A/N: I felt pretty disappointed with this chapter, especially near the end but bear with me since the next chapter will be better.
Thank you to everyone who has reviewed the last chapter and voted on the poll, but due to a large number of ties among three or more characters I decided to hold a second poll that would act as a tie-breaker for those below the top ten while I included some additional candidates to even it out.
The poll is on my profile right now, but if you miss it check out my Code Geass Crossover forum to locate it should it not be up on my profile under its story name or the crossover type.
As a reminder no real romance would happen until Lelouch is seventeen, but until then, there would be plenty of time for most of the candidates on the poll to have a fair chance to win Lelouch over.
Anyway, I do want to give special thanks to Seerking for helping me with a short seven involving a tarot card reading, although it's not quite as good as I would've liked it, it should be enough.
I won't delay it further, so on with the chapter.
"Now that we have all calm down," Yachiyo said, dismissing her weapon now that she was convinced tensions between Lelouch and Corbeau had been defused.
"We're alright," Corbeau said before pointing to Suzaku, who was talking to Lelouch presently, "that kid over there threw himself before Lapin and me, so I am grateful for that."
"So, you two were trying to steal their supplies?" Mifuyu asked piecing together what likely had happened since, given the number of supplies Lelouch appeared to be carrying, their location, and how dirty and lacking any sign of supplies on them to reach that conclusion.
"We were just trying to survive this war after someone tried to kill us, and we ended up stuck here," Lapin explained.
"Who tried to kill you?" Kanae inquired.
"We were flying to California from Alaska because our father wanted us to attend the military academies there," Corbeau replied. "However, we noticed the plane was purposely flown far off course near Japan."
"Yeah, we flew to California plenty of times, and we always saw the coast, but this time, we didn't," Lapin added.
Corbeau sighed before elaborating further, "It turns out we were right. We found out that our pilot had left the plane and it had been left on autopilot. We didn't have enough fuel to fly back, but lucky for us, the pilot didn't bother to get rid of parachutes and emergency supplies our father kept the plane stocked with."
"So, you two abandoned the plane?" Yachiyo inquired.
"Yeah," Corbeau answered, "right before it could run out of fuel since neither of us knew how to fly a plane, which wouldn't matter much being out in the middle of nowhere."
"That was lucky for us, too, because the plane exploded after we touch down in the water," Lapin added much to the group's surprise.
"That is some impressive luck you two have," Mifuyu commented.
"The bomb on board must've been rigged to detonate once the plane ran out of fuel to cover up the evidence," Mel offered as the likely cause for the bomb exploding.
"How did you end up in Japan?" Yachiyo asked.
"We were adrift for a few days until a Japanese fishing boat found us. We were fortunate the captain of the boat didn't discriminate against Britannians, but not long after we arrived onshore and were transferred to a local hospital for treatment in Osaka before all hell broke loose," Corbeau answered.
"You mean the war began?" Mel asked, prompting Lapin and Corbeau to nod their heads.
"Yeah, and it was chaos," Lapin added before Corbeau offered an account of their escape from the city.
"We didn't realize it at first, but when no one came, we poked our heads out from our room and found the hospital had been deserted," Corbeau explained. "It seems they gave priority to all of their Japanese patients leaving behind anyone who wasn't Japanese, it seems."
"So they evacuated the hospital and abandoned you two," Yachiyo said with a hint of disgust in her voice at the act.
Corbeau nodded before continuing her recounting of events, "But on the other hand, this left us free to take whatever we can use, so we grabbed whatever was lying around before leaving. We decided to cut through the parking garage where we found an ambulance that had been abandoned."
"Did you know how to drive?" Mifuyu asked, interrupting the story suspecting where the story was heading.
"I learned from video games," Lapin answered gleefully.
That provided those listening to their story a mental image of smiling Lapin speeding through downtown Osaka in an ambulance with Corbeau riding in the passenger's seat.
"We avoided the major roads and highways as best we could," Corbeau explained, "but the city was mostly evacuated save for some people trying to get out through the most traditional way, so we made for the nearest road that led further in-land to get as far away from the coast as possible."
"It helped the ambulance had GPS built-in, so we just took the route that would take us as far away as possible from the city," Lapin added.
"Until you ran out of gas, I assume?" Yachiyo asked.
Corbeau nodded, "Yeah, although we did manage to extend our gas mileage by coming across an abandoned gas station or two. Eventually, we had to ditch the ambulance."
"Then you began wandering through the forests trying to get your hands on whatever supplies you had because I assume there wasn't much food or water at the hospital," Mifuyu deduced.
"Yeah, a lot of medical supplies, but most of the food was gone. What we had came from whatever was leftover from vending machines people had raided for the same reason before we got to them." Lapin replied, confirming Mifuyu's suspicions.
"We didn't want to go near the towns for probably the same reason I am guessing those three didn't," Corbeau said before gesturing to Lelouch, Nunnally, and Suzaku.
"Yeah, but they had more supplies." Lapin pointed out, slumping her shoulders.
"So it was desperation," Yachiyo asked while folding her arms over her chest, but Corbeau and Lapin said nothing.
Yet their silence was very telling.
"Answer me this," Lelouch asked, now joining the conversation while he finished bringing Suzaku up to speed on the concept of Magical Girls and everything else he knew about them. "What family were you girls from that someone would want you killed and then place the blame upon Japan?"
Even though Lelouch was occupied explaining the Magical Girl system to Suzaku or what he had learned of it, he had listened to Corbeau and Lapin's story having questions of his own for them once he was done talking to Suzaku.
Corbeau sighed before answering, "our dad is the Grand Master of the Order of the Knights of St Francis."
"I see," Lelouch said, recognizing the name, "Your two are part of the Euro-Britannian Faction and daughters of the current head of the Hellfire Club."
"Euro-Britannian?" Mel asked while Kanae had a question, as well.
"Hellfire Club?" Kanae asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Euro-Britannia is a faction within the Holy Britannian Empire consisting of the descendants from families formerly part of Europe's aristocracy from places like France, Germany, Italy, Russia and other places who were forced to flee to Britannia to escape persecution during the Age of Revolution," Lelouch answered before further explaining. "During that time virtually every monarchy, except for Russia until decades later, were overthrown by widespread revolutions. Many members of their country's aristocracy were either killed or lost everything, but those who escaped fled across the sea to the newly formed Britannia after following Napoleon's successful invasion of Britain. They hope to one day retake their "ancestral lands" for their own once more and have been working for decades amassing resources and wealth for that purpose while aiding the Empire to gain its assistance."
"Ok, so what is the Hellfire Club?" Mifuyu asked, and Lelouch had an answer.
"Originally, it was called the Order of the Knights of St Francis founded during the mid-seventeenth century beginning as a high-society club in Britain by Sir Francis Dashwood. Most of its members were respected dukes, earls, and other noteworthy figures in politics and outside of it," Lelouch replied before adding. "However, there were a lot of rumors claiming they were engaged in several dark and illicit activities."
Glancing at Nunnally caused Lelouch to not want to go into detail, although they didn't mention it in school Lelouch had looked it up reading some of the history books at home curious about the nature of these activities and why they were skipped over. Lelouch discovered the Hellfire Club, a nickname they were given years after their founding, was rumored to have engaged in satanic rituals, black magic, orgies, and possibly human sacrifice using the West Wycombe Caves for meetings until the loss of Great Britain.
"During the American Revolution, one of their most notable members was Benjamin Franklin, and during the height of the American Revolution was to be dispatched to France to secure support and military aid for the revolution against Britain. Passing through Britain along the way to France to hide his true purpose, he visited the club where rumors state he met the Duke of Britannia who had friends within the club itself or was one of its high-ranking members," Lelouch said before stopping to take a breath. "Through those meetings, the Duke of Britannia bribed Franklin was promises of titles and land, which led to the American Revolution losing the war of independence, allowing Britain to retain control over the American colonies."
"Wait, so this club existed before Britannia, so how do they fit into the present?" Mifuyu asked.
"It's because of their success and involvement in convincing Franklin to sell out the American Revolutionist that ensured Britain's continued dominance over the colonies, and not to mention with Benjamin Franklin now an Earl that gave the club another powerful and wealthy member ensuring its survival while at the same time the club was enjoying growing political influence as a result," Corbeau answered. "They used their influence and connections after Queen Elizabeth III was arrested at Edinburgh to mount a rescue and escape overseen by Sir Ricardo von Britannia, Duke of Britannia, and his friend and subordinate, Sir Richard Hector, Knight of One."
"Once they freed her Queen Elizabeth and her followers fled across the Atlantic Ocean where they founded a new capital beginning the foundations for the Holy Britannian Empire. The Hellfire Club flourished even more thanks to their close relationship to Queen Elizabeth and Ricardo von Britannia, who would succeed Queen Elizabeth as the First Emperor of Britannia," Lelouch answered who was quite familiar with this part of his country history since all children in Britannia was expected to know the origins of the Emperor and those noteworthy who were involved.
"That's quite the history, so what happened that would have them operating as part of Euro-Britannia?" Kanae asked.
"I don't know exactly," Lelouch admitted, "but I can imagine as time went on and new political and new families arose among the nobility the power the Hellfire Club gained from their close relationship with the Emperor began to wane. Still, have considerable power and influence, but now as much during the club's height when Britannia was born. They likely established themselves as one of the chivalric orders of the Euro Britannia to both survive and extend their influence among the Euro-Britannian Faction."
"I don't know if that is true or not, but I suppose that is correct," Corbeau acknowledged.
"With that in mind, I assume you two suspect who tried to have you both killed?" Lelouch asked, knowing there was no question someone likely wanted the two killed, and he could come up with a few reasons why knowing the kind of family they came from.
Even though the Order of the Knights of St Francis didn't hold as much influence within the Royal Court as they did during the early days of Britannia, they still possessed considerable power and wealth, giving them connections to the highest levels of power within both Britannia and Euro-Britannia. Lelouch suspected with this in mind that someone wanted the girls out of the way to further someone else within the family, to gain something from their loss or a mix of the two.
Merely a question of narrowing it down to who, and Lelouch had an idea.
"It was the woman our father married," Lapin replied with venom in her voice.
"So she was your step-mother," Mifuyu asked.
That remark earned glares from Lapin and Corbeau that left Mifuyu feeling nervous they would attack her.
"I see," Lelouch began moving the conversation along before a pointless confrontation could break out. "She wanted you two gone to elevate a more preferred child as the heir?"
Corbeau nodded, which was as Lelouch suspected through the process of elimination by taking into account what Lapin and Corbeau have mentioned.
Based on what they have said, Lelouch deduced it had to be someone related to the head of the family because he couldn't see how anyone could benefit from Corbeau and Lapin's deaths except for a close relative.
Their reaction to Mifuyu's question also narrowed it down.
"That's right," Lapin answered, "she always liked Minou over the rest of us because she was more lady-like."
"But father liked me and Lapin more, although he didn't dislike Minou," Corbeau noted.
"I see," Lelouch replied.
So their own mother arranged their deaths, Lelouch thought internally while he was shocked their own mother would do such a thing. Lelouch could tell from the expression of the others he wasn't the only one, but after recalling what happened between him and the Britannian Emperor, he quickly reconsidered that last thought and acknowledged that he shouldn't be so surprised.
"I suppose the question is, what happens now?" Nunnally asked.
"I don't think it would be an issue if we stick together," Yachiyo suggested before looking to Nunnally, "and you are going to need help to get a better handle on your abilities given your disability."
"Would fighting even be possible for Nunnally?" Suzaku asked.
"With training Nunnally could use her magic to enhance her other senses to the point she can perceive the world more clearly than she ever could with her eyes," Kyubey answered.
"Is that possible," Lelouch asked curiously despite his desire to not have Nunnally fight against witches like the one they saw today.
"With time and practice, yes," Kyubey replied.
"I guess this means we'll stick with you," Corbeau offered. "I mean an extra Magical Girl, so strength in numbers, right?"
"I suppose," Mifuyu replied, but Yachiyo recognized a potential issue.
"But we're going to need to find supplies to ensure we have enough food and water to support all of us."
"We know the town near us isn't inhabited so we could search it for food, water, and other supplies," Touka suggested.
"It's likely our best option," Mel said, agreeing to the idea.
"Then let's take what we can, and let's retreat from the area," Yachiyo suggested with neither Suzaku, Lelouch, or Corbeau objecting.
Around the same time in another corner of Japan, the sun was beginning to set upon the city of Niimi, located in northwestern Okayama Prefecture. It had been once a place popular for its limestone caves and even a trading town that was home to several farms that produced products such as beef and more. Now it was nothing more than a smoking ruin as the Britannian Army had torn through the city devastating it even after its token force combined with those of the police and military put up a courageous effort, but it was ultimately in vain.
There was nothing no one could do to stop the Britannian War machine.
Especially since most of the habitants were tragically massacred in a vicious blitzkrieg attack upon the city leaving few survivors, the rest who were unfortunate enough to be found by Britannian soldiers didn't last long.
"That didn't take long," a Britannian soldier commented while walking alongside his comrade as he patrolled one of the devastated alleyways of the city.
"Think this place will be Area 11 by the end of next week?"
"Unless these soon to be Elevens continue to be stubborn, it might take a few more days, but I am not complaining."
His partner laughed, "Yeah, it has been almost two easy once the Glasgows just tore through their tanks like wet tissue paper."
"How true," his friend said with a laugh, "so maybe it takes two weeks at the longest."
"Actually," a voice with a deep echo that was male yet beneath the otherworldly voice it carried what sounded like the voices of women intermingled with it spoke correcting the two soldiers, "Japan surrendered after one month."
The two soldiers turned around just in time to see a black tentacle impale each of them before lifting them up into the air before seeing their attacker.
Standing a towering twenty-five feet tall with a black skin tone covered in a metallic tunic-like carapace upon his torso extending downward near his clawed feet while similar coverings appeared on the sides of his body. He also had spikes upon his shoulders, adding to his intimidating appearance and befitting of someone who could be called a Demonic Ruler. The rest of his body, integrating with the carapace armor coverings, were thick root-like layers of black flesh that covered his body, including parts of his face covering parts of, leaving his mouth and eyes partially exposed, that even formed into a wide-brimmed crown of thorns.
The rest of the root-like extensions that emerged from his back acted as a cloak with two of his root-like extensions currently having impaled the two Britannian soldiers.
Aside from possessing a standard pair of red eyes, the demonic being also he had a larger red eye upon his forehead wrapped around by the root-like coverings he had an equally large eye on his chest and waist while he had one on each palm of his hand.
"What the fuck are you?!" One of the soldiers struggled to say, but yet it was remarkable the man was still alive.
"A demon who has come from the future to set everything right," The Demon replied as the two soldiers began to whiter as if the very life was being drained out of them. "First, I must replenish my strength; my travel here was quite draining, you see. So I'll be taking the life force energies from all of you."
The two soldiers could say nothing, let alone scream, but soon they were reduced to dust as what was left of them fell onto the ground.
"That was too easy," The Demon said, mocking the two for their earlier comments, "And this will be made even so much easier."
Manifesting upon the demon's right arm was a circular metical shield with a pair of red gems, but in reality, an integrated hourglass built into the mechanical shield.
Upon its activation, all of time came to a sudden halt with everyone and everything frozen in time.
"Let the feast begin," The Demon replied before readying its root-like extensions to begin draining the life force energies from the Britannian Soldiers throughout the city while leaving the surviving Japanese populace unharmed.
Later after night had fallen as Yachiyo and her group led Lelouch, Suzaku, Nunnally, Touka, Corbeau, and Lapin back to their camp, or rather the location they had left their supplies before entering the Labthyrin. After securing what supplies they could take from the deserted town, ensuring they would have more than enough to weather the rest of the war likely to engulf Japan for at least a month if not longer.
The group had even secured some extra tents for use for the new additions of their group on top of more supplies, fortunately. The group set up their tents, after picking them up and moving further away from the town just in case the military either from Britannia or the Japanese Army passed through.
"We'll rest here tonight, and we'll keep to our original plan of moving further inland and away from any towns and cities, so hopefully we can avoid any places like to become a battleground," Yachiyo announced once everyone was finished setting up their tents.
No one offered an objection, especially in the cases of Lelouch, Corbeau, and their respective siblings since they didn't have anywhere to go. Even more so since they were in a nation at war with their homeland.
Of course, that brought a troubling question to mind for them.
What would become of them once the war ends?
Japan will loose and become part of the Empire, so what would that mean for us? Lelouch thought while he weighed what very few options they had.
It would be difficult for them to live in whatever Japan will become under Britannian Rule without someone who could help them obtain new identities to hide their real ones.
Their Royalty Status made fleeing to another country difficult because not only would they face the same problem they are facing now, but if anyone found out if Lelouch and Nunnally were members of the Royal Family, they would be killed or used as political tools once again.
What can I do? Lelouch thought but struggled to think of a solution.
"Hey," Mel began, "Lelouch was it?"
"Yes," Lelouch replied, realizing Mel was standing in front of him before kneeling down before him.
"You seem to be troubled," Mel said with a wide smile before drawing and unfolding a small table from her bag she carried under her arm. "I could read your fortune to help you!"
Mel was smiling as she held up her beloved tarot cards.
"You can't be serious," Lelouch asked, clearly skeptical.
"Actually, that is part of Mel's magic," Kanae pointed out from where she sat outside of her tent.
"How so," Lelouch inquired.
"Mel wished for all of her predictions to be perfectly accurate when she became a Magical Girl," Kyubey explained as the white creature approached them.
"That's right," Mel beamed with a smile, "so maybe you'll get good fortune."
Lelouch was still skeptical, but if that was Mel wish, then whatever the cards would reveal to her, it was bound to happen. Nevertheless, with that thought in mind, Lelouch was now more concerned than skeptical because what if the cards he drew indicated bad luck instead.
"Don't worry, I rarely have anyone draw a bad fortune with me," Mel offered reassuringly.
"Mel, you shouldn't pressure people into letting you read their fortunes," Yachiyo scolded as she sat down in front of the campfire feeding it wood they had collected.
"Oh come, I barely foresee any misfortune for anyone," Mel offered with a nervous smile.
"Come on, brother," Nunnally chimed in, "you should try it? Maybe we could use some good fortune."
Lelouch sighed internally because he had been figuratively backed into a corner, so he felt he had no choice but to take the risk.
"Alright," Lelouch said reluctantly much to Mel's joy.
Mel would eagerly hand her tarot deck to Lelouch, which confused the young man before Mel explained.
"For my reading to work, you must be the one to shuffle the deck."
Lelouch accepted the deck and shuffled it, and after he had done so thoroughly, he handed it back to Mel.
"So why not tell me your troubles, or what would you like to learn from this reading?" Mel said, ready to give Lelouch a tarot reading.
"I would like to know what the future holds for us, especially since we have been more or less abandoned in Japan," Lelouch replied while being mindful to avoid anything that could reveal him as a member of Britannian Royalty.
"Right because you and Nunnally are children of the Emperor," Mel said, which left Lelouch shocked, prompting her to explain to him. "Kyubey told us before we met you."
"And yet you all intervened on our behalf during the encounter with that witch?" Lelouch said genuinely surprised these girls would help him despite knowing his lineage.
"Relax, we're not holding you accountable for what the Emperor has ordered," Kanae pointed out.
"If anything this has left us with an even worse opinion of the Emperor and the Empire he rules in general," Mifuyu added.
"So you might want to rephrase that since this is an important part of the reading, so I can properly interpret the cards," Mel explained with a smile.
The ones who were surprised were Corbeau and Lapin, but Corbeau managed to keep Lapin quiet to avoid interrupting the reading. Suzaku was also surprised that Yachiyo and her group didn't display any signs of taking issue with Lelouch's parentage while at the same time thankful they weren't.
However, Suzaku noticed that the only one not surprised was Touka.
"Now let me see what cards you have picked," Mel said as she began laying them out accordingly.
Laying the cards before Lelouch, the young girl smiled before she began to speak what she had interrupted from the cards she was laying out before Lelouch.
"You have great and absolute power," Mel said as she pointed to the Fool before moving her right index finger over the Sun and Lovers cards. "Great change and the start of something new approaches, which will be thanks to the new relationships you have made!"
"You can't be more specific than that?" Lelouch asked, although he was glad he didn't get a reading of misfortune, the lack of specifics did concern him.
"I am afraid not, but at least it's not bad news."
Lelouch sighed in defeat, but now that his fortune had been given, Corbeau had moved closer to Lelouch before sitting down next to him before she was joined by Lapin.
"Ok, so now that she's done, we need to address the elephant in the room," Lapin began.
"You're a Britannian Prince!?" Corbeau exclaimed in shock.
"WAS," Lelouch corrected, "I was exiled to Japan to die along with my sister to give the Emperor a better excuse to invade Japan."
"How did that happen?" Corbeau asked.
"Well," Lelouch began reluctantly, but he thought there was no point in hiding it before he told Lapin and Corbeau what events had happened, which led to him ending up in Japan with Nunnally.
It was past midnight in the ruins of the city of Niimi as the demon was sitting on a pile of rubble within the remains of a partially collapsed building. Standing before him was a Britannian Military Officer, with the rank of General possessing brown hair and blue eyes who stood at attention before the demon.
"Your task is to climb as high as you can in Area 11's military hierarchy," the Demon explained. "I have already created perfect copies of most of your men and altered the memories of the civilians still here to cover up my feast. The life force energies of those soldiers gave me much needed nourishment."
"Yes sir," the general replied, showing how much of a perfect reproduction he was while the real General Clyde Armstrong had been killed a mere hour ago, his life force consumed by the demon. "I shall follow your orders…uh…"
The Demon realized he lacked a proper name to be addressed by, but one quickly came to mind, and it was a appropriate one.
"From this day on I am Legion! You shall refer to me as such."
"Yes, Legion, I understand."
Rising from the makeshift seat, he had been using the Demon waved dismissively.
"Follow my commands and rise through the ranks so you can be one of my soon to be eyes and ears within Area 11's military leadership. I'll contact you with further instructions when the time comes," The Demon waved a forearm in front of him as the shield on his arm vanished before a portal opened up in front of him. "Once I have finished setting up my barriers I'll enter hibernation until the time comes for my awakening, but others like you say plant the seeds for my plans. Now go forth, my Familiar."
The Doppelganger bowed his head as the Demon departed through the portal with no one aware of what had taken place thanks to almost perfect reproductions of the Demon's victims and the memories of the Japanese civilians being altered to cover it up.
In the weeks that would follow Japan would face a losing battle against Britannia with only one victory granted to them as an event known as the Miracle of Itsukushima. It was an impressive victory, but ultimately Japan was fated to lose the war, and it finally did when it surrendered to Britannia early into September.
No one could've done anything to change that fated outcome, especially since fewer knew Prime Minister Genbu Kurugurui was murdered by his own son before the war even started.
Once Japan's name was replaced with a simple number, its people would have to face sweeping change that would shape the next seven years to come.
However, there was one change.
It was subtle, but a barrier was raised that surrounded all of Area 11. No one would notice it, but its purpose would be part of a grander design that would not be fulfilled for five years.
And the Demon responsible, known only as Legion would slumber until the time was ripe for its reawakening.
Until then, his Familiars and his accomplice would lay the foundations for his plans when the time came for his awakening.
His accomplice would meanwhile set the board on his behalf and ensure that one particular young man would be prepared for his own role in Legion's grand design.
A/N: I had a very hard time ending that chapter at the very end, which might be because I want to get into the story that will begin five years later from these events.
However I feel there is one more chapter of this I should do to complete my set up for those events.
As for Legion while might seem like an original character, but in reality he could be considered the Witch form of a certain Code Geass character, and I left plenty of clues for you guys to figure out from who he was born from. His origins are a little more complicated and will be revealed much later in the story, and he had an indirect hand in the appearance of Corbeau and Lapin in the modern era along with a few others.
Think of him as an enabler for certain events in the story, and to add a level of difficulty for Lelouch while part of contingency plans for my overall plot.
On a side note I am sure you guys noticed the backstories for a particular pair of siblings would be inspired by Achievement Haunter and the story of the Hellfire Club, which can be found on Youtube titled "Bang Caves at 8?" if you wish to see the video that inspired it. I know Benjine Franklin wasn't part of the Hellfire Club, but since Code Geass has its own history with similar but changed events, so I adapted accordingly so I hope it worked out.
Despite how I feel this chapter was disappointing, I can assure you the next chapter will be a different story as Mel's prediction for Lelouch's good fortune will come to past.
Thank you for reading, and I look forward to your feedback and be sure to check out the poll on my profile.