Verdant Hopes


The nurses’ rubber-bottomed shoes made squeaking sounds as they walked on the white linoleum floor. Everyone sitting in the waiting room was quiet, listening to the occasional announcements over the loudspeaker calling for various patients.

Utena glanced over those people as she headed up the stairs.

After Juri and Miki had brought her to the hospital, Wakaba had somehow managed to pull through. She’d need to rest for about a month, but the doctors said she should make a complete recovery.

Utena went straight to room 301 and opened the door on which Shinohara Wakaba’s name was written.

The room was so white might appear sterile. The only splash of color was the get-well flowers on the desk. Utena had brought them yesterday.

Wakaba lay on a bed in the middle of the room.

“Good morning, Utena,” she greeted her, sleepily.

“It’s not morning, Wakaba. I just got out of class.”

“Gah, seriously? Man, being hospitalized sure is boring. I just doze all day.” Wakaba laughed. But her smile was a little forced.

“By the way, they served pilaf in the cafeteria today, and it didn’t have any green peas. I’ll bet a lot of people thought the same as you,” Utena said, lightly. She just wanted to make Wakaba smile a little.

Both Wakaba and Utena knew what was happening. They were each putting on a performance, because they were worried about the other. And by doing so, they were just hurting the other…

Still, neither of them could stop. Even if it was just a front, to stop smiling would have been unbearable.

“I’ve got some fruit on that someone gave me as a gift. Want to eat some together?” Wakaba pointed to the small desk where the flowers were. There was a small pile of other gifts as well, such as fruit and books.

“Oh, sure. Which one do you want?”

“Hmmm… I guess I’ll have a pear? I think there should be a knife around here somewhere, too.”

“Okay. I’ll take a look.” Utena looked through the basket and under the books, but she didn’t turn up a knife.

She did find something strange instead:

A tube of toothpaste.

Obviously, that wasn’t an uncommon item by itself. But this tube of toothpaste was wrapped in a cute pink bow.

“Hey, Wakaba. What’s with this toothpaste?”


“Yeah, this one.” Utena held it up so Wakaba could see it.

“…!” Wakaba’s eyes widened. “He remembered…”

“What is it, Wakaba?” Utena asked anxiously, as Wakaba’s surprised face slowly filled with tears.

“No, it’s nothing.”


“It’s okay. It’s really… okay…”

Utena fell silent, as Wakaba burst into sobs.

***   ***

“So Saionji has dropped out of school…” Juri murmured. It was after her morning practice with Miki.

“Well, there’s no helping it. He stabbed a female student with a real sword,” Miki said, as Juri sipped from a sports drink. “If things had gone worse, it would have been a matter for the police. He was only allowed to leave voluntarily because Touga-sempai pulled strings for him.”

“Touga…” Juri’s voice trailed off.

Certainly, she had put forth a motion that Saionji be expelled. In that sense, her wish had been fulfilled… but she found it hard to feel satisfied.

       Maybe I’m over-thinking it…

Juri and Miki

Juri felt that there were some parts of this incident that didn’t make sense. And although she had no particular reason to think so, some instinct inside her told her that she needed to take it as a warning...

“Still, it’s strange,” Miki continued, unaware of Juri’s misgivings. “I mean, who was she going to go meet in the forest that's off-limits to everyone but Student Council members? And in the dead of night, too.”

***   ***

“It’s been settled – Saionji Kyouichi will be allowed to ‘withdraw’ from school. Is that acceptable?”

A voice spoke from the phone - a deep, sweet voice that sent shivers down the spine.

“Yes – thank you very much.”

“By the way, what about that girl who’s close to the One Engaged?”

“It was just a flesh wound. She’ll be fine.” Touga responded. He didn’t sound the slightest bit ashamed. “That Saionji… who knew he was so timid? At the last moment, he missed the vital organs.”

“And now what? If you’re trying to drive her away from the One Engaged…”

“No. That girl was merely bait to drive Saionji out of school. I did consider separating them, but there’s no harm in letting her stay.”

Touga twirled his silver fountain pen in his hand. The one with the school emblem on it.

“I see. And what will become of our vice-president?”

“I don’t know. He’s free to do whatever he likes.”

“What a cruel man. Isn’t the vice-president your dearest friend?”

“Don't be ridiculous.” Touga laughed softly, took aim, and flung the silver fountain pen across the room. It twirled through the air, and landed squarely in the trash. “Anyone who believes in friendship is a fool.”



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.