The Light Born At World's End
Chapter One: The Darkness Born At World's Birth
Pendragon Imperial Palace
"No, Mother!" scram a young boy, no older than the age of twelve. He had striking black hair and amethyst colored eyes. The boy stood frozen as he stared in shock at the body in front of him.
Before him was the dead body of Marianne vi Brittania, Empress of the Holy Britannian Empire and fifth wife of the 98th Emperor, Charles zi Brittania.
Under her blood-stained body was a young girl with long, blond hair, but the blood dripping through the golden strands seemed to make her hair seem so much darker than it really was.
To anyone who looked, it seemed as though Marianne had tried to protect the girl from whoever attacked them.
Surprisingly the girl didn't move nor scream, all she did was stare wide-eyed at nothing in particular. It looked as though she was paralyzed by the events that had transpired before her.
The young boy held the look of unmistakable fear in his eyes and the expression on his face either meant he planned on running away or making a mad dash towards the body.
Then without warning, the boy ran at the dead body as if his life depended on it.
Two butlers who were part of the crowd that had gathered took notice immediately and held back the young boy.
The boy struggled to get free as tears started streaming down his face.
"Mother! Nunally!" the boy screamed with such agony as the butlers tried as hard as they could to suppress the young boy.
"Prince Lelouch, please stop!" one of the butlers said as he grabbed the arm Lelouch was using to reach his mother's immobile body with.
Lelouch merely scram louder in response to the butler's request. The butlers were old and thin, but still had enough power to hold back a twelve-year old Prince.
Then out of nowhere, a pair of strong arms grabbed Lelouch from behind.
"Let me go! Mother and Nunally, they–" Lelouch struggled to say, but his simultaneous crying rendered his voice useless.
"Prince Lelouch, forgive me for this." the man behind him said as he withdrew one arm and hit Lelouch behind his neck. Gently, the man guided Lelouch's falling body towards the ground.
"Mother...Nunally..." he managed to mutter before blacking out.
. . .
Lelouch awoke to find himself in a brightly decorated room full of ancient artifacts and royal items. Above the bed he laid in was an expensive looking, golden chandelier.
The bed Lelouch laid in was no exception to the extravagantly designed room; a giant king-sized bed with a pole at each corner carrying blue, see-through curtains.
Lelouch instantly noticed the room as his own royal quarters in the Britannia Palace.
He blinked a few times trying to remember what had happened and how he was here all of a sudden. He sat up in a frenzy and looked around wide-eyed as the memories from earlier that day began to rush back at him.
"Mother! Nunally!" he cried, hopelessly looking around.
"W-was it all a dream?" he asked no one in particular.
"I'm afraid it was not, my son," his father informed him as he entered the room. He said those words in such a way that they couldn't be mistaken for anything else, but at the same time he used a tone that seemed like he didn't believe it either.
Charles walked over to the elaborate bed and took a seat next to the distraught prince.
"Then Mother . . . and Nunally . . . they're...they're . . . dead?" Lelouch tried to say as he gripped his blankets as tightly as he could. He looked the Emperor in the eye in hopes that he would say that they survived.
The emperor slowly shook his head and a spark of hope appeared in Lelouch's eyes.
"Your sister, Nunally is still alive. However, her legs are crippled and the doctors are reporting complications with her eyes." Charles told the young Prince.
Lelouch exhaled the breath he had been holding all this time, but didn't even notice. Then a thought suddenly came to him.
"Mother. What about mother? Did she survive too?" Lelouch asked, hoping that his father would tell him she was still alive just like he did with Nunally.
All his hope was crushed when Charles slowly shook his head once more.
"No, I'm afraid Marianne is no longer among us," he said in a sympathetic yet powerful voice that showed how even the fiercest of all emperors could show compassion.
Lelouch lowered his head, clenching his fist and his hair fell to cover his eyes. Charles expected the boy to cry, but to his surprise no tears came.
"All mother wanted to do was to live a happy life and yet . . ." Lelouch said as he looked up and all the sadness he had felt until this point vanished and were replaced with unforgiving fury.
"This world is full of hatred! Those with power commit sins like this!" Lelouch said as he gritted his teeth and rage filled his empty eyes.
"Mother was a victim to the hatred of humanity! Nunally was powerless to do anything , but they attacked her anyway! I swear that one day . . . I will eradicate all the hatred of this world!" Lelouch declared.
An eerie silenced washed over the room before Lelouch spoke once more.
"Mother was weak in power despite her position as Empress. She was just an obstacle in the way of someone's twisted plot! So she was eliminated without mercy by those who possessed the power." Lelouch said as the Emperor watched his son's anger.
"I shall create a world where the strong don't rule the weak!" Lelouch said in a quiet voice which resounded with a level of determination that made him look far older than a mere twelve year old boy.
The emperor looked at his son and noticed the flame of conviction in the young Prince's eyes. Secretly, he couldn't help but smile at the ambition being displayed by his son.
Then suddenly a flash appeared in the emperor's eyes and he had a vision of a much older Lelouch standing proudly over the world. Charles' eyes widened and a gasp escaped his mouth despite his best efforts. Luckily, it was left unnoticed by Lelouch.
"Lelouch, if you want to create that world then you will also have to go through me and believe me when I say this, I won't make it easy for you," Charles said in a threatening voice, but Lelouch didn't even flinch.
"Well then, that is quite a goal you've set for yourself, but for now rest easy my son. The path you have ahead of you is one filled with many obstacles and enemies," Charles said before getting up to leave.
"Now then I must go, Marianne's death has caused a strong chain reaction within the empire. Bismarck shall accompany you to the Royal Blue Medical Center to see Nunally tomorrow," he said before shutting the lights and leaving.
. . .
Charles exited the room and entered an equally elaborate hallway with silver torches lighting it.
Waiting for him there was the man who had held Lelouch from running to his mother and beside him was a small boy with golden, waving hair.
"Your majesty, how is he?" the man asked.
"He is fine, you did well, Bismarck," Charles said and a small smile formed on his face.
"Charles, are you actually sympathizing your children? You're becoming soft." the boy said uncaringly with mock surprise.
Charles smiled a malicious smile and laughed, "That boy will one day prove useful for our goals. I assure you he will be a powerful and integral piece to Britannia when he grows up."
"That much is evident. However, I'm guessing that there's something else." the boy replied, his eyes shifting lazily towards the Emperor.
"Indeed there is, brother." Charles said as the boy raised his eyebrow.
"While talking to him, I had a strange vision of that boy standing over the world. I believe that he shall be the one that will lead Britannia to victory one day," he said and started walking towards the throne room.
"When that day comes, he will have little value and will be thrown away like all the others," Charles declared simply as he disappeared in one of the turns.
Bismarck and the boy looked at him quizzically, but decided not to raise the subject anymore.
. . .
Britannian Imperial Catacombs
A week later, Lelouch found himself sitting beside his sobbing sister on her new wheelchair at their mother's funeral.
Nunally wasn't the only one crying however as Euphemia was slumped on the mud with possibly more tears decorating her face than Nunally. Cornelia tried to comfort her sister, but could no longer suppress her tears. Along with Clovis, Oddyseus was silently mourning and even Schneizel had a hint of sorrow on his features.
Surprisingly Lelouch wasn't crying, not because he was holding it back, but rather because he couldn't. No one bothered him about it, figuring that he was still in shock or other theories like that.
His strange composure was not because he wasn't sad about his mother's death, but because he couldn't bring himself to tears no matter how much he tried. Maybe it was because he was afraid to show weakness or maybe it was because he didn't want to feel the pain he had already overcome.
The other nobles made no sign of sadness and some even looked somewhat delighted.
Lelouch clenched his fist when he saw one of his father's advisors smiling while looking at his mother's grave.
He was about to get up and yell at the man when someone placed a hand on his shoulder.
He turned to see Bismarck Waldstein, one of the empire's most powerful knights. He looked at Lelouch with a disapproving expression on his face. Slowly, Lelouch sat back down.
. . .
Pendragon Imperial Palace
Later that night, Lelouch and his siblings save for Nunally who was still undergoing treatment at the hospital were watching the news in one of the palace's many lounges.
Schneizel and Cornelia sat on the only two chairs while Euphemia and Clovis sat on the floor leaning on the foot of the chairs. Carline lay down on the floor watching while Guinevere and Oddyseus stood near the walls. Lelouch stood and leaned on Schneizel's chair.
"Now introducing the 98th Emperor of our beloved empire, Charles Di Brittania!" a reporter said as the cameras turned to show Charles making his way towards the podium.
He wore a displeased expression and stood with unshakable pride as he flung his arms out.
Charles looked up with an emotionless face and spoke with a loud and powerful voice, "To the whole world, I am the 98th Emperor of Britannia, Charles Di Britannia."
"The recent events has led to a wave of chaos spreading within our own empire. If our enemies were to see our weakened state, they would surely exploit this; the European Universe will not think twice about declaring war on our beloved Britannia."
"The Empress . . . no, Marianne's death has led to many rumours and questions about the security of our nation. I will say this now, Marianne's death has not weakened us in any military capacity, but rather exposed the greatest vulnerability of our empire! Our problem lies not with our power or security, but within the hearts of our people."
"Since the dawn of time, people were the sole weakness of any great empire. Inner conflict could destroy a nation more than war against another. Marianne's death has not burned a hole in our power, but in our people!"
"But believe me, now is not a time for sorrow within Britannia, it is a time for greatness. Death is a powerful thing that brings not only sadness, but evolution. Men are meant to be discriminated against, Marianne's death, however sad it may or may not be, is no exception to that rule!"
"My fellow Brittanians, I ask this favor of you: take your late Empress' passing as the spark which unites our people against those who would sow discord through our empire. Take it as a chance to display our unwavering strength even in a time awash with grief."
"Now more than ever before, we must remain strong. For the survival of our nation, we must remain composed. For the pride of Britannia, we must remain powerful!"
"All hail Britannia!" Charles raised his fist in the air and the flag of Britannia appeared on the screen behind him following a roar of applause.
Lelouch and his siblings watched the broadcast in silence, none of them had applauded for their father after he gave that speech, those of them gathered in that room that night were quite close to Marianne. Their father had just rendered Marianne's death useless and implied that it was a mere distraction in the grand scheme of Britannian glory.
. . .
United States of Japan
The next day Lelouch and Euphemia were chosen to go with their father to Japan for the annual sakuradite re-negotiations.
The airship they were on landed on top of the Britannian Embassy as Lelouch and Euphemia stepped out after their father.
Outside the embassy, they were greeted by Prime Minister Genbu Kuruugi and his son, Suzaku.
Lelouch smiled, probably for the first time since his mother's death. He and Suzaku had met before when Lelouch accompanied his father to Japan, they were rough at first, but soon became friends.
He also recognized the man beside Suzaku as Kyoshiro Tohdoh, the most famous soldier in the Japanese Army. Behind him stood four young individuals who were easily recognized as the Four Holy Blades.
They all bowed down in front of Charles as Genbu shook hands with him.
"It has been a long time, Emperor Charles." Genbu said as he put on a smile.
"It certainly has, Prime Minister Kuruugi." Charles said as he too put on a slightly more convincing smile.
"But please, let's not talk here." Genbu said as he led the way to a black limousine.
"You have certainly grown a lot since last time, Lelouch." Tohdoh said as he walked by Lelouch and Euphemia stared at Lelouch then back at Tohdoh.
. . .
As soon as they were inside and the door was locked, Suzaku turned to face Lelouch.
"Lelouch, how have you been?" Suzaku asked lightly with a smile that quickly faded away.
"Ah, I'm sorry, I heard that your mother died." Suzaku said as he turned away from Lelouch as if he was expecting him to cry.
"It's okay Suzaku, it's not your fault." Lelouch said and then noticed how uncomfortable Euphemia looked.
"Oh, I apologize, Suzaku this is my sister Euphemia, Euphie this is Suzaku," Lelouch introduced them.
"It's a pleasure to meet you," Suzaku said as he took out his hand.
"Y-you too . . ." Euphemia said and quickly shook Suzaku's hand. Silently, she congratulated herself on managing to do so without flinching; she was well-known among the royal siblings for her shyness around others.
"So, any idea what they're talking about," Suzaku asked as he leaned on the soundproof glass.
"Don't bother that glass is soundproof," Lelouch said matter-of-factually.
"Oh yeah, how do you know?" Suzaku asked with an edge of competition in his voice.
"Idiot, it says right there," Lelouch said pointing at a sticker towards the corner of the glass.
"Well we can't all be a child genius can we?" Suzaku said in a sarcastic and slightly mocking voice.
"You don't have to be a child genius, you just need common sense, but then I'm not surprised that you don't have any," Lelouch countered and Euphemia couldn't help but laugh.
Lelouch and Suzaku both paused to stare at Euphemia.
"Sorry, you're both just acting really silly," Euphemia said innocently.
"Erm-" Suzaku let out as he blushed a little.
"Anyways, I imagine that father is attempting to negotiate a new trade deal for sakuradite," Lelouch said casually as he leaned back.
"I heard a rumour that Britannia is developing a new sakuradite-based weapon and father is interested in its mass-production. Bismarck said it would be a true nightmare in the battlefield," Lelouch said and yawned while ignoring Suzaku and Euphemia's curious looks.
. . .
Tokyo Imperial Palace
A few minutes later they arrived at the Tokyo Imperial Palace where some soldiers led Charles, Genbu, Suzaku, Euphemia, Lelouch and the accompanying Japanese advisors to some sort of meeting room.
The room was black and was built with glass walls and a giant computer at the back.
"So then, Prime Minister Genbu, what is it that you wanted to discuss with me?" Charles asked as he took a seat on a big, circular table.
Euphemia and Lelouch took a seat next to him while Suzaku took a seat next to his father.
"As you know, Emperor Charles, the next election is among us and I am not going to be able to run for Prime Minister anymore. There are two major candidates running for the election and if either were to win, Japan will likely become an enemy of Britannia as you are no doubt aware." Genbu said and looked seriously at Charles who was not shaken by this news at the least.
"Over the past few months, we were constantly being pressured by the EU for sakuradite. They are becoming more and more aggressive each time they come to collect their share of sakuradite. The last time they came, they brought twenty-six battleships with them, perhaps hoping that they could pressure us into giving more sakuradite."
Charles' expression didn't change, there was no doubt he already knew this from the Britannian Intelligence Agency.
"Unfortunately, one of the candidates for Prime Minister is a good friend, so to speak, of the EU and will most certainly push for Japan to join the ranks of the EU should he become Prime Minister. The EU have been busy over the past decade when it comes to manipulating local elections and gaining more and more influence on the Japanese geopolitical scene."
"At the moment, the Prime Minister's office is the only obstacle preventing a referendum to join the EU. Meanwhile, Japan is in the brink of a recession and the idea of joining one of the existing political blocs is at the forefront of the Japanese people's minds. So if he wins, 70 percent of the world's sakuradite will essentially fall into the EU's hands."
"Furthermore, some countries in the Chinese Federation are trying to break off and form a new faction with Japan, the Philippine Islands and Australia. The other candidate seems to support this idea of bringing in a new nation to this world. Should this happen there are two possibilities, one is that the Chinese Federation reacts and joins forces with Brittania, thereby forcing the E.U to join this new faction. The other possibility is that the Chinese Federation joins forces with the E.U and forces Britannia to join the new faction," Genbu explained.
"I see so should this candidate win, the outcome will be up to the Chinese Federation. Britannia will either have to forge an alliance with the Federation or with the new faction. The Federation can offer us plenty of resources and population, but the new faction containing Japan can provide us with our highly-desired sakuradite," Charles said as he rubbed his chin.
"In such a situation, history has shown that peace and diplomacy are futile efforts. Indeed, we will almost certainly be forced into a war and the world will inevitably be split between the two superpower alliances." Charles said and amusement began showing in his tone.
"Since you're telling me this rather calmly, I suppose that you can propose a solution," Charles said and looked at Genbu who nodded.
"From the way I see it, there are a few things that could change the flow of the events that are about to unfold. The superpower that acts first will undoubtedly gain an advantage in the coming war," Genbu said as a map of the world appeared on the table.
Lelouch looked at Genbu and his eyes widened when he realized where this was all going.
Charles noticed too, but he didn't show his shock in the slightest.
"You want us to conquer Japan?" Charles asked and a smile began to form on his face when Genbu nodded.
"The only way to change the events I predicted will be to invade Japan. The EU for now are out of the competition since they are relying on their candidate. However the Federation is the real problem for Britannia. If they conquer Japan, 70 percent of the world's sakuradite will fall into their hands and they will either support one of the other two superpowers, or remain out of the war and conquer the winning nation," Genbu said with distaste in his voice.
"Hm. That's quite an interesting plan you have there, what do you think boy?" Charles mused as he faced Suzaku.
"M-me?" Suzaku said surprised.
"Yes, what do you think of all this?" Charles asked.
"I . . . believe that it's the best for Japan, it will be the path with the least bloodshed." Suzaku stated clearly.
Charles grunted and faced Genbu once more, obviously unimpressed by Suzaku's answer.
"Prime Minister Genbu, I believe that there is a cost to the information you just gave me?" Charles asked as he looked at Genbu with sharp eyes.
"Yes, in exchange for this information, I have three conditions. First, I want me and the people loyal to me to be transported to Brittania where we will be given Britannian sovereign protection and citizenship. Second, I want the Britannian military to actively minimize casualties throughout the war. Understand that my ultimate goal is to keep my people safe and sound through all this," Genbu said confidently.
"You're basically encouraging a Britannian invasion and yet you're actually claiming that you desire the safety of your people?" Lelouch interrupted to which Charles gave him a curious yet analytical look.
"Economic collapse and vanquished pride, we can survive. A long, drawn-out conflict involving each of the major world powers with Japan as the centerpiece for its sakuradite deposits is a different story altogether and one that will most certainly result in more blood spilled." Genbu responded calmly to the young prince.
"And your third condition?" Charles asked after a moment had passed.
"My third and final condition is one which I will reveal in private between the two of us." Genbu said in a voice that left no room for argument.
"Fair enough, the information you have given me will undoubtedly give Britannia an advantage in the coming war." Charles smirked.
"Hey boy, why don't you join the military?" Charles suddenly asked Suzaku who was taken aback.
"Eh?" Suzaku replied in confusion.
"You aren't someone fit to be a leader, you're too kind and idealistic to command people in the real world. You are better off taking orders from someone." Charles stated bluntly as if it was common knowledge.
Charles spoke again before Suzaku could react.
"Once Britannia dominates Japan, you will lose respect and will be treated as a lesser human by Britannians regardless of any citizenship or sovereign protection I can provide. Enlist as a soldier and work your way up towards the knighthood and you will slowly regain the pride of your people," he continued to which Suzaku could not seem to muster a response.
"Ahem, Emperor Charles, we are getting off topic now." Genbu said bringing everyone's focus back to the main problem.
"The election will occur in four months and Britannia will have to invade Japan about a month before that happens or else the other superpowers will take action." Genbu said.
"Three months, eh?" Charles said as he rubbed his chin.
"Your people will be moved to Britannia long before that, I presume?" Charles said as he sharpened his eyes.
"Yes, whenever Britannia is ready to greet us, my people will be transferred there, I will stay a bit longer since I must still act as a Prime Minister for the next 3 months." Genbu answered as he closed his eyes waiting for a response.
"A week. That's all the time needed for preparations to be complete." Charles said quickly as he began getting up.
"Now then, I will contact you tonight to discuss how to transport your people and discuss your final condition." Charles said as he gestured his children to come.
"Yes, of course." Genbu said as he and Suzaku got up as well and escorted them out.
. . .
The trip back to Pendragon was filled with silence as no one spoke a word.
"Lelouch, the Eowyn Institute is opening again for a new session next week. It would be proper for you to attend the Institute like my other children did." Charles said breaking the silence.
The Eowyn Institute was a high-class education and military school named after the Celtic Super-King Eowyn who resisted Julius Caesar's invasion of the British Isles, eventually leading to the formation of the Holy Britannian Empire. Odysseus, Schneizel, Cornelia and Clovis had all attended the Institute when they were Lelouch's age.
"Not only that, but it will certainly help you achieve your goals." Charles continued as Euphemia looked at Lelouch strangely.
"Fine, I'll go." Lelouch said plainly, his father would get him in the Institute one way or the other, might as well be now than later.
. . .
Pendragon Imperial City Gates
The next few days were uneventful and perhaps the most interesting thing to happen was when Clovis nearly beat Cornelia in a chess match. Cornelia never heard the end of it from Schneizel and Lelouch who criticized her moves every chance they got.
A week after their trip to Japan, Suzaku and the people loyal to Genbu arrived on the Atlantic Harbor of Brittania and proceeded to Pendragon by air where they were greeted by the royal family.
"Welcome to Britannia, my friends." Odysseus greeted cheerfully as he shook hands with an old man Lelouch noticed as Taizo Kirihara, a noble from one of the six clans of Kyoto.
"Emperor, I've thought about what you said." Suzaku said as he walked from behind Kirihara and approached Charles.
"And I think that you're right, I want to fight so that I can one day reclaim Japan for my people. I want to join the Britannian army!" Suzaku said with conviction in his voice.
Charles smirked, "I thought that would be your answer."
"So I prepared in advance, you will be attending the Eowyn Institute next week; I figured Lelouch could use a friend." Charles said dismissively and proceeded to Kirihara.
"Thank you," Suzaku muttered as he walked past the emperor to talk with Lelouch.
"I figured father was planning something like this. At any rate, it seems we're stuck together for the next few years," Lelouch told him encouragingly.
"A friend, little brother?" Schneizel asked from behind Lelouch.
"Hm. Oh, Schneizel. This is Suzaku Kuruugi." Lelouch said as he introduced his elder brother to his best friend.
"A pleasure to meet you. At least now I can rest easy that Lelouch won't be lonely at the Institute." Schneizel said before ruffling Lelouch's hair and walking away.
Suzaku had a good laugh at how Lelouch was frantically attempting to get his hair back in order.
"Brother?" a soft voice spoke from behind Lelouch as Nunally came from behind him.
"Oh Suzaku, this is Nunally, my sister." Lelouch said as he took Suzaku's hand and placed it on Nunally's.
"Hello, I'm Suzaku Kuruugi." Suzaku said a bit uncomfortably.
"Hello Suzaku, I've never met a friend of Lelouch's before." Nunally said cheerfully before using her other hand to sandwich Suzaku's own. "I hope you'll look after my brother, he tends to struggle with physical activities at times."
"Nunally!" Lelouch exclaimed in jest.
"I will. I promise you," Suzaku told the blind princess.
The rest of the afternoon went awkwardly for Suzaku when Lelouch introduced him to every member of the royal family.
. . .
Elsewhere a green haired woman stood on top of a grazed hill as the wind blew her hair.
"Your agents tracked me down faster than I expected, VV," the woman said as she looked at the golden haired boy from the corner of her eye.
"Well, you're not a very creative hider yourself. Honestly, I'm a little disappointed at how easy it was," the boy said as he walked up to the woman. From first glance they looked about the same size, but when you looked closer, the woman was taller than the boy.
"I guess you're right." the woman said playfully.
"You and Marianne were quite close weren't you?" VV asked as he looked at the woman with a smile on his face.
When she didn't reply he continued, "Marianne's death has obviously affected all of us, but you seem to be the most affected."
"Well, I'm more surprised at you really. I mean, terrorists? You must be getting old." the woman said and laughed with the boy after.
"Anyway, Charles says that you wanted to watch over Marianne's children?" VV said and then watched her reaction after the woman didn't respond.
"You promised her didn't you, you promised Marianne that you would watch over her children if anything were to happen to her," VV stated and the woman slowly nodded.
"Well, if that's the case, Charles says that you're free to do what you want and he won't interfere with anything," VV said as he turned around to start leaving.
"Can the same be said about you?" the woman asked stopping VV in his tracks.
There was silence before VV finally responded.
"As long as I don't have a reason to, you have nothing to fear," VV said in a dark tone before disappearing from sight.
. . .
The next day, Lelouch and Suzaku were at the gates of the Imperial Palace, getting ready to go to Eowyn.
"Be careful brother, I'll see you soon," Nunally said as Lelouch hugged her.
"Okay, then enough of the goodbyes, it's not like we'll never see you again." Clovis said as he stood there feeling bored about saying all the goodbyes to Lelouch, but everyone knew that he was feeling sad for losing his chess 'rival'.
"Nevertheless, good luck Lelouch." Odysseus said as he patted Lelouch on the back.
Lelouch nodded as he and Suzaku proceeded into a black limousine and drove off with Lelouch waving his hand from the windows.
. . .
When they arrived, Lelouch and Suzaku were greeted by some imperial guards who silently led them towards the main banquet hall.
Upon entering, they sat together in the assembly hall beside a slightly taller blond haired boy who was hopping up and down on his seat.
When he saw Lelouch and Suzaku, he practically jumped on his seat.
"Hey, my name's Gino, you're Lelouch Vi Britannia aren't you?" he said as he held out a hand in front of Lelouch.
"Um, yeah." Lelouch said suspiciously as he reached for Gino's hand and was immediately shook up and down.
While Lelouch tried to snap out of his dizziness, Gino shook Suzaku's hand with the same result.
"Oh, I heard the sad news about your mother, Lulu, sorry 'bout that." Gino said sympathetically.
"It's okay, I'm more concerned about how you got that nickname," Lelouch said as tried his best to eye Gino threateningly.
"What do you mean? Lulu is short for Lelouch of course!" Gino declared happily.
"I'd prefer if you called me Lelouch and this is Suzaku by the way," Lelouch said as he pointed to Suzaku offhandedly.
"Well, it's a pleasure to meet you two, Lulu and Suzu," Gino said jokingly and laughed at the irritated expression on Lelouch's face.
"Well, that nickname actually suits you, Lulu," a girl with dark blond hair said as she approached the three boys.
"Excuse me?" Lelouch questioned. Needless to say, he failed to understand why he needed a nickname or why it had to be Lulu.
The girl just laughed and said, "I'm Milly Ashford."
"Ashford? Wait then you're-" Lelouch was cut off.
"That's right, I'm from your mother's side of the family, your highness." Milly said jokingly.
"And you're Prime Minister Genbu's son." Milly said as she pointed a finger at Suzaku.
"Seriously? I was wondering what a Japanian would be doing here." Gino said as he expressed his shock.
"Japanian?" Suzaku asked.
"Yeah, that's what people from Japan are called right?" Gino said with a smile.
"Actually, they're called the Japanese," Lelouch said, but Gino didn't seem to hear.
"Oh, hey Shirley, over here." Milly said as she waved her hands to an orange haired girl walking down the hall with her parents.
"Oh, Milly!" the girl said as she ran and took a seat next to Milly.
"Hey Shirley, look who these guys are." Milly said as she pointed at Lelouch, Gino and Suzaku.
"That's Prime Minister Genbu's son, Suzaku. That's Gino, his father is Duke Weinberg. Last, but certainly not least, that's Lelouch vi Britannia!" Milly said excitedly to Shirley.
"Lelouch vi Britannia!" Shirley almost screamed.
"Yes, but be quiet otherwise everyone else will know that he's here and we won't get a chance to blackma- I mean talk to him," Milly said and smiled.
Lelouch winced, for a moment there he thought she had almost said blackmail.
For the next few minutes, the group had a small conversation where they attempted to explain the Britannian noble houses and the class system to Suzaku. It was not helped by the fact that Gino seemed even more uninformed than Suzaku was.
"Hey, hey, what's going on here?" A blue haired boy said as he sat down beside Gino.
"Oh, Rivalz, you're back. Guys, this is Rivalz, his mom is Viscountess Cardemonde." Gino said as his newly found friends all waved.
"Hey Rivalz, this guy's Lelouch Vi Britannia, can you believe that." Gino said as he shook Lelouch.
"C'mon, Gino I'm not that dumb." Rivalz said and leaned back casually.
"Indeed, my identity isn't as interesting as the reason your hair is blue." Lelouch said as he examined Rivalz's hair fascinatingly.
"I was born with it," Rivalz said a bit offended.
"Hey, that girl is kind of cute," Gino said as he pointed at a red haired girl sitting near the front.
"That's Earl Stadtfeld's daughter, Kallen's her name I think." Milly said.
"Stadtfeld's daughter? She's so pretty! Maybe I'll ask my dad to set me up with her," Gino said jokingly and earned a disapproving look from Shirley.
"You shouldn't use your status to get girls," she said and turned to face the stage.
Lelouch turned his eyes to the girl and noticed that she wasn't pure Britannian. She was probably part-Japanese, but Gino wasn't joking when he said she was pretty for a twelve-year old.
'She'll be quite attractive when she grows up," Lelouch murmured quietly and was nudged by Suzaku after several seconds of staring.
"Hey Lelouch, snap out of it," Suzaku said and a wicked grin appeared on Gino's face.
"Looks like our prince has found himself a future bride," Gino said and slapped Lelouch on the back.
"I'm only twelve Gino, I won't be thinking about marriage and succession until I'm sixteen at least," Lelouch informed him bluntly.
"Okay seriously, who is he? I mean he's not a real prince is he?" Rivalz asked.
"Actually I am, Mr. Cardemonde," Lelouch said and was slightly amused at Rivalz's disbelief, personally he expected no one to believe he was a prince at first.
"C'mon, your not fooling anybody," Rivalz said with a laugh before the lights set on stage and an extremely tall, well built man with a scar on his face came on the stage. It was obvious that this man had a lot of experience in the military.
"Welcome to the Eowyn Institute for Higher Learning, my name is Andreas Darlton, but to you I will be known as Headmaster Darlton." the man said fiercely.
"Quite strict isn't he?" Gino whispered on Lelouch's ear, or rather attempted to whisper as his voice seemed to echo around the otherwise silent auditorium.
"Mr. Weinberg, may I continue?" Darlton asked as he looked threateningly at Gino.
Gino made a quick gesture of zipping his mouth and Darlton continued.
"Now then, for the next five years, this Institute will be your home. Here, you will be stretched, pulled, pushed and forced beyond your limts and will either prove that you're the best of the best or nothing at all. On weekends and holidays, you may leave the campus to visit family. Other than that, I expect that we will all try our best not to fail," he said mockingly and ignored Gino's whistles.
"Now then, most of you here today will end up as infantry for the Brittanian military, but some will slowly work their way up to become officers and eventually officials."
"A more talented bunch of you will become elites for our military and might even be considered for certain irregular factions, such as the Intelligence Agency, the Scouting Division, the Special Forces or even the Royal Guard."
"Then there are the select few of you who will be talented enough to be considered for joining the ranks of our empire's esteemed cavalry. The greatest of them might even become Knights of the Round, our empire's top knighthood directly under his majesty's control."
"Then of course there are the rare and highly gifted ones who will bring glory to the empire through ways other than serving in the military. These people are feared throughout the world and are all valuable to Britannia to the point where their names are written in stone. Those who pursue this path are rare as it requires extreme amounts of intelligence and cunning. However, should you succeed, the reward is great."'
For a split second, Lelouch swore he looked at him.
"Now on another topic - MR. WEINBERG WILL YOU PLEASE BEHAVE YOURSELF!" Darlton scram as Gino nearly jumped out of his seat while trying to talk to Lelouch.
"Ahem, here you will be taking many different courses based on your personal decisions. Mathematics, science and all the regular school subjects are compulsory, but you may pick your personal courses for military training." Darlton said after he calmed down.
"Your options are weaponry, close combat, strategy and command, law and order and military research. Another option, knightmare training, will begin after Britannia unveils this new weapon to the public." Darlton said nonchalantly and a few whispers were heard after he informed them about knightmare training.
"One last thing, during your time here, you will be divided into groups of eleven and will be put into different dorms. Your companions will be your teammates in school competitions and such so try not to kill each other," a few laughs were heard, but Darlton showed no sign that he was joking.
"Okay, step here when I call your name." a staff member said and began reading a list of randomized names.
It was nearly half way through the list when a name caught Lelouch's attention.
"Molar Roppes, Misty Kite, Harold Smoll, Noah xi Britannia, Arnold Kinsen, Jarkin Da..."
'Noah! What's he doing here? Father didn't tell me anything about him,' Lelouch thought as he watched a boy no older than Lelouch stand and take his place.
The boy was the same size as Lelouch, but didn't quite have the handsome features Lelouch possesed even as a child. He also had brown hair that reached his neck and had a stern look on his face.
"Hey Lelouch, is that your brother?" Gino asked as he heard the name as well.
"Yes, his name is Noah xi Britannia, the 9th Prince and 14th successor to the throne," Lelouch said in a purely calculative voice.
"Noah xi Britannia? Never heard of him," Gino shrugged.
"Not really surprising, the Emperor chooses only a select few of his children who will get media attention, some may call it an act of favoritism," Lelouch said as he continued to stare sharply at Noah as he left the assembly hall.
"Though, you may have heard of his brother, Roma xi Britannia," Lelouch said as he finally turned to look at Gino.
"Oh, I've heard of him," Milly said as she raised up her hand.
"He's the 4th Prince and 7th successor to the throne," she stated proudly as Lelouch nodded.
"Milly Ashford, Kallen Stadtfeld, Suzaku Kuruugi," the staff member said as the three people called went up on stage.
"Oh, I hope I'm in their group." Gino said as he bounced up and down.
"Nina Einstein, Rolo Haliburton, Gino Weinberg, Shirley Fenette." the man said as Gino yahoo'd all the way down.
"Rivalz Cardemonde, Lelouch vi Britannia, Anya Earlstreim." the man continued as Lelouch, Rivalz and a pink haired girl joined them. A few gasps were heard following Lelouch's name.
"Woah, you really are a Prince!" RIvalz said as he examined Lelouch, much to Lelouch's discomfort.
"Okay, you kids are going to be the Dolomite group in the 8th dorm." the man said as he dismissed them.
"Uh, 'scuse me, there's only ten of us?" Rivalz said as he counted them.
"Yes, there aren't enough students so your group will contain ten people until further notice," the man said as he proceeded to say other names.
. . .
The ten of them walked relatively quietly except for Gino who was causing a racket all the way to the dorm. Milly and Shirley made some small talk with each other and Lelouch was quietly interrogated by Rivalz about the royal family.
They then entered a big, bright room with ghost white walls, open windows and a golden chandelier in the middle.
"Woah, what a dorm!" Gino exclaimed as he went around touching all the furniture.
"You seem quite interested in the furniture. You are free to touch, but do know that you will repair any damage that you cause," a man said as he walked down the stairs as the group converged around him.
"Hello, my name is Jeremiah Gottwald, I will act as your dorm supervisor, so think of me as your homeroom teacher or staff advisor," the man said as he looked at them and stopped once at Suzaku and then again at Lelouch.
"Alright, boy's dorms are to the left and girl's are to the right." he said as he clasped his hands.
Fifteen minutes later, everyone was gathered back at the lounge while Jeremiah went to pick up something.
There were exactly ten chairs in the lounge as everyone sat around and Milly went in the center.
"Okay, let's start with introductions!" she said as she pointed an obvious finger at Lelouch.
"Lelouch vi Britannia." Lelouch said plainly as he let out a yawn.
"Suzaku Kuruugi, it's an honour to meet you." Suzaku said stiffly.
"Gino Weinberg, let's all have a blast!" Gino said excitedly.
"N-Nina Einstein." a green haired girl stuttered quietly.
"Kallen Stadtfeld." the red haired girl stated plainly, almost as if saluting.
"Shirley Fenette." Shirley said as she smiled at everyone.
"Rivalz Cardemonde." Rivalz said energetically.
"Anya Earlstreim." a young girl said in monotone as she fiddled with a camera.
"I'm Rolo Haliburton," a boy about Nunally's age said.
Lelouch looked at the boy, he was giving off a strange vibe that Lelouch couldn't quite place his finger on.
"Okay, I'm Milly Ashford." Milly introduced herself before Jeremiah came through the door.
"I'm glad to see you took the initiative to introduce yourselves to each other, could've left me a seat, but oh well," Jeremiah said as a few laughs were heard.
"Here are your military sign up sheets, knightmare training will be optional after it's public debut." Jeremiah said and started handing out sheets.
"Um . . . what exactly is this knightmare, I mean I've heard a rumour that it's a robot, but what exactly is it?" Rivalz asked.
"Oh yes, you see a knightmare is a controlled armoured frame equipped with weapons that are human-like and are designed to possess several times the speed and agility of a tank. It runs on sakuradite which is distributed through it's main body like nerves allowing control over the rest and stores energy on a special machine called a-" Jeremiah was cut off.
"Yggdrasil Drive." Nina blurted out then suddenly covered her mouth.
"Why yes, actually." Jeremiah said, shocked that Nina knew that.
"Well, the basis for knightmare development began with the creation of the emergency survival cockpit, similar to the one used in presidential jets except equipped with rocket boosters allowing it to fly a heavier distance. This was called the first age of knightmares, Infancy."
"The next phase introduced several war weaponry that are used to upgrade the cockpit. These include the factosphere, landspinners and the core luminous sakuradite. This was the second age of knightmares, the Turning Point."
"Next the cockpits were developed to move around on different terrains and included the idea of arming the cockpit and creating a robotic humanoid. This led to the production of the first knightmare prototype, the Ganymede. This was the third age, Archetype."
"Right now, we are in the development of mass production knightmares that would have capabilities that far exceed the third generation. We are calling this age, Implementation." Jeremiah explained.
"Now then, here are your schedules," Jeremiah said and started handing out blue schedule cards.
. . .
Pendragon Imperial Palace
"Have you gone mad VV!" scram the newly appointed Knight of One, Bismarck Waldstein.
"I'm pretty sure that I'm still sane." VV answered unconcerned.
"Sending that assassin to the Eowyn Institute so close to Prince Lelouch is-" he was cut off.
"Fine," a stronger voice belonging to Charles said.
"Your majesty . . ." Bismarck stuttered.
"This way, we can have the upper hand. With this Rolo guarding Lelouch, we can not only monitor my son's movements, but we can also eliminate him should he threaten our plans," Charles told Bismarck more than he told VV.
"How is CC?" Charles asked his brother.
"She will make contact with Lelouch soon, but there is something she is hiding from us." VV answered in an untrusting voice.
"Your Geass Cult can limit her movements, can they not?" Charles asked.
"Of course," VV said and a small grin appeared on his place.
Charles then turned and faced a giant statue of the ancient Emperor Henry, son of Empress Elizabeth.
"Then its only a matter of time before our grand psalm can begin and the world will be irrevocably changed," Charles informed the two and began to exit the room. His inhuman smile did not go unnoticed.
. . .
On July 11, 2010 a.t.b, the neutral nation of Japan was invaded by the Holy Britannian Empire. The Japanese fought valiantly against the Britannian Forces ashore, but alas they were quickly forced into submission. Prime Minister Genbu Kuruugi died in the conflict, being unable to escape the nation before the war broke out.
However, the Japanese were not to be defeated this easily, a final stand was made to protect their mainland from the world's most prominent superpower. It was here that Britannia introduced their newest weapon, the one that would ultimately shift the flow of the world's technological development. They were formally called Humanoid Autonomous Armored Knights, but were colloquially known simply as Knightmare Frames.
With their homeland taken and their pride crushed, Japan was transformed into the newest colony of the empire. It was renamed 'Area 11' and it's people were stripped of their heritage and given the name 'Eleven'. With Japan defeated and Britannia gaining 70 percent of the world's sakuradite, the superpower had done all, but conquered the world.
The surviving members of the Japanese militia fled to a colony belonging to the Chinese Federation. A week later, this nation declared it's independence from the Federation and united the remaining neutral nations of the world, forming the Oceanian Coalition.
Now, with the world divided into four superpowers, each one seeking global dominance, war is unavoidable. The Holy Britannian Empire, holder of 70 percent of the world's sakuradite and most advanced technology. The European Universe, holder of nearly half of the world's territory and most expansive navy. The Chinese Federation, holder of the world's largest population and biggest land army. Finally, the Oceanian Planet, a fledgling alliance born of the remnants of Japan and the unconquered nations of Earth.
On November 8th, 2010 a.t.b, the European Universe declared war on the Holy Empire of Britannia. On December 5th, 2010 a.t.b, the Chinese Federation declared war on the Oceanian Planet. On February 23rd, 2010 a.t.b, the Oceanian Planet declared war on the Holy Birtannian Empire.
With each nation mobilizing their armies for the war that will determine who inherits the Earth, the battle that will forever burn a scar in the world's history has begun.
. . .
This story has undergone some revisions as of Aug. 6, 2016. The story and sequence of events have remained the same, but I've caught a lot of spelling/grammar mistakes that I made all those years ago and changed some details here and there to make the story more coherent. I've also deleted the long author notes which used to be in the beginning and end as I've realized that they don't really contain anything important. All that said, wow - its a trip to come back and revise this chapter so many years after first writing it!
As a side-note on pairings, I haven't really decided which ones I'll eventually go towards. If anything, I'm heavily leaning towards Lelouch/Kallen at the moment (which is why it's lightly teased in this chapter) though I may just decide to go for an open-ended type of thing like the anime.
Thanks for reading!