Chapter 4

Kiryuu Touga

A dense forest spread out behind Ohtori Academy. Looming deep inside was a heavy stone gate. It was covered with tangled ivy, and looked abandoned by everyone. But when a person wearing a Rose Seal grasped the handle, the door opened easily. So easily that it almost seemed like it was moving by itself.

Beyond the gate there was fog, wild roses, and an enormous spiral staircase. The Dueling Arena lay at the very top of them.

Utena walked with Touga up the spiral stairs.

       Here we are... There are lots of things I want to ask him, but...

Walking from the East Dorm to the Dueling Arena - that was the exact opposite of the route Touga had carried the unconscious Utena. When she thought of that, Utena felt strangely embarrassed.

       I can't ask... somehow, my heart is pounding.... and the words won't come out.

She cast a brief glance to the side, at Touga. She couldn't even bring herself to face towards him.

For his part, Touga was ascending the staircase in silence. He just walked straight ahead, with none of his usual banter.

Thus, they ascended towards the Dueling Arena without speaking or looking at each other.

       Why is he so quiet? I'd be fine with him chattering away a little like usual.

Moodily, Utena climbed the last stretch of stairs, and entered the Dueling Arena.


Her eyes, accustomed to the darkness, were now dazzled by a shining light. The upside-down castle was shimmering overhead.

       How pretty...

The luminescence and luster of the castle was changing from moment to moment. It looked almost like a chandelier, brilliant and beautiful.

Utena forgot the oppressive atmosphere of a moment before. She stared up at the beautiful sight with a look of childish wonder.

Happily, Utena ran to the center of the Dueling Arena and turned around in the middle of the light. The lights flowed around her as she spun.

       This is great!

Utena continued spinning underneath the chandelier castle. She was like a dancing fairy.

After dancing for a while, Utena noticed Touga's eyes on her. He seemed strangely pleased at the sight of Utena's frolicking - almost like a young boy who just pulled off some prank.

"I thought you'd like it."

Utena flushed at Touga's words. She felt like she'd fallen into a trap somehow. As if Touga had remained silent for the sake of staging a performance.

       Why do you look so happy...?

Her heart began to thump again. It was embarrassing for him to have seen her at her most unguarded.


Heart still thumping, she took another look at Touga’s face.

       So he can look childish like this, too…

She’d never seen him with such a boyish expression before.

“This is what I wanted to show you. The Dueling Arena, at night.”

Touga gazed at Utena intently. His eyes looked very earnest. So much so that she could almost believe that the rumors about him being a playboy weren’t true.

       What’s with this stare…?

Utena glanced away, trying to escape his gaze. The beat of her heart grew so loud, it felt like it was coming from somewhere outside of her.

       Even if you make those eyes at me, I won’t be fooled, she thought silently to herself. Her pulse, however, wouldn’t let up.

“Only those who possess a Rose Seal… that is to say, those chosen by “The Ends of the World”… can enter here. In other words, only a few people in the school can see that castle. Truly, an extravagant work of art.”

As if responding to Touga’s words, the castle twinkled again.

“And only one person will eventually reach it. Someone who continues to be engaged to the Rose Bride, winning duel after duel.”

Touga’s eyes, still fixed on Utena, seemed filled with a strong determination.

“Rather than being a knight who defends the bride, being a princess would suit you better. ”

“Y… yeah? Well, unfortunately, I don’t plan on being either a knight or a princess. What I want to be is a prince.”

“Oh?” Touga looked Utena up and down. “Is that also why you wear a boy’s uniform?”

“Kind of.”

“Would you mind telling me more? Why do you want to become a prince?”

“You’ll laugh. The story doesn’t suit me at all.”

“I won’t,” he responded, simply. Short, concise, words. He showed no sign of saying more.

Utena stole a glance at him from the side. Touga was facing her straight on, waiting for her to speak.

Reluctantly, Utena began.

“When I was six, my mom and dad died. It was a big shock, and I ran away. I was out in the rain, cold and tired, and eventually everything started to become a blur. That’s when I fell in the river. But there was someone who saved me.”

       With the scent of roses… I can remember it vividly, even now. Not to mention that I smelled it again just two days ago…

Utena looked at Touga. But his expression remained unchanged – he continued watching her, inviting her to continue the story.

“He seemed almost like a prince to me. And after he pulled me out, he gave me this ring and said, ‘If you…’”

“…If you don't lose your strength and nobility…”


Touga finished the phrase that Utena was going to say.

       Why…? Only my prince should know that...

Giving no sign whether he’d noticed Utena’s reaction or not, Touga slowly walked toward the center of the Dueling Arena – to Utena’s side.

“If you don’t lose your strength and nobility, you’ll reach the castle.”

The light shining down on him, he stared up at the castle.

“And inside… is everything.”

Simply standing there, staring upwards, Touga looked somehow sublime. It was difficult to approach him.

       It feels like he doesn't let anyone get too close to him... what is he seeking up there...? Is he my prince? I want to ask him... but...

Touga continued to stare up at the castle, unmoving.

What was he thinking about, as he gazed at it? It was impossible to tell. But it certainly wasn't about girls or school.


Utena felt like she was witnessing some holy ceremony, and couldn't bring herself to speak any further.

***   ***

"Utenaaa!" Wakaba exclaimed, launching herself onto Utena's back. That was Wakaba's style of physical affection.

"Morning, Wakaba. You seem lively as ever." Utena replied over her shoulder, as she absently gave Wakaba a piggyback ride.

"Thanks!" That got a cute smile from Wakaba. "What about you? You seem kind of tired. Didn't get enough sleep?"

"Uh... yeah, basically," Utena replied evasively. It was true, thanks to being dragged out to the Dueling Arena by Touga last night, she hadn't gotten enough sleep. But her current mood had to do with more than that - she was dwelling on something Touga had said.

“If you don’t lose your strength and nobility...” Those were words that only her prince should know. Which meant...

"By the way, I heard the news about your basketball game against Mickey. The sports prodigy, Utena-sama, was taken down by the boy genius, Mickey! That's what everyone's saying, anyway."

       Oh, right. That game against Miki-kun was just yesterday. For some reason it feels like it was a lot longer ago...

"Man, I was so surprised when I heard about it from Tsukamoto! Why didn't you call your Wakaba over, too? I wish I could've seen it...!"

       And last night was the Dueling Arena. It felt like we were there for a very long time... Even though we hardly talked at all.

"Hey, hey, you guys should totally have a rematch! I can't let my Utena-sama stay beaten like that! Well, of course Mickey is cute too, but I'll make super sure to cheer only for you, Utena!"

       I never ended up asking him about the Dueling Game. Even though I'd decided to free Anthy from it... I'm sorry, Anthy. I just...

"See, I even wrote up a challenge letter for you! Just take this, walk up to Mickey, and WHAM! Slam it down right in front of him!"


"That's right!"

Utena suddenly stood up straight, causing Wakaba to fall off her back.


"Yeah - I should go see Miki-kun." We promised to work together, didn't we? It's way to early to give up on things.

Turning, Utena saw Anthy, looking in her direction with a blank expression.

       If I free her from being the Rose Bride, Anthy can be... a little more...

"Wakaba, do you know what class Miki-kun is in?"

"Umm, First Year Class A...?" Wakaba responded from the ground, rubbing her butt.

"Thanks, Wakaba. I owe you one," Utena said, dashing off. She heard Wakaba calling out from behind her.

"H, hang on, where are you going? Don't you want to take your challenge letter? Hey!"

***   ***

There were close to thirty music rooms at Ohtori Academy. That was enough to let the students practice privately, either individually or in small groups. There weren't quite as many music teachers as music rooms, but still far more than any ordinary school. And, deep in the academy, there was even a music room set aside specifically for the use of the Student Council.

The sounds of a gentle piano solo drifted softly from that room.

       Is it Miki-kun playing...?

Utena paused in front of the door.

She'd gone to First Year Class A just like Wakaba had said, but Miki-kun wasn't there. Luckily, one of his teammates from yesterday's basketball game told her that he was in the music room.

       What a lovely sound... come to think of it, Wakaba said his skill is on the national level.

Enraptured, Utena listened outside the door.

       Anyone who can play the piano like this... Of course, a pianist like this must be a good, trustworthy person. Not that she needed more evidence to support her feelings.

Slowly, so as not to interrupt the piano solo, Utena opened the door. As she did, the music swelled around her. It sounded much richer and more beautiful than it had from the outside. Inside, she saw Miki sitting at a grand piano.

       Man, he seems really into it. It's like the whole piano was made out of candy or something. Or like how you'd treat your lover, maybe.

As she watched Miki's performance, Utena took a step forward. As soon as she did...


The door slammed shut behind her, much more loudly than she'd expected. Obviously, Miki noticed, and stopped playing.

"Utena-san. What brings you here?"

"Uh, hey." Embarrassed, Utena raised her hand in greeting. "You sounded great. What song were you playing?"

"'The Sunlit Garden.'"

Utena had never heard that title. But she felt as if she'd heard the song before.

"Sorry, don't know it. I don't know much about music and stuff like that. Can't play anything, either..." she laughed awkwardly.

"It's not as difficult as all that. You just need to get the hang of it."

Miki offered her the space on the bench to his left. It was long enough for two people to sit side by side.

At Miki's urging, Utena thumped down on the seat. The cold black-and-white piano looming in front of them made her feel slightly uncomfortable.

Miki, on the other hand, was more conscious of how close Utena was sitting to him.

       Is the piano bench really this small...? I've never noticed before. It's always seemed bigger... Or is it just because it's Utena-san that it feels like this?


Utena tapped a key the piano. The sounds jolted Miki out of his reverie.

"Utena-san, curl your fingers like this."

"Like this?"

"Right. Like you were holding an egg or something in your hand. Now, try playing. I'll do it slowly, then you repeat after me."

"Uh, okay."

Slowly, Miki played a short bar. Utena watched, then tried to move her fingers the same way.

Miki played. Utena imitated him. It still couldn't quite be called a song, but the notes started to build together.

"Hey, Miki-kun." Utena asked, while following Miki's movements. She was still looking at the piano. "You were saying that the President is in contact with `The Ends of the World,` right?"


"Why's he the only one? Because he's the President?"

       Or because he's the Prince...?

"I have no idea. I've just heard him on the phone, is all. I could be mistaken."

"By the way, where did you hear him talking on the phone?"

"Um... at his house."

"The White House?"


By school custom, the Student Council President lived in his own special house, which everyone called the 'White House.' It was just one of their many privileges.

"What, did you sneak in?"

"Of course not. I just... had Student Council business." Miki didn't meet Utena's eyes, as if he was guilty about something.

"Hmm." Utena didn't pry any further. She wasn't particularly interested in why Miki had been at the White House - just in who Touga had been talking to about the Dueling Game. 

       “If you don’t lose your strength and nobility.” How did he know those words? Could he really be my prince...?

Forgetting that she’d come to talk to Miki about the Rose Bride situation, Utena became lost in her own thoughts. Eventually she even forgot to follow Miki’s lead on the piano, instead just absentmindedly repeating the section she’d learned up until now.

Noticing this, Miki began to play a lower part of the song than Utena’s. He built on her mistake, and suddenly, something like a song began to take shape.

“Huh? I...” Utena suddenly noticed that she was playing the piano. Surprised, she glanced at Miki. He met her eyes with a gentle nod, urging her continue.

“Hey, it’s sounding pretty good now.” Utena looked happy. Even though she was just playing the same short bit over and over again, she listened intently and concentrated on it so that Miki would be able to cover her well.

“Just like that, Utena-san.”

“I didn’t know piano could be so fun,” Utena said, an open smile on her face. Before she knew it, all thoughts of the Dueling Game and of Touga had fled from her mind.

Miki watched her from her side.

       I really...

His gaze was hot.

       I really... like her.

But Utena, caught up in the piano, didn’t notice him.

       I like Utena-san. Utena-san...

“Utena-san.” The words slipped from his mouth.


“Utena-san... I...” Miki continued. He couldn’t stop himself. “I really...”

“Move it!”

As he heard those words, Utena suddenly disappeared from Miki’s sight. The performance was cut short, and the music room, which had previously been filled with music, suddenly fell still.

The girl who had shoved Utena off of her seat was the spitting image of Miki. Just like him, she had beautiful, striking eyes. Her hair was short, and the ends of it curled more than Miki’s, creating a more feminine silhouette. She wasn’t wearing a Student Council outfit, but simply a standard sailor uniform. There wasn’t a Rose Seal on her finger, either.

“Ouch!” Utena stood from where she’d been knocked off the bench, rubbing her hip. She still didn’t quite grasp what had happened.

“Move. The seat next to Miki’s is mine,” the girl returned, challengingly.

“Stop it, Kozue!” Miki cut in. “Utena-san wasn’t sitting next to me. I was sitting next to her.”

The tone of Miki’s voice was uncharacteristically strong. Kozue’s expression suddenly changed.

“What, you’re choosing a man-girl like this over your own sister?”

“Utena-san’s not a ‘man-girl.’”

Miki and Kozue glared at each other. Utena, stuck in the middle of this, eyed them both uncomfortably.

“Hey, you.” Suddenly, Kozue turned to Utena. “Miki and I have been together since we were born. We’re one person. So don’t think you can seduce him. Miki is mine.”

Miki and Kozue

***   ***

“Oh yeah, that’s his twin sister,” Wakaba explained over lunch, while cutting her hamburger steak into bite-sized pieces.

“Twin sister? Yeah, I guess she did look just like him.”

“Kozue’s famous for sticking to Mickey like glue. Thanks to her, even though Mickey’s as popular as you, he doesn’t have a girlfriend. Though I guess she’s decided to turn a blind eye to his fan club of older girls.”

“Huh... being siblings sounds tough.”

Not having any brothers herself, Utena still couldn’t quite grasp what it was like. There had been times when she had really wanted one, but of course with her parents gone, that had been impossible.

“It’s very nice to have an older brother, though,” Anthy suddenly spoke up.

Utena and Wakaba both turned toward her in surprise. Anthy rarely spoke on her own. Of course, if you asked her a question she’d respond, so it wasn’t as if she was against speaking to people at all.

“Anthy… do you have an older brother?”

“Yes.” Anthy smiled. Unlike her usual smiles, she appeared genuinely happy. “We’re rarely able to meet, however.”

Her smile seemed to well up from the bottom of her heart. It made Utena happy to know that Anthy could smile like that.

***   ***

Elsewhere, Miki and Kozue were also having lunch. But unlike Utena’s group, they weren’t eating in the cafeteria. Their chosen venue was a blue bench in the middle of a garden.

They sat on either side of it, a plate of sliced sandwiches between them. Usually, they would talk endlessly about classes or friends, but today they ate their sandwiches in silence, not meeting each other’s eyes.

At last, Kozue took a breath and spoke, still not looking at Miki.

“Hey, Miki. Are you still angry about earlier?”

That is to say, when Kozue had pushed Utena off the bench.

“I’m not angry.”

“Liar. I know you. You always get quiet when you’re angry.”

Right on the mark. Miki looked a little bitter.

“Fine. I’m angry.”

It was unusual for Miki to sound this sulky. But it made Kozue happy to see him like this. Outside, her brother might be praised as a cute young genius honor student, but right now he was acting like a stubborn child. This was his vulnerable side, which only family… only she… could see. Kozue didn’t articulate it so clearly, but deep down, that’s how she felt.

“So what do you like about that man-girl?”

“Utena-san isn’t a `man-girl.`”

“That girl, then.”

       …that girl!

At Kozue’s words, memories of Utena’s femininity sprang unbidden into Miki’s mind. Her soft body. The wind fluttering through her long hair. Her sweet fragrance…

“Don’t talk about her that way.”

That way? You’re the one who’s thinking about her that way. Disgusting.”

Miki blushed. It was true, he was the one who had responded so basely to the phrase “girl.”

But Kozue didn’t try to provoke him further. He was already feeling bad. Pushing Utena off the bench had been an act of passion, but fundamentally, she didn’t want to hurt Miki. It was just that she felt her private sanctuary, the Student Council music room, had been defiled, and had taken action without thinking.

Up until now, only Miki and Kozue had been using that room. Neither Touga, Juri, nor Saionji ever came to play music. It was possible they knew how, but they weren’t in the habit of coming to the music room to do so. So the two of them had it to themselves. They would sit together and play 'The Sunlit Garden.' For Kozue, that was the most important expression of their relationship, like a ritual. That’s why she had gotten so upset. She wasn’t normally such a mean girl.

The two stopped talking again. A bird chirped loudly somewhere nearby. Occasionally the sound of the wind through the trees broke the silence.

“This egg is pretty good,” Kozue commented, the sound like a drop of water falling into a still lake.

“Yeah.” Miki took some of the fried egg from the lunchbox Kozue had prepared. They didn’t bother to divide the food. Ever since they were young, they’d shared everything, even clothes. It was natural to them.

“Let’s have the croquette.” Miki used his fork to cut the last croquette in half. 

They finished their meal in that manner, then poured some tea. Kozue, without needing to ask Miki, took two cups and added a generous amount of milk and sugar.



They drank the sweet tea. This, too, was a long-standing tradition of theirs.

Then they continued to stare ahead in silence. The bird chirped loudly again.

At last, Kozue opened her mouth.

“I’m sorry, Miki,” she said quietly. After a moment, Miki responded. “It’s okay.”

At last, all traces of anger were gone from his voice.

***   ***


The white ball slammed into the carefully-arranged other nine, scattering them across the green cloth. The orange ball – number 5 – fell into a pocket.

“Hmm... quite a dangerous position,” Touga said, his voice droll as he twirled the pool cue in his hand. Touga was the sort of guy who could make actions like that look good.

"Don't get cocky, Touga," Juri said grumpily, from across the table. She wasn't usually one for frivolity.

"Indeed, the game's only just begun."

Touga's cue once again met the ball straight-on. His target was across the table to the left - the one-ball.

"Tenjou Utena has been investigating you. She's checked the student registry, Student Council minutes, club activity records... she's even looked into where you're from."


The white ball struck the one ball, which then knocked the seven ball into a pocket. The white ball continued on to hit the nine ball, too, but that one stopped just short of a pocket.

"As expected from Arisugawa Juri, the shadow mastermind of the school. It seems like nothing happens on campus without your knowledge."

"That's not true at all. For instance, I don't know who's going to duel next." She shot a piercing look at Touga. "Isn't it about time you told me who it is? It's not you, or Saionji. Could it be that I'm going to get a chance?"

"Perish the thought! I'd hate to see you engaged to the Rose Bride. It would make it too difficult for me to take her myself later."

Thunk. The one ball and four ball were pocketed.

"Touga, you're full of bullshit. I doubt you've said a sincere word in your whole life."

"My, such harsh words." Far from sounding hurt, Touga seemed like he was enjoying himself. He walked up beside Juri and readied his cue.

"So do you plan to ignore Tenjou Utena?"

Thunk. The two ball disappeared into a pocket.

"Did you think I hadn't heard about your little nighttime visit to the Dueling Arena?"

“How unlike you, Juri. What do you care what happens to a little girl yearning after her prince? She doesn’t have anything to do with you, does she?”

“Hmph. She’s just one of my cute underclassmen.”

“I see.”

Thunk. Numbers 3 and 6 dropped into pockets. Only 8 and 9 left to go.

“But, you know, for him this is a trial to reach adulthood.”

“And who put that idea into his head, I wonder?”

Thunk. The 8 and 9 balls were swallowed up into the pockets. The white ball bounced off the cushioned sides a few times, then slowly began rolling towards a pocket, itself. The two watched it raptly. Finally, with a loud rattle, it fell.

“Divine retribution.”

Touga’s only response to Juri’s barb was a small smile.

***   ***

“Does well at school, is a sports prodigy. If you just look at his grades, he seems pretty average. No car accidents or criminal record. Not that I think Touga-sempai would let himself be caught if he did do anything wrong.” Miki murmured to nobody in particular as he looked over the materials they’d assembled over the past few days.

He and Utena had gathered as much information about Kiryuu Touga as they could. They’d hoped they’d be able to discover how Touga was connected to “The Ends of the World.”

Utena, sitting back to back with Miki, was going over materials, too. Right now she was looking at Touga’s address from eight years ago. If he’d lived close to her, then maybe…


Utena exclaimed, involuntarily. Apparently, on that day eight years ago, Touga had been living in the Netherlands.

“Is something the matter, Utena-sama?”

“What about Amsterdam?”

Miki, as well as Anthy, who was sitting to the side playing with Chu-Chu, turned to her in surprise.

“No, uh… apparently the president used to live there.”

“Yes, it’s Houou City’s sister city. I heard that connection is one reason Kiryuu-sempai came to Ohtori Academy. What about it?”

“Nothing, it’s just that my aunt is gonna visit there, so…”

Miki looked at her curiously, but other than that gave no response, and returned to his work. Anthy, likewise, said nothing.

       I thought that if that guy was my prince, he’d had to have been living somewhere nearby…

Utena was feeling slightly discouraged, although she hadn’t quite realized that fact herself. 

       It must be someone else after all. If he was in Amsterdam, there’s no way he could have saved me when I fell in that river.

       But, wait a minute… isn’t it possible that he and his family were on a visit back to Japan then?

Utena cast her eye back over the list of Touga’s former addresses. But of course it only listed where he’d lived, and didn’t say anything about shorter trips.

“No good, it seems. There’s nothing that seems connected to ‘The Ends of the World’ in any of this.” Miki tossed the materials he’d been reading back onto the pile, with a dry thud.

“Utena-sama, perhaps you should stop investigating ‘The Ends of the World,’ after all.”

It was very unusual for Anthy to offer an opinion. Even though she was intimately involved in this situation, she only spoke about it in passive terms. But that attitude only made Utena more eager to change things.

       Anthy must be scared of this weird “The Ends of the World” entity. But I’ll find out who or what they are, and expose the sneaky bastard. Even if it turns out it’s Kiryuu Touga.

“We’re about out of options… I think we’ll have to go for it,” Utena said, licking her lips impishly.

“Try what, Utena-san?”

“Check out the White House. Maybe we’ll find out something there.”

***   ***

Unlike other schools, Ohtori Academy’s Student Council held special powers. They wore a different uniform than the other students, were given priority in using the school facilities, had the right to  dismiss students from other posts within the school, and so on.

In particular, the Student Council President had massive authority, greater even than a teacher’s. So of course, he also got special housing – the White House, a special residence that only he lived in. Just one of the special rights afforded to the President. 

Miki and Utena stopped before the White House’s front door. Miki had called ahead, and apparently Touga was currently out in the town.

“He should be gone. But it’ll be locked.”

The large double doors were indeed locked. They didn’t even budge when Utena tried tugging them.

“Well, if we can’t use the door, how ‘bout the windows?”

She saw a balcony on the second floor. Utena was pretty sure she could jump to it from a nearby tree.

“Alright, I’m gonna give it a shot.”

After checking a couple of trees to find one she was sure could support her weight, Utena climbed on to the lowest branch and began to climb. She circled upwards, stepping from branch to branch. Just a few more steps and she would be on about the same level as the balcony.

She tightened her grip, preparing to climb further, when,

"Utena-san, what are you doing?"

Miki had easily opened the door. 

"How'd you do that?" Utena asked, still hanging miserably from a branch.

"I used a spare key."

"Huh, good job, Miki-kun. You really came prepared, huh?"

"No, I just happened to have it."

       He just happened to have a spare key...?

"Anyway, let's hurry, Utena-san. We don't want to be here when Touga-sempai gets back."

At Miki's urging, and Utena soon got herself back down the tree, and they slipped through the door. The matter of the duplicate key soon slipped from Utena's mind.

Following Miki's lead, they soon reached Touga's room. The walls of the thirty-square-meter room were almost completely hidden behind tall bookcases. They held old-fashioned thick, leather-bound books and a globe, but placed around the room, there were also modern devices like a computer and a fax machine. They were spread around carefully so as not to disturb the ambiance the room, in a way that surely reflected Touga's sensibilities.

       They say you can learn a lot about a person by looking at their room...

Even a carefully arranged room always shows signs of residency. But here, there was no trace of Touga as a person. Normally, there might be a favorite genre of book, a poster, equipment for one's hobbies... some indication of how the person occupies themselves. But Utena didn't see anything of the sort.

"This is the room where Touga-sempai was talking about the Dueling Game."

Miki had already turned on the computer, apparently intending to search its database.

"On this phone here?"

Utena picked up an antique-looking white phone with gold trimming, which had been sitting on a small desk.



"I was in the next room over at the time."

"The next room...?"

Taking a second look, Utena saw that there was indeed a door on the right-hand wall.

       What's in there?

"In any case, Utena-san, could you please search the bookcases and desks? If there are any clues, they'll probably be in this room."

"Sure," Utena agreed, though she had no idea where to start looking.

       If he's my Prince, he should have envelopes stamped with the Rose Seal. Now, where would he write letters...?

In addition to the computer desk, there was another large desk made of mahogany.

       Alright, let's start here.

Utena immediately pulled open the desk and started rummaging around inside. She even checked the trash can, but saw no sign of an envelope. Miki was still working at the computer.

       I guess he's not my prince after all. I mean, there's also that whole thing about him being in Amsterdam at the time...

Turning the antique globe on the desk, Utena checked the distance between Japan and Amsterdam.


       Pretty far...

If she turned the globe to face Amsterdam, she couldn't even see Japan. It seemed pretty unlikely that he would have travelled that far just by chance.

       Yeah, it can't be him.

Utena absently spun the globe around. It made three complete rotations... then split apart, right across the Prime Meridian!

"Miki-kun, over here!"

Hearing Utena, Miki raced over from the computer desk.

"There's another phone... inside!?"

A rose-red receiver was hidden inside the globe. But it didn't appear to have a dial or anything. Apparently it was a direct line.

"I wonder who it calls?"

"Presumably 'The Ends of the World.'"

       "The Ends of the World"...

Utena took a quiet breath.

       I could talk to them right now. The Dueling Game, the Rose Bride, and my Prince... the answers to all those mysteries are through this phone.


"I know."

With grim determination, Utena picked up the receiver.

       I wonder who's on the other line... though I wouldn't be surprised if it was just Kiryuu Touga.

She decisively pulled the phone to her ear. But she didn't hear the dialing noise that normally came when making a phone call.

One second passed. Then two.

Still no sound.

       Is it not enough to just pick up the receiver?

Utena searched inside the globe for a button. But other than the cord that was attached to the receiver, she didn't see anything.


Suddenly, she heard the sound of the phone being picked up on the other end. There was a moment of silence. Then...

"Yes?" came a woman's voice. Then, nothing.

       I feel like I've heard that voice before... soft, but also sort of cold... kind of monotone and expressionless... Like...


"Anthy, is that you!?" Utena exclaimed.

The other end of the line fell silent.

"Anthy, it's you, isn’t it? C'mon, say something," Utena desperately called out. But there was no answer. Then again, the line didn't seem to have gone dead, either.

"Anthy. Is "The Ends of the World" there? Are you "The Ends of the World"? Is my prince..."

Beeeeep - she heard the irritating noise that showed the phone had been hung up.

"Himemiya-san was there? So it calls the East Dorm?"

"No, we don't even have a phone at the East Dorm." Either because it was such an old building, or because nobody had lived there for so long.

       Maybe it wasn't Anthy? But...

"Sorry, Miki-kun!" Utena put down the receiver and dashed from the room.

       Anthy, there's no way you're actually "The Ends of the World," right? You couldn't have made Saionji and me duel... There's no way that could be true...

***   ***

Utena ran like the wind from the White House to the East Dorm. She had already forgotten all about Miki. Her head was filled with Anthy, and "The Ends of the World."

Barreling through the front door, she raced up the stairs. She went down the hall, and to the innermost room - number 21, where she and Anthy lived. She threw open the door.

"Anthy!" she cried out.

"Yes?" Anthy replied.

She was staring at Utena in puzzlement. At her knees, Chu-Chu was rolling around, tangled up in a ball of yarn. Apparently she was playing with him.


"What's the matter, Utena-sama?" Anthy answered, apparently the same as always. She certainly didn't feel like a shadowy mastermind.

"Anthy, were you on the phone earlier?"

"The... phone?"

"Yeah, the phone. I made a call."

Anthy tilted her head slightly. "Utena-sama, there's no phone in the East Dorm."

"Yeah, but you didn't leave the room to take a call or anything?"

"No." Judging from her expression, she didn't seem to be lying.

       So it wasn't Anthy...?

The energy that had propelled Utena back here left her, all in a rush.

       Now that I think about it, if Anthy was "The Ends of the World," why on earth would she make herself the Rose Bride? And after all, I only heard the woman on the phone say one word...

"Chuu." Chu-Chu rolled around with his string at Utena's feet. He looked peaceful, and hadn't been at all disturbed by Utena's entrance.

       Man, what am I doing, suspecting Anthy? She's just the poor girl who's being forced to be the Rose Bride. And I promised to be her friend... I can't believe myself.

"Did something happen, Utena-sama?"

"No, it's nothing. Sorry."

"Hmm? What is it?"

"It doesn't involve you... well, I mean, it does involve you, but... anyway. Sorry. Don't worry about it."

"My, you're acting strange, Utena-sama."

Anthy met Chu-Chu's eyes, and smiled. That smile was enough to clear up Utena's doubts.

***   ***

When Miki got back, the words that met him weren't 'Welcome home.'

"You're late." Kozue sounded put off.

Special cottages were one of the rights of the Student Council. Miki shared this one with Kozue.

"Yeah, I was looking something up at the library," Miki answered, not meeting Kozue's eyes.

Kozue knew Miki was lying. She'd been worried about him, so she'd went to check both the library and the fencing hall.

       He's lying to me. We've never had anything to hide from each other before...

Not thinking, Kozue stared at Miki. When he noticed her suspicious look, she quickly spoke again.

"It seems like you're coming home late every day recently. Dinner?"

"I already ate."

"I see." Kozue dropped her gaze.

"I'm going to bed. We have morning practice in the Fencing Club tomorrow."

Miki passed by Kozue and went up the half-spiral staircase. Their bedroom was on the second floor.

       Miki... you jerk.

Kozue watched him go, then slowly went into the kitchen. She started at the table, where the cold dinner she'd prepared for the two of them was still sitting. Then she dumped it all into the trash.




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.