The stories go a little differently.
Small details made important when the ending turns one way instead of the other.
Like sparks turning into bonfires, and flapping wings turning into storms.
The queen triumphant, the kingdom stolen. Ambition and cunning and power rewarded.
All because of one tiny change.
It starts like this:
The Evil Queen ascends the throne, and knows she must get rid of Snow White. It is not a matter of beauty, but a matter of politics–for now, she is queen regent, throne gained by marriage, but that will be taken from her as soon as Snow White comes of age.
She summons her best hunter–not a man who can be swayed by a pretty face and a couple of tears, but a woman whose eccentricity is allowed because of her ruthlessness.
Normally, the Huntress only cares for exotic furs, but for this one hunt she doesn’t mind coming back with a different trophy instead.
For true, the Evil Queen feasts on a princesses’ heart that night, and thus solidifies her reign.
Long live the Queen.
Then it keeps going:
Maleficent is, above all else, a being of magic. The being of magic, even, if she’s going to honest. No other fairies are nearly as powerful as she is, and any other magical being that is more also has far less freedom.
When it comes to magic, nothing can defeat her.
Which is why, when it comes to the little princess and those second-rate fairies, she’s not worried about her curse failing.
What she’s worried about is that terrible little prince she’s betrothed to breaking it.
All curses can break, even hers.
But if the little prince is too distracted by, say, a neighboring kingdom’s Queen declaring war to save this kingdom. Well, then.
She’s not much one for mortals, but alliances have their benefits.
Maybe she’ll give the Queen a thank you gift.
Then it spreads further:
The sultan is a buffoon, so it’s not as if Jafar doesn’t already run the kingdom, but there’s a difference between running it and ruling it and Jafar knows which one he’d rather have.
There’s an Empress in the cold lands to the west, one backed by a magic creature. It doesn’t hurt to be friendly with one’s peers, especially one who thinks so much alike.
And anyway, as royal vizier, it’s Jafar’s job to make sure foreign relations run as smoothly as possible.
The diamond in the rough nearly ruins everything, but the Empress from the cold lands sends… an ambassador of sorts.
When the Huntress is done, she considers her trophies. The monkey’s fur is coarse and no doubt flea-ridden, but the tiger pelt? She could make quite the coat out of that.
It’s not as if the new Sultan minds.
And so the story changes:
The Empress has conquered three kingdoms now, her influence spreading, and it’s unlikely she’ll be ousted. Certainly not with Maleficent on her side.
It’s a large amount of land and people to govern, though no one could say the Empress is bad at her job, no matter how evil she may be. But Maleficent does owe her a thank you gift.
The neighboring kingdom has recently lost their king and queen, leaving only a young bratty prince in charge.
In homage, Maleficent plays the part of an old woman and curses the entire castle.
There is little resistance, with no royalty to stop her; the Empress expands her empire. And she gives the Huntress a thank you gift of her own: a very unique hunt with quite the exotic prey.
A/N: I kinda wanted to do a bad guys win thing… this may act as a prequel for an AU series, though I’m a little wishy washy on that because… I’ve become terrible at finishing my Descendants WIPs and I don’t want to just start up another one, you know?
Anyway, because the whole… different time periods mash up into the present thing kind of annoys me, I was wondering what if everyone was in the ambiguous medieval past. And then, trying to figure out how to put Cruella in the past made me realize she would’ve totally been a huntress and Snow White would have been totes doomed.
And then it kind of spiraled from there because I love political ramifications of fairy tales. Love them.
… This kinda reminds me of my first Descendants ficlet.
edit: now on ao3 as part of Nameless, Worthy (Infamous