The king had locked his heart in a chest long ago. Unable to face the pain of loss or betrayal. For a long time he had been numb, until a few years ago he began to feel again. He didn’t worry though. He knew that his heart was safe, locked in a chest, in a secret room that no one knew about. Or so he thought.
It was the day that he showed his once arch nemesis mercy that he decided to check on his heart. He wanted to prove that he had not needed it, that he had been right in removing it and keeping it locked away. When he reached the room and unlocked the chest, he discovered that it was gone. All that remained was fine, golden glitter.
Across the land, in a cave by the sea, the little imp sat by the fire, nursing the heart. She had done this every day for the last three years. She washed it, and held it. She had mended the cracks and breaks. She gave it strength and love. She made sure that the heart beat strong and proud and that the king could feel.
Every night she went to sleep facing the heart, so that she could protect it from anything that entered the cave. She knew she ought to keep it in a box, but couldn’t bear the thought of hiding it from the world. That night she rolled over, and a shadow snuck in.
When she woke in the morning, all that remained were ribbons. The king was dead.