Disclaimer: I don’t own The Last Unicorn. I admit that I grew up watching this movie and I eventually decided to write a story for it. I frankly liked the idea of Lir and Amalthea getting together. Thus, this story was written. Enjoy.
Chapter One- The Decision
The grass was soft and green, the trees were full of leaves and life, and the sounds of wildlife could be heard. He could hear a waterfall nearby. In short, the entire forest was at the height of springtime. Prince Lir did not know how or why he was in this forest and yet something urged him to continue to move forward.
He soon found himself in a beautiful, lush meadow. A large crystal clear lake was situated on one side of the clearing. What drew the prince’s attention, however, was the graceful white form that lay under a tree on the lake’s far side. An arrow protruded from the area where the heart resided. Alarmed, he rushed to the creature’s side where he found that the wounded animal was a unicorn!
The unicorn had a dazed look in his eyes. Lir gripped the arrow’s shaft and attempted to remove it. The unicorn gasped at the pain, but said nothing more. The arrow slowly and smoothly was removed from its spot. Lir ripped a strip from his cloak and attempted to stop the bleeding.
“It is…all right, human,” the unicorn finally said. “Nothing can save me from dying, but I do not fear death.”
“I don’t want you to die,” Lir protested.
The unicorn looked deep into Lir’s eyes with large blue-violet eyes. “You are a kind, caring human. I will always remember your kindness.” With that, the unicorn exhaled his final breath.
Lir awakened with a jolt. Frantically, he looked around. He was under a tree alongside a road. His horse was tethered nearby. He exhaled softly. “It was just a dream,” he said.
Yet, the image of the dying unicorn remained burned in his mind’s eye. The most striking had been the eyes. They were the same color as Amalthea’s eyes. The unicorn he fell in love with when he saw her as a human. Even after he was told of her true nature, he still loved her.
And she loved me, he thought. She was willing to stay human and marry me. I turned down her decision. She had come to free the other unicorns and she had to complete that mission. She had a home she had to return to as a unicorn, unlike me.
But, I’m a hero and heroes travel to help others. My thoughts still dwell on Amalthea, though. I still wish to be with her and perhaps there still is a way for us to be together. All I need is a magician.
Chapter Two- The Request
“No. Absolutely not.”
Lir mentally reeled at the refusal. Why is he refusing? he wondered. Out loud, he said, “What?”
“You heard. The answer’s no.”
“Shemendrick, please hear me out.”
Reluctantly, the wizard agreed. When Lir first showed up, he had been happy to see his friend. However when the prince asked to be changed into a unicorn, his happiness faded.
“Okay,” Lir began. “You said she knows what love is. I know I still love her and I think she still loves me.”
“I’m sorry,” Shemendrick interrupted. “But if I changed you and it turns out that she doesn’t love you, I don’t know if I’ll have the strength to change you back.”
“I’m also asking you because I feel a sense of gratitude toward her. She saved my life. I’m in her debt- a debt that I can pay in the only way I can think of.”
Molly, who had been silent the entire time, finally spoke up. “I see no reason why you can’t grant his request, Shemendrick. Love and gratitude are very good causes.”
Shemendrick sighed and looked back and forth between Lir and Molly. He suddenly felt like he was being double-teamed. Yet, the more he thought about why he should do it, the more it made sense. His resolve was softening. Looking at Lir again, he said, “All right. I’ll do it.”
“Thank you. This means a lot to me.”
“You’re welcome and don’t worry about your horse. We’ll take care of him,” Molly answered.
Shemendrick straightened his hat and pushed back the sleeves of his robes. It was true that he was now a powerful magician, but transformation spells required a lot of energy. Furthermore, this was for a friend and he wanted to give it all he had. He raised his hands, closed his eyes, and began chanting.
Lir’s heart swelled when Shemendrick finally agreed to help him. He would be able to be with Amalthea forever. He just knew she still loved him and would accept him in his new form. As the wizard started chanting, he could practically feel the magical energies flow into him.
The first clue that something was happening were the itching of his fingers. He looked down to see them shortening and fusing with each other and his hands. It didn’t hurt, but it was an odd sight. He soon found himself with pale gray hooves in place of his hands. That familiar itching sensation was now felt in his feet. His boots faded away to reveal that his feet were hooves as well. His clothes also faded away as his body turned sleek, graceful, muscular, and white as snow. Tufts of silver hair appeared between his hooves and legs (back and front ones) as his hair grew longer and silver. A long white tail appeared behind him and ended with a tuft of silver hair.
Lir fell forward onto his forelegs, his spine no longer able to keep him erect. He saw his nose and jaws elongate and merge into a muzzle. His ears moved to the top of his head, turned white, and became long triangles. A starburst graced his forehead and from it grew a long twisted silver horn. Lir reared up and let out a tinkling masculine whinny before putting his front legs down again.
Shemendrick fell to his knees as Lir’s change completed itself. As he had suspected, the spell had taken a lot out of him. But, the end result had been worth it. Lir had become a handsome unicorn.
Molly crouched down beside Shemendrick, placing her hands on his shoulders. Lir leaned his head down, concern in his still blue eyes. Molly looked at him and smiled reassuringly. “He’ll be all right. He just needs to rest. Go ahead and find Amalthea.”
“You don’t know where she lives?” Lir asked, his voice now carrying a musical quality to it.
Molly shook her head. “That’s why I told you to find her. I suggest letting your heart lead you to her.”
Lir nodded. “I’ll do that. Goodbye, my friends and thank you again.”
Chapter Three- The Journey
As soon as he was out of his friends’ sight, he stumbled down the path. He was, naturally, unaccustomed to walking on four legs. He couldn’t help thinking of the irony of how he was walking like a newborn colt. He figured it out within a few minutes and was soon walking with utter confidence. With his balance stabilized, he turned his thoughts to the task of finding his beloved.
He knew he would follow Molly’s advice and let his heart lead him, but where should he go? Which direction should he take? He closed his eyes and listened to his heart. After a few minutes, he opened his eyes and headed east.
A whole season passed and Lir still hadn’t found her home. Early on in his journey, he realized that he looked exactly like the other unicorns. How would Amalthea recognize him? With that question in mind, he located a lake. One glance told him that Amalthea would know that he wasn’t an ordinary unicorn: His eyes were still blue, which seemed brighter against his white coat.
His eastward direction had been supplemented by a couple of western turns and a southern turn. His travels brought him to a small town. As he stood at the bridge that led to the town, he pawed the ground nervously. He knew that those who didn’t believe in unicorns would see him as a horse, but would there be humans in the village who believed in unicorns?
He shook his head. Why was he concerned about who could or couldn’t see him as a unicorn? He was just passing through. His heart told him that Amalthea’s home was somewhere past this village. Taking a calming breath, he walked across the bridge.
He didn’t stroll right down the main road, however. He strayed to the perimeter of the fields. There were two men working the fields: A father and a son by the look of them. They were hard at work, judging by the beads of sweat on the son’s forehead. Said boy wiped his forehead with the back of his head, raised his head, and looked right at Lir.
“Father!” he gasped. “Look at that fine stallion!” He pointed at the former human.
The older man looked up and gasped too. “You’re right, son. He’s magnificent. Very muscular, so he must be a young one. He must be wild, for I see no identification of any sort.”
Lir resisted the urge to look around and see if anyone else was around. He knew they were talking about him. Their comments about his body made it clear that any female unicorn would find him attractive. The two humans before him however weren’t looking to introduce to a female: They were looking to own him and have him work their fields.
The pair inched closer to Lir. He eyed the father who was closer to his front side. He didn’t see any kind of restraint in his hands, so he could just sprint right by the man and continue on his way.
His ears detected the sound of a rope being swung through the air. The son! The son was behind him with a rope. Like that was going to work! No rope can hold a unicorn. Lir whipped his head around, snagged the rope with his horn, and flipped it to the ground. He reared up for a moment before bolting for the forest on the far end.
Lir paused to catch his breath once he was deep in the woods. If he was to walk past a village, clearly it required more than just going by the fields. ‘If I have to go past any other villages, I’ll wait until nightfall to pass them,’ he decided. Tossing his head, he headed deeper into the forest.
He found the animals’ responses to him much better than the reactions of the two men. Yes, they seemed apprehensive since he was a stranger, but he was a unicorn and wouldn’t harm them. Lir didn’t want to bother any of them, anyway. He had other matters on his mind.
For one thing, the forest was in the right season that matched the land around it. If it had been a unicorn’s forest, it would be in springtime. So, no unicorn lived here. That was all right. Perhaps another wandering unicorn would eventually come along and decide to stay here.
Another thought on his mind was his new life. When he had finished transforming, he had left his mortal life behind him. He was now a magical immortal creature, though he was still capable of being killed. Aside from that, he would live forever. It was a notion that daunted him, but intrigued and thrilled him as well. Who knew what he would witness in the centuries to come? However, this speculation would mean nothing if Amalthea didn’t love him. If she rejected him, it would be a lonely and very long immortality. Perhaps, this forest he was currently in would be his home if Amalthea felt nothing for him anymore and no other unicorn claimed these woods. Lir continued his journey, pleased with his backup plan while hoping he wouldn’t have to pursue that plan.
Chapter Four- The Unicorns
Lir did indeed come across other towns, other villages. He stuck to his vow to pass through them at night. As a result, no one saw him and mistook him for a stallion. Lir still marveled that those two men called him a stallion, out of all he could have been called. For one thing, he could have been mistaken for a mare, a female horse. He would have been insulted if he had been called a mare, even though he shouldn’t have cared what humans called him.
Lir dwelled on several topics as he traveled. He thought about the other unicorns he may encounter along the way. He wondered how they would act and behave. He reflected on how Amalthea acted when he tried to impress her: Cold, dispassionate, and almost cruel. He highly doubted unicorns behave like that toward their own kind- at least he hoped they didn’t.
His thoughts turned toward himself and his change. His outward appearance had changed and his lifespan had lengthened, but inside he was still human and mortal. He knew it would take a lot of time to adjust to a unicorn’s lifestyle and time was something he had in abundance now. He hoped to still retain his human knowledge and some human behavior as well as emotions while adapting to unicorn behavior.
With regards to unicorn behavior, he wondered if that mindset would have him view humans differently. It was this concern that made him hope to still have some human traits. Helping other is what heroes do. It was something he did not want to lose sight of, despite the fact that human interaction would be a foolish and dangerous thing to do.
Summer was fading into fall, marking two seasons since Lir became a unicorn. He had yet to find Amalthea and felt a sense of impatience. Two seasons had passed- the equivalent of six months- and he hadn’t found her yet. He was worried that she wouldn’t remember him if he found her a long time from now.
But unicorns live forever, he thought. Odds are that she would remember me, even if I find her two centuries from now. He continued his travels, encouraged by this thought.
He came upon another village close to sunset. He glanced back and saw that the forest skirted the village’s perimeter. He wouldn’t have to wait for nightfall to reach the forest’s other side. He turned around and headed back into the foliage before anyone spotted him. He reached the other side and was a few feet in its depths when he picked up the sound of grunting. He rounded a corner, froze, and darted behind a bush.
There was a young human girl in her late teens to early twenties, picking apples off a tree. There was a cloth bag on the ground nearby with a few apples already in it. The girl was trying to grab the apples that were higher up by jumping. A few times her fingertips brushed the fruit, but failed to firmly grasp them. She brushed a few strands of blonde hair from her face and gave an exasperated sigh.
Lir couldn’t help but notice that he could easily reach the apple with his horn or give the girl additional height by having her sit on his back. The second option sounded better seeing as she probably wouldn’t see the horn and the apple would appear to be floating in midair. His decision made, he quietly trotted up behind her and gently prodded her with his muzzle.
The girl tuned, gasped at Lir’s sudden appearance, and back up a little way. Her eyes widened and they seemed to be staring at something in front of his forehead. Did she see…?
“Oh my,” the young girl breathed. “A unicorn.” She stretched a trembling hand and brushed one of Lir’s cheeks. Her touch was gentle and Lir enjoyed it. At the same time, he felt relief that she saw him as he really was and that meant he would be able to talk to her.
“Would you like some help with those apples?” He pointed his horn at the branches.
“Oh, yes, please,” she answered.
Lir bent his front legs down and gestured for her to climb on. As the girl did so, she said, “I thought unicorns didn’t like having humans ride them.”
“I’m a young one and I have not met any others yet.”
“I see.” The girl picked a few apples before adding, “I’ve always believed unicorns existed and had hoped to see one. Do you live in this forest?”
“No, I’m afraid I don’t. I am looking for other unicorns and learn what they have to teach me.”
“Okay, I have enough apples. Thank you for your help.”
“You’re welcome. Do you need help out of the forest? It’s getting dark.”
“I would like that.”
Lir walked through the woods with the girl still on his back until he reached the edge. There the girl slid off his back and thanked him again. She further wished him luck on his journey. Lir nodded to her and returned to the woods to get some rest.
The grass passed by in a green blur as did the trees and bushes. The wind rippled through his mane and tail. The sound of thundering hooves rang in his ears. It felt wonderful to race along the ground, not a care in the world. He ran for the joy and pleasure of running.
Excitement ran through him. It was springtime in this forest, a clear sign that a unicorn lived here. But, was this Amalthea’s forest? Had he finally found her? He slowed down and looked for any clue of another unicorn. After several minutes of searching, Lir found a unicorn alone in a clearing. He slowly approached the unicorn, who seemed to be male, with his head bowed to show respect.
It apparently worked for the male said, “Greetings young one. Welcome to my home. What brings you here?”
“I am searching for a female of our kind. Do you know where her home is?”
“What is special about her?”
“I have heard that she alone knows of the emotions the humans call regret and love. I am rather curious about her insight into these feelings.”
“I suggest you forget about seeking her to satisfy your curiosity. No unicorn should know of regret and love. Heed my advice and do not seek her. She may poison your mind if you were to find and ask her.”
Lir bowed his head again. “I see. Thank you for your advice. I shall return home.” Lir turned and headed back into the woods’ depths before continuing in the direction he had been going. He had been struck by the older male’s attitude toward Amalthea. He was of the opinion that Amalthea was to be avoided simply because she learned about regret and love when she had been human.
Well, that’s not going to stop me. I was human. Now I too am a unicorn who understands the two feeling no other unicorn knows about. I love her and I will find her.
Lir’s journey led him far across the country. He had no idea where he needed to go, but he followed his instincts nevertheless. He soon found himself in another forest belonging to a unicorn- or rather two unicorns: A mother and her young foal. The mother spotted Lir as he entered the clearing and trotted over to him, the foal trailing after her.
“Hello, stranger. Welcome to our home. What do you seek?”
“I seek the unicorn who understands the emotions humans call love and regret.”
“Why would you want to find her?”
“I knew her a long time ago and when I heard she knew of such things, I wish to convince her to forget such emotions.” Lir obviously had no such intentions, but previous experience taught him to take a different approach.
“How noble of you. I do not know where she lives, but I hope you have success in convincing her.”
“I’ve heard where she lives, Mother,” the foal piped in.
“Where did you get such information, young one?” the mother asked.
“I got it from a passing butterfly. He seemed quite eager to tell the story.”
“Please tell me where to go,” Lir requested.
“You need to follow the sinking sun.”
“Thank you, young one. I will follow your suggestion and I hope my friend will listen to me,” Lir answered.
“Farewell, friend,” the mother replied as Lir headed west.
Chapter Five- Finally Found
Lir took the foal’s advice and went straight west. He had no reason not to. Straight west was a direction he had not taken, surprisingly enough. He walked all day and slept at night and always in a forest, too. As usual, he dwelled on several topics, except this time, he only thought about himself, Amalthea, and their future together.
He was getting quite adept at being a unicorn. It took a little time to get used to four legs, a tail, and a horn. It took a lot longer to accept that he was virtually immortal. He was starting to see why most unicorns lived alone. Constant companionship of the same unicorn would be boring and tiresome. That, however, did not deter him in seeking Amalthea.
Amalthea, the object of his quest, always appeared in his mind when he drifted off to sleep. She represented a mate and a teacher. She would teach him unicorn magic and build on what he had already learned in terms of knowledge. While she did that, they would build a life together. He could envision the two of them with a couple of foals following them. The idea of children sounded exciting to him.
He spent several weeks doggedly heading west. He was fast approaching nine months of searching. He passed several more forests, some with unicorns and some without. Human habitations were few and far in-between now and that was a relief to Lir. A relief? Why would almost no human villages be a relief? Was he finally thinking like a unicorn? Perhaps a little. A little unicorn thinking was all right at this point. He suspected that he would be thinking more like a unicorn the longer he stayed as one, which would be forever. He wouldn’t forget what it was like to be human, though. His memories would stay with him always.
“Another unicorn. There’s never been another unicorn in our home since our protector returned from her quest,” were the whispers Lir heard as he walked. Their words filled him with excitement and hope. It sounded as if this was finally Amalthea’s forest. No other unicorns wanted to be around Amalthea because of her human experience. He had to be sure, though. He would be highly embarrassed if he found out that this wasn’t Amalthea’s home.
“Excuse me,” he said to a nesting robin. “can you tell me about your protector? Unicorns shouldn’t leave their forests, lest they be killed.”
“It is true,” the robin replied. “Your kind can be killed if you leave your forest. Our protector was fortunate. She met some humans, one who was rumored to be a magician. It’s possible he helped her move among humans as a human.”
“But humans are mortal. Surely, this had some kind of horrible effect.”
“Not so horrible, actually. She returned to us as her unicorn self some time ago with a deep insight into the human race.”
“Indeed? I would like to hear those insights. Can you point me to her?”
The robin eyed him suspiciously for a moment before flaring her right wing straight out. “Her clearing is straight ahead that way.”
“My thanks,” Lir answered with a nod and walked in the direction indicated to him. His heart swelled and pounded in his chest. After all this time, had he finally found her? He certainly hoped so. Everything the robin had told him fit Amalthea perfectly. He had missed Amalthea so much, he desperately wanted to see her. Seeing as he had become a unicorn, it proved just how he desperate he was.
The trees ahead of him thinned out and a clearing was slowly coming into view. Lir paused in the shadows of the trees for he could see a unicorn by the edge of a lake on his left. His heart hammered madly. It was her! He inhaled deeply and slowly let it out.
Here goes everything, he thought as he stepped into the clearing and towards Amalthea.
Amalthea sighed softly. It had been nearly a year since her return and she felt a sense of loneliness she had never felt before. She knew why she was lonely: She missed Prince Lir. As a result, she felt very conflicted, a sensation she disliked. On one hand, she was a unicorn. She had been since her birth. On the other hand, she loved Lir. Her love for him was so strong, she almost gave in to the desire to find Shemendrick and convince him to turn her back into a human. She resisted by firmly reminding herself that she had been born a unicorn and she shouldn’t try to change that. Besides her friends in the forest needed her and her protection.
But the others don’t want to have anything to do with me. I wish at least one would like to live here with me.
No sooner had this thought crossed her mind then another unicorn had entered the clearing. She looked at the newcomer. It was male and a young one, judging by the muscular body. He would be very attractive, if her heart hadn’t already been claimed by another. Still, her wish for a companion had been granted far sooner than she had anticipated and she shouldn’t complain. She walked over to the male and said, “Welcome friend. Have you journeyed far?”
“Amalthea,” the male said. “It’s me.”
Amalthea started. The unicorn had called her by her human name. Only four humans had called her by that name: Molly, Shemendrick, King Haggard, and …Prince Lir. Upon closer inspection, the male’s eyes weren’t blue-violet like all the others. Instead, they were a deep bright blue.
“Lir?” she said, disbelief and shock evident in her voice. The answer was a nod.
Lir was a little disappointed when Amalthea greeted him like any other unicorn. When he spoke her name, however, she was surprised. After some obvious thought, she guessed his identity.
Amalthea slowly circled him and faced him again. “How…? No, I don’t need to ask how. Shemendrick did this. Why did you ask him to change you?”
“I asked him because I love you. You had a home to return to after your quest and you were born a unicorn. I decided to become one too and live with you.”
Amalthea smiled. “Oh, Lir. I love you too. There were times I considered going to Shemendrick and having him change me back into a human just to be with you.”
“Clearly you don’t need to now.”
“I’m hoping you could also teach me. I have no idea how to use unicorn magic.”
Amalthea nuzzled Lir’s cheek with hers. “Of course I’ll teach you. I have so much to show you.”
“And we have all the time in the world,” Lir replied.
“Indeed we do, my love. Indeed we do.”
Author Notes: I chose to keep using the name Amalthea to make it easier to read, seeing as I had added two unicorns and one foal. I should add that these three unicorns as well as the three humans in the story are mine.