Description: One little twist and the whole story changes. Prince Myrrha's transformation into a +anima was seen, and he was captured before he even managed to escape into the canal system.

Disclaimer: I do not own +Anima. Please purchase the books, which are all readily available in English.

WARNING: This story is rated T. It will not have detailed sex scenes, graphic violence, or swearing beyond the likes of 'damn' and 'hell', but it will have mentions of dark elements such as rape and abuse. Fanfiction describes the T rating as "Suitable for teens, 13 years and older, with some violence, minor coarse language, and minor suggestive adult themes." The M rating is described as "Not suitable for children or teens below the age of 16 with possible strong but non-explicit adult themes, references to violence, and strong coarse language." If you feel my story needs to be rated M, please let me know. This is my first 'dark' story to put up here, so I would be grateful for any advice.

Queen Dylana hated Prince Myrrha.

Prince Myrrha was small, delicate, and nearly as beautiful as his mother, Queen Marein. He would always play the poor little victim when the older princes – the strong, handsome, intelligent, and masculine ones like her son – would innocently tease him about looking and acting like a girl. One little comment from Queen Dylana's son, Prince Keane, and the pathetic girlish child had run off to hide. All Keane had been doing was teasing the princess about that annoying husky voice, just reeking of the northern countryside. That same terrible, horrible accent his mother had.

And Queen Dylana hated Queen Marein, even more than Prince Myrrha. While Prince Myrrha was simply pathetic, completely undeserving of the amount of attention he received from his highness, Queen Marein was… untouchable. She was not just beautiful, but terrifying. She did not even need to say a word - a mere gesture of her hand and every servant within a hundred yard radius would race to her side. She rarely spoke, but when she did her every word was weighted with queenly authority far beyond her place as twenty-second queen – but somehow, every attempt to point that out was futile. Marein's perfect face was always completely expressionless, no matter the provocation.

Marein was one of the king's favorites. Perhaps the king's favorite. The place that had once belonged to her, to Queen Dylana, to the seventh queen and the first to bear a healthy son to his highness.

Marein's son looked exactly like her. That freakish polished silver hair that shone blue when the sun shone on it just right; those huge, catlike, completely unnatural light blue eyes with just a hint of purple; that lithe, perfectly proportioned form that disguised alien strength and flexibility; that completely flawless, perfectly smooth, silky soft, pale to almost snow-white skin; that porcelain-delicate face that drew admiration no matter how you despised its owner.

Thus that undeserving, pathetic, feminine little BRAT was a threat. The king already constantly sought out Myrrha over the elder, more distinguished, better qualified princes – like Keane. The man – for that's all the king truly was, just a man – would fawn over that annoying little pest, commenting on the child's beautiful hair and eyes and voice. So like his mother. It was only a matter of time before Myrrha was appointed the crown prince, usurping Dylana's son Keane's rightful place as firstborn.

It did not help that the king's twin sister, who had no place within the palace walls, had taken an interest in that Myrrha and was personally teaching him the difficult art of staff fighting – which the child excelled at. And it was even worse that Myrrha was an excellent student and had easily caught up to his older half-brothers' studies.

And so it was that, when Dylana's eyes fell on that pathetic brat, sitting so innocently at the edge of the harem garden's largest artificial lake, half asleep and looking so damn perfect, her hands reached out before she thought better of it. Reached out and closed around the tiny little neck of that stick-thin little eight year old. And squeezed.

Her arms lifted that feather-light body into the air before her, gazing at the disgusting child as he started panicking. Watching him coldly as he made strange gasping and pained sounds as he struggled, clawing at her hands, trying desperately to free himself. The child's eyes never closed, which she found quite odd. Those disgusting, nonhuman eyes latched onto her face, first pleading, then terrified, then desperate… and finally starting to go hazy and reddish as the child's face started changing colors from lack of oxygen.

It was rather amusing, seeing that oh-so-familiar, and oh-how-despised face screwed up in desperation and pain. A smile crept onto her face, even as the light died out of her eyes. She didn't even notice the blood flowing down the raw scratches on the backs of her hands and down her forearms, dripping onto her dress and the dirt ground of the garden.

She grew bored as the child's movements and struggles came to an end. Still completely not thinking about what she was doing, what she had just done, she threw the child into the lake. A part of her smirked at the irony that the child, like his mother, had never learned to swim – not that it would help at this point.

Queen Dylana stood there majestically on the edge of the lake, watching the threat to her son's position sink to the bottom of the lake, when it started to hit her.

She had murdered a prince in cold blood.

Her eyes fell to the blood on her hands, arms, and clothing. She dropped to the ground, thinking to rinse her wounds, and casually turned her gaze to search for the child's body.

There it was, still so pale and perfect even in death. Then it moved, reached out a hand towards the surface…

It wasn't dead. Myrrha wasn't dead! He would expose her!

Wait – no. She was safe. The child could not swim, and no one had seen or was even looking this way.

Then, before her disbelieving eyes, the child transformed into a mermaid.

No. A +anima.

It took a minute for Myrrha to understand that he was not dead. That his wish had been granted. He could finally breathe again. He sucked in a deep breath and the world refocused around him. An underwater world filled with familiar fish and plants.

He started to panic. He was still in the lake! How could he be alive? How could he be breathing? He couldn't swim – yet he was.

The young prince looked down at himself in shock. His entire body, from his neck down with the exception of his arms, had completely transformed. He had a tail, an actual fishtail, longer than his legs had been. He had gills in some sort of plating type scales over his chest, and fins on his sides and back.

He was a +anima. A fish +anima.

This was bad. This never should have happened.

Princes could not be +anima. +Anima were on the same level as Kim-un-Ker. The bottom level of the Sailandian cast system. They were slaves. It was illegal for them to be without an owner, for them to hold any sort of position. They could be legally hunted down and captured, sold in a public market, raped and beaten and abused and tortured – all as their owner wished and they no doubt deserved.

They were half-animals. They had no rights. They had no protection. They had no future.

He had to run away.

As soon as he came to that realization, a muffled scream reached his ears. It was coming from above the water. Coming from Dylana, who was pointing at him as she continued to scream. He heard thumping as running footsteps charged towards the lake and, to his horror, within seconds the harem's guards came into view.

He desperately swam towards the side of the lake and began searching for an access into the canal system. It had to be here somewhere. It had to be! All of the royal palace, all of the nobles' houses, pretty much all of the capital of Sailand was connected by underground waterways. He'd read about them in his studies. His tutors had discussed it with him as an important part of their elite water system, something that set Sailand apart from its neighbors.

If he could just find that access! It should be right around here! He desperately swam along the lake's far side, even as the pounding of feet and the screams of his half-siblings and step-mothers and the guards and servants that tended to the king's harem reached his ears. The individual voices were indistinguishable and muffled after traveling through nearly twenty feet of water, and thus all the more terrifying.

There! His eyes fell on the round pipe, just large enough for his small body to fit through, covered with a metal grating that looked worn and rusted. He darted over and started pulling at it, just as a terrific splash sounded just above him and a wave of water from the impact shoved him aside.

Massive arms wrapped around his middle and tried to drag him to the surface. But he would not let that happen! He could not let that happen!

Myrrha clawed at the relentless arms and kicked out with his large tail, driving himself and his captor deeper into the water, not allowing the guard clinging to him to force them upwards. Eventually the guard would weaken, would be forced to let go and seek out air… only she hadn't yet and it had already been nearly two minutes and the sounds from above were getting louder and more desperate…

The young fish +anima desperately squirmed, finally breaking free of those thick arms and surging forward… straight into a net that had been dropped right in front of him, too quickly for him to evade and too skillfully for him to escape. It swooped around him, tangling and wrapping around him, dragging him relentlessly towards the surface and the side of the lake that most of the sounds were coming from.

Myrrha's desperation grew as he found himself trapped. With each struggle, he found the net tighter around himself. He reached out his arms, tried to kick with his tail, but it was hopeless. The net was hauled out of the lake and dumped on solid ground, the young ex-prince completely tangled within.

Hands grabbed at him, holding him in place and pinning him down as they tried to remove the net from around him. He kicked out with his tail, struggling mightily, biting and clawing and trying desperately to get away. He would not be a slave. He would not be a slave!

The net came undone, and it was lifted and shaken to completely free the fish +anima from within. Not that he was any more free, as the hands were still there, pinning him down, pressing him flat against the ground.

Silence fell over the harem, as all eyes stared in shock and horror at the transformed prince. The only sound was panting coming from the half-fish child pinned to the ground by the harem's women guards.

A heartbreaking wail went up and Queen Marein, showing a clear expression of horror and pain and worry, tried to burst through the crowd to reach her only child. But she was quickly grabbed by the guards and held back. "Myrrha!" she screamed. For once, all of Marein's hidden emotions were exposed on her face, clear for all to see.

The boy's head rose in surprise, his head turning and finding his mother. Their eyes latched together, saying more than words could ever express.

"Lock him up," ordered the king's cold voice.

Myrrha's eyes turned from his mother's toward his father, who'd only yesterday held him in his lap and told him how much he loved him. His fish form faded away, and he started trying to climb to his feet, but the hands on him were unyielding. They lifted him right off the ground between two guards and started marching away.

Queen Dylana managed to hide her wounds and cover the blood on her clothing in the chaos, and so completely escaped judgment. The public announcement that Prince Myrrha had been stripped of all rights was scheduled for the next morning, in an assembly before the entire royal household and noble court.