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Don't take it to heart
Dominic pulled himself across the cold floor, leaving a trail of blood. He fell limp as he reached Lucifer's feet. "Help me," he whispered painfully through his parched lips. Dominic had been defeated in a brutal war, trying to defend his kingdom. He was slipping into the hands of death, and only Lucifer could save him from his cruel fate. Lucifer looked down at him coldly with daggers in his eyes. 'No,' he thundered, his voice echoing through the cracked, gray walls of the palace. The palace! The palace of dreams - broken dreams. The palace of happiness - stolen from those who dared to enter.
One simply had to set foot on the hard, cold marble steps to be overwhelmed by the mournful shadows of the castle and the almost tangible malevolence. All traces of pride, victory, hope and bravery were given up in an instant. And given up to the worst of mankind, Lucifer. Day by day the cruel, selfish demon was getting more and more powerful, feasting on the sorrow and pain of others. Dominic, his older brother was the only person who dared to face him and now, Dominic’s life depended on Lucifer entirely. Dominic rarely asked for anyone’s help, so rarely that even cold hearted Lucifer was stunned to see his older brother on the floor. Lucifer refused. Dominic's ears rung with the faint thunder of ‘NO’ still echoing through the walls, and the pain of it coursing through every vein in his dejected body. He looked bravely into his brother's stony eyes and managed to let out a weak 'Ple...ase!'
Dominic was a sorry sight. Lucifer cackled with enthusiasm never seen before. Dominic still fought to live on, for he knew if he didn’t, no one would have the courage to stand up to Lucifer. Leaving his brother alone, Lucifer continued on to the grand staircase draped in rich red carpeting. He entered one of the hundred rooms. He opened the door just a crack, so as to not let anybody see him. He slipped in and tightly shut the door behind him. There he stood, face to face with a wispy clone of himself. This was 'The other.'
You see, everyone has a good side, however small; but one like Lucifer, who had done such terrible sins, had his body split into half, his good side turning into nothing but that wispy clone. Lucifer had desperately tried to get rid of his good side, but he couldn't because it knew his biggest secret. And that secret could be let out at anytime, anywhere and anyhow, because 'The other' was just another part of Lucifer, thus, totally unafraid. On the contrary, Lucifer felt threatened by him because he was holding a secret just about big enough to destroy Lucifer's power.
He strolled on to the next room. The door had a big, heavy bolt. Lucifer took a glistening key and undid the bolt. On the blood stained floor, there lay brown burlap sacks steeped in a red substance. Slipping on a pair of black leather gloves he reached into the biggest bag. Hands dripping with blood, he pulled out a red, oozy mass of flesh, the epitome of eerie pulchritude. It was a human heart. In all these bags, he had the hearts of those he had murdered. These hearts, they were his power source. If the hearts would be taken away, so would his strength. Every time he added one more to the horrifying collection, his power would grow more and more. He was just steps away from ruling the country. All he needed was to kill Dominic.
THAT was his secret. The hearts. And it was more. It was his secret, his power source, his life. He, in fact owed everything to it. Lucifer tiptoed downstairs to check on Dominic. There really wasn’t much to see. Lucifer held up the heart he was holding. He sunk his teeth into it slowly so that Dominic felt the full impact of the gesture. Both knew that it was just a matter of minutes before Dominic ceased to exist. Dominic had to do something. He could never be saved but his family and country could. Short of breath, he called for the maid - Ana. She rushed to his side with tears in her eyes. She had always been very fond of Dominic – everyone was. He whispered something in her ear, and with his last word, made the transition into the world of the gods. Ana broke down into floods of tears. The news of the horrible death spread far around the kingdom. They believed they were doomed. However, Ana possessed the knowledge of a secret that could possibly save the kingdom, and this was what Dominic had whispered in her ear in the last seconds of his life. Dominic had found out about “The other” just a day before his death. He knew that it was not pleased with what Lucifer had done. Dominic had instructed Ana to visit “The other”, and reveal Lucifer’s secret.
This, however, was a difficult task.
Ana was petrified of Lucifer, and besides this, Lucifer guarded the room very heavily; therefore it would be next to impossible to get through. Ana needed a plan that would take place without her physically being in “The Other’s” room. She thought over this day and night.
Then suddenly, two days later, while scrubbing dishes, it struck her. She finally had the plan she needed. Ana waited a week, carefully observing the extremely precise timetable of the guards. That week, she wrote a long, detailed letter describing to “The other” what her purpose was and how he could help her. Then one night, at five minutes to 12, Ana began to creep silently up the staircase, and paused to consider her decision for the umpteenth time. Apprehension flooded her tormented mind, and her knees shook violently as a result of the raging battle inside her heart. Step by step, she managed to drag herself up the ascending staircase. Just before she reached the top of the stairs, she held her breath, waiting for the guards to finally fall asleep. It was a minute past midnight. She stopped at the door, right at the feet of the slumbering guards. Quickly slipping her note through the crack under the door, she tiptoed back to her room, knowing “The other” would find her there.
As soon as she reached her room, “The other” came to see her. They planned to destroy Lucifer’s source of power - the Hearts. When Ana heard what her master was hiding, she was disgusted. Her desire to overpower him strengthened with each painful word that slithered out of “The other’s” mouth.
“The other” was thrilled with Ana’s proposal. He had wanted to destroy Lucifer for very long time, knowing that he would be a better king, but he needed a human to help him. Without a human, “The other” was just a wispy clone of his evil counterpart. “The other” slid into Ana’s body, and they became one. She felt a strong surge in her body, and then heard “The other’s” voice in her head. The first part of the plan was accomplished. Ana felt a glimmer of hope in her heart. One of Lucifer’s most dreaded nightmares was going to become reality.
The next day, Lucifer went to see ‘The other”. He opened the door, only to find the room empty. Lucifer panicked, knowing that if “The other “had escaped, it could only lead to his own downfall. He had no idea what to do. Nobody else knew about “The other”, and Lucifer couldn’t risk telling anyone.
Ana noticed how agitated and anxious Lucifer had become. Her spirits rose unimaginably. She could hear ‘The other” laughing with glee in her head. Days turned to weeks, and weeks, months. Lucifer’s power was falling. He hadn’t killed anyone in very long, and the change was dramatic: His eyes that had shone with hatred had become dull and suspicious of all. His sharp tongue had softened over the months, still cruel beyond words, but having less impact than earlier. His entire body drooped with a strange lethargy. Ana observed this unmistakable change, and knew that she would succeed. The drive to make sure that Dominic’s wishes were granted was what made her go on.
One rainy night, Ana confided in Lucifer’s workers. She told them what lay in the Forbidden Room, as they had called it for years. They too were shaken. Within a week, Ana had turned the whole palace against Lucifer. The guards were on her side as well. Lucifer was still not aware of this. Ana had replicated the silver key, and gradually, the staff of the palace, guided by Ana, started stealing the hearts from Lucifer’s gruesome collection and destroying them, weakening Lucifer even further.
A few months passed, and nearly all of the hearts had been destroyed. Lucifer felt his power weakening, and went to check on his collection. When he saw just how many hearts had vanished, he fainted. Ana went to the dungeon-like room and saw her master on the floor. When he began to regain consciousness, she was standing above him with a sickeningly sweet smile on her face. She told him how “The other” was inside of her, and how she had turned everyone he had trusted against him. Lucifer began to realize that he had underestimated the power of the people. Lucifer was in the place he had put Dominic in just a few months ago. He was begging for Ana to forgive him, to let him go and spare his source of power. He knew that death would draw near if anything was to happen to his collection. He told her that he would rule as Dominic would have. However, Ana didn’t believe him, and furthermore, she wanted to know that he was suffering. She refused the same way Lucifer had when Dominic had pleaded with him. Ana wanted to teach him a lesson, the first and last he would ever learn, for she knew that his death was coming closer and more rapidly than she had ever expected it to. She felt “The other” encouraging her, adding fuel to the glowing fire which allowed her to behave in this uncharacteristic manner. The palace staff worked furiously to get rid of Lucifer’s collection. They had propped him up right outside the room, where he could see his collection and his power ebbing right in front of his eyes. He lay motionless, helpless as the most precious thing to him was so carelessly destroyed.
Finally, the collection had come down to one heart. Lucifer was nearly dead. That one heart was keeping him alive. Ana brought it out. She kneeled down in front of him. He opened his mouth, pursed his dry lips to speak, but nothing would come out. She took the golden sword that hung on the wall; a reminder of the first murder Lucifer had ever committed, and pierced it into the heart, destroying it. Blood spewed everywhere and Lucifer moaned, not being able to take it. Ana stood up, emotionless, and threw it into the blazing fireplace. Lucifer collapsed. He was finally declared DEAD.
The news spread even faster than the news of Dominic’s death. The whole town rejoiced, but Ana was elated beyond explanation. She, a mere maid, had the courage to defeat one of the world’s most cruel kings. When the town found out about her part to play in the matter, they all decided that she should be the next queen. Ana was overjoyed!
Now that her dream had come true, she wanted to give everything she could to the kingdom that had once belonged to her beloved master, Dominic. Ana and “The other” had the best intentions for the country, and planned to implement them beautifully. Everything that Lucifer had done wrong; they would turn around, and finally give justice to the town that hungered for it the most. Above all, Ana was satisfied that she was able to carry out Dominic’s dying wish. She felt as if she had succeeded in doing something that would change the world. To add to her happiness, she ordered that Lucifer’s body be thrown into the fireplace where they had destroyed the hearts. The roaring flames engulfed the devious body, turning it to ashes, and signifying the destroying of all evil in the kingdom forever.