A/N #1: For those of you who have read "Favorite Things," by 9r7g5h you might recognize my plot bunny. I give full credit for the idea to her and recommend her stories!
A/N #2: This story "kind of" follows my other stories, so you might recognize a few of my OCs here that are still awaiting their full development there… I am also using the word 'mom' rather than 'mother' as I feel that it would be more easily accepted by Rapunzel after a careful explanation of the differences provided by Eugene in another story that I am soon to post. I am also providing this spoiler alert. That said; I hope not to spoil things too much.
A/N #3: This is my own tear transference story. I hope you enjoy it; it has greatly expanded from the original idea.
A/N #4: We have reached the end of this segment of my epic; sniff, sniff. Seriously, though, I have enjoyed the journey probably as much as Eugene! So, in this multi-chapter finale, we move forward 15 years, to a very special day for little Becky; with flashbacks as required, of course, to fill in some empty spots.
Chapter 28: Epilogue…; part 4
The crowd, expecting this to be the conclusion of the ceremony were shocked yet again, along with Amanda (most amazingly), when Rupert motioned to the people to remain where they were.
"Good people, the good news continues as we move onto the final portions of tonight's ceremony." Rupert said.
"It continues…?" The crowd asked themselves as they eagerly awaited what was to come.
"It continues…?" A quite surprised aide to the queen asked; her voice audible to almost all present.
"Yes, it does indeed continue. Good people of Corona," King William stated as he came back to the center of the raised platform that comprised the lantern balcony. "It is time for perhaps one of the hardest working members of the royal staff to be recognized and belatedly awarded. Except for the exploits of Eugene, there is perhaps no other citizen of not only Corona, but perhaps all of Io if not Sonnen III, who has done more to better the quality of life of all good and not so good citizens then one Amanda MacIntyre."
To say Amanda was completely shocked was to understate the situation. Her cheeks soon flushed a shade of red to rival that of Eugene when he was so recently honored. As Eugene and Rupert were both in on the king's scheme, they had spent many hours camouflaging all the necessary preparation work to ensure that the surprise was, of course, surprising. The surprise culminated with the announcement of the individual to present the award, one Queen Rachel of Orion.
"To present the final awards, I am most pleased to present the benevolent queen of Orion, and my favorite niece, Queen Rachel." Catherine stated as she took over for William as she escorted her niece forward.
The cheering soon reached a crescendo that left many with a definite ringing in their ears.
"Rachel?" Amanda asked, twin trails of tears slowly streaming down her cheeks, as she took in the sight of the regally dressed monarch, and the Maid of Honor from her wedding, with the same emerald eyes of her aunt and cousin.
"My dear friends," Rachel began as she smiled and winked to her best friend; "I cannot begin to express how happy I am that I am able to take part in this wonderful multi-faceted celebration. It goes without saying that the same wonderful miracles occurring here and in Constella and Estrella have also taken place in Orion as well."
The crowd was beside themselves with excitement as they waited for the queen's next words. The shocks were to continue.
"Yes, the wonderful Royal Kingdom of Orion too has been blessed with the same miracles as the rest of Io. And, while Sir Eugene will also soon be awarded by my good kingdom, this is not why I am present now."
"It isn't?" The same little boy, joined by his sister, blurted out; much to the amusement of all present.
"No, it is not. My visit was in final planning stages when the miracles occurred. By the way, what is your name?" Queen Rachel stated as she had been watching the entire ceremony from a well camouflaged location and was very amused by his spontaneity.
"Ummm…" The boy stuttered out.
"Ok, Ummm; would you like to assist me?" A grinning Rachel asked as the rest of the crowd happily chuckled at the red faced youngster.
"It is Stephan, and yes I would be most honored, your Majesty."
"Please join me, Stephan." Rachel said as she gestured for the youngster to come up the grand staircase to the right side of the raised rostrum.
"Of course, your Majesty." Stephan replied as he moved up the grand staircase as gracefully as he could while his parents and sister looked on most proudly.
"As I stated, my visit to the wonderful kingdom of my favorite uncle and aunt had already reached the final stages when the miracles occurred. The purpose of the visit was to correct a gross oversight on all our parts. As you all know, it is common for extreme service to the crown to be rewarded through various ceremonies. What you may not know, is that one Amanda MacIntyre, nee McAllister, happened to be in the right place at the right time and saved my life."
"Saved your life… What?!" The crowd blurted out.
"Yes, she saved my life by single handedly taking out both of the Stabbington Brothers with one massive and near simultaneous blow to the head…"
"WOW!" The crowd unavoidably blurted out. The Stabbington's, up to their well-deserved death at the inadvertent hand of Mother Gothel ten weeks previous, had been feared throughout the four primary kingdoms of Io.
"As a result, it had been decided to quite belatedly award her for this service to the crown. Miss Amanda if you could come forward, please."
"Of course…" A blushing Amanda replied as she moved forward.
"Stephan, please bring the pillow forward." Rachel requested as she gestured to the ornately decorated pillow, containing an unusual badge and the most amazing medallion suspended under a ribbon of maroon interspersed with the silvery stars that make up the constellation of Orion the hunter and currently in the hands of Rupert.
"Of course, your Majesty." Stephan respectfully replied as he gently took the proffered pillow and moved to her side.
"Eugene, may I please have your sword?" Rachel asked her cousin's savior and soul mate.
"Of course." Eugene replied as he gracefully removed his Katana from its place at his side and handed it to the smiling monarch.
"Miss Amanda MacIntyre," Queen Rachel began as she took the sword and lightly placed it on her right shoulder. "Do you promise to always defend those weaker than yourself?"
"Do you promise to always speak only the truth?"
"Do you promise to be loyal to the four primary kingdoms of Io, joined as they are by treaty?"
"Do you promise to assist those unable to fend for themselves?"
"Do you promise never to take the easy route and to confront any and all dangers facing you?"
"Miss Amanda MacIntyre," Queen Rachel concluded as she brought the sword rapidly to her left shoulder and back to the right before handing it back to Eugene. "It is my sincere privilege to name you Lady Amanda of Corona with all the privileges commensurate with this award!"
The cheers of the crowd left Amanda speechless and in tears as she was quickly embraced by her dream of seven years, Rupert.
"I am so proud of you, Mandy!"
"Thank you, Rupe."
"Rupert, you may present the badge and medallion to Lady Amanda." Queen Rachel stated with a huge smile.
"Of course, your Majesty."
Rupert made quick work of adding the badge to the front of Amanda's gown and placing the medallion around her neck and smoothing the ribbon so that it laid flat. He then gave her a very passionate kiss which brought forth happy laughter from the crowd.
"Good people of Corona, may I present Lady Amanda…" Rupert shouted out, his voice overwhelmed by the loud cheers of the people gathered. Amanda too, was overwhelmed by the crowd's reaction and quietly shed many happy tears as she stood beside her dream. In time the cheers soon came to an end.
"We now move onto the final phase of tonight's celebration…" King William cryptically added.
"Yes. People of Corona…," Sir Eugene began.
"…it is our privilege to announce a royal engagement…" Catherine continued.
Fifteen Years Later…
"Becky, you just do not know the important role you played in your dad's full redemption and rebirth as Sir Eugene Fitzherbert; Royal Knight Plenipotentiary not just the Royal Kingdom of Corona, but that of Constella, Estrella, and Orion; not to mention the honor the wonderful little Republic of Olvastavia bestowed upon him. He is the only individual in the recorded history of Io to be so honored, and Io in general and the four primary kingdoms in particular have never had it this good or for this long."
"Yes, you did. The way that Eugene absolutely doted on you and almost completely spoiled you while ensuring your full and complete training as a princess of Corona endeared him even more to the varied populations of Io than the miracles he performed."
"So, your little girl. Huh?" Becky said with a grin as she reconsidered her mom's words.
"Yes. You, Crown Princess Rebecca Catherine Rapunzel Fitzherbert, are still my little girl and forever shall be; along with your two sisters, Stephanie and Chelsea, they named in honor of my two best friends, the Queens of Constella and Estrella respectively. It is therefore very fitting on this special day that you receive from me, what I received from my wonderful mother-in-law, Kimberly Fitzherbert, via her son, 15 years ago last week."
"No!" Becky exclaimed in surprise as she had had no idea that such a remarkable item would come into her possession on this, the most wonderful day of her young life.
"Yes. The very ring that I received on the day of my engagement to Eugene, will now be passed on to his wonderful eldest daughter."
"No buts, Becky. Do you remember that very special day?"
"How could I forget? It has lived with me for the past 15 years. That is the day that my life turned 180 degrees and improved a thousand fold, if not more! One minute I am dying, about to be responsible for the death of perhaps 1.8 million Ionians at the hand of the most dreadful disease then known to man, and the next I am not only fully healed and healthier than ever but I also receive the wonderful news that not only would Eugene be honoured to raise me as my dad, but that I also find out that I too have a mom, as well. But, what happened after we all went inside? You were out there for almost 30 minutes!"
"Well, after you all went in, and while we were bathed in the warm light of the glowing aquamarine glow as the orb continued to orbit the planet of Sonnen III in such a way that it remained overhead, Eugene sat me down and…"
Fifteen Years Previous…
Eugene and Rapunzel sat there quite contentedly in silence for about ten minutes. Hazel gazing into emerald and emerald gazing into hazel. They were quite content to just sit there, basking in the wonder of being totally intertwined with the other and bathed in the warm aquamarine light. Unknown or unrecognized by both, perhaps every single staffer in the Royal Palace had their faces glued to every available window facing the Royal Garden and the centrally located gazebo. To say that they were impatient to see what was to happen was to understate the matter. They were desperate to be able to be the first to add their version of the tale to the palace and village grapevines.
"Wow! What a day!" Eugene finally and happily remarked after the ten minutes of silent contemplation as he took in the sight of his beloved Punzie and then reached out and gently grasped her hands in his. He could not imagine his life turning out any other way. She truly was a princess worth waiting for.
"Yes. Yes it is." Sighed Rapunzel. She too was very overwhelmed at the feeling of completeness she now felt. Well almost complete. There was but one thing left to see her new dream become a reality just as her quest for the lanterns had led to another dream as it was realized.
"There is only one thing that would make this a day to remember forever..." Eugene cryptically added.
"What is that, Eugene? I mean you saved the entire continent from devastation at the hand of the most twisted and malignant form of the Black Death to be imagined. You also saved all the drought withered crops and famished farm animals not only in Corona, but apparently throughout Io. What more is there?" Rapunzel remarked. She, as any good princess could, easily hid, from most people anyway, the tangled mix of emotions she was currently experiencing. On the one hand she couldn't wait for her next dream to come true so she could find another, but on the other, she had only recently been reunited with her true birth parents and was still catching up on 18 years of forced separation. Needless to say, Eugene was well aware of the tangled mix of emotions as he had discovered them when they linked their minds earlier that day. So his carefully chosen next words were to totally shock Rapunzel and set off yet another round of massively happy celebration; one to absolutely dwarf that of the celebration in honour of her return.
"Well, Punzie, what more there is, is really quite simple. Now that we have a full understanding of our intertwined destinies and that I am indeed of honorable birth as you have so often remarked, I feel, that while the actual date can be set further in the future to allow you time to become fully reacquainted and reintegrated with your parents, there is no reason why we should wait any longer for the initial steps and go ahead and formalize things. This will also allow me to begin my own formal training regimen."
"What formal training regimen?"
The staffers, seeing the perplexed look on Rapunzel's face, accurately deduced what was about to happen.
"He's going to do it, isn't he?" One staffer mumbled out loud.
"Yes, I believe he is." Another answered.
"Well, Punzie, my formal training regimen required of any Prince Consort. You see, it is just that I have never felt closer to anyone as I have to you and I cannot imagine my life turning out any other way. Everything occurring in my life was but a step on the path to the most wonderful woman a man could hope to be with, so…"
"Would you Rapunzel Catherine, the crown princess of Corona consider becoming the wife of a simple man from Avandell whose destiny from birth was to come to the rescue of said princess in distress; slaying the dragon as it were?"
"Eugene!" Rapunzel shouted, her voice easily carrying to the staffers and residents of the palace as they all eagerly awaiting her next words.
"Yes, Rapunzel…," Eugene began as he gently grasped her left hand in his as he went down on his left knee before her, "would you make my new dream come true and do me the extreme honour of marrying me?"
"YES! YES! YES!" Rapunzel shouted out so loud that all in Corona and probably Constella and Estrella as well could hear her as she impatiently awaited Eugene to place the beautiful heirloom ring on her left ring finger.
"YES!" Everyone who witnessed the event shouted as they took in the wonderful sight of Rapunzel and Eugene passionately kissing and beginning to glow a wonderful aquamarine hue.
"They will be so happy, won't they?" Catherine tearfully asked her own dream of over two decades as she watched from the same Royal Study that they had witnessed the wonderful proposal of Rupert and Amanda four years earlier.
"Yes, I am very sure that they will be." William replied as he wrapped his arm around Catherine's waist.
"I wonder how long they will give us to get reacquainted with our daughter." Catherine wondered aloud.
"I am sure it will be plenty. Besides, it is not like they are moving to the far side of Io." William confidently answered.
Fifteen Years Later…
"Awww…" Becky sighed, "What a wonderful proposal."
"It was the most incredible end to a most incredible day. So, it is fitting that on this very special day in your own life that you receive from me, as your 'something old,' this ring." Rapunzel said as she gently placed the ring on her daughter's right ring finger.
"I don't know what to say…" Becky said as fresh tears gently trailed down her face.
"No words are necessary, Becky. I know you will be very happy as you realize your own special dream." Rapunzel replied as she gently dabbed the tears from Becky's face to save her elaborate makeup job.
A soft knock at the door shook them from their reminiscing.
"Please come in Genie." Rapunzel replied as she easily sensed who was on the far side of the door.
"Of course, Punzie."
"I guess we are ready." Rapunzel replied.
"My darling, it is time." King Eugene said to his eldest daughter as he took in the sight of two of the most important women in his life as he too attempted to keep his tears at bay.
"Yes, daddy. And, thank you for everything…" Crown Princess Rebecca Catherine Rapunzel Fitzherbert answered as she adjusted her tiara a final time and lowered her veil over her face as she took one last look in the mirror and stood to walk over to her dad, the king, and held her arm out as he prepared to walk her to her new destiny.