Pike and Lilie were hiding behind a bush as they waited for Ahiru to arrive. It was all part of the plan, of a very important, carefully planned plan that the two girls had prepared for their friend Ahiru; it was to help her confess.
To her true, one love.
They very recently realized (themselves) that their friend was in fact attracted to the elder, dark-haired boy when they thought that she was in love with Mythos.
Pike didn’t blame Ahiru for preferring Fakir over Mythos. Mythos was a great dancer, very good looking and gave a feeling of being like a being from another world, making him so mysterious and attractive to all the girls but Fakir was something even more in Pike’s mind.
He was also a great dancer and very good looking but he was also so real - not that Mythos wasn’t real – but she couldn’t describe that difference between them. If Fakir was looking at you, he really was looking at you while Mythos had a distant look all the time, like nothing could make him focus on this world, like he was not meant really to be here and that was why he couldn’t fit in.
The silver-haired boy was greatly admired and nearly worshipped in the academy but he wasn’t truly liked. No one knew him enough to like him in reality, they just admired him from afar.
However, Fakir, despite being cold and distant, sometimes even rude, was real. He was unique, in a way had an exotic aura, one that was so out of this world but he was there. You wouldn’t spend time with him and feel that he was lost in his own world, even if he was ignoring you.
He was… more human.
And Pike liked that a lot. Ahiru probably saw this as well and that was the reason she liked Fakir more.
It was true that Pike had liked him before Ahiru, a long time before, when the other girl was in love with Mythos, but for some reason she didn’t care. It didn’t matter to her if she would be the one that was with Fakir, if the one he ended up with was Ahiru.
Because she loved Ahiru. And when you love someone you want them to be happy…
…especially when you feel that your loved one’s time is not limitless.
She couldn’t explain it but she always felt that Ahiru one moment was suddenly going to vanish because she was not meant to be here for long.
That was why she and Lilie – who was not aware of all that inner talk going on inside Pike’s head – decided to help Ahiru with her love life. Well Lilie probably did it because she found it entertaining but that was beside the point.
The plan was that they would tell Ahiru to come at the lake so the three of them could have a picnic since the weather these days was so nice, to celebrate the coming of spring. Ahiru would prepare sandwiches and the other two would bring sweets and drinks from the town and they would meet at the shore of the lake.
That was the plan to make her come to the lake.
The second part was that they would not appear and make Ahiru wait for them, while they are hiding behind some bushes – as they were currently doing – and examine what was going to happen in a moment, because soon Fakir would appear since this was a place he always came during the mornings to sit and meditate while gazing at the lake and play his music or read.
And the third part would be these two talking while the two other girls observed so they could understand what the relationship between these two was and how to fix them up – or in Lilie’s case how to make sure that they will see Ahiru when she starts crying because of Fakir and his “rejection.” Sometimes Pike wondered how true all these remarks of her blond friend were. Did she really enjoy the idea of a love-stricken-in-grief Ahiru so that she could play the role of the consoler? Or was it just words with little meaning?
She had caught Ahiru look at Fakir from afar. She knew it was a look of deep interest. She was sure that they weren’t wrong in believing that Ahiru did have feelings for Fakir, even though the red-haired girl never said anything to her friends about these feelings.
Maybe Ahiru, herself, wasn’t even aware of these feelings.
“Do you think their meeting will be interesting and full of emotions? That they will kiss and everything and then he will leave Ahiru-chan to cry on her own?” her blond friend asked, in a whisper, excitedly.
Pike looked at her friend next to her for a second and then averted her eyes to her other friend that was patiently waiting for them to appear, holding a basket of sandwiches, not knowing that instead of her friends, she’d soon meet someone else.
Ahiru sat down on the grass, on the shore of the lake and closed her eyes. She hadn’t managed to sleep again the previous night after she woke up from her dream.
She had been seeing the same dream for the past three nights consequently. It wasn’t a… bad dream but it was a dream she didn’t like much.
It was confusing.
It started with her as Princess Tutu doing a pirouette alone in a dark space and it felt like she was flying. She felt so in control of herself, of everything around her. Like she was the centre of the world and there was nothing wrong with the darkness around her…
…in a weird way the darkness was at the same time a void and part of the material world.
She couldn’t explain it.
Then as she iss doing non-stop that pirouette, she sees Prince Mythos to appear dancing on his own, away from her. Not stopping to dance, she approaches him slowly but the prince doesn’t seem to realize her presence close to her. He continues dancing his solo routine until another figure appears.
It is a dark brown-haired woman, dressed in an elegant black tutu - quite provoking in Ahiru’s mind – and approaches the prince as well. This time the prince immediately approaches the female figure, who turns out to be Rue in her Princess Krahae form.
No matter how much she tries – she dances madly, screams at the Prince, - he cannot hear her, cannon notice her. Then as she goes closer to the couple that dances the pas de deux of black swan, she tries to touch the prince, to get at last his attention.
But her hand cannot touch and she suddenly stops being elegant, beautiful, graceful and perfect, she stops being Pricess Tutu and becomes just Ahiru.
The girl that is originally a duck and prayed so hard to become a girl so she could meet her prince, but even in her most perfect form, as a character of the tale, she still can’t reach her prince. He is too far away for her.
It is the truth. She is a duck and never will be able to touch the stars like a real human dancer can. She is just a duck and there is nothing she can do about that.
And once her role in the story is over, Drosselmeyer will make her a duck again. Forever and ever a duck.
As Ahiru, she looks at the couple dancing so beautifully and feels a sharp pain in her chest. A void as well. And maybe deep inside there is jealousy as well. She is jealous of Princess Krahae for being able to have the prince or maybe of both the Prince and the Princess because they are so great, so beautiful by themselves.
They don’t need a pendant to make them be like that. To turn them into something beautiful like she has to.
Suddenly from behind someone touches her on the shoulder – finally seeing her – and before she understands it she is pulled to where the other couple is dancing with her mystery partner. The other couple stops dancing and looks at her – or the one she is with, she cannot be sure – and the prince, hesitantly leaves the Princess’ side and comes to dance with them.
She leaves her mystery partner and dances an imperfect and yet so heartfelt pas de deux. She feels so much joy just by being able to dance with the prince as herself, as the clumsy, red-haired ballet student that loves to dance just to dance and is in reality a duck.
She is so happy.
And then the prince leaves her again to go to his princess and she is left with her mystery partner. She turns to face him and sees the knight.
The poor knight that died – and always will - to protect his prince, was hurt so much. She felt him so well. She was connected with him and that was why he was the only one who really noticed her.
They started dancing again, forgetting the other couple next to them, focused suddenly only on one another and how important it was to dance together.
And then she felt him stop dancing and pull her closer to him. Her chest was pressed upon his, her legs were barely touching the ground as his hand on her waist, had nearly lifted her from the ground. His other hand was holding tightly hers and then he leaned closer…
And that was the point when she always woke up, a little before Fakir kissed her.
The thing that scared her the most was that she was disappointed that the dream always stopped at that moment. She wanted to kiss Fakir.
That was from every point of view wrong. She was not supposed to feel like that. She loved Mythos… so why did she have this dream?
Why did she dream that the one she was meant to be with was not the Prince for whom she had become a human girl but the knight, the other tragic figure of the tale? They were the ones who died for the Prince. Could it be that this similarity of theirs was what made her feel attached to him in her dream – because she wasn’t attached that way with Fakir in the real world - what made it feel so right to dance with him? Or maybe the reason they were connected and she could understand what he felt was because they both wanted to save Mythos? The both had the same goal. That could be a reason for two people to get closer.
That was the reason she actually did get closer to Fakir in the first place, when they went to save Mythos from the underground lake place that Princess Krahae held him and his emotion of love. This was the point from which they started to really get to know each other. He learnt her secret and she saw a bit of the real him, underneath the cold exterior he wore to keep people away from him, to focus on Mythos and Mythos only, to protect him from being hurt.
He wasn’t a bad person. She never thought he really was.
She was really glad that her friends had invited her to have a picnic this morning. It would be a wonderful way to just not think of that dream and relax. She was going to have so much fun with them, she was sure of that.
Ahiru beamed at herself and lay on the grass, looking at the sky. It was a perfect day for a picnic. The sky was clear, the sun was shining and there was a sense or regeneration in the air, exactly what Ahiru needed.
She looked at her left and to her horror she saw Fakir walking slowly with a book towards the lake and she knew that he was going to sit by the lake, exactly where she was lying at the moment.
She inwardly panicked.
She didn’t want to see him. She wanted a Fakir-free day, a fairytale-free, Princess-Tutu-free day. Before she could realize herself what she was doing, she was on her feet, had grabbed the basket with the sandwiches and fruits she had brought for the picnic and ran inside the small wood that existed near the lake.
She didn’t run very far. She just wanted to be sure that he would not see her, that she would not have to talk to him.
What if he was going to stay all day at the lake? What if he was going to be there when Lilie and Pike came? They’d surely go to her room to search for her and they wouldn’t find her there. They’d be worried about her. After a while of searching and not finding her, they’d stop, maybe thinking she changed her mind, and go have the picnic just the two of them. While she was here, hiding behind a tree because she was afraid of the Fakir in her dream and couldn’t face the Fakir of reality.
She had to get away from there. Maybe she could wait for them at another place on the way to the lake and then convince them that they could have their picnic at another place in the school. They’d be surprised by her insistence to change the picnic location but Ahiru was sure that she could convince them in the end.
She had to get away. But the only way to do that was to pass from where Fakir was currently sitting – she could see his form from afar, sitting with his back against a tree, holding his book closed and just enjoying the silence before he started reading.
There was a way to pass without having to directly face him. A little risky though way. If she transformed in her duck form, she could swim away to the other side of the lake and then ran to her room, wear new clothes – because she can’t carry her own while swimming – make new sandwiches and then try to find her friends before they reached the lake or wait for them in their room or at some place near their meeting place so she could see them and convince them to choose another place to have their picnic.
This could work.
Fakir knew she really was a duck but he certainly wouldn’t be able to realize which she was if he just saw her swimming from afar. He probably wouldn’t even notice there was a duck swimming at the lake if it wasn’t close to him.
And what if he did suspect it was her? If she was at the other side of the lake, he wouldn’t be able to catch her. He could call her but she would just pretend not to hear him and continue her way. He’d just assume he was wrong.
In her duck form, she was more protected by unfortunate events in this situation. She could certainly walk more freely around the school.
Ahiru looked around her. There didn’t seem to be anyone around so it was safe to assume that she safe enough to change. With one last look around her, she placed her basket on the ground, and opened her mouth to say they “magic” sound.
“Quack,” she whispered and felt her body to change in the so usual way it did when she went back to her true form. She felt the feather cover her body, her clothes falling onto her small form and being a dark place that was difficult to move in until she found the way to get out of there.
Fakir had just opened his book when he heard a girly scream from behind him. He turned from where the sound came from and he saw two students of the academy ran towards him with scared, full of panic and maybe even terror, eyes and expressions on their face. As they came closer, he recognized them as Ahiru’s companions.
He instantly knew that something was wrong. Trouble was following that girl everywhere! Even her own presence was shouting trouble. She was a duck who turned into a girl who turned into the tragic figure of a fairytale he belonged to. If this wasn’t trouble, Fakir didn’t know what was.
He focused his attention at the girls who reached him and grabbed him by one hand each and pulled him inside the wood. He resisted their attempts. He wasn’t going to go anywhere, until he learnt the cause of all this chaos. Was that stupid girl in trouble? Did anything happen with Mythos’s heart? How much did these two know? Could they know about Ahiru’s secret?
“What’s going on, you two?” he demanded from the girls, not giving in to their attempts to drag him to the forest. The stopped pulling him after a while, as they were trying to calm down and sort out in their minds what they wanted to say. “What?” he demanded again, growing impatient with them for not speaking up. What if there was serious trouble and he was just losing his time with these two here?
“Ahiru…” the pink-purplish-haired one started but she couldn’t finish her sentence. “Ahiru…”
“SHE VANISHED!” the blonde-haired one screamed finally in a hysteric situation. She seemed to be the one who couldn’t accept what she was the most.
Fakir could imagine that seeing your friend shrink and just leave a pile of clothes behind, was a terrifying site and the girl was taking it very bad. She was taking it so bad that he felt the sudden need to slap her so she would stop screaming before she gathered more people here. It was good that this was a quite remote place in the academy and it was early in a Sunday morning so most students were probably in their bed being lazy.
The other girl let out a sob and nodded her head fervently in agreement with what her friend said.
What was he supposed to do now? Their reaction showed that they had no idea about the real Ahiru and it wasn’t his place to open their eyes. It would probably be disadvantageous to him as well. It was already enough that he had to deal with that girl, he didn’t need to have her with people to support her…
…or to reject her and make her feel so bad that she would not even do the one thing she was meant to be doing; saving Mythos. Fakir was sure that despite being a duck in reality, she had that entire complex, emotional-labyrinth-like-psyche that all women had and he never truly understood. If she was difficult to handle and tolerate while being happy, then he couldn’t imagine how difficult it would be to have to deal with a depressed Ahiru.
He slowly raised his eyebrow and looked at the two girls with emotionless expression but not the perfect one he usually had while being in the academy with other students. He let some bit of feelings leak out to the girls. It was time to show his acting skills. “You are crazy,” he told them and crossed his arms over his chest, taking a quite imposing stance while looking down on the quite shorter than him girls. “People don’t just vanish,” he added to his reasoning. “You obviously imagined all this. I am sure that your friends is still intact and solid and somewhere in the academy. If you search for her, I’m sure you’ll find her.”
“No!” the blonde girl insisted. “I know what I saw. She completely vanished. Only her clothes were left on the ground. Someone did something to her!” she screamed at him and grabbed his hand, pulling him again. “Come and see! You’ll just find a pile of feminine clothes.”
The other girls grabbed him again and assisted her friend in pulling him towards the wood. “Yes! Come and see since you don’t believed us!”
“WE are not CRAZY. I know what I saw, no matter how crazy it was. THAT was crazy, I am not,” the blonde girl insisted in high-pitched tone.
Fakir didn’t relent to their words and felt a little bit guilty for that because what they did see did happen. They just didn’t stay there enough to see that under the clothes, there was a small duck trying to untangle itself. It was obvious that they didn’t plan on leaving him alone. He had to devise another way to keep them away as he would go search for that stupid, clumsy, intolerable girl and see if he could straighten up some things.
How could she be so careless, so irresponsible? How could she transform to a duck without making one-hundred-per-cent sure that no one, absolutely no one was there? Especially these two; they didn’t know anything about the existence of magic or that there was dead storyteller in another dimension watching over their lives and having fun with their pain. He was messing with what was right, what was wrong, what each creature was meant to do and be.
That stupid, stupid, clumsy, annoying girl.
A new plan in mind, he spoke again. “All right, say I believe you, ok?” he told them and walked a bit closer to the forest. “I’ll go check the small wood and if I find a pile of clothes with no girl around, I’ll go with you to the principal to report this… incident,” he told them. “But I’ll go look at the wood alone. It’s not big so in ten minutes, I’ll have found the clothes, if they are there as you claim.”
“Why can’t we come with you?” the pink-purplish girl asked. “Wouldn’t that be easier for you?”
“Because you are annoying,” he replied rudely and turned his back at the girls.
He had to find her quickly. Before they went into the forest to find him and the situation became even more troublesome than it already was.
Ahiru had frozen under her human clothes from the moment she heard that scream. She knew who was the one who screamed.
And then there was another voice screaming her name. Pike.
Then sounds of steps walking away, leaving her alone.
This was horrible. Her friends weren’t supposed to know anything about her being a duck or Princess Tutu. Ahiru didn’t want them to. She wanted them to be carefree and away from the trouble and danger her secret brought. Drosselmeyer could be angry now with what happened.
Maybe he would punish her by turning her into a duck again and her prince would never get his heart back. Fakir would have to do all the work by himself.
Ahiru was not particularly bright – she was a bird after all, how clever can a bird be compared to humans? – but she was sure that the role of princes Tutu in the story, despite being very brief, was important – if she hadn’t appeared, things wouldn’t have been the same – and now in this new story or maybe new adaption of the original story, without Princess Tutu the story wouldn’t be able to have a good ending.
The story may not even be able to have an ending at all….
She suddenly felt something and warm press her from above the clothes that were covering her small form. She trembled slightly but didn’t move. What if it was Lilie and Pike and saw that she became a duck? What was she going to do then?
Would she be able to do anything at all to not lose them? To not be left alone? It was already lonely being the only one totally meant to be in this world temporarily, to never be able to express her love for Mythos, to always have to hide who she truly was… but it would be unbearable if she had to stay in this world and not have anyone to spend her time with, to care a bit for her… just for her.
If it was going to be like that, she’d never turn into a girl again. She’d remain the duck Mother Nature destined her to be and live that uneventful life. It was a boring life but not a painful one. She just swam around in the lake, ate and slept. There weren’t supposed to be any complicated, disturbing and painful situations and feelings she’d have to deal with.
There wouldn’t be anything very happy either to experience but that seemed fine to Ahiru at the moment.
But then… she hadn’t been the most usual duck there could be, even before she was picked by Drosselmeyer to become Princess Tutu. Normal ducks wouldn’t have wanted to save a human from loneliness in the first place.
They wouldn’t have noticed the emotions humans had. They would have ignored them and just went on with their peaceful swimming. They wouldn’t have dreams of another life. They wouldn’t feel bored with their life, they wouldn’t think that there was more in life than swimming all together and finding food.
They just wouldn’t be anything she was as a duck.
Maybe it was futile. She would be wrong in all her forms. As a duck, she thought and felt too much for her kind and as a human girl, that fact that she could turn into a duck made her different again. She was meant perhaps to be totally alone.
At a dark corner of the small forest in the shadows, another girl in a school uniform was watching what was happening. She smiled –more likely smirked – and brought a hand on her face to cover her smile and her small chuckle.
She was a beautiful girl. A beauty, one could say with her dark brown, wild-curly hair. Her fair, soft skin. Her light-pink, small, cute lips that formed a sinister smile.
Her eyes were also very attention-grabbing. Dark and mysterious.
She turned her attention from the small duck to the other three figures. And especially the two girls, that were in the point of hysteria.
They could be useful.
I need to eat, daughter.
Her father’s words rang into her mind. The two girls could certainly amount to something for her father’s needs. They probably wouldn’t be enough to satisfy her father but they could certainly put him at ease for some time.
Their value and usefulness though wasn’t limited to only being food to her father. She smiled and started walking towards the two girls as soon as Fakir left them behind with a plan to execute in mind.
Fakir walked quickly around the small forest trying to locate the little duck before anything worse happened. He knew that she was terrified of what happened, of all the possible outcomes this situation could bring.
He knew that he had to find her and tell her that she was going to make it. Everything was going to be fine.
Then at the bottom of a tree, he saw a small pile of heap of clothes, which he realized were a uniform of the academy. He slowly walked towards the small heap, trying to be as silent as possible, afraid that he would scare her if she was around.
He knelt and noticed that there was a small tremor from what was below the clothes. It was a very small creature… as small as a duck.
He carefully put his hand over it and caressed it. He felt it be even more frightened because of his touch but he relaxed a bit as well…. She was not moving away which was very good. She was not running away…
… he didn’t expect her to. Ahiru was a lot of thing like stupid, annoying, careless, a duck, a magical princess but she wasn’t a coward. Fakir had to give her that. She wasn’t a coward. On the contrary, she was everything but a coward. She was a creature that defied logic to help Mythos, the one he also wanted to protect.
Their ideas of protection differed a lot but he had to give her that she tried as hard as he did. Maybe even harder.
But she was also fragile. People couldn’t see it easily but Fakir noticed that she was a fragile creature, like the small duck she truly was, her human self was also so easy to hurt. Because she cared too much, in a way that humans usually couldn’t care.
He slowly un-tangled the little duck and carefully raised her with her hands so he could look deep into her duck eyes. “Do you have any idea how stupid you are?” he asked her in a calm voice. “Do you know anything about all the problems you have caused and everything else that could be caused because of what you’ve done?”
The small duck lowered her head apologetically and Fakir saw a little bit of tears forming in her big eyes.
“You are scared of that, right?” he put her on the ground and caressed the necklace on the duck’s neck. “You didn’t want them to know.”
She shook her head and looked away for a moment. Then she slowly took some steps back and lowered her head. The necklace was off her small neck.
Fakir looked at it and then at her. She couldn’t be thinking of doing that… “You can’t quit!” he objected and tried to put the necklace back into her head but she resisted. “You are not supposed to quit,” he took her into his hands again and brought her close to his face again. “You were chosen out of all the other ducks to do this, to save Mythos, the prince. This means something.” The small duck looked at him curiously, not crying anymore but still having an unsure look about what she was supposed to really do. “All the other ducks lived their duck-related life but you… you wanted to save the prince. You were different,” he started saying, feeling warm inside as he kept on talking about her. He didn’t know if he truly believed these things or not. If he truly wanted her to know that he thought of her as something special, as something irreplaceable.
He didn’t want to know that he thought like that.
“You can’t return to just being a duck because… you are so much more than that. Other ducks don’t feel like you do, don’t love like you do. They can’t appreciate beauty, art, dance like you do. They don’t try their best at something they are not very good at. Other ducks just… aren’t risking their lives for others without waiting anything in return. They are just… stupid, cute, uncaring creatures that just eat and swim and sleep…. They don’t live and experience life like you do,” Fakir didn’t realize that his voice rose a tone a bit, or that he was talking a bit faster than he usually did. “Not that you are not stupid… you are so stupid sometimes, doing things that you shouldn’t do and meddling into other people’s business and disrupting their life, the way they believe everything is meant to be but you always in the end – somehow – convincing everyone that everything was for the best. Or if the ending is not so good, that it will be for the best but it’s not visible how yet.”
He stopped talking and just breathed hard for a moment. “You just can’t quit now,” he insisted again in quieter voice and placed the necklace along with her on the ground. “I’ll turn my back now,” he told her and got up, turning his back at her.
Ahiru walked closer to the necklace and watched the boy’s back, like she was looking at it with a new light. She sighed and wore the necklace again, grabbed her clothes and ran at the edge of the lake to find water so she could turn back to her human self.
Lilie and Pike were sitting together, holding tightly their hands anxiously, still shocked from what they had seen just some minutes ago. Lilie turned her head towards the forest and leaned closer to Pike. “Don’t you think that Fakir is missing for far too long?”
Pike looked at her friend worried and then at the forest into which the dark-haired boy went into. “Maybe…” she muttered. She didn’t want to believe that something bad had happened to him as well. She didn’t want to believe that something bad had happened to Ahiru either. “No.” she said loudly. “No!”
“What happened?” Lilie asked her friend worried. “Are you all right?”
“Nothing bad happened,” Pike told Lilie and folded her arms over her chest. “Fakir is fine and you’ll see that Ahiru is fine as well.”
Lilie got up and hugged from the shoulders Pike in a comforting hug. “But we saw her vanish into thin air, Pike,” she whispered at her friend scared. “And I am not crazy. You are not crazy either.”
“It was a trick of the light. A light-thing that just made us see something we weren’t supposed to.” Pike insisted and hugged her friend back.
“Is something wrong?” another feminine voice asked from afar and the two girls turned to see Rue walking towards them. “You seem to be awfully disturbed by something,” she told the girls with a worried expression when she reached them.
The two girls didn’t answer. They just looked at the famous, perfect ballerina of the Academy. “Why are you here, Rue?” Lilie asked in a strained voice.
“I was walking around and I heard a scream so I came to see what happened and then I saw you two being…. Well… the way you are,” she explained to them and touched with her right hand her left elbow as she leaned closer to them. “Did anything bad happened to you, two?”
“Not us.” Pike said and looked worried at the forest. “But….” her voice trailed and didn’t finish the sentence
“But?” Rue pressed the girls to continue talking with interest in their stories.
“Ahiru.” Lilie said.
Rue’s eyes widened. “Ahiru-chan?” she asked and brought her hand on her face. “Something bad happened to Ahiru-chan?” she asked the two girls. None of them answered her. “Please tell me. Ahiru-chan is my friend too. I’d hate if something bad happened to her,” she pleaded with the two girls. “Maybe I could help…”
Lilie was ready to start explaining everything but Pike put a hand onto her mouth and stopped her. “I didn’t know you cared,” she told suspiciously to the other girl. Rue and Pike didn’t know well each other but they did know each other for a long time. They had met when they were little girls, before Rue became the prima ballerina of the academy and Pike met Lilie and later Ahiru. During all these years, they many never have interacted much to each other Pike had never seen Rue act nicely to anyone. She wasn’t cruel to anyone either. She was always… indifferent.
She never acted the way she just did.
She was also Mythos girlfriend and Ahiru did become closer to Mythos the past couple of weeks. Could she and Lilie, as Ahiru’s friends, trust the other girl.
Rue looked at Pike with a shocked – and slightly angry – expression and then resumed her concerned smile. It was only for a second but Pike was sure that she saw something more. Something that didn’t have to do with Rue being afraid for Ahiru… something bad.
“I care for the people that are part of my life,” she told the girls and took Lilie’s hand into her own. “Please tell me.”
Lilie pushed Pike aside and freed her mouth from her hand. “She vanished. Ahiru vanished into thin air. I don’t know what happened to her,” she looked at Pike and took her hand into her own. “We both saw her. And now we are afraid that the same thing happened to Fakir as well. He went to look for her inside the small wood and he hasn’t returned.”
“Ahh…” Rue opened her mouth and closed it, covering it with her hand. “I can’t believe it… How?” she asked in disbelief.
“Well…”Lilie started but Pike pinched her at the butt to stop her. “Ahh!” she turned to her friend and pushed her away from her. “What’s wrong with you Pike?!”
“I just am not sure if telling Rue is such a good idea,” she muttered at her friend while looking at the dark-brown-haired girl.
“Why?” Rue asked and narrowed her eyes at Pike.
Lilie nodded in agreement and went to stand next to Rue. “Yes, Pike. Why is not such a good idea?”
Pike didn’t answer. She looked at Lilie with a betrayed look. How could she side with Rue and not listen to what she, Pike, her best friend - her oldest friend – said. Then she turned at Rue and suddenly saw her in a new light. She finally noticed that inside her eyes, beneath the concern and shock, there was amusement.
She was not what she seemed to be. And Lilie was being probably used without her understanding it.
Rue turned to Lilie and took her into a hug, adopting a concerned and understanding look. “How horrible must it be to have such a friend?” she told the blond girl and caressed her on the back soothingly. “Was she always like that?”
Lilie suddenly had a shocked expression. “No… no, Pike is not horrible,” she justified her friend. “She is just too shocked by everything that happened and doesn’t know what she is saying.”
“Is it really just that?” Rue asked and went a step back. A wave of black feathers covered her and when it died down, Rue appeared wearing a black tutu-dress.
Her clothes weren’t the only difference on her. Her face was the same and yet it was also different at the same time. Her eyes were cold and darker and so full of emotions, dark emotions that made looking at her horrible.
She was beautiful, more beautiful than before perhaps but she was also nightmarish. She was like the black swan in Swan Lake… so similar to the white swan but also so different.
Alluring, captivating, mysterious but deep down poisoned by all the horrible emotions the black swan held for her twin.
She started pirouetting, but never taking her eyes from the two girls. She slowly approached them without stopping her pirouettes and offered her hand to them.
Pike didn’t move but to her horror, Lilie did. She had a lost look as she followed the other girl. She seemed so relaxed, like she was a puppet and was being moved by a puppeteer from somewhere above. Like she was the victim drawn to the flame by its heart and power, ready to get burned.
Not understanding that she was going to get burned.
“You were scared, weren’t you Lilie?” Rue-like girl asked as she started dancing a pas de deux with the blond girl who moved with a grace that did not fit her character, a grace that was not really hers. “But why were you scared really?”
“She was lost. Totally lost. Things like that cannot happen,” the blond girl answered in a blank voice.
“So what scared you was not Ahiru vanishing and never seeing her again but just the idea of someone vanishing?” she asked but didn’t really expect an answer. “Why is that? Aren’t two friends?” she asked the other girl as she launched from one foot and landed on both. She then launched into another jump, her left feet swishes up under the right feet. The feet met together in mid-air, and Rue landed with bothe feet on the floor in fifth position. In other words she performed a stunning assemblé.
It was then that Pike heard it. The music that black-dressed dancer followed. Until now it was just movement but with the addition of music in her mind, she suddenly became stunning. Inconceivable. Undeniable.
Pike found herself forgetting what she was thinking before, about the black-swan like danger and just watched mesmerized the dance and the talk of the two other girls in front of her. She was frozen.
Until it was her turn to take the hand and dance with this amazing dancer.
“We are.” Lilie said and for a moment her movements stopped. It was only for a moment but she did stop, like she was considering her own words and thoughts. “I mean I don’t know her much but we are friends.”
“How can you be friends with someone you don’t really know?” she pressed the girl as they did another synchronized pirouette. “Isn’t the point of being friends that you know each other very well?”
“It’s not that I don’t know her…” Lilie protested but without much strength in her voice, too lost in the dance and the music in her head. “It’s just… that I know that I know her… I don’t feel that I do,” she explained after a moment to her black-dressed dance partner. “Just can’t feel her a lot.”
“Tell me more about it,” she encouraged the blond girl.
Lilie closed her eyes as she was dancing, giving in to the power that was attracting her to follow the other girl’s movements – nearly instructing her in her mind to follow – and allowing also that power to awaken within her emotions she never knew she had. She’d never felt before.
It wasn’t that she was actually feeling them at the moment. It was that she knew they existed in her mind; she didn’t feel anything now but the movements of the dance she was dancing with that other girl. She had lost her ability to understand and think.
She just felt, listened and obeyed to that voice, the music of the dance.
“It’s that… sometimes it feels that whether she’s around or not, it feels the same.” Lilie admitted hesitantly, nearly like she didn’t want to admit that these were her feelings, her thoughts. “She doesn’t exist in a way. It’s not like with Pike”
The dark-brown haired girl smirked and walked back, leaving Lilie pirouette non-stop on her own. “Yes… keep that in mind.” She turned her attention at Pike and danced her way close to her, like the spider that has caught a small flee and is slowly playing with it before it devours it.
“How about you Pike?” she took the other girls hands and pulled her closer to her body. “Out of the two of you, I think you are the one who has more reasons to not like Ahiru,” she whispered into her ear and smirked. Taking a step back, she started pirouetting, “Am I wrong?”
Pike didn’t answer. She was hardly able to register the other girl’s words. Her eyes fell on Lilie who was still pirouetting. It was like time had stopped for her friend and she just kept repeating a move, a moment until it was time to go on and continue. Like she was waiting for permission to do that, to be given the order by some higher power and voice.
Or maybe waiting for the woman, Rue had turned into to dance with her again.
She didn’t know.
“Am I wrong, Pike?”
There was a voice ready to say “no” but she couldn’t be sure. She didn’t know for sure anything about herself right now, only that she couldn’t say that “no”, even though it seemed to be the true.
“You are not answering,” the other girl muttered and Pike found herself dancing a pas de deux without knowing all the necessary steps, without having any sense of actually dancing. She just did and she just knew that she did. “I gather from your silence that I am not wrong. You do have a reason to despise – or at least not like so much and be angry with – Ahiru. Right?”
Pike didn’t answer. She still couldn’t find the necessary words to answer the other woman’s questions.
“Like how she and Fakir are growing closer day by day? Or maybe that it’s not just you and Lilie anymore? She is stealing the attention of two people you wanted to be the center of their life. Suddenly everything revolves around her…”
Pike found herself suddenly agreeing with everything the other girl said. “Yes…” she muttered in a low, small voice. “Yes,” a little louder again.
“Everything has to do with Ahiru. Even you. You stopped thinking of yourself so much and focused nearly solely on Ahiru… but we know, Pike. We know each other many years…. You weren’t originally like that, were you?”
“No…” she admitted in an emotionless voice and images of her childhood, her early behaviour came into her mind. She saw herself with Lilie before Ahiru, practicing with Lilie before Ahiru, admiring boys – among them Fakir as well – with Lilie before Ahiru….
… everything had changed the day Ahiru appeared.
There was also a blank about how they met… Pike knew that she met Ahiru but she couldn’t remember it.
“Don’t deny what you feel,” she encouraged the purple-ish-haired girl in a soothing tone. “I understand how you feel… don’t be ashamed of your feelings – whether they are bad or good – you shouldn’t deny them,” she warned the girl and they started pirouetting in synchronization. Lilie slowly moved closer to them to join them in their common dance. “They are going to eat you up if you don’t.” she told both girls. “You both don’t really like Ahiru, never really did perhaps.”
“No!” a voice was heard from afar.
Ahiru with Fakir by her side watched Rue turn into Princess Krahae and talk to her friends.
Ahiru never thought that her friends could feel that way about her. It never crossed her mind that the relationship they had, despite being brief, was not deep and true. Maybe Princess Krahae’s words were true… everything that had to do with Ahiru was an illusion cast by Drosselmeyer to have his story stage….
Pike and Lilie were just side characters. Everything about them was not very important. He wouldn’t have put many details about her in their mind, they just existed as a social circle for the fake girl.
Maybe in real life, if they had the choice of freedom that Drosselmeyer indirectly stripped them of, they wouldn’t like her, maybe….
“Don’t believe what she says.” Fakir suddenly told her and she felt his hand touch slightly her shoulder. “She is using little bits to make a whole story.” Ahiru turned to look at him confused by his words. “This her weakness… she is not using the truth. Or at least not the whole of it. That is always the truth about her and that’s her weakness…. She just focuses on small things and makes them large, makes them through her brainwashing dance, seem real… but they are not,” the dark-haired boy explained. “You just need to tell them the way things really are.”
Ahiru nodded and smiled at Fakir as she held tightly her pendant. He was right…. That was always what she did as Princess Tutu. She reminded the people that were under the raven’s spell that there was more than that in their life, in their hearts.
That there was more than what Princess Krahae made them believe there was.
She was using lies and the only way to defeat a lie, is to let the truth shine brightly in front of the people that were lead astray.
She, Ahiru, who is in reality a duck, is also Princess Tutu, the princess whose love for the prince could kill her and who briefly appeared in the story as light.
But what a light?! She was the light of truth. The brightest, strongest and most important light.
She changed into her Princess Tutu form and with new-found confidence within herself, she stepped outside of the shadows and danced her way closer to her friends and Princess Krahae.
“No!” she exclaimed.
“Princess Tutu!” Princess Krahae hissed but didn’t stop her dance. The two other girls for a moment lost their balance but then immediately resumed their dancing, this time though not in perfect synchronizing with the raven princess.
Princess Tutu ignored her “enemy” and focused solely on her friends, reminding herself that she had to be different that Princess Krahae, that to win her friends back – to save them – she had to say truths not lies.
Only things they had lived together, not false memories that were imprinted in their minds by Drosselmeyer for them to play a role. Moments that had happened and they had shared together.
“Pike, Lilie…. You shouldn’t doubt your friend before you even give her a chance to explain,” she told them in a comforting and forgiving tone. “She is your friend and you’ve lived so many moments together,” she continued with a voice full of emotion.
Lilie and Pike slowly turned their attention at the white-dressed Princess instead of the black-dressed one.
“So many mornings you woke her up so she wouldn’t be late. So many evenings you stayed together at the dance room to practice. So many meals and walks and laughs…” she went on and the two girls stopped dancing. “Remember…. Remember everything you know and not what you don’t.” she encouraged them. “Your lives changed when you met her but that’s not a bad thing, Change always happens and people most of the times don’t understand it. Her life changed too!”
The girls started walking away from the raven princess who watched in anger and frustration as her enemy convinced the two girls to go at her side with her sneaky, goody-goody ways. She always did that.
She always had to appear and do something to ruin her plans.
“Her life changed for the better. I am sure your friend, Ahiru, values your love and attention more than anything in the world… she never wanted to become a burden Lilie, that’s why she never demanded for attention to make herself the center of it. Pike, she never wanted to steal anything for you…. On the contrary, has there ever been a time that you asked her for something and she didn’t give it to you?”
The two girls stopped dancing and a little bit of tears appeared at the corner of each eyes.
“She always made you sandwiches for breakfast, she always gave you the parts of the bread you liked the most. She’s done so many small things for you because she loves you. Because you are her precious friends and she loves you. Because of how kind and warm you were to her from the day that you met…”
“All this time… she’s been so grateful for everything that you’ve done for her.”
The girls let their tears fall and soon their eyes stopped being the eyes of puppets and they were freed from the spell of the raven. Then, they fainted.
Princess Tutu and Fakir ran and caught them so they wouldn’t get hurt from the fall.
“This is not over.” Princess Krahae said and went a step back. “This is not the end.” she warned the two other figures. “I will be happy.”
I, Mythos and Father will finally be happy together… as a family.
Then she vanished leaving Fakir and Ahiru alone to tend for the two girls.
Her words rang into Princess Tutu’s head. They worried her… not only for having to fight again, for the possibility of people she loved getting hurt but for Rue as well. Not Princess Krahae but Rue that was always there as a thought forced to never resurface.
For her friend, Rue, who was hurting so much. Who loved Mythos so much.
As a duck, as a human girl, a Pricess Tutu, Ahiru was feeling pain for Rue. Fakir would call her naïve for thinking they were not the same but Ahiru knew better.
They most definitely were not the same; Princess Krahae had even hinted upon that.
She changed into her human form and helped Fakir pull Lilie and Pike at the shore of the lake.
“Thank you, Fakir,” she suddenly told the older boy.
He stayed still and a tiny bit of blush was visible on his cheeks.
“Thank you for being so kind and helping me,” she continued and walked closer to him with a kind smile on her face, the smile only Ahiru had.
“Don’t say such things!” he told her in a scolding tone. “I didn’t do it for you,” he continued and folded his arms over his chest.
“This is your true strength Fakir… maybe. Seeing people as they truly are. As ugly or as beautiful as they truly are,” she went on and the boy went a step back, the blush on his face stronger than before. He opened his mouth to protest but no sound came out of it, “You are not defeated by illusions and you always manage to find the right words…”
Fakir quickly started walking away without saying anything to Ahiru but “I didn’t do it for you” as he passed towards.
Ahiru smiled as she watched his form vanish in the distant as he head for the dorms to most probably deny wanting to help her. “Yes,” she muttered to herself. “You didn’t.” but her smile showed that she didn’t even believe her words.
She just agreed for his sake.
Ahiru heard Lilie make a sound and saw that her friends were about to wake up. Her mind momentarily panicked because she had to deal with her two friends. They probably wouldn’t remember what happened. All the people that had been spelled by the raven princess had a small memory loss.
It was convenient. It would have been really bad if she had to explain to every single one of them what happened. Plus it would be risky. This could draw attention that she didn’t want or need.
They’d think it was a dream… and Ahiru just had to find an answer as to why they had the same dream and why they were lying asleep when the didn’t remember falling asleep.