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Masque of the Red Death
in response to Red Death exercise
by Carly Santos

…Prince Prospero threw away the key. The people were happy to see the end of worrying and suffering. The new kingdom was named “Utopia”, for the new paradise they lived in.

Everything was fine. The people were happy; there was plenty of food and supplies. But as it happens, the population rose quite dramatically in the few first months. Prince Prospero didn’t quite prepare the trip entirely well. Food and fresh produce started running out slowly, but if the population rate didn’t stay stable they would be out of food in the next 3 months. There wasn’t enough of anything growing to replace anything eaten.

The people were told. Anger raged throughout the Utopia. People were terrified of losing this Utopia they were promised. Why hadn’t their beloved Prince organised things properly? Now they were locked in a gigantic castle with no was to get out and no food.

“I advise everyone not to panic, I have a plan.” Prince Prospero proposed “I still have a key, 4 of my bravest knights and I will go in search for the next kingdom, and get the supplies we need”

The people of Utopia grew angrier, but more than that, they lost all faith and trust in their prince. What prince lies to his people?

“I did it for security reasons. What would happen to our kingdom if I didn’t have the key? We’d all starve.” Prince Prospero reasoned

“If you had thought this out perfectly, we wouldn’t be in this situation!!!” screamed an annoyed man in the crowd."

“But that’s it. I’m not perfect. I wanted to give the people of my kingdom a chance to live away from the red death and the pain it caused everyone. I just didn’t want people entering and leaving this castle whenever they pleased. There’s more chance of red death coming in that way.”

The people agreed. They can’t just starve themselves, especially if there’s a way. The next few days included preparation for the journey. Prince Prospero chose the 4 bravest, strongest knights he had. Nothing could go wrong. His kingdom depended on it, he’d already let them down before.

The prince and his knights travelled for five days by horse and carriage. When they reached the next kingdom, they saw the signs that Red Death had been there. The disease had killed off the people of this realm. “Your Majesty, maybe we should look for another empire that hasn’t been hit with this dreadful disease.

"What if one of us gets it?” a knight says despairingly.

“That’s a chance were going to have to take. If one of us may get it we’ll burn them. Even if it’s me, I’m relying on you all do the right thing and just burn me. We don’t have enough time to go looking for another kingdom. We’ll get everything we need and leave as soon as possible."

Prince Prospero and his knights went to a few farms and took everything they needed. At one of the farms, while looking through, what looked like an abandoned farmhouse, Prince Prospero heard someone crying. What he found was a girl. Not just any girl, the most stunning, gorgeous attractive girl he’d ever seen.

“Why are you crying? There’s no need to cry” the prince cooed while trying to comfort her.

“You know nothing of my life, how can you say there’s no reason to cry my father and everyone I have ever cared for has died of this horrific disease. And now you and your people are robbing the only thing I have left. Please just leave me here to die. That’s what I deserve” The beautiful girl sobbed.

“Please don’t cry. No one deserves this. I’m Prince Prospero and I only took these things from your farm because I thought it was deserted. I live in a kingdom called Utopia. I built it so I could get people away from red death. Come with me and leave all your sadness in this place Red Death has destroyed. You’ll live in heaven at Utopia.”

The girl looked dazed. “Why would you want me to go back with you?” “Because someone as beautiful as you shouldn’t be in such an awful place like this, you deserve to be in Utopia as much as the other people in Utopia do.”

So it was settled, Gwendolyn, as she called herself, gathered her small satchel of things, then left for Utopia with Prince Prospero and the four knights.

The kingdom rejoiced the return of their Prince. Everyone was so pleased that they returned so soon with all the goods. But who was the young girl Prince Prospero brought back with him? No one questioned the Prince. He announced a masque ball that night to celebrate the mark of their arrival and their defeat against Red Death. They were in the castle with everything they could possibly need and no sign of Red Death.

“A masque ball what we all need. To celebrate everything we’ve achieved as a kingdom because we never lost hope.”

That night, at the palace, everyone dressed up, drank, danced and ate except the prince. He was looking out for Gwendolyn, but couldn’t find her. He couldn’t get her out of his head. Where was she? Then all of a sudden everyone at the masque ball turned and looked towards the entrance. There standing was Gwendolyn in a beautiful red gown and the most exquisite red gem on her neck.

The prince thought for a moment “Isn’t she just a farm girl?” but that thought was pushed from his mind when she started walking toward his table.

“Gwendolyn you look stunning.” gasped the prince.

“Why thank you, your Majesty”

“ Would you like to dance?” the Prince asked.

“I’d love to”

The rest of the guests watched the Prince and Gwendolyn walk out onto the dance floor, then some couples decided to join them.

“You know Gwendolyn, you haven’t really told me much about your self.” “Well prince, what would you like to know? I grew up on a farm, Red Death killed everyone I ever cared for, and then you came and rescued me. That’s all I can really tell you about my life.”

The prince was mesmerised by Gwendolyn. How could anyone so beautiful have lived such an ugly life. Then he looked at her neck. She was a farm girl, yet how did she have such a precious stone in her possession? This stone was enormous; cut into a love heart with a delicate gold chain holding it onto her neck. A cold shiver ran down the Prince’s neck just thinking of the stone. Why did it have such a bad vibes? It was quite peculiar that she had the stone.

Prince Prospero must have been staring obviously because Gwendolyn looked down at her neck than gave the prince a twisted smile back.

“That stone is breathtaking, where did you get it from? It’s a ruby right? I prefer diamonds myself.” The prince blushed, quite embarrassed that she’d notice he was staring.

“Actually it is a diamond. A very rare red diamond. It’s called the “Hope” diamond. It was mined in India many years ago. It’s apparently cursed though.”

“Cursed? What kind of curse? How did you get hold of such a thing?” A million thoughts were going through the Prince’s mind at once.

“Well it supposedly brings misfortune to those close to its owner but never it’s actual owner. Its owner is thought to lose all feelings of love, compassion, and happiness. It feeds off other’s sorrow. It gets close to what it wants and snatches it up. It kills people and kingdoms”

“Well this can’t be true now, can it?”

“I’ll tell you a secret adored Prince. You thought you were so immortal and saintly because you thought you’d save your people, you, and I from Red death. Well I am Red death.”

The Prince’s nose started bleeding.