there's this sensation of fear, of pain, of some kind of betrayal that's too old to be remembered, and then there's nothing until you feel a flame somewhere in you, in a place so far down it can't be touched yet you can hold it in your hands. you know you're dying, can still feel the slice of horrible sharpness in your skin, can still feel the ropes that held you down as you cried and wished to be set free. it all landed on deaf ears, settled into brains that were already intent on making you a sacrifice. you asked for none of this; why would you volunteer to die like this? you were so young, too young to really realize what was happening before it was much too late to change it. you're weak. you're just a child. you're dying. yet the flame still burns, growing higher and higher until you can feel it encompass you from the inside, the whole of your body burning with it without your skin peeling or bubbling from it. your vision grows weaken, but the fire only continues to expand deeper and deeper, higher and higher. it's the last thing you feel before you slip away into darkness without any of the flames you felt in the marrow of your bones.
you die. you die and you are reborn in hell. you already feel different from who you were, and you don't think you'll ever be the same again.
it isn't long that the ruler of hell, enma, finds you and takes you in, his kindness a thing that doesn't fit in a place like hell, or at least your imagination of hell before you were actually in it. your opinion of that hasn't changed even as the years went by, decades to centuries and even longer. enma is too soft to preside over a place like hell; he has more in common with his belly than he does with anything else, soft and plush, more suited as a father than a king of hell. he took you in, yes, gave you more than you ever expected in the beginning, but that doesn't change the fact that he's so out of place in his own realm, practically unqualified to lead or run it properly.
the memories of a child who died and came back anew like a phoenix leaves you little by little as time continues on. it isn't important to remember, and you let it go easily, like throwing away something you didn't need any longer. you're no longer that child; you don't even have the same name as him anymore. you don't want to be that child anymore. you leave him behind, in a place where you won't have to see him again, and that's the end of it. you think nothing more of it.
you adapt to hell as if you were meant for it all along, like you should have been born here from the start, taking on more and more responsibilities as hell grows larger with the mundane world. the size and scale of it now is nothing like how it was before, more areas dedicated to more specific types of sins rather than grouping them together to make room. as long as humanity continues to exist, hell will also keep on existing, along with your workload. it isn't long before enma practically gift wraps the entirety of hell and all its workings and gives it to you without fully realizing it. he trusts you with so much, too much to the point where it's almost foolish - because who says you can't upend him one day and take hell as your own - but you like it that way, even if enma displays more and more of his incompetence every single day. controlling the inner workings behind the scenes has its appeal, like you're the real one in control while enma continues to fumble. you've grown to like that sort of underhanded past time, the idea that you can do whatever you like without consequence, the idea of control and knowing you have the upperhand no matter what. of course, you still plan on handling hell like it's supposed to be handled. you do the work enma asks of you, even if sometimes you'd rather not, and hell runs smoothly in your hands. a little fun along the way never hurt anyone, and you're strong enough to do as you please no matter what anyone says. the boy tied up and sacrificed would have never been able to say the same.
although your own hell is more than good enough to be called home, you can't help but be curious about the others around the world and what they are like, if they're anything like the place you call home. you've had way too many years to hone your skills and learn about anything that caught your eye for even a second. you don't like to waste your days away, even if you likely will live for the rest of time, or until the mundane world finally collapses in on itself. either way, the thought of living so carelessly makes a knot in your stomach, formed from distaste and disgust at those who could be so lazy and uncaring about their lives. you travel the world in search of other hells, of knowledge that you could bring back with you to perhaps include the quality of japanese hell.
it is with this journey that you first meet hakutaku. you don't have to talk to him very much to know that you're probably not going to like him, but the alcohol you gave him loosens his lips enough to get your questions answers. the fact that it barely took anything to get him flat out drunk only makes you dislike him that much more. you take your alcohol like everything else you take in life: hard, without remorse or apology and for your own personal enjoyment alone. all your years spent in hell, seeing all types of demons and dead souls, and you've yet to meet someone who shares in your ideals, who can match you tit for tat, and it's nothing something your really want. if someone came along and bested you at something, anything, you wouldn't take it sitting down, and all of hell would know your anger like it was something physical. you pride yourself in your calm, in your ability to handle any situation with ease while others fret over nothing, but you've made your place up at the top. you don't plan to give it up for anyone, not even enma, who kept you as his own until you were old enough and smart enough to take care of yourself in spades. you can admit that what hakutaku says is interesting in its own ways, like what it's like in chinese hell and the intricacies of herbs used for medicines and the like. still, even if he is saying what you want to hear, that doesn't mean you have to enjoy his company, which you don't really. that's why you let him fall to the mundane world, drunk enough to kill a normal man, and walk away as if you had nothing to do with it. you could care less about what happens to hakutaku after this point. honestly, you don't plan on meeting him again unless it's necessary.
or, at least, you wish you could say that had the two of you not been forced to stand next to each other once more, in a more recreational setting. it's part of your duty, and you always accomplish what you set out to do, but you have no real desire to make conversation with hakutaku, even if you do have to be involved with him in this kind of event. this day would be set in stone as the day you'd rather die again than have much of anything to do with hakutaku for the rest of your existence. how a stupid bet turned into something so virile, so deep it's marked down into the hard of your bones, you have no idea. it meant nothing to you until the arguing started, until he refused to give in even though you had clearly won. you never would have pegged hakutaku for the stubborn type but now that you know you can only hate him more for it. being foolish enough to not admit a loss is enough to set your teeth on edge, enough to make you want to give hakutaku hell for as long as it entertains you. it wouldn't be much different from the norm anyway. even enma isn't free from your wrath, your jab backs at what you consider to be wrongs against you. seeing the looks on their faces once they've realized what you've done never falls to be entertaining after all.
hell has changed much since you first came to it, more demons, more dead souls, more work for you. there's never a dull day down here, never a day when you have to take care of something, whether it be rowdy souls trying to cause an upheaval to everything you've done or making sure hell is what it's supposed to be. hell. a place for those who have sinned to suffer for eternity, even if it's not by your own hand, a place for demons to live comfortable and do as they please. you've never suffered once during your time in hell; how could an innocent child, killed for nothing and made into something stronger and far less innocent, find true torture in hell. you made torture your hobby, your most honed skill, your entire immortal life. the circle of those in your life may be small, enma at the head at the driving force behind who you are now, the demon who is feared as much as he is respected, but you are content. you are content to spend your days as you please. working hard to shape hell into what you want it to be. admiring animals even though you are too hard for such soft creatures, yet you don't care how true that is. dealing with the messes enma pushes onto you. you are content with what your life is.
as content as a demon can be in realms of hell.