|Code Geass: Age of the Chaotic Truth
Author: CrazyNinjaPenguin PM
20 years after the conclusion of Code Geass, the world is at peace. A young Britannian princess with hopes of restoring her declining homeland to greatness and ridding the world of its lies happens upon the power needed to resurrect chaos. Yuri.Rated: Fiction M - English - Adventure/Drama - Chapters: 51 - Words: 545,886 - Reviews: 472 - Favs: 122 - Follows: 69 - Updated: 11-21-10 - Published: 05-04-09 - Status: Complete - id: 5040622
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: The final chapter. I'd like to thank every single one of you for reading. I'd list the name of every single person who ever reviewed this thing (including those who didn't like it) here but with 450 reviews, that would take far too long to go through. So, I'd like to just give a few special thanks to a few specific people: Aceina, for reading and reviewing every single chapter, more often then not first; MissUzumakiHinata, for her reviews and input; daiki-kasho for creating two awesome characters and giving me a lot of useful input (Lucrecia panty shots wouldn't have been possible without you, dude); Rabukurafuto for providing the Japanese (and Chinese) translations and reviewing every chapter; and a big thanks to everyone else reading this at Glorious Escapism (and previously Henry's Cavern): Rahkshi, Selrahc, SGA, all of you guys are awesome. It wouldn't have been possible for me to keep this story up without the support of you all. Anyway, without further ado, the final chapter.
Disclaimer: I do not own Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion or any of its characters or element. I do own my own Original characters, however.
The man peered out into the cloudy blue sky. The long standing tension was gone from the air. His heart was at rest for once. Thing had settled. But he could still feel things foreign. He could feel a sense of happiness in his being that he could not understand.
"You seem meditative today, dear," the voice of the man's wife started from the door to his home.
"It's finally over," the man started, closing his eyes.
"Last time I went into the village, I did hear news of that war ending," the woman spoke, nodding as she too looked into the sky.
"I suppose the contracts are complete then," the man spoke, looking back down and smiling. "My wishes are fulfilled."
"I wonder if it's so simple," said the woman with a sigh.
"Sometimes things are alarmingly more simple then they appear," said the man with a laugh.
"I'm honestly surprised to hear you say something like that," the woman said, shaking her head. "But do you truly think this is the end?"
"It's hard to say," said the man. "But for now, the balance is restored. The people will have peace once more."
"But is it the same peace?" said the woman. "Is it truly the same as the one you fought so hard for?"
"That cannot be seen," said the man. "Maybe it's a better one."
"I often wondered if it wasn't foolish to leave this mess in the hands of children," said the woman. "It seemed somehow unlike you."
"Whether were called kings or demons, one person only has so much power," said the man. "All those years ago I took on this role. This new and different role and gave up my part on the main stage forever."
"But in the end, you were still able to protect it. The peace of this world," said the woman. "At least for the moment."
"Peace is a fragile thing. This event make that all too clear," said the man. "But it is something to be cherished. Something to be protected."
"If it hadn't been successful," said the woman. "What then? Surely there'd be regrets...?"
"It may seem like blind faith," said the man. "But looking in their eyes, I was sure they'd succeed somehow. I've seen enough to know things can work in strange, wonderful ways, and not just for me."
"You really wouldn't have said a line like that twenty years ago," said the woman giving a small laugh.
"Maybe not," said the man. "But I don't think it's ever too later for a person to take on a new perspective."
"Is that so?" the woman said. "Regardless, the pizza should be ready about now."
"You don't say?" the man started, turning around. "Now that is something to get excited for."
The woman gave a smile.
Chiharu wore a smile as she sat up in her hospital bed. Her lover stood by her bed, holding her hand. It still felt weird using a term like "lover". But there wasn't much else to call Megami Subarashii after the previous night. It was a little shocking to Chiharu that she had feelings for such a woman, but she wouldn't deny it anymore. She was happy.
"Big Sister Chiharu, you're going to be okay, right?" the soft cheery voice of Lucrecia Harrison started, from beside the woman. Chiharu smiled at the young girl.
"Yeah, don't worry, Lucrecia," she said with a nod. "I should be released tomorrow or the next day.
"Yay!" said the girl, moving up to hug the woman. Chiharu smiled. The fierce fight she had had with this girl seemed like some distant dream now.
Megami laughed. "I don't remember being this happy before. Ever," she said closing her eyes.
"Your fate never hated you," said Chiharu in a soft voice. "It was just teasing you. Making you wait for the killer pay off."
"I guess that has to be right," Megami giggled and smiled at her lover.
"I really am just glad to see every thing's finally over," said Chiharu. "Things will finally be able to settle down."
"You going to stay on with the Black Knights?" asked Megami in a low voice.
"I hadn't really decided yet..." said Chiharu. "I mean... I'm not even sure they'd take me back. I'm probably listed as a traitor."
"That's been taken care of," a strong female voice interjected suddenly. Chiharu's eyes widened as she glanced toward the door. No way. She couldn't believe it.
"Mom...? Dad...?" she started, staring at the man and woman in the doorway with a smile on her face. Megami turned a shade paler as she looked at the two of them. Lucrecia turned and smiled fully at them.
'These are Big Sister Chiharu's parent?" she started, tiling her head. She walked toward them. "Nice to meet you! I'm Lucrecia Harrison."
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Miss Harrison," Kaname Ohgi said patting the little girl on the head. He walked quickly past her toward his daughter. He looked at her.
"Dad..." Chiharu started.
"It does my heart so much good to see you again, Chiharu," said the man.
"We arrived back in Japan just yesterday. We came here as soon as we heard you were hospitalized," Villetta Nu spoke, moving in close as well.
"I'm glad to see you, really," Chiharu smiled. "I was worried when I heard you had all been captured..."
"We're safe thanks to your friends," said Kaname with a smile.
"Friends?" Chiharu started. She hadn't heard much beyond what Megami had told her of recent events.
"Hiromi and the others," said Villetta nodding. "You kids really pulled a lot off."
"Hiromi, really?" Chiharu started. "I'll have to thank her. She's a better friend then I could ask for."
"But you said something about Chiharu's record being cleared?" Megami started in.
"That's right," said Villetta. "Yasuko Tohdoh who was confirmed to be the subject of an extensive, disgusting brainwashing experiment has attested that Chiharu too was being forced to act against her will. The fact that the enemy knightmare frame Alexander was apprehended and found to be outfitted with deadly explosives is being taken as clear signs of blackmail. All charges are expected to be dropped without a fight."
"That's good news," said Chiharu, nodding.
"So you plan to stay on then?" Kaname started. "Even after having ended up in the hospital twice?"
"Sorry dad, I don't think I have politics to fall back on like you," Chiharu sighed. "Besides, through it all, I never did tire of flying through that sky."
"I may enlist formally myself," said Megami nodded. "I don't see why not at this point."
"That'd be nice," said Chiharu with a smile.
"Can Lucrecia join too?" asked Lucrecia with a smile.
"You might be a little young..." said Chiharu in a low voice.
"So who are these two, Chiharu?" Villetta started. "Friends?"
"Lucrecia was like Yasuko, a victim of the enemy's sick experiments," said Megami.
"She's just a child..." Kaname spoke in a low voice.
"She has nowhere to go," said Chiharu nodding. "So we just sort of took her with us."
"I'm not sure you're the right age to be caring for a child her age, Chiharu," said Villetta shaking her head.
"We can always help with that," said Kaname nodding.
"That might be good," said Chiharu. "She sort of has become like a sister."
"Happy endings really are something," said Megami with a smile.
Villetta looked at her. "We got the kid out of the way, but who is this?"
"Megami Subarashii," Megami introduced herself with a nod.
They both stared at her. "Is that supposed to be a name?" Kaname asked, stunned.
"What's your connection to this bizarre person, Chiharu?" Villetta asked, taken aback.
Chiharu suddenly turned red as anxiety set in. How could she possibly explain this. "Um... well... you see... She's my... she's..."
"I'm Chiharu Ohgi's girlfriend!" Megami declared suddenly, causing Chiharu to feel like throwing herself out the window.
The two stared at her blankly.
"Honestly, who is this person who says such strange things, Chiharu?" Kaname asked.
"Actually..." Chiharu started in a low voice. "That's... what she said... it's true..."
"Chiharu you don't mean..." Villetta started, looking troubled.
Chiharu nodded meekly and sunk into her bed. As her parents continued to stare awkwardly and the discomfort surrounded and suffocated her, she felt like dying. But even then, she was happy. She had kept her promise. She had set things right. She had Megami's love. Her parents were safe. She honestly didn't have any complaints. So even as she felt like she was about to be eaten alive, her heart felt nothing but content.
Margaret gave a sigh as she walked down the hospital corridor. She visited hospitals all too much. It was depressing. It was still hard to look at her mother. But overall, Margaret felt good. She had had an important part to play and she had played it. There was no comparing her to anyone now. She was just Margaret Enneagram, a girl who had stood up against her own weakness and crushed it.
She smiled as she found the next room she needed to visit. Unlike her mother, visiting with this girl was always easy. It always made her smile. She knocked softly at the door and entered with a smile. Amelia Gottwald greeted her with her own smile.
"Here again?" Amelia spoke. "You really don't need to come so frequently."
"I worry about you," said Margaret blushing. "I can't help it..."
"Heh. How cute," said Amelia. "But I'm fine. It's just a broken leg on top of my arm..."
"You're arm is worse then before," said Margaret in a low voice. "I heard the doctors say it."
"Yeah, but so what?" Amelia started. "Broken bones mend, Margaret. I'll be better. You shouldn't be worrying over me. You should be happy."
"Happy...?" Margaret started in a low voice. "I guess we did win..."
"It's more than that," said Amelia. "We won, and things have changed. I seriously don't think there will be a reason for us to be on opposite sides anymore."
"I suppose that is reason to celebrate..." Margaret started, giving off a sigh.
"How's your mother?" Amelia asked in a soft voice.
"She was very alert today," said Margaret. "She's looking healthier. The burns still make it a little hard for me."
"She'll heal up," said Amelia. "They'll let her out eventually."
"According to the doctors, it's doubtful she'll ever have the strength to return to active duty as a knight," said Margaret. "For her, that will be the biggest wound..."
"What about you?" started Amelia in a low voice. "Are you still the Knight of Nine?"
"I don't know," said Margaret. "I wouldn't be surprised if my rank got shuffled about a bit with all the vacancies left in the order..."
"You know that isn't what I mean..." Amelia said with a sigh.
"I want to make my mother proud," said Margaret, smiling. "For that I do honestly hope to carry out her legacy."
"I figured you'd say that," said Amelia. "Being a knight suits you."
"And what about you?" Margaret asked in a low voice.
"My parents visited not long ago," said Amelia softly. "I told them about you. About my feelings."
"Oh..." Margaret spoke, surprised. "How did they take that...?"
"They're surprisingly understanding," said Amelia. "I think the bigger note for them was that you were someone loyal to Ava li Britannia then that you were a girl. Then again, I think mother already knew just from observing our interactions."
"I see," said Margaret in a low voice. "And what did you decide with them?"
"They told me to stay with you," said Amelia in a low voice. "I'm pretty much an adult now. At least close enough. What I do is my choice. So I'll stay at your side. I may enter the knights myself."
"You'd do that?" Margaret asked, surprised.
"I'm not sure I'm good for much else," said Amelia with a sigh.
"That's simply not true," Margaret said, smiling.
Amelia giggled. "I think someone's just biased."
"And why wouldn't I be?" said Margaret with a blush. "It's proper to stick up for the one you love."
Amelia gave another giggle. "So have you told your mother yet?"
"No," said Margaret. "That seems impossible... especially when she looks like that."
"It shouldn't be such a big deal. If I recall from the first time I met her, she's already aware of your preferences," Amelia started in a low voice.
"Still... she'll surely tease me," said Margaret. "I think I want to wait until she won't be straining herself to do so."
Amelia laughed. "You say some cute things, Margaret..."
"You're always cute," Margaret replied. She bent downward and placed a kiss on the girl's lips. Amelia blushed and gave a giggle.
"You really do spend too much time here..." said Amelia. "Aren't you important? Don't they need you for something?"
"I don't..." Margaret started. She closed her eyes. "Very well, I suppose I'll take my leave for now then."
"That's right," said Amelia. "And don't come back for a while. I need my rest, after all."
"Rest well then, my love," said Margaret. She gave Amelia one last smile before turning to leave.
The girl's eyes opened. She felt like she had emerged from a dream that she could no longer see. And yet somehow she knew this dream was the very worst sort of nightmare. But none of it could be remembered, not a single detail.
In truth the girl couldn't even remember her name.
And yet here she was awake, cognizant in a world where she knew nothing. The nightmare had ended and now she was lost. Confused. She sat up in the small unknown bed in which she rested. She looked around. It was a small home. It, like everything else, was unknown to her.
"So you're awake?" a voice started. She turned her head swiftly. Her eyes found someone. He was a young man with blonde hair and a serious yet kind expression. Something about him seemed strangely familiar.
"Where am I...?" She asked in a low voice.
"My home," said the man. "I found you. I pulled you out of the ocean, washed up with some debris. I thought you were dead at first... You've been sleeping for over a week now..."
"Who am I?" the girl asked the more pressing question, as she looked down at her body.
"Amnesia?" the man started. He shook his head. "Sorry to say that I don't rightly know."
"I think I'm someone bad..." said the girl who could still sense the nightmare from which she had waken, even if she no longer understood.
"You are who you want to be," the man said. "It's a choice we make whether to do good or bad things." He smiled at her. "Maybe you did bad things in the past, but it's never to late to change. Perhaps your amnesia is God's way of helping you find your second chance at being someone good again."
"You think so...?" the girl asked.
"I'm sure of it," said the man.
"I'll become someone good then..." said the girl.
"That's right," said the man. "I'm sure you can do it."
The girl smiled. She'd do it. She'd drive the nightmares back for good.
Eilith had a smirk on her face as she faced someone she had wanted to see again for a long time now. Ava li Britannia looked tired. She looked tired, but she looked accomplished. Astrid Weinberg at her side just looked weary, if just a little relieved.
"And so the Empress finally returns to Britannia," Eilith said, walking toward the other.
"Last I checked you were the Empress, Eilith," Ava started. "Or did you not claim the title when you slew my cousin?"
"Well yeah, "said Eilith. "But now that you're back, that's all over."
"You're wrong, Eilith," said Ava, shaking her head. "You've earned that spot on the throne. It's yours to keep..."
"Cut the cheap jokes, Empress," said Eilith shaking her head. "I couldn't ever..."
"I abandoned my station in the Empire's darkest hour," said Ava, shaking her head. "You on the other hand boldly fought against all odds to overthrow a puppet Empress put in place by the enemy. The people want you, not me."
"It's only been a week," said Eilith, looking down. "Every thing's happened so fast. I doubt they know what they want."
"Are you sure about this, Ava?" Astrid interjected suddenly. "You'd give up on the throne you so sought after?"
"I lead Britannia astray, Astrid," said Ava looking down. "I still think there's nothing wrong with the ideal. With wanting Britannia to be the strongest Britannia it can be. But this war... I feel I might have been too hasty. I might have been blinded too much by what Deifilia Amarantha wanted me to see and by my own anger."
"Even if you have regrets, isn't it a little much to just suddenly pass the whole burden off to someone else?" Astrid asked. "It's not like you to run away, Ava."
"I'm not running, Astrid," said Ava, nodding. "I merely realized that my era ended with Deifilia Amarantha. I am a symbol of war. Such a symbol is best discarded in this new era of peace. Britannia needs a new symbol."
"I don't know if I can..." Eilith started meekly.
"Have faith in yourself, Eilith," Ava spoke. "You're someone strong. Someone incredible."
"I'm not sure I'm so..." Eilith spoke, looking down.
"Bullshit! If you can't do it, ain't no one can, Princess!" a loud voice burst in. Eilith didn't have to look.
"Such a boorish man," Ava started. "You eavesdrop on royalty, Mr. Cross?"
"Tch. I just happened to be passing by," Ulric Cross started, stepping forward.
"You look like you've seen better days," said Ava, looking at him. The man was covered in bandages all over.
"Heh. I finally got the fight I always longed for," the man started. "Thanks to this crazy Princess."
"You really think I can do this, Cross?" Eilith started, looking down.
"Fuck yeah," Cross started. "You got the guts for it, that's for sure. Can't think of no one better for the job."
"I guess I have no choice then," Eilith sighed and gave a weak laugh.
"You really value this ape's opinion so much, Eilith?" Ava started questioningly.
"Yeah. And why shouldn't I?" asked Eilith. "He is my knight after all..."
"Y-you don't say...?" Ava said, completely stunned; her words most tentative. "I really question your taste, Eilith..."
"What's that supposed to mean, Empress?" Cross started, looking at her.
"I kind of wonder what that might do for your image, Eilith..." Ava said under her breath. "But nonetheless I maintain that you are best suited to be Empress."
"You really think that, huh?" Eilith started. "I suppose I can't fight it." She gave a long sigh. "So what of you then?"
"I'm retreating from the spotlight," said Ava with a nod. "I think to start I'll stay with my father, help him through his rehabilitation. From there, I don't know what sort of role I'll play. Whatever it is, it will be a small one with Astrid at my side."
"I see," said Eilith nodding. "I'll still be able to call on your for advice, right?"
"Perhaps," said Ava.
"That's good then," said Eilith with a nod. "I really respect you, Ava."
"I'm grateful. I think quite highly of you myself," said Ava. "I wouldn't feel confident leaving the crown in the hands of many people. But with you, I am completely at ease."
"Well thanks," said Eilith blushing. "Things sure can change fast..." she sighed.
"It's because only months ago you were just another one of them, that I think you're perfect to lead the people of Britannia," said Ava in a soft voice.
"Right," said Eilith smiling.
"Then come with me, Eilith," said Ava. "We need to prepare to face the people."
"Alright," said the older girl with a nod.
The darkness slowly dissipated as the bright light lead the girl forward. Next thing she knew, her eyes were open. She looked around, unsure where she was. Unsure if she was alive or dead.
Her surroundings looked like a hospital room. She was bandaged and in severe pain. She could move hardly anything within her body. She felt so incredibly weak. But she was alive. Miya Ashford was still alive.
"My child!" a voice called out. "Finally you open your eyes."
Miya noticed something. She wasn't alone in the room. Figures came into focus. It was her mothers. Milly was kneeling at her bedside, holding her hand. Nina stood beside her. Milly was crying as Miya's eyes met hers.
"I guess I'm not dead then..." Miya said in a weak voice.
"Well you came awful damn close, you stupid girl..." Milly started harshly. "You don't know how worried we were."
"I'm sorry," Miya said softly.
"Don't be, Miya," Nina started. "According to Ava li Britannia, the part you played was nothing short of vital."
"Part?" Miya started. She had trouble even remembering what had happened.
She closed her eyes. She recalled it all. She had killed the foul priest. She had been injured critically, lost an incredible amount of blood. She really should be dead now. She couldn't understand it. There was no one who could have found her immediately and taken her to safety. She'd have surely bled to death by the time Ava and the others returned to her.
The only explanation she could find was the strange light she had seen. Her heart told her it was Cynthia who had saved her. She was more than satisfied with this thought.
"So what happened back there...?" Miya spoke softly. "How long has it been?"
"You've been out for a week, dear," said Nina simply. "You're still in the EU. Your condition wasn't stable until a few days ago, so they couldn't move you. There were many times when the doctors were positive they had lost you."
"They called your recovery miraculous," said Milly nodding. "People really aren't supposed to survive after losing that much blood."
"I see..." said Miya, closing her eyes and smiling. Cynthia really had looked out for her. "But if I'm being treated in the EU..."
"The battle is finally over," said Milly, nodding. "Chiharu Ohgi killed that Amarantha person. The EU are not an enemy to any of us now."
"That's great..." said Miya with a smile. "And Ava?"
"After the collapse of the EU government, she went to the interim leadership and made some appeals in regards to the peace agreement," said Nina. "I believe she just recently returned to Britannia."
"So everyone's safe then?" Miya spoke. "Astrid and the others?"
"Astrid Weinberg returned with the Empress," said Milly smiling. "As for your other friends, Margaret Enneagram and Amelia Waldstein helped reclaim the Britannia throne from Amarantha's puppet. Tohdoh and that group succeeded in rescuing the Japanese and Chinese Federation leadership from and EU prison. None of them were killed."
"That's wonderful news," said Miya, smiling. Everyone was safe. That was good enough for her.
"You're the one everyone's worried about," said Nina in a soft voice. "Apparently, Ava li Britannia tearfully begged the doctors here to do everything in their power to save you."
"Ava..." Miya spoke fondly. "She really is a good friend. I never should have doubted her..."
"I'm afraid this is going to have to be enough for now," an unfamiliar voice spoke from the door. Miya looked to see an elderly doctor standing there. "In this condition the patient really shouldn't strain herself. Visits should be kept short."
"We understand," Milly started.
"We'll be back again later, Miya," said Nina.
"Thanks," Miya started, smiling.
"We'll keep coming back until your healthy enough to return to Britannia," said Milly with a healthy nod.
"I'd like that," Miya spoke in a soft voice as he parents waved to her.
The doctor walked up to her as her parents left. He looked at her. "So the miracle child finally wakes," he said in a low voice. "To be injured so grievously... you must have impossible drive to live."
"It's love," said Miya simply.
"You have someone waiting for you then? That thought made you refuse to give up on life?" the doctor question.
'That's not quite right," said Miya. "It wasn't anything in me that kept me alive. Love protected me. It's that simple."
"I'm not sure I understand," the man said in a low voice. "But perhaps that just isn't my place."
The man looked at the girl. His questions turned to the more general about her condition. As the man left, Miya's mind stayed with the thought of Cynthia.
"I won't waste this life you protected, my love..." she said under her breath. "Thank you, Cynthia."
She smiled and thought for the first time in a long time about the future.
Kallen Kozuki had a level expression on her face as she stood before Kaguya Sumeragi. A lot had happened in a short amount of time. The war had ended. She had returned to Japan. Things for once seemed alarmingly normal.
"So, General Kozuki, do you know why you were called in today?" Kaguya started cheerfully.
"I can't say I do," said Kallen with a nod.
"As I'm sure you're aware, with the end of the war, the UFN had been reestablished," said Kaguya quietly. "And with it the Black Knights."
"That I am aware. I look forward to being a part of the organization once more," said Kallen steadily.
"You were nominated to be the top military commander of the new Black Knights in place of the fallen Tohdoh," said Kaguya quietly. "You are expected to win the vote."
"Y-you don't say...?" Kallen spoke, taken aback.
"You didn't expect this?" Kaguya asked with a laugh.
"I'm never sure what to expect anymore," said Kallen shaking her head. "Things can move in truly unexpected ways."
"But you have no complaints about assuming this position?" Kaguya asked in a low voice.
"You nominated me... didn't you?" Kallen asked.
"Maybe," the other woman said with a laugh. "Though I can't see how your name would have ever been avoided, quite honestly."
"It's fine. I'll serve proudly should I win the vote," said Kallen with a confident nod.
"Good, I have faith in you," said Kaguya with a kind smile. "Now, all I ask is that come time for the next election, you give me your full endorsement!"
Kallen stared at the woman for a moment. "You manipulative politician," she muttered.
"You'll do it, won't you?" Kaguya insisted.
"I never asked for you to submit my name," said Kallen. "And like you said, it probably would have happened anyway..."
"Still..." said Kaguya with an awkward smile. "There's no telling what the country will be feeling after all this..."
"You don't have to do me favors," said Kallen with a laugh. "You already have my support."
"I see," Kaguya started, smiling. "I'm glad for it."
"So am I dismissed then?" Kallen asked.
"Sure, why not?" Kaguya nodded. Kallen smiled at her, said her good byes and left. Halfway out the government building, two girls who had been waiting ran up to her, both wearing smiles.
"So, how did that go, Mom?" Katsue asked in a bright voice. "The president asked you to be the Black Knights military commander, right?"
"You knew, Katsue?" Kallen asked, tilting her head.
"It seemed entirely natural to me," said Katsue. "I could think of no other reason for the summons."
"Heh, I see," said Kallen smiling. "You've always been sharp, Katsue."
"So, if you're the commander, you'll give us big promotions in the Black Knights, right?" Katsumi asked cheerfully.
"I don't intend to abuse my power, Katsumi..." Kallen spoke, shaking her head.
"But we're heroes. We deserve it," said Katsumi.
"Who said anything about you joining the Black Knights anyway?" Kallen asked. "You two are quitting this life. You're going back to high school."
"What? But, Mom! We really are national heroes now... "Katsue fought. "Besides, both me and Katsumi have already decided this is what we want to do."
"So what?" Kallen said sternly. "Your both still finishing school. And if you do intend to join the Black Knights when you finish that, you'll be working your way up from the bottom!"
"That's not fair!" both girls said in unison. Kallen laughed.
"You two have been entirely too reckless throughout this whole ordeal," said Kallen. "I think it's time I enforce some order for once!"
"But Mom, aren't you proud of us?" Katsumi asked with a soft smile.
Kallen smiled back. "Of course I am. I'm nothing but proud of you, girls."
"But you're still going to force us to go to school..." Katsue said with a sigh.
"It's for your own good," said Kallen. "You two are only 15. You still have a lot of growing up to do."
"Fine..." Katsue said with reluctance. "But I intend on joining the Black Knights when I'm done."
"Me too!" said Katsumi.
"Fine by me," said Kallen, nodding. "Now come on, let's go."
"Where we going?" asked Katsue.
"I think it's about time I explain some things to the two of you," said Kallen with a nod. "About your father..."
"Oh, that's not necessary," said Katsue. "I'm pretty sure we already have all that sorted out."
"You don't say?" Kallen started.
"Yep! In face, we might have even met him!" said Katsumi.
"W-what?" Kallen exclaimed. "But that's..."
The twins giggled cheerfully as Kallen stared at them confused.
"I guess we're the ones who need to explain things," said Katsue.
"Come on, Mom, let's go!" said Katsumi, grabbing the woman's hand.
A confused Kallen Kozuki allowed her twin daughters to pull her forward. She shook her head and gave a soft smile. She was grateful to have things like this again. There was nothing for her to regret.
Hu Xuemei nodded politely as she greeted her comrade. Wu Chaowei had just returned to the Federation after having received medical attention. His arm was quite damaged apparently. It was doubtful it'd ever be quite the same. Xuemei felt a little sorry for the man. He was a somewhat annoying person, but he had gained her respect as an ally.
"Hey," he started. "Read the stories. Guess it's 'Princess' now."
"I see. In truth I care not how I'm addressed," said Xuemei in a low voice. Her mother had decided to release the circumstances of her birth to the public upon their return. It had been a shocking story, but the people did not have so negative a response to it. Most seemed to have embraced the idea of there suddenly being a young princess who was also the Federation's greatest hero of the war. Xuemei was actually embarrassed to see how far her image spread. In less than a week, she had come to be regarded as something of an idol.
"Must be different to suddenly be so famous," said Chaowei, shaking his head.
"Do you resent that I acquired the fame you coveted?" Xuemei asked directly, looking at the man.
"That's not right, look at this," the man started, thrusting a newspaper before Xuemei. The headlining article read "The Heroism of the Secret Warrior Princess." A massive picture of Xuemei's face was centered under the head line.
"I've seen this many times..." Xuemei sighed, not wanting to look at the paper.
"No, look at this part," said Chaowei. He pointed to a single line in the body of the text. It read "Assisting the Princess in the rescue of the Tianzi were Japanese soldiers Hiromi Tohdoh, Katsumi and Katsue Kozuki and Federation ace, Wu Chaowei, who was injured during the fight."
"You're content with such a supporting role?" Xuemei asked, surprised.
"I don't see it like that," said Chaowei. "Not anymore at least. I'm happy with just this."
"I see," said Xuemei nodding. "So, have you decided where you'll go from here?"
"I'm signing back up with the Black Knights," said Chaowei readily. "I think I'm going to try and get a job teaching at the military academy."
"Really? You an instructor?" Xuemei started, somewhat taken aback. "I'm surprised."
"What can I say, my instructor made a big impact on me," said Chaowei. "And she entrusted the future to me. This really seems like my best answer."
"Then I wish you luck, Ace of the Federation," said Xuemei with a nod.
"You too. Good luck with the secret warrior princess thing," said the man with a laugh.
Xuemei blushed. "Please do shut up..." she said after a long sigh.
Yasuko felt deep pangs of anxiety as she stepped off the plane. Hildegarde seemed to notice this and immediately took her hand into her own. This eased Yasuko's heart instantly and allowed her to move forward.
"Come on you two, let's go!" Katsuo called as he ran in front of them. Yasuko smiled and picked up her pace. Stepping out of the corridor and into the airport terminal. The tears began to flow instantaneously.
"Yasuko..." Nagisa Tohdoh started, almost choking on her words as her eyes met with those of the daughter she had thought she had lost forever.
"Mother," Yasuko tearfully muttered. Next thing she knew she was being embraced by her mother. She wasn't sure who closed the gap between them. It just happened.
"My Yasuko..." Yasuko's mother broke down into tears of her own as she cradled her child.
"I'm here too!" Katsuo called, walking up to his mother.
"Katsuo...!" the women wept and pulled the boy into the embrace. Yasuko smiled. It felt so warm.
"Yasuko..." another voice started. Yasuko twisted her head. Her whole body shook as her eyes met those of her older sister. Her mother's grip on her lessened. She escaped it.
"Hiromi!" Yasuko started tearfully as she ran to her sister and embraced her deeply. "I'm sorry... I'm so sorry..."
"Yasuko... don't..." Hiromi spoke in a low voice, holding the girl tightly. "Nothing is your fault."
"I still have to live with it all," said Yasuko, backing up just a little. "It's still hard you know..."
"Yasuko," Nagisa started. "We love you. You are an important part of this family. We will always be here for you..."
"But still..." Yasuko cried. It felt incomplete. Someone was missing. And it was because of her. "I-I..."
"Don't dwell on it," the reassuring voice of Hildegarde Waldstein. "Remember what I told you back then, Yasuko."
"R-right..." Yasuko said in a low voice. It was still hard for her. It was only for Hildegarde that she could force herself to stay looking forward.
"Waldstein..." Hiromi acknowledged the other with a nod.
"I heard about what you did on your end, Tohdoh," said Hildegarde in a strong voice. "Quite the act of heroism."
"You saved my sister, and somehow my brother too it seems," said Hiromi closing her eyes. "For that, in my eyes at least, you are the hero of the day."
"So you are Hildegarde Waldstein?" Nagisa started, approaching the other.
"It's an incredible pleasure to make your acquaintance, General Tohdoh," Hildegarde started somewhat awkwardly.
"I owe you a lot," said Nagisa. "Thank you for fighting so hard for my daughter."
"I would go to any lengths for your daughter," Hildegarde started, blushing.
"So what Hiromi told me about the two of you is true...?" Nagisa started in a serious voice.
"Yes, Mother," Yasuko started proudly. "Hildegarde is the person I've chosen to be with."
Nagisa sighed. "I won't pretend to understand it. Nor will I deny any sort of disappointment. A Britannian knight, a woman, and someone ten years your senior." The woman paused and shook her head. "But you, Hildegarde Walstein, have proven yourself. You are the only reason my daughter is here safe before me once more. For that, I find myself no longer able to argue the point. So I will force myself to accept this. I'm sure it's beyond where I could fight it anyway."
"Thank you, Mother!" Yasuko started cheerfully.
"But what now?" Hiromi asked, perhaps already knowing the answer. "Yasuko, where are you going now?"
"I'm moving to Britannia," said Yasuko readily. "It'll be hard for me to be away from the three of you... but Britannia needs Hildegarde. I wouldn't feel right taking her away from them..."
"Yasuko... are you sure?" Hildegarde asked, perhaps the most surprised of anyone. Somehow, this subject had been entirely avoided between them.
"I've decided," said Yasuko.
"I suppose that's to be expected," said Nagisa. "You must promise to keep in touch with us, Yasuko."
"Of course, mother," Yasuko replied with a smile. "But you'll be okay without me?"
"I'm going to return to active duty for the Black Knights. I'm sure the job will keep me busy, dear. You shouldn't worry," said Nagisa with a nod.
"I'm staying on too. I'll take care of mother, Yasuko. Don't worry," said Hiromi with a nod.
"Thanks, sis," said Yasuko, smiling.
"And you better take care of my sister, Waldstein, or you will have me to answer to," Hiromi started in a stern voice, glaring at the woman.
"Of course," said Hildegarde. "You have my word."
"Then all that's settled," said Yasuko. "Now come on. I want to enjoy what might be my last time with my family for a while."
"Alright Yasuko, in that case, I'll go and..." Hildegarde started with a nod. Yasuko grabbed her by the write.
"That includes you, Hildegarde! You're part of the family now too!" Yasuko started with a giggle.
"R-right..." Hildegarde spoke in a shy voice as her lover pulled her forward with a smile.
Yasuko had a big smile on her face. The ghost of Marcella Belita and all she had done still haunted her memories. It probably always would. Even then, part of Yasuko wondered whether she deserved this time with Hildegarde and her family. But she would step forward. Hand in hand with Hildegarde, she felt she could.
A woman sat at a table to herself in a certain café in a certain EU city on a certain day. She sat there alone, sipping her drink through a straw, a bored look on her face. She glanced up at the small TV hanging in the corner of the establishment. A small smile appeared on her face.
It was a young girl, tall, with long, black hair. At her right was a kind looking woman in a wheelchair. At her left was a girl with shorter auburn hair. The black haired one was standing at a microphone. She was speaking.
"...I told you Britannia, when I first spoke before you, that I would not lie to you," the speech read. "But in my time as your Empress I could not keep this simple promise. I shamed the name of this woman at my side who was my predecessor, labeling her an accessory to lies. Now I wonder if lies themselves are our enemy at all. Sure, none of us like to be lied to. Sometimes however, they protect us; they keep us safe from a truth which is so often crueler than any lie.
"That is not to say I regret my actions. Britannia deserved to know the lies of Suzaku Kururugi and Lelouch vi Britannia; I feel that even now. Nor is it a lie that this war I started, I started out of love for Britannia. I just didn't completely understand what the war would entail. I know that excuse is no solace to those many of you who have seen suffering due to my actions.
"But this war is over now. The grabs for world dominance the EU made both here and in the East have been narrowly thwarted. My cousin Jacquelyn who was selected as their puppet is dead. The former leadership of the Chinese Federation and the United States of Japan have been freed and restored to their places in power before similar puppets could be placed in power there. A true peace is once more possible instead of the false peace promised by my cousin.
"This peace should not be denied. I know many of you supported me in this war; many support it even now. But we must learn, Britannia. We can be strong, we can be proud, and we can do it without being violent. We can work together at making this Britannia a better place, and we can do it without spitting on the rest of the world in the process. So I plead with you, Britannia, allow this war to become just a memory.
"That is all I have to say to you, Britannia. My name is marred. I abandoned you when things were darkest. I cannot ask you to follow me further. So, I won't, Britannia. I hereby renounce all claim to the Britannian throne. I am not running Britannia, I merely feel in my heart that I am no longer the right person to lead you. For that reason, I say good bye and present to you the one who deserves to guide you into the future. Eilith vol Britannia, the one who stood and fought for you all while I ran to safety."
The black haired girl stepped back as the auburn haired girl stepped tentatively forward. Her nervousness was apparent at once as she found her way to the microphone while the sounds of a clamoring audience sounded all around.
The girl gave a cough to collect her nerves. She stared into the camera for a moment then opened her mouth. She looked down, then forward again. Then she nodded. She began to speak.
"Excuse my awkwardness, Britannia. You're probably sick of my story from hearing it so much, but just months ago I was living a simple life among you. That I address you now as Empress... you can likely imagine. I often feel like slapping myself in the face to insure this isn't some bizarre dream I can't wake from.
"But I know it isn't. I never knew my father, Charles zi Britannia. He was dead before I was born. I stand before you now just as he did once. I, Eilith vol Britannia intend to serve proudly as the one hundred and third Britannian Empress! I ask only for your love and support, Britannia. With it I will lead Britannia into a new era, an era where Britannia will be cooperative, yet unafraid.
"As one who once lived among you, I intend never to turn my back on your plight. I can't say I won't make mistakes. I may be of royal blood, but I'm just as human as any of you. But I promise you, Britannia, I'll do my best for your sake. That's all I have to say today. Thank you."
The girl gave a soft bow of her head to the people. Then she turned around. A reporter began to speak about the speech. The woman tuned it out and looked back down. She gave a low laugh, and then finished the rest of her drink. It done, she left the money for it on the table and stood, walking out onto a busy street.
Flipping her hair blonde hair back, she continued to smile as she walked.
"So this is what it feels like to see a happy ending, eh?" she said under her breath. "It's been fun to watch this one unfold, Ava li Britannia, I suppose, but even the greatest stories have to have endings..."
She gave another laugh as she continued her walk, curious as to what stories the future may hold.
A/N: And there we have the end. Turned out this chapter wasn't any shorted than usual despite my speculation; scenes were short, but there were a lot of them. Writing this, I think I might have made things a touch too happy. But meh, whatever. I'm still satisfied. I can't believe this is the end. I've been writing this well over a year now. I feel accomplished, but I'm sure to miss this one. Thank you so much for reading it.
Anyway, I suppose this isn't exactly the end for AotCT. I am still planning on releasing some more Extras at some point in the near future. A few loose ends like Vivia Clairmond's fate, Lucrecia's back story, and maybe a few other things need to be covered before I can fully close the book on this story. I also have made one final update to the info page (though I kind of didn't go very detailed with the last few knightmare frames; couldn't bring myself to care.).
But still, I really do feel accomplished. I set out to do a 50 chapter epic and I kept it up until completion. it feels good, but I've already set my focus on a new project. I've already written two chapters of A Light Forgotten. It's an original work; a dark fantasy story about three troubled characters living in a land embroiled in religious war, each with their own unique tale to tell. It will be another epic, but it will not be fifty chapters again... Check it out if you will; you'll find the link on my fanfiction profile page. I'd appreciated anyone who would read and review.
But for now, all I can say is thanks again for reading this. I hope you enjoyed it.