It had been over a month since the attack on the first district, and the whole of the Soul Society was still very much on edge. Patrols had been stepped up, reconnaissance missions around the Rukongai had been embarked upon but no additional facts were forthcoming, despite the efforts of the Gotei 13. Of course, there was a sinking suspicion that had been building in the hearts of those in the know that the answers lay in a different world to this one. This in turn was another source of anxiety – no one who had fought in the Battle of Hueco Mundo wished to return there. So few shinigami had emerged unscathed or without loss, and the place itself was a bitter reminder of the betrayal wrought by three (and then four) of their own. The scars left by the defections of Aizen, Ichimaru, Tousen and then Kurotsuchi were not easily healed, and their repercussions could be felt in every squad, though most of all in the ones they had originally led.