"Diarmuid. Prepare the silver and gold tea service today."

Diarmuid paused. "We're expecting a very important guest?"

"Oh, yes," Watanuki negligently answered. "Royalty, even. Of course, all are equal before the wish shop's aegis, but it never hurt to treat royalty nicely."

So the polished silver was set out, the gold-rimmed saucers to match, and the best teaspoons and the Earl Grey properly steeped as their newest guest was brought in.

Her hair was long and bubblegum-pink, part of it tied up in a bun while allowing the rest to cascade down her back like a bridal veil. The dress she wore was off-white and covered her arms while reaching to floor-length, pinched together with a lace belt. It would have been judged to be the height of accoutrement expense were it not for the blood spilled down the front.

"This is... the shop of wishes?" she asked.

"Euphemia li Britannia, formerly the Third Princess of the Holy Empire of Britannia in your world," Watanuki greeted. "Maru, Moro, the tea."



"Watanuki, serve the tea!" Mokona complained.

She giggled as she was led to kneel, and shared the excellent brew as Diarmuid knelt with his head down by one side. Watanuki had attempted to remove the habit, but in almost all knightly respects the first spearman of the Fianna held firm.

"Diarmuid Ua Duibhne, my knight, my arms and legs, and my chief warden," Watanuki introduced the shy princess, blowing another Gordian knot of smoke ringlets.

"So... you are the shopkeeper?" the princess pronounced. "And please, call me Euphy."

"Very well, Euphy-san," Watanuki nodded. "I cannot revive the dead, though."

"I wouldn't ask you for that," Euphy nodded. "So... I am worried. About my family... about Lelouch. He didn't mean it!"

"It was fate," Watanuki nodded. "A twist of fate by the Geass he took that is the curse of every wish."

"I- Is there a way to mitigate that?" Euphy asked. "I... I miss Lelouch. I don't want Sister or Schneizel-niisama to chase after Lelouch."

"How would I answer it?" Watanuki murmured as he received the empty teacup from Euphy. "Even I do not know. Hmm... your leaves read rather tragically. Birds flying... good news. Cat... a deceitful friend or relative. Kite... wishes coming true. And the raven... the herald of death. The sanctuary you created was for nothing, and in fact would worsen everything due to the mischief of fate."

Euphy nodded. "I... I think I understand. But... please. This is a shop of wishes, is that so?"

"For us to grant a wish, we must have something of value," Watanuki answered. "The price of value here... would be nothing."

"Nothing?" she echoed.

"Even in the history of your world, Shakespeare once said: There is a special providence in the fall of a sparrow," the masculine voice murmured. "If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come – the readiness is all. Since no man, of aught he leaves, knows what is't to leave betimes, let be. Yours is a turning point set in the tapestry of destiny."

"So we cannot change the fate set out?" Euphy questioned.

"You misunderstood me," Watanuki clarified. "'Fate' is simply an event that is outside your control. The word 'destiny' is used in a different context, used in the same sense as 'destination'."

"Please... explain."

"The singularity of your world is the amalgamation of many choices. Lelouch vi Britannia chose to take the Geass, the power of kings. He chooses to crack the world down in his own fashion, by destroying the Britannia that discarded he and his sister. At the same time, Kururugi Suzaku chose to kill his father, and so spare Japan the loss of its population and save many lives, and chooses to enter the Britannian system to enforce change within. You chose to make him your knight, you chose to create the SAZ of your world – a moot point – and you chose to invite Zero, who was a mask of your half-brother. Lelouch vi Britannia would choose to first use his power on you to sabotage your project, but then decided otherwise, and here is the trick of fate that would haunt him and all subsequent missions of the Black Knights. Beyond that, every single one of the people known to each individual I have mentioned have made choices that impacted the life of those involved. Together, all of you have determined this reality." He spread slender hands. "Who am I to unmake such a thing?In the end, two souls will set out to fulfil their destiny, and the important thing is that they choose to do so. And in doing so, in creating a fate with their own hands, they will be heroes."

The image was clear now, the hated tyrant of the world, the Emperor Lelouch vi Britannia, struck down at the cusp of victory by the symbol of justice, Zero, before the world. Kururugi Suzaku, bound to a geas that was mortal and at the same time immortal.

A requiem for the world of war.

"Is there no other way?" Euphy quietly asked.

"You have exited stage left with the choir invisible," Watanuki sadly answered. "Do not worry. History is written by the winners, and the two of them would have long earned their places in history. They have attained an immortality and power beyond any Geass. And... in their hearts, someday. They find peace."

"Peace..." Euphy closed her eyes. "I think... you're right. I can only watch over them now, right?"

"The dead and the living, will meet only at zero," Watanuki smirked. "Above the cage of eternity, the demonic dragon arises... that's right. So, Your Highness... it's time to begin on the next step."

"I'll see myself out. Thank you, shop-keeper," she bowed deeply, before walking out.

"Kimihiro-sama... how would a tyrant qualify as a hero?" Diarmuid considered.

"Why would a man who would martyr himself for his ideals not be one? With his death, all the atrocities of the world that he committed have a purpose, a cautionary tale to future generations. He destroyed his own world, and recreated it with his hands. Is that not a noble pursuit?"

"I see your point, Kimihiro-sama." Diarmuid nodded. "His story sounds familiar."

Watanuki reclined in his couch as Maru and Moro packed away the tea service. "In that respect, at least, I believe him and Angra Mainyu to be alike. Both of them came to represent the evil of their world, and ultimately died as a sacrifice for it."

He coughed, his face twisted. "Humans are, indeed, the strangest creatures. All the more that we live."

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