I study Utena as she sleeps, chest gently rising up and down. This girl…Understanding her is so hard and yet so easy at the same time. She is so innocent and pure-minded. Her intentions are so noble and heroic. She wants to save me from the life I live, the life of the rose bride. She wants to help anyone in need of assistance, or anyone she deems in need of assistance.

She's so much like Dios. The Dios I loved, not Akio Ohtori. Akio…I can never love Akio Ohtori, or anyone ever again. The world is too vile, and I am too vile. I am the rose bride. I am to be used by whoever I am engaged to. The will of these puppets is my will as long as I am engaged to them, but I know the bigger picture whilst they remain ignorant. So utterly ignorant. It sickens the tiny sliver of me that still dreams of living for myself. The minute corner of my souls that longs to be free from this torment and pain I'll never stop enduring.

Utena is the closest a duelist has ever come to knowing my pain. She alone has recognized that I'm not a totally mindless doll. In fact, she's brought some life back into me. Her genuine friendship that reaches out for me, her likeness to Dios, her resolve to become a prince. All of it has touched a little part of me I thought couldn't be touched, and I feel more like a person than I have in a very long time. It's so painful.

Feeling things is agony. I'm so phony. I'm so vile and this game is so corrupted. Utena doesn't understand. She can't understand and I can't explain it to her. This pain of mine…She senses it, but she has no idea how deep it goes. And my pain is just the beginning of things she does not understand. Despite this, I find myself pitying her. Though I'll never love anyone again, Utena Tenjou is someone I could have loved once upon a time.

I know she loves me. She genuinely cares for my well being, perhaps more than she cares about anyone else. Anyone except for Akio, that is. My brother has charmed his way into the depths of her heart (silly Utena, you claim to be a noble prince but you fall in love as easy as any other adolescent girl). She's giving me a taste of true friendship, a bond so familiar to the one I held with Dios all those years ago. And so I pity her, and I feel guilty for what's going to happen to her.

A few times I've tried to tell Utena the truth, I really have. She's so different to me…It's so different, the way that her genuine kindness can brush a soul as twisted as mine. In the morning, when I open my eyes the first time and things are still hazy and unreal, I like to pretend that Utena really is my prince. She plays the role so well that even I can pretend for a little while. But reality is harsh. In reality, Utena is a reckless girl swept up into a wicked game. Though she wants to play the noble prince and save me, I will play my role as the rose bride. I will betray her, and Akio will crush her.

"Utena," I murmur softly to her sleeping form, the words scarcely audible to my own ears. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry…Don't forgive me."