Jimmie's hooves stomped rapidly on the cold, dry woodland grounds as numerous square inches of the woods were searched for Troy. Taylor held tight onto his reigns, constantly calling Troy's name. But there hadn't been one single answer from him. Taylor knew that it was too early to fear the worst, but it wouldn't be long before her concern got the better of her. She had seen the image of her brother in the mirror and it was far from pretty. It was still clear in her mind, seeing Troy collapsed in the snow and coughing. Even if it were something as simple as a sore throat or a common cold, Troy was still sick and needed help. He needed to be at home where it was warm and comforting. He needed a cold pack on his head if he had a fever. And he needed something to soothe his throat from all that coughing. But Troy couldn't exactly have any of that if he wasn't found. Taylor wasn't even sure how long she and Jimmie were searching for. The woods were a huge area and it was easy to get lost. Troy could be anywhere in there. And for a long time all the two of them saw were bare trees, a dark sky, and snow.
The scenery had changed very little. It was nearly the same sight over and over again. The most that was different were the way the trees lay from their roots in the ground, where their branches were and how they stuck out, and the amount of snow on the ground on each side of them. But they had still been seeing the same things. Jimmie had barely had a change in response to the sights. And he had kept his eyes out just as well as Taylor for anything. He knew what they were looking for. Even when Jimmie thought he heard something, his ears would twitch and his step would slow down a bit, in fear that it was a wolf after them. But luckily there was no such case. A few close calls, maybe, but no predators. They were safe. The question was, is Troy safe at all?
On the other hand, maybe it just wasn't wise to leave the castle alone, even if the Beast did release her. Yes, Taylor had Jimmie, but something in the back of her mind was telling her that it wasn't enough. Jimmie's eyesight and sense of smell as well as his overdeveloped hearing would be great assets to their search, but maybe a tracking dog would have been more helpful. They had a better sense of smell and hearing. They were more sensitive to the changes around them. Jimmie...well, Jimmie could be jumpy sometimes. Even when he squealed a few times those had all been false alarms. The little scaredy horse. Then again, maybe a dog wasn't necessary. There was a slight possibility that Taylor and Jimmie could find Troy no their own. Maybe they didn't need anyone else. Still, it would have been wise to start a search party. Maybe some of the servants in the castle knew what he looked like and could help her. Taylor almost considered going back and asking for help. But no; it was too late for that. She was already far enough from the castle and she wasn't about to get lost trying to find her way back.
It was a while before Jimmie stopped briefly to take a breather. Taylor didn't mind; he deserved it with all he was doing. She had even watched his reactions closely. If Jimmie saw something he would squeal and jump onto his hind legs while kicking his front ones. He'd do anything to get Taylor's attention if he saw something. But there was no such reaction. Maybe Troy was nowhere to be found. Maybe the wolves got to him first. Maybe he was already long gone. As predicted, after their restless searching for who knows how long, Taylor was beginning to lose hope. But when her horse started slowly walking again, he got her attention. Turning her head sharply, Taylor knew she wasn't hallucinating. Right there on the baron ground around what looked like some melted snow was an unconscious Troy.
But as Jimmie carried the siblings back to the village and their farm and Taylor began helping Troy into the house upon their arrival, neither of them took notice of the snowman that had been built at the side of the house and then slowly ripped apart moments later. That was the unnoticed sight of Ryan jumping out from his frozen hide-away and going to tell his sister the news.
Troy had no idea where he was or what had happened. The last thing he recalled was searching hopelessly through the woods to find a way back to the castle. It had been cold and dark. Mostly cold; the snow hadn't made his surroundings completely dark. But nearly everything became a blank to Troy. He tried to replay the events in his mind to the best of his ability. It was quite difficult with his pounding headache. He hoped it would end soon. And he was still so cold.... That's right! He had been in the snow multiple times. He recalled getting thrown out of Sharpay's and Ryan's home attempting to explain to them of the monster that had captured his sister. They were in the middle of some karaoke or party or something when he had gotten caught in Sharpay's typical innocence. She had acted like they would help him without hesitation, and then had some of her people or whoever they were throw him out.
What was this warmth? Something on him felt much better. He didn't know what it was. But slowly the icy feeling in his body started melting away. He barely felt it on his bare hands. What was it, fleese? Not flannel. Not cotton. Oh well, it was something soft and warm.
Then what happened? Oh yes, that was right. He spent quite some time planning to journey back to the castle and rescue Taylor from the Beast. He could remember the monster clearly in his head. Huge paws, tall muscular...very furry...body, sharp fangs, ugly snout, very vicious, cold and deceitful eyes...the image was just plain horrible. He had no idea what kind of torture that creature had been bestowing on his baby sister. Well maybe not baby sister, but he was technically older than her so could still see her as a baby sister. That's how it went with older brothers.
Look at this! He was unconscious and even then he was going crazy. Either that or back and forth between a crazy side and a more level headed side. What was wrong with this boy?
Now what was this on his head? It felt nice. Damp, but nice. He no longer felt the hindrance of a headache. The pain is gone! He felt so much better now.
The next thing Troy knew, his eyes began to flutter. Darkness continued to surround his vision and upon coming back into contact with reality he could feel a sense of light headedness. Must be the headache leaving, or at least he hoped so. A few moans escaped him, which normally for Troy was something he did when it involved a rude awakening. There was no rude awakening here; no loud alarm or roosters crowing or anything of the sort. His vision was blurry at first, the brightness of wherever he was conflicting with the darkness he'd been seeing for who knows how long. He had to blink a couple of times, also allowing his eyes to adjust to the vast lighting in there as opposed to the extremely dim lighting he had been seeing. And that's when he saw her - sitting right at the edge of his bed and replacing the wet cloth on his head for a fresh one was his sister.
Taylor smiled softly, unable to describe how relieved she felt that her brother was awake and looking better now. Well, maybe not back at top health, but he was still looking better than when she had found him. It was most likely that, although they had arrived back home earlier that day after throughout most of last night searching to find him and then traveling back home, Taylor had overreacted about Troy's condition. He was still cold from being outside so much and did have a slight fever, but his 'illness' was nothing to freak out about. It felt like nothing short of a miracle.
"It's alright Troy," she promised, taking a fresh cloth and gently rubbing it against his forehead to finish getting rid of the fever. "I'm home. We're both home."
Troy still looked exhausted after everything he had been through, but his eyes still lit up with delight just seeing Taylor not only by his side but away from the horrible monster and in one piece. A weak smile coming across his face as he tried to fully wake up, Troy tried to push himself to sit up on his bed.
"Troy lay back down. You need some more rest," Taylor urged cautiously, not wanting him to tire himself out already.
"Tay I'm just so relieved you're alright," Troy replied as he managed to sit up just far enough to wrap his sister in a...well, maybe not a tight hug, but a warm enough hug that he always loved giving her. "I missed you so much."
"I missed you too, Troy," she replied hugging him back gently.
"And what about the Beast?" Troy asked. He wanted to know everything that happened. He had to know how she dealt with it, how she made it out in one piece...everything. "Did he hurt you? Did he keep you in the dungeon? How did you escape?"
"I didn't escape," Taylor admitted, pulling away just enough to look her brother in the eyes. She actually had a smile on her face remembering the details. The Beast had been so kind just letting her go like he did. But he looked so sad, too. As much as she hadn't wanted to leave him Taylor had to for the sake of Troy. Her brother was more important than any other guy....
"Well then what happened?" Troy asked, wondering why all of a sudden she looked like she was on cloud nine. Who made his sister so happy? Was there another prisoner in the castle? Did the two of them hook up? Oh when Troy got his hands on that guy....
"He let me go," she answered, interrupting his thoughts.
"What?" he gasped. "He just let you go?"
Taylor nodded. The explanation was supposed to be simple but somehow for Troy it just wasn't sinking in. "He let me go. Just like that."
"But...but...but..." Troy was just at a loss of words. It didn't make sense. Alright he was no rocket scientist, he'll admit that, but he just couldn't understand how something as dangerous as that beast would just let her go.
"There's no buts, Troy," she giggled trying to get it through his thick skull. "He let me go."
"But...but...but..." he stammered again. "But...that horrible, monstrous Beast? He just...let you go?"
Taylor actually understood how Troy felt. Why shouldn't he be caught off guard by it, if nothing else? When Troy had met the Beast he was a prisoner. The Beast didn't care about what happened to Troy or who did what to him. And then he just threw him out to the carriage and forced him out so Taylor could stay in his place. The Beast was cold and heartless back then. And even though it was a short time ago, even if it didn't feel like it, Taylor had seen a great change in the Beast. She knew he wasn't like that. He was no longer the same monster they had originally met. Just because he looked like a monster didn't mean he was one.
"He's not like that anymore, Troy. He's different now," Taylor replied. "He's changed."
It was as simple as that and it was supposed to be. Even if Taylor could have a hunch as to the reasoning for the Beast's change, she highly doubted it was true. It couldn't have anything at all to do with her. She had merely been a prisoner there who happened to - what was the right wording for this? - get along with him. Develop a friendship. But even she could tell it wasn't as simple as a friendship. As much as she wanted to deny it, something inside of her was going against it. How she was even able to keep it all bottled up was incredible enough; numerous girls would probably be blabbing about it now trying to figure out their feelings. But let's be honest - this story doesn't really apply to numerous girls. The point was, her mind was saying one thing and yet her heart was saying something else.
Before Taylor could even begin to comprehend it, whether it be out loud or in her head, she and Troy turned their heads to her bag which had begun wiggling. That made no sense; all Taylor had packed in there was the enchanted mirror, she was sure of it. She hadn't felt anything move in there when she was riding on Jimmie nor at any point after putting it around her shoulder. So why on earth would something be in it now?
The answer had shortly arrived. The bag opened up and not only did the mirror slide out of it and onto the bed, but a little tea cup was spinning on top of it after tumbling out, appearing very dizzy. Now why would a tea cup be doing that?
Wait...talking tea cup...eyes on a talking tea cup...a smile on a talking tea cup... Oh of course!
"Look at that. A stowaway," Taylor stated, watching Donny hop across the bed and over to them. Wait a second...! Taylor's eyes widened as she looked at him. "Donny does your sister know you're here?"
"Nope. I told her I was gonna go find my clothes," Donny chuckled as he made his way into Troy's palm. "I'm on a super secret mission! Start your engines!"
"Wait, Gabriella doesn't know you're gone?" she gasped. "She's probably worried sick. You could get in trouble."
Troy chuckled. Yup, there she goes worrying too much again. Hey, it happened. "Tay calm down. He made it here in one piece. He's in safe hands." He looked down at Donny who still had a big smile on his face. "Hey there little dude. I remember you."
"Yeah! You're the dude the master kicked out for Taylor," Donny nodded.
Troy raised an eyebrow. "You sound different. Did your voice change?"
Well Donny's voice had gotten a little deeper. "Gabriella told me I might be going through," he let out a shudder, "changes soon."
"That means then it's time for a man to man talk about growing up," Troy realized. "And since I'm the only guy here that means I have to tell you about what to do when you-"
"Troy this isn't the time for a talk like that," Taylor interrupted him, not really wanting to hear it herself.
Donny turned to Taylor, forgetting about the whole 'becoming a man' deal and wanting to know something more important. "Taylor why'd you leave the castle? Don't you like us anymore?"
Taylor didn't expect Donny to understand. He may be growing but he did have some innocence of a little kid in him. Taylor had actually wanted to stay in the castle. She had gotten used to living there. She'd grown close to the enchanted objects and saw them as good friends. She had her own library where she had not only read a few books for herself but also taught the Beast how to read again. She got to dance with him and have the night of her life even if it was cut short. But...well you know how it is with family. That's what Taylor couldn't get out of her head. As happy as she would be at the castle she just couldn't imagine anything without her brother. The enchanted objects were amazing friends and close to feeling like family but they just wouldn't be the same.
"Of course I do, Donny," she promised. Now what would be a good way to explain this to him? "But it's just-"
She didn't get any further than that. Taylor took her eyes off of the boys and looked towards the living room and where the front door was. There was a knock on there; someone was outside waiting for them. Excusing herself, Taylor slowly got up from the bed and made her way out of the bedroom, through the living room, and to the front door. She opened it a crack at first. The only thing she could see through that crack was someone around her height or perhaps shorter with very pale skin. Raising an eyebrow, Taylor opened the door all the way. There was a large group of people outside with...torches? What was going on? Turning her attention back to who was in front of her house she was able to recognize the woman as Mademoiselle Kelsi. Taylor had barely seen the girl but knew it was her who ran the asylum. Oh no.... There was no way this was going where Taylor thought it was going!
"May I help you?" Taylor asked cautiously, knowing enough this time around not to jump to conclusions.
"I've come for your brother," Kelsi merely answered.
"What?" Taylor quirked an eyebrow, wanting to make sure she heard her right.
"I've come to collect your brother," she repeated.
"My brother? But why?" Taylor asked.
"Oh, don't worry about a thing. I specialize in helping his sorts of people. I know exactly what he needs," Kelsi replied. "I'll take good care of him." She stepped out of the way to reveal a wagon waiting in the middle of the mob. And even though Taylor couldn't read the entire writing on the side of it, she was able to make out one word that only confirmed her fears: asylum.
"My brother is not crazy!" Taylor gasped, stepping outside. "How could you even think something like that?" Clearly this woman had no idea what she was thinking. No one who ran anything just waltzed to their house and not only implied that Troy was crazy but also practically threatened to take him away and lock him in some...some...cuckoo hut!
Ryan took that as his cue to step forward. "We saw him before. He kept going on and on like a crazy person. We all heard him."
In an instant everyone echoed Ryan with a 'yeah' of sorts to show their support and agreement. And from the shadows of the side of the farm, Sharpay smirked. So far everything was going according to plan.
Taylor saw a few people jump out of the wagon, most likely ready to make their way through and get Troy. "No, I'm not letting you!" she insisted, stepping forward.
Troy poked his head outside, wondering what all the ruckus was about. "Tay?" he asked quietly.
Ryan noticed Troy slowly stepping out. As Ryan was the only one who knew where his sister was hiding out, he was able to look to her for a signal. Even though it was faint, he still saw her nod. He turned back to look at Troy. In Ryan's opinion, the angry mob was just a little too much. Maybe kind of over the top. Then again it was his sister they were talking about. But really, was all this necessary? Deciding it was too late to even think that this was a bad idea now, he decided to go along with the plan.
"Hey Troy, what about that Beast you keep trying to tell us all about?" he asked sarcastically. "Tell us more about the big scary monster. Just how big was he?"
Troy stepped forward. Oh man, now he had to try and remember everything! Could he even recall every detail of the Beast? "He was...he was..." he stammered.
"He was what? Come on Troy, we're all waiting," Ryan replied.
"He was enormous!" Troy exclaimed. "He had to be a good eight...no, more like ten feet!"
Ryan as well as the mob just burst out laughing. The only ones that weren't laughing was Sharpay and Kelsi. Sharpay, on the one hand, was trying to keep her presence hidden for the time being. She knew how to make her entrance and do it on cue. As for Kelsi, she merely raised an eyebrow. She said nothing or made any sudden reactions.
"Well listen to him! You don't get much crazier than that," Ryan laughed.
"But it's true!" Troy exclaimed rushing to try and tell the entire mob.
"Let's get him!" the baker exclaimed
"Wait, get me?" Troy gasped.
Out of the asylum wagon jumped a couple of men, most likely two of the many people that worked in the building itself. They ran over to Troy and each grabbed one of his arms. As much as Troy tried struggling he didn't stand a chance against either of them, most likely because of the experience the pair must have had from doing things like this so often.
"Hold on, let go of me!" Troy insisted. "Or at least loosen the grip on my arms, I need these to invent stuff!"
"Wait!" Taylor gasped, trying to stop them. She ran over and grabbed Kelsi's arm as she was about to head back into the wagon with the boys. "You can't do this!"
"I have no choice. It's my job," Kelsi replied simply as she managed to get out of Taylor's grip. "Just let your brother get the help he needs and let us do our job."
Sharpay smirked. Everything was going according to plan. Step one: involve Kelsi in her scheme. Step two: gather a mob together as soon as Ryan informed them of their return. Step three: have Kelsi take Troy away. Step four: Convince Taylor to run out of town with her crazy brother and never return. Step five: take over the town for herself...oh, with Ryan of course.
Stepping out of the shadows, Sharpay walked ever so innocently over to Taylor. "Well now isn't that just such a horrible shame? It looks like Troy earned himself a one way ticket to the wack shack. The poor guy."
As much as Taylor couldn't stand this girl, for all she knew Sharpay was the only one who could believe her. Ok, maybe not but it was worth a shot. Besides Sharpay had been the only one Taylor didn't see in the mob so she had nothing to lose. Anything to stop them from taking Troy to that awful place.
"You can't possibly think that Troy's crazy can you?" she asked.
"I don't know, I mean he has always been the odd one out..." Sharpay said innocently.
"He's creative. He has a big imagination. Even you can't confuse that with craziness right Sharpay?" Taylor replied hopefully.
That sounded an awful lot like an insult - or at least an implied one - to Sharpay. Stay calm Sharpay, she thought, just stick with the plan. The sooner she gets through it the sooner these nuisances will be out of her life.
"Well truth be told, there could be a little misunderstanding. I mean I'm sure it's not entirely Troy's fault people misinterpret him as crazy," she shrugged her shoulders. "I think I might just be able to get him out of this little situation. But there is one little catch."
"What's that?" Taylor quirked an eyebrow.
"If you and that brother of yours leave town forever and never come back," Sharpay answered, just enough to let her harshness shine through. As far as she was considered, it emphasized the seriousness of this situation.
Taylor blinked. There's no way she could have heard that right. "Come again?"
"One little word Taylor, that's all it takes. One word, one syllable, three letters, and your brother's back in the land of Sane Ville with you." The way Sharpay said that almost sounded like a threat.
Now as much as Taylor would have agreed to do anything for the safety of her brother, she knew she couldn't agree to that. If she said no then Troy would be taken to the asylum for sure, and for all Taylor knew she'd never be able to see him again. But if she did leave as Sharpay asked - using the word as lightly as possible of course - then where were she and Troy supposed to go? Surely they couldn't get back to the castle. And where else was there to go other than the woods? If they weren't attacked by wolves then they would most certainly starve or freeze to death. There was no way that could have been worth it. Plain and simple. Taylor's mind was made up.
"Have it your way!" Sharpay snapped, clearly not liking that this had not gone her way. She didn't understand; she always got her way. This wasn't supposed to happen. Why now of all times was she being defied? What the heck was wrong with this girl? Could she not take a hint? Oh how steamed Sharpay was right now! She stormed away from Taylor and walked over to her brother. There had to be some way around this. They'd need to think of a different plan somehow. But what? How?
"Let go of me!" Troy insisted, snapping Sharpay out of her thoughts. The blond watched as the men continued dragging Troy away. Actually it was quite a pretty sight if she did say so herself. He actually thought he had a chance of escaping.
Taylor for one couldn't watch this anymore. She quickly ran back into the house, knowing of only one way to get out of this. It was risky, but it was the only other way to save Troy.
"Tay!" Troy gasped. Where was she going now?
Seconds later, Taylor ran back out with the mirror in her hands. She wished there was another way but they just couldn't get out of it. "My brother's not crazy and I can prove it!"
Sharpay looked at her doubtfully. There was no way she could have proof of all this. Her eyes widened as she saw what Taylor did and what shortly followed.
Facing the mirror Taylor knew exactly what to do. "Show me the Beast!" She turned the mirror away from her when the glass glowed and when the light faded, all the townspeople could see in awe of what was on the screen. Surely enough it was the Beast that Troy spoke of. In the picture the Beast roared, though compared to the numerous roars Taylor had heard from him it was much more hoarse and weak. Taylor watched as everyone's looks went from awe to horrified. They were scared out of their wits. And right now Taylor was quite afraid to. She was afraid of how it would turn out because she revealed the Beast.
Sharpay's jaw dropped as she saw the monster. Something about him just seemed so familiar. Maybe it was the way all of his fur resembled curly hair so much. There had only been one time before that Sharpay had seen something like that. But no... No, it just couldn't be!
"Is it dangerous?" someone asked in the background, clearly frightened.
Obviously Taylor now had some straightening out to do. "Oh no, he'd never hurt anyone," she promised. There had to be some way to get them to understand. He wasn't who everyone thought he was just because of his looks. Taylor had known that better than anyone. "Please, I know he may look dangerous but he's really sweet and gentle."
Sharpay raised an eyebrow, looking at the image from over Taylor's shoulder. For the first time she didn't see an enemy in Taylor, someone who would steal he men or pose as a threat to her. For the first time she saw Taylor as an actual insane person. It was ridiculous. No, impossible. No, just...well it was a lot to take in. It was hard to believe. But really, who was this girl kidding? How could something like that be sweet and gentle? Maybe Sharpay should have risked throwing Taylor into the asylum instead. And just when she didn't think it could get any more insane, Taylor continued.
"He's my friend."
Now this was the perfect opportunity for Sharpay. She could most certainly use this against Taylor. Hiding a smirk, she raised an eyebrow and turned Taylor to face her.
"If I didn't know any better, I would think you had feelings for this monster."
Taylor backed away with fire in her eyes. It wasn't the fact that Sharpay had assumed Taylor did have feelings for the Beast that bothered her. As far as Taylor was considered…. No, she had no decent excuse. At least not off the top of her head. One thing she wasn't going to deny was that if anything else, she did care for the Beast. She cared about him deeply. But what Sharpay said...calling him a monster like that...how could she? She didn't know anything about him! She hadn't gotten to know the Beast like Taylor did. Every minute Taylor recalled spending with him since they had started to grow closer was just incredible. He reminded her nothing of a monster. She didn't care how vicious he looked, that wasn't him. He may have been a monster on the outside, but he didn't have the heart of a monster. Because a monster had no heart. Which is why the next statement had to have really burned Sharpay.
"He's no monster, Sharpay. You are!"
Sharpay scowled. That really got to her. How dare Taylor say something like that about her! There was no way she could get away with that! It was the most...the most.... She couldn't even describe how much she despised that comment. It took the meaning of annoyance to a whole new level. Now, people knew how feisty Sharpay could get. But there were two things that hardly anyone knew about the girl. Maybe Ryan, or at least had a faint idea of them, but only because he was her brother. But shortly enough, the entire town was about to learn the first hidden talent of Sharpay. But the first thing was first - if Taylor was going to go and just think she can get away with calling Sharpay a monster, then Sharpay would just have to ruin as much of Taylor's credibility as she could. And with her not getting much from the town from the start, there was no way it would be that difficult to wreck.
"She's as crazy as her brother," she sneered, snatching the mirror out of Taylor's grasp. Right then and there, she started saying anything that came to her mind when she thought of The Beast. Turning to the townspeople, she waved the mirror and spoke in a creepy yet very serious voice. "The Beast will come after your children. He'll make off with them in the night!" She watched as the children, all scared to death, gripped tightly onto their mothers' dresses. And completely ignoring Taylor's plea for her to stop, Sharpay continued. "We're not safe until his head is mounted on my wall! I say we kill the Beast!" She raised the mirror in the air and the townspeople cheered.
This was a side to Sharpay that few people knew about, and one that many were about to discover. She started out by going from group to group of the townspeople, listening to what they had to say about all this. First was what looked like an immigrant, most likely someone from Japan. The next one looked very much bald as he continued after the first man. The woman who followed looked like she was in her late middle ages, her blond hair tight up and in a funky pair of glasses. Rounding it up was someone who actually looked like a very dignified, very successful business type man.
"We're not safe until he's dead"
"He'll come stalking us in the night"
"Set to sacrifice our children to his monstrous appetite"
"He'll wreak havoc on our village if we let him wander free"
That was Sharpay's cue to take over. Everyone knew she was very much someone who wanted and enjoyed to take charge, and now they were going to see just how far she'd take it. She grabbed the last man's torch and strutted onto the stairs that let to the house's front door. Her powerful voice rang far above everyone else's, being the first hint that she had most definitely had something planned.
"So it's time to take some action boys
It's time to follow me!"
She then slammed the torch into a nearby bucket of water, most likely what Jimmie the horse always drank from. She continued to put her first hidden talent to work, placing the mirror in the pocket of the seemingly cute little jacket she had on. She crept in between the crowd and almost started going after Ryan. She had seen the doubt in his eyes; maybe it was the whole theory about twins being able to read each others minds, but one way or another Sharpay knew that Ryan had some idea that this was going too far. She could see his concerned look quite easily and knew that her every move was beginning to frighten him. But it was all to get her point across. She was not letting her brother turn his back on her now.
"Through the mist
Through the woods
Through the darkness and the shadows
It's a nightmare but it's one exciting ride"
Yes, Sharpay continued to go after Ryan. She was going to get this through to him no matter what it took. But would we even get to hear Ryan's thoughts on all of this? No; Sharpay was too busy poisoning everyone's mind with all of these stories about the Beast she was making up right on the spot. And they were hanging on her every word. She went after Ryan until she had him backed up to the house, where she then casually slipped her arm around who she'd often call her loving brother and pulled out the mirror from her pocket.
"Say a prayer
Then we're there
At the drawbridge of a castle
And there's something truly terrible inside"
She was most definitely having her suspicions about this Beast and where he came from. But that didn't stop her from continuing. She moved the mirror so the picture of the Beast was practically in Ryan's face. The sudden movements were oddly the ones that scared him rather than the Beast's picture. But Sharpay was so getting into this and getting her point over with the very catchy tune that she didn't even notice the crestfallen look on the Beast's face, and it most certainly wasn't from what they were planning.
"It's a beast
He's got fangs
Razor sharp ones
Killer claws for the feast"
She moved away from her brother and decided that if he wasn't going to listen to her then she wasn't going to bother dealing with this. She knew exactly why they had to go after the Beast now, but it wasn't because of all of these stories. She had her own plans in store. Moving back to face the village and swung the mirror around.
"Hear him roar
See him foam
But we're not coming home
'Till he's dead!"
Everyone was hanging on her every whim. Sharpay raised her voice even more, knowing that no one would be stupid enough to defy her.
"Good and dead! Kill the Beast!"
Taylor shook her head unable to watch all of this. She ran over to Sharpay and tried to get the mirror out of Sharpay's grasp. There had to be some way to stop her, there just had to be a way.
"No! I won't let you!"
Sharpay glared at Taylor and scowled. This was not a part of her plan. No matter how book smart Taylor was, she just was not smart if she was trying to fight Sharpay about this. Looks like she'd have to get Taylor out of the way first.
"If you're not with us, then you're against us!"
She pulled her arm away from Taylor quite easily, showing off that she had some strength to her and wasn't just a dainty little princess type girl.
"Bring the boy!" she called.
At an instant, the men who were hauling Troy into the wagon before brought him out and over to Sharpay just as she ordered.
"Hey, I'm practically the same age as her!" Troy gasped. Why was she calling him 'the boy'?
Sharpay snapped her fingers and then men dropped Troy in the basement, the place where he usually kept his inventions. Sharpay dragged Taylor over, grabbing her arm and having a tight grip on her. If this girl was smart like everyone else then the lesson would be learned not to get on her bad side. And oddly enough none of the men who thought she was so sweet and innocent were turned off by this. Yes, somehow they were still drooling all over her. She must have had a gift somehow.
"We can't have them running off to warn the creature!" Sharpay said, explaining as to why they were being thrown into the basement.
Taylor was putting up a fight to get loose of Sharpay, but Sharpay knew she didn't necessarily need brains or strength to outdo Taylor. In this case, she would barely be paying attention to anything. She was too preoccupied worrying about her little Beast. That's when Sharpay knew exactly what to do. letting go of Taylor's arm, she tripped her at an instant and Taylor slipped down into the basement.
"Let us out!" Taylor insisted as she tried pushing open the basement doors as soon as Sharpay slammed them in hers and Troy's face. But Sharpay had already found a way to block their only exit. Grabbing someone's sword which they had so conveniently attached to their belt, Sharpay began commanding the weapon with such skill. Everyone watched in amazement as the sword did as she pleased. They were now witnessing Sharpay's hidden talent: she was a bit of a sword master. She had her father to thank for that, insisting she do something with her free time other than shopping and singing. As an added bonus no man, let alone anyone in the village, would want to get on her bad side.
"We'll rid the village of this Beast. Who's with me?" she announced.
The townspeople raised their torches and echoed numerous 'I am's'. Donny slowly poked his head out from the door, watching with mostly concern the sight that was happening. He thought he saw them lock Taylor and Troy in the basement...but there was no way they could have, right? There had to be a way to get them out of there. But even Donny wasn't that reckless. He couldn't do anything until they were gone. All he could do was wait and hope that he could come up with a creative plan to get them out of there.
As for Ryan, he barely had any time to think in all this mess. He could see that Sharpay's...well, a lot about Sharpay, actually...was getting the better of her. If anything was Sharpay's biggest flaw, it had to be her passion. When she projected her voice the way she was doing now, it was filled with order and confidence but also with much passion. It was a very strong asset and perhaps her best one at that, but it was also her greatest downfall. She was letting that passion get the better of her and Ryan could see that. Why else would he be just watching with a dropped mouth still standing against the house and watching the whole scene in front of him?
But perhaps the only other person who wasn't reacting at all to this, whether it be by speaking, standing up, or anything, was Kelsi.
For those of the towns folk who didn't have their torches lit, others helped them and even went so far as to grab saws or pitch forks. Sharpay jumped onto the horse that she had brought and not only had the mirror still in her pocket but also the sword tight in her hands practically guiding the town's every movement.
"Light your torch,
Mount your horse"
"Screw your courage to the stinking place"
"We're counting on Sharpay to lead the way"
Yes, but as ridiculous as it all sounded it was very much true. Sharpay, on her trusty steed, began leading the folks towards the woods, quite confidently actually.
"Through a mist,
Through a wood,
Where within a haunted castle
Something's lurking that you don't see ev'ryday"
They began marching through the village and all the wives, old folk and children that stayed behind watching as the cavalry marched, secretly wishing them good luck for the upcoming battle.
"It's a beast
One as tall as a mountain
We won't rest
'Til he's good and deceased"
Everyone continued to follow to Sharpay, as they began to enter the woods. Sharpay seemed more confident than usual, knowing exactly where they needed to go. Everyone raised their torches and pitch forks, taking their role as an angry mob very seriously.
Grab your sword
Grab your bow
Praise the Lord and here we go!"
Sharpay swung her sword like it was a baton, keeping as strong a grip on it as she had since she had first taken it. Tugging on her horse's reigns, it neighed wildly and swung its front legs as it stood tall on its hind ones, most likely another way Sharpay was making sure to get everyone's attention. After all, she was dramatic. This was all a part of her job.
"We'll storm into the castle and take his head if we have to!"
In the meantime, with the one window that was down in the basement, Taylor was doing everything she could to open it. She knew that the basement doors were locked from the outside so there was no way they could get out that way. But the window was just as hopeless. That was merely there to let the light in and for decoration, but even if they wanted to open it that would usually have to be done from the outside as well. But Taylor didn't care; she just wanted to get out of there. She couldn't help but scold herself in her head over and over again for their current predicament, not to mention the one that the Beast would soon be in. Who knows what Sharpay was going to do to him?
"I have to warn the Beast!" she gasped, answering Troy's unasked question. She just knew that he had been watching her the whole time; she had felt his eyes burning a hole in the back of her head. She groaned and crawled down from the chair she was standing on and finally gave up on the window, almost reaching the point where she thought there was no hope. "This is all my fault!"
"You can't blame yourself like this, Tay," Troy said loyally as he wrapped his arms around her. He knew there wasn't much he could do and he knew that there had to be something going on between the Beast and his sister. And as much as he'd love to take this chance to pull the overprotective brother act and ask question after question, he just knew that it wouldn't do any good.
Taylor sighed heavily and just let Troy hold tightly onto her. Maybe that's what she needed more than anything right now. "Troy what are we going to do?"
Troy tried to think. Ok...the monster that had held Troy captive earlier was in trouble and Taylor was begging him to help save him. This was an odd twist of events. Then again, maybe there just just an odd family.
"Don't worry Tay. We'll think of something."
What neither of them knew was that Donny was standing by the window and just barely managing to hear ever part of their short-lived conversation. His face fell as he turned away from the window, thinking at first there was nothing he could when he turned around his face lit up. Yes, yes there was something he could do! He could turn this around. He was the optimistic youngest one of the enchanted objects! And boy did he ever have a plan to get them out of there.
One word: catapult.
The mob continued making their way through the woods, practically between half way and almost at the castle now. Sharpay had to have known some sort of shortcut on how to get there, as neither Troy or Taylor had even been able to get there so quickly when they entered. They were still chanting their mob song and jumping over small creeks, running around trees, and even ripping apart a few vines that managed to grow in that particular area just to get to the haunted castle.
"We don't like
What we don't understand
In fact it scares us
And the monster is mysterious at least"
Together, a small group of axe men began chopping down a tree, followed by a larger group sawing down the recently broken down tree and making it into one large log. As soon as the tree was chopped and sawed, most of the men began carrying it towards the castle as Sharpay continued to lead the way and lightning struck in the sky, a sure sign that a storm was well on its way.
"Bring your guns
Bring your knives
Save your children and your wives
We'll save our village and our lives
Let's kill the Beast!"
Lightning struck once more and Gabriella watched as Jason paced around the space between her, Zeke, and Boi.
"I knew it!" Jason sighed heavily. "I knew it was stupid to get our hopes up. What were we thinking?"
"Well maybe it would be better if she didn't come at all," Zeke responded stubbornly folding his arms. Normally he'd be the one trying to help them think positively. But now he'd either finally given into the fact that the spell never be broken, or he was trying to pull some kind of reverse psychology on them, mainly Jason, and see if he'd put up a fight over it.
Boi's head snapped over to the large window of the room they were in, hearing something from outside that wasn't just the storm. Barking loudly, he began scratching on the window. Anything to get their attention.
"Could it be?" Zeke gasped, turning to the window, now beginning to get his hopes up about what Boi saw outside.
"Is it she?" Gabriella exclaimed just as hopefully. She followed the boys over to the window, wishing that it was Taylor rushing back to the Beast and help break the spell.
"Sacre bleu! Invaders!" Zeke's mouth dropped, being the first to see an angry mob storm to the front doors of the castle.
"Big dummies!" Jason added, unable to think of a better word. Well, they had to be if they were coming to the castle and trying to tear it down or something. Come on, what did they ever do to these guys to make them attack in the first place?
"And they've got the mirror," Gabriella noticed, just as worried as the boys. She could see Sharpay leading them still on her horse, and the mirror was sticking out of her pocket as clear as day. But the how the heck did they get it?
"We gotta warn the master! If it's a fight they want, then it's a fight they'll get," Jason said, looking incredibly serious for the first time. He even pounded one of his fists into the palm of his hand for emphasis, unaware that the others were already making their way out of the room. "Now who's with me?" Jason yelled confidently, knowing that his friends had to be behind him. But as soon as he turned around, the door was slammed and he was left in the room alone.
Outside Sharpay jumped off her horse and a harsh drizzle began to brew. The torches may have been going out but everyone still had the pitch forks and the giant tree log with them. And now that they were practically at the front doors ready for their first attack, Sharpay took that moment to make something perfectly clear.
"Take whatever you can find in there. But remember, the Beast is mine!"
And when she said the Beast was hers, she was not kidding.
Inside in the main hallway where the start of the date surprisingly not too long ago had taken place, nearly all of the objects were marching down and heading to the front doors. Martha led them, and although she was normally a very passive person and always chose brains over brawn this was an exception. The castle was being threatened and everyone was chipping in to do their part. None of them were letting that mob get into the castle!
We go marching into battle
Unafraid although the danger's just increased."
As for the mob outside they were practically now taking their stand at the castle's doors to make their first move. More lightning flashed in the sky and when Sharpay gave the signal, the giant log was raised.
"Raise the flag
Sing the song
Here we come, we're fifty strong
And fifty Frenchmen can't be wrong
Let's kill the Beast!"
And just before any of the enchanted objects could touch the front doors, they stopped dead in their tracks hearing a powerful pound against the door and almost seeing it move. They were here!
Gabriella made her way into the West Wing cautiously moments later. She spoke quietly, not wanting to upset the master as anyone could clearly tell that he was hurt.
"Excuse me, master?"
The Beast had his back turned to her, his body practically hovering over the table where the magical rose was. There was no way he was going to turn to face anyone now. He didn't need to deal with anyone right now. And now all he could do was watch as the petals of the rose continued to fall.
"Leave me alone," he muttered, clearly giving her the message he didn't want to see or talk to anyone.
Gabriella couldn't stand to see him like this. But as much as her, or any of the other servants, would love to take the time and figure out how to cheer him up they just couldn't afford to. And the Beast had to know what was about to happen.
"But sir, the castle is under attack!"
The mob pounded the log against the door, continuing to try and break it down. And yet they continued to chant their little mob song.
"Kill the Beast!
Kill the Beast!"
And inside every enchanted object that had gotten to the front door had their backs up against it, doing the best that they could to try and stop the door from falling. But even if every single object in the castle go together it would most likely still be impossible to stop it.
"This isn't working!" Zeke moaned, being the first to confess the truth. He knew it wasn't being very helpful, but it would be even less helpful if they broke the doors down from the outside, leaving all of the servants crushed under the heavy wood.
"But Zeke, we have to do something!" Tiara gasped, being one of the objects at the top of the blockade. She had a very worried look on her face, knowing as well as anyone else that if the entered the castle then everyone would be in trouble. And yet somehow, Zeke knew exactly that Tiara was thinking that. His face lit up just thinking about it. Maybe that's exactly what they needed to do!
"Wait, I know!"
Two more pounds came from outside, the tree really beginning to make a crack in the strong doors.
"Kill the Beast!
Kill the Beast!"
Back in the West Wing the Beast continued to caress the rose's container with his paw ever so gently. It was the only thing that was probably keeping him alive right now, even if that was being unintentionally over dramatic, and he didn't dare say anything. So what if there was a mob out there? What difference would there be if there wasn't? It wasn't like he had any will left. He just couldn't feel anything. So it would be useless to do something about it.
Gabriella looked at him concerned, and although she was worried about the master she was even more worried about her comrades downstairs and what they must be going through. Sure, they were safe for now, but what would happen when they couldn't hold off that group outside any longer? They were in danger and the master didn't seem to care at all. How were any of them supposed to get through his thick skull?
"What should we do, master?" she asked softly.
The Beast took one look at the rose and saw it was down to its last petals. There was hardly any time left. There was no one there to make anything better. There was no one there to make him feel like he wasn't some sort of monster. And with the mob out there it only made him feel more dangerous and monstrous. He would never do anything violent to them, not now. But what good would it do anyway? There was no hope. There was nothing left to live for. He was at his last rope and he had given up all hope. Taking his eyes off the rose, he just stared at the drizzle now becoming more of a pouring rain outside and tuned out the outside world.
"It doesn't matter now. Just let them come."
And by that time, the door was almost completely broken down. There were a good two or three more smashes against the door before any results came from it.
"Kill the Beast!
Kill the Beast!
Kill the Beast!"
And the next thing the mob knew, the doors and opened and all the lights were off inside. Nothing had broken down but there was no need to force themselves in anymore. All was quiet and lightning began to constantly flash outside the castle. It was always a sign that a big battle was about to begin. But none of them took any notice to that. There was only one thing that mattered now. They knew what they were there for and they knew what they had to accomplish in their stay. It was all coming down to this. So much anticipation was filled just watching the silence of the castle inside.
So the next thing they knew, they were in.