Princess Malakisha makes her bloody move to seize the throne!
The Rakshasa's Heart
Chapter Four: The Rakshasa's Heart
Princess Malakisha – Ankush, The Queendom of Naith
I strode through the corridors of the Ziggurat, my men at my back, armed, armored. Death was in the air. The future promised blood and violence. My nipples were hard as my purple sari whisked against my thighs. Juices dribbled down my legs. My heart, my dear Lucy, marched at my side, naked and unashamed, her light-brown hair bouncing about her shoulders.
She smelled excited, too. Eager. She was ready to witness me seize the Queendom, to proclaim my strength before my sisters and cousins, my aunts and nieces. I would claim the bloody throne and make it mine.
I just had to kill Rushina and Kushini. I'd spill so much blood. I licked my chops, my whiskers twitching in anticipation.
Slaves gasped as they saw us, scurrying into the darkness. They knew better than to be around the royals when they “flexed claws.” Family politics were so savage in the Ziggurat. It honed you into strength, into dominance. It kept you alert.
It spiced life, made you appreciate what you had.
I was glad Lucy was with me. I was glad I had her support and love. My heart marched at my side. My men trooped at my back. Bakiir strode in their lead. He would carve my way to the throne. I would lose men tonight. Maybe even Bakiir.
But they all could die so long as I gained the prize.
Kushini appeared ahead, rounding the corner. She didn't wear a sari but her leather pants. She left both her tits bared, her right nipple pierced by the same gold ring that I had. Her hips swayed, her sword swinging at her side.
Her men moved up behind her.
“So you had the courage after all, Malakisha,” she purred.
I inclined my head, not bothering to even acknowledge the insult. “Shall we pay call to your dear mother.”
Kushini licked her chops. She was excited, both nipples hard, her whiskers quivering. “I am so eager to see her tonight. I am such a dutiful daughter.”
My purr rose in my throat as I turned, nodding to my ebony slave.
Bakiir strolled forward, barking orders at Kushini's slaves. They obeyed. The men broke into a trot, rushing past Kushini, Lucy, and me as they pounded through the corridors. We followed after, the men's gear jingling as they raced up the stairs to the pinnacle of the Ziggurat where Rushina waited in the throne room, surrounded by those whorish women she thought would protect her.
“Soon, you'll be queen,” I purred to Kushini. For all of a few heartbeats.
Her hand played with the hilt of her sword. For a moment, a fear swelled in me. Would she try to kill me in such a... direct manner? No. Not even Kushini was so crass as to try that. And if she thought I was defenseless, she was mistaken.
I would tear her throat out, sword or no sword.
My sari whisked as we hurried up the stairs after our men. My ears were pricked forward, listening for the tell-tale sounds of combat. A woman let out a warning cry, the chieftess of Rushina's bodyguard. She thought buying female slaves and training them to fight would give her a larger guard since they were cheaper than purchasing gladiators.
But no woman, no matter how skilled, could match my slaves. They were big, brawny men. Size and reach made far more of a difference in combat than dexterity and practice. Especially with how honed my men were at combat, equally as adept as Rushina's whore-guards.
Blood scented the air.
We hurried faster, arousal bleeding off my cousin. We gained the top of the stairs, bursting out on the antechamber before the throne room. Crimson slicked the floor. Swords rang on sword. Women were on the ground, bleeding, groaning, limbs severed as our slaves pressed forward, Bakiir at the lead.
He was a god. He carved through the women, laying into them with his mighty sweeps of his sword. He reached the doors, throwing them open onto the throne room and running another guardswoman through the throat.
The slave fell screaming off his blade.
Blood soaked into my sandals and my socks as we walked through the antechamber, Lucy's bare feet padding on the sticky blood. Kushini's and my slave-soldiers were pressing into the throne room. Rushina rose from where she knelt naked. The older rakshasa stood with imperial grace as she faced the carnage, watching her female guards being butchered.
There were many of the sluts. They pressed in on my men.
Henyak went down, a sword through his gut. He fell onto his hands and knees, struggling to rise. A trident wielded by a wild-eyed, Tuathan slave-guard rammed into his back, driving him into the floor. Thushin took a hard swing on his neck. The blade cut deep, his head held on only by his spine. Blood spurted as my slave crashed dead to the floor.
Rushina watched it all with stoic courage as Bakiir slew her guards. My slaves hacked and slashed. Issanik sword took a woman in the stomach, spilling her bowels like blue ropes across the ground. Blood streamed from a cut down his back, but he kept fighting.
Kushini and I strolled forward in the wake of our men. The dwindling female guards fell back to their mistress, collapsing into a shrinking ring about her. Bakiir growled his orders, swinging his sword over his head, rallying the men.
I stepped over Nathan, Kushini's slave, bleeding from a his thigh, his eyes rolled back into his head. A stab of satisfaction shot through Lucy's scent as she stepped over him in as she trailed behind me.
“Daughter,” Rushina said.
“Mother,” Kushini purred, her arousal so strong now. I bet she was aching to fuck one of her guards right here on the bloody floor, to roll in the gore as she writhed in passion.
“And dear Malakisha.”
“Noble aunt,” I nodded, giving the heir due respect for her poise.
Bakiir's sword stabbed into the guts of the only slave-soldier between him and Rushina. The woman screamed in pain, blood bubbling from her lips. He kicked her off his weapon and drew back his sword to strike down my aunt.
Rushina lifted her tiger head, exposing her throat. Accepted that she had lost.
I tensed. Here came the betrayal.
Kushini moved faster than I expected. The rakshasa sprang forward, snarling out in rage. Her sword sang as it slid from her scabbard. The sound reached Bakiir's ears. He turned to defend himself.
Kushini's sword slammed through his chest. She'd closed the distance so fast. My favorite slave, the only man I had found worthy enough to breed my daughter, died, his heart destroyed by Kushini's expert thrust.
His sword fell from suddenly limp fingers. His eyes found mine. I saw it in his eyes. Shock. Failure. He had wanted to please me.
I would miss him. But his death was worth this sacrifice.
Issanik cursed, his sword taking one of Kushini's slaves in the neck before a spear wielded slammed into his belly. My men, who had led the charge with Bakiir, had taken the worst of the wounds dispatching Rushina's whore-guards. Now Kushini's men hit them from behind, running them through, butchering all the slaves I had spent years cultivating.
My heart hammered in my throat. This was it. This was the moment. I glanced at Lucy, saw the smile playing on her lips. She gave me a subtle nod of her head then screamed out, “Treachery! You betrayed my Mistress!”
Her words were loud, piercing, reaching through the corridors.
Kushini yanked her bloody sword from Bakiir's body. He slumped to the floor, arms spread limp, blood pooling across his ebony flesh. I watched Kushini step over his body, approaching her mother. My men were all dead now. Two-thirds of Kushini's also. But that still gave her five men, their weapons all prepared to cut down Rushina as they ringed her.
“Well, daughter, very well played,” Rushina said, pride in her voice. Any mother would be so thrilled to see a daughter grown strong.
And then something I hadn't expected happened. Kushini knelt before her mother and said, “Malakisha wanted to kill you, Mother. But I heard about the plot in time to act and came to your rescue.”
Rushina's ears twitched. The shock was clear. Her head cocked, looking around, trying to figure out her daughter's game. “What a... loyal daughter you are, Kushini. Kill your cousin for her treason.”
“Gladly,” Kushini purred. A shudder ran through her. She rose and turned to face me, Bakiir's blood dripping from her sword. Her men fanned out. They had expected this. They advanced.
Lucy bent down, snagging a dagger from a fallen woman. She tensed on the balls of her feet. I faced my cousin, my heart pounding. Fear twisted through my stomach. My ears pricked. Where were they?
“Yes, you thought to stab me in the back after I killed my mother,” Kushini said, advancing on the balls of her bare feet, slicked by blood. “You thought you could use me to kill my own mother.”
“And you thought to use me, too,” I shrugged. If this was my death, I would face it with all the grace and dignity of my station in the world. “Though I'm shocked. Too scared to take the throne for yourself?”
“Oh, I have the throne,” she purred. “Mother will need me to protect her. I'll whisper in her ear. She'll do whatever I say while she draws the assassins. Not me.”
I inclined my head. “Well played.”
Armor jingled. Boots thumped. Louder.
“But, I am afraid, I knew of your treachery,” I continued.
“Because your little whore told you.” Kushini let out a growling laughter. “Everyone in the Ziggurat knows you love her, Malakisha. That you are so weak you love a human female. We all laugh at you behind your back. You think you're so smart, so cunning, that you've hidden it so well even though you take that little strumpet with you everywhere. We all know you use her to spy on us.”
The words stung. I didn't care. “So what if you know she's my heart,” I said. “She's the reason I'll be queen.”
“Oh, how?” Kushini asked.
The boot steps thundered louder.
“Don't you hear your death coming, cousin?” I asked.
Men burst into the throne room behind me. Kushini froze, her ears flicking as she witnessed the royal guards of dead Queen Adroyna, led by Konayveh, surge into the room. Ten of them, all brawny, all strong, and all mine.
“I made arrangements,” I said as they rushed charged past me at her men. “Lucy won me their hearts.”
It was such a wonderful moment to see Kushini raise her sword to parry Konayveh's brutal swing. The other royal guards crashed into her men. The fight was brutal, swift. Rushina, who'd been standing strong, now flinched back. She had come to the realization she was about to die, been spared, and now faced it again. The whiplash was too much for her poise to withstand.
She cracked, proving her weak. Unworthy to hold the throne.
I licked my chops, watching the work.
Kushini's fenced with skill. She blocked and parried Konayveh's powerful thrusts while her men died behind her. The five were outnumbered. They killed three of Konayveh's men before the last fell dead.
Rushina screamed as they advanced on her. She grabbed something from a pocket of her sari, a vial of something white.
My ears pricked in shock. She downed it as Konayveh's six men advanced on her with weapons.
The air rushed through the room. Wind howled. My new soldiers were struck with magic. Their hair whipped about their heads, loose cloth whisking about their bodies as they died. Their heads were twisted so hard around by the howling gusts, their skin ripped. They dropped in torn pieces around Rushina.
No wonder she was so calm. She had magic to fall back upon. Why had I never learned she was a mage? When had she learned this talent? Magic was abhorred in the Queendom. It was why we wore our piercings.
Snarling, I charged past Konayveh dueling with Kushini, theirs swords ringing. I leaped over the dead. I would have to get my own fangs bloody. It was galling, but I was too close to the throne to lose it all now. My sari swirled about my thighs as I leaped.
Rushina's head snapped towards me.
The wind howled, rushing at me. It whipped at my clothing. My nipple piercing flared hot. The magic melted off of me. I was protected. Rushina's feline eyes widened as I landed before the throne. She'd forgotten what all daughters of the Ziggurat were gifted: the chromium-alloyed gold ring made its wearer immune to magic.
This woman was too weak to be our queen if she forgot something so basic as that.
I seized her wrists as she tried to slap me. My head snapped at her. I felt her furred throat against my fangs. My teeth bit in hard. Orgasmic satisfaction surged through me at the hot, salty taste of her life. I ripped her throat out. I devoured her flesh, chewed it as she fell gurgling onto the throne, slumped over it, blood sheeting down her naked breasts.
Licking my chops, I turned to face Kushini.
She fought with Konayveh still, the pair circling each other. Lucy watched from the wall, her hand clenching her dagger. Her face twisted with hope. She felt my victory near. I watched the fight. Konayveh would win me the throne.
It was far costlier than I expected. Damn Rushina for being a mage. I would only have Konayveh as a guard now. I would be vulnerable. It would take so much cunning to protect myself. I licked my chops, looking forward to the challenge of holding my throne.
Weapons rang. Kushini stumbled.
An orgasmic heat rushed out of my pussy as his sword took my cousin in the belly. She snarled in pain, bending over, her jaws snapping. She ripped out Konayveh's throat with her dying effort. Lucy screamed out in shock, in fear, realizing that my rule of the Queendom just became that much more perilous.
Konayveh toppled back, blood spurting from his neck. He clutched a hand to his ruined throat, took a step towards Lucy, and collapsed. His blood mingled with Bakiir's as he lay dying only feet from my slain champion.
“No,” groaned Kushini. She fell onto her back, her sword fallen from her grip. She clutched her belly, blood streaming through her fingers.
I moved to her, standing over my cousin. “Did you know your mother had magic?”
Kushini snorted, blood flecking her fangs. Her life pumped out of her, eyes glossy with agony. “No wonder she was so calm with those sluts protecting her.”
I straddled my cousin's torso, staring down into her eyes. “Do you want it quick, or do you want the pain to drag out, to have hope that somehow you'll prevail?”
She let out a purring laugh that turned into a snarl of pain. “You outmaneuvered me. You used that little slut of yours well.”
“She's my heart,” I told her.
“Is she?” Kushini asked, her eyes flicking to the right for a moment. “I wish you well with that, cousin. You won.” She lifted her throat. “Quick.”
I tore out my cousin's throat. I killed my rival for the throne. I savored her blood even more than Rushina's. I gloried in it pouring down my muzzle as Lucy padded up behind me, her feet slapping through the sticky puddles. I lifted my muzzle, turned to see the triumphant smile in Lucy's face.
Pain knifed through my flesh. I gasped, my back arching as Lucy's dagger buried into my side. As I turned to face her, her knife missed my organs. Instead, she sliced through my abdominal muscles. I groaned, hissing in pain, my hand lashing out at her out of instinct. I struck her. She gasped, stumbling back, the dagger left lodged in my flesh.
Lucy slipped and landed on her back, her naked body smeared in the blood, her face twisting with...anger. With rage. With hatred.
She glared at me as I rose, the pain throbbing through my back, reaching for my heart.
I wrenched the knife free of my side. Blood poured hot down my skin, soaking into my sari. I stumbled to her. To my heart. Confusion rippled through me. She just stared up at me, that anger blazing in her face.
“My heart...” I croaked, letting my transformation end, my human face appearing as the fur retracted. “What—”
“My heart,” she sneered. “How I hated calling you that, pretending to love you, to bear your foul touch!”
Her words cut deeper than the knife.
“I...” I couldn't speak. I couldn't comprehend. “No, no, you loved—”
“I never loved you!” Her voice was shrill. “How could I love the creature who bought me? Who enslaved me. Who whips me and beats me. Who forces me to do degrading acts for her pleasure! This was my chance for freedom. I took it. 'Risks have to be taken to seize great rewards,'” she said, sneeringly quoting my words. “'You cannot be afraid. You have to seize your opportunity and act.' I seized! Konayveh and I would have been free!”
“You loved him!” I snarled, the blood pouring down my side, agony beating in my heart. “That man!”
“The man who cared for me? Who was tender with me? Who never hurt me?”
“You enjoyed being—”
Her laugh was so derisive. “I never loved a second of being with you. I just learned to pretend. I faked it, and it kept the worst of your desires from being afflicted upon me.” She lifted her throat. “I die free of you, Malakisha!”
Anger surged through me. My fur sprouted as I leaped at her. Teeth became fangs. Never loved me? Never cared for me? All those times she spoke those three beautiful words were a lie? Tears matted my fur as I landed on her body. My teeth snapped about her throat. I felt the beat of her heart.
No fear. She was never afraid of me. But she never loved me.
She was false.
She hated me.
I ripped out my heart's throat. I had never tasted more bitter blood. She spasmed, her head turning away, looking at Konayveh's corpse as she died. I lifted my bloody muzzle. A tear fell from the fur around my eyes, splashing on her face.
Her body twitched.
Her perfect breasts rose and fell for the last time.
I stumbled through the harbor, bleeding, in pain. Blood coated my side, weighed down my sari. I didn't care. Nothing mattered. I was queen, and I didn't want to sit the throne. Why? What was the point? I was so empty inside.
I loved her so much. I thought she had grown to love me back. I could still remember stumbling across her in the slave pens, seeing the strength in her eyes as she sat with the other scared slave women, this young thing, a virgin, but glaring with such defiance.
I had fallen in love with her. She had stolen my heart.
And she had taken it into the grave.
How could I have missed her true feelings? The hatred? The contempt? She had faked it all these years. She had used me. Lied to me.
I shouldn't grieve for that bitch. I shouldn't hate myself for ripping out her throat. For killing her. She deserved to die.
I threw a look over my shoulder. The Ziggurat was a dark shape looming over the city, a rising pyramid built on blood and pain. Lucy's death was one more drop to soak into the stones. My stomach curdled.
I let my fur retract, my whiskers slid into my cheeks, and my fangs became dull teeth. My human face emerge. I couldn't go back. I couldn't bear to be in that place. To be haunted by all her deceptions. Everywhere I'd go, I'd see reminders of the false love I shared with her. Places I had once thought of fondly, places I thought we shared such joy, were tainted.
I should hate her.
Why couldn't I just hate her?
A whip cracked.
My head snapped around. A man bellowed on the ship I stood beside, a sleek pirate vessel. I smelled the fresh salt of the sea, heard the pier creaking as the waves rolled in with the tide. I stared out at the Shilter Strait.
I marched to the gangplank, snarling against the pain. I gripped the rope railings, hauling myself up it step-by-step. Snarling in pain, I stumbled onto the deck. An older man stood with a whip in hand, a Halanian man kneeling before him, arms bound to the mast, so ebony and brawny, his back welted, bleeding in spots.
“Who in Vedr's gaping cunt are you, lass?” grunted the older man.
“You the captain?” I asked, marching forward, raising my chin, matching his gaze.
I'd forgotten I held the dagger still in my hand until I'd planted it into his chest. I snatched the whip from his hands as he crashed onto the deck. His face widened in shock as he stared at me. I stared back at him as his face went slack.
“Seljan's white beard,” grunted the bound man. “Who in the Gods' names are you, woman?”
I almost said my name, but Malakisha had no heart. I chose a new one at random. “Thyrna. What's the name of this scow?”
His eyebrows narrowed. “Why? What are you doing.”
“I'd like to know the name of my new boat,” I said, fighting the wince of pain as I bent down and ripped the dagger out of Captain's chest. “Well!” I barked, putting all my years of dominance into my snapping voice. “I gave you an order, sailor.” I cracked the whip inches from his back. “Speak!”
“The Golden Hunger...”
My whip cracked across his back.
“Captain!” he grunted.
I grinned. Captain. I liked the sound of that. A new start. A new life. I cut him free. “Prepare my ship to sail.”
“The crew won't just follow you because you...” His words trailed off as I fixed a gaze on him.
“Leave the crew to me.”
I turned my back on the Ziggurat and strolled the deck of my new ship. Thyrna. I liked the name. Thyrna didn't need a heart. She didn't need love. She wasn't the foolish idiot that Princess Malakisha was.
That woman died in the palace, stabbed in the back by her heart. A pirate captain didn't need a heart.
She just needed obedience. Lucy's face flashed through my thoughts, twisted with anger, with hatred.
Pain. That was how new lives were born. Whether through the mother's pain in childbirth or the agony of life remolding you, new beginning always came out of agony. I wouldn't let the tears come as strode the deck of my new ship.
I needed to be strong. To be hard. I had an entire crew to dominate. And I doubt any of them would be as strong as my Bakiir. Pity he was dead. What a pirate he would have made. I rubbed my belly. Shame his seed never quickened in me.
My hands tightened on the whip and dagger as the crew began appearing, eyes flicking to their dead captain and then to me. I grinned, eager for the new challenge.