“Wait,” he didn’t sound upset, or angry, only confused so Ariel turned stopped walking away and turned to face him. “So this is how the story ends? Here? Now?” He waved a hand at the empty beach.
She nodded firmly, without his amulet the human could no longer understand her and the horse had to fall back on their earliest forms of communication. She pawed the sand with a forehoof, once, twice. Yes.
“But, I thought–”
She snorted angrily and reared slightly, pounding her front hooves into the beach with a hostile thud. She was no simple mare, bound against her will. She was the Questor’s Mount and that was all she’d ever be. He’d failed the test, failed her and her destiny.
In that moment he finally understood; she was a one-story creature, spun up from magic with only one driving desire. As soon as he stepped out of her story, he stepped out of her life. Now and forever lumped into the group of ‘other princes who had tried’, a minor footnote in passing. He stepped back, hands falling to his sides and let her go.
She left him there, watching his fairy tale gallop down the beach and onto the next hero in her story.