The idea that inspired this one was inspired by a story called "Princesses, Braids, and the Best Day Ever" by bkwrm19. It's really good, if you'd like to check it out. It's a closer look into the thoughts of the girls who braided Rapunzel's hair when it was still long and blonde (when Rapunzel and Eugene were in the village, just in case you can't remember). Now, because of that, I'm taking a closer look into the thoughts of those in the palace when they heard that the princess was finally returned!

Disclaimer: I only own Amelia and that grumpy Chef. Who wants to own him? I'd rather own Eugene, but, unfortunately for me, I am not Disney. *sob*

It started as a whisper, a murmured word from one servant to another, and it spread like wildfire throughout the castle, everyone speaking of it to one another, questioning its authenticity—for many other rumors similar to this had been spread before, and all had been false—insisting upon its truthfulness, and demanding proof.

The return of the Lost Princess. Or so the rumors said.

"They say she looks just like her mother," a maid named Amelia whispered to the Head Chef. "Same eyes, same hair."

"The princess has blonde hair," the Chef boomed, his voice deep, his eyebrows raised sardonically.

"And who's to say it did not change color as she grew? I, for one, believe that she is back."

"Then you're a fool," the Chef said bitterly. "A fool of the worst kind—one that inspires hope and the crushes it. This has happened before. 'The princess is back! The princess is back!' Every hope raised and then quashed into pieces. I am not going to go through that again. I refuse to believe until I have proof."

"You must have faith! If she has not returned now, then I am certain she will come back!" Amelia cried.

"The princess is dead," the Chef spat. "Gone for eighteen years without a trace—no clue, no footprints, no fingerprints, nothing at all. There is not even the slightest possibility that she could live."

"If we do not have hope, then we are very poor indeed," Amelia chided. "Hope is what keeps us going in our darkest days—it is the only thing that has kept the King and Queen from succumbing to the pain of losing their only daughter. Without hope, we have nothing."

"A very inspiring speech," the Chef drawled, "But it has one flaw: hope is weak if it has no foundation. Let's say I hoped to become King one day. That would be the most ridiculous notion, and no hoping at all would bring it about. It is the same with the princess."

With a determined air, he turned his back on the maid and resumed his work of chopping up vegetables for the King and Queen's supper. Amelia went on to find someone more willing to partake in her gossip.

Soon, the gossip became even sensational—Flynn Rider was supposedly the one who had returned the princess! Flynn Rider, the kingdom's most notorious and wanted thief! The Chef believed that this proved that all the previous rumors were scandalous falsehoods, and raised the hope of the rest of the castle—for who could have invented such a rumor on their own? No one would have ever considered such a possibility!

Amelia was lucky enough to find for herself that the rumors were true when she was called to the presence of the King and Queen. Her eyes were respectfully trained on the floor when she first entered, but she noticed an abnormal amount of feet, and so she looked up.

There, beside the two monarchs, stood a small young woman with short brown hair cut untidily and emerald eyes the exact same shade as the Queen's. Beside her, his fingers intertwined with the woman's, stood Flynn Rider. He was easily recognizable from the Wanted posters that were posted on every street corner. He was even more handsome in person. His hair was naturally messy, his eyes a deep shade of brown. A smile twisted his lips as he looked at the woman, and a beam lit her face as well when she gazed upon him.

This was even more shocking than the fact that Flynn Rider had returned the princess. Flynn Rider had fallen in love with the princess!

For it surely was the princess who stood in the tattered and muddy dress beside the thief, and Amelia had seen enough of life to know what love looked like, and Flynn was practically the embodiment of adoration. It was clear that he was completely head-over-heels in love with the princess.

How shocking!

Remembering her manners, Amelia quickly curtsied to the four in front of her and waited for instructions.

"Amelia," the Queen began (for the King and Queen were quite adamant that they must know and call all their servants by name; it was no easy feat that they were actually able to do so.), "Please escort Princess Rapunzel to a bedchamber and fetch one of my gowns for her. It will not fit, I am sure, but it will have to do until we can commission some dresses for her."

"Yes, your majesty," Amelia said, curtsying again. "Please follow me, your highness."

She did not hear footsteps behind her, and turned to see Flynn and Princess Rapunzel arguing quietly. Her ears, sharply tuned due to her love of gossip, caught the conversation easily.

"Rapunzel, I can't come with you right now. I'll see you once you've changed," Flynn whispered.

"Why can't you come? You can just wait outside for me."

"Your parents won't think it's right!"

"If you're outside, it's not as if it's improper!"


"M-Mother?" the Princess said loudly, addressing the Queen. Amelia did not miss the way Princess Rapunzel stumbled over the word. "Father? Can Eugene come and wait outside while I change?"

It was obvious that the two monarchs could not say no to their daughter. They nodded, smiling indulgently at their daughter, and watched as Rapunzel dragged the thief behind her as she followed Amelia.

Despite wondering who this Eugene was, since he obviously wasn't anywhere near them—it was Flynn who was outside the room—Amelia quickly found a suitable gown for the princess, and, after helping her dress, walked down the hall and listened to the conversation taking place between the two.

"You look b-beautiful," Flynn whispered.

Amelia could practically hear the Princess blush. "Thank you, Eugene."

There it was—Eugene again. Who was this Eugene?

It was quiet for a moment, and Amelia peeked out over the corner to see them locked in an embrace. Her own cheeks coloring, she quickly scurried away, embarrassed that she had seen them in what should have been a private moment.

"It's true! It's true!" Amelia cried as she rushed down to the Head Chef. "Every word is true! I've seen the Princess myself! And Flynn Rider brought her back! And he loves her!"

"What is this ridiculous nonsense?" the Chef demanded. "It cannot be true. You must be in jest."

"I assure you, I am not! I have seen them with my own eyes!"

This statement reminded her of what she ought not have witnessed, and she blushed. Luckily, the Chef missed this involuntary action, for he surely would have taken it to believe that she was lying.

"Could it be possible?" he whispered. "Could she really—no. No. You must be incorrect. I will not believe such a thing."

He turned back to his work, but was distracted by a loud crash as the doors to the kitchen flew open.

"The . . . the King and Queen . . . request that . . . you prepare . . . Hazelnut Soup . . . for supper tonight," the servant gasped, obviously having run to get there. "The princess . . . says that is her . . . favorite dish."

"The princess?" the Chef gasped.

The servant finally regained his breath and was able to speak normally. "Yes—haven't you heard? It's all around the castle: she's been returned by Flynn Rider, of all people, and anyone with eyes can see that he's in love with the girl!"

The servant left as dramatically as he had entered, and Amelia smiled smugly at the Head Chef.

"Told you so," she murmured triumphantly as she passed him to go see if Princess Rapunzel needed anything.