Rise of the Brave Tangled Dragons

Stories around the Campfire


Pitch and Gothel followed the old man's directions, and made their way to an old board up well, the exit of the tunnel. All they have to do now was wait. Then they can grab Rapunzel and destroy the others. But waiting was not their strong suite. While waiting, Pitch played with his shadows, while Gothel checked her skin and hair.

She could feel the power of the flower fading away. Her skin is getting pale as more wrinkles show up. She quickly checked her hair to see more strains becoming grey.

"You know," Pith said with a sly smile. "The more you stress the more wrinkles you'll get."

"This is no time for jokes," Gothel said ferrous. "I am running out of time! Can't you summon your shadows and just transport my flower here!"

"You know my powers don't work like that," he said not happy that she's talking to him this way. He is a god compare to her.

"Then what are your powers for?" She said with anger.

"They are beyond anything you can imagine," he said with a sneer.

Gothel pulled out her dagger, and pointed it at him. "Try me," she threatened.

Without warning, a number of shadows like horses came from all around, neighing angrily at Gothel. She backs up, and puts her dagger in front as a defence.

"Easy boys," Pitch said putting his hands out to calm the horses down.

The horses stayed their ground as Gothel turns back to Pitch.

"You think I'm scared of your ponies," she said with narrow eyes. "I've been close to death every day, I've learn to cope with situations like you."

"Do not test me!" He said as a threat to Gothel. "I helped you with your youth; I can just take it away just as easily. I could send you across the land, and let you bare it on your own. But since I need those people gone, we're stuck together."

They suddenly heard a sound coming from the well. They quickly sneaked behind a boulder, getting ready for their new guests. The nightmares gallop in anticipation, and wait for their master's command. Gother prepared her knife to kill Flynn Rider, and take Rapunzel.

However, that wasn't who came out the tunnel. Instead, the Stabbington Brothers came out all soak and wet.

The nightmares were disappointed and faded away. Gothel recognized them from the tavern, and they seemed very pissed

"I'll kill him!" One of the brothers yelled to his brother. "I'll kill that Rider!"

Pitch turned his back to summon a shadow to tell him when the group has gone, while Gothel listen to the two brothers.

"We'll cut him off at the kingdom, and get back the crown." The brother commanded the other.

Gothel's finger found the crown hidden in the satchel beneath her cloak, and an idea hatched in her mind.

"I've got where your flower is," Pitch said as he turns to leave.

"Wait," Gothel said as she climbs over the boulder. "Watch and learn."

Pitch rolled his eyes with a groan, and disappears into the shadows.

She made it to the light, and go the attention of the two brothers. "Boys," she said with charm. "Perhaps you wan to stop behaving like wild dogs chasing their tails and think for a minute." She then pulls out the satchel from her cloak.

Both boys react by drawing their swords at her.

"Please," she said not too amused by their behaviour. "There's no need for that."

She tossed the bag with the crown to them, and they looked at it with greed in their eyes. Gothel caught that, and uses it to her advantage.

"Well, if that is all you desire, then I'll be on my way." She said while playing her words. "I was going to offer you something worth a thousand crowns, would have made you rich beyond belief."

This caught the boy's attention.

"And that wasn't even the best part," Gothel continued with a nasty smile. She then turned her back on the boys. "Oh well, c'est la vie."

The brothers didn't take long to come up with her proposal. If it will make them really rich, that's was all that mattered.

"What's the best part?" One of the brothers asked.

She turned her head with a wicked smile, and held up a wanted poster. The brothers lean in, and listened to her.

"What if it came with Revenge?" she said, "On Flynn Rider."


Nearby, the group of five set up camp near an old tree. They've got a roaring fire started, and easily set places for them to sleep later. But that wasn't what they were doing. Hiccup was busy wrapping a piece of Rapunzel's hair around Merida's cut on her arm, while Rapunzel gently wraps her hair around Flynn's cut on his hand.

"And the reason you're wrapping your hair around us is why?" Merida asks.

Rapunzel looked her in the eyes, with honesty in her face. "Just trust me," she said.

Pascal waited off to the side, with Baby tooth sitting on the grass, getting the last of the water off of her feathers and wings. Jack on the other hand, just observes from a log used as a chair. He was waiting in anticipation to see where this is going. This girl wowed everyone with the glowing hair trick, what else can she do.

Once Hiccup was done wrapping the hair around Merida, he took a giant step back. Whatever was about to happen, he kinda doesn't want a part of.

When Rapunzel was done with Flynn, she looked at everyone, including Jack. "Just, don't freak out," she said a little nervous. She was about to reveal the biggest secret of her life. The one rule her mother kept telling her, and the promise she made to her mother, she's going to break. But she thought they should know the truth. She used her hair to save them in the cave, might as well share the whole story. After all, these are her friends, they can be trusted.

She took a deep breath before she starts singing her song.

"Flower gleam and glow,

Let your power shine,"

Soon the top of her hair began to shine, strains of her hair bece a shiny gold. Even though everyone saw it in the cave, they were still shocked that her hair can do that.

"Make the clock reverse,

Bring back what once was mine,"

The glow began to travel down her hair and towards Merida and Flynn. Jack and Hiccup can only watch the glow, lighting the area brighter than the fire. Flynn was so close to losing it again, until he looked at Pascal, who only points to his hand.

"Heal what has been hurt,

Change the fate's design,"

The glow made its way to the hair wrapped around Merida's arm, and Flynn's hand. They anticipate the pain they would feel, but none came. The hair felt warm and calm.

"Save what has been lost,

Bring back what once was mine,"

Something was happening to their injuries, they could feel it. But it wasn't just their injuries, the magic in the hair felt rejuvenating. It was like they've dipped in water, and came out feeling wonderful and new.

"What once was mine."

As Rapunzel stopped singing, the glow in her hair died. It changed back to its natural blonde. Merida immediately loosens the hair around her arm, to see bare skin. She was amazed, and so was Hiccup. A moment ago, there was a big scar, now it's gone. Flynn raised his hand to lose the hair, To see the cut was gone too. However, he wasn't amazed, he was freaked beyond measure. His face was frozen with dismay and shock.

Rapunzel saw this and quickly put her hands out to calm him down. "Please don't freak out!" She said quickly.

He let out a tiny shriek, before he was able to speak again. "Wha..." He said trying to get himself together. "Wha…Freaking out! Who's freaking out...I'm not freaking out."

"Really," Hiccup said taking a seat near the fire. "Cause it looks like you are."

"What me? No," Flynn said still trying to stay calm. "I'm just surprise at blondie's hair and the magic quantities it processes." He then turns to Rapunzel and asks, "How long has it been doing that exactly?"

Rapunzel smiles and shrugs, "since forever."

"That's a pretty neat trick goldilocks," Jack comments as Merida takes a seat, while still looking at her arm.

"Thanks," Rapunzel said to Jack, before looking to the others. "But it's not all as wonderful as it seems."

"What are you talking about?" Hiccup asks out of curiosity.

Rapunzel sighs as she pulled back some of her hair, to reveal a short lock of brown hair. "Mother said that when I was young, people wanted to cut my hair, and use it for themselves. But once it's cut, it turns brown and loses its powers." She lets her hair droop again as she looks down sadly. "A gift like that had to be protected. That's why mother let...that's why I..."

Why you never left that tower," Merida finished while looking at Rapunzel. She felt bad for all the hair comments she's been saying. She thought Rapunzel was just a girly girl who fusses about how she looked, and her hair being perfect. Now she understands that Rapunzel has a real meaning behind it, and Merida felt awful.

"And," Hiccup speaks up, "do you still want to go back?"

"Yes...no...It's just complicated," Rapunzel said still sad.

Merida however refuses to let that be her answer. Her mother has locked her away all her life, she still needs to know what living a life really means. "Still," she said, "your mother should've let you go outside more often. She can't keep you inside like you're her prized possession. What kind of mother does that anyway?"

Rapunzel turned to Merida at the mention of her mother. Sure she is overprotected, but she does it to keep Rapunzel safe.

"My mom does everything to keep me safe!" Rapunzel replied.

"Safe from what?" Merida argues. She stood up and came closer to Rapunzel. "You've met some ruffians and thugs, and they turned out to be nice guys. Sure, there are some unlikable people we've met, but how do you know how to deal with them if you don't face them first?"

The boys grumble and rolled their eyes at the latest cat fight.

"And you heard what your mum said," Merida continued. "She said you are never to leave the tower. She's keeping you a prisoner, making you to whatever she wants."

"That's not true!" Rapunzel said. "She's just like every mother; she loves and cares about me!"

"She doesn't really care," Merida said. "All she wants is for you to be this obedient, docile, precious, little-"

Hiccup couldn't take it anymore. For every argument the girls have, Merida always make a big statement of mothers. It's time to find out why. "Merida!" He yells, breaking the focus of the two girls. "Do you have a falling out with your mom?"

"What makes you say that?" She said a little angry.

"Because every time we mention the word mom, you get tensed, and bratty," He said in a calm tone. "So what's going on?"

"Yeah, what?" Rapunzel said with the same curiosity.

Merida huffed, not really wanted to talk about this.

"Does it have to do with the whole, 'marriage' thing" Flynn asked.

She looked around the campfire, seeing everyone looking at her, wanting to hear her story. She really didn't want to tell, but since Rapunzel shared her secret, it might be ok with these people. They might even understand, and empathize with her.

"Ok," she said as she takes her seat near the fire. "As some of you know, I'm a princess of a Scottish country called DunBroch."

"Wait, what?" Flynn said trying to let that sink in. "You're a princess? You could've fooled me."

"I know," she said still focusing on her friends. "Being a princess restricts you to all the rules, responsibilities, and acceptations. All preparing me for the day I'll become queen. But that also puts my mother in charge of every aspect of my life. She always tells me how sit, how to eat, when's it appropriate to speak. She nip-picks at everything."

"Palace life sounds hard," Rapunzel said.

"That's not even the worse of it." Merida continues. "Just recently, my mum decreed that the lords from the neighbouring lands will compete for my hand."

"What?" Hiccup said shocked.

Rapunzel just looked confused. "Why would they compete for your hand? Was your mom going to chop it off?"

Jack could understand why she's so confused. "No," he said. "What she means is that these guys are competing to be Merida's husband."

"Husband?" Rapunzel said surprised. "Really?"

"Yes," Merida said, adding dread and anger to her voice. "But my mom didn't ask me if that's what I wanted before she sent out the invites. She didn't even ask me my opinion."

"So, she didn't just lead you into it," Hiccup said, trying to understand. "She just sprang it on you."

"Yes," Merida said even angrier. "But I didn't want my life to be over, I wanted my freedom. I wanted to have my own say in my life, but she didn't listen, didn't even care."

Rapunzel took every word Merida said in. it does sound like Merida's mom and her mom are similar in a way. But it couldn't be that bad?

"When the lords came with their sons," Merida continued. "I managed to find a way to change my fate, and still stay within my mother's rules."

"How?" Jack asked.

"Tradition states that only the first born of each clan can compete for my hand," Merida said. "And I'm the first born of my family, so I was allegeable to compete."

"Did you?" Rapunzel asked.

"Yes," she answers, "and won. However, mum was in a rage, and threw my bow into the fire. That's when I ran away and...well, you know the rest."

Everyone around the fire fell silent. They had to admit that Merida had it rough with an unwilling marriage. And it seems like she and her mother had a huge feud that hasn't been resolved yet.

Rapunzel was the first to through a sympathy branch to Merida. She walks over to her log, and gave her a hug. "I'm sorry to hear about the marriage," she said. "It must've been hard for you to leave your whole family like that."

"Yeah," Merida said looking down. "I do miss my father and me wee brothers. But not my mum. I'm glad to be away from her."

"But I bet she misses you deeply," Rapunzel said to insure her belief. "I bet, that deep down, you miss her too."

"I don't!" Merida said, breaking away from Rapunzel. "I don't miss her at all! If I go back, she'll just want to force me to follow that ridiculous tradition and marry someone I don't want. She never listens or cares about me."

"Don't say that," Rapunzel said with force. "Every mother cares about their children." She knows she's right, but she just can't keep using her mother as example. So she looked for support, but she doesn't know if spirits like Jack has parents. Maybe Hiccup could help her out with this. "Hiccup knows what I'm talking about," she said turning her head to him. "I bet your mom loves you to bits, right?"

Hiccup sighs away from Rapunzel. It has been the first time anyone has mentioned his mom without a cruel or sad remark at the end. "I wouldn't know," he said, "I lost my mother when I was a baby."

"Oh, I'm so sorry," Rapunzel said, feeling ashamed for bring it up. Even Merida felt bad that Hiccup's mother wasn't in his life. They totally forgotten that he said he lost his mom.

But Hiccup was still on the subject of bad parenting. Sure it sounds like the girls mothers get on their nerves, but they dot sound as bad as his dad. "Now fathers," he said, "fathers are another thing."

"What are you talking about?" Merida asked.

"Well, let's put it this way," Hiccup said standing up. "Rapunzel, does your mom tells you that she loves you?"

"All the time," she answers.

He then turns to Merida. "And does your mom say that she is proud of your accomplishments?"

Merida searches her thoughts for the few times her mom was proud of her. "Yes," she answers in a grumble. "sometimes."

"Well, my dad never does any of that," Hiccup said. "He only sees me as nothing but a disappointment. He wishes for me to be big and tough like him. For me to be...normal. No more of...this." He waves his arms to show off his body.

"Did you just gesture to all of you?" Flynn asks.

"Yes," Hiccup said a little sarcastic. "He never listens to me, and we barely make eye contact. And when we do, he always has this...disappointed scowl like some skimmed off the meat if his sandwich." Hiccup then changed his voice to make it lower and have a Scottish burr. "Excuse me, barmaid. I'm afraid you brought me the wrong offspring." He then gestures t around, to get the point across. "I ordered an extra-large boy with beefy arms, extra guts and glory on the side. This here, this is talking fish bone!"

Jack couldn't help but snicker at Hiccup's impression, but the point was clear. Hiccup was an unwanted child, and everyone felt bad.

"I can't believe a father can treat someone like that," Merida said with disbelief. She can't imagine if her father talked to her like that.

"That's basically how the whole tribe treats me," he said folding his arms across his chest.

"Your whole tribe?" Rapunzel repeats.

"Yes," he answers. "I'm the village screw up, the one everyone blames for setting the place on fire. They treat me with distain and ridicule-"

"Except your friend," Rapunzel said out loud.

"Yeah," hiccup said looking down at his ring. "My friend."

"The dragon," Merida said with a hint of curiosity. "What do you mean when you said that? Is that his nickname? Does he have a dragon tattoo?"

"No," he said defensively, "His name is toothless, and I actually mean that he is, in fact, a dragon."

Everyone still has a hard time believing that. "Like, terrible, fire breathing, dragon?" Rapunzel asked.

"Yep," Hiccup answers.

"Ok,ok," Flynn said trying to get this guy's story straight. "I can totally get blondie's hair trick, and princess's marriage problem. But a dragon?! Come on man, that's pushing it over the edge a bit."

"I'm not making this up," Hiccup said, with a strong voice. "In my village, we get dragon attacks daily. It's a 300 year old war between us."

"300 years?" Rapunzel said in surprise.

"Yep," he nods. "It was us vs dragons. At the time, I wanted to prove to my tribe, especially my dad, that I can be like them, be a Viking. Only when I managed to bring one down, I couldn't bring myself to kill it. Tradition says I should, but I just...didn't feel like myself. So I let it go, and we slowly bonded. He's been my best friend ever since."

Hiccup quickly saw the others are still aren't really believing his story. Better move on from here. "Just wait to you guys meet him, then you'll see."

"Uh, no thank you," Flynn said with a raised eyebrow. "I've had enough excitement with the guards and that dreaded horse. I'll be staying away from any fire breathing dragon, thank you very much."

"Oh really," Hiccup said smirking. "And what's your story Flynn Rider, or should I say Eugene Fitzherbert."

Flynn sighs at the thought of him in the spot light. He really didn't want to say anything about his old life. But then he thought, it wasn't great, but he's in a campsite with people who had miserable stories. "Well," he said. "I won't talk about my parents, mostly because I don't remember them."

"Why?" Rapunzel asked making her way to sit beside him.

"I lost both of them at a young age," he admits. "The only thing I remember is their cries, and heat of a fire. It wasn't too long till I was dumped off at an orphanage. I'll spare you the sob story of the life there; it's a bit of a downer."

Everyone leaned in closer, wanting to hear more.

Flynn didn't really want to share any bad memories of his life, there's already been so many downer tales, and he didn't want to have the next one. So he thought of the only bright memory he has, and the one that is the reason for his name change.

"There was this book," he said and moving his hands as if reacting a play. "A book I used to read every night to all the younger kids. 'The Tales of Flynnigan Rider'. Swashbuckling rogue, richest man alive, not bad with the ladies, either." He quickly whispers to Rapunzel.

She giggled about before asking, "Was he a thief too?"

"Uh… well, no." He said with a dreamy sad look. "Actually, he had enough money to do anything that he wanted to do. He could go anywhere that he wanted to go. And, and, and for a kid with nothing, I don't know, I… Just seemed like a better option."

"I'm not too sure that stealing is ever a better option," Merida said blunt. "But...it's a life full of adventure. That's quite a life, certainly not a dull one."

Hiccup then asked a very impotent question. "Is that why you stole that crown?"

Flynn kinda didn't want to talk about that crown, but he felt safe to share his secret. "That crown," he said, "was my ticket to a new life. It was my only way to get my dream."

"You mean that island dream?" Rapunzel asked.

"Not really," he said with sincerity. "My dream to be like Flynnigan Rider."

Everyone thought long and hard about what he said. It seems like they've all have a dream to be something more than what they are. They all want a different fate.

"You can't tell anyone about this, okay?" Flynn said to everyone. "It could ruin my whole reputation."

"We wouldn't want that." Rapunzel said with a sweet smile.

"Well, a fake reputation is all a man has." Flynn shrugged.

It caused everyone to smile and laugh a bit. The atmosphere in the area drastically changed from a downward grim, to a friendly gather around

"For the record," Rapunzel said with a smile. "I like Eugene better than Flynn."

"Well, you'd be the first," Flynn said. But then a thought came to him. Back in the cave, everyone talked to an invisible guy. Time to find out what's that about. "So...What about this invisible friend of yours?" he asks. "This, Jack?"

"Oh," Rapunzel said a little surprised. She looks at Jack, sitting on his rock with a smile. Maybe now, Flynn can see him.

"He's..." She started a little nervously. "He's a winter spirit, who can control ice and snow. But he can only be seen, if you believe in him." She looks at Jack. "Did I get that right?"

"Close enough," he said with a smile.

"Sure," Flynn said not really believing what she's saying. "I'm sure being cooped up in the tower all your life, with only your mother and lizard as company, I'm sure you would make an imaginary friend or two."

"Imaginary?!" Jack said a little pissed. "Well, imagine this." He then twirled his staff to create a cold gush of wind in the direction of Flynn. Flynn immediately felt cold, his teeth almost chattered. He swore he even saw a snowflake or two.

It was starting to get a little too crazy for Flynn, he needed some time to cool off, or in this case warm up. "Ok," he said still feeling the effects of the cold. "I'll just go and get some more fire wood then." With that, he got up and left the campsite.

As soon as Flynn was gone, everyone turned to Jack.

"What?" He said trying to be innocent. "He was asking for it."

"You didn't have to do it that way," Rapunzel said crossed.

"Do you think he can see you now?" Hiccup asked.

"Doubt it," Jack said, "I think there so much going on, he doesn't know what to believe. I mean, Rapunzel's hair, Merida's a princess, and Hiccup's friend is a dragon, it's alot to take in."

"Speaking of our stories," Merida said while leaning towards Jack. "What's yours?"

"Well," Jack said completely unsure of what to say. "I lived for 300 years, bringing snow days and fun to the kids."

"But what about your parents?" Rapunzel asked with curiosity. "Do spirits have parents?"

"I had a mom...once," Jack said while looking back to his old life. "Back when I was alive."

"Alive?" Hiccup asked.

Jack looked down to the ground, sad for mentioning the life he had before. Unknowing, he made the area around him cold, and tiny snowflakes began to fall everywhere.

"I don't remember much back then," he said trying not to cry. "I know I had a mother, but no matter what, I can't remember her face. I do remember my sister though."

"You had a sister?" Rapunzel asked.

"Yeah, I think her name was...was..." He struggled to remember his own sister's name. It was frustrating, and almost cruel. The snow seemed to react to his feelings and began to rush everywhere. Rapunzel immediately ran to Jack, and pulled him close to comfort him, gently stroking his hair. Just like her mother does sometimes. It calmed him down a bit, and it slowed the snow down a bit.

"Thanks," he said like a moaning child.

"You're welcome," she said with a sweet smile.

"Anyway," Jack continues his story. "One day, my sister and I were out ice skating, but she accidentally went on to thin ice, and it began to crack under her feet. I managed to get her out of there, but I fell in myself. The water was so cold, it froze my entire body. It then became dark, very dark. Next thing I knew, I emerge from the pond, and became Jack Frost."

"Wow," Merida said awestruck, which was what everyone thought as well.

"Ever since then," Jack said, "I've been flying around, creating snow days, and working so hard to be believed in. But it was rough when people don't think you exist."

Rapunzel held Jacks hand in sympathy. "Do you have a believer?" She asks.

"Yeah," he said with a smile. "His name is Jamie. He's a cool kid, big believer in anything. He's the one who helped us stop Pitch before. After that, we tried to spend a lot of time together." His facial expression changed to a sad one at the thought of Jamie.

"What's wrong?" Rapunzel asked while dusting some snow off her hair.

"The problem is that he's mortal," Jack answers as if his heart was breaking. "Soon, he'll grow up, and have his own kids. What he can't see me anymore? What if I will spend another 300 years alone?"

He stood up and walked towards the fire, feeling the heat on his face. He saw Jamie in place of the fire, sooner or later; he will grow up and die. Can Jack be ready for that day?

"I just don't want to lose my friend," Jack said looking at the ground. He puts his hands in his pouch and secretly pulls a little canister to his view. While the box is still hidden in his pouch, he can see the face of who he used to be on it.

"I've had a dream," he sang quietly and softly.

"I've had a dream,

All I wanted was to be seen."

Everyone looked at him, with sadness and compaction. He's been through life alone. Now that he has friends, he couldn't bear to lose them.

"Now that Jamie can see me in the snow,

I don't ever want to let that go,

I can't handle not being believed in and unseen."

It almost make Jack's eyes water, in the fear of what's going to happen. He then felt surprised when he felt arms being wrapped around his neck. He calmed down to turn his head to see Rapunzel behind him.

"Listen," she said with a sweet, caring voice. "I promise you this, no matter what happens, or how old I get, I will always believe in you."

"Really?" Jack said touched.

"Yes," she nods. "And you know how I am with promises."

Jack then felt the hands of Hiccup and Merida grabbing his arms.

"Same with me," Hiccup said. "I believe in you."

Merida smiles as she nods.

Jack took the moment and looked at these people. They looked like they are being sincere and caring. He can officially call them his friends. It was a rough start, but it seems that they are finally coming together as a team.

"Thank you," he said with gratitude.

"Ooh, group hug!" Rapunzel said quickly wrapping her arms around everyone. Though it was a little uncomfortable for some, everyone eventually embraced the group hug. At that moment, everything seemed right and calm. Even the cold wind and snow disappeared, to make the scene even more perfect.

When everyone broke apart, Merida grabbed Hiccup's hand. "Come on," she said as she leads him to her bow.

"Where are we going?" He asked her.

"You did well against those two guys, but you really need to improve," she said as she hands him her bow. "I'm going to teach you how to fight."

Hiccup gulps a big nervous one, as she takes him away from the campsite, and into the forest, leaving Jack and Rapunzel alone at the campsite.

Both of them smile at the progress everyone is functioning as a team.

"Just like the avengers, right?" Rapunzel said to him.

"More or less," Jack said with a smile.

It was a peaceful moment between them; everything was going to be alright.

"Well! I thought they'd never leave."

Both of them nearly jumped in surprise at the sound of the voice. They turned around to find none other than Rapunzel's mother. She removed her hood to show a semi wrinkled face, with a few grey hairs on her head.

"Mother!" Rapunzel gasps in shock.

Jack face turns to a concern, and suspicious. "What is she doing here?"

Gothel smiles a wicked smile. "Hello dear," she said to Rapunzel, completely ignoring Jack.

Rapunzel couldn't help but feel guilty. She's lied to her mom about staying in her tower, and now she's been caught. "How...how...how did you find me?" She asks, stuttering her words.

Gothel's walks over to Rapunzel and gives her a big hug, while stroking her hair. "Oh, it was easy really," She said. "I just listened to the sound of complete and utter betrayal and followed that."

Jack stood off to the side and shook his head. "What is that supposed to mean?!" He said with caution.

But Gothel didn't hear him; she just grabs Rapunzel's wrists. "We're going home Rapunzel," she said with authority, "now!"

She began to drag Rapunzel away from the campsite, but Rapunzel stood her ground.

"You don't understand." Rapunzel said pulling away. "I've been on this incredible adventure and I've learned so much. I even met some people."

"Yes the wanted thief. I'm so proud," Gothel said with a fake cherry smile. But then pulls Rapunzel back with disgust. "Come on!" She commanded.

"No, listen mother," Rapunzel said, finally yanking her hand away. "It's not just him; I've made so many friends."

"Yes, with his thugs and ruffians," Gothel said not pleased.

"They aren't anything like that," Rapunzel argued. "They had dreams like I do. And we've been through so much, and we've been teaching each other so much."

"Yes, I've heard," Gothel said not happy at all. "And I'm disappointed at you for listening to that red hair girl. She is saying a lot of bad things about me. Making me sound horrible-"

"I've challenged her on that," Rapunzel said with as much love as she can. "She's having a rough time with her mom, so there some anger there. But I told her that you're not like that. That you do what you do, to protect me-"

"I'm glad we agreed," Gothel said grabbing Rapunzel's hand again. "So let's go home."

"Wait," Rapunzel said pulling her hand out again, and moving closer to Jack. Jack knew what it meant. It was time for Rapunzel to talk with her mother, wanting to go to her dream, when she is so close to accomplishing it. So he holds a protective poise. Ready to defend Rapunzel if may be.

"My friends are helping me," Rapunzel said with a determination tone. "Helping me grow and realizing my dream. And Eu-" she paused, remembering her promise to him. "Flynn, he's...he's..." She stops to think of all the moves he's made to her, and how genuine he's been. "I think he likes me."

"Likes you?" Gothel said as if it was a joke. "Please, Rapunzel, that's demented,"

"But mother I-" Rapunzel started to say.

"This is why you never should have left," Gothel said in a caring mocking tone. Trying to unravel the trust she has towards her new friends, especially towards Flynn.

"Dear, this whole romance that you've invented

Just proves you're too naive to be here."

Jack did not like what Gothel was saying. Ever since Rapunzel's been with him, she's been growing tougher and smarter then she's ever been in the tower. He hugs her close and whispers to her. "That's not true; you do deserve to be here."

"Why would he like you? Come on now - really!" Gothel smiles as she waves around Rapunzel, phasing her hand through Jack.

"Loads of reasons," Jack said with compassion.

"Look at you - you think that he's impressed?" Gothel said gesturing to her daughter.

"I think he is," Jack said with honesty.

"Don't be a dummy" Gothel said while holding out welcoming arms for a warm, loving hug.

"Come with mummy

Mother -"

"No!" Rapunzel said firm. She knows what she wants, and nothing is going to stop her this time, not even her mother. She has heard all those words before, even accepted them. But not this time, not after everything she has learned.

"No?!" Gothel said almost surprised. That was one word her flower has never used against her before. But she quickly uses it to her advantage. If she can prove that she's been right, and Rapunzel is wrong, that will put her flower's trust back to her.

"Oh," Gothel said with a wicked smile, "I see how it is."

Not liking Gothel's look, Jack pulls Rapunzel close to protect her, while eyeing Gothel.

Gothel begins to walk around in a powerful movement.

"Rapunzel knows best

Rapunzel's so mature now

Such a clever grown-up miss"

She taps Rapunzel on the head, which made Rapunzel and Jack back off a bit.

"Rapunzel knows best

Fine, if you're so sure now

Go ahead, and give him this!"

She reaches into her cloak, to pull out the satchel Rapunzel hid back in her tower. It shocked Rapunzel to the core, and made Jack extremely suspicious of this woman.

"How did you-" Rapunzel asked in fear.

"This is why he's here!" Gothel said, pulling out the crown.

"Don't let him deceive you!

Give it to him, watch, you'll see!"

She throws the crown, and the satchel to Rapunzel, who easily catches them. She looked at it for a bit, and suddenly, she was full of worry. What IF Flynn is acting nice, just to keep his end of the deal? Would he leave her if he got his prize? But she is certain he is nothing like that. She is sure he likes her.

"I will!" She said to her mother.

But Gothel wasn't finished her rage. She wanted to make sure Rapunzel doubts herself.

"Trust me, my dear

That's how fast he'll leave you

I won't say I told you so -

No, Rapunzel knows best!

So if he's such a dreamboat

Go and put him to the test"

She turns to leave into the forest, but Rapunzel still loves her mother, and wants her to be with her. "Mother, wait!" Rapunzel screams to her.

Gothel turns around, just to yell one last remark.

"If he's lying

Don't come crying

Mother knows best!"

With that, she covers herself with her cloak, and disappears into the dark forest.

There was a moment of silence in the area. Jack and Rapunzel tried to take in what just happened.

"That woman," Jack said looking at Rapunzel. "No offence Rapunzel, but she doesn't get my vote for mother of the year."

He laughs a bit, trying to lighten the mood. But it wasn't working; Rapunzel just looked down, deep in thought.

Jack puts a hand on her shoulder, "are you ok?" He asked with worry.

"Hmm," she said, almost forgotten that he was there. "I'm fine...I'm fine." Truth was she wasn't fine. Her mother was here, the crown is also here, and tomorrow is her birthday. It should be a wonderful day, but still the thought of Flynn leaving her, is making her worrisome.

For now, she has to hide the satchel. "Jack," she said. "Can you give this to Merida? She can hide this a lot better than me."

"Sure," he said taking the satchel. He then hugs Rapunzel, full of care. "It's going to be ok, you'll see."

They then heard Flynn coming back, with an arm full of fire wood. Jack took the chance to fly and find Merida and Hiccup.

"Hey!" Flynn called out. "Can I ask you something? Is there any chance I'm gonna get super strength in my hand? Because, I'm not gonna lie,that would be stupendous." He then paused to see Rapunzel alone, and the sense something just happened.

"Are you alright?" He asks in concern.

Rapunzel took a deep breath, and quickly try to hide anything wrong from him. "Sorry," she said trying to put on a smile. "I guess I was just...lost in thought."

Flynn looked around to not see Merida and Hiccup, "where are the others?" He asks.

Rapunzel brought back her cheery personality. "Merida's teaching Hiccup how to fight," she said sitting down. "She figures I can handle myself with my frying pan."

"Well, you can certainly swing it where it hurts" he said while putting the wood down and rubbing the back of his head. It made her giggle, and together they start to tend the fire.

A little ways away from the site, Gothel returned to Pitch and their new allies.

"Brilliant performance," Pitch applauds.

"Thank you," she said with a pretend bow. "I know it will bring my flower back to me."

"Now don't be sure yet," Pitch said. "She's still with that group. In order for us to get what we want, they need to disappear."

"And they will," Gothel assured him. "It will be a heartbreaking betrayal that my flower cannot bear. She'll have no choice but to go to the only person she trusts, me."

"Well, aren't you mother of the year," Pitch comments in a subtle tone.

"Children are easy to mold," Gothel said with a sly smile. "All it takes is a firm hand."

Pitch only looks as Gothel made her way to the Stabbington brothers. This partnership was not quiet what he had in mind. It was clear that Gothel cared for nothing, but the returned of her flower. Pitch kinda regrets telling her about it all those years ago, but that's in the past, and he needs to focus on the future. He made a quick portal out of black sand, to talk to his minion a number of years from now.

"Give me a status update," he commands to the Tooth fairy on the other side.

"Things are going well master," she said with glee. "Christmas decorations are getting ruined, and people are starting to loose spirit."

"Excellent," he said with pride. But then thought of something, he has Hiccup's and Merida's teeth in his possession, he should have Jack's to mess with him.

"Listen to me," he commands. "I need you to go and get me Jack's teeth."

Her face turned to regret. "I'm sorry master," she said. "I don't have his teeth, he has them."

"What?!" He screamed in furious. But then reverts back to his composure. "Alright then, I'll deal with this later. Just keep messing with the holiday." He then closed his hand, and shuts the portal down.

He turns to where Gothel and the brothers are, spying on the campsite.

While the brothers are eager to go in, kill Flynn and steal the prize, Gothel smiles at her plan in process.

"All good things come, to those who wait," she said quietly.


Meanwhile, Hiccup's face was in the dirt again after Merida throws him down.

"Are you even trying?" Merida said, trying to hold in her frustration.

Hiccup slowly got up and dusts the dirt off his tunic. "It's not like I'm losing on purpose," he said. "I'm just destined to loose against big, strong people."

"There's more to battle then strength," Merida said dusting the rest of the dirt off of him. "You need to think of your opponent. What are their weaknesses, and their strength? Then, expose them." As she says that, she flicks Hiccup in the arm.

"Ow!" He said rubbing his arm.

"That's your first lesson." Merida smiles, as he holds her hands for practice. "Try throwing a punch at my hands."

"Are you serious?" He said in a dreaded tone. "I'm just going to mess it up again."

"You won't know if you don't try," Merida said, trying to be patient. But it was starting to get harder and harder to keep her cool. In truth, her brothers can fight better than Hiccup. But they're not here, and Hiccup is one of her companions. So one way or another, she was going to teach him how to fight.

"Come on! Again!" She said with force.

Hiccup groans as he readies his fist in a fighting stance. But as he tries to throw a punch, Merida grabbed his arm and twisted it behind his back.

"Ow!" He screamed in pain.

Merida leans in, and gently whispers in his ear. "Here's one more lesson, expect the unexpected."

She then pushes him away, as he rubs his arm in pain.

"Why does every lesson have to include violence?" He said while rotating his shoulder.

Merida sees that she has to change tactics to get through to him. 'Maybe,' she thought, 'I can get him to get used to weapons.'

She went over to a nearby tree and got her bow and arrows. "Come on," she said with a half-smile. "Let's try something else."

She led him to a tree, and hands him the bow. "Ok," she said while pointed to different parts of the bow. "you put your hand on the grip here," she places his right hand on the grip. "The two long pieces are called the limbs. Around the grip is the..."

"Slight window," Hiccup said looking at her. "It's where the arrow goes, As well as the nocking point on the string."

Merida became amazed by how much Hiccup knows.

"I've made bows before," he confesses. "I've worked on a lot of weapons. I work as an apprentice for the black smith in my village."

"Really?" She said.

"Yeah," he answers.

That information raced through Merida's head. Being a blacksmith means he's good with tools, and clever with his hands.

"Good to know," she said with a smile as she positions Hiccup to fire an arrow.

"I don't think I can do this," he said a little nervous. "Last time I shot an arrow, I broke an animal pen."

"Listen," she said assuring him. "It's easy. I'll teach you my mantra." She places her hands to where his hands are, and genetically guide him to aim at a tree. "Draw all the way back to your cheek, keep both eyes open, relax, focus, and-"

He fired the arrow, but it missed the tree entirely.

"Knew it," Hiccup said in defeat.

"Believe me," Merida said pulling another arrow from her quiver. "You're handling it better than my so called suitors." As she helps him ready another arrow, she notices his right hand shanking, while his left is still and sturdy.

"Hiccup, are you left handed?" She asks in concern.

"Why you ask?" He said a little more relaxed.

"The way your hand is moving," she said. "It's like you are born left handed, but you're being trained to be right handed. Am I right?"

Hiccup didn't say anything, but nods while lowering the bow.

"It's nothing to be ashamed about," she said. "One of my brothers is left handed. But being royalty, it's not within the tradition."

"I hear you," Hiccup said. "My father is very strict with appearances."

"Well, appearances don't win battles," Merida said, switching the bow to be more comfortable for Hiccup's left hand. "Just like it's impotent to know your opponent's strengths and weaknesses, you need to know your own too."

She moves his hands to ready to shoot again. "You need to let go of what everyone expects you to be, and try to make a name for yourself. You need-"

Her speech was cut off as he fires the arrow. This time, it hit the tree almost in the centre of the bark.

Hiccup stood there, almost speechless at what he just did. "I did it?" He said in surprised.

"You did it," Merida said grabbing her bow back. "You can do a lot if you try."

Hiccup went and got the arrow out of the tree, and hands it back to Merida. "Thank you," he said. "You help me a lot more than anyone in my tribe."

"You're welcome," she said with pride. "Teaching someone to shoot an arrow is easy."

"Not that," he said. Merida's curiosity got her to listen to Hiccup more. "You are teaching me to believe in myself, when everyone pretty much tells me to stop being myself. I've never had someone that can put so much faith into me. So, thank you."

Merida was touched by his words. She was glad to help, but is a little surprise that a Viking can be so humble.

"Your welcome," was all she could say.

Hiccup then had something else to say to her. "Listen," he said, "I know our clans had a history. But we don't know if that is in yours or my past. So, let's just...let that go, and start over." He holds out his hand, hoping she accepts it.

Merida looks at his hand and pounders a bit. But, maybe it is time to put the past, (or future) behind them, and get to know each other as friends.

"All right," she said grabbing and shaking his hand. But then she pulled him in and twists his arm again.

"Lesson one," she reminds him with a smile.

"Ummm. Am I interrupting something?"

Both Hiccup and Merida look up to see Jack flying in.

"Nope," Hiccup said struggling to break loose. "Just hugging it out."

Merida finally lets Hiccup go, and turns to Jack.

"What is it?" She asks.

"Let's just say we got an unexpected visitor." He said will holding up the satchel.

"Isn't that the bag we hid back at the tower?" Hiccup asked while rubbing his arm.

"Yeah," Jack answered. "Rapunzel's mother was here, and tempted her to give it to Flynn, to show his true colours."

"Wait, how did she know where it was?" Merida asked, trying to connect the dots.

"More importantly, how did she find Rapunzel here?" Hiccup asked while joining the others.

"I don't know," Jack said. "Though I've got a say, I think there is more to that woman then meets the eye."

That made Hiccup and Merida worried for Rapunzel. Her mother is putting her in a tough situation, what kind of mother does that. It's strange indeed.

"I think it's more than your awful mother theory," Hiccup said to Merida.

"What do we do now?" Merida asked.

"Well first of all," Jack said, handing the satchel off to Merida. "We hide it among your quiver, and we better keep an eye on Flynn. Just in case he's only playing nice for the crown."

Merida nods as she gathers her quiver and fit it, and the satchel snuggling on her back. Hiccup offer to help in any way, but Merida politely refused.

Jack looked at those two. A number of hours ago, they were fighting and couldn't really stand each other. Now, they are basically best friends.

"Well," jack said with a smile. "I guess a lot of training goes a long way."

Merida shrugs, "I guess so."

"Yeah," Hiccup said with a small smile. But then he quickly lowers himself and swift kicks Merida's legs, making her go down on the floor. Jack was too shock for words at what he just saw. Merida shook off the impact, and moved some hair out of her face. Instead of being angry at Hiccup, she smiled like a proud teacher.

"Lesson one," Hiccup said, offering her a hand up.

Merida smiles as she accepts his hand. "Lesson one," she said. But as she got up, she tightens her grip and twists his wrist.

"Ow," Hiccup winces in pain.

"Lesson two; don't let your guard down." Merida smiles as she and Hiccup leave the area to join Flynn and Rapunzel. Jack hover for a minute, still amazed Hiccup could knock Merida down. But quickly gathers his thoughts and rejoins the others

When everyone gathered at the fire, they felt the tiredness of the day. Everyone pretty much agreed it was time to sleep. Flynn called dibs on a rock pillow before he drifted off. Merida slept near tree roots with a leaf pillow. Hiccup fell asleep near a large boulder, and Rapunzel is using her hair as a nice soft blanket, with Pascal right beside her.

Being a spirit, Jack doesn't feel tired, and neither did Baby tooth. So they kept each other company, guarding the camp. But Jack couldn't help but notice that Rapunzel is having a hard time falling asleep. He couldn't really blame her, with all that's happened. So he flew to her, and gently put his hand on her shoulder.

"Hey," he whispered. "You should really get some sleep."

"I know," she whispers back, "but I just can't. It's first time I'm not sleeping in my bed. Then there is mother, the crown, and-"

"Shh," he said with a finger on her lips. "Don't worry about that. Just think about tomorrow. It's your birthday."

"My birthday?" She said as if she's forgotten. But then slowly remember the part of this mission that will lead her to her dream. "My birthday," she said again with excitement.

Jack giggled with her in her excitement. But he can still tell she was scared. After all it will be we first time in a town, full of people. He needed some way to tell her that tomorrow was going to be a great day. As he looked up to think of something, he saw a golden stream of light in the night sky. He recognizes that light anywhere.

"Hey," he whispers to Rapunzel. "Look up."

She did and saw sandman's beautiful sand in the sky.

"Wow," she said with wonder. "I didn't know the sandman existed in this time."

"Neither did I," Jack admitted. "But I heard that Sandy is the oldest of the guardians. It's been told that he's almost the same age as the man in the moon."

"Really?" She asked.

"I think so," he said.

They watch as a small stream of sand made its way to the camp. It then broke off into several little streams, and made their way to everyone's heads. Jack smile at knowing that everyone, including Flynn, will have good dreams tonight.

He then turned to Rapunzel. "Now get some sleep," he said, "you have a big day tomorrow."

She smiles as she closes her eyes, and tries to drift off to sleep.

"Hey, you know what?"

She opened one of her eyes at Jack looking at the sky. "What?" she whispers.

"By the height if the moon," he said with a smile. "It's already tomorrow."

He then twirled his staff, and made small icy fireworks around Rapunzel.

"Happy birthday," he said before flying back to his position.

Rapunzel smiles as she closes her eyes, and waits to fall asleep. One thing was for sure, she couldn't wait for tomorrow.

No matter how it will turn out.


Songs:

Healing incantation from Tangled

I've got a Dream from Tangled (think of it as a slow version of the chorus)

Mother knows best (reprise) from Tangled


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