Rapunzel rode Max side-saddle, making easier to dismount if she felt nervous about riding. Eugene walked beside them, one hand on Max's bridle. They made it back to the bay, and attracted the attention of a fishing boat.
Lys was deliriously happy to see Maximus again, and almost incoherent to meet a real princess. She couldn't take her eyes off Rapunzel, braiding the long strands over and over again on the journey back across the water.
Rapunzel, for her part, was enchanted by Lys, keeping up with the girl's tangents easily. Eugene relaxed against the side of the boat, on the opposite side to where Max was, unfortunately, being unwell again. He caught Rapunzel's eye, and smiled.
News had travelled ahead of them and the Royal guards were waiting on the bank to greet them. Eugene was instantly on edge, nervous as the guards came aboard to verify that the princess was alive and unharmed. One of the guards turned to Eugene and drew his sword. Eugene held his hands up in surrender, but Maximus immediately stomped between him and the guard, glaring at the man in uniform. The guard was stunned, but decided, wisely, that the horse out-ranked him.
Rapunzel took Eugene's hand, fingers lovingly intertwined with his, as they walked into the palace grounds, and were escorted to a balcony to await a reception with the King and Queen.
"Do you think they'll like me?" Rapunzel whispered. Eugene looked at her.
"They will love you," he reassured her, brushing a strand of golden hair behind her ear. "As do I."
They turned, losing the clasp of their hands, as the door opened behind them.
A/N - and I'm finishing it there, because it ties neatly back to the original ending of the story. I may come back and do a sequel to this sequel (or even put in a missing chapter!), but for now I need a rest - this entire story has taken less than a week, which is just insane! Please review!