Leon Elizondo, current king of Hueco Mundo, leaned against his throne and let out what appeared to be the deepest of sighs. His goal of making the Arrancar strong and never again to be weakened like before with Aizen so long in the past (before his very existence) sometimes took too much out of him.
The hollows didn’t exactly have a perfect history when it came to who led them. Barragan Louisenbairn was strong and influential, but one could argue he lost what made him a decent ruler the second Aizen beat him. Then he became focused on trying to find some kind of retribution for what happened, treating his subjects and loyal followers as expendable.
Speaking of the damned ex-captain, Aizen never was invested in the Arrancar. At least the former king of Hueco Mundo did what he believed was best for them. To Aizen they were his pawns, and left them to drown when they were overwhelmed by Soul Society. In all honest truth, most of them only followed Aizen out of fear, especially after seeing what he did to the old king. Sure there was the few that followed him since he essentially let them do what they want, but that wasn’t the whole picture.
Tia Harribel, who reluctantly took over after the death of the Espada, seemed to be a good choice. She did not have bloodlust, or a hunger for power. That made her more capable as she did not have dark ambition blinding her. She was level-headed, collected, and analytical. She also had a undeniable fighting prowess. Most Arrancar found themselves listening to whatever the shark empress did.
Hollows weren’t very complicated. They follow strength.
Though she been saddened and hurt by the death of Xenethis Chimera, one of her fraccion and lover (though if anyone dared to mock her for it, they found themselves choking under her spiritual pressure), Harribel had not let it affect her ability to function.
Leon couldn’t let what she started crumble now. He’d sooner take on whatever lurks behind the Gates of Hell before letting that happen. Of course, he wasn’t alone. He had the new generation of Espada and several Arrancar in Las Noches. Yet he had a hard time voicing the burden of being a king to them without appearing weak. He snorted.
Brinza would probably sucker punch him, and tell him to “stop being a bitch.”
It seems though that just as he was getting the hang of things, there was rumors of yet another Quincy incursion. To be completely honest, it was somewhat admirable how determined they were. Even though the past invasions failed, they still kept going. Not too shabby….Still, he pinched the bridge of his nose. What should he do?
Groaning, he squeezed his eyes shut feeling the familiar tingle due to alcohol. It’s not like he was drinking away his problems, he just wanted to drink away the damn headache everything was causing him. It was a good thing the Espada weren’t in the room with him, he didn’t need to hear Santiago nag at him for over drinking.
“You’re right. You don’t need your Segunda Espada nagging at you. You need your mother nagging at you.”
He opened his eyes, blinked, and withdrew his hand from his face. Looking up, he stared in minor disbelief at the sight of his mother, Tia Harribel, standing in front of him. Her arms were crossed, and her beautiful sea-green eyes were narrowed. Clearly she didn’t approve of the drinking. At least, that’s what he thought since he couldn’t see the lower half of her face.
“Mother.” he greeted, sitting up a bit in his throne. It was hard to tell that they were related, considering how much he took after his father but there was subtle hints in his features. His strong, focused gaze he clearly got from her, even the colors of their eyes were different. Suddenly with her here, he felt he could let go a bit. “Mother...I’m in need of your advice.”
Her eyes softened ever so slightly. A small nod was enough to tell him to continue.
“What am I supposed to do? There’s rumors the Quincy are coming back, reports are saying they have a way to get into Hueco Mundo with little detection.” he rambled a bit. He was tense, recalling how it was a previous invasion that took Harribel’s life. They weren’t to be underestimated, but he couldn’t let anything like that happen here. The Arrancar had suffered enough from shinigami and quincy alike.
“I feel...I feel I am failing as a king.” he finally admitted. He was aware of Harribel moving around, sitting on the arm of the throne as she laid a hand on his shoulder.
“You’re not failing. Failing means you just gave in, or neglected to solve problems.” she scolded. As if she completely read his earlier thoughts, she continued on. “Do you know what you have that neither Barragan or Aizen had?” He stayed silent. “Empathy. It’s important to be able to work with others, and from what I can see you work well with your espada...however with that in mind, it will be harder to sacrifice for what needs to be done.”
Sacrifice. He sighed, remembering hearing this before. “I know. A king must sometimes make a sacrifice in order-” as he talked he didn’t notice her hand leaving his shoulder and her slowly disappearing, only to replaced by a masculine figure. “-to do what needs to be done. But I have yet to understand what really means.”
“It means giving your life and more.”
He nearly jumped out of his skin right then and there, not expecting the sudden new voice. He turned to where his mother was, and to his surprise saw a man he really wasn’t expecting. The hollow fragment that covered his whole face (thus making it easy to mistake him for a visored), the scarlet hair, and burning cold eyes...this was his father. Xenethis Chimera.
Right. The man had a reputation for being drastically loyal and willing to put forth his life, his pride, for the sake of his lady master. Well, and lover if you want to get technical. Leon knew for sure he was heavily intoxicated if he was seeing him.
“I know that. And I’m willing to give my life, that part I understand.” Leon muttered, slumping in his throne. Xenethis seemed to roll his eyes. Leon definitely knew this was all imaginary, since the real Xenethis had no clue he had a son considering he died during the infamous Winter War.
The older male let his eyes darken as he leaned forward. “What are you giving your life for?” He asked though it seemed more like a challenge. Isn’t this a nice father-son chat?
“Las Noches, and my mother’s legacy.”
“Because I’m the king, and that’s what I’m supposed to do.” Leon responded narrowing his eyes and looking like exactly how you would expect the Cero Espada to look. Strong, collected, and ready to fight if need be. He wouldn’t let anyone question why he needed to uphold the legacy left to him.
Xenethis watched him carefully. There was a shred of approval glinting in his eyes, but there was something else he wanted to say. He kept quiet though, and the two locked each other’s gazes for more than a few moments. How would it be if this was the real Xenethis? In the flesh, not some conjured image he had seen from old data.
“Let me give you some advice.”
Leon did a double take, wondering what he could be giving. Did his father have some old wisdom? Some advice to give, man to man? Perhaps a scrap of information that would be valuable in time? He leaned forward ever so slightly with anticipation. Gold eyes examined him head to toe, before a brief snort escaped Xenethis.
“If a woman tries to kill you or seriously injure you on the first meeting...and is ridiculously beautiful but also terrifying in a certain way…”
Where was this going? This sounded like the first time his parents encountered each other.
Leon choked on air and stared incredulously, looking at his father like he was a mad man.
“I’m just saying, Tia Harribel stabbed me when I was a angry Gillian and look what became of that.”
Leon proceeded to hit his head against his throne. “Not the kind of advice I needed.” he groaned. He didn’t hear anything in return, so he suspected Xenethis had left like his mother had. He stayed like that for what seemed like hours, hoping the alcohol effects was slowly making it’s way out of his system. He wasn’t completely drunk, but he couldn’t help but ponder how the hell some of his Espada could tolerate this. He let out another groan.
A dark chuckle however made him stand up, and he gritted his teeth upon seeing someone he loathed more than anyone.
Aizen. If this wasn’t a imagination, he might have summoned hundreds of reishi strands just to try and kill the man. But this was just a figment of his imagination, so he couldn't do that. “What. Are. You. Doing. Here?” he spat out.
Aizen chuckled, looking every bit of the arrogant prick he was. “Didn’t you say you had no idea what to do? And express your worries on failing as a king?” He stated with tones of mockery laced within his voice. “I’m only here to say that listening to the words of a dead Espada and her lackey won’t help you be a better king. Look at what happened to Lady Harribel.” he said, holding his hands out as if proving his point. “She’s dead. So perhaps her words aren’t worth taking considering she failed to fight previous Quincy.”
He chuckled again. “No. I’m here to give you a piece of advice myself.” Suddenly he looked dead serious, but there was a cold look in his eyes and smile. “In order to be a successful leader, you are going to have to sacrifice your pawns. Everyone here is loyal to you, so by extension they can be sacrificed for your gain in future conflict.”
He didn’t want to listen to this. Leon angrily drew his word and sliced through him. He merely disappeared and appeared on the other side of the scarlet-haired man.
“You'd be smart to follow my example, or else you’re nothing else but a foolish boy trying to play king.” Leon sheathed his sword, turned on his heel, and left the room. He didn’t look back, but the smug smile of Aizen was already imprinted in his mind. Even as he slammed the door to his quarters shut, he still heard the bastard.
He glanced over at some reports he was given earlier, sitting on his bed. Flexing his fist, he grabbed them.
He didn’t have time to think about Aizen of all people. He had Quincy to deal with.