Summary: Welcome to the real world, where heart of gold criminals save princesses from high towers. Flynningan Ryder is a dangerous criminal, Rapunzel is a girl who's too smart and too pretty, and Gothel might just be family. The crazy kind that sells you to a brothel for an eighteen year revenge plan in the making. Happy birthday Rapunzel and welcome to the feudal era.
Chapter 1: Prolouge
"Beth! Please come back," the queen-to-be picked up the folds of her wedding dress and ran down the castle hallway. Running past the balconies she could hear the court musicians playing lively music. Flags of purple and gold had been hung all around the city in annoucent of the prince's nuptials. Hers too. Except her matron of honor was running away. She could see the dark hair of her sister turn the hallway and she picked up the pace. "Beth!"
Her sister turned around, angry tears running down her face. "Haven't you done enough already?"
"B-but Bethel, father arranged this not me!" she cried.
"Father doesn't care which one of us Joseph picked. You knew I liked him— yet you still used your charms to win him over," Bet spat at her, hands clenched at her sides. "I'm done with you, with him, with father, with pretending I'm happy for you. I hate being your matron of honour."
"Beth— sister— please don't do this. I can't do this without your support." she tried to reach out for Bethel, who would have none of it. Beth slapped her hand away, stepping away.
"Oh just stop it Asra! Eighteen years I've had to listen to people praise you for your beauty, or your talent, or all those suitors out for your hand. I'm sick of being in your shadows, people seeing me as someone less than you. Even Joseph when I tried— just stop following me." Beth wiped her eyes in frustration but her grey eyes teared once more. Picking up the folds of her dress Beth ran down the hallway and eventually, out of the city.
Asra did not follow.
Instead she went to her fathers guest chambers. She found him sitting with Joseph's father, her father-in-law, Hadden and Joseph, who smiled at her when she entered. The smile slipped off when he noticed her state of distress. Her veil was scrunched up in her hand, her hair slipped out of place, dry tears on her face. Standing up he put his hands of her shoulders.
"Asra?" he said softly. "Is everything alright?"
Behind her father stood up slowly. She shook her head at him and pulled him out of the room. Joseph followed behind her as she lead him to the library down the hall. He tried to talk to her but she wouldn't respond to anything. Mentioning that he should be waiting for her at the altar in an hour didn't seem to help the situation. In a corner of the library, between a bookshelf and a window she turned around to face me.
"Beth was in love with you. You knew."
"Yes, I did." Joseph breathed out slowly. "We were in the gardens, taking a walk. When we had just started courting. I didn't think I would like you as much as did but... I did. You said you were very close to your sister. So I wanted to know her too—
"You didn't tell me," Asra's blue eyes accused. "My sister is gone because she thinks I've betrayed her."
"I didn't want to be between you and your sister," Joseph took her hands in his, eyes pleading. "I'm sorry. I should have told you. Your sister is missing?"
"No!" Asra cried. "She left. What will father say? What if she never comes back— what if she gets hurt— oh, if only I'd known. I wouldn't have—
Joseph stepped closer, eyes hard. "You wouldn't have what? Accepted me, this proposal? Don't think that if you had backed off I would not have pursued you. And don't think that if you weren't there I would suddenly gain interest in Bethel. She is a sweet girl but I'm in love with you and in case you haven't noticed this is your wedding day."
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imply that I don't want this." Asra tried to calm herself. Wiping the tears from her eyes, she tried to readjust her hair and veil. She must look terrible and she was supposed to be at the altar in less than an hour. Or should she be looking for Beth? Where would she go? This kingdom was so unfamiliar for her sister. What if she got lost? Or worse, robbed. Or killed.
Joseph's hands came to the sides of her face. "And I'm sorry for not telling you earlier. You deserved to know. I'll speak to your father and the city guards. If you want... we can move the wedding to another day."
Asra smiled, putting her arms around him. "Thank you. But no, I'll go speak with Gabrielle. My... new matron of honor. You'll tell me if the guards find anything?"
Joseph murmured a yes.
—five years later.
"This flower, I have never heard of it your highness." the midwife said. Her beady eyes staring at the king. "But the herbalist's words a true. It has healed your wife. Your child is healthy and the queen will live, rest assured."
Joseph breathed a sigh of relief. Nina had delivered him when he was and his brothers too, he trusted her words. The last few weeks had been hard, he'd worked every guard in the city to the ground looking for a rare golden flower. But Asra would live and so would their daughter. It had been worth it. He lifts the curtain to the bed so he may go through. Asra lays on the bed tired, sweaty, and smiling. Next two her is a baby bundled in purple, the sun drawing of is kingdom emblazoned up on it.
"Isn't she beautiful?" Asra whispers.
"She takes after her mother, no?"
Together they bring the baby to her room and lie her down to sleep in her little crip. A spinning model of suns and stars dancing above the bed, so she may see the world. But the world can be a cruel place and revenge is a bitter dish. At nightfall Asra wakes to panic but she doesn't understand why. Immediately she thinks of her baby girl and shakes Joseph to wake. But she can't wait becaue something is wrong, wrong, wrong.
Asra runs to the nursery as fast as she can. The wooden door slams open and she sees a hooded person holding her crying baby. "Let go of her!" she screams. "Guards! Guards!" The castle guards abandon posts at the sound of the screaming queen. Her husband runs faster and finds Asra struggling with strange figure. But she is still weak from childbirth and he is too far.
The cloaked figure pushed Asra to the ground. A whirl of smoke. His daughter and the kidnapper are gone. Asra weeps into the collar of Joseph's shoulder but he feels so weak, too weak, to hold her. The guards appear and then disappear to chase after the hooded figure. But it's hopeless. They ask Asra, does she remember what the man looked like? She tells them it was a woman. They ask, did she look familiar? And the answer is yes.
Joseph is surprised. Asra says she saw grey eyes— like her mother's.
—Asra pulls the needle through the hankerchief slowly. She always hated needle work. So dull. Bethel sits beside her, working intently on embroidering flower petals. Their older sister had just given birth to a baby girl, now named Evelyn. Bethel scrunches up her face in disgust.
"Terrible name, if you ask me."
Asra giggled lightly, she didn't like the name either. Her grandmother was of the same name, she was a wretched woman. "Don't say that to our sister, she will throw a fit. Though the name is horrid."
Bethel rolled her eyes. Rosa would never speak to her again if she said Evelyn is a stupid name. Evelyn was so boring and ordinary. Names should have a bit of flair, some character... some meaning. "If you should have a daughter, what would you name her?"
"Hmm... Clara, I think. It means light," Asra says. "And you?"