Chapter 28

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The Enchanted Forest Many Years Ago

Gracie's legs ached from running and the tips of her blue dress became muddy. She no longer looked like the perfect princess she was supposed to be. Somewhere along the way Gracie had lost her shoes and didn't turn back to find them. She slowed to a walk as she spun in a circle to gather her surroundings. Nothing was familiar to her, she was surrounded by trees and only trees. Gracie slumped down against a tree feeling defeated. She couldn't return home to Snow and Charming, they were probably ashamed of what Gracie had done, and she couldn't go to Regina's for she must be mad at Gracie as well. A stray tear ran down Gracie's cheek as she debated what to do. She thought about going to Belle, but decided she'd rather be alone than mess more things up.

The chilly air made Gracie shiver, causing her to regret wearing a sleeveless dress. She held out her hands and sighed in relief as her cape appeared in them. The hood covered her dirty curls and bright, green eyes. She felt warmer now that her arms weren't exposed to the frosty wind. It had began raining as the young girl sat there, waiting for her to make up her own mind. The rain soon became snow, and the snow soon began sticking to the cold ground. Gracie stood up, wincing as her sore muscles stretched from sitting for so long. She decided her dress wasn't suitable for the weather and easily changed her outfit. She was pleased with her leggings and leather shirt, the cape still draped over her shoulders, and boots. She felt even warmer now and could actually feel her feet. However the rest of her felt numb. Not in the way where your body feels so cold you can barely move your fingers. No, this was the numbness you felt when your world was breaking. Gracie thought she finally had a perfect family. She was wrong. She ruined it. Whoever was taunting her ruined it. Another tear rolled down her cheek.

"Little girl?" Gracie jumped and turned around, a fireball ready just in case, "Woah, woah I'm not trying to hurt you."

The stranger wore a cape just like Gracie, except the strangers was red. She pulled back her hood and revealed her beautiful, brown locks. Gracie watched her sharp movements, observed how the stranger took everything cautiously. Gracie knew right away that this woman's senses were sharper than a normal person.

"You're a wolf," Gracie blurted out, the fireball in her hand going out.

"And you are Gracie." The stranger received a harsh glare from the young girl, "Snow and I are good friends. You look a lot like her."

"You know my mother?" Gracie asked, realizing this was a stupid question.

"Yes I do. I was supposed to take care of you until it was time to return to your parents, but the Evil Queen had already gotten to you. I joined your parents on many quests to come get you."

Gracie suddenly felt connected to this woman. They'd never met before but this stranger cared about Gracie.

"I'm Red by the way," the stranger finally announced her name.

There was no need for Gracie to introduce herself.

"I have one question for you Gracie." Gracie tilted her head, "Why are you out here and not with your parents?"

Gracie sighed, "I disappointed them. Made a fool of myself at my own very first ball."

"Oh, Gracie," Red laughed, "You could never disappoint them. All they've ever wanted was to have their little girl. Now they have you and they wouldn't want to loose you for anything. They understand you weren't raised by the greatest influence, but that isn't your fault. And I know you are a little fighter just like both of your parents."

Gracie smiled up at Red. She realized she was overreacting, she had to get back home to her parents. That was where she belonged.

"I have to get home," Gracie said, "You're right."

"Then lets get you home." Red smiled down at the small child, "I have been meaning to stop by and see Snow anyway."

Gracie suddenly felt a strange feeling. The feeling had stopped her in her tracks. Something wasn't right, and she had a feeling she knew what is was. Red looked at Gracie with concern, but she ignored it. She held out her hand and watched as a small mirror appeared in it. Gracie held the mirror up to her face, not wanting to see who was behind the glass. But she knew this person was the reason she felt that something was wrong.

"Gracie," Regina's voice flooded the forest, "I knew you'd break out that old mirror."

Red stood behind Gracie, catching Regina's eye for a split second.

"Why are you with the wolf?"

"Why do you have my parents?"

Regina laughed, "You are a smart child. Can't keep anything from you. Well, my sweet little girl, I'd like to make you an offer."

Gracie didn't respond and Regina took that as a sign to continue, "You come back with me and I'll free your parents. Go against my wishes and you won't have them anymore."

"Why are you like this?" Gracie screamed at the little image, "If you loved me you wouldn't do this."

"I'm doing this because I love you." Regina's face displayed pain for just a second, "I can't live without you Gracie. I'd be all alone."

Gracie threw the mirror at a near by tree, Red jumping back to avoid the child's out lash, and watched as it shattered into little slivers. Gracie turned to Red, a tear building up in her green eyes.

"What do I do?"

"We're going to get your parents back," Red said confidently.

A/N

Another short chapter and it's kind of crappy but I've been very busy. I try to update as much as I can but between school and hospital visits it's hard 😥 Don't forget to vote and comment! I love reading all of your comments!!

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