Disclaimer: I do not own Code Geass or its characters.
Kallen catches Jacob's Vincent and destroys the torso. Jacob tries to eject only his trajectory takes straight at the Guren. Kallen takes Jacob back to the Ikaruga.
Savmora makes his way out the battle only Kallen is already at the Ikaruga. Suzaku calls out to Savmora.
"We need to pull back and regroup."
Savmora shakes his head even though no one can see him
"No we stay and fight. I will rescue Jacob and the empress even if I have to do over Zero's dead body."
The Black Knights look on as Savmora charges towards Kallen who is retreating. Many of them wonder about his knightmare.
"What the hell is that knightmare?"
Rakshata looks at it.
"I see so that is the Ywain. Looks like we have been surpassed."
This is the moment of truth for Kallen. Does she trust this guy? Why should she trust any Britannian? She sees Tohdoh coming back from his battle with Suzaku. The Knights of the Round are floating above in the air waiting for them to come out. Savmora and Suzaku keep challenging Zero to come out. As she waits Kallen sees Xingke getting aboard the mostly repaired Shen Hu. Suddenly Chinese forces begin to bombard the Mausoleum. She uses her radiant wave to protect the Ikaruga, but knows that the mountain won't hold out for much longer.
Lelouch ponders for a moment, "The Chinese Federation intends to obliterate the Mausoleum of 88 Emperors and us along with it. As for the empress, they want her to die."Xingke goes flying out in the Shen Hu to stop the attack from his own forces.
"The High Eunuchs, they'd violate the sacred Mausoleum for their petty ambitions! All forces cease fire! Her Imperial Empress is inside!"The High Eunuchs are prepared for this event.
"You still don't understand, do you, Xingke? Generations upon generation of emperors are buried there. In short, it's a grave.""A good place to bury our current empress.""We've already arranged for a new empress to replace her.""A puppet bride would nicely match prince Odysseus on their wedding photo."Xingke is incensed and heads straight for the High Eunuchs
"You dare to say this!"Gino stops him.
"You're the one? The guy who started the coup d'etat?""Stand aside Britannian, this concerns my country alone!""But those guys represent your country, internationally speaking."
Tohdoh comes flying out to meet Suzaku. CC and the other Black Knights come out to face the Knights of the Round. Despite their conversation this morning Lelouch would rather not give up Kallen to get his objective. Anya and the Mordred are finishing off rebellious Chinese forces.
Xingke sees this and goes over to help his countrymen only to be stopped by Gino once more.
"Oh no, I'm leading the dance at this party."Nina looks down at the battle and sees a simple solution.
"A single shot from the Mordred's Stark Hadron cannon would demolish the Mausoleum, wouldn't it?"Lloyd sees her point but wonders about the result.
"Well yes if you just want to crush them."Kannon answers her question
"And the moment we did that they'd say we killed their Empress. We have to let the High Eunuchs make that last mortal blow."
With this thought they can do nothing but wait. Meanwhile Kallen is deciding on what to do.
Zero decides have a conference with the High Eunuchs who don't seem to pleased.
"So you admit you're outmatched. Well we won't accept your surrender. It's too late now."Zero questions their actions, "You insist on fighting? Even though your own empress will die in the attack?"
The High Eunuchs are not impressed by Zero's comment. "The empress is merely a system.""There are plenty of others to replace her.""So you can't use her as a bargaining chip."Zero continues to prod away. "But you used her to gain noble titles in the Britannian court.""You have sharp ears, don't you? A cheap price to pay for power.""Cheap! A phony treaty that gives China's land to a foreign nation?""Land is nothing but dirt after all. Correct. We're Britannian noblemen now. That's what counts."Zero is incensed at their callousness.
"And what about the common people you sworn to protect!""Zero, when you walk down the street, do you worry about stepping on the ants? You throw away paper that clings to your bottom, don't you? It's the same thing.""You sell out your country, abandon your empress, betray your own people, and all for what?""An idealist. I never thought you are so naive, Zero. Indeed, masters and commoners will always breed. Like insects."
Lelouch turns on his communicator so that Savmora can hear what is going on as well. Savmora grimaces at Lelouch's plan. If things don't start moving quickly their opportunity is going to slip away. Suddenly a blast of radiant energy comes flying at him. This girl really likes to play it close. He hopes that Zero trusts her completely. He turns on their private channel.
"So Captain Kouzuki, what is your answer?"
Kallen laughs, "You'll have to wait and see Knight of Two. I won't make it easy for you I have a reputation to keep."
The defenses system aboard the Ikaruga begin to fail, and now Kaguya and the empress can feel everything. The empress decides that because she is the cause she must put a stop to this. She decides to run out onto the deck screaming. Kaguya chases after her but is stopped by some Black Knights. Zero continues his conversation with the High Eunuchs.
"Noblemen, you're bureaucrats, paper pushers who know nothing about noblesse oblige!"The High Eunuchs see the empress and decide to end it now. Xingke rushes over to protect her, but Gino attacks him again.
"You let yourself get distracted."
Xingke knows that the Shen Hu won't last much longer. His battles with Kallen and Gino have taken up most of his pleads with the empress. "Run away, your Majesty! Go now!"Tianzi looks up at the Shen Hu, "Xingke!""You finally made it outside of the city. But you haven't seen any in the world yet. I will defend you here."Tianzi doesn't move, "But without you, I still... Xingke, it has to be you and I together, it has to be!""Your words are wasted on me, your Majesty."The High Eunuchs decide to finish it.
"Intensify the attack. Don't stop until you crush the Shen Hu."Xingke can't believe that he cannot save the empress after all he has planned.
"I can't save you after all. I can't protect you. For six years, everything I've done has been to fulfill my promise to you. Someone do it. I don't care who! But please, someone save her!""Very well. I understand. Wish is granted."When the smoke clears from the Chinese bombardment, a knightmare is standing in front of the Shen Hu.
Savmora knows that this is the moment of truth.
"It is now or never, Kallen."
Kallen closes her eyes. In front of her is a picture of her with her mother and brother which she touches. Kallen takes the Guren up for a final attack. "I ask this of the Chinese Federation and the Britannians. If you want keep fighting, are you prepared for the consequences? Will you fight Zero?"Suzaku can't believe what he is hearing.
"Zero? He's come to the front line himself?"The High Eunuchs want the attack to continue.
"Why are you stopping? All units wipe them out!"Lelouch decides to end this himself.
"So be it! I gave you your chance. Let no one forget that!"Rakshata smiles at her handiwork.
"Knightmare frame Shinkiro. Its Absolute Defense Field is the strongest protective shield system in the world."
Schniezel wonders why Zero has chosen this precise moment to come out. He is informed of rebellions breaking out throughout the Chinese Federation.
"My lord there seems to be some communication between Zero and the High Eunuchs."
"Very well Kannon. Play it here."
The listen in on the conversation. Suddenly the remaining Black Knight forces come out to attack. They begin to drive the Chinese forces and overwhelm the Knights of the Round. Savmora is coming back with the Guren. He notices that the Mordred is going down.
The Mordred doesn't appear to be damaged. Savmora wonders what the cause of it falling down is.
"Gino, help Anya."
Savmora contacts Schniezel.
"Your highness, do we continue the attack?
"No. We're withdrawing. Nations aren't dirt and they're not systems. They're people. The High Eunuchs have lost the people's support. They're no longer qualified to join us as representatives of the Chinese Federation."
"As you wish. At least all is not lost. Suzaku provide cover for us to retreat."
Savmora carries the Guren back while Gino helps Anya back
Lelouch sits in the Shinkiro looking over at CC in her Akatsuki,
"I hope you're right about this, witch."
CC doesn't answer him.
Savmora brings the Guren back to the Avalon. Gino and Suzaku help Anya return as well. Savmora stands in front of the Guren as soldiers pull a resistive Kallen out. Savmora fights to resist the grin coming over his smile. He can hear Suzaku and Gino helping Anya out of the Mordred. Suzaku spends a few moments with Anya before rushing over to confront Kallen, but Savmora is standing in his way. Savmora overcomes his desire to run to check on Anya. He stares as some of his men take Kallen away. Suzaku moves towards her, but Savmora shakes his head. Savmora puts hand on Suzaku's chest to forcibly stop him.
"Not now Suzaku," Savmora turns his attention to the guards taking Kallen away, "Take her to cell 1."
"Wait I need to question her about something."
Savmora grinds his teeth and appears visibly shaken by what happened out there.
"Now is not the time. We must mourn for those that died," He looks at Suzaku, "If you want to question my prisoner, you will have to fill the proper requisition forms."
He begins to walk away. Suzaku does not appear to be satisfied with the situation and decides to ask Savmora about it. Gino comes and stops Suzaku.
"Just let him go, Suzaku. Jacob is like a little brother to him, and he let him lead that attack."
Suzaku nods, but still doesn't appear satisfied. Gino looks at Suzaku with a bit of concern.
"Hey Suzaku, what happened to your shirt? There's blood all over it."
Suzaku looks down and notices the blood where Savmora put his hand. Suzaku wonders if the blood is Savmora's. He sees Savmora walking away slowly still clenching his fists. Suzaku can see hints of red. Anya goes after Savmora to check up on him. Gino goes off to make sure that Kallen is taken of properly leaving Suzaku alone to contemplate the situation.
Savmora sits in his temporary room and looks down at his hands. He quickly turns them away.
"Damn, looks like I overdid it. I really should trim these nails," Savmora sighs, "Still we lost a lot of good people out there."
He looks down at communicator that can put in him in touch with Lelouch. He realizes that it is much too early to contact him.
"Well mother," Savmora begins sarcastically, "Looks like you got your wish. I hope that you know what you're doing."
Before Savmora can continue, there is a soft knock on the door. He regains his composure meaning he actually begins to lose it before answering the door. He isn't expecting for anyone to come so soon. When he opens the door Anya is standing there. Savmora slightly curses himself for forgetting about Anya. He does it on purpose at first because of the need to take care of Kallen, and then to show his distress over the loss of Jacob.
"Anya, I'm sorry. Are you all right? You seemed to lose it out there."
Savmora does wonder why Anya fell unconscious for a few moments allowing the Black Knights to defeat her. The loss of Anya and the Mordred would have been a blow to Britannia. It also would have presented a problem to Savmora's plan. Britannia and the Black Knights would have had to perform an exchange of prisoners. Jacob would most likely have to remain a prisoner.
Anya doesn't say anything, but she begins to bandage Savmora's hand.
When she is done, she kisses the hand. Anya looks up at Savmora.
"This will help you heal faster."
"Thank you, Anya."
Anya leads him to the bed and directs him to sit down.
"You should get some rest."
Savmora nods, "I think we all need some rest."
Anya's face shows a small smile before straitening. She turns to leave.
"Anya, wait can you stay here with me for a few minutes?"
Anya looks at Savmora who is overcome with emotion at the loss of Jacob and his men. Even though it is a part of his plan, Savmora's emotions get the best of him. Several men did lose their lives out there from all sides. Anya sits down beside him.
After Lelouch takes care of the situation with the empress with some help from Shirley, he heads down to his room to take care of the next part of his plan.
Lelouch scowls, "Who knew that things would be so difficult? Once I return to Area 11, I will contact Savmora to check up on Kallen."
When Lelouch enters his room, he is shocked at what he finds. CC, Kaguya, and Jacob, of all people, eating pizza.
"What is the meaning of this? Lady Kaguya, this man is a prisoner. He cannot be here."
If it was truly up to Lelouch, Jacob would be on his way back to Area 11 and Kallen would be here. However things don't always go as planned. After Britannian forces retreated, Lelouch sought an exchange of prisoners only Britannia declined. If only they would have managed to get the Knight of Six and her Mordred, things would have gone to Lelouch's liking. Now he will have to deal with things as they are. Lelouch can see a slight smile on CC's face.
Kaguya answers, "Zero-sama, we are here to conduct a meeting."
"A meeting. What sort of meeting?"
"A meeting of great importance. Only there is one participant yet to arrive."
Under his mask, Lelouch frowns. First CC and then Kallen and now Kaguya are make plans around him. No matter what he must push forward. He will rescue Nunnally and defeat Britannia. His talk with Shirley strengthened his resolve. Suddenly there is a knock on the door. Lelouch wonders who else Kaguya would have at this meeting. Lelouch goes to answer it. Standing there is Tohdoh. Lelouch is already not liking this. Things will begin to get out of control if more people find out his secrets.
"Zero, I was instructed by Lady Kaguya to come here. Is something…?"
Tohdoh is standing there. Kaguya come over by the door.
"Tohdoh-san, please come in. We need to discuss a few things," Kaguya goes back to her seat, "Zero-sama, don't' just stand there."
Tohdoh quickly scans the room an obviously notices that Jacob is sitting there between CC and Kaguya without any sort of restraint. Tohdoh nods and takes a seat. Under his mask Lelouch sighs and does the same. With this enormous feat accomplished Kaguya begins.
"Now Zero-sama, you will answer my previous question about how CC is the mother of the Knight of Two when they appear to be the same age. You will also reveal you identity to Tohdoh-san. I believe that it is important for the person who is essentially your second in command to know your identity and your reasons for fighting."
Tohdoh quickly stands up.
"This is not necessary. If you are satisfied with the arrangement, Lady Kaguya, then I am as well."
Kaguya speaks slightly forcefully.
"Take a seat, Tohdoh-san."
Japan has not had royalty or nobility in several decades, but the Six Houses of Kyoto and more precisely the Sumeragi family is as close as they come. Tohdoh obeys Kaguya without thinking about it.
Kaguya turns to face Lelouch. This is a problem that has a simple solution. Lelouch can simply geass Tohdoh and Kaguya to forget about what happened in this room. Of course when Kallen returns he will have to tell her about it because then Kaguya will also forget who Zero is.
"Zero-sama, I was instructed by Kallen and CC to leave something in my room that would remind me of who you are in case I developed amnesia," Kaguya looks pensive, "I'm not sure what they meant, but I followed their advice."
CC is sitting there oblivious to everything eating her pizza. Lelouch cannot believe that Kallen and CC would meddle in this manner.
Lelouch assures himself that the door is properly locked. He reaches for his helmet and slips his contact on. He hopes that Tohdoh has some memories of him. Lelouch has very few memories of Suzaku's former sensei. He does wonder how things would have changed if Suzaku had been able to contact Tohdoh after the invasion. When the helmet comes off, Tohdoh's eyes open wide. Lelouch is unsure whether it is recognition or just because Zero is Britannian. Even Jacob seems a little stunned at Lelouch's face.
"Oh my, you look familiar," Jacob comments, "When you spoke with Lord Savmora before, I couldn't figure it out, but now I remember. You are."
"Lelouch vi Britannia," Tohdoh answers.
Jacob knows that Lelouch was an important Britannian, but not the fact that he is a prince. Jacob quickly kneels.
"Your highness, I had no idea."
"Stand up. I renounced my royal position."
"Nevertheless you are royalty."
Tohdoh stares at Lelouch.
"You had a little sister in a wheel…"
Tohdoh's voice trails when he realizes where Lelouch's little sister is. Jacob makes the same realization.
Tohdoh decides to ask, "What is your goal, Zero?"
Jacob blinks when Tohdoh calls Lelouch, Zero.
Lelouch answers, "For the moment to free Japan and rescue my sister. Past that I will take Britannia down myself if I have to. That man will pay for what he has done."
Lelouch's anger as he says this even gets CC's attention.
Tohdoh nods, "Very well, but I will follow you until your quest is no longer beneficial to Japan. Your secret is safe," Tohdoh looks at Jacob, "I take it that Captain Kouzuki is safe."
Lelouch answers, "For moment she is secure. I must return to Area 11 to keep appearances. The emperor and his people think that I am still there. Jacob will be my body double. For any meetings that require me to speak, I will come in person."
Kaguya nods, "That takes care of that. Now onto the next part of this meeting. You will explain as much as you can about CC."
"CC is much older than she appears."
Tohdoh looks over at Zero's 'lover'. She appears to be around sixteen years old, but a look into her eyes tells a different story.
"How old is she?"
"Historical research indicates somewhere between five and eight hundred years old."
Everyone in the room is quite stunned at this revelation. Jacob is visibly shaken.
"How is this possible?"
Lelouch continues, "CC is an immortal. No, let me correct that she has regenerative abilities which make her technically immortal."
Kaguya recovers her composure.
"Is there more?"
Lelouch is unsure how much more to say. Having gone this far he sees no option but to continue.
"She has the ability to give a power called geass to people."
Lelouch nods, "Yes according to historical research many of history's greatest conquers and leaders possessed this ability."
"You said it was called geass. What exactly is it?"
"It manifests differently in each person."
Kaguya's eyes narrow.
"How has it manifested in you?"
Lelouch removes his contact.
"Allow to show you," Lelouch looks Tohdoh in the eyes, "Tohdoh if you would be so kind as to remove your jacket, turn your shirt inside out and put it on backwards, and then put your jacket on backwards as well."
Much to Jacob and Kaguya's surprise the Japanese officer does as he is told with no complaint. After completing his task, Tohdoh looks at Lelouch.
"I thought that you were going to demonstrate this power of yours."
Lelouch points to Tohdoh's clothes. His eyes open wide when he sees the condition of his clothes. Lelouch looks at him again.
"Do fifty push ups."
Tohdoh growls, "What are you talking about?"
Kaguya's eyes open wide in recognition of what Lelouch is demonstrating.
"You can only use it once on a person. No matter the command."
Tohdoh realizes that Lelouch's geass allows him to command someone to do anything.
"Have you ever used this power on one of your allies or someone Japanese?"
"Once on Kusakabe. The man was quite unreasonable. I chose to end his life before he ended mine."
"But you have used it on Britannians."
"It has been necessary to get a few things done."
Kaguya nods, "So you can only use it once on a person."
"Then use it on me."
Lelouch twists his mouth.
"You can ask me a benign question."
"Very well then," Lelouch looks into Kaguya's eyes, "What is your opinion about Jacob here?"
Kaguya smiles, "I think he's cute. If I wasn't Zero-sama's wife, I could see myself with someone like him."
Jacob blushes, and Tohdoh coughs. Kaguya is released from the geass and quickly looks down at her clothes to see if anything is different.
"What did you have me do?"
She notices the way Jacob and Tohdoh are looking away.
"It was nothing of importance, Lady Kaguya."
Kaguya twists her mouth.
"Fine, it is not important. We need to continue to push our new alliance forward. Zero-sama, please try to attend as many meetings as you can. We will understand if you stay in Japan to protect your sister."
CC finally speaks up.
"I feel like taking a nap so all of have to leave."
"Shut up witch. Besides I thought that you were sleeping in Kallen's room because the quality of the mattress."
CC shakes her head.
"I had Kallen's mattress moved in here. I thought that you would enjoy her fragrance as you slept."
Lelouch stands up and pushes the others out of the room.
"Meeting adjourned. We shall continue our discussion at a later time. Tohdoh, can you escort Jacob to the detention level."
Lelouch is visibly blushing form CC's comment about Kallen. Kaguya, Tohdoh, and Jacob leave.
Kallen is looking down at the dress that Savmora gave her.
"I wish that they would have given me regular prisoner clothes."
"Nonsense, I'm sure you look lovely."
Kallen turns around and sees Nunnally sitting there being pushed by Savmora surrounded by guards.
"Hello Kallen, I wish to have a conversation with you."
Author's note: CC, Kallen, and Kaguya have conspired to make Zero more accessible. Realizing how she felt when she discovered the truth behind Zero, Kallen decides to not have others react in the same manner. Tohdoh is basically the key to keep the Black Knights from betraying Lelouch for the most part.
All the dialogue while the battle is going on makes this one of the hardest chapters to write.