Sunlight, warm and unfiltered shined down upon him in the purest form, unlike anything he'd been used to for years past, warming his skin while he walked easily through the slightly crowded streets. The large, empty hallways of the castle had always been kept shrouded in darkness, the curtains pulled tight to shut out any possible light besides that created by the torches. He'd had something to hide then, something to be repulsed by, but now, here, in this moment, he had nothing to be ashamed of; to be frightened of. Before, he would have never dared step foot in the streets of the small town edging the forest, never ventured from the protection his desolate castle provided, but today was a different day. Today his gait was confident, a smirk playing at his generally stern mouth, while his eyes held a slight amazement as he took in the friendly faces that filled the quaint little streets. In a way he still couldn't believe this was honestly happening, as nothing extravagant had happened to bring about this change. He hadn’t gone to any great lengths to break the curse; in fact, he'd all but given himself up for a lost cause. And yet, here he was, perfectly human, perfectly normal, and perfectly accepted. He still half expected them to run in fear, scream in terror, or attempt to kill him where he stood, but the only looks he received were ones of curiosity as he had not been known to the people of the town; even before he had shunned all living and receded into darkness.
He pushed a long strand of his slightly unkempt hair out of his crystal blue eyes, catching his reflection in each shop window that he passed, receiving a slight jolt of elation each time as he realized that the most hansom fellow staring back at him was indeed himself. He had no aim for stepping foot in the town save for simply wanting to make sure that this was not in fact a dream. He wanted to bask in the light and the freedom of being human, something he had never appreciated until this very moment. He wished for nothing more than to enjoy the day without having any worry about whether or not his appearance would cause uproar amongst the town’s people. He had no idea where his feet led him, simply that they led him towards something that was unknown and slightly new to him. Within moments he had slowly made his way towards the center of town, where several little booths had been set up to sell wares that could not be purchased within the permanent shops that could be found down every street that one passed. The little cloth covered booths were circled around a most extravagant stone fountain, of which many small children stood looking down into its depths, wishing away their small hearts and hoping to be able to play in it to cool off on this rather warm day. He came to a slow stop at the edge of the fountain, his eyes flicking upward for a few moments to take in the water flowing from the top and the beautiful structure.
He had been most unaware of the children playing with a make shift ball several yards away until the rolled up bunch of fabric was collided with his leg, pulling his attention away from the beauty of the fountain, and then rolled away towards the children once more. His reaction was instantaneous; his mood changing so suddenly. So easy was it to slip back into his old temperament that he didn’t even notice until he’d turned and begun to growl out a strict ‘watch it’, his face contorted in the first shade of rage, until he caught himself. It shocked him how easy he could still lose his temper, even though he had shed the monstrous beast’s form. His lips pursed, forming an impressively straight line as he quickly turned back to the fountain and looked down at the surface of the clear water, at a face he’d never thought he’d set eyes upon ever again.