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Dark As Knight

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"Snow...Please! Try to be rational here! We no longer have the strength; not only in man-power, but in sheer numbers as well, as we did in the days of old." David had been trying to placate his wife for the past four days since hearing the news Red delivered, once she herself had recovered from the shock of the events she had witnessed, followed by the burial of the Huntsman. "I love you so very much, and I am not ashamed to get down on my knees and beg of you to reconsider my dear Snow." It was as if the words fell upon deaf ears. Nobody, not even Red, could figure out the innermost workings and thoughts of her "so-called" best friend Snow White, anymore.


David was the first of the two crowns to break through the revelation. At least he had the decency to say please when he demanded Red to take him to his daughter. They took three men with him, leaving his stunned and silently sobbing wife sitting on her throne in utter solitude.

As they reached the small pond's clearing, King Charming jumped off of his horse before the animal came to a complete halt, his foible causing him to nearly break his neck, but that was the least of his worries, what did concern him was the scene before his very eyes. There were two lifeless bodies—and neither belonged to his precious daughter. Panicking; Charming turned to the three knights that accompanied them, "Spread out! Find her...Find my daughter!" He choked out.

"Yes my Lord." The men bowed simultaneously and left, leaving their King alone with the wolf and the two bodies near the pond. Red padded next to Mulan, nudging the dark-haired warriors hand with her nose, whining softly. Charming came over and kneeled beside Mulan. Taking a breath, he gently turned the White Knight over...just as she was beginning to coming to.

"Mulan?" Charming asked softly, but it was strained. "Are you okay? Can you remember anything? Tell me anything?"

Red barked at him warningly, but he ignored his friend and helped Mulan to sit up, as she was gingerly rubbing the back of her head and blinking away the bleariness, all in attempt to make sense of the events that had just taken place. "The princess is alive..." she mumbled, "And she's evil... It is almost as if she is no longer the person we once knew. This goes very deep...deep down to the core. Whatever has happened to her, the change is in every part of her person, and will not be easy to fix...If Emma still even exists in that woman's body."

Charming gasped, almost dropping Mulan's upper body back onto the ground. "That's my daughter you're talking about, watch your tongue!"

"You have appointed me to be your White knight, your Champion! Not to placate you with honey-laden lies, just to appease you and Snow! I speak to you the truth! We may be in danger... Have I yet led you astray?" Charming moved not a muscle. "I thought not. Ahhh..." Then Mulan fell back down, forgetting that she had not much strength. Apparently it was her adrenaline that allowed her to speak to the King in such a fashion.

Red whined again, looking down at the ground. She could have shifted back a long time ago, but she wasn't ready to talk to anyone about anything just yet—she wouldn't have the slightest idea where to start. She saw Emma yes, but the princess was nowhere to be found and she just couldn't say that to her friends...her extended family. It would either break them and their kingdom even more...or— Red didn't even want to think about their alternative reactions because it wouldn't end well for her. Thank gods that Mulan saw the same thing. She had thought she was crazy at first, until Mulan spoke... Hopefully she was lucid enough to remember what she had said to Charming, and would repeat it to Snow.

When Mulan was fully able to regain her bearings, even with the painful throbbing on the back of her head, everything came rushing back to her up until the moment that Emma had knocked her out. Mulan pushed away from Charming and Red and practically crawled over to the Huntsman's body. She no longer saw her sword sticking out of his chest, and the pool of blood surrounding his body and now soaking through her pants was a clear sign that he was no longer with them. Not only did that Bitch kill her friend, almost more importantly, she stole her sword! That was an heirloom, and she was going to get that back, or that Piece of Evil was going to suffer many times until she was begging for her mercy...

Charming and Red stood back, watching Mulan reach for the man's cape that was covering his face, and she pulled it back. Three sets of eyes widened and Charming swallowed hard and Mulan looked away in guilt...the Huntsman was missing his head and the White Knight was missing her sword.

When the three knights sullenly trudged back home with no signs of the princess...Charming left the area without a word, and with his steed following behind him. He could not—would not believe that his daughter would do such a thing. He knew the Evil Queen had something to do with it and he would make sure she would pay for it.


Snow turned on her husband who was sitting still in his chair in their shared study, he was sitting so calmly that it just made her mood all the more unstable.

"How can you sit there while our daughter remains miserable in that cold kingdom?"

Charming sighed, "Our army is nowhere as big as Regina's Snow, you and I both know this! We have to be smart about this Love, not just for Emma but for Henry too."

Snow stopped when her husband mentioned their son, their darling little son. He was the light of her life and everything she wanted in a child; he was simply perfect, but he was too young to help save the kingdom. Yet Emma wasn't—she was still young and Snow knew they'd have many new suitors lining up to marry the lost princess that survived the Evil Queen. Snow smiled, and Charming relaxed, he should've brought Henry up days ago if he knew his wife would calm down so quickly.

"You're right, we have to be smart about this." The White Queen sat down in the chair opposite of her husbands, "We will just have to sit down with Regina and bargain with her. How is Mulan?"

Charming shrugged lightly, "The healers say she will be back on her feet in two days time, Henry is helping her get better and making sure she stays in the bed." Charming was secretly dreading the conversation that was inevitable between his Queen and Mulan about her observations regarding Emma...

Snow smiled, Henry had really taken a liking to Mulan he looked up to her like she was his big sister. Another piece of life meant for Emma. Mulan taught him how to master his sword and protect himself, how to ride a horse, and how to track animals. Mulan was good for Henry, he needed someone to look up to. Snow just hoped he and Emma could have that same bond when she came back home.

"Good, when she is well enough we will travel to the Dark Kingdom and speak with Regina. I'll send a request after lunch."

Charmings eyebrows raised, "Do you think she will accept? It's been five years Snow, she hasn't gloated in all this time...Do you really think it will be so easy?"

Snow sighed, looking at her husband sadly, and tiredly. "I don't know Charming, but I don't care...I just my daughter back. I miss her."

Charming reached over and took his wife's hand in his own and squeezed softly, "Soon my love. Emma will be home soon."

"And we will be complete and happy." Snow turned to look out the window. Thanking the heavens her daughter was alive—maybe...just maybe there would be hope for the White Kingdom yet.


Emma sat quietly in her new armor in the small carriage across from the Evil Queen, nibbling on a biscuit she pilfered from the kitchen pantry before they took their leave. She had no idea where they were going, but she didn't really care, and the ride was quiet and relaxing.

"Honestly dear, you come from least eat like it, if not anything else." The Evil Queen chided, looking down at the crumbs on Emma's crotch, the white crumbs were a stark contrast against the skin tight black leather pants that the blonde was wearing. Emma blushed and brushed them off of her lap and down to the carriages floor, earning a glare from Regina.

"Sorry...I'll clean it up later."

Regina merely rolled her eyes and waved off Emma's empty promise, "Hurry and finish your bread dear, we are almost there."

Emma looked out the small window not seeing anything but the Enchanted Forest and blue skies, "Where are we?" She ate the last of her bread and then wished she had brought something to drink to quench her ever increasingly, parched throat.

"There is a village not far from here... the man I need is somewhere around here...find him, and bring him back to the castle. Alive."

Emma nodded, "What will I find him doing?"

Regina smiled, "Chopping down the wood for his family to ward off the chilly nights and to prepare their tea and meals. The driest wood will be just east of this trail."

Emma smirked. He would be armed and most likely put up a fight...a fight she would enjoy, despite how brief it would be. "Why do you need this man? He's just a woodsman?"

"It's not him I really want, it is his children. Hansel and Gretel."

Emma snorted in amusement, "What is with you and kids? First, the little girl from the trade village, and now, a little boy and girl?"

Regina glared at Emma, "They're thieves...good ones. I just need a small favor."

"So kidnapping their father...? Leverage if they refuse?"

Regina smirked, shifting her gaze to the small window on the door. "I'm so pleased that you're parents' idiocy skipped your generation." Emma laughed aloud, but said nothing else because she too was glad.

The carriage eventually came to a slow stop and Regina nodded for Emma to get out. Throwing up her hood Emma exited the carriage but not before kissing Regina's hand. The blonde closed the carriage door and waited for the group to continue on before heading east, raindrops from the night before falling from the leaves and onto her bare arms.


The morning after their passion-filled night, the Dark Queen awakened before the blonde who was snoring softly next to her, breathing down her neck. Waking up next to someone was new to Regina and privately admitted—terrifying. She felt content, more than she had in years, since her mother murdered Daniel right before her eyes. She and Daniel never slept together, much less sleep together...This was Regina's first time waking up in another's arms...and liking it. The last man that had dared to have his arms around her when she awakened, disgusted Regina and she eventually killed the leach and took over his kingdom.

Regina laid there for a few more minutes, silently enjoying the blondes bare skin touching her own. The woman's body was softer than any other body Regina had allowed into her bed. Emma's body was harder in comparison to Regina's notably softer one, but she was still a woman and she was soft in her own special ways.

Regina eventually removed herself from Emma's arms and got out of bed. The Evil Queen was dressed and prepared for the day as breakfast was brought in and Emma was finally coming to the land of the living. She was sitting up in the bed, rubbing her eyes, giving Regina an eye full of her full breasts and hard dusty pink nipples, while the silk sheet pooled around the blonde's waist.

"Morning 'ina" Emma tried to say before yawning but failed.

The Dark Queen simply rolled her eyes and began fixing the blonde a plate without even thinking about it, "I hope you're well rested Lady Swan, today will be a busy day."

"Why?" Emma asked trying to stifle another yawn, taking the offered plate gratefully and digging in, surprised that Regina had bothered to fix her a plate much less let her eat it in her bed.

Regina raised a brow, going back to the cart and fixing herself a light breakfast because she had to leave soon. "Did you forget already?"

Emma swallowed the eggs and thought for a moment then smiled, "Oh court. Today. Yes I remember, I thought it was something else. Sorry Your Majesty."

Regina eyed the blonde a moment from her place behind the cart, watching the beautiful young woman eat as if it were her last meal, and yet managed to maintain her manners. The butterflies that fluttered at the pit of her stomach startled the older woman, and she set her plate down abruptly.

"Court is at noon Lady Swan, do not be late or you will suffer the consequences." The Evil Queen was back and no longer smiling, her eyes were no longer warm. Emma watched the regal woman exit the bed chambers confused, wondering if it was something she did.


Emma was just coming over a small, treeless hill when she heard the unmistakable sound of an axe hitting wood, and grunts from the man wielding the axe. Emma didn't bother to teleport through the shadows, for she wasn't going to kill the man so there was no need to blitz him. She simply and quietly came over the hill and sat down on one of the tree stumps and waited. Emma didn't have to wait long as he took a break a couple of minutes later. As the middle-aged man wiped the sweat from his forehead he finally noticed he had company—and not the good kind either.

"What do you want Dark Knight? I have done nothing wrong." The dirty man gripped his axe tighter.

Aside from her new armor, everyone knew who Lady Swan was—the entire kingdom either witnessed her fealty or heard about it from the ones who did. It wasn't a spectacle but no one has ever been inducted as a knight and assassin before, at least not in their time. The very titles contradict the other, yet the Dark Queen accepted the woman as both and kept the woman near at all times as her knight, and in the short days that Emma was nowhere near the Evil Queen...Folks knew that Emma was the Queen's Assassin then.

Emma eyed the axe from beneath her hood with disinterest and picked up a twig, peeling off its bark. "Keep a cool head and I'll let you keep it. Alright?"

He hesitated, but he set his axe down on the cart, "What do you want?"

Emma tossed the twig aside as she stood, "The Evil Queen requests the pleasure of your company."

This catches his attention and Emma could almost smell the fear rolling off of him in waves, "She...The Evil Queen wah-wants to, to see me? Why? I ain't do nothing!"

Emma simply laughed, "Your thieving children; however..." Emma trailed off, letting that bit of information sink in. Sure, she twisted Regina's words but it had its desired effect...she watched confusion flash across his face before realization took over and he looked ready to get down on his knees and beg Emma to...for whatever scared fathers would beg for to protect their children.

He took a half-step forward, tears brimming his eyes. "Please...please, they meant no harm! I tell 'em to stop...but..."

Emma held up her pale hand and he stopped immediately, flinching. "If you come quietly, you and I won't have problem. You're family is in no immediate danger."

The man's thoughts were just so jumbled and panicked he didn't take the time to really hear what Emma was saying, he just wanted his family safe. "My boy and girl...they're out collecting wood...I can't just leave them."

"Would you rather I go find them too then? I'm sure she'd love to have you all there."

He shook his head vehemently, "No! No..." He knew Gretel had the compass and would be able to find the way home, he just prayed that good will be on their side. "No...I'll come...just please...Don't hurt them."

Emma chuckled sinfully, stepping to the side and gesturing for him to go first. The woodcutter eyed Emma's armed body warily as he walked past her and putting great distance between the two. Emma caught his arm quickly, startling him but she held tight to the frightened man. "I don't have a horse, but I do have a much faster way of traveling."

She hauled him towards a great oak tree that was casting a dark shadow, Emma jerked the Woodsman to it and she went in right after him; laughing over his screaming.


Like the day before, Emma walked into the throne room in the middle of court, and as it were before, the villagers parted like the Red Sea, as the hooded figure made its way down the aisle towards the steps that led to the Dark Queen's throne. The two knights that were on crowd control tensed when Emma drew her sword from her back, but Regina waved them away, cold eyes focused on Emma. She was still trying to fight those unknown feelings that the blonde brought out of her—feelings even Daniel was unable to conjure inside of her—and she was quite successful...until Emma walked into the throne room so strong and dangerous, frightening everyone who just looked at her. Regina was tempted to choke the woman again, just to feel some sort of normalcy around the former princess.

Emma slowly pushed the hood from her face, revealing straight blonde hair that crimped at the ends and a beautiful female face—which will soon quell the rumors of the Dark Queen's new chess piece being heinously, dog ugly—but that wasn't what caught the people's attention, it was what she said that caused a stir in the crowd...and surprised the Evil Queen herself, not that she showed it.

"I am renouncing myself as the White Kingdom's Princess, and terminating all ties with the White Kingdom."

Emma offered her sword up the Dark Queen as she kneeled down on one knee. Waiting patiently, the silence was making her nervous. Regina stood from her throne and walked down the steps to Emma and placed both of her hands over the blondes...Firmly curling her hands over the hilt and the blade.

Emma's shoulders sagged with relief, and confidently continued. "I hereby swear fealty and do homage to the Dark Crown and Kingdom of the Enchanted Forest: to ever be a Good Knight and Callous Assassin, Reverent and Liberal." Emma paused, taking a small breath. "Obedient to my Dark Queen, foremost in battle, courteous at all times, and Champion...of the Dark Kingdom." This was a shot at the White Kingdom's Champion. If they had one...then so would the Dark Kingdom. "Thus I swear, Lady Emma Swan."

Ever so gently, Regina took the sword from Emma's hands and was rather surprised by its weight. And she places the sharp end on the junction where Emma's neck and shoulder connected, but the blonde didn't even flinch. "The Dark Kingdom accepts your homage and fealty and pledge from this day until the last of its reign that you are our Dark Knight, Assassin...and Champion."

Then Emma is engulfed in thick purple smoke, and when it cleared she was no longer wearing her old clothing, but something newer, tighter, and a little more than awesome. She was still wearing all black, but her pants were made of real leather this time, and they were airtight. She also had black riding boots that required no lacing or ties, they were simply fit for Emma. She was also wearing a black short sleeved shirt that showed off her toned arms that Regina was so fond of since seeing them, and an equally sleeveless hooded vest that offered shoulder protection and had the Dark Kingdom's crest on it. All of Emma's weapons and hidden weapons had a place, a more convenient place.

"Accept this enchanted armor which shall symbolize your prowess at arms." Regina then added a thinly chained reflective pendant around Emma's neck. "And...accept this pendant as a symbol of your place and your loyalty to the Crown of the Dark Realm of the Enchanted Forest. Never forget the burden of this pendant." Regina then lifted the sword, leaving behind an angry line on the woman's pale skin. "You may now rise as the kingdoms Dark champion."


Emma pushed the woodcutter into the dungeon with a smirk, and stepped out of the shadows as she closed the door casually. The door shutting soundly brought the man from his frightful shock and he ran to the door, the two knights that were there went for their swords but Emma didn't even flinch, she allowed the woodcutter to take her vest and jerk her into the door with a solid thud.

"You lied to me! You lied to me!" he yelled, the two knights stepped forward but Emma held up a finger. "Where are my children?!"

Emma, who was still smirking, pried his hands off of her and took a step back. She said nothing to him, and left the dungeon area. Emma went straight to the kitchen to fix herself a snack, it was still quite early in the day and it was nowhere near dinnertime. As Emma was fixing herself a bowl of fruit she heard the kitchen door open and close, followed by heavy footsteps.

"I would've thought the Queen would've picked me to kill that dog lover."

Emma turned and greeted the dark skinned knight with a smile, popping in another grape. "Jealous?"

Lancelot chuckled, stopping just a few feet from Emma. "Relieved. Followed that dog lover around for two years...almost gutted him without orders a couple of times."

"Why'd she keep him around for so long if she knew he was not loyal to this realm?"

Lancelot leaned against the counter, crossing his massive arms. "It's the Evil Queen, no one really knows anything for sure. We just do what we're told."

Emma nodded, not sure what to say to that or why he was bothering her, so she continued to eat her fruit in hopes to survive the awkward silence that fell between them.

"The Evil Queen's army is size and arms. Few women...many men, many young trainees."

Emma raised a brow, still opting not to say a word; waiting for him to make his point. Lancelot nodded, regarding the blonde in front of him. He's never really gotten a good look at the former princess until now. And she wasn't what he was expecting, but now he knows why the Queen was so vocal a few nights ago...Not only was her beauty unparalleled to that of any other, except maybe the Queen, this woman was no princess, this was a woman who survived by fighting and still had years left in her. "You're the Dark Kingdom's Champion... we've never had one before. Makes you the new Skipper."

"I take you're the Captain?"

The bald, dark-skinned man nodded, "Yes, I take orders from the Queen and they take orders from me."

A slow grin grew on Emma's face, "But now that you all have a Champion..."

Lancelot smirked, "We take orders from you."

Emma casually gestured between them. "And so? This is what...?"

"The guys want to meet you...I just wanted to meet you first."

Emma nodded, setting the empty fruit bowl in wash bin. "Should I be worried?"

"Nay, you brought back the head of the're in good for now."

Suddenly a maiden entered, inclining her head at the two high-ranked Knights, looked at Emma, blushing slightly. "The Queen requests your company in her study."

Emma looked at Lancelot who just smirked, "Another time?"

"Sure, maybe you and I can spar too?"

Emma nodded, "First to draw blood wins?"

"Two out of three cuts?"

Emma took his hand firmly, "Looking forward to it." Maybe she would have another ally in this place.


Emma knocked before entering Regina's study. The Evil Queen was sitting behind her giant oak desk, waiting patiently for Emma to sit down. "Happy hunting?"

Emma nodded, smiling somewhat. "Yes, the woodcutter is down in the dungeons...but what for?"

"The blind witch has something of mine and I need it back."

"What is it?"

"A poisoned apple. One bite from that apple and you fall into a deep sleep, full of regret." Regina leered cruelly.

Emma shuddered, "Who is it for?"

"Snow White. Your insipid mother. With her out of the way, that...wreck of a kingdom will finally crumble...and I will finally have control of this entire realm."

"Wouldn't her followers rebel against your reign?"

The Evil Queen simply smirked, "That's why I have you and the rest of my army. To take care of those bad seeds. However I won't be accepting Snow White's request for a meeting until I am sure those children come back with my artifact."

"Why didn't you just ask me to do it?"

"The blind witch put a spell around her home to keep adults out." The Dark Queen paused for a few beats, regarding Emma carefully. "How does it work?"

"How does what work?"

Regina sighed, rolling her eyes faintly. "Your dark magic, how does it work?" Idiot.

"Oh" Emma blushed, shifting in her chair. "The shadow magic..."

"Shadow magic!" Regina repeated in wonderment, leaning forward in her chair. "So very few possess it and still look...human. How do you manage dear?"

"Because it was given to me as if I were born with it, as opposed to manifesting it from a book. I gave up the gift of my parents' lineage for something much more useful. I became a Shadow Person...I was taught how to use my gifts in battle and for survival."

The Evil Queen couldn't help but smile, looking a bit crazed; eyes gleaming dangerously with excitement and that excited Emma as well. "Just what can you do, Lady Swan?"

"Everything a shadow can do...even become one myself."

"Can you move within the shadows as well?"

Emma nodded, "Yes, but to be able to have to see through the darkness;'d end up in another realm or falling off a cliff."

Regina sat back in her chair, still in awe. She wasn't sure how many times she could congratulate those two morons anymore. They created their own devil who just happened to be Regina's Champion—in more ways than one.

"How adept are you with the shadow magic?"

Emma shrugged, shaking her head subtly. "I was only trained in survival and basic means...I don't know how to fully use it...yet."

Regina thought for a moment, remembering when she first started with magic—how lost she was, and how vulnerable she was. Well Emma was neither, lost nor vulnerable...But she still had plenty of learning to do if she truly wanted to excel. "Lucky for you, I was taught by the best...and I can teach you, if you're willing to work very hard so that you may succeed."

Emma blinked, smiling in shock that Regina was even offering. She just seemed like the type of woman who doesn't offer anything freely. "I that very much, But you have dark magic...there is a fine line between our abilities."

Regina slowly pushed herself out of her seat and walked around her desk. She sat on it in front of Emma, and crossed her legs hands, gripping the desk on either side of her and from where she and Emma were sitting she knew she was giving the blonde a grand view. "I am aware of that fine line dear. Though if you'd rather stick with what you already have, that's fine by me." With a mask of indifference, the Dark Queen slid off her desk and was about to dismiss Emma until dinner, but before she could leave, her Dark Knight had her by the waist and back on top of the desk before she could even bat an eye.

Emma leaned forward and stopped just as her lips were inches from Regina's soft, apple red ones. "I didn't say no Regina...I'm just curious as to why you were offering to teach me. You don't strike me as the type of woman to just offer anything."

Regina smirked, placing her hands over Emma's though she had made no effort to remove them. She could feel the power lurking beneath Emma's smooth pale skin and it called to hers, like a moth to a flame. The Dark Queen licked her lips, her tongue brushing across Emma's as well. "Just say yes Lady Swan."

Emma shuddered, pressing more of her weight onto Regina, "If I say yes...can we do something else?"

Regina chuckled wickedly, reaching down and rubbing Emma through those suffocating leather pants and giving her a good squeeze or two eliciting moans from the blonde that was nearly on top of her on her own desk. "Only if you earn it dear." With her magic, Regina pushed Emma off of her and back into her chair. The Dark Queen stood and straightened dress and adjusted her hair. "Take us to the forest, anywhere you want."

Emma stood, adjusting her own pants before taking Regina's hand with a smirk. She took them to a corner in the room, where the book shelf was casting a formidable shadow. Emma stepped in first, pulling Regina in after her. Almost immediately she felt her bones grinding together due to the death grip from Regina's hand.

"Lady Swan!" she hissed, trying to keep her composure, but it was incredibly hard when you suddenly go from seeing perfectly to utterly, and impossibly blind; add to the fact it was unnaturally silent.

"Ssh...I have you Regina, I won't let you go."

"Where are we? What sorcery is this? Why am I am blind?"

Emma laughed softly, and it echoed and echoed. "This is the Shadow Realm. This is where I go when I use shadows to teleport. I can show you how to use it one day...I'm sure that it requires quite a great deal less amount of energy than...poofing. What exactly do you refer to it as? Poofing, that is? I just made that up off of the top of my head. I guess it would be teleportation technically, but when I witness it from you, 'poofing' just comes to mind..." Emma sensed that Regina was uncomfortable, so she was trying to take her mind off of her worries, even if for just a moment. Sometimes her genetic rambling could actually be considered, "charming"...

Regina was quiet for a moment, slowly easing her death grip on Emma's hand. "Yes...that will be very benefitting. Thank you. Now if you're done frolicking in the dark." Emma sensed that Regina seemed to be just a bit less apprehensive, whether she heard what Emma had said remained irrelevant.

"Do you trust me?"

"Do I currently have a choice?" The Evil Queen shot back coldly, she didn't like being in someone else's care—they never failed to mistreat her. Trust wasn't something Regina offered very freely, though it was something Emma offered very freely either.

Regina felt soft wind on her arms and face, and going through her hair but she didn't feel like she was moving. She couldn't hear anything, she couldn't see anything and she felt nothing but the hand in her own. It was disconcerting and yet...while she was barely holding off a panic attack, Emma was right at home. With her readjusted eyesight, Emma could see all the open portals from different shadows of all shapes and sizes, she could hear the lovely sounds of the forest, to others having sex, to people getting pillaged and plundered from. They were the light in the darkness for her.

All too soon, she was out and standing somewhere outside, a few kilometers from the Dark Kingdoms walls, and Regina took a very deep breath to gather herself. "Next time, we travel my way."

Emma held off a chuckle, holding up her hands. "Whatever you wish, Your Majesty"


Snow White was sitting in her personal library, alone and tired...but it was the only place she could get away from her husband to think clearly. She had no idea what she was going to use to bargain with Regina—the White Kingdom was on its last white brick. Dethroning the Evil Queen was their most difficult, but their only option for surviving the next winter and years more until Henry was ready to be wed off to another kingdom.

Emma...The Evil Queen has been keeping Emma for all these years, keeping her precious baby girl for all these years. Snow knew Emma hadn't run away, she just knew it...Emma had everything she could have ever wanted—she had no reason to run away. Now there was even more hope for their kingdom, Emma was still alive and she was still young...there was hope, and maybe just maybe...the White Kingdom wouldn't have to suffer losses of life to survive. Yet it came down to the same problem...they had nothing, absolutely nothing.

"Turn that frown upside down dearie," a high, and unfortunately, giddily familiar voice came from somewhere behind Snow's chair. "The Princess lives! The Princess lives!" Rumpelstiltskin paraded around the library, pretending to be using an instrument and plopped down in the chair on the other side of the rug across from Snow's and crossed his legs at the knee. He was acting like the pied-piper, the loon!

Snow's frown deepened and she sighed. "What do you want Rumpelstiltskin?"

He smirked, shaking his head. "Ah, it is not what I want...but it is what you want. You are not happy."

Snow looked away trying to keep her tears at bay, to keep the sign of weakness from the Dark One's sharp eye. He fed on weakness. "It's nothing Rumpelstiltskin, I don't want, nor do I need your help."

Snow's sharp tone and glare did nothing but amuse him even more, because he was absolutely grinning now, "I see differently dearie." he tapped his right temple. "And just between you and me..." he leaned forward, stage whispering, "What I have to say is better than what you're thinking."

"How dare you speak to me like that! You may be the Dark One, but I am still a Queen and you will treat me as such!" Snow exclaimed, trying to at least have some semblance of control over her situation.

Rumpelstiltskin simply sighed and pulled out a small clear tube container with something glowing inside of it, it looked like a few strand of hairs that were uniquely tied around another and floating. Rumpelstiltskin saw Snow's curiosity peak and his grin stretched beyond possibility.

"What is...that?" she asked warily, sitting up a bit straighter.

Rumpelstiltskin waved the small vial this way and that way. "This, my dear, is the answer to all of your petty little problems." he giggled as if it was the most exciting moment of his life, "Here I hold...The rarest sort of magic in the Enchanted Forest...True Love's Magic."

Snow White's eyes widened comically, "How did you get that?"

Rumpelstiltskin uncrossed his legs, leaning forward in his seat and holding the tube in his fist. Moving in on Snow's vulnerability like an ogre would a screaming dame. "The who's and the why's don't matter's the how that matters. How are you going to use it, that is..."

Snow shook her head, "I don't understand. Why are you telling me this? How does it help me...I have no interest in using magic."

Rumpelstiltskin completely ignored what Snow White just said, and resumed his previous position. "You can use this gift from above" he held up his free hand at eye level, fingers opened as if he were praising something, "to give to your daughter and bring her back to you...or you can give your beloved White Knight an advantage."

"What's in it for you?"

Rumpelstiltskin could barely contain his eagerness, "Only for you to make the right decision."

Snow scoffed, "Of course I will...I will give it to my daughter!"

Rumpelstiltskin laughed, popping out of his chair. "Before I seal this little deal of ours" He began walking around the library, running his fingers over the spines of books, "let me tell you a short story about a little girl that ran away from home...from Mommy and Daddy."