Thank you so much! This fic has been bugging me for weeks, so I'm happy I finally have the chance to write it now. :) Enjoy!

"Tell me the story of the Queen again Daddy!" the 6-year old Princess squirmed excitedly on the bed which seemed too large for a child her petite size. Her medium-length brunette hair, slightly wavy, framed her adorable heart-shaped face and big brown eyes, making it hard for the King to say no. Laughing, he scooped her up and then blew a raspberry on her cheek in a most un-kingly fashion before letting her bounce back on the bed.

"Alright my little Princess," King Richard laughed. "Once more tonight, and then it's bedtime, understand?"

"Understood," the princess nodded eagerly and wriggled in between the clean sheets before settling comfortably on a large pillow that seemed five sizes too big for her small head.

The King's heart melted when he saw his only child like that, and he leaned over to kiss her on the forehead before he settled down himself to start his daughter's favorite tale.

"Once upon a time, there was a Queen-"

"And she was the most beautiful Queen ever, right Daddy?" Andrea interrupted, her eyes gleaming.

"Right. She reigned-"

"Tell me how beautiful she was!"

"Andrea, I can not keep continuing this story if you do not stop interrupting me."

"I'm sorry," Andrea looked down, not feeling very sorry at all.

"It's alright. The Queen was very beautiful. Her hair was as white as snow, and her eyes as blue and clear as the sea. She reigned over the part of the land which we now call Terra Dracones-Land of the Dragons. The Queen was a dragon herself, and ruled over both beast and man. The power she had over both species was unbelievable, yet incredibly dangerous to the world. She was a threat to our kingdom, as she planned to capture our land, so my bravest knight, Sir Christian, lead an army of men to defeat her. Many lives were lost, but we prevailed in the end."

"And she didn't have a chance," Andrea yawned, her eyes drooping with fatigue. "You captured her and sent her to a place where she will never be able to harm another living soul."

"That's right," the King rose and placed a kiss on his daughter's forehead.

"I guess it was for the best," Andrea mumbled before she fell asleep.

"That it was," King Richard whispered, studying his sleeping daughter. "That it was."

It was hot and sticky outside, and Andrea could feel herself sweating through the light blue gown she wore. Her tutor, Master Irv, had the most monotone and depressing voice she had ever heard. It made her want to pull her hair out, but since she was of royal blood, she had to grit her teeth and bear it.

"What is the answer Princess?" his nasally voice cut through her thoughts.

"The dragons live in their land and we live in ours because of the Great War," Andrea said, already knowing the exact words she was supposed to say. "The Great War made it so that the bond between the two species was completely severed."

"Correct," he sniffed and looked back down at his notes.

The history of their land had been pounded into Andrea's head since the day she knew how to walk, and she knew it forwards and backwards. Sure, their kingdom's history contained more than just the Great War, but that was all Master Irv insisted on teaching her. However, her 10-year old brain had been brimming with questions about the war that she couldn't understand. She desperately wanted to ask her professor, but he was usually very snappy with her, and her upbringing discouraged her from inquiring things. Yet Andrea wasn't one to shy from learning information, no matter what the consequence was. Her nature was naturally inquisitive and curious, and she hated not knowing things.

"Master Irv," Andrea said.

"What?" Irv slid his eyes back up to meet the Princesses.

"I don't understand something," Andrea fidgeted a little, but her voice remained strong. "I don't understand why we enslaved Queen Miranda-"

"She was going to take over our world," he slammed his notes shut and glared at her.

"But wasn't that a bit harsh? Enslaving her for life? She was the only link that helped our people have a friendly relationship with the dragons," Andrea's brow creased. "Without her, dragons of all different sizes and shapes have been terrorizing our lands, stealing sheep, and burning up our crops. They want their Queen back, and I think-"

Irv's rigid face, which had turned redder and redder with each word Andrea spoke, finally unfroze and spit flew out of his mouth as he raged, "You do not think Princess Andrea. You learn what I teach you, you respect what I teach you, you obey what I teach you, and most of all, you do not ask questions about what I teach you. Queen Miranda was-and still is a terror to everyone in our world. She would have taken you captive and tortured you just because you are of royal blood. Her reign would have enslaved us all and killed the majority of our population." By the end of his small speech, he was out of his seat with his finger jabbing incredibly close to her young face. Andrea's eyes were full of fear and a hint of tears sparkled in the chocolate depths. "Apologize instantly and then you may get out of my sight."

"I-I apologize," Andrea stuttered before gathering her dress in one hand and running back to the castle.

Irv watched her with a sneer on his face. He rubbed his chin. The princess would be a problem in the future.

Andrea ran to her room and slammed the door, tears streaming down her face. She threw herself on the bed, not caring that it was a very un-princess like thing to do. Why did he have to be so mean? For one terrifying moment, she was sure that her tutor would hit her. A gentle knock sounded at the door, and she sniffled. "C-come in."

The door opened and her maid, Lily came in with a towel in hand. Despite the differences in their social status, Andrea considered Lily to be her best friend. She felt awkward having a maid that was the same age as her, since she believed that Lily should be able to live her own childhood the way she did-minus Master Irv. Yet slavery was a common thing in her world, and most people accepted it without question. Andrea was one of the few, rare people who did not agree with that racial prejudice and made it a point to secretly tutor Lily so her friend could be literate, and gift her with presents to give Lily things to call her own. Lily in turn would always lend a comforting shoulder to cry on, or a helpful ear which listened for hours without tiring, and a witty mouth that would give Andrea smart advice or make her laugh if she was feeling down. Their friendship was strong, and it was something both girls cherished.

"Master Irv again?" Lily placed the damp towel on her best friend's forehead and brushed some stray locks out of Andrea's face.

"Yes," Andrea sobbed.

"I just don't understand why King Richard didn't fire him after you told him after the first time Master Irv yelled at you," Lily shook her head.

"My father and him are best friends like you and me. He really likes Master Irv and believes that he's a wonderful teacher and that I need to grow up," Andrea brushed a tear from her eyes and began to shake from her cries again, "He's just so scary! I just w-wanted to ask if there was another r-reason for enslaving the Queen because I don't think it's fair or just to capture her for her whole life."

"Oh Andy," Lily smiled and sat down next to the brunette. Andrea loved the masculine-sounding nickname ever since Lily christened it to her back when she was 7 years old, but she was careful to always never let her father know that she liked going by a boy's name. "You always root for the underdog in situations. But maybe he's right? Maybe Queen Miranda was a terror and the only way to stop her was to imprison her."

"But for her whole life Lil? That's awful," Andrea propped her elbow up and rested her cheek in her hand. "I believe that everybody should have a second chance." she was silent for a minute before adding, "I do think that there is more to the story than what my father or Master Irv have told me though. They both get a weird look in their eyes whenever they tell the story, and I can always feel my father's tension radiating off of him."

"Want my advice?" Lily asked and Andrea nodded. "Forget about Queen Miranda. There's nothing you can do right now to help her even if you wanted to-you don't even know where she is! You're only 10, so you should be more worried about things other than a Queen who has been missing for 20 years."

"You're probably right," Andrea sighed and looked down.

"Of course I am," Lily playfully nudged her friend's shoulder. "Besides, it would help Master Irv stop terrorizing you if you stopped asking questions."

"Then how am I going to get any answers or knowledge?" Andrea asked, frustrated.

"Books," Lily smiled.

Six years after Lily had divulged to her friend of the hidden library in the castle, Andrea spent all of her free time in the cozy room, devouring each and every word like it was food for her starving soul. She hadn't discovered any more about the Queen, but she was distracted by that fact when she realized the library housed hundreds of other books that were all filled with amazing knowledge. She couldn't believe that her father hadn't told her about it before. The room was hidden behind a tapestry of a beautiful garden on the fifth floor, and if Lily hadn't been told to dust in there once every month, Andrea would have never known it existed. Andrea had never told her father of her discovery, since she was smart enough to know that if he hadn't revealed it to her, then he didn't want it to be revealed at all. King Richard was always pretty fair when it came to his daughter. He had given her a horse on her 13th birthday, which she quickly named Guinness after a hero in one of the books she read, and he had allowed her to play with the stable boy, Doug. As they grew older, their playdates morphed into deep conversations and talks about issues Andrea couldn't speak about with anybody else, save for Lily.

Between the books, her horse, and her friends, Andrea's life was going smoothly. She was 16, eligible to date but not marry, and she already had her eye on a handsome man named Nathaniel. He had a full head of curly black hair, and beautiful green eyes. All the ladies were enamored by him, Andrea included. As the Princess grew, she found herself becoming taller and slimmer with gentle curves that were the envy of many women in the kingdom. Her chestnut hair grew long, cascading down the length of her back, and her face matured. She was beautiful.

The day that changed Andrea's life forever came on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Andrea was curled up underneath a willow tree, reading a book. Being fall, the weather was perfect. The sun shone brightly down on her while a slight breeze kept her from overheating. Her chestnut hair was tied in a long braid off to the side, and her long purple dress complemented her pale complexion beautifully. Teeth sunk in her full lower lip, Andrea's attention was focused completely in the story and not on her surroundings.

"Ahem," a deep voice said quietly.

There was no response.

"Princess!" the voice came sharper and Andrea snapped her head up, her eyes unfocused.

"Oh, Sir Christian," she sighed, shutting her book reluctantly. She used to have a crush on him back when she was younger. He was so handsome, plus, he was a knight! But as Andrea grew and matured, she realized that he was just an egotistical jerk who only liked to talk about himself.

Christian flashed his perfect, white teeth at her and said, "I hope I wasn't disturbing you. I wished to ask you if you would accompany me to lunch."

"No thank you, I already have my lunch here," Andrea gestured to her right where a loaf of bread and an apple were sitting on a small handkerchief.

"Perfect," Christian sat down next to her and took the bread, biting a huge piece of it off and chewing noisily. Andrea cringed. How in the world had she ever found him attractive? "A bit dry, but still alright," Christian swallowed and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. "I was so close to capturing another dragon today. I almost cut her head off, but alas, she got away."

"Good," Andrea muttered, looking at him with disgust.

"What was that?" Christian picked up the apple and crunched into it, letting out a moan when the sweet juice filled his mouth.

"Nothing. I just remembered-my father wanted me to some chores for him," Andrea stood up, but before she could take a step, Christian threw his arm out and snatched her arm. She looked back at him quizzically and tried to pull her arm away with no success.

"Will you do the honor of meeting me for dinner?" Christian caressed her arm, making her want to vomit.

"No, thank you," Andrea pulled her arm away.

"But-" Christian attempted to grab her again, but Andrea took a big step back.

"Let me make one thing clear," her mocha eyes blazed into his, "I do not-and will not- ever have any interest in sharing anything with you. You think you're so great because you have immortality just because you defeated Queen Miranda, but guess what? It doesn't make you special-in fact, it makes you creepy because you look the same as you did 26 years ago! Realistically, you're like 50 years old, which makes you old enough to be my father. So, stop pursuing me. Oh and by the way, I hope you enjoyed my lunch." And with those final words of her rant, Andrea turned her back and stormed off, leaving Christian stupidly blinking after her.

"The bread was dry!" Christian childishly yelled after her. He raised his arm and looked at himself in his metal armor that was on his wrist. Baring his teeth, he turned his head back and forth, his eyes approving his strong jawline and almost flawless complexion. "And I look hot for being 50!"

Andrea marched towards the castle with a frown on her face. He was such a pig!

"Ugh!" she exclaimed out loud.

She made her way to the kitchen where she quickly grabbed another loaf of bread and a new apple before finding a secluded windowsill to sit on. The princess re-lost herself in her book and ate her lunch slowly, savoring each word that she read like they were the bread she ate.

"Princess," another nasally voice interrupted her reading, and she looked up into the eyes of Master Irv.

"Yes Master?" Andrea asked, mentally rolling her eyes.

"Your readings are done, yes? I can't think of another reason why you would be wasting a Sunday afternoon reading that trash if you don't have your schoolwork finished."

"I have them done Master Irv," Andrea gritted her teeth. Like she had with Christian when she matured, she had stopped being afraid of her measly tutor and started being annoyed with him.

"Good, I expect a full three-page report on the history of the kingdom tomorrow," he turned away and slunk off.

"For the five billionth time in a row," Andrea stuck her tongue out at his back before turning back to the pages in her book.

This time, she managed to get through three whole chapters before being interrupted again.


"Lily!" she greeted her friend with a genuine smile.

"I- h-have something v-very i-important t-to show you," Lily panted as she doubled over, clutching her stomach.

"Oh my goodness what is it?" Andrea hopped up and rushed to aid her friend.

"I'm fine," Lily batted away her hands. "I j-just need a breather. I ran all the way here."

"What happened?" Andrea's eyes were wide.

"I know where the Queen is."

A full minute passed before Andrea's jaw closed and she could form a sentence. "W-what?! Where? Lily, you must tell me everything!"

"I hear everything as you know, being a maid and all," Lily explained excitedly and Andrea nodded, "so while I was dusting, I overheard King Richard question Master Irv about the Queen's condition. Of course, Master Irv being the arrogant, narcissistic, self-centered know-it-all he is, puffed his chest out and led the King right to the place where the Queen resides."

"And you, being the sweet, nosy, sneaky, wonderful person you are, followed them," Andrea laughed.

"And I learned how to get in," Lily grinned. "You have to come with me right away-the King and Master Irv might come snooping around for us!"

"You are the most amazing girl ever, you know that right?" Andrea smiled warmly at her friend and linked their arms together.

"Yeah, yeah I know," Lily grinned, pleased. "Now let's go!"

The two young women hurried through the castle, and Lily led Andrea to a hidden corridor that was only visible after she pushed the nose of a statue in. Andrea looked on in amazement-she had passed that very statue almost every single day, yet had never thought it could be a hidden passageway. Lily grasped Andrea's hand tightly, pressed a finger to her own lips to signal they should be absolutely silent, and then led her through the long, dark hall. Andrea kept a hand on the cool stone wall to not lose her place, while her other hand tangled with Lily's tightly.

"I do have to tell you something," Lily whispered.

"Yes?" Andrea said back just as quietly. She didn't know why they were whispering-maybe it was the anticipation of the moment or maybe it was just because they were both a little frightened by doing something forbidden.

"The Queen is still a dragon."

"How is that possible?" Andrea gasped.

"I don't know," Lily shrugged. "Somehow, somebody has put an enchantment on the area that made it impossible for the Queen to change back into her human form. That same enchantment also made it impossible for her to age."

"That's barbaric," Andrea gasped. "To never be able to be a human again? I can not believe my father would be so cruel."

Lily's only response was to squeeze her hand as they pushed on. The darkness slowly started to recede into a soft, white light that illuminated Lily's dark skin and Andrea's own pale skin. The walls seemed to get taller and the room became bigger. A door came into view and Lily pressed her ear to it before opening it. Nothing could have prepared Andrea for what she saw.

A large, beautiful white dragon was curled up in the bottom of the pit that was about 50 feet down from where Andrea and Lily were standing. A bridge made of iron went around the whole pit, allowing anybody who wished to view the magnificent creature from all angles without the risk of getting killed or hurt. Not that it mattered of course, Andrea thought, her eyes hardening when she spotted the multiple chains cutting deep into the dragon's flesh. It would be impossible to break free from those tethers, made evident from the bloodied scars where it was clear that the Queen struggled. Andrea's eyes teared up as she saw the injuries made from the crude steel shackles.

"Oh Lily, that's terrible," Andrea couldn't help the tears from spilling over. "I wish I could cut her free."

"There is a ladder," Lily joked, then when she saw her friend's face, she turned serious. "Andy, no! You'd be insane. She'd probably roast you alive and then eat you. Plus, those bounds would be difficult to cut-you'd need a sword or something."

Suddenly, the dragon raised her head and opened her eyes, revealing magnificent, crystal blue depths. Andrea's breath was stolen as her own brown pools stared deep into the Queen's eyes. There was so much sorrow hidden there, yet there was a challenge in them too when she saw Andrea. Recognition shone through her features when her eyes ran over the familiar jawline, eyes, and nose that Andrea had inherited from her parents. Andrea continued to look in those mysterious depths, and felt her heart breaking again when she saw the clear pain the dragon was in.

"Andy! I hear something-somebody's coming. We have to get out of here," Lily shook Andrea's arm, her eyes filled with panic.

"Alright, you go ahead," Andrea said absentmindedly, not tearing her gaze away from the Queen's.

"No, Andy! Snap out of it...we have to go. Now!" Lily pulled Andrea, succeeding in breaking the two's mutual, intimate, intense eye contact.

"Okay," Andrea breathed out. "Just a second."

She looked back over the railing and looked back at the broken Queen. "I promise to save you," she whispered before turning around and rushing out of the forbidden area.

For the first time in a long time, the dragon felt a sense of hope.