Utena, Revolutionary Girl Fan Fiction ❯ A Tale of Two Princes ❯ For the Sake of a Revolution: Forsaking All Memory ( Chapter 11 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Title: A Tale of Two Princes
Chapter 11: For the Sake of a Revolution: Forsaking All Memory
Poetry is mine
Shoujo-ai content
Utena and its characters do not belong to me I am just borrowing.
Once the mystery of a place has been destroyed it never quite looks the same ever again. Truly, nothing had changed about the dueling arena. The castle was still high over head, and the rose seal marked the whole of the dueling arena's floor, but the place was not as bright. The lights of the castle were dulled making the hanging monument look like nothing more than a giant tomb. There was no prince in that castle; there was only darkness...only death. Shadows, too, stretched out from the corners barely touching the floor, and the bells that once tolled the beginnings and ends of the duels were rusted, turned from a shinny copper to a duller, oxidized, bluish green.
The mystery of the arena had long since vanished in the minds of the remaining student council members. Even Touga felt the cold chill of lost dreams that had once been the palace of the duels.
They stared at each other for a long time. They had greeted each other and then a slow fog of unease drifted across them. How to begin? That question plagued them. If the bells were working Touga and Juri had no doubt that they would have chimed. Were the bride still there roses would have been placed on their lapels and the rules would have been clear.
Juri shut her eyes, ever mindful of any noise of movement Touga made. This was to be a real duel then. She felt like a chess piece, but a piece who is unaware of the risks, and the rules. She even doubted the reasons behind the game. Hazel eyes opened again and she watched the slight lingering of doubt in Touga's eyes.
Then the silence was broken by the flutter of one hundred pairs of black wings and from out of the shadows hundreds of ravens emerged. They flew up across the sky of the arena passing through each other like specks of darkness, and then they perched on the castle, black eyes watching and waiting. After a moment or two they squawked loudly, ruffled their feathers and Juri knew things were nearly ready to begin.
"A girl can't be a prince Juri. Why are you even trying?"
"Memory." She whispered. She made another salute, sank into one of her favorite fighting stances and added, "And Touga... I am not a girl. I am a lady. Do take care to remember that."
He huffed out a soft chuckle and then grinned smugly.
The ravens squawked again and took off from their perches in what was a blinding fury of wings. And as they flew the two duelists charged each other.
All through the waking wonder of a dream
There are pieces of you
And it seems you change
I watch you deepen in colors
From bright to dark
From dark to black
All through this waking dream
I catch pieces of you
And you change
You dull and you shine
You shine and you show
I see pieces
Broken shards of the mirror and window pane
I see you in pieces and know I am to blame
It wasn't a duel. Even the hardest fought duel maintained a grace, and became a kind of deadly dance. The fight between the two duelists was nothing like a dance. It was a battle. It was dark with bitter edges. Neither ever thought they would feel that way towards the other, but with each cut, with each slash, and clash of their blades the feeling grew. It was beyond the robotic and hypnotized motions of a predetermined fight. It moved passed everything and into the darkest parts of them. And if, by some strange chance, they were to be suddenly taken aside from the ferocity they would not be able to say why it was they were fighting so hard. They would not be able to say what they were fighting for at all.
The memory was lost.
Lost but lingering...It could be seen in their eyes. They would be forced apart for a moment from the heat of the battle and a slight dawning of uncertainty would cross over them. They would questions themselves in that fraction of an instant. They did not feel right and they knew that they were not acting as themselves.
Once again they were at close quarters amid the expansive platform of the arena, swords locked, and sweat pouring down their faces. First blood had already been drawn... and it wasn't enough to make the duel end. Second blood came shortly after and both were certain to bare the scars for a long while to come. They parted jumping back from each other quickly.
"You shouldn't even try to go on," Touga scoffed.
He watched as Juri quickly tore off her jacket and removed a bit tattered fabric from a previous cut. She wrapped it about her free hand in and effort to stop the bleeding from a cut she had received. She was fast about things always, having had a few cuts hit her, and he was not, which, when she thought it was not wise.
She glared at him. There was still a raw bitter anger towards him in the back of her throat but it died away just enough for her to notice that her last quick slash had caught him. It had caught him and she could not tell from where she was but it was close to deadly. She never let her guard down but she shut her eyes. Would they have to die to end the duel? Would it have to be so bloody a sacrifice?
The voice was in the shadows, but it could not be heard, not properly. If it was noticed at all it sounded as nothing more than a passing breeze.
There was a beat of stillness and then the sound of swords clashing echoed up through the arena once again.
This isn't right.
It is the only way.
The battle raged it and impossible as it seemed it grew darker. Darker still, as the two duelists struggled against each other kicking, punching and hurting each other deeply...with swords and with words. The shadows watched intently. One was growing ever eager and the other was silent with desperate fear.
Touga kicked Juri off of him. She landed a few inches away, her sword knocked out of her hand. He stood up and went about gloating. If she tried to move for her sword he'd probably try and kill her, but she had other options. Risky options, but options nonetheless.
This can't go on.
It is the only way that things can go. The rules are clear...It's the way it is done. The duels go all the way back to the start...And they start with death.
It's too late. They are here and you have chosen.
This is not right. There has to be another way.
There are no other ways.
The whispers in the shadows were growing louder, though the two on the arena floor paid the sound no heed. The lights of the castle began to glow, but only the ravens who were beginning to fly slowly across the arena noticed it.
Juri's eyes were dark and focused. She seemed to have made up her mind about something.
We have to stop them.
There is no interfering. We can not. We must not. This is the way things work out...This is for them.
It will end here.
It will be decided here.
Juri sprang forward and used what force she had to knock Touga sideways. He was thrown off balance and his sword clattered to the ground. Juri picked it up quickly and after the momentary shock he scrambled for what had been her blade.
They turned towards each other and charged.
In the shadows there was one smirking in victory. The other wanted to weep.
"This is not right." The sound of the voice grew stronger and echoed clearly across the arena.
"But I'm afraid it is already done. This is the way it works." The other voice was not as clear but sounded out to mirror the latter.
"No..." There was a soft dawning recollection in that one word. The shadow began to move from its position towards the light coming from the castle. It began to take a shape.
"We can not interfere there is no way for us except to watch the outcome."
"You've tricked me."
"I've shown you the way."
"No... you've shown me your way. This is not right. This is no way to keep a revolution."
"Even revolutions must end. Every prince must see the vision change...go to the end. Die in a way...all revolutions go back to the beginning and there is only one true beginning-"
"There are many...There are many endings as well...They are not all the same. You took me on this path but it is not mine to follow. This is your road." The shadow moved faster closer, the shape becoming clearer.
"There is no way out once it has begun." The other followed but stayed in the dark. It could not change.
"There's always a way...always a light...a shine... it's ever eternal. You tricked me into following you here, but I can not stay." The shadow drew itself up into the lights of the castle its voice clear, feminine and strong.
"You can not leave. There's no going back. Only a revolution can bring you back."
The other shadow, almost complete in her from, considered this and then said, "No...You've never understood anything about it. What you want is not revolution, it's resurrection, but it was you...You let yourself die. You let the part of you that could change and shape the world crumble. It isn't about revolution it's about sacrifice, and it's about memory. It's about giving all and not thinking of the possible return. You've given me much, but I have my own path to follow. I will reach the end by another route."
Juri and Touga's swords were scraping each other as they converged. And in one sharp painful moment they could each feel the beginning of the other's blade pierce through them.
The ravens flew up towards the castle, but just before they reached it a bright light descended quickly engulfing everything in its wake. The black birds squawked anxiously and then as the light captured them they disappeared. A shadow emerged from the light; it opened its eyes (robin blue) as it touched the arena floor. Its eyes narrowed, the shadow, who was in fact a young woman dashed towards the two duelists. She held her own sword, charging in a style all her own. Her blade swiftly intervened with the others' sending the swords up and flying , and remarkably not causing more damange to either of fighters.
The duelists blinked back in shock and look towards the intruder, eyes wide in wonder, but the moment did not last. Juri and Touga fell to the floor eyes shut.
The young woman who had appeared shut her eyes briefly and the sword in her hand vanished. She wore all white, a princely uniform that mimicked one she had worn long before. She sighed and then went to pick up the swords she had disarmed from the two slumbering duelists.
Will you have them remember all this? The voice sounded from a shadow shaped as the silhouette of a young man, but he could not be seen...only the shadow remained.
"Yes. If I take the memory away I'm no better than... We all need our memories. Even the ones we wish we never had." She looked at the swords in her hand and grimaced. "I need to return these first."
And you'll let them remember as well, will you?
"Forgetting would only give them nightmares."
You're strange. You're a strange girl.
She smiled and then shrugged. "This is where we part ways."
And so it is... Will you look for her?
"I won't have to." She walked towards the steps of the arena and watched as the shadows died away. She looked over her shoulder at the duelists and then whispered, "We'll all find each other again one day, and we'll shine... together."
To be continued...