Flash back to Fairy Tale Land where we find Belle way back where we left her in the season 1 episode, “Dreamy”. She’s having an ale in a pub when she overhears some men talking about hunting down a vicious beast. After a talk with Dreamy—he hasn’t become Grumpy quite yet—about how she’s always dreamed of adventure, she decides to sign herself up. The life of a rough-and-tumble adventurer is new to her, but she’s able to apply her wits and love of books to help track down the vicious, fire-breathing Yaoguai. Too bad her dim-witted cohorts have no interest in listening to a girl who gets ideas out of books. So, she leads them astray and decides to go after the creature herself. That turns out to be a bad idea when the Yaoguai is more fearsome than she bargained for. Luckily, the warrior Mulan has been hunting the creature herself and saves Belle, but the creature escapes. Mulan’s also there later to protect Belle when her former travelling companions—who didn’t like being sent on a wild goose chase—threaten to drop her down the town well.
Back in Storybrooke, Belle is working in the library when a familiar man walks in. It’s Hook! He was able to get Archie to tell him about how Mr. Gold cares for Belle, and now Hook’s plotting to use her to get to him. As he chases after her, Hook reveals that Gold, as Rumplestiltskin, murdered his former wife, the woman he loved. Belle refuses to believe the vengeful pirate and escapes into the elevator to call Mr. Gold for help. She stays there until Gold arrives to save her, but when they return to his shop they find it smashed and the shawl he needs to leave town is stolen. Gold gives her a gun to protect herself and storms off to find Hook. But before he can leave, Belle asks him to promise her that he only goes after Hook to get the shawl back, not for revenge. On a nearby rooftop, Mr. Smee brings the shawl to Hook as he looks on, glad to have his crocodile trapped in Storybrooke.
In Fairy Tale Land, Mulan is convinced that Belle can help her track and kill the Yaoguai. Soon enough, they find the creature burning crops in some sort of strange pattern. Mulan is convinced that the beast is nothing but a creature of destruction, but Belle thinks there may be something more to it. She’s concocted a plan to stop the Yaoguai, and Mulan trusts her to carry it out, even letting her borrow he precious sword. Belle gets the creature’s attention and it chases after her into the nearby village, where she uses the sword to cut down a water tower, showering the beast. With its flames doused, it falls to the ground, weakly scratching at the dirt. Then Belle realizes it’s writing “save me.” She puts away the sword and instead pulls out some fairy dust her friend Dreamy gave to her. She sprinkles it on the Yaogaui and it transforms into Prince Philip! He had been cursed by Maleficent and Belle saved him. He thanks her profusely and resumes his quest to save Aurora, but Belle heads off on her own quest to redeem Rumplestiltskin. Unfortunately, she stumbles right into The Evil Queen and her guards. Regina takes Belle away to be locked in her tower, a chess piece to be used against The Dark One.
Against Mr. Gold’s wishes, Belle goes after Hook and the shawl. She manages to discover Hook’s ship, The Jolly Roger, floating invisibly on the Storybrooke docks and steps aboard. She finds Archie and sets him free, then goes looking for the shawl. She finds it, in Hook’s hand! He chases after her, but once again Mr. Gold is there, and this time gets his hands, or, well, cane, on Hook. He’s ready to rip the pirate’s heart out, but Belle stops him. Maybe she really has made him a better man. Gold tells Hook to sail away or he WILL kill him. Then he and Belle head for the town line. Gold enchants the shawl and steps over the line. But just as he does, Hook appears with a gun and shoots Belle in the stomach, sending her teetering over the town line. The magic takes hold and she forgets everything about her real identity. Mr. Gold is heartbroken and furious and prepares to hurl a magic fireball at Hook when a car comes down the road from outside of town and hits Hook before crashing! Someone from the outside world has found Storybrooke!