By Kaliko Rosa
Ichigo Kurosaki is running quickly down the streets of Karakura, when someone calls his name, "Ichigo!". A spitting image of himself runs up to Ichigo and stops him in his path. "Kon!" Ichigo is surprised to see the Mod-Soul there, whom he had left behind earlier during the confrontation with Uryuu Ishida. Ichigo asks Kon whether his sisters are okay, and Kon assures them they're just fine. Ichigo tells him to take care of his sisters, Karin and Yuzu, and runs off to find Ishida.
At the high school, Tatsuki Arisawa and magenta-haired Chizuru are cleaning up a mess of broken glass on the school grounds. Tatsuki mentions that there was something odd about the boys that were accused of breaking the glass. Chizuru notices Orihime Inoue gazing into the distance [at the Hollow she has spotted who is truly responsible for damaging the school grounds; refer to Episode 12] and tries to catch her attention suggestively, with Tatsuki always there to counter every one of Chizuru's advances. Orihime, who seems suspiciously positive, mentions that there's a TV show she wants to watch and pushes the girls along, telling them to stop cleaning and to come with her to watch it. She keeps telling them to hurry. The memory of the octopus-like Hollow sitting atop the school gym keeps haunting Orihime's memory, and she tells herself not to panic, to act calm, and to get everyone out of danger. She glances back once and notices the Hollow is no longer where she last saw it. Tatsuki escapes from her push and apologizes, telling her that she has to change out of her karate gi. Orihime yells after her, worried that Tatsuki might be heading in the direction of the suddenly vanished Hollow. But just as she calls after her, Orihime senses the purple Hollow's presence looming above and behind her. Her heart pounds. Orihime swallows nervously. "You see me, can't you?" The Hollow, with a female voice, speaks to Orihime and squints at her through two heart-shaped holes in the white Hollow mask.
Elsewhere, Ichigo and Ishida are still pummeling Hollows left, right and centre. Ishida is confident that he will win as he releases spirit arrow after spirit arrow.
Chizuru notices Orhime's panic stricken face, but cannot see anything in the direction of her stare. Orihime pleads with her to run away. But just then the Hollow, who will not let anyone escape, releases tiny pods from it's rounded head that shoot out against everything around them, breaking more windows of the school and splattering into green goo as they hit a surface. One of them hits Chizuru right on the left shoulder. Orihime runs to her worriedly. The girl is in pain, but appears fine for a few moments, even taking some opportunities to flirt with Orihime. But suddenly her right arm grasps Orihime's high above them, refusing to let go. Chizuru has lost control of the attacked limb. Orihime demands to know what has happened, and the Hollow explains that it does not like to fight, and it often takes control of humans to make them fight among themselves. It then takes control of a sizable amount of students, all splattered with green blotches, who come to attack the two girls. Then, to their rescue, Tatsuki shows up fully dressed in her school uniform and kicks the asses of many of her possessed classmates. Orihime finds out that Tatsuki can see Hollows to some extent, like a faint outline or distortion, similar to how Chad could see them in the previous episode (refer to Episode 12). Tatsuki warns the Hollow that anyone who picks on Orihime will get their ass kicked by her. But just as Tatsuki pounds a few more classmates, an arm holds her back. She turns around to fight the next adversary when she notices it's Chizuru who is grabbing her shoulder and she is slow to fight off a friend. As she is held down the Hollow fires another pod at Tatsuki. Tatsuki is hit by the green substance. The Hollow appears in front of her and teases her a bit, but Tatsuki is still able to keep enough control to stand herself and bite one of the Hollow's tentacles. The Hollow becomes angry and shoots multiple pods at her. Orihime, who was being held captive by a few possessed classmates, escapes from their grasp and runs to Tatsuki's aid. But as she reaches her, the now-possessed Tatsuki takes control and kicks Orihime in the gut. Orihime falls to her knees and remembers something as she stares at her lost friend. She remembers her late brother complimenting her long, orange hair, and how she had been teased profusely by her classmates because of how it looked (similar to how Ichigo is teased -- apparently orange hair is not the "in thing" in Karakura). In her childhood, she decided to cut her hair to the disappointment of her brother. She lied about her reasons. Even so, Orihime still didn't have any friends at school, until Tatsuki invited her to walk home with her. With Tatsuki protecting her, Orihime knew that she would never have to cut her hair again. Orihime considers her long hair to be a symbol of her friendship with Tatsuki. Back in real time, she stares at her possessed friend, who returns her glance with the same look of memory. She reaches out a hand to thank her for protecting her. Tears fill Tatsuki's eyes. Orihime stands up and embraces her friend, unafraid. "This time," she says, "I'll protect you."
Suddenly, the blue flower hairpins that her brother had given her break out into their separate petals. A great spirit force swirls around Orihime. She echoes the words Tatsuki had used to threaten the Hollow before, only this time, Orihime inverts the protected and the protector: "I won't forgive anyone who hurts Tatsuki-chan!". Orihime stands in a ring of smoke and wind, with a few mysterious flying objects swirling around her.
The Hollow cannot figure out Orihime's power, and suddenly, Orihime notices the flying objects. They speak to her, asking if she has realized they were there, saying that she must've, for they have always been closest to her. They look like the silhouettes of flying birds in the sky. But as one lands on her shoulder, Orihime notices that the bird-shape came from a folded paper-like glider attached to the backs of six, small people. A tiny blonde girl dressed in red, armed with a green wing-glider, stands on her shoulder, and introduces the six of them as the Six Flowers of the Hibiscus Shield, born to protect her. The others all show their true forms now: a timid-looking, black-haired girl in pink Chinese garb sheltered underneath her big, red wing-glider; a raunchy looking girl with pink hair, a blue bathing-type suit, yellow goggles, a tattoo on her right butt-cheek, and a pink patterned wing-glider; a burly round man with a metal mouth-mask and a grey wing-glider; and a creepy old man with a striped, purple bodysuit, a half-face mask with a sort of monocle piece and a blue and yellow-polka-dotted wing-glider. Orihime stares at them with much surprise, thinking of them as flying fairies. The blonde, red-clothed one assures they are not fairies, but the power of her soul, a part of Orihime that can only be seen by her. But the girl also mentions that someone like Kurosaki Ichigo might be able to see them, because they were born because of him. Suddenly a flying black one attacks the other girl, yelling that she takes too long. The sixth "flower" shows himself to be a cocky male with a tan scarf hiding half his face, a scar by one eye, a black and red bodysuit with a black and red wing-glider. He tells Orihime to learn how to control them. The big burly one tells her it requires the intentions of the heart and the Magic Words (or encantation).
The Hollow reappears in front of them and the red and blonde girl tells Orihime not to worry. She tells her to repeat a sort of summoning chant: "Hinagiku, Baigon, Lily!". The Hollow spits out its green goo pods from its head. Orihime timidly repeats the words, which actually reflect three of the flowers: Hinagiku is the old man, Baigon is the bigger, burly one, and Lily is the pink-haired girl. They fly forwards together and shout out: "Sacred Tri-Link Shield - I REJECT!". Orihime repeats the same words. The three flower-fairies then produce a yellowy-orange triangle aura between themselves, each acting like a corner of the triangle which fully protects Orihime. The pods are thus blocked and do not harm her.
The red clothed, blonde one explains that those three have the power to reject what's outside of the shield. She further explains that her and the black-haired girl can reject what's inside the shield, restoring the injured up to a limited space. She introduces herself as Shun'ou, which means Hibiscus Cherry Blossom (her name may signify that she is the leader of the Six Flowers of the Hibiscus Shield). The other girl is Ayame. Orihime summons the two of them, and utters the encantation: Sacred Dual Return Shield! - I REJECT! The two flowers then get to work healing Tatsuki, taking a position behind her head and the other behind her feet, forming a yellowish aura around the patient that connects to their glider-wings.
The final flower, the black and red cocky one, tells her not to lose focus, and explains that he can reject both sides of the shield. He can be fired at the enemy, forming a shield within the enemy to thus split them in half. She calls out his summon, "Tsubaki, Sacred Solitary Cutting Shield - I REJECT!". Tsubaki launches forward and pierces the Hollow, splitting it into two.
The exhausted Orihime passes out from all of her efforts, and Shun'ou comments that it must have been a lot for her, especially since it is the first time she has ever tried fighting with them. They disappear back into her two hairclips. Out of nowhere, sandaled feet come upon the passed-out Orihime. It is Urahara Kisuke, whom arrives on the scene with his large handiman, Tessai, who bears a passed-out Chad on his shoulders. The scene fades to black.
Elsewhere, Karin and her family return to the soccer field only to find that Chad is missing (refer to Episode 12). Isshin Kurosaki, the family father, doctor and clown, manages to annoy Karin as usual. Kon watches over them from above.
At the Urahara store, Orihime comes to and realizes that Chad is sitting in the same room as her. They both have no clue where they are. Suddenly Urahara appears before them in his usual mysterious ways.
Ishida and Ichigo are still pounding Hollows as a part of their battle. Ichigo is getting pissed off by it though, and Ishida wonders to himself why there are so many of the Hollows. He feels there are too many around even for Hollow bait, as if some other stronger force is attracting them. Rukia, who has been wandering the streets since she left Urahara's place, tries to fight a Hollow but her powers appear to be too weak. She is saved by someone whom she thinks is Ichigo, but turns out to be a rather flirtatious Kon. Ishida appears behind them, and speaks to Rukia seriously for the first time. He assures her that he doesn't intend to let any people die because of his doing. He aims his bow at the Hollow that had first attacked Rukia.
At the Urahara store, Urahara finishes explaining to Chad and Orihime about everything that has happened with them and Ichigo. They are not sure whether to believe him, but Urahara says it is up to them whether they can take on the challenge of the lifestyle and knowledge that Urahara is talking about. Then Tessai interrupts and tells Urahara that the "sky crests" have begun converging and preparations are complete. Urahara walks on out of the Japanese dojo-style room, and tells them that he can show the two "what's beyond the door".
The Hollow Ishida is aiming at is destroyed by
Ichigo instead, who bounds onto the scene. The two are nearly smiling as they
have finally run into each other since the battle begun, and the competition is
fierce. Ichigo grins. The view tilts upwards, to the black looming holes that
fill the sky above them.