A/ N: This is a retelling of the Revolutionary Girl Utena movie, only with the FFVIII cast. If you haven't heard of Utena, I recommend watching it. It is only one of the greatest anime ever made. Some changes regarding speech patterns, personality, and appearance have been made to accommodate the new setting.
A blue hat was perched on top of a head of black hair, which was cut short. The figure with the raven mane sat in a desk, eyes hidden by a set of bangs that hung low. The skin was a milky white. Covering that skin was a blue and white shirt/pant uniform.
"You must be Rinoa. I'm Selphie Tilmitt. Welcome to Balamb Academy!" A short girl who exuded energy and optimism bounded into view. "I hope you'll enjoy it here."
Lips played at a smile as Rinoa looked at the other teenager. "And why wouldn't I enjoy myself?" a soft voice echoed in the odd silence that surrounded the two despite the dozens of other students around them.
Rinoa rose and followed Selphie, barely listening as the brunette girl began listing off the various activities available to the school's students. As they strolled the grounds, a gathered crowd caught inattentive eyes. Soon enough, they were headed in that direction.
"Isn't this the high school building?" Rinoa looked over at Selphie who nodded enthusiastically.
There were two people in a clearing of the people, striking and parrying blows with swords. Ultimately, one of them managed to get past the other's defense and the tip of the weapon hit.
"This is where the fencing club meets. It's really popular amongst the girls." Selphie looked at Rinoa before concentrating her attention back on the two fighters who bowed to each other. They walked off the fighting ground, the victor sitting in a chair of stone on the boundary line while the loser stood at the winner's side.
Removing the mask on his face, the vanquisher turned out to actually be a girl. She had long blonde hair that hung halfway down her back, and around her neck was a chain bearing a locket. She watched hungrily as two more people stepped up to battle, dressed in full fencing attire. It was almost as though she were scoping out someone else worthy of challenging her skills.
The other fighter revealed himself as a short boy with spiky blond hair. Covering one side of his face was a tattoo. Rinoa could not discern the design due to the distance between them.
"The girl is Quistis Trepe. Everyone thinks she's really cool, and she's really tough. We call her 'the prince'," Selphie concentrated on Rinoa's face, as though trying to read the thoughts going on in the new transfer student's mind. Then she turned back to the fight. Her next sentence sounded so flippant it might have been an afterthought. "Perhaps she'll be your rival."
"My… rival?" Rinoa muttered. Then something lurked just behind Zell. Or, more accurately, someone.
Selphie turned and started to say something before realizing Rinoa was gone. She called out her fellow students' name, but received no answer.
It was raining. Rinoa followed some ancient instinct, leading her to a secluded spot where shadows fell across everything. There was what appeared to be several wooden crosses nearby, overgrown with rich, red roses. The column supporting the nearby building too was covered with roses, but these ones were etched into the stone.
"Do you miss the stars as well?"
Rinoa turned, and a man approached her. He was tall and dressed in a tan jacket over khaki pants and a blue shirt. On his chest was a necklace of a cross. The man had short blonde hair, even shorter than Rinoa's, and a pink scar ran between his eyes.
"It's been awhile, Rinoa."
"Don't think you know me anymore, Seifer." Hands were clenched as Rinoa determinedly avoided looking at him. "I'm not who I used to be."
"Well, what brings you here, then?" he asked as he bounced on the balls of his feet.
Rinoa didn't answer, instead deciding to look out at the graven rose garden.
"Me? I'm here because of this." He held his hand up, and Rinoa caught a glint of something.
"…so you're engaged already?" a hand moved back black hair as eyes concentrated on the circle of metal on his left ringer finger. It held a pink stone with the black insignia of a rose inside.
"It's the Mark of the Rose."
"Mark of the Rose?"
Seifer waved the question off. "You never answered my question, Rinoa."
"Why am I here? I have high goals, now, Seifer. I'm going to be a prince."
Seifer held a rose out, a dangerous grin on his face. "For your high goals, then."
It was as if something refused to allow the eyes to focus on the blood-colored flower. When Rinoa regained the ability to see, Seifer was gone.
Light shone from the rose garden as the rain dissipated, beckoning the solitary figure forward. Rinoa stepped into the rain, ignoring the water as it darkened the colors of the uniform. Footsteps echoed in the silence. A single bud was radiating with the light, and before those eyes it matured and blossomed, a ring much like Seifer's falling from its petals and into Rinoa's hand.
Then a rumbling in the distance caught Rinoa's attention. Turning to the sound, Rinoa noticed a staircase rising out of the ground, and that same force initiated the walk toward it.
The stairs seemed to elevate forever, but when the top was finally breached, with Rinoa passing under a stone arch, it turned into a sea of roses. Rinoa stepped in tentatively at first, but found the ground to be solid. The fabric of the pants brushed against the petals, but Rinoa ignored it. Soon enough, the edge of the blood-red sea was before Rinoa. Cold air entered lungs used to warmer, more polluted environments.
"Aren't you afraid?"
Rinoa turned around and saw a girl kneeling amongst the flowers, one that hadn't been there before. She picked one and held it to her bosom. She was about Rinoa's height, but her hair was a rich brown and it clung to her shoulders. She smiled warmly.
"Most people are afraid when they stand so close to the edge." The girl closed her eyes and lifted her head as a sudden wind blew her hair out, covering her face. The girl held the rose, which was as white as the clouds in the picturesque sky above despite the fact that it had just been raining, in one hand and she brushed her hair from her face with the other.
"What is this place?"
"It's my rose garden. I'm the headmaster's sister, so I get special privileges."
Then her eyes locked onto something in Rinoa's hand. She leapt for it, seizing upon Rinoa's wrist.
"It's mine!" Rinoa shouted as she wrapped her hand around the strange girl's body, holding her close so that she couldn't run away should she somehow get the ring that Rinoa had somehow forgotten about. Suddenly, the one with hair of coal began to whisper. "What is this? What do you know about the Mark of the Rose?"
"Let her go!" Rinoa's eyes snapped up and she released the girl, who bounded away as though nothing had happen. There was a man: a tall, tan, mass of muscles. "That's the Rose Bride, ya know. And only, uh, authorized people are allowed up here."
Then his eyes locked onto the ring in Rinoa's hand. He grinned evilly.
"So, um, you're a duelist, too? But you're a new face, ya know." The brown-haired girl's eyes snapped in the direction of the man.
Rinoa held out the ring with her index finger and thumb so that it could be seen more easily. "What is this? What is the Mark of the Rose?"
"It's the symbol of duelists who fight to win the Rose Bride."
Looking over at Ellone, Rinoa's mind raced. "Win her?"
The man beckoned Ellone and she skipped over to his side happily. He caressed her face with one of his hands. "You have the Mark of the Rose and don't know that? You must be stupid, ya know."
He pulled Ellone close, holding her head to his mouth. His smile against her hair was eerie.
"Perhaps you weren't meant to be my opponent, ya know."
Rinoa looked from the ring to Ellone, and then held out the other hand. The caressing of Ellone's face became rougher as he watched Rinoa put the ring on her finger. His smile even more wicked.
As soon as the metal passed the second knuckle, an iron gate slammed through the entryway, blocking any attempt to leave.
"Ellone, prepare the duel, ya know," the man ordered. She picked a red rose and placed it in a pocket of his shirt, and he bent down, stealing a kiss from her lips.
Then she walked to Rinoa, attaching the white rose to the uniformed shirt. "The first to lose his rose loses the duel," the girl whispered. "This is your chance to take the ring off."
"What a problem. You can't duel without a sword, ya know," the man laughed as he removed one from a sheath he'd been holding, something Rinoa hadn't noticed.
"I have a sword." Rinoa began to walk forward, catching Ellone off guard. She stepped onto a nearby piece of wood, revealing a broom. With one shake, all of its bristles disappeared. "Any complaints now?"
"Not a one," he grinned as bells in the distance began to ring.
Ellone threw herself between Rinoa and the man, he arms held out. "Raijin, I don't think she…"
Her words were cut off as he backhanded her out of the way. "You've forgotten your place, Ellone. The bells start the duel."
"Why did you hit your girlfriend?" Rinoa shouted angrily.
"Girlfriend? She is the Rose Bride, and I am the prince who won her. She is my possession, ya know!"
"Possession?" Rinoa blocked his first strike. "Does everyone who wears these rings duel to win her?"
Raijin pulled his sword back. "You don't understand anything, ya know!"
Ellone held her hand where she had been struck, listening to the exchange of words.
"Does any girl want to be treated as a possession?" Rinoa screamed before blocking another of Raijin's attacks, the wood splintering under the assault of the sharpened metal.
"Shut up!" Raijin slashed and a large portion of Rinoa's broom handle flew away. Rinoa also buckled under the power behind the strike, the tip of the blade slicing so close the front of the shirt was cut open. Raijin's eyes nearly bugged out at what he saw. "You're a girl, ya know."
"I know. I never said I was a boy!" Rinoa stood back up and held the remnants of her weapon before her. "And I won't lose to someone who hits a girl!"
"Enough!" Raijin swung again and the last of Rinoa's broom handle flew from her grasp. He raised his sword high, preparing to attack, when something launched itself into Rinoa. "Ellone!"
"You can't duel without a sword," the brunette girl whispered before planting her soft lips on Rinoa's. This caught the other girl off guard, but not as much as what happened next. When they separated, Ellone threw her head back, a light emanating from between her breasts as the handle of another sword, a real sword, began to appear from the light.
Not knowing what to do, Rinoa grabbed it, her hair exploding outward and growing as her masculine clothing melted away into a short/cape outfit, Ellone's own school girl uniform now a medieval dress.
Raijin began to swing again, but Rinoa struck first. There was an explosion of rose petals. When the last fell from the stem of Raijin's flower, he fell to his knees.
And Rinoa stood over him, her lengthened hair blowing wildly in the wind.
Rinoa sits on the floor of her dorm, going through her belongings, deciding where they should go. Then she stands ands walks to her closet, hanging dresses that have never been used. She reaches to the top and places a photo, one of a little girl with long black hair. She's sitting on a bench, held in the arms of a boy with short blond hair. Both figures are smiling.
There's a knock at the door. Rinoa answers it.
"Who is it?"
Ellone steps in, returning Rinoa's greeting. Then she sits on the bed and looks around the room. "Wow. This place is so nice, and you've just moved in."
"People usually don't come into my room uninvited," Rinoa informs Ellone.
"Oh?" the girl asks as she prepares to stand up. "Then perhaps I should leave."
Before she can move, Rinoa grabs Ellone by the shoulder and they both fall onto the bed. The overhead light goes out and the lamp beside the bed turns on. For an unknown reason, the light bulb is blue and throws a soft aura on the two women.
"No, you're not going home tonight," Rinoa says as she looks in Ellone's eyes.
"Very well, then," Ellone responds with a small smile.
A pale hand strokes Ellone's chest. Then Rinoa raises her hand to show the ring on the finger. "What is this, Ellone? What do you know about it?"
"Surely you know it's the Mark of the Rose. Those who wear it can participate in the duels."
A hand on each of Ellone's arms, Rinoa thinks aloud. "That guy… Raijin… He said that he dueled to own you. What do people get when they win you, Ellone?"
Ellone smiles and moves her hand to cover Rinoa's with the ring on it. "You're so funny, Miss Rinoa Heartilly." Then she closes her other hand over the first, clutching Rinoa.
"Please, it's just Rinoa."
"Fine then. How are you, Rinoa? I hope we get along." Then she brings Rinoa's hand to her mouth.
Blinking, Rinoa looked into Ellone's eyes. "Do you do this with everyone who wins you?"
There's a small chuckle as Ellone begins to run her hand over Rinoa's curves. "I'm the Rose Bride. I do whatever the winner of the duel asks." Their faces get even closer as Ellone leans in, her hand settled on Rinoa's hip. "You're so thin."
Lips are almost touching as Ellone lets out another soft chuckle. As if on fire, Rinoa stands up.
"Knock it off!" She turns the overhead light back on and looks down at Ellone. The girl is still lying on the bed. "That is enough. Go back to your own room."
There's a small look of shock on Ellone's face at being rebuffed, but a smile soon replaces it. She too stands up but, rather than leaving, goes to the closet that Rinoa left open. She reaches in and grabs one of the dresses. "Your outfits are so cute."
"Big deal. Does it really matter?" Rinoa questions as she walks over to the other girl.
"I think they suit you." Ellone holds one of the dresses up to Rinoa's body. Then she presses herself against the body with a sigh.
Pushing away Ellone, Rinoa manages to keep her voice level despite her anger. "I said, knock it off!"
Ellone lets go of the dress as she moves with the push, turning back to Rinoa with a smile when her momentum slows enough to allow.
"What is going on in your head, Ellone? Quit being so weird."
Rather than concentrating on Rinoa, Ellone looks past her. She looks at the photo in the top of the closet, with the raven-haired girl and the blond boy.
"You say she's weird?"
"Huh? Is this about the Prince?"
"Yes. Now the girl wears the clothes of the Prince. Then again, she still probably dreams of princes and castles."
There's a chair and painting. Both are covered with white sheets.
"You know, that reminds me." There's a girl, grey hair atop her head and a patch covering one eye. She's sitting at a desk near the painting and a chair. "I once had a prince of my own."
The sheet falls from the chair, revealing Seifer as he looks at the ceiling. "You did?"
"Unfortunately," Fujin continued as she stopped writing, staring at the blank wall before her, "my prince died. A friend from my youth was the one who did it, actually.
"The Prince liked her, you see." Fujin was now sitting on top of the desk, Seifer's head in her lap. She was cleaning his ear as she spoke. "He drowned saving her, because she was stupid enough to fall into the river. I was supposed to go steady with my prince, but he went missing instead."
Then she leaned down and blew into his ear.
"I'll never forgive her. For the rest of her life, I'll make her be the Prince.
The pool has no water, but is filled with schoolgirls. They're cleaning it religiously with mops and brushes. Slacking off, Selphie and a friend of hers pretend to sword fight with their mops.
"Cut it out, Selphie!" her friend cries. Then she back off and Selphie, caught by the power of her swing, falls to the floor.
Rinoa is at the faucet where the hoses are connected. She leans down and gets a drink from one that's free. A man, Seifer, approaches her. She leaves the water running as she turns her head in his direction.
"So, you've been chosen as a duelist, I see," he says as he runs his hand through his short hair. The sunlight catches his own Mark of the Rose.
Rinoa looks down at the ring on her finger before looking back up the Seifer. "You said that this ring is what led you to this school. Does that…" she stops and looks out at the girls cleaning the pool. "Are you trying to win her as well?"
Pushing a brush like any other girl, Ellone is oblivious to the two discussing her.
"You could put it that way," he answers.
"But why?" Rinoa asks.
Seifer smiles. "Why? Because I find her to be charming, naturally."
"Have you any idea what kind of girl she is?"
"What do you mean?"
Rinoa continues to look at Ellone, as opposed to Seifer. "She is weird."
"You don't say."
"I do," Rinoa nods. "Whenever someone wins the duel, she…"
Rinoa finds she is unable to formulate the words.
"Do you forget that she's the Rose Bride? It's only natural that she'd spend the night with the one to whom she is engaged."
Rinoa is still unable to look at Seifer. "Have you… did you ever win a duel? Did you ever do the 'engaged' thing with Ellone?"
"That's none of your business, is it?" Seifer responds smugly.
There's a grumble under Rinoa's breath as Seifer calls out Ellone's name.
Someone blows a whistle and the remaining girls begin to clean in uniform as Ellone climbs out of the pool and walks to Seifer and Rinoa.
She smiles as Rinoa kindly. "What are your plans for tonight?"
Angrily, Rinoa gets in Ellone's face. "I thought I told you last night, Ellone! I don't want anything to do with the Rose Bride!"
"Really?" Ellone asks in a voice that is pleasant yet surprised.
"It's unbelievable, isn't it, Ellone?" Seifer laughs. "The one who won you is so indifferent."
"Indeed," the girl agrees.
One of the hoses catches and blows off the faucet to which it was affixed, spraying water in the air. It lands between Ellone and Rinoa, the first of whom cries out in alarm.
"Oh dear." Seifer walks to the two girls as Rinoa wipes her face with her sleeve.
"Now we're all wet," Ellone informs her two companions.
Seifer reaches into his pocket and produces a kerchief which he uses to dry Ellone's face. Good-naturedly, he agrees with the girl. "You're bound to get wet in the pool."
Rinoa just watches the exchange silently.
"Seifer..." Ellone laughs and he joins in. Rinoa walks away.
"My sister imprisoned the Rose Prince for what reason, you ask?" a mysterious voice inquires.
Fujin paints her nails nonchalantly as Seifer listens to the voice on the other end of the line.
"Then the mob stormed us. That was something to see," the voice tells Seifer as he sits on a bed with Fujin in a room in which everything is covered by white sheets. "It was also interesting to deal with."
Fujin lifts her hand and stares at the blood-colored paint on her nails as the voice tells a fairy tale of old about witches, princes, and the like.
"My sister was in truth a witch, you see," the voice tells Seifer as the blond man stares at the sheet-covered floor. "She possessed powers of magic, but she had another secret."
"What was the secret?" Seifer asks the unknown voice.
"It was the Rose Prince. In reality, he was just the lord of the flies. My sister changed him into a Prince with her witch powers."
Seifer knelt at Fujin's feet and began painting her toes
"When my sister lost her magic, the Prince reverted back to his true form."
Fujin throws her head back with a devious smirk while Seifer continues painting her toes.
"Ah, so that's why you've set up this game: to regain her lost magic," Seifer concludes. He finishes Fujin big toes as she leans back into the bed. "However, I'll be the one to have it at the end."
Then a sheet falls off a painting over the bed. It is a portrait of Ellone in regal attire.
"What is it you're after?"
"What does "what" mean?" Zell asks his sister in turn.
The two are sitting in the bath. Xu is holding a razor blade, trimming Zell's eyebrows as the steam rises around them.
"Don't even think of hiding things from me," Xu warns. "I know you're doings things that I don't know about."
"Xu, we can't return to the garden. We can't be like we were: we can't be together. But believe me when I say that you are always going to be precious to me."
A hateful look crosses Xu's face. Water flows out of the tub and onto the floor. The curtain hiding the tub from anyone who would walk in is pulled down. Zell cries out.
With a hand over Zell's mouth, Xu holds the blade to his throat. "Traitor."
"Where is she going so late at night?"
Rinoa watches from her window as Ellone leaves the dorm. The Bride closes the iron gate behind her and wanders down the darkened street.
"…this is the Rose Bride," the pale girl reminds herself.
"When I was but a child," Seifer reminisces to Fujin, "I cut my hair because my father told me to. It was what the customer was after."
The two figures lay in the same bed in the same room in which everything was covered in white sheets. Fujin wore nothing. Her body was covered by one of the sheets as she lay next to a Seifer who was naked from the waist up.
"Customer?" Fujin inquired.
"Yes," Seifer answered. "I mean my current father. He bought me when I was rather young…
"I lost quite a few things. But because of that experience, I became able to join in the duels at this academy."
Fujin laid a hand on Seifer's chest. "You will win. I know it. And you won't lose to Quistis."
The muscles under Fujin's hand were hard, but not as hard as her eye. "She is repulsive. She believes that it's some big secret that nobody knows. But I know. I saw it."
"What did you see?"
"Surely, you must have seen that pendant that she always wears," Fujin murmured into Seifer's skin. "My picture… It's in the locket. When she's alone, she stares at it. It disgusts me.
"Somehow, a rumor got out about it. It haunts me to this day."
Seifer gave a small laugh. "I wonder who spread that rumor."
"Win the duel. Bring Quistis the punishment she deserves," Fujin asks as Seifer rolls onto his stomach. "Please?"
"I don't… I plan to win, but I can't be cruel to Quistis," Seifer tells Fujin around the pillow in his face.
"It's simple," Seifer smirks. "I'm a duelist. We have high goals."
Water drips somewhere. Two figures walk down a darkened, underground passageway.
"Do you know that this darkness leads to the world's end?" Quistis asks Zell.
"Scary…" Zell mumbles as he peers ahead. "I feel drawn in."
A red light blazes, like the reflection of an evil sun. Both stop. There's a person, hidden in the shadows, but before they can be sure that there's someone there, the form disappears.
"It's beginning," Quistis intones. "The revolution of the world."
The sound of metal on metal fills the air as a freight elevator lifts some sort of mammoth automotive monstrosity.
"Why do you duel?" Quistis asks her conversation partner as she crosses her arms.
Zell continues to look into the darkness, despite the fact that the red light has already dissipated. "Because I was chosen, of course."
The license plate on the vehicle reads: Xu.
"You could have refused," Quistis acknowledges.
"Hmm," Zell closes his eyes and lowers his head. "My wish is simple. I want more power."
"How macho," Quistis says sarcastically.
Leaning against a metal beam, Zell finds it his turn to speak. "What about you, Quistis? Nobody hates the Rose Bride more than you. Yet you continue to duel for her."
"I want power, as well," admits the blonde woman. "I want the power to be free of everything."
"What do you mean by everything?"
"…everything that constrains me."
Zell considers this before shrugging it off.
Quistis leans into him, their shoulders touching. "Did you notice that we're alone? Do we have to talk about such unromantic things?"
She puts an arm around his shoulder and pulls him close.
Footsteps echo down the passageway. Both fighters look to see who is approaching. A girl steps into what little light there is.
"Fujin…" Quistis says in surprise.
"This area is off-limits to ordinary students," Zell remarks.
The grey-haired girl apologizes. "I know that I'm not supposed to be here."
"Is there anything wrong, Fujin?" Quistis asks with a concerned voice.
Clasping her hands to her breasts, Fujin looks up at Quistis. "It's just… I was lonely. I really wanted to see you, Quistis."
"Huh?" Quistis is taken aback as Fujin reaches out and takes her hand. "Oh…"
The girl with the eye patch begins to rub the back of Quistis's hand with her free one. "You are a duelist. Right, Quistis?"
"Uh…" Quistis raises her head as she regards Fujin. "How do you know that?"
"I know a lot of things, Quistis," the girl tells her.
Quistis widens her eyes as she draws a deep breath. She reaches for her necklace with her free hand. "Like what?"
"Well, as an example, I know things about Rinoa Heartilly."
Zell finally found his moment to speak. "What is it that you know about her?"
"Well, I know that she likes Seifer. That's why she's always wearing boy's clothes. She wants to become a duelist." Fujin walks behind Quistis.
The blonde woman mulls this over for a fraction of a second. "She's playing at Prince over some guy?"
"It isn't right," Fujin agrees. "Someone like that shouldn't be allowed to have the power to revolutionize the world. Should they?"
"True, it doesn't make her terribly likable." Quistis glares at the concrete beneath her feet.
"But you'll win, won't you, Quistis?" Fujin asks as she takes a hold of the tall woman's arm. "You'll beat her."
"Yes. I'll beat her in the next duel." Quistis says through gritted teeth, ignoring the look on Zell's face.
"What constrains her…" he whispers beneath his breath as Fujin tightens her grip on Quistis's arm. "I see."
This time, it's Ellone standing at the edge of the rose garden in the sky. The streetlights below provide more illumination than one would have thought possible. The wind blows her hair into the night sky. She turns her head as someone else walks into the Garden.
"Rinoa," she says in a cautious voice. "What's wrong?"
"Tending to your roses this late at night?" the anger in Rinoa's voice matches that on her face.
Moving the golden watering can over the red flowers, Ellone speaks. "I am the Rose Bride." Then she stops and looks at Rinoa, seeing the anger bubbling beneath the surface of the pale girl. "I must have said something to upset you. What is it, Rinoa?"
"Do you really do those…? 'Things' with anyone who wins you?" Rinoa asks finally as Ellone resumes watering the roses.
"Like…are you wondering about Seifer? I wonder, is he your…"
"Shut up!" Rinoa shouts as she grabs the watering can and throws it. The clear liquid leaks out. Then she grabs Ellone by the front of her uniform. "What do you know? You! It was you, wasn't it? Seifer started acting strange because of you! It was you, wasn't it?"
Then she pins Ellone to the floor.
"It was you, wasn't it?" Rinoa tries to hold back the tears as Ellone begins to recover from her momentary disorientation. "He was there, when Father and Mother left. I thought I he would always be beside me. Only me."
As Rinoa begins to cry, Ellone lifts her head up and smells Rinoa's hair.
"He said that we'd gaze as stars together. I thought we'd be together forever."
"Stars?" Ellone wonders as she looks at the empty sky.
"There is no prince…"
Ellone sits in the field of roses. With her head in the other girl's lap, Rinoa twitches in a fitful sleep. The brunette girl strokes the other's hair. Then she stands up.
Rinoa cuddles to her own hands at the lack of someone else's comfort.
Reaching into the flowers, Ellone produces an axe. She holds it high above her head. With a determined look on her face, she swings. Water begins to spray out and the locale below loses its light as the power is cut.
When she awakes, Rinoa is wet and cold. A rose floats under her face as she lifts it out of the waters. Stars reflect from the liquid and into her eyes. She turns around, properly seeing the sky as water drips from her hair.
Then she turns around and sees Ellone. The Rose Bride has her hands behind her back and a smile on her face. Water gushes from a pipe behind her. The two women stare at each other.
Roses begin to float away from the two as they walk towards each other. In the water, Rinoa is reflected with her long hair, and Ellone wears her bridal gown. Ellone reaches out first, and Rinoa takes her hand.
They begin to dance. The sound of the falling water and their feet splashing in the water is their music.
Roses begin to fall from the garden and out on the town as the water rushes them away. Rinoa leads as the two spin through the red flowers and the reflected stars. Rinoa twirls her partner. They look into each other's eyes and both truly smile. Rinoa tightens her grip on Ellone's hand, and the brunette girl does the same as they continue to dance.
Rinoa leans into her hand in class the next day. She's deep in thought about the night before. The other students are talking and Selphie smiles as she discusses something with a random classmate.
"Listen up!" the teacher calls out. "Listen, everyone! I want you to divide into pairs and draw each other. Don't get caught in detail. Try to catch your partner's essence.
It's a nice day outside, so you can do your assignment where you like."
There was a giggle and Rinoa turned. Ellone smiled at her, drawing pad in hand.
"Ellone?" Rinoa called as the girl walked off. She followed her, calling her name for several moments until they reached an elevator.
"There's an observation deck up here," the girl explained as Rinoa huffed for breath.
"Are we allowed up here?" Rinoa asked.
Ellone looked back and smiled, as usual. "It's alright. Nobody's ever here."
"What an incredible view!" Rinoa exclaimed as she looked out at the sky. Ellone stepped up beside her. Both women stared at the horizon.
"I'm sorry about last night," Rinoa apologized as she sketched a picture of Ellone. "Thank you."
"It's just…" Rinoa found herself searching for the right words. "I got so emotional with you. But then you went and did things for me."
"Don't worry about that," Ellone assured her. "After all, I am engaged to you, Miss Rinoa."
"Ellone, please drop the 'engagement' stuff already. I'm not going to be dueling anymore." Then the raven-headed girl pulled the ring off her finger.
Ellone's smile faded and her eyes widened. "You don't like me after all, do you?"
Rinoa shook her head as she picked her drawing pad back up. "No, it's not that. I want to get close to you properly.
"After I got back to my room last night, I realized that I felt better. It caught me off guard, to say the least."
Ellone looked off to the side as Rinoa spoke.
"I wonder if talking to each other about our problems was the simple thing I needed. That's what I thought about during my rare moment of honest thought. If you don't mind, won't you open up to me a little more? I want us to be friends, Ellone. Let's not have any secrets. Like that 'Rose Bride' stuff. I mean, you don't tell me anything. Nothing about yourself…"
"Shall we switch now, Miss Rinoa?" Ellone interrupts.
Ellone sits down with the sky behind her. She has her paper and pencil ready. But Rinoa isn't.
"Um…" the pale girl mutters.
"What's the matter?"
"Can we rethink this?" Rinoa requests.
"What is the problem?"
"Do you really have to ask?"
Rinoa stands where Ellone had sat for her portrait. Her clothes lie on the bench behind her, and she holds her own oversized sketch pad in front of her body.
"It's important to capture your partner's essence," Ellone quotes their teacher. Then she turns Rinoa's words back on her. "Let's have no secrets, remember?"
"Fine" Rinoa sighs. "Is this what you want?"
She slowly lowers the pad. Then she lets it drop, exposing herself to elements and the Rose Bride. Ellone just watches and begins drawing.
"Um, now…" Rinoa breathes after a few minutes. "If I… If I'm the only one modeling… it isn't fair… Ellone."
Her diaphragm inflates and deflates as she breathes. Ellone lowers her drawing pad and looks at Rinoa. "That's true." Then she set the pad down and stands up. She pulls at the ascot around her neck.
Rinoa starts to pull on her jacket when she looks over at Ellone. The other girl's skirt falls at her feet. Her breath catches and she looks away. "You… you really don't have to…"
Her eyes spend just a few seconds on the floor, but it feels like Eternity. Then she looks up, but not at Ellone.
"Huh? Ellone…" she stares at the wall behind her. On it are several portraits. Each one is different, but that's not what catches her attention. It's what she sees when her eyes unfocus and they blend together. "These… This painting… The model… Is that you?"
"I will show you why everyone desires me, the Rose Bride."
Rinoa looks back at Ellone to see what she's talking about. Her ability to speak vanishes.
On the floor, Ellone's shadow is cast. And a beam of light hits the floor where her heart should be.
"What…" Rinoa whispers in disbelief. "This is…"
The shadows of two girls appear on a TV screen. The shadows are sitting at table like two women drinking tea or coffee would. There are no drinks.
"This is something that you'll never believe!" a voice, presumably belonging to one of the shadow-women, exclaims. "There's apparently an enormously scandalous portrait in the Headmaster's bedroom!"
"Oh, really?" a second voice, assumed to be from the other woman, declares. The shadow begins waving a hand with what appears to be a VHS tape. "Well, I've managed to obtain an even more scandalous videotape! This tape is chockfull of controversy!"
On a television set up next to the first, an image of a VCR appears with what looks like a hand inserting a tape. The first TV shows the second shadow-woman leaning forward.
"Here we go!"
Static fills the first TV set as the second goes blank. Then a foggy bog appears on screen. In the distance, the shadow of some bulky animal can be seen. There's a close-up of the animal. It appears to be a cow.
The next shot of a snout in the water as it drinks confirms that the creature is, indeed, of the bovine heritage. Its nostrils flair violently as it drinks. Suddenly, what appears to be a small bear-like creature with a red pom-pom on top of its head is caught in the power of the nostril's suction and is stuck to the cow's nostril by a powerful vacuum.
"MOO!" the cow exclaims as it attempts to shake off the small creature. Clearly seen now, the bovine has on top of its head a cowboy hat and a long, beautiful red mane. However, it's efforts are in vain. It begins running through the water. Then it collides with two elephants. One is blue and the other red. They look down on the cow.
The red one throws its trunk in the air. Then the blue one follows suit, the cow caught in its powerful grip. It lifts the cow off the ground and sends it flying through the air.
Landing on the ground, the small creature with the pom-pom on its head pops out of the cow's nostril.
The cow opens its eyes and sees the smaller mammal. It rises to its feet angrily, mooing as it does so and throwing its head about viciously. It stamps the two front hooves but the bear-like creature, with its soft and fuzzy apricot-colored fur, is not startled despite the fact that it bounces into the air a few inches by the power of the impact.
"MOO! MOO!" The cow approaches the small animal with anger sewn onto its face and radiating from every crevice. It begins to breathe heavily. "MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
With the strength of the breath, the small creature is once again sucked into the cow's nostril. It's not alone. In the other nostril is a small bird of a similar size. It has yellow feathers but the wingspan shows that it is probably incapable of flying.
The cow's face turns blue. Unable to breathe, it falls to its side in an unconscious heap. Both creatures stare at each other. The cow's glazed eyes a backdrop at they have a Mexican standoff.
The beak on the bird begins to double and then triple in size. Then the camera pulls back and shows a clip of the two animal in shadow. The bird has the pseudo-bear in its beak.
Coming back to life, the second television shows the two shadow-women while the first goes to snow.
"Is this really your scandalous videotape?"
"Oops! My bad," the second woman says as she once again leans out of view. Both women disappear as the screen returns to the image of a VCR. The tape is ejected, and a new one put in. "Now for the real controversial videotape! Here it is!"
The second TV once more comes to life while the first dies down again. However, there are lines running throughout the screen.
On said screen in the campus of Balamb Academy. There's also a red car and a man in black leather pants, a white shirt, and a black jacket with a brown fur trim.
"Ooh!" one of the voices of the shadow girls squeals. "It's acting Headmaster Squall!"
"Hola." Squall says to the camera as he rolls across the hood of the car gracefully. Seated in the passenger-side of the car is a girl with a long ponytail and a book in her arms.
"This must be back when he just got engaged to the Headmaster's daughter, the library aide!" the first woman notes as the onscreen headmaster helps the young woman out of the car.
"He's such a perfect example of a Prince," the other girl coos as Squall and his unnamed fiancée begin to dance in front of the young men and women in uniform that are identically black with gold roping on the chests, with the exception of the boys' wearing pants and the girls' skirts. "He's so young and kind and considerate. Plus, he looks really good."
Squall and his fiancée dance right up to the camera. His face takes up almost the entire screen. "Why thank you…"
The first TV once more springs to life as the first shadow-girl speaks over the rest of Squall's sentence. "Is this really a videotape?" Then it dies once more.
"A good-looking guy and his great-looking car. What a match!" the second girl declares while ignoring the question from her friend.
"Ah, but there's no key for this car, you see," Squall says to the camera. "I lost the key and now this car won't run. No worries."
He struts over, alone, and climbs into the back of a taxi. The screen goes dark for a few seconds, but then comes to life in a very similar setting. He's clearly somewhere still on the campus. He sighs contentedly and brushes his bangs from his face to reveal a large scar running between his eyes and across the bridge of his nose.
"Hola." Then he rolls over the hood of the taxi. The vehicle drives off, the camera following it part of the way until a more familiar figure can be seen. Standing off in the distance, waiting, is Ellone in a simple blue skirt and green top.
"Welcome back, Brother dear," she says in a distantly pleasant voice.
"Ah, to be home," Squall sighs.
Once more the screen is turned to black as the setting changes.
"Oh, that's right. The Headmaster lives with and takes care of his sister!" the first shadow-girl remembers. "They are truly close. Brother and Sister…"
Then the second girl decides to speak as Squall can be seen on the TV pouring two glasses of sparkling water. "However, the scandal starts…"
"Starts here!" she finally completes. The TV repeats the same scene with new sentence while closing in on Squalls face more and more each time as he turns his head toward the camera with an unreadable face.
"The surprise secret of the Rose Bride is…"
The camera goes to the two glasses, and then to Ellone. She's lying in a chair in an upright position, but sits up at the woman's voice.
Much like with Squall, the camera repeats and gets closer to Ellone's face with each new sentence. However, she looks groggy.
Then one can see something being dropped into one of the glasses of water and begins to fizz.
"Ellone? What is… this?"
"This is the Rose Bride's secret…"
Bells are ringing in the distance. The shadows of Ellone and a lonog-haired Rinoa can be seen sharing a kiss before Rinoa pulls the sword from Ellone's breast. Then the shadows of Quistis and Fujin appear. Fujin hands Quistis a sword as well, which the woman brandishes as she runs into battle.
The blades meet in the air and the sparks fly.
Rinoa and Quistis pass each other, swords held out, on an unguarded walkway high above the ground. Rinoa recovers and strikes out at Quistis. However, the tall blonde woman just smiles as she begins to parry the attacks while backing up.
Students fill every orifice of the nearby buildings to what the battle. Rinoa appears to have the upper hand, but Quistis continues to smile.
"Wow, she's good," Zell comments from a balcony just above the duel where he's standing with Seifer. "Quistis is actually on the defensive."
Ellone watches as Rinoa continues to lash out at Quistis while the blonde woman defends. Also watching, Fujin shows great disinterest. Then she turns around and wanders off.
"You're not bad," Quistis laughs confidently, as she remains in the unenviable position of having to block Rinoa's barrage. "You just might be a challenge for some of my club members!"
Striking out with a vicious blow, Rinoa puts her whole body into it. However, rather than block, Quistis dodges it and floats around the shorter, paler girl who almost stumbles into Ellone because of the inertia. However, she quickly regains her balance.
"You really don't seem to have an understanding of just what it's going to cost if you keep Prince halfway, Miss Heartilly," Quistis mocks as Rinoa readies herself and strikes again.
Again, Quistis easily doges it. Rinoa spins on her heel but is too late.
Quistis laughs once more. "The Mark of the Rose doesn't seem to be suited for you!" Then she begins to attack, with Rinoa having to put everything she has into her defense. Ellone continues to watch with a rather blank smile.
"No! I can't lose!" Rinoa grunts as Quistis drives her back.
"Do you really love Seifer that much?" Quistis inquires with a smirk while Rinoa gasps in shock. The tip of Quistis's sword almost hits Rinoa in the face, but she blocks it with the flat of her blade at the last second.
"What the? What is Quistis talking about?" Zell comments aloud. "Who is this Seifer?"
The tall blond man turns and leaves, unnoticed by the younger blond man.
"See that? That." Rinoa remembers as she is driven back by the force of Quistis's assault. "That is the Castle of Eternity."
"I haven't been in there myself. Though I hear that you can have anything in there. Eternity. Miracles. Even all the things that glow! Perhaps even your secret wish will come true, as well. That is what it means to win the Rose Bride.
"Do you still wish to toss your Mark of the Rose away?"
Rinoa's sword falls from her hands as she hits a wall and falls to the floor.
Quistis stands back up and points her sword at the one engaged to Ellone. "Are you already finished? You young little Prince?"
Rinoa breathes heavily but stands back up. Ellone gasps, as does Quistis. However, their similar reactions are for different reasons. A gloved hand picks up the sword and a young man with long brown bangs holds the blade.
Eyes wide, Ellone runs out onto the walkway. "It's…"
The young man looks out at the sky.
That smirk is still on Quistis's face. She doesn't seem to have noticed the new challenger. "Oh my, are we still playing Prince, Miss Heartilly? How brave of you!"
The young man leans forward, his blade held out behind him.
"Do you really think you can fight me with a stance like that?" Quistis asks as she raises her own sword at the man.
A swords flashes. Ellone cries out. Quistis's hair is blown back and that same wind blows away the petals on her rose. Rinoa recovers as Quistis seems to lose her own balance.
The bells ring once more.
"For a moment…" Ellone whispers under her breath as she stares at Rinoa. "You looked just like…"
Rinoa stands up and begins to suck in deep breaths of air while Quistis just looks at her sword.
Rinoa, Quistis, and Ellone all look at the ground below as a girl with a long ponytail lays on the edge of a hole, crying. There's a book at her side. "Squall! Oh, Squall!"
Young men stand around the hole, shovels in hand. It's the size of a body.
Ellone's eyes become hard. The pony-tailed girl continues to cry out the name of her fiancé, a body with a cloth over it being carried away form the scene.
"Captain, captain, did you hear?"
Three shadow-women appear on a wall illuminated by the setting sun.
"It's the Headmaster!"
The very top of the sheet falls away. Brown bangs and the tip of a scar can be seen.
"It's the Headmaster!"
"Indeed, that is the Headmaster!" the third shadow-girl agrees.
"We were wondering where you were," the first one comments as her shadow dances from the shadow of one column to that of another. "But it turns out you were taking a dirt nap!"
"We wonder how you died!" the second shadow girl says as she follows the example of her friend.
"Someone had to have buried you body," the first shadow-girl notes.
"Who did this dirty deed?" all three shadow girls say at once at they dance between the shadow poles. "Captain, captain, have you heard? Captain, captain, have you heard?"
"It's the one who owns the flowerbed," Fujin announces as she appears from behind one of the columns. The ponytail girl looks up at her from Squall's body. In her hand is a VHS tape. "The reason she tended to her roses so, were to hide her brother dead. I have proof that I must show. Watch this tape, you will know. Watch this tape, you will know."
"Hey! It's that scandalous video I found!" the second shadow-girl remarks as she and one of her friends appear from the shadow of a column behind Fujin. "Where did she find it?"
"Did Ellone do this?" Rinoa asked herself. She looked to her friend, only to find her gone. Then she began to look around to find no trace of the girl. "Ellone? Ellone?"
Rinoa took off running down the walkway. Her attention caught by the other girl's voice, Quistis looked at her, but instead saw a young man with brown hair running off.
Rinoa ran through the halls of the Balamb Academy, crying out the name of her friend. The sun set outside. With the waning darkness, long shadows began to cover the floor.
Squall stumbled onto the TV screen. He wore only his white shirt and leather pants. Falling to his knees, he begins to touch something on the floor just out of the camera's view.
"What?" he cries out as he jerks back in surprise. "You, you weren't asleep?
Continuing to run, Rinoa shouted for Ellone at the top of her voice.
Standing up, Squall backs away and out of view with nervous breaths. "How long? You have been awake for how long? Were you never asleep? Did you just pretend?"
"Don't worry, Big Brother," Ellone says as she sits up. Her long hair hides her naked back. "You are my Prince. You may do with me whatever you wish."
"Stop it! Don't talk like that. I'm not like that!" Squall shouts.
"Ellone!" Dozens of doors are open. The very last one at the end of the halls closes. Rinoa passes the open portals and stops outside the closed door.
It reads: "Visiting Room"
She pulls the door open with a cry of Ellone's name. It just reveals another passage full of open doors.
"The key. I can't find the key!" Squall slurs as he begins dumping the contents of a bedside table onto the floor.
Ellone looks up at him in confusion. "Key? What do you mean?"
"A car without its key is stuck. It goes to rust," the acting Headmaster rambles as he wanders to a dresser. "Where is the key? The key? Gah! The key!"
He pulls at his hair frantically. Everything is pushed off the dresser as he once again slouches out of the camera's view.
"Dear Brother, please calm yourself. You are the Prince," Ellone reminds Squall. "You can do anything!"
Squall returns to the screen and puts his hand on Ellone's face. He pushes her to the floor as she cries out and disappears from view, and then raises something in the air. It looks like a letter opener. "You don't understand!"
There's a tearing sound and Ellone screams.
Squall begins laughing madly as he stands up. He stumbles over to large white sheet in the background. Pulling it down, he reveals an open window. Continuing his laughter, Squall walks over to the window but doesn't stop. He shouts in surprise as he falls out the window and out of view once more.
The screen goes to snow.
Standing at the end of a hallway, Rinoa sees a single red chair at the other end. On it is a red street sign with a single white line. She's breathing heavily and looks to her right. There is another hallway with another chair. This time, the furniture houses a street sign that is blue with an arrow pointing down yet another hall.
Rinoa's shadow appears on the wall behind the chair. Then her heaving breathing is heard as she stands before it, looking down at the sign. She turns her face down the direction the arrow points. There are a couple dozen more chairs, each harnessing a sign with an arrow pointing in the same direction. There are three chairs grouped together at the end of the hall with what appears to be a small grey and black box. An open door is just to the left of the trio of chairs.
The box is in reality yet another sign. However, instead of directions, it scrolls a message electronically:
"All engaged couples, please wait in the back."
Finding herself in front of the sign, Rinoa turns and looks through the darkened door. Then she passes through the shadow closes the door behind her.
Rinoa is sitting in a simple white chair. Seifer is standing in front of her.
Looking at the floor, she speaks. "Seifer, where is she? Tell me, do you know where Ellone is?"
They are in an elevator. It begins to descend.
"Why do you ask? Why do you want to see her? Do you want to power to make miracles happen?" the blond man asks as Rinoa continues to avoid his eyes.
"Does such a power really exist?" she inquires.
"Rinoa, tell me, why do you think they hold the duels at this Academy? What is their purpose?" questions the tall man. "Everything here is built around the Prince, but there is no actual Prince to speak of. IN order to fill that void… That is why the dueling game is a necessity.
"You see, when Ellone became the Rose Bride, the Castle of Eternity appeared. …when she killed her brother, the Prince."
"That is the truth," Rinoa argues softly. "There was no actual Prince to begin with."
Seifer stares straight ahead, but the looks off as if remembering something.
Two children sit on a bench in front of the water. Both have long hair, but one is a boy and the other a girl. Boats occupied by people fill the water. The boy stands up.
"I'm starting to recall again," Rinoa says.
Seifer looks at her once more. "You are?"
"I can remember the time when we separates," Rinoa tells him. "I remember when you disappeared. Since coming here, I'd forgotten it for some reason.
"I remember a boy had drowned near out school."
Again, Seifer looks away. "Well, I suppose that had happened."
"It did," Rinoa says in an assured voice. "There was a girl. She fell off a boat and into the river."
The boy walks away while the girl sits on the bench, watching him.
"A boy jumped into the river to save her," Rinoa recalls sadly. "But he drowned instead."
Looking at Rinoa again, Seifer remains silent.
"Why did I forget that until just now?" Rinoa asks. Whether the question is aimed at herself Seifer neither know. "Until just this moment?"
Seifer looks again one more time.
"Help!" a girl cries out.
The little girl sitting on the bench gasps and stands up. "Someone! Someone, please come! Hurry!"
"Rinoa… Won't you come with me?" Seifer asks. "I'm here with you, in this moment. Right now. You're always in my thoughts. I promise that I will love you until the End of the World. Is that not enough? Let's be happy. Here."
"You said that very same thing to me back then." Rinoa smiles.
Seifer's gaze leaves Rinoa one final time.
"Oh, someone come quick! Someone!"
"That night, when I was crying by myself in the church. You held me gently. You told me how you thought of me.
He continues to look at Rinoa. Then he looks away and moves to leave.
"Wait!" Rinoa stands up. Tears line her eyes. Water begins to fill the floor, but an invisible wall seems to separate the two and only Seifer's feet become wet. A smile appears on Rinoa's face as she holds her hands up to that invisible wall. "Thank you, Seifer. You really were my Prince."
He stops in his tracks and looks back at her.
"Rinoa? What the matter? What? Oh no! A girl is drowning!"
The water splashes up around Seifer's shoulders. His jacket is wet and clinging to his frame.
"Wait! Don't go! Don't go, Seifer!"
"I must go! She'll drown! Let go of me, Rinoa!"
"But Seifer! You'll drown! Seifer? Seifer! SEIFER!"
Seifer and Rinoa lean against that invisible wall as bubbles begin to float around him. As their lips meet, his feet leave the floor. His face floats away and Rinoa still stands there with her eyes closed. Their hands are still almost touching. He drifts away from her before swimming off into the darkness.
The elevator comes to a stop. Rinoa has her head turned away and is leaning against a very solid, very visible wall. She pushes away from it and looks outward. There's a staircase on the other side of the sliding doors. It leads up to the Rose Garden.
Ellone is bent over the flowers, but stands up to see what it is that has arrived in her beautifully lonely prison. "Rinoa…"
The girl with the raven hair ascends the stairs. The wind whips at her hair and blows rose petals out into the sky.
"I finally found him, Rinoa," Ellone tell her softly as they stand together, a fragrant, floral whirlwind around them. "You are my true Prince! You are now the Prince of the Academy. Any miracle and all of Eternity are yours. As long as you stay in this world."
She takes a hold of Rinoa's hand and brings it to her breast. A light shines and the handle of a sword appears. However, Rinoa pushes it back to whence it came.
"Let's go," Rinoa smiles as she looks into Ellone's eyes. "Let's go to the Outside World."
Ellone's eyes widen as she gasps.
Rinoa grabs Ellone's hand. "Let's go!" Then she begins to run, carrying the other girl with her. However, several large, green, and furry objects slam up and around Rinoa.
Gasping once more, Ellone looks up and sees a "Wash" sign. The objects begin to spin, pulling the two girls apart.
"Rinoa!" Ellone cries out as she grabs onto a pole.
"Ellone! Let's go… to the Outside of this World!" Rinoa calls out over the noise of the brushes as they spin around her violently.
"No! I can't!"
Then their hold on one another breaks. Ellone falls back into the roses, Rinoa's Mark of the Rose in hand.
Computer screens begin to blip and the brushes seem to triple in number while compressing upon themselves with twice the strength.
Rinoa falls into a red light. A strong wind blows her clothes from her body. They are thrown out by the brushes. Seeing this, Ellone looks once more to the ring in her hand.
Lights flash around Rinoa as she is encased in what appears to a cocoon of metallic belts. Machinery comes together and locks. The Rose Garden descends from the sky rapidly. Ellone continues to watch the brushes, unable to see the gears running inside the green mass.
Water sprays. The brushes stop and hot air begins to blow. The roses blow away from the garden as it comes to a stop. The brushes separate and come to a halt as well. A light blue car pulls out where Rinoa had once been. Her name is read on the license plate. Also on the plate is a rose with a pair of white wings.
"Rinoa?" Ellone stands before the car slightly confused. "Is that you?"
Before any sort of answer can be given, though, a thick coat of rust begins to devour the vehicle.
"The Key! I can't find the key!" a nearby TV plays.
"A car without its key goes to rust."
Parts of the car begin to blow away as dust on the wind.
"Gah! The key!"
Ellone opens her hand and looks into it. Instead of seeing Rinoa's Mark of the Rose, however, the girl finds a key with the rose emblem at the end. She sits in the decrepit seat and inserts the key into the rusty ignition.
"Let's go, Rinoa. To the Outside World."
She turns the key. The engine starts and the rust blows away, revealing the car in the pristine condition it had arrived in. Rubber burns as they pull away.
Words flash by on the road as they pass:
"…You Will Die."
Then a light envelops them.
"Hi everyone! Are you guys all out cruising?" a voice crackles from the radio. "This is Zone…"
Together, the two shadow women make an announcement over the radio. "We're bringing you exclusive live coverage!"
"Today's main event is about to start!"
"Currently, Ellone is in the lead!"
"Of course she is! There's only one car, so only makes sense that she'd be in the lead!"
"Shush! They're not supposed to know that!"
"Extra! Extra! A black car is gaining from behind!"
Ellone adjusts her rearview mirror to see that, indeed, a dark vehicle is following her. The license plate reads: "Fujin."
"She's fast!" one of the shadow-girls on the radio gasps in shock.
The black car pulls up beside Ellone and Rinoa. The driver looks over and sees that the new vehicle is unoccupied.
"Surprised?" Fujin's voice laughs from the black car. "You are making a big mistake if you think that you're the only one who can turn into a car. As you can see, I'm a car now, too."
Then the steering wheel in Fujin's car turns sharply and the vehicle slams in Ellone's ride. The Rose Bride gasps as her knuckles turn white by the sheer pressure of her grip on Rinoa's steering wheel.
"She plays rough," the radio narrates as Fujin continues to slam into Rinoa.
"I won't let you be the only one that escapes this world," Fujin threatens as she slams into Rinoa again and again, denting the other girl's frame. Then she manages to push Rinoa away so that she has a stretch of road to herself. "The only one who deserves to escape from this world is beautiful me." Yellow traffic cones begin to hit Fujin but she ignores them. "Me. Me. Me. Me!"
Then she collides with a concrete medium and goes flying past Rinoa and Ellone. However, the other girls soon pass her broken form as she catches fire and then explodes.
"Oh well," the radio announces. "The black one just crashed."
"Ellone is in the lead again."
Thousands of small red lights, like eyes, flare up and begin to fill the road. They are attached to their own ebony automobiles.
"What's going on?" one of the shadow girls asks. "The black cars are now increasing in number!"
"You know that bad things come in packs."
Fujin's license plate is run over once, twice, innumerable times as her fiery wreckage is passed by the new vehicles. There are literally thousands of them.
"Well, their definitely increasing in number."
"There are so many of them!"
"I've never seen a swarm this large!"
"Where did they come from?"
Rinoa and Ellone pull into a tunnel with the myriad of black cars in close pursuit.
"Hello?" the radio asks as it fades in and out. "Did you go into a tunnel?"
Then it stops.
Ellone looks up in surprise as the cars begin to defy the laws of gravity and drive on the walls and ceiling of the tunnel, passing Rinoa and her. When they get far enough ahead, the cars simply fall from the ceiling and crash into the road. Crying out, Ellone plows through them as Rinoa begins to take a lot of serious damage.
The cars continue to fall, this time directly onto Rinoa, breaking her lights and snapping off a mirror in addition to heaping the damage onto her frame.
Rinoa is barely moving, little more than a skeleton of a car. Ellone looks at the speedometer in fear. "What's wrong? I can't get any speed."
The cars on the ceiling begin to disperse. Looking up, Ellone gasps as she sees what could easily be twenty of the black autos melded together into one gigantic car driving right over them. She begins to cry in out in fear.
"No! I can it do it alone!" Ellone leans forward onto the steering wheel. The large vehicle then hits the brakes and begins to fall. "Rinoa!"
A rope flies out and latches onto Rinoa's axle, pulling her and Ellone out of danger in the nick of time.
"Huh?" Ellone looks up to see that Quistis, Raijin, and Zell were the ones who rescued them. Zell waves while Raijin smirks. Quistis is driving but offers a smug look back.
"We have reception again." The radio flares to life. "We can finally resume our broadcast."
"What do you know? It looks like the problem was taken care of while we were out."
"Friendship saved the day!"
Rinoa pulls up beside the others after they escape the tunnel and undo the rope. Zell leans forward. "Ellone, you can get onto the left bypass about a mile up ahead!"
Looking at him, Ellone widens her eyes and blinks. "But why?"
"Better listen to him," Quistis advises with a knowing smile. "You're headed for the Outside World, aren't you? Come now, Ellone, surely you would know by now that high goals attract good company."
"Yes, that is true," Zell agrees. "I know that you can make it and find the Outside, Ellone. We all plan on following you path eventually."
"Yeah," Raijin nods his head. "And when we do meet, I'll be there to seduce you, ya know."
Then the three pull away to the other side of the rode and disappear behind a wall of concrete. Rinoa and Ellone continue to traverse down the highway.
"Good work," a shadow-girl congratulates. "You should be able to see the exit soon."
"Exit?" Ellone asks. "To the Outside World?"
"Yes!" the other shadow-girl confirms. "Not that we've seen it ourselves. But it should still be close by."
"Wait, we have a visual of something!" the other shadow-girl cuts in.
"What is this?" The first shadow-girl sounds surprised. "Is it a castle? Is that the landmark for the exit?"
Rinoa cruises by a small stretch of fencing, and when she leaves it behind small glowing spires can be seen in the distance. More fencing goes by, and they vanish, only to reappear in closer proximity when the next bit of fencing is passed. The castle seems to grow impossibly close as Rinoa chugs along.
Then it pulls up beside them on its insanely large wheels. It turns out the Castle of Eternity is really an insanely large vehicle that dwarfs Rinoa like an adult would an ant.
"It's a trap!" the radio advises. "That's not the exit! Run!"
Chewing up the road, the Castle passes Rinoa and Ellone. The Rose Bride looks up at the mammoth in bewilderment. Then she also notices that the black cars are once more on her tail.
"You'll see a bypass to the left in a mile," the radio tells Ellone.
"Pull off up there and come back to our world."
Ellone looks forward with a determined look on her face. "I'm not running anymore."
Ellone stares at the mass of tires belonging to the castle directly ahead of her. "The exit must be right there."
"What gives you that idea?"
Narrowing her eyes, Ellone looks like she is finally doing what she wants. "Let's go, to the Outside World."
A red cape flies out from various holes in Rinoa's frame and covers her body. And when it flies away, she's completely restored. Ellone hit's the gas and flies under the Castle's wheels, the cars in hot pursuit. With the walls of metal and rubber flying around them and the black cars behind, Ellone listens to the girls on the radio debate.
"Extra! Extra! Now scanning the inside of the obstacle ahead! There are countless tires roaming withing. It seems the tires are there to crush any intruders from the outside."
"Oh my! There's no way to get through there!"
"They sure have a tough job."
Ellone pounds on the brakes and the gas alternately, not even taking the time to notice the other cars getting smashed.
"Extra! Extra! The exit is near! Commencing countdown!"
Cheers can be heard on the radio. However, wheels like those on a tank catch Rinoa and attempt to prevent the two from moving any further. They start to move in, crushing Rinoa, but Ellone stays firm and just pushed down on the gas pedal. The glass of Rinoa's windshield explodes and Ellone's hair begins to fly in the wind.
While this is going on, a man can be seen walking down the road as a leisurely pace. He has brown bangs that hang in his face. A scar runs between his eyes and down the bridge of his nose. He's wearing black leather pants, a white shirt, and black leather jacket with a fur collar.
"My brother?" Ellone asks herself.
"That's right," Squall says as he place his hands on the tops of the alleged wheels that are crushing Rinoa. "Your Prince is here. You don't have to be afraid any longer. Come back… to that closed world… where you can be a living corpse." He holds a hand out for Ellone to take.
"My condolences," Ellone retorts as she ignores his offer. "You could only be a Prince in that world. But… Rinoa and I are leaving. For the outside world."
Squall narrows his eyes with a dark grin. "Please don't. Or you'll find yourself at the End of the World."
"Yes," Ellone agrees, "that may be, but we… We are going of our own free will. Goodbye, Brother, you are no longer my Prince."
"I see," Squall smirks at Ellone and Rinoa. "That's too bad. But you'll have to continue to be Princesses back there. It's easy. You just need to be a living corpse."
Then he moves his hands out and begins to push the wheels in on Rinoa and Ellone. In response, Ellone pushes the gas to the floorboard. Her eyes never waver. "Grant me the Power…"
The wheels begin to fall apart, and the Castle and Squall vanish into a cloud of roses as Ellone and a once-more human Rinoa fly through the petals.
"…to Revolutionize the World!" the naked girls scream together. They zoom down the remainder of the road on the remainder of what had been Rinoa's car form.
The sky is nothing but dark clouds. The ground is twisted metal and broken concrete. This is the path that Rinoa and Ellone must traverse.
"So, we're now headed into a road without worlds," Rinoa notes without needing to speak.
"Perhaps we won't be able to make it there," Ellone agrees just as silently. She reaches out and takes the other girl's hand. "Rinoa. I understand now. We were both born in the Outside World."
"Then we're returning to the place we came from," Rinoa muses with a smile. "I understand that, too. Why you sought me out, and why I didn't reject you. We were together in killing the Prince."
"That's right," the radio's shadow-girl interrupts. "Yours is now a world without roads."
"But you can always build new roads," her friend chips in.
"That why we must go," Rinoa tells Ellone. "As we travel the world will get bigger by that much, I'm sure."
They stare into each other's eyes. Ellone blinks and they move closer together. Then both girls close their eyes and their lips meet. Their legs are intertwined. Rinoa's hand is on Ellone's naked hip while Ellone holds Rinoa's nude back. Their long hair flies out behind them as they begin to build their first of the new roads.
A rose petal blows through the sky, and where it passes the sunlight begins to break through.
A/N: Let me just say that whether you found this to be good, bad, or just dreadful, it is nowhere near the level of awesome that is the actual Revolutionary Girl Utena Movie, nor FFVIII itself. So go experience those for yourselves. (Although you obviously know the latter already. XD)