Status: once upon a time, there was a co-write...

Broken Illusion


Unlocking her magic was not a freeing experience, like one might think. In fact, Belle felt that her life had become more difficult since the moment the flames had danced across her palms. Her training had increased tenfold and she experienced the worst possible pain in her head whenever she used the magic. If she didn't have Aladdin constantly nagging her, she would have quit using the magic the moment the pain first occurred. She was already facing so much that she didn't ask for, why did she have to put up with the pain on top of all that?

She turned in her bundle of blankets, unable to find a position comfortable. Though she had never had much anyway, she missed the luxury of having an actual bed. Sleeping on the floor was not something that she could have endured for all these years, that she was certain of. She barely slept now and found it almost impossible to endure the training that she had no say in. In the strangest way, she felt more like a prisoner being here than she ever did living under the King's laws. At least then she was able to go outside whenever she wanted and wasn't forced to endure the impossible like Aladdin and Jane kept pushing onto her.

After a while longer of trying to find a comfortable position, she gave up and climbed out from all the blankets. She had been given the room that Jane had first brought her in when she arrived, and even though neither she or the man she had learned was called Tarzan obeyed the same laws as Belle was used to, Aladdin, the Beast and Gaston had to sleep in a different room to her. While she was grateful for the privacy, she felt more isolated through the gesture.

It seemed that the only time anyone paid attention to her was to do with her training and getting her ready to be the prophesied one they all thought she was. It was as if nothing else mattered other than that, something which constantly bothered her throughout her rare free time. Did it not matter that she was an actual person, one that held views and thoughts that did not agree with everything that expected of her? Or was that no longer important since the kingdom's apparent liberation now rested on her shoulders? If she'd had her own way, she would have reported them all to the King's guards but now that wasn't something she could do. The magic that she'd unlocked would be able to be detected by the King, she was certain, and that would end up badly for both her and her father.

She stepped out of the room and kept a hand on the wall for guidance. It was dark but there were candles lit in encased boxes that constantly burned. Belle had never seen them extinguished but had never questioned it before. She'd just assumed they were relit by Jane whenever needed but now she knew magic existed, she wasn't so sure. Jane had never claimed to possess magic but she had also never came out and said that she didn't.

Though she wasn't initially heading anywhere in particular, she found herself heading towards the entrance. Surely it would be okay if she stepped out for a moment? Everyone was asleep and wouldn't know any different, so there was really no harm in her getting some air. As far as she was aware, she was still bound to Aladdin so it wasn't as if she could wander far or even attempt to run if she thought it would do her any good. She just wanted to take a brief break from the life she now had.

Deciding that it was really no one else's business what she did, she dropped onto her knees and crawled out from what had become her home in the however many days it had been since they'd arrived. The cold air hit her skin as she emerged from the tunnel and it felt nice to breathe in the fresh air compared to what it was like underground. She stepped away from the entrance of the tunnel and sat on the bank of the river, taking a moment before she layed back on the grass, closing her eyes. It was so peaceful and Belle felt at ease, as if all her worries had disappeared.

Time slipped away and she didn't realise she'd fallen asleep until she was jolted awake. She glanced around warily and stood up, unsure of what had woken her. Just as she was about to head to the tunnel entrance, her eyes glanced over a figure in the distance and she felt her blood run cold. She looked back again and it had disappeared but she knew she wasn't seeing things. Someone had been there, watching her.

She hurried through the tunnel and was met by Aladdin. "You're not supposed to leave," he reprimanded.

"Someone is out there," she said, "and they were watching the entrance. I saw them and they saw me."

His expression changed to one of concern. "Are you sure?"

"Oui. But what does this mean?" she asked.

"We are not safe here." With that, he turned and called out for the others, leaving Belle to move away from the entrance and sit against the wall, rubbing her arm. It had been abnormally cold when she had woken up and returning to this place had only illuminated that fact. Perhaps she had been asleep for longer than she realised.

Jane and Tarzan came from one of the rooms while the Beast and Gaston left the room the three men shared. Belle was beginning to see that the Beast's permanent attitude was one of anger, even when there had been nothing happen that could make him angry. "What?" he snapped, his shoulders hunched so that he wasn't touching the ceiling.

"Your issues do not belong here," Aladdin dismissed coolly before turning his attention to Jane and Tarzan. "This place is being watched. Belle saw one person but there is bound to be more."

Jane sighed. "Her training was just gaining progress. But we knew the more she used her magic, the easier it was for the King to detect it," she said, shaking her head. "We have to hurry. They saw the prophesied one is truly here and it won't be long until they decide to attack."

Belle watched idly as Aladdin and Jane began to discuss a plan and Tarzan disappeared back into the room he'd come from. Surprisingly, Gaston came over to where she was sat and joined her. "I feel as if I never see you," he said.

"All they have me do is train and use magic and train some more. I do not understand why I cannot have any freedom over what I want to do," she replied, leaning her head on his shoulder. "I do not even know how my papa is. It has been days since I last saw him."

"He is stronger than you think."

She sighed. "Perhaps it is I who needs him most."

The smell of smoke slowly seeped into her nose and she sat up quickly, looking towards the entrance only to see a small amount of smoke beginning to seep into the room. "Can you smell that?" she asked, looking back at Gaston frantically.

"We need to get out of here!" he exclaimed, pulling Belle up to her feet. He attracted Aladdin's attention who seemed to notice what they had, turning towards the entrance where more smoke was beginning to enter.

If there was one thing Belle realised at that moment, it was that she was not ready to die. "How can we get out? That was our only way!" she said, coughing into her hand.

It was then that Tarzan came from his room and gestured for them all to follow, making them all squeeze into the bedroom. Belle watched as he sunk to his knees and dug at the earth in the corner of the room, fingers sink deep into it before he pulled out a small wooden box and rose to his feet. There was a scroll within the box that he pulled out and offered to her. "Only magic can activate it," he said, prompting her to take it from him, unsure what she was supposed to do with it.

Smoke had begun to seep into the room they were in as Aladdin made his way next to her, making her look at him. "I need you to open the link between the other scroll," he said.

"How am I to do that?" she retorted, her last word cutting off as she ended up coughing.

"You need to keep the image of the scroll in your mind. Focus, Belle. Don't let the smoke affect you."

As she coughed again, she noticed that no one else was coughing as heavily or as much as she was, and before she could ask why, she gave a hard cough and ended up looking at her hand in fear. She had just coughed up two spots of blood. Aladdin saw what she was looking at and grabbed her by her shoulders, making her look at him. "Listen to me. You have to think of this scroll, and with the scroll will come a door. You will need to open that door for us to be able to escape. And you have to do it fast before this poison kills you."

"We're being poisoned?!" the Beast thundered.

Aladdin shook his head. "Only she is. This fire will kill us all eventually, but there is a poison that will kill you soon. If you don't open this link, you will die."

Belle struggled to take in his words and tightened her grip on the scroll as she looked down at it. It was white with black ends and seemed a simple object to think of, but yet Belle could not conjure up a single image of it in her mind. She coughed again and this time the blood landed on the scroll, tainting the white parchment. She closed her eyes as she felt herself sway on her feet, thankful that Aladdin was still holding her shoulders.

"If you die, you will never see your papa again," Gaston's voice said, making her open her eyes briefly. She could see them all watching her, putting their lives into her hands. She didn't want that burden but right now, she had no choice.

With her eyes closed, she began thinking of the colours that made up the scroll. Black, white and now red. She could see the colours moving, the white stretched out while the black latched onto each end, forming the scroll. The red then settled onto a piece of the white, finalising the scroll and turning it into a tall white door that had a black handle with red writing. She envisioned her arm reaching out and grasping the handle, pulling it down as the door opened, making her body lurch forward. A high pitched sound vibrated in her mind before she felt her body drop suddenly, making her open her eyes.

She was outside and before her was a man that held the same scroll she was grasping in her right hand. "It is an honour to meet you," he said, bowing in front of her.

Disorientated, she glanced around the unfamiliar place and stumbled back. Her lungs felt tight and she coughed again as her head pounded with intense pain. The scroll dropped from her grasp as she used both hands to cough into. She heard someone calling her name, trying to get her to look up at them, but she couldn't do anything as her lungs tightened and she found herself struggling to breathe.

Belle was unable to stay standing and collapsed to the floor.