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25 Princess of Death

 In a despondent jungle, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, a group of people old and young were held in ropes, tied up. Across their faces were expressions of fear, sadness and most prominently loss of hope. There was no one surrounding them, yet they knew that there was no escape from their situation. Death was coming and it was in the form of a child.

After a while a procession of warriors armed in golden attire came following a fourteen year old youth. This youth gave a strong impression; the youth had spiky hair, brown skin without any flaws and sharp eyes that seemed to have been tempered by a thousand battles. This disparity between youth and experience created an uncomfortable sensation upon all who looked at this young child.

At first sight you would think this was a young man growing into manhood, but in actuality this was the diamond of the Gutu Empire, the legendary princess of the underworld. Her name was Princess Kufara Gumbo.

Her name Kufara meant happiness, yet to all who were involved in her life all she gave was dread. Oddly enough no one called her Kufara, everyone called her Kufa which in actuality meant death.

As Princess Kufa approached the group of tied up victims, the feeling of dread in their hearts made their very being palpitate with anticipation of what was to come. The fear in the air was so intense one could almost believe it was tangible.

When the procession arrived they stopped directly in front of the middle aged man, his face reduced to a mere mass of nothingness. The fear was evident on the faces of all who stood there but there was no shame in her eyes as she pulled out her sword.

Her voice was liquid with no clear indication of age, she commanded despair with every utter.

"You!" she screamed, pausing for a second as if to induce fear in his eyes, "Where is he?"

The man simply stared and with one swift movement she cut of his throat, moving on to the next man in line without so much as a glance or any sign of sympathy.

"You! Where is he?" she uttered pointing to the next man in line and a bead of sweat could be seen flowing from his head before it was swiftly chopped off, falling with the next and the next.

At some point in her brutal interrogation she arrived upon a young man who reeked of fear.

Kufa was like a maddened hound on the hunt, once she caught a whiff of that irresistible smell she couldn't let go. Oddly enough she didn't say anything to him and skipped him arriving in front of a hardened old man. The old man was the complete opposite of the young man before him; his facial expression as flat as a slab of stone.

Without even talking to the old man her hand as quick as lightening, reached into the old man's chest and pulled out a beating heart. Blood sprayed like a fountain, dying the surroundings red, yet oddly enough not a single drop of blood touched her, as if the blood itself was sentient and feared her.

As she pulled out the heart the beats got slower and slower. The old man's corpse fell to the ground with a loud thump.

When the heart reached what seemed to be its last beat, the princess squeezed the heart and it lit aflame. The fire itself was eery instead of being hot it was frighteningly cold. The flame itself was yellow with a black outline that had a purple hue. As soon as the flame lit up, the heart started beating. Louder and faster than before, at the same time what should have been the corpse of the old man started to spasm and bellow in pain as if he was actually alive.

The Princess took the beating heart that was on fire and brought it in front of the young man who she had skipped. She stopped the heart right before his face. All of the facial hairs on the young man's face started to freeze and he slowly started losing feeling his skin becoming numb.

"You know legend has it that the royal family has the ability to manipulate death. Death is a scary thing isn't it? But at the same time I need death because it's so much fun."

After she spoke the princess innocently giggled in a manner that was unbecoming of her actions, frightening the young man even more. She started toying with the heart in her hand as if it was a pebble squeezing it from time to time.

"You know death could be fun for you too, all I need you to do is just not answer me then I'll pull out your heart. And then like the old man next to you, you can join in the fun as well. I mean just look at him, he's having the time of his life."

Using the spear in her hand she forced the young man's face to turn and look at the elder. The moment he did so, his pupils dilated to the point where the whites in his eyes could barely be seen.

His body started shaking, just like the old man except he was not in pain; on the contrary he was in paradise. What made it worse was that the young man knew this himself. The Princess used the spear to bring back his attention to her, yet all he could see in front of his eyes was the beating heart that was on fire.

"So please I am begging you," as she spoke she started breathing in a manner that was so perverted, she looked like an old man in a child's body, "Please say nothing." This was almost like a whisper from the devil himself.

"Now, let me ask you, Where is my brother?"

...

Later on, the princess was sitting in a thatched hut, lazily playing with the cup that was holding in her drink. She looked up summoning one of the servants fanning her as a group of warriors walked in with serious expressions plastered all over their faces. As the servant approached her he kneelt at her feet, "What are your orders my Princess?"

"I want to deliver a message to my royal father, tell him that I have a rough idea of where my brother is, but it has something to do with the Gundu clan making this a bit tricky, especially if that old witch is involved. Tell royal father that I shall be waiting for further instructions, I'm feeling lazy today." She nonchalantly waved her hand to the servant dismissing him. The servant silhouette flashed for a second and his visage disappeared from sight. As the Princess lazily reclined in her chair she started playing with the flaming heart in her free hand. The heart seemed to have appeared from nowhere, if one was to pay attention whenever she squeezed the heart, the screams of a human being could be heard except these were not the screams of an old man but the wallows of a young man in the prime of his life.

...

A decorated European style carriage approached a large palace, the carriage itself was red all over with flames surrounding it. The carriage was being pulled by two horses, the horses themselves seemed normal except for one thing; the horse's mane seemed to be made out of flames too. There was no one leading the horses, no carriage man. They travelled with a sense of purpose and didn't need one.

As the carriage neared the palace, the palace guards at the palace gates came into view, each of the guards were armoured from head to toe. They were tall, broad shouldered and very intimidating. It was clear to anyone looking at them that they had been through many battles and their hands had been dyed in blood but as soon as they saw the carriage that was approaching, these battle-hardened man completely restrained their auras and obediently saluted the carriage as it approached.

They moved opening a path for the carriage, one of them looked back and shouted, "Open the gates, it's Lord McLeod!"

The large palace gates opened in a speed unbefitting their size.

As the carriage moved in the soldiers started whispering to each other. Angus McLeod was a legendary warrior. Legends of his expeditions had travelled far and wide. He started off as a normal peasant but built his fame and fortune through his own hands. Most famous warriors were born in nobility thus they grew up with silver spoons in their mouths. With countless resources aiding such warriors their path to fame was much easier, whereas McLeod built his fame with his own two hands.

The masses have always favoured the underdog especially one they can relate to.

Despite the fact that McLeod had become a noble he still treated everyone around him equally earning him the respect of his peers. Thus the soldiers could not help but be excited upon seeing that it was him approaching the palace. There were many famous people that came to the palace that day but only McLeod was able to truly touch these men. The palace itself was as large as a city, the closer one got to the centre of the palace the more heavily fortified it was. This was no normal palace; it was one of the designated meeting points for the alliance.

The alliance had taken care to make sure that the palace was as secure as possible. Even the position of this palace was information previewed to only to a few people. The purpose of the meeting that was occurring today was known by even fewer people.

As the carriage got through countless inspections and fortifications it finally reached the centre of the palace, a large dome-like structure. Multiple carriages belonging to multiple famous and powerful characters throughout the continent where parked outside. McLeod's carriage found its own spot just outside the dome and was greeted by a plethora of servants whose main purpose was to greet guests and meet any of their needs. It was not surprising that all of these servants were extremely beautiful young woman dressed in extremely revealing clothing.

The carriage opened and McLeod walked out, behind McLeod, Windsor and Siren followed. Despite the fact that McLeod was a well know person, the servants completely ignored his presence and knelt in front of Windsor.

"We welcome you your highness, Prince Windsor."

McLeod didn't even try to hide the lust prevalent in his eyes, which was the normal reaction a man would have in front of such a situation. Multiple woman scantily dressed kneeling in front of you would be enough to stir the loins of any man...

Well, almost any man.

"Rise!" said Windsor with a deadpan expression; he was not a man who was easily moved, especially by mortal desires. His eyes were there but his vision went far further, looking at the bigger picture. The head servant got up and quickly led the trio to the entrance of the large door-like structure; she was well experienced and knew that Windsor was not a man for pleasantries. Thus she quickly took action in order to avoid his ire.

As the trio was led into the dome McLeod couldn't help but to whistle; it was a large circular auditorium with thousands upon thousands of seats. Dignitaries from across the entire Western Continent had arrived to discuss the issue at hand. McLeod couldn't help but be impressed by the sheer scope of the event. He knew that the war with the Gutu was something big, the biggest thing that had happened in thousands upon thousands of years, but never in his wildest dreams would this man who began as a mere beggar on the streets thought that he would be involved in something of this magnitude.