Mother Gothel froze. Her mind ran wild. Her secret was finally exposed. Desperately, she tried to regain control, saying brusquely, “Rapunzel, do you even hear yourself? Why would you ask such a ridiculous question?”
Rapunzel walked past Mother Gothel and went down the stairs. Mother Gothel had lied to her. She had been lying to her ever since she had stolen her away from her true parents.
“It was you!” Rapunzel said coldly. Now she was thinking of Flynn. Mother Gothel had set him up. “It was all you!”
“Everything I did was to protect you,” Mother Gothel said, pleading with Rapunzel.
“Where will you go?” she suddenly asked sharply. “He won’t be there for you!”
Rapunzel turned and looked at her. “What did you do to him?” she demanded. She felt her heart swell, her love for Flynn giving her the courage to stand up to Mother Gothel at last.
“That criminal is to be hanged for his crimes,” Mother Gothel said cruelly.
“No,” Rapunzel murmured, horrified. “No.”
Mother Gothel could see that Rapunzel was upset, and she moved closer to make the most of the opportunity.
“Now, now. It’s all right,” Mother Gothel said in her most soothing voice. She held out her arms as she always had. “All is as it should be.”
“How could you do this? I love him,” Rapunzel said.
Mother Gothel reached out to pat Rapunzel’s head as if she were a small child. “I know you think you do, dear,” she said in her silkiest, most soothing voice.
“No,” Rapunzel said firmly as she grasped Mother Gothel’s outstretched arm. “You were wrong about the world, Mother. And you were wrong about me. I am not stupid, and I am not small. And I will never let you use my hair again!” Rapunzel twisted Mother Gothel’s arm and pushed her away. The older woman stumbled backward and crashed into her full-length mirror. The mirror shattered, its broken shards dropping to the floor. Rapunzel turned and defiantly walked away.
Mother Gothel glared at her. “Fine,” the older woman said under her breath. She had given Rapunzel her chance to go back to the way things used to be. Now Mother Gothel would use stronger means to keep the girl with
In the kingdom’s jail, Flynn sat in his cell, wondering where Rapunzel was and whether she was hurt or in trouble. He blamed himself. If he hadn’t stolen the crown, he never would have gotten mixed up with those Stabbington brothers.
“Let’s get this over with, Rider,” a jail guard announced as he unlocked the cell door. Flynn knew he was in trouble. After all, he had stolen the lost princess’s crown. The punishment was death by hanging.
Still, he was more worried about Rapunzel. As two guards escorted him through the jail, Flynn spotted the Stabbingtons in one of the cells. Breaking free from the guards, he grabbed one of the brothers by the collar.
“How did you know about her? Tell me, NOW!” Flynn needed to know what had happened, how they had known about Rapunzel — where she was!
“It wasn’t us. It was the old lady.”
Flynn tightened his grip, but the guards rushed up and pulled him back roughly.
“Wait, wait!” Flynn shouted to the guards. “Wait! You don’t understand, she’s in trouble!” He didn’t care that they were leading him to his death. He needed to save Rapunzel!
Suddenly he heard a ruckus outside. Flynn’s jaw dropped. The thugs from the Snuggly Duckling had arrived! And they had come to break Flynn out of jail. Flynn didn’t know how or why they had come, but he leaped at the opportunity.
Swinging his chains, he knocked over the two guards. He and the thugs raced outside and headed toward the kingdom’s gates. The thugs punched and smacked and wrestled the royal guards to the ground. Finally one of the thugs grabbed Flynn and put him on a wheelbarrow. Then, using the barrow as a seesaw, another thug jumped on the other end, launching Flynn into the air. He landed perfectly on Maximus’s back. The horse snorted at Flynn. He hoped Flynn had finally noticed what an excellent horse he was. Maximus had galloped to find the thugs from the Snuggly Duckling and lead them to Flynn.
“Shut the gates! Shut the gates! Shut the gates!” the guards yelled. Maximus charged! The speedy horse zipped right through the gates as they slammed shut. Safely outside, Flynn and Maximus raced to save Rapunzel.