Belle agreed to help him and proceeded to read Boots the story from the book...
"Once upon a time there was an Evil Queen named Helga. She was a very unhappy queen and she disliked everyone. Even her father and sisters. She fought with them constantly and didn't listen to her father when he warned her of the black magic she was playing with.
"I want to be the most powerful Queen in the world... and black magic will help me get there," she yelled to her father.
"There are always consequences with black magic," he warned her. But she did not listen.
Queen Helga studied her black magic day and night. She had the best teacher... a sorcerer who demanded "things" from her in exchange for her lessons. A lock of hair here, a fingernail sliver there. There was nothing she wouldn't give him to learn her lessons and it was all too soon that he demanded her father's crown. She cared for her father but the dark magic was taking her over and she agreed to the sorcerer's demand.
One night the sorcerer gave her a potion. He told her it would make her father forget he was king and then he could have his crown. Helga put the potion in her father’s cup at dinner. She watched as his eye lids got heavy and his mind started to wander. She felt a little sorry for him, but only a little.
Then... something HORRIBLE started happening to her father... He started to stiffen and turn into a stone statue. Before long his body was motionless. Queen Helga let out a gasp. The sorcerer had lied. He had not told her that her father would turn into a statue. As she saw the lifeless stone statue Helga realized maybe she DID love her father after all. Silently Helga wept for her father.
With her father out of the way, the sorcerer would force the Queen to marry him and there was no one to stop him. He had taken care of her sisters as well and no one noticed the two pretty new statues in the palace garden. His goal was well on its way. With the Queen by his side they would rule the world together... forever!
"NO... I will NOT marry you," Queen Helga yelled to the sorcerer. He was an old and ugly man. "You can't make me marry you.... I don't love you!"
"I don't care if you love me or not... you WILL marry me..." and with that he held out his staff and pointed it at her. He muttered some incantation and Queen Helga became a puppet to his every whim.""
Belle put down the book. "So maybe Queen Helga is not as evil as you thought," she said to Boots. He nodded. "The story ends there... It's not finished. Maybe someone has to finish it for things to get back to normal?"
"I think you are right Belle." Boots thought for a moment. "I think we need to sleep to get back INTO the book. I was holding it when I fell asleep."
Belle agreed and they both held the book and fell fast asleep. When she awoke she was in a garden. Boots was standing at her side stiff as a board. She hadn't noticed the time they fell asleep. It must have been midnight. She looked at her surroundings. She was sitting in the shadow of a large lion statue that stared down at her with mouth open wide and teeth at the ready to eat her. She let out a screech and crawled away. There were many statues in the garden and she wondered just how many would awaken as the sun went down the next day.
NOW what was she going to do??? She was alone until Boots awoke from his statue state the next day. She decided to get some rest. She curled up in a ball and slept close to Boots' statue. She didn't want to lose track of him.
Belle awoke to birds chirping. She sat up and took a look at her surroundings. Seeing everything in the daylight gave her some perspective to what she was up against. The garden was full of statues of all kinds... Dogs... Cats... People... even some creatures she didn't know WHAT they were. She was sure some of these statues were alive at one time like Boots. She would have to wait til nightfall to see which ones came alive. For now she was hungry.
Food was the only thing on her mind now. She needed food. She saw an apple tree at the other end of the garden. Getting up from her spot she walked over to the tree and plucked an apple from its branches. She glanced back at Boots still standing where she left him. When she turned back to the tree a familiarish face looked at her through a glassy stare. It was the Queen!!!
"WHO are you and WHAT are you doing picking apples from MY tree???" The Queen bellowed to Belle. "I did NOT give you permission to eat any apples!"
"My name is Belle and I am here to help you," said Belle to the Queen.
"Help??? I don't need any help!" The Queen said even louder as she raised her staff.
"Please don't hurt me... I want to help you get rid of the sorcerer. My friend and I want to help YOU so HE can get back to normal. And then you will have your father and sisters back with you too and all will be well," Belle ended, waiting for the Queen to strike her with her staff.
The Queen put down her staff and started to cry. "No one can help me. I am a puppet on the sorcerer’s string. I HAVE to do his bidding or die. Tomorrow we will wed and then I will be forever his." She cried as Belle touched her shoulder.
"Once the sun goes down my friend will come alive again. He can help us," assured Belle.
The Queen looked at Belle. "What do you mean 'Alive again?' Isn't he dead?" The Queen looked puzzled. She didn't know about the WHOLE curse. Belle explained to her that the statues come alive again when the sun goes down but turn back to stone at midnight."
"I did not know that," said the Queen. "That means my father is alive? I have not seen him for a while. I wonder why he doesn't contact me."
"My guess is that the sorcerer has your father in a dungeon somewhere, so he can't get out to see you. I'm not sure about your sisters. They may be just be too scared to show their faces around the sorcerer." Belle said to the now sobbing Queen.
"I feel so stupid for letting the Black magic take me over," said the Queen. "Once my family is back to normal I am burning all my books and never touching it again. I really DO love them. We just need a plan to get the sorcerer out of the way."
Belle nodded her head in agreement and hoped that once the Queens family was back to normal the story would end and so would Boots. She had a fondness for the cat. She and the Queen sat under the apple tree til daybreak and worked on a plan to get things back to normal.