”Rapunzel!” Flynn yelled as he jumped off Maximus’s back. No answer. “Rapunzel, let down your hair!” he yelled again, desperately hoping she was safe.
Swoosh! Rapunzel’s long blond hair glided out of the window and down the tower. She was alive! Grasping her hair, Flynn climbed up the tower as fast as he could. At last, he made it to the window and hauled himself inside.
“Rapunzel, I thought I’d never see you again!” Flynn exclaimed. Then he stopped short and gasped. In the darkness, he saw the shards of a broken mirror on the floor — and heard the muffled sound of Rapunzel’s voice. She was kneeling on the floor across from him. Mother Gothel had chained her to the wall and gagged her. Rapunzel’s eyes were wide with fear as she struggled to warn him. ... Then Flynn felt the sharp point of Mother Gothel’s dagger against his back. He crumpled to the floor in pain.
Rapunzel cried out through the rags stuffed in her mouth. But Mother Gothel stared at her coldly and said, “Now look what you’ve done, Rapunzel. Oh, don’t you worry, dear. Our secret will die with him.”
Rapunzel could not speak, but now she understood: Mother Gothel intended to leave Flynn here to die!
Rapunzel needed to save him with her hair!
Mother Gothel unfastened Rapunzel’s chains and dragged her toward the secret trapdoor in the floor. “And as for us, we are going where no one will ever find you.” Mother Gothel yanked Rapunzel, who was struggling against her with all her might.
“Rapunzel! Really!” Mother Gothel shouted. “Enough already! STOP FIGHTING ME!”
But Rapunzel did fight — as hard as she could — until the rags fell from her mouth.
“No!” Rapunzel cried out in defiance. “I won’t stop! For every minute, for the rest of my life, I will fight!” Rapunzel was stronger now, stronger than she ever had been. At last she knew the truth. She knew everything, and she understood everything clearly. “I will never stop trying to get away from you.” She drew a deep breath, refusing to take her eyes off Mother Gothel. And she made her choice. “If you let me save him, I will go with you.”
“No!” Flynn cried out. Rapunzel needed to be free from this woman. “No, Rapunzel!”
But Rapunzel kept her gaze on Mother Gothel. “I’ll never run,” Rapunzel promised. “I’ll never try to escape. Just let me heal him. And you and I will be together. Forever. Just like you want.” Rapunzel knew that her promise meant she would never see Flynn again, but at least she would know that he was alive, living outside in the beautiful world filled with wonderful, kind people. Her voice barely a whisper, she repeated, “Just let me heal him.”
Mother Gothel’s eyes narrowed for a moment before she let Rapunzel go.
Rapunzel ran to Flynn. He was still lying on the floor, doubled over in pain.
“Rapunzel, no!” he said weakly. “I can’t let you. ...” His voice faded as he clutched a shard of the broken mirror. He would rather die than have the lovely, spirited Rapunzel live the rest of her life imprisoned in some secret tower with Mother Gothel. Using his last ounce of strength, Flynn reached up and, in one swift motion, cut off Rapunzel’s hair.
The long golden locks fell to the floor and turned brown, depleted of their magic. The short tufts of hair on Rapunzel’s head also darkened.
“No! What have you done? NO!” Mother Gothel was clutching the brown hair that lay on the floor. The hair on her head turned white; her skin shriveled. Stumbling, she staggered across the room. She was aging rapidly, and quickly disintegrated into nothing more than a pile of dust. The evil woman was gone forever.
But Rapunzel was looking at Flynn. He was dying, and there was no magic left in her hair to save him! “Oh, no! Eugene! Don’t go. Stay with me!” she sobbed. “Don’t leave me. I can’t do this without you.”
“Hey,” Flynn whispered with his last breaths. “You were my new dream.”
“And you were mine, too.” Rapunzel leaned toward Flynn as he closed his eyes.
Desperately, she began to sing. She wanted to bring forth some bit of magic from her shorn hair to save him. But the magic was gone with her hair.
Distraught, Rapunzel could not hold back her grief. She wept, cradling Flynn’s limp body.
A single golden tear fell on his cheek.
Flynn stirred. Though she didn’t know it, Rapunzel did have one last bit of magic left deep inside her, and it was contained in that single golden tear. Flynn’s eyes fluttered open.
“Rapunzel!” he whispered.
Flynn was alive!