Bittersweet Destiny

Chapter 3

The Queen studied her surroundings, the tent that had been her shelter for the past two days: it was filthy and smelt musty. If her mother would see the pathetic excuse of bed on which she been sleeping, some men would lose their hearts, and lives. Not that she really cared about their worthless lives, they had kidnapped her and treated her in ways no peasant should treat their Queen. She knew she could rip their hearts out, after all Rumpelstiltskin had taught her a thing or two. But she knew the price for taking and crushing someone's heart: selling your soul to the dark side; and that was a price that Regina was not willing to pay, not yet.

She didn't want to become dark; she had seen what dark magic could do, she had been victim of it. No, she would only use magic as last resort, when all her hopes were gone. For now, she just planned on waiting and see if Leopold would be the good man that everyone praised him to be, she would wait and see if her beloved husband would pay the money that these men were asking for her.

"I see you are awake, m'lady." Robin said, stepping into the hanged rags they called the Royal Tent.

"It's Your Majesty," Regina snapped, "And I can hardly sleep in this bed, if you can call it like that," she pointed at the straw mattress. "Why are there only two men guarding mytent?"

"If it's my men's behaviour that worries you, fear not your majesty; they are men of honor."

"Yes, I'm sure thieves are men of honor," she replied in a mocking tone, "However, it's not your men I'm worried about."

"No?" Robin asked, confused.

"You should be the one worrying about me escaping," Regina pointed out. And Robin couldn't help but laughing at her, "I will let you know I am perfectly capable of orientating myself in the woods by using the sun, the stars and the moss that grows on the ground."

"I bet you are m'lady," Robin said using a scornful tone, and then quickly corrected the way he had addressed to her, "Your Majesty."

The Queen crossed her arms. Why wouldn't she be able of knowing how to orient herself? Because she was a girl? Because she was the Queen? Someday she would make him eat his words, along with that cocky behaviour of his. "Any words from the King?" she asked, refusing on addressing Leopold as her husband.

The Merry Man shook his head, "No, Your Majesty."

Regina pursed her lips into a smile, she couldn't help but enjoying his disappointment. Yes, she was suffering, but at least the outlaw was not getting what he wanted either.

"Why are you smiling?" he asked.

"I told you he wouldn't pay for me." she replied, proud to be right.

"And that makes you happy?" the outlaw asked again, "To know that your husband is not trying to rescue you?"

The smile disappeared from Regina's face, but she didn't look away. "It's not like he loves me." she said and shrugged, even if she knew that ladies were not supposed to have such body language.

"If it would be the other way around," Robin said taking a step closer to her, "And I would be holding him for ransom, would you have sent your men already?"

"Yes," Regina gave away too quickly. "I would have sent my men," her answer seemed to surprise Robin, "I would have sent my men telling you to kill the King, for you would not receive a single silver coin from my pocket to save his life." she added, bitterness painting her voice.

"Why did you marry him, if you despise him so much?" the outlaw asked, her previous answer had shocked him, "Is all the gold worth the hate that you feel towards him?"

"Who said I married him willingly?" she threw daggers at him with her eyes. "Just because I married the King doesn't mean I was the one after his gold."

"Really?" Robin raised an eyebrow, "Because you don't seem as the type of girl who would be comfortable sleeping in a stable."

The stables. Just mentioning the word brought back painful memories, memories that she wanted buried deep in, both, her heart and brain. Memories of her true love dying; of her holding his lifeless body on her arms. Daniel. How different would her life been if she would have run away with him, if she would have married him. Would they have children already? Maybe their own house, a cozy and loving home; a small farm in one of the kingdom's corners, far away from her mother, the King and that brat of, Snow White.

"M'lady," Robin's voice brought her back to reality, to her tent, "Are you alright?" he asked half confused, half worried.

It was then when she realised that tears where running down her cheeks. "Get out of my sight!" she yelled at him, trying to sound regal, trying to hide her pain.

Robin didn't move at first, he stood still as he studied her, wondering how could someone pass from bitterness, to sadness, to hate, in a short spam of few seconds. Regina was a mystery to him. Without thinking much about it, he raised his hands and swiped away the tears that were running down the Queen's cheeks with his thumbs. That would have cost him a hand, or even his life, if they would have been back at the castle; but he didn't regret touching her.

She flinched at the contact of his hands with her cheeks, probably waiting for a violent touch rather than a gentle one. Had she thought that he would hurt her? That thought made Robin furrow his eyebrows, her body's reaction to his caress had been as if she hadn't felt something similar in a long time. His confused eyes studied Regina's face. She didn't say anything, she had suddenly gone mute.

Then, when Robin gaze met hers, an even worse reaction happened: she gulped. As if she was waiting for him to forcer her into sex, to make her understand that she was powerless to a man. He took a step back, his hands suddenly missing the warmth of Regina's body. The Queen's body language had told him enough, it had made him realise that she had been speaking the truth form the beginning. That the King didn't love her, nor respected her. And in that moment, he swore to the Gods and himself that he would protect the Queen until his last breath.

"Excuse me, m'lady." he said, bowing his head and left her alone.

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