Hey all! I know it's been a while, sorry, sorry! All my grades have been dropping, and I just recently brought some of them into the safe zone. I'm focusing on school now so I'll have time to write stories over breaks from school (esp. during Summer!). I apologize in advance for future irregular updates because of this. However, I'll keep doing my best to write more.
Now, about this chapter… it didn't turn out as well as I wanted, so I've been holding onto it for a while. However, I couldn't think of how to improve it :(
Anyways, as always, thanks to Honey-Heartbeat626, Fangking2, bakapervert, Sacchin, Cows are my friends, Umbra 8191, Fan of Fanfics21, god of all, XT3, saiyan prince1, Mars Ultor, Suzyn, XIIIth Antagonist, Pedro Boncompagni, dsgundam00, dzk87, and Bunny153539.
Read and Review!
" " for dialogue
Italics for thought (or stress when just a word or two)
Mask 15: Surrounded
Vi Britannia Residence
In a locked room, one green-haired woman lay on her bed, staring up at the ceiling.
"You know, Marianne, your son's quite the troublemaker."
After a moment of silence, she sat up. "…Don't worry, I'll keep him safe. He still is my hope for lifting my curse."
Then C.C. heard a curious sound. It sounded like someone was right outside the room.
Is it that boy again? C.C. got off her bed and started crossing her bleak room. She was only a few feet away when the door swung open.
"Euphie, watch out!"
C.C. frowned imperceptibly. Euphie?
Curious, the witch was about to step into the open doorway, but a sudden sound stopped her. Before she could even guess what it had been, C.C. watched as a body fell outside the door, pink hair just visible through the doorway. The body's fall was followed by a shout that could only have come from one man.
C.C. could guess roughly what had happened. However, she waited a moment more to find out.
She heard the crashing sound of glass. So, the assassin shot from the outside. Still staying inside the room, C.C. moved her head to catch a glimpse of the intruder.
Almost immediately, she froze.
God, why'd they send him?
Rolo Haliburton rubbed his handgun as he walked through the recently-broken window. The gun's silver barrel wasn't exactly meant to be used to smash windows open. Meanwhile, security alarms started blaring in the background.
This form of entry was definitely less elegant than his preferred methods. However, that didn't matter.
As long as the mission is completed.
The purple-eyed boy carefully trained his gun on today's target, a black-haired man two years his senior. "Lelouch vi Britannia,"
"Where is C.C.?"
"Base Unit 1, this is Infantry Unit Twelve. We are in position, requesting further orders."
"…Unit Twelve, this is Base Unit 1. You have permission to engage. Her Highness orders that at least one hostile is to be captured alive. Confirm."
"Wilco, Unit Twelve, moving in."
"Lei, are you in position?"
"Yes, Hazel. Changing to armor-piercing now."
Already lying down, Lei Li carefully bent her wrist, remotely turning off her microphone, and tilted her masked head into her sniper rifle's scope. She really wanted to take off her bulky helmet, but taking off her main form of communication could be risky.
Besides, this time, Lei was just playing a supporting role.
Kallen quickly brought her Sutherland to a halt. Far down the street stood three Gloucesters. Even if she was sometimes hot-headed, she knew the odds of a Sutherland tackling three Gloucesters-and making it out safely-were pretty slim.
To make matters worse, she was out of bullets. However, any hopes of sneaking around were soon eliminated.
"Lord Guilford, that must be the rogue Sutherland. It doesn't seem to be transmitting an IFF code."
The black-haired Knight turned both his attention and machine to his right, where an unmarked Sutherland was barely visible in the distance. "I suppose you're right." Perhaps the rebel knows about Zero. "Try to avoid killing the pilot."
"Yes, my lord!"
Minoru watched as three terrorists took turns firing down the stairwell in intermittent bursts. He was almost ready for combat, but his comrades had insisted that he rest. It appeared that, upon "realizing" that Minoru was Zero's spy against Lelouch, the terrorists had gained a new respect for their old comrade, along with a bit of guilt for doubting him.
Still, as Minoru looked around, he watched his comrades discard empty cartridge after cartridge. We're running out of ammo.
"Where's our support, Ohgi?"
Even the most cowardly of Knightmare pilots knew there was no running from a Gloucester, much less three. That was why, when Kallen saw the abominable machines drive towards her, she soon found herself moving her Sutherland to meet her new foes head-on.
Still, as she saw one of the Gloucesters raise its gun, Kallen bit back a curse. A small part of her mind shouted at her, This is suicide!
But, then, a small miracle arrived.
The gun-wielding Gloucester had barely lifted its weapon when, suddenly, it stopped. With a few sparks around the head, the knightmar fell on its knees.
"What the hell?"
Guilford smashed his fist against the unresponsive monitor. The red error messages told him what had happened, but he refused to believe it.
What the hell happened to my factsphere?
Lei allowed herself to breathe a small sigh of relief.
The factsphere was, after the cockpit itself, both the most fragile and most important part of the knightmare. Composed of an extensive amount of surprisingly delicate machinery, it was what allowed the pilot to see the world around him. Normally shielded behind retractable protective plates, the factsphere was resistant to standard bullet fire.
However, Lei's bullets were designed to shoot through a Sutherland. They could pierce into the delicate circuitry of a factsphere easily enough.
Kallen didn't know and didn't bother trying to find what had happened. She only knew that there were still two other Gloucesters fully-operational. Both of which were holding up their lances.
My tonfas can't match their spears… Instead of facing them both head-on, the terrorist quickly moved to the side, as to pass around one of the machines.
Predictably enough, both Gloucesters turned their lance to intercept her.
"Trying to get around us, are you?"
Bart L. Darlton smirked. Simple-minded Eleven filth.
The Britannian Knight easily moved to strike the Sutherland as it shifted to the side of the road.
Quickly, Bart thrusted his spear towards the terrorist. By his side, Bart's companion followed suit. "Got you!-"
Suddenly, the Sutherland threw its left arm up over its chest. With a shower of sparks, it was soon pierced by both Gloucesters and ripped off the machine.
Kallen smiled as she saw part of her monitors go red. She'd lost her left arm, but it was a necessary sacrifice. Activating the stun tonfa on her right wrist, she hit the closest Gloucester on the back of the head. After some initial resistance, the Britannian knightmare's head collapsed in on itself, forcefully disabling it.
Biting on her tongue, Kallen slammed the accelerator. The remaining Gloucester easily ripped its javelin free of the abandoned Sutherland arm and turned around.
However, Kallen kept moving. Speeding along, she ran to the gun-wielding, disabled Gloucester, simultaneously reaching out with her automaton's right arm, picking up the unused Gloucester lance it carried on its back.
As she turned to face the remaining Gloucester, sweat dripped off the rebel's spiked hair, and she grimaced. That had been close. She was already tired from fighting countless Sutherlands, and her own machine lacked its left arm. Even if she had taken out one Gloucester, the other still remained in perfect condition.
Yet, falling here would mean failing her friends. She knew that they wouldn't be able to dream of defeating a Gloucester, should it find them. Now that it had spotted her, she couldn't simply run off towards Ohgi. It needed to be eliminated here.
I was always too headstrong about things… Now that I think about it, you died a similar way, didn't you, Naoto?
Licking her lips, Kallen forced herself to grin. If I live through this, I'll try to be more careful.
"Come at me, you Britannian bastard!"
"Are you sure I shouldn't get rid of the third?"
"Patience, Lei. Lelouch did say 'wait and see'. Let's see what that terrorist bitch is capable of. She's already near her limit."
Lei frowned, "If you say so, Emeka."
Kallen grit her teeth as the remaining Gloucester came closer. Wielding her new lance in her right arm, she shifted to the left side of the road, hoping to cover her armless side. As the Britannian drew closer, Kallen began to make her machine crouch, lowering its center of gravity. She locked the lance against her remaining arm, stabilizing it.
Then, when the two knightmares had almost collided, both Kallen and the other pilot thrust forward their spears, aiming for the other's cockpit.
For Kallen, time seemed to slow. A second turned into a minute, and a minute turned into an hour. Quickly she realized, too late, that they would both die; their weapons would hit their targets at practically the same time.
Even that much is a miracle. Never before would Kallen have even dreamed that she would take down one— no, two— Gloucesters. Much less with an inferior Sutherland. Closing her eyes, she wondered if she had a death wish.
I'm coming, Naoto.
Then, suddenly, time seemed to catch up with reality. Presently, she became aware of an irritating beeping sound. She vaguely felt her body being thrown backwards, but she no longer cared.
So this is what you felt, Naoto?
"Hold up, lady." Emeka smiled as he watched one of his many monitors, where he could see into a certain red-head's cockpit. He whistled appreciatively. "Taking down 13 Sutherlands and 2 Gloucesters with a single Sutherland… I can see why Lelouch doesn't want you dying just yet."
Then he glanced at another monitor, which was mimicking that of a Sutherland cockpit monitor. Everything had gone red except for one window, which read: "Emergency Eject Initiated."
I may not be able to hack right now, but I can still control what's already been hacked.
We're on our last clips of ammunition. Hazel bit back a curse. Minoru was not so restrained.
The entire terrorist group, Hazel and Minoru included, were slowly but surely being pushed up the staircase towards the roof, which Britannian snipers were undoubtedly targeting. Hazel dropped her now-empty submachine gun and took out her pistol. "Rafael, please tell me you're done."
A tired, yet triumphant, voice replied, "What great timing; I was just about to tell you that I finish-"
Hazel turned off her mike. "Ohgi, is your support here yet?"
The terrorist lowered the radio he'd been holding. "They're in position."
"Tell them to move in when I give the signal." Hazel once again activated her mask's mike. "Rafael, do it!"
For a moment, there was no response. Then, it was as if all hell had broken loose.
The staircase shook violently, forcing everyone onto their knees. From all sides came a deafening sound, as if the building was being broken apart from the outside. Soon the terrorists heard a series of confused cries break out from below. Hearing this, Hazel and Minoru smiled. Thankfully, the staircase was located at the building's center, insulating the group from the worst of the chaos forming outside. However, small pieces of the building's foundation began to fall down, covering the terrorists in a shower of dust and peeled paint.
After years of working with explosives, Rafael found that there were a few highlights in his line of work. A hasty job well-done was one of them. As Rafael rested his back against the wall of an old warehouse, he heard the satisfying explosions caused by his most recent work.
Contrary to most people's beliefs, explosives and demolitions are not devices of chaos or destruction. A good demolition job was like a piece of artwork. Too much power and everything would fall apart. In this case, that could… inconvenience, to say the least... Hazel and Minoru. However, too weak and it would cause too little damage. And while this basic principle governed the use of explosives, it made the art a much more complicated one. Like the gears of a machine, explosives had to be placed in precisely the right locations for optimal effect. Not only that, but, with timed explosives, the times had to be precisely synchronized. It didn't help that, this time, Rafael had no explosives other than those he had packed for use on the bridge. He'd left the rest in Emeka's van, which was too far away to get to in time.
Still, that made it all the more satisfying when the explosives went off. He could tell that the effect had been as close to optimal as he could get it. Although he wasn't able to get close enough to kill the Britannians without killing Hazel and Minoru, most of them were in as much disarray as was possible.
Now it's up to these damn terrorists to finish the job.
Arata sighed. "Since when are the reinforcements the ones who need backup?" A few of his friends smiled grimly in response.
Suddenly, a rumbling sound cascaded through, accumulating in sound and chaos. Looking around an alley corner, the terrorist cell leader watched as several buildings collapsed, blown apart by explosives. "And I bet that's the signal."
The crackling of a radio proved him correct. Arata picked up his submachine gun. "Oh well, I suppose we still owe Naoto's old pals something. Let's get going."
Presently, Emeka Azubuike sighed. What's a hacker to do? I can't fight on the frontlines, like Minoru. I can't fight from afar, like Lei. I'm stuck here, only pressing the occasional button.
Even worse, he couldn't hack, or else the "anti-hacker" from before could reappear.
Anti-hacker… Emeka paused. An Anti-hacker... it couldn't be… is he here?
Gilbert G.P. Guilford sighed once more. He had finally given up reviving his malfunctioning machine. This too great an embarrassment for words. Under Her Highness's command, I have fought countless soldiers and armies. I am the "Spearhead of Britannia", the man who's never once lost a duel, except against Her Highness. To have fallen for one of these petty terrorists' traps... I will never forgive these Elevens for humiliating me so.
Guilford slowly tapped on his communicator and prepared to give a report. How they managed to disable my knightmare is still unfathomable… I'll have to request an investigation on the weaponry the terrorists used. "Your Highness, I-"
"Guilford, is that you? I was just about to contact you. We must leave at once."
The Britannian knight paused. "I apologize, Your Highness... I think I might have misheard you. Did you just say-"
"Yes, Guilford, we're leaving the battlefield. The police have just contacted me."
Guilford asked, hesitantly, "What is the matter?"
"I'm not entirely sure. However, it appears someone broke into Lelouch's house." Although the Viceroy tried to sound calm, a sense of urgency pervaded her speech.
Princess Euphemia. Guilford suddenly realized the need for haste. "I'll be there right away."
The request for an investigation could wait.
Well, that's my latest Prince of Masks chapter. I'm sorry if it wasn't as exciting some of you anticipated; writing action scenes aren't really my thing… advice on writing future action scenes would be appreciated :D As long as there isn't too much criticism xD
Btw, you guys might have noticed that I add some paragraphs that don't really... flow the same as the rest. (ex: the weakness of the factspheres or Rafael's use of explosives) I'm doing this on purpose, but you'll have to wait a bit longer before finding out why xD. Don't worry, I'm aware that they may seem a bit akward in context. Just tell me if you want less of them, or changes in anything else for that matter.
On the other hand, encouragement is also greatly appreciated :D Too much criticizm leads to a depressed writer xD
I'll be moving to Code Geass: Fate's Curse ASAP. I'll publish the 2nd chapter as soon as I can!