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Ienzo-san required books.

This was a situation Ulquiorra had become familiar with over the weeks and months of knowing Ienzo. He read voraciously, and he read everything. Left to his own devices, it was not unusual for Ulquiorra to enter the library to find Ienzo-san sat in the middle of a pile of books, three open at once on the table, or floor if he hadn't even got that far, and another in his hand. Ienzo-san read as if it was as basic a requirement to his continued existence as breathing.

The problem with the library, Ulquiorra had learned, at great length, is that unless the subject was one in which another denizen of the Desert Palace held interest, the books on that topic were old. Old books were not in themselves a problem, but aspects of modern history, modern developments in some scientific areas, and, importantly, modern advances in alchemy, weren't covered by the library's current texts. This had led to a situation in which Ienzo-san required books.

Aizen-sama had previously been wary about letting Arrancar leave the Palace too freely. Ulquiorra already attended to duties as a Squad Five Shinigami, which kept him busy or absent from the Palace for extended periods, and his absences from the division were explained at least on paper as him working with Squad Three, accompanying Aizen-sama on whatever excuse he used for his absences, or made not to exist at all. Midgar had been a good excuse of late, but it also meant that Aizen-sama was wary of letting Ulquiorra venture somewhere he may be seen, in case he was seen by the wrong person in a place he was not supposed to be.

There had also been the issue of the other Arrancar. They had been unable to venture out of the Palace for any period of time without getting into a fight, a situation which presented Aizen-sama with a headache, and an easy solution. Or had, until Neliel and the other female Arrancar, and Tayuya of the Sound Four, had gone out for the evening, and returned the following day without incident. Thus proving that it could be done, provided the Arrancar in question were sensible, and not violent and untrustworthy trash such as Grimmjow.

Which was why, when Ulquiorra had approached Aizen-sama for permission to accompany Ienzo-san, he had requested visiting Alexandria. He had business there himself now that L had passed the Schiffer estate on to him legally, which would be sufficient explanation should he be seen by any of the gossiping shinigami known by Lieutenant Hinamori. Aizen-sama had, after a little thought, consented to Ulquiorra accompanying Ienzo on the trip.

In truth, Ulquiorra hadn't been back to Alexandria since he'd left it in the aftermath of his parent's deaths, and much had changed from his childhood recollections. Book shops, however, had been easy enough to find, despite the changing faces of the streets. Ulquiorra walked with one hand in his pocket, out of his usual Arrancar uniform for once, and dressed a neat suit and tie, though Murciélago remained at his side. His other hand held a bag, which currently held enough books to make Ulquiorra wonder why it was that a single book weighed little, and yet every book after that seemed to multiply the weight rather than merely add to it.

He'd been quiet for most of the day since they'd arrived, though this wasn't particularly unusual for him, speaking when addressed and little more. On account of the fact that Alexandria was famed for its Castle's library, they'd planned to stay for a couple of days, to give Ienzo-san the opportunity to upset the librarians there with his book-hogging habits. They'd checked in at one of the inns, and after depositing what little baggage they'd seen fit to bring, headed out. Ienzo-san could smell chakra, Ulquiorra knew, but he was becoming steadily more convinced that he could smell books like a shark could smell blood, too.

There was another book shop coming up ahead of them. Ulquiorra saw another multiplying of the weight he was carrying in his immediate future.
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