A/N: I decided to edit this because I didn't think did the story justice ending it in that way, but now I couldn't be happier with this ending. It feels more. . .complete now. Hope you enjoy! And I've decided not to write the sequel so ignore the comment at the bottom of the page.
Well, this is it people: the last chapter. It's been fun, you've made me one of the happiest people on Earth with all your motivation and support and this story could never have been possible without all of you. But I've noticed a few things in the Tangled fandom: IT'S DYING. New stories aren't popping up like usual, people are reviewing less, and there's been a drop in visitors and hits. And I've started moving on to other fandoms to write about, but we need to save this thread. But anyway, back to the story. Read on people and, for the last time, ENJOY!
P.s. I own nothing.
I ran down from the canyon to the ground at top speed. The wind blew hard and pushed me back but that only made me run harder. Rapunzel wasn't far behind. She had a look of horror on her face, but not with urgency like me, like she was almost expecting all of this. The whole way down I kept thinking, 'This can't be happening. This can't be happening after all we've done.' We beat the Tortugans. We came back to fight and saved all of Corona. But we didn't save a single Coronan. We failed them, and that was what mattered most; 200 lives were lost.
The ground was studded with arrows, making it look more like a plain of wooden grasses rather than a battlefield. When I reached his body, I was in shock. I sunk to my knees and started crying. I started sobbing just as badly as Rapunzel had on the day of her father's death. It was only now that I truly knew how it felt to lose something so precious to your life. It was devastating.
I cradled him in my arms. Don't ask me why I was hugging a dead body, I was just that emotional. I found myself rocking as I did, but again I didn't know why. Suddenly all the men gathered around, most were in tears while others struggled to fight their own back. Rapunzel sat down and wrapped her thin arms around me, making soothing 'shush' sounds to comfort me.
You might think that was a bit ironic, but it wasn't at all. I was there for her when she needed it and now she was here for me when I do. That's how it should be.
Then I heard a voice in my head, 'Stop weeping. You're showing weakness and you are not weak, Eugene. Think of the men, they will follow your example, and now your lead. You haven't finished your task just yet.' The voice chided softly. There was only one person it could belong to, and his body was in my arms. He was right; there was still work to do.
With difficulty, I released my hold on him. Rapunzel noticed and released me as well. I stood, looking around at the men as they forced themselves to stop crying.
"Collect the bodies," I ordered shakily. "All of them. No one gets left behind, not in life and not in death." I pointed to a random soldier "You, find a flag. We'll need a shrine for the Commander."
He straightened and nodded, "Yes sir." He said as they immediately went to work.
Then I turned to a horse, "Max, buddy, I need a favor. There's a dam not too far from here, yes it's the one you broke last time. Listen, I need you to do it again. Wait for a few minutes before you do, we should be finished by then. Can you do that?" I asked him.
He stood tall, a twinkle of respect and pride in his eyes and determination lined in his face. It was the kind of look he only gave to someone of rank like the Captain or Commander. Now he was giving it to me. He nodded before taking off back into the canyon.
Rapunzel came up to me and hugged me again, her arms around my torso and her head placed under my chin. She seemed surprisingly calm after everything that's just happened. "So what now?" she asks somewhat lazily.
I hugged her back, pulling her closer into me. It was only then that I noticed how tired and miserable she looked; her dress was stained with dirt and dust, she had bags under her eyes, and her hair was messy and uneven. But to me, she was a picture of perfection. Always has, always will be. It didn't matter that she didn't look her best, it mattered that she was here at all, and I was an idiot for ever doubting her. So I answered, "Home. We go home."
Third Person POV
And so they marched back to the Kingdom, reaching the stone bridge that stood as their gateway back to their homes and families. Maximus had broken the dam again as everyone watched from afar at the winding river flooding the canyon. No army would ever come through there again. It didn't take long after that for the people of Corona to hear that the war was finally over, that they were victorious, and that their boys were finally coming home. Thousands gathered at the edge of the city, just before the stone bridge to meet the men in uniform who protected their livelihoods. Music was in the air, women and young girls on balconies readied themselves with baskets of rice and rose peddles while the others down below clapped, danced, and sang along with the music. Purple Coronan flags were waving and fluttering through the crowd, giving the impression of hundreds of moving golden suns.
Then they saw the outline of an army, causing them to cheer louder. But as they drew near, the cheering slowly dulled and disappeared. The men looked grim, and they had reason to be; every 6 men were carrying a body with 3 on each side, wrapped in white bed sheets from their camp. They didn't expect to see their princess there with the soldiers but the shock at the number of dead was a bit more pressing matter. The atmosphere quickly turned from celebration to mourning. As they crossed the bridge, men and women started wailing and shedding tears, children screamed, and there was a collective wave of sadness spreading through the city as the news got around. They then threw their flags to cover the bodies—a sign of respect and patriotism for those who died fighting. The woman threw their rice and peddles at the bodies as the soldier started shouting "Long live the Commander!", "Long live the martyrs!", and "Long live the Kingdom!"
It was very reminiscent of the king's funeral and equally as emotional and large as it was a month ago.
After many hours out on the streets, mourning and marching, people filtered back to their homes. Many of them had been given the bodies of their relatives and were preparing for the funerals. Eugene and Rapunzel went back to the castle, reluctantly parting ways to their separate rooms. It was a rough day (insert major understatement) and they needed some rest. He walked in to find his room just as he left it, almost empty, but there was one new addition to it—a letter on his bed. Curiously, he picked it up, looking confused to find it here. A not on the letter read:
Your uncle ordered me to give you this before he died. It was one of the reasons I didn't want you to go back, but that was your choice. This should explain everything.
He opened the letter quickly and read on:
If you're reading this paper, then I have left this world for the afterlife. I know this must be difficult for you. But know this: you are my nephew and a true Coronan. You will survive, you will conquer without me. Stay strong. Take it from me; you don't need a Queen to be a King. What's done has been done, it can't be changed. But the least I can give you is an explanation; a full explanation.
I had to protect the kingdom. You know that, and I did it not only because I made a promise to the King, but a promise to myself that you would be protected. Your place is with Rapunzel, and I could never think of anywhere greater. She makes you happy, and that's all that really matters. You didn't need to be a soldier, but now that you are you won't need my help in a fight. You've come so far in so little time.
The second reason is more. . .personal. I wanted to see your mother. I've spent years not knowing her fate, but now I have to chance. It might not sound like a good reason, but I don't have any other way of saying it. I miss her terribly. She was a wonderful woman and I know she's been watching over you. I will send your parents your love.
The third reason is honor. When hope begins to fade, and people start to doubt themselves, they need the motivation to go on. If we died, all of Corona would have gone to war. Our ranks would have swelled at the news that we unselfishly gave our lives for the citizens. That type of news tends to change the course of thought and inspire others. I always had a feeling I would die on the battlefield. They say those who live by the sword, die by the sword. If I fall, then I will fall with my men and fight till the last breath has been sucked out of me. And I would have it no other way. I only regret that I'll have to leave you behind, but as I said, stay strong. I have taught you everything I knew, prepared you the only way I knew how, and now you must put it to good use. I am proud to have called you my family.
You have been like a son to me, and you've brought more joy to my life since before I was a child. Goodbye, and good luck, Eugene. I love you.
Meanwhile, Rapunzel was in her own room, and was reading a letter on her bed.
If you're reading this then you've come back to where you belong. I didn't want to think you left him, but my experience didn't agree. I'm also a soldier; it's not in my nature to be unfaithful to my cause or fellow men. Remember, Eugene needs you just as much as you need him. Being away from you would crush him, so I pray you take good care of him. You have always been my greatest student. Never before have I ever met anyone with your degree of kindness, loyalty, imagination, grace, and love. You are so much like your mother. When I look at you I know the Kingdom will be well without her.
And honestly, you never really needed those etiquette lessons; you had it all inside of you from the very beginning. You will be the Kingdom's greatest Queen.
You are truly a jewel amongst stones. Goodbye and good luck Rapunzel. I'll miss you.
Now there was just one left. For a very, very special person.
I'm sorry. I truly am. You were right; I wasn't there for you. And not a day goes by that I don't imagine what could've been. I was cruel to you after our discussion, and I apologize. People should never have to wait for others; it prevents them from living their own life. I sometimes dreamt that we were together, and that Rapunzel was our daughter. But it simply wasn't meant to be. You would've died giving childbirth. But I would have searched the ends of the Earth to find the flower that saved you. I have never stopped loving you Diana. It pains me that you've lost the most important men in your life to a war. But now you have a daughter, and possibly a son-in-law. You won't lose them, I can guarantee that.
As for the late King, I know you loved him more than me, that is something I can't deny. I saw how you cared for him. I saw how you grieved for his passing. He was a brilliant man, and an even better husband. He treated you like one would with a flower: with the utmost care, the utmost compassion, and utmost amount of love. I honor him for doing what I couldn't have.
But know this: you are my Queen, my almost wife, and my first true love. You are the beholder of my heart. May you live happily. Death will not part my feelings for you; we shall see each other again. Goodbye.
P.s. I love you.
6 Months Later: Eugene's POV
We were on a lake.
The crisp white sand was hot and thin beneath our bare feet. Every now and then a crab or similar shelled creature would pass us by as we walked along the shore. You could see the city as clear as day in the afternoon sunshine, it looked like a piece of white chocolate with a few specks of red in the middle of a giant blue bowl. You could say it was a pretty romantic setting.
I mean, this was our honeymoon.
Yep, me and Rapunzel tied the knot. The wedding was great. The Kingdom treated it like it was the biggest bash of the century; it took a full 2 months to prepare with all the decorations and place settings and dresses and food and the guest list, ugh, don't even get me started on that one. Do you have any idea how hard it is to select the people that'll be at your wedding? Especially when it comes to royalty and there'll be a lot of important people you'd insult by not inviting them? It was a nightmare. Thank God I didn't a part in it. . .except for maybe just one tiny request: that the Stabbington Bros. could attend as well. It only seemed fair; I mean they did play a huge role in bringing us together. . .somewhat. Ok, so the wedding was amazing and it completely went off without a hitch.
Almost; just a small problem with the rings (and the ring bearers), no biggie.
"So. . ." I began, a smug grin across my lips.
"So." She replied, smiling back. "We're finally married."
I laughed a bit, "Yeah. Guess that means we don't have to have sex behind their backs anymore."
She rolled her eyes, "Was that really the first thing that came to your mind?"
"No," I said playfully. "The first thing was how beautiful you look in white."
She shrugged, but her smile had widened, "I kinda do, don't I?"
We continued our little stroll with a comfortable silence. There wasn't really much else to say. We'd said our vows and 'I do''s back at the church in front of the entire Kingdom. Now we were just enjoying the moment by ourselves.
"He would've been proud of you, you know." She said, breaking the silence.
I didn't need a hint to know who she was talking about: Uncle Thames. The thought had passed my mind too many times to count after all the preparation and planning of the wedding. It came back again when I was standing at the altar. I couldn't help but wonder how different things could've been if he'd lived. It certainly would've made everyday life a bit easier, but as he said in his letter, what's done is done, I'll just have to live with it.
"He's not the only one." I said back, gazing into her emerald green eyes.
We held our gaze, and I got the feeling she was having the same thoughts about him and her father.
"Yeah. . .but we'll just have to make do with each other."
I raised a brow, "Are you saying I'm not good enough?" I asked faking a look of hurt.
"No. You're all I ever needed." She said, sliding her hand into mine.
I smiled, "So are you Blondie. So are you."
My (the author's) POV:
You're probably thinking right now I'm gonna say 'And they lived happily ever after. The end.' or some other crap like that.
But that's not how I roll.
Say whatever you want, but this was not your average 'happily ever after'. Too many friends were lost, too many families were left without sons or brothers, uncles or fathers, and too many problems still need solutions. The wounds are not all healed, and the dead are not all buried. The memory of that war will forever be implanted in their minds. They will never forget. They will never forgive.
And the thing about saying 'The End' is that there never really is one; when one door shuts, another one opens, new replaces old, but it doesn't end. You can't say after all this everything will just be smiles, and happiness, and laughter. No, that's only for the fairytales you read to kids. And this is not, by far, one of those either.
So yeah, this might not be your average fairytale happily ever after.
But hey. . .they sure as Hell, came close enough.
A/N: Well it's finished. The conclusion to a great story. My favorite part was my POV, I put a lot of thought into that one. I'd like to think that this story has had an impact, even if small, on your lives. I hope you come out better people in the end. I know I have. And again, for the last time, REVIEW.
Adios! Au revoir! Goodbye! See ya!
But wait! I do have a sequel planned up, but I'm honestly not sure whether to write it or not. The info about it is on my profile, so if you want a sequel send me a PM or review and I'll take it into consideration. Goodbye! And for old time sake, just review.