Ichigo spent a few more hours practicing going into and out of his demon state. In addition to the change itself, Rukia had him do quite a bit of sonido training. As good as it felt to be able to control every part of his mind and body, the training was not without cost-Ichigo was mentally drained on top of being bone weary. Sweat poured down his shirtless body (they had long since given up the search for that elusive item of clothing) as the two of them slowly made their way from the training area back to the house.
Rukia was in much better shape since she was working in the role of drill sergeant and Ichigo was the one actually running all of the ‘drills’. She was humming a light tune while thinking back on the successes of the day…among other things. As they neared the villa, Rukia caught sight of a bright white head of her mentor and friend, Ukitake Soudaishou, and smiled with delight…until she saw his companion. Aizen Ulquiorra.