The sky reflected the Baudelaires' moods for it was gray--just like them. They were sitting in the backseat of Mr. Poe's car, driving toward the most horrible place on earth.
After a fit of coughing, Mr. Poe cleared his throat. "Children, I hope you know why I'm doing this."
"You can't send us to Count Olaf!" Klaus cried.
"I'm sorry, children, but he is the only man in this city who would be willing to adopt a group of criminals," Mr. Poe said, with a tone of hatred visible.
"Those were Olaf's crimes! He framed us!" said Violet.
"Now, children, there's no use lying about it." He parked in front of the same black and rusty structure that the Baudelaires had lived in only a year ago.
He got out and opened the door. "Don't worry, perhaps Count Olaf has returned to his senses."
"Fyork!" Sunny shrieked, which probably meant, "As if he had any at all."
They dragged their small luggages toward the torn-up house, and Klaus reluctantly knocked on the door, avoiding the eye that was staring at him.
"Orphans!" Olaf boomed. He pulled the three of them inside for a hug.
Violet sniffed. She could smell the wine on his breath.
"Well, children, enjoy your stay," said Mr. Poe, putting his hat on. "You know that you can always contact me at Multuary Money Management."
Olaf closed the door on him even though it looked like he wasn't done. "So...a year is very long, isn't it, orphans?"
"Stop calling us that!" Violet snapped. Just a year ago, she and her siblings would've been with their loving parents, not in the care of a money-loving maniac.
"Gah!" said Sunny, which meant, "I absolutely agree with my sister."
"Ah, so the monkey still speaks it's language," Olaf looked down at Sunny, who was about the size of an oversized watermelon.
"She's not a monkey, and we know why you want us here," said Klaus. "You only want our fortune, which you won't get."
Olaf looked him in the eye. "Oh, really? Because I have many more associates who know everything about you, and all the ways to get me into that big fortune of yours."
He ushered them up the stairs and into the room the three of them had shared a long time ago. "Well, good night, orphans, we have a big day ahead of us!" and with a snicker he slammed the door and locked it.
The Baudelaires couldn't sleep that night, so they cried the whole time. They thought how miserable their lives were, and how they wished the fire had never devoured their home, and the two people they loved the most.
They woke up with heavy hearts, and when they heard the clanking of dishes downstairs, they got dressed and trudged down the stairs.
"Morning, orphans!" Count Olaf greeted. On the table he had set up three bowls of expired oatmeal. "Eat your meal quickly, for you have tons of chores to do today!" He flicked a paper toward Violet.
Both sides of the paper were filled of mindless tasks. They didn't say anything, but sat down and ate their oatmeal.
By the afternoon, the Baudelaires were on Task #7,492, washing every inch of the dirty floor.
Violet covered her mouth after a mountain of dust erupted on her. "How could Mr. Poe do this to us? He put us in the care of the worst man in the world!"
Klaus frowned. "It seems that he wouldn't care if Olaf took our fortune."
Violet was about to respond when there was a sudden knock on the door. She stood up to answer it, but Count Olaf beat her to it.
He peeped into the eyehole and shouted, "Intrude!" he scurried back to Violet and Klaus and pulled them up from the floor.
The door opened. A pretty girl with brown hair stepped inside. She smiled at the Baudelaire orphans. Behind her, was a hairy monster.
The Baudelaires didn't know who scared them more: Count Olaf, or the monster.
Both of them were wearing clothes of a different time. Klaus thought he had seen them in one of his books, and Sunny thought her mother had told her a story about them.
"Hello, Baudelaires," said the girl, and quickly bowed. "I am Princess Belle, and this is Beast, but you could call him Adam."
Violet stepped away from Count Olaf and shook Belle's hand. "How do you do?" she asked, remembering her manners.
Belle smiled. "I'm doing fine. We actually came for important matters." Her gaze went to Olaf. "Hello, Count Olaf. Pretty morning, isn't it?"
"What do you want?" he demanded rudely.
Beast crouched in a defensive position in front of Belle, but she said something softly to him. She pulled out a paper from her pocket and held it in front of Count Olaf. "Count Olaf, you are released of your custody of the Baudelaires, and we are here to take them away from you.
"What!" He yelled. He pulled Klaus and Sunny closer to him, but Beast growled so menacingly that he left them alone.
Belle picked Sunny up from the floor. "My group of friends and I have decided to take the Baudelaires in for protection against you."
"Do you have any legal right to do that?" Olaf asked.
"In fact, we do. We have contacted a Mr. Poe at the bank and he accepted it. He is to be here any minute now."
In coordination to her statement, there was a knock on the door. "There he is right now," said Belle.
Beast opened the door. Mr. Poe jumped at the sight of him, but ignored it when he glanced at the Baudelaires. He stepped inside. "Baudelaires, you are to--"
"She has already told us," Klaus interrupted quickly.
Violet couldn't stop smiling. Finally, they were going to be taken away from the evil count. But her smile faded when she remembered all the times he had followed her and her siblings, and murdered the people who were taking care of them.
Beast looked at her as if he were reading her mind. "And as for Olaf," his voice was deep and furious, "if you take such a step toward these three children, I'll see to it that that would be the last step you ever take."
Klaus wanted to whoop in victory, but Belle's look at Beast was hostile. "In other words," she added, "you will be thrown in jail, where you'll never get out." She gave Sunny to Violet and patted her on the head. "Come along, now, children, we're expected there in an hour."
Olaf was stunned. The children imagined him to be outraged, they could see that Beast's threaten was still clear in his mind.
Belle took Violet and Klaus's hands, and said to Mr. Poe, "Thank you, Mr. Poe." and she led them out quickly before Count Olaf could stop them.
They all climbed into an awaiting carriage that was drawn by a horse. The Baudelaires waited excitedly.
At last, after all these years, have they found the home they wanted?