The following is the historical document known as "The Last Confession of Eugene Fitzherbert" as transcribed by Dr. W.H. Sauron of the Coronan Historical Society. The actual document can be seen at the Coronan National History Museum in Corona City.
February 13th, the year of Our Lord, 1810
If you are reading this, I'm dead or I'm in prison awaiting execution. This is my last account of how I ended up where I am and my confession for my greatest failures and sins. My name is Eugene Fitzherbert, but you probably know me better by the name I took as a thief, Flynn Rider. This is the story of how I died. Though, this isn't even my story. This is a story about a girl named Rapunzel.
It all started fifty years ago. I had just stolen the tiara of the Lost Princess of Corona. I ditched my accomplices and tried to hide in this tower. I don't know what brought me to that tower, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me. When I got inside, I met this girl named Rapunzel. She was… she was something else.
For starters, when she saw me, she knocked me out with a frying pan. When I came to, she had me tied to a chair with her own hair. Yes, you read that right, her hair. She had seventy feet of blond hair that had magic powers. Her only friend was a chameleon named Pascal, and she lived in that tower without ever going outside for eighteen years with a controlling woman who claimed to be her mother. She took my satchel with the crown and said she would only give it back if I took her to see the floating lanterns they used to send up for the Lost Princess for her birthday. Well, we went and saw them, and we had a great little adventure along the way.
Somewhere along the way, I broke rule one of being a crook: never fall for a girl. But if you knew this girl… you couldn't exactly blame me. She charmed the thugs at the Snuggly Duckling pub, swung across a canyon using her hair, saved my life on more than one occasion. She was the sweetest, kindest, craziest, most enthusiastic little spitfire I ever met. She was like what you would imagine sunshine would be like if it were a person.
Then, things went wrong. While we were watching the lanterns, my former partners in crime, the Stabbington brothers showed up. I was willing to give them the crown to get them away from Blondie.
But they didn't want the crown anymore, they wanted her.
They knocked me out, tied me to a boat and sent me floating straight to the guards. They put me in prison and sent me to be hanged. On the way to the gallows, I saw the bastards who sent me there in a cell. I grabbed the nearest Stabbington and demanded who told them about Rapunzel's powers. They said it was her "mother."
This horse that belonged to the Captain of the guard, Maximus, got some of our friends we made on the way to the city, and they helped me escape. I rode Max at a hard gallop through the forest to her tower and climbed up to save her…
When I got to the top of the tower, I saw her gagged and chained to the wall. I was about to do something when her "mother" stabbed me. She was going to drag Rapunzel off to some new prison and leave me to die. Rapunzel fought back like the spitfire she was. She said she'd never stop fighting and trying to escape… but if the old witch let her heal me, she'd go quietly.
Remember how I said her hair had magic powers? Well, if she sang a certain song, the hair would heal you from any injuries. If the hair was cut, it would turn brown and lose its power. Best I can figure, that's why her "mother" kept her in that tower all her life and why she grew her hair so long.
The evil old woman grabbed me and chained me to the stairs in case I couldn't follow them. Rapunzel came over and wrapped her hair around me. I begged her, pleaded with her not to do it. She just gave me the saddest goddamn smile I've ever seen and told me that it was going to be alright. She said she couldn't let me die. I told her that if she healed me and went with that witch, she would die.
God help me, I was right.
She sang that stupid song and her hair glowed. I felt the warmth around my torso as it took effect and healed me. When it was over, she smiled that soul crushed smile and gave me a quick kiss on the cheek. She couldn't bring herself to say goodbye, so she didn't.
I called her name, but she just walked over to that terrible woman, who smiled arrogantly as she put an arm around Rapunzel's shoulder and led her away. I yelled, screamed, kicked, swore and thrashed like an animal as they disappeared through the trapdoor to the tower.
That was be the last time I saw her for years.
I eventually found a way out of the cuff. I had no lock picks and the pillar I was chained to was too thick to break or cut, so I did the only other possible thing: I broke my hand. I punched the wooden post until my hand was shattered. When it was a mass of blood and broken bones, I was able to pull it through the cuff. It hurt like hell, and it never fully healed right.
I grabbed Pascal, Rapunzel's pet chameleon and rode off on Maximus. That horse was the most tenacious creature I've ever known, I've had some persistent guards and bounty hunters after me, but he put them all to shame. He could track anyone or anything. We searched the countryside for months. Every time we caught a trail, it suddenly hit a dead end. I think at the time, that bitch kept moving around to throw us off the scent.
The first five years were absolute hell. Time after time we lost them. We not only had to search, but we had to evade the guards who were looking for me. Time after time we were almost captured. Once, we were so close, I was almost sure we were within a mile of their location. Then, the guards spotted me and chased me ten miles in the wrong direction. There were times I thought about giving up, but then I remembered that girl who had so much life in her going off on her death march with that woman.
We never stayed in one place long. I took odd jobs that would bring in enough gold to keep me going, but minor enough to drop if we had to leave. I took up hunting and wilderness survival. I got myself a hunting knife and a bow and taught myself archery. When we couldn't find towns, I kept us going with the occasional deer or rabbit.
Pascal died midwinter in the sixth year of the search. Maximus died fifteen years after that. They both hung on a lot longer than the usual lifespan for animals. I think they fought on by sheer will to see Blondie again. I promised both of them that I'd find her; even it took a hundred years.
I was never one to keep count of my own birthdays. When you grow up in an orphanage, birthdays mean another year closer to being too old to adopt and just being thrown out on the streets. But ever since I started my search, I kept track of Rapunzel's birthday. Another year that she wasn't there to see the lanterns. Another year that she was locked up somewhere.
Every year when I saw the lanterns go up, it spurred me on. Until, one year, the lanterns didn't go up. I heard through the grape vine that the queen died from pneumonia the previous winter. I guess losing his wife along with his daughter finally took its toll on the king; he passed just as the spring thaw came. I've never really given them much thought before, but now I knew what they had gone through; not knowing where someone is, never knowing if she's even alive let alone if you'll ever find her. My heart broke for them. I hoped that they would be reunited with their daughter in the here-after. If only I knew then what I know now.
As of this account, I am 74 years old. Considering the events of the last twenty four hours, that's old enough. The guards haven't looked for me in years. I'm an old man that nobody recognizes and I haven't done any noteworthy thieving since the crown heist. Flynn Rider has faded into history, and good riddance to him. He was a worthless idiot who lived a selfish life and deserved to die forgotten and unmourned in that tower. But I digress.
Last week, I finally got my first lead in years. A younger man in a pub mentioned a woman in a village called Lansterberg. He mentioned curly black hair, grey eyes and a red dress that looked like something out of a history book; a perfect description of the "mother." Yes, it was a long shot, but it I had to check it out. At my age, it's only a matter of time before the reaper catches up to me, and I had to find her before that happened.
I caught a coach to Lansterberg just in time for the spring thaw. Lansterberg was up in the mountains, miles away from the nearest city or port. It was mostly a farmer's community, self-sustained as far as food with little need to trade with other towns. This place was perfect for someone who wanted to get away from the rest of the world.
I rented a room at the Jaunty Moose Inn and began going to the local bar. Every night, I was there, downing a tankard of cheap ale. I scanned the room every night for that woman. I never forgot her face. I attached all my hate to that woman's features fifty years ago.
Three days, and she never showed, but then, on Saturday night, she appeared. She hadn't aged a day. She still had those same soulless eyes and that voice that would turn honey into vinegar. She sat and drank like she didn't have a care in the world. I was less than ten feet away from her, but she never gave me a second look. Age had made me unrecognizable to her. As far as she knew, I was some old man who decided to live out his twilight years in this quiet village.
I didn't move or even glance at her more than twice while she was there. After she left, I discreetly got up and followed her. I trailed her deep into the woods, almost three miles away from town. I watched her go into a small cottage that was surrounded by tall trees. The windows were boarded up and I saw her unlock five locks on the front door. Another hidden prison in the woods.
I crept up to the window to try and see or listen in. I tried to peer in through a crack in the shutters, but all I got was a view of a dark corner. I heard the woman talking to an older woman's voice. I couldn't make out much of the conversation, but what I did hear sounded very confused. Then, I heard that song. Through the tiny gaps in the shutters, I saw the same golden glow that healed my hand a lifetime ago.
I had to use every ounce of self-control to keep from bursting through the window. I rushed in last time and that old bat knifed me. This time, I'd get the drop on her. I retreated into the woods, and waited. No matter how badly my old bones ached or how much I longed for it, I refused to sleep.
When the sun rose, I moved further down the path from the house. I had to be ready. I sat behind a large rock just within sight of the path. I waited there and watched for the old woman. I couldn't risk direct confrontation. I had the element of surprise on my side, but the magic had made her younger than me. If it came to blows, she might be quicker than me and get a lucky strike. If I attacked and she fled, she could get help and I'd be a dead man. So I waited to see if my years of hunting had paid off.
I heard her up the path saying good bye as she closed and locked the cottage door. She strolled down the path towards my hiding place. I took out my bow and pulled back an arrow. I watched her go, waiting for my chance. Finally, she passed my hiding place and I let the arrow fly. It found its mark in her back. Shooting the backstabber in the back felt less fulfilling that I thought it would.
I stood as she fell to the ground. She cried out in pain as she desperately tried to stand, but couldn't move her legs. I guess I aimed better than I thought. I trudged over to the path and glared down at her. She was terrified when I appeared. She begged and pleaded with me to spare her.
"Please don't kill me! I'll give you anything you want!"
I asked her if she could give back the years she took from Rapunzel. I will never forget the look of realization and fear in her eyes. Not until the day I die.
"The thief? Flynn Rider?!"
No. Flynn Rider is dead. You stabbed him, remember?
She tried to crawl away, but the pain was too much for her. The dirt of the path was already turning red.
"Wait, I'll pay you anything! I'll have Rapunzel make you young again! I'll let you stay with her!"
She'd let me stay with her. This heartless, manipulative, lying bitch had the gall to offer me to stay with Rapunzel! As if she was taking me on as a nanny, or someone to watch a pet! She was still fully intent on keeping her trapped in the middle of nowhere so she could leech off her!
I am not proud of what I did next. I took out my hunting knife raised it over my head, sneering in rage at her prone and bleeding form. I think she screamed, I don't remember. All I could hear was my heart pounding in my ears like a thunder bolt. I looked her in the eye and plunged the knife down. She only stared up at me, her eyes wide and terrified, her mouth open in a scream that only came as a gasp. Her eyes went dark, and she fell still and silent.
I, Eugene Fitzherbert am a cold blooded murderer. In all my years of thieving, it was never necessary to kill before, and I had hoped it never would be. I preferred to think fast enough to avoid situations where it would even come up. But when I saw her lack of remorse, I knew that as long as she lived, Rapunzel would never be free, and the last fifty years were a testament to that. Do I regret it? No, I don't. I didn't enjoy it, but I know that she couldn't be allowed to live. And that's just another reason I know that there is no hope for me.
I heaved her body over my shoulder. I planned to bury her later, after I made sure Rapunzel was okay. I hoped that she could understand why I had to do what I did to the only mother figure she ever knew, kidnapper or not. The body was relatively light, but my strength wasn't what it used to be. I tossed the body down on the south side of the cottage and searched through her pockets for the keys. I found them easily. Figuring out which key went to the locks was a bit harder.
When the last lock clicked, I went inside. What I saw wasn't exactly what I expected. The walls were gold. Rapunzel's hair had grown in the past few decades, so much that it would have taken up all the space in the cottage, if not for the old witch's solution. The hair was tied to the walls with a series of ropes, harnesses and racks, encircling most of the cottage's interior like strings of garland. It finally culminated in the corner of the cottage.
After fifty years, there she was. She was asleep on a small bed in the corner of the room, wrapped in an old blanket, her blonde hair spilling over the edge towards the wall. She looked… kind of off. She looked fifty years older, except for brief moments, she looked younger. At first I thought it was a trick of the light, but her face seemed to shift between young and old. Wrinkles seemed to appear on her face and then fade away, leaving her looking as she did when we first met before they returned again. She seemed to shift through time and be the picture of youth and old age at the same time. Through it all, the hair was still the same honey gold, untouched by greyness or time. The only thing I can figure is the healing magic was constantly trying to fend off old age.
She looked so peaceful I didn't have the heart to wake her. So, I found a shovel and went about burying the evil old crone. Her grave is around the side of the cottage by an old stump if you want to investigate for yourself. I had just finished packing down the dirt when I heard the scream.
I dropped the shovel and ran inside. Rapunzel was sitting up in bed, eyes wide in terror. She pulled the blanket up to her face when she saw me. I went over to try and calm her down, but she just shrieked louder. I groaned internally, of course she wouldn't recognize me.
Rapunzel! It's okay! It's me, its Eugene!
"Eugene's dead! Mother told me the guards hanged him long ago! He's in the sky now! You're a ruffian come to steal our shoes and make us dance!"
"Go away! My hair won't make your crops grow! Right Pascal?"
She turned towards the wall and stared at it like she expected a response.
"See? He knows!"
I felt a cold chill in my bones. What was she playing at?
Rapunzel, it's me, it's Eugene! Remember? We went and saw the lanterns on your birthday. You saved me from the guys at the Snuggly Duckling. You broke my smolder. Remember?
"You can't be Eugene. We just saw each other last week!"
…What? But, you just said I was hanged long ago.
"Did I? I don't remember that. When did I…Wait, who are you? Did Mother send for you with more medicine?"
I was dumbfounded. What was wrong with her? Why was she acting like that? I asked her what medicine she needed.
"The kind Mother mixes up that I need to take three times every day. I started taking it years ago. It helps me when I get confused."
I asked her where the medicine usually was, dreading the answer. She pointed towards the kitchen door. I went in and saw a cupboard with a lock on it. I picked it and looked through it. I did not like what I found. There were bottles marked "opium" and "laudanum." There were jars full of poppies, wolf's bane, hemlock, cannabis, mandrake and nightshade. There were bottles of wines and strong liquors. On the table was an apothecary's jar that smelled like all of them mixed together. So, that was how the witch kept her compliant. "I started taking it years ago." She had been drugged every day for years!
In a rage, I shattered the bottles and jars. I tried to calm down and put up a brave face. If I scared her now, I'd never be able to save her. I just needed to get her out of there. Then, I would spend the rest of my days helping her heal. We had missed so much, but we would be happy with what we had left.
I finally pulled myself together and went out to talk to her. I told her she was all better now and didn't need to take the medicine anymore.
"Oh, that's good. Maybe I can start walking again."
I thought I had seen the worst that her so-called mother had done to her. I was so, so wrong.
I asked her what she meant.
"Well, years ago, something bad happened. I... I don't remember what it was, but my legs were hurt and my hair couldn't fix it."
Your hair can't fix it?
"No. OH NO! YOU KNOW MY SECRET! YOU'LL TAKE ME AWAY AND SELL ME FOR MY HAIR! HELP! MOTHER!"
I grabbed her and clapped my hand over mouth.
I don't want your hair. I won't hurt you. I promise. I'm here to help. Just calm down.
When we finally broke apart, I smiled and started to reassure her that I would help her get her legs working again. I pulled the blanket off her to see if there really was something that her hair couldn't heal. I didn't scream. I was too stunned to scream.
What are those?
"Those are my braces to keep my legs in place so they'll heal and keep me from falling out of bed."
I had no intention of telling her what they really were. There were two set of manacles, one on her ankles and one right above her knees. The cuffs weren't the worst part though, it was the spikes. Metal spikes were driven straight through her legs, bolted in place at the top of each manacle. I checked under the bed, the spikes went all the way through the bed frame and were bolted underneath as well. That witch had nailed her to the damn bed! I couldn't keep from retching at the sight. No wonder she kept her doped up, the amount of pain that could cause was inhuman. I stood up and gave her a pained smile. I told her that it was actually a minor injury and her hair could fix it once the braces were off. She looked so happy at that. I wish I could have spared her the pain I was about to cause. I had to remove the spikes.
I found the old woman's tools and began undoing the bolts that held the spikes in place and then… Then, I pulled the spikes out of her. I tried to do it quick and clean, but pain was inevitable. When the first came out, she screamed in agony. I still hear that primal wail, even now. When the second one came out, she screamed even louder. She shrieked like she was being tortured, because she was, even if it was to help her. When the first set came out and her left leg was freed, she thrashed and kicked, sending blood everywhere. She was in a blind panic, and I couldn't get the second set out. I tried to reassure her, but she was incoherent with pain. I had to stop her before she caused any further damage and I had no time to mix up the drugs, so… I hit her. She fell on the bed with a bruise forming on her face, but she was knocked out.
I got the other spikes out and pulled enough hair off the walls to wrap her legs up. I couldn't remember the words to the song, so tried humming it. The hair glowed, but not very brightly. It didn't work. It didn't matter though; by the time I finished, she woke up screaming. I grabbed her shoulders and begged her to sing the song. She did, fast and desperate through deep sobs of pain. I held her tight as she sang through the song over and over.
When she ran through the song for a tenth time, she began to relax. Her legs had healed and, surprisingly, she looked different. The last fifty years fell away and she was just the way I remember her when she first stepped out the shadows in that tower.
I looked at my hands, I felt my face. The magic had worked on me too.
She gave a joyful yell and wrapped her arms around me. In that instant, I didn't care about anything about what had happened before. All that mattered was I had her in my arms and we'd never be apart again. When we pulled apart, she chuckled and gave me a kiss. 68 and she finally got her first kiss.
I thought that this might solve our problems. We were young again. We could get our second chance and live out our lives like we never got to. It was my last bit of happiness before it all came crashing down. When we broke apart, she began to speak.
"Wait! Why did you run off on me last night?"
"Last night, after the lanterns, you went off with the crown and those two big thugs came."
Rapunzel, I was trying to give them the crown so they'd leave us alone, I swear. But your mother told them about your hair and they wanted you instead. They sent me off to the guards and they locked me away. And… that wasn't last night.
"Yes it was!"
No, that was… well, it was a long time ago.
"No, it can't be. Mother only brought me here this afternoon, after we left you at the tower. I can't believe you found us so quickly. I bet you had Maximus fly here. Pascal told me he actually had wings. Is that true?"
Yeah… yeah, it is. It was hard, but we got here.
"Great. Thank you, Maximus. Have an apple." She turned away and held out an empty hand to thin air. She laughed as the Maximus she saw in her mind took the imaginary apple. She reached up and began to pet the nonexistent horse before turning to me and saying, "See? He is a good horse."
The magic had healed her body, but not her mind. Whether it was long term effects of the drugs, her captivity or just old age, her mind would never be all right again.
"Do you think I can walk?"
I stood up and carefully pulled her to her feet. She took a few steps, wobbling with each one. She only got to the third step when she stumbled. I caught her as she fell, but she just yelled in anger.
"I did ballet just yesterday! Why do my legs feel like this?!"
You've just been in bed too long. You'll get your strength back soon.
"What do you know? You're just some thief who never looked for me!"
That hurt, but in her state, I knew she didn't really mean it. I ran a hand down her hair, but that just made her even madder.
"Stop that! I hate this hair! I hate it! I can't ever leave because of it!" She grabbed the long tresses that trailed behind her on the floor and whipped them around like she was trying to strangle the hair. "You took everything away from me! I can't go outside, I can't go home, and I can't see Eugene because of you! I don't want you anymore!"
Rapunzel? Do… do you want me to cut it?
She looked up at me in utter shock, then back at the hair in her hands.
"Could you? No, wait, you can't! Mother needs it! No! She's not my mother! But it's a gift I could help people with. And everyone I can help could just as soon lock me up again! I don't care! I don't care! I! DON'T! CARE!"
She sank to her knees and sobbed into the hair. I went down with her and held her until the sobs became quiet sniffles. I was ready to do whatever she asked. If she wanted the hair cut, I'd cut it. If she wanted to keep it, I'd untangle it off the walls and carry it behind her.
That was a mistake. I was so desperate to do something fix what had happened, to do one little thing that could bring back the smile I hadn't seen in so long, that I didn't think things through. People who aren't well in the head don't always know what's good for them. I should have remembered that.
"Cut it, please."
I nodded and took out my hunting knife. I had cleaned the blood off beforehand, so I wouldn't have to explain what happened to the woman she knew as her "mother" right away. I took the hair in my hand, making sure to grab every stand and I cut it. The blade sliced through the hair like it was nothing, changing the blonde to a rich chestnut brown. The gold disappeared from the walls, almost as if it was being burned away.
I watched Rapunzel as the hair fell, leaving her hair just reaching her ankles. She wasn't happy.
"NO!" She grabbed at the hair, absolutely terrified. She turned and gaped at the empty space in the room, watching something that clearly horrified her. Her eyes wandered across the room to one of the windows. Her eyes widened and she lurched forward, reaching for someone who I think she imagined fell out the window. She gasped and suddenly scrambled over to me, grabbed me by the collar and cupped my cheek. "No, no, no, no, no. Eugene! Look at me, look at me, I'm right here! Don't go! Stay with me, Eugene!"
She grabbed my hand and pressed it to her head and sang the healing song, but I just held her shoulders, assuring her I was all right. I told her that everything was going to be all right. She said the same thing to me in the tower just before she saved my life. She was wrong then, and I was wrong when I said it.
She smiled at me as she hugged me. I rattled off some stupid line about always having a thing for brunettes. When she pulled back, she began to change again. At first, I thought it was the strange effect I saw before, but it was different. It was like watching a pain of glass crack and splinter. Her youthful face wrinkled, her skin turned pale, her hands became frail as bone and the newly brunette hair turned snow white. I cursed my own stupidity. The magic died and the youth it bestowed died with it.
In a matter of seconds, Rapunzel was her proper age, and then, older than that. Maybe the prolonged use of the magic had taken a toll on her body, and with the magic gone, nothing could hold it off. When the change finally stopped, she didn't look 68, she looked at least a hundred years old. She smiled at me all through it, even as her eyes closed and she fell forward into my arms.
I caught her, held her close and lightly shook her to make sure she was all right. I had reverted to my true age as well, and worried that she wouldn't recognize me. However, she just grinned up at me with a half conscious, almost drunken look of happiness on her face.
"Eugene? I can't see you. Are you there?"
Yes, I'm here.
"Where's Moth… Where's Gothel?"
I hesitated. I couldn't afford to upset her until I could figure out what was happening.
The woman who brought you here? She's gone. I made her go away.
"Good. Now we can go home to the castle."
You mean the tower?
"No, the castle in the city. I found out that I'm the Lost Princess and Moth-Gothel kidnapped me for my hair."
She was mad, yes, but I believed her. It all made sense. Her birthday was the same day they raised the lanterns for the princess; she had blonde hair, just like the princess; she had green eyes, just like the princess; the magic in her hair was called upon by a song about a flower, and the queen of Corona had been healed by a magic golden flower when she was pregnant. Rapunzel was the Lost Princess. And I had just killed her.
"Oh, Eugene. The lanterns look so beautiful."
I know, right? We'll see them again on your next birthday. You'll see.
"Maybe my parents will send some up when you take me home."
Of course they will. They'll be so happy to see you.
What was I supposed to say? "Sorry, Rapunzel, but your parents died a few decades ago, as did Pascal, Max, our friends from the Snuggly Duckling."
"Eugene?" Her voice seemed to tremble, and her eyes were still half closed. "I'm cold."
I knew she was. I felt her go cold in my arms. Her heartbeat was slowing and her body was going limp. I was right about magic holding back old age; but it was more than just that. After all these years of the power eating her from the inside, the physical and emotional abuse, and the poisoning of her mind and body, the magic in her hair was all that was keeping her alive.
It was over. There would be no second chance. She would never heal. I couldn't save her. All I could do was give her some comfort in her last moments. So, I wrapped her in the blanket from the bed and I lied.
Well, don't worry, Blondie. You'll be fine. You've been through so much, you just need a little rest. Then, we'll get Max to take us back to Corona City. You'll see your real mom and dad. I talked to your… to Gothel, and she said it was the right thing to do, anyway. She said that it was so wrong to keep you hidden away for so long, and she's sorry. I guess she really did love you after all. She left, but she hopes you can forgive her someday.
"I… already… do…"
I knew you probably would. You're just so loving like that. Well, just relax, because I don't want Pascal sticking his tongue in my ear cause he thinks I upset you. So, you just get some sleep, and we'll make our way back. Your parents will be so happy. You'll finally have a real family. You'll rule with all the wisdom they had-have. Everyone will love you. I bet we can even help the guys we met at the Snuggly Duckling find their dreams too. I bet a princess could get that guy with a hook a job as a concert pianist. And if anyone can help that guy with the big nose find true love, you can. And you know, the palace walls look a little bare, maybe you could add a few murals and spice the place up and…
I just rambled on and on, promising her everything under the sun to make her happy. She just smiled and shivered in my arms. I don't know when I started crying. I just know she finally stopped me when a tear fell on her cheek. Her eyes opened and she squinted up at me.
"You were my new dream."
I couldn't hold back the sob when she said that.
And you were mine.
She smiled and her eyes shut again for the last time. She let out a final sigh and went still. I lost any hint of control and burst into hysterics. I've never cried that hard or that long before. I just sat there with the body of the only woman I ever loved, howling like a wounded animal. In my heart, I would have given anything to anyone to bring her back. I would have gone to the nearest church and beg at the Cross or to the nearest witch to offer my soul to the Pit. I wanted to go back in time and stop myself from going off with the crown. I wanted to die in that tower before she could heal me for that damned promise. I wanted to do a thousand other things that didn't mean a damn thing anymore. She died because I failed her.
I thought about ending it all right there and then. I'm a thief who murdered the Lost Princess and her kidnapper, why not save the kingdom the trouble of hanging me? Why should I worry about suicide damning my soul when I'm already damned?
Only one thing has kept me from doing that: Rapunzel. If I kill myself, what will happen to her? I can't just leave her here and I can't bring myself to bury her. So, I've made my decision; I'm taking her home. I'm going to take her body back to Corona City to be buried with her parents and I'm turning myself in. I only pray that they believe me. She deserves to rest with the family who loved her.
I am writing this letter in the event that I die before I can finish the journey. Rapunzel deserves to have her story told and remembered.
This is my final will and testament. If you find this letter and I am dead, take Rapunzel home. She is the Lost Princess and deserves better than to be left in a ditch with an old thief. If you are reading this and I am in prison, tell this story to the guards, to the officials, to the new king and queen, to anyone who will listen. Tell them that the Lost Princess is coming home to rest, and the one who killed her is ready to die.
On February 14, 1810, the man known as Eugene Fitzherbert, a.k.a. Flynn Rider ran through Corona City on foot, all the way up to Corona Castle with a body wrapped in a blanket. When the guards approached him, he declared in a loud, clear voice, "I am Eugene Fitzherbert, the man you know I as Flynn Rider! This is the body of Rapunzel, the Lost Princess of Corona!"
No sooner had he said this then he fell to the ground stone dead. If he did come from Langsterberg to Corona City, and the date of the letter is accurate, he must have walked or ran over seventy miles in one day. At his age and at that distance, it comes as no surprise that his heart gave out. Both bodies were examined and the royal mortician found that the woman he called "Rapunzel" was indeed the Lost Princess, born Princess Rebecca III. The letter was found on Fitzherbert's person and all evidence was taken to the reigning king and queen.
King Leonard (the nephew of King Jonathan and Queen Rebecca II who was named heir after their daughter's disappearance) and Queen Helena gave the princess a state funeral and entombed her body next to her parents in Solara National Cemetery, under both her birth name and the name "Rapunzel" that she went by in life. Eugene Fitzherbert was also buried in Solara National Cemetery, under the title "Rescuer of the Lost Princess" for his service to the crown.
The tradition of the lantern festival was also restarted and has carried into the modern day. Every year, on February 14th, each person sends up two lanterns, one with the picture of a man and one with a picture of a woman, representing the Lost Princess and the Rescuer. The lanterns are launched in memorial and celebration of Princess "Rapunzel" Rebecca II and Eugene Fitzherbert, and in hope that after all the tribulations they are finally together in the afterlife. It has become a staple of Valentine's Day to send up lanterns on a date. Tradition says that if someone catches one of your lanterns and sends it back into the sky, that person is destined to fall in love with you.
For further information about the Lost Princess, Eugene Fitzherbert a.k.a Flynn Rider, and Corona history and traditions, log on to CoronanHistory . org.