"I'm stuck here...again, with nothing to do," Cinderella moaned, placing a dirty hand upon her soft face, staring at the little mouse sitting on the edge of her dresser.
"Aw, I'm sorry Cindy," the little mouse sighed. "You know, we could play a game. I could gather some friends, we could make a dress if you-"
"No that's okay, Molly," Cinderella replied. "I'd rather have nothing to do than have to be chasing around after the three of them."
The girl rolled her eyes as she gestured past the door, which was closed, but they all knew what was behind that door: a bunch of slobs and stuck up girls. Molly, with her tiny paws, jumped from the dresser onto the bed, looking at her friend.
"I can't believe you still work for them, why?" Molly asked. "You have your own house, your own life, with your own prince! I mean, how much longer will it take for them to let you go?"
Cinderella sighed, a small smile coming across her face as she picked up Molly.
"Well, nothing in here is really mine, I should be done soon enough. They weren't supposed to know," she told the mouse.
"Oh, well I think you should just high tail it outta here! Go back to Shawn, to your baby! These women aren't really related to you anyway!" The little mouse jumped onto the girl's shoulder.
"And remember, my name is Ashely too," Cinderella told her.
The curse's break had led to plenty of commotion. Sure, her happily ever after existed, but her power didn't. Already Rumpelstiltskin and Regina were getting into those battles. None of the royals past had ever claimed their kingdoms or their thrones yet.
No one really knew what to do. They were all still in Storybrooke, only, nothing but their memories changed. There were no more castles, no more extravagant gifts and palaces, just plain old buildings, schools, cafes, and houses. There was no going back to the fairy tale land, but there were traces of it everywhere.
Magic had returned, but that was both good and bad for everyone. Rumpelstiltskin and Regina were getting into some nasty things Ashely bet. Molly could talk again, and since she remembered Cinderella, she'd been making herself a home inside of hers ever since. Shawn still didn't know, but the magic in Storybrooke helped for Molly to understand Ashley's new, more modern, rules of the house.
"Right, Ashley, Your Highness," Molly said. "I still think we should leave."
"I'll be off in an hour. They can only keep me here part time," Ashley told the mouse. "Why don't you check on Shawn, make sure he's not making a mess over there?"
The little mouse nodded, and just as the door was thrusted open, she had leapt out the window and was headed back home.
"Who are you talking to?" one of Ashley's stepsisters asked, looking around.
"Myself," Ashley replied with a weak smile. Obviously, her stepsister didn't believe her, so the mouse and Cinderella had to spend the rest of those hours apart as Cinderella finished cleaning the house for her "family."
Chapter Two: The Piper
Magic was back and hallelujah for that! Everything was working as it properly should again! He climbed the first tree in sight, staring over Storybrooke. He'd preferred the woods the entire time, rarely making any appearances, but now that magic was back, he probably could again.
His silver flute at his side, the back in black and dark shades of purple jumped from the highest branch, flipping twice before landing onto the ground. His black leather boots splashed a small puddle at the landing.
"Still jus' the same ol' same ol' eh Piper? I mean, really, you gotta branch out more, and I mean that," a familiar voice sounded.
"Me? Hameln, you did not just call me a social outcast, surely," the Pied Piper suggested as he lifted his head, taking off his black fedora with a purple feather on the end.
"Not an outcast, more like...eh, deprived," Hameln snorted before he began to laugh. The Pied Piper rolled his eyes at his rodent friend.
"Now that magic's back it can't be because of you," he shot back. The large rat stood on his hind legs, walking out to see his friend. "And you know you have to do whatever I say."
"No, I do whatever I think is necessary, we just happen to agree," Hameln replied, spitting on the ground. He picked up a stray piece of food and plopped it into his mouth. "Are we hittin' the town or what?"
"Eh, what the hell?"
The Pied Piper straightened up his clothing with a few notes from his flute. After fixing his shaggy brown hair, the Pied Piper walked onto the road.
Storybrooke: a vast town filled with people who've done extraordinary things with their lives. Each holds their own tale to tell. Some still happy, some still sad, all the way the Grimms intended.
The Pied Piper, his tale had two endings. It just depends on who you ask. According to him, well, he doesn't say. He likes to keep people guessing, for he finds it far more fun. With his silver flute, he walked into Granny's.
"Mornin'," Red greeted with her back turned. When the bell sounded, she reacted, no matter who it was, and if there was no one, then she was talking to herself. Oh well. She spun back around, handing Ashley a white chocolate latte and Molly a piece of cheese.
"My my my," Red gasped as she finally caught a glimpse of the customer. "Look what the rats dragged in."
"Ha ha," The Pied Piper laughed in sarcasm twice. Ashely turned, and with her Molly, and that's when they both spotted the large rat perched on his shoulder.
"And Hameln," Red said, eyeing the rat. "Don't you dare make a mess of Granny's kitchen or it'll be you for lunch."
"Relax, I get it," Hameln said, perhaps a little too cocky for anyone's liking. "Just a spot of meat please. Preferably beef."
"And I'll have whatever that is," the Pied Piper pointed at Ashley's drink, then he actually looked over at her. "It looks fantastic."
Ashley smirked and Molly crept close to her ear, snorting as well. Red said nothing this time and went around the back to cook something up for the rat. Granny came from back, just in time to see Red gesturing over to the counter. That was when she saw him.
"Felix!" Granny exclaimed, throwing her hands up in the air, totally surprised. "I haven't seen you in years." She looked at the rat. "And Hameln."
The rat shrugged. Granny greeted Cinderella as well, staying up at the front to talk with them while Red prepared the food and another latte. Ashley and Felix began conversation after a little while before Red came back with the food and charged Felix for his keep. Immediately, he slapped down far more than his worth, telling her to keep the change. Red smirked, finding that perhaps the Pied Piper wasn't so bad after all.
Molly whispered to Cinderella.
"Wow," she said. "I can't believe them. What nerve!" They were ready to take their leave this morning, for Ashley was sure that her "family" had made some sort of mess overnight, whether it was some party or whatever. Someone probably had a hangover.
"Ah! Felix, what a splendid surprise!" another voice chimed as the bell rang into Granny's. Cinderella's eyes widened and Molly stood alert on her shoulder. The Pied Piper turned to see the man walking towards them was no longer a man.
"Rumpelstiltskin!" Felix exclaimed, standing up straight away and faking a bow. Then the two shook hands eagerly.
"Well, now we know what company he keeps," Molly whispered. "We should leave."
Rumpelstiltskin greeted Cinderella and she responded humbly before walking out the door with Molly.