Chapter 3

Kaoru Miki

There were a few places on campus that Utena particularly liked. One such place was a grassy field that extended beyond the sports grounds. She would lie down on its gentle slope, and spend time looking up at the sky. Sometimes she'd be lost in thought; other times she'd think about nothing at all.

"Utena-sama, what are you thinking about?"

Utena was lying flat on her back, but Anthy, to her side, was sitting politely, her knees together.

"Hmm, just the Student Council stuff... I guess."

Her duel against Kyouichi Saionji. Arisugawa Juri's provocations. Kaoru Miki, who was opposed to the duels. And...

       Kiryuu Touga... how dare he steal my first kiss...

Utena unconsciously clenched her hand into a fist. He'd just taken her by surprise, but the idea that a playboy like him managed to kiss her so freely still rankled.

"Are you concerned about who your next opponent will be?"

"Yeah... I guess there's that, too."

She'd told Saionji he could challenge her any time, but she didn't actually want to duel. It would be so easy if she could directly tell this "The Ends of the World" person to stop the duels, but that was impossible since nobody knew who they were. That meant she'd need to convince the members of the Student Council to stop participating...

       But I can't imagine those Student Council guys will listen to me. Saionji is out of the question, and if Arisugawa-sempai is anything like how she was last time, talking to her won't do any good either. Does that mean I'm gonna have to go to that playboy...?

"Hey, Utena!"

Utena was pulled out of her reverie by a girl calling to her from direction of the sports field. She turned to see her classmate, Tsukamoto Shinya, come running up.

"Utena, can you help us out?" she asked abruptly, stopping beside Utena.

"Help you out?"

"In our basketball game. We're having a pretty hard time."

Utena was a great all-around athlete, and was often asked to join in on games. Baseball, basketball, soccer, volleyball... whatever the sport, she was better than average. She played with the boys, too, and was able to not only hold her own, but put them to shame. When she played, female students would often cheer for her with shrill voices, then crowd around her and offer to let her use their towels after the game.

"Alright, who're you playing against? The Class B SpeedStars? Or is it the Class C Basketball Alliance?" Utena asked eagerly. Thanks to the Duels, she'd had all kinds of problems on her mind over the last few days, so a chance to just move her body sounded great.


Tsukamoto looked slightly embarrassed, and said falteringly, "Actually, it's a team of first-years."

***   ***

Ohtori Academy had four basketball courts, which all the students could use freely. After school, teams of students from each grade would gather there to play games. There were all kinds of teams, from ones consisting of a group of classmates, to ones that had a mix of students, from middle school to college.

Tsukamoto Shinya had formed a team called the "Blue Diamonds" with some friends from her class, and they had a pretty good record. For her to be seeking outside help, their opponent must be pretty tough.

When Utena ran up to check it out, the game was just entering into its second half. The score was 34 to 38. The Blue Diamonds were losing.

"What the heck is going on?"

The opposing team's players were, on the whole, short, thin boys. They were only one year younger than Tsukamoto's team, but for boys of that age, one year made a big difference in their size.

       And it doesn't look like any of them are particularly amazing players... Utena thought, watching the flow of the game with a cool head.

At the moment, the ball was in the hands of the second-years - the Blue Diamonds. Taking advantage of their height, they passed the ball around, gradually bringing it closer to the first-years' basket.

Two first-years stood in their way. The second-year carrying the ball cast his eye about for a teammate near the basket, and spotting one, immediately prepared to make a pass. He dribbled the ball once sharply...

Just then, an opposing player cut in with amazing speed. Coming from the blind spot of the player who was about to make the pass, he stole the ball before it even hit the ground.


The blue-haired first year player now had the ball. With fast, tight, dribbling, he quickly brought the ball to the other team's side of the court.

       He's that boy from yesterday... Utena watched the blue-haired first-year in fascination.

But the second-year players, no slouches either, quickly pulled back and shored up their defenses. Two second-years were coming up on him from behind, too. He was in a pinch.

But, just as he was on the verge of being boxed in, he threw the ball. As if laughing at the taller players, the ball gently flew through the air, into the waiting hands of a glasses-wearing first-year standing to the right of the goal. He caught the ball and stole a point, so easily that it almost looked like he was just practicing.


It was obvious that their success was due to their tactics.

Deliberately leaving an enemy player open to give them a chance to steal the ball, then drawing out the opponents and making such an excellent pass... an amateur might not realize it, but this team had pretty high-level play. Cooly looking over the whole court and instantly choosing on a course of action... you needed quick-thinking and decisiveness to do that.

"These boys are really doing a number on us," Tsukamoto, standing by Utena, said with chagrin. Then she called out loudly, "We're changing players! Takematsu, switch out for Tenjou Utena."

Even though the players were quite fired up by now,  for a moment they all fell silent. Everyone knew about Tenjou Utena - the sports star who got called in to help all kinds of sports clubs.

Someone affixed a blue badge - for the Blue Diamonds - to the front of Utena's school uniform, and she entered the court. There, as if waiting for her, stood the blue-haired boy from before.

"You're pretty good, Miki-kun," said Utena, holding out her hand.

"I'll do my best, even if I'm up against you, Tenjou-sempai," Miki said, smiling brightly as he shook her hand.

       Like I thought, he's a good kid. Utena thought again, fondly. Miki and the rest of the Student Council were as different as night and day.

***   ***

The game resumed.

If they could keep up the pressure on the first years' commander, Miki, the rest of their opponents wouldn't be much of a threat. The second-year team assigned that key role to Utena.

For their part, from the perspective of the currently-leading first-years, the only threat to their victory was the new player - Utena. If they could just contain her, they should be able to secure their victory. But Miki was the only one who had a chance of doing that.

Thus, the match became a one-on-one duel between Utena and Miki.

As fast as lightning, Utena launched an offensive, rapidly dribbled the ball straight into the opponents' side. Using a feint, Miki slipped around the side of his opponent and brought the ball back up the court. Their play styles were completely different, but they seemed about evenly matched in skill.

For a while, this back-and-forth continued in the center of the court. But gradually, the first-years started to get worn down. By the second half of the game, their energy was clearly starting to wane. Even when Miki managed to bring the ball to the other team's side, no other players were following him.

When Miki noticed this, he immediately switched to defense. They were still ahead by two points. If they could just hold out for another couple minutes, the first-year team would win. Miki guarded the front of their hoop, while giving precise directions to the surrounding players. As Utena and her teammates struggled to break through, time slowly slipped away.

       We're out of time... in that case, I'm gonna go for a direct attack!

Utena, in possession of the ball, darted straight ahead. With a burst of speed, she leapt towards the opponents' hoop. She was trying to make one last basket herself.

Catching wind of this, Miki leapt at the same time. The two came together in front of the basket.


As it left Utena's hand, the ball was drawn towards the basket...

And bounced off.

Utena and Miki didn't see it, because at that moment they were tangled together and falling towards the ground. The match was over. Nobody was looking at Utena and Miki, underneath the hoop.


"Oww... you okay, Miki-kun?" asked Utena, lying on top, as she moved first.

"I'm... I'm fine." Miki raised his head. And there, so close he could have kissed her, was Utena's face.


His heart wouldn't stop pounding. It felt like if he moved even a little, his heart would leap out of his mouth.

Utena and Miki each looked into each other’s' eyes. 

       His eyes are so pretty...

This close, Miki's eyes were as beautiful as crystals. She could see her own face faintly reflected in them.

Utena and Miki

The two froze like that for a moment, eyes locked on each other. They couldn't hear the surrounding noises. It was like time had stopped for them...



"Tenjou, can you hear me?" It was Tsukamoto's voice.

Hearing her, Utena suddenly snapped back to reality, and pulled herself away from Miki. Miki, blushing, also came to his senses. His heart was still racing.

"W, what's up, Tsukamoto?" For some reason her voice felt inside out. Perhaps she was kind of embarrassed, and impatient.

"The game's over. Time's up."

Hearing that, Utena took another look around her. The court was full of sweating athletes, and spectators chatting with them. The ball was abandoned, rolling around slowly off to the side...

"Did I make the shot?"

"Sorry. You were really close, though."


Utena absently looked up at the hoop directly above her. When she did, a wave of childish competiveness came over her.

       Maybe if I'd tried another feint, he would've flinched a bit to the right...

She stared sadly at the goal. At that moment, her expression really did look like a child's. Miki stared up at her as if she was radiant, and not just because of the light shining from behind her.

       Utena-san... His mind blank, Miki was frozen in place. But...

"Nngh..." Miki groaned, painfully. Apparently, when he'd collapsed with Utena, he'd hurt his foot.

"You okay, Miki-kun?"

"Yeah. Umm, it seems like I twisted something, but I don't think it's serious."

"It's a little red." Suddenly appearing at his side, Anthy examined Miki's foot.

"Let's go to the nurse's office. Can you stand up, Miki-kun?"

"There's no need for that." Miki smiled reassuringly at Utena. But compared to his usual smile, it looked a little weak. "I often get little injuries like this in Fencing Club, and... ah!"

Miki tried to stand in one quick movement, but when he put weight on his foot, involuntarily cried out in pain. His classmates, gathered around him in concern, helped support him as he stumbled.

"Looks like we should go to the nurse after all." Utena took Miki's arm. "C'mon, lean on my shoulder."

"Tenjou-sempai, you don't have to..."

"Don't worry about it."


Utena forcefully pulled up Miki, and started walking with him through the crowd of worried teammates and spectators.

"Try not to push yourself," Utena said, as she dragged Miki along. Anthy followed along behind them, carrying Utena's bag.

Miki's pulse quickened further. So much so that he was afraid Utena, beside him, would hear.

***   ***

"So having that kid with glasses run to the left was nothing but a decoy."

Utena, still lending Miki her shoulder, didn't even try to conceal her surprise.

"Yes. Well, if nobody had followed him, the plan was for me to cut to the left and pass to him, or shoot. But never mind that - what about the shot where you got up to 44 points? Were you planning that all along?"

"Um... the time when I made a feint to the right and scored that three-pointer? No, I was just desperate."

"I can't believe you made that shot, from that position... it was amazing." There was no resentment in Miki's words. He was saying what he really felt.

Actually, Utena had thought about talking to Miki about Student Council-related stuff this time too, but somehow they'd ended up talking about the basketball game instead. Well, after all, geeking out about sports was a lot more her speed than trying to plumb the depths of mysteries.

Anthy was still walking behind them, but she hadn't said a single word. She just trailed Utena like a shadow. At first Utena had been self-conscious about it, but she'd already gotten used to it.

From ahead of them, the three heard a chorus of shrill voices. Kiryuu Touga was there, and flocking around him were a bunch of female groupies. They were the source of the shrieking.

       Man, that playboy. How does he attract all these girls? Utena turned away in disgust. She wanted to just ignore him as they passed by. But it seemed that Touga noticed her.

"Yo, Tenjou." Breaking off from the ring of girls, he ran up to them.

"Don't come any closer," Utena said sharply. Touga took no notice, and smoothly moved in to walk alongside them.

"How cold, Tenjou Utena-kun," he teased. Apparently this was meant to lighten the mood, but Utena only found him extremely irritating.

Ignoring Touga, Utena spoke to Miki instead. "Miki-kun, let's go to my dorm. It's closer to here than the Nurse's Office."

Utena took Miki's hand and forcefully pulled him to the side, changing their direction. Since it happened so suddenly, Miki ended up leaning heavily on Utena. Anthy smoothly followed behind them, almost as if she had predicted it.

"Wasn't there more that you wanted to ask me about? Perhaps you'll remember if we pick up where we left off."

       Where we left off...!?

Utena had intended to ignore Touga, but hearing those words, she sharply turned to glare at him.

"Yeah, I wanted to tell you that you'll pay for that."

"How frightening! I got it, I got it - I'll take my leave here. Please look after Mickey." He winked, then returned to his flock of female students.

       Hmph, I'll be damned if I play into that guy's playboyish whims. I'll bet he didn't think any further than "a boyish girl would be nice." I can't believe I thought that guy was my prince, even for a second... And no way am I going to ask him anything. I'll deal with the Dueling Game without his help.

       Wait, I wonder if he's really "The Ends of the World." Only a playboy like that could think of a game based around something as horrible as trading a girl around...

"Tenjou Utena-sempai!"


Miki raised his voice a little, and Utena finally noticed him.

"Ah, sorry. I was kinda thinking about something... what's up?"

"Well... is it really alright to go to your dorm, Tenjou-sempai?"

"Yeah, sure. It's no problem, right, Anthy?"

"Yes. As you like, Utena-sama."

A very Anthy-like answer. Usually, Utena would have responded with something like 'You shouldn't talk like that!' but at the moment her attention was elsewhere.

       Why did I invite Miki to my place? I mean, I do want to talk to him about the Dueling Game, but even so... It wasn't until much later that Utena realized that the reason she'd invited Miki over lay with Kiryuu Touga.

***   ***

"There. All done." Anthy finished binding a compress to Miki's left foot. She spoke like a preschool teacher to one of her students.

"Thank you, Himemiya-sempai. And you too, Tenjou-sempai."

"I didn't really do anything. And, could you stop calling me 'Tenjou-sempai'? Just 'Utena' is okay." Utena, who had been standing to the side observing while Anthy treated Miki, looked a little embarrassed.


"It's fine. Calling me 'sempai' feels too stiff and formal."

Miki thought it would be bad form to refuse, and anyway, he wasn't particularly set on calling her 'sempai.' So...

"Okay, then... Utena-san," he said hesitantly, as if testing the waters. Of course he couldn't abandon honorifics entirely.

"Eh, good enough. Even if I ask, I guess going without honorifics is tough for Miki-kun too, huh?" Utena asked Anthy, to see if she agreed.

"Yes. As you say, Utena-sama."

"Man. I really wish you'd stop calling me 'Utena-sama.'"

"But, I am..."

"'...the Rose Bride?'"

"Yes." Anthy smiled. But once again, the smile was empty of emotion.

"Oh, brother." Utena didn't say anything more. Instead, she turned her attention back to Miki. 

"By the way, Miki, there was something I wanted to ask you."

"About the Dueling Game?" Miki asked, anticipating her question. He was called a 'genius', after all. His insight had also been well-displayed in the basketball game earlier.

"Yeah. I heard that the Student Council got letters from "The Ends of the World" telling them to do the Dueling Game. Is that true?" Utena asked, looking straight into his eyes.

"It's true," Miki answered simply. "I got a letter from "The Ends of the World" too. This ring was enclosed, as well."

"I see. So you don't know who "The Ends of the World" is, either?" Utena asked, a little discouraged.

"No... but I think Kiryuu-sempai might."

"President Kiryuu?"

"Yes. The rest of us only receive one-way letters, but it seems that Kiryuu-sempai is in communication with him. Just the other day, he apparently knew who the next person to duel would be..."

"Is that right, Anthy?"

"It seems that Kiryuu-sempai also came to the Dueling Arena during Utena-sama and Saionji-sempai's duel."

"Now that you mention it, he did say he was watching us."

"How did he know about your duel against Saionji-sempai?"

Utena thought hard. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Chu-Chu eagerly trying to peel a banana.

       I guess I'm gonna have to ask him... The memory of the kiss burned in Utena's head like a refrain.

       But if that happens again...

"Just once, I heard Kiryuu-sempai talking on the phone about the Dueling Game. I don't think it was to Juri-sempai or Saionji-sempai. Perhaps it was..."

"'The Ends of the World?'"

"That's what I suspect."

Utena looked into Miki's beautiful, crystal-like eyes. They were clear and serene.

       Miki-kun... I can definitely trust him... Utena decided.

Utena looked seriously at Miki, as if trying not to lose herself in his gaze.

"Miki-kun, I don't want to duel. If you agree with me, why don't we work together?"

Sometimes, eyes can speak more clearly than words. Especially when they're speaking from the heart. Miki received the message from Utena's heart, loud and clear.

"Like I said before, I may be a member of the Student Council, but I'm opposed to the duels."


"Yes. I'd like for us to work together as well, Utena-san."

When she heard Miki's response, Utena immediately looked relieved.

"Oh, good." 

The beautiful thing about Utena was the way she wore her heart on her sleeve. For his part, Miki tensed slightly, thinking that she was going to hug him again. Apparently not this time, though.

"It's really reassuring to have you on my side, Miki-kun. Hey, Anthy, you should thank him too. If we get rid of the Dueling Game, you won't have to be the Rose Bride anymore."

"Oh, but I don't particularly mind being the Rose Bride..."

"Why not? Even though you're a trophy in the duels?"

"I'm not a trophy. I'm engaged to the victor of the duels..."

"Ah, geez, stop it with the "engaged" thing! Stop stop, that word's not allowed, it's history!"

Shaking her head so violently it made her hair frazzled, Utena made a troubled face. She looked completely different than her relieved expression from a moment before.

"If you say so, Utena-sama." As usual, no unpleasantness could be read in Anthy's face. Up on her knees, Chu-Chu finally got his banana open and started stuffing his face with it.

"...Man, he's really crazy about it." Seeing that peaceful scene, Utena amazingly broke into a happy smile. Her face really did reflect her emotions at any given moment. If you looked away for even a moment, she could have moved on to another expression already.

Miki watched her out of the corner of his eye, though Utena didn't notice.

       Utena-san's face is so changeable... I can't keep my eyes off her. Whether she's harsh, or serious, or troubled, she's amazing... But that unguarded smile that she gave me when she was relieved... that was the most magnificent. I want to see it again. If I stop the duels...

"What's wrong, Miki-kun?" Utena asked, finally noticing Miki staring at her. "Oh, I'm sorry. I cut you off while we were talking, didn't I?"

"No, it's fine. I was just..."


       Just looking at your face in profile. Miki kept that to himself.

"Nevermind, it's nothing. Anyway, we should think about what to do next. How should we investigate Kiryuu-sempai? We should decide on a division of labor."

She wouldn't have put it in such fine words, but Utena could hardly complain. After all, she was starting to get very interested in the idea of investigating Kiryuu Touga.

Anthy remained silent, and appeared to pay no attention to the other two as she peeled a banana for Chu-Chu.

***   ***

In the south-west corner of the Ohtori Academy grounds, there were special cottages reserved for the Student Council's use. For the most part, the students of the school lived in dorms, but the members of the Council were allowed to live here by themselves. Caught up in his conversation with Utena, it was already past 10:00 by the time Miki returned to his cottage.

The light by his front door was on. Within its orange light, Miki took hold of the doorknob and opened the door. It wasn't locked.

As he entered the entrance area, the light inside turned on before Miki even flipped the switch.

"Welcome back."

There to greet him was a young girl in pajamas. They were pale blue, and a little childish-looking. The swelling of her chest wasn't very visible yet. And surprisingly, her face was the spitting image of Miki's. If not for her slightly-different hairstyle, you could have sworn they were the same.

"Did you eat?" she asked, taking his bag. You could tell at a glance that she always did that - it was a perfectly natural movement.

"No, not yet."

When she heard his response, the girl broke into a smile almost like a flower blooming. Her smile, too, was just like Miki's.

"Okay. Let's eat together, then. I waited for you," she said, taking Miki's arm and leading him inside. Her footsteps were almost like dancing, and Miki, allured, smiled too.

***   ***


Hearing Chu-Chu's voice, Utena opened her eyes. However, the room was still pitch-black. She couldn't even see where he was.

"Chu, Chuu!"

"Let me sleep, Chu-Chu. We've got school tomorrow." Utena pulled her blankets back over her head. But...


Chu-Chu didn't stop squeaking. It almost seemed like he was calling for Utena.

"Give me a break. Are you hungry or something?"

In the bed next to her, Anthy gave no sign of waking up. There was nothing for it but for Utena to pull herself out of bed.


Suddenly, a bit of light slipped into the pitch-black room.

       Is that moonlight? Is Chu-Chu moving the curtains?

Feeling around the room with her hands, Utena walked to the window. Like she'd expected, Chu-Chu was there, looking down out the window.

"Is there something down there, Chu-Chu?" 

Without hesitation, Utena pulled the curtains open. The pale moon shone down on her, a much gentler light than a fluorescent bulb.

       The moon... it's shining pretty brightly.

Utena's eyes were drawn to the large, striking moon floating in the night sky. She understood now how some people could prefer it to the light of the sun.

"Tenjou Utena!"

Suddenly, Utena heard a voice from below. She turned her eyes downward.

A long-haired boy was looking up at her. His white clothes shone in the moonlight - it was a Student Council uniform.

"Kiryuu Touga!" The words slipped out of Utena without thinking.

       Why is he here!?

Touga smiled up at her. It was the same tantalizing smile he'd shown when they first met. Utena pointedly looked away from him.

"Won't you come down, Tenjou?"

"Don't be stupid. You think I'm going to trust the invitation of a playboy who kisses someone the first time they meet?"

"Oh, that wasn't the first time we met. Though it seems you don't remember it."

"What are you talking about?"

"You're pretty light - I was surprised. Lifting you was like holding a bundle of feathers."

       Lifting me...?

Touga smiled suggestively in the moonlight.

"And you said before that you saw the duel... are you saying...!?"

Touga nodded, still smiling.

"So you're the one who carried me out...?"

       Was it really him? Those gentle arms, and that rose scent... so is he also the one who saved me, and kissed the tears from my cheeks...? Utena looked at Touga again with new eyes. Is he my prince!?

"Come down," Touga repeated.

This time, the words took hold of Utena like a spell.



Cover & Translation Notes
Chapter 1 * Chapter 2 * Chapter 3 * Chapter 4 * Chapter 5 * Chapter 6



Translated by Dallbun, coded by Giovanna, and hosted on Empty Movement.