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Sold to the Prince of Hell

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“I will not let you take me alive” was the last thing she said before it all went dark. Watching both her parents murdered and their kingdom torn to ruins, it seems Leiya's life cannot get any worse, but it does. She is forcefully torn away from her sister and sent as a gift to appease Helion, ruler of the Kaltain Kingdom, the most powerful demon to ever exist, the "Prince of Hell", but Leiya is determined to keep her fathers dying wish. She will find her sister, Nayla at all cost, and not even Helion can stand in her way.

Out in the cold

"They're coming, Your Majesty.” Geiya’s eyes shone with fear. Beads of sweat dripped down his face and neck. I turned to look at my father at the head of the table. His eyes held no emotion. I looked at my mother, her eyes screamed with fear. I looked at my little sister, so many tears had gathered in her eyes, that they were almost rolling down her cheeks. “Leave us Geiya.” My father finally spoke. He didn't look up, he didn't flinch. I had never seen him like this. Was he scared? No. My father was never afraid. He fought multiple battles in his time and always emerged victorious. “Yes, Your Majesty.” Seconds later, the door closed leaving the four of us alone. We all sat in dreadful silence. No one dared to touch the food on their plates. Outside the door, you could hear the clicking together of swords. The groans of men in pain. You could smell the blood oozing out of their bodies. You could almost taste it. “I'm scared Father.” I looked up at Nayla. The tears had travelled down her cheeks and to her chin. My mother placed her hand over hers in an attempt to give her some comfort. It failed. Her tears continued to fall with ease. “Did I teach you to be scared Nayla?” My eyes travelled to where my father sat. He was a man who rarely showed emotions. Whenever Mother would tell tales of how he swept her off her feet, I would always wonder how that man turned into the stone-cold King we called father. “No father.” Nayla shook her head slowly, not daring to look at him. She was the most scared of our father. I didn't blame her. She was a twelve-year-old who wasn't allowed to be just that. My father started training her to fight with swords when she was just five. Anytime she would hurt herself, he would yell at her to stop crying. He would tell her not to be weak. He would always say “Wounds heal but your dignity does not”. “Bring me some water Leiya.” I quietly rose to my feet. He had asked all the maids to leave us and I wouldn't dare to disobey him. I picked up the large wooden jug on the other end of the table with both hands. The sounds coming from the other side of the walls overshadowed the sound of water pouring into his cup. I stood so close to him that I saw little moisture on his temple. Sweat. My father never sweated, except, of course, he was in battle. Even when he trained, he never broke a sweat. He always said they were nothing compared to all the battles he fought. My hands trembled as I held the jug firmly to myself. My father, the strongest man in the whole Herra kingdom, who all my life taught me never to be afraid, was... afraid. “It is time.” He took a sip out of the cup I had just poured water into. Taking his time to swallow before he continued. “Degar could kill me and your mother but he wouldn't kill you both. A man of pride that he is would rather parade you both to his kingdom as spoils of war.” He clenched his fists around the cup. If it wasn't made of strong wood, it would have succumbed to my father's angry chokehold. “Whatever happens, do not lose sight of each other. Always be within reach of one another. You both are stronger together than you will ever be apart.” This was my father's way of saying goodbye to Nayla and I. I looked up to meet his eyes. They weren't as commanding and certain as they always were. I saw an emotion I had never seen before but I wasn't sure what it was. He nodded his head lightly. I knew he was putting me in charge of looking after my sister. I nodded back. I was going to do it with my last blood. Suddenly, the noises on the other side of the door grew louder and louder. Accompanied by many footsteps. My heart began to beat louder and faster. Just then, the two large wooden doors flung open. Bloody-looking men with swords marched in. My mother immediately reached out for Nayla but the sword-yielding men got hold of them both. In a split second, we were on our knees with swords to our necks. “Aww. Did I interrupt the family dinner?” I moved my eyes in the direction of the evil man. King Degar. Tales of his reign of terror travelled far and wide. He had a scar that ran across his left eye. He had a frightening look with an eerie of danger around him. If there was any doubt about the stories I was told about him, they had all cleared. “Any last words… Philip.” He stood on the other end of the table. Looking intently at my father who was held hostage on the other end. “Let my family live.” My father's speech was restricted by the sword held tightly to his neck. Now I was convinced of the emotion I saw in his eyes earlier. It was fear. Then it hit me, my father was going to die. “As a good man, I would honour your dying request. But first…” With a wave of his hand, he instructed his men to force us to our feet. Except my father. This time my mother's and sisters' faces were wet with tears. I watched in total horror as he took out his sword and made his way towards my father. He stood over my father with a plastered grin across his face. A sickening grin. “You're going to have to die first before I can grant your wish.” My father didn't have the chance to respond before the long, metallic, sharp object was thrust into his chest. Everything happened at once. My father's muffled groan. The screams of my mother. The shrill cry of my sister. The breaking of my heart into a million pieces. My mother struggled out of her captor and rushed to my father as he fell to his side. She kneeled in the pool of blood that was beginning to form beside him. A pool of his blood. She held his head up and cried uncontrollably. Degar watched in satisfaction. Spread across his lips was a smile of achievement. The kind of smile you put on after you win a medal, not after you murder a father before his family. He made me sick. He made my blood boil. “Get the girls and let's head home.” He turned, heading towards the door. “And her?” He turned and I followed his eyes to my mother kneeling beside her now dead husband. He looked long and hard at her, not with pity or empathy but with indifference and nonchalance. “Kill her.” The words rolled off his tongue with ease and my eyes widened in horror. My mother didn't move. She was dead inside already. Nayla kept screaming and crying but I was too numb to do either. I took one last look at my mother as the men dragged us away. Even with the tears and blood on her face, she was still fair and beautiful. The most beautiful woman I had ever known, inside and out. We were metres out of the door when once again, I heard the thrusting sound of the sword. It was accompanied by a loud thump. I knew what that meant but I was too scared to look. Nayla ran into my arms, crying uncontrollably as the men led us farther away from the doors. It was just us both now. As we made our way out into the snow and the cold air violently hit my face, it became clear to me what my father meant when he said “To some people, the cold is cozy but to others it is cruel”. It was then my eyes began to water.

A small gift

Nayla and I were forced to walk through King Degar's town. Our hands and feet were bound in chains and we were pulled forward by a man on his horse. Men, women and children booed at us as we went. Some of them spit at us. Others cheered, commending their King and his men for their victory against our kingdom. Anger boiled within me but there was nothing I could do. I looked at Nayla beside me. Her head was lowered and she dragged her feet. Her eyes were puffy and swollen. She had been crying since mom and dad were killed and the tears just kept coming. She was too young for all of this. The suffering. The pain. The humiliation. I would give anything to give her a normal life. Our walk of shame went on until we reached the gates of the castle. It was huge. Twice the size of ours, now lying in ruins. King Degar unmounted his horse and the crowd cheered even more. He whispered a few words to the guards in charge of our chains and seconds later, we were being pulled into the castle. Its

Heroes

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