Heartless CHAPTER 4
Regina was still fuming.
Who would dare to steal from her? Who would even know what to look for?
This breaking-in was more than just someone committing a crime, this was personal and it was about the curse. But as far as she knew nobody knew about the curse but her. She sometimes had a bad feeling about Gold, after all, he was the one who created the curse and he was an infamous cheater and master of manipulation. But it’s been more than a decade now and Gold has never made any indications that he knew.
But the curse – like every curses – was unpredictable in many ways and when Regina cast it she couldn’t be sure what would happen. One moment she was in Snow White’s castle, the next she woke up in a luxurious bed in a big house and she knew that she was the all powerful mayor of a small town in Maine. But she also knew that before that she used to be an all powerful Queen in a magical realm. Sometimes her old memories faded out though, especially her knowledge about magic. There were a few things that were transported here in their original form: magical things, like her vault, Maleficent, her apple tree, and a case of other powerful objects. Some of those she had already used, others she kept for later occasions. It was strange that these objects were the ones she sometimes forgot and that’s why she made blueprints and maps of the buildings where she guarded these things.
If someone found them, that could be catastrophic. Could be, because there was a chance that people wouldn’t even see the magic, just like nobody realized that they were frozen in time. That was the strangest thing that came with the course, that nothing ever changed. It didn’t mean that nothing happened, though: people lived their lives, children went to school, adults changed jobs, had relationships, there were crimes committed and so on, but at the end everyone was back at the start and they never realized that. So maybe they wouldn’t realize an enormous dragon in the basement of a town-building, either, but she couldn’t be sure of that.
Despite everything, she had things to do, a town to lead and she was on her way to the judge’s office when she ran into Graham.
“Miss Mills” he greeted her with a nod.
“Sheriff” she acknowledged. “Are there any news?”
He looked around first and started to talk only when he saw that there was nobody else in the street.
“Actually, there are. Would Mr. Gold have any reason to want to steal those blueprints?”
“Why? Does he have them?”
“I don’t think so, but I think I know who does and I also think that Mr. Gold was the insigator.”
“The bastard” Regina cursed. “So, you can get them back?”
“I’m just heading out that way, we’ll see.”
“You make sure, you do. This is very important to me.”
“Yes, Ma’am” Graham said.
For some reason, he always fell back to formalities when she was harsh to him and she has been harsh this whole day, so far. She realized though that she wasn’t actually angry at him right now. Probably everybody else in town, but at the moment Graham was the only one who was helping her.
“Thank you for your help” she said more kindly and she could detect actual surprise in the man’s eyes at that. “I know I was rude this morning, but I was very nervous.”
“I can understand that, don’t worry about it” he said with that silly half-smile of his that reminded her why she wanted him in her bed in the first place.
He was ruggedly handsome and his body was lithe but hard with muscle that was earned by a lifetime of roaming the woods and not by artificial work-out. Finding the blueprints was very important, but suddenly she thought that she also needed something to lose the tension. And sex with Graham was a very easy way to do that.
“Come on” she said. “Let’s have an early lunch together at your office.”
They were only a few blocks from the sheriff’s department and she quickly led the way there.
“Really?” Graham asked, raising an eyebrow. “I thought you needed me to find your things” Graham tried to protest but she shushed him and pulled him after herself.
“I do, but I need other things too” she said suggestively.
She could barely wait out until he opened the door and let them in, then pulled down the blinds. That made the office totally dark, so he turned on the lamp on the desk.
Regina huddled up to his back, embracing his waist.
“I’m sorry for how I behaved” she whispered in his ear, then kissed his neck.
“I forgive you just this once” he said.
As he did a thousand times before and as he would a thousand times more. Regina was prone to relieve every tension using the sheriff as her punching bag. It was exactly the same as in the other world, only that there she used physical abuse more than verbal. And over there she never said sorry.
Graham turned without moving out of Regina’s embrace and he kissed her gently on the cheek. Regina turned with the kiss and the next moment their mouths met passionately.
It was so different now. In fact, Graham never initiated their encounters, but when Regina reached out for him, he was always eager and very active. She could feel his hands all over her body, on her breast, on her back, then they moved lower. Regina moaned when Graham started to caress her.
In the other world the Huntsman never wanted her, he just suffered through sex passively. Regina knew that Graham didn’t love her, just like Regina didn’t love him but there was definitely some kind of connection between them.
Graham’s hands moved quicker now and Regina stopped thinking about the past.
The sun was going down by the time a group of trolls came back. The Huntsman could hear their trudge from far away – there were five of them – unfortunately the largest group. The wolf raised his head, then sat up and started a quiet growl.
“Easy.” he said and the wolf stopped the noise.
The Huntsman stood up and leant casually against the banister, as if he had nothing to worry about in the world other than watch the floating water.
An older troll stepped out from the woods first, the father and head of the tribe as it was shown by the more fancy furs he was wearing, his four sons were following him with great noise.
When they saw the human and wolf standing on their bridge they stopped stunned in their tracks.
“What are you doing here, human?” growled the leader. “You should have crossed while you had a chance, because now you will have to pay and I’m not in a very good mood.”
“I don’t want to cross the bridge” the Huntsman said calmly and all five trolls looked at him dumbfounded.
“Then what are you doing here?”
“I was looking for you.”
“At least we won’t have to look for dinner” one of the sons said with a grin, showing his brownish fangs.
The wolf understood the threat, jumped up and showed his teeth wildly.
“Maybe we will get new furs, too.” another son added.
The Huntsman made a quiet noise, warning his partner who stepped back obediently behind the man.
“I was sent to get back what you had stolen from the Queen.” the Huntsman said simply.
The trolls’ leader laughed out loud at that then waved at his sons.
“Kill them both!”
The four trolls started to move as one.
“Wait!” the Huntsman raised his hands. “I offer a deal!”
“What deal?” the old one stopped his sons with a raised finger. The Huntsman heard a lot of rumors and it was said that trolls could always be engaged with a good deal. It seemed the rumors were right for once.
“I fight one of your sons. If I win you give back the thing you had stolen. If he wins, you can do whatever you want with me.” He laid down his ultimatum.
“You are calm for one whose life hangs by a thread.” the troll said with some amazement.
“I don’t have anything to lose. Do you?”
“Even my smallest child could beat a lowly human” he declared. The only thing that was bigger than a troll’s body was its ego.
“Prove it.” the Huntsman said with a coy smile.
The troll stared at him for a long moment then laughed again.
“You know what, human? I like you. We have a deal. And maybe I let you live after the fight. We could really use a servant around here… or a jester. I choose Urkh for you to fight.”
Of course it wasn’t his smallest child, but the largest amongst the present ones. Two heads taller, and twice as wide as the Huntsman. He stepped forward with a cruel grin.
“This is going to be fun” the human whispered so only his wolf-brother could hear it.
The wolf must have agreed because he whined quietly.