Chapter 5-1: Chabashira Sae's Ambition

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Lelouch's POV

Before the students knew it, August 31 rolled around, the final day of summer vacation. Tomorrow, classes would start again, and we would all fall back into the school routine. I'd decided to spend the day with my childhood friend, Suzaku Kururugi, because it felt like despite all the opportunities, we haven't hung out nearly enough since enrolling at this school. We were sat at the table furthest back in the crowded café 'Palette'.

Currently, I was being told about the day Suzaku had experienced, after being dragged around by Kōenji Rokusuke.

"I don't know... Just this one girl, Amano-senpai, seemed really upset the whole time. I'm pretty sure it was all because of Kōenji."

Such a thing is what was reiterated by the soft-hearted boy next to me.

"Okay. So?" I asked.

"I thought perhaps I could do something to help, but Kōenji didn't seem to care. Really, what kind of person can be like that?"

A typical Suzaku line.

"It simply sounds like an immature girl who's upset that her friends are starting to move on and take interest in romance, while she isn't. You can't fault the man they decide to go for," I said.

"Both at the same time?" He asked in bewilderment.

"Some people are into that, who knows?"

To be honest, I didn't care in the slightest about the story I'd heard. However, I still had to listen, otherwise Suzaku may catch on to that very fact.

"By the way, did we ever end up figuring out the pattern for the last exam?"

Ah, the Zodiac special examination. Aboard the ship, Ryūen Kakeru had deduced the VIP selection method by joining hands with Class B and Class E.

It was a shrewd strategy, but what surprised me the most was that the lovey-dovey Class B had trusted Ryūen at all. I couldn't picture Ichinose Honami as the type to do such a thing.

As it turned out, the pattern was to do with the students' names. In the first zodiac group, the student who is first when the names are organised alphabetically is assigned the VIP. A simple pattern, but not one that can be easily spotted when you don't know what it is. When I explained it, Suzaku seemed to understand.

"Ah... despite all the weirdness of this school, it's pleasant, isn't it?" Suzaku commented idly.

"I agree," I replied, taking a sip of my warm drink.

Ordinary life had been extremely dull, to say the least. I had enrolled here expecting to attend your average, boring school, so the surprise had certainly been a welcome one.

"So," Suzaku began in a wary voice. "What happened, Lelouch? I didn't think I'd see you again after you and Nunnally fled."

I raised my eyebrow. Suzaku was clearly apprehensive about bringing up the past. I didn't find it particularly traumatic, per se, but the memory of walking through that field of rotting bodies was carved into my soul itself.

"I sought the help of the Ashford family. They were allies of my mother's, before..." I trailed off.

Suzaku nodded sympathetically, as if recalling the story himself.

"I was going to stay in the Ashford Academy, but Nunnally convinced me to enrol here instead. That girl..."

"I'm sure the Ashfords are taking great care of her." Suzaku smiled.

"Yeah," I let out a bemused laugh. "Perhaps next year, when she has to choose a high school to attend, she'll follow me here."

Suzaku's eyes visibly lit up a little. "That would be great! I haven't seen Nunnally in years! It'd be lovely for the three of us to all reunite, wouldn't it?"

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