One

Three years ago

When lady Cora and sir Henry arrived home after their two week trip to one of the neighbouring estates, they didn't know what they saw when they entered their house. It seemed no one had been living in the house for the entire two weeks they had been gone, with the living room appeared to be nothing wrong, but the dining room proved something had happened. Chairs were on the ground, a vase lay broken on the ground next to a fallen shattered mirror. Blood stains could be seen on the table cloth that was on the ground too and as they opened the door to the kitchen, that had somehow been blocked with a chair they 'freed' their three maids and cook. On top of that, there was no sign of their daughter Regina whatsoever, and that worried the two more than the ravage that was their house...

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Two weeks earlier

Daniel was whistling a non-existing melody as he was on his way home. He had spent the night in the local pub where he had met his friends. Unlike his friends, he wasn't drunk, Daniel never got drunk, and that's why he got so confused when he thought he saw a horse standing in one of the dark side-streets. Wanting to know if he maybe had had a little too much to drink after all or that there really was a horse standing in the middle of the village he approached the animal and saw someone was lying on the back of the horse, unconscious, that was for sure.

Daniel let out a small gasp as he saw the person on the horse's back was a woman, or a girl actually for she couldn't be much older than fifteen. Slowly he lifted the girl off the horse's back and gasped as he saw her face. She had a black eye, a deep cut just above her lip that was still bleeding, several bruises that went down to her neck and chest and he now saw her wrist was swollen and blue too, which probably indicated it was broken. She was bare foot and because of that her toes were bleeding too. She was wearing what once must have been a rather beautiful and expensive dress but the fabric was ripped apart now, her corset was visible.

Daniel's lips turned into a thin line as he already knew with what intentions someone must have done this to the girl. He just hoped that the fact that the girl was now here on this horse meant that person hadn't gotten his way. He took the reins of the horse with his one free hand as he continued to carry the girl in his arms and started walking towards his home. It was too late to bring the girl somewhere so it was best to just take her home so he and his sister Alice could take care of her wounds. From there they could call a doctor.


As Regina slowly opened her eyes she stared up at a brown ceiling she didn't recognize as the ceiling of her bedroom. She slowly turned her head to look around and concluded that she didn't know where she was as all she saw was a wooden table with four chairs, a fireplace, a door, a window and a door that probably led to a bedroom, and all of that most certainly was not her home. She tried to sit up but let herself quickly fall back to the bed as she felt a sharp pain running through her arm at the attempt. As she looked at her right arm she saw it was put in splints. Suddenly she remembered what had happened and she felt her breathing quicken as she relived the past events.

"You're awake." She suddenly heard a woman's voice coming from across the room. Quickly she looked up as she saw the woman who must have just come in walking towards her. "Don't be afraid. It's okay. I'm not going to hurt you." The woman said as she saw the fear in Regina's eyes. "I'm just going to check on the wound on your forehead okay?"

Regina moved her hand up to where the blonde haired woman was pointing and let out a hiss as her hand was met with a bandage that was wrapped around her head. She hadn't felt it at first. "Yes, it's a pretty nasty cut you have there. Luckily it is healing better than the one above your lip. I'm afraid that one will leave a scar." The woman said as she went to sit on the bed next to Regina and carefully studied the wound. The calmness that spoke from the woman's blue eyes made Regina trust the woman so she let her. "I'm Alice." She said when she was done and she held out her hand.

Hesitantly Regina shook the hand. "Regina." She whispered.

"Well Regina." Alice said as she stood up from the bed and walked towards the stove that was in the corner of the room. "You've been sleeping for the past two days so I take it you must be hungry. I've got some soup for you." She said as she returned with a bowl of soup of some sort.

Alice was right Regina realised, she was hungry indeed. "Thank you." She answered as she gratefully took the bowl and started to eat. Alice smiled and turned away from the bed as she started to fold some laundry. "Alice.." Regina started after a while and continued as the woman turned to face Regina. "...how did I get here?"

Alice smiled. "My brother, Daniel, found you the other night. Your horse was standing in one of the side-streets of the village and when he walked over to the animal he saw you lying on its back, unconscious. He took you here so we could call a doctor and take care of you. You were in a pretty bad condition. You have a broken wrist, several bruises that have turned a 'nice' colour purple by now and then there are the head wound and the cut above your lip. But other than that you're fine. You're tough, you know, you've all these wounds but luckily the bastard who did this to you didn't get his way with you."

Regina felt herself turn red. "You know what happened?" She asked in a voice that wasn't more than a whisper.

"Honey. I may be no genius, but I'm not stupid." She smiled. "Those bruises, the state of your dress... I didn't need more. But apparently you fought him successfully."

Regina couldn't help but let out a sob as Alice mentioned all of this. "O honey." Alice said as she walked over to Regina and pulled her into a hug. "Don't cry. You're safe here. It's over now."

Regina leaned in to the woman holding her. "I was so scared." She whispered. "There was no one to help me, I don't know if he had barricaded the kitchen door or that the maids couldn't hear me...and then I saw one of the heavy dishes still laying on the table and hit him with it and ran away. I took one of the horses but I don't know anything about horseback riding, it was just the fastest way to get away..." Alice just rocked the girl in her arms back and forth as a small smile appeared on her face, maids, one of the horses, this was no ordinary girl, she thought. "Well honey, it's okay now."


A few hours later Daniel arrived home. "Look who is awake." Alice said happily as she greeted him. Daniel immediately turned towards Regina and smiled. "Great to see you awake." He smiled as he walked over to the bed. "I'm Daniel."

"I'm Regina." Regina answered shyly. "Thanks for finding me." She then added.

Daniel pursed his lips. "Well, you're welcome. Although something like that shouldn't have happened to you in the first place, of course."

Regina blushed. "Now you're awake. Do you have a place to go?" Daniel asked. "It's not that we want you to go or anything" He added quickly. "But I can imagine that someone, your parents for example, are looking for you?"

"My parents are away on a trip. They won't be back for another two weeks." Regina replied. "I stayed home alone. First they wanted me to go with them, but I assured them I would be fine, that nothing would happen, that the staff could take care of me. Well, no way that they are ever going to let me stay home alone after this again." Regina laughed sarcastically.

"Do you know – do you remember who did this to you?" Daniel asked then.

"No." Regina said as she shook her head. It was a lie, but she couldn't possibly tell them it had been one of the lords her father was friends with? They couldn't know who she was. Her mother never let her out of the house or visit the village. It was dangerous, she said, once the people would know who she was she wouldn't be safe. And that's why none of the villagers knew about the daughter of their landlord. They knew he had one of course, but they didn't know her name or what she looked like. That way Regina's safety would be guaranteed, Cora always said, and it would make sure Regina's only contact would be with possible suitors, Regina thought sarcastically. As for this potential danger, it seemed to her that these village people were much nicer and safer than 'her own kind', as Cora called it, turned out to be.

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Cora was sitting in her chair in the living room waiting for her husband to come back. He had gone over to the kitchen to ask their staff if they knew what had happened. He always was better in communicating with them, so she let him do the job.

She turned her head towards the door as she heard Henry coming back, the paleness of his face told her he didn't come with good news. "And?" She asked.

"They have been locked up down there for two weeks." Henry started. "The cook told me lord Paterson had stopped by that day around dinner time. It had started to rain so Regina had no choice but to let him stay for dinner until the rain would stop. When he was going up to bring dessert to them he suddenly found the door to be locked, the back door was locked too. So there they were, the entire staff was downstairs. And..." Henry swallowed "...he told how he suddenly heard screaming coming from upstairs. I asked him if he thought it had been Regina and he thought it was. He said they had heard stumbling and things falling and more screaming and then suddenly everything went quite again. Wh- What are you doing Cora?" Henry asked then as Cora's hand started to glow purple.

"I'm going to turn back the time in this house so we can see what has happened. It's tricky so I rather had seen it hadn't been necessary, but as no one obviously has really seen what has happened there is no other choice." And before Henry could protest the scenery changed and they saw Regina lazily hanging on the couch as she was reading a book.

"Dinner will be served in half an hour, milady." One of the maids entered the room.

Regina nodded. "Thank you Marie." She said as she sent the girl a smile and went to sit up straightening the simple dress of blue fabric she was wearing. It was nothing special, she was sure her mother wouldn't approve.

"Ugh – I don't even know where she got that horrible plain dress she's wearing." Cora said annoyed as she and Henry observed the situation. Henry wanted to say he thought the dress looked rather nice as they heard knocking on the front door.

Surprised Regina looked up. "Who would ever visit at this time." Marie came back in. "Milady, lord Paterson at the door." Regina quickly followed the maid to the hall where said man was waiting.

"Lord Paterson." She started.

"Lady Regina, you grow prettier every time I see you." The man greeted her as he kissed her hand and made Regina blush uncomfortably and frown as she smelled the alcohol in his breath.

"If you're here for my father, I'm afraid he won't be here. He and my mother are gone for a trip to one of the our neighbours, they will be back in about 14 days I'd say."

"O that is a shame." The man replied. "I had hoped your father would be here indeed. I was travelling through your land and I saw it is going to rain soon. Not in the mood for getting wet and having to have to talk about business with your father anyways I thought I could stop by here."

Regina suppressed an annoyed sigh as she perfectly understood what the man was hinting on. Unfortunately she couldn't say no, it wasn't the proper thing to do. "Well, I was just about to have dinner. You could join me? I am sure the rain will have stopped by the time dinner's finished and you could continue your journey afterwards?" She said as she put up a fake smile.

"I taught her well." Cora stated. "She doesn't want to have dinner with him at all but she knows she cannot send him back outside again."

"He's drunk though." Henry said worried.

Cora huffed. "That man isn't worth his title."

Dinner passed rather awkwardly. The occasional small talk was being said but Regina didn't feel at ease at all. She wasn't stupid, she knew the man had had too much to drink already and now he had asked for more wine. When she had carefully asked if he didn't want something else to drink he had just laughed at her as he had poured himself a glass full of red wine. After the main course he had gotten up from his chair and excused himself, saying he had left something important in his coat.

As Marie and the new maid didn't come to clean up the plates Regina decided she would do it herself, the sooner this dinner was over the better, she thought, it had stopped raining already. She was standing with her back to the door getting their plates together as she suddenly felt someone standing behind her touching her arm.

"You've become quite a beautiful young lady, Regina." She heard lord Paterson say in her ear. Quickly she set a step to the right so she was out of the man's reach.

"I – I don't know what is taking the cook so long to bring dessert up." She said, choosing to ignore the comment. Paterson followed Regina and grabbed her arm again. "Well I can think of another type of dessert I would like right now and it's right here in this room."

"Wh-what?" Regina shrieked. "Could you please let go of my arm, you- you're hurting me."

"O come on now." The man slurred. "You know you want this too, why else did you invite me for dinner?"

"F- for the rain and...let go of me...you're drunk and.." Regina panicked as she tried to pull her arm out of the man's strong grip. She looked towards the door hoping one of the maids would come in soon.

"O no, no one is going to interrupt us, I made sure of that." He slurred as he pressed her body against him. Regina let out a small whimper as she tried to pull herself away from him again. Suddenly she pushed the heel of her shoe as hard as possible in his foot. He instantly let go of her as he let out a groan of pain and set a few steps back, knocking one of her mother's vases over in his way. Regina quickly ran towards the door but before she had even reached it Paterson was blocking her way again. She let out a desperate cry confused about how quick he could be at the door again.

She continued to scream as he now grabbed her at her waist and violently pulled her down on the table as he slammed her arms back on either side of her head. She let out a groan of pain as he did so; he was twisting her right wrist in a way she knew it couldn't be twisted. He now climbed on her and she tried to kick him off of her but without any luck. It only caused her to get slapped in the face. He now grabbed her face in his hands and pressed his lips on hers, she violently shook her head causing his ring to rip open the skin above her lip.

"Now stay still!" He yelled as he started to practically rip open her dress as she was still struggling to get out. Tears were freely falling down her face as she gave up for a moment, too exhausted and discouraged because she didn't seem to be able to move away from him even one inch. He was kissing her neck now. Then suddenly she saw one of the heavy dishes was still on the table, she reached out and managed to grab it with her left hand. With all the power she had still in her she slammed the dish on his head, knocking him out immediately. Quickly she pushed him off her and let herself fall from the table, her legs too weak at first to keep herself up. With eyes filled with fear and pain she stared at the now limb body of the man, she was wondering if she had killed him. She didn't know what she should do now.

Run..she then thought. I've to get out of here, I have to get away from here and so she headed outside ignoring the pain in her wrist, head and actually her entire body. She had lost her shoes somewhere in the struggle but she couldn't care less, she continued to ran until she reached the stables. Quickly she led one of the horses out of the stables and clumsily climbed on his back for she had never been on a horse before. She somehow managed to stay on its back as the horse now galloped away from the house in the direction of the village.

Regina didn't look back one time, too afraid of the possibility Paterson had woken up and was coming after her. She just focused on the road before her and was wondering how she was ever going to make the horse stop again because she had no idea what she was doing. Her head was pounding by now and she rested her head on the horse to regain her strength, however she felt her body grow heavy and slowly her eyes fell closed as the horse continued to run towards the city, carrying the girl on his back.

Cora breathed in slowly as the scenery changed back to the living room she and Henry were in. She felt how Henry touched her arm and wiped one of her tears away, it took their daughter to be almost raped for them to be the closest they had been in years she thought ironically, but she let him. "I will send one of my man to Paterson's land." Henry said, trying to control the anger that was clearly audible in his voice. He isn't here anymore, so he must have gotten up and have headed home. I'll make him pay for this."

Cora nodded. "Come back quick." She said. "We need to find our daughter."

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Regina was sitting in the local pub with Alice and Daniel and a couple of their friends. She was really enjoying herself. Here she was in a real pub with real normal people, nothing dangerous about them at all, she thought. Lost in thought she touched the cut above her lip.

"Does it still hurt?" Daniel asked concerned as he watched her.

Regina shook her head. "No." She said with a smile. "I was just thinking, that's all."

"What about?"

"About that this is really nice."

"What do you mean?" Daniel asked confused.

"Just this. Being here, with you, having fun, like normal people." Regina said in an honest voice.

Daniel smiled at her. What wouldn't he give to find out where this girl came from. She didn't talk a lot about her life. It was clear she didn't want to so Daniel didn't push her but he sure was curious. It was pretty obvious by now she wasn't exactly from here. She sometimes talked about 'the cook back home', or 'their maid Marie', which already indicated she must come from a rich family. But it was the fascination in her eyes as she watched Daniel and Alice do their every day chores that really gave it away. She was fifteen but couldn't cook, do laundry or any of the things the girls in the village around the age of fifteen did. She was a quick learner though and Alice was more than happy to teach her. When she was strong enough to go outside she sometimes joined him as he went to the local stables. He helped out their temporarily with the horses, while he was searching for a better job or the possibility to become a stable boy in a place that paid better. When his boss didn't watch he learned Regina how to ride.

"Well I'm glad we're entertaining to you." Daniel teased.

"That's not what I meant." Regina immediately blushed. "You know that." She continued as she punched him playfully against his arm.

He laughed as he ruffled her hair in a way just as playful. "Stop that." She laughed. "You're ruining my hair!"

"O don't worry. Even with ruined hair you still look beautiful." Daniel added but he immediately regretted his comment as he felt her body tense next to him. Even though she appeared to be okay, Regina clearly hadn't fully dealt with the events. At night she had nightmares about it and she couldn't deal with remarks about her appearance, even as innocent as the one he just made.

Suddenly the pub went quite as men of lord Henry entered and, to Daniel's surprise they were followed by both lord Henry and lady Cora herself. It was probably her appearance that made everyone shut up, for Cora wasn't known for her kindness. But if that hadn't already made Daniel's eyebrows raise the following did.

The moment Regina saw lord and lady enter the pub she jumped up from the bench she had been sitting on. "Daddy! You're back!" She exclaimed as she ran over to the man and wrapped her good arm – for the other was still in splints – around the man. The man returned the hug and held her tight. When the lord released the girl who apparently was his daughter, Regina turned towards lady Cora. Regina stood a little bit awkward facing her mother not knowing if she could hug the woman in public too, so she was happy when Cora set a step forward and pulled her daughter in a hug, making the decision for her.

"O dear look at you." Cora said with watery eyes as she took Regina's face in her hands. The wound on her head had healed nicely but she indeed had a scar above her lip and the several bruises that were in her face, neck and chest had turned a dark colour of green. "Come we'll take you home." Cora said as she gestured towards the door.

"O but mother, daddy, you – we first have to thank Daniel and Alice." Regina said as she gestured over to brother and sister who were staring at the little family reunion the same way as everyone else in the diner was doing: in total surprise. "They saved me. They called a doctor for me." Regina explained.

Cora put a hand on her daughter's shoulder. "Your father will make sure they will be thanked appropriately dear, you come with me now." And she left the pub again, Regina followed obediently after she had shortly waved to Alice and Daniel.

After a while Henry also left the pub and entered the carriage. "What did you say to them, daddy?" Regina asked while she was leaning against Cora who had wrapped her arm around her daughter.

"I told them how grateful I and your mother are that they took care of you. That I would think about a proper thank you and will return to them in a week." Henry answered truthfully.

Regina smiled softly. "Thank you daddy." She said and then snuggled more against her mother. "You know. Maybe Daniel could come work in our stables?" She then said.

"And why is that?" Henry asked. "The stableman we now have can take care of the horses we have?"

"Yes but...our current stableman is old and will retire in a year or so... And Daniel is actually looking for a job and he was learning me how to ride. I really like it. So I thought, if you hire him, they can share the job at first while Daniel teaches me how to ride and after he can take over?"

Henry looked over to Cora to see what she thought. Cora nodded. "Learning how to ride couldn't hurt indeed." Cora remarked.

Henry nodded. "I'll make sure it will been taken care of then."


"Regina sit down." Cora said as Regina entered the living room here parents were sitting in after she had changed the clothes she had borrowed from Alice for one of her own dresses.

Regina nodded as she went to sit on the couch next to her mother. "You want to know what happened." She stated while she stared at her hands.

But Cora shook her head. "Honey, we – we know what happened. I used magic to replay the events that had happened."

Regina's eyes widened. "You saw?" She asked in disbelieve as her cheeks turned red.

"Regina, it's okay." Henry started but his daughter shook her head.

"I feel so embarrassed!" She cried as she backed away from both of them.

"But Regina, sweetheart. There is nothing for you to be embarrassed about. It wasn't your fault." Henry tried to calm her down.

"Well except for wearing that dress maybe." Cora now remarked.

"What?" Both Henry and Regina asked.

"Why yes. That dress, I don't even know where you got it, it was too simple. It made you look like a commoner. If you would have dressed like I taught you he may have never done anything because he would have realised who he was dealing with."

Regina let out a gasp of disbelieve. "Well I'm sorry mother." She then said in a sarcastic voice. "I'm sorry I wasn't wearing a gown I could have worn to meet the King on a rainy night when I was home alone and not expecting anyone to stop by. How stupid of me, I should have known that it makes it perfectly okay for pigs like that man to – to do that to people if they're not dressed like that. Gee, what was it that made me think otherwise."

"Regina, that was not what I meant." Cora tried. "It's never alright for anyone to act the way that man did. I'm just saying..."

"I don't want to hear what you're saying mother." Regina answered. "You're wrong. I'm going to sleep now." And with that Regina left the room, she was half expecting her mother would call her back with magic, but she didn't, and Regina was grateful for that.


Both Cora and Henry woke up with a start when they heard a loud scream going through the house. "It's Regina." Cora breathed as she quickly got out of bed and made her way to Regina's room, followed by Henry.

As Cora entered the room and magically created some light they saw Regina lying on the ground next to her bed covers wrapped around her legs, and she was wildly turning, making herself more trapped in them. "Nooooo..." she cried. "Go away. Let me go!"

Quickly Cora walked over to her daughter and tried to wake her. "Regina. Wake up. Regina you're having a nightmare, it's not real. You're safe, please honey." But no matter what Cora said, Regina didn't wake up.

Henry now walked past Cora and took his daughter in his arms, she struggled at first, but slowly she woke up and as she looked up in her father's eyes she pressed her head against his chest and cried. Cora eyed the scene with a mixture of relieve that her daughter woke up and jealousy that she hadn't been able to pull Regina from the nightmare...

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Present day (being three years after the above mentioned)

"Are you sure you want to do this, dearie?" The imp asked as he let out one of the evil laughs that almost were his trademark.

"Yes. If I'm not able to lead my daughter to the path of greatness in this land. Then maybe I need another land and a clean slate to try again."

The imp giggled. "Then here you go dearie, do exactly as it says and you'll have your 'clean sssslate'" He stretched the last word a bit. "But remember...all magic comes with a prize."


So what do you all think? Please review because I have to know whether this story is worth to continue or that I just wrote almost 5000 words of total crap !

I'm sorry for grammar and spelling mistakes, I usually reread the next day, but some mistakes are simply there because English is not my native language, excusez-moi ;).

Oh and btw, title suggestions are very very welcome cause this title kinda sucks xD

x

Metope