The throne room was cleaned up, the people released, and Varian sat in the kings chair. He did not sit like royalty. He was sideways in the chair, hanging his legs off the arm rest, feeling relaxed and in power. He smiled knowing he did what he set out to do. Knowing how well his plan went; even better than he had thought it would. The castle workers and guards stood waiting to hear the words of their new king. Rapunzel, Eugene, and Cassandra stood at the front. They all felt a deep anger at the man before them.
Varian smiled seeing the anger they held. He knew they would be frustrated with him for awhile, but assumed they would get over it. Rapunzel had enough of this game, she was entrusted by her parents to rule this kingdom with greatness. Now seeing this troubled boy in front of her wearing the crown and sitting in the chair where her father sat, enraged her. She took in a deep breath as she stepped forward.
“Varian pleas-” She was interrupted.
“It's your Majesty to you, Rapunzel.” He scoffed. The brunette gritted her teeth. Varian stood holding his staff close. He knew he was incharge.
“Well, your Majesty…” Rapunzel snapped the words with disgust. “Do you know how to run a kingdom?”
Varian walked over to the brunette still in defence mode. He towered over her. Eugene took a step forward not liking how close the boy was. He knew Varian was a threat, that much is obvious, but he didn’t know his motive. Cass stopped Eugene from going any closer, last thing they needed was another scare of amber.
“Better than you, Princess.” Varian snapped back. “From now on you will be my servant, and bring me food.”
“Fine.” Rapunzel hissed. She kept that fire in her eye. That glow made the rage in Varian fester.
“Kneel and say it.”
“No.” Rapunzel refused instantly feeling a jab at her pride and her kingdom. Varian pointed his staff at Cass and Eugene. The two of them jolt at being targeted. Rapunzel showed worry for her friends.
“Those close to you matter, but…” He said as he shifted his threat to Rapunzel, “to them you matter more.”
The rock was close to her stomach but she kept her stance and did not waver. The one holding the sharp object to her was, in her eyes, still the young alchemist she met years ago. Varian was not a killer, a swindler and fighter, but not a killer. Rapunzel felt she could change him and hopefully help him reconsider his threats and current claim of the throne.
Varian sighed and sat on the throne again. Rapunzel called his bluff.
“Bring me some food, I'm hungry.” he huffed. Rapunzel nodded and turned to leave. Everyone else followed the brunette out the door. Varian watched as they all left. He saw how they still held true to Rapunzel, giving her worried looks, a hand on her shoulder. They all care for her greatly, Varian could see this. Leaning back, he pouted at his situation, though he holds the title king, he is by no means in control.
Rapunzel walked along the hall with Eugene and Cass. She still walks with power, and now elegance. She thought long and hard on how this was going to turn out. She wanted to make this right, not just by her and her kingdom, but by Varian as well.
“Rapunzel?” Eugene was worried for her, as everyone was. She has a distant look in her eyes, it freaked him out. She smiled to him, seeing him here gave her strength.
“What should we do?” Cass asked. Eugene gave an angry pout to her, feeling now was not a good time to ask. Rapunzel thought otherwise, and was unwavering in her decision. She had a fire burning in her; she has a mission now.
“For the safety of everyone, follow along with Varian’s wishes and demands, last thing I want or need is for any of you to get hurt.” She was greatly concerned with the welfare of her people and close friends. She saw the power Varian displayed today, no one stands a chance against him in a head on battle, especially with those creatures he has.
Eugene and Cass smiled. The both of them appreciated the kindness and compassion Rapunzel has for everyone. However they did not want to comply with that throne stealing dirt- bag.
“I get your reasoning Raps, but he needs to be taken down.” Cass said as she clenched her fist. Rapunzel gave a weary smile.
“I agree, but I don't want anyone to get hurt, including Varian.”
Both Cass and Eugene sigh, Rapunzel was too kind for her own good. Even though she is beyond frustrated and upset about her kingdom being taken over by a criminal.
“With all do respect, your highness, this boy needs to be eliminated.” Everyone turns to see the captain of the guards. He walked up and spoke sternly and low.
“I have a plan, however, Varian will not make it.”
Rapunzel was surprised that the captain would even consider harming another person.
“I understand Varian is in the wrong, but his actions do not condone death.”
“His actions of not only treason, but his coup d'etat to claim the crown is more than enough reason to condone death. He is not a child anymore your highness. He is an adult now, and an even greater threat.”
The captain’s words hit deep. Rapunzel was threatened, her kingdom taken, the people frightened, and yet she still saw a hopeful light within Varian. She wanted to fix the past, which she knew was impossible. With a heavy sigh she knew she had to move forward, and the current obstacle was Varian. Looking at her friends, the captain, and in her heart, Rapunzel knew stopping this new threat came first. She didn't want to hurt the troubled child, but the captain is right; Varian isn't a boy anymore, he is now a man, and he is dangerous.
“What is your plan, Captain?” Rapunzel sighed. Everyone gave a determined smile, they were glad to know Rapunzel could pick her battles.
“Let's walk to the kitchen while I explain.” He motioned for Rapunzel to walk forward.
Varian paced around the room, he was thinking what he could do with the time he had. He perked up to the sound of footsteps and went back to sitting on the throne. The door opened and Rapunzel, Eugene, Cass, and the Captain walked in. Rapunzel had a tray of food ready.
“How many people does it take to get one tray of food?” Varian asked all smug.
No one smiled or chuckled, the room was silent as Rapunzel walked up to give Varian the food. He stopped her part way, stood and grabbed his staff. As he walked over he pulled a vial out of his apron pocket. He then poured the liquid in the vial out on the food. The food turned black and dissolved. Everyone was wide eyed in confusion. Rapunzel scouled
“If you didn't want it, why waste it?”
However the tray was smacked from her hands, the sound of clanging metal rang as it hit the floor. Rapunzel slipped back as Varian turned the black rock to amber, it grew in front of her, she scooted back as it stopped right before it caught her.
Eugene saw Varian coming down with the staff, his eyes widened in horror as the rock changed color. As Rapunzel fell back in an attempt to flee, Eugene bolted at Varian with anger and fear.
The staff was still in the ground as Varian saw Eugene charging at him with a hostile look. Varian shifted his stance to hold his ground. As Eugene slid in to a punch, Varian dodged it by grabbing Eugene's wrist, and striking at the elbow full force, everyone heard a snap as Eugene fell with a cry of pain. Varian looked down at the defeated man and walked off. He grabbed his staff and walked to Rapunzel.
“Leave her alone!” Eugene shouted while holding his arm. He knew it was broken. Cass ran to Rapunzel’s side and held her close as Varian approached.
“Poison huh?” He glared down at the two girls. He pointed the staff at them, “Who's idea was it?”
“Don't think I could come up with something like this?” Rapunzel asked. Cass looked at her shocked and afraid. They were in no situation to be self-righteous.
“Oh please, you can solve puzzles, but you wouldn't know how to kill, you don't have the heart.” Varian grinned.
Rapunzel returned the smile “Neither do you.”
Varians face twitched at the response, he felt a jab to his pride. She was right and that's what irritated him. Rapunzel couldn’t see this irritation since he wore the goggles over his eyes. He lifted the staff as if ready to strike down.
“It was my idea!” Eugene stood holding his limp arm. “I said to poison you.”
Varian paused and turned. “Really?” He turned away from the girls and marched up to Eugene.
“Shall I break your other arm too to teach you a lesson?” Varian smiled. Eugene scowled as he was painting from the immense pain in his arm. He was going to step forward but he was stuck. The amber encased his feet. Eugene fell to his knees unable to balance. Rapunzel wanted to stand, she wanted to run to Eugene. He was already greatly injured, but now she felt Varian would prove her wrong and take a life.
“Stop it, he's been hurt enough!” Rapunzel shouted. Varian huffed.
“You're right… you followed along with it. You are also to blame.” He stops the amber and turns back to speak.
“Rapunzel, you will now find your accommodations in the castle dungeons, for your act of treason.”
“Take her to her cell.” He ordered the captain. Though no one moved. They all were loyal to Rapunzel, not him. When no one acted he gave a whistle and the lion beast appeared.
“Take her below, seal the lock. Reward after.” He said to the creature as he stroked the lions mane. Its tail, the snake, hissed. Varian smiled.
“And reward you too.”
The lion moved toward the brunette as she held onto Cass. The lion's paw easily pushed them apart. And gently grabbed Rapunzel by the arm with its mouth. She tried to pull her arm away, but the teeth were as sharp as razors. If she struggled the lions hold got stronger.
“Wait.” The lion stops and everyone looked to the captain.
“Release the princess, I am to blame. I set the poison, and told her she needed to do this… punish me, not her.”
Varian began to laugh. “We really playing this game?! Fine then, Rapunzel is still sent to the dungeons, and as an added bonus…” He looks to Cass, who seems defenceless without her sword, but he knows she waiting for the right moment to strike; she is smart.
Cass was doing just that. She had her dagger hidden in her boot, but Varian had yet to get close enough. He was too aware of his surroundings to throw it. She had to wait for his guard to be lowered.
“Cassandra…” Varian approached her with a cunning smile. “You are now my personal guard, and will taste test all my food before I eat it… right in front of me. So I know it is not poisoned.”
Cass gritted her teeth and the captain clenched his fist. She did not respond, nor give any eye contact as she stood and helped Eugene to the infirmary.
Varian sat in the throne with a sigh. Once the room was empty he removed his goggles, and rubbed the bridge of his nose, he was trying to get rid of his headache. Rudiger jumped up on to the arm of the throne. Varian smiled to his old friend and gave him a pat.
“I don't know how long this will take, but I'm glad you're here with me.” Rudiger crawled onto Varians lap and curled up into a ball. Varian gave a slight chuckle as he leaned back to relax a bit.
Rapunzel was being dragged into the dungeon. The lion had no issue taking her along. The group caught up, Cass with a new sword and Eugene in a splint and sling. The lion ignored them and kept walking. The tail hissed at them.
“This thing is downright horrifying!” Eugene huffed.
“It’s about to be dead!” Shouted Cass as she ran up to the snake tail. The tail dodged the attack and hid under the lion. Cass went closer and was swinging up to cut the butt end of this beast. However, it kicked with its hind leg and its hoof hit the sword. It rattled, but didn't cut. The snake took its moment and snapped at Cass, throwing her off balance.
The lion reached an empty open cell and threw Rapunzel in. She fell to the floor and turned to see the door close. The Captain had the keys, and Eugene was ready to bust her out. But the snake came forward and sprayed a green liquid on the lock. It began to melt.
Everyone readied to attack, but the lion turned with a growl. Everyone halted seeing the front of the beast. Its gleaming fangs and sharp teeth. Its yellow eyes shined with rage, its claws extended and ready to strike. Everyone backed down knowing they stood no chance. The snake melted the door to the wall, there was no way to bust Rapunzel out without destroying the cell.
The lion walked its way back with enough pride to infuriate Cass. She wanted to kill the creature herself. Eugene ran up to the cell and reached his hand in to touch Rapunzel. She got up to meet his reach. He caressed her cheek as she held his hand.
“We should have listened to you…” Eugene said with a sorrowful expression. Rapunzel said not to confront Varian and to just meet his demands. Not only did Eugene get injured, but Rapunzel was thrown in jail, and Cass is now subjected to taste testing. The captain walked forward and apologized for his actions.
“I’m afraid I’m no longer of much use in battle, and it was my idea, I am to blame for this.” He hung his head in shame. Rapunzel shook her head.
“This was a group effort, but now we know how strong Varian is.”
“Yeah! He broke my arm like it was child's play!” Eugene snapped.
“Which means he knows hand to hand combat now…” Cass hummed in concern. They all wondered where he learned to fight, who taught him and why?
“Even more so, his alchemy is more advanced. He most likely has more of those beasts… and other weapons.”
“To be honest Raps… he was able to fight without the staff… he doesn't need weapons anymore, he is one.” Cass frowned regretfully at her words. Everyone felt a chill go down their spine at her words.
“What do we do?” Eugene asked Rapunzel. She took a moment to think.
“As I said before, comply with his demands, help him run the kingdom, but please do not let him harm anyone else…” She held a concerned expression for her people.
“You got it, Raps.” Cass nodded with a smile, knowing she will not let Varian do anything to the people of Corona. She would remain strong and train harder to make sure she can hold her own against him.
“I’ll be here everyday and for as long as you need me.” Eugene smiled. Rapunzel was grateful and she gave a warm smile to show her thanks. She squeezed his hand, not wanting to let go.
“You need rest, you need to heal first…”
“I will, but I’m not going to let you suffer in here alone.” Rapunzel was touched to hear those words. She kissed Eugene’s hand as they all began to part.
“I’ll be back with some things for you…” Eugene waved.
“And I’ll be keeping a close eye on Varian.” Cass smiled.
“I’ll also be watching, and let me know if there is anything I can do,” The captain said with a nod.
Rapunzel nodded as they left. The door sounded with an echoing click. She turned to look at her lonely cell, only to be reminded of being locked away in her tower once again. She wished only Pascal was still around to be here with her. If he was, she wouldn't be so alone. Sitting on the bed she looked up to the sky as she saw the sun shine brightly.
‘I promise… I’ll take care of Corona, mom, dad...’