Boston Military Academy. May 31 2018

When it came to the training of elite knights in the art of Knightmare combat, there was no better academy in all the Holy Britannian Empire than the Boston Military Academy. In the last two decades, it had produced graduates that had since gone on into infamy. Just a few of name were Knights of the Round Gino Weinberg and Nonnette Enneagram, Princess Cornelia the 'Witch of Britannia' and, maybe the most significantly, Empress Marianne 'the Flash' herself. The academy building itself was huge, divided into four sections for specific use. First there was the dormitory, then the main building, followed by the arena in the centre and the hangar for personal or group training.

Today marked the end of the academic year, as such it was time for the traditional event that had been held every year since the academy's founding: The Day of Knights Tournament. Their training complete, students got to compete against each other in their Knightmare Frames to determine who was truly the strongest amongst them, an event that clearly reflected the former Emperor Charles zi Britannia's policy of survival of the fittest. Even though he had now passed on, however, Britannia had never been a nation that discarded tradition so easily.

The first round of the tournament was about to begin and, within the women's changing room, one of its combatants was readying herself for battle. Slender in figure with amber eyes an raven black hair, part of which fell over her left eye, she hardly appeared the kind of sort to be a fighter. Something she had made a point of disproving to her skeptical classmates during the first day of basic training. She had just finished changing into her crimson pilot uniform when a loud shout snapped up her attention.

"Come on Cinder! The fight will start in five minutes, hurry up!" The loud mouth was soon followed by a girl the same age as her with black skin and red eyes.

"Emerald." Cinder Fall replied to her 'friend' with a soft voice, "I told you I will be there before it starts."

"Yes, but everyone is already there!"

Cinder tried not to sigh before turning around to face her excited classmate, closing her locker behind her. "Fine, let's go."

Honestly, it wasn't that far a walk from the Arena.

When the academy had built the Arena, many had equated it to the ancient Roman Colosseum with a more modern design. It was oval in shape, and large enough to easily accommodate a thousand people and still have room for more. For the safety of the audience a protective dome had also been added so there was no concern for injury, duels could therefore be fought to their full potential allowing everyone to know who the stronger fighter really was as well as providing a spectacular show for the non-combatants.

And a show was exactly what the people wanted to see today. The Day of Knights was an open event to the public as well as the academy students, as such the Arena stands were completely filled, and not just with the ordinary citizens who were hoping to see a spectacle. Just a little glance in both directions told Cinder and Emerald that there were also many Knightmare pilots watching as well.

"Well, I'd better go take my Amber." Cinder said and made her way towards the hangar where her machine waited for her.

Once inside she immediately came face to face with a number of war machines; the tired old Glasgows that had been all but phased out of the military, the all round decent Sutherlands, and even the Gloucesters that specialised in one-on-one combat. They weren't the only Knightmares there though, a number of personal frames were also present, boasting hi-tech weapons and armour thicker than the average machine.

These were mostly owned by students who came from rich families, Cinder knew for a fact that she couldn't afford to buy something like this...anymore.

The world is in the middle of a war right now and they make us play games here! She could feel her hatred for the noble and rich snobs rising in her just as she stood there thinking about it. She had always hated their lifestyle, while she had climbed her way up from the bottom, they looked down from their castles on the poor whom they trod on.

But this was the only way Cinder had if she hoped to survive long enough to become really powerful.

Finally her gaze moved away from the personal Knightmares to land on a lonely Gloucester which sported the same crimson paint scheme as her pilot suit, just the way she liked it. Walking closer, her eyes caught the inscription engraved onto its right arm: 'Belongs to the Black Queen.'

The Black Queen, Cinder couldn't help but chuckle at the nickname she'd attained while being here at the academy. She had quickly become one of the most popular girls early on in training, if not the most. Any number of boys had tried to ask her out - going from polite invitations to prostrating themselves before her, declaring their undying love for her - but she'd turned all of them down flat. Not a single one of them had a hope of attaining her attention, let alone her affections.

The ideal man she had always thought of had to be at least a genius, one with whom she could debate philosophy if the mood struck her, as well as cool and fearless, a leader who knew no equal and bent before no one. Much like herself. Maybe that was a high self-opinion but that was what Cinder Fall wanted and so far, all she had been met with were disappointments.

Then again, it wasn't easy to search through knights to find a devil.

Somewhere in the Arena, a certain Emperor suddenly sneezed.

"Ladies and Gentlemen!" The voice of one of the commentators boomed out across the Arena "Today we bring you the Day of Knights Tournament of Boston Academy! Are you ready?!"

The massive applause and excited cheers from the audience told him they were.

"And it's a beautiful day for it too, wouldn't you say Oobleck?"

"Indeed Peter. Today sees the Arena full to record capacity." His colleague, a man with green hair and glasses replied, before muttering to himself "Despite Emperor Charles' death and the transfer of power to his son in the bloody way along with a complete change in modern society, everything's fine."

He muttered this all into his microphone however, causing many of his students to immediately introduce their faces to their palms.

Sensing the tone, Oobleck's fellow commentator Peter - a man with grey hair and moustache - quickly changed the subject "I think we can forget about politics today, let's just focus on what everyone wants to see here!" His enthusiastic words got the crowd going again, and they only got louder when he loudly declared, "Let's get this tournament going!"

"Now, before we start, let's quickly go over the rules." said Oobleck, his earlier faux pass forgotten. "The tournament roster is made up of the academies top six pilots. They are permitted to use any weapon they wish with the exception of guns. This is a brawl, not a bar!" His little joke got a few people laughing politely, while others just sighed at the terrible joke. "Of course they're not allowed to kill each other, their aim is to immobilise their opponent's machine. Also one round only lasts five minutes so they'll be going at each other right out of the gate! No dancing around this arena! The fights will be just today, and so enjoy it!"He finished rather weirdly, but the audience certainly didn't care as Oobleck's description was met with even more loud applause.

All this and more was observed by the empire's young ruler as he sat in his private room, treating himself to a bag of popcorn. He'd heard tales of these bouts from Marianne and Cornelia when he was little, and now he was about to witness them for himself. Lelouch was not ashamed to say he was feeling a little bit giddy.

"Your Majesty," Alfred spoke up, drawing his attention away from the screen on which he'd been watching the opening of the tournament, "it may be beneficial if you stepped up to the podium. If your subjects knew that you were here, I'm sure they would fight all the harder. Especially that young lady that you've taken an interest in."

"No Alfred," Lelouch answered, "I specifically want them not to know I'm here. That way they'll be completely focussed on the battle." Even as he said this his attention was returning to the screen, his eyes focussing on the two pilots...or more particularly one who had caught his eye. "Now then, let's see to what you can do, Lady Fall."

"And now, let's get onto the first match!" Peter shouted to the audience's delight, "And we're starting right at the top today, folks, with one of the best this academy has seen in a while! Dangerous and beautiful, a rosebush with all the thorns to go with it, a perfect winning record this whole year-!"

"And every year she's been here." Oobleck added on.

"Our black queen...Cinder Fall, piloting her Knightmare Frame, Amber!" On Peter's word, Cinder blazed onto the field in her customised machine, carrying two MVS's. When she appeared, the whole Arena exploded with applause, as far as they were concerned this young fighter was already on the way to becoming a knight.

"And her opponent." Peter continued. "Fastest of her class and heiress of one of the biggest sakuradite mining companies...Ladies and Gentlemen please welcome the Snow Angel herself, Weiss Schnee!"And again there was grandstand applause, though the heiress in question gave a hard glare at the commentators booth. But Peter either didn't see it or paid it no mind as he carried right on, "Piloting her Myrtenaster!"

Despite the fancy name, the Myrtenaster was just an ordinary Vincent that was colored in white. For a weapon however, Weiss had only brought one MVS that had been designed as a rapier - a perfect weapon for swift, one-one-one combat.

"Right then," Peter began "are you ready?!" Greens flashed on both sides signifying the pilots were set to go. "ARE YOU READY?!" This time it was the audience who gave their loud response. "Right then, let's go! Knights! Battle!"

His words had barely left his lips before both machines rushed each other.

The Amber's custom armour was quite a bit lighter than what was normally used on a Gloucester, meaning it could move quite a bit faster than the basic model. But the Myrtenaster wasn't without it's own benefits; whilst it hadn't been given any specific upgrades, Weiss's striking power was top of the class in terms of speed and accuracy. Additionally her rapier was light, giving her an extra speed advantage.

Know Weiss she would try to hit me with a series of fast strikes. Cinder thought to herself. She was immediately proved right as Weiss let off a flurry of quick attacks aimed at the connections between her limbs. Because she knew it was coming though, Cinder was able to dodge them all easily, the Amber not taking a bit of damage. Now, my turn!

And now she went on the offensive, pushing the Amber forward and swinging both her swords at the Myrtenaster. Weiss's rapier was able to block some of the strikes, but it quickly became evident that a weapon for fencing was not the correct weapon to deflect two swords at once. As a result, Cinder scored a hit on the Myrtenaster's right shoulder. Weiss had the keen sense to retreat, but the Amber was already in pursuit.

Too late to run now, lady heiress! Cinder began to apply precise strikes to the arms and legs of the Myrtenaster, a savage glee taking her over as she inflicted more and more damage to Weiss's machine.

In a desperate bid, the Myrtenaster slowed down and tried to strike a final hit targeting the Amber's chest where the core luminous resided, if Weiss could land a successful hit there Cinder's machine would be completely immobilised. Unfortunately for Weiss though, it was destined to fail.

Cinder saw the attack coming long before Weiss made the move and avoided the blow by having the Amber jumping into the air. From there she immediately counterattacked, bringing her two swords down from above. With one swing the Myrtenaster's hands were cut off, driving Weiss to her knees.

Around her the crowd roared in delight though others bayed their displeasure at the fight being over so quickly. And then suddenly Cinder felt something come over her. All her life, Cinder Fall had believed in her feelings and also in destiny, and right now she had a strange sense that there was someone important watching over her, someone that she felt she had always been destined to meet. It was only for a moment, but that moment seemed to drag on for eternity...And then she was back in the Arena, Weiss Schnee's ruined machine at her mercy...and then Cinder had a truly wicked idea.

Well, they came for a show. Let's give them one. Without giving herself a chance to rethink her actions, Cinder brought one of her swords to the Myrtenaster's head and, with one swift strike, decapitated the white Vincent. But that was far from the end of it, the head rolled on the arena floor for only a moment before the Amber's large foot landed on top of it, crushing it beneath an iron heel. And then Cinder herself came out of her cockpit, a victorious warrior standing over her vanquished foe. That same feeling struck her again, the sense that someone was watching, and instinctively she turned to face it, staring right down at the camera that had been recording and broadcasting that very short duel.

Do you see me, whoever you are? This is who I am. This is what I do. What will you do now?

For a brief spell absolute silence reigned throughout the Arena, the crowd struck numb by Cinder's final act. "Oh my god..." Even Peter sounded shocked at the display he'd just played witness to...for all of five seconds. "THAT WAS INCREDIBLE!"

His yell set off the rest of the audience who roared their mad delight at the carnage.

"Absolutely brutal!" Peter carried on, "But a win's a win. Cinder takes the first victory of the Day of Knights Tournament!"

"Indeed Peter," Oobleck agreed, "but did you notice that they didn't use their slash harkens? What's that about?"

"Well everyone has their own strategy," his colleague replied, not really sounding all that interested, "but right now it's time for a short break, ten minutes before the next match! The others are going to have to step up their game if they want to survive the Black Queen!"

His pronouncement set off the crowd again as the Amber began to head back to the hangar, its pilot completely unconcerned with their praise. Cinder was just happy she got to kick that rich girl's ass.

She'd looked right at him. Such a brutal display of power and poise, and then beheading her enemy! Oh Lelouch was getting tingles just replaying it in his mind. But those tingles had turned to chills when she'd exited her Knightmare and stared down the camera lens, stared into the eyes of the world...stared into him.

"Majesty." Jeremiah's voice broke him out of his trance, much to his loyal captain's amusement. "You're thinking about something. To do with Lady Cinder, I gather?"

"Is it so obvious?" The emperor chuckled, shaking his head ruefully, "I just..don"t know. I thought I felt something."

His vague reply caused Jeremiah to frown, even now he was working. "Your Majesty, you've worked very hard. Please, just enjoy the show. You've earned a rest."

He was glad then when he saw that his emperor's eyes were already closing. But behind his eyelids Lelouch was far from resting, because now all he could see were her eyes looking back at him radiating a familiar emotion. It was something he'd felt everyday he looked upon Tokyo before he became Zero, something he'd endured every time he saw Nunnally in her wheel chair.

That familiar stabbing feeling was pain.

"Cinder, you were amazing!" Emerald cheered the moment she managed to corner her classmate in the changing room. "And the way you took off her head at the end was absolutely awesome!"

The Black Queen sighed before turning tired eyes on her, "Emerald, it was just the first round, I still have three other fights if I want to win today."

"Well yeah, but you already beat Schnee!" Emerald retorted, not at all phased by Cinder's attempt to calm her, "And now you just have to-"

"FALL!" Another girl's enraged yell cut off their conversation however, preceding the furious arrival of Weiss Schnee herself. She was the same as the other two, her white hair and icy blue eyes, along with her white pilot suit, being the basis of her moniker. Right now however she didn't look like much of an angel of anything with an ugly bandage wrapped around her head. That didn't stop her eyes from spitting fire as they focussed on the one responsible for her current state. "What the hell do you think you were doing?!"

"I thought it was obvious." Cinder replied, smirking. "We fought. I won."

Her casual dismissal of Weiss's state however just made the Sakuradite heiress even angrier. "YOU-! YOU UTTER BITCH! You completely destroyed my Myrtenaster! And what the hell was with that...that Knightmare execution?!"

Oh for goodness sake, it was as if Weiss had expected not to take any damage in this tournament.

"Look," Cinder said bluntly, "you know that this tournament pits the very best pilots of the academy against each other right?" At Weiss's slow nod she continued. "Then you must have known that your machine could be damaged during a fight." At that it looked like Weiss wanted to say something but Cinder quickly cut her off, "And this tournament isn't just a test for us graduates, it's also a show for the common folk..." here she was unable to repress another smirk, "so I gave them one."

All the while Weiss's face had been getting redder and redder, it looked like she was about to burst by the time Cinder was done. However both were spared that when the PA system called out. "Cinder Fall, your next match begins in five minutes, please report to the Arena. Repeat, Cinder Fall to the Arena."

That was Cinder's break and she immediately took it, striding past Weiss, "Sorry Snow Angel, but I have a match to win." She was almost passed her when Weiss suddenly reached out and grabbed her wrist. Clearly she wasn't done yet. But she would be when Cinder turned back, smiling at her. "Is there something you needed Miss Schnee?"

Her tone was polite, but everything else about her screamed just how ready she was to burn this bitch alive. Particularly in her eyes that were now burning into the heiress's own. On seeing that murderous intent, Weiss, fearing for her life, immediately let go.

Cinder just kept on smiling. "Good."

She departed the changing room, just in time to dodge of the way of a little red-haired girl who immediately charged into the room.


"Alright then, onto our next match!" Peter announced. "Please welcome back to the Arena Cinder Fall!" The crowd suitably went wild at the Black Queen's return, "And now, one of my best students. Self-entitled Queen of the Castle...Nora Valkyrie in her custom Glasgow frame, the Magnhild!"

His introduction gave way to a pink and white coloured Glasgow armed with a huge warhammer. Despite it being a somewhat obsolete machine, Nora had made excellent use of it throughout her time at the academy, what she lacked in speed she more than made up for in sheer destructive capability.

And Cinder was sure to feel that in the match itself as the Magnhild beat hard on the Amber with all the force the hammer had. Cinder was capable of blocking her opponent's attacks for the most part, but every deflection shook her machine to the core. Nora capitalised on her advantage and finally got a hit in under the Amber's guard sending the machine off to the side. It didn't go down, but the pilot had been suitably rattled.

Clenching her teeth, Cinder put the Amber in reverse as quickly as possible. Nora was quick to follow her, launching another swing that the Amber just managed to dodge in time. But that was all Cinder needed. As she was aware the Magnhild's strength lay in its hammer, but that strength was a two-edged sword as the sheer weight of its weapon meant it was incredibly slow. This made the Amber's speed advantage the perfect counter-weapon.

The tactic was a simple hit-and-run. Moving swiftly, Cinder brought the Amber around the back of the Magnhild and struck hard on its arm, not enough h to do damage, but it would certainly annoy Nora. And she was right as the huge hammer came whirling around to hit her, but Cinder was already out of reach again, coming back to the front and striking at the chest.

This went on for some time, until eventually Nora was forced to pull back. However, the Magnhild's speed weakness showed itself again and she wasn't anywhere near out of harm's way when Cinder decided to launch the Amber's slash harkens. Nora was able to block the first one with her Knightmare's free hand, but the second harken knocked the hammer out of her grasp.

Inside the Amber, Cinder felt an evil smirk come over her. Her opponent was completely defenceless now. It would be a simple matter to claim victory here and now...but that simply wouldn't do. Without any warning, she launched the Amber forwards jabbing its elbow right into the chest of the pretty looking Glasgow. The sheer force behind the attack sent her opponent falling backwards.

A moment later the Magnhild was lying on the ground, the Amber's foot grinding into its chest.

And once again, Cinder received the wild praise of the crowd.

"She is indeed an excellent pilot." Alfred commented once the break started.

"In this training facility perhaps," Jeremiah cautioned, his arms crossed "she hasn't experienced real battle yet."

"True," Alfred conceded. "But she is still very capable."

"Let's wait and see then." Their emperor spoke up, before glancing at his aide, "You put what I asked in her changing room?"

"Yes, your Majesty."Alfred nodded, trying hard not to blush.

"Good." Lelouch nodded, noting that the break was coming to an end. "Now then, my Queen, show me what you're really capable of."

Cinder was already back in the Amber, waiting in the hangar for Peter to announce her back into the Arena. This was the last round of the tournament and, naturally, she'd made it to the top two. All that she needed to do now was win this match to prove her superiority. However, even though she was more than ready to get started, her thoughts were distracted by something...odd.

When she'd returned to her locker in the changing room, she'd found quite the unusual gift waiting for her inside. A chess piece, a white queen to be exact, had been standing there as if it had been awaiting her return. It certainly wasn't hers, even though Cinder was more than a bit good at the game itself, and when she asked around no one else knew where it had come from either.

Even more unusual was her decision to take it with her when she returned to the Amber, the small chess piece flicking in between her fingers as she observed it. She couldn't truly explain her reason for doing so, something had just felt...right about it.

"Well it's the final bout, ladies and gents!" Peter's voice came out over the PA system, "And what a bout it's gonna be! For the final time today, please welcome to the Arena our Black Queen, Cinder Fall!" Hearing her cue, Cinder accelerated the Amber forwards into the Arena to the jubilant cries of the public. "And for as good a fighter we have here we need an equally dangerous opponent! And here she is!"

On the far side of the Arena another Gloucester model appeared sporting a red and gold colour scheme, in its right hand it held a javelin and in its left a shield that matched the knightmare's colour scheme. And for the first time today, Cinder felt a chill go down her spine. She'd known this was coming, but that didn't mean she wasn't anxious.

"Ladies and gentlemen please welcome the Invincible Girl!" Peter announced, "Champion of four National Tournaments, Pyrrha Nikos in her title claiming machine, Xiphos!"

For the first time today, Cinder thought the cheers and cries for her opponent outclassed what they'd shown her. Not a good sign. She didn't have time to ponder her chances though as Peter suddenly shouted into his microphone again. "Alright everyone, let's get the final match going! Knights! BATTLE!"

The Amber and the Xiphos charged right at each other as fast as their pilots could make them. They met dead centre in the middle of the oval arena, swords and spear clashing against each other. Cinder felt the impact but ignored the rattling it caused, she came here to win, and with a perfect win history she wasn't about to stop now. With that in mind she pulled away and immediately went on the attack with everything she had, directing the Amber's MVS's with deadly grace and accuracy.

However, her opponent wasn't some hotshot who thought she was big this time, Pyrrha proved her right to be champion four times over by effortlessly countering every one of Cinder's attacks. Sometimes she used her shield to block, others she redirected with her spear sending them harmlessly away from their intended target...and other times she simply dodged them altogether.

And now the Xiphos was on the attack with her javelin, jabbing forward at the Amber's torso. Cinder managed to deflect the assault but only barely, however that only left her open to Pyrrha's next move when she rammed the Amber with her knightmare's shield. The move caught Cinder so completely by surprise that her defences were momentarily lowered, which was all the time Pyrrha needed to get in a connecting blow with her spear on the Amber's torso.

Damn, Cinder cursed in her head, this isn't good. I'm lucky the Core Luminous wasn't hit.

She didn't have time to come up with a new strategy, though, as the Xiphos continued its attack on her, forcing Cinder onto the defensive. Any time she tried to get back on the attack, Pyrrha shut her down with her spear and then moved to break her defence with the shield. If this dragged on it would go to the judges, and so far Cinder hadn't landed a single hit. Come on! I've got to think of something!

Fortune smiled on her at last (or maybe Pyrrha just got impatient) when the Xiphos's assault halted and Pyrrha instead launched her slash harkens. Seeing the opening, Cinder moved the Amber to successfully dodge them. Yes! She now had a small window to retaliate before Pyrrha began her assault again and Cinder went for it. Her MVS's swung forward, aiming to take off the Xiphos's head...but at the last second the spear came up to block both blades and force them away from her. No!

Now Cinder was the one who was wide open and Pyrrha immediately pounced on it. Realising her situation, Cinder pulled the Amber into reverse just in time to avoid another assault. However, the Xiphos's spear scored another hit just before the Amber was out of it's range.

Dammit, dammit, dammit! Cinder was shouting over and over in her head. This was all going wrong! Nothing she did was working and now she was in full retreat, Pyrrha chasing right after her no doubt looking to deal further damage to her machine. What the hell to I do now?

Her answer came in the form of a voice over her radio. "When she launches her slash harkens don't run." It instructed, "Let them come at you. When they're in range cut them off with your swords."

"What? Who is this?" Cinder automatically demanded. "How'd you get my frequency?"

"That's not important." The voice replied, "If you want to win this fight, then follow my orders."

"Oh?" Despite her situation, Cinder raised an eyebrow at her unsought assistant, "And why should I? That's against the rules." In truth she didn't much care whether it was or not, if cheating meant she won that was fine by her. But why would this unknown voice help her win?

"Because," the voice told her, something of a laugh in his(?) tone, "sometimes you can't change the world without getting your hands dirty."

Change the world huh? And now she felt the beginnings of a smirk growing, this guy sounds crazy enough to be genuine. Her smirk was nearly wiped off her face though when the Xiphos suddenly appeared right in front of her. Cursing silently, she moved the Amber back out of range. Well, in for a penny...

"Fine," she relented at last "what do I do?"

"Like I said," the voice repeated, "don't run from her slash harkens. They're not aiming to hit you, but to keep you boxed in. If you destroy them however..."

He left the sentence hanging, but it was enough for her to grasp what he was getting at. "Understood."

"Good luck Q-2."

"Q-2?" An odd choice of codename, enough that it peaked her curiosity. "As in 'queen?' Wait, was it you who left that queen piece in my locker?"

Now there was definitely the undertones of a laugh in the voice as he replied, "Win the battle, and maybe I'll answer your questions."

Is that so? Cinder thought to herself, her own smirk still in place. So this is a test, is it? Well if that was the case then this guy really didn't know who he was dealing with. If he did he'd know that she always passed her tests - written and practical. And now this battle was something she would simply win as well. It was just that simple.

Bringing her attention back to said battle, she was in time to see the Xiphos come at her again with its slash harkens. It took everything she had not to move the Amber away from the incoming volley, something she vaguely heard Peter and Oobleck comment on, but only now did she finally notice the harkens' trajectory. The voice had been right; they both sailed harmlessly past her.

A psychological attack. Cinder couldn't help it, she was impressed. Scare your opponent into thinking they'll be hit and they'll do anything you want. Very good Nikos, very good indeed. But now it was Pyrrha's turn to be afraid. Now that the slash harkens were fired, their cables that attached them to the Xiphos were exposed and Cinder could finally use that weakness. Moving quickly before Pyrrha could work out what she was doing, Cinder swung the Amber's MVS's down on the cables. Finally the battlefield was open to her again.

Pyrrha must have known this too because now the Xiphos was rushing in, its spear poised to strike the Amber's core her harkens it really was the only method she had open to her, but that also worked in Cinder's favor. She quickly blocked the attack, this time only using one sword. It was a difficult effort considering all the force Pyrrha was putting into this attack but for Cinder's plan to work she had to have an arm free.

Now to return the favor. Before Pyrrha could ram her with her shield, Cinder launched her machine's right slash harken right into the Xiphos's left arm which knocked the shield out of its hand. But Cinder had no time to celebrate as Pyrrha quickly changed tactics, the Xiphos now launching a punch at the Amber forcing her to disengage and back up. Damn, she just doesn't give up, does she? Still, considering the state of the Xiphos - no slash harkens and now no shield - this was the best chance she was ever going to get to take Pyrrha down.

With that in mind Cinder quickly went back on the attack, not giving her opponent time to regroup. But Pyrrha was nothing if not adaptable and she let out a volley of quick punches to try and keep Cinder off balance. But she had now lost her advantage, and besides Cinder was no longer set on thinking tactically; she only knew two things: 1 - she had to win, and 2 - Pyrrha was stopping her from doing that...which was unacceptable.

The Amber rushed forwards, barely missing the Xiphos's spear as it tried to take her out, and then Cinder brought up both her machine's deadly swords and swept down...right through the Xiphos's right arm. Her opponent could still stand however and Cinder immediately brought one of her swords to the Xiphos's 'neck.' With no weapons left and now only one working hand, it looked like it was all over...however, Pyrrha Nikos wasn't one to be taken lightly and so Cinder kept the Amber's weapons ready in case she tried anything.

At last though, the Xiphos's cockpit hatch opened and a red haired young woman with green eyes stepped out, waving her hands in the sign of surrender. It was over.

Once again silence reigned...and once again it was only a short while before the crowd screamed their praise for them both.

Peter in particular sounded insanely happy "WHAT A MATCH!" He bellowed into his microphone, "Cinder's done it! She has beaten the unbeatable! We have our champion, ladies and gentlemen. The winner of the Day of Knights tournament is our Black Queen, Cinder Fall!"

Once again the crowd went wild as Cinder herself came out of the Amber and looked out at the mass praise.

"And now the tournament's over." Oobleck carried on roughly, "So go home."

"Oy." Peter sighed.

Despite the commentators' words, the crowd showed no sign of going anywhere, their cries for joy and awe continuing on for some time. Meanwhile, Cinder remained standing in the Arena, her mind not really present at the moment. Of course she was glad she had won, it was what she'd worked towards all this time. But right now she had a question on her mind: who was that on the radio? Who was it that had risked her expulsion from the tournament to ensure that she won?


The loyal cyborg turned to his master, whose eyes were once again focussed on the screen "Yes your Majesty?"

"Call her here." Lelouch instructed. "I'd like to speak with Lady Fall."

Jeremiah nodded and signaled to the guards, one of which nodded and headed off to collect the lady in question. Lelouch however never let his gaze leave the image of the young woman, a smirk rising up on his face.

"Well, you aren't Kallen," he admitted, ignoring the hurt just thinking of her brought him, before his smirk became a truly devilish grin. "But I suppose you'll suffice for my plans."

Cinder had returned to the changing room and was now doing away with her pilot suit. She had no answer to her earlier question but that wasn't going to stop her from looking into it. But not today, she was exhausted after that last match. Once she'd had a chance to rest then she would start looking for her nameless benefactor.

Chances of rest were put on hold however when the changing room door opened admitting one of her teachers, a blonde professor who had her hair tied up in a strict bun and green eyes that were layered over by glasses. She took a moment to correct them before greeting her student. "Miss Fall."

"Yes, Professor Goodwitch?"Cinder asked politely, doing her best not to show how tired she really was."How can I help you?"

"The headmaster Ozpin wants to speak with you."Goodwitch simply told her.

"I see." This wasn't unexpected, Cinder had just won the tournament so it was natural that the headmaster would want a word with her. Recognising that she wouldn't be getting any sleep soon, she quickly finished getting changed and then, in Goodwitch's company, made her way to the academy's main building.

The building itself was a massive tower that overlooked the whole academy, with the Headmaster's office right at the top. It was at this room that Cinder and her professor were met by two soldiers in scarlet robes who flanked a third man; dressed in all black save for the dark green scarf around his neck, tousled grey hair and wearing black shaded spectacles in front of sharp yellow eyes, there was no mistaking Boston Military Academy's Headmaster Ozpin.

Upon seeing them, the man gave Cinder a quirky grin and stepped aside. "Miss Fall! Right on time! Please, take the elevator. A very special someone is waiting to meet you."

The only outward showing of Cinder's confusion was a slightly raised eyebrow before nodding and making her way to Ozpin's private elevator that the soldiers obediently gave her access to. She made the trip up alone, giving her time to think over this strange predicament. She had assumed that Ozpin wanted to congratulate her success, only now to find that the headmaster had been little more than a messenger boy, so whoever it was that really wanted to see her wanted to keep this private if even Goodwitch didn't know what was going on.

There aren't that many people who could arrange a meeting like this...Someone who even Ozpin viewed as 'special' wasn't one to be dismissed lightly. That sort of thought should have worried her...and yet, Cinder couldn't help but feel excited. Once again she was feeling that unexplainable rightness of a situation that she'd felt in the Arena right before she cut the head off Weiss's knightmare. Something important was about to happen, and her life would be forever changed by it.

At last the elevator came to a halt and Cinder exited into the headmaster's office. It was a rather unusual room, typically large and spacious like most Britannian offices but for some strange reason the ceiling represented a clock face and the far wall directly behind the headmaster's desk was completely made of glass. Not exactly the most secure of places, considering how many people had tried to kill Ozpin over the years just so they could take his place as headmaster. But he'd survived this long so maybe there was another reason for it.

Whatever Cinder thought about the room, her attention was soon caught by something that was resting on the desk itself: a chess board, with all its pieces in their beginning positions save for one. The white queen was missing from the board and unless this was some very strange coincidence, Cinder knew exactly where it had gotten to.

Then and there she realised exactly what was expected of her to pass this test. She retrieved the queen from where it had been resting in her pocket and placed it on the board beside the white king, right where it was supposed to be.

"Impressive." A somewhat familiar voice behind her stated, causing Cinder to immediately spin round out of shock. And then her eyes went wide when they came face to face with the intrigued expression of Emperor Lelouch himself. "You worked out my task rather quickly."

"Your Majesty!" Cinder immediately bent the knee to him, "It's my honor to meet you." It really was, this was the man who killed the former emperor whom she reviled. If not for him and his reforms she likely wouldn't be anywhere near as strong as she was today. "How may I serve you?"

The emperor regarded her for a moment before walking passed her and around the headmaster's desk, seating himself in the waiting chair. "I was wondering if you would humor me by playing a game of chess, Miss Cinder Fall."

Chess? Quite the long way round to get someone to play a simple board game with him. But such intricate detail only served to intrigue Cinder further as she rose from her kneeling position and turned to face him. What was he playing at?

The best she could guess was that this was another test...and besides, she was quite good at the game. In all her time at the academy she'd never lost a game, it would be quite something if she could add the emperor himself as a beaten opponent. And just like that Cinder felt her fatigue wash away, replaced by determination to meet this latest test.

"It would be my pleasure, you Majesty." Cinder replied politely, sitting herself down in the visitor's chair facing Lelouch.

The emperor himself smiled lightly, "Wonderful. Now, which do you prefer?"

That gave her a moment of pause as she regarded the situation, both her opponent and the board itself. Much like what he was wearing now, many had taken to calling Emperor Lelouch the 'White Emperor' in terms of both his clothing choices and his why not play black and challenge white's supremacy?

Feeling a small grin beginning, Cinder said "If you'll allow me, I'll be black."

For his part, Lelouch slowly nodded before letting out a small chuckle "You know something, Miss Fall? This is the first time ever playing white."

His admission caught her attention. Never played white? Then does that mean he's almost never played chess in his life? It took all of her willpower not to let out a disappointed sigh. And here I was thinking I'd have a challenge today...

About half an hour later she found herself eating her words as Lelouch quickly proved himself a masterfully skilled player of the game. So good in fact that, while neither player had lost or taken another's piece, it was very clear to Cinder that her opponent was in full control of what was happening in the match, possibly thinking several steps ahead of his current move. If she wasn't as good as she was, Cinder would have fallen for several of the traps he'd set up for her...and even then it was only at the last minute.

If she needed any further proof that this was the same man as the one on the radio, it was fair to say she had it now...which begged the question: "Majesty, may I ask you something?"

"If it's in regards to my intervention during the tournament, don't worry about it." Lelouch told her without looking up from the board. "I saw something that interested me, that's all there really is to it."

"Interesting? Me?" Understandably she was rather surprised; what could possibly interest the Emperor of Britannia in a barely graduated academy student? More out of habit than mistrust, Cinder slapped on a fake smile. "But I'm just a normal girl who was lucky enough to win."

Her evasion was for naught though as Lelouch took his eyes off the game for the first time since they started, "Please, Lady Fall, do you really believe in such a thing?" He asked, before moving one of his pawns to threaten her rook. "Because I don't. All my life has been a constant fight for survival...but then," the little smile he'd been wearing now shifted into a smirk which sent a chill up Cinder's spine, "I could say the same of you."

"What do you mean by that?" She asked him, trying her best to hold her smile without letting out the tremor that was growing in her tone. "I mean yes, it was hard work to be the best, but I was still able to achieve it. I'm even talking to my country's emperor. What could that be other than luck?"

He couldn't know...could he?

"For Cinder Fall, maybe." Lelouch agreed, his gaze turning sharp for a moment before continuing, "But for Cinder Blackwood, life has been a living hell."

This time she wasn't able to hide her reaction, her eyes going wide at the utterance of that name, her heartbeat shot up for a moment and Cinder did everything in her power not to jump out of her chair. But the emperor didn't budge at all, as if he'd been expecting this exact reaction.

Taking a deep breath, Cinder calmed her heart back down, her smile dropping away at last. "Let me guess: OSI?" His short nod was all the answer she needed and she let out a defeated sigh. "So I was hiding all this time for nothing then."

Her admission at last got a reaction out of the emperor as he raised an eyebrow out of curiosity. "And why would you say that?"

For a moment she considered not saying a thing, but then common sense reminded Cinder that this was the Emperor she was dealing with. If she didn't tell him, he would just go to OSI and get it from them. She might as well come out and say it now and save them both time.

"I failed the last wish of my mother." She began slowly, "She...she told me to hide, change my identity, my name, heck even my looks if I had to." The more she said, the more she remembered. The day it happened, the things she'd seen, and it was a hard struggle not to clutch her head in her hands. "All so they wouldn't look for me, so they couldn't hunt me down and..."

"Because?" Lelouch prodded, clearly wanting her to say it.

"My mother, Salem Blackwood. When I was still a child, she was accused of the murder of Olivia Zevon and was killed by a bunch of mad nobles." She scowled at the memory of what came later. "But even when they did find the real killer, no one cared about my mother, how she'd been accused and destroyed. Not one single empty apology. It was as if the whole thing never happened." Her angered tone turned into a snarl as she went on, "They just went back to their nice little game of thrones, bleating at their emperor's feet for whatever scraps he'd throw their way. They're disgusting!"

She was surprised by her own emotional response, it wasn't something she usually indulged in. But Lelouch just regarded her silently, letting her get it all out, before responding.

"I'm no stranger to loss. As you might know my mother was also murdered and my claim to the throne revoked." Yes, Cinder had been aware of that. Some of the more conservative groups loved to point it out any chance they got in newspapers and TV interviews, to say nothing of the internet. Technically, Emperor Lelouch was a usurper who'd challenged Emperor Charles when he was just a boy and was exiled for his trouble. However, instead of turning people against him, his story only added to his fame especially among the younger generations.

"Unlike you, however, I didn't simply give up and hide from my problems." Lelouch continued on, his voice suddenly taking on a sharp steely edge. "And that's why I don't believe in luck, or destiny or whatever you wish to call it. If I did, then it should have been my destiny to die in Japan when Britannia invaded. Instead I challenged destiny and the world that believes in it, time and time again leading me back to my homeland with vengeance in hand and the royal crown on my head." His expression was fixed in a determined glare, hold Cinder spellbound as he spoke. "Though my greatest strike against destiny was last year, on the day I killed my brother, Clovis."

For someone as clever as Cinder, it wasn't difficult to put together what he was talking about from that single sentence alone though she found it hard to accept. Everyone knew of Prince Clovis's end in Area 11 last year - not that she was shedding any tears over it of course - but it was what came with him that kept Cinder and many others captive afterwards that was shaking her to the core. Suddenly she found herself shaking, because if she was correct, the emperor had just admitted to being Britannia's greatest enemy since Napoleon Bonaparte himself.

"You''re really...?" She couldn't finish the sentence, it was just too unbelievable.

Lelouch however just nodded. "Yes, Miss Cinder. I am Zero." Then he frowned a moment before saying, "Or rather, I was."

Hearing him admit it did little to lower the shock of what she was hearing. In the end, all Cinder could utter was a simple "Why?"

Her question was enough to sharpen his focus again however as whatever thoughts were on Lelouch's mind suddenly vanished and his full attention returned to her. "Because I wanted it." He answered truthfully, "And because someone had to do it. It just so happened to be me. But enough about me, there's something I would like to ask you."

Before Cinder knew what was going on, Lelouch had placed his fingers over his eyes and plucked out a pair of contact lenses. She didn't have time to wonder about that though as she was soon entranced by the words. "Lelouch vi Britannia commands you!"

"Answer all my questions!" Lelouch commanded with his Geass.

A second passed, and then the red circles appeared around Cinder's irises. "What does your Majesty wish to know?" She asked him, devoid of all emotion.

Smiling at the successful use, he didn't waste time asking her his questions. "What is it you want in life?"

"To be strong." She answered, "I want to be powerful. So powerful that the nobles who murdered my mother and then forgot about her will tremble in fear when they hear my name."

A rather basic answer, but one that he could easily use. Now onto the second question. "What are you prepared to do to achieve what you desire?" Lelouch asked her, though he suspected he already knew the answer.


Perfect, just the kind of person he could use. Satisfied with her answers, Lelouch broke eye contact, ending his Geass's power over Cinder. For a moment she just stared directly ahead, but then she blinked and the red rings vanished. "Did I say something?" She asked him.

"Yes, actually you told me something interesting." He replied whilst replacing his lenses. "Jeremiah, would you refresh our guest's memory please?"

His loyal knight, who had remained hidden throughout their game and subsequent conversation didn't hesitate to carry out his master's wishes. The eye around his orange face mask opened, activating his Geass Cancellor and once again leaving Cinder dazed for a couple of seconds.

Then her eyes widened as the missing memories returned to her and she stared at him in astonishment. "My apologies, Miss Cinder, but I had to be sure of your motivations."

"What was that?" He could clearly hear the fear in her question...and yet interestingly there was also curiosity in her tone. Intriguing.

Still she had asked, and Lelouch would answer, "That was my power; Geass. The Power of the King. In me it takes the form of absolute obedience."

"Geass? Absolute obedience?" Impressive, rather than running for the hills Cinder only sounded all the more interested. Then a moment passed and she frowned at him. "Wait. Why have you told me about all of this. You've admitted to being Zero, as well as helping me cheat my way to victory, and now you show me this secret power of yours. If the people found out about this..."

But Lelouch just snorted, "Do you really think anyone would believe such a far fetched tale?" He asked her point blank, and he could see immediately that she agreed with him on that. "Besides I doubt you'd tell anyone anyway..." and now his smile turned perfectly evil, "not when I'm offering you to join me."

"And why would I do that?" She asked back, though her desire was clearly there. Well then, time to sell it to her.

"Because in my services I can give you what you've always craved: Power! Enough power to send every high born noble scurrying from the mere sight of you." Oh she was definitely interested, now for the true selling point. "And if that's not enough, I offer you the chance to use your power to take vengeance against them all. Think of it: all those who ignored your pain, those who abandoned you - as they abandoned me - brought to your heel."

He knew the moment he had her only a second before she did. That very second later, Cinder Fall stood from her chair and once again went down on her knees, uttering the words he'd sought to get from her. "Your Majesty! I am yours to command. Use me as you see fit."

Lelouch stared down at her for a moment before rising from the headmaster's chair and walking back around the desk to stand before her. "Then rise, my vengeful Q-2. There are many things that we must discuss."

Off to the side, Jeremiah Gottwald watched in silence. Yet as Cinder stood back up, bearing an almost identical devil's grin on her face to that of his master's, the cyborg could help the feeling that something truly terrible was about to descend upon the world.

Because now the White Emperor had a White Queen.





And we're here!

1-It's not crossover. I just used characters from RWBY in this chapter. They wouldn't be In the future. Fans of Rwby must recognize which characters I used. You can find their in a google if you want.

2-Abour LelouchxCinder. Lelouch my favorite anime character. Cinder one of my favorites characters. And I always thought that they pretty similar. Both of them wanted power. Both of them have it. Both of them wanted destroy the world and did it. So pairing them it's like pairing two evil genius and it might be cool.

3-Now Cinder Q-2 and Kallen still Q-1. You already guessed that thier meting will be epic!

4-I actually looking for beta-reader. So if someone of you guys have an experience and wants to help with fanfic I would be glad.

5-Cinder would be slightly OC.

6-Hope you liked by battles.

For now this all! Thanks for reading and sorry for gramatical errors!