Belle nodded her head in agreement and hoped that once the Queens family was back to normal the story would end and Boots would be back to normal too. 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.
"Whew... all this talking has me thirsty!" exclaimed Belle. "I need a drink of water." And with that she got up and walked to the fountain in the middle of the garden.
"Nooo... Don't drink that water," said the Queen. "The water is what turns every living thing into a statue at midnight. The sorcerer has cursed it." She handed Belle a flask she had in her pocket. "Drink this... It is safe." Belle drank her fill and then told the Queen she had an idea. The Queen listened and the two of them worked on their plan until daybreak.
"Once my friend wakes up... he will help," said Belle.
The clock struck six gongs and Boots awoke to the Queen staring at him. He jumped and dropped the book he was holding. Belle calmed him down and told him he didn't need to be afraid, the Queen was a friend. Boots picked up the book and stashed it in his pocket and then looked around the garden. Half the statues in the garden were waking up now too. They were all under the same spell. Everyone shrieked in horror when they saw the Queen. Soon the garden was in a panic. Belle had to calm them all down too. She was glad to see the lion was still a statue. She breathed a sigh of relief.
Two pretty young ladies came running over to see what all the commotion was about. When they saw the Queen they ran to her and gave her a hug. "Sisters... I have missed you," she said. "I am sorry I ever got interested in black magic. The sorcerer has me under his spell when I am around him. This fine lady, Belle, has helped show me that black magic is not the way to concur the world... Being a good Queen is the only way." She smiled at Belle and then at her sisters. "I want to be a good Queen and fix all this."
The Queens sisters thanked Belle, and Belle gathered everyone around and explained her plan to them. Tomorrow evening the sorcerer and the Queen were to be wed, and if all went well by the end of the next day the sorcerer would be dead.
Belle and the others said good night to the Queen and with a POOF she was gone. Boots ordered everyone to their duties. They had a lot of work to do before midnight. He was a great organizer. Belle watched as everyone did as they were told. With luck they would be home the next day.
The Queen made her way to the sorcerer. She found him in his chambers sitting on the balcony looking at the city below. "This will be all ours soon my Queen," he said. "And MANY more kingdoms." He smiled as she touched his shoulders. "Tomorrow we will be wed and we will be together forever." His voice made an evil laugh as he spoke those last words. She smiled at him and nodded in agreement.
Midnight came and the garden was once again full of statues. Belle was alone to finish the last bits of her plan. She went over every little detail to make sure nothing could go wrong. When she was satisfied she had not forgotten anything she let herself sleep.
The birds sang their sweet song in her ear and Belle was awake. Today she would go home and Boots would be his ole self again. IF... her plan worked. She didn't have much time to waste. She needed to get into the castle unnoticed. The Queen would keep the sorcerer busy and she should find her way to the Queens chambers easily. Belle followed her instructions exactly and before she knew it she was safe in the chambers. The Queen had left a servants garment for her to put on. It fit perfectly. Belle made her way to the kitchen unnoticed and got busy helping with the wedding food.
"Tonight my Queen we will be wed!" The sorcerer let out a laugh that made the Queen cringe, but she did not show it. She just smiled at him. "This is our last night together as sorcerer and Queen... I am feeling in a generous mood. Are there any special requests you would like?"
"I only wish my father and sisters were here to be with me on my wedding day." The Queen said with her eyes down.
There was a knock on the door and Belle walked in with food and drink on a tray. The sorcerer looked at Belle and said "Who are you? I know all our palace staff and I do not recognize you." Belle stared at the floor and did not speak. The Queen answered for her... "She is my new maid. With more people turning into statues I needed someone to help me at nights. She has not been drinking from the waters." The sorcerer stared at Belle then nodded in approval. "Leave the food and you may go!" Belle did as she was told as the Queen gave her a look as she left the room.
"After you my dear" the sorcerer was suspicious and so offered the wine to the Queen to drink first. She drank it and was refreshed. He then offered her some of the food. She ate and he was satisfied that the food was not poisoned and joined her. "It is time to get ready. Leave me," the sorcerer bellowed as he waved off the Queen.
The Queen met Belle in her room and dressed for the wedding. The only thing keeping the Queen sane was knowing that this whole mess would be over soon. She looked beautiful as Belle added the crown to her head. Looking in the mirror they both wondered what their lives would be like after things got back to normal.
The cathedral looked beautiful as the Queen walked down the aisle. Near the alter she saw 3 cages. Her father and sisters were in them. Alive... She was sooo happy to see them but she knew at midnight they would be back to statues if she didn't do her part to free them. She met the sorcerer at the altar. "See my Queen... Your father and sisters are here to see us wed?" He looked at her with sinister eyes and a raised eyebrow. She nodded, "Thank you my King!" He liked that... it had a nice ring to it... my King! They turned to be wed.
That night the whole kingdom was in a solemn mood. They had a new King and they did not like him. The kingdom was not as prosperous since the old king died. They did not know he was still alive and living in a dungeon as a statue.
The sorcerer was in such a good mood he let his guard down. THAT is what Belle was hoping as she filled yet another glass of his full of wine. This time he did not have her taste it first. This was the break she was hoping for. "Have some more wine my King!" she said to him. The clock was almost ready to strike midnight. Belle filled their glasses with more wine and winked to the Queen.
"Just one minute!!!" The sorcerer yelled as he raised his glass. The room was suddenly silent... "I want to make a toast... to my new Queen!" Belle and the Queen breathed a sigh of relief. Everyone raised their glasses and yelled..."TO THE QUEEN!" and drank. The sorcerer looked at his new Queen and stiffened. The clock had been striking midnight as he made his toast. He soon could not move. At the stroke of midnight HE was a statue. As was half the room.
From out of nowhere Boots took a leap to strike down the sorcerer, and turned into a statue himself as his sword blade cut off the head of the sorcerer. Belle grabbed him just in time as Boots fell into her arms on the floor. Belle's plan to make wine with the cursed water worked!
The echo of the clocks gong was soon silent and Belle and the Queen looked at the room. Within a few moments everyone came back to life. She ran to her father’s cage and opened it and gave him a hug. Boots awoke and ran to the sisters cages and opened them too. The whole room was hugging and kissing each other. The two sisters even gave Boots a few kisses. He blushed.
The sorcerer lay dead on the floor... his head separate from his body. He was buried the next day... his head on one side of the kingdom... his body on the other so they would never be joined again.
The sun was going down and it was time for Belle and Boots to go home. They said their goodbyes and headed back to the garden to sleep. "I have so much of this adventure to fill you in on," said Boots to Belle. "But... that is a story for another day." He yawned and pulled out the book. He and Belle held the book as they fell fast asleep.
Belle rubbed her eyes. She was sleeping next to Boots. But he was different now... His hat was not on his head. She was sleeping in her own bed. At her side was a book. The title of the book was Belle-n-Boots. Oh.. It was all just a dream. She petted Boots and gave him a hug. He snuggled up next to her and purred to his little hearts content.