Thank you, God, for everything.
DISCLAIMER: I do NOT own Tangled, and . . . (stressing syllables) this is the last chapter! I'm kinda sad to see it end, like when you watch Tangled and you see the map at the beginning of the end credits and you're like, "Sniff. It's over," though it's probably not like that for you, probably just me, cause I'm a sap. Anyhoo, TANGLED! Thanks for reading! God bless you!
Once Eugene had stepped down from the mass of hair, Rapunzel slipped off of him and the three of us were greeted by an anxious Maximus. When we had first started to descend, I had seen the horse nervously pacing around the tower, taking an occasion sniff at Gothel's old cloak. Now he ran to us in relief and nearly knocked over Rapunzel and I in joy. I gave the loveable lug a smile as Rapunzel scratched his snout and soothed, "Hey, everything turned out okay."
Maximus nodded and turned and gave Eugene a weird look, saying, "What the heck happened?" Eugene held up his hands to show that he didn't really know how to explain it, and he then helped Rapunzel and I up onto the horse.
Maximus had had plenty of time to rest after his long ride from the kingdom and now he smiled at me determinedly and once Eugene had clambered onto Max's saddle, the horse kicked his feet in the air and galloped through the vine entrance. Eugene gave him a little kick with his boot to slow him down, to pace him, I guess, and we started slowly toward the kingdom.
I managed to crawl off of Rapunzel's shoulder and onto the top of Maximus's head. He glanced up at me and I waved hello. He then asked me what had happened in the tower. I gave a little laugh, for after all this drama, I needed to take a load off. I then settled down and explained to him about everything, how Eugene had seemingly deserted us, about the red-haired men who tried to kidnap Rapunzel, (the Stabbington Brothers, Maximus growled. He explained how they were wanted criminals, and that only made me smack my palm with my fist in anger), and how Gothel had belittled Rapunzel.
I was just about to tell him about Rapunzel being the lost princess when Rapunzel, who seemed to have almost dozed on the horse, leaned toward Maximus's face and said excitedly, "Hey, Maximus, guess what?" The horse stopped for a moment as Rapunzel whispered in his ear, "I'm the lost princess."
Maximus snorted in surprise and instantly turned his head so that he could examine Rapunzel from head to toe. His eyes widened and I laughed as he turned to Eugene, who gave him the eyebrow thing. Ha, a taste of your own medicine, huh Max?
"Yep, I'm the lost princess, so we're heading to the castle," Rapunzel explained. She hugged herself and giggled, "I'm the lost princess!" She then stopped for a moment to establish that in her brain, "I'm the lost princess." She then started squealing and shouted, "I'm the lost princess!" and she threw her arms around Eugene and giggled. Maximus turned to me in alarm and I only nodded understandingly. Rapunzel kinda did that a lot.
Eugene then started the astonished horse into motion, and he started walking again. Maximus then listened wide-eyed as I explained about Rapunzel finding out that she was the lost princess and how Gothel had knocked her unconscious with the frying pan. He snarled at that part. So did I. I hate Gothel. He listened intently as I went on on how Eugene had shown up and had gotten stabbed. Max looked at the thief in wonderment, probably wondering how the heck the guy survived that.
I went on on how he had cut Rapunzel's blonde hair (that seemed to answer one of his many questions), how Gothel had died and how Eugene had died. Of course the horse stopped and looked the thief over again, which made Rapunzel and Eugene look from the horse to each other and shrug.
He seemed to be pondering my words/gestures/I-don't-really-know-how-he's-understanding-all-of-this-stuff when I told him about the magic tear and how we all ended up like this. I let out the breath that I didn't know that I had held.
The three of us riding on Max's back went quiet for a while. Rapunzel had her arms around the thief's waist and was sleeping soundly. Eugene kept wiping his eyes and yawning. It was apparent that the two of them had had a restless night, worrying about each other, which I actually thought was kinda sweet.
Max was wide awake though, and apparently I had fallen asleep because when he neighed, I found myself waking up. I stood up and stretched and examined our surroundings. Eugene gently woke up the sleepy Rapunzel and pointed out the small tavern with a large tree leaning against it.
Eugene gave a small sigh and said, "Ah, the Pub Thugs!"
Rapunzel and I turned to the guy and she asked, "What about them?"
"They were the ones who helped me bust out of prison. Blondie," he turned around to face Rapunzel, "you need to get your parents to let them go."
"What? How!" Rapunzel wondered loudly.
"Your parents, the King and Queen, you need to let them know that those men are not criminals and to let them go, okay?" he asked her. I looked from Eugene to Rapunzel in worry. Were the Pub Thugs going to be set free?
"Okay, I'll do it!" Rapunzel smiled bravely. She hit her palm with her fist like I often did and then groaned, "Somehow." Eugene smiled kindly at her and wrapped her into a hug. Maximus watched them with a smile on his face and when I looked down at him, what should he do but his stupid eyebrow thing. I rolled my eyes and Maximus started walking again.
Rapunzel then straightened and tapped Eugene on the back, ('cause he had went and turned his back), "How DID you escape from prison?" I watched him curiously as he cleared his throat and said in a dramatic voice, "This is the story, of how I almost died before I really did die." Despite herself, Rapunzel let out a little giggle, and he chuckled and so did I, because Rapunzel's laugh was so infectious.
He then proceeded with a wild LONG tale, so I settled down on Maximus's mane and listened, wide-eyed, as he explained to Rapunzel what had happened. When he had taken the satchel last night, he had approached the Stabbington Brothers in hope that they'd take the satchel and leave. However, they somehow had found out about Rapunzel's hair ("Mother Gothel," Rapunzel growled sadly) and had knocked him out.
The next thing that he knew, he had woken up tied to a boat's mast with the crown in his hands. He had been arrested and through a very quick trial (whatever a trial is, I don't know) and sentenced to death by hanging. Rapunzel nervously ask Eugene, "What's hanging?"
I gulped as he scratched the back of his neck and answered quietly, "It's when they tie a rope around your neck and tighten it until you don't have any air left." Rapunzel gasped and only tightened her grip around him and sniffed. I turned blue at the thought.
He then continued by saying he barely had had any sleep that night, worrying about her, and then at dawn, the Captain (I always had hated that guy) came to take him to his demise. While he was being led through the prison halls, he had noticed the Stabbington Brothers in their own cell, ("Mother Gothel had knocked them out with a big branch," Rapunzel added. "They were probably discovered late last night," Eugene added), and demanded info. He had figured out from what the talking brother had told him that Gothel was with Rapunzel and that the girl was in danger. When he tried to break away from the guards, they only multiplied the amount of men holding him down.
Once they had gotten to a hallway, he had noticed a unicorn, a ceramic unicorn. The door at the end of the hall was locked, and one by one, the guards mysteriously disappeared. Atilla knocked out the Captain with a frying pan, ("Frying pans!" Rapunzel squealed. "Yeah, who knew, right?" Eugene smiled at her), and he somehow managed to be flown through the air onto Maximus's back (I still really don't get that) and they raced off to the tower.
"And the rest is history," Eugene finished.
Rapunzel smiled and patted Max on the back. When he turned and neighed softly to her, she whispered, "Thank you."
We continued on for a few hours. They had raced to the tower in who knows how much time, and it literally being a life or death situation, Max had given it his all, and now Maximus was a wee bit tired by the time we reached the castle bridge. Somehow, in some way, we had not run into any of the castle guards, which was needless to say, weird. Eugene jumped down from Max and Rapunzel cradled me in her hands and then carefully plopped me on her shoulder. The four of us looked determinedly at the bridge, and simultaneously gulped.
While Rapunzel wandered ahead a bit on the bridge, I, with my super cool mega hearing ears, heard Eugene whisper to Maximus, "We need to get her to the castle. It doesn't matter if I'm caught as long as we get her an audience with the King and Queen, okay, Max?" Maximus, practically as loyal as I was, (well, not THAT loyal, I'm an extremely loyal reptile) nodded his head vigorously in response.
Rapunzel leaned over the bridge's railing and sighed to herself. I crawled off of her arm and looked at her with big eyes. Eugene noticed her sad appearance and leaned over the railing next to her. A quiet silence filled the still afternoon air and he asked her quietly, "You okay?"
Rapunzel rested her head in her folded arms and whispered, "I'm terrified." Wow, this seemed to really be like déjà vu. Seriously, she had been like this last night. LAST NIGHT? Did all this really happen in three days? I chuckled a little to myself in realizing that yes, it had been three days. Still amazes me.
Eugene smiled at her comfortingly and wondered, "Why?"
Rapunzel chuckled softly to herself, just like she had last night, and answered, "I've just found out that I'm the lost princess, that I've been lied to for eighteen years and that I'll be meeting my real parents for the first time. Is there a reason NOT to be terrified?"
Eugene contemplated her words thoughtfully, and answered, "No, I guess not. But," he turned to Max, who had joined us, and asked, "does it help to know that you've got us?" I smiled at the man's words and gave her a thumb's up.
Rapunzel looked at the three of us for a moment. I suppose that she was thinking about how three days ago it seemed seemingly impossible that the three of us, who were constantly fighting and bickering, became friends because of her. Without her, we would not be like this. She brought us together.
Rapunzel smiled and squealed, "Group hug!" Max nuzzled his nose against her and I leaped over to her shoulder and wrapped my arms around her neck. She wrapped Eugene in her arms and he did the same. The thief then went and kissed her hair softly, causing Max and I to leap out of the hug in disgust. Maximus neighed and looked at me weirdly. I shrugged and rolled my eyes. Humans, right?
I leapt onto Maximus's back and took hold of his reins. He and I were quite used to being rider and horse now. That fact was kinda cool. I chirped loudly for the lovesick humans to look at us. I gestured with my head that we needed to get a move on, and they understood.
Did we make a big impression on the village or what? I mean, the whole town was buzzing with news of Rider's cunning escape and they could only stare in shock when we passed through town. We HAD tried to stay on a low profile, but apparently lover boy Eugene had gone and ruined it. Perfect.
Before we could even make it out of the main town square, we were instantly surrounded by guards. The Captain was nowhere to be seen (he was searching in the forest for the thief, I later found out), probably meaning the guy in the slightly more shiny armor than the rest of them was the second-in-command. Said guy was currently poking a crossbow at Eugene's throat and was growling, "Why did you come back?"
Max and I looked at each other worriedly. Rapunzel looked scared for a moment and then shoved the crossbow out of her way to stand between the commander and the thief. She looked angry for the umpteenth time today, and I watched in wonderment as she whispered slowly, "You'll have to get through me if you want him."
Maximus neighed in horror and bounded toward her, only to be forcefully stopped by eight guards. I held onto the horse for dear life as he neighed for them to stop, but of course they didn't. The poor horse, exhausted and tired, finally gave up and stopped struggling. There was nothing more we could do.
The commander looked at her oddly. Rapunzel wasn't that scary looking, to be perfectly honest. She was small, and a girl, and cute with her purple dress and pixie haircut, which I say I'm really liking. She didn't look intimidating at all. The commander rolled his eyes in annoyance that there was a small teen standing in his way from apprehending the most wanted criminal in all the kingdoms and yelled at her, "Move!"
Rapunzel clenched her fists and said firmly, "I won't!"
The commander's temper was growing shorter and he shouted at her, "Then I'll kill you too!" Eugene's face grew red with spite against the commander and Max and I shared a small gasp. Could he do that? Maximus whispered to me that she'd have to have a trial first for helping a criminal. That only made my fears increase. Gulp.
"You can't kill me!" Rapunzel retorted.
Max and I shared a look as the commander shouted, "Why not? MOVE!"
"Because I am the lost princess!" Rapunzel said quietly, yet incredibly firm. I smirked to myself when I saw the blood drain from the commander's face, and he lowered his crossbow.
"What?" was all that he could say. Huh, so much for Mr. Tough Guy, huh?
"I'm the lost princess. I was kidnapped the night of my birth, and I had blonde hair. Then it was cut, and the old woman who had kidnapped me, Mother Gothel, died along with it." She fluffed her hair a bit for the man to see and continued, "It was blonde because it had healing powers from the magic flower. It kept Mother Gothel alive , and she kidnapped me because of my hair!" Rapunzel took a breath and continued, "He saved me, Eug - Flynn Rider rescued me from her. That is why I won't let you kill him."
Her eyes could have had venom in them for the commander gulped and answered weakly, "Very well."
Somehow, some way, Rapunzel's speech had been able to not only spare their lives, but she was also able to gain an audience with the royals. Max and I were left on the bottom of the stairway while the two of them were led up onto the balcony to wait.
Of course, all this suspense was maddening, and I was pretty sure I was going to make a hole in Max's saddle by the time we got any news because I was pacing. A lot. The horse, having been the most decorated horse in the royal force, was allowed free, and was now watching me with half-lidded eyes as I mumbled to myself. He cleared his throat and caught my attention. He gestured with his eyes to the balcony and I instantly formulated a plan.
With a pat on the back for Max, I crawled down his back and instantly turned into the color of the balcony. When Maximus smiled in a 'thumb's up' sort of way, I nodded and crawled up the balcony stair's railing.
I had just gotten to the top when the heavy brown doors opened and my mouth dropped. It was the King and Queen. I could tell because they simply REEKED of royalty. I backed away, feeling like if they looked at me, I'd disappear. I turned to Rapunzel and Eugene, who appeared to have been holding hands (d'aww!), who were watching the royal couple as well. Rapunzel looked incredibly anxious, which I could understand. THIS day had been the biggest day of her life, and the thief, gracious, Fitzherbert, he was as calm and as cool as a cucumber. How did he do that?
The Queen appeared to be examining Rapunzel intently, curiously, like she was from a dream or something. I could instantly tell that she was Rapunzel's mother. They shared the same colored hair, the same green eyes, the same EVERYTHING. Rapunzel and the Queen approached each other, both taking in the other slowly.
Once they were close enough to touch, the Queen carefully placed a trembling hand on Rapunzel's cheek. I half expected for Rapunzel to pull away, but instead she leaned into the woman's hand. The Queen's eyes were visibly filling with happy tears as she let loose a small giggle and smiled a lopsided grin. That grin reminded me of someone, and that someone was Rapunzel. The girl returned with the same grin, the same tear-filled eyes, and they wrapped each other in their arms.
The King smiled and wrapped his arms around the two, and I could see tears in the intimidating man's eyes. I sniffed softly to myself as the royal family hugged one another, reunited at last.
It was then to my surprise that the Queen held out her hand to Eugene, who had tried to sneak into the background of their reunion. He took her hand and smiled at her, surprised himself that the Queen would offer a handshake to a thief, and I laughed excitedly when the Queen pulled the young man into their family hug.
I smiled at them and appeared green for Maximus to see me. He looked at me with wide eyes and a smile when I gleefully gave him a thumb's up. The lost princess had returned.
The entire kingdom rejoiced, for their lost princess had returned (obviously). The King and Queen held a large kingdom wide festival for an entire week, and I could remember a TON of it. There had been a banquet, a huge party in town that lasted the whole week, which included hundreds more lanterns and a return trip to the Snuggly Duckling, which is more fun and less evil looking when you know everyone. Eugene, apparently, later had told Rapunzel that he hadn't remembered much of it at all, probably because of the frying pan. I think it did something to his memory.
Anyhoo, A LOT transpired over the week. Rapunzel had easily been able to release the Pub Thugs, and because she had encouraged them, they went on to fulfill their dreams. Hook Hand played the piano during the party, Big Nose found true love if you can believe it! and Ulf, whom I later found out freaked Eugene out, went on to be the best mime in the kingdom.
Maximus was rewarded gratefully for his help to the crown (which he's still excited over), and, to the Captain's obvious dismay, became captain of the royal guards. The Captain was demoted to second-in-command and with Max as Captain, not only did the kingdom's crime disappear PRACTICALLY OVER NIGHT, the whole force was newly equipped with the most versatile weapon ever known to men: the frying pan. Yeah, a lot of things came out of Max getting promoted, only one problem; there seemed to now be a shortage of apples in the castle's pantry.
I, of course, never changed. A lot of times, you could find me in the hands of Lauren, Laura, Lucy, or Lydia, being fed a rainbow of fruit. I was always given quite the selection, because for every fruit, I changed into the color of that fruit. The four little girls especially liked orange and purple.
As for the thief, you can officially call him an ex-thief now, for because he had brought back the lost princess, the King wiped his slate clean (and maybe there was that added reason of him being absolutely head over heels in love with his daughter to add to the mix). He was now more humble than he had been when he stumbled into the tower, and we had all become better friends with him. He had stopped thieving, but he did have a tendency to take Rapunzel's crown without her looking.
Rapunzel was beaming like she never had before. She was now surrounded by friends, family and animals who loved her very dearly. She had gotten her hair trimmed in some places and it was now styled on her head perfectly. She was kind, good, and generous to her subjects, her people, who loved her an awful lot.
Rapunzel and I were still the best of friends, and I went with her everywhere. Of course, there was always the downside to going with her everywhere, for there was one thing I tried to avoid when she and Eugene were together. They kiss an awful lot, and of course when they do, I cover my eyes and turn pink, just like the 'ol routine.
As for this whole story, I find myself agreeing with Rapunzel. It wasn't fate nor a horse that brought the thief and the lost princess together; it was pure destiny.
Wow! I just have to say that felt SO amazing to write. I think I gave Pascal an awfully sophisticated mind for a chameleon, but I honestly think he is WAY smarter than any other chameleon. I'd like to thank all who've read this story and a special thanks to all who review. I couldn't have done it without y'all.
Frying pans rock, so does Tangled, and I just have one thing to say. . .
They lived happily ever after.
Thanks for reading! God bless you!