August 29th. Cambodia.

Far from the battle in Japan, a lonely old bar could be found in a small town. The bar itself was nothing special and neither was the town. It was still daytime and the number of customers was low, in fact, only two of them were there. Two women who were clearly not local were drinking and chatting, or at least one of them was while the second looked to be frightened, constantly looking over her shoulder.

"You need to calm down, Miss Mariel," The former maid of Empress Nunnally vi Britannia and better known as Miss X said as she took another shot of cheap alcohol. "Drink something, we had a long walk."

The former scientist and engineer of Schneizel's forces didn't listen to her companion's advice. Mariel was a nervous wreck, her hands were shaking, and she was terrified out of her mind. It was like this ever since the two of them escaped from the camp and left the coalition. X lazily offered another drink to her, but Mariel turned it down.

"I-I don't think it will help. What if Prince Schneizel will send people after us? We're deserters!" Mariel raised her tone before remembering where she was and leaned closer to X who had an amused smile. "We defected, and according to military protocol, we will be court-martialed and shot!"

"Then it's a good thing Schneizel and his little gang are currently busy elsewhere, right?" X laughed, slightly drunk by now. "You worry too much. Just relax, Mariel. There is nothing you can do anymore. As you said, we're deserters. The best we can do is to continue running."

"None of this is normal to me, I-I've never done anything like this. How can you be so calm?"

X raised her glass. "This helps. And also the fact that I have a goal in mind and running towards the goal, makes me stay focused."

"What goal? You were Empress Nunnally's personal maid, I don't get it. You were the one who decided to run away and I just happened to pass by…" Mariel clenched her fists, trying to stop her hands from shaking. "I didn't have plans to leave, but after what happened in Tokyo, after what Suzaku did..."

X listened to her as she took a slow sip. "You realised the situation was going out of control and ran away. Good call. Nothing wrong with trying to stay alive."

The death of Zero at the hands of Suzaku changed everything they planned, and it certainly destroyed their chances of potential negotiations with the Federation in the future. Mariel wasn't a politician, but even she could see how bad it would become for Schneizel's faction. They will have to use F.L.E.I.J.A. offensively and that was something she didn't want to see. Even if she realised that Zero on the broadcast wasn't the same one who killed her father. Since the real one was only a few metres away.

'I was ready to turn a blind eye if they used it as self-defence, but now Prince Schneizel will definitely use it to attack.' Any route but the direct conflict was out of the picture. And not only that but Suzaku- 'What did he mean when he said I must live? I don't get it.'

When he returned from that failed mission, all Suzaku said to her was she must live and get out of there. Mariel didn't understand what was going on, but with the strange device inside his Lancelot Albion she found before and now all those events, she became scared. By poor luck, she managed to run into the maid of Empress Nunnally who was also on her way out of the base. And so, two of them were now in this bar, waiting for something, or at least X said so.

"What are we even going to do now?" Mariel lowered her head, too tired and confused to make sense of the situation. "We can't go to Britannia or the UFN. We don't have anything of value, our money-"

"You are worrying too much, again." X giggled. "First time running away from your problems? Trust me, it gets easier with enough practice. But for now, we just have to wait and see who will come out victorious. Perhaps Schneizel will win or maybe Lelouch. I don't care either way… but there is a complicated business I have, which makes me wish that Lelouch's forces at least won't die."

"Why? Lelouch vi Britannia is our enemy, well, was one before we ran away, now I don't know."

"Do you have issues with the young emperor?" X asked with curiosity.

"Well, he had come out of nowhere, started purging the empire and using his-" Mariel didn't even know what to make of Geass from what Suzaku and others told her. Not to mention the current emperor's past as Zero. Which was even more confusing to Mariel, beyond the fact that the masked man was responsible for the death of her father. "I was terrified of what would happen to me."

"You're smart, and pretty good-looking too. A strong 7 out of 10." X winked but Mariel didn't look relaxed at all. "Jeez, as I said before, having a goal helps me stay focused. If you are so worried about getting chased and killed by either of the groups, just think about your personal end game of life and what makes you go on. It helps to stay sane when everything around you is insane."

"My life goal then?" Mariel never thought about it beyond simple stuff like keep researching and creating new inventions, even helping others with that. Once her father died in Japan, she was more focused on beating Zero and defeating the Black Knights. Then it was fighting Emperor Lelouch who was the original Zero. However, now she had no plans on what to do… except one thing. "I would like to continue developing new Knightmare technology."

X blinked. "What? Working? That's your dream? Don't take it the wrong way, Mariel, but I think you need to get a better life. Not even planning to get some mansion where you can live in luxury?"

"I always wanted to become someone who can stay on equal ground with the likes of Lloyd and Cecile. And… help someone who might need it." Mariel stopped for a second. 'I would have liked to continue working with Suzaku. The boy suffered too much and needs friends, anyone to support him. But he was the one who said I must leave and after what happened… perhaps he doesn't want to be helped anymore.'

That was both a terrifying and sad thought. Mariel didn't know what to do or how to help her friend. X noticed how her companion's poster and facial expression changed, and thanks to her expertise, there was only one that could prompt such a look.

"A special someone, eh? I get it. Heh, well, my goal is pretty simple too. Not as boring as yours though." X took a sip before a melancholic smile formed on her face. "I was saving enough funds to get a small piece of land in Australia, in the countryside. I got tired of the big cities, of constantly having to blend in with masses." To be a spy, always lying to everyone around her. "I just want to be done with all this and just live in peace… with one obvious idiot who is too dense to notice me."

"Wow," Mariel smiled warmly. "That's a beautiful dream."

"Yes." X's face turned sour when she heard the cars outside the bar. One glance at the window was enough to see a few armoured vehicles outside. It was finally time. "Sadly, the methods I use to achieve said dream aren't as beautiful… I'm sorry, Mariel."

"Wait, what-"

Before Mariel could finish, the entrance doors were kicked open, scaring the bar owner. Several men walked in as they formed a semi-circle around the two women. The scientist on the run froze in fear as her heart started to beat faster, terrified that they would come for her. However, X grabbed Mariel's hand to calm her down. The double agent had an apologetic smile as she turned towards the newcomers.

"So, you finally arrived. Took you long enough." X spoke with her usual bravado, but Mariel could feel how X squeezed her hand. "After everything I have done, I was expecting a limousine and red carpet. Is this how His Majesty rewards good work?"

'What-'

Mariel didn't understand what the hell was going on. The group of agents stayed silent, as they made a way for their commanding officer who walked closer to the bar. Neither of the two saw this old man before, but unlike the others, he looked different in his butler attire.

"You were employed not by our Emperor, but by the director of OSI. You might find out that they aren't as benevolent as His Majesty. "Alfred spoke with a smile as Mariel's face went pale. "Who is this one?"

"Just an engineer who helped with Knightmares." X glanced at Mariel. "She also used to be Lloyd Asplund's assistant and worked in Camelo, so she's a big deal. Might want to check up with her old boss and see how useful she might be in the future. As for myself, I'm pretty sure your boss would like to have a girl talk with me regarding a certain princess."

"Is that so?" Alfred offhandedly said before turning away. "Get them into the car. We can always take care of them later, but let's see what His Majesty will say."

"Yes, my lord." The men obeyed as they moved closer. They didn't pull out their weapons or threaten either of the girls but made it clear X and Mariel needed to follow.

Mariel looked around, feeling betrayed as she took X's hand. "What is going on?! Who are these people?"

The former Peace Mark spy and now apparently tool of OSI sighed. "Lap dogs of the empire, I just ensured your goal will happen. Or at least tried. As I said, Mariel, my dream might be beautiful, but the methods to achieve it aren't. Who knows, perhaps you will have a chance to help someone. Let's go."

And so, two defectors managed to escape from the clutches of the Puppet Empress into the hands of the Demon Emperor.


Nemesis.

'Lelouch! He is here!'

Suzaku saw the light, the same one Shinkiro uses to fire its primary weapon. So his former friend was hiding right under their nose this entire time? It meant attacking this ship wasn't as important anymore. Suzaku needed to go after Lelouch, and end this for once and all. However, there was just one issue with that idea.

Lancelot Albion dodged the swing of the scythe as Reaper tried to cut the white Knightmare in two. Both Knightmares were flying above Nemesis, and true to Arthur's words no one interfered in their duel. Both Fourth and Seventh knights were fighting each other for a few minutes now and neither was giving any chance to get a clean strike. Suzaku knew he had more experience, but this Arthur guy was talented and determined enough to keep up with him.

Lancelot Albion's energy wing flashed bright as Suzaku opened fire with hundreds of green projectiles. Reaper apparently didn't have any shield systems, or at least Suzaku didn't see either variant of shielding as they fought. However, even without shields, Arthur didn't allow any attack or projectile to touch his Knightmare. Reaper was fast, almost as fast as Guren with its energy wings and was agile enough to dodge everything Suzaku threw at it. And so, none of Lancelot's shots made contact with the purple unit as it danced in the air.

Reaper closed the distance between the two machines and once again tried to cut down Lancelot Albion. Suzaku raised his MVS swords to block the attack as the edge of the scythe was only a few inches away from Lancelot's face. Both KMFs struggled to hold each other as Reaper pressed on while Lancelot put more force into holding it back. Reaper's right hand moved up to hold the head of the scythe and forced it further. The sharp tip of the unusual weapon made contact with Lancelot Albion's golden face as it made a small scratch. Suzaku narrowed his eyes as Lancelot pushed the swords up, Reaper's scythe was raised in the air before Lancelot kicked it away.

A small window to attack Reaper in close range. Lancelot moved to Reaper's left side which was open to aim its MVS sword at the place between chest and cockpit, hoping to make enough damage and force the ejection system to save Arthur. Killing perhaps the only rational knight of Lelouch's insane table wasn't something Suzaku actually wanted, not if he could help it.

'Arthur, I don't know anything about you but if you are sincere about your code of honour, then you better leave this place alive.' Lelouch didn't deserve to have good people follow him anymore. 'Cinder Fall and the likes of her will meet the same fate as Lelouch, but you still have a chance.'

However, before the sword could make contact with Reaper's armour, the purple Knightmare fell on the hard surface of Nemesis. Reaper landed on its two legs before its energy wings sparkled and brought Knightmare further back as its scythe transformed into rifle mode. Arthur aimed and fired hadron blasts. The red orbs didn't manage to hit Suzaku as Lancelot Albion dodged every one of them. Seeing as it wasn't providing any result, Reaper stopped and transformed its V.A.R.I.S. back into scythe mode before rushing forward. Its energy wings carried the bigger Knightmare closer to the ship before it leapt up and did twirl with its scythe as Reaper brought down upon Lancelot.

The two MVS swords took a cross-like position as they stopped the scythe from damaging Lancelot Albion. Once again, both knights were stuck in the same position as a few moments ago. Seeing that the two of them were stuck in this loop, Arthur was the first to break the silence that was among them since the start of the duel.

"I read that before the Britannian invasion, you were personally trained by Kyoshiro Tohdoh." Neither Lancelot nor Reaper stopped their fight.

Suzaku narrowed his eyes. "And so what? Sensei was indeed the one who trained me in martial arts, but after the invasion, we were always on different sides of the conflict. Don't tell me he's here somewhere, fighting for Lelouch."

'Tohdoh sensei learned the truth about Lelouch and his Geass. He would never pledge his allegiance to him again. There is no way for him to fight alongside Lelouch's Britannia unless that bastard used Geass on sensei!' Suzaku clenched his teeth. 'If that is true, then I will personally free Tohdoh sensei and end his life-!"

"No. Kyoshiro Tohdoh is dead. I was the one who took his life."

Arthur's words managed to freeze Suzaku for a second as a shocked expression formed on his face before it changed into a furious one. Lancelot Albion went for the offence, its swords trying to stab the upper half of Reaper. The purple Knightmare had to block attacks with its scythe, stopping each sword with a staff part and edge blade. Reaper was forced to move back as Lancelot pressed on until Arthur was walking on Nemesis again. Lancelot Albion continued to press on, making Arthur switch from energy wings mode to his Horseman Mode as the second set of legs pressed into the metal surface of the ship. Reaper finally managed to stop moving back as Lancelot pressured on, and once again both Knightmares were stuck in the same position.

"Cinder said that it would be best if I revealed the news to you. She said it should have quite an effect on you and I have to agree with her. Granted, I do it not because I want to taunt you or feel pleasure from your anger, as Cinder would have done, but because as his student you deserve to know."

"I and Tohdoh were opponents ever since I pledged to serve Briatnnia and he joined Black Knights." Suzaku bit his tongue, remembering that night. When the same system he wanted to serve and change just gave him an execution order to sign. "We both knew that sooner or later one will die on the battlefield. Perhaps slain by one another."

Arthur sighed. "That is rather sad. Teacher and student fighting each other. This isn't right, but neither is treason. You said you pledged to serve the empire, but what now? You are fighting the legitimate monarch. Emperor Lelouch took the throne following the principles of Darwinism and yet you refuse to acknowledge and obey him. The same goes for your teacher. Kyoshiro Tohdoh betrayed his own leader, Zero, and tried to kill him. Was this one of his lessons too? Betraying one's ruler?"

"You know nothing about Zero! About Lelouch!" Suzaku shouted back, outraged at the idea of Lelouch being his ruler. 'None of you can even imagine what that monster has done to us! To me!'

Lancelot Albion rose up in the air as it tried to slow Reaper again since it was now in Horseman Mode. Arthur didn't lose his cool as his unit started to gallop around the Nemesis, green energy bolts not being able to catch him or pierce the surface armour of the ship. However, the Fourth Knight knew that it wasn't the best idea to test how strong the armour of His Majesty's flagship was and so Arthur turned back into energy wings mode. Reaper jumped up with four legs as it aimed its V.A.R.I.S. rifle again, the Hadron rays forcing Lancelot to dodge at the side. It gave a few seconds to Arthur as Reaper switched to two legs and two wings before rushing forward with a transformed scythe, trying to cleave Suzaku.

"Perhaps I and the rest of the Knights of the Round do not know the entire story. We lack the perspective of those who were there like you. However, it doesn't stop us from serving our master to the best of our abilities!"

Arthur announced before Reaper threw its scythe at Lancelot. Suzaku reflected the upcoming weapon and sent flying at the side, but was caught off guard when Reaper rushed him with its secondary MVS sword in one hand. While the seventh tried to cut Reaper, the purple Knightmare of death shot his hand-mounted slash harken towards the scythe and hooked it. Arthur re-called the slash harken as it brought back the scythe with it. Suzaku had a half second to block the scythe as it went for the white Knightmare's back cockpit. Lancelot had to turn half of its body to block the flying scythe and block Reaper's MVS at the same time.

'I can't always be on the defensive!' Suzaku glared at the Reaper before kicking it away to make more room for the next attack. Lancelot then flew to its right side and brought both swords towards its torso. Arthur quickly captured his scythe before rotating it and stopping Lancelot's side attack. Suzaku wasn't planning on giving Arthur any room to breathe and attacked again.

This time Lancelot pulled away one of the MVS swords and brought out a Super V.A.R.I.S. rifle. Suzaku moved to medium range and opened fire with a hadron ray. As expected. Reaper started to dodge his shots, flying away and doing zigzags. Lancelot continued to fire at Reaper and whenever Arthur got too close, Suzaku would block this scythe attack with an MVS sword. This dance back and forth continued for some time, as Lancelot was the one keeping Reaper on the defence, giving the Japanese knight better chances to strike him down.

When Arthur expected another hadron blast, instead he got hundreds of green ones. Reaper immediately tried to dodge them and fly higher, but Suzaku stopped him. The moment Reaper rushed up, Lancelot quickly moved to kick him back and send him flying towards Nemesis. Arthur swore as his unit was falling before he managed to regain control. However, Suzaku didn't stop as his Lancelot kept on attacking, further pushing Reaper towards Nemesis. Hit after hit, Lancelot used his sword to bat aside Reaper's scythe and simply punched Reaper into the ship. Literally. Reaper's cockpit made contact with the metal of Nemesis, but it wasn't enough to kill or knock Arthur out.

"Agh-!" The Knight of Four yelled in pain. He wanted to get back but saw how Lancelot Albion brought down its MVS sword and tried to stab Arthur's Knightmare. Seeing how he didn't have any shielding system since according to Lloyd, his Reaper couldn't handle too many inner systems, and so Arthur had no choice but to stop the attack with his machine's hands. Reaper let go of its scythe and captured the blade of Lancelot. The hands of Reaper were shaking from the pressure of Lancelot that was standing over him. Slowly but surely the tip of the sword was making its way towards the chest of Reaper until it finally pierced the surface level of the armour. "No! Not yet!"

Arthur brought up the hands of Reaper as it managed to redirect the sword. Instead of the chest, Lancelot stabbed Reaper's left shoulder, piercing the joint that had the left energy wing. The red MVS sword went through the shoulder and destroyed the mechanism within it. The Knight of Four received the notification that the energy wing wasn't available anymore as power was cut off. The sparks flew at the face of Lancelot Albion, blinding its sensors for a second. Reaper's right energy wing remained operational and so Arthur used it to knock Lancelot over as the pink energy wing hit from the side and sent him flying.

Reaper stood up and tried to turn on its left energy wing, but nothing worked. Arthur cursed under his breath before turning off the right wing and switching to Horsemen Mode. As the second set of legs appeared behind him, Reaper started to slowly walk around Lancelot Albion. Suzaki did the same as both knights were preparing for another attack.

"His Majesty told us a lot about his past, about you. You want to improve the lives of your people, in that case, you should have worked with him. He is the Emperor now, the ruler of the system you wanted to serve, therefore you should serve him too, correct?" Arthur asked as he raised his scythe. He knew the reasoning of the treacherous Knight of Seven but needed more time for his system to stabilise. The loss of one energy wing was seriously messing with his electronics.

"If Lelouch told at least half of the truth, then you already heard about Geass. That cursed power of his, the one he is using to turn people into his slaves. Perhaps even you!" Suzaku was waiting for a good opening to attack Arthur again. Without an energy wing, Reaper could no longer fly and was stuck on Nemesis.

"We trust His Majesty! I assure you, none of us is under the influence of his power. Emperor Lelouch shared with us his dreams, his goals and wishes for the future. He wants only what is best for Britannia, for the entire world!"

"He is using you, Arthur! You are just a means to an end for Lelouch. He was always like this! Everyone around him is a tool to be used to achieve his goals. He would promise you everything, make you obedient only to sacrifice you for his own agenda! Lelouch doesn't care about you or Britannia, he doesn't care about anyone but himself!"

Arthur frowned. "And you do?"

"What is that supposed to mean?" Suzaku narrowed his eyes.

"You heard me. Do you actually care about what you are fighting for? About your people? About Japan or Britannia? Did you care about Charles when you served him or just thought of him as a useful master until you decided to switch to Schneizel? Was Princess Euphemia like that too? Just a convenient Royal to pledge your service to get a better position in the empire? When she died, you managed to get an even higher rank thanks to Charles."

"You know nothing about Euphemia and me!"

"Master Lelouch told us about how you fought him when he was still Zero. I know that you betrayed your people to serve Britannia, changed lords at least three times and talked about changing Britannia from within, but the moment Emperor Lelouch took the throne you decided to become a rebel who now wants to decolonize the empire! What are you fighting for, Kururugi Suzaku?! Do you fight for the future? For your beliefs? Or just for yourself?!"

"I fight for my people!"

"What people!? The dead?! Are they with the ghosts of the Black Knights or do they lay with the millions of corpses you created with F.L.E.I.J.A?! You have no people to kill and die for! You have no nation to defend! You have nothing! You are nothing! You are less than zero!"

Suzaku roared. "Don't you dare call me that! I sacrificed everything I had! My father, my family, my own people and even my friends! All of it so I could gain a chance to save more! To protect everyone!"

"Did it work out?" Arthur's question wasn't answered as Suzaku bit his lip until blood came out. "Well? Was it worth it? Do you feel like you achieved what you wanted? Do you feel like the hero that your people wanted, needed even? Answer me, you dog!"

Instead of speaking, Lancelot Albion rushed forward as its MVS swords made contact with Reaper's scythe. Forget about waiting for a good opening. Suzaku's attack was easily telegraphed and Arthur had no issues blocking it.

"Is this your answer? Are you so incapable of answering back when asked a simple question?!" Usually, Arthur wasn't like this. He got better thanks to lord Bishop, but such boldness was new for him. Even during a duel with Tohdoh, the blonde knight showed less courage and aggression than he did in this conversation. It couldn't be a simple bravado and no it wasn't some honour talk. Arthur was genuinely pissed. "You think you can stop the bloodshed by shedding more blood!? Some saviour…"

"Shut up!"

"What do you even have to show for yourself? Blood? Gold? A title? I joined the army to serve my homeland! I was ready to fight under Charles's rule because he was the emperor at the time, I didn't question it. I would have served as a soldier no matter who sits on the throne because I'm Britannian. Because I love my home. But Emperor Lelouch isn't like the rest of his family. He wants to make a change, to improve this world for everyone. I finally knew what I wanted to do beyond being a simple soldier. I lost my friends, that was the worst thing that ever happened to me, but beyond their loss, I managed to gain a new goal in life. The goal I can proudly declare and defend. I always wanted to protect my country, but now it is more than that! Now I want to help improve it, to help as many people as possible. I want to be a person worthy of the title of the Round, to prove that I have what it takes to make a change!"

Suzaku's glare never left Reaper as the two Knightmares were still stuck in close range. "So? Why are you telling me this? Want me to congratulate you? Are you trying to prove something to me?"

"This is our chance to start anew! And this is how you deal with it!? You make me sick, Kururugi! You have no values, loyalty, or faith. You follow whatever is most convenient for you. You lost the woman you loved, and yet instead of trying to become better, you turned into a hypocritical killer on a leash! We are both killers to our masters, but at least I know what I'm killing for and that it is a worthy goal. You can't say the same!"

"Delusional pawn, that's who you are!" Suzaku screamed as Lancelot Albion rose up in the air and prepared its Super V.A.R.I.S. rifle, ready to shoot down Reaper. "Tell yourself whatever bullshit Lelouch made you believe in. It means nothing! You will die just like all the other pawns he used! Maybe I lost sight of what is right, of my dream. But I'm still able to see the wrong and evil that is Lelouch! He is no saviour and never will be!"

For a moment, there was no response, only the unmoving form of Reaper as its eyes seemed to burn with Arthur's emotion. The next words he spoke were stated with such clarity, that Suzaku couldn't help but believe him.

"I will bury you so completely, the earth will turn over a thousand times before your body is dug up," Arthur promised, almost sounding as if he was in a trance, transforming his scythe into V.A.R.I.S. mode and aiming it at Lancelot. "If not me, then there will always be others who will put you down for good."

"Let them try. Once Lelouch is dead, I will welcome whoever wants to finish me off." Suzaku said before firing a hadron blast. Arthur returned fire with his own as Reaper fired. Two hadron rays met and didn't allow either to go past. The old stubborn White Reaper met the determined Black Reaper as both were stuck like this. Arthur's Reaper on Nemesis and Suzaku's Lancelot in the air. The Knight of Seven was preparing to duck and attack Arthur again, but Suzaku received a call from Schneizel.

"Sir Kururugi. We have confirmation that Lelouch is preparing something. He might have some sort of means to combat my F.L.E.I.J.A. Should he succeed, I will need you to be there to deal with him, for good."

Suzaku bit his lip as his gaze turned back to Arthur and Reaper. He was still in the middle of their duel, the one for which Arthur never broke his word. No help came to the fourth knight, even as their fight became more heated. To leave it now would be the coward's way out, but if it meant going after Lelouch…

"Enough," Suzaku spoke before rushing to the side and shooting two slash harkens. Before Arthur could redirect his rifle, two of them already made contact with Reaper's hands and sent the V.A.R.I.S rifle flying away. "Our fight is over, you lost."

"Don't you dare run away, Kururugi!" Arthur yelled, furious as Reaper pulled out its MVS sword. "Fight me like a Knight of the Round!"

Suzaku closed his eyes.

'I'm Euphemia's knight of honour. She chose me to be her sword and shield… I failed her back when she died and again to uphold her principles. I-I… I cannot be her knight anymore and I can't be a Knight of the Round...' If Suzaku couldn't fight for the sake of his love's dream, he wouldn't bother upholding the responsibility Charles placed on him. 'I wanted to be the Knight of One, but never cared about the master I would have served and what their dream might be. You're correct, Arthur.'

"My old title is yours… as I said, once Lelouch is dead, I will welcome whoever wants to finish me off. If you want, feel free to cut me down, but only after I killed my former best friend." Suzaku spoke before turning Lancelot Albion towards Damocles, where Lelouch should be located. A moment later, White Reaper vanished.

"Don't you dare- KURURUGI, YOU COWARD!"

Arthur screamed until his throat couldn't take anymore. The Fourth coughed a few times before clearing his throat and opening the Britannian channel. "Reaper to Lloyd! How long will it take to fix my damages? Never mind them, send a squad of Gareth units. Yes, I will manage."

Arthur began to whistle the eerie tune he grew fond of recently, making sure to do so on an open channel. Reaper might not have wings, but death wasn't going to let Lancelot get away so easily.


Q1.

Galahad's Excalibur missed Guren by a few centimetres as the red Knightmare dodged the upcoming attack. Since Bismarck's unit was out of long-range options, it could rely only on its sword against the red menace. At the same time, Kallen's attempts to shoot it down with long-range hadron blasts didn't work out very well. Bismarck's Geass was working non-stop as he dodged blast after blast, followed up by a flying claw to his machine's face. And yet, neither knight gave in, the fight being at a stalemate for some time now.

"Old bastard!" Kallen yelled as her Guren activated its radiant wave surge in close proximity. Galahad was only a few metres away, but the former Knight of One managed to raise his sword on time and block the attack as hadron sprays flew in different directions. "Stay still and die already!"

"Wouldn't want to make it too easy for you, Knight of Zero!" Bismarck swung his Excalibur again, this time Guren simply blocked it with a close radiant wave shield. "You are the one who killed Luciano. He died in battle but I couldn't look past you killing my fellow Knight of the Round."

"He was an animal and died like one. He incorporated everything that is wrong with Britannia! The arrogant maniac who took pleasure in torturing and killing weaker people, such people don't deserve any honour. If you truly consider him to be your comrade, then you aren't better in the slightest."

"When you have strength, arrogance is a pick of your confidence. The strong should not bother themselves with what weaklings think of them. Strength always prevails no matter what. Lelouch understood that he took the throne by the right of strength. Even if you share some of this mindset, Knight of Zero, how many Britannians have you killed in the past? Did you ever care about their thoughts and feelings? Of course not! They were weaker and therefore they died. You were victorious and stronger, you had no time to bother with them."

Kallen gritted her teeth. "Pompous cunt, you know nothing about me or Lelouch. Those with power and strength should guide and defend the weak. I fought and killed for Japan and its people. It didn't change back then and it won't change now."

Bismarck laughed. "And yet you fight under the Britannian banner, the same one which conquered your precious Japan."

"I fight for Lelouch and whatever banner he would carry! I trust him and know he will do better than your Emperor Charles ever could! I will help Lelouch, keep him on the right path!"

Guren shot its claw to the side as a Radiant Wave surge made its way across the sky before making contact with Excalibur. Kallen turned on the gear and activated her claw, metallic bubbles expanding around the tip of Excalibur. However, before it could entirely melt the purple sword, Galahad swung it to the side and shook off the claw. Still, some damage was done to the sword. Guren didn't waste a moment and rushed the giant Knightmare, ripping off the stitches on his left eye that kept his Geass inactive unless needed, opening his left eye to reveal a red sigil.

Bismarck foresaw the upcoming attack and blocked Guren's attempt to stab Galahad with her knife blade. However, his machine wasn't fast enough to block the follow-up kick that hit the head of Galahad. The old knight bit his lip, the girl got him there but it wasn't enough to kill him! Galahad attempted to retaliate and punch Guren away, but Kallen pulled back before the punch made contact with her machine.

"Heh, those who survive a long time on the battlefield start to think they're invincible." Kallen taunted before circling around Galahad and trying to pierce his cockpit with her shoulder slash harkens; however, the giant Knightmare managed to block the attack with a slightly damaged Excalibur. "I'll bet you do too, old man."

"If you truly want to be a Knight of the Round, you will have to learn how to speak properly in the presence of your superiors." Now that his Geass was activated non-stop, Bismarck could see all of Guren's future movements.

"Bite me. I was personally ordained by Lelouch, I'm already higher than you."

"I refuse to acknowledge whatever changes that boy did to bastardise Britannia!" Bismarck declared before Galahad launched its finger slash harkens. Guren dodge one after another as Kallen rushed Galahad.

"Tch! Old useless relic refusing to accept the future! The Britannia of old is dead! Lelouch killed it and I will make sure that whatever was left of it will rot. We're creating a better future and you won't be part of it."

"Then it just means I should cut down your future!"

Galahad raised a slightly damaged Excalibur and was prepared to bring it down upon Guren as Red Lotus rushed it. However, Bismarck's Geass eye showed him the future attack from behind. The older knight pulled back and flew higher before raising its sword to block the not-a-surprise attack. It didn't take too long to wait for a hadron ray and several missiles flew at Galahad before exploding around the giant Knightmare. Once the smoke settled, both Kallen and Bismarck saw two new units joining the fight.

"Welp, we lost the element of surprise. Fuck his Geass and fuck him." Peter sighed as his Uncle Teddy deactivated the hadron cannon and pulled out a minigun and launcher. "Guess it just means we need to use more firepower!"

"Bismarck," Bishop said with a cold tone as his Uther raised higher to be on the same level as Galahad.

"William." The former Knight of One spoke with venom as he greeted the new one.

"Dorothea and Monica are dead. I defeated Nonette and she is currently under guard." Uther raised its double sword and pointed at Galahad.

"I heard the news. So what? Do you expect me to be afraid or surrender?"

"No. We both know what will happen next." Bishop said before addressing Kallen. "My lady, please leave this sorry excuse of a knight to us. Go and protect His Majesty. I and Peter will finish Bismarck."

Kallen said nothing as she turned towards Damocles where Lelouch was supposed to be. For the next phase of the plan he would need her and Kallen promised to never leave him again. With both Bishop and Peter, three of them could have killed Bismarck, but it would take time. And the time might not be on her side if bastard Suzaku was out there.

"Alright, I bruised the old fart a little bit, so make sure to finish him off," Kallen smirked before turning Guren towards the giant flying fortress and flying there to make sure her emperor was fine.

"Will do, Red!" Peter said as his Uncle Teddy prepared its entire arsenal. "Now then, let's show him what ten years of pent-up anger and emotional scars look like, Willy!"

It was rare for Bishop to get furious or humour the antics of his best friend. However, right now Bishop was facing off against the same man who allowed the greatest crime in his life to happen before sending both of them to rot in a prison. Uther prepared for the attack as Bishop spoke through gritted teeth.

"Today you are going down, Bismarck." Uther rushed forward, shield up and double sword ready to slash its enemies.

"Heh, you couldn't do anything a decade ago and you will fail again, William." Bismarck taunted before flying towards Uther. His Galahad raised the sword to block the storm of green projectiles that were shot by Peter.

Excalibur met Uther's double sword as two titan platform KMFs engaged in a fight. Peter provided long-range support as he aimed for the cockpit of the Galahad. However, Bismarck's Geass always showed him every upcoming attack and the knight of Charles had no issues keeping up against two opponents at the same time. Galahad would block Uther's slashes before putting Excalibur up and guarding Uncle Teddy's shots.

"Since you don't care for an honourable fight, you should have asked Scarlet Dragon to stay. Both of you are incapable of even touching me."

"Silence." Bishop coldly spoke as he went for another swing, but Galahad simply moved to the side to dodge it. "We know your secret. Your Geass. You have no right to speak about honour when you've had this power for years. How many times did you use it during fights? In our duels in the past? Did you ever win any fight on your own or was it thanks to this power, Bismarck?"

The Geass Knight frowned. "You were always an idiot, William. You don't even know half of what I did. You were always so obvious, incapable of seeing the bigger picture. Your sorry excuse of rebellion was short-sighted. You could never defeat me or Emperor Charles on your own, you always needed someone to guide you like a lost kid. Pathetic."

"Says the guy who served Charles while he fucked the woman you loved!" Peter yelled from the side as he sent a message to Bishop to get away. Uther pulled back as Uncle Teddy fired hadron's cannon again. Galahad blocked it with Excalibur. "You cuckold, were you standing next to Charles while he was making out with that bitch Marianne? Did it hurt to see the woman of your dreams in the hands of your lord? The same one you are trying to avenge right now?"

"I forgot how obnoxious you are," Bismarck spoke before Galahad directed hadron's ray towards Uther. Bishop flew to the side to dodge as Peter stopped firing. "Incompetent to do anything but bark at others. William, you should keep your pet on a leash. How can you allow him to badmouth Lady Marianne?"

"He is my best friend, and he is correct. You are indeed a cuckold!" Peter cheered as Bishop said it. Uther rushed at Galahad as the two titans traded blows. "We both loved Marianne and yet I was the only one who cared about trying to protect her children! You stayed and silently watched as young Lelouch was sent to die in Japan! If you truly loved her, you would have saved Master Lelouch and Lady Nunnally back then! If you treasured her memory you would have made sure her children were reunited and happy. Instead, you dare to speak of killing her only son, using her little girl as a puppet! Your love is as shallow as your honour, Bismarck!"

"You dare-?!"

"Eject, while you still can," Bishop spoke before unleashing all of his missiles upon Galahad. Both knew it was futile as Galahad cut all of them down, but Uther managed to ram into it with a shield. Galahad was quick to stop the attack at the last moment as Excalibur cut it in half. Yet even with Geass, Bismarck was not fast enough to stop the fist that followed behind the shield and punched Galahad's face.

"Hell yeah!" Peter yelled happily before aiming his launcher and fired a prism. Uther moved away to give his friend more space to fire. Prisms flew towards Galahad as dozens of lights emerged from them. Copying the primary weapon of the Emperor's Shinkiro, Uncle Teddy unleashed the full power of the diffusion structure phase transition cannon. As always Galahad blocked the attack with Excalibur. However, the sword was slowly destroyed by all the damage it sustained.

Bismarck saw the warning that his maser grand sword was in critical condition. Seeing that if he lost his primary weapon, even with Geass he wouldn't win, so the former Knight of One decided to end the fight as soon as possible. Galahad guarded against Peter's attack, and instead of starting to fight against Uther again, Bismarck rushed at Uncle Teddy.

"Peter-!" Bishop yelled before firing his slash harkens and trying to slow down Galahad. However, the second titan simply dodged them as he aimed his sword and threw it at Uncle Teddy.

"Fuuuck!"

Peter activated his shield system as a blaze luminous shield flashed green around him, but Excalibur was too much. Even in a damaged state, the maser grand sword managed to pierce through the green shields and hit Uncle Teddy. The sword made contact with the torso as it cut the midsection of the Knightmare in half. Sparks flew at all sides as Peter's Knightmare showed danger warnings before the system went offline.

"Welp, I'm done for."

"Peter!"

Bishop screamed in agony as he saw his friend plummeting, the unit landing on the Ikaruga of the Black Knights, just under their area of the fight as the upper half of Uncle Teddy slammed into its wing.

"At last, no more useless barking from him. You should be thankful, Wil-"

"Aaaagghhhh! Bismaaaarccck!"

Bishop screamed as Uther rushed into Galahad and rammed into it. Bismarck saw it with Geass's eye but was too late to dodge or block the attack. Uther's double sword pierced the torso of his Knightmare while Galahad managed to shoot a few of its finger slash harkens into the opposing Knightmare. They pierced through the shoulder and destroyed the built-in float system. Both Knightmares showed warning signs to their pilots who ignored them as the two titans fell from the sky, tumbling with a crash on the same wing of Ikaruga where Peter landed seconds ago.

And so, the three ravaged machines lay upon the left wing of the Japanese battleship as the fight continued around them. No one came for them as the Black Knights didn't have spare units to send and check on the three Britannians, instead trying to get the more able-bodied out to save their wounded fighters on the battlefield. The cockpit of Uther struggled to open as Bishop managed to climb out of it, landing rather roughly on his feet. Whatever pain was inconsequential as he had far more pressing issues.

Without a second thought, Bishop looked to the unmoving form of Uncle Teddy, smoke billowing out of the Knightmare. Bishop started to run as best he could with his wounded leg, still, he screamed through the pain. "Peter! Peteeeeeer!"

His insane friend didn't answer back as Bishop was about to climb on Uncle Teddy, but stopped when he heard the laughter coming from behind him.

"Give it up, William. That imbecile is dead." Galahad lay next to Uther, its cockpit was torn open from the crash landing as Bismarck climbed out. The former Knight of One was wounded judging by the blood leaking from his forehead. "At last, no more of that loudmouth. I would say I did you a favour. You no longer need to hear his annoying voice."

"You-" Bishop started to walk towards his old archnemesis, his fists clenched. "-son of a bitch. I will kill you."

"Ha! I heard that from you so many times, perhaps you forgot the meaning of those words." Bismarck smirked as he pulled out his sword, he always kept it near himself as a proper knight should.

"Then let me show you the true meaning of them."

"Eh? Well, where is your sword then? A true knight always carries a sword with them."

Bishop left it in his cockpit, too worried about Peter's life to carry it with him. Still, he can do it without a sword as well. "You don't deserve a knight's duel. To kill a bug like you I don't need a sword. I will kill you with my bare hands."

"Fool."

The Geass in Bismark's left eye was still active as he raised his sword and lunged towards Bishop. The knight of Lelouch prepared for the attack as Bismark swung his sword at him. Bishop managed to dodge the obvious attack and moved to the side, he was lucky Bismark was wounded and couldn't move too fast. Still, the Geass user had a weapon and Bishop didn't.

Bismark swung his sword again and again. The only thing keeping Bishop alive was the fact that his opponent wasn't as fast, but he couldn't stay on defence for too long. Bishop moved closer when another attack missed and while Bismark tried to catch his breath, attempted to punch him. However, Bismark's Geass showed him the attack and allowed Bishop to get close enough before stepping at the side. Bishop's fist missed its target while Bismark sidestepped and brought up his sword and aimed for the abdomen. His sword managed to stab through as Bishop fell backwards, his hands instinctively trying to close the bloody cut.

"You should have stayed in Alcatraz," Bismark said as he stepped on Bishop's stomach, causing more pain to the wounded knight. "Maybe in that case you would have survived and your idiotic companion wouldn't die because of you."

Bishop fought off the pain his body was experiencing. "If it meant paying for my failure to protect Marianne's children then I would have accepted death. And yet, my emperor wanted me to die serving him and I have no intentions to die from some wound made by another failure of the knight."

"Do not worry, William. I will make sure Lelouch will meet Marianne very soon."

Bismark raised his sword and prepared to stab Bishop's chest, but his Geass showed him the future. He immediately raised his sword to block the upcoming attack and two bullets made contact with the blade before being ricocheted. Bishop's head looked up to see Peter lying on top of Uncle Teddy's cockpit, two pistols in his hands as he continued to shoot Bismarck.

"Come on, Willy! This cunt has cheats, do something!"

Bishop clenched his teeth, trying to ignore the pain and use his legs. His wound was bleeding, but he could still move. Bismark was right on top of Bishop's lower body in a very unfortunate position. Perhaps the old Knight of One expected his former colleague to show etiquette during their fight, but beyond being a model knight Bishop was also convicted with ten years behind bars. So, sometimes proper manners were ignored.

Bishop raised his leg and kicked Bismark's groin with all his might. Bismark was still a man, no man could handle such an attack in their most vulnerable spot. He winced as the pain went through his entire body, forcing him to ignore what his Geass revealed. By the time he even realised to defend himself, it was too late as two shots found their target and hit Bismarck's shoulder and left hand. He snarled in pain as he gripped his hand in pain with Bishop quickly kicking his legs out from under him, slamming his heel on the other man's knee before getting on top of him. He kicked away the sword and pinned the Geass user down, legs on either side of the man to prevent escape.

"So much for the Knight of One, can't even properly defeat two aged inmates!" Bishop snarled, eyes wide and teeth bared in hatred. "No wonder you let Charles get killed."

"Will-!" Bismark tried to get up but had his head pushed down against the metal, dazing him as Bishop's hands closed tight around his face.

"I said I will kill you with my own hands. Unlike you, I make sure to fulfil my promise." Bishop said as his fingers plunged into Bismark's eyes. The former knight of One screamed and thrashed as Bishop proceeded to gouge out both of his eyes. The trouble with Bismark, however, was that he was still seeing the future, and all his Geass showed him was how Bishop would continue to do it again and again. The former Knight of One started punching the old man in the face, trying to get Bishop away from him but his arms were starting to slow down from the pain. Eventually, Bismark stopped moving, his arms falling to the side.

Bishop silently looked down at his work. A corpse with a mutilated face lay before him as the Knight of One stared at his former brother-in-arms and worst enemy. Bishop closed his eyes and took in a deep breath of air, ignoring the sounds of battle to fill the moment of peace within himself.

"It is finally over." He breathed out.

Charles was dead at the hands of his Emperor and now Bismark was gone too. Perhaps his original mission to avenge Lady Marianne was no longer the same after learning the truth from Master Lelouch, but Bishop was pleased with his deeds. At least it meant that no ghost from the past would harm His Majesty. Only a few enemies were left.

Bishop's silence didn't last long as Peter managed to walk up to him. His one-eyed friend had a limp but was fine. Once his eye saw what Bishop did to their old enemy, Peter couldn't help but gasp.

"Shiiiiiit, didn't know you would turn him off like this, Willy. That is fucking metal, and nasty. Don't put your hands anywhere near your face until you wash them. We know what kind of shit they were in, ehehehe!" Peter's insane laugh was quite relaxing to Bishop's tired ears.

"I'm glad you're safe, Peter. I truly am."

The usually maniacal knight stopped as he gave his best friend a reassuring smile. "I won't die before you, Willy. Someone will have to avenge your sorry ass once you will bite the dust and I want to go out with a bang, perfect TNT. But, I'm also thankful that I didn't die to this fucker, good thing I'm too hard to kill. So, good job me… hey, is Bismark's magic eye still intact? Do you think if we put it in my empty eye socket I will get his abilities? That's how it works in video games!"

"Heh-hehehehahahah-!" Bishop couldn't help but start laughing. It was stupid, but somehow this made William lose his cool. Peter paused and smiled warmly, happy to see his best buddy enjoying himself. The old bastard deserved it after all the shit two of them went through, Peter will most likely remind him of that after the battle. However, Bishop suddenly winced as he remembered that he still had an open wound.

"Agh-! I need a medic-!"

"Oh, crap." Peter quickly moved to the Bishop as he leaned against the shorter man's shoulder. "Hang in there, I'll get a doctor."

"-need to contact His Majesty-and report-" Bishop spoke as he was losing too much blood.

"Yeah yeah, I'll call the kid, just stay conscious, William! Leave everything to the youngsters, we did our part." Peter helped Bishop to move as they walked towards Ikaruga's battleship, soon medics from the Black Knights ran up to them and proceeded to help.


Grandberry.

Lancelot High Grail launched all four of its sword harkens at Agravain. Schrötter steel trans swords were on the same level as MVS swords and should have pierced the armour of Agravain, and yet the titan Knightmare managed to parry them with its massive MVS blades.

"Oldrin, this is pointless. Just move aside and I won't have to end your life." Oiagros Zevon spoke as he tried to reason with his niece.

"And let you kill my best friend?! My companions and my people?! Never!" Oldrin declared before Lancelot High Grail rushed forward, its two MVSs aimed for Agravain's chest.

Wizard let out a sigh before rotating the hands of his Knightmare, pulling back the MVS and replacing them with two hadron cannons. Agravain aimed for High Grail before making a shot. His niece managed to dodge two blasts and get pretty close, and yet she forgot to account for rockets. Wizard launched four of them at Oldrin, who managed to cut two and dodge one. However, the final one managed to explode. High Grail's blaze luminous system was meant only to be used for its swords and not as a traditional shield system. Hence why a simple missile managed to shake the entire Knightmare as it exploded at close range.

Oldrin bit her tongue to not lose consciousness and focus. She could still fight! Lancelot High Grail combined two swords into one double sword before swinging it at Agravain. Bigger Knightmare had to block the attack with its right hadron cannon as Oldrin's double sword damaged it. However, Wizard quickly managed to rotate its left arm and pull out his MVS blade before slashing High Grail with it. Oldrin had to block, but the force behind the strike was powerful enough to send her back as Agravain then proceeded to kick High Grail further.

Once there was enough distance between them, Wizard launched another barrage of rockets. Oldrin's eyes went wide before she started to fly circles around Agravain, trying to avoid missiles and find an opening to strike him down. Wizard didn't worry about it too much, knowing where she would attack him and prepared to counterattack. Eventually, Oldrin went for the most obvious place between his cockpit and torso as she shot two schrötter steel trans swords while transforming her double sword into whips and striking Agravain in the side with it.

Wizard turned to face her before blocking two swords with his own blade. His right-hand mounted hadron cannon was still operational and so Agravain shot away one of the schrötter swords Oldrin used as a whip. The second managed to cut his chest armour but left only a scar that wasn't deep enough to destroy the Knightmare. Before Oldrin could recall one of her schrötter swords, Agravain cut the connection between the red Knightmare and the huge sword which proceeded to fall from the sky.

"Oldrin, while we're fighting, the dogs of Schneizel push back against your comrades. If you care about them, fall back and assist them. You won't win this battle."

His niece glared daggers at him. "I don't need any kind of mercy from you, Wizard! You are my enemy, I will fight and if needed kill you with my own hands! I already told you this in Brussels!"

"Naive girl, the offer wasn't out of some kind of familial bond or anything of the sort," Oiagros spoke coldly. "This battle will be the end of Britannia. Both Lelouch and Schneizel will be dead once this is over."

Oldrin paused. "Wait, what-"

"I have no intention of leaving the world in the hands of someone like Schneizel and his F.L.E.I.J.A. Replacing a demon with a madman isn't an improvement. Both of them must be dealt with and then the rest of Britannia. This way we will finally achieve a better world for everyone."

"Unbelievable! You killed mom for her position, then betrayed Charles and Britannia and now you openly admit to betraying your own allies. Does your life consist of anything but lies and betrayals, Wizard?! What about Nunnally vi Britannia? Do you plan to kill a little crippled girl as well?"

Under his mask, Oiagros frowned. "The Puppet Empress can do as she pleases if she will help me destroy the empire with her decolonization plan. She might be just a tool, but if she can actually manage to gain the people's support then I will use her for the sake of the world without Britannia."

"You're a monster. Do you even hear yourself?" Oldrin asked with disgust. "She is just a child. I bet Schneizel and the rest of his forces think of her as nothing but a pawn as well. Bastards, all of them. I won't allow it! I won't allow you to destroy our home, not when we finally started to make change for the better under Emperor Lelouch!"

"Naive girl, there is so much you don't know and are unlikely to ever learn if you will continue to be a pawn of your princess. Perhaps you are already a slave to the Demon Emperor's power, in that case, I can't do anything to free you. It is disappointing, but if you want to die for the sake of that Britannia, then you leave me no choice, Oldrin." Agravain prepared for an attack. "For what it's worth… I'm sorry we couldn't solve this differently."

"Save your excuses for a mom," Oldrin spoke with an ice-cold tone, her Lancelot High Grail ready to rush. "You will see her soon and you will have to explain a lot to her, Wizard."

High Grail moved forward. Even without an energy wing system, her Knightmare was fast. However, not fast enough to catch Agravain off guard as the larger unit blocked and then pushed her back. Oldrin didn't give up as she attacked again and again. Her sword continued its relentless barrage of slashes and strikes. And yet, Wizard managed to block and redirect all of them. Her uncle was more experienced even with a new-generation machine, but Oz didn't have plans to give up. She went up as prepared High Grail to make a kick, aiming for Agravain's head.

"Futile, Oz."

However, before her Knightmare's leg could make contact with the titan unit, Agravain managed to catch it. His left hand let go of its MVS blade and instead was holding High Grail's left leg in a death grip. Agravain's right hand turned into hadron cannon before pressing against the joint holding leg and firing point blank. Hadron shot made contact and exploded, destroying a good portion of the leg and the lower part of High Grail. Oldrin screamed as her Knightmare was shaken from the explosion, her screen showing dozens of warning signs. She tried to stab Agravain's chest with her left hand as she pulled out a schrötter sword. She actually managed to pierce the upper armour before Agravain aimed its cannon at her left arm and made the second shot. The second explosion schooled her High Grail again as Oldrin now lost her arm. Still, her sole sword managed to get stuck inside Agravain's chest.

"You-!"

However, Oldrin's High Grail was now leg and arm short and was incapable of continuing the fight in this state. Oz tried to get her remaining swords with the last arm, but Wizard stopped her.

"If you refused to acknowledge the reality, to see the evil that is Lelouch vi Britannia, then you can die for his empire." Wizard, no, Oiagros said with a sorrowful tone before tossing High Grail away. Oldrin's Knightmare was going offline, her float system was dying. Her cockpit ejection system was still fine, so she should survive it.

As Oldrin expected, her Knightmare couldn't fly because of the damage. She sent a distress signal to Marrybell and prepared to eject herself. However, before she could do it, something caught High Grail from falling further.

"You didn't have a plan B, didn't you, Oz?" A familiar male voice asked.

"Oz?" Oldrin called her brother's nickname as she saw one of the experimental Vincents the Glinda Knights had as their backup. "Wait, how did you get a Knightmare?"

"Vincent Gram, one of your unit's older prototypes. Your princess saw that you were getting your ass kicked and since almost all of your teammates were beaten by an enemy knight of the round, she allowed me to use it. No weapons though, I only have slash harkens on this thing." Orpheus said as he helped her High Grail to get some footing as it leaned against his temporary Vincent Gram.

Oldrin blinked. "Marrybell allowed you to take a Knightmare?"

"Only for the time being and just to save you. Since you know, I'm likely to stab your dear emperor if left unchecked." Orpheus smiled, but his sister was afraid he meant it. "Now let's get away from here."

"Oz, wait! What about Wizard."

"Indeed, what about me."

Both Zevon siblings looked up to see Agravain flying above them. The sword High Grail left was still stuck in its chest as Wizard was trying to pull it out with his left hand, but it wasn't so easy.

"Uncle."

"Oz," Wizard addressed his nephew as Agravain turned towards Vincent Gram. "Orpheus, I know there is a lot to discuss and I wish we could do this so as a family, but you must desire the same as me. The complete destruction of Britannia, together we can accomplish it. You want it as much as I do! Join me, nephew! Together will rid this world of both Lelouch and Schneizel! We will avenge all those who died because of them!"

Orpheus stayed silent as he looked at Oldrin's Knightmare. Inside her High Grail, his sister was actually scared that he would choose their uncle. Orpheus wasn't a servant of Britannia, he wasn't a member of Glinda Knights. The only reason he was considered important was that Marrybell cared about Oldrin and because Emperor Lelouch required him for whatever reason. If her brother decides to join her uncle, Oldrin won't be able to stop him… and Emperor Lelouch will be forced to kill Orpheus.

"What about Oldrin? What will happen to her?" Orpheus asked after a moment of silence.

Agravain didn't move as its pilot stayed silent for a few seconds. "She made her choice. If she is willing to continue being a slave to this empire, then I can't do anything to fix it."

"So, you are telling me to abandon Oldrin and leave her to die?" Orpheus's calm voice turned aggressive during the final part. "Or kill her myself as you have done with our mother?"

"Orpheus please, act rational-"

"And just let my sister get killed?! Screw this rationality! I loathe Britannia, but I won't allow anything to happen to my family." He glanced at Oldrin. "And as far I'm concerned, my family is right here next to me."

"Does the death of your comrades and friends mean nothing to you?" Wizard asked.

"Don't talk like you know me, old bastard! You are the reason Rai died as far as I'm concerned! Their death was unjust, but I know that one day Britannia will collapse no matter what, even if it won't be because of me. You have the audacity to bring up my teammates when you are ready to let Oldrin die. I won't be like you and let my family die! I wish I could have cut you down for this, for mother."

"But you can't, boy." Agravain raised its left hadron cannon and aimed. "It is sad that I have to do it, but if you want to stay with your sister then you will share her fate… I'm sorry."

"Oz, we can't fight like this." Oldrin quickly said with a panicked tone. "We can't defeat him on our own!"

"Oh, I know. But she can."

Orpheus's words confused both Oldrin and Oiagros before a powerful hadron ray hit Agravain's left side from above. The titan Knightmare lost its balance for a second as Wizard tried to regain control and understand who attacked him. Was the boy stalling time?!

"You like to talk a lot, Wizard. I was sure I could win some minutes and give her enough time to get here. She wouldn't let such an opportunity be wasted, not when it involved you, dear uncle." Orpheus spoke confidently.

"What the hell are you talking about, boy?!" Wizard demanded, but his nephew just chuckled. It was Oldrin who quickly realised what was happening.

"Oh, God. You called-"

"-Hehehehe- ''

A woman's laughter was heard on the open channel.

Inside his Agravain, Oiagros felt a chill run down his spine. For some reason, he felt in mortal danger. However, before he could do anything, something fast hit, then again and again. Agravain tried to defend, but whoever the attacker was they were faster than light. That meant that his opponent had energy wings, it could be none other than-

"Well well well, what do we have here? A family reunion? How touching! I wish I could experience the same… what a shame that my family was killed because of you, Zevon." That woman spoke, still not within their vision. Her voice didn't sound sad at all, if anything it sounded more playful. "But, it isn't nice to leave family members out of this conversation. Poor Olivia Zevon is probably feeling lonely on the other side, perhaps you could pay her a permanent visit, what say you to that, Oiagros?"

Before Wizard could do or say anything, a Knightmare dropped down before him, the metal surface groaning beneath its weight. The multi-coloured Lancelot Albion, better known as Amber, towered over Agravain as it rose to look down at it. As Oiagros tried to do anything, Amber raised a leg and kicked against the sword the Lancelot High Grail left in Agravain's chest. The sword sliced right through the back of the machine but missed the Yggdrasil Drive by a few centimetres. Agravain tried to stand back up, but the Knightmare with energy wings was faster than the already damaged titan class unit, pushing down on its shoulder with a single hand and forcing it to stay down.

Amber turned its body at the last second to avoid the potshot from a Hadron cannon, and before its opponent could do anything more, White Queen stabbed the joint between the left arm and the main body with a maser sword, slicing it apart as sparks flew outward. Wizard panicked as he got a red notification of error as his Knightmare's left arm fell off. Wasting no time, Amber's left hand went and grabbed the 'neck' of the titan Knightmare.

"Do you know who I am?" The devious voice from before turned ice cold.

Wizard gritted his teeth. "Another pawn in Lelouch's game-"

"Uhuh, first of all-" Amber pulled away the maser sword she was holding in her right arm and punched Agravain's left side of its chest, sending a shockwave through the entire unit. "I'm not a mere pawn, but a queen… and you," the second knight pulled Agravain closer, glaring at it. "You didn't answer my simple question. Do you know who I am?"

"..." Wizard needed more time, to either call for reinforcements or for Agravain to stabilise before he could attack. "You're Cinder Fall, the Second Knight of the Round within Lelouch's Britannia."

"And?" Cinder's patience was running out. "There's a grand prize if you answer this-"

"What else do you want to hear from me, you freak?!"

"You don't remember… huh. Then again, it is my fault for getting my hopes up. It was obvious someone like you wouldn't remember the name of every child whose life you destroyed. But, oh well!" Cinder happily smiled. "Back to the business of executing you!"

"Wha-" Before Wizard could finish, Amber kicked the Knightmare up. Oiagros tried to do anything, but his Knightmare was showing zero energy. "What have you done?! My battery is-"

"Completely empty? I hope you don't mind, but I took some of it for myself, thank you for the meal." Cinder winked her sole eye before it turned red. "I did hear you talking shit about His Magnificence. Not cool, Oiagros. Not cool."

"You-"

"Silence, insect." Cinder's tone was jumping from happy and playful to cold and vicious so easily, it terrified even Oldrin. Agravain was essentially lost without energy and the fight could be considered won, but Cinder wouldn't settle just for this. Oh no, she wanted more after all those years of waiting for this moment! Amber pulled out the sword Oldrin's High Grail used and proceeded to cut off the right arm and slash the legs of Agravain. Now, the titan Knightmare was nothing but an upper body with a head and cockpit.

Amber turned towards the ship of Glinda Knights, Grandberry, before flying there. She never let go of Agravain as the multi-coloured Lancelot model brought it towards the red battleship. Amber threw her prisoner as whatever was left of Wizard's unit hit the upper armour of the ship before sliding down on the wing. Inside his cockpit, Oiagros screamed as the impact sent him flying inside the small room of the piloting unit. The older man hit his head against the panel as he shattered it and broke his own mask. Wizard tried to eject himself, but that system was out of energy as well.

"Ju- just kill me already, you bitch." Oiagros said through a headache as he was seeing doubles after hitting his head.

Amber landed right in front of Agravain before capturing its head with its hands and crushing it. Cinder didn't stop as her dear Knightmare went further, essentially tearing Agravain apart as she pulled out wires and other internal workings, breaking it into two as the pilot fell on the metal surface of the wing. Oiagros screamed as he fell on his legs and could barely stand up. Cinder didn't give him room to breathe as Amber picked up Oiagros by the leg and kept him in the air, bringing it close enough to its shoulder. The Second Knight of the Round then unlocked her own cockpit and went outside, standing atop Amber's shoulder to regard the man in person.

"A quick death is far too kind for someone like you, Oiagros Zevon. After what you have done to me, to my family, you don't deserve such kindness."

Oiagros's mask of Wizard was broken, and only left part of it remained covered in his own blood. Still, the man didn't show any fear. "You sadistic bitch! Stop playing games and end me already! The battle isn't over and your emperor might need you elsewhere. Just stop it already!"

"..." Cinder's only eye didn't stop flashing red as she dropped to a knee before Oiagros, allowing him a better look at her face even with the height difference. "Does the name Blackwood ring a bell?"

There was a slow realisation on Oiagros' face as he started to remember the events from the time when he killed his own sister. Finally, he remembered everything he has done, killing Olivia and leaving evidence to frame her old rival from another noble house. "Wait, Salem- you're her daughter!"

"Yes," Cinder couldn't help but grit her teeth as an ugly expression formed on her always beautiful face. "I'm the daughter of the woman who was executed because of your crime! You destroyed my family, my childhood! You took everything from me and don't even have the decency to remember the name of a little girl whose life was shattered because of you, Zevon! You talk of destroying Britannia, ending its evil and killing my darling emperor. And yet, you killed your own sister, framed an innocent woman and destroyed her family and now, you even attempted to kill your own niece and nephew. Is this your holy crusade against Britannia? Is this how you want to beat the empire? You accuse Britania of being evil incarnate and yet all of your actions brought nothing but suffering to everyone else, to me! Was it worth it, Zevon? Was it fucking worth it?!"

"..."

"Answer me, you fucker!" Cinder pulled out her dagger and stabbed Oiagros in the abdomen. "Here I am, the girl whose life you destroyed, a decade later standing as a champion of the mightiest empire in the history of mankind! All these killings and yet Britannia stands stronger than ever and will continue to be like this! Did you want to destroy it? Well, I will dedicate my life to making sure Britannia will triumph no matter what! I will find and slaughter all those who want to destroy it, I will make this nation stronger, only to make all your sacrifices worthless. Ha-hahaha-!" Cinder couldn't help but laugh, being close to losing her mind. "I don't even care about Britannia beyond it being under Lelouch's control, but I will do everything in my power to make sure your dream will never be accomplished. Not by you or any other rebel scum!"

"You-" Oiagros finally spoke, his voice full of anger but at the same time Cinder could hear the fear in it. "-delusional bitch!"

"Yes! Ahahaha-!" Cinder didn't even bother hiding her madness anymore, twisting the knife as snarled her next words. "And this crazy bitch will defend and strengthen what you couldn't destroy all those years! So, please rest in agony knowing that the work of your life will be undone by the girl whose life you ruined." Cinder turned away before stopping on her way. "My darling emperor told me that the dead greet new arrivals in C's World, and I do so hope you will meet your sister there, maybe she's first in line! Oh, and don't worry, I will make sure that those who dare to defy Lelouch's Britannia will join you soon."

Oiagros tried to get out of the deathly grip, even with the dagger still stuck in him. He screamed, finally some fear making itself more apparent in his voice. "Blackwood!"

Cinder didn't bother listening to him anymore as she climbed back into Amber before resuming control of it. She let go of Oiagros as he fell back down, breaking his bones upon landing. This time too wounded and broken to get up again, but still alive. Well, Cinder was going to fix that. She raised Amber's right leg before bringing its heel on top of the small human. Oiagros tried to remain calm, but he was still just a human and his body gave in to the natural reaction of screaming in agony as a multi-ton robot stepped on him. Cinder felt resistance, even if only for a second as her Amber crushed a cockroach beneath its foot.

"..." Cinder's eye didn't blink for a few moments as she stared forward, not moving. Soon she received the intel from Nemesis and messages from D.S. She accepted them on auto, but didn't move yet. Slowly, she took a deep sigh before her body started to shake. With a meek voice, she whispered. "It's finally over, mother. I… I killed all those who destroyed our family. It is over… but the battle isn't, I can't stop yet."

Her past was no more, now dead with Oiagros Zevon. House Blackwood was no more, now only Fall remained. The little girl who ran from the killers of her mother was now a ruthless killing machine under the command of her emperor and lover. Cinder Fall finally achieved the pick of her dream and now only needed to ensure its safety and prosperity.

"Haaa…" She shuddered, the last of her tears had fallen. "Now I can live knowing that I avenged you, mother."

"Cinder!" Amber slowly turned to face Lancelot High Grail as Vincent Gram carried it towards Grandberry. Oldrin's Knightmare landed on the wing as she tried to walk towards Amber, and was doing a poor job with only one leg. "What happened? Are you alright?"

"Are you actually worried about me, Zevon?" Cinder hid her previous emotions with a laugh. "Well, thanks for your concern, but I'm fine. In fact, I feel great! Could use some help scraping off your uncle remains from my precious Amber's feet though."

Oldrin paused and had a horrified look on her face for a second before she managed to fight off the urge to puke. "You're a disgusting and crazy woman."

"You're forgetting happy!" Cinder smiled warmly. "Still, it was rather disappointing. I expected more. Not from your uncle, but from finally killing him. I dreamed about this moment for years, you know, and now that I finally did it…" Cinder's voice took on an unusually melancholic tone. "It feels empty, worthless. I-I don't feel the satisfaction I expected."

Oldrin was surprised to hear such words from the knight, she knew her past but to hear her like this… she had the heart to try and console black haired girl, but found the words were like stones in her mouth. Luckily, someone else beat her to it.

"That's how revenge usually is. It is fuel to make you go on, but by the time you get to your destination, it may run its course, leaving you with nothing but emptiness." Orpheus spoke with a melancholic tone.

"Hmm… well aren't you quite a philosopher?" Cinder asked with a mischievous tone, not forgetting who Orpheus was. "Still, you aren't completely wrong and you did prove yourself to be rather useful out there. My thanks for distracting your uncle."

"You're ah… welcome?"

"Cinder, did you come here to save me?" Oldrin's voice was hopeful.

"Of course not," Cinder answered with a cruel smirk. "I flew here to murder your uncle. Your princess was begging for anyone to save her weak and worthless knight of honour and because I'm such a good-natured person, I immediately arrived to save the day since you clearly couldn't do anything on your own, Oz." Oldrin rolled her eyes, somewhat pleased to hear the usual Cinder annoying self. "Also, because Gino Weinberg was seen in this location, making a muck out of things. However, it seems I missed him and- oh, and we just found him again, very nice! Well, looks like I should be on my way towards Damocles. See you after the battle is over and I killed all the bad guys. Bye Oldrin."

"Cinder, wait! Let me change Knightmares and I will join you-!"

"Oh, you're a silly, stupid girl. You could do nothing in your state. Get to the hangar and rest, Marrybell must be worried about you." Amber walked past the half-broken High Grail and prepared to fly away before Cinder gave a warning to Vincent Gram. "Make sure your sister gets to rest and keep her there. Your value is justified by only two things, Orpheus, don't forget that."

"Yeah, yeah, I know. Go away and get yourself killed." Orpheus didn't bother with niceties.

"Dying, after what I just did? Me? I think not." White Queen was going to get something from her beloved Emperor, and Cinder will make sure both Marrybell and Kallen in particular will know it. She defeated the ghosts of her pasts and now was time to show her rivals that she was one annoying and tough bitch.

Amber's energy wings sparkled as she flew away and towards the giant flying fortress where all the main players were gathering for the ending act.


Damocles.

Inside the command centre, the Second Prince studied the battlefield. So far, the situation was slowly moving in Lelouch's favour. With the death of several Knights of the Round under command of Schneizel, Lelouch's forces were getting more aggressive since regular coalition units could do little against the elite and experienced pilots of both Britannia and the Black Knights working together. Of course, with two of Lelouch's Knights of the Round being out of the fight, and the Glinda Knight's overall defeat at the hands of Gino, the balance was relatively equal.

'Lelouch prioritises the offence, leaving holes in his defence. He was always like this, but if he can kill more of my fighters the defence will be irrelevant for him. His army could do little against F.L.E.I.J.A., so perhaps he is correct to ignore defence in favour of quicker decimating my army.'

"Your Highness, it is obvious Lelouch is planning something-"

Schneizel waved away. "I know, Kanon. However, even if my brother managed to prepare some sort of tool to counter F.L.E.I.J.A., how likely is it to succeed? Weapons of F.L.E.I.J.A. magnitude couldn't be easily dealt with. Perhaps Lelouch is bluffing or his tools won't work as he hopes. If we managed to defeat him with one warhead, no one would dare to oppose the might of Damocles."

"White Emperor dying to F.L.E.I.J.A., an inevitable future of warfare," Diethard smirked. "Now that's a perfect end for Zero!"

"I have made up my mind." Schneizel rolled his eyes upon seeing Kanon's frown. "But we must have a backup ready just in case. Sir Kururugi will arrive here and will deal with Lelouch if he manages to survive. Not to mention, Lelouch's zealot forces are unlikely to stop their assault. White Reaper will deal with them."

Schneizel switched to a private communicator as he addressed the person with the detonator. Of course, it was done merely out of respect for Nunnally's wish to be one who fires warheads, not because Schneizel couldn't do it himself.

"Nunnally, we have a situation-"

On top of Damocles, inside her little perfect garden, the Puppet Empress sat alone on top of her wheelchair 'throne'

"I understand, brother Schneizel." Nunnally spoke with a concerned tone as she clenched the staff that acted as a detonator. "I-"

"If you don't want to do it you don't have to force yourself, Nunnally. We have other means of fighting Lelouch." Schneizel was always quick to offer alternatives when he clearly wanted the best option for himself. He couldn't see Nunnally's face and wouldn't be able to watch her frown.

'The alternative is firing F.L.E.I.J.A. himself. Of course, I don't have the only launcher. Schneizel no doubt prepared one for himself as well. Well, people will hold me responsible for any used F.L.E.I.J.A. since I promised to not use them. No matter how many warheads Schneizel will fire, I will be the one to blame for them. So, I might as well do it myself. And if… if Lelouch dies then-no! He won't die! He is Lelouch! He has something up his sleeve, he won't go out like this.'

Nunnally didn't know if it was pride or desperate faith in her insane plan, one that wouldn't work if something happened to Lelouch. She knew it was foolish, crazy and unlikely to happen as she wanted it, but she didn't have any other options.

'I'm weak no matter how I want to deny it. I'm limited by everything, first of all, my own body. I want to achieve my plan. I have to rely on others, on Lelouch to accomplish my wishes. I needed the help of X, that Geass user, Rai. Hah, it was pathetic of me to get angry at Lelouch's words when he was right about me acting like a parasite… but this is the only thing I can do to win, Lelouch. So, you will have to forgive this useless sister of yours, dear brother.'

The 'blind' empress took a deep sigh. Her garden was peaceful and quiet, while the battle outside was anything but that. Others died while she sat in this perfect replica of her childhood memory of better times. Everything around her was a beautiful lie, as always. At least this time, Nunnally wanted to shatter it entirely.

"Prove once again that you're the Man of Miracles. Come and defeat us, Lelouch. Turn my wish into reality. And-"

Nunnally vi Britannia raised the staff and pressed the button.

"Fulfil my little selfish dream, Lelouch."


Outside Damocles.

The giant flying fortress was above him as Lelouch prepared for an inevitable attack. He received the news that more enemy elite units were defeated. However, both Bishop and Peter were out of the battle and in need of medical help. Still, Schneizel had only three Knights of the Round left. Meanwhile, Lelouch still had Cinder, Kallen and Arthur, even though the blonde knight lacked the means of flying now.

'Arthur might be useful on Damocles itself once we will start boarding the fortress. My biggest concerns are Suzaku and Gino. Both of them are experienced and powerful knights. Anya in her Mordred is rather a slow enemy and can be overpowered. If anything, my Shinkiro Imperium could be a good match. As long as we engage with her in long-range fights, she wouldn't be able to stop attacks from the sides and react fast enough to them.' Lelouch thought while the cannon right under Damocles started to move as it aimed down towards his position.

"Your Majesty, the enemy ship is preparing to launch the warhead." One of the Scarlet Guard warned as the rest of them formed a defence circle around Shinkiro.

"Oh? Finally, Schneizel is acting as I hoped. Hand me the Eliminator and get ready. We're moving out the moment F.L.E.I.J.A. leaves the shields of Damocles."

"As you command, Your Majesty." A Scarlet Guard's Knightmare brought to Shinkiro a staff with one end that had three green protruding rods and a pink crystal in the middle.

Such a simple tool, and yet Lelouch placed his trust and life into this thing. Trusting Nina after everything she has done and suffered might not have been the smartest idea, but it was a risk and Lelouch was ready to risk as long as it meant winning everything. The White Emperor was confident his fellow student council member wouldn't jeopardise her own creation. Not because she cared about Lelouch, but simply because Nina wanted to see the destruction of F.L.E.I.J.A. as the weapon more than anyone else.

He still remembered what they told him back on Nemesis.


"The pink crystal in the middle creates the reaction that will bombard the F.L.E.I.J.A.'s composition," Lelouch remembered the words of the young scientist as Nina described how the staff worked.

"You'll have to manually enter the local environment data into the system in 19 seconds before detonation. The environment data is based on temperature and distance along with the timing of when the F.L.E.I.J.A. launched requiring great skill, coordination, and perceptive and analytical abilities. So, make sure to not screw up, Your Majesty." Lloyd spoke with his usual uncaring attitude, ignoring the gravity of the situation. "If you die, I will have to give Cécile a few days off to cry over losing another potential husban-AGH!"

Cécile's fist found its mark as the bashful woman hit Lloyd's celiac plexus. "Don't even joke about that, Lloyd! But he is correct, I meant the first part! Not the crying part… but I will cry, and not for the reason Lloyd suggested, mostly- anyway, Your Majesty! After the data has loaded in less than 19 seconds or earlier, the Eliminator must make contact with the solid hull of the warhead between the time the warhead starts to detonate and before it unleashes its diffusing energy, a time period of 0.04 seconds. If detonated earlier, the canceller will trigger the F.L.E.I.J.A. to detonate prematurely, safely neutralising it. If detonated later, the Eliminator fails and the F.L.E.I.J.A. will detonate normally. Please, stay safe out there and succeed."


"Lelouch, are you ready?" The concern in C.C.'s tone would have made Lelouch smug in any other situation, but right now he was focused entirely on making sure his plan worked out. "If you're scared, I can do it instead."

"My Witch, how can I face you if I dared to turn away now? This is but another test I have to pass if I want to win. Nothing comes without a price. Besides, D.S. did say I managed to do it in other potential futures."

"Yes, in the ones where Suzaku was on your side and threw that staff. You also eventually died there, so I don't take them as a credible source."

Their head of intelligence and OSI inserted herself into the conversation as D.S. spoke. "They are the most credible sources you will get, and they did calm you down before the battle when you were on the verge of crying over Lelouch again, C.C. Stop questioning what cannot be changed and focus on the battle, both of you. We detect both Lancelot Albion and Tristan flying towards your location, Lelouch. Act before these two got in your way. Schneizel won't think twice about sacrificing them if it means killing you."

"Indeed. Enough of worries, time for action. My dear Witch, watch me create another miracle for us." Lelouch couldn't help but smirk before transforming his Shinkiro Imperium into fortress mode and flying up towards Damocles. The Scarlet Guards followed behind him, making sure to create the shield of Knightmares around their master.

"You must survive, Lelouch… and return to me," C.C. said as she watched her warlock fly towards the giant fortress.

'I will.' Lelouch didn't need to say it for her to feel their connection. The Warlock felt the ease of his Witch as she gave him her silent blessing. How ironic, that her blessing was the most reassuring thing Lelouch felt, even above 'God's' favour and help.

'Failure is not an option.'

Sending others to do it might have been a better idea, but someone needed to enter the environment data within the time limit on the spot. Perhaps someone like Lloyd, Rakshata or Nina herself could have done it, in the safety of their labs. However, out there in the air on the battlefield next to no one can do it. No one except for Lelouch.

'Who could have imagined that piano lessons would help me defuse a weapon of mass destruction? If this will work out, I will thank you for forcing me to learn how to play the piano, Marianne.' Part of Lelouch actually wondered if dying in a blast of F.L.E.I.J.A. was a preferable alternative to thanking the dead spirit of his mother.

Damocles's only weapon, the F.L.E.I.J.A. cannon, was aligned as it fired the warhead. The single pink projectile flew down as it passed the shields of the fortress and flew towards the group of Knightmares underneath Damocles. Lelouch didn't waste time as he started to enter the data of the surrounding environment. His Shinkiro was collecting and analysing every little detail around them, but it was up to the Emperor to make sure it was correct. Within less than 19 seconds he put all the required data for the Eliminator on the side of Shinkiro's fortress mode and was activated and ready.

"Now!"

Lelouch shouted as one of the Scarlet Guards took the staff and prepared to throw it at the F.L.E.I.J.A. warhead. 'We will have few moments to get rid of the F.L.E.I.J.A. and get behind the shield system-'

"Target Acquired."

The last thing Lelouch expected to hear was the emotionless voice of Anya Alstreim as her Mordred fired its Hadron cannon. The Hadron blast found its target as it destroyed the Scarlet Guard that held the Eliminator.

Everything froze around Lelouch as his purple eyes stared with horror at the exploded Scarlet Guard. Was it cruel that he cared little about the Geassed pilot inside and only that his plan was ruined now? Including the fact that his life was literally on the line.

He felt the scream of both C.C and D.S. Perhaps, this was one of the times when his gamble didn't work out.

'No-' Lelouch's entire life flashed between his eyes in less than a second. Was it what death felt like? One single thing didn't go as planned and now everything is. 'This can't be how it ends.'

After everything, Lelouch has gone through. After all the death and destruction he saw, the ones he experienced and he has committed, going out like this was rather disappointing.

It couldn't end like this.

And it won't.

Life works in mysterious, bizarre and just weird ways. Sometimes help arrives from the place you least expect. Lelouch hoped that perhaps a Dragon or Demoness would arrive to his rescue, but he got something else entirely.

Instead of two Knightmares with energy wings, what White Emperor got was a mass-production model of Akatsuki and the wrong redhead piloting it.

"Have no fear, Boss! Because I am here!"

"-?!"

Shinichirō Tamaki has come to his rescue and Lelouch vi Britannia was at a loss for words.

Before anyone could say or do anything, Tamaki's Akatsuki grabbed the Eliminator staff before throwing it at the F.L.E.I.J.A. warhead. No question asked, Tamaki just did it without any hesitation as he hit the target. Eliminator hit the heart of the warhead as it started working and eliminating it. Exactly 19 seconds passed when the canceller triggered the F.L.E.I.J.A. and detonated it prematurely, safely neutralising it. F.L.E.I.J.A. exploded, but instead of mass light that brought death to everything within its radius, it was merely sparks of light that soon disappeared.

Lelouch didn't know what to say for one second as he tried to comprehend what just happened.

'Tamaki saved me, he saved all of us. The same one who always questioned me back when we just started, the same one who pointed his gun at me, just to save my life. I-I-I… should I make him my Prime Minister after this?!'

While the Emperor was losing his mind, the hero of the hour tapped his Shinkiro on the shoulder as the black and gold Knightmare turned towards Tamaki's Akatsuki.

"Go get 'em, Boss! I'll do my best and cover you from here, I promise!" Tamaki's voice was full of enthusiasm that only caused more mind chaos to Lelouch.

"I… will do that."

Shinkiro Imperium transformed back into Fortress Mode before it flew towards the hole in Damcoles's blaze luminous shields. The hole was getting smaller, but Lelouch's Knightmare managed to get between it and activated the Absolute Defense System as red shields formed a circle and stopped the green shield from getting smaller. Once Lelouch was inside, he sent the order to C.C.

"Now!"

His Witch immediately activated the new feature of the Black Knight's submarine. The Hadron laser which was one of Nemesis's primary weapons now was implemented into the submarine. The satellite-like weapon popped out of the underwater vehicle as it prepared to fire. The continuous red ray flew up through the hole Shinkiro was holding up, missing the black and gold Knightmare by a few centimetres as it shot past the Emperor and towards Damocles. The Hadron blast made contact with the F.L.E.I.J.A. cannon and slightly hit it, but the primary target was the shield generator past it.

'Thanks to the blueprints this X spy got us, we know that there are five generators. Without one, the Damocles' blaze luminous shields will be less impenetrable and can be overpowered by newer-generation Knightmares. Still, we need to take care of more.' Lelouch switched towards the Scarlet Guard channel as he ordered them.

"Everyone inside!" The nine remaining Scarlet Guard KMFs flew towards the emperor and entered the hole in the shield before Shinkiro Imperium closed the breach and went behind them. "Two, Three, and Six deal with the remaining generators. Seven, One, and Nine capture F.L.E.I.J.A. warhead arsenal and guard it, don't let anyone fire any more missiles. The rest are with me!"

His bodyguards yelled in confirmation as each assigned unit went to fulfil its part of the plan. Inside his Shinkiro Imperium Lelouch pulled out a blueprint of Damocles on his screen. It wasn't the most detailed and was likely dated a little bit, but it was still his best map to navigate inside the giant flying fortress. The Emperor's machine along with three Scarlet Guards created a hole in the walls of the fortress as they entered inside.

It was time to meet his brother.


Inside Damocles' hangar.

Schneizel along with Kanon and Diethard was boarding one of the airships as the trio prepared to leave. The Second Prince couldn't help but feel both shame and pride at the moment. He had to leave his greatest weapon and let it explode, taking away all his enemies. However, at the same time, Lelouch did surprise him with how he managed to bypass Damcoles' blaze luminous shields.

"So much effort was put into this fortress and we abandoned it during its first engagement. A waste of resources, but also a lesson for me. Still, this fortress should become Lelouch's grave once we detonate all F.L.E.I.J.A. warheads from a safe distance. Cornelia and a few other soldiers should be waiting outside, ready to escort us to safety… I don't need to remind you gentlemen, but say nothing about Nunnally to Cornelia, I will handle it myself." Schneizel said with a disappointed sigh as he sat behind the ship's seats. "Kanon, dear, I can see the expression on your face. Come on, say it."

Kanon's face was screaming 'I told you so', as the prince's assistant tried to fight off the urge to grin. Still, the situation was far from the calmest one. "I would never take pleasure in your misfortune, Your Highness. However, I did warn you that placing too much trust in this monstrosity was a bad idea. It would have been far smarter to recreate a European experimental weapon and launch F.L.E.I.J.A. warheads by means of missiles through orbit."

"Hmm, sounds less fun than Damocles." For the rare instance, perhaps ever, Schneizel pouted, but he had to agree. "Well, we still have my saved-up resources and secret base in Argentina. Not to mention, soon the states within UFN will start to break apart since Lelouch will attempt to take over Asia. It is useless to try striking an alliance with their governments and would be faster to reach field commanders and soldiers who won't accept Britannian rule no matter what. India is by far the best choice, thanks to their population and Knightmare production facilities."

"From my time as a member of Black Knights, I remember that a certain Maharajah is considered an important person in the ruling class over there," Diethard added. "And from what I can tell he was far from the most loyal of allies, always putting his own interest and safety over everything else."

"Ah, one of these people. Well, it shouldn't be too hard to bargain with him then." Schneizel smiled, a little bit sad that he has to play the old politics game again, but oh well. His thoughts were interrupted by a sudden call on the ship's panel. "Oh?"

"Your Highness, this is most likely-"

Schneizel nodded. "Yes, Kanon. It has to be him, but after everything Lelouch at least deserves to have a last conversation."

He turned on the video to see the face of his younger brother sitting on a chair in the command centre of the fortress in his usual royal robes. Lelouch's smirk was overconfident, although Schneizel supposed it was earned this time, even if only for a short time.

"Schneizel."

"Lelouch." The older brother smiled warmly. "Must be feeling quite euphoric at the moment, brother. You are inside my battle fortress, in the command centre while I'm on my way out. Well, congratulations, Damocles is yours. Consider it a gift for all the birthdays and New Years we missed together."

"Oh my, I always know this is a reason why you were my favourite big brother, Schneizel." Lelouch smiled with closed eyes before speaking. "However, it seems you forgot to leave me the big red button to launch the warheads. Can't really enjoy my prize to the fullest without it."

"Oh, I must have forgotten it at Nunnally's garden on the top floor. You can pick it up there." Schneizel's smile was never fated, but it became a little bit more sinister. "I'm sure the two of you will have something to talk about while I'm gone."

"I'm sure we will, but until then-" Lelouch's warm smile disappeared as his face became more serious. "Tell me, Schneizel. Do you believe in anything?"

"What do you mean?" Schneizel asked with a raised eyebrow.

"I mean do you have any values? Did you ever truly believe in Social Darwinism our homeland preached, or the noble superiority Britannia had above others? Maybe you loved European democratic values or even Chinese traditionalism. Or did you ever believe in what Euphemia was trying to achieve? A peaceful coexistence between numbers and Britannians in father's empire?" Lelouch eyes stared right into Schneizel's soul. "Or was it merely a convenience for you at the moment to use and play with these values of others?"

"You might already know the answer to that, Lelouch." Schneizel sighed. "I will be blunt with you, brother. I only believe in stability and my ability to predict the movements of every player on the board."

"Oh?"

"Britannian, European, Chinese and Japanese, are all the same once you look past the surface differences. Every system in our world believes itself to be better compared to others, every leader thinks they are the second coming of Caesar. They are all equally wrong and misguided in some way. However, the imperfection of these systems is what creates perfect stability. I can always know what Chinese eunuchs want even if I don't know the situation on the ground in China. I can see where European diplomats are heading before their own population. I can read the minds of Britannian nobility because almost all of them are simple-minded. And Japanese are the easiest to manipulate as you would know, Lelouch."

"..."

"Everyone has problems, all I need to do is know these problems and then offer a solution even if it is unreachable. That was faith, where I placed the value of the entire world. Our homeland's Social Darwinism was a flawed system with self-destructive policies. Treating your conquered population as slaves and second-class citizens is short-sighted since numbers were making a sizable part of Britannia's overall population and were critical to the economy. Rebellions were expected and regular, of course, some were expected to be more successful than others. That's why I was rather pleased to see you create Zero and Black Knights. That proved my prediction that Japanese people would eventually unite around the common banner. Do not take me wrong, Lelouch. I do not take pleasure in the suffering of others, but I'm a rather cynical person and place logic above feelings of pity towards others. If I wasn't born a Britannian Royal, I would have supported a different system. However, since I was born as the Second Prince, I used whatever tools I could in my position. I felt horrified when I heard the news of you and Nunnally dying during the Britannian invasion of Japan, but I felt little to nothing towards the rest of the Japanese people."

"The death of one is a tragedy, the death of a million is a statistic," Lelouch remembers one of the quotes Charles liked to reference.

"I'm still a human being with emotion and feelings, Lelouch. I'm just good at masking them." Schneizel's usual fake smile did little to Lelouch. "But returning to my point, I simply use whatever I can to achieve my goals. I care little what banner I have to serve or what promises to make as long as it gets me results. I'm sure you are similar to some extent."

"Not really, but let's focus on you for now, brother. Hmm, and what is your end goal? Simple stability?"

"Yes and more. I desire a world where I can predict future developments and can manipulate them as I wish for the sake of an even more stable world system. I'm a diplomat at heart, it was always my job to make sure everything inside Britannia and outside it was stable and easy to handle for me...that's why you are my biggest problem and the scariest enemy I have faced, Lelouch."

"Heh, I feel flattered, Schneizel. The feeling is mutual. Charles was my target of vengeance and the biggest obstacle, but I always knew that it will be you who will prevent me from destroying Britannia." Lelouch smirked. "And you lived up to my expectations."

"You are the Emperor of Britannia, but it isn't the same empire I grew up with and tried to stabilise from the sidelines. Your Geass and your character, all of it could never coexist with Social Darwinism, with nobility and the number system. Hence why you destroyed fundamental policies of our homeland. I agree that they are problematic, but they are fundamental for a reason. Britannia as a society and as a system exists because of them. And yet-"

"And yet I destroyed everything our ancestors believed in. Such a worthless ideology and system that cannot exist in my perfect future."

"Your perfect future is what scares me, Lelouch. That is why I refuse to accept your Britannia and your desire for the future. You are an anomaly, brother. You can, will, and already did destroy what existed for centuries with your Geass. You and your power are something I could never predict. I cannot fathom what exactly you planned for this planet, for its people and it terrifies me. That's why F.L.E.I.J.A. has become my hope and obsession for defeating you, Lelouch. You're a monster. Yesterday you were Zero and promised to destroy Britannia. Today you're the White Emperor, the empire's ruler and defender. What will you do tomorrow? Destroy mankind? Attempt to slay 'God' as father wanted or attempt to conquer it? In the way you and Charles are similar, you're tyrants, people who don't care about anything or anyone but themselves." Schneizel looked exhausted, something Lelouch never expected to see. "Agh, your old friend Suzaku is similar as well. But at least with the good knight, I can direct him towards my goals. Suzaku is limited by his own nativity and lack of creative thinking, not realising he can do more if he had more imagination. Then again, if he did I would be forced to dispose of him prematurely."

Lelouch narrowed his eyes. "You know, you could hang out with more regular people, Schneizel."

"What do you mean?" Schneizel looked with a somewhat insulted look.

"People can be predictable and easy to manipulate as you're used to. However, every individual has their own goals and wishes. I can kill and Geass them, but it won't stop people from doing what they want, not all of them. You gave me too much credit. I'm no different from other mad conquers in history who tried to take more than they could handle. I'm just good at managing my chess pieces and timing. Geass is but a tool that will die with me or even earlier than that. It is convenient, but it isn't the sole reason I managed to take the throne. You fail to see that people wanted change, everyone was getting sick of the world's affairs. I don't mean only Britannia, but every superpower, every nation. Children were robbed of their childhood, and forced to become soldiers and leaders before they even turned eighteen. The masses want a change and that's why they were so quick to accept either Zero or emperor Lelouch. Because I proved that I can make a change and am willing to go to any length to achieve their wish for a better world. You want stability while I and millions of others want a change. If not for me, then someone else would have done it, Schneizel. Even if you managed to defeat me, there would be others who will attempt to shatter your stability because they are sick of it. You would have never won, brother, and won't defeat me. It is checkmate and-"

Suddenly the ground under the emergency airship started to tremble as everyone on the ship grabbed the seats to not fall. Before the airship itself, a hole in the ground was made as something huge crashed through it. Schneizel and his entourage saw a black and golden Knightmare, accompanied by two Scarlet machines. The third one has come out from behind and the Scarlet Guard immediately proceed to impale the armed men next to the ship with its spear.

"You lost, Schneizel." Lelouch on the screen spoke as his Shinkiro Imperium stood before the airship.

"But how?!" Diethard shouted.

"Please, Mr Ried. You of all people should know the magic of the green screen." Lelouch smiled slyly before snapping his fingers. The command centre behind him changed into the cockpit of the Knightmare. "I had ideas to simply put Sayoko as my double and have her talk with Schneizel or just re-record my video and have Schneizel talk to it. However, I just couldn't miss the last conversation with my favourite older brother, after all."

Shinkiro Imperium stepped on the airship, crushing the pilot's cockpit under its weight. A Blaze Luminous blade ignited from its wrist as Shinkiro cut off the roof of the airship before staring down at Schneizel and others. Diethard froze in fear, while Kanon tried to save his prince and cover him. However, Lelouch simply moved an arm as Shinkiro tossed Kanon away, sending the man flying into the back of the ship.

"Kanon!" Schneizel shouted with a distressed tone before Shinkiro grabbed him. "What are you-?!"

"Stay still brother, I don't want to break you before she arrives," Lelouch spoke as Shinkiro Imperium raised Schneizel like some sort of toy. Among all of Schneizel's people, only Diethard was in fine condition, with Kanon most likely unconscious.

"Who are you talking about, Lelouch?!" It was rare to see Schneizel angry, but his assistant was just tossed aside like nothing and he was captured by a giant war machine, in the hands of a madman.

"Who else but Cornelia!" Lelouch grinned. "You and I already talked and have nothing else to discuss, but our dear sister might want to hear something from your lips. Speaking of the Goddess of Victory herself, she should be arriving soon."

As Lelouch predicted, his sister didn't take long to show herself as a purple Knightmare, a mix of older Gloucester model and more modern Lancelot Vincent Wards machines entered the scene. Cornelia wasn't alone as she was in the company of two older Vincent models. All of them were there to rescue Schneizel, but the White Emperor only needed his sister to talk to. Therefore the rest were unneeded.

"What is going on?" Cornelia asked as her Quinn Roses Model-Z aimed its gun at Shinkiro Imperium the moment she saw her little brother's Knightmare. "Lelouch! What have you done to Schneizel?!"

Shinkiro Imperium turned around to face Quinn Roses and show Cornelia the new cool toy it was holding in its hand. Lelouch turned on the open channel and excitedly spoke.

"Schneizel and I were just having a nice little chat before you showed up, sister of mine! Don't worry, you and I have something to talk about as well. However, your friends aren't invented to our family reunion." Lelouch said with a cheeky tone before launching Shinkiro's slash harkens into two of the enemy Vincents.

One of them managed to avoid the gold and black slash harken, while the second wasn't as fast. When the Quinn Roses and the remaining Vincent tried to attack Lelouch, Shinkiro reached forward and used Schneizel as a meat shield, if only to scare his opponents. Both Cornelia and her companion froze before Shinkiro shot a hadron cannon with its free arm, killing the second Vincent instantly and leaving only Cornelia.

"Now can we talk, Cornelia?" Lelouch asked.

"You-!"

"I see that it isn't enough."

Lelouch sighed before opening the chest section and revealing the chest-mounted diffusion structure phase transition cannon. Lelouch shot the prism before, but the transition cannon was still deadly as Shinkiro fired it at Quinn Roses. Cornelia had no means of stopping or blocking the light ray, therefore tried to attack Shinkiro with her lance. However, the red shield of the Absolute Defence System blocked it. The ray from the chest cannon didn't stop as it hit Cornelia, her Knightmare was wounded before it fell on its knees. The two Scarlet Guards moved to surround her and make sure she won't try anything else against their master.

"Now, we will talk."

Lelouch climbed out of the cockpit and walked on the arm that was holding Schneizel. The second prince, still held by Knightmare's hand was heavily breathing, not prepared to experience something like this. However, even now the former Prime Minister was still trying to understand what Lelouch's angle was at it.

"What are you doing, Lelouch?" His young brother smirked before taking off his lenses and revealing two Geass sigils in his eyes.

"Returning a favour to a certain knight, not mine though. Hers. Now, Schneizel, you will answer all my questions."

The power Geass worked as usual, the red sigil sent a bird flying right into the eyes of the former white prince. Schneizel's eyes turned red with red circles around his pupils.

"Ask anything, Lelouch."

Inside her Knightmare Cornelia looked up with a frightened expression, recognizing the scene from when Lelouch Geassed her. "B-brother-!"

"First, I want to know about Nunnally. Did you truly plan to make her a legitimate empress if you managed to kill me and take over Britannia?"

"Yes." The Geassed Schneizel instantly nodded. "She was going to become Empress and follow through on her promises. I and Kururugi Suzaku would have faced trial, though it is irrelevant what the verdict would have been. Nunnally wouldn't have the courage to execute us. Then, she was going to start decolonization. Within the next three years, the former colonies and parts of Britannia would start fighting over bad blood, resources, borders and policies. Empress Nunnally wouldn't be able to do anything and fail to control the situation. I would have been called to help her. With the use of F.L.E.I.J.A. I would crush rebellions and conflicts. Using this achievement, I would have created a new system that would imitate the Britannian imperial system. Nunnally will face all backlash and the idea of decolonization would become forgotten. In the case where the situation wasn't going according to my plan or post-decolonization governments were too successful, I would have influenced radical groups from the shadows to start a civil war among all former Britannian territories."

Lelouch's earlier smirk disappeared, now replaced with a concerned face. "You want to save your present so much, you will refuse to give people a future. Hmm. And what about the Federation?"

"Post decolonization Britannia under Nunnally's rule would attempt to join UFN but will be denied. Following the imperial civil war, UFN countries will attempt to retake some of Britannia's colonies. Under the banner of unifying the country, I would have started the war, preparing F.L.E.I.J.A. in advance to destroy the majority of UFN with Damocles."

"What makes you think Damocles would have been within your control once I was defeated?" Lelouch wondered.

"Damocles will be the best option for Nunnally to use as the base of operation. All of her inner circle will be filled with my people to make sure she won't make wrong decisions that could hurt my plans."

"And what would happen to Nunnally in your plan?"

"If everything goes according to my schedule without serious setbacks, Nunnally will become the disgrace who failed to protect and lead people. With me as the new emperor, Nunnally will spend the remaining years hidden from the public. However, if the situation becomes problematic, I might have no choice but to assassinate Nunnally if she manages to successfully enforce reforms and gain sizable support of the masses."

Both Lelouch and Cornelia felt the same the moment they heard it.

"Schneizel, how could you?! She is our little sister!" Cornelia's head fell against her monitor, she felt betrayed. "She is a child! You monster!"

Lelouch didn't let his emotion cloud his mind as he continued to ask. "Tell me, Schneizel. What were you planning to do with Cornelia?"

"Cornelia is too experienced as a general and won't share my views for the future. She will join Nunnally's side no matter what, I can't risk it and I have no choice, but to eliminate her as well."

Cornelia didn't react, too exhausted from everything she heard. There she was, seeking to stop and defeat Lelouch and for what? A world where Schneizel would just manipulate and sacrifice Nunnally and her before killing millions with his fucking F.L.E.I.J.A.? How was it better than Lelouch and his Geass? What was the point of it all...

"This is enough." Lelouch looked away, staring at Cornelia's Knightmare. Schneizel blinked as he looked around, trying to understand what happened before realisation settled in.

"You-you used your Geass on me." There was a genuine horror in his tone. Lelouch was curious if he saw an all-new expression on his brother's face.

Lelouch said nothing before walking back inside Shinkiro's cockpit as he activated his Knightmare. The Emperor's Knightmare tossed Schneizel back into the half-destroyed airship where Diethard and Kanon were. Schneizel hit the ground as he let out a scream, unable to stand back up with his fractured legs.

"Y-your Highness," Kanon whispered as he did his best to crawl up towards his prince and help him stand up.

Schneizel leaned against Kanon before screaming towards Cornelia. "Sister, you must-"

"Shut up." Cornelia's tone was emotionless, weak and tired as she let out a long sigh. "All these years I knew you were a liar, but I always thought it was for the sake of our home, our family, or at least those whom you cared about. But you don't care about anything. Not about Britannia or us. Nunnally, me… not even Euphemia. I tried to not think about it since Lelouch was our enemy, but now I can't ignore it… I can't go on anymore, it is too much."

"We can't choose our family, Cornelia." Shinkiro Imperium turned towards Quinn Roses as the 'face' of his Knightmare leaned forward towards Cornelia's machine. Shinkiro lifted Quinn Roses as it stood up. The Scarlet Guard on each side lowered their weapons. Shinkiro pointed towards the sky out of the hangar. "But we can choose our friends and loved ones. I managed to find people who care about me and want to help me. You already have a knight of honour out there, searching for you."

"Guilford." Cornelia's eyes went wide. "But he died in Tokyo-"

"He lived and helped my Knight of Zero to find some answers they both needed. And now, he is here, somewhere. I made a deal with him. Quite a persistent fellow, this Guilford. He cares about you, sister. If he manages to convince you to surrender, I would spare both of you from certain death and give you a relatively light sentence for your crimes."

Cornelia's heart beat faster now, beyond happy that her knight was alive and was still loyal. However, there was a matter of Lelouch 'allowing' her to go and find him.

"You speak like it is some sort of mercy."

"Because it is, Cornelia. You and I aren't so different. We were both ready to burn this world for the sake of our loved ones. But many things changed… Euphemia is dead because of me and Nunnally is my enemy. I cannot change the past, but I can create a better future. One where Euphemia's name is cleared of the crimes I have done. I want to fix my failures for the sake of her memory. And killing and making you suffer won't help me atone for Euphemia's death. However, you have your crimes and you will answer for them. That doesn't mean you have to do it alone."

"..." Quinn Roses walked towards the hangar gates before Cornelia spoke last time. "I cannot forgive you for what happened, Lelouch. At least not yet, not until I see your so-called perfect future Euphemia imagined. But I can make peace with you."

"Heh, that's more than enough for me, Cornelia. Now, leave this tower and go get your knight in shining armour, Princess." Lelouch smiled slightly as Quinn Roses flew away. He sent a message to D.S. "I had a small chat with Cornelia and she is on her way towards Guilford. Make sure those lovebirds reunite, don't bother arresting them, they will turn themselves in."

Lelouch then turned back towards the airship where his older brother was. Both Schneizel and Kanon couldn't escape with multiple broken bones from being tossed around. Instead, the prince leaned on his assistant as both silently waited for whatever fate the Demon Emperor prepared for them. However, Diethard Ried raised his arms to the side as he shouted with a terrified expression.

"Zero-!"

The former masked revolutionary paused as Shinkiro Imperium looked down at the former Black Knight who was on verge of losing his sanity. Diethard was shaking while the four eyes of the Knightmare stared down at him. The White Emperor was silent for a second before he started to laugh, the same laugh he had in the past, a maniacal one.

"Hahaha-! Diethard, you were always the easiest one to control. Your wish was simple, but it didn't mean it was worthless. If you had remained with the Black Knights I might have even found work for you in my empire. But no. Not only did you betray me with the rest of the Order, but you also had the audacity to find a different 'hero' for your documentary. I'm rather disappointed and feel cheated."

"Z-zero-"

"Zero is dead. Killed by White Reaper. However, such a legend like Zero deserves something to immortalise him. Yes, a documentary might be a good choice."

"Y-yes! I can do it! I can film a documentary about Zero! About White Emperor! About anything you will-"

"Who said anything about you? Actually, who are you?" Lelouch asked with an amused tone as Diethard froze.

"Wha-I- I'm Diethard Ried! Im-!"

"Never heard of someone like that. I'm pretty sure there is no one that goes with that name in the Britannian system, and most likely doesn't exist in the Federation's system either." A sadistic smile formed on Lelouch's face as he watched Diethard's face go pale.

"What-no, you couldn't-!"

"I'm the Emperor, the planet will be mine and erasing someone from existence isn't very hard for me. Be it in the real or digital world. Never heard of Diethard Ried since he doesn't exist. Nope. No one will remember him, no one will remember what he did or tried to accomplish. His biggest life goal… would be completed by another and all praise will go to them." Lelouch finished with a devilish smile as Diethard fell on his knees and started to punch the ground with his fist.

"No! No-no-no-no-no-no! You couldn't-!"

Kanon gritted his teeth as watched Diethard beg for it. "You're pathetic, Ried."

Shinkiro Imperium raised its right hand and aimed a hadron cannon at the remains of the airship, focusing on the three men there. Schneizel closed his eyes. It would seem his older brother understood what would happen. The former Prime Minister and his assistant already accepted their fate. It would seem Kanon Maldini was not too different from either Kallen or Guilford when it came to feelings of loyalty and something else toward their lord. At least they accepted their demise. The same couldn't be said for one delusional reporter.

"This game is over, Lelouch. I… lost." were the last words of Schneizel while Diethard continued to cry.

"Zero! At least use your Geass on me before killing us! F-finish me with your Geass! P-please-!"

His cries were silenced once the airship exploded upon contact with a red ball of destruction.

This was the end for Schneizel el Britannia, his ever-loyal assistant Kanon Maldini and some unknown madman. As the smoke scattered, Shinkiro Imperium stood silent for a second before turning towards the gate leading outside.

"Two are dealt with, now only one relative of mine left to take care of." Lelouch looked at the map on the screen.

'Time to have a chat, little sister.'


Outside the fortress.

Suzaku flew towards Damocles as fast as he could. He encountered resistance on his way in the form of Lelouch's forces. The worst one was some mass-produced Akatsuki with a pilot who couldn't shut up. Suzaku couldn't even kill that guy! He was anything but a newbie when it came to piloting a Knightmare. White Reaper had to cut down his legs before flying away, fearing that loudmouth could have slowed him down.

'But now that I'm here… it might be too late.'

One look at Damocles was enough to see that something wasn't right. The smoke was coming from the outside sections where shield generators were supposed to be. Suzaku noticed dozens of Hounds crawling all over the fortress, like cockroaches. Lancelot Albion raised its MVS forward and tapped on the supposed blaze luminous shield that didn't respond. Suzaku clenched his fist.

Lelouch was inside the fortress… and since Suzaku didn't receive any orders from Schneizel it could mean only one thing.

'Schneizel is dead, Cornelia might be too. With them gone, Nunnally is the only one inside Damocles who matters, and who must survive. I must save her, I must-' Suzaku froze when his Knightmare picked up signals of enemy units, however, the Knight of Seven could easily see the black and golden machine flying towards the upper section where Nunnally was located.

'-Lelouch.'

Even without his Geass command to live, Suzaku Kururugi saw nothing but red.

Lancelot Albion rushed forward. Thanks to energy wings, in one second Lancelot closed a giant distance as its pilot went for the killing blow. Suzaku raised his MVS and prepared to cut down his worst enemy, his best friend, to pieces. Lancelot Albion flew at Shinkiro Imperium like some sort of missile flying towards its target. And Suzaku didn't bother being secretive about it either. No, Lelouch needed to know who hit him.

"LELOUCH!"

Shinkiro Imperium and three Scarlet Guard Knightmares paused as they looked around.

"Suzaku-?!"

Before Lelouch could understand what was going on, Lancelot Albion crashed into him. Multiple red shields on top of each other covered Shinkiro Imperium as the royal Knightmare was sent flying into the outside wall of Damocles, creating a hole in it. Lelouch didn't die though, that damn shield protected him. Shinkiro struggled to stand up for a second as the Emperor tried to regain focus from the sudden hit. However, Suzaku wasn't going to stop.

"Lelouch!" Suzaku tried to go after him but was stopped as two Scarlet Guards blocked his way with their spears. The third one tried to stab Lancelot from behind. However, Suzaku managed to duck at the side, avoiding the spear before bringing his red sword on top of the guard and cutting him in half.

The remaining two Scarlet Guards tried to create more distance between their master and White Reaper as they rushed him, trying to push him away from Shinkiro. They weren't alone, however, as three Hounds crawled to assist them and attacked Lancelot Albion. However, none of them will stop Suzaku from his mission. He will kill Lelouch! Nothing will stay in his way!

"None of your pawns will stop me, Lelouch!"

"You don't need to shout my name every second." The White Emperor said with an irritated tone as he shot Hadron blasts from his wrist cannons. Lancelot dodged both red balls before stabbing the Hound that tried to jump it. "How annoying. Always appearing out of nowhere to ruin my day. This is getting old, couldn't you take a day off and just leave me alone? Just once?"

"I will kill you, Lelouch!" Suzaku yelled as he pulled out the Super V.A.R.I.S. rifle and fired continuous hadron rays at the second Scarlet Guard. The unit's shield managed to block the ray, but not the slash harken that flew after it and stabbed the chest and pierced all the way to the cockpit. "You won't get away alive this time, Lelouch!"

"Can you say anything else beyond threatening to kill me? Not even a hello or asking how my day went? I just killed Schneizel, Kanon and some random guy. We could chat, and catch up on the stuff that happened-"

"Lelouch!"

Lancelot Albion swung MVS at Shinkiro Imperium. The black and gold Knightmare didn't even bother dodging as its absolute defence system blocked the attack.

"Oh, come on, at least attempt to humour me, please?"

Lelouch whined as he activated blaze luminous blades on his Knightmare and moved into offence. Yes, fighting against Suzaku one on one was madness, but Lelouch wasn't alone. Lancelot Albion blocked the obvious slash attack from Shinkiro with one MVS and stopped the spear from piercing Suzaku with the second sword as the last Scarlet Guard tried to attack from the side.

"Suzaku, I killed your king. According to the rules of chess, I have already won. So can you kindly just drop dead or something?" Lelouch asked with a tired tone while Suzaku couldn't hold inside his fury. "Actually, can you do me a favour and fly towards the submarine underneath Damocles and leave your Lancelot there? There is someone who wants to have a word with you."

"Why won't you take this seriously?!"

"Why should I? To give you some kind of satisfaction? Never, Suzaku. After everything you put me through, I won't allow you to feel any pleasure in your helpless attempt to defeat me. I won and you can't do anything about it.." Lelouch said with a venomous voice before Shinkiro kicked Lancelot back. Shinkiro Imperium stood with two green energy blades coming out of its wrists. The red absolute defence system shields covered the cockpit and Lelouch from the sides. "No matter what you will do, it is irrelevant. You won't achieve anything. You never could. You won't defeat me, let alone kill me."

"I can try my best." Suzaku bit his tongue, making sure to fight down his emotions and focus. Anger alone won't help him win this.

"Heh, stubborn as always, Suzaku. Very well." Scarlet Guard rushed forward from the side, trying to charge and stab Lancelot. Meanwhile, Shinkiro Imperium opened its chest and aligned its cannon at White Reaper. MVSs blocked the spear attack before Lancelot kicked Scarlet Guard away as the green shield covered Suzaku from a white ray coming from Shinkiro.

Suzaku heard noise from behind as he turned to cut another Hound which tried to jump Lancelot and stab with its blade. The Knight of Seven saw more lifeless drones surrounding him, he would be overrun at this rate. Lancelot Albion flew up and activated its energy wings, before firing a barrage of green projectiles at everything before Suzaku. Nothing except for Shinkiro Imperium managed to withstand the attack as all other Knightmares exploded, leaving Lelouch alone.

"It's over, Lelouch! You have no pawns left to die for you!" Suzaku knew his former friend wouldn't be able to fight him alone. Lelouch might have gotten some training and experience to pilot Knightmares better, but it was not enough to beat the White Reaper. Lancelot Albion swung its swords on the ground before swinging back up, drawing sparks with clear murderous intent. Suzaku didn't care if Lelouch had shields, he would break them sooner or later!

However, Lelouch wasn't out of people wanting to protect him no matter what. There was someone who promised to defend Lelouch no matter what.

A red radiant wave ray hit Lancelot Albion from the back before Suzaku could reach Shinkiro. The White Reaper was off his course and missed Lelouch before the golden claw flew towards Suzaku. The Japanese knight quickly blocked the attack before the claw could grab him and do its usual short work of Knightmares. Lancelot Albion stood in battle position, its energy wings activated and ready to fight as Suzaku raised his MVSs.

Shinkiro Imperium stood unscratched before a new red Knightmare appeared between it and the white Knightmare.

Guren S.E.I.T.E.N. Eight Elements joined the fight as its pilot stood before Shinkiro, ready to protect its master no matter what.

"Knight of Zero reporting for duty!" Kallen announced with pride in her voice, always happy to declare her title. Especially in front of her old enemy and traitorous knight.

"You know how to make an entrance, Q1," Lelouch spoke with a pleased expression.

"I learned from the best," Inside her Knightmare, Kallen's smile was wide. Red circles hugged her pupils, her Geass command was active and working as intended. "I ran into some obstacles on the way here. Now there's just one left."

"Kallen," Suzaku bit his lip. This wasn't good at all. "You are with Lelouch and are a Knight of the Round?"

"What the matter, Suzaku? You thought you were the only Japanese who would get knighted? I'm the Knight of Zero, Lelouch's shadow, his shield and blade. And today-" Guren S.E.I.T.E.N. Eight Elements pointed its claw at Lancelot Albion. "I will put an end to the problem that keeps ruining Lelouch's plans. You, Suzaku!"

Suzaku glared at the machine behind Guren. "Even now you hide behind others to fight your battles, Lelouch?!"

"You know, no matter what I say you won't hear me out regardless. So I won't even bother. Kallen dear, have fun and don't take all day. I have an important family meeting, the last one for today." Lelouch said before turning Shinkiro Imperium and flying away. "Q1, I expect nothing but victory."

"And I won't disappoint, my emperor," Kallen smiled, still unused to saying it.

"You won't get away, Lelouch-!"

Suzaku screamed before activating his energy wings and preparing to shoot down Shinkiro Imperium. However, the red radiant blasts hit Lancelot, forcing blaze luminous shields to appear and protect White Reaper. Guren S.E.I.T.E.N. Eight Elements didn't waste time and fired before launching its claw forward. Lancelot redirected the claw, but Guren immediately charged it and went for the kick at the head, forcing Suzaku to step back. Both Knightmare had a 'dance' as Guren circled around Lancelot, its MVS blade and claw trying to stab Suzaku. Meanwhile, Lancelot Albion managed to block and guard against every close attack with its MVSs.

Suzaku's left sword met Kallen's blade in Guren's left hand as both pilots exchanged pleasantries.

"You're still willing to kill and die for him?! Lelouch is using you!"

"And I wouldn't have it any other way! We're finally together and I will burn this world before I will allow anyone to tear us apart! I'm his Knight of Zero! His Q1! Where you failed to protect the princess you loved, I will not allow any harm to the emperor I love."

"Love? What- did Lelouch Geass you?" Suzaku had a dumbfounded expression, taken off guard by the mad devotion in her voice.

Kallen smirked. "My command is special, it exists to help me, to always remind me of what I want to accomplish. Protecting Lelouch from the likes of you."

"You're delusional, Kallen!"

"Perhaps, but certainly not as delusional as you, Suzaku. Now, let's duel for the last time, White Reaper!"

Guren brought up its claw and fired at Lancelot point blank. Suzaku had shields and could survive such an attack, but both pilots knew it was only the start of the battle. The two Japanese warriors battled each other once again. The former White Knight of Seven versus the Red Knight of Zero.

One wanted to do nothing but kill his worst enemy while another would protect her lord no matter what.

Guren and Lancelot started their last dance.


Inside the garden.

In the beautiful flower field that mimicked the one from her old house, Nunnally vi Britannia sat patiently as she hummed a simple melody to herself. The Puppet Princess waited, knowing that the battle outside was getting closer to her safe heaven and it only made her more excited. Soon, this all will be over.

Her waiting paid off as the floor before the garden was destroyed. The black and gold Knightmare, Shinkiro Imperium, flew up out of the hole it created. The machine of the White Emperor landed on one knee as the cockpit opened and the pilot came out. Lelouch vi Britannia was silent when his eyes fell on the last enemy Royal. The young monarch took a deep breath before addressing her.

"Nunnally vi Britannia, according to the law of the empire you have committed unforgivable crimes. Treason against the crown and attempt to destroy the nation's unity and sovereignty. You dared to challenge the might of Britannia, and you were delusional to think you can take away the throne from its rightful ruler. Me." Lelouch spoke with a cold tone as he walked towards the stairs before the garden, his hand on the handgun. "Each of those crimes is punishable by death. Do you plead guilty?"

Lelouch knew he prepared himself for this moment. The White Emperor was ready to take a shot, he knew. However, what he wasn't ready for was to hear Nunnally's answer.

"Yes. I do."

The purple eyes of the young emperor went wide, and Lelouch froze as he saw the scenery before him.

There, sitting in her wheelchair was the same Nunnally who spent the last decade in darkness, oblivious to the world around her. However, that was no longer the case.

The girl who was believed to be crippled moved. Her tiny hands squeezed the arms of her wheelchair as she stood up.

Nunnally vi Britannia got up and stood, even if a little shaky but she did it.

"H-how-?'

This wasn't the last surprise for Lelouch however.

Nunnally opened her eyes.

The pair of purple royal eyes stared at each other.

The vi Britannia siblings watched each other, face to face, for the first time in a decade.

Lelouch froze, not knowing how to react to this. She broke Charles's Geas?! Was it because of D.S.? What happened? Lelouch had dozens of questions, but Nunnally had something else to say to her older brother.

"All the crimes I have committed, even if only as a pawn of Schneizel, I acknowledge all of them, I'm ready to pay for them. Therefore Lelouch," Nunnally raised one of her hands forward towards Lelouch. Her smile was full of kindness as she spoke. "Finish me. And-"

The next words Lelouch heard made his heart beat slower, the world around them felt slower. The sound of the outside battle has become nothing but silence. Lelouch forgot about Kallen and Suzaku's duel for a moment. Everything became irrelevant once she heard Nunnally utter words whose meaning only three individuals in the whole world knew.

After all, it was Lelouch's backup plan.

"Fulfil this Puppet Requiem of mine, big brother."

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Did you think there would be only two parts of the finale? Nope!

This part was similar to the previous one since I had to move between multiple POVs. Now that the majority of characters had their spotlight, dead or wounded, we can focus mainly on Lelouch, Nunnally, Suzaku and Kallen. Of course, with few leftovers to address. Now about the content of the chapter:

On X and Mariel's part, I'm kind of disappointed in myself because I didn't give Mariel enough spotlight. By the way, she isn't OC, but a character from spin-off manga in case people forgot or never read about her. And the fact she didn't receive enough time, especially as a friend of Suzaku, has heavily affected one of the decisions you will see in the next chapter. But at least X is close to her goal? Maybe? At least she won't die, arguably.

Arthur vs Suzaku I have wanted to write ever since the European War. Either that or Arthur vs Gino, but because I decided to cut the size of that arc, it never happened until this chapter. I think their interactions were interesting, hope you enjoyed them as well. Cinder finally got her revenge and it felt unsatisfying. Both Arthur and Cinder got to avenge their loved ones/friends but in both cases, it didn't go as they expected. Bishop and Peter got to deal with their own nemesis and kill Bismarck. Fun stuff.

Now, I know what some might think right now…why Tamaki? :3

How can Tamaki be the one to save Lelouch and possibly everyone around him? Tamaki is pretty cool that's why. I wanted him to have a moment to shine and this felt like the best and most unexpected place to use him. Again, I hope it was fun to read that part. As for Lelouch's plan, I will be honest, I'm stupid and sometimes have a really hard time writing battle and fight strategies that make total sense. Like, this time my strategy for Lelouch was just to wait out until most of the dangerous Knightmare pilots are far away from the Damocles before getting Schneizel's attention and baiting him into firing a warhead. Then it is mostly similar to the show, except of course having Tamaki save him and the day.

Schneizel and Lelouch's talk was fun to write. In my mind, Schneizel was never really a terrible person but someone who placed personal convenience and what he considered stability over the lives and opinions of others. In my mind, Schneizel is someone who will try to keep the status quo until it is impossible, while Lelouch will aim to break it. Considering the background both brothers experienced, they both have different views on the world. Lelouch wants to create a better future, while Schneizel wants to save the current present because he is worried about what Lelouch can and will do with Britannia and especially with Geass. Schneizel and Cornelia's moment was my alternative take on how their last interaction in the show, with Cornelia, finally admitting he wasn't better than Lelouch. Diethard's final moments were especially delightful to write. What is the worst punishment for someone who wanted to immortalize the legacy of Zero and himself as well in the process? Take away that dream, give it to someone else and delete anything about the person who wished for it in the first place. Diethard who?

And then there are the final two scenes. And well, you will read about them in the future :3

I won't tell when, but since we are this close to the end and I don't want my readers to freak out, I will give only one reassurance.

The last chapters of 'His Britannia' are almost complete.

Anyway, thanks to our editor Kingpin Lunamaria and see you all in the future.