‘Twas the early evening hours in a marshy forest area, known as Quagmire Marsh. Sparx, carrying an empty dragonfly-sized sack strapped around his shoulder and a piece of small parchment in his hand, was lazily flying past many trees and occasional stumps that were situated upon moderately thick mud at the floor level. He was currently searching for some ingredients for a special soup his mother was preparing for dinner, with the paper serving as a list to remember each of them. As he progressed further into the forest, Sparx quickly recalled in his mind the events that occurred over the past month or so: the arrival of Sebastian, the Guardians helping the little crab in finding him employment and the efforts of searching for a way to send him back home. It had been only one week now since Sparx left Warfang to stay with his and Spyro’s parents for a while back at the Swamp. However, although he intended on getting away from all the insanity over Sebastian, it didn’t take too long before he found himself becoming very lonely and bored. Sometimes he longed for those earlier times when he and his foster brother Spyro spent time with each other, before the latter even realized he was a dragon. Sadly, he had to remember how different things are now, as he recalled his father often telling him:
“Listen, son, I know how much you miss your brother being home with us, for your mother and I miss him just as greatly. But you’ve got to remember that he’s grown up now and has a life of his own, one which holds many responsibilities. And that includes nurturing his mate, Cynder, whom he also needs to spend much time with for the rest of his life. As his brother, it’s part of your responsibility to respect your brother’s decision with living his own life this way.” Deep down in his heart, Sparx knew that his dad was right. In addition to that he was truly proud of his brother and Cynder already becoming mates, thinking they definitely deserved each other. Yet, despite the joy and delight in knowing that, these same feelings were overshadowed by those of immense loneliness that made him miserable.
After a few more minutes of searching, the young golden dragonfly felt exhausted and stopped to sit on a passing tree stump to rest momentarily. With a dolorous sigh, Sparx said:
“Well, guess things can’t get any duller than this.” Suddenly, without warning:
“HELP!” Sparx, startled out of his usual boredom by the loud feminine shouting, jolted upwards and hovered above the stump from where he sat. “HELP!!” The golden dragonfly frantically shifted his pinprick eyes in every direction of the swamp, trying to find the source of the scream. “Oh, for Pete’s sake, could somebody please come up and HELP ME!!!” Upon hearing the voice a third time, Sparx stopped what he was doing and gazed upward, realizing that it originated from somewhere high up in the trees. He then zipped straight up through the air, determined to find whoever was the source of the calls. Sparx then stopped midway between the ground level and tree line, as he caught sight of a tree, one that was a third-sized smaller than its neighbors. But what drew Sparx’ attention about this tree was a faint source of white light emanating from within its dense, leafy branches. He immediately flew toward the faint glow, pushed aside the thick leaves and came upon an immense spider web. Stuck near the center of the web was a female dragonfly partially filthy with dried mud (except for her wings), which slightly obscured the glowing white light her body emitted. Her back was facing Sparx as he approached.
“Sheesh, what happened to you?” asked Sparx with disbelief.
“Wouldn't you believe it,” replied the female dragonfly. “I just happened to be flying through Quagmire Marsh, minding my merry little business, when suddenly—WHAM!—I accidentally went smack-dab into some random spider’s web. But, since you’re here after hearing for my pleas for help, I suppose you could help me out of this sticky situation?”
“Um, sure, not that there’s much anything else to do around here.” He then slowly approached the female dragonfly. “Here, I’ll just grab you from behind so that I can pull you off.”
“No, don’t!” Sparx halted for a moment, startled with the female’s sharp response. “If you even try to pull me off with your bare hands, you’ll end up getting stuck right next to me.” Sparx sighed sadly as he backed up a few inches to his previous aerial position. He anxiously looked from side-to-side, searching for a way to dislodge the trapped dragonfly, but then his eyes shrunk to pinpricks upon gazing at something on the far left edge of the web.
“Uh oh,” he spoke ominously.
“What is it?” asked the female dragonfly. “What’d you mean by ‘uh oh’?”
“Wait, let me guess: there’s a big, hairy, scary spider coming onto the web, slowly approaching where I’m stuck so that she’ll make a meal out of me.”
“Okay. AHHH!!!” And at the moment she screamed, to the left of her was indeed a large, hairy female spider, one that was half a size bigger than a normal dragonfly. The eight-legged abomination had her eight black eyes locked on to the female dragonfly as she slowly approached her prey. Sparx snapped out of his daze when he saw the female dragonfly desperately struggling in vain to break herself free from the web’s sticky clutches. While she did this, the female dragonfly addressed Sparx behind her: “Well, don’t just stand there; do something!”
“Well, do you expect me to do?” asked Sparx with an edge of indigence. “Punch that ugly spider in the face?”
“No, don't do that! She might ensnare you with her long legs and poison you with her fangs if you get that close! Try throwing something at her like a rock or an acorn or something! And hurry! I’m very much afraid of spiders and much less prefer be eaten by one!” Sparx' expression became forlorn upon hearing those words, for when he had come to this tree, he didn’t see any acorns on its branches. Then at the flash of a light bulb, he seemed to remember something else that was important.
“Hey, you just hold on there, lady,” he said urgently. “I’ll be back in a snap with somethin’ to help ya.” He then zoomed back down toward the ground level. But just as he left, the female dragonfly alarmingly shouted:
“Wait! Don’t leave me with Mrs. Creepy Crawly!” Ten seconds later, Sparx returned holding a good-sized stone in his hands.
“’Kay, I’m back! I've got rock big e—oh boy!” The shocked dragonfly witnessed that the spider was halfway between the edge and center of her web and was still edging closer towards her captured prey.
“Well, don’t just stand there, throw it!” shouted the terrified dragonfly. Sparx shook his head sideways and then positioned himself for an assault.
“Hey, eight eyes,” he shouted loudly. “Eat my stone!” He then hurled the rock straight at the spider, hitting her smack dab in her eyes. Then two things happened at the once: first the monstrous spider screeched painfully after receiving a few black eyes from Sparx’ stone projectile. Secondly, while reeling with pain, the spider lost her grip on the web and fell down the tree and into the marshy water below.
“Hey, I’ll see ya next fall, Spidey!” Sparx shouted tauntingly as he watched the spider descend. For a moment, he chuckled with amusement at the joke he made regarding the felled spider. To his surprise, the female dragonfly joined in giggling merrily.
“You've got to admit, that’s pretty funny,” she said with a chuckle. Sparx found himself surprised with that compliment.
“Y-you actually laughed at one of my jokes. Thanks! Most people just roll their eyes when I say ‘em.”
“Well, I’m sorry to hear that. Now, if you don’t mind, I’d really like to get myself unstuck, if you please?”
“Well, since you asked nicely, sure.” Sparx then looked around the area nearby until he observed one particular branch positioned across from the spider’s web that was so thin that it looked bendable. This gave him an idea. He flew up to the tip of the said branch, grabbed it near the end and then started bending it toward the center of the spider’s web. It took some effort, but in a few minutes he managed to bend the branch down to where the tip was within reach of the filthy female dragonfly. “Here, grab onto this branch!”
“Hello!” shouted the female dragonfly. “In case you haven’t noticed, I can’t reach it my arms are still stuck to this spider web. By if you could bring the branch near my hands, I might be able to grasp it with one of them.” So saying, she wriggled her unrestrained hands, which were ready to clasp onto anything.
“Alright. I’ll…try…bringing it…closer.” Grunting with effort, the golden dragonfly heaved again, bending the branch out a little further until the tip was barely touching the female’s left hand. “How…about…now?” Upon hearing his voice, the female dragonfly closed her left fingers around the thin end of the branch, clenching it tightly.
“Okay then. Fire in the hole!” Sparx immediately released his hold on the bent branch and zipped to the side before covering his head. A second or two later, the branch both pulled the stuck female dragonfly off the spider web and launched her forward into the air like a catapult with a loud “TWANG” sound. Sparx removed his hands from his head and looked toward the now vacant spider web with a smile.
“Alright!” he shouted with delight. “It worked! Hey, lady, my idea wor…oh man!” Sparx’ joy turned sour when he realized a small flaw in his idea, that not only did the bent branch free the female dragonfly from the spider’s web, but it also hurled her out somewhere in Quagmire Marsh. The golden dragonfly instantly flew away from the tree and in the direction of where the female was thrown. A minute or two later, he stopped, shouting, “Hey, lady! Where are you? You alright?!” A few seconds later, Sparx heard mirthful giggling from below.
“I’m down here, silly,” came the female dragonfly’s voice. Sparx looked down and saw the female dragonfly hovering near the base of a nearby tree. He immediately descended to her level and stopped a few inches in front of her. Sparx could now glimpse at her up front which was also covered with a thin layer of the same greenish brown mud like the rest of her body. Sparx also observed that the female was around his age, somewhere around her mid-teens. Yet what really caught his attention were the female dragonfly’s eyes, which were sparkling blue, and the silver sparkles radiating from her beating wings. He then asked her:
“Hey, you okay? I hope you weren't thrown too far out.”
“Oh, no, it’s quite alright,” she replied. “It was actually thrilling to get thrown halfway across the marsh like that. Of course, I managed to get myself upright before then.”
“Least you’re not some spider’s afternoon snack anymore.”
“True at that, but next time, I suggest you use a rope or vine. Thanks for helping me, by the way.”
“Sure, no problem, miss.”
“So what are you doing out here in Quagmire Marsh?”
“Um, actually, I was just searching for some ingredients for a soup my mom—” Sparx gasped loudly. “Oh, snap!”
“I just remembered that I left a sack and list for the soup’s ingredients on a tree stump somewhere. I’ve gotta find it or there won’t be any dinner tonight.” Sparx zipped back in the direction he came from with the female dragonfly not far behind him. Unfortunately, finding the stump where Sparx left his sack and list behind wouldn't be so easy on account that there were several tree stumps in the proximate area, which proved quite frustrating for him. After several minutes of frantic searching, an exhausted Sparx slumped down onto a lily pad to rest. “Man, it’s hopeless. I’ll never find that sack or the list.”
“You mean these?” Sparx looked behind him to see the female dragonfly in possession of both items, with the sack over her shoulder while she held the list in one of her delicate hands. As Sparx approached her, he observed that she had resumed looking through the list as well. “And you know, I actually have all of these ingredients stored up back at my hut.”
“Really? Great! Where is it?”
“It’s just a few miles that way.” She pointed one finger in the westward direction. “Come on and I’ll take you over there.” The female dragonfly began heading in the indicated direction, when she immediately stopped and turned back around to face Sparx. “One thing though: could you please tell me your name? It’d be a shame to not know who exactly risked his life to save me from an ugly spider.”
“Sure. It’s Sparx.” His companion smiled warmly.
“Mine’s Glimmer. I know it doesn’t seem like it when you look at me, but that’s the name given to me when I was born. Still, now that that’s out of the way, let’s hurry over to my hut so we can get those soup ingredients.” With that, Glimmer and Sparx headed for her hut, with her leading the way. Sparx felt a warm sensation within his body ever since Glimmer told him her name, as if something about the name gave him an essence of peace.
Within a few minutes, when the two dragonflies arrived at Glimmer’s hut, Sparx observed that it hung from the branch of a short tree and was composed of a thick layer of grass and reeds all woven together to form a sphere-like structure with enough size to accommodate one dragonfly.
“So, how’d you make this?” Sparx asked.
“Well,” replied Glimmer. “Simply put, I gathered a huge amount of reeds and grass before weaving them together to form my hut, which I admit took several days to complete. True, it’s not much to look at, but it’s still home.” The two dragonflies entered the small hut afterward. A few minutes later, both of them exited the hut, with Sparx holding both the sack filled with ingredients needed and the list.
“Thanks again for those ingredients, Glimmer,” said Sparx.
“Hey, no problem,” replied Glimmer cheerfully. “I’m just glad to have helped. Well, I hope you enjoy your soup. Bye.” She then zipped back into her hut. Just as Sparx began heading for home, he stopped for a moment and then retreated back to Glimmer’s front entrance.
“Hey, Glimmer,” he called to her. “Glimmer, are ya in there?” Glimmer immediately returned, hovering in front of Sparx.
“Course I am,” she replied cheekily. “It’s my house after all.” Sparx smiled at her small retort before asking:
“Um, listen, if you don’t mind…would you like to come join me and my family for dinner tonight?” Glimmer had a surprised expression on her face which immediately shifted into a more joyful one.
“Why, sure, I’d be delighted to come!”
“Really?” Sparx asked with a surprised expression. “Just like that?”
“Yep. I mean, I’ve been living all alone out here in Quagmire Marsh for a few years and I could really use the company.”
“You could also use a good bath.” Sparx inhaled sharply with fear, for he realized how insulting that joke sounded and that most female dragonflies would usually slap him for saying such a rude comment. Yet, within an instant, Sparx’ tension subsided when Glimmer giggled loudly at his crude remark.
“Yep, that too,” she added. “So, could you kindly take me to your home sweet home?”
“Sure, Glimmer. Just follow me.” Sparx, with Glimmer in tow, zipped in the direction of house in the Swamp.
An hour after leaving the hut, the two dragonflies finally arrived at the dragonfly village in the Swamp. Glimmer observed that the village had a few hundred residents, including Sparx and his family, and that they all lived in rotund structures suspended from the branches of large mushroom trees. Sparx led Glimmer through the village until they reached his domicile, located near the center of the village. When both dragonflies entered the hanging home, Sparx announced his return with the soup ingredients, to which his parents, Flash and Nina approached their son and welcomed him with a hug. Sparx introduced Flash and Nina to Glimmer, adding that she’d like to join the family for dinner and that she needed a bath. After both parents welcomed Glimmer to their home, Nina, led the former up to one of the washrooms upstairs to get her thoroughly cleaned, while Sparx and Flash went into the kitchen to place the sack full of soup ingredients on the table. Both father and son then settled down on a couch in the living room where Sparx told Flash about how he met Glimmer, including when he rescued and removed her from a spider web. It took about half an hour for Sparx to narrate the events that took place while his father listened to him intently. During this, Nina had returned from the washroom and had gone into the kitchen to prepare the soup for dinner. After Sparx concluded the narration, Flash finally spoke:
“You know, son, I amazed with what you’ve done today.”
“Why’s that, pops?” asked Sparx.
“Because what you did in saving Glimmer was something that your brother would usually do.” Sparx reacted with an amused chuckle.
“Yeah, I know. Especially since I was the one who was always in trouble while he was the one that got me out of it when we were younger.”
“That’s true, son, but that’s not what I meant.” Sparx had a confused expression as his father continued. “You know how your brother fell in love with Cynder sometime after he saved her? Because I want you to think about something: there will come a time when you may meet someone that will forever change your life in unimaginable ways and you’d never know or expect it. I’m thinking that Glimmer might be—”
“Hey, hey, wait a minute, Dad,” Sparx blurted out. “You know that I’m not really interested in a girlfriend right now. Besides, I just met Glimmer today. I barely even know her.”
“Very well,” Flash relented with a sigh. “But I’d like for you to at least think about it, son, because I can promise you that may be surprised if you do fall in love with her tonight.” A minute of silence passed between the two as Sparx thought of several excuses to reply toward his father, yet couldn’t think of any. He finally sighed with defeat before he spoke with a reluctant tone:
“Fine, I’ll probably think about it.” Flash’s lips creased in a joyful smile in hearing his son’s words. Then thirty seconds later, Glimmer came into the living room, announcing:
“Hey, guys! I’m back and boy does it feel great to be clean and sparkly again.” As soon as Glimmer entered the living room, both male dragonflies got a full glimpse of her true physical appearance: she was a beautiful silver female dragonfly with a svelte, hourglass figure and a secondary color of pearly white covering her ventral area, from her chest down to the tip of her thin abdomen. Flash simply beheld a pleasant smile upon seeing Glimmer fully cleaned. With Sparx, it was a totally different story for he gazed at her with wide eyes and mouth agape on account that he was utterly floored with Glimmer’s sheer beauty. Internally, Sparx also felt as if someone had shot him with a golden arrow of love, igniting a fire in his heart—one that now burned for Glimmer. Sparx remained motionless, his pinpricked eyes still fixed on Glimmer, in her true colors, while his father hovered off the couch and approached her, saying:
“Well, I must say, Glimmer, you look really nice.”
“Thank you, Flash,” she replied gratefully with a smile. “Sorry if I took so long, but much of the muck I had to scrap off my body was quite thick. You had no idea how hard that was.
“Oh, it’s quite alright. We weren’t in any hurry.”
“Oh, and you may need to replace the water in the washroom I used because it’s full of filth."
“Now don’t you worry about that, Glimmer. Sparx and I can always go out and get more clean water later tonight or tomorrow.”
“Speaking of which, Sparx hasn’t spoken a syllable since I entered this room. Hey, Earth to Sparx, are you out there?!” She waved one arm at Sparx while shouting to get his attention. Sparx jumped slightly from where he sat and shook his head for a moment, blurting out:
“Huh? Wha—what happened?”
“You tell me, Sparx,” Glimmer replied, hovering closer to Sparx. “Anyway, I just returned from thoroughly cleaning myself a minute ago and I still want your output on how I now look.” Sparx looked upon a smiling Glimmer and while still astounded with her radiant beauty, wasn’t stunned to the point of stupor.
“Well,” he replied slowly and hesitantly. “I think you…look gor—great! Yeah, I think you look great, Glimmer.”
“Thanks! Glad to hear of it. Well, I’m goin’ to help your mom with dinner. See ya there.” She zipped out of the living room and toward the kitchen. Seconds later, Sparx took a deep breath and then exhaled with a long, blissful sigh as his slight golden body slumped back on the sofa with a big smile plastered on his face.
“Man, ain’t she something,” spoke Sparx affectionately.
“Indeed she is, son,” replied Flash, as he looked at his son with a smug expression that had “I told you so” written all over it. Yet, the moment his dad spoke, Sparx’s enamored expression shifted into one of confusion and panic, as if he’d awoken from a bad dream. He immediately pushed himself off the couch and hovered over to Flash.
“H-hey hold on now! You didn’t just hear me say that, right?”
“I did, son. And if it makes you feel any better, that’s exactly what I said when I first met your mother. I even gave her that same amorous look that you had when Glimmer came into the room, son.”
“Oh no, no, no, no! This—this cannot be happening to me.” As he spoke, Sparx frantically and crazily buzzed all over the living room, like a chicken running around with its head cut off. A few seconds later, his father grabbed him by the arms, solidly holding the former from where they hovered in the middle.
“Sparx. Please calm yourself.” It took a full minute for the young dragonfly to calm down before his blue father released his grip on him and continued. “Now, son, you shouldn’t feel ashamed or be upset with being in love with a beautiful dragonfly like Glimmer.” Sparx stuttered, attempting form an excuse to deny his newly blossomed feelings for Glimmer, yet he stumbled over his words every time he tried. Finally, after a minute of resistance, Sparx exhaled in defeat and looked his father in the eyes and admitted:
“Okay, fine, I admit it. I’m in love with Glimmer. Not only that, but I think that she’s the hottest, sexiest and most beautiful dragonfly I’ve even seen in my life. I mean, when Glimmer came into the room, she was just like an angel; a sweet and beautiful silver angel. It made me feel like I had died and gone up to heaven.” Sparx paused as he gave another deep sigh. “I’ve got to tell ya, dad, this burning love that I have for Glimmer is all new to me, yet, I really like it. At the same time, though, I wonder if she feels the same with me. Ah, I’m no good with this sort of thing, Dad. I mean I’ve never tried the whole relationship thing before. Really could use my purple bro’s help on this."
“Just relax, son,” said Flash calmly, as he placed one hand on his son’s shoulder. “I want you to know that I’m proud of you for your new found love for Glimmer, which shows that you’re growing up. And don’t worry it’s natural to feel nervous about someone you’ve first fallen in love with, which I’ve also experienced. But, if all goes well, I’m certain that when Glimmer comes to reciprocate those feelings. But for now, just spend some time with her and get to know more about her. Your mother and I will here to help you along the way, Sparx. I promise.” Sparx smiled in hearing these comforting words from his father before they both shared a hug with each other.
“Thanks for the pep talk, Dad,” said Sparx softly.
“Of course, son,” replied Flash. Shortly after they disengaged, they heard Glimmer’s voice from the kitchen, shouting:
“Hey, you gents! Soup’s on, so come and get it!” Both father and son then gleefully darted from the living room and toward the kitchen.
For the four dragonflies, dinner was a most delightful and pleasant experience. Just like earlier that day, Glimmer laughed at Sparx’ jokes during dinner conversations, something he liked about her in addition to her beauty (he’d often sneak glances at her when she wasn’t looking). Glimmer also got along really well with Flash and Nina, who both found her delightful. After dinner was finished, Glimmer thanked Sparx and his parents for the delicious soup and promised to visit them every day. After she bid them farewell, Glimmer furtively kissed Sparx on the cheek before she darted back to her hut in Quagmire Forest. Sparx immediately blushed with joy and embarrassment in receiving the kiss and as he and his parents drifted to sleep, the golden dragonfly dreamed fondly about Glimmer, which filled the void loneliness that previously depressed him.