Rapunzel stood in her castle tower, brush in hand, trying to figure out what was missing from her painting of the symbol of Corona, a sun, when she heard a knock at the door. Startled, she quickly moved her mirror to cover up the spot on the wall, and then opened the door.
“Rapunzel, you were supposed to be ready ten minutes ago. You know that we cannot keep the children at the orphanage waiting.” Her mother scolded a bit too warmly.
“Yes, mother,” Rapunzel replied sweetly.
“Now let me brush your hair, and you can practice your song again.” The Queen of Corona pulled a stool in front of the mirror for Rapunzel to sit on, and started brushing her hair once she sat down. Rapunzel sang the song that she had been taught many years ago, when her parents had stopped corresponding with her cousins in Arendelle.
“Flower, Gleam and Glow
Let your power shine
Make the clock reverse, bring back what once was mine
Heal what has been hurt, change the fates design
Save what has been lost, bring back what once was mine
What once was mine…”
As she sang, Rapunzel’s long blond hair began to glow, which was usual since the magic flower that had been given to her when she was young had done the same thing. She had been very sick, and since the flower was rumored to have healing powers, a group of the palace guards and young men of the village had been sent out to find it. It had lightened the color of Rapunzel’s hair from the brown it had once been, which was fine since it had cured her, and saved the kingdom from not having an heir.
This time, though, something different happened. The Queen had a vision as she brushed Rapunzel’s hair, where she saw a cackling witch stirring a potion. The Queen, startled, dropped the brush, ending the vision.
“What’s wrong, Mother?” Rapunzel asked, looking up with wide eyes.
“Nothing- now put on your shoes so that we can be off to the orphanage.” Her mother replied, trying to distract herself from what she had seen.
When they arrived, the group of children playing in the main room abruptly stopped what they were doing to take in the royal ladies. The clothes that Rapunzel and her mother wore were much finer than what the orphans wore, except for one boy’s. Rapunzel decided to go over and speak to him, since he was reading in the corner all by himself, and it was her job to interact with the other children.
“Hi, I’m Rapunzel. What’s your name?” she asked him.
“My name is Eugene Fitzherbert.” He replied without looking up.
Rapunzel was surprised. The Fitzherberts had been a wealthy family whose home had been destroyed in a fire, leaving their son orphaned. She had assumed that he had gone to live with relatives, not to the orphanage. She knew not to ask about this, and decided instead to ask about his book.
“What are you reading?” she asked, though she could clearly see the title.
“The Tales of Flynnigan Rider- I’m preparing the section that I’m going to read to the children tonight. They look up to me as an older brother, being from a rich family and all. In fact, my parents’ death has brought lots of money into the orphanage- money that should have been mine.”
“Were your parents as cocky as you are?” Rapunzel asked, using some vocabulary from the book.
Eugene laughed. “No, they were do-gooders like all rich people are. At least, as far as I know. I knew my nannies and tutors better than I did them.”
Rapunzel then realized what was strange about him- he was older than the other children. “Why are you here and not in an apprenticeship?” she asked, knowing that that was the usual thing for boys of his age to do.
“They never arranged one for me, and when the orphanage offered to get me one, I said that I’d rather take care of the children, not knowing that they’d actually let me do it. By the way, I think your mother is calling you.”
“Oh, she is,” Rapunzel exclaimed, running over to her. With one look back over her shoulder, she began to play with the other children upon her mother’s request.