In which Lal Mirch is really Regina, the Evil Queen with amnesia. The plot bunny stuck and would not shut up until I wrote it.

"I will destroy your happiness."

She groaned as the echo of a memory she couldn't place flittered through her head. It had been bugging the hell out of her for years, and recently it kept showing up more and more. She ignored it as she always had and rolled over.

Lal Mirch hated the feeling she got after hearing that sentence echo in her head. It was like she was forgetting something important, something that she shouldn't have forgotten in the first place.

It felt like a great deal of repressed rage and anger was unleashed when that damn curse hit her. Memories slammed into her like a brick to the face, causing her to pass out cold.

Colonello POV

He was worried. Out of all of them, only Lal was still out cold. She looked like she was having a nightmare or something, and the pacifier around her neck looked all wrong. Even Luce, the Sky who had tricked the others into this curse, was confused by this reaction.

Finally he couldn't take it anymore.

"You can do mind walking, right?" he asked the Mist.

"It'll cost you," said Viper.

"I don't care. I'm really worried about her," said Colonello.

"Mu. Very well," said Viper. In truth, they were intrigued by the fact Lal was apparently having a very bad reaction to this curse. She was the only one still unconscious, despite the fact that it had already been three days.

The others weren't showing it, but they were worried as well.

Viper used their Mist to delve into Lal's mind...and came face to face with two women inside it.

One was Lal, looking irritated. The other had all the bearing of a queen. A vengeful queen who looked downright pissed about something.


"Mu. So this is why you're still out cold. Everyone else has already woken up. Apparently Luce knew this was going to happen and said nothing. We've all be turned into toddlers. So who is this?"

The queen looked irritable, but spoke up. Even her voice had the cultured tone.

"Call me Regina. When I get my hands on that little bitch I'm going to wring her scrawny neck! It's basic knowledge that mixing curses has dangerous consequences!" she fumed.

Viper looked at Lal.

"You were already under a curse?"

"Apparently someone Regina has a major grudge against hit her with a curse right as the she had cast on an area was being put into effect. As a result the memories were hidden...until whatever Luce lured us into happened, and caused the weaker curse to break," said Lal shrugging. "I'm still sorting through the memory dump."

"How much longer are you going to take?"

"It's almost finished," said Lal. "Give me a few hours or so and I should be up, though I am going to give that brat a piece of my mind for pulling this stunt."

Lal had only managed to secure Regina's agreement to let her stay in control by swearing on her life that the second the curse on Snow White broke she would cause visible damage to the brat as a show of her displeasure for that cheap shot. Lal was thinking of punching her so hard in the face that she got a broken nose and a black eye, which seemed to amuse Regina quite a bit.

Apparently Regina found being Lal Mirch "restful" and had been entirely unaware how exhausting maintaining her rage-filled vengeance streak actually was. That plus having a childhood without a manipulative bitch of a mother or a passive enabling father (though at least Henry tried to help his daughter move on) had lead to Regina gaining some long-overdue morals.

She still wouldn't hesitate to rip someone's heart out or kill them, but at least now she had something close to resembling mercy.

Both sides did want to at least punch Snow White in the face repeatedly though.

Lal woke up sometime around dinner looking incredibly irritable...which swiftly turned to incredulous and bemused upon registering the state of her companions.

"Have a nice nap?" asked Renato snarkily.

"Fuck off," she shot back without hesitation.

Cora would have been appalled. Regina was loving every minute of that fact.

"Any particular reason you had a bad reaction to the curse?" asked Verde.

"I was already under a curse. One I didn't even know was there," said Lal crossly. "Stupid sanctimonious little bitch. When I get my hands on that stupid girl I am going to wring her scrawny neck... everyone knows that mixing curses is an idea only idiots pull! Magic always has a price!"

"Magic doesn't exist," said Verde.

Fon coughed at that, which had everyone looking at him oddly.

"Surely you don't believe this?" said Verde.

"Actually... my clan has a special area where they raise beans that allow one to travel realms. Though it's been cut off until we find out what exactly caused an entire realm's worth of people to suddenly vanish without a trace," he said awkwardly. "The last rumors in the area was that a Queen got really angry with a princess and cast some sort of curse on the place, but it's never been verified."

"If you're talking about the Enchanted Forest, I know what happened to it," said Lal, causing Fon to look at her in shock that she knew what he was talking about. "Though locating where they went is going to be a pain and a half considering I only have a vague idea where they are."

"Enchanted Forest? Like the old fairy tales of Snow White?" asked Luce hopefully.

Lal pulled a face at the name.

"Ugh. Do not mention that spoiled brat around me."

"She's the one who cursed you," said Renato, guessing mostly due to the reaction Lal had.

"Little twit hit me right as the curse was about to envelop us both. Woke up without any memories and in the body of an infant," said Lal in disgust.

"Wait... if you were cursed and ended up in another body, then what was your old name?" asked Colonello confused, but taking it better than she could have hoped.

"Regina," said Lal shrugging. "I prefer being called Lal, if for no other reason than my old name would be a bit too recognizable later."

"I would imagine so, considering the Evil Queen's name was Regina," said Fon dryly. Lal gave him a dirty look. "What did Snow White do to piss you off so much that you went on such a long revenge spree anyway?"

Lal winced.

"I had a boyfriend. The stupid brat went and told my mother about him and my mother killed him because he was one of the servants and not a prince like she wanted. I saw him die right in front of me... and I knew she only found out because Snow was the only person who was aware of the fact we were dating. The idiot was old enough to know that some secrets are supposed to stay secret, and told the worst person possible about it. Then she had the gall to say she did nothing wrong and that I was overreacting," said Lal in annoyance. "Everyone knew Cora is a manipulative bitch... the woman became the Queen of Hearts, for god's sake!"

Renato had an incredulous expression on his face, and the others weren't much better. Out of all of them, only a few looked like they remotely believed her.

Fon (because he had gone to the Enchanted Forest once when he was younger), Colonello (the idiot looked like he was willing to listen, if only because he trusted his commander), and Viper (who had seen Regina in her mind and knew what it was).

Skull and Luce looked like they were on the edge of possibly believing, but the others were highly skeptical and giving her looks like she had a screw loose.

Lal had no idea what to do to prove it to them she wasn't hallucinating...before Regina suggested that maybe a demonstration of actual magic would change their minds.

She couldn't pull out hearts just yet (not enough energy), but something else came to mind.

The trick would be figuring out how to manipulate her magic. For a "Land with No Magic", it sure as hell wasn't living up to the hype. Or perhaps magic had been mistaken for Flames.

Either way if she was right, the Viper and Verde were going to have a field day with experimenting with it.

It took her five hours to get even a spark of her old powers, and she quickly realized that the main trouble she had was the way she used it.

Regina had used her hatred and pain to fuel her magic. Most of her spells had come from that source, which might explain why she had such trouble letting things go.

Lal on the other hand, had to find a new source. She had blushed when an image of Colonello in his real form caused a spark to ignite and she had to come to terms with the fact that as much as he vexed her with his antics, she did genuinely like him as more than just a student. Using that along with her knowledge of Dying Will Flames (and unconsciously tapping into her Mist Flame), and she was able to at least make a decent sized fireball.

Well, she knew one way to prove magic was real and get the others to believe. Fireballs were easy enough to explain...but instant teleportation?

That was a much more difficult pill to swallow.

A week later...

Verde was swearing, Viper looked intrigued, and Renato looked like someone had literally slapped him silly with a fish.

Lal just looked smug while Colonello was clearly convinced she wasn't lying.

"And you say this sort of trick is normal?" said Viper.

"Once I figure out how it works, I'll show you how to do it too. Small magic like that is easy and harmless... it's the big stuff you have to be leery of because it almost always comes back to bite you in the ass in someway," said Lal. "Pretty sure the teleport runs on some Mist flames, so you should be able to figure out quickly enough."

Viper looked rather gleeful hearing that. The sheer amount of money they would save alone on transportation between countries was more than enough incentive for them to learn.

"So what are you planning to do now?" asked Renato.

"Find my old teacher...though we'll have to wait until the curse I cast is broken before he's really useful. However that's going to take years since I highly doubt I'll be able to fill the requirements needed to pull it off," said Lal immediately. "Once I locate the area, I'll contact the rest of you. I see no reason why we need to be so scattered after what someone pulled."

The pointed look at Luce was pretty damn telling who she meant.

"I would be interested in seeing the effects," said Fon, surprising the rest. Most would have thought Verde would have spoken first. "That and I know my clan would be very favorable to continuing several old friendships with the people there. I never did track down the woman I was looking for."

Fon, upon learning that Mulan was in fact an actual person living in another realm, had always wanted to meet her in person. And possibly get an autograph.

Besides, the Enchanted Forest had dragons. How was he supposed to say no to seeing a real, live dragon in person?

"Actually I think Verde would be interested in staying there. I know for a fact Frankenstein was transported by the curse as well," said Lal.

"Frankenstein. As in the fictional mad scientist who supposedly brought a corpse to life," said Verde deadpan.

"From what I heard he was trying to resurrect his older brother," said Lal with a straight face. "Just think, you could have all the fun of trying to recreate spells and rendering the use of them pointless with technology!"

"...I hate you. So very, very much," said Verde with a pained expression.

He detested the unscientific nature of magic. Flames were barely tolerable in his opinion.

It took Lal three long years to find the area where the curse settled. During that time the others had more or less drifted apart to do their own thing.

All of them save for Luce had come running when she said she found the town. In the spirit of scientific discovery and to hopefully prove the woman wrong that magic existed, Verde had "volunteered" Skull to go past the boundary line Lal had made a note of when she finally found it.

Skull had yelped for all of two seconds before it happened.

One second he was picking himself up off the ground from where Verde had more or less tossed him past the boundary.

The next he was rapidly growing until he was back in his original size, though the pacifier was still firmly around his neck.

Staring dumbly at his own hands, with the others not far behind him, the rest of the Arcobaleno were quick to walk past the ward line only to find themselves rapidly returning to their true size.

Everyone save for Lal, who had a more extreme reaction to the curse that surrounded the town.

Parts of her features merged with the woman she had been, as she filled out into her adult size. Her hair which had been a raven black became more of an ebony color that was tamed around her face and was a bit curvier. Her modest bust got an upgrade as did her hips, and her nose shifted shape slightly. Her eyes slightly changed as well, though the color stayed the same.

In short while the changes were minor, they were still noticeable enough that someone could claim a case of mistaken identity if they saw her.

"That...was annoying," said Lal once she got used to her new body.

"What the hell just happened?" asked Viper intently.

"I told you, mixing curses leads to unexpected results. There's a reason why it's a major no-no if you have a brain. If what I suspect is true, then I'm betting the wards around this town are interfering with whatever is keeping us the size of toddlers in the first place," said Lal.

Luce had reluctantly explain the parts of the curse she did know about, which was limited. Mostly because Lal had told her point blank exactly why her mother in another life had earned the moniker of "Queen of Hearts".

The curse didn't actually turn them into children, just shrink them to that size, they wouldn't age past where they were at when it was applied and were not likely to get sick unless hit with something specially designed to harm Arcobaleno. Also there was no known way of removing said curse that she knew of...just that it was necessary to maintain the stability of the world and the Flames on it.

When they entered the town (discreetly) several things hit them at once.

One, the place was seriously dated.

Two, there was a sense of 'agelessness' and 'time standing still', to the point that the clock tower was perpetually frozen. Verde discreetly checked it, and it was perfectly functional but something kept the gears from moving past where it was.

Three, everyone recognized Lal and called her "Madam Mayor", despite the fact she had never been there before in her life. It had taken a great deal of self control not to punch Snow in the face when she recognized her.

Lal sank into her apparent house and promptly hit the liquor cabinet.

"That... was surreal and very uncomfortable," she said flatly.

"What the hell is with this place?" asked Renato. "It's like something out of the roaring 20's or possibly thirties."

"I believe part of that is because most of the interaction the Enchanted Forest had with this world happened during that time. Travel was more or less cut off during the World Wars and the curse hit sometime around the fifties," said Fon.

"Sounds about right," said Lal.

"And the whole 'madam Mayor' thing?" said Viper.

"I wasn't expecting that mousy little brat to hit me with a damn curse at the worst possible time," said Lal annoyed. "And I did like being in charge."

"What's the deal with the clock tower? By all accounts the thing should work, but it's stuck," said Verde.

"The curse I hit them with is very specific. That thing isn't going to move until Snow White's child shows up and starts the countdown... they are the only one who can break the curse, and I know I saw that stupid twit sending her newborn here. Magic would protect them from the worst, if nothing else."

"Snow White had kids?" said Renato, accepting the bourbon.

"Right before the curse hit," confirmed Lal. "Didn't see the gender though. I do know Charming is almost certainly in a coma, considering he was bleeding out as the curse hit. Can't exactly remember where I stashed Belle though... I'm going to need her in order to hopefully earn some points with my old teacher. Don't know what he saw in the mousy little bookworm."

Renato rubbed his face in exasperation.

"You mean to tell me Beauty and the Beast was real too?"

"Most fairy tales are generally from that land," Fon informed him. "Though some tales are in realms of their own, like Oz and Wonderland."


"Well if the curse that keeps us as toddlers is partially negated by this place..." said Viper thoughtful.

Lal snorted.

"If you want to crash here, I have no objections. And as Mayor I can come up with cover identities for you to use. Fon, for instance could open up a restaurant or something because the only decent one I saw in town belongs to Red Riding Hood's grandmother," said Lal.

Renato and Verde made pained noises.

"So what, the big bad wolf is real too?"

"From what I saw the Huntsman is the town sheriff, and it wasn't that Red encountered a wolf...but she can turn into one," said Lal enjoying their misery far too much.

"...Exactly how well stocked is that liquor cabinet of yours?" asked Renato dead serious.

"Enough to get black out drunk, so have fun," she shot back.

"Believe me, I intend to," said Renato darkly, with Verde following soon after.