“That last is rare. Most spirits have to be born with the ability.”
Given the hints Isshin and Yoruichi had dropped of how few souls were actually born in Soul Society…. “The captains tend to come from the noble clans. People the Chamber of 46 feels it can deal with,” Loki concluded.
Loki frowned at him. “There’s something else?”
“There are holes in our history.” Urahara’s gaze turned distant, looking at old memories. “I didn’t realize it until after I shared a few nights drinking with Isshin in this world, but there are mentions of shinketsu in the rules and regulations that don’t make sense. Unless….”
“Two possible reasons,” Urahara said briskly. “First, avoiding ritual contamination.”
Loki nodded. It was one of the odder things about living in Midgard’s Japan; this idea that anything remotely tied to death might somehow contaminate a person’s honor. Anyone suggesting Odin All-Father might need ritual purification after gathering war-dead before he dared address his own court would have been laughed out of Asgard.
Though Mother has suggested he bathe, first.
“Second, and bear in mind Isshin was very drunk….” Urahara sighed. “Quarantine.”
“It doesn’t make sense to me, either.” Urahara tugged down his hat. “I haven’t been able to get any more details out of Isshin. Or Yoruichi. And that bothers me.”
There was something Urahara lacked details on? Loki would have bet his birthright it did far more than bother the exiled shinigami. “So you’re hoping a second pair of ears might hear your answers.”
A flamboyant shrug. “It’s worth a try.”
Which meant there were likely half a dozen other reasons Urahara wanted him to find out. “Why ask me now?” Loki inquired, drawing himself up to his full height. “Why not years ago? Unless – the children seem well-”
“Oh, our Hollow-hunting youngsters are well. All of them. Including a shinigami who’s just gotten back her sword, after more than a month.” Urahara gave him a look askance. “That shouldn’t happen.”
Loki frowned. “You’re worried because Ichigo’s friends are too healthy?”
“Close exposure to high-level shinigami power can injure or kill weaker souls. I’ve seen it myself.” A closed fan appeared from Urahara’s sleeve, waving to emphasize his point. “Exposure to Ichigo seems to be doing exactly the opposite. Why? Is their increase in power as stable as it seems to be? Could it be harmful in the long term, to them or those around them? Would it be, if you hadn’t taught them to take other forms than human? Youkai are neither wholly of the living world nor of Soul Society; is the use of that power protecting Ichigo from an illness we don’t even know exists?” The red fan snapped open. “So many questions.”
“And you haven’t had this much fun in decades,” Loki said dryly.
“Why, Loki-san!” Perfect victory waved in his face. “What a thing to say!”