Well, since I have no idea when the next chapter's coming out, I might as well publish this one now. Also, I'm really exhausted, so we all know that's not helping. Thank you to all the support I've been getting for this story! I can't believe I have over 100 kudos on ao3 and over fifty reviews on FFN! I never thought this fic would do so well.

Hope you enjoy!


Chapter Twenty-One


Quirin hadn't cried in years.

Not since Ulla passed away.

Sometimes he thought he was incapable of crying. While there was no toxicness in the Brotherhoood (Edmund was a very emotional man), he couldn't bring himself to shed a tear. He wanted to. Of course, he did. Yet he couldn't.

But now, his son was missing. For days now.

Varian was the light of Ulla's life. He made her happy in every single way. Quirin adored the way her eyes light up at the sight of her.

He also held part of the Moonstone in him. He never got around to telling him that. The thought that that was why someone took him away clouded his mind. Would they teach Varian evil? Or treat him like a monster? He hated it. Quirin thought of everything. There was no ransom letter. It seemed too late to send one. Besides that, only horrible things wandered through Quirin's mind about why someone would abduct a fourteen-year-old boy.

Quirin let himself cry. In his room. In the dark. There was no Varian to cheer him up with a dumb joke or alchemy pun.

He was all alone.

Both of them.


Eugene was alone. Rapunzel still wasn't home from her daily walk around the capital city. After checking his clock and finding out it was almost time for dinner, he began to worry. She was never this late. She was never late. Period. In fact, Rapunzel was at least half an hour early for everything.

She should be in their closet. With Cassandra helping her with her evening wear. She should be at the vanity. Touching up on her braid. Perhaps even adding a few charms as decorations. Rapunzel should be convincing him to hurry up. Rolling her eyes fondly or teasing playfully.

Where was she? Had she run away? Rapunzel didn't seem like the type. Even as a child, while Eugene was sneaking off every other night, she was there to warn him not to. He would get punished for it.

Or had someone hurt her? Had someone taken her? Could there have been a murder?

No. He shouldn't even imagine such things. Rapunzel had probably gotten caught up in something. That was it. It must be.

Cassandra had the day off. She was back in Corona, visiting her father most likely. Eugene adjusted his cravat. Whipping away a piece of lint on his coat. His outfit was mostly green. He'd worn it once before. To dinner. Rapunzel complimented the way it made his eyes look. With a final glance in the mirror, he began down the hall. Finding Faith in the hallway.

"Have you seen the princess?"

They asked at the same time. Eugene cleared his throat, allowing her to go first.

"I can't find her anywhere. I've asked everyone. All the maids are looking for her, but she's gone!" Faith got out between stutters.

"Gone?" The words left him empty. "You mean, she's gone? What?"

"Please don't release me, sir. She just disappeared."

"Are you sure? You've checked everywhere? The halls? The bookstore?"

Faith nodded. "Everywhere. The last anyone saw of her was when she was on her walk."

After receiving another nod from the maid, Eugene broke into run. Calling every guard over. They followed him in a line as he yelled, incomprehensible nonsense at them. He glanced into every open doorway. She wasn't there. She was never there.

"The princess is missing," Eugene wheezed, "We gotta find her."

"Woah, woah, woah, slow down, your highness. What do you mean the princess is missing."

"I mean what the term 'missing' usually means. She's gone. No one can find her."

The captain of the guards found his father. They all gathered together. Collecting evidence and exchanging information. No one knew much. Only what they all said before. Rapunzel disappeared on her walk. No one knew where she might be.

Eugene went with them. He had to find her.


"Rapunzel?"

It was his voice. Varian. It had to be him. Rapunzel ran to the bars. Thrusting an arm through two of them. Reaching out. Varian caught her hand. It was him. She knew those features. Relief flooded through her. Like a dam breaking. The tightness in her chest was gone. Varian was here. She found him.

"What-What are you doing here?" Rapunzel asked, "How long have you been here? Who took you? Why? Varian!"

"Rapunzel, there's not a lot . . . There's no time to explain. I was brought here by someone named Stalyan. She wants me to-"

Light shone in the corner of her eye. Rapunzel met Varian's eyes before looking towards the door. She removed most of her arm. Leaving only her hand inside. To hold Varian's and possibly provide some comfort.

She was tall. Towering over Varian and herself. Light brown locks had been tossed over her shoulders and ran down her back in slight waves. Magenta painted her lips into a scowl. Finally, her violet eyes met her own.

"Oh, if it isn't Her most honorable, excellentness, wonderfulness Princess Rapunzel, now of the Dark Kingdom, former Corona, her most bestness." Her voice was all sarcasm. "I still don't see what he sees in you."

Rapunzel's eyebrows crossed. "Who?"

The stranger tossed a wave over her shoulder. "No one of importance. Now I can't just let you wander away after what you've seen."

Rapunzel untangled her hair, ready to fight. She knocked over the stranger and began working on the lock. Once she got back up, Rapunzel tied her ankles together. She shook the bars. Something had to go free. But they didn't move. Apparently, this cage was much more well built than it looked. From behind, the stranger threw her hands over Rapunzel's mouth. Knocking both of them to the ground. Rapunzel struggled out of her grasp, but couldn't get free. The stranger's hands fell to her neck. Squeezing. Choking her. Little coughs left Rapunzel's mouth in an attempt to breathe.

"He never told me you were a fighter," the stranger said, "Code Green, boys!"

Two men, giant and stern, grabbed both of rapunzel's arms. Pinning her against the wall as the stranger avoided her kicking. She knocked her into a pair of shackles. The metal dug into her bare arms. Already, she felt bruises.

"Who are you?" Rapunzel asked, her eyes meeting the stranger's, "What do you want with Varian? With me?"

"He never told you about me?" the stranger said.

"I don't know who you're talking about!"

"Rider."

Rapunzel scanned her mind for the name. Nothing. At least no real people came to mind. But one did.

"Flynnigan Rider? From the books? He's not real."

The stranger rolled her eyes. "I suppose you'd know him as Prince Horace."

Eugene.

Her stomach filled with ice. How could he know her? It didn't make sense. Rapunzel still didn't know much about his life. His life beyond her and the kingdom. Perhaps he knew her before. But why? And how? She was under the impression that Eugene grew up with one friend in Lance.

"How do you know him?" Rapunzel's tone came as a command.

"I'm surprised he never told you about me. I mean, I was his first love. His only love really. He just never knew it."

"First love?"

She had to be lying. Since the time they were born, they were betrothed to each other. He knew that. They both knew that.

"I'm afraid, you're mistaken," Rapunzel said, "Eugene would-"

"Oh, now he's going by Eugene. How swell."

Her stomach clenched with anger as she rose to her feet, chains pulling her back. "Who do you think you are?"

"Lady Stalyan."

The stranger paused.

"Former almost-fiancee to the prince. Your husband."


I'm gonna be totally honest, I really love Stalyan. Gosh, just think of her as a whumper. The imagery is so good. I owe credit to Trekkiehood (who also inspired me to watch TTS). She's on here with a few Tangled stories that I absolutely love. She's also on ao3 and tumblr under the same name. She's amazing. Please go check her works out.

Anyway, thanks for reading!