-Chapter 3-

It is peaceful this night, Lucas gets his own room with his own bed and at that pisoint he doesn't even care if it's smaller than he's used to, he's just glad he has a bed and isn't chained to the wall.

His father was ruthless, Lucas has always know, but he's never been on te receiving end of his cruelty, not like this. He'd left Lucas down in the dankest part of the dungeon, chained to a wall without food or water. He'd be lucky if there was a rainstorm and a few drops of water managed to drip from the ceiling and into his mouth, but this happened only once. He remembered the first night falling asleep, his arms burning as they were stretched as far as the would go, his neck stiff because they had secured his horns to the wall to make sure he wouldn't escape. His feet and tail were also bound. Everything hurt and yet he was still able to sleep. Well he called it sleep, he was actually passed out from bloodloss and hunger. He woke sometime that night to see his father leering over him.

"What have you done with him?" He demanded, hitting him with the blunt end of his sword.

Lucas couldn't even form a coherent thought much less answer him.

"What have you done with my son!" The king shoved the blade deep within Lucas's hide.

Lucas let out an animalistic howl. "I. Am. Your. Son." He breathed, struggling to get the words out.

"You lie!" He twisted the blade. Lucas screamed begging his father to stop, but the king did not.

It wasn't long after that that the king realized that Lucas healed incredibly fast and decided to experiment. He would cut him very deep and the wound woud stitch itself back together in a matter of moments, but if he kept something in the wound it would continue to bleed. This discovery pleased him to know end and at one point he decided to drain Lucas of blood and see if he could recover from that.

He could, so the king did it again.

When he was alone in the cell he would hallucinate, he would see his father when he wasn't actually there. It was almost as terrifying as the real man.

Almost.

Lucas remembered his father leaning over him with the glowing red tip of a sword he had shoved in a fire. It was coming close and closer to his eye. Lucas screamed and struggled but it did no use. His father just smiled and laughed.

"NOOO!" Lucas sceams and bolts out of bed, his breathing heavy and labored. He can still feel the phantom pain in his left eye. Never had anything in his life compared to that agony.

"I'm sorry."

Lucas jumps out of his skin. He isn't alone in his room. Sitting in a chair by the window is a hunched and cloaked figure. Lucas recognizes her as the witch from before, only this time when she raises her head, her skin is free of wrinkles. Her violet eyes twinkle in the dim light of the room and her hair cascades down her back in glorious red waves.

"I'm sorry." She repeats. "I didn't mean for that to happen with your father."

He doesn't say anything, just stares at her.

"I would say you deserve it, but no one deserves that. I'm sorry." She really does look sorry.

"Then why don't you change me back?"

The witch shakes her head sadly. "I'm afraid I can't. Only you can break the curse."

Lucas hangs his head. "And how exactly do I do that?"

"You must find someone to see past your appearance and fall in love with who you are."

Lucas laughs. "Who I am? I am a monster. You made that quite clear. This is impossible."

"No. It's not impossible. I am teaching you to love." She says it simply.

"So all I have to do is fal in love with someone and make them love me?" He asks, the task can never be completed. He is doomed.

"And prove it with a kiss." She smiles. "I know you can do it Lucas. Here." She pulls out the rose. "You have two years, when the last petal falls you will be stuck like this forever."

Lucas grabs the rose wanting nothing more than to rip it to shreds, but instead he places it on his bedside table.

"Also, I have this for you." She pulls out another object. "It is a mirror. It will allow you to see anyone you wish by saying there name."

Lucas takes that one as well. "There is no one I wish to see." And sets it next to the rose.

"This task is possible, do not give up hope." The witch smiles and stands. Wind begins to swirl around her, billowing her cloak until she is completely engulfed by it. Lucas watches in fascination as she dissapears into the nothingness.

"Maria!" He cries, sprinting to the next room. "Maria!" He bangs loudly on her door.

The door creaks open slowly. "What?" She rubs the sleep out of her eyes.

"You said you loved me, right?"

She blushes and looks away.

"Do you?" He presses.

"Yes."

He lets out a breath, relief seeping through him. "Then will you kiss me?"

She looks startled. "What?" Her eyes are wide.

"Will you kiss me?"

Bewlidered, Maria leans forward. Lucas bends down and their lips meet, it was a sweet chaste kiss.

And it does absolutely nothing.

Lucas looks down, but he is still covered in hair, his hands are still claws, and he still has a tail, he could feel it wagging. "I don't understand..." That should have worked Is Maria lying? But then why would she kiss him if she is?

Maria smiles. "You know, you aren't that different."

"Excuse me?"

"You may be covered in hair, but you are still the handsome prince I fell in love with."

Lucas is shocked. How can she say that? He is a repulsive beast with fangs and horns. What can she possibly be saying?

"Do you want to sleep in here tonight?" She wraps her hands around his shoulders.

Numbly Lucas follows her inside and lays down next to her in bed. He knows she is removing his clothing, but he can't feel it. His entire body is numb and he realizes something as she pulls off her nightdress and drapes herself over his chest.

He doesn't love her.