August 13th. Holy Britannian Empire. Pendragon.

It was an early morning in the capital of the empire. Birds were singing, flowers were growing, and Britannians were plotting to take over the world. Well, only one of them was at the moment.

Cinder Fall looked around the Pendragon prison building, pondering the point of a prison with only one prisoner at the moment. After Lelouch took over the empire, old political prisoners were released with the change of the regime. Today only one soul remained within these walls and even then, they were the only inmate living in the best conditions. Mainly because he was related to the knight who asked for it.

'Speaking about this knight.' Cinder smirked as she found the person she was searching for. She silently sneaked up on her and pinched the knight who let her guard down.

Oldrin Zevon reacted immediately as she turned around and tried to kick the unknown attacker. Her attack missed as Cinder jumped back, a cheeky grin on her face while the blonde-haired knight pouted.

"Cinder!" Oldrin hissed. "What was that?!"

"I was checking your reaction and fighting skills. If I used my sword you would have been dead by now."

Oldrin narrowed her eyes. "Must you always try to provoke and irritate me?"

"You know the answer." Cinder smirked when her bait/friend swore under her breath and walked away. "Come on, Zevon. I was just teasing you, no need to get moody."

"What are you even doing here? Last I heard you were on a mission in South America."

All of the knights of the round were on the missions assigned by the emperor. Cinder had a job to hunt down and destroy Peace Mark cells in the south. Something she quickly finished with high efficiency and fatality rates among enemies.

"Been there, done that." Cinder crossed her arms under her chest. "I returned to Pendragon to report to His Majesty. He will return to the capital tomorrow and I want to prepare everything until then."

It was a half-truth. Currently, Lelouch was away on his own mission in Japan while his ninja maid/legal guardian was taking his role as emperor. Lelouch said he left everything prepared for Sayoko for her campaign across the mainland to raise morale. The knights of the round and princess Marrybell were the only ones who knew about the Emperor's departure to the troublesome island nation.

'I don't need to report to Sayoko, but Lelouch will want to know about all the details.' Most of what she found was insignificant data, but Cinder still needed to inform him about it. 'Who knows, maybe he will find something useful?'

"By the way, aren't the Glinda Knights in Europe right now?"

Oldrin shook her head. "Not yet, others are getting ready to depart, but I asked Her Highness for temporary leave to check on my brother."

"Figures." Cinder commented as the two made their way inside the building. "How's your brother?"

"He is fine, I feel like he is getting used to his position, which isn't really good." Oldrin didn't want Orpheus to spend his life there, but until her brother was pardoned she couldn't do anything. From what she understood, Orpheus was questioned by Leila Malcal who frequently visited him before returning to Europe. Oldrin didn't know what the two of them were talking about, but she was told he was assisting the empire and that if whatever lady Malcal worked on turned out successful, her brother might be freed.

"Hmm..." Lelouch said that this Orpheus was used to help Leila improve her Geass, but right now he was wasting time behind bars. Perhaps it might be worthwhile to employ his talents while the blonde messiah was away? Cinder wasn't going to let him anywhere near KMF, but if she spread the rumours about the former Peace Mark leader working for Britannia it could force Wizard to act.

'After all, it is his nephew. Instead of Oldrin I can use him as bait.'

"What are you thinking about?" Oldrin raised her eyebrow.

Cinder waved the question away. before she eyed Oldrin's slim figure. "Just thought your uniform suits you."

"Pfff, I bet you were thinking about something nefarious. Don't even think about harming my brother." This made the black-haired beauty laugh.

"Come on. Oldrin. Do you think I would do something that would put your or your brother's lives in danger?"

"Yes," Oldrin said with a straight face. "Why are you even following me? Wait, don't tell me that the second knight of the round wants to spend time with me?"

"Don't get full of yourself. I was just nearby and heard that you were heading here. I was curious to see how you will speak to your criminal brother." Cinder wanted to offend her, but it didn't work. The knight of honour was used to her insults by this point.

"Wait, don't tell me Cinder Fall was lonely. What? Can't spend too much time away from our emperor?" Oldrin asked with a known grin.

From the way Marrybell spoke about Cinder outside work-related matters, it became obvious that the knight of the round and her lord had something going on. Not that Oldrin was going to ask her friend about it. Few people outside the emperor's inner circle knew about Lelouch's love life and it might be better if Marrybell didn't know about it for a little longer.

"What woman doesn't want to spend more time with her lover?" Cinder didn't see the point of denying it. After all, once she will become Lelouch's Empress, Oldrin will be among those who will bow to her. As for a blonde knight, she looked surprised but nodded.

"Huh, I guess you're right - Not that I know anything about it!" Oldrin quickly added with a red face. "I just mean, it must be nice to have a boyfriend-"

"Fiancee." Cinder corrected her and enjoyed the reaction Oldrin showed to her.

Blush was replaced with wide-eyed shock, as the knight of honour asked, "W-wait, for real?!" When Cinder nodded, Oldrin looked away. "Oh. Oh."

Marrybell wasn't going to like it.

"I'm sure her highness will give me her blessing once you will tell her about it, Oldrin." The girl before her froze, embarrassed expression was replaced with dread. Cinder wanted to take a picture right now. "Good luck, you will need it."

"Haha… oh god." Oldrin felt a cold chill run down her spine at the idea of telling her friend this news. Nope, let someone else be an unlikely victim of the princess's rage.

The two of them continued their walk in silence as they went past several checkups. No one was going to turn down the knight of the round and Oldrin had permission to visit the prisoner. Soon they were standing before Orpheus' cell. Two legionaries were standing guard as the former leader of Peace Mark was too valuable and Lelouch didn't want something to happen to him.

Oldrin turned to Cinder. "Sorry, but could you give us some privacy."

"Very well, but I would like to speak with this Orpheus as well. Who knows, maybe I will manage to get a pardon for him." Cinder innocently smiled. "Of course, after he will offer his service to His Majesty."

Oldrin thought about arguing against it but stopped. If Cinder does it, her brother might be pardoned for his past crimes.

"Thank you, Cinder." Oldrin said before entering the cell, leaving the second knight of the round confused.

'... Did she misunderstand me or was my threat not clear enough? I did try to threaten her brother… am I getting soft? Uhh, without Lelouch near me, irritating others isn't as fun.' Cinder did miss Lelouch, especially after he gave her a special gift. 'I have the power that is punishment to others but to me, it is a blessing. After all, who doesn't like a power boost?'

Geass was a scary power, Cinder won't deny it. It terrified her at first, but she quickly saw the opportunity with it. Lelouch's Geass gave him absolute authority above others if he wished and it could be used to increase personal combat abilities. The Black Knights were fools to turn against him because of their fear. Where others saw only a curse, Cinder saw the miracle that would grant her power.

Cinder walked away from the cell until she was far enough away from earshot. The last thing she needed was for Oldrion to hear her. The black-haired knight pulled out a pocket makeup mirror and stared at her face.

'Lelouch said I need to think about the situation where my command will activate. I thought it would work in Brazil, but it didn't. I need more practice.' Cinder liked the amber colour of her eyes, but there was something intoxicating about imagining her eyes with a red circle of Geass around them. As it will be a proof of her standing and Lelouch's trust. She will also need to report about her progress in using her command. Besides thinking about her new power, the knight checked herself.

"This won't do," Cinder placed fingers on the corners of her lips and stretched them, making a smile appear on her face. Her eyes shined with determination, with purpose. "Smile, Cinder, your life is perfect and you will keep it that way."

'After all, Lelouch said I must protect his dream and crush anyone who will dare to oppose them.'

Such was the wish of her emperor and lover, and so Cinder will obey.

However, in the next moment, something happened. The siren rang across the entire capital, stopping any activity within the city. The lights within the prison flashed red as shouts were heard outside.

'This isn't good.' Pendragon was under attack. However, Cinder was too far away from her Amber. She needed to get out of here, but first, she needed to make sure her bait was alive. 'Oldrin should be happy to have such a friend like me.'

Cinder thought as she made her way towards the cell.

'That reminds me, I need to check on James Stadtfeld. I did get him a secured plane to Japan. I wonder if he managed to meet his-'

However, before Cinder could take any step, the ceiling above her collapsed.

Oiagros Zevon, also known as Wizard, stared at the city beneath him.

'Once this place was my home before I tore down my own family.' How many years has it been since he left Pendragon and Britannia? All this time he was away, his own niece was turned against him, but he won't repeat the same mistake. 'Orpheus, I will get you out of this mess, I promise.'

Wizard's Agravain flew above the capital, looking down on its defenders that were appearing out of shadows.

"What is our status?" He asked over the private channel.

One of his comrades, a Sutherland with an air unit flew next to him.

"We got the imps attention. They're pulling out big guns to shoot us down."

Wizard scanned the sky above the city. "That monstrous ship isn't here so we should be fine. Remember, we're here to rescue one of Peace Mark's leaders, nothing else."

"Well, we don't have enough firepower to fight for too long anyway."

Sadly, even with all Pluton resources used for this operation, Wizard wasn't able to organize an assault squad strong enough to pierce palace defence and kill the emperor brat.

'He isn't in the city anyway. Schneizel doesn't know about this operation, but he wouldn't understand anyway. What that man might know about a true family bond.' His Agravain aimed its hadron cannons at the nearest Vincent Ward that was rushing at them. The improved aim system found its target and destroyed one of Lelouch's slaves. "We just need to distract them long enough. Follow the plan and everything will be fine."

"You are the boss." The Sutherland pilot replied before following Wizard as the Agravain flew towards the enemies with intent to wreak havoc.

Back inside the prison, Cinder Fall tried to stand up but was stopped by fallen debris that had fallen on her.

'Fuck.' Slowly she started to dig herself out of this mess. Soon she was free but the problems didn't end there. The corridor behind her was buried underneath the debris, cutting her off from Oldrin. She looked around but found no one near her. Cinder was on her own. "How nice."

She needed to get out and examine the situation. Attacking Pendragon was a death wish. Even without Nemesis or all the Knights of the Round within the city, the capital had enough soldiers to protect itself. Whoever was behind this had a plan, was crazy to think they will get away with this. Was the attack on this prison a calculated move to take her out? Unlikely, she decided to visit this place last minute because of Oldrin. Most likely prison was among the first targets to spread chaos, Cinder lacked information to make any coherent decision.

The Second Knight of the Round pulled out her communicator to learn about the situation outside, but it didn't work. It was severely damaged during the first hit. Coming to a decision, Cinder started to move towards the exit, at least the path wasn't buried. The knight was lucky she didn't break anything, without first aid getting to her Amber would be troublesome.

However, on her way towards the exit she saw something. Two men, not in soldier uniform walking within the prison and try to find something. Those two had light gear, bulletproof vests that covered their bodies but left an opening, their throats in particular…

They didn't look like heavy-duty soldiers, most likely KMF pilots. Cinder hid behind the corner, watching how the two of them were checking the main hall. The first hit managed to take out the majority of the prison personnel, those who survived weren't able to get free of the debris before two soldiers gunned them down.

"The target should be inside his cell." One of them said and the second one nodded before turning towards the halfway where Cinder was hiding.

The female knight took cover before they saw her, trying to find her personal handgun but finding that it was missing. Most likely it was lost under the debris. Cinder swore under her breath, checking if her military knife was still on her. After checking her boot, she quickly pulled out the sharp object, satisfied that she wasn't fully unarmed.

'This will do.' Cinder glanced at the knife before hiding it under her torn cape, thinking about how to deal with those thugs. An idea formed in her head as Cinder raised her hand in surrender and walked out of her cover.

'This might be a good chance to learn more about enemy forces and test my command in such a situation.' She didn't have time to interrogate them.

"Don't shoot!" She faked fear as two men aimed at her.

"What the- who the hell are you?!" Her uniform was damaged and because of the red light flashing those two couldn't recognize her.

"I-I'm one of the prisoners!"

They looked at each other, their rifles still aimed at her. "Bullshit, this place has only one prisoner."

'So they're after Oldrin's brother, I can't allow them to get him.' Cinder narrowed her eyes before speaking. "I-it was but they throw me in a cell only today, all because I dared to speak against their tyrant emperor!"

"So you're an activist?"

"Yes! I even know where they're holding another prisoner, a blonde teenager."

"That's our target." One of them whispered and another one nodded before walking to Cinder.

"Okay girl, show us where that guy is and we'll help you go free."

"That sounds wonderful, thank you!" She smiled. "By the way, are you enemies of Emperor Lelouch?"

Now one of them was within her arm's distance, close enough to act. However, Cinder wanted to use Lelouch's gift for a situation like this.

One man looked confused but confirmed it. "We're Peace Mark, the ones who will bring down Britannia and its child emperor to his knees. Now, turn around and show where another prisoner is."

"So you're the enemy of Lelouch and his dream."

Cinder's expression turned emotionless before a wicked smile formed on her face.

Before either of the two men could react, Cinder moved faster than light. She closed the distance between herself and the enemy, her fist aiming for his windpipe. As it made contact, she managed to stun the man as he struggled to breathe. His friend didn't lower down his rifle, but he couldn't shoot with his buddy in the middle. Cinder capitalized on that as she grabbed the stunned gunner and used him as a meat shield. The bastard was heavy, but she had another target. The second knight ignored the limits of her body, pushing her shield forward.

The second man dodged to the side when Cinder pushed his friend forward. However, his rifle wasn't aimed at her, giving Q2 a moment to dash forward, her left hand pulling out the hidden knife. Her enemy immediately started to shoot in her direction, but Cinder managed to slide towards him. Cinder rose up on one knee and before he could react, her knife cut through his throat.

His rifle fell to the ground as the White Queen stood up, not breaking contact with the dying man as he tried to stifle the blood loss, to say anything, but the blade made any attempt meaningless. She stared down at him impassively as life left his eyes.

Those insects dared to challenge Lelouch's rulership?


Cinder pulled her knife out of the dead man as he fell to the ground. She did notice he was carrying a sidearm and took a pistol for herself. His friend was still on the ground, trying to normalize his breath but before he could do anything, Cinder walked past him with one quick shot to the head. She didn't even bother to look at the corpse, they weren't important. The second knight made her way outside, those two most likely came with Knightmares. Worst case scenario, she would take one of their machines. Hopefully, she wouldn't need to.

On her way towards the exit, Cinder saw the ruins and corpses of the guards. Most of them died from the initial attack. Some were buried under the rubble, some shot. None of it mattered to her right now. Soon she found the entrance she and Oldrin used not so long ago. When she went outside, the second knight was greeted with the sight of Knightmares and soldiers.

Britannian soldiers.

The squad was from the local garrison, but they were not soldiers from Lelouch's personal legions. They had six Vincent Wards and two hounds with them, near them she saw two old Vincent models. Most likely they were used by two men she killed. She was a little disappointed that they weren't from the white legion or had more firepower, but they will do.

"My lady!" the closest one saluted. "We didn't expect to see you here. Do you require medical he-"

"Oldrin Zevon and the important prisoner are still stuck under the prison ruins. Dig them out and escort them to the safe location, quickly."

The soldier wanted to respond but was interrupted by the sound of something flying above them. Their Knightmares quickly took the defensive position as something flew with high speed over their heads. Cinder narrowed her eyes.

"What was that?"

"The enemy Knight of the Round."

"Excuse me?" Cinder raised her eyebrow.

"I-I mean the traitorous Knight of the Round!" The soldier quickly corrected himself. "They appeared out of nowhere and were attacking random locations."

'Strange.' Why would the knights of the round attack the capital while Lelouch was away? Just to free Orpheus Zevon? But why? If they want to take the city, the enemy will just waste resources and manpower. To use F.L.E.I.J.A? The two men from before were from Peace Mark and Lelouch did say that Wizard most likely will cooperate with his brother. However, if they had the warhead why not use it from the start and take out half to the city and its Britannian forces?

'And Knights of the Round don't just fly over the enemies. The majority of their Knightmares aren't that fast.' The thing that flew over Cinder seconds ago was too quick for KMFs unless it was using energy wings. 'Something isn't right.'

"What about the royal palace? What is the situation there?"

"Protected by the second legion." The soldier from before answered. "The invaders broke into small groups and spread around the city, the majority of them near the palace. The enemy Knights of the Round tried to attack it but didn't break through the defence."

'Why are they wasting time? The palace is useless without the emperor there. The entire city could be destroyed and nothing of value would be lost.' Peace Mark came here for Orpheus Zevon, but were former Knights of the Round acting as a distraction? Too risky even for them. 'It doesn't make sense.'

"I need a Knightmare." Her dear Amber was in the palace hangar. If the enemy was focusing its attack there, trying to get her personal Frame might be dangerous. Cinder didn't even know if the attackers were the real deal. 'Suzaku Kururugi uses energy wings, if he was in the city I would see it by now. No, there is something more to this attack.'

"Agh, of course, my lady-!" Cinder didn't bother to listen to him, taking away his activation keys and climbing inside one of the regular Vincents.

'Not my Amber, but it should do the trick.' She eyed the collapsed prison before turning her machine towards the two drones. "Hounds aren't useful in air combat, you two will stay and rescue Oldrin Zevon and her brother."

The AI recognized her voice and followed the order, Cinder ordered ground troopers to secure the area while she would take KMFs with her. The Britannian war machines rose up in the air. Once they were high enough, Cinder looked over the city.

Pendragon was hit hard. Different parts of the city were covered by the smoke, most likely from explosions similar to one that destroyed the prison. However, she quickly picked up on the sounds of fighting around them. Cinder tried to contact anyone, but the Knightmare radio wasn't working.

"Enemy is jamming our signal, my lady." The Knightmare next to her commented. Cinder clenched her fist before, closing her eyes and trying to analyze the situation.

'Even with help of Schneizel, the Peace Mark wouldn't waste so many resources on the pointless all-out attack. They lack the manpower and will try to save it for something bigger than attacking the capital without Lelouch here. So, most likely our quest will try to divide and conquer.' Divide their limited forces into smaller teams and attack distant locations, forcing defenders to spread their Knightmares around the city. 'The royal palace will be the most obvious place to attack and they know it. White Legions stationed there will defend it until the last man, but Peace Mark doesn't need to fight them. Does Peace Mark just need to distract the main forces while some of them will try to free Zevon? He has Geass, it does make sense why they would want him.'

Cinder eyed the soldiers and hounds on the ground as they were digging through the ruins of the royal prison. If her theory was correct, she would need to defend this position and wait while enemy manpower would be cut down by city defenders. However, without any connection to the palace or any squad nearby, she couldn't call for reinforcements. Staying there by herself won't be too useful, the enemy might have a secret weapon in the form of F.L.E.I.J.A. in which case she needs to be on the move. However, since the Peace Mark sent only two pilots to the prison, it meant that they didn't know the exact location of Orpheus Zevon.

'I could try to free Oldrin and secure her brother. Maybe even use him as a meat shield against the other Peace Mark soldiers, they won't kill him. However, digging them out will take time and I don't know if the enemy has more secrets up their sleeve. I need to take risks and act quick. Besides-' Cinder looked up at the sky, where the object that was supposed to be a former Knight of the Round was flying with incredible speed. 'I need to see if those guys are the real deal and take them out.'

One of the Vincent Wards flew closer to her as the pilot asked. "My lady, what are your orders?"

"We are going after those so-called Knights of the Round. They're enemies of his majesty's dream. And I will destroy any enemy of my Emperor."

Cinder eyed the surrounding area. The ground troops were slowly but surely taking care of the Peace Mark. Enemy KMFs were small in number, but since communications were cut off there was no organized command structure amongst Britannian soldiers. The smaller groups were trying to get rid of the isolated enemy unit, unable to cooperate with the rest of the forces. Because of this advantage, PM pilots had more space to act. Since the palace was believed to be under attack, the majority of forces were there, protecting the empty place since no one could send them after more important targets.

'And I have only a small number of Knightmares under my command.' Cinder was piloting a regular Vincent Ward while five others accompanied her. Not enough to take out every enemy in the city, but she didn't need to do that. 'Something is jamming the communications, we need to find it and destroy it.'

However, the only enemy unit near them was the supposed Knight of the Round, flying in the skies above them. If it was the real deal, then it would be - for lack of a better word - a pain in the ass for Cinder, especially without her dear Amber. Taking it out first might make the situation more clear. And that's why her unit was getting ready for the hunt.

"It is only one enemy KMF, it won't be able to sustain fire from several directions at once unless it has shields. We need to slow it down before shooting it down, my lady." One of her pilots suggested.

Cinder eyes scanned across the sky. "Do we have a spear?"

"Ah, y-yes?" The Knightmare behind looked around until one of the Vincent Wards offered its spear. "Yes, we have my lady."

"Excellent, now listen to me very carefully-"

"W-what just happened-?"

Oldrin groaned as she tried to stand up, but froze when she felt someone's body above her.

She opened her eyes and saw her brother, covering, using his own body to protect her. Oldrin paused before a small smile formed on her face.

"Orpheus, I'm fine." As she said it, her brother opened his eyes before quickly moving away.

"Good, the last thing I want is for Britannians to pin another crime on me."

Oldrin rolled her eyes. "Do you have any idea what that was?"

"Most likely an explosion. Someone either tried to repeat my attempt from Berlin or the city is under attack." His sister's eyes went wide.

"Attacking Pendragon? That's madness! This city is the most guarded place on the planet."

Orpheus smirked. "Didn't stop people then, didn't stop them now. I heard Lelouch was on his tour around the empire, maybe someone decided to ruin his shiny palace while the White Emperor wasn't looking."

"Not funny, Oz. We could have died." Oldrin looked around the cell. The selling almost collapsed on them, they were alive by pure luck." Maybe it's Schneizel or the Peace Mark?"

"I doubt it is the latter. Peace Mark doesn't have resources for an open fight with Britannia." Orpheus said with regret in his voice.

"I dunno, Oz. They seem like a desperate bunch who might try to do something like this. After all, a lack of resources didn't stop them from trying to assassinate His Majesty in the middle of the city with the public in reach." Oldrin gave her brother a deadpan look. "Your old friends are crazy enough to do something like this."

"Oz, please." Orpheus sighed. "There is no point for them to-"

"You." Oldrin realised as she stood up and took her brother's arm. "They're here for you."

"What- Oz, Peace Mark has policies about stuff like this. They don't rescue leaders of different PM cells!" Orpheus always knew that if something would happen to him, other PM groups wouldn't put their necks for him, and he was fine with it. "They don't help people like me, who are as good as dead."

"You aren't dead and nothing will happen to you while I'm still alive." It was a promise. Orpheus knew better than to call out his twin sister on this. "Now come on, we need to get out of here. If they're here for you, I need to get you to a safe place."

Oldrin walked towards the door and opened it. However, it immediately fell forward. She winced as she entered the hallway, trying to find anyone but finding only two corpses. Those guards were from the emperor's White Legion and were ordered to guard her brother no matter what. Now they were buried under rubble, a terrifying death, but at least the way outside wasn't completely covered by ruins. There was a small passage, wide enough for a person.

"Come on, brother, we need to get out," Oldrin said as she started to crawl out of the thought passage. She had tried to put the dead bodies in a more dignified position, but it would take a while to dig them out in the first place. She let out a sigh, silently praying for them.

Her brother didn't feel the same way.

For him, they were nothing but brainless toy soldiers of Lelouch, but to his sister, they were comrades in arms. He moved past them and went after his sister, picking up a handgun one of them had. Dead men didn't need their weapons anymore. And so Orpheus couldn't help but ask a question.

"Say, Oz. Why are you serving Britannians?"

"Not the best time for a chat, Oz. We're kind of busy right now."

Orpheus pressed on. "Don't try to change the subject. I know you, the small shy girl who always hid behind our mother whenever someone tried to speak with you. I can't see that girl serving the nation that benefited from the suffering of others."

"Correction, you knew me before disappearing from my life for a decade, leaving me without any family and only Marry to rely on." Oldrin said with slight annoyance in her voice, "We grew up, Oz. I became my best friend's knight of honour while you become a terrorist-"

"Freedom fighter-"

"That's what they all call themselves. I saw those so-called 'freedom fighters', some of them aren't any better than the worst pureblood jerk. One time, one group called the Wings Of Talleyrand tried to attack Pendragon, they didn't like the way the empire was governed. They didn't hesitate to kill civilians in the city either. While serving under Marry I saw how people tried to fix the empire through violence. Many innocents died." Oldrin glanced at him with a bittersweet expression. "I know that the old Britannia wasn't the best place for many people and that many will prefer it gone, but it was our home and someone has to protect it. Be it an enemy from within or outside."

"Protection from the nations Britannia conquered?"

"Protection from the likes of Peace Mark who won't hesitate to sacrifice innocent lives. From the likes of a Wizard who would kill their own sister to gain power." Oldrin raised her tone, forcing him to look down. "Let's not talk about it while we're trying to get out of this trap, please Oz."

Orpheus said nothing but decided to obey his sister on this matter. The two continued to move towards the exit or hoping there was an exit at all.

In the air above the city, the battle continued.

The forces of Peace Mark were running out of time. Pendragon's defences were caught off guard and temporarily lost communications, but were still able to engage them in a fight. The Britannian side had enough firepower to defend, but without a clear understanding of enemy position and numbers, any counterattack was risky. Some saw among the enemy ranks some kind of upgraded Gareth Knightmare that was able to destroy any machine within its sight. Others commented about the Knight of the Round being somewhere in the city, but without connection to her, Cinder Fall's location was unknown. However, the most worrying rumour was the supposed appearance of traitorous Knights in the city.

No one saw the Knights of the former emperor, but it was said that the palace was attacked by one of them and now they were terrorizing the sky. None of the soldiers dared to test this rumour, even the White Legion soldiers preferred to remain on their post and guard the palace until either reinforcement arrived or communications had been fixed. Needless to say, the defenders were playing into the Peace Mark hand right now.

However, Cinder Fall didn't intend to leave it like this for too long.

"My lady, we have a visual on the enemy."

Cinder stared at the monitor inside her temporary Knightmare. The first thing she noticed was how blurry the image was, she couldn't make anything out of it. Whatever it was, their tech couldn't capture it. Either it was too fast or the enemy was using some kind of cover to conceal its presence.

Cinder bit her lip before ordering her soldiers. "Rely on regular cameras. Follow the plan, force it to move where we want it to go."

The five Vincent Wards flew in different directions as she ordered them to do, while Cinder focused on the unknown enemy machine before her. She noticed something strange. It was flying in a somewhat predictable manner, only changing its course whenever Britannian Knightmares were nearby to avoid direct contact. It always kept its distance.

'It doesn't want to fight us, only flying to either distract us… or was it something else?' Was it waiting for some kind of opening in their defences? Maybe the traitor inside didn't bother to fight regular soldiers and was waiting for a real challenge? No, such a method didn't match the fighting style of any known traitor. Scum like Suzaku and Bismark preferred to fight directly, not running around the battlefield. Other Knights under the command of Charles didn't fight like this either.

Her thoughts were interrupted by the signal from one of her Knightmare units as it engaged the enemy machine. The unknown machine was flying above her, not even bothering to try attacking her. However, it didn't take too long for her soldiers to make their move. The purple Knightmare of the empire appeared in her view as it quickly closed the distance between itself and the enemy.

The sole Vincent Ward used its assault rifle and opened fire upon the enemy, but it immediately dodged the shots. However, Cinder didn't expect it to be so easy. The enemy machine changed its direction and started to fly where she wanted it to go.

'It doesn't even try to shoot back.'

A lack of armaments then? Why even bring a unit that cannot fight back and flies around instead? Soon, another one of her Vincent Wards showed up. The friendly machine rose up from the cloud, certainly surprising their opponent as it quickly changed direction again. This time it flew upward, trying to get the distance between them. And once again another Vincent Ward appeared out of nowhere, firing a few shots and sending the enemy away in the opposite direction.

It was no different from a mouse in a maze, constantly scurrying about to find the exit. At this point, Cinder was able to make out separate details of this unknown machine.

For the fourth time, one of her Vincent Wards appeared out of the cloud and startled the enemy as it flew away, towards where Cinder was hiding. The Second Knight pressed the controls of her machine and her Knightmare moved up. She pointed her assault rifle and opened fire. The enemy made it clear that it was capable of dodging their puny bullets, but there was a human factor. It was clear it wasn't a drone, no AI was able to adjust and avoid attacks so quickly. However, if it was a human being controlling the machine, then it was expected for this person to mess up.

'After all, being forced to retreat several times in a row and being shot at would make anyone twitchy, especially on the battlefield.' The human brain could only endure so much before it started to make mistakes, such as missing important details.

The pilot of the enemy machine was most likely exhausted from being chased and having no way to fight back. That's why when it tried to fly away again, it didn't notice how something fell on it from the sky.

The fifth and last Knightmare under her command dived down, the battle spear in its hand aimed at the enemy. Cinder ordered the final Vincent Ward to wait outside the area as she wanted to surround the enemy and wait until the opportunity arose. The spear made contact with the side of the enemy machine as it sparked and smoke billowed out. Once it was damaged, her monitors were able to finally distinguish the unknown Knightmare before her.

Except, it wasn't a Knightmare.

Cinder blinked as she rubbed at her eyes. It was a-

"Fighter?" Cinder couldn't understand what a relic of the past was doing here. With the introduction of the Knightmare Float System, the old military air force was practically phased out, at least in Britannia. Especially when something like energy wings was introduced. Europe tried to use their air forces against Britannia during the last war, but the empire's airships and Knightmares showed who was the new ruler of the sky. So what were one of these fighter jets doing here, in Pendragon?

As she thought about it, the enemy fighter was carefully pried off of the Vincent's spear, the Knightmare holding with both hands. Inside the cockpit, they could see the unlucky fighter pilot tremble with fear. Not surprising when your machine was in the hands of a literal war robot. One wrong move and the pilot would be crushed by the metal fingers.

"My lady, I think it is some kind of modified model of the standard Russian fighter." The Vincent Wards flew next to her, now that their supposed Round was taken care of.

"Russian? But how did it manage to mask its presence on our sensors?" They wouldn't even show if it was actually Knightmare. Even monitors would show blurry images. However, now that Cinder took a better look at this thing she noticed how its wings were covered with some mechanism that stood out. It looked like a crudely put armour set on top of the wing but didn't fall off during the flight. "Is it some kind of stealth technology?"

Where did the Russian fighters get it? Russia was quiet since the war, now part of the Commonwealth under Lelouch control. Cinder didn't even see these things back during the war. The Vincent Ward next to her shook the fighter like it was some kind of toy before speaking.

"What should we do with it, my lady?"

Cinder thought about it before taking away the fighter and bringing the cockpit closer to the head of her Knightmare, making sure the enemy pilot was focused on her. She could see how the man inside the fighter tried to back away but had nowhere to go or hide. With a cold ice voice, Cinder spoke.

"Unless you want me to forcibly open the cockpit and toss you outside you will answer my questions. Do I make myself clear?" The terrified pilot quickly nodded. "Perfect, now speak."

The fighter pilot pressed some buttons and soon they heard his voice. "I-I was just a diversion-! He told me to fly around the city, make the Brits think I was some sort of special threat! I don't have any weapons - I swear!"

"What about communications? How are you able to jam them?"

"I-it's our fighters, we have some kind of new jammers-"

"We? You aren't the only one?"

"F-four! There are four of us!"

Cinder looked away, towards the direction of the palace or any other city part. Pendragon has an anti-air defence that should be able to deal with traditional fighters. However, if those models had new jammers and stealth covers, perhaps automated systems weren't able to notice them.

"Turn it off immediately." Cinder hissed, scaring the captured man as he quickly nodded and immediately did as he was told.

Cinder checked her communications and was pleased when she finally had a signal with all other forces. Although there were three other fighters like this, it would appear that with one of them out of the picture, she was able to send a message - however weak it was - to all forces. Cinder didn't waste any time and spoke.

"Soldiers of Britannia! Hear my words! This is Cinder Fall, Second Knight of the Round! I command all of you-"

Oiagros Zevon aka Wizard wouldn't admit it out loud, but there was something calming down about destroying Britannian Knightmares.

Wizard moved his machine, dodging a missile flying next to him before bringing his Agravain forward and firing its hadron cannons. The red ray of death blew up the unfortunate Vincent Ward that was in its way. The pilot smirked under his mask before counting his carnage. Oiagros was always a skilled pilot, bested only by the likes of his sister. The former noble had little issue killing off his countrymen.

'Serving the likes of Lelouch, they are as good as dead.' The boy had a terrifying Geass power and Wizard was sure the majority of his forces was made up of slaves whose will Lelouch took away, at very least they were former purebloods, now conscripted legionnaires. 'They are also the ones who cause the most problems.'

White Vincent Wards proved themselves to be a worthy adversary when they had the advantage of numbers. The Agravain had to use more of its firepower to take them down since legionnaires liked to dodge every hadron shot and fly around like flies. However, where his hadron cannons couldn't do it, Wizard's missiles would do the trick. None of them could dodge 14 missiles at once.

As he got rid of another squadron, the Wizard looked around. He and his team weren't close to the palace, so why were white legionnaires there? Last he heard, they were protecting the empty royal palace, unable to understand that they were doing exactly what he wanted.

'My attack force lacks numbers and firepower to take over the city. If we tried to engage them in an open fight, we would be massacred within minutes. Thankfully, there was no need.' He had not come to the capital to take it. Wizard had no use for the damn city, all Oiagros cared about was his nephew who was supposed to be in the city. 'However, none of the search teams I sent reported anything useful yet. We're running out of time…'

While the Peace Mark and Pluton forces he managed to assemble lacked the necessary manpower or powerful weaponry, they had the element of surprise on their side. That and the new device Schneizel provided Wizard with.

'Of course, the former prime minister didn't exactly say to use it here.' The masked man chuckled. In fact, Schneizel didn't even know about this operation. Why would he? Oiagros was there to save his last sane family member, the second prince wouldn't understand him. 'I doubt that bastard knows what it means to care about your family...not that I'm the perfect example either.'

Their new technology was supposed to cut off Britannian communications and coupled with the stealth armour, their fighters would be invisible to the empire's machines. Of course, this technology wasn't supposed to be used on old fighters, it was meant to be carried by other Knightmares, but Wizard had a better plan. Put the jammers and stealth armour on the fighters and watch as they flew circles around the city, rendering the Britannians unable to communicate or even see the enemy. Sadly, one fighter wasn't enough to cover the entire city, forcing him to use four at once to get the desired effect. All he needed to do was divide his limited forces and make them attack different parts of the city, making the enemy believe the attack force was bigger than it actually was. Wizard's forces also managed to hack into Britannian communications and were listening in if the Brits were able to speak with each other. So far all channels remained silent, proving that the jammers were working.

'No idea where Schneizel got those things. I was able to find good old Russian fighters in acceptable condition, but this tech wasn't made by his people.' Schneizel was too busy building his oversized fortress, and Oiagros saw that his engineers struggled to maintain even one Knightmare with energy wings. So where did the second prince get these toys? 'A good question for later, right now I need to focus on finding-'

"Boss, we got news from the search party!" One of his lieutenants piloting an old model of the Platon Vincent spoke up, the Agravain coming to a stop.

"Did they find Orpheus Zevon?" Was his nephew rescued?

"No, they checked all potential places and found nothing. However, one of the teams didn't respond, their signal was lost somewhere in the north of the city."

Wizard paused, it wasn't exactly the news he wanted. However, it meant that Orpheus might be somewhere there.

'North… north - wasn't there a royal prison?' Oiagros recalled what we knew of the capital's layout from the time he had to serve Charles as part of the nobility. 'I thought that place was too obvious. Whatever, at least they didn't hold him in the palace.'

Even with their small advantage, storming the royal palace was out of the question. It was suicide. The Agravain started to fly back, turning towards the direction of the prison. However, Wizard stopped when one of his lieutenants yelled.

"Boss! We lost one of the fighters!"

Oiagros narrowed his eyes under the mask. "How? Did that Nemesis come here?"

"Not sure, but the signal went off. Either the unit was destroyed or captured."

Capturing the fighter in mid-air shouldn't be possible, but Wizard was used to impossible things at this point. But before he could say anything, a voice came from the open channel.

"Soldiers of Britannia! Hear my words! This is Cinder Fall, Second Knight of the Round! I command all of you to go on the offensive! Our enemy was deceiving us! Those insects are nothing but trash from Peace Mark! None of the traitorous Knights of the Round are among their ranks. Our communications are still jammed so aim for the enemy fighters in the sky, destroy each one of them and bring glory to His Majesty!"

This wasn't good. Wizard saw how the Britannians stopped attacking for a moment, most likely regrouping before trying to overrun them. Peace Mark could no longer bluff with false information. He saw how the imperials started to leave their defence positions, going after the numerically inferior groups of Peace Mark. They were losing precious time, and if this continued the magician's forces would be massacred before he was even able to save Orpheus.

"Shit, they figured it out."

"Should we escape?"

"Not without Orpheus! We need him alive. We follow plan B and a secure escape route, I will rescue Orpheus and meet there."

The Knightmare next to him turned towards the supposed escape before asking. "What about those fighters?

Agravain looked at the sky, the female Knight of the Round somewhere up there. He didn't know if this Cinder Fall managed to capture his fighter, but Wizard wasn't going to let her have it. He pulled the detonator and activated the little insurance mechanism.

"She can take whatever will be left of it."

Once Cinder's words reached the soldiers, the flow of battle changed. Britannian soldiers who were until too unsure about the complete situation and didn't want to risk an all-out offence against a powerful enemy were now storming Peace Mark positions.

White Vincent Wards that were guarding the royal palace were now on their way to clean the capital from the trash that dared to attack it. None of the Peace Mark Knightmares were able to stand against the firepower of Gareths that decimated anything that came in their view.

On the streets, the ground troopers were slowly making their way around the city, picking out any hostiles while Hounds jumped from building to building and ambushed the disorganized enemy groups. Peace Mark wasn't winning before, they were merely able to hold the puzzled Britannain forces on the defensive, but now since their tricks weren't working it meant only impending doom for them.

The imperial army in the city was on a rampage and while she couldn't directly lead the attack, they were more than capable of eliminating the now fleeing Peace Mark soldiers. And yet, Cinder couldn't exactly understand the logic of the attackers, they were deep inside the empire, right in its heart. Even if some were able to run, it was only a matter of time until they were all hunted down. Worse still, communications were still not fully operational.

"Can we contact anyone?" She needed to order reinforcements for the Oldrin position quickly.

"We still have issues, my lady. Other units are organising the counter-attack against the enemy, but the channels are too flooded to reach them."

'Well, at least we can hear them. Good enough.' Cinder eyed the city from the sky. She saw the small explosion as KMFs were destroyed, considering the pattern she concluded that their forces were trying to encircle the Peace Mark. "They will be fine on their own, we still need to deal with those fighters."

As she said this, all attention returned to the captured fighter and its terrified pilot. Surely Lloyd would like to get inside this thing and see how it works. The weird scientist will enjoy this gift.

However, what none of them knew, including the fighter pilot, was that there was a safety measure in case the fighters were captured. Wizard didn't want the Brits to get their hands on his new ordinance and he would rather destroy everything than let Lelouch gain anything from it. Inside the fighter was hidden a secret explosive mechanism that none of the pilots knew about.

And it was activated.

"I want this thing to be delivered to-"


The fighter jet exploded while in the hands of the Vincent. Cinder's KMF hadn't flown away too far and was still near it when it happened. The explosion sent one of the fighter's wings flying in her direction. The sharp metal made contact with her Knightmare, piercing its armour and barely missing the Yggdrasil Drive inside the mainframe. But it went further, into the cockpit. Its edge was separated from the wing and flew at Cinder as it made contact with her face, stabbing into her left eye.

The Second Knight of the Round felt a pain that couldn't be compared to anything she had ever experienced. She wanted to scream, but the noise died before it could leave her mouth. Instead, Cinder bit her tongue until she tasted blood. The metal had pierced her eyeball but didn't go further, thankfully leaving her brain relatively safe.

Oh but there was blood inside her cockpit, a lot of it in fact.

'It's alright Cinder, there's just a piece of metal in your head right now.' She grits her teeth, trying her best to force herself to endure pain. 'You won't die… but they will.'

However, her trouble didn't mean she could faint from shock right now, not when her Knightmare was falling from the sky.

The damage done to her Vincent Ward by the explosion and fragments of the fighter was quite severe. Her float system wasn't spared the damage and now it was failing, causing the machine to plummet from the sky.

'I won't die like this! Not now when I finally became someone, when I finally have power!' Cinder forced herself to ignore the pain she needed to survive and prevail.

'He ordered me to slay his enemies, the enemies of his dream. I cannot fail until there are those who will threaten Lelouch and his dream!' After all those years of hiding, being a powerless girl, she wouldn't allow herself to lose right now.

The determination Cinder found to prevail, to protect the happiness she finally managed to secure was enough to make his order active. Her remaining eye turned red, rendering her pain null and void.

The symbol of the emperor's power.

The proof of Lelouch's trust in her.

At last, her Geass Command was activated.

First, she needed to stabilize the control of her KMF. The float system was collapsing, but she managed to slow down Knightmare, using all power to boost the engine forcing it to stay in the air for a little longer.

At least it didn't take too long for the help to arrive. The group of Vincent Wards that flew with her immediately caught her. Two of them helped to hold her machine in the air. At the very least, she won't fall down now.

"My lady! Wh-"

"My bloody eye is bleeding!" Cinder shouted over them as she tried to find a first aid kit. She pulled out the painkiller and bandages. "What is your status?"

"We lost two units because of the explosion, nothing of the enemy fighter was left, my lady."

"My lady! We should escort you outside the battlefield! You're wounded-"

"Doesn't fucking matter! The fight isn't over yet and his enemies are still alive. I won't stop until everyone who threatens my emperor is dead!"

Cinder took the painkillers, she didn't feel the pain now because of Geass, but it didn't mean her body won't collapse at any moment. She touched the edge that stabbed her left eyeball, the bloody thing was still there. Cinder prepared to pull it out but stopped midway. No, she will bleed out if she does it. Cinder knew she shouldn't attempt to remove a foreign body from her eye, but she didn't have time to get medical help. She was still in the middle of the battle.

"Contact anyone near us, the Zevon siblings are the priority right now-"

"My lady, our forces identified one of the enemy units as the Agravain Knightmare-"

Agravain, that Knightmare, it belonged to-

The same person who was behind the death of her mother, the same one who ruined her childhood, the uncle of Oldrin-

"...Wizaaaard." Cinder's hiss was whispered in a cold and deadly tone.

For a moment, she almost considered going after him. There would be no words or pleasantries shared between them if she did, only a primal urge to kill. Her breathing was erratic as she thought of her mother, killed by the treacherous Wizard. Her mother. Killed by the Wizard…

Dead silence ringed through the cockpit, Cinder's expressionless face staring at the monitor so intently it appeared she might be looking beyond. At Wizard. She closed her eye then, wincing in slight pain as she tried to do so with her other eye. When she beheld the interior again, she took a deep breath and followed her Command.

She didn't have the strength to shout or be angry at this point.

The bastard who was responsible for her loss was here in the city, yes, most likely trying to free his nephew.

'No. No matter what, I won't let that son of a bitch get his hands on the Zevon boy.' Even if it will cost her confrontation with Oldrin. "Very well, you're right. I need medical assistance."

Cinder couldn't afford to risk it right now. She would hunt down the Wizard later if need be. She will get her revenge, for her mother and now her eye. However, fighting him right now will be idiotic. The Agravain was said to possess stronger firepower than the famous Gawain. In her state, hoping for regular Knightmares to take Wizard out was too naive.

But that was alright. The man didn't need to go anywhere! She would come for him eventually.

"Contact our forces on the ground, I have instructions for them."

"Of course, my lady."

The two Vincent Wards began to descend, carrying a heavily damaged machine between them. Removing the cockpit was too dangerous when the entire KMF could fall apart at any moment. But the Second Knight of the Round remained calm, saving her strength and giving orders to the soldiers near the Zevon siblings, making them prepare the welcoming party for their uncle.

'Even if I cannot kill you myself, Wizard, I will make sure you won't achieve your goals today.'

Back inside the collapsed royal prison, Oldrin and Orpheus made their way out of their entrapment.

Though they were slowly moving between the collapsed rubble, Oldrin knew that someone would come after them. She was a Knight of the princess while her brother was a prisoner of His Majesty, that alone was enough of a reason to rescue them.

'Little egotistical to be happy that my status is important, but to get Oz outside I will be happy for any help.'

Soon the two of them made it inside the small room that was supposed to be the prison guard room, but half of it was buried. The red emergency light didn't stop flashing above their heads. Sadly, they didn't encounter any living person. Her brother's cell was deep within the prison and both of them were lucky to even survive the initial hit.

However, the most worrying part was the fact that they hit the dead end. Orpheus sat down while she started to look for any way further outside.

"Oz, I won't lie but I don't like our chances to get out of this." Her brother commented, but she waved away.

"Rescue team should be on their way, we will be free at any moment-"

"No, I mean the oxygen. I doubt we have enough before we start suffocating,"

Oldrin paused, he was right. Everything around them was buried under the ruins, and she doubted fresh air was entering this place anymore. This was still the military building and the ventilation should have been able to work even in an emergency situation, but she was afraid her brother was dead right.

She let out a tired sigh. Do or die, what use was there in just sitting around and giving up?

"That doesn't mean we can't try to dig ourselves out," Oldrin said as she started to clean up the debris with her bare hands.

Orpheus stared at her back, a little amazed she didn't look fazed by the likely prospect of death.

"Still hoping for the best." He muttered.

She heard him. "Not hoping, trying to do my best. Now come help me or stop talking, brother."

Orpheus smirked before joining her in clearing the way, still convinced it was a lost cause. But hey, at least they would die trying.

"You know, If we get out of this mess alive, I will do everything in my power to get you out of prison." Oldrin will make sure her brother is a free man, no matter what.

"Oz, stop. I'm considered a terrorist by your empire, you might get into trouble because of me."

She chuckled. "Please, I would like anyone to challenge Marry… Actually, wait, Cinder will definitely do it just to piss me off."

"You're talking about the Second Knight of the Round? She is a scary person." Back during the last EU war, Orpheus heard rumours about how cruel the White Queen of Lelouch was.

"Irritating, that's what she is. Always tries to annoy people." Oldrin whispered to him. "I think she gets off from it."

This made her brother snort, while Oldrin smiled.

'Cinder was right. Even if he was on the enemy side, Orpheus is my family. I shouldn't let anything change it.'

However, for as long as they dug, there were still heaps of rubble obstructing the prison. Large pieces of the building had piled on top, and they couldn't do anything about that. Orpheus and Oldrin tried their best to dig themselves out, but there was little they could do with their bare hands.

Orpheus stared at his sister with a sorrowful look. "Oldrin, if we die here, I want you to know… I wanted to find you. I wanted to reunite with you, but first I needed to stop Britannia."

"... And I didn't even know you were alive all this time, Orpheus… I thought I was alone, the last Zevon. But now I found you again. I was scared, but I'm happy you're alive, brother… although…" She looked around. "I think we're actually going to die here…"

"Hehe, at least I will die next to my sister. That's more than I expected."

Oldrin chuckled. "Marry will be furious, she won't forgive me for this. Is there anyone among those Peace Mark forces who will miss you?"

Orpheus stayed silent, frowning as he remembered his comrades from his Peace Mark cell and how all of them were killed. Perhaps Ray managed to get away, but… there was someone who might be saddened by his death.

"...There is someone… I think she'll angry with me as well-"

"She?" Oldrin looked at him with sparkling eyes. "You never told me there was a girl! I didn't expect you to find someone-"

"What?! It isn't like that!" Orpheus glared at his sister who just laughed. "And what do you mean you didn't expect me to find someone? Is your opinion of me so low, sis?"

"Heh, sorry it is just while being in the cell talking about how you wanted to take down Britannia I got the impression that you're too serious. It was hard imagining you with a girlfriend."

Orpheus groaned as he turned away. "X-she isn't my girlfriend...but she is among those who I can trust with my back." As long as she wasn't trying to drive him mad.

"Hmm…" Oldrin gave him a small smile. "This is nice. Just talking to you like this. No empire or Peace Mark talks, just talking like brother and sister."

"Normal is far from what I would call us, but I will admit I like this peaceful atmosphere. Don't know how long it will last though."

Oldrin turned towards their exit and began to dig the way out again. She finally had her brother back and she wasn't letting some crazy terrorist take it away from her. Orpheus noticed her regained motivation and started to help. Dying like this wasn't the way he wanted to go out anyway. The two of them couldn't do too much on their own, but thankfully they weren't alone.

Soon they heard a strange noise, whirring like a machine. Oldrin stopped and took a few steps back, her brother following her example. The noise was getting closer and soon they saw how the rubble before them started to shake as the giant metal hands made their way inside and cleared the way. It was a Knightmare, and from the looks of it, it looked like the Alexander. It meant Hounds were saving them. Oldrin's face beamed with happiness to see her allies while Orpheus had mixed feelings about being saved by drones that were killing his people back in Europe.

In a few moments, the new exit was made as the wall of debris and the ceiling above it were removed by the Hounds. The Zevon siblings stared at the battle machines above them and helped them to escape this prison. A Britannian soldier quickly moved to the newly made entrance and offered his hand to Oldrin. Once she was outside, she turned to her brother and offered her hand to him.

Orpheus looked at it, he was surrounded by Brits and behind him was nothing but the ruins of his old prison. Nowhere to run, but he didn't mind staying in their custody a little longer if it meant Oldrin will be there. Someone has to look after her. With a roll of his eyes, he accepted her hand. As they were finally outside, the sounds of battle still raged around them, the attackers and his potential comrades were still in the city.

"What now?"

"Now we-"

However, before his sister could finish, one of the Hounds was shot down. The drone exploded next to them, killing the Birttanian who helped them. On instinct, Orpheus moved to cover his sister. When the two of them looked in the direction where the shot came from they saw a familiar Knightmare. The second Hound lunged forward in an attempt to destroy the hostile newcomer but was quickly eliminated by a hadron shot.

The Agravain and a group of Peace Marks KMFs appeared above them. Wizard then.

Their uncle.

Orpheus stared at the Agravain.

This unit and its pilot saved him once in the past. But it didn't mean he had a relationship with the man piloting it. Although he won't admit it, Orpheus always hoped that his sister was wrong about the identity of the person under the moniker of Wizard.

There was a pregnant silence as neither of the sides made any move. Peace Mark Knightmares took the defensive position, with the Agravain in the middle, floating before the nephew and niece of its pilot. Soon the giant machine kneeled before the failed assassin as the masked figure made his way out.

Wizard didn't change, still playing the game of masquerade, even if his family and empire already knew who was behind the ridiculous mask. Their uncle stood on the left shoulder of his Knightmare as he spoke.

"Orpheus Zevon." Wizard spoke with a neutral tone, perhaps hoping his nephew will play along with this charade.

However, Orpheus was done with playing games with people around him. He had to endure imprisonment in Lelouch's prison and didn't have patience left. Especially when his dear uncle almost killed him and Oldrin.

Speaking about his sister, she glared at the masked individual. Oldrin had her hand on a handgun, ready to act if the opportunity would be presented. Killing the leader of this Peace Mark group will be suicide, for both her and Orpheus.

Orpheus took a deep breath before speaking. "What do you want, Oiagros?"

His uncle didn't even flinch, he knew that his little niece won't stay silent about his identity.

"So, Oldrin told you everything. I see." No emotion was heard in his tone, but with the mask in the way, Orpheus couldn't make anything else out. "As for the reason why I'm here, well I'm sure you understand why, Orpheus."

"My Geass."

Wizard nodded. "I'm pleased that you understand your value. In that case, what would you say about helping us destroy Britannia?"

Wizard offered his hand to Orpheus, knowing very well that his nephew despised their homeland just as much as the masked man did. Together they would get rid of this cancer for good.

All that is left is for Orpheus to make the right choice.

"Do you have a visual on Wizard?"

The voice of Cinder Fall rang inside the ear of a Britannian sniper who was hiding among the ruins of nearby buildings.

"Negative, my lady. The target is covered by his Knightmare. Can't take the shot."

Since the communications were partially restored, the Second knight ordered every available KMF to secure the Zevon siblings. However, with Wizard and his followers making their way towards the prison as well, the operation was temporarily halted.

Not to mention that Cinder was wounded and couldn't fight properly herself, so the next best thing she came up with was using ground troopers to get information about the masked terrorist. The closest allied forces were fighting their way towards the prison, but Peace Mark put up the fiercest fight there. They wouldn't allow anyone to stop them from accomplishing their mission as long as it meant the destruction of Britannia would be achieved.

For those reasons, Cinder Fall ordered this sniper to monitor the situation. He would make sure to report everything that was going between Wizard and the Zevon siblings, as well as act if necessary. Something like if the Wizard offers some kind of deal to the prisoner. The nameless sniper watched through the scope how Orpheus Zevon spoke and nodded about something. The sniper immediately contacted the second knight.

"My lady, Wizard reached out his hand towards Orpheus Zevon."

"Do you have a visual of the boy?"

"Affirmative, my lady."

On another hand of the line, Cinder Fall was silent for a moment before speaking. She knew what should be done in case things went wrong. And yet, she was hesitating. Not because of Orpheus, but because of Oldrin. The girl finally got part of her family… it was a shame she might lose it again.

"... If the Zevon boy takes a step towards Wizard, eliminate him immediately."

"As you wish, my lady."

Orpheus never suspected Wizard to know about Geass, but then again he didn't suspect the masked bastard to be his uncle either. The revelations Oldrin shared with him made male twin question everything he knew about their childhood. The last time he saw Oiagros was before he was kidnapped and sent to Geass Order. Back there he almost forgot about his family and after escaping that place, he was focused only on his crusade against Britannia.

However, he always suspected someone would come after him. Adding onto the fact that he was kept at the capital primarily because Leila Malcal needed a target practice for her Geass, that made it obvious that Orpheus will be freed only because of his power.

"That and-" Wizard stopped himself. "No, your power is all that matters, boy. Come with me, I will make sure you will get another fighting chance against Lelouch and his Britannia."

That...sounded tempting to Orpheus, He made it his goal to take down Britannia, getting revenge against Lelouch for taking away his PE cell and friends will be welcome as well. If he was offered this deal months ago, Orpheus would have agreed in a heartbeat, but there was something that made him hesitate.

"That's it? You finally see your family again and all you can speak about is fighting Britannia?! Not even going to apologise for almost killing us?" Oldrin shouted furiously as she stomped closer to the Agravain. "Or say anything about the fact you killed our mom?"

"Oldrin." Wizard spoke with what sounded like regret. "You're still as naive as back then in Brussels. Still acting like a dog to the empire that will toss you away once you're no longer useful."

"What? Like you did with our family?" Oldrin shouted back. "Because I don't remember you staying behind to raise me or help Orpheus after our mother died. And what right do you have to call me a dog when you killed your own sister for the sake of a title?!"

Under his mask the Wizard grit his teeth, remembering the sacrifice he had to make for the sake of everything he had.

"Stupid girl. You don't even know the full truth of what happened. I had no choice, it was the only option to save our family, including yourself and your brother. Charles was a true monster, he held nothing sacred, the madman would have killed both of you if I didn't obey. His son is no better, he is using both of you. He is using everyone. You don't even know what Lelouch did to get where he is today."

"I don't know what Emperor Lelouch had to endure or sacrifice to achieve his goals, but I do know that with him on the throne, Britannia started to improve. We have finally become the nation that can change this world for the better. But you don't care about that, do you, uncle?" Oldrin clenched her fists. "You just want to blame Britannia for every sin you committed, shifting responsibility for your crimes on someone else. I bet it makes you feel better when you don't need to worry about every life you ruined, including those of your own family."

Wizard - no, Oiagros looked down. He didn't try to argue with her on this matter. Because deep down he knew his niece was right. It was easier to blame the corrupted institution and people at the top.

"You're right, Oldrin." This made her pause, while Orpheus narrowed his eyes. "I'm not a saint and I'm just as guilty as the empire. I will welcome any punishment for the sins I have committed. Be it from anyone else, or either one of you. But only after this nation and that brat are gone."

His sister was surprised by her uncle's words, but only for a moment. "Do you think I'll just let you do it?! I'm the knight of Her Highness, a servant of Britannia, and I will stop anyone who dares to threaten the safety of my homeland."

"You think too much of yourself, Oldrin. What can you do in this situation? Try to shoot me?" Wizard chuckled darkly. "You're the hopeless cause, my dear niece. If you can't see the evil that is Lelouch then you are no better than his slaves. I will not hesitate to treat you like any other brainless imperial doll, Oldrin Zevon."

Wizard returned his attention to Orpheus.

"As for you, I know how much Britannia took from you, Orpheus. We both knew what must be done in order to improve this world. Wouldn't you agree?"

His nephew looked away from both of them. "...Yes. Britannia cannot exist anymore, not after everything it did. All the suffering it has done and caused to the people..."

Under his mask, Oiagros smiled weakly, glad that at least one of them saw reality.

"In that case. Let us fix this world and destroy Britannia together, nephew."

"Orpheus." His sister whispered, scared at the prospect of losing him again. She was terrified of the idea of Orpheus leaving with Wizard. What's worse, if Orpheus left with their uncle, she and the other knights will be ordered to go after him. The last thing she wanted was to fight her own brother.


What about his sister? Orpheus didn't want to leave her behind, mainly because it meant that one day he might fight her. Orpheus wasn't sure if he could do it. Fighting and even killing his sister… no, he won't do it. But Oldrin won't join him either. No matter how many atrocities were committed by their homeland, Britannia was still worthy of being protected in her eyes. And he won't be able to force her to join them either.

'...Maybe if Rai uses his Geass-'

Orpheus froze, feeling like he would vomit any moment from the mere idea of using Geass on his sister. Where did this thought come from?!

'No… no, anything but that.'

He won't allow anyone to do it. Oiagros made it clear he won't think twice about killing Oldrin. Who is to say he won't use something like Geass on her?

'I can't leave Oldrin. I can't let Wizard or anyone else hurt her.'

They lost their mother. Oldrin thought he was dead while Orpheus was too focused on his goal, not even trying to seek out his own sister. They lost their childhood. Forced to endure life on different sides, fighting each other without even knowing they could kill each other one day.

Orpheus took a deep breath as he looked at Wizard, preparing to give his final answer.





"I said no. If I join you, Oldrin will become my enemy. I can't allow that. I want to get rid of Britannia, but I cannot do it knowing that my own sister might die because of my actions."

"You're making a mistake, Orpheus. Many people died today just so you and I could speak. Do their lives and sacrifices mean nothing to you?"

"Don't even try to guilt-trip me, uncle! Of course, I know that all those deaths, Britannian or Peace Mark are my fault as well. If I didn't have this power you wouldn't even have bothered to come here and save me, isn't that right?"

Wizard wanted to say he was wrong, but deep down he knew that Orpheus was right about it. Oiagros needed more Geass users to take down both Lelouch and then Schneizel. He wanted to convince himself that he was doing it for the sake of his nephew as well, but his goals were more important than just saving his family members.

"Your silence is an answer on its own, Wizard," Oldrin commented as she walked closer to her brother. "What are you going to do now? Kill us too?"

"... I can just take Orpheus by force. I still have enough people to make it out of the city and the continent. And-" He waved at the Agravain. "This helper. Orpheus, tell me, what is stopping me from just forcing you to come with me? You want the destruction of Britannia just as much as I want. Are you betraying the goal you and your comrades were fighting for?"

"Never, I will never forgive the lives of people who died because of me, but I'm not going to leave my family again. And no way in hell will I allow anyone to harm my sister." Orpheus glared at him. "Unlike you, I care about my family and I won't spill their blood. I will fight Britannia on my own terms and I won't join someone like you."

Wizard stared at his family as both Oldrin and Orpheus stood side by side, ready to protect each other if needed. There was a long silence as neither side wanted to give in. Not until one of Wizard's men pointed something out.

"Boss, Brits are closing in. Our people are trying to hold them back, but we're running out of time. We need to move right now or we're done-"

Wizard said nothing. What should he say? Say that he couldn't convince his own nephew to go with him?

While his nephew and niece glared at him, Oiagros couldn't help but find something nostalgic about their expressions.

It looked just like the face of his sister.

Finally, Wizard turned away, under the mask, Oiagros hid the expression full of regret that it had come. He needed to make a choice, before-

"Incoming missile!" Someone shouted as his Knightmare dodged the rocket before a second took him out. As his unit exploded, Peace Mark and the Zevon family saw the new units that were moving towards them. Mere capital police KMFs, supported by ground troops but their numbers alone will be enough to slow down Wizard before real forces will come and wipe them out. Their time was up.

Orpheus turned to his sister with intent to cover her from possible shrapnel, but the female Zevon acted first. She grabbed her brother and tossed him behind one of the destroyed walls that now acted as a barrier for them. It won't protect them from the Knightamres but should be good enough against stray bullets. The Britannians were advancing, finally able to break through the obstacles the Wizard left for them. Ground troops had an arsenal and Britanian doctrine taught them how to knock down older KMFs models, while police units would distract Peace Mark.

Wizard didn't bother to hide from the attack, his Agravain acted on its own and raised its hand to protect its pilot, another bonus of working with Schneizel was access to experienced and talented engineers. The masked man made it inside his machine, still more focused on the matter with his family. Once inside, he found them on the screen, hiding from the battlefield. It would be so easy to take them out so Lelouch won't have them...

"...We're leaving. We managed to hit Britannians at their own capital and show them how vulnerable they can be." Plus testing new weapons and their effectiveness should be good enough as well. Besides, it was time to use the last trick up his sleeve and see how effective this gift from Schneizel was.

As Wizard's forces departed, he commanded everyone who was still alive to leave Pendragon, they failed to achieve the main goal, but at least Peace Mark finally managed to challenge the empire in an actual battle. Even if victory was not granted, this should be enough to inspire more people to fight Lelouch. However, when the Agravain rose up in the air, Oiagros pushed the button and activated his escape plan.

Agravain let out the high pitched noise that quickly spread towards other Knightamares, immobilizing them. This trick should have affected all KMFs that weren't protected from this signal. Wizard saw that the police Knightmares froze, but some of his own units weren't spared as they fell down from the sky before being quickly surrounded by ground soldiers.

Zero used something like this on the night of the second battle for Tokyo, a similar trick was achieved by W-0 when they managed to escape Britannian in Rome. He got reports that the majority of more advanced Britannian Knightmares weren't affected by this, but they were confused by an unexpected move from the enemy, and that was good enough for him.

Oiagros looked at Zevon siblings through his Knightmare monitor as he gave them the last message.

"This isn't defeat. We will meet again, but I won't be so kind next time."

"And I will make sure you will be defeated, Wizard." Oldrin shot back while Orpheus stayed silent.

Soon the remaining forces of Peace Mark left Pendragon and the battle was finally over.

Inside the Royal Palace.

Cinder stayed silent, her finger gently touching the place where her left eye once was. While the left side of her face was bandaged, the doctors weren't able to save the organ, the damage was too severe and total removal was necessary. Right now the female knight was still under the effect of the medicine, feeling a little numb to pain. However, her wound didn't mean she forgot her duty. Such was the reason why she was reporting everything that happened.

"That's what happened, my emperor."

Lelouch stared at her with a horrified expression. She could see the fear, sorrow and anger on his face.

Normally Cinder would be delighted to be the focus of her beloved's attention, but right now the situation wasn't romantic… alright, Cinder did feel a little out of it thanks to the drugs dulling her pain, but she knew this wasn't the time to fool around.

'Is it me or did Lulu get taller? Having him right next to me right now would be welcoming and fun.' She had to surpass the indecent thought. This wasn't the right time. 'Of course, we would have to make it fun.'

Right now she was inside her personal quarters in the palace. It had been an hour since the battle ended. The moment Pendragon's connection to the outside world was restored, Cinder immediately contacted His Majesty. Cinder was the only one in the room as she ordered the doctors to leave her alone.

"Both Oldrin and Orpheus Zevon were relatively unscathed and are currently under the protection of the White Legion. "Of course, Cinder didn't expect anyone to try freeing Zevon after the failed attempt by his uncle, but there was a possibility some of Peace Mark's more insane members might try to assassinate him now since he refused to cooperate with them. 'If they can't have him, they might make sure we won't either.'

However, her beloved emperor was more worried about her state.

"I don't care about Orpheus Zevon at the moment, Cinder." Lelouch only needed him as a tool for Leila to improve her Geass, nothing else. Sure, D.S and C.C used him as a hostage to command some X spy, but he only lives because the emperor allows it. If the White Emperor wants the life of the former Peace Mark leader extinguished, it will be over in an instant, damn the consequences.

"Lelouch, I know I have lowered my guard and paid for it dearly, but I'm fine."

"You're missing your left eye, Cinder, I wouldn't call that fine." He spoke with anger in his tone. "Your life is important to me, especially when we're so close to the end. I need you alive and in one piece, so please, be safe."

"... Is this an order?" she gave him a devious smile.

Lelouch glared at her for a moment, before letting out a sigh. "If I must order you to look after yourself, then yes Q2, this is an order. I want you to follow it to the full extent."

Cinder bowed deeply. "If my beloved emperor commands it, then I will obey your command. However, be noted that I prioritize my goals above my life, and you know about my goals by this point."

Both of them knew the feeling of loss and neither wanted to feel it again. Cinder finally found her happiness in this world. She found someone she wanted to serve and make his dreams come true. The White Queen wasn't going to lose any of it.

'Wizard was here. That man, the one who is responsible for the death of my mother. I had a chance to kill Wizard and make him pay for taking her away from me… but I shouldn't let my thirst for revenge overtake me, not like this. I'm the Second Knight of the Round, Lelouch's future empress. Wizard is nothing, not when even his family left him. I will make him suffer, I swear not on my revenge alone, but as my duty before Lelouch.'

Besides, in a twisted sense, it was thanks to the Wizard and the nobility who executed her mother that she was even here today, with Lelouch. So maybe she should thank a former member of Zevon in her own twisted way. She will do something respectful with his ashes, maybe give them to the Zevon siblings.

A cruel and excited smile formed on Cinder's face, just imagining how wonderful it would be. So many ideas...

"Cinder?' Ah, her dearest was calling out to her.

She bowed again. "I will not let you down, My Emperor. What happened today was a mistake on my part. If only I was in my Amber or was more cautious this wouldn't have happened. I promise this is the last time the enemy beats me."

Lelouch shook his head. "Wizard didn't beat you. It was deception that managed to wound you, but he didn't win today. To think Peace Mark would be able to have such technology..."

Cinder nodded. "I suspect that your brother most likely gave them to the Peace Mark."

"Troublesome. If this is anything like what W-0 managed to pull in Rome, I want my people to be prepared next time. Still, if this truly was based on W-0 findings then it would mean… hmm, I will look into it later," Lelouch smirked. "Might be a little insensitive of me to say it, but we didn't come off this accident without gaining something. Besides learning about this new enemy tech and not losing one Zevon sibling, you finally managed to use your Command."

Cinder proudly nodded. Happy to finally use his gift even if the situation was far from desirable. "Yes, my Emperor. I will continue using your gift with pride. It proved to be useful during my… unlucky accident."

If losing her eye was the price she had to pay for being able to her Geass Command, Cinder was fine with it. No power comes for free after all and she was powerful thanks to Lelouch. Cinder wasn't going to let anything or anyone ruin her life anymore.

'I have the power that only the White Death possessed, but where the traitor Kururugi saw the curse, I saw the blessing. Now I should be able to take him out, as well as Scarlet Dragon… that reminds me.'

"Lelouch, there's something I forgot to mention. It's a family matter."

Just imagining the face the Red Lotus will make was worth anything.

Lelouch narrowed his eyes. "Zevon family?"

"Nope, someone far more important." Cinder gave him a small smile. "It is about a man who wants to reunite with his beloved one, and maybe even see his daughter in Japan."

This made her beloved pause, slowly understanding what Cinder was talking about.

"Wouldn't you like to personally oversee the reunion of Kallen's parents, my dear?"





And here we're, hope you liked this chapter :3

I'm fully aware that some people will be disappointed that WIzard got away. Almost like it was some kind of Deus-ex machina scenario...again...maybe I do have a thing for this stuff. But, I kind of needed it? Cinder and Wizard didn't exactly meet each other until now, well, technically they didn't meet each other in this chapter either. Although, Cinder suffering her wound because meeting Wizard face to mask is a low blow to her. Cinder losing her eye might be my attempt to bring one thing RWBY did well back in volume 4 since it made that Cinder focused surely on the main character...also, I love pirate waifus with eyepatches.

Some people might not like the fact that old Knights of the Round didn't appear here, instead of mere dummies. I don't remember the exact reason Knights attacked Pendragon in R2 since it feels like a stupid way to lose powerful knights from a strategic point of view, but a good way to show the strength of Suzaku and Lelouch.

Anyway...since my Genshin story was only a one-shot I will put it here because I want to brag about my rolls, I got Eula today!...after saving for a few months because I failed during her first banner...and it was guaranteed pity since first pity was Jean...Compared to GI, my fgo rolls are luckier which is sad.

Gacha is a bad civ. Please join me in this salty hell and I hope you enjoyed the chapter! See you next time! :D

Editor: Kingpin Lunamaria.