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Beauty and the Beest

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The year seventeen sixty-seven, in a small kingdom several days journey from Paris near a small town, Yang Xiao Long was celebrating her eleventh birthday. She came strolling down the stairs fashionably late with finesse and style as her father had taught her. He knew the disadvantages of a powerful female ruling instead of a male and prepared her as best as he could. As always, all eyes were on her. Her long, flowing golden hair that reached her lower back as she walked with elegance. Her golden colored dress sparkled in the candlelight of the chandelier. Even though it was a Masquerade Grand Ball, everyone could tell who the important people were, Yang most of all. For those who didn't know it was her, they could tell through the mask, her bright lilac eyes shone through the eye holes. Of course, it didn't help that there was a small town nearby so it was hard to find people important enough to attend.

The estate was inherited from her parents, a transfer of land, supposedly from a debt. Even at Yang's young age of eleven, she was rearguard as a princess, not queen yet. Her castle was no more than thirteen years old, renovated when she was just two for a newer style her parents bought for her as a birthday gift. As she walked down the stairs, candles were lit as if to guide her way down the grand staircase. Everyone fake smiled as she passes and she waved at them tauntingly. They were jealous of her, wealth, beauty or power. It mattered not the reason why.

They all moved aside to make way for her. She was predicable and everyone knew where she was headed. Who wouldn't want to meet up with their friends? She caught up with her group who all curtsied and bowed. “You know there's no need for that guys.” She gave a false chuckle.

“Our apologies Your Majesty, you are queen after all.” Spoke the younger sister.

She rolled her eyes at her sister. She didn't see her at first. Her friends simply died inside hearing her voice. “There will be none of that from you Ruby. You are my half-sister and you better act like it. I'm not of age yet, still a princess, for now.” She scolded. “You look lovely this evening, Princess Rose.” She complimented. Raven, Yang's birthmother went off to war to fight for the kingdom. Yang doesn't have a single memory of her or knows what happened to her. If something did, she wouldn't hear about it until she was on her death bed.

Ruby Rose was dressed in a scarlet red gown with shades of black. The young girl is two years younger than Yang. She loved to match her hair with the color her dress. Everyone in the kingdom loved Ruby, her vibrant energy, her innocence and how she treated people with kindness and compassion. Even Yang knew everyone secretly wished Ruby to be queen. To publicly speak so, would mean treason, punishable by death. If people knew the truth or Yang let it get out, the throne really would belong to Ruby. Her dad made her swear to keep it secret and to keep Ruby innocent. Yang sometimes wished Ruby was properly groomed and pauper to take the crown so she could be the one who was loved, adored and acted how she wished.

Yang gestured behind Ruby as there was a knight who everyone knew protected the princesses. The white bodyguard waited patiently behind the crowd in her usual corner. “Don't look now Ruby, but there is a knight who wishes to ask you for a dance.”

“Happy Birthday Yang.” She curtsied to send her farewell. Ruby turned with a bright smile on her face. “Weiss!” She nearly ran to the girl.

“Princess Rose.” She bowed with a smile before Ruby could hug her.

“Weiss.” She whispered. “There is no need for that. Nothing is going to happen to Yang nor I with you around.” The young princess grinned.

“I was simply bowing to ask you for a dance, just one as I must return my post.” She smiled. It was obvious to everyone she would protect the sisters, but it was obvious Weiss loved Ruby romantically and she would protect Yang because it was her obligation. Ruby eagerly returned a curtsy and took her hand and was led to the dance floor.

Yang continued chatting with her friends in some petty conversation. “Oh I know, the baker can never seem to get the butter rolls quite right.” She leaned in for a whisper. “And you heard about Mrs. Valkyrie? Can you imagine have origins in Germany? I can't imagine not being pure French. Even Italian or Greek would have been better. And her fiance, can you imagine marrying an pure Asian? Small in statute, stamina and small below the waist.” They all giggled. She was tired of all the birthday wishes and all the average looking males and females trying to gain her favor.

“Don't get me started on Madam Nikos. She's Greek, but she's from Sicily.” Miltia added.

“The redheaded stepchildren of Greeks. A literal red-head.” Yang followed up. “Speaking of step, too bad most of these people can't stay in step.” They laughed her her terrible pun.

“And we all know Ruby is only your step.”

“A step in the wrong direction that is.” Yang joked pleased to see her friends laugh. It wasn't funny but they were being polite.

“I'm getting a refill. Please excuse me.” Velvet excused herself from the jokes and the bad talk about Miss. Rose. She liked Ruby and wished she was on the throne instead.

“Ugh. A woman with no confidence. That's what bothers me the most.” Yang stated annoyed.

“Tell me about it. I'm half tempted to slap her and make her stop. I know we've been friends for years, but it's about time to stand-up.” Melanie, Miltia's twin stated.

“More like step-up.” Yang joked.

“Good one. Speaking of men with no tastes, here comes one now.” She raised both her eyebrows indicating that a certain someone was approaching. Yang sipped her drink prepared to splash it 'accidentally'. She turned feeling a tap on she shoulder. She was a klutz and spilled her orange looking drink on his white tux. Her friends tried to hold back a laugh by covering their mouths. “Ah, Monsieur Torchwick, please excuse me, I did not see you there. I am so sorry, you started me.” Her friends laughed even harder. She wipe it with a cloth, only to rub it in deeper attempting to make it permanent on purpose.

“I just got this cleaned.” It was an inconvenience. “But it is no matter, I have many others and because you are the birthday girl I'll allow it.”

She changed the subject. “How may I assist you this evening?”

Roman has been an acquaintance of the family and owns an area of nearby land, smaller than Yang's own, but the amount of people he could provide for armies matched her own. They might, might be able to go up against French leaders if they strategize correctly. Before Yang's father died and her step-mother disappeared, they made it so Roman and Yang are arranged to be married. The contract validated and the ceremony is to take place when Yang becomes of age in three years, void when she turns eighteen or married to someone else. The only way for her to not marry Roman would be under extreme circumstances and she was not allowed to marry anyone else before hand. Roman is only a few years older as opposed to a much older man she would normally be matched with. It was no secret Yang preferred women, but ones surrounding her were plain and she would be expected to consummate an heir. She didn't want to give birth to children but didn't mind them otherwise, but could only be around them for a few hours as she grew impatient with them. Ruby being the only exception as she helped raised her. “I was hoping you would accompany me for a dance.” He reached out his his white gloved hand.

She returned with a curtsy. “Of course.” She turned to her friends. “Please excuse me.” They laughed when the pair walked away. “You know I hate dancing. You literally could've asked me do anything else. I hate interruptions when I just want to talk to my friends.” Any other time, she would have said no and if he kept insisting, she would have poured her drink on him like before.

He waited until most of her drink was gone before asking for this particular reason. “I understand. I just wanted a chance to be your first dance without a drink being spilled on me, but it wasn't the face or the top of my head this time.”

The song was halfway through when Yang felt another tap on her shoulder. She turned and found Shay D. Mann or Shady Man, as some called him. The friend of the family who handles all the family's shady business deals, trade deals and keeps secrets, secret. He was still in training and he is good at what he does. He must have returned from spying on the Spaniards. Their monarchy and the English are France's greatest threats, mostly the English which is why he is the ambassador for the Spanish. They were always fascinated by his dirty blonde hair. She was grateful for the interruption. “Ah Mr. Mann, how are you this evening?” She offered her hand and he bowed kissing the back of it.

“I was wondering if Your Highness had time if we might walk through the garden.” That was code word for 'I'm here to save you' or 'something important needs to be brought to your attention'.

“But it is raining cats and dogs outside.” Roman argued. “I mean without the literal jumping of dogs and cats this time because they hide on rooftops and whatnot.” He nervously laughed.

She completely ignored him. “Of course.” She turned to her fiance. “Please excuse me.” She was all too smug with herself and was led to the covered balcony instead, by someone she didn't mind. He was her confidant. She didn't completely trust his mentor as much since Yang and Shay grew up together and he served her needs, she trusted him more than his mentor and he knew how she operated.

When they were out of earshot, he started explaining the situation. “I am very sorry to interrupt her Highness from her special birthday dance.” They laughed as it was a pleasant interruption. “I saw your hand signal but there is a reason I requested to speak to you. You have nothing to worry about.” He assured seeing her expression. “The Spaniards are currently occupied with going to war with England over the queen hiring a pirate to do her dirty dealing. None of it confirmed as of yet, just talks of war. We maybe able to snatch a victory with England after they have been beaten and Spain's influence in England also weak from war, but that is for the monarchy in Paris to decide. This may affect you with more land and whatnot, but that could be years down the road, if it happens at all. More disturbing however, three old, haggard, homeless women on their way here. I have no idea what they want and doesn't look like they'd hurt a fly.”

“Pfft. Why are some old ladies coming and interrupting my birthday?” She nearly yelled the last words then a thought crossed her mind. “We're in the clouds, how do old women get up here anyway? It is raining, thundering and lightning. Lightning is the only thing lighting up the sky. No pun intended.” She had to specifically say that so he didn't fake laugh out of respect. They both thought about it and Shady Man did not want to come up with a sarcastic obvious comment to antagonize her, he already lost a tooth that way. “Hm.” Yang thought for a moment thinking as she needed to be cunning to continue her reign, not impatient. “What do you think about present time? Completely ignoring them with sounds of laughter and cheers?” She suggested.

“I would very much enjoy that Your Highness, however, they will be here any minute.” He had a worried look on his face.

As if on cue, there was a sound at the door that echoed throughout the room and the entire ballroom came to a standstill. Yang growled at the interruption stomping toward the door. “Who dares intrude on my birthday!?” She nearly flung the doors off their hinges. “Can I help you? I'm kinda in the middle of something.” She snapped wanting to get this over with.

In front of her were three short, scurvy ridden, wrinkled faced ugly women with hardly any teeth and the ones they did have were rotting. One dressed in all red, another in blue and the last in green. “Would you be willing to offer shelter to poor from the summer storm?” The red one asked kindly.

“Tsk. Why would I do that?” She glared. “What can you offer me in return?” She felt all eyes on her from behind. How she acted was a pivotal moment in her reign, ever moment was. She was judged all the time. Something her father wanted to keep from Ruby as well.

“Please, just for a night.” The blue requested. “A simple rose is all I can give.”

“Rose? A rose? All you can give. Ha! Ha-ha!” Yang sneered. She turned to her guests with a roaring laugh and all her guests laughed with her.

“Do not be fooled by appearances for beauty is found within.” The green one warned.

She slammed the door in their faces having enough jokes. The doors flung open leaving everyone in shock. The women let themselves in and they towered over her revealing themselves to be fairies. Yang's eyes went wide realizing her mistake and immediately fell to knees. “I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.” She tried to apologize.

“It is too late. If anyone wishes not be on receiving end of this curse, they will leave.” The red one stated. All the guests left the party in a hurry not looking back.

“No, wait please don't go.” Yang tried to get up and follow them, but found she couldn't move. The same could be said for her servants. “I'm sorry. Please stay. You can have anything you want-.”

“Silence! There is no love in your heart. You have been deceived by your own cold, bitter heart. Are you really surprised no one stayed?” The red fairy said raising her wand to enacted a spell.

Yang looked around and sure enough she was alone. “Please, I'll do anything. I'll give you a place to stay for as long as you wish-.”

“Silence!” The red one demanded. “You will be punished for your behavior. We are placing a curse on you and your household.

“No!” Ruby ran in front of her sister. The spell magic infected her instead of her sister. Ruby Rose transformed into just that, a rose, buoyant in the air.

“Ruby!” Yang cried.

“Beauty on the inside and outside.” The blue one gently picked up the enchanted rose.

“Be careful with her!” Yang shouted.

The blue one raised her wand again.

“What did you do!?” Weiss went to attack the fairy, rapier in hand. She turned into a mirror, set gently on the ground as not to shatter.

“Reflecting what others see. Inward and outward beauty alike.” The blue one stated. Shay D Mann tried to use a bow and arrow for a sneak attack and was transformed into a gargoyle to guard the palace from the outside in the garden by the green fairy.

The green turned back to the blonde. “Without further interruption, you will transform into what others see you as. You servants will transform into what you see them as. If you can learn to love and earn love from a beautiful virgin before your twenty first birthday, before the last petal falls, the spell will be broken. If not, the transformation is permanent.” She paused. “Your sister will die.”

All time stopped in Yang's heart. Ruby will die? The fairies raised their wands and used their magic to transform her servants into what Yang saw them as, objects. She turned into what they saw her as, a beast, a dragon. A mythical ferocious creature with an insatiable appetite for power, greed known as being monstrous. She roared like a dragon rather than human at the magic flowing through her. The curse was cast over the land. The sky grew dark, cloudy with thick fog. The people outside the castle lost their memories and the people inside could not leave. No that is would matter as the objects couldn't move, could not talk and everyone who saw them would think they were antiques. Yang wouldn't want the world to see her like this. The fairies vanished and the rose was held in Yang's claws.

Yang gently held Ruby up and placed her in a glass case to protect her in Ruby's room. “I'm so sorry.” She cried to her sister. Ruby could send a whisper of her voice.

As the years went by, she lost all hope, travelers had come, but just as quickly, they left . They weren't beautiful and most weren't virgin in their age. She was more attracted to females, but even now she wouldn't be picky. The land was dark all the time, only lit by the moon and it was clouded with thick fog. Even Ruby was wilting now. “Ruby, I'm trying to fix this.” She slowly paced. “I'm not so sure I can. I'm so sorry. I promise I will do everything I can to break the spell, and when I do... I will you give all the cookies you want, even past throwing up as long as you're safe.” She had travelers come, but they never took anything and left without a trace. Being nice didn't seem to help as they thought everything was prepared by magic.

The rose glowed a little bit more trying to cheer up her sister, but she was weak and even Yang could see her glow was fading. She could no longer whisper like she did before.

She had a full body mirror in the room, Weiss. Yang could see her reflection. She had changed over the years. She was much taller now. Yellow scales covered her body, orange spikes grew along her back, her teeth white and pointed instead of dull, two long pointed curved horns on her head grew to a sharp point behind her, sharp claws instead of hands, and a long tail that dragged across the ground, even two stumps were starting to form in her back. The only thing human about her, her eyes. Even they switch from lilac to red, not quite slits instead of pupils...yet. She hung her head in defeat as she always did. There was no way anyone, especially a beautiful virgin would break the spell, even if they did come.

Her servants, they all turned into lifeless furniture. They couldn't talk. Yang was trapped in a big, empty, lonely castle with her thoughts and consequences of her actions at every turn. Her thoughts were dark, what did she have to be happy or celebrate? In nearly a year, she would be twenty one. Ruby would die and the curse would remain permanent.

Chapter Text

Blake Belladonna, or as people called her, Beauty, was living the life of luxury in Paris. She had five older siblings. The oldest, Yatsuhashi, Bolin, Sky and two sisters, Cinder and Emerald. Her father, Ghira worked as a merchant. Since he was hardly home, she would help him out around the house. Her sisters treated her as a servant rather than an equal. She was the talk of the city. She was loved and adored by everyone, everyone but her sisters. They were jealous of her beauty, intellect and popularity. They were pretty, but couldn't hold a candle to Beauty. She was kind-hardhearted and didn't like being social but made the most of them. Beautiful on the inside as well as the outside. She had long, flowing ink colored hair, pale skin, long slender legs, though they were hidden in long dresses, a beautiful hour glass figure and a plump rear. Most captivating about her features were her gorgeous amber eyes.

Her father, Ghira Belladonna was slinking home from his shop. The six foot nine towering man with a patch of dark chest hair and with trimmed sideburns a long trimmed, triangular shaped beard and golden eyes rimmed with sadness and disappointment. Beauty went out to greet him and was taken back by his slumped stance. “Papa, what's wrong?” Concerned eyes staring into his as they sat outside.

Tears filled his eyes at his shame. “Beauty, I'm so sorry.” He sobbed in his hands.

She held as much of him as possible. She stood at five feet four inches. “What is wrong, Papa? Why do you weep?” Her voice kind and concerned.

“I... I lost everything. All our money the estate... everything is gone.” He continued to sob. “The bank will come to take everything away by the end of the month. Too many bad investments.” He shed more tears. “I can't even provide for my family. Everything... lost at sea. All our fortune, gone.”

“Oh Papa.” She held him. “As long as we have each other, we will endure.” She assured him.

Ghira shared the news with his family. The boys protested believing there was a way out this and to fight. His two eldest daughters did nothing but whine and complain about moving to the countryside and being poor. His didn't want this either, unable to provide for them.

“No father!” Emerald whined tears filling her eyes. “I will not accept this! I refuse!”

“We don't have a choice!” He growled not liking this any more than she did. “Unless you want to marry rich and raise your station.” His voice firm and unwavering.

“...No, father.” Emerald's head hung low, accepting defeat reluctantly. Cinder knew it was futile to argue even though she hated it just as much if not more.

“Beauty.” Her eldest brother Yatsuhashi knocked on her bedroom door.

“Hello Yatz. How are you today?” Beauty loved talking her brother. He was mature and kindhearted, similar to her but stern. Being in charge of spoiled siblings, he had to keep them in line. Their father and her brother were her best support. She could talk to him about anything. He was quiet in front of the others, but with Beauty, he opened up and talked more. He wasn't as tall as their father, but he still had growing to do. With his broad shoulders an demeanor, he looked like a hero.

“I am doing alright. What I would like to know, is what my little sister is doing.” He knew she already had some type of plan.

“I don't know what you're talking about.” She smiled to hide the lie. She knew her brother knew when she was lying but she already knew how he would feel if she told the truth.

He raised an eyebrow. “Don't give me that.”

Blake sighed. “I am going to be selling things I no longer want or need to keep us afloat for as long as possible.”

“You my dear sister are too kind for your own good. These are your things. Keep the money of what you sell and use it for emergencies. You know how our sisters are. They find out, they will keep it for themselves.”

“Oh shush you.” She playfully smacked his arm and they both laughed. “That is cruel to say. They, like us, haven't matured yet. They will learn.” She refused to say anything bad about a single soul.

“My dear sister.” He facepalmed. “I know you want to see the best in people, but they are truly vipers. Always be careful of snakes in the grass.”

“Yatz.” Beauty warned but wore a smile. “That is enough.” She played ignorant when it came to others flaws, but she really did see the best in people. “Is that all you have? Feel free to leave and show yourself out.” She joked.

“Just heed my warning, sister. You have too kind a heart and I fear it may lead you to trust someone you shouldn't. Just...be careful.”

“I will.” She smiled at her brother.

Beauty and her brothers sold most of their things. She couldn't help but feel her older brother had persuaded their brothers and even argued with their sisters. Sky was more of a cowered and through he hated this more than any of his brothers, he wouldn't stand up him. She helped her father set things in order to just essentials. Her sisters needed the most convincing and she tried to reason with them. They refused to sell their dresses and jewelry, compromising was out of the question. The two hated Beauty that much more as Yatsuhashi agreed with her and would not budge. Their father was not as strict as he should be, too caught up in his fail. The oldest sister, Cinder, had hair that was long and dark. She usually wore scarlet red clothes that brought out her amber eyes, eyes darker than Blake's own. Emerald, the middle sister, had dark hair like all her siblings, her eyes a darker gold color. Her chest size was bigger than most and she complained the most.

Beauty hated her sister blamed her for their father and brother picking sides. She would attempt to apologize and make it up to them only to be shot down and interrupted. Her father assured her not to worry and they would adjust. Her brother had her back. He explained his reasoning, why Beauty was right and forced them to reconsider. She teased her brother about his harsh but effective methods.
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Her siblings complained the entire several day trip, her sisters, the worse offenders. Beauty tuned them out with a good book as there was not much else to do but take in the landscape. She wasn't particular on reading, but the environment sure looked pretty. Her father had managed to shut them up just long enough he wouldn't lose it. Being the oldest, Yatsuhashi learned to tune them out as well and his demeanor was similar to Beauty's with her patience level. He was quiet and had the patience of a saint. He was about taking action.

They arrived at a humble cottage after a week long trip. It would normally count as three days but the sisters were making it difficult turning it into a week long journey. “We're living here!?” They shouted in shock.

“Yes.” Ghira nodded. “It is a farm house big enough for all of us.”

“It's so small.” They complained.

“Now, there is plenty of room for each of us. The inside is bigger I assure. The boys will have the barn and two girls will have to share a room while the other gets the smallest room.”

“Beauty can have her own room.” The sisters agreed as neither one could stand her.

“That's very kind of you.” She smiled at them with kindness and sincerity. Yatsuhashi gave her a look and sighed. “I know.” She whispered. “It's still nice of them.” He groaned in his throat so the others wouldn't hear.

After a few months, her father and brothers were acquainted with the town as they still continued to call her Beauty. Her sisters did nothing but complain about being poor and it annoyed her to no end. She dealt with it by helping her father around the house, they were gone for hours at a time. Her brothers were a helpful getting odd jobs where they could and being charming as to marry richer. That was the goal anyway.

“Beauty, come, I have great news” He sat everyone in the living room. “There is a shipment I invested in. It's on its way to the harbor. With this, I can turn our fortunes around.” They clapped and cheered but none more than her sisters. “I can bring you each something back from my trip.”

“O-o. Dresses and jewelry!” They exclaimed compiling a list.

“Horses and swords to hunt with.” Her brothers agreed.

“A rare rose father.” Beauty humbly asked.

He smiled at his youngest humble request. He went right somewhere with her. Maybe it was Kali's spirit in her. “I will be gone for a few days. I will leave first thing in the morning.”

Everyone but Beauty were all too eager to send him out the door. The boys taking about winning a fair ladies hand in hunt and the sisters talking about marring the rich men with their charm. Even her eldest brother was guilty of this, but he was put in charge and able to control the usual madhouse.

Chapter Text

Ghira had to come home disappointed that his shipment was a repossessed. He would come home with nothing. He had invested his savings toward this shipment of goods only for it to be taken to pay his debts. He was riding his Clydesdale, Ozpin, when they had gotten lost in a forest. The forest was dark and misty. It almost seemed like it was midday an hour ago, only for it to turn to night. From the clouds he could see a storm blowing in. He saw a palace rising towards the sky and decided to seek shelter. He tied his horse in the stable and rushed inside just as it was starting to pour. The gargoyle outside scared him slightly but it did not deter him from entering the manor.

“Hello?” He called out. “I am but a humble weary traveler seeking shelter from the storm.”

In the shadows, a dragon was watching from behind the door and let him in. Where did Yang know this story before? A weary traveler seeking shelter from a storm or the cold. She decided she would let him stay as others before and quietly sulked to her room as he continued to walk forward.

Ghira heard some scattering about and went to investigate. “Hello?” He called out. In front of him, there were plates of food on a long dinning table. “Thank you.” He said to whoever or whatever mysterious forces were at work. He eat the bountiful meal only guided by dim candles and mostly ate in the dark. He went upstairs for a place to sleep. He saw claw marks leading to the left and instead went to the right. There was a door open with a candle glowing from it. There was an empty, opened chest in front of the bed, he thought nothing of it and crawled into the squeaky bed, slightly dusty and went to sleep.

When he woke the next day, it still looked dark outside. He wasn't sure how long he slept. The storm was over and he decided to leave. Before going out, he saw a rose bush in the courtyard. The fountain was marble and there was a female knight delicately detailed pointing a rapier. He felt like the statue was directly pointing at him with a solid stone stare. He felt a shiver go down his spine, but determined to appease his favorite daughter and picked the most beautiful rose. He gasped and trembled in fear as a monstrous beast appeared with roar landing in front of him. In the moonlight, he could tell it was a dragon. Sharp pointed scales with long pointed horns and sharp pointed teeth. It wore tattered clothing only staying on, somehow.

“First you trespass then you steal from me. I'm going to kill you!” She roared with scarlet eyes.

“No, wait please. Have mercy.” He begged and made himself seem as small as possible as he cowered in fear. Even at his height, the beast towered over him. “It's for my youngest daughter. Please don't kill me. I have six children at home, three son and daughters.”

The beast stared into his yellow eyes seeing fear and sorrow that was too familiar. She decided a different fate was in order. “Fine.” The beast huffed not really meaning to kill. “I will spare you, but in return, you or one of your daughters will take your place and live here. You have one week to decide. Whoever it is, they will not know of our arrangement. If it is one of your daughters, she will marry me. That is the exchange for the precious rose.” She waited for a response and he only shook waiting for her to continue. “There is a chest in the room you stayed in. Anything you like in my castle, put it in the chest and take it home, gold, jewelry, dresses or whatever else. If something were to happen to you, they can still survive.”

“Thank you for your show of mercy.” He cowered. Ghira went back inside and put three dresses he found that might fit his daughters as well as swords for his sons. He filled the chest with gold and accessories. He carried it on his horse and headed home. He didn't like the idea at all. One of his daughter's marrying a creature... A monstrous dragon.
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The dragon turned to the mirror after the figure left. “Don't look at me like that, Weiss. I did what I had to. I wasn't going to kill him. Look at the bright side, he has three and he'll only lose one if not himself.” Though she couldn't react, she could feel her scowl. “I know it's still wrong.” She sighed. “But he needed to be taught a lesson. Besides, with any luck, we may be that much closer to breaking the curse.” She tried to be optimistic then despair took her. “Like she could ever love a beast like me, she's probably not even pretty or a virgin knowing my luck.” She glanced at Weiss. “Don't look at me. I don't want your pity. I did this. This is my fault and I'm trying to fix it. I have been for nearly ten years. You have been encased in the form of a mirror to reflect what you see exactly how it is trying to protect Ruby. It's my fault we're in this mess. I'm trying to fix it.”
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Ghira was able to sneak in and hide the chest in his room without his children noticing. Beauty noticed the Clydesdale outside. “Father?”

He smiled hearing her voice. “Beauty.” He went to greet her.

“Father!” She smiled brightly upon seeing him as they embraced each other.

“I got you something.” There was sadness in his smile as he presented her the rose.

“Papa you have returned!” Emerald, Cinder, Yatsuhashi, Bolin and Sky rushed out to meet him. “Where are our dresses and jewelry?” They asked impatiently.

“Our swords and horses.”

“I'm sorry.” He closed his eyes shaking his head. “The shipment was taken because of my debt and that was our savings.”

“No!” They cried. “What about our money?”

“Taken, I'm afraid.” He couldn't keep the sadness hidden.

“I'm so sorry father.” Beauty held him.

“There's something else. Boys, leave us.” The boys left, Yatz glaring at them for scoffing at their father's failure. “Girls, it is time one of you must be married off.” He regretted.

“Father?” They had questions in their faces. “We need money and I am ashamed to say marriage is one of best options available.”

Beauty could tell in his eyes something wasn't right. “Father, what really happened?”

“Nothing for you to be too concerned over.”

“Papa.” She warned.

He explained with a heavy sighed. “On my travel home, I got lost and since it was about to storm, I sought shelter in a castle. I thought it was abandoned, but it was home to a dragon. I picked a rose for you Beauty so you wouldn't be disappointed. It nearly killed me for trespassing and stealing a rose until we made a deal. In a show of mercy, instead of killing me, one of you go will in my place and live with the beast and marry.”

“Father...” Beauty bowed her head hugging him.

“Beauty should go. It's her rose.” Cinder and Emerald agreed.

“That's not fair.” Her father argued knowing his youngest wouldn't fight back. “We need to talk about this as a family and come to an agreement.”

“It's my fault you are in this situation.” She said near tears.

“Beauty no, that's not fair. I don't want to lose any of you.” He whispered close. “Least of all my youngest daughter. You remind me so much of your mother. I don't want to lose you.”

It brought a smile to her face then sadness. “It's my fault you're in this mess. If you didn't pick the rose I asked for, none of this would have happen.”

“It's not your fault I got lost.” He held her cheek.

“Let us slay the beast father.” His sons offered. They weren't supposed to be part of this.

“No boys. You will surely die. This beast is a dragon. It is even taller and far mightier than me. You will not slay it. It will kill you.”

“Father, please. No one will be taken and it is the best option.” Yatsuhashi explained. “It's the best way to save our sister.” He knew Beauty was determined and too kind for her own good.

“It is not the safest option. I don't want to lose any of my children but if you go after it, you will die. Now, leave us.” They turned away in nger and disappointment and he talked to Beauty alone. “Are you absolutely certain?” She nodded sadly. He sighed heavily and embraced her. “It takes three days to get there and we'll go.” He hugged his little girl and they cried with each other. He didn't want to let his favorite daughter go but she was too selfless and would feel guilty if someone else went in her stead.. “I love you Blake.”

She sniffled and cried more hearing her birth name. “I love you Papa.”

Blake sadly went into the house and packed her belongings of things she might want or need to comfort her. A room away, she could hear her sisters arguing about who was going to take her slightly smaller room. Cinder pulled the age card and Emerald brought up the fact Cinder would marry before she did and would be gone sooner. She had all her things packed, including the rose. She decided she wouldn't need anything from her father's chest that he showed her alone so no one could fight while they were away. She eased herself onto the horse with her father in front of her and trotted to the castle. The sisters were overjoyed watching her leave.

Chapter Text

Blake felt her nerves sparking upon approaching the castle. The structure itself seemed intimidating. The first thing she noticed was the tall iron gate and a stone gargoyle in the front. The eerie moonlight shining perfectly upon the stone constitution completed the touch. The fact it seemed like it was in the sky on the side of a mountain made it worse. “Papa, wasn't it daylight an hour ago?” She asked not feeling any better about this.

“Yes Blake. I'm not sure when the last time the sun has risen here, if ever.” He knocked on the door. The large dragon head shaped knocker resounded throughout the building, echoing inside.

The monster came to the door, purposefully staying out of the moonlight. “Good of you to honor our deal. Would you like to come in before you leave, sir?” A deep voice spoke.

“No, I should be on my way.” If he were honest, he was nervous. The beast threatened to kill him last time. He wanted to be out of there but his daughter... He hugged and kissed his daughter's forehead goodbye. “I love you Beauty.”

“I love you Papa.” She returned the kiss to his cheek and embrace him tightly remembering him in memory.

It almost warmed Yang's stone heart to see. She let them say their goodbyes and he rode off. “Beauty is a fitting name for you.” She opened the door all the way letting the woman inside. “I'm Yang Xiao Long.” She reached out a single digit.

She inhaled taking it in her hand. Her father had warned her the beast was a dragon. Her bothers would be easily slayed if they fought. “Blake Belladonna.”

“You have a fitting name.” The dragon thought a moment. “Blake as in black, such as your hair and Belladonna, beautiful woman.”

“You know other languages?” She asked surprised. “Yang Xiao Long, roughly translated into... light or sun dragon.”

She gave a smile with no teeth. “Sun dragon, and hardly, I know some rough translations.”

“That explains your dragon form, but not the sun.”

She sighed heavily. “You are mistress of this castle. I am but your humble servant.” She bowed taking her belongings. “I'll show you to your room.” She took her up the stairs and to the right or east wing.

“Does the sun shine here?” Beauty asked.

“No.” The dragon shook her head. “It hasn't for nearly ten years.” She replied sadly.

“Why is that?”

“You are very inquisitive.” She felt her anger rising. “I don't want to answer all your questions in one evening. You should rest from your journey. I imagine you are tired. You will be staying here for some time, after all, not forever I assure you.” She led her to the spare room. “This is your room. Feel free to do or change anything you want.”

“Thank you, Yang.”

She smiled hearing her name and gave a small bow of her head. “You're welcome, Blake. I'll give you a tour after your rest. Please call if you need anything.”

She nodded with a smile then remembered that this is the beast she was supposed to marry. She was curious about the wedding that was supposed to take place but not eager to marry a hideous creature. The castle was dark and it was hard to see except for the moonlight.

Yang went to Ruby's room across the way. “Hey Ruby. I wanted to update you. The guest that I was talking about all week, she's here. She is the most gorgeous person I have ever seen... I mean other than you in a sister way.” The rose sparkled a little bit. She hardly had any petals left. Her once bright glow was dimming. “Her name is Blake Belladonna, black, beautiful woman. Black like her hair, bright amber eyes, I mean wow. They glow in the dark. The tops of her eyes are darker almost like a burnt orange and the bottoms a bright yellow. If there's anyone who fix this, she can. I told you I would try everything and I will.” She paused for a moment. “I really miss you. I mean miss hugging and holding you. Sometimes I wish you would've left me, but in some messed up sense I'm glad you're here. You're the only one I could talk to and get some response.” She sniffled with tears in her eyes. “I can't lose you Ruby. I promise I will do everything I can to make sure you can eat cookies again.” There was a faint sparkle. “I'm sorry about everything. This is my fault and it's up to me and hopefully Blake to undo it.” She heard footsteps creaking away. “I'm gonna go, she's probably hungry.” She pulled her head out of the door. “Blake?” She called out.

She almost didn't recognize her name with how little it's used. “Yes?” She questioned back fearing that she was caught listening.

“Are you hungry?” She asked hopeful.

She felt a weight roll off as she wasn't reprimanded. “I could eat.” In reality, she was starving but wouldn't give Yang that satisfaction.

Yang walked out smiling. “Don't go into that room. If you do, I will eat you.” Her eyes narrowed threatening yet not meaning a word of it. Blake heard the warning and didn't need any more convincing as they walked to the dinning area. “Allow me to make you something.” She walked ahead to the kitchen.

“Perhaps I could-.”

“Ow!” Yang yelped in pain. “That's my tail.” She held it in her hands with hurt in her eyes.

“I'm sorry-I didn't mean-.” She was taken back by the dragon's laugh.

“I'm sorry... I couldn't help myself.” Yang apologized. Blake chuckled nervously. “I'm sorry I haven't had a guest in years and I would like to try to make the most of my time.”

“I get it. I under-.” She stopped herself not really understanding. She wanted to be left alone most of the time.

“Don't worry about it, you got the tail end of the deal.” The dragon smiled. Blake groaned in response to the pun. Yang pulled out a chair. “Please sit.” Blake sat down and the dragon pushed the chair closer to the table. Yang reappeared later with a bowl of soup, salad, warm bread, roast and a slice of chocolate cake.

Blake was amazed with all the fancy silverware and plates of food. She wondered what a large table might've been for if guests weren't around, or how everyone just stopped visiting or what exactly happened. There seemed to be more light than before. Still, she couldn't completely see the beast.

“Tell me about your family.” The dragon requested breaking the silence.

She was a little reluctant to talk, but she seemed kind and didn't mean harm. “My mother died shortly after I was born. My father was a merchant in Paris for many years. We moved to the countryside after too many bad deals. I would help my father around the house. I have two sisters, Cinder and Emerald and three older brothers Yatsuhashi, Bolin and Sky.”

Yang smiled seeing her eyes light up the way she was talking about them, even if she didn't go into details. She's glad she met Blake and not Cinder or Emerald. She didn't talk bad about them, but she was struggling to find their good qualities. She also recognized a certain sadness, missing someone.

“What about your family?”

Yang winced then shook her head coming out of her thoughts. She didn't feel like going into her life story, but Blake deserved some answers. “My birthmother disappeared shortly after going to war to defend the kingdom and hasn't been seen since. My mother, Summer, disappeared without a trace, my father died shortly afterward. It's a long story and we'll have time for that. There's actually something I wanted to ask you.” The dragon walked her way over to her. “I know I'm hideous, ugly and monstrous-.”

“There's worse humans out there.” She assured. Yang smiled.

“Blake, you are the most beautiful woman I have ever met. In all honesty, I am infatuated with you. Your dark and long hair, and how it's complimented with your bright, beautiful amber eyes. The pale complexion on your skin in the moonlight. You are the most gorgeous person I've ever seen. Blake,” She got on one knee presenting a black box. “Will you marry me?” She revealed a bright sparkling diamond in a golden wrapped band.

Blake stood up knocking her chair back as she was taken back. She didn't expect it to be like this. It was all gentlemen like. The dragon has been kind to her but she could reject right? What's the worse that could happen? “I can't...this is...this is way too soon. I can't.” She almost stared to run.

“I understand.” She closed the box and stood up. “How about a tour?” She changed the topic of conversation.

“Sure.” Blake was a little taken back about how well she had taken the rejection. She wasn't expecting the dragon to take it so well.

“This is the main entry way.” She clapped her hands together twice and the entire area was lit with candles including the chandelier. Blake felt it was nice not to stumble in the dark anymore with only the moonlight shining through the windows. How they all turned on at once, she was amazed and determined to find out later. Yang turned before Blake could see how truly hideous she was. “It's a cool magic trick I learned from a friend. His name is Lumiere.” She shrugged. “Over this way, is the room with the fire place and some kitchen cookware. Opposite is the show room. Over here-.”

“Wow!” She gazed in amazement. “I've never seen such fine carvings.” She brushed her hand against the cylinder support of a wall feeling every curve. “The details are amazing. Such fine craftsmanship. You can literally feel the art work.” She complimented.

“It's Rococo style, fairly new. My mother and father had it remolded years back.” She said sadly wishing she would've appreciated it then. “I was two when they had it renovated as a birthday present.” She had cried, whined and complained about the expensive redecorating because the old white walls were boring, or so Qrow her.

“Your parents had fine tastes.” Blake smiled at her.

The dragon smiled back. “Up the stairs.” She took the others arm to help her not fall. Even Blake's fingertips brushed over the fine details of the rail. “Right is the east wing, left is the 'forbidden' west wing. Ahead is the ballroom. If you're impressed so far, wait 'till you see this.” She opened the doors and clapped her hands together. The candles and the chandelier lit up. Many windows leading to the outside balcony, a second story on the top. It was absolutely huge. She turned seeing the area around her trying to take everything in. The designs on the walls were absolutely gorgeous. “There's the balcony where you can stare into the stars. And this,” She pointed open palmed all around. “is the ballroom.”

Her voice snapped Blake out of dreamland. “I have no idea how to dance.”

Yang froze. “A beautiful woman like yourself doesn't know the art of dancing?” It was unbelievable. A crime against the angels themselves.

“No.” She shook her head. “When my father was wealthy, I didn't care for parties, dancing, social settings or anything like that.”

“I could teach you after you get settled in a few days, if you wish.”

“I think I'd like that.”

The corners of the dragon's mouth turned up. “There's a door below the stairs and a room on the left side to get to the courtyard. Please let me know you wish to explore before you get lost in the maze. I don't have the map on me at the moment. I'll leave you be for the rest of the evening. Please let me know if you need anything.” She walked out and slunk back to her room.

Beauty decided to turn in for the night. While sleeping, she was visited by three fairies. They told her she will be rewarded for her sacrifice. They wore red, blue and green nightgown looking dresses. They looked mature but young and had a mystic aura about them.

In another dream, she was visited by a beautiful blonde woman with lilac eyes. “Why did you reject the marriage proposal?”

“We only just met.” She told the princess. “I don't see her as anything more than an acquaintance. I can't marry the beast. I don't love him.”

Him? Ah geez. “Give the dragon a chance. It's what's inside that matters.”

Chapter Text

When she woke, she did a little more exploring as Blake thought the princess was trapped somewhere in the castle. She clapped her hands to have the candles light her way through the darkness. There hasn't been any exterior light, only the moon, and fog. The fog seems less dense than before but still lingers. She explored an area she hasn't seen before. Above the door, it said Beauty's Apartment in bright gold letters. She stepped inside and was greeted by a library of books. Her eyes were wide in amazement. There was a harpsichord near one corner. She learned to play when her family was rich and could want for nothing. Next to it, were music books. She opened a random book on the shelve and the first page where the words were written: 'Welcome Beauty, banish fear you are queen and mistress here. Speak your wishes, speak your will. Swift obedience meets them still.' She knew what it meant. “I wish I could see my father. I miss him.” She heard a noise and on the harpsichord, she found a mirror. She gazed into it and saw her father on the front steps. He looked down on his luck and depressed. It tugged on her heart stings to see him this way. She sniffed the air and could smell breakfast being made.

She went to the dining area where the meal appeared before her. She heard heavy steps in the kitchen and the dragon appeared. Blonde hair disheveled, grumbling and groaning about Beauty being an early riser while she was still half asleep. “Good morning.” She said to her guest letting out a roaring yawn facing away from Blake whose eyes shot up when she breathes fire.

“Morning. Do you mind turning on the candle, it's hard to eat in the dark.”

Yang slunk over grabbing a three ponged candlestick and placed it by Blake. She used her fire to fight it and went back to her seat. Yang was too tired to process much of anything. “How'd you sleep?” She bit into a piece of bacon.

This woke Beauty out of her surprise. “Well...the bed is quite comfy and there's hardly any dust. How do you manage to keep the palace so clean?”

“I having nothing else to do with my time and I tried to have the place ready for you when you came.” She carefully strung her words together.

“How did you sleep?” She asked unsurely.

“Uh...” She was frozen for a minute unsure of what to say. “Pretty good. I just struggle to get out of bed in the mornings.”

“Why's that?” She had no idea where this sense of concern was coming from.

“I stay up late and sleep when I want. I haven't had a proper guest in nine years so it's something to get used to again.”

“You said I was a guest and that our arrangement wouldn't last forever. What do you mean by that?”

Yang shot up in surprise nearly slamming her silverware down. “Geez! You ask a lot of questions.” Her fingertips rubbed her head. “I mean technically you can leave whenever you want to. It'll just be for nine months. After that, you can freely leave.”

“Then why ask me to marry you?”

“Dang-gum woman! You are going to be the death of me. Curiosity killed the cat and the cat killed me.” She continued rubbing her head. “Look, I've been bored with no one to talk to for the past nine years. I'm in the presence of a fair lady. Can you blame me for wanting the company?”

“Maybe I could help if you told me more. I'm a quick study.” She assured her. Blake wanted to get out of there and back home, the sooner, the better.

“It's nothing you can help!” She shouted angrily slamming her fists into the table. She didn't have the amount of time it would take for Blake to fall in love with her, if at all. She's nearly hopeless. She felt she was unworthy of love, especially from someone as beautiful inside as she is outside. “I would appreciate if you would drop this matter. Please excuse me.”

“Yang I-.” Blake wasn't sure if she wanted to see the beast snap by adding a clever comment 'You said I'm Queen and Mistress here. I deserve answers'. Deciding not to, she dropped it. “I wanted to thank you for the apartment you set up.”

“What apartment?” Yang asked confused and stopped in her step.

“The one with the gold lettering that says 'Beauty's Apartment'...” She dropped it as the dragon was even more confused.

“I've lived here for twenty years and I have no idea what you're talking about. Please excuse me while I tend to the garden outside. I may be in the hedge maze. Call if you need anything.” Yang got up from the table and started walking along the pathway outside. She used the bucket to fill up water from the stone statue. After watering the flowers, she continued to the hedge maze. She knew where she was going by now as she used it to clear her head. She tried to get lost on purpose being lost in her thoughts but always knew where she was.

Blake decided more exploring of the manor was in order as there were doors along the hallways to the wings. She didn't give up on finding the princess who spoke to her last night. Even the basement and cellar were clean. They didn't show any sign of age. There were no spiders or cobwebs like one would expect. She felt out of her element as she helped her father around the house and there wasn't much for her do, except reading. She didn't have a problem with that, but she wasn't an avid reader. To think that the beast cleaned the mansion by himself.

Deciding she's had enough, she went to the garden to look for the beast. She warned her not to go in without a map, but Blake was smart. She wouldn't get lost. After finding several dead ends, she turned around to go back the way she came. She felt like it was easy getting in, it was much more difficult getting out. She felt like she should have already been at the exit. There was some area that was beautiful with statues and some fountains. She had been stumbling around for an hour and she was utterly confused and lost. She started to panic and curled into a ball around herself to calm down and think clearly. She heard some rustling nearby and jumped to her feet.

“Blake?” Yang asked from a corner.

“Yang.” She was relieved to hear her voice and she came into view. Blake could see her for the beast she was without the candles and standing. Two large horns, sharp-pointed fangs, spikes along her back, and a large tail ready to whip. She covered her mouth with her hands. It looked like two lumps were growing on her back but hard to see due to the coat.

Yang simply groaned not surprised by her reaction. “I told you not to come in here without a map.” She wasn't mad, just scared she wandered in here.

“How'd you know where I was?” She backed away.

“Monsters smell fear.” She tried to play it off as a joke. She walked back toward the castle with Beauty behind her.

“You look like a monster but you're not.” Blake felt like they were going farther away from the castle rather than closer.

“When was the last time you looked at me?” She nearly snarked.

“Just now. You knew I was here and instead of mocking me or leaving me on my own, you rescued me, you helped me. Why won't you let me help you?”

“I told you.” She sighed. “It's nothing you can help. You can't change how you feel.” Yang has accepted that she will be cursed forever. She doesn't want it to happen, but she can't change it. She doesn't blame Beauty. Yang wouldn't fall in love if the roles were reversed. She faked a smile. “How about a more cheery topic? Why were in this maze in the first place?”

“That's not anymore cheery... I wanted to explore and thought I could find my way around. I memorized the path from upstairs and I was also...worried about you.” Her eyes turned away.

“You were...worried about me?” She stopped frozen in her tracks.

“I mean you were out here for nearly two hours according to your grandfather clock.”

“Cogsworth old and reliable.” She chuckled.

“Your clock has a name?” The more she thought about it, the more it made sense. When you're in a castle alone and by yourself... “My apologies, that was inconsiderate of me to say.”

“Don't worry about it. I know I sound crazy, having you here, it helps with my isolation.”

They finished walking through the maze in silence, Yang enjoying the other's company.

That night at dinner, Yang wasn't afraid to have the candles lit and used her height to exhale fire on the chandelier. She pulled the chair out for Blake and took her seat and they started to eat.

“How long have you lived in the countryside?” Yang asked.

“A few years now, we used to live prosperously in Paris. My Papa was getting screwed out of money and lost it all to the banks. My family of my father and five siblings moved to the countryside after. My father spent his savings on a shipment, but it was confiscated to pay his debts. He was on his way home when he got lost...” She drifted far off recalling the story.

The beast cleared her throat thinking of a much cheerier topic. “Tell me about your siblings.”

“Yatsuhashi is the oldest, Bolin then Sky, my three older brothers. Cinder and Emerald are my sisters.” Beauty talked nothing but good things about her family and her sisters.

Yang noticed she didn't have many good qualities about her sister but refused to say a negative thing about them. “Your brothers wanted to slay me?” She laughed. “That's funny.” Sh might've allowed it, if not for the curse.

“My father prevented them from doing so. He said it was a sure way for them to get themselves killed. I'm glad he convinced them not to.”

Yang tried to play her role as a monster. “I wouldn't want to do that to your brothers. I know I'm beastly and everything.”

“Please.” She scoffed. “I don't think you would do anything of the sort. You might look like a beast, but you aren't one.” Yang smiled in appreciation.

When they had finished, Yang dropped to one knee again asking Blake to marry her. And again, Blake refused. She was wondering how long this was going to keep up. She knew one of them would run out of patience. If it was the beast, she could force her to marry her.

Again, she was visited by the woman in her dream asking her why she rejected the proposal. Again she replied that the beast was a friend, not a romantic interest. She was still determined to find and set free the beautiful princess in her dream. The princess must be a captive, how else would she be able to reach out.

Blake seemed to be a bit happier, but something was off and it bothered the dragon. She was wearing the same clothes she did when she arrived. Of course, she'd need an invite to find something nice.

“How'd you sleep?” The dragon asked Blake. She was in a better mood having purpose and reason to get out of bed each...would be morning now, instead of living in isolation.

“I slept well.” She noticed something odd. The stumps in her back seemed to be getting larger and wider. “How did you sleep?”

“Like a baby.” She smiled a toothless grin.

“So you were waking up every two hours?”

Yang physically winced and sighed. Nothing gets past her, does it? “In fact, yes. It's still better than what I was getting.” She saw the look of concern on her face. “Don't worry about it, as a matter of fact, I've noticed you have been wearing the same garments, just switching them out with the clothes you brought on your travel here. I would like to change that.”

“Really? How?” Blake was surprised. Yang was gonna give her new clothes to wear? Would she even fit?

“After breakfast, I'll show you.”

“Follow me.” They headed to the west wing. “Here is the washroom. And step this way.” She blocked Blake's view of the room and lead her to the large walk-in closet. “Dresses of any kind. They might be a little small in some areas.” They were the dresses Raven and Summer used to wear. Since she was changed at eleven, her dresses would be too small.

“When you finish, don't put on your clothes, walk to the room next door. If you need me, call me. I'll be in further down.”

Blake scrubbed every inch of herself including under her nails. With so many soaps, shampoos and fragrances, it was hard to decide what to use. Even her life in luxury there wasn't this many options. She wanted to keep her clothes on but heeded Yang's advice. She covered herself in a white fluffy towel to walked into the next room happy Yang wasn't trying to catch a peek at her.

Blake's eyes widened when she saw the number and beauty of the dresses. She was going back and forth trying to see how each one looked on her and what colors complimented her. When she finally chose the right dress, a long lavender dress with a black bow in the middle. She straightened her ink colored hair instead of the low ponytail. She picked out a pearl necklace. She browsed the perfumes and make-up. She found heels to match and found a pair that fit perfectly.

She was too busy getting ready, she turned and gasped when she saw claw marks ripping through the wall, a bed crushed in half, a painting with a small claw mark through it and nearly everything destroyed except for the tall dresser, long dresser and a footrest that moved by itself. She moved to the picture slowly and realized it was the same woman from her dream. “Who is this?” She walked to the painting of the woman in the form of a girl from her dream. She pulled the strips up connecting the picture. Long, blonde hair and lilac eyes. She wasn't sure to call Yang in or ask her later.

She left the room as there was nothing more. She heard the faint sounds of Yang talking to Ruby and decided to investigate.

“...I took a chance and told her some things about our past with mom, dad and Raven. She probably thinks this is all crazy. Weiss says hi and she still has that famous scowl. I know she misses you the most. As always, I love and miss you. I am trying my best as I promised. I know we don't have much time, but you are amazing. I'll let you go so I can see if Blake's ready. I love you, I miss you and I'll talk to you soon, I promise.”

She knocked on the door. “Yang?”

“Yang opened it and guided herself to the other side and closed the door. “Wow! You look...wow.”

“Thanks.: Blake completely forgot what she was going to ask Yang after hearing her one-sided conversation with Ruby and with the blush she tried to hide.
_________

Back at the Belladonna home, Ghira was tiding up the house preparing for an important guest. With the shipment taken, the family was even poorer with their savings gone. Ghira took care of selling some of the items from the beast's castle to make ends meet with one item at a time as to not let his sons' daughters know. He missed Beauty terribly and hardly found himself getting out of bed in the morning. Today, he was meeting with a suitor, someone for his eldest daughter Cinder.

Monsieur Cardin Winchester is one of the wealthiest men in town. He works as a forger. Not the most honest living, but still something and Cinder would be happy with the money as she complains about being broke. His money would also help the family. He has a muscular chest and would make a great husband for Cinder. It will be sometime before Emerald will marry, but Cinder is overdue. His sons had reluctantly agreed this was the best choice. They knew Cardin and were in his company in their free time.

“Father, Cardin Winchester is a highly conceded man. I don't want to marry him. He is much younger than me. It is courteous that men are to be older.”

“Two years is hardly much older. Cinder, please. I want what is best for you. He is wealthy and has nothing but respect for you. He is a good match for you. Please, give him a chance.”

“I refuse. I will not give in.” She crossed her arms as if the conversation was over.

Ghira was calm and tried to be rational knowing Cinder wouldn't like it. “If that is the way it is, you will have a husband by month's end or you are out. You should be with a husband and already with a child. Yes, Monsieur Cardin is two years younger than you, but that is because I have not enforced this enough.”

“Father-!” Cinder whined in anger.

He interrupted her. “Beauty is already married and she's younger than you. You have no excuse as to why you are not married. Yes, hers was arranged through accident, but yours should have been arranged years ago. A month Cinder or you are out.”

“Yes, father.” Cinder was defeated. “I will marry by the end of the month, but it won't be Cardin.” She rationalized.

“That is Monsieur Winchester to you. If not him, you will have a husband.” His voice stern indicating the end of their conversation. He would have no more insubordination.

Chapter Text

Beauty wasn't much of a reader, but she read the books in the library to pass the time. The fog completely dissipated after only a week of her presence. She had rejected a week's worth of proposals and weeks worth of dreams from the beautiful blonde woman asking her why she rejected the beast. Again, she told her she was nothing more than a friend. Even though it was night, Beauty picked up the book, map and with the full moon would read under the moonlight. She sat on a bench and continued reading. She heard heavy footsteps and assumed it was Yang.

“It's kind of dark out, I thought you might want this.” She presented her with a gold candlestick with three prongs for three candles already lit.

“Thank you.” She smiled. She took the candlestick and when their hand's touch, she felt a connection. Instead of pulling away as the dragon expected, she took the candle and placed it beside her.

“You're welcome. This is... it doesn't matter.”

“Yang, you've been alone for years. It's okay to call them friends.”

“This is Lumiere, he’s been good to me. I'll let you get back to reading.” She started to walk away.

“Yang, wait. I know you can't read, so I was wondering if...maybe I could read to you.”

She turned and smiled. “I'd like that.” Yang made her move to sit next to her.

“How'd you know I was out here?”

“I saw you from the balcony when I was talking to Ruby.”

“When are you going to introduce me to her?”

She scratched her neck unsure what to say. “Um...well...I-I don't feel comfortable with that. Please understand she is my sister. Very precious to me one touch could kill her.”

“I understand. When the time is right?” She smiled.

“When the time is right.” The golden dragon replied, a sad smile gracing her lips.

Blake continued her reading and it was even better with Lumiere lighting up the pages. “As they went to the underground entrance, Penny saw the fallen maiden surviving only by machines. She was warned that the transfer of power would change her. She decided the risk was worth it to save the world of Remnant. Archimedes defended the maiden from the incoming attacker. After the transfer, Penny was too weak to defend herself and the last person she thought of, was her love, Archimedes. He became the man with two souls. He could hear his lover's thoughts and voice as well as his own but could never be with her.” She stopped hearing sniffling next to her. “Are you crying?” She asked amused.

“No.” She wiped her tears in her tail.

“So you like romantic tragedies?” She was all too smug.

“Just continue.” The dragon urged waving her claw vertically. Ushering the narrator forward.
______________

When Yang saw Beauty reading in the maze with Lumiere, she sat against a hedge wall and listened. When Blake shivered in the winter air, Yang wrapped her arms around her keeping her warm as she continued to read.

A month of rejecting other marriage proposals. She admitted there was something about Yang she liked. She knows Yang saw himself as the dragon he looked. She noted the dragon hated his form and loathed himself. She wasn't nervous around him and was able to give the castle a shot. Beauty was still able to reject Yang's marriage proposals. She liked it there with the fancy dresses, Rococo style walls, but she missed her father. She saw him every day looking sad and depressed in the mirror. Yes, Yang was ugly, hideous and monstrous, but on the inside, he was kind and truly kept his word as Blake's servant. He didn't know much of anything. Blake's wish was his command. She liked Yang, but only for a platonic reason. She saw Yang as a friend, not a love interest. How long was Yang determined to keep asking for her hand before he stopped?

“I'll let you get some rest. See you in the morn-a for a few hours.” Yang retired to the left side of the stairs to talk to Ruby or go to her room.

Beauty went to her apartment. She started playing on the harpsichord. With the mirror nearby, she saw her father was depressed as always and it was the only time she saw the sun.

Yang could hear her playing from the other end. She sat outside the door and listened to the song. She reflected on every decision that leads her to this point in life. She recognized it from Joseph Haydn's, 'La Passione', his forty-ninth symphony. He was a friend to Mozart and a teacher to Beethoven. His music was not as well known as the other two and she appreciated someone who knew his music. It bothered her that she was playing a slow song. She decided Beauty didn't want to be bothered and would not enter her space unless she wanted.

“Well Ruby, the fogs finally cleared up. That means I'm making progress, right? Still, that doesn't mean she'll marry me or even love me. I hate that the land plays on my emotions. I miss when things were simple. I miss when all I had to worry about was throwing another grand party. I was eleven when this all started. Now, look at me. I'm twenty, almost twenty-one. I was supposed to be married to Torchwick at sixteen. Seems everyone's forgotten about me. I can't lose you Ruby, but I don't know what else to do. I'm trying, I am. I have feelings for her and I care about her, but I... I love her. She's the most beautiful woman I've ever seen and that says a lot for this small town. I wish she'd give me a chance. But who would? I'm a hideous, ugly and beastly, incapable of love and receiving love in return. Why do I even bother? Am I just wasting my time, your time, our time? It's winter, we only have until summer. I messed this up, this is my fault and I should be the one to pay for it alone. To drag, everyone who works here, Shay, Weiss and you into this! This is my sin and mine to pay alone! I'm sorry Ruby, I'm so sorry. I feel like such a failure.” She curled into a ball and cried into her tail.

Ruby was weaker, her glow was fading. Yang tried to comfort her, tried to be there for her as Ruby was there over and over again if it was unwanted. Yang tried to push her away and hang out with her 'friends', but she was relentless and refused to take no as an answer. Yang wished she would've savored those moments now.

Yang woke up freezing. She slept on the stone floor. She realized if she felt this cold, Blake probably wasn't fairing much better. She heated a pan with her fire breath and went to Blake's room and knocked on the door. Beauty answered looking tired, with her disheveled hair and shoes on her feet in a winter nightgown. “I brought you a bed warmer. She held up the heated pan. Blake let her in and she placed it under the mattress. Blake crawled on top and hummed as she felt herself warming. Yang tucked her in. “Goodnight, Beauty.” She whispered before walking out.

Yang woke up early and decided she would try to make breakfast herself. Mrs. Potts made several cups nearly burning tea for the winter. She used her flame to heat the pan for the eggs and burnt them. She could see the disapproving looks on their faces though they had none. “What? At least I'm trying.” Deciding for the old fashioned way, she lit up the fireplace and placed the pan over it and cracked the eggs along with bacon and hash browns. She added pinches of salt and pepper. She walked out with the plates and was surprised Beauty was already at the table and it was set. The dragon gave a small smile and placed the plate in front of her.

Blake was equally surprised to see her with the plate of food. “What's the occasion?”

“I wanted to try to make it this time. The hens are fine as the pigs too, we have provisions left in the storage house specifically for winter.” She found that treating the animals better led to better meat, increase reproduction and everything else. The animals appreciated her more and didn't hide like before.

“I don't remember seeing it on the tour.” Beauty noted.

“A beautiful woman such as yourself, shouldn't be bothered with the butchering, blood or anything that would be an offending sight. You are queen and mistress here. You wish is my command.”

“You've already said that. I used to cook for my father when he went hunting. The sight won't offend me. Let me help.” While she wanted to help, Blake had another reason why. I might find where you're keeping the princess hostage.

Here she is, trying to be helpful. Where have we had this argument before? “If you insist. We have a pregnant sow due to give birth in spring.” And then when I turn into a beast without human compassion, I'll eat everyone and everything in sight.

Yang took her through the entire manner this time, not skipping anything. When they were outside, she noticed Blake was freezing and wrapped her appendage for a half-formed wing around her. Blake held onto her arm, keeping her close for warmth while Yang used her fire breath several feet in front of them and kept her mistress warm.

The two were becoming closer over the next week with light touches here and there. The moon seemed to be getting lower in the sky. Yang had introduced her to Weiss and explained her was turned to a mirror and Shay turned to stone.

“What happened to cause all of this?”

Yang sighed. “I happened. It was my fault for being selfish and diluted. Shay, Weiss, Ruby they all suffered to try and protect me from me. This is my punishment and they suffered for it. Stop staring at me like that!” She yelled at Shay. “You know it's my fault and I don't care if you don't blame me for it! You should!”

“Hey.” Blake's voice was soft and so we the touch on her arm. “You keep saying it's your fault, and he doesn't blame you, you should stop blaming yourself.”

“It is my fault.” She was near crying and fought her tears back. She was supposed to be there for Blake, not the other way around.

“Maybe she doesn't see it that way. What happened anyway? I know you've been avoiding talking about it.”

“I happened and there is nothing that can be done to fix it.” She stated quietly.

“Stop loathing yourself. I hate seeing you like this. I know you feel like you can't fix this, but will you at least try? Let me try to help.”

“You can't fix this. I'm sorry Blake. I know you want to help, but you can't.”

“The last time you said this, you said I can't change how I feel. What did you mean by that?”

You can't make people love you. “It doesn't matter. The curse can't be broken. I have something I need to check on.” She lied making her way up the steps.

“Yang...” Blake vocally reaches out to her.

Yang went to her old room and pushed out La Madame De La Gran Bosch, now a dresser and her dog, a footstool. She destroyed the placed once more yelling out in anger. As not to draw Blake's attention to more destruction, she went to her parent's room and cried into her tail. Ruby's going to die and it's going to be my fault. No wonder why her birth mother left her. She saw her for the monster she was going to become. No wonder why her dad died and stepmom disappeared when she was young. Her servants practically raised but spoiled her and now they were paying for the price of her spoiled mistake. They catered to her every want with no complaints.

She heard a knock at the door. She wiped her tears away with her tail and let out a sniffle. “Come in.”

“Yang?” Her voice is soft and welcoming.

“Hey.” She gave her fakest smile.

“Yang, please, talk to me.” She sat down beside her and rested against her arm.

Yang moved her arm and draped it over her other side to keep her warm. “It just hurts to talk about it. I don't want you to worry.”

“I'll worry about you no matter what. You're my friend. Don't shut me out. Let me help. Even if there is nothing I can do.”

“Just having you here helps.” She assured and Blake leaned into her. She noticed Blake was freezing from the stone. Yang picked her up and tucked her into the bed.

“Yang.” She reached for her hand to keep her from leaving.

“Blake?” She turned to face her.

“This is your room and your bed. Yes, I'm comfortable, but I should go back to my room.”

“No, you'll freeze I'll get you a bed warmer. I'm already up.”

“You're not making this easy...” She sighed composing herself. “Stay with me.”

“Okay.” Yang lifted the covers just enough where Blake wouldn't get cold and she could snuggle in. She settled between the sheets. Blake moved closer making use of her hot breath and body heat. Yang was asleep in minutes having the best sleep she had in years.

Chapter Text

After dinner for the next three months, the dragon would ask Blake to marry her. And every night she always said 'No'. Growing annoyed with her request, Blake sat Yang down and told him how she feels.

“Yang, you have a good heart, and I like you, but only as a friend. I don't have romantic feelings for you. I like you, just not the way you like me.”

Yang nodded sadly. “I understand.” She put the ring away and stood up. “You miss him, don't you?” She asked sweetly. Blake stared at her confused. “Your father?” She elaborated.

She opened her mouth as if to say something, but then closed it and nodded sadly. “I stare into the magic mirror I was given and every time I see him, he grows more depressed.”

“Wait here a moment.” The dragon left to go up the stairs to the west wing. She came back down with a gold band and an emerald stone. “I want you to go see him.” Blake stared at her wide eyed. “Here's my conditions. I want you to return in a week. If you stay any longer, I will die of a broken heart.” Blake didn't think her eyes could get any wider. “Whenever you wish to come back, place this ring on your finger and you will teleport here. Don't ask me how magic works, I have no idea. I’m a simple servant to a queen.” She left the ring on the table and disappeared up the stairs. It would be a matter of time until she left. Yang never was good at goodbyes.

Blake got up from her seat taking the ring in her hand and ran to hug Yang. “Thank you, Yang.” She said nearly with tears in her eyes. She was excited. She’d get to see her family again, even if it was for some time, it was something.

“You're welcome Blake. There's a horse in the stable you can take. His name's Beau, best stallion I know. Even if you teleport here, he'll come back to me. Poor thing hardly recognizes me anymore.” She shook her head. “You should prepare of your trip, wouldn't want you to trip up.” She joked to hide her pain. Disappearing upstairs to the left while Blake went to the right in a rush.

Yang went to the rose room. She sat in front of the rose on her knees. “Ruby, I'm sorry. I tried and I failed. At least your suffering will be over soon, mine is forever. I tried... I really did try.” She cried. “I've been more of a cruel sister longer than you've been alive. The entire kingdom was right. You should've been ruler. I should've stepped down. You have a pure heart inside and outside. You see where my heart got us. I never should've dragged anyone into this.” More tears fell. “And don't say it's because it's how I was raised. To throw money at people and my problems are solved because that's how mom and dad did everything. Even when I was spoiled and unhappy at four, dad changed the entire castle to the beautiful art it is today, and you know what I said? It's too detailed and looking at it gives me a headache.” She was sobbing now. “And don't tell me it's okay. It's not! None of this is okay! I love you and I couldn't even help you!” She sobbed as quietly as possible for a few minutes until she heard the front door close.

She sulked back into her nearly destroyed room and started knocking things over, crashing items against the walls and roaring fire. She panted heavily feeling tired and looked around. “I am nothing more than a monster and I deserve the fate of a monster.” She grunted in pain and she felt a sharp pain for a moment. As quickly as it appeared, it went away. She slunk back in the rose room. “So it begins.” She rolled on the floor in front of the table that held the rose to sleep.

 

---
Beauty was impressed with the horse's speed and agility despite not having proper exercise. She arrived home faster than she expecting. She found herself wrapped in open her arms by her father.

“Papa!” She cried as they embraced each other.

“My sweet Beauty. Are you hurt? What happened? Did you escape?” He kept spouting off questions worried for her safety.

“No father. She let me go realizing I missed my family. I can only stay a week before I have to leave.” She left out the part about the mirror and her apartment back at the castle.

“That's great! I mean I hate you have to leave but you're here. We should celebrate!” He exclaimed taking her inside. “Your sisters have married in the time you were away and your brothers haven risen their stations and are now married. Your clothes look amazing. How is life treating you? More importantly, how is the beast treating you?”

She chuckling bringing his confusion. “Kindly, after three months of rejecting marriage proposals and rewarding me with everything I could possibly want except my family. Yang is a gentleman, not a beast, he couldn't harm a fly. He may seem impossible but he means well. The land is still dark, but the sky is clear, there's no more fog and the land is absolutely gorgeous. The moon lowers in the sky.”

“So I was right. When we the last time the land saw the sun?”

“Almost ten years ago.”

“How is it still alive?”

“It's magic.” She said as if it explained everything. “The entire place is magic.” He couldn't help but notice a sparkle in her eyes when she talked about it. “Enough about me, about you?”

His daughter was still as unselfish as ever. “I've just been tending to the house and selling this one since it's just me. Time for a downgrade. Oh look, here come your sisters now, probably here to complain about their husbands even though they chose them.”

Beauty smiled shaking her head. “Same old sisters.”

“Father, whose thoroughbred stallion is-Beauty?” Cinder stared in shock. The expensive dress she was wearing and the jewelry that matched brought out her outer beauty even more.

“Father, I must tell you-Beauty?” Emerald stopped her mouth, but her feet crashed her into eldest sister.

“Salut.” Beauty stood up and greeted.

The two embraced the youngest. “Beauty we're so happy to have you back!” Cinder falsely exclaimed.

“You have to tell us everything!” Emerald excitedly chimed in.

Beauty felt off as she has never been hugged by her sisters like this before, or least as long as she could remember. She awkwardly held them back and they let go each taking a hand. “How about you two go first. Father was telling me how you're both married.”

“So,” Cinder started. “Yes, I am married to a Monsieur Jaune Arc, but I still deserve better.”

“I am married to a Monsieur Mercury Black, wealthy family, but still can't give me the things I need. But please.” She was nearly begging. “Tell us about you.” They wanted to know everything.

“Well.” She was bashful. “Yang gives me everything I want and things I don't even need. I mean, he looks like a ferocious dragon, but he has a kind heart. He doesn't ask me for anything in return. He doesn't talk about his past much. He has all these fancy dresses he likes me to wear and all the jewelry past the point of me shining. The kingdom-.”

“Kingdom!?” The both said at once.

“You mean you're rich?” Cinder asked.

“You're a princess?” Emerald followed.

Beauty continued. “Not exactly, but treated like one. The palace-.”

“You’re a princess!” Cinder exclaimed in awe.

“You're royalty!?” Emerald followed with the same tone.

“Girls. Take it easy.” Ghira interrupted. “I'm sure your sister will explain. She's tired from her journey how about you let her rest?”

“Yes, of course father.” They quietly agreed.

Beauty sighed in relief and made her way to her old bedroom which is now empty except for the bed. She decided against unpacking as she would only stay for a week. She rested in the bed feeling like she will get the best sleep relaxing in her familiar bed. It felt nice to be home. She never heard her sisters ask so many questions or even pay attention to her as much as they did now. She drifted to sleep, her thoughts only of Yang and how he cuddled up to her on cold nights.
__________

Back at the castle, Yang was struggling to find a reason to get off the floor in her sister's room. Without Beauty there to talk to, there was no point. She could talk to her sister, but it wasn't the same. Beauty could talk back and interact with her. She thought about smashing Ruby just to end her suffering instead of steadily seeing her wilt. Ruby had several months left and it showed. Yang did everything she could think of to comfort her sister. Even went through the trouble of using a Belgian chocolate chip cookie as fertilizer to cheer the young rose, but even that faded. She would apologize to her sister over and over. Even Ruby became too weak to respond as a whisper in the wind. Little by little, Yang watched Ruby's petals fall and wilt, it only saddened her darkening heart. Beauty was gone and soon Ruby would be too. “I love you.” She whispered to the rose before falling to the floor wishing she could sleep. She was not tired and the floor was cold.

Chapter Text

Beauty woke to the sunlight finding herself well-rested. She didn't realize how much she missed the sun until she was without it. She sauntered into the living room, finding her sisters were still here. They asked her all types of questions, showering her with the affection they never held for her previously.
Beauty allowed them to try on the dresses she brought from the castle. Cinder reached out her hand to try on the most magnificent dress Beauty had. When her hand touched the dress immediately, it transformed into rags. Emerald copied her sister only for the action to repeat. Only Blake's touch could turn it back into what it was meant to be. Blake didn't understand the logic behind it. It was her alone who the beast intended the dress for. She stayed mostly indoors as the dresses caught the townsfolk's attention. Everyone desired her that much more.

 

“How long are you staying?” Emerald inquired.

“Only a week. Yang would be upset with me if I stayed longer.”

“Oh, how unfortunate.” Cinder pouted. She smiled to her sister who understood her intentions.

“Are you sure you couldn't stay longer?” Emerald added.

“No, just a week.” Beauty insisted.

Emerald and Cinder showered Blake with attention and catered to her every want. They planned to have Blake stay longer as to ruin her relationship with the beast. First thing, they complained about their husbands. When did they not complain?

“He is such a weakling. I married him for that reason. Such a lost puppy dog. He's willing to give me everything I wish, even if he can't afford it.” Cinder started.

“Mercury is a bit of an ass, but nothing I can't handle. He's like a lost puppy dog too. Please, tell us about you.”

“Yang is a jokester. He says all these puns, gives me everything I could need and reminds me that I'm queen of the castle and he is my servant. He has a kind heart, insecurities, but means well.”

“Not to interrupt, but how is the marriage?”

“Oh.” Beauty paused. “He was asking me to marry him for three months after dinner, but when I told him I saw her as a friend he stopped proposing.”

“So, you're not married?” The asked in surprise.

“No. I thought he was going to force me to marry him. He’s a sweetheart. He kept mentioning a curse over the land. There’s a curse over the land, no daylight. The moon climbs lower in the sky and the fog disappeared shortly after I arrived. It’s almost as if no time passes.”

Her eyes lit up when she talked about her life at the castle. It didn't go unnoticed by her father. She wanted to spend more time with him, but her sisters wouldn't let her. They kept asking her questions no matter how repetitive.

When her visit of the week was over, she hugged everyone goodbye. Her sister’s were having none of it.

“No don't leave us.” Cinder falsely cried. The sisters cut an onion to appear as if they were crying. They wanted Beauty to feel guilty for leaving them.

“Beauty, don't leave, we'll miss you.” Emerald pleaded.

Blake seeing the best in people, agreed to stay with her sisters so they would no longer cry. “Alright. I'll stay, but not much longer.” She compromised.

“Yay!” They celebrated hugging her sister.
____________

Nearly seven days had passed since Beauty left. The clock showed it was ticking to midnight. Blake hadn't returned. Yang could hardly eat. She barely slept. The dragon found no reason to leave her bed. She wrapped herself in the silence. She would visit Ruby every so often. During her visits to Ruby's room, Yang was losing hope. Hope she once had with Blake around. She had begun walking on all fours as it became painful to walk on two. Her wings were now fully grown. The only change left is her eyes. Her round pupils doomed to become slits. Her eyes would reveal the beast that lurks within. She used to take night flights a routine. Even that became tiresome after only flying a short distance.

She left her bed, unable to sleep the next night. Yang decided Blake wasn't coming back. “Hey Rubes.” Yang weekly coughed. Bags had formed under her eyes from being sick. “It's been eight days since Blake left. I don't... I don't think I'm going to survive much long if she doesn't come back.” She coughed again. “I wanted to say, I'm sorry. I wasn't able to free you. Instead, I'm going to die before you. Ironic, isn't it? She smiled at the moon. “All this time, I thought you would die when I turned twenty one, turns out, you'll live a few months longer than me. I'm sorry I wasn't a better big sister. You deserved so much better than me. I wish you all the love and happiness in the world. You'll go to a better place than I. Since the curse, I haven't believed much in the faith we were raised in. Hell, we both know I haven't believed since Raven left me to go to war, dad died and mom disappeared. I never told you, did I? Yeah... Raven went to war to defend the land from invaders. She's been gone probably since I was two, if not younger. Since the disappearance of Summer, your loving mother,” She coughed clutching her heart. “Tai died of a broken heart. It's funny that I should die the same way. I was always always like him in that way. There's something... Something else you deserve to know. Dad and Raven, they were never married. Summer was always his wife. Raven, was his mistress. That's right. I'm the illegitimate heir to the throne. You are the true ruler. Tai didn't think Summer could ever have children so when Raven had a child first, he claimed me as heir. Dad saw how innocent you were. He made me promise not to tell you or anyone the truth. The reason for that is because of all the dirty dealings, backdoor deals, possible assassinations that needed to happen...” Her coughs turned violent. “To keep the Xiao Long name on the throne. We are... Only a small kingdom after all. He made me swear to keep you innocent. Since I'm going to die... You deserve the truth. I'm sorry for keeping this from you. When you die, don't follow me. Go to the paradise you deserve. Don't go anywhere else. As always, I love and miss you. Ruby... Blake isn't coming back.” She admitted the truth. “You don't deserve to watch me die.”

She stumbled on all fours painfully with the tail and wings spread out. She opened the door inside. “Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, Chip, La Madam De La Gran Bosch, everyone. I have an announcement.... Queen and Mistress Blake Belladonna... is not coming back.” A few tears escaped her. “I am sorry I didn't get her to stay.... We only have a few months until the curse is permanent. I will not last that long. I wanted to say you all have been amazing friends and in all honesty... my family. You all raised me and I was a selfish, diluted brat. I hope you all can forgive me....” She gave a weak smile trying to conceal her pained scarlet eyes as she continued to hack violently. “I have already accepted my fate. For who could ever love a beast?”

She went to a mirror and laid by Weiss. “Hey Weiss.... As you know... Blake's been gone eight days now. I asked she return in a week and she has not... She's not coming back. Not that I can blame her. I'm sorry about everything. I tried...” She started sobbing not making her coughs any better. “I tried to be strong. In the end, the only person I open my heart to crushes it. Same as my father before me. I looked in the magic mirror... I know it's rude to enter a ladies apartment...but she looks so happy with her family. It was selfish of me to ask for her heart. I mean…look at me. I'm a monster. Always has been, always will be. This is my fault... I tried to fix it, and look where's it's gotten me-us... I hope you can forgive me... I know we didn't always get along... but watch out for Ruby in the next life. I'm sorry to ask this of you, but I don't want to die in front of Ruby.” She violently coughed and wasn't surprised to see her own blood.

Yang stumbled to the garden with the gargoyle. Yang continued to cough as she was walking on all fours. She didn’t deserve that much dignity to walk on two. “Shay D Mann, I wanted to thank you. You tried to protect me from the fairies. In the end, my heart was too weak, too cold. It's ironic... I blocked people out with my stone cold heart. The one person I let in besides you, Ruby and Weiss, abandons me when I need her. My father died of a broken heart. People said I was just like him. Considering he lost two of his lovers, Raven his mistress and Summer wife, that I should suffer the same fate. Here's goodbye old friend. Thank you for your service. I'm not as good in Latin as I used to be. Here it goes. Requiescat in pace.” (Rest in Peace). She feebly walked up the marble stairs taking one last look around the front before heading inside. “I’d rather die in front of a friend instead of my sister or future sister in law.

She weakly fell to the stone ground. She was breathing and watching the stars. She made her own constellations. Some part of her wish Blake would return. That was the only thing that kept her alive, kowing Blake might return. Even as she laid on the cold, hard, ground. “Goodbye my friend.”

Chapter Text

Beauty and the Beest

Chapter 9

What was supposed to be one day, ended up being three. Beauty awoke from a nightmare about Yang. She freed the horse, thinking she would ride. That was until she remembered the ring gave her. She slipped the ring on her finger. Instantly, she found herself in her room at the castle. Her nightmare was of Yang in the garden by the statue, dead. She had died of grief just like she said she would.

Not wanting to believe the truth, she checked Yang's room, checked the rose room and the ballroom. In her time searching, she believed if she cared that much about Yang, it wasn't friendship. She loved Yang. Beauty wished she would’ve realized it sooner. She rushed to the courtyard. She gasped in horror when she found Yang unconscious on the stone ground.

His yellow scales had paled. His wings had fully grown. There was little to no indication he was breathing, or alive. Beauty worried for him. His appearance thinned. It looked like he stopped eating for several days. She felt the outline of his ribs. Why didn’t I come back sooner? She couldn’t dwell on that now.

“Yang.” She lightly slapped his face. “Yang, wake up!” She tried shaking him. “Yang, get up!” She pleaded. Panicking, she grabbed the bucket nearby filled it with water from the fountain. Beauty dumped it on the dragon's head. “Yang, please wake!” She was in tears now. “I love you, Yang, please wake up! I don't want to live without you. Don't leave me. I love you. Yang, marry me. Please, marry me. I love you.” She laid her head in Yang’s chest, sobbing. He felt cold to the touch.

Blake lifted her head when she saw the castle glowing. Out of nowhere, fireworks were going off. She gasped in surprise as the sun was coming up. She was even more surprised when Yang's body was lifted into the air. He turned into a princess. Not just any princess, the princess from her dream before being set gently in Blake's arms.

Yang fluttered her eyes open. “Blake.” She said weakly. “You came back.”

Beauty’s too happy to have Yang back to be surprised the dragon was a female. Her voice made her sound male. “Yang!” She sobbed into her harder. “I came home, Yang. I'm here.”

Turns out, they were fairies. They cursed me into what everyone saw me as. The servants into what I viewed them as. Which explains why they were turned into objects. They all had names, but I saw them for what they did. The sun has not risen, people can't find their way once they leave. The fog, darkness, the moon, they all represented that you were learning to love me. I was told that the only way to break the curse was if a beautiful virgin fell in love with me before my twenty-first birthday. The curse would break.” She smiled. They embraced each other. “Blake, I love you too.”

“It's about time, you big oaf.” A stern voice said behind them.

Yang smiled as she recognized the voice. “Weiss?” She turned her head, sure enough, the white-haired knight stood behind them.

She continued to scowl. “No, you are too dramatic for your own good. I can not believe-!”

“Weiss!” She ran, hugging the shorter woman.

“Shut up. Don't touch me.” She cried into Yang. Her pretend scolding long forgotten. Both of them knowing she didn't mean a word.

“Yang!” A voice in the distance shouted.

Yang's heart pounded, hearing the high pitched voice. She hadn't heard it in nearly ten years. There was no way she’d ever forget it. She searched the balcony of the rose room. “Ruby?” She wiped her eyes, not believing them. “Ruby!” She ran inside, pulling Blake by her wrist. She wanted the woman she loves to meet her sister. “Ruby!”

“Yang!” They met halfway. Yang embraced her younger sister crying into her. “Yang! You did it! You broke the curse!”

She started to slowly pull away, wiping her eyes. “I didn’t break it, Blake did. You've gotten so big.” Ruby laughed when Yang rubbed her hair, messing it up. She stood up standing by Blake. “Ruby, I didn't properly introduce you this is-.”

Ruby couldn't take it any longer, she was bubbling with energy when she exploded. “Blake!” Ruby hugged the woman who held her sister’s heart. Blake hugged her back awkwardly.

“Blake, this is my younger sister Ruby.” She laughed.

“It's nice to meet you Ruby.”

“It's nice to finally talk to you. You are even more than what Yang said.”

Blake turned to Yang teasingly. “And what exactly was that?”

“Ah...” The blonde's words were lost. “Lumiere, Cogsworth, La Madam De La Gran Bosch." She embraced them individually, grateful for the interruption. “Mrs. Potts, Chip, look at you, you're still the same.” She picked him up, spun around with the young child laughing.

“Blake, Lumiere.”

“Enchante.” He bowed.

“Cogsworth.”

“How do you do?”

“Mrs. Potts.”

“Pleasure to make your acquaintance.”

“Chip.”

“Hiya.” He grinned with a wave.

“Now Chip-.” Mrs. Potts warned.

“Come now, Mrs. Potts. He hasn't been able to speak in ten years. Let him have his fun. He's still a sprout.” Yang encouraged.

“La Madam De La Gran Bosch.”

“Heeelllloooo!” She sang.

“This is Blake Belladonna...” She swallowed. “...My fiancee.”

They all cheered. Blake smiled in turn.

“Pardon the interruption, Your Majesty.” Shay apologized with a bow.

“Yang, please.” She ran to hug the man. “No need to be formal. It's good to have you back.”

“I knew you could do it.”

“Blake, this is Shay.”

“Shady Mann, Blake.”

“Use my shady name do you?” He bowed to Blake. “It's a pleasure to meet you, Shay D. Mann.”

“I'm not used to this. Please rise. This is such a big fuss for nothing.”

“For nothing!?” Shay and Yang gasped.

“Blake Belladonna, I have not seen the sun nor my friends in nearly ten years. This isn't for just nothing. You’re a huge deal.”

“I agree. And that comes from the stone statue in the garden. I thought our princess was lost to us before we turned permanently.”

“I'm only the servant to a lovely lady.” She kissed the back Blake's hand. Her cheeks grew even red, turning to try to hide her blush.

“You're more than that Yang, you're my fiancee.”

“Very well, Yang. We have guests in the dinning hall.” Shay reminded.

“What are we waiting for? Let's go.” Yang smiled.

When they got to the dinning hall, Blake gasped. “Papa!” She exclaimed embracing him. She hardly noticed her sisters next to him.

The blonde smiled at the sight. She turned to see the three haggard women from that night. She bowed in front of them. Her servants did the same. “Forgive me for I know my wrong doing. I have learned the error of my ways. I humbly ask for forgiveness. Not for myself, but for my friends and family. Please stay as long as you like.”

They each put a reassuring hand on her shoulders. “Rise young princess.” She did as asked. They revealed themselves in their fairy form. “You are forgiven, for you have learned.” They turned to Beauty. Blake recognized them from her dream before her apartment appeared. “You have judged not based on appearances or brains, but solely on the heart. You will make a lovely queen. The land is quite lucky to have you.”

Yang smiled seeing her smile. There was something alluring about the sight. “Thank you.” Blake replied.

The fairies turned to the sisters. “You two have hearts of stone, blaming everyone else for your problems. You will remain stone until you can accept your own flaws.” They waved their wands. Cinder and Emerald, turned into lion guardians at the end of the stairs to guard the castle. Blake and Ghira were sad to see them stoned, even if they deserved it.

“Yang, this is my Papa, Ghira.”

“Pleasure to meet you, Monsieur.” She shook his hand.

“Yang, these are my brothers. Yatsuhashi, Bolin and Sky.”

“Pleasure.” They said in sync.

“Nice to meet you.”

Once she met her family, she turned back to Ruby, embracing her again. “I missed you.”

“I love you too. Please don't ever scare me like that again. I almost lost you. Is it true what you said about mom, Raven and dad and me?”

“Yes. We can talk about that later.” She kissed her forehead.

“I love you Yang.” She held tight afraid to let go. “I never wanted the throne. I saw how stressed you were about it. All the private meetings and everything. They left you darker each time you left. I know why dad did what he did. As my older sister, it’s your job to protect me. I'm happy with no responsibility and all the perks. Your promise to dad chances nothing, Queen Yang.”

“I love you most, Princess Ruby.” When they broke apart, she brought Weiss in for another hug.

“We are definitely going to talk about why you shouldn't be seen dying in front of you friends. I thought you were dead.”

“For a while I was.” She sadly admitted. “Blake's voice brought me back.” She smiled at the woman she fell in love with, the one who asked to marry her. She stared into her amber eyes as she walked closer holding the woman from behind. “Thank you Blake. Thank you for everything. You and your family can stay here as long as they want, by free will this time.”

“Yang.” She hugged her back. “I'm not going anywhere.” She whispered. Yang broke away and smiled. “I could've left and you probably would've let me, but I stayed. I didn't realize how much I cared about you until I dreamed you were dead. When I saw you dead, I didn't want you to die. I love you Yang.”

“I love you Blake. The fairies were right, you are going to make a great queen. And with that.” She raised her voice into a cheer. “Beauty, the first time I saw you, you captured my eyes. It is true when I said you were the prettiest person I had ever laid eyes on. But more than that, you opened your heart to a monster. You are as beautiful on the outside as you are on the inside. With that said.” She pulled a black box from inside her jacket and dropped to one knee. “Blake Belladonna, will do the honor of marrying me?”

She gasped in surprise seeing the ring diamond with the gold band she saw every night for three months, but seeing it now, it was even more beautiful. Tears escaped her eyes. She crashed into the woman she loved nearly toppling her. “Yes of course I'll marry you.” Yang smiled holding her back. Cheers and applause exploded throughout the dinning room.

“Well, well, well, isn't this a turn of events. Yang my darling, what happened to us?” A mischievous voice rang out.

“Sorry to break it to you Roman, but you are almost five years over due. The contract became void over two years ago. Our marriage was strictly convenience for your family. My heart never belonged to you.”

“Well memory loss and curses aren't covered in the contract.” He tried to spit out.

“If you would have stayed, you would still have your memory. There would have been a ceremony of some kind. You didn't and because of that, you failed to meet contract requirements. You have no business here. The contract doesn't matter.”

“Now wait just a minute.” He started walking closer with his cane.

Shay stepped in his way with an arrow pointed at him. “The princess is kindly asking you to leave. You have no business here. I would go if I were you.”

“You can't be-.”

“Roman, please leave. I wish not for blood to spill whether accidental or death on my Queen's floor.” Yang interrupted.

“As you wish.” He glared bowing. “I will be taking my leave. Just know, you will regret this.” He strolled out the door.

“Something you want to tell me?” Blake turned to ask.

She sighed disinterested. “Contract marriage set up when I was young with Roman Torchwick and my parents. He was my fiance as long as I could remember. I'll explain that later. Anyway, when I was due to be married at the age of sixteen. The contract would become void two years later if for whatever reason and the marriage would be off. Considering I am turning twenty one in a few short months, the contract became void. I can marry whoever I want.” She smiled. “Speaking of, I wish to celebrate the new queen. To the ballroom.” They followed with their partners. “Forte.” She clapped her hands and the piano was playing. She bowed to Blake. “Beauty, may I have this dance.”

“That you may.” She curtsied taking the offered hand.

As music was playing, more guests came in. People Yang still recognized from years ago at her birthday party and more.

Mrs. Potts sang to Forte's piano. “Tale as old as time. True as it can be. Barely even friends, then somebody bends, unexpectedly. Just a little change. Small to say the least. Both a little scared. Neither on prepared. Beauty and the Beast.”

She continued singing. “Ever just the same. Ever a surprise. Ever as before. Ever just a sure, as the sun will rise. Tale as old as time. Tune as old as song. Bitter, sweet and strange, finding you can change, learning you were wrong. Certain as the sun. Rising in the east. Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme. Beauty and the Beast. Tale as old as time. Song as old as rhyme. Beauty and the Beast.”

Blake and Yang's hands met between them bent past ninety degree angles. Rotating and switching their hands as they danced. Sweeping downward until their right hands intertwined with Blake's left hand on Yang's shoulder and Yang's right hand on Blake's waist swaying to the rhythm. Twirling in a circle with their hands on each other's waist staring into each others eyes. When the song slowed, they crossed at their forearms like the heads of swans. They circled around again until they broke away. Yang reached her hand out and Blake placed her hand on top of hers circling each other. When the song same to an end, Blake bowed lower almost touching the ground. Yang bent at the waist kissing the back of her hand.

They came back to when the song first started. She twirled Blake around in her beautiful golden dress that Yang wore, granted much longer on her thanks to her awesome tailor. After Yang's hand met her waist, she arced it upward twirling Blake one again. They switched directions until Blake circled her with their hand still connected, repeating the action until the end. They grabbed each others hands spinning in a circle until it ended. Across the way after her dizzy spell, Yang smiled seeing Weiss and Ruby dance. The white knight rolled her eyes and smiled when Ruby put her head in her chest.

“What's the smile for?” Beauty asked.

“You've made me the happiest woman I've ever been in...well...my entire life. Possibly even my sister. I've never seen her and Weiss so close.” She saw the approach of Blake's father. “I think your father wants to dance with you. He's much taller than I remember.”

“You were the one looking down on him. Are you sure he doesn't want to talk or dance with his daughter in-law?” She teased. “He probably wants to know more about you.”

“Guess we'll find out. Monsieur Belladonna, I wanted to apologize. I am sorry about my behavior when we first met. I was-I'm sorry. There is no excuse for my behavior.”

“I'm sorry, have we met?” He stared at her confused.

“Yes-I mean, not really, no.” Blake chuckled at how flustered she was. “I was the one who took your loveliest daughter away from you. The...ah...beastly dragon.” He was even more confused. She sighed. “I was cursed and the only way to break it, was for a beautiful virgin to love me for the hideous form I was.”

“That explains the arrangement. Wait. Did you question my daughter about her virginity?” His voice rising with slight anger.

“Papa!” Blake tried to hide her embarrassment.

“No! No Sir, nothing like that. Ahem. It was just that she was in your household and so I assumed she was without a husband as you know they say about woman in this day and age.”

“What about you? Are you?” His eyes narrowed.

“Papa!”

“Yes. I was changed into a beast when I was eleven. I wasn't even fully developed.

“I see... Why not with others?”

“The others like you were travelers, not beautiful or handsome by any means. Most were needy males. When you took the rose, I knew it was for someone important as you gave it a second thought before you left, someone very important indeed.” She smiled at Blake who blushed. “The curse would've remained permanent in a few months. I had ten years to fix it.”

He took it a little easier on her. “I was surprised when Beauty came home. She looked happy and well cared for, despite the arrangement. I now understand why you did what you did in a sense. I am utterly confused about what I am doing here, how you two happened. When we made our deal, you were going to force Beauty to marry you, I was surprised she told me you didn't force her.”

“I needed her to love me, you can't force someone to love you, that was my dilemma. When she told me she saw me as a friend, I lost all hope. It was nice to have a friend to talk to. I cared about her. I loved her and still love her. When she said she missed you, I let her go. I asked her to be back in seven days-.”

“Or you would've died of a broken heart. You almost did. Yang, I almost lost you.” She hugged her dragon.

“You would've been with your family.”

“You nearly lost Ruby. You died in front of Shay. I'm so sorry Yang.”

“Hey, Blake, please don't cry. This is the happiest day of my life.”

“How can you say that? I nearly killed you.”

“Grief nearly killed me, not you. My father died of a broken heart. I would've accepted the same fate. I can understand now how it happened.”

“I didn't know that.”

“I didn't want you to know.”

“Ahem. Blake, would you please give me a moment with your fiancee?”

She wanted to object, to say no. Yang didn’t need to be alone with her father,

“This way Monsieur.” Yang guided him out the balcony. She passed Shay on the way. “Make sure she doesn't follow and stays out of ear shot.” She gestured her head to Blake.

“Yes princess.” He heard Shay talking to Blake. Mademoiselle, would you like to dance?”

She could hear Blake saying 'no thank you'. Shay started conversation knowing she’d be too rude to say no. Dances are perfect ways to relay information. Since they are out of earshot, she looked over her shoulder to see them dancing. She laughed inside as Blake wore a frown.

They sat on the bench outside. “Now, like I said before, Blake was happy to be home, however, when she talked about you and this place, her eyes sparkled. Tell me why you allowed her to visit and how she almost killed you, more about this curse and mostly about this marriage she agreed with.”

She sighed. “There was a magic mirror Blake had access to where she could see you. She always saw you depressed. When she arrived to dinner one night, she couldn't hide her sadness and shared with me your mental state. She explained she was homesick. I asked her to return in seven days lest I die of a broken heart. Since she was gone for ten, I nearly died. She found her way back. She cried telling me she loved me. She asked me to marry her. As for the curse, you visit once, unless you take something, you can never find it twice. You gave Beauty a dress she wore from here along with some jewelry, that's how you were able to find this place again. I gave her ring a ring that would teleport her here. As for how you got here, I would determine it was the fairies. I love your daughter. She is the most wonderful person to come along and change my life. I'm sorry we got off on the wrong claw.” She tried to joke. “She asked me to marry her first tonight. I had asked her for three months straight with the same answer. She always answered with no then told me she saw me as a friend. With all her family there, I wanted to propose in front of everyone. I forgot to ask. Do I have your blessing to take your daughter's hand in marriage?”

“I mean technically, you had my blessing when you struck a deal with me that one of them would marry you. But, now that I see you for the changed person you are and I understand why you did what you did. I willingly give you my blessing this time.”

Yang smiled. “Thank you sir.”

“That makes me sound old.” He chuckled. “How about father, dad, papa-.”

“Pops.” She beamed.

His face scrunched. “Now wait just a minute young lady. That makes me sound old.”

“Ah, Pops, lighten up. Ha, get it, because the sun's out and I used to breath fire?”

“You are a jokester.” He smiled. “ Let’s head back inside so that you may spend more time with your fiancee.”

“Yes and your daughter will become queen when we have the ceremony. A fair queen of the land. I like the sound of that.” She thought about it.

“So Blake will be your equal?”

“Oh no. I will never equate to her. She's just so perfect in every way.” She was viewing the person she loves in the ballroom dancing with Shay, clearly trying to shake him off.” She smiled at the sight. “She would make the most wonderful queen.” She said mostly to herself.

“So would you.”

“Nowhere near her. I have no idea how you did it, but you did amazing. Thank you for raising the most beautiful woman in the world, physically, mentally and emotionally. Did you have anything else? Anything to embarrass me further with?”

“Those are all the questions I have. Go get her.”

“Thanks Pops.” She smiled jogging to the ballroom to join her.

“It's about time you got here. If I had to listen to one more conversation about politics in royalty, I am going to scream.”

“Blake, easy, I'm right her.” She calmed her. “Don't stress yourself. Let me handle all the politics. That's what my dad entrusted me with.”

“I trust you.”

“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

They shared a kiss against each others lips.

“Rraaarrr.” She growled rolling the r's.

“Yang.” Her checks flushed pink.

Yang smiled with a softest look Beauty’s seen. She leaned down, pressing her lips against Blake’s. It was the gentlest one they’ve shared yet. It was like fireworks exploding once more. To them, it felt like two souls combining into one.