AN: This story is a Valentine's day present for my very own Michael. (Not his actual name). I thought that before I give it to him that I should get a few opinions on it first. For a very long time he's bugged me about letting him read one of my stories, and this is the first time I'm giving him one. Enjoy my lovelies~!

Once upon a timeā€¦
there was a world very unlike our own. In this world, magic and monsters existed. In this world, was a small prosperous kingdom called Valentine. Valentine was the heart of this magical realm; secluded on all sides by snow-capped mountains, these people never knew the dark side of humanity. All they knew was light, love, and peace. It had gentle rolling hills and fields of flowers that sang the sweetest songs. Their voices were carried by the wind, and all throughout the kingdom they could be heard. There were mermaids that lived in the rivers, and they would grant you your most secret wishes. The forest nymphs kept the forests alive, and the trees were so tall they touched the sky. No evil could touch this sacred place.

The queen at the time was beautiful, generous, and always had a smile. She was a mother to all her people, and would not let a single soul in her kingdom suffer. She had a daughter, the most precious little girl in the kingdom. Samantha was her name, and she looked just like her mother, if not more gorgeous. Even as a child, her love and light outshone everyone else. And when she grew into a woman, there was no denying that she was the queen's daughter. She helped her mother rule with every bit of love that she could muster. Despair and fear had no meaning to these people, for they never had to experience true terror. They were protected by nature, for no conquering army would dare cross those perilous mountains. The winters were brutal, and the summers were dangerous as well, with the Giant Jackals roaming the mountains looking for a meal.

That was, until King Luke from the fabled kingdom of Under, nothing more than a scary camp fire story, dared to cross those mountains with his Royal Assassin, Michael. But he made Michael look like an ordinary knight, not like the deadly assassin he truly was. They came down the mountains unscathed, and stepped onto Valentine soil, the first true evil to touch this haven. The people of Valentine didn't know any better, they welcomed these two odd strangers with open arms. The queen gave them a place to stay in the palace. Samantha however was unsure of this King Luke. He barely looked human, and when he looked at her, he squinted his eyes as if he was looking at the sun. He was tall, and resembled more of skeleton than a man. Everyone else had a different opinion of him. He was warm, and handsome and had a lovely smile to them. No one would listen to Samantha, not even the queen, when she tried to tell them the truth.

But Michael, however, was the most handsome man Samantha had ever laid eyes on, and whenever she looked at him her heart skipped a beat. She always watched him from afar, never letting him see her. He had the most brilliant blue eyes she had ever seen, and when he smiled it was like the entire room lit up. There was a glow about him that was comforting, happy. It baffled her, how a knight like him could ever be associated with King Luke.

A month later, the king proposed to the queen, and she accepted, utterly under the man's spell. A week later, she was dead, and Samantha was imprisoned in the tallest tower of the palace. Luke was no man, as everyone else believed him to be. He was a demon, and Under was his own hell that he ruled. He was no longer handsome was comforting to those of Valentine, he revealed his true nature. Valentine was too good, too pure of heart for the man and it sickened him. So he came to destroy Valentine, and it seemed he had succeeded.

Valentine died. The singing flowers lost their voices and withered away. The tree's turned hollow and fell. The mermaids drowned in their own rivers, and the Giant Jackals came down from the mountains to feast on the defenseless humans. People knew nothing but fear. Anything that remotely resembled anything bright and good was cut down, and with his powers, Luke could hear every single time someone in the kingdom said "I love you". He sent Michael to cut down those people, in the most brutal manner possible. Michael obeyed, as always, but his heart was not made of ice like his King's. Sometimes, he felt the pain and grief that engulfed him at the thought of the things he had done. But he always pushed those things far back into his mind, and made his heart go numb. He did his best to kill his longing for the sun; he told himself that grey skies weren't so bad anyways. But there was no denying that Michael was as every bit of a prisoner of fear as Valentineians were.

One time, he went up to the tower that Samantha resided in. There were no guards present and someone had to feed her. He slid the food under her door, and was about to leave, when he couldn't help but hear her crying. The sound broke his heart, and he couldn't resist the impulse to make her stop. So he sat by the door, and asked, "why are you crying?"
"Well isn't it obvious?!" She snapped at him. "My mother is dead, my people are helpless and at the mercy of a demon, and I can't do anything about it because I'm trapped here, in this tower. And I knew all along what that monster was. But no one would listen to me! I could have stopped this!" She sobbed harder.
Michael's heart broke more. Her voice was like an angel's, and angels shouldn't cry. "My dear princess, there is nothing that you could have done. If the king knew that you knew, you would have been dead."
"I wish I was. Its better than watching my home land die."
"Don't say that, sweet angel. I don't want you dead." Michael admitted.
"What's your name, sir?" Samantha asked, sniffling. But her crying had stopped, and now she was curious as to whom it was she was talking to. His voice sounded familiar, comforting.
"My Lady, I am Michael, the royal assassin of the king."
Samantha gasped. Her Michael, the one that she had watched from afar, was here with her. She should have been repulsed, he worked for that monster. But instead she felt relieved, that she wasn't alone.
She heard him stand, to leave, and despair threatened to overwhelm her. "No! Please don't go. I get so lonely here. The birds won't even come to the window."
Michael hesitated, hearing her plea. He knew that he should go, but his heart was telling him to stay there. He listened to his heart instead of his brain, and sat back down.

And for a year, they would sit on either side of the door and talk. Samantha told Michael of the days before Luke, when the mermaids were still alive and the flowers taught her to sing. And Michael told her of Under, of its heat and the fires that blazed no matter how many times the people tried to put them out. After a couple stories of Under they kept with Valentine stories, Under ones being too depressing for the already depressed Samantha. Samantha admitted of watching Michael, and Michael applauded her. For he had never known that the princess had been there, and it was hard for someone to sneak up on the assassin. Michael had never seen the dear princess though. But he was falling for her, for her laugh and the smile he heard when she spoke. And Samantha was falling for this broken soul, the kind man forced to work for the cruel demon because of a contract to save his family.

One day, Michael was sitting at his desk, writing a letter to some foreign dignitary when an owl flew into his room and landed on the paper. Michael jumped, never seeing an owl before. Under never had them, and all the wildlife fled Valentine. The owl was pure white, and had the oldest eyes Michael had ever seen.
"I am Apollo, the God of the Sun. Your king defeated me, and turned me into an owl for all eternity. For my light was too much for him, looking at me burned him. But not before I blessed two infants with my light, so that one day this man and woman would meet and fall in love, strengthening the light within them. One from the hell fires of Under, and another from the sweet land of Valentine. All of these years I have watched you and the princess, Michael. Hoping for the day that you meet, and can break these curses Luke has cast. I know how you can save Valentine and Under, Michael. The key is your love for Samantha, and her love for you." The owl flew away, and Michael called out for it to come back, but he never did.

Four days later, it flew to Samantha's window, a dagger made of an odd metal in his beak. He dropped it onto the floor, and gave Samantha the same speech. And then he added, "This dagger was mine, when I was powerful. It is the only thing that can kill that demon. But when I was cursed to this form, my dagger lost its magic. It needs to be revived, and the only way to do that is to coat it in the blood of specific lovers. I blessed the two of you with my light, and the only way to get this thing to work is for you two to let it taste your blood."
Samantha nodded, and kissed the owl's head. "Thank you, my Lord Apollo."
"It is I who should thank you, sweet Samantha. My choice to make you two children of the Sun was the greatest thing I have ever done. Now hurry, I sense Michael is approaching." He took off.

Michael came to Samantha's door, and Samantha told him what the owl told her. They each cut their arm with the knife, and it started to glow. Samantha reached her hand under the door and Michael grasped it.
"Be careful." She begged.
Michael squeezed her hand and left. He waited until nightfall, when the king was asleep, before he struck. He sneaked into Luke's bedroom and stood over his bed. He stabbed the king, over and over again. When he pulled back the blankets, there was nothing but pillows. He spun around, and Luke was there, taller, his eyes as black at the night and his teeth as sharp as a shark's. He smiled devilishly, eyeing the faintly glowing knife in Michael's hand.

"Apollo found you then. I thought keeping you close to me would make you dark and evil, but I guess Apollo's curse was more powerful than me. Oh well, you'll just have to die." Then he attacked. Michael fought Luke, but he never seemed to land a blow. All he could do was block Luke's attacks and keep himself alive. But Michael's strength was waning. Luke was too powerful for him.

Samantha paced her cell, worry twisting her heart. Her Michael was fighting the most powerful demon in the world, and she was stuck in this cell. Michael could die alone, without her at his side, and the thought was eating her up inside. There was a sound of wings and something else coming from the door. Samantha ran to it.
"Open it child! Go to Michael, he needs you!" Apollo cried.
Samantha threw open the door and raced down the tower, her heart telling her where Michael was. She burst through the door and found Michael frozen, the dagger a few feet away from him. Luke smiled at her, and laughed horrifically. Samantha screamed, tears streaming down her face, as she picked up the dagger and drove it through Luke's chest.

Luke gasped, and spluttered. The blood spilling from his chest was black and looked like tar. He vanished, turned to dust. She heard a gasp and Michael was standing there, soaking wet and shivering, but alive. She ran to him, and hugged him so tightly he had to tell her he couldn't breathe. Samantha let go, and the two of them turned to the door, where the owl was standing. It looked at them with its old golden eyes, and then there was a bright light, as animal turned into man. Before them stood the great Sun God, all golden with the brightest smile on his face. Samantha smiled at him, and then turned to Michael.
"I love you." They said simultaneously. They laughed, and kissed each other. The night turned into day, the forest nymphs brought life back into the great forests. The flowers sang once more, and the skies were no longer grey. The sun shone so brightly, it washed away the pain of the people. The mermaids returned to their rivers, and the Giant Jackals went back to their mountains. Apollo blessed this small kingdom, put a shield around the mountains and the kingdom, so that no evil like Luke could ever harm this beautiful, secret place.

Samantha and Michael ruled with all of the love they had for each other, and the previous queen was with them always, watching her daughter and her son-in-law with pride. The two monarchs had seven children and fourteen cats, and as of now their expecting at least two more litters to arrive soon. When Valentine was free, Michael had this adorable obsession with cats and ponies. Samantha pretended it was her that obsessed over the cats, to protect her husband's manly pride.

Anyways, they lived happily ever after.

The End