I am sure in my long absence I gain quite a number of readers wishing to throw rotten tomato to my stage...
The good news is... your awaited 11th chapter of Parallel Axis would be OUT this MONTH! DEC 2014... So yeah~ I manage to get around to finish 80% of it so I can upload it... depends on how long my beta will take to fix it. If all goes well by the 15th I will get the unfixed ver send to my beta.
As for this fic... well... I happen to get 70% done LONG time ago so I just get the 30% done... school is getting busy and now it's vacation time. NOT really as at home I am working too...
Chapter 11: Battle in the rain
Bligganteth waited patiently for their boss to come to vacation house (a manor actually) the three familglia of trinisette owned. He and his squad had been dying to see the new rain knight, and when the opportunity cane he insisted to come with Vongola Decimo. He had come on behalf of Princess Nunnally, who couldn't come because of business back at home with Vongola's sun guardian. Solte also insisted on coming on Princess Nunnally's order, just in case her brother needed Solte's craftsmanship.
He and his brother were grateful because of their Secondo, their famiglia was out of the funk the civil war put them through. It was not an easy road for them to regain trust from their people, but in the end all of them could put everything in the past because Neo-Italy and the three trinisette famiglie had to be in unity to face the world.
And the one who made that possible was their current boss, Lelouch Millefiore.
Bligganteth had to admit he and the rest of their famiglia was skeptical with accepting the ex-prince as their boss, although they didn't have a say at all because once someone was chosen by Trinisette no one could take that ownership away without taking the owner's life in the process. His ancestry aside, Lelouch was young and inexperienced; so many factors were stacked against him.
Their first boss Byakuran Gesso had brain, pedigree and power. Lelouch was sorely lacking in their eyes in comparison. However they quickly found out that their new boss was in no way inferior to the first, he was as much as intelligent and cunning as Byakuran was. At this point he was not as powerful yet, but he was gentler and with Princess Nunnaly by his side he gained their loyalty in less than a year.
As today, he was a perfect boss for Millefiore Famiglia.
His ears perked up when he heard his subordinate contacted him that the jet had landed and he should be ready to welcome their boss. There was no way Bligganteth would let Vongola to welcome their boss, old grudge was no more but that was their privilege.
"Let's go Solte."
"Yes, brother." The shorter red head replied.
Lelouch was always one for dramatics; Suzaku couldn't help but thought when the ex-prince pushed the heavy mahogany door open with a bang. He expected a row of man in black suit bowing to Lelouch as their welcoming party, but all they had two teens that undoubtedly brothers waiting for Lelouch in the other side. The older brother was wearing maroon colored uniform with silver shoulder pads that had some sort of flowery symbol, the younger was wearing red suit with gold rim, and both of them had curly red hair and tanned skin.
They looked pretty shocked with the way Lelouch made his entrance. "Boss?" The older red head approached the fuming boss carefully. "Is everything alright?"
"Bliggan." Lelouch addresses the red haired male stiffly, "I didn't expect Tsuna to bring you and Solte to this place."
Bligganteth, who Lelouch usually called Bliggan gave his boss a respectful bow. "I come with Vongola Decimo on Princess Nunnally's behalf."
"Nunnally…" Lelouch murmured, "I see…"
Solte, the younger brother asked timidly. "Does our presence displease you, Secondo?"
Lelouch shook his head, "No, it's Tsuna who displease me tonight." They tensed, "At ease, whenever Tsuna annoys me and vice-versa, the worse we would do to each other is screaming our heads off."
Bliggan and Solte flushed a deep red, "My apologies, Boss."
"It's fine, and where's Tsuna? This time he is really overboard." Lelouch harrumphed.
"He is waiting for you in the meeting hall six." Bliggan informed his boss promptly, and then his green eyes wandered to Suzaku who was right behind Lelouch. "Is he the one, Boss?" He asked curiously.
Suzaku wished he could shrink or a hole would open up for him to hide, but underneath his feet was no hole but an expensive red carpet that at least worth six months of his salary.
Lelouch sighed wearily, "Don't presume anything for now, I have heard that the news is getting pretty out of hand back home." Bliggan and Solte looked at each other and gave Lelouch a small nod. "Oh well, Bliggan, Solte, this is my friend Kururugi Suzaku." He gestured towards flustered Suzaku, "And Suzaku, this is Bligganteth… the leader of Millefiore's special assassination squad." Suzaku tensed at that, "Belladonna Lily Squad, and this is Solte, his brother and ring craftsman of Millefiore."
"Eeh…" Suzaku trailed off nervously, "Nice to meet you."
The brothers gave him a curt nod, "Nice to meet you too." Solte returned timidly.
"So, boss…" Bliggan trailed off, "Shall we see Decimo now?"
Lelouch shrugged. "Lead the way Bliggan."
Britannia, The throne room
Anya, or rather Marianne in teenage girl's body frowned at her husband, "What do you mean that Lelouch is an unknown variable now, Charles?"
The emperor grunted, "That boy killed Clovis, or rather someone else did the deed in his stead." He explained. "Clovis himself was pretty confused by the whole ordeal of his death, so much that even in death he couldn't explain it to me. Too much pain and gore made his consciousness in C world unstable, all he could tell me was Lelouch was in the same room when he died and someone else he didn't know."
Marianne crossed her arms, "So? My smart boy just didn't want to dirty his hands with Clovis' blood."
"Then your son is a coward." The emperor muttered.
"Why is that…" She trailed off in annoyed tone. "Whenever he did something that displeased you, he is my son?" Marianne wondered out loud, rolling her eyes. "Then again why should I care how and why Clovis was killed? My Lelouch is back! I have been so worried when he disappeared from our radar last year!" She gushed girlishly. "And my son was back with style! He killed Clovis after he handed the peacock boy his ass in a silver platter no less!" Marianne laughed out loud.
Charles sighed exasperatedly; sometimes he wondered if he married a sane woman. Then again that one or two loose screws on her head made her no less endearing, she was the only woman he married out of love after all. "However… what I can gleam from Clovis' memory before his death, while Lelouch is still hell bent on finding your killer he also cares about the Eleven…"
"Not surprising, he is very close with that Eleven boy… Kururugi Suzaku…" Marianne droned. "Considering Lelouch upbringing, that boy is the first real friend of his… my Lelouch is so adorable…" She gushed.
"Marianne." The emperor called her, "That's not what I am concerned about, that boy… he is different from I thought."
"Your son." Marianne corrected with a hiss, "Not that boy."
The fifth consort rolled her eyes, "Fine… what worries you about Lelouch other than he is alive, kicking and he has thrown government in area 11 upside down?" Marianne asked as if she expected her son leaving a trail of destruction because he was hers and it was as natural as sun rising from east.
"Other than how alike he is to you?" Charles snorted, "He is… not as bitter, it seemed like he is not pursuing your killer for mere vengeance and the reason Clovis died had nothing to do with your killer. It was justice in his part…"
She shrugged, "My son always has a strong sense of justice." Then she added, "He loves watching heroes series when he was young."
He sighed, "Let's just hope that your son is just being the same innocent child who likes to play hero of justice." Something was off and V.V also sensed it, and Charles hoped the foolish son of theirs had nothing to do with it.
Meeting Hall of Trinisette (Mafia Land)
The room was a simple meeting room, not overly luxurious like the rest of the manor but simple and functional with long mahogany table and comfortable looking office chairs. The wall was in cream color and the floor was carpeted in Persian rug. In another end of the table was the same amber eyed man who spoke with him few hours ago, Sawada Tsunayoshi.
"Hello Tsuna, you know… this is not the first time you spring a nice and welcoming invitation like this." Lelouch drawled with a voice that dripping with sarcasm the moment he opened the door to meeting hall.
Tsuna sighed exasperatedly, "Yes, Lelouch… you sounds your displeasure clear and loud for me. Now sit down, we have a lot of things to discuss." Then his eyes wandered to Suzaku and the green eyed boy stiffened.
Suzaku was ashamed but he couldn't stop himself from scooting closer to Lelouch, he was not frightened by Tsuna or Takeshi who somehow managed to be ahead and already sitting beside his boss. It was simply unnerving to be around a man with ability to see through you like Sawada Tsunayoshi.
"Not just about your knights, but also the change of politic in Japan."
Lelouch quickly took his seat across Tsuna, Suzaku hesitated to take the seat beside his before Lelouch dragged him down to sit. Bliggan and Solte chose to stand behind Lelouch as the seats meant for bosses and their inner circle.
"Start with Area 11." Lelouch requested with a tone of finality, "I am curious who I will face next, and I suspect it's someone competent this time."
Tsuna shrugged, he supposed the knight business could be saved for later. "Look at the screen." Tsuna gestured to the large screen hung on the wall. The screen was turned on and played a recording of CCTV.
Lelouch watched a group of noble that undoubtedly leftover of Clovis' staff in government, waiting for their chance to lick the new viceroy's boot. The moment he saw that distinctive fuchsia hair, Lelouch knew there would be no boot for those nobles to lick. He also was going to have a bigger headache, and revise his plan because this sibling of his was nothing like society butterfly like Clovis was.
"Cornelia Li Britannia." Lelouch rubbed his throbbing cranium, "Second Princess of Britannia, nicknamed the witch."
Tsuna nodded, "And also Chief General of Britannia, what stand you're going to take against her?"
"For Cornelia?" Lelouch snorted, "A completely different approach than one I planned for Clovis, she is a soldier and has to be treated as such."
Suzaku resisted an urge to remind Lelouch that he was still a soldier of Britannia, and was not treated as such. Should they even talk about this in his presence?! He didn't dare to say anything either, because it would be a bad thing with Bliggan and Solte in the room. They were Lelouch's subordinate, telling them he was a Britannian soldier was going to trouble his friend more than he already did.
"Give me an overview of what you predict Cornelia is going to do as Viceroy." Tsuna requested, "Whatever she did would affect my business in EU with Shcneizel…" Although almost non-existent or a big deal was up to debate. From what he had heard from Lelouch before, Cornelia even though she didn't realize it was included on majority of Britannian royal siblings that were under Schneizel's thumb.
Lelouch shrugged. "She won't do much in socializing with people like Clovis did, she is a soldier so she will focus her business in wiping out both resistance group and terrorist."
"In short, she is going to turn Ghettos to battlefield." Tsuna concluded. "How about her connections?"
Lelouch pointed at Cornelia on the screen who was pointing a gun at noble who dare to suggest a party to welcome her. "She doesn't care… she will just make someone else do all the governing duty while she went off soaking the ground with blood of her foes."
"She is that bloodthirsty?" Tsuna asked with uneasy expression.
Lelouch nodded, "You can blame my mother since Cornelia took it to a T to emulate my mother in battlefield." Lelouch loved his mother, but he was not blind that she used to the knight of two and had shed blood all over the world for the emperor.
"Can you keep the casualties to minimum?" Tsuna queried.
"I will do what I can." Lelouch promised, "Worse come to worse." Suzaku who sat beside him tensed, worse came to worse Cornelia would meet the same end as Clovis.
Tsuna closed his eyes, "Why of all siblings, Clovis made it to the list but not Cornelia?"
Lelouch sighed at that, "You know why, unlike Clovis who was a social butterfly… Cornelia is a soldier. As long as I stay in Japan, area 11 I can't afford being selfish when I face her in battlefield."
The Vongola opened his eyes slowly, and focused his gaze on Suzaku who tried and failed to shrink himself on his seat. "I will leave Cornelia to you then, do what you must." And the green eyed boy tensed again at his sentence. "Well then… Kururugi Suzaku-kun, you don't have to squirm like that in your seat."
"Ha… hai." Suzaku stammered.
Lelouch glared at his friend and hissed in warning tone, "Suzaku!"
Suzaku straightened his back, reminding himself that the two subordinates behind him didn't know his issue and he was going to hurt Lelouch's reputation. "Yes, Sawada-san."
"I know." Lelouch grumbled, "Bliggan, Solte… you're excused."
Bliggan and Solte nodded, "Si, il mio ciello."And exited the room without question.
Free from watchful eyes of the red haired siblings, Suzaku found himself under unnerving gaze of Vongola Decimo."Well then… what should we do with you..."
Chop, stir fried or perhaps boiled him alive. Suzaku couldn't help but thought of himself laying on a giant cutting board, an ingredient waiting to be cooked.
"You're not going to do anything to Suzaku." Lelouch snarled.
"Unfortunately, we have to do something." Tsuna drawled in solemn tone. "Like I said, people back home is getting restless about you being knightless… and you know who has jumped on the same bandwagon."
Lelouch gritted his teeth, "Can we just kill him?"
Tsuna gave him a dry look, "Reborn tried and failed, do you think you can kill someone Reborn can't kill?"
"Foolish question." Lelouch admitted, "Now what?"
"What indeed." Tsuna mused then as if a brilliant idea struck him, he clapped his hand. "Hm… let's battle it out shall we?" He suggested with a smile that didn't match his words.
Lelouch stood up from his seat abruptly, "What did you just say?!" He hollered.
"Aren't we lucky I have my rain with me?" Tsuna said, patting his rain on the shoulder. "We can have a swordfight, I heard from Takeshi that Kururugi-kun also a kendo practitioner…"
Lelouch slammed his fists on the table and it burst to flame in instant. "Tsuna! Don't decide this by your..."
Suzaku much to Lelouch's shock dragged him away from the burning table, intending to protect him. "What the… did someone set that table on fire? Are you hurt, Lelouch?"
The dark haired teen flushed, "Suzaku! I set that on fire! It's my flame, it won't hurt me, idiot!"
"Argh!" Lelouch groaned, slamming his fist on the burning table and the flame vanished in instant. "See? Completely harmless." Suzaku just stared at the scorched table in disbelief.
Tsuna mused, "We really have to put that no setting furniture on fire in meeting hall rule as soon as possible."
Lelouch glared at him, "You didn't get my approval yet, bastard."
"Your biological clock is ticking you know." Tsuna reminded him.
Lelouch fumed, "What's with you and getting on my nerve today?!" He roared, "And don't make it sounds like I am a woman that in desperate need to get married!" He sat down with a huff, "I get the idea, but if Suzaku has no wish to be my knight out of his own will I will not force him to be my knight and I don't see why he has to prove his worth!"
Tsuna raised an eyebrow at him, "I believe he has said he want to be your knight."
Suzaku's eyes widened in shock, "I… I don't remember I said that!"
Lelouch face-palmed, how naïve Suzaku could be? "Idiot."
Tsuna gave him an amused smile. "When I asked: Will you be a good knight for Lelouch? Your answer is you wish you could, isn't that mean regardless you're qualified or not you want to be his knight?" Tsuna explained his reasoning, raising his eyebrow again at Suzaku. "Am I wrong?"
Susaku swallowed and then turned to Lelouch who sighed,"Lelouch?"
"Your words are indeed could be interpret that way." The ex-prince admitted, giving Suzaku dry look. "But in the end the choice is all yours." Lelouch said, ignoring Tsuna who reminded him it wasn't about that anymore.
The brown haired Japanese swallowed heavily, and then recalled how he felt disconnected and distant to Lelouch when the ex-prince talked with the Vongola boss. "I… " He glanced at Takeshi who glared at him, as if daring him to refuse the sky of Vongola. He had seen the way Takeshi looked at Tsunayoshi, so devoted and most of all he seemed to be content.
If he became Lelouch's knight, perhaps…
"I will do it." Suzaku decided as he returned Takeshi's challenging eyes. "I don't know what I have to do, and you know I am not a type that good at thinking of my plans thoroughly." Lelouch gave him an exasperated look; that Suzaku just said an understatement. Obviously Lelouch was still annoyed about his wonderful plan to swear fealty to the emperor in exchange for Japan. "Maybe if I fight Takeshi…" The other Japanese looked a little startled that Suzaku addressed him with his first name so suddenly. "I will know."
Lelouch gave him a hard look but Suzaku didn't back down as he looked at Lelouch determinedly, pleading silently for his friend to let him do this for Lelouch and himself.
After a long silence Lelouch let out a sigh, and Suzaku admirably restrained himself from grinning for what came next. "Fine, you can have you goddamn fight with Yamamoto." He tossed something to Suzaku, it glinted under the chandelier light before Suzaku caught it.
It was a beautiful ring with teardrop shaped blue gem with silver wings. "This is…"
"Might as well hand it to you now…" Lelouch drawled as Suzaku put the ring on hesitantly. "However… it's depends of you whether it can be your source of power or merely pretty trinket." Then he turned his attention to Tsuna. "Well then my fellow sky…. We have an agreement." He raised his hand. "And I would like to inform you I am very reluctant to agree."
Tsuna mirrored Lelouch's gesture, raising his right hand. "I know between us there are no lies." Lelouch gave him a dry look, "Well aside from we trust each other, I don't like lying and it's pointless on me… but mostly trusts I suppose."
"I suppose." Lelouch agreed.
Tsuna laughed softly. "As for the rule… shall we use standard rule of friendly battle between men of honor?"
He mulled over the rules, no lasting injuries, no attacking vital area and no killing. "Very well."
"To prosper." Tsuna muttered in solemn tone.
"Or to ruin." Lelouch followed.
"This is our dying will, and here a pact shall be sealed."
Training Ground 07
Suzaku had a feeling that mafia had a thing for dramatic as of all places to have their honorable fight, the chose to do it in a fast flowing river with waterfall. It seemed like the place used by ancient Japanese warrior to meditate and train. As if the place was not enough he and Takeshi were asked to put on hakama, and a katana. He really didn't like the fact they were going to battle with real sword, but he had agreed to this.
Thankfully the condition to win forbid fatal wound and the likes, the winner was decided when their opponent couldn't fight anymore or forfeited. That put his mind at ease a little, but he knew from his hazy childhood memories that Takeshi won half of their spars. Which mean his chance to win was fifty-fifty at least, unless…
The projector device on the ground beeped to live and projection of Lelouch, Tsunayoshi and Colonello appeared in the air, all of them were sitting on grand chair.
"Are you guys ready?" Tsunayoshi asked, "Would you like us to repeat the rules again for you Suzaku-kun?"
Suzaku shook his head. "No, I understand the rule by heart."
Tsunayoshi nodded in approval then raised his hand, "Hajime!"
Both swordsmen were standing on top of river rock, there were a lot of stepping stones on the river but with considerable distance in between. Suzaku was well aware that their reflex and instinct were going to be tested to their limit. If either of them lost their footing it would be the same as losing.
He gripped the handle of katana and surprised to see Takeshi was jumping away from him instead of coming closer, and even more so when Takeshi dropped one of his katanas and kicked the hilt of the sword, sending it flying towards Suzaku.
'Yarazu no Ame?!' Of all thing to start with, the bastard! Of all Shigure Souen Ryuu techniques, that was the one Suzaku hated the most.
"Kuh!" Suzaku grunted as he batted Takeshi's katana with his and he had to dodge quickly when Takeshi was on him with thrusting movement. 'Shajiku no Ame, for this one I can't accept it head on!' Suzaku stepped aside, thankfully there was another stepping stone for him and he let his katana slide on the side of Takeshi's sword. 'Now!'
Takeshi's free hand had dove to grab the sword he kicked and in wide slash a wall of water intercepted Suzaku's attack and the brown haired boy had to jump away to dodge. "Che." He scowled. "Sakamaku Ame huh?"
The dark haired rain guardian grinned, "Good job in recalling Shigure Souen Ryuu." Takeshi complimented. "So far you have marvelously dodged my attacks, Suzaku."
Suzaku narrowed his eyes at the other swordsman, "I should have protested fighting in large water body like this, as it's really unfair for you to have home advantage." He said pointedly, "But considering what you and Collonello-san said before, me too… belong to rain, this area meant to give us the same advantage." One he was not able to use yet unfortunately.
Takeshi nodded, impressed by Suzaku's insight that gained with so miniscule knowledge of dying will flame. "Correct… this is the battle between representatives of rain, it's a tradition to do it on a water battlefield. My previous battle is set on flooded abandoned building by the way…" Then he added, "For your information fighting near water is a perfect way to draw your flame."
In short he had no right to protest?
"Just to even the ground…" Takeshi trailed off, "Each of dying will flame is named after weather phenomena, each has its own property…"
Suzaku frowned at that, "I see… like weapon are all made of steel but different shape meant different way of use."
"Hai." Takeshi grinned as flame with water ripple like texture started to coat his katana. "Ours are rain, the property is tranquility."
Then without warning the water like flame was shot towards him and Suzaku was engulfed within. "Agh!" Much to Suzaku's shock he was not feeling any heat but instead when he tried to move he became sluggish as if he was moving through water. "Eh?"
"I am just giving you a taste of what it feels like…" Takeshi said, laughing in goofy manner Suzaku hated to hear when they were small.
Suzaku narrowed his eyes, "I see…" He murmured as the flame around him vanished.
Both of them were in even ground in agility, but if he got caught on that flame even once it was his loss.
"Then…" Takeshi readied his swords, "Shall we continue?"
Lelouch didn't know whether he should feel relieved or affronted that Takeshi was taking his time teaching Suzaku about their flame. "Hm…"
"No one is going to die, if anything only bruised pride…" Tsuna said pointedly, "Now… have you calmed down enough?"
He wondered why Tsuna even bothered to ask since the Vongola boss could know as much from his hyper intuition. "Yeah… "
"It's because…" Tsuna trailed off with a smile, "Even though my intuition tells me I'd rather to have people telling me with their voice." He closed his eyes, "My hyper intuition is a convenient legacy from my ancestor but sometimes I can't help but think, I want to hear people more rather than listening what my intuition tells me..."
It was a human thing to feel. "…I guess…" Knowledge bestowed by Trinisette was a blessing but in the same time it was a curse too. "Which is why… I always want Suzaku to be my family but I don't know if it's fair to him to be burdened because of my selfishness."
Tsuna laughed softly at that, "After everything we've been through I think we're entitled to be a little selfish…"
"This coming from the man who was titled as a saint?" Lelouch snorted, "That's rich…"
And the battle continued…
It was almost like a dance, Takeshi's swordsmanship was always an object of envy to Suzaku when they were young. It was not like he was anywhere less talented than Takeshi, after all Takeshi was his only rival in sword. Takeshi was never really a friend to Suzaku back then, but a rival for him to compete with. That was one of many things that spur Suzaku on to not fall behind Takeshi, dying will flame and animal familiar be damned.
The fact that Takeshi was to be his counterpart if he was proven worthy made Suzaku even more frustrated. Takeshi also went through a period where he wished to just die, but he recovered and found power to stand by Tsunayoshi's side. Why couldn't he… he should be able to do the same.
The path to royal knight seats was impossible and even if he got there, nothing was going to change. Even before Lelouch told him, deep down he knew he was walking through a path with a dead end. He could cry, scream and regretted his sin until the end of his life. He could condemn himself as much as he wanted but in the end he changed nothing…
Suzaku blocked Takeshi's sword perfectly but the force was enough to send him reeling to the water surface, soaking him wet from head to toe.
The voice was muffled but Suzaku knew Lelouch who was in viewing platform was shouting his name. Lelouch… his best friend, even they were apart for seven years he and Lelouch had went through so much together. He was a killer, a child who killed his own father in his fit of rage and threw his country to Britannia's mercy. That was the guilt that burden him from taking Lelouch's hand but in the end Suzaku understood…
Even if he didn't kill his father back then, Japan's army was outclassed so badly that their chance to win was nonexistent and his father who ordered Japan to fight to their last breath would be Britannia's main target. He was not blind to think his crime did his people no good at all, as at least the dead count was surprisingly smaller than any other area Britannina conquered. Not by much but more people got to live than died in vain for foolish patriotic pride his father wanted to impose to their people.
It didn't change the fact he had sinned, but…
Takeshi was shocked at the new found strength Suzaku showed when their sword clashed, and even more so when he saw a spark of flame start to lit up from Suzaku's ring. "Suzaku, you…"
"This match, I don't want to lose! I can't! I won't!" Suzaku exclaimed before he launched a rapid attack towards Takeshi. "Hah!"
It was not in the rain guardian's nature to take advantage of his flame, but faced by Suzaku's sudden rapid attack he activated the tranquility property of his flame on reflex to slow down Suzaku. The other swordsman slowed down the moment his sword and arms engulfed in rain flame.
Heavy, it was like moving underwater. So this was the flame Takeshi controlled? Suzaku waved his sword experimentally, 'As expected, it won't come off that easily.' In that case…
"Dying will flame is manifestation of your resolution."
'If I want to win, I have to!'
And brilliant blue flame burst to life…
The reason Neo-Italy's capital was relocated to Venezia was the convenience of unique landscape. Mafioso were user of dying will flame and staying close to body of water all the time was a wise thing to do, even though water won't work on dying will flame the resulting explosions made convenient water source a must. They had all sort of technology to make sure their buildings were fire resistant and other fire protection measure, but you never know.
As when you were playing with fire most of your life, you can't have enough water.
Not to mention Mafia loved their traditions, the old way of living even if they reach a new height of technology again and again. You could find brick oven still used to bake pizza, handwritten letter postcard, and the pride of their water transportation, gondola and their gondolier. They had faster mean of transportation but as long as time was not emergency they chose to use gondola, bicycle or horse cart. Beside… most of the time they used these transportation for leisure, if they wanted speed they had their box weapon to rely on.
Reborn, the sun arcobaleno supposed this inclination was because their life tend to be fast paced mafia liked to take it leisurely slow when they could afford it. Reborn himself was pretty fond of travelling with gondola, napping on the front deck with Leon, bathing under warm morning sunlight, rocked gently by wave and lullabied by seiren like voice of his favorite gondolier.
Quaiya Laino Coccoro…
In the corner of his eyes he saw relaxed stance of an experienced gondolier, her young face belied her reputation as one of the best Undine of Neo-Venizea. Undine was female gondolier specialized for tourism, they were the face of Neo-Venezia who kept one of their oldest traditions alive.
Tiyaka Subiraino laiya
Watusohai tiya qua
Wasure foco niwa…
Yuni who sat on the small fluffy sofa in front of the gondolier clapped happily, "No matter how many times I listen to your song, it never cease to touch my heart… Athena-san."
Athena Glory bowed, "It's an honor, princess…"
"It's a shame…" She sighed wearily, "I wish Nunnally could come with us to enjoy this picnic."
Gamma smiled at his princess. "It's unfortunate, but princess Nunnally is in demand in Millefiore HQ… with her brother in frontline…" Yuni herself was pretty busy and only today she could take a break, but Millefiore had different schedule.
"It's a good thing she is a tough girl." Reborn added as his familiar crawled down from his fedora to Yuni's lap, licking the sky arcobaleno's cheek affectionately and she giggled in response. "I am sure none of us ever imagine that timid girl on wheelchair was going to become force to reckon with in our world."
To be honest Reborn was not sure who was the highest authority in Millefiore because majority of their members were more devoted to Nunnally's biding than their boss, then again… perhaps they were just following their boss' example. Nunnally was not Millefiore's boss but she was their heart. If anyone doubted Millefiore and their new boss before, Nunnally's presence erased all that doubt.
Behind all great man there was a greater woman, that was how it goes in their world.
Nunnaly had went through this numerous times and after she ran out of fingers to count she never bothered to find out how many times she strapped herself inside the cylinder shaped device with countless of cables connected to body. Not exactly her body parts but since she received them, they were part of their body, biological or mechanic.
"Princess… move your left leg slowly please." The doctor in charge ordered, his voice came from the speaker because no sound could be heard from outside."
Her left leg looked no different than normal leg but when she moved it, she could hear mechanical vibration and faint sound of machine working. This was one of Neo-Italy's greatest technology
"Very good princess! I want to make sure you have good control of their strength! So stomp with all your might for Ichi!
"Please don't make it sounds wrong, professor."
Nunnally giggled, Professor Ichi never failed to make this boring check-up fun. She thought as she ran through a series of test to make sure her prosthetic legs were in perfect condition.
"Alright! Continue to S-07 visor..."
She felt familiar prick of heat on her face started from her chin then up to the rest of her face.
"Nerve connection, check… 5%... 36%... 99.9%..."
Her sight was blocked by trauma that caused by tragedy seven years ago, and as much as she wanted to get over it there was something unknown she couldn't overcome. For now the clear glass visor covering her eyes with butterfly wing like antenna was her eyes. A camera with resolution, scope, created to resemble closely to eye mechanism and connected directly to her nerve so she could see her surrounding even though her eyes were closed.
"Now Nunnally-sama… color test is about to begin."
It was the best thing their family could offer to her and it meant the world. "Yes, I am ready." It didn't matter it was not her real eyes or she still couldn't open her eyes, as long as she could see this beautiful world they gave to her and Lelouch. She couldn't ask for more.
"That's it for today princess… Nunnally." The scientist announced with a grin.
She let out a sigh of relief as the glass cylinder opened, and she stepped out of the device. "Thank you, professor Ichihara..."
"You're welcome my princess…" He returned. "And call me Icchan!"
She just laughed at his antics.
The blond Italian beside the professor leaned down. "If you're tired, I could recommend vitamin and nutrition injection… but of course it would preferable for you to…"
Nunnally smiled at her personal doctor and subordinate, "I am fine Steto… I am still a beginner healer, but I am sure I know enough to take care of myself from exhaustion." Since she found out her flame was sun natured, Nunnally devoted herself to learn healing arts.
Steto nodded, "Of course my princess…"
"If that's all… I would like to return to my office." And with that she bid their research team a good bye until the next weekly check-up.
She had hoped Lelouch would be willing to choose her as his knight, but Lelouch… was hesitant and considering the job description it was not for her. Or so they said… Nunnally was determined to prove them wrong! So what if she was on wheelchair and blind for seven years! She was Marianne's daughter, knighthood was also in her blood!
Nunnally was snapped out of her thought, looking at her secretary, a Japanese named Haru. She was one of Namimori citizen who was lucky to be brought along by Vongola when they evacuated as many Japanese as possible from Decimo's hometown.
"What is it Haru?"
The ponytailed girl pointed at her desk and burning stack of paperwork. "You set them on fire again, princess…" She pointed out, not that they were worried as paper of Neo-Italy was made flame-resistant. After all it was a common occurrence for bosses to set their paperwork on fire, intentionally and by accident.
Back with Lelouch and co
There was a huge explosion of rain flame, erupting a pillar of water from the river, before the water fell down in warm shower because of manmade solar light on the training area. It happened so quickly and the two skies lost sight of their rain the middle of the watery chaos before them. Lelouch wasn't sure what happened, their sword clashed and then the rain flame burst as if someone loaded the flame with too much oxygen.
One thing for sure, this training ground would be out of order for a long while.
At the time like this usually Lelouch and Tsuna would argue who had to do the repairmen paperwork but property damage was the last thing on their mind. Lelouch kicked the glass wall that separated the observation room and the training ground.
"Oi! We have doors, you know." Tsuna reminded him.
On the third kick the glass shattered and Tsuna groaned exasperatedly, "Who cares!" And jumped down to the raining battlefield. Tsuna followed Lelouch, he was not too worried about his rain's wellbeing as Takeshi had gone through worse and survive. If there was anyone they should be worried about, it was Suzaku. Because the flame burst like that they didn't get a good look of what happened, but most likely…
The rain started to slow down and they started to see silhouette of two swordsmen…
At last he…
And before them the two rains were pointing the tip of their katana to each other's jugular. Their eyes glimmered dangerously in the middle of their element, a perfect picture of samurai.
It was Takeshi who found his voice first, and said. "A sore loser as always… you really hate to lose, Kururugi Suzaku…" He remarked with a smirk.
Suzaku narrowed his eyes, "Right back at you, Yamamoto Takeshi…"
They glared at each other, before smirking again.
"Well." The sky of Millefiore cut their glaring contest off. "I hope someone start lowering their pointy and sharp katana away from their throats, and unlike some people… I don't have all day…"
Suzaku and Takeshi quickly lowered their katana, blushing in embarrassment.
"We tied…" Suzamu muttered, "Shouldn't we…"
Lelouch cut him off, "Who ask you to win?"
"But! I need to prove myself, didn't I?" Suzaku pressed on.
Lelouch raised an eyebrow, "And… what you want to prove?"
"That I am fit to be your knight?" Suzaku trailed off.
"Then you have it…" Lelouch drawled, "You call your flame out… no one ask you to beat Yamamoto, I believe no one saidanything about defeating anyone."
They didn't, but Suzaku assumed that was the case. "But usually…"
Tsuna chortled, "First beginner lesson of Mafia, never assume we're predictable…"
"Well said." Lelouch agreed then turned his attention to Suzaku, "So, now you get your flame." He eyed Suzaku's burning katana with a smile. "Can I hear you out now?"
The green eyed Japanese swallowed heavily as his flame vanished without a trace, his eyes wandered from Takeshi to Tsuna and then to Lelouch. "I have a confession to make…"
Sensing Suzaku's discomfort Lelouch shifted, "Perhaps we can use another room and you need a ba…"
"No!" Suzaku's retorted sharply, startling them. "I am sorry but… if I delay this I am afraid I will lose my nerve, it have to be now…" He pleaded hoarsely. "And I want Sawada-san and Yamamoto to listen too…" He added before the Vongola could leave to give them privacy.
Looking at each other unsurely and then back to Suzaku, they nodded. "Very well… We will listen."
Suzaku took a deep breath, wondering where to start and how but he could feel himself shivering, his body tried to run away from this, his mind too but his heart was set. It was now or never so he might as well…
"I killed my father."
Tell them the core of the truth first.
No one said a respond to his confession but Suzaku heard their sharp intake of breath, they did listen to him. "Seven years ago, my father insisted to force our people to take arms to defend Japan… he wanted us to fight for our country to our last breath, including women and children… if we're going down, might as well all of us going down with a fight… soaking the ground with our blood, marking Japan's soil as ours…" He recited his father's last speech from his memory.
"But that's…" Takeshi stammered in shock. "That's…"
"I don't want that…" Suzaku stated firmly, "I don't want that for Japanese… if we were fighting a losing battle at least… at least… our people should not die for mere pride… I told my father, that… we should surrender, at least to get Britannia to spare our people… at least they will live…" He fell on his knees, breathing heavily, "But father… he said, so be it…" He gritted out with shame. "I was so angry to hear honorable man I respected for my whole life would choose his pride over the lives of millions of people… so I… " His hands trembled, shaking with fury and sadness. "And when I come to my sense… my father was…"
Suzaku was shocked to find Lelouch's hands wrapped around his shoulders, and Lelouch's amethyst eyes were staring straight at his. "That's enough Suzaku…"
His eyes were blurry not by the rain but his own tears and Suzaku's voice choked out as he struggled to not broke to tears. "It's my fault… if I was not driven by my anger, perhaps… Japan… my father… they… maybe… I selfishly take their choice away…"
Lelouch glared at him, scowling in fury. "Listen… I am not going to judge whether what you have done is wrong or right for Japan, but this is what I know… " He took a deep breath, "Britannia… launched their main force three days after they bomber Kururugi Shrine, justifying it under the name of avenging Nunnally and I! It won't make a difference for Japan even if the whole country fight them off with knightmare frame technology heavily outclassing them…"
"I am sure there are people who'd rather die to defend their country rather than living as number." Lelouch drawled and Suzaku winced, "But I am sure most women and children… they wouldn't want to take arms and died in war…" Lelouch finished.
Suzaku swallowed heavily, "But still… I have no right to…"
"Yes, you have no right to decide their life for them with killing your father." Lelouch concurred, finishing his sentence and Suzaku winced. "But my point is… back then there were two paths… they died with honor or lived as numbers… first choice sounds good?" Lelouch snorted, "But that's a The End life is over, bring your pride to your grave… find their freedom in death, but if they're alive… they still can fight next time for their freedom, it's not over yet for Japanese…"
Tsuna who had been quiet since Suzaku's confession concurred, "That's right… as long as you live you can fight for another day, you still have a long future ahead of you…"
Takeshi knelt beside Suzaku, "Hey… if you think I blame you for what happened to Japan, you're an idiot… it was war, and Japan is losing… as a Japanese kid, I'd rather live so I can fight for my future…"
"I am a murderer…" Suzaku murmured.
Lelouch crossed his arms and said, "And? Is that mean if I kill my father you will stop being my friend?"
Suzaku snapped, "Of course not!" Then he paused, "But it's different my father…"
"Was blinded by his pride and he'd rather throw his people to their death than saving them, the worse leader in history are ones who sacrificed his people while he sit back and watch the carnage..." Lelouch hissed venomously, "Once again, I am not saying you did the good or right thing but regardless… you have to live with it! Stop living in the past Suzaku! No one needs you to die atoning that sin! I don't want that for you so…" Lelouch stood up abruptly and hauled Suzaku to his feet much to his shock. "Live!"
Just one word but somehow Suzaku felt he was spellbound but that order. "I…"
Tsuna chuckled softly, "I guess that's your first order, Kururugi Suzaku." The ex-soldier eyed Tsuna hesitantly, "Go on… "
Suzaku took a deep breath as he stood in front of Lelouch, "What I wish is a place to belong…" By your side. "As long as that one wish granted I will live for you…" If Suzaku expect some sort of reaction, a punch to the gut was not it.
Lelouch raised his shaking fist, "What's with that small wish? And with living for me? I am making you my knight not my servant or meat shield! So here is the deal…"
Suzaku coughed, holding his throbbing stomach. "Lelouch… you…"
"We're going to change the world." Lelouch declared, "I will grant anything you want but in exchange, I want you to live to see that new world with me, by my side... so wish to change the world with me and live through it!"
"…" Suzaku didn't know what come over him but he laughed and said, "Of course… my sky…"
Lelouch grinned as he extended his hand towards Suzaku,
"Welcome to Millefiore famiglia Suzaku… welcome to our sky…"
I HOPE I get Suzaku's issue OVER with...
In this chapter I also give a little insight of how Neo-Italy's society goes in the present... I hope you like how Nunnaly change, I always think that Nunally resemble Marianne a lot in attitude before she was crippled. She will make a FINE knight actually but Lelouch... is Lelouch.
NEXT: Back to Japane