Beasts and Roses
by Amy Smift
The Beast doesn't ask for one of his daughters, merely tells him he will never leave. The merchant is numb as he is shown his bedchamber, the dining room, the library. Finally the Beast stops at a carved wooden chest, dark near to black, and withdraws two mirrors.
He hands one to the merchant. It is silver, finely made, but not extraordinary. The merchant is surprised to see that he does not already look older, more haggard.
The Beast offers him the other mirror. As they exchange them he sees that it is, unusually, gold. Then he nearly drops it in shock: the face looking back at him is not his own, but the Beast's.