When Rumpelstiltskin reached King Maurice's castle, he’d not even knocked. From the moment the first knock sounded, he’d disappeared...
Heh... bunch of...
The maiden whom filled his visage at that point was the same who’d summoned him...
Fool! he heard in his head.
How was he to know he’d come to the aid of King Maurice’s daughter...?
What was her name?
Suddenly he felt a soft flutter... somewhere in the vicinity of his heart.
He’d never felt that before... not even with Milah.
A visage of a dark haired vixen came flooding into his memory.
Rumpelstiltskin shuddered. What the blazes had he been drinking that night?!
Rumpelstiltskin’s attention was once again turned back to Maurice’s daughter.
Suddenly just staring at her, at her flawless form and beauty, it felt as if someone had clenched both his heart and his stomach, beating them both like a drum...
He would not leave here without her...
“Well, that was bit of a let down”
He smirked from his perch on her father’s throne.
She whirled around to meet his gaze, and suddenly Rumpel felt as if he’d just been gobsmacked.
Beautiful...Stunningly ethereally gloriously...
“What are you doing here?!” Maurice bellowed, his facial expression betraying his disapproval of the impish Dark One on his throne.
The maiden blanched.
Rumpelstiltskin looked to her, and then realized. Maurice did not know that she had sent him a message.
Indeed he had received two.
One from Maurice’s foolish posse, and another from his beautiful daughter...
This could go well...
“You sent me a message” Rumpel said, winking at the girl. She gulped, a pleading look in her eyes, as if out of fear...
This intrigued the imp. What could the fair girl be afraid of?
“Help...Help... Can you save us?” he mimicked Maurice, while out of his well-honed peripheral vision, he noticed one of the knights, tall, dark and fair, coming toward him with a sword.
Tsk tsk... none of that, m’lad
“The answer is...” He paused dramatically, slapping the sword away.
Rumple noticed the girl heave a sigh of relief.
He took a quick glance at the boy...
Oh no... that would never do...
“Yes, I can protect your little town” he continued crowing at Maurice, sure to glance at the Princess in turn.
“For a price...”
Maurice huffed. “We sent you a promise of gold”
Rumpelstiltskin had to keep himself from snorting.
“That won’t work, ye see... um...”
“I make gold” the girl rolled her eyes. Rumple tried not to snicker as she scowled at the knight.
Rumple grinned with glee.
“No, ye see... I want something a little more...special...”
He walked around the throne room, aware of Maurice’s and his daughter’s every move. He was also aware of the knight standing a little too close to his prize...
“My price...” he paused for effect, as if thinking.
“Is her” he pointed at the Princess, who looked both shocked and relieved all at once.
I was both a little shocked and greatly relieved when I heard his voice coming from Father’s throne.
I had not yet told Father of my summons to the Dark One.
I loved my father, ... but honestly... his taste in men...
From the minute I met Gaston, I’d wanted him beheaded.
We were in the stables, and he had had the nerve to dismiss my maid and stableboy offering to
‘give me a hand’.
His had wandered near where he shouldn’t, and before I rode off, I’d shoved him in the stall.
We’d been at war ever since. Me with words, and him with boundaries.
I couldn’t tell Papa... in waiting for him to be punished, Gaston would punish me...
So, I decided after the Ogres had come, why not kill two birds with one stone?
I could save my village and our people, and be rid of Gaston for good...
Little did I know, that little bit of magic came with a high price...
“The lady is engaged, to me” Gaston growled, threatening Rumpel again with the sword.
“I wasn’t asking if she were engaged" Rumple nearly scoffed.
“I’m not looking for... love" he drawled, then looking back at the princess with a smile.
“I’m looking for a caretaker... for my rather large... estate" Belle was surprised.
She was no stranger to hard work, though, she was used to helping the servants with their tasks.
Just what did the Dark One expect her to do?
“I forbid it!” Gaston roared at the same time Maurice shouted “No!”
“As you wish!” Rumpel shrugged, pretending to walk towards the entrance hall.
Belle panicked. Surely he wouldn’t...
“Wait!” she called.
Rumpelstiltskin turned, a curious little smile on his face.
“Wait” she said as he came back to her.
As he stood before her, she could see up close whom it was that would take her away from her childhood home, possibly forever.
The tales about Rumpelstiltskin all depicted him in a dark, evil light... deformed and full of dark evil magic.
As Belle stood near him, she saw a man. The man before her yes, was odd looking, stringy hair, greenish gold tinted skin, and strange amber looking eyes.
His teeth and nails were slightly offsetting, but that didn’t make him evil.
She suspected that what made him seem that way was his temper. She had a feeling that there were many a man and woman willing to make deals, but weren’t willing to pay their debts. That in turn would make anyone angry.
Suffice it to say, he was different, but he was handsome in a strange sort of way.
Now you’ve done it you miscreant... Refuse...and refuse NOW!
And if I don’t, dearie? what will you do? You yourself stated that you wouldn’t leave until you made a deal, why not for her? She could be useful...
This Rumple reasoned as his heart started thumping again.
“I will go”
“No!” Gaston growled, furious that he would lose his bride to a reptilian freak.
“Belle!” Maurice cried mortified, having heard the tales. To wager a deal with Rumpelstiltskin meant sure and sudden death.
When Rumpelstiltskin heard her name, Belle, he nearly melted into a puddle of goo at her feet.
Keep it together you ninny! the voice snarled. It wouldn’t back out now... but it was sure this girl would be its undoing...
“It’s forever, dearie” the imp warned, giving her a chance to draw back if she wished.
He could see in her dark blue eyes, she was desperate.
“My family, my friends... they will all live?”
Rumpel was shocked. Despite his harassment of her, she was still willing that her Goon would live? what a remarkable lass!
“You have my word” he vowed, bowing slightly.
“Then you have mine” Belle answered, returning his bow with her curtsy.
“I will go with you... forever” The gentleman side of the imp was surprised and empathetic. However, the dark side was ecstatic with joy.
“Deal!” Rumpel squealed, then giggled, wanting to jump up and down for joy.
Belle raised an eyebrow trying not to smirk. Just what were Rumpelstiltskin’s intentions...?
“I forbid it!” Gaston shouted again.
“Belle... please! you can’t go with this... Beast” Maurice scowled.
Rumpel feigned a shocked gape of hurt pride.
“Father... Gaston” she tried not to glare at her betrothed. If he thought he had a chance to intimidate her now, he had another thing coming...
“It’s been decided.” she took a deep breath to calm the fluttering in her stomach. She was really doing it! She was getting out of here!
“You know,” Rumpelstiltskin said, unable now to stop his impish side from gloating. “She’s right”
“The deal...” he said, loud enough for her lummox to overhear. “is struck”
Belle wanted to laugh, cry, hug the imp anything... any seemed highly insulting and improbable...not to mention unladylike.
With more gentility and care than he’d expected, Rumpel placed a hand on Belle’s lower back, guiding her out of her father’s palace.
It was unlikely she would ever see it again...