June XX, 199X.

Your Highness,

What time am I writing this at? 1 o'clock. That's how long it's taken
to stop shaking enough for me to be even able to write this, never mind
getting to bed. That and I have classes in the morning. I know I'll be
like the walking dead in class tomorrow if I don't get to sleep like RIGHT
NOW, but the fact is if I don't write this to you it'll replay in my head
all night and I won't sleep at all, and I'll be even worse in the morning.

Shoot, where do I begin?

Anthy. She's in bed right now, sleeping like a baby like nothing
happened at all. I envy her.

Yeah, I know. It usually begins with Anthy. You must be getting really
bored with me writing as much about what she does as about what I do, your
Highness. I'd probably wish you'd talk about something else too. I guess I
must sound like a girl in love, or something, like Wakaba gushing about
her "darling Utena." (Don't laugh--it gets old after a while, at least if
you're me. I almost wish she _would_ get hitched with Saionji, just so
she'd cut that out stuff out. But you're not me. You're a prince, so I
guess being adored by girls is something you just had to learn to live
with, right?)

Did I say a girl in love? Did I really?

No, wait. I'm getting ahead of myself. Where was I?

Right, Anthy. Never a dull moment with her around. You must have
thought you'd heard it all--how she'll be happy as a clam watching Micky's
metronome go back and forth for hours on end, or the Home Shopping Network
(talk about easily amused)--her shaved ice dinners--that darn curry--the
pencil-box full of snails--the mongoose--the inflatable octopus--and so on
and so on and so on.

You thought you'd heard it all? Well, I thought I'd seen it all. She
acts like a child, or like she comes from Mars. "Not of this world"
doesn't begin to describe her.

From Mars. That reminds me--now I know where to begin. I'd actually
been wondering for a while about her, about her folks, where she comes
from. Near the end of lunch, today, just before lit. class, don't know why
but I figured I'd ask. So I go and ask her, just to make conversation,
"Say, Anthy, just out of curiosity-- your folks from around here?" Because
she always looked kind of exotic--I've told you that, right. Himemiya's a
Japanese name, but maybe her mother was foreign?

Okay, okay, not like Anthy'll ever give you a straight answer--but I
had to try.

She just kind of smiled nervously, and didn't say anything--that I
expected, but just how nervous she was I didn't, She looked like, "Crap!
I've been found out!" or some darn thing. I was going to ask if I'd said
something wrong, but then there was a message over the intercom asking
will Anthy Himemiya come to the principal's office?

Anthy got right up. Guess she was glad to be off the hook. I heard
people muttering. Why's Anthy going to the office? Not like she gets in
trouble. She's really shy and quiet. Keeps to herself mostly. Yeah, like
every axe murderer you ever read about! Giggles. Kind of ticked me off,
but Anthy mustn't have heard. Or just didn't care; not like she doesn't
get it all the time.

I had to ask what she thought the principal wanted.

"I don't know, Miss Utena," she answered. "But whatever it is I suppose
it must be important."

And she picks up Chuchu (he generally sleeps in her desk during the
day) and just leaves without a word. Me I just kind of watched her leave,
and must have spaced out, I guess, because next thing I knew Wakaba was
shaking me and asking if I thought she had failed the mythology test we'd
had to take last week (we got it back today).

So I'm like, "Uh, yeah. I wouldn't worry about it. Say, do you know if
Anthy's mom is foreign, Wakaba?"

And she goes, "Anthy's mom is foreign? Hm..." and she makes a big show
of looking thoughtful. Maybe she was being silly because my question was
weird, or something. Guess she never thought about it. Finally she says,
"I dunno. Maybe she's from Africa or something."

"Africa?"

"Yeah. Isn't she, like, black?"

"Black? She's not black!"

"Well, she's got the right complexion..."

"It's not _that_ dark! I think..." I mean, she didn't look like the
black people I'd seen on TV. Now I think of it, she doesn't look much like
she comes from anywhere.

So Wakaba gets up and says, "Maybe the Three Stooges know!" She meant
Suzuki, Yamada, and Tanaka. They were in their little corner of the
class, talking about either _Gundam_ or Nanami Kiryu. Not like I paid
attention to what they were talking about, but that's all they seem to
ever talk about. Creepy as heck. That and they could be triplets.

So she goes to the Three Stooges and asks, "Say, you guys, do you know
where Anthy's folks are from?"

They gave her a kind of weird look. Guess they didn't know either. They
had lots of ideas about where she might be from, mind you.

"Maybe she's Indian, or something," said Tanaka. "Don't Indian girls
have those dots in the middle of their heads?"

"I think those are stuck on, guys," I said. I was beginning to be sorry
I asked.

"Hey, that's it! Maybe she's the reincarnation of the Buddha!"

"Oh yeah, right!" Wakaba said.

"Don't be a dumbass," said Suzuki all of a sudden, and boy did he look
intense. "Anthy's not an Indian name."

"Sure sounds like it," Tanaka said.

"Yeah," said Yamada, who sounded a little puzzled. "What sort of a name
is Anthy anyway? Maybe she's like an Arab or something..."

"It's not 'Anthy,' it's 'Anthée.' It's French," Suzuki said, standing
up and folding his arms, really dramatically--he was really getting into
this, you could tell. "But ultimately, it comes from the Greek 'Anthea.'
So you're not far off the mark, Yamada. She may be from the Levant, but
from Greece, not Arabia or Palestine. In other words..."

Dramatic pause. You could almost hear a drumroll in the background. It
was that corny.

"She is in fact Anthea, Goddess of Roses, come to visit us from Mount
Olympus!" Amazing how funny the guys seemed to think it was. Even Wakaba
giggled. Maybe it was the delivery, or something. Me I was just like,
"Hey, you guys, can we stop?"

They didn't of course. Too late for that. They were on a roll, now.
Like sharks in a feeding frenzy. Jerks.

"Guess who got a hundred on the test! You literary dog you!" said
Yamada. Suzuki made a show of being embarrassed, saying "aw, shucks," hand
behind his head and stuff.

"I dunno. I preferred her as the Buddha," said Tanaka.

"I have a compromise, men," said Yamada. "I say she's Kaguya-hime, the
Princess of the Gods of the Moon!" More laughter.

Then Eiko Ikuhara started. Damn her.

"Wait! I've got it! I've thought up the subject of my new play. Ohtori
Monogatari, the Tale of the Rose-Cutter! The tragic tale of the
moonchild found in a rose bush, and who was courted by all the fair
princes of the land!"

"Will you cut it out, already!" I said. A bit too loudly, I guess. It
didn't work.

"Oh, don't be like that, Utena!" she says. "You can be the emperor!"

"Just so you know, I am not going to be the prince who had a bird poop
in his hand!" Biiko Saito said that. She was laughing too.

That did it. I don't know why, but right there I just lost it and
yelled at her to shut up and slapped her. Hard. So hard she almost fell
out of her chair.

And she looks at me like she's about to cry. Wakaba looked a little
scared, though I didn't pay it any mind then. Everyone else just stared,
frozen like they were statues; I guess they were scared too.

"What was that for?" she said finally. "We were just teasing, you
know..."

"Don't. You. Talk. About. ANTHY like that!" I said, just like that. I
was really pissed by now, and I must have looked it, because Wakaba seemed
to be shrinking in her chair.

"Miss Tenjo, I've tried to make you correct your disruptive behavior in
the past, and failed, so this time I'm asking you nicely. Will you
_please_ keep your outbursts for outside class periods?"

I was a bit confused for a moment there. Wakaba nervously pointed to
the lit. teacher--that was her--who'd just come in. Turned out everyone'd
got so carried away nobody'd even noticed the bell ring. Don't know what
that means. Maybe it meant that really it wasn't just me that wondered a
lot about Anthy. Or maybe they were just having too much fun. Either way,
in the end I never got a straight answer.

"Now that's out of the way, playtime's over. Stand up! Bow! Sit! I have
your tests, and as usual they're a disgrace!"

Could have been worse. At least she didn't see me hit Biiko, so that
was good.

Anthy came back in just in time to be marked present. We got the tests
back. I could tell by the way Wakaba pouted that she'd failed even before
she told me. I got a 90! (Yes!) Don't know what Anthy got. She's not that
good at school, but tests don't seem to phase her at all. She'll just take
the paper and put it in her bag without even looking at the grade
sometimes, so I guess even she doesn't know, if she even cares. You'd
think with Micky helping her so much she would care. I mean, I told you
she seems to like him. Making people you're supposed to like work for no
reason isn't cool, right?

So at the end of the class the teacher leaves and the moment she's out
the door Wakaba jumps on me and starts to wail, and she's like "Waaah! I
flunked! I'll never pass this class! My life is OVER!"

I'm like, "Hey, hey, you don't have to cry about it, you know..."

And she's blubbering and stuff and says, "I'm sorry, Utena, I just need
a shoulder to cry on right now..."

Then she looks up and looks all happy. "I know! You wanna come over to
my dorm for dinner? Huh huh huh?" Just like that. And I'm like, "Well, I,
uh..." Not like I didn't want to, just I was a bit overwhelmed. I'm like
that a lot around Wakaba.

And then she says, "Come on! You must be pretty sick of the Moon
Princess's shaved ice by now, right? You must be _starving!_"

"Wakaba! That was really rude, calling her that right in front of her!"
I said, because Anthy sits right beside me (Wakaba's a few rows in front).
"You think she doesn't have feelings?"

Not to mention it isn't true. Anthy can't cook much in the way of
dinner food, but her breakfasts rule. She ought to be running a cafe or
something.

"It was?" Wakaba said, blinking and looking all confused. Like she
didn't know what she'd said! I couldn't believe she was even still
thinking about that! "Oh, I'm sorry, Anthy, I didn't mean..."

"Miss Utena," Anthy said, "if you don't mind, I have to be somewhere
this evening myself. Is it all right?"

And I'm like, "Uh, I guess it is...well, Wakaba, guess I'm coming over
after all. No point staying home..."

Of course Wakaba jumped on me again. "Hurray!"

Yes, Your Highness, this has a point. It meant more later on. First
though I need a cup of tea.

---

Well, what do you know? Anthy left some in the pot. She thinks of
everything.

You know, maybe that means she thought I'd be shaken up tonight. But
I'm getting ahead of myself.

2 o'clock already. Crap.

Where was I? Right. Wakaba.

So after school lets out I go over to Wakaba's. Real food, too, not
cafeteria food. Wakaba's dorm is fairly new, and not only do they have
air-conditioning (lucky them, it has been _hot_ this summer), but they
also have a small kitchen, so people who have allergies, or foreign
students who aren't used to the food--yeah, we've got a couple, mostly
from Europe, a few Americans, coming to study Japanese--can cook their
own. Nobody likes the dorm food much, though, so everybody ends up using
it.

Not that it matters, but it turned out Wakaba made some sushi. Really
nice, too. She put her heart and soul into it. Me I sat and did some of my
homework while she did that--not all of it of course, 'cause tonight was a
Friday, and not all our classes meet on Saturday, just the morning ones,
and Wakaba didn't take _that_ long at the sushi--and just watched. She
made me just watch. I offered to help, but she wouldn't have it.

So she finishes the sushi and we go up to the room and go inside.

Biiko Saito was there. Now that was normal enough by itself--Biiko's
Wakaba's roomie this year. Did I tell you that? (Her idea, not Wakaba's.
She was rooming with Eiko, but Eiko's a real slob and a pain to live with
too. She--Biiko that is--got assigned to Wakaba when I was moved out at
the last minute when school started.) But we open the door and there she
is and Wakaba's like, "Oh, Biiko, hi, didn't you go to theater club yet?"

And Biiko's like, "Well..." and then she sees it's _me_, and she says
really weird-like, "Truth is, I was just leaving now, um, hi, Utena, sorry
about today, tell Anthy I'm sorry too, bye," like that, and she almost
runs out of the room. I guess I must have been staring after her, because
Wakaba dragged me into the room, going, "Are you coming in or not?"

So I go in, and we split the sushi, and she makes me some tea to wash
it down with. Green tea, not the black tea Anthy always serves. Talk about
traditionally Japanese--as unlike Anthy as you can get, I thought
afterwards. Was that intentional, I'm wondering now? I don't know, I
didn't ask. I didn't think of it then, even. Maybe I'm paranoid, is all.

We split the sushi, and she puts on the TV and makes me watch a show
called _His Secret, Her Secret_. High school comedy. Animated. Girl meets
boy, girl's a real freak, guy has deep dark secrets, it's love. That sort
of thing. Anyway, that doesn't matter. Point is, the show's over and the
credits roll, and it says "Director: Hideaki Anno" and Wakaba's like,
"That's really _weird_, huh?"

And I'm like, "What is?"

And she's like, "Hideaki Anno directed stuff like _Neon Genesis
Evangelion,_ and now he's doing sweet stuff like _His 'n Hers_. Isn't that
_weird_?"

"I guess. I never watched _Eva_." Which was true. All I knew about it
was that it was about giant robots and the ending sucked, and I only knew
the last thing because the Three Stooges were bitching about it the next
day.

"Oh you have no idea. It was so _cool_! And there are people in it who
are _just_ like the people at school! I'm like, I _know_ these people!"
she says.

And I'm like, "Uh-huh..."

"Like Asuka. She's one of the pilots. She is _so_ like Nanami Kiryu
it's not even _funny_! I mean, she isn't white or anything like Asuka--
Nanami I mean--but the way she thinks she's all that, they're _exactly_
the same. Oh! Oh! Even better. Rei Ayanami. She's another pilot. _Really_
creepy. It turns out she's a clone or something who was created to
engineer the end of the world, but that doesn't matter. She never talks
and she looks really weird too. Freaks everyone out, especially Asuka. She
is _so_ like--"

"Anthy?" I asked.

"Yeah! _Exactly_ like her. You took the words right out of my mouth!"
She giggled. "Hey," she suddenly said in a conspiratorial tone, "you know
the forest on campus that nobody's allowed in? I was thinking, what if
there's a secret lab there where, like, they make clones of Anthy?
Wouldn't that be--"

My chopsticks snapped in my hand. She took that as a hint.

"Oops." She covered her mouth, like she was trying to stuff the words
back inside.

I tried to restrain myself. I was thinking, I will not lose my temper.
I will not slap Wakaba. I will not punch her lights out. I will not...

I managed it. Couldn't unclench my fist, though.

So I said, "Wakaba. Tell me something. What the hell is this? National
Pick on Anthy Week?"

"I'm sorry..."

That did it.

"You're sorry? You're SORRY!?" That was me gone. I didn't have to slap
her--the tone was enough to make her recoil. "Sorry you opened your big
mouth, you mean!--Now you listen and you listen good, God knows I'm used
to seeing people make fun of Anthy, God knows I'm used to seeing them
trying to make her life miserable, I don't know why, but where the hell
_you_ and you call yourself my friend mind you where _you_ get off saying
things like that to me about her to my _face_--"

"They went easy on you." She said that through her hands, which she was
using to hide her face. (From slaps? From blows?)

"What?"

"You should hear them when you're not there..."

"No, I don't..."

She came out from behind her shield. "Biiko told me not to tell you
this, but I guess I'd better now. You know what Eiko said about a play
about you and Anthy? She's for real."

"_Really._"

"Yes." Her voice was quavering a bit. "I don't know about the Princess
Moonlight thing, but Biiko said Eiko was going to write one of those
shadow-plays for the school festival about, and I swear she said this,
'Utena's prince.' This was a few days ago. She said she tried to talk Eiko
out of it, because she thought it was real mean, but you might as well
talk to a brick wall than tell Eiko anything, she said, and apparently
Eiko said, 'Everybody else will laugh, so who cares?'"

Did I ever tell you about Eiko's shadow plays? I don't think I did, so
I will now. Apparently she's a real genius. She's been putting on plays
with shadow puppets--writing them and directing them--since she was eight,
or so I heard. Her mom used to be a actor, I think. Anyway, she's been in
charge of the theater club here for two years--apparently the school,
including the principal, begged her to enroll. Every term or so she writes
a play--actually more like sketches--about goings-on around the school and
the city of Houou and the club puts it on using her puppets. People
love it--matter of fact the kids at the school paper hate it because she
can say stuff that they can't, and then people go, "I can't wait for Eiko
to give us the real deal." She changes things around so the teachers won't
catch on, of course. Which is bad, because she makes fun of them, but also
students--and sometimes she's really nasty about it too. When people make
fools of themselves around here, they just got to hope and pray Eiko
doesn't get wind of it, because you might end up in the next performance.

I knew Eiko doesn't care if she hurts people's feelings. Everyone does.
She even boasts about it. Probably thinks it's her duty to express
herself, or something, though I sometimes think she just likes making fun
of people who aren't artists or smart like her. Outside her little theater
club clique nobody really likes her, even though they love the plays,
because it's an excuse to twist the knife in public. They're kind of
afraid of her, really. I'm so glad Micky's not like that. He's smart, but
he's really nice.

Man, I wrote a lot about that, didn't I?

Point is, I was not looking forward to Eiko's next play.

"Oh yeah? Well, she won't be laughing when I--"

And suddenly it was Wakaba yelling at me.

"Don't you get it at _all_? People _laugh_ at you and Anthy behind your
back! Oh I know. You got used to your adoring fans saying you were cool,
right? Well, they don't think so any more. Now you just freak them out, so
they make fun of you, and they laugh at _me_ because I hang out with you,
even though I practically had to _drag_ you away from Anthy to get you to
come here. But you don't care about that at all as long as Anthy's happy,
right?"

"Um...are we talking about the same girls who all but demand to be the
mother of my children whenever I pass by?" Call me naive if you want,
but...

"_Especially_ them. And the thing is, you actually buy it, waving and
going"--and Wakaba put on a really deep voice here--it was all I could do
not to laugh in spite of myself--"'Well, hello there, my dears!' like a
complete _dork_! You really think they mean it? No. That's not true. They
used to mean it, anyway. They don't any more. Now the moment you're out of
earshot they laugh their heads off because you're such a freak! Are you
so dumb you can't figure that out?"

"Now look, Wakaba, aren't you exagger--"

"No, you look! You think people make fun of Anthy just 'cause she's
there? They do it for a reason!"

My cue to go back on the offensive. "Oh. Right. I see. I guess you
think that makes it all right, then, huh, is that it?"

"No! No! Look, I'm sorry about what I said, really, that was real
uncalled for, but that's not the point--"

"And what is the point?"

"The point is people pick on Anthy and make fun of her because she
really _scares_ them! You don't think she's _scary_?"

"No, I don't think she's scary, Wakaba," I said, as precisely as I
could, "I happen to think she's a very nice and very sweet girl. She's a
little shy, that's _all_. She acts a little weird, sure, but that's
because she doesn't have any friends. I'm trying to help her make friends
and stuff, and I admit it'll take a lot of work, but..."

"No. She has no friends because she's--no, she's not weird. I'm a girl
and I watch _Eva_, I'm weird. You're weird, a good kind of weird, or you
used to be. She's _scary_. I mean, have you ever seen the way she looks at
people?"

"No, even though I've lived with her all term. What the hell is that
supposed to mean? Okay, she zones out now and again, or seems to, but--"

"No, Utena, she does not 'zone out.' She _looks_ at you really, really
detached like, like you were one of her flowers or a bug or something--
Utena, haven't you ever noticed how she _talks_ to people? It's like she's
a princess and you're a servant--no, that's not it--like to a kid--yeah!--
like to a child or an _animal_ or something like that, like she was some
sorta superior being! She talks to _you_ like you were that darn monkey of
hers--is she even allowed have that thing as a pet?--and you don't even
seem to notice! Oh yeah. Tell me. Is it true she keeps a mongoose in her
desk drawer like I heard?"

"Yeah. I told her not to, but she wouldn't listen. She does whatever
the heck she wants. It's true, I don't know what she's thinking sometimes.
Your point?"

"I mean, where the heck does it go to the bathroom?"

"Ha ha. You think that's funny too?"

"No! I think that's creepy! And really cruel too! Nice! She's not nice
at all! You know what, Utena? I think she's just using you to defend her
from Nanami and Saionji and them, like a hired thug or guard dog or--or--
or something! I don't think she cares about you at all! You told me
_yourself_ she called Chuchu 'her friend.' I'm thinking, what does that
mean? That to her Utena's no better than _Chuchu_, for God's sake?"

Yes, I _had_ just about had it. Probably because what made too much sense.

I stood up and had a good long stretch, as dramatically as possible.

"Bullshit," I said. "I don't need this. I'm leaving. Wakaba, get help.
See you at class tomorrow, or not. Thanks for the food."

And I started for the door. Only I never got there, at least not then,
because Wakaba jumped up, somehow got around me and actually *threw*
herself in front of the door. I guess all that practice jumping on me paid
off.

"No!" she said. There were tears in her eyes. "You're not going back to
her! I don't know what she's doing to you, but I'm not letting you go back
there!"

"Wakaba. She's not doing anything to me. Now stop being a baby and let
me out. You can't keep me here all night you know. Look," I had to ask,
"are you jealous of her or something? Is that it? Because Saionji likes
her instead of you, and now I'm her friend? Huh?"

"No!--Yes!--No!--I don't know! I--Utena, I'm worried *sick* about you,
do you know that? You're like--"--then the deep voice again--"'I, Prince
Utena, will save Princess Anthy!' I don't see as you're changing her at
all! I think she's changing _you_, and it's freaking me out!"

"How have I changed that freaks you out? I don't--"

"I mean--I mean--we used to be together all the time, Utena..." She
didn't seem angry any more. Just sad. "You, me, our friends, we did
everything together. Now it's Anthy, Anthy, Anthy all the time. I had to
practically drag you up here by your _hair_! It's always Anthy and those
jerks on the student council who are always hanging around her. Saionji.
Toga Kiryu. Micky and those. What's so great about them anyway? I mean I
_know_ Toga Kiryu ticks you off."

"What, now you don't like Micky either?"

"No! No! He's nice. Yeah, you're right, he's nice. But...it's
like...you're different, Utena. You sacred me today. You never used to
talk to me like this. Anyone says a word about Anthy and you freak like
they insulted your mother or your religion or...wait. I've got it. Utena,
has Anthy got you mixed up in some sort of cult?"

A cult. The cult of the Rose Goddess. I admit I'd never thought of the
duels that way. Everything about it was like out of a myth. Humans
battling for and praying for the favors of supernatural beings, like all
that mythology we'd been reading. The power of Dios slept in Anthy. Did
that make her a priestess of some sort, or a...

I just laughed. "A cult? Wakaba, now you really are being paranoid. Let
me out."

She folded her arms in her seat in front of the door, stuck her nose in
the air. "Changes in behavior, adoption of a radically different set of
friends. Sure signs of a victim of a cult. Or drug abuse. Mom said so.
She saw it on TV and she warned me when I came here not to get involved in
cults and no way am I going to let you!" For just a moment she was Wakaba
again.

"Oh, right. Can you imagine me or Saionji or Micky shaving our heads
and standing on Okawa Avenue chanting and handing out pamphlets saying
'Anthy saves' to passers-by?"

She got angry again. "I'm serious!"

"Let me through, Wakaba."

"Don't you see? Your whole life seems to revolves around her. Like
you're obsessed, or something. And the more obsessed you get the meaner
you get. It's like--you never used to slap people like that. Why do you
think Biiko ran out of the room? She was _frightened_, dammit!"

"Don't swear, Wakaba, it doesn't suit you."

"It's like--it's not _you_ any more, it's like you're a whole different
person, or there's a different mind in your body, like _Invasion of the
Body Snatchers_. You know what? If it turned out that Anthy really was
from the moon and she was controlling your mind and using you to prepare
to invade the earth I'd just say I saw it coming long ago!"

"It is to laugh. Get out of my way, Wakaba," I said, with a coldness
that once I heard it in my ears scared even me.

But I didn't let it bother me. Or something in me didn't want to be
bothered. I moved towards her.

But she just kept going. Maybe she was afraid if she stopped she'd
never get another chance to say everything. Mind you I could have just
pushed her out of the way--she's much lighter than I am--but I couldn't
bring myself to do it. Maybe because deep down I knew she had a point?
Maybe.

"Thing is, It's not just you. It's everybody in that clique she hangs
around, or hangs around her, more like. Lately you've--been getting that
look in your eyes that Saionji has, or even Micky. Yeah, I know, he's
really nice, but--when he challenged you to that duel the other day, I
knew it was about Anthy, somehow, because he had that look in his eyes
that Saionji had..."

That wasn't so much paranoid as naive, or so I thought. So naive I
couldn't stay too mad. Just as well really. I took a deep breath and I
said something like this:

"Look, Wakaba, some things you need to know. Guess I should have told
you before. First, I wish it weren't so, but the fact is if anything
Anthy's fixated on _me._" I told her as much of the truth as I thought was
relevant and I thought she'd believe. "She was dating Saionji and he was
treating her like crap, you remember, right? So when I went and read him
the riot act about pinning your letter up on the bulletin board--" She
nodded. "--It turned out he wouldn't give me the time of day unless I
challenged him to a duel. I won, somehow, and I guess she was so
impressed that she got the courage to dump him. Thing is, now she seems to
think it's her duty to be some sort of servant to me or something. Or she
says it is. You've heard how she calls me 'Miss Utena,' right?"

Wakaba nodded again. She was a little calmer now. A very little.

So I went on. "I don't know how she did it, but she even managed to
talk the school into changing our dorm assignments so we'd be living
together. She seems to know Toga pretty well, maybe he put a word in their
ear. Or had Julie Arisugawa scare them a little."

I chuckled. Wakaba didn't. So it wasn't funny, fine, but I had to try.

"I'm as nice about it as I can be, but--I guess you're right--it does
freak me out a little, too. I'm always telling her not to call me 'miss,'
but she does anyway. You have no idea how I've gotten on her case about
that, or trying to make friends. She won't go out or talk to people unless
I tell her it's okay. I really do think it's an act she puts on, because
she does all this stuff even when I tell her not to. I don't know why she
does all that, and she's not telling. I don't know--maybe she _is_ screwed
up somehow. I'm trying to get her to be normal, but it's going to take a
lot of work. Does that make any sense?"

Wakaba stood up.

"What about Micky?"

"Micky has a crush on Anthy. That's all. She reminds him of his sister,
or something, or so he says. He picked a fight with me to impress Anthy.
It didn't work. End of story."

"A crush, huh?"

And she started to giggle, a really weird sort of giggle, which she was
clearly trying to stifle and not succeeding. I felt myself getting angry
again.

"What's funny now?"

"You reminded me of something, Utena, thanks...can't believe I didn't
see it sooner..." She was still giggling, but she wouldn't look me in the
eye.

"Really."

"Yeah, really." Now she looked up, a weird grin on her face. "I'd
totally forgotten. I was saying a minute ago that you had a look in your
eye like Micky, and you said that Micky had a crush and it just sort of
clicked..."

"What clicked?"

"Oh nothing. Just that the girls are saying all the time that you and
Anthy were--" She stopped suddenly; the grin vanished. "No wait, that's
not true, I know that's not true, oh I'm so sorry Utena, that was really
uncalled for, I shouldn't listen should I..."

Just that frightened me. But I asked anyway. "Anthy and I are _what_?"

"Lk jl rsgwa."

"What?"

"Like jl arsgwa."

"Spit it out!"

"Like Julie Arisugawa, darnit!"

"Like Julie Arisugawa? How am I like Julie Arisugawa? I've heard a lot
about Julie Arisugawa, and I don't know what you mean. I can't stare down
a teacher, I wish I could. I wouldn't mind being able to fence as well as
she does. So how am I like Julie Arisugawa?"

Yes, I was playing dumb. Do you blame me? I mean, I told you the
"other" rumors about Julie, but like I said I never believed them myself
until that time we met in the courtyard the night we duelled and she
looked at me _like that_, just for a second, but long enough for it to
make sense. Besides, even though there wasn't much chance Wakaba meant
anything else, where there's life there's hope...

Wakaba wasn't buying it though. She went back on the offensive.

"Duh! You mean you don't know? Everyone's heard about how
she...she...doesn't like boys, and how she was friends with this girl who
started dating a boy on the fencing team before we started here, and she
was so jealous she terrorized them into leaving the school. There's this
girl I know on the team, who said she still obsesses over that girl and
like, keeps her picture in a locket which she wears over her heart or
something, and then she said, and I swear I'm not kidding, 'Hey Wakaba,
that sounds like your friend Utena, maybe you should keep away from her!'
And I'm like, 'Uh, why?' And she's like, 'Well, Wakaba, let's say the
handsome prince has finally found her princess and you _know_ three's a
crowd...' I'm like, 'Huh?' and she's like, 'Do I have to spell it out?
Utena and Anthy are...'"

"What girl you know on the team? Did she say what the name of the girl
was she was 'obsessing' about?"

Wakaba went from angry to upset. Really quickly too. "Um...no. You
don't believe me, do you?"

"Wakaba, let me tell you something. They say Julie Arisugawa is a dyke
because she's good at sports and because she doesn't date and the guys get
angry about that, becuase they can't imagine why. They think it's her,
when the fact is they're morons. I wouldn't give them the time of day
either. Maybe she just hasn't met Mr. Right yet. That never occur to you?"
I could say that convincingly, or in what sounded to me like a convincing
voice, because it was what I used to tell myself. "Heck, I've had guys
call _me_ a lesbian _to my face_ for the same reason. You were there a
couple of times, even, and you got upset and I kicked their butts and we
all lived happily ever after. Don't you remember?"

Wakaba hung her head again. "That was different. That was just the guys
trying to be funny, I know that now. This time it's the girls, and they
mean it. I _know_ it's not true, but they say it over and over and after a
while you start to believe it yourself..."

"Wakaba." Now I was scolding her, like my mom used to scold me. I
wasn't as angry as I should have been, I suppose. Maybe I was just running
out of energy for it. "Do you really believe that? You'd believe them
before you believe me?"

"No!...I don't know...I...Utena, I've been trying to defend you when
you weren't around, telling them no, she's still Utena, but..."

"And how is this different from me defending Anthy, I'd like to know?"

"Because I wasn't slapping them! Or picking fights or...that's just
_mean_! I mean Anthy acts strange, I knew that, you just said so. But you
weren't like that, I thought, and I said so, but all you seemed to do was
hang around Anthy all the time and start getting weird like her and I
started worrying myself sick over you and you didn't seem to notice or
even care...maybe you don't care, but I do, but what do I know, I'm only
your best friend..."

She couldn't say any more. Just then she started to cry. Not the silly
"oh no, I failed the test, my life is over" crying, but real tears. When
that happens, and it isn't often, you know she means it. I thought my
heart would break right there.

I went over to the TV and switched it off. I knelt down by her.

"You really worry about me?" Really softly now.

"Mm-hmm."

"Why?"

"I dunno. Just a bad feeling, I guess...like something's wrong..."

I sat beside her and held her hand. She leaned on me a little.

"Look, I know, I've been spending a lot of time with Anthy lately, but
I kind of have to live with her, you know?"

"I guess..."

"Have I been neglecting you lately, Princess Onion?"

She giggled. Couldn't hurt, I thought, to get her to laugh a little.
"Yeah, just a bit..."

"Look, I got a little carried away today."

"Yeah. I guess everybody did..."

"When does Biiko come back from theater club, usually?"

"Before curfew. Like, 9:30." (Curfew's 10:30. We all have to be in our
rooms and quiet by then. There's nobody but me and Anthy at East Dorm, so
we can go whenever, but in Wakaba's dorm they make it stick.)

"You want I should stay here 'til she comes back and say I'm sorry? I
guess I was a real bitch today..."

"Sure. I'd like that."

We were quiet for a minute. Wakaba had her eyes closed, smiling
peacefully. Me I was thinking about everything. About mythology, cults,
and madness. About Julie, too.

Something else was bothering me.

"Wakaba?"

"Hmm?"

"Since when are you into giant robots?"

She perked up. "Didn't I tell you? My dad designs them for a living.
He's really smart. His firm even gets government contracts, all very
hush-hush. He's actually thinking of leaving and starting his own firm
just to design and make robots. He says he's planning to design a robot
for police patrols, like a cross between a robot and a police car, and mom
says that's science fiction, but then he'll say stuff like," then she puts
on this expression and this voice, impersonating her dad I suppose, "'Such
things are science fiction today, but in 10 years, maybe not!' He's so
cool! My little brother says he wants to drive one when he grows up. Isn't
that sweet? So we're all into robots in our family really, except for mom.
She thinks we're crazy. But I've kinda grown up around robots and drawings
of robots and I just *love* 'em!"

You could almost see love-hearts in her eyes. It was unreal. Normally
she only got this mega-happy over me.

So I'm like, "We were roomies all last year. I never saw you watch
_Evangelion._"

"I had the Three Stooges record it for me and I watched it later. I
figured you wouldn't like it. 'Sides, mom always said a girl's got to have
her secrets, right? Say, you want to see some pictures of stuff he's
designed? It's _really_ cool!"

Under the circumstances I think I had a good reason for tuning her out
for the next three hours.

It's really stuffy in here. Hot too. I really wish we had air
conditioning here.

I'm going to move outside and get some air. The balcony has an electric
light, so I can get enough light to see, and there's a table to write on.
Need some more tea too.

---

3 o'clock. Actually nearer 3:15. I'm not looking forward to tomorrow
morning, let me tell you.

Well, I started, I may as well finish. It just occurred to me that I
haven't even started telling you what I wanted to tell you about what
Anthy did tonight. You must be getting really bored. Don't worry, I'll get
there. I'd better, or I know I won't sleep at all--much less be able to
face Anthy in the morning.

Have to keep going. Try to go on.

So I hang around, and we watch some more TV, and Wakaba bores me silly
with pictures of robots and exoskeletons and God knows what else, 'til
Biiko comes home around 9:30. So I tell her I'm sorry, which I was, and she
says it's okay, which I could tell from her face it wasn't really, but I
don't think she was scared of me so much any more, so that was something
anyway.

So then I try to leave, but Wakaba won't let me because there's some
other robot that I've just GOT to see, and I don't manage to escape until
10:00 when visiting hours end and the dorm lady comes upstairs to throw me
out. I've never been that glad to see a dorm lady in my life. I guess
Biiko had had to listen to Wakaba's spiel about her dad before, because
when she saw the pictures she just kind of rolled her eyes and had a "oh
God, not again" look on her face. "Girl's got to have her secrets" my
butt.

Still. It did seem like Wakaba was even bouncier and full of sugar
afterwards than usual. It wasn't like she just went back into Wakaba mode
after what happened earlier. Nobody's that shallow. Maybe she thought she
had to make up for earlier? I don't know.

So I thank Wakaba for the food and I promise to have lunch with her
tomorrow, just the two of us without Anthy (yes, she made me promise that)
and I get out of there.

Did I mention how muggy it was today? It should have thundered and
rained really. It didn't though, which sucked, because then maybe the
humidity would have gone down a bit. It was so hot even in the morning
that I didn't bother wearing a shirt underneath my jacket, just my black
tanktop. Of course that just meant I had to keep it really tightly
buttoned all day, because if the teachers don't like my uniform, God knows
what they'd do if they saw I'd nothing on underneath, so I was just as hot
as I would have been, probably more.

After school, though, nobody really cared. Here's the odd thing though.
Of course it wasn't as hot by 10:00 as it had been just after school when
I was going to Wakaba's, but it was only after I'd left that I felt
comfortable taking my jacket off (I tied it around my waist so I wouldn't
have to carry it). At Wakaba's I left it on the whole time. Not that there
was any point taking it off, I guess--like I said, all I had underneath
was the tanktop, and with the air conditioning going I probably would have
been freezing. But that wasn't why I didn't take it off. It may sound
crazy to you, but the idea of taking it off in Wakaba's room made me
really uncomfortable for some reason. It sounds crazy to me, too. I mean,
it's not like I never changed in the locker room right in front of her,
right?

So I take the jacket off, and I walk along. I didn't see anyone on the
way back, which suited me just fine, because I wasn't sure what I'd do if
I ran into Toga. Or even worse, Micky. I'd probably have given him a heart
attack. (At least he'd have died happy, right? God, I'm disgusting...)

I was thinking about that, and laughing to myself about it a bit, I
guess, and I pass by the courtyard and suddenly I start thinking, Oh God,
what if I ran into Julie again? And I suddenly wasn't laughing any more.
I started thinking about what Wakaba had said again.

It scared me a little. No. Make that a lot.

I'm not really like Julie, am I? I thought. Or Saionji? Dear God,
please tell me I'm not an obsessive maniac like Saionji. That Anthy's
really just an ordinary girl and not some sort of higher being and
Saionji's crazy because he's just like that and not because of her. That
I'm not going crazy and Anthy and me aren't like Julie and I just haven't
figured it out yet.

Suddenly the courtyard seemed even more like an oven than it already
was. I had to get home. I picked up the pace, and I started saying to
myself, from the courtyard all the way to the gate of the East Dorm, "It's
not true, it's not true, it's not true, it's not true, it's not true..."
Like a chant.

"It's not true, it's not true, it's not true, it's not--"

But right in front of the gate I stopped, because when I looked up to
the balcony I swear I saw the Rose Goddess out on the second floor balcony
"dressed as Eve" (or Aphrodite or Venus, depending on where you have your
favorite Mediterranean villa, your Highness) and enjoying the summer
evening.

Yeah, I know. That sounded real corny, huh? But she hadn't put her
glasses on or her hair up or anything, so of course I knew it had to be
Anthy, but it didn't look or _feel_ like the Anthy I knew at all.

And no, your Highness, I would follow you into hell, but I am _not_
going to tell you what he looked like naked. I've told you what she looks
like with clothes on. You'll just have to use your imagination. (Nyah!)
You probably wouldn't be that far off from the truth anyway.

(It's funny. I've been addressing my diary entries to my prince since I
can't remember--since I started it I think--and it's only very recently
that it hit me that princes are actually _men_ and stuff. I never really
thought that when the princess marries the prince and they end up with
fourteen children they had to come from somewhere. Hm. Do princes go
saving princesses because they just don't like the dating scene? I don't
know. I do a lot of the princesses get kidnapped by dragons and they get
their dresses torn and stuff. Your Highness, no way are you going to tell
me you don't know what a naked chick looks like by now!)

Besides, if I did tell you, it wouldn't help you see what was wrong in
any case. It wasn't the fact that she _was_ nude that really affected me.
I mean, I'd seen that before. During the curry incident it wasn't like I
wasn't going to take a bath, and I don't think Anthy would have
appreciated it if I hadn't. I could have handled it if it was just that,
or if I'd just seen a photo of her, say, but it wasn't. She was looking
out at the courtyard--I don't think she'd seen me yet, or if she had she
didn't let on--with this expression on her face, really regal, like the
face of one of those Roman statues of gods I'd seen in my textbook, a
really faraway look in her eyes.

But it wasn't just that--there was this sense of raw _power_ I was
getting from her that I'd never felt before, like she was higher than
me--of course she actually was, I was on the ground and she was on the
second floor--but like a really a higher being and not a person like me. I
was looking at her and I couldn't pull myself away. I felt--I don't
know--like I should be praying or I should throw myself at her feet or--

I managed to shake myself, and for just a second I was able to look at
her again and just see plain Anthy standing on the balcony, and it's just
long enough for me to be able to say to myself, "Oh crap, what's she doing
now? What if some guy sees her, or even a teacher?" So I go in the gate
and go in and go up the stairs, bitching myself out for letting myself get
all worked up like that.

And I go into the living-room upstairs, which the balcony is attached
to, but I can't see her at first, becuase there are ornamental curtains
over the door. So I open the door and I'm going, "Anthy! What the hell do
you think you're--"

I stopped dead.

She was beautiful.

I don't mean she was beautiful in a super-model kind of way, like
Julie. I couldn't see too much of her figure now anyway; the way I came in
her back was towards me, like she hadn't noticed me open the door, though
she must have, what with me yelling like that. She was..._terrifying_,
like a thunderstorm (oh _man_ I wish it would rain!), or a star
or...something like that. I know it sounds corny, I wish I could describe
it better myself, but that's what she seemed like to me. What I'd felt
downstairs, the power she radiated, at this close range seemed amplified
by a factor of ten.

I was frozen in my tracks. I was so terrified I literally could not
move. I think I know what a deer feels like when it's caught in
headlights. I was never this afarid just to go near _anyone, never mind
her. My imagination was really working in overdrive now; I was thinking of
something crazy I'd heard in the myth unit. Something about the Ark of the
Covenant being so holy that anybody who touched it would die...

"Chu?"

Chuchu was there on the table, eating a cracker. Anthy wasn't looking
at me, at least not yet, but Chuchu did, and he gives me this look, like
"So, were you saying something, or are you just going to stare all night?"
Like he was doing the looking for her, like they had a telepathic link or
something or he had cameras inside his eyes that were beaming me right to
Anthy.

Heh. You know, Anthy stays she understands him when he talks. She's
tuned into him _way_ too much. Maybe _he's_ the space alien and Anthy's
the human host.

"Um...aren't you cold?" I said at last.

Said. More like croaked. My throat was dry as a bone. It didn't help
that I was sweating so much.

Anthy still didn't look at me yet. I couldn't see her lips move. "It is
very warm tonight, miss Utena."

I tried again. "I thought you were going out..."

"I did. I returned."

"Yeah...I can see that..."

"What I set out to do I had to return here to finish."

I wasn't thinking straight enough to try to figure out what that meant.

"You mind telling me why you've got no clothes on?" As normally as I
could.

"When I returned I decided to take a bath before I went to bed. It was
very humid today. You must have noticed, miss Utena."

I cleared my head long enough to notice her hair _was_ a little wet.
But maybe that was just perspiration.

"Um...aren't you afraid people'll _see_ you or anything?"

"This is a rather isolated part of campus, miss Utena, especially at
this hour. Everybody has gone home. You are the only person who has
passed by here since I returned. It never occurred to me that it would
disturb anybody."

"Well, it's disturbing me!"

I wanted to scold her, and it was supposed to be a yell, but it didn't
come out like that; it sounded more like a screech in my ears.

"Oh?" she replied, and then she turned her head towards me at last.

Deep green eyes. Like I imagined the Mediterranean, or the Aegean.
There I go again, I studied for that test too hard for my own good. Oh
help me!

The reason I thought of that was--it wasn't quite what Wakaba said, it
didn't seem unconcerned or anything, but it seemed so _detached_, like I'd
been Chuchu or someone freaking out about her being naked. That's not all,
though. There was a--I don't know--timeless look in her eyes. Like she'd
seen this before, she'd seen it all before, like she might have seen the
beginning of the world with those eyes...

I guess she figured she really had freaked me out, because she turned
and went over to the table and got her bathrobe. It was draped over one of
the chairs, it was funny how I hadn't noticed it before. And she puts it
on and goes right back to the railing like nothing had happened.

Chuchu went back to his cracker.

"Come."

She suddenly said just that one word. Really gently, but firmly, like
she really would call Chuchu.

And I could move again. No, that's not right. More like I just moved,
whether I wanted to or not, over to the railing right beside Anthy on her
left. Like she was controlling my body.

Well, that probably wasn't it. Maybe I was just too scared stiff to do
anything else.

We stood there for a few minutes in silence, just watching the night.

"Miss Utena?"

"Yeah?"

"I sometimes think I disturb you a great deal. Am I a bother?"

I didn't look at her yet, I didn't think I could handle it. I just
wished I'd the nerve or the ability to run away screaming like I wanted to
do.

"Uh, no...no, Anthy, it's just...you got to stop doing things
like...look, you just don't walk out in public butt-naked like that..."

"Miss Utena...does it please you that I am here?"

I didn't understand for a second.

"Please me? Why wouldn't it please me? I mean, we're friends and stuff,
right? Just because I shouted just now doesn't mean..."

Then I made the mistake of standing up straight and turning towards her
and looking straight at her again.

And then I understood.

It was really naive of me, I guess. The Rose Bride is supposed to do
anything her master wants her to do, and after Saionji cornered me in the
supply room during the curry thing I should have known that before I
showed up he and Anthy did more than exchange diaries.

She stood up straight too, and then she looked at me again with those
eyes. Now she looked like--like she was expecting something.

In spite of everything I thought I was blushing. I thought, oh God,
this can't be how Julie feels when she--

"Miss Utena," she said, in this faraway tone I'd never heard before, "I
am your Bride."

She moved her hand up towards my bare arm, very very slowly. And
somehow I knew that if she managed to actually touch me that'd be the end
for me. Your Highness, why do princes save princesses? Is it so they can
ravish them instead of the dragons?

Those eyes. There was nothing I wanted more in the world at that moment
than to drown in those sea-green eyes. I'd have done anything. Slit my
own throat, sacrificed my first-born son, torn out Wakaba's heart from her
chest at sunrise...

She smelt like roses.

"Do you know what that means?"

I did.

"No!"

I must have stumbled back and tripped over one of the chairs, because
the next thing I knew I was at the other end of the balcony, gripping onto
the railing for dear life, gasping for air like I was drowning, and my
heart pounding like it was going to explode. I felt sick.

I tried to open my eyes. She'd let her hand fall, and now she had a
blank look on her face, like she didn't know what I'd do next. I screwed
them shut. I was shaking like a leaf.

I waited what seemed like a year for my heart to stop pounding. It
didn't.

"I'm sorry, Miss Utena."

I screamed, "Don't come near me! DON'T TOUCH ME!"

"Miss Utena?"

I thought I'd regret it, but I tried opening my eyes again. "I said
DON'T...huh?"

She had put on her glasses (Where'd she get them? Were they on the
table?) and that childlike smile of hers. And she was Anthy again.

She was offering a hand to help me up. Chuchu had jumped off the table
and he was looking at me all concerned like.

"Chu?"

"Are you all right, Miss Utena?"

I was living in fear of a heart attack, I felt like I was drowning, my
nerves were shot to hell, I thought I was going to throw up Wakaba's
sushi, and someone, some _thing_ that might or might not have been my
roommate Anthy Himemiya almost succeeded in seducing me. All things
considered, I was pretty damn far from all right.

So I said, "Yeah, I think. Or I will be in a minute."

I took the hand. I didn't die, so I figured that was a good sign.
Besides, I needed the help getting up. My legs were like jelly.

She wasn't the least bit terrifying looking any more. I don't think I'd
been ever more glad to see that smile.

"Is there something I can do?" she asked. It was like she had no idea
what was wrong. "Do you want some tea?"

And I'm like, "No, no...just let me get my breath back, I'll be fine
soon..." and I grab a chair and sit down and slump all over the table like
I'd run a thousand miles.

"If you say so, miss Utena." Anthy picked up my jacket--I guess it
slipped off when I fell--and put it on my shoulders. "Some air will do you
good," she said, in a really motherly tone. For some reason I felt a lot
colder all of a sudden, though it wasn't any cooler than earlier really,
so I actually was kind of glad to have the jacket back on.

"Anthy?"

"Yes?"

"What happened just now?"

She didn't answer. She looked like she wanted to say, but like maybe
she was afraid to.

"On second thoughts, don't answer that. I don't think I want to know."

"If you say so, miss Utena."

And she just stood looking at me for a moment.

"Anthy?"

"Yes?"

What did I say just then?

"Look. I don't know what you did with Saionji. Fact of the matter is, I
don't much care. But Anthy--I'm not Saionji. I don't want to be like
Saionji. I'm afraid of being like him. At all. Anthy...I care about ou.
Really I do. Matter of fact I think I care about you too much. But...I
mean...what sort of prince rescues princesses just to ravish them? If he
does that what's the point of rescuing them at all?"

Yeah, I actually said that. I guess Anthy thought it sounded dumb too,
because she just looked at me, kind of puzzled like.

"Point is...what you did just now...please, for the love of God, don't
_ever_ do that again."

"Forgive me, miss Utena." She did look a little ashamed. "I'll be more
modest in future." She took her glasses off again. "If it's all right,
miss Utena, I'll be going to bed now. Or did you want me to stay?"

"No, no...it's okay...go to bed, I'll be there soon." (For all the good
it did!)

"All right." She smiled again, and she beckoned towards Chuchu, who'd
hopped back on the table and was munching on another cracker. "Chuchu,
time for bed."

I suddenly remembered.

"You never told me."

"What?"

"Anthy, where do you come from?"

Again she seemed lost for words, like before. Her face fell.

"If you feel uncomfortable don't answer." I had to laugh. "Just don't
say you're the Moon Princess, I don't think I could handle it..."

"She and I are very much alike."

My heart had still been pounding like it would burst. Now it just plain
stopped. I don't know which felt worse. I shot up in my chair.

"That's what I used to think to myself," Anthy went on. She wasn't
looking at me, any more; she was looking at the moon through the clouds,
looking really sad for some reason. I immediately regretted sitting up so
fast, because I felt so woozy as a result that I couldn't help but slump
back down again.

"Kaguya-hime was courted by all the fair princes of the land, whether
she would be courted or no, who thought her the fairest when she was
naught but the most unworthy of her tribe, cast out to do her penance on
earth. They resorted to all sorts of tricks, fair and foul, to win her
hand, but in the end none could truly win her heart."

She suddenly looked at me and smiled.

"I don't think that any more. That was very silly of me, wasn't
it--comparing myself to somebody out of a fairy tale. Don't you think,
miss Utena?"

I didn't quite know how to respond to that. Was she criticizing me, do
you think?

"I'd better go to bed." She clapped her hands. "Come on, Chuchu." She
headed for the door. "Good night, miss Utena. Don't stay up too late."

"I won't, Mom..." But I had to giggle. And she disappears through the
door.

But Chuchu didn't follow her, not just yet. He waited tob finish his
cracker.

And then I swear he looked me in the eye and gave me a thumbs-up.

"Chu!"

"Chuchu, bed!" called Anthy, a little crossly too. And he hops down and
follows her inside.

And I'm thinking, was that some sort of test?

---

4 o'clock. I'd better go to bed _now_. Now I think I'll actually sleep.

If it was a test, and Chuchu did that, I guess I passed. But a test of
what? Of whether she could trust me not to use her like Saionji did? Of
whether I really was the pure and noble prince I'd like to be? Heck--the
one that'll lead the Revolution (whatever _that_ is)?

I don't know. Do you suppose I'll ever know?

Your Highness, do you know?

Will you tell me when we meet again?

I am, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
Utena Tenjo.






























OMAKEOMAKEOMAKEOMAKEOMAKEOMAKOMAKEOMAKEOMAKEOMAKEOMAKEOMAKEOMAKEOMAKEOMAKEOMAKE

Scene: The next morning at Ohtori Academy. Utena and Anthy are on their
way to school, Anthy with Chuchu on her shoulder, smiling blankly as
usual, Utena looking like the walking dead. It's pouring rain. Anthy has
an umbrella with the Ohtori rose crest on it; Utena just suffers.

Utena: (under her breath) _Now_ it rains...
Anthy: Rain makes things beautiful, miss Utena.
Utena: Oh yeah? Is that why I don't get the umbrella?
Voice: (squealing) Utena my love!

(Wakaba--oh right, like it'd be anybody else--bowls Utena over. Utena
falls face first onto the rather muddy path, with Wakaba on her back.)

Utena: You're paying for the dry cleaning.
Wakaba: That's okay. We're still having lunch, right?

(Enter Toga, looking suave as usual. Utena pulls herself up; Wakaba slips
off her and lands on her cute butt.)

Wakaba: Ouchie!
Toga: Greetings and salutations, Miss Tenjo!
Utena: G'mrnin.
Toga: May I say you look more beautiful every day...
Utena: (clearly irritated) Look, Toga, just so you know I didn't get a
wink of sleep last night and I'm in a _mean_ mood so I really don't have
time for you this morning. Can I go to class now?
Toga: You didn't? I'm sorry.

(He moves to whisper in her ear.)

Toga: (stage whisper) Anthy didn't keep you up all night, did she?

*WHAM*POW*BOOT*

(Toga goes into LEM, pinkies extended Takahashi-style.)

Anthy: (watching him fly off) My! That's impressive, miss Utena!
Wakaba: (with not a bit of sympathy in her expression or voice) Now
_that_ he had coming...