Prologue

The Enchanted Forest


59 years ago

Cora couldn't help but laugh out loud when she watched how the bean she had just poured a few drops of her potion on, recovered from the dried out dead bean it had been moments ago to the healthy living, and more important, probably working bean it had been before.

"Mommy? What are you doing?" Cora whirled around in surprise to see her five year old daughter standing in the doorway of the beautiful glass garden house that was at the farthest corner of the Mills estate. Cora couldn't help but smile when she looked upon her daughter, her hair was kept out of her face by a purple bow, and dark brown locks fell softly down on her small shoulders, emphasizing the bright purple colour of her dress.

"Regina dear," She started. "How did you get here? Where is your father? How did you find me here?"

The girl shrugged. "I was following the purple sparks, like the ones in your bottle, and then I found you, mommy." The girl said while she pointed at the flask filled with purple magic her mother was holding. "What is that, mommy? Is it magic?" When she said the word her eyes widened a little with excitement.

Cora sighed, her daughter was so young and yet already so receptive for the temptations of magic. She wasn't supposed to be able to see 'the purple sparks' as the innocent girl called them. It was magic in its purest form, only those who were very skilled in practicing magic could see them, and yet, Regina apparently could see it too.

"Yes, Regina. It is magic." Cora replied calmly, she decided it would be best to be honest with the girl or she would never stop asking.

"What kind of magic? What can it do?" The girl asked eagerly, now entering the garden house to get a better look at the bottle.

"It's good magic, Regina. You can see that because it has such a bright colour." Cora explained to her daughter.

"Can I do magic too, mommy? Can I?" Regina was now standing next to her mother, pulling at Cora's skirt as to emphasize her eagerness to practice magic. But Cora shook her head. "No dear, you cannot. Magic isn't for children to play with. One should stay away from magic as far as one can."

"But you do magic too." The girl pouted. "How come you say we have to stay away from it when you are using magic yourself?"

Cora sighed, sometimes she wished her daughter had inherited a little more of her father's genes than just his tanned skin and dark brown, almost black, hair and eyes. But of course the girl was just as stubborn as her mother, she knew what she wanted, and usually also how to get it.

If Cora could stop with magic, she would have already, but unfortunately she couldn't, she had made a deal. A deal that had made sure she could keep her daughter, and if that meant she had to practice magic, and fight against the magic blackening her heart every day, then so be it. For her daughter was everything to Cora, and every time she looked into those big innocent chocolate brown orbs, she was reminded that she had made the right decision back then, when she had promised the imp to help him find a way to make the magic beans work again. And now she had, or so she thought, her dept to the warlock was almost paid, and then she could finally continue her life with her husband and daughter, without fear.

"It's complicated, Regina. I can't explain everything of it to you. Maybe when you are older I will."

"But I want to do magic too, and I want to now." The girl pouted with an angry frown on her face as she stamped her foot.

"Regina – " Cora started in a disapproving tone, but she got interrupted by the strange voice that was all too familiar to her.

"You should listen to your mother child. She is right when she tells you one should stay away from magic as far as possible."

Regina responded by hiding herself in her mother's skirts, afraid of the creature with the big green eyes and the almost golden skin suddenly standing in front of her.

"O now don't be afraid. I'm just here to talk to your mother. She has something for me you know." The imp said in a fake sweet sounding voice. "You don't have to be afraid of me. I won't harm you, a girl who can sense magic at such a young age...I would never harm such a special girl. I am Rumplestiltskin." He said and he offered her a hand.

The five year old just buried her face in her mother's skirt. "Mommy, I'm scared." She whimpered softly.

Cora bend down so her eyes were at her daughter's level. "Regina, "she started in a calm voice. "I need you to go play outside now for a while. Mother needs to speak with this man here." By the fear Cora saw in her daughter's eyes, she knew Regina wasn't convinced.
"It's okay honey. I will be alright. Just go out and play a while, find your father. I will come and get you the moment I am done, okay?"

Regina nodded, although she wasn't exactly planning on doing what her mother told her. She didn't trust this Mister Rumleskin, or whatever his name was. He looked evil, and Regina could see that her mother too was afraid of him. The girl was afraid he would hurt her mother, so the best thing she could do was try to save her. And that was why Regina nodded, appearing to be an obedient daughter, and then turned around to leave the garden house, grasping a purple glowing bean from the table on her way out. Things that glowed purple were magical, and what better way to save her mother from this evil looking man than with magic? Just like in the stories her father always told her before she went to sleep. She would thoroughly investigate this pretty bean, to see what magic it contained and how she could use it to save her mommy. Maybe daddy could help her...


The moment Cora was sure Regina was out of earshot she started talking angrily to the imp. "Rumple, haven't I told you I don't want you to come here by day? Look how scared my daughter was and what if my husband sees you?"

The imp just giggle to Cora's great annoyance. "O dearie, dearie, dearie. After all these years you still don't seem to understand that it is me who makes the rules here." And with a flick of his wrist he made Cora gasp for air to prove his point.

"Now, I heard you finally managed to create the bean I asked you for." He said, releasing Cora from his magic so she could answer.

The woman coughed a few times and then nodded. "Yes." She said. "I was able to create a potion with the waters of lake Nostos that revived the bean."

"Show me." The imp said eagerly and the brunette nodded again, however when she turned around to grab the bean from the table her eyes widened. It was gone.

"What's the matter dearie?" The imp asked, noticing the look of horror on the woman's face.

"It's gone." Cora breathed. "I had put the bean right here, on this table, and now it's gone..." Cora was frantically thinking where the bean could have gone when it hit her. "Regina...Regina must have taken it. Thinking it was pretty or something. O dear Gods." Cora panicked and she quickly made her way out of the garden house to go look for her daughter, the imp followed, knowing exactly how this would end. Seeing the future sure had its perks, the only thing Rumplestiltskin had to do now, was making sure Cora wouldn't get in the way of faith...


Cora didn't have to look long for her daughter. She found the five year old on her way running to her father, who was standing halfway the path to their house. "Daddy!" She heard the girl yell. "Daddy, there is a strange man with mommy, but I am going to rescue her. I have magic! Look I have a bean and it's purple! It's magic!"

"Regina!" Cora screamed in a panicked voice. "Regina stop! Stop running right now, don't move!"

When Regina's brain registered the words her mother was yelling at her she did as her mother told her to, noticing the fear in her mother's voice the little girl knew this wasn't a time to disobey her mother.

Cora slowed down her pace when she saw her daughter listened to her, she stopped walking to catch her breath. When she looked up she saw how her husband was approaching her, his eyes fixed on a point behind her, she realized Rumplestiltskin must have followed her.

"Cora, what is the meaning of all this?"She heard Henry ask while he walked past his daughter to his wife and the imp that was catching up with them at his own relaxed pace.

Cora however ignored her husband for the moment, focusing on the slumbering danger her daughter was in.

"Regina, honey. I believe you took something from the garden house you shouldn't have taken. I want you to come to me and just hand it to me when I'm close enough to you so you can give it to me without risking letting it fall. Okay?"

"But mommy," the girl started with a little voice. "I wanted to rescue you from the scary man..."

Cora smiled softly, her heart warmed at her daughter's words. "That's very sweet and brave of you dear. But I'm fine, you see? You don't need to rescue me. The only thing you need to do now is carefully hand me the bean."

Regina looked at her mother for a while, then at the evil man and finally her big brown eyes rested on her father. Henry, who had been able to understand that his daughter was holding some magical item that held potential danger, gave her an encouraging nod. For the girl, that seemed to be the confirmation she needed and she started walking towards her mother, the bean in her right hand.

Cora couldn't help but sigh in relieve when she saw her daughter walking towards her. Rumplestiltskin responded to that with a scary giggle, normally, when he met Cora she was this composed woman, all emotions seemingly absent from her face. But this was Cora as a mother, and she was so much softer, so much more vulnerable.

The giggle however startled Regina and she shifted her eyes from her mother to the imp, while continuing to walk. Unfortunately, the motor skills of a five year old being what they are, Regina's loss of focus on what she was doing in combination with a tussock of grass standing out just a little more than the others, led to the girl tripping and falling. A small gasp left her lips while she fell forward her hand opening to catch herself and the bean falling to the ground next to her. The moment the bean touched the ground a strong wind started to blow and the ground next and under Regina started to change into a dark purple whirlpool.

Cora screamed out in fear for her daughter when she saw the girl trip and the portal open. However when she started to walk forward it seemed as if invisible ties were keeping her from getting anywhere near her daughter. She saw how Henry too seemed to be unable to get to Regina.

Cora turned around and when she saw the right hand of the imp glowing a dark red she knew who was preventing them from getting to their daughter. "Let us go!" Cora yelled at him. "That is your bean, your ticket to wherever you wanted to go. Let us go save our daughter and jump in there yourself!" She yelled.

But the imp just shook his head. "O no dearie. This is how it is supposed to happen."

"What?" Cora yelled out in frustration, she wanted to yell at the imp again while she was desperately trying to break the spell with her own magic. The screams of fear from the direction of her daughter however turned her attention back to Regina.

"Mommy!" The girl screamed terrified while she was preventing herself from falling into the portal by desperately holding on to the grass. "Daddy! Help me! I'm falling!"

"Cora do something!" Henry yelled in anger.

"You Monster!" Cora screamed in frustration while every attempt to break the spell Rumplestiltskin was holding her and Henry in."Let us go!"

"Mommy!" Regina cried and at the same moment the grass she had been holding on to got sucked in to the portal taking the girl with it.

"Regina!" Cora yelled again tears streaming down her face while she was still struggling to break free."Regina I love you! We love you! Never forget that!" She yelled while the sound of the screams of fear coming from their daughter faded and the portal closed itself again.

Both Cora and Henry immediately felt the magical barrier being lifted and both parents fell down to the ground crawling their way over to the place their daughter had disappeared from. Cora's body was shocking through her sobs while she slammed her fists to the ground, as if it would magically open the portal again.

"Where did she go?" Henry asked through his tears in a voice that was beyond angry while he stood up and turned to face the imp that was still just standing there, smiling.

"I don't know." The imp said and he shrugged.

"What?" The man growled. "What do you mean, you don't know. You're the reason she's gone now so you're going to tell us where she is now too."

"I don't know where she is now." The imp replied. "However, I know where she will be in years from now."

"What do you mean?"

"There are things you have to take into account when you talk about other realms, you know." The imp continued. "I don't know where she is now, I can only see those parts of the future that concern me, that interest me. I don't know what happens to your precious child in the meanwhile. All I can tell you, is that dear Cora here will cast a curse in 30 years, a curse that will send us to the land your daughter will be in."

"No." A broken voice sounded. "No, I will never never use magic again. All magic comes with a price, and the price I paid today...that price was too high. Everything I did, everything, was to be able to keep my daughter, and now the decision I made back then to keep my daughter, exactly that decision has taken her from me! I want you to go. I want you to go right now and I want you to never come back! The deal is off! I would help you and that would mean I could keep my daughter, now I've lost my daughter, therefore I won't help you anymore!"

The smirk on the imps voice caused the woman to scream in anger. "Go! Go away!" She yelled and she sent a ball of fire his way. "As you wish. I'm looking forward to our next encounter dearie. " Was all the imp said and with a poof of smoke he was gone. Leaving two adults, two devastated parents behind that sought comfort with each other.

Henry took his wife in his arms, he didn't understand everything but what he did know was that this hadn't been what Cora had wanted. She had made mistakes in the past, that much was clear, but this, this was not her fault. And so he just held her, while his wife cried in his arms, heartbroken, the guilt and the pain too much for her. Their daughter, their sweet, smart, beautiful five year old daughter was gone...


Thirty Years Later

"Are you sure you want to do this dearie?" The imp asked from behind the bars of his cell, his big inhuman eyes staring at his former protégé with excitement.

Cora nodded. "Yes." She said in a cold voice.

"So did you kill your husband already? " The witch sent him a confused look. "Why would I do that."

"Why, didn't you do your homework dearie? The curse needs the heart of what you love most."

Cora smirked. "O but dear Rumple. Don't you know love is weakness? I ripped out my heart long ago. It was clouding my judgement, it was keeping me from the only way of reuniting with my daughter. I don't have a heart anymore, therefore my husband..he isn't the one I love most. What I love most...is power...magic...and magic is what I will give up in order to cast the curse." And without waiting for the imp to reply Cora disappeared in dark purple smoke.

She reappeared in front of the roaring fire, all she had to do was stripe herself from her magic now and add it to the fire.

"Are you ready?" Henry asked, standing next to her.

Cora nodded. "Yes." She said. "You know what to do once I am done? We won't have much time before the curse will consume everything."

Henry nodded, holding his wife's heart securely in his hand.

"Okay, well, here goes nothing." Cora said in a voice absent of all emotion. Henry watched how his wife whispered a spell in a language he didn't know and then how she directed a purple beam of light coming from her hands to the fire. The fire increased, the sound of thunder was audible from the sky and a dark black cloud started to engulf them.

"Now, Henry!" Cora yelled when she was done and fell to her knees, exhausted by the sudden lack of magical energy in her body. Henry quickly took his wife in his arms and softly pressed the heart against Cora chest, like she had taught him. Henry watched how his hand with the heart disappeared into his wife's chest. He softly pulled his hand back again and watched how Cora closed her eyes in exhaustion and pain.

"You did it. I can feel it again. The curse is enacted, I have my heart, and both of us will remember...we won..." She breathed and she smiled softly when she felt how Henry tightened his arms around her when the black smoke engulfed them entirely.


Well there you go!

A small explanation regarding ages and all:
Regina is 5 in this chapter, Snow hasn't been born yet at this very moment, she will be 28 like in the original story the moment Cora enacts the curse(-2+30=28), meaning the age difference between Snow and Regina will be 7 years
.

Although not yet in this particular chapter, this story will also contain Emma and Snow ;) Don't worry.

Please tell me what you think ! Read and Review! O and don't worry, I haven't abandoned my other two stories of course .

x

Metope