Smiling in the Face of Hell

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Chapter 8

This man sure was talented at dropping one thing and doing something else with no real transitioning phase or warning within mere seconds.

“Why didn’t you just show him who was boss right away, instead of giving him that opening?”

Lionel breathed in a chuckle,” I was seeing how far he was willing to go, I did not expect you to snap like that though on my behalf,” he said, again trying to change the subject to her, but she was not having it as she shook her head.

“Why? If you know he is defiant toward you, why are you letting him have his way when you were so quick to dismiss that maid from earlier? What was it you said before? Don’t put a stop to it now then the problem will never go away?”

Lionel peeked over at her, face soft, a small pout on his lips,” am I getting scolded already?”

It was impossible to act like his expression did not affect her as she cleared her throat, breaking eye contact, all her willpower to be strict gone by a single look,” no. Maybe?”

Lionel smiled at her sudden shyness, pressing yet another kiss to her cheek before pulling away with a sigh and standing, making her stiffen at his nudity,” because he is clearly challenging me and the seat of the King, has been for years now, before today, he honestly thought he had a chance,” he explained, pulling her up in his arms, snickering at her small yelp of surprise as she covered her face from embarrassment as he suddenly used his power to transport them to the same room as before, this truly did feel like deja vu,” things just work like that here in Hell. Downgrading my Queen because of ignorance and to make themselves feel better will not be tolerated and be punished swiftly, but as King, I won’t turn down a challenge. There is a difference between the two, and he knows if he wishes to still try, you are to be left out of it and keep this between me and him. Challenges for the seat are nothing in Hell, it’s a normal occurrence, and if played out by the rules, then will go unpunished as they do as they think is necessary to get my spot.”

Scout’s brows furrowed as he set her on her feet, stark naked in the middle of the room,” you’re saying you welcome defiance as long as it’s strictly for the seat? How does that make any sense?”

Lionel gave her a sad smile,” who am I to stop a challenge, if I took out every demon who dared target the throne, then every demon in Hell would be extinguished eventually, and the whole point of Hell will be lost. If I took out every advance to my chair, then I will only be viewed as weak for feeling a true threat by others who clearly do not have a chance. Giving others the illusion they might have a chance at glory is yet another form of torture down here for those power hungry prideful folk that you will meet a lot of. I hope you understand that that is just how things work down here. It might get sticky here and there, but trust me, I will not fall, nor will I let anyone lay a finger on you.”

Scout shivered, and not from being wet and naked in the middle of a room, but from the harsh reality of what Hell was. Torture was on every end of this place, even in power, there is suffering, pain, and misery. The thought of people thinking they will win a free ticket out of the pain by taking out the King, unknowing clearly of the suffering on the other end that is in place for whoever is the King, there was no true winning in Hell, no matter how strong.

Every time Scout thought she had a handle of how grim things were, something else comes along and proves it can in fact still be in fact worst.

Lionel stepped away suddenly, making Scout subconsciously try and cover herself with her arms and hands since he was no longer pressed against her to cover her other parts anymore. She watched him step into the same closet as before, pulling out clothes for the both of them, she wondered why he would not just call Johan to get her some clothes that might fit her better than his own.

She watched as he stepped out passing her a loose black shirt with a pair of pants,” wear these for now,” he said as he suddenly pulled them back without giving her a chance to even grab them, going ahead to dress her like she could not do it herself.

His whole demeanor was off, and he seemed slightly indecisive suddenly. It was a pretty instant shift that she almost did not catch, and only when he chose last minute to dress her, that tiny switch up, that miniscule observation helped her see that it was for a reason and he probably was never this confused on what he wanted to do.

He was anxious, she realized, in subtle moments she noticed he also fumbled with the clothes, he did not even tease about her nudity, his mind was distant and he seemed to be in a bit of a rush. Just by the little time spent with Lionel, it was very obvious that Lionel was not a man to rush, for anything. He wasn’t going to hurry for anyone and everybody was to wait for him.

When her head popped out from the shirt that he wordlessly pulled over her, she reached out to grab his hands, stopping them from moving,” relax, Lionel, why are you so anxious,” she asked, watching him stiffen at being exposed.

He let the shirt go and twisted his hands to take hers in his easily, welcoming her touch greedily, heaving a sigh,” I’m worried. I mean, I knew from the start that you would be a target, but with everyone retaliating towards you has me on edge, and now I have to go an be a cursed King, I cannot possibly bring you with me, it’s far too dangerous out there than here so I have to leave you here, but I’m worried that others will see you as a liability and try and get their hands on you,” he admitted.

He was able to admit with no problems that he was a clear target by every single demon in Hell and was so unaffected about it, already said so before when explaining Guo as well, but when thinking of how now she too was a target, he was reduced to an anxiety-ridden ball of worry. It looked like Scout was not the only one who could suddenly go from strength and dominance to a scared and worried little fluff ball.

It was becoming clear that neither of them were good at dealing with anything involving this whole soulmate thing and the raging rollercoaster of emotions and surprises it came with.

Lionel was losing his cool over the thought of someone mistreating her, or worst. While Scout, on the other hand, was struggling to find where this strange overprotective nature came from when it came to Lionel or just them in general that pulled out a royal bitch of a person Scout never knew she could be.

Scout smiled, patting the back of his hand,” I will be fine, Johan will be there, I will behave and stay in the house for a while until I get a clear grip on my new powers. I mean I think I am more than capable of taking care of myself while you work,” she assured, knowing that even if she was still new to this whole world and her powers, she has proven to be quite strong when pushed into a corner, she had no doubt she could hold off any attempt at harming her until Lionel felt something off and made his way over like she had no doubt he can do.

He was worried for nothing, but then again, he was probably rightly worried for plenty of things she had no idea about yet. She questioned whether she really had a right to tell him not to worry since she knew nothing about this place like he did.

Lionel heaved a sigh, “ I know, there are many things you don’t know about,” he said, only confirming her own thoughts of having no real right to tell him not to worry when she did not even know the full extent of what she was even dealing with,” but this house is my territory, and as long as you don’t leave this land, then you should be alright. I will feel if there are any trespassers and regardless they will be taken care of right away, but I am also worried about the ones within, I would be stupid to think that there are not some already inside who will wish harm upon you.”

He meant Johan and the rest of his workers, or as he would rather refer to them as ‘servants’, the thought that she seemed to favor and trust Johan a bit must have him in knots. He knew their sins, so he knew what that demon, once a human, had done in their life and knows their sins, and for him to show his worry means that Johan was not as kind as they acted to be.

“I won't trust it then, I will keep my distance and only keep it around when I need something, I will keep the others away from me too, will that make you feel better?”

Lionel smiled softly at her attempts,” not really, but it is a start. I, unfortunately, can’t keep putting off the confessions for too long or I will get in trouble by the higher-ups,” he joked, hinting of the real power that was way beyond him for a second time, most likely watching his every move to make sure he did his job.

In the end, Scout just did not know anything about his world or all the worlds as one as she once thought. She only had a speck of an idea on what everything was, however, it seemed there were many more layers and much bigger things she still did not know about. It seemed no matter how much power he had, he ultimately still had someone he even answered to.

“Go, Lionel, get dressed and hurry out, the faster you get it done, the faster you can come back,” she bargained,” if anything happens I will call, good?”

She said that but she did not even know how to ‘call’, although he seemed to have a solid way of knowing what was going on around her regardless, she had no doubt she was fine.

Lionel stared into her eyes for a long moment, as if searching for her assurance deeper beyond the surface to feel better about leaving her behind.

She patted his cheek with her hand that she pulled free from his gentle desperate grasps,” don’t worry, seriously, I think you should be more worried about your house than me,” she joked, referring to just a few minutes ago when she was willing to break his bathroom before all just to prove a point, she had no doubt she would do it again and go through with it next time someone dared come at her like that.

Lionel laughed, a light feathery sound, clearly remembering, or perhaps hearing her thoughts as he has mentioned he could hear at times, she had no doubt he heard her thoughts during that time as well, so he seemed to know exactly what she was talking about.

Scout pulled her hands back to push them through the armholes, finishing what Lionel started as she grabbed the pants from there spot hanging on his arm, not even daring to look at anything but his face and hands, still not ready to get an eye full of the rest of him yet,” go, I can dress myself,” she assured as he watched her intimately, not even hiding that he was staring.

She quickly pulled on the pants, finding they were loose, but not enough to really even bother mentioning as she straightened out the clothes before turning the naked Lionel back towards the closet,” change,” she said for the second time.

When he did not move right away, she glanced around to find where he put what he grabbed for himself just inside the closet, doing what he had done to her by throwing it over his head and pulling it over his chest. Finally, he began to move, stabbing his arms through the armholes of the long sleeved blouse like thing, taking the pants from her before she could even try and think about how she was supposed to do that, smiling down at her when she nodded and stepped back to give him room to dress himself.

She looked away, unsure on what she was supposed to do, feeling the awkwardness flow over her.

You really are cute when you get shy,’ she then heard with no warning, making her jump. It was the same as before, in her head, it was strange then, but now it was even stranger because he was not close to her touching her like before where he was glued to her back and there was not an unpleasant threat looming close.

Scout turned her back to him, clearing her throat,” can’t you just talk like a normal person,” she asked lowly, trying to keep her composure, even though it was clear she was struggling, and that was more than enough for Lionel.

Suddenly she felt his hand slide over her shoulder, she had not heard him move, so the touch had her jumping in shock as he chuckled lowly, leaning over to speak directly in her ear,” No,” he breathed before doing what he seemed to be enjoying far too much in these past few minutes,’ Because I am not normal, or a person,’ he finished in her head.

His closeness was quite comforting despite what others might think, it was obvious he was trying to be sensual, but instead all she felt was a rush of calming ribbons flow through her at his touch and voice, it was such a strange feeling, but one that she realized was reoccuring when it came to him, she wondered if this was the effect of the bond that no one has yet educated Scout on.

He then turned her to face him, cupping her face in his large hands, pressing a warm kiss to her forehead,” I should hurry out,” he said with the least amount of enthusiasm she has heard from him yet.

Scout nodded, patting the backs of his hands,” work hard, I will be fine,” she assured, smiling up to him.

She watched his eyes examined every part of her face, making her wonder if there was something on her skin or something,” it should not take long, but who knows, I will try and be back as soon as possible,” he said with a sigh.

It was nice to see he had snapped out of his previous anxiety or worry that he was feeling before.

Scout snorted,” you sound like a lazy teenager who does not want to go to school,” she mused, watching as he shook his head.

“I sure ain’t no kid, but I am lazy, remember,” he said, not at all sounding ashamed of it, also noticeably wasting time talking, clearly not wanting to move from his spot at all.

“Go,” she pushed sweetly with a smile.

Lionel dropped his hands, scoffing,” I thought playing cute will give me an opening to stay,” he said, she wasn’t sure if he was being completely serious or just joking, but most likely he was joking.

“Cute? That was cute, hmm,” she then said grinning when he feigned hurt.

“I see how it is,” he said with a flat face, nodding.

Scout giggled like a love-struck child, “just go already before more come looking for you,” she then said, trying her hardest to get him moving, but it was impossible to be serious around him.

Lionel put his hands up in surrender,” alright, fine, I’m headed out then since you want me gone that bad,” he then tried guilt tripping, not getting anything out of Scout who nodded, waiting to see if he was going to try anything else to waste more time.

Lionel laughed at her determination to get him to do his job, she wondered if he would grow to hate that about her, but then let that thought leave her mind as he turned to open a portal right against the back wall of the walk in closet of his, it looked as if that was not the first to be opened on that wall with the scorch marks that coloured it, perfectly shaped as a portal. Before she had not noticed it was portal burns and not just the wall design. It seems soot and scorch marks oddly fit in with the design of the rest of the house that was all dark gothic and almost rustic with the addition of the portal marks.

Before he stepped through, he turned to look at her one last time,” no one should come here, but if they get past without me knowing, do not interact with them unless they are a servant, if you see Guo come back, stay away from him,” he warned lightly, getting all his worries off his chest one last time.

Scout nodded,” I know, I know, I would rather not run into him again either, I feel like something will break for sure next time.”

Lionel snickered, combatting this tight facial features he began to sport,” feel free to break all you need if someone dares threaten you, that will be sure to catch my attention if all else fails,” he said, not at all sounding worried about the damage she could do if she let herself do as she pleased.

“If it will make you feel at ease, then fine I will destroy this place if I need to, happy?”

Lionel coughed out another laugh, shaking his head,” you are something else. Ok then I guess I will go now.”

Scout nodded, waving goodbye,” bye-bye,” she grinned.

Lionel shook his head, a smile on his lips, it looked like he wanted to keep talking, but stopped last minute and instead turned to fling himself unwillingly through the portal, as if he knew if he kept talking he would never stop and never get out of there.

The second he was through, presumably to where he needed to be, the portal closed, leaving a fresh, steaming ring of black soot in its place. She marveled how it did not catch fire, but she supposed this was no human building materials this place was made of, or else she had no doubt it would not even stand in Hell. It seemed it was fireproof, but it sure was not force proof, despite him saying this place was Wrath proof, she had destroyed her fair share of this place on her own already and it hasn’t even been a full day yet from what she can tell.

With a sigh, she turned to step out of the closet, closing the door behind her, wondering what she was supposed to do now.

She told him she would not wander far and avoid as many as she can until she got the hang of things, that left her to wonder what there was to do around this large place.

Lionel was after all the Sloth Prince before King, and he still seemed to be pretty in tune with that aspect, so the only things around were possibly just an abundance of comfortable furniture for prime relaxation at any time. She did not imagine Lionel possibly having mundane normal things that might be found in a wealthy mansion on the surface with humans like a gym, a few rooms dedicated to some kind of activity, or just anything.

Her eyes examined the room, taking a better look at things now that Lionel was not there distracting her. The style was nothing new, she expected the same style throughout the entire building, and as far as she had already seen so far, while that wasn’t much, it was all the same.

Instead, she found a window and walked over to it to pull back it’s dark thick heavy curtains to get a better look at the world she now had to call home.

It was a dark crimson colour out, the sky had a smoky red tint, she wondered if there was anything under the smoke, or if that was the sky of hell that would never change. Off in the distance, it seemed like quite a distance away, there were flashes of purple, she almost imagined under a different colour scheme, a lightning storm of some sort off in the distance, she wondered if it was the same or if it was something entirely different. With that followed the other naturally curious thoughts, does Hell have things like rain or storms? If so was it anything Scout can even imagine?

She hated how her mind kept trying to imagine Hell, but she could not seem to imagine how harsh it probably really was. She almost felt like she was treating it like a vacation to another country because the complexity of this place was just too hard for her little mind to even try and imagine.

The land itself seemed to be the only thing she kind of expected, with its flat red rocky terrain, hardly any plant life, just under the surface seemed to be a faint glow of heat under the rocky ground that was far more noticeable in the darker surroundings than it would have been during the day. What looked to be miles out was mountains, tall, and much more spiky than mountains on earth, which made her wonder if that was another form of torture to those unfortunate enough to fall into them when they fell into Hell, recalling Durge mention that when someone stepped through the gate to Hell, the drop to any random place, it’s impossible to know where one would drop.

She imagined everything in Hell had its purpose and played its part in making everyone’s stay all the less enjoyable, no doubt those mountains were no exception. She failed to see how she was supposed to live here at all.

With a sigh, she let the curtains fall back across the window and stepped back, turning towards what she assumed was the door to the room, something she has yet to actually use until now.

Slowly she walked over and opened the door, finding the hall. She had no idea on where anything was except for the bathroom and front door. She settled with walking that way, retracing her steps from when she met the Seven Princes towards the front door, the same place Lady Pers came bursting in and receiving the punishment for her actions.

She kept her back straight when she saw some of the maids. Her presence seemed to be one everyone avoided on their own, which was more than she could hope for, it saved her the fuss of doing all the avoiding herself.

In her mind, she really wanted to get to know the ones that will be around her, but Lionel’s worry about being left around everyone had her second guessing. She had to keep reminding herself it was best not to approach others carelessly, it was best if she stayed away.

Hopefully, she will find some who were a little trustworthy over time, or else this was bound to be a lonely stay.

When she made it to the front, she glanced around, remembering everything that happened earlier, the dent left by Pride and Greed on the ground was long gone, fixed already. It was impossible to tell anything even happened, the wall also was completely fixed. She had no doubt the bathroom was either in the process of being fixed or already fixed as well from the destruction she caused with the one named Guo.

Then another thought hit her. Lionel would sooner leave her with the Seven Princes than with his own servants. That alone spoke volumes.

With a sigh, she walked through the doorway that leads to the dining room where they all ate before. She shouldn’t be shocked, not with how quickly things seem to get done around here, but she was still shocked to see there was nothing remaining from the ‘feast’ that they had only about an hour ago, which was quite big and messy by the end of it all.

While she was marveling the great job they did of cleaning and fixing everything, what tricks or powers they had to use to achieve such a quick and spotless clean up, she heard someone clear their throat behind her, making her peek over her shoulder to find a familiar neon eyed demon bowing it’s head at her from it's spot a few feet away.

Be mean, she thought inwardly, straining her face to have the absolute resting bitch face, the best she could produce without looking stupid.

“Queen,” it then said, bowing it’s head even deeper.

You put your foot down with Pride and Greed and even outpowered Guo, whom she knew nothing of, but the point was, she needed to keep up her powerful image to make sure no one thinks they can slip a fast one on her, so Lionel had less to worry about.

“Yes,” she said in her best monotone voice.

“I have prepared your new wardrobe, by the orders of the King,” be rude, she inwardly begged,” I have also moved it all to the Kings room, also by the King’s orders,” it’s just following orders or it dies, she thought with an inward grimace,” if you would like to change I can help you get accustomed to the new clothes you may not understand how to wear, since the clothes you arrived in are considerably different than what we have down here,” don’t be so nice, she drawled in her head, feeling all her reasonings chip away one by one the more this little, pitiful demon spoke, raising it’s head to slowly look up at her with innocent pleading eyes that just were impossible to look away from.

Scout crumbed back into her normal, uneasy self, scratching her temple, breaking her cool facade,” you did not have to do all of that,” she began, groaning.

Yup, so vicious, so mean. Just what I was going for, honestly.

It literally said nothing worth feeling this way over, following orders is not being nice, it was literally a life or death thing, it either does what it’s told or it gets banished, or worst.

All her reasonings to be mean for her own sake backfired and her guilt had her backpedaling when Johan shrank at her words,” would you like me to undo everything,” it asked, suddenly looking very terrified of what words will come from her mouth next.

Scout wanted to reach out and comfort the little demon, but the second Scout moved, the poor demon was on it’s knees, begging for forgiveness,” I am sorry my Queen, I was told by the King so I did it without checking if you wanted it. Please forgive me,” it begged, practically kissing the floor.

Scout put her hands up,” hey everything is fine, it’s fine, you know what, it’s alright. I appreciate it, now calm down and get up, there is no need for all of that,” she practically begged herself, watching with worried eyes as Johan got to it’s feet within moments, eyes downcast.

Scout cleared her throat, slowly putting her arms down to her side, looking around wearily, noticing others were looking from a distance, eyeing Johan with a particularly distasteful look.

She looked away and stared at Johan,” Show me around a little bit, I don’t really know many places other than the room, the front door, and the dining room,” she explained, wondering why she had to go that far to explain herself when simply asking to get a small tour was all she needed to say.

Johan did not dare to say no, Scout did not particularly give it an opening to, which she did not mean to do, but it worked out in her favor, what better way to start things off by giving orders already. It was what she planned to do from the start, but she was too nice to play it all out that way from the start.

Johan lifted her hand to gesture her to walk towards the front door, out of the dining room,” Of course Queen, this way.”

Scout walked with a straight back, watching Johan as it insisted on staying behind her as she only made herself noticeable when Scout needed to make a turn. Her introductions were nothing spectacular, they were right to the point, no explanation or history, it was just “Library, Spare room, Kitchen, Bathroom, Basement.”

Scout at least knew where things were like the rooms, but anything more specific was out of the question, she did not know what was in the basement, in the spare rooms that they passed, in the meeting hall, she just passed them by, mostly all closed doors. Scout did not have the soul to demand Johan to be more informative and give more details, she just walked where she was told to walk and listened to the little the thing talk, content with at least that much contact, even though it was clearly stiff and uncomfortable for Johan. She had a feeling that unless assigned to clean or summoned, that ‘servants’ were not allowed in any of the rooms if the doors were closed and nothing inside needed to be done.

When Johan was done walking her around the large home, never leaving the hallways, Johan gestured for her to walk to the front door. Scout did not let it show that she was worried as she just went with the flow, watching her surroundings closely.

She realized as they walked that she had a pretty strong sense of hearing, not like before where it was just painfully hypersensitive, but it was like she could actually hear a lot of things from a shocking distance. As she walked out the front door with Johan, over twenty feet away in the mouth of the dining room door, she heard two other servants whispering nasty words about her and Johan, clearly not understanding that Scout heard their every word, and that she knew any language known to man, so no matter what language they spoke, she understood with no walls in her way.

She also heard Johan’s internal organs sloshing around, that was how intense her hearing was, to hearing organs from the one next to her to hearing a conversation way out from a human earshot as clear as day, it was quite intense.

With such excessive hearing, she thought it would be annoying, hearing everything, even that of what she did not want to hear, like Johan’s internal organs, but she found it was just as easy to block the noise out as it was to hear it.

For that she was extremely thankful, she was not sure what she would have done if she was forced to listen to that unsettling sloshing of the demon next to her. That certainly was a very concerning amount of noise it made, which only solidified the facts that it was no longer a human, whatever their demon transformation did to them, obviously it was blessed with a huge blustering sack of internal fluids that Scout was 100% sure made up 96% of it’s entire internal body.

Johan literally sounded like a large walking pouch full of water, absolutely nothing else to accompany it but it’s heart, which oddly seemed to be right at the base of the little things throat.

That just made her wonder how much of her internal self changed after hearing the severe lack of just about everything human in Johan, who seemed to have nothing but a huge stomach and a heart at the base of it’s throat.

That takes heartburn to a whole other level.

Scout cleared her throat as she was gestured to the side, where they walked over to what she found to be the garden at the side of the large mansion.

“The Garden, I do believe this is the last of things here, I have been instructed to make sure you do not leave the premise without the King present and with you, so forgive me for I cannot take you anywhere else,” it said, his raspy voice sounded breathless as if the tour was too much moving for it.

Scout stared at the garden, enchanted with what she saw.

Seeing it with new eyes sure did make a difference. Colours were much more vibrant, she actually saw the plants swaying to an imaginary breeze, it was by far much more beautiful than it was when Lionel showed it to her as a human. She also noticed the brick-like wall that surrounded it, a low one that barely passed the height of her hip, surely it’s only purpose was to give the garden a specific place on the red plans of Hell around them

When Scout looked down at Johan, she saw the little creature twisting it’s four-fingered hands in front of it nervously, it’s eyes shooting uneasy glances at the front door that was closed.

“What’s wrong?”

Johan jumped, it’s eyes cast low,” nothing at all Queen,” it rushed out.

Scout recalled the unpleasant words of the servants they passed during the tour as well as the ones in the dining room, they all seemed displeased with the fact Johan was doing nothing and sticking around Scout.

She had two choices, keep Johan with her and baby it by keeping it safe at her side from the wrath of everyone else who were clearly mad at it’s absence, or let it go now and probably have it suffer less pain than being held all day and probably severely taken care of later. She did not see any way around it Johan was going to get in trouble either way it seemed, but she was not the person to stop that, and she had to remind herself that. Either way, Johan will get punished, but that’s none of Scouts concern, she had to save her pity from those who deserve it, Lionel made it clear in many different contexts that no one in Hell deserved mercy and she should not try and mess up the order of the place.

“You can go ahead and return to your duties,” she said with an emotionless tone, watching as Johan did not even fight it.

Johan bowed quickly,” Yes Queen, if you will excuse me then,” it muttered before turning to hurry off, disappearing back into the house through the front doors. It clearly cared about itself more than the slim possibilities of Scout going somewhere on her own while it was gone, possibly getting it in more trouble than just petty attacks from a house full of lowly demon servants who already quite hated her.

Scout breathed out a breath of relief, it sure was hard to be mean, or try at least but still fail. Purposefully ignoring the signs of abuse was one hardest pill to swallow at that moment.

Being in Hell was sure going to be stressful, she thought bitterly as she closed off her hearing, afraid of what she might hear. It’s not like she wasn’t already expecting things to get hard, she just needed to quickly find a way to handle it better in the future because not only does she know already, but she also was told by Lionel that it will probably only get worse.

To constantly remind herself that those around her were criminals, murderers, rapists, and who knew what else was bound to get to her emotionally at some point soon, she wondered if she could make a trip back to the surface now that she was changed, like Durge, to just get a breath of fresh air.

That was something she would have to talk to Lionel about, she could not return before because she was still a human, but her soul was bound to Hell since she already fell, from what she understood, but now that has changed, she wondered if that changed or if she truly was stuck in Hell with no breaks.

That will suck, she thought as she stepped through the brick arch that was surprisingly short, for Scout would have scrapped the top of her head on the bottom of the arch if she had not leaned forward ever so lightly as she passed under.

She straightened her back and eyed every single plant she missed the last time she was there as a human, taking in the much more beautiful scenery that she did not even dare before to imagine actually existed in hell.

She wondered what everything was called and what purpose they served, she tried not to think too hard on too many things and tried to enjoy the little things, like their colours or shapes, not weather they are poisonous or toxic or all those wonderful things.

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