Beauty and the Beast Ch. 01byRoxyGreen©
The winds raged and howled outside the castle walls as the moody prince glowered at the fire. No matter how much warmth the fire produced, it never helped warm the prince's heart. Lumiere hated to disrupt the master when he was in one of his beastly moods, but there was nothing else to be done.
"Ahem," Lumiere cleared his throat, "Ah... master... I am sorry to disturb you-"
"I said leave me ALONE!" The prince yelled in outrage.
"Ah... Yes sire, but there is a woman at the door begging for shelter from the-"
"Send her away!"
"B-b-but sire, we have so many extra rooms... Surely it can not hurt to allow her to use one." Lumiere, the concierge of the palace tried to explain to the master, but to no avail.
"If you can't do it, I will."
The prince pushed past Lumiere and stalked to the front door. He swung open the door to see a stooped, old hag. "We have no room here. Leave now."
The old woman peered up into the prince's eyes and saw no humanity there. She saw only a beast in the fine, rich clothing of a prince. "You say you have no rooms, but the only ones who live here are yourself and your servants." Her old voice cracked and she began coughing until a whooping sound came from her chest. "I ask only for a room young man. Can you not see I am old and ill and this rain will surely be the death of me."
The pitiful sight of the old woman had no effect on the prince. "Like I said, we have no room here. Go on before I release the dogs."
Suddenly, a blinding light came from the old woman. The young prince raised his arm in front of his face to shield his eyes. When the light dimmed, he lowered his arm to see a beautiful woman. She glowed like some ethereal being. It was like there was a force field around her as no rain fell on her. Her golden hair hung down her back to her waist and her blue eyes shimmered with power. She wore a long white dress with loose sleeves down to her wrists. The dress hugged the soft voluptuous curves of her body and the prince could see the outline of her nipples through the sheer fabric of her dress.
"Prince Christophe," the woman proclaimed in a sub vocal voice, "Your parents died on this night ten years past, but since that time you have forgotten their teachings. They taught you to love every living being, yet you show no love to your fellow man or woman. They taught you to respect your elders, but you show only contempt for an old, sick woman at your door. They taught you the importance of hospitality, yet you turn away when a lost stranger asks so little of you as to use an empty bedchamber for the night and nothing more.
"From this night forward, you will become on the outside, what you are inside. You will be a Beast. In order to break from your curse, you must learn the values you have forgotten: Love, hospitality, kindness and respect. If you do not learn these values, on the tenth eve of this night, you shall remain a beast until death comes to your door. The only ways to prove you have learned is by the love of a woman who is beautiful inside."
The prince was lifted into the air and light came from his fingers and toes. His face shown bright and all those who had gathered in the entry hall were blinded by the light shining from their master. There was the sound of bones cracking as the prince screamed in pain. The light dimmed and Lumiere walked up to his master who had been covered in his cape.
"Master?" he whispered.
The beautiful woman spoke again, "The castle and all its inhabitants shall become enchanted." And with that all the others throughout the castle were lifted up and glowed as they were transformed, though not as painfully as their master. "I leave you with a rose. On it, there are ten petals. One petal will fall each year until your time is up."
And with a final blinding light, the woman was gone and in her place floated a rose. The rose fell gently into the hand of the barely conscious prince.