Chapter 2:

The girl who looked like a monster

Yu-Gi-Oh! :Another story

Everyone’s mouths involuntarily fell open in shock as the girl stood in front of the class. Yugi was instantly drawn in by her…strange Appearance
and couldn't look away, but he was not the only one; she was extremely unusual, and the bored seniors found her to be an interesting, if concerning, distraction from Mr.Narra’s boring lectures on politics and how the world was going to meet its ruin soon.
“Oh, pardon me, Atsuka-San,” the teacher apologized. “I was under the impression that the transfer stu- , excuse me, you- were a boy. By the way, what is going on with your hair and lips? Dramatic hair styles and make-up are not allowed here, and neither are temporary tattoos.”
The girl stared awkwardly at the ground. ”Umm….. Pardon me, Sensei,” She said quietly; her voice sounding soft and relaxed. “But I don’t curl my hair…or wear lipstick…..I…aaah….I...n-natur-naturally l-l-look like this. And…Um….These ta-tattoos are real…. I've had them since I-I was little…so I c-can’t re-remove them. I’m sorry.” Everyone was shocked; tattoos on guys were rare at Domino public high school, but no one had ever heard of a female student having a tattoo, but here was the new girl with a little hot pink and turquoise bird on the left side of her neck!
Even beyond that her appearance was difference. Crazy different.
“She’s tiny!” Jonouchi thought. She wasn’t exactly little -little; she was a bit taller than Yugi, but was also shorter than most of the other people in the room, and was clearly the shortest girl in the class. She was also very thin and rather frail looking, and pretty much entirely flat-chested; her features would have been more appropriate on a nine year old than on a teenager who was almost a woman. She was so small, that the school uniform actually flattered her small figure. Although, she wore it much differently than all the other girls; she wore white thigh-high stockings and grey dress shoes with low heels, as opposed to the black loafers and tights that had been issued for girls that year.
Not that it was a big deal; the dress code had relaxed a bit this year to allow for a little bit of individuality with the uniforms, but everyone still more or less dressed alike, especially the girls, out of fear of looking weird. Old habits and rules died hard. Make up and crazy hair styles and the like were still strictly monitored and usually forbidden, but the new principle had relaxed many of the rules that weren’t really being followed anyway. Having piercings, tattoos, or other body modifications was still extremely rare, but it was a bit more accepted, at least on paper. The actual reactions of the staff and students were typically less than forgiving to any differences in appearance. The old principle had retired, and the new principle had decided to try and reform the school's image. He wanted to appear to be more new-aged and modern to appeal to the fact that the city was one of the main trade and technological development and design hubs in Japan. Yugi found it all quite stupid, really; it was pretty hypocritical on a part of a lot of the student body to judge people with minor outward differences, especially when the way you dressed was still in line with the rules.
Their school was pretty well recognized and respected, but it still was a public school and obviously had some not so amazing qualities to it; there had been a lot of bullying and blackmail going on in the past, quite a few of the city’s high school gangs were formed out of classes there, the test scores were consistently slightly below average, and they had a noticeable amount of drop outs and delinquents. Last spring, a freshman had even been expelled for getting pregnant! The new girl's choices in clothes and stuff wasn’t really a big deal in his mind; it was a little odd, but kind of cool that she was brave enough to be one of the few people to take advantage of the updated rules, and she wasn't hurting anyone.
It was the girl’s jewelry that attracted Bakura’s attention; he didn’t even notice her appearance. A necklace with a long, thick golden chain rested against her chest. A large, fiery red gemstone, maybe the size of a ping-pong-ball, was set on a golden backing that had scalloped edges. It was so bright and large; it was most likely just costume jewelry, from its appearance. It should have looked gaudy, but there was something enchanting and mystical about it. In addition, she had a pair of matching crisscrossed leather bracelets; they were each adorned with a silver disk the size of an American quarter. The disks looked like they had some sort of engraving on them, but he couldn’t make them out from the back of the room. It was unusual for their school; while no longer against the rules, unless ,of course, you looked sloppy or foolish, wearing jewelry was still generally frowned upon. It was actually pretty awesome and admirable that she didn’t care what anyone would think.
Bakura also was the least freaked out of the five by the more mentally scarring aspects of her appearance; he felt bad for her, and was a little worried about what the story behind her injuries would be, but he was otherwise fine with how she looked. He actually thought that her scars made her look creepy and cool; like a vampire or siren from a horror movie. Actually, a vampire-siren wasn’t a bad idea for a RPG story…. His mind instantly wandered off in an irrelevant direction.
Some people thought that she was kind of cute in a child-like way, but most were a little unconsciously disturbed, if not flat out horrified, by her appearance. Anzu and Honda were two of them. Once, she had probably been beautiful. In fact, some aspects of her appearance still showed some signs of their past radiance, but if she had ever been a knock out, most of those traits had vanished long ago. Now, she was horrendously disfigured looking.
“Hey, dude!” exclaimed one of the male students, suddenly giving voice to what everyone else was afraid of acknowledging. “Check out her scar!” A large, angry, red ‘X’ crossed over her left eye; even though her eyes were a beautiful, deep green with golden flecks, they made the scar stand out more strongly. Many boys were humiliated because they couldn’t stop staring at them; they were creepy, but hauntingly beautiful in an odd way. She was obviously embarrassed by everyone’s awkward staring and gaping, and attempted to pull a piece of hair in front of her face to cover her scared eye, but it had no effect.
“Forget the scar!” someone else whispered loudly.” Look at her burns!” In part horror, part fascination, Jonouchi stared at her along with the rest; her neck and the small part of her chest not covered by her uniform jacket were covered in ugly, red burn scars that extended up her right cheek.
She blushed; they didn’t see how the red scaring extended up to the level of her eyebrow, as most of them were not close enough and the scar hugged her hairline at the edge of her face, and her uniform prevented everyone from seeing how the burns covered the entire right side of her torso and part of her right leg. Silently, she thanked god that she had long, thick hair, and that the school uniforms had long sleeves; everyone starring at her ruined face and eye was awkward enough.
Many of the students were utterly disgusted; the extent to which she was disfigured was quite horrific and disturbing. In some ways, she looked more like a piece of meat than a person.
Her appearance in general scared some of her new classmates and made many leary or nervous. Her eyes were extremely pretty, but also overly intense, it was like they were burning through your very soul, observing everything you had ever done or thought. Her skin was deathly pale, as if she was allergic to the sun, her lips were naturally the color of blood, and her thick hair flowed down to her waist, like a curtain.
Her facial wounds were horrific to look at; she looked like a monster, like a wraith or banshee. And with her disfigurement, she had to have been in a fight or had an attempt made on her life, the damage was that bad. How else could she look like this now? What sort of person was this girl? The way she moved and tried to hide her face only made things worse, it was awkward and downright creepy.
The girl’s name was Hanoata, and, despite her exterior coolness, she was really scared. So scared, in fact, that she had to grip her school bag tightly and press her legs together so that the other people in the room couldn’t see her shaking! Everyone was staring at her and it was making her uncomfortable. She had never been in a room with so many strange people before and she hadn’t expected it to be this scary. She had never been near people who weren’t family members. Even the teacher was making odd facial expressions at her! Her little sister ,YakoKobi, had reassured her that she didn’t need to be worried; there were so many odd people out in the world, that no one would concerned about how she looked. Besides, being different was the point of being you own person! “Well, Kobi-Chan, “Hanoata thought to herself. “I guess we were both wrong. People can be a bit judgmental and over dramatic when they don’t understand something.” And it probably didn’t help that everyone had been expecting a boy instead of her.
Yugi looked more closely at the girl; she had extremely long, curly, golden hair tied into pig-tails. She wore long, pale pink ribbons tied into bows, like a headband and, although it was partially hidden by her sleeve, he could vaguely make out some strange symbol tattooed on her left hand, as well. A second tattoo! Immediately, his guard went up.
It wasn’t just her fearsome appearance, or how she was dressed much differently than what was considered normal at their school, or how she looked so emotionless. He could just sense that there was something odd, something off, about her.
She looked and felt out of place at this school, and that worried Yugi. Maybe all the times ancient magic and myths turned out to be true had corrupted his reasoning, but he was a bit concerned about why she had shown up with not much of a warning; she just popped up out of the blue at a strange time in the year, and all the staff had been under the impression that she was a boy, even though she had to have filled out paperwork and applications ahead of time!
Although everything turned out alright in the end, he and his friends had had some pretty close calls and witnessed some things they would rather pretend never happened. And many of the people they now called their friends had pasts that ranged from dark and shady, all the way to having once tried to murder them. Although it was rather unfair, Yugi had learned to be slightly wary of people who seemed off. Especially exchange students.
The first time, Bakura had transferred in and, thanks to his murderous, insane alter ego, they had all almost died when their favorite RPG came to life. They all survived in the end and ended up becoming best friends, but that horrible experience was most defiantly something that none of them ever wanted to repeat again. The second time, Ryuji Otogi and his father’s quest for revenge on his grandfather had ended with him almost being burned to death.
He didn’t really regret those experiences; Bakura-Kun was one of his best friends, and their meeting, and subsequent and adventures and suffering, had freed Bakura from a lifetime of possession and loneliness. Their friendship with Ryuji was a little rocky, but rather amicable; Ryuji had transferred schools for senior year, but they still kept in contact. He and his father had opened a café in the local mall and he seemed to enjoy working there. His father seemed to be recovering from his cruel insanity and becoming a tolerable person. His life was better off with Bakura and Ryuji in it as friends than it would have been if he and the others had been safe and had never met them at all.
Despite all that, he couldn’t help being suspicious of Atsuka-San. He wasn’t the weak child who needed Anzu to stand up for him; he wanted to protect his friends, and would do so to the best of his ability’s. His internal radar was going off big time in response to this girl! That being said, he was worried but… he didn’t think she was a bad person.
He had met quite a few people who had appeared to be crazy and cruel, but things had always turned out to be far more complicated than that. People were odd and complex; they all acted differently and erratically and were unpredictable and illogical many times. No one could be flat out evil.
He’d learned a lot over the past two years, including listening to his instincts and ,right now, they were screaming at him; she was suspicious, but defiantly not obviously evil or harboring ill intentions. He pushed everything out of his mind; she was most likely just another, average student. He was worrying too much, and that wasn’t fair to her. She deserved the same treatment as everyone else, even if she was intimidating. Besides, the crazy part of his life was over for good now. His friend Yami had found his identity and left, and wasn’t ever coming back. He had to move on with his life and quit worrying about the past; there was a lot more to life than what he had already experienced, and he would never enjoy any of it if he let his supernatural experiences color his perception of everything. He’d just keep his eye on her occasionally, but otherwise do nothing.
“Okay, Atsuka-San, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?” Mr. Narra finally snapped out of being stunned and ended all the whispering.
“Umm…okay.” She fidgeted with the hem of her skirt. “My name is Han…Hanoata. Hanoata Atsuka. Uhh …I’m seventeen, because my birthday was last month, and I just moved to Domino City with my family. I have two little sisters who are attending school here; both are freshman. I play the piano and like to watch the stars and lie in the sun. Umm…” what else should she say? “Umm…Umm…Umm…I…I also like to read fairy tales for fun and…Ugh!” Conscious of how childish and lame she must sound, she became nervous and her words sped up and slurred together; “Umm… I’mveryhappytobehereanditisverynicetomeetyouall! Thankyouverymuch!” She quickly dipped into an awkward bow.
Everyone’s eyes followed her as the teacher explained the class rules and assigned her a desk; the whole class had shoved aside their fear momentarily and was now giddy with excitement. Creepiness aside, this unusual, awkward girl was something new and exciting; an enigma. Everyone was waiting with anticipation for lunch period, when they would have a chance to talk to her directly. Maybe they would finally get some answers about this mysterious girl’s odd appearance and background.
* * *
“So what do you guys think of the new girl?” It was lunch period. Yugi and his friends had all gathered in the back of the classroom around Bakura’s desk. Their lunches were all untouched; they were more interested in talking. Their conversation was about, of course, the new girl, Hanoata Atsuka; even Jonouchi had lost interest in eating for once. “I think that that woman is actually kind of cute,” mused Jonouchi. “Maybe I should go over there and introduce myself!” Anzu promptly smacked him upside the head. “Ouch!” Everyone else just ignored his comments; he tried to be funny, but ,more often than not, was just plain annoying “I think she looked really nervous and kind of scary, but nice enough.” Yugi spoke up. “Maybe we should hang out sometime!” Honda smirked and playfully messed with Yugi’s hair, making everyone laugh. “Great idea, pal, but it looks like she already has plenty of other offers. I guess looking like a horror movie hero isn’t going to stop her popularity.”
He pointed across the room, to where Atsuka was surrounded by some of the girls from their class, and quite a few of the senior boys as well. Most people were eager to get to know her, but many held back, intimidated by her appearance.
“Hey, Atsuka-San, what school did you attend before this?” They all were very excited; chattering away and asking her as many questions as possible, talking over each other and sometimes almost yelling to be heard over each other. Atsuka-San, in contrast to their classmates, sat with her hands folded in her lap, a blank and disinterested expression on her face. ”Did you play any sports?” “When is your birthday? How old are you?” “Your hair is so gorgeous! How did you manage to grow it out so long?” Despite all the adoration and attention, she looked annoyed more than anything.
“Man!” moaned Jonouchi. “Honda’s right, She’s already the most popular girl in class! I don’t think we have much of a chance with her now, especially with all those admirers!” Suddenly, Atsuka stood up. “If you do not mind, I was home-schooled before this and do not feel like I need to share personal information with people I just met. Also, I already told you how old I was earlier. Honestly, I really do not want to talk to you. Now, please, excuse me.” She abruptly left the room, leaving her classmates speechless.
“Geez, what a stuck up jerk!” complained Anzu. “Who cares if she’s new and scared, would it kill her to be polite?” She did feel sort of bad for her, thought; the girl probably just wanted to eat her lunch and have a few minutes of peace and quiet after her stressful morning, and was instead mobbed by a bunch of people. She had to be feeling a bit overwhelmed; her hurried departure wasn’t actually all that uncalled for. “Sorry, that sounded mean. They probably shouldn’t have been crowding her, anyway. “
To be honest, Yugi also felt kind of bad for her; she didn’t look mean or selfish, just scared and sad. He could understand that; he used to always be alone. He used to be a target for bullies and his only friend had been Anzu. Now, he had five best friends, in addition to their other friends, and most of the bullies had graduated or dropped out. Although he had had help from his other self, he had been able to become the kind of person who people could count on and was no longer someone who sat in the corner, watching life pass by while being too afraid to join in. He was more outgoing and, although he wasn't close to many people at school, other than his four best friends, he knew most of the students and staff at school and had lots of other friends. It had only taken...about two years.
But Hanoata-San... she was all alone in an uncomfortable situation, in a strange new place, without anyone to genuinely care about her help her. All anyone was really interested in was a few moments of entertainment after a boring morning; she was nothing more than a animal in a zoo to them. They weren't real concerned about her feelings or all that invested in helping her get acclimated to their class. They acted like they cared, but most of them were somewhere between flat out scared of her, and downright loathing her because of her odd appearance and demeanor. Worse, rumors had already been circling during the first few breaks that she could summon demons and had placed a fatal curse on someone, forcing her family to move to Domino City. Her oddness hadn’t exactly been received well.
That being said, she was probably just overwhelmed and unsure of how to interact with other people and wasn’t intending to come off as mean or insane. The two of them weren't all that different, really.
That moment, Yugi swore that, no matter what, they would become friends with Atsuka-San.
* * *
Yugi, Anzu and Jonouchi left school together that afternoon. Their plan was to go get something to eat and then check out the new shipment of merchandise that Yugi’s grandpa was expecting.
“Urg! Honda and Bakura are so lame!” complained Jonouchi as he stretched. “I can’t believe they bailed on us at the last second!” “Oh knock it off!” Anzu shot back evenly. “Honda’s on clean-up duty and can't help it. Bakura said something about a new idea for a RPG story that he wanted to start writing right away. I really have no clue about him, sometimes. Anyway, it’ll still be fu- hey, look!” she pointed across the courtyard at Hanoata Atsuka, who was walking out of one of the other exits. She had on a pair of white, wireless headphones, and was oblivious to the people staring at her.
The student’s nearby were whispering; who the heck did she think she was, casually ignoring the schools code of conduct on electronics usage? And who was she? That creepy girl had to be a new student.
“Why don’t we invite her to come with us?” Anzu suggested. “She’s alone now, so maybe she will be a little bit friendlier. Besides, everyone's generally more positive when they aren't in school.” Three of the girls from earlier approached Hanoata-San. “Damn! Those three bimbos’ piss me off!” “Jonouchi-kun!” “Shut it, before they hear you!” Anzu said through gritted teeth. The three girls were basically THE trio of the Senior class; everyone knew them and pretended to like them because they thought everyone else liked them and would be angry at them for thinking differently, but nearly everyone hated them and couldn't stand how obnoxiously snobby they were. Jonouchi in particular had it out for them, as they were not very nice to him. They constantly fawned over Bakura, more or less stalked him at school, and generally just freaked their friend out and made him extreamly uncomfortable.
“Sorry, “he apologized. “It’s just, those girls are manipulative, smug bullies. It’s not just how they act all clingy to any cute guy who comes along. Or that they hate me and think I’m a pervert. Or even how they traumatize poor Bakura because he's too nice to tell them to scram. They act all nice, but are really super selfish and manipulative. You know how they act all nice to new students and then begin messing with their heads and then ignore them once they get bored with them. They are really not the kind of people that Atsuka-San should be hanging around.” “You are just jealous,” said Anzu. “They are three beautiful girls who think you are a creepy thug, but hit on almost every other guy. And they actually have a better chance of befriending Atsuka-San because they are girls and are not perverts.” She glared at him as she added “You are about as subtle as a hammer, Jonouchi! I saw you! You spent at least half the day eyeballing her. You are lucky she didn’t notice, because it looked even creepier than her appearance!"
For once, Jonouchi was unfazed by Anzu’s sarcasm and ribbing.
“Okay, your right, I’m jealous that they can talk to her. She’s tiny and cute, like my sister. What’s wrong with that? But this isn’t about her looks or how I feel. Those girls are only out for their own enjoyment. They don’t really care about her. Besides, they are even more jealous than me. And they are extremely petty, too. If Atsuka-San is cold and distant and lonely now, that’s nothing compared to how she'll be after the humiliation they’ll put her through.”
“Okay, you are right about that!” Anzu agreed. Those three girls were not exactly saints; Anzu herself had felt their wrath after many of the school’s boys had raved over her ballet routine in the school talent showcase during last year's school festival. They had taunted her and suggested that she work in a strip club after graduation and they wouldn't shut up about it until nearly two months after. It had taken quite a lot of restraint to not slap them like Jonouchi would have done.
And, as foolish as Jonouchi could be, he was probably right and they most likely were up to something. They were very jealous and vindictive by nature, and it wasn't hard to see why Hanoata Atsuka would become one of their targets.
As fragile and weak as Atsuka-San looked, she was actually extremely gifted. She had blown everyone in their class away with the sheer range of her skills and intelligence. Despite the fact that she was supposedly home-schooled and behind the school’s curriculum, she had known everything. She answered every question she was asked perfectly. In math class, she had effortlessly solved and explained the problem that the whole class had been attempting to solve for a week. In English, despite not being in class for the first few lessons, she insisted on taking the test; she got ninety-nine out of a hundred right! Actually, she got a hundred percent; she had explained to the teacher how the question was faulty and lacked a correct answer option. The teacher looked it up and found out Atsuka-San was right!
Despite looking skinny and frail, she was also an apt athlete; she had outran the school record during laps, broke the city-wide records for the high-jump and pole vault, and had been the only one able to execute a perfect back-flip over the high bar and land gracefully on her feet.
She was also an amazing artist. In their art class, they were instructed to create a realistic looking sketch of flowers. Almost everyone failed, and they were no exception; Anzu was good enough that you could tell what her picture was, but Yugi, Honda, and Jonouchi couldn't draw a strait line to save their souls. Bakura was the only good artist in their class. But Hanoata...she was on another level altogether. She not only was the only one to totally finish sketching and coloring, but her purple roses looked very realistic. She was even better than Bakura and their teacher, even!
Hanoata Atsuka had officially earned the label of class B3’s goddess with her skills. And, despite her fearsome looks, she had earned a few secret admirers who found her hair, extraordinary eyes, and tiny frame to be pretty-if you tried real hard to ignore the less beautiful features of her face, but she was still pretty attractive nonetheless.
This had also scared her classmates, despite the fact that she was simply showing off her natural skills, creating new rumors about her occult powers and connections. She was also even more disfigured than they originally thought; her legs and arms were covered in old cuts, burns, scars, and fresh scabs. Her legs in particular were almost more horrible than her face; her knees and calves looked as if someone had scoped out some flesh and then sewed the holes back up, and the scaring on her right side extended down her whole body. Nerveless, the official popular opinion had divided in her favor as everyone got a glimpse at the new student’s extraordinary skills. They may have been scared of her, but she was smart, athletic, artistic, and half-way pretty; she was a clear outlier at this school.
Yugi and the others didn’t really care about her appearance or reputation; despite everyone’s apprehension, she didn’t appear to be such a horrible person. She was a bit aloof, maybe, but she hadn’t done anything outright mean or cruel. She was probably just nervous because of how everyone was treating her and making a big deal out of how she looked. No matter their own feelings, they did kind of owe it to her, as a fellow human being, to be kind and civil.
Jonouchi crossed his arms behind his head. “Well, I’m all for butting in. I think miss smarty-pants would love grandpa’s store; she definitely is really smart and good at thinking things through. She would make a pretty strong, strategic opponent for me to test myself against.” “Yep!” said Yugi. Honestly, she reminded him of someone he knew; formerly Japan’s top gamer and one of the most crafty, intelligent people he had ever met. Someone he hadn’t seen or heard from since that day… He was yanked out of his thoughts yet again by the whiny voice of one of the three girls.
“Hey, Atsuka-San! We were going to go out for tea and wanted to know if you would like to come with us! Do you want to?” The representative of the three girls asked Hanoata Atsuka-San. Despite the blossoming opinion of her arrogance, started by the stories of her talent and her ugly face, what she did next completely shocked all of the people in the nearby vicinity. With a disinterested look of contempt, she simply walked away in the opposite direction, not even bothering to give an answer. Afterward, many people, including some who hadn’t even been there, swore that they had seen her roll her eyes or utter a quiet, inhuman growl.
With that one thoughtless answer, the girl who had formerly been considered the goddess of class B3 had just unwittingly sealed her fate, and on her first day of school, nonetheless.

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