I am a terrible woman.
My master, the one to whom I am engaged. The one whose every wish
I must obey, the one who directs my life, my mind, my emotions.
I love her.
I should not feel this. I am the Rose Bride; I am a doll without
a heart. But oh, this non-existant heart aches so badly... How dare
I do this? What right do I have? I should feel nothing but pain...the
pain that comes from each sword that is drawn from my breast, the
pain that is always accompanied by a small sliver of equally painful
hope, the hope that perhaps the blade will be used for something
other than a selfish purpose. That the one who wields the sword
will become my Prince.
It is a childish, selfish hope that I feel. Or perhaps it is not,
of late. He helps her. He descends from his royal grave and helps
her. It can only be because she has a noble heart...but now I’m
not sure. Because she loves my brother.
I step back from the window, tired of watching the insignificant
stars continuing upon their predestined paths through time and space.
I turn quietly to look at her, and my nightgown swishes quietly
against the cold floor. She is behind me, asleep, that cruelly innocent
look upon her face as she snores softly. She promised to protect
me forever, held off my brother’s cars that threatened us
during her duel with Touga... she made a promise long before that.
I can remember. I know she doesn’t, but she is close. The
other night, we both had dreams from which we awoke suddenly. But
I remember mine. She promised so long ago, and has in her own way
kept it. But that was a child’s promise. She can’t possibly
keep it forever, can she? Not if Oniisama has anything to do with
it. I turn away from her, away from the stars, comfortable in my
solitude. It’s better this way, better without my interference.
/Is it really?/
She will keep her promise. I can feel it. And that’s what
scares me. She doesn’t know what will happen tomorrow, but
I do. I’ve seen the entire game played out countless times,
seen each victor’s power slowly eaten away by my brother and
his sword, seen them in pain as he takes the weapon created by their
souls and angrily hacks away at what he can never have. I allow
myself some small amusement, watching his futile attempts at regaining
the power he once had. And then the swords come.
This is the part that scares me. Not the swords themselves; I
live with their pain every moment of every long day, and the swords
themselves only remind me of my deserved guilt in causing my brother
to become what he has. What scares me this time is what she will
do. My true Prince must take the swords in my place, and I am afraid
she will do that. For although I cannot die, she can. And I could
not live knowing that she took what is my rightful punishment as
the witch that I am.
/But you want to be saved.../
I curl my hands into fists. No. If it would mean her death, I
do not want my freedom. But she will try, so I must stop her from
trying. And I have only one option.
There is an strangely beautiful view from this vantage point so
high in the tower. But it’s cold. I wrap my arms tighter around
myself. The cold is of no consequence to me. I am only a doll...
Damn! A door shuts behind me. Without turning around, I know who
"Are you running away?!"
Yes, I am. I can’t bear to see you suffer.
I take a step off the ledge. Not that difficult. Now pick up the
I feel ironically free as I lose my footing and begin my descent
to the Earth. Finally, the game will end, and she will be saved.
No! No, please don’t help me! No... She has my hand in a
strong grip, keeping me from doing what I wish. I fall completely
limp, hoping that she will let go. Instead, she merely glares at
"What are you doing?! Weren’t we going to drink tea
and laugh together ten years from now?!"
Yes. Please be angry. Yell at me. Keep me from feeling bad about
hurting you ... hurting her? My head tilts slightly, and I can see
the expression in her eyes. Yes. She’ll be sad if I die...I
fight my own duel with my inner self. Which is better, to garuntee
her death or to make her sad?
After she pulls me back up onto the ledge, we talk. I confess
my sins to her, as though she were a priest. I tell her how I exploited
her innocence for my own selfishness. Why isn’t she mad at
me? I’m telling the truth... She should be upset! I have manipulated
her no less than my brother has. Why can’t she be angry with
Why...why does she have to care...
"Please. Leave this school. Get out."
It’s my last hope. Half of me hopes she will accept, save
herself by getting as far away from this game as possible. The other
"How the hell could I do that?"
...rejoices quietly. No! I am so selfish...a cruel woman. How
can I do this to her? Tears are streaming down my cheeks. I can’t
Why does she have to CARE?!
When she received the letter, she tore it up, threw it away, had
her ring off... for a while, I thought that perhaps she would still
be saved, that she wouldn’t be throwing away her life. But
she only stayed closer to Akio, latching onto him like a lifeline.
Oh, the irony. I started thinking, though. What she values more
than her desire to become a prince is her desire to meet the prince
that saved her as a child. That prince is quite happy to meet her,
according to that letter that she tore up. I’ve put it back
together, and I’m sitting on the steps, waiting for her. I
can still make her happy. I can let her go to the arena, meet with
my brother, and they will live happily ever after. I can deal with
myself. I can live with the pain. Anything to make her happy.
She’s coming now. She looks different than she did earlier
today, somehow more confident, very much changed. I offer her the
note with a small smile.
"You can still go back."
She smiles at me, lifting up her hand. She has put the ring back
on. She has made this decision herself.
I am suddenly very scared.
The trek to the arena seems longer than ever, and we begin our
routine in the gondola. My body is replaced by a rose bush, while
I appear halfway up and work the magic that gives her uniform the
additions that make it more princely. Once we reach the top, framed
by roses, she looks over to me, offering her hand. I take it. I’m
not sure if it is for her comfort or mine.
It seems that Akio has made the appropriate changes in decor for
this duel. The arena is much more eerie than normal, and suddenly,
Dios’s grave appears before us. I feel her stiffen beside
me when she recognises the form that is placed on the side of it.
Suddenly, a beam of light reveals the angel, the devil, the prince,
that is my brother.
She drops my hand and I step back a bit, allowing her to speak
with Akio without my interference. Suddenly I am transported to
the bottom of a flight of stairs, my dress replaced by one reminiscent
of our childhood. I am not surprised; he does this every time. As
I sit in silence and remember every reason that I deserve this fate,
he promises her so much: the opportunity to meet her prince, to
live happily ever after in the castle. Yes. Join him. Please. If
it will make you happy...
"What will happen to Himemiya?"
No! No. Please don’t ask about me. I can continue like this.
Yes, as a witch, like Akio tells her. Don’t feel sorry for
me. You look so beautiful in that dress...you are meant to be the
What is she doing?! Oh God...don’t let her do that, don’t
let her take that sword. I no longer have any choice. I know she’s
going to fight; I know by the look in her eyes. But she can’t
She’s back in her duellist uniform now, and the arena has
changed into the planetarium. I merely sit on the couch, my attire
changed to my normal dress, and listen to her protest Akio’s
treatment of me in this room. But I deserve it...don’t you
see? Why can’t you understand that I am the one at fault here?
It is my behaviour that made Akio what he is. You have to accept
that... I have... yes, I enjoy being a witch... I enjoy my punishment.
Now he is sitting on the couch beside me, my head upon his knee.
My mind drifts slightly as he continues to speak to her, then I
am painfully jolted back to reality. He has pulled one of the swords
from my chest, an chilling sound of metal against metal forcing
itself upon her ears. She winces. I think she knows, subconciously,
what is to come.
Now they’ve begun duelling, the other easily parrying the
other’s thrusts as I sit demurely and observe. It is somehow
ironic how every other duel I have watched in this round of the
game has been over the posession of me; now, it is over who gets
the chance to see me suffer. I laugh inwardly, when suddenly, everything
goes to Hell.
I don’t know what it is she said; I can’t read her
lips from here. All I know is that now everything is falling apart,
the castle is coming down in pieces, and my brother’s illusion
is crumbling. He looks just as confused as I am, and while he is
momentarily distracted when she suddenly lunges at him. He parries
just in time, but is still being overcome by her sheer strength
of will. I leap up from my place on the couch, my eyes widening.
No...she can’t win...
I run as quickly as I can over to the two of them, myself unsure
of what precisely I intend to do. Akio pushes me behind her, his
sword transferring itself to my hand. I know what he wants me to
do, but only I understand exactly what it will mean. I lay my cheek
against her shoulder as I plunge the sword into her back.
She sounds so disbelieving. I push the blade in further, and ignore
the sudden torrent of pain I feel from this, reminding myself that
I did warn her, I confessed that I had used her, and it was she
who continued to stand by my side. Now I pull the sword out and
toss it away, unable to continue to look at it. I cannot ignore
the guilt I feel.
Because I can’t let this happen. Because I can’t let
someone take what is rightfully intended for me. Because I cannot
live knowing you died to save me. Because I love you.
"Because you’re a girl. You can never be my prince."
This lie is more painful than the swords have ever been. I suddenly
regret what I have done; not so much that I have stabbed her, but
that I have lied and by doing so dissolved all the ideals she lived
for. I am still beside her when I hear my brother ask for the sword.
I know that I have lied, and I know that her soul sword, the Prince’s
sword, is capable of opening the Rose Gate - if it is wielded by
the true Prince. But I also know that it is deeply connected to
her spirit, and every hit the sword takes will be translated back
to her already failing body. She is in enough pain as it is...I
can’t stand to see her hurt any further...I stand up anyway,
her sword in hand. I have done all I can to save her. Now I must
fulfill my duties as the Rose Bride.
"Anthy. The sword."
He is much more insistent now. I take another step forward, glancing
up at him before I had him the sword. He is crying. I want to laugh
in his face, shatter what I know is a completely false mask of sympathy
for my suffering. Instead, I play along with his little game, tormenting
him by showing the pity I have for the pathetic creature he has
become. He finally turns with her sword in his hand and begins his
journey to the Rose Gate.
I too have a place to be, and I only begin to move when I find
myself unable to continue forward. One of her hands is gripping
the hem of my dress, trying to keep me from the inevitable. She
keeps telling me not to go, sounding so disappointed that she cannot
stand up and stop me. I again push aside the sadness I feel and
cause myself to disappear from the dress and reappear above the
arena, prepared to take my punishment.
Yet again, I am provided with an ironically beautiful vantage
point from which I can see all that is going on. I can see her below
me, staring upward with a look of perfect horror upon her face,
while my brother, oblivious to our suffering, makes his way to the
Rose Gate. By the time I glance back at her, she seems to have blacked
out. Good. This next part will be less painful for her.
Suddenly, as he covers the last few metres to the Gate, I hear
the chanting begin. The chilling words of the world that is responsible
for my suffering: "Witch! Witch! Infernal witch!" Yet
even as the sound freezes my soul, I feel the truth behind each
word. The swords, forged from the world’s hatred of me, neatly
bypass my brother and I can only close my eyes as they encircle
me and begin, one by one, to drive themselves into my body.
I ignore the pain as much as I can, I block out the sounds of
the chanting and the metal, and I only meditate on my own worthlessness.
I am used to the pain of the swords, my constant torture, and it
is only the shame that hurts my soul.
Yet I still feel, empathetically, every blow he makes with her
soul sword, his futile attempts to crack his own shell, to bring
revolution to a world that is nothing but an illusion of his own
Suddenly, all is silent. The swords have stopped, and they only
hang in midair for a moment before falling away, and I suddenly
find myself in a coffin.
In the coffin where I have existed for centuries. But I had forgotten.
I had forgotten that my body lives only in here, and my soul can
interact with the outside world only by the grace of my brother
and his powerful machine of illusions. But I am painfully reminded
as I curl my long-unused body into a fetal position and close my
eyes, trying to drift back into the deep sleep of illusion. This
foolish dream of my prince has ended.
I hear something around me, but I pay the sound no heed and try
harder to ignore the pain I am feeling right now. The sound gets
louder and I suddenly feel light against my closed eyelids. I slowly
open my eyes, only to meet a pair of pained blue eyes.
My eyes widen now. Oh, God...she has done it. I cannot believe
it. No one has ever been able to do it, and she should not have.
For God’s sake, I tried to end her life! She shouldn’t
have been alive to do it, let alone have wanted to, after all that
I have done to her. She opens the coffin lid even wider, the scraping
sound increasing my disbelief in what she has managed to do. All
that my brother had worked for...
"I’m so glad to finally meet you..."
Her voice is so much younger... just as it did when she first
saw me as a child and at that time vowed to become a prince. She
has remembered... I look up at her fearfully, wondering what I will
see in her face.
"Don’t be afraid of our meeting."
But I am afraid! Oh, you don’t know what this means... if
you’ve opened the Gate, and now this coffin... you have to
save yourself! I look at the hand she has just offered me, and shake
my head, tears beginning to stream uncontrollably down my cheeks.
"No! You have to go. You have to run! Hurry! The swords..."
"Take my hand, Himemiya! Take my hand!"
"Hurry! The swords are coming, you have to hurry! Run!"
I plead with her, beg her. She only ignores me.
I can hear them now, behind her, and I know she can too by the
suddenly fearful look in her eyes. But her face becomes determined
again, and she reaches further for me. At that moment, something
in me changes. I look at her hand again, straining to meet mine,
and tentatively begin to reach for it. I glance back up at her,
and she is nodding slowly, the happiness beginning to emanate from
her dying body. The flow of my tears strengthens as I realize all
that she has gone through, fighting off death, fear, and most of
all, my brother... I realize that she has gone through all the possible
trials and obstacles, and she has reached her final goal. This is
all she wants to do. And I realize, with a certain degree of shock...
that I believe in her.
I finally grasp her hand, and we readjust our grips on each other
so it is stronger, when suddenly, one of us slips. Our eyes meet
momentarily and I see the sadness and guilt she feels as I fall
endlessly toward the hard Earth below me.
The first thing that I am aware of is that I am in my true body.
My existence right now is no longer an illusion of my brother’s.
I open my eyes slowly, preparing myself to meet the finite wood
of my coffin... yet as I begin to take in my surroundings, I hear
soft snoring beside me that I know belongs to Chuchu, and I find
that I am not in my coffin, but rather in my dormitory in my brother’s
tower. My eyes open wider and I am now fully awake. This can only
As I sit up in bed, I am hit with a series of images from the
Academy. Juri teaching a fencing class, ready to begin Shiori’s
lesson. Miki training Tsuwabuki as secretary, while Kozue looks
on happily. Touga and Saionji practicing kendo together as friends
as Nanami makes them both tea. Wakaba conversing with a boyfriend
in the hallway before being glomped by a friend. And I am shocked
to discover through their thoughts that not a single one of them
I dress quickly in my school uniform and hurry with Chuchu to
my brother’s office. I have to find out if it is true. I enter
the room without knocking and walk quietly over to his desk, somehow
aware that he has no idea that I am my own human being, not one
of his machine’s creations. He finally notices me and speaks.
"It’s over. She didn’t create a revolution after
all; no one even remembers her. Ah, well. We’ll begin all
over again, with the Rose Signets. I’ll need your help, Anthy."
It doesn’t take me long to weigh this information for myself,
and I allow myself my first genuine smile in a long time. I know
what has happened. I know that she did cause a revolution. Although
it did not unleash some great power for her to wield, it manifested
itself in the changed students of the Academy. All the Student Council
members are at peace with themselves, all their Black Rose counterparts
accepting of their lives. But what is most obvious is that I stand
here as my own person, not as a puppet easily manipulated by my
brother, and that can mean only one thing. She has freed me.
"She did cause a revolution; just not the kind you expected.
You think she has died, but that person has only disappeared from
this realm of existence. She is still out there. You, you’re
still in your coffin, you always have been, and you can go ahead
and stay here playing prince. But I... I have to go."
My smile widens as I set my glasses down on his desk like I had
for so many nights with him, mocking him as I feign submission to
him. I watch Chuchu place his tie next to them, then I set my pet
on my shoulder and turn to leave.
"W...wait! Where are you going? You can’t leave! Anthy!
I laugh a bit. The fool.
I wait for Chuchu to finish his goodbyes with one of the garden’s
frogs, then allow him to take his place on my shoulder. Picking
up my suitcase, I straighten my hat, then walk over the Academy’s
property line in my first step of my quest. For the first time in
my life I feel truly happy.
Somewhere, I hear the echo of her voice. "Ne, Himemiya. Someday..."
I smile, my eyes welling up with tears. "Someday, we’ll
shine together. I’m coming to find you, Utena."