“Take Regina at her word *at your peril*,” Rumpelstiltskin said, jabbing a finger towards her. “Where did *she* get it?”
“Tavish didn’t know or care. He didn’t know it wasn’t a real reward. Why should he?” Belle kept to herself the suspicion that Regina had been mocking the man with his fool’s gold. She had no proof of that.
“And to what punishment did you sentence the man who beats his wife, hmm?” Rumpelstiltskin leaned forward still further, beckoning for the information.
“A cell,” Belle told him, trying to keep what remained of her composure. “Until he’s sober. Next market day we’ll decide what to do with him.”
“Well, that’s something I suppose,” Rumpelstiltskin said, throwing himself back in the seat and spreading himself again, feigning that elegant ease again. “A dry cell is a torture for a drinking man. Assuming it doesn’t kill him, what will you do? Send him home to his wife and ask him nicely not to strike her again?”
In truth, Belle preferred his cool amusement at her expense to the explosion of rage that she had been expecting about Regina and the gold coin. Preferred it, but did not *like* it one little bit.
“It’s not for me to decide his fate,” she answered, and went back to looking out of the window. “I’ll try to make sure that his wife and daughters are safe, instead.”
“I can still turn him into a snail. Something furry for your pretty cat to hunt?”
“Please yourself.” Folding his arms, Rumpelstiltskin followed her example and avoided looking at her for the rest of the journey.