Verdant Hopes


It was a love letter written on pale pink stationary.

The contents were hand-written in a cute, girlish style, without much skill but with plenty of careful effort. A delicate floral scent wafted from the page.

This letter was currently posted in a hallway, in the Middle School building of Ohtori Academy.

"Hey, what's it say there? Something about dancing?"

"Hahaha, what a joke!"

The ones reading and laughing at it were exclusively boys. They didn't understand how sacred the letter had been to the person who wrote it. Or maybe they were just jerks.

Tenjou Utena and Shinohara Wakaba passed by behind the crowd of young idiots.

A girl, wearing a boys' uniform. A sports prodigy, with an enthusiastic fanbase among the girls in the lower grades, who boasted that she was "the prince who's cooler than any boy." That was Tenjou Utena.

The girl by her side, Shinohara Wakaba, was quite normal in comparison. Her school uniform, her appearance, her grades in school. The only thing about her that you could call unusual was that she called herself Utena's lover.

"What's with the crowd?" asked Wakaba, who tended to be a bit of a groupie. Utena just glanced over at the group, looking disinterested.

"Someone's love letter is posted on the board," a gossipy boy on the edge of the crowd answered.

"A love letter?"

"Yeah. Looks like it's for Vice President Saionji." At that, he turned and pushed back into the crowd.

"Saionji?" Utena repeated. She'd just transferred to this school, and wasn't familiar with the name. She still didn't know about Duelists, or Saionji, yet.

"Check it out! 'I danced with you in my dreams. I must be a fool...' Well, they've got that right!"

The group gave another round of crude laughter. The other female students passing by just frowned and ignored them.

       I can't believe these guys!

Utena roughly forced her way into the crowd and tore the posted love letter off the wall. She was a girl of few words, but she possessed more than enough force and moral authority to quiet the crowd of rubberneckers.

"What're you doing?"

"Hey, I was reading that!" 

Complaints rose from the group of boys. But...

"Disgusting." With one word, Utena made them all fall silent.

"Well, c'mon... someone posted it, so of course we read it."


The boys glared sullenly at Utena. Then, as if trying to hide the embarrassment in their eyes, they each cast their gaze uncomfortably downwards. After all, they were just a bunch of chumps, only capable of acting as part of a group.

Casting her gaze over the chagrined group, Utena caught sight of Wakaba, standing behind them in a daze. Even from a distance, she could see the large tears welling up in her eyes.


Their eyes met. Suddenly, the tears started gushing forth.

"Wakaba!" Hearing Utena call out, Wakaba turned and fled.

       Could that love letter have been... Wakaba's?

Without thinking, Utena dashed off after Wakaba. There was no way she could leave a crying friend alone.

       Thinking back on it, that was when the Dueling Game began for Tenjou Utena...



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.