A/N: Thank you all for reading and reviewing the previous chapter, and I do apologize for the length of time this one took. I was undecided on how to end the chapter, and I am working to break away from repeating CG events, although some significant events will still happen, but could play out very differently. Those events are Narita and maybe events at Lake Kawaguchi, which will happen but will likely be different, although the latter I might replace with something else if I find the right inspiration.
And in response to some reviews, I shall address some things mentioned by guest reviewers.
First off, I don't do Zero Requiem in my stories, and I am unlikely to kill off Euphy because her demise is usually so expected in some Code Geass stories I don't do it partly for that reason.
As for Shirley, one I would check the poll I put out on my profile to see that she may not likely be part of the harem. Those harem candidates with the Black Knights will have a higher chance to enter into the harem, but who joins it ultimately will be dependant on the factors mentioned below.
Who Marirrosa allows into the harem after she and Lelouch become more intimate with one another, so when Marirrosa and Lelouch cross the intimacy threshold, then expect the harem to begin forming sometime later at the most appropriate moment.
Of course, there is getting Lelouch and Marirrosa to actually be open to the harem itself, so who provides that push will likely become the first member. My goal is to make it a very believable harem that isn't formed for the sake of smut.
And finally, which of the harem candidates won't mind sharing the same guy with one another since I do worry some may or may not be open to it, which is something I am trying to take into account and could make for some good scenes with some potential drama.
Those three conditions will determine who will join the harem, although I do hope Leila will join, but she is on the other side of the world, so that does provide a complication. Hopefully, the harem won't fill up by then, and she wouldn't mind joining since Lelouch will probably have Marirrosa and a few others in the harem by then, I am guessing.
Its too early to tell how events will play out, but the poll does help me gauge interest, and those who score the highest do earn more screen time in chapters when it's appropriate.
Anyway, I do apologize for that going on longer than expected, but nevertheless on with the chapter.
Cause and Effect
"So, how should we test your Geass?"
Kate Novak showed Lelouch in his guise of Zero the equipment she had on hand, but in preparation for this test, Lelouch had arranged to obtain machines capable of examining brainwaves. Lelouch had also gathered additional equipment, Kate, and her friend Ferilli suggested when he spoke to the pair the following morning after events of Shinjuku.
Two days had passed, and Lelouch had returned to the main base to visit the pair as he had planned to have them conduct an examination of his Geass.
"The only way to test is for me to use on someone," Lelouch offered. "I can't think of any other way, which means."
"You're going to need volunteers to test it on," Ferilli said, which Lelouch confirmed with a nod.
"I won't force anyone to do it, but," Lelouch said assuringly, but he allowed the sentence to trail off.
"No, you are right," Kate conceded. "We don't really have any other way to test it, so is that why those two are here?"
Kate was referring to Chloe, who suspected Lelouch would need a test subject before volunteering herself as did Hilda, who stood beside one another behind Lelouch.
"I'll ask again," Lelouch began looking over his shoulder, "are you two fine with this? I'll understand if none of you feel comfortable with this."
"Well, since we know about it, but why not?" Hilda offered while Chloe only nodded.
However, the pair hoped that maybe this act would help build better trust with Zero because ever since his impressive victory two days ago, the pair had become more curious about Zero. Most of all, they hoped to one day learn who the man under the mask was.
"Very well, but since you have extended this level of trust, in turn, allow me to return it in kind," Lelouch replied before opening up a duffle bag he had been carrying.
Inside was a camera and a tripod.
"Since I do not understand what the after-effects of my Geass will be like, I have prepared a camera, so you can observe everything that happened while under its effects to avoid any misunderstandings," Lelouch explained. "I just don't want anyone to believe I took advantage of anyone or you with this power."
No one in the room expected Zero would do such a thing, but the extra insurance he was providing that he wouldn't do such a thing was assuring for Chloe and the others.
"Right, so let's get Chloe set up then," Kate suggested while Ferilli offered to set up the camera.
"I am ready here, Zero," Ryo replied as she finished setting up a table with a set of colored pencils, paper, and three different colored envelopes.
"Alright," Lelouch said as he walked back to the far side of the large storage room they had chosen to conduct their test.
It was chosen due to its size because Lelouch intended to test distance, and since the storage room was designed to hold vehicles, it was the largest room second to the underground harbor they had available.
As Lelouch stood at the opposite end of the room, Ryo and Lelouch took care to relocate crates and trucks out of the way. Thereby providing a clear unblocked view of the opposite side of the room. Chloe sat down in the chair in front of the table. After she was seated, Kate began hooking up different wires onto her head with a device attached to her arm and a wire connected over her heart to monitor her vitals for any changes.
"I am already Zero," Kate called with a wave of her hand as a signal.
Opening the side panel in his mask, Lelouch activated his Geass before issuing a command.
"I would like for you to draw a rabbit for me to the best of your ability," Lelouch called out as his Geass reached out and ensnared Chloe.
"Of course," Chloe replied.
"Interesting," Kate remarked, seeing changes in Chloe's brainwaves. "The change was sudden, but now…"
As Kate studied the effects of Lelouch's Geass was having on Chloe's mind, Lelouch approached as Chloe did as instructed and began drawing a rabbit without a single word of protest.
Lelouch waited until Chloe was done before examing her work.
"Not bad, so you are done," Lelouch said before releasing Chloe from his Geass.
"Huh," Chloe said, appearing disoriented, "what happened?"
"You don't remember anything?" Hilda asked, which Chloe shook her head.
"Fascinating," Ferilli remarked as she joined Kate in examining the data they collected. "It's almost like your Geass hijacked control of Chloe's brain figuratively hitting off switch. I am not sure how it works, but I believe while someone is under the influence of your Geass, certain functions of the brain are switched off to ensure complete obedience with memory loss as a side effect while under it."
"Its unbelievable something like this could happen," Kate said, clearly surprised, but the evidence was before her.
"So anyone under the effects of my Geass has no memory of what happened while carrying out the order," Lelouch asked who was just as equally intrigued as well. "Furthermore, my Geass possesses impressive range."
"This room is almost two hundred meters from left to right, which is enough to hold a good number of trucks and Knightmare Frames," Ryo noted.
"His Geass may probably work on someone as long as Zero can maintain eye contact, and they can hear his order," Kate suggested.
"Maybe I should go next so we can see if glasses and hamper its effects," Hilda offered as Kate began working on disconnecting Chloe from the machines. "How was Chloe's vitals?"
"Other than the effects Zero's Geass had on the brain, her vitals didn't change at the slightest," Ferilli answered.
Lelouch waited until Hilda was set up, and Kate confirmed they were monitoring Hilda's brain and vital signs.
"Now Miss Fagan," Lelouch began before Hilda interrupted him.
"You can just call me Hilda."
"Very well, Hilda," Lelouch said, correcting himself, "take the red envelope in front of you and look inside."
Lelouch quickly turned around so he wouldn't see what was inside the envelope. Once Hilda had finished and put the envelope down, Lelouch turned around before revealing his Geass eye once again.
"Now tell me what was inside the envelope," Lelouch commanded before his Geass ensnared Hilda like it had done Chloe a short time ago.
"It was a postcard of Mt Fuji," Hilda answered before Lelouch picked up the envelope to examine the contents himself.
Lelouch found that indeed the red envelope had an old Mt. Fuji postcard, and it was Ryo who had filled each of the colored envelopes with a different picture or article unknown to Lelouch for the purpose of this test.
"I guess glasses can't block my Geass," Lelouch remarked before releasing Hilda from its hold.
Like Chloe, Hilda was left confused and momentarily dazed upon being released from it.
"Now let me try something," Lelouch asked, and when Hilda offered no protest, "I command you to draw your favorite animal."
This time Hilda was unaffected.
"I guess this means your Geass can only work once on a single person," Hilda offered when she remained in control of herself.
"That is an important discovery," Lelouch replied since he could only imagine the trouble he could be in if he attempted using his Geass on the same person twice.
"And the effects on Hilda's brain are similar to Chloe, and like before, no change in her vitals," Kate reported.
"I see, so maybe I should try something new," Lelouch said before gesturing for Ryo to hand him a pocket mirror.
"I can go," Kate offered before Lelouch could ask, although he initially considered acting Ryo.
"Very well," Lelouch replied, "I was going to ask someone else."
"Its fine," Kate replied before she took Hilda's place in the chair with Ferilli connecting her to the machines to monitor her.
Once Kate was ready, Lelouch stood with his back turned to her before Lelouch used the mirror to reflect his Geass onto Kate.
"I command you to list your favorite dessert," Lelouch commanded as his Geass activated.
Kate was caught in Lelouch's Geass before she quickly wrote it down on a piece of paper.
"So I can reflect it," Lelouch said as Kate was freed from the influence of his Geass.
Hilda and Chloe peeked at what Kate wrote.
"Crépes?" Hilda said, reading what was written.
"So," Kate replied with her cheeks slightly pink.
"I suppose that's all we can do for today, but at least I have a general idea of what my Geass can do. However, if we can obtain more resources, I would like to devise potential countermeasures against Geass similar to my own," Lelouch said.
"Countermeasures?" Ferilli asked.
"There something I should share with all of you now that I have proof of Geass and its power," Lelouch began before deciding to tell them what he knew about the Geass Order. Studying his own Geass wasn't his only goal, but Lelouch hoped to see what he had learned from studying his Geass to lay the groundwork for developing potential counters against Geass similar to his own.
Meanwhile, at their newly established base in Kumagaya Ghetto, Marirrosa and Xu Lifeng were overseeing the training of the new recruits. However, not all of them were expected to fulfill combat roles; every member did receive some training with pistols so they could defend themselves in a pinch. Among those who desired to become Knightmare Frame pilots, however, Benio was among those eager to train.
Some simulators had been delivered to their new base, so the two women were watching Benio and one of the new members, a Japanese man with black hair.
"That Benio is really determined to prove herself," Xu Lifeng commented.
"Yes, she is, but she does have good instincts, so maybe she could prove to be a real natural with some training," Marirrosa added.
"Something bothering you through, isn't it?"
"Four them, Benio included, now have eyes for Zero," Marirrosa answered with a sigh.
"He doesn't do it on purpose, right?"
"No, and that's the worst part. Zero seriously underestimates how well he is at winning over the hearts of women. I mean, Benio alone was rescued by Zero, and thanks to that mask and cape probably made her appear as a dashing hero in her eyes." Marirrosa pouted.
"Do you think she is probably smitten with Zero now?"
"I would be surprised if she wasn't and those other new recruits."
"Right, you mean Ayame," Lifeng said, deducing whom Marirrosa was talking about referring to the purple-haired young woman. "Ayame Futaba was her full name, I believe."
"Yeah, and her two other friends who were looking at Zero the same way she was were Mutsuki Minase and Ichijiku Hinata."
Mutsuki was sitting at one of the tables learning how to load a pistol, she was around the same age as Ayame. She possessed long brown hair with almost a dozen colored beads laced into it and grayish-green eyes wearing a light blue shirt, a dark blue jacket, and a black skirt.
Her friend Ichijiku had her long brown hair styled into a top-knot ponytail, and she wore red-rimmed glasses over her grey eyes while wearing a sandy-colored wide collar shirt with long sleeves and black pants and red sandals.
Based on their observation of Mutsuki, Ayame, and Ichijiku, it seemed the trio were friends with one another.
"Are you worried Zero might cheat on you or something?"
"No, its nothing like that," Marirrosa admitted, "I guess I am just feeling anxious."
"Anxious," Lifeng asked.
"I know he'll never cheat on me, but yet I worry he might be stolen away from me?"
"If it's unlikely, then why are you worried?" The Chinese martial artist asked, tilting her head to one side as a sign of confusion.
"Well, Yukiya met with me yesterday and told me he caught Ayano researching Britannian marriage laws," Marirrosa answered.
"Britannian Marriage Laws?"
"Apparently Britannia has a law called the Worthy Reward Law, which is known and applicable to those of nobility or the wealthy middle class," Marirrosa replied before explaining. "It has seen some revisions over time, but it was believed if those were both worthy of ruling and exceptional should spread their bloodlines as much as possible. For example, Zero, as his civilian identity, could qualify for it and have up to four wives and four mistresses at one time."
"That seems a bit radical, so is she obsessed with him or something?" Lifeng said, surprised by Ayano's research into such a thing.
"Its nothing like that thankfully, but she is completely smitten with Zero. I think she knows the likelihood of her and Zero getting together with me around is nill. I am just shocked she would even consider something like that."
Xu Lifeng placed one hand under in chin while she contemplated a likely reason before an answer came to mind.
"Have you considered that maybe Ayano is open to the idea because of the fact either she or you could die, and then what would be for Zero?"
"Given what Zero aims to do, something could happen to you, and I am not suggesting she is waiting for you to get killed."
Marirrosa realized what Xu Lifeng was implying, "so by both of us being in a relationship, it would ensure one of us would be around to take care of Lelouch if something happened to me, or Ayano?"
"I am sure its not the only reason, but maybe its something she has considered," Xu Lifeng pointed out with a shrug of her shoulders. "I don't know what happened exactly that instilled such a huge crush, but I can tell Zero must've left quite the impression on her."
Marirrosa sighed before smiling, "that seems to be a natural gift of his. Zero has a way of defying the odds as long as he has the right tools, people, and information to build a solid plan around."
"But I suppose as a trade-off," Xu Lifeng began crossing her arms before grinning, "he tends to really be a literal chick magnet, for a lack of a better word."
"No kidding," Marirrosa acknowledged before burying her face into an open palm, "somehow I wouldn't be shocked if Ayano wasn't the only one among us with a crush on Zero."
"Hard to blame them all things considered." Xu Lifeng said in agreement, "as far as guys go, Zero is one heck of a great catch. Intelligent, resourceful, and audacious. Not to mention that mask and the mysterious air he creates with it probably only furthered it."
"I agree with Ryo, if Zero really wanted to, he could gather a large number of lovers easily."
"You mean build his own harem?"
Marirrosa nodded before leaning against a nearby wall, "I don't think he will considering what happened early in his life. Hard to blame him if you knew, and there is the fact he does have some trust issues. It took a while before Zero warmed up to my brother and me, so I have a hard time imagining how a harem would even be possible for him."
"Since you know Zero better than I do, I'll take your word for it. Yet, would you be fine with it if he does?"
"You mean for Zero to have his own harem?"
Xu Lifeng nodded, although Marirrosa was surprised she would ask that. Still, the young woman considered the question for a full minute before answering.
"To be clear, I am AGAINST the idea of Zero being with another woman, let alone women," Marirrosa said firmly, but her expression softened. "However, I do acknowledge it could be beneficial for Zero in a way provided none of the women don't try to slip a knife between the sheets."
"Depending on the women involved if they are say connected to any capable organization or nation that a marriage to a woman who's either the daughter of a high ranking member or something could benefit Zero and his goals. Zero's end goal is to bring down a superpower, so naturally, to make something like that possible, he'll need considerable resources and somehow get the other two superpowers onboard with his goal." Marirrosa explained before adding. "For instance, I hear one of the Six Houses of Kyoto heads is a young woman around or close to Zero's age, and they could press for an arranged marriage between him and her. Considering that Zero is aiming to liberate Japan."
"From that perspective, it does make sense, but would Kyoto House really push for something like that?"
"I don't know, but given Zero's likely unwillingness to reveal his identity might push it as a way of assurance. Yet, at the same time, it would give Zero leeway with Kyoto House through marriage to one of its members, giving him better access to their resources regardless if they push for it or not." Marirorsa pointed out. "Beyond Japan, I can't imagine anyone else who would be offered to Zero in what would be a political marriage."
"That's true, but what of those women from the E.U?"
"I agree with Ryo they were probably sent not only because of their skills, but there are around Zero's age in the hopes Zero will fall for one of them and become more sympathetic to the E.U. because of his relationship with one of them."
"Are you worried they might try to seduce him?"
"No," Marirrosa replied, shaking her head, "I am sure even the General who sent them would recognize any attempts of seduction on Zero could only backfire and sour the relationship. Not to mention I could see the General recognizing Zero would be on guard against something that that, so he's probably hoping for such a relationship to happen on its own than pushing for one."
"I see, so that might be good news for you then."
"Maybe, but I suppose it's a question of the women within our group like Ayano," Marirrosa said before contemplating if there was anyone else who had their eye on Lelouch.
Internally Marirrosa acknowledged if Lelouch did start a harem, which included Ayano and anyone else within their group, then the benefit of that is it would be likely to cement their loyalty to the masked man. At the same time, it would also ensure should something happen to her or Ayano, then Lelouch would at least be taken care of.
Not that Marirrosa had any intention of allowing that to happen.
At the very least, I shouldn't have to worry about anyone from the Britannian side.
Elsewhere in Area 11, Oldrin was following Marika and Lilliana with Monica taking point as the group arrived at a military base near the Viceroy's Palace. There was little explanation for the summons, but apparently, the orders came from the top. Leaving after lunch at the academy, the group arrived here they were greeted by a young woman with short blue hair near a door leading into a large and rather spacious hanger for Knightmare Frames.
"Thank you for coming," Cecile said, greeting the pilots as they disembarked the van that brought them to the hanger. "I am Captain Cecile Croomy of the Camelot Engineering Corps, but here in Area 11, we are referred to as the Advanced Special Envoy Engineering Corps (ASEEC)."
"Ma'am," Monica replied before she along with Oldrin and the others saluted.
"At ease," Cecile said, feeling slightly embarrassed, "although your superiors requested I introduce myself with my rank I should note here at the ASEEC we don't worry about ranks due to my superior."
"I see that does seem a bit unusual," Monica remarked.
"We are an irregular unit that exists outside of the normal military chain of command, and so we aren't bound by some of the same regulations. We are supported by the Homeland directly, and we are generally a research and development division. That being said, before you meet my superior, I should warn you my superior is rather eccentric and doesn't care much for ranks or titles, so I apologize in advance if Professor Asupland seems odd to any of you."
"Very well, but I don't think none of us will be offended in any way," Monica replied after taking a quick glance at her friends who seemed indifferent.
"Then follow me," Cecile replied before gesturing for Monica, Oldrin, Marika, and Liliana to follow her.
The group entered the hanger, and while walking down the hallway passing by some empty rooms and offices, Marika decided to ask a question.
"Pardon me for asking, but what exactly does the ASEEC want with us?"
"Well, all of you were involved in what happened in Shinjuku yesterday, were you not?" Cecile answered as they continued down the hall.
"Yes, we were, and I can't believe what happened, and yet despite the numbers, our army had we were beaten back," Oldrin answered.
She was still privately distraught by the senseless massacre of the civilian populace living in the ghetto, but yet she recalled how the battle was drastically turned around in favor of the resistance fighters. Oldrin, Monica and the others gave it their all, although they held back the black Sutherlands and their skilled pilots they were unable to stop the battle from ending in defeat with a forced retreat.
"But that white machine was incredible," Liliana began. "I never saw a Knightmare Frame move like that, and it was cutting down most of the resistance fighters and their Knightmare Frames."
"Yes, and its shields were something too, like right out of a sci-fi movie. I almost thought it had been destroyed when whatever weapon was fired at it," Marika added.
"So did I, but the Blaze Luminous held even through the emitters were shorted out afterward," Cecile admitted recalling how nervous she felt when she saw that projectile hit Suzaku through the feed from the Lancelot's cameras.
That was something nothing of Lloyd's reaction to his prized creation in such danger.
"Blaze Luminous," Oldrin said before asking, "are those some kind of new technology?"
"Yes, its one of the many things we have been developing alongside the Z-01 Lancelot," Cecile answered as the group exited the office's section and entered the hanger.
"Lancelot?" Marika asked, intrigued by the name of the white machine.
"The world's first Seventh Generation Knightmare Frame and Lloyd's, I mean Professor Asupland's, pride and joy," Cecile answered.
The hanger was mostly empty of Knightmare Frames save for the Lancelot's trailer, the Lancelot itself, but there were a pair of swords and what appeared to be a new kind of rifle and a red backpack unit on display. The weapons and backpack were closer to where the group stood as they made their way to the far end of the hanger. Along the way, they did find engineers and scientists judging by their uniforms, which were identical to Cecile, while some wore lab coats were examining the backpack using computers and engineers inspected the weapons and the backpack-like unit.
Oldrin, Monica, Liliana, and Marika eyed the weapons and the unusual backpack unit, which seemed akin to some kind of flight unit. They were curious, but they said nothing, not wanting to interrupt the engineers and scientists working on them and mindful of the fact they had someone who was waiting to meet them.
Eventually, they reached the Lancelot itself, and its arms appear to have been removed awaiting replacement limbs. Lloyd himself was sitting at a table reviewing footage from the Lancelot and apparently footage using data and computer models to recreate the incident where the Lancelot was shot with the weapon that pushed its Blaze Lunimious past their limits.
"Lloyd, they have arrived," Cecile replied after the group came to a stop near him and the Lancelot.
"Oh good," Lloyd replied before lazily turning around, "good afternoon ladies, so these are the four who performed far better than most of the pilots involved in Shinjuku next to our pilot for the Lancelot."
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Professor Asupland," Monica greeted, followed by Oldrin.
"Yes, likewise," Oldrin offered.
"A pleasure to meet you, sir," Marika said politely.
"Nice to meet you," Liliana offered, trying to be different.
"Yes, now that is out of the way. I wanted to ask you if any of you got a look at the weapon that was fired at my Lancelot," Lloyd asked, moving his chair to allow Oldrin and others to see the view of the Lancelot as it was struggling to hold back the projectile with its Blaze Lunimious.
"I am afraid none of us saw it, but whatever it was, it likely a handheld weapon used by a Knightmare Frame. Considering how quickly it relocated itself after attacking the Lancelot," Monica replied.
Lloyd nodded in agreement, "I agree, but there is one slight problem. I suspect the weapon used by the terrorists was a D09-A 120mm experimental anti-material railgun, code-named the Sparrow."
Using the keyboard near him, Lloyd brought up a technical schematics of Knightmare Frame weapon that looked similar to a sniper rifle, but yet designed to be capable of firing some truly destructive shots.
"It's the only weapon I know of that is capable of such destructive results," Lloyd remarked before adjusting his glasses. "However, this failed prototype, while powerful, was too much for the test Knightmare Frames to hold onto. This was because the recoil was too much for them. Some machines lost arms, but others the damage was much worse."
"How did the terrorists get their hands on a weapon like that, let alone make it work?" Oldrin asked.
"I suspect the Knightmare Frame using it must've been modified and reinforced so its frame could withstand the recoil. I doubt that is all they did, but without further evidence, I can only guess. Nevertheless, it's clear they got the weapon to work for them somehow."
Cecile intervened to answer the other question Lloyd skimmed over, "As for how they got it I imagine some of the prototypes were sold onto the Black Market to cover the cost and losses its failure to be picked up by our military incurred."
"Unbelievable, they put a weapon like that onto the Black Market?!" Marika said with equal parts shock and horror.
"They probably believed no terrorist group could make it work, but someone has," Lloyd said before smiling and pointing to the rifle-like weapon being examined by engineers in the hanger. "But don't worry, not only did I figure out the recoil problem, but the Variable Ammunition Repulsion Impact Spitfire or VARIS for short is better than in the Sparrow in every way as well being more compact. It just needs a few more adjustments, and then it shall be combat-ready."
"By the way, where is the pilot of the Lancelot?" Liliana inquired.
Lloyd was quiet, but Cecile seemed hesitant to answer.
"Well, you see," Cecile began before explaining what happened.
Later the following evening, Lelouch had returned to Ashford Academy after spending most of the day with the Black Knights. He was thankful when news slowly began to emerge about a large scale military operation that happened nearby, which Lelouch knew was Shinjuku Ghetto, led to the school closing today out of concerns for what was in Shinjuku Ghetto.
Lelouch had also heard there would be an announcement tomorrow about what had happened.
"So basically the closed the school after its been over and done with for more than a day?"
"Yes, but I am grateful for it since it gave me a chance to take care of more important matters," Lelouch said, speaking to Yukiya over the phone while seated at his desk.
"Of course, but speaking of which I looked into that girl you mentioned being among the local resistance group in Shinjuku Ghetto," Yukiya mentioned before pushing a few buttons on his keyboard.
"Right, so I was spot on then?"
"That's right," Yukiya said as Lelouch used his computer to examine the information packet Yukiya had sent him. "In Ashford Academy, she goes by Kallen Stadfeld, the only daughter of the wealthy Stadfeld Family. However, I suppose you could call her true self Kallen Kozuki."
"A half-blood," Lelouch asked, although half-blood Britannian children weren't uncommon. This is sometimes due to various reasons that can lead to a Britannian Nobleman or occasionally a Lady having a one-night stand with those of non-Britannian origins either because they were mistresses, secret lovers, or otherwise.
Nevertheless, they faced the same prejudice from the more bigoted members of Britannian Nobility, assuming if their half-blood status becomes known, some can hide it well.
"Her old Middle School transcripts were quite telling, and then it was easy to connect the dots from there," Yukiya remarked proudly. "I guess this means you weren't the only person in Ashford Academy living a double life aside from maybe Sayoko."
"Indeed, and I saw her in school today, so I assume she is likely laying low after what happened," Lelouch mentioned as he recalled spotting Kallen. Still, compared to what he saw at Shinjuku Ghetto, it was almost looking at a completely different person.
At Ashford Academy, Kallen Stadfeld was a quiet, intelligent, if a very sickly girl unable to take part in most activities and has caused her to skip out on classes for most of last semester. But Lelouch saw none of that in Kallen Kozuki, and during his observations of Kallen on campus, he observed a moment where he saw the mask slip confirming his suspicions they were one and the same.
Who would've thought a bee would be so helpful, Lelouch mused internally.
Lelouch had been watching from one of the windows overlooking the courtyard where he saw Kallen having lunch with a group of female students. Everything was normal until a bee caused the majority of the group to freak out and flee, but Kallen calmly took cover behind a brush. However, when the bee flew by her, she swiftly dealt with it with a quick hand swipe.
A moment later, he saw Kallen drop her mask and reveal her true self briefly as she ate the rest of a sandwich slice in frustration, which Lelouch wagered a guess she likely hated the front she had to put up to mask her real self.
Considering my own situation, I can't blame her.
"So, what are you planning?"
"Tomorrow, thanks to another stroke of unexpected fortune, I intend to set up recruiting Kallen to the Black Knights," Lelouch admitted.
"Because she is a good pilot?"
"A good pilot," Lelouch said while he resisted the urge to laugh. "Yukiya, her performance in Shinjuku piloting a Glasgow with one arm was impressive, to put it mildly. It would be madness if I didn't try to include her within the Black Knights, her ability to pilot a Knightmare Frame is like second nature. I can only imagine what she would be capable of if she was in a much more combat capable Knightmare Frame."
"I suppose, but how do you plan on inviting her?"
"I have a plan in mind, and depending on how tomorrow goes, I may have to adjust," Lelouch remarked.
The next day around noon, Kallen, on the rooftop of the academy attempting to call someone using her cellphone using a unique device attached to it that would help mask her location as a precaution. However, she was receiving no answer much to her growing worry.
Why aren't you picking up Ohgi? Something must be wrong?
"There you are Miss Stadfeld," Lelouch said from behind, causing Kallen to quickly pocketed her phone.
"Uh, can I help you?" Kallen asked, once again adopting her sickly persona.
Lelouch activated his Geass, "I want you to obey my commands for the next five minutes."
"Yes sir," Kallen replied completely ensnared by his Geass.
"Tell me, were you the one piloting the one-armed Glasgow in Shinjuku?"
"Yes, I was," Kallen replied.
"You're a half-blood correct?"
"Yes, my father is Lord Stadfled, and my mother is Japanese," Kallen answered, which confirmed what Yukiya had discovered.
"But why join a resistance group?"
"It's because of my brother," Kallen answered. "We both had the same parents, although we were a few years apart he formed the resistance group in Shinjuku who wanted to liberate Japan. I had hoped he would succeed, but recently I am afraid he had been killed."
"I see," Lelouch replied before checking his watch and the timer he had going on it, "You sound just like Marirrosa."
Lelouch's face was solemn as he remembered trying to comfort Marirrosa over the loss of her brother, who died for his cause.
However, Lelouch knowing his time was growing short, forged ahead, "What do you think of Zero?"
"I wish I knew more about him, but Zero's leadership and the followers he commanded were quite impressive."
"Would you join Zero and his group if they asked you?"
"Yes, but only if Ohgi and the others joined as well."
"I see," Lelouch said before handing Kallen a cell phone, "I would like you to hold onto this and place it somewhere you will not lose it. Remember to keep it on you and be ready to expect a call from it."
"Understood," Kallen replied as she accepted the cell phone and put it away.
"And finally," Lelouch began glancing at his watch, "you will forget seeing me up here."
"I understand," Kallen answered.
"Good," Lelouch said before he left Kallen behind as he left the roof.
When the command Lelouch had given Kallen expired, the young woman regained her senses before feeling very confused.
What just happened?
A few moments later, the cellphone Lelouch had given her began to ring.
"What did this come from?" Kallen said as she drew the cellphone, she had put away while under Lelouch's Geass.
Kallen answered the phone upon reading the Caller ID was from Zero.
"Hello," Kallen replied cautiously.
"I am glad you are still alive Q-2," Lelouch said on the other line, referring to Kallen by the callsign he had given her.
Kallen's eyes went wide in response, but pushed her shock aside to focus on the conversation she was now in.
"How did I get this cellphone?" Kallen asked since her lack of memories of how she received this cellphone bothered her.
"I have my ways, but more importantly, I wanted to ask if you and your friends would like to meet?"
"Meet? When," Kallen asked without thinking.
"Let us meet tomorrow evening at the old Mejiro University, Saitama Iwatsuki Campus in Satiama Ghetto," Lelouch replied. "Inside the auditorium at six o'clock pm, I'll call you again after eight tonight if there are any changes."
Without warning, Lelouch hung up.
"Hey, wait a minute," Kallen snapped, "how did you force the Britannians to retreat, and what was that weapon you used?!"
Kallen didn't get an answer, but she was annoyed Zero hung up on her. But before she could contemplate calling him back, the door opened with Lelouch calling out.
"Excuse me, did I hear someone up here," Lelouch asked as he stepped onto the roof.
Kallen put away the cellphone after mentally cursing herself before adopting her sickly persona once more.
"Oh, there you are, Miss Stadfeld. I was sent to look for you," Lelouch said, playing innocent. "I guess you must go up here for fresh air too sometimes."
"Uh, yeah, I do. My doctor says it is good for me," Kallen replied.
"I understand, it does get stuffy in those classrooms down there," Lelouch offered in agreement before introducing himself. "I am Lelouch, the Vice President of the Student Council."
"Nice to meet you," Kallen answered back.
"I was asked to find you on behalf of the Student Council President who would like to see you at the Student Council Clubhouse after class today," Lelouch explained.
"Me, but why?"
"As I am sure you have heard that everyone in Ashford Academy must be apart of a club?"
"Yes, but I am sick and out of class most of the time, so it's been difficult for me," Kallen replied.
Lelouch nodded his head in understanding, although Kallen didn't know Lelouch knew that was a lie.
"I understand, which is why the Student Council will be perfect for you."
"Huh," Kallen asked, clearly confused.
"There isn't much required just planning for events and some paperwork. Some of which could do from home if needed, but that shouldn't be an issue. Most importantly, you would be part of a club, and it's one where not a lot of work would be required," Lelouch explained.
"I guess that sounds easy," Kallen admitted, although she had a feeling, there was an unspoken trade-off somehow to that arrangement.
"At worst, you could handle any paperwork from home and email it to me or the Student Council President," Lelouch offered to make the job more appealing.
"That makes things easier, so I guess I'll accept it."
"Thank you, I'll be sure to inform the President about this. But a word of warning," Lelouch offered clearly glad to have a potentially competent member of the Student Council, but yet. "Our president is very eccentric, so if she offers you an invitation to join the other female members for a night in the bath, I advise you to decline it."
"Huh?!" Kallen asked in confusion at the unexpected warning as she brought one hand to her chin. "What do you mean by that?"
Lelouch sighed before putting his hands into his pockets, "like I said, Milly is rather eccentric, so I would be mindful of her if she tries invading you to any private setting where its just you and the female members of the council."
"I'll keep that in mind," Kallen said, clearly uncertain how to respond.
"Anyway, I won't keep you, but we are planning on having a small welcome party for you after school, so I hope you'll attend."
"Sure, I'll be there," Kallen replied before Lelouch bid her farewell before leaving.
However, as he was making his way down the stairs, he received a phone call from Marirrosa, which was unusual because she knew not to contact Lelouch during school hours unless it was an emergency.
Stepping into the nearest broom closest, Lelouch answered the phone.
"Marirrosa, what happened?"
"Lelouch, I got good news and bad news," Marirrosa said, holding her cellphone to her ear while watching a news report on the television in front of her. "I just found out your friend Suzaku is still alive?"
Lelouch was stunned by the news, but he realized there was more to this call than just telling him Suzaku was alive. Furthermore, Lelouch knew if that was the good news, he slowly realized what the bad news was.
"He's being used as a scapegoat for what happened in Shinjuku Ghetto, isn't he?"
"Yeah, but that's not all," Marirrosa replied grimly before putting the phone against the television's speaker allowing Lelouch to hear the repeating news report.
"Repeating our top story," a female newscaster spoke, "Prince Clovis has formally charged the captive leaders of a terrorist cell in Shinjuku Ghetto for plotting to unleash poison gas upon the Toyko Settlement. Tragically the poison gas was accidentally released by the resistance fighters following an attempt by the military to retrieve it resulted in thousands dead."
"Tragically my foot," Lelouch muttered as his grip around his cell phone tightened.
"Furthermore, as we have mentioned, we have the identities of the ring leaders behind this plot in custody. The captive leaders have been identified as Kaname Ohgi, Shinichirō Tamaki, Kent Sugiyama and Suzaku Kururugi."
Marirrosa brought the phone up to her ear once more and asked, "What do you want to do?"
"Let's assemble for a meeting, but first, we need to reach out to a few people first," Lelouch answered as Kallen came to mind.
A/N: Instead of Suzaku being in trouble, we got Ohgi, Tamaki, and Sugiyama needing to be rescued, so jailbreak next chapter.
I had most of this chapter done, but the most challenging part was trying to decide on how to end it without doing a repeat of the early episodes, which was changed thanks to Lelouch having some willing test subjects to try his Geass on.
Lelouch will not only make one hell of an effort to save Suzaku and the others, but he'll make Clovis regret making scapegoats out of them.
Anyway, I had started a poll to short out of the tiebreakers. As well as giving chances for some of the lesser-known characters and others. It's back on my profile for the time being with an extension, but I have enabled it to allow everyone to see the current results, which I must say I was astonished.
So next chapter, Lelouch makes preparations to rescue Suzaku and the others while working to win Kallen to his side.
But for those wondering, here are the results from the previous poll.
Out of 231 votes and in order from first to last before the ties, requiring the second poll to settle.
Leila Malcal (202 votes)
Monica Krushevsky (178 votes)
Clara Lanfranc (168 votes)
Anna Clément (166 votes)
Chloe Winkel (149 votes)
Ayame Futaba (123 votes)
Marika Soresi (122 votes)
Naomi Inoue (93 votes)
Kaguya Sumeragi (70 votes)
Ayane (50 votes)
Kate Novak (48 votes)
Everyone else was caught in three-way ties.
I was stunned to see Ayame Futaba rise so high up there with Inoue becoming a dark horse herself. Marika actually held first place for a very long time until Leila and others overtook her.
So I'll leave part two of the poll up for a while, although the results are clear I do feel it would be unfair to close a poll I didn't properly announce.
Thank you all for reading and see you guys next chapter.