"You took away our happiness, now it's our turn to take away yours."

The ferocity in her touch stuns you and paralyzes you into a silenced compliance at her mercy. You can't breathe. You want to defend yourself, truly, you do, but try with all your might, no valid arguments that would benefit your cause come to mind. After all, it's not like what she proclaims to be the truth is deception. Au contraire; her words cut like your own claws in your chest, but at the same time, you know the sword is going to cut that much deeper.

"Do it, Emma."

You were wrong. It's not the sword that wounds; it's the tiny but firm voice of a child who speaks.

"Do it, Emma," David says, and why wouldn't he. You locked his love in a cage, threw it overboard and watch him drown while exploring the vast raging sea. But you can't hear any of that because Henry's pitch black eyes are still piercing your soul.

"Do it, Emma," says Mary, the wretchedness inside her having finally resurfaced. There is no excuse for her, but with Henry by her side, you know she's already won.

"Do it, Emma," Ruby says.

"Do it, Emma."

"Do it, Emma."

So she takes the weapon, the supposed curse-breaker.

"Don't, Emma," you whimper and choke as her fingers tighten around your neck, but you can't see past the murky darkness in her irises. When you run into the wall there, you know Emma - the real Emma - is long gone. This is no more than a lifeless shell composed of rage and bloodlust rising from deep within her and everyone else. Particularly everyone else. Under a spell… under a spell… under a spell…

His voice brushes your ear. "Hurts, doesn't it? Being betrayed by the one whom you love…" a twinkle in his eye shimmers as his gaze fixes on whom he had so conveniently named Hope - his Hope - "Because of someone you twoly hate."

Under a spell… under a spell… under a spell…

This is not how you're going to be treated, even if you are to fall. Not by him, not in any of the infinite amount of worlds, not in any time. He's weaker, and he's wrong. This is not how the story ends. Fire blazing under your skin, you're already shooting daggers and you're going to spell and curse your way out of there when—

"Now, please, watch, Your Majesty."

You freeze, mouth half-open - not too much - just enough so that you can gasp when she does her part - and have no option but to obey the command, having long forgotten the deal that has now sealed your fate. You watch as her hand squeezes the hilt. You watch as a wicked grin spreads on her face when she lifts the prince's sword. You watch as the tip of the blade travels from your collarbone to your chest. You watch as it digs into your flesh, making silent tears spring out of the corner of your eye. You watch it sink deeper at her hands as she leans in and closes the distance between you, wiping the salty tears off your face with what could be perceived as a sadistic kind of pity, the grin never wavering.

A sharp breath escaping your lungs, you watch as Hope carves your heart out.

In the end, you wish you could gaze upon those emerald plains again. But you're glad your time has run out because you know the ultimate clarity would tear you apart more than any sword ever could.