Juri was standing inside of the rose garden while holding her locket which was opened, revealing the same girl that hurt Juri in the past.
"Believe in miracles…" Juri closed her locket before she looked up at the ceiling and closed her eyes, holding the locket in her right hand. "and they will know your feelings."
Flashes of the girl from Juri's past started to appear in her mind. 'You're so cruel.' Juri thought before opening her eyes. 'The miracle never happened.'
An image of the girl holding an orange rose to Juri appeared in her mind. "You must hate me for what I've done."
A petal from an orange rose fell off from the rose and fluttered its way down to Juri, gently brushing itself against her right hand before continuing down to the ground.
"Yes." Juri looked down with a sad look in her eyes. "I do hate you."
What she didn't know was that Anthy was standing by the door that was barely opened and she was staring at Juri's back.
"Next!" Juri shouted.
Saya was in the fencing room with Utena, Anthy, and Chu-Chu, watching Juri beat every one of her opponents with no hesitation.
Everyone in the fencing room was clapping after Juri beat her opponent. "Wow! The captain's incredible!" One of the members exclaimed.
"Her movement when she goes for a touché is amazing!"
"Next!" Juri shouted again before her next opponent stepped forward and the match started.
Saya couldn't help but noticed something about Juri's moves. 'Look at her moves. Her fencing's reached a new level.' She thought as Juri defeated her opponent. 'Juri's gotten even better.'
While everyone was watching Juri's match, they didn't noticed a girl appeared, walking up to the second floor where Saya, Utena, Anthy, and Chu-Chu were watching the matches from.
Juri ended the match when she used her sword to fling her opponent's sword up in the air and landing right next to Anthy.
Everyone clapped as Juri took off her helmet and glared at Miki, who also took off his helmet. "You're wide open! That's not like you!" She shouted.
"Right. Sorry." Miki said.
"All right? I'm letting it down now." Anthy shouted, catching everyone's attention towards her. Anthy was holding Miki's sword over the rails for one of the fencing members to catch it.
"Alright!" The member held his arms up, ready to catch the sword.
Anthy let go of the sword. "Here!"
The member caught it and said, "Thank you!"
Juri noticed the girl standing a few inches away from Saya and her eyes widen. The girl had short burgundy hair and violet eyes and she was smiling at Juri. But Juri didn't smile back at her; she just turned her back towards her and walked away. The girl was hurt by Juri's actions and looked down with sad eyes.
"Okay, let's do our individual practice routines." Juri ordered to the fencing members.
"Right! Yes, Captain." Everyone started to practice just as Juri ordered.
Saya and the others looked to their right and noticed the sad girl. The girl looked up and turned to the left to see them. Saya bowed her head to the girl along with Utena and the girl bowed her head back.
"So, used to be friends with Juri, huh?" Utena asked the girl.
The girls and Chu-Chu were sitting inside the girl's dorm room. Saya was sitting on top of the girl's desk, Anthy was sitting in a chair, Chu-Chu was sitting on top of Anthy's head, Utena was sitting on top of the bed, and the girl was sitting on top of her suitcase.
"Yes. My name's Shiori Takatsuki." The girl, Shiori, introduced herself. "I went to Ohtori up until middle school. I had to transfer to another for a while, though. I just transferred back in and started living in the dorms today. I'm sort of a returning prodigal daughter. Glad to meet you."
"Sure, it's a pleasure." Utena said as she bowed.
Saya and Anthy bowed to Shiori before Anthy looked up at Chu-Chu, who was smiling, and said, "He's glad to meet you, too."
Shiori giggled as Utena pushed Chu-Chu's head, making him bow to Shiori. "How do you do?"
"So, have you known Juri for a long time, Shiori?" Saya wondered.
"Yes, I have. We were more than childhood friends. Juri and I really grew up together." Shiori leaned her arms by the window next to her and looked out at the opened window. "Juri was always so wonderful. So strong, so imposing."
Utena laughed and said, "Yeah, I can almost see that."
"She always protected me. Juri was my only friend. She was the only person I could ever depend on with all my heart." Shiori looked down with a sad look on her face. "But now I don't deserve any of that."
Saya noticed the look on Shiori, the look of regret. "Shiori?" Saya called out.
Shiori snapped out of her trance and smiled. "I'm so embarrassed! I never meant to say any of that! I don't have a roommate, so please come visit me again."
Saya smiled and said, "Sure thing. We'll see you around." Saya got up from her seat and walked out the door with Utena, Anthy, and Chu-Chu on Utena's shoulders following her.
As they walked down the stairs, Saya stopped walking and turned her head towards the opened window of Shiori's dorm room. 'I wonder what she did to Juri?' She wondered.
Mamiya was standing by an opened glass case with his hand gently brushing against the orange rose petal. The orange rose was standing straight up in the middle of water. Suddenly, his finger was pricked by the rose's thorn, causing it to bleed.
He pulled his hand back up as Mikage appeared out of nowhere and stood by Mamiya. "I said to be careful, didn't I? A rose may be most beautiful when it blooms, but that's also when its thorns are most dangerous." Mikage stated.
Mikage gently held Mamiya's injured hand and placed his lips on Mamiya's pricked finger, causing Mamiya to twitch a bit.
Mikage pulled away from Mamiya's finger and looked at him. "You did it on purpose." He stated.
Mamiya smirked before turning his attention to the rose. "We need this rose's thorns, don't we?"
"With rose thorns more beautiful and more dangerous than anyone else, we'll defeat Utena Tenjou."
"But how will we harvest the thorns? You saw what happens if we carelessly try touching it." Mikage said as he gently massage Mamiya's finger.
"That's simple. The rose has natural parasitic enemy."
Mikage turned his attention to the rose. "We use the parasite's poison, then? Will it work on this rose, though?"
"Things are already set to go."
The student council was having a meeting about what happened to Miki on the day that Kozue received a black rose and a black rose crest ring. Nanami and Saya were standing by Miki who was sitting in a chair while Juri was standing off to the sides, deeply in a trance.
"So, you're saying your sister pulled a sword out of you?" Nanami asked as she was reading the report that Miki filled out.
"Exactly. And when she did it, she was wearing a Black Rose Crest ring." Miki added.
"I see. Now, your report mentions that a third party aside from the student council is after the Rose Bride." Nanami said.
"Yes, that is right."
"I can't believe it." Nanami said.
"It's the truth! And they're obviously a definite threat!"
Nanami turned her attention towards Miki and asked, "Besides that, they caught you, a member of the student council, completely off guard, didn't they?!"
"Well!" Miki looked down. "I wasn't expecting it."
Nanami had Miki's stop watch and did the same thing he always does with it. "Hey, you always do this with the watch. What's it mean, anyway?"
Miki looked up and asked, "Is this hearing over?"
"Oh, oh, by the way…" Nanami walked towards Miki and leaned towards him with a smile. "What did it feel like?"
"What do you mean?"
"What do you think?! I bet it hurt."
Saya's and Miki's eyes widen as their entire face turned completely red. "N-Never mind that, Nanami! The real question is, how do we respond to this?!"Saya exclaimed.
Miki turned towards Juri and asked, "Miss Juri, what do you think?" But no response came from her. Everyone noticed that Juri was still in her own trance. "Miss Juri?" He called.
Juri snapped out of her trance and said, "Y-You're right."
"Juri…" Saya said but she was cut off.
Juri turned around and said, "I'm sorry. You'll have to excuse me for today." Juri walked out of the room and entered the elevator.
Saya was starting to worry about Juri. She noticed that ever since Juri saw Shiori in the fencing room, Juri was acting a bit weird. She seemed to be spacing out more than usual and she always had her hand on the top of her chest where her locket lies.
'I hope Juri is okay.' Saya thought to herself.
While the elevator was making its way down to the floor Juri was going to, she pulled out her locket and stared at the picture of Shiori as memories of Shiori and the guy flashed in her mind.
"You've always been first in his thoughts, Juri." Shiori's voice said through Juri's head. "But I have no regrets about taking him from you. You must hate me for what I've done."
Juri tucked her locket away as the elevator made it to its stop and opened the doors. She stepped out and walked out to the courtyard of the school.
"Juri!" A familiar voice called out.
Juri stopped and turned around to see Shiori walking towards her.
"There's something I want to talk to you about." Shiori said as a few kids from the elementary school were running past them.
Juri didn't say anything and walked away from Shiori.
"Wait! Please, Juri! Please!" Shiori pleaded her eyes were at a point of breaking into tears.
Shiori was able to convince Juri to listen to her. They went up to the balcony at one of the buildings. From there, Shiori explained to Juri what happened between her and the guy that she 'stole' from Juri.
"In the end, we broke up, but…the fact that I stole him away from your remains." Shiori looked up at Juri. "You'll never forgive me for it, will you? Still…I still think how nice it would be to go back to the way it was."
Shiori walked up towards Juri and stood beside her as she looked down at the students below. "I felt that way the minute I got back here. This school is so full of memories. Those were happy times. With you and me and him…"
"Is that all you have to say to me?" Juri asked, making Shiori gasp slightly. "If so, then excuse me." Juri turned around and walked away.
Before Shiori could stop her, a black and white bird with an orange beak flew past her way and slammed itself against the window; causing Juri and Shiori to look at the bird who tried to move its wings.
"I'll just say this." Juri said, causing Shiori to look at her. "I have no feelings for him at all. Not now and not then, either."
"You mean?!" Shiori exclaimed.
"Yes. I never loved him. That's why I don't have any hard feelings for you now." Juri turned back around and was about to leave Shiori in her shocking state.
"But then…Whose picture do you have in that locket? You keep it hidden under your shirt, even now!" Shiori shouted.
But she got no answer, instead Juri just walked away from Shiori who looked down at the now dead bird.
Juri walked down the stairs from the balcony she was just at but stopped at a step when she noticed Utena standing at the end of the stairs.
"It's you?" Juri said before continuing down the stairs.
"That was Shiori you were talking to up there, wasn't it?" Utena asked.
"And what if it was?" Juri asked as she met Utena at the end of the stairs.
"I don't know what the details are, but how about forgiving her? She's a nice girl, you know? You used to be friends, didn't you? She really seems to trust you."
Juri slightly smiled as she said, "You're just like Shiori." Juri looked down and lost her smile. "So cruelly innocent."
"What do you mean?"
Juri turned towards Utena and glared at her. "Listen! This is none of your business!" She yelled before walking away.
Utena glared at Juri's back. "What's with her?!"
"Please forgive her, Utena." Utena turned around and saw Saya standing behind her. "Juri's been acting strange today. Don't take it too personal."
"Saya!" Utena kicked the last step of the stairs. "Juri is so narrow-minded! I mean, she didn't have to speak to me like that!"
"I completely understand, but just think about where Juri is coming from. Such innocence can hurt other people. You need to be careful about that." Saya explained.
"You kind of sound just like her." Utena stated.
"Everyone has something they rather not let other people touch, something very precious to them; think of my brother for example. He tries to make sure that no boy worthy of me will ever come near me without his approval." Saya said sadly.
"I guess that's life."
"The parasite's poison has begun to circulate through the noble rose." Mikage stated as he and Mamiya watched the orange rose in the opened glass case slowly turned black.
"And soon the rose will produce its thorns for us." Mamiya added.
Very early in the morning, Juri was sitting by the pond with her locket out from her shirt. She also had a sad look on her face as she was thinking.
She put her hands behind her neck and unlocked her locket, pulling it away from her neck. She stood up and threw it into the pond.
'Not throwing your picture away was my weakness. But I don't believe in miracles!'
Shiori was making her way towards her dorm room when suddenly, her door opened on its own. She was confused as to why or how her door did that. She heard giggles from the floor below her, causing her to turn her head and looked down at them. She was asking herself if they were trying to scare her or something.
Shiori turned her attention to her door and walked up a few steps and slowly peeked inside her dorm room to see if there was anything that shouldn't be there.
She walked inside her room, closing the door behind her. She looked around and asked herself, "That's strange. Did someone come in before?"
Suddenly, she heard a crash. She gasped and turned to see that her vase of orange roses tipped over, spilling the water from the vase in the process.
Shiori was thinking to herself that maybe the wind blew it over since she left her window opened. She picked up the vase and gently put it back in its spot before she noticed something in the small puddle of water. Standing in front of her was Juri's deserted locket.
She picked the locket up in hand. "This is…This is Juri's!"
Shiori was sitting down on the stool with her head down and was clutching something in both of her hands.
"I've hated Juri since we were children. She's talented, beautiful, popular with everyone. I was jealous of Juri. That's right. I did love him, but I also wanted to take something precious away from her! That's all I wanted. And so…And so…" Shiori said.
"Deeper. Go deeper." The voice in the room urged her.
Shiori looked up and stared at the mirror that was in front of her. "It's not that!"
She looked down and said, "Juri was always so kind to me. But she was just making a fool of me! I thought she was being kind to me out of sympathy for not being as great as she was! That's what I thought. It seemed so pathetic! That's why I wanted to change the relationship we had. But what I did with him made me feel even more pathetic than before! I thought I wanted him for me! But now…Now, she and I are equal!"
Shiori laughed a bit and said, "No, I've beaten her! I'm the one who's always been there in her heart!" She opened her hands and revealed Juri's locket. "I've beaten her in the end!"
She opened the locket and stared at the picture of herself with some of the water leaking from the locket, trailing down her arm.
She giggled and held the locket in her hands again. "Oh, what to do. Knowing my friend's secret makes me so happy I can't stand it! I can just see her, along and miserable, looking at my picture. Poor Juri. Poor, pathetic Juri."
Her eyes started to widen before she suddenly jumped out of the stool, dropping the locket in the process.
"It's no use! It's just no use!" She shouted at the top of her lungs as she backed away from the locket. "Why do you look at me like that?! Why?! Why does it have to be this way?!"
Just then, the room went pitch black. "I understand. Your only choice is to revolutionize the world. The path you must take has been prepared for you." Mikage said standing in front of Shiori, who was sitting at the corner of the room.
"Where are we?"
Juri was standing in the middle of a room when she heard soft footsteps. She turned towards the door and saw Shiori walking towards her.
"Shiori? Oh. What do you want now?" Juri asked coldly.
Shiori pulled out the locket and held it up to her face. "Here. I believe this is yours."
Juri gasped. "Where did you get that?!" She asked as she tried to take it away from Shiori, but she pulled away. "Then, you saw…inside."
"If you'd asked, I would have given you a nicer picture." Shiori said.
Juri slightly gasped and looked away from Shiori.
Shiori walked closer to Juri. She gently placed a hand on the side of her face, making her look towards Shiori. "So pretty. I love that look in your eyes when I hurt you."
"Shiori. Don't push me."
"I always thought you were stronger than anyone and yet now you seem so weak." Shiori said as she moved her hand from Juri's face to her chest.
Juri was surprised when she noticed Shiori was wearing a black rose crest ring, the same one Kozue and Kanae wore.
Suddenly, Juri started to a feel a burning pain coming from her chest, causing her to push Shiori away who was smirking down at her.
Juri screamed as a light began to come out, revealing a handle of a sword. The sword moved on its own and Shiori pulled the sword out of Juri's body, causing the now unconscious Juri to fall on the floor.
Saya was on her way home when she heard the duel bells ringing through the air.
"Not again…" Saya rushed to the dueling arena as fast as she can and up the balcony. She pulled out her opera-glasses to see rows of desks with black and white birds with orange beaks on top of a stand; she also noticed that each bird was facing a different direction.
"I shall win this duel and then kill the Rose Bride!" A voice said. Saya and Utena noticed Shiori, in a duelist outfit, in a familiar stance with a familiar sword. "Upon this Black Rose, I do swear!"
"Oh no, they got Juri too…" Saya muttered when she recognized Juri's Rapier.
"Why are you?!" Utena wondered.
"This is me. The real me! Not the pathetic loser who cowered in the shadow of Juri's brilliance! The real me, lost in that brilliant glare. Yes. The one who controls Juri is me!"
"Rose of the noble castle. Power of Dios that sleeps within me. Heed your master and come forth!" Anthy leaned back slightly as the bright light on her chest began to glow.
Anthy leaned into Utena's arms; a handle of a sword came out of their chest. "Grant me to power to bring the world revolution!" Utena shouted and pulled the sword out all the way and got into a fighting stance.
Shiori charged at Utena with her sword but was blocked easily; their sword collided with each other. Shiori and Utena blocked each other's attacks with their swords.
Utena and Shiori were running as Utena asked, "Why do this?! I thought you loved Juri!"
"Because now I see!" Shiori yelled.
Utena stopped running. "See what?!"
Shiori went for an attack towards Utena, but Utena barely dodged it. Shiori was putting pressure on her sword. "I see that Juri isn't the person everyone thinks she is!"
Utena got away from Shiori and they both got into a stance. "And that I'm stronger than I thought I was!" Shiori added.
"What do you mean?!" Utena shouted.
Shiori ran towards Utena and clashed her sword with Utena's sword. Utena was able to back away from Shiori.
"Those moves…They're exactly like Juri's!" Saya said.
Shiori giggled and said, "Looks like you've figured it out!" She got into a stance. "But, for you, THIS IS THE END!" She charged towards Utena.
Utena charged towards Shiori and cut the black rose off.
As the bells ring, all of the desks formed a square at four corners and all of the birds flew away. Shiori held her head, screaming in pain before falling on top of one of the red and black body outline on the floor and fell asleep.
Saya sighed in relief and said, "It's over…for now."
Suddenly, she gasped when she remembered something. "Oh god! Juri!" She turned around and ran her way towards the school.
"Another failure." Mikage scoffed, looking at the crypt being pushed into the oven. "But the parasite's venom is effective. Another opportunity to use it will come."
Juri woke up and noticed that it was night time. She slowly sat up and looked down to see that her locket was by her side.
"Juri!" A voice called out.
She looked up to see Saya standing in front of her and out of breath. Saya walked up to Juri and fell to her knees before bringing Juri into her arms. "Thank goodness. You're all right." Saya said in relief.
Juri slowly brought her arms up and wrapped them around Saya, hugging her back.
The next day, Juri and Saya were walking side by side outside of the school.
"Juri, are you sure you are well enough to be in school?" Saya asked.
Juri laughed and said, "Yes, Saya. For the hundredth time, I'm fine."
"Well, you can't be too careful."
Before Juri could say anything, they heard a lot of laughing. They stopped walking and look up to see Shiori, being her normal self, and three girls walking together carrying their instruments and music books.
"Oh, Shiori, come on!" One of the girls exclaimed.
"Why'd you break up with your old boyfriend, anyway?"
"You wanna know?" Shiori wondered.
"Of course we do!"
Shiori giggled. "Should I tell you?"
'Shiori may appear to be a whole different person. But she didn't change one bit. Poor Juri.' Saya thought to herself as the girls and Shiori were getting closer to her and Juri.
"Oh, no you don't!"
"Share your experience with us!"
Shiori notices Saya and Juri. She smiled and said, "Hi there, Juri, Saya!"
Juri gave a small smile and said, "Hi." Saya just gave a small wave before she and Juri continued their walk, walking past Shiori and the girls.
"So then what happened?"
Shiori turned towards one of the girls and said, "So I said this to him. 'What the hell are you doing?!'"
"Does that make me a brute?" Shiori wondered.
"Nah, the jerk deserved it!"
"Yeah, that's right!"
'And once again, you've come back to me.' Juri thought as she placed her hand on top of her chest, where her locket is placed at once again. 'Even after I was able to let you go once…Why can't I be stronger?'