“Not all of us stay puppets,” Juri said in a low voice that carried back to Himeno as she headed inside the administration building.Juri was a bit amused it had taken Himeno as long as it had to figure out her connection to the duels. She chuckled to herself as she went through the paperwork the administration required of her before she received her keys and access to her office. Looking back at her encounter with the seitokaichou, she almost wished she hadn’t let slip her knowledge of the student council uniforms; it would have been even more amusing to see how much longer it would have taken for the girl to find out who she really was. Slipping into her new office, the window overlooking some of the more interesting architecture of Ohtori Academy, Juri hooked her laptop into the school’s computer system and brought up the student files. She sat back in her chair, her lips curled into a lazy smile, as she accessed the records of Amatsuichi Himeno. A quick perusal showed Himeno well received by the faculty, a stellar student and loved by the student body. She was too perfect.Juri knew that once upon a time, back when she was on the seitokai, had someone accessed her record as well, they would have seen something very similar. Juri had been, on paper, perfect. Yet, anyone that really knew her, anyone that had seen beneath the cold, unmoving mask she wore back then, would have seen she was a flawed fiery girl full of want for things she just couldn’t wait to have. She had been… still was… a Duelist.Amatsuichi Himeno was no different. They were all drawn to the game End of the World played for reasons they all wanted to keep hidden from the public eye - all of them except Utena. Even now, after all these years, Juri admired the girl-prince and all she’d done, all she’d fought for, how naive and completely upfront she had been. “I wonder if she and her princess have found each other yet,” Juri mused as she searched the student database for the other seitokai members.Emura Ruriko, Student Council Secretary, 10th Year.Juri blinked a moment seeing the young lady’s picture; she was quite beautiful. Hair of spun gold and eyes of blue clearer than the open sky… Juri sighed. She knew it was bad when she started waxing poetic.“Chill, Arisugawa. She’s five years younger than you and a student. You aren’t like the other teachers. It would be indecent,” she reprimanded herself. “Besides… she’s a duelist.”Juri made herself a note to look into the family history of duelists at a later date. She would need to analyze her obstacles in a concise and concealed manner. It was never good to tip your hand. Next, she brought up her spreadsheet of the students that signed up for the fencing club this year. After planning the first few practices and designing the proper conditioning schedule, Juri would head to the fencing hall to see what all had changed as well as inventory the equipment. It was tedious things like inventory that made Juri miss Miki almost as much as the absence of his calming presence.
The letter was scented; a familiar scent from the garden of long ago."Who left this letter here..." She muttered. The scent was too much for her; to many memories were resurfacing. The piano. The garden. The performance...However, without putting it down, she began to slowly tear it open. Curiosity had gotten the best of her, just like he wanted. With the envelope soon in shreds, Kozue glances over the parchment with upmost concentration. Much to her suprise, the letter was in Latin."What does this say?" Kozue mumbled, nervously. A slight tear of sadness peaked beneath her eye, and she set the paper down, beneath the rubble of textbooks.
Himeno flashed another smile like quicksilver. She touched a finger to the skirt of her uniform as her mind worked. The Student Coucil. That's right. She'd have to check the old Ohtori books again but she was near positive. This woman, this "Prince", use to be a member of Ohtori's original student council. 'And End of The World let her return? What board is he setting up now'The dark, opulent material shifted against her legs with the butterfly lightness of her touch and she shook her head a bit."Yes, I'm afraid it is. A bit dark for my tastes but I'm sure the Chairman knows best." She dropped her hand away again and instead lifted it to her lips gently. A former Student Council member returned. This could either be extremely dangerous or quite benificial. "So you don't smile on love letters. Well then, that certainly gives me a leg up on the competition." Himeno leaned down into another bow though she let the tone of mockery slip into this one. "Until next time then, sensei. Good afternoon, to you." She'd straighten as Juri passed her, black hair swinging around her hips with the motion. Emerald eyes flashed and pink lips curled into a smile. "From one puppet to another."She abandoned her spot then and went off in search of Kanatal. This, she'd have to discuss with the other seitokai member. She stopped a young sixth grader with a hand and a word and he pointed her in the direction of the music hall. She should have known. That's where the Golden Rose spent majority of her afternoons. Music no longer spilled from beneath the door, instead it was replaced by the echo of voices. She drew the doors open without knock, gaze settling on The Engaged, poised on the edge of the hall's stage and then on the Rose Bride. Again there was that slight quirk of her mouth, one hand slidding her hair over her shoulder in a waterfall of ebony silk."Good evening, Utena." Despite the greeting she walked past the girl to climb the stairs to the stage as if she owned the room. "Kana, send your doll away, please. I'm afraid we have a bit of an issue. It really won't due to worry roses with trouble."
Kozue stopped in the middle of a campus street. Her hair was a tad damp with sweat, and her breath was running short. Tired and unsuccessful, she headed back towards her dorm.She had spent the last hour searching for the girl with violet hair. But, it was very strange indeed... One minute, the talk was only about her. Then, she seemed to be forgotten... As if she no longer existed. It was strange. And, it didn't go un-noticed by Kozue.As she turned a sharp corner towards the dormitories, talk had taken shape in yet another woman. Everywhere, people were now talking about this elegant woman whom had returned. Perhaps she knew a thing or two about the violet maiden that Kozue had been searching... Maybe."This is hopeless...", Kozue mumbled, reaching for her keys inside her bag. "I'll never find what I'm looking for. That's how it's always been; that's how it will always be."Retrieving the key, and opening the door, Kozue stepped inside the warm quarter that she had called her own. As she was walking in, something caught her eye: on the floor lay a scarlet envelope. She hadn't seen it before. Taking it into her hands, she noticed the scent of roses... and a seal of Ohtori's crest."What is this?"Only time would tell.
Utena slid the heavy door shut behind her, leaning against the cool stone. Her lashes were lowered over a gaze that traced the patterns of the halls tiles, spiralling design curling into ohtori's rose crest. Strawberry tresses stirred against her cheeks at her engaged's words. The Student Council Secretary seemed anything but unnerved, which was only to be expected. Utena wasn't even sure that Kanatal had the capacity for such a thing, let alone display it if she did. She didn't reply to the comment but instead moved further into the huge chamber, walking so that her steps echoed off the walls and along the high ceiling loudly. She stopped once she reached the center of the rose crest depicted on the floor and clasped her hands infront of her. The clap of wood against wood drowned out the noise of her footsteps for a moment "Tell me. Did you like my playing?"She gave her Rosebride smile, hair dancing with the gentle incline of her head. "Of course. It was perfect Miss Kanatal. You play so well."It was nothing but the truth, however the note in her voice was to sweet and fixed to hold any real meaning. From beyond the door she heard the whispered rumor of the former "Prince" turned Fencing Coach, spread like a bushfire. However the murmurs were as much as raindrops to her that bounced off the umbrella of her indifference. Her attention was fixed on Kanatal, as her attention went.
Juri noted the pretense of respect the young lady was giving her and nodded politely accordingly. How interesting that this girl, the one who reminded her of Touga, would just happen to be this year’s seitokaichou. She found it a bit amusing.“Arisugawa Juri, Fencing Coach. Pleased to meet you,” she replied in turn. Her eyes took in the way the girl was dressed. “So that’s what the student council uniforms look like now,” she mused then cocked an eyebrow at Himeno’s comment.Hazel eyes turned to assess the gathering students as she listened to the girl continue. “Love letters?” Juri rolled her eyes then chuckled a little. “I believe most of them will be disappointed to learn I am not like the other teachers here,” she said.Adjusting her laptop bag on her shoulder, Juri nodded once more to Himeno. “I do apologize, Amatsuichi-san, but I must be on my way,” Juri said with a gesture toward the administration building. “It has been a pleasure. I’m sure we’ll see each other again,” she said with another small smile, her eyes slightly hooded.So that’s who End of the World’s lapdog is this year. I wonder if she’s as taken in by the illusion of control as Touga had been, she thought as she took her leave of the young lady.
A small smile quirked the corner of strawberry lips. No, the fencing captain wasn't like the other teachers. Nor did the woman seem fond of her as the rest of the faculty was. The Panther. She'd been aptly nicknamed. This was an opponent Himeno would have to asess carefully before she settled on what game she would play but play she would.In life you were either a hand the manipulated the pieces...or your were a pawn. It was a rule that she hated because of the results but played for the reward at the end. RevolutionHimeno leaned down into a polite bow, raven locks slipping over her shoulders then slipping back in a shifting mass that she ran fingers through to straighten. "Amatsuichi Himeno. Student Council President; year 11, Class B. Welcome to Ohtori Academy." She allowed amusement to touch the smile she wore, just enough that it wasn't mocking. "And it's not concern so much as jealousy, really."She turned slightly and inclined her head towards the students who slowed their pace as they passed or simly lingered some distance off to stare and the captivating new teacher. The woman had only been on campus a few minutes and her fan club was already beginning to rival Kanatal's. Silently, Himeno wondered how her golden haired council mate would react. Though Kanatal was among the few that Himeno generally liked, even the Secretary wasn't exempt from her machinations. She returned her attention to Juri again."I'm sure you'll be recieving a number of love letters before the day is out, sensei." Her gaze flickered towards the arch of stairs overhead where a small trickle of students were fading into the dorms or other classrooms.
Kanatal heard the creak of the mainhall's door opening, even saw the girl who appeared in the doorway from beneath the shadow of her lowered eyelashes. However she gave no indication of either, continuing the smooth melody that poured hauntingly from the piano. The song reverberated around the hall, echoing off the high walls with it's eveb higher melody. The plastic container atop the piano wobbled and then went tumbling over the intrument's side. Her hands moved with surprising speek, catching it by the side and preventing the spill of salad over the stage. Sound faded from the hall so that the scraping of the bench as she stood from the piano sounded doubly loud. Kana ran fingers through her hair, brushing it over her shoulder then turned to regard Utena was a rather thoughtful expression. One eyebrow was arched neatly and she set the container on the piano bench lightly."You move so quietly, Utena. How unnerving." The student council secretary seemed anything but. She studied the girl with a veiled gaze. This was the Rose Bride. Her prize. An empty doll for a nothing child. At times when her grip on reality and stability slipped Kanatal almost contemplated bruising the porcelain throat or striking those ivory cheeks. When the Rose Bride's emptiness seemed too much like her own. But these things Kanatal would never do. It would be far too like attacking a child or a glass statue. That would have been preferable, to have a statue as her prize rather then this pink haired girl who lived and breathed and lied with her eyes. But she...she was the only key to the power of dios. The power of miracles. She pulled the lid down over the piano keys then tucked a lock of blonde hair behind her ear again, light flashing off the rose crest ring on her finger."Tell me. Did you like my playing?"
Juri gracefully turned at the sound of the voice to look upon the one addressing her. It was so odd to hear her referred to as sensei as opposed to sempai, though she supposed she’d get used to it eventually. Her cool hazel eyes found the speaker to be a young woman with long luxurious black hair. Was she lost? In more ways than this student would ever know, though Juri had no desire to voice her thoughts. As much as she tried to be more friendly and open to people, something about this young woman’s demeanor did not sit well with her. Perhaps it was the arrogance hidden just behind the edge of her eyes or maybe it was the subtle vibes she was giving off. This one thought she was important on campus. This one reminded her very much of Touga Kiryuu. Juri never took well to anyone who gave off such an impression. It only served to show how much they could be fooled by someone as crafty as End of the World. Being she was back at Ohtori, she was wary of anyone that demonstrated characteristics of the former seitokaichou. Not that she’d ever show it.A small smile touched Juri’s lips and she didn’t back off at all from the young lady’s somewhat forward positioning. First impressions were always key and she was determined to let this one know she couldn’t do to her what Juri used to do to the faculty when she was a student. Slightly shorter than herself, shoulders not as broad, the young lady did seem to command a bit of attention whomever she was. No matter - nothing scared off the panther.“Good afternoon,” she said pleasantly and kept her gaze serene. “No, I’m not. I do appreciate your concern, though, miss…?” Juri prompted the young lady to introduce herself.
Like a mechanically set path, Himeno took the same path through the academy everyday at the end of classes. Moving between the labyrinth of architecture that curled around and over itself in near impossible patterns she was the heart of a storm of butterflies, students that shifted and darted around her eagerly, shooting questions like bullets and waiting, breathlessly, for that siren smile she gave in answer to them. Miss Himeno, how was your day?"Fine, thank you Michiko."Miss Himeno, the basketball team doesn't have enough funding for away games!"Don't worry, Hiro. I'll talk to the principal and see what we can do to supply buses for the players."Miss Himeno, would you please help me with the math homework?"Of course, Kana. Kanatal is actually much better with it than me but I'll give it a shot."And then when they ran out of questions they'd resort to compliments, direct or indirect though she'd continue on as if she didn't hear them. Mentally, however, Himeno was more than pleased. As long as they loved her blindly they'd follow the student council without question and she could distract them from old worry about the supposed 'Rose Dragon' that had been the horror story a few weeks ago. But the fad had died and was no longer remembered, like a streak of amnesia that took the school. All the better for her because those questions...not even she could give the right answer to yet. It made her stomach twist to admit it but on that topic, she knew no more then they.Oh, my god! Did you see her!? An infatuated giggle through her eyes towards a pair of girls rushing past her in the opposite direction. Could she be any hotter?You know they use to call her the Ohtori Panther, right? The Prince of the school. Really? She's so cool!Emerald eyes of wide and curved shape momentarily narrowed and flashed in dark glory before she turned her head to address the boy who walked on her right. "The Ohtori Panther? Do we have a new student?"A shy, nervous boy asking him the question was like starting up a lawn mower. He swallowed and shifted with akward intensity. "N-no, Miss...Miss Himeno. The new...new fencing coach. Miss Arisugawa Juri. She...she...she use to be stu-student here."She watched the boy for a moment. At another time she'd continue to conversation just for the enjoyment of his nervousness. She marked him for a "walk" with her later. These were one of the things that made her famous. Every so often the student body president was known for taking aside one of the students for her weekly strolls through the least known parts of the academy. None of the students she'd taken ever talked about it to anyone and so there was a certain mystery and curiosity to what went on which, as a result, had the other students vying to catch her attention and be chosen for a utopian period of alone time with the lovely, flawless Miss Amatsuichi. If they new the truth...well they wouldn't be so eagar.She turned away from the boy and smiled towards the rest of her fan club. "Well, I'd better go greet her then, hadn't I?" And then she dislodged herself from the crowd and sudden chorus of dissapointment and slipped away.Arisugawa. Arisugawa. Why was that name so familiar? She moved in the direction the pair of girls had dissapeared from as she struggled with her memory. There was no doubt that she knew that name. She knew it, but comprehension eluded her. Her steps took her beyond the tangle of stairs that led from corridor to corridor and building to building, down to the lower levels of the odd academy. There she found Ohtori's former Prince. Certainly not what one would expect to hear in relation to such a woman. She was beautiful, no doubt about that, certainly ample reason for the students to be gossiping about. That Himeno could forgive and overlook. But their stories about her past association with Ohtori...well that was something else. Himeno closed the distance between herself and the new fencing teacher, stepping up behind the woman as she studied herself in the reflective windows of the school building. Amusement and self assurance lit jade eyes with confidence and her stance was friendly if bordering on dominating. "Good afternoon, sensei. Are you lost?"