Chapter Three: Rumpelstiltskin
Rumpelstiltskin offered his arm to King Maurice's daughter with mock politeness and led her out of the room. She stayed silent and did not question, but Rumpelstiltskin knew that she was most likely wondering how they were going to get out of the castle. He, of course, knew that it wasn't going to be a problem, him being the Dark One. He had already used his mind to put a protective shield around the castle.
As soon as they stepped outside the castle, Rumpelstiltskin could already see the difference from the scenery that had been outside earlier on. The soldiers and ogres had disappeared - no traces of blood or any other indicator of a battle remained on the ground. One ogre was wandering around with a confused look on its ugly face, but Rumpelstiltskin snapped his fingers at it, and it shriveled away into dust.
The black carriage was waiting inside and Rumpelstiltskin motioned for Belle to get inside before him. Then he got in and they were on their way. The entire ride back to the Rumpelstiltskin's castle was silent. Belle didn't look like she were interested in talking with him, and Rumpelstiltskin didn't feel much up to talking, either. He felt a little awkward as he watched her looking despondently out of the window on her left out of the corner of his eye. He had destroyed her dreams, taken her family and friends away from her.
Why did he feel guilt? He was the Dark One - he shouldn't feel like this. He should be glad when he did something to get what he wanted. He had given up everything for this. What was happening to him?
To get his mind off these uncomfortable questions, Rumpelstiltskin continued to study Belle out of the corner of his eye. Her blue eyes were glazed over in contemplation, her petite face resting on a pale arm as she gazed into nothingness out the window. A lock of her brown hair had fallen onto her face, but she hadn't noticed it yet. Rumpelstiltskin had to admit to himself that she was beautiful, perhaps even more beautiful than...
No. Rumpelstiltskin shook himself out of his reverie with a scowl on his face. He couldn't go back to those painful memories. Not ever. He had his deals to think of...his things to look at and treasure. A silly girl shouldn't muddle his brain like this.
"Are we there?" her voice was filled with so much loneliness, pain, disgust, and despair all rolled into one that the ice on his heart almost warmed again and Rumpelstiltskin had to take a hold of himself before he could answer her.
"Yes." He tried to snap at her, but he couldn't.
He swung himself out of the carriage and didn't try to help her out. Once Belle was standing next to him, Rumpelstiltskin snapped his fingers at the carriage and the horses turned around and began trotting towards their hidden stable.
Belle followed him, trying to catch up to his long stride as he led her into the Dark Castle, through a few doors, up a staircase, and through more doors.
|Entering the Dark Castle|
"Where are you taking me?" Belle finally broke the silence as they left a finely-furnished room and entered into a plain stone corridor.
"Let's say - Europe," Rumpelstiltskin answered her back, sarcastically. He was still trying to get a hold on himself again, and he found that getting back into the sentiments of the "Dark One" was helping him. So he opened the first door that they came to and stepped aside so that Belle could look into her new room.
Rumpelstiltskin felt his old strength coming back to him as he saw the shock on Belle's face. The room was scantily furnished, and while it was a lot better than any servant's quarters, it was a big downgrade from a princess' room.
"My...room?" Belle faltered.
He gave her a quick shove into the room, closed the door, and locked it. With a laugh that he had heard an old peasant woman describe as "so creepy it gave her the chills", he realized that he was back to his old self again. With growing pleasure, he strode away from the locked door. He would let the wench out later.
"You're not going to leave me in here!" Belle's gasp was muffled quite a bit by the thick door. "Hello? HELLO?"