Welcome! I hope you like the new set-up! It took a little longer than expected cuz I went to International Music Camp and ran into a couple other difficulties. But I'm working hard! I'd like to know what you guys want to happen next. If I don't get any responses, I'll probably start out more Tangled-esque until I get a firm plot started. Oh, and I also hope you like the new page-breaks ;)

Just a forewarning: there are themes from Tangled and Phantom of the Opera/Love Never Dies throughout. Just cuz they're fricken awesome.

I don't own anything but the idea and Angelique. *turns* No, Murray, you do not own the world! We already talked about this!


Once upon a time…

A tall, crumbling tower stood at the top of an even taller hill. At the base of the hill sat the small, quiet town of San Ricardo. The hill was so massive that if one wished to see the other side, they would have to go up and over. It was very out of place in the middle of the barren desert, and if you asked one of the older residents of San Ricardo, they would tell you they woke up one morning and found the town shaded by an enormous, green mountain. You wouldn't believe them until they told you the legend of the woman who resides there.

Inside the tower lived a centuries old woman, a witch of sorts. She had kept herself alive by the mystical healing of a magical golden flower. But the magic was stolen from her, and she was sent to the spirit world, where she learned the art of sorcery and revived herself. She returned to the tower and her magic became stronger every day, though her body grew weaker without the nourishment the flower had provided. She needed to find something, someone to harbor the secret power. Using mirrors and windows that beheld magic even greater than her own, she searched the world for a perfect occupant.

She found it in a tiny, newborn kitten. Her name was Angelique.

Under the cover of night, the witch stole her away, leaving havoc, despair, and bloodshed behind as they fled the townspeople. Upon reaching the tower, the witch cast a spell on it, making it relocate to an obscure part of the world, thousands of miles away from the kingdom called Corona. There she posed as Mother and raised Angelique, feeding and caring for her, and during this process, she searched for the secret the mirrors had promised her.

Finally, after seven years of cooing and feeding and disappointment, Mother discovered the kitten could sing like an angel. She first heard it while hunching over a cauldron one late night, when the child was supposed to be asleep.

"Say you'll share with me one love, one lifetime…" were the lyrics, but all the witch could hear was, "Flower gleam and glow…let your power shine…"

Her secret would remain forever safe, trapped in Angelique's voice…however, there were deadly side effects that the witch never knew and the kitten would never tell.

Legend says that in order to break the spell and kill the witch once and for all, her true love has to find her and convince her to sing a special song, therefore releasing the magic sealed within her.

Thus, little Angelique knew nothing of the world, for Mother forbade her to step outside for even a moment. She filled the poor kitten's head with lies, saying the outside world was very dangerous and that men would only take advantage of her. When she would leave to get food or supplies, she would warn the child not to follow her. Angelique would always nod, yet Mother would always lock the doors from the outside, for she knew how adventurous the kitten was.

When Mother was away, Angelique would despairingly watch the village that lay at the bottom of the mountain. There seemed to be no danger to it at all. The people looked pleasant enough as they went about their own ways, shopping and cooking and laughing.

She longed for their happiness. Her days were filled with loneliness. Her heart was missing a piece, and until it returned, she would never be complete. The only way she knew how to deal with it was to sing the pain away.

"Leave the hurt behind…"

Somehow, by the time she was 14 years of age, she had convinced herself that she was really and truly happy.

Until one night four years later.

=^.^=

Angelique was sitting on a large plush chair in the middle of her extensive library. Mother had left for a long trip, and she said she would be gone for two to three weeks, at the most.

The kitten was humming a tune to herself, though she could not place the name of it at the moment. It seemed it would always be at the tip of her tongue, and there had been more than a few times that she believed she almost remembered, but the thought would vanish as soon as it had come. She didn't think on it too much, however. It was probably just something she had heard Mother chant one night. Where else would she have heard such a thing?

Switching from wordless humming to quiet singing, she caressed the pages of her book gently, turning them occasionally. "…And now and always you'll stay in my heart…mon cher, I could never leave…"

Angelique's voice trailed off as her eyes drifted slowly shut. Yawning, she tried to pry them open enough to focus on her book. It was an interesting tale, though highly unbelievable. The hero (a prince, as per usual), riding his trusty steed (a white stallion, naturally), was on his way to save the love of his life (a damsel he had never met before, typical) from the horrible villain (an ugly witch, obviously).

It was all quite stereotypical.

In a last attempt to stay awake, Angelique tried to continue the lullaby, mumbling, "No, I could never leave…I could never leave you…"

"What a lovely song, amor."

The soft statement made Angelique almost jump out of her skin in surprise. She whipped around in the direction of the voice, and the action was executed so quickly and harshly that the book in her lap fell on the floor and chair tipped a bit to the right before all four legs landed on the floor again. There was a stranger in the shadows, and her hair rose as she found she could feel his eyes on her.

Standing slowly, Angelique cautiously stepped backwards, following the stranger's paced movements without blinking. His stance was not menacing, however, more…curious. Soon her back touched one of the bookcases and she tensed. The stranger continued to gaze at her, and as he got closer and closer, she could tell his eyes were a vibrant green and alight with amusement.

Why is he still staring at me? Me and my black fur and white toes and brown eyes. Ugly brown eyes.

"Ah, mi flor, why do you cower from me? I will not harm you." His rich, deep accent indicated he was indeed a male, and that frightened Angelique all the more. Mother had warned her of men. She said they had pointy teeth and they would smile and seduce you before gobbling you up.

And what Mother says had to be true.

Yet with that 'truth' ringing in her head, curiosity got the best of her and she stood her ground, albeit shyly, and felt the indent of the book spines press into her back as she pressed herself harder against them. For the first time in her life, she stumbled over her words.

"I…w-who are…I mean…I…what…"

The male chuckled and Angelique could hear the deep, rumbling undertones of the laugh. Taking a few more steps, he nearly closed the space between the two of them. Angelique flattened her ears against her head in fear and hissed softly, making him take two steps back.

"Ah, no need to be hostile, my dear. I am only looking for a place to stay tonight. Perhaps you could help me?"

At last standing in the bright candlelight, Angelique could finally take in his visage clearly. His tabby markings were colored with lighter and darker shades of orange, an enormous contrast to his rich green eyes. Before, when he had first approached her, there had been a soft thud on the floor with each step he had taken. Looking down, she noticed in bewilderment that this feline was wearing a very small pair of boots, along with a few other accessories as well.

She fixed her gaze on his foil and hissed again, a little louder than the first time. He started in surprise and she growled, "Who are you? How did you find me?"

The stranger was all smiles again and he relaxed. He propped his left arm up on the side of the chair and gestured with the other as he spoke. "Amor, I am known by many names…the Furry Lover, Chupacabra, the Ginger Hit Man…To most, however, I am known as Puss. In Boots!" He punctuated his sentence by whipping out his foil and quickly slashed the chair three times, leaving behind the letter 'P'. He clicked his boots together and raised his arms into the air dramatically. "Ha! El Gato con Botas!"

Angelique stared blankly and Puss's pride deflated.

"You're ridiculous. No cat wears boots."

Puss sneered at her and retorted, "Well, obviously this cat does!" He began nearing her once more, and Angelique's insides churned.

"First they smile at you, my dear."

Puss stopped and smiled as he came closer.

"Then they seduce you with lies…lies of the lovely, Angelique, never listen to them, or it will be the end of you…"

He was only a foot away now. Still grinning, Puss placed one of his paws beside her head and leaned down slightly. She was breathless; no words would make themselves known. "Ah, I am sorry for frightening you, flor. I promise I will not do it again."

"Then…they swallow you up before you have the chance to say no!"

Angelique watched his mouth come closer and closer and in a panic, she reached for something, anything to protect her. She felt along the shelf behind her and her paws ran across cool, smooth metal. Having no other hope of survival, she gripped it and swung hard, feeling it connect with something equally hard and hearing a loud clang and a surprised and unappreciative meow.

Puss lay at her feet, unconscious.

She nudged him with her toe once, twice, and a third time, only to make sure he was truly out. Angelique sighed and glanced down at the object resting in her paws. With narrowed eyes, she swung it around a few times and shrugged, muttering:

"Frying pans. Who knew?"

=^.^=

Puss in Boots did not enter the world kindly. He had, after all, been orphaned, stuffed into a basket, and left alone to fend for himself. Those days had been hot and brutal, and nights had been cold and lonely.

However, Fate had been kind enough to allow him to be carried by the wind right onto his mama's doorstep…

Ah, his mama. The most beautiful woman in the world, and with such a kind heart. If ever Puss needed anything, she would be there for him. If he was hungry, she would make a three-course meal and force him to eat every last morsel so he wouldn't starve. If he was bored, she would conjure up a game they could play until dark. If he ever felt lonely, she would snatch him up in her arms and cradle him like a babe, singing softly:

"Think of me, think of me fondly when we've said goodbye…remember me, once in a while, please promise me you'll try…"

As he grew, he and his brother would go on more and more adventures, each a bit more dangerous and unlawful than the last. They always seemed to get away until the day the Commandante caught them stealing fruit from a merchant. The look on Mama's face when he brought the troublemakers home was enough to discourage Puss from ever doing such a thing again. He had never seen her so disappointed and anguished.

His brother, however, paid no heed and continued breaking the law.

The year he turned 16 was the year his Mama began telling him legends, mysteries no one had been able to solve before. The one that intrigued him most was the story of the mountain that gave the town shade in the afternoons, and the tower that sat atop it. According to said legend, there was a beautiful princess who beheld a precious secret. There was also a witch who would stop at nothing at keeping her treasure to herself.

If you could scale the wall and make the princess fall in love with you, the curse would be broken and the witch would die forever.

One day, Puss vowed that he would bring back the treasure for his Mama. The promise was he would leave the day he turned eighteen and return exactly three years later, treasure and princess in tow. Mama only smiled, patted his head, and left him to his dreaming.

A week later, the tabby saved the Commandante's mother from a rampant bull and was awarded with his boots. His beautiful, precious boots. When he wore them, Mama gazed at him with such pride and joy. Those were good days, full of happiness and love.

If only such a thing could remain all the time.

The past two years had flown by and before anyone knew it, it was almost Puss's eighteenth birthday. It arrived almost too quickly, especially for Mama who did not want to let her little son to leave her. She watched in tears of sorrow and pride as Puss packed a bag full of essentials. As he turned to face her, she held out a small basket. Curious as always, Puss took it and, peering inside, found a collection of plump, ripe peaches to remember her by.

Mama always smelled like peaches.

Later that night, Puss tossed and turned and vainly tried to sleep, but to no avail. A few minutes after he had managed to doze off he was awoken by something being thrown at his head. He jumped up and hissed at the intruder, but calmed when his brother came into the light. He was upset, and rambling on and on about Boy Blue's gang and some money he owed them. The least he could do was help his brother escape.

It had been a mistake! He didn't mean to do it! It was Humpty's fault!

His pleas fell on closed ears as he backed away from the Commandante, the man he thought was his friend, the man with four scratches running across his face.

I didn't do it! Please, please listen to me! I didn't steal the money!

And now there was nothing left. Puss was powerless, and there was nothing he could do.

Except...the legend.

He would keep his promise. He would find the princess and the treasure and bring them back to San Ricardo. He would clear his name and find his brother. He would bring peace to the town and make Mama proud of him again.

For many lonely days he traveled up the mountain, sleeping only when absolutely needed. Sleep brought on the nightmares, and in them his mama's sad, heart-broken face as he raced by her cottage on that cart full of the people's money.

So he didn't sleep.

He couldn't remember the exact moment he had left the trees and entered the clearing, but Puss did remember stopping dead as the massive tower loomed but a few feet before him. At first, his mind didn't register the joy he should have felt, the pure elation that should have appeared, but instead his legs wobbled and buckled and he fell to the earth in a heap.

Puss closed his eyes and took four deep breaths before pushing himself to his feet once more and inspecting the sides of the wall for loose bricks, a foothold, something to allow him passage to the mysterious tower.

After futilely searching for almost ten minutes, Puss let out a cry of frustration and slumped against the wall with his head in his paws. Quiet sobs racked his body as he pounded frailly on the stone.

"No! No, nononono, please! Please!"

At his final cry, he threw his entire body weight against the wall, and by the power of sheer will, it gave and caved in just enough to let him through.

As he wandered the long halls and tall ceilings inside, Puss began to think of what the princess would look like, or what the secret will behold, and what kind of treasure he would be awarded with when he killed the witch.

Many spacious rooms and exhausting stairs later, he finally found himself at the very top of the tower. There was a room at the very end of the hall with its door ajar and soft light flooding onto the floor.

Someone was there.

=^.^=

And now here he was, cramped in a tiny space, and quite uncomfortable.

Shifting, he managed to turn himself around enough to see through the crack between what must be two wooden doors. His paws roamed over them and he came to the conclusion that he was...in a...closet.

This day keeps getting better and better.


Here is where I would like to thank all those who have reviewed and have (hopefully) stuck with me and my procrastination during this story (the blame is all on Murray, obviously).
Crystal Dove, alexandria, Seiga Niko, Dinosgorawr3, slashman, TheOneThatIs, spottedfire98, AgentOfRedAndBlue, KrazyCookieRaider, Mumiri, 2Doggie4U -3, PeaceLovePaws, LuckyGirl17, MikuLove, justiceintheworldofhp-yearight, The Feral Spirit of the Wolf, oxX-LegitWriterz-Xxo, supervideogamerking...

Thanks again for all your support!
~MickyinBoots & Murray