Before the events of Tangled there was a young boy growing up in an orphanage. He had the biggest dreams and the kindest heart. This is the story of Eugene Fitzherbert.


3. TWO

     “Hey, hey, it’s Fitzherbert!” The bartender cried as he slid a drink over to an already tipsy patron, “Stayin’ out to see the lanterns tonight?”

     “Of course,” I swung myself up on a stool and leaned on the bar, “Hit me up with one of your finest drinks, Volkard.”

     “Sure thing, kid,” he poured me a drink and slid it over.

     It was non-alcoholic, of course, but it still tasted delicious. I loved the atmosphere in this tavern. It was always lively and chatty, and some jolly music was always playing. And then there was Volkard. Burly and gruff, he intimidated all who crossed his path. All, that is, except me. Two years ago I had been on a job selling fruits when we happened to barrel straight into each other. However, instead of running away frightened, I stayed and we cleaned up the mess together. He’s treated me as his own son ever since.

     While I sat there drinking, a hulking mass slammed into my back and the mouthful of brew sprayed from my mouth. The newcomer clearly couldn’t hold his liquor as he was tripping over himself and his words were slurred beyond comprehension.

     “Hey-hic-why don’t we go somewhere private, hmm?” his breath reeked as he leaned in to whisper in my ear.

     “Don’t touch me,” replying calmly, I tried to shrug off his arm that was still draped over my shoulders, but it’s weight bore down on me.

     “Aww, come-hic-on! It’ll be fu-un,” he wiggled his eyebrows at me as my eyes arched towards the sky.

     “I said, don’t touch me!” I slammed my mug into his face and it shattered. Stunned, the creep stumbled back. I hopped off the stool and swung my leg, sweeping him clean off of his feet, “People like you make me sick. I’m a thirteen year old boy, and not someone to be messed with.”

     “You’re a boy?” the man snorted from his place on the ground.

     By now we had gathered quite a crowd, and no one was laughing along with the newcomer. Voldark heaved him up from the back of his neck and slammed him against the wall.

     “If you ever come back here again, I will have the guards on you faster than you can fall over your own feet drunk!” with a snarl Voldark shoved him out the door and tossed him down the steps as though he were nothing more than a rag.

     Back inside the other brutes were surrounding me, asking me if I was alright. My face lit up beaming as they congratulated me on how well I handled myself, and someone applauded, shouting “Drinks are on me!” The entire tavern erupted into cheers.

     Once everyone was absorbed in the festivity, I slipped out the back. The sun had just dipped below the horizon and the sky was a beautiful purple. It was almost time.

     I picked up a lantern and match from the nearest stall just as they were packing up. We wished each other the best of luck – as was customary for the occasion – and we made our way to separate gatherings. On the western side of the village everyone was chattering away, wondering if this was the year that the lost princess would return. Not long after, a stream of royal guards past through reminding us it was almost time. The chatter died down almost instantly.

     Everyone marveled as the first lantern rose up in the sky. They all flicked their matches and lit up the lanterns. I struck my match and held it to the lantern.

     Before I released it, I whispered the one thing I always whisper on this night, “Please come back, baby princess.”

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