A very disturbing Cinderella story
Chapter 1: Getting Killed Out There
Disclaimer: Cinderella and all other characters that appear in this story are the property of Disney. Including the Marvel Comics and Star Wars characters. If you still got a hair up your ass about that all these years later, go eat a bowl of dicks.
The resplendent, awe-inspiring castle that had come to be widely known as Cinderella's… It served as a beacon in the young princess's kingdom, a steadfast symbolization of overcoming hardship and never giving up hope. And in the years since marrying Prince Charming and being crowned, Cinderella had strived to spread that message, those simple truths, in what ways she could. It had started with her first few days as princess when being charged with preparation of a banquet. And on this particular starry, beautiful night, she had decided to take a page out of fellow princess Belle's book and invite certain children into her home, hoping that by reading them inspirational stories, they too would continue to persevere.
It had taken Cinderella about fifty-two minutes and twelve seconds to realize that, in this instance, trying to be inspirational wasn't the smartest idea.
First, it was a matter of the particular children Cinderella had invited in the first place. A perfect storm of youthful energy, exploding with the ferocity of a shockwave from a mile-tall Alice falling on her ass. This began to be apparent when the daughter of a fellow princess, Melody, just HAD to go swim laps in the castle moat. And once that one little bugger was fished out, then Cinderella had to go chase down the Lost Boys from Neverland wreaking havoc in the castle's kitchens. HER kitchens, damnit. NO ONE screws around in Cinderella's kitchens! And once THEY were corralled, there was the matter of getting Vanellope Von Schweetz off the tops of the towers, as she gleefully glitch-teleported from one to the next.
But in time, Cinderella got all the little brats rounded up and under control. Using, of course, her bountiful determination and spirit, some help from her mouse friends. Oh yeah, and…a lightsaber that Princess Leia lent her earlier. Don't ask about that last part. Just…don't.
So at last, Cinderella had them all in the library, doing what Disney Princesses tend to do. Read to kids, and stuff. And for a while, it was working. All the children seemed to be genuinely interested in the stories Cinderella had to share. But there's a subtle art to making sure kids as hyperactive as the ones gathered around Cinderella right then STAY interested. Some fellow princesses like Belle could do it. Others, well…
As Cinderella closed the book, the Lost Boy in the rabbit costume, Nibs, immediately piped up. When one of the quietest Lost Boys does that after only 56.8 microseconds after the closure of a book, you know there'll be problems. "So, the good guys won in the end, but the story ends before we find out what the red-eyed thing in the pod was?"
Trying not to sound flustered, Cinderella said, "Well, Nibs, that particular story ended there. More than one person, well, went to write a continuation, but, uhhh…."
"Ahhh, you know what they say," Vanellope cut in. "Sometimes it's better off not continuing things and leaving things to the imagination. You lot kinda proved that with your sequels, after all," she finished with a malicious grin.
The Lost Boys turned to stare malevolently at Vanellope, but Melody insouciantly said, "Sometimes sequels are necessary to clear up things. Case in point: learning something as basic as the Lost Boys' NAMES."
"Hey, at least OUR sequel actually got into theaters," Cubby, the rotund Lost Boy in the bear costume, haughtily noted as he folded his arms. "And the only reason anyone even bothers looking at YOURS anymore is because you share a voice actress with a geeky purple unicorn."
That did it. You do not withhold an invitation from Maleficent, you do not let Shego think there's a chance she'll be cloned, you do not remind Nega Duck if he's no longer Public Enemy #1. And for the love of all that's holy, you DO NOT point out to Melody she has to share her actress with a certain little pony. A fact slowly dawning on all the Lost Boys as Melody's face turned beet-red while steam hissed out of her ears. And to punctuate this little tidbit, she launched herself at Cubby, knocking him back into the other Lost Boys and kicking up what would soon be a huge dust cloud engulfing them all. Occasionally, one would spot a fist or an arm poking out from a brief second, but the sounds of blows being landed, punctuated by pathetic whimpers from the Lost Boys, let one know who was winning.
"You all wanna try saying all this through a face full of knuckle sandwiches!? Huh!? HUH!?" Melody roared as the sound of the asses of Lost Boys being kicked echoed throughout Cinderella's castle.
And Cinderella could only stare blankly at the melee, nonplussed about how everything had deteriorated so quickly. She tried to think of how she could break up the carnage, but Vanellope wasn't making concentration easy. What with her glitch-teleporting all around her.
"And now, who's gonna win this free-for-all?" Vanellope jeered as Cinderella suddenly found Sugar Rush's princess/president/whatever clinging to her back. Then she glitch-teleported to her side. "Bunch of guys in furry fetish costumes to whom bathing is an anathema, or the annoying pony-fish hybrid?" Then Vanellope reappeared on Cinderella's other side, holding some scraps of paper. "Place your bets! Place your bets!" she finished.
Cinderella could only bury her face in her hands. HOW Belle manages to keep children like this calm and enraptured, I'll never know, she thought to herself morosely. But maybe, just maybe, if she could snap all those brawling kids back to attention, she could pull it off. Vanellope, naturally, would be of no help, being someone pertaining to a medium in which violence is always an excellent solution to one's problems. But perhaps, here, a bit of shock value was in order. So with a grimace and a sour look, Cinderella reached into her apron and pulled out the OTHER thing a fellow princess from a galaxy far, far away had lent her. A few quick spurts of blaster fire aimed at the ceiling proved to be enough to make the brawling children freeze. As the dust cloud dissipated, Cinderella could see Melody had Cubby in a headlock while also having her legs wrapped around Slightly's neck. And for whatever reason, Nibs and Tootles were wrestling with each other, as were the Twins. But that wasn't important. All that mattered was she had their undivided attention again.
"Whoa, Miss Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo is packin' heat now. Calhoun would approve," said Vanellope slyly. "Maybe some good can come of this Star Wars thing after all."
"Such…merging of worlds is hardly easy," Cinderella said delicately as she stowed the blaster away. And at last, inspiration struck. The perfect story with which to keep these kids enraptured again. "In fact, that's the moral of a…misadventure of mine from some time ago, where I had to do much more than just jump off a carriage. It was a test of will, a test to see just who Cinderella is really all about…"
"Ooooooh. PLEASE tell me you got to chop someone's arm off with that lightsaber!" squealed Vanellope.
Cinderella shot her another sour look. "Nothing of the sort. In fact, this test of character didn't involve a fight at all. Well, at FIRST it did, but not toward the end..."
"It still involves lightsabers or speeder bikes or killer robots and all that stuff, right?" asked Slightly expectantly.
"Wrong universe, Slightly," said Cinderella. "This had to do with merging with the Marvel Universe. Right after merging, in fact."
"What…would've been the problem with those Marvel guys?" asked Cubby, clearly confused. "They're the guys with all the superheroes, right? Wouldn't they be nice?"
"If you can consider folks like the Punisher and Wolverine 'nice'," Cinderella noted delicately. "But yes, a lot of their heroes are quite nice. TOO nice, in some cases…"
Cinderella stood outside her old chateau home, staring down awkwardly at a stump typically used for chopping firewood. Oh, not because she would be unwilling to put some elbow grease back into swinging an axe again, far from it. But the fact remained that it wasn't an axe resting atop that stump. Rather, it was an unwieldy looking hammer. Specifically, the legendary Mjolnir, typically wielded by none other than Thor. In fact, Thor himself was there as well, egging Cinderella on about trying to lift the mystic weapon herself.
Despite the god's encouragement, Cinderella wasn't convinced it was a good idea. "Ummm, Thor, I'm honored that you really think I can do this, really. B-B-But… swinging around hammers that shoot lightning bolts just isn't my…thing. I don't see how this could possibly work, a-a-and…"
"Nonsense, Princess!" Thor boomed. "Thou hast proven herself courageous and pure of heart, and more than once. No one can forget how thou was forced to jump from a demonic pumpkin carriage and onto horseback!"
Cinderella could only facepalm, grumbling. "You jump off one carriage, and suddenly everyone lumps you with Kim Possible…"
"The point is, Princess, thou has a noble spirit. Proven by how thou has shared a director with the mighty God of Thunder himself!" Thor went on.
"Technically, that wasn't me, but some live-action reboot version," Cinderella pointed out quickly.
"And more importantly," Thor continued, as if Cinderella hadn't spoken, "though it's true that my universe has been absorbed into this 'House of Mouse', the flipside of that is thou, too, art now a Marvel!"
Shaking her head, finally giving in, Cinderella loudly grumbled, "Fine, fine… I'll give it one try…" Taking a deep breath, she anxiously stepped closer to the stump and grabbed onto Mjolnir's handle, then gave it a good tug. Predictably, it didn't budge, but sensing that Thor wouldn't be satisfied if she quit right then, Cinderella kept at it. Though years of manual labor had toughened her muscles substantially, she was nowhere near strong enough for this. This felt like something even Hercules or Mr. Incredible couldn't budge. Close to calling it quits, Cinderella grit her teeth and pulled with all her might one last time…
And then, to her amazement, the hammer was lifted clean off the stump. Unfortunately, it happened so suddenly, and took Cinderella by surprise, she couldn't keep a good enough grip on Mjolnir. So Thor's hammer slid right out of Cinderella's hands and sailed skyward. Slowly turning around to look up, Cinderella and Thor could only watch awkwardly as the Sea Duck began to plummet far beyond the chateau, leaving a trail of smoke from one engine.
Vanellope, Melody and the Lost Boys said nothing, giving Cinderella blank stares as she finished recounting her last meeting with the God of Thunder. Until, at last, Vanellope piped up. "So one of Marvel's whacko god-things thought you should get touchy-feely with an electric sledgehammer. Big deal."
"It's not just…meetings like that," said Cinderella quickly. "The merging of worlds affected things in other ways, such as shaping how newcomers to our own worlds view matters. For example, every new princess recruit we get has to view things as a competition…"
It was a quiet day with perfect weather in Cinderella's castle, the kind where you have the get-together with your fellow princesses outdoors in the courtyards. But there was one conspicuous absence: their newest inductee, Rapunzel.
And when the spunky, energetic princess made her presence known, it was due to her voice booming down from several stories up. The princesses looked up to see Rapunzel swinging from tower to tower, using long locks of her hair to latch on and do so.
"Woo-hoo!" cried Rapunzel happily, relishing how she had caught the eye of all her fellow princesses. "You don't need to do everything a spider can to do THIS!" she brayed. Right before, because she wasn't looking where she was going, she crashed through one tower window.
As the rest of the princesses awkwardly watched bits of broken glass rain down nearby, Cinderella lumbered off with an exasperated air. "I'll go get a broom. And in case she's unconscious and can't heal herself, a first-aid kit…"
This time, we witness someplace well outside the grounds of Cinderella's castle, and there's only one other princess present. And boy, does Merida look like she's in a sour mood. Sensing her frustration, though clueless about what could be behind it, Cinderella walked up and kindly asked, "Hello Merida, is there something troubling…"
"Oh, nothin' really lass. Just that I got a glimpse of that atrocity that they're plannin' to stuff me in for me coronation or whatever!" Merida cut in sharply.
"Oh," was Cinderella short, awkward reply. "Well, it's only for one day, really, and…"
"Ach, and the indignation of having the thunder from my movie stolen by those Avengers buggers will last an eternity!" roared Merida. "A month later, and they're STILL all that anyone's talking out, especially that halfwit archer of theirs, Hawk-Beak or whatever, and his silly little trick arrows…"
"Well, er, it's…not really fair to compare your two movies," Cinderella pointed out, eager to cool Merida down. "After all, this is your first outing, while there were years of buildup to Avengers..."
"And ONE scene spanning five movies to set up that archer who thinks he can muscle in on my act!" Merida spat back. "Does he think he's the only one who can have tricked-out arrows!?" she demanded as she pulled an arrow out and drew her bow. But there was something odd about that arrow, some slender cylinder fixed into the front half. "Got hold of that Darkwing Duck guy, and gave me some pointers on how to make…"
But as she was venting to Cinderella, Merida let her concentration lapse, and her gaseous projectile went flying off. Right into one of the castle towers. Cinderella and Merida could only stare blankly, especially after they heard the king's voice, among many others, scream bloody murder about some ungodly foul smell.
But Merida, being as quick-witted as she was, swiftly came up with the solution. She loosened her quiver, then shoved both it and her bow into Cinderella's arms, leaving her there standing around like an idiot as Merida got out of dodge.
This time, our peek into Cinderella's life takes us back into the courtyards for her get-together with the other princesses. And once again, things are broken up by the impulsive antics of their newest recruits. Which would leave Cinderella and the castle's staff with a much bigger mess to clean up. Elsa somehow felt the need to prove she could pull off the classic 'ice slide' trick from comic book lore, and her younger sister Anna was hanging on behind her. The two of them screamed joyously as their ice slide took them speeding all around the courtyard.
"Woo-hoo!" cried Anna as she looked down at all the perplexed princesses. "Anything that Ice-Drake guy can do, my sister can do better!" Elsa was shooting a wry look down at them, too, and unfortunately, this meant neither was looking where they were going, and they smacked full-speed into a low-lying branch and toppled a good thirty feet off their ice slide.
The princess could only stare where they assumed the sisters had fallen with a sickening thud, behind a wall of thick ice. That is, until Cinderella suddenly said, "Cleanup on the frozen aisle!" Which made the other princesses slowly turn their heads to glare at Cinderella in surprise and disgust. Cinderella merely shrugged her shoulders. "What? Someone had to say it."
She paused briefly, still a little fearful that the children would grow disinterested, but for the moment, she had their attention again. Evidently, tales of all the tomfoolery that stemmed from the Marvel merger hit the sweet spot for these kids. So as any adult exasperated with a bunch of kids that were nearly impossible to get under even a modicum of control would do, Cinderella desperately kept on hitting it.
"So it happened almost right after the merger, and we found ourselves welcoming a whole slew of superheroes and supervillains into our fold," Cinderella went on, and to her utter relief, the kids were listening again. "But it's not as if things weren't already changing in our world before the likes of Spider-Man and the Avengers became a part of it. Many things people like me had once taken for granted…such illusions were dashed even before their arrival, making us reevaluate a great many things. And thus, I was finding myself reluctantly taking part of an ugly conflict, one that would reveal a lot about the new world I found myself in, not to mention myself…"
Preparing for an elaborate event, where there would be pomp and splendor… That was certainly nothing new for Cinderella at this point. Of course, it's not exactly as if that was what drew her to such events, or was what she enjoyed about them. That magical night at the ball that changed her life… Sure, there was the thrill of going to the ball incognito, in a dress that was dazzling beyond all imagination, but it was more about what it could lead to. Seeing past all the glamour, past appearances and spectacle… Cinderella sometimes wondered if, for some people, that was becoming something harder and harder to do as time passed. Especially if so many people were so anxious to see her attend an event like THIS…
Such thoughts plagued Cinderella as she stared blankly into the mirror, almost oblivious to the tugging sensations on her forearms. Oh, just as with so many things that were her duty as a princess, there was no getting out of this. But this was no simple royal duty. Just glancing at her face in her reflection, she could almost believe otherwise. Looking all prim and proper with the new hairstyle she was favoring: primarily parted on the right side, tied up into a high chignon, and a headband leaving her ears uncovered. But for this event, no earrings. Hardly any makeup, either.
As for an eyeball-catching dress provided by a fairy godmother… On no no no, not tonight. Cinderella morosely looked down at the silvery-white robe she had on instead, a little flustered about what was concealed underneath. She didn't have much longer to dwell on that, however, as that tugging distracted her yet again…
"C'mon c'mon, got make sure this is secure," groaned Phil, the bombastic little satyr who had once trained Hercules. His hooves were firmly planted on the vanity as the last-minute preparations were made. He had been providing instruction for a good six months to his latest pupil: herself. At last, Phil felt that the silvery-blue boxing glove covering her right hand was snug enough. More than snug enough, as far as Cinderella was concerned; it felt a hair away from cutting off circulation. "Six months we've been at this, dollface. Six whole blasted months. Well, tonight's the payoff, sister. Tonight, you gonna be the last princess standing."
Cinderella sighed, thinking back to the months spent with this obnoxious little satyr. Those months certainly hadn't been easy. Sure, after years of being treated like a slave in your own home, just about anything would be an improvement. Still, six solid months of extensive weight training, endurance training, and cramming in all the intricacies of boxing into what time she had was no vacation. Not that there wasn't some enjoyment, however. Cinderella got a slight buzz whenever she saw the look on Prudence's face when special meals were ordered. The sheer amount of calories needed to add enough muscle mass…
And at least Charming had no problem with it. In fact, her husband seemed to rather like the changes! And since Charming was no stranger to being trained up to prepare for anything, he had been nothing but supportive, even joining in with Phil in training sessions. It had almost been an adventure in itself, a journey with her true love. Most of the time, it was enough to let Cinderella forget what this upcoming fight personified in the first place.
Thankfully, it was not as if Charming wouldn't be there for their big night. He finished fastening Cinderella's left glove, and being much more gentle about it than Phil. Their eyes met, and just like the first time they gazed at each other… The spark was still there, giving her enough courage to go on. Sighing, Cinderella gazed one last time into the mirror. No doubt this face of hers, which captivated so many of her subjects back home, wouldn't look quite so alluring once the night was over.
But there was no weaseling out of it. With one final sigh, Cinderella stood up, looking down at her gloved hands. Normally, she could do so much lasting good with these hands. Prepare a decent meal for someone in need, place a reassuring hand on those who were at their lowest. But tonight, she was being asked to simply use them to pound a fellow princess into oblivion.
"Ready, my princess?" Charming asked kindly, placing a reassuring hand on her shoulder.
Taking a deep breath, Cinderella could only say, "As ready as I'll ever be."
"THAT'S what I like to hear!" cried Phil as he stepped down from the vanity. The little satyr led the way out of their dressing rooms, and out into the hallway the three would follow to the main event. Walking these halls again made Cinderella bristle. This was the House of Mouse, only now it had been renovated and expanded. It turned out that the misadventures that went on when running a dinner club… There was no place for something so amusingly simple anymore, something so lighthearted. Times had changed, and rather quickly. This boxing match Cinderella found herself preparing for, it was hardly the first one held here at the House of Mouse, and wouldn't be the last. Tales like hers of women overcoming hardship without a lot of fighting… It wasn't what people really wanted to hear anymore. And all that time restructuring stuff, which forced her to jump from a pumpkin-carriage fixing to go over a cliff, hadn't improved her image in the eyes of some people.
So here she was, after six months of training, prepared to have her brains beaten into a pulp. As Cinderella made the slow walk to an uncertain and unwelcome fate, Phil - in a breathtaking display of insensitivity and an enthusiasm Cinderella did not share – couldn't help but prattle on about all the boxing matches that came before. "Hoo boy, sure feels good to have had the chance to train up one of these lovely ladies going into these fights. We already had some good ones. Kida vs. Mulan, Jasmine vs. Pocahontas, Jessica Rabbit vs. Ariel… Now that last one, THERE'S a textbook definition of a knockdown, drag-out brawl!"
Cinderella heard Charming scratch his head. "How DID that one last so long? Isn't Jessica Rabbit the kind of toon that's supposed to be virtually impervious to physical harm?"
"And she was goin' up against a lady who was originally part of a species that evolved to withstand the pressures of the ocean floor," Phil pointed out. "Unstoppable force, meet immovable object."
Cinderella was not at all anxious to hear any recollections of the past matches, so she cut in about the most gruesome one yet. "And what about when Aurora and Maleficent were thrown in the ring together?" asked Cinderella brusquely.
Charming facepalmed. "Oh, now THAT was a bloodbath!"
From Aurora's corner of the ring, Prince Phillip, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather looked on with a mix of astonishment and fear. The rapid sounds of one bone-crushing punch being delivered after another permeated the entire building. And as they kept watching, occasionally wincing, Maleficent's head hit the mat hard a few yards from their corner, her nose broken, blood oozing from her mouth, her eyes listless and glassy.
"Yeah, who knew them fairies made Aurora learn her kingdom's equivalent of Israeli CQC as a kid?" asked Phil.
"Obviously not Maleficent!" replied Charming. Cinderella briefly hoped Charming was getting the hint, and would help steer the conversation elsewhere. Instead, to her chagrin, he dove deeper. "And then there was how Cinderella and I once had a dinner interrupted by Calla and Eilonwy's fight going awry," he went on, as Cinderella could only grunt and hang her head.
On the night in question, Cinderella and Charming were up in what could've been considered the House of Mouse's equivalent of the nosebleed section. Unfortunately, that hadn't stopped the insanity from reaching all the way up there. Down in the ring, there was a weird, resounding 'bouncy' sound. Swiftly followed by the sound of a bone-crushing uppercut echoing throughout the entire building. After which Cinderella and Charming's eyes trailed up, up to right above their table. A moment later, they could only watch helplessly as Eilonwy crashed down onto their table, along with one of the stage lights knocked loose, shattering it to splinters.
"Y'know, I heard that fight caused a slew of headaches for the mouse and company," said Phil. "On top of the obvious implications of some little bear guy slipping a princess performance-enhancing drugs, there was somethin' about child labor statutes!"
"Yet nothing when it came to mice and fairies," added Charming. "Lucky that was the case, though. Tinker Bell cutting loose against that mouse Gadget… THAT was also a fight for the ages!"
"Yeah, provided you were close enough to even SEE what was goin' on!" cried Phil. "Otherwise, you needed binoculars to see which one of them little ladies was buyin' or sellin'!"
Cinderella sighed in defeat as the two of them prattled on, silently hoping HER fight wouldn't become a subject of contention later. Her own private musings were more than enough to drawn out their overenthusiastic attitude about all these fights. And pretty much everything else, for that matter. Her mind barely registered that they that stepped out into the main area of the House of Mouse, and the spotlights swerved to shine on the three of them.
Sighing, she looked up, tried to feign looking like her bright and cheery self. Going along with it the best she could, she raised her gloved hands as all the attendees cheered. Cinderella briefly hoped to somehow hear the cries of Jaq, Gus and all her other mouse friends amid that din, but Goofy's voice over the intercom announcing her arrival more or less drowned the crowd out. Goofy went on, probably to announce Snow White's arrival as well. But Cinderella was only half-listening as Charming and Phil accompanied her to their corner of the ring. Time to focus, and just get this over with, Cinderella fumed inwardly. Trying to beat in the face of a good friend… Not how Cinderella would prefer to spend an evening like this. But times had changed, and for the first time in a long while, Cinderella felt powerless to fight fate…
But if Cinderella was feeling uncharacteristically dour about all of their present circumstances… Someone she, unfortunately, knew quite well wasn't letting it show if she shared similar sentiments. In fact, given what was about to go down, the evening held some promise for her. Lady Tremaine sauntered through the House of Mouse, putting on her most aloof and insufferably regal demeanor, as usual, with Anastasia, Drizzela and Lucifer in tow. In stark contrast to Tremaine's sociopathic smirking, the three of them looked positively bored, as if they'd rather be anywhere but here. Even if there was the promise of potentially seeing Cinderella getting her perfectly beautiful face reduced to mince, a noisy crowd like this was hardly their idea of a fun evening. Especially since the House of Mouse had changed so drastically in the last few years.
And normally, Tremaine would be inclined to agree. As cold as her heart could be, the raw display of barbarism that boxing offered did not suit her tastes. Subtlely pulling on heartstrings and puppet strings from afar was more her style. But tonight, with Cinderella herself in the ring, would be a glorious exception. Whether her accursed stepdaughter won or lost, the prospect of seeing her take some well-deserved punishment was too rich to ignore. Especially when considering that Cinderella could have easily declined, but chose to fight instead. If their world was changing so that Cinderella felt obligated to debase herself with such a barbaric display, who was her estranged stepmother to argue with her choice?
But as Tremaine and her entourage made their way to their table, on the far side of where the ring was set up, she began to feel the same unease as her cat and daughters. Indeed, their world was changing, and not just to the point where Cinderella was willingly throwing herself into a boxing ring. The four of them passed a table where Hades and Dr. Faciller were seated, and true to fashion, the former was rattling off at warp speed. "I tell ya Faciller, when the competition for the biggest bad were folks like Jafar and Maleficent, I didn't feel insecure. I-I-I felt pretty good about where I stood," Hades rambled. "But you got all these new guys, now. A mere mortal who can uproot a city and rearrange a planet's electromagnetic field if his oatmeal isn't cooked just the right way. And he's a bug on a windshield next to this other purple-and-red guy who can SUCK THE LIFE FORCE out of a planet outright. I dunno, Doc. It's like, I dunno, being Lord of the Underworld isn't quite makin' the cut anymore, get what I'm sayin'?"
Tremaine said nothing as they passed by. The delicate feelings of the underworld's god were of no concern of hers, and what could she say that would assuage his anxieties? Though I have to admit, these Marvel villains… we do have considerable competition now, Tremaine mused.
And even worse, many of them were here tonight, along with their own heroic rivals. They passed another table, this one occupied by a red-haired, yellow-eyed, blue-skinned woman with some reptilian scales, sporting a white dress and a belt of golden skulls. As if that wasn't garish enough, seated with her was some leather-clad ruffian with toadish, mottled skin, some unfathomably huge musclebound thug with reddish-brown armor and a dome helmet, and a brown-haired man almost as big, due to being disgustingly fat. No surprise that last one was busy stuffing his face at that particular moment.
Tremaine did her best to ignore them, but out the corner of her eye, she saw Mystique give her an approving smirk. As if she approved of her reputation of being a conniving, cold-hearted manipulator. Tremaine wasn't sure if she wanted anything to do with her. Of all the fellow villains she had ever met, Maleficent remained the only one Tremaine felt she could confide in.
"Ugh, our worlds have come together, we get it already," grumbled Drizella all of a sudden. "Is that any reason for all these freaks to barge onto our home turf?"
"Not to mention it's the MUTANT freaks. As if to troll us about how there's one group of these so-called heroes that aren't entirely, as that stupid mermaid might say, part of our world," added Anastasia.
Looking around again, Tremaine saw that Anastasia had a point. None of those web-slinging or gamma-irradiated or armored freakshows could be seen anywhere among the usual crowd. No, from the looks of things, the newcomers were indeed all mutants, or people closely associated with them. The big X's on a lot of their garb punctuated this.
"I wonder what all of them are doing here tonight, anyway," Drizella wondered aloud. "I've haven't seen this many of them on our side of the multiverse before."
"It is of no concern of ours," snapped Tremaine, glaring back at her daughters. "We're here to see some well-deserved abuse heaped onto Cinderella, nothing more." Drizella smirked a little, but as expected, Anastasia looked conflicted. Normally, Tremaine would instantly chastise Anastasia for that, but the truth was that despite her bravado, for some reason, the presence of all these mutants, these… X-Men, did rattle her. Tremaine couldn't understand exactly why. Circumstances had forced her to be among 'heroes' before, many of which could effortlessly destroy her if they abandoned their quaint morals. Yet something was telling her that tonight, these mutants spelled trouble.
Doing her best to push those troublesome worries down, Tremaine took her seat at their table conveniently located near the ring, allowing Lucifer to crawl up into her lap. Best not to look around at all the interlopers intruding on their 'turf', as Drizella put it. Still, she caught a glimpse at two people seated at the table right beside theirs. Some big, blue-furred monster, accompanied by some brown-haired woman with a long trench coat over a green suit with a huge yellow X plastered across the torso. Tremaine guessed who they were supposed to be, but suddenly, something dawned on her. That girl didn't have a white streak in her hair.
Flummoxed, Tremaine slowly turned to face her, and realized that this was someone entirely different, someone she actually knew on some level. "Belle!?" Tremaine cried incredulously. "Why on Earth would you be dressed as…one of them!?"
Belle turned to smile at them, as did her companion. A quick glance at him showed Tremaine that this wasn't the 'Beast' she first suspected he was. That mutant interloper didn't have HORNS. How much blue dye it took to change his fur color…Tremaine didn't want to know. "Well, Lady Tremaine, since we've been blessed with so much mutant company lately, I thought we'd, well, dress for the occasion." Belle said all that with a voice dripping wet with sarcasm bordering on malice.
"I see." Tremaine couldn't lie to herself; she was a little impressed by Belle tossing pretense out the carriage window. There might be a glimmer of hope for this slip of a girl yet. "So in essence, you are…trolling the mutants," Tremaine offered delicately.
Belle's brow furrowed in confusion. "You sound like you disapprove."
"Oh, not at all, my child," Tremaine said kindly. The sort of kindness she offered before dropping a verbal axe. "I simply expected something a little more cunning, given your reputation. After all, this is the sort of poke-in-the-eye anyone can attempt. And it looks like some of our mutant guests have indeed done so," she finished, pointing a finger at another nearby table. Following her gaze, Belle and the Beast looked to see the X-Men's Southern Belle and her fellow Beast seated there. Only, the former had Belle's trademark golden ball gown on, and the latter had that trademark blue dress suit. Upon realizing the jig was up, Rogue smiled saccharinely and waved at Belle.
And Belle didn't take it well at all. Standing up straight, she bellowed, "Oh, go [TRUCK HORN SOUND] yourselves!"
Unfazed, Rogue glanced over at Dr. McCoy. "Hmmm. Go [TRUCK HORN] ourselves," she repeated insouciantly, grinning even more broadly. "Hank, jot that down. That little gem's goin' in our next movie."
Needing no more reminders that those mutant fools would probably never be in a movie that belonged to them, Tremaine returned her focus on the ring instead. Goofy had announced tonight's fighters just then, and she hadn't really paid attention, thanks to Belle. And now, Cinderella was stepping through the ropes, flanked by that sop of a prince and that lecherous satyr. Charming helped Cinderella take her robe off as they stood in their corner, revealing the silvery-blue sports bra and shorts she had underneath. Forcing down the acidic envy bubbling up from the reminder of how this naïve stepdaughter of hers was blessed with more beauty and prowess than her own progeny, Tremaine glanced over at the other corner. Upon seeing who would be planting gloved fists in her stepdaughter's face…
"Oh dear," Tremaine thought aloud, her voice dripping with mock concern and shock. "That certainly explains a lot…"
Despite the roar of the crowd and all the lights swooping across the makeshift arena, Charming noticed the pace of Cinderella's breathing quickening. He planted his hands on her shoulders to massage them. This seemed to do the trick, as if he could feel his wife's unease slowly begin to melt away. "Not to worry my princess, you've got this. With Phil and me training you up… You're more than match for any other princess out there." Cinderella reached back with one arm and hugged him closer to her, and he could just imagine her smiling to herself. His encouragement was working, and besides, these weren't just empty assurances. With the two of them helping her, how could she possibly lose to any other princess, especially the normally demure Snow White?
Unfortunately, this brief moment of calm and surety was broken by Phil's raspy snapping. "Uh lovebirds, hate to break it to ya, but it don't look like Cindy's up against a fellow princess no more."
Cinderella's head jerked up, and Charming could feel the tension seep back into her muscles in an instant. He could also imagine Cinderella's eyes snapping open, filled with worry. "What's that supposed to mean?" she demanded tersely.
A pause from the satyr, and then, "Maybe it's best to let the mouse himself explain what's goin' on, 'cuz I gots no clue."
Indeed, in the middle of the ring, along with Goofy in a referee's uniform and still holding a microphone, Mickey Mouse himself was there, dressed in a snazzy tuxedo. If anything, he looked even more nervous and abashed than Cinderella must have felt at the moment.
Whatever was going on, since it involved his princess, Charming wanted to know about it and fast. The three of them stepped forward, and taking the initiative, Charming demanded, "Mickey, what's this about Snow White supposedly not being here tonight?"
"Uh, gosh, I'm afraid it's true," said Mickey anxiously. "Y'see, the night before, Snowy tried some new cooking at the dwarves' place, trying to make a new dish derived from Gummi Berries or something, and… Well, let's just say that kingdom got eight fresh cases of severe dysentery. Very nasty stuff."
Cinderella facepalmed with a boxing-glove-clad hand. "That Snow White could always be a bit of the featherbrain at the worst possible times," she grumbled into her glove.
"So…if Miss Apple ain't in the runnin' tonight, who is?" asked Phil tersely.
If possible, Mickey looked even more anxious and apologetic than before. "Well, that's where our new otherworldly…friends, have agreed to help," Mickey explained meekly.
"Otherworldly friends?" Charming repeated dubiously. Looking around, he noticed a lot of…guests that weren't normally around the House of Mouse. No, that couldn't be it. He refused to even entertain that possibility. "Mickey, you can't be serious about making my princess fight an X-MAN."
"I…think that's exactly what the mouse has planned, Charmy," said Phil, pointing to the far corner of the ring. Cinderella and Charming looked ahead. What immediately grabbed their eye was someone BIG standing in front of the far corner, with short black hair arranged in a flat-top much like Charming's. Charming doubted HE'D last even a few rounds in the ring with that big bruiser, to say nothing about his wife's chances. And right next to him stood some slim, youngish black-haired woman who had…two claws protruding from between the knuckles on each hand!? And she just stood there, nonchalantly rubbing said claws across each other, as if to sharpen them. Something told Charming that, even with those claws sheathed, Cinderella would have better luck against the big guy.
And then, a ray of hope. The two X-Men stood aside to reveal who Cinderella would actually be fighting. Seated on the stool at the X-Men's corner was a girl around Cinderella's age, with fair skin and shoulder-length, wavy brown hair. She wore a blue-and-yellow top and shorts, and had bright blue boxing gloves already fastened. And the way she rose off her stool, she was clearly ready to go. Still, Charming breathed a sigh of relief. Out of all three of these X-Men, this one looked to be the least dangerous. Maybe his princess could pull this off yet…
But while Charming felt relief, Cinderella could only voice exasperation and shock. "THAT'S Snow White's replacement!? I have to beat her!?" Cinderella demanded incredulously. "She barely looks any older than me!"
The relief that Charming felt mere moments ago, though, began to evaporate when the big guy and the clawed girl simply glanced at each other. And smirked wickedly.
"Well, Kitty Pryde's the only one we could get to agree to this on such short notice," Mickey said quickly. Charming got the notion that Mickey was afraid Cinderella would back out if things didn't get underway. But how dangerous could this Kitty be? That other X-girl looked like she could rip her apart without any claws.
Still, Charming had to find out. Leaning down to nudge Phil, he hissed something in the satyr's ear. "Hey Phil, what do you know about this…Kitty Pryde?"
"Oh, their Shadowkitty? No wait…Shadowcat," Phil hissed back. "Oh, she's their computer genius or somethin'. Walks through walks and on air and stuff."
"Is that all?" Charming asked hopefully, his hopes rising even more. "Well, none of that will help her here tonight. Cinderella's got a chance!"
The two boxers were already facing each other, and Goofy had just gone over the rules. "Hyuk, now girls, y'all know the rules. We all want a good, clean fight, so touch gloves and let's get it on." And with that, Cinderella and Kitty bashed their gloves together, the bell for the first round rang, and the fight was on.
But just after the bell rang and Phil and Charming slid out of the ring, the satyr suddenly cried out. "Uh-oh! I just remembered somethin' else about this Kitty!"
Charming slowly turned to look down at Phil. "What. Is. It," he demanded acerbically. The sound of boxing gloves vehemently smacking into human flesh filled their ears, and when Charming looked back into the ring, he was greeted with the sight of his princess toppling over and eating the mat.
"Well, this Shadowcat is also kinda, sorta, like, well… A fully-trained ninja," Phil said meekly.
Those words slowly sank in as Cinderella slowly pried her face off the mat, and Charming realized that the chime to end the twelfth round couldn't come soon enough.