In the real world, Ichigo encounters a sword fiend, and he and Hitsugaya fight it, but it retreats. Ukitake and Kyoraku infer that there are at least as many sword fiends as the number of Soul Reapers lost in the war, and plan on stabilizing them to ... (more)return them to sword form, despite Mayuri's lack of interest. The sword fiend is attacked by a hollow, but manages to absorb it. It overpowers Rangiku when she tries fighting it, but Ichigo comes to fight it, disarming it. The hollow-fused sword fiend fires a Cero at Ichigo, but Hitsugaya manages to destroy it, noting that the sword fiends are more dangerous than he thought.