This page tells the three stories from Happily Ever After. Each character has their own quest, all told in storybook format.

The ideal reading order is to read Rapunzel's prologue, followed by Red's, and then Maleficent's, and so forth. Though not as optimal, reading the full stories in the order they are listed works too.

Rapunzel's Story

Prologue - Royals

A young girl is seen sitting on a balcony overlooking a large garden. Her blonde hair flows down below the balcony. A man sits beside her.

King: Hey, lil' flower, are you alright?
Rapunzel: Yeah, I’m fine.
King: Missing mom?
Rapunzel: (Nervously laughs) Yeah.

The two stare into the garden for a second, with complete silence other than the trickling of the nearby river.

Rapunzel: She loved the garden. Used to be her favourite place.
King: It was a nice escape from her duties as queen.

The king fiddles with a crown, seemingly belonging to his late wife.

Rapunzel: Dad, why did you want to talk to me?
King: Well, your mother’s gone. The kingdom’s without a queen. And we both know I don’t have many years left in me. (Laughs nervously)
Rapunzel: What are you trying to say...?
King: Rapunzel, I’m asking you a big favour. And it’s alright if you don’t want to do it.
Rapunzel: Dad, just tell me. I’m old enough, I can handle it.
King: (Smiles) You are old enough, aren’t you. (Pause.) I want you to take the crown after me.
Rapunzel: (Nervously) D-Dad, I... I can’t.
King: I get it, I get it. It’s a big responsibility. But just think it over, please?
Rapunzel: No, dad. I just... I can’t.
King: Why?
Rapunzel: (Frustratedly)I’m just a kid! You can’t just dump this responsibility on me!
King: It’s what your mother would’ve wanted.
Rapunzel: Well she’s not here now, is she!?

The king is taken aback by Rapunzel. The two stay silent for a bit.

Rapunzel: Just leave me alone. Please. I don’t want to be queen. I’d make a terrible leader. Nobody could live up to mom.

The king solemnly nods. He walks away slowly, leaving the queen’s crown on the balcony.

The king is seen walking through the castle garden alongside a dark-skinned woman with grey hair. Rapunzel walks behind them, with a white-haired girl about her age. The two adults are shown to be talking, though they cannot be heard. Instead, we hear the conversation between Rapunzel and the dark-skinned girl.

Rapunzel: So, uh, your mom seems nice.
Girl: Yeah, yeah, but your dad’s a king!
Rapunzel: It’s not all it’s shaped out to be, honestly.
Girl: What, so you don’t get a thousand butlers or anything?
Rapunzel: No. We used to have a butler but we all felt better doing stuff ourselves. Getting us off our asses.
Girl: I’d love a butler. I’d never have to get up again.
Rapunzel: Yeah, Snow? You really don’t this whole royalty thing.
Snow: I’m just going off what my mom’s told me.
Rapunzel: You can’t always trust everything you hear.

The king stops and picks a flower. He gives it to Aoife who closes her eyes and smiles. When she opens her eyes, the king is on one knee, holding a ring. Rapunzel and Snow are in shock and Aoife is overwhelmed.

King: Aoife White, will you marry me?
Aoife: Oh my... Yes! Yes I will!

The two appear to kiss, much to the disgust of Snow and Rapunzel.

Rapunzel and Snow are in the garden, with Aoife and the king watching them from the balcony seen in the first scene. Rapunzel is in a tank top with a dagger sheathed in her belt.

Rapunzel: (Tying her hair into a ponytail.) Alright Snow. You’re royalty now. Time I thought you how to fight.
Snow: Uh, why?
Rapunzel: Well, being royalty isn’t as perfect as you may think. Burglars, assassins, and the like. We’re targets for them. You need to know how to defend yourself.

Rapunzel approaches a dummy while she covers her hands in bandages.

Rapunzel: Let’s start simple. (Punches the dummy as she talks.) Just punch this dummy here. Easy. (Backs away from the dummy.) You give it a go.
Snow: Alright.

Snow puts on gloves and approaches the dummy. She delivers a few weak punches before Rapunzel intervenes.

Rapunzel: That was... Okay.
Snow: I’m terrible, aren’t I?
Rapunzel: No, you’re alright. You’ve just got to put more power into it. It’s all in the elbows.

Snow delivers a few more powerful punches while Rapunzel watches.

Rapunzel: That was better. But that’s not gonna stop them from killing you. Here, ;et me show you.

Snow steps away and Rapunzel takes over. She delivers several strong blows as Snow watches.

Rapunzel: The trick is to pretend the dummy is somebody you really hate.
Snow: Oh, like magic?
Rapunzel: ...Kinda? I’m not sure how magic works.
Snow: With magic, you need to do something similar. Magic comes from the heart, so if you hold something close to your heart, like a grudge or love or something, your magic will reflect on that.
Rapunzel: (Obviously confused.) ...Yeah. Sure.
Snow: (Pause.) Who do you imagine?
Rapunzel: What?
Snow: When you’re punching the dummy. Who do you imagine?

Rapunzel gives a quick glance towards the balcony.

Rapunzel: Nothing. Dummies just really get on my nerves. (Pause.) It was a joke.
Snow: Oh.
Rapunzel: Anyway, let’s try daggers.

Rapunzel unsheathes her dagger and stabs the dummy.

Rapunzel: Like that. Pretty simple, you can’t really mess up with a dagger. You give it a go.

Rapunzel hands Snow the dagger. Snow reluctantly approaches the dummy. As she is about to strike, she looks up at the balcony to see Aoife and the king talking. She screams, grabbing their attention.

Rapunzel: Snow, you okay?

Aoife runs into the garden to Snow. She sees a large scar on Snow’s arm.

Snow: (Pointing at Rapunzel.) M-Murderer!
Aoife: Snow, Snow, calm down. Speak clearly.
Snow: She tried to murder me!
Aoife: Rapunzel, is this true?

The king arrives in the garden.

Rapunzel: No! Why would I do that? I was just trying to teach her how to fight!
Aoife: (Takes the dagger from Snow.) Don’t lie to me, Rapunzel.
Rapunzel: C’mon! You can’t seriously believe her, can you? I’ve got no reason to kill her! She had the dagger! I was over here!
King: Aoife, put the knife down. Calm down.
Aoife: I’m as calm as I can be when confronting my daughter’s attempted murderer!
Snow: I’m telling you, she did it!
King: Rapunzel, you can tell me the truth. Lying will only make things worse.
Rapunzel: (Desperate.) Dad! Why are you suddenly on her side!? You know I’d never hurt my own stepsister.
King: You’ve been acting very differently since your mother’s passing.
Rapunzel: Dad...
Aoife: There’s a tower near the dwarves’ forest. It used to be a watchtower but nobody’s used it in years.
Rapunzel: No, no...
King: Aoife, you can’t seriously be suggesting that we lock my daughter in a tower.
Aoife: I know some... friends who could set up a barrier.
Snow: Ugh, it really hurts...
King: (Sighs.) I guess it must be done.
Rapunzel: (In tears.) Dad, please...!
King: This is for your own good, Rapunzel.
Rapunzel: Can’t you see what this hag is doing? She’s putting ideas in your head! She’s making you lock up your own daughter! Dad, please! I’ll do anything! I’ll become queen! Don’t do this. Please.
King: I’m sorry.

Rapunzel is in a cage in a wagon. As the wagon leaves, Rapunzel makes direct eye contact with her stepmother.

Rapunzel: I wish you had been stabbed.

Chapter 1 - Bird Set Free

Rapunzel is seen banging on the door of a tower from the inside.

Rapunzel: You can’t do this to me! Tell the queen she can’t just lock somebody up! (Pause) Hello? Anybody there? (Short pause) Ugh. Whatever.

Rapunzel looks around the short hallway. She considers opening the door at the end, but decides against it. She sighs and sits down, with her back against the door that locks her inside the tower.

A very brief montage of her time sitting at the door is shown. The first half consists of her doing nothing but staring into space. Eventually she snaps and throws her bracelet across the hall in frustration. The bracelet snaps as it hits the wall.

Rapunzel: (Barely audible between sobs) Fucking... Stepmom... Wicked stepmother... I didn’t do it... I...

Rapunzel buries her head in her hands (and hair) and cries. Eventually, she falls asleep. Sometime the next day, she is woken by a knocking on the door.

Guard: Food. Eat up.

The guard pushes a tray of potatoes and vegetables through a flap in the door. Rapunzel attempts to push it back.

Rapunzel: You can take your food and tell the queen to shove it.
Guard: With all due respect, what are you trying to prove?
Rapunzel: I’m not eating anything that witch of stepmother gives me.
Guard: Look, I’m just trying to do my job. So if you’d just take the food, that’d be great. You don’t even have to eat it. Just take it so I can be on my way.

Rapunzel takes the tray, hesitantly. On top of some rampion lies a purple flower. Rapunzel picks it up and looks at it. She smiles.

Rapunzel: A rapunzel flower. Dad.

Now knowing that her dad is still at least somewhat on her side, Rapunzel digs into her food.

Rapunzel opens the door at the end of the short corridor and is greeted with a spiral staircase. Careful not to step on her hair, Rapunzel begins to climb the stairs.

Rapunzel: There’s gotta be a bed somewhere...

Rapunzel finally reaches the top of the stairs and finds another door. She opens it and sees a bedroom full to the brim with books.

Rapunzel: (Muttering to herself) Is this a bedroom or a library?

Rapunzel enters the room, stepping around books. She looks around in hopes of finding something to do other than read. Once she reaches the bed, she has come to the conclusion that she has nothing to do but read.

Rapunzel: This is a ridiculous amount of books.

Rapunzel picks up the nearest book to her - a brown covered book with a golden ‘H’. She reads the blurb at the book and, sitting on the bed, she opens the book. A montage of Rapunzel reading various books, day and night, is shown, reading each varying amounts of interest. It should be noted that in each segment of the montage, Rapunzel is wearing different clothes and her hair grows longer.

A book on combat is lying open on the bed, upside-down. Rapunzel - wearing an easily maneuverable dress - is moving the last of the books to the corner of the room. She takes a glance at the book and copies a stance from it. She continues to train herself in yet another brief montage.

Rapunzel walks downstairs to the entrance, combat book in hand. She reaches the door and looks out the small window - though she’s barely able to due to her small stature. It’s around the middle of day. Rapunzel decides to try her luck by attempting to open the door, but isn’t surprised to find it locked. She sits down with her back against the door and opens her book.

Rapunzel: Food’ll be here at sundown. Just gotta wait it out until then. Then my wicked stepmother’s gonna get what’s coming to her.

Hours pass, and Rapunzel has read the book back-to-front several times. Her food arrives; the same meal as usual. Rapunzel picks up the purple flower that is always included and smiles. She stuffs the flower into her dress.

Shown from the back, Rapunzel puts on a short white tank top. She brushes her hair out of her eyes and is shown to be wearing her signature outfit, minus the belts. Rapunzel pushes open the doors to her balcony and looks down at the ground below. She wraps her hair around the railing, holding the ends. Using her hair, Rapunzel lowers herself down silently. When she lands, she grimaces as she tugs her hair down.

Rapunzel takes a deep breath and feels the grass beneath her feet.

Rapunzel: Fresh air... It’s been too long since I’ve been out of that tower.

Rapunzel takes the purple flower from out of her shirt.

Rapunzel: I’m coming home, dad.

Rapunzel stuffs the flower back in her shirt. She gathers her hair in her hands, ensuring that she doesn’t trip over it. She moves around the tower, careful to not make a sound. As she passes a small shed, she hears footsteps. Thinking on her feet, Rapunzel hides inside the shed and peers through the keyhole. As the guard passes, Rapunzel opens the door with force, knocking the guard out.

Rapunzel: Geez. That was easier than I thought it’d be.

Rapunzel drags his body into the shed.

Rapunzel: You’re heavier than you look.

Rapunzel begins braiding her hair as she enters the shed.

Rapunzel exits the shed, wearing the guard’s uniform. Her hair is braided and stuffed down the back of her coat, making it easier to manage. In her hand she wields a dagger. Not being as cautious as she was previously, Rapunzel makes her way to the front of the tower. There, she is confronted with two guards.

Rapunzel: Uh, hey there, fellas.

The guards give Rapunzel an odd look, but appear not to have suspected anything yet.

Guard #1: How’s the girl?
Rapunzel: Oh, she’s, uh, she’s fine. Y’know, as fine as you can be after being trapped in a tower for months on end.
Guard #2: So she’s losing it?
Rapunzel: Losing it? Why on earth would I know if she’s sane or not?

The guards begin to look suspicious of Rapunzel.

Guard #1: That’s your job.
Rapunzel: She’s several stories up. How the hell would I get a good look?
Guard #2: What did you think the balcony was for?
Rapunzel: You were spying on her!? What the hell!?

The two guards exchange glances.

Guard #1: Ma’am, with all due respect, you were a guy when you left. And taller.
Rapunzel: What are you implying?
Guard #2: You know what we’re saying...

The guard takes off Rapunzel’s hat, revealing her hair.

Guard #2: ...Rapunzel.

Rapunzel gets extremely nervous.

Rapunzel: Alright, alright. I get it. Not the greatest disguise in the world.

Rapunzel reaches for the dagger, sheathed on a belt slung across her shoulder.

Rapunzel: Probably could’ve done with more than just a few months.

Rapunzel stabs the first guard in the arm. He swings his fists, but Rapunzel dodges, rolling under his legs. She hits the back of his leg with the hilt of her dagger, tripping him. The second guard lands a hit on Rapunzel’s arm, leaving a large cut, seen through the ripped fabric. Rapunzel manages to knock him to the ground. She stands above him, with a foot above his neck and the dagger pointed at him. The first guard is unconscious.

Rapunzel: Regretting locking me up yet?

The guard doesn’t respond.

Rapunzel: Are there any more of you?
Guard: N-no, ma’am. Just us.
Rapunzel: And the guy I got this uniform from. Right.

Rapunzel steps away, but leaves her dagger pointed at the guard.

Rapunzel: Stay. Good guard.

Rapunzel walks away, setting off on her way home. A significant distance from the tower, Rapunzel notices the air in front of her shimmering slightly.

Rapunzel: There just had to be a catch, didn’t there?

Rapunzel throws her dagger. It hits an invisible wall, falling to the ground. A small red ripple is shown from where the dagger hit it, revealing the wall.

Rapunzel: God damnit!

Rapunzel fetches her dagger and storms back to the tower. As she walks, she takes off her hat and throws it to the side. When she returns, she points her dagger at the guard once more.

Rapunzel: How do I get rid of the barrier?
Guard: I don’t...

Rapunzel raises her dagger.

Guard: Alright, alright! The Queen, she’s got a barrier set up around the perimeter of the tower.
Rapunzel: How do I get rid of it?
Guard: I-I don’t know! The Queen opens it up at sunrise to switch guards, if that works.

Rapunzel puts her dagger back in its sheath.

Rapunzel: That’ll do just fine.

Rapunzel sits against the wall of the tower. She begins to take off her guard’s uniform. The guard looks away.

Rapunzel: I’m wearing clothes, y'know.

As the night passes, Rapunzel sharpens her dagger.

Dawn arrives, and Rapunzel is watching the sun rise with a blank expression. She turns to the guard, who is just waking up.

Rapunzel: Tell my wicked stepmother that I’m out. I want her to know that I’m onto her.

Rapunzel walks away from the tower. She lets her hair flow loose behind her, rather than bundling it up. When she reaches the barrier, a large semi-circular hole can clearly be seen. She exits, heading toward a forest.

Rapunzel’s father and stepmother are at the castle gates, talking to a messenger.

Messenger: Your majesties, I have some... mixed news.
King: What is it?
Messenger: It’s about your daughter, Rapunzel. She’s broken out.

Rapunzel’s father doesn’t seem to know how to react, while Aoife presses the messenger for further information.

Aoife: By who? I put restrictions in place. Nobody gets in or out without my permission.
Messenger: You’re mistaken. Your daughter wasn’t broken out, she broke herself out.
Aoife: (Sighs.) I suspected as much. You’re dismissed.

The messenger exits. The king and queen walk slowly back to their castle.

King: What did you mean back there? When you said you suspected it?
Aoife: It doesn’t matter.
King: Aoife.
Aoife: (Pause.) Arthur, there’s something I need to show you.
Arthur: Of course.

The two enter a room with a silver and red door. The room is mostly empty, save for a few tables and a large red curtain covering part of the wall. Aoife draws them apart, revealing a large, ornately decorated mirror.

Arthur: I don’t get it. It’s just a mirror, Aoife, why hide this from me?
Aoife: It’s not just a mirror. This, Arthur, is a looking glass.
Arthur: A looking glass?
Aoife: It’s complicated. A looking glass is a magical artefact from another...
Arthur: A magical artefact? No, no, we’re not keeping something like that in our home.
Aoife: Arthur, please, you’re being unreasonable.
Arthur: Aoife, I know what I’m talking about. I’ve had terrible run-ins with magic in the past. People can be converted before the power gets to their heads, but there’s no way of convincing an object to conduct its magic for good.
Aoife: I-I’m sorry, honey, I didn’t know. But I can assure you that this is harmless.
Arthur: Look, magic makes me uncomfortable. My last encounter ended in catastrophe.
Aoife: You never talk about that.
Arthur: I just... I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to talk about it.

Aoife nods solemnly.

Arthur: But I trust you. And I’m willing to at least see what this looking glass does. Spare me the history lesson.
Aoife: I’m glad you’re putting your faith in me. (Gestures to the looking glass.) Looking glasses are different from mirrors. Where a mirror reflects light that hits it, looking glasses can reflect images from other reflective objects.
Arthur: I don’t understand.
Aoife: Allow me to demonstrate.

Aoife waves her hand, and the mirror shows her an image of Rapunzel in a guard’s uniform, shown from below. Arthur stares in awe, stepping slightly forward.

Arthur: Is that...
Aoife: Yes, that’s your daughter.
Arthur: How did she...
Aoife: She took out a guard. You must be very proud of the violent murderer your daughter is shaping up to be.
Arthur: I thought the tower was supposed to give her time to reform. She was never violent before attacking Snow. I don’t get it.
Aoife: Things don’t always work out the way we want them to. (Glances at the looking glass, but quickly averts her eyes.) You may want to look away.
Arthur: She’s gotten into a fight with two guards. She can’t take them both at once. There’s no way.
Aoife: She has a dagger, though, which is why you should turn away. Things get a bit gruesome here.

The two look away as the sound of Rapunzel stabbing a guard in the arm is heard. Arthur looks sickly.

Arthur: This is all too much for me. I’m going for a walk.
Aoife: I’ll catch up.

Arthur leaves. Aoife waves a hand over the pendant on her chest, causing it to glow faintly.

Aoife: Snow, I have a job for you.

Snow’s voice can be heard from the pendant.

Snow: What is it?
Aoife: I need you to set up camp in the dwarves’ forest. Don’t let your step-sister pass. Use any means necessary to get her back in that tower.
Snow: Got it.

The pendant stops glowing. Aoife waves a hand at the looking glass, causing it to turn off.

Chapter 2 - Force of Nature

Rapunzel is walking into a forest. It’s clear that she has been walking for a few hours, as the tower in the distance is small and the sun is high in the sky. Her long hair trails behind her and she has a few visible scars now. As the trees begin to get thicker, Rapunzel sits down and leans against one, exhausted. Her stomach growls.

Rapunzel: Ugh. Should’ve waited till morning. I could’ve grabbed my breakfast before escaping.

Rapunzel looks around and spots a tree full of apples. She gets up and approaches the tree, realising the apples are too high to reach. Having no sheath for her dagger, she places it on the ground and begins to climb the tree. She doesn’t make it very far before falling.

Rapunzel: That didn’t go to plan. At all.

Rapunzel attempts to haul herself up the tree once more, using a small branch as leverage. It snaps, leaving Rapunzel back on the ground.

Rapunzel: C’mon...

Rapunzel looks to her knife on the ground beside her and gets an idea. She grabs the knife and stands up, facing the tree. She sticks her knife into the tree, then tests how firmly it is stuck in. Satisfied, Rapunzel heaves herself up the tree, using her knife as leverage where no branches are available. Near the top of the tree, Rapunzel rests on a large, sturdy branch.

Rapunzel: Finally. God, I’m starving.

Rapunzel takes a breath and begins to steady herself, in an attempt to stand up and reach the apples dangling above her. On one knee now, Rapunzel falls back to her original position when an arrow grazes her shoulder.

Rapunzel: Gah…! What the hell!?

Rapunzel looks around, but fails to spot the bowsman.

Rapunzel: ...Huh. Whatever. Can’t deal with mysterious archers on an empty stomach.

Once again, Rapunzel gets to her feet. She picks the closest of the juicy red fruit. With the apple in one hand, she wraps her knife wielding arm around a branch to steady herself. Before she can sink her teeth into the fruit, another arrow is released. In avoiding the arrow narrowly, Rapunzel loses her balance. In her fall from the forest canopy, her head is hit against a rather sturdy branch. Her limp body lands on the ground with a thud.

Through Rapunzel’s flickering eyes, we see a blurry figure looming above her. In her last few seconds of consciousness, Rapunzel feels herself being dragged along the forest ground.

Rapunzel wakes up in a bed. She frantically sits up.

Rapunzel: No, no, no... Not again...

Rapunzel looks around, scared. The room she is in is small. A bed lies next to her own. A “G” is carved into the wooden bedframe, as opposed to the “D” on her own. The room appears to have once been a comfy bedroom, but has since doubled as a sort of worksop. The only traces of the bedroom that it once was lie strewn across the ground in the form of books and trinkets. Scrapbooks and storybooks have been tossed to the floor in favour of the worn journals, self-help and survival books that take their place on shelves. A small wooden table has tools and maps scattered across it, next to a large closet.

Rapunzel gets out of the bed and walks around cautiously. She picks up a book from the floor and flicks through it. She drops the book in fright when a short figure walks into the room.

???: Took you long enough to wake up.

Rapunzel quickly composes herself. She swiftly grabs her captor by the collar. He is a very short bearded man, wearing a brown cloak. Rapunzel seems ready to kill, while the man seems barely threatened. She holds her free hand up to his neck in a fist, then pauses and looks at her hand in confusion. A dotted line effect appears, indicating where her dagger would be. She tosses the man to the ground.

???: Gah... Fuck, what’s up with you!?

Rapunzel pays the short man no attention. She scans the room for a potential weapon, before settling on one. She grabs her captor once again and holds the candle near his beard.

Rapunzel: You better tell me what’s going on, or I’ll burn the hairs off your chinny-chin-chin.
???: Geez! Calm the hell down!
Rapunzel: You’re working for her, aren’t you? What did she send you to do, rip my heart out? Get my head on a stick? You’re awfully short to be a professional huntsman. What are you, a freelancer?

The short man begins to struggle, attempting to kick Rapunzel with his small legs. She laughs.

Rapunzel: Obviously not a good freelancer.
???: Let me down and I’ll tell you!

Rapunzel thinks for a second, then drops him to the floor. He gets up in a huff and dusts himself off.

???: Look, I know you’re mad at me for “kidnapping” ya or whatever, but this is a new cloak.

Rapunzel stares blankly at his tattered cloak.

Rapunzel: New?
???: It’s new to me.

Rapunzel rolls her eyes.

Rapunzel: So, you’re not in my grip anymore. Talk, shorty.
???: ‘Ey, you’re no prize either! What age are ya, anyway? Five, six?
Rapunzel: T-That’s none of your business!
???: Either way, you’re definitely not a tall human.
Rapunzel: Just shut up and talk.
???: Fine. Name’s Grumpy. Dwarf.

Rapunzel withdraws herself and starts thinking.

Grumpy: I know, I know. It’s a shocker that such a pleasant fella is called Grumpy, innit?
Rapunzel: N-No, it’s just... You’re a dwarf.
Grumpy: Gonna pretend ya didn’t say that and assume you’re not a racist.
Rapunzel: I didn’t mean it like that. But dwarves live in their own forest, right?
Grumpy: You’re real observant, aren’t ya?
Rapunzel: Couldn’t you have left me to be kidnapped by somebody who can hold a conversation?
Grumpy: So, we’re in the dwarf forest. Keep your socks on, because here’s the next plot twist: I live here.
Rapunzel: Ugh. I’m a hell of a lot further from home than I thought. And I could do without the sass.
Grumpy: You’re one to talk, princess.

Rapunzel picks Grumpy back up by his cloak and threatens him once more with the burning candle.

Rapunzel: You liar! You are working for her, aren’t you?
Grumpy: Working for who!?
Rapunzel: Aoife! The new, evil Queen! The one who locked me in a tower for months! Of course she’d hire somebody to gain my trust and then kill me! That’s exactly what she’d do! She...
Grumpy: Kid, you okay?

Rapunzel is angrily sobbing. She catches her reflection in the ornament holding Grumpy’s cloak. She backs away and drops Grumpy onto the ground. She covers her face with her hands, dropping the candle in the process. She steps on the flame as she backs away, extinguishing it. One hand grips the scar on her face tightly, while the other is outstretched.

We see from Rapunzel’s eyes now. Her outstretched hand is held in the same fist formation as earlier, as though holding a knife. She stretches her hand out and stares at the scars on her wrist.

Grumpy: Hey! Kid! Everything alright?

Her hand goes out of focus, leaving Grumpy clear.

Rapunzel: I-I’m… I’m sorry.

Rapunzel doesn’t seem to be directing her words at anybody in particular. We see her from the regular third-person perspective now, from a profile view. Though tears run down her face, she seems to be recovering. The perspective does not change, even when Grumpy speaks.

Grumpy: Look, I’ll, uh, make some tea, alright? Meet me in the other room. The cottage is small; you’ll find me.

Rapunzel nods. Footsteps are heard, and she curls into a ball against the bed marked “D”.

Grumpy is sitting near the head of a rather long table. A cup of tea lies in front of him, and another in front of the chair next to him. Rapunzel enters the room.

Rapunzel: Hey, uh, sorry about earlier.
Grumpy: Which part? Assaulting me, cryin’, or assaulting me again?

Rapunzel glares at him as she sits down and takes a sip of her tea.

Rapunzel: So, where’s my knife?
Grumpy: Hmm?
Rapunzel: My knife. Y’know, the one I wanted to stab you with?
Grumpy: Ah, right. It’s in the closet. I’ll get it in a sec.
Rapunzel: ...Really? You’re just gonna hand it over? No catch?
Grumpy: Nah, no catch. I’ve enough supplies for myself. No good with knives, anyway.
Rapunzel: Why would you need a knife? Aren’t you dwarves supposed to be peaceful?
Grumpy: Okay, first of all don’t generalise. That’s really rude. But you’ve got a point. A lot of us follow a religion that prohibits violence. I’m one of ‘em. But I don’t go on violent murdering sprees or anythin’ like that. Name’s Grumpy, not Stabby. I gather weapons and stuff from other dwarves and use ‘em to hunt. It’s unethical. Goes against everything I believe in, but hey. A guy’s gotta survive, right?
Rapunzel: What about all the crops you guys grow?
Grumpy: How d’ya know about them?
Rapunzel: I’m a princess. Er, was a princess. I had to learn all the politics and stuff.
Grumpy: Royalty, eh? Ya don’t look it.
Rapunzel: Yeah, I’m trying to make a fashion statement.
Grumpy: What’s the look called? “My hair is extra long to make up for what’s missing from my shirt”?
Rapunzel: Nah, I’m thinking more along the lines of “Local Teen Kills Her Stepmother”.

Grumpy stares at Rapunzel as he slowly puts his cup down. He stares at Rapunzel in silence for a while. Rapunzel looks a bit creeped out, before realising that what she said wasn’t normal.

Rapunzel: Oh. R-Right. Yeah. Guess we’ve got that out of the way. I’m trying to kill my wicked stepmother. Aoife. Y’know, the Evil Queen.

Grumpy sips his tea.

Rapunzel: Look, I know it’s not really considered “socially acceptable” to be confessing your murder plans to a stranger. But here I am. I’ve kinda dug myself into this hole, huh?
Grumpy: You’d think that’d be the number one thing they’d teach ya in that fancy castle, right after curtsying.
Rapunzel: ...You’re fine with this?

Grumpy shrugs and sips his tea loudly.

Grumpy: Look, it’s not like I’m encouraging it but I’m a bit curious.
Rapunzel: Well, it’s...

Rapunzel laughs at herself a little.

Rapunzel: God, it’s so stupid. She just waltzed into my life and swooped my dad off his feet. And she thinks she’s my mother. But she’s not. She can’t be. Her daughter is a pain in the ass, too. I mean, she’s alright, don’t get me wrong. I’ve nothing against her, really. I kinda just hate that she’s my sister.
Grumpy: Uh. Hey. No offense but that’s no reason to kill her.
Rapunzel: She locked me in a tower as a life sentence because I “attempted to murder her child” but both of them know that’s not the case.
Grumpy: Fair enough. Is your outfit the most practical? If ye’re goin’ into a battle then ya might wanna cover up.
Rapunzel: ... ... ...Huh. Probably would’ve been a good idea. Don’t suppose you’ve got anything that’d fit?
Grumpy: Sorry, Blondie. Ya may be short, but ya ain’t dwarf sized.
Rapunzel: Eh, whatever. I’ll survive.
Grumpy: Ya sure? ‘Cuz if it weren’t for that tank top, you wouldn’t have been hit as badly by my arrow.
Rapunzel: What was that about, anyway?
Grumpy: The apples in the woods are poisoned. As are all the other crops. That’s why I’m survivin’ off meat.
Rapunzel: Poisoned?
Grumpy: Yeah, poisoned. This woman just walked in here not too long ago and claimed the place as her own. Got some kind of magic that makes dwarves loyal to her. Probably works on humans too, but that’s not a risk I wanna take.
Rapunzel: Magic.

Rapunzel expresses obvious distaste toward the concept.

Rapunzel: What does the magic do?
Grumpy: I dunno, some sorta hypnosis? They’re still pretty normal, but their views are twisted to match that of our new dictator. Ye’re gonna have a real rough time getting through this forest.
Rapunzel: It’d be easier with my knife.
Grumpy: Oh, right.

Grumpy gets off his chair and leaves the room. He comes back carrying a knife in one hand and two belts in the other; one grey with a pouch and the other brown with a built-in sheath.

Grumpy: Yer work’s cut out for ya already, what with killing the Queen an’ all.
Rapunzel: Wow, uh, thanks.

Rapunzel clearly isn’t used to this sort of generosity. She gets up and takes the belts and slings them around her waist, placing her knife in the sheath.

Grumpy: Y’know, you’re not gonna make it very far on yer own.

Rapunzel sighs.

Rapunzel: Of course there’s a catch. What do you want?
Grumpy: She’s militarised us dwarves. You’re getting nowhere unless you know the forest as well as I do. And ya know what’d make it even easier to get outta here? Killing our new overlord. See, mutual benefits! I’m tryin’ to meet ya halfway.
Rapunzel: You want me to kill the woman who took your home and family away from you?

Grumpy nods. Rapunzel smiles.

Rapunzel: Alright. We’ve got a deal.

The two shake hands.

Grumpy: Pleasure making business with ya, Blondie.
Rapunzel: Likewise, Shorty.

Rapunzel and Grumpy are sneaking through the bushes in the forest. Rapunzel holds her dagger in her hand, and her pouch holds as much food as would fit. Grumpy wears his cloak, with his bow slung over his back. The two are lucky enough to not encounter any enemy dwarves as they travel in secret through the outskirts of the village. A thought strikes Rapunzel. She whispers to Grumpy.

Rapunzel: Hey, I’ve got a question.
Grumpy: What?
Rapunzel: Why were there two beds in your house? I mean, I’m guessing the one marked ‘G’ is yours, but what about the other one? The ‘D’?

Grumpy hides his face and sighs.

Grumpy: Doc.
Rapunzel: Is that supposed to mean something?
Grumpy: Doc was... my best friend.
Rapunzel: Was?
Grumpy: He’s under this forest’s curse. The Doc I knew is dead.
Rapunzel: ...Oh.
Grumpy: It’s funny, I keep tellin’ myself that but I can’t even believe myself.

Grumpy laughs a little as a tear streams down his face.

Grumpy: He was more than my best friend, really. He was... Ah, I don’t really know myself. I’ve no clue if he felt the same way.
Rapunzel: Oh, you two were...
Grumpy: I mean... Maybe? No? I’ve no fecking idea!

Grumpy stops. He shakes his head and continues walking.

Rapunzel: That’s really heavy. Have you seen him since the curse happened? Maybe he’s managed to survive like you.
Grumpy: No, no, no, there’s no way. He was in the village when it happened. Anybody not influenced by the crops was captured and cursed within the week.
Rapunzel: ...I’d guess he was a doctor?
Grumpy: Doc? A doctor? Can’t imagine it. Sneezy’s the doctor.
Rapunzel: Sneezy? He doesn’t sound very qualified. Sounds more like a frequent patient.
Grumpy: That’d be Bashful. He’s really prone to bein’ injured.

Grumpy stops suddenly. Footsteps are heard. Grumpy and Rapunzel share a glance. He peers through the bush and whispers the plan to her.

Grumpy: Alright, here’s how it’s gonna go. I’ll go hide in a tree and shoot some arrows at the dwarves. When the time’s right for you to take this woman out, I’ll shoot near ya and try not to hit ya.
Rapunzel: Again.
Grumpy: Yeah, again. Whatever.
Rapunzel: What if you hit one?
Grumpy: Us dwarves have passive light magic. They’ll be better before they’re married.

Grumpy climbs up a nearby tree. He shoots a few arrows, and dwarves can be heard yelling. Rapunzel watches arrows fly from behind a bush. An arrow landing near near Rapunzel takes her by surprise. Quickly remembering her duty, Rapunzel jumps over the bushes, knife in hand. But the identity of her victim causes her to stop before getting close.

Rapunzel: Snow!?
Snow: Rapunzel?

A dwarf wearing a helmet lunges at Rapunzel.

Snow: Bashful, quit it! Dwarves! Stop attacking!

Bashful and the rest of the dwarves suddenly cease their attacks.

Snow: What are you doing here, sis? You were in a tower last I checked.
Rapunzel: What am I doing here!? You’ve hypnotised an entire forest!
Snow: It’s a long story. But look at you! We’ve gotta get you bandaged up.

Rapunzel, though confused, follows Snow.

Rapunzel: Hold on, I forgot somebody.
Snow: Hmm?
Rapunzel: Grumpy! Get down here! I’ve found them!

Up in the trees, Grumpy covers his face in his hands. He reluctantly comes down and joins them.

Rapunzel: Grumpy got a bit lost, so I helped him get back to the village.
Snow: He doesn’t look great, either. C’mon, hospital’s this way.

The three are followed to the hospital by a pack of dwarves.

Rapunzel is sitting on a bed in a white room. Her arm is being bandaged by a dwarf who can’t stop sniffling, while Snow sits across the room.

Rapunzel: So. I’m just gonna go ahead and acknowledge the elephant in the room. You’re a dictator now.

The dwarf gives Rapunzel a dirty look.

Dwarf: There. You’re finished.
Snow: Thanks, Sneezy. Could I have a moment alone with my sister?

Sneezy nods at Snow as he leaves the room. The two stepsisters sit in silence for a bit.

Rapunzel: You thought of a response yet?
Snow: Hmm? Oh, right. Yeah. I guess you could say I’m a dictator now. It’s not as simple as that, though. It’s complicated.
Rapunzel: What’s complicated about it? The dwarves follow you blindly. You’ve got some... weird magic that I’m somehow only hearing about now. They just believe whatever you’re saying without a second thought.
Snow: Well, yeah. I couldn’t tell you about my magic. Mom wouldn’t let me.
Rapunzel: You didn’t tell anybody?
Snow: Mom’s not the most reasonable person. You should know this better than anyone, Rapunzel. Anyone except me.
Rapunzel: Still, it’s all a bit... Y’know, wow. Last time I saw you, you were telling my dad that I tried to kill you, and now...

Snow gulps. Rapunzel looks suspicious.

Rapunzel: You... It was all you!
Snow: Rapunzel, I don’t think you understand.

Rapunzel stands up.

Rapunzel: No. No, it all makes sense now! You used your magic to make my dad think that I tried to kill you! You got me disowned and disgraced! You made my wicked stepmother lock me up for life!

We see Snow’s face from Rapunzel’s perspective as Snow speaks her next line.

Snow: Rapunzel! Calm down.

Rapunzel looks briefly stunned, then sits down. Snow sighs, then recomposes herself.

Snow: Aoife made me do it. I didn’t want to do it. I really didn’t. I like you, Rapunzel. But mom made me do it. I hated to see you being shipped off, but I had to hold it together. My magic has limits, and every moment you were gone I had to focus all my energy on keeping Arthur convinced that you were wrong. It hurt, Rapunzel. I had to exhaust myself doing something I didn’t want to do. I couldn’t handle it. About a week after you were banished, I broke.
Rapunzel: Geez. That’s rough. I’m really sorry Aoife put you through that.

Snow pulls her chair closer to Rapunzel.

Snow: Everything kind of just... fell apart after that. I was still recovering. I couldn’t defend myself. And our parents got in huge fights. They’ve made up a little but things are still really iffy between them. Anything could set them off at each other. Arthur won’t talk to me at all, and Mom only speaks to me to hone my magic. I told her I’d run away and I did. It was two weeks before I heard from my mom again. The dwarves had taken me in as one of them and I helped some of them in the mines.

Snow points to the red jewel in her choker

Snow: My mom gave me this years ago. I didn’t know she could use it to talk to me. I put it on one day and heard her voice. She told me to use my magic to take over the dwarf forest. And I did. I started with just a few, but then mom told me to send a messenger to the castle to retrieve something that would make it easier to put the forest under my influence. Happy came back with a golden harp that helped me curse the crops.
Snow: I didn’t like the idea at first. But once I had settled in and organised things, it became my personal paradise. I’ve got my own safe haven, with people who respect me. This choker’s the only thing I’ve got of my old life.

Rapunzel twirls her hair.

Rapunzel: This is all I’ve got left. Dad insisted I leave it grow out. I didn’t think it’d get to this stage.
Snow: Say, sis, how about we get rid of our old lives, together?

Rapunzel is knocked out of her oddly calm state.

Rapunzel: What? No, why would I want to do that? My dad already thinks I’ve betrayed him. Cutting my hair feels like it’d be wrong; like the final step in betraying him.

Snow sighs.

Snow: Rapunzel, look at me.

Once again, the focus is on Snow as she speaks.

Snow: Cut your hair, Rapunzel.

We see Rapunzel’s face as the next line is spoken.

Snow: I get that you don’t want to betray your father, but trust me, you wouldn’t be. You’re not some little princess known for her beautiful hair any more. You’re a completely different person. Besides, it would give you a tactical advantage. Shorter hair would be a lot more practical when fighting. And it’s easily recognisable. You stand no chance if you parade around with your hair 3 miles behind you.

Rapunzel stands up.

Rapunzel: Alright, I’ll do it.
Snow: Glad you could come to your senses.

Snow passes Rapunzel her knife. Rapunzel chops away at her hair, leaving it in piles on the ground. Her hair ends up messy and chin-length. Snow takes off her choker and stuffs it in her pocket. Rapunzel looks a bit confused, but brushes it off.

Snow: Now, Rapunzel, what were you really doing with Grumpy?
Rapunzel: I told you already. I was helping him back to the forest.
Snow: Rapunzel, look at me. Grumpy worked in the mines with me. I know his face. And I haven’t seen him since I cursed the forest. So, what were you two really doing?
Rapunzel: Grumpy’s not under your influence. He and I planned to take you out. Y’know, before I found out that you were you.

Snow gets up from her chair and puts her hand on Rapunzel’s shoulder.

Snow: You’ve been a great help.

Snow goes to the door and pokes her head out.

Snow: Bashful!

Bashful arrives in no time.

Bashful: Yes, m’lady?
Snow: Get Grumpy and bring him to me.
Bashful: Yes, ma’am!

Bashful leaves. After a time, Grumpy is heard yelling. Footsteps are heard.

Snow: Hey, sis?
Rapunzel: Yeah?
Snow: As much as I’d like to keep you here, I’m already running a huge risk. There’s only one other person who could help you with your little quest.
Rapunzel: ...You don’t care that I’m trying to kill your mom?
Snow: I don’t know how I feel about it, really. But I want to help you.

Snow takes a rolled-up map out of her pocket. She uses Sneezy’s quill to mark an ‘X’ on the map. Snow gives it to Rapunzel.

Snow: Here. If you go to the place marked on the map, you should find somebody who can help you.
Rapunzel: Thanks. And I mean it. See you soon?
Snow: I’m sure we’ll meet again.

Rapunzel rolls up the map and puts it in her pouch. She smiles as she leaves the room. Snow waves. Once Rapunzel is gone, she sits down in her chair and buries her head in her hands.

Rapunzel is nearing the edge of the woods, her head buried in the map given to her by Snow. She stares at it, confused, as she walks.

Rapunzel: Maybe if I turn it around...?

Rapunzel holds the map sideways, but to no avail. She groans and flops down on the ground, leaning against a tree.

Rapunzel: I should've paid more attention to what Snow was saying. Maybe I could go back and ask her to help?

Rapunzel looks in the direction she came, only to be surprised by a blast of wind in her face that rustles the trees around her and nearly blows her map away.

Rapunzel: ...Maybe not.

Rapunzel begins braiding her hair, only to be shocked at how little there is. Her breathing becomes heavy.

Rapunzel: My hair... Why did I...? Dad...

Rapunzel opens the pouch on her belt and rummages for something. She pulls out a purple flower and holds it in her hands. A tear rolls down her face. As the scene fades to black, Rapunzel rips off her bandage and unsheathes her knife.

Snow is sitting in the hospital room. She takes her choker out of her pocket and stares at it with contempt. She puts it around her neck, and almost instantly the jewel begins to glow.

Aoife: Snow! Are you there?

Snow holds her hands against the sides of her head.

Snow: Yes, I'm here! What do you want?
Aoife: I've been trying to reach you for hours, Snow. I gave you that necklace for a reason!
Snow: It's not a necklace, it's a collar. A leash you keep on me.
Aoife: I could do without the attitude, young lady.
Snow: What do you want!? You know I don't have any fancy mirror!
Aoife: Mm, yes. I've been looking into that, but this method is a lot more convenient. Anyway, I suppose I should stop beating around the bush and get down to the nitty gritty. Where is your sister? She's definitely not in the dungeons, as instructed.
Snow: She got away. I-I'm sorry. But I-
Aoife: What!?

Snow curls up into a ball on her chair, holding her hands even tighter against her head. Wind swirls around the room furiously.

Aoife: How could you let her go!? How incompetent do you have to be? She's a little girl! You can see her hair from a mile away!
Snow: Shut up!

The wind dies down a little.

Snow: I-I have her hair.
Aoife: Hmm. I guess that counts for something. It's not like she could take me out in any case. Very well. But another slip-up won't be forgiven so easily.

The wind gathers up in a miniature twister, before vanishing through the forest with a force felt even on the outskirts of it. Snow's hair falls in her face, but she doesn't change her position at all. She rocks herself a little as she murmurs something.

Snow: Get out of my head... Get out of my head...

Chapter 3 - Out Of The Woods

Rapunzel walks through the forest, holding Snow's map. The forest seems to be thinning out, and flowers are scattered on the ground. Rapunzel looks tired from walking, and keeps turning the map around to try and figure out if she's holding it right.

Rapunzel kicks an apple, causing her to take her head out of the map. She sees that the apple is red, unlike the white apples found in the dwarf forest. Ecstatic at finally finding some real food, Rapunzel drops the map and digs in. After finishing the apple, she notices that the woods have thinned out, and sees that she's near a clearing. She gets back to her feet and walks toward the clearing.

The clearing is much bigger than she imagined, resembling a heart. The clearing is covered in flowers of various, vibrant colours. Notable is a large cluster of red poppy flowers. A small house is in the center of the clearing, with a garden filled with wondrous plants the likes of which Rapunzel hasn't seen before. A black and white stone pathway leads from the house back into the woods.

Rapunzel: A house!

Rapunzel runs to the house as fast as she can. She stops in the garden, taking in the unique plants. Among them are a glass rose, a glowing purple flower, a hat-like flower, an umbrella-like mushroom, a giant venus fly trap, and a small beanstalk. She picks a golden apple off of a tree with orange leaves and takes a bite, savouring the taste. She finishes the apple and approaches the door.

The house is wooden in both the inside and outside. It's a lot bigger than it seems, and it's well lived-in. Paintings line the walls, depicting a beautiful woman with red hair, a large castle adorned with hearts, a heart shaped lake, various flowers, and a yellow brick road. In the kitchen, there's a bowl of porridge on the table, though it's gone cold. Rapunzel wastes no time in eating the porridge.

Rapunzel: Mmm! Ugghh, I'm starving!

Rapunzel looks through the cupboards, and begins putting any food that will fit in her pouch. She puts some smaller foods in her shirt for safekeeping.

Rapunzel: Wonder if I've got time for a short nap?

Rapunzel finds the bedroom, with a bed big enough for two. She flops onto the bed, and lies there for a few minutes. She sits up.

Rapunzel: The owner might be here soon. I should probably get going.

As she walks through the hall, she contemplates whether she should leave or not.

Rapunzel: Then again, I'm already a fugitive. My situation can't get much worse. Though I guess they could report me to that wicked witch of a stepmother… Fuck it. Let her come to me. It's too dangerous for me to break into the castle on my own.

Rapunzel notices a peculiar flower on a table in the hallway. It resembles a large rose that hasn't quite bloomed yet, with white tips. Curious, Rapunzel reaches for the plant.

Rapunzel: I'm not afraid of being caught.

Upon being touched, the flower blooms. For a short second, Rapunzel is in awe at the beauty. That is, until the white tips begin flashing, and the flower emits a piercing screech.

Rapunzel: Fuck!

Rapunzel bolts for the door, knocking over a table in her hurry. She passes a window, through which we see a man in a green shirt pushing a cart.

We see that the man pushing his cart toward the house is Jack. He whistles a tune similar to "Over the Rainbow". He notices bright lights flashing from his house, followed soon by an ear-piercing siren. Panicking, he leaves his cart behind and runs to his house as quickly as he can. Jack reaches the flower and cuts it at the stem, causing the lights and noise to cease. From a window, he sees Rapunzel fleeing. He gives chase, not caring to so much as close the door behind him.

Jack: Hey! Get back here!

Rapunzel shows no signs of stopping. Jack takes a packet of seeds out of his bag, depicting two thin green vines. He whispers a short incantation, creating a green glow. The seeds are thrown to the ground, and vines sprout moments later. These vines grow rapidly in and out of the ground in Rapunzel's direction. She tries to outrun them, but one manages to wrap itself around her leg. Rapunzel tries to break free of it, and to pull the vine from her leg, as Jack catches up with her. Finally, she unsheaths her dagger and chops herself free of the vine.

Rapunzel runs into the field of red poppy flowers, nearly into the woods.

Jack: The game's over!

Rapunzel keeps running. She looks behind her to see that Jack has stopped, and is making strange hand motions. Following his gestures, pollen from the poppies raises, causing Rapunzel to sneeze. Her pace becomes slower, until it comes to a stagger. She falls to the ground and sees Jack standing over her.

Jack: Buenas noches...

Rapunzel begins to close her eyes.

Jack: Rapunzel...?

Rapunzel's eyes close fully.

More TBA

Red's Story

Prologue - Running With The Wolves

A basket is seen floating down a river. Inside the basket is a sleeping infant wrapped in a red blanket. The basket drifts close to shore, where it is picked up in the mouth of a wolf. The wolf carries the child back to a cave, where it falls asleep next to the basket.

Years pass, and the child is now a young teen. She wears oversized clothes, presumably stolen, as with her knife. She and a few wolves are preparing to pounce as they wait for their prey. A few unsuspecting deers pass by and the girl and the wolves attack. While the wolves pounce and bite into their prey as a wolf does, the girl simply stabs the deer in the neck and carries it away.

A couple of years later, and the girl is a young adult. She is leaving the cave, on the verge of tears, but smiling. A young wolf grabs her attention and gives her a basket full of food. She rubs its head and enters the woods.

The girl is seen walking through the woods, basket in hand. She sits down on a rock and opens her basket. From it she pulls a piece of meat and bites into it. As she chews, she looks down the path she came from. The cave is out of sight. She holds out a hand and feels a drop of rain, which steadily becomes heavier. The girl closes her basket and pulls up her hood, hitting the road again.

Some time has passed and the girl is now walking at a quicker pace to find shelter from the rain. She spots a figure between the trees. Unsure of how to react, she simply stands in place and watches. He approaches her.

Lumberjack: Hey, you shouldn’t be out here in the rain.

The girl does not reply.

Lumberjack: What’s your name?
Red: Red.
Lumberjack: Okay then, Red. I’m just heading back to my house. You’re welcome to stay until the storm dies down.
Red: ...
Lumberjack: You can, uh, stay at my house. If you want. Can’t leave you standing out here in the rain.

Red simply tilts her head in confusion.

Lumberjack: Alright, follow me if you want.

The lumberjack begins to walk away. After a while, Red follows. An image is then shown of the two sitting inside the lumberjack's house and talking while rain pours outside.

Red and the lumberjack are sitting opposite each other, drinking hot chocolate. It is now a sunny day outside, as we can see through the window. Red is not wearing her cloak, though it is seen lying on the back of her chair.

Red: Hey, thanks for letting me stay for a while.
Lumberjack: No problem. Couldn’t let you get soaked out there, could I?
Red: (Puts down her cup.) I think it’s best if I get going.
Lumberjack: I get it. Places to go, people to meet.
Red: (Putting on her cloak.) Thanks for everything.

Red is leaving, when the lumberjack appears to have thought of something. He walks over to her.

Lumberjack: Hey, you’re a hunter, right? Mercenary?
Red: Something like that.

The lumberjack reaches behind the door, to pull out an axe.

Lumberjack: Here, a parting gift.
Red: I... don’t know what to say.
Lumberjack: No need to say anything. I’ve got too many.

Red takes the axe.

Red: Thanks.

Red smiles and walks out. She makes her way toward the village with a basket in one hand and an axe in the other.

Red is strolling through the market in a village. Her axe is hidden in her basket. She is talking with a clerk selling pastries, when she notices the crowd falling silent. Everybody clears the path for somebody, drawing Red’s attention.

Red: (Whispering to the merchant.) Who’s this? A prince or something?
Merchant: (Whispering in response) You’re new here, aren’t you? That’s no prince. It’s the mistress of all evil, Maleficent.

A woman clad in black comes out of the crowd, with everybody watching her every move. Red is surprised to see that she is visibly nervous. Maleficent approaches a merchant selling fruit.

Red: (Whispering to the pastry merchant.) She doesn’t look all that bad.
Merchant: (Whispering in response) She’s skilled in dark magic. See that staff? Super powerful stuff.

As Maleficent glances at the crowd staring at her, her staff begins to glow a faint green. She mutters something inaudible to the fruit merchant, who scrambles to grab an apple for her. Maleficent takes the apple and says something to the merchant, surprising him. Maleficent is leaving the market, when somebody in the crowd finally decides to take action.

Villager: She’s trying to kill us all! Look at that damn staff! She’s gonna burn us to a crisp!

The rest of the crowd joins this villager in his angry yelling. Red watches, but appears to agree with the crowd. Maleficent looks scared and her staff is glowing brighter than ever.

Maleficent: (Quietly) I-I’m not... It’s all fine...

Somebody in the crowd decides to throw some of their groceries at Maleficent. A bright green flash comes out of her staff. When the light clears, Maleficent is gone. An orange, presumably thrown at her, falls to the ground. The orange becomes engulfed in a black magic, which grows bigger than any of the stalls, forcing the crowd to back away. The black magic vanishes, revealing a dragon made of oranges. The crowd scatters, most of them running away. Red stays, watching in awe and terror. The orange dragon roars, snapping her back to reality. Red pulls up her sleeves and gets her axe from her basket.

Red rushes toward the dragon, who seems to be preparing to breathe flames. Red runs behind the dragon, who turns around slowly. The dragon turns fully, to see Red taking aim with her axe. Before she can throw it, the dragon opens its mouth, spewing out an acidic juice. Red narrowly dodges, though she does get a graze on her left arm from it. She decides to hack away at the dragon, finding it to be surprisingly easy to cut through.

Red: Oh yeah. Made of oranges.

Red continues hacking away at the dragon, who roars in agony. As she cuts, the dragon breathes acid at her, which she must avoid. Finally, Red takes aim and throws her axe at the dragon’s neck. It is surrounded by black magic, which turns it back into a regular orange, albeit in several pieces.

Red fetches her axe, then inspects her wound. She grimaces and returns to her basket, routing through it for any medical equipment. A small crowd gathers around her, cheering for her and thanking her. She’s very clearly surprised and unsure how to respond.

A man is walking outside of a castle. He sees the person he has been waiting for: a messenger running toward him.

Messenger: Prince Phillip! I come bearing great news!

The messenger finally arrives.

Phillip: What is it?
Messenger: That dragon you want to slay, right? I think I’ve found just the person to help you with it.
Phillip: Who?
Messenger: This girl, she’s...

Phillip sighs and walks away.

Messenger: But, sir!
Phillip: I thought I made it clear that I needed a trained soldier!
Messenger: Sir, just hear me out. She defeated one of Maleficent’s monsters.

Phillip turns around.

Phillip: Where can I find this girl?

Chapter 1 - If I Could Change Your Mind

Red is in the market seen in her prologue. In the background, people are seen picking up the various fruits and vegetables thrown at Maleficent. Red approaches a baker. The baker is selling anything from bread to gingerbread houses - complete with a gingerbread boy, a gingerbread girl, and a gingerbread witch resembling Maleficent.

Red: What can I get for, uh...

Red briefly rummages through her basket, pulling out a few bruised apples.

Red: These?

The baker simply shakes her head and pushes the apples back to Red.

Baker: Nonsense, you just slayed that monster. I can’t wait to tell my friend about what happened. It’ll be some juicy gossip!

Red tilts her head and makes a confused expression.

Baker: ...Get it? Juicy? And that dragon was made of oranges... It’s a pun. (Pause.) Tell you what, you can get whatever you want from me. On the house.
Red: Really?
Baker: Yeah. Take your pick.

Red looks at the various baked goods on display, drooling slightly.

Red: I’ve never tasted any of these.
Baker: Well, you can never go wrong with a scrumptious apple pie!

The baker hands Red an apple pie, who puts it in her basket.

Red: Thanks.

Red waves goodbye to the baker and leaves the market, heading for the woods.

Red is walking through the woods, on the lookout for any signs of the lumberjack or his house. Eventually she notices his house and sprints toward it, taking care not to spill the contents of her basket. She knocks on the door and the lumberjack answers.

Lumberjack: Red? Fancy seeing you here!
Red: I don’t really have anywhere else to go.
Lumberjack: Ah. Right. Raised by wolves and all.
Red: Could I come in? (Opens basket, displaying the apple pie.) I brought food.
Lumberjack: Yeah, come on in. Welcome to my humble abode. Again.

The lumberjack gestures for Red to enter.

Prince Phillip is riding on horseback toward the market. His messenger, also riding a horse, is travelling alongside him

Phillip: So, who is this girl, exactly?
Messenger: Nobody knows. She just appeared out of nowhere, and slayed that dragon with animal-like reflexes.
Phillip: So nobody’s seen her before?
Messenger: Nobody, sir.
Phillip: Interesting.

The two reach the market, a crowd forming around them.

Phillip: Greetings, citizens.

The crowd groan. A few walk back to their stalls.

Phillip: I come in search of the woman in red who put an end to that vile, tangy creature that attacked your fair market.

One villager steps forward, pointing toward the woods.

Villager: She went that way, sir.
Phillip: Thank you. Now, if you’ll excuse me, my partner and I will be on our way.

Phillip and his messenger ride away.

Messenger: Don’t you think you were laying it on a bit thick?
Phillip: Relax, the people love it.

The messenger rolls his eyes as they leave the market.

Red and the lumberjack are inside his cabin, sitting in the same chairs as last time.

Lumberjack: Y’know, the pie really wasn’t necessary.
Red: I just really wanted to try some human treats. And I was hungry. Slaying a living fruit will do that to you.
Lumberjack: A living fruit? What?
Red: Dragon made of oranges.

Red takes the pie out of her basket. She looks up to see the confused expression on the lumberjack’s face.

Red: Citrus monsters aren’t a normal thing?
Lumberjack: No. They’re not.
Red: Oh. So not just your average Tuesday in the market.

The lumberjack laughs a bit.

Lumberjack: You really thought fruit dragons were a thing?
Red: Well, yeah. It’s pretty real when it’s spitting acid at you.

The two begin eating the apple pie.

Lumberjack: Look, how about you start from the beginning?
Red: Alright. I was in the market and suddenly this witch appeared and everybody stopped talking. I think her name was Mallory? Melissa?
Lumberjack: It wasn’t Maleficent, was it?
Red: That’s it! People started throwing stuff at her and her staff was glowing. There was this puff of... (Growling slightly) Ugh, what’s the word? (Pause.) She was gone in a puff of smoke, and then this orange transformed into a giant dragon.
Lumberjack: (Surprised) You killed one of Maleficent’s monsters!?
Red: Killed? I didn’t think oranges were ever alive to begin with.
Lumberjack: Red, I don’t think you understand the situation. Maleficent is the most powerful sorceress in the land. You defeated one of her creations.
Red: Really? It wasn’t much harder than the average hunt. The axe helped a lot, too. Thanks.
Lumberjack: No problem.
Red: Are you sure nobody’s ever sliced one of her monsters before?
Lumberjack: Not that I know of. Sure, I live in the middle of nowhere, but word spreads quickly around here. And that’d be some huge news.
Red: How many have failed?
Lumberjack: What?
Red: You said I was the first to defeat one. How many people couldn’t do it?
Lumberjack: Uh... Come to think of it... You might have been the first to try.
Red: Why?
Lumberjack: Maybe they’re all just too scared. I mean, you’re new to... everything, really. You weren’t raised in fear of the Black Witch. Hell, you were raised with wolves! You probably don’t even know what danger is! You could do what nobody else has - stand up to Maleficent!
Red: ...Dan-ger?
Lumberjack: Exactly. That’s the spirit!

Red makes a confused face.

Lumberjack: Oh. You really don’t know. I’ll tell you later.

A knock is heard at the door. Red answers the door to Phillip.

Phillip: Hello there! If I could have a moment of your time, I’d like to talk to you about-

Red growls and slams the door in his face. She retreats back to her chair.

Lumberjack: Who was it?
Red: Some salesman. Had some weird outfit on, though. I was raised by wolves, and even I have a better fashion sense than him. A green tunic with gloves and a sword. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a fairy floating beside him.

The lumberjack laughs.

Lumberjack: You know fairies don’t actually follow people in green, right? That’s just a story. A fairy tale.

Phillip knocks again. The lumberjack stands up.

Lumberjack: I’ve got it.

He answers the door to Phillip. In shock, he slams the door.

Lumberjack: Red?
Red: Yeah?
Lumberjack: That’s no salesman.
Red: Yeah, I figured. Nobody in their right mind dresses like that.
Lumberjack: Royalty does.
Red: Royalty?
Lumberjack: Red, that’s prince Phillip. You just slammed the door in the face of royalty.

Red takes a moment, then appears visibly worried.

Red: Damnit. I’ll answer it. I’ve got no excuses. What do I do?

The lumberjack shrugs. Red answers the door, giving a forced friendly smile. The lumberjack is standing behind her, awkwardly observing the conversation.

Red: Wow! Prince Phillip! What an honour it is to see you here!
Phillip: It’s alright that you don’t know who I am. I get it, I get it. You’re not from around here. If you were, you’d instantly recognise me.
Red: Got a point. What brings you here?
Phillip: I heard about how you dealt with that citrus creature back in town. And I must say, I’m impressed.
Red: Wow, thanks. That means a lot coming from you.
Phillip: Oh, stop it. You barely know who I am.
Red: No, I mean it.

Red makes a look of distaste as she looks Phillip up and down.

Red: You’re probably a great fighter. After all, you’re built like a... stick.

Phillip looks annoyed.

Phillip: Look, I didn’t come here to applaud you or crown you queen. I’ve got a job I need done, and you fit the bill perfectly.

Red’s eyes light up.

Red: A job?
Phillip: There’s a dragon I need slain. And not some fruit salad lizard either; a real dragon. It’s well paying.

Red looks back to the lumberjack, who gives her a thumbs-up.

Red: I’ll do it.
Phillip: Great! We leave at dawn.
Red: Hold up. We!?
Phillip: Did I forget to mention that you’d be coming with me?
Red: Yeah. Now, I may not know much about human culture or “jobs”...

Phillip makes a confused expression.

Red: ...But that seems like a pretty major detail. Not the kind of thing you just leave out. Besides, I’m a lone wolf - pun most definitely intended. I work alone. If the condition were that I had to kill a dragon with a toothpick, I still would’ve done it if it were well paying. But you’re probably weaker than a toothpick, so that’s a major dealbreaker for me.
Phillip: But...
Red: Good riddance.

An angry Red picks up her basket and leaves. Phillip looks in shock at the lumberjack, who simply shrugs.

Red is walking in the woods, basket in hand, mumbling incoherently. She hears Phillip riding toward her on his horse and growls. She turns around to him and yells.

Red: What the hell is your problem!? I’m not interested!

Phillip catches up to her.

Phillip: Just hear me out, okay?

Phillip dismounts his horse, and Red takes out her axe.

Phillip: Wow, what a big axe.
Red: All the better to take your head off with if you come any closer. Just head back to your fairies, elf boy.

Phillip walks cautiously toward Red.

Phillip: Alright, I get it. You wanna work alone, you’re a lone wolf-

Now within reach of each other, Red points her axe at Phillip. Her mood has gone from annoyed to pissed.

Red: Shut up.
Phillip: I just-
Red: (Yelling.) Shut up!

Phillip sighs.

Phillip: (Muttering.) I didn’t want to do this.

Phillip unsheathes his sword and, in one quick motion, holds it against Red’s neck.

Phillip: Still think I’m a useless toothpick?

Red uses her leg to trip him. She stands over him, axe by her side.

Red: Yeah.

Red is about to walk away, when Phillip grabs her axe and uses it to hoist himself up. He holds his sword out, so that it is held above Red’s shoulder. She growls.

Red: Just leave me alone! I don’t want your stupid job!

She turns around, and the two engage in a short brawl. Red manages to parry Phillip’s attacks, and Phillip dodges her swings. Phillip swings his sword one last time, grazing Red’s cheek. She holds a hand to her cheek, and Phillip drops his sword.

Phillip: Oh my gosh. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to do that. I just thought... (Pause.) I just thought that if I showed you I’m not just a fancy green robe and a crown, and that I can hold my own in battle, that you might change your mind. I’m really sorry. If there’s anything I can do...

Red grins a little.

Red: Are you always this sympathetic to your enemies?
Phillip: Only the ones I want to form an alliance with.
Red: Alright, maybe you’re not just a twig with a cape.
Phillip: So, what do you say?
Red: ...How much does it pay again?
Phillip: Any sum you want. Within reason, of course. Try not to empty the royal vault.

Red nods.

Red: I’ll do it. I don’t know much about money, but however much I want sounds good.
Phillip: Really?
Red: Yeah. But I’m quitting if you get on my nerves.
Phillip: Alright. Meet me outside the palace at dawn tomorrow. We’ll get started then.
Red: See you then.

Red walks in the direction of the lumberjack’s house, rubbing her new scar. Phillip gets on his horse and rides away.

Red is walking around in the palace courtyard, waiting for Phillip. Phillip arrives on horseback. He dismounts and walks to meet Red.

Red: You took your time.
Phillip: It’s called being fashionably late.
Red: Sure. So, where to, “your highness”?
Phillip: The royal library.
Red: Library? Really? I thought we were getting ready to kill a dragon.
Phillip: We need to do some research, don’t we?
Red: That sounds boring.
Phillip: It needs to be done.

Phillip shrugs and walks toward the castle. Red jogs to catch up to him.

Red: Hey, I’ve been meaning to ask something.
Phillip: Go ahead.
Red: Why do you want to kill this dragon so badly?
Phillip: It’s a dragon.
Red: Well, yeah, but I’ve never heard of it before. I don’t hear much gossip, but I think I would know if there was a dragon terrorising the kingdom.

Phillip shrugs.

Phillip: Well, you didn’t know what a prince was.
Red: ...
Phillip: The lumberjack told me.
Red: ...Right. I get out, though. I’ve never heard of this dragon causing any trouble, so why do you need me to kill it?
Phillip: Three things. First; it’s both of us that are doing this. Second; we slay the dragon.
Red: Aren’t they the same thing?
Phillip: It sounds cooler. Third; the dragon hasn’t caused any trouble. If we’re gonna work together, we need to be honest. But the dragon’s guarding a treasure. A really precious one, at that.
Red: Don’t you have some giant vault of treasures?
Phillip: It’s not a crown or anything. It’s... It’s about a girl.
Red: Oh. I get it.

As the two cross the courtyard, Red nudges Phillip a little. Phillip nudges her a bit harder, followed by Red playfully pushing him to the ground. She laughs as he gets back up.

Red and Phillip enter the massive library. Red looks around in awe.

Red: That’s a lot of books.
Phillip: Did you expect any less from the royal library?

As they walk, Phillip looks at the books they pass. He settles on a book with a sword on its spine and sits down. Red shrugs and picks up the first book she sees: a brown book with a golden “H”.

Phillip: Hey, Red, that book’s not gonna help. It’s just a storybook. A good one, sure, but they’re just fairytales.
Red: How’s any book supposed to help? They’re all just stories, aren’t they?
Phillip: ...Have you ever read a book?

Red shakes her head.

Red: I can’t read.
Phillip: But you’re not dressed like a peasant.
Red: Yeah. About that, I stole my clothes.

Phillip gives Red an odd look.

Phillip: Anyway, books aren’t just stories. There’s encyclopedias, biographies...
Red: ...
Phillip: Fact books.
Red: Oh. Are we... Are you looking for anything specific?
Phillip: I’m looking for leads on a legendary sword.
Red: A sword? Why did you need me, then? I can’t use a sword. Why-

Phillip shushes Red.

Phillip: We’re in a library. Keep it down.

Red pouts. Phillip studies his book intently, while Red stares blankly at hers. After a while, Phillip gestures Red over.

Phillip: Here’s our lead!

Red shushes Phillip.

The book is opened on a picture of a lady in blue holding a golden sword.

Phillip: The Lady of the Lake; Violette.

Chapter 2 - Leave Me Alone

Red and Phillip are riding beside each other on horseback. Just over the hill they are on, a village can be seen.

Phillip: ...And then she made a move on my brother! Me and my dad had to just sit there, trying not to laugh, while we watched him tell this girl that he wasn't interested. It was really awkward. But hilarious. Right?
Red: Mmm.
Phillip: What about you? What's the craziest thing that's happened to you at a party?
Red: ...Where are we headed, elf prince?
Phillip: Huh? Oh, right. That. The quest. Yeah. See that village there? They're big on folklore. Huge. They're bound to have something to help us track down the Lady of the Lake. There's a lot of books in the royal library, but we're not going to find anywhere with more information on her than here.
Red: Sounds good to me.

The two ride for a while longer, until they near the village. They slow down at the sight of the destroyed buildings.

Red: What happened here?
Phillip: I... don't know. We received a messenger from here a few days ago, so the damage must be recent. I'm not sure what could do this much damage.
Red: Now what? What if the library's gone, too?

Phillip takes a deep breath.

Phillip: Okay, here's the plan. I'm going to go find some stables to leave the horses in for a while, then I'll go check out the library. You go find out what happened to the village.
Red: Got it.

Red hops off her horse.

Red: Later!

Red runs to the part of the village that remains intact. Phillip watches her go.

Phillip: What happened here…?

Phillip walks toward a building with a sign reading "LIBRARY" hanging by a nail from it. He knocks on the door. No response.

Phillip: Oh, c'mon.

Phillip knocks on the door again, with more force. A man sees him and approaches him.

Man: Library's shut.
Phillip: Yeah, I noticed. How long until it's open?
Man: I dunno. People are saying it'll be shut until the monster's gone. Most businesses are closed.
Phillip: Monster?
Man: Yeah, some monster's been terrorising town lately. Last 2 nights. Most folks have fled town. Not me, though. I grew up here. I'm going down with this village.
Phillip: What kind of monster? Me and my friend might be able to do something. I happen to be the Warrior Prince, after all.
Man: Hmm?
Phillip: Y'know, Prince Phillip the Great? The Bane of All Evil?
Man: ...Are you okay?
Phillip: Am I-? Yeah, yeah, I'm fine. How do I kill this monster?
Man: You're planning on taking it down? You and your friend might as well skedaddle outta here right now. You've got no chance. That thing will huff, and puff, and blow your lights out.
Phillip: Alright, thanks.

Phillip walks away.

Red wanders through a particularly damaged part of the village. A plank of wood falls behind her from the roof above. She notices two men repairing their house and decides to seek answers from them.

Red: Hey there.

One man notices Red and nudges his boyfriend.

Man #1: Honey.
Man #2: Hmm? Oh, hi.
Red: Hi. Me and my friend were on our way here, and we noticed that the place is a bit of a mess. But that's not that hard to notice, right?

Red laughs a bit at her joke, while the villagers look vaguely uncomfortable.

Red: Anyway, I was wondering if you two could tell me what happened?
Man #1: The village got attacked last night.
Red: Was it the Lady of the Lake?

The two stare at Red in disbelief.

Man #1: No, no, no, the Lady would never do anything like that!
Man #2: It was a wolf.

Red flinches.

Man #2: This giant wolf stomped into town and destroyed everything. It huffed, and puffed, and blew our houses down.
Red: I-I gotta go...

Red hurriedly walks away.

Red and Phillip meet up outside of town. Phillip is taking care of their horses as Red approaches.

Phillip: What'd you find out?
Red: There's been some wolf monster attacking town the past few days, apparently.
Phillip: Mmm. That's really all I gathered, too. Library won't be open until the monster's taken care of.
Red: You know what we have to do, right?
Phillip: Definitely.

Phillip gets on his horse.

Phillip: We'll wait until the monster's gone. In the meantime we'll search for the Lady of the Lake ourselves. We've got very few leads, but at least we'll still have our heads intact.
Red: Uh, Phillip?

Red tugs Phillip down off the horse. He lands in a heap on the ground.

Red: We're staying.
Phillip: Are you out of your mind? We're not killing every monster we find, Red! We came to slay a dragon, and that's what we're doing.
Red: Phillip, you're a prince. It's your duty to protect your people, right?
Phillip: I mean... yeah. It is.
Red: Whew, that was a guess.
Phillip: What?
Red: Nothing. Look, Phillip, I'm doing you a massive favour. I'm slaying a dragon for you.
Phillip: I'm paying you for that.
Red: ...Listen. I can't explain it just yet. But I promise I'll explain later. I'm not leaving until the wolf is taken care of.

Red walks back to the village.

Phillip: Wait!

Red turns around.

Phillip: ...I'll help.

Red smiles while Phillip leads the horses back to the village.

With the horses back in the inn stables, Red and Phillip enter the inn.

Innkeeper: If you two are here for your honeymoon, you came at the worst time.
Red: Oh no, we're not together. Gross.
Phillip: How much for a room?
Red: Two. Two rooms.
Phillip: Right. Yeah. Two rooms.
Innkeeper: For how long?
Phillip: Red?
Red: I'm not sure how long we'll be staying. Can we pay after? He's a prince, he'll take care of the cost.

Phillip gives Red a shocked look.

Innkeeper: No problem. Your rooms are just at the end of the hall there. One at the end, and one to the left of it.

The innkeeper pulls out two keys.

Innkeeper: Here are your room keys.
Red: Thanks.
Phillip: While we've got you, what do you know about the Lady of the Lake? We came here looking for answers, but the library's closed.
Innkeeper: The Lady of the Lake... I'm no fountain of knowledge on the Lady, but if you were to go to the library, you'd be looking in the right place. We have a piece of fabric from her dress that was discovered generations ago!
Phillip: Say, you know who I am, right? Prince Phillip, the most noble prince on this side of the land. Any chance I could find somebody to let me into the library and take a look at the fabric?

The innkeeper laughs.

Innkeeper: Best head to bed, princey!
Phillip: ...Right...

Phillip walks with Red to their rooms, looking embarrassed.

Red is sleeping in her bed, when a branch breaks through her window, hitting her. Red bolts upright, screaming a little. She jumps out of bed, grabs her cloak, and raps on Phillips door. She waits, tapping her feet, branch in hand.

Red: C'mon, c'mon…

Phillip answers the door.

Red: Wh-

Red doubles over laughing.

Red: You look hilarious!

Phillip looks very tired, with wild hair. He wears a silk robe and slippers that don't match.

Phillip: Do all common folk wake up at this hour?

Red finally recovers from her fit of laughter.

Red: We... We gotta go.
Phillip: Why?
Red: Pretty sure the wolf's out.
Phillip: I-I'll be back.

Phillip slams the door. Sounds of struggling can be heard. Finally, he emerges in his regular attire, holding his sword. The two rush out of the inn.

Phillip: Why are you already dressed?
Red: I slept like this. What were you wearing?
Phillip: A robe.
Red: What is that? Like, some special sleeping outfit? It's a nap, not a ritual.

Phillip sighs as the two leave the building.

Red and Phillip reach the main street, where they see the wolf - a towering monster. A look of horror crosses Red's face.

Phillip: Let's get this over with...

Phillip draws his sword and yells, advancing toward the monster. The wolf turns and opens its mouth, releasing a deafening howl and a gust of wind. Phillip is sent hurtling backwards, landing in a heap on the ground. Red takes a step forward.

Red: We don't want to hurt you.
Phillip: Red?
Red: You don't need to be scared. We're here to help.

While Phillip attempts to get to his feet, the wolf howls something at Red, vaguely resembling English.

Wolf: L̬͓̬̠̼ͧͩ͝e̅͏̦͙̫̙ã̝̺͐̂̾́v̪̖̻̺͙̻̱͛̌ͩ͊͘ẽ̫̖̘̪̾̾ ̱̩͙̯͎̲ͨͤm͏͍͙e̖̞͡ ͖̹̀a͈͖̖̬͈͙̙͛̌́l̴̫͇̼̤̣̥͕̋̑ͥ͌ͦͧ͊õ̸̲ͪ̒ͥ̑n҉̤̖̲̠͎̲e͆ͅ!̴̃̐̒

Phillip tries to figure out what's happening, though Red seems unphased. Her eyes are beginning to water.

Red: I'd never do anything to hurt you. You can trust me!

Red walks forward as she speaks. The wolf once again howls, releasing a blast of wind. Red is hurled into the building behind her. Her limp body falls to the ground.

Phillip: Red? Red!?

As Phillip scrambles for Red and the wolf leaves, things slowly fade to black.

Red wakes up in the inn with a headache. Phillip sits across the room, reading a brown book with a silver "H" on the cover. She groans, causing Phillip to put his book down and go over to her.

Phillip: Hey, you okay?
Red: I nearly destroyed a building with my spine, elf boy. What do you think?
Phillip: Here, the locals wanted to give you this.

Phillip takes out a bowl of crushed powder. Red sniffs it, earning a disgusted and confused look from both of them.

Phillip: ...It's medicine.

Red attempts to sound out the word.

Phillip: It'll help you recover.

Red nods.

Phillip: So. About last night.
Red: I've got some questions about that, too.
Phillip: You go first.
Red: What were you wearing!? It was the funniest thing I'd seen in ages!

Phillip grumbles, turning a bit red in the face.

Phillip: Robes. Doesn't matter, anyway. Why didn't you want to hurt the monster?
Red: ...It's complicated. I'll tell you when I'm ready, but now's not the time. What matters is that we capture the wolf.
Phillip: Red, this isn't a gross bug. It's a dangerous monster. The people are terrified. And rightfully so; the thing's a murdering machine!
Red: The wolf isn't a murdering machine! They're just confused. Scared. Phillip, we need to help. Trust me.
Phillip: I've put a lot of faith in you in the past few days. You better prove yourself.

Phillip leaves the room. As he goes out the door, he sets Red a time limit.

Phillip: If you don't have a plan by this evening, we're killing the beast.

Red sighs and flops back down onto the bed.

The bowl beside Red's bed is emptied as she gets up. She gauges her ability to walk and such. She seems content that the injuries were minor and that she can walk. She leaves her room and heads to reception, pleased to see that the innkeeper is still there.

Innkeeper: Hey there! How you doing? You took quite the blow last night.
Red: Yeah, I'm alright. Thanks for asking.
Innkeeper: Anything I can help you with?
Red: Actually there might be. The village folk trust you, right?

Red meets Phillip in the square as dusk begins.

Phillip: You're late.
Red: You'll forgive me after my foolproof plan plays out.
Phillip: What's your plan, exactly?
Red: You see that intersection over there?
Phillip: Yes?
Red: You go over there.
Phillip: And…?
Red: And you scream.

Phillip is drawing a blank.

Phillip: ...I do what?
Red: Scream. Y'know, like this.

Red breathes in to scream, but Phillip covers her mouth before the scream can escape her mouth.

Phillip: Red. What the fuck.
Red: You're the distraction.
Phillip: I'm not screaming into the unbrushed teeth of a giant wolf monster.
Red: It's part of the plan.
Phillip: Is the plan to kill me and steal my money? This plan is ridiculous! I'm not having a damn screaming contest with a wolf monster! I knew I shouldn't have followed you here blindly. I knew it, I knew it, I knew it.

A shadow looms behind Philip. Red is visibly scared.

Phillip: Why are you looking at me like I've got two heads?
Red: Phillip… You, uh, might wanna look behind you.
Phillip: What!?

Phillip turns around, still in a mood, only to come face to face with the snarling wolf.

Phillip: My… What big teeth you have…

The wolf howls, sending Philip flying into Red and forcing them to land in a pile on the ground, dropping their weapons in the process. Philip feebly reaches for his sword, while Red holds her head up.

Red: Now!

A small group of villagers run out of the shadows carrying a net. They throw it over the wolf from behind and hastily retreat. Seizing the opportunity, Philip gets up and grabs his sword, pointing it at the wolf.

Phillip: This ends now.

Red sees Philip and, in a burst of adrenaline, gets up and kicks him, screaming. She picks up her axe beside her.

Red: You're not killing her!
Phillip: Her!?

Much to Philip's surprise, Red delivers the first strike on him. He narrowly avoids it, only if due to a slight parry on his behalf.

Red: I won't let you do it.
Phillip: Red, this has to end one way or another. We need information, and if slaying this monster will get it, then that's what has to be done.
Red: Don't say that word.
Phillip: What?
Red: Monster! She's not a monster! She's confused! Phillip, we need to help her.
Phillip: No, it's the village that needs saving.

Red sighs.

Red: I was hoping it wouldn't come to this.

Red attacks once more, even more vicious this time. Philip simply dodges and parries. Finally, Red hits Philip in the stomach with the blunt of her axe, knocking him to the floor. She bends down to talk to the wolf.

Red: Hey, it's okay.

The wolf growls lightly as Red strokes her forehead.

Red: Phillip's a friend. He didn't mean to hurt you.
Red: I'm here, I'm here. We can fix this. Together.
Red: I shouldn't have left you. I'll give up this life if I have to.
Red: I'll give up the job. I'll give it all up.
Red: Just come back to me, please.
Red: Granny…

Red plants a soft kiss on the wolf's nose.

A bright pulse of energy radiates from the kiss, lighting up the village.

Laying where the wolf once was is an old woman. Red is in tears, while Phillip sits away from the pair, gobsmacked.

Red: Granny!
Phillip: So that's what it looks like…

Without hesitation, Red tackles her Granny in a hug. Though Red is ecstatic, her Granny seems numb. Red notices this.

Red: Granny…? Are you okay?

Granny stares at her own arms wrapped around the younger woman. After a deep breath, she begins panicking. She attempts to free herself of her granddaughter's grip, but Red refuses to let go. Instead, Red pulls her in closer, comforting her and repeating a phrase over and over in an attempt to ground her.

Red: It's okay, I'm here. It's okay, I'm here…

Granny has calmed down, and is now hugging her granddaughter out of joy. Philip awkwardly approaches the pair.

Phillip: Terribly sorry to interrupt this…unique family reunion, but who's this?

Red gaps, realising the two hadn't met. She introduces the two.

Red: Oh my gosh, how could I forget? Granny, this is Prince Phillip. He's my friend. I'm helping him with a job.
Granny: Ooh, you've gotten a job? Very good!
Red: Phillip, this my Granny. She's a werewolf.

The two new acquaintances shake hands. Granny is eager to meet Red's new friend, while Phillip racks his brain for the meaning of the word 'werewolf'.

Red, Phillip and Granny are in Red's room in the inn. Red sits with her Granny on the bed, while Phillip leans against the wall across from them.

Phillip: So. You're a werewolf?
Granny: Mmhmm.
Phillip: What's that?
Granny: Huh. I expected most people to know the word after that incident all those years ago. I turn into a wolf during the night.
Phillip: How is that even possible?
Red: Phillip, you're making me track down a dragon. Anything's possible.
Granny: You're letting him drag you into fighting a beast like that?
Red: Can we talk about this later?

Granny reluctantly nods in agreement.

Phillip: So, do you terrorise a village every night, or is it only on weekends?
Granny: Are you always this cheeky?

Phillip shuts his mouth.

Granny: This isn't my first time attacking an innocent village, I'm sorry to say. It's my first time shooting galeforce winds from my mouth, though. It was painful. I never want it to happen again.

Red rubs her Granny's back.

Granny: Back when this curse was new to me, I couldn't control it. I scared people. But I've learned that the wolf is part of me, and now we're one. It's not a curse any more.
Phillip: So...

Phillip turns to Red.

Phillip: Are you…one of them too?
Red: No, no, no. Granny took me in when I was really young. She taught me everything she knew about my culture. I can speak a bit of wolf, too.
Phillip: When's that ever going to come in handy?
Red: Talking to the rest of the pack, obviously.
Phillip: ...
Phillip: What?
Red: I was raised by wolves.
Phillip: I... think I need some air.

Phillip leaves the room.

Red: So, uh, do you know what happened? To turn you... all... fear-y?
Granny: Feral?
Red: Mm.
Granny: Well, I'm not all that sure... When I was attacking, I wasn't very aware of what I was doing. I was on the verge of consciousness. But I had an image in my head. Maleficent. The Black Fairy. But there was somebody else. She was sitting in a throne. She... I think she had some sort of magic. Wind magic. That makes sense, right? I don't know how I knew it. I just...felt it.

Red nods solemnly.

Red: You should get some rest. I'll be back in a minute.

Red leaves the room. She looks for Phillip, encountering him in the corridor.

Red: Hey, are you alright?
Phillip: Yeah, I'm just...trying to wrap my head around this. It's a lot of information to dump on a guy all at once.
Red: Look, I'll cut to the cheese.
Phillip: Chase.
Red: I didn't come to ask if you can understand it, because you're going to have to accept it if you want to keep working with me. I've been honest with you, Phillip. Now you need to be honest with me.
Phillip: Red, I don't know what you're saying.
Red: I know something's up. You've been acting weird. Ever since you heard about a wolf blowing houses down. Especially since I saved Granny! No thanks to you, by the way.
Phillip: I've got nothing to say.

Red gives Phillip a stern look.

Red: Good night, Phillip.

Red marches back to her room.

Red and her Granny are waiting outside the library - one of the few buildings that remained relatively undamaged. Granny is looking around at the damage she wreaked.

Red: Hey, are you sure you wanna do this?
Granny: I want to help you, Red. It's all I've ever wanted to do.

Red watches her Granny take in the damaged buildings. It pains her to see her like this. Granny is staying surprisingly calm.

Granny: Do you trust him?
Red: Hmm?
Granny: Phillip. Do you trust him?

Red forces a smile.

Red: Yeah. I trust him.
Granny: Then I do too.

Red lets out a small sigh. Phillip comes out of the library, followed by the librarian. The librarian is holding a torn piece of blue fabric, obviously worn from many years.

Phillip: Somebody order a strip of fabric?

Red rolls her eyes.

Phillip: So, uh, you two said you had a plan?
Red: Granny, if you will.

Granny takes the fabric from the librarian, who seems distressed at this. She smells the fabric for a short bit as Phillip and the librarian watch in a mixture of confusion and horror. Granny finishes smelling the fabric and, looking content with herself, hands it back to the librarian. She begins to walk away, seeming pretty fixed on what direction she is going in. Red and Phillip follow with varying levels of certainty.

Phillip: Hey, Red, what's she doing? How does she know where the Lady of the Lake is just from sniffing a piece of fabric?

Red ignores him.

Granny: I'm part wolf, remember?
Phillip: Oh, right.

Red keeps her head pointed forward, speaking to nobody in particular.

Red: Where are the horses? My arm's going to ache from carrying around this axe.

Phillip jumps at the opportunity to talk to his partner after she ignored him all morning.

Phillip: They ran off after one of your Granny's attacks.

Phillip realises what he just said and backs away from Red a little. Red speeds up to walk with her Granny.

Phillip: This... this is actually happening.

Phillip picks up his pace to keep up with the two girls in front.

Chapter 3 - Dancing Through Life


Maleficent's Story

Prologue - Shadow Preachers

Maleficent is seen in a large library. She is perusing a book over a desk. After flipping a few pages forward, she throws it into the large pile of books on the desk in frustration. She runs her hand through her hair, then waves her hand, causing a stack of three smaller books to float onto the desk beside her. She begins to flip through the pages of one book, muttering to herself as she does so.

Maleficent: C’mon, c’mon... Anything about an incurable curse of some sort...

She stops flipping and takes a closer look at the page she has stopped on.

Maleficent: Sleeping curse, huh? (Begins skimming the page) There we go. This has to be it.

Maleficent folds over the corner of the page and closes the book. She waves her hand and the books from the desk fly back to their respective shelves.

Maleficent holds out her hand to allow her staff to fly into it. She holds her staff in the air, creating the bright white outline of a rectangle on the ground around her. Maleficent stands on a similar spade in the center of the rectangle. Pointing her staff outward, the lights vanish and a large white door emerges from the floor, outlined by black spades. On the door itself is a large golden ‘W’

Maleficent: It’s been too long since I paid a visit.

Maleficent opens the door, enveloping the room in a bright purple light. Gripping her staff, she enters the door.

Maleficent appears in a grassy field. She looks around, pleased with herself. With a wave of her staff, the door disappears. After getting a running start, Maleficent transforms into a raven and takes off. As a crow, Maleficent flies to a large marble building, dominated by a large red heart above the doorway. She transforms back to her usual self, hiding behind a bush.

Maleficent: So this is the place.

Maleficent steps away from the bush, catching the attention of the two guards. One guard, a red-haired woman draws her sword.

Guard #1: Who goes there?
Maleficent: (Rolling her eyes) Oh, please. You know who I am.
Guard #2: You’re trespassing on the property of the-
Maleficent: Spare me the blather. Trespassing on the queen’s property, facing execution, and so forth. I’ve heard it before.

The two guards flinch.

Maleficent: Let me introduce myself.

Maleficent bows.

Maleficent: My name is Maleficent.
Guard #1: (Frightened) Maleficent? You can’t be serious...
Maleficent: And you couldn’t be more wrong.

Maleficent’s attention is drawn to the other guard, who doesn’t seem to be as threatened. As she speaks, she slowly walks toward him.

Maleficent: It seems I’m not as famous as I thought. Tell me, do you know who I am? They call me Maleficent, the mistress of all evil. Frankly, I don’t think it’s a very fitting title, but it works well for me. You know why?

At this point, Maleficent is in the guard’s face. He shakes his head hastily.

Maleficent: The name strikes fear into the hearts of others. And fear...

Maleficent strokes the guard’s face.

Maleficent: ...Is one of the most powerful things known to man.

The guard glows faintly with a dark energy, before Maleficent steps away. She takes a moment to process what she has done, then turns to the other guard, smiling. The male guard has been frozen in place.

Guard #1: What do you want? I’ll get it for you, I...
Maleficent: Oh, sweetie. I don’t think you can get me what I want. You see, this building is guarded by a unique type of magic. And it just so happens that only one person in this land possesses it.
Guard #1: The queen.
Maleficent: Ah, so there is a brain in that pretty little head of yours. Yes, the queen is the only one who can take down the barrier. It’s wind magic, isn’t it?
Guard #1: I-I’ve no idea.
Maleficent: Mm. I wasn’t expecting a lowly guard to have the answer. Regardless, wind magic is the only answer. Tell me, have you ever seen the queen herself enter the building?
Guard #1: No, ma’am.
Maleficent: But you’ve seen her exit, haven’t you?
Guard #1: Yes.
Maleficent: Don’t you find that interesting? (Pause) Do you have any interest in the local wildlife?
Guard #1: There isn’t much wildlife to watch.
Maleficent: Exactly! Except for once a week, when a robin pays a visit. Have you noticed that?
Guard #1: N-No.
Maleficent: Hm. Figures.

The guard tightens the grip on her sword.

Guard #1: Why are you here?
Maleficent: I must say, I’m surprised you can speak for yourself. But you do have a fair question. I’m intrigued by what lies inside this building, or prison, so to speak. An incurable curse. Fascinating.
Guard #1: Aurora. You want Aurora.
Maleficent: Well done.
Guard #1: Why are you telling me all this?

Maleficent places a hand on the guard’s face.

Maleficent: Why, because you won’t be able to tell the tale.

The guard glows with a faint dark energy, like her partner before her, and is frozen in place. Maleficent keeps her gaze for a matter of seconds, taking in the situation.

Maleficent: Such a pretty face. It’s a shame.

Maleficent approaches the entrance to the building. She holds her hand out and, in a puff of smoke, a black raven-shaped pendant appears. Using her magic, Maleficent levitates the pendant between her hands, revealing a light blue wall. Maleficent claps her hands together, causing the pendant and wall to vanish. She walks into the building.

Maleficent is seen descending a spiralling staircase, using her staff to light the way. Finally, the stairs end, leading into a long, dark corridor. Maleficent heads down the corridor and hears a soft purring.

Maleficent: Reveal yourself.

A voice replies.

Voice: So you’re back, Maleficent.

Maleficent stops. She attempts to recognise the voice, then looks annoyed. She continues walking.

Maleficent: Oh, it’s you again.

A pair of bright green eyes appear, though Maleficent appears unfazed by them.

Voice: Not pleased to see me?
Maleficent: Listen, furball, I’ve got a job to do. And I’d like to get it done quick.

The eyes appear once again, in front of Maleficent this time. She tightens her grip on her staff and stops.

Voice: Ah, you’re looking for the girl, aren’t you?
Maleficent: Shouldn’t you be locked up somewhere?

The eyes disappear, allowing Maleficent to walk on.

Voice: You should know by now that nothing’s straightforward here, buddy.
Maleficent: Those days are long gone.
Voice: Wouldn’t you just love to relive them, though? It’s nearly six o’clock...
Maleficent: Listen up, fishbreath, I’ve moved on.

The pair of eyes appear once again, moving around in the darkness. Maleficent fires the occasional energy blast at them, but misses each time.

Voice: I can’t let you take the girl.
Maleficent: And why not?
Voice: Things here are topsy-turvy enough as it is. But that’s normal. There’s no telling what will happen if you take her. She keeps everything in balance.
Maleficent: I’m not coming back. Anyway, you’re as weird as it comes. All of you. You call yourselves ‘wonderful’ or whatever, but you’re just a bunch of freaks.
Voice: So the rumours are true, O ‘mistress of all evil’.

Maleficent stops firing.

Maleficent: I’m... I’m not what everybody thinks I am. (Pause.) I’m taking the girl. You can’t do anything about it.

The eyes blink and disappear. Maleficent sighs and moves on. She reaches the end of the corridor and sees a pair of curtains. She pushes behind them, leading her into a circular, well-lit room. On a wooden table in the middle of the room lies a blonde-haired girl in a blue dress, who appears to be sleeping. Maleficent walks around the table and stops at her head. She brushes a loose hair out of her face and smiles.

Maleficent: Don’t worry, sleeping beauty. I’ll fix you.

The two vanish in a puff of smoke.

The girl is sleeping inside a glass coffin in Maleficent’s library. In a cloud of black smoke, Maleficent appears. She reaches into her cloak and pulls out an apple, leaning over the coffin.

Maleficent: Do you need to eat while you’re like this? Probably not. Best to check anyway.

Maleficent places her apple on her desk and sits down. She opens a black book - identifiable as the one containing information on the sleeping curse - and glances through a page.

Maleficent: Hmm. Not according to this.

Maleficent gets back up and stands beside the coffin, staring at the young woman. She takes a bite of her apple.

Maleficent: You fixed me. Now it’s time for me to repay the favour.

We see Maleficent’s book opened on the page about the sleeping curse. Underlined in pen are the words “Magic Beans”.

The girl is seen walking through a lush garden, albeit in the shrubbery. She moves some leaves to catch a glimpse outside of the bushes. She sees a man dipping a paintbrush in a small tin of red paint, presumably painting the white roses. The girl continues to make her way through the bush. Eventually, she hears some voices.

???: Oh, Cheshire, you’re a riot!
Cheshire: What can I say, Hatty? I’m just a little... mad.

The girl decides that the conversation is not worth inspecting and goes on her way. Unfortunately for her, she trips over a loose bramble and tumbles out of the bush, revealing the people she had been listening to. A woman wearing a top hat had been sharing a cup of tea with a large purple cat.

???: (With mock anger) Who dares interrupt our tea party!?
Girl: I... Uh...
Cheshire: You have a voice, don’t you?

The girl nods.

Cheshire: Well then, use it!
Girl: I didn’t mean to... I’m sorry. I was just trying to-
Mad Hatter: Who cares what brought you here? You’re here now, and we have tea to spare. They call me the Mad Hatter, but my friends call me Hatty. You seem friendly, so you’re welcome to call me that if you like. They say I’m as mad as a hatter, but you can never trust gossip!
Aurora: I’m Aurora.
Cheshire: Cheshire. Do you like tea, Aurora?
Aurora: Yes, thank you.

Chapter 1 - Mad Hatter

Maleficent is sitting on a chair beside Aurora in her glass coffin. She puts down the book she was reading and looks at Aurora.

Maleficent: Aurora, can you hear me?

Aurora doesn’t respond.

Maleficent: ...Right. Sleeping curse and all. This curse is a mysterious thing and I really have no idea if you can hear me or not. But I’ve got a bit of a problem.

Maleficent looks a bit sheepish.

Maleficent: One of the key components in a cure is light magic. I don’t know if you know this, but light magic isn’t really my thing. It’s all about hope and all that sappy stuff, but I don’t really have much of that. Hell, this cure is just a shot in the dark. ...Look, my point is that I can’t bring you back if I can’t get some light magic.

Maleficent gets up and puts the book she was reading earlier back on a shelf. She stands beside Aurora, looking down at her and sighs. She quickly wipes the smudge left on the glass coffin by her breath with her cape.

Maleficent: I don’t really know what I was expecting. Guess I’m on my own.

Maleficent sits down once again, on the chair opposite the other. She sees the fire being reflected on the glass coffin and gets an idea. She grabs her staff.

Maleficent: Here goes nothing.

Maleficent vanishes in a puff of smoke.

Maleficent appears behind one of the few standing stalls in the wreckage of a marketplace. She is wearing a black cloak that covers her hair and dress. She looks into the center of the marketplace to see a green-clad noble on horseback talking to the crowd. His partner looks noticeably embarrassed.

Prince: Thank you. Now, if you’ll excuse me, my partner and I will be on our way.

The prince and his accomplice ride away. Maleficent waits for the buzz of the crowd to die down, before entering the marketplace herself. She looks around at the destruction in awe. She shakes the smile off of her face and approaches a man.

Maleficent: Excuse me, sir, do you know what happened to this market?
Man: You didn’t hear? The Black Witch appeared and summoned a dragon as orange as flames to destroy the market!

Maleficent can’t help but smile a little.

Man: Is that funny to you?
Maleficent: Not particularly. What happened to the dragon?
Man: A mysterious woman appeared out of nowhere and slayed the beast! It was amazing.

Maleficent’s smile quickly fades.

Maleficent: Oh.

Maleficent walks away, leaving the man confused. She takes another look around and assesses the damage. A small child approaches her, his face covered in tears, surprising Maleficent.

Child: H-Have you seen my mom? She told me to wait over there... but then the m-monster appeared and I c-can’t find her and I...

The child begins to cry even more. Maleficent gently shushes him and places her hands on his shoulders, bending down to his level.

Maleficent: Ssssshhh. Ssh. It’s gonna be okay. You know why? Because your mom is always here.

Maleficent points to the small child’s chest. He looks down, and she flicks her finger up, softly hitting the child in the face. The kid runs away crying, while Maleficent laughs.

Maleficent: Too easy. But enough fooling around.

Maleficent walks away from the market. An apple flies into her hand. She takes a bite and throws the rest away.

Maleficent is sitting on a branch in a tree, overlooking the market from a hill. Her cloak lies thrown beside her. With her staff in hand and a mischievous look in her eyes, Maleficent stands up and gets a proper view of the market - or what is left of it.

Though many stalls have been knocked over, destroyed or burned to the ground, around half of the market is still fine. Nobody is selling or buying anything. Everybody in the market is either helping to tidy up the place or simply wandering around.

Maleficent spots a man eating soup near what remains of his soup stall. She points her staff and his soup begins to bubble over, before exploding in his face. She smiles a bit, before shaking her head and looking serious.

Maleficent: Alright, Maleficent. Get a hold of it. You’ve gotta stop fooling around. No more messing with people.

Maleficent twirls her staff and examines the damage. She points her staff at the remains of a stall. The pieces begin to swirl around in the air, until they form a repaired stall. The citizens are shocked.

Maleficent: You’ve got to get some light magic if you want to wake Aurora. Good deeds create light magic. That’s what every book says. Not that there’s much solid information on it...

Maleficent points her staff at another broken stall and begins to repeat the process.

Maleficent: You gotta wonder how it works. Will it just appear in jar? Am I going to miraculously be given light magic to use? What if it doesn’t work? What if-

The stall that Maleficent was reassembling falls to the ground suddenly, breaking further.

Maleficent: GAAH!

Maleficent drops her staff and holds her hands to her head, gritting her teeth. She snaps out of the pain and touches the gem on her chest. Maleficent then picks back up her staff, examines it, then tosses it aside once more. Maleficent grabs her hair and examines two of the golden bands tying it up, before putting it back behind her. She reaches for the headband on top of her head, and pops off the blue gem in the headband. She immediately notices that it is cracked, and begins to panic.

Maleficent: Oh no, no, no... This isn’t good...

Maleficent picks up her staff and immediately disappears in a puff of smoke.

After the smoke clears, a smaller smoke cloud appears nearby. Maleficent’s hand reaches out and grabs her cloak.

Maleficent appears in her castle. She hurriedly walks to her desk, not paying Aurora a moment’s notice. She places the cracked gem down and starts rooting through drawers. After not finding what she was looking for, Maleficent slams her fist against the desk in frustration. She begins to look behind the many books he has on her shelves, all while muttering repeatedly to herself.

Maleficent: Light magic…Light magic…

Finally, Maleficent gives up. She falls into her chair at her desk and looks straight ahead, at Aurora’s glass coffin. Maleficent holds her head in her hands and slams her fist on the desk once more. This time, a small dark pulse comes out once her fist makes contact with the wood, shaking the table. Maleficent recovers quickly and steadies the already broken gem. She looks at what remains of the dark magic emitted by her rage. Her gaze switches to the slumbering Aurora and once more, she buries her face in her hands. Sobbing can be heard.

Maleficent: God... I can’t even fix what I did wrong. How am I supposed to heal you if I can’t do the simplest thing!? How am I supposed to heal myself!? Doing good is meant to be easy! So why is it so hard for me?

A dark aura begins to emanate from Maleficent. The table shakes a little. The pages of an open book flip until it closes, revealing a brown cover with a golden ‘H’.

Maleficent: I’m just some unstable weapon. That’s all I am. I’m a villain and that’s all I’ll ever be!

The dark energy becomes much more intense. The floor begins to rumble, knocking books off shelves and breaking vases.

Maleficent: And I don’t have you to tell me otherwise! I don’t have my parents, I don’t have any sisters, I’ve got nobody!

The sound of glass cracking is heard. The dark energy quickly dissipates and Maleficent looks up in worried shock. The corner of Aurora’s glass coffin is cracked.

Maleficent: Oh no...

Maleficent approaches the coffin.

Maleficent: It’s all my fault. I can’t save you. There’s no possible way. Not me. Gah…!

Maleficent turns around, accidentally launching a blast of green fire at a bookcase. She looks at her hands and sees that they are burned. The blackened bookcase collapses, along with the ornately decorated box on top. A close shot of the open box hitting the ground shows that it is empty. Maleficent has also fallen to the floor, holding her head in her hands and crying.

A blue ribbon floats down to Maleficent and lands on her head. It’s singed on one end, but otherwise in good condition. It shines in the ominous green light given off by the burning bookcase. Maleficent takes it out of her hair and holds it in her hands. She stares down at it for a bit, speechless. A tear falls on the ribbon, causing it to shimmer. When it stops, Maleficent’s hands are healed. As awe spreads across Maleficent’s face, the ribbon shines in the light.

The ribbon shines intensely, the glow taking up the entire screen. Shown as mere black outlines against a shimmering grey background, a familiar girl in a diamond-adorned dress is holding a ribbon.

Girl: When it seemed all hope was lost, my mother gave me this ribbon. She said it was a symbol of courage, of hope. Mother promised it would always guide me to the light, and that she would always be with me in it in spirit.

It cuts back to Maleficent, who has a single tear running down her face.

The girl looks straight ahead, as if talking to Maleficent from beyond the fabric.

Girl: And now I want you to have it. I hope it will give you courage and be the beacon of hope to you that it was to me. It reminded me of what I was fighting for. Let it guide you to the light.

The girl waves, and the ribbon stops shining.

Maleficent is now crying even more. She tries to stop, but can’t. Back at her desk, she places the ribbon next to the broken gem. She raises both hands up, and the two objects levitate. She twirls her left hand around, and the ribbon begins to circle the gem. The ribbon glows as it does so, eventually looking like a halo around the cracked gemstone. Slowly but surely, the cracks on the gem begin to fade until they are no more, but the glow of the ribbon becomes fainter.

Finally, the gem is fixed, and the ribbon cannot glow any more. The two drop. Maleficent catches the gem and places it back in her headband. She takes the ribbon, and puts it in her boot. Maleficent grabs the desk to steady herself, and cries as the scene ends.

A man is in a garden outside of his house, tending to his crops. The garden is lined with rows of colourful flowers, various vegetables, and strange, unidentifiable plants. A puff of black smoke appears behind him, though the cause is hidden behind his head. He looks up slowly.

Gardener: It’s you, isn’t it?

The camera pans, revealing Maleficent sitting on his windowsill.

Maleficent: Oh, Jack don’t tell me you’ve forgotten me already.

Jack turns around to face Maleficent.

Jack: I told you never to show your face again.
Maleficent: And what were you planning to do if I appeared? Kill me? With what?

A particularly large venus fly trap snaps in Maleficent’s direction, but is much too far away.

Maleficent: Are you telling me you were going to get rid of me with your army of flowers!? That’s actually pretty hilarious. You always did have a good sense of humour, I guess.

Maleficent lazily waves her hand in the plant’s general direction, causing it to wilt instantly. Jack looks shocked, but musters his courage and turns his attention back to Maleficent.

Jack: You’re mad.
Maleficent: Mmm. Not really. These days I like to think of myself as more…

Maleficent waves her hand in the air, writing her name in letters of green fire.

Maleficent: ...Maleficent.
Jack: So you’re the one they all talk about. You don’t exactly have the best reputation.
Maleficent: One doesn’t become the Black Fairy and expect to make friends.
Jack: So, what does the Mistress of All Evil want with a simple merchant?
Maleficent: Oh, Jack. We both know there’s more to both of us than it appears.

Maleficent holds her hand out, and a pouch of gold appears in it.

Maleficent: I’d like to make a purchase.
Jack: Why are you giving me this? Couldn’t you just take them? Aren’t bad deeds kind of your thing? No good deed goes unpunished?
Maleficent: I think I’ve taken enough from you already.

Jack tenses up.

Maleficent: Besides, I need to do good deeds if I want to make some light magic.
Jack: What are you looking for?
Maleficent: Magic beans. They were plentiful, once upon a time, but I hear that you managed to bring some with you to this new life.
Jack: I’ll see what I can do.

Jack enters his house, leaving Maleficent outside. He finds a book - brown with a golden ‘H’ - and begins to flip through it, stopping once he reaches the bookmarked page on magic beans. He scans the page, then stops suddenly.

Jack: A sleeping curse…

Jack returns to the garden, where Maleficent is still sitting on her perch on the windowsill.

Maleficent: Where are the beans?
Jack: I’m not giving them to you.
Maleficent: Do you know who you’re messing with?
Jack: Yeah, yeah. The high and mighty Maleficent. You’ve done some terrible shit and you’re not even making an effort to redeem yourself. You just want to cure the girl for your own selfish reasons. You’ve left an entire world to crumble, because that’s who you are. Listen here, and listen good, “Maleficent”! Fixing yourself won’t take back all the things you’ve done!
Maleficent: Look, I get it. You’re mad at me. But I am trying to redeem myself. I’m offering to pay you!
Jack: You think buying seeds is going to make everybody magically forgive you? You may be powerful, but you can’t just wave your wand and become the world’s most loved person! You’re dark, and that’s all you’ll ever be!

Maleficent is visibly hurt by this. She reaches into her boot and takes out the blue ribbon.

Maleficent: Yes, I’m dark. But that... that doesn’t make me irredeemable. I’m resisting my dark urges. I could kill you with a click of my fingers. No, I want to kill you. But I can’t. Not if I ever want to be fixed. If I ever want her to be fixed. So don’t do this for me. Do it for the girl. Do it for Aurora.
Jack: Why would I help her!? She encouraged you!
Maleficent: She didn’t encourage me. My actions were my own.
Jack: You were still her accomplice. What’s she ever done for me? She tried to take down the Queen.
Maleficent: And what exactly did the Queen do for you? Gave you a big house and a fancy title? How can you be so blind? She was using you. She saw potential in you. Potential that she could use for her own reasons.
Jack: And how does that make you any different from her?

Jack sighs.

Jack: Look, I’ll be honest. Curing the girl would be a huge pain in the Queen’s ass. And I’m not loyal to her anymore. Not after that whirlwind a few years ago. But helping you would be too dangerous.
Maleficent: Why? It’s not like she’s anywhere to be found. She’s still back home.
Jack: ...
Maleficent: Right?
Jack: ...No. She crossed over not long after us.
Maleficent: And nobody thought to tell me this? What, do you all have a knitting circle every week, where you all meet up and gossip? Why am I not invited?
Jack: Not to imply that we have one, but would you even come?
Maleficent: No. But it’s nice to be acknowledged.
Jack: You’re a known psychopath.
Maleficent: And?
Jack: You live in a foreboding castle guarded by a dragon and other unholy monsters.
Maleficent: Alright, I wouldn’t have been the easiest to contact, but an attempt could have been made.
Jack: Nobody likes you.
Maleficent: That’s fair.

Maleficent twirls her staff around.

Maleficent: So, to summarise, no beans?
Jack: You’re mad.
Maleficent: We both know that’s not even a question.

Maleficent waves her staff, causing Jack to fall to the ground in a temporary slumber. A few of the plants nearest to him begin to wilt. Maleficent ties the blue ribbon around her waist and enters Jack’s house. She examines to the book and tears out the page about magic beans. After looking through drawers for a bit, she finds a packet labelled “Magic Beans” in poor handwriting. She smiles and vanishes in a puff of smoke.

Maleficent is back in her castle in the midst of night, walking toward the balcony. She is holding something, but her glove-clad hands are covering it.

Maleficent: It seems there is somebody willing to confront me.

Maleficent looks behind herself to Aurora in her glass coffin.

Maleficent: We can’t have that, can we Aurora?

Maleficent looks at the object in her hands and sighs.

Maleficent: I know you wouldn’t want me to do this. You didn’t approve of it last time.

Maleficent looks straight ahead.

Maleficent: But this time it won’t be me doing it. Not directly. No, it will be a loved one.

Maleficent steps out onto her balcony and opens her hands, revealing the raven pendant from her prologue.

Maleficent: After all, how can you bring yourself to kill somebody so close to you?

Maleficent smiles and holds the pendant up. Gusts of sparkling wind come from all around, travelling across the land.

Aurora is sitting down with the Mad Hatter and Cheshire Cat in an area of a heart-shaped garden that is enclosed by bushes. They chat as they drink tea and eat cakes.

Cheshire: ...And the slipper fit her perfectly! She married the prince and the two lived happily ever after.

Aurora looks confused. Her attention turns to Mad Hatter, who is clapping slowly and wiping her eyes.

Mad Hatter: That story... That gets me every time! I can’t believe you were there to witness it! Aurora, what did you think?
Aurora: It was good, but...
Cheshire: Hmm?
Aurora: I think I’ve heard it before. My mother used to tell me fairy stories before bed.
Mad Hatter: Nonsense! Cheshire was right there to witness it!
Aurora: I didn’t mean any offense. I’m sure Cheshire Cat wouldn’t lie about that.
Mad Hatter: You’re probably just confused. It happens to the best of us.

Mad Hatter takes a slice of cake and bites into it. Her mouth full, Mad Hatter leans close to Aurora and asks her a question.

Mad Hatter: So, burning question. What’s a girl like you doing sneaking around the palace grounds?
Cheshire: Hatty! You can’t just ask that! We barely know her.
Mad Hatter: That’s the point; to get to know her better. Pretty girls in blue dresses don’t just go wandering through the bushes that often.

Aurora is blushing a little. She wipes her dress clean and shrugs.

Aurora: It’s fine, really.

Aurora looks at Mad Hatter.

Aurora: I feel like I can trust you guys. I haven’t felt safe in a long time, but I do around you two.
Cheshire: If you’re sure.
Aurora: I’m not in the Queen’s good books. I don’t know if she knows I’m alive, or where I am, but it wouldn’t end well for me if she found me.
Mad Hatter: Why’s the Queen out to get you?

The Mad Hatter gasps.

Mad Hatter: Did you steal from her? Ooh, I’ve always wanted to steal something!
Aurora: N-No, nothing like that. It’s actually something she did. A long time ago, the Queen did something terrible. I-I’d rather not go into detail. But let’s just say that she isn’t the rightful ruler.
Cheshire: Mmm. I think I understand.
Mad Hatter: What good is hiding in the shadows going to do? Do you actually have a plan?
Aurora: I have an objective, if that counts.
Mad Hatter: Eh. Not really the same thing. But continue.
Aurora: I want to take her off of the throne.

Mad Hatter smiles and hits her fist against the palm of her other hand.

Aurora: No, no! No, I don’t want to kill her. I’m not a murderer. I can’t stoop to that level.
Cheshire: Isn’t that the sort of thing that requires evidence?
Aurora: Well, yeah. I guess. But if I could just get a few minutes alone with the Queen, I know a few secrets that could ruin her. And if all else fails, I could just make myself public.
Cheshire: No offense, but none of this is making much sense.
Aurora: It’s a long story. And I like you guys, I really do. But I’m just not ready to tell it yet.
Cheshire: That’s alright.

Mad Hatter stands up and puts on a serious face.

Mad Hatter: I want to help you.
Aurora: A-Are you sure?
Mad Hatter: Definitely. The Queen may have helped me way back when, but that was a long time ago. About a decade or two before she became Queen. Besides, Wonderland hasn’t exactly been the same since then.
Aurora: How old are you?

Mad Hatter shrugs.

Mad Hatter: I’ve lost count. No more than 100 years, though.

Aurora looks confused. Mad Hatter holds her hand out.

Mad Hatter: Now, c’mon. Let’s go get our bearings around the castle. We’ll find out when and where to get you your private appointment with the the Queen of Hearts.
Aurora: A-Alright. Are we going to sneak in?

Mad Hatter’s eyes light up.

Cheshire: No. You’re not breaking in. Hatty is good friends with Jack of Hearts and his wife, Jill of Hearts. She’ll get you in.
Aurora: Sounds good to me.

Aurora stands up to grab Mad Hatter’s hand, but is pushed back down by Cheshire’s tail. The world fades to black and Aurora is the only remnant of reality. A pair of glowing green eyes appear in front of her, and a familiar voice is heard.

Cheshire: Aurora, hear me out. It’s essential that, no matter what the circumstance may be, Hatter doesn’t use her magic.
Aurora: W-Where are we?
Cheshire: In your mind. It’s awfully blank in here, isn’t it? Tell me, do you get much sleep?
Aurora: No...
Cheshire: Ah, I figured as much. Otherwise this place would be more decorated.

The eyes disappear, and the black space begins to fall apart, giving way to the real world. Mad Hatter kneels down to Aurora.

Mad Hatter: Hey, you okay? You blacked out for a bit there.

Aurora glances at Cheshire, then turns her gaze back to the Mad Hatter.

Aurora: Y-Yeah, I’m fine. Just a bit tired.
Mad Hatter: You can sleep soundly when the Queen of Hearts is nothing more than a regular citizen of Wonderland. Now, come on. Let’s go.
Aurora: Right.

Aurora gets up and takes Hatty’s hand. She realises something, and turns to Cheshire.

Aurora: Wait, she has ma--?

Mad Hatter and Aurora disappear in a puff of smoke.

Aurora and Mad Hatter appear in a small clearing not far from a yellow brick road.

Mad Hatter: Wow, I haven’t done that in ages! That felt great. How are you?
Aurora: You have magic!?
Mad Hatter: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Aurora: But--

Mad Hatter makes a gesture indicating that Aurora’s gone loopy. All the while, a faint dark aura emanates from her hands.

Aurora: Never mind.

Mad Hatter shrugs.

Mad Hatter: Now, let’s be on our way.
Aurora: H-Hold on…

Aurora supports herself against a tree, looking a bit sickly.

Mad Hatter: Ooh, did I forget to tell you? Teleporting can cause motion sickness if you’re not used to it.
Aurora: That would have been... good to know...

Aurora leans over a bush. We see Mad Hatter watching, with a disgusted look on her face.

Mad Hatter: Uh, are you okay there?

Aurora gets to her feet, looking better.

Aurora: Y-Yeah. I’m good.

Mad Hatter holds out her arm. Aurora looks a bit reluctant.

Aurora: I dunno... Last time, you made me vomit.
Mad Hatter: I’ve got no tricks up my sleeve this time. I promise, Aurora.

Aurora hesitantly links arms with Mad Hatter, who begins to skip. Aurora struggles to keep up with her as they skip down the yellow brick road, Mad Hatter humming a familiar tune.

The two reach a high wall adorned with heart patterns. Guarding the entrance is a red haired female guard - seen before in Maleficent’s prologue.

Mad Hatter: We’re here to see Jack and Jill.
Guard: We don’t just let nobodies see the Hearts.

Aurora whispers to Mad Hatter, who whispers back:

Aurora: I thought you were friends with them.
Mad Hatter: I don’t visit much. Look, I’ll sort this out.

The two stop whispering and turn their attention back to the guard.

Guard: If you two are done chatting, it’s high time you skip back down the road.
Mad Hatter: Do you know who I am?
Guard: No. But since you’re so insistent, I suppose I could see what I can do.
Aurora: Great!
Guard: Leave your message with me, and it might get to Jack of Hearts within seven to eight working days. If he thinks it’s important, he’ll send a messenger to you. Then you can arrange a private hearing. The Hearts are busy people, though, and there’s a long waiting list.
Mad Hatter: You can’t be serious.
Guard: I’m serious. I don’t even think I’m allowed to make jokes while on the job.
Mad Hatter: I’m the Mad Hatter!
Guard: ...?
Mad Hatter: Y’know, that insane woman who never ages? Teleporting everywhere?
Guard: Doesn’t ring a bell.
Mad Hatter: Oh, come on! Hatty? Hatter? Crazy Cap? Loopy Lid? Fruity Fedora?
Guard: Mmm, no.

Aurora sighs. She grabs Mad Hatter by the arm and prepares to leave.

Aurora: Let’s just go, Hatty. That business proposal will have to wait.
Guard: Business proposal?
Aurora: My good friend Hatty here was escorting me to the castle, so that I could make a proposition to the Hearts themselves. I’m Princess Alice, from one of the neighbouring kingdoms - Dun... Duncalibur.
Guard: You should have lead with that! I-I don’t know if I actually have authority to let you in but... I can’t risk having turned down a princess such as yourself.

The guard moves aside to allow them to pass.

Guard: I’ll send somebody to get Jack and Jill of Hearts. In the meantime, I would advise staying around this general area until they arrive.

Aurora curtseys at the guard.

Aurora: Thank you.

The two make their way toward the castle.

Mad Hatter: Alice?
Aurora: Better safe than sorry.
Mad Hatter: And what of this “Duncalibur” kingdom?
Aurora: That’s not real either.

Mad Hatter shrugs.

Chapter 2 - We Are The Hearts

Maleficent is rummaging through a pile of artifacts, mumbling to herself.

Maleficent: C'mon... I know I stole one from the old hag...

She emerges with a white crystal ball, triumphant. She places it on a table and sits next to it. As she utters an incantation, wind swirls around her. The fog in the ball clears, showing a scene.

A girl wearing a red cloak kisses a wolf, who turns into an elderly woman. A boy in green writes a letter. The three of them leave a town together.

Maleficent exits her trance-like state and slams her fist on the table.

Maleficent: They're coming for her. I can't let this wait any longer.

Maleficent goes to an area of her castle previously unseen, and stands before a mirror.

Maleficent: Can't go in looking like this. I'll get recognised in an instant.

Maleficent uses her magic to change into several outfits - many of which are familiar - before settling on one with a large hat. She does a few poses in front of the mirror.

Maleficent: This'll work. I'll need a name, too. Hmm... Ah, yes. Just call me Malice.

Maleficent walks back to Aurora's glass coffin. She lifts off the lid and leans in close.

Maleficent: I need to leave for a bit. I've only got two ingredients left. The enchanted hair... I've tracked it down to the dwarf forest. I'll be back soon.

Maleficent kisses Aurora's forehead and leans back, watching. Nothing happens. Maleficent sighs, and vanishes in a puff of black smoke. A single tear falls to the ground.

Maleficent appears on the edge of the dwarf forest, holding onto her hat as it nearly flies off of her head.

Maleficent: Maybe the hat wasn't the best idea. Ah well, it's too late now.

Maleficent notices some bandages covered in dried blood, crudely cut, scattered across the ground.

Maleficent: Hmm.

She bends down to examine them, holding onto her hat all the while. After picking one up, she deems them pointless and gets back up. After walking a bit further, she lays eyes on the dwarf village from a bit away. Houses line the forest canopy, with bridges connecting one to the other in a sort of treetop labyrinth. Market stalls fill a clearing down below, where Maleficent sets her sights on.

As she walks, she takes an apple from a nearby tree.

Maleficent: For later.

Maleficent enters the village itself, taking in the sights. A dwarf with curly hair bumps into her, running at a great speed. A spark ignites in Maleficent's hand, before she remembers that she is undercover.

Happy: Oh, geez! Sorry, ma'am. I was just on my way to the kingdom to get some fresh seeds for the Mistress! I was so caught up imagining her face when I give her those seeds that I wasn't paying attention to where I was going! My name's Happy, by the way. You are...?
Maleficent: Malice.

Happy steps back a bit.

Maleficent: Oh, please. I know dwarf names are pretty on-the-nose, but do I look like one of you?
Happy: Hmm. No, you're certainly not a dwarf. What's a human like you doing in the dwarf forest? No, no, don't tell me! You're here to see the sights, right?
Maleficent: Um, yes. That's what I'm here for.
Happy: Ooh, how about I show you around? Follow me!

Happy points to an area in the treetops where a wooden balcony is located.

Happy: You see up there? That's the best viewing point in the entire forest. Race ya there!

Happy takes off. Maleficent walks for a bit in his general direction, then notices nobody is watching her. In a puff of smoke, Maleficent is sitting on the balcony. She examines her nails and fixes her hat out of boredom while she waits. Finally, Happy appears, out of breath.

Happy: H-How did you... beat me here…?
Maleficent: A magician never reveals her secrets.

Maleficent turns around to face the ground. Happy joins her at the edge of the balcony and starts waving at his fellow dwarves.

Happy: Hey, Snick! Dopey! Giddy, how's it hangin'? Klutzy, my man!
Maleficent: Reunions aside, what can you tell me about this place?

Happy's eyes shine blood red for a split second. Surely Maleficent is just imagining it…?

Happy: The dwarf forest is a paradise for dwarfs of any shape and size. It's ruled over by the benevolent Mistress who-
Maleficent: Wait, who's this "Mistress" you keep talking about?
Happy: The Mistress! Oh, geez! The seeds! I need to get the seeds!

Happy is about to run, but Maleficent grabs his shirt before he can leave.

Maleficent: From the kingdom, right? That's one hell of a walk. That'll take a few days? I'd say about six days to get there, and about the same getting back. That's kind of ridiculous, don't you think?

Happy's eyes glint blood red again. There's no way Maleficent's imagining this.

Happy: I live to serve the Mistress. We all do.

Maleficent lifts up Happy under her arm.

Maleficent: You're coming with me.
Happy: Where? I need to get going soon.
Maleficent: You're bringing me to the Mistress.

The two vanish in a puff of smoke.

Maleficent and Happy appear on a rather large tree branch. She puts him down, and he scuttles a bit away and panics.

Happy: Look, Malice, I don't know what's gotten into you, but... Geez, I don't know where to begin! How did you... I... Who are you!?
Maleficent: Let's be real for a second. ...Bro.

Happy's as confused as you are.

Happy: ...Bro?
Maleficent: Yes, bro.
Happy: I-I, uh…

Happy looks for a way to escape.

Maleficent: I heard some village folk say it once. I need your honest opinion.

Happy is extremely confused at his captor asking for criticism.

Happy: ...Shoot. Bro.
Maleficent: Here's a hypothetical situation for you. Completely hypothetical. If I were to, say, free an enslaved race from a dictator who somehow managed to control their will, would that count as a good deed?
Happy: I-I'm sorry, what?
Maleficent: Look, I don't have the best "moral compass" in the world. It points in one direction, and you seem like somebody who gets basic rights and wrongs.
Happy: Uh… Sure?
Maleficent: Good.

Hearing footsteps, Maleficent peers down below the treetops. Walking by is another dwarf, looking rather official. Maleficent hisses to Happy.

Maleficent: Psst, who's this dwarf?

Happy takes a peek.

Happy: I, uh, I think that's Doc. It's hard to tell from this angle.
Maleficent: That means nothing to me. Can he get me to the Mistress?
Happy: Definitely. He's her right hand man.
Maleficent: Stay right here.

Maleficent takes off her sunhat and puts her hand in deeper than should be possible, looking for something. Triumphantly, she pulls out a salve and spreads it across the branch of the tree, whispering something. Branches begin to wrap themselves around Happy, constraining him.

Maleficent: It's mad what you can find in a hat, right?

Maleficent vanishes with a wink.

Taking back her persona of an innocent tourist, Maleficent catches up with Doc just a small bit past the tree.

Maleficent: Hi! Sorry I'm a bit lost. Do you think you could help me?
Doc: What can I do?
Maleficent: Do you know where I could find the Mistress? It's important.
Doc: I can't help you there.
Maleficent: You're Doc, aren't you?
Doc: Yes…?
Maleficent: I asked around a little and everybody said you're the dwarf to go to. The Mistress's right hand man, correct? Those are some big boots for such a lil' guy.
Doc: My point stands. If you want a meeting with the Mistress, you'll have to book an appointment.

Maleficent grabs Doc and holds a green fireball up to his beard.

Maleficent: She's a busy woman, I get that. But so am I. My appointment is now.
Doc: O-Okay! The Mistress lives in the Gaia Tree. It's the biggest tree in the forest, with treehouses running all over it. You can't miss it.

After a moment, Maleficent drops Doc to the floor. He lands on his backside, and begins scurrying away. Maleficent groans.

Maleficent: You're bringing me there. And you too, Happy!

With a wave of Maleficent's hand, the vines around Happy untangle, dropping him to the floor beside Doc.

Maleficent: Pretty neat trick, huh? I learned it from a friend. Now come on. We're burning daylight, midgets. And please, try to act normal.

The two dwarves follow Maleficent in a panic.

Maleficent, Doc and Happy enter a door leading into the hollow of a massive tree, covered in treehouses and bridges. Directed by Doc, the trio climb to a large room at the top of the tree. Staircases wind up this tall room, with many doors up the stairs.

Doc: This is the place.
Maleficent: Where's the Mistress, then?
Doc: Her throne room is, uh, all the ways up there.
Happy: Ah, geez, I get vertigo just looking up there. Welp, I guess we can't find the Mistress and you can let us go, Miss Malice!
Maleficent: Oh no. You're staying with me, shorty. You two are my leverage!

Maleficent stands over Happy and Doc, like a mother who is proud of her exceptionally confused and short children.

Maleficent: Anyway, is there an elevator or something?
Doc: A... what?
Maleficent: Oh, right! Right, right, right. I don't have as many gems on this outfit. Dark magic finding it easier to get a hold on me. Makes me a little... mad, y'know? Know about things that don't exist.

Doc and Happy exchange confused glances.

Maleficent: I really shouldn't be using magic without that extra gem for protection.

Maleficent laughs and cracks her knuckles.

Maleficent: We've tried this the mad way. Looks like I've no choice but to give the maleficent way a go.

Maleficent takes off her sunhat, and sticks her hand in comically far. She emerges with a raven shaped pendant, seen many times before.

Maleficent: My lucky charm! Or, the Queen's lucky charm, I guess.

Maleficent bends down to Happy, getting right in his face.

Maleficent: Wanna see something cool?
Happy: S-Sure…

Maleficent gives him a smile that would crack a mirror if there were any around.

Maleficent: Watch this.

Maleficent ties the pendant around her neck, followed by a gush of wind. She jumps high into the air and hovers there.

Maleficent: Paging the Mistress!

After nobody answers, Maleficent throws a fireball at a nearby door. Guards come rushing out to see what the commotion was.

Maleficent: Finally, the party can get started. Would one of you be a dear and fetch your Mistress for me?
Mistress: No need. I'm right here.
Maleficent: A stunning twist!

Maleficent looks up to see a familiar figure sitting on the railing.

Mistress: You've got guts coming here.
Maleficent: I am literally flying with fireballs in my hand. I don't have guts, asshat, I've got magic.

The Mistress scoffs.

Mistress: I'm the Mistress, but you can call me Snow White.
Maleficent: Alright then, assh- Snow White.

Maleficent is confused as to why she said that. She has an epiphany.

Maleficent: White!
Snow: Uh, I don't wanna burst your bubble, but neither of us are white.
Maleficent: No, no. White. You're Aoife's kid.

Snow looks a bit uncomfortable.

Snow: Sure, go ahead and announce it to everybody. I may be her daughter but I'm not like her.
Maleficent: The enslaved forest tells me otherwise.
Snow: Are you going somewhere with this?
Maleficent: It all makes sense now. I guess a thirst for power runs in the family.
Snow: It's not like that.
Maleficent: Oh, no, man, you don't understand. I'm not mad. I really love what you've done with the forest and its inhabitants. Nothing says home like a toasty fire and an army of minions to follow your every command, yknow? What I wouldn't do to have a civilisation of midgets at my beck and call! How'd you do it?
Snow: Who do you think you are?
Maleficent: Oh! It's the hat, isn't it?

Maleficent takes off her hat and sticks her hand in once again.

Maleficent: I missed having one of these around. They're super convenient.

She pulls out a set of curtains, which she manages to miraculously hang from nothing. When the curtains open, Maleficent is in her regular attire.

Maleficent: Surprise! It's me, Maleficent! Don't get too awestruck, lady and gents. I'll be signing autographs later.

Snow wears a confused expression.

Maleficent: ♪ I see what's happening here.~ ♪

Snow snaps out of her confusion, turning serious.

Snow: What do you want from me?
Maleficent: Hmm. Two things. First of all, you've gotta give me whatever curse you used to control this forest! It's amazing, I've gotta give credit where credit is due. But after you teach me how to enact that curse, I need our help breaking one. I need light magic to do that. So, the second thing I need from you is your heart. So that I can crush it.
Snow: ...The girl. The sleeping one. What's her name again? Alice? Arial? Alena?

Maleficent immediately sombers.

Maleficent: ...Aurora.
Snow: My mother told me about Aurora. She'd tell me her story every night growing up. It's a fascinating story. A beautiful girl and her mad companion rise up against the evil queen. But when it seems like they're going to win, it turns out that the queen was the hero all along! The story kept me up at night, but I suppose it's doing the opposite to the poor girl.

Snow begins to smirk.

Snow: I just realised I'm talking to the villain of so many childhood stories! It's so amazing to see a fairy tale come to life, and in such an unexpected way, too! I'd love to meet the Queen of Hearts. She's my hero. Meeting Aurora would be an experience to remember too. You've got to introduce me! Oh, but she's not up for meet and greets now, is she?

As Snow spoke, Maleficent was overcome with dark energy. She now floats in a storm of darkness, though Snow remains unflinching.

Maleficent: That's enough.

Maleficent launches herself at Snow, along with her storm of darkness. Snow simply smiles. As the two are face to face, Snow utters a simple word.

Snow: Stop.

Maleficent stops in her tracks, a look of panic spread across her face. Snow looks Maleficent in the eye for a few moments, then steps back, relishing in her victory.

Snow: Don't you see, Maleficent? I'm untouchable! Not even the Black Witch herself can hurt me! Nobody can! Not even she can!

Snow gets very close to Maleficent.

Snow: I'm practically a god!

If Maleficent could be any more terrified than she was before, this was it.

Snow: That's about enough magic from you for today.

The energy dissipates, and Maleficent falls. She grabs onto the railing that Snow once sat upon. It's a long fall. Her eyes plead with Snow to help her up.

Snow: Long live the Mistress.

Maleficent slips, falling onto the hard ground several feet below. She lays there, unmoving. Her hostages have long since fled the scene.

Snow: Guards, take her away.

The dwarves race down the stairs to the motionless body of the defeated Mistress of All Evil.

As the sun sets, Aurora and the Mad Hatter are sitting on a bench, by a heart shaped lake. They are waiting for Jack and Jill of Hearts within the Hearts' Castle. A swan swims over to the two. Aurora leans over to talk to it.

Aurora: Hey there...

She slowly extends her hand. The swan doesn't seem to react, so Aurora takes this as a cue to rub its head.

Mad Hatter: He likes you!
Aurora: Yeah, I guess he does.
Mad Hatter: Hey, wanna feed it?

Aurora sits back up.

Aurora: Feed it what?
Mad Hatter: Watch this.

Mad Hatter takes off her hat, sticking in her hand in comically far. Triumphantly, she emerges with a slice of bread. Aurora laughs, making the Hatter smile.

Aurora: That's amazing!
Mad Hatter: Yeah, the hat's really convenient.

Mad Hatter hands Aurora the bread. She puts on a posh accent.

Aurora: Thank you, ma'am.
Mad Hatter: My pleasure, princess.~

Aurora breaks off pieces of the bread, tossing them slowly to the swans. In that moment, the Hatter notices, the hurt in her eyes is gone. Mad Hatter blushes and reaches for her hand. Aurora's eyes are fixated on the swans. She doesn't seem to feel anything.

Mad Hatter: Aurora? You okay?

Aurora snaps back to reality.

Aurora: I-It's nothing. Really.

Aurora looks behind them.

Aurora: Is that them?

Two figures approach the bench; a brown haired man and a red haired woman. Both are dressed very elegantly.

Mad Hatter: Jack! Jill!

The Hatter hops over the bench and hugs the two.

Mad Hatter: Aur- Alice, meet my two besties! Jack of Hearts and Jill of Hearts!
Jill: Just Jack and Jill is fine.
Jack: It's been too long, Hatty. How about we show you two around the castle while we catch up?
Mad Hatter: That sounds - pun intended - wonderful! C'mon, Alice!
Aurora: Alright then...

The four walk toward the castle.

Aurora, the Mad Hatter, and Jack and Jill walk into the library. The others are laughing, while Aurora plays along, oblivious to all their inside jokes.

Jack: It's great to see you again, Hatty, it really is.
Jill: Yeah, I barely remember the last time we talked! It had to be the Emerald Parade all those years back, wasn't it?
Jack: No, I don't think that was it. It was the frozen heart incident. I'm sure of it.

The atmosphere dies.

Mad Hatter: Let's not talk about that.
Jill: Mmm. That'd be for the best, yeah.

The Mad Hatter floats over to a chair and makes herself at home.

Mad Hatter: You've been pretty quiet, Alice. You alright?
Aurora: I'm fine. I just-

Aurora notices Jack and Jill bowing. On a balcony behind her and Mad Hatter, a woman in an ornate dress gets up from her chair. She approaches the banister to reprimand the Hearts and their guests.

Queen of Hearts: What's with this racket? This is a library!

Aurora is struck with fear upon hearing the familiar voice.

Jack and Jill: Apologies, Aoife.

Aurora whispers a single name.

Aurora: Aoife.

The Mad Hatter hears Aurora, and quickly stands up. She turns to face the Queen. One hand reaches for her hat, while the other ignites with a small green flame. Aurora touches the Hatter's hand, and the Hatter quickly quenches the flame. She bows, taking off her hat in the process.

Mad Hatter: Howdy doody, my Queen? If you don't mind, my partner and I need to talk in private. Excuse us.

Aurora takes her new friend's hat in order to conceal her identity. The two talk between bookcases, out of sight. Meanwhile, the Queen of Hearts appears before Jack and Jill in a puff of white smoke.

Aurora: Cheshire told me that you shouldn't use your magic. He said it was really important, and I don't want anything to happen to you, or anybody else.
Mad Hatter: I knooooow! Everything's just so... boring without magic! You wouldn't understand. I need to use my magic!
Aurora: Then why doesn't Cheshire want you using it?
Mad Hatter: Something about my dark magic "consuming me" and me "becoming reliant on it". Dark magic's fun - really fun - but it's dangerous. I've got an urge to use it nearly all the time.

Mad Hatter begins grumbling.

Mad Hatter: That's why those three weird sisters gave me these ruby slippers. They say that the gems on them are s'posed to control my magic. Limit me using it. It's so annoying.
Mad Hatter: Come to think of it, big ol' Queen of Hearts Aoife was one of those three witches.
Aurora: See, she's got family! And Jack and Jill of Hearts over there seem to look up to her like a mother figure. Her sisters and the Hearts would be devastated to see her die. My mom died at the Queen's hands, and I don't want that to happen to her family. Do you hear me? We are not killing Aoife.

The Mad Hatter seems to be concocting a plan.

Mad Hatter: Mmm. I get ya.
Aurora: Now come on. We need to get out of here. We can't let the Queen see me.
Mad Hatter: Right. But first...

Mad Hatter vanishes in a puff of smoke. Aurora waits patiently. Suddenly, the hat that Aurora was wearing vanishes too. The Hatter reappears wearing the hat and holding a map.

Mad Hatter: Lo and behold; a floor plan for the castle! Just one of the perks of being friends with Wonderland's favourite power couple. There's some bad news, though. Preeeettty sure the map is enchanted or something, so it could take a while to figure out.
Aurora: That's- That's great! Now we just need to get out of here.
Mad Hatter: Once again, leave that to me.

The Mad Hatter grabs Aurora's hand and waltzes out into the open, drawing the attention of the three Hearts.

Mad Hatter: Sayonara!

Mad Hatter waves and the two vanish in a puff of black smoke.

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