"Cinderella Libertine": Snow White, Briar Rose, and Cinderella are having lunch together at a fine diner. As is always the case whenever they meet, the topic of conversation is their mutual ex, Prince Charming. About how he dumped all three of them because of his commitment issues. Cinderella
- Don't be an idiot, Crane. I'm exactly who you've always known me to be. I'm loyal to Fabletown. Cinderella's loyal to Fabletown. The only authentic traitor in this room is you.
- -- Bigby Wolf
Appearing in "Cinderella Libertine"
- Cinderella (Flashback and main story)
- Ichabod Crane (First appearance; dies)
- Prince Charming (Flashback only)
Synopsis for "Cinderella Libertine"
Snow White, Briar Rose, and Cinderella are having lunch together at a fine diner. As is always the case whenever they meet, the topic of conversation is their mutual ex, Prince Charming. About how he dumped all three of them because of his commitment issues. Cinderella seemed especially angered about the whole thing, claiming that it was she who got the worst end of the deal. Prince Charming really tried with Snow White and Briar Rose to make it work, before he was aware of his own failings in committed relationships. But then, by the time she came into his life, he knew he could never stay with a girl for a "happily ever after" ending. Instead he dragged her along a doomed path for his own sexual gains, with her believing she had found true love, until he dumped her shortly after arriving in Fabletown, her dreams shattered. So Cinderella is left being the manager of a shoe store, The Glass Slipper. She argues that she has every right to be "angry", and shall continue to be. Cinderella excuses herself from the table, bidding the ladies farewell as she had a flight to Paris she needed to catch. Briar remarks that Cindy's shoe store must be doing better than she lets on, but Cinderella confesses she's just using the rest of the shop's money to treat herself to a little vacation, before the creditors shut her down.
The city of Paris shimmered in the moonlight. Cinderella, roomed in a high class hotel, confirmed her status over the phone to a mysterious caller. She mentioned making herself out to be a bitter ex-wife with a failing business to everyone in Fabletown, and that they were completely ignorant to why she was really in Paris. A knock on the door brought the conversation to an end. Cinderella put down the phone and answered the door, a look of glee on her face as Ichabod Crane stood before her, briefcase in hand. She throws her arms around him and gives him a big kiss, inviting him inside. Ichabod happily announces that he wouldn't be selling out Fabletown and all it's secrets to the Adversary for anyone else but her. Cinderella corrects him; "Adversary" is what the Fabletown folk call him, loyalists like him and her should always refer to him as the "all-mighty Emperor". They decide business can wait until morning, and spend the rest of the night together.
Ichabod Crane wakes up the next morning to see Cinderella reading over the documents he brought. He beckons her back to bed, but she explains that she needs to finish the work they didn't get a chance to do last night. He still needed to sign one last contract, she says, promising to make him take her out for breakfast afterwards. Once sent off to her boss, Cindy explains, it will allow him to become ruler of the Mundy world once the Emperor invades. And she, of course, will rule by his side as his loving wife. Ichabod eagerly signs his name. Before they can go out to celebrate, Cinderella bids Ichabod to take a shower, so she can be seen with him at his best. She closes the bathroom door behind him, waiting to listen for the shower to run.
Alone now, Cindy's smile instantly fades. She picks up the phone and calls her "boss", says that Ichabod signed the contract and that they'd be out of the room for about an hour.
Ichabod relates the story of when he was assistant mayor to Fabletown, as he and Cindy walk along the Seine river. He tells how Snow White once served as his assistant, just as Boy Blue was now hers. Then one day, as Ichabod puts it, she turned around and falsely accused him of sexual harassment, while he was in fact just trying to congratulate her on doing a good job. It was now clear to him that Snow was always out to get his job, even if it meant sabotaging his reputation until he was forced to resign. Ichabod then switches the subject, he wished to know about Cinderella. Just how long had she been spying for the Emperor? He's shushed, Cinderella asks him to wait until their back at their room, then she'll reveal everything...
When they return, locked in an embrace as Ichabod fumbles getting the door open. They enter, and she locks the door behind them, her demeanor suddenly changes. She pushes him away, telling him he won't be "getting her" anytime soon. She introduced him to her boss, nodding towards the man looking over Crane's files. Bigby Wolf. Ichabod is confused, was Bigby really the Adversary all this time? Bigby replies that he's the lawman of Fabletown, just as he's always been, and Crane just got himself caught in a sting operation. The files he thought were going to the Adversary contained the personal profiles of all current Fables living in Fabletown, as well as all their military secrets and possessed items of magical nature. Crane broke down, saying it was all Cinderella's idea and that he was "just playing along", pleading with Bigby to believe him. Of course, Crane's lie was too obvious since Cinderella was spying for Bigby the whole time.
Ichabod tries to make a break for the door, but Cindy knocks him flat with her punch. She mentions that Crane signed a full confession, thinking it was a contract from the Adversary promising him rulership. Bigby tells her to wait for him outside while he and Crane have a chat.
When Ichabod comes to, he asks Bigby what was to be done with him. Was he to be paraded through Fabletown as a traitor? Bigby tells him that, no. Unfortunately he had no jurisdiction here, and would be forced to let Crane go soon. He makes him look out the window, and tell him when he sees Cindy come out the front of the building. He then picks up a small statue of a headless Napoléon Bonaparte and, when Ichabod says he sees Cinderella, Bigby bashes him in the back of the skull, ending his life...
Bigby meets Cinderella outside. The French police would think Ichabod Crane's death was an accident, the way he made it look. She guesses there wasn't going to be a trial. Bigby explains if there were, he'd have to reveal the fact that she secretly worked for him, something he couldn't allow. At least one of his agents had to remain off the record, that only he would know about. They share a cab back to the airport.
- This book was first published on February 11, 2004.
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