They told me I was Evil and therefore I would never change. The darkness had been engraved so deeply into my heart that there would be no use in attempting to help me. However, I don't believe I've always been "evil". That title was given to me based on actions that I did in attempt to revenge my true love. I don't believe in the concept that evil is born. On the contrary, it's made. Made from the evil deeds that only the strongest of emotions can conjure. Made from a life that no one should ever live. Made from the loneliness in ones heart because no one chose to stand by my side and even care to whisper "I'm there for you" and actually mean it. I haven't always been evil; I never wanted to be, but it's better to be feared than loved when no one wants to love you anyways.
- Regina, the Evil Queen
I awoke to a bright light shining through an animal hide canopy. My brows scrunched in confusion as I realized how hard the surface in which I laid was. This was not my bed. Pushing myself up on my elbows I let out a small gasp when a pain shot through my leg.
Where the hell am I? Where are all of my pillows and—?
"Careful," came a soft voice that made my skin crawl. I looked up and gasped under my breath as my eyes fell upon the woman I had loathed for so many years. The woman who destroyed my life.
"In the flesh," she replied with a smile and leaned down beside me. She reached for my blanket and I jumped, "It's okay. I'm just going to check your wound, alright?"
I gave her a curt nod before bringing a hand to my head which was throbbing like a thousand arrows had been shot through it. My bones ached all over. A hiss escaped my lips as a cool rag swept over my wound on my leg. Why was I here? Why was Snow being nice to me?
I could lean up and rip her heart out right then and there; no one would suspect a thing. I raised my hand, but stopped when I noticed the dirty rags upon me. That's when it dawned on me. I wasn't myself, so to speak. Rumpelstiltskin had cast a disguise upon me in which he could only reverse.
"Snow White." I said in disbelief.
"You seem to have caught on to my name, but tell me. What shall I call you?"
Her smile was kind; if I didn't know any better I would have thought that she was an innocent human being. I looked off into the nothingness of the tent before speaking.
"Wilma; my name is Wilma."
"Well it's nice to meet you, Wilma. I'm glad I came when I did or else the injuries would have been more…fatal."
My leg jerked as she finished up her ministrations and I watched her tie another rag around it. I let out an uncomfortable cough and slumped back onto a blanket that had been made into a pillow. Why was I feeling so terrible?
"You have a fever," she commented as she dipped another rag into water and pressed it against my forehead. She stood to her feet and told me to get some more rest. She sat down a cup that contained water in case I became thirsty while she was gone. In the meantime she would go fetch something to eat. I tried to protest until I realized that I was indeed tired; more tired and sore than I had been in a while. As much as I objected the ground on which I laid, I was knocked out into a dreamless oblivion almost as quickly as the younger woman disappeared from sight.
The next time I awoke the sun was setting in the sky. The raven haired woman had started a fire and was cooking what looked like to be fish. Silently I watched her and took in another side of her that I didn't know existed. This wasn't a princess. This was a girl on the run that had adapted to such a lifestyle. I didn't think it would have been possible. I scoffed at the thought of me adapting to live in the filthy shadows of the forest. That would never happen.
I went to swallow, but realized shortly after that my throat was dry. I reached over for the water that was left by me and took a large gulp of it. I nearly spat it out. The taste was horrible! Alas, I drank down to entirety of it as it fortunately quenched my thirst.
I looked back through the flap of the tent. This was my chance. She had absolutely no idea who I was. I twirled my fingers and willed a fireball to appear, yet nothing happened. What? After several attempts I fell back onto the blankets and let out an irritated sigh. What had I been thinking when I asked Rumpel to disguise me? This was probably the dumbest move I had ever made! Now here I was with an injured leg, weak body, and was nearly helpless without magic.
God damn those imbeciles not recognizing me as their Queen!
It was their fault she was in this situation now. She did have to give into the relief that at least her head hadn't been cut off. Who would have imagined? The Queen's head?
My eyes wandered over to the glistening metal of a sword. I could easily slit the deceitful little Snow's throat before she even knew what was happening. Unfortunately I had been too slow as the flap of the tent was pushed back. The younger woman entered in with two portions of food. I would have rather starved to death than eat something that she cooked, but my stomach failed to agree as a surprisingly lovely aroma filled the tent. I scornfully took the food from her and eyed anywhere but her.
"You're already looking much better," she said as she began to eat, "By tomorrow you should be well to go."
"We can't stay here. Sadly the rumors are true that I am not on the good side of the Queen."
My ears perked up at the mention of myself and I lifted my face towards her.
"I'm not very familiar with the entire situation. Care to elaborate?"
I was curious to hear her side of the story; it was probably beyond ridiculous. I watched her carefully, but her face remained stoic. After another bite of food went down she sighed and her face took on a mask of sadness.
"It's an awfully long story."
"I have time, it seems."
"Well alright then. I knew the queen when she was younger. She was very sweet to me and honestly I looked up to her as a mother. Since my mother died I didn't have really any motherly figures save for the maids, but they can only do so much. My father saw this and took it upon himself to make me happy by asking for her hand in marriage," she laughed lightly at some unspoken memory, "I can't explain to you how happy I was. Somewhere in between things began to fall apart. I should have noticed the change in her, but I was so young and didn't realize it until the last moment."
I kept my face neutral as I sat my empty plate to the side. It took me a lot of will not to correct her on so many things she had left out, but I had to keep my character. I was not Regina and therefore I knew absolutely nothing. By hearing what Snow had to say I could find a way inside of her heart and perhaps not take away her life, but destroy all that made her happy. This would be the perfect vengeance. Death would be the easy was out and I wasn't about to let her take it. I played the pawns in this game.
However, during her story I couldn't deny the strange ping in my heart that sounded when her face would light up whenever she would mention a happy moment. I was like a mother to her and that actually made her happy. Nevertheless, I knew this was just a mask that the princess had perfected over the years. She had most definitely told this story to many people she had come across in my predicament. It was the perfect way to gain people onto her side, but I would definitely not fall for it so easily.
"But I don't understand," I said, "why she wants you dead, dear."
Her eyes shot up at my use of the word dear. For a second there was a hint of recognition, but it hastily slid away when she realized who she was talking to. Wilma; an ordinary villager who had been stuck in the crossfire. I silently scolded myself that I should be more careful. I could not give myself away.
"That is where it all goes downhill," Snow replied, "She began to hate me. Every time I would try and converse with her it was shallow and dull. Her eyes were filled with hatred as if I had done something wrong, but I don't know what I did. I figured she would be happy to be by my father's side."
I had to resist the urge to roll my eyes. If I had the chance to go back and murder that man I would do it a thousand times over. He was a bitter, self-centered man that only cared about his own desires. I shuddered at the unpleasant memories of his sweaty body overtop of mine as I lay there, unmoving, and willing myself to go to another place away from that pain. I refocused on the woman's words and pushed aside those memories.
"My maid had woken me up one morning to inform me that my father was dead," tears welled up in her eyes, "I couldn't believe it. I had already lost my mother several years back; why was it fair to lose another? I was too foolish to not see who the actual killer was, but by the time I realized it, I was too late. The queen had already taken the kingdom under her control accused me of murder. My own father!" She wiped away a few lonesome tears that had escaped and looked away from my intrigued gaze, "I'm sorry. It's just that I haven't told this story to anyone in a while. Whatever I did to her, she hates me for it so much that she wants me dead."
I stared at her for a long time. Did she really believe that she was innocent? That she should be left to walk free? No, that wasn't about to happen. I should have known better than to think she would accuse herself for anything that had happened. Before I had another chance to comment she sat up and took my plate. When she came back to tended to my leg once again and commented that it was healing up nicely.
"Your fever has gone down too," she said when she placed a hand upon my forehead which made me flinch. The unknowing woman took it only as a sign that I was still in pain. "Get some more rest. I'm more than sure that you'll be fine in the morning."
She spoke this as she made up a spot near me and lay down. As much as I wanted to push myself away from the close vicinity I couldn't. She reached up and blew out a lantern that was hanging.
"I hope you sleep well; tomorrow we head out. Goodnight, Wilma."
I remained silent to her words and shut my eyes. I would get my revenge soon enough. In the meantime I had to build back up my strength and pick out every last weakness of Snow White. This was going to be a very uncomfortable journey, but interesting nonetheless.