Orientation

They walked for quite some time along the edge of the wall, but Sylvia never felt tired or hungry. It was quite mysterious.

The ballet girl beside her introduced herself. "That man said you were called Sylvia right? I'm called Diana." Diana spoke in a soft voice. Somehow the group of around a hundred people had all been cowed by Blacky walking in front of them. "Where are you from?" Diana asked her.

Sylvia was going to answer but then realized that she couldn't exactly remember. She had some vague memories of her life but many details eluded her. So she simply hugged her rabbit pillow tighter as she said, "Does it matter?" She forcefully pushed down her anxiety and expressed a somewhat nonchalant attitude.

Diana awkwardly smiled back and replied, "No... well. I just thought it curious that we all speak the same language. Or is it that we just think we do? And for some reason, I can't remember where I was from exactly. It seems like some of my memories are blurred."

Sylvia couldn't help thinking that this Diana person was probably the smart and meticulous type, nothing like herself. She shrugged and commented, "Well, we can even forget ourselves when we dream, so we can definitely forget ourselves when we are dead!"

Diana seemed to be caught between being amused and frustrated. "You're really nonchalant about being dead aren't you," it was a statement rather than a question.

Sylvia only replied, "I had already stopped struggling to live long ago. I at least remember that the world was ending and I had no energy to do something pointless like getting out of bed. It's not like I could save the world by doing my best."

Diana sighed and said, "I guess it doesn't matter anymore. I was trying to finish my last performance before the virus took my life... I remember that it was important to me but in the end I couldn't last until the very end."

They made small talk and reminisced as they walked along the edge of the wall. They knew they were getting close to their destination when two huge golems came into view. Or would they be more accurately termed as Titans? They were nearly as tall as the wall itself and coming closer to their feet it then became difficult to see all the way to their heads. They could easily rival the greatest skyscrapers on Earth. Godzilla would absolutely be put to shame. They stood on either side of a massive gate. The golems and the gate were so majestic that Sylvia couldn't help wondering what exactly were they trying to keep out? Or maybe what exactly lived inside that would need to pass through such gates? However, she didn't get to see those gates open. As their group of people were overcoming their awe they were led to a smaller gate at the side. They passed between the legs of one of the golems in order to arrive there and Sylvia couldn't help but looking upward. Thankfully the golems were genderless. Wouldn't that be awkward otherwise?

They passed through a tunnel in the wall which could basically be described as a murder hole. There were guards on a level above them watching as they passed through. Their guide, Dark Lexicon, didn't seem bothered by the darkness. If it weren't for the lanterns hung at intervals they could barely make out his form. In the dim lights they only made out vague forms most of the time. It was like a group of fierce predators were watching from the dark. When they left the inner area of the wall they all breathed a collective sigh of relief. Nobody dared to make trouble, they at least had to understand their situation before they made trouble.

They were lead along the backside of the wall to a large building which ironically reminded Sylvia of a cathedral. Did people go to church in hell? Would churches in hell be considered unorthodox or maybe they'd be revisionists? She didn't really have much time to ponder as once they stepped inside Black Lexicon waved a hand toward the pews and told them. "Everybody sit down, the lecture will start shortly."

Black Lexicon went to the front of the room but he did not start to lecture them as they expected. Another person slipped out from a side room once they were seated. If Black was black then this person was... white. Unfortunately white didn't mean friendly. The dim moonlight shining through the windows illuminated him like specter. The white person's aura was so cold that one would surely get frost-bite just from standing too close. He had long white hair which was tied loosely at the back of his neck, pale skin, and cold blue eyes. Like Black Lexicon, he seemed to be the intellectual type and he carried a white book that was similar to the black book that Black Lexicon carried. They were somehow very similar but at the same time opposite, as if they were twins born on opposite sides of the same coin.

The ice cold newcomer smiled at them faintly. It was surely meant to be a gentle smile but it only chilled their hearts and everyone was frozen into silence. He didn't seem to care about their reactions at all and introduced himself. "I am White Codex. Together with Black Lexicon who greeted you, we are from the Soul Shepherds who guide the new souls when they come to hell. You all should feel fortunate since not everyone can be greeted by us. The lord of Twilight City, Lady Berith, is very accommodating towards new souls."

He paused and glanced over the crowd. Nobody dared to make a peep to ask questions or doubt what he had said. He seemed satisfied so he continued on and told them, "This can be considered as a short lecture and the first thing you all need to understand is what exactly is Hell and why have you all descended to this place. It goes by different names depending on what region you fall into. Some places on the continent or across the Bloody Soul Sea it's called Naraka, Diyu, Sheol, Gehenna, or other names. All these places are the same in that they are a gathering place for negative energy. The reason all of you have come to hell is because your souls are stained with more negative energy than positive and you were attracted to this place after death. The negative energy was caused by your negative thoughts in life and especially before death. Don't think stupid things like you will be saved by being a good person or your religion will save you. Your own feelings are already pitch black if you're here and nobody can save you."

White Codex looked pointedly at a few people who seemed to be praying, the corner's of his lips twitching into a faintly mocking smile. He continued on while stroking the spine of his white book. "Of course, although nobody can save you, there is a way to leave this place. You must vent all the negative energy, expelling it from your soul until you have no more left inside. Your memories of your life will become more and more vague as you spend more time here, it's one of the natural laws of Hell that nobody can resist. But the loss of your memories doesn't mean that the negative energy will disperse natually as well. That's why you need to develop your own ability to manifest negative energy outside your body. This is a unique principle of Hell. The process of venting the negative energy outside the body can be called as one's special talent. If you find this processes difficult, many predecessors of Hell developed the means to practice and cultivate various types of abilities based on one's R-Type. The R-Types are the types of negative emotions that people are most prone too. Rage, regret, remorse, and resentment."

After this statement Sylvia noticed that Diana, along with some others, seemed to have questioning looks on their faces. She didn't really get why they seemed confused until White Codex frowned and said sternly, "Although emotions like sadness and loneliness are often considered negative emotions, they are not enough to generate negative energy because they are emotions that arise from affection. This question has been asked too many times so just don't ask. The main types are the four R-Types. There are also O-Types but that lecture is reserved for the O-Types themselves."

When he mentioned O-Types he looked at Sylvia and she recalled that Black Lexicon had referred to her as an O-Type. She wondered if she would be getting another lecture about O-Types but White Codex didn't mention and merely looked away and continued on with his lecture. He continued on while discussing several categories of R-Type abilities and how they should do their best to force out the negative energy with specific thoughts and paths in mind to develop to their best. He finally reached the end of his lecture after thoroughly rousing the enthusiasm of the listeners. They seemed eager to start developing some special abilities to the point that there were some who forgot that they were in Hell.

White Codex finally made his closing statement. "It hasn't been long but my lecture is over. You all will receive temporary housing and have until the next moonfall to adjust. During this time you should let your negative emotions settle and try to develop any kind of ability, no matter how small. You will get more proficient in the future. If you want to have some hints about your R-Type and what types of abilities would suit you best, just ask Black Lexicon, he can tell you. You won't receive any wages during this time but afterwards those who make progress may be able to find employment. For those that fail to make any progress don't worry too much, it's not like you'll die for a second time even if you lack food or shelter. And you can always go to the Bloody Hell, our city's Arena, if you're desperate for money. No matter how you get dismembered, disemboweled, or torn to pieces you'll always return to your natal form within a few hours"

After slightly killing their enthusiasm with his parting remarks he didn't wait for them to ask any questions. He turned to Sylvia and beckoned by crooking a finger at her. "You, come," he ordered.

She didn't have the courage to refuse so she merely waved at Diana who watched her leave with worry written all over her face.