• Melanie Lambert

Her Master Mephisto

Updated: Oct 30, 2019

This story is my fanfic version of Beauty and the Beast. It has a very unique twist, but the fairy-tale was the inspiration. The greatest insight I have had about this story is that it is not about an evil father, innocent daughter and monster love, rather it is symbolic of the relationship between the masculine and feminine forces within. It speaks of the wounded masculine dynamic that has forgotten the power of love, most often in the form of imprisoning and not valuing our own spirit. Otherwise, it is about a 30 minute read for light hearted entertainment and a timeless love story. ❤️ I hope you enjoy it!

Chapter 1

Haunting, mournful singing could be faintly heard from the small cottage located at the fringes of an otherwise prosperous village. In contrast to the bustling of vendors yelling out their wares and locals competing for the best produce, this house looked dark and isolated like it was not welcome in the vibrant community. The singing, though soft, was beautiful. It spoke of sorrow and hope all at once. One could imagine a being of rare qualities just from the soulfulness felt from the voice of the young girl at the basement window. Her name was Allura, meaning beauty; like her name, she was incredibly beautiful.She was also a prisoner.

Her father was a cruel and viscious man. He got his pleasure from torturing the sweet and gentle girl with a lack of freedom and made her a servant in his household. Allura's mother died many years ago leaving her alone at the mercy of her father. He drank and became violent when angry, which was often. This made Allura almost happy to be able to stay behind her locked door. Solace was hers in the plants, flowers and trees that she nurtured to life, even with the little light shining through the basement. The times she was allowed out to cook and clean she also strangely treasured. Feeling the earth beneath her bare feet picking food from the garden, feeding the animals, holding her arms up to the sky she would spin gracefully in pure pleasure to see the sun and or the moon and stars at night. She sensed magic in the air. The very presence of life in nature ensured she never truly felt lonely.

Her gifted touch nourished the animals and even the flowers and leaves swayed towards her when she entered the room almost as if she was their mother. Allura often sang to them and lovingly gave her energy and devotion. It seemed they adored her in return. Despite being imprisoned in a life of drudgery and service, she was liberated in her own mind and space, always free to dream and imagine a future of dreams alive with possibility.

The people in town pretended to be blind to her present situation, they did not care. The family in that cottage were always judged as odd and they were avoided as if the villagers would be tainted just by being in the presence of such wretchedness.

One day her father yelled out to Allura, "I'll be gone for a few days to get me grog and supplies as the stinking townspeople have run out of charity for a poor person like me. Don't be makin' any noise ya' hear."

Hanging her head in futile despair, she replied, "Yes, papa."

She could hear him stomping through the front door and leaving on the only horse they had; a poor beast driven hard and ready to retire or die, whichever relief came first. Sighing with resignation, she kept singing to what she imagined were real friends in the story books, the few she owned. Her father, being too ignorant to read, never realised her intelligence, just as much as he was blind to the grace of her spirit. The dismal cur had nothing pleasant to notice in life itself let alone in a daughter he was supposed to be responsible for. It was her fault for being a burden and worthless to him. If she were a boy she could at least work and help earn coins for the much needed ale. What was he supposed to do with a stupid, no good female child?

The winter was cold and after travelling for some time, the father was caught unawares in a snow storm. The storm quickly turned into a howling blizzard. He was so cold and scared for his life. He sought salvation at a nearby property that looked like a wreck of a castle. Knocking on the door with urgency, he demanded to be let in. The shaking servants were hesitant to oblige. The father kept knocking loudly and eventually started kicking the door in righteous rage from being denied. Suddenly, a roar could be heard from behind the door even more terrifying than the storm. Blinded by the snow and darkness, he was squinting when the door was flung open. Revealed were a pair of glowing red eyes and a large body mass of a strange beast like shape hidden under a black cape.

"State your business or die obnoxious stranger. In any case you will pay for disturbing my peace."

The gravelly voice that rumbled and echoed through the night was the most horrendous sound, it silenced the old man into a stupor. Perhaps he had finally met a bully bigger than himself, or maybe this was his nemesis, his karma, his punishment for his evil and wicked ways.

All this flashed through his mind so quickly until he could only stutter, "P..p..p..please help me."

The red eyes appeared to narrow at the man, "Now why should I? Be gone with you pest."

The old man started to cry along with his shivering, "Please, please I will give you anything. I will die out here."

An evil laugh followed. "What could you possibly have to incite my interest?" the thing with the red eyes unknown if man or beast said with obvious amusement."Unless you have an innocent daughter to satisfy my need, there is nothing to tempt me in your sorry state. Go away."

As the door started to close, the old man took a desperate plunge to his knees shouting, "I do have a daughter, she is yours. You can have her I swear."

Thinking nothing of the welfare of his only child, he willingly and with almost gleeful relish gave her up to preserve his own miserable life. No remorse or guilt hindered him. He didn't even stop to question the strange request of a daughter in exchange for providing shelter and saving someone's life. He did not care about reason; he just wanted warm fingers and toes.

"Come in then, but be warned old man cross this threshold and a mirror awaits. There will be no escape." The red eyes disappeared into the darkness, the door opened wide.

The strange riddle did not make him sense any danger, his only concern was obtaining his own selfish needs. He walked inside.

The scary occupant with the red eyes could not be seen though there was plenty of light once inside. He had vanished. Somewhere. A figment of the old man's traumatised mind he was not. Distracted by the opulent interior that made him gasp with incredulity, he did not ponder long on the whereabouts of his rescuer. The splendour, the richness of the place when it looked so dark and dingy from the outside was surprising. No one would guess the palace that was within.

The storm could not be heard at all, the warmth quickly spread through his body. The smell of food awakened his frozen senses. His stomach growled in depravation of satisfaction. It was demanding to be fed urgently, just as demanding and purely interested in self-gratification of the old man himself. Looking around where the smell could be coming from he followed the aroma to a double swinging door. Pushing it open, he came up against a grim faced woman dressed in thick grey from her neck to her ankles with bizarre pointy shoes sticking out from the mass of material swirling at her feet.

"The master has deigned to feed you. Here you will find your victuals, then you will be shown your quarters. Please do not tarry." The woman said whilst looking down her nose at him.

Flouncing out, giving him a disapproving glare from behind her glasses, she left him to eat alone without even an introduction. Nobody in the place seemed interested in finding out his name, nor offering theirs let alone asking what he was doing here. The old man was not fazed, he was too oblivious to anything but scoffing down the food in front of him. He did not even wait to find cutlery or a chair to sit. He ate like this was his last meal. He did not have any intuition or enough sense to realise that it perhaps could be.

Wiping his hands on his trousers and his mouth with his sleeve he looked up to see the woman in grey again. She turned and he obediently followed, certain that in such a luxurious house he would be offered superb accommodation. Instead of the main staircase, the woman held open a door for him to enter. He saw a brick tunnel covered in cobwebs housing a staircase to an unknown darkness. Before he could protest the woman slammed the door on him and quickly turned the lock. He had no choice but to climb the staircase. Cursing and barely able to see he reluctantly stepped up and once several stories high he could go no further. Another door faced him. This one he could open however. When he did open it he wished he had not.

Mysteriously appearing out of nowhere, the glowing red eyed beast held a torch and pointed it to a cell. It had straw for a bed and a bucket for a lavatory. So much for his impressive accommodation. Or perhaps it was more in keeping with what he deserved. Obviously the red eyed demon thought it was the latter as he shut the prison door upon the disappointed old man.

"You will write a letter to your daughter, requesting her to assist you here. Then she can take your place."

"But you don't understand," the father whined "I can't do that." For once scared to admit his sins he realised he was in a trap. If he couldn't get his daughter here, who knows what this monster would do to him? He gulped and blurted out, "You see, I've locked her in the basement. Sending a note wont do no good."

With a laugh, the beast said,"How apt, she will be perfectly at home here will she not?" The beast's footsteps echoed away from the cell heard loudly along with his fading laughter.

Chapter 2

The beautiful singing drew a stranger wrapped in shawls. Holding a large walking stick as tall as a tree she hobbled towards the ramshackle abode of Allura and her father. Without even trying to raise anyone at the front door peering directly into the basement window, an old woman tapped vigorously and waved at Allura. Stunned, Allura opened the window.

"Hello my dear. I thought I would find you here." the old lady said to a still shocked Allura. "Perhaps you do not believe in fairy god mothers, so I will merely state the choice I am about to give you and get on with things, what do you say?"

"Oh ma'am I am so grateful to see you. My father is supposed to have returned, but alas he has not and I am unfortunately locked in the basement. Can you help me please?" Allura looked upon the old woman as if she was an angel about to provide a miracle.

"Of course I can help you dear. That is why I am here after all." the old woman smiled. "So tell me, what do you prize more, your freedom to seek justice for the wrong done to you or the chance for love? Choose wisely dear for I can offer both, however only one can be the answer for you at this time."

Allura looked at her bewildered, "I do not understand." Starting to panic she cried, "Please let me out. I had such a terrible dream that my father was locked in cell, held captive. It was like he was desperately calling me."

"Ahh, yes. I know all about that and yes it is true that your father is being held against his will. But what concern of yours is that? What freedom does he deserve when he has denied yours? Surely you can see the clear choice you have here my dearest. What will it be, your justice or love?" The old lady smiled at Allura with kindness in her eyes.

With tears forming, Allura said "I know my father has not been kind, but I honour my beautiful mother and she chose him. He and my mother brought me into the world as a gift of love I feel sure of it, even though it has long since faded for him. Perhaps it has been his way of coping with her loss. I want to believe in that. I will choose love. I will go to him if you tell me where he is. Nobody deserves to be caged like an animal, not even him."

Standing straight and looking the woman in the eyes with courage and conviction, she all of a sudden noticed she was before the woman in the sun, no longer was she in the basement. Before Allura could wonder about this magic the old lady appeared to be covered in light that transformed her into the most beautiful being; more like the angel in white Allura saw her to be in her heart. Her staff grew smaller and changed into a single red rose.

Holding this rose out to Allura, the golden glowing woman said, "Your will to be good and brave is strong, my gift is to bestow upon you a treasure that can only be yours. This rose contains great magic to shield you from any harm and to find true love. You need no gift to see the truth of people's hearts. That you already possess. This rose will be your guide to find your own destiny. You will not find the path you have chosen easy my beloved child, be warned but you will reap great rewards for your service to your father, though it may not seem so for quite some time."

"Who are you great lady? How will I ever thank you?"Allura was awed by the honour bestowed upon her and humbly held her hand out for the gift. Her face lit up with a radiant smile; she received the rose with profound gratitude. She believed whole-heartedly the woman had the power to bestow that kind of magic upon a flower.

"You can thank me by never losing faith and who I am is a manifestation of your mother's love for you though you may have doubted until now that she was still looking out for you. She sent me here to bestow this gift as she knew you would choose to live a life of searching for love. Until later sweet thing, I shall be on my way."The lady started to shimmer and disappeared as if she had never been there.

Looking around at the normal world, Allura found it incredible and hard to fathom the experience she just had. However, upon seeing the live rose in her hand she realised it was real and not just a fantasy. And she knew where to go to find her father, as clear as if she was told. She did not know how she knew, but she just knew. Without stopping to question this confidence in her knowledge, she left food for the animals and watered her beloved plants and filled a bag with provisions for herself and for her father when she found him. Racing out the door, she did not look back at the hovel that had been her only home for as long as she could remember.

The long walk was hard going for Allura, but she kept plodding focusing on each step getting her closer to rescuing her father. Perhaps he would be kinder to her if she managed to save him. She hoped so, though she could not remember him ever being kind to her. Allura often thought it was her fault that her father was so resentful, after all her mother only died because she was born. She was forgiving of her father being so nasty and angry for her being alive. She carried it upon her shoulders as her burden to carry. Never for a moment did she wonder if the responsibility for his behaviour should be his alone. She did not blame patriarchy or God or anyone but herself. She could be called the perfect martyr, sacrificing her righteousness about the fault of others for making herself wrong.

She had never heard the term autoplastic neurosis and would have scoffed at the idea that she was a victim of her father's narcissistic and psychopathic abuse. She considered how many opportunities she had to escape, for her father's constant inebriation made him slow witted to prevent her leaving if she wanted to. But where would she have gone? If any relatives had cared, why had they not done anything? If the townspeople knew of her plight, why did they not save her? No, she only had herself to rely upon and she found a way to handle her lot in life and still have reasons to feel joy thanks to her plants and animals, singing and books. She was content with what she knew. Now for the first time she was walking into the unknown.

Chapter 3

Looking upon the well hidden grey castle that looked like a ruin in the darkness cast by the high trees surrounding it, Allura cautiously approached the door. She tentatively knocked and waited for a response. "Hello", she called. She knocked again, this time a little louder. Then wondering if she should make her presence known when her father is being held prisoner, she decided to quietly explore the grounds for the place her father could be.

A tower was seen when she walked around the side and a wailing voice could be heard. That must be him, Allura realised. Seeing a door to the tower, she climbed the stairs in darkness a little apprehensive of what kind of people lived here and what they would do to her for trespassing.

At the top of the tower, she heard her father more clearly and definitely recognised his voice. She had never heard him in such despair before. Anyone else could be forgiven for feeling a little smug at this point but Allura just felt his pain and wanted to ease his suffering. Reaching the cell she called out, "Papa".

He looked up in surprise and a fleeting look of guilt crossed his face. It was fleeting. However, she could sense his shame for some reason and she instinctively knew he was relieved to see her for a different reason than what she had hoped. "Allura, blinkin' heck you're here. Get me out of 'ere will ya. Hurry up." He kicked the bars angrily and pointed where the keys were, "Over there you silly wench."

Allura found the keys and gave her father the freedom he had sold her for. He escaped down the stairs saying not a word to his daughter like the coward he was. She stared after him with sadness but was not really surprised. What did surprise her was the being that now blocked her own escape.

The beast appeared before Allura without her hearing him coming, her shock at his manifestation was obvious on her face. His face revealed red, glowing eyes seen through a hooded cape that clothed a large, disfigured shape of what looked like a bear standing on hind legs with a stooped back. Allura should not have been scared from his sudden appearance but from looking at him once he was before her. But strangely she was not. She sensed that was hidden inside the cloak was not what it appeared on the outside. Perhaps much like his abode as she was about to discover.

"You will call me Master. Your father has sold you to me for the bargain price of his own pathetic existence. Do not try to escape. I will find you. But seeing as you have nowhere else to go other than to a father who does not want you, I sense you will be happy to be my guest. Do not test the extent of my powers. You are mine now."

The horror of the words pushed Allura back against the wall, shrinking from the voice and all it conveyed. The character behind the deep gruffness puzzled her, the voice did not match what she sensed inside. But she did not trust herself with this, she felt she should be wise to see the very real danger her life was in. She took her courage in her hands and stood forward and curtsied.

"Master." She was too nervous to say what she was thinking. What is your will with me? Why do you want me? I really am not sure why I am here. I thought it was to save my father but it seems not. Who will save me?, she wondered.Hoping to be given a robe if the cell in the tower was to be hers, she was not expecting him to say, "Follow."

Leading Allura downstairs, he opened the door onto a palace. Nothing else could describe the splendour. Allura was mesmerised by the beauty around her. Turning in wide eyed wonder, she stopped short when in front of her was the grim faced housekeeper. Master Mephisto had disappeared. She had an inward smile at calling him so. A winged Mephistopheles he could be for all she knew. But somehow she doubted he could fly, though she did not doubt he obviously had strange powers to appear and disappear and appear at will.

"Come child, I will show you to your quarters." The lady in grey turned and Allura gratefully followed thinking that maybe she would not have to be caged in the smelly cell of her father's after all.

"Thank you", she said quietly. "May I know your name ma'am?"

Impressed with the manners, grace and courage of the young woman who had just been sold into captivity, gazing around her open eyed and innocent of her future, the woman said, "My name is Mrs Marsh. I run this household and manage the servants. If you require anything you are to ask for me. No one else will bother you."

Allura was thankful for the woman's kindness sensing she could be hard and cold. Allura bowed her head in acknowledgment and followed her along to the stair case with what looked like pure gold railing. What kind of place is this, where the outside could appear so different to the inside? Is there some kind of magic going on here? Allura wondered. She believed in magic now she had met the angel who gave her the rose. Checking with alarm it was not visible thankfully, but tucked away in the pocket of her apron.

Mrs Marsh, turned at the top of the stairs and stopping, looking directly at Allura to ensure she heard, "You must never enter that side of the house. Do you understand?" Pointing to the other staircase she could see on the left of the landing, Allura nodded in agreement. Of course it made her extremely curious what was up there. Giving nothing away in her demure facial expression she continued to follow the housekeeper without looking behind her. Ahead were double doors with fine carvings in the wood and Allura gasped with pleasure when what was behind the doors was shown to be her room.

You couldn't really call it a room. It was a suite of rooms and the huge entrance was as large as the whole cottage she had come from. It also had opulence she barely could have imagined with silk cushions of every colour and size, gauze curtains and lush carpets. The light from the glass stained window cast rainbows all through the space and crystal hanging from the ceiling continued to reflect the light in a dazzling array of sparkles and colour. On the balcony was the most incredible garden full of tropical ferns and bright flowers. The privacy and beauty of this balcony alone would have satisfied Allura but the magnificence of the quarters far exceeded her humble expectations.

Walking through the hallway to the other rooms the two walls were lined with endless books. Stopping to look at some of the titles Allura could not pull her eyes away from the splendour of so much to read and the endless hours of adventure the library promised discovering new worlds and characters.

Mrs Marsh took pity on her. "You may use the settees to make yourself comfortable and read dear. But first you must see your sleeping quarters and wash and change for dinner."

With dismay Allura looked down at her rags that covered her almost too well but did nothing to add to her appearance. Embarrassed to appear so in such a rich abode such as this she was wondering how it could be possible to be worthy of such accommodation. At that moment they passed a door to the bathroom and Allura gaped at the size of the space and the opulence of the marble and gold décor.

Mrs Marsh had walked on ahead, Allura hurriedly caught up with her. The next room had an arch entrance and thick velvet curtains that could be closed over the doorway. The bedroom was covered in velvet of purples, pinks and the prettiest blue Allura had ever seen. The softness of the bed almost made Allura cry in delight after all the nights in the basement sleeping in a hard cot, never having the luxury of a fire to keep warm let alone soft and thick quilts, cushions and king size mattresses such as this.

"I don't know what to say other than thank you. I am most grateful for the Master's generosity. Will he be at dinner also?"

"No child." Mrs Marsh said with a sly and knowing smile. "No one dines with the Master. However I am sure you must be hungry after your travels. Please come down when you are ready, I will be waiting and will show you to the dining room."

With tears in her eyes Allura grasped the woman's hands seeking something to hold onto to make sure this moment was real. The housekeeper jerked in shock, then softened and patted Allura on the head gently in sympathy for the little lamb about to be led to her sacrificial death. Then she disappeared with a heavy tread.

Chapter 4

After partaking in the most delightful and therapeutic bath, Allura walked through the closet that led through to the bedroom from the bathroom. Marvelling at the array of fine gowns, fabrics and shoes she found it incredibly difficult to find something suitable. Surely wearing such elegant finery to eat alone is not expected, was it? The answer was found in her inability to find anything as drab as she was used to wearing. Deciding to choose by colour as it all seemed so overwhelming, Allura found a blue silk dress with a stiff petticoat underneath. The slippers to match were also made of silk.

Arranging her hair quickly, Allura was about to rush down the stairs in order to not keep Mrs Marsh waiting too long for her. Then she remembered her rose. Not wanting it to be discovered and taken from her, she put it in the garden on her balcony satisfied it would be safe there. The magic it contained had protected it from any damage from being in her pocket, leaving Allura to wonder how long it would stay alive for.

"There you are. Follow me dear." Mrs Marsh called from the entrance to the kitchen when Allura made it downstairs. Leading her away from those large doors the dining room was at once obvious in its magnificence. Candles and chandeliers lit the room and the warm fire was the central focal point for Allura. "May I warm my hands Mrs Marsh?" she asked.

"Of course you may. Dinner will not be long." Mrs Marsh left the room. Feeling very awkward to be left alone, Allura concentrated on warming her hands and told herself to stop worrying. Mrs Marsh shortly brought in a wheeled trolley containing many dishes covered with silver lids.

The serving dishes and implements were placed on the large, immaculately polished table that already had a placemat and cutlery for one.

"Bon appetit. Please help yourself." Mrs Marsh left the room once more, with a small mysterious smile at the last meal she just served upon an unknowing innocent. Well at least she had a taste of splendour, she thought to herself; as if that made up for contributing for Allura's untimely demise.

Trusting Mrs Marsh above her instinct that something strange was going on, Allura let her hunger prevail in making the choice to partake of the meal albeit alone in such a large mansion. She was used to eating solitary meals but in no way was she as greedy as her father. The food was delicious yet the nervousness of what other surprises were in store for her kept her appetite small. Just as well, for the narcotic in the meal to send her into a coma would have probably worked. As it was, Allura merely fell asleep at the table.

The red eyed masked beast had been watching waiting for this moment. He picked her unconscious limp body up into his arms and carried her up the stairs to his quarters. There he placed her on an altar with strange symbols carved into the sides. The open sky was above peaking through a domed ceiling with the roof open in a circle at the apex. Stars and planets appeared so close with lines of energy criss-crossing across the cosmos. It was a wonder to behold, however the sleeping girl remained oblivious.

The beast started to rumble out words that had no meaning to anyone else on this planet. Allura stirred and saw the beast speak directly to a crystal that shone with a green light from within. It could have been an emerald for all Allura knew but she doubted it as it was so large and something about it made it seem as if it was alive and somehow communicating with the monster. When an implement was reached for Allura was certain it was for her and that it meant her demise.

Shivering with dread she could not move as much as she wanted to as if her body was held by invisible chains by the narcotic. In panic she closed her eyes before he could turn and see she was awake and alert to his intention. Wondering what could possibly save her now she grasped on the memory of the only blessing she had ever truly received, her Mother's love. Her heart filled with longing to see her again and that made the thought of death almost comforting. Realising she was no longer afraid, Allura opened her eyes.

"Master Mephisto, why do you seek to kill me? Have I erred you in some way sir? I would like to know before you send me to meet my Mother. Would you be so kind as to enlighten me what could turn someone I sense is so beautiful within to such evil to murder another being?" Allura's beautiful eyes gazed upon the beast clear and steady. Her fearlessness and gentle voice stopped the beast in his tracks and he dropped the alien looking implement in shock.

The beast let out a powerful roar in anger and surprise at this twist in his plans. How could he look into her eyes and not be touched? "You are meant to be asleep. How is this possible? No one can withstand my potion." He pulled his gaping cape around his body, which had disclosed to Allura the shape of a man underneath. How could that be? She thought he was some kind of monster.

"And why do you call me Master Mephisto? That is not my name." He demanded.

Exerted and still drowsy she managed,"Oh I apologise sir, did I say that aloud? It was merely my nick name for you, I was imagining you may have wings under that cape of yours. Are you some kind of super being like that?"

Almost smiling at the unexpected confrontation of what he appeared like to her, he said, "Who are you to bedazzle me like this with your apt yet innocent observations? You must be a witch to be able to see so clearly beyond my attempts to disguise. Or do you have special powers unheard of on this planet yourself to cast a spell on me. This will never do." Shaking his head, he said, "You think I'm beautiful inside although you clearly saw my intent to kill you? Strange girl, I have not heard of such a wonder."

He walked across the room to lean against the wall in order to think free of her bewitching guilessness. Allura noticed a little more of her surroundings seeing the night sky above the altar she was lying atop of. She opened her mouth in awe and could not tear her eyes away even though her life may have still been in danger. She felt she was seeing the universe unfold before her, the colours and the light mesmerised her glimpsing how vast and endless life on other planets could possibly be.

"That is where my home is." Master Mephisto says to her. When she turns to look at him in confusion he points to the stars. "There, the one that shines green in colour. This piece of crystal is all I have left of my home planet. I was left here by my people, abandoned many decades ago. I do not know why they left me, I was but a youngster. I can live for centuries longer to find a way to get back home if I steal the life force from an innocent heart such as yours...Or I will surely die quite soon." He hung his head and averted his eyes from her. Not that she could see his real eyes, the red eyes were glowing however.

"You my dear have done nothing wrong but I obviously was going to. As disdainful as I looked down at your father for selling you to save his own miserable hide, it seems I am not much better. I felt justified, after all what do mere humans have compared to my people? Most are barely civilised and then I stumble across your rare spirit." He turned and looked at her again and reached for her hand as if to kiss it.

Finding the strength to sit up, her hair tumbling down her back from the hair comb that slipped he was mesmerised by her beauty. He stopped moving, could barely breathe and refused to look away no matter how daunted he felt by her turning cold with recrimination and righteousness. The look she gave him was one of confusion only, her eyebrows raised as if to question him for more answers.

Eventually turning he said over his shoulder,"There I have fulfilled your request. What do you think of that? I have never told a single soul what I am yet I feel safe telling you. How strange." He turned to face her again and gazed at her like a unique specimen to examine. Cocking his head to the side he peered at her questioningly like only she had the answers he sought.

"You wear a mask." She stated. He felt his walls melting, her grace and wisdom penetrating deep in his soul. He felt he was being seen for the first time on this planet.

"Indeed I do." He chuckled. "For if humans saw what I looked like they would know me for something alien or put me in the category of a god because they cannot fathom that other worlds exist."

"You have special powers too?" She asked truly curious about him now.

"Nothing special where I come from, but here I can manifest whatever I imagine. This house I built literally from nothing. I keep it hidden from the outside work by shrouding it in darkness. I can disappear and appear at will. You would call that magic I suppose. I call it using the energy we are made of. I can also speak and influence other minds easily as I have made slaves of all my servants to make them unquestioningly obedient because humans are so weak minded. Mrs Marsh I have deluded into thinking I am a blood sucking vampire and thus she enjoys sending others to the slaughter in the hope it will save her from her own fearful ending. Huh! Yet you..." he looked at her in wonder "You I can not control. It seems like you do not even hear my thoughts I telepathically send to you, not even my deadly poison affects you."

Allura felt humbled and was aware her Mother had indeed protected her with the gift of the rose."No I cannot hear your thoughts it is true. But I can hear the voice of your heart and it yearns to live free of the shackles you have imposed upon yourself hiding here alone and unloved." She said gently and with modesty, yet with great conviction.

He felt the force of her words as if hit by a supernatural blow to his chest."Whaaaat? How can you see that?" The beast raged in torment and fled from the room as if he was the one about to be sacrificed upon the altar.

Bewildered and a little shaky, Allura slowly got up. She peered at the crystal that seemed to glow brighter the closer she walked towards it. She reached out her hand to gently touch it. Surprisingly warm, a tingle of energy flew up her arm and into her chest warming her and bringing her back to her full senses as if never drugged. She felt the most overwhelming sense of acceptance and gratitude coming from the crystal like it was speaking to her.

She saw a grand hallway in the stars where beings that looked like gods smiled benignly upon her. Allura felt so strongly that she was being given their blessing from far above. She glimpsed a world where her Mother could possibly be and certainly where the magical being surely resided who bestowed upon her a mystical rose with the power to shield her and lead her to true love.

In rapture, she continued to gently touch the crystal. Walking back in the room the man who looked like a beast to all who saw him except Allura howled in pure agony, "You have cursed me now. Tainting the crystal with a human's touch means I am forever banished. I'll never see home again." Collapsing to his knees he screamed "Noooo" cupping his hands to his face his wail echoed through the night.

Paling from horror, Allura cried "Master, I am so sorry, I did not know. I surely would not have touched it if I did know. I would not have taken the gift of a home away from anybody as it is a dream I hold so dear to my heart. Please, please accept my comfort for your loss." She begged.

Tentatively approaching him and reaching out to hold him, Allura's kindness was a balm for his injured soul. He somehow found himself weeping in her arms the most unlikely place either would have imagined as an outcome to this nights events. Her intoxicating singing eased his distress. Overwhelmed by intense feelings never before felt he all of a sudden quitted her embrace and rushed from the room. Allura smiled at his departure knowing the damn had burst in his heart and things would not be the same for him now. She sent a silent prayer for his torment to be healed by his awakening that there was more to the world than his own selfish desires.

Chapter 5

Allura woke the next day in the most pleasurable way imaginable surrounded by comfort of plush pillows and satin sheets. With a gasp, she remembered the events of the evening and wondered how Master Mephisto was faring today. I wonder if he will still want to kill me now that his reason to do so has gone, she mused. Not letting that thought phase her she found herself strangely anticipating seeing him again. His pull on her heart was tangibly felt for Allura. She could not deny a fascination for her would be murderer and the mystery of who he is and where he came from. That other worlds existed was not as fascinating as he was.

She quickly dressed and went directly to his quarters to check on him. The room was dark. She entered slowly. A voice from the darkness halted her steps. "Why have you not left me? You could have departed most surreptitiously last night. I would not have been able to stop you. It appears you have rendered my powers useless. I am sure you are aware you are free to go." She heard his voice in the darkness. She could not even see his glowing red eyes. Perhaps he had finally removed the mask.

"I am free to go? But I do not know if I want to." She ruminated aloud.

"Why would you want to stay when I tried to kill you?" He said in a tone filled with regret and remorse yet faint hope.

"Because you did not take my life when you still had a chance to. I was paralysed on the altar and you knew that good sir." Allura's faith in him seemed ludicrous to common sense, but she had promised to choose the path to find true love. Her father clearly did not want her love, nor her rescue. Was it possible her love and filial devotion was meant for this mysterious star man instead?

Allura heard a loud sigh."Seeing the way you looked at me I could not do it. The trust you had shining out of your eyes and the certainty that death was nothing to fear ... Huh! Ironically it was you who paralysed me." He whispered quietly in the dark.

Inching slowly towards the sound of his voice, she stumbled across a small bag that spilled out contents from the top that clattered and clinkered on the hard floor.

In a louder tone after hearing her stumble, he said "That bag and its contents are yours. You will take it and not return to this place of misery. You are too good to tarry here and forsake a happy future for me." He stated this with certainty willing to let her go and lay down to die as he now felt he deserved.

"Master, no." she cried. Determined to distract him and find out more before he could tell her to leave again, she said, "Can you not tell me your name, please?"

"My name is Zoyra. At home it means love and thus I believed I was to be akin to the most powerful force in the universe." Grimacing, he said, "How ironic. Now I see I know nothing about what the true power of love is. The only person who has lived up to this has been you. The way you came to rescue your Father, the gracious way you accepted your imprisonment, the adoration of your Mother and now how you can so willingly forgive me. It made you powerful enough to defy even death."

Despite his identity crisis, Zoyra was in awe of Allura and how she had humbled him in his arrogance and illusionary world of superiority so unexpectedly."You shame me. I have not been what I was named for, I have just been resentful about being abandoned desperate for a way to get off this rock. It is fitting now that it is the case for me with no way home and that you are now free to live the life you deserve."

Allura had so many thoughts racing, but prevalent was how interesting it was that she chose to find true love and here is a man before her with a name that literally means love! Surely that is a sign?, she thought. Okay so he is not a normal man and one I would never expected to want to be with. But I do not want to leave, she thought in silence. Hearing his breathing and certain he knew she was still there she felt along the wall to inch closer.

"Go." he all of a sudden roared so loud it shattered the glass in the windows. Frightened and shocked he could turn so violent with his tone and intention to scare her off, Allura ran to the doorway and down the stairs to her room. Panting, she hurriedly retrieved her rose and turned to leave when in the doorway she tripped over a bag with small heavy items. The clatter and clinker heard when she accidentally kicked the bag was the same noise she heard when Zoyra said that it was hers the items she had knocked over. Obviously he had brought it to her and disappeared again as mysteriously as only he could.

Hurriedly she picked up the bag and ran out the front door wondering where she would go from here. Her shoulders sagged her tread was heavy and she was a distance away when she finally opened the bag. She gasped with surprise when the gold and gems inside captured the light and glistened; the reflection in her eyes was like cascading glitter.

Realising Zoyra had made the question of where to go easy with the wealth he had just provided she could go anywhere and live like a queen with her own servants, perhaps even her own town when she really looked at what was bursting out of the bag. Wide eyed to see such choice for anything that gold and gems could buy she tearfully said a thank you to her benefactor and whispered "Good bye" hoping the night would carry it to him. The breeze turned cold, shivering she wrapped her arms tighter around herself and trudged on.

However, ruminating on her big adventure away from home in search of her father's redemption, she wondered why Zoyra made her leave. It seemed false to her that he made her do so with such vehemence. It would seem strange to return to the ramshackle cottage and the fate she had previously resigned herself to, looking after an old man with no love in his heart. She had always had enough for the both of them; love was as natural to Allura as breathing.

She had sensed Zoyra's need for social acceptance and belonging, his loneliness and she felt the truth of his good and kind heart through his disguise designed to terrify people away. She decided he was here for a greater purpose than to just find a way home. Perhaps it was even the reason why he was left here in the first place.

Why did she care so much? Looking at her rose which all of a sudden had begun to wilt, she realised the path to love was not in returning to the loveless and shallow relationship she knew with her father, nor the lonely path of riches without love. Rather it was the unknown future with a possibly alien beast behind a mask. She loved him! There was no reason why. There was only her now fast beating heart to listen to. She could not leave him no matter how hard he tried to scare her away. Then she remembered in horror, he had said he would die if he could not find a way home...

Turning and running back to the castle, she shocked Mrs Marsh speechless and rushed up the stairs to Zoyra's rooms. She called for him. When there was no answer she dared to enter uninvited she was so desperate to find him still alive. She found the black cape sprawled across the floor near the very altar he was going to sacrifice her life upon. Underneath the cape was the body of a man shrunken and slowly disintegrating. Revealing Zoyra under the cape, she saw his mask was still intact. His large frame had shrunk to the point where he appeared weak and disintegrating in front of her eyes.

"No, please Zoyra, please don't die." She was sobbing now in despair, certain his lifeless body meant he was gone forever. "Please. I came back for you. I love you." She whispered. She sobbed and covered his body with hers not noticing that at her words the crystal starting to radiate so brightly it was humming with a vibration that felt like could shake the whole castle. The bright light emanating flew towards the beast and covered him completely.

He became so bright Allura had to cover her eyes. She edged back and watched as this time it was the crystal that dissipated and the man who was made whole. The singing from the vibrations of the light and power from the crystal brought transparent and shimmering images of a man and woman so beautiful and godly, they could only be from the same place as Allura's previous vision when she touched the crystal.

"My Son," said one of the beings. "You thought your way home was through sacrificing an innocent on the altar of death but it was always for you to find an innocent who would sacrifice herself for love. Your home is and has always been here but you chose to bring a new kind of power and love to this planet. You covered the truth up from yourself in your rage at feeling left behind, but you were never gone from us. You are us. In the heaviness of being in a different atmosphere it distorted your memories. Forgive yourself for not seeing clearly because now you can and you can choose the future anew." The joy and glorious unconditional love emanating from both these beings filled the room like a tangible presence.

Turning towards Allura, the two smiled at her, she felt nothing but adoration for their presence. Wherever they were from, she knew for certain now there existed another world, one she may never get to see but she could imagine how heavenly it would be to visit one day.

"You, my brave child, chose the path to true love and that has been a difficult road, even challenging you to risk your life. In so doing you saved the life of Zoyra. He was about to perish from only the pain a broken heart can cause. Will you consent to be the Mother of the future, a task only you can fulfill? The chance to bring forth a radical leap in evolution has only occurred on your planet once before. It can happen again now because of you."

Looking at each other Allura's expression one of bewilderment, she and Zoyra joined hands as he slowly rose from the ground. His shape became that of a man under the cape, the appearance of a beast had faded and revealed the broad shouldered, muscular shape of a young human male.

"That is right, together, you will be the creators of a new kind of human being. That is your purpose that was always your destiny and why you were given Earth as a post Zoyra. Arise and be who you are meant to be. Always remember who you are."

He stood tall and intimidating in frame once more, embracing his true power he finally removed his mask and dark cape. Allura looked upon the man behind the pretense of a beast and saw the most incredible love mirrored back to her through dark blue eyes. They were electric, the colour so vibrant and bright they were almost blinding. The irises held a sparkle that was distinctly non-human. The tattoo marks across his right cheekbone looked like metallic paint and in patterns of rare beauty. His hair and skin was pale but marble statue smooth, his face was hard to look away from it captured the magnificence of the male form.

She was mesmerised, her lower lip trembling she held up a hand to stroke his gorgeous face just to see if he was indeed real. He was so beautiful and god-like. He pulled her into an embrace. They smiled, laughing with abandon with the happiness of two souls finding themselves in another.

With this happy ending for Allura, what became of her father? He found his way back to the hovel and drank himself to oblivion mumbling his remorse in his stupor. Unfortunately for him he died choking in the poison of liquor his body fiercely ejected. The animals found new homes and the cherished trees and plants of Allura's overtook the cottage and transformed the garden into a forest that hid the ruins of the cottage like it never existed.

Mrs Marsh was let go with the severance pay of wads of her favourite grey material. But at least she got to keep her life, she thought in reluctant gratitude as she was banished from the castle.

Allura and her transformed beast lived in the home they made together, Zoyra taught Allura the power of manifestation and in turn she showed him the greatest creation; the miracle of life. Their love was unending, their happiness unsurpassed. He no longer dreamed of his other home in the stars and knew he was where he was meant to be. He had found his place in the universe and it was with Allura, his beauty.

The rose was kept in the garden as a memento. Due to its magic it lived as long as they did; which was forever. They still reside in their castle to this day hidden by Zoyra's magic watching over their children and grand children and generations after marvelling at the leaps in technology and at the same time sad for the pain in the world humans had created. That they would find their way to love, Allura had no doubt.

#BeautyandtheBeast #poweroflove #fairytale #feminineenergy #woundedmasculine #lovestory

Author & Poet Melanie Lambert

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