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Tangled by Wolfram-And-Hart


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April 18, 2011
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After a long wonderful kiss, Rapunzel broke off the kiss and hit Eugene with her fist, "Why did you do that!? Why did you leave me!?" she cried.

He caught her arm, the shackle clanking, "Ouch, That wasn't my idea. The Stabbington brothers knocked me out, tied me to the boat and shoved me off. They knew about you and your hair. I tried to warn you but they hit almost as hard as you do." He rubbed his head with his free hand.

"I didn't mean that, why did you cut my hair? I couldn't heal you. You were dying and I couldn't do anything about it!. You died!" Rapunzel was crying hard now.

Taking her in his arms. "I'm sorry, death was better then seeing you enslave yourself to your mother. If you were free I knew you'd be okay, I saw how wonderful you became when you were free. You are too amazing to leave trapped in a tower forever. I love you too much to let you do that even to save my own life."

Rapunzel looked somewhat mollified, "And why did you come back?"

"At first, because I thought the Stabbington Brothers had taken you. To sell you as a slave. I couldn't allow that. I was pacing my cell going crazy with worry about you, how had they known? What they would do to you even before selling you?"
"Then the guards came. They were going to hang me. I just wasn't surprised about that, I had stolen the Crown of the Lost Princess
after all, but as they were taking me to the gallows I saw the Stabbington brothers in another cell. I was so angry at them that I knocked away the guards and grabbed Dirk. They told me an old lady had told them about you. It took me a second but I realized that they must have meant your mother. You were being betrayed by your own mother. I tried to tell the guards but they swarmed me, then the Pub Thugs were breaking me out. Max raced me here to save you. Your mother was betraying you and she would have killed you in the end. I'm sorry." He touched her cheek.

"She wouldn't have killed me that would have destroyed the power of my hair and that would have killed her too. And she isn't … wasn't my mother." Glancing toward the window.

"She's not? Then who..."

"Actually, I am the Lost Princess." Moving some hair that wasn't in her face.
Eugene gave her an incredulous look.

"No, really, I figured it out this morning, because of you really. That little sigil banner you got me helped me remember who I am. Then I told Mother, I was so angry at her I told her I would never let her use my hair again and then she attacked me and chained me up. She was just getting ready to take me somewhere else when you showed up."

"If you really are the Lost Princess then we'd better get you back to the kingdom, but first, do you know where the key to these shackles are?"

"She put it in her bodice, I guess I better go down and get it." She said pensively, looking out the window and then to the hatch.

"I know it must be hard, be brave, you can do it." Eugene gave her a hug. Pascal padded over and gave her encouragement.
Rapunzel steeled herself and went down the ladder to the spiral stairs. Once past the first turn there was no light, she knew it was safe as she had climbed the stairs only hours ago but she shivered remembering when they had been trapped in the mine.

Coming around the side of the tower she saw the pile of dirty clothes that were all that was left of Mother. Rapunzel slowly knelt. Gently lifting the neck of the red dress she saw a glint of metal, slowly she reached in and found the key, she quickly pulled the key out and let the dress collapse.

As her body gave an uncontrollable shake, she heard the panting. It was Maximus, standing a little ways off. He was sweating and panting, his head lowered.

"Oh, Maximus. Are you alright?"
Max's look told her that he was not.

"If I still had my hair I could help you. Wait, my tears helped Eugene, maybe they'll help you."
She thought about how she had lost the person who had raised her, not just to death but to betrayal, and also how she had lost Eugene who loved her in a different, deeper way. How she had never known her true parents and all that they had missed. The tears came and she sang the healing incantation:

Flower gleam and glow
Let your power shine
Make the clock reverse
Bring back what once was mine
What once was mine

Heal what has been hurt
Change the fates' design
Save what has been lost
Bring back what once was mine
What once was mine.

But there was no glow or light, and Max continued to sweat and pant. "Oh, I'm so sorry Maximus. It didn't work, I don't know how to help you."

Feeling the frustration and despair welling up inside her she felt the key in her clenched fist. Looking blankly at it for a moment Rapunzel said, "Oh wait, Eugene might know, I'll be right back." She hurried around the tower and back up the stairs.

Panting herself, Rapunzel soon emerged at the top of the ladder. Eugene was sitting on the stairs to her room with Pascal on his knee. "I was wondering what was taking so long."

"Eugene, Maximus is not feeling well. He is panting and sweating badly and he looks bad. I tried healing him with my tears like I did you but it didn't work. I don't know what to do."

"Oh, no. I think he may have overextended himself, I asked him to show me how fast he could run so we could save you. And boy did he. It was the fastest I've ever gone. Here, give me the key, we need some wool to rub him down with, and some apples would be a good idea, if you have any."

Tossing him the key Rapunzel moved to the kitchen and filled a basket with apples from the barrel, then went to the chest with the winter blankets and gathered those. Helping Pascal onto her shoulder they all went down together.
They found Maximus in the same place. He had stopped panting but was still soaked with sweat and his legs looked like they were shaking.

"Here, take a blanket and rub him down, we need to dry him off." said Eugene to Rapunzel. To Max he said, "It's going to be fine, Max. We're here for you."

As Rapunzel and Eugene rubbed him down, Pascal rolled an apple over to Max. Max just looked at it, but with some encouraging motions from Pascal he took it and slowly ate it.

By the time they were done rubbing him down Max was looking better, but still seemed very tired.

"Well, that's the best we can do for him with what we have. Can you make it to the stream for a drink?"asked Eugene. Moving slowly they lead Max to the stream and he gratefully drank his fill.

"We are going to have to get him back to the palace where they can take proper care of him, but it will take most of the day to get there. We'll have to walk him slowly so he doesn't get hurt. You know, he is a very smart horse. He got the thugs from the Snuggly Duckling to break me out of prison and then ran me here as fast as he could. After chasing me for the last couple of days, I am not surprised he is tired. You're a good, brave horse. Thank you." Eugene addressed Max and Max nuzzled him back.

"And we have to get you back to the palace too, since you are the Lost Princess." Max gave Eugene a sharp look. "Well, that is what she told me, after she brought me back from being dead."  Max gave him a disbelieving look and turned to look at Rapunzel.

"It's true. I figured it out this morning. I confronted Mother about it and she confirmed it."

Max stared at her for a moment and then wrapped his neck around her for a hug. Rapunzel hugged him back. Max began to walk with his head held higher.

"So you said something about healing me with your tears." asked Eugene as they passed under the vines.

"Well, that is all I can think it was. I tried the incantation but it wasn't working. Then you stopped me and told me I was your new dream," Rapunzel clasped his hand close to her, "and I said you were mine. And then you died. I finished the incantation and I started crying. I had just lost everyone in my life, Mother and you. I couldn't fix it. It hurt so much. Then lights started to come from your wound and surrounded us, after they faded you started breathing again." She smiled, but then her face fell. "But I think that was the last bit of magic in me. I tried crying and singing to heal Maximus but nothing happened." She gave poor exhausted Max a rub on the neck.

"I'm sorry, but we'll be fine."

"So Goldie, are you going to go all bipolar on me this trip, too?"

"I don't know. I lost and gained so much in so short a time that I am not sure how I feel, except so very tired, we walked home last night without stopping." said Rapunzel trying not to drag her feet.

They are picking their way around the tree, that normally Maximus jumped through easily, but he was still so tired that they had to find another way.

"So, how am I going to meet my parents? Do I just go up to the castle and announce that I am the Lost Princess?" asked Rapunzel.

"I guess, I know more about the-your crown then about that. I do know that there have been girls who've claimed to be the Lost Princess, but they weren't able to pass the test and got sent away."

"Test, what test?" her hands fluttered near her shoulder.

"I haven't the slightest idea. It wasn't something I needed to know when I was stealing your crown."

"Hmm, well I think the biggest problem will be getting you in, everyone still sees you as Flynn  Rider, wanted thief and now escaped prisoner."

"No problem we'll have Max here capture me and take me in."

"They'll throw you in the dungeon and then hang you."

"Okay, bad plan, but that was just first try, give me a minute."

Clip, clop, clip, clop...

"Well?"

"I'm thinking!"

...

"Ah, Eugene, what's wrong with everyone?" asked Rapunzel as they crossed the bridge into the city.
Looking around carefully Eugene sees nothing out of the ordinary, "What do you mean?"

"The people are all sad and what happened to all the flags and everything."

"Oh, the decorations were up only for the Princess'-your birthday, and since you didn't return everyone is a little sad."

"Should I tell them?" looking around, her heart went out to them.

"No, let's get you official recognized and then they'll announce it and everyone will be happy again. Actually, I think you are one of the reasons that it was so easy to steal the crown. Everyone, including the guards are just not at their best. The heart went out of the kingdom since you were lost. From what I've heard the entire kingdom turned out to find the magic golden flower to save the queen. It worked but for some reason with your being taken it hurt the soul of the kingdom."

"Oh no."

"That is why we need to get you to the castle first."

...

"Ah, Maximus, you got more prisoners. Good boy. You've brought in quite the haul already, can't get enough now, eh?" Called a guard as they approached. 

Maximus shook his head.

"What?"

"Please, sir, Maximus helped rescue me but he's over-extended himself and needs help himself now," spoke up Rapunzel.
The guard turned to the other and said, "Get a stableman, quickly." and the other guard ran off.

"But this is Flynn Rider," said the guard pointing his halberd at Eugene.

"No, no, no." Rapunzel said stepping in front of Eugene. "This is Eugene Fitzherbert."

The guard looked at a nearby poster. "He looks a lot like Flynn Rider. Well, the nose isn't the same."

"Maximus, is this Eugene Fitzherbert?" asked the guard. Max nodded. "Very well then."

The stableman came for Maximus, "Here boy, I'll take good care of you."

"You better, he just helped rescue the Lost Princess." Eugene told the stableman.

Everyone stopped and turned to look at him.

"I'm the Lost Princess." announced Rapunzel.

The guards in their polished breastplates sighed and looked weary. "Very well, I'll get you an escort to the Testing Chamber."

"Th-there's a Testing Chamber?" She asked, glancing at Eugene, her hands fumbling near her shoulder for the hair that was no longer there. She could also feel Pascal's tail wrap around her neck comfortingly.

"Oh, yes. What did you expect, getting to see the King and Queen without being verified first, did you."

"Um, I didn't really know."

The guards shared a glance.

"Do you get many Lost Princesses."

"Oh, yeah. You're the third, no fourth, this month." Rapunzel and Eugene shared a look.

An elderly footman arrived and they ventured forth into the castle.

Unsure of where to start "Hello, my name is Rapunzel. So, what's your name?" asked Rapunzel.

"Um, Edward, m'lady."

"That's a nice name."

"Thank you. Here we are. Please, wait here, m'lady, sir." said the footman, sketching a bow.

"Thank you." replied Rapunzel

...

It was a room larger, and more formal then the Tower, it had a table with chairs in front of it by the fireplace and by the windows several chairs and sofas. Not exactly what Rapunzel would call homey, it seemed so fancy in comparison to her Tower. It seemed like a lot of people could be in this room at the same time. For a Testing Chamber it didn't look scary. There was a guard in the room, different from most of the others with crossed sashes across his chest instead of the sun crested breastplate she'd seen most of the time.

When Eugene had cased the castle when he was still Flynn Rider, he had noticed them too, but they weren't involved in guarding the crown and there just weren't vey many of them so had dismissed them. Now he wasn't so sure that had been wise. This guard, didn't look dangerous like the Stabbington Brothers did, but this guard gave off the feeling of great competence. Eugene just knew that it would take more then a frying pan to take down this guard.

They heard running footsteps and then a young woman in palace livery banged into the room. She curtsied, "Good afternoon, m'lady. I'm to be your chambermaid." Eugene looked her over, there was a time, not very long ago that he would have spent some time trying to woo a girl like her if he had found her in a tavern or encountered her on the street, but now he found her just slightly cute.

"That's nice. What does a chambermaid do?" replied Rapunzel in a confused voice.

"I attend you and can fetch things that you want. m'lady."

"Okay. My name is Rapunzel, what's you're name?"

"Angela, m'lady."

"So what happens next."

"Ma'am?"

"I understand that there is a test to see if I am the Lost Princess, can you tell me about it?"

"Oh, I don't know about the test, but the seneschal will be here soon to talk to you."

"The seneschal is the person who runs the castle for the king." Eugene whispered to Rapunzel. She turned toward him.

"Eek, what's that on your neck." Rapunzel jumped as the chambermaid screamed as she backed herself against the wall.

"Oh, this is Pascal. He's a chameleon. He's my friend. Do you want to meet him?" She held out her arm and Pascal jogged down to her hand.

Angela slid sideways toward the door. Shaking her head. Pascal looked disappointedly at Rapunzel.

"I think someone is afraid of chameleons. Don't worry, about her, the test is far more important. You are the Lost Princess, you can pass whatever test they have."

...

Mortimor Danberry was the seneschal to the kingdom of Corona. He had been in the service of the King for nearly 30 years, and had worked very hard for them. He was a rotund man with a fringe of gray hair around his bald head.

He was walking to the Testing Chamber, because another Lost Princess candidate had appeared at the gates not long ago. He was surprised by this, he had long ago created a princess warning network of observant people around the city to warn him of their coming, but this one seemed to have going to the castle without notice. He had expected one yesterday as there had been several sightings of a girl with blonde hair that had looked like a princess candidate.

Screening the princess candidates was emotionally challenging. Everyone missed the Lost Princess.

He had even lead the search parties for the magic golden flowers just over 18 years ago now, that had been a grand time, he thought. The beloved queen was so sick, and almost the entire city had turned out to search for that flower. It had taken every ship and boat they had to transport them all. And they had found it and saved the queen. The baby was born hale and heathy. It had all been worth it.
But then the Kidnapper took the beloved child. Again he had lead search parties, the entire kingdom had mobilized themselves out of love for the grieving royals. He was sure they had left no stone unturned to find the Lost Princess. He had personally tracked down a every report of an old woman with a blonde baby. There had been one at some falling over tavern with a duck. But it could not possibly have been the kidnapper, she was far too young to have been the perpetrator. He hadn't even bothered to turn back the blanket covering the baby. After a year they had finally given up, but following the queens suggestion they sent up sky lanterns to signal the Lost Princess to come home. It was the knotted end of hope but there was nothing left for them to do.

He shook his head, meeting these false princesses always brought up the old memories.
Suddenly, a chambermaid came pelting towards him. He caught her,"Angela, what is it, child?"

"The girl she has a lizard around her neck and it was changing colors and staring at me." she wept.

"Easy, child, easy. The Testing Chamber isn't your normal job is it?"

"N-no, sir." shaking her head.

"Isn't Keterina usually taking care of the room?"

"Yes, sir, but they needed someone when the princess came in and I was in the kitchen just then, so they sent me." she gulped.

"It's okay. Go find her and have her do her duty."

"Oh, thank you, sir." she got a hold of herself and walked back toward the kitchens.

...

The seneschal entered the Testing Chamber and paused, the Lock Guard next to the door was expected but the girl and her man were not so much. The man looked vaguely familiar but the girl was a totally different matter. After 18 years of blonde princesses coming to to be tested this was the first time a brunette had ever shown up. He was expecting a princess with long golden hair, that is what his princess warning network had told him about yesterday. He almost laughed except something about the way she looked was also familiar. And she did indeed have a chameleon on her shoulder, which smiled at him.

"Ah, welcome, my lady. Please, let us sit together so we can determine if you truly are the Lost Princess." Following the script. They moved to the table, he held a chair out for Rapunzel and moved to the other side of the table as Eugene sat next to her. They shared a look before turning to the seneschal.

"So, when did you find out you were the Lost Princess?"

"Oh, that was this morning." Rapunzel's hands unconsciously reached for some hair to worry but finding nothing to hold on to just fluttered on her shoulder, she looked at her hands and forced them to stillness in her lap.

"...and how did you find out?" the seneschal prompted.

"I was looking at the sigil flag that Eugene here gave me when we were here for the lanterns. After Mother, er not my real mother but, Mother Gothel who raised me, had taken all the flowers and braids out of my hair."

"Aw, those were pretty." commented Eugene.

"She told me again how terrible the world was and how it would destroy any light that it found. and then went to make the hazelnut soup she had surprised me for my birthday. Then I lay down on my bed and was looking at the sigil flag again and looking at the painting on the ceiling of my room and then I saw all the suns I had painted into all the scenes I had painted all over my room, then I had a vision of a sun floating over me and two large people who I knew were my parents and that reminded me of the mosaic in the square showing the Lost Princess, King and Queen. The vision was so strong I stumbled into my vanity. I then confronted Mother, er Mother Gothel about it and she all but confirmed it. When I told her I would never let her use my hair again she attacked me and chained me to the stairs. Before she could finish packing, Eugene came to rescue me. I tried to warn him, but she gagged me and threw my hair out the window so he could climb up."

"Wait, she threw your hair out the window?" asked the seneschal.

"Yes, that is how Mother Gothel would get in and out of the tower, there was no other way until she revealed the hidden staircase this morning."

"You should have seen it, it was a good 70 feet long and as golden as the sun on an summers day." chimed in Eugene.

"But now it's short and brown. Why is that?"

"That was my fault. Once I had climbed the tower to try and rescue her, Mother Gothel stabbed me." showing the hole and the blood on his shirt and vest. "Rapunzel was going to fight her for every minute of the rest of her life but she promised she would go peacefully with Mother Gothel if she could heal me first. I couldn't let her do that, Mother Gothel was going to make her a slave. I knew I was dying but I couldn't let Rapunzel keep that promise. My strength was leaving me I had only one chance to do something. So I pretended to want a kiss, grabbed her hair and cut it with a shard of mirror that was on the floor near me. Then things went rather fuzzy." Eugene finished lamely.

"That's because you died." reminded Rapunzel.

"He died!?" Even Pascal nodded.

"Yes, He was dying, I started the healing incantation, but with my hair cut there was nothing that I could do about it. It had lost its power. After he died, I finished singing it because I couldn't think of anything else to do. Well, there was one thing, I cried." She reached out and touched Eugene's cheek with a tender look on her face."Then light started swirling out from his wound forming a flower and then it faded and he woke up."

"So you're telling me that your tears have healing powers?"

"No, my hair had healing powers, but after it was cut there seemed there was only one last drop of magic left and it healed him. I tried healing Maximus by crying but it didn't work."

"Maximus? I know that name, isn't that the Palace Guard Captains' horse? How did he get involved with you, I was told that he captured a couple of men last night and involved in the prison break this morning?"

"Well, Yes, he broke me out of the prison this morning to save Rapunzel." Eugene added casually. The seneschal looked ready to throw him back in the dungeon.

"Please, let us explain." Rapunzel said desperately.

"Oh, you have a lot of explaining to do, but let's all start from the beginning. The very beginning. The queen was pregnant and became sick. The kingdom turned out to find a magic golden flower that was rumored to exist, which was found and used to heal the queen. The princess was born healthy with long golden hair. The baby was stolen soon after by an old woman, whom we never found. Then what happened?" Asked the seneschal.

Rapunzel began her story,"You wouldn't have been able to find her because you were looking for the wrong thing. Mother would use my hair to make herself young. If you were looking for an old woman with a baby, won't notice a young woman with a baby."

"You mentioned that before. Your hair had the power to make people young?" asked the seneschal.

"And heal." Rapunzel added.

"She used it to heal my hand after I cut it on a rock trying to get out of the cave when the dam broke." chimed in Eugene holding up his hand.

"Ah, hold that thought, make sure to come back to that when we get to that part of the story. So we were looking for the wrong person, where did she hide you?"

"There is a hidden tower, I have no idea how it got there, or why it was built where it was, but it is in a small canyon with a waterfall, about half a day's walk from here."

"Only half a day's walk from here?" it came out in a despairing sounding way.

"Oh, don't feel bad for yourself, it is very well hidden, the only reason I found it was because I was trying to get away from Maximus and I quite literally stumbled upon it." commented Eugene.

The seneschal gave Eugene a look. He kept getting the desire to ask him a lot of questions but determining the claim of this Lost Princess candidate was more important. Turning back to Rapunzel. "And what did you do all this time?"

"I stayed in the tower. Mother told me that the power of my hair needed to be protected, so I could never leave the tower. So I kept busy by doing chores, reading, painting, and doing things with Pascal here to keep each other entertained." Patting Pascal affectionately. "The big thing in my life were the lanterns that I kept seeing every year on my birthday. I knew they weren't stars as they didn't move like the stars do, I mapped them out on the wall of my tower and the floating lights didn't fit anything else up there. And this year I was determined to find out exactly what they were. I worked up my courage and asked Mother, er Mother Gothel, if she would take me to see them, but she said they were only the stars. After she left for the morning, he showed up." glancing at Eugene.

She explained that after capturing him ("with a frying pan" interjected Eugene), and noticing that he didn't have pointy teeth, (the seneschal traded a glance with Eugene who shrugged, and wrote himself a note to follow up on that later) that she would show him off to mother to prove that she could handle herself outside. But that didn't work, so she asked for some new paint, made from shells she knew were from far enough away that she could see the floating lights and get back before mother got back, she hated herself for lying to Mother like that but it was the only way to see the lights. By hiding his satchel she was able to make a deal with Eugene to take her to see the floating lights and bring her safely back. Which he agreed to.

We went through the forest and when we got hungry we stopped at the Snuggly Duckling. He was almost taken prisoner by the thugs there and I convinces them not to, they were really nice, and they helped us escape thru a secret passage when the palace guards showed up. But they followed us. And then some ruffians showed up too wanting to get him. I swung to safety, and he got in a swordfight with Maximus using my frying pan, then I pulled him to safety, the seneschal made more notes, then Maximus broke the dam and we got trapped in a cave with water coming in. We used the glow from my hair to find a way out just after the cave filled with water. We made camp and I healed his hand, he went off to find more firewood but, Mother found me and wanted to take me back to the tower, I said no, but then she gave me the satchel, though I have no idea how she found it. She left before you came back and I hid the satchel.

I woke up to Eugene screaming as Maximus was dragging him away. I convinced Maximus to let him be my guide for the day and then they could chase each other all they wanted the next day because it was my birthday. We could see the top of the castle from our campsite, we had gotten very close. Crossing the bridge was so exciting, so many things to see and people. But my hair was so long that people were stepping on it and so Eugene found some girls braiding their hair by the fountain and they did a wonderful job making it only as long as I was tall. It was beautiful and they were very nice. The library was wonderful, I haven't seen so many books in one place ever and so much more to learn. Then there was the chalk drawing, there were all these children making drawings on the stones in another square and I joined in and made a big sun flower with a purple background.

"It was very impressive." added Eugene

"You made that? Everyone thought it was amazing, we even heard about it here at the castle. The court painter went down to copy it so it could be saved." wondered the seneschal.

"And in the square with the portrait of the royal family where the people leave flowers for the Lost Princess, there were musicians and I started dancing and a lot of people joined in. But they kept Eugene and I apart until the end. Then it was time to go to the boats and see the lights.

That was really scary, because even if was everything I imagined it was, it was still going to be over soon and I was going to go back to the tower. But I didn't really want to, I wanted to stay with Eugene. So when he gave us lanterns I gave him the satchel. I was sure he liked me then since he didn't seem to care about it very much. But then he paddled us to shore and left with the satchel." She looked at Eugene.

"Um, it was because I saw the Stabbington brothers on the shore behind you when we were going to kiss. I went to give them the satchel because I didn't care about it any more, but they did. At least I thought so, they didn't care about the satchel anymore either as they knew about your hair."

"Well, I care, what was in the satchel?" interrupted the seneschal, annoyed that something that seemed to be so important wasn't being explained.

Eugene was suddenly busy looking anywhere but at the two of them.

Rapunzel added, "Well, I don't know exactly what it is but it was some kind of crown, I think."

"It was the Crown of the Lost Princess." Eugene blurted out.

"WHAT!" The seneschal's shout was so loud birds roosting on a neighboring tower took flight. He waved off the guard who rushed forward as he had jumped to his feet.

Rapunzel looked confused. "That was my crown?" She began to wish she had her hair to hide in as the seneschal paced back and forth like a caged lion.

"Are you kidding me? You've come here claiming to be the Lost Princess and you don't even know about your crown? The Most Valuable Treasure of the kingdom. We've had a squad of guards around it night and day since the day you were taken. It was found yesterday in the hands of Flynn Rider, who was supposed to have been hanged this morning but escaped with the help of a mob of thugs who are now awaiting trial in the dungeon."

"Oh, please don't hurt them, they're nice guys, really." injected Rapunzel.

"Besides, it was Max who got them to do it, so I could save her. You see, I came to in the boat the Stabbington brothers tied me to not far from when we had left Maximus I shouted that Rapunzel was in trouble. I was hoping he heard me and could go save her himself but I think he got the thugs from the Snuggly Duckling because he had no idea where she was."

"You're Flynn Rider!"

"Yes." said Eugene.

"No." shouted Rapunzel. Everyone looked at her. "Well, he was, but he isn't any more. Flynn Rider died this morning because Eugene Fitzherbert gave his life to save me. I had promised Mother that I would go with her if she would let me save him first. That everything would go back to the way it was. She could use my hair to stay young." Rapunzel's voice had gotten hollow and flat, her hands were groping her shoulder feeling for her hair. "I promised I would never try to escape or run away and we would be together forever. I never break a promise. And it would have been forever, because my hair can-could heal anything. I would give up my freedom and any hope of going outside ever again just to know that Eugene was alive, somewhere, even if I could never be with him again. I had found someone who liked me and I didn't, couldn't let him die." Tears where dripping onto her hands that tightly gripped her skirts as Eugene put his arms around her.

The seneschal sat down across from them again, his look more gentle. "I think we skipped over some parts in there. He left you at the boat and went to give the crown to the Stabbington Brothers, who were brought in by Maximus and are currently in the dungeon, so you are safe from them for now. Then what happened?"

Wiping her eyes, Rapunzel pulled herself together, Pascal who had been nuzzling her hand and looking a very distressed purple moved up to her neck and gave her some nuzzles. She gave him a quick smile and then took up the story. "I waited what seemed like forever and then I saw someone coming out of the fog, I thought it was Eugene, but it was the Stabbingtion Brothers walking single file. They said Flynn had left me. I couldn't believe them but they showed me that he was sailing away in a boat, I tried calling him but then they said it was a fair trade I was traded to them: the crown for the girl with the magic hair. And they had sack. I tried to run but my braid got caught on a branch. Then I heard thumping and then Mother called, she had knocked them out and I went home with her because I felt that I had been betrayed by someone who I thought loved me." She glanced at Eugene.

"Don't look at me, it wasn't my idea. I was betrayed by them too. But I have to tell you that they don't hit quite as hard as you do with your frying pan. They tied me to that boat and sent me back to the city. I woke up when I hit the dock and I found that I had the crown stuck in my hand. Then the guards took me, I was trying to get them to listen, but you know how guards are. I kept calling for Rapunzel, I am guessing that Max heard me and tried to find her, but only found the Stabbington brothers since he brought them in. I spent a restless night trying to figure out how to help Rapunzel. Then the Captain of the Guard came to take me to be hanged. I had given up, there wasn't a way out or anyone to listen to me at that point. But then I saw the Stabbington brothers in a cell. I knocked away the guards and grabbed the nearest one and almost dragged him through the bars, I had to know how he had known about Rapunzel's hair. He said that an old woman had told them. The only other person to know about her hair was her mother. I realized that Rapunzel was in far more danger from her own mother then from any of us. Then the guards swarmed me and took me away. Then the next thing I know the guards are disappearing, the Pub Thugs were breaking me out of the dungeon. One of them had a key to the shackles and then we were running away from the reinforcements. We got to the square where we were surrounded but then Hookhand put me on a cart and then I was flying through the air and landed on Maximus on top of the wall. He had gotten them to come break me out. We ran from more guards and jumped off of the wall and down some roofs and out of town to her tower."

"The next part gets really interesting but I want to know what happened to you after you left the beach." Eugene said turning to Rapunzel.

"Well, Mother and I spent the night walking home, her green lantern lighting the way. It was just getting light when we reached the Tower. She showed me that there was a stair leading up on the backside of the tower. I was so tired and sad that I didn't really care. We went into my bedroom and Mother spent a lot of time removing the flowers and braids from my hair making it as though it had never happened. Mother said she had tried to warn me about how terrible the outside world was. And I could only agree with her, I had some times when I thought I had found someone who really liked me, but the betrayal was like a knife through my heart. Mother went to make my birthday dinner she had surprised me with before I left, though it was morning. I had found the sigil flag in my pocket and was holding it as I flopped onto my bed. I had saved it from Mother because it did remind me of a moment of happiness. I held it above me as I lay there and then things began to change. I could see suns all over my room. I had somehow incorporated that sun image into everything I had painted in my room. As I stood up in wonder surrounded by all those images, I had a vision or something. There was the sun again in a round thing above me with little animals hanging off of it, and there were two people a man and a woman, they looked just like the people in the mosaic in the square, the king and queen holding a little girl with golden hair and green eyes; my hair and my eyes. Those people were my parents, my parents were the king and queen, I was a princess. I was the Lost Princess. That realization knocked me off of my feet. Mother Gothel wasn't my real mother, I had parents. Parents that were still looking for me, that loved me. It was too much, I was kneeling on the floor, my whole world was upside down, it was hard to breathe. I could hear Mother calling but I couldn't understand her. I went to my curtain and confronted her. She wasn't my mother, she was the terrible one, she wanted my power, she had been using me. She tried to put me in my place like she always did but I was so angry, I caught her hand and told her she could never use my hair again. She spun away and broke my mirror. Then she attacked me and put me in chains. We heard the hoofbeats coming, I tried to call for help but she gagged me. When I heard Eugene call me to let down my hair, Mother threw it down and hid next to the window. I tried to warn you but you wouldn't stop talking long enough to hear me and she stabbed you. I can still hear the sound of her knife going into your body. When you fell you didn't land on any of my hair so I couldn't help you. I tried to get to you but when mother pulled on the chains it was like she was pulling my arms out. "

"But I had to help you. You came back for me, you still loved me, and I couldn't let you die. I offered Mother my hair, my life and my freedom, I would never run or try to escape. I knew she needed my hair, there have been a few times when she has been gone for a few days and she came back very old but my hair would make her young again in an instant. So telling her that we would be together forever, I knew it was going to be a very long time. But for you it would be worth it." Rapunzel looked into Eugene's eyes.

"I couldn't let you do that. I'd have rather died then let you stay with her with no chance of escape." said Eugene.

"Actually, you did die." Rapunzel said shyly.

"Yeah, I did, didn't I. I remember lots of screaming for some reason." touching the bloodstained hole in his shirt.

"That was Mother, for some reason cutting my hair caused her to age very fast, I think it was very painful for her, she was stumbling around and Pascal tripped her with a length of my hair. Pascal is very brave, aren't you?" Giving the chameleon a rub on his eye ridges. Even as tears began to stream down her face again. "I tried to grab her, but I was too far away. I just wanted to be away from her, I didn't want her dead. Then Eugene coughed, I started the Healing Incantation with what was left of my hair but once it's cut it loses its power. Nothing happened and you died. My whole life was crashing down around me, Mother had just died in front of me and so had my Eugene. There was nothing left, I cradled you in my lap and finished the incantation because there was nothing else I knew to do. If having been betrayed felt like being cut with a knife, all this was like having my heart cut out. I have never hurt so much in my life, falling down the stairs had hurt less. And I didn't know what to do, I didn't have my hair anymore, so I couldn't fix it. Now there was no one to turn to, no one left. Then through my tears I saw light, the wound was glowing, streams of light poured out and surrounded us. Finally a flower appeared to grow where the wound was and then it all faded and you started to breathe and you spoke. It was amazing and I felt like I was floating in the sky like a lantern."

The seneschal could just stare as Rapunzel and Eugene shared a look. It was True Love, he hadn't seen that look between anyone for a long time. The King and Queen had it, but they hadn't shared it for 18 years. At that moment, he didn't care if she was the Lost Princess or not, they had something very special, and if she did not pass the Test he would make sure that they would be gotten to safety, far away, maybe King Stefan's kingdom. No matter.

"And then we came here, since Maximus had exhausted himself bringing Eugene to my tower, and he needed proper help, and to come home to my real parents." finished Rapunzel.

Clearing his throat, "I think now, it is time for The Test. I shall return shortly." Rapunzel and Eugene exchanged glances and clasped hands. The seneschal got up and left.

...

The seneschal pondered what had happened back there. The interview was only a formality, all the false Lost Princesses had come with elaborate backstories and explanations, but he had never encountered anything like this girl before. The girl seemed completely honest and innocent. She truly believed her story. He knew that the dam had been broken by Maximus from the Captain's report. That the search for the crown had gone to the Snuggly Duckling. He even knew that a girl with long golden hair had been in the city for the celebration, her joy and innocence had attracted a lot of attention. His princess warning system had alerted him and he was expecting her to make her claim but she never did. This girl had taken him completely by surprise.

The Test, the Test would tell if she was the true Lost Princess. Shaking his head is continued on to the royal apartment. The day after the Birthday was set aside for rest and recovery. It was very hard on the King, he didn't speak of it but the seneschal could tell that the "celebration" was very hard on the king. He feared that the king was loosing hope. Every time a claimant was rejected the lines on the king's face grew deeper and the less he spoke. The seneschal did much to ease the burden of the King but this was one that he couldn't help with.

Stopping outside the royal apartments, the seneschal settled himself and schooled his face to be strictly neutral, he had made a serious mistake with the first false princess and he had vowed never to raise false hope in his king again. He nodded to the Lock Guard in his crossed sash and fez-like hat, that always stayed near the Test.

Bowing to the queen, who greeted him. "M'lady, There is another claimant. I am in need of the Test."

The queen looked deeply at him, trying to fine some sign, but he held is neutrality and calmness as close as he could, he would not hurt them again. Nodding she turned away from her seneschal and removed a necklace with a vial containing the kingdom's Most Precious Treasure that she kept ever near her heart. The Crown of the Lost Princess may be called the kingdom's Most Valuable Treasure, but it was really just a decoy. They could not keep the rumors of a very valuable treasure from spreading, but they did what they could to make sure anyone who wanted the treasure think it was something other then it was. Still it was surprising that Flynn Rider had pulled off the heist.

After the princess was taken they had found a lock of hair in the crib. What it had meant was something the Privy Council had debated for some time, they had even included the head women and the midwife just to be sure they had covered all possibilities. They knew that an old woman had stolen the princess, while the princess had had golden hair the lock was brown which was very close to the color of the queen's hair. It was the logical conclusion that the hair was from the princess and that the golden color of her hair was some kind of magical effect from the magic, golden flower they had used to heal the queen and that it was lost when the hair was cut and returned to its actual color, which was very close to the color of the queens hair.

It wasn't the strongest evidence he'd ever seen but it was the only conclusion that fit all the available facts. The test was very simple, cut a sample of the claimant's hair and compare them. Of course, all the girls so far had blonde hair that had stayed blonde when cut. So they could not be the Lost Princess, none had even understood the test.

The seneschal had the suspicion that the queen kept the Lock on her person so she would know if there was a claimant in the palace. She had the most hope of them all. And the king and queen always seemed to be together when he returned it with a shake of his head.
As the queen lay the warm vial in his hand, he gave the Lock a long look. It looked like… No, clenching it in his fist he bowed carefully to his queen and left. The Lock Guard staying with him now.

The queen gazed at the doors for a long time. The queen nodded to her chambermaid who took up position down the hall, while the queen went off to be near the king.

"Easy, old man. Breathe. Follow the protocol." the seneschal whispered to himself. Then he and the Lock Guard entered the Testing Chamber. The claimant and her man spun around. The Lock Guard closed the doors and took position in front of them. The man looked at the guard suspiciously. Going to his desk, he removed a pair of scissors and approached the girl. Fear shown in her eyes. Her hands moved to her shoulder as if trying to grip some hair that wasn't there anymore.

"What are those for?" asked Rapunzel.

"The Test is very simple really, I need some of your hair."

"But Eugene cut my hair already, it doesn't have any power anymore." Eugene moved close to her and held her. Pascal eyed the seneschal suspiciously.

"Be that as it may, we must perform the test if we are to know if you are the true Lost Princess."

Burying her face into Eugene's shoulder she said, "Okay, do it."

With a puzzled expression on his face the seneschal approached and gently lifted a lock of hair and Rapunzel shivered as she heard the snip. She took a shuttering breath and then she slowly turned.

She saw the seneschal standing there, a lock of her hair in his hand next to a vial with something brown in it. The hand was shaking. His face was very pale. The scissors slipped from his other hand and landed with a clatter to the floor.

Eugene reached out and put an arm on the seneschal's shoulder, "Are you alright, man?"

The seneschal crashed to his knees, looking up with tears streaming down his face he said, "Welcome home, your Highness, we've missed you, so much." and hugged them both around the waist.

The Lock Guards were standing there with their jaws hanging open. The seneschal turned on his knees.

"Don't just stand there. Quickly man, tell them that she'll be at the plaza balcony. Move."
The guard took off at at run.

"Your Highness, please, come with me. You're going to meet your parents now."

+++
Tangled is Disney's. This was fun.
Okay, I was driven crazy by the huge holes they left in the story between Eugene reviving, meeting the King and Queen and the Celebration at the end.

This story gets Rapunzel and Eugene back to the palace and tested.

There has to be some way to prove Rapunzel is the Lost Princess, there would be claimants. So I use something they would have no access to. The Lock of Hair left by Gothel in the crib.

Rapunzel Goes Home: [link]
Rapunzel Meets Her Parents part 1: [link]
Rapunzel Meets Her Parents part 2: [link]
Rapunzel's Homecoming:
Chapter 1: [link]
Chapter 2: [link]
Chapter 3: [link]
Chapter 4: [link]
Chapter 5: [link]
Chapter 6: [link]
Chapter 7: [link]
Chapter 8: [link]
Chapter 9: [link]
Chapter 10: [link]
Chapter 11: [link]
Chapter 12: [link]
Chapter 13: [link]
Chapter 14: [link]
Chapter 15: [link]
Chapter 16: [link]
Chapter 17: [link]
Chapter 18: [link]
Chapter 19: [link]
Chapter 20: [link]
Chapter 21: [link]
Chapter 22: [link]
Chapter 23: [link]
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:icongeoffandbridgette4ev:
GeoffandBridgette4ev Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012
OMG AWESOME AWESOME AWESOOOOMEEEE
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:iconbalunstormhands:
BalunStormhands Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012
Thanks, You would enjoy the extended edition, I filled out a lot of stuff in that rewrite.
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:iconcarmenfoolheart:
CarmenFoolHeart Featured By Owner May 22, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow... Getting hooked up on this... O.O
So... Amazing!!
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:iconbalunstormhands:
BalunStormhands Featured By Owner May 22, 2012
Enjoy. Hit up the extended edition folder for the whole thing in one place.
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:iconcarmenfoolheart:
CarmenFoolHeart Featured By Owner May 22, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This will be keeping me up all night now. It is getting late here but me no careh! xD
*keeps reading*
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:iconbalunstormhands:
BalunStormhands Featured By Owner May 22, 2012
You wouldn't be the first.
Over the weekend an Aussie read the whole thing in about 5 hours. Last month a mom even forgot to make dinner for her family and had to get takeout. :D
Enjoy!
Review at the end at least, if you would please.
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:iconcarmenfoolheart:
CarmenFoolHeart Featured By Owner May 22, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh I WILL!! I undesrtand why eople have read this like crazy. And then I'll read your other texts also. :love:
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:iconbalunstormhands:
BalunStormhands Featured By Owner May 22, 2012
Thank you that'll mean quite a lot.
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:iconminnie-mocha:
Minnie-Mocha Featured By Owner May 9, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Nice. 8D But I think you should indent the paragraphs; it just makes it easier to read.

Nice plot though ^^
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:iconlisha3398:
Lisha3398 Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
There are four buttons in the top right corner. The third one in, from the left, has a paragraph symbol on it. If you click on that, it'll indent all the paragraphs for you. Sorry for the super-late reply, but I thought I'd pass along the advice that was once given to me when I asked the same question. Hope it helps! :)
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