Summary: Rumplestiltskin had helped dozens of maids becomes princesses in his time as the Dark One – so why was this girl so different? A Rumbelle-ized retelling of the Cinderella story.
It was the night of the third ball.
Like the two evenings before, all heads turned when the mysterious woman in the glittering, golden ball gown appeared at the top of the stairs, her glass slippers making no sound as she gracefully descended the stairs to where the Prince stood expectantly.
With such a picturesque moment before the crowd, no one noticed the figure lurking in the shadows, watching the proceedings with a grimace.
While the Dark One was often responsible for the magic that clothed desperate young woman in fine dresses and turned their local farm animals and produce into a functioning carriage and driver, he didn’t often attend the balls.
He found most of the girls he made deals with too silly to waste much time on. As long as they could be relied on to uphold their end of the bargain, he had much better things to do than chaperone them on their dates.
Which was why Rumplestiltskin couldn’t for the life of him figure out what he was doing at the castle for the third night in a row.
Belle was less annoying than most, he supposed, but her story was hardly unique – an orphan forced to become a servant in her own home by an uncaring stepfamily.
Because of the cinders that covered her face from having to sleep near the fire, they called her the cinder maid. Or even on occasion, Cinderbelle.