Flynn was jolted awake just in time to see the palace guards running toward him. He looked around in confusion, having no idea how he had gotten on the ship.
Then he heard a palace guard say, “Look! The crown!” And Flynn remembered the Stabbington brothers. Flynn knew they must have set him up, but all he cared about was what had happened to Rapunzel.
“Rapunzel? Rapunzel!” Flynn shouted out desperately.
The only witness to the whole sequence of events was Maximus. He knew he was supposed to keep Flynn out of trouble for twenty-four hours, and he was not happy. He snorted angrily and followed as the guards hauled Flynn off to the palace jail. Then he galloped straight toward the gates of the kingdom. He had to find help.
While the guards were busy locking up Flynn, Mother Gothel led Rapunzel back to the tower.
Rapunzel went directly to her loft. Pascal still clung to her hair near her shoulder, hoping to help somehow. But Rapunzel was dazed by everything that had happened. She couldn’t believe Flynn had taken the crown and left her. As she slumped at the edge of her bed, her hand strayed to her pocket, from which she pulled out a small kingdom flag — purple, with a gold sun on it. She stared at the flag and sighed, thinking of Flynn, the friendly thugs in the tavern, the people in the kingdom. What had gone wrong? Pascal heaved a sigh as well and turned blue, reflecting Rapunzel’s sad mood.
Rapunzel looked at poor Pascal. At least she still had one friend. Playfully, she tossed the little flag at him. She wanted to see him turn a happy yellow again.
“Oh, come on,” she said to him, as she always did when he turned blue on her account. “It’s not that bad.”
Rapunzel looked at her painted wall. That sun seemed to be everywhere, showing up in bright spots on the painting. She could see them now. Rapunzel slowly focused more closely on her handiwork. The kingdom’s sun fit into every small blank place on her mural. All these years, without realizing it, Rapunzel had been incorporating the outline of the golden sun in the empty spaces of the picture!
A flood of images suddenly filled Rapunzel’s head. She recalled Flynn saying that the lights were floating lanterns that the kingdom sent up every year on the lost princess’s birthday — her birthday. She remembered the mosaic of the royal family. The King and Queen were holding the lost princess. The Queen and the baby both had green eyes just like Rapunzel’s. She remembered her reflection in the mirror when she placed the crown on her head.
As Rapunzel looked up at all those golden suns, everything fell into place. Rapunzel, at last, knew exactly who she was.
“Rapunzel?” Mother Gothel called up to her. But there was no answer. Mother Gothel, anxious to be on her way and put this whole nasty business behind them, slowly began to climb the stairs to Rapunzel’s room.
“Rapunzel, what’s going on up there?Are you all right?” she asked impatiently.
Mother Gothel’s eyes grew wide when she saw Rapunzel standing above her on the stairs.
“I’m the lost princess,” Rapunzel said softly.
Mother Gothel tried to dismiss it all. “Oh, please speak up, Rapunzel. You know I hate mumbling,” she snapped, but Rapunzel saw the fear in the older woman’s eyes.
“I am the lost princess, aren’t I?” Rapunzel repeated loudly and clearly. “Did I mumble, Mother?”