really-- but I'm not at all interested. No offense, but I'm just not into that kind of thing.", Jino explain completely seriously and then nodded. "Y'all have fun, though." Jino winked and then started to close the door.
"What?", Tenzen asked blankly.
"This Little shit!", Hanao put her leg through the doorway and forced her way in, repeatedly swinging at Jino's head the entire time. "Hey, how stupid are you? Do you have brain damage!"
"You're the one with the brain damage right now! Tenzen, get your chick under control!", Jino protested as Hanao chased him around the apartment. Tenzen rushed over and held Hanao back, while urging them both to calm down.

It took a few minutes, but once the misunderstanding was cleared up, the four Shinigami were able to finally have a conversation. In the process Tenzen had been forced to introduce Sylvia as the evaluator, but that was fine as Jino would have been told from the start anyway. Unfortunately, after learning of who Sylvia was, Jino's attitude worsened considerably and he made no attempts to hide that he was not thrilled about the situation. It made sense that Jino would be the least likely to cooperate, as things were, he had the most to lose.

"Now that you know what's actually going on, we'll leave you two to it.", said Tenzen. "By the way, where is Youma?"
Jino, who was staring down Sylvia with his legs crossed, responded right away. "Youma ain't in, and I ain't snitching."
Hanao, raised her hand again, but Tenzen rushed to grab her arm and pulled her out the door. "Right, don't worry, Sylvia we'll find Youma for you. I'm sure he's around here somewhere. Let's go, Hanao.", Tenzen replied and then closed the apartment door.

Now, with the room to themselves, Jino uncrossed his arms as he faced Sylvia. "So, what now?", he asked.

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Hearing Sylvia’s request, Hanao shrugged,’Alright, ya ready then?’ The female Shinigami took a notepad and pen out of her bag. Since there were 8 members, including the owners, it was a bit too much for her to remember so the old method of writing information down would have to prevail. She nodded and put on some flat black shoes,’Now I am, after you.’ Hanao stepped outside where they saw Tenzen on the first floor,’Oh, done already?’ his expression seemed a bit concerned though which was quite a change from when Sylvia saw him a few minutes before.

The female owner spoke,’Since we are on the second floor already do you want to start here?’ Sylvia nodded,’Makes no difference to me. I need to talk with everyone so the order we do it in doesn’t bother me.’ Tenzen joined them as Hanao brought them over to the next door over as the male owner took the opportunity to give her some background. This room was occupied by Youma, a member of the 8th Division and Jino, a member of the 11th Division. Their squads were something she already knew from the roster that Kazukan gave her but unfortunately that was all the information she had.

According to Tenzen, the two got along very well though their duties were quite different. Youma was the support guy while Jino lived up to his position in the 11th Division as the muscle. Hanao ‘knocked’ on their door but there was no response. On the fourth knock, the door finally opened as they saw a male who was still half-asleep and his bottom half was only equipped in… boxer shorts. Sylvia watched as the interaction played out between Hanao and the male who was clearly annoyed by being woken up.

The female Shinigami raised her eyebrow as the male seemed to misunderstand why the three of them were at his door. Ultimately, the situation escalated into fisticuffs between Hanao and the male as Tenzen eventually stepped in and began holding his better half back. Once the situation was under control, the male owner took it upon himself to explain the situation,’This is Sylvia Barlowe, 4th seat of the 5th Division. She has come here from Seiretei to evaluate the performance of our team. I’m sure you understand why this is happening?

Upon hearing this, the male had a mean scowl as he looked at Sylvia,’Oh? So that’s what’s happening here?’ Tenzen then motioned to the half dressed male,’This is Jino Uchiyari of the 11th Division.’ The male owner then questioned about the whereabouts of Jino’s roommate, Youma, though his lips seemed to be sealed regarding the matter. The two owners informed Sylvia that they would look for the missing Youma so for now she would have some alone time with Jino. The female Shinigami stepped into the room and sat down as the male questioned her about what would be happening now.

Sylvia quickly responded,’First of all, put on some trousers.’ Jino grumbled at this as it was the same thing Hanao had told him,’Geez, it’s not that big of a deal. I’m in my own room and besides we’re both adults here. It’s not like you have to look, ya know?’ She shook her head in protest,’As a woman, it makes me uncomfortable to be sitting next to a half dressed man when I have given no signs that it is okay to do so.’ The male grumbled some more but ultimately gave in,’Fine,’ he said as he stepped into his room and then returned a few moments later with jeans on,’Happy?

The female Shinigami nodded,’Better,’ as Jino once again sat down. She prepared her notepad and pen,’Let’s start, shall we? How long have you been residing in the apartment?’ The male Shinigami seemed a bit offput by the question,’Shouldn’t you already have that information, Mrs. Evaluator? Six months now, since joining team Kasazaki.’ Since she expected them to be honest she wanted to be honest with them as well,’Unfortunately, besides your names and divisions, Vice Captain Kazukan hasn’t given me much information about any of you.

Jino nodded to himself,’Huh, typical upper management.’ Sylvia added,’However, that may have been on purpose so that I don’t have the same bias as him.’ The male scratched his head,’I guess that makes a good point.’ The female Shinigami continued with her line of questioning,’Tell me more about your daily duties?’ Jino answered with some frustration in his tone,’Do you mean before or after that Tengu prick became active? Before that I dealt with most of the Hollow attacks within the Kazasaki district and I was damn good at it, too! Everything was great until WILDS became a thing, it only got worse after the Night of Wailing and since allying themselves with Armory S, now they've basically been deputized.

Sylvia made notes as he spoke and now it made sense why Jino in particular was the one affected the most by the group of Fullbringers. While she generally gave the benefit of the doubt to her fellow Shinigami, the group that called themselves the WILDS was a big uncertainty for her so she wanted to learn more about them,’Tell me about WILDS. I want to know any details on their members since you’ve interacted them before.’ Jino crossed his arms,’What is there to tell? They're a bunch of pricks who run around in masks acting like they run the place. No one knows their real names or how many members there actually are, but Tengu Mask is the most active in this part of town. Never seen his face but he's definitely a teenager, a real fucking brat too. Comes around here acting all buddy-buddy like. Sometimes they also bring Pluses for us to bury.

The female Shinigami continued making notes based on his answers. It made sense why the Fullbringers hid behind their masks. Unlike Shinigami, other humans would be fully aware of them so they had to hide their identity to prevent being recognised by citizens and authorities alike. However, this Tengu Mask person was already mentioned twice which made her wander if he was the most active out of the Fullbringer group. Still, co-operating with another group brought its own trouble with it,’Can they be trusted?’ It wasn’t like ordinary humans could do much about Shinigami even if they were to find out about their real identities, it was likely that they wouldn’t be believed in the first place. Although, if the Fullbringers were to have a grudge against them just like the Quincies then that would be another story.

Jino took a bit more time to think about his answer,’You want my honest opinion. They're pretty tough, but no one knows what their endgame is. Why they do what they do. Some of the other teams seem fine with letting them do their thing, Hell, even Tenzen seems to trust them, but I don't buy it. They're up to something, they gotta be. My pops always told me, never trust a man in with a mask, I think he was referring to Vaizard mostly, but the point stands.’ Sylvia hadn’t met any of the WILDS members so she couldn’t speak based on experience but she still stood by her belief that the Fullbringers simply wanted to defend the town that they lived in but it was also important to get the impressions of those who did interact with them.

The line of questioning regarding the Fullbringers seemed to have reached its limit so Sylvia moved onto another topic,’Your roommate, Youma, he didn’t know that I would be coming beforehand so it’s not like he specifically ran away from me. Is it a normal occurrence for him to sneak out like this?’ Jino once again got a bit agitated by her question,’Tsk, listen lady. I'll tell you just like I told Tenzen. Youma ain't here right now and I ain't snitching on him. You got questions about Youma, you can ask him when he gets back.’ Sylvia responded,’I appreciate your loyalty to your friend, but hiding the truth or lying to me will not help your case.’ The male Shinigami waved his hand in dismissal of her point,’Whatever, write what you want in that notepad of yours. I ain’t snitching and that’s final.’ She wrote down that Jino could be quite uncooperative though that was only the first impression. If he would keep the same attitude throughout the whole duration of her stay was still a subject to be investigated. The female Shinigami moved onto the next question,’I heard that you get along very will with Youma. What about the other residents? What is your relationship with them?

Jino shrugged,’Eh, besides Youma? I get along with everyone. Nurse Mizuki is cool, the twins are pretty cool, Tenzen and Hanao are alright, I respect what they've built here, yah know. Yutaka is fine I guess, don't know much about the guy, but he seems friendly.’ The fact that the male Shinigami nearly got into a proper fight with Hanao had worried Sylvia slightly but it didn’t seem like he had a grudge with any of the other members. Perhaps it was simply their conflicting personalities though it was too soon to tell if their arguments were a daily occurrence.

She asked her final question,’What is your opinion of the owners?’ While she had already talked to them, Sylvia wanted to know how the other members felt about them. The male Shinigami answered,’Like I said, the Morishimas are alright --good peoples. They do a lot for us and really try to help out the community. Tenzen is a little too soft in my opinion, but he balances out Hanao. That woman is crazy, but I'd trust her with my life.’ Sylvia specifically wrote down the point about helping the community as it was an important quality for a Shinigami to show.’

The female Shinigami nodded,’Alright, as far as introduction go I think that’s good enough for me.’ Jino was a bit surprised that the evaluator would not be spending more time with him so she added,’It’s definitely not the last you will be seeing of me. If there are any Hollow attacks then let me know as I would like to accompany you when that happens.’ He nodded,’It doesn’t happen often around here and there is no guarantee that we will get there before WILDS does but I’ll let ya know.’ A Q&A like this was a bit formal so apart from a brief introduction like this she wanted to see the Shinigami in their normal environments. Besides, when it came to the Hollow attacks, a meeting with WILDS could be beneficial for the female Shinigami. She closed her notepad and left the room as she was ready to move on to the next unit.

Word Count: 1,807

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After concluding the interview with Jino Uchiyari, Sylvia would make her way to the next apartment over, unit 05, which was the room of Chisa Mizuki of the 4th Division. Chisa, or Nurse Mizuki, was the in-house medic for team Kazasaki. As Sylvia approached the door she would notice that it was already cracked open, furthermore she would like be able to hear talking and giggling coming from inside the room.

... CHISA MIZUKI giggled with a mouthful of food and covered her mouth with her hand. "Cut it out, Youma. You're making me laugh while I'm eating. I might choke.", she protested playfully. They'd arranged to have breakfast together the night before but as always, it was a little more than just a shared meal between colleagues. Youma made a habit of putting on a show for her --of course he was outgoing and friendly with everyone-- but he was especially nice to Chisa. Which she didn't mind, actually, she rather enjoyed Youma's company. He was hard-working and reliable and funny. Plus, he could cook, which she could not. So, when Youma suggested that they have breakfast together, Chisa delightfully agreed. 

... YOUMA WATANABE blushed as Chisa giggled as his jokes. He wasn't sure if they were that funny, but he was glad to see Chisa laugh. "While I'd prefer that you didn't choke, you'll be glad to know that I am a certified first responder."
"Oh, is that so, First Responder Youma?", Chisa replied, playing along.
"That's right. So, even if you happen to choke I can just perform the Himalaya Maneuver for you.", Youma stated confidently.
"Himalaya?", Chisa looked confused for a moment. "You mean 'Heimlich', Youma. It's the 'Heimlich Maneuver'.", Chisa corrected.
Youma paused and appeared to consider Chisa's words. "Hmm, I guess the Heimlich Maneuver could work as well."
"Shut up, there is no Himalaya Maneuver!" Chisa retorted dismissively and giggled again. Youma smiled from ear to ear, it might've been too soon to say for sure but so far the breakfast had been a smashing success. He was a little disappointed that he hadn't suggested something like this sooner. as the team medic, Chisa wasn't able to leave the apartment much, in case of an emergency she needed to be at her post. This meant that Chisa spent most of her time cooped up inside. She seemed to manage on her own and kept busy with her studies and but Youma had always felt bad for her and recently started making a conscious effort to spend more time with her. Of course, it helped that he also happened to have a crush on her.

Neither of the two were aware that an evaluator was present on the base and waiting just outside of Chisa's door.

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Sylvia left behind Jino’s room and looked around though she saw no signs of either Tenzen or Hanao. They were probably still looking for Youma or if they had already found him then they were tending to some other matter. Either way, she would continue even if they were not present so the female Shinigami moved onto the next door over which was number 06. When she approached it she saw that the door was slightly open though she doubted that it was due to the signs of intrusion and it was simply a small event of negligence.

From behind the door, she could hear both a man’s and a woman’s voice though the conversation didn’t seem to be important as they were joking about and giggling. Sylvia knocked on the door and waited for a response. The woman’s voice responded,’Come in!’ The female Shinigami pushed the door open and walked in though the two were a bit confused to see her as they didn’t recognise her. She promptly introduced herself,’I’m Sylvia Barlowe, the 4th seat of the 5th Division. I’ve been sent her to evaluate the performance of the Kasazaki team. Do you have time for a chat?

Hearing that an evaluator was present they quickly stood up and bowed,’Yes, please come in. I’m Chisa Mizuki of the 4th Division.’ Chisa was a brunette with fairly short hair where the side bangs reached her chin and the back was just reaching past the start of her neck and she had equally brown eyes. The male also introduced himself,’I am Youma Watanabe of the 8th Division.’ She gave him a look as the missing member seemed to have found himself. Youma was on the scrawnier side and he had scruffy blond hair that reached his green eyes and he was wearing rectangular glasses.

Sylvia nodded,’You can sit and finish your breakfast while we talk.’ They became a bit more nervous in her presence but tried to act normally,’Sorry, I didn’t know that we would be having a guest so I haven’t made any extra.’ The female Shinigami shook her head,’It’s fine, I’ve already eaten. Thanks for the offer.’ The evaluator prepared her notepad and pen and began her questioning,’Why don’t you both tell me how long you’ve been here?’ Chisa answered first,’I've been on team Kazasaki for six months but this is my second 'tour" I suppose you could call it.’ Sylvia made a note of it and wanted to know more,’Can you elaborate more on that?

The medic nodded,’Most Shinigami who come to the Kasazaki team, or any other outposts usually get stationed for a six month shift. Naturally, the exception to that is the owners who have been here for a few years. Oh, and I think the twins have been here for about a year now.’ Sylvia looked to Youma for his response,’I've also been here for six months now. Before that I was a maintenance worker in the 8th Division Barracks. I personally requested a transfer to Karakura because I wanted the experience.

She made a note of that as well as it was an admirable attitude to have. Sometimes the best way to learn new skills was to drastically change your environment though it was not always an easy decision to pursue that. However, with Jino, Chisa and Youma having been here for six months it meant the tenure of the three would soon be coming to an end. Hence, the reason for the evaluation taking place right now. Naturally, it wasn’t likely that the owners would be reassigned somewhere else and the fact that the twins also have been here longer than six months meant that their skills were needed. Therefore, if someone was going to be reassigned, the probability of it being any of these three members was very high.

For the next questions she wanted to know more about their skills,’Chisa, let’s focus on you for now. You have the role of being the medic of the team, how strong is your Kaido exactly?’ The reason Sylvia was asking this was that due to the infrequency of the Hollow attacks and the fact that most of them were handled by WILDS to begin with a highly skilled medic would be wasting their skills here. Even though a medic was a vital member of any team, if they only needed light healing then she was sure that Tenzen or Hanao would be capable of doing the job. Chisa’s face changed slightly as she seemed to pick up on Sylvia’s intentions in asking that question,’I am capable of using Lieutenant-level Kaido. "Thankfully, we haven't encountered any incidents where that wasn't sufficient, but in the event that something that severe occurs we do have protocols in place. Fortunately, the worst that seems to happen in Kazasaki is some scrapes and bruises. In fact, Gigai seem to get banged up more than we actually do.

The medic’s answer pretty much confirmed Sylvia’s suspicions but it was too soon to make any concrete decisions. However, currently Chisa along with Jino were at the top of her list when it came to reassignment. The female Shinigami asked her next question,’So, since you have a lack of work what do you do on a daily basis?’ The medic was a bit hesitant to answer but after she gathered her thoughts she gave an answer,’To be completely honest, not much. It can be quite boring. Besides routine Gigai maintenance and ongoing medical study, my days are pretty bland. Unfortunately, I don't have as much freedom to leave the apartment, an emergency can happen at any time. Fortunately, Youma keeps me company when he can.

The fact that Chisa kept up her studies was good but without real experience to practice it she was not provided with a good environment to grow. Reading something and doing it were quite different as Sylvia knew and so if Chisa had to suddenly perform a complex operation that she had only read about, the chances of failure could be quite high. Besides, if the Shinigami herself felt that she was bored then that must mean that she also would agree with this to an extent. The evaluator wrote down some more notes and proceeded the next question following the same line of topic,’So, is there something else that you could be assigned to do apart from your medic duties?

Chisa once again needed some time to think about her answer but she seemed to be giving it some serious thought so Sylvia gave her the time that she needed,’That's a tough questions to answer. On the one hand, I'd love to do more around the apartment, but on the other I don't think there is any extra work around here to get done. Nonetheless, I'm always open to helping out, I suppose.’ It was true that a small team like this would have one member deal with a certain area so there wasn’t much room for her to branch out even if she wanted to.

Youma then cut in,’Mrs. Barlowe, if you don't mind, I think Chisa- I mean Nurse Mizuki does more than enough. Out of all of us, she's the one that rarely gets to leave the apartment building. She's always here for the most part and her door is always open when we need her.’ Sylvia gave him a serious look,’I appreciate your input and it is certain that Chisa is a highly valued by the other members. However, I would like to hear her opinions and feelings on the matter.’ He seemed to be a bit dejected by her statement but he knew that she wasn’t wrong.

Since Youma showed his eagerness to answer, Sylvia would then maintain her focus on him,’Youma, you are the person in charge of general support and maintenance. Can you give me more specifics on this? Also tell me any specialised skills you have like being good with electronics.’ The male nodded and answered,’I'm a jack of all trades, I guess. I do most of the cleaning and general maintenance, as well as most of the shopping. I also do most of the repairs for our equipment, besides the Gigais, of course. Mostly, my job is just to be where I am needed.

Sylvia made a note of this as his range of tasks seemed to be the widest but aside from the repairs of equipment it didn’t seem to be too specialised, hence the ‘general’ support. The female Shinigami decided to breach the topic of his earlier absence,’I’ve been to your room to have a chat with Jino. The fact that you weren’t there caused a bit of an uproar. Is it normal for you to disappear like that without telling others?’ Youma seemed to become nervous after hearing the question but he didn’t seem intent on hiding anything,’Well, I don't spend most of the day in our room anyway, but I got up early to make breakfast and I wanted to share it with Nurse Mizuki, is all.

The female Shinigami narrowed her blue eyes as she looked at him and then Chisa which seemed to make them both even more nervous. She had enough evidence to prove that the two of them were a thing. From the conversation she had overheard, they were getting along pretty well and based on Chisa’s answer Youma spent quite a lot of time with her. Next, the fact that Youma quickly became defensive over Chisa when she was being questioned. Lastly, the way they looked at each other was obvious for anyone to see. However, relationships like this were quite risky as in case of a break up it could lead to tension and drama between all members, especially in a small team like this.

She wanted to ensure that if the two were still to stay in the Kasazaki team then it wouldn’t cause a problem down the line,’Your relationship with Chisa, does it have an impact on your performance?’ The question made both of them react as they got flustered and blushed,’Relationship?! What relationship!’ They both spoke up and tried to divert the topic,’No, it's nothing like that-’ followed by Chisa,’We're just friends.’ The male adamantly nodded,’Yeah, we get along and it's 100 percent professional and it doesn't impact our work at all.

Sylvia let out a sigh at this exchange. It wasn’t like they were trying to hide it from her but more than that it seemed like they couldn’t be honest with each other. Still, it would have to be something to watch out for so it might be worth checking with their owners about their thoughts on this. She made notes regarding this and once the two have calmed down she changed the topic,’What are your opinions of the owners?’ Chisa was the first to answer,’Tenzen and Hanao are sweet. and they make great bosses, too,’ followed by Youma,’They keep thing relatively stress-free and we all have a lot of autonomy, as long as we meet our quotas we're pretty much allowed to do what we want.

That did seem to be a case and everyone had a different management style so it wasn’t like their method was wrong. Both Sylvia and Kazukan had no problems with it as long as the work was done properly. She moved onto the next question,’Do you have any information to share about WILDS?’ They gave it some thought,’Tengu is a good kid, from what I've been able to observe. I'm sure he's got a cute face behind the mask,’ and then Youma gave his opinion,’He's stupid-powerful, too, at least from what I've heard. Jino complains about him a lot, but even he admits the kid's got some skill.’ Then, returning to Chisa who concluded,’WILDS as a whole has been on the rise since the Night of Wailing, but we still don't know that much about them. Tenzen would be the one to ask for more information, he's pretty friendly with Tengu.

Sylvia made her notes and was interested in the continuous mention of the Tengu masked Fullbringer. Though in terms of information, it was almost the same as she had heard from Jino so she would have to pursue this with Tenzen like the medic had suggested. The female Shinigami nodded,’That’s all the questions I have for now. I will be staying for a few days so this is not the only chat we will be having.’ She was getting ready to leave when Chisa called out to her,’Uh, Ms. Sylvia, would you like to come by later? We can go to the bathhouse together and chat while we relax.’ The female Shinigami nodded,’Sure, that sounds good. Let me know when you want to go.’ It was definitely a safer option than spending time with Hanao that was for sure, especially if she was planning to use that lingerie tonight.

Word Count: 2,150

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After leaving unit 06, Sylvia had officially concluded her initial interviews with more than half of the team. Three more members remained, the twins Aya and Saya Unasano and lastly the newest member of the team, Yutaka Shihouin. Yutaka's apartment was unit 02, however, he'd not returned to the apartment in two days, which was not uncommon for him. Sylvia would have to proceed to unit 03, where she would find the identical Unasano twins waiting for her. They both stood at a height of 5 feet and 4.3 inches and had the physical appearances of high school students. They both had silky golden blonde hair with brown eyes. Their hair was neatly styled in long pigtails that went down to their lower-backs, tied up with black ribbons for Aya and white ones for Saya. Their matching attires of a hoodie, stripped undershirt, skirt and stockings were similarly color contrasted.

... SAYA UNASANO stood in the middle of the room with her arms crossed and a stern look on her face. "Well, you sure took your sweet time." Despite their identical appearances, Saya was very clearly the more assertive and aggressive twin of the pair. Her more docile and timid sister stood a bit behind her and seemed to struggle to hold eye contact with Sylvia. "You should be nice, I'm sure she came as quickly as she could, Saya. It's a pleasure to meet you, Miss Barlowe, come in."
"Tsk. Whatever, don't get to comfortable." Saya swiveled on her heels and marched over to her computer desk and sat down with her back to Sylvia and her sister.

... AYA UNASANO was immediately flustered after seemingly being left to entertain Sylvia by herself, becoming a nervous mumbling wreck right before the evaluator's eyes. She stuttered something unintelligible as her cheeks turned red. She then quickly bowed and rushed over to Saya. "Sayaaaa!", she pleaded, pulling her by her sleeve.
"Jeez, you're so hopeless." Saya spun her chair around and faced Sylvia, Aya stood behind the chair, as if it and her seated older sister were a shield. "Sup. I'm Saya, this is Aya, we're the Unasano twins."

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After finishing her chat with Chisa and Youma, it meant that Sylvia had already talked with five out of eight Kasazaki team members. She had been to all the units on the second floor so she took the stairs to descend to the first floor where there were 3 more apartments, number 1 through 3. The female Shinigami knew that one of the units had the twins in it based on the roster and the statements of the other members. Questioning two people at once require more of her focus hence it was more tiring so she preferred to get it over with sooner rather than later.

The problem was that she didn’t know which unit belonged to who. Sylvia tried the unit closest to the stairs which was number 01. She knocked on the door though she received no response. She looked through the window to see that on the inside there were plenty of wooden boxes so this must have been the unit that was being used as the storage space. Sylvia moved onto the next one, which was numbered 02, and tried her luck as she knocked. However, much like the first one there was no response. When she looked through the window, the female Shinigami saw that the room was definitely being used due to the decorations but there was no one there. She tried knocking again in case the resident was still sleeping in their room but there was no response.

When she knocked on the door of unit 03, she received permission to come in. When Sylvia entered the room she received a not so nice greeting. This room belonged to the twins who where quite young in their appearance, which was only further highlighted by their current attire which resembled a high school uniform. They both had long blonde hair that was styled in pigtails and brown eyes. The differing feature between them was the ribbons they were wearing as well as their personalities. One of the sisters seemed very timid as she hid behind the sister who ‘greeted’ her. The timid sister couldn’t look into her eyes as she greeted Sylvia and reprimanded her aggressive sister who was Saya which meant that the timid one was Aya.

Saya didn’t seem to pleased about this as she made another rude statement and turned her back to them which made Aya even more troubled. The timid twin quickly went over to her aggressive sister and pleaded her for assistance. Saya gave in though she maintained the same attitude as she properly introduced herself as Aya was hiding behind her. The curious thing about this whole exchange was that the twins already knew who she was despite none of the Kasazaki team members being told about her arrival,’You seem to already know who I am. How did you find out?

Saya answered with her assertive tone,’Little bird in team Sakurabashi chirped a few minutes ago. That's where your buddy is, right? Give us a little credit, lady.’ That was the district where Vadim went so clearly it meant he arrived successfully as well. These twins seemed to be in charge of reporting and collaborating with teams in other districts so they had an important duty. Furthermore, the reporting issue was one of the main reasons for Sylvia’s presence. The female Shinigami took a seat and prepared her notepad for the session,’So you two are in charge of reporting, what is the process that you follow?

The timid sister was the one to answer,’Depends on the incident and the urgency. There is a lot of things we have to document and keep track of, personnel, injuries, Hollow incidents and frequency. We also rely on the others to file their responsibilities and requests. However, most things are complied and submitted bi-weekly in a detailed document. Although, with fewer incidents to report, the documents have been on the lighter side.’ Her voice was quiet and uncertain but with no other loud noises, Sylvia had no problems in hearing her. Saya chimed in her bit in the contrasting loud and aggressive tone,’There's only but so many times you can report on 'no major incidents' before it started to get old.

The point she made was quite understandable as with limited action there would be less to report, especially with WILDS preventing them from doing their duties. Sylvia continued her line of questioning,’Since both of you are assigned to reporting, how do you split up the workload between yourselves?’ The aggressive sister answered first,’We divide and conquer, Aya's really good at putting the stuff together and making it look neat,’ followed by the timid sister,’Saya does most of the heavy-lifting, she gathers the reports and coordinates with the other teams.

Due to their different personalities, they did the tasks that they were suited for. However, due to the recent downtime one of them would probably be enough to cover most things but splitting up twins was always a questionable decision. If it worked for them, then it was probably good enough though the personalities of the twin sister were quite problematic. Aya was much too timid which seemed even worse than how Aika was when she met her and Saya was problematic for completely the opposite reason. Jino could be quite uncooperative but she was on another level entirely.

Sylvia then raised the main issue,’I’ve been told that the frequency of reports has decreased recently. What are the reasons for this? Aside from the decrease in activity which is not in your control.’ Aya seemed to withdraw even more behind Saya as she started clinging to her,’I’m sorry,’ which made Saya even more angry,’What the Hell are you apologizing for, Aya. Listen lady, our reports get submitted bi-weekly the same time without fail. Might not be the case for some of the other teams, but we've never missed a deadline. Aya stick up for yourself!

This made Aya only apologies again,’I’m sorry, Saya.’ The aggressive sister continued,’Stop apologizing, will yah!’ and then she turned to Sylvia,’Listen, if you wanna talk about the report being 'incomplete' we can talk about that, but --our job-- submitting them, has always been done on time.’ Kazukan had never did specify if it was this particular team that was shirking their reports so it may have seen as an accusatory question. However, Sylvia was simply just trying to get all the facts and she wanted to assure them that she was not blaming them,’Alright, I’ll choose to trust you. We can work on the incomplete aspect later. I doubt that I will be sticking around long enough to see you submit a bi-weekly report so I would like to see how you work on other things.’ Saya answered,’Suit yourself, just don’t get in my way.

Next, Sylvia wanted to move onto the other half of the twins’ job,’How often do you co-operate with the other teams?’ The timid sister answered,’There haven't been any large scale operations since the Night of Wailing, but we update each other regularly,’ which was a logical answer. She expected that the each of the teams was pretty self-contained so they wouldn’t need to rely heavily on others teams. Then again, some of the district could be quite big so occasional assistance might be needed. She didn’t need to know too much about the other teams since they weren’t the ones she was evaluating so she asked one final question regarding this topic,’What is the performance of those teams compared to the Kasazaki team?

Aya replied,’We're all trying our best,’ which was followed up by Saya,’Yeah, OUR best just happens to be better than everyone else. Honestly, lady, if you think Kazasaki team has problems, check out team Mashima.’ While the Kasazaki team definitely had ‘unique’ individuals, Sylvia didn’t see any major problems as they seemed to be doing their work for the most part. The female Shinigami followed this up with a different question,’The other members have a positive opinion of you two. Do you get along with them?

Saya shrugged,’Yeah mostly. As long as they do their jobs we stay on good terms, if that's what you're asking.’ There didn’t seem to be any interpersonal issues in the team which was a big relief as that wasn’t exactly something that she wanted to solve. Seeing that Saya was the blunt type, the evaluator could use this to her advantage and question her about the other members. She couldn’t do that before since Jino and Youma and roommates and Chisa and Youma were interested in each other so they wouldn’t have given an unbiased opinion.

Sylvia broached the biggest worry on her list,’Chisa and Youma seem to have a thing going, from your observations has this been affecting their performance?’ Saya scoffed at the question,’That 'thing' between them is a drawn out pain in the ass, is what it is. They're like two middle schoolers but it'll never go anywhere because that would require either of them to grow a pair. In the meantime, Youma has been slacking off. He spends more time fawning over Chisa than actually getting any work done, planning dates he's never gonna take her on. He eventually gets work done but it's usually late and the only reason we haven't reported him for it in the past is because Tenzen covers for him. Chisa can sometimes spend hours of the day with her head in the clouds but at least she's consistent.

The answer was very useful and it proved her suspicions regarding the effects of the relationship. Due to the nature of Chisa’s job, her sitting around wasn’t the worst aspect but the fact that Youma was consistently late in his duties was the bigger problem. Sylvia would definitely be bringing this up with Tenzen as she couldn’t let the situation continue like this. By this point, Aya was almost completely hidden behind her sister though she was still fiercely clinging on to her and it didn’t seem like she would be taking part in giving her opinion of the other members.

Sylvia continued this fruitful line of inquiry,’Who is the biggest troublemaker of the team?’ The aggressive sister once again gave her honest opinion,’We don't have any real 'troublemakers' Jino gets into the most shit but it's mostly out of boredom. Give him some Hollows to fight and he's fine. Sadly, the only two getting any action around here are Tenzen and Hanao and I don't mean the Hollow-slaying kind. Youma and Chisa can be distracted with each other. The only blindspot in the team is Yutaka. He's never submitted a single report since joining, disappears for days on end, and doesn't contribute around the apartment at all. If you want to look into someone you should start there.

The only thing that was concerning about her answer was the point about Yutaka. Since he disappears for long periods of time, unit 02 must belong to him and it was clear that he still had not returned since his last outing. Sylvia nodded,’I’ll bring it up with him when I get to chat to him.’ Since she had asked about the worst she wanted to ask about the best,’Who is the best performer?’ The sister answered,’Obviously us two. And then maybe Youma. He's been distracted, but he's reliable and still does a lot for the team.’ However, the answer was quite expected as everyone would put themselves forward as the best performer.

Sylvia felt that she had made enough notes for now as it had been a useful interview so she decided to end it on the usual question,’What is your opinion of the owners?’ Saya nodded,’Tenzen and Hanao are alright. We'd take them over any of the other team leaders,’ meanwhile Aya leaned out a bit and gave her answer,’They’re both very supportive and team Kazasaki really feels like a family. We submitted a request for a permanent posting with them here but we haven't heard back yet.’ That must be the reason why the twins have been here for so long without being assigned to a different team. The female Shinigami nodded,’Good to know, I will see if I can do anything about that.’ Sylvia closed her notepad and got to her feet,’That’s it for now. Your answers have been very helpful. Thanks for your time.’ The twin sisters saw her off in their own ways and she left their apartment.

Word Count: 2,072

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Having concluded her interviews of the Unasano twin, there was only one member of team Kazasaki left for Sylvia to meet, Yutaka Shihouin. Yutaka was not present at the apartment building and had not been seen for the past few days and none of the others knew where he'd gone or when he'd be expected to return. Tenzen advised Sylvia that her time would be spent doing anything other than simply waiting around for Yutaka. Judging by the how the rest of the team carried on themselves, it was obvious that Yutaka's absence was not out of the ordinary. Youma complied a grocery list from the others and even asked Sylvia if she had any requests. Youma and Tenzen then went grocery shopping together. When they returned Youma spent some time working around the apartment and the rest of his time hovering around Chisa in her room. Chisa spent most of the time in her room studying. Jino trained for hours on the roof. Saya and Aya stayed in their room and Hanao checked in on everyone periodically. Generally, they all navigated the day as if Sylvia wasn't there at all. Conversely, Sylvia was able to take the rest of the day to herself as well.

[Instructions: Sylvia has the rest of the day to herself, she's free to explore the town or interact with the others.]


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Sylvia stretched out after leaving the apartment of the twins. Having finished talking to all the available members, she had finished everything that she had to do for now. The female Shinigami headed up the stairs to the second floor and returned to the apartment of the owners. When he noticed her, Tenzen spoke up,’Oh, you’re back. Looks like you managed to find Youma too.’ She nodded,’Yes, I also talked with everyone apart from Yutaka.’ He scratched his head,’Ah, I wouldn’t recommend eagerly waiting for him since we never know where he is going or for how long. You will be better off tending to other things in the meantime.

Sylvia agreed,’Seems like it,’ the question was what to do. She didn’t have her own space yet and she had to interact with the Kasazaki team members as much as possible. However, if she was to constantly hover over them then it wouldn’t be a natural environment, especially after the interviews she had just conducted. As she was pondering that, Youma entered the room with a piece of paper and pen in his hand,’Since Mrs. Sylvia will be staying with us for some time we will be needing a bit more groceries to accommodate that. I’ll be going to the store soon so let me know if you want anything.

Tenzen seemed to be happy at Youma’s appearance,’Ah, I’ll come with you. I’m running low on smokes so I was going to go anyway.’ Hanao propped up as she addressed her better half,’Ooh, I want that velvet cake!’ The male owner let out a sigh,’Again? We’ve been having it too much…’ Hanao didn’t seem to be giving up though and while they were doing that Youma focused on Sylvia,’Is there anything you want? Dislikes or any allergies?’ She shook her head,’It’s fine, I’ll have whatever you guys are having. I want to come with you though.’ It was a chance to see how he carried himself and also see a bit of town.

With the list ready, both Youma and Tenzen started getting ready. Sylvia put away the notepad into her back and put on a beige trench coat and waited outside for the other two. It didn’t take long for them to arrive and so the three of them headed off and Tenzen explained,’The stores that we usually go to are all in the old town. Since it’s the ‘old town’ it has quite a few touristy locations but that doesn’t mean that it’s all outdated. There are still plenty of supermarkets and entertainment outlets so we only really leave the old town when patrolling or when we need to buy something specifics. This area isn’t exactly great for electronics and stuff so we have to go a bit far whenever we need to fix or replace appliances.

Sylvia appreciated the explanation and she felt that it was similar to Rukongai in some ways. Each district had something unique about it and the World of the Living was no different with each area having its unique stores or traditions. As they walked, they went through the town centre where she could see many shops though they seemed to be common franchises but there seemed to be a lack of luxurious stores. It was most likely that the luxury franchises chose not to set up in the old part of town though to see the ‘local’ stores one would have to go away from the centre. She could also see things like the cinema, a batting centre and a karaoke store.

Tenzen then announced,’I’ll meet up with you two later. I need to pop into the patisserie and that’s not exactly on the way for you.’ Youma took her along to the supermarket and got out his shopping list from his pocket as the two went through the various aisles. Sylvia took this opportunity for some small talk,’Are you the exclusive cook in the house?’ The male shook his head,’Not quite but close enough, I guess. Tenzen and Hanao also cook from time to time.’ She continued,’What about the others?’ Youma chuckled,’Well, we give everyone a chance when they come. Jino tried it once and he almost burned down the whole house so that won’t be happening again. Chisa doesn’t know how to cook though I’ve been trying to convince her to learn from me. As for the twins… Saya outright refused to cook while Aya isn’t a bad cook but she gets too worried about everything since she doesn’t want to mess it up so it takes much longer than it should.

The female Shinigami could see that happening due to the different personalities of the members. Youma asked as he put another item in the cart,’Can you cook?’ Sylvia nodded,’Yes, though I don’t do it often. It’s too time consuming after a hard day of work and having to constantly think what to make is also quite bothersome so most of the time I eat at the barracks dining hall.’ Youma smiled,’Nothing wrong with that. It’s not like they make fast food everyday so in terms of nutrition it’s not the worst choice.’ Sylvia answered,’True, and I also keep a balanced diet so I do watch what I eat. Do you guys every eat in restaurants?’ Youma nodded,’Occasionally, the team has a limited budget so when we do we have to pay for all the expenses ourselves. We mostly do that for public holidays and stuff like that. Though the owners also try to get us stuff for our birthdays.

With all the items from the shopping list in the cart, the two of them headed for the self-checkout. Sylvia was quite intrigued as she watched Youma scan all the items as the system made its own shopping list. They didn’t really have stuff like this back in Seiretei as all shops were smaller in scale and so handled by the cashiers meaning that something like this was quite new to her. After paying the two left the supermarket and met up with Tenzen who was waiting by the fountain in the town centre as he smoked a cigarette and held two white bags in his right hand.

Seeing them, the male owner put out his cigarette and they started heading back on a slightly more scenic route as they showed Sylvia some of the main attractions. She took it all in as well as took some pictures along the way to have something to remember and show Aika. Upon their return to the apartment, the three of them split up as Youma went to put away the groceries and Tenzen returned to his apartment. Sylvia decided to go to the roof as that was the only place she hasn’t been yet in the whole building. As she got closer, she heard the noises of effort and sounds of movement.

When she reached the roof, she saw Jino training by himself and he quickly took notice of her,’Do you need something?’ The female Shinigami shook her head,’No, just wandering about. Do you train often?’ He nodded,’As often as I can, yeah. Need to be in tip-top shape to fight Hollows. ‘sides we 11th Division members pride ourselves on our strength.’ That was certainly true though training by one’s self too often was not a good habit,’You want a sparring partner?’ Jino was a bit surprised by the offer,’Hm? You’re from the 5th Division, right? I don’t think there is much you can help me with.’ The female Shinigami crossed her arms,’You shouldn’t underestimate me.’ The male shrugged,’Fine, let’s see what you can do then.’ The two of them started sparring which lasted for at least an hour until they had to take a break as the worked up a sweat,’Hey, you’re pretty good. You got a unique fighting style.’ She smiled slightly,’You’re not bad yourself.’ Whatever she was lacking in strength, she made up for in technique as she preferred an open palm rather than relying on fists. However, Sylvia felt that she had enough activity for now and got ready to leave, allowing Jino to continue by himself. For the remainder of the day, she hung out with Tenzen and Hanao until evening came and everyone was getting ready for dinner.

Word Count: 1,374

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As dinnertime rolled around, the members of team Kazasaki gathered in unit 04. There was a full spread of being prepared by Youma, Tenzen, and Hanao. Sylvia was welcomed in to eat as well and given a seat between the twins and Chisa. Just as the Shinigami started to eat Yutaka Shihouin announced his arrival.

... YUTAKA SHIHOUIN entered the apartment with a massive pearly white grin on his face. "Team Kazasaki, good evening!", he cheered as he entered.
"Oh, you finally decided to show up, Yutaka! Have a seat we were just getting ready to eat.", Tenzen was the first to reply.
"Where the Hell have you been?" Hanao muttered sternly without even looking at her as Yutaka shuffled pass her.
"C'mon, Hanao-senpai, you know I can't tell you that. It's classified information. Clas-si-fied." Yutaka replied. "But don't worry I come bearing gifts for everyone, I'll save the until after dinner though."
"Sylvia, let your records show that this moron just tried to bribe us.", Hanao stated flatly.
"Sylvia, who's that?" Yutaka paused and looked around the room. He lowered his sunglasses as his eyes landed on the silver-haired female he hadn't seen before.
"This is Sylvia Barlowe... she's here to ev-al-u-ate the team. Guess who wasn't here when she arrived and who hasn't reported in for the last three days?", Saya chimed in.
"No way, really?" Yutaka then helped himself to a seat and plopped down in the space between Chisa and Sylvia. He leaned in close and spoke in and smooth tone as he lowered his shades to the bridge of his nose and gazed at Sylvia seductively. "Hey there, I'm Yutaka Shihouin of the Second Division. It's a pleasure to meet a fine woman such as yourself." Yutaka was already pouring Sylvia a drink. "Seems I missed you earlier --that's my bad. I'm a glass half-full kinda guy, though, so the way I see it, just means we've saved the best for last, right." Yutaka handed the drink. "I'll make it up to you, after we're done here what do you say we head to my place, you can evaluate me as much as you want?"
"Y-Yutaka, I don't think that's allowed.", Youma interjected meekly.
"You gotta admire him for being so forward about it, either he's really bold or really stupid."
"He's definitely stupid.", Hanao concluded.
Tenzen sighed, "Yutaka, I understand the nature of your mission means we can't always expect complete transparency from you, which is fine. Still, you have to realize that you're still a member of this team and your actions reflect on all of us." 

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As the time for dinner drew nearer, more of the Kasazaki team members started gathering in the owner’s apartment. The first to arrive was Youma since he would cooking and he got to it straight away, though it looked like Tenzen and Hanao would also be helping him today. Sylvia was sat at the kotatsu table as she waited around. With three people already on the job, her help was not needed and anyway she wanted to let them do it their way and would rather not get involved. However, depending how long she would be staying, she didn’t mind helping out on one of the days.

The next one to arrive in the apartment was Chisa, who sat beside her. Sylvia started some small talk,’How are your studies going?’ The nurse nodded,’It’s going somehow. Medical stuff is kind of complicated so it takes me at least a week to get through a single chapter. Most cases a week and a half to two on the longer chapters. I make lots of notes and when I feel that I forgot something I go back and read it again which slows down my progress but it’s important to know it well rather than rush through the books.

The female Shinigami agreed,’That’s a good attitude to have. Do you like self-studying?’ She shrugged,’For medics experience is very important but being stationed here means I don’t have anyone else to learn from apart from myself and the books.’ That was definitely the true as the team didn’t need more than one medic and since she was from the 4th Division she was supposed to be the expert. Not long after, the twins arrived as the smells of food were already starting to waft about and sat beside her as well though small talk was difficult with them compared to Chisa. The last to arrive was Jino who greeted everyone and sat on the opposite side of the table. Not long after, the three cooks began laying out the dishes on the table. Everyone got a plate of curry rice and there were also smaller dishes with onigiri, fried chicken, yakizana as well as salads.

With all the food set out on the table and all the members present they were ready to start digging in. However, before they could do so they were interrupted by the sound of the door opening as a man came in. He was wearing big black sunglasses, he had a piercing on his left brow and his hair was mostly buzz cut with the exception of the right half of his head where there was a big and spiky violet bush. The man cheerfully greeted the whole team and since all other members were here it must have meant that this was Yutaka which was confirmed by Tenzen. Yutaka seemed to be the talkative type as his presence made the room lively and then Saya introduced her to him.

After acknowledging Sylvia, Yutaka sat right next to her and he got uncomfortably close as he tried to instantly hit on her. She voiced her annoyance,’You’re in my personal space,’ though that didn’t seem to bother him,’Aw, don’t be like that hot stuff,’ as he then began pouring her a drink. Despite being a member of the 2nd Division, his appearance and demeanour were anything but stealthy. His advances continued but the female Shinigami rejected them all,’We will be having a chat tomorrow morning and it seems there will be much to discuss regarding your behaviour. Don’t even think about running away. I memorised your reiatsu signature so I can track you wherever you go now.

There were a few reactions based on their exchange; Hanao seemed pretty amused by Yutaka getting rejected, Tenzen was nervous about the team member bringing down their image, Jino was smirking, the twin didn’t particularly seem to care and Youma and Chisa seemed impressed by how Sylvia handled herself. Naturally, this made the dinner a bit awkward but soon conversation continued as normal. Eventually Yukata gave up with his advances after Sylvia had rejected him enough. Once the meal was finished, Youma and Hanao started putting away the dishes to be washed while Tenzen took out the two big cakes that he bought earlier for dessert.

Yutaka took this opportunity to briefly leave the room and return with his bag of gifts. Sylvia watched everyone’s reactions as they got their gifts. Tenzen got a pack of cigarettes which seemed to be his favourite judging by his response. Hanao got a cutesy phone cover which she was excited about despite her earlier statement about being bribed. Youma got a tool kit of some kind and Yutaka commented that the one they had in the building was missing some stuff so it would be an upgrade. Jino got some kind of magazine which he quickly stashed away into his hoodie which made her a bit suspicious about the contents if he wouldn’t even open it here. Then Yutaka moved onto their side of the table, with Chisa getting a branded handbag which she was grateful for. As for the twins, Saya got a game which she seemed over the moon about and the biggest gift went to Aya in the form of 3 cases of an energy drink.

The biggest surprise out of all this was probably Saya as Sylvia got to see another side of her compared to the aggressive attitude she had shown her earlier. Yutaka apologised to Sylvia,’Sorry I don’t have anything for you. I hope you don’t feel too left out about this so I can find some other way to cheer you up.’ She shook her head,’It’s fine.’ The mood of everyone had considerably increased as they inspected their gifts and had some cake. It was definitely nice that they would all gather like this daily rather than being completely shut into their individual apartments.

After everyone had enough of cake, they began dispersing back to their own rooms with their gifts save for Youma and Tenzen who started washing the accumulated dishes. Now that Yutaka was gone, Chisa scooted over back next to Sylvia and asked,’Ms. Sylvia, are we still on for the trip to the bathhouse?’ The female Shinigami nodded,’Sure, shall we start heading over?’ The nurse nodded happily,’Yes, let me just get ready.’ Sylvia also needed some time to prepare so they split up for now but when Hanao showed the evaluator to her room it turned out to be Chisa’s. The female owner announced,’Chisa, Sylvia will be staying with you for now. Your room is the only one that’s free and after dinner I can’t put her with Yutaka otherwise he will end up as a corpse. The ladies need to stick together, you know?’ The nurse seemed open to this arrangement and showed Sylvia where she can put her stuff. She unpacked her clothes though she left spare clothes and a single pair of underwear in it as well as the necessary toiletries. Her towel as also in there so she should have everything she needed for a visit to the bathhouse.

Once they were both ready, they left the room and started making their way towards the bathhouse. The nurse also tried telling her about the area though Sylvia could see that there was something else that she wanted to talk about. She chose not to bring it up as she wouldn’t force the nurse to talk if she didn’t want to. Furthermore, Sylvia could probably guess what it would be about so it was definitely a delicate topic if she was correct. The bathhouse wasn’t too far from their apartment and it was also in an easily accessible location so that customers could find it without too much trouble despite it not being in the centre of the town.

They paid for an hour and made their way to the changing rooms where they got undressed and put away their things in their lockers. Next, they washed themselves in the shower and Sylvia tied up hair into a big grey and blue bun before getting into the bath as they soaked in the warm waters. The bathhouse wasn’t too busy as there were two other women present with them but they chatted away without paying too much attention to them. Chisa started the conversation,’You have really beautiful and long hair, do you dye it?’ The female Shinigami shook her head,’No, it’s all natural,’ which made Chisa even more interested,’Really? Having two root colours isn’t really that common…’ She could agree with that,’My hair was affected by my reiatsu when I was young and it turned into this colour. It may look unusual but I’ve never dyed it so its completely natural.’ Chisa thought it over in awe,’Hmm, I guess that is possible. I mean it that I like it though.

Sylvia accepted the compliment and let Chisa carry the conversation. It was her idea to come here because she wanted to talk so now that they were both naked it was the perfect time to share secrets as well. The nurse seemed to have gotten the courage to raise the topic,’There is something that I want to talk to you about…’ Sylvia gave her full attention,’The thing is that me and Youma weren’t completely honest with you during the interview. The truth is that we’ve been very distracted with each other and it’s also affecting our work since all we think about are dates and wanting to spend time with each other.

The female Shinigami responded,’I guessed that was the case. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that you can’t take your eyes off of each other.’ Chisa had a bit of a downcast expression,’I’m sorry that we lied to you. It doesn’t make our evaluation look good, does it?’ Sylvia let out a sigh,’Well, you’re being honest now and the fact that you owned up to it also speaks a lot about you.’ Even if it wasn’t a well kept lie, she could have kept this up for the whole duration of Sylvia’s stay but she decided that saying the truth was better and that was a positive quality. Sylvia encouraged her to keep going,’Talk to me. What is bothering you?

Chisa took a few moments to gather her thoughts,’Even before your arrival, I’ve been thinking of moving from the Kasazaki team. I filled out a transfer sheet but I didn’t submit it because I was hesitating. So, in the end I just stashed it away and it’s still there in my drawers. After our interview today, I’ve been considering submitting it again. It’s not that I dislike the team or anything, on the contrary I like all the members and they’re really nice and friendly. As you know I especially like Youma. However, we aren’t in a relationship but clearly we want to be more than friends. It’s been going on for some time but I feel like if it keeps going then our performance will also affect the others. Youma is normally very hard working and a guy you can really depend on. He’ll always be there for you when you need him. Even if he doesn’t know how to do something he will do his best to help.

Once Chisa started talking, it seemed that all her emotions were flowing out as she revealed her heart to her,’I want your advice. What should I do? I don’t want to leave the team or Youma but if me leaving will improve the performance of the team then I can’t think of any other way. I’m asking you not only as the evaluator but also as a fellow woman.’ It was definitely a difficult question to answer but as the nurse was being completely honest with her then it would only be fair that Sylvia do the same. The female Shinigami started her answer,’After our interview, I have been considering your transfer as well. Not because you are underperforming or because of your feelings for Youma. You said it yourself, you often get bored just sitting around in your room, right? This district doesn’t have much Hollow activity to begin with so I feel that with the limited injuries could be dealt with by the owners. As for you, you’ve been studying hard but this is not the right environment for you to use your skills.

I’m sure that in a better environment you could keep growing your skills and become a truly excellent medic. However, forsaking everything for your career is not the right choice either. I think that you and Youma really need to have an honest talk about this and decide what you will do. You could enter into a relationship with him and stay, but you will also need to set boundaries for yourselves so that you can become more focused on your duties and also make time for each other rather than both of those spilling into each other like it is now. Since you don’t want to give up on him, you could also start a relationship but transfer and make it long distance which would put both of you in an environment where you could work with less distractions but also maintain the bond. Being apart from each other may also give you a new perspective and you may find that you feel a bit differently when you are not constantly around each other.

You need to talk with him and also ask yourself what it is that you want to do. Do you think that your performance will increase after you get together or will it continue deteriorating? I’m not going to tell you to give up on him and distance yourself from him because that would be the worst choice and it would also affect the whole team, not just you two. However, whether to stay or leave is your decision. Only you can decide what is best for you. If you want to transfer then submit the sheet and I can make a further statement if needed but if you want to stay, then both of you will need to prove that you can get the work done and I mean truly, not only when I’m looking.

Chisa listened to her advice and asked another question,’Do you think that it is okay for a woman to make the first move?’ Sylvia nodded,’Both of you clearly like each other so if the result is going to be the same, what does it matter who did the asking out?’ The nurse further enquired,’Do you have someone in your life?’ That also wasn’t the easiest question to answer but she wouldn’t lie or hide things because she wanted to show Chisa the same respect,’Not really.’ This made the nurse surprised,’Really? Surely, someone must be interested in you. You are a really nice person and you have a killer body to boot!’ She smiled slightly,’Well, there probably is this one guy. He never has said anything about it so I can’t be certain but it definitely feels like it at times.’ The nurse had more questions which she kept voicing,’And how do you feel about him?

Sylvia shrugged,’It’s hard to say. We didn’t start off on the best terms but we agreed to leave that in the past. Now we are just friends. I do appreciate his presence and company but if he really does have romantic feelings for me then I do not think that I feel as strongly as him. We both have very different lives and I mostly just try to focus on work and whenever I’m not doing that then I feel like being by myself away from everyone to rest.’ Chisa went silent as she listened to Sylvia though she knew that she didn’t have the right to encourage her as she could barely control her own situation. However, this conversation has been very helpful for her and has given her much to think about,’Thank you for your advice and being honest with me. I really appreciate it.

They spent the rest of the time talking about less serious topics until their time was nearly at an end so they started drying themselves and they made their way to the changing room. They changed into fresh clothes and started making their way back towards the apartment. Sylvia could definitely see that Chisa was relieved to have this conversation with her though the issue was still far from solved. Since they were staying in the same room, Sylvia didn’t mind continuing the conversation if the nurse felt the need to but like she said, she wouldn’t be forcing her into a particular decision. Once they arrived at the apartment, the female Shinigami could feel that something was off though as she could sense that something was off as there was a gathering on the roof. When she arrived there, she saw the boy in the Tengu mask.

Word Count: 2,828

Achievement Obtained: SB#7 [Sylvia In the City (2): [Sylvia Barlowe Exclusive] - Meet all of the Kazasaki team in Karakura. (Minimum 2,000 WC)

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About ten minutes after Sylvia and Chisa headed out to the bathhouse, Jino also left the apartment in response to a Hollow attack nearby. However, as he expected, the Hollow was eliminated by the Fullbringer in the Tengu mask before the Shinigami arrived. For one reason or another, a altercation started between the two which escalated to the point of both individuals finding themselves on the roof of the apartment with Tenzen attempting to deescalate the situation as Sylvia arrived.


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KMBR: The Rooftop Kerfuffle
... RYŪNOSUKE stood patiently as Jino continued to mouth off to Tenzen. He knew Jino had problems, but he never would have guessed that the Shinigami was this unhinged. Furthermore, he hadn't the faintest clue of what had caused Jino to suddenly fly off the handle like he had. Still, when the Shinigami challenged him to a fight the Fullbringer wasn't going to just back down. Ryūnosuke would have given Jino a quick beat down in the abandoned factory, but Jino insisted that the handled it in Tenzen's presence and Ryūnosuke agreed. The two made their way back to the apartment hurling insults at each other the entire way.

At the moment, Tenzen was trying to talk Jino out of the idea as Ryūnosuke stood silently a short distance away with his bat hung over his right shoulder. He was wearing a gray winter coat with a fur hood over an orange sweater and black sweatpants. He had his Reiatsu suppressed to basically human level. Unlike his Reiatsu, tensions were raised pretty high by the time the woman with the gray and blue hair arrived.

"Out of my way, Tenzen. Someone has to teach this little prick a lesson!", Jino shouted.
"Jino, Calm down, will you! This isn't going to end well.", Tenzen replied, earnestly attempting to dissuade his teammate as he stood between him and the Fullbringer.
Ryūnosuke sighed out loud and rolled his eyes. "Let him, Tenzen. This moron is clearly itching for an ass-kicking.", Ryūnosuke replied plainly.
"What's that!", Jino muttered.
"Oh, he's hard of hearing too.", Ryūnosuke added mockingly.
"Little bastard!", Jino shouted as he tried to lunge towards the Fullbringer and was again held back by Tenzen.
"Jino, relax! Ta- Tengu-kun, could you kindly try not to rile him up!", Tenzen begged.
"What, I didn't do anything! He's the jackass that asked for a fight!", Ryūnosuke shouted back. "Stupid blockhead."
"Let me at 'im, Tenzen!"
"No!" Tenzen shouted at the pair.

Ryūnosuke seemed to notice the female Shinigami's arrival at the same time that Tenzen and Jino did. She wasn't Hanao, Chisa or the twins. In fact, the teenage Fullbringer didn't recognize this woman at all. She had a mature appearance and demeanor. Physically she appeared to be the same age as Hanao, but Ryūnosuke knew that physical appearance wasn't an accurate reflection of a Shinigami's age. "Tenzen, who's this?", Ryūnosuke asked curiously.
"None of your damned business, punk!", Jino answered.
"This guy... Oi, I wasn't asking you, dumbass.", the teenager snapped.
"Ah, Sylvia, a little help please. As you can see we have a bit of a situation here.", Tenzen requested.

"I'm telling you, there's no situation, Tenzen. Just Jino making a complete ass of himself." Ryūnosuke watched Sylvia's movement cautiously and lowed his bat from his shoulder down to his side.

To Be Continued...

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The first things that Sylvia heard upon reaching the roof was she sounds of argument, with Jino shouting the loudest. Upon a quick look around the present members were Jino, Tenzen and Hanao along with the Fullbringer clad in the Tengu mask. The arguing parties seemed to be Jino and the Fullbringer while Tenzen was trying to control the situation. The cause was unknown and it didn’t seem like either of them was willing to back down as the Tengu continued to rile up Jino who got even angrier.

The Fullbringer maintained a mocking attitude as he spoke to Jino and this was already unusual by itself. Sylvia couldn’t tell how strong Tengu was as he was supressing his reiatsu but no ordinary Human would be brave enough to try to antagonise a Shinigami. Perhaps the fact that the Fullbringer was a teenager added to his bravery as he believed that he could take on the world? Eventually, Jino had enough as he tried lunging at the Fullbringer though Tenzen held him back before that could come to fruition. However, compared to Jino’s raw strength it didn’t look like the hold would last long.

Everyone present seemed to take notice of Sylvia, which made the Fullbringer curious and Tenzen requested her help. The female Shinigami stepped in between the two parties and tried to take control of the situation. First, she restricted Jino with a Rikujokoro to prevent further movement,’Jino, you know that we can’t attack humans. Unless there’s a good reason for this fight, I’m not releasing you until you cool off.’ She then addressed both of them,’What is going on here? Why are you two trying to fight?

She didn’t know Jino long but she trusted him enough and knew that he wouldn’t go and pick a fight out of boredom. Furthermore, the Fullbringer wouldn’t be coming here without a reason either. Based on her knowledge, Sylvia’s best guess was that Tengu probably stole another Hollow kill from Jino which got him angry as he was already frustrated to begin with. However, that was just speculation and she preferred to hear the stories of the involved parties.

Word Count: 360

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KMBR: The Rooftop Kerfuffle PRT 2
... RYŪNOSUKE raised a brow as the woman Shinigami locked Jino down with a Rikujokoro Kido binding. He snickered behind his mask as the Shinigami, apparently named Sylvia, dressed Jino down. Unfortunately, it didn't seem that Sylvia's words had any effect on Jino, despite his inability to move. The Kido had bound everything but his mouth. 

"How 'bout you all butt out of it! This is between me and that little mask-wearing prick!", Jino continued to lash out.
"Are you stupid? Learn to take a hint, they're doing you a favor, shithead.", Ryūnosuke continued to fire back.
"Seriously, this punk.", Hanao slapped Jino across his head. "Shut up and listen to Sylvia, you're just embarrassing yourself right now."
Ryūnosuke paused, he was curious to see that even Hanao of all people seemed to hold Sylvia to a high regard. Ryūnosuke understood that Tenzen and Hanao were the leaders of the Kazasaki team, he also knew the other team leaders for most of the surrounding districts and they more or less all treated each other as equals. Perhaps Sylvia was a Captain like Oriru or a Lieutenant like San Salvatore, but seeing as she was out of uniform with no white haori or badge in sight, he couldn't say for certain.

"What is going on here? Why are you two trying to fight?", Sylvia asked. Her question was clearly pointed at Ryūnosuke and Jino and the two shared a momentary glare before they both blurted out, "He started it!" , "He started it!"

"Oh, for heaven's sake.", Hanao sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose. Ryūnosuke knew the look, she'd probably get involved any moment now.
"Oi, you asshole. You're the one that called me here because you wanted to fight. Stop lying, already.", Ryūnosuke argued.
"Yeah, I called you here to settle things once and for all. You keep stealing all my Hollow kills, I've fucking had enough with you!"
"I didn't steal anything! I got there first --as usual.", the teenager retorted sharply and snickered.
"You weren't even there. You threw one of your stupid Reiatsu balls from far away just as I was going in for the kill."
"So what? You got a problem with it?"
"Who's hard of hearing now? That's what I'm telling you, you fight like a bitch!"

Ryūnosuke was speechless for a second, but then he started to march towards Jino. All thoughts of Sylvia and her rank completely left his mind as he walked aggressively in a straight line towards Jino. "Motherfucker! Tenzen let him go, so I can beat the shit out of him!"
Tenzen and Hanao were now both on the teenager trying to hold him back.
"Tengu-kun, you know we can't allow that.", Tenzen strained.
"Stop being a brat! That goes for the both of you!", Hanao shouted, growing increasingly frustrated.
"I'm just gonna punch him in his face.", Ryūnosuke threatened in a nonthreatening tone.

To Be Continued...

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The high tension situation continued as Jino showed no signs of calming down and the Tengu masked Fullbringer kept mocking him as he added fuel to the fire. Both of the owners were against this fight with Hanao going as far as slapping Jino to get him to quiet down. Even though Sylvia and Hanao didn’t exactly get along well yet, it seemed that the female owner trusted that the evaluator can put the situation under control. The female Shinigami didn’t have a bad opinion of Hanao and the way she was showing her support only kept improving her opinion.

When Sylvia asked the two opposing parties to explain the situation, but they just blamed each other like children. Well, one of them was barely an adult but the other should know how to behave better for his age. Based on the Fullbringer’s words, it was Jino that had initiated the fight and the reason was the Hollow kills just like she had predicted. It seemed that the method the Tengu used to kill this particular Hollow only riled up Jino further. She knew that the 11th Division Shinigami wanted to prove his strength and do his job so his anger was justified to an extent. However, just like the owners Sylvia wanted to prevent the two from fighting.

At first, the Fullbringer was cautious of Sylvia and watched his own movements but eventually it seemed like his anger also got the best of him as he started approaching aggressively. The female Shinigami was still standing between the two and didn’t budge as instead she had raised her reiatsu giving a glow to her eyes. At the same time, Tenzen and Hanao swapped over to holding the Fullbringer back and Sylvia would defend Jino,’Stay back. No matter who started this, we will not stand by as one of our own is threatened. Either talk it out like two responsible individuals, or leave and stay out of each other’s way.’ No matter how confident the boy was, there were currently 9 Shinigami here who could act at a moment’s notice and she couldn’t currently trust the actions of the Fullbringer.

Word Count: 359

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KMBR: The Rooftop Kerfuffle PRT 3
... RYŪNOSUKE gave Sylvia a stern glare as she raised her Reiatsu and warned him against any further attempt to fight with Jino. With tensions flaring as they were, the Fullbringer's immediate reaction was the flare his own Reiatsu in response as he was swarmed by the Morishima couple. Presently, he allowed them to hold him back as he stared down Sylvia, his own eyes ablaze with the bright fiery orange glow of his Reiatsu. "How many times do I have to say it." He muttered flatly. This entire situation was ridiculous and quite frustrating. As far as Ryūnosuke was concerned, Jino had instigated and he was in his full right to respond. Why were Tenzen and Hanao, let alone this complete random, butting in. Who was she anyway? Suddenly, Ryūnosuke couldn't give a shit about Jino and his challenge, his attention had shifted almost entirely to the silver-haired woman in front of him. Ryūnosuke could count on his fingers the number of individuals who didn't at least flinch in response to his Reiatsu; curiously enough, it seemed this new Shinigami had made that list. Ryūnosuke never believed things would escalate to a fight between himself and the Kasazaki team, certainly not over something this --admittedly-- pity. Nonetheless, he'd begun to consider that if it did, things might not have been as one-sided in his favor as he currently assumed.

In any case, the female Shinigami didn't look like she would back down and Ryūnosuke, upon further consideration, accepted that besides the immediate satisfaction of a brief beat down, he had nothing to gain from fighting Jino anyway. The teenager sighed and lowered his Reiatsu. "Whatever. I'm over it.", he gasped as he shrugged away from Tenzen and Hanao. He avoided eye contact with Jino, opting to not even acknowledge the latter's presence. Instead, his focus again fixed on the newcomer. "Who are you, anyway?", he asked.

To Be Continued...

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The situation continued to unfold as the Fullbringer raised his reiatsu to match hers while the Morishima couple strengthened their hold on him. Considering that this wasn’t their full power, Sylvia was impressed at the Tengu’s level and wondered how strong he really was. The female Shinigami could feel his glare from behind his mask and saw a hint of orange peeking through the eyes. She then made another attempt to solve this petty squabble,’I know that you guys like to show off and prove your strength, but you need to realise that both of you are fighting for the same thing here. This is not a game to compete over.

Before long, the Fullbringer gave in and broke away from the couple while lowering his reiatsu. Sylvia also lowered hers as the threat was gone and seeing that the boy backed down, she released Jino from her Rikujokoro. He was still glaring and tapping his foot though he didn’t seem to hold a grudge over the fact that she bound him, but rather he was still annoyed at the situation. The Morishima couple approached the two and Hanao first spoke to her,’Thanks, without you here it would have turned out much worse.

Sylvia agreed and to prevent any further conflict Tenzen was trying to take Jino away,’Come on, let’s go for a short walk.’ Jino still seemed reluctant but in the end with the couple while grumbling under his breath. As a result, the only two left on the roof were the female Shinigami and the masked Fullbringer who asked about her identity. He wasn’t a presence that the Shinigami needed to be suspicious of so she had nothing to hide,’I’m Sylvia Barlowe, 4th Seat of the 5th Division. I’m here as an Inspector of the Kasazaki Team. You seem to be popular around here from what I’ve heard,’ she said as she extended her hand for a handshake.

Word Count: 320

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