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Gougai! Gougai!

Hey I know you have opinions, put them in here! Translation suggestions for episodes 25-39, thanks all for your help!

ALSO!!! After the Revolution is now translated, scanlated, and ready for consumption! Thanks to everyone that's helped out! Ayu, you're awesome. Download here!

#26 | Back to Top06-02-2012 08:06:47 AM

Honey Bear
Sunlit Gardener (Prelude)
From: England
Registered: 08-01-2011
Posts: 173
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Re: [Fanfic][2012]Seinen Kakumei Utena: yes, it's the actual fic itself

Read the first two chapters so far and am enjoying it.

I like especially what you did with Miki and Kozue. I can just see her as a druggie!

Something that's been bothering me the whole way through though; the cast seem to know too much. Either Juri and Shiori refer to Anthy as a witch at some point, but I don't think in the series it was ever explained to the other duelists what Anthy actually was (I could be wrong. If I am, ignore me.) Utena is also referred to as the Victor; did the other duelists ever even find out if she actually won? There's all this guilt being thrown around about not going after Utena and finding her, and it feels misplaced. Utena simply vanished-- none of the duelists knew where she went, whether she left, was expelled ect. And to be honest, I'm not sure many of them would really care-- Miki might but I can't see Saionji, Nanami, or even Touga or Juri particulary going out of their way to find out what happened to her. When we see everyone in the last episode after Utena vanishes, they've already gone back to their lives and have started to forget her/have already forgot her. I think you just need to be a little more careful to make sure you're writing from the character's perspective and knowledge, than the omniscent knowledge the audience knows.

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#27 | Back to Top06-02-2012 10:08:15 AM

gorgeousshutin
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Re: [Fanfic][2012]Seinen Kakumei Utena: yes, it's the actual fic itself

Hi Honey Bear:
First off, thank you so much for giving an intelligent, thoughtful review of Seinen: it's difficult for Utena fics to get large numbers of reviews, especially meaningful ones, so yours means a lot to me emot-smile

the cast seem to know too much. Either Juri and Shiori refer to Anthy as a witch at some point, but I don't think in the series it was ever explained to the other duelists what Anthy actually was (I could be wrong. If I am, ignore me.)

Oh, this is not really a matter of right of wrong, but rather a difference in story interpretations between us.  I saw from the series how all the council members who got a ride on Akio's car towards the ends of the world come back with a somewhat renewed perspective of Anthy (notably Saionji and Kozue), so I take that as they learned a lot more about both Akio and Anthy than they did previously, and use this interpretation in the fic.

The use of the term Victor for Utena in Seinen comes from the fact that everybody knows Utena is dueling for Anthy, so when they knew Anthy left, they knew Utena must had won.

There's all this guilt being thrown around about not going after Utena and finding her, and it feels misplaced. Utena simply vanished-- none of the duelists knew where she went, whether she left, was expelled ect. And to be honest, I'm not sure many of them would really care-- Miki might but I can't see Saionji, Nanami, or even Touga or Juri particulary going out of their way to find out what happened to her. When we see everyone in the last episode after Utena vanishes, they've already gone back to their lives and have started to forget her/have already forgot her.

I think you, being an intelligent reader, managed to pick up on a MAJOR part of Seinen Kakumei: apathy between people and the ruinous results it brings.

Now, if the student council members were all emotionally cold/uncaring towards Utena until the end of the series, then they really do have no reason to go after her as she vanished post Duel called Revolution: this would not constitute the damaging kind of apathy between almost-friends I want to depict.

But in the last chapters, Touga was shown proclaiming that Utena is important to him, that he wanted to keep her out of Akio's clutches, thus why he dueled her the third time; Saionji found out about Utena being girl in coffin, knows that Akio/Ends of the World was keeping them in coffins still, and wanted to help both Utena and Touga, thus why he was Touga's Bride in said duel. Juri and Miki had a game of squash with Utena right before Revolution, where they share the feelings in their hearts like good friends - the three were shown to be close enough that both even jokingly say they are attracted to her; Nanami even "forgets herself" and be a busybody trying to warn Utena away from Akio and Anthy; these people were, if not friends of Utena, at least friends that "could have been".   For them all to be mature-seeming, wealthy and resourceful (enough to hire private detectives), and still did not go after Utena post Revolution . .  . I took that as apathy that should induce guilt.

Edited to add some reply I gave another reviewer in another thread; hopefully this is further clarify my point:

I got this idea at seeing how in ep 39, we were shown Utena getting rushed by the swords (which I interpret as her moment of exit from ohtori) then followed by scene of Wakaba looking for her (clearly still remembers), all the while the swords are destroying the arena and such.  The shadow-talk that followed went as if (in my interpretation) the shadows represented the general students of Ohtori 2 months post utena's disappearance: it went like the students remember who Utena was, that they once clamored her, but no longer cares about her now that she is gone from their surroundings; I took that as the students showing the apathy we so often seen in real life people (its so easy to lose touch with people), especially teens; thus how this story comes about.

Note that this guilt did not extend as much to people not so close to Utena, like Kozue, Shiori, and even Tsuwabuki.

Had they cared enough to go after Utena when they could, Anthy would've found Utena a lot sooner, and Seinen's Utena could be spared from the damage she suffered in the past decade (see Parts 3,4).

Once again, thanks for the review, and I hope you'd enjoy reading the coming parts etc-love

Last edited by gorgeousshutin (06-02-2012 01:49:09 PM)


(SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 42 as of Aug 08, 2017)
(NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016)
(BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#28 | Back to Top06-02-2012 03:39:21 PM

gorgeousshutin
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Re: [Fanfic][2012]Seinen Kakumei Utena: yes, it's the actual fic itself

Hi again Ashnod:

I just realized that I forgot to reply to a question you had about Seinen Part 4:

7) Saionji defending Touga

The idea first came about from Ep 36, where Saionji supported Touga as bride in to duel/try to
1)save Utena
2) gain power to revolutionize the world
My story's Touga parallels Enokido, writer of Utena series, revelation on the character
http://iwanihana.info/mawaru/2011/10/04 … ido-youji/
Goes like this:
(So what did Touga gain in exchange at that point in time? It was the sense of alienation from being abused every night and seeing his innocent friend and sister during the day.
<skip>
In the TV series, Saionji always felt that he was one step behind Touga. Although the two are more or less equal in terms of ability, what Saionji lacked was that sense of alienation.)
In Seinen, my version of Saionji . . .
Spoiler text: ( 
… was under domestic violence from his violent father, whose business was reliant on the Kiryuu Family.  As little boys, Saionji and Touga knew a little (but not the full extent) about the abuses the other suffer, and became kindred spirits/close friends.  The meeting of coffin-Utena messed up their relationship, as Touga was desperate for power (the only thing that can change his situation in life), he used the opportunity to play it "one step ahead" over Saionji; Saionji came to be enraged by the notion that fellow victim Touga appeared to be one step before him, and he got left behind alone in his victim-hood; their friendship thus turned twisted.

At the time of Utena’s dueling at Ohtori, Touga had already grown to hate the word “friends”, since Mr. Kiryuu’s friends (business associates, really) made him their plaything too. In Eps 11, 12, Touga betted everything on the power of Dios’ Rose Bride that he hope would lead him to Revolution (thus escaping the rapes and keeping Nanami protected.  When he still lost in Ep 12, all hope of leaving his personal hell felt lost to him.  Afterwards Mr. Kiyruu ordered him to return home to film a beastality video, and Touga returned to Ohtori in the catatonic state he remained in throughout the Black Rose Saga. 

After the Black Rose Saga, Akio showed Touga the Power of Revolution, thus reviving him by giving him renewed hope that he can escape the powerful Mr. Kiryuu through Revolution.  By ep 35. Touga realized he might love Utena, and confided in Saionji about her being the girl in the coffin, along with more detail of his own rape.  Saionji, seeing that he was on the same boat with Touga all along (instead of being left behind), decided to support Touga.

[Saionji:  It may be that the Chairman saved her back then.
Saionji:  But she's still in the coffin. No, not just her.
Saionji:  We're in our coffins too. (we’re all still victims – orphaned; raped; beaten - too ) ]

ep 36

[Touga:  If she wins the next duel,
Saionji:  she gets the Power to Revolutionize the World.
Saionji:  But if that happens...
Touga:  ...she'll fall into the Ends of the World's hands.
Saionji:  So, shall we?]

Touga then duelled with Saionji (who now wants both Utena to be saved by losing, and Touga to be saved by Revolution to stop the abuse) helping as bride; Utena won.

Post-Revolution, Touga’s abuses from Mr. Kiryuu and Co. increased (Akio prompted it), to the point that even Nanami found out; but Touga asked Nanami to pretend he did not know since Mr. Kiryuu is far too dangerous (Thus what Tsuwabiki mentioned in Seinen part 2: that Nanami was unhappy all the time throughout the rest of the school year).   Around the end of the school year, Touga got badly hurt in a violent gang-rape where he got the “W (for Whore)” branded to his face, and would’ve been hurt worse had Saionji not interfered to save him.  Since then, Saionji, Touga, and Nanami had to leave home and Ohtori to fight the Kiryuus and the Saionjis both via threats of exposing evidence of the abuse Touga suffered.  Instead of charging Mr. Kiryuu on criminal offences (which could be difficult, with the powerful people on his side), Touga simply wanted money, which all three of them needed at that point in time.  So after much back and forth against the grownups, the three ended up signing a confidential agreement for a huge cover-up fee.  Touga became a broken man and a hopeless sex-addict afterwards, and Saionji realized then how while he used to dislike Touga being “ahead” of him at Ohtori, now that Touga fell into despair, he himself was plunging down into the same depths because he loved Touga all along.  With Touga a mess and Nanami often getting into trouble via her hysterics, Saionji shouldered the most weight in keeping them afloat.

In Seinen Part 4, seeing Utena bitter and botched-ly masculine-ized got him enraged, thus why he got violent with Utena saying he wasted Touga’s chance (for salvation through Revolution).
)

Hope this helps explain it to you, Ashnod emot-smile


(SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 42 as of Aug 08, 2017)
(NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016)
(BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#29 | Back to Top06-02-2012 11:02:26 PM

Ashnod
La poétesse revolutionnaire
From: Missouri, United States
Registered: 03-01-2007
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Re: [Fanfic][2012]Seinen Kakumei Utena: yes, it's the actual fic itself

gorgeousshutin wrote:

Hope this helps explain it to you, Ashnod emot-smile

Not really, no. I mean, you've explained your thoughts on it, but I disagree with your assessment. emot-wink

Given whom Touga is and what he is physically capable of as a young adult, I can't see that kind of situation continuing unless he is just allowing it to happen. I also think it's very hard to reconcile who Touga is in the series if you're postulating that not only was he abused a child, but the abuse continued while he was in Ohtori and later even became worse. I think it would be more likely that abuse was stopped by Akio rather than encouraged, as this would have almost certainly gained Akio Touga's unswerving loyalty (and would explain why he is envious of Akio's power.) I find it even less likely, given the circumstances you've created surrounding Akio and Anthy, and that Akio would have actively interfered with Touga's life post-Revolution, at least during the early years when his power would have been at a very low point.

And I don't think you've explained why Saionji doesn't feel that it was his chance that was wasted, since he was the One Engaged prior to Utena's arrival.

I dunno. It doesn't make sense to me from a narrative point of view.

Last edited by Ashnod (06-02-2012 11:02:40 PM)


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#30 | Back to Top06-03-2012 09:44:45 AM

gorgeousshutin
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Re: [Fanfic][2012]Seinen Kakumei Utena: yes, it's the actual fic itself

Hi Ashnod:

Given whom Touga is and what he is physically capable of as a young adult, I can't see that kind of situation continuing unless he is just allowing it to happen.

Well, "power" manifest in our real world not in the form of physical strength, which Touga have in abundance, but the control a person have over other people (body guards, bouncers, servants, lackeys) and other organizations (police, ,media, government officials).

Again, from Enokido, writer of Utena series:
http://iwanihana.info/mawaru/2011/10/04 … ido-youji/

[And in order to protect his younger sister, he accepted his lot. Being sold. ]

A simple order from Mr. Kiyruu (a man wealthy enough to buy children as sex slaves in without fear of legal repercussions), and Nanami could end up terrorized/hurt in ways much worse than what she suffered in Tsuwabuki's debut episode.   

Spoiler: (  That's why when Seinen's Saionji acted on impulse to save Touga and Nanami, they left home and were in hiding while trading threats back and forth with Kiryuu, and why Touga settled for money since that's the easiest (and most needed) compensation to get from that man, whom the law will not punish.
And Seinen's Akio did not need magic power to prompt Mr. Kiryuu to worsen Touga's abuse post series: he simply need to send him those canon photo-session pictures in such a way that the domineering abuser knows that Touga is wildly sexing with people (dark,headless man who is really Akio; Saionji) WITHOUT HIS ORDER, and Kiryuu will "punish" Touga accordingly (and thus disrupt Nanami and Saionji's lives too).
)

I think it would be more likely that abuse was stopped by Akio rather than encouraged

That doesn't seem to me like the kinda thing Akio would do: with the abuse stopped, a eased- up-on Touga's urgency to attain Revolution will be more than halved.  Akio seem to enjoy keeping his pawns desperate - and in dire need to act in ways that serve him - in the series; by keeping Touga an abused teen, and then making the boy believe his only salvation was to help get the Power of Revolution (to change his situation in life) seem to me like the kinda thing the "Devil" would likely do. 

And I don't think you've explained why Saionji doesn't feel that it was his chance that was wasted, since he was the One Engaged prior to Utena's arrival.

When Saionji, after losing to Utena for the final time in ep25, then decide to help Touga in ep 36 (as bride, even), I interpret that as he knowing his chance was over back at ep 25, and from then on wanted to support Touga to have revolution instead.

I know we differ in interpretations of the series, but I hope this explains to you why I wrote the plot this way.

p.s. have my post at http://forums.ohtori.nu/viewtopic.php?p … 32#p242532
hopefully answered some of your earlier questions?

p.p.s.  Satyreyes was kind enough to give me the green-light to make another thread solely for the
Seinen Kakumei Utena Encyclopedia ; this is so I can use the "time stamp" function of this forum to post my Seinen story ideas.  I will be putting up the thread, along with the spoiler-text intensive detailed backstory summery (spanning at least 7 different time periods) up by the earliest tonight .  I think you will enjoy being baffled by a lot of what I am to reveal there (I can just see the long discussion sessions coming up between us) school-devil

Talk again soon~


(SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 42 as of Aug 08, 2017)
(NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016)
(BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#31 | Back to Top06-03-2012 01:19:04 PM

gorgeousshutin
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Re: [Fanfic][2012]Seinen Kakumei Utena: yes, it's the actual fic itself

2012 Fanfiction Seinen Kakumei Utena - The Encyclopedia is UP!!!!!

http://forums.ohtori.nu/viewtopic.php?id=3068

Please reply here in this fic thread, not there, as teh Encyclopedia thread should contain only a neat stack of Detailed Summaries, FAQ’s, Character Files, and such with few to null other posts


(SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 42 as of Aug 08, 2017)
(NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016)
(BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#32 | Back to Top06-13-2012 10:51:16 PM

gorgeousshutin
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Re: [Fanfic][2012]Seinen Kakumei Utena: yes, it's the actual fic itself

Part Five UP!!!

Archive of Our Own Link here (thanks for the invite, crystalwren):
http://archiveofourown.org/works/432468/chapters/732392

Un-formatted Version below:

Seinen Kakumei Utena

Utena and its characters belong to its various owners.

Part Five: Prince, Interrupted – Main II

The water, crisp cold against his skin, was running so soundly by now that he was slowly but surely drifting out of his slumber.

Opening his eyes anew, he saw, to his great unsurprise, that same white, sterile ceiling – a sight that was starting to look awfully familiar to him after the past couple of days . . . or had it been weeks already?  He could not say, being so out of it at the time when they picked him up and took him in; he had been in a constant daze since.

For, in return for their hospitality, they had taken the core of his being from him, leaving his already brittle mind in fragmented pieces.

No, that was not a statement he should make, not even if only in his thoughts unvoiced; he surrendered himself to them willingly; because that somebody he once loved (and still would’ve loved, had things turned out differently) had helped him, and now needed his help; and the only way he could help his love, as he was now, was to give them his strength such that it became their strength, so they might better face the hurdles ahead.

The very first of such hurdles – perhaps the highest one yet in the series to come – would be for the one he loved to face them.

He himself knew, first hand, how old acquaintances were the toughest to face during a downhill moment in life; plenty were those who once would give up arms and legs to be termed as his friends, who then showed neither interest nor mercy towards him when they crossed paths in recent years. Liar and hypocrite that he was, he pushed his love into the lion’s den that he himself feared to tread, telling her that the old gang will accept what she became – all so she can “get help” (in spite of the pains he knew she would suffer under such “helpers” – all for a straw’s chance at her salvation). 

“ . . . only a fool believes . . .”

“Chu!”

Murmur cut off by the soft, mousy chirp, he turned his head to see an urgent-looking Chu-Chu pushing at his bared shoulder with a warm paw, as if willing him to get up.  He sighed.

“Your owner now carry my might, so there’s no need for me to go out there to help; you need not fret.”

“Chu!”  The intelligent creature shook his head frantically, and gestured at the rushing water rising steadily around him up the porcelain dent.  “Chu!  Chu!”

“Troubled as it is, this water is only a metaphor – it can’t hurt me,” he explained to the creature, knowing that it would understand, “after all, one cannot drown twice in the same sorrows.”  No, one could only rot and dissolve underneath that which he could not escape; losing form, sinking downwards . . .   

“Chu . . .” Chu-Chu sat at he edge of the porcelain and looked at him with his beady eyes, refusing to move.

“Just won’t leave me alone, will you?”  Somewhat touched by the creature’s persistent concern (how much more simple and sincere were animals compared to people), he raised a wet hand, and petted the animal’s head like he would a naïve child.  He remembered now: he once was a boy who loved animals.  Even as an older teen masked underneath a sophisticated front, he had gushed over receiving something as simple as a pet cat; it was only after that happened, after everything that followed, that he forgot about pets, forgot about animals, forgot about everything but the bottomless abyss he had been falling endlessly down for the past ten years.  “Well then, how to pass time, kid?”  A languid, bittersweet smirk came upon his sultrily curved lips.  “I know, how about a story?  Let me tell you . . . there once were two little victims who thought they would always help each other to go on living, and they came upon another little victim grieving alone in the night.

“ ‘Being alive is so sickening,’ said this lone little victim – a little girl whose parents died from a terrible event, who now hid herself in a strangely present coffin placed beside those of her dead parents. ‘How can people go on living when they know they will one day die?  Eternity doesn’t exist, so it’s all right now.  I'll just stay here in this coffin, never to come out into the sun again.’ 

“A disagreement broke out between the original two victims – boys suffering different abuses – regarding what they should do with this other victim – the orphaned girl: the more impulsive boy wanted to save the little girl by draggng her out of the coffin, while the worldlier boy knew to leave her be in her mad despair.  The little boys ended up arguing and leaving the little girl still in her coffin, with their own green friendship now sorely tested by one’s annoyance with the other, and the other’s sense of inadequacy. 

“The next morning, the little boys saw the little girl out and about attending her parents’ funeral, and took it as the girl having left her coffin.  Seizing the opportunity, the worldlier, craftier of the boys put on an act of having shown her something eternal; the other boy, impulsive and innocent, abruptly realized that they were no longer kindred spirits, that he was being left behind in victimhood . . . and the cracks in their once unmarred relationship started broadening into wide gaps. 

“Much later, the boys would, on the verge of manhood, discover that the girl they once thought was saved was in fact still inside her coffin; not only that, but the boys themselves too had remained trapped inside their own coffins of victimhood, through childhood and youth, for all those years.

“The boy victims, wanting to help break the girl out of her coffin, and wanting break out of their own coffins themselves, joined forces as they tried saving the girl their way; the girl, trapped but still very spirited, fought their help insisting that she did not need saving; she claimed that she was no longer a victim entrapped, but had instead become a coffin-breaker who could break open the accursed coffins keeping living victims dead and trapped.  The worldlier boy, seeing her coffin –and her attachment to the ones who kept her in it – clearly, called the girl a fool; the girl, unfazed, proudly admitted to being one, as she moved gloriously ahead with her coffin-breaking quest.  So impressed were the boys by the girl’s conviction and her power, that they were content to step back and let the girl take care of things; they believed, at the time, that this special, spectacular person could save herself; save them, save everyone all by herself.   

“ . . . but was that really such a good idea?”   

***

Being “special”, as Shinohara Wakaba had come to realize, was not all it was cracked up to be.

Up until yesterday afternoon, she had been leading a murkily mundane existence as one of the countless bottom dwellers at a sales-numbers-driven magazine.  It was not like she was living in despair or anything: her superiors were not especially harsh, nor her colleagues especially antagonistic; these people, like those from most other cooperate settings, were simply habitual takers – people who routinely take credit for all the extra work they make other people do, in ways at once thoughtless and mechanical.  Working with them, she felt like a cog in a vast construct – just a handy tool there for the more “special” people in the company (the so-and-so’s sons, and daughters, and nephews, and nieces . . .) to make use of – with the keeping of a dead-end, low-wage job her only reward reaped.

Then came her boss, walking up to her desk with a gazed-over look in his tiny eyes, telling her that a “Himemiya-san from Château Princesse” is waiting for her down at the lobby’s information desk, and that she can take as long as was needed entertaining this guest, even calling the rest of the day off.  Seeing all those life-deadened eyes around the open office now sparkling with envy as they glared heatedly upon her, the young woman almost thought it had just been announced that she was getting to entertain the U.S. First Lady.

“Haven’t you been reading our own magazine at all, Shinohara?” snapped a (particularly gossipy) colleague at her question as to what the fuss was about.  “The woman had been spotted at almost all the major high society balls for the past month!  Rumor has it that she is a top courtesan who has all the power players of the financial district eating out of her hand; remember that apocalyptic stock market plunge from two weeks ago? They say she’s the one behind it, raking in the big bucks while countless seasoned investment firms go bankrupt!  I swear, Shinohara, if you keep on drifting through life like this, you’ll remain always a leaf and never a flower . . .”

Riding the elevator down to the lobby (all the while checking her own reflection on the mirror walls as she quickly wiped the sweat-grease off her nose), Wakaba found herself feeling more than a little fretful over the upcoming meeting.  Of course she remembered Himemiya Anthy: that subdued, dowdy girl at Ohtori whom all the boys – including the Kendo Club Captain she liked at the time – were strangely attracted to; whom all the girls hated . . . except for her tomboy best friend at the time, who actually got into a fight with her over her accidentally splashing the dark girl.  Just what kind of stunning flower had that bespectacled yet bewitching kid blossomed into?

The elevator doors parted, giving her an unobstructed view of the information desk, and the one currently waiting for her there.

Hourglass figure delicately wrapped under an elegant dress that Wakaba knew would cost more than her annual income (that was excluding the tasteful, matching designer’s handbag and shoes), the grown up Himemiya Anthy positively glittered despite a stark absence of jewelry.  Naturally heavily lashed green eyes (revealed to be exquisite now that they were no longer masked under plain-Jane glasses), narrowed in a serene smile as the dark beauty bowed lightly at her; Wakaba, awed by her old school mate’s stunning presence, quickly bowed back and hurried up to her.

Leading her to settle down at an elegant café down the block (all the while smilingly nodding at her nervous, cutesy babbling about how gorgeous the woman now was, how sexy her hair looked half up half down, how expensive her handbag must be, and all that pointless crap), Himemiya cut straight to the point right after the waiter had taken their orders:

“Shinohara-san, Utena needs your help.”

Wakaba’s eyes widened at her words.  “Utena . . . sama?”  So, Tenjou Utena, her best friend from childhood and youth who left Ohtori without telling her, still had kept in touch with Himemiya after all.  Had Utena really thought of her as a best friend, Wakaba wondered, or was she to Ohtori’s star athlete but one insignificant fan girl out of the dozens, no one special at all?

“It’s not like that, Shinohara-san,” said Himemiya, startling the young woman who just got read like an open book.   “She got expelled from Ohtori under circumstances beyond her own control, and was left badly hurt; she could not have contacted you even if she had wanted to.”

“Utena-sama got hurt?” asked Wakaba, in surprise and genuine worry.  “What happened at the time?  There were so many rumors floating around school about her leaving, but nobody really knew for sure: I didn’t even know where to start looking for her, since she had no parents.  I thought about asking you, since you’ve somehow gotten so close to her at the time, but then you left too; and then . . .”

“. . . and then your father got transferred overseas, and your whole family moved with him out of the country.”  Himemiya continued her sentence for her, smoothly.  “After leaving, you wrote a few letters back to your friend Kazami Tatsuya, asking him if he heard anything about Utena’s whereabouts, but you never got any of his letters back; you’ve not contacted anyone from Ohtori since.”

Like stealth fingers, the woman’s words send chills creeping down Wakaba’s spine.  “How’d you know all that?”

Himemiya’s eyes – trained upon her – were soft with empathy.  “Kazami-san never got your letters, Shinohara-san: Ohtori had an invasive mail-scanning system in place; no letter can get past its walls without my brother’s approval.”

“The Acting Chairman . . .” Wakaba remembered the man to be strikingly handsome and charming; to the point that she envied Utena for getting to stay with him courtesy of her friendship with Himemiya.   “But why would he do something like checking through students’ letters?  What is he . . .” and just like that, she suddenly remembered her instinctive distrust of the peculiar Himemiya from all those years ago, “. . . what’re you?”

“My brother is someone who needs to be stopped, and I plan to stop him,” replied Himemiya, not exactly answering her question.  “Utena getting hurt ten years ago, Kazami-san being exploited since . . . he is the one behind it, reaping the benefits born of their pains.  Shinohara-san, will you help Utena and I destroy him once and for all?” 

Wakaba found her head swimming from the onslaught of jarring info.  “Tatsuya’s being exploited . . . how?  And Utena . . .wait.”  Only now did her brain started processing the woman’s actual request.  “Destroy your brother?  Like how . . . kill him?  And for what, invasion of student privacy?  Shouldn’t you people go to the police if he’s doing something nifty?  Or did he . . .” Her babble trailed off at seeing Himemiya produce a black velvet box from her handbag.

“Perhaps this can help you better understand.” Himemiya pushed the box across the table and at her.  “Here, Shinohara-san.”

“What’s this?” Taking the box, Wakaba opened it to find a torn, wrinkled envelope.  Reaching into it, she pulled out a small, water-stained note written in Tatsuya’s boyish, slightly rigid handwriting:

I’m almost transparent to you; you can hardly see me.
I don’t want to become invisible; I won’t just become nothing.
I will be seen; if not by you, then by everyone else around you.

“This is a letter that Kazami-san sent you a month after you left,” supplied Himemiya, her voice sounded miles away to Wakaba’s ear, so focused was the young woman on the note. “It got intercepted by one of my brother’s ex-helpers, one whom I’ve come across only years afterwards.  By that time, what’s done to him had been done.”

“What is Tatsuya talking about here?” Wakaba was feeling hopelessly lost now.  “I don’t understand-” A slight, shuffling sound caught her attention.  Glancing down, she noticed, for the first time, that the inside of the velvet box had a cushioning of small, dark rose buds.  Impossibly, those rose buds now were rapidly blossoming in animated vortexes of ink-black petals; a lighter-colored rose, budding in the middle, spread its green petals to reveal not a flower’s heart, but rather, a leaf-shaped hair clip handcrafted from wood . . .

. . . standing under an inverted castle, upon an arena in the sky, pointing the sword she robbed from Saionji-sempai at her “Utena-sama”, who was never even her friend to begin with.  See?  There she was in her non-regular, mock-Student-Council uniform, defending that witch/bitch/cunt who took away her everything without even having to try . . . 

Screaming, Wakaba scrambled backwards and away from the table, backing until her back hit the glass window wall, against which she now was trapped.  “Y-You  . . you!  Saionji-sempai . . . Utena-sama . . . I . . .” Still seated, Himemiya pinned the traumatized young woman to her spot with her steady gaze.

“I apologize for having to make you remember that, Shinohara-san, but you need to understand: my brother is a monster above the laws of your world.  Only a chosen few have what it takes to bring him down, and you’re one of them.”

Even amidst the current eerie circumstance, being termed as “chosen” made Wakaba tingle inside.  “But  . . . Himemiya-san, I mean . . .you were . . .”

“Indeed I was the one behind your pains at the time, manipulating you against Utena on my brother’s orders,” admitted the woman, readily.  “But I am his slave no longer – Utena had freed me from that.  Since I’ve finally managed to find her three years ago, Utena and I have been helping each other to go on living.”

“Then it took you seven years to find her,” murmured Wakaba.  So, even Himemiya got separated from Utena for many years prior to their reunion – it wasn’t like the other woman was any closer to her best friend as she herself was, thought a still very juvenile part of her with much pleasure.

“But there is no living for Utena as she is right now,” Himemiya spoke on, giving no hint of having detected Wakaba’s childish gleefulness, “not unless I can defeat my brother, and take from him the power to reverse the hurt that Utena now is suffering under.  And there is Kazami-san too, who succumbed to the same darkness as you once did, and has remained enslaved by my brother since.  Lately, I’ve been doing a number of things to weaken the Ohtori Clan’s – my brother’s main backers – influence over Japan's financial and political worlds, just to lower the number of his goons here in this outside world; but as to his actual powers . . .”

Tenjou Utena, her school idol best friend from ten years ago, in trouble and now waiting for her help; Kazami Tatsuya, her white bread guy childhood friend, also in trouble, also needing her help; Himemiya Anthy, a wealthy and powerful . . . whatever she was, came to her asking for help . . .

“Shinohara-san,” Himemiya leaned forward, her stance all business-like in its formality.  “You are one of those few special people who can withstand the Light of the World; this means that you have the potential to be a Duelist – a fighter capable of delivering damage to even one like my brother.  I’ve since recruited most of the former Student Council, plus some others, towards the cause; if you’re willing to join us . . .” The woman went on to talk about how she had already taken measures to maximize the Duelists’ safety in the upcoming battle, and how they shall all be sumptuously rewarded for their efforts . . . Wakaba could only make out a few disjointed words here and there, so heady was she by the revolutionizing revelation revealed.

Even flowers need their leaves to stay in bloom – Shinohara Wakaba is every bit as special as those rich, blooming elites whom she had envied for her entire life.

“ . . . already agreed to hire you as junior editor; as for that romance serial novel you’ve been pitching for years, there’ll be a literary agent coming in contact with you within the month-”

“I’ll do it,” proclaimed Wakaba, feeling so empowered at the moment that she would have agreed to slay dragons on the spot.  “Let me be the one to help Utena-sama!”

Which brought her to here and now, huddled fearfully against more notable former schoolmates as they all gawked stupidly at the large, pulsing cluster of outward-pointing swords – buried underneath which was her no longer female adolescent best friend – and the conveniently blank dinning room wall upon which shadowy, humanoid forms acted out as if on stage:

Long time no see, our dear old fans!
Do you know?
        Do you know?
            Do you wonder what we know?
    The ugly frogs!
        The handsome princes!   
            They actually have something very much in common!
That’s right!
    Frogs and Princes alike . . .
They’ll both undergo metamorphosis under the right circumstances!
    Take the White Horse Prince! (waved cardboard carousel horse)
        Don’t you mean Prince on a White Horse?
    Anyway . . . !  He thought he’d stay noble to the very end, fighting dragons, dating princesses . . . BUT! (produced cardboard girl with multiple swords sticking into her like pins)
    Meh sister, no!
    Seeing his own sister destroyed by the people he once protected with his life was just too much for him, the poor thing; and so, he became . . . the Devil Prince! (waved cardboard horned devil wearing prince’s crown and garb)
Meh Prince, no!
            And the Girl Prince! (waved cardboard girl in crown and prince garb)
        Don’t you mean the Tomboy Prince?
Anyway . . . ! She was the lone girl on the boys’ team, attracting girls, attracting men . . . BUT! (produced cardboard “devil prince” plus carboard bloom-wielding witch, who both proceeded to plummet the girl prince)
            My Prince, no!  My Witch, double no!
Getting bitch-slapped by her man, then back-stabbed by her woman was apparently too much for the poor girl; and so, she became . . . the Trans Prince! (cardboard girl was now placed such that it rode the phallic mic between her legs)
Meh Prince, no!
        And . . . (lifting a toilet seat amidst sounds of drum roll) . . . last but not least-

The crisp sound of clapping cut off the hypnotic shadow play’s momentum, irreparably, thus allowing for the Ohtori group to recover their wits as they turned towards Himemiya, now applauding the shadows with a scorching glint within her smiling eyes.

“I had an inking that you three would come for us in spite of the barriers guarding this place,” she said, “and you did.   Bra-vo.” 

Watching those Shadow Girls (as she had come to call them), Wakaba abruptly remembered that she had seen these ghostly entities from long ago, back in Ohtori, back when she had easily accepted them as part of the school’s semi-surreal reality.  How did she ever manage to forget about them, she wondered; something this surreal, this strikingly . . . then she remembered the ease with which she had “forgotten” her best friend Utena but months after leaving Ohtori herself, and realized that it really was all to easy to forget anything not present in the here and now.     

“. . . you know we couldn’t resist coming,” said a Shadow Girl to Himemiya, all the while self-consciously twirling her own high tail, “that with like most of the main cast together again after our very looooong wait.”   

“You guys left the story hanging just when it was getting good!”  The pigtailed one hugged herself while spinning with a ballerina’s grace.  “There was battle, there was romance, there was revolution; and then . . . what, nothing?”

“Basically, we just can’t stand that so-called open ending,” drawled the remaining one adjusting the ribbon atop her curly-haired head. “What’s with the girl prince losing her grip on the witch princess just when things were starting to look so hopeful to us audiences?  And the way the sidekick characters were all so eager to forget the heroine, thus undermining a good chuck of her princely presence; our Utena-sama, who helped everyone throughout her heroic journey, had to metamorphose on her own at those unlicensed, underground clinics that left her body wrecked by aftereffects . . . and talking about wrecked, there’re the swords too.  For Utena-sama to have to go through all that, that’s just . . . wrong!”

“Wrong, indeed,” agreed Himemiya, her voice cool as an autumn stream running in the night, “is that why you’re again showing up to rub salt in our wounds by giving your lively takes on our misfortunes?”

The shadow girls actually looked somewhat embarrassed now. “Err . . .”

“The three of you have always thrived on the stories of others, even since back before you all got put through the Research; following Hoshimi-chan around as her personal entourage, mocking where you can, jabbing where it hurts . . .” Abruptly, Himemiya’s voice and expression both brightened up, such that she appeared cheerful as a cardboard sun.  “So, would you three like to listen to another story, one that’s even more riveting than our tale of old?”

“Another story?” The shadows were taken aback.  “But we already have our hands full making fun of yours-”

“We’ve got star-studded storytellers here ready to say their piece,” said Himemiya.  “Isn’t that right, Chida-san?”

“Indeed.”

Before Wakaba even had time to wonder where Chida-san’s voice was coming from, the edges of the wall the shadow girls were gliding upon suddenly darkened into what appeared to be a brilliant outer space, which quickly eclipsed inward such that the bright “shadow-play area” now was a surrounded “island” upon that dark, glittery space. Numerous figures now were coming out from within the starry zone: elegant Chida Tokiko, with a hesitant-looking Kozue by her side, and the penguins (there were four of them now) bumbling after two shadow-covered little boys (but somehow their hair and clothes remained clearly visible) now running up towards the Shadow Girls, who appeared to recoil in shock.

“W-Whoa . . . what?!”

“Nee-chans!” The boys (revealed to be eerie creatures with pitch-blank faces and flesh) ran right up to the edge of the “shadow-play area” in childlike exuberance.   “Do you know, do you know, do you wonder what we know?  That’s right, the apple is a gift for those who chose to die for love!”

“Apple?  What kinda metaphor is that?”

“Just hear us out: the apple is a universe in itself . . .”

“That should keep them occupied for a while yet,” eyes bright and feline-like, Chida-san walked up to beside Himemiya.  Adopting a gallant stance, the taller woman then hovered a delicate palm over the darker woman’s supple chest, with her other hand placed at the small of the latter’s back “Ready, Himemiya-san?” 

Nodding, Himemiya then arched backwards in an almost mechanical motion, and started glowing at the chest.  Amidst the bright rays and phantom winds suddenly engulfing the two, Chida-san drew back her palm, and two objects – a sword hilt and a sword blade – got pulled out of the light as if by invisible strings, the sight of which induced a gasp from Tsuwabuki-kun.

“I-Is that . . .”

“Utena’s soul sword,” Juri-sempai eyed the objects grimly, “snapped in half.”

Indeed, those were two halves of a broken sword, radiating a signature-like aura that Wakaba immediately recognized as that of her old friend; there was a melancholic sense of loss radiating off the damaged item, one that forced involuntary tears out of the young woman’s eyes.

“Utena-sempai told us earlier about Akio-san breaking her soul sword . . . no wonder; how tough she was to have survived even something like this,” murmured Miki-kun out loud; standing beside him, a now more sober-seeming Kozue narrowed her eyes at what was still emerging from within the light.   

“I see another sword coming out . . .”

Saionji-sempai and Kiryuu Nanami both widened their eyes at the new sword in spite of the light.
 
“Oni-sama!” 

Kiryuu Touga’s soul sword, while whole unlike Utena’s, radiated sheer pain instead of melancholy.  Lower lip quivering, Nanami tried going up to the sword (now hovering in midair underneath Utena’s snapped blades), but Saionji-sempai held onto her.

“Wait . . .”

In front of everybody’s stunned eyes, Touga’s sword “melted” into a boiling liquid mass, one that quickly splashed upwards to engulf Utena’s broken weapon; in no time at all, a new, singular sword materialized out of the fluid metals, and Wakaba knew this new blade represented a strong bond – a togetherness beyond friendship, beyond love – between these stunningly special people.

Before the group had time to further dwell upon the implication of the merged soul sword, the shrill scrapping of metal against metal drew their attention towards the countless swords walling in Utena; whereas they were only pulsing sluggishly before, the swords now were sharpening their edges against each other in what appeared to be boiling bloodlust, as more and more of them started grinding their gleaming lengths out from what gaps there were between the blades.  Ghostly sounds, uttering coarse curses in innumerable overlapping voices, started to fill the air like the drones of a vast locust swarm:

. . . witch, butch, whore, catamite, sissy, girl-boy, boy-girl, freak  . . .

“The Million Swords shining with human hatred,” Chida-san, now grabbing the soul sword by its hilt and pointing it at the ever-growing mass of hate-filled blades, spoke in awe and contempt, “again they stir at the sight of a worthy prince’s sword.”  Still arched backwards against Chida-san’s hold, Himemiya reached a glowing hand up to the woman’s chest, and pulled from there another sword; judging by the vibes it gave, Wakaba judged it to also be two soul swords merged into one: Tokiko’s and Mikage’s.  Sleekly straightening up, Himemiya swished her sword down such that it’s point touched that of the Utena/Touga soul sword, with both soul swords now pointed towards the Million Swords; the hate-filled weapons all were soundly vibrating now, as they pointed back at the soul swords like loosened metal studs drawn by a strong magnet.  Despite her growing fear, Wakaba felt something hot budding within her chest, seemingly eager to burst out; she realized that she was not alone in feeling this way, as the others gathered too were displaying a peculiar expression that she knew to mirror hers.

“Duelists,” Himemiya called out to them, her hardened eyes never leaving the increasingly animated pile of hate-filled swords, “draw your swords, and touch their tips to ours.”

“W-What?” Wakaba could not believe her ears; the others looked equally shocked by the woman’s request as well.

“All Duelists O’ Black Rose or otherwise, draw. Your. Swords!”

“But-”

In a deafening roar of metallic droning, the many Swords of Hate rushed forward in one colossal, dragon-like mass towards Himemiya and Chida-san; Wakaba thought for a heart-stopping moment that the women will be grinded to nothing right in front of her eyes, but the swords somehow all managed to only impact the pointy joined tips of the touching soul-swords, before getting repelled away and towards the Shadow Girls, who all somehow remained oblivious as blade after blade disappeared into the void of their forms that she once mistook as shadow; they still were listening to the Shadow Boys’ strange story, engrossed.

“I get it now!” Miki slammed a fist against his palm. “They’re using the soul swords of princely people to bait the parasite swords away from Utena and into the shadows!”

“Hurry and come help us!”  Visibly strained as she kept her sword up against the swarm of sharp blades, Chida-san snapped at them in an uncharacteristically harsh voice.  “Four souls alone cannot withstand the Million’s onslaught for much longer!”

Shiori’s trembling voice was almost inaudible against the thunderous sounds of clashing metals.  “But . . . the swords . . .”

“Did you not all gather here with resolve to help Utena?” asked Himemiya from between gritted teeth; sweat could now be seen glistering upon her dark, flushed skin.

Wakaba looked around, and saw that everyone – ex-Student-Council members or otherwise – all looking like they were poised to draw their swords, but were all held by hesitancy in face of the infinite-seeming swarm of blades originating off Utena – still completely buried even after so many swords had since come off.

Everyone was actually willing to help, but none dared being the first to so; not when the possibility that others may not follow suit means certain death/damnation for the lone ones helping.                       

And, without the first to step up and help, there could be no second, nor third . . .

Only one question remained for the young woman faced with this situation: was she, always a leaf and never a flower, special enough to break the shackles of hesitancy holding back even the most noble of roses, so that the best friend of her youth can have a chance at salvation?

. . . so that Tatsuya, trapped by the enemy according to Himemiya, might also be saved?

Closing her eyes against the intimidating swarm of hate-filled swords, Wakaba placed a trembling palm over her boiling, hurting chest, and pulled.

***

“. . . Tenjou-kun,”

Waking up against his naked, beautifully-proportioned body, with strains of his long red hair brushing against her skin, Utena opened her eyes to see Kiryuu Touga’s flawless face smiling down upon her.

“Touga . . . how often have we done this before?”

“Many times . . . in my dreams.”

Running her fingertips across his smooth, unmarred cheek, Utena abruptly drew back as if noticing something off.  “Your face . . .” Glancing down, she inspected her own unclothed, feminine body with wide, surprised eyes. “I’m a girl again!”  She turned back toward Touga, feeling at a loss.  “How . . .”

Blue eyes warm with indulgence, Touga pointed a long finger off to the side, where she saw what appeared to be a shadow play upon a vast monochrome tableau: the only substantial thing in this vague space aside from their own presences.

The shadows depicted the scene of what appeared to be a mob lynching: a vast swarm of sword-wielding villagers (as their silhouettes suggested that they wore medieval country-side garments) were rushing a much smaller group all wearing something reminiscent of Ohtori’s dueling uniforms.  Wielding their own swords against the villagers, the group could be seen straining to push what they could of the ferocious mob off a cliff to the side, below which perched a three-headed dragon whose sharp back spines impaled the fallen as spears.  The round-headed girl at the front of the group – standing ahead of even the goddess-like silhouette with the rippling long mane – had both hands on her sword as she slashed desperately at the villagers, and Utena gasped out loud as she recognized who that was.

“Wakaba!  What’s she . . .”  No, not just Wakaba, each and everyone of the Duelists recruited by Anthy was there, Black Roses or else; they all were there, wholeheartedly battling the hate-filled villagers using every last ounce of their respective strengths and skills, determined to push every last one of their assailants off the cliff and out of the picture.

Voices, sounding afar as if seeping through another medium, still could be heard:

“ . .. tena-sama!  I’m not scared!  I’m plenty special enough to fight for you, just like you’ve always fought for me before!”

“Get a grip, you damned tomboy!  Can’t you see you’re dragging my Oni-sama down with you?”

“Tenjou!  This time, I’ll smash your goddamned coffin and drag you back out if it’s the last thing I do!”

“Utena-sempai!  Hang in there!  I think we’re almost at the five hundred thousand mark by now!”

“Utena!  If you can believe in anything at all, please believe this: we’ll definitely fight by your side until the very end; this time, let us all help you to go on living!  We . . .” 

“They surprised me, actually,” mused Touga, idly running a hand through his hair. “Whatever ulterior motives they may have for coming here, these people are now putting their lives on the line to help you.”  He paused for a moment, during which the sounds of violent battle raged on in the background.  “There was a time whey you needed them, and they weren’t there for you; but now, they’re all here risking themselves fighting for you.  Of course this cannot undo the years of hurt you’ve suffered through alone . . . but this moment of passion in this here and now . . . isn’t this worth something too?”

Vision blurring from tears, Utena nodded her head firmly, all the while willing herself back to reality, to where everyone awaited her return.

Whatever gender or body she now had, whatever hardships she faced, Tenjou Utena always fought her own battles. 

End Part Five

Last edited by gorgeousshutin (06-16-2012 02:13:59 PM)


(SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 42 as of Aug 08, 2017)
(NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016)
(BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#33 | Back to Top06-16-2012 05:01:06 AM

Chrome Homura
Poor Saionji :(
From: Oregon, USA
Registered: 06-07-2010
Posts: 516

Re: [Fanfic][2012]Seinen Kakumei Utena: yes, it's the actual fic itself

emot-aaa

...Yes. Yes please.


"My blood is steel, my heart is glass... I have emerged unvanquished from many battles... Never have I been put to flight, but neither have I stood victorious... This bearer stands here alone, forging steel atop a hill of blades... for that reason, my life has never needed meaning. My body has always...

been made of infinite swords!"

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#34 | Back to Top06-16-2012 09:49:57 AM

gorgeousshutin
Bare Footman
Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1308
Website

Re: [Fanfic][2012]Seinen Kakumei Utena: yes, it's the actual fic itself

Welcome back to this fic thread, Chrome  emot-biggrin


(SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 42 as of Aug 08, 2017)
(NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016)
(BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#35 | Back to Top06-20-2012 09:48:43 PM

gorgeousshutin
Bare Footman
Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1308
Website

Re: [Fanfic][2012]Seinen Kakumei Utena: yes, it's the actual fic itself

Part Six UP!!! (Just racing against time to get this done before real life catches up here . . .)

Blogspot Link: http://gorgeousshutin.blogspot.ca/2012/ … en_20.html
Archive of Our Own Link : http://archiveofourown.org/works/432468/chapters/749675

Un-formatted Version below:

Seinen Kakumei Utena

Utena and its characters belong to its various owners.

Part Six: Prince, Interrupted – Main III

The moment his soul sword touched the joined blades, against which the swarm of flying, adversarial swords were hammering violently against, Saionji Kyouichi immediately understood the reason behind Anthy and Chida-san’s strained expression – one that Tenjou’s friend Wakaba (a spectacularly brave woman whom he shall forever in his mind associate with Joan of Arc) now also displayed.

It was agony.

Agony, like the ones from getting blow-beaten by his father’s merciless kendo bokken, exploded across his hand despite none of the Swords of Hate even touching him.

“It’s like . . . fire’s burning where I’m holding the hilt,” wheezed Wakaba, who nonetheless kept a firm grip on her soul sword with both hands, its sharp tip now repeated impacted by the hate-filled sword points.

“The Swords of Hate inflict phantom pain,” explained Chida-san, her once orderly short-fringe now ruffled from the wild winds swept up by the crashing blades, “vivid impressions of hurt even when the body is actually unharmed.  Even with these soul swords largely buffering its effects, remnants of the faux discomfort still can impact our psyche.”

“If this is what the Swords feels like ‘buffered’, then Utena-sempai really is incredible for staying coherent even after a decade under their effects,” said Miki, wincing in apparent ache as he kept his sword up with the rest of those raised.

“How it must have been like for Utena, especially in those seven years before Himemiya found her,” murmured Juri, looking strained and regretful but still upholding her perfect fencer’s stance. “Back then, If only I had -”

“Juri,” drenched in sweat, Shiori-san held the taller woman’s gaze and shook her head (all the while still holding up her own soul sword); the latter’s moodiness lightened, as she affectionately ruffled the smaller-woman’s maroon-haired head.

“Different people will sense different kinds of agony – usually the kind they fear the most – from the Swords,” said Anthy, rich serpentine long locks flaring as she now emitted an ethereal glow that Saionji knew was already largely soothing everyone’s senses, “but it’s all in the mind.  And, the more people there are to shoulder the pain together, the less painful it will be for everyone.” 

“Just where is my Oni-sama?” demanded a red-faced Nanami, who strained to uphold both soul sword and dagger against the brutal metallic onslaught.  “Why isn’t he here with us when his soul sword is right in your hand?”  Beside her, Tsuwabuki was panting like a beaten puppy as he had a hand holding up one of Nanami’s (the one carrying the heavier sword), while struggling to hold onto his own blade with the other.

“Kiryuu-sempai entrusted his soul sword to aiding Utena,” replied Anthy, eyes focused on a red thread of light tied around the soul sword’s hilt now slowly coming undone.  “he will show up when he chose to.”

“What are those Shadow Girls?” asked Tswabuki, wincing as he observed the endless stream of swords sailing into the Shadow Girls’ shadowy depths (still oblivious to the swords, they remained engrossed in an animated discussion with the featureless Shadow Boys over their story, all the while being entertained by the apple-juggling acts currently performed by the penguins (two blue ones numbered “1” and”2”, joined by an unnumbered black one) hanging around).  “I see them around Ohtori, sometimes even around the University Division . . . they don’t seem to know that the swords are stabbing them, and they don’t seem to care about what’s going on even . . .”

“The swords can only hurt those who feel,” murmured Tokiko, not quite answering all of the boy’s questions.  “Without memories, without hearts, those three are beyond feelings, beyond sadness  . . . beyond joy; they crave stories only out of a base instinct to fill the their void inside; with the enchantment over this sanctuary working to dull their perceptions, there is little way for them to know . . . or care. ”

Juri turned towards Anthy then. “So these swords – immortal vengeful ghosts that had been tormenting first you, then Utena, for all this time, are just going to disappear off into some void, and never to return?”

“The swords are going into the shadows’ darkness,” Anthy’s voice sounded distant, faraway, “with the trio attuned to my brother, theirs is a darkness that leads to the Ends of the World.”

Even apparently pained by the swords, Nanami’s lips quirked in a vicious smirk.  “. . . I like what I think she’s saying.”

“So do I,” replied Juri, strained expression pensive still.  “But when it comes to beating the likes of Ohtori Akio, there’s just no way it could’ve been this easy.”

Anthy remained silent through the girls’ exchange; Saionji had to agree with Juri’s assessment of the situation: if it was this easy, Anthy would have saved Tenjou and defeated her brother years ago.  There would definitely be even tougher trials ahead, before Tenjou and everyone gathered could truly break free from the coffins the Ends of the World had locked them into.

“How long is this sword-baiting act gonna take anyway?” asked Nanami, impatient after a moment of silence.  “We can’t keep this up forever.”

“For as long as it needs taking,” replied Anthy, facing the large-as-ever swarm of swords with creased brows, “this really is the only answer I can give you at this moment.”

Nanami opened her mouth as if wanting to say something more, then decided against it as she quietly continued on enduring the “buffered” pain along with the rest of the grim-faced, wordless group.

Noticing that Wakaba’s upheld soul sword was now wavering from her depleting strength, Saionji unthinkingly reached out a hand to support the petite woman’s shaky wrists.  It was only when the young woman turned toward him wide-eyed and blushing that the brash man realized he might have acted inappropriately.

“Ah, Wakaba-kun . . . pardon me if this seems-”

“O-Oh no . . .” Wakaba quickly turned her face away, her ears red to the lobes, “thank you, Saionji-sempai.”  Despite the pain she had to be under, there was something bashful about her bearing – something that alarmed Saionji greatly.

“Wakaba-kun,”

“Yes?”

“I’m sorry,” he said, and the girl’s wrists stiffened in his grasp.

“For what?”

“For what happened in Ohtori . . . for knowing that you liked me at the time, and still allowed you to, even knowing I could only hurt you in the end.”

“Why hurt me?” she finally asked after a significant moment of silence; her face still was turned away. “Is it because someone special like you will always refuse a nobody like me?”

Saionji inhaled deeply at the young woman’s misconception.  “I’m no one special, Wakaba-kun; I never was.  You see those scums showing up on the news getting arrested for beating up their wives and kids, for harassing their girlfriends even after they split?  That’s me.”  The others present were noticeably paying attention to his talking, but he had to speak on.  “Touga and I . . . we’re not capable of being good boyfriends or husbands, not when-”

“Shut up!” Wakaba whirled her head around to glare at him, showing a wild, uncharacteristic hatred reminiscent of the time when she forcibly dragged out his soul sword after suffering his cruelty.  “You’re just saying these things to push me away!  You’re not attracted to me cause you think I’m not good enough for you!  You . . .” Her words ceased as he tightened his grip on her narrow, vulnerable wrists.

“Do you know how I treated Anthy back when she was the world to me?” he asked, his expression somber to the point of being ominous.  “Were there no rumors at all about the things I did to her – in front of other people, behind closed doors?” Out of a corner of his eye, he saw Anthy lowering her head amidst some of the others’ curious glances; in front of him, the hatred had drained off of Wakaba’s expression, replaced by numb shock.  “Wakaba-kun, you were the free rabbit that risked the hunter’s wrath to take his stray hunting dog into your own den; the dog, even while grateful, still ended up biting you in the end, because biting others, even those he thought he loved, was his lowly nature.”

“But you’re not that kind of person now . . . are you?” asked Wakaba, her voice almost childlike in its current vulnerability.

“I don’t know,” replied Saionji, his voice a dull murmur.  “I haven’t really been with any woman – not even for casual flings – since Ohtori.”

“What’d you mean ‘really been’?”

Knowing that Wakaba still was badly hurt by his past actions till this very day, Saionji decided that he owed her an honest answer even on something this personal.  “After leaving Ohtori, there’ve been times when I screw people so I can get things from them in return.”   From his angle, he saw Nanami clucking her tongue as if exasperated by his stupidity in revealing this in front of a roomful of (now shocked) people.  “I won’t call those ‘real’.”  At Wakaba’s wide-eyed expression, he smirked in self-depreciation.   “See?  Karma exists after all.”

Wakaba did not laugh, of course; she simply turned away to again face the many swords’ hateful onslaught, with the singular tear trailing down her profile the only hint of her inner turmoil.  Turning away himself (and calmly noting how a number of his peers were quickly glancing away), he noticed Miki’s downcast eyes, and realized that of everyone here taking on the swords, the boy was the only one to have remained truly “alone” – Kozue, still with them up till moments ago, was noticeably absent from her twin’s side . . .

It was then that the sound of a delicate, rather familiar piece of piano music started pealing through the Swords of Hate’s monotonous droning; startled, everyone turned towards the opposite corner of the now largely damaged dinning room to see Kozue seated at a pink piano (occupying a corner that Saionji was facing from where he sat during the breakfast meet, thus knew to be empty back then), with the ribbon-wearing blue penguin “Number 3” seated beside her on the matching pink bench; together, they played a duet on the instrument, with the girl riffing and scatting along the flowing melody, prior to singing the lyrics:

“Won’t you play for me
Our special melody
And let your fingers dance
On piano keys

“All the birds and bees
Are chasing butterflies
They’re dancing endlessly
In that endless dream we used to hold”

“Kozue . . .” Miki’s expression was one between bafflement and wonder.  Saionji saw that the boy’s soul sword now had visibly transformed into one that surpassed its former glory in both design and aura, and knew Kozue was supporting her twin even as she sang (a song that he now recognized to be The Sunlit Garden with lyrics).

“The melody you wrote for me
With the wind so cold on our cardboard scene
Won’t you stay with me my one and only”

Even as she sang, Saionji realized how his hand was hurting a lot less than before.  Glancing around, he saw that he was not alone; the Duelists have all gotten more relaxed, enough that their attentions were no longer solely on the hate-filled swords (their once overwhelming onslaught now seemed faraway somehow), but rather, on Kozue’s startlingly mesmerizing vocals (even though her piano playing remained amateurish compared to Miki’s).

“Let me sing for you
Our special melody
I’ll be there when you need
Another soul to help you stay afloat

“Maybe we can carry the weight of two
Two hapless fools”

Even with the swords rushing the points of their blades, everyone was looking at the Kaoru twins now; at Kozue, who remained seated at the piano with her back to everyone (her heaving shoulders betrayed how it must had strained her to perform while enduring the hate-filled swords’ hammering) even after the song was done; at Miki, glaring at her from behind.

“Why . . .?” asked Miki, in shivery, teary outrage.  “Why here . . . why now, when I no longer expect anything from you?”  In reply, Kozue slammed both hands down upon the piano’s keys in a blast of dour notes (it was only then that Saionji noticed the black rose motif marking the instrument’s side).   

“This is not about you,” hissed the girl, her voice sounding so rasped that Saionji wondered how she ever sang like she just did.  “Can you still not understand that I can do things for myself, or just for people other than you?”  Penguin Number 3 nuzzled itself against her like a vulnerable child, and Kozue, even while enraged, hugged the cushion-like creature to her side.

“Kozue!”

“Your Utena-sempai is back; go help already.”

Everyone whirled their heads around to see a visibly ruffled up – but radiantly aglow – Tenjou Utena standing ahead of them all holding his (his and Touga’s, actually) soul sword against the still-enormous swarm of hate-filled blades.  Relieved from the Million’s onslaught, Saioniji immediately felt his own strength returning, along which much of his pain-dulled wits.

“Tenjou . . . you fool!” He tried going up to Utena, but found an invisible, impenetrable barrier of sorts having materialized between them, keeping he and the other Duelists back and away from the action up front.  “You’re not trying to fight these many swords all on your own, are you?”

“That’s my Onii-sama’s sword you’re using, tomboy!” yelled Nanami, likewise struggling against the barrier.  “You’re really putting all the strain onto him by ditching our help!”

“Utena!”  Anthy knocked against the barrier like it was a physical wall.  “This is too much for you alone to handle, let us-” Her voice got cut off by Utena’s almost majestic roar, as the latter abruptly brightened to the point that the entire space was now engulfed in burning light – one that had a damaging effects on the Swords of Hate, apparently, as the hateful blades now all were visibly crinkling up like paper under fire.  “Utena . . .”

“Everyone!” cried Utena, as he slashed and dashed against the now much weakened Swords of Hate, many of which shattered before they could even bounce off into the shadows, “thanks for helping me come this far; I can take care of the rest now!  Anthy . . . now that there’s less of these things messing around my mind, I can finally remember now . . . back then, when the swords were coming for us, and I asked for your hand, you gave me so much more. . . you gave me-”

Sounds of metallic hollering – desperate and hate-filled like the sound of a mob under fire – filled the air, as what remained of the swords thickened alarmingly all around Utena and her soul sword – to the point that they were about to cocoon him like they did before; Saionji figured that the weakened monstrosities were now trying to use their sheer numbers to bring down the powered-up Duelist before he could destroy them.

No way in hell he was gonna let that happen – not after the pains everyone already went through trying to save the wench’s pink-haired rear end.

“Anthy!” He called out to the dark-featured woman (former obsession, current coffin-breaking instrument). “Can you make Utena drop the barrier thing?”  Anthy did not seem to have heard him, so focused was she in trying to manually pry through the barrier with her bare, glowing hands.

“Utena!”  Juri, who had since stepped forward, was already slamming her sword against the barrier to resounding effects.  Miki, right beside the tall woman, did likewise.  “Stop blocking us out!  Let us in so we can help you!”   Seeing how both their powerful blades did no damage against the barrier made Saionji realized that there really was no way for them to reach the sword-occupied Duelist.

“Utena-sama!” Wakaba cried with tears of agitation streaking her face; behind her, Shiori and Tsuwabuki both looked as worried as they were helpless. “Open up please!”

A rumbling sound, not unlike that of a plane’s engine, rose in volume against the sounds of clanging swords and metallic curses, as Utena’s power-shout then blasted over all other lesser noises:

“ . . . you gave me LIGHT!”

A brilliant aura erupted against the wall of hate swords amidst the sound of a grand explosion, crushing a good number of them while repelling the rest backwards and away.  In the middle of the sacred-seeming radiance stood Utena with his sword raised skywards; hair flying, shirt opened, muscled chest alit with splendor, the self-proclaimed “stupid girl who thought she could become a prince” now looked the quintessence of princehood.

“Eternity, Shining Things, the Power of Miracles, the Power to Revolutionize the World, the Light of the World that used to slumber within you, that everyone fought for, up till we finally met at the ends of our world . . . is now MINE!”  Thus proclaimed the triumphant being of light, who now was agilely going after all the hate-filled swords darting all around, smashing their brittle lengths with savage grace in front of the stunned group.   “I have it NOW!”

“ . . . awesome!” Tsuwabuki exclaimed in boyish admiration.  “Sempai is a machine!”

“So this is the Light of the World we were shown on our way here . . . ” Shiori pondered out loud from where she was perched flushed-faced behind Juri, who manoeuvred her soul sword forward experimentally.

“The barrier is down.”

“Utena-sempai is probably too into chasing after the swords to keep it up still,” commented Miki, sounding not exactly relieved.

“Then powerful as Utena has become, he still do leave openings,” Juri’s exquisite face now was shadowy with grimness.  “I don’t like this at all.”

“Well, long as the tomboy can keep this up,” gestured a heaving Nanami at Utena’s dramatic sword-smashing act, “then the parasite swords should all be exterminated fairly soon . . . ” eyes widening as if abruptly realizing something, she whirled towards Anthy.  “He can keep this up, right?”

“I do not know.”  Eyes wide with genuine, almost childlike awe as she watched the glorious entity that Utena had now become, Anthy looked even younger than what Saionji remembered her to be like at Ohtori.  “The Light of the World had slumbered within me for as long as history, but as the sword-pinned Rose Bride, I could access only but small scraps of its power – and that was already more than enough to keep up the projections you all saw at Ohtori.  What Utena is showing us here . . . this is far beyond even what I’ve seen from the Rose Prince back when he was in full flower!  I know neither the vastness nor scope of the Light’s full might; I don’t know . . .”   

“ . . . why didn’t I realize it before?” Utena spoke on even as he went about chasing the Swords of Hate as an agile dolphin after a frantic fish shoal.  “Getting sent to the hospital with my I.D.s and my parents’ savings right after I got skewered, having the fees all miraculously paid for on their records when they discharged me, easily going from one job to another even though I don’t even got a high school diploma, getting infected and sick from treatments at those cheap clinics but always recovering enough to go on . . .”

It was at hearing those words that Saionji abruptly realized how he was no longer repulsed by the masculine traits the ex-female now displayed; nobody was anymore – not even Miki and Tsuwabuki, who threw up at seeing the trans man only earlier this morning – as gender distinctions had no meaning for someone so absolutely, brilliantly, glorious: their undisputed, princely, Victor.

Whoring ways notwithstanding, Touga did turn out to have excellent taste after all.

“. . . never attracting attention moving from one place to the next despite looking and acting weird . . . Anthy, how could I’ve pulled off any of that, if not for your Light protecting me all along?”

“Utena . . .” Anthy seemed to be at a loss for words; everyone else was too, seeing how the Victor had performed the impossible-seeming feat of cornering all the hate-filled swords into one cluttered, shivering mass, which he now was pushing towards the void of the Shadow Girls (blissfully unaware of the dramatic battle wrecking havoc in the now largely ruined dinning room, they now shared donuts and tea with the Shadow Boys, served by the high-intelligence penguins moving freely in and out of the wall) with his duo-strength soul sword, powered by the Light.

“Anthy,” Utena strained to get the words out (the beaten swords, while much weakened, still possessed the mighty strength of numbers),  “I finally understand now . . . life is a fairytale, with dragons and ogres all waiting to come battle us at every turn of the page; the symbols and metaphors we’ve come across so far are all representations of what’s really out here in the world.”  Even while engaged in a supernatural battle against vengeful deceased, his rasped voice now was soft and gentle.  “So it’s alright now, you can be a witch when the needy needs magic, I can be a princess when the weary needs tenderness, and we can both go from being one thing to the next – princes who help the poor, knights who slay the evil – and there’s no need to get pigeonholed by just one role or another - we can be anything that we want to be at any moment, so long as this allows us to help each other to go on living!”   The swords, now being pushed to close proximity of the oblivious Shadow Girls, started getting sucked into their dark void in large droves; Tsuwabuki and Wakaba, teary-faced both, let out joyous cheers while hugging each other like excited fans at a major game (Saionji noted how the two had completely forgotten the fact that they were adults of opposite genders pressing against each other chest to chest).

“Almost there now . . . ” Chida-san, having cautiously stepped up with soul sword in hand, looked poised to help should things went wrong at the last possible minute.  “You can do this, Tenjou-san!”  Seeing how a determined-looking Juri had since followed the older woman’s lead, Saionji quickly stepped up himself, while gesturing for Miki and Nanami to follow suit.

“Everyone . . .” Utena trailed off briefly as he took a deep breath, before looking directly at Saionji as he continued pushing their enemies into the shadow’s dark void, “Saionji-sempai, especially, this is the day . . . I get out of the coffin called Identity!”

Meeting the piercing eyes of the one who went from being the fellow victim from his childhood, the rival from his teens, to the awesome godling that he now became, Saionji found his own heart overflowing with passion as he watched Utena push the remaining swords away into the darkness.  At long last, the girl trapped in her coffin now had struggled out of its deathly confines (albeit ending up a girl no more); with the revolutionary precedence set, maybe, just maybe everyone here would have a chance of getting out of their coffins too –even a wretched deadbeat like himself, even a complete mess like what Touga had become since; maybe they could all- 

“Is it really going to be that easy?”

The sardonic, hyper-masculine drawl – one that Saionji recognized even after all these years – startled Utena into almost dropping his soul sword, against which there were no longer anything for him to push nor battle against.  The Shadow Girls –having since absorbed all the Swords of Hate – now were motionless like artfully shaped holes upon the dinning room wall (with the Shadow Boys looking upon them with much uncertainty); within the still confines of their dark “void”, one could vaguely made out what appeared to be a very wide interior space cradling a modest-sized office desk like a too-large shell around a too-tiny yolk; behind the desk sat a familiar-looking man, facing the entire lot of them with his back straight, his dark hands clasped, and his sensuously curved lips curled in condescending mirth.

“Brother,” Anthy hissed the word from underneath her breath, like it was the most malicious of curses; Saionji, for his part, swore out loud.

Even after the battle against the hateful million, after the triumphant return of their born again Victor and Prince, everyone still found themselves facing their ultimate Adversary – who, on top of looking agelessly handsome, appeared disturbingly unscathed even after all the swords they had sent his way.

Juri was (unfortunately) right: when it came to beating the likes of Ohtori Akio, there was just no way it could have been this easy.

End Part Six

Last edited by gorgeousshutin (06-22-2012 08:46:03 PM)


(SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 42 as of Aug 08, 2017)
(NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016)
(BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#36 | Back to Top06-30-2012 10:59:39 AM

gorgeousshutin
Bare Footman
Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1308
Website

Re: [Fanfic][2012]Seinen Kakumei Utena: yes, it's the actual fic itself

Part Seven: Prince, Interrupted - Finale, with Akio's appearing along with the (oft. mentioned) characters he brings with him (two "princes" and two "witches", all from the show), is a bitch to write and will take a while longer (probably just days) prior to getting posted; the reason why Seinen Kakumei NEEDS to cross with Penguindrum shall be revealed in this chapter too.

In the meantime, a number of songs with self-written/self-altered lyrics will likely continue to appear in the story (Kozue + one princely char to appear in Part Seven are both singers in Seinen, after all), some of which I've posted at this following thread: http://forums.ohtori.nu/viewtopic.php?p … 86#p243186

Go back to writing now.   Keep C&C-ing the coming parts, you guys ~


(SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 42 as of Aug 08, 2017)
(NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016)
(BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#37 | Back to Top06-30-2012 12:15:44 PM

Lurv
Pained Growlithe
Registered: 05-25-2012
Posts: 520

Re: [Fanfic][2012]Seinen Kakumei Utena: yes, it's the actual fic itself

Well, I'm glad I did watch Penguindrum then. Good luck with your writing.

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#38 | Back to Top06-30-2012 12:20:23 PM

gorgeousshutin
Bare Footman
Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1308
Website

Re: [Fanfic][2012]Seinen Kakumei Utena: yes, it's the actual fic itself

Thanks, Lurvetc-love

Still fiddling with the multi-lines of Part Seven on my end . . .


(SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 42 as of Aug 08, 2017)
(NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016)
(BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#39 | Back to Top07-06-2012 10:54:29 AM

gorgeousshutin
Bare Footman
Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1308
Website

Re: [Fanfic][2012]Seinen Kakumei Utena: yes, it's the actual fic itself

Part Seven UP!!!

Blogspot Link: http://gorgeousshutin.blogspot.ca/2012/ … einen.html
Archive of Our Own Link : http://archiveofourown.org/works/432468/chapters/749675

Un-formatted Version below:

Seinen Kakumei Utena

Utena and its characters belong to its various owners.

Part Seven: Prince, Interrupted - Finale


Flanked by his friends and loved ones he stood, gawking stupidly at the nightmare behind the shadows on the wall, appalled.

“Even if the coffin could be cleared of its maggots, that doesn’t mean its lock would accordingly open,” from beyond the space warping “windows” left behind by the inanimate Shadow Girls, Ohtori Akio sat languidly behind his office desk as he eyed Anthy with a pity akin to indulgence. “You should’ve known this better than these mayflies, Sister.”

“Mayflies . . .” bright aura dimming amidst rapidly darkening thoughts (how faraway did that previous moment of personal triumph seem, now that he again wallowed in hatred), Tenjou Utena had to consciously control his breath just to continue looking at the one who robbed away his (her) innocence and youth; the monster who, even now, was again mocking him –mocking them all – from afar.  “You . . . !”

“Brother,” Anthy, for her part, eyed her brother like one would an overturned bug that still refused to die.   “I see you’re looking even smaller now than when I left you.” 

Akio’s smirk turned sharp-edged; nonetheless, the Shadow-Girls-shaped holes started moving anew – this time merging together into one single, wide oval “space gape” that gave a better view of the Planetarium-office and the man. “Perspective is certainly an interesting thing, little sister; it can make the mighty look weak in the eyes of a beholder; or, in Utena-kun’s case, the wicked looking meek.”

“I never once saw the conniving likes of you as being meek,” snapped Utena, roughly twisting the verbal jab directed at Anthy back where it came from.  “Don’t talk like you know how I think!”

“I know everything there is to know about you, Utena-kun, I’m the prince from your girlhood.” He stressed the word “girlhood” in that knowing, cutting way the enraged Victor remembered well from their duel.  “I’m willing to be your prince now, if you’d just let me-”

“You’re NOT a prince!” snapped Utena, hating himself for having once allowed himself (herself) to idolize and love someone so obviously despicable.  “Don’t tarnish the word by pretending that you’re anything similar to it!  You . . . y-you . . .” Too many words, too many curses came to his frantic mind all at once: pedophile (but that would again conjuncture up unpleasant memories of his (her) cruelly stolen virginity), pervert (but that would tangle Anthy into the unpleasant equation), cheater (but that would connect him (her) to the sin committed) . . . in the end, only the lamest accusation managed to come out of his feeble mouth. “. . . sister user!” 

“Poor Utena-kun,” Akio’s chiseled face softened with what appeared to be genuine pity.  “even after stealing away both the Light of the World and the Rose Bride, you still remain in denial as to what a prince really is.”

Stealing . . .? Utena almost barked out a reflexive (thus unpolished) retort, but Nanami spoke before he could.

“Whatever a prince is, he not a grown man who go around screwing under-aged boys and girls, including his own sister.”  Utena would’ve openly approved of the feisty blonde’s jab, had it not also affected Anthy as well; Anthy who now was still as ancient statue.  Akio, for his part, displayed a twinkle within his deep-set green eyes.

“Such foul things coming out of your mouth, Nanami-kun; you might require oral cleaning . . . maybe some grass chewing again courtesy of my sister’s witchcraft will do the trick?”  Eye-wide, Nanami and Tsuwabuki turned sharply towards Anthy, whose stony gaze remained fixed upon her brother.

“Utena-kun,” Akio returned his attention towards the seething Victor, and spoke on in educating, condescending tones, “light cannot shine without darkness; a prince cannot shine without his witches.  You disapprove of me allowing my sister, the witch, to do the evil that I, by my nature as a prince, cannot do myself; yet now I see you having my sister lure all your friends into the lion’s den fighting your fight for you . . . how is that “better” than what I did with the Rose Bride in my time?”

“Brother,” Anthy’s voice was as a faint wheeze of a slashing whip, “you ordered me around as your slave to suffer and sin on your behalf; Utena does her best to keep me and her friends from harm.  You’re as different from her as muck is to clouds.”  Akio's gaze upon his sister sharpened as a sword's point.

“And through it all, you’ve remained the same like always.”

Utena could only watch on in horrified outrage as the man’s words impacted Anthy like a knife to the heart – one that turned even her rich dark complexion pallid, as blood visibly drained off of it; her eyes, once so piercing, now were wide and glassy.

“Utena-kun,” their enemy pressed on with his hurtful, damnable words, “it may be that you can be a girl and a boy and all things in between, but my sister has a far more limited range than you do, I’m afraid; she can only ever play the witch.”  Like a malfunctioning puppet, Anthy’s head now dropped to hang limply while her entire stance slackened; Utena gritted his teeth in ever boiling rage.

“Enough already!  You’re a scumbag who’ve used Anthy like you’ve used me and everyone else!  She’s-” 

“What makes the witch, a witch,” Akio cut her off effortlessly, “is that she cares only for her prince and nothing about other people – not even herself.”  His smooth voice began to grow heavy with what sounded like real pain.  “Knowing that we’re linked by blood – that I feel her wounds, her suffering, with my own body – she still strives to destroy me for your sake, knowing that-” 

“You shut up!” Utena raised her soul sword even while knowing how useless a gesture it is, that with her intended target so far away.  “You’ve made us hurt each other, a-and now, you’ve reached beyond Ohtori’s boundaries trying to hurt the people outside too!  There’s no way in hell I’m gonna let you do this to our world!  We’re gonna stop you, and . . . ” He found himself trailing off feebly at Akio’s deep sigh.

“Me and my sister’s influences have gone beyond Ohtori into your world since years ago, Utena-kun.  How else could we have met that first time?”   

Utena felt the wind knocked out of his chest by his tormentor’s hideous question; God, for him to bring this up now . . .  “. . . I was a kid who just lost my parents, and you took advantage of my despair, you-”

“Yes, my sister and I both played our parts to entertain your young, impressionistic mind,” Akio flicked a stray lock of white hair out of his eye in a rather flippant gesture, “but how did you think you lost your parents in the first place, Utena-kun?”

“M-My-” so angry was he now, that Utena found himself stuttering, “my parents passed away from the Kiga Subway Attack and you will not talk about them!  YOU-” It was then that realization hit him like a ton of bricks (and hitting others too, judging by their now stunned looks; even the Shadow Boys that Chida-san took in appeared to be standing in poses of shock). “No . . . it can’t be, no way you could have . . .”  He was shaking so badly under Akio’s steady gaze by now that his knees were wobbling. “It was Tokyo, nowhere near Ohtori at all; there were real bombs used and real life terrorists arrested for the crimes committed!  There’s no way the likes of you-”

“Terrorists are people, and people can be bought and swayed.  ” explained Akio with cruel patience, as Utena helplessly crumbled to his knees from the debilitating trauma – to think that this was the truth behind the meeting that he (she) had treasured in his (her) heart for years and on; to think that he (she) had let the event shape him (her) unto adolescence; to think that the prince from his (her) childhood was in reality his (her) parents’ murderer; to think that the murderer’s sister . . . “You’ve gotten so close and friendly to my talented sister in recent years, surely you must have seen how good she’s at buying and swaying people?”

“You . . .”

“Uh-uh, don’t just direct your hatred at me, save some of it for my sister too – she was the one to have corresponded with the Kiga Terrorists on behalf of the Ohtori Clan, which funded the group-”

“LIAR!”  Slamming a fist to the floor, Utena used the rush of pain to push himself back up to his feet again.  “What good will it do you to kill a train full of people with gas bombs?  Huh?  It doesn’t fit with what you’ve been doing at Ohtori, with the duels and the castle and-” He choked on his words at seeing the black rose that Akio had produced with a magician’s deft grace.  From behind him, he heard a faint moaning sound that he recognized to be Anthy’s.

“Ancient creatures died and left naught but fossil fuels, without which the present energy civilization cannot exist.”  Eyes on Utena (who could not help but breath through his inelegantly gaping mouth least he thought he would suffocate), the man twirled the rose’s thorny stem between long, agile fingers, prior to stabbing it sleekly into the empty vase atop his desk.  “This world demands that every accomplishment be paid for by even greater sacrifice, and that every pleasure taken be followed by even greater suffering.   Once, the witch understood that to live is to be punished, that the only thing keeping her life bearable was knowledge that her true prince was sharing her punishments with her; once, the witch would do anything to ease her prince’s suffering: be it destroying innocents, or baiting the guilty.”  Out of a corner of his eye, he saw Anthy’s stance sagging a notch further, such that she now resembled a withered straw doll.  “Had it not been for your parents’ death, would you have grasped at the ring I offered, and have it shackle you unto the Revolution?  Had it not been for my sister’s material promises, would you so-called friends – who all forgot about you within a month’s time – be here today?”   Utena thought he glimpsed guilty expressions from all around those gathered; he could not be sure, so overwhelmed was he by the crushing revelation now getting crammed down his throat.  “Did my sister ever tell you about her intimate involvement with the terrorist leader and the group’s senior members?  How about the way she planned out the routes to be affected during the subway attack, one of which your parents happened to be traveling upon at the time?  Did she get to see their final moments, I wonder?  I recall how she was personally going from train to train supervising the ongoings during the operation; surely, she must-”

A thin line of red light flashed by the side of Utena’s face, spearing through the space gape on the wall and towards Akio, hitting him right squarely upon the red dot on his forehead.  Stumbling to the side upon numb joints, Utena saw how Chida-san was aiming what appeared to be a spy-movie laser weapon at their enemy, with the unnumbered black penguin (Esmeralda; Anthy called it Esmeralda) quickly setting up a blindingly bright light screen from behind her.  From the side, surrounded by their blue penguins – plus Kozue, who was somehow standing with them and not the Duelists – the Shadow Boys gawked open-mouthed at what they saw. 

“Ah!”  Exclaimed the brown-haired one (K-taro, if Utena remembered correctly).  “That looks like . . . like . . .” The sentence was then left trailing off in uncertainty.

“What’d you guys remember?” asked Kozue, leaning down anxiously towards the kids; the boys gave no reply.

From beyond the hole in the wall, Akio narrowed his eyes at his current opponent.  “Tokiko-kun.”

“Ohtori Akio-san,” donning a pair of shades she just got handed by Esmeralda, Chida-san kept a steady aim upon her target,  “while it’s indeed entertaining to listen to you give a skewered version of the Fate Train Project to hammer the Victor’s conviction, there are matters between us that needs settling.  Shall we pick up where we left off ten years ago?” 

Despite the light glaring from behind the woman, Akio kept his piercing gaze upon her. “Ten years ago . . .  you mean the time right before Nemuro-kun’s graduation, when you tried attacking me at my office under the guise of a visit?”  Behind him, the shutters clamped down as teeth of a vast beast, casting the man under ominous darkness.  “Is this that same laser gun you threatened me with back then?  Wait, that was a sling shot with ball projectiles.  Ah, I remember now . . . you looked so cute wielding the toy while wearing your middle-age disguise – that’s how you fool the regular people into thinking you’re aging along with them, right?  I must say you look much lovelier as your true, witch self – is this the face your kind, generous husband comes home to?  Or has Nemuro-kun since taken his place?”  Chida-san took a step forward; Akio’s back now was straight to the point of rigidity.  “So I suppose this is some newer, deadlier item than its predecessor?  What does this one do, Tokiko-kun?  Affecting memories? Affecting the soul? I must say you’re one inventive witch for constantly coming up with such gadgets.” 

“I wonder who was the one who so enjoy making witches of women?” asked the coolly enigmatic woman.  “And you know I’ll do anything to come up with the means to threaten the likes of you, Akio-san.”

“Indeed . . .” drawled Akio, obviously just buying time, prior to speaking on.  “just like how you stole the Fate Diary from Tsukiichi-kun back during the Black Rose Research, thus almost derailing the entire Fate Train Research.”  Even with the shades obscuring her eyes, Utena could tell by Chida-san’s parted lips that the man’s words had hit a nerve.

“Fate . . . Diary?”  the blue-haired S-taro murmured in a voice like one hypnotized; Utena thought she could now vaguely make out facial features on his darkness cloaked face.  Kozue was squatting down now, urgently asking the boy something, with the latter slowly shaking his head as if in a daze.

“Were you actually thinking of using that as leverage against me after you’ve signed my contract, to make sure I uphold my end of the bargain?” asked Akio of the now stiff-postured Chida-san.  “Such a distrustful woman . . . did you think you could harness the Diary being the novice witch you were?  Did you think it could help you save Mamiya-kun?  How’d it feel when your own niece eventually stolen the Diary from you thinking it’s child’s toy, and ended up getting split into two halves as a result-” A slew of daggers threw past Akio’s face, one of which drawing a shallow cut on his chiseled cheek; it took Utena a moment to realize that the black penguin Esmeralda - now looking startlingly vicious – was the one to have thrown the projectiles through the space gape, and had actually managed to hurt the Ends of the World.

“Now . . . Tokiko-kun,” producing a napkin, Akio dabbed delicately at his cut cheek, “if this is still about Mamiya-kun’s whereabouts, my sister should’ve already told you that she was the one in possession of him up to right before his disappearance.”

“If the Rose Bride was to tilt her head a certain way, it was because you commanded her to do so,” stated Chida-san with a finality that allowed no argument.  “My brother’s spirit disappeared within your garden after you’ve used up his usefulness; do you think I will not come after you, especially now that you’re no longer protected by your little sister?”  At the jab, Akio’s smile broadened to reveal rows of even, pearly whites.

“Tokiko-kun, sister or no sister . . . a prince shall always have his bride.”

Then came a flash of movement in front of Akio’s desk too quick for Utena’s eyes to follow – red fabrics, platinum green hair, pale skin, metallic glitter – prior to a slew of swords flying point first their way.  Even as Tokiko fired her shot, the Shadow Boys already were at the wall “pushing” the space gape shut around the cluttering of sharp sword points, but not before Utena caught a glimpse of the expressionless, mannequin-like woman falling backwards and into Akio’s arms.

“Kanae . . . san?”

A sharp gasp prompted Utena to turn his head around, where Tokiko – whose shades had since fallen off – was wide-eyed from where she was shielded behind an again human Mikage, who got impaled by two swords stabbing into his heart and head, respectively; Esmeralda and the other penguins were standing around watching them worriedly.

“Utena-kun,” Akio’s caustic voice came through the sword-cluttered gape,  “even though I pity your endless denial, I must applaud you for having harnessed such powerful brides to defend your reign as the upstart prince. These remaining Swords of Hate, baptized by the blood of my current bride, had since passed the passage and will come through to your side . . . if your brides for whatever reason cannot take them on your behalf, perhaps your groom could do the honors?  He really is very good at enduring impalement for those he love; yes, mine is the voice of experience.”  Pause, followed by a more somber tone of voice.  “Sister, are you to share in another’s punishments on top of mine?”

And the cluttered swords shot seamlessly out from the wall like a hail of arrows.     

***

As a man coming from a kendo background (one who had lived though dangerous times in the past decade thanks to the Kiryuus) Saionji Kyouichi always prided himself on having quick reflexes.

Thus, the moment he saw Utena’s sword hand remaining limp even as the hate swords were extricating themselves further out the wall, the man was already charging full speed forward to block what he knew would be a quick and ferocious onslaught.

“Utena-sempai!”  A flash of blue and pink was all Saionji saw as Miki dived by knocking the now seemingly dazed Utena off to the side and away from the swords now rushing them. 

Lunging airborne via his momentum, Saionji executed a kendo blade swish that ended up smashing most of the oncoming swords, yet still was unable to stop one from heading straight for his unprotected flank; a flash, a clang, and even that stray sword got knocked off course by Juri’s (when had she gotten there?) agilely maneuvered blade; the hate sword, still intact, shot straight at a stunned Tsuwabuki, who got pushed to the side by Nanami – who, in doing so, left herself open to the oncoming sword point . . .

“Nanami!”  Saionji dashed forward after the hate sword, wincing as he knew he could not stop it in time-

A splash of liquid metal knocked the hate sword into the wall, violently breaking its blade; moving along the wall in mecury-like ball droplets, the liquid metal condensed slug-like back into one boiling mass, prior to rapidly “flowing” out of the room’s high arc doorway and away.   Regaining his footing and gathering his wits, Saionji turned back towards Utena (still seemingly not quite back on earth yet), and saw him holding but the hilt-half of his broken soul sword . . .

Tsuwabuki, who’ve gotten back up and was beside the wide-eyed blonde, likely came to the same conclusion as he did.  “T-That was . . .”

“Onii-sama . . .”  Nanami breathed out the word, prior to exclaiming it out loud.    “Onii-sama!”  She then sprinted out of the largely ruined room and (presumably) after Touga’s highly malleable soul sword, bumping against an old-fashioned tv set in her hasty exit (which somehow got turned on from the impact, and was tuned to what seemed like some heavily 3D-graphics-infused music video).

“Nemuro-kun!  Hang in there!”  Chida-san was now moving a human-again Mikage (who looked older than the last Saionji saw him, and appeared around the age he was in the framed black and white pic that still hung upon the wall undamaged) up onto a stretcher with help of the penguins (they might well be the ones to have produced it); Kozue and the Shadow Boys (the corners of their features now vaguely “illuminated”) quickly got over to help, and the whole group of them were off and away from the room going who knew where within the mansion’s enchantment-laced confines.  The rest of the Duelists now were left with their Victor and his Bride: the former having slumped brokenly onto his knees upon the debris-covered floor, the latter watching him from behind with wary eyes.

“Utena, you’re the one with the power now.” She took a light step up towards Utena, who visibly flinched at her sound.  “Don’t mind what he said; pull yourself together, please?”  Tremblingly, Utena got back onto his feet, and spoke without turning around.

“He lied.” It was clear to all what he was referring to. “Himemiya, tell me he lied.”  At again being on family-name basis with Utena (how the Rose Bride had conditioned him to be sensitive to such things, thought Saionji numbly), Anthy’s expression was one of tightly controlled anguish and agony.

“Utena-sa . . . Utena, I was the Rose Bride for a very long time, I’ve done many things that-” The sight and sound of Utena’s fist slamming against the wall cut her right off, as her new prince in despair then briskly stormed off and away from the room, refusing to hear anything more.  Green eyes clouding over with thicker despair than Saionji could ever remembered seeing in them, Anthy raised a glowing hand in a brief, subtle gesture, and made her listless exit from the dinning room that now had magically reverted back to its former, damage-free state.   Saionji glanced down upon his now empty hand, looked around, and realized that everyone’s soul swords had since disappeared.

Standing dazed in this again immaculate room (pristine and tidy as if the battle just moments ago – or even sword-plagued Utena’s rampage - never did happen), it took a while longer before most in the group could regain their full wits; and by that time, the questions they had flowed like water from a broken valve.

“ . . . why would Akio-san make the Ohtori Clan fund a terrorist group?” pondered Miki from where they now gathered at a corner.  “What had the Kiga Subway Attack got to do with regaining the Power of Revolution, which had been his objective all along?” His blue eyes narrowed in distrust.  “And those penguins hanging around Chida-san and Kozue . . . could those have a connection to the Kiga Group, which might have magic users as they’re all Akio-san’s pawns?” 

“The Chairman had driven us all towards the ends of our worlds,” Juri tapped her restless fingertips against the wall, “and Himemiya said he had made people into fuel with Nemuro Hall as this human broiler . . . was that the truth behind the rumor of the building getting burned down with students inside?  The subway attack was likely for the same thing too.”  Her voice lowered a notch.   “The fact that Utena’s parents got killed in the attack was probably pure random, but it somehow led him to Utena; that poseur must’ve looked mighty princely to the eyes of an orphaned child, who at the time would be desperately for-”

“Something eternal to build hopes upon,” murmured Saionji, whose mind now was clouding over with the old memories that had been pricking at his heart for a lifetime.  “It was the night before the funeral.”  Juri turned towards him questioningly, but he felt like getting out the story first, prior to doing further explaining.  “Inside the darkened church, there was an extra coffin beside those holding the newly dead couple; the lone surviving victim – the young daughter the couple left behind – was hiding in it, from where she cursed life for not being eternal, and vowed of never coming out into the sun again . . .”

“Saionji-sempai,” Miki cut in at this point, “you talk like you were there-”

Clang!

They all turned towards Tsuwabuki, who almost ended up tipping the old TV off the table it was on.

“Oh, I’m just trying to turn this thing off,” explained the boy, blushing slightly.  “I don’t want this Saionji-sempai wannabe singing pop in the background while we’ve got important things to discuss.”

The TV, turned on since Nanami’s bumping into it, now showed a music video featuring a model-chic male idol undulating to the music while singing some syrupy love song.  Saionji glanced briefly over . . . and found his sight fixed upon the one onscreen.

“Oh, that’s Seen,” exclaimed Wakaba as she got up to the small TV for a better look, “voted the Most Princely Idol of the year by our magazine’s polls.”  Despite everything that just happened, the girl still could not help chuckling in light amusement.  “I guess he does resemble Saionji-sempai a little, with the hair and all, though he’s even more slender and pretty-” The words ceased abruptly (she probably recalled what had transpired while they faced the Swords of Hate) as she then made a show of trying to help Tsuwabuki turn off the device.  “Where’s the remote anyway?”

“I think this needs to get manually turned off,” Miki got over to inspect the old model electronic device, and ended up paying attention to the idol on screen.  “Wow . . . that’s a lot of work done there.”  Tsuwabuki made a face.

“No kidding . . . that nose’s so thin he can cut paper with it.”

“Not just the nose . . . look; there’s this jaw-shaving going on here . . . and his cheeks don’t really move even when he sings . . .”

“Oh, oh! And that has to be collagen puffing up his upper lip!”

“ . . . don’t you guys recognize him?”  asked Saionji, who had since moved up towards them with Juri.  “That’s Kazami Tatsuya, he used to hang around Tenjou and-”

“WHAT?” Wakaba literally jumped in surprise.  “No way!  Tatsuya’s-”

“Wakaba-kun, I’ve worked alongside a journalist from the entertainment section doing a background-dig article on the guy, believe me when I say that he is Kazami Tatsuya.”  Guessing what the open-mouthed Wakaba was about to ask, Saionji gave his reply one step ahead. “The article somehow got banned by the higher ups, and never saw the light of day; the journalist also got fired from the magazine soon afterwards.  I suppose the Kazami-san’s backer must be some kind of powerful.”

“Tatsuya is Seen?”  Wakaba watched the one onscreen – now shown idly sticking fork after fork into a blood red apple – in disbelief.  “But Seen looks nothing like Tatsuya!  Tatsuya was stoop-shouldered-”

“Well . . . stretching procedures can do wonders for the shape,” supplied Miki, who then pointed at his bared shoulder,  “and look - deltoid implants.”

“Tatsuya had this tubular torso where his three sizes are like the same!  Seen is famous for his model-like wasp waist-”

“Rib removal – see how high-waisted he is compared to the regular guy?”

“And he was no where this leggy, no matter what kind of growth spurt he’d had afterwards-”

“The risky leg-stretching surgery can do wonders - note how his lower-legs are even longer than his uppers?”

“That rich, wavy mane from such a flat-haired onion guy . . .”

“Volumizing extensions.”

“ . . . catch me, I faint . . .”  breathed Wakaba, as she collapsed backward and right into a waiting Shiori, who gently helped her get seated down. 

“I think we really need to focus on what we should do from now on,” she said, understated eyebrows creased in unease.  “Whatever power Utena-san just showed us . . . he seems to be losing it again.  And there’s the issue with Himemiya-san at least partially responsible for his parents’ death . . . will this rift between them just break our entire operation apart?” Hands clasped in front, her slim fingers now were crossed nervously against each other.  “What’s going to happen to us, now that he knows we’re up against him?”

“Well, there ‘s no turning back now,” said Saionji.  “We’ve already thrown our first collective punch.   If we disband, the monster would be coming for us individually.   Remember how he’s been screwing up our lives all along?  That’s only going to get worse unless we stick together to defeat him for good.  It’s possible that Tenjou and Anthy may never again be close after the bomb that bastard dropped, but with Ohtori Akio as their common enemy, and ours, I’m our operation will continue.”

Shiori nodded, slight frame vulnerable with uncertainty; Juri came up from behind her, encasing the smaller woman in a familiar hug.

“We all want to believe that every wrong in the past is forgivable,” ruminated the woman, not seeing the strained expression of the one in her arms, “. . . but is it really possible to forgive a past wrong when its effects are irreversible and will last forever?”

Nobody could reply to that, as gloom thickened over the room like falling snow.

“About Tatsuya . . .” a dazed-seeming Wakaba’s airy voice put an end to the wordless moment.  “Himemiya said something like he’s now under her brother’s control . . . but why would the Chairman have him be an idol?”

On TV, the music video ended, and the now unrecognizably handsome Kazami Tatsuya was shown to be at some kind of press conference, with countless mic heads pointing his way (Saionji thought their (unintentional?) placement to resemble an array of incoming swords), smilingly answering one inane question after the next.  The view then started panning out . . . which soon got everyone in the room exclaiming in shock.

“What in the world . . . ?”  Tsuwabuki gawked at the screen, at the many reporters and conference crew surrounding Tatsuya, whom all looked like stylistic toilet gender symbols milling about in this “crowded” scene.

“Juri,” Shiori’s voice came out shaky, “do you think those are . . .?”

“Stage props,” Juri nodded grimly as she tightened her arms protectively around the other woman.   “This must be how our colleagues at the agency really look like too; I’d bet anything that either the Chairman or Himemiya can control them like they’re nothing.”

“But . . . no way!”  Wakaba was now pointing her trembling finger all over the TV screen.  “Look at the many fans gathered, and the people passing by out on the streets!  And there!  And there!  All the people except for Tatsuya are just gender symbols!”

“It’s the Light of the World,” stated Saionji, as he knew what he said to be the truth.  “It opened our eyes to the truth of the world that we couldn’t see before.”  Like the stagnated agelessness that is eternity, the horrifying might of mass hatred, the glory of princely nobility . . .

“So what does that mean?”  Miki was now crawling at his blue hair in growing hysteria. “That everyone in Japan, maybe even the world, are really just gender symbols? That Akio-san has control over us all?”

“Not us,” Juri spoke with much certainty, “since we all still see each other as people; but ours is likely a microscopic minority in this current world largely controlled by-” A gut-wrenching scream coming from upstairs cut her right off.  Alarmed, everyone raced up the spiral staircase, and to the white-painted, red-rose-lined washroom door (one with a big “OUT OF SERVICE” sign pasted on it) now parted slightly, from beyond which came the sounds of running water, and wrenching, heaving sobs that Saionji immediately recognized.

“Nanami!” His hand was already on the doorknob.  “What’s-”

“Don’t open it!” screeched the hysterical girl.  “Don’t let the others come in!  Keep them away!  Kyouichi, don’t let them see . . .”

Looking behind him, Saionji saw that Juri was already ushering the rest of the worried group backwards and away.  Giving the woman a grateful look, Saionji slowly opened the door a bit wider.

“It’s only me,” he assured the girl, sliding in already.  “I’m coming in-” And his words ceased the moment he saw what was inside.

Beyond the deceptively elegant door was a crude public men’s room – one with an elongated urinal trough on one side, and a series of partitions on the other – that looked like it belonged more to an unkempt park than to a Victorian mansion; what left Saionji stunned (to the point that the washroom door now slipped from his numb fingers, left unclosed), however, was the fact that he recognized this place.

“The cabbage field . . . toilet?”

Indeed it was that cabbage field, slyly revealed through the small, half-opened window below the running exhaust fan.  Fresh greenery basking under the bright skies, with the white swarms adrift betraying its severe butterfly infestation, the field looked exactly the way it did on that fateful day from his childhood – the day that ended up changing the entire course of his life thereafter (for better or worse); this really was that same toilet block built close to the field for people around the area, despite its run down interior now being impossibly connected to a luxurious mansion’s second floor . . .

“. . . Onii-sama . . .”

Nanami’s choked voice was coming from the partition at the very end, right next to the window.  Moving upon legs that he could no longer feel, Saionji then put a numb hand on the partition’s door, and pulled.

The inside of the partition was covered in the exact same graffiti-scribbles as he remembered from around that time: the cartoon-ish sexual drawings, the phone numbers left by sexual solicitors, the torrid descriptions of obscene acts . . . everything was identical to what he remembered seeing as a boy having to use the filthy facility.  Hands covering her mouth from where she huddled-up against a cramped corner, Nanami was glancing tearily down upon the large porcelain squat toilet . . . or rather, what appeared to be her brother impossibly superimposed upon the toilet.

Unlike Saionji, who gained bulk throughout the past decade thanks to his physically demanding job as a freelance photographer/cameraman, Kiryuu Touga had lost much of his – to the point that the now willowy, even longer-haired man appeared downright androgynous; naked torso having molded into the porcelain, but with his lower-arms and legs sticking out from the mirror-smooth water, he looked like an exquisite component of an otherwise grotesque art piece.  Yet, even with his small, chiseled face completely submerged, the redhead remained clearly undying, as he stared up at them with a hazy, harrowing look in his violet eyes; it was a look that the other man well-remembered from when they first met years ago, as little victims chancing upon each other under unfortunate circumstances.

Time stood rigid still, freezing them all as amber over insects; the water flowed on, spiraling downwards into depths unseen. 

***

“It's been a long time since we’re together like this.”

They were inside a greenhouse basked under the pallid lights of winter, with flowers of every imaginable color blooming vibrantly within.  Seated at the garden table and chair set situated amidst the flowery interior were two petite, elegantly garbed adolescents obviously coming from money: a brown-haired, freckle-faced boy looking to be on the verge of hitting his growth spurt, currently pouring tea for a blue-haired, doll-faced girl looking delicate as a fresh vine sprout.

“It’s been a very long time indeed,” the girl held both cup and saucer up as she sipped her tea like a seasoned lady; downcast eyes, lowered in fans of lush lashes, betrayed her displeasure.  “Any longer, and even the snow outside the greenhouse would melt.”

Shrugging, the boy then took his own tea with gentlemanly grace.  “The snow never melts around these parts anyway.”  A long, pointed silence ensued, during which the boy eyed the girl steadily over the cup, before lowering it, and speaking on.  “Well . . . do you have something to discuss with me today?  Is it something that cannot be discussed over the phone?”

“You,” the girl put down her tea as she looked the boy in the eye with the intensity of a much older woman – one likely used to being in a position of power. “Why have you stopped gracing my dreams lately?”  The boy gave her a benignly serene smile – one that apparently fueled her growing spark. “Your staying here is based on your having a place in my heart; and don't forget that a woman’s heart can change at a whim.”

Smile deepening, the boy got up and moved towards the girl with the sinuous grace of a much older man – one likely used to intimate liaisons with women. “I'm being good to you, so much that I'm growing a new blue rose that’s exactly the shade of your hair.”  Leaning over her chair, he waved a pocket-sized copy of “The Little Prince” in front of her dew-clear eyes, and spoke such that his breath brushed against her fair cheek.  “And look, your favorite book; I prepared this knowing we’d get to spend time together-”

Ring!

Frowning, the girl produced her cell phone (one marked by a pink rose motif); seeing the caller id to be “Kanae”, she pressed a button that turned the device right off, prior to taking the book from the boy to better study its artfully illustrated cover.
.
The boy watched all this with his faint, unreadable smile.  “Say . . . how’re you getting along with the Acting Chairman these days?”

At that, the girl turned her face away, somewhat defensively.  “Who cares about that man.”

“Never mind him then,” eyes soft with empathy, the boy leaned even closer toward the girl, practically purring in her shell-like ear. “Ohtori-chan, do you know? If you love a flower that lives on a star, it is sweet to look at the sky at night.  All the stars are a-bloom with flowers-”

With an abrupt, startling violence, the girl called Ohtori-chan pulled the boy to herself; the garden chair they were on tipped over, sending the two sprawling onto a bed of poppies.  Still clumsily entangled, the youngsters started shedding their previous polished manners along with their well-ironed clothes, leaving crushed red petals sticking all over their flushed skin and tousled hair.

“. . . you, Chida-kun; you're my one and only prince . . . !”


End Part Seven

Notes:

This is by far the most difficult chapter to write as of yet, that with the multiple plotlines hinted at throughout the previous chapters (Utena’s Meeting Her Prince, the Penguindrum Elements, the Nemuro Research, the Saionji/Touga/Nanami Entanglement) all starting to converge onto each other.  Akio’s (hopefully dramatic) entrance allows for a number of less-written-about SKU characters (Kanae, Tatsuya, Mrs. Ohtori, Mamiya) to show up in the story; more will follow in the coming parts.

Last edited by gorgeousshutin (07-10-2012 09:53:56 AM)


(SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 42 as of Aug 08, 2017)
(NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016)
(BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#40 | Back to Top07-06-2012 02:34:17 PM

Lurv
Pained Growlithe
Registered: 05-25-2012
Posts: 520

Re: [Fanfic][2012]Seinen Kakumei Utena: yes, it's the actual fic itself

leg-stretching surgery

Oh, now I know this is a thing. emot-gonk Oh Tatsuya.

Hmm, it'll be interesting to see how much you've merged the Penguindrum universe with SKU.

Akio’s chiseled face softened with what appeared to be genuine pity.

Akio eyed his sister with something akin to empathy.

^Might just be me, but those lines make the writing feel a little repetetive.

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#41 | Back to Top07-06-2012 03:14:03 PM

gorgeousshutin
Bare Footman
Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1308
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Re: [Fanfic][2012]Seinen Kakumei Utena: yes, it's the actual fic itself

Thanks for the C&C, Lurv!  It's quick response like this that keeps me powering forward through the next chapter (focusing on the Nemuro Eternity/Fate Research) emot-biggrin

About the Akio lines' possible repetitiveness (one directed at Utena, and the other Anthy) . . . will look into it and see what needs to be fiddled with.

Thanks again ~

Edited to add:  changed, hopefully for the better . . .

Last edited by gorgeousshutin (07-06-2012 04:43:17 PM)


(SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 42 as of Aug 08, 2017)
(NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016)
(BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#42 | Back to Top07-07-2012 10:20:55 AM

Anthiena
Egghead
From: ...the space between your ears
Registered: 10-21-2006
Posts: 1106

Re: [Fanfic][2012]Seinen Kakumei Utena: yes, it's the actual fic itself


I stopped seeking to be sought after. That wasn't being true to myself.
I want to become someone who can exercise power. I want to become a prince. - Ikuni

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#43 | Back to Top07-07-2012 10:39:18 AM

gorgeousshutin
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Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1308
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Re: [Fanfic][2012]Seinen Kakumei Utena: yes, it's the actual fic itself

Hi Anthiena:

Is that a fan-created spanish SKU opening?  I wish I understand what it's saying . . . but the music and the scenes flowed together okay, I think.

If I'm brave enough, I'd sing my self written english lyrics (character car remix) for the opening and post it on youtube . . . oh well.

Anyway, thanks for sharing emot-biggrin


Edited to add: Both Kozue and Tatsuya are singers in Seinen, for whom I've written self-created english lyrics based on existing BMGs in SKU and Penguindrum.  If only I can get someone to sing them and put them on youtube (for there's no way I'd do it myself) . . . emot-redface

Last edited by gorgeousshutin (07-07-2012 10:43:20 AM)


(SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 42 as of Aug 08, 2017)
(NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016)
(BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#44 | Back to Top07-07-2012 04:30:27 PM

Lurv
Pained Growlithe
Registered: 05-25-2012
Posts: 520

Re: [Fanfic][2012]Seinen Kakumei Utena: yes, it's the actual fic itself

Took a look at the edit. It does read better now.

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#45 | Back to Top07-07-2012 06:02:13 PM

gorgeousshutin
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Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1308
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Re: [Fanfic][2012]Seinen Kakumei Utena: yes, it's the actual fic itself

Thanks again Lurv!

Having to write this time consuming monster around real life demands really is weighting on me.  I've been trying to get a good, punctual beta reader somewhere, but so far it hasn't happened yet . . .


(SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 42 as of Aug 08, 2017)
(NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016)
(BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#46 | Back to Top07-19-2012 01:25:13 PM

gorgeousshutin
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Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1308
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Re: [Fanfic][2012]Seinen Kakumei Utena: yes, it's the actual fic itself

Just wrote a crack fic as inspired by the thread at http://forums.ohtori.nu/viewtopic.php?id=3134 , which just fills me with creative energy and non-stop laugher for the past 24 hrs.   Even though I’m falling really behind on my main SKU fic (who knew the Nemuro Research Era would be so cumbersome to put in words), I had to get this out of my system so my mind can snap back to serious mode and I can continue Seinen.

[crack fic] SKU: Non-Out-Of_Left-Field Remix

http://forums.ohtori.nu/viewtopic.php?id=3137

P.S.  Will struggle on with Seinen Part Eight now ~


(SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 42 as of Aug 08, 2017)
(NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016)
(BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#47 | Back to Top07-23-2012 07:52:25 PM

gorgeousshutin
Bare Footman
Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1308
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Re: [Fanfic][2012]Seinen Kakumei Utena: yes, it's the actual fic itself

I can't believe I'm now writing Miki's Anthy-bewitched dad into the story when I'm trying so hard to keep it short!  But it just fits so well . . . damn those plot bunnies for making Seinen longer than it already is!


(SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 42 as of Aug 08, 2017)
(NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016)
(BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#48 | Back to Top07-30-2012 04:46:59 PM

gorgeousshutin
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Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1308
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Re: [Fanfic][2012]Seinen Kakumei Utena: yes, it's the actual fic itself

Part Eight UP!!!

Blogspot Link: http://gorgeousshutin.blogspot.ca/2012/ … en_30.html
Archive of Our Own Link : http://archiveofourown.org/works/432468/chapters/819685

Un-formatted Version below:

Notes:
At last, we’ve gotten to the “Missing Link” portion of the story  - a series of chapters devoted to revealing the complicated backstory of Seinen Kakumei Utena.  Largely set in the Nemuro Research Era, this part shall focus on how Tokiko came to be a pawn in Akio’s sinister game, as well as how those surreal Mawaru-Penguindrum elements came to be.   Even at the risk of making the fic even longer than it already is, I’ve written Miki’s father into the story because it fits just right.  Oh, and I think everyone could tell just who those trio of girls following the future Mrs. Ohtori around really are.

Seinen Kakumei Utena

Utena and its characters belong to its various owners.

Part Eight: Missing Link I


Time: 10 years post-revolution
Place: Chida Mansion

“Nemuro-kun . . . please endure,”

They had since reentered the room of stars, and have since laid Nemuro down over the red canopy draped bed – now attached to a cluttering of EU operating room equipments.  Donning surgery gloves and masks just like the EU nurses, all four penguins now were crowded around the pink-haired man, as they started “operating” on him under Chida Tokiko’s pained, worried gaze; Nemuro himself was expressionless to the point of appearing almost mannequin-like, like he really was the computer-like man people from their other lifetime had labeled him as, back when-

“Chida-san,”

Turning around, Tokikio saw that the Shadow Boys, both standing beside Kozue, now were “semi-illuminated” as they watched her with visible eyes clouded with questions.

“The graying Indian man said you had this Fate Diary,” said S-taro, his voice airy and brittle around the edges, “was it pink, with two dragons on the front cover, and a sea turtle on the back?”  He raised his voice, its sound urgent and demanding.  “Are you related to the Oginome family?”

“The Indian was involved in the Kiga Subway attack, wasn’t he?”  K-taro’s voice and expression were tension filled, edgy.  “Was he working for Sanetoshi?  You guys were talking about this Fate Train Research . . . is that what you people call the attack?” The boy now was as fearful as he was angry.  “You . . . you had a laser-thingy that looks just like Masako’s . . . were you part of Kiga?” 

Brown eyes glinting with more than reflected lights, Tokiko observed the boys for a brief, quiet moment, prior to speaking.

“I see you’re both remembering a lot of things,” she said.  “Would you mind telling me your real names?  I’d rather call you boys something a little more formal than K-taro and S-taro.”  S-taro opened his mouth as if to reply, but stopped as K-taro tugged on his hand.

“Boys!”  Kozue chided them for their distrust against their main helper.

“It’s okay,” soothed Tokiko, before again facing the Shadow Boys somberly.  “I think I’m now closer to finding out your true identities than I ever was before  . . . small world, indeed.” Her voice and expression grew even more somber.  “I did eventually find out about Watase Sanetoshi, and what the boy was to become.  There is one thing about the late Kiga Leader I’m certain of: he had to be the one working for the Graying Indian Man, and not the other way around.”  She glanced off and away into the distance.  “With the Ends of the World, it’s never the other way around.”  Behind her, the penguins continued their work on Nemuro, who bore the cutting and prying in motionless silence.  “The day I fell into his trap must’ve been over thirty years ago.”

***

Time: 20 + years pre-revolution
Place: Ohtori Academy, Japan Branch

“So how’d you find the place, Tokiko-kun?” asked the Acting Chairman, a towering, exotic man now smiling down upon her with even teeth that seemed all the whiter against the rich tone of his dark complexion.

“Well . . .” Chida Tokiko, Project Inspector sent forth by the Board of Directors, made a show of studying the fine, almost cathedral-like architecture of the prestigious private academy, all the while cursing the heat on her face that she knew would betray an unbecoming flush, “this certainly looks more than equipped for peaceful studying.”  She had not taken on this job to court handsome men; this was all for the sake of . . . a slip on an inconspicuously stone-resembling patch of ice sent her sliding sideways . . . and right into the Acting Chairman’s solid embrace.

“Careful,” he spoke, his breath a little too ticklish against her ear.

“Thank you,” she quickly straightened up and away from him; handsome as the Acting Chairman might be, he really was acting too familiar with her.  “The fault is mine for venturing out without winter boots, thinking the snow should’ve melted with spring so close.”

“The snow doesn’t melt easily around these parts,” said the man, hands in his coat pockets, smothering eyes on her, “which, considering the topic of the Research, seems appropriate.”  Tokiko, studying the snow stains marring her velvet high heels, felt a pang in her heart.

“Yes . . .”

“ . . . don’t think we’ve been introduced formally before, Professor.”

At the voice and the footsteps, Tokiko looked to the distance (how sound could travel in crisp winter air) to see a male student hot on the heels of a pink-haired man who somehow managed to appear understated despite his violet jacket and shades.  The student (nondescript by comparison) extended his hand to the man.  “Inoue, Inoue-”

“Inoue Tsukiichi,” the pink-haired man – whom Tokiko now recognized as the renowned genius Professor Nemuro, Project Coordinator of the revolutionary research which drew her here working as its inspector – walked on without stopping.   “I’ve come across your name on the file listing.”

Even at the bluntly dismissive reply, Inoue Tsukiichi picked up his steps as he kept on chasing after the professor, following him up a flight of snow-coated steps; there was a flash of magenta glint as he moved, drawing Tokiko’s attention to the rather flamboyant ring on his left hand-

“Tokiko-kun?” Akio called back to her from where he now stood a little further ahead.

“Ah,” Tokiko hurriedly caught up to the man. “Sorry to keep you-” Her perfunctory apology got cut short by his hand clasping down upon her waist.

“Your waist is so small,” his purr reminded her of a languid lion,  “I can wrap both hands completely around it.”

There was a flash of red-colored . . . something fluttering briefly across a corner of her vision (looking like a flag? a dress?), disappearing almost immediately upon the split second that she saw it.  Either way, the distraction was enough for to break whatever charming spell the sensuous man was weaving around her, as Tokiko quickly armored herself up with the glacial poise she often used against overtly eager men in the workplace. 

“Rumor has it that your hands are big enough to keep even Chairman Ohtori right in your palm, Acting Chairman-san.”

Giving no hint of having been stung, the Acting Chairman tilted his head back and laughed.  “Purely rumors, of course.”  His deep-set green eyes glanced sideways down upon her.  “Who’s been spreading them, I wonder?”

Tokiko smiled saccharinely back up at him.  “Wouldn’t you like to know?”

His hand retracted, and she spoke no more for the rest of their walk to the faculty office.

***

Back home, she found four pairs of little girl shoes at the door  - with one pair smaller and significantly more expensive than the others – and knew that her brother had again been inviting his new friends over. 

“Chida Nee-san,” a blue-haired little girl, exquisite as a well-crafted doll given life in her luxuriant frilly dress, came into view giving the woman a dainty bow, “welcome back.  I’ve come by to bring Mamiya-kun some of my class notes, and is just about to leave.”

“Thank you, Hoshimi-chan.”  Tokiko beamed indulgently at the young lady, and at the taller, older trio in less fancy dresses having since came up from behind.  “Ayako-chan, Byako-chan, Cyako-chan; good to see you girls here.”

“Hi, Chida Nee-chan~” replied the three via their a synchoized, theatrical-sounding chorus, before they skipped foreward to swarm her from all sides in fluttery, colorful blurs not unlike that of flapping moth wings.

“Well, how’d you find the Acting Chairman?”

“Isn’t he every bit the fox we say he is?”

“And every bit as dangerous!”

“We knew he weaseled his way to power somehow!”

“Why would the Academy need an Acting Chairman when the real Chairman is alive and well-”

“Girls.” Ohtori Hoshimi called out in a quietly warning voice rather precocious for her years – one that signified her status as said real Chairman’s only child – and the trio of older students all backed off from a mildly overwhelmed Tokiko to regroup by the younger girl’s side entourage-like.  “Pardon their exuberance, for they’re members of the Drama Club.”

“Oh no,” Tokiko quickly reoriented herself as she smiled graciously at these children.   “Thank you all for coming by to see Mamiya.”  “Did he . . . ?”

“We made sure Chida-kun took his medicine right after eating, and that he got back to bed an hour afterwards,” assured Hoshimi; Tokiko relaxed.

“Mamiya is lucky to have a bright young lady as yourself as his pen pal and friend, Hoshimi-chan; you even helped him make so many lovely friends so soon after our coming here.” She made sure to include the other girls into the conversation so they would not feel left out – ill feelings festered easily between such children.

To Tokiko’s surprise, Byako giggled as if having heard a biting joke.  “Oh, Chida-kun made more than just friends here, Nee-chan.”

Ayako was already eagerly leaning forward.  “Do you know?  Do you know?  Do you wonder what we know?”

Cyako clasped her hands together while kicking a foot backwards.   “The little prince falls for the sweet rose blossoming in the vipers’ pit; drama ensues-”

“Girls!” Ohtori Hoshimi raised her voice at them – rather harshly, this time – prior to speaking softly to Tokiko.  “Pardon their crude manners, for they’re of common origins.”  The trio traded ironic hurt looks from behind the stern-faced girl’s back.

Tokiko could do little but to smile warmly at them all.

As the girls were leaving, the trio took turns whispering fugitively in the woman’s ears while their young mistress was busy with donning her jacket and shoes.

“Watch out for a guy called Inoue Tsukiichi from among the hundred working under Professor Nemuro.”

“The man is keen on marrying into the Ohtori fortune, and will stop at nothing to achieve this goal.”

“Girls . . . !” Hoshimi, already beyond the opened door, called back to her “friends” in the tone of one calling after straying dogs they were walking. 

“Then . . . au revoir!” said one of the trio – Tokiko could not discern who was who amidst their rapid, theatrical dancing around – before they all flitted out of the door hurrying after the Ohtori heiress, who was already getting onto her chauffered family sedan.  Locking the door behind the girls prior to letting out the sigh she had been holding in all along, the woman finally got to check on the one to have invited the girls over – the very reason why she had gotten the job at Ohtori’s Board of Directors – her terminally ill younger brother, whom all the doctors had long since given up on.

Said brother was clearly awake in his bed, his doe-like brown eyes narrowing in a (Languid? Weary?) smile at seeing her.

“Nee-san.”

“You should be asleep by now,” she chided while sitting down on the stool cushion beside the bed.  “Did you behave yourself in front of the ladies, Mamiya?”

Mamiya rolled a thin shoulder. “What could I possibly do to them that can count as misbehaving?”

Tokiko knocked her brother lightly on the forehead. “Don't say such stupid things, you brat.”

Mamiya let out a light chuckle . . . one that betrayed his shortness of breath; Tokiko felt her heart sank: the many medications were having very little effects on his ever-weakening state, after all.

“Hey, Mamiya?”

“Hmm?”

“Have you been going to the Academy by yourself?”

All at once, all the jocular mannerism vanished off of her brother, to be replaced by the hardened, guarded look the boy had been displaying with increasing frequency as per the decay of his health: no, Nee-san, the roses would not be happy having been made to last so long; no, Nee-san, the flowers would not be happy with keeping their petals only to never bear fruit; no, Nee-san, I’m fine with dying like any other terminally ill human being – I do not wish for eternity, especially not one that will keep me being twelve forever and ever . . .

“You’re taking all your courses here by correspondence,” biting back developing tears, Tokiko’s pressed on with her words, which came out a notch harsh sounding.  “There’s really no need for you to-”

“Did the skinny trio say something to you?” asked her brother, boyish tenor blunt and stinging.

“Mamiya,” Tokiko willed her voice and expression to soften, so as not to agitate the frail boy.  “I know you like Hoshimi-chan, and that she likes you . . . but Hoshimi-chan is not an ordinary girl,” and certainly not without her flaws, thought the woman.  “As Chairman’s Ohtori’s only child, her husband will inherit from her leadership over the entire the Ohtori clan.  Even though Hoshimi-chan is still so young, there are already a number of people out there who are keen on possessing her.  For you to join in the fray-”

“It’s shameless,” Mamiya gritted out the words with as much hatred as his young mind could muster up, “all those men acting like they’re courting Ohtori-chan when they’re all just after the money and power; rabid old goats.”

Tokiko, who did not know whether she should laugh or cry at her twelve-year old brother’s condemnation of the late teens in the Research as being “old goats”, settled for hanging her head.

“I see Ohtori-chan,” her innocent, ailing brother went on.  “I’m the only one who do; I will be her prince even if it cost me my everything!”

Exhaling in exasperation, Tokiko wordlessly began the mechanical process of setting up the gadgets for Mamiya’s sleep-aiding injection, all the while hoping that Ohtori’s Reseach could shed more hope upon her brother’s increasingly hopeless-seeming health situation.

A few days later, having finally acquired all the proper papar work, Tokiko went straight for Professor Nemuro, intent on making him speed up the revolutionary Research on Eternity – not for the Academy, of course, but for her brother; for slowing or perhaps maybe even stopping the ever-worsening decay of his failing body.

Student assistants, their stances assured and worldly despite the ill-looking design of the Ohtori boy’s uniform they had to wear, could be seen milling about at every nook and corner of the research building; Tokiko could not help but again notice how they all were donning rings identical to the one she saw on Inoue Tsukiichi – the very one Ohtori Hoshimi’s entourage had warned her about.  A number of them were carrying uprooted young trees around – were those relevant to the Research?  With the plants looking so leafless and dry, the woman wondered what was the point of protecting their likely deadened roots by keeping them under wraps . . .

That was then that she saw.

Redness – the same crimson shade as what she saw just days ago while the Acting Chairman was putting the moves on her – could be seen fluttering out from beyond a dim, shadowy corner to the side.  This time, the woman could see that it was actually a piece of puffed, creased fabric likely belonging to a full length-ed, full bottom dress, and it now flowed adrift upon the air in spite of how it was winter indoor.  Curiosity piqued, Tokiko stepped up towards the ill-lit corner . . .

“So that's Professor Nemuro, the genius? And he really doesn't know about our current research subject?”

“Looks that way. But, the Professor's intellect is warranted by you-know-who.”

Startled by the conversation’s topic – and the fact that she recognized one of the nasally teen boy voices to be Inoue Tsukiichi’s – Tokiko lightened her steps as she moved soundlessly up to the corner, and peeked around -

“His thesis is interesting, but the man himself is quite dry,” Inoue Tsukiichi, cigarette between his lips, leaned towards another paler, also cigarette suckling boy, igniting the latter’s tip in a rather intimate manner; ironically, the two happened to be standing right underneath a “NO SMOKING” sign.

“Let him act how he wants, Inoue-san,” smoky gaze upon bright-eyed Inoue, the paler boy inhaled deeply, prior to taking the cigarette between two fingers to speak better – the rose motif ring glinting under the dim lights as per his hand movement.  “People who act like him can make enemies without realizing it, and that will be his downfall.”

“Ha, I don’t care enough about the Professor to want his downfall – he is just like a computer.”  Exhaling clouds of smoke, Inuoe took out his cigarette as he leaned towards the other boy such that the tips of their noses now are touching.  “We’ll use him for all he's worth . . . Kaoru-san.”

Instead of backing away, the boy Kaoru spoke with his pouty lips brushing against Inuoe’s thinner ones. “How are things proceeding with Ohtori-chan?”

“Proceeding as planned.”

“Then it’s all good.  With you being a secured item with Ohtori-chan, and me having a hold on the Acting Chairman’s sister, the world is ours.  And when we’re alone like this . . .” With that, the boys went through the door marked “REAR EXIT”, their lusty chuckles audible until the door shut itself behind them.

Neither noticed the key left on the floor: one that had slipped out of Inuoe Tsukiichi’s pocket during the more than friends’ sizzling conspiring earlier on.   Deftly picking up the item, she slipped it into her own pocket and went on her way to the meeting with Professor Nemuro.

Homosexual liaisons among the Research’s assistants were not her concern . . . if not for the fact that the boys involved were both romantically linked with girls of power and prestige in the Academy – with one of the boys being her ailing brother’s love rival, even.  Did Mamiya know about this?  Was that why he was so hostile towards the Research and its assistants?

And there was also another matter that concerned her as the Inspector overseeing the Research – that the student assistants harbor ill feelings towards Professor Nemuro, Research Coordinator.   Unsurprising, considering how the man was both brilliant and cold – an awe-inducing yet alienating combination.  However she looked at it, this could only be detrimental to the already difficulty-plagued Research; just one more thing she needed to go over with the Professor.

Vague, she wondered about just where had that red-dressed person that had lead her to eavesdropping on the boys disappeared off into; having no clues to follow up on, the woman had no choice but to redirect her focus upon what was coming up ahead.

***

“You're the Research Coordinator, Professor Nemuro, right?
“I was sent by the Board of Directors.
“I'm here as their current inspector, Chida Tokiko. Pleased to meet you.”

***

Tokiko’s first impression of Professor Nemuro was that he was every bit the socially-inept, computer-like genius she thought he would be.

“You’ve called me all the way out to your house, so what do you want?” asked the man – the very first man to have reacted so coldly to being invited to her home.  She tried to lighten the atmosphere into one more conductive for conversation with inane small talk (although she was indeed mystified by the hourglass running so peculiarly slow during the tea making), but the Professor would have none of that.

“This job I was given is running its course as planned,” stated the man, apparently seeing right through her intent to make him hurry his Research.  “I can't guarantee completion, however.”

“I know that you’re not one for taking orders from others . . .” Tokiko then tried to butter up the Professor by praising his genius-quality; said genius, however, would have none of that, as he then had the gall to lecture her on the sheer arrogance of mere humans trying to grasp eternity (this from the Research Coordinator advancing the work) . . .

Just when the conversation was about to degenerate into an argument, Mamiya’s sneaking out of bed into the greenhouse broke the tension.  Even as she harshly scolded her brother for again endangering his fragile health, she noticed Professor Nemuro’s wide-eyed expression (one that made him looked more like a wonder-filled youth than a haughty genius), and realized that she had been crying.

While running off after uttering quick apologies (no way could she reveal runny makeup in front of a near-stranger), Tokiko noticed her usually unsociable little brother being exceptionally amiable towards the Professor, who appeared awkward yet sincere as he conversed with the ailing boy.  Having speedily cleaned up as she hurried back to the greenhouse, she found to her surprise the boy and man still getting along well in spite of their equally incompetent social skills.

That was the moment she started letting down her guard against the Professor: any man willing to know and be kind to her brother was good in her book.

After putting her brother in bed and having made him take his injection, Tokiko continued on the conversation with Nemuro, this time in a more sincere manner:

“It's for his sake, that I'm involved in this.
“The doctors have told me that there's nothing left but to give up hope.
“But if the research succeeds . . .”

Even with his stance softened by empathy, Nemuro’s words remained blunt as ever.  “ The research has nothing to do with medicine; even if it succeeds, it may not help your brother's illness.”

“But, maybe I could grasp eternity for him,” insisted Tokiko, studying the mirror against which she placed her picture with Mamiya in a vain attempt to cool the budding desperation in her heart.  From the mirror’s reflection, she saw something glimmering within Nemuro’s now much warmer eyes – something definitely more than mere pity – and Tokiko found herself actually becoming a little bashful. “I'm sorry for crying like this.”

“It's all right,” Nemuro assured her, the understated tenderness of his current expression brought out the true beauty of his exquisitely androgynous features, revealing the “computer-like genius” to also be a humanly attractive man.

“Is there someone important in your life?” she could not help but ask, even knowing that for once, it was her being too-familiar with the opposite sex.  “Or is it that geniuses never fall in love with other people?”

“So it would seem,” murmured Nemuro, his faint blush showing evidence to the contrary.

A light, impish titter could faintly be heard in the air – one that they knew to be from Mamiya’s room – giving away the fact that her sharp-eared little brother had been eavesdropping on them all along, and had managed to read between their lines with his precocious mind.

“Oh, the brat . . .” Tokiko raised a hand to her own face, and found it red hot to her great mortification.  Surprisingly, it was Nemuro who started chuckling first, with her too joining in soon afterwards.

This was, perhaps, a rather insignificant moment in her frantic day-to-day; but Tokiko could not help but think that should she have eternity in her grasp, she would want for times like this to last more than a while longer.

***

Under Tokiko’s supervision, Nemuro started devoting a lot more effort into the Research, with his peculiar experiments now producing more definite results than ever.

“All the other trees have since withered away within a month after getting uprooted, un-watered, and placed out of the sun,” he said to her, gesturing at the dried, leafless trees in the ill-lit underground lab, none taller than a young prepubescent lad, prior to pointing at one that had not only remained full-leafed, but were sprouting small buds.  “This one, however, flourishes on as if still rooted upon fertile soil under the sun; at this rate, its buds may even blossom into full bloom.”

“Incredible,” Tokiko gently caressed the tree’s fresh, supple leaves, her manicured fingertips brushing against the small, green buds.  “Could this be . . . an apple tree?”

“Malus domestica,” replied Nemuro – fitting that he would term the plant by its binominal name, “under Rosaceae.”  His voice, however, was warm at the edges.  “I thought you’d find this less than impressive after having seen the Arena and the Castle.”

Yes . . . there were those too: the arena hidden behind a forest, up in the sky, over which hovered an upside down castle said to contain eternity.   She would never have had believed in the existences of such logic-defying things, if not for that mind boggling tour Nemuro gave her showcasing his research’s progress thus far.  Even with the definite, complicated equations involved in their eventual harnessing – those were not man-made creations, as the genius professor had told her, but rather, pre-existing cosmic entities partially accessed by human means – it all still seemed surreally magical to her.

“Those were indeed . . . impressive, but what you have here is so much more relevant to what we’re . . .” something occurred to the Project Inspector then.  “But onward growth goes rather against the concept of eternity, doesn’t it?”

She saw Nemuro’s lips quirking in a conspiratory smirk.  “I want to steer the Research in a direction that can best help even a terminally ill child recover and grow.”

Tokiko’s heart skipped at beat at the man’s frankness.  “Nemuro-san . . .” even while heady with exuberance – a emotion she had not felt since her parents’ death, since taking on the crippling burden of being her sickly brother’s sole caretaker – the Project Inspector still kept herself clear-headed enough to ask the important questions.  “But what about the students working at the neighboring section?  Surely they will not approve of the Research going off course.”

“My contract with the Academy allows for me to keep secret the details of my work to even my assistants – who are contracted to carry out the tasks I give them without question.” Nemuro’s violet eyes narrowed behind his shades.  “Besides, the boys in the neighboring section haven’t exactly been frank with me regarding what they’ve been doing on their end either.”

Tokiko arched a brow at his words.  So Nemuro had noticed the blatant cover up regarding the student assistants’ work right in this same research building – work that even she, the Project Inspector, had been denied full access due to the intricacies in their contracts – noticed, but cared not.

“Not like I care what they’ve up to anyway,” Nemuro’s words confirmed her belief.  “So long as they stay out of my way, it’s fine.”

Tokiko wanted to tell the Professor that he should care; that it was always what people overlooked that proved their downfall.  He had to realize how he was up against young vipers wearing the skins of youths – most of whom more malevolent than the science-focused genius could ever hope to be.  Already, they’re keeping research progress from even him, their Research Coordinator. Should he continue on underestimating them-

Flump . . .

The sound of fluttering fabrics startled the preoccupied woman into turning sharply towards the glassy-windowed lab door, through which she again saw that enigmatic fluttering red dress – this time in much greater detail than before.

It was a medieval princess costume, one tailored in a full bottom style so theatrical as to be almost cartoon-ish by modern standards.  At first glance, it looked like the windswept (despite their being indoor) dress was hovering phantom-like in the ill-lit hallway; a closer look revealed its wearer to be a petite female (one probably still in her teens, judging by her petite figure) whose hair was done up in a rigid, chucky updo, whose features were completely shrouded under shadows; glasses, glinting as ice patches, gave away the coldly watchful gaze Tokiko knew was pointing at her like an icy blade.

“Who are you?” she asked, already rushing towards the lab door.  The cluttered “failed” trees were scraping at the fine material of her garments . . . which soon got tangled up against various leafless branches.  By the time she finally managed to get up to that door, the red-dressed girl was already nowhere to be found; only an apple, bearing that exact same shade of crimson as the dress, remained upon the floor.  Picking it up, she studied the sticker bearing the text “KIGA APPLE”, with a penguin motif printed underneath the words.  Feeling indentions under her fingertips, she turned the fruit around to discover the letters carved onto the crimson skin:

FATE

What in the world . . . ?

Nemuro had by now came up to beside her.  “Tokiko-san?”

“Nemuro-san, that girl in the red dress had been watching us through the lab door,” she said, feeling her heart racing,  “did you see where she go?”

“I did not see anyone,” he got a better look at the apple in her hand.  “This is . . .”

Under their incredulous gazes, the carved letters started fading quickly off the apple’s surface, disappearing completely off the fruit’s surface.

Tokiko squinted her eyes at the apple’s now unblemished skin.  “Is this . . . regeneration? But . . . there should at least have been scar tissues left behind . . .”  She handed the apple to Nemuro, who studied it with his cool, analytical gaze.

“Reversal of state,” stated the genius Professor, “like the ‘time’ of this apple has been made to reverse, even while our time flows on; like the snow accumulation outside remaining frozen despite the rising temperatures, or that hourglass running slow the first time you invited me over for tea.” His frown deepened. “I’ve long since suspected that something is affecting the flow of time around the Academy and its surrounding areas; is this phenomenon related to the Research?”  Tokiko studied the man’s expression for a brief, wordless moment.

“Nemuro-san, how much info have you got on the neighboring section’s Fate Train Theorm?” She saw, to her unsurprised, the startled reaction in him that she expected – the Research Coordinator knew, but thought that she, the Project Inspector, did not.  “I’ve since gone through all the profiles of the student assistants.  Amongst them, Inoue Tsukiichi had entered the Research with the top academic achievements from amongst the group.  Even though the student researchers are using their contracts as shield to keep even I from accessing details of their work, there are those who will talk.”  Her voice darkened huskily.  “Apparently, Inoue Tsukiichi has been developing the Fate Train Theorem away from the Board of Directors’ supervision - supposing that people’s fate are as ‘trains’ upon which they are passengers, and that by ‘transferring trains’ people could supposedly take on another fate while leaving their original destiny behind.  Despite its outlandish nature, they say the Theorem’s development is nearing completion.”

Composing his expression, Nemuro placed the apple into a glass case, where a narrow spotlight illuminated it as specimen on display.

“Fate,” he mulled the word over while fiddling with the contents of a folder, “the peculiar subtopic the Academy has placed under our research – which, by logic, should include only topics relevant to eternity.  Even though the young men had told me nothing but clumsy lies about what they do, there are those close to them eager to ally themselves with me for their own gains, and they’ve been acting as my eyes and ears all along.  If their words are to be believed, then somewhere within this building is a factory operated by the neighboring division in secret.”

“A factory . . . here?”  Tokiko had not heard about this one before.  “Producing what?”

Having found what he was looking for, Nemuro produced a photo from the folder, and handed it to Tokiko.  The Project Inspector could not help but be visibly baffled by what she saw.

“This is . . .?”

“They may not look it, but the data I got suggest that these are indeed perpetual motion robots – ones infused with advanced AI, holographic camouflages, among many other high tech components.  One of their many functions is to channel their users’ brain waves, thus serving as extensions of their persons accordingly . . . almost like medieval familiar spirits being resurrected by cutting edge technology.”

The photo showed an opened card box on an angled conveyor belt, where three blue, rotund objects looking suspiciously like children’s penguin stuff toys were cluttered in its confines.  The card box had the same penguin motif as could be seen on the time-reversed apple, underneath which the words Pingroup Inc remained faintly visible upon the startlingly-high resolution image.

Turning her gaze towards the apple in the showcase – unmarred except for the penguin motif sticker – Tokiko resolved to pry deeper into the neighboring section’s research, to make sure that it will not jeopardize the miracle Nemuro was trying to create via this Research.

She would allow nothing to stand in the way of her brother’s survival.

***

//“Professor Nemuro is awfully excited about the project recently, isn't he?”//

//“Didn't the Board of Directors send an inspector?”//

//“She really seems to be just right for the job.”//

//“Can no one beat a genius at his game?”//

//“Then, does the Professor still not know what all this is about?”//

Playing one of the many tapes she recorded from the various spy bugs she had since planted all around the research building via one single earphone (she kept her other ear free to listen for potential intruders), Tokiko’s strained attention perked as she finally came upon something relevant to what she wanted to find out.

//“He can have his Upside Down Castle, we shall have our Hole in the Sky,”// said a voice she recognized to be Inoue Tsukiichi’s.  //“With all the mysteries of the world clearly documented within the library’s infinite confines, there’s no way we’d lose in this fixed race between Eternity versus Fate.”//

//“That Watase boy’s ‘familiar’ invention is like the icing on our cake.”// said another voice – Kaoru Yuki, Inoue’s “friend”.  //“You know, he keeps asking me about when would he be formally allowed into the Research.”//

//“Like they would take a grade schooler onboard . . . kid should be grateful that we’re realizing so many of his outlandish ideas with the Research’s funding to begin with!  I can’t believe we’ve let him wrest us into designing the revolutionary perpetual motion robot to look like a penguin toy.”//

//“Geniuses can be stubborn when they got fixated on something, and that one-track-mindedness is what makes them easy to exploit.  We shall win against Nemuro, and have that which is promised to us by you-know-who.”//

“You-know-who . . . ” she tapped her manicured nail tips against her desk, murmuring aloud in her puzzlment.  “Just what are the little vipers going to have?”

“A taste of the Fruit of Fate.”

The deep, masculine drawl coming from behind shocked Tokiko into almost dropping her earphone.  Turning around, she saw, to her disbelief, the tall, imposing figure of Acting Chairman Himemiya Akio being impossibly present in her locked office room; and she could not even cry for help, not with the evidences of her illegal eavesdropping all over her own office desk.

“Have you not come to this academy seeking eternity for your brother?” asked the man, his dark, broad hand holding out an apple – one with the penguin motif sticker – in front of her widened eyes.  “Here is eternity, right in front of your eyes . . . but whether you can grasp it or not depends upon what you might, or might not, be willing to do.”

“You’re related to the girl in the red dress,” stated Tokiko, taking in the contrast of dark skin against crimson shirt, all the while willing her shaky voice to again be steady.  “You’re also the one in control of the hundred student assistants in place of Professor Nemuro, and the one who apparently controls the powerful Ohtori Clan.  Are you the reason behind the illogical, mystical elements of the Research, as well as the unusual time flow around the area? Just what are you, really?”

“So many questions, ” Silver-haired head shaking with mirth, Himemiya Akio put down the apple, prior to producing a ring identical to those worn by the student assistants, which he then dangled in front of her pallid face.  “I can give you answer to that which you ask, but it will require you being contracted to me via this ring.” Tokiko make no move to take the ring.  “I see you hesitate still.  By now, only one question should remain for you: who do you think could save your brother in time – me, or him?”

“Show me proof,” insisted the woman, refusing to back down even amidst her growing uncertainties.  “If you say you can save Mamiya ahead of Nemuro-san, then show me how you do it!”

Akio’s devilish smirk broadened into a canines showing grin.  “All that and more, I shall reveal to you.  I’ll show you the Ends of the World; yes, even you.”

End Part Eight


(SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 42 as of Aug 08, 2017)
(NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016)
(BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#49 | Back to Top07-31-2012 11:03:32 AM

gorgeousshutin
Bare Footman
Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1308
Website

Re: [Fanfic][2012]Seinen Kakumei Utena: yes, it's the actual fic itself

To Chrome Homura and Raven Nightshade:
Due to the nature of The 120 Days of Ohtori, I've decided to post its thread under In Flagrante Delicto.  Hope you guys like!


(SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 42 as of Aug 08, 2017)
(NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016)
(BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#50 | Back to Top07-31-2012 04:16:49 PM

Lurv
Pained Growlithe
Registered: 05-25-2012
Posts: 520

Re: [Fanfic][2012]Seinen Kakumei Utena: yes, it's the actual fic itself

Oh, this is getting interesting. Although due to difference in styles, my inner eye is having some trouble with the mix of SKU and Penguindrum elements.

(Although I read a spoiler in the random thoughts thread, and besides being disturbed, I'm a little ashamed that I didn't get the toilet symbolism with Touga. emot-gonk)

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