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Dark As Knight

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SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Emma packed the unconscious 8 year old over her shoulder like a sack of potatoes through the dark castle to the throne room. Although she was being escorted, she was too confident to pay attention to that little detail. It hadn't been easy to get those poppy seeds into the little girl's food as her father, who had some sort of strange obsession for hats, kept busy around their small but decently sized home. Emma had practically spent the night inside their home and neither noticed her presence.

After waiting patiently for the father to finally give into his exhaustion, Emma silently watched as he checked in on his little girl, Grace, before retiring to his own room. Under the cover of the starless night, Emma carried the child through the village as if she were her own in order to avoid suspicions. Upon returning to the steed, they rode non-stop back to the Dark Realm. The poppy seeds were sure to wear off soon, but that would no longer be Emma's problem...she hoped.

The guards pushed open the throne room doors and Emma strode in confidently without her escorts. She was once again shocked to find the Queen was alone, looking bored as ever. Regina seemed to perk up when she saw Emma, or rather the prize Emma was carrying over her shoulder.

"You still had a day, I am impressed. Were your travels pleasant nomad?"

Emma shifted the girl's weight, and pushed off her hood. "Travel was light, yes. What shall I do with her now?"

The Evil Queen stood and gestured for Emma to follow after her through a door that she hadn't noticed before. It was hidden behind a pillar and blended with the smooth interior of the dark castle. The door led into a dark hallway that had no windows and was only lit by torches, but Emma was hardly paying attention to the hallways décor at all...her emerald orbs were quite literally trained on the Evil Queens backside. The way her black dress cut low down her back stopping just above her behind in a very tempting manner—and what a lovely, round bottom the Evil Queen possessed.

The former princess was so caught up in her less than pure thoughts she failed to realize two things; the Queen had stopped walking and she was excited. It would've been more obvious if the hallway had more light. Emma walked right into Regina startling both women—however when Regina caught a whiff of the nomad, she pushed her away so hard Emma nearly dropped the girl over her shoulder in her surprise, thanks to her superior training and automatic reflexes, she caught her quickly.

"Be careful with her!" Regina hissed angrily.

"Well then don't push me!" Emma shot back with anger that equaled the Queens, more so annoyed than anything else. The Regal was again surprised by this woman, as nobody dared lash out or backtalk the Queen without fear for their lives.

"You have a strong unpleasant stench and that is unacceptable!"

"Well you did keep me in your dungeon for a week, what did you expect?" Emma replied, slightly offended, but solidly keeping her ground.

Regina waved her off and pulled out a single key and began to unlock a door they were standing in front of, a door Emma was only now noticing. She mentally scolded herself for getting so distracted. The Evil Queen opened the thick wooden door and gave Emma an expectant look.

The blonde had to refrain from rolling her eyes and took the unconscious girl inside and gently set her down on the rather uncomfortable looking cot but at least it had a blanket she thought to herself. Emma took another moment to make sure the girl would be warm when she awakened. When she stepped out of what seemed like a personal dungeon, Regina closed and locked the door once again and the door disappeared into the wall. Now Emma understood why she didn't notice it at first, it wasn't actually there.

"Are you taking me back to the dungeons Your Highness?" Emma tried to keep her tone neutral, already knowing the answer.

The Evil Queen regarded her new tenure with a careful eye and cool facade, "No, I believe you have earned your right to a room. I assume you would not appreciate sharing an area with the men...would you?"

Emma blushed faintly, surprised, and shook her head, "No my Queen." she tried not to think too much of how easily of calling Regina her Queen was and that she didn't mind it , she was curious about the woman most of her life but now her curiosity was clearly turning into something more. She wasn't so sure what to make of her unique situation.

"I figured not." Regina stepped into Emma's personal space and took the woman's upper arms gently as purple vapor engulfed both of them.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Both women were now standing in the middle of a dark gray themed room, it was a huge room certainly bigger than the room Emma had at the White Castle. There was a large bed near the far wall with black silk sheets and comforter, it was right next to the high balcony with the double doors and black curtains that were tied back to allow the sunlight inside the room. The high ceiling had the Evil Queens crest carved into it with a rich blood red color. The entire room was fitting for the Queen and for Emma as well. There were no portraits or vases with flowers, only a giant mirror that sat on the wall between two doors on the opposite side of the room from the bed and patio. It was unnerving to have a mirror that enormous facing the bed. Two hands squeezing Emma's arms brought her from her musings.

Emma stepped away from the Evil Queen quickly coughing awkwardly when she finished taking in the room, "Um..."

"This is your new room dear. Your reward for bringing the child to me."

"My...reward?"

"Yes dear, your reward." the Evil Queen seemed rather vexed with Emma's lack of vocabulary skills. "I will have one of the guards fetch you for dinner later and please bathe and make good use of the wardrobe."

"Wait, where am I?"

"Right wing dear."

Emma frowned slightly, "Right wing? I thought the left wing is the royal wing? This room is too nice to be a commoner's room."

Regina lifted a sculpted brow, if she was surprised this nomad was aware of how a castle worked she hid it very well. Regina's suspicions of this woman being more than she appeared were slowly being confirmed. "I like to keep them guessing darling—now if you will excuse me, I do have a kingdom to run."

Purple smoke took Regina before Emma could think of anything witty to say.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Emma stood in front of the body length mirror, feeling a bit unsure. The Evil Queen had left her two choices in her wardrobe. On one side, there were numerous dresses and gowns in various colors and designs. The dresses reminded her of the ones her mother had forced her to wear, too tight bodices and uncomfortable undergarments. However; on the other side was quite a surprise considering the clothing on the opposite side of the closet. There were riding, as well as casual pants along with dress shirts and leather vests with hoods on them. Emma wondered if the Queen had all of this made for her during her week-long stay in the dungeon, she shook it off. Why would the Evil Queen create a personal wardrobe for her? Of all people? The woman who stole from her. Instead of trying to solve this puzzle in her mind, she just shook it off for now. She had a feeling that she would drive herself crazy trying to figure out all the odd nuances of the Queen, as she had seen her already behave so differently toward her than should be expected. She was patient. All would be revealed…In due time.

Emma chose to wear a pair of leather pants with her own boots and a white dress shirt. The dress shirt was loose and a little bigger than she would have liked but it served it purpose. She felt exposed without her sword or her hooded vest, but maidens took her clothes while she was bathing much to her displeasure. Emma had to make do with one of the vests provided, but it wasn't the same...They couldn't conceal a simple hand knife. She would just have to rely on the hidden blades tucked into the sides of her boots.

The knock on the door before it opened pulled Emma away from the mirror and her thoughts. She greeted the knight with a glare. Neither said anything to the other, Emma simply followed him down the wide hallways to the dining hall. There was a table full of food but it seated only two. The Evil Queen was already there and waiting. Emma took a seat next to the right of the Queens, who sat at the head of the table.

Emma had no idea what to say or do, and the Queen was simply staring at her with those intense brown eyes. The blonde started filling her plate with meat and vegetables quietly, to distract herself.

While she did that, Regina took in her new clothes and smell. Without the vest hiding her body, Regina was able to get a good look at her. The woman was athletic, more athletic than most of pig men she called knights. Her blonde hair shone brightly once it was washed properly and her pale skin showed signs of years of survival but that's what made her more beautiful. Regina admired women who had the courage to fight...and survive. Being a survivor herself, Regina knew all too well how cruel the world can be to women, strong women in particular.

"You clean up well." The brunette finally broke the silence and began filling her own plate with fruit and vegetables. "I shouldn't be surprised you decided against a gown."

Emma smirked, "Gowns slow me down. My mother forced me into them many times." Emma immediately realized her slip and stuffed her mouth with meat, scolding herself.

Regina, however, jumped on the bit of information. "Were you not close with your parents?"

Emma shook her head, "No. My mother dictated everything and my father...well..he isn't much of a father.

Frowning, Regina held a brief moment of understanding her mind reverting back to the conflicting times with her own mother and Daniel, and Snow White. "Yes, I am all too familiar with troublesome mothers. Tell me about yours, Swan."

"I don't like to talk about my parents." Emma replied quickly, hoping Queen Regina would drop it already, she was afraid that she would figure out who she was and Emma wasn't sure what she would do if her reaction was less than excited...And she most definitely didn't want to be called Princess.

"I wasn't asking—you steal from me,and I offer you duty and safety. The most you can do is tell me a little about yourself. I barely know who you are...but you know all about me. It's hardly fair!" Regina exclaimed as if she were truly offended that Emma didn't want to share childhood horror stories over dinner, Emma saw the glimmer in the Queens brown eyes.

Emma ate another slice of meat washing it down with cool, fresh water. She decided to ignore the parent question, hoping the Queen would let it go for now. "Something about me? Well, I finally grew up to be a savage—as my mother so kindly put it one night." Emma nearly slapped herself in the face, she just said she didn't like to talk about her parents, particularly her mother, and here she was making snide comments in their name.

"Well, I wouldn't go that far dear. I've had the displeasure of meeting true barbarians and you are not one."

Emma smirked, "No, I'm more of a-"

"Bandit." Regina inserted coolly, frowning as certain memories invaded her mind. "Reminds me of a certain Queen which whom I despise."

"Snow White?" Emma scoffed, and waved off Queen Regina's comment, actually offended. "Are you comparing me to—to her?!" Emma stumbled over her tongue, she almost slipped up. "I am more than a petty bandit...I robbed you 16 times did I not?"

Regina glared at her new edition, hand tightening around her fork. "A fact I am still very sore about, so I would refrain from gloating."

Emma simply bowed her head and smiled, "My apologies Your Highness." though she didn't sound very sorry at all and continued eating. "So...why exactly haven't you killed me yet? I mean...I stole from you 16 times, and killed more than a dozen of your men? I do not understand."

Regina continued eating her fruit and vegetables quietly for a few more moments, thinking over her answer carefully. She wanted, for some unforeseen reason, to be honest with Emma and not because of whom she was and what she could help Regina accomplish as far as revenge went. "You have a considerable amount of darkness deep within you and I can sense it—I've sensed it since the moment you were first brought into my throne room."

"I suppose that happens when you have nothing to feel but hate and sadness."

"I understand that all too well dear—nothing good comes from it."

Emma just sat there staring at the Evil Queen. She wasn't sure what to make of the woman's suddenly soft tone. Since she's been here, the Evil Queen has been nothing but sarcastic and now she was seeing the slightly vulnerable side of the Queen, and Emma cherished it—even if it was just for a moment because she knew her next question would do nothing but put the woman's guard back up. "So why do you still do what you do then?"

Regina's brown eyes drifted towards green and they stared at each other for awhile, as if trying to read the others thoughts. It was a loaded question, one that Regina didn't intend on answering lest she give away too much. "Because it is all I have left." Then Regina pushed herself away from the table and stood, gesturing towards the rest of the food. "When you're done here a guard will escort you back to your chambers."

Emma's frown lifted into a smirk as she looked up at Regina. "Why can't I walk? I'm not going to run away or kill you in your sleep if that's what you're afraid of."

"Nothing is to be feared—only understood. Goodnight nomad."

Emma watched as Queen Regina disappeared in a cloud of smoke. Emma sat there staring at the seat that the dark and beautiful woman had previously occupied for a few moments, she felt as if there was some hidden meaning behind Regina's goodnight parting. She was simply too tired to think it over, so she finished her dinner and got up from the table. The guard that was standing near the door nodded at her and turned on his heel, opening the door for her and then led her back to her bedchambers.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Meanwhile across the Enchanted Forest in the White Kingdom, Snow White and Charming were in their throne room with their three best and most trusted combatants. Seeing that the Dark woman favored mirrors as her way of invading privacy, all forms of mirrors were banned from the White Kingdom's throne room, and various other places throughout the castle where they didn't want prying eyes. Snow had learned this trick of the Evil Queens as a child, when she was coming to find Regina and found her peering through a looking glass, but not seeing her own reflection.

"Snow are you sure you want to do this?"

Snow White looked at Red, staring into the tall brunettes eyes. "Yes, I am more than sure. We are hanging by threads Red. The White Kingdom cannot withstand another winter. If the next one is as bad as this one...this kingdom shall be no more. We don't have a princess to marry to the richest Kings son anymore," she added bitterly and they all knew how sore Snow was about Emma's unexplained disappearance, even after 5 years.

It affected the entire kingdom and Snow White wasn't the same woman since. Charming reverted into a very quiet man, he loved his wife dearly until the end of his days but it was obvious to all that her ruling was stronger than his. People looked to her more than him because most people followed Snow's parents before her mother's untimely and questionable death and her father's murder.

Mulan nodded, glancing at Red. "Regina is a tyrant, and she doesn't deserve to be Queen. Those people live in fear. It is time we saved them."

"Yes" Snow agreed, smiling. "Those unfortunate people deserve kindness and compassion. Not cruelty and death. It's time someone took the Evil Queen off her high stool."

Charming cleared his throat. Something was very unsettled at the pit of his stomach. He addressed the quiet man that was wearing the black armor signifying that he was a part of the Evil Queen's personal guard. Though the Huntsman swore fealty to Regina, he was also very close to the White Queen. "Huntsman, can you tell us more of this thief?"

The Huntsman shook his head, shaggy hair falling in across his eyes. "No...She took her down to the dungeons, and she remains there. That is all I know."

"Is there any way you can talk to her? Perhaps she will be useful to help us, being tossed in the dungeons ensures great loyalty." Red scoffed sarcastically, crossing her arms and shifting her weight from one leg to the other.

"I can try— I better get back before Lancelot deems me gone too long."

Mulan narrowed her dark eyes at him, pushing back her royal white cape. "Are you sure the Evil Queen does not know of your activities? Why does Lancelot still worry about you?"

The Huntsman growled under his breath, "I am fine, I have been for the past two summers and winters."

Snow White looked between Mulan and the Huntsman, then nodded towards the hairy man. He bowed to her and Charming slightly and quietly made his leave. Snow saw her husband trying to catch her eye, but she ignored him and addressed the two only female contingent of her army. "You two go and get some rest. It is going to be a long day tomorrow."

Mulan and Red bowed to Snow before leaving the two crowns in the throne room with nothing but the moonlight shining down on them. As soon as the doors shut, Charming turned to his Queen. "Snow...I don't think we're ready to take on the Evil Queen!"

"What? David-"

"Her army is too big and too strong, and we don't even know if the Huntsman can be trusted anymore!"

"He saved my life from her! He can be trusted."

David shook his head, seeing the flare in his True Loves eyes every time he accused the Huntsman of something used to bother him, but he trusted Snow and brushed it off. "Snow, there just has to be another way to save the Kingdom."

"There is no other way Charming!" Snow yelled at him, her voice echoing off the stone walls. "Our last hope is gone and she is never-" Snow shook her head slightly choking up mid-rant. Whether it was from anger or sadness David couldn't tell. He could never tell Snow White's emotions when Emma was mentioned. "Henry is too young to be of any help, you know that as much as I do. You know this is the only choice we have." The White Kingdoms Queen whispered, moving past her husband to leave the room.

"Even if it means destroying the last of our kingdom?" Charming asked, catching her wrist to stop her exit and turning her around to face him. "You'd risk everything?"

Snow lowered her gaze to the stone floor, breathing in deeply. "Regina doesn't know what it feels like to lose everything—not yet."

Snow caught his gaze briefly before pulling her wrist from his grasp. Charming stood there shocked, watching her leave him alone in the big cold empty room. He didn't know what Snow planned on doing was for the good of their Kingdom or a ploy for revenge and that worried him to his core.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ