And you don’t plan to talk about that, either, Loki judged, weighing Urahara’s silence. “When will you tell her?”
“What?” Urahara’s eyes widened in mock surprise. “Tell a good, law-abiding member of the Kuchiki clan that she’s tied her soul to a human being? When the Chamber of 46 decreed centuries ago that Soul Society isn’t supposed to interfere with the human world?”
“Meaning?” Loki said darkly. Yes, he understood some subjects were best approached obliquely. But this was his brother.
Benihime tapped the floor, the light rap somehow shivering flesh and bone. “Meaning they kill her, Loki-san. They kill her, and they kill him, and if they really want to be sure? They haul the pair of them up to Execution Hill, and they obliterate two souls side by side.”
Loki swallowed, mouth suddenly dry. “Isshin. The girls.”
“Illegal. Every one of them.” For once, Urahara’s gaze held honest worry. “It wasn’t always this way. I’ve checked some of the secret histories. Even two centuries ago it wasn’t this way.”
When the Quincys were wiped out, Loki realized. A coincidence?
“Love is part of our souls, Loki-san. Death was never meant to stop it. Only to make it more precious when we find it.”
And when Urahara waxed that profound…. Loki’s eyes narrowed. “You believe you know why that decree was issued.”
The shopkeeper’s lips twitched. “Why is any stupid rule ever made? And enforced with death, and worse than death?”
Easy enough. “Power,” Loki stated.
Urahara inclined his head.
“Explain,” Loki requested. Politely. Almost.
Urahara shrugged, cloak brushing against his jacket. “Over the past century or so, the number of captain-level shinigami has plummeted. Bluntly? It’s dropped like a rock.”
I should have expected that. An explanation that didn’t explain, not really. Not unless you could find enough context to see the cliff before Urahara tossed you over it-
Wait. Captain-level, he’d said. Not captain. “And what separates a captain from other shinigami?” Loki wondered.
“Three things.” Urahara held up a finger at a time. “A white haori. A hell of a lot of paperwork. And the ability to achieve bankai.”