3: Spoiled Rotten

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                                                                          3: Spoiled Rotten

                          (WARNING: This chapter contains gory and violent scenes that may disturb some readers!)

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"As they were not beloved on account of their pride, everybody said; they do not deserve to be pitied..." –(Beauty and the Beast, Jeanne-Marie LePrince de Beaumont)

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       Ruta

       Watching the rebels severed heads roll across the ground is my absolute favorite part of the day.

       I watch with feverish delight as our hooded executioner lets the rusted blade of the guillotine drop once more. My breath is still as the huge blade falls. Its rusted edge, already stained with fresh blood, is as sharp as broken glass and twinkles just as beautifully in the fading sunlight that dances from behind the trees in the distance. The moans and wails of the terrified onlookers rise up to the sky as the blade gets closer and closer to the soft neck of its target. Our knights stand their ground, forming a silver barricade between the crowd and the executioner's platform.

        THUNK.

       Blood splatters across the stone platform, all over the grass, and onto me. The rebel's head rolls along the platform and stops at my feet. The young man's face is frozen forever in a terrified scream.

        I smile.

      "Murderers!" A middle-aged woman is glaring at my father and I from the crowd. Her eyes are filled to the brim with tears and malice as she shakes her dirty fist up at us. "Your tyranny will never last!"

      I smirk at the sun-kissed face of the woman. She must be (or have been) the mother of the severed head at my feet. The woman returns my gracious smile with a rather rude gesture. I giggle at her childishness before I return my attention to my father.

       My father stands with me upon the platform that is raised high above the peasants, which is exactly where we should. The golden crown upon my father's head catches the last light of the setting sun as he steps forward to address the angry crowd. He scoops the severed head off the ground and holds it up for the people to see.

       "This," he shouts, "is what happens to those who rebel against the kingdom of Livor!" His deep and powerful voice instantly silences the peasants. Their faces are filled with terror and fear, as they ought to be, as they gaze up at their king.

        "Think upon this as you sleep tonight: Any and all who dare to oppose myself or this kingdom shall meet the same unpleasant fate as this fool!" My father throws the bloody head forward. The peasants shriek and scatter like rats. My father and I share a laugh as they fall and trip over one another on their way back to the filthy hovels they call home.

         "Well done, Father," I congratulate him as he turns back to me. "I believe that this will take care of any other uprisings that they might have thought to conjure up." He smiles at my words and wipes at my cheek with his hand. His fingers are dark red as he pulls his hand away.

          "We can never be certain with these people, Ruta," he says quietly. He seems tired, which is a sizable difference in the commanding personality he showed the peasants just a moment ago. His eyes, which were aflame with anger and power only seconds earlier, are now drained and sullen. "Commanding a kingdom filled with unhappy people will never be a predictable job."

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