Ai, what have you done?
Ice pricked her stomach as she answered without hesitation,
I’m searching for my heart.
Well. Have you found it?
Warm hands reached for her in the black, cupped her palms that cradled the toadstool. She knew then that something far different from a man stood beside her, something far more ancient and fierce, for it pressed against the space around her and made her small. She could not quite see him, he held his face back. An uncontrollable shiver began at her spin and finished at the nape of her neck.
Fingers softly brushed up her cheek. Little one. . .you have scarcely seen your tenth summer. Has no one told you not to meddle with dragons?
Dragons live in mountains, not forests.
Mountains are not the only place to watch gold. Why do you search for your heart?
A frog. He is trapped as a frog. He sent my heart into these woods and I found this. He promised he would make me a princess.
Sounds more like a toad.
A great whirlwind engulfed her, sent her hair into a mess of tangle and tore the air from her lungs. Half a breath later her eyes were filled with reflections of amber and fire glistening like stars in a deep night sky. Perfect scales reached to the crown of the trees, and as she looked up she was met with a pair of impossible, staring green eyes. They blinked.
Climb on my back, young one. We will find your heart.