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"And you promise that you'll end it, right?" the man asked as he anxiously tapped his foot on the floor.

"You get what you pay for," I replied as I picked up the statue of gold coins, "But I can assure you that the prince will be dead within the week."

That seemed to calm him down a little. I had no idea why he wanted the prince dead, but it wasn't my job to ask, and frankly, I didn't really care.

"Perfect," he replied.

Without another word, I gathered up the money and a few of my knives that I'd left on the table and walked out of the tent. As I left the small camp in the middle of the woods, people wrapped in blankets gave me a couple warry looks, but if I ever looked in their direction, they would look away as though they'd be doing nothing.

I guess I'd expected nothing less, I wasn't exactly the status quo. Female assassins were rare to come by, but I didn't think that was why they stared. I think it was the birthmark on my arm, the devil's mark. It was just a black oval, but it was rumored that anyone who had one had met the devil and only survived by being more cunning than him.

I can't say I've ever met the devil. I've had the mark for as long as I can remember, and as far as I can tell, it does nothing.

I neared the end of the camp were my horse was grazing. I whistled and he trotted over to me. He looked disappointed that he didn't get to finish his meal.

I mounted him and began to ride off towards the Helmridge Kingdom. The camp wasn't too far away, maybe only a half a days ride. I'd been there a couple of times. The people were nice as long as I covered up my scar.

I hadn't heard much about the prince before. I couldn't remember his name, only that he was the youngest of four. Which I found strange because if you wanted to get revenge on a kingdom, why kill the youngest? Why not the future ruler?

I mean, I didn't really care who I killed as long as I was getting paid, but it just confused me.

It was dark when I arrived, which was great. Assassins should always work at night. Fewer people in the streets.

I left my house tied in the middle of the woods before grabbing my cloak and making the rest of the journey on foot. The cold air nipped at my cheeks as light snow flurries began to fall from the sky.

I made my way swiftly through the city. I took back alleys to avoid the guards. When I got closer to the castle I scaled one of the buildings to get the high ground.

It wasn't long before I reached the castle. I grabbed two of my knives and lept onto the wall of the castle. I maneuvered my way upwards by stuffing my knife into the soft part of the tower and pulling myself upwards. I'd done it plenty of times before.

I reached the window and pushed it open and crept inside. I looked around me, I was in a dark hallway.

"Hey, who the hell are you?"

I turned around to see a knight holding a spear and shaking slightly. He was clearly scared though I doubted he wanted to show it.

Without a word, I charged towards him, drawing my daggers out. He panicked and pointed his spear at me, but he was too slow. I knocked the spear out of his hand, making a small cut on his wrist. I then wrapped my knife around his neck and got behind him.

"Where is the prince," I whispered into his ear, my breath hot against his skin.

"I'll- I'll never tell you," he shuddered, sweat pouring down his forehead.

I brought the knife closer to his neck, bringing out a bit of blood.

"Better start talking," I whispered.

"You'll- You'll just kill me anyway," he replied though he didn't sound quite sure of himself.

"You're probably right, but just think, if you don't tell me, I'll just ask and kill someone else," I said keeping my voice harsh.

"Don't expect any of us to tell you, we have pled ourselves to the king and we will serve hi-"

I pulled the knife through his throat. I had better things to do than listen to him ramble. His body fell limp in my arms. I dragged him over to the window and tossed the limp body down. I didn't really care where it landed, I would be out before anyone who saw it down there could come upstairs.

I rushed through the hallways checking every room I came too but there was no luck in finding the prince. I was bothered too much, I was patient, I had time.

Then I found someone, a servant, probably on her way to one of the princesses' rooms. I decided to follow her silently as she navigated through the castle.

Then she reached a room and knocked. I could barely make out the voice of the queen telling her to come in. The prince's room had to be somewhere around here.

I started with the door and made my way back as I slightly opened them and pecked my head inside. It didn't take long for me to find his room.

He was snoring loudly as I walked in and closed the door behind me. I approached the bed and pulled out my knife. He didn't move at all, if it wasn't for the snoring I would have said he was dead already. It didn't even look like he was breathing.

That's when I saw the mark on his upper arm. The same black oval that I had, the devil's mark. I'd of course heard rumors of other people with the mark, but to see someone else in real life, that was huge. I just stared at it, at him, not sure what to do.

I had to kill him. That's what I was paid to do, that's what I promised to do.

And yet, for some reason, I couldn't will myself to bring down the knife. Instead, I tucked the knives away in my pocket and shock the prince awake.

He seemed startled, but he didn't say anything. For a minute we just stared at each other.

"Where did you get that mark?" I asked, breaking the silence of the room.

He looked down at the mark before saying, "Why do you care? Are you like one of those religious freaks that think I'm worse than the devil?"

Without a word, I removed my cloak, revealing the matching mark on my skin. He sat up and lit a candle before turning back to me.

"Oh," he said.

"Do you know what it is?" I asked. I didn't mean for my voice to sound so desperate.

He yawned and stood up. He got dressed before grabbing the candle off his nightstand and saying, "Follow me."

We walked through the castle. There were guards walking through but with the prince by my side, I didn't have to avoid them.

I didn't realize how big the castle was until I was following the prince in anticipation. The corridors seemed to get longer and longer the further into the castle we went. I didn't understand how anyone could navigate this thing, it was a labyrinth.

After what seemed like an eternity of walking, we reached the library. He took me to the back and set the candle down before reaching out and grabbing a book.

"Page 203," he said as he passed the book to me.

I began to flip through the pages until I reached the 203rd page. There was a picture with the same mark that was on my arm. I began to read.

The mark of the Devil. This mark is a simple of a person who was born not of natural means, but for the parent's desired. The Devil will pray on the desires of desperate humans, giving them what they want for exchange for their souls.

I didn't get a chance to read more before the prince said, "I was born because my parents wanted the family name to continue. I begged God for a son, but the devil was the only one who heard."

"Someone asked the devil for me to be born?" I asked, though I already knew the answer.

"No one can know I have this mark, alright?" he asked.

"I don't think you have to worry about that," I said.

"So you won't tell anyone?" he asked.

"Do you wanna know why I was in your room?" I asked.

"Honestly I just figured you were a servant of a family friend, but judging by your words, you clearly aren't." He said it so nonchalantly that I was kinda shocked.

"I was sent here to kill you, got paid a good sum of money too," I informed him.

"Funny," he replied, "I've always wondered where I would go when I died. I never sold my soul to the devil, then again, do I even have a soul? It's strange when you start to think about it, would I ever be allowed in heaven even if I the nicest person to ever live?"

"I'm being serious," I said as I pulled out on of my knives.

He stared at it. He didn't seem to be scared by it. It almost looked like it assumed him.

"Pick up the book, read a little more," he said.

I looked at him confused for a second, but I did as he said.

There are a few perks of having the mark of the Devil. These include, but are not limited to, abnormal speed, a cunning nature, and the ability to not be killed by any weapon or poison.

"I was hired to kill you, I have to kill you," I said.

"Well, unfortunately, you aren't the first assassin to come and find me, and just like all of them, you will fail," the prince said.

"That's a shame because as far as I'm concerned, I was created to destroy. Let's see who the devil favors more," I said as I chucked a knife at him, skimming his check, it drew blood.

He touched his cheek and seemed a little surprised when he looked at his hand as saw blood. Not panicked, just a little shocked.

"Guess you can't always trust everything you read," I said.

I dropped the book in favor of another knife. I threw a second one. With insane reaction time, the prince picked up a book to block the dagger with. I rushed at him and leap on top of him.

He shrugged to kick me off. I stabbed one of the knives through his arm as he pushed me away. He howled out in pain. I would have to make this fast, there was a huge chance that someone had heard that.

He used his other hand to pull the knife out as he stumbled to his feet. His arm was limp but that didn't stop him from changing at me with the knife he'd pulled out of it.

I didn't know why, but I didn't move, didn't dodge at all. I guess I wanted to see if that book was true or not. Maybe I just was just ready to accept fate, or maybe I wanted to see what would happen when I died. Whatever the reason, I didn't fight back.

The prince pushed the knife through my chest. I didn't feel anything. I looked down and instead of going into my skin, the knife had shattered.

The prince finally looked scared. He stared up at me with wide eyes, almost begging me for mercy. So strange how quickly the arrogant can fall.

"Checkmate," I whispered before quiet literally stabbing him in the back.

I'd done it.

The world seemed to slow as he fell to the ground he said, "You have to keep my secret, my secret, please. Can you keep a secret?"

August 21, 2020 15:11

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1 comment

Taylor Crosby
11:59 Aug 27, 2020

A very interesting concept indeed. Now, I do have to ask: if she couldn’t be killed by the dagger, then how could she do the same to him since he also has the same devil mark? Is she special in a different way? More “blessed” by the devil than he is? Or is that meant to be kept a mystery?

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