Author's Note: I know it'll look strange but I wanted to start this off with the light-hearted beginning which starts to delve into the more mysterious feel of Jim Henson's fantasy movies and a nod to The Storyteller. Go easy on me everyone I've been wanting to try this crossover out for a while. Enjoy!
Chapter 1: A tale of Sun and Crystal
There was nothing like a quiet summer night in Odaiba, Tokyo…at least not this very evening in Kibou Manor, home to the Pantheon family.
For the lights on the third floor from one of the large guestrooms suddenly flickered on. Inside was a group of youngsters in their pajamas, make-shift futons and sleeping bags; it was an organized sleepover evening for the guardians and their young charges. Tonight, it was the turn of Billy, Mandy and the eight digidestined, and they'd gone to bed at 10:00 pm sharp. Or at least they'd been trying to, except Billy was wide awake.
"You're not gonna believe this, but I just ate seventeen and a half pecan rolls and –" he munches another snack down. "Eighteen!"
From her spot, Mandy facepalmed. "Here we go again."
Beth moaned, running her hands over her face while explaining to the others. "Once Billy eats something sugary late at night he won't be able to sleep and now he won't stop bugging us until we either read or tell him a story."
Everyone groans tiredly in annoyance.
"Great," complained Joe. "This is why it's not recommendable to eat snacks before bed."
Billy, meanwhile was completely hyperactive; he kept rapidly moving his feet so much he literally went right up the wall at one point. It was a wonder none of the other household residents of Kibou Manor checked up on them.
"C'mon gang!" he excitedly urged them to gather around the guest king sized bed in the room. "Yeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeah!"
Mimi rubbed her eyes sleepily, "How many snacks was it again? Fifteen?"
"Eighteen." Mandy answered sullenly, "Don't get me started on what happened last time."
Soon enough the eleven kids and five teenagers were gathered on the floor to be more comfortable. Billy quickly found a seat between T.K. and Kari, after smoothing out their babysitters' hairs.
"It's too late for me to fetch a good book – better make this up as we go." mumbled Kylie, rubbing her forehead.
None of them noticed the golden sparkles above them, causing a familiar book to materialize and fall promptly on Zaira.
"Hey!" The semi-goth rubbed her head and looked to see what it was. "I thought you always put it back on the pedestal in your room when we go to sleep." she said pointedly to the sisters Beth, Kylie and Dana.
"And I did." Dana answered.
The book had landed on the floor wide open. Kylie the bookish blonde picked it up and was about to close it until something about the page caught her eye. "Hmm, that's odd. This looks like the retold story of Rapunzel, but I don't recall some of this..."
Billy spoke up brightly, "Oh you mean the story about a kidnapped princess has long magical hair who wants to see the dumb old lantern show and the witch won't let her so the princess gets a thief to help her. Then on the end of the second day the witch gets two goons to knock out the thief and take the princess back to the tower." He said the whole thing very quickly and put extra emphasis on the next word. "BUT…the thief goes to save her, cuts off her hair, the old witch dies and the two live happily ever after?"
Beth nods. "Obviously."
"Wait a minute, I thought it was a prince?" questioned Mimi from her spot with a frown.
Tai added. "And I don't remember anything about Rapunzel's hair being magical in the fairytale I heard."
"There are many retellings of the Grimm fairy tale Rapunzel," explained Kylie. Then she glanced at the Book of Secrets confusedly, "But I don't seem to recall the Book of secrets containing any stories in here unless it was explaining a spell, object, land or creature."
Zaira too the book to see for herself, skimming over a few lines. "You're right, I don't remember any of this having to do with the tale of Rapunzel."
"Why not read it anyway?" asked Kari. "How different can it be?"
Mandy folded her arms. "A fairy tale retelling what a surprise."
"You don't have to like it," Sora T. whispered to her, "The girls are just gonna read it so Billy can finally doze off. Who knows? Maybe it'll have a bigger plot."
Kylie began the first paragraph, but as she was reading to the children's astonished ears it slowly faded until it was though someone else were telling the story - someone aged with a quavering, gentle voice full of wisdom. This was one of the results from reading an enchanted story... "We've all heard the story of Rapunzel and the gift she'd been blessed. It was said that a sundrop fell from the heavens, and from it grew magic golden flower. It had the ability to heal the sick and injured – many claimed that there were even few scattered across the world. However, only one of them incited the start of Corona, prosperous kingdom, ruled by a king and queen who were soon to become parents. Then the Queen fell gravely ill, causing the kingdom set off in search of the flower which had been long been discovered by Gothel, who hoarded it's power to keep her young for years, activating it by singing a special song. In her haste, she'd accidentally left the flower in plain sight allowing the search party to uproot it in time to concoct a healing infusion for the queen. And so a healthy princess was born, with beautiful gold hair which unbeknownst to them, contained the same magic as the flower. To celebrate her birth, the king and queen released a flying lantern into the night sky, but their joy was short-lived."
"There's always a catch." Mandy commented coolly.
"A vengeful Gothel broke into the palace, stole the child and vanished deep into the forest. The kingdom searched but could not find the girl, for in a hidden tower Gothel raised the child as her own. Yet the tower walls couldn't conceal everything – every year on the princess' birthday the kingdom of Corona releases thousands of paper lanterns as a beacon. In hopes that their lost princess would find her way home."
Nevertheless, the prologue didn't end there. For the following words, a new voice appears to be narrating - this one was younger and charismatic.
"However Corona's borders were entwined with that of another land with an intriguing tale of its own to tell - Legend has it that a thousand years ago, the realm of Thra was green and good until the crystal cracked and a single shard was lost. Thus strife began, and with it two new races came into existence - the cruel Skeksis and the gentle Mystics. Swiftly in the castle of the crystal, the Skeksis took control, like Gothel they too cheated Death for centuries, by harnessing the power of the sun through the Dark crystal using its beams to extend their lifespan. In the years that passed where there were once eighteen of these two races, now only ten of both sides remained."
The mysterious feel of the tale was broken by Izzy speaking up in bemusement.
"This still doesn't tell us what each kingdom has to do with the other."
Kylie looked up from the book at the children. "I'm getting there." And she continued, "This is the story of a wanderer, a lost princess, a daring thief and a woods-maiden found themselves and banded together to save their lands from doom."
And it starts off just as Eugene had escaped his would-be execution...