(Author's notes): I apologize for the slight lateness of this chapter. If by "slight lateness" you mean 7 friggen' months of no updates (for this story, anyway). Although, it's not entirely my fault. Ever since school started, I've been taking 9 classes (8 45-minuite school ones, and a 50-minuite early-morning theology class) doing theater (served as sound director for our school's fall production of Fools!, and received another position as assistant tool master for the spring production of Oklahoma), serving as the president of the Teacher's Quorum in my church, being in AFJROTC (Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps), plus doing Boy Scouts and my church youth program. I've been pretty busy, and I didn't really have time lately. I'll try to set some time aside on Sunday, though, so you may see updates more often, though to be honest, not nearly as often as they were when I first started.
On to responses to reviews! To ghv: C2 is the official English translation for her name (or at least the one used in the English dub).
To Digimon Dreamer: For the sake of the story, we will call Rollo and Rai acquaintances of C2's from the Geass Directorate (which is presumably where she came from before she went to Ashford).
To demecowen: You're right. I have been cheating on the "everyday life" thing a bit. You see, all of my fics prior to this point have followed an action/adventure format (even if that was not their technical genres), so I'm not quite sure how to proceed with this. If anyone has any suggestions, don't hesitate to post them in the reviews section.
Enough with a ranting. On to the story!
I stared out of the café window, eyeing the gloomy, if somewhat artistic, scene that met my eyes. Rain was pouring down the streets in great torrents, small streams of water running down the steep hill atop which the café stood. Gray clouds covered the entire sky in all directions, and I had a good view of Tokyo bay from here. Seeing the small ships tossed around from the waves generated by the storm seemed to remind me of how small and delicate each human life is. Of course, once, a long time ago, a young man had taken control of his destiny, had dared to challenge the storms that toyed with his life like it was nothing… And had created much bloodshed, and sacrificed his own life to make things right again…
Pulling my thoughts away from such gloomy reflections, I looked around the cozy little café which I had taken refuge in. It was styled as though it were from the 50s, American style (before it became a territory of Britannia, obviously). The counter by which the revolving stools sat was well lit, as were the tables from which the back-to-back seats were. I was currently the only one inside of the place, sitting in the corner farthest from the door, writing my story while occasionally taking bites from the grilled cheese sandwich I had ordered. Today was Saturday, and, ignoring the signs of impending storm, I had gone to the local park to get some fresh air. Deciding to walk to the park to conserve money, I had been caught in the storm and ran into a nearby café to get out of the rain. I was glad that I had both decided to walk and that I had brought my papers, because writing and the warm, delicious cheese sandwich helped pass the time and make what would have been a miserable experience a nice, relaxing break from… Relaxing. I can hardly believe I used to spend my free Saturdays organizing raids and analyzing intelligence reports. I guess you can acclimatize to just about anything, but I sure am glad to have my free time back.
I looked back down at my papers. It was going well. Mrs. Vaughan had told me that my story "takes a really out-there concept and applies it realistically. It has twice the appeal because it has the fantasy concept of the main character's Geass and the realistic concepts technology, wars, and politics. It's really awesome."
I was about to write another sentence when I noticed that the rain had subsided. I'd better get home before it started again. I wolfed down the rest of my sandwich and headed out the door. As I exited the café, I was met by the impressive sight of the warm, bright sun coming out from behind the rainy, dark clouds. It was a beautiful sight. As I turned to head down the street, I was met a by a more beautiful sight from a completely unexpected source: Shirley Fennette was walking up the street, her face still wet from the rain. I don't know what exactly it was about that sight that had such a powerful impact on me. Was it the gentle, feminine way she was walking? Her figure, which was still visible despite the rain clothes she was wearing? The way the rain on her face shown like morning dew in the light of the newly shining sun? Or was it her eyes, which seemed to glow with surprise first, then recognition, and then gratitude mixed with a little shyness? I've never really figured myself to be the poetic type, but those were the attributes that stood out to me, right then and there. And at the time I wasn't really sure what it was, but I knew that something had changed about the way I viewed Shirley. Something… Something that made me feel good.
"Where have you been?" inquired C2 as I walked into the door, sopping wet. I had been caught up in the rain again as I walked home, and had not had the luck to find another place to seek refuge.
"Out." I replied shortly. "What is he doing here?" I added, seeing Rai talking on the sofa with Nunnally.
"He came here to visit. I told him he could." C2 had moved in with me and Nunnally, though Rollo and Rai had their own places within Ashford. "Got a problem with that?"
I frowned in response to that. Something about the way he was talking to Nunnally seemed… Irritating. I couldn't quite place it, but…
I figured out what it was later on. Or at least, I began to suspect it and vigorously denied it. It all started when Rai left and Nunnally began talking about him. Glowingly.
"And after that, we talked a little about classes, and guess what, big brother? Rai says that he might transfer into the same drama class as me! Isn't that wonderful? Rai seems so cool, so… mysterious. I want to get to know him better…"
At this point, I was beyond irritation. I was flat out ticked off. So that cunning, arrogant little pinhead thought that he could just move in and take advantage of my sister's poor, delicate little heart? Well, I'd show him. Next time I ran into him, I'd kick his sorry-
Wait a sec. I wasn't being too protective, was I? No, of course not. Nunnally wasn't nearly old enough to have a relationship. She's only… Well, she was fourteen. Still, I didn't like that guy. He was too-
"Jealous?" grinned C2, interrupting my musings.
"Huh? What do you mean, C2?" asked Nunnally confusedly.
"It's nothing, Nana." I answered calmly, giving C2 my very best say-no-more-or-you're-dead look. She smirked in reply. "I'm going to my room." I announced, and immediately set to work thinking of all of the ways that Rai and Nana's relationship would not work out.
Sunday came, and I found myself surfing the internet out of boredom. Looking at news videos on a whim, I found one that both surprised me and pleased me. It was the "prime minister" of Britannia, talking about business negotiations involving Securidite. So my father was no longer leader of Britannia. Good riddance. Doing more research revealed that a rebellion in 2011 had ousted Britannian monarchy, and that while violence had stopped after the initial uprising, many members of the royal family had been executed. At this I frowned. I bore little love to any of the names that were on the list of confirmed dead, but I preferred (to say the least) to have Euphemia alive. I was responsible for her death and taking her from Suzaku, and this was the one chance I would ever get to make it up to him. I would be more than a little ticked off to find out that that chance had been stolen from me before I had a chance to take advantage of it. It was time to pay a visit to R.T.H.
I headed out of the room to the philosophy classroom, determined find R.T.H. and wheedle the truth out of him. I realized, though, that he wouldn't be there today. It wasn't a school day. And while many of the students lived in dorms on campus, the teachers lived in their own rooms, and I had no idea where he lived. Defeated, I headed back to my room.
Monday, 5th period came by and I sat through R.T.H.'s absurd version of philosophy, determined to get some answers out of him. As the bell rang, I headed up to his desk with my questions ready.
"I've been cheated." I accused bluntly. No point mincing words, and nobody was around to see me disrespecting a "teacher."
"How so?" inquired R.T.H. coolly. "Every one of the conditions I stated at out initial meeting is true, word for word. Would you like me to restate the exact specifications?"
"That won't be necessary, but I do need clarification on a few things. You said that Shirley and Euphemia are alive, yet Euphemia is one of the few members of the royal family who is not among the list of confirmed dead or whose location is known. Indeed, she's gain a legendary reputation similar to that of Anastasia, the lost Romanov princess."
"My master agreed to restore her life. He never said she would be at Ashford."
"Then that defeats one of the main purposes of having her alive."
"How so? Surely you must be satisfied knowing that she's alive."
"Tell me, R.T.H., how much do you know about the Black Rebellion?"
"Then you know about the circumstances regarding Euphemia's death?" I asked, looking around the room just to be sure it was empty. Nobody remembered that Euphemia li Britannia had gone down a mass-murderer. But I didn't want anybody to think that we were conspirators in a murder.
"Correct." answered R.T.H.
"The surely you know that I need to redeem myself."
R.T.H. seemed to consider this for a few seconds and then replied. "I understand. However, I do not have the permission or the power to re-warp space to bring her here. You'll have to settle with some information and bring her in yourself."
I agreed somewhat unwillingly. But then, I suppose that I couldn't expect everything to be handed to me on a silver platter. All the information that he gave me was the Euphie was somewhere in Japan and a few information resources, most of them electronic, a few human ones.
Next, I asked him an equally important question. "I need more clarification on the current timeline. I'm tired of being surprised by things at every turn."
"Now there's something I can help you with." Replied R.T.H. somewhat more happily. In the end, he gave me altered memories like everyone else had while allowing me to retain my unaltered ones. He also gave me instructions on how to restore unaltered memories.
I had everything I needed to start looking for Euphemia, except for one thing: an accomplice. Capable as I was, I needed help if I was to conduct this search effectively. I needed someone strong reliable, and above all, loyal to me. Someone like… Kallen.