Hey everyone. I know this chapter looks to be a bit short, it's only about seven thousand words after all, and I know it's been awhile since I posted anything, but I have my reasons.
First and foremost, on Christmas Day I found out that I had lost my Uncle suddenly and I was just absolutely numb for a solid week. It was a heart attack and there was just absolutely no way to expect it since he had always taken such good care of himself. I loved him a lot and I am still feeling partially hollow to this day.
With that sort of kickstarting my depression again, I found it really hard to get into the mood to write anything of a decent quality. I had a lot of this done before today, but it was nowhere near my personal standards to where I would feel good about posting it. I would just be posting it to put something out there, it wouldn't be good for you or for me.
I don't know what kind of reputation I have on this site, but I like to think it is one where no one would expect me to put forth half-assed results.
Anyway, on top of that, I also started my final semester of undergrad a few weeks ago. Good news, I'll be graduating this spring and I got into the law school I wanted so I'll be heading there in the fall. Bad news, I seem to have contracted a severe case of senioritis to go along with my depression which I have been attempting to drown out by playing through Fate/Grand Order and binge-watching various anime (the most prominent ones being Fate/Apocrypha and Log Horizon) in an attempt to help me feel better.
Better news. I will have zero summer classes this summer so I should potentially be more free to write for this and Zero's Revolution (I know I typically update both at the same time, but the quality for the next chapter on that one is WAY worse than this one which only needed some touching up, it'll still be awhile before that one gets updated unfortunately).
Unfortunately, I will also be moving over the summer so that extra time might get eaten up quick even before I start my classes in law school. I won't know until summer, but I'm cautiously optimistic.
This'll be the last chapter for at least a month or two I'm sorry to say, but I can promise I will do my best to update as soon as I find myself capable of quality writing.
Disclaimer: I don't own any franchise that is used in this story nor do I make any profit from it whatsoever.
I hope you enjoy this next chapter.
Chapter 12: Let The Rating Games Begin!
Lelouch sat with his arms resting on his knees, relaxing on his bed as he awaited Koneko's arrival so that the pair of them could leave for the ORC clubroom. The battle against Riser would begin in less than half an hour. He had been avoiding Akeno since the last day of training ended, but thankfully the Queen hadn't pressed too hard. Things were complicated enough at the moment without having to answer her confession from a few days ago, not to mention the storm that would result if Koneko was around when the Knight and Queen discussed said confession.
"Ready to go?" Koneko hopped down the last step after he spoke, turning to him with a slight grin. Things weren't exactly smooth between the two of them, but the sight of Lelouch in the jacket she had gotten him as a gift brightened her mood a little bit.
"As ready as I can be." The Rook stated after she took a steadying breath. She was… nervous, there was no way around admitting that. In the past, she had only truly had the opportunity to go all out against Strays, to have the chance to go after other Devils with her full power was… both exciting and unsettling. The consequences of this battle would be massive, win or lose and that made her nervous.
At least she had dressed comfortably, wearing a pair of pawprint gloves that were of the same padded variety martial artists wore and her clothing consisted of her usual hairpins and a black and gold Chinese style qipao dress. She wore her usual pair of shoes, leaving her legs bare of any impediments to her mobility. While it was different from her usual outfits, it was something that she felt comfortable in and would offer her a great deal of mobility, though the downside was that her black specked panties would be visible if she wasn't careful. Her comfort mattered little though when it came to combat capabilities, shame had no place on the battlefield.
Lelouch, on the other hand, was wearing the jacket Koneko had gotten him as a gift, unzipped for the moment and his hood was left down, a tank-top colored a dark blue beneath it with a pair of black pants and dark boots covering his feet.
As the pair stood, Lelouch's phone began to ring. Pulling it out of his pocket as Koneko created a magic circle to transport them to the clubhouse, Lelouch waved her through. "Don't worry about it, I'll answer then meet you there after I'm done talking." After a moment's hesitation, Koneko nodded and left through the circle, a flash signaling her departure.
After swiping the icon to answer, Lelouch held the phone up to his ear. "Hello." He blinked in surprise as the individual on the other end spoke. "Really so soon? I thought you said it would take longer?" Then something was said that made Lelouch frown. "Extra, what? I didn't…" Lelouch paused then sighed. "I'm sorry, I don't have the time to go there and speak with you in person. I have something I need to handle now. I'll meet with you sometime later in the week." The other person sounded displeased, but acquiesced to Lelouch's demands. "I have to go, keep a record of everyone who has been involved, I'd like to examine it personally."
This was annoying, or at least that's what Lelouch was thinking as he created a magic circle to take him to the clubroom after hanging up.
Lelouch sighed as, from his perspective, ORC clubroom appeared around him. Transportation magic really was interesting to experience. There was almost no feeling of actual movement, unless he was walking through it or he was using someone else's portal, but even then it only felt like he was walking through a door. Opening his eyes, he looked around the room and frowned as he only noticed Akeno lounging on Rias' desk. "Where's Rias?" He asked, before almost immediately noticing the shower as it turned on. A deadpan look came over his face as Akeno giggled. "Of course, nevermind." Lelouch really wasn't all that surprised, of course Rias would take a shower right now. She was probably really stressed out and he knew that nothing helped the redhead relax quite like a quick hot shower or a dip in the hot springs. Taking a seat on one of the couches, Lelouch leaned back and took a deep breath, attempting to meditate to maintain his calm.
As he was internal grumbling about Rias' habits before attempting to meditate, Akeno had sauntered over to where Lelouch was sitting and sat down next to him. "So, do you have an answer?" She asked, feeling hopeful that he might give her a chance to see where these feelings of hers could lead them.
"Where's Koneko?" Lelouch deflected, asking after his companion who had left before him.
"She's gone down to the basement to talk with Gasper." Akeno's answer prompted a frown from Lelouch, but she wouldn't let him escape that easily. "I know you're nervous, but if you have an answer I would really like to hear it." Akeno wasn't exactly pleading, but she and Lelouch were alone so rarely that she didn't know when the next opportunity to ask this privately would occur without her forcing it and making everyone else suspicious.
"I don't think we should discuss this right before we go into battle." Lelouch deflected again, this time with an argument he had been considering for a while now. "I don't think it's a good idea." He opened his eyes and looked at Akeno, whose usual smile was gone as she took what he said seriously.
"I understand." Akeno was… not pleased with that noncommittal reply, but Lelouch did have an irritatingly good point. With that somewhat frosty response, Akeno stood up and left Lelouch in peace.
Over the next few minutes, the rest of the Peerage began to file into the room, Kiba through the door alone, Koneko carrying Gasper's box as she brought the Dhampir into the room though it took a while for him to peek his head out from the inside. Rias left the shower after she finished getting dressed and dried her hair. Issei and Asia filed in soon after, a comfortable silence between the two housemates.
Lelouch sighed through his nose after Koneko sat down next to him, she refused to sit in his lap after the Tea Incident and his not quite rejection of her confession still stung. Ruminating on this was not needed before battle so he redirected his attention towards attempting to meditate. But no matter how hard he tried he couldn't quite get his situations with Akeno and Koneko out of his head.
He had managed to convince Akeno to wait for his answer after the Rating Game. It may not have been the best idea, but he was wary of screwing up their cohesiveness as a Peerage by letting her know it right before they all fought because he doubted his answer would be kept secret given the reaction he expected from Akeno. Koneko, on the other hand, was taking his silence… not well, but not exactly great either. Living together gave her many opportunities to push him for an answer, but she never took them. Something Lelouch appreciated.
Giving up on meditating as a lost cause, Lelouch decided to observe the people who he would be going into battle with this evening. Opening his eyes to look around the room to take stock of the rest of Rias' Peerage, he began observing their movements out of a habit that he had developed back when he had first become Zero.
Observing his men would allow him to know whether they were going to be able to complete the duties he had assigned to them and the same principle applied to this group, at least as far as Lelouch was concerned.
Kiba was dressed in his school uniform, like Akeno, though he had some armor, a gauntlet on his nondominant arm and some grieves on his shins, so he could defend himself better than if he just wore his normal uniform. The only ones who were wearing their uniforms without modification were Rias and Issei, considering Akeno could summon her priestess robes any time she desired. Asia was dressed in her habit, though without the crucifix for obvious reasons.
Gasper was wearing the Kuoh uniform, but it was the one for girls as usual. His Hannya mask covering his face from his eyeline to his chin, covering his nose and cheeks though leaving his ears uncovered by the hard plastic, but his nervousness was clear as it could be as he clutched his skirt, his knees pressed together and his knuckles white as snow. It was a miracle Gasper wasn't hyperventilating right now, but perhaps it had something to do with Issei's idea of giving him a box to sit in so he could "retreat" and close the flaps if he wanted to hide away.
The idea was that it was similar to his coffin, but easier to transport. So far it appeared to be working as a decent placebo for Gasper.
"Remember the plan everyone." Rias said, her foot tapping in nervousness as she tried to keep everyone's morale up. She had shifted her position as Lelouch analyzed everyone so that sitting at her desk in the clubroom. She leaned back, her arms crossed beneath her bust. "Riser's immortality is dependent on how much energy he has, if we can wear him down by forcing him to keep regenerating he will be forced to give up once he no longer has the energy to fight." It was something Lelouch had helped her come up with once she told him the details of the Phenex Clan's immortal flames.
Continuous regeneration because of magical flames was not true immortality. As such, there was no way it was impossible to defeat a Phenex. It was incredibly difficult, true. But by no means was it impossible. The problem was wearing the Phenex down enough to the point where his bloodline failed him and his immortal flames were snuffed out, rendering him just as mortal as almost anyone in this room. But that would be the only problem if they were facing Riser head on. Because they would also be taking on his Peerage another problem presented itself, the problem of ensuring that enough of them remained with enough energy to fight Riser and wear him down in the first place after they took out his Peerage.
Essentially, the most difficult part would be defeating Riser's Peerage with minimal effort while exerting the maximum effort to wear Riser down once his Peerage was gone. And that was where Lelouch's strategy for eliminating Riser's Peerage came in handy.
"But first, we need to eliminate as much of Riser's Peerage as fast as we can." Rias' foot stopped tapping as she sighed, opening her eyes to stare at everyone seriously. "Lelouch," she stared at him across the room. "Are you absolutely certain you, Ketsu, and Mika can do this?" The Knight's Familiars had a large part in this plan, if it weren't for them, this plan wouldn't work.
"Based off of what they have told me of their capabilities, the only danger is to myself." Lelouch answered, petting Koneko's head as the girl purred. While she was still upset with him she wasn't going to refuse the comfort he offered her, though only Lelouch noticed the icy stare Akeno gave him as he continued to speak. "If all goes well, most of Riser's Peerage will fall hook line and sinker into the trap we have devised." Lelouch's plan and Rias' knowledge of her own Peerage's capabilities had allowed them to develop a strategy that no one else could have used.
Still, no plan survived contact with the enemy, so Lelouch still couldn't help but find himself feeling… nervous.
They all fell silent after Lelouch's confirmation. There was nothing else they could do to prepare, the only thing they could do was wait for midnight to strike and for the battle to begin.
Sirzechs Lucifer sighed as he finally found the opportunity to drop his typical diplomatic smile, feeling an internal sense of disgust with himself as he hosted the party that would have his baby sister's fight for her right to not marry Riser as its main entertainment. He didn't give a damn about having been required to abandon his family name in order to maintain the balance amongst the Seventy-Two pillars, Sirzechs would always consider himself a Gremory first when matters dealt with his family's happiness.
Even if he was forced to act as though he considered himself only the Lucifer in times like this.
Bitterly, he turned his attention to the spell cast over the ceiling and wall, serving as a large screen essentially as it was beginning to flicker, signaling it would soon begin televising the Rating Game. With a bright flash, a split screen developed and both Peerages became visible. Riser had seated himself on a couch, surrounding himself with the various beautiful women he had chosen to allow into his Peerage. It was pure propaganda to claim they were all pure Devils, but that didn't stop the arrogant blond man from making that claim and others that still continued to hold such purity in high regard. Still, there was a rather visible contrast between Riser's Peerage and the motley group that Rias' Peerage consisted of, though one sight in particular caused the Devil King to blink. "Huh." He murmured quietly to himself. 'I didn't realize she had found a way to control the young daywalker.' Sirzechs finished the rest of the thought in his mind, not willing to risk anyone eavesdropping on his musings.
The young Dhampir he had gifted to Rias after rescuing him from his family years ago was still nervous, it was obvious Gasper was trembling in the box he was sitting in, but the determined look on his face was something new. To see such improvement, it brought a small smile to Sirzechs' face.
"Who is that boy on the couch?" The voice of Sirzechs' long-time friend and ally spoke from behind the King of Devils with uncharacteristic seriousness. "There is something about him that… seems odd." Ajuka Beelzebub was not one to make such statements lightly and so Sirzechs looked over to the young man sitting on the couch next to his baby sister's Rook.
A jolt went through the Lucifer before he reassured himself that what he was seeing was merely a trick of the light.
After all, what possible relation could her sister's new Knight have with that man? "I'm sure it's nothing." Sirzechs felt like he was lying through his teeth as he tried to reassure Ajuka and himself that what he was seeing couldn't be reality. "Regardless, I'm more interested in this odd strategy they seem to have come up with, what do you think, Ajuka?" The odd young man had summoned his Familiars and was speaking with them quietly, but not too quietly to be picked up by the transmission spell.
This strategy, it would be quite interesting to see how this strategy would work and Riser's response to it.
Ajuka noticed the momentary flash of worry on his old friend's face before it was promptly covered by his usual expression. His leader's deflection was painfully obvious, but the Beelzebub decided he would let it slide in favor of watching the Rating Game.
There would be time for questions when they were in a more private setting after all.
Riser sat comfortably on the couch in one of the various buildings throughout his fiancée's school, relaxing as his servants sent out their Familiars to scout the territory further. Information on the terrain was something he had been gathering for quite some time, but it wouldn't be smart to assume that the replica was perfect.
Most battlefields were of more natural phenomena, mountains or forests, so there didn't need to be as much detail involved in their creation. But when creating what amounted to a small town, for the campus of Kuoh included not only the high school, but primary school and university levels as well, things were vastly more difficult for the Devils who crafted the Rating Game's battlefield. It truly was quite massive and if there were any errors in this replica's creation, Riser would rather know before he ordered his servants out into battle.
Even if the odds were almost cruelly in his favor, Riser was unwilling to allow a simple error in judgment like failing to understand the terrain properly to deliver him his first true loss.
"Let's get ready to rumble!" Lady Leviathan's announcing of the Rating Game was a minor distraction, her giddiness was certainly at odds with how seriously many were taking this match, but Riser assumed she'd want to be part of it in some way given that she was the one who suggested a Halloween Party out of nowhere. "Is every… Hey, wait!" A scuffle broke out from wherever the Great Satan was announcing from before a more dignified voice sounded over the battlefield.
"Hello, I am Grayfia, the Queen of Lord Lucifer and I will be the arbiter of this Rating Game." The Strongest Queen's voice declared with great poise, heedless of the Lady Leviathan's grumbles in the background. "Lady Leviathan will be… commentating for our viewers." A cry of "It's Levia~tan you stick in the mud!" Sounded before a sharp bang sounded, followed by quiet groaning. "I shall do my due diligence to ensure Lady Leviathan's comments do not interfere with the match, good luck to Lady Rias, Lord Riser." A deep sigh sounded as unintelligible grumbles sounded. "This match is sponsored by MiracleLevia-tan, let the match begin." The last portion was mumbled out quickly, almost like Grayfia didn't want to admit such a thing.
Which, given what Riser knew of the oddness of Lady Leviathan, was almost certainly the case. Were it not for the terrifying amount of power he knew Lady Leviathan had, Riser would have no idea how some could take her seriously. She was absolutely insane by conventional standards, but no one could deny that her power was absolutely monstrous.
Shaking his head, Riser turned his attention to his servants, noting their exasperation before speaking quietly. "Have you finished scouting yet?" He asked, impatient to begin the actual battle. He was eager to get this farce over with and have the engagement party to celebrate his betrothal to Rias. Riser truly did not understand why she found him so repulsive, was it really just because he was openly affectionate with his dear servants?
Regardless, he could ask her once they were dancing at the party. As it was, he had a battle to win.
"Not yet." His dear sister spoke, her form somewhat tense, Ravel never really enjoyed fighting the way he did. She was not one to relish in combat like him or some of his other servants. "This campus is quite large, it'll take a little while to finish mapping it." Left unsaid was that this would give time to their opponents, who were already familiar with the layout and thus had far less need to spend time scouting the terrain. Good thing was that the eyes they had on the door of the building Rias and her Peerage spent most of their time in showed that none had left the building, only a few Familiars had departed from the dwelling according to one of the three screens that were projecting the sights of each Familiar sent out by Riser's Peerage. The other two were showing the results of the efforts of the other Familiars, scouting areas that might be useful to gain a tactical advantage.
Without warning, a black portal opened up on the wall behind Riser's Peerage and a voice rang out for all of them to hear. "Promotion: Queen!" Everyone in the room was startled and as they turned they were momentarily blinded by a flash of red light. What sounded like the cry of a bird screeched out before flying through one of the windows, breaking it. The sound of shattering glass shook the Peerage out of their reverie and they beheld the serious face of Issei Hyoudou staring at them before rushing out of the newly broken window.
Still blinking spots out of their eyes, one of Riser's Pawns failed to notice the next strike in time. A loud growl burst forth from the wolf that attacked her, drawing a cry of pain from the young Pawn as she barely managed to hold up her arm in time to prevent the wolf from taking a chunk out of her throat. She fell backwards, into the arms of her twin sister and whimpered slightly before one of Riser's Rooks punted the wolf out the window that the Gremory Pawn, now Queen apparently, had fled through. With a whine, the wolf faded back into its home world to nurse its undoubtedly broken ribs and the black portal that had allowed the Pawn access to the enemy base so quickly faded, preventing any other Pieces from making their way through the passage.
The entire exchange had taken all of five seconds.
"What are you waiting for?!" Riser shouted, as he growled in rage. "After him!" He ordered, feeling pissed off as he wondered how in the world the Pawn that had been so easily dispatched managed to get through without anyone noticing.
"Yes, Lord Riser!" Almost his entire Peerage responded, each flying out of the building as quickly as possible to track down the newly Promoted Queen. The injured Pawn had to be helped by her sister and thus moved a hairsbreadth slower, but each member of Riser's Peerage moved out with speed and grace that showed they were more than just trophies he chose to collect. While yes, he had indeed chosen many of them in part due to their overwhelming beauty, he had also chosen them because of their dedication to him.
Riser refused to have Pieces who were not absolutely faithful to him within his Peerage and so he had worked for many years to develop his relationships with each and every member. While they were not the strongest Peerage, not by a long shot, they were still one of the most dedicated to their King amongst Riser's generation.
Growling, the Phenex stared over at the broken window, wondering why the Pawn had chosen to flee after his promotion. Going over the past few moments in his head, Riser couldn't help but feel he was missing something, something important. 'Right, the Boosted Gear.' Riser thought to himself, his eyes narrowing in thought as he began pacing. 'He probably wishes to use the power of his Sacred Gear to boost his strength after his Promotion so that he's that much more powerful.' Confident in his deduction which quelled his uneasiness, Riser turned his attention to the observation spells he had up against the wall to watch as his Peerage began hunting down the singular Pawn of his opponent.
He chose not to leave with his Peerage because he did not wish to dirty his own hands unless absolutely necessary. Besides, staying back for the moment would also allow him the opportunity to gauge just how much force he would need to utilize against his dear fiancée's Peerage without unduly harming them. He did not wish to get under Lord Lucifer's skin by hurting his precious sister's dear Peerage too much.
As he watched them scour the grounds, only managing to just tail the Promoted Queen after a loud cry of Boost echoed throughout the battlefield, Riser smirked. It would only be a matter of time before the Red Dragon Emperor's newest host fell to his Peerage.
The Phenex would not even need to touch the Dragon.
Akeno sighed quietly as she took her place high in the sky, waiting for the right moment to strike. While she understood the plan Rias and Lelouch had concocted well enough, it was still far less fun than she thought it would be. The sadomasochistic Devil would much rather be in the thick of things, causing and receiving delicious pain as she lost herself in the bloodlust between herself and her enemies. All it would take was one shot at the right time and… was she drooling? Shaking her head, Akeno disabused herself of her fantasy where she and her enemy, who looked disturbingly like Lelouch in her head, exchanged blows in a painful yet erotic fashion, until they finally gave in to their base desires and… there she went again. She quickly wiped the drool from her chin as she regained control.
Pinching her cheeks, ignoring the heat that had developed as she blushed, the Priestess of Thunder narrowed her eyes as she surveyed the battlefield below her. "There's one, two… three." Akeno counted the members of Riser's Peerage unknowingly falling into the trap, though they were only Pawns and one Rook it appeared so far. Casting her sights towards another direction, she grinned as she beheld the beautiful sight of a plan coming together.
There were still too few for her to begin her portion of the plan, so instead Akeno decided to watch with a sadistic smirk as things began to unfold.
Meanwhile, as Akeno was fantasizing, Kiba found himself wiping his forehead as he leaned back against a tree. "All done." The blond Knight just finished wrapping up the contingency plan, a vast number of barriers surrounding the old school building and various traps throughout the forest to bait any who failed to fall in the main trap that was set. "Clear on my end, how's it going on everyone else's?" He spoke clearly and carefully into the communication spell Rias and Akeno had crafted, though having it so close to his ear certainly felt odd.
It was almost like his inner ear was being tickled.
"Slow and steady." Lelouch panted, his exhaustion evident even though Kiba couldn't see him. "Mika got taken out quick, but so far everything else is going to plan." With that, Kiba's fellow Knight checked out of the conversation, far more focused on the environment around him.
"Some are here, but not enough." Was Koneko's succinct reply as she waited in her position. "Gaspie's okay, for now." The Bishop was… being somewhat difficult due to his fears and so, instead of assisting Kiba with the contingency plans, it had been decided Koneko would help guard Gasper and try to help him deal with everything so that he could fulfill his part of the plan.
"Sorry." Gasper mumbled quietly in the communicator before falling silent, a reassuring chuckle echoing from Rias as she assured her fearful Bishop that everything was going to be okay.
Kiba smiled as he sensed the compassion of his King, knowing that she was just as proud of Gasper as everyone else in her Peerage. While the young Dhampir had begun to hyperventilate as he realized that things were going to get serious after they were all transported to this pocket dimension, none of them held it against the boy.
It would take more than friendship and encouragement to help Gasper banish his fears entirely, just the fact that he was still willing to fight spoke volumes of how far he'd come.
"Bored." Akeno's blunt reply drew a smile from Kiba's face as he chuckled.
"Issei, how about you?" Kiba attempted to prompt the Pawn to respond, wondering how the pervert was handling his portion of the plan.
"Can't talk." Issei whispered through the communicator. "I'm almost there." The confirmation that the Pawn had almost made it to his designated point was all the others needed to hear.
With the check-in complete, things quieted down amongst Rias' Peerage, at least verbally. Kiba began making his way to his next checkpoint carefully as he did not want to be seen by Riser's Peerage and blow the plan wide open. Eventually, he found his way out of the forest and watched as Lelouch charged into the gymnasium, a decent number of Riser's Pieces hot on his heels.
"Akeno now!" Lelouch shouted, and almost immediately after being prompted a thunderbolt the size of the gym dropped from the sky. The gym was almost obliterated on impact, the explosion forcing Kiba to take cover before any of the debris could hit him. The Knight also found himself forced to cover his eyes as he was buffeted by explosive winds and to prevent any dust from hampering his eyesight.
It would be a shame if a swordsman like himself fell simply because he got some dust in his eye as a result of his allies' own trap.
Observing the area as the dust began to settle, a vicious smile graced Kiba's face.
The plan was a success, or so it appeared for the moment.
Lelouch blinked as time restored itself around him, a slight smirk coming across his face as he beheld the destruction surrounding himself, Koneko, and Gasper.
"Eight of Lord Riser's Pawns, two Rooks, one Bishop, retired." The shocked voice of Grayfia resonated over the battlefield as she announced the casualties. "Lord Riser's Queen, other Bishop, and two Knights remain alongside Lord Riser himself." Lelouch frowned at the proclamation, that was… not ideal. His goal had to been at least take out all eight Pawns and Riser's Queen so that the strongest Piece and those with the potential to become the strongest would not become a factor once everything was completed.
Lelouch grunted slightly as he felt his connection to Ketsu become severed, the Blood Raven announcing his intent to retire to his home in the Familiar world to recover. 'Maintaining such a complex illusion for that period of time was exhausting Master, I'm sorry I won't be able to be of more assistance to you and your friends.' The normally perverted bird's final words before vanishing were the truest sign of his weariness, given that they were not nearly as perverted as damn near every other sentence out of his mouth.
Swaying slightly, Lelouch took a seat on some of the rubble that had once been part of the fake gym. "I can't believe how well that worked." He murmured to himself as Koneko pulled him up by his arm, placing it over her shoulder as she dragged him away from the battlefield as Kiba and Akeno began fighting with Riser's remaining Pieces. Gasper was quick to follow the Knight and Rook as they retreated to take a breather, in order to get away from the angered roars of Riser's Peerage and Akeno's creepy giggling.
The small Dhampir shuddered as a tingle of fear went down his spine, making a mental note to never get on Akeno's bad side.
"You okay?" Koneko asked her friend as she helped Lelouch steady himself against a tree, some distance from the battlefield. Gasper was keeping a lookout as she checked up on her friend. "You look pale." Her observation drew a chuckle out of Lelouch.
"Ketsu drained me of quite a bit of blood to make sure he had enough power to do what he did, I'd be worried if I wasn't pale." Lelouch ignored the sweat that dripped down his face as he took a few deep breaths.
Ketsu was a Blood Raven and the consumption of blood was something integral to his species for various reasons. The one that was the cause of Lelouch's temporary anemia was one of the more common ones, though it wasn't typically done willingly. Ketsu's power was related to the eye-like symbol on his feathered back, but it wasn't nearly strong enough to affect every member of Riser's Peerage without some significant boosts in the Raven's own meager reserves of energy. And that was exactly what Lelouch had offered his Familiar before they departed through the shadowy portal crafted by Mika's own power.
With Lelouch's blood sacrifice, Ketsu's illusion had managed to capture every member of Riser's Peerage, including the man himself. And all it had taken was Mika's ability to travel through shadow and Lelouch drawing everyone's attention to him with an outrageous claim of Promotion. Upon hearing a voice that had snuck up behind them, every single Piece of Riser's Peerage caught sight of the blood red eye on Ketsu's back, its effectiveness multiplied by the amount of blood the Raven had consumed from his Master, and once they bore witness to that red flash it was the beginning of the end for them all.
The first step was tricking them all into falling into the illusion, the next was making sure they began chasing "Issei" across the battlefield towards the area that would ensure they took the most damage. One of Riser's Bishops was quite the budding tactician and had attempted to send a few of the Pawns away so that they could Promote themselves, resulting in an even more complex illusion which made it appear as if they had followed her orders and made them believe they had broken off from the main group pursuing him when in reality they were all still following him. Some actually managed to get ahead and found themselves in the gym before the trap could be sprung and that was where Gasper came in.
He froze them in time, ensuring that nothing was revealed before it was far too late for anyone on Riser's side to do anything about it. Lelouch was not the most physically gifted, but with the speed the Knight Piece granted him he had managed to stay at least one step ahead of everyone in Riser's Peerage, with a little illusionary help from Ketsu just to be on the safe side, and he led them all into the gym. After catching sight of him, Gasper cheered and accidentally released Riser's Peerage from his power.
And it was at that moment he ordered Akeno to strike. And threw up the largest shield he possibly could for himself and his allies.
Lelouch clenched his fist as he slowly began to recover, forcing himself to stand up from his prone position against the tree. Being forced to cast such a powerful shield before he shouted for Akeno to complete her portion of the plan and Gasper had been forced to freeze time with Lelouch in his field of vision. Permanently ensuring his shield remained while he was frozen with it active.
It had been a risky decision, but once it became impossible for them to escape and still have all the members of Riser's Peerage in the gym barring the Phenex himself it was one he needed to take. Between the amount of blood drained by Ketsu to ensure his illusion spell was strong enough to ensnare everyone in the man's Peerage, the physical toll his body suffered as he sped through the battlefield, and casting a shield spell to protect himself, Koneko, and Gasper from Akeno's spell, Lelouch found himself quite tired.
But the battle was not yet over, as the slowly limping form of a Knight made her way over to the odd trio.
Lelouch allowed his Arm of the Blackest Night to manifest over his arm, the violet orb pulsing in tune with his heartbeat. "Go." Lelouch murmured to the Bishop and Rook. "Try and help Akeno with the Queen and Bishop, I'll handle her." With a soft and determined look, respectively, Koneko and Gasper followed his order, taking flight towards the area of the battlefield where lightning clashed with explosions. Surprisingly, the Knight, whose armor certainly appeared to have seen better days, allowed them passage unmolested. This prompted a raised eyebrow from Lelouch as he had flared his own wings in preparation in case he found himself needing to guard Koneko and Gasper's passage.
"I am a Knight." The woman spoke simply as she leveled her blade at Lelouch. "I will not fight those with whom I have no reason." It was a chivalrous answer, one he didn't expect from a Devil. Lelouch snickered, a Devil Knight that believed in chivalry.
"Tell me, are you prepared to die?" Lelouch asked as he flexed his clawed fingers, preparing himself for combat as he slowly allowed his Wrath to filter into his mind.
"Why do you ask?" The armored Knight asked, frowning at the odd question. It was rare, but death in Rating Games was not unheard of. Still, actively attempting to kill a participant was frowned upon as it limited their ability to participate in future Games if they were killed. And Devils did not like having potential future entertainment taken from them by someone.
Words came unbidden to his lips as he held his left arm out to his side, powers pulsing within his core. Smirking as he followed his instincts as he had when he had regained the facsimile of his old Geass powers, Lelouch responded. "The only ones who should kill, are those who are prepared to be killed." A magic circle flashed just beyond Lelouch's palm and the Knight suddenly found himself holding a very familiar sword in the palm of his hand. The sight of the blade in his hand was a surprising one, but it drew a twisted chuckle from Lelouch regardless of his surprise.
To think he would find himself fighting with the very blade that had taken his life.
This was just too damn funny! A maniacal laugh escaped his lips as he charged forward to engage the injured Knight with the new blade in his hand.
While Lelouch found himself battling the Knight, Koneko and Gasper quickly found themselves embroiled in a fight against Riser's remaining Bishop, looking far more recovered than she had any right to be considering the power behind Akeno's attack that destroyed the gym. "Hot." Koneko mumbled as she wiped some sweat from her forehead before it could get into her eyes, the flames of the Phenex girl coming too close for her own comfort as the Rook dodged backwards with a decent jump.
If this was what it was like fighting Riser's younger sister she didn't want to imagine how hot his flames were, incineration would be a painful way to be retired from this Game.
The Bishop was gasping for air as she paused in her attacks to try and gauge what her next move should be. "You're pretty quick for a Rook." The blonde growled as flames flickered in and out of existence beyond her hands, revealing she hadn't quite mastered her powers just yet. While there was a good distance between Koneko and her, the Nekoshou could hear her opponent just fine.
Unfortunately, Gasper wasn't exactly in any position to freeze the blonde Phenex, her flames blocking his line of sight sealed both herself and the white-haired teenager inside an arena of flame. Thus allowing for some uninterrupted conversation as both combatants thought through their next moves.
Subtly sniffing the air slightly while her opponent blathered on, Koneko carefully attempted to pinpoint Gasper's location outside the arena of fire she found herself in. Maintaining this field had to take a lot out of the flaming girl, so Koneko guessed that it was mainly in place to block sight and prevent Gasper from being able to use his Sacred Gear to help Koneko. However, despite that, the fire had stirred up quite a bit of the wind which made it difficult for the Nekoshou to pinpoint which way she'd need to follow the scent to find her friend through these irritatingly hot flames.
Suddenly, well beyond the arena of flames, a massive explosion rang out across the battlefield that sounded eerily like a Dragon's roar of challenge.
Punching the ground to force the stone loose, the petite Devil grabbed a stone the size of a small boulder and tossed it at her opponent after she was distracted. The attack didn't hit her opponent, the blonde managing to send forth a stream of fire to intercept her quickly launched attack, but it gave Koneko enough of an opening to make a break towards the wall of flame she judged to have the weakest strength. Reluctantly, the Rook jumped through the fire, heedless of portions of her clothes being burned away, as she just managed to escape.
Gasper was gaping as he stared at her before moving to try and pull her further from the flames towards the edge of the forest. Towards safety.
Koneko, with her arm thrown over Gasper's shoulder, allowed herself to be helped as the Rook and Bishop quickly retreated as the arena began to dissipate. Patting herself down to put out the flames, the petite girl frowned at how exposed she found herself. "Great, I liked this too." She mumbled quietly, frowning at her exposed right breast. It wasn't fully exposed, but it was enough to present a weakness should someone manage to directly strike her skin.
"Hey look!" Gasper suddenly shouted. "I guess Lelouch managed to take care of that scary Knight lady." Looking up, Koneko saw that her friend was right, Lelouch had a few scuff marks here and there, but aside from that he was looking pretty good. There was blood on his blade, but it didn't look like he himself had taken any serious wounds. A small smile came across her face as she carefully waved towards her friend.
Then, without warning, the ground beneath Gasper and her lit up in a sickly violet glow and the sky was set aflame with the enraged cry of a Phoenix echoing into her very soul.
The last thing Koneko could remember seeing was the look on Lelouch's face as his eyes flashed a bloody crimson before darkness claimed her.
The battle will be resolved next chapter, when that will come out I don't know since I'm so busy with everything.
Incidentally, my friend code on F/GO is 760,596,728 (the name is Zero, unoriginal I know, but I like paying homage to my most favorite show of all time) if anyone who reads this plays and is interested. I started playing in January to lose myself in the mind-numbing nature of a phone game for the first time (it's the only game I have on my phone) and ended up really enjoying the story. I have every event summon except Saber Nero (Bride) since the Saber Wars event and it's been kinda fun collecting them.
Sorry again for the short chapter, but I hope you all enjoyed the reveal of Lelouch's master plan (not every detail has been so thoroughly explained yet, but that will be dealt with in the future).
As always, if you enjoyed it please review.
King Draconias Over and Out.