She was in a world of white. The ground, the sky. Everything. It was winter, and she was at the park, playing with her father. The soft cotton drifted down from the clouds, and blanketed everything in the absence of colour. A snowman watched through marble eyes as the girl and her father created a mighty fortress to ward off a bombardment of fluffy frozen water. A tree branch that had withstood the burden of the snowfall finally bent under the weight. The cold whiteness landed on the father, little mountains of snow forming on his shoulders and on the top of his head. After a moment of silence, father and daughter broke out in laugher, big grins on their rosy faces.
She was in a world of white. The floor, the walls, the ceiling. Everything. It was almost spring, and she was in a hospital room, looking over the body of her father. The fluorescent tubes in the ceiling irradiated harsh, bright light. The light bounced off everything in the room, amplifying the harshness. The only colour in the room was the pink of her pyjamas, the brown of her eyes, and the pitch blackness of her long hair. Her father's face had been flushed red that day in the snow, but now his pale, lifeless face was covered by an even whiter piece of fabric.
His wounds had been deep. His burns were severe. He had lost a lot of blood. It was a miracle he lasted long enough to be taken to the hospital, a miracle that he had lasted until he could see his daughter one last time. She was confused. Too confused to even cry. She could only ask questions. "Why? What happened? Who did this?" Before taking his last breath, the girl's father was able to leave her with a name.
Konoka Koukuto was now a second year high school student at Fuuka Academy. The name her father had muttered was not unfamiliar to her. Everyone knew the name of the former student council president. She was kind and gentle, wise and mature, beautiful and elegant. The ideal woman that most of the female students admired and most of the male students longed for. Why would her father say her name? What could she possibly have to do with the horrific wounds inflicted on him? She couldn't have been the one who did that to him could she? Konoka wanted answers, and she was going to find them.
Konoka pushed aside any thoughts pertaining to Shizuru. She wasn't about to accuse some one of murder with so little to go on. First, she decided she needed to learn more about her father. What had he been up to that would result in something like that? Konoka wasn't aware of her father's occupation. He rarely talked about it. He claimed it was 'highly classified' but assured her that he was 'protecting the peace and justice of the world.' Her father always joked about stuff like that. Ever since her mother passed away from an illness, her father did all he could to be positive and upbeat. He would always make her laugh when she was feeling down.
Konoka entered her father's room. It had remained untouched since his death, meaning it was a disaster area. Papers and clothing were strewn all over the room. Her dad only ever got around to tidying up about once a month. But Konoka wasn't discouraged. She had an uncanny ability to find anything she's looking for. Her friends were always telling her it bordered on the supernatural. Her father once suggested it was a gift from God Himself. God given or not, she was going to need it to find out the truth.
She knew looking through the papers would be a waste of time. They primarily composed of notes from herself anyways. She always had to remind her father about everything. What day the trash had to go out, what they needed from the grocery store, etc. He would always lament melodramatically about what he was going to do when she left and got married. He didn't have to worry about that. Not now.
If his job was so top secret, any information pertaining to it would be on his computer. The tower set up was off in the corner of the room. She flicked the power on, and tossed a dirty shirt off the chair and sat down. Once the desktop loaded up, a small chuckle escaped her lips. The wallpaper was a photo they had taken during a trip to the local amusement park. She sat atop her father's shoulders as her mother looked on with a smile. It was one of the few memories she had of her mother.
Konoka started her search by showing the hidden files and folders. If there was 'classified information', it wouldn't be in plain view. Her father was by no means a dumb man. She was sure there would be password protection as well, but she planned to cross that bridge when she got to it.
She found it buried deep within the C drive. A hidden, password protected file titled 'D1.' She clicked it and the password prompt appeared. She tried the obvious possibilities first. Birthday, past pet names, favourite food. The usual. Her dad wasn't dumb, just simple.
But it was no good. She was certain her dad's password would be something significant to him. Something very special. After thinking for a moment, an idea flashed through her mind. It was a bit of a conceited thought to have, but it was worth a shot.
She typed in her own name.
Konoka wiped away the tears that fell when she was granted access. After squeezing her eyes shut and taking a deep breath, she opened the files in the folder.
And that's how she learned of the District 1 and the HiME.
HiME: girls with the power of the Highly-advanced Materializing Equipment. Their powers take on various forms, and they have the ability to summon mystical creatures. They fight against the Orphan, monsters which attack for unknown reasons.
District 1: The organization that gathers and maintain the HiMEs. They deal with the after math of Orphan attacks, tending to casualties and erasing their memories of the incident.
If Konoka didn't know any better, she'd swear her father was simply writing a sci-fi novel in his spare time. What she had read was almost unreal. But somehow, it had filled in some missing pieces. Her father had been part of this District 1 organization. He had indeed been protecting peace and justice, just as he claimed. If these monsters got out of hand, only chaos would ensue. He had worked to protect the general populace from this truth. If he had been attacked by one of those monsters, it would explain his horrible wounds.
But what did Shizuru Fujino have to do with it?
Konoka decided to seek out this District 1. The address of their headquarters was in the data, but she was shocked when she read it.
It was only a few blocks away from where her father was found.
It would have been hard to miss the scorched pile of rubble that used to be District 1's headquarters. There wasn't much left that could distinguish the brick and mortar's past of being any sort of structure. The area was encircled by police tape, but there weren't any guards keeping watch. Konoka had no problems ducking under the tape and into the destruction.
Whatever caused all this is what killed her father, Konoka could tell. He must have been fortunate enough to escape somehow and made it a couple of blocks away before he collapsed and was taken to the hospital.
Konoka kicked away a few pieces of rubble, which fractured from the impact. She wondered if she could find any clues, or if they were all destroyed in the blaze along with the rest of the building. Perhaps any significant remains were already recovered by the police in their search? Maybe she should inquire at the station.
Before she turned to leave, she gave a pebble of concrete a half-hearted kick. The piece of cement flew into a gap in a pile of rubble. One clack, two clacks, three clacks. With each clack, the volume grew fainter and fainter. Konoka made her way over. Such noises could only signify one thing.
She moved some of the lighter pieces of debris aside and soon found herself staring into an abyss. A flight of stairs was leading down into the darkness. Large chunks of concrete still covered the entrance, but there was enough of a gap for her to squeeze through. Konoka was always disappointed she hadn't developed as much as the other girls in the chest area, but now she was grateful for it. She took out the flashlight she had the sense to bring with her, and descended into the dark.
Konoka was wary that the roof could cave in, but she had to take that risk. She checked each room that branched off of the scorched hallway she found herself in. The fire had reached that far, but the damage wasn't as severe. The rooms proved to be of little interest. One was a break room complete with destroyed kitchenette and vending machines. Another was an empty conference room without even a single chair or table. There were several bathrooms along the way as well. But none of those were what she was looking for.
She found it at the very end of the hallway. A room filled with shattered screens and VCRs. A surveillance room. If she was lucky, one of the tapes in the room would have recorded what happened that night. Unfortunately, between the melted VCR faces and the crumbling video cassettes, it didn't look promising.
But there was one. It was the VHS in the VCR on the highest shelf. Since the power had shorted out, she had no choice by to take the VCR with her. Hopefully the tape inside would prove useful. She quickly returned to the surface and headed home.
She tried to ignore how suspicious she looked carrying around a slightly charred VCR.
Since the cords on the VCR were no good, Konoka had to take it apart to get the tape out. After making sure it wasn't damaged, she popped it into her own VCR. She rewound it a bit and then pressed play.
She could hardly believe what she saw.
There, standing in the middle of a large room, wielding a naginata, and wearing a blood soaked kimono was Shizuru Fujino.
Konoka watched in horror as the older girl struck down wave after wave of men in dark suits. Ruthless blows to their vitals. Blood sprayed in all directions. The look of twisted glee on Shizuru's face could only be described as that of a mad woman. And then it appeared on screen. Some sort of heavily armoured squid with snakes for tentacles. It voraciously tore apart and devoured anyone that approached it.
Her father's data had mentioned monsters, but she wasn't expecting something like that. Since Shizuru was controlling it, she had to be one of those HiMEs Konoka read about.
But why, she wondered. District 1 and the HiMEs were both fighting for the same thing. They wanted to protect innocent people from other monsters. Why would Shizuru brutally slaughter them, and take such enjoyment in it?
The video ended with a shot of Shizuru calmly stalking down a trio of old ladies. There was only static after that. Konoka just stared at the white noise, her mind still trying to process what she saw. However, one thing was clear: her father had muttered the name of his murderer right before he died.
Now she knew the truth. The perfect student council president she and the rest of the student body had admired was a blood thirsty killer. But what was the next step for Konoka to take? She considered confronting the culprit herself, but it was clear that Shizuru would have no qualms with disposing of her.
She decided to take the tape to the police. Surely, justice wouldn't fail her.
Justice had failed her.
"Well, I can't blame you for being fooled, little lady." The officer who she handed the tape to told her after he returned from reviewing the footage. "It had me fooled too at first. It's certainly got realistic special effects."
Konoka voiced her confusion at his comments.
"This tape you found. It's just some monster movie." He said. "When that giant squid showed up, it should be clear this wasn't a real murder. Man, that was some impressive CG. If I hadn't known any better, I'd swear it was real!"
Despite Konoka's insistence that it was indeed real, the officer just laughed and quickly shooed her out of the precinct.
In retrospect, Konoka wasn't that surprised. No one was going to believe her father and many others had been killed by a high school girl controlling a monster, even if she had evidence to prove it.
A bloodthirsty murderer was going unpunished, and there was absolutely nothing Konoka could do about it.
Crestfallen, Konoka began shuffling back to the home where no one was waiting for her.
Along the way, she passed a pair of high school girls. They were happily chatting about absolutely nothing when one of them said something that caught Konoka's ear.
"Hey, have you heard about the Hell Correspondence?"
Konoka spent the rest of the evening staring idly at her father's desktop wallpaper. She couldn't help but think of how unfair life was. Here she was, sitting all alone in the darkness of her father's room, looking at a remnant of happier times. All the while, the woman who had taken her beloved dad from her was joyfully attending college, surrounded by her friends and loved ones, not a care in the world.
She wanted to believe in Karma, but this certainly wasn't helping.
"Hey, have you heard about the Hell Correspondence?"
For some reason, that random girl's comment replayed in Konoka's head. Of course she had heard of the Hell Correspondence. It was all the buzz with the high school kids these days. Supposedly, there's a website only accessible at midnight. You type in the name of the one you hate, and Hell Girl will appear and take them to Hell.
Konoka never believed in such silly urban legends. She idly glanced at the computer's clock.
She wasn't sure why, but she found herself pulling up her internet search engine. Perhaps she simply wanted to laugh at the foolishness of her actions. She searched for 'Hell Correspondence' and clicked the first link that appeared. She was greeted by a white page with a big 'Page Not Found.' She let out a little laugh in spite of herself. It figured. She looked at the clock again.
Too early, she said to herself. She waited for a few more seconds.
She clicked the Refresh button.
To her surprise, the page turned pitch black. A flame briefly flickered in the center of the screen, and then a simple text field and button appeared. Above them, a single phrase was written.
Your grievance shall be avenged.
Konoka blinked in surprise. She wondered if there was some truth to the urban legend. Every rumour has some basis in reality, after all.
She clicked on the text field and typed in the name of Shizuru Fujino. Then she pressed the send button below. Once she did, everything on the page became black. She remained fixated on the screen, unsure of what was to happen next.
That's when she felt the presence behind her.
"You called?" Came a soft voice. Konoka swerved around.
She found herself bathed in the orange of the setting sun.
Setting sun? But wasn't it midnight?
Konoka found herself standing in a field by a lake. Before her was a single tree, and standing under that tree was a young girl, no more than thirteen or fourteen. She had straight long black hair, big red eyes, and wore a black sailor style school uniform.
"W… Who are you?" Konoka asked. She already knew the answer, but felt compelled to ask anyways.
"Ai Enma." The girl replied simply.
"I'm guessing you're the Hell Girl, right?" It seemed unreal, but Konoka could not overlook her sudden change in setting. The urban legend was true.
Ai didn't respond.
Konoka didn't know when he got there, but there was an old man with a hat and scarf leaning against the tree.
"Wanyuudou." Ai spoke.
"Yes, Miss." The man said. He tossed one end of his scarf over his shoulder and disappeared. At the same moment, a black straw doll with a scarlet thread tied around its neck appeared in Ai's hand. She offered the doll to Konoka.
"Take it." Ai said. "If you really want retribution, untie the red thread around his neck." Konoka took the doll. "By untying the thread, you will enter into a covenant with me. The object of your vengeance will immediately be banished to Hell."
Konoka took hold of the thread. She had never imagined sending some one to Hell would be this easy.
"However," Ai continued. "Once you have your retribution, you will have to pay the price for it as well."
Konoka froze. "What price?"
"Curses come home to roost. If you enter into the covenant, you, too, will go to Hell."
"I'll go too?" Konoka gasped.
"You will never see Heaven, and your soul will wander for eternity in pain and agony... That's only after you die, though." Ai added almost as an afterthought.
"So that's how it works…" Konoka felt a little relieved. But the question was if she was really willing to damn herself over this.
After she blinked, Konoka found herself back in her father's room. Only the straw doll in her hand assured her that she hadn't been hallucinating. Ai's disembodied voice drifted through the room.
"All that remains is for you to decide."
It certainly wasn't a decision she could take lightly.
It was a fair price when she thought about it. No matter what horrible acts Shizuru may have done, a human being was still being sent to Hell. By pulling the string, Konoka would basically become a murderer herself. Receiving the same punishment was obvious.
It was too drastic, Konoka concluded. There was still one more thing to try.
She had to go talk to the killer.
Konoka was scared. What if Shizuru lobbed her head off with that naginata? What if she unleashed her pet? But at least now Konoka had a secret weapon.
The next day, she stuffed the straw doll in her pocket and went out the door.
Konoka waited outside the front gate of school the records said Shizuru now attends. She had no idea what the older woman's schedule was like, so Konoka skipped school for the day. She had gotten a few questionable glances from people passing by, but she didn't notice. Her mind was steel. She had to prepare herself for anything that could happen. She figured she would be fine in a public place, but who knew what that woman was willing to do.
Her hand rested on the safety net in her pocket. The straw doll would protect her as a last resort.
And there she was. The smiling brunette was surrounded by girls, happily chatting away. They were talking about what to eat for lunch. This made Konoka realise that it was noon.
She took a deep breath and stepped forward.
"Excuse me, president Fujino!" The addressed girl turned her head.
"Hm, yes?" She called sweetly. "Ah, a Fuka academy uniform. How nostalgic. What can I do for you?"
Konoka's gulp was audible.
"I need to talk to you." She said. "Privately. It's… It's about District 1."
Shizuru's smile didn't leave her face, but her eyes opened ever so slightly.
"… I see." She said. She spun around to address her entourage. "Ladies, I'm afraid I'll have to cancel on lunch. I have something important to discuss with this girl."
After a few whimpers of disappointment, the flock dissipated.
"Now, what did you want to talk about?" Shizuru asked Konoka.
The younger girl swallowed hard again.
They sat in the corner booth of a nearby café. Shizuru had some tea, Konoka had nothing.
"Now, what would you like to discuss, Miss…"
"Koukuto. Konoka Koukuto."
"Miss Koukuto." Shizuru sipped her tea. "You mentioned District 1? How did you come to learn of that?"
"… My father was employed there."
"… He was working that night… That night you attacked."
"I… I saw the video!" Konoka continued. "One of the surveillance tapes survived the fire. I have footage of you and your monster killing everyone!"
Konoka was getting infuriated. She would have slammed her hands on the table, but she didn't want to attract that much attention. "You killed my father! Stop sipping tea and answer me!"
Shizuru set her cup down, but didn't open her eyes.
"I see." She said. "How unfortunate."
"Yes. Rather unfortunate. You see, I wasn't myself that night." Shizuru explained.
"It's too long of a story to explain, but let's just say I wasn't in the healthiest state of mind." Now was when Shizuru looked Konoka in the eye. "I'm dreadfully sorry for what happened to your father. Rest assured, something like that won't happen again."
Konoka waited for Shizuru to continue, but the other girl just took another drink from her cup. "… Is that it? Is that all you have to say?"
Shizuru tilted her head innocently. "Was there more to say?"
"More? Of course there's more!" Konoka growled. "You killed my father and so many other people, but all you say is that you're sorry and that it won't happen again? Don't screw around with me!"
"Then what, pray tell, do you expect me to do?" Shizuru asked.
"What…? How about turn yourself in? Admit your crimes, go to prison and repent!"
"What would that accomplish?" Shizuru inquired. "It won't bring the dead back to life. It was a horrible tragedy, I agree. But one should move on with their lives."
"Don't talk like this has nothing to do with you!" Konoka yelled. She didn't care about the attention anymore. What this woman was saying was utter ridiculousness.
"I've already told you." Shizuru put calmly. "I wasn't in sane mind at the time."
"And that absolves you of your actions? Don't make me laugh!"
"All I can do now is continue living my life. I have to live for the sake of those not here anymore. I truly am sorry." Shizuru flashed her lady killer smile. "Won't you forgive me?"
Konoka's expression was contorted by rage. "You're sorry? You're going to continue living your perfect, blissful life as if nothing happened? My… father…. He was a kind and gentle man… He was the only family I had left…" Hot tears streamed down her face now. "You took him away from me… and all you have to offer is an apology?"
"Darlin', calm down. You're causing a scene." Shizuru serenely partook of her tea once again.
Konoka couldn't stand being in this woman's presence anymore. She shot out of the booth and out the café door.
She didn't know for how long she ran, or how far. Konoka just went wherever her feet took her. When her muscles finally gave out, she found herself sprawled out in the middle of a park.
The park her father had taken her to those many winters ago.
Surrounded by the sound of her haggard breathing, Konoka could only think back to the café.
"I truly am sorry. Won't you forgive me?"
Even though she had said that, throughout their entire exchange…
That woman never stopped smiling.
She was sorry? Really? Did she think that after doing those terrible things, she'd be let off with just that? That she could just use her charms and worm her way into the hearts of others?
"DON'T FUCK WITH ME!" Konoka screamed into the empty park. She sat up and wiped her eyes with her sleeve. Such a woman with no remorse…
… deserved to go to Hell.
Konoka's hand dove into her pocket and took out the black straw doll. She gripped the red thread and took a deep breath.
"Shizuru Fujino…" She breathed. "I'll see you in Hell!"
And the string was pulled.
A sudden gust of wind picked up the doll and carried it into the air. A deep voice boomed within the rustling leaves.
"Your grievance shall be avenged."
After angelically smiling an apology to the other customers of the café, Shizuru finished off her tea, paid her tab, and left. She looked at her watch and was pleased that she would still make it in time for her next class. She waited at the cross walk, and continued on her way once the light turned green.
That was when the semi hit her.
Her body was assailed by each wheel of the truck. When she reached the end, her legs got tangled in the axel. The truck continued onwards and Shizuru was dragged along with it.
The pain was so intense she couldn't even scream. Each passing moment more clothing and flesh were torn from her back. Her head bounced off the road and she could see the driver stick his head out the window. For some reason, she heard his voice with utmost clarity.
"Oh my, I seem to have run you over." The old man said. "I truly am sorry. Won't you forgive me?" He pulled his head back inside the cab. The truck increased in speed.
Something had to give out, and that something was the girl's legs. Meat and bone tore away like cheap nylon at the thigh. The sickening rip overpowered the sound of the engine.
Shizuru's body skipped across the ground. Once, twice, three times. She finally came to a stop. Strangely enough, the pain wasn't as powerful as to take away her ability to reason. She noticed that she was no long in the city, but a desolate wasteland with an oddly red tinge.
A shadow was cast over her. She looked up to see a handsome young man with hair covering one eye. He was wearing a white lab coat and carried a glass beaker containing some sort of bubbling fluid.
"Please, help…" Shizuru croaked out.
The man just smiled a smile that was sure to make him number one at any host club. He tipped over the beaker and poured its contents onto Shizuru's face.
Her mind didn't quite process what happened until she felt something drop on her hand. When she looked down, she saw a puddle of her own flesh pool beneath her.
The scream got caught in her throat.
"Oh, how clumsy I am!" The man exclaimed, tapping his head with his fingertips. "I spilled this beaker of acid all over this poor girl's face! I truly am sorry. Won't you forgive me?"
Before Shizuru could reply, a beautiful woman wearing a kimono appeared before her. The woman smiled majestically before raising her foot and kicking Shizuru in her midsection. Shizuru felt herself falling backwards into a pit that wasn't there previously. When she hit the bottom, she felt something moving beneath her.
The familiar hiss of serpents reached what was left of her ears.
"Oh silly me." Came the voice of the kimono clad woman. "I seem to have knocked you into a pit of venomous snakes. I truly am sorry. Won't you forgive me?" When the woman smiled, half of her face disappeared, showing the skull underneath.
Shizuru felt many sharp injections pierce her arms, her neck, her chest, and what was left of her legs. She found herself able to speak.
"Doing such horrible things to me!" She said. "And you think an apology makes it better?"
"Oh?" The old truck driver peered into the hole. "What about you? You killed so many people and think saying sorry is all that's needed."
"That again?" Shizuru spat. "Those people… Those people hurt Natsuki! They made her life so miserable! They got what they deserved! They're the bad people, not me! I DID NOTHING WRONG!"
"So she says, Miss." The old man addressed someone off to his side.
Shizuru's one remaining eye widen as the girl in the black flower print kimono appeared before her.
She was the Hell Girl, Ai Enma.
"O pitiful shadow lost in the darkness," she said in her icy tone. "Demeaning and bringing harm to others. A damned soul, wallowing in sin..."
Shizuru gasped in horror.
"Care to give death a try?" Ai extended one arm to the side. The flower print of her kimono charged forward. Unseen bells jingled.
In the world of perpetual grey, Ai steered her boat towards the giant Japanese gate. Sprawled out before her was Shizuru Fujino.
"It was all for Natsuki…" She rambled with eyes devoid of sanity. "All for Natsuki… Natsuki, Natsuki, Natsuki…"
"I consign this grievance to Hell." Ai whispered into the fog. Unseen bells jingled once more.
"Hey, did you hear?" A girl whispered.
"Yeah, apparently president Fujino was accused of murder in public!" Another girl replied. "But we're talking about that president Fujino. There's no way it could be true!"
"But she's been missing ever since. Don't you think it's suspicious? Maybe it's true and now she's on the run!"
"Wow. I guess she wasn't the kind of person we thought she was…"
The girls walked away and Konoka could no longer hear their conversation.
"I'm sorry father." She said to the sky. "I gave your murderer the punishment she deserved. I hope you and everyone else she killed can now rest in peace… But I'm afraid I won't be able to see you after I die." Konoka pulled at the collar of her shirt and glanced down at the black flame seal now residing on her chest. It would always serve as a reminder of her fate.
Konoka resolved to live her life to the fullest.
Down in the depths of the abyss, a single candle was set alight and joined thousands of others like itself. The only difference was the name written on the candle: Konoka Koukuto.
Ai's gentle voice whispered through the darkness.
"Your grievance shall be avenged."
I'm some one not very pleased with Shizuru's Karma Houdini act at the end of HiME. Sure, what she did to Yukino and Nao is voided out due to the ending, but she still brutally murdered everyone at District 1, including helpless old women. Yet the crazy bitch gets away with it. Well, those people at District 1 were people too, and surely they left family behind. And thus the basis of this fic. Being a huge Hell Girl fan, I couldn't resist going with a crossover.
So yeah, I hate HiME Shizuru. Why people seem to forget her horrible deeds and adore her is total BS. I can forgive Chikane for what she did, but she had reason for it. Shizuru was just a crazy stalker.
Well, I think she was totally awesome in Otome, though.
I got Konoka's last name from Mikiya Koukuto, a character from Kara no Kyoukai, since they both have the ability to find whatever they're looking for. Her first name was chosen by Hildebrant. It just happened to be shared by a character I like from Negima, so I ran with it.
The lines taken directly out of Hell Girl were written based off Funimation's official DVD translations.