Title: A Dragonfly's Heart

Rating/Warnings: Teen (Blood, mild language)

Comments: Not many. Not sure if I want to focus on this story after I just completed Schiza. I actually had an idea for this story a while ago but I was afraid to make it on the pile of more stories I have to do. However, this is a lot more different than most of my other ones, so I'm going to be working on this one for a while.

Don't cry little one, don't be afraid

Don't be afraid of your emotions

Trapping you in a mental cage

We are still here, you and me

And I will protect you, don't be scared to look and see

We will hold hands until the jaylark sings

Until the sun and moon are a'hanged over the trees

Our bodies are united, we will never part

We will fly together, I will take you under my wing

And you will forever know of

A dragonfly's heart

-Old Northern Kingdom poem, author unknown

She looked in his eyes, and she said no.

This man, she thought, was not good enough for her. He just wasn't right. She had no feelings towards him, and she was pretty sure he had no feelings towards her either! What a clown, what a fool! He spent his time singing to all the girls that she thought were far prettier than her and flirting with them! Why did her father choose this man to be wed with? He was a kook, a moron! He could only count by using his fingers; he didn't even know his basic geography of this land, even if a map was staring at him right in the face!

But yet she was wearing a glorious dress, one that her father most likely paid very good money for, a dress that was white as the sky this day, with silky seams marked with some gold and diamonds. But she didn't care at all for being pampered by her father on this day. She barely cared to be married to this man. She was a princess, an inexperienced princess she thought, and even she knew that this man was not king material. Her father wasn't a very good judge of that. He only cared about the family's wealth, thinking it also showed intelligence and leadership.

"What do you mean no, my good daughter?" her father said, astonished, as his plans seemed to fall apart. "This man will treat you right! He will let you have a happy and prosperous life as a queen! He's got everything you want in a man: brave, funny, smart…"

"He is none of those things!" she shouted, badly wanting to tear her wedding dress right off if she wasn't naked underneath. "I don't want to be married to this man! I think I should have a choice on who I want to marry, father!"

"But Amy, you know that men carry most of the decisions in the kingdom! Women shouldn't be trusted on carrying those decisions, like money and the war we have with the Southern Kingdom…"

"And why do you think a woman can't do all those things? I'm a hedgehog, I have rights too, don't you realize that, father?"

"But girls like you shouldn't be allowed to make major decisions, even you know that!"

She couldn't believe him. She always knew her father was old-fashioned, but he was basically undermining her simply because she was a woman. How did her mother even put up with this? How did her younger sibling put up with this too, before she died? But she wasn't going to take this. No man was going to try to "put her in her place". What did her so-called "husband" knew about the kingdom anyways? She most likely knew more than him, but yet her father was going to allow him to make all the decisions. It infuriated her.

"I'm not going to marry him. I don't love him. That's final, father. I don't care if I'll never be a queen. Find a woman who will let herself be pushed around by you to do that."

She hated these heels too that her father made her wear. She could barely walk without tripping over her own feet and stepping on her dress. She tried to run from her father and into her room, but she stumbled and made a big rip in her dress, the silky seams torn and showing her legs. But she continued onwards. All these perverted men should keep looking; it was the last they were going to see of her.

She took off of that Chaos-forsaken dress and put on the cheapest clothes she could find, something that she thought looked similar to a potato sack. Good enough, wouldn't want to travel this world wearing an expensive dress. Her father could keep them and sell them. She had no use for them anymore. She was going to resign her position as a princess. She couldn't stand her royal family anymore.

Everyone would think being a princess was a dream come true for all those little poor girls in her kingdom who want to be treated fairly and just. But here? No. She was treated like a second-class citizen with her family around. Even her mother was submissive and followed all the men's orders. Enough of that, she thought. She was just as good as all these men, even better than that clown her father wanted her to wed.

She thought about putting on her makeup, but she knew that would make all the men think of her as an object. Enough of that too. She wasn't going to pretty herself up for a sleazebag. Enough of that.

Her father turned to her when she put all the food she could fit in her knapsack, pointing a finger to her that made Amy even more angered.

"Once you leave this kingdom, you will be hereby banished! Do you hear me, Amy Emilia Rose? You will be banished! You can't come back to me crying that you're hungry and cold! I will make sure you never come back! As far as I know of, I have no daughter! You are just as dead as your sister, Diana!"

The more her father spoke, the more her temper flared. She didn't care that she was banished. So much for the whole large banquets she got to eat everyday, her father afraid of her getting "too big". So much for the disrespect and marrying some pig she wasn't even in love with! She tried to contain herself from screaming back at her father. She wanted so much to tell him that she hated him. And that she didn't care that she was going to be banished. But she knew it would only make his yelling worse. So she was silent as she packed up her sack and headed out the door.

"Amy, if you walk out the door, I will banish you! You might as well go back to the Southern Kingdom you traitor! My own daughter, a traitor! Much good you are! You'll get killed like Diana, you know!"

Before she could slam the door on her father, her mother, a big hedgehog after all her days eating and sitting in her royal chair, blocked the exit, hoping she could talk to her.

"Dear, you can't walk out of here! I don't want to forget you like your father seems to be so set on doing! I love you, Amy! I love you much like I loved Diana. You can't be serious about going out there outside of the kingdom, are you? You wouldn't survive!"

Her mother could see a gleam in her jade eyes. "Oh yeah? Watch me. I think if I stayed here any longer I'd kill myself."

"You can't be serious, dear!" Her mother latched onto her shoulders, before she could make her final steps out the door. "There are weaselwolfs! Fox-o-loxes! Swamp dragons! You will die out there, Amy. You don't even have any form of protection. You will die!"

Her warning still couldn't be heard by her, as if she was deaf. "If I'm dead then, my father can have the guilt in burying me."

Then she slammed the royal doors.

She was officially considered banished by her father.

Everyone in the kingdom blindly followed her father. They threw stones at her, they called her nasty names. Bitch, slut, whore, harlot! But the words could keep coming to her. The stones could bruise her and cut her. She still wouldn't be with her father. In no way in Iblis's furnace. She would rather be banished than live here.

She reached the farthest side of the kingdom, rubbing her bruises and cuts. There were only the sick, the poor, and the crazy here. She wouldn't receive any pain from them. Simply moaning, requests to give them what little she had, and rants on how the end was nigh and she had to pray to Solaris to get out of the furnace. But she ignored them. She wished she could help, but she had problems of herself to think right now, though she gave a starving sick hedgehog a little piece of her bread. She had enough to eat at the kingdom, why should she let all these people starve simply because she was born under her father?

Then she stepped on the soft grass. She officially left the Northern Kingdom. She could see all the twisted trees before her, their branches filled with glowing gems burning fiercely and fruits that were waiting to be plucked. The grass was still moist until she noticed her feet plunging into water. They were close to a swamp, after all. Her feet were going to get wet, which meant her royal shoes were going to be ruined. She at first didn't care, but now she realized how much she prized those shoes, and how much her father paid for them, and how disgusting all these swamps were and how dirty her feet felt and what if her feet got a few bloodslimes on her, yuck! But she was glad she didn't wear a good dress this night. It would've surely got dirty and ruined.

20 minutes passed, and her feet already grew tired, and it looked as if it was going to rain. No, please don't, she pleaded to the sky. She already felt cold with having the entire bottom of her body from her waist being submerged in dirty swamp water. And she realized she was scared too. She heard of fish that her kingdom called lampposts, a fish that sometimes you could plainly see if it's trying to hunt by putting an antenna above the water, a glowing yellow orb at the end of it that always attracted the many bloodfliers and nasty flies. But you couldn't avoid the orb. Right when you gazed at it, you came closer to it, and you kept walking towards as if you were in a trance, and then this hideous fish with many jagged teeth that was just as big as her kingdom would leap up and swallow her whole. And that was the worst fate imaginable, she thought. Having her dead body unrecoverable by her father because it got swallowed by a fish. And no one would even know that she was dead.

Then there were swamp dragons, overgrown scaly lizards with jagged teeth that would laze over at the water's edge. They would have no problem to tear right through her either. Her body would be eaten, and the only thing that would be left were her shreds of her pitiable clothing.

It rained, as she sat at the edge of a tree, scaring herself with all these possibilities on how she would die here, and she was freezing and huddling the tree for whatever warmth she could get. She opened her knapsack and noticed her food was no good anymore. It was soggy and wet, and she grimaced at how disgusting it felt. She certainly wasn't going to eat that!

She ripped the moist bread in pieces, even if it felt gross to her hands, into the water, watching all the tiny colorful fish gulping all the fragments that floated and nibbling the piece. She shivered, but couldn't help but be glad there was no sign of groupchompers. They would sense the blood in her arms and be picked away until she was nothing but bones. And it also terrified her to think her life could end like that.

At least the cheese was salvageable, even a little moist. She ate the cheese and sat at this tree, with its glowing branches and fruits like a lamp at night. She didn't want to move for a while. Her feet stung and hurt.

She watched the wildlife for a while as the sun waned and was swallowed by the trees. She was too afraid to move around here in the dark. It wasn't a pleasant thought for her to even think, but she realized she almost pissed herself thinking about her walking all over these swamplands in pure darkness and having your life end by stepping on a swamp dragon and being torn to bits and pieces. So she had to stay here for the night, even if she was benumbed and fearful for anything that could find her here and eat her. Even if she constantly scratched and slapped her skin until it was red like a rash and full of white bumbs from the bloodfliers that feasted on her body. It was definitely much different from sleeping on her royal bed. And she couldn't stand it.

She thought of home again. The hot meals and having a comfortable bed and being warm and taking soothing baths…no, she hated her father. She had to travel far from the kingdom. There was no use in going back. She was banished.

But still, she missed it. She even missed her mother, her mother that had her looks even if she was quite obese, even if she followed her father no matter what. But the more she thought about home, the more she would wish to go back and suffer. She had to distract herself on something else till she fell asleep. Even if the bumps and bloodfliers still irked her.

She saw something red and black land on a leaf before her when the sun was almost completely gone. It was a dragonfly, red and dappled with black spots, like the coals and burnt wood in her fireplace back at the kingdom. It was motionless, as if it was examining the swamp that was ahead of him, how much further he had to fly before he could arrive home before the sun was completely gone, and then it flit in the air again, leaving Amy behind.

Dragonflies were different in Amy's world. While these dragonflies still had most of the characteristics of dragonflies back in our world, these dragonflies were willing to help other dragonflies in need, and they sometimes flew in twos or packs. Some even mated by spiraling themselves in the air, their bodies entwined. No one was sure why these dragonflies were much different than the ones in the human's world (and everyone always told Amy to avoid those humans, they were nothing but greedy and slimy bastards who wished to cause her harm and eat her), but she thought the dragonflies here simply evolved to being mutual with each other in this land, and it was where the term "I will be as kind as the dragonfly's heart" came from. She heard it many times from that joke that was going to be her "husband". It was always something that made the men try to get the ladies to have sex with them. It was heinous, she thought, to compare their greedy and lustful hearts to something that was as beautiful as a creature as the dragonfly. And she wished it would stop, but at least she wouldn't hear it here.

The Southern Kingdom was still very far away from her. The Western Kingdom was actually closer, but it was a kingdom she wouldn't fit in too very well, a kingdom usually full of echidnas and bats. She might as well become a traitor, she thought. Even if the Southerners somehow killed her sister. But she never heard the whole story behind that.

She heard that her sister was trying to be an ambassador to the Southern Kingdom when suddenly, she went missing. Her father sent troops over at the kingdom to find her; trying to salvage her body, and she remembered her father back then only saying that she was doing very important matters back at that kingdom. She wasn't dead. She was still alive, your sister is a very good ambassador, why would they hurt your dear little sister Diana?

And they found her with her neck slit and her possessions stolen. She was definitely murdered, and her father blamed it on the entire kingdom and ordered a war on them, even if he didn't know who committed the crime. He didn't blame it on the murderer. Just the entire Southern Kingdom.

But she never saw any fighting or a single troop when she walked in this swamp. Many of them died when they tried to walk to the other kingdom. Some were ill-prepared to face the swamp. Some get eaten by swamp dragons, lampposts, and groupchompers. Some get diseases and die. There were more causalities in the path to the kingdoms than the actual kingdoms themselves. They rarely had an attacker come to their castle walls, but still, they prepared themselves even if it was a very rare occasion.

And thinking of this, she realized her mother was right.

You will die out here. You have nothing to protect yourself with. You will die out here.

She closed her eyes, in a half-asleep daze, as she mumbled to herself, "Then let it be. Let it be."

And she fell asleep, listening to the frogs croak and the cricket's lullaby of the night.