“P-Princess? Your mother asked me to give you this,” a servant said, handing Rapunzel a piece of paper through a small hole in the door.
Rapunzel turned around, startled by the voice. “Thank you,” she replied, “I’ll take a look at it now alone.”
“Of course,” the servant replied, leaving as quickly as possible.
Rapunzel unrolled the piece of paper, and saw a familiar face drawn on it, though much older. It was the man she had dreamed about for so many years, the boy from the orphanage, the one that she knew would not fear her. “A criminal?!” she exclaimed. Then, looking closer, she noticed that the name on the poster was Flynn Rider, his favorite book character. She smiled, noting how this could become a new identity for him… but did he really want this? Did he want to embody Flynn Rider and let Eugene Fitzherbert go? And if he did choose Flynn Rider, would she still be able to live the dreams that had made her nights more enjoyable ever since?
Before this, he had been a young man from a respectable family who just happened to be an orphan, but she had known that if she wanted to marry him, her parents would still give their approval. But who would let their daughter, especially the sole heir to the throne, marry a wanted criminal?
Every book of law she had ever read stated that hindering the authorities’ search for a wanted criminal was an act of treason, which was punishable by death or lifetime imprisonment. But as she glanced around at the castle walls that she spent her every day in, she wondered how lifetime imprisonment could be any different from this. She was not free to go wherever she pleased- first she had to gain approval from her parents, and even then she still needed a member of the Royal Guard to accompany her. Only a trusted Guard member, one who had never accepted any sort of bribe or repayment other than what the crown offered him, would be allowed by her side, and would immediately report anything suspicious to her parents. He would also call attention to the fact that the princess was near, painting the kingdom in colors that were just too cheery.
And the rumor mill… it would be flooded. People would talk of witchcraft and sorcery due to her hair, infiltration of the common man’s world, and whatever else it was that made people suspicious of her and essentially kept her imprisoned in the luxurious palace. She knew that there were many books stored away in her father’s study- ones on magic, local folklore, botany, and even the history of her own kingdom- that she would never be allowed to open for reasons that only those books could reveal. Eventually, after her parents were long gone and she ruled the kingdom, she would have her justification for turning their pages, but today she did not, and every word in the books denied to her laid the secrets that made up her very being.
She glanced down at the poster once again. The artist had done a very good job, almost too good of a job, and she knew that with this picture he would easily be caught, and would be punished. She didn’t know what he had done, but she didn’t care- yes, she cared for a man that she had only met once, many years ago, but that didn’t matter. Love was love, no matter who it was for, and she would honor that love by protecting him. She looked at the drawing, wondering how she could change it; make it just a bit harder for searchers to find him without it being obvious that the drawing wasn’t right. She found her feather pen, dipped it into black ink, and made a slight adjustment to the nose.
“There. Every artist knows that noses are hard to draw, so that can add to his identity- a very strange nose, something that no one could ever draw.” Rapunzel started giggling, but quieted when she realized that the servant who had brought the paper could be standing right outside of her door, hearing every noise, and preparing to tell the King and Queen exactly what she had done. After making sure that the ink was dry, she rolled up the paper and dropped back through the slot in the door. “Hmm, I wonder if I have the right colors to paint him?” Rapunzel asked herself, looking at a space on the wall that could easily be dedicated to him. As she sorted through her many jars of paint, it wasn’t earthly tones of brown, blue, and green that she set aside. She realized that he wasn’t the one that she wanted to paint- it was her, and her choice, that she wanted the colorful liquids to embody. Her figure would be hefting her heap of glowing, golden hair in one hand and balancing a diamond tiara on the dainty fingertips of the other, showing the two worlds that she was equally a part of, and hoped that one day it could be said that she betrayed neither.