Rukia rushes back to the 6th Division HQ and is reunited with Renji. However, Byakuya's status remains unknown after the night of the zanpakutōs' attack. Ichigo and Yoriuchi arrive in Soul Society and split up to search for clues. Rukia returns to By... (more)akuya's compound and finds Sode no Shirayuki attacking and freezing the shinigami there. She tries to reason with her zanpakutō but Shirayuki demands her freedom. After a fierce battle, Rukia loses to Shirayuki and is about to be frozen to death when Ichigo arrives to rescue her. However, he too is defeated by Shirayuki. Rukia attempts to get Sode no Shirayuki back to her by telling the zanpakutō how important she is to her. Using her kidō powers to restrain Sode no Shirayuki and herself, Rukia attempts to sacrifice themselves both in order to convince Shirayuki one could not live without the other. The resulting explosion injures Rukia severely. Sode no Shirayuki has a change of heart and attempts to reach out to her master, but Muramasa arrives and holds her back. Muramasa introduces himself to Ichigo and states that he is a zanpakutō.