Been quite a while, hasn't it? Well, I've decided it's time bring this thing back. Not saying anything for certain about how long it'll be back for, or what my update schedule will be like, but it's here now.
Picking up where we left off…
Chapter 238: Eagle without Wings
Ichigo wakes up the morning after Orihime, left, and notices that his injured hand has mysteriously healed. Hitsugaya drops by to confirm his suspicion that Orihime did that, and to call him over to a meeting. We cut over to Orihime's house, where the shinigami have set up some kind of weird video relay thing. On the other end of it is Ukitake, who's talked the guards who lives' Orihime saved from Ulquiorra. He says that based on what they know, Orihime's been kidnapped, and might even be dead. Ichigo strongly objects to this, showing his healed arm as evidence that she's alive. But as Yamamoto appears to tell us, that's actually even worse news, since it implies Orihime went with them of her own free will. Ichigo tries to object, but Renji cuts him off, saying he'll go and retrieve her himself. But Yamamoto's not on board with this, having Byakuya and Kenpachi come in to escort the other shinigami home. Ichigo offers to go, but that too is forbidden. The message is clear: They're leaving Orihime for dead.
Chapter 239: Winged Eagles
After a quick scene where Shinji finds a thank-you note from Ichigo, we cut over to school, where Ichigo's been scolded for all the skipping he's been doing lately. Keigo and Mizuiro try to talk to him, and as much as he tries to brush it off, it's clear something's bothering him. Tatsuki isn't so passive about, though. She openly confronts him about Orihime's disappearance, the fact that Ichigo's obviously hiding whatever involvement he has, and that she can see him fighting hollows all the time. He tries to brush her off, which earns him a solid punch. Tatsuki yells at him now, telling him that he shouldn't be hiding so much from a friend. Ichigo, still acting cool, just walks away, telling them to forget about him. We cut over to Urahara's place. It seems Ichigo, Chaotic Good hero that he is, had no intention of listening to Yamamoto, and went straight to Urahara for a passage to Hueco Mundo. Which Urahara saw coming 100%, having not only made all the preparations necessary, but also contacting Chad and Ishida, who've finished their own training.
The first chapter ended with Ichigo being unable to move, and the second ended with him about to move on. Make your own inferences about Eagles and Wings. There's another pair of chapters down the line with similar names, but I'll talk about them when I get to them. The second chapter also makes explicit what I was hinting at a few updates back; that Urahara knew Aizen was interested in Orihime's power and deliberately tried to get her off the front lines. And, of course, the main meat of it was on Tatsuki here. Poor girl, the childhood friend of both Ichigo and Orihime, and with budding powers of her own. If she hadn't been taken down by Numb Chandelier way back when, her powers could've progressed alongside Orihime and Chad's, making her into a member of the main team. But that didn't happen, so she's not. She had all the backstory connections she needed, but simply Missed the Call, and she knows it. Too late now, though, she's lagging mulitple training arcs behind. I really feel nothing but pity for her, here.