Summary: Once upon a time, many years ago, Anthy Himemiya met a young girl who swore to save her. Later, Utena Tenjou arrives at Ohtori.



Anthy climbed the steps to the dueling ground, stairs leading her in a spiral, rising towards the sky. She wasn't quite sure who Master Saionji was dueling today, but she was certain that it wouldn't be Juri Arisugawa or Miki Kaoru. That meant that the combatant would have to be either Touga Kiryuu or a duelist she hadn't yet met. Touga seemed a likely candidate, if only because he and Master Saionji had argued earlier in the day. An argument about the rules of the Rose Seal, no less.

She reached the large platform, moving to stand silently next to Master Saionji. He spared her a contemptuous glance before returning his gaze to the stairway. Anthy busied herself with preparing two roses for use in the duel. Master Saionji always used a green rose, in a hue that almost matched the color of his long, wavy hair. Her fingers hovered above a bright red rose the color of blood, then hesitated.

No. Red wasn't right.

Anthy moved on, bypassing the orange and blue blossoms, and coming to a halt in front of a white flower. Yes, this was the one. The new duelist would wear a white rose. She picked the flower gently and returned to Master Saionji's side.

"Arrogant, cowardly fool. Arriving late to a duel, the nerve!"

A quiet clatter on the stone that made up the arena brought Anthy's attention to the decorated wrought-iron-and-stone archway. The first detail of the new duelist she registered was the shocking pink hair. Unusual hair colors weren't exactly, well, unusual at Ohtori Academy, but she had expected pale hair, to match the rose she was holding. This was a trend that seemed to occur in duelists, and, in fact, this was the first time she had seen someone whose hair didn't match their rose.

The next thing she noticed was her clothes. She was dressed in a uniform that consisted of a jacket and shorts, much like the boys in younger grades wore, but the design and color was something previously unseen. Distantly, she wondered how the old, persnickety guidance counselor had allowed it, but quickly banished the thought.

Lord Saionji stepped forward and exchanged words with her.

"Anthy! Prepare us!"

She stepped forward and pinned the teal rose to his breast pocket, and turned toward the girl.

"Anthy Himemiya? Why are you here?"

"It's the bride's place to be here, so she's here."

"The bride?"

Anthy attached the white rose, lingering slightly.

"If the rose is knocked off your chest, you lose the duel."

She looked up, into strangely familiar blue eyes that shone brightly. Anthy smiled, recognizing where she'd seen them.

So it was her.

"I wish you luck, Utena."

She was finally here.