Utena, Revolutionary Girl Fan Fiction ❯ Reaching the End ❯ Reaching the End ( Chapter 1 )
Title: Reaching the End
Light Shoujo-ai content
Revolutionary Girl Utena: Does not belong to me. I just like to make the
characters do what I want them to do/ Please don't sue me...I have no money.
"Honestly", the woman said in a huff. "Such stories." The woman ushered her son over to a park bench and sat him down. "You stay right here while I do a little shopping", she commanded softly. "Don't move."
The boy nodded and then muttered, "A prince really did save me."
The woman huffed again and retorted, "Listen Hon'…It's a lovely thought but there are no such things as princes on white horses who save people."
"But she didn't have a horse", he pleaded.
His mother looked at him a bit sternly and said, "Girls can not be princes. It's just your over active imagination. Fairy tales are not true…and they can not come true. Now…"; her tone became a bit cheery. "Stay here, I'll be back in a sec."
The boy watched with some contempt as his mother slipped into a boutique. He wished she would believe him. "I did see a prince", he muttered again. "She was real and she did save me. How come no one believes me", he pouted. The boy began to swing his legs back and forth on the bench and he slouched low in his seat. His brown eyes stared off into the distance not quite focusing on any one thing. He didn't even notice the woman standing next to him. He merely sighed and repeated his lament, "No one ever believes me."
"I believe you"; a soft, gentle voice broke in suddenly.
The child sat up immediately and looked up. Next to him was a rather pretty lady. Her deep violet hair nearly touched the ground and her eyes sparkled like emeralds. Her smile was polite and the boy felt at perfect ease with the stranger.
"May I sit here for a while with you", she asked.
The lad shook his head and she sat lightly on the empty space next to him. She reminded him of someone he had just met. Or at least he thought she did. The woman had the same kind of overwhelming presence as the prince who had saved him, but she seemed a bit more…he couldn't describe it really.
"Why", he asked sheepishly. "Why do you believe me?"
Her smile grew a bit when he asked her. She looked at him kindly and replied, "Well I'm looking for a prince… not just any prince but a very special one." She paused for a moment and wiped a straying lock of hair from her face. She continued with almost a light chuckle, "Didn't you say a prince saved you?"
The boy's eyes were wide with excitement. "Oh yes", he said nearly shouting. He calmed himself down some and went on at a rapid pace, "She was cool. She had soft pink hair, and she told me not to cry… eyes bright as the sky and…wow… She said I shouldn't cry or worry… that my mom would find me and everything would be fine…she was just so… so…brilliant."
"I see." Her smile was wider and she seemed to be just as brilliant as any prince.
The boy suddenly looked a little lost. "But…"
"But my mom says that things like that just can't be true. It's just my imagination…" He looked up at the lady sitting next to him sadly and sighed, "Isn't it?"
Her deep green eyes shut for a moment and then opened with sudden reassurance. "Do you believe that I am here talking to you?"
The lad nodded.
"Do you believe that this conversation is real?"
"Well… if I'm real and you believe that… what's to keep you from believing that you really did met a prince who saved you. Why should you doubt what you know is in your heart", she asked gently. "If you believe it, then it can be so."
The boy seemed happier after that. There was a long silence and then the woman stood up as if she were going to leave.
"You going", he asked.
She shrugged her shoulders and replied, "I do have to find the prince you know. Which way did she go any way?"
"That way", the boy said and he pointed east. "So are you the princess then?"
That same wondrous smile replied, "What makes you say that?"
"Well…every prince has to have a princess? Right?"
"I suppose so", she replied. She seemed a bit distant at that moment as if she were thinking of something she had lost.
"So? Are you the princess?"
"Yes. Yes I am", she said.
He watched her as she left. She walked at a steady pace never looking back. He was sad to see her go but he felt relieved to know that he wasn't just imagining things. He wondered though…If she would ever find her prince. They would be great together he really believed that. Separate they were unimaginably charming and full of light. Together he was sure they would out shine the stars. His mother stepped out of the store and took his hand. As they walked the little boy decided he wouldn't tell his mother about the princess. He knew it was real and that was enough for him.
Once upon a time there was a sad and lonely girl whose parents had just died, so sad was she that living seemed useless. In her darkest hour a traveling prince met her. He wiped her tears away, told her to remain strong all her life and then he showed her something magical that was worth living for. The prince then rode off to continue his travels. The young girl was so impressed by her savior that she vowed to become a prince herself one day. As the young girl grew up she kept her noble heart and her strength. She was very princely in her demeanor, but she was not quite a true prince yet.
One day the girl chanced to meet a beautiful princess, whom was trapped by her fate and possessed the power to revolutionize the world. The princess was known as the Rose Bride. Many gallant knights fought for possession of the Rose Bride, but the princely girl could not bear to see the Rose Bride fought over and treated as nothing more than a treasure to be used and disposed of. So the girl took up a sword and joined the duels to win the Rose Bride. She fought many times against the gallant knights and eventually she defeated them all. The girl was ready to free the beautiful princess from her fate when a final challenger appeared before her. The princely girl was amazed to discover that her opponent was the very same prince who had saved her in her youth. The prince was changed though. He had reached the end of the world and had become an evil king.
The girl had always loved and admired the prince that had saved her, but she saw the change in him and could not let him win. The girl fought to the point of dying, and eventually through her courage and noble heart she beat the evil king. She took within her self the power to revolutionize the world and freed the Rose Bride from her fate. At that moment the girl became a true prince and hero. The girl prince set off to travel the world, free people of their chains and restore their hopes and dreams. She said her good-byes and left the Rose Bride to reexamine her destiny.
So impressed was the Rose Bride by the girl prince, she decided to go off in search of her. For she knew that together they could shine and bring to the world a light it had never seen before.
Sh e was getting closer. Everyday, every hour she could feel she was getting closer to her prince. Lonely green eyes wandered to the view of the setting sun and she sighed. She was doing that more and more often, and it didn't really bother her but… Sometimes it felt strange being able to relay her true feelings; for her to admit she was sad or happy even though someone near her might want or expect the opposite. She supposed that was freedom though. She was combing out her long violet hair when she heard a small rap on her door. Gently she put the brush aside and closed the curtains of her hotel room. Light delicate steps took her to the door and an even lighter touch pulled it open just a bit. She looked out and then seeing nothing she looked down. A small smile swept across her face and she opened the door a little wider.
"I was wondering where you had gone to", she said as a small mouse-like creature entered the room.
It carried a small little bundle and looked up with what appeared to be a grin. "Chu", it said and walked over to a nightstand. It crawled up bulky piece of furniture and then pulled a cracker out of its bundle and began to munch on it desperately.
"You have excellent timing Chu-Chu", she said as she shut the door. "I was planning to leave in the morning."
Chu-Chu looked up from his second cracker and uttered a quizzical, "Chu?"
She chuckled and sat on the bed. She pulled her luxurious mane over her left shoulder and said, " She's moving east. I think we can catch up to her if we hurry."
The mouse creature, or perhaps it was a monkey, shrugged its shoulders and continued to eat. She sighed once more in relief and began to get ready for bed. She tried watching some late night television but nothing of interest sparked her attention. As she flicked off the light she made sure that her small companion was comfortable.
"It'll be ten years in exactly seven days", she muttered. "I hope I find you soon…I have a promise to keep."
The Rose Bride searched for her prince all over the world and she had many adventures. She met many people who had been saved by the girl prince and everyday she felt she was getting just a little closer. But all was not as the Rose Bride thought. Dark forces were working against her in ways she could not imagine…
The dream had remained the same for nearly ten years. The castle crumbled, the arena shook, everything fell apart and she slipped from her prince's hand like water. The lasting image of her beloved's face vanishing in the darkness usually woke her, but not tonight. Tonight she fell for ages until she hit familiar ground. The dreamscape stretched before her a haunted memory. Dark longing clouds sparked with energy and a cool wind blew around her. She stood on the cracked broken dueling floor not sure what to do. Her dress was tattered and torn in places and she felt the slight sting of a scratch on her arm. Slowly she began to move about the floor searching for a way out, but the staircase had crumble and the gondola was missing. So she waited for the dream to reveal something more. There was a sudden small and slow scratching sound approaching her, like someone with a limp. She turned and there inching towards her was an old crone. She was twisted and hunched over. She used a small wooden cane to move about as her right foot dragged behind her. As she moved closer the crone smiled up at Anthy, a toothless grin the likes of which she had never seen.
"I know you", the old crone cackled. "You were a witch like I am." The woman inched closer. "Aren't you… The Rose Bride", she asked and then began to laugh.
Horrified Anthy stepped back a pace. "No", she said desperately. "No I was never a witch."
"To deny your past", the old woman said rather seriously. "Is to deny your future."
Lost and lonely eyes looked away she sighed and then confessed, "So what if I was a witch? I'm not a witch any longer… I've been freed of that."
Lightening began to strike the dueling floor. The old crone raised an eyebrow and looked around uneasy. The wind began to howl and the dark clouds seemed to be getting closer and darker.
"That freedom won't last forever", the crone warned. "She's almost to the end."
Anthy suddenly felt deep dread shoot through her spine. Her emerald eyes widened as she queried, "The end of what?"
"Daft girl aren't you? Not so smart as you thought you were", the crone mocked. "What end? What end? Hee hee…hahahahahahaha", the laugh was sickening. "Why…the end of the world dearest bride. The end of the world."
"No buts dearie", the witch interrupted. "All princes must reach the end and when they do-"
"No!", Anthy shouted. "No! Even if she reaches the end she won't-"
"Oh won't she", a deep and familiar voice broke in.
She couldn't move. She was paralyzed. Her breath got short and her heart began to pound. She didn't have the courage to turn around and face him. She wanted to run but she couldn't. She clenched her fists and drawing up all her strength she slowly turned around. He was there, waiting casually behind her. White princely uniform neatly pressed, with golden buttons glittering. A smug expression upon his perfect face, and any kindness he ever had in his smile was gone. She waited patiently for him to continue speaking, knowing that if she spoke first she would collapse in fear.
"Anthy", the way he spoke her name sent shivers down her spine. He stepped closer to her and was nearly shocked by her reaction to step away. "Come Anthy…do you really think I mean to harm you?"
"I don't care what you mean to do. I don't have to follow your orders any longer", she said as boldly as she could.
He shrugged and stepped back from his little sister with a curt smile. "She will reach the end. You can't possibly catch up to her before she does", he said softly. The dark clouds began to move ever closer.
"Even so she won't be like you", she replied.
"All princes must become what I am. All princes must learn the terrifying reality of the world", he said softly. "She will see that there is nothing in people's hearts but hatred and greed…she will see they aren't worth saving and that they deserve their chains… and then she will be like me. Dios will be buried and you", he looked over at his sister slyly. "You can return to your true duties."
Anthy shook her head. "No. No she is nothing like you. In the end she was everything you couldn't be and she will remain so. Even at the end she'll remain a true prince."
He sneered. "I hate that you might be right", he uttered through his teeth. "But it doesn't matter… she'll turn one way or another", he muttered. He looked over at his sister harshly and looked up at the sky. "The time is drawing near and the trap is set. She may not ever be like me but I will be waiting for her when she reaches the end…And there… Well, everything will change once again."
Anthy looked up at the darkened sky. Far off in the distance there was one small glimmering star shinning brightly. She suddenly felt at ease, an ocean of calm washed over her. She looked over at her brother and said, "Akio…get out of my dream."
The command was soft and strong, and his image immediately disappeared from the dreamscape. She looked around her, only the old crone remained. Full of new found confidence she asked the old woman, "What do you want?"
"Feh…such brashness", the crone replied. "I've no wish to remain this way. In fact it'd be better for you to make me vanish. If only you could though", she seemed a little sad.
"Who…Who are you", Anthy asked.
"I am what you have been freed of. I am what you're destined to become if he gets his way again", the witch replied and pointed a gnarled finger where Akio once stood. "Find your prince dearie… find her before she reaches the end", she said and slowly began to disappear. "Find her before we are all trapped by our chains once more."
The old crone then vanished completely. Anthy stood alone in her dream on the dueling floor. She looked up at the dark sky and saw a few more scattered stars all various colors, all shining as brightly as they could. Her jaw dropped and then she found herself once more in the waking world. She was breathing heavy and sweat was pouring down her face. The small, mouse like creature on the nightstand snored happily. She leapt out of bed and looked out of her window. A dark sky greeted her.
"Oh gods", she whispered. "Oh gods we haven't much time."
The evil king had risen from the ashes of his defeat and plotted his revenge. He knew that there was one place all princes must go. A place that forever changed a prince's spirit and made them kings. He was sure the girl prince would reach that place but he could not guarantee that it would change her and break her noble spirit. She was, after all, unlike any other prince in the world. So the evil king devised a plan to trap the prince and he also called for his knights to keep the Rose Bride from finding her prince. The trap was set and the evil king was pleased.
It was a disturbingly quiet ride as the elevator slowly climbed to its destination. The five passengers stood or leaned patiently on the lift, possibly not knowing what to say or how to say it. Ten years had passed since the knightly quintet stood together. The handsome red head took stock of the situation he was in. He could see the change in almost every single person around him. Even his sister, who was wearing, rather uncharacteristically, a yellow duelist outfit, had changed a bit. He supposed that change was inevitable for everyone, but one person seemed quite the same… and it worried him. His eyes focused on the others in the elevator. His closest friend since childhood stood next to him with an expression that, he assumed, matched his own. They were very nearly alike sometimes, although Touga still considered himself more chivalrous than his friend. He then shifted his attention to the young man standing next to his sister. Ocean blue eyes, and light blue hair all appropriately matching the musical genius' navy blue uniform. The soft-spoken musician looked a little sad, and perhaps it was the correct emotion to be feeling. After all no one really expected or wanted to receive a mysterious letter again…let alone two. The ex-student council president found his attention once more on the seemly-unchanged woman leaning up against the right side of the elevator. Her arms folded neatly across her chest, blue-green eyes half shut in thought, and her light auburn hair that was close to sweeping the ground… neatly combed, two signature curls framing a stoic face. There were times in the past when he could read her, but not anymore. She just seemed so unmoved. She was still the unapproachable panther lying in wait, the fallen angel ready to doubt and it worried him. In the past his sincere worry would have bothered him, but he no longer had any use for plots. Evil kings, not knightly souls who longed to be princely, devised plots. The elevator wound to a sudden halt and as the door open everyone stood in awe of the room that awaited him.
It was the size of a ballroom, or perhaps two ballrooms combined into one. The room was in a round and full of light that was seeping in through the many giant windows. A round table was at the center of the room, with the all too familiar rose seal neatly etched on the tabletop. The five took the seats that seemed to be assigned them, the chair with the red rose for Touga, the yellow rose for Nanami, the blue rose for Miki, the green rose for Saonji, and the orange rose for Juri. There was a labored silence in the room and finally with a sigh of irritation Touga reached into his black jacket and pulled out two letters, one in a black envelope and one in a lavender envelope. The other's followed suit. Taking back his role as the leader, the chivalrous red head cleared his throat and spoke.
"Ten years have passed since Utena Tenjou brought revolution to the world", his voice was deep and strong. It skipped off the walls making an eerie echo. "We have all received letters. We have read the contents of each and… We have all decided to meet once more. Can we all agree then", he asked politely. "That this letter is nothing more than a base threat", he motioned to the black envelope.
Saonji brushed back a flyaway strand of long evergreen hair and without much emotion said, "It 's a very desperate threat…but I have no doubt it is meant."
"I agree with Saonji", the young man in the navy blue uniform replied. "Why do you think End of the World is so desperately trying to keep us out of this?"
Deep blue eyes focused with worry on the woman with blue-green eyes, but replied, "I am not sure Miki. Perhaps End of the World does not believe he can succeed if we are in the way."
"Hmph." It was Nanami. "Well I don't see why we should even bother to worry about him. After all… his promises to us never came true before."
Touga smiled. His sister always had a way of making a point. "This, again is true"; he began. "Am I correct in assuming that his threat was the same to all of us?"
Everyone nodded, but Juri, and Touga was the only one who seemed to notice it.
"Do not aid the one who was the Rose Bride", he read directly from the letter in the black envelope. "If you do… be prepared to become my enemy." He looked around. No one seemed moved by the threat. "It is not this letter however…that brought us together. It is this letter"; he motioned to the lavender envelope. "It asks us to meet here in this strange hall… it states only one thing clearly", he tried to keep his attention on the others around him…but he kept zoning in on Juri. He picked up the letter and began to read it; "There is danger on its way. The chains of the past threaten to reclaim us all and end the revolution that had freed our souls."
No one had anything to say, so he waited. Just when he thought it was safe to speak again a strong voice cut in.
"Can we trust this letter", she asked. "Can we trust that this letter", she held up the lavender envelope. "Speaks truly and is not just some twisted test by End of the World?" She stood up long auburn locks moving stealthily with her. "I refuse to fall prey to anything like this ever again." She threw the envelope on the table and began to exit the room.
"Of course", a soft voice said. "You are right." No one had noticed the elevator doors open, or heard her enter the room. But she stood before them deep violet hair tumbling towards the ground, lonely green eyes looking on kindly. "Why should you believe anything a letter like that has to say? After all it's letters like that that got you wrapped up in the duels to win possession of me."
Juri stepped back a pace and whispered, "It's you?"
"Are you going to say that every time you see one of us", the princess in front of her asked.
Hopeful eyes closed for a moment and then opened suddenly, as if reality hit her too hard. She looked over at the woman before her and asked almost sternly, "What will you do if you find her?"
"I'll hold her close"; Anthy began softly. "Never let her slip from my hands again. And together…we'll shine."
A wave of relief seemed to wash over Juri. She smiled and returned to her seat. Everyone else seemed slightly confused by the exchange but no one knew just what to say about it. In all they were surprised to see Anthy. They watched as she stood by Touga's chair.
"She's been traveling quickly"; Anthy began softly. Great shades slowly began to cover the giant windows in the room and all the light was gone. As if by magic images began to appear on the shades, like a movie projector was suddenly turned on. "Soon she'll reach the end and we will all be in great danger." The images became clearer as they played. A young woman with a princely manner fought battles, saved people from harm, she healed and restored all she could. It was inspiring to see and some moments were difficult to watch because they all knew the girl and missed her bright smile.
"What do you mean", Nanami asked. "What do you mean by the end?" Nearly innocent eyes begged for answer.
"I mean the end of the world", Anthy replied.
The young man with the sky blue hair stood up and asked, "Yes…but what does it mean to reach the end of the world?" He looked to the elder members of the group and seeing that they had no answer he turned to the princess before him.
Her kind soft green eyes greeted his inquiry and her voiced seemed unusually wise, " Reaching the world's end means something different for everyone Miki. In general reaching the end is a part of becoming an adult…making a transition from prince to king. Some reach the end and are unchanged by what they find…They take what they have learned and become good and kind rulers. Others reach the end and jaded by their past battles become cruel and uncaring kings. And still there are some who take a bit of both sides into them." She paused and let the knowledge sink in for a bit, then she continued in her same soft tone, "I have no doubt that Miss Utena will reach the end and become something much brighter than a good and kind ruler…but…"
"But", Juri asked. She eyed Touga…he was still watching her a little too closely.
"But End of the World does not want her to reach the end", Anthy confessed. "He's afraid of what it would mean to his power. He fears that she'll become the one thing he could not. He fears the true power and light of Dios. I have to catch her before she reaches the end."
Saonji huffed a bit and then stated rather flatly, "But you said we would all be in danger. Why would we be in danger?"
She looked away for a moment and then the images being projected suddenly changed. They became dark and foreboding. "He is waiting for her as I speak. Waiting for her to reach him and once she gets there… He means to turn her soul…break her spirit. He will try to trap her and if he succeeds…Utena's revolution will vanish and we, all of us, will be thrown back into the chains she had freed us from. Dios' power will be sealed once more and I…I will be forced back into my role as the Rose Bride."
No one could speak. They just sat in their places pondering the worst. Their cruel past flashed before them and they wondered if it could really happen. The red head stood up with sudden vigor.
"How can we help you", Touga asked. "What can we do to help you catch up to Utena?"
Anthy wasn't surprised by the sudden out pour of courage in the group. Everyone demanded to know how he or she could be of assistance. The shades of the room lifted slowly and let the light in. The five shielded their eyes for a moment and then when they could focus again lying on the table in front of them were five rings. They all looked to the princess who was now appropriately attired in a white form-fitting gown. She smiled.
"In truth… you can not help me", she confessed. "I'm the only one who can find her…but I need one thing from you and one thing only. These rings are all very special"; she picked up one of the rings that lie in front of her. "They contain within them the power to revolutionize the world and release people from their chains."
"I thought all of Dios' power was in Utena now", Miki asked.
"It is", Anthy replied. "These rings contain my power. I was after all the Rose Bride. The power slumbered within me as well. I just wasn't able to reach it until recently."
Juri looked over with a sad eye; "You have a favor to ask us then?"
"Yes", the princess answered. "I am going in search of Utena. It is my hope to meet her at the end of the world so that we might face my brother together. It is my hope…"; she trailed off for a moment, lost perhaps in the possibility of failure. "Each ring has a bit of power and they will always protect you from darkness and help you on your life's journey. Should I fail…Should I perish and not reach the prince in time...the rings will attain all of my power along with Utena's."
"But…if all your power is then locked into the…" Nanami couldn't even finish the sentence.
"Then I will die, but you and everyone else will be free from the possibility of your old chains. It's a sacrifice that must be made. Dios' power was always meant for good… It was meant to bring the light. If you have these rings…If I fail then each of you can continue to bring the light and strength of her power to the world. As long as one ring remains the dark can never reign supreme", she was ready to cry. She was asking so much and she wasn't sure if they would accept. "The choice is yours. I will understand if you wish to simply go on with your normal lives…and be free of all of this."
There was an empty silence in the room but it was broken as the beautifully stoic ex- fencing captain took a ring and said, "So that light may remain in the world…I take this ring." She placed it on her finger and smiled as the rest followed suit.
The rings were silver and had the familiar design of the rose seal on each of them, however each ring was inlaid with gem. Touga slipped his garnet ring upon his finger and was finally at ease. His worry over Juri vanished, although he was still curious why she had seemed so unchanged… Why she seemed so overly serious?
"We have accepted your request", Touga stated. "What shall we do now? Is there no way we can help you fight End of the World?"
The woman with the deep green eyes shook her head. "No. That fight is my own. What you do now is what you have been doing since you were released from your chains. You help others to see the light that is within them."
Really, she wasn't sure if she should cry or smile with overwhelming pride and happiness. Utena's revolution was proven by the way the ex-student council was living their adult lives. It was proven by the way once trapped souls could come together for the good of the world. One day she was sure they would all make proper prince's…proper heroes all in their own right. They left once by one, till finally only Touga and Juri remained. The noble Juri was about to leave when Touga stopped her.
"I was wondering", he said. "When I asked if all the letters from End of the World said the same thing… you didn't agree."
Blue-green eyes looked over almost sadly. "Because my letter didn't say the same thing", Juri confessed. "Mine didn't threaten me."
The bold red head raised an eyebrow. "Then he threatened some one close to you."
She nodded. "I really have changed to some degree Touga, but...as I'm sure you realized I haven't changed much. There's a reason for that."
"You're a step away from reaching Utena's kind of light", Touga stated.
He smiled and walked towards the elevator. "I'm a step behind you. "
The door to the elevator opened and he stepped inside. Juri waited for the elevator to come back up again. She noticed Anthy was still milling about.
"You have a question Miss Juri?"
"I", she wasn't sure how to ask it. "How do you know that all this is going to happen? How is it that you've retained your power?"
The one who was the Rose Bride stepped close to Juri and replied softly, "Because I'm a witch. I may have been freed but there is no denying what I was… what I am…what I've become. I'm the princess and I'm the witch, but unlike the evil king…it's possible for me to be both at the same time. It's possible for me to be what ever I choose to be." The elevator doors slid open silently. "Don't miss it…that thing takes forever to get back up here", Anthy said with a smile.
Juri left quietly. She tried not to worry and she tried to believe that everything would work out for the best. She looked at her amber ring and could feel its power. The Knights of the Rose had been successfully formed and there was nothing left to do but wait…and see if the beautiful princess would be able to defeat the End of the World.
The knights raced out to do their evil king's command but upon meeting the Rose Bride once more they found they could not carry out their task. So they each took an oath to protect and serve the Rose Bride and her prince. They set out on their own journeys in an attempt to distract the evil king's attention from the bride and her quest to find her prince.
The king was not pleased by this small rebellion and sent a great number of dragons and demons for the knights to fight. He was sure they would never survive, but he was full of arrogant pride. For as a gift the Rose Bride had given the knights protection against the king's evil. The knight's would fight and they would always win.
The girl prince, who was unaware of the evil king and his plots traveled on to the ends of the world. One day she reached a place in the road that did not point east or west, north or south. It was a place where time stood still and everything changed. Before her a great castle appeared and so the girl prince entered it. It was the castle of the evil king, the castle at the world's end. It was full mazes and strange illusions. The girl prince suddenly became lost within the castle. She yearned for a way out, but found none. A door appeared before her. As she entered it she discovered a small room with a soft bed. She was so tired and weary she decided to rest for a bit. So she lay down on the bed and fell into a deep slumber. The evil king was over joyed because he was sure he had won. Even if the Rose Bride did reach the castle she would never be able to find the prince or wake her from her long sleep….
Vast empty spaces lie sprawled out before her. Only darkness lived in the place leading to the end of the world. Just a hallow void that became a prince's final task to conquer. She walked quickly down the lonely road, longing for the small fleck of light that was her final destination. This was the place that did the most damage to a noble soul. In this place, ghostly images of the world's hatred constantly threatened to invade the mind. She knew that if a soul had become too jaded by the hate of the world, that soul was destined to become an evil king. She tried not to linger on it. The light was getting brighter and her pace became increasingly rapid. Her mind was not haunted by visions of hate. She was no prince… but her prince was there, somewhere, at the end of the world. She had only been to this place once before and in that distant past she had forced a cruel fate upon herself. She wondered if she could so readily thrust such a fate upon herself again. Could she risk every ounce of her soul to save her true prince? She didn't want to know the answer just yet. The darkness slowly vanished and she stood before the great floating castle. She looked behind her. The once endless black void was filled with millions of stars. She turned once more to the castle. Light resonated throughout the mighty towers and beckoned sweetly to any that so dared venture to the end. She hated this place, the beautiful castle that promised so much but contained only further torment and trials. She took a deep breath and closed her green eyes. Releasing the breath her eyes opened with a bit of courage. Delicate hands mimicked a pose she had once used to summon the Sword of Dios from within her. She was pleased to discover she had so much power left in her. Making the rings for the Knights of the Rose had taken a lot of energy from her. She focused her attention as she spread her arms and the magical energy she created swarmed around her.
"Gates of the Rose", she whispered like a prayer. "Castle of the World's End… open your doors to me. Heed the command of she who was once was once your mistress. Bid me welcome and ascend me to your grand halls."
Her word was done and the great doors of the castle opened as she ascended into them. Safe within the main entrance hall the doors shut with a loud thunderous crash. The inside of the castle was a twisting and never-ending labyrinth. It was a puzzle to be solved and it was never the same maze twice. She looked around at her options, hundreds of doors and strange staircases stretched before her view. Only one path would lead to her prince, all others led only to an eternity of hopeless searching. She placed a noble hand in front of her, using the power within her to find the correct path. A strange image of Utena flashed into her mind and she knew which path to take. She stepped towards a crumbling staircase with her fists clenched tightly.
"Welcome home…Anthy", a deep voice said. "You have no hope in ever finding your prince again. She's already lost deep within the castle walls. You've failed…you weren't able to keep her from reaching the end."
She looked around and saw nothing, but she knew who it was. She ignored the statement and continued on her way up the decaying steps.
"Enjoy the maze sister", the voice chimed in again. "You will never find your way out of it."
She stopped a few steps up and replied without much emotion, "You may not be able to see the full extent of my abilities brother, but I can. According to the rules of the rose seal I have exactly tens years to find her. Ten years to make the revolution last forever, and that ten years isn't up for another four hours." She continued her trek up the stairs and upon reaching the top found three possible choices. She took the path that appeared the most frightening. As she wandered down the abstract hallway she heard her brother's voice again.
"I wish you'd stop this foolishness. I already have her in my grasp. Four hours or no, she will still be mine to turn as I wish, and your fate is sealed. Remember Anthy…this is my castle…my domain. You trapped me here and now I know all of the castle's secrets."
She pressed on. She ignored her brother's threats and continued choosing doors and paths that she was certain led to Utena.
Lost within a deep sleep the girl prince dreamed. Her dream was filled with the evil deeds of mankind. The hate of her vision threatened to over take her spirit but small brief images of five bright stars fighting for the beauty of the world always disrupted the foul visions. And then there was the thought of a beautiful princess struggling to find her. It was these good dreams that kept the girl prince hopeful. She knew that she would be freed of the nightmares and wake once more.
The door creaked open slowly. She stepped in and was surprised to find her self standing on the floor of the dueling arena. She looked up and saw the castle floating above her, mocking her progress. Then from behind her she heard a familiar limp, scratching towards her. She turned around once again face to face with the old crone from her dream.
"He is the king you know", the woman remarked. "He can do what he likes... even cheat a little." The old woman searched Anthy's eyes for a minute and then huffed in irritation. "If you become jaded by this journey you'll fail. You're much too angry with him to succeed."
Anthy closed her eyes and sighed. The witch was right. "Maybe princesses aren't meant to make such journey's", she whispered. "Maybe he's right."
"Maybe", the crone agreed. "Why journey on? After all a princess can only be a princess for so long. She has to grow up sooner or later and take her place as-"
The crone nodded and then said, "Yes…or the evil queen. But your brother doesn't want you to be the queen. He wants her."
In the distance Anthy could see the image of her prince caught in a deep sleep. It broke her heart.
"So why go on", the witch continued. "Why even try?"
Her doubt began to grow. Emerald eyes closed briefly and then looked to the sky of the arena. Five bright stars flickered brightly, burning the darkness of the sky away. If she failed they could go on, and fight. They could do what she could not. Couldn't they?
The crone began to cackle mercilessly. "My, my…how the mighty fall. How can they hope to win if your power is fading so quickly? And you just regained it too", the crone seemed delighted in the princess's failure. "You'll never win now. If you take my hand…you can take your rightful place as the witch of the castle. You can renew your destiny as the Rose Bride once more."
Her heart began to beat faster and her breath got short. She stepped back and shook her head. She couldn't, she wouldn't become a slave to the castle ever again. But she just couldn't get her courage back and she didn't understand where it had gone. She looked around the arena for an image to guide her, for a vision to reassure her. But there was nothing, only the old crone waiting for the princess to accept her old fate. She started to stretch out her hand. The crone smiled gleefully.
She looked around. There was nothing around her.
That voice was so bright. She turned away from the witch and began to walk to the stairs.
"Anthy I'm still here!"
"Utena", the princess whispered. She ran towards the stairs, her mind wrapped in the memory of her salvation. She still had time. She could still make it. She could find her prince. She could fight the darkness. She reached the steps but before she could run down them the crone appeared before her.
"Wait", the witch shouted. "You can't win. Remember you have to become either a witch or an evil queen. There are no other choices for you."
Anthy looked into the crone's lost and lonely green eyes and shook her head. She smiled and whispered, "But I already am the witch…you reminded me of that earlier. I can not be a princess forever…I can not be a witch forever. I can be both at once. I can be what you seem to have forgotten…I can become the magical guide that helps heroes on their way. I can become the fairy godmother."
She moved the crone to one side and began to run down the stairs. She hoped she hadn't wasted too much time. She ran faster, but suddenly the staircase began to fall away. It crumbled under her feet and she began to fall.
"And now you have everything you need to face him. Now you know of the true power within you…Now you can free the prince", the crone's voice echoed through out the crumbling arena.
A rush of light enfolded Anthy and she soon found herself inside a small dimly lit room. She had to catch her breath for a moment. She had nearly forgotten about all the tests the castle presented. The way things shifted without warning, guiding and causing everything to distort. She listened to the sounds of the room and found she was not alone. She could hear the sound of someone breathing. She looked around and caught sight of someone hunched over in the corner. She cautiously moved forward. His coat was tattered and he looked as if he had been lost in the castle for decades. He held himself and then slowly turned around. There was something about his eyes that made Anthy sure she knew him. His eyes widened when her saw her. He stepped forward, his salmon colored hair catching pieces of the dim light.
"Ma-Mamiya", he whispered. "Mamiya is it you?"
She stepped back. Why did he think…Her eyes caught her reflection on a small sliver mirror, as the image shifted between her own and that of a young boy.
"I see", she whispered.
"Have you been trapped by him too", he asked trying to hide his obvious worry. "Did he make you a deal and steal your memory?"
She stepped closer to him and took his hand. He was wearing the ring of a duelist. She pondered her options. If she set him free from the memory he was clinging to she could destroy him. She looked deeper into his eyes and wondered what it was her brother meant to do with him. She slid the ring gently off his finger and the nonexistent past rushed over her. The things she could not remember because technically they never happened swarmed about her soul. She dropped the ring and he looked at her curiously.
"I see", she whispered. She closed her eyes for a brief moment and upon opening them her image completely changed to that of the boy the young man in front of her thought he saw. "Give me your hand, my dear lost Nemuro."
He did as he was directed. She stepped closer to him and wrapped her arms around his waist.
"Let me take you to a better place", she whispered. And by the look in his eyes she knew what he was envisioning. She placed a light kiss on his cheek and a warm light rushed over him. After the light faded he was gone and Anthy stood once more in her true form. She sighed. Her brother had gone too far, torturing a lost soul for so long.
She walked out of the room slowly and wondered if she had any time left at all. From the dimly lit room she entered a grand bedchamber. The room was elegant in every respect, silk curtains tumbled to the ground, and grand tapestries hung on the walls and in the center of the room there was a large bed. She smiled and almost wept as she saw the one person she had been longing for. Ten years had nearly flown by. The prince slept quietly on the large bed of white and red rose petals. Anthy stepped closer, but was stopped all too abruptly by her brother's sudden presence.
"That was quite impressive, that little trick you did for Nemuro", he said lightly. "What exactly did you hope to achieve by saving a ghost?"
"I sent him to the world he wanted. An eternity of happiness with the ones he loved", Anthy replied.
He huffed and smiled slyly. "So it comes to this, little sister?"
She held her ground firmly. Her heart felt as if it were going to burst from her chest. She stepped closer in an attempt to run to Utena.
"No." He blocked her. "I don't think so. But I am very impressed with your mastery over the castle. This prison seems to want you to win. You won't though. You still have to face me."
She looked over at her prince sleeping soundly, but she could feel the weight of the dream Utena was trapped in. "What do you plan to do with her?"
"When she wakes she will be mine totally and completely. She will be my queen and we will rule with the power of Dios together."
"But first you'll have to wait", Anthy replied. "You'll have to duel the Knights of the Rose before you can get your hands on that power."
"Yes." He sneered. "I suppose I will, clever of you to think of that. It is no matter and it shouldn't take too much time… Speaking of which you've only five minutes to free your prince." He began to laugh. "You can't beat me in a duel Anthy… Princesses do not fight with swords."
She looked over at him with a polite smile. "Who ever said I was a princess?" She placed a hand over her heart a soft light began to appear. "Rose of the noble castle… Power of Dios at work within me…"
Akio stepped back a bit. "No it's impossible!"
"Grant me the power…."
"No…Anthy you mustn't!" His plea was unheard.
She pulled the Sword of Dios out of her chest and held it in her hand defiantly. "To bring the world the light of Dios."
"You have no power that can beat me", she whispered. "No chains that can bind me. I am the other half of the power of the light. I will always shine."
She dropped the sword and it vanished, like it was made of nothing but sand. She watched her brother fall to the ground and clutch his chest. Then he too vanished, consumed by the light Anthy had released. All was quiet. The light faded and she nearly collapsed to the ground. She caught her self though and rushed over to the bed. Lovely green eyes looked on at the face of her sleeping prince and she smiled. She sat lightly on the bed and leaning over her prince…She placed a soft deep kiss on her lips. She sat back and waited. Bright blue eyes opened slowly and a brilliant smile greeted Anthy warmly. The prince sat up.
"You found me", the prince said.
Anthy held back her tears and nodded. She took the prince's hand and smiled as she slipped a rose quartz ring onto the young woman's hand. The prince admired the ring for a bit, not quite sure of the meaning...And not quite caring about it either
"I had strange dreams", Utena commented. She looked into the bright green eyes next to her and smiled warmly. "So tell me…"
She looked around at the bed and the bedchamber, which she found a bit garish. "What happens next?"
A small tear made it's way down Anthy's cheek. "I guess", she paused for a bit. " After we leave this castle and have a nice chat over tea...and laugh for a bit...I guess...We shine."
"I was hoping you'd say that."
The princely girl with the light pink hair stood up and together with Anthy the two began the journey out of the castle. Just as they left the castle gates Utena looked over at Anthy with a curious eye.
"So tell me one more thing."
"What happened to Chu-Chu?"
"Oh I left him in the care of one of the Knights of the Rose", was the polite reply.
"You…I'm sorry did you say knights?"
"Oh don't worry I'm sure Saonji doesn't mind too much", was the soft reply. The girl with the violet hair almost chuckled and she walked ahead of the prince just a bit.
Blue eyes looked on ever more curious and quickly made strides to catch up with the princess. "Wait. Anthy…Knights???"
"You are a prince after all", Anthy replied. "And if you're the prince and I'm the princess... well..."
The prince sighed a bit perhaps it was relief. She looked over at her companion and said, "Anthy…"
"Forget all that prince stuff for now…ok."
The bell rang just as she shut the book. She looked up at the wide-eyed faces in front of her and smiled, then she looked at the clock. It was three. She looked over at the young faces before her and raised an eyebrow curiously. Before she could ask a young boy from the back of the classroom stood up.
"That's it", he asked. "That's all there is?"
"I mean how can a story end like that", he asked again.
A girl then piped up. "But what happens to the knights?"
"Yeah! And what about the Chu-Chu?" More questions flew back and forth from various young minds. The teacher smiled and then cleared her throat to catch her student's attention.
"There has to be more somewhere", a small voice piped in.
"Ahem", she coughed. Every pair of eyes was suddenly focused with attention. "First the bell has rung…and you are keeping your parents waiting. Second…the knights have their own tales and I'm sure I'll get around to reading those to you some other day…third-"
"But what happens to the prince and princess? Do they save more people? Do they shine", a young girl with ebony locks interrupted.
"The end of the book does say happily ever after", the teacher replied and showed the classroom the last page of the book. "Isn't that good enough?"
There was a small knock on the door and it opened slowly. A woman with soft pink hair entered the classroom smiling brightly.
"Oops…Sorry to interrupt", she said. She looked over at the teacher. "I thought you said you'd be done by now?"
The teacher shrugged and smiled back politely. "Well I'm afraid we have a debate going…and they don't seem to be satisfied with any of my answers."
The children's jaws were nearly on the floor.
The woman with the bright smile sighed. "Hmmm…So what's the debate?"
"Happily ever after", the teacher replied. She leaned up against her desk and brushed a deep violet strand of hair from her face. The amethyst ring on her left hand caught a bit of the light. "They don't seem to be satisfied with that ending." She smiled as she looked over at her class.
"Well", the woman began. "I guess it is kind of a misleading ending… I mean…Wait what story was it?"
"The sleeping prince and the princess who saves her."
A wide smile swept across the woman's face. "Oh! That story… Well…I dunno…" She looked over at the class who was still beyond speechless. "I think happily ever after says a lot for that story. Don't you agree?"
Thirty young heads all nodded in unison. There was very little discussion after that. The children gathered their things and raced outside to greet their parents. The teacher and the woman watched the spectacle and nearly died laughing.
"Those children's parents aren't gonna be very happy with you", the woman said with a laugh.
"No but I thought since it's the end of the year…it couldn't hurt", the teacher replied.
"I suppose so. Well C'mon…everyone is waiting and we don't want to be late", the woman said softly. "Happily ever after? It's an appropriate ending right?"
"Yes my prince it certainly is", the teacher replied. And the two left the school hand in hand to meet with their friends.
And they lived…